Eusebius: Chronicle

    - pages 191-247

Most of the original Greek text of the Chronicle has been lost. This translation is based on a Latin translation of the Armenian translation of the Greek original, in the Schoene-Petermann edition. The references in red are the page numbers from that edition.

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Olympiads of the Greeks

About the institution of the Olympic Games

It is necessary to say a little about the origin of the games. Some writers, who trace back the institution of the games to the earliest times, say that they had been held before Heracles, by one of the Idaean Dactyls; and then by Aethlius, as a challenge for his sons (from his name, the competitors were called athletes); and then by his son Epeius; and then Endymion, Alexinus and Oenomaus were each in charge of the sacred festival. Then Pelops held the games in honour of his father Zeus; and next, Heracles the son of Alcmene. There were ten generations (or, according to some, only three complete festivals) from Heracles until the time of Iphitus.

Iphitus was a citizen of Elis, who was concerned about the condition of Greece, and wished to rid the cities of their wars. He sent envoys from the whole of the Peloponnese to consult [the god] about release from the wars which gripped them. The god gave this response to the Peloponnesians:
You who dwell in the Peloponnese, gather round the altar;
Make sacrifice, and obey the instructions of the prophets.

He added these words to the Eleans:
Elean servants of the gods, who maintain your ancestral rites,
Protect your homeland, and desist from war.
Lead the Greeks in mutually just friendship,
Until the gathering comes in the year of good will.

[p193] As a result of this, Iphitus proclaimed the truce [which had been fixed by Heracles at the summer solstice; they no longer fought against each other,] and he organised the games together with Lycurgus, who happened to be his relative because they were both descended from Heracles. On this occasion, the only contest was the stadion race; later the other contests were added in their turn.

Aristodemus of Elis relates that the victors in the athletic contests began to be registered in the 27th Olympiad after Iphitus. Before then, no-one had thought to record the athletes' names. In the 28th Olympiad Coroebus of Elis won the stadion race, and he was the first victor to be registered. This was then established as the first Olympiad, from which the Greeks calculate their dates.

Polybius says the same as Aristodemus; but Callimachus says that thirteen Olympiads passed after Iphitus without victors being registered; and Coroebus was the victor in the 14th Olympiad. Many writers state that the institution of the games by Heracles the son of Alcmene occurred (?) 419 years before what is counted as the first Olympiad. The Eleans hold the games every fifth year, with a gap of four years in between them.

The Greek Olympiads, from the first Olympiad up until the 247th, when Antoninus the son of Severus was emperor of the Romans:
[The equivalent years B.C. or A.D. are shown in green]

The record of the Olympiads which we have found ends at this point.

[We know from elsewhere that the victor in the stadion race at the next Olympic games, the 250th Olympiad, was Publius Aelius Alcandridas of Sparta, who also won at the 251st games. So, thanks to Eusebius, we have a complete list of the victors in this race for a period of a thousand years, from 776 B.C. to 225 A.D.]

It will be fitting to add here lists of the kings of the Corinthians, kings of the Spartans, rulers of the sea and the early kings of the Macedonians. I will set down in order their names and their dates, taking them from the Historical Library of Diodorus, who gives a very accurate account of them.

The kings of the Corinthians - from the books of Diodorus

After thoroughly investigating that, it remains to tell how Corinth and Sicyon were settled by the Dorians. Almost all the nations in the Peloponnese, except the Arcadians, were uprooted by the return of the Heracleidae. In their division of the land, the Heracleidae picked out Corinth and the surrounding area; they sent for Aletes, and awarded the territory to him. Aletes became a distinguished king and increased the power of Corinth; he reigned for 38 years.

After the death of Aletes, his descendants ruled the land, the eldest son succeeding in every case, until the tyrant Cypselus, who [came to power] 447 years after the return of the Heracleidae.

The first of them to become king was Ixion, for 38 years.
[p221] Then Agelas was king for 37 years.
Then Prymnis, for 35 years.
Then Bacchis, also for 35 years. Bacchis was the most distinguished of the kings up to his time; so that the kings after him called themselves Bacchidae instead of Heracleidae.
Then Agelas, for 30 years.
Eudemus, for 25 years.
Aristomedes, for 35 years.
When Aristomedes died, his son Telestes was still a child; and so the direct succession was interrupted by his uncle and guardian Agemon, for 16 years.
Then Alexander was king, for 25 years.
Telestes, who earlier had been deprived of his father's kingdom, killed Alexander, and ruled for 12 years.
Automenes ruled for one year, after Telestes was killed by his relatives.

The Bacchidae, descendants of Heracles who were more than 200 in number, seized power and jointly governed the city; each year they chose one of their number to be president, in place of the king. They governed the city for 90 years, until they were suppressed by the tyrant Cypselus.

The kings of the Corinthians are as follows:

  1. Aletes - for 35 years
  2. Ixion - for 37 years
  3. Agelas - for 37 years
  4. Prymnis - for 35 years
  5. Bacchis - for 35 years
  6. Agelas - for 30 years
  7. Eudemus - for 25 years
  8. Aristomedes - for 35 years
  9. Agemon - for 16 years
  10. Alexander - for 25 years
  11. Telestes - for 12 years
  12. Automenes - for one year
After which there were annual presidents.

The kings of the Spartans - from the books of Diodorus

It happens that it is difficult to establish the dates between the Trojan war and the first Olympiad, because at that time there were no annual magistrates either at Athens or at any other city. Therefore we will take the kings of the Spartans as an example.

According to Apollodorus of Athens, there were 308 years from the destruction of Troy [1183 B.C.] until the first Olympiad [776 B.C.]. 80 of those years passed before the expedition of the Heracleidae [1103 B.C.]; [p223] the rest are covered by the reigns of the kings of the Spartans - Procles, Eurysthenes and their descendants. We will set down the order of [the kings of] each family up until the first Olympiad.

Eurysthenes began his reign in the 80th year after the Trojan war, and he was king for 42 years.
After him, Agis reigned for one year.
Echestratus for 31 years.
After him, Labotas reigned for 37 years.
Dorystus for 29 years.
They were followed by Agesilaus, who reigned for 44 years.
Archelaus for 60 years.
Teleclus for 40 years.
Alcamenes for 38 years. In the tenth year of his reign, the first Olympiad was established, in which Coroebus of Elis won the stadion race.

Procles was the first king of the other family, for (?) 49 years.
After him, Prytanis reigned for 49 years.
Eunomius for 45 years.
And then Chariclus reigned for 60 years.
Nicander for 38 years.
Theopompus for 47 years. The first Olympiad occurred in the tenth year of this reign.

In summary, there were 80 years from the capture of Troy until the expedition of the Heracleidae, and then these kings of the Spartans:

  1. Eurysthenes - for 42 years
  2. Agis - for one year
  3. Echestrates - for 37 years
  4. Labotas - for 37 years
  5. Dorystus - for 29 years
  6. [p225] Agesilaus - for 44 years.
  7. Archelaus - for 60 years
  8. Teleclus - for 40 years
  9. Alcamenes - for 37 years. In his tenth year, the first Olympiad was established.
In total, 325 years.

The kings from the other family were:

  1. Procles - for 51 years
  2. Prytanis - for 49 years
  3. Eunomius - for 45 years
  4. Charicles - for 60 years
  5. Nicander - for 38 years
  6. Theopompus - for 47 years. In his tenth year, the first Olympiad was established.
In total, 290 years.

The Thalassocracies, who ruled the sea - in brief, from the writings of Diodorus

After the Trojan war, the sea was controlled by:

  1. The Lydians and Maeones - for 92 years
  2. The Pelasgians - for 85 years
  3. The Thracians - for 79 years
  4. The Rhodians - for 23 years
  5. The Phrygians - for 25 years
  6. The Cypriots - for 33 years
  7. The Phoenicians - for 45 years
  8. The Egyptians - for [..] years
  9. The Milesians - for [..] years
  10. [The Carians - for .. years]
  11. The Lesbians - for [..] years
  12. The Phocaeans - for 44 years
  13. The Samians for [..] years
  14. The Spartans - for 2 years
  15. The Naxians - for 10 years
  16. The Eretrians - for 15 years
  17. The Aeginetans - for 10 years
Up until the time when (?) Alexander crossed over the sea.

After this, it will be fitting to move on to the kingdom of the Macedonians.

The kings of the Macedonians

The end of the Assyrian empire, after the death of Sardanapallus the last king of the Assyrians, was followed by the Macedonian age.

Before the first Olympiad, Caranus was moved by ambition to collect forces from the Argives and from the rest of the Peloponnese, in order to lead an army into the territory of the Macedonians. At that time the king of the Orestae was at war with his neighbours, the Eordaei, and he called on Caranus to come to his aid, promising to give him half of his territory in return, if the Orestae were successful. The king kept his promise, and Caranus took possession of the territory; he reigned there for 30 years, until he died in old age.
He was succeeded by his son Coenus, who was king for 28 years.
After him, Tyrimias reigned for 43 years.
Perdiccas for 42 years. He wanted to expand his kingdom; so he sent [a mission] to Delphi.

A little further on, [Diodorus] says:
Perdiccas reigned for 48 years, and left his kingdom to Argaeus, who reigned for 31 years.
The next king was Philippus, who reigned for 33 years.
Aeropus for 20 years.
Alcetas for 18 years.
Amyntas for 49 years.
He was followed by Alexander, who reigned for 44 years.
Then Perdiccas was king for 22 years.
Archelaus for 17 years.
Aeropus for 6 years.
Then Pausanias was king for one year.
Ptolemy for 3 years.
Perdiccas for 5 years.
Philippus for 24 years.
Alexander, [who] fought against the Persians, for more than 12 years.

In this way the most reliable historians trace the ancestry of the Macedonian kings back to Heracles. From Caranus, who was the first to rule all the Macedonians, until Alexander, who conquered Asia, there were 24 kings who reigned for a total of 453 years.

[p229] The individual [kings] are as follows:

  1. Caranus reigned for 30 years
  2. Coenus - for 28 years
  3. Tyrimias - for 43 years
  4. Perdiccas - for 48 years
  5. Argaeus - for 38 years
  6. Philippus - for 33 years
  7. Aeropus - for 20 years
  8. Alcetas - for 18 years. In his time, Cyrus was king of the Persians.
  9. Amyntas - for 42 years
  10. Alexander - for 44 years
  11. Perdiccas - for 23 years
  12. Archelaus - for 24 years
  13. Orestes - for 3 years
  14. Archelaus - for 4 years
  15. Amyntas - for one year
  16. Pausanias - for one year
  17. Amyntas - for 6 years
  18. Argaeus - for 2 years
  19. Amyntas - for 18 years
  20. Alexander - for one year
  21. Ptolemy of Alorus - for 3 years
  22. Perdiccas - for 6 years
  23. Philippus - for 27 years
  24. Alexander the son of Philippus - for 12 years

The kings of the Macedonians, from the writings of our enemy, the philosopher Porphyrius:

These were the kings of Macedonia and Greece after Alexander the son of Philippus; and the Macedonian kingdom continued until its dissolution as follows.

The Macedonians appointed Aridaeus, the son of Philippus and Philinna of Thessaly, to be king after Alexander because of their affection for the family of Philippus, although they knew that Aridaeus was the son a courtesan and he was feeble-minded. He began to reign, as we said, in the second year of the 114th Olympiad [323 B.C.]. He is reckoned to have reigned for 7 years, because he lived up until the fourth year of the 115th Olympiad [317 B.C.].

[p231] Alexander left two sons, Heracles the son of Barsine the daughter of Pharnabazus, and Alexander the son of Roxane the daughter of Oxyartes the Bactrian; this Alexander was born about the time of his father's death, at the start of Philippus' reign. Olympias the mother of Alexander killed Aridaeus, but then Cassander the son of Antipater executed her and both the sons of Alexander, the one by himself and the other (the son of Barsine) by prompting Polysperchon. Cassander cast away Olympias' body without a burial, and proclaimed himself king; and from then onwards, all the other satraps acted as kings, because the family of Alexander had been destroyed. Cassander married Thessalonice the daughter of Philippus, and survived as king for another 19 years as king, until he died of a wasting disease. His reign, including the year in which Olympias ruled after the death of Aridaeus, lasted from the first year of the 116th Olympiad [316 B.C.] until the third year of the 120th Olympiad [298 B.C.].

Cassander was succeeded by his sons, Philippus and Alexander and Antipater, who reigned for 3 years and 6 months after the death of their father. The first to rule was Philippus, who died at Elateia. Then Antipater murdered his mother Thessalonice, who favoured her other son Alexander, and fled to Lysimachus. But Lysimachus put him to death, even though he had married one of Lysimachus' daughters.

Alexander married Lysandra, the daughter of Ptolemy, and in the war against his younger brother called on the aid of Demetrius the son of Antigonus, who was called Poliorcetes. But Demetrius killed Alexander, and made himself the king of the Macedonians. The reign of the sons of Cassander is reckoned to last from the fourth year [p233] of the 120th Olympiad [297 B.C.] until the third year of the 121st Olympiad [294 B.C.].

Demetrius reigned for 6 years, from the [fourth year of the] 121st Olympiad [293 B.C.]until the first year of the 123rd Olympiad [288 B.C.], when he was deposed by Pyrrhus the king of Epirus, the 23rd in line from Achilles the son of Thetis. Pyrrhus claimed the kingdom belonged to him after the extinction of Philippus' family, through his connection with Olympias the mother of Alexander, who was also a descendant of Pyrrhus the son of Neoptolemus.

Pyrrhus ruled the Macedonians for seven months in the second year of the 123rd Olympiad [287 B.C.]. In the eighth month, he was replaced by Lysimachus the son of son of Agathocles, a Thessalian from Crannon who had been a bodyguard of Alexander. Lysimachus was king of Thrace and the Chersonese, and now overran the neighbouring country of Macedonia.

Lysimachus was persuaded by his wife Arsinoe to kill his own son. He ruled Macedonia for 5 years and 6 months, from the second year of the 123rd Olympiad [287 B.C.] until the third year of the 124th Olympiad [282 B.C.]. [p235] He was defeated by Seleucus Nicator, the king of Asia, at the battle of Corupedium, and lost his life in the battle. But straight after his victory, Seleucus was murdered by Ptolemy Ceraunus, the son of Lagus and Eurydice the daughter of Antipater, even though Seleucus was his benefactor and had received him when he fled [from Lysimachus].

Then Ptolemy ruled over the Macedonians, until he was killed in battle against the Galatians. He reigned for one year and five months, which lasted from the fourth year of the 124th Olympiad [281 B.C.] until the fifth month of the first year of the 125th Olympiad [280 B.C.].

Ptolemy was succeeded by his brother Meleager, but the Macedonians deposed Meleager after only two months, because they considered him unfit to rule. In his place, since no-one was left from the royal family, they appointed as king Antipater, who was the nephew of Cassander and the son of Philippus. But he too was deposed after ruling for 45 days by Sosthenes, a commoner who considered him to be too poor a general to face the dangerous invasion of Brennus the Galatian. The Macedonians gave Antipater the name Etesias, because the Etesian winds blow at about the time when he was king. Sosthenes repelled Brennus, and died after being in charge of the state for two complete years.

After Sosthenes, there was anarchy in Macedonia, because the followers of Antipater and Ptolemy and Aridaeus were competing for control of the state, but no-one was completely in charge. In the period from Ptolemy until the end of the anarchy, that is from the fourth year of the 124th Olympiad [281 B.C.] until the [first year of the] 126th Olympiad [276 B.C.], Ptolemy Ceraunus reigned for one year and five months, [p237] Meleager for two months, Antipater for 45 days, Sosthenes for two years, and the rest is reckoned to have been a time of anarchy.

While Antipater was plotting to take over the state, Antigonus set himself up as king; he was the son of Demetrius Poliorcetes and Phila the daughter of Antipater, and was called Gonatas because he had been born and brought up at Gonni in Thessaly. Antigonus reigned in total for 44 years; before he gained control of Macedonia, he had already been king for 10 whole years. He was proclaimed king in the second year of the 123rd Olympiad [287 B.C.], and became king of the Macedonians in the first year of the 126th Olympiad [276 B.C.]. Antigonus subdued Greece by force; he lived for 83 years in all, and died in the first year of the 135th Olympiad [240 B.C.].

Antigonus was succeeded by his son Demetrius, who conquered the whole of Libya and captured Cyrene. Eventually he gained absolute control of all his father's possessions, and ruled over them for 10 years. He married a captive girl whom he called Chryseis, and by her he had a son Philippus, who was the first of the kings to fight against the Romans and caused the Macedonians much woe.

When Demetrius died, Philippus was left as a [young] orphan, and a member of the royal family, Antigonus called Phuscus, became his guardian. Seeing that Phuscus acted honourably in his role of guardian, the Macedonians made him king, and gave him Chryseis to be his wife. Chryeis bore him sons, but he did not bring them up, because he was holding the kingdom in trust for Philippus. And indeed he was succeeded by Philippus, when he died.

Demetrius, called the Fair, died in the second year of the [?] 130th Olympiad. Philippus then became king, [p239] with the aforesaid Antigonus as his guardian. Antigonus died in the fourth year of the 139th Olympiad [221 B.C.]; he had been guardian for 12 years, and lived for 42 years in all. Philippus began to rule without a guardian in the 140th Olympiad [220 B.C.]; he reigned for 42 complete years, and died in the second year of the 150th Olympiad [179 B.C.], aged 58 years.

Perseus the son of Philippus caused the death of his brother Demetrius by making accusations against him to his father. Perseus was king for 10 years and 8 months, until the fourth years of the 152nd Olympiad [169 B.C.], when Lucius Aemilius defeated and conquered the Macedonians at Pydna. Perseus fled to Samothrace, but then agreed to surrender to the enemy, who transferred him to Alba, where he was imprisoned and died five years later. He was the last king of the Macedonians.

At that time the Romans allowed the Macedonians to remain autonomous, out of respect for their glorious reputation and the greatness of their [former] empire. But 19 years later, in the third year of the 157th Olympiad [150 B.C.], a certain Andriscus falsely claimed to be the son of Perseus, and took on the name of Philippus, from which he came to be called the false Philippus. With the help of the Thracians he conquered Macedonia, but after ruling for a year he was defeated and fled to the Thracians, who handed him over, to be sent as a prisoner to Rome.

Because the Macedonians had been ungrateful, and had co-operated with the false Philippus, the Romans made them tributary in the fourth year of the 157th Olympiad [149 B.C.]. So from Alexander until the end, when they became tributary to the Romans, that is from the second year of 114th Olympiad [323 B.C.] [p241] until the fourth year of the 157th Olympiad [149 B.C.], the kingdom of the Macedonians lasted for 43 Olympiads and two extra years, which is a total of 174 years.

These are the kings of the Macedonians after Alexander the son of Philippus:

After that, they were subject to the Romans.

The kings of the Thessalians:

For a long time, the Thessalians and Epirus had the same rulers as the Macedonians. They were granted independence by the Romans after Philippus was defeated by the Roman general Titus in Thessaly. But eventually, for the same reason as the Macedonians, they were made tributary to the Romans.

Like the Macedonians, they were ruled by Aridaeus, also called Philippus, for seven years after the death of Alexander. Then his successor Cassander ruled over Epirus and the Thessalians for 19 years. After him, his son Philippus [ruled] for 4 months. Then his brothers Antipater and Alexander [ruled] for 2 years and 6 months. And then Demetrius the son of [Antigonus ruled] for 6 years and 6 months. After him, Pyrrhus [ruled] for 4 years and 4 months. Then Lysimachus the son of Agathocles [ruled] for 6 years. [p243] And Ptolemy, who was called Ceraunus, [ruled] for one year and 5 months. Then Meleager [ruled] for 2 months. After him, Antipater the son of Lysimachus [ruled] for 45 days. After him, Sosthenes [ruled] for one year. Then there was anarchy for 2 years and 2 months, after which Antigonus the son of Demetrius [ruled] for 34 years and 2 months.

During this time, Pyrrhus won over Antigonus' army and ruled over a few regions, but he lost control of them when he was defeated by Demetrius the son of Antigonus in a battle at Derdia. Shortly afterwards Antigonus died, and his son Demetrius reigned for 10 years. After him, Antigonus, the son of Demetrius who went off to Cyrene and of Olympias the daughter of Pauliclitus of Larisa, [ruled] for 9 years. Antigonus came to the aid of the Achaeans, defeated Cleomenes the king of the Spartans in battle, and liberated Sparta. Therefore the Achaean people honoured him like a god.

After him, Philippus the son of Demetrius reigned for 23 years and 9 months, until he was defeated in a battle in Thessaly by Titus the Roman general. Then the Romans allowed the Thessalians to be autonomous, along with the rest of the Ionians [? Greeks] who had been subject to Philippus. For the first year there was anarchy in Thessaly, but then they started to elect annual leaders from amongst the people.

The first to be elected was Pausanias the son of Echecrates, from Pherae. Then Amyntas the son of Crates, from [?] Pieria; in his year, Titus returned to Rome. Then Aeacides the son of Callas, from Metropolis. Then Epidromas the son of Andromachus, from Larisa, for 8 months only; for the remaining 4 months of the year, the leader was Eunomus the son of Polyclitus, from Larisa. Eunomus was leader again for the whole of the following year. Then Aeacides the son of Callas, from Metropolis, for a second time. Then Pravilus the son of Phaxas, from Scotussa. Then Eunomus [p245] the son of Polyclitus, from Larisa, for a second time. Then Androsthenes the son of Italus, from Gyrton. Then Thrasymachus the son of Alexander, from [?] Atrax. Then Laontomenes the son of Damothon, from Pherae. Then Pausanias the son of Damothon. Then Theodorus the son of Alexander, from Argos. Then Nicocrates the son of Paxinas, from [?] Scotussa. Then Hippolochus the son of Alexippus, from Larisa. Then Cleomachides the son of Aeneus, from Larisa. Then Phyrinus the son of Aristomenes, from Gomphi.

In his year, Philippus the king of Macedonia died, and was succeeded by his son Perseus. As we said, Philippus reigned over the Thessalians for 3 years and 9 months, but in all he reigned over the Macedonians for 42 years and 9 months. From the start of the reign of Philippus [Aridaeus] until the death of Philippus the son of Demetrius, that is from the second year of the 114th Olympiad [323 B.C.] until the fifth month of the second year of the 150th Olympiad [179 B.C.], is a total of 144 years and five months.

A summary of the kings of the Thessalians:

And then the following [annual] leaders: Pausanias, Amyntas, Aeacides, Epidromus, Eunomus, Aeacides again, Praviles, Eunomus again, Androsthenes, Thrasymachus, Laontomenes, Pausanias, Theodorus, Nicocrates, Hippolochus, Cleomachides, Phyrinus, and Philippus.

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