Clement Caraccioli


A scribe of four Arabic manuscripts copied in Rome between 1712 and 1715. One of them (Vatican Library, Arabic 66) gives some autobiographical details (fol. 100) where the copyist wrote in Italian: “I Clement Caraccioli of Great Cairo, converted from Mohammedanism to the holy Catholic faith, wrote this blessed book in the Arabic in Rome, in the year XII of the pontificate of our Lord Clement XI Albani, may God him for many years, on the 12th September of the year 1712” (Mai, 1831, p. 129). On the same page, a note written in Arabic further states that he had lived thirty-three years in error, exercising the function of a Muslim imam.

Clement was a from Cairo, probably originally from Upper Egypt, as is indicated by his nisbah (place of origin) al-Sa‘idi. He was converted at the age of thirty-three or thirty-four by the European then active in and was sent to Rome, probably around 1710, where he no doubt increased his knowledge of Christianity and copied Arabic manuscripts for the Bibliotheca Apostolica.

According to Giorgio Levi della Vida, who does not give his source, his real name was ‘Abd al-Karim al-Sa‘idi al-‘Adawi. In the manuscripts he copied, Clement always signed his name as a neophyte, transcribing it as Kliminti Karajilli in 1713 (in Beirut 672) and Klimans Karatjilli in 1715 (in Beirut 676). His given name was probably taken on account of Clement XI (1700-1721); his surname may derive from the marquess Luigi Antonio Caraccioli, who would thus appear to have been his protector.

The following are manuscripts copied by Clement:

  1. Vatican Arabic 66 (dated 9 September 1712), containing the eighty-seven homilies of CHRYSOSTOM, after the Coptic recension (cf. Graf, Vol. 1, p. 338).
  2. Vatican Arabic 128 (dated 18 February 1713), containing the debate of the monk Georg (JIRJI AL-SIM‘ANI; cf. Graf, Vol. 2, p. 79, 5).
  3. Oriental Library, Beirut, 672 (dated 1713).
  4. Oriental Library, Beirut, 676 (dated 25 1715).


  • Cheikho, L. Catalogue raisonné des manuscrits de la Bibliothèque Orientale, Vol. 6: Controverses. Mélanges de l’Université Saint- Joseph 14, pp. 49-51 [409-11], nos. 672 and 676. Beirut, 1929.
  • Levi Della Vida, G. Richerche sulla formazione del piu antico fondo manoscritti orientali della Biblioteca Vaticana. Vol. 2, n. 1. Vatican City, 1939.
  • Mai, A. ed. Codices Vaticani Assemaniani, pp. 122-29, no. 66; pp. 252-53, no. 128. Rome, 1831.