Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography The First Kingdom of the Greeks

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Here beginneth the Seventh Series, which passeth from the Kings of the Persians to the pagan Greeks.


AFTER DARIUS, ALEXANDER reigned six years, after he killed DARIUS, and the prophecy of DANIEL concerning the he-goat which came and killed the ram (Daniel viii) was fulfilled. Now ALEXANDER, having brought to an end the kingdom of the BABYLONIANS and PERSIANS, [36] seized BABYLON, and subjugated ‘IORIPOS (PERSEPOLIS?), and ‘ERKONIA (HURKANIA?) and MURIA (MEDIA?). And he took all GREATER ASIA, and he also crossed the river HENDOS (INDUS), and he conquered INDIA and SHEBHA (SABA?). And he took to wife RUSHNAK (ROXANA), the daughter of DARIUS, and he carried off SHEBHA her sister with her. And he built twelve cities and made a door of Iron that the HUNS might not go forth. The height thereof was twelve cubits and the width thereof eight cubits. He took the JEWS and they welcomed him, and he sacrificed to GOD. And when the SHAMRAYE (SAMARITANS) slew ALEXANDER the priest, whom he had left with them, he came from EGYPT and destroyed them, and he settled MACEDONIANS in SHAMRIN. And having come to BABYLON after he had reigned twelve years and seven months, one of his nobles put him to death by poison. And the Great Horn was broken, and under it there rose up four horns [Daniel, chaps. vii and viii], viz. his servants who reigned after him. The total of the years from ADAM to the death of ALEXANDER, according to ANIANUS the monk, is five thousand and sixty and nine-years. And in the time of ALEXANDER lived ANDROMACHUS the physician, who added the flesh of vipers to the antidote METHRODITOS (i.e. of MITHRIDATES), and recovery from the bites of vipers took place.


Ater ALEXANDER, PTOLEMY, his servant, [reigned] forty years; he was the son of LOGHOS (LAGUS), that is to say the ‘son of ‘ARNEBHA’. He rose up after ALEXANDER, and he brought his body to EGYPT] and buried it there. And in the year in which he [began to] reign, he captured JERUSALEM by guile, and he carried the JEWS into captivity, and he settled [them] in EGYPT in the days of HUNIA (ONIAS), the chief of the priests. And from him the kings (of EGYPT) were known as ‘PTOLEMIES’. PHILIP ARRIDAEUS reigned over the MACEDONIANS, and ANTIOCHUS reigned in SYRIA. And he had a partner in the kingdom, SELEUCUS NlKATOR, i.e. the ‘Conqueror’. Now in CILICIA, and in ASIA, and in CARlA, and in HELLESPONT, and in THRACE, and in PAPHLAGONIA, and in EPIRUS (var. ‘EURIPI), seven other kings rose up. Now in all there were ten [kings]; and the word of DANIEL (chaps. vii and viii) agreeth, viz. ‘The beast had ten horns’. [37] And in the thirteenth year of PTOLEMY [LAGUS], twelve years after the death of ALEXANDER, ANTIOCHUS died. And SELEUCUS reigned alone over SYRIA, and over all GREATER ASIA, and BABYLON as far as INDIA, for twenty-one years. And with him began the reckoning by the years of the GREEKS (i.e. the Era of the Greeks) which we SYRIANS use, even though it be called after ALEXANDER. SELEUCUS built AWTIOCH, and SELEUCIA, and LATAKIA, and APAMEA, and URHAI (EDESSA), and BEROEA, and PILAS, and GERMANIKI, which is MAR’ASH.

From ADAM to SELEUCUS, according to EUSEBIUS, is 4,889 years;
From ADAM to SELEUCUS, according to ANDRONICUS, is 5,083 years;
From ADAM to SELEUCUS, according to GIWARGI (GEORGE) the most excellent Elder, is 5,085 years;
From ADAM to SELEUCUS, according to AFRICANUS, is 5,083 years;
From ADAM to SELEUCUS, according to THEOPHILUS of EDESSA, is 5,197 years;
From ADAM to SELEUCUS, according to JACOB of EDESSA, is 5,49 years;
From ADAM to SELEUCUS, according to GEORGE, bishop of the Arab peoples, is 4,929 years;
From ADAM to SELEUCUS, according to ANIANUS, is 5,180 years and 10 months.

And with this last the Greek Septuagint agreeth. The reckoning which the Greeks use in our time agreeth with that of THEOPHILUS of EDESSA. Now if we add to 5,197 years the complete years of SELEUCUS, and one month to the complete months of the incomplete year, which beginneth with the FIRST TESHRIN (OCTOBER), there are gathered together for us the complete solar years from ADAM, and the months from the incomplete year which beginneth with ‘ILUL (SEPTEMBER). What then in respect of the day whicn remaineth (?), the tenth of ‘ILUL [of the] year of the GREEKS 1587? Let us add five thousand one hundred and ninety-seven to one thousand five hundred and eighty-six, and their total is six thousand seven hundred 4nd eighty-three; then add to the eleven months one month and they become twelve months. Let us add then one year to the complete years, and they become six thousand seven hundred and eighty-four. And we say that the tenth of ‘ILUL belongeth to the incomplete year, that is to say, the year six thousand seven hundred and eighty-five.


After LAGUS, PHILADELPHUS. i.e. ‘loving his brother’, reigned thirty-eight years. And in his fifth year ANTIOCHUS SOTER reigned over SYRIA after his brother SELEUCUS. And in his sixth year PHILADELPHUS gave freedom [38] to the JEWS who were in captivity in EGYPT. And he sent gifts to ELI’AZAR, the high priest, and asked him for [copies of] the Holy Scriptures and translators. Then he (i.e. the high priest) wrote the Books in gold [ink], and sent [them] together with seventy-two learned men who were well acquainted with the two languages Greek and Hebrew; and there were six men from each tribe. And PHILADELPHUS settled them on the Island of FARO (PHAROS), and he built thirty-six cells. one cell for every two men; and he admonished them that they were to change nothing [in the text]. And they translated the Books in seventy-two days, each two men of the whole number [seventy-two], and there were thirty-six copies. And when they were collated with each other they were found to agree, as if one man only had translated them [i.e. all the copies]. And the king placed them in his library in ALEXANDRIA.


And after ANTIOCHUS SOTER, ANTIOCHUS, who was called God [‘Allaha], reigned over SYRIA fifteen years. And in the thirty-fourth year of his reign the PARTHIANS, that is to say the ‘ARMENAYE, rebelled against the MACEDONIANS, that is to say, GREEKS (YAWNAYE), and they set up over them a king whose name was ‘ARSHAK, and from that time they were called ‘ARSHAKAYE. And at that time the RHOMAYE slew of the GALLAYE (GAULS), and the KALAYE (KALTAYE, CELTS?) up to four myriads. And RHODES and all the countries round about them were so much shaken [by an earthquake], that the great COLOSSUS fell. And they afflicted SYRACUSE with war, and they also laid waste KAFU (CORFU?), and SICILY became subject unto them, and likewise very many Iberian (i.e. Spanish) cities.


After PTOLEMY PHILADELPHUS, PTOLEMY EUERGETES (that is, handicraftsman’) [reigned] twenty-six years. And in that year SELEUCUS KALONIKUS reigned in SYRIA twenty years. And he built KALONIKUS, that is, RAKKAH, and KARKISON (CIRCESIUM). And after him SELEUCUS KRONOS [reigned] three years, and after him ANTIOCHUS THE GREAT thirty-six years. Now ONIAS, the high priest, being unwilling to pay his customary tribute to the king of EGYPT, PHARAOH was wroth with him, and made ready to destroy the JEWS utterly. Then JOSEPHUS, the wise and strong man, was sent to him by the JEWS, and favour was shown to him, and he pacified the anger of EUERGETES, and received from him an authority (or, Patent), and from that time a general [39] appeared in JUDEA who was over all the cities.


After PTOLEMY EUERGETES, PTOLEMY PHILOPATOR (that is, ‘loving his father’) [reigned] seventeen years. This [PHARAOH] afflicted the JEWS. And at the end of his kingdom ANTIOCHUS THE GREAT, of SYRIA, conquered him and also took possession of EGYPT. And he also came to JUDEA and subjugated it. And then there happened the events which are described in the holy history of the MACCABEES.


After PTOLEMY PHILOPATOR, PTOLEMY EPIPANES (that is, the ‘purifier’, or perhaps ‘the dispenser of justice’) [reigned] twenty-one years, though other codices say twenty-four years. This PHARAOH sent SCOPAS his general, and he subdued JUDAH and SYRIA. Against him went forth ANTIOCHUS THE GREAT, and he conquered the army of the EGYPTIANS and took from them all their cities. Now the JEWS submitted themselves with alacrity to ANTIOCHUS, and he honoured them with gifts. And he paved the roads and passages over which the soldiers marched, and he built bridges of stones over the rivers. And in his eleventh year ANTIOCHUS THE GREAT was conquered by the RHOMAYE at THERMOPYLAE, and he covenanted to give to them annually one thousand talents of gold, and he also gave EPIPHANIUS, the son of ANTIOCHUS, to the RHOMAYE as a hostage. And from that time the kingdom of the GREEKS (YAWN’AYE) was in subjugation to the authority of the RHOMAYE. For this reason the GREEKS and EGYPTIANS became allies, and ANTIOCHUS stopped the war with PTOLEMY EPIPHANES, and made a covenant of friendship with him. And ANTIOCHUS THE GREAT took CLEOPATRA, the daughter of PTOLEMY EPIPHANES, to wife, and gave to her as her dowry SYRIA, PHOENICIA, SAMARIA, and JUDAH. And in the seventeenth year of PTOLEMY EPIPHANES, ANTIOCHUS THE GREAT went down (by sea?] against ‘ILAM, the royal city (or, capital) of the PERSIANS, and there he died. As DANIEL said, ‘In a few days he shall be broken, neither by wrath nor war’ (Daniel xi. 20).

And SELEUCUS reigned over SYRJA. In his time HELIODORUS, his trusty deputy, was chastised with a stroke from God because he persecuted the JEWS mercilessly. And in the twenty-first year of PTOLEMY EPIPHANES, ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES, the son of ANTIOCHUS THE GREAT, ruled over SYRIA; [40] he had lived as a hostage in ROME for eleven years. As soon as he began to reign he went to EGYPT to PTOLEMY, and although he was forbidden [to do so] by the RHOMAYE, he returned to JUDAH. And when he came to JERUSALEM he plundered the Temple of God, and set up in it an image of ZEUS. And he laid hold of ELIEZER the priest to make him offer up sacrifices, and when he refused, after [suffering] tortures, he died. And after him they brought SHAMONI, the wife of SHALOM, together with her seven sons, before ANTIOCHUS. And they cut out the tongue of the first one, and the chief of all his members, and cast him into a pan to be roasted. Of the second they ripped off the skin of his head. They cut out the tongue of the third, and so on with the other four, and at last they murdered their mother. They were crowned (i.e. martyred) in JERUSALEM, but afterwards their bodies were brought to ANTIOCH.


After PTOLEMY EPIPHANES, PTOLEMY PHILOMETOR (this is, ‘loving his mother’) [reigned] thirty-five years. In his sixteenth year ANTIOCHUS EPIPHANES died in the land of the PERSIANS of a severe sickness [caused by] a stroke which was from God. And ANTIOCHUS EUPATOR reigned two years, and this king also multiplied evil acts towards the JEWS. In his time MATITHA, son of JOHN, son of SIMEON the priest, one of the sons of YONADHABH, dwelt in MUR’IM and he had five sons, viz. JOHN GADDAI, SIMON TARSAI, JUDAH MAKBAI, ELIEZAR HAWRAN, and JONATHAN HAPOS. When these men saw a certain JEW who was offering up a sacrifice they were filled with indignation, and they killed him, and also the governor who was forcing him to sacrifice, and they swept away the offering. Now these brethren, together with other zealous men of the Law, fled to a mountain. And when ANTIOCHUS EUPATOR heard [this] he sent a force of one hundred thousand men to JERUSALEM. And whilst they were fighting, ELIEZAR HAWRAN saw a great elephant, and he thought that the king was sitting upon it. And he went under the elephant and stabbed it in its belly with a sword. And the elephant staggered about and fell upon him and he died. And when the fighting ceased and they were collecting the dead bodies for burial, they found under the apparel of every man of them some of the gold of idols. Then JUDAH sent three thousand pieces of silver to the priests in JERUSALEM, so that they might make an offering on behalf of those who had died, and might make propitiation for them for the sake of the [41] hope of the resurrection. At this time was built the first temple to the Lord among the heathen. HUNIA (ONIAS) built it at ‘ILIOSPANTAS,(or, HELIPOLlS?) which is in EGYPT, and he performed in it the service according to the custom of the JEWS. And in the eighteenth year of PTOLEMY PHILOMETOR, DEMETRIUS SOTER, who was the son of SELEUCUS, reigned over SYRIA twelve years. Now he came from RHOME, and he seized the kingdom of his ancestors and slew ANTIOCHUS EUPATOR and his deputy LUSIA. And in the twentieth year of PTOLEMY PHILOMATOR rose up the first governor of the JEWS, viz. JUDAS MACCABAEUS, and from that time he held for three years equally (or, both together) the office of high priest and that of king. He drove the general of ANTIOCHUS out from JUDAH, and he purified the Temple, and he was killed by the captain of the host of DEMETRIUS during the war. And after him rose JONATHAN, his brother, for nineteen years–thus the high priest was a general, and he fought during the war with great valour. And in the twenty-ninth year of PTOLEMY PHILOMATOR, ALEXANDER reigned over SYRIA ten years. He slew DEMETRIUS, and he also went to EGYPT and seized the country, and PHILOMETOR gave him CLEOPATRA, his daughter, and made peace with him. And HIPPOLYTUS saith,’This agreeth with what DANIEL saith, “The daughter of the king of the south shall be given to the king of the north” , [compare Daniel xi. 17]. And THEODORET saith, ‘With CLEOPATRA, the daughter of PTOLEMY EPIPHANES, who was given to ANTIOCHUS THE GREAT, the prophecy [of Daniel] was fulfilled’. And this is probably [correct].


After PTOLEMY PHILOMETOR, PTOLEMY EUERGETES II, the son of HABHUBHA (?), [reigned] twenty-nine years. In his fifth year, there reigned over SYRIA, after ALEXANDER, DEMETRIUS II, thtee years. And in the seventh year of this EUERGETES there rose up, after JONATHAN, SIMON, the high priest, who was a general eight years. This king sent a gold shield to RHOME, and the RHOMAYE made a treaty of love with him [which was written] on a tablet of brass. And he also sent his son JOHN against KANDABIS, the captain of the host of ANTIOCHUS DEMETRIUS, and he conquered him and destroyed all his host, [42] and thus the JEWS were freed from [the payment of] tribute. And in this year the second history of the MACCABEES came to an end.

And in his eighth year PTOLEMY, the son of HABHUBHA, deposed DEMETRIUS, and ANTIOCHUS SIDITOS reigned over SYRIA in his stead, and he came to make war on JERUSALEM. And certain slaves rebelled in SICILY, and being besieged in one of the towns on the island because of their hunger, they ate each other. And there was a great eruption of fire on the Island of IWALOS (AEOLUS). And in the fifteenth year of PTOLEMY, the general of PTOLEMY who was in JERICHO, killed SIMON, the high priest. And after him rose up JOHN, who was called ‘HYRCANUS’, because he gathered together an army against HYRCANIA, and he went to war–twenty-six years. And in the seventeenth year of this PTOLEMY, DEMETRIUS returned to [his] kingdom, and he reigned over SYRIA four years more. And after him there rose up over SYRIA, ANTIOCHUS AGRIPPA–twelve years. And he came to JERUSALEM, and he afflicted it sorely. Then HYRCANUS, being in sore straits, opened the grave of DAVID and brought out therefrom three thousand talents of gold which had been laid up there by the ancients. And he gave three hundred of them to ANTIOCHUS, and he departed from him. And at this time HYRCANUS laid waste SHAMRIN (SAMARIA).


After PTOLEMY EUERCETES, the son of HABHUBHA, PTOLEMY SOTER, who was also called ‘PHYSKON’, [reigned] seventeen years. In his fourth year ANTIOCHUS KUDIKOS (sic) reigned over SYRIA–eighteen years. And in the eleventh year of SOTER, JOHN HYRCANUS died. And ARISTOBULUS, the son of JONATHAN, rose up–one year. This man bound on [his head] a crown, and with guile he slew his brother ANTIGONUS. And another brother, JOHN, also slew this man; this JOHN is IWANNIS, and he was also called ‘ALEXANDER’. And he reigned twenty-seven years. This man governed the people in a cruel manner. And in his time PTOLEMY SOTER was driven out by CLEOPATRA his mother, and he fled to the Island of CYPRUS.


After PTOLEMY SOTER, PTOLEMY ALEXANDER, his brother, [reigned] ten years. [43] In his fourth year he burned alive KUZIKOS (sic) king of SYRIA, and he himself reigned over SYRIA for one year. Then rose up PHILIP over SYRIA–two years. And he was deposed by the people as being one who assisted in the burning of KUZIKOS (sic), and thereupon the people cleaved to the subjugation of the RHOMAYE. In the sixth year of this PTOLEMY ALEXANDER the kingdom of the GREEKS came to an end finally in SYRIA and ASIA. ANTIOCH became subject to the RHOMAYE in the year of the GREEKS two hundred and twenty.

After PTOLEMY ALEXANDER, SOTER his brother returned, and he reigned eight years. This SOTER came back from CYPRUS, whither he had fled from his mother. He fought with his brother, and expelled him, and he resumed his former rank. And SOTER, who was called ‘PHYSKON’, reigned in ALEXANDRIA and over all ECYPT.


After PTOLEMY SOTER, his son PTOLEMY DIONYSUS reigned a second time–thirty years. In the fifth year of his reign JOHN ALEXANDER died, and his wife ALEXANDRA, who was named SELINA, rose up for nine years. She observed the Commandments very strictly, and she punished those who abrogated them. But the affairs of the JEWS fell into a great state of confusion because she made HYRCANUS her son high priest, and ARISTOBULUS her other son was offended, and they quarrelled greatly with each other. And after very much trouble HYRCANUS was confirmed as high priest, and ARISTOBULUS [became] king. After a little [time] POMPEY, the captain of the host of the RHOMAYE, came and captured ARISTOBULUS, and carried him off in fetters to ROME, and he established his brother HYRCANUS as king]. And he stood for thirty and four years, and he [re]built the walls of JERUSALEM which POMPEY had thrown down. For this POMPEY had laid the JEWS under tribute, and he subjugated also GREAT ARMENIA, and IBERIA and ISAURIA. And he increased greatly [in power] and was called ‘AUTOCRATOR’. And in the year in which PTOLEMY DIONYSUS of EGYPT died there began in ROME, the Consulship of the three Consuls whose names are GAIUS JULIUS, MARK ANTONY, and CRASSUS.


After PTOLEMY DIONYSUS, [44] CLEOPATRA, his daughter, [reigned] twenty-three years. And in her third year the RHOMAYE made GAIUS JULIUS, one of the three Consuls, king. And he was named ‘CAESAR’, because when his mother was dying they made an opening in her and brought him out from her womb. And he went down to EGYPT and confirmed the sovereignty of CLEOPATRA. And in the year in which he reigned the month of KUNTILIS was called ‘JULIUS’. And when JULIUS had reigned four years he died. and AUGUSTUS CAESAR reigned after him fifty-seven years. And in his sixth year, HYRCANUS, the high priest, was carried off captive to the country of the PARTHIANS, that is to say, PERSIANS. And for this reason HEROD, the son of ANTIPATER, the son of HEROD the priest of the house of idols of APOLLO, which is near the wall of ASCALON, went up to ROME. And thence he received sovereignty over the JEWS, and he reigned thirty-seven years. And when HYRCANUS returned from captivity he slew HEROD and his son JONATHAN in the eleventh year of AUGUSTUS. And here was fulfilled the word of the prophecy, ‘The rod shall not depart from JUDAH until He to whom sovereignty belongeth shall come’. For in the time of this HEROD the birth of our Redeemer took place, and the seven weeks and the sixty-two weeks of DAVID were fulfilled. These make the four hundred and eighty-three years which began with the sixth year of DARIUS, the son of HYSTASPES.

Now when that HEROD came from ROME the JEWS would not receive him, and he fought and conquered them, and laid waste the two walls of JERUSALEM, and he destroyed many. And he took the vestment of priesthood under his hands, and with the exception of one year he did not release the high priest. And having slain HYRCANUS he sent to BABYLON and brought from thence a man whose name was HNANA’IL, who did not belong to the grade of priests, and he made him high priest for a year, and then dismissed him. And he made ARISTOBULUS, the son of HYRCANUS, who was a brother of the wife of HEROD, [high priest]. And after a little while he killed him, and MARY, his sister, who was his wife, and their mother, and each and every one, without any exception, who belonged to the family of the high priests. And again he appointed HNANA’IL [high priest].

And in the thirteenth year of AUGUSTUS ANTONINUS (ANTONY), the captain of his host rebelled against them, [45] and he loved CLEOPATRA, Queen of EGYPT. And AUGUSTUS marched against him and conquered him. And after a consultation of the SENATE AUGUSTUS made friends with ANTONINUS (Antony). Then CLEOPATRA asked ANTONINUS (ANTONY) for dominion over the kingdom of the JEWS and the ARABS, and he agreed to her request. And because of this AUGUSTUS was offended, and he marched again against ANTONINUS (ANTONY) and conquered him; and he also subdued EGYPT. And he took the two sons of CLEOPATRA, who were called ‘Sun’ and ‘Moon’, and slew them. Then CLEOPATRA and ANTONINUS (ANTONY) killed themselves.