Gregorius Abu’l-Faraj (1225/6-1286 CE), commonly known as ‘Bar Hebraeus’
(Bar 'Ebhraya), or the ‘Son of the Jew’, was born in Malatiyah (Melitene)
to a Jewish father known as Aaron the Physician (Budge, 1932:xvi-xvii).
After the Mongols sacked Malatiyah, the Mongol General Shawer Nawin fell ill and Aaron took care of his condition. This led to
the family moving to Antioch where Bar Hebraeus continued his studies and, at the age of 17, became a Jacobite monk and a hermit
Bar Hebraeus later went to Tripoli in Phoenicia to further his studies and eventually became the Bishop of
He then moved to Lakabhin where he was also a Bishop and, after that, moved to Aleppo
In 1264 CE, Bar Hebraeus was elected Maphrian (Primate) of the East
Besides his Chronicle, Bar Hebraeus wrote other books on philosophy, religion, grammar, science, and, possibly, medicine.
He was also a lecturer in Mathematics and Astronomy
(Budge, 1932:vii and
wikipedia). His translations of Greek and Arabic texts indicates fluency in multiple languages
besides Syriac and, presumably, Hebrew (Budge, 1932:vii).
Bar Hebraeus traveled widely and died in Maraga, Persia, and was buried at the
Mar Mattai Monastery, near Mosul
and wikipedia). He is also known by the Latinized name Abulpharagius.
Bar Hebraeus began his studies to write his Chronicle in the great library at Maraghah
only intending to write a history of the last eighty years continuing the Chronicle of
Michael the Syrian which ends in 1196 CE
However, once he completed his 80 year history,
he worked backwards, and using the
Chronicle of Michael the Great [aka Michael the Syrian] as a foundation, he compiled his great work dealing
with the profane history of the world from the Creation to the year of his death
in 1286 CE (Budge, 1932:vii).