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Felege-Selam Solomon Yirga

“The Chronicle of John of Nikiu: Sources, Contexts, and Afterlife”

Felege-Selam Solomon Yirga

The Ohio State University, Byzantine Studies Junior Fellow

The eighth-century Egyptian Chronicle of John of Nikiu is a universal history that begins with Adam and ends with an account of the Arab conquest of Egypt, surviving only in a seventeenth-century Ge’ez translation of the Arabic translation of the Coptic original. By investigating John of Nikiu’s numerous modifications to his source material, and considering the contexts in which the text was produced and translated, this study aims to disentangle John’s voice from that of his sources, revealing the diversity of religious and historical thought among seventh- and eighth-century Egyptian Christians, the reception of early Byzantine historiography, and the Chronicle’s afterlife in Ethiopia.

Felege-Selam Solomon Yirga is a doctoral candidate in history at the Ohio State University. He holds a BA in history from Brandeis University and an MA in history from the Ohio State University. Yirga’s research focuses primarily on the political, cultural, and social history of the Roman and post-Roman Near East, with a particular interest in issues of identity, representations of the past, and cultural memory. This research includes the late medieval Ethiopian reception of late antique texts as transmitted by Arabic-speaking intermediaries, and the role of these texts in the development of Ge’ez literature and Ethiopian national identity.