The Chaldean Chronicle

[3] How the Chaldeans chronicled [their past], from Alexander Polyhistor; about their writings and their first kingdom.

Here is what Berosus related in Book One, and in Book Two what he wrote about the kings, one by one. He mentions the period when Nabonassarus was king, but merely records the kings' names not saying anything precise about their deeds, perhaps because he did not consider that they had done anything worth recalling--beyond [g10] [providing] a list of their names. This is how he begins. Apollodorus says that Alorus was the first Chaldean king to rule in Babylon, reigning for 10 sars. A sar consists of 3,600 years, and this [figure may be] broken down into [units called] ners and soses. He says that one ner is 600 years, while one sos is 60 years. This is how the [Chaldean] ancients reckoned [periods of] years. Having stated this, he proceeds to enumerate the kings of the Assyrians, one by one. There were 10 kings from the first king, Alorus, to Xisuthrus. He says that during [the latter's] time the first great flood occurred, which Moses also mentions. He states that the reign of those kings consisted of a total of 120 sars, making a total [in our denomination] of 2043 [Arm. sxd] myriad years. He describes them one by one thusly [g11].

He says that on the death of Alorus, his son, Alaparus, [ruled for] 3 sars; after Alaparus, the Chaldean Almelon, from the city of Pautibiblon [? Bad-tibira], ruled for 13 sars; after Almelon, Ammenon, from the city of Pautibiblon, ruled for 12 sars. Now in his day a creature called Idotion, having the [composite] shape of a man and a fish, emerged from the Red Sea. After [Ammenon], Amegalarus, from the city of Pautibiblon, ruled for 18 sars, and after him, the shepherd Daonus, from the city of Pautibiblon, ruled for 10 sars [g12]. In his day, once again there emerged from the Red Sea four hybrid beings (Arm. yushkaparik) of the same man-fish type [as Idotion]. Then Edovanchus, from the city of Pautibiblon, ruled for 18 sars. During his reign once again another sort of man-fish being emerged from the Red Sea, called Odacon. He says that all of them [g13] were from Oannes, [and] he concisely describes them, one by one. Then the Chaldean Amenpsinus, from [the city of] Lanchara ruled. His reign lasted for 10 sars. Then the Chaldean Otiartes from Lanchara ruled. His reign lasted 8 sars. Upon the death of Otiartus, his son Xisuthrus ruled for 18 sars. The great deluge occurred in his time. Altogether [this makes] 10 monarchs [ruling for a total of] 100 and 20 sars. [This material] may be presented as follows [g14]:

1 Alorus 10 sars
2 Alaparus 3 sars
3 Almelon 13 sars
4 Ammenon 12 sars
5 Amegalarus 18 sars
6 Daonus 10 sars
7 Edovanchus 18 sars
8 Amempsinus 10 sars
9 Otiartes 8 sars
10 Xisuthrus 18 sars

This makes a total of 10 kings [ruling for] [g15] a total of 120 sars. And they say that 120 sars equal 2043 myriad years, assuming that a sar consists of 3,600 years.

Such are the figures related in Alexander Polyhistor's book. And if a person regards this as accurate history, and accepts as valid [reigns lasting] for such myriads of years, then [that person] would have to believe other incredible material found in the same book. Howbeit, I will relate what that same Berosus relates in the aforementioned historical romance, and will resume their previous [thread] which [Alexander] Polyhistor has put in his own book. One after the other he recounts these types of things [g16].

[4] More apocryphal Chaldean history [taken] from the same book of Alexander Polyhistor about the Chaldeans.

In the first of [his] Babylonian books, Berosus claims that he lived in the time of Philip's [son] Alexander, and that he wrote based on numerous books which were kept carefully in Babylon [describing a period of] 215 [g17] myriad years, [such as] chronologies, historical accounts, the Creator's making of Heaven and Earth and the Seas, and [information] about kings and their deeds. First, he says, the country of the Babylonians was established on the Tigris [River] and the Euphrates passed through it. The country brings forth of its own accord wild wheat and barley, lentils, peas, and sesame; and in the tranquil, swampy rivers a type of edible tuber is found which they call gongk' (Arm. "turnip"), having the [same] virtue as barley bread. Also found there are dates and apples as well as various other fruits. There are fish and birds, wild fowl and marsh fowl. There are sections by the Arab areas devoid of water and fruit, while opposite the Arabs' land are areas which are mountainous and fruit-bearing. In Babylon dwell a multitude of foreign peoples from the Chaldean land [g19], and they live wantonly like beasts and wild animals.

Now it happened that in the first year, in the confines of Babylonia, there emerged from the Red Sea an awesome creature which was named Oannes. As Apollodorus relates in his book, [this being] had the complete body of a fish. Yet by the fish's head was another appropriate [human] head, and by the tail were [a pair of] human feet, and it could speak human language [g20]. A picture/likeness of [Oannes] has been preserved to this day. He further states that this creature kept company with humans during the day, completely abstaining from any kind of food, instructing people in letters and the techniques of different arts [including] city and temple [building], knowledge of laws, the nature of weights and measures, how to collect seeds and fruits; indeed, he taught humankind everything necessary for domestic life on earth. From that time on no one [individual] has discovered more. Now when the sun went down, the Oannes creature once again returned to the sea, remaining until morning in the vast expanse of the waters. Thus it lived the life of an amphibian [g21]. Subsequently other similar creatures came forth, as the book of the kings makes clear. Furthermore it is said that Oannes wrote about deeds and virtues, giving humankind words and wisdom.

[5] There was a time, he says, when all was dark and water. And there were other sorts of creatures [on the earth]. Half of them could reproduce themselves [asexually], while there were others which procreated and bore humans with two wings, others with four wings and two faces, with one body and two heads, male and female, and [others] having both male and female natures [combined]. Other humans had the legs of goats, horns on their heads, others had horses' hooves. Others had the rear half of a horse and the front half of a human. Some had the hybrid [Arm. yushkaparik] appearance of a horse and a bull. Also born [g22] were bulls with human heads, dogs with quadripartite bodies having the flippers of a fish and a fish's tail sprouting from the hindquarters. [There were] horses with dogs' heads as well as humans and other creatures with horses' heads and/or human forms and the extremities of fish. In addition there were diverse sorts of dragon-shaped creatures, hybrid fish, reptiles, snakes, and many types of astonishing creatures of differing appearance. The pictures of each of them are preserved at the temple of Belus. All of them were ruled over by a woman named Markaye' who was called T'aghatt'ay in Chaldean. The Greek translation of T'aladday is "sea" [g23]. Now while all of these mixed [creatures] were arising, Belus attacked. He cut the woman [i.e. the sea] in two, making half the sky and the other half the earth, and he killed the creatures in it. Thus [information] about the natural world is expressed in the form of an allegorical fable which means that initially there existed only water and moisture and the creatures in it. Then that deity cut off its head and another deity took the blood which dripped from it, mixed it with soil, and created humankind. Thus they became wise and partook of the thoughts of the gods [g24].

As regards Belus, which translates into Greek as Dios and into Armenian as Aramazd, he split the darkness in two, separating heaven and earth from each other, and then smoothed and fashioned the world. [Those] creatures which could not endure the strength of the light perished. Then Belus looked at the world, [both] the desert [parts] and the fruitful [parts], and gave an order to one of the gods to take [some of] the blood which was dripping down from his own severed head and to mix it with soil and to create humans, other animals, and beasts which could withstand this air. Belus also established [g25] the sun, the moon, and the five wandering stars. According to [Alexander] Polyhistor, this is what Berosus relates in his first volume. In the second volume he provides [information] about the reigns of the ten kings individually, which we have already treated. [This portion, from Oannes to Belus,] extends [the account back] more than 40 myriads.

[6] Surely if anyone regards as veracious the Chaldean [account encompassing] such a huge number of years, then that person will also accept [as true] other parts of their fallacious history. [The Chaldean account] simply defies reason and is apocryphal, no matter how it is interpreted. [Even] if someone should accept [the account], then [g26] that [individual] should not accept [the Chaldean] calculation of time without examination. If, according to their chronology, there were [really] so many thousands of years amassed, and if the successors of these [early] peoples [performed] their acts and deeds over a similar extended period, and if only 10 kings could have lived for so many myriads of years, who would believe that there might be any truth in such things and fables? Now it is possible that the sars we cited [earlier] represented a shorter interval of time than what others have assigned to them. For example, the ancestors of the Egyptians spoke of a lunar cycle, that is, a month contained 30 days [g27], which they referred to as a "year." Others referred to three-month periods as "hours." I am saying that they styled seasons of the year and three-month intervals as "years." Consequently it could be the same sort of thing when the Chaldeans spoke of sars.

Accordingly, [the Chaldeans] considered that there were just 10 generations [g28] from Alorus whom they considered their first king until Xisuthrus. They relate that the great Flood occurred in the latter's day. Furthermore Moses, in the Hebrew books, says that there were 10 generations before the Flood, and each generation before the Flood is described, one by one. The Hebrew history reckons 2000 years for those 10 generations. Assyrian histories also detail the same number of generations as the writings of Moses do, though not embracing the same amount of time, since they reckon the 10 generations lasting for 120 sars, equaling 2043 myriad years.

Now for those of you seeking the truth in this matter [g29] it is simple to accept that Xisuthrus is the same [individual] as the man the Hebrews call Noah, during whose lifetime the great [g30] Flood occurred. The book of [Alexander] Polyhistor describes [the Flood] in the following manner.

[7] Alexander Polyhistor on the Flood, from the same book we just mentioned.

He says that upon the death of Otiartes, his son Xisuthrus ruled for 18 sars, during which time the great Flood occurred. His text relates the details as follows.

He says that Chronos--who is called the father of Aramazd [Jupiter] and, by others, Time--came [to Xisuthrus] in his sleep and revealed to him that on the 15th [g31] of the month of Desios, which is the [Armenian] month of Marer [December/January], humankind would perish in a flood. [Chronos] commanded that the entire book [of Oannes?]--the beginning, middle, and ending--be taken and buried [for safety] at Heliopolis ("the city of the sun"), in Sippar. [He also commanded him] to fashion a ship and to go inside it with his family [g32] and closest friends, and to put inside [the ship] provisions and drink, animals, birds, and quadrupeds, and to be completely ready to set sail. Then [Xisuthrus] inquired where he should sail the ship, and [Chronos] replied that he should [just] pray to the gods [and] that all would be well for humanity. And so [Xisuthrus] saw to building the ship which [measured] 15 stadia in length and two stadia in width [g33].

After doing all that he was bidden, [Xisuthrus] entered the vessel with his wife, children, and closest friends. Then the deluge came. As soon as it had receded, Xisuthrus released some birds. However, when they were unable to find anything to eat or any place to perch, he took them back on board. A few days later he again released some birds, and they too returned to the ship, [but this time] their claws were covered with mud. Finally he released them a third time, and this time they did not return to the ship. By this Xisuthrus realized that the ground had become visible. He opened a side of the ship's deck and observed that the boat had landed on some mountain. He emerged with his wife, a daughter, and the [g34] navigator, and worshipped ("kissed the ground"). He fashioned an altar and made sacrifice to the gods. And thereafter he and those who descended with him from the ship did not appear to anyone. Those [people] who had remained on board and had not emerged with Xisuthrus subsequently descended and sought for him, circulating around shouting out his name. But Xisuthrus never again appeared to them. However [his] voice came to them from the air and commanded [g35] that they should worship the gods, and that he, because of his worship of the gods, had gone to dwell where the gods dwelled. His wife, daughter, and the ship's pilot shared in this honor. He also ordered them to return to Babylon, for so the gods had commanded, and to excavate and remove the manuscripts buried at the city of Sippar and give them [back] to humanity. As for the place where they emerged [from the ship], it was the land of the Armenians.

Now when [the people] heard all this, they offered sacrifices to the gods, and then went to Babylon on foot. As for that ship which landed in Armenia, they say that to the present a small portion of it [g36] remains in the Korduats' Mountains [RB: south of Lake Van] in the land of the Armenians. Some [folk] scrape off the naphtha which had been used as a sealant for the ship and make amulets from it to treat pain. Now [those who disembarked] went and arrived at Babylon, excavated in Sippar city and removed [manuscripts of] the book. Then they constructed numerous cities, erected temples to the gods and renewed Babylon once more. Along with this story, [Alexander] Polyhistor tells the following story of the building of the tower [of Babel], similar to the account [found] in the writings of Moses, [almost] to the syllable [g37].

[8] Alexander Polyhistor on the building of the Tower

Sibyl states that the people were united and commenced building the lofty [g38] Tower, in order to ascend to the heavens. But Almighty God stirred up a wind which destroyed the Tower, and [God] divided each [of the participants] with distinct languages. It is for this reason that the city was called Babylon. It was after the Flood that the Titan Prometheus lived, and stirred up a war with Cronos. This is sufficient about the building of the Tower.

Polyhistor supplements this [topic] by adding that after the Flood [g39], Evexius ruled over the Chaldeans for four ners. After him his son, Comosbelus, held authority for four ners and five soses. Polyhistor counts a total of 86 monarchs from the time of Xisuthrus and the Flood until the Medes captured Babylon, and he provides the name of each one from Berosus' book. The total for all of them comes to three myriad, three thousand and ninety-one [33,091] years. Now after these generations, one after the other, suddenly the Medes massed troops against Babylon and took it, and set up tyrants of their own [nationality] there.

Then he enumerates the names of the Median tyrants, 8 of them, ruling for 224 years. Then 11 kings for ...years; then Chaldeans again, 49 kings for 458 years; then 9 Arab kings for 245 years. After this period he writes that Shamiram [Semiramis] ruled the Assyrians. Then he briefly lists [g40] the names of 45 monarchs, giving them a total of 526 years. He says that after them, the kingship of the Chaldeans was held by a man named Phulus [Tiglath-Pileser III], also recalled in Hebrew history as Phulos. They say that he came against the country of the Jews.

Polyhistor relates that following [Phulus] Sennacherib became king. He is mentioned by the Hebrew books as ruling during the time of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah. Scripture mentions in order that "In the fourteenth year of King Hezikiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them" [2 Kings 18:13]. After this entire narration he continues with [the information that] [Sennacherib's] son Asordan [Esarhaddon] ruled after him. Then he proceeds to relate that in that period Hezikiah became sick. Continuing on, [g41] he states that the king of the Babylonians, Merodach Baldan [Marduk II], sent messengers, letters, and gifts to Hezekiah. This is what the Hebrew books say.

Now the historian of the Chaldeans mentions Sennacherib, his son Asordan, Marodach Baghdan, and with them Nebuchadnezzar as our passage has done. Here is his description.

[9] From the same Alexander [Polyhistor] on the deeds and valor of Sennecherib and Nebuchadnezzar.

After Sennacherib's brother ruled, then Akises reigned over the Babylonians. He barely held power for 30 days, before he was slain by Maradoch Baladanus [g42]. The latter forcibly ruled for six months until a certain Elibus killed him and seized power. Now Sennacherib king of the Assyrians, in the third year of his reign, massed an army, went against the Babylonians, fought them, and triumphed. He arrested [Elibus] and his associates and had them taken to the country of the Assyrians. So [Sennacherib] dominated the Babylonians. He then enthroned his son Asordanios, and he himself returned to the country of the Assyrians.

Now soon thereafter he received word that the Greeks had come to the land of Cilicia to wage war. [Sennacherib] went there and deployed his troops, brigade by brigade. He triumphed over the enemy, despite the fact that many of his own troops were killed. As a memorial to his conquest, he had a statue of himself erected on the spot and ordered that an account of his bravery and power be inscribed in the Chaldean language as a memorial for the future. [Polyhistor] says that [Sennacherib] built the city of Tarsus in the likeness of Babylon, and named it Tarsin. And he relates that after all his other accomplishments he went on to rule for 19 years, until he died as a result of a plot hatched by his own son, Ardamusanus. This is from Polyhistor.

The account chronologically is in harmony with what is [g43] written in Scripture. According to Polyhistor, Sennacherib ruled during the period of Hezekiah for 18 years; his son succeeded him for 8 years; Sammuges followed, for 21 years; followed by his brother, for 21 years. Then Nabupalasar ruled for 20 years, followed by Nebuchadnezzar, for 43 years. From Sennacherib up to Nebuchadnezzar the regnal years total 88.

If one examines Hebrew writings, nearly the same [information] will be found. For following Hezekiah, his son Manasseh ruled over the remaining Hebrews for 55 years. Then Amos [ruled] for 12 years, followed by Josiah, followed by Jehoiakim. At the beginning of the latter's reign, Nebuchadnezzar came and besieged Jerusalem and took the Jews captive to Babylon. From Hezekiah to Nebuchadnezzar there are 88 years, just as Polyhistor calculated from the Chaldean sources.

After [describing] all this, Polyhistor again turns to the works and deeds of Sennacherib. The Hebrew sources also refer to his son[s]. And he records them one by one. They say that the philosopher Pythagoras lived in this period, during their time. Now following Sammuges, Sardanapallus ruled the Chaldeans for 21 years. He sent an auxiliary army to the patriarch and lord of the Medes, Azhdahak, [g44] to secure one of his daughters, Amuhean, as a wife for his son Nebuchadnezzar. Then Nebuchadnezzar ruled for 43 years. He massed troops and came and took captive the Jews, Phoenicians, and Assyrians. Since the Hebrew sources are in harmony with Polyhistor here, there is no need to elaborate.

Following Nebuchadnezzar, his son Amilmarudochus ruled for 12 years. In Hebrew history he is called Ilmaroduchus. After him, Polyhistor says, Neglisarus ruled the Chaldeans for 4 years, followed by Nabodenus for 17 years. It was during his reign that Cambyses' son, Cyrus, massed troops and came against the country of the Babylonians. Nabodenus resisted, was defeated, and took to flight. Cyrus ruled Babylon for 9 years. However, he died in another battle, in the plain of Daas. Subsequently Cambyses [II] ruled for 8 years, followed by Darius for 36 years, followed by Xerxes and other Persian kings.

Berosus described the Chaldean kings briefly one by one, and so does Polyhistor. Now it is quite clear that from the time when Nebuchadnezzar massed troops and took the Jews captive until the time of Cyrus' rule over the Persians, 70 years had transpired. Hebrew history also confirms this, considering that they had been in captivity for 70 years, reckoning [that event] from the first year of Nebuchadnezzar until the time of Cyrus, king of the Persians [g45].

Abydenus' Chaldean history confirms this. In agreement with Polyhistor, he relates it as follows.

[10] Abydenus on the first Chaldean kings.

So much for an account of Chaldean wisdom. Now it is said that Alorus was the first to rule over the land of the Chaldeans as king [g46]. He claimed that the most provident Lord had designated him as shepherd of [his] people, and he ruled for 10 sars. A sar is 3,600 years, a ner is 600 years, and a sos is 60 years. Alaparus ruled after him, followed by Almelon from the city of Pautibiblon. During his reign the second Anidostus emerged from the sea. [He was a being] like Oannes, who had the appearance of a semi-divine hero. [Almelon] was followed by Ammenon, then by Amegazarus. Next the shepherd was Daonus. During his reign, four amphibious beings came on land, emerging from the sea: Iovdocos, E'newgamos, E'newboghos, and Amenentos [g47]. Anodap'os [, another sea-creature, appeared] during the reign of Edorescho who ruled after [Daonus]. Other [kings] ruled after him, until Xisuthrus. These are also recalled by Polyhistor. Now here is what [Abydenus] wrote about the Flood.

Abydenus on the Flood.

After him others ruled, including Xisuthrus. It was to him that Cronos gave advance warning about a great deluge [g48] of rain [which would begin] on the 15th of the month of Desios, which is [the Armenian month of] Marer. [Cronos] ordered that all books in the city of Heliopolis, in Sippar, be concealed [i.e. protected]. Xisuthrus did all this, and wanted to set sail for Armenia, when suddenly [the prophesy] of the god was realized on the sailors. On the third day, after the rain had decreased, Xisuthrus released some of the birds to determine whether land could be found in the midst of so much water. Now [the birds] flew off [g49] over the limitless expanse of sea but, not finding any perch, returned to Xisuthrus. [The latter] waited another three days and then released [some birds] again. [This time] they returned with mud sticking to their claws. Soon the gods removed [Xisuthrus] from the sight of humankind. The ship continued on and stopped in the land of the Armenians. The inhabitants of that land were rewarded with a useful medicine made from the wood [of the ship].

Now it seems to me that it should be evident to everyone that what Abydenus writes about the Flood is confirmed by Hebrew history. Nor is it surprising if Greek and Chaldean writers call Noah Xisuthrus or another name, or if they use their customary "gods" instead of God, or if they are silent about the doves, replacing them with "birds" [g50]. Such is Abydenus' account of the Flood [based on] Chaldean history. He also presents the following account of the building of the Tower, which supports the Mosaic narrative. It is said that people in early times had become so enamoured of their own power and size, that they even mocked the gods and wrought foolishness. They began [g51] to construct an enormous tower in the place now called Babylon. When they neared the gods in heaven, the winds aided the gods by blowing and causing that gigantic, artful structure to collapse. The ruins were called Babylon. [If] until that time, [everyone] spoke the same language, [afterwards] the gods introduced many different languages among the multitudes [g52]. After this Cronos and the Titans engaged each other in warfare. [Abydenus] also recalls Sennacherib in the following manner.

[11] Abydenus on Sennacherib.

In this period Sennacherib became the 25th to rule [over the Assyrians]. He conquered and subdued Babylon under his control, defeated the Greek naval fleet off the coast of Cilicia, and constructed a temple of the Athenians erecting [there] a bronze monument and inscribing on it [an account] of his valor. In addition, [Sennecharib] built Tarsus in accordance with the style and plan of Babylon, for the Cydnus River flows through Tarsus, just as the Euphrates flows through Babylon.

After [Sennacherib] Nergilus became king, but he was slain by his son Adramelus. The latter was slain by his brother Axerdis, who shared the same father but not the same mother. He pursued troops to the city of Byzantium and entered it. [Axerdis] was the first to muster mercenary troops, one of whom was [g53] Pythagoras, who became a student of Chaldean wisdom. Axerdis conquered Egypt and parts of inner Syria. He was succeeded by Sardanapallus.

Saracus was the next king of Assyria. Now when he learned that a motley force had attacked by sea, he immediately sent [his] general Busalossorus to Babylon. [This general], however, plotted rebellion and sought the marriage of Amuhean, daughter of Azhdahak [Astyages], the patriarch of the Medes, to his son, Nebuchadnezzar. Then he swiftly went against Ninea, that is, the city of Nineveh. King Saracus was informed of all this and set fire to the palace [killing himself and] whoever was inside it. Then Nebuchadnezzar took the reigns of kingship, and surrounded Babylon with a secure wall.

After relating this [material], Abydenus provides an account of Nebuchadnezzar, which coincides with [what is found in] Hebrew writings [g54].

Abydenus on Nebuchadnezzar.

Now when Nebuchadnezzar took power, he built a wall and triple ramparts around Babylon in the space of about 15 days. He then conducted the Armakalen River [away] from the Euphrates and dug a reservoir on the highland above the city of Sippar which was 40 leagues (hrasax) around and 20 fathoms (girk) deep. And he constructed gates which could open and always irrigate the plain. These gates were called E'k'e'tognomonas, to promote [g55] support and enthusiasm for himself. He also built a wall on the shore of the Red Sea [to protect it] from the pounding waves. He built the city of Terendos at the entrance to the Arabs' land. He also decorated the royal court by planting sapling trees, calling this the Hanging Garden. [Abydenus] presents a detailed description of this so-called Hanging Garden. The Greeks, he says, regarded [the Hanging Garden] as [one] of the seven wonders of the world.

In another place the same author has this to say [g56]. In the beginning, he says, everything was water and it was called the sea. Then Belus lowered [? the waters] and distributed the lands to each [nation]. He fortified Babylon by surrounding it with walls, but after the passage of a long time, [the walls] weakened. So Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt them, and they endured until the time of the rule of the Macedonians, together with their bronze gates.

Everything that Abydenus relates is confirmed by what Daniel says. [The book of Daniel, 4:30] describes how Nebuchadnezzar boasted inordinately: "Is not this great Babylon [g57], which I have built by my mighty power as a royal residence and for the glory of my majesty?" This is how Nebuchadnezzar spoke in [the book of] the prophet Daniel, since he regarded his power as proof of his goodness. Now listen to what Abydenus says [about Nebuchadnezzar] being stronger than Heracles. Here is his account.

Megasthenes says that [g58] Nebuchadnezzar, who was stronger than Heracles, levied troops and went to Libya and Iberia, which he conquered. He took and settled some of them on the fore part of the Black Sea coast. He subsequently relates from the Chaldeans' [accounts] that when he had returned to the royal court, some deity took control of his mind and spoke [through him] in this manner: "Oh brave Babylonians, I, Nebuchadnezzar, I predict that grief [g59] will befall you." He continues on in this vein for a while and then the historian [tells us] that after this eloquent speech he suddenly disappeared from sight. Then [Nebuchadnezzar's] son, Amilmardochus, ruled. The latter was slain by his son-in-law, Niglissarus. [Amilmardochus] left a son named Labossoracus, who also met with a violent [g60] end. Then Nabonedochus was invited to take the throne, although it was certainly not his [by right]. When Cyrus captured Babylon, he granted [Nabonedochus] the marzpanate of the land of Carmania. King Darius partly expelled him from that land. All this coincides with Hebrew accounts.

For Daniel, in his account of Nebuchadnezzar, relates how he declined mentally. There is really nothing peculiar about the fact that the Greeks or Chaldeans disguised his madness by saying that the gods or a demon (Arm. dew) entered his body and took it over. It is their custom to claim that such things are caused by gods whom they call demons. All this is [from] Abydenus [g61].

Similarly Flavius Josephus, the Jewish author of Antiquities provides the following confirmation of this [g61] [RB: the passage is in Against Apion Book I, 19-21].

[12] From Josephus' Antiquities about Nebuchadnezzar

He says: I will now describe what is written and narrated about us in the Chaldean histories one by one. These [accounts] have much in common with our own [Hebrew] writings. Berosus will attest to these [remarks]. He was a Chaldean by nationality and known to everyone interested in learning and wisdom, because he put into the Greek language books on [g62] Chaldean astrology and learning.

Berosus in his book of early times is in agreement with Moses' account of the flood and the extermination of humankind because of its corruption, and about the ark in which Noah, the forefather of our people, was spared, and [about how the ark] rested on the summit of the mountains in the land of the Armenians. One by one [Berosus] describes these folk and their times, from Noah to Nabopolassar, who was king of the Babylon and the Chaldeans. After describing [the latter's] acts and brave deeds, [Berosus] relates how [Nabopolassar] sent [g63] his son Nebuchadnezzar to the country of the Egyptians and to our land with an enormous army, since he had been informed that the inhabitants of the land had rebelled. [Nebuchadnezzar] arrived and subdued everyone, burned and ruined the Temple in Jerusalem and deported all of our people, settling them in the country of the Babylonians. Seventy years passed from this catastrophe--the destruction of the city and the Temple--until the time of the Persian king Cyrus the First. [Berosus] says that [Cyrus] ruled over the Babylonians, the land of the Egyptians, the Syrians, Phoenicians, and Arabs surpassing in valor and bravery all those who preceded him as kings of the Chaldeans and Babylonians. Here is how Berosus described it.

Nebuchadnezzar's father Nabopolassar learned [g64] that the satrap whom he had set over the lords of the land of the Egyptians, the regions of the Syrians and the Phoenician districts had rebelled from him. Now because he himself was not able to supress [the rebellion], he put part of the troops he had assembled under the control of his son, Nebuchadnezzar, who had reached maturity [g65], and dispatched them. Nebuchadnezzar went and defeated the rebel in battle, and then subdued the land as before. Now it happened that his father Nabopolassar had become ill in Babylon and had died, after a reign of 21 years.

[13] When, after a long while, Nebuchadnezzar was informed of his father's death [g66], he settled and arranged affairs in the country of the Egyptians and in other lands. He entrusted the captives, Jews, Phoenicians, Syrians, and Egyptians, to some of his friends and ordered them to procede to Babylon with the heavily-armed troops. Meanwhile he himself [quickly] reached [the city] and found that his kingdom had been preserved by a certain one of the nobles. And so, [Nebuchadnezzar] ruled over his entire patrimonial state. He ordered that the captives be settled in goodly locales in the land of the Babylonians. Then he took booty from the war and adorned the temples of Bel and the other gods [g67] with great abundance. He increased [the flow of] water to the city proper and to the suburbs and secured the place so that no besieger would be able to divert the river into the city. He added three walls to the exterior of the city, in addition to the three walls on the inside of the city building half of baked brick and bitumen and half solely of brick. After enclosing the city with magnificent walls and splendidly decorating its gates, he constructed yet another palace near his father's palace [g68] whose size, beauty, and adornment one can hardly describe. Suffice it to say that it was a splendidly rare accomplishment, completely finished in fifteen days. The palace had a lofty turreted portion at the summit, constructed in such a manner as to resemble mountains and planted with a great variety of trees. This was named the Hanging Garden and it was created to satisfy the longing of his wife for the airy mountainous places where she was [g69] raised, in the high mountains of Media. This is what [Berosus] says about the king. He says a great deal more in the third book of his Chaldean History. There he lambasts Greek writers for vainly believing that Babylon was built by [Queen] Semiramis (Shamiram) and for attributing all the glorious wonders there to her.

One must accept this account from the Chaldean History as trustworthy. There is additional confirmation from Phoenician archival material which details [events from the reign of] this Babylonian king. For [Nebuchadnezzar] conquered Syria and all Phoenicia. The History of Philostratus supports this also where it describes the siege of Tyre. [Confirmation is also found] in the fourth volume of Megasthenes' History of the Indians, where he wants to demonstrate that the aforementioned king of the Babylonians surpassed [g70] Heracles in valor and bravery, for he mentions that [Nebuchadnezzar] conquered the greater part of Libya and Iberia. We mentioned earlier that the Temple in Jerusalem had been set afire by the Babylonian troops sent against [the city]. When Cyrus took the kingship of Asia, a start was made at rebuilding [the Temple]. Confirmation of this is found in the writings of Berosus, for in the third book of [his History] he writes as follows.

Nebuchadnezzar fell ill and died after beginning the construction of the aforementioned wall. He had reigned for 43 years. His son Amel-Marduk took the kingship, but he governed in a corrupt and impious manner [g71]. He was murdered by his sister's husband, Neriglissar, after ruling for two years. Then that Neriglissar, who had committed the murder, held power for four years. The latter's son Labesorachus ruled as a child for nine months. However, he suffered a violent death at the hands of relatives because of his wicked behavior. After his murder, the conspirators assembled and by general agreement placed a certain Babylonian named Nabonidus on the throne. He had been a participant in the conspiracy.

[14] It was during [Nabonidus'] reign that the walls of Babylon by the river were constructed of baked brick and bitumen. Now in the 17th year of his reign, Cyrus [g72] came from Persia with an enormous army with which he conquered all the other kingdoms. Then he turned upon Babylon. When Nabonidus was informed about his invasion, he resisted him in battle with his troops. Defeated in battle, [Nabonidus] took to flight and then fortified himself in the city of Borsippa with a few of his followers.

After Cyrus had taken Babylon, he ordered that the city's outer wall be razed to the ground because of its [effective] fortification and the trouble it had presented [to him] in capturing the city. Then he went to besiege Nabonidus in Borsippa. Nabonidus surrendered right away since he could not endure a siege. Cyrus was merciful toward him and settled him in the land of Carmania [g73]. Thus Nabonidus was removed from Babylon and sent there, where he spent the remainder of his life, and died.

This is all true and in accord with our literature, which states that in the 18th year of Nebuchadnezzar our temple was destroyed, and remained ruined for 50 years. In the second year of the kingship of Cyrus the foundations were laid and in the sixth year of Darius' reign it was completed.

I will now add to this the Phoenician records, for it will not be superfluous to add further supporting proofs. The following [citations] are for chronology. Nebuchadnezzar [g74] besieged Tyre for thirteen years in the days of Ithobal, their king; after him reigned Baal, ten years; after him these judges were appointed: Ecnibalus, the son of Baslacus, two months; Chelbes, the son of Abdeus, ten months; Abbar, the high priest, three months; Sipunostus and Gerastratus, the sons of Abdelemus, were judges six years; after whom Balatorus reigned one year; after his death they sent and fetched Merbalus from Babylon, who reigned four years; after his death they sent for his brother Hirom, who reigned twenty years. Under his reign Cyrus the Persian flourished.

So that the whole interval is fifty-four years besides three months; for in the seventh year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar he began to besiege Tyre, and Cyrus the Persian took the kingdom in the [g75] fourteenth year of Hirom. So that the records of the Chaldeans and Tyrians agree with our writings about this temple. The above is what Josephus has related.

Abydenus, after providing this account of the Chaldean kings, which is similar to [Alexander] Polyhistor's [account] then separately describes the Assyrian kings, one by one, as follows.


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