The Book of Governors, better known as the Historia Monastica, is a narrative written in the first half of the ninth century which forms a history of the monasticism and asceticism of the Church of the East in the countries east of the Tigris. It is a valuable supplement to the history of the Church of the East during a period of its existence of which little is known. The author, Thomas of Marga (A.D. 840), describes at some length the occasions upon which the Church of the East came into contact or conflict with the Persian kings, and he casts some new light upon events of contemporary history. He made use of histories which are no longer extant and of the traditions which he collected from aged men who were then living in Marga and other places.
Thomas describes the dispersion of the monks from Mount Isla, the mission of the Church of the East Patriarch to Heraclius, the apostasy of Sahdona, the stagnation of the Church of the East in the seventh century, the foundation of sixty schools and the introduction of church music in Marga, the conversion to Christianity of the peoples on the eastern and southern shores of the Caspian Sea, the missions of the "Nestorian" propaganda to southern Arabia, Persia, and China, the decline of the Persians and the growth of the Arab power, and many other topics.
Thomas of Marga was a monk at the famous "Nestorian" Monastery of Beth Abhe. He acted as the secretary of Patriarch Abraham (837-850), and later became Bishop of Marga and Metropolitan of Beth Garmai.
E. A. Wallis Budge (1857-1934) was Curator of Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities at the British Museum from 1894 to 1924. He is known for publishing texts, with English translations, from Coptic, Greek, Arabic, Syriac, Ethiopian, and Egyptian manuscripts. Budge was knighted in 1920. He died November 23, 1934 in London.
The Syriac edition, with an English translation of the 9th century work of Thomas Bishop of Marga. A very rare book in the original.