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Of ante-diluvian profane learning, there are no monumental guides upon which, in our inquiries, we can place any reliance. The pillars of Seth, and the Book of Enoch, though supported, the first by Josephus, and the second, by Tertullian, and some other fathers, yet seem to have had no existence in fact." And even remote post-diluvian history, presents to view a soil of scarcely less sterility. For, though Diodorus assures us that his account of the Assyrian Antiquities is taken from Ctesias, whose records were based upon the Persian Chronicles, there can be but little doubt that what he represents as true of the ancient Assyrian Empire, is after all no more than what he knew to be true of the Persian.” As Mr. Shuckford justly remarks, those writers seem to have been possessed of “a romantic humor of magnifying ancient facts, buildings, wars, armies, and kingdoms.” In illustration of this point we have but to compare the account given of the age of the ante-diluvian kings of Berosus, with the acknowledged longevity of the patriarchs as furnished by Moses. This writer computes each year of the Chaldean kings by a “Sarus,” each of which is equal to six hundred and three years; and thus he makes them to have lived some “ten, twelve, thirteen, and eighteen Sari, the last of which life amounted to ten thousand, eight hundred and fifty four years.”
Similar to the above are the extravagant accounts of Diodorus and others, who, in after ages, “represent
1. Shuck, con. p. 54, 55. 2. Shuck. con. vol. ii. p. 45, 46. 3. Shuck, con. vol. i. p. 16.
the armies of Semiramis, and her buildings at Babylon,
1. Gen. xIy
versal history of all nations from the beginning, he took the greatest pains in searching the records of Taautus,” or Thyoth. “But the priests who lived after him, adding their comments and explications to his work, in some time brought all back to mythology again.” " Profane post-diluvian history claims Herodotus as the first chronicler of its events. He was followed by Xenophon. Then Ctesias the Cnidian, physician to Artaxerxes Mnemon, king of Persia. As evidence of the ancient learning of the Indians, Clemens Alexandrinus quotes the authority of Megasthenes. All the remains of it now extant, however, are to be found in the writings of Confucius. And, though fragments of the most ancient Phoenician, Egyptian, and Grecian writers have been transmitted to us, yet the original works, and particularly those of the two former nations, have perished. Upon the history of Herodotus, little, if any, reliance can be placed. As himself seems to insinuate, (Lib. i. c. 95,) he wrote from hearsay only. In this respect at least, Ctesias had the advantage over him, in that he examined the royal records of Persia for historical data, the existence of which records is recognized in the sacred writings. (Ezra Iv. 15; Esth. vi. 1.) And, whatever of fable may be attributed to his writings by Aristotle, Antigonus, Caristheus, Plutarch, Arrian, and Photius, no valid objection can be urged against his catalogue of the kings who reigned between the first Assyrian king, Nimrod, and Nabonassar; for, besides the Scriptural evidence of such an interval, Ctesias’ Catalogue is received as authentic by Diodorus Siculus, by Cephalon, and Castor, by Trogus Pompeius, Valleius Patercules, and afterwards by Africanus, Eusebius, and Syncellus, all of which is corroborated by the observations of Callisthenes, that the Assyrians were promoters of learning during that whole period." It may here be of service to the reader to annex, in addition to the above, the following catalogue of authorities, as the sources, generally, whence are derived the antiquities of the Egyptians, Chinese, and Assyrian dynasties. And, 1. Those of Egypt are, first, The old Egyptian Chronographeon, which passed through the hands, first of Manetho and subsequently of Syncellus; the latter of which was rather an abstract of the original, he having died before completing his account of it. Then also, even that abstract was incorporated with materials gathered from some later Chronicles. Of the old Chronographeon, some learned writers, of whom Scaliger is one, are of the opinion that it is nothing but an abridgement of the Tomes of Manetho. Prideaux seems to entertain this view. But Syncellus' comparison of the latter work with the former, though it leads to a discovery of errors on the part of Manetho, entirely irreconcileable with the original, yet shows the two works to be separate and distinct; the old
1. 1 Shuck.com. vol. i. p. 13, 14.
Chronographeon dividing each reign of the Egyptian kings by astronomical, and the work of Manetho by historical data, 2. The Egyptian Dynasty closed with the reign of Nectanebus, when it fell into the hands of the Persians under the valorous arm of Ochus, and was finally reduced by Alexander the Great. At his death it formed “a part of the provinces of Ptolemy, one of his captains, who in a few years became king of it.” It was during the reign of his son Ptolemy Philadelphus, that Manetho, then at the head of the sacra of the Egyptians, and one of the nobility, “about the time, or soon after the Septuagint translation was made of the Hebrew Scriptures, was ordered to compile the history of his own country. Having consulted the sacred books of the Egyptians, and extracted, as he pretended, what had been transcribed into them from their most ancient monuments, and completed his undertaking in the Greek tongue, he dedicated it to Ptolemy, at whose command he had composed it.” This, therefore, forms the next source of authoritative data for the antiquities of this nation. The errors and imperfections of his Tomes, however, failing to give satisfaction, Eratosthenes was ordered by Ptolemy Euergetes in the fol: lowing reign, “to make a further collection of the Egyptian kings.” Hence, 3. The catalogue of Eratosthenes is now to be added to the above. This writer was a Cyrenian, and, having attained great eminence as a scholar at Athens, the seat of Grecian learning, he was invited into Egypt by Euergetes, where he becameone of the keepers