The Extant Fragments of the Five Books of the Chronography of Julius Africanus.
"The principal facts known to us in the life of Africanus
are derived from himself and the Chronicon of
Eusebius. He says of himself that he went to
Eusebius describes Africanus as being the author of a work called kestoi/.5 Suidas says that this book detailed various kinds of cures, consisting of charms and written forms, and such like. Some have supposed that such a work is not likely to have been written by a Christian writer: they appeal also to the fact that no notice is taken of the kestoi/ by Jerome in his notice of Africanus, nor by Rufinus in his translation of Eusebius. They therefore deem the clause in Eusebius an interpolation, and they suppose that two bore the name of Africanus,-one the author of the kestoi/, the other the Christian writer. Suidas identifies them, says that he was surnamed Sextus, and that he was a Libyan philosopher.
The works ascribed to Africanus, beside the Cesti, are the following:-
1. Five Books of Chronology. Photius6 says of this work, that it was concise, but omitted nothing of importance. It began with the cosmogony of Moses, and went down to the advent of Christ. It summarized also the events from the time of Christ to the reign of the Emperor Macrinus.
2. A very famous letter to Aristides, in which he endeavoured to reconcile the apparent discrepancies in the genealogies of Christ given by Matthew and Luke.
3. A letter to Origen, in which he endeavoured to prove that the story of Susanna in Daniel was a forgery. A translation of this letter has been given with the Works of Origen.
The Acts of Symphorosa and her Seven Sons are attributed in the mss. to Africanus; but no ancient writer speaks of him as the author of this work. "
1 On the Mythical Chronology of the Egyptians and Chaldeans.
The Egyptians, indeed, with their boastful notions of their own antiquity, have put forth a sort of account of it by the hand of their astrologers in cycles and myriads of years; which some of those who have had the repute of studying such subjects profoundly have in a summary way called lunar years; and inclining no less than others to the mythical, they think they fall in with the eight or nine thousands of years which the
Egyptian priests in Plato falsely reckon up to Solon.
2 (And After Some Other Matter: )
For why should I speak of the three myriad years of the Phoenicians, or of the follies of the Chaldeans, their forty-eight myriads? For the Jews, deriving their origin from them as descendants of Abraham, having been taught a modest mind, and one such as becomes men, together with the truth by the spirit of Moses, have handed down to us, by their extant Hebrew histories, the number of 5500 years as the period up to the advent of the Word of salvation, that was announced to the world in the time of the sway of the Caesars.
When men multiplied on the earth, the angels of heaven came together with the daughters of men. In some copies I found "the sons of God." What is meant by the Spirit, in my opinion, is that the descendants of Seth are called the sons of God on account of the righteous men and patriarchs who have sprung from him, even down to the Savior Himself; but that the descendants of Cain are named the seed of men, as having nothing divine in them, on account of the wickedness of their race and the inequality of their nature, being a mixed people, and having stirred the indignation of God.4 But if it is thought that these refer to angels, we must take them to be those who deal with magic and jugglery, who taught the women the motions of the stars and the knowledge of things celestial, by whose power they conceived the giants as their
children, by whom wickedness came to its height on the earth, until God decreed that the whole race of the living should perish in their impiety by the deluge.
Adam, when 230 years old, begets Seth; and after living other 700 years he died, that is, a second death.
Seth, when 205 years old, begot Enos; from Adam therefore to the birth of Enos there are 435 years in all.
Enos, when 190 years old, begets Cainan.
Cainan again, when 170 years old, begets Malaleel;
And Malaleel, when 165 years old; begets, Jared;
And Jared, when 162 years old, begets Enoch;
And Enoch, when 165 years old, begets Mathusala; and having pleased God, after a life of other 200 years, he was not found.
Mathusala, when 187 years old, begot Lamech.
Lamech, when 188 years old, begets Noe.
IV.6 On the Deluge.
God decreed to destroy the whole race of the living by a flood, having threatened that men should not survive beyond 120 years. Nor let it be deemed a matter of difficulty, because some lived afterwards a longer period than that. For the space of time meant was 100 years up to the flood in the case of the sinners of that time; for they were 20 years old. God instructed Noe, who pleased him on account of his righteousness, to prepare an ark; and when it was finished, there entered it Noe himself and his sons, his
wife and his daughters-in-law, and firstlings of every living
creature, with a view to the duration of the race. And Noe
was 600 years old when the flood came on. And when the water abated, the ark
settled on the mountains of Ararat, which we know to be in
Noe was 600 years old when the flood came on. From Adam, therefore, to Noe and the flood, are 2262 years.
And after the flood, Sem begot Arphaxad.
Arphaxad, when 135 years old, begets Sala in the year 2397.
Sala, when 130 years old, begets Heber in the year 2527.
Heber, when 134 years old, begets Phalec in the year 2661, so called because the earth was divided in his days.
Phalec, when 130 years old, begot Ragan, and after living other 209 years died.
the year of the world 3277, Abraham entered the promised land of
VIII.12 Of Abraham.
this rises the appellation of the Hebrews. For the word Hebrews is interpreted
to mean those who migrate across, viz., who crossed the
IX.13 Of Abraham and
a famine pressed the
X.16 Of the Patriarch Jacob.
The shepherd's tent belonging to Jacob, which was
2. Jacob, being displeased at what had been done by Symeon and Levi at Shecem against the people of the country, on account of the violation of their sister, buried at Shecem the gods which he had with him near a rock under the wonderful terebinth,18 which up to this day is reverenced by the neighboring people in honor of the patriarchs, and removed thence to Bethel. By the trunk of this terebinth there was an altar on which the inhabitants of the country offered ectenoe19 in their general assemblies; and though it seemed to be burned, it was not consumed. Near it is the tomb of Abraham and Isaac. And some say that the staff of one of the angels who were entertained by Abraham was planted there.
From Adam, therefore, to the death of Joseph, according to this book, are 23 generations, and 3563 years.
From this record,22 therefore, we affirm that Ogygus,23 from whom the first flood (in Attica) derived its name,24 and who was saved when many perished, lived at the time of the exodus of the people from Egypt along with Moses.25 (After a break): And after Ogygus, on account of the vast destruction caused by the flood, the present land of Attica remained without a king tilt the time of Cecrops, 189 years.26 Philochorus, however, affirms that Ogygus, Actaeus, or whatever other fictitious name is adduced, never existed. (After another break): From Ogygus to Cyrus, as from Moses to his time, are 1235 years.
1. Up to the time of the Olympiads there is no certain history among the Greeks, all things before that date being confused, and in no way consistent with each other. But these Olympiads were thoroughly investigated28 by many, as the Greeks made up the records of their history not according to long spaces, but in periods of four years. For which reason I shall select the most remarkable of the mythical narratives before the time of the first Olympiad, and rapidly run over them. But those after that period, at least those that are notable, I shall take together, Hebrew events in connection with Greek, according to their dates, examining carefully the affairs of the Hebrews, and touching more cursorily on those of the Greeks; and my plan will be as follows: Taking up some single event in Hebrew history synchronous with another in Greek history, and keeping by it as the main subject, subtracting or adding as may seem needful in the
narrative, I shall note what Greek or Persian of note, or remarkable personage of any other nationality, flourished at the date of that event in Hebrew history; and thus I may perhaps attain the object which I propose to myself.
2. The most famous exile that befell the Hebrews, then-to wit, when they were led captive by Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon-lasted 70 years, as Jeremias had prophesied. Berosus the Babylonian, moreover, makes mention of Nabuchodonosor. And after the 70 years of captivity, Cyrus became king of the Persians at the time of the 55th Olympiad, as may be ascertained from the Bibliothecae of Diodorus and the histories of Thallus and Castor, and also from Polybius and Phlegon, and others besides these, who have made the Olympiads a subject of study. For the date is a matter of agreement among them all. And Cyrus then, in the first year of his reign, which was the first year of the 55th Olympiad, effected the first partial restoration of the people by the hand of Zorobabel, with whom also was Jesus the son of Josedec, since the period of 70 years was now fulfilled, as is narrated in Esdra the Hebrew historian. The narratives
of the beginning of the sovereignty of Cyrus and the end of the captivity accordingly coincide. And thus, according to the reckoning of the Olympiads, there will be found a like harmony of events even to our time. And by following this, we shall also make the other narratives fit in with each other in the same manner.
3. But if the Attic time-reckoning is taken as the standard for affairs prior to these, then from Ogygus, who was believed by them to be an autochthon, in whose time also the first great flood took place in Attica, while Phoroneus reigned over the Argives, as Acusilaus relates, tip to the date of the first Olympiad, from which period the Greeks thought they could fix dates accurately, there are altogether 1020 years; which number both coincides with the above-mentioned, and will be established by what follows. For these things are also recorded by the Athenian29 historians Hellanicus and Phitochorus, who record Attic affairs; and by Castor and Thallus, who record Syrian affairs; and by Diodorus, who writes a universal history in his Bibliothecae; and by Alexander Polyhistor, and by some of our own time, yet more carefully, and30 by all the Attic writers. Whatever narrative of note, therefore, meets us in these 1020 years, shall be given in its proper place.
4. In accordance with this writing, therefore, we affirm that Ogygus, who gave his name to the first flood, and was saved when many perished, lived at the time of the exodus of the people from Egypt along with Moses.31 And this we make out in the following manner. From Ogygus up to the first Olympiad already mentioned, it will be shown that there are 1020 years; and from the first Olympiad to the first year of the 55th, that is the first year of King Cyrus, which was also the end of the captivity, are 217 years. From
Ogygus, therefore, to Cyrus are 1237. And if one carries the
calculation backwards from the end of the captivity, there are 1237 years.
Thus, by analysis, the same period is found to the first year of the exodus of
So much, then, for the period prior to Ogygus. And at
his time Moses left
And from Moses, then, to the first Olympiad there are 1020 years, as to the
first year of the 55th Olympiad from the same are 1237, in which
enumeration the reckoning of the Greeks coincides with us. And after Ogygus, by reason of the vast destruction caused by the
flood, the present
7. It should be observed, further, that all the legendary accounts which are deemed specially remarkable by the Greeks by reason of their antiquity, are found to belong to a period posterior to Moses; such as their floods and conflagrations, Prometheus, Io, Europa, the Sparti, the abduction of Proserpine, their mysteries, their legislations, the deeds of Dionysus, Perseus, the Argonauts, the Centaurs, the Minotaur, the affairs of Troy, the labours of Hercules, the return of the Heraclidae, the Ionian migration and the
Olympiads. And it seemed good to me to give an account especially of the before-noted period of the Attic sovereignty, as I intend to narrate the history of the Greeks side by side with that of the Hebrews. For any one will be able, if he only start from my position, to make out the reckoning equally well with me. Now, in the first year of that period of 1020 years, stretching from Moses and Ogygus to the first Olympiad, the passover and the exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt took place, and also in Attica the
flood of Ogygus. And that is according to reason. For when the Egyptians were being smitten in the anger of God with hail and storms, it was only to be expected that certain parts of the earth should suffer with them; and, in especial, it was but to be expected that the Athenians should participate in such calamity with the Egyptians, since they were supposed to be a colony from them, as Theopompus alleges in his Tricarenus, and others besides him. The intervening period has been passed by, as no remarkable event is recorded during it among the Greeks. But after 94 years Prometheus arose, according to some, who was fabulously reported to have formed men; for being a wise man, he transformed them from the state of extreme rudeness to culture.
the son of Agamestor, ruled the Athenians
twenty-three years, in whose time Joatham reigned in
And our canon brings Joatham king of Juda within the first Olympiad.
Africanus, in the third booze of his History, writes:
Now the first Olympiad recorded-which, however, was really the fourteenth-was
the period when Coroebus was victor;35
at that time Ahaz was in the first year of his reign
XVI.36 On the Seventy Weeks of Daniel.
This passage, therefore, as it stands thus, touches on many marvelous things.
At present, however, I shall speak only of those things in it which bear upon
chronology, and matters connected therewith. That the passage speaks then of
the advent of Christ, who was to manifest Himself after seventy weeks, is evident. For in the Savior's time, or from Him,
are transgressions abrogated, and sins brought to an end. And through
remission, moreover, are iniquities, along with offences, blotted out by
expiation; and an everlasting righteousness is preached, different from that
which is by the law, and visions and prophecies (are) until John, and the Most
Holy is anointed. For before the advent of the Savior these things were not
yet, and were therefore only looked for. And the beginning of the numbers, that
is, of the seventy weeks which make up 490 years, the angel instructs us to
take from the going forth of the commandment to answer and to build
It remained in this position, accordingly, until Nehemiah and the reign of Artaxerxes, and the 115th year of the sovereignty of the
Persians. And from the capture of
any other point, and not from this, the periods will not correspond, and very many odd results will meet us. For if we begin the calculation of the seventy weeks from Cyrus and the first restoration, there will be upwards of one hundred years too many, and there will be a larger number if we begin from the day on which the angel gave the prophecy to Daniel, and a much larger number still if we begin from the commencement of the captivity. For we find the sovereignty of the Persians comprising a period of 230 years, and that of the Macedonians extending over 370 years, and froth that to the 16th37 year of Tiberius Caesar is a period of about 60 years.
3. It is by calculating from Artaxerxes, therefore, up to the time of Christ that the seventy weeks are made up, according to the numeration of the Jews. For from Nehemiah, who was dispatched by Artaxerxes to build Jerusalem in the 115th year of the Persian empire, and the 4th year of the 83d Olympiad, and the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes himself, up to ibis date, which was the second year of the 202d Olympiad, and the 16th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, there are reckoned 475 years, which make 490 according to the Hebrew numeration, as they measure the years by the course of the moon; so that, as is easy to show, their year consists of 354 days, while the solar year has 3651/4days. For the latter exceeds the period of twelve months, according to the moon's course, by 111/4 days. Hence the Greeks and the Jews insert three intercalary months every 8 years. For 8 times 111/4 days makes up 3 months. Therefore
475 years make 59 periods of 8 years each, and 3 months besides. But since thus there are 3 intercalary months every 8 years, we get thus 15 years minus a few days; and these being added to the 475 years, make up in all the 70 weeks.
XVII.38 On the Fortunes of Hyrcanus and Antigonus, and on
Octavius Sebastus, or, as
the Romans call him, Augustus, the adopted son of Caius,
on returning to
who was her consort in the government, and being then summoned by Antony to Cilicia to make her defense, committed the care of the sovereignty to Herod; and as he requested that he should not be entrusted with anything until he was restored to his own government,39 she took him with her and went to Antony. And as he was smitten with love for the princess, they dispatched Herod to Rome to Octavius Augustus, who, on behalf of Antipater, Herod's father, and on behalf of Herod himself, and also because
Antigonus was established as king by the help of the Parthians, gave a commission to the generals in
For three years they besieged Antigonus, and then
brought him alive to
keeping secretly for
Cleopatra shut herself up in a mausoleum,43 and made
away with herself, employing the wild asp as the instrument of death. At that
time Augustus captured Cleopatra's sons, Helios and Selene,44
on their flight to the Thebaid. Nicopolis
was founded opposite
whole duration of the Macedonian empire after the subversion of the Persian power was 298 years. Thus is made up the whole period from the foundation of the Macedonian empire to its subversion in the time of the Ptolemies, and under Cleopatra, the last of these, the date of which event is the 11th year of the monarchy and empire of the Romans, and the 4th year of the 187th Olympiad. Altogether, from Adam 5472 years are reckoned.
After the taking of
It was now the 189th Olympiad, which (Olympiad) in the year that had the bissextile day, the 6th day before the Calends of March,-i.e., the 24th of February,-corresponded with the 24th year of the era of Antioch, whereby the year was determined in its proper limits.46
XVIII.47 On the Circumstances Connected with Our Savior's Passion and His Life-Giving Resurrection.
As to His works severally, and His cures effected upon body and soul, and the
mysteries of His doctrine, and the resurrection from the dead, these have been
most authoritatively set forth by His disciples and apostles before us. On the
whole world there pressed a most fearful darkness; and the rocks were rent by
an earthquake, and many places in
sun. For the Hebrews celebrate the passover on the 14th day according to the moon, and the passion of our Savior fails on the day before the passover; but an eclipse of the sun takes place only when the moon comes under the sun. And it cannot happen at any other time but in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last of the old, that is, at their junction: how then should an eclipse be supposed to happen when the moon is almost diametrically opposite the sun? Let that opinion pass however; let it
carry the majority with it; and let this portent of the world be deemed an eclipse of the sun, like others a portent only to the eye.48 Phlegon records that, in the time of Tiberius Caesar, at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth-manifestly that one of which we speak. But what has an eclipse in common with an earthquake, the rending rocks, and the resurrection of the dead, and so great a perturbation throughout the universe? Surely no such event as this is recorded for a long period. But it was a darkness induced by God, because the Lord happened then to suffer. And calculation makes out that the period of 70 weeks, as noted in Daniel, is completed at this time.
2. From Artaxerxes, moreover, 70 weeks are reckoned up to the time of Christ, according to the numeration of the Jews. For from Nehemiah, who was sent by Artaxerxes to people Jerusalem, about the 120th year of the Persian empire, and in the 20th year of Artaxerxes himself, and the 4th year of the 83d Olympiad, up to this time, which was the 2d year of the 102d Olympiad, and the 16th year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, there are given 475 years, which make 490 Hebrew years, since they measure the years by the lunar month of 291/2 days, as may easily be explained, the annual period according to the sun consisting of 3651/4 days, while the lunar period of 12 months has 111/4 days less. For which reason the Greeks and the Jews insert three intercalary months every eight years. For 8 times 111/4 days make 3 months. The 475 years, therefore, contain 59 periods of 8 years and three months over: thus, the three intercalary months for every 8 years being added, we get 15 years, and these together with the 475 years make 70 weeks. Let no one now think us unskilled in the calculations of astronomy, when we fix without further ado the number of days at 3651/4. For it is not in ignorance of the truth, but rather by reason of exact study,49 that we have stated our opinion so shortly. But let what follows also be presented as in outline50 to those who endeavor to inquire minutely into all things.
3. Each year in the general consists of 365 days; and the space of a day and night being divided into nineteen parts, we have also five of these. And in saying that the year consists of 3651/4 days, and there being the five nineteenth parts ... to the 475 there are 61/4 days. Furthermore, we find, according to exact computation, that the lunar month has 291/2 days....51 And these come to52 a little time. Now it happens that from the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes (as it is given in Ezra among the Hebrews), which,
according to the Greeks, was the 4th year of the 80th Olympiad, to the 16th year of Tiberius Caesar, which was the second year of the 102d Olympiad, there are in all the 475 years already noted, which in the Hebrew system make 490 years, as has been previously stated, that is, 70 weeks, by which period the time of Christ's advent was measured in the announcement made to Daniel by Gabriel. And if any one thinks
that the 15 Hebrew years added to the others involve us in an error of 10, nothing at least which cannot be accounted for has been introduced. And the 11/2 week which we suppose must be added to make the whole number, meets the question about the 15 years, and removes the difficulty about the time; and that the prophecies are usually put forth in a somewhat symbolic form, is quite evident.
4. As far, then, as is in our power, we have taken the Scripture, I think, correctly; especially seeing that the preceding section about the vision seems to state the whole matter shortly, its first words being, "In the third year of the reign of Belshazzar,"53 where he prophesies of the subversion of the Persian power by the Greeks, which empires are symbolized in the prophecy under the figures of the rain and the goat
"The sacrifice," he says, "shall be abolished, and the holy
places shall he made desolate, so as to be trodden under foot; which things
shall be determined within 2300 days."55 For if we take the day as a
month, just as elsewhere in prophecy days are taken as years, and in different
places are used in different ways, reducing the period in the same way as has
been done above to Hebrew months, we shall find the period fully made out to
the 20th year of the reign of Artaxerxes, from the
capture of Jerusalem. For there are given thus 185 years, and one year falls to
be added to these-the year in which Nehemiah built the wall of the city. In 186
years, therefore, we find 230 Hebrew months, as 8 years have in addition 3
intercalary months. From Artaxerxes, again, in whose
time the command went forth that
For we who both know the measure of those words,57 and are not ignorant of the grace of faith, give thanks to the Father,58 who has bestowed on us His creatures Jesus Christ the Savior of all, and our Lord;59 to whom be glory and majesty, with the Holy Spirit, for ever.