The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 9 (to end)

15. At that time the Jews returned to Jerusalem.  They then became so numerous that they filled the city, they decided to give themselves a king.  Hearing about this, Trajan Caesar sent one of his generals to Jerusalem at the head of a large army (41).  Countless Jews were killed in that way.  Now it happened that at Babylon a rebel rose up against this king Trajan.  The king Trajan marched against him, and between the two there was a violent combat.  Many men fell on both sides in that war, and the king Trajan was killed (42).

16. After him reigned Aelius Hadrian Caesar for twenty years (43).  He waged war on the rebel of Babylon and defeated him.  He then passed into Egypt; he subjected the population to severe hardships, forcing people to worship idols and for this reason he put to death many Christians, including Eustathius, his wife and their two children: he dropped them in a copper kettle, poured water on them, lit a fire under the boiler and made them die groaning in agony (44). The king Aelius Hadrian Caesar was hit by a horrible disease that spread throughout the body, and he began to go from one country to another in search of some medicine able to heal his body and cure his disease.  Finally it was suggested that he go to Jerusalem.  But having arrived there, and found that the city was all a mass of ruins and that there was nothing but the church of Christians, he ordered that a city be built around the temple, and furnished with a strong tower.  Having heard this, the Jews flocked from every country and city.  In a short time the city was full, and they were many, and gave themselves a king named Barğūziyā (45).  The king Aelius Hadrian, being made aware of the fact, sent one of his generals at the head of many men who besieged the city.  All those who were there died of hunger and thirst.  Then he conquered it, killed many Jews and destroyed the city, leaving it empty (46).

This was the final destruction of Jerusalem.  Some of the Jews fled to Egypt, others in Syria, others to the mountains and others to Ghor.  The king ordered that no Jew should live in the city.  He ordered to kill the Jews and annihilate the race.  He then ordered that the city should be inhabited by Greeks and called Aelia (47), from the name of the king.  After that, in fact, Jerusalem was called the city of Aelius.  The Greeks lived there and built a tower at the door of the temple called “The Splendour”.  On it they put a large tablet on which was written the name of King Aelius.  The tower, today, is the one that is close to the gate of the city of Jerusalem called “Mihrāb Dāwud” (48).

17. From the previous destruction by Titus, to this one, fifty-three years had passed.  Soon Jerusalem was populated by Greeks.  But seeing that Christians used to go to pray to the place of garbage, under which the Holy Sepulchre was found, and the place called The Skull, the Greeks prevented this and built on that place of garbage a temple dedicated to Venus; this was so that no Christian could go any more close to the unclean place (49).  In the sixth year of the reign of Hadrian, Hyginus was made patriarch of Rome (50).  He held the office for four years and died.  In the tenth year of his reign Marcus was made patriarch of Rome (51).  He held the office for fifteen years and died.  In the ninth year of his reign Cornelius was made patriarch of Antioch.  He held the office for sixteen years and died.  In the second year of his reign Eumenes was made patriarch of Alexandria.  He held the office for twelve years and died.  In the fourteenth year of his reign Marcian was made patriarch of Alexandria.  He held the office for ten years and died.  In the fourth year of his reign Tobias was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for three years and died.  In the seventh year of his reign Benjamin was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for three years and died.  In the tenth year of his reign John was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the seat for two years and died.  In the thirteenth year of his reign Matateus [or Mattias] was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for two years and died.  In the fifteenth year of his reign Philip was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for two years and died.  In the seventeenth year of his reign Seneca was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for only one year and died.  In the eighteenth year of his reign Justus was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for five years and died.

18. The king Aelius died, and after him reigned in Rome Antoninus Caesar for twenty-two years (53).  In the fifth year of his reign Anicetus was made patriarch of Rome (54). He held the office for eleven years and died.  In the sixteenth year of his reign Soterus was made patriarch of Rome (55).  He held the office for eight years and died.  In the fourth year of his reign Celadio was made patriarch of Alexandria (56).  He held the office for eleven years and died.  In the fifteenth year of his reign Agrippinus was made patriarch of Alexandria (57).  He held the office for twelve years and died.  In the third year of his reign Arus was made patriarch of Antioch.  He held the office for thirteen years and died.  In the sixteenth year of his reign Theophilus was made Patriarch of Antioch. He held the office for twenty-one years and died.  In the first year of his reign Levi was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for five years and died.  In the sixth year of his reign Ephrem was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the seat for two years and died.  In the eighth year of his reign Arsenius was made bishop of Jerusalem (58).  He held the office for three years and died.  In the eleventh year of his reign Judah was made bishop of Jerusalem. He held the office for two years and died.

From James, first bishop of Jerusalem, to this Judah, Bishop of Jerusalem, the bishops who had succeeded to the See of Jerusalem were of the circumcision (59).  In the thirteenth year of the reign of Antoninus Marcus was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for eight years and died.  In the twenty-first year of his reign Cassianus was made bishop of Jerusalem. He held the office for five years and died.

19. Antoninus Caesar died.  After him reigned Marcus, called Aurelius Caesar and also called Antoninus swrs (60).  He reigned for nineteen years and died.  He procured for the Christians great misfortunes and long affliction.  Many Christians found martyrdom in his day.  There was, in his day, severe famine, drought and pestilence.  For two years no rain fell and the king and the people of his kingdom were about to die by famine and pestilence.  Therefore he asked the Christians to invoke their Lord so there would be rain.  The Christians then lifted up imploring voices to their Lord: God made a lot of water rain on them, and the pestilence and drought disappeared (61).

20. At the time of this king the sage Meghitiyūs lived in Greece  (62). In the second year of his reign Eleuterius was made patriarch of Rome (63).  He held the seat for fifteen years and died.  In the seventeenth year of his reign Victor was made patriarch of Rome (64).  He held the office for ten years and died.  In the fifth year of his reign Julian was made patriarch of Alexandria (65).  He held the office for ten years and died.  In the fifteenth year of his reign Demetrius was made patriarch of Alexandria (66).  He held the office for forty years and died.  He was the first patriarch to ordain bishops in the province of Egypt.  In the fifteenth year of his reign Maximus was made patriarch of Antioch.  He held the seat for nine years and died.  In the fourth year of his reign Eusebius was made bishop of Jerusalem (67).  He held the seat for two years and died.  In the sixth year of his reign Būliyūs was made patriarch (sic!) of Jerusalem (68).  He held the office for five years and died.  In the eleventh year of his reign Maximus was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for four years and died.  In the fifteenth year of his reign Julian was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the seat for two years and died.  In the seventeenth year of his reign Gaius was made bishop of Jerusalem (69).  He held the office for three years and died.

21. At that time Demetrius, patriarch of Alexandria, wrote to Gaius, bishop of Jerusalem, Maximus, Patriarch of Antioch and Victor, Patriarch of Rome, on the calculation of Easter for the Christians, and on their times of fasting, as well as how to calculate the time starting from the passover of the Jews.  He drew up in this regard many writings and letters which established that the Christian Easter is celebrated according to the practice still in use today.  This is because the Christians were accustomed, after the ascension into heaven of Christ, our Lord, to celebrate the feast of his Baptism (70) starting from that day to fast for forty days, after which they broke the fast precisely as Christ our Lord had done.  For Christ, our Lord, having received baptism in the Jordan, retired to the desert and stayed there, fasting, for the period of forty days.  The Christians were accustomed thus to celebrate their Easter in the same period in which fell that of the Jews [the passover].  Those patriarchs settled thus the calculation of Easter, so that the Christians fasted for forty days and broke the fast on Easter Day (71).

22. The king Marcus [Aurelius] Caesar died.  After him there reigned at Rome Commodus Caesar (72), son of Antoninus, for twelve years.  In his time there lived in Greece, in the city of Pergamum, the physician Galen, initiator of the medical art.  Among other things Galen records, in the index of his own books, that he was the tutor of king Commodus.  And likewise Galen tells us, in the first treatise of [his] book known under the title of Kitāb Akhlāq an-Nafs (73), that there was in the days of King Commodus a man named Perennis (74) whom the king Commodus sent to call to him, intending to kill him.  But [Perennis] fled.  [This Perennis] had two servants, and the king had them flogged to make them show him where their master could be found.  But from nobility of mind, and wanting at all costs to save the life of their master, they preferred to remain silent.  From Alexander to Perennis five hundred and sixteen years had passed, since this incident is located in the ninth year of the reign of Commodus Caesar.  So says Galen.  In his day, the sage Dīmuqrātis flourished.  In the eighth year of his reign Fūritūs was made patriarch of Rome (75).  He held the seat for eighteen years and died.  In the fifth year of his reign Serapion was made patriarch of Antioch.  He held the office for ten years and died.  In the first year of his reign Symmachus was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for two years and died.  In the third year of his reign Gaius was made bishop of Jerusalem (76).  He held the office for three years and died.  In the sixth year of his reign Julian was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for four years and died.  In the eleventh year of his reign Elias was made bishop of Jerusalem (77). He held the seat for two years and died.

2 thoughts on “The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 9 (to end)

  1. Not a lot there to disturb expectation, and most of what there is is derivative, especially about the reigns of the bishops; but there are a couple of interesting points.

    The first is the reference to the ‘Mihrab Dawud’, one of the gates of Jerusalem. That reads to me as though Eutychius had been to Jerusalem and seen it for himself. (Of course, no great stretch of the imagination is needed to suppose that he made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem at least once in his life.)

    The second is his inclusion of the story of Perennis in his account of the reign of Commodus. This is not a particularly striking story, and I suspect Eutychius inserted it mainly to show that he either possessed, or had read, the book of Galen which mentions it. In other words, he was just showing off.

    As you indicate, Roger, Eutychius was wrong to refer to a patriarch of Jerusalem before 451; but that kind of anachronism is readily parallelled in other Christian writers. I suppose it was easy for them to forget that the five great patriarchal dioceses had not always held such rank.

  2. Useful – thank you! Yes, the material from Galen seems levered in; but he must have read Galen’s “On my own books”, which does exist in Arabic even now. And it does sound as if he has been to Jerusalem.

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