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06.02.2017 11:04

Lecture in the PCMA Research Centre in Cairo: New lights on Nubian ecclesiastical topography. Three forgotten lists of bishoprics (Coptic, Arabic and Copto-Arabic)

The PCMA Research Centre in Cairo has the pleasure of inviting you to a lecture from the PolAr lecture series (Polish Archaeology in Mediterranean) by Dr. Robin Seignobos

New lights on Nubian ecclesiastical topography. Three forgotten lists of bishoprics (Coptic, Arabic and Copto-Arabic)

which will be held at 6 p.m., on Tuesday, 14th of February, 2017 at the Research Centre in Cairo 11, Mahalla St., Heliopolis. 



Until recently our knowledge about Medieval Nubian bishoprics was only based on scattered mentions in epigraphic and documentary material. The only overview of ecclesiastical  list at our disposal was included in an often quoted passage in Wansleben’s Histoire de l’Église d’Alexandrie published in 1677. The dominican traveller, as he claimed, copied a list of Nubian bishoprics from an elusive « old manuscript » consulted during a trip to Asyut. However, the aforesaid manuscript has been lost and all we had until recently was the defective French rendition of the list by Wansleben. New researches in copto-arabic manuscripts collection allows the present author to identify the source of Wansleben’s list in a series of copto-arabic philological miscellanies (the so-called scalae). Surprisingly, the same manuscripts also include another – hitherto unknown – list of Nubian bishoprics, in Bohairic Coptic, which escaped the attention of modern scholarship. Finally, a third list, in Arabic, has been discovered in a completely different context, appended to a manuscript now kept in Munich and containing the first part of the History of churches and monasteries of Egypt attributed to Abū al-Makārim. The aim of this presentation is to assess the contribution of these rediscovered or newly discovered texts to our understanding of Medieval Nubian ecclesiastical topography.


Robin Seignobos teaches Medieval and African history at the University Paris-1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and recently defended his Ph.D. (2016) on the relations between Egypt and Nubia during the medieval period. His current research projects includes the constitution of a new corpus of Arabic sources concerning Nubia, the study of Arabic epigraphy in Nubia and the medieval history of the Beja people of the Eastern desert.