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Syriac alphabet[edit]

Letter names Esṭrangelā (classical) Madnḥāyā (eastern) Serṭā (western) Pronunciation
’Ālap̄* Aramaic alap.png SyriacAlaph2.png Serto ʔ (glottal stop)
or silent
Bēṯ Aramaic beth c.png SyriacBeth2.png Serto hard: b (voiced bilabial plosive)
soft: v (voiced labiodental fricative)
or w (labial-velar approximant)
Gāmal Aramaic gamal c.png SyriacGamal2.png Serto hard: g (voiced velar plosive)
soft: ɣ (voiced velar fricative)
Dālaṯ* Aramaic daleth.png SyriacDalath.png Serto hard: d (voiced alveolar plosive)
soft: ð (voiced dental fricative)
* Aramaic heh.png SyriacHe.png Serto h (voiceless glottal fricative)
Waw* Aramaic waw.png SyriacWaw.png Serto consonant: w (labial-velar approximant)
mater lectionis: u (close back rounded vowel)
or o (close-mid back rounded vowel)
Zai(n)* Aramaic zain.png SyriacZayn.png Serto z (voiced alveolar fricative)
Ḥēṯ Aramaic kheth c.png SyriacKheth2.png Serto ħ (voiceless pharyngeal fricative)
or x (voiceless velar fricative)
Ṭēṯ Aramaic teth c.png SyriacTeth2.png Serto tˤ (pharyngealized voiceless alveolar plosive)
Yōḏ Aramaic yodh c.png SyriacYodh2.png Serto consonant: j (voiced palatal approximant)
mater lectionis: i (close front unrounded vowel)
or e (close-mid front unrounded vowel)
Kāp̄ Aramaic kap c.pngAramaic kap.png SyriacKaph2.pngSyriacKaph.png Serto hard: k (voiceless velar plosive)
soft: x (voiceless velar fricative)
Lāmaḏ Aramaic lamadh c.png SyriacLamadh2.png Serto l (alveolar lateral approximant)
Mīm Aramaic meem c.png SyriacMeem2.png Serto m (bilabial nasal)
Nūn Aramaic noon c.pngAramaic noon.png SyriacNun2.pngSyriacNun.png Serto n (alveolar nasal)
Semkaṯ Aramaic simkath c.png SyriacSimkath2.png / SyriacSimkath3.png Serto s (voiceless alveolar fricative)
‘Ē Aramaic ain c.png Syriac'E2.png Serto ʕ (voiced pharyngeal fricative)
Aramaic payin c.png SyriacPe2.png Serto hard: p (voiceless bilabial plosive)
soft: f (voiceless labiodental fricative)
or w (labial-velar approximant)
Ṣāḏē* Aramaic tsade.png SyriacSadhe.png Serto sˤ (pharyngealized voiceless alveolar fricative)
Qōp̄ Aramaic qoph c.png SyriacQop2.png Serto q (voiceless uvular plosive)
Rēš* Aramaic resh.png SyriacResh.png Serto r (alveolar trill)
Šīn Aramaic sheen c.png SyriacSheen2.png Serto ʃ (voiceless postalveolar fricative)
Taw* Aramaic taw.png SyriacTaw.png Serto hard: t (voiceless alveolar plosive)
soft: θ (voiceless dental fricative)

* These letters do not join to the following letter (to the left). In some older texts, all letters can join to the left. In some styles of Madnhāyā script, Taw-Ālaph form a ligature, whereas Taw does not usually join to the left.

Narsai and Jacob timeline[edit]

  • c.399 — Narsai born at ‘Ain Dulba in Ma‘alta
  • 412 — Rabbula becomes bishop of Edessa
  • 431 — Council of Ephesus: Rabbula supporst Cyril of Alexandria and burns the works of Theodore of Mopsuestia
  • 435 — Rabbula dies and Ibas becomes bishop of Edessa
  • c.437 — Narsai begins to teach at the School of Edessa
  • 449 — Ibas condemned by the Latrocinium of Ephesus, and replaced by Nonnus
  • 451 — Ibas restored by the Council of Chalcedon
  • 451 — Jacob born in Kurtam on the Euphrates
  • 457 — Ibas dies and is succeded by Nonnus
  • 471 — Cyrus becomes bishop of Edessa, and Narsai leaves for Nisibis
  • 489 — Emperor Zeno closes the School of Edessa
  • 496 — The Statutes of the School of Nisibis show Narsai is still alive there
  • c.502 — Narsai dies in Nisibis
  • 503 — Shah Kavadh I lays bitter siege to Amid
  • 519 — Jacob elected as bishop of Batnan da-Srugh
  • 519–520 — Jacob writes a letter to the Ḥimyarite Christians of Najrān
  • 29 Novemeber 521 — Jacob dies in Batnan da-Srugh

School of Nisibis timeline (from Becker)[edit]

  • 363 — Julian the Apostate dies; Nisibis ceded to the Sasanian Empire; Ephrem of Nisibis migrates to Edessa
  • 373 — Ephrem dies
  • 399 — Evagrius of Pontus dies
  • c.400 — Greek Patristic literature begins to be transalted into Syriac
  • 428 — Theodore of Mopsuestia dies
  • 431 — Council of Ephesus (Third Ecumenical Council)
  • 435/6 — Bishop Rabbula of Edessa dies
  • 449 — 'Robber' Council of Ephesus
  • 451 — Council of Chalcedon (Fourth Ecumenical Council)
  • 457 — Ibas, Bishop of Edessa, dies
  • 474–475, 476–91 — Reign of Zeno
  • 489 — Closure of the School of the Persians of Edessa
  • c.500 — Neoplatonic Commentaries begin to be translated into Syriac
  • 503 — Narsai dies after this date
  • c.510–569 — Abraham of Bēt Rabban, head of the School of Nisibis
  • 517/26 — Ammonius the Neoplatonist dies
  • 521 — Jacob of Serugh dies
  • 527–565 — Reign of Justinian
  • 531–579 — Khosro I
  • 533–543 — Three Chapters Controversy
  • c.536 — Sergius of Rēš‘aynā dies
  • 542–c.549 — Junillus Africanus, Quaestor Sacri Palatii at Justinian's court
  • 540–552 — Catholicate of Mār Abā
  • 553 — Council of Constantinople (Fifth Ecumenical Council)
  • 569 — Terminus post quem for the Ecclesiastical History of Barḥadbĕšabbā
  • 571–c.610 — Ḥĕnānā, head of the School of Nisibis; period in which the Cause was composed (probably before 605)
  • c.571 — Monastery of Abraham of Kaškar founded
  • 590–628 — Khosro II
  • 596 — East-Syrian Synod under Catholicos Sabrīšō‘
  • 602 — Proem of the Statutes of the School of Nisibis
  • 605 — East-Syrian Synod under Catholicos Gregory I
  • 612 — East-Syrian Synod under Bābai the Great
  • 614/15 — Gabriel's Colophon
  • 628 or 630 — Bābai the Great dies
  • 637 — Fall of Seleucia-Ctesiphon to the Arabs
  • 659 — Catholicos Īšō‘yahb III dies
  • late C7 — Isaac of Nineveh, Dadīšō‘ Qaṭrāyā, Simeon d-Ṭaybūtēh
  • 823 — Timothy I dies
  • late C8 – mid C9 — Īšō‘dĕnaḥ of Basra, Book of chastity
  • C9 — Thomas of Margā, Book of Governors
  • 912–1020 — Chroncile of Siirt