Abdallah Marrash

Abdallah bin Fathallah bin Nasrallah Marrash (Arabic: عبد الله بن فتح الله بن نصر الله مرّاش, ALA-LC: ʽAbd Allāh bin Fatḥ Allāh bin Naṣr Allāh Marrāsh; 14 May 1839[1]  January 17, 1900) was a Syrian writer involved in various Arabic-language newspaper ventures in London and Paris.

Abdallah Marrash
Native name
عبد الله بن فتح الله بن نصر الله مرّاش
Born(1839-05-14)May 14, 1839
Aleppo, Ottoman Syria
DiedJanuary 17, 1900(1900-01-17) (aged 60)
Marseille, France
NationalityOttoman, British


Abdallah Marrash was born in Aleppo, a city of Ottoman Syria (present-day Syria), to an old Melkite family of merchants known for their literary interests.[2] Having earned wealth and standing in the 18th century, the family was well established in Aleppo,[3] although they had gone through troubles: a relative of Abdallah, Butrus Marrash, was killed by the wali's troops in the midst of a Catholic–Orthodox clash in April 1818.[4] Other Melkite Catholics were exiled from Aleppo during the persecutions, among them the priest Jibrail Marrash.[5][lower-alpha 1] Abdallah's father, Fathallah, tried to defuse the Sectarian conflict by writing a treatise in 1849, in which he rejected the Filioque.[7] He had built up a large private library[8] to give his three children Francis, Abdallah and Maryana a thorough education, particularly in the field of Arabic language and literature.[9]

Aleppo was then a major intellectual center of the Ottoman Empire, featuring many thinkers and writers concerned with the future of the Arabs.[10] It was in the French missionary schools that the Marrash family learnt Arabic with French, and other foreign languages (Italian and English).[10] After studying in Aleppo, Abdallah went to Europe to pursue his studies while devoting himself to trade.[11]

Having established himself in Manchester by 1863,[12] he became a naturalized British subject in 1872.[13] He accessed the collections of Arabic manuscripts in London and Paris and copied what he thought was useful to his Middle Eastern compatriots.[11] In 1879, he helped Adib Ishaq found the Parisian journal Misr al-Qahira (Egypt the Victorious).[14] Marrash founded Kawkab al-Mashriq (The Star of the Orient), a monthly Parisian Arabic-French bilingual journal, the first issue of which was published on June 23, 1882; it was ephemeral.[15] In 1882, Marrash settled down in Marseille, where he died on January 17, 1900.[13] He had been a member of the Société Asiatique.[16]


  1. Little is known about the lives of Butrus Marrash and Jibrail Marrash. Butrus was married by the time he was killed, and the name of his father was Nasrallah Marrash; Niqula al-Turk wrote a funeral ode for him.[6]


  1. Griolet & Vergé 1905, p. 76.
  2. Wielandt 1992, p. 119; Zeidan 1995, p. 50.
  3. Wielandt 1992, p. 119; Hafez 1993, p. 274.
  4. Wielandt 1992, p. 120; Charon 1903, p. 115; Kuroki 1993, pp. 6–7.
  5. Charon 1903, p. 115.
  6. Wielandt 1992, p. 120; Charon 1903, p. 115.
  7. Wielandt 1992, p. 120.
  8. Zeidan 1995, p. 50.
  9. Wielandt 1992, p. 122; Tomiche 1991, p. 598.
  10. Tomiche 1991, p. 598.
  11. Veccia Vaglieri, p. 285: "II Marrash ebbe un fratello 'Abdallah, che, fatti i suoi studi in Aleppo, passò in Europa, dove, pur dedicandosi al commercio, continuò a coltivare gli studi. Egli frequentava le raccolte di manoscritti arabi esistenti a Parigi e Londra e copiava quello che riteneva utile ai suoi compatriotti".
  12. Strakers' Annual Mercantile, Ship & Insurance Register, p. 78.
  13. Griolet & Vergé 1905, p. 77.
  14. Génériques, p. 121; Ayalon 1995, p. 44.
  15. Ayalon 1987, p. 177.
  16. Journal asiatique.


  • Ayalon, Ami (1987). Language and Change in the Arab Middle East: the Evolution of Modern Arabic Political Discourse. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195041408.
  • Ayalon, Ami (1995). The Press in the Arab Middle East: A History. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195087802.
  • Charon, Cyrille (1903). "L'Église grecque melchite catholique (Suite.)". Revue des études byzantines (in French). 6 (39): 113–118. doi:10.3406/rebyz.1903.3453.
  • Griolet, Gaston; Vergé, Chales-Paul-Laurent, eds. (1905). Jurisprudence générale. Deuxième partie (in French). Dalloz.
  • Génériques (1990). Presse et mémoire : France des étrangers, France des libertés (in French). Éditions de l'Atelier. ISBN 978-2908833003.
  • Hafez, Sabry (1993). The Genesis of Arabic Narrative Discourse: a Study in the Sociology of Modern Arabic Literature. Saqi Books. ISBN 978-0-86356-149-8.
  • Journal asiatique (in French). Société asiatique. 1875.
  • Kuroki, Hidemitsu (1993). "The Orthodox-Catholic Clash in Aleppo in 1818". Orient. 29: 1–18. doi:10.5356/orient1960.29.1.
  • Strakers' Annual Mercantile, Ship & Insurance Register. S. Straker & Sons. 1862.
  • Tomiche, N. (1991). "Marrās̲h̲, Fransīs b. Fatḥ Allāh b. Naṣr". Encyclopaedia of Islam, Second Edition. 6. Brill. doi:10.1163/1573-3912_islam_SIM_4971. ISBN 978-90-04-08112-3.
  • Veccia Vaglieri, Laura (1940). "Notizie bio-bibliografiche su autori arabi moderni". Annali dell'Istituto Universitario Orientale (in Italian). 1 (27).
  • Wielandt, Rotraud (1992). "Fransis Fathallah Marrashs Zugang zum Gedankengut der Aufklärung und der französischen Revolution". In van Gelder, Geert Jan; de Moor, Ed (eds.). The Middle East and Europe: Encounters and Exchanges (in German). Rodopi Publishers. ISBN 978-90-5183-397-3.
  • Zeidan, Joseph T. (1995). Arab Women Novelists: the Formative Years and Beyond. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-2172-7.
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