Panchenko Konstantin

А соptic riot: an analysis of the Bashmuric revolts (8th - 9th centuries)

Panchenko Konstantin (2016) "A soptic riot: an analysis of the Bashmuric revolts (8th - 9th centuries) ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia III : Filologiia, 2016, vol. 49, pp. 63-74 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturIII201649.63-74


The article is studing the revolts of the Egyptian Christians against the Arabic power in the 8th and 9th centuries. In general uprisings weren’t typical for the history of the Christian East under the Muslim rule. Nevertheless more than 6 Coptic riots were recorded between 725 and 831. The cradle of many of these insurrections was marshy region Bashmur in the Lower Delta. This area was inhabited by ethnic group of Bashmurites which had unique type of economy and evident linguistic and ethnic differences from the other Egyptian Christians. The reasons of the Coptic risings were economic, not religious. Sometimes Egyptian Christians and Muslims rose together against heavy taxation. The article analyses course and results of the Coptic riots, especially the largest ones of 750 and 831. The well trained Muslim armies forced to fight among marshes and lakes, in the landscape absolutely unfamiliar for them, often were defeated by small and ill-equipped groups of rebels. However the revolts had no perspectives because Bashmurites were deprived of the adequate political elite. The Coptic Church hierarchy and the secular elite were completely loyal to the Caliphate. The Patriarchs condemned the peasant revolts. The defeat of the last uprising was followed by radical ethnic cleaning and deportation of the remnants of the Bashmurites out of Egypt. The failure of the revolts caused the moral crisis of the Coptic community and the increasing Islamization.


the Copts, Egypt, the Christian Orient, Umayyads, Abbasids, Arabic Caliphate, Bashmuric revolts, the Christian-Muslim relations


1. Mednikov N. A. Palestina ot zavoevaniia ee arabami do krestovykh pokhodov po arabskim istochnikam. T. 2. Saint-Petersburg, 1903.
2. Panchenko K. A. Ritmy istorii khristianskogo Vostoka // Vestnik MGU. Ser. Vostokovedenie. 2012. № 4.
3. Prusakov D. B. Priroda i chelovek v Drevnem Egipte. Moscow, 1999.
4. al-Maqrizi, Ahmad ibn Ali. Kitab al-Khitat al-Maqriziyya. Al-Cahira, 1326/1908. Т. IV.
5. al-Tabari, Abu Djaafar Muhammad ibn Djarir. Tarikh al-Umam wa-l-Muluk (Bayt al-afkar al-dawliyya).
6. Atiya A. A History of Eastern Christianity. L., 1968.
7. Brett M. Population and conversion to Islam in Egypt in Medieval Period / Egypt and Syria in the Fatimid, Ayyubid and Mamluk Eras // Orientalia Lovanensia Analecta. 140. Leuven. 2005.
8. Chronique de Michel le Syrien / J.-B. Chabot, ed. T. III. Livre XII. Paris, 1905.
9. Eutichii Patriarchae Alexandrini Annales. Pars prior / L. Sheikho, ed. Beryti; Parisiis, 1906; Pars posterior. Accedunt Annales Yahia Ibn Said Antiochensis / L. Sheikho, ed. Beryti; Parisiis, 1909.
10. History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic Church of Alexandria // Patrologia Orientalis. T. V, fasc. 1; T. X, fasc. 5 / B. Evetts, ed.
11. Kasser R. Bashmuric // The Coptic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. Appendix. P. 47–48.
12. Kasser R., Shisha-Halevy A. Dialect “G” (or Bashmuric or Mansuric) // The Coptic Encyclopedia. Vol. 8. Appendix. P. 74–76.
13. Kennedy H. Egypt as a Province in the Islamic caliphate, 641–868 // The Cambridge History of Egypt. Cambridge, 1998. Vol. I.
14. Masters B. Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Arab World. The Roots of Sectarianism. Cambridge, 2001.
15. Mikhail M. “Egypt from Late Antiquity to Early Islam: Copts, Melkites and Muslims Shaping a New Society”. Ph.D. dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles, 2004.
16. Mounir Megally. Bashmuric Revolts // The Coptic Encyclopedia. Vol. 2. P. 349–351.
17. Stewart R. al-Bashmur // The Coptic Encyclopedia. N. Y., 1991. Vol. 2. P. 349.
18. Swanson M. The Coptic Papacy in Islamic Egypt (641–1517). Cairo; N. Y., 2010.

Information about the author

Panchenko Konstantin