Johannes Malalas

    - pages 192-226

Johannes Malalas wrote a chronicle of world history, from the creation up until his own time (565 A.D.), in 18 books. His chronicle is especially valuable for the local information which he preserves about Syria and the city of Antioch. However the chronicle should be used with caution, because it contains many blunders and inaccuracies.:

The 8th and 9th books of the chronicle are translated here, from the Greek text of L.Dindorf. Malalas' style of Greek is highly colloquial and very different from the classical Greek authors; but fortunately there is an accurate modern translation (by E.Jeffreys, M.Jeffreys and M.Scott, 1986), which has been consulted in the hope of avoiding any egregious mistakes in this translation.

See key to translations for an explanation of the format. The references in red are the page numbers in Dindorf's edition.


[192] In the fourth year of the reign of Dareius the Mede, the son of Assalamus, god sent Alexander the toparch (or king) of Macedonia, the son of Philippus, against the Assyrians and Persians and Parthians and Medes. Alexander founded the city of Alexandria the great, which had previously been a village called Rhacustis. Alexander named the city after himself, and there he sacrificed a young maiden, whom he called Macedonia.  # He built a temple to Helios Serapis, and a public bath, called the Horse, and some other temples.

This king Alexander encouraged like-minded generals, in his anger at the folly of the Assyrians, and he was the first to fight against Dareius, the king of the Persians. He went to Byzupolis in Europe, and founded a place [193] which he called Strategium; there he practiced his generalship with his own army and his allies. Then he crossed over from there with his army to a trading station in Bithynia, called Disci. Because he wanted to encourage his army, he distributed a large amount of gold to them there, and he changed the name of the trading-station to Chrysopolis ["city of gold"]; the place has kept this name until the present time. Setting out from there, Alexander came to Troy, where he made a sacrifice at the tomb of Achilles, the ancestor of his family, and he asked the spirit of Achilles to help him in the coming war. Olympias, the mother of Achilles the Macedonian, was descended from Molossus, the son of Pyrrhus and Andromache. Immediately Alexander set out from there like a leopard, and with his generals he conquered all the surrounding countries. He defeated Dareius, the king of the Persians, the son of Assalamus, and captured him and all his kingdom, including all the lands of the Assyrians, Medes, Parthians, Babylonians and Persians, and all the empires of the world, as the most learned Bottius has written. He freed the cities and countries and all the lands of the Romans, Greeks and Egyptians from the subjection and slavery which they had suffered under the Assyrians, Persians, Parthians and Medes, and he restored to the Romans everything which they had lost.

From Adam until the victory of Alexander the Macedonian, [194] there were 5557 years. At that time, Jaddus was high priest of the Jews.

Then the power and kingdom of the Persians was destroyed, and the Macedonians and Alexander with his allies seized control of the land of the Chaldaeans, Medes, Persians and Parthians. They defeated and killed Dareius, and succeeded to the empire of Dareius. Alexander gave them laws and ruled over their land. The Persians erected a bronze statue of him, riding a horse, in Babylon; the statue is still standing at the present time.

Alexander captured Roxane, the daughter of Dareius, king of the Persians; she was a virgin, and he made her his wife. Alexander conquered all the regions of India and their kingdoms; and he captured Porus, the king of the Indians. He conquered all the kingdoms of the other nations, apart from the kingdom of the widow Candace, who was queen of the inland Indians. Candace trapped Alexander in the following way.

It was the custom of Alexander to accompany the envoys that he sent out to hostile kings, in the guise of a soldier, so that he could see what kind of ruler they were. When queen Candace learnt of this custom of his, she enquired about his appearance and his distinguishing features. She was told that he was short, [195] with large prominent teeth; one of his eyes was grey, and the other was black. She took note of this; and when he arrived with the envoys that he had sent, she recognised him from the distinguishing features. She seized him and said to him, "King Alexander, you have conquered the world, but a single woman has captured you." Alexander replied, "Because of you cleverness and your great intelligence, I will keep you, your country and your sons safe from harm; and I will take you as my wife." When Candace heard this, she gave herself up to him. Alexander immediately took her with him, and advanced into Ethiopia and the other countries.

When he was about to die, Alexander ordered that all his bodyguards and allies should rule over the land where he had placed them, and should control the territories there. Alexander lived for 36 years; he reigned for 17 years, during which time he subdued all [countries], and his war lasted for 9 years. He subdued 22 barbarian nations, and 13 Greek nations; and he and his associates founded many cities.

From Adam until the death of Alexander the Macedonian, there are 5,593 years, as Theophilus the chronicler has recorded.

After the death of Alexander the Macedonian, the countries which he had subdued with his allies were divided into four toparchies or kingdoms. [196] The Macedonian comrades ruled over the kingdoms as he had instructed, as follows. Philippus his own elder brother ruled over Macedonia and all of Europe. Philippus was king, and after Philippus Cassander was king, and after Cassander his sons were kings, and after them Demetrius was king, and after Demetrius Pyrrhus of Epirus was king, and after Pyrrhus Meleager was king, and another six kings up until Perseus of Epirus. The kingdom of Macedonia lasted for 157 years after the death of Alexander.

Alexander instructed that the astronomer Ptolemaeus, son of Lagus, should rule and be king of all of Egypt and Africa. Ptolemaeus ruled the Egyptians with the authority of the Macedonians for 42 years. The second king was Ptolemaeus, his son.  # In the reign of this Ptolemaeus, son of Lagus, the books of the Jews were translated into Greek by 72 scholars in 72 days. These books were written in Hebrew, but Ptolemaeus wished to read the meaning of the Jewish books in the Greek language. After his reign, the third king was Ptolemaeus Philadelphus for 37 years, and after him the fourth king was Ptolemaeus Euergetes [197] for 25 years, and after him the fifth king was Ptolemaeus Philopator for 17 years, and after him the sixth king was Ptolemaeus Epiphanes [ ... ], and after him the seventh king was Ptolemaeus Philometor for 11 years. There were another five kings called Ptolemaeus, for a total of 92 years. The twelfth Ptolemaeus was called Dionysus, and reigned for 29 years; he had a daughter called Cleopatra and a son called Ptolemaeus. The thirteenth and last monarch of the Ptolemaic dynasty was Cleopatra, daughter of Dionysus; she was queen for 22 years. The thirteen Macedonian monarchs of the Ptolemaic dynasty, from Ptolemaeus son of Lagus until Cleopatra daughter of Dionysus, ruled over the whole country of Egypt for a total of 300 years, until the fifteenth year of the reign of the Augustus Caesar, who was also called Octavianus Sebastus Imperator. Augustus defeated Antonius and Cleopatra in a naval battle close to the land of Leucas; he killed them, and took possession of the whole of Egypt, as related by the chroniclers Eusebius [follower] of Pamphilus and Pausanias.

[Alexander] instructed that Antigonus, who was called Poliorcetes, should rule and be king of Asia as far as the river Dracon [Serpent], which is now called the Orontes, and separates the countries of Cilicia and Syria; the river is also called Typhon and Ophites.

[Alexander] instructed that Seleucus Nicator should be king of Syria, Babylonia and Palestine. [198] Seleucus [later] became king of Asia, after killing Antigonus; he made war on Antigonus,  # because he had established a city near the lake and the river Dracon, which he called Antigonia.  # After defeating him, Seleucus seized the whole of Asia and the best of the [possessions] of Antigonus. Seleucus appointed Nicomedes and Nicanor to govern the whole of the satrapy of Asia; they were his relatives, being the sons of Didymea, his sister.  # During the war against the Parthians, Seleucus Nicator took as his wife a virgin called Apama, after killing her father Pithamenes, who was a distinguished general of the Parthians. Seleucus had two daughters by Apama, who were called Apama and Laodice.  # After the death of Apama, Seleucus saw and fell in love with an extremely beautiful girl called Stratonice, who was the daughter of Demetrius, son of that Antigonus, called Poliorcetes, who had been killed by Seleucus. He found Stratonice hiding with her father Demetrius in Rhosus, a city founded by Cilix son of Agenor. Seleucus had a daughter by Stratonice, who was called Phila. Seleucus continued as king of Syria, all of Asia, Babylon and Palestine, for 43 years. Immediately after his victory over Antigonus Poliorcetes, [199]  # Seleucus Nicator, who wanted to establish some eminent cities, began to found [cities] by the coast of Syria. Going down by the sea, he saw a small city situated on the mountain, which had been founded by Syrus son of Agenor. On the 23rd day of the month of Xanthicus, Seleucus went up to Mount Casius in order to sacrifice to Zeus Casius. After completing the sacrifice and cutting the meat, Seleucus prayed [to be shown] where to found a city. Suddenly an eagle snatched the meat from the sacrifice and took it away to the old city. Following behind with his augurs, Seleucus found that the meat had been dropped near the sea below the old city, in the place called the trading-station of Pieria. Immediately he constructed walls and built the foundations of a city, which he called Seleuceia after his own name. He returned rejoicing to Iopolis and after three days he celebrated a festival there for Zeus Ceraunius, in the temple which had been established by Perseus, the son of Picus and Danae, on Mount Silpius, where Iopolis is situated. He performed the sacrifice on the first day of the month of Artemisius.

 # Seleucus came to the city of Antigonia, which had been founded by Antigonus Poliorcetes. The city was surrounded and defended by the river Archeuthas, also called the Iaphthas, which is another river which flows from the lake. There Seleucus performed a sacrifice to Zeus on the altars erected by Antigonus; he cut the meat and prayed with the priest Amphion for a sign to be given, to show whether he should settle the city of Antigonia, [200] and change its name, or he should abandon the city and found another city somewhere else. Suddenly a great eagle came down from the sky and snatched the meat of the offering from the fire on the altar. The eagle flew off by Mount Silpius, where Seleucus followed it and found the consecrated meat, with the eagle poised over it. When Seleucus and the priest and the augurs saw this marvel, they said, "We must settle here, and not in Antigonia; the city must not be there, because the gods do not wish it." And then he consulted with them as to where he might safely build the city, because he was worried by the streams and winter torrents which came down from Mount Silpius. He laid the foundations of the city at the bottom of the valley opposite the mountain, by the great river Dracon which was renamed Orontes, where there was a village called Bottia, opposite Iopolis. After Amphion, the high priest, had sacrificed a virgin girl called Aemathe between the city and the river, Seleucus [founded the city] on the 22nd day of the month of Artemisius which is also May, at the first hour of the day as the sun was rising, and he called the city Antioch, after the name of his son Antiochus Soter.

He immediately started to build a temple, which he dedicated to Zeus Bottius, and he erected imposing walls, designed by the architect Xenaeus. [201] He set up a bronze statue of the slaughtered girl as Tyche [Fortune] in the city above the river, and immediately made a sacrifice to Tyche. Then he went away and razed the city of Antigonia down to the ground; he took away the materials by river, and set up a statue of Tyche of Antigonia, with the horn of Amaltheia in front of it. There he set up a shrine with four pillars, and placed Tyche above it, and he built a tall altar in front of it; after the death of Seleucus, Demetrius the son of Antigonus Poliorcetes took away the statue of Tyche [and set it up] in the city of Rhosus in Cilicia, which had been founded by Cilix the son of Agenor.

After destroying Antigonia, Seleucus forced the Athenians who lived there to move to Antioch the great. Antigonus and his son Demetrius had allowed the Athenians to settle in Antigonia along with some Macedonians, 5,300 men in all. Seleucus set up an imposing statue of Athene at Antioch, on account of the Athenians, who worshipped Athene. Seleucus also brought down from the citadel the Cretans, whom Casus the son of Inachus had allowed to dwell up there; the Cretans came down to live in Antioch along with some Cypriots, because king Casus had married Amyce, also known as Citia, [202] the daughter of Sasalaminus the king of the Cypriots, and some Cypriots had come with her and settled in the acropolis. When Amyce died, she was buried about 100 stades away from the city, and therefore that place was called Amyce. Seleucus also urged the Argive inhabitants of Iopolis to move away from there, and made them live in Antioch, as priests and noble citizens.

Seleucus set up a stone image of the eagle in front of the city. He ordered that the months in Syria should be named after the Macedonian fashion, because he found that giants had once lived in the country. About two miles from Antioch, there is a place which contains the bodies of men turned into stone through the anger of god; these are even now called giants. And a giant called Pagras who lived in the same place was struck down by lightning, so that it is clear that the inhabitants of Syrian Antioch live in a land of giants.

In front of the city, on the other side of the river, Seleucus set up another statue, of the head of a horse with a gilded (helmet) nearby, and he added this inscription: "On this Seleucus escaped to safety from Antigonus; and returning from there, he killed Antigonus". Seleucus also set up a marble statue of Amphion, who was depicted performing an bird-sacrifice with him, inside the so-called Romanesian gate.

 # Seleucus Nicator founded another city by the coast of Syria, which he called Laodiceia [203] after the name of his daughter; previously there had been a village there called Mazabda. As was his custom, he performed a sacrifice to Zeus, and asked where he should found the city. Again, an eagle came down and seized [the meat] from the sacrifice. While Seleucus was pursuing the eagle, he was confronted by a huge boar, which came out of a reed-bed. Seleucus killed the boar with the spear which he held; after killing the boar, he dragged its body along and used its blood to mark out the walls [of the city], paying no further attention to the eagle. Thus Seleucus founded the city over the blood of the boar; he sacrificed a pure maiden called Agaue, and set up a bronze statue of her for the good fortune of the city.

Seleucus Nicator founded another great city in Syria, where there had previously been a village called Pharnace, and he named it after his daughter Apama. After building a wall around it, and performing a sacrifice, Seleucus changed the name of the city to Apameia. He also called it by the name of Pella, because the fortune of the city of Apameia had that name; Seleucus himself came from Pella, a city in Macedonia. He sacrificed a bull and a goat; and again an eagle came down and seized the heads of the bull and the goat, and Seleucus marked out the walls [of the city] with the blood [of the animals].

 # Seleucus founded many other cities in the other provinces and in the region of Persia. The learned chronicler Pausanias relates that in total there were 75 of the cities, [204] which Seleucus named as he wished after the names of himself and his children. The learned Pausanias relates that Seleucus named Antioch the great after the name of his father, because his father was called Antiochus; but no-one would name a city after a dead man - that would be silly - and instead they name them after someone who is alive and well. Seleucus named the city, as was said before, after the name of his son Antiochus. The learned Pausanias has related many other things in a poetical fashion.

Seleucus planted cypress trees near the temple of Apollo in the city which was previously called Heracleis, but is now called Daphne; some cypress trees had already been planted there by the priest Heracles, who founded Daphne and called it Heracleis after his own name. He established the city outside the sacred grove, by the temple of Athene; but the temple of Apollo was in the middle of the sacred grove, and was called "Daphnaean". This Heracles was the first to practice the sport of wrestling.

 # Afterwards Seleucus died by the Hellespont, at the age of 72 years, and he was buried at Seleuceia in Syria.

After the reign of Seleucus, his son Antiochus Soter was king for 20 years.  # This Antiochus fell in love with his own step-mother, Stratonice the daughter of Demetrius, [205] and took her as his wife. He had two sons by her, Seleucus, who died while he was still young, and Antiochus, who was called Theoeides ["God-like"]. After the death of Antiochus the son of Seleucus, Antiochus Theoeides was the next king, for 15 years. After him, Seleucus Callinicus, his son by Berenice, was king for 24 years, and then Alexander Nicator for 36 years, then Seleucus Philopator for 10 years, and then Antiochus Epiphanes for 12 years.

In the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, when many of the inhabitants of the city had died from a plague, a priest called Leius ordered a rock on the mountain above the city to be carved with an enormous crowned head, facing towards the city and the valley, and he wrote an inscription on it, after which the deaths from the plague ceased. Up until the present time, the inhabitants of the Antioch call this head Charonius.

 # This Antiochus Epiphanes was the first to build the so-called bouleterion [council-house] in Antioch the great, outside the city limits. Here all the councillors met with all the statesmen and all the property-holders of the city, in order to debate what to do about whatever occurred, and then to provide anything which was required. Antiochus constructed some other buildings outside the city, and called this area Epiphania after his own name; he did not put a wall around it, but it was built on the mountain.

This Antiochus Epiphanes was angry with Ptolemaeus, the king of Egypt, [206] because Ptolemaeus demanded taxes from the Jews who lived in his territory.  # The Jews came to Antioch from Palestine and asked Antiochus to write to Ptolemaeus, the ruler and king of Egypt, that he should not demand taxes from the Jews, when they transported corn for their sustenance, because there was a great famine at that time in Palestine, and therefore the Jews were transporting corn from the land of Egypt.  # But when Ptolemaeus received Antiochus' letter, he ordered that the Jews should pay more taxes. Then Antiochus Epiphanes marched against Ptolemaeus, because he had disregarded his letter. There was a battle between them, in which many of Antiochus' soldiers were killed, and he fled back to the borders of his own territory. When the Jews in Jerusalem learned of this, they agreed terms with Ptolemaeus and surrendered to him, because they thought that Antiochus had died.  # But Antiochus Epiphanes gathered [another] army, attacked Ptolemaeus, destroyed his army and killed him.  # When Antiochus heard what the Jews in Jerusalem had done, as if they rejoiced in his defeat, he marched against Jerusalem. He besieged the city and captured it, slaughtering all [the inhabitants];  # he took Eleazar the high priest of the Jews along with the Maccabees back to Antioch, where punished them with death.  # He abolished the high priesthood of Judaea, and he turned the Jews' temple, which had been built by Solomon, [207] into a temple of Olympian Zeus and Athene. He defiled the building with meat, and prevented the Jews from performing their ancestral acts of worship; for three years, he forced them to follow Greek customs.

When Antiochus died, his son Antiochus Glaucus, who was called Hierax, became king for two years.

After him Demetrianus the son of Seleucus was king for 8 years.  # A Jew called Judas came to Antioch the great, and shamed Demetrianus with his entreaties, so that the king handed over the temple and the remains of the Maccabees to him. Judas buried the Maccabees in the so-called Cerateum at Antioch the great, where there was a synagogue of the Jews; Antiochus had punished the Maccabees a short way outside the city of Antioch, on the "ever-weeping" mountain opposite [the temple] of Zeus Casius.  # Then Judas cleansed the temple and refounded Jerusalem, celebrating a Passover [feast] in honour of God. This was the second capture of Jerusalem, as Eusebius [follower] of Pamphilus has recorded in his chronicle.

After Demetrianus, Antiochus the offspring of Grypus became king for 9 years; he was the son of Laodice, the daughter of Ariarathes, king of the Cappadocians. In the eighth year of his reign, Antioch the great was destroyed by the anger of god, in the time of the Macedonians. This happened 152 years after the foundations of the walls were laid by Seleucus Nicator, [208] on the 21st day of the month of Peritius, which is the same as February, at the tenth hour of the day. And the whole city was restored, as Domninus the chronicler has recorded. It suffered [this disaster] 122 years after the walls and the whole city were completed; and afterwards it became yet more splendid.

After Antiochus the offspring of Grypus, Antiochus Euergetes became king. Antiochus was attacked by the Parthians, and marched against them in great force. After many of the Parthians had been killed, they agreed to a truce and Antiochus took Brittane, the daughter of Arsaces the Parthian who had attacked him, as a wife for his son Antiochus, who was called Cyzicenus. In this way the war came to an end.

After Antiochus Euergetes there were another nine kings from his family up until the reign of Antiochus, son of Dionices the leper, the father of Cleopatra and Antiochis.

During the reign of this Antiochus son of Dionices, Pyrrhus the king or toparch of Epirus attacked the Romans. Pyrrhus had been told by an oracle that he would be killed by a woman. Curius the consul of the Romans fought against Pyrrhus and defeated him.  # Then Pyrrhus fled away and came near a city which had buildings outside its walls, where a woman threw a roof-tile at his head and killed him.

Afterwards Magnus, also called Paulus Macedonicus, became consul. When he had fought against Perseus king of Macedonia and killed him, [209] he seized control of the country of Macedonia and subjected it to Roman rule. Sallustius mentions [Perseus] in his Catilinarian history, when he records Caesar's speech. Then Perseus of Epirus, the sea-fighter and toparch of Epirus, ruled over his own country. Eutropius, the Roman historian, mentions Perseus in the translation of his account, and Palaephatus also mentions him. Lucius Paulus, the consul of the Romans, fought against this Perseus and killed him.

At this time a king of the Africans called Hannibal attacked the Romans for twenty years, when Rome was ruled not by kings, but by consuls.  # Hannibal destroyed a large part of the whole of Italy in warfare, and he killed Paulus, whom we mentioned previously. Then the Roman senate appointed a consul who was outstanding in every way, but especially in warfare; his name was Scipio the Great.  # This Scipio, while Hannibal was still staying in Italy, took a large army and invaded Hannibal's own homeland, in Africa. Scipio ravaged Africa and burnt down Carthage, the city where Hannibal was king; after seizing the city, and capturing all its inhabitants together with its senate, he returned to Rome.

When Hannibal learned of this, he went off to Bithynia, [210] and urged Antiochus son of Nicomedes, the king of Asia, to become his ally. Since the time of Alexander of Macedonia, the Macedonians had had a treaty of friendship with the Romans, because the Romans had sent an army to help Alexander against Dareius.  # But Antiochus the king of Asia was persuaded to support Hannibal, and together with him he advanced out of Bithynia against the Romans, trusting in his own army. When the Roman senators heard about this, they appointed an excellent consul, the second Scipio, the brother of the first Scipio, and they sent him against their two [enemies], Antiochus king of Asia and Hannibal king of Africa.  # Scipio confronted them and fought a great battle against them; after many men had been killed, Hannibal fled away, because he saw the strength of Scipio, who was gaining the upper hand. Hannibal afterwards committed suicide by drinking poison. When Antiochus saw Hannibal fleeing, he too gave way, and Scipio pursued him as far as the mountain called Taurus in Cilicia. When Antiochus had retreated to there, he sent envoys to Scipio, asking to be forgiven, because he had no personal grudge against the Romans, but was fighting on behalf of another. Scipio accepted his request, and with the agreement of the Roman senate, made him an ally of the Romans, on condition that he paid four talents of gold and silver [211] and other [tribute] to the Romans every year for the rest of his life. Scipio invited Antiochus to a banquet and seated him in the top place, honouring him as a king.  # Then Scipio returned to Rome in triumph, as is mentioned by the learned Florus, who derives his account from the writings of Livius.

 # In the 15th year of Antiochus, son of Dionices the leper, king of Syria, Tigranes the king of the Armenians came and fought a great war against Antiochus. King Antiochus was defeated and fled to the region of Persia. Tigranes the king of the Armenians deprived him of all his possessions; he captured Antioch the great and the rest of his kingdom. Then Pompeius Magnus came from Rome, through the influence of Caesar.  # After advancing to defeat the Cilicians, who had attacked him, Pompeius fought against Tigranes, the king of the Armenians, and defeated him.  # He conquered Armenia, Cilicia and Syria, and put an end to the toparchies there.  # Pompeius took possession of Antioch; he entered the city and put it under Roman rule, but he treated the inhabitants justly. He conferred many favours on them, and rebuilt the council-house, which was falling down. He honoured the inhabitants of Antioch, because they were descended from the Athenians.

A powerful general called Bibulus came to a village on the coast of Phoenicia and built a walled city there, [212] which he called Byblus after his own name. He took away the awesome statue of Athene, which had been set up by Seleucus, and another awesome statue of Zeus Ceraunius, which had also been set up by Seleucus, after asking for them as a favour from the inhabitants of Antioch. Because he considered them remarkable works of art, which belonged to the Romans, he sent them off the Capitol at Rome, where they can still be seen, with this inscription; "The people of Antioch the great honoured the Romans with the gift of these statues."

 # When Antiochus son of Dionices heard that Tigranes, the king of the Armenians, had been overthrown, and that Pompeius Magnus had defeated him, he went to Pompeius and fell at his feet, asking for his kingdom to be returned to him. He persuaded Pompeius to give back to him the kingdom of Syria and Cilicia, and all that Antiochus had previously possessed. On the 19th day of the month of Daesius, Pompeius left Antioch for Egypt, and Antiochus the Macedonian, the son of Dionices, became king again.

At the same time, Cicero and Sallustius, the learned Roman poets, were alive.

When king Antiochus, the son of Dionices, was about to die, he left his kingdom and all his possessions to the Romans. After king Antiochus died, Antioch the great came under Roman rule, together with all the land of Syria, [213] Cilicia, and the other dominions of the Macedonians.

In this way the Macedonians ruled Antioch the great, together with Syria, Cilicia, and their other dominions, for 263 years, from Seleucus Nicator until their kingdom was handed over to the Romans.


[214] The government of the Romans was at first administered by the consuls, for 464 years until the time of the dictator Julius Caesar, who was not born [in the normal way], but when his mother died in the ninth month [of her pregnancy] they cut her open and pulled out the child. For that reason he was called Caesar, because Caesar means "cutting" in the Roman language.

When he had grown up and reached full manhood, Caesar was appointed triumvir with Pompeius Magnus and Crassus; and the Roman state was controlled by these three men. After Crassus was captured and killed by the Persians, while fighting in the Persian region, the dictator Caesar remained with his army, waging war in the western region. But, in anger that he had been deprived of the consulship (or triumvirate) after scrutiny by the Roman senate and his father-in-law Pompeius Magnus, [215] he made himself tyrant of the Romans. After conquering the enemies of the Romans, he marched against the Roman senate and Pompeius Magnus. When he arrived at Rome, he captured it and killed all the Roman senators. Pompeius advanced against him, but saw that he was not equal to fighting against him; so he left the western region and set off for the countries of the east, which he hoped to conquer. Then Julius Caesar became undisputed dictator of Rome and of all the western region. He marched against Pompeius Magnus, whom he captured and killed in the country of Egypt, as the learned Lucanus has recorded. Therefore Caesar became the first absolute ruler of the Romans, causing great fear as he governed the whole empire.

The Macedonian successors of Seleucus Nicator had become feeble, and no longer controlled the country of Babylonia; they allowed the Persians to appoint their own king. Similarly, they had allowed the Jews to receive tetrarchs as rulers from the Romans.

Livius was alive at this time; he was a learned historian of the Romans, who wrote at length about the Romans.

Then Julius Caesar the dictator (or monarch) ruled the whole empire in an arrogant and tyrannical fashion for 18 years. He created the bisextile [calendar] and gave laws to the Romans, [216] and appointed whomever he liked to be consuls for each year.

At this time Vergilius, the learned poet of the Romans, wrote the story of Aeneias, Dido the Phoenician [queen], the wooden horse and the capture of Troy.

Immediately everyone perceived the arrival of Julius Caesar the dictator (or monarch), who had captured and made himself tyrant of Rome, killing the senators and achieving absolute power. His decree reached in the city of Antioch on the 12th day of the month of Artemisius (or May), in the first year of the indiction that was established from then onwards. On the 20th day of the month of Artemisius, the freedom of Antioch (which had become subject to the Romans) was proclaimed in the city, by command of this Julius Caesar. The words of the edict were as follows: "In the holy and inviolate metropolis of Antioch, ruling and presiding over the orient, Gaius Julius Caesar ..." and so on.

Gaius Julius Caesar entered Antioch on the 23rd day of the month of Artemisius; he constructed a basilica, which he called the Caesarium, opposite the temple of Ares that was afterwards called the Macellum, and there he erected a bronze statue to the Fortune of Rome. He also constructed, on the so-called acropolis in the upper part of Antioch the great, public baths for the use of the inhabitants of the acropolis; he brought the water for the baths [217] from the spring of the Laodicean Way, along an aqueduct that he constructed. And there in the upper part [of the city] he constructed an arena for gladiators and a theatre; he also restored the Pantheon, which was about to collapse, and erected an altar.

Then this Caesar went off to Alexandria the great and constructed there, naming it after his son by his beautiful concubine Cleopatra - he found this Cleopatra in the Thebaid, where she had been banished by her brother Ptolemaeus, who was hostile towards her; Caesar seduced [Cleopatra] and made her pregnant; and she bore a son, whom she called Caesarion - so Julius Caesar constructed the Caesarium in Alexandria the great, naming it after his own son. He expelled Cleopatra's brother Ptolemaeus from the kingdom of Egypt, and gave the kingdom of Egypt to Cleopatra, after killing the two eunuchs who had persuaded Ptolemaeus to banish her to the Thebaid. But the son of Cleopatra and Caesar died while he was still young.

When Caesar returned to Rome, he was murdered by the second Brutus and the other senators who conspired with him, in the consulship of (?) Isauricus and Antonius (for the second time). Therefore the first year of the era of Antioch the great is counted from this year, in honour of Gaius Julius Caesar.

[218] After [the death of] Gaius Julius Caesar, the Roman senate appointed three triumvirs: Augustus Octavianus, the relative of Caesar; Antonius, the husband of Augustus' sister; and Lepidus. These triumvirs governed the Roman state, appointing consuls for each year.

In the fifteenth year of the triumvirate of Augustus Octavianus, when the Egyptians and Cleopatra had rebelled - Cleopatra had constructed the Pharos in Alexandria the great on the so-called island of Proteus, which is about two miles off the shore of Alexandria. She piled up earth and stones in the sea to such a height, that men and beasts could walk across the sea as far as the island and the Pharos. Cleopatra achieved this awesome feat with the help of the Dexiphanes of Cnidus, who turned the sea into land - when the Romans heard that the Egyptians and their queen Cleopatra had rebelled, Antonius set out from Rome to fight against Cleopatra and the Egyptians, as far as the region of Persia, because they had caused disturbances in the east.

Antonius arrived in Egypt with a huge army, and surrounded Alexandria the great, which he began to besiege. [219] He instructed Cleopatra to hand over the city, because he had known her previously when he went to Egypt with Julius Caesar. But Cleopatra responded by seducing him, as if she was in love with him. Antonius was fooled; he was overcome by love, and completely submitted to her. Cleopatra was short in stature, but she was extremely pretty and alluring. She welcomed Antonius into the city with his army, and married him. Then Antonius took her as his wife, and joined her in rebelling against the Romans, after contemptuously dismissing his previous wife, the sister of Augustus Octavianus. He assembled another large army, winning the support of the Persians by many promises, and built a fleet with many light vessels Then he set sail from Alexandria with Cleopatra against the Romans, with the intention of capturing Rome itself, after advancing to Rome through the country of Epirus.

When news of the rebellion of Antonius and Cleopatra reached Rome, Octavianus immediately prepared for war against them, both for the good of Rome and for the sake of his sister, because Antonius had spurned her. Augustus chose a powerful general from the senate, called Marcus Agrippa, and gave him his sister Octavia to be his wife. Then he marched out of Rome with his general Agrippa and all his army. He came to the place called Leucate in the country of Epirus, [220] and fought a great naval battle against Antonius and Cleopatra, as the learned Vergilius has written in the "Making of the shield", in his eighth book [ Aeneid, 8'675-710 ]. The armies on both sides were so numerous that they covered the land and the sea, but many from the army of Antonius and Cleopatra were slaughtered in the sea battle, so that the water of the sea seemed to be thoroughly mixed with blood.

After winning this victory, Augustus Octavianus killed Antonius and captured Cleopatra for his triumph, ordering his men to keep her under guard until she could be brought to Rome as a prisoner and led in his [triumphal] procession. But Cleopatra killed herself, and died from the bite of an asp; she had brought some asps and other snakes on her ships for the war. While she was being guarded by the soldiers, she secretly allowed the asp to bite her, so that she could die and not be brought alive to Rome. After her death, her embalmed body was brought to Rome, for the sake of the sister of Augustus Octavianus, as the learned chronicler Theophilus has recorded. However the local historians of Alexandria the great say that the body of Cleopatra remained in Alexandria, and their account also differs from the Roman writers in other respects.

After this victory, Augustus Octavianus set off from the village of Epirus with Agrippa, his general and brother-in-law, [221] and when he had subdued the land of Egypt, he celebrated a triumph for his victory. On his way back [Augustus] conquered other countries with his army, and removed their local rulers. He was 18 years old, when he became triumvir; but the Egyptian war lasted for many years.

After Augustus Octavianus had marched across the whole of Europe, he crossed over from Byzantium to the city of Chalcedon in Asia. Then he appointed one of his associates, called Lausus, to be governor of Bithynia, as successor to Dienarus, who had been chosen to govern the country by his uncle Caesar. Bithynia already had a [Roman] governor, because previously Pompeius Magnus had seized Bithynia, after the death of Nicomedes, the local ruler who belonged to the Macedonian race. Nicomedes left [his kingdom] to the Romans when he died.

Augustus Octavianus reduced Galatia to submission, after the defeating the tetrarch Deiotarus. He built a wall around a village called Arsine and made it into a city, which he called Ancyra ["anchor"], because it was in between two seas, the Pontic [Euxine] sea and the Asian [Aegean] sea. After sacrificing a virgin girl called Gregoria to purify the place, he turned Galatia into a province. He allowed the Gallic soldiers to remain there, in order to guard the country and the city, [222] and from their name he called the province [Galatia] and the river [Gallus].

He also took over the provinces of Lydia and Pamphylia, which been ruled by Deiotarus, and sent a general called Curio [(?) Quirinius] with a large force to subject them to the Romans. He sent his general Pacatianus with a force to bring Phrygia Pacatiana under Roman rule; it too had been part of the tetrarchy [of Deiotarus]. [Augustus] took Lycaonia away from its local ruler, Lycaon son of Capys. Lycaon prostrated himself before Augustus; but Augustus reassured him, recognising that he was a noble man, and took him to Egypt. Syria and Cilicia had already become subject to the Romans, in the time of Julius Caesar.

Augustus reached Syria and entered Antioch the great, in order to celebrate a triumph for his victory over Antonius and Cleopatra, along with his brother-in-law Agrippa. Agrippa was delighted by the location of the city of Antioch, and built some public baths outside the city by the mountain. He had discovered a spring there, which he called Agrippian after his own name, but it is now called the Ampeline baths. He also built a complex of buildings with baths, and called it the Agrippite neighbourhood. Agrippa modified the theatre at Antioch, adding another tier above the previous one, because of the large number of inhabitants [of the city].

After leaving Antioch, Augustus came to Laodiceia, [223] a city in Syria. In that city he built a very large theatre, and erected a marble statue of himself. He also built the great tetrapylon (which had previously been small) at Laodiceia, adorning it with marble columns and mosaics. Then he celebrated a triumph for his victory, and set up a bronze statue with four horses on the tetrapylon.

He also conquered Phoenicia: he sent an army under the command of Lucullus and Pontius, who defeated Tigranes, the local ruler of the country, and turned it into a [Roman] province. He forced Arabia, which was ruled by Arabas the king of the barbarian Saracens, to become subject to himself (or to the Romans), and he fortified a village there, which he called Bostra, named after Bostras, the general he sent into the country. [He took control of] all the other local states, except for Cappadocia, which was ruled by Archelaus, and the tetrarchy of Judaea, which was ruled by Herodes; because these two had both given him magnificent gifts.

In his honour, Herodes the king of Judaea constructed a road outside the city of Antioch the great, where the route was very difficult, and paved it with white slabs. Both [the remaining] local rulers named their principal cities after Caesar, in his honour: king Herodes [224] changed the name of Strato's Tower to Caesareia of Palestine, and king Archelaus changed the name of Mazaca to Caesareia of Cappadocia. This Caesar was the uncle of Augustus, who had allowed them to remain as rulers of their tetrarchies for the rest of their lives.

Then [Augustus] set off from Palestine and went to Egypt. After forcing Egypt to become subject to the Romans, he entered Alexandria the great and celebrated a triumph there for his victory. He appointed one of his associates, called Cornelius Gallus, to be the first governor of the country, and gave him the rank of "Augustalis", in his own name.

From Egypt Augustus returned to Rome, full of overweening self-confidence, because he had conquered the world. After killing Brutus, who had murdered his uncle Caesar, he suppressed the senate and ruled the state arrogantly on his own. Brutus had occupied Thessaly with an army, but [Augustus] captured and beheaded him when Calvisianus and Pollio were consuls, as Lucanus, the learned Roman poet, has described.

At this time Sosibius, a senator of Antioch, came to Rome with Augustus. When Sosibius died, he left his wealth to his home city, for the establishment of a festival lasting for 30 days in the month of Hyperberetaeus. [225] The festival was held every four years, and featured contests of all kinds, including recitals, choruses, drama, athletics and horse-racing.

When Agrippa, the son-in-law of Augustus, visited Antioch for a second time, he restored the old hippodrome by clearing away the debris which lay in it from the previous earthquake; and in there he watched with admiration the various spectacles. The old hippodrome and the old palace were originally built from his own funds by Quintus Marcius Rex, when he visited Antioch in Syria to force Philippus Barypus, the Macedonian king of Antioch, to pay tribute to the Romans.

The divine Augustus was the first sole emperor and chief priest of the Romans. He called himself Augustus Caesar Octavianus Triumphator Sebastos Invictus Imperator (which means "Emperor"). Augustus reigned in all for 56 years. In appearance he was short, slim, plain-haired, with attractive eyes and a fine nose.

While Augustus was emperor, he built the temple of Jupiter at Rome and renovated the Capitol - both of which were awesome structures.

[226] In the tenth month of the 39th year of his reign, when Agrippa (for the second time) and Donatus were consuls, [Augustus] issued a decree that a census should be held in all the territories that he had conquered, or that were already under Roman rule. And the census was conducted, throughout all the territories that were subject to the Romans, by Eumenes and Attalus, two Roman senators. [Augustus] was regarded with great dread, because he was very prone to anger.

In the sixth month of the 41st year of his reign, when (?) Quintius and Longinus were consuls, and Vitellius had recently been appointed by Augustus to be governor of Syria; on the 25th day of the month of Dystros, which was the day of the Lord [Sunday], in the second hour of the day, the archangel Gabriel announced the good news to the holy virgin Mary, the mother of God, in the city of Nazareth.

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