Agapius, Universal History (date) pp.9-272. Part 1
DECORATED WITH THE EMINENT QUALITIES OF WISDOM,
CROWNED WITH VARIOUS
SPECIES OF PHILOSOPHY, ILLUSTRATED BY THE TRUTHS OF KNOWLEDGE.
In the name of the only and eternal God.
We beseech his help.
The book al-`Unvan (of the Title), decorated with eminent qualities of wisdom, crowned with various kinds of philosophy, illustrated by the truths of knowledge, composed with care by the eminent sheik, the erudite doctor, the excellent philosopher, Agapius, son of Constantine, a Greek of Manbidj, and which he sent to an eminent man `Isa, son of al-Husein. |10
Know, may great God help you, that this blessed book is composed by its author, and is written according to the Sacred Books of God, according to the books of the philosophers and the scholars. He worked on it with sorrow, weariness, assiduity and effort; he composed it for the great benefit and profit of people who will meditate on it; those who, indeed, will contemplate this book with assiduity, will understand it, think about it seriously and will be interested, like a man who had traversed the whole universe, as if he knew the world from its origins |11 and as if the world were telling its history, its wonders, its extraordinary things, the events and miracles which have taken place from the origins of creation until his own time and era. May he who reads it, do so with great care and understand it well.
Here is the beginning of the book.
The Apostle says: "Every excellent grace and every perfect gift comes from above and comes down from the Father of lights 1." God, O friend, has granted to you in abundance the good and beautiful gift, which inspires in you the desire to arrive at knowledge and to clarify events, and to arrive at the possession of the truth about them and the knowledge of the subtleties of their mysteries.
In the name of God, clement and merciful.
The Book of history, attributed to Mahbub, son of Constantine, a Greek of Manbidj.
Its title belongs to the man, decorated with eminent qualities of wisdom, crowned with various kinds of philosophy, illustrated by the truths of knowledge, the virtuous and good, Abu-Musa-`Isa, son of al-Husein, may the grace of God towards him endure, may his wisdom be perfect, may his |10 philosophy increase twofold, may his dignity be raised, may all the power of his enemies, who hate him, be decreased and be subjected to him, may the hand which preserves be on him, and may his life be prolonged.
Mahbub, son of Constantine, the Greek, of Manbidj, composed this book and wrote it according to the revealed Books of God, may His name be great, and the books of the philosophers and the scholars; he worked there with much care, great weariness and great sorrow; he composed it for the great benefit and profit of people who will meditate on it; whoever will contemplate with assiduity this book, will understand it, will pass through it in spirit and |11 will know what is in it, --- he will resemble a man who has traversed the whole universe, as if he knew the world from its origins and as if the world told its history, its wonders, its extraordinary things, miraculous events which took place and which are worthy of admiration, and marvellous stories.
The beginning of the book.
Every excellent gift - may God prolong your glory and raise the happiness of your rank - comes down from the Father of lights. God has granted a high spirit and noble and beautiful qualities to you. He put in you the desire and the intention to find out the history of the faith and to arrive at the possession of the truth and the knowledge of the mysteries.
To the best of my ability, may God help you, I have wanted to publish a book commencing with the origins of the world and I considered that you were able and worthy, because I have solid evidence of the fineness of your spirit and your intelligence.
I have composed this book which explains, shows and clarifies. This book contains, from the origins of the world, complete information on the years of the world, the centuries and dates, and the nations, nation by nation, with an explanation and description, the events which took place in former times in the regions of the earth, their history and the wonders which existed among the nations, the peoples and the kingdoms, nation by nation, kingdom by kingdom, - and the history of the prophets, prophet by prophet, their date and era, the philosophers, tyrants and the owner of talismans invulnerable against reptiles or insects, - the confection of pearls, the art of working hyacinth, marble, Pharaonic glass, -- the arts, i.e. the ten gifts, that God has given specially to the children of Adam, the description of the seven wonders of the world and the places where they are.
These wonders are: the Capitol in Rome; it is a marvellous building, where Apollonius taught magic. The second wonder is the Pharos |13 of Alexandria. It is a tower with an observatory, which is at the entrance to the sea, on four columns of glass. It is this of which the scholar Bedas speaks 1, who measured the sea, traversed the earth and did not find any construction in the world higher than this one. The third wonder is the temple of Çyzicus in Cappadocia, in the country of the Greeks. It is an astonishing building of one hundred fifty square cubits, on four pilasters, and what is most astonishing, is that the rain does not fall on it. The fourth wonder are the three stones of Baalbek. The fifth wonder is the woman (?) in the town of Caesarea in Palestine.1a The sixth wonder, the Ifos (ἱππος) of Bellerophon; it is an iron horse, on which is an iron rider, suspended in the air under a vaulted ceiling without any support against the walls of the vault. The seventh wonder is three statues that Hercules, the most ancient king, made in the sea to preserve travellers from immersion. Along with this, in this book is gathered the explained history of the divisions of the earth and the seven climates, their length, |14 their width, their seas, their gulfs, their famous cities, the state of the inhabitants of the climates, their manners and what there is in the way of vermin and of use in each climate.
In the name of God unique and eternal. We beseech his help.
This is the beginning of the book of the eminent master, the perfect philosopher, Agapius, son of Constantine. May God give eternal rest and great reward to his soul. Amen.
Some intelligent people, versed in the knowledge of the things which, as you see, happen according to the order of nature from the origins of the world, know that the beginning of time, the origin of things created, the order of the years and days are counted from the time of the equinox at the entry of the sun into the head of the Ram, i.e. the equator. From this time, the earth starts to produce green grass and the trees start to produce leaves and change colour. The earth is covered with greenery and shows its beauty and a great number of pretty colours. At the same time the animals, all the insects of the earth and all the birds, as we see, mate one with another and bring into the world the little ones of every species and every kind according to their nature. At the time of which we speak, |15 and in this period, birds built nests of every kind and form, according to their ability.
The time of which we speak starts, according to all the scholars and all the chronologists, at the origin of the world, the 18 of the month of Adar (Mark), which is the lunar month of Nisan (April); as for Nisan, it is Redjeb, (the first) the twelve lunar months at the beginning of the months of the world.
We have found that the book of God, (may it be blessed), revealed via the intermediary of Moses the prophet, agrees with what we have said on the natural course of the things since the first origins of the world; (this book) is like it, agrees with it and follows it.
However God, may His name be blessed and His glory be great, inspired Moses his prophet and said to him: "Let this month be the first and the beginning of the lunar months." The people versed in the books revealed by God affirm that in this same month the end of the world will take place. Then there is no-one among all the scholars and people of knowledge who doubts that this month started on a Sunday at the beginning of the world; and we do not need to examine this question or to explain the account of this, because it is clear and obvious among all scholars and all the experts of the Scriptures, that the first beginning of creation took place on Sunday; the name of this day proves what we say. On this day, this month and this year |16 the chronology of the history of the world started and from this moment what happened is reported and related.
This book is called in Greek χρονικόν, which in the Arabic translation means the sequence of years and the mark of dates and the centuries. This book begins with the first day, when God created all the creatures, from Adam to the Ascension of Christ, (our) Lord; it describes, tells and deals with the nations, nation after nation, of the kings of the earth, king after king, of the things which took place in the world, of the wonders in the various kingdoms and the various nations and other things.
The author and the writer of this book said; "We must start with the origins, that we seek the reasons and the causes of what is known about the beginning of the world and the order of the years, that we explain the evidence and that we tell and set forth this history."
He said : In the first year after the exodus of the Israelites from the country of Egypt, Moses, the prophet of God, went up on the mountain of God, Tur-Sina (the Sinai), fasted for forty days and forty nights and prayed. Then God condescended to speak to him and granted to him power, wisdom, knowledge and the gift of prophecy, so that he prophesied, told, reported and wrote |17 how God had created this world in six days; and God sent down (revealed) to him the written tablets of the Law, and Moses wrote five books: The first book makes known things created, described the beginning of their creation and their qualities. The second book writes and tells the exodus of the Israelites from the country of Egypt. The third book sets forth the rules for the priests and the Levites and is called the book of the priests (Leviticus). The fourth book is that of the number of Israelites, in which Moses the prophet counted them and enumerated their number. The fifth book is that of Deuteronomy.
Here ends the era of the world from the beginning of creation until this year which is the 81st year since the birth of Moses finishes and which is the year when Moses the prophet went up on the mountain of God TÃ»r-Sina (the Sinai); and there were three thousand eight hundred and forty-seven years until this date and this day, as we can give it according to the version of the Seventy, Jewish commentators who translated the Pentateuch and all the books of the prophets from Hebrew into Greek under Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Egypt. That took place approximately three hundred years before the arrival of Christ Our Lord. |18
At the beginning of the first book, Moses the prophet writes that God created in the beginning the substance of heaven and earth, understanding by the word 'substance' the hypostasis of heaven and earth and their essence. God created the light, which was a dispersed and extended light, separated the light from darkness on the first day, which was the beginning of creation, and which he named Sunday. This is the first day of the month of Nisan which is the lunar month Redjeb at the beginning of creation. The proof that this first lunar month was Redjeb and that it was Sunday, is the astronomical calculation, the formula for which is easy to understand; thus whoever wishes and wants to know this, will acquire this knowledge with little effort, which will satisfy his understanding. But sometimes this astronomical calculation is hidden from he who wants to know it, God willing.
On the second day God created the celestial sphere which turns with a perpetual motion and travels from East to West, making a circuit every twenty-four hours, day and night, permanently, without stopping; and God named the revolving, attached and raised sphere 'heaven'.
On the third day God ordered that all the waters above the earth be gathered in one location and one place; and after their gathering, the waters were called seas. |19 Then the earth produced grasses, various flowers, trees with fruit and trees without fruit.
On the fourth day God, may his name be exalted, ordered the extended light to gather and placed it in all the luminaries, i.e. the sun, the moon and all the fixed and moving stars according to their categories and their classes, which are moved in the sphere which puts them in perpetual and continuous motion, and they turn in a direction opposed to that of the sphere, from West to East.
On the fifth day God created from the water all the birds which fly in the air over the earth, and all the animals of the sea; God created from the water their bodies and the breath of their life.
On the sixth day God created from the earth all the animals and the wild animals, all the reptiles which crawl on its surface, and the others whose bodies and breath of life came from the earth.
On this day God created a man -- i.e. Adam -- in the image of God. He created him and made him the most perfect of the creatures and improved him, putting in him a particular superiority of intelligence, word and soul, endowing with reason, intelligent and speaking, wherein was the resemblance to God. The body of Adam and his spirit came from the earth and the four elements, |20 the primitive forms, created before everything as separate, independent and free; the soul of Adam, intelligent, expressing thought, speaking, similar to God, immortal, was from God; its flame and all that there is of good in it, (was also from Him). And the man, i.e. Adam, having become a spiritual and corporeal being, with a better structure, God took him and put him, he and his wife, whom he had created from one of his sides, in the garden of Eden.
On the seventh day God completed all his works which He had created, and He called (this day) the day of Sabbath, because Sabbath means rest. Certain scholars believe that God, may He be blessed and exalted, located the garden of Eden and placed it above the earth, at a distance of fifteen cubits, without support.
God put Adam there and on the one hand established him as king over the animals and the beasts, which were below him, and on the other hand He placed him beneath the wisdom and knowledge of the immaterial Angels, enjoying the special favour of God, who were above him.
In the middle of the paradise God planted the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, which He prohibited to Adam, rigorously prescribed to him not to approach it and He gave him the order not to eat of its fruit, to test his obedience thus; and if Adam had persevered in obedience, he would have been worthy to be placed in the order of the angels |21 and to be with them; if he fell into disobedience and error, he would be rejected from paradise altogether, would be driven out and would be with the animals. When Adam had disobeyed his Lord and his Creator and had violated his order, he could not live in the holy and spiritual paradise any more after the error and the violation of the commandment; this was inadmissible in the holy and spiritual paradise. God made him leave the paradise, made him live opposite it in the mountains and did not drive him far, thanks to His leniency to him. This is why David, the prophet, said in the Book of the Psalms about Adam: "The man, who did not understand his honour and the favour of God that was granted to him, was delivered to the animals, driven out to them and became similar to them."
Adam and his wife Eve remained sad and afflicted for a hundred years because of their disobedience towards their Lord, and they experienced sorrow every time that they looked at the paradise; they regretted the delights which had escaped them, and they were afflicted at their cohabitation with animals. A hundred years afterwards, Adam knew his wife Eve, and fathered from her Cain; then, after him, Abel (was born).
When they had reached the age of thirty, they offered to God their offerings; and God accepted the offering |22 of Abel because of his purity and the kindness of his heart; but God did not accept the offering of Cain, who had in his heart resentment and secret hatred against his brother. He envied his brother because God had preferred his offering to that of Cain. Cain said to Abel, his brother: "Come with us to the fields." They went down from the mountains to the fields, and Cain threw himself on Abel, his brother, and killed him. God was angry against Cain and made him pass all his life in fear. Adam and Eve, his wife, were extremely upset at the violent death of Abel for hundred years more. Adam understood that the misfortune of Abel, his son, was the punishment of his error and his disobedience towards His Lord, because the fathers were to be struck and punished for their own sins in their children; and Adam feared Cain for himself.
A hundred years after, Adam and Eve his wife, were comforted for their affliction. Adam knew Eve, his wife, and fathered Seth, who resembled Adam in appearance and features. Seth remained with Adam his father, in the mountains, and Cain lived down in the plain. The seventh descendant of Cain was Lamech the blind man, |23 son of Methuschael, son of Mehuiael, son of Hirad, son of Enoch, son of Cain, son of Adam. Lamech the blind went out one day with a child who led him. Trembling, Cain was in the woods. Lamech the blind man heard him and believing that he was a wild beast of the forest, he took a stone, threw it against Cain and killed him. The child said to him: "What have you done? You have killed Cain!" In an access of pain, sorrow, regret and affliction which invaded him, he struck his hands one against the other, and they hit the head of the child, broke it and killed him. Then he came to his wives, Hada and Scilla, and said to them: "Hear my voice and listen to my word in silence, Hada and Scilla, wives of Lamech! If Cain is punished seven times, Lamech will be seventy-seven times, because he killed a man with a blow of a stone and a child by striking it a blow with his hands."
At that time and during this generation lived Nahama, sister of Jubal and TubalCain, descended from Cain. There was nobody in the world more expert than TubalCain |24 at playing the lute, the cymbal and all the string instruments and in all the kinds of entertainments and recreations. He was the first who introduced them into the world, so that thanks to excellence of his playing and the beauty of his voice the wild and savage beasts and the birds gathered near him to hear his voice without attacking each other. Nahama, his sister, was one of the most beautiful women and the prettiest. It was she which first taught how to dye and colour fabrics and used coloured clothing. The children of Cain delivered themselves to recreation and devoted themselves to entertainment, gaity, to excess in delight and passion, without slackening either day or night. The children of Seth, being in the mountains above them, heard their voices.
In the fifth generation of the children of Adam, -- it was the 135th year of the birth of Mahalalail, son of Cainan, son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, - Adam died, may God have pity on him, nine hundred and thirty years old. He had lived seven hundred years after the birth of his son Seth. Here is the calculation of this, according to the translation of the Seventy. |25
It is written: Adam lived two hundred and thirty years and fathered Seth; from the day of the birth of Seth until that of Enos, there were 205 years, which makes 435 years; from the birth of Enos until that of Cainan, son of Enos, there were 190 years, which makes 625 years; from the day when Cainan was born, until the birth of Mahalalail, son of Cainan, there were 170 years, which makes 795 years. After the birth of Mahalalail Adam completed 930 years, which was the duration of his life.
According to the Torah, which is in the hands of the Jews, and which they have mutilated by reducing the years of the life of the patriarks before the birth of their children, here is the calculation of the years which are counted in the chronology of the world. The Syriac Torah depends on the Torah (of the Jews), because it was translated from Hebrew after Christianity and the deterioration (of the text). It is written there that Adam lived until the ninth generation of the children of his children, i.e. until the 56th year of the birth of Lamech, son (of Mathusaleh, son) of Enoch, because the Jews |26 reduced by one hundred years the years of Adam and other patriarks before the birth of their children and added them to the years of their life after the birth of their children. Hanan (Annas) and Caiphas, High Priests of the Jews, wanted to refute the advent of the Messiah and said that the time of his advent had not arrived yet. The Jews wrote: Adam lived 130 years and fathered Seth; from the day of the birth of Seth to the birth of Enos 105 years; from the day of the birth of Enos to the birth of Cainan - 90 years; from the day of the birth of Cainan to the birth of Mahalalail - 70 years; from the day of the birth of Mahalalail to the birth of Jared - 65 years; from the day of the birth of Jared to the birth of Enoch - 162 years; from the day of the birth of Enoch to the birth of Mathusaleh - 65 years; from the day of the birth of Mathusaleh to the birth of Lamech - 187 years. If we count in an exact way what we have set forth, the number of the years comes to 874 years to the day of the birth of Lamech. 56 years after the birth of Lamech, father of Noah, who was the ninth generation from Adam, Adam was 930 years old, which is the lifespan of Adam. |27
The beginning of the flood.
This is set down, as a proof and an argument for those who have not read nor examined the sacred books, without speaking of others, (and who claim) that the life of Adam did not last until the days of Lamech, father of Noah. After a duration of 1656 years, according to the chronology, Noah, son of Lamech was born. Lamech, his father, prophesied of him, that he would relieve the world of its sins.
It is written that the children of Seth, son of Adam, and his descendants, three hundred men, gathered and went down from the holy mountain to the children of Cain in the wicked plain, which had received the blood of Abel, led by the desire to hear their plays and their recreations. The daughters of Cain united themselves with them, and they committed adultery with them. A few days afterwards, when they wanted to go up on to the mountain to their residences and their domiciles, the mountain became a fire in front of them, so that they could not approach it nor go up there because of their sins. Those who were on the mountain, supposing that the delay of their companions was a serious thing, and seeing that they had not gone up home, did not cease going down, one after the other, themselves, their children and their wives, until there was |28 only Noah alone who remained on the mountain; he was then five hundred years old, and he was not yet married. Then God said to Noah that He would send the flood on the earth and would submerge the earth and those upon it. And Noah arose, picked up the body of Adam, father of mankind, went down from the mountain and married. All the descendants of Seth and Cain were devoted to adultery, fell from all the ways of purity and descended in everything to the rank of beasts. The first cause of this, as we have said, were TubalCain and his sister Nahama. The sacred book says on this subject that the sons of the Angels dallied with the daughters of men, meaning by the former the sons of Seth and his descendants.
And the word of God and its commandment were in them and with them during their stay in the holy mountains. But after they had dallied with the daughters of Cain and fallen from the ways of purity, God ordered Noah, who was five hundred years old, to make a ship; and God fixed the limit for him and told him of the time of the flood at the end of a hundred and twenty years. On this, Noah married, |29 as we have already told, and fathered three sons, Sem, Cham and Jafeth. And God, may He be blessed and magnified, showed them during these years the rainbow, in the lower part of which there was a cord of fire and some arrows of fire; the cord was tight; all was on fire, with a sword of fire, which permanently shone in the air. That is explained in the Book of the Psalms, where David the prophet said: "His sword shines and his bow is knocked; and the features of war and rage will set ablaze everything."
God wanted men to repent and renounce their sins and their errors; but they did not do penitence and did not repent; on the contrary, they fell into all kinds of impiety and all kinds of hypocrisy. They started to kill one another; whoever was stronger than his companion, killed him and ate him to satisfy himself because of the lack of animals and beasts. On these events, God reduced the deadline by twenty years, advanced the date of the flood and fixed it at the end of hundred years. Then Noah was six hundred years old and Sem, his son, one hundred years. God acted thus from his mercy for them, to prevent them being led astray, from sinning, from bloodshed between them and from eating each other. |30
Now before commencing the account of the flood, it is necessary that we return to the narration of the period from the life of Adam and his children until the flood to explain the chronology of the world until this year.
It is written in the true Torah, that the Seventy learned translators translated, that Adam lived 230 years and fathered Seth his son in his image and his resemblance. Adam lived after the birth of Seth 700 years and his life having been 930 years, he died in the 5th generation, 135 years after the birth of Mahalalail. As for what relates to the mutilated Torah, that the Jews mutilated after the resurrection of the Lord Christ by reducing the number of the years, it is written there that Adam lived before the birth of Seth 130 years and after the birth of Seth 800 years. The Jews reduced the years of his life, which are counted for one hundred years in the chronology of the world, and added them to the years of his life after the birth of Seth, which do not count in the years of the history of the world. According to the calculation, which the Jews mutilated, Adam died fifty-six years after the birth of Lamech, father of Noah. Seth lived for 205 years, according to the translation of the Seventy, fathered Enos and lived after the birth of Enos for 707 years; his life was 912 years, |31 and he died in the seventh generation, twenty years after the birth of Enoch.
As for what is in the mutilated Torah, which is in the hands of the Jews, which was reduced by them and from which the Syriac Torah was transcribed, it is written that Seth lived 105 years, fathered Enos and lived after the birth of Enos for 807 years; they reduced the years of his life by a hundred years, which count in the chronology of the world, and added them to the years of his life after the birth (of Enos); and they did not count them. In the same way they reduced the years of Adam; and they did the same thing for the others. According to this calculation he died in the ninth generation, 108 years after the birth of Lamech, father of Noah. Afriqoun the scholar (Africanus) says that Seth, son of Adam, was the first to invent letters and taught writing and the Hebraic language. Enos lived for 190 years before the birth of Cainan, and he lived after the birth of Cainan for 715 years; his life having been 905 years, he died in the eighth generation, fifty-three years after the birth of Mathusaleh.
As for what we find in the Torah of the Jews, which were reduced by them, and in the Syriac Torah, which was copied from it, it is written there that Enos lived for 90 years and fathered Cainan; having lived after the birth of |32 Cainan 815 years, he died in the tenth generation, 84 years after the birth of Noah. According to what we find in the Torah, translated by the Seventy, Cainan lived for 170 years until the birth of Mahalalail and 734 years after the birth of Mahalalail; his life having been 904 years, he died in the ninth generation, 55 years after the birth of Lamech, father of Noah. Cainan lived, according to what we find in the mutilated Torah, for 70 years and fathered Mahalalail; he lived after the birth of Mahalalail 834 years, and he died in the 10th generation, 173 years after the birth of Noah. Mahalalail lived, according to the true Torah, before the birth of Jared for 165 years and after the birth of Jared 730 years; his life was 895 years, and he died in the tenth generation, 34 years after the birth of Noah. Mahalalail lived, according to the Torah in the hands of the Jews, and the Syriac Torah, for 65 years before the birth of Jared; he lived after the birth of Jared for 830 years, and he died in the tenth generation, 284 years after the birth of Noah. Jared lived for 162 years before the birth of Enoch and 800 years after the birth of Enoch; his life was 962 years, and he died in the tenth generation, 266 years after the birth of Noah.
Jared lived for the same number of years |33 according to the mutilated Torah. By this report the version of the Seventy agrees with the mutilated Torah of the Jews. As for the agreement of the years of Jared in the true Torah and the mutilated Torah of the Jews, it is one of the arguments which indicate the corruption and the defect (of the latter text). There is yet another reason for that: if the Jews had reduced (the years) of all the (patriarchs), Adam would have lived almost until the flood and until the 174th year after the birth of Noah. But the Jewish priests did not want a scandal; however they fell into what they sought to avoid, which is seen according to the evidence and testimonies of the books which we will establish and check later, so that the truth of the Torah, translated by the seventy commentators, will be manifest, if God wishes.
Forty years after the birth of Jared the first millenium of the history of the world finished, according to the version of the Seventy. This is the explanation and the example of what we have said (of the manner of calculating); that will suffice for he who wants to count every year of the history of the world. We have already said that the years which we count, are those which are before the birth of their children; they count in the general chronology of the world. As for the years that they lived after the birth of their |34 children, it is only (to indicate) the length of the life of each one of them.
When we calculated the life of Adam from the day of his creation by God until the birth of Seth, his years were 230 years; this is the beginning of the chronology of the history of the world; then we added to this the number of the years of Seth from the day of his birth until he fathered Enos, which makes 205 years; the total is 435 years; then we added to this the number of the years of Enos from his birth until he fathered Cainan, which makes 190 years; the total is 625 years; then we added to this the number of the years of Cainan from the day of his birth until he fathered Mahalalail, which makes 170 years; the total is 795 years; then we added to this the number of the years of Mahalalail from the day of his birth until he fathered Jared, which makes 165 years; the total is 960 years. If we add 40 years to this from the birth of Jared, the first thousand of the years of the history of the world is complete.
With this calculation we will obtain the millenia of years of the history of the world in the time of their expiration, as we explained and described, until our days and our time, year after year and month after month, God willing. Specialists and educated men will understand from this example, how |35 the years of the history of the world are calculated from the beginning of creation.
Enoch lived, according to the true version, for 165 years until he fathered Mathusaleh, and he lived 200 years from the birth of Mathusaleh, so that his years are 365 years. All his life, he had requested God humbly to be transported to Paradise, and God granted his prayer, accepted his appeal and transported him to Paradise, 200 years after the birth of Mathusaleh and thirteen years after the birth of Lamech. As for what is in the mutilated Torah, which is in the hands of the Jews, and in the Syriac Torah, which is a copy of it, it is written there that Enoch lived 65 years and fathered Mathusaleh; and he lived after the birth of Mathusaleh 300 years; and God transported him to paradise, 300 years after the birth of Mathusaleh and 113 years after the birth of Lamech, father of Noah. Enoch is the same person as Idris.
Certain scholars also affirm that Enoch — i.e. Idris — made known, explained and taught the arts of writing, letters, stars (astronomy) and calculation. Manetho, a scholar of Egypt and an astronomer, affirms that God raised Enoch to the revolving sphere and made known to him the signs of the zodiac, which are there, the fixed and wandering stars, horoscopes, the terms of the influence |36 of the stars, the decades of the degrees, the constellations which are there, and the other mysteries of astrology. This is why it is said that his book of stars is called a book of hidden meanings. All the Harranians, who worship the idols and the stars, share the opinion of Manetho the Egyptian.
Mathusaleh lived for 187 years and fathered Lamech, father of Noah; and he lived after the birth of Lamech for 782 years, his life having been 969 years. This is what is written in the Torah, which is in the hands of the Jews, and in the Syriac Torah. This also indicates, as we have said, their corruption and retrenchment of the years, that we have reported.
Mathusaleh died in the tenth generation, 600 years after the birth of Noah, in the year when the flood took place. Lamech lived for 182 years and fathered Noah; and he lived after the birth of Noah for 590 years, his life having been 777 years. On this point, i.e. on the years of Lamech, the mutilated Torah of the Jews agrees with what is in the Torah translated by the Seventy, with complete agreement, without any difference. Lamech died 595 years after the birth of Noah, and the death of Lamech took place five years before the death of Mathusaleh, his father. Noah lived for five hundred years and fathered |37 Sem, Cham and Jafeth in the 600th year after the birth of Noah. Sem, his son, being one hundred years old, the flood spread over all the earth.
Noah entered the ark with his three sons, Sem, Cham and Jafeth, the three wives of his sons and his wife, on Friday the 17th day of the second lunar month. God made it rain from the sky over all the earth for forty days. The springs of the earth overflowed, and the earth was submerged with all that there was on it, men, animals, beasts, and birds. Their exit took place on Sunday the 27th day of the second month of the following year after 366 days; they remained in the ark (366 days), because the year was a leap year. Certain scholars say that they would have eaten nothing there, neither they, nor those who were with them, the animals, beasts and the birds, throughout their whole stay in this ark.
The length of the ark was three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits and its height thirty cubits; the ark had three levels. Josephus the Jew, the scholar, who wrote about the destruction of Jerusalem after the Ascension |38 of the Messiah Our Lord, affirms that the planks of the ark were in the town of Afamea 2. Abidenos and Alexander (Polyhistor), Greek philosophers, affirm that Kronos was the first man; he showed and revealed to Ksis that on the 15 of the month of Haziran a great inundation and flood would take place. When Ksis understood what he was being told, he left, moving by water towards the region of Armenia in a wooden boat. They claim that some planks of this boat are on the mountain of Ararat, and that they cure the inhabitants of this country until this day 3. As for the place where the ark stopped, this account agrees with that of the Torah. 344 years after the birth of Noah the second thousand of years of the history of the world was completed.
We have already said that the total of years to the birth of Jared was 900 years; if we add to this the years from the day of the birth of Jared until the birth of Enoch, that makes 162 years; - if we add to this also the years of Enoch, from the day of his birth until he fathered Mathusaleh, that makes 165 years; --- if we add to this then the years of |39 Mathusaleh, from the day of his birth until he fathered Lamech, that makes 187 years; --- if we add to this then the years of Lamech, from the day of his birth until he fathered Noah, that makes 182 years, --- years until the day when Noah was born, making 1,656 years. 344 years after the birth of Noah the second millenium completed, as we have already reported.
The total number of years of the history of the world from Adam and the beginning of creation until the year of the flood is 2,256 years, according to the Septuagint. As for what is in the Torah mutilated and reduced by the Jews and in the Syriac Torah, the total of years there is 1,656 years.
As for those which would like to make the sum and count of these figures, according to what we explained and exposed, we have given him the method to make the account and calculation of it.
There were ten generations from Adam to Noah: They are those of Adam, Seth, Enos, Cainan, Mahalalail, Jared, Enoch, Mathusaleh, Lamech and Noah. When Noah had left the ark, he made sacrifices to God, and the Lord smelled the good odour of the sacrifices of Noah and purified him. |40
God gave him the rainbow as a guarantee against the flood and as His sign to him and his descendants in the centuries of the centuries. God filled the children of Adam with his leniency and his mercy. He gave them the ark, the cord and the arrows; and God made them from various colours, red, green and others, which indicate the satisfaction of God, because the translation of "chumreh" (red) and "khaudreh" (green) according to the Hebrew is the satisfaction and the mercy of God. God did this as His sign to him and to his children and as a guarantee against the flood in the centuries of the centuries.
The division of the earth.
After the flood, the earth was divided between the tribes of the children of Noah. The borders of Shem, the first-born of Noah, extended from Persia and Bactria to India, i.e. the country of India. The borders of |41 Cham extended from the RinokÃ»rÃ»ra country in Gades 4; the borders of Jafeth extended from Media which is the country of Mosul and the neighbouring region, to the country of Gades, on the north side. Their border, which separated their lands, was the river of the Tigris which separates Media from Persia. There were fifteen tribes of the children of Jafeth, twenty-five tribes of the children of Shem and thirty-two tribes of the children of Cham, which gives a total of 72 tribes. The limits which separated the land of the sons of Cham, were the Djaihoun river, which is the river Nile 5.
We will explain all this, with the distribution of the seven climates following the division of languages and we will describe their inhabitants, their uses, their religious opinions, their concerns, their science and the culture of their spirit; we will speak about their animals, their birds, the lifespan of their population, their manners and the wonders which can be found in their land, after the confusion and the division of the languages in Babel; we will mention the seas of each climate, their gulfs, their length and of their width in parasangs, of the point where they start and to where they extend, which islands, inhabited and uninhabited, are there; we will describe the famous cities of each climate, if God wills. |42
Noah lived after the flood for 350 years, and his life having been 950 years, he died in the fourteenth generation, 74 years after the birth of Scaleh. According the Torah of the Jews and the Syriac Torah, which the Jews mutilated after the Ascension of the Messiah, Noah died in the 21st generation, 53 years after the birth of Abraham, the friend of the Merciful one. This is a proof of the alteration of the Torah by the Jews and the reduction of the number of the years, as we have already reported. But Noah did not arrive at the time of the birth of Abraham and did not live until the time of the division of the languages. Two years after the flood, Shem fathered Arphaxad and lived for 500 years after the birth of Arphaxad; his life was 660 years. On this point the version of the Seventy is in agreement with what is in the Torah of the Jews. Shem died 74 years after the birth of Haber. According to what is in the mutilated and reduced Torah Jews, Shem died 70 years after the birth of Jacob. Arphaxad, sons of Shem, lived from the day of his birth until he fathered Kainan, 135 years, and after that 430 years; his life was 565 years, and he died 27 years after the birth of Phaleg. According |43 to the Torah of the Jews, Arphaxad lived, until he fathered Kainan, for 35 years, and having lived after that 530 years, he died one year after the birth of Kahath, son of Levi, son of Jacob.
According to this calculation, he lived, until he fathered Kainan, 35 years, and having lived after that 530 years, he died one year after the birth of Kahath, son of Levi, son of Jacob. According to this calculation he lived until the entry of Jacob in Egypt, which proves the deterioration (of the text). Kainan lived 130 years, until he fathered Scaleh, and 330 years after the birth of Scaleh; his life was 460 years, and he died 66 years after the birth of Phaleg.
This is a second Kainan, the son of Arphaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah; neither his name, nor a mention of him, nor his years are found in the Torah which is in the hands of the Jews; he is not either question of Kainan in the Syriac Torah; his name and years are cut out in the Torah of the Jews.
In the Syriac Torah it is written that several Jewish doctors and some honest people stood up to Annas and Caiphas, high priests at that time, blamed them and reproached them for what they had done to the Messiah, and made them fear for themselves because of their arrogance towards him, though they had recognized his grace and his benefits for them. |44
The frightened high priests hid from them; and the treasures of the revealed books of God being in their hands, they omitted these years of which we already spoke and which we will explain later, if great God wills. When they had found the name of this second Kainan among the descent of Noah, whose name was identical with that of Kainan, son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, they cut out his name from the Torah; and they cut out his years, with other years still, to make their followers believe that they were in the middle of the duration of the world, in order to refute the word of the blessed Paul who said that the last days have arrived; as well as the word of the disciples of the Messiah, who were after them, that the Messiah will appear at the end of time. They talked among themselves against them on this subject and said aloud that the time of the Messiah had not arrived and that it would arrive only at the end of time.
When the argument and the controversy had started between them, the disciples (of Christ) discovered the clear and obvious truth, noted it and forced them to acknowledge that they had cut out the name of this Kainan. After that they gave a reason to those who believed in the Messiah, and said to them that they had cut out his name because he had invented, had proclaimed and introduced the worship of idols.
Then it was said to them: "Alright, you have cut out his name. But his years, where did you put them?" And they remained stuck and without arguments. |45
We have found the name of this second Kainan written in the Torah which is in the hands of the Samaritans, and also in the Gospel of Luke the Evangelist, when he gives the genealogy of the Messiah 6.
Scaleh lived 130 years and fathered Haber, and he lived after the birth of Haber 330 years. It is said that Haber is the same person as Hud. His life having been 460 years, he died in the seventeenth generation, 66 years after the birth of Ar`Ã» (Rahu). As for what is in the mutilated Torah of the Jews and that which is extracted from it, it is written there that Scaleh lived 30 years and fathered Haber; having lived after the birth of Haber 430 years, he died in the 23rd generation, 65 years after the birth of Jacob. Haber lived 134 years until he fathered Phaleg; he lived after the birth of Phaleg 270 years; his life having been 464 years, he died in the 18th generation, 8 years after the birth of SarÃ»g.
According to the Torah of the Jews and the Syriac, Haber lived 430 years until he fathered Phaleg; he lived after the birth of Phaleg 370 years and he died in the 23rd generation, 39 years after the birth of Jacob. From the name 'Haber' the Jews were called Hebrews, because the first language |46 was Hebrew. Others say that they were called Hebrews, because Abraham had crossed the Euphrates.
Phaleg lived 130 years, fathered Ar`Ã» and lived after that 280 years; his life having been 338 years, he died in the 18th generation, 76 years after the birth of SarÃ»g. According to the Torah of the Jews, Phaleg lived 30 years until he fathered Ar`Ã»; having lived after that 368 years, he died in the 22nd generation, 37 years after the birth of Isaac. He died 62 years before the death of Haber, his son.
At the time of Phaleg, son of Haber, and from his time, the languages, the people and the tribes divided among the seven climates of the earth, as we reported above. Each of their tribes and groups took a country and a climate, of which it was master.
Account of the division of languages on the surface of the earth in all the climates.
It is written that the earth had only one race and one language for everyone; this was Hebrew. Because of this, men gathered |47 to build a high building and a castle, i.e. a tower, whose the top, as they believed, would reach to the sky, to take refuge there so that the flood would not arrive and drown them or that they would not be dispersed over the surface of the earth.
The division of languages.
When men revolted against their Lord and turned with eagerness to build the tower, -- there were seventy-two chiefs on seventy-two towers in this building, on each tower a chief to make his companions work -- God, may his name be blessed, during their disobedience, their wrongdoing and their revolt against their Lord, showed to them seventy-two tongues of fire in the air, revolving and of various colors to warn them, so that they would be converted (to God). But they did not convert and did not cease revolting.
Then God was angry against them, because they had not obeyed the signs of his dissatisfaction and his anger. The sacred Book said that the Lord then divided their language into seventy-two languages, so that one did not understand the |48 language and the words of another, according to the number of their tribes, coming from the children of Shem, Cham and Jafeth, about which we spoke, and according to the number of their chiefs who supervised the construction of the tower. According to this account, this country was called Babel, because the Lord there had confused and divided their languages.
As for Haber, he remained firm in obedience to his Lord, did not share in their wrongdoing, did not have any leaning to their passions and their perverse thoughts, thanks to his holiness, because he knew that God could do with them what he wished. A certain scholar has said that God revealed to him, because of the more perfect knowledge that he had of God because of his holiness and his purity, what He would do to men, and for language, He taught the Hebraic language to him. Men dispersed over all the earth, and their attacks, one against another were renewed.
The beginning of the description of the climates.
We said at the beginning what we have reported earlier and wrote on the limits of the countries of the tribes of the children of Shem, Chain and Jafeth, son of Noah; we set forth how the earth had been divided in general between them, without indicating |49 the limits of the climates, without describing who was where, without explanation and comment. We will now begin by telling and setting forth the division of the seven climates, cultivated and inhabited, and the delimitation of their length and their width; we will describe the state of the tribes and the peoples which inhabit them; we will report their habits, their administration, their conditions, their distinctive characters, the principal events which have occurred on there since ancient times and since their dispersion; we will speak about the animals and all the wild beasts which are there, climate by climate, according to what Ptolemy the scholar said and after him Eratosthenes 7 (?) the scholar.
We say that the earth is divided into five parts, of which four are not cultivated, nor habitable.
The first part is that of the east, always hot, blazing and extreme; the second part is that of the south, located on the right side of the first climate, excessively hot, so that it is impossible to live there; the third part is that of the west, full of water; its limits are insuperable seas and uninhabited islands; the fourth part is that of North, on the right side of the seventh climate, excessively cold, poor and arid, always covered with snow. There is only one part of these five climates which is cultivated in the inhabitable world, it is the middle part. |50
It is divided into seven parts and these seven parts are called in Greek Flimata, i.e. the climates, and in Persan Kouschour.
It is necessary firstly to know that the earth is round like a ball; its cultivated and inhabited centre represents an elevation; its sides touch the four parts which are located below; because of its elevation the centre is closer to the course of the sun in the Eastern part of the earth, i.e. the area of the "scorched" earth 8. As a man moves and advances mentally and intellectually from the northern area towards the extreme limits of the earth and examines it attentively, he finds that the increase in the length of the day is related directly to the rise of the sun over the northern part of the twelve signs of the zodiac in the sign of Cancer, and the increase of the length of the night to the descent of the sun into the Zodiac in the south; he will perceive this by his intelligence and will understand it.
(This part that we are describing) is extremely cold. The explanation of what we reported the length of the duration of the night and the day in these places, is found in the astrolabe, i.e. in the "dial" that Ptolemy made, in "the beydeh" (egg), in the «zat al-Halk» 9 and also in the Book of the Canon, where |51 he tells and describes the length and the width of the earth, the seas, the islands, the cities and the knowledge of the hours of the seven climates. Ptolemy reports in his books what follows and he said:
"The first climate starts close to the scorched earth, and this climate is called διάμερος; it is the area of India and the part furthest away from China; the longest day is thirteen hours there.
The second climate is called in Greek διάστατος which is the country of Kush; it is the country of Abyssinia; the longest day is thirteen hours and half there.
The third climate is called the climate of Alexandria; the longest day is fourteen hours there.
The fourth climate is called in Greek Rodous (Rhodes), the island which is in the sea; it includes the towns of Syria and Mesopotamia, which is located between two rivers; it includes Babel and other cities; the longest day is fourteen hours and half there.
The fifth climate is called in Greek Hellespontus (Pontus), where Constantinople, Amouryah (Amorion) and Rome are; the longest day is fifteen hours there.
The sixth climate is called in Greek Mesopotamia, where the countries of the Bourdjans and others are; the longest day is fifteen hours and half there.
The seventh climate is called in Greek |52 Baristhanis (Boristhenes), whose inhabitants are always somnolent; the longest day is sixteen hours.
Now we will start to describe the longitude and the latitude of each of these climates.
We say that the latitude of these seven climates, cultivated and inhabited, which are in the centre of the earth, starting with India and the part furthest away from China and the area of the scorched earth and going until the end of the seventh climate, i.e. of the area from the south to north; the whole latitude is of sixty-three degrees.
This latitude is divided into seven parts which are the climates; the latitude of each climate is nine degrees, as divided by the scholar Hermes and by Ptolemy. The extent of these nine degrees is twenty-seven days, because the extent of each degree is one hundred miles. There is obviously no doubt that the extent of each degree is a distance of three days. This climate begins in the region of the East and extends to the end of the region of the West; its longitude is 180 degrees, a half of the sphere being above it and other half below. Its overall length, from the area of the Sea-Ocean to the sea which surrounds the world, up to its Western point, is 160 days, a total of 5,600 parasangs, |53 according to the calculation of the Persians and the peoples of the East. We already said that the latitude of this first climate, from the area close to the scorched earth, extends to the land of Serendib (Taprobane, Ceylon).
The inhabitants of this climate, i.e. from the part of China furthest away from the edge of the land of the East to the edge of the region of the West, have one characteristic: they are naked like animals, of hideous and ugly exterior aspect and form. The majority of them derive from the tribes of the children of Cham. They had many mysteries and knew magic and other things well; their life is long.
In this climate are found beasts and large animals with dreadful bodies, of hideous aspect, of extremely ugly form, large birds of which some have the shapes of animals, for example, the ostrich, the giraffe, the griffon and a bird which is called the sparrow of the elephant, which throws itself on the great elephant and carries it off; there are found large elephants and other animals which are not seen and about which are not spoken of elsewhere. Also there are found there every species of large snake, large dragons, ordinary snakes and hideous and dreaded reptiles. |54
In this climate the men are experts in magic and know aromatic plants and stones, whose quality and nature make of them effective remedies for the cure of the diseases; they treat with these all those who suffer from the bite of these hideous and dreaded reptiles, and cure them. Its length, as we have already recounted, is, from the region of the East to the region of the West, 5,600 parasangs, and its width, from the region of the South to the region of the North, is 285 parasangs.
The second climate is that of Abyssinia. Its width extends from the limits of the land of Serendib to the Western region of the country of Abyssinia and to the mountains of emerald, precious stones and the gold mines; its inhabitants are those of the nearer part of China, Sind and India. In this climate are also found animals, birds and reptiles which are robust, dreaded and large, but less so than in the first climate; the aspect of its inhabitants, their form and their exterior, is not quite so hideous as among the inhabitants of the first climate. Many aromatic plants and stones are also found there which, thanks to their quality and their nature, produce a cure, if diseases are treated with them. Among its inhabitants, there are many who know magic, the mysteries and the treatment of the diseases |55 with these plants and stones very well; but they are less expert than the inhabitants of the first climate. It is the same thing concerning their life (= their life is shorter). As for its length and its width, they are the same as the ones we gave for the first climate.
The third climate is that of Alexandria. This climate extends from the ends of the country of Egypt, of the region of the West and the East, from the borders of the land of Sindous of bysse; and its width goes from the region of the West to the borders of Syria (Souriya) external and the first part of Persia, close to the country of Ispahan, of Ray and the country of Maisan and to the border of Alexandria and Barkah and the first part of Africa.
The inhabitants of this climate, I swear by my life, are interested in nature and in examining physical things; they are assiduous at work; they study literature, the sacred books and the sciences with more zeal than the inhabitants of the first climate or those of the second, because this climate is by nature better than the two precedents. As for its length and its width, they are same dimensions that we gave in connection with the length and the width of the first climate.
The fourth climate in the centre of which is a maritime island which is called Rhodes, includes many cities which it is impossible to count. But we will list some of them so as to clarify and explain the charts and the plans where the system of the division of the seven climates is traced. |56 Of its cities we will name Damascus, Hims, Qinnesrin 10, Haleb, Menbidj, Afainée, Antioch (Anthakyah), Harran, Edessa (ar-Roha), Rakkah, Râs`Ain, Nisibis, Mosul, Baghdad and Ray. Its limits extend from its eastern end on a line which goes to the region of the west; and from the country of Spain they touch part of the country of Africa, the north coast in Sicily, the country of Laodicea and Tripoli 11, the country of Athens and Ephesus, in the Greek country with Cyprus and Asia Minor. This climate is in the centre of the earth, and, for this reason, it is superior to all the climates by the moderation and the evenness of the temperature. This is why its inhabitants are scholars, philosophers, scholars, astronomers, writers, doctors, and carry out research on the physical and natural questions and on the essence of things.
The books indicate that among them all the wonders and the ten sciences are joined together, i.e. astronomy, or the movement of stars, and astrology, i.e. the proverbs which relate to them, and their knowledge; geometry, i.e. the measurement of surfaces, the construction of figures, the operations of levelling and unspecified distances; arithmetic, or books of |57 numbers; music, i.e. the collection and composition of melodies; medicine (ἰατρική), which is the art of treatment; al-Soumie (= τὰ σημεῖα), this is the science of alchemy; mechanics, these are books on machines, and al-Arkhifie (?) from which come the books of magic and the other similar things; the tenth science is that of the categories; these are the treatises on the way of speaking, which is the art of learning the truth and distinguishing it from error.
The inhabitants of this climate are superior to those in the third climate and have more scholars and philosophers, because they are characterized by fineness of spirit and knowledge because of the balance of their character. As for its length and its width, they are what we already indicated.
The fifth climate corresponds to the Hellespont where are Constantinople, Amorion, Rome, Spain and the province of Thrace. The inhabitants are a fair, reddish people, passionate, extremely lustful, fiery and irritable. Such was Esau, their father. They are less erudite and less philosophical that the inhabitants of the fourth climate; they are wild and are not civilized, but they hasten to adopt civilization and adapt to it quickly; however the inhabitants of the fourth climate |58 have a finer spirit and a clearer intelligence than those of this climate. As for its length and its width, it is as we have already given.
The sixth climate corresponds to Mesopotamia, one of the islands of the sea. The inhabitants of this climate are Bourdjans and Slaves; and other tribes of women live also in a region of this climate, and the men do not live with them. They are called in Greek Amazons; they always cut off the right breast and cauterize it with fire to prevent it from developing in order to be ready for war and combat. They are also called al-Kharouniat (?) because the Samiris fought them and killed all their male children. They are obliged because of this not to raise the males, but only the women. They go out and go once a year to the border of their country, to the country of Bourdjans, where the men of Bourdjans sleep with them, and they conceive; then they return to their residences. They are always ready for war and combat. No scientist puts this fact in doubt or denies the truth of their history such as we report, and nobody disputes it 12. The inhabitants of this climate like war and the effusion of blood and are pitiless; |59 this is why they are called Slaves. They are circumcised. This is a people with no knowledge of moral books, nor sciences, nor other things. As for its length and its width, it is as we already reported.
The seventh known climate corresponds to Borysthenes; it is inhabited by the people who are called in Greek Youmid.s (? ) i.e. "somnolent"; they are a weak and feeble people because of the excessive rigour of the cold, because they are close to the region of the north and the uncultivated and uninhabited places, where the constellation of the Bear turns always just above their heads. The animals and the beasts of their country are very small; the cows and the sheep do not have horns because of the excessive rigour of the cold; no reptiles are found in their country; they cannot build houses; but they manufacture huts of wooden boards, coat them with tar, put them on carriages pulled by oxen; they live there, and travel day and night everywhere where they find in their country the means of living and the pastures for their herds. They are constantly reduced to misery because of the bad conditions of their deplorable life. It is said that, if they fall seriously ill, they |60 put their patients on a carriage, remove their men's clothes and put those of woman on them; they are thus cured. As for the length and the width of this climate, it is as what we have reported for each of the seven climates. The indications which we have given on the seven climates, rest on obvious evidence for he who finds them, using our description, on the plan or the chart on which we have traced where these seven climates are represented.
Now look and examine well this chart and this map where the seven climates are traced, and see how many ideas this plan shows you, how it shows and explains the course of the sun in the four regions of the world from the beginning of its course and its rotation from east to west, - how it makes known you its rotation through the twelve signs of the zodiac, in every month of the year, - how the sun rises in the northern signs of the zodiac and sets in the southern signs of the zodiac; (this map) will explain to you the passage of the sun during the night in the regions lower down and located at the bottom; and from how many climates the sun is distant, when it is in the sign of Cancer, in the month of Haziran (June), and leaves behind him a climate and half in the region of the south, and when the sun enters the sign of the Capricorn, in the month of first Kanoun. Moreover, on the map there are explanations and information on this fact that the sun, entering there, leaves (without light) all the seven climates far from him. |61
Here is the description of the climates of the tribes of the children of Noah after the division of languages over the surface of the earth and over the whole length of these climates, from the west to the east, or over the width of the region, from south to north.
As for what remains beyond the sixty-three degrees of latitude, which is called the top of the seven climates, day does not cease there, and lasts in the region of the north beyond the inhabited earth for twenty one hours and twenty two minutes and arrives at twenty-four hours, so that daylight does not cease
Then one arrives at the country of darkness: the night lasts six months, the day there also six months.
Chapter of the seas, gulfs and islands.
The sea of India has been measured and it is said that it extends in its length from west to east, i.e. from the coast of India until the coast of Abyssinia; its length is 8,000 miles and its width is 2,700 miles, until it passes beyond the island where night is equal to day 13; its second part is 1,900 miles; this sea contains |62 a gulf in the country of Abyssinia, which extends from the region of Berber and is called the gulf of the Berbers; its length is 500 miles and the length of the coast is 100 miles. The other gulf is that on the coast of Aylah; its length is 1,400 miles and its width at the beginning is 700 miles, and its end, i.e. the part which is called the Red Sea, is 200 miles.
This sea contains also on the coast of Persia a gulf which is called the Persian Gulf; its length is 1,400 miles, its width at the beginning is 500 miles and its end is 150 miles. Between these two gulfs is the country of Hedjaz and Yemen; the distance between the gulf of Aylah and the Persian Gulf is 1,500 miles. This sea contains still another gulf, extending to the end of the country of India, which is called the Green gulf; its length is of 1,500 miles.
Among the 1,370 islands, inhabited and uninhabited, at the end of the sea, near the country of India, on the east coast, there is a large island which is called Taprobane, 3,000 miles of circumference; there are there high mountains and several rivers from where the red and blue hyacinth are found; around this island there are 90 inhabited islands where many cities are found.
As for the Green Sea, only its proximity to the region of the west and the north, at the edges of the country of Abyssinia as far as |63 Britain, is known; ships do not go there. Six islands are found there, located near the country of Abyssinia, which are called the Eternal Islands (Khalidâth, the Canaries). There is another island, which is called Ghadyra (Cadiz); this island is located near Spain, close to the strait which comes out of the other sea. Its width is four miles; it is located between Spain and Tangier; it is called the strait of Ceuta and emerges in the sea of Roum. On the north side of this sea are twelve islands, which are called the Islands of Britain. Then this sea extends away from the inhabited regions and nobody knows anything about it.
The sea of Roum and of Misr (the Mediterranean) extends from the strait which leaves the Green Sea, towards the East, to Tyre and Sidon; its length is 5,000 miles and its width is about 800 miles. It forms a gulf moving north near Rome, of which the length is 500 miles and which is called the Adriatic Sea; it forms another gulf which starts near the country of the Berbers, of which the length is 200 miles. In this sea there are 162 inhabited islands, including fifteen large islands: Anhàr (Corsica?) 200 miles in circumference, |64 Sardinia 300 miles in circumference, Sicily 500 miles in circumference, Crete 300 miles in circumference and Cyprus 350 miles in circumference. The sea of Pontus extends from Lazikah to beyond Constantinople; its length is 1,300 miles and its width 300 miles. It receives the river called Tanais; it runs from the north and comes out of the lake called Mayotis; it is a large sea, but it is called a lake; its length from east to west is 300 miles and its width is 100 miles. At Constantinople, this sea forms a strait which runs like a river and throws itself into the sea of Misr; its width at Constantinople is three miles; Constantinople is built on its sides.
The division of the earth.
The sea of Djordjan or the sea al-Bab (Caspian Sea). The length of this sea, from east to west, is 800 miles and its width is 600 miles; it contains two islands, located near Djordjan, which were once inhabited. Such is the topography of the inhabited earth and the situation of the seas of the sphere which are known.
The earth is also divided, in another way, |65 into three parts.
The first part is that which lies between the Green sea on the north coast and the strait which leaves the sea of Pontus in the great Sea, and that which lies between the Lake Mayotis and the sea of Pontus. The limits of this region are, on the west and north, the Green sea; on the south, the Sea of Roum (the Mediterranean) and of Misr (Egypt); on the east, the strait, the Tanaïs river and Lake Mayotis. This land resembles an island and is named Europe.
The second part extends from the south coast of the sea to the sea of Abyssinia. Its limits are, on the west side, the Green sea; on the north side, the sea of Roum and Misr; on the east side, al-`Arysch, and on the south side, the border of Abyssinia. This part is named Libya.
The third part is what remains of the inhabited country of the earth as far as the ends of the East. Its limits are, on the west side, the Tanais river, al-`Arysch and Aylah; on the south side, the sea of India and Yemen; on the east side, it extends until the end of the inhabited country of China. This part is named Great Asia.
These three parts include the seven climates, all inhabited countries and all the cities.
As for the earth, its length, according to the description that we |66 have just given, extends from the east to the west and its width from south to north, starting from the middle of the circumference of the earth, where night and day, summer and winter are equal [in length], to the region of the north. In this place the days and the nights are twelve hours, without increase, or decrease.
Note on the rising and setting of the sun, on the increase and decrease in the day and night and on the course of the stars.
Night and the day are equal [in length] when the sun enters the head of the Ram [=Aries] and Libra; then, starting from the entry of the sun into the sign of the Ram to the entry of the sun into the sign of Cancer, the day does not cease increasing and the night decreasing, because the sun goes up towards the region of the north twenty-three degrees and fifty- one minutes; then the sun, from the moment of its entry into the head of Cancer until the first minute of Libra, goes down from the region of the north twenty-three degrees and fifty-one minutes. Then the day starts to increase and the night to decrease until the entry of the sun into Libra, until the night and the day become equal. Then the sun goes down |67 into the region of the south, from the head of Libra until that of the Capricorn; these are the degrees about which we spoke, --- twenty-three degrees and fifty-one minutes. Then it is the day which starts to decrease and the night to increase until the sun arrives in the first minute of Capricorn. Then the sun is driven while going up and climbs from the south towards the equator, from the head of Capricorn to the head of the Ram. At this time the day starts to increase and the night to decrease; the sun, as we said, is inclined in its rise and descent by twenty-three degrees and fifty-one minutes, because the sun crosses the centre of the Zodiac, on the right and on the left. As for the variation of the sun that we see, it occurs in front of the curvature of the Zodiac. The sun, the moon, the stars and the five planets move from west to east in a contrary direction to the rotation of the sphere, because the sphere turns from east to west. The sun moves as much below the earth, as above it; there is always above the earth the figure of the Zodiac and below it also the figure of the Zodiac; when one appears, the other disappears.
As for the remainder of the earth, it is unknown whether it is inhabited or deserted; it includes the eleven twelfths of the sphere; there is only one part out of twelve which is inhabited. |68 In this part, which is the inhabited country, there are seas and deserts. The researcher who wants to give an account of these things, will perhaps ask us whether there is in these eleven parts, vegetation, animals, or seas, as in our own single part; we will answer: the land which was inhabited before us, does not exceed the limits about which we spoke; as for what is beyond that, nobody has entered there and nobody came from there to us. The opinions and the ideas of the scholars are in agreement, and no intelligent person denies that the sun, the moon and the stars move over us, and that this movement produces the summer, the winter, spring and the autumn, which everyone knows. If the sun rises above all the places of the surface of the earth, as with us, just as the moon and stars, it is necessary that there are plants, animals, seas and mountains, as with us.
Here are some reasons why, as follows: if, in the seven climates, the sun, the moon and the stars move, as we said, it is also necessary that the earth as we described, is inhabited starting from the equator, i.e. the northern half of the terrestrial sphere and (the other) half of the terrestrial sphere, i.e. starting from the equator on the south side; there must be also a climate, like these seven climates which are in the north. In addition to the division that we have just given, the ancients divided the earth, its countries and its cities into twelve |69 parts and allotted each part to one of the twelve signs of the zodiac, so that these countries and cities knew their relation to the signs of the zodiac and planets to which the ancients had allotted them; they thought thus to know of either abundance or famine in their countries by calculating the movement of the years, and from the signs of the zodiac which dominate the year, and from the stars. According to this idea one may form an opinion on the area and the country where (such a sign) dominates, according to the knowledge of the scholars, so far as that depends on external and interior qualities of the celestial sphere and that which it contains.
Chapter of the countries and the cities of the earth, named according to the signs of the zodiac.
The countries of the Ram [=Aries] are: Fars, Azerbaijan, Britain, Sicily, Germany, Palestine and part of el-Balka.
The sign of the Bull [=Taurus]: all towns of Mah, Ispahan, the small islands of the sea of Roum, Cyprus, Minor Asia.
The sign of Gemini: the countries of Djilan, Deilem, Djordjan, Thabaristan, Greater Armenia, Merv, Tripoli (Athrablous), |70 Marakiah and Misr.
The sign of Cancer: the land of the Berbers (Barbary), Africa, Bithynia, which are in the country of the Greeks, Phrygia, Ladikiyah (?) and Lydia.
The sign of the Lion: the countries of the Turks, Abraschahr, Antioch (Anthakiah), Halikiyah (?), Aetolia (?) 14, Emesa (Homs), Damascus (Dimeschk) and the country around Koufah.
The sign of Virgo: Corinth, the country of Babel, of Mosul and al-Djezîreh, the country of the Greeks and Carthage 15.
The sign of Libra: Bukhara, Thabaristan, Kashmir, Tibet, Schoul, Awsis (?), the part of the country of Abyssinia which is called Troglodytica, Sedjestan, Carmania.
The sign of Scorpio: the country of Hedjaz, Amoul, Tangier, Hatouliyah, blue Nubia, Souriah (Syria), Cappadocia.
The sign of Sagittarius: the country of Ph.lathiki, Andalusia (Spain) and country of the Slavs.
The sign of Capricorn: the country of India, al-Sous, Mokrân, HÃ»ah (?), Thrace, Macedonia and Illyria (?).
The sign of Aquarius: Sarmatia, the river of Balch, Sogdiania, Ferghânah, |71 as-Schasch, al-Balkah and Azania in the centre of Abyssinia.
The sign of Pisces: Babylonia, Paphlagonia, SmÃ»nithis (?), Khorramah, NikÃ»dhÃ»liah (Nicomedia?)
We have already explained the state of the seven climates of the earth and their inhabited country; we have set forth the conditions wherein are their inhabitants and their distribution on the sphere; finally we described the earth which is neither cultivated, nor inhabited, as far as the information found in books of earlier scholars allowed.
Now we will return to the account of the history of the world.
An account which makes
known the true cause of how the worship of the idols
entered the world after the division of languages over the surface of the earth.
It is written that when the languages of the tribes of the children of Shem, Cham and Jafeth, son of Noah, were divided in all the climates, on the surface of the earth; when they had occupied their areas and when each language, each people and tribe had moved away into an unspecified region of a climate of the earth, as we described, the people began to make war on each other, one against another. Each tribe and each people chose a head of an army, who led their troops and |72 led them into battle, going at their head. It is told that once, when some of the chiefs of the warriors and commanders of the troops returned victorious and triumphing to their companions, their people and their tribe, the people took them as their masters because of their victory and for their chiefs, renowned and famous for their exploits, their wars and their success, they set up idols bearing their names and resembling them, so that these idols recalled the memory of those who had made conquests to their profit and had returned victorious to them. A long time after this, people started to show veneration towards them and to offer sacrifices to them, initially as a testimony of veneration for them and to remember the victories which they had gained; then when misfortunes occurred, when their enemies, wanting revenge, inflicted on them all kinds of evils and wounds, they came to these idols, beseeching their help. For this reason, in the times that followed, the worship and the veneration of the idols were introduced by the living themselves of the heroes; devils, according to what is written, spoke to the men from the interior of these idols.
The total of the years from the time of the flood until the birth of Ar`Ã», son of Phaleg, which took place at the time of the division of the languages, is |73 670 years; from Adam and the beginning of the world until that year, there were 2926 years.
Here is the explanation of this calculation: Shem fathered Arphaxad two years after the flood; the years of Arphaxad from the day of his birth until that of Kainan, his son, were 135 years; from the day of the birth of Kainan until that of Scaleh, his son, they were139 years; from the day of the birth of Scaleh until that of Haber, his son, they was 130 years; from the day of the birth of Haber until Haber fathered Phaleg, his son, 134 years; from the day of the birth of Phaleg until he fathered Ar`Ã», 132 years. That gives 670 years. If the years from Adam to the year of the flood, i.e. 2,256 years, are added to it, the total is 2,926 years.
This calculation is made using the Septuagint, which translated the Torah and all the books of the prophets in accordance with the truth. As for what we find in the Torah which is in the hands of the Jews, because of the reduction and the mutilation that they made it undergo, and in the Syriac Torah which is copied from it, it is written there that Shem fathered Arphaxad two years after the flood, and from the day of the birth of Arphaxad until he fathered Scaleh, there were 35 years; they omitted Kainan, his son, and, having removed from the Torah his name and his years, they wrote Scaleh, |74 his grandson; from the day of the birth of Scaleh until he fathered Haber, there were 30 years; from the day of the birth of Haber until he fathered Phaleg, 34 years; from the birth of Phaleg until he fathered Ar`Ã», 30 years. That made 131 years. According to the reduced and mutilated Torah, from Adam to the flood there were 2,656 years and from the flood to the birth of Ar`Ã», son of Phaleg, at the time which the languages divided, there were 131 years.
According to the reduced Torah, from Adam and the origins of the world until this year, there were 2,787 years, so that the Jews reduced the count until that year by 1,139 years.
In consequence of the confusion and the division of languages, Phaleg was called (the divider), because the translation of his name in Hebrew and Syriac was "moukassim".
Ar`Ã» lived from the day of his birth until he fathered SarÃ»g for 132 years and after the birth of SarÃ»g 267 years; he lived for 339 years, and he died 77 years after the birth of Nachor. As for the reduced Torah, it is written there that Ar`Ã» lived for 32 years and fathered SarÃ»g; he lived after the birth of SarÃ»g 367 years, and he died 38 years after the birth of Jacob; his death happened before that of Haber, his grandfather. 74 years after the birth of Ar`Ã» the third millenium of the chronology of the world was completed, according to the version of |75 the Seventy, because we already explained and indicated above that the years from Adam and the origin of the world until the year of the birth of Ar' Ã», son of Phaleg, were 2,926 years; if we add 74 years to this from the birth of Ar' Ã», the third thousand years will be complete.
History of Nimrod, son of Chanaan, son of Cham, son of Noah, son of Lamec, the Giant-King.
It is written that in the 84th year after the birth of Ar`Ã», ten years after the third millennium, there appeared the first king who ruled over all the earth, in Babel, Nimrod, son of Chanaan, son of Cham, the king-giant, who reigned for sixty-nine years; his crown was woven and was not of gold. Nimrod built three cities, Arakh, Adja and Kila, i.e. Edessa (ar-Roha), Nisibis and Seleucia.
In the hundredth year of Ar' Ã» the Egyptians, after the Babylonians, gave themselves a king, whose name was Manouphis (Μήνης), who reigned over them for 68 years; he was called Mesraïm according to the name of Mesraïm, their father. It is certain that it is from the name Mesraïm that (Egypt) was called Misr 16. |76
History of the children of Kahthan, which is called in the Torah Abrithan 17, who made known weapons and engines of war.
It is written that at that time the sons of Yokthan appeared, who is the same as Kahthan; they were three chiefs who were giants; one was called Sheba, another Ophir, the third Heval. The sons of Kahthan started to make war against the peoples and tribes with every kind of weapons and implements, because they were the first who used engines of war and who understood them. The first knowledge that they had of them and the first use that they made of them were suggested to them by the example of wild animals.
The lance they imitated from the animal called in Greek Monokeraton (Μονοκέρατον); it is the animal which the Persians call and know as Karkadann (rhinoceros), and the Arabs also call it by this name, because it has only one horn which rises in the middle of the head in the shape of a lance, with which it strikes any beast or animal.
The sword they made use of in the imitation of the wild boars, which, when they strike a tree with their tooth, cut it and split it in two. |77
The arrow they imitated from the animal which is called the porcupine or douldoul, which, when it draws up one of its hairs, launches it and does not miss the place aimed at.
The shield they borrowed from the turtle, whose back was of an extraordinary size. In this way, they invented by imitation all the kinds of weapons about which we spoke.
The earth and the countries that each of these three chiefs obtained for themselves, were the Eastern countries on the coast of China and the neighbouring countries; pure gold is found there, hyacinths, emeralds, pearls and all the large trees which exhale perfumes, - for example: the aloe tree, the sandal tree and others, as the Bible reports.
The learned Mousous (?) wrote in his book on the nations that the peoples, tired of their battle against the children of Kahthan, and the disorders which resulted from the war and the battles waged against them with every kind of weapons that these people did not know, allowed them to choose the climates which they would prefer, so that they put an end to the war. The children of Kahthan chose this country: everyone needs this country, what is found here and what those who govern it possess, while they do not need anything of what is found in other countries. |78
Sarug lived until he fathered Nachor for 130 years, and, after the birth of Nachor, for 200 years; his life was 330 years, and he died 46 years after the birth of Abraham.
According to what we find in the Torah, which is today in the hands of the Jews, in consequence of the reduction that they made to it, and the deterioration (of the text), Sarug lived for 30 years until he fathered Nachor, and 300 years after the birth of Nachor, and died 61 years after the birth of Jacob; he died seventeen years before the death of Ar`Ã», his father.
In the year 21 from the birth of Sarug, there appeared the second king of Babel; he was called Kambiros and he reigned 85 years. In his time currency appeared, i.e. the house to strike dinars and dirhems and the art of making silver and gold ornaments. At that time Amorius was distinguished, of the family of Ophir, a craftsman of iron and copper.
In the year forty-six of the reign of Cambiros, king of Babel, this monarch built some cities, of which the first was great Susa.
At that time Kambiros made war on the Chaldaeans and put them to death, as we find in the books and the accounts attributed to Zoroaster (Zaradouscht) the Magus.
In year 106 of Sarug, there reigned |79 in Babel the third king, who was called Samiros; the duration of his reign was 72 years; he was the first which had measures made, the balance and weights 18.
The Birth of Abraham.
Nachor lived for 79 years, and fathered Tarikh, father of Abraham, and he lived, after the birth of Tarih, for 122 years; his life was 201 years, and he died 47 years after the birth of Abraham. Nachor lived until he fathered Tarih, according to the Torah of the Jews, for 29 years, and 172 years after the birth of Tarih, and he died 22 years after the birth of Isaac, son of Abraham; and his death took place before that of his father and his grandfather. At that time Kisrounis, king of Parthia, made war against Samiros and after having fought him killed him; he tore off the skin of his head and the hair, braided them in four braids, and made a crown for himself from it.
Because of that he was called Diokratis, i.e. having two horns (Dou-l-Karnein). This is not the same person as |80 Alexander Dou-l-Karnein, because Alexander was called Dou-l-Karnein because of his passage and his arrival in the East and the West.
The first to invent the sciences and astronomy.
At that time in Egypt there reigned a king, called Antoutis (Aphintos), for thirty-two years; he was the first to invent books, sciences, astronomy, arithmetic according to the books of Chaldaeans and the Eastern scholars, and introduced them in Egypt; he learned science from sorcery and magic. At that time, Sodom and Gomorrha and also Babylon on the river Nile were built.
In year 70 of Nachor Damascus (Dimeschk) was built.
Tarikh lived 75 years and fathered Abraham; after the birth of Abraham, he lived 130 years; his life having been 205 years, he died 55 years after the birth of Isaac. This is what is written in the mutilated and truncated Torah of the Jews. The corruption and reduction continue until the years of the date of the birth of Abraham because this space of time, which the majority of men know nothing about, is so distant, the high priests of the Jews reduced the years to the era |81 of the Messiah and after his ascension into Heaven. At that time two high priests of the Jews, Annas and Caiphas, wished to falsify the mission of Christ and to refute the time of his advent, because they were frightened because a great number of their respected and older chiefs recognized the mission of Christ for them and the authenticity of the miracles among them, when they had seen the resurrection of Christ, as it is written in the Gospel, in which the Christians believed firmly. They talked against them, and a controversy took place between them. Annas and Caiphas, the high priests, made arguments against them and affirmed that the Messiah whom the prophets had prophesied, would come only in the last days; but, they said, we are still in the middle of the days of the world.
But the others disagreed with them; then they, having the libraries in their possession, set out to cut off these years from Adam and the beginning from the world until the time of Tarih and from the birth of Abraham; and because of the distance of time and ignorance of the majority of the men, as we already said, they cut off from the history from the world, from Adam to the time of Abraham, 1389 years; when they had arranged it between them, in secrecy, they showed it to their companions and all the men who agreed with them in their desire of the death of the Messiah. They made several copies, |82 which they hid with their right-hand men, so that they would show this version and mislead people with it; they hid the translation of the Torah, translated by the Seventy commentators, with their companions, with the books of the Prophets, which were translated under King Ptolemy Philadelphus in the town of Alexandria; they changed and mutilated in the Books of the Prophets all that they could, of what referred to the prophecies on the Messiah. The acts of the Messiah Our Lord which are in the books of the Seventy, are, on the contrary, faithful and clear. They made this falsification after the Resurrection of Christ, while the translation of the Seventy was completed approximately 300 years before the Advent of Christ.
We will tell without ambiguity the history of Ptolemy Philadelphus and the care which he gave to the translation of the sacred books and their explanation, until we arrive at the end, if God so wishes. The beginning of this history goes up at the time of Ptolemy and Alexander Dou-l-Karnein, the greatest king. In this history we will explain the corruption of the Jews and the reduction of the years that they made, if God so wishes. |83
The account of King Alexander Dou-l-Karnein.
His empire was divided between his four servants, who had been his bodyguards. The sacred book calls them his servants 19. One of them was Ptolemy Philadelphus, king of Alexandria, about whom we have already said that the Seventy, erudite Jews, translated for him into Greek the Torah and all the Books of the Prophets of Hebrew. It should not be thought that this account has been anticipated and has been put in a place which was wrong for its date, but it was necessary to mention it above, because the reduction and the corruption of the years affected the date of Tarih and of the birth of Abraham. It was necessary for us to explain and to indicate the reasons and the reasons which caused Ptolemy Philadelphus to be concerned with translation of the sacred books and to desire this, to show exactly to the learned the motives and reasons from which the Jewish High Priests, Annas and Caiphas, applied themselves boldly to the corruption and reduction, and to explain to intelligent people, the learned and to investigators, how they were exposed and how these passages, mutilated and reduced by them, were recognized, when they were studied and examined. |84
One of the important people of Persia, called Darius, had a quarrel with (Alexander) Dou-l-Karnein, who reigned in Egypt for six years. Alexander conquered him and killed him and seized the best part of his kingdom; after that, he gathered many troops and went at their head against various countries, to make war on their kings and to seize their kingdoms; when he arrived at Sind, he seized some of it and was then on the point of invading India and China. Before that, he divided his empire between four of his bodyguards, as I have already mentioned above, and continued the war against the kings of various people until his death.
When his death became known to his governors, each of them seized the country where he had been named as lieutenant. One of his governors, Ptolemy, son of Arib (Lagos), reigned over Egypt 40 years; Philip reigned over Macedonia; Antigonus and Demetrius over Syria and the country of Asia. Seleucus, who reigned over the countries of the East, went against Egypt in year 13 of Ptolemy, son of Arib; previously he had conquered Syria. Demetrius went towards Asia and having overcome and killed him, seized Asia, Syria and Babylon, where he reigned 32 years. He wanted to institute for Alexander something memorable which would recall after |85 his death the benefits which he had received from him. On this basis he established the count of years according to his name and fixed the beginning of this era at the first day of the conquest of Syria, year 13 of his reign.
From Adam to this year, which is the first year of the reign of Dou-l-Karnein, the years of the history of the world are 5,197 years, which we will explain later, if God so wills.
At that time Ptolemy Philadelphus reigned, for whom, as we have already told, the sacred Books were translated; he reigned over Egypt 38 years. He freed from the captivity the people who were in his kingdom, 130,000, including 30,000 Jews.
First of all, there is an allusion to him in the sacred books, where it is written that there was one of the great foreign kings, called Ptolemy Philadelphus. It is reported that he resembled Alexander in his power, and was higher to him in learning, wisdom and philosophy; all his care and all his pleasure tended only to philosophy, reading books, to all sciences and the knowledge of their mysteries; he propagated them, by gathering them from all the countries and all the regions, so that he cultivated them all; these were the sciences about which we spoke: astronomy, astrology, geometry, arithmetic and the others which we mentioned. In his history, it is written that he joined together the works of |86 these sciences, erected the house of Wisdom (library) for them; he cultivated them and knew their laws and their mysteries. It is written that this king Ptolemy, in gathering books, thought with satisfaction of what posterity would say of him.
Ptolemy gathered the foreigners of all the people who were prisoners in his kingdom, and counted them, and he found their number was 130,000, including 30,000 Jews; and he proposed to them that they return to their countries. The Jews were extremely content with this, were delighted, addressed many prayers for him and thanked him.
The causes of the translation of the Seventy of the old books.
Ptolemy said to them: "I give you this favour; but I have to ask you for something which you will do to show your gratitude." They said to him: "O King, what it?" He said to them: "My request is that you bring me, by the messengers who will go with you, some books of wisdom of your country." They agreed to this and made him an oath to do so. Then the Jews said |87 to him: "Among us, O king, are found some rare Hebrew books that no other people have; these are the revealed books, which were sent from Heaven to the prophets, such as regulations, laws, commandments, order and prohibition; (there are found) what is and what must be." Their language on this subject astonished him and he liked their conduct. He provided them lavishly with travel provisions and food as far as their country and gave orders that they should be allowed to pass to their own place, to the place where they were staying, their governors and their chiefs; he sent gifts and clothing with them and wrote to them about his request. Rejoicing (at the news) which had reached them, they went to meet their companions, when the noise of their journey had reached the borders closest to their country. When they had read the letters of the king, they hastened to agree to his request: they collected the books of the Torah and all the books of the Prophets for him, and sent with them a letter written in Hebrew in letters of gold to him using his messengers; at the same time they wrote a reply to his letter. The Hebrew books arrived, and this was awkward, because he not understand them at all. He sent messengers back to them and let them know, requiring them to send scholars and jurists to him, |88 to translate these books for him into his language; he promised splendid gifts to them.
When his letter had arrived and had been read, they hastened to choose (someone) to send to him, in order to obtain what he promised. Discord and argument broke out among them on this subject; finally they agreed to send six people from each of their tribes, their number being of 72 men, who went to him. When they arrived, he received them in a very hospitable way and divided them into thirty-six groups. Their tribes being of differing opinions, he appointed for each group a man who prevented them from meeting, dealt with their business and, once the translation of the books was completed, passed them from one group to another, until the Torah and all the books of the Prophets were entirely finished. He obtained thirty-six copies in Greek, distributed them to all the countries in his empire and sent a certain number of them to Rome, Ephesus and Byzantium. During their stay, thanks to his good relations with them, he learned Hebrew and became more skilful than themselves in the reading of their books.
After the end of their labours, he loaded them with gifts and provisions for the voyage, sent them back to their compatriots and sent his messengers with them with gifts for their governors and clothing for their chief Eleazar, the high priest, and their companions; in his letter he praised their work. The scholar translators asked him for one of these copies so that they could impress their compatriots; and Ptolemy granted them one. This was the action of the Providence of God who, in his eternal wisdom |89 (knew) the future acts of Annas and Caiphas, their high priests and chiefs, and their followers, who acted in an iniquitous way against the Messiah at the time of his appearance, his advent and their participation in his death, according to what is written in the Gospel of the Christians. Then the resurrection of Christ happened. Several of them joined him, counting on His kindness and His mercy towards them, because He raised the dead, cured the leprous and worked miracles, who struck the spirit, disturbed reason, confused intelligence, made real the inexplicable, in support of what was written on this subject in the Books of the Prophets.
The Jews revealed what they had changed in the sacred books.
Then they revolted against the high priests on the question of Christ, threatened their life, proposed to kill them and attacked them. On this, the high priests changed tactics to escape them and switched their attention to inventing evidence in the question of the Messiah thereby to protect their lives.
The libraries were in their hands, as we already mentioned above, so they busied themselves |91 with the Torah with a preconceived intention and observed there that the their own time was very far away from the time of Adam 20; then they cut off 1389 years from the count of years of Adam and his descent to the birth of Abraham, after cutting off a given number of years from the life of each one (among the patriarchs) of the years before the birth of their children, a hundred years from each, and transferred them to the years of their life after the birth of their children, who are not counted from the beginning of time.
They found Kainan, son of Arfaxad, son of Shem, son of Noah, and cut out his name and his years from the book of the Torah. The retrenchment of these years from their place is obvious to anyone who looks at these passages with their own eyes and examines this question according to the Torah; this passage will tell him what they have mutilated and cut out.
When they had done this and arranged it in secrecy, they invited a certain number of those who had revolted against them, because of their manner of acting in the question of the Messiah, and proffered the evidence to them claiming that his time had not arrived yet and that his appearance would take place only at the last days of the world; they said: "We are still in the middle of the space of years of the world." |90
Then they added: "May this Torah be between us and you!" and they brought out the book of the Torah, which had been already mutilated by their reduction of these years; with this they threw them into doubt and diverted them. After that they composed separate copies of this Torah, which they gave in secrecy to the people of confidence in their countries and the neighbouring provinces, so that they recited it and supported their arguments in favour of the corruption and the reduction. Even today this Torah is in the hands of all the Christians who use the Syriac language.
The true Torah, translated by the Seventy, was not shown to them until the reign of Constantine, son of Helen, the faithful one, who reigned 305 years after the advent of Christ. He went to Jerusalem, and asked for the relics of Christ and the books of the Prophets to choose some and benefit from them. The Jews gave him all the books; and among the books that was given to him was the book of the mutilated Torah. Before that, no discord had broken out among them; but there were some of them who were afraid that the truth about the Messiah and what had happened to him might be discovered. Then these plotted with king Constantine and taught him about the corruption of the Torah which the Jews had given him, and their perfidy |92 towards him on this matter 21, they informed him that the copy, made before them by the Seventy commentators, had been hidden, that there were still (copies) similar to this one in Alexandria, Rome and in the cities which were between them.
The emperor sent to the high priests of the Jews, informing them of what had happened. They did not agree and disavowed his information. Then Constantine ordered them to be thrown in prison and sent his messengers to Alexandria, Rome and other cities so that a copy could be brought to him. That happened to the imprisoned high priests, who were in fear of their lives. Then they gave in secrecy this copy to some of their impious chiefs and asked them to inform the emperor Constantine about this business when they had obtained his forgiveness for them. They did so and, a few days after, they gave the copy to him. The emperor ordered the high priests to be set at liberty. The copies from Alexandria, Rome and the other cities arrived, and he compared them and found that they were of one manner and one language only. Then he asked for the mutilated Torah, and he found there clear and obvious alteration, man after man, and their |93 years, century after century, which had been transferred from their early years which count in the chronology of the world, before the birth of their children, to the later years which do not count.
Here is the reason that the emperor Constantine asked for the books of the Torah and the Prophets: previously he had asked them what was found in the Book of the prophet Daniel in the way of information and indications of the time of the advent of the Messiah and his death at the end of the seven weeks and of the sixty-two weeks, after the 70 years during which the Israelites had remained in the country of Babel, and on the speech of the archangel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel on this matter, on his mission, on the command that he gave him to understand his word well, while he was making his speech, on his revelation of the advent of the Messiah and of his death at the end of these weeks, within the limits that archangel Gabriel fixed for the prophet Daniel in the discourse which he addressed to him, and on the exit of the Israelites from Babel and the reconstruction of Jerusalem.
When the emperor Constantine learned of the lie of the Jews and the ruse of their language in their arguments drawn from what their former kings had been called anointed, he said to them: "Which of them was called the Messiah (the anointed) and appeared after the exit of Israelites from |94 Babel at the end of these weeks?" But they did not answer because they were totally inhibited and embarrassed. Then they said that the Messiah announced by the prophets would come in the last days: "We await him later, because we are in the middle of this time." He said to them: "How many years do you count to today?" They said to him: "The complete length of time is 7000 years, and we are still in year 4000 approximately." Then the emperor answered them and accused them of cheating, when he saw their audacity in the lie.
On this he sent messengers in the bishops, to inform them of this, and of his interest in the prophecy of the prophet Daniel about the Messiah, and to tell them what he had seen of the weakness of the arguments of the Jews on this matter. He asked the bishops to clearly set forth the arguments for him on this subject. The bishops asked him for a delay so that they could address this subject, until the time of a special audience. He was astonished by this language and in his desire to know and to understand, he assigned an audience to them; because he took pleasure in their argument with the Jews on this subject and ordered them all to speak. He informed the bishops of the statement of the Jews which confirmed it.
Then the bishops said: "The deviation of the Jews from the word of truth, O king, on the question of the Messiah has been since ancient times, |95 like the heritage of their first (high priests). Their refusal to believe in his mission for fear of changing their religion pushed them into acts worthy only of misleading and impious men. The argument that they plead about the number of the years since Adam, is right only in seeming. You have examined it and elucidated it to the bottom which you understood rightly. We have given you two manuscripts in which we have explained everything to you; we have reported the translation of the Seventy scholars who translated the Torah under king Ptolemy Philadelphus, approximately 300 years before the advent of the Messiah Our Lord and the time of his appearance. The copy of the Torah which is today in the hands of the Jews is made according to that which Annas and Caiphas, their high priests, mutilated at the time of the Messiah and from which they cut off years which they reduced. In addition to this, we have clear arguments that we will bring with evidence and explanation and which will be long to set forth; but if the emperor allows, we will submit the report and will explain the length of the years according to the weeks of the prophet Daniel until the death of the Messiah, date per date, king by king." Then the emperor said to them: "Do so." The bishops said: "(Daniel), the prophet of God, prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem, the demolition of his walls, the captivity of his people in Babylon, their stay over there for 70 years.
When king Bokht-Nassar (Nabuchodonosor) reigned over Babylon, he attacked Jerusalem, and took into captivity |96 most of the population, among whom was the prophet Daniel. Not ceasing to attack it during the 20 years which followed his first invasion, in his last invasion Nabuchodonosor demolished its walls, burned its temple, seized all its people and devastated the country. And after 50 years the prophet Daniel remembered the word of God which the prophet Jeremiah had announced during their stay in Babel. It was obvious for him that this time was already close. On this he was absorbed in prayer with God in fasting, tears, with humility and compunction 22. It is written in the Book of Daniel the prophet: He acknowledged before his Lord the malicious actions of his companions, enumerated their sins and beseeched his forgiveness and his indulgence for them. He fasted for twenty one days, without eating bread, drinking water or lying down. In his prayer he recalled the promise of God to the Israelites to reveal to his prophets the advent of the Messiah to support their goodwill and to bring them to the good; he asked God (to show him) the realization of this hope and to indicate to him the time of their return to Jerusalem. God answered his prayer because of his good faith, the uprightness of his heart and the purity of his intentions in the request that he addressed to him. God revealed to him |97 what he asked, because truth follows sincerity and certainty results; and because of the fidelity of Daniel, He answered his request and raised the veil of what had been hidden from his eyes and that he had not known. God sent the archangel Gabriel to him to explain his request to him. The angel Gabriel said to him: "The vision and the word of the prophets about the Messiah, the Holy of Holies, will be accomplished. Learn and know, O Daniel, the word which is uttered, and which my word has revealed to you, O man of desire: you will return and rebuild Jerusalem. As for the reign of the Messiah, until the time of His advent and His death there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks. Then He will be put to death and the Holy City will be destroyed."
Thus began the angel Gabriel; then he said to Daniel: "The vision and the word of the prophets will be fulfilled, i.e. with regard to the return of the Israelites at the end of 70 years, in accordance with the word of the prophet Jeremiah 23. After their return, Jerusalem will be rebuilt and after its restoration the weeks of the Messiah will be counted until his death." God treated the Israelites as Gabriel had said, to attest the sincerity and the truth of his words. The transplantation of the Israelites to Babel lasted for 20 years and was done on different occasions; their return also lasted and was completed in 20 years and was done on different occasions; the total duration of their stay in Babel being 70 years, |98 the equality was perfect, in accordance with the word of the prophet. The first group arrived to Babel the second year of the reign of Nabuchodonosor, and remained there during the remainder of his reign until the end of his life, a period of 43 years, then five years under the sovereigns of his house, and, after them, 22 years under the domination of Cyrus the Persian - which makes 70 years, in accordance with the word of the prophet. The other group of prisoners arrived to Babel in the year 22 of the reign of Nabuchodonosor, and remained there for the 23 years of the remainder of his reign, then under the reign of his successors 5 years, after that under Cyrus the Persian for 31 years; under king Cambyses 8 years, under the Magus one year and under Darius, son of Hystaspes, 2 years, - which makes 70 years.
The return was completed at the end of 70 years, as the prophet Jeremiah said. They set themselves to rebuild Jerusalem, in accordance with the word of the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel. But they did not finish it at the time that they had intended, because the acts of men, compared to their wishes, are such that sometimes they precede it, sometimes are late, because of the accidental circumstances which prevent them and stop them.
The acts of men are not like those of God, whose words are fixed and time is determined, as He fixed the stay of the Israelites in Babel at 70 years, the time of the advent of the Messiah and the term of his death in a given number of years, because the actions of |99 God in his providence are hidden from men, if he did not want to reveal them to his servants; as far as it is useful for them, He informs his prophets of them so that they announce the good news and exhort men to perseverance in good deeds; if He starts to threaten and announce the punishment who must strike them in punishment of their sins, the prophets announce it and in fixing the time as a warning to induce them to obey Him, to lead them to repentance, to frighten them by terrible signs appearing in the sky and to make them desire the mercy of their Lord and his benevolence towards them. And by deferring the time, God leaves them the possibility of converting and of repentance, as He had done at the time of the flood, the confusion of languages, Sodom and Gomorrha, Nineveh and other events. And concerning this time, the angel Gabriel again determined it in the explanation that he made about it to the prophet Daniel. He said to him: "First the return will take place, then the construction"; then, after that, he determined for him the weeks of the Messiah as from that moment. And the return from exile of the Israelites to Jerusalem occurred 2 years after the advent to the throne of king Darius, son |100 of Hystaspes. At that time they began to rebuild the city and did not cease working there until the time of Artaxerxes Longhand. It is written in the Books of Esdras 24 that in year 20 of his reign king Artaxerxes sent Nehemiah his wine waiter to supervise the construction of Jerusalem; and Nehemiah found that they had already finished it five years before. He found that they were building the Temple in year 46 after the captivity, as the Jewish scholars said to the Messiah: "This temple was built, completed and finished at the end of 46 years, and You, You say that you will restore it in three days." However there is nobody who thinks that the Jews worked without interruption at the construction of the Temple during 46 years; but, as we have already said, its construction was entirely finished in year 46 after the captivity in Babel. Nehemiah went to the king and let him know.
The weeks of the Messiah are counted from the time of the end of the construction of the city, according to the word of the angel Gabriel: first the return; then the construction; then it is necessary to count the weeks from the 2nd year before the end of the reign of king Artaxerxes, and starting from the end of the construction until the death of the Messiah; then the total is 483 years, which all things considered makes seven weeks and sixty-two weeks of seven (years), as |101 we have already set forth in detail in our book, king after king, with the years of their reign. It is also written that the dignity of the high priests of Israelites was abolished at the time of king Herod, in whose reign the Messiah appeared. The prophecy of Jacob, leader of the Patriarchs, and Moses was realised; they said: "The royal sceptre will not be removed from Judah, nor the legislator from among him, i.e. the prophets, until the one comes who must be its king; and the people will place their hope in him."
We have said that seven weeks and sixty-two weeks make 483 years, because we multiply them by seven. Here is the explanation of the years of the weeks of the Messiah - 483 years, according to the word of the angel Gabriel to the prophet Daniel, the names of the kings and the total of their years, king after king.
The account of the kings of Persia.
Artaxerxes Longhand reigned 41 years; Artaxerxes II, 5 years; after him Sogdian, one year; Darius Nothus, 19 years; after him Artaxerxes, his son, 40 years; Artaxerxes Ochus, 25 years; Faris(Arses), son of Ochus, 4, years; Darius, |102 son of Arses, 6 years. The total of the years of kings of the East is 141 years. After this the count arrives at the years of the Ptolemies, the years of the kings of the West and the enumeration of the blessed Ptolemies.
Ptolemy Alexander reigned 12 years; Ptolemy Logos, i.e. word, 40 years; Ptolemy Philadelphus, i.e. he who loves his brother, 38 years; it is he who had the Sacred Books translated by the Seventy commentators; Ptolemy Ergates (Evergetes), i.e. the do-(good)er, 24 years; Ptolemy Philopator, i.e. he who loves his father, 17 years; Ptolemy Epiphanes, i.e. the Famous one, 24 years; Ptolemy Philometor, i.e. he who loves his mother, 25 years; again Ptolemy Evergetes, i.e. the do-(good)er, 19 years; Ptolemy Soter, i.e. the Saviour, 12 years; Ptolemy Alexander the Second, 10 years; Ptolemy Philippe, i.e. he who loves horses, 8 years; Ptolemy Dionysios, i.e. the noble one, 30 years; Cleopatra, i.e. the Glorious one, 15 years; Herod, king of the Jews, 35 years.
The years of the Messiah Our Lord are 33 years. That gives for the Western kings 342 years. The total of the years of kings of the East and West are 483 years.
Because of the contradictions contained in these books, the emperor Constantine sought for the books of |103 the Torah, had them examined as well as the books of the Prophets and the recollections of the Messiah. Before that time, there was among Christians nobody, except for the scholars, who knew the things kept secret and who knew about alterations and mutilations performed by the Jews. As for the people, they did not know that the Torah had been mutilated. Thus today the Christian people, in the East and West, do not know the cause of the disagreement between the Greek Torah, translated by the Seventy, and the Syriac Torah, copied from the Hebraic Torah, which is mutilated and reduced, which all the Christians read in the churches.
At the beginning we said that the deterioration and reduction go only as far as the birth of Abraham, son of Tarih, and the total of the reduction of the years of the world, from Adam and the beginning of the world until the birth of Abraham, son of Tarih, is 2,389 years. Now the mutilated Torah and all the books of the Prophets in Syriac copies which are in the hands of the Christians, are widespread in all the countries of the earth of the East and West, so that because of that the Christians cannot explain them and give an account of this question. All the scholars and the learned and those who wanted to translate the books of the Prophets from one language to another, or to make an exegesis of what they contained, changed nothing and |104 commented on the Syriac text, which is in disagreement with the translation of the Seventy because the Jews mutilated it and changed it after the Resurrection of the Messiah.
The ending of the history of Abraham.
Now that we have explained and recounted the history of the interpretation and the translation of the Seventy, the efforts and research of king Constantine on the reason of the difference which he had found in the Sacred Books, we will return to the account of the time of Abraham; that is the point where we had arrived before beginning this narrative.
At the time of Abraham, Khoudroun, brother of Tarih, made war on Kisaronos 25, king of Babel, and having fought him and overcome him, he killed him; (he did it), because he wanted to lead the population into captivity and to plunder all the country.
At that time the empire passed from Bebel, whose kings were called Babylonians, to the Assyrians, who reigned over the countries of Mosul, Nineveh and the surrounding provinces. The first of their kings, Boulis (Βῆλος), reigned 72 years and built several cities. |105
Abraham, having lived 100 years, fathered Isaac by Sara; but 16 years before Isaac, he fathered Ishmael by Agar. We start with Isaac, because the years of the history of the world are counted from Isaac.
After the death of Sara, Abraham fathered a great number of strong children by Retura; they were called the sons of Cadir (the Strong) and their children were also called Modar, because of Ishmael. Abraham lived for 75 years after the birth of Isaac and, his life having been 175 years, he died 40 years after the birth of Jacob. At that time king Boulis died and after him reigned Ninos, his son, who built the town of Nineveh, so called after his name. The fifth year after the birth of Abraham, Jerusalem was built by king Melchizedek.
The first king of the Sicyonites was Aglaous 26 who reigned over them 53 years.
In the year 71 after the birth of Abraham wars and conflicts broke out between king Rodollogomor and the five kings of the country of Sodom and Gomorrha; they lasted for 14 years until the 10th year after the departure of Abraham from the country of Ur of the Chaldaeans, which was the country of Canaan, son of Cham, son of Noah. At that time the town of Hebron was built, |106 which is the al-Ladjoun of the Canaanites. In the year 75 after the birth of Abraham, God said to him in the country of Ur of the Chaldaeans: "Get up, leave the house of your father and the place of your birth and go to the promised land that God promised to give you, to your seed and your posterity." Thus God concluded a pact and alliance with Abraham, for him and his posterity, ensuring to him the inheritance of the promised land. From this time, 430 years are counted that God assigned to the Israelites for their slavery with the country of Egypt. Other scholars say that these years are counted from the time when Abraham made the sacrifice of a goat, a pigeon and a dove1. We have done some research on this subject, but have found nothing about it. The total number of years from Adam and the beginning of the chronology of the world until this year is 3,417 years, because the years from the flood to this year is 1,161 years. In the year 77 of his life, Abraham went to Egypt because of the famine and the drought which prevailed in the country of Syria. In the year 85 of his life, Agar the Egyptian woman came to him, and he fathered by her Ishmael. For this reason her children were |107 named sons of Agar. They were also called Arabs because of the blood-link of Ishmael with the tribe of Djourboum, because he married women of this tribe and spoke Arabic. They were named Ismaelites after Ishmael, their father. Ishmael lived for 137 years and fathered by Arab women twelve princes who are named and mentioned in the Book of the Torah. His death took place 63 years after the birth of Jacob.
At that time Lot was made prisoner by king Khodollogomor. In the same period Semiramis reigned in Babel for 42 years; she seized the country of Asia and several cities of Syria, rebuilt Babel for the second time, and she raised artificial hills and a great number of monuments that are allotted to her.
Abraham reached the age of 99, and God ordered him to circumcise himself. He was 100 years old when he fathered Isaac by Sara. At the age of 60 years Isaac fathered Esau, who was hairy, and Jacob, the same as Israel, twins of Rebecca, daughter of Balhuel, a relative of Abraham, of a family of Haran. Isaac lived 180 years until the 31st year after the birth of Levi, |108 son of Jacob. At that time the queen Semiramis built a large temple in a city, at the edge of the Euphrates, to the idol Q.yous (Bel, Baal) and, after having appointed for Q.yous (Bel) seventy sacrificers, she named this city Hierapolis, which means the city of the sacrificers; this was the old town of Manbidj.
When Isaac had reached the age of 16, God said to Abraham: "Get up. Take Isaac, your only son, whom you love, place him on the altar and offer him to God, your Lord, in a holocaust on the mountain of the Amorians (Moriah)."
Later, 1,030 years after the birth of Abraham, Solomon, son of David, built a temple of God on this mountain, the place of the holocaust of Abraham and the sacrifice of Isaac.
We possess the Sacred Books, which tell and indicate that it is on this mountain, at the place of the holocaust of Abraham, that Adam was interred and buried; it is said that the body of Adam was with Noah in the ark; when the flood was over, and Noah with his companions had left the ark, he buried Adam on this mountain. Thus God led Abraham to travel until he indicated to him the place of the tomb of Adam. Abraham offered Isaac (to God): he built the altar above the tomb of Adam and put Isaac |109 on the altar raised on the tomb of Adam, and he was on the point of immolating him to God in a holocaust. But God saved him, substituting for him a lamb, because of his confidence in God and because he knew the sincerity of the intention of Abraham and his confidence that God could return life to his son after the immolation. It is written that at the moment of the sacrifice of Isaac, when Abraham raised the knife, the troops of the angels beat their hands and that God announced in the heavens the holocaust of Abraham; (then) he said: "Stay your hand from the child: now I know that you love God, your Lord, with all your heart."
The first construction of Jerusalem.
After the time when Noah went out the ark and before the installation of Abraham in the promised land of the country of Syria, the high priest Melchizedek built over the tomb of our father Adam the town of Jerusalem. God let him know and indicated to him the place of the tomb of Adam, and he offered two sacrifices of bread and wine to Him.
Here what the Jews report in their book that they call the Mishna: we have heard it said that Hakib and |110 his followers claim that Melchizedek was the same as Shem, son of Noah, and that Joshua, son of Nun, killed him, along with the thirty one kings whom he put to death. But all the Jewish scholars disagree with them about this stupidity and this error. The Christians find in the mysteries of their books that the cross on which the Messiah was crucified, was planted in the middle of the tomb of Adam, on his larynx; it is on this cross that the Messiah was crucified; because of that this place was called al-tarfqah and it is called Golgotha, which means cranium.
In the year 19 of the birth of Isaac, Abraham learned that his brother Nachor, son of Tarih, had several children, and (from the children) of Nachor was born Aram, son of Kamuel; he gave his name to the Aramaeans, who lived in Haran in Mesopotamia and the surrounding country as far as the area of Mosul. We have found books which mention and make known another Aram, resulting from Shem, who lived to the East of Susa (Susiana), i.e. of Elam, and Assur, brother of Elam, from whom the Elamites, Assyrians and their tribes come. The borders of Aram (extended) from the native land of Shem to the country of Misan; it is for that that the population of this country and beyond took the name of Aram their father, the issue of the son of Shem, son of Noah.
In year 37 of the |111 birth of Isaac, Sara died at the age of 127, because she was 90 years old when she brought Isaac into the world by Abraham.
In the year 44 of his birth, Isaac married Rebecca, daughter of Bathuel, cousin of his father Abraham. At that time king Abimelech made a pact of friendship with Isaac; his kingdom was located at Gerar, in the country of the Jordan. At that time the domination of the Philistines started, who are the inhabitants of Philistine (Palestine); their race indicates the origin of their country. Jacob was 89 years old when he fathered Levi; the life of Jacob was 147 years. In year 20 of the birth of Jacob, Esau, his brother, married the daughters of Canaan, son of Cham, son of Noah; one of them was Judith, daughter of Beeri, the Hethaean, the other, Basmath, daughter of Elon the Hethaean 27. When Esau had seen that his father Isaac did not like them, he married Basmath, daughter of Ishmael. It is written that Job the Just drew his origin from the children of Basmath, daughter of Ishmael. It is written that Moses, the prophet, wrote the famous book allotted to Job the Just; in this book, i.e. in the book of Job the Just, there are 1,348 verses. |112
In the lists of the generation of the tribes and the people (of Esau) Job was called Jobab, son of Zerah 28. Job lived 210 years, including 70 years before his misfortunes and 140 years afterwards. We have found among the children of Shem, son of Noah, another Jobab 29; certain people claim that he is the same as Job, because they believed him prior to Abraham. Thus from this people affirm contradictory things on this subject. At that time Hamor, brother of Sichem, built a large city which he named Sichem, according to the name of his brother. Some time after, two sons of Jacob, Simeon and Levi, devastated it and killed three thousand men there to avenge their sister who was called Dina on its population. When Jacob had reached the age of 77 and Isaac, his father, that of 137, Isaac his father blessed him and addressed in his favour the prayers and the blessings which are reported in the Torah; then he sent him to Haran to Laban, his uncle, because he feared that Esau would kill him. Jacob left with his staff in his hand.
Having arrived at Beitaïl, he prayed and putting his head on a stone, he fell asleep. In the night he saw angels of God who went up and down along a ladder of which the top touched heaven and the foot was on the earth. Throughout this night, until dawn had risen, the angel fought with him. And here God appeared to Jacob and said to him: "Jacob, |113 I will not let you go until you tell me your name." When it was dawning, Jacob said: "This place is the window of heaven and the house of God " and he made a vow to devote to God a tithe of what God had granted to him during his absence, to build to him in this place a house of God. After that Jacob crossed the Euphrates with his staff and arrived at Haran 30.
In year 84 of his life, Jacob married Leah, the daughter of Laban, his uncle, and fathered by her Ruben, Simeon, and at the age of 89 years he also fathered Levi, in whose name the chronology of the world was regulated. Then after Levi he fathered Judah, after him Issachar, then Zabulon. Jacob married Rachel, sister of Leah, and fathered by her Joseph and Benjamin. He also fathered (two sons) by Bilhah, the maidservant of Rachel, who gave to Jacob Gad and Asher, and (two sons) by Zelphah, the maidservant of Leah, who gave to Jacob Dan and Nephthali 31. They gave rise to the twelve tribes of the Israelites.
In the year 97 after the birth of Jacob, he went back to Haran to (Isaac), his father; his herds, she-asses, oxen and cows, slaves and utensils were |114 innumerable. After coming to the promised land of the country of Syria, Joseph was sold by his brothers. At the age of seventeen, he was brought into Egypt where he spent ten years as a slave and three years in prison. When Joseph reached the age of thirty, the Pharaoh, king of Egypt, saw in dream seven cows and seven ears of corn. Joseph was brought out of the prison and his hair cut; then he was presented before Pharaoh. Joseph, being thirty years old, explained his dream to him. Everything happened as Joseph had explained to him. The Pharaoh gave him power over the country of Egypt.
In year 39 from the birth of Joseph, Jacob his father, arrived in Egypt with all his children and the children of his children in the second year of the famine and the drought which prevailed in Syria. In fact the Israelites remained in Egypt, as slaves, for 215 years. The number of the Israelites who arrived in Egypt with Jacob was 70 men; moreover, Joseph, his two sons, Ephraïm and Manasseh, and their two sons, (makes) 5 men. Jacob, being 127 years old, presented himself before Pharaoh 7 years after the death of Isaac, his father. The number of Israelites, when they left Egypt, was 603,500 men able to carry the weapons who were counted in the census, i.e. in the census (of Moses). When Moses counted them and separated them, |115 he did not register and did not count those who were younger than 22 years old and those who exceeded 50; the women were not counted either. Jacob lived in Egypt 20 years, and died 13 years after the birth of Kahath. Levi lived 45 years and then fathered Kahath, and Kahath lived 60 years and then fathered `Amran. At that time the Pharaoh the sovereign of Joseph died and Amousiyus (Ἄμωσις) reigned after him in Egypt for 25 years
In year 38 from the birth of Kahath, there reigned in Egypt Kebroun (Χεβρών) for 13 years. At that time Zeus, whose name is translated as Jupiter (Al-Mouschtari), knew Niobé and fathered Apis by her, who was named later Serapis 32 and who started to fight the courageous women (?) who are called Amazons and killed their male children. Zeus reigned over the country of Crete on the coast. The meaning of "Zeus" is "long lived" because it is told that he lived for a thousand years. At that time the town of Eleusina was built.
In year 51 from the birth of Kahath, son of Levi, |116 Amenophis (Ἀμεμφῆς) ascended the throne of Egypt and he was also called Pharaoh; he reigned 21 years and then he started to persecute Israelites. `Amran lived 70 years and then fathered Moses the prophet and, having lived after the birth of Moses for 67 years, he died 13 years before the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. In year 6 from the birth of `Amran Joseph died, at the age of 110. His brothers ordered the Israelites to carry his bones with them, until God called them and made them leave the country of Egypt.
It is written that at that time, under (the king) Agous (Ὤγυγος), the flood took place 33. In year 12 (after the birth of `Amran) there reigned in Egypt Mensis (Ἀμενσῆς) for 12 years.
In the year 24 after the birth of `Amran, Balaios 34 also reigned for 18 years.
In the year 68 after the birth of `Amran, Amenofis (Asfanis, Μισφρῆς?) 35 reigned in Egypt for 43 years; he ordered that the first-born males of the Israelites should be strangled and drowned in the river Nile. |117
The birth of Moses and his history.
When Moses came into the world, `Amran, his father, the very same day was 70. His parents put him in a basket, and exposed him on the river Nile. He was only three months old and was pretty and beautiful. At that time Mary, daughter of the Pharaoh, went out to the river Nile where she found Moses. When she saw that he was circumcised, she knew that he was one of the Israelites. Mary took him, raised him, educated him and taught him all the sciences of the Egyptians, their education and their wisdom. Janis and Jambris 36 were the teachers of Moses, who became, in Egypt, extremely strong and powerful.
In the year 28 of the birth of Moses the prophet, the Pharaoh built the town of Hermopolis on the river Nile which was called also Al-F.r.ma. At that time the Ethiopians fought the Egyptians and devastated several provinces of Egypt.
Then Kenefra, the king, all his companions, his notable and his close relations were envious of Moses, but because of Mary, neither he nor they could do what they wanted about this; then they tried to make him lose his rank |118 and his powerful situation, saying to him: "You have great obligations towards the queen. Look, the Ethiopians are coming down the Nile in boats, thanks to the rising waters, and attacking the country of Egypt; they have devastated already several provinces and reduced their population to captivity. It is your duty to defend the kingdom, because you are placed at its head and that its defense rests on you. The king, all his chiefs and his court are thinking that you will attack the Ethiopians. It is said that all the lands and deserts which are between Ethiopia and Egypt are uninhabited, the country being full of a great quantity of snakes, which prevent people from passing there."
When Moses had learned of their ambushes and what they were weaving against him, he ordered 10,000 riders chosen from among the Israelites and the same number from among the Egyptians; then he ordered them to prepare the greatest possible number of large cranes (ibis), which was called ka`ka`, and to put them in wicker cages, so that their heads appeared out of the cages 37. Moses set out to march with with his companions. He had these cranes fed at the break of day, and when night fell and he had set up camp, he ordered that the cages where the cranes were be distributed throughout the camp. During |119 the night, tormented by hunger, all the cranes made resounding cries. The snakes, having heard their cries, ran away into the earth for fear the cranes would eat them. Moses did not cease doing this until he reached the Ethiopian city of Meroe.
When the inhabitants saw him with his troops, this struck them with admiration and fear, and they were astonished that so many troops had arrived at their home through these deserts. Then God inspired the daughter of the king of Ethiopia and let him know with certainty that Moses would capture the city and its inhabitants and that God, may He be blessed, would make him master of it. So she sent a message to Moses that she offered herself to him in marriage; (in return) she would show him a place from where one could take the city and capture its surroundings. Moses granted her wish. God gave him the victory over the city and his inhabitants, and Moses married the daughter of the king of Ethiopia. This is why the Holy Scripture tells that Mariam, the sister of Moses, and Aaron, while speaking about Moses, slandered him, because he had married a Kushite woman, i.e. of the sons of al-Khabaschat (an Ethiopian) 38. God was irritated against Mariam, who became scabious and leprous, so that the Israelites avoided her. |120
But Moses, the prophet of God, having pity on her, prayed to God for her. And God said to Moses: "If her father had spit in her face, wouldn't she be covered with shame for ten days 39?" Moses remained, after the conquest of the city, in the countries of Ethiopia, with all his troops, until the time of the flood of the Nile; then he brought his troops back to Egypt, by means of boats during the rising of the Nile and the high waters, and he returned to the king laden with riches. On this, the king, all his notables, his courtiers, his ministers and all the inhabitants of Egypt were afraid of him, and the king even conceived the idea of killing Moses, after the death of Mary who had raised Moses.
In the year 37 after the birth of Moses, Joshua, son of Nun was born.
In the year 41 from the birth of Moses, the Pharaoh ascended the throne of Egypt who, according to the Sacred Books, was submerged in the sea, 40 years later, with his troops and his chariots.
According to what is written, Moses, at the age of 40, killed an Egyptian who wanted to put him to death, and he fled into the country of Midian to Raguel or Jethro or Sa`ïb and, having married Sephora, daughter of Sa`ib, he fathered Guerson and Eleazar. |121
In the year 42 of the birth of Moses, Caleb, son of Jephonneh was born. At that time Atlas, son of Prometheus appeared and made himself known, who taught magic (astrology) 40. It is told that, when his magic reached the celestial sphere, he knew all that occurred of its mysteries. Because of this, the name of Atlas was given to the mountain which rises above the clouds. According to his knowledge and his books, Erathosthenes, the scholar, traced the plans of the sphere with all the species of its constellations and their terms. This book was translated from Greek into Arabic by Thahir ibn al-Husein, a clever man 41, with its charts, all its plans and all the kinds of its details. It is a remarkable book and can be obtained if desired.
At that time king Souris was known, who reigned over Dimeschk (Damascus). Where Syria (asch-Scham) is called Souriah, this name is derived from the name of Souris. In the year 80 from the birth of Moses, Joshua, son of Nun being 39 years old, God appeared to Moses at Tur-Sina (in the Sinai) and showed to him the miracles which he worked with its staff and his hand, which became white, and the other things that God did. Then God ordered to him to go to Egypt to work miracles and celestial signs in order to lead the Israelites out. |122
In this year Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt; he struck the sea with his staff and led the Israelites through the sea; when they had passed, he struck the sea again with his staff, and God submerged the Pharaoh and all his troops. Then the word that God had said to Abraham was accomplished, that his posterity would remain in a remote country in a state of slavery for 430 years.
Explanation of the causes and the reasons which led to the introduction of the worship of idols into Egypt.
It is told that all the Egyptians who had not gone with Pharaoh and who had remained in Egypt, having learned the news that the Pharaoh and his troops had drowned in the Red Sea, were struck by this; and they adored the thing and the object which they held in the hand, and each one of them made an idol following the example of the object and adored it, as if it were that which had saved them from immersion. Because of this, the worship of idols in Egypt increased and, at the end of a certain time, the devils spoke to them from the |123 interior of these idols.
In the year 81 after the birth of Moses, when the Israelites had left Egypt, the Amalekites attacked them; but God led a great number to perish via Moses. The hostility between the Amalekites and the Israelites continued until the time of Haman the Amalekite, the minister of king Artaxerxes. We will give the account of this in its place, if God so wills.
In this year, in the third month, Moses went up on the mountain of God, Tur-Sina (Sinai), and received from God the knowledge of things. God granted wisdom, the power of prophecy and knowledge to him, so that he could speak about the origin of the world and explain the universe, so that he made known and explained why the universe was created and had a beginning; it is said that in the space of the centuries passed, from the origins of the world, there had never been as many followers of temporal origin than at the time when Moses, the prophet of God, composed the Torah, in which he discussed the origin of the world, to bring men to the opinion that the world was temporal. And the majority of Israelites adhered firmly to this belief and professed these doctrines; it was their belief and their religious conviction. Moses also spoke about the Tabernacle. From this year, Moses appointed to the Tabernacle the oldest of the Israelites, selected from the twelve tribes, who governed the Tabernacle. |124
The total number of years from Adam and the beginning of the world until the year when Moses went up on the mountain of God Tur-Sina (Sinai) and received the tables of the Torah, i.e. until year 81 from the birth of Moses, - the total years from Adam to that year is 3,847 years. We have set forth all this at the beginning of our treatise and our book; we have corrected it by shortening the calculation and have explained it above. The Jews celebrated the first Passover in Egypt on the Sunday of the ninth cycle; and they did not celebrate Passover for the 40 years that they passed in the desert. Then Moses governed them, after this year, for 39 years and he died at the age of 120. The years from Adam and the origins of the world until the year of the death of Moses are 3,886 years. After that the years are counted, as we have explained, in the history of the world, according to the years of the government of the Judges over the the Israelites.
The explanation is as follows: the total number of the years from Adam to the flood is 2,256 years; from the flood until Ar`Ã» fathered Phaleg, at which time the languages were divided, -- 670 years; from |125 Adam until that year 2,926 years; from the day of the birth of Ar' Ã» until the day of the birth of Abraham 416 years; from the flood to that year 1,076 (1,510) years; from Adam to that year 3,342 (3,766) years; from the day of the birth of Moses to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, i.e. until the year when Moses went up on the mountain of God Tur-Sina and received the tablets from God, - 81 years; from the flood to that year 1,591 years; from Adam to that year 3,847 years, according to what we have said above. After that Moses governed for his life until he died, a space of 39 years, so that the years from Adam and the origins of the world until the year of the death of Moses are 3,886 years. The Jews celebrated the first Passover 40 years after, at the time of Joshua, son of Nun, near Jéricho, in the tenth cycle. After Moses, it was Joshua, son of Nun, who governed them for 27 years; then after Joshua, son of Nun, it was the governors and the judges who governed the Israelites for 556 years; after the end of their government the chronology of the history of the world is evaluated according to the years of their kings. This chronology starts with the year when Saul, son of Kisch, of the tribe of Benjamin, the first king who reigned over the Israelites, ascended the throne. |126 The years from Adam and the origins of the world until the day when Saul ascended the throne are 4,391 years. The life of Moses was 120 years, of which he spent 40 years in Egypt, 40 years with Jethro in the country of Midian and 40 years in the desert. Moses wrote five books, about which we spoke earlier; in these books there are 17,041 verses.
History of the art of alchemy, the work of the hyacinth and other precious stones.
It is written that God endowed Beseleel 42 with intelligence and indicated the manner to him of setting up the Tabernacle; He taught him art and knowledge to work the precious stones and to clean them from foreign substances and impurities. Béséléel made the Tabernacle and embellished it with his talent. He was the first who managed to make a work of art.
In this year Moses sent them |127 spies into the countries of Canaan, i.e. Palestine, the Jordan and the regions bordering, so that they could examined the country and the people. Joshua, son of Nun, and Caleb, son of Jephonne, cut a bunch of grapes and carried it between them on a pole 43. At that time Joshua, son of Nun, was 45 and Caleb, son of Jephonné, 42 (43) years old. When this year had passed, Balak, king of the Midianites, sent ambassadors to Balaam, the magician, so that he would come to him and curse the Israelites 44.
In the year 84 of the life of Moses, Aaron, his brother, became high priest. God made his two sons die because they had offered a profane fire in sacrifice 45. Eleazar, son of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi, to which the Levites belonged, married a daughter of Aminazab 46 of the tribe of Judah. This was the first case of the mingling and family ties of one tribe with another, because the law (νόμος) allowed only marriages between people of the same tribe. Eleazar fathered Phinehas of which it is written that he was zealous for God, was annoyed for Him, struck two adulterers with his lance and hanged them in the air 47.
In the year 118 from the birth of Moses, Aaron his brother died. |128 He had as a successor Eleazar, his son. Moses died two years after Aaron; he was 120. After the death of Moses, it was Joshua, son of Nun, its servant, 83 years old, who started to govern the Israelites in the place of Moses, two years after Aaron. Joshua, son of Nun, led the Israelites in the promised land of Canaan that God had promised to give to the posterity of Abraham. After governing them for 27 years, Josua, son of Nun, died at the age of 110.
In the first year of the government of Joshua, son of Nun, the Amalekites made war; but he overcame them and killed a great number of them, so that there remained only one small troop of them; with his troops he did not cease pursuing them until the 9th hour of the day. In fear of not succeeding in what he intended to do with them, he entreated the sun and the moon and said: "You, O sun, halt over Gabaon, and you, moon, in the field of Aïloun (Ajalon)!" And the sun remained motionless for 6 hours until he had been avenged on his enemies 48.
As for the sun halting where it was, it is not, as people believe who do not examine it and do not know the treasures of books and their mysteries, that |129 the sun and the moon alone stopped, while the sphere continued to move. That is explained by this fact that if, as certain people believe, the sun had stopped and the moon had been frozen, then an upheaval would have occurred in the times and the four seasons, because, once the celestial sphere had crossed three signs of the zodiac in 6 hours, then instead of spring we would have had summer, instead of summer, autumn, instead of autumn, winter and instead of winter, spring. But the books of the scholars indicate that the celestial sphere stopped with all its planets and all its stars without change in the seasons.
From Adam to Joshua, son of Nun, until the death of Moses, there were 27 generations. In the year 10 of the government of Joshua, son of Nun, he divided the land that God had given them as an inheritance between the tribes of the Israelites, except for the tribe of Levi, that of the Levites; he did not give them land, in accordance with what God had instructed him. He said that the Lord was their portion and their inheritance. And God ordered that all the eleven tribes gave each year the tenth of their harvest to that of Levi.
In that time Erichthonius the Greek made the first chariot, harnessed four horses and similar to the moving throne for nine mikdar; ten people were |130 in it and the chariot, drawn by these four horses, ran on wheels. The king took his seat with his most favoured notables; and the chariot went where he wanted. It is said that none exist any more, because there is nobody who can make one; but certain people say that the Greeks do this even now.
In that year the sons of Lot, the Ammonites and Moabites, made war and fought against the Cananaeans, but the latter killed 5,000 of them, and Joshua, son of Nun, himself killed also 7 tribes and 31 kings of them.
After Joshua, son of Nun, it was Kuschan, the deceiver, who was the leader of the Israelites and governed them for 8 years 49.
In this time the Curetes and Corybantes in the town of Knossos made themselves known; they were the first to invent music, dance, song and various kinds of music with various types of instruments. Then Othoniel, son of Kaniz, governed the children of Israel for 40 years 50. In the first year of his government, Cecrops reigned in the town of Athens for 49 years.
It is written in the poems of Homer that |131 Cecrops and his successors who had the same religious beliefs were those brought into existence those evil things and those unpleasant stories received among Greeks; this is what is written in the poems of Homer.
In this year Othoniel killed Kuschan, the deceiver, king of Aram, and freed the Israelites from him. At this time, another flood happened in the time of Deucalion. Some time afterwards, Plato, who was the teacher of Aristotle, gave us an account and history of this flood in his books 51. At this time Zeus is mentioned who, it is reported, was a king of Crete, a maritime country; his lifetime was 107 years; he did all kinds of abominations and was soiled with the vices of the Greeks. At that time, Io, who was called Isis because of her behaviour, went to the country of Egypt.
Then the Moabites, from the posterity of Lot, having overcome the Israelites, governed them for 14 years.
At this time the town of Kourithous 52 was built, which is known by the name of Corinth. At that time the Corinthians made copper (?) which neither quadrupeds, nor reptiles could attack.
Towards the end of the reign of Moabites, there reigned over Athens, after Cecrops, Cronos, whose name translated means Saturn, for 9 years.
At that time, in the town of Athens, the assembly of the Areopagus was established, which means the assembly of the judges and the scholars. |132
It is told that at that time Dionysios, son of Deucalion, started to plant vines and to press wine; and men drank it. But that does not agree with what certain people say in their ignorance: they said that the first who learned how to drink wine and gave indications on this subject, were the devils; but we also found in the Sacred Books that before that time Noah planted vines, pressed wine and drank it.
Ahoud (Ehud, Aod), son of Hara (Gera), governed the Israelites for 80 years. It was he who killed Eglon, king of the Moabites, of the race of Lot; he killed him as follows: he attached to his thigh a sword with two edges; then he was presented before Eglon and said to him: "I have a secret for you; I want to entrust it to you." Eglon ordered all his companions to leave and remained alone with him. Then Ahoud detached his sword from his thigh and stabbed him in the belly, so that his entrails came out, and killed him; after that he left. He governed the Israelites and overcame the Moabites. In year 25 of the government of Ahoud, the fourth thousand of the years of the history of the world was completed. This is clear, because we have already set out and described in a precise way that the space of the years from Adam and the origins of the world until the year of the death of Moses, prophet of God, was 3,886 years. If we |133 add to it, from the day of the death of Moses, the years of the government of Joshua, son of Nun, over the Israelites, i.e. 27 years; --- after him those of Kuschan, the deceiver, 8 years; then those of Othoniel, 40 years; after Othoniel, those of the Moabites, the children of Lot, 14 years; then if we add to it the 25 years of the years of the government of Ahoud, who, as we said, governed them for 80 years, we obtain the number of 114 years, and if we add this figure to the years past from Adam to the day of the death of Moses, i.e. 3,886 years, then that will give the 4,000 year figure of the chronology of the world, just at the end of 25 years of the government of Ahoud over the Israelites, which we spoke about earlier.
At this time Nicomedes built Nicomedia, i.e. Constantinople; but at the end of a period of time this city sank into the earth. Then after that, king Byzas rebuilt it and called it, after his name, Byzantium. At the end of a period of time, Constantine, son of Helen, ascended the throne; he enlarged it, increased it and called it by his name Constantinople (Constaniyniya).
At that time Poseidon married Lysianasse and fathered by her Douk.ntis and Busiris; some time after, Busiris seized the country which is located |134 on the river Nile; he massacred the foreigners who passed, and travellers, and he ate them.
Then (Samgar) governed the Israelites, after Ahoud, for 22 years.
At that time Phrixus was illustrious; it is told that, thanks to his agility and speed, he flew like a bird, and that neither the most excellent horses, nor the gazelles could catch him.
Then Barak, of the tribe of Nephthali, governed the Israelites for 40 years; he made war with Sisara and killed him with all his troops and 500 iron chariots which he had.
At that time Achaeus built a city and gave his name to it.
At that time Sibyl, the prophetess lived, who clearly explained the thoughts of men by her gift of prophecy.
At that time it was a question of prayers and supplications of '¦'¦'¦'¦.. addressed to the gods '¦'¦ Zeus; he knew a slave of the family '¦'¦'¦. on the edge of Lake Triton; she brought Aphrodite into the world, which means Beauty (Venus) 53. At that time Melampus the magician, Tantalus and |135 Tityus are notable, who with their magic revealed hidden things, so that people admired them. It is told that Zeus also knew Leto and fathered on her Apollo and Hercules 54. At that time reigned the kings 55 whose history is in the books of the poems of Homer. After Barak, the Midianites, who were Arabs, governed the Israelites for 7 years; they devastated all their country. [End of PO 5.4 56] |147
At this time 57, Phemonoe the magician was notable; she predicted the future in hexameter verse and disturbed the spirits of people.
In that time, Gideon, son of Joash, saw the angel of the Lord who encouraged him to deliver the Israelites. Then he arose and governed the Israelites for 40 years.
At the same time, Perseus returned to the country of Persia and cut of the head of Gorgon (Gharghou) the courtesan, who, by her beauty and grace, had struck all those who looked at her, so much so that they seemed changed into stones, as Didymus the scholar reports in his books. |148
Gideon governed the Israelites for 31 years, when the daughters of Helios appeared and were made known, whom Klytia had given him; the names of these seven girls were Circe (Qirqâ), Merope (Mirfa), Hirqa (?) , Zirqa (?), Qirda (?), Lampétie (?), (Midyâ) and Pasiphae (Basoufiyâ) 58; they were magicians. It is said that a man could see his face in that of each of them, because of the beauty of their colour; and when one of them arose in the darkness, the place shone.
At that time, the towns of Cyrene and Miletus were founded.
At that time reigned Fasouniyous (?) 59 Apollo (Afoulyoun). It is told that he played the cithar; it was he which was made a lute from stone; the wild beasts and the deer gathered to him to hear his voice, without injuring each other, because of the great beauty of his voice, his playing and his song; it is told that sometimes, when he sang, the wild beasts and the deer fell asleep.
It is written that Gideon, having gathered an army of 30,000 men, |149 went out with them against the Midianites. But God did not want the victory to be due to the great number of troops, and ordered him to take with him 300 men; and Gideon delivered the Israelites from the Midianites.
After Gideon, Abimelech, his son, governed the Israelites for three years. When he became king, he killed his seventy brothers by his father Gideon. When Abimelech had gone out against the town of Tebec, a woman threw on him, from the top of the citadel, a fragment of a grinding stone and killed him. Thus God repaid him and rewarded him by promptly punishing him for his bad conduct and the evil which he had done to his brothers. Then Tholag, his cousin, judged the Israelites for 22 years.
In that time, Kora (Proserpine), daughter of Zeus, was abducted. At that time, Marsyas the shepherd (Silenus) was a flute-player and tried to excel Apollo; they made both a contract and a bet. Then Marsyas, having been overcome, was hung from a tree, as had been agreed between them
In the year 21 of the government of Tholag, the town of Tarsus was built by king Perseus. |150
At that time, Apollo married a woman and fathered on her Asclepius. Dionysius captured India, was governor of it and built the town of Nysa there on the banks of the river Indus.
In that time, after Tholag, Jair, of Gilead, judged the Israelites for 22 years; he had thirty sons who mounted with him on thirty foals.
At that time, the town of Cyzicus was built on the shore of the sea. This is the Cyzicus, of which we already said that the temple, one of the seven wonders, had been built there.
Then, after Jair, the Israelites were subjected to the Ammonites, descendants of Lot, for 18 years.
At that time, Linus, the teacher of Hercules announced himself, the first great king who, as we have said, erected in the sea three marvellous statues to preserve sailors from shipwreck; they were one of the seven wonders of which we spoke at the beginning of our book.
In the first year of the victory of the Ammonites, the town of Tyre was built.
As the Ammonites oppressed the Israelites at every meeting, the |151 inhabitants of Gilead went to find Jephte, fifteen years after driving him out and sent away from them. They went to him, brought him back and placed him at their head; then he governed the Israelites for six years. He engaged himself by a vow and an irrevocable oath to offer to God in sacrifice, after his return from combat, the first of his house which he met, if God granted the victory to him. Having gone out and having overcome the enemies, he returned: however, his only daughter came out to meet him; he immolated her and offered her to God in sacrifice, in accordance with the vow which he had made.
Then Ebsan (Abîsan) or Hesbon, of Bethlehem, judged the Israelites for seven years. He had thirty sons and thirty daughters; he married off his thirty sons and, in one day, he acquired thirty daughters-in-law; he married off his thirty daughters and, in one day, he obtained thirty sons-in-law. Then Elon, of the tribe of Zabulon, judged the Israelites for ten years.
In that time, the witch Medea announced herself. By her magic spells she made Creon (Qâroun) and Glaucus (`Alouqa) burn. In an fit of rage, she killed all her sons.
Then Labdon or `Abdon judged the Israelites for eight years. He had |152 forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode with him on seventy foals.
In that time, king Hercules fell seriously sick; he threw himself in the fire and died, at the age of 52.
At that time, Apollo was taken with and in love with Daphne to such a point that he lost his head and became insane.
The Israelites having sinned and their faults having become enormous, God delivered them into the hands of the Philistines, i.e. of the people of Palestine, for 41 years. Then, after the Philistines, Samson, devoted to God by his parents, judged the Israelites; he was of the tribe of Dan, he was a judge for 20 years. In the year 3 of his government, he began a war against the Philistines. In year 5 of the same, the story of Ruth the Moabite took place, i.e. originating from the tribe of Moab. Boaz married her and fathered by her Obed, grandfather of the prophet David. The story of Ruth contains 246 verses; her book is so beautiful, that it was translated from Greek into Arabic. |153
In year 8 of the government of Samson, Alexander Paris, son of Priam, king of Ilion, took some offerings and went to offer them to the god Apollo, in the country of HelIas, at the age of 33, because he said that this was the god who had predicted to his father that he would have a son. When he had left and had been presented to the king of Sparta who was called Menelaus, he saw Helen there. Her beauty and her grace charmed him and he ardently desired her. Her husband being delayed where he had gone, and being far from him, Paris abducted the young woman and brought her to Troy, in the country of Phrygia, to his father, without having presented his offering [to Apollo]. When Menelaus arrived and learned what had happened, he sent messengers and called to his assistance twenty kings with their ships, to the number of 2,250. They went by sea and fought Priam and his son who had abducted the beautiful Helen. They captured Helen and all the country which had made war against them for ten years, until the year 18 of the government of Samson. At this same time, the town of Ilion, described in the book and poetries of Homer, was destroyed.
In year 19 of the government of Samson, Zeus, king of Crete, died |154 and was buried at Aqrathi, i.e. on the shore of the sea. He had lived 780 years. Because of his longevity he was called Zeus; but before he was called Dios.
In that time, after Samson had killed a great number of the Philistines, he was handed over to them; they put out his eyes because of one of their women, whom he had loved passionately. This girl-friend did not cease employing tricks against him until he had let her know that his strength was in his hair. While he slept in the room of this woman, she cut the hair devoted to God from him; his strength disappeared, she strangled him and called the Philistines to him. After Samson the Israelites were without a judge for 12 years.
The book of Joshua, son of Nun, the first book of Judges, contains 1,953 verses; the second book, 2,880 verses.
After that the priest Heli (`Ali) came who judged the Israelites for 40 years; he had become their judge at the age of 38. In year 18 of the government of the priest Heli priest, was born the prophet Samuel, consecrated to God by his parents. In year 20 of the government of Heli, Anne, mother of Samuel, presented him and dedicated him to the Lord, when he was two years old; and he remained with |155 the priest Heli in the temple, for the remainder of his government, without leaving it.
On the death of Heli, the prophet Samuel succeeded him and judged the Israelites for 20 years. When he replaced Heli who had just died, Samuel was 22. This was the year when the Philistines seized the Ark of the Lord; but as they could not endure the pain which took them from behind, when it arrived, they restored it and sent at the same time offerings in its honour. When Samuel had governed the Israelites for 20 years, they requested him to name and appoint a king for them; they asked to be delivered from the government that the Lord exercised over them by the intermediary of the judges and the governors. Consequently, Samuel gave them for king Saul, son of Cis.
The number of the years from the government of Joshua, son of Nun, and from the judges who followed him, until the day when Saul, son of Cis, began to reign, was 505; from Adam to that year, 4391 years. This is explained by what we have set out above.
We have said that from Adam to the flood there were 2,256 years; from the flood to |156 the birth of `Aru, 670 years; from Adam to the year of the birth of Ar`u, 2926 years; from the birth of Ar`u until that of Abraham, 416 years; from Adam to that year, 3342 years; since the birth of Abraham until that of Moses, 424 years; from Adam to the birth of Moses, 3766 years; from the year of the birth of Moses until the year of the exodus of the Israelites of Egypt and the ascension of Moses on the mountain of the Lord, Tur Sina, 81 years; from Adam to that year, 3847 years. Then, after bringing the Israelites out of Egypt into the desert, Moses governed them for 39 years. From Adam and the origins of the world until the year of the death of Moses there were 3,886 years; if we add to this the total of the years of the judges who governed the Israelites, i.e. 505 years, the years of the history of the world, from Adam and the origins of the universe, will be 4,391 years. (This book) is called the book of the Judges.
Saul, son of Cis, of the tribe of Benjamin, reigned over the Israelites and governed them for 40 years, and the years from the beginning of his reign are counted and these years added to the years of the history of the world which, as we said, until the beginning of the reign of Saul, are 4,391. After |157 that the years of their kings are added, one after the other, until the moment when king Nabuchodonosor (Bokht-Nasar) reduced them into captivity. Then, after the period of the kings and the captivity, the work of Nabuchodonosor, by adding them to the era of the world, the total of the years of kings of Persia and the East are counted, one after the other, until the end of the time of the latter; and the total of the calculation reaches the first year of the Ptolemaic kings who were kings of the West and the first was Ptolemy Alexander or Dou' l-Karnein.
We will recount this in our account; we will write the whole story, the events, the news and the wonders which marked these centuries and those times; after which, we will continue the annals from the beginning of the reign of Alexander Dou' l-Karnein until our own times and even to this day; we will tell what happened then and you will set it out in a clear account, if God wills.
The history of the prophet Samuel, last governor
and the last judge of the Israelites;
the history of Saul, son of Cis, first king of the Israelites.
It is written that the prophet Samuel governed the Israelites for 20 years. They obeyed, as we said in the beginning, neither Samuel nor |158 their Lord; and they set themselves to demand of the prophet to be exempted from the government of the judges, requesting him to obtain for them from the Lord, following the example of the other peoples, the establishment of a king, thus scorning the worship of the Lord and the government which he exercised over them through Samuel, in order to run after their love of pleasure. Samuel advised them, exhorted them, warned them, told them which would be the conduct of the kings towards them, [of the kings] who would seize their daughters to make of them weavers, tapestry-makers, bakers and cooks, and would reduce them to slavery. Samuel informed them this, hoping to reach them; but they did not obey and did not attend at all to his remonstrances; on the contrary, they came from there to accuse the son of Samuel of lying and to charge them wrongfully. They said to Samuel: "As for you, we want to loosen your yoke." In view of their audacity, their importunity and their manifest impiety, he asked God for permission to give them a king. The Lord ordered him to go out, to anoint for them Saul, son of Cis, of the tribe of Benjamin, and to make him reign over them to punish them.
That took place 545 years after the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, and this figure |159 includes all the time in which they were administered by their governors, their judges and also by their Lord of whom these were the intermediaries.
After Saul, reigned the prophet David and, after him, his son Solomon. To Solomon his son succeeded, and, after him, the son of his son, until the last of their kings and until Nabuchodonosor had taken them into captivity to Babylon.
During the long period of their kings, lived the prophet Elijah, the prophet Abdias, the prophet Eleazar, the prophet Micaiah, the prophet Judas 60 and the prophet Hosea. After his ascension into heaven, the prophet Elijah was replaced by his disciple Elisha. At the time of king Oziah, the prophets Isaiah, Joel and Zachariah, son of Barachiah, prophesied about Christ.
The Jews stoned Zachariah, son of Barachiah, in the temple, because he reproached them for the abominations which they had committed: they killed him between the temple and the altar. The Lord, irritated against them, put them under the yoke of king Salmanasar who took their ten tribes into captivity. According to the Jews these are those who [are] beyond the river Gozan.
The Bible says that Saul, son of Cis, reigned over the Israelites for 40 years. This was the punishment which the Lord inflicted on them to punish them. |160
In the year 3 of his reign, Saul made war on the Amalekites and overcame them.
In the year 10 of the same reign, was born David, son of Isaiah; his mother was Nahas; he belonged to the tribe of Judah.
At that time, the kings of the Lacedemonians and Corinthians began to reign and the town of Nileus was built.
In the year 23 of the reign of Saul, the prophet David was annointed by the prophet Samuel, who was then 65 years old; David was 13. In year 28 of the reign of Saul, David, 18 years old, killed the giant Goliath.
In year 33, a pilgrimage of the prophets to Nayoth took place, a town of Ramah; and king Saul prophesied with them.
In year 35 of the reign of Saul, died the prophet Samuel.
In year 30 from the birth of David, 17 years after his anointing and 5 years after the death of Samuel, Saul died in battle against the Philistines, who are the inhabitants of Palestine. The tribe of Judah was assembled, and took David |161 for its king at Hebron. Then he was annointed again and reigned over all the tribes of the Israelites. He reigned in Jerusalem for 33 years, in all for 40 years.
The complete book of Samuel contains 3,436 verses and the book of David, i.e. the Psalms, 4,830 verses.
David, in year 10 of his reign, gathered all the Israelites and made the Ark of the Lord leave the house of Amminadhab in the Tabernacle which he had designed and constructed for it.
In that time, the prophets Gad, Nathan and Asaph prophesied. Nathan is the one who presented himself before David to say that he would not build the house of the Lord, but that it would be his son Solomon who would build it; it is he also who reprimanded David because of the wife of Uriah. Being in the town of Gabaon, this prophet died there and was buried there. Asaph was of those whom David established to praise God before the Ark of the Lord. It was Gad whom God ordered to tell David to get up and to build an altar to the Lord on the ground of Ornan.
It is said that David united to the dignity of prophet and king that |162 of priest. We do not need to bring testimonies to show that he was a king and prophet, because it is an obvious and manifest fact which every one knows. It remains for us to show and demonstrate that he was also a priest. We are assured that Jesus Christ attested this in the Gospel, saying: David ate the unleavened bread that nobody could eat except the priests alone, that nobody had the right to eat, except them. Moreover, David wore all the time the priestly vestments.
One of the famous men of this time was the high priest Abiathar.
In that year, i.e. in year 10 of his reign, David brought up and placed the Ark of the Lord in the Tabernacle, i.e. the house which he had built to receive it; he established before the Ark of the Lord, in the Tabernacle, cantors who sang psalms, praised and glorified God, we mean Asaph and his companions.
From that time dates the custom of praying at three o'clock, at six o'clock and nine o'clock, without counting the prayers of the morning, evening, before the day and midnight: this makes a total of seven prayers of the day and the night. It is also said that the custom of making these prayers goes back to the time of Enoch, son of Seth, son of Adam, because Enoch, the first, started to name and to call upon |163 the Lord; Adam and Seth already knew the name of God (Allah). But it was Enoch who gave him the name of Lord (ar-Rabb) and made mention of the name of God (Allah). He said: "Allahomma! my Lord and my God!" He was the first to know the name of the Lord (ar-Rabb).
In year 16 of the reign of David, died Nahach, king of the Ammonites. Then David sent his son Hamon (Hamnoun)61 to comfort the Ammonites. When he arrived, an argument broke out between them. Hamon was unjust to him; then he went away. In year 18 of the reign of David, Hamon revolted against his father David; he hired the kings of Harran, Nisibis and Aram for a thousand talents (kikar); the kikar is a great amount of money; he brought them with a numerous army which numbered 32,000 men to make war on David. Joab, son of Zerouya (Sarouyâ), and his brother Abisaï, both son of David's sister and leaders of David's troops, advanced to meet them; they fought a battle with Hamon and his troops, put them to rout, exterminated them and captured Rabbath, a city of the Ammonites.
In that time, David had Uriah the Hethaenn killed and took his wife. |164
At the same period the towns of Magnesia and Myrina were built in Asia.
In year 30 of his reign, David made war on the Philistines; in the battle that he fought with them, he killed the four giants of Gath and destroyed the race of the giants.
At that period the town of Ephesus was built.
In that period, the Greek poet Homer lived.
In year 39 of his reign, David reorganised the families of the Levites, the tribe of the priests; he established 288 priests who were to praise and glorify God, while singing before the Ark of the Lord; he divided them into twenty-four classes; each class, which included twelve priests, was to sing for one of the 24 hours of the day and the night, one group of twelve priests succeeding another, without interruption. He instituted the tribes of the priests, one following another.
After a reign of forty years, David died, aged 70.
From his time, the Jews received part of the Mishna, which is the book |165 of Chema`sa, according to the books of Ananias and others 62, as well as astonishing stupidities which are not good and which it is inadvisable to make known by repeating them in our book. There are yet other stupidities, which the foolish ones believe down to this day, together with their eminent scholars, without speaking of others who also like and want to know these [follies].
To David succeeded his son Solomon, who reigned over the Israelites for 40 years, as it says in the Bible.
In the first year of his reign, he drove out and exiled the priest Abiathar, as well as his brother Adoniah and killed Joab, son of Zerouya (Sarouyâ). In the year 11 of his reign, Solomon completed the construction of the Temple of the Lord, construction begun in year 4 of his reign, at the beginning of the month of Ayar (May), on the ground that David had bought from Oman (Arân) the Jebusaean, on the mountain of the Amorrhaeans. He thus built the Temple in seven years, this |166 construction having been finished in year 11 of his reign, the 2nd of the month of Tichrin II (November). It is said that God had inspired in David the idea to buy this ground and to order his son Solomon to build the Temple of the Lord there, because, as we told above, it was the place where Abraham had offered to the Lord his Isaac son in a holocaust; we described this place with precise details.
In the place of the priest Abiathar whom Solomon had deposed, the prophet Zadok (Zadeqiyâ) was appointed to his position as priest. It is said that he was the eighth since Aaron. In the place of Joab, son of Zerouya (Sarouyâ), Benaya son of Yoyada was appointed as head of the army.
At that period, Hesiod and Homer, poets of the Greeks, were illustrious.
In the year 24 of his reign, Solomon destroyed Antioch and built Tadmor in a desolate and deserted country.
In the year 29 of the reign of Solomon, the prophet Ahiya the Scilonite prophesied.
It is written that Solomon, in year 34 of his reign, built on the mountain |167 which is opposite Jerusalem, a altar to Kamoch, god of the Moabites, and to Malkoum, god of the Ammonites: he obeyed some of his wives who had made him impious and had misled him.
At that period, Jeroboam, son of Nabat, fled to Egypt to king Sesac (Shishak) and remained there until the death of Solomon and the advent of his son Roboam (Ardjab`am).
The book of the Proverbs of Solomon contains 1,762 verses; the book of Great Wisdom 1,550 verses. The book of Ecclesiastes, which means the sermon of Solomon addressed by him to the Israelites, when he reigned over them and gathered them in order to deliver this speech to them, contains 427 verses. In the book of the Song of Songs there are 256 verses.
Roboam, son of Solomon, was born from an Ammonite woman named Naama, a year before the advent of Solomon. Roboam, son of Solomon, reigned 17 years; he lived 58 years.
In the first year of his reign, not having taken the advice of the old men who had advised to him to act with uprightness and to be gentle towards the Israelites, |168 but having shown to them even more harshness than his father, the Israelites revolted against him, assembled and stoned Adoram (Oudous), the controller of the taxes. The kingdom was divided into two parts, according to the word of the prophet Ahiya.
Jeroboam, son of Nabat, who had fled to Egypt, reigned over ten tribes for 22 years; Roboam reigned only over the tribe of Judah. Jeroboam built Sichem, on the mountain of Ephraim.
In year 2 [of his reign], Jeroboam made two golden calves and brought them out for the worship of the Israelites.
In year 5 of the reign of Roboam, Sesac (Chishaq), king of Egypt, went up to Jerusalem and took all the shields of gold that Solomon had made in the Temple; Roboam replaced them by others made of bronze.
After the death of Roboam, his son Abiah succeeded him for 3 years. In the first year of his reign, he gathered his troops to the number of four hundred thousand to make war with Jeroboam and with the tribes of Israel. Jeroboam on his side gathered his troops which counted eight hundred thousand riders, and they made war. Jeroboam was overcome and fled. Five hundred thousand warriors |169 of the Israelites succumbed. In that time, Abiah took fourteen wives; he had twenty-six sons and sixteen daughters.
After his death, his son Asa reigned for 41 years; he lived 60 years. In year 3 of his reign, Nadab began to reign, after Jeroboam, over the Israelites, and reigned for two years. In year 5 of the reign of Asa, the hight priest Abimelek flourished.
Then Ba`asa (Ba`cha) reigned over the ten tribes of the Israelites for 24 years. Asa, in year 10 of his reign, gathered the idols and burned them; he drove out the public women from all his kingdom and sent away his mother, because she celebrated the festivals of the idols of the grove. In year 29 of the reign of Asa, Ela, son of Ba`asa, reigned over the Israelites and occupied the throne for two years; and after him, Zimri, his servant, for seven days.
Then the kingdom of the ten tribes of the Israelites was divided: one part lined up under the standards of Tibni, another under the standards of `Amri. |170 The troops of `Amri being numerous, Tibni was so afraid and so dismayed that he fell sick and died because of this. `Amri reigned over [only] the [ten] the tribes for six years. In that time, `Amri bought the mountain of Samaria (Chamarîn) which belonged to Samer (Chamîr); he built there a city which he called Samaria (Chamarîn), like the mountain. It became the seat of the kings of the ten tribes of Israel. The seat of the kings of the tribe of Judah was in Jerusalem. `Amri reigned another six years in the royal city which he had built.
In year 30 of the reign of Asa, king of the tribe of Judah, Zarah, king of India, went against Jerusalem, by land and sea, at the head of an army of eleven hundred thousand men; he camped under its walls and besieged it. Then king Asa addressed his prayers to his Lord, . . . 63 he removed his royal clothing, covered himself with sackcloth and, humbly prostrate on ashes, prayed to God, asking His help and assistance against Zarah, king of India, and against his troops. God, who is powerful and great, answered his prayer, spoke to him and ordered him to assemble his troops and go out at their head against Zarah, in order to show him His power; but He prohibited him |171 from including in his army people who carried swords or who shot arrows. When he went out with his army and came hand to hand with the troops of Zarah, those bent their bows, whose cords made a sound similar to the buzz of hives full of bees. They launched their arrows; but when these arrows reached their destination, God returned them to the hand of each rider of Zarah. The riders wounded by the arrows complained and informed their king of what had happened to them: "It is one of the magic spells which the Israelites have brought out of Egypt, " said the king to his companions. The soldiers took their swords then and set to kill each other, because God had given them, each to the eyes of the others, the appearance of the Israelites: thus they exterminated themselves. Those who escaped death, drowned in the sea; and three days after the sea threw them on to the shore. Then God ordered king Asa to go out with his troops towards the sea to take their skins. May no-one be astonished by my account in which I explain the order given by God to king Asa: any intelligent man knows, indeed, that victory and triumph depend on God. The history of the campaign of Zarah against Jerusalem and the reason which caused him to make war on the Israelites would take a little too a long time to tell.
After Asa, king of Jerusalem, his son Josaphat reigned over the tribe of |172 Judah for 25 years.
In year 2 of his reign, Ahab succeeded his father `Amri and reigned in Samaria over the ten tribes of Israel. He then married a woman, named Jezabel, the daughter of Ethba'al, king of Sidon. He rebuilt the accursed city of Jericho that Joshua, son of Noun, had cursed, when he captured it at the time of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt; Joshua had cursed also he who rebuilt it. Jericho was rebuilt 700 years after its destruction.
One of the prophets of this time was Elijah, of the family of Aaron. He lived in a town of Gilead. On the day of his birth, his father saw him in a dream, surrounded by flames and going up to the sky. Another prophet was Abdias, of the tribe of Ephraim, who had hidden a hundred prophets for fear they would be killed by king Ahab. There was also the prophet Micaiah who had proclaimed to king Ahab the victory that he would gain over his enemies; the chaldaean prophets, among whom was Zedekiah, son of a Canaanite woman; Eleazar with 400 prophets who prophesied in the city of the queen Jezabel against her whims and passions.
In year 8 of the reign of Josaphat, king of the tribe of Judah, Ahab built |173 a temple and some altars to the idols in the town of Samaria. Josaphat, in year 12 of his reign, made war on the king of Ramah who was called Ben-Hadad (Bar-Hadad) and with 32 kings who were with him; he overcame them and killed 7,000 of their men. Among the prophets of this time, there were Oziel (Hazayyal) and Eleazar.
In the year 24 of the reign of Josaphat, king of the tribe of Judah, Ochozia (Ahaz), son of Ahab, began to reign over the ten tribes of Israel and occupied the throne for two years. Josaphat died at the age of 60 and had as successor his son Joram who reigned over the tribe of Judah in Jerusalem for eight years; he lived 40 years.
At that time, the prophet Elijah was lifted up into heaven.
Joram, king of the tribe of Judah, married Athalia, sister of Ahab, king of the tribes of Israel. At the same time, Joram killed all his brothers, the children of Josaphat. After which he fell ill: all his entrails came out of his |174 belly which was thus completely emptied, and he died. Then Ahaziah, son of Joram, reigned over the tribe of Judah for one year; he lived 23 years. That year Jezabel died; she reigned for 36 years, including 15 years after the death of her husband.
It is written that after the death of Ahaziah, son of Athalia, sister (daughter) of Ahab, Athalia seized all the royal princes of the tribe of Judah and killed them, except Joash, son of Ahaziah, whom Josabeth (Yahouchaba`), his aunt, had hidden with her nurse. The policy of Athalia and its goal throughout were to destroy the kingdom of the tribe of Judah and reduce it to just one, by joining it together with that of her brother Ahab, king of the ten tribes of Israel; then to tear off the sceptre with the tribe of Judah of which it was written that the Messiah was to come, as if she wanted of her own will to prevent the advent of the Messiah, while obeying the suggestions that Satan, revolted against God, had thrown in her heart; because Satan would have liked to make empty the revelations made by God to the prophets on the arrival of the Messiah, and this is why he made of Athalia his instrument and the place of his residence.
In year 7 of the reign of Athalia, Joiada the high priest gathered all the |175 tribe of Judah, and they proclaimed king Joash, son of Ahaziah, who was seven years old; he reigned over the tribe of Judah for 40 years and lived 47 years.
At that time, Lycurgus the legislator flourished.
At the same time, Elisha and Zachariah prophesied; this last was the son of the priest Joiada.
Joash, king of Judah, ordered the prophet Zachariah, son of the priest Joiada, put to death, and the prophet was killed in the court of the temple. Joash also killed all the children of Joiada and attracted on himself the anger of God.
In year 25 of the reign of Joash, son of Ahaziah, died the high priest Joiada. This same year, Joachaz, son of Jehu began to reign over the ten tribes of Israel and reigned for 17 years.
In year 30 of the reign of Joash, king of Judah, the prophet Elisha died, who had lived 50 years after the removal of Elijah to the sky and 67 years after annointing.
Joash, king of Judah, was killed by his servants and died a miserable death. Amaziah his son reigned after him for 29 years; he lived 54 years.
In year 2 of his reign, a king, whose name was also Joash, started |176 to reign over the ten tribes of Israel. But he drew his origin from these ten tribes and was not the Joash who had reigned over the tribe of Judah. He reigned over the ten tribes for 16 years.
In year 13 of the reign of Amaziah, king of Judah, Joash, king of the tribes of Israel, made war on him. He drew up balistas against Jerusalem, destroyed the enclosing wall over a length of four hundreds cubits and entered the city; he then took all the vestments from the temple of the Lord, the sacred vessels, and the royal treasures and returned to Samaria, the capital of his kingdom.
In that time, prophesied the prophet Hosea of the tribe of Issachar, and the prophet Amos, of Thecue (Taqou`), who was killed by order of Amaziah.
At that time, prophesied the prophet Younan, who is Jonah, son of the prophet Amathi (Matai). He prophesied against the town of Nineveh and its inhabitants. It is said that Jonah was the son of the widow, that like the prophet Elijah he was resuscitated after his death.
In year 18 of the reign of Amaziah, king of Judah, Jeroboam began to reign over the ten tribes of Israel and reigned for 41 years. When Amaziah |177 had reigned 29 years over the tribe of Judah, his servants killed him, and he died a miserable death. His son Uzziah succeeded him and reigned for 52 years; he lived 68 years.
The books of the Kings, according to which we have written and tell the history of the kings, indicate that Uzziah was son of Amaziah; Amaziah, son of Joash; Joash, son of Ahaziah; and Ahaziah, son of Joram. No-one among the learned is worried about this. But three of these kings are not mentioned in the genealogy of Christ, contained in the Gospel of the evangelist Matthew (on him be safety!) Matthew says, in fact, that Joram fathered Uzziah; and he omits these three kings, i.e. Amaziah, Joash and Ahaziah, father of Joash, and makes no mention of them in the genealogy of Christ.
The astonishing history of Amaziah, of his son
Joash, of Ahaziah, son of Joash, kings of Judah,
from whom Christ draws his origin.
We will recount and indicate the reason why the evangelist Matthew did not mention these kings, when he drew up the genealogy of the Messiah |178 in the Gospel, and [we will say] why he omitted them, from Joram to Uzziah. Thus the Gospel begins where Matthew says: "History of the birth of Jesus-Christ, son of David, son of Abraham"; then he adds: "Abraham fathered Isaac. Isaac fathered Jacob. Jacob fathered Judah and his brothers. Judah fathered by Thamar Pharez and Zarah. Pharez fathered Esrom (Hosroun). Esrom fathered Aram. Aram fathered Aminadab. Aminadab fathered Nahson. Nahson fathered Salmon. Salmon fathered by Rahab Boaz. Boaz fathered `Obed by Ruth. `Obed fathered Jesse. Jesse fathered king David. David fathered Solomon, by the wife of Uriah. Solomon fathered Roboam. Roboam fathered Abia. Abia fathered Asa. Asa fathered Josaphat. Josaphat fathered Joram. Joram fathered Uzziah." Matthew draws up a continuous genealogy of Christ to Joseph, promised in marriage to Mary; but he omits kings from Joram to Uzziah, as we said, i.e. three kings, from which Christ draws also his origin according to our calculation. Matthew does not insert them in the genealogy of Christ, and these are: Amaziah, Uzziah and Joash.
The Christian scholars and doctors say that Joram did a thing at which |179 the Lord was angry: he married Athalia, sister of Ahab, king of the tribes of Israel, who had married the Jezabel queen, murderess of the prophets. God was angry against Joram, because he had married the sister of the husband of the queen Jezabel, as if he had massacred the prophets and built temples and altars to idols. It is because of this that king Ahab had undertaken what he did.
The Bible also says about this: After the death of Ahaziah, king of Judah, Joash, son of Ahaziah, alone remained by the care of Josabeth, his aunt, who had hidden him with her nurse. This is why God was angry against Joram, as we have already said, because he had married Athalia, sister of Ahab, the woman who would have liked to destroy the kingdom of Joram and that of the tribe of Judah and its posterity, from where Christ draws his origin; who would have liked to extirpate the descent of the tribe of Judah and his kingdom, to make it hers and that of Ahab her brother, and, if possible, to destroy the descent of Judah from where the Messiah was to come, to join together the two kingdoms, that of Judah and that of the ten tribes, in only one. Athalia, sister of Ahab, husband of Jezabel, also killed all the children of the high priest Joiada. Then Joram was not satisfied to have married Athalia, sister of Ahab: God was angry again against him because he massacred all his brothers, children of his father Josaphat. God thus brought down on him |180 his vengeance: he fell ill; his entrails escaped and his belly was entirely emptied; he died thus a miserable death.
Then his son Joash ascended the throneand killed the prophet Zachariah in the court of the temple of the Lord. He also killed all the family of the high priest Joiada. Then God delivered him into the hands of his servants who killed him; and he died a miserable death.
When his son Amaziah ascended the throne of Judah, he killed the prophet Amos at the end of his reign. Then God was angry against him and delivered him into the hands of his servants who killed him; and he died a miserable death.
It is because of these very striking facts that the evangelist Matthew excluded from his Gospel the names of these three kings, when he made the genealogy of Christ, out of horror of their actions. The most hideous of these stories is that of Athalia which had thought of exterminating the tribe of Judah, because Satan, who lived in this woman, had persuaded her to prevent the advent of the Messiah. We already explained this to you and we are showing it to you now, so that you can understand it. Ask (may God keep you!) who you like among the scholars, the wise ones and the people skilled in learning, about the history of these three kings who are the ancestors of Christ. I have set it forth to you and explained it. It is one of the mysteries of the Gospel which contains innumerable such. |181
We have said that Uzziah, son of Amaziah, reigned over the tribe of Judah for 52 years.
It is written that in year 6 of his reign the dynasty of the kings of the Assyrians ended, i.e. of Mosul, and that their kingdom fell into the power of the Medes, with the country of Babylon (Babil). The first king of the Assyrians was Phoul, son of Sa(?) 64; he reigned over them for 35 years.
In that time, the repentance of the inhabitants of the town of Nineveh took place.
At the same time, Hosea, Amos (`Amoun), Jonah, son of Amathi, and Isaiah who was from Jerusalem and which was sawn with a saw and put to death by order of Manasseh, then buried with the cemetery of Siloe, prophesied. After having prophesied for 35 years, he was deprived of the gift of prophecy for 28 years, i.e. for all the reign of the four kings in question; he lived 113 years. Here is the reason why the Isaiah prophet was deprived of the gift of prophecy for 28 years: Uzziah, king of Judah, was impudent, although he was not a priest, so far as entering (the temple) to offer incense to God. Deterred by fear, the prophet Isaiah did not inform him, |182 did not condemn him, he did not reprimand this audacity and impudence. Then Isaiah was deprived of the gift of prophecy for 28 years, until the death of Uzziah. His entire body was covered with leprosy and scales; his skin became white like snow; and all that, in a wink of an eye. After the death of Uzziah, Joatham, his son, succeeded him and reigned over the tribe of Judah for 16 years. God again inspired Isaiah who again prophesied for 61 years.
Here what is written in his prophecies, according to the Bible: "The year of king Uzziah died, I saw the Lord sitting in the Temple on a throne that was high and lifted up. The chosen Seraphs stood before him, each them having six wings; with two wings they covered their faces, with two others they covered their feet and with the last two they flew, one toward another, saying: Holy, Holy, Holy are the Lord of the armies; heaven and earth are full of his glory and his majesty." The book of the prophet Isaiah has 3,926 verses. |183
In the year 29 of the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah, Zachariah ascended the throne of the ten tribes of Israel and reigned for six months. After him Selloum, son of Jabez, reigned thirty days; then Manahem, son of Gadi, reigned 10 years.
At that time, the first king of the Macedonians reigned, i.e. the Greeks (Roum). He was named Qaranos.
Porphyry, the commentator of the book of Aristotle, and deacon of a church in the town of Tyre (Sour), was arrogant before all the deacons, his equals. This is why they threw themselves on him one day in the temple and beat him. Then he revolted, gave up Christianity, disavowed Christ, apostasised and denied the Gospel. This Porphyry claims that the philosopher Homer, composer of the book of the poems of the Greeks at that time, recounted their wars.
In that time flourished Zachariah, son of Barachiah, and Ananie (Anouniya) high priests of the Israelites. It is written that the Jews stoned Zachariah, son of Barachiah, in the temple; and he died. |184
A second time 65: Lycurgus, legislator of the Greeks, flourished at that time.
In the year 23 of the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah, Phoul, king of Babylon, made an expedition against Samaria, city of the kingdom of the ten tribes of Israel; he overcame it and captured it. Then the king of Samaria gave him a thousand talents of silver, which makes thousand purses, and Phoul returned into the East.
At that time, Phidon, of Argos, who manufactured measurements and weights, was made known.
In year 40 of the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah, Peqachya, son of Manahem, reigned over the tribes of Israel for four years.
King Teglatphalasar reigned in Babylon and Nineveh for 35 years.
At the same time, Ardysus (Ardashir) reigned as the first [king of the Lydians]; the kings of the Corinthians ceased; the first king of the Greeks reigned in the town of Athens or Cecrops, for 23 years.
In year 5 of the reign of Uzziah, leap years began to be counted, one leap year every four years. |185
From that time dates the beginning of the war between the Prasini and Veneti, i.e. between the partisans of the green and the partisans of the blue. The colour was only a pretext which the kings used for themselves to make war break out between the parties. There fell in the fray 500,000 men, more or less, as we find in the books. Their kings employed this trick to prevent them multiplying and from revolting against them. Their history is astonishing, but a little long; if you are ready to hear it, you can hear it. We found that the majority of bishops of these ancient and former times had grasped this [principle] and stuck to it. I have heard one of them say: "If the flocks of a bishop live in peace and prosperity, the bishop will be unhappy, [and that will continue] until the day when the flocks are afflicted." I believe that the majority of them stuck to this principle; this is why they divided their flocks into two parties.
The total of the years from Adam and the origins of the world until the first olympiad are in total 4,725 years; from the flood to that year, 2,469 years; from the exodus of the Israelites of Egypt until the same year, 878 years; from the reign of Saul, the first king who reigned over the Israelites, 334 years. |186
In year 50 of the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah, Peqach, son of Remalya (Roumalya), began to reign over the ten tribes of Israel and he occupied the throne for 20 years. In his time Teglatphalasar time, king of Babylon, made an incursion: he fought the Israelites and took into captivity to Babylon a great number of them.
When Uzziah died, after a reign of 52 years, his son Joatham succeeded him and reigned over the tribe of Judah for 16 years; he lived 41 years.
At that time, the prophets Joel, of the tribe of Ruben (Roubal), and Micaiah, of the tribe of Ephraim, prophesied.
Then also the town of Rhodes was built, which is an island of the sea. Ptolemy tells, in his book of the Canon, that it was in the middle of the fourth climate. It remained for 1,405 years. Then the Arabs destroyed it and took its inhabitants into captivity.
After the death of Joatham, his son Ahaz succeeded him and reigned 16 years; he lived 36 years. He raised himself up against his Lord, served the gods of the gentiles, |187 and worshipped their idols. Then God brought against him Racin, king of Syria, and Peqach, son of Remalya (Roumalya), who massacred 120,000 combatants of the tribe of Judah and took captive a great number. Ahaz, king of Judah, sent presents to Teglatphalasar, king of Babylon, and asked him for his help and assistance. This prince lent him aid and, arrived at Damascus, he fought against Racin, king of Syria, in the country of Esch-Scham, overcame him and killed him; then he took into captivity a great number of the inhabitants of his kingdom.
In year 2 of the reign of Ahaz, Hosee, son of Ela, ascended the throne of the ten tribes of Israel and reigned for 9 years. The following year, he called to his aid Adramelek the Kushite, king of Egypt.
At that time, the sage Thales, the first physician, made himself known.
In year 8 of the reign of Ahaz, Salmanasar began his reign which lasted for 14 years.
This same year, the first king of the Romans (Roum) who were the Franks, not the Greeks of the East (Younaniyoun), ascended the throne. Remus |188 (Roumanaous) and Romulus reigned over the Roman-Franks; they built the marvellous city of Rome. The two brothers reigned together and they called the town of Rome from the name of Remus. (Romulus) reigned for 38 years; he attacked his brother and killed him. It is told that Remus and Romulus were born from a λύκαινα, i.e. a she-wolf. It is what their carved statues which are found to this day in the town of Rome portray. As for the learned, they tell that their grandfather Amulius, thinking that they had been born from an adultery, ordered them immediately thrown in the forest; they were thrown there. The name of their mother was Helen (Aelia, Ilia), who was a priestess of Ares, i.e. of Mars. Their grandfather thought that a rider of the Roman-Franks had commited adultery with her. The learned and the poets tell that Ares made her pregnant, and that she had by him Remus and Romulus; then that, when they had been thrown into the forest, a woman who fed the herds found them, and seized with pity, took them and nourished them with her milk. In the language of the people of this country those who kept the herds were called "Liqouniyous", which means in the Greek language "a wolf": so "Liqouniyous", i.e. "Pastor" belongs to the Frank language and means in the Greek language "a wolf". They were so called, because they always fed their herds in the deserts and the |189 wild places and that they lived there like the wild animals and beasts.
A scholar tells that the husband of Helen (Ilia) having spent the night with her, fathered them both then and that this same night he died, leaving her pregnant. Then when she had brought them into the world, their grandfather Amulius believed that they had been born from an adultery, and this is why he ordered them thrown into the forest, among the wild animals. There is nothing strange that Helen (Ilia) conceived them in one night, since we know already that Thamar conceived by Judah, after he had slept with her at a crossroads, and that she had by him Pharez and Zarah. We are not astonished, either, that the husband of Helen (Ilia) died the same night.
When (Remus and Romulus) had reigned together, as we said, for ten years, they changed to enmity and hatred and came to blows. Romulus threw himself on his brother Remus, killed him 3 and reigned alone. But after this murder, throughout the year, the town of Rome did not cease being shaken by earthquakes, nor its inhabitants from making war and committing suicide. Then Romulus addressed prayers to God |190 to ask him to put an end to the earthquakes. God said to him in a dream: "the earthquakes will cease in your capital only if you place your brother beside you on the royal throne; it is only on this condition that the city will cease being disturbed by war and earthquake and that its inhabitants will find shelter from the punishments." Then Romulus made a statue of gold om the image of his brother; he placed it beside him on the throne, and when he ordered or forbade, he spoke in the plural, saying: "We order, we forbid, we do," and so on, always expressing himself on his own behalf and in the name of his brother. This is why the kings of the Romans stick to this habit of speaking in the name of two people, when they order or forbid, from the time of Romulus until today, for example: "we order, we forbid, we do", and so on. Hardly had Romulus placed the statue of his brother at his side on the throne, when the earthquakes ceased in the city and that the people laid down their weapons.
When he had built the seven ramparts of the town of Rome, had laid out and decorated its streets with art, Romulus made a great festival. He called "March" the month which is the new moon of Nisan (April) and which always corresponds to the month of Adar (March), when the equinox takes place. This month was before called Primus, and |191 the translation (of Martius) is "month of Ares", i.e. of Mars; and Mars means in the frank language (Latin) the beauty of the flowers, because, in that month, the ground shows its beauty and is covered with a multitude of pretty flowers. The Romans celebrate this festival, that Romulus instituted, every year until today, and call it the kalends of Mars; on that day they offer presents to their king and to each other. (This festival) resembles that of the new year (Naurouz) among the inhabitants of the East.
After that, he made an (other) great festival where he distributed many largesses to the Romans. He established the ὕπατοι (consuls?) for them, i.e. the leaders of the public affairs.
Since that time kings have adopted the practice of creating division, war and dissension among their subjects to distract them from themselves, by civil war, and to let them destroy each other. Romulus built a circus, i.e. a marvellous theatre in the town of Rome, to draw aside the opposition, dissatisfaction and resentment which were among the inhabitants of the town of Rome, angry against him because he had killed his brother. |192 Romulus made a festival in the honour of the sun and placed the (four) elements on a chariot drawn by four horses 66, on which he made war. He gave names to these four elements: (he called) the earth "Prasinus", i.e. green, because of its grass; he named the sea "Venetus", i.e. colour of the sky, because the colour of water resembles that of the sky; he made the colour of fire red and that of the air white. These four things have existed in the town of Rome until today. The inhabitants of the city were divided into two parties, and since then war and battles [between them] have continued ever since. This is one of the tricks which kings have invented so that their subjects will destroy each other and cease being dangerous, the king always inclining towards most powerful of the two parties.
In year 17 from the foundation of Rome, the king made a count of them and counted the inhabitants; and their number was 950,000 men 67. Eight years after, he counted them |193 for the second time, and their number was 7,000,000 men 68.
Oenomaus, king of Pisa 69, also instituted and celebrated a festival in the honour of the sun on the 25th of the month of Adar (March); he organized the combat and fighting on land and sea and subordinated these four elements, i.e. fire, the air, water and earth, to the sun 70.
In year 9 of the reign of Hosea, king of the ten tribes of Israel, in year 8 of the reign of Ahaz, king of Judah, in the first year of the reign of Salmanasar, king of Babylon, Salmanasar attacked the town of Samaria, capital of the kings of the ten tribes of Israel; he camped before it and, after having besieged it for three years, captured it; after which he took the inhabitants of the ten tribes of Israel into captivity in Babylon. Then Salmanasar, king of Babylon, sent a great number of inhabitants of the country of Mosul and other cities, to guard the countries where the Israelites had lived. These people were called Samaritans, which means in Hebrew guardians or guards. But the lions and the wild animals were going to attack them and kill them. This was reported to Salmanasar who said: "Perhaps this has happened, because the people that I have |194 sent don't know the worship of the god of this country?" And he sent them a certain number of Israelite priests, to teach only the Torah to them: the wild animals went away. It is for this reason that the Samaritans only accept among the prophets the Book of the Torah. They say that they are the true Israelites, but they are mistaken, because they are only the descendants of the people who came from the East 71.
After the death of Ahaz, king of Judah, his son Hezekiah reigned for 29 years; he lived 54 years. In year 6 of his reign, Sennacherib ascended the throne in Babylon and reigned for 9 years.Then he made a expedition against Jerusalem, and he had Bocht-Nassar as secretary. But the Lord, hearing the prayer and supplications which king Hezekiah had addressed to him, made 185,000 men of his army perish. Its history is written in the Book of the Kings of Israel 72.
When Sennacherib had escaped, his son Asarhaddon, seeing that his troops had been exterminated, captured him and killed him; then he reigned after him for three years. |195
In year 15 of the reign of Hezekiah, Merodach-Baladan reigned for 48 years 73.
History of king Hezekiah.
It is written that king Hezekiah gave satisfaction to God in all his actions: he abolished from the middle of his people the idols and their worship, purified the Temple of the Lord of any stain and impurity, sanctified it and put priests there, in the way in which the prophet David had done.
In his time the prophets Isaiah and Micaiah lived. Isaiah prophesied on the advent of the Messiah. There was [also] the prophet Hosea who, for all his life, exhorted the Israelites, diverted them from the cult and worship of idols and set himself to prayer and supplication to obtain from His Lord to move Sennacherib away from his people: God heard his prayer and broke the anger of Sennacherib, king of Babylon.
God wanted the prophet Hosea to know the hardness of the heart of the Israelites and their obstinacy towards Him. So He said to this prophet: "Go, marry a |196 repudiated woman who prostitutes herself publicly, and another woman who commits adultery in secret." The prophet Hosea was amazed at this order from God and he conceived an overpowering sorrow from it. But God wanted to make known to him his lack of patience compared to that of the Lord towards the Israelites. The truth indeed, according to the prophet Hosea, it is that several of them adored the idols in secret, and others publicly. This is why God ordered him to marry a repudiated woman who prostituted herself publicly, and another who committed adultery in secrecy, so that the prophet would not importune his Lord any more because of them.
It is written that king Hezekiah committed himself to dedicate himself exclusively to the service of God, without marrying, because he remembered the promise and the oath that God had made the prophet David, namely that the race and the posterity of David would not cease occupying his throne until the consummation of the centuries.74 King Hezekiah thought to himself and said: "The blessing that God gave to the prophet David and the promise that He made to him, namely that his race and posterity will not cease to occupy his throne until the consummation of the centuries, - is a perfect blessing by God, who could never withdraw His promises nor His gifts. As my fathers and my grandfathers married and had children, the blessing passed |197 from one to another, from father to son, who thus inherited the throne of the prophet David." And the prophet Hezekiah thought that, if he remained virgin and did not marry, he would reign and would occupy the throne of the prophet David until the consummation of the centuries. He had not understood that it was necessary to interpret differently than he thought, the word addressed by God to the prophet David. But on this God sent the prophet Isaiah to him saying to the latter: "Go and tell king Hezekiah to make his will in favour of his own, because he will die and will not live any more"; as if he said: "People will die and live again at the day of Resurrection; as for him, he will die and will not live again any more, because he thought that it would remain [alive] until the end of time."
And king Hezekiah fell sick, as soon as the prophet Isaiah had told him and reported the word of the Lord. On his bed, he started to weep hot tears, the prey of sadness. He spat against the wall, saying: "Pah for this earthly mud from which I draw my origin! and I believed that I could live until the consummation of the centuries!" Then he recalled to God his actions and what he had done to please his Lord. God approved his prayer and sent to him for the second time the prophet Isaiah saying to the latter: "Go to |198 king Hezekiah and say to him: The Lord has added fifteen years to your life; and here is the proof: ask at your pleasure that the sun, on the sundial of your father 75 Ahaz, should advance by fifteen degrees, or that it go back by fifteen degrees." Then king Hezekiah said himself: "It would not be a wonder that the sun advanced, since it is the way of its course and the law of its movement. Let it rather go back by fifteen degrees!" He thus said to the prophet Isaiah: "I ask that the sun go back by fifteen degrees." However the sun, which was then in the middle of the sky, at midday, at the time when it goes down again, at the end of the sixth hour, retraced its steps towards the East as if it were at the time of its rising, at the hour of the morning prayer.
But for two reasons I do not see what king Hezekiah was thinking, when he asked that the sun go back: firstly, this is not the way of its movement nor the line of its route; in the second place, often people, in their work, their occupations or their discussions, spend several hours of the day without realizing it; but it is when the sun was in the middle of the sky, at the end of the sixth hour, that is when people needed to eat, the workmen, the managers and others, |199 and to rest, that the sun rereturned its steps, at similar hour, and returned to the time of its rising, to the hour of the morning prayer. Then all men had to notice this and note this; even the animals had to realize it, without speaking like men. It is not necessary however that somebody thinks that the sun returned from the degree of the middle of the sky to the place (litt. degree) of its rising without the return of the whole celestial sphere. Also we say that the whole celestial sphere retrogressed, returned with all its stars and its planets — the stars remaining in their places - and returned from the middle of the sky towards the East. And we add that, if the sun returned from the degree of the middle of the sky instead of its rising, the three signs of the zodiac also retraced their steps and the four seasons of the year were changed: if it were the season of spring, it changed into the season of summer; if it were the season of summer, it changed into the season of autumn; if it were the season of autumn, it changed into the season of winter, and if it were the season of winter, it changed into the season of spring; so that the four seasons changed.
You (may God keep you!) must have and indeed possess those things which belong to the depths of learning and the mysterious treasures of wisdom; it is necessary that you have an exact knowledge, when you question on this point |200 the learned and those who plunge into the reading of the books of learning or literature. You will see then if there is only one among them who knows similar mysteries and you will be delighted to have these hidden treasures of learning, that nobody, except you, knows, neither the wise ones, nor the patriarchs, nor the bishops, nor other men.
It is written that Merodach-Baladan, king of Babylon, sent to king Hezekiah presents, gifts and offerings, when he had noted that the sun had returned from the middle of the sky to the East. The Magi worship the sun, fire, water and all the luminous elements; therefore king Merodach, witnessing the return of the sun, said to his companions: "I see that our god has been put to rout; there must be another god more powerful who ran up against it, pushed back and made it move back." Then he informed himself on this. And when he knew what had happened to king Hezekiah and he learned of the prophecy of Balaam the magician who had said: "A star will come forth from Jacob and a leader from Israel," 76 he was seized with fear and was afraid of king Hezekiah; this is why he sent gifts and present to him, in testimony of his veneration, to seek his favour because he feared him. When the ambassadors of |201 king Merodach arrived with king Hezekiah, with their offerings and their presents, he boasted; he spread out all the vases of the temple and all the wonders which it contained, to show them to the envoys. Then God was angry against him and said to him: "In truth, says the Lord: All that you showed and of which you have boasted, will be plundered and carried off into the regions of the East; your sons and your descendants will be led there in captivity 77."
After this king Hezekiah married and fathered Manasseh, who, after the death of his Hezekiah father, ascended the throne at the age of 13. His reign lasted 55 years, and he lived 68 years.
At that time, in the town of Rome, (Numa) Pompilius reigned for 43 years. He added to the months of the Romans Kanoun II (January) and Chebat (February); until that time the Romans had known only ten months; (imagine that!) and each month was of 36 days. He built and set up in the town of Rome the Capitol, the first of the seven wonders; he widened its hall and rooms, because they were narrow 78. |202
Manasseh, in year 18 of his reign, was taken into captivity in punishment for his great injustice, his impiety, his opposition to the Lord and the restoration of the worship of the idols; he remained imprisoned in Babylon for 39 years. He addressed to the Lord prayers and supplications and he returned to his kingdom where he removed the idol with four faces which he had made and placed in the temple of the Lord; he moved this idol from the temple and had it burned. The prayer of Manasseh is beautiful in its sadness and the humble supplication which the king addresses to his Lord; it is inscribed in the books of the Christians and Jews 79.
In year 39 of the reign of Manasseh, Sennacherib the Younger began his reign which lasted 31 years 80.
In year 52 of the reign of Manasseh, king of Judah, Byzantium was built by king Byzos. It was previously called Nicomedia and had been absorbed. Then, 970 years after the foundation of the town of Byzantium by king Byzos, the emperor Constantine the Great, son of Helene, restored it, increased it, built there palaces, theatres and surrounding walls and gave it his name, Constantinople (Qastantiniya) 81. |203
After the death of Manasseh, his son Amon succeeded him and reigned 12 years; he lived 24 years.
At that time, Alcman flourished, who is called Loqman among the Arabs 82.
In year 5 of the reign of Amon, was born his son Josias.
From that time, after 348 years, the prophecy on the Altar was carried out 83.
After the death of Amon, his son Josias reigned in his place for 31 years.
In that year, the Magus ascended the throne of Babylon and reigned 33 years 84.
In year 6 of the reign of Josias, the prophet Sophoniah, son of Kouchi, of the tribe of Simeon, prophesied. [At that time] there lived the priest Hilkiya, father of the prophet Jeremiah. In year 13 of the reign of Josias, the prophet Jeremiah started to prophesy 85.
In year 31 of the reign of Josias, the lame Pharaoh (Nechao) ascended the throne of Egypt and reigned for 6 years. He killed Josias. The son of the latter, |204 Joachaz, reigned after him for three months. Then the Pharaoh, king of Egypt, returned, killed Joachaz also and established in his place his brother Joachim, called Eliakim, who reigned for 12 years and lived 18 years 86.
In year 3 of the reign of Eliakim, Nabuchodonosor ascended the throne of Babylon and reigned for 45 years. In the first year of his reign, he attacked Jerusalem, took into captivity part of its inhabitants and carried off all the utensils and all the vases of the temple, according to the word that God had said to king Hezekiah, when this one was boasting about these [treasures] and had shown them to the envoys of king Merodach. Among these first prisoners that Nabuchodonosor took, that year, there were Daniel with his companions, Ananias, Azarias and Misael. Nabuchodonosor had them thrown into a burning furnace; but they remained healthy and safe, and their clothing was not even smoke-damaged.
In year 5 of the reign of Eliakim, Nabuchodonosor killed the lame Pharaoh (Nechao), king of Egypt, after whom Psammeticus (Samizis) reigned for 17 years.
At that time the Pharaoh devastated the town of Menbidj located on the Euphrates. When it was rebuilt, it was called Hierapolis, i.e. the city of priests 87. |205
In year 8 of the reign of Eliakim and in year 5 of the reign of Nabuchodonosor, Nabuchodonosor attacked Jerusalem for the second time and imposed a tribute on its inhabitants; but Joachim continued to reign in his place.
In year 8 of the reign of Nabuchodonosor, Joachin died, and his son Joachin succeeded him; it is he who is named in the Gospel Jechoniah 88. He reigned for three months. When he had deviated from the obedience which he owed to his Lord, king Nabuchodonosor attacked him and took him captive to Babylon, where he remained prisoner for 37 years, until the time when Evilmerodach succeeded Nabuchodonosor. Evilmerodach took Jechoniah from his prison, made him sit at his table and eat with him; the son of Jechoniah married Suzanne, daughter of the priest Hilkia and sister of the prophet Jeremiah.
When Joachin was taken into captivity, Nabuchodonosor established in his place his uncle Zedekiah, called Mathanya 89; he was called also Jechoniah. He reigned for 11 years and lived 32 years.
In this same year, the prophet Ezechiel was taken captive to Babylon |206 with the Israelite prisoners. In year 5 of the reign of Zedekiah and in year 9 of the reign of Nabuchodonosor, the Prophet Ezechiel began to prophesy.
In the same year, Astyages began to reign over the country of the Persians and occupied the throne for 38 years 90.
The prophet Jeremiah, knowing by his prophecies that the temple was going to be burned and the people of the Israelites taken into captivity to Babylon, took the Tabernacle and the Ark of the Covenant that Moses had drawn up in the desert, and hid them in a cave, of which nobody, to this day, knows the location.91
At that time, Hophra reigned in Egypt for 25 years.
In year 9 of the reign of Zedekiah, on the tenth day of the tenth month, Nabuchodonosor undertook his fourth campaign [against Jerusalem] and besieged it until the eleventh year of the reign of Zedekiah, king of the Jews. In this same year, which is the twenty-first of his reign, Nabuchodonosor captured Jerusalem and burned the Temple.
The Temple, since the time when Solomon, son of David, had built it, until the day when it was set on fire, lasted 534 years. |207 22 kings of the tribe of Judah are counted until this date, and they reigned in total for a period of 518 years and six months 92.
When the Israelites were taken captive to Babylon, Nebuzardan seized the high priest Sophoniah and other chiefs and big men of the people as well as Zedekiah, king of Judah, and he transported them to Babylon where he had them killed; he had the eyes of Zedekiah put out and the throats of his sons cut; then he made him turn a mill by hand. He was then 32 years old. After his death his corpse was thrown behind the curtain wall; and thus the prophecy was accomplished which the Lord had made over him by the mouth of the prophet Jeremiah 93.
As for the Jews who remained in Jerusalem, they took the prophet Jeremiah and went down to Hophra, king of Egypt. There, they killed the prophet Jeremiah who died and was buried. He had prophesied for 38 years. His book contains 4,252 verses; the book of Kings contains 1,113 and the book of Paralipomen 3,503.
The Jews who were in captivity also seized the |208 prophet Ezechiel and killed him; he was buried over there, in the tomb of Shem, son of Noah. He had prophesied for 28 years. His book contains 4,376 verses.
A little time afterwards, Nabuchodonosor attacked the town of Tyre. He ordered his troops to pile up stones in the sea to reach the city. But at this sight, the inhabitants of Tyre threw in the sea all that they had and fled on their vessels. Nabuchodonosor took Hiram, king of Tyre, and returned home. Hiram lived 50 years, during the reigns of the 21 kings of the tribe of Judah 94. When the troops of Nabuchodonosor had left the town of Tyre, the country of Egypt fell into their hands. Nabuchodonosor reigned 24 years after the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the temple. It is from the year 22 of his reign that we start to count the 70 years of the captivity of the Israelites in Babylon.
In year 37 of the reign of Nabuchodonosor which is year 13 of the captivity, Nabuchodonosor made this great statue of gold, which was 60 cubits high. It is because of this idol that Ananias, Azarias and Misael were distinguished: they |209 were thrown into a burning furnace; but they remained healthy and safe, because God preserved them from the flame.
From this time, among the Greeks, Joseph (Yousifous) was distinguished, i.e. Aesop (Yousfâs) the fabulist 95.
After the death of Nabuchodonosor, his son Evilmerodach reigned for one year. In year 5 of the captivity, Balthasar ascended the throne; and it is in the first year of his reign that the prophet Daniel saw in a dream the beast which came up from the sea 96. In year 2 of his reign, Balthasar made a feast and while he was sitting on a raised seat, he had them bring in the sacred vessels which had been removed from the Temple of the Lord, and drank from them. But hardly he had drunk from these vessels, than a hand appeared on the wall opposite, writing the misfortune which would happen to him and the punishment which awaited him. Here what was written: "He who counts the hair of the head (God) has counted and |210 numbers his kingdom and torn its veil (has deprived it of defense)." The same night Darius the Mede and Persian, entered his place, killed him and annexed his kingdom to that of the Medes and Persians 97. . .
Darius, son of Assuerus (Ahchirach) 98, began to reign in year 28 of the captivity. In the first year of this reign, the prophet Daniel made a prayer, because he saw clearly that the years were approaching and that the 70 years that God had fixed for their slavery in Babylon was coming to an end. They had started, indeed, in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josias, the time when the prophet Jeremiah made his beginning as a prophet. Having heard the prayer and supplications of Daniel, the Lord sent the archangel Gabriel to him and announced to him concerning the weeks, the destruction of Jerusalem and the kings who reigned at that time and who are mentioned in the book of the prophet Daniel 99. In that time, Daniel was thrown in the lion's den. |211
Cyrus the Persian rose up. He killed Astyages, king of the Medes, and Darius, king of the Babylonians; then he established the empire of the Persians, in year 81 of the captivity of Israelites. He reigned 30 years. In the first year of his reign, he ordered that 50,000 Israelite prisoners should be released and set free and he sent them to Jerusalem. As of that moment he ordered them to rebuild the Temple of the Lord; but they were prevented from doing so by the people who surrounded them, until the end of the sixth year of Darius, son of Hystaspes, which is year 46 of their captivity, as it is written in the Gospel of John 100. Let no-one think in consequence that the Jews took 46 years to rebuild this Temple 101.
In year 2 of the reign of Darius, Daniel was thrown, a second time, into the lion's den because he had frustrated and confused the priests of the idols in their temple and revealed and published their artifices. Daniel killed the Dragon 102.
In year 3 of the reign of Darius, the prophet Daniel fasted for three weeks, that is to say twenty-one days; he started to fast on the 4th of the first month |212 of Nisan (April). Then God sent the angel Gabriel to him. Daniel collapsed and fell down, seized with fear. This same year, the prophet Daniel died, while the Israelites were still captive, and he was buried in Babylon. Daniel was of the tribe of Judah. His book contains 1,550 verses.
At that time prophesied the prophet Habakuk, of the tribe of Simeon. It was he whom the Angel took by the hair, when, mounted on an ass, he carried their meal to the harvesters. The Angel of the Lord carried him from the country of Jerusalem to Babylon, to the prophet Daniel, who was in the pit. Habakuk gave the prophet something to eat from the collation which he carried with him and which was hot. Then the Angel of the Lord brought him back to the country of Jerusalem 103.
At that time prophesied the prophet Haggai, of the tribe of Levi, and the prophet Zachariah, son of Barachyah.
At the same time, the lived the Magus Zoroaster (Azeradhoucht), author of the doctrines of the Magi, which consisted of the worship of water, fire, of the elements, and other shameful practises, which it is not advisable to describe in this book. |213
At that time, the doctrines of Pythagoras appeared and Simonides and Anacreon were distinguished, inventors of lutes and guitars 104.
In year 10 of the Persian Cyrus, the seventy years of the first captivity were accomplished, which had started in year 3 of Joachim (or Eliakim) 105.
After the death of Cyrus, Cambyses, or, as the Hebrews say, Nabuchodonosor II ascended the throne. He reigned for 8 years 106. At that time, Judith distinguished herself who, by her stratagem, killed Holophernes, king of Babylon. The book of Judith contains 1,268 verses 107.
Among the Israelites there was the high priest Joshua, son of Josedek; and in Jerusalem, Joachim (Ilyaqim) 108.
Cambyses, in year 6 of his reign, invaded Egypt, captured it and killed Amasis (Maqnousiyous), king of Egypt. After which the kingdom of Egypt ceased existing until year 15 of the reign of Darius. |214
At that time, Fansamous (?) 109 cut up the stone which spoke, because he believed he would find the mysteries of magic inside.
After Cambyses, the Magus reigned 3 years and 7 months; after this latter, Darius, son of Hystaspes, reigned 36 years. In year 2 of his reign, the seventy years were accomplished; and in year 6, the 3rd of the month of Adar (March), the construction of the Temple of the Lord was completed.
At that time, the philosopher Democritus 110 flourished.
After the death of Darius, his son Xerxes 111, i.e. Assuerus (Akhchirach), reigned for 26 years 112.
At that time the painter Zeuxis 113 was famous.
At the same time, there lived the Jews Esther and Mordecai, nephew of the prophet Jeremiah, sons of the high priest Barachyah 114; Mordecai was the uncle d' Esther. They were both prisoners in Babylon. |215
In that time, flourished the prophet Malachi, one of the twelve prophets; he prophesied in the country of Judah. After his death there were no more prophets known among the Israelites. The book of the Twelve Prophets contains in all 3,643 verses. The book of Esther contains 654 verses.
In year 11 of his reign, Xerxes (Akhchirach) captured the town of Athens and many other cities 115. His son succeeded him for two years and half, and had himself as a successor Artaxerxes Longhand, called Ariyoukh 116, who reigned for 41 years
At that time, a stone fell from the sky in the river of Aigos (Augoch); its name was Afsis (Αἴξ?) 117.
In year 7 of his reign, king Artaxerxes ordered the scribe Esdras to go up to the country of Judah and to rebuild Jerusalem; it was under the pontificate of the high priest Joshua, son of Josedek. This was explained and revealed to Esdras. Esdras wrote down all the Torah and the Prophets from memory, because he knew them by heart; he also set to describe and tell how the people |216 had left Babylon. He was the fourteenth high priest after Aaron. The book of Esdras contains 2,808 verses.
At that time lived the wise Empedocles of Sicily. He went to see and examine the fire which spouted in swirls out of a cave. Not being able to understand this mystery, he threw himself into the cave; but he forgot his shoes, outside. Thus he betrayed himself and made known that he did not have the qualities that its contemporaries had allotted to him.
At the same time, Democritus and Hippocrates were famous, who were doctors; Zeno and Heraclites.
It was then also that the Romans sent messengers to the town of Athens: [these messengers] copied [the laws of the Athenians] and wrote the XII Tables based on them.
Artaxerxes, in year 20 of his reign, sent Nehemiah, his wine waiter, to rebuild Jerusalem; Nehemiah remained in Jerusalem until the end of year 25 of the reign |217 (1) ** of Artaxerxes. Then lived the minister of king Artaxerxes, Haman the Amalekite. He remembered the old enmity and the wars which had formerly separated the Israelites and Amalekites; he kept the resentment of it. And he asked the king to kill and exterminate the Jewish people. In this same year, the construction of Jerusalem was completed, with its streets, its palaces, its citadels: it was under the pontificate of the high priest Joiadah, son of Elisee. When Nehemiah had gone up to Jerusalem, the Jews did not have any sacred fire and they did not dare to offer sacrifices to God with a profane fire: at the time where they had been taken captive to Babylon, they had taken the sacred fire of the altar of the Lord and had thrown it in a well which was in one of the suburbs of the town of Apamea; this suburb was called Ashin (?). The wine waiter Nehemiah had a vase and bowl brought from this well, sixty-four years after the fire had been thrown there; he placed this vase and this bowl on the wood of the altar; and the fire ignited.
At that time, Plato was born and the sophist Socrates was famous in |218 (1) the town of Athens. As he perverted the young people, he was made to drink poison, and he died. But he left Plato who revealed his actions as well as his depraved and infamous doctrines.
At the same time, while Haman, minister of the king, employed all the resources of his spirit to seek ruses to destroy and exterminate all the people of Israel, Esther and Mordecai covered themselves with sackcloth and addressed to God their prayers and their supplications. God made the artifices of the Amalekite Haman collapse on his own head: Artaxerxes had him killed and crucified.
The history of Esther, niece of Mordecai, nephew of
the prophet Jeremiah,
and Haman the Amalekite, minister of king Artaxerxes.
It is written that king Artaxerxes prepared a great feast where he gathered all the delights; he gathered his notables there, his parents and the leaders of his |219 (1) army. The Amalekite Haman was his Prime Minister and his intendant. At this feast, when the king had enjoyed to satiety all the delights and all the kinds of pleasures that he could wish, he said to himself that there remained nothing any more but only one pleasure at his disposal; it was that the queen Vachti wear her most beautiful finery and present herself to give him things to drink, him and to his companions. Consequently, the king sent to tell the queen to leave the flowers and to hurry herself to come to his banquet and to that of his companions. But she made him a most unpleasant and most crushing answer. The king conceived such a sorrow at this that he forgot all the pleasures of that day and of the years of his reign. Witnessing his sorrow and his sadness, his companions and his friends left him. And it is said that he ordered that queen Vachti should be driven out from his realm, and to choose for him a thousand women, from among all those in his empire. This empire contained 127 cities subjected to his sceptre. So he sent his messengers to choose for him the women most remarkable, as far as possible, for their beauty, their grace and their spirit. When the choice of these women was done, Esther the Jew was among them. |220 (1)
The king then ordered that the hundred most beautiful and most intelligent women be chosen from among them. These hundred women were chosen, and Esther was among them. Among these hundred women, he ordered the ten most particularly remarkable for beauty, grace and spirit to be chosen. Ten of them were chosen, and Esther was among them. Again, he ordered three women to be chosen, from among these ten. Three of them were chosen, and Esther was still among them. Finally he ordered, from among these three, the one chosen who exceeded all the others by her beauty, grace and spirit. And, among these three, Esther, niece of Mordecai was chosen, because no woman exceeded her in beauty, grace and spirit. Then the king ordered Esther to embellish and prepare her ornaments for thirty days, at the end of which she would enter his house. From the day when she was presented and became queen in the place of Vachti, Mordecai remained at the door of the king and did not leave it. Haman, extremely annoyed and concerned about this attitude, employed a trick and a lie to gain the ascendancy over king Artaxerxes; he said to him: "In your empire, O king, there is a people or rather a small troop of Israelites." And he did not cease insisting until he had bought from the king, with the help of a predetermined amount of money, that he offered to him, [the heads] of |221 (1) all the Israelites who were in the towns of his empire. The contract was signed between him and the king and the execution of the clauses were fixed by him for a specific date. Then the governors of all the cities of the empire received, by the messengers of Haman, the order to kill the Israelites who were there on the expiry of the fixed term, when they received the letter. He had a gibbet prepared, 120 cubits high, to hang Mordecai there; and he hid this gibbet in his house.
During that time, two eunuchs of Turkish origin, specially assigned to the bodyguard, one named Bagathan (Ba`thân) and other Tarech (Itnâh), devised a conspiracy and resolved to kill the king the same night. Mordecai, uncle of queen Esther, learned of this project and he discovered clear evidence of it, because he was assiduous and was attached to the palace. So he presented to Artaxerxes an honest report and gave him the evidence of the conspiracy of the two eunuchs. At nightfall, the king had them placed under surveillance. They did not know that the king knew about their actions. Therefore they were taken at the moment when Artaxerxes saw with his own eyes the evidence which had been presented to him. They acknowledged it; then they were put to death by order of the sovereign. |222 (1)
That which concerns the report of Mordecai was written in the Book of the acts of the Kings. It is written that the king, during one sleepless night where he could not find sleep, had the history of the kings read to him. The secretary continued his reading until he came to the history of Mordecai and his report. Then the king said to the secretary: "What reward did we give this man?" - "The king did not reward him at all," he was told. So he ordered him to remind him of this business when morning came, in order to reward Mordecai; and at this moment sleep made heavy his eyelids and he fell asleep.
The day came, and Haman his minister, who was the first to enter to the king, was presented: "What would be, in your opinion, the right reward for a man whom the king wishes to distinguish and honour?" asked the sovereign. --- "Nobody, more than myself, has the favour of the king," Haman thought; and he said: "O king, this would his reward: this man must be mounted on the royal horse, your own crown placed on his head; then he who holds the bridle of his horse, having rolled up his clothing, will lead him around the city, shouting: |223 (1) This is the reward of the man whom the king wants to distinguish and honour!" - "So get up immediately," the king told him, "place Mordecai on the royal horse, place my royal crown on his head with a sign at his neck, take the bridle of his horse and do for him what you said!" Haman went out from the king and did for Mordecai what the king had ordered him. When he had returned home, sad and afflicted, his wife said to him: "What news? Why do I see you sad and sorry?" And he told her the story. "Of which people and which nation is this man?" asked the woman. "He is an Israelite," he answered. The woman remembered that formerly God had granted his help to Israelites against Amalekites; and she said to Haman: "Since this man is of the people of Israelites and you have already started to fall and to humiliate yourself before him, receive thus the humiliations which have happened to you." Then Mordecai remembered that the term fixed between the king and Haman approached, the term when the Israelites were to be massacred according to the clauses of the agreement. He then made a request to the queen Esther to speak to the king and he repeated several times his request on this subject.
The law of the Persian kings demanded that whoever presented themselves before the king |224 (1) without being called, had their the head cut off by the torturers, unless the king touched he who appeared before him with his sceptre 118. It was the sign of [royal] protection. Esther, who remembered this law of the (Persian) kings, feared for her life; but her uncle Mordecai insisted on it. Seeing her slownesses, he had said to her: "If you do not repurchase your life by saving the people of the Lord, i.e. the Israelites, the Lord who is their God will come graciously to their help. Otherwise you will be one of those who are sold by the king, one of those whom Haman must make die. So do not imagine you that you will be able to escape." Then the queen Esther had her uncle Mordecai asked to fast, pray and order all the virgins of Israel to fast at the same time as him, for three days and three nights. The queen Esther fasted and prayed for three days and three nights; then she was covered with sackcloth, prostrated herself on ashes and prayed, begging God with great cries to preserve her from the [anger] of the king and to save his people from the malice of Haman. On the fourth day, when her fast was finished, she dressed in her royal robes |225 (1) and presented herself before the king, while he was sitting on the throne. She was one of the prettiest and most gracious women. The officers prepared to kill her. But the king extended his sceptre to her, which was with the kings of the Persians the sign of safety. He ran towards her, because she fell senseless to the ground. So the king arose from his throne, picked her up, put her head on his chest and started to stroke her face; and to support her, he placed her by his side on his throne.
"Ask of the king what you wish," he said to her. "I ask the king to come tomorrow to dine with me, with his minister Haman," she replied. He agreed to this and, the following day, he dined with her with his minister Haman. The meal finished, the king said to Esther: "Ask what you wish." --- "I ask the king and his minister Haman to return tomorrow to dine with me." The king accepted; and the following day he and his minister Haman dined with her. After dining the king said to her: "Ask what you wish." She answered: "I ask that the king and his minister Haman again dine with me tomorrow." The king accepted, and the following day he and his minister Haman dined with her once again. But a coolness and a feeling of jealousy towards his minister Haman slipped into |226 (1) the heart of the king. After dining he said to Esther: "Ask what you wish." The queen Esther answered: "What request could someone who is about to be put to death and to lose her life make, whose people will be exterminated?" The king, filled with sadness and affliction, said to her: "But who has did this?" She answered him: "It is he who is jealous of you because of me and who does not want you to have a wife like me, --- it is your minister Haman who is here." At that moment the sadness and affliction loosened the belly of the sovereign so much that it had to rush out. Then he went out (of the latrines) and saw Haman prostrate himself before the queen Esther and kiss the end of her feet 119. Seized with jealousy, the king exclaimed: "What! you still want to dishonour us?" Thus God heard the prayer of Mordecai, accepted his fast as well as the prayer of the queen Esther and all the Israelite women. The king gave orders that Haman was hanged; and somebody having reported to him that Haman had had made a gibbet, 120 cubits high, to hang Mordecai on, he |217 (2) ** ordered that his minister should be hanged on this gibbet. Thus God saved the Israelites and preserved them from the perfidy of Haman the Amalekite 120.
After Artaxerxes Longhand, Artaxerxes II reigned for two years 121; after him, Sogdianos reigned for one year, and after him, Darius Nothos for 19 years.
At that period lived Euclid the geometrician.
In year 5 of the reign of Darius, the inhabitants of Egypt revolted against the Persians and, after having been under their yoke for 124 years, gave themselves a king.
At the same period, flames coming from Mount Etna consumed a great number of cities.
In that time, the Greeks acquired twenty-four letters; they had only sixteen before. Cadmus and Agenor, who were from Egypt, came to the town of Athens and brought there the sixteen characters, with which the Greeks wrote first of all. Here are these characters: |218 (2)
Α Β Γ Δ Ε Ι Κ Λ Ν al-Alfa al-Bita al-Gama al-Delta Youta Qaba Lambd Nou
Π Ρ C Τ Υ Φ Ω Bi Rau Sigma Tau
These characters are called Phoenician characters. Then Palamedes, of the town of Argos . . . 122, invented four other characters which are these: ΖΘΗΧ. Finally Simonides invented four other characters, i.e.: ΜΞΟΨ. It is said that the Egyptians invented the first the alphabet and that Phoenicians (learned it) from them. These were the letters that Cadmus had earlier brought into that country. Then the Greeks (learned the alphabet) following the Phoenicians.
At that time, [the Greeks] had Socrates put to death: they made him drink poison and he died. After him his disciples Plato and Epicurus distinguished themselves, who taught various doctrines. |219 (2)
In year 15 of king Artaxerxes, Africanus (Afriquiyons) invaded the country of Carthage (Carchedona) and captured it; after which this country was called Africa, from the name of Africanus.
Then Artaxerxes II reigned for 27 years.
At that period there took place the enumeration and census of the inhabitants of Rome; this census lasted for three years; and it was halted in consequence of the exhaustion of those who were doing it.
In that time, Nectanebo 123 (Fastou), king of Egypt, fled to Ethiopia, because in the report of the omens, many armies were to founder on him. Some people say that he was the father of Alexander.
The empire of the Egyptians was abolished for 42 years, until the time of Ptolemy, one of the servants of Alexander, son of Philip.
In year 4 of the reign of king Artaxerxes, Aristotle, aged 17, was at the school of Plato. |220 (2)
At that time, Philip, father of Alexander, began to reign in Macedonia; the name of his mother was Olympias. In year 13 of king Artaxerxes, Alexander, son of Philip was born, and Plato died.
At the same period, Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, build a temple on Mount Garizim in imitation of that which was in Jerusalem.
Then Darius, son of Arsaces, reigned for 6 years. In the first year of his reign, Alexander, son of Philip, the Macedonian, ascended the throne. He was 20 years old. He reigned initially over Hellas for 12 years and he lived 32 years. He subjected many regions and, after having made thirty-five kings perish, he captured their States; his army was made up of one hundred twenty thousand men; he had three horns on his head 124.
It was he who made the barrier to stop the invasions of Gog and of Magog. At that time, he gathered and assembled troops at the head of which |221 (2) he invaded [different] countries, making war with the kings of the whole world and seizing their States. So he arrived in the country of Sind and captured it; from there he prepared to invade India. So he sent part of his troops, and at their head one of his lieutenants named Seleucus, to call the Indians to obedience. Seleucus was ordered obtain their willing submission and, if they resisted, to fight them. Arriving at the border of India --- it was at the beginning of the winter --- Seleucus wrote to the Indians what Alexander had ordered him in their connection, and sent his letter by three notables from his army. The reading of this letter caused the Indians fear mixed with stupor; but they answered the proposals of Seleucus negatively, and let him know that he was not in a position to fight their troops. They retained his envoys, until they had arranged their troops; after which they started moving at the head of a multitude so numerous that no similar one has ever been seen. They brought a crowd |222 (2) of elephants, atop which they fought. They met Seleucus, who had not moved from his camp and who did not have time to arrange [his troops] in order of battle. He went out nevertheless with his army, and the two parties came to blows. But the cavalry of Seleucus, afraid at the sight of the elephants, dispersed and returned to the camp. Seleucus wrote then to Alexander to tell him about his situation and that of the Indians, their elephants which had put his cavalry to rout, and to ask him whether the battle should be begun again.
Alexander, having read the letter of Seleucus, convened his philosophers, communicated to them this letter and asked them their opinion in this respect. They said by mutual agreement that it was necessary to abstain from the war for the remainder of the winter, so as to undertake it then himself. Then he wrote to Seleucus, the head of his army, and ordered him to remain where he was, in the country of Sind, for the remainder of the winter. On this news, the Indians, who only asked the Greeks to leave them alone, moved away.
Alexander profited from this delay and immediately made preparations: he gathered the workmen who could work bronze and ordered them to prepare forty hollow bronze elephants, resembling the elephants of |223 (2) the Indians, and to fill them with coal. The feet of these elephants were dismountable and could be assembled [at will]; below wheels were fitted on which they could advance. Alexander appointed guards to prevent anyone from approaching them and seeing them, because he had his reasons to hide them from the eyes of the people. He ordered the guards to follow one another without interruption in their activity and to the workmen to make the feet of the elephants solid and to arrange openings on their backs so that fire could be introduced.
The Indians, seeing that he for a long time did not concern himself with them, hoped to gain his friendship. They wrote to him without allowing anything of their fear appear and started talks by seeing that he had philosophers with him. The king of India made him a marvellous present and sent a letter to him in which he filled with praises the Indian philosophers who were with him. Then Alexander ordered his philosophers to answer. A correspondence began between them and differences of opinions were not slow in appearing in their ranks. The two kings entered into correspondence to organize a meeting of these philosophers. They discussed in their letters what the disagreement between Socrates, |224 (2) as we explained, and Hippocrates, Democritus, Aristotle and their followers, consisted of. The meeting of the philosophers was fixed for a day and an hour, to explain that which was disputed. And they met to this end.
Here is the letter of the king of India to Alexander on this subject:
"To Alexander the greatest of kings, the king of India and all his subjects, greetings. May happiness, O king, enfold you; may your wisdom be perfect; may your health last a long time; may the whole earth belong to you; may your rank be high; may philosophy flower with you; may your people be submitted; may that be open for you what misfortune closes, and that for you be closed what misfortune opens; may all the desirable things of the world come to your hand; may the blows of fortune fall far from you; may you be sheltered from being surprised by evil; may the defense of your kingdom be well organized; may by you the hopes of your subjects increase; may noble children come to surround you; may your life be strengthened in the quietude of the heart as long as you enjoy life and by a plenitude of the intelligence until the end of the world; may your life be prolonged in health and may your troops be victorious to the borders of your empire; may you |225 (2) speak with glory about wisdom; may you enjoy this low world with all its goods; may your capabilities be strengthened by increase of your power; may God help you to find proven assistance; may you succeed in the rightness of your projects; may your worries be overcome by the experience of the government; may you be sheltered from the vicissitudes of fate! We and our subjects make these wishes for you and we inform you of this in our greetings because of our high opinion of you.
It is said that the earth has given you power over his countries; that all peoples obey you; that your power is greater than that of the kings of the earth, your contemporaries; that the result [of your enterprises] appeases the envy of your enemies; that your power cannot be abated; that you reign over the peoples of the four kings; and that you will reign thus until the end of time, [great] as the king who already rose among the Persians, and powerful like Nemrod, son of Chanaan, among all the other kings; so that your empire will shine with the splendour of the kings like a lamp; that its foundations will be solid like the mountains; that its sacrifices will burn like fire, and that its force will be as firm as iron; that it will live among the other kings, until the end of time, like the four elements: water, fire, earth and air."
Such was the content of this letter. |226 (2)
By order of Alexander his philosophers answered, but they shortened part of the title of the king (of India), because their opinion on this subject was different.
Here is the reply of Alexander:
"On behalf of Alexander, the greatest king of the age and the earth, the support of the world, to the king of India. You have received a splendour without stain; you are adorned with the royal dignity and you have arrived at the utmost degree of virtue; you are famous for the greatness of your power. May there be a hand upon you to guard you; may your empire be durable; may the earth be subjected to you; may you get rid of the former kings, and may all power be given to you until the end of time!"
The two kings, while they dealt with their correspondence and abstained from the war, did not scorn to make use of trickery, each against the other, being on their guard, and watching over the state of their business.
The king of India entered into correspondence with the king of China; he let him know that Alexander had attacked him, and told him what had occurred between them; he warned him to take care that Alexander did not attack him, once he had gained the victory over (himself); he asked him for help, assistance and |227 support, thus hoping to have strength and power to compensate for his weakness before the great force of Alexander, to overcome his resistance, to expel him out of his country and away if they fell out of agreement and understood each other.
When the king of China had read his letter, as he knew his manner of thinking, as well as the accuracy of his intentions of which he wrote, and of his request, he sent a favourable answer to him; because he hoped to profit from all this; and he recognized, in his letter, the advantages of this enterprise. He let him know that he was beginning his preparations, that he was ready to start work at once and to employ all his power in this; [at the same time] he asked him to inform him of the moment when he would need his help.
Alexander learned this news, whereas he had already made his preparations and had completed all his work. A few days after announcing that he would set out, he left with his troops, arrived at the country of India and halted at the camp of Seleucus his lieutenant. He wrote to the king of India, to inform him and invite him |228 to make his submission; if not, he would declare war on him. He prepared couriers for the letter; and Alexander himself joined them secretly, because he wanted to see the place with his own eyes, to study it, so he could fight the Indians when he passed through their country, and to learn their position and to understand their situation.
The king of India received them with benevolence and filled them with favours; but he greeted them quickly, as opposed to what Alexander would have wished, and let him know in his answer that he would not await the arrival of Alexander, but that he would come to him with his troops. On this the king of India wrote and let the king of China know the intention that Alexander had conceived, and asked him to come more quickly with help, as he had written to him. Alexander chose an advantageous place for his army, at a distance of 30 parasangs from the residence of the king of India. As soon as he arrived in the camp of his army, he expedited the departure and started marching with a great quantity of provisions and food, camped in that place and forced the king of India to approach him, while he was still awaiting the help of the king of China. Learning this, the king of India |229 wrote a threatening letter to Alexander to intimidate him. Then he went out at the head of his troops and camped at a distance of a mile from the army of Alexander. The site of his camp was lower than that of the camp of Alexander, which was on a height.
Alexander let him know that he wanted to meet him in the morning. He arranged his bronze elephants in order, filled them with coal and, in the night, lit a fire in them. It was not yet day, when the fire produced a heat so intense that nobody could approach the elephants. The day having come, the king of India, who had arisen early in the morning with his troops, was surprised by the stratagem: he approached the camp of Alexander in an improvised way, having at the front of his army several elephants, ridden by warriors. When his elephants had approached and seen the elephants of Alexander, they started a combat with them, because the riders who were on the elephants believed that in fact the elephants of Sind were unaccustomed to combat; and the Indians attacked them imprudently. Then Alexander had his elephants pushed from behind straight against them; they were set moving and ran on their |230 wheels at high speed, because of the height and the slope of the ground. The elephants of the king of India did not delay in throwing themselves on them, as they were accustomed to doing during the engagements, and struck the elephants of Alexander with their horns, but they were burned and they escaped without looking behind them and without it being possible for their drivers to stop them; suffering terribly from their burns, they crushed all the Indian cavalry and foot whom they met; this threw the Indian cavalry into disorder, so that the king of India and his troops took flight. The troops of Alexander pursued them in all directions and killed a very great number of them.
After this the auxiliary troops of the king of China, agitated and drawn out, came to the king of India, with their tired beasts of burden. They halted in the camp of the Indians without movement or resources. Alexander, who was unaware of their situation, thought, after having seen their camp, that this was a trick on their part. So he gathered his philosophers |231 and said to them: "You have already seen with which speed their reinforcements arrived and what a state of exhaustion we are in; [you see] that we have fewer resources than they do. Yesterday, at nightfall, we had massacred them and made them perish. But hardly has the day begun, and their army has returned more numerous than before. What is your opinion on this, our situation and our position?" While they were reflecting, the oldest of their philosophers said: "I believe that we must attack them and fight them next Tuesday." However this opinion was pronounced on Wednesday, seven days before Tuesday.
The king of India was extremely sad for the Chinese help, because of their misery and the fatigue of their mounts. For this reason he gathered his astrologers who examined the same question as Alexander, concerning the suspension of the war and the request which he had made, to examine what was better and easier than war. Their letter and their request agreed with the desire which Alexander had for a suspension of the fighting, because he had seen their situation with his own eyes. Then he called his philosophers and said to them: "Let's go and visit the enemy, listen to them, enter into argument with them and try to learn their intentions; then we will act |232 as seems best." They carried out this order; and after listening to the Indians, they left, inviting them to come to see Alexander. Then the Indian philosophers accompanied them to hear the answer of Alexander on this subject. However he had prepared some of his notables and his cavalry for them, to which he had told his intentions and his words. The meeting took place under these conditions. [The Greeks] told the Indians that they were very sad at the march of Alexander, his arrival on their premises and that he had invaded their kingdom, because the two sides were in an obvious error and a manifest mistake, in massacring each other because of these two kings. They acted as Alexander had ordered them, and gave them his answer.
Hearing these words, the Indians fell into agreement with them and said that it was also their opinion. Other (companions of Alexander) said: "Your king is very powerful in his physical force and his art of drawing up horse; and our king is small in size and weak, and he does not know the art of drawing up horse. If you have the same intentions and the same desires, urge your king to fight in single combat with our king, we will do the same with ours, and one of them will be inevitably |233 victorious. Then we will rest, we and you, from this war and this calamity." The Indians went off after having accepted these conditions and not doubting the sincerity of the Greeks in any way; this confidence filled them with joy, and they said to the Greeks: "Let us set to work, both of us!" Having taken the answer that Alexander had made to their letter, they left, without having obtained an audience of the latter.
When they arrived in their camp, they informed their companions of this project, which had the general approval of the multitude. They did not doubt that the victory would be with the king of India, their Master, if the meeting took place. What led Alexander to this daring enterprise was his conviction that he would die only after his return and his arrival at Rome; he did not have any doubt in this respect: he thus entrusted to himself. The Indians did not cease to pester their king until he had agreed to fight in single combat with Alexander, provided that the empire would belong to the winner. They entered in correspondence on this subject, made their conventions and, by mutual agreement, set the meeting for the seventh day, which, according to their calculation, was a Tuesday. |234
Alexander ordered his companions to prepare a short lance for him, in the handling of which he was skilful so that he never missed. Then he went out with his troops, and the other arrived with his, and the two armies lined up in good order. The two kings came out from the ranks. Alexander, who spoke the language of the Indians, said to the king of India: "You are a giant, while I am small and weak; however you fear me and my position fills you with terror; you have asked others for help against me." The king of India, irritated by these words, said: "What need have I to beseech help against you?" Alexander answered him: "Of the rider which is behind you!" The king of India turning to look behind him, Alexander stabbed him in the nape of his neck with a blow of his lance: thus he struck him a mortal blow, when the former turned his head. He fell dead from his horse and his companions carried him away. The two armies returned to their camps.
Alexander then ordered the Indians to come to him and he gave this speech to them: "I have no intention of either remaining in your country, or taking your goods; I ask you only for obedience. If every year you bring to me, on the same day, a bag of earth from your country, that will be for me the sign |235 of your submission. Go, choose a king and let him reign over you." Then Alexander left them. The Indians, surprised at his language, encouraged and delighted by his speech, returned to their companions, and everyone was delighted by the news which they brought. Then they carried gifts to Alexander, piled up the rarest things of their country for him, sent many sumptuous processions to him and loaded him with presents. They indicated to him the place in their country where the Chinese were camped and asked Alexander to treat them in the same way. They asked him moreover to give them a king of their own sort. He agreed to this and gave them as king the one whom they had chosen. Then Alexander left them, traversed the country around them and behind them, as far as the borders. After which he left for Babylon.
During this march through the desert, Alexander felt weak and found himself ill with sunstroke: he got down from his horse. His companions put him at the shade of their gold-covered shields. But he did not improve. Towards the end of the day, he ordered them to lead him to the nearest village. They did as he ordered, and he spent the night there. At the dawn of the day, the illness had worsened: he asked for the name |236 of this village, and when it was reported to him that he was called Roumiya al-Madaïn (Rome), he lost any hope, persuaded that he was predestined that death was to strike him in Rome in a house of gold.
Feeling overcome by the disease, he spoke to make his will; and as he did not have any heirs, he spoke in favour of Seleucus, his lieutenant, whom he indicated should succeed him in Babylon. Death struck Alexander in this place. He had lived 32 years in this world below and reigned for twelve years. It is told that one of his servants gave him poison to drink in this locality and thus killed him. Ptolemy, who reigned after him, carried him to Alexandria and buried him there 125.
When his officers (litt. his servants) learned the news of his death, each of them seized the region where he had established them as lieutenants: among them, there was Ptolemy, son of Lagos 126, who reigned over Egypt for 40 years; Philip who reigned over Macedonia and Antigonia; Demetrius who reigned over Syria and Asia; Seleucus which marched against Egypt in year 13 of Ptolemy, son of Lagos, who conquered Syria and, having pursued Demetrius to Asia, killed him. He was Master of Asia, Syria and Babylon where he reigned for 32 years. |237
At that time, Antiochus built Antioch and gave it his name.
At that time, Seleucus built Apamea, Aleppo, Kinnesrin, Edessa (ar-Rohâ), Seleucia and Laodicea.
The celebrated Simeon, son of Jechonias, was then the high priest of the Jews; he had as successor his brother Eleazar.
In year 9 of the reign of Ptolemy, Antiochus the Great subjugated the Jews: having come to Judaea where they lived, he made them slaves. In year 11, Ptolemy Epiphanes sent Scopas, one of his generals, besieged the cities of Syria and Judaea and captured them. Antiochus the Great went to meet him, in year 11 of the reign of Ptolemy. Antiochus then made war on the Romans who overcame him and took his son Antiochus Epiphanes as a hostage, in the town of Rome. He was obliged to give them each year a thousand talents of silver. |238
Ptolemy, in year 13 of his reign, made a peace treaty with Antiochus which gave him his daughter Cleopatra in marriage, and Ptolemy accepted from him Syria and Phoenicia as a dowry.
In year 17 of Ptolemy, Antiochus the Great was killed in the country of Persia; he was stoned in the temple of a god. After him, his son reigned for 12 years.
At that time, Simon or Simeon addressed a petition to Apollonius, head of the army in Phoenicia, promising to give him much gold. When Seleucus learned by the report from his general Apollonius that there was much gold in the Temple of Jerusalem, he sent an army. But God punished him, and he was put at death.
In year 131 of the Greeks, Ptolemy Philometor ascended the throne and reigned 35 years.
At that time, Aristobulus flourished, who translated the Torah [into Greek] for King Philometor. |239
In year 6 of Ptolemy and 137 of the Greeks, in the indiction when Antiochus, son of Antiochus, began to reign ---- the one who had been hostage in the town of Rome, ---- Antiochus marched to make war on Ptolemy, king of Egypt. Prevented from doing so by the Romans, he returned to Judaea and gave the sovereign pontificate to Jason (Sim`oun), brother of Onias, son of Jechonias. Then he removed it from him and gave it to Onias, called Menelaus. This dissension which broke out between them, was the cause of evils and afflictions for the Jews.
In the year 14 of the reign of Ptolemy and 145 of the Greeks, in the second indiction, Antiochus Epiphanes ascended the throne and reigned for eight years. He sent a general from his companions with a strong army against Jerusalem. Capturing it by trickery, on the 25 of the month of Kanoun I (Dec.), he entered the Temple and defiled it; he set up on the altar of the Temple the desolation and ruin about which the prophet Daniel speaks. It was a statue of Olympian Zeus. He also placed an(other) statue of Zeus Xenios, on |240 Mt. Garizim. He had the Books of the Law burned. He oppressed all the Israelites until they followed the path [of the gentiles] and adhered to their errors.
But Mathathias, son of John, son of Simeon the priest, of the family of Jonadab, who lived in Mod`im, rose up. He had five son: John called Gaddis (Khafis), Simeon called Tarsi, Judas called Maccabeus, Eleazar Haurân and Jonathan called Hîfous (Apphus). They were seized with zeal and ardour to defend the Law of the Lord. They covered themselves with sack-cloth and were deeply grieved. One of them who was near this idol, --- taken there to make him sacrifice, --- he saw a Jew then approaching to offer a sacrifice to this idol. Inflamed with anger, he seized him and killed him. He killed the chief who was obliging them to sacrifice; after which he destroyed the idol and fled into the mountain with those which were zealous for the law of the Lord. Then an old man named Eleazar, chief of the doctors of the Law, was taken; after having endured cruel torments, he died; but he did not sacrifice, because he wanted to observe the law. |241
Also a woman, named Chamouni (Achmounith), and her seven sons were taken; they were brought into the presence of king Antiochus and were each of her sons subjected separately to the various torments: for the first one the extremities of all the members were cut off, then he was thrown into a boiling pot; for the second one they tore off the skin of his head; for the third one they cut off his tongue. As for the fourth, he said to the king: "For me death is good, because I hope to be reborn, and I will not sacrifice to the idols". After the death of these seven brothers, their mother Achmounith died in her turn. They were buried in Antioch. In their memory a great church was built; in their honour also every year a great fair was held, accompanied by a great festival. We have told here their history and their sufferings, because they were the first who suffered martyrdom to testify to their obedience to our Lord Christ.
At that time, the Jews were allowed to transgress the Sabbath, to fight [enemies] who wanted to attack them on that day. |242
In year 148 of the Greeks and 17 of Ptolemy, Mathathias died, and after him his son Judas Maccabeus became governor of the Jews for three years. He was strong and fought for the cause of the people of Israel.
The same year, Judas purified the Temple of the impure idols and iniquities which defiled it.
In year 149 of the Greeks and 18 of Ptolemy, Antiochus Epiphanes died, struck by a cruel disease, in the country of the Persians. Antiochus (Eupator) reigned after him for two years.
The following year, Antiochus sent a large army of 120,000 men to Jerusalem to deport the people of the Jews. Eleazar, called Haurân, saw a large elephant; believing that it carried the king, he placed himself below it and pierced its belly with his sword; the disembowelled elephant fell on Eleazar who died. After the battle, the bodies were gathered and buried in Jerusalem. In collecting them, the gold of these idols was found in the clothing of a man. Then Judas Maccabeus sent three thousand |243 drachmas to the priests of Jerusalem, requesting them to offer a sacrifice for those who had died, and to intercede for them, because he hoped for the resurrection of the dead.
At that time, the Romans and the Jews were linked by a peace treaty.
In year 151 of the Greeks, Demetrius Soter, son of Seleucus, having left Rome, came (to Syria) and occupied the throne of his ancestors for twelve years. Because of him (his soldiers) killed Antiochus and Lysias, his confidant.
At that time, after the death of the high priest Menelaus, Alcimus the impious, who was not a Jew, became high priest by simony. At this spectacle Onias, son of Onias, fled to Egypt where he built a city and a temple in imitation of that of Jerusalem. But God struck Alcimus the impious and killed him. In his place Judas Maccabeus was established and, after the death of the latter, Jonathan his brother who was at the same time governor of the people and high priest. He fought against Bachides, general of Demetrius, and overcame him. |244
In year 160 of the Greeks, Demetrius left for Egypt and captured it. Then the king of Egypt gave him in marriage his daughter Cleopatra. Others say that it was the eldest daughter of Ptolemy Evergetes. Anastasius (?) bishop of Rome, says about this that it accomplished the word of the prophet Daniel who said: "The daughter of the city of the south will be given to the north." Theodoret, bishop of Cyr, said: "In her whom Ptolemy Epiphanes gave in marriage to Antiochus the Great, was accomplished [the prophetic word of Daniel 127"], etc. 128.
In year 165 of Alexander, Ptolemy Evergetes ascended the throne and reigned 29 years.
At that time, John (Younân) became high priest and governor of the Jews.
In year 167 of the Greeks and 3 of Ptolemy, Demetrius, son of Demetrius, [called] Siderites 129, was killed, after having reigned for three years. Jonathan the high priest was killed, in year 170, by the perfidy of Tryphon, head of the army of Demetrius. His brother Simon succeeded him for three years. |245
At that time, Ptolemy gave his daughter in marriage to Demetrius, and [with her] the kingdom of Alexander.
In year 174 [of the Greeks], Antiochus, brother of Demetrius, called Sidetes, ascended the throne of Syria and reigned for nine years.
At that time, Simon sent to the king of Rome some gold tablets and made with him a treaty [of alliance] on a bronze tablet.
At the same time, the high priest Simon sent John, his son, against Cendebeus (Qandoubyous), head of the army of Antiochus. When he had overcome him and destroyed his army, he freed the Jews from a slavery which had lasted for 28 years; they were also freed from the tribute. It is certain indeed that since the reign of Seleucus Nicator and the beginning of the Greek era, the Jews had paid the tribute to the kings of Syria.
In this year the second history of the Maccabees finishes. |246
In year 177 of the Greeks and 21 of Ptolemy, Simon, son of Onias, was killed in the month of chebat (February), and his son John succeeded him; but Ptolemy killed him. John was the one called Hyrcanus; he was high priest for 28 years.
From this time date the rulers of Edessa; they fulfilled their functions until the time of the other kings who were of the family of Abgar, king of Edessa.
In year 182 of the Greeks and 17 of Ptolemy, Arsaces, the Parthian, killed Antiochus Sidetes. Demetrius, son of Demetrius, his brother, succeeded him for four years. After the latter [Antiochus] Grypos (ὁ Γρυπός) reigned for 12 years.
After this Antiochus laid seige to Jerusalem, with which he reduced the inhabitants to an extreme embarrassment. Seeing their lassitude, John Hyrcanus opened the tomb of the prophet David, who was richest of all the kings, and took 3,000 talents of gold from it; he gave 300 of the talents to Antiochus who moved away from Jerusalem. |247
At that time, Hyrcanus devastated the town of Samaria; then he rebuilt it and called it Sebastia.
In this year which is year 186 of the Greeks, during which Antiochus ascended the throne and besieged Jerusalem, begins the dating of the Tyrians.
In year 194, Ptolemy Soter ascended the throne and reigned for 17 years. After this Hyrcanus, ruler of the Jews, went with Antiochus to the war, and they killed Indates, the general of the king of the Parthians.
In year 198, Antiochus Cyzicenus ascended the throne of Syria and reigned for 18 years.
At that time, there was a shock and an earthquake in the town of Rhodes; and the Colossus fell.
In year 205, John Hyrcanus died, and his son Aristobulus succeeded him for one year. He was high priest; he was also the first king of the Jews, in the 484 years since the temple had been set afire and their kingdom destroyed. But |248 Aristobulus had a brother called John or Alexander and another called Antigonus; he killed this one by trickery and jealousy. And in the very place where it had shed the blood of his brother, his own blood was shed. John, their father, had prophesied, indeed, that they would not be very good in government. Their father was a veracious man, who spoke with inspiration about God 130.
In year 207, after the death of Aristobulus, John-Alexander reigned for 27 years. He governed the people of Israel with harshness, severity and roughness.
At that time, Ptolemy Soter was driven out by his mother, the queen Cleopatra, who deprived him of power. Ptolemy Alexander succeeded him for 10 years.
In year 211 of the Greeks, the dating of the Ascalonites starts, from the 208th year of the Greeks 131.
In year 216 of the Greeks and 5 of Ptolemy, Epiphanes, head of the troops, killed Antiochus Cyzicenus, after he had burned his presents. Philip reigned after him over Syria for two years 132. |249
After that, in year 217, the kingdom of Syria ceased to exist.
In year 222 of their era, Ptolemy ascended the throne. This is he who lived eight more years.
From his time, a census was taken of the inhabitants of Rome. 470,300 of them (460,300) were counted 133.
Ptolemy, who was over there also, was burned by the Thracians 134.
In year 230, Ptolemy Dionysius ascended the throne of Egypt and reigned for 30 years.
In year 5 of his reign and 234 of the Greeks, John-Alexander died, and Alexandra, called Salina, ruled for 9 years. She observed the precepts of the Law carefully and punished those who transgressed it. Then she made her son Hyrcanus high priest. But when he was raised [to this dignity], rivalries broke out among the Jews. After many disturbances, it was agreed concerning both (sons of Alexandra), that Hyrcanus would be high priest and Aristobulus king. Pompey, general of the Romans, came then, |250 seized Aristobulus and deported him in chains to Rome. He established the high priest Hyrcanus in his place. In the year 14 of Ptolemy and 243 of the Greeks, Hyrcanus started to rule and ruled for 33 years as high priest.
At that time, the Romans devastated Antioch, the city of Syria, made the Jews subject again and imposed a tribute on them; they refounded several cities. Then they gave governors to the Jews, of which the first was called Antipater. This Antipater, who belonged to the gentiles, was the son of a hegemon named Herod.
The Idumeans, i.e. the children of Edom, descendants of Lot, during one of their expeditions, had attacked a temple of Apollo which was close to the ramparts of the town of Ascalon, and had made Antipater captive. And as his father did not have the money to repurchase him and deliver him, Antipater his son remained in their hands and departed with them. This young man, having recovered his freedom, took as his wife the daughter of Arethas, king of the Arabs, whose name was |251 Aritâh; his name for her was Cypris. He then became the friend of Hyrcanus, the high priest of the Jews, fought vigorously in his favour and supported him in his contentions with his brother. Then on behalf of Hyrcanus, he went to find Pompey, the general of the Romans. And this is why he also became the friend of the Romans, who liked him and established him in their name as procurator of the Jews. Antipater had [four] sons by Cypris the Jewess (the Arab): Joseph, Pherorah, PhasaÃ«l and Herod, and a girl who was called Salome. As for PhasaÃ«l and Joseph, they became, a little time afterwards, procurators of the Jews. As for Antipater their father, he died, poisoned by one of his wine waiters. His son Herod went to Rome and after receiving there the royal power over the Jews, he returned. It is this Herod who lived at the time of Christ Our Saviour; we will speak soon about him and his family.
In year 259 of the Greeks and 30 of Ptolemy, those who are called ὕπατοι (consuls) took up their duties; they were named Caius Julius and Marcus Antonius.
This same year, after the death of Ptolemy, Cleopatra in Egypt reigned for 22 years. |252
In the 2nd year of the reign of Cleopatra, Pompey, general of the Roman army, was killed in battle.
Then the deeds of the Maccabees finished. The Jews concluded a treaty with the Romans and made them an act of submission. The first book of the Maccabees includes 2,766 verses, the second 5,600.
From the beginning of the Maccabees, i.e from the 93rd Greek year, until the end of their history, 168 years are counted.
In year 5 of the reign of Cleopatra and 264 of the Greeks, the dating of the Antiochians starts. This year began on the Monday after the leap year.
From Adam to that year there were 5,461 years
In this same year, the Romans considered it convenient to convene their senate (σύγκλητος) which numbered 320 men, and whose meeting |253 was called βουλή. They made one of these consuls of which we spoke, emperor: this was Caius Julius; [he reigned] for four years. He was also called Caesar, in the language of the Romans, because his mother died while he was still moving in the womb; the entrails of the mother were opened and he was taken out; then he was raised until his majority. He reigned over the Romans, in Rome, and he rose above the kings, by saying that he had not been born as they had been born, and that he had not come out where they had left, wanting to imply that he had not come out by the way that modesty hides.
The month Quintilis, which is the month mesori (?) i.e. tammouz, was also called since that time, Julius (July), because it was in this month that the emperor Julius started to reign.
After the death of Julius, in year 268 of the Greeks, Augustus Caesar succeeded him for 56 years and six months.
Concerning the two days which are missing in the month chebat 135, it is written |254 that at the time of [Manlius] Capitolinus (Qabiton), general of the Roman army, a troop of cavalry having invaded his country, he made war on it and overcame it. But one of the Roman Generals who was called Februarius (Frourious) and other depraved men made opposition to Qabiton and removed the power which he had over the Romans from him. The enemy cavalry, having heard and learned that Qabiton had been just removed, advanced and seized Rome during the night. The generals fled with Februarius and took refuge in the Capitol, the temple of the idols; then they sent to Qabiton: "We have done wrong and we are guilty. Gather the Romans on the side where they will be able to seize the Capitol. Deliver us, and we will make you king." He then gathered an army of Romans and, during the night, (attacked) the town of Rome on three sides and confined the attackers in the middle; then having killed them, as well as the head of their troop, he reigned over the Romans. Februarius, who wanted to deliver the city to the enemy, was seized; he was put in a net, made to ride an ass, and struck with blows of sticks and rods, while saying to him: "Agba, Frourié!" which means: "Get out, O Chebât (February)!" Then he was thrown in the sea. The king ordered that |255 this month should bear the name of Februarius, so that, each year, his evil memory would be an object of contempt.
As for these two days during which the unexpected attack of the enemy expedition had taken place, which had gone against Rome, they were rejected, because this event had taken place on the 28th of the month; but one of these two days was added to the month of phibin (?) 136, which is Temmouz (July), and the other to the month of Kanoun II (January), so that each of these two months had thirty one days. After some time, another king reigned over the Romans and said: "It is not appropriate that the month of chebat, i.e. February, is in the middle of the year." He thus removed it and placed it at the end of the year before March, which is Adhar. It was he who called one month Julius, after his name, and the other Augustus, after the name of his uncle. For this reason Chebat has two days less. Since this time, the Romans have not ceased to believe in bad omens in the month of Chebat and to believe that the demon appears in this month and that the malignant spirits dominate then.
In year 8 of the reign of Augustus Caesar 137 and 275 of the Greeks, in the 146th Olympiad, the kingdom and the priesthood of the Jews were abolished. |256
Herod, son of Antipater, who, as we have reported, was of the race of the gentiles, reigned over the Jews for 37 years. As for Hyrcanus the high priest of the Jews, he was taken into captivity in the country of the Parthians; on his return, Herod had him killed with his son Jonathan. Then the word of Jacob was accomplished, the chief of the Patriarchs, who had said: "(The sceptre) will not be removed from Judah, nor the legislator from among his feet, until he comes to whom the kingdom belongs and whom the people await."
And in truth, it is at that time, after a short delay, that the advent of Christ took place. And in the same way the prophecy of Daniel was accomplished which the archangel Gabriel had revealed to him about the seven and the sixty two weeks which make 433 (483) years and which were completed [in that time; the first year was] the sixth of the reign of Darius, son of Hystaspes, in which the Temple of the Lord was finished, in the 6th Olympiad. From that time until Herod started to reign, all the rulers of the Jews were called Messiahs (anointeds), i.e. high priests. Then the existing priesthood ceased to exist and also the government formerly which they chose themselves in their own land 138. |257
When Herod had accepted the kingship from the Romans and had arrived in the country of the Jews, they opposed him. Then he made war on them without mercy, destroyed all the walls of Jerusalem and made a great number of Jews in the city perish; he seized the sacerdotal insignia which the high priest alone could wear. Herod took them to his own house and put them under seals; and he did not allow anybody to be high priest for more than one year. A little time afterwards, he established Aristobulus, son of Hyrcanus, brother of his wife, as high priest; then he had him killed and established Hananiel in his place.
In the year 14 of the reign of Augustus Caesar and 7 of the reign of Herod, the emperor Augustus marched against Antony 139, the general of his army, who had risen against him and who was under the domination of Cleopatra, queen of Egypt. Augustus vigorously made war on both of them, overcame them, seized the two sons of Cleopatra who were called Sun and Moon and put them to death. It is said that these two sons, being unable to escape him, killed themselves with their own hands. The kingdom of Egypt then ceased to exist and fell under the domination of the Romans 140. |258
At that time, there was a census in the town of Rome; the inhabitants were counted and four million hundred sixty-four thousand were found.
Augustus, in year 18 of his reign, sent Tiberius, general of the Romans, into Armenia, who also subjected the Parthians and gave freedom to the inhabitants of Samos.
At that time, the Romans started to call the day which arrived every four years 'bissextile'; i.e.: idus πρὸ ἕξ καλανδῶν Μαρτιῶν. As for the Greeks, they call it Βίσεξτον.
In year 28 of the reign of Augustus, Herod built cities, walls, many fortresses; he also built a city and called it Caesarea, in honour of Caesar. Previously this city bore the name of "Strato's Tower".
At that time, Sextus the Pythagorean philosopher was illustrious. [Judas] the Galilean and Sadoc, of the town of Gamala, were impostors. They revolted, and said: "In truth, it is not allowed to pay the poll-tax and to give us mortal masters." |259
In year 42 of the reign of Augustus Caesar, 35 of the reign of Herod, 46 of Antiochenians, 309 of the Greeks, in the first indiction, the 2nd year of the 19th Olympiad, Our Lord and Saver Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, town of Judaea, προ ̀ ὀκτω ̀ καλανδῶν̓Ιανουαριῶν, on the twenty-fifth day of Kanoun I (December). From Adam to that year there were in total 5,566 years. The beginning of this year fell on a Monday. According to the calculation of the Greeks, it was the twelfth day of the moon, and according to the calculation of the Romans it was the sixteenth day. The previous year in which Christ was conceived, the 25th day of the month of Adhar (March), had begun on a Sunday. According to the lunar calculation of the Greeks, it was the first day of the year, and according to the calculation of the Romans, the fifth day. In this year, the moon was intercalated.
The year before the birth of Christ, Cyrinus, ἡγεμω τῆς συγκλέτου (president of the senate), an assembly which governed the empire, was sent to count the population of Judaea subjected to the capitation tax. In fact he was ὕπατος (consul) |260 and belonged to those who gathered in the βουλή (senate). However, when everyone was going to enroll in his city, Joseph, husband of Mary, also went up to register in the town of Bethlehem; and at this point in time Christ was born.
The Greek scholar Longinus, who also reports [the events of] this time in the third part of his book, where he treats of the war and victory of the Romans over Antioch, a town of Syria, wrote to Caesar: "Some Persians who have come from the East entered your States and offered presents to a little child born in Bethlehem; we have not yet learned who he is, and whose son." Then Augustus sent to Longinus the following letter: "Herod, the satrap (governor), whom we set up over there, over the Jews, will write to us and will make everything known to us."
As for the king of the Persians who had sent the Magi, he was called Pharansoun. In year 44 of Augustus, these Magi came to the Christ who, |261 according to some, was then two years old. But Cyril and Africanus along with others tell that Christ was seven days old at the time of the arrival of the Magi. This opinion is more probable, because in the images and the effigies of many churches, we have found the Magi and the pastors represented beside Christ and of her mother Mary 141. We have also showed that Christ was born in year 35 of the reign of Herod who reigned for 37 years. If Christ had been two years old, Herod would have been dead. Then the Gospel tells of the escape of Joseph with Christ into Egypt and his two years stay in Egypt, until the death of Herod and the advent of his son Archelaus, who succeeded him.
Herod, seeing that the Magi had not kept their word, then sent to kill all the children of Bethlehem and the surrounding region, who were two years old and below, according to the indications provided by the Magi 142. |262
When pure Mary gave birth to Christ Our Saviour, she was thirteen years old; she died aged 51 years and five years after the Ascension of Christ.
In year 307 of the Greeks, the 24th of the month of Eloul (September), John, son of Zachariah, was conceived; he was born on the 24th of the month of Haziran (June), in the year 308 of the Greeks.
Mary received the message on the 25th of the month of Adhar (March), six months after the conception of John.
Nine months after, in year 309 of the Greeks and the 25th of Kanoun I (December), Christ was born in Bethlehem and he was circumcised there, at the age of eight days. At the end of forty days he was carried to the temple, and it is there that the old man Simeon took him in his arms. It is from there [also] that Joseph fled with him into Egypt.
We already told that at the time of the death of Herod, Christ was two years old; we stated that Christ was born in year 35 of the reign of Herod who reigned thirty-seven years. So if, at the time of the arrival |263 of the Magi, Christ had been two years old, Herod would have been dead. It is said that the year when the Magi had their vision, [Christ] withdrew into Egypt, where he remained for two years; that after this Joseph, learning of the death of Herod, left Egypt when Christ was already four years old: this is the opinion of a certain number. But here the truth: Christ withdrew into Egypt, at the age of forty days, because we have already showed that Herod died two years after the birth of Christ; and that proves that he remained in Egypt only for the two last years of the life of Herod, because the Gospel says: "Joseph, having learned that Herod had died, left Egypt and went to Nazareth, where Christ was raised." The Gospel says [also] that the Magi came to Jerusalem and learned about the birth of Christ; that the Jewish scholars told Herod, when he questioned them on the same subject, that the Christ was to be born in Bethlehem; that Herod sent the Magi to obtain information on Christ. The Gospel says [finally] that the Magi returned to their country by another way and did not return again to Herod. That proves that the Magi did not come to Christ in Jerusalem.
So we say that Christ was born in year 35 of the reign of Herod, two years before the end of his reign; that the same year when Christ |264 was born, Joseph and his Mary mother took him and went away into Egypt, where he remained for two years until the death of Herod; that Herod, after having lived 70 years and reigned 37 years, died in year 44 of the reign of Augustus Caesar, which is the 311th year of the Greeks.
This is one of the proofs that Christ 143 remained in Egypt for two years and that Joseph took him there immediately after he had been carried in the arms of the old man Simeon, who had said by an inspiration of the Holy Spirit that he would not taste death before he had seen the Christ Our Lord. At the temple he thus took Christ in his arms and requested the Lord to let him die, saying: "It is now, Lord, that You may let Your servant die in peace, because my eyes have seen the salvation that You have prepared for all the people, like the light which will illuminate the nations, and for the glory of Your people of Israel."
There are other accounts about which the Gospel says nothing. Simeon, being upright, with the Christ in his arms, rendered up his spirit. The people who saw this wonder, Simeon dead and standing with Christ in his arms, told that of which they had been the eyewitnesses. |265
The news came to Herod after the departure of the Magi for Bethlehem. If Christ had been two years old before his escape into Egypt, Herod would be dead and could not have said to the Magi: "Go and inform yourselves about the child; and when you find him, return here and let me know it, so that I may worship him."
Consequently the account of those which believe that the Magi saw Christ 144 in Jerusalem is lacking in truth. The Gospel did not need to tell the stories about which we spoke. From these considerations and other similar ones, it results that the Magi and the shepherds arrived at the time of the birth of Christ, as our ancestors represented it in the churches 145.
Herod died of a bitter and cruel disease. It is said that first he killed his wife, following an argument which he had with her in the bed where they slept together; finally his wife quarrelled with him so much, that Herod arose, took her pillow, placed it on the face of his wife and remained sitting until she died. He then killed his daughter and several of |266 his close relations, because he was in the grip of a strong access of madness. His entrails were covered with ulcers which caused him violent pains; his feet were swollen with gout; his pubis and his testicles broke up and swarmed with worms; terrible and persistent ulcers covered his body. Tortured by the pain and the suffering, Herod took a knife and an apple; he started to cut apple, hoping to benefit from the carelessness of those who surrounded him, to strike himself in the heart with a blow of the knife. But they realized it and did not let him do it. Then he also said to his sister Salome and to her husband: "I know that the Jews will make a great festival after my death and that they will be delighted much by it. So let us gather all those who are joined together here, put them in prison and kill them, so that the Jews, when they gather, weep for me, out of liking or perforce." It was thus that Herod died in atrocious suffering, and that God punished him to avenge the massacre of the innocent children, [a massacre committed] in spite and bold enmity against God, who is powerful and great 146.
We have written this according to what the scholars say who lived at that time. But [others] say that all these trials struck him before the massacre of these children, before his unjust and daring acts against God. |267
Herod had nine wives and [eight] sons: by Doris, he had Antipater who killed his brothers and was finally killed by his father; by Mary, daughter of the high priest Hyrcanus, whom Herod had killed, Aristobulus and Alexander, who lost their lives by the intrigues of their brother Antipater, and another Herod, called Antipas 147, who married Herodias, the wife of his brother, and killed John the Baptist, because the latter exhorted him and condemned him for marrying the wife of his brother. Herodias hated him and did not cease inventing tricks to make him die.
On the anniversary day of his birth, Herod made a feast for all the important people of his court and Herodias sent her daughter, who danced before king Herod. He with all the guests were charmed at her dance. He had agreed beforehand with her that she would ask for the death of John, promising to give her his head in a dish. Herod thus promised to give her anything she asked, be it half of his kingdom; and when Herodias asked for the head of John from him, he sent |268 into the prison one of his torturers, who cut off the head of John the Baptist and brought it. Herod then gave it to the girl, who took it and carried it to her mother.
Herod Antipas 148 had by Malkous 149 the Samaritan Archelaus, who reigned after him; by Cleopatra the Jerusalemite another Herod who lived as a private man and Philip who was put to death by his brother, the kidnapper of his wife; by Pallas, he had PhasaÃ«l 150. (Herod) had then three grandsons: Aristobulus, brother of Alexander; Herod who was king of Chalcis 151; Agrippa called Herod, who had James, the brother of Christ Our Lord, killed with a sword, and who was eaten by worms; it is also he who seized and took away the kingdom of his uncle Herod. His children were Agrippa, who succeeded him, and two girls: Berenice and Drusilla. Drusilla married the procurator (ἡγεμών) Felix of whom the Acts of the Apostles (αἱ Πράξεις) speak.
Now we go back to tell that, after the death |269 of Herod, who was struck by the punishments which we have described, his son Archelaus succeeded him in the 45th year of the reign of Augustus Caesar, which is the 312th year of the Greeks. At the same time, Augustus named also Herod, called Antipas, brother of Archelaus, tetrarch of the Jews; he named Felix governor of Trachonitis and Lysanias governor of Abilene.
At that time, a census was made in the town of Rome; the inhabitants were counted and four million hundred one thousand of them were found.
It was then also that, for several reasons and for his failures, Archelaus was sent in exile to Vienne, a town of Galatia (of Gaul). After him Herod the tetrarch reigned over the Jews for twenty-eight years.
Augustus Caesar died in year 54 of his reign, at the age of 75 years. Tiberius Caesar was his successor for 23 years and lived 78 years. |270
At that time, there was a great panic and many earthquakes, during which 13 cities were overturned 152.
In year 7 of the reign of Tiberius, Philip the tetrarch built a city, which he called Caesarea Philippi. Herod also built Tiberias, to which he gave the name of Tiberius Caesar.
In the year 14 of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, which is the 357th year of the Greeks, Pilate who from the town of Pontus (Bontos), in the country of Euxine 153, was sent [to Judaea] and started to drive out the Jews from the country of Tiberius Caesar.
The following year, which is the year 5,535 from Adam and the origins of the world, year 75 of the Antiochians, at the end of the 201th Olympiad, in the 15th indiction, which is year 15 of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Christ Our Lord, thirty years old, was baptized by John the Baptist, son of Zachariah, in the river of the Jordan, on the 6th of the month of Kanoun II (January), a Sunday. Christ was born on a Tuesday. |271
Christ, Our Lord and Master, starting from his baptism and after having fasted for forty days and forty nights in the desert where He was tempted by the impostor, started to work wonders and miracles, for three and a half years. The first miracle of Our Lord Christ took place at the wedding at Cana in Galilee, when He changed water into an exquisite wine. Then He gave the ten Beatitudes; He taught the prayer to His disciples; He purified the leper; He cures the sick, delivered the possessed, opened the eyes of the blind, returned speech to the dumb and revived the dead.
With the assistance and the help of Christ, the stories, the accounts and the tales of the Old Testament are finished; finished is the first part of the book of the origins of the world, which tells the stories, the tales and the accounts of the world for the first centuries and the ages passed, age by age; [which tells] of the happy or unhappy events of all the times, i.e. the news, facts and descriptions from the beginning of the world and Adam to the end of the Old Testament, until the accomplishment by Christ of all the figures which relate to Him in the |272 Books of Prophets and finally until the time, the month and the day, where Christ Our Lord went up to heaven: which took place on Thursday, 3rd (2nd) of the month of Iyar (May), because the Passover had fallen, that year, on Saturday, the 24th of the month of Adhar (March), and the day of Resurrection Sunday 25 154 of same month 155.
From here we will begin the second part of the History of the New Testament, from the time of the Rise of Christ Our Lord; we will recount and set forth all the accounts of the New Testament; we will report the opposing opinions, the events and the facts which took place in the whole world from this time until our own days.
Then we will recount, point out and describe certain things which exist and which must happen; we will continue our account until the end of the world and until the consummation of the centuries, according to what the Prophets and the revealed Books of God say on this subject, because that gives satisfaction to the reason and allows it to follow the rules of the analogy, --- if God so wills!
1. This seems to mean the Venerable Bede, "Bedae cui tribuitur septem miraculorum ordo". H. Schott, De septem orbis spectaculis quaestiones, Onoldi, 1891, p.5; see appendix, p. ii-iv.
1a. Compare this to a passage from Eusebius Ecclesiastical History concerning a statue at Panneas / Caesarea Phillippi :"But since I have come to mention this city, I do not think it right to omit a story that is worthy to be recorded also from those that come after us. For they say that the woman who had a haemorrhage, and who, as we learn from the sacred Gospels, found at the hands of our Saviour relief from her affliction, came to this place, and that her house was pointed out in the city, and that marvelous memorials of the good deed, which the Savior wrought upon her, still remained. For that there stood on a lofty stone at the gates of her house a bronze figure of a woman, bending on her knee and stretching forth her hands like a suppliant, while opposite to this there was another of the same material, an upright figure of a man, clothed in comely fashion in a double cloak and stretching out his hand to the woman; at his feet on the monument itself a strange species of herb was growing, which climbed up to the double cloak of bronze, and acted as an antidote to all kinds of diseases. This statue, they said, bore the likeness of the Lord Jesus. And it was in existence even to our day, so that we saw it with out own eyes when we stayed in the city." (Note contributed to the online text by David Blocker).
2. Cf. Josephus, Antiq. Jud. I. iii. 5.
3. George Syncellus, I. 54-5. Ksis = Ζίσουθρος. Michael the Syrian, I, 14.
4. George Sync., I, 83: ἕως Γαδείρων.
5. G. Sync., I, 82-83. Mich. the Syr., I, 15. Bar-Hebr., Ch. Syr., p. 7.
6. Luke, iv, 37.
7. Eratosthenes lived before Ptolemy. Perhaps he means Timosthenes? See de Goeje, VIII, 30.
8. The scorched earth or the scorched way is the space located between the 19th degree of Libra and the 3rd degree of Scorpio. See for example Geography of Aboulféda, vol. II, 1st part. Paris, 1847, p. 6, n. 1.
9. For the description of these terms see Van Vloten, Liber Mafâtih al-OtÃ»m, p. 235, 7-9.
10. Instead of Qinnesrîn the manuscript gives Salamiyyah and Hamat.
11. Instead of these two names which are in A, mss BC give Afrathi.
12. Mich. the Syr., I, 22-23.
13. This is Serendib (Taprobane, Ceylon). See MasÃ»di, Kitâb at-Tanbîh, p. 26, trans. Carra de Vaux, p. 43.
14. Instead of these two names ms. A gives Haleb and Salamiyah.
15. Here the Mss. again add the country of Al-Djezîreh.
16. Cf. Georg. Sync., p. 98 et 170; also p. 100. Michael the Syrian, I, 20: Panouphis.
17. Son of Haber. Genesis, X, 25 (= Yokthan).
18. Cf. Mich. the Syr., I, 23-24.
19. I Macchab., i, 7-9.
20. Here the explanation of the copyist is: (the author) understands what is not known to the majority of men, because it was so long ago.
21. According to ms. A it was Helene who went to Jerusalem and asked for the relics. Instead of the passage of ms. B. starting from the words "The Jews gave him", we find in ms A: "The Jews gave to Helen all the books; among the books which were given to her, there was the book of the mutilated Torah. The queen Helen carried them to king Constantine, her son. Then a certain number of Jews were sent to the king to teach him all that the Jews had mutilated in the Torah and the books of the Prophets."
22. Comp. Daniel, ix. Jerem., xxv, 11 sq.; xxix, 10.
23. Jerem., lxv, 11 sq.; xxix, 10.
24. II Esdras, ii.
25. Cf Michel the Syrian, I, 25.
26. Αἰγιαλεύς. See G.Sync, I, 183.
27. See Gen., xxvi, 34.
28. See Gen., xxxvi, 33-34.
29. See Gen., x, 29.
30. Genesis, xxviii, 10 sq.; xxxii, 24 sq.
31. Here our author is mistaken; cf. Genesis, xxx, 3 sq.; xlvi.
32. See George Sync, I, 237.
33. See G. Sync. I, 280 and 132.
34. See Michael the Syrian, I, 37.
35. Compare the same, I, 38.
36. Comp. Michael the Syrian, I, 39.
37. Cf. Josephus, Antiq. Jud., II, x, 2 (ed.Niese, I, p.134-136).
38. Comp. Numbers, xii, 14.
39. See Numbers, xii, 1.
40. See G. Sync. I, 283.
41. Literally "the owner of two right hands "
42. See Exodus, xxxi, 2.
43. Numbers, xiii, 24.
44. Numbers, xxii, 1-6.
45. Leviticus, X, 1-2; Numbers, iii, 4.
46. Exodus, VI, 25 and comp. vi, 23.
47. Numbers, xxv, 1-8.
48. Joshua, X, 12-13.
49. Judges, III, 8.
50. Judges, III, 9-11.
51. Plato, Timaeus, 22.
52. Cf. Georg. Sync, II, 288: Ἐφύρα.
53. This passage is obscure to me.
54. George Sync. I, 305.
55. B.l.msin = Βασιλεῖς? Cf. G. Sync., I, p. 294-295.
[56. Note to the online edition. At this point the first fascicle of the Patrologia Orientalis edition ends. This was published in PO 5.4. The remainder of part 1 was published last in PO 11.1. Unfortunately the page numbering in the latter is confused, because the printer numbered introductory pages in the fascicle with the  numbers. The table of contents on pages 7-8 (numbered as 145-6) indicates the correct numbering; that page 9 of the fascicle should be p. 137 of the text. It is, instead, p.147. Since the purpose of placing the page numbers in this translation is to allow ready reference to the pages of the PO edition, I have followed the erroneous numbers printed, not the numbers in the table of contents.]
57. The preceding fascicle (P. O., t. V, fasc. 4) ends with: "The Midianites devastated all their country"; the manuscripts then continue: "with their many troops".
58. These are the terribly disfigured names of the Heliades: Merope, Helie, Aegle, Lampetia, Phoebe, Aetheria, Dioxippa. Ex Perseide, Oceani filia, Circe, PasiphaÃ«.
59. Perhaps is necessary to see here "at Thebes"?
60. Perhaps "Jonah"?
61. The author confuses Hanon, son of Nahach (II Sam, X, 2), with Amnon, son of David (ibid., xiii).
62. For these names cf. the passage of MaÃ§oudi, Al-MasÃ»di, Kitâb at-Tanbîb, Bibl. geogr. arab. ed. de Goeje, VIII, 1894, 11218-1132. Macoudi, Le livre de l'avertissement, trad. Carra de Vaux, Paris, 1896, 159. P. Kokovzoff drew my attention to this passage of MaÃ§oudi. Cf. P.O., VII, 599, the Jewish sects of the Achma`at and Anâïat (Caraïtes?).
63. Two words which I do not understand.
64. Phoul = Poul (Pul) = Tiglathpileser IV = Βῆλος in the Greek chronicles. See II Kings, xv, 19; I Chron., v, 26. Perhaps is necessary it to read "Phoul father of Ninus"? Cf. Mich. the Syr., I, 77: Belus, father of Ninus.
65. See earlier.
66. This is about a race of the quadrigae.
67. A adds: "without counting the women". On all this legendary history of Rome, see John Malalas, 171-180. Chronicon Paschale, coll. 289-300 (Migne, t. 92). Cedrenus I, 257-259. Michael the Syrian, I, 79-85. Pseudo-Dioclis Fragmentum, ed. J. Guidi (Corpus scriptores christianorum orientalium, Scriptores Syri. Versio, Chronica Minora, III, Parisiis, 1903, p. 288-291).
68. A adds: "without counting the women".
69. Ms.: "king of Persia".
70. See J. Mal., 173: Chr. Pasch., col. 292. Mich. the Syr., I, 84.
71. Mich. the Syr., I, 85-86. See II Kings, xvii.
72. See II Kings, xviii-xix.
73. See II Kings, xx, 12.
74. II Sam., vii, 11-13.
75. Mss.: of his father.
76. Numbers, xxiv, 17.
77. II Kings, xx, 17-18.
78. See G. Sync, I, 398: 1-8 (Eus. Chr., II, 82 Hs). Mich. the Syr., I, 86.
79. The prayer of Manasseh is one of the Apocryphal books of the Old Testament. See G. Sync., I, 403-404. Mich. the Syr., I, 86, 87, 88.
80. Mich. the Syr., I, 88.
81. Mich. the Syr., I, 88.
82. G. Sync., I, 403,14 (Eus. Chr., II, 90 Hs). Mich. the Syr., I, 92. See the Koran, Surah xxxi, 11-19.
83. This is about the prophecy of Jeremiah.
84. Under the name of "Magus" we must see Cyaxares here. See Mich. the Syr., I, 90.
85. Mich. the Syr., I, 90. G. Sync., I. 405.
86. Mich. the Syr., I, 91-92.
87. Mich. the Syr., I, 93.
88. Matthew, 1: 11.
89. II Kings, xxiv, 17.
90. Mich. the Syr., I, 96.
91. Ibidem, I, 97.
92. Cf. Mich. the Syr., I, 97.
93. See Jeremiah, xxii, 24-28; cf. 18-19.
94. Cf. Josephi Flavii Contra Apionem, I, 21 (Hiram = Εἴρωμος). Eusebii Chronicon, I, 51-54. M. the Syr., I, 99.
95. G. Sync, I, 454: 7 (Eus. Chr., II, 94 Hp). Mich. the Syr., I, 100.
96. Cf. Dan., vii, 1-3.
97. The text of the end of this sentence is obscure. Perhaps is necessary to translate: "because, in origin, he belonged to these two families" (= to the Medes and Persians)?
98. G. Sync, I, 438: 16: Δαρεῖος Ἀσσουήρου. See Mich. the Syr., I, 105: Darius, i.e. Assuerus.
99. Dan., viii, 17-27; ix, 21-27.
100. John, ii, 20.
101. Mich. the Syr., I, 102.
102. Mich. the Syr., I, 101.
103. Daniel, xiv, 33-39 (according to the LXX and the Latin Vulgate). This episode belongs to the deuterocanonical part of the book of Daniel.
104. Mich. the Syr., I, 105.
105. Cf. Mich. the Syr., I, 103-104.
106. G. Sync, I, 457: 14-15 (Eus. Chr., II, 98 IIi). Mich. the Syr., I, 102-103.
107. See Mich. the Syr., I, 103.
108. lbid., I, 105.
109. Ms. B: Qasmous?
110. G. Sync, I, 471: 44 (Eus. Ch., II, 100 Hi). Mich. the Syr., I, 106.
111. In the text, rather "Chosroes".
112. See Mich. the Syr., I, 105.
113. G. Sync, I, 470: 6 (Eus. Chr., II, 102 Hd). Mich. the Syr., I, 105.
114. Cf. Zachariah, i, 1: Zachariah, son of Barachya. Isaiah, viii, 2. See above.
115. G. Sync, I, 4761C. Mich. the Syr., I, 105.
116. Cf. Mich. the Syr., I, 107: Arovik.
117. G. Sync, I, 483 (Eus. Chr., II, 104 Hc).
118. See Jos. Flav. Antiq. Jud., XI, 226.
119. The text adds once again: "The king saw this, when he came out".
** Note to the online edition. Here the page numbers in the printed text suddenly go from 226 to 217 -- i.e 10 is subtracted.
120. For the history of Esther and Mordecai cf. Jos. Flav. Ant. Jud., XI, 184-268. See also the Book of Esther.
121. We must read "two months".
122. I omit [ arabic phrase] that I do not understand
123. This is Nectanebo II.
124. On the legendary history of Alexander the Great see Pseudo-Callisthenes, III, 1-4; ed. C. Mäller, p. 94-99 (Arriani Anabasis et Indica, Parisiis, 1846. Scriptorum Graecorum Bibliotheca, t. XXVI). H. Meusel, Pseudo-Callisthenes. Nach der Leidener Handschrift herausgegeben von H. M. Jahrbächer fur classische Philologie. V. Supplementband. Leipzig, 1864-1872, p. 769-772 (the correspondence of Alexander with Porus which differs from that of Agapius; the anecdote of the elephants; the single combat; there is no mention of the help sent by the Chinese). See also the texts of the Russian chronographers, Moscow, 1893, p. 194-198; 309-313. Examples drawn from the Arab authors in T. Noeldeke, Beitrage zur Geschichte des Alexanderromans. Denkschriften der K. Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, T. 38 (1890), p. 38, 40 (episode with China). The Syriac version in W.Budge, The History of Alexander the Great, Cambridge, 1889, p. 87-92; 109-112 (episode with China). The Ethiopian version in W. Budge, The life and exploits of Alexander the Great, London, 1896, p. 107-125; 172-180 (relations with China); 367-371.
125. Mich. the Syr., I. 115.
126. In the text: "son of a hare" i.e. "son of Lagos".
127. See Theodoreti Explanatio ad Danielem, cap. xi, 6. Migne, Patr. Gr., t. LXXXI, coll. 1505-1508.
128. Mich. le. Syr. I, 129-130.
129. In the ms, probably the mutilated name of "Alexander". See G. Sync., 1, 552 .13.
130. Mich. the Syr., I, 127-128 and 132.
131. M. the Syr., I, 128.
132. On this passage, cf. Jos. Flav., Ant., XIII, 366-369 (Eus. Chr., II, 132-133 Hl et 1920-1923). G. Sync., I, 553.18-19. Mich. le Syr., I, 134.
133. Mich. the Syr., 1, 130 or rather 134.
134. I believe that it is necessary to read "by the inhabitants of Alexandria". This is all about Ptolemy-Alexander II, who was killed by them. See Bouché-Leclercq, Histoire des Lagides, II, p. 119-120.
135. On this legend see J. Malalae Chronographia, 183-187 (ed. Bonn.). Georgii Monachi Chronicon, ed. de Boor, 1904, Lipsiae, I, 23-24. Cedr., I, 263-264. Mich. the Syr., I, 141-143.
136. Perhaps the coptic month "epiphi"? Cf. supra, p. .
137. From here on the events are also described in the beginning of the second part of Agapius; but the editing of the Florence ms. is different.
138. Agapius, II (1), p. 3-4 (P. O., t. VII, p. 459-460); the corresponding texts are indicated. [Note to the online edition; I have not troubled to transcribe all these; the reader may find them easily enough in the PO edition]
139. In the ms. "Antiochus".
140. See Agapius, II (1), p. 4-5 (P. O., t. VII, p. 460-461).
141. The Ms A says : People say that Christ was two years old. As for the scholars, philosophers and the author of this book, they say that at the time of the arrival of the Magi, Christ was seven days old. It is the obvious truth, because we have found and seen in the images, i.e. the icons, and the effigies which are in the holy churches, etc.
142. Agapius, II (1), p. 9 (P. O., t. VII, p. 465).
143. Here there begins a gap in the ms. C.
144. A adds : "two years old".
145. Here the gap in ms. C finishes.
146. Agapius, II (1), p. 11-12 (P. O., t. VII, p. 467-468).
147. The ms. says "Antigone"
148. In the mss. "Antigone".
149. Μαλθάκη,. See, for example, genealogy of Herod at Jos. Flav. Ant. Jud., XVII, 19-22; De bello Judaico, I, 562. Mich. the Syr., I, 140. Chr. Min., 46.
150. It seems to me that the litteral translation of this passage is this: "PhasaÃ«l gave him by Pallas three [grand]sons who were in truth Aristobulus," etc.
151. In the mss. is the disfigured name "Qabdhâfrâ"?
152. See Agapius, II (1), p. 13 (P. O., t. VII, p. 469).
153. In the ms. the name is very mutilated.
154. Here the ms. A finishes; it is probably missing some leaves.
155. Compare the calculation of Severus ibn al-Moqaffa`, P. O., t. III, p. 222-225.
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