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Logos Virtual Library
Translated by William Wilson
On the plagiarizing of the dogmas of the philosophers from the Hebrews, we shall treat a little afterwards. But first, as due order demands, we must now speak of the epoch of Moses, by which the philosophy of the Hebrews will be demonstrated beyond all contradiction to be the most ancient of all wisdom. This has been discussed with accuracy by Tatian in his book To the Greeks, and by Cassian in the first book of his Exegetics. Nevertheless our commentary demands that we too should run over what has been said on the point. Apion, then, the grammarian, surnamed Pleistonices, in the fourth book of The Egyptian Histories, although of so hostile a disposition towards the Hebrews, being by race an Egyptian, as to compose a work against the Jews, when referring to Amosis king of the Egyptians, and his exploits, adduces, as a witness, Ptolemy of Mendes. And his remarks are to the following effect: Amosis, who lived in the time of the Argive Inachus, overthrew Athyria, as Ptolemy of Mendes relates in his Chronology. Now this Ptolemy was a priest; and setting forth the deeds of the Egyptian kings in three entire books, he says, that the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, under the conduct of Moses, took place while Amosis was king of Egypt. Whence it is seen that Moses flourished in the time of Inachus. And of the Hellenic states, the most ancient is the Argolic, I mean that which took its rise from Inachus, as Dionysius of Halicarnassus teaches in his Times. And younger by forty generations than it was Attica, founded by Cecrops, who was an aboriginal of double race, as Tatian expressly says; and Arcadia, founded by Pelasgus, younger too by nine generations; and he, too, is said to have been an aboriginal. And more recent than this last by fifty-two generations, was Pthiotis, founded by Deucalion. And from the time of Inachus to the Trojan war twenty generations or more are reckoned; let us say, four hundred years and more. And if Ctesias says that the Assyrian power is many years older than the Greek, the exodus of Moses from Egypt will appear to have taken place in the forty-second year of the Assyrian empire, in the thirty-second year of the reign of Belochus, in the time of Amosis the Egyptian, and of Inachus the Argive. And in Greece, in the time of Phoroneus, who succeeded Inachus, the flood of Ogyges occurred; and monarchy subsisted in Sicyon first in the person of Ægialeus, then of Europs, then of Telches; in Crete, in the person of Cres. For Acusilaus says that Phoroneus was the first man. Whence, too, the author of Phoronis said that he was “the father of mortal men.” Thence Plato in the Timæus, following Acusilaus, writes: “And wishing to draw them out into a discussion respecting antiquities, he said that he ventured to speak of the most remote antiquities of this city respecting Phoroneus, called the first man, and Niobe, and what happened after the deluge.” And in the time of Phorbus lived Actæus, from whom is derived Actaia, Attica; and in the time of Triopas lived Prometheus, and Atlas, and Epimetheus, and Cecrops of double race, and Ino. And in the time of Crotopus occurred the burning of Phæthon, and the deluge of Deucalion; and in the time of Sthenelus, the reign of Amphictyon, and the arrival of Danaus in the Peloponnesus; and trader Dardanus happened the building of Dardania, whom, says Homer,
and the transmigration from Crete into Phœnicia. And in the time of Lynceus took place the abduction of Proserpine, and the dedication of the sacred enclosure in Eleusis, and the husbandry of Triptolemus, and the arrival of Cadmus in Thebes, and the reign of Minos. And in the time of Prœtus the war of Eumolpus with the Athenians took place; and in the time of Acrisius, the removal of Pelops from Phrygia, the arrival of Ion at Athens; and the second Cecrops appeared, and the exploits of Perseus and Dionysus took place, and Orpheus and Musæus lived. And in the eighteenth year of the reign of Agamemnon, Troy was taken, in the first year of the reign of Demophon the son of Theseus at Athens, on the twelfth day of the month Thargelion, as Dionysius the Argive says; but Ægias and Dercylus, in the third book, say that it was on the eighth day of the last division of the month Panemus; Hellanicus says that it was on the twelfth of the month Thargelion; and some of the authors of the Attica say that it was on the eighth of the last division of the month in the last year of Menestheus, at full moon.
says the author of the Little Iliad,
Others say, it took place on the same day of Scirophorion. But Theseus, the rival of Hercules, is older by a generation than the Trojan war. Accordingly Tlepolemus, a son of Hercules, is mentioned by Homer, as having served at Troy.
Moses, then, is shown to have preceded the deification of Dionysus six hundred and four years, if he was deified in the thirty-second year of the reign of Perseus, as Apollodorus says in his Chronology. From Bacchus to Hercules and the chiefs that sailed with Jason in the ship Argo, are comprised sixty-three years. Æsculapius and the Dioscuri sailed with them, as Apollonius Rhodius testifies in his Argonautics. And from the reign of Hercules, in Argos, to the deification of Hercules and of Æsculapius, are comprised thirty-eight years, according to Apollodorus the chronologist; from this to the deification of Castor and Pollux, fifty-three years. And at this time Troy was taken. And if we may believe the poet Hesiod, let us hear him:—
Cadmus, the father of Semele, came to Thebes in the time of Lynceus, and was the inventor of the Greek letters. Triopas was a contemporary of Isis, in the seventh generation from Inachus. And Isis, who is the same as Io, is so called, it is said, from her going (ιεναι) roaming over the whole earth. Her, Istrus, in his work on the migration of the Egyptians, calls the daughter of Prometheus. Prometheus lived in the time of Triopas, in the seventh generation after Moses. So that Moses appears to have flourished even before the birth of men, according to the chronology of the Greeks. Leon, who treated of the Egyptian divinities, says that Isis by the Greeks was called Ceres, who lived in the time of Lynceus, in the eleventh generation after Moses. And Apis the king of Argos built Memphis, as Aristippus says in the first book of the Arcadica. And Aristeas the Argive says that he was named Serapis, and that it is he that the Egyptians worship. And Nymphodorus of Amphipolis, in the third book of the Institutions of Asia, says that the bull Apis, dead and laid in a coffin (σορος), was deposited in the temple of the god (δαιμονος) there worshipped, and thence was called Soroapis, and afterwards Serapis by the custom of the natives. And Apis is third after Inachus. Further, Latona lived in the time of Tityus. “For he dragged Latona, the radiant consort of Zeus.” Now Tityus was contemporary with Tantalus. Rightly, therefor, the Bœotian Pindar writes, “And in time was Apollo born”; and no wonder when he is found along with Hercules, serving Admetus “for a long year.” Zethus and Amphion, the inventors of music, lived about the age of Cadmus. And should one assert that Phemonoe was the first who sang oracles in verse to Acrisius, let him know that twenty-seven years after Phemonoe, lived Orpheus, and Musæus, and Linus the teacher of Hercules. And Homer and Hesiod are much more recent than the Trojan war; and after them the legislators among the Greeks are far more recent, Lycurgus and Solon, and the seven wise men, and Pherecydes of Syros, and Pythagoras the great, who lived later, about the Olympiads, as we have shown. We have also demonstrated Moses to be more ancient, not only than those called poets and wise men among the Greeks, but than the most of their deities. Nor he alone, but the Sibyl also is more ancient than Orpheus. For it is said, that respecting her appellation and her oracular utterances there are several accounts; that being a Phrygian, she was called Artemis; and that on her arrival at Delphi, she sang—
There is another also, an Erythræan, called Herophile. These are mentioned by Heraclides of Pontus in his work On Oracles. I pass over the Egyptian Sibyl, and the Italian, who inhabited the Carmentale in Rome, whose son was Evander, who built the temple of Pan in Rome, called the Lupercal.
It is worth our while, having reached this point, to examine the dates of the other prophets among the Hebrews who succeeded Moses. After the close of Moses’s life, Joshua succeeded to the leadership of the people, and he, after warring for sixty-five years, rested in the good land other five-and-twenty. As the book of Joshua relates, the above mentioned man was the successor of Moses twenty-seven years. Then the Hebrews having sinned, were delivered to Chusachar king of Mesopotamia for eight years, as the book of Judges mentions. But having afterwards besought the Lord, they receive for leader Gothoniel, the younger brother of Caleb, of the tribe of Judah, who, having slain the king of Mesopotamia, ruled over the people forty years in succession. And having again sinned, they were delivered into the hands of Æglom king of the Moabites for eighteen years. But on their repentance, Aod, a man who had equal use of both hands, of the tribe of Ephraim, was their leader for eighty years. It was he that despatched Æglom. On the death of Aod, and on their sinning again, they were delivered into the hand of Jabim king of Canaan twenty years. After him Deborah the wife of Lapidoth, of the tribe of Ephraim, prophesied; and Ozias the son of Rhiesu was high priest. At her instance Barak the son of Bener, of the tribe of Naphtali, commanding the army, having joined battle with Sisera, Jabim’s commander-in-chief, conquered him. And after that Deborah ruled, judging the people forty years. On her death, the people having again sinned, were delivered into the hands of the Midianites seven years. After these events, Gideon, of the tribe of Manasseh, the son of Joas, having fought with his three hundred men, and killed a hundred and twenty thousand, ruled forty years; after whom the son of Ahimelech, three years. He was succeeded by Boleas, the son of Bedan, the son of Charran, of the tribe of Ephraim, who ruled twenty-three years. After whom, the people having sinned again, were delivered to the Ammonites eighteen years; and on their repentance were commanded by Jephtha the Gileadite, of the tribe of Manasseh; and he ruled six years. After whom, Abatthan of Bethlehem, of the tribe of Juda, ruled seven years. Then Ebron the Zebulonite, eight years. Then Eglom of Ephraim, eight years. Some add to the seven years of Abatthan the eight of Ebrom. And after him, the people having again transgressed, came under the power of the foreigners, the Philistines, for forty years. But on their returning [to God], they were led by Samson, of the tribe of Dan, who conquered the foreigners in battle. He ruled twenty years. And after him, there being no governor, Eli the priest judged the people for forty years. He was succeeded by Samuel the prophet; contemporaneously with whom Saul reigned, who held sway for twenty-seven years. He anointed David. Samuel died two years before Saul, while Abimelech was high priest. He anointed Saul as king, who was the first that bore regal sway over Israel after the judges; the whole duration of whom, down to Saul, was four hundred and sixty-three years and seven months.
Then in the first book of Kings there are twenty years of Saul, during which he reigned after he was renovated. And after the death of Saul, David the son of Jesse, of the tribe of Judah, reigned next in Hebron, forty years, as is contained in the second book of Kings. And Abiathar the son of Abimelech, of the kindred of Eli, was high priest. In his time Gad and Nathan prophesied. From Joshua the son of Nun, then, till David received the kingdom, there intervene, according to some, four hundred and fifty years. But, as the chronology set forth shows, five hundred and twenty-three years and seven months are comprehended till the death of David.
And after this Solomon the son of David reigned forty years. Under him Nathan continued to prophesy, who also exhorted him respecting the building of the temple. Achias of Shilo also prophesied. And both the kings, David and Solomon, were prophets. And Sadoc the high priest was the first who ministered in the temple which Solomon built, being the eighth from Aaron, the first high priest. From Moses, then, to the age of Solomon, as some say, are five hundred and ninety-five years, and as others, five hundred and seventy-six.
And if you count, along with the four hundred and fifty years from Joshua to David, the forty years of the rule of Moses, and the other eighty years of Moses’s life previous to the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt, you will make up the sum in all of six hundred and ten years. But our chronology will run more correctly, if to the five hundred and twenty-three years and seven months till the death of David, you add the hundred and twenty years of Moses and the forty years of Solomon. For you will make up in all, down to the death of Solomon, six hundred and eighty-three years and seven months.
Hiram gave his daughter to Solomon about the time of the arrival of Menelaus in Phœnicia, after the capture of Troy, as is said by Menander of Pergamus, and Laetus in The Phœnicia. And after Solomon, Roboam his son reigned for seventeen years; and Abimelech the son of Sadoc was high priest. In his reign, the kingdom being divided, Jeroboam, of the tribe of Ephraim, the servant of Solomon, reigned in Samaria; and Achias the Shilonite continued to prophesy; also Samæas the son of Amame, and he who came from Judah to Jeroboam, and prophesied against the altar. After him his son Abijam, twenty-three years; and likewise his son Asaman. The last, in his old age, was diseased in his feet; and in his reign prophesied Jehu the son of Ananias.
After him Jehosaphat his son reigned twenty-five years. In his reign prophesied Elias the Thesbite, and Michæas the son of Jebla, and Abdias the son of Ananias. And in the time of Michæas there was also the false prophet Zedekias, the son of Chonaan. These were followed by the reign of Joram the son of Jehosaphat, for eight years; during whose time prophesied Elias; and after Elias, Elisæus the son of Saphat. In his reign the people in Samaria ate doves’ dung and their own children. The period of Jehosaphat extends from the close of the third book of Kings to the fourth. And in the reign of Joram, Elias was translated, and Elisæus the son of Saphat commenced prophesying, and prophesied for six years, being forty years old.
Then Ochozias reigned a year. In his time Elisæus continued to prophesy, and along with him Adadonæus. After him the mother of Ozias, Gotholia, reigned eight years, having slain the children of her brother. For she was of the family of Ahab. But the sister of Ozias, Josabæa, stole Joas the son of Ozias, and invested him afterwards with the kingdom. And in the time of this Gotholia, Elisæus was still prophesying. And after her reigned, as I said before, Joash, rescued by Josabæa the wife of Jodæ the high priest, and lived in all forty years.
There are comprised, then, from Solomon to the death of Elisæus the prophet, as some say, one hundred and five years; according to others, one hundred and two; and, as the chronology before us shows, from the reign of Solomon an hundred and eighty-one.
Now from the Trojan war to the birth of Homer, according to Philochorus, a hundred and eighty years elapsed; and he was posterior to the Ionic migration. But Aristarchus, in the Archilochian Memoirs, says that he lived during the Ionic migration, which took place a hundred and twenty years after the siege of Troy. But Apollodorus alleges it was an hundred and twenty years after the Ionic migration, while Agesilaus son of Doryssæus was king of the Lacedæmonians: so that he brings Lycurgus the legislator, while still a young man, near him. Euthymenes, in the Chronicles, says that he flourished contemporaneously with Hesiod, in the time of Acastus, and was born in Chios about the four hundredth year after the capture of Troy. And Archimachus, in the third book of his Eubœan History, is of this opinion. So that both he and Hesiod were later than Elisæus, the prophet. And if you choose to follow the grammarian Crates, and say that Homer was born about the time of the expedition of the Heraclidæ, eighty years after the taking of Troy, he will be found to be later again than Solomon, in whose days occurred the arrival of Menelaus in Phenicia, as was said above. Eratosthenes says that Homer’s age was two hundred years after the capture of Troy. Further, Theopompus, in the forty-third book of the Philippics, relates that Homer was born five hundred years after the war at Troy. And Euphorion, in his book about the Aleuades, maintains that he was born in the time of Gyges, who began to reign in the eighteenth Olympiad, who, also he says, was the first that was called tyrant (τυραννος). Sosibius Lacon, again, in his Record of Dates, brings Homer down to the eighth year of the reign of Charillus the son of Polydectus. Charillus reigned for sixty-four years, after whom the son of Nicander reigned thirty-nine years. In his thirty-fourth year it is said that the first Olympiad was instituted; so that Homer was ninety years before the introduction of the Olympic games.
After Joas, Amasias his son reigned as his successor thirty-nine years. He in like manner was succeeded by his son Ozias, who reigned for fifty-two years, and died a leper. And in his time prophesied Amos, and Isaiah his son, and Hosea the son of Beeri, and Jonas the son of Amathi, who was of Gethchober, who preached to the Ninevites, and passed through the whale’s belly.
Then Jonathan the son of Ozias reigned for sixteen years. In his time Esaias still prophesied, and Hosea, and Michæas the Morasthite, and Joel the son of Bethuel.
Next in succession was his son Ahaz, who reigned for sixteen years. In his time, in the fifteenth year, Israel was carried away to Babylon. And Salmanasar the king of the Assyrians carried away the people of Samaria into the country of the Medes and to Babylon.
Again Ahaz was succeeded by Osee, who reigned for eight years. Then followed Hezekiah, for twenty-nine years. For his sanctity, when he had approached his end, God, by Isaiah, allowed him to live for other fifteen years, giving as a sign the going back of the sun. Up to his times Esaias, Hosea, and Micah continued prophesying.
And these are said to have lived after the age of Lycurgus, the legislator of the Lacedæmonians. For Dieuchidas, in the fourth book of the Megarics, places the era of Lycurgus about the two hundred and ninetieth year after the capture of Troy.
After Hezekiah, his son Manasses reigned for fifty-five years. Then his son Amos for two years. After him reigned his son Josias, distinguished for his observance of the law, for thirty-one years. He “laid the carcases of men upon the carcases of the idols,” as is written in the book of Leviticus. In his reign, in the eighteenth year, the passover was celebrated, not having been kept from the days of Samuel in the intervening period. Then Chelkias the priest, the father of the prophet Jeremiah, having fallen in with the book of the law, that had been laid up in the temple, read it and died. And in his days Olda prohesied, and Sophonias, and Jeremiah. And in the days of Jeremiah was Ananias the son of Azor, the false prophet. He having disobeyed Jeremiah the prophet, was slain by Pharaoh Necho king of Egypt at the river Euphrates, having encountered the latter, who was marching on the Assyrians.
Josiah was succeeded by Jechoniah, called also Joachas, his son, who reigned three months and ten days. Necho king of Egypt bound him and led him to Egypt, after making his brother Joachim king in his stead, who continued his tributary for eleven years. After him his namesake Joakim reigned for three months. Then Zedekiah reigned for eleven years; and up to his time Jeremiah continued to prophesy. Along with him Ezekiel the son of Buzi, and Urias the son of Samæus, and Ambacum prophesied. Here end the Hebrew kings.
There are then from the birth of Moses till this captivity nine hundred and seventy-two years; but according to strict chronological accuracy, one thousand and eighty-five, six months, ten days. From the reign of David to the captivity by the Chaldeans, four hundred and fifty-two years and six months; but as the accuracy we have observed in reference to dates makes out, four hundred and eighty-two and six months ten days.
And in the twelfth year of the reign of Zedekiah, forty years before the supremacy of the Persians, Nebuchodonosor made war against the Phœnicians and the Jews, as Berosus asserts in his Chaldæan Histories. And Joabas, writing about the Assyrians, acknowledges that he had received the history from Berosus, and testifies to his accuracy. Nebuchodonosor, therefore, having put out the eyes of Zedekiah, took him away to Babylon, and transported the whole people (the captivity lasted seventy years), with the exception of a few who fled to Egypt.
Jeremiah and Ambacum were still prophesying in the time of Zedekiah. In the fifth year of his reign Ezekiel prophesied at Babylon; after him Nahum, then Daniel. After him, again, Haggai and Zechariah prophesied in the time of Darius the First for two years; and then the angel among the twelve. After Haggai and Zechariah, Nehemiah, the chief cup-bearer of Artaxerxes, the son of Acheli the Israelite, built the city of Jerusalem and restored the temple. During the captivity lived Esther and Mordecai, whose book is still extant, as also that of the Maccabees. During this captivity Mishael, Ananias, and Azarias, refusing to worship the image, and being thrown into a furnace of fire, were saved by the appearance of an angel. At that time, on account of the serpent, Daniel was thrown into the den of lions; but being preserved through the providence of God by Ambacub, he is restored on the seventh day. At this period, too, occurred the sign of Jona; and Tobias, through the assistance of the angel Raphael, married Sarah, the demon having killed her seven first suitors; and after the marriage of Tobias, his father Tobit recovered his sight. At that time Zorobabel, having by his wisdom overcome his opponents, and obtained leave from Darius for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, returned with Esdras to his native land; and by him the redemption of the people and the revisal and restoration of the inspired oracles were effected; and the passover of deliverance celebrated, and marriage with aliens dissolved.
Cyrus had, by proclamation, previously enjoined the restoration of the Hebrews. And his promise being accomplished in the time of Darius, the feast of the dedication was held, as also the feast of tabernacles.
There were in all, taking in the duration of the captivity down to the restoration of the people, from the birth of Moses, one thousand one hundred and fifty-five years, six months, and ten days; and from the reign of David, according to some, four hundred and fifty-two; more correctly, five hundred and seventy-two years, six months, and ten days.
From the captivity at Babylon, which took place in the time of Jeremiah the prophet, was fulfilled what was spoken by Daniel the prophet as follows: “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to seal sins, and to wipe out and make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal the vision and the prophet, and to anoint the Holy of Holies. Know therefore, and understand, that from the going forth of the word commanding an answer to be given, and Jerusalem to be built, to Christ the Prince, are seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; and the street shall be again built, and the wall; and the times shall be expended. And after the sixty-two weeks the anointing shall be overthrown, and judgment shall not be in him; and he shall destroy the city and the sanctuary along with the coming Prince. And they shall be destroyed in a flood, and to the end of the war shall be cut off by: desolations. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week; and in the middle of the week the sacrifice and oblation shall be taken away; and in the holy place shall be the abomination of desolations, and until the consummation of time shall the consummation be assigned for desolation. And in the midst of the week shall he make the incense of sacrifice cease, and of the wing of destruction, even till the consummation, like the destruction of the oblation.” That the temple accordingly was built in seven weeks, is evident; for it is written in Esdras. And thus Christ became King of the Jews, reigning in Jerusalem in the fulfilment of the seven weeks. And in the sixty and two weeks the whole of Judæa was quiet, and without wars. And Christ our Lord, “the Holy of Holies,” having come and fulfilled the vision and the prophecy, was anointed in His flesh by the Holy Spirit of His Father. In those “sixty and two weeks,” as the prophet said, and “in the one week,” was He Lord. The half of the week Nero held sway, and in the holy city Jerusalem placed the abomination; and in the half of the week he was taken away, and Otho, and Galba, and Vitellius. And Vespasian rose to the supreme power, and destroyed Jerusalem, and desolated the holy place. And that such are the facts of the case, is clear to him that is able to understand, as the prophet said.
On the completion, then, of the eleventh year, in the beginning of the following, in the reign of Joachim, occurred the carrying away captive to Babylon by Nabuchodonosor the king, in the seventh year of his reign over the Assyrians, in the second year of the reign of Vaphres over the Egyptians, in the archonship of Philip at Athens, in the first year of the forty-eighth Olympiad. The captivity lasted for seventy years, and ended in the second year of Darius Hystaspes, who had become king of the Persians, Assyrians, and Egyptians; in whose reign, as I said above, Haggai and Zechariah and the angel of the twelve prophesied. And the high priest was Joshua the son of Josedec. And in the second year of the reign of Darius, who, Herodotus says, destroyed the power of the Magi, Zorobabel the son of Salathiel was despatched to raise and adorn the temple at Jerusalem.
The times of the Persians are accordingly summed up thus: Cyrus reigned thirty years; Cambyses, nineteen; Darius, forty-six; Xerxes, twenty-six; Artaxerxes, forty-one; Darius, eight; Artaxerxes, forty-two; Ochus or Arses, three. The sum total of the years of the Persian monarchy is two hundred and thirty-five years.
Alexander of Macedon, having despatched this Darius, during this period, began to reign. Similarly, therefore, the times of the Macedonian kings are thus computed: Alexander, eighteen years; Ptolemy the son of Lagus, forty years; Ptolemy Philadelphus, twenty-seven years; then Euergetes, five-and-twenty years; then Philopator, seventeen years; then Epiphanes, four-and-twenty years; he was succeeded by Philometer, who reigned five-and-thirty years; after him Physcon, twenty-nine years; then Lathurus, thirty-six years; then he that was surnamed Dionysus, twenty-nine years; and last Cleopatra reigned twenty-two years. And after her was the reign of the Cappadocians for eighteen days.
Accordingly the period embraced by the Macedonian kings is, in all, three hundred and twelve years and eighteen days.
Therefore those who prophesied in the time of Darius Hystaspes, about the second year of his reign,—Haggai, and Zechariah, and the angel of the twelve, who prophesied about the first year of the forty-eighth Olympiad,—are demonstrated to be older than Pythagoras, who is said to have lived in the sixty-second Olympiad, and than Thales, the oldest of the wise men of the Greeks, who lived about the fiftieth Olympiad. Those wise men that are classed with Thales were then contemporaneous, as Andron says in the Tripos. For Heraclitus being posterior to Pythagoras, mentions him in his book. Whence indisputably the first Olympiad, which was demonstrated to be four hundred and seven years later than the Trojan war, is found to be prior to the age of the above-mentioned prophets, together with those called the seven wise men. Accordingly it is easy to perceive that Solomon, who lived in the time of Menelaus (who was during the Trojan war), was earlier by many years than the wise men among the Greeks. And how many years Moses preceded him we showed, in what we said above. And Alexander, surnamed Polyhistor, in his work on the Jews, has transcribed some letters of Solomon to Vaphres king of Egypt, and to the king of the Phœnicians at Tyre, and theirs to Solomon; in which it is shown that Vaphres sent eighty thousand Egyptian men to him for the building of the temple, and the other as many, along with a Tyrian artificer, the son of a Jewish mother, of the tribe of Dan, as is there written, of the name of Hyperon. Further, Onomacritus the Athenian, who is said to have been the author of the poems ascribed to Orpheus, is ascertained to have lived in the reign of the Pisistratidæ, about the fiftieth Olympiad. And Orpheus, who sailed with Hercules, was the pupil of Musæus. Amphion precedes the Trojan war by two generations. And Demodocus and Phemius were posterior to the capture of Troy; for they were famed for playing on the lyre, the former among the Phæacians, and the latter among the suitors. And the Oracles ascribed to Musæus are said to be the production of Onomacritus, and the Crateres of Orpheus the production of Zopyrus of Heraclea, and The Descent to Hades that of Prodicus of Samos. Ion of Chios relates in the Triagmi, that Pythagoras ascribed certain works [of his own] to Orpheus. Epigenes, in his book respecting The Poetry attributed to Orpheus, says that The Descent to Hades and the Sacred Discourse were the production of Cecrops the Pythagorean; and the Peplus and the Physics of Brontinus. Some also make Terpander out ancient. Hellanicus, accordingly, relates that he lived in the time of Midas: but Phanias, who places Lesches the Lesbian before Terpander, makes Terpander younger than Archilochus, and relates that Lesches contended with Arctinus, and gained the victory. Xanthus the Lydian says that he lived about the eighteenth Olympiad; as also Dionysius says that Thasus was built about the fifteenth Olympiad: so that it is clear that Archilochus was already known after the twentieth Olympiad. He accordingly relates the destruction of Magnetes as having recently taken place. Simonides is assigned to the time of Archilochus. Callinus is not much older; for Archilochus refers to Magnetes as destroyed, while the latter refers to it as flourishing. Eumelus of Corinth being older, is said to have met Archias, who founded Syracuse.
We were induced to mention these things, because the poets of the epic cycle are placed amongst those of most remote antiquity. Already, too, among the Greeks, many diviners are said to have made their appearance, as the Bacides, one a Bœotian, the other an Arcadian, who uttered many predictions to many. By the counsel of Amphiletus the Athenian, who showed the time for the onset, Pisistratus, too, strengthened his government. For we may pass over in silence Cometes of Crete, Cinyras of Cyprus, Admetus the Thessalian, Aristæas the Cyrenian, Amphiaraus the Athenian, Timoxeus the Corcyræan, Demænetus the Phocian, Epigenes the Thespian, Nicias the Carystian, Aristo the Thessalian, Dionysius the Carthaginian, Cleophon the Corinthian, Hippo the daughter of Chiro, and Bœo, and Manto, and the host of Sibyls, the Samian, the Colophonian, the Cumæan, the Erythræan, the Pythian, the Taraxandrian, the Macetian, the Thessalian, and the Thesprotian. And Calchas again, and Mopsus, who lived during the Trojan war. Mopsus, however, was older, having sailed along with the Argonauts. And it is said that Battus the Cyrenian composed what is called the Divination of Mopsus. Dorotheus in the first Pandect relates that Mopsus was the disciple of Alcyon and Corone. And Pythagoras the Great always applied his mind to prognostication, and Abaris the Hyperborean, and Aristæas the Proconnesian, and Epimenides the Cretan, who came to Sparta, and Zoroaster the Mede, and Empedocles of Agrigentum, and Phormion the Lacedæmonian; Polyaratus, too, of Thasus, and Empedotimus of Syracuse; and in addition to these, Socrates the Athenian in particular. “For,” he says in the Theages, “I am attended by a supernatural intimation, which has been assigned me from a child by divine appointment. This is a voice which, when it comes, prevents what I am about to do, but exhorts never.” And Execestus, the tyrant of the Phocians, wore two enchanted rings, and by the sound which they uttered one against the other determined the proper times for actions. But he died, nevertheless, treacherously murdered, although warned beforehand by the sound, as Aristotle says in the Polity of the Phocians.
Of those, too, who at one time lived as men among the Egyptians, but were constituted gods by human opinion, were Hermes the Theban, and Asclepius of Memphis; Tireseus and Manto, again, at Thebes, as Euripides says. Helenus, too, and Laocoon, and Œnone, and Crenus in Ilium. For Crenus, one of the Heraclidæ, is said to have been a noted prophet. Another was Jamus in Elis, from whom came the Jamidæ; and Polyidus at Argos and Megara, who is mentioned by the tragedy. Why enumerate Telemus, who, being a prophet of the Cyclops, predicted to Polyphemus the events of Ulysses’ wandering; or Onomacritus at Athens; or Amphiaraus, who campaigned with the seven at Thebes, and is reported to be a generation older than the capture of Troy; or Theoclymenus in Cephalonia, or Telmisus in Caria, or Galeus in Sicily?
There are others, too, besides these: Idmon, who was with the Argonauts, Phemonoe of Delphi, Mopsus the son of Apollo and Manto in Pamphylia, and Amphilochus the son of Amphiaraus in Cilicia, Alcmæon among the Acarnanians, Anias in Delos, Aristander of Telmessus, who was along with Alexander. Philochorus also relates in the first book of the work, On Divination, that Orpheus was a seer. And Theopompus, and Ephorus, and Timæus, write of a seer called Orthagoras; as the Samian Pythocles in the fourth book of The Italics writes of Caius Julius Nepos.
But some of these “thieves and robbers,” as the Scripture says, predicted for the most part from observation and probabilities, as physicians and soothsayers judge from natural signs; and others were excited by demons, or were disturbed by waters, and fumigations, and air of a peculiar kind. But among the Hebrews the prophets were moved by the power and inspiration of God. Before the law, Adam spoke prophetically in respect to the woman, and the naming of the creatures; Noah preached repentance; Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob gave many clear utterances respecting future and present things. Contemporaneous with the law, Moses and Aaron; and after these prophesied Jesus the son of Nave, Samuel, Gad, Nathan, Achias, Samæas, Jehu, Elias, Michæas, Abdiu, Elisæus, Abbadonai, Amos, Esaias, Osee, Jonas, Joel, Jeremias, Sophonias the son of Buzi, Ezekiel, Urias, Ambacum, Naum, Daniel, Misael, who wrote the syllogisms, Aggai, Zacharias, and the angel among the twelve. These are, in all, five-and-thirty prophets. And of women (for these too prophesied), Sara, and Rebecca, and Mariam, and Debbora, and Olda, i.e., Huldah.
Then within the same period John prophesied till the baptism of salvation; and after the birth of Christ, Anna and Simeon. For Zacaharias, John’s father, is said in the Gospels to have prophesied before his son. Let us then draw up the chronology of the Greeks from Moses.
From the birth of Moses to the exodus of the Jews from Egypt, eighty years; and the period down to his death, other forty years. The exodus took place in the time of Inachus, before the wandering of Sothis, Moses having gone forth from Egypt three hundred and forty-five years before. From the rule of Moses, and from Inachus to the flood of Deucalion, I mean the second inundation, and to the conflagration of Phæthon, which events happened in the time of Crotopus, forty generations are enumerated (three generations being reckoned for a century). From the flood to the conflagration of Ida, and the discovery of iron, and the Idæan Dactyls, are seventy-three years, according to Thrasyllus; and from the conflagration of Ida to the rape of Ganymede, sixty-five years. From this to the expedition of Perseus, when Glaucus established the Isthmian games in honour of Melicerta, fifteen years; and from the expedition of Perseus to the building of Troy, thirty-four years. From this to the voyage of the Argo, sixty-four years. From this to Theseus and the Minotaur, thirty-two years; then to the seven at Thebes, ten years. And to the Olympic contest, which Hercules instituted in honour of Pelops, three years; and to the expedition of the Amazons against Athens, and the rape of Helen by Theseus, nine years. From this to the deification of Hercules, eleven years; then to the rape of Helen by Alexander, four years. From the taking of Troy to the descent of Æneas and the founding of Lavinium, ten years; and to the government of Ascanius, eight years; and to the descent of the Heraclidæ, sixty-one years; and to the Olympiad of Iphitus, three hundred and thirty-eight years. Eratosthenes thus sets down the dates: “From the capture of Troy to the descent of the Heraclidæ, eighty years. From this to the founding of Ionia, sixty years; and the period following to the protectorate of Lycurgus, a hundred and fifty-nine years; and to the first year of the first Olympiad, a hundred and eight years. From which Olympiad to the invasion of Xerxes, two hundred and ninety-seven years; from which to the beginning of the Peloponnesian war, forty-eight years; and to its close, and the defeat of the Athenians, twenty-seven years; and to the battle at Leuctra, thirty-four years; after which to the death of Philip, thirty-five years. And after this to the decease of Alexander, twelve years.”
Again, from the first Olympiad, some say, to the building of Rome, are comprehended twenty-four years; and after this to the expulsion of the kings, when consuls were created, about two hundred and forty-three years. And from the taking of Babylon to the death of Alexander, a hundred and eighty-six years. From this to the victory of Augustus, when Antony killed himself at Alexandria, two hundred and ninety-four years, when Augustus was made consul for the fourth time. And from this time to the games which Domitian instituted at Rome, are a hundred and fourteen years; and from the first games to the death of Commodus, a hundred and eleven years.
There are some that from Cecrops to Alexander of Macedon reckon a thousand eight hundred and twenty-eight years; and from Demophon, a thousand two hundred and fifty; and from the taking of Troy to the expedition of the Heraclidæ, a hundred and twenty or a hundred and eighty years. From this to the archonship of Evænetus at Athens, in whose time Alexander is said to have marched into Asia, according to Phanias, are seven hundred and fifty years; according to Ephorus, seven hundred and thirty-five; according to Timæus and Clitarchus, eight hundred and twenty; according to Eratosthenes, seven hundred and seventy-four. As also Duris, from the taking of Troy to the march of Alexander into Asia, a thousand years; and from that to the archonship of Hegesias, in whose time Alexander died eleven years. From this date to the reign of Germanicus Claudius Cæsar, three hundred and sixty-five years. From which time the years summed up to the death of Commodus are manifest.
After the Grecian period, and in accordance with the dates, as computed by the barbarians, very large intervals are to be assigned.
From Adam to the deluge are comprised two thousand one hundred and forty-eight years, four days. From Shem to Abraham, a thousand two hundred and fifty years. From Isaac to the division of the land, six hundred and sixteen years. Then from the judges to Samuel, four hundred and sixty-three years, seven months. And after the judges there were five hundred and seventy-two years, six months, ten days of kings.
After which periods, there were two hundred and thirty-five years of the Persian monarchy. Then of the Macedonian, till the death of Antony, three hundred and twelve years and eighteen days. After which time, the empire of the Romans, till the death of Commodus, lasted for two hundred and twenty-two years.
Then, from the seventy years’ captivity, and the restoration of the people into their own land to the captivity in the time of Vespasian, are comprised four hundred and ten years. Finally, from Vespasian to the death of Commodus, there are ascertained to be one hundred and twenty-one years, six months, and twenty-four days.
Demetrius, in his book, On the Kings in Judæa, says that the tribes of Juda, Benjamin, and Levi were not taken captive by Sennacherim; but that there were from this captivity to the last, which Nabuchodonosor made out of Jerusalem, a hundred and twenty-eight years and six months; and from the time that the ten tribes were carried captive from Samaria till Ptolemy the Fourth, were five hundred and seventy-three years, nine months; and from the time that the captivity from Jerusalem took place, three hundred and thirty-eight years and three months.
Philo himself set down the kings differently from Demetrius.
Besides, Eupolemus, in a similar work, says that all the years from Adam to the fifth year of Ptolemy Demetrius, who reigned twelve years in Egypt, when added, amount to five thousand a hundred and forty-nine; and from the time that Moses brought out the Jews from Egypt to the above-mentioned date, there are, in all, two thousand five hundred and eighty years. And from this time till the consulship in Rome of Caius Domitian and Casian, a hundred and twenty years are computed.
Euphorus and many other historians say that there are seventy-five nations and tongues, in consequence of hearing the statement made by Moses: “All the souls that sprang from Jacob, which went down into Egypt, were seventy-five.” According to the true reckoning, there appear to be seventy-two generic dialects, as our Scriptures hand down. The rest of the vulgar tongues are formed by the blending of two, or three, or more dialects. A dialect is a mode of speech which exhibits a character peculiar to a locality, or a mode of speech which exhibits a character peculiar or common to a race. The Greeks say, that among them are five dialects—the Attic, Ionic, Doric, Æolic, and the fifth the Common; and that the languages of the barbarians, which are innumerable, are not called dialects, but tongues.
Plato attributes a dialect also to the gods, forming this conjecture mainly from dreams and oracles, and especially from demoniacs, who do not speak their own language or dialect, but that of the demons who have taken possession of them. He thinks also that the irrational creatures have dialects, which those that belong to the same genus understand. Accordingly, when an elephant falls into the mud and bellows out any other one that is at hand, on seeing what has happened, shortly turns, and brings with him a herd of elephants, and saves the one that has fallen in. It is said also in Libya, that a scorpion, if it does not succeed in stinging a man, goes away and returns with several more; and that, hanging on one to the other like a chain they make in this way the attempt to succeed in their cunning design.
The irrational creatures do not make use of an obscure intimation, or hint their meaning by assuming a particular attitude, but, as I think, by a dialect of their own. And some others say, that if a fish which has been taken escape by breaking the line, no fish of the same kind will be caught in the same place that day. But the first and generic barbarous dialects have terms by nature, since also men confess that prayers uttered in a barbarian tongue are more powerful. And Plato, in the Cratylus, when wishing to interpret πυρ (fire), says that it is a barbaric term. He testifies, accordingly, that the Phrygians use this term with a slight deviation.
And nothing, in my opinion, after these details, need stand in the way of stating the periods of the Roman emperors, in order to the demonstration of the Saviour’s birth. Augustus, forty-three years; Tiberius, twenty-two years; Caius, four years; Claudius, fourteen years; Nero, fourteen years; Galba, one year; Vespasian, ten years; Titus, three years; Domitian, fifteen years; Nerva, one year; Trajan, nineteen years; Adrian, twenty-one years; Antoninus, twenty-one years; likewise again, Antoninus and Commodus, thirty-two. In all, from Augustus to Commodus, are two hundred and twenty-two years; and from Adam to the death of Commodus, five thousand seven hundred and eighty-four years, two months, twelve days.
Some set down the dates of the Roman emperors thus:—
Caius Julius Cæsar, three years, four months, five days; after him Augustus reigned forty-six years, four months, one day. Then Tiberius, twenty-six years, six months, nineteen days. He was succeeded by Caius Cæsar, who reigned three years, ten months, eight days; and he by Claudius for thirteen years, eight months, twenty-eight days. Nero reigned thirteen years, eight months, twenty-eight days; Galba, seven months and six days; Otho, five months, one day; Vitellius, seven months, one day; Vespasian, eleven years, eleven months, twenty-two days; Titus, two years, two months; Domitian, fifteen years, eight months, five days; Nerva, one year, four months, ten days; Trajan, nineteen years, seven months, ten days; Adrian, twenty years, ten months, twenty-eight days. Antoninus, twenty-two years, three months, and seven days; Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, nineteen years, eleven days; Commodus, twelve years, nine months, fourteen days.
From Julius Cæsar, therefore, to the death of Commodus, are two hundred and thirty-six years, six months. And the whole from Romulus, who founded Rome, till the death of Commodus, amounts to nine hundred and fifty-three years, six months. And our Lord was born in the twenty-eighth year, when first the census was ordered to be taken in the reign of Augustus. And to prove that this is true, it is written in the Gospel by Luke as follows: “And in the fifteenth year, in the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, the word of the Lord came to John, the son of Zacharias.” And again in the same book: “And Jesus was coming to His baptism, being about thirty years old,” and so on. And that it was necessary for Him to preach only a year, this also is written: “He hath sent Me to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” This both the prophet spake, and the Gospel. Accordingly, in fifteen years of Tiberius and fifteen years of Augustus; so were completed the thirty years till the time He suffered. And from the time that He suffered till the destruction of Jerusalem are forty-two years and three months; and from the destruction of Jerusalem to the death of Commodus, a hundred and twenty-eight years, ten months, and three days. From the birth of Christ, therefore, to the death of Commodus are, in all, a hundred and ninety-four years, one month, thirteen days. And there are those who have determined not only the year of our Lord’s birth, but also the day; and they say that it took place in the twenty-eighth year of Augustus, and in the twenty-fifth day of Pachon. And the followers of Basilides hold the day of his baptism as a festival, spending the night before in readings.
And they say that it was the fifteenth year of Tiberius Cæsar, the fifteenth day of the month Tubi; and some that it was the eleventh of the same month. And treating of His passion, with very great accuracy, some say that it took place in the sixteenth year of Tiberius, on the twenty-fifth of Phamenoth; and others the twenty-fifth of Pharmuthi and others say that on the nineteenth of Pharmuthi the Saviour suffered. Further, others say that He was born on the twenty-fourth or twenty-fifth of Pharmuthi.
We have still to add to our chronology the following,—I mean the days which Daniel indicates from the desolation of Jerusalem, the seven years and seven months of the reign of Vespasian. For the two years are added to the seventeen months and eighteen days of Otho, and Galba, and Vitellius; and the result is three years and six months, which is “the half of the week,” as Daniel the prophet said. For he said that there were two thousand three hundred days from the time that the abomination of Nero stood in the holy city, till its destruction. For thus the declaration, which is subjoined, shows: “How long shall be the vision, the sacrifice taken away, the abomination of desolation, which is given, and the power and the holy place shall be trodden under foot? And he said to him, Till the evening and morning, two thousand three hundred days, and the holy place shall be taken away.”
These two thousand three hundred days, then, make six years four months, during the half of which Nero held sway, and it was half a week; and for a half, Vespasian with Otho, Galba, and Vitellius reigned. And on this account Daniel says, “Blessed is he that cometh to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.” For up to these days was war, and after them it ceased. And this number is demonstrated from a subsequent chapter, which is as follows: “And from the time of the change of continuation, and of the giving of the abomination of desolation, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days. Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and thirty-five days.”
Flavius Josephus the Jew, who composed the history of the Jews, computing the periods, says that from Moses to David were five hundred and eighty-five years; from David to the second year of Vespasian, a thousand one hundred and seventy-nine; then from that to the tenth year of Antoninus, seventy-seven. So that from Moses to the tenth year of Antoninus there are, in all, two thousand one hundred and thirty-three years.
Of others, counting from Inachus and Moses to the death of Commodus, some say there were three thousand one hundred and forty-two years; and others, two thousand eight hundred and thirty-one years.
And in the Gospel according to Matthew, the genealogy which begins with Abraham is continued down to Mary the mother of the Lord. “For,” it is said, “from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David to the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon till Christ are likewise other fourteen generations,”—three mystic intervals completed in six weeks.