Frustula nagranitica


  • Paolo Marrassini



Nine Saints, Ethio-Ḥimyaritic war, History, Hagiography


The article tries to point out some miscellaneous problems related to the traditions of the Nine Saints and to the Ethio-Ḥimyaritic war of the 6th c. A.D. For the first subject the interesting results achieved by Antonella Brita 2010 are basically confirmed, and a paragraph against the alleged Syrian/Syriac provenance of these saints is added. As for the second subject, after some onomastic notes stressing the traditional etymology of the second name of king Kaleb (from *sbḥ ‘to dawn’) and recalling the existence in the Islamic tradition of two kings Yūsuf (this explaining in turn the indication “Yūsuf the younger” found in at least one of the versions of the “Martyrium Arethae”), the texts which tell of a pagan king of Ethiopia who defeats a Judaizing one from Yemen (who in turn has persecuted  Christians) are identified as speaking of the first of the two Ethio-Ḥimyaritic wars. Finally, the interesting proposal by Beaucamp – Briquel-Chatonnet – Robin 1999–2000, according to which the war should be dated at least in 531 because Procopius speaks of a still active (and not yet retired to monasticism) king Kaleb at that epoch, is put in doubt, because it tries to conciliate two entirely different kinds of sources, one historical and the other purely hagiographical, which as such has not to be compulsorily harmonized with the first.


Published online


How to Cite

Marrassini, P. 2011. Frustula nagranitica Aethiopica 14 (2011) 7-32. DOI: