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Gog And Magog And The Barrier: The Origin Of Sallam'S Description

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Chapter Summary

The description of the barrier as given by Sallam shows a remarkable resemblance with those found in the Syriac texts. These descriptions, separated in time and Umwelt, are clearly interconnected, but so far no endeavour seems to have been made to explain this. It may be done by showing that an uninterrupted line of transmission of the Gog and Magog and barrier motif joins the Syriac tradition of the 6th century with Sallams days. Two important groups witness to this phenomenon: Arab poets and transmitters of Islamic traditions. The Arabic text of Sallams travel account may be of Ibn Khurradadhbih himself, inspired by information provided by Sallam, but ultimately goes back to Syriac written and oral sources. A comparison between the description of Alexanders barrier-gate as found in the Syriac sources and those given by Sallam clearly shows that the latters description depends upon that of the Syriac ones.

Keywords: Alexanders barrier-gate; Arab poets; Gog and Magog; Islamic traditions; Sallams travel account; Syriac tradition



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