The Apocalypse of Samuel of Qalamūn and the Domination of the Hagarenes
According to tradition, the invasion of Egypt by the Arabs must have been a peaceful conquest and the Copts must have welcomed the invaders as liberators. However, the classical work of A.J. Butler, The Arab Conquest of Egypt, adheres to a less conciliatory vision and emphasises instead the clash, military as well as religious and cultural, between the conquerors and the conquered. Unfortunately, there are no detailed studies that could formulate a clear and documented judgment on these events. In an effort to help bridge this gap we present here a document (survived only in Arabic) of the original Coptic text called “Apocalypse of Samuel of Qalamūn” (10th/11th century AD). It describes a dramatic cultural situation: the Copts are not aware of their language and have adopted Arabic; they no longer know anything of their religion, but are influenced by the Muslims. They take Muslim names, customs and traditions, and their sinful behaviour. They don’t take part in fasting and don’t practice Christian prayer. Samuel suggests a return to the Coptic cultural identity, starting with the language.