Sivut kuvina
PDF
ePub

23d in the Memphite and 22d in the Theban catalogue, as the latter now stands: the first five reigns in each being obviously distinct successions, proper to Heptanomis and Thebais. Yet these Laterculi correspond in the years of scarcely a single reign, although the sums of both are the same *.

This plainly shews, that the priests of Thebes and Memphis had preserved the same genealogies and successions, with the same astronomical æras and periods, while they accommodated the individual reigns to the whole period, each in their own way.

Again : we find the reign of Mizraim, or Menes, stated at

* To speak more critically, the sum of Manetho's 25 reigns of the Cynic cycle in Lower Egypt is 701 years; that of the first 23 Memphite reigns 701; and that of the same in the Theban Laterculus 702. The latter apparently sum up 676 years only; but as this arises from an error of Syncellus, which the writer believes has been hitherto overlooked, it is important to our present purpose, as well as to the Egyptian chronology, to have it rectified.

The whole period of the 38 Theban reigns, from Menes to Amuthantæus, was 1076 years, as stated by Syncellus from Apollodorus, both at the beginning and end of the catalogue, and is so computed in the Syncelline chronography. The 38 reigns given, however, sum up 1050 years only. Hence 26 years are somewhere omitted ; and this being the number required to reconcile the period from Menes to Nitocris in Eratosthenes, with the same in Manetho, there can be little doubt that the omission belongs to that interval, which should therefore be 702 years, and not 676.

That the error consists in Syncellus's having passed over a reign in transcribing the catalogue, is evident, because as it now stands the 32d reign is Stamenemes the Second, while no former prince of the same name appears. Stamenemes the First, reigning 26 years, is therefore omitted, and in him the chronological and historical errors concentrate. The Memphite and Theban catalogues, as above, are the same succession, from Tasertasis, the sixth of Manetho, and Toigar Amachus, the sixth of Eratosthenes, to the Nitocris of both. But the intervening reigns are 18 in the former writer, inclusively, while they are but 17 in the present Theban catalogue. We have before seen there is a chronological omission of 26 years in the latter version of this period. Here, then, is a corresponding historical omission of a reign, as in the case of Stamenemes, as above. To this interval it is therefore plain that the omitted reign of Stamenemes the First, of 26 years, belongs ; and it hence appears that Nitocris was the 23d in the original Theban as well as Memphite Laterculus. That the place of the omitted reign is between the 19th and 20th reigns in Syncellus's copy, and immediately preceding Apappus Maximus, will be evident to any one who compares the lists of Manetho and Eratosthenes, which would be too long an operation for the compass of this note; but, if I recollect aright, it is ably done in Dr. Pritchard's Analysis of Egyptian Chronology, although not with a view to emendation.

Syncellus gets over his chronological omission by reckoning the reign of Penteathyris, the predecessor of Stamenemes the Second, at 42 years, although he states it at 16; but the unquestionable omission of a whole reign proves, the erroneousness of such a proceeding.

The Theban Laterculus, so far as given by Syncellus, therefore consists of 39 reigns, instead of 38, which is an important feature in Egyptian history and chronology. The remaining 53 reigns, in the original Theban catalogue of Eratosthenes and Apollodorus, which Syncellus declares he has omitted (obviously because, by connecting the Egyptian æra with times better known, they would have invalidated bis protracted Scriptural reckoning), the writer hopes on another occasion to supply.

thirty-five years in the Lower Egyptian catalogue, doubtless taken by Manetho from the archives of Heliopolis ; while the same reign stands 62 years in both the Thiņite list of Manetho, and the Theban of Eratosthenes, which were doubtless extracted by both historians from the Theban archives. Thus do the agreements and disagreements of these writers alike lead to the beforementioned inferences, as to the method of ancient chroniclers.

To the same cause may, I apprehend, be attributed many of the differences in ancient regal catalogues—as in the reigns of the Assyrian monarchs, &c.;--and that the inestimable Ptolemaic canon is itself not altogether free from such management; which, however, I hope to shew on another occasion prevailed but in a slight degree in the ages to which it belongs.

It should be noted, that the Chaldean reigns of Ptolemy, preceding that of Assaradinus or Asserhadon, form no criterion for the length of those of the three ancient dynasties, to which they bear no proportion ; because the latter are, for the most part, the times of the viceroys of Babylon, who were removeable at the pleasure of the kings of Assyria.

The first three Chaldean princes, Evechous (whom Syncellus supposes the same with Nimrod), his son Chom-asbolus, and Porus, appear to be the Ham, Cush, and Nimrod of Scripture; for Eupolemus affirms (Euseb. Pr. Evang. 1. ix), that, according to the Babylonians, Choum, called by the Greeks Asbolus, was the father of the Ethiopians (or Cushites), and the son of Chanaan (see Gen. ix. 22, 25-27), and the brother of Mestraim. If the identity of Chom-asbolus with Cush be hence admitted, there can remain no difficulty regarding his predecessor and successor; the former representing Ham, Jupiter Amon, or Jupiter Belus (see Nonnus, Dionysiac. 1. 40); and the latter, Nimrod, Orus, or Orion (see Georg. Hamartoli Chronogr. lib. ii. ad init. Chronogr. Joh. Malalæ, &c.). The second king of the Arabian dynasty, the only name omitted by Syncellus, may be supplied by the Amraphel of Gen. xiv., with whose time the omission synchronizes, according to the true sacred reckoning, but not in the protracted chronology of Syncellus*. This omission, therefore, seems to be one of the pieces of management which characterize almost every page of the writings of that chronographert.

May 18, 1829.

* I find Mardac supplied in the new edition of Syncellus by Dindorf, being the name of a Babylonian god often found compounded in those of the kings (see the canon), but not uncompounded in any other case. It does not therefore affect the above supposition.

+ The ancient Chaldean chronology will, it is hoped, be further verified and illustrated, in a dissertation on the Assyrian Laterculus of the Ancients, in which it is proposed to shew that the protracted system, adopted by Africanus, Syncellus, and Scaliger, is founded on an astronomical corruption similar to that developed in the « Criteria for determining the

Accuracy of the Sacred Hebrew Chronology” (see Morn. Watch, vols. II. and III.)

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]

181

RECORDS OF THE RELIGION AND SCIENCE OF BABYLON.

The Land of Shinar, Ur of the Chaldees, Babylon the Great, are titles which bring to the mind associations with all that is venerable and magnificent in past times, and which typify the most important mysteries touching Christian experience, and the church, in present time. In the land of Shinar the post diluvian patriarchs first pitched their tents; there the first apostasy was perpetrated in the tower of Babel; from Ur of the Chaldees came forth the father of the faithful, in whose Seed all the families of the earth shall yet be blessed ; and Chaldea was not only the cradle of civilization and science, but there they attained ample development and full maturity, and were encircled with the richest splendour. And how astonishing is the contrast which the present aspect of that land presents! Almost a desert! the very site of Babylon long unknown, and still disputed ! and the mistress of the world now

frequented only by miserable beings, who dig from its ruins materials for their present miserable hovels ! Here once stood the throne of him who is called the head of gold to the kingdoms of the earth, and who could summon to his halls one hundred and twenty princes of provinces : he too was the scourge, and here for seventy years was the prison, of the people of God. But when this time of chastisement was accomplished, and when Babylon, in the pride of power, profaned the holy vessels of the Temple, its cup of iniquity being full, the doom of God passed upon it; and that very night it was smitten, to rise no more.

The antitype of Babylon, Rome, the mother of abominations, that ruleth over the kings of the earth, has nearly completed a similar course: she has long been the scourge and the prison of the church of God: she has apostatized as sinfully as old Babylon; for though her sin be not so gross, it is committed against clearer light and fuller revelation : she has nearly consummated the profanation of the ordinances of God; the cup of her iniquity is almost full; and then she too shall be swept away with the besom of destruction.

At the Confusion of Tongues the earth was divided among the several dialects; to commemorate which, Eber called his son Peleg, or division; and the pure religion and original language were retained by him and his descendants, who were therefore called Hebrews : and their residence was not Babylon, the city of confusion, but Ur, the city of light. The signal judgment of God upon Babel did not reclaim Nimrod and his followers from idolatry; and after a time, the temple of Belus was erected on the ruins of Babel, and the city of Babylon rose around : and even to the present day the name of its founder is retained, one

[ocr errors]

of the mounds being still called Birs Nemroud. The dispersed families too, whom the Lord scattered abroad upon the face of all the earth, and from whom all the various nations have sprung, carried with them the idolatry as well as the science of Babylon. And though the memorial of their origin has been much obscured by the lapse of four thousand years, and the accumulations during that time; yet one common origin from Babel may still be traced in the early traditions of all the heathen nations, and in the science and superstition of most of them.

The astronomy of all nations is confessedly Chaldean in its origin, and the wise men, or Magi, of the East have become a proverb; and through all the regions of Asia, among the followers of Budh, Brama, or Mohammed, traces of an older superstition remain. The bull and mundane egg of the Japanese, the mon, sters of China and Hindostan, with their several transformations, are only various versions of the exploits of one hero, or at most two of the same name; to whom both the first and the last place is given in the list of their twelve demigods : and who is also, as supreme, invested with the attributes of all the other deities; being the Jupiter of the Latins, the Zeus of the Greeks, the Dionysius or Bacchus of India, the Thor of Phænicia, the Ares of Thrace, the Thoth of Egypt, and the Belus of Babylon. The obscurity is further increased to us by the heathen having retained some imperfect traditions of both the Creation and the Deluge, and sometimes impersonating the facts of creation under the names which appear in the cosmogonies ; and, on the other hand, making Noah the father and instructor of Belus, though they had invested this last person with all the attributes of the supreme. The first Belus, who was either Nimrod or his contemporary, began idolatry at Babylon; and in the same generation, and from the same source, though introduced by Thoth, idolatry of the same kind began in Egypt,

The heavenly bodies were the first objects of idolatry in both countries, and the sin grew out of the inordinate devotion of these nations to astronomy: they impersonated the sun, moon, and stars; and they peopled the zodiac with imaginary beings, to whom they gave divine honours. But there was one characteristic difference, which at first would seem unimportant, but which really has given an entirely different form to the two great streams of idolatry,--the difference of the character used for symbolizing the heavenly bodies at Babylon and at Thebes. The symbols used in Chaldea were starry, or arrow-headed, or rectilinear; the symbols used in Egypt were hieroglyphics. Both kinds of symbols are by Sanchoniatho attributed to Taautus or Thoth, the first Hermes of the Greeks, and the son of Misor or Mizraim; saying first, that he invented the writing (or delineation) of the first elements, and afterwards that he pourtrayed

« EdellinenJatka »