The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 3

Let us carry on with Eutychius.  We reach the times of Alexander.

10. After him reigned his son Qamīsūs for nine years.[1]  After him, Smardhiyūs the Magian reigned for a single year.  He was called the Magian because a Persian named Zarādast appeared in his days, under whose influence the religion of the Magi became official, and he instituted the worship at the temples of fire.  After him, Dārā I reigned for twenty years.[2]  After him reigned Artahshāst, nicknamed “Longimanus” for twenty-four years.

In his time there lived in Greece in the city of Quwā[3], the physician Buqrāt, master of medical art.[4]  Sa`īd ibn Batrīq the physician says: “It is true what Ğālinūs says in his commentary to “Kitāb Iman Buqrāt wa ‘ahdihī” [5] where he asserts: ‘The king of Persia sent messengers to Hippocrates with a lot of money, asking him to go to him.  But Hippocrates did not consent to his request and did not go to him because he did not consider it right to care for the Persian enemies of the Greeks.’ Hunayn ibn Ishāq reports, in his translation of this book from Greek into Arabic, that Galen has conveyed that Hippocrates did not go to Artakhshāsht nicknamed “Longimanus” because it was said that at the time of this king the Persians had been affected by the disease called ” Al-Mawāriq”.[6]  In another text it is said that it was an epizootic disease.[7] [The king] then sent the satrap of the city of Quwāsalah to give Hippocrates a hundred “qintār” of gold, and sent it to him with honors and signs of esteem, to heal the Persians from the illness that had struck them.  But Hippocrates refused because he did not feel right to help and care for the enemies of the Greeks.”

11. Artakhshāsht Longimanus died and after him Artakhshāsht the Great reigned for thirty years.  After him reigned Makidūniyūs for three years.  After him reigned Sa‘adaniyūs for three years.[8] After him, Dārā II, nicknamed an-Nākit[9], reigned for seventeen years.  After him, Artakhshāsht, one of the sons of his brother Kūrish II, reigned for twenty-two years.  The wise men and philosophers of his time living in Greece were Hiraqlus, Mālūs, Fīthāghūras, Suqrātis, Sīlūn the legislator, Zīnūn, Abindaflis.[10] After him reigned his son Artakhshāsht known as Akhūs[11] for twenty years. Akhus, king of the Persians, gathered the army and marched on Egypt. The king of Egypt went out, and occupied the land. The king of Egypt, who was then the Pharaoh Shānāq[12], fearing to fall into the hands of Akhūs, King of the Persians, and be tortured, cut off his hair, shaved his beard and fled in disguise to the town of Maqidūniyah.[13] Akhūsh, king of the Persians, built the citadel known as Qasr ash-Shama in Fustāt, Egypt. He also built an imposing temple for the house of fire known today under the name of the church of Mār Tādurus.”  The king of the town of Maqidūniyah was Philip, father of Alexander. Akhus, King of the Persians, died.  After him reigned his son Arsīs, nicknamed “an-Nākit” for eleven years.  The philosophers and wise men of his time living in the city of Athīnā and in Greece were Aflātūn, Kinsālūn, Dīmūkrātis, Abullūniyūs and Suqrāt.[14]

12. Arsīs, king of the Persians, died.  After him, his son Dāriyūs reigned for seven years until he was killed by Alexander, who had become king of the kings who were in Mossul, Bābil, Fāris and  Āmid.  The cause for which Alexander killed Dāriyūs, king of the Persians, was this.  When his father Philip died, Alexander succeeded him on the throne of Makidūniyah at the age of sixteen.  Dāriyūsh, king of Fāris, knowing that Alexander was reigning over the Rūm after his father, tried to subdue him and wrote a letter to him as follows: “It has come to my notice that you have taken to reign over the Rūm without my permission.  If you had followed your father’s judicious conduct and acted according to our agreements, it would have been better for you and your prosperity would be long.  But the inexperience of your youth has induced you to behave with foolishness, and fools also are those who are with you.  Desist from the state in which you are, and send the tribute for yourself and your country, acknowledge your mistake and do it soon, without delay, otherwise I will move against you with the men of Fāris, and with them I will trample your country, I will kill your men, and I will deprive you of your prosperity.  I send you something that, if you can count it, you will know how many are my men and my friends.  Peace [to you]”. And he sent to him by a messenger, a qafīr of sesame seeds.

13. The messenger of Dāriyūs presented himself to Alexander and handed him the letter and the sesame seeds.  Alexander summoned his generals and read them the letter of Dāriyūs.  Then he said to them, “If you are gathered together, and you unite, you will beat him, but if you are divided he will get the better of you.” One by one they expressed their opinion and Alexander answered them, saying, “I feel that we will conquer Dāriyūs. It is proof of this, that he compared his men to sesame, which is a insubstantial food, and one that is eaten without effort. I feel that his kingdom will be ours.”  His men said to him, “This is the will of God.” Then Alexander wrote a letter to Dāriyūs in these terms: “From him who has become king by the will of God, from Alexander, the servant of God and King of the Greeks, to the excellent Dāriyūs.  I understand the content of your letter, what you describe as a transgression to your order, and what you are threatening me, that if I do not abandon the state in which I am and delay to send what you order me to send you, you will move against me with your men of Fars.  But your heart has spoken what your hand can not take, nor your thinking reach, because, in truth, I will come out against you with the lions of the Greeks, and then I will let you know how matters stand at our meeting. I send you something to be able to anticipate the strong flavour of my men. Peace [to you]”. And he sent him a bag of mustard.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. [1]Cambyses II, son of Cyrus.
  2. [2]Darius I.
  3. [3]Cos?
  4. [4]I.e. Hippocrates.
  5. [5]I.e. the Book of the Oath and Testament of Hippocrates.”  Cf. Strohmaier, G., “Hunayn ibn Ishāq et le Serment Hippocratique”, in: Arabica 21 (1974), pp. 318-323.
  6. [6]More commonly “mayrùq”, i.e. fungus or jaundice.
  7. [7]I.e. an epidemic among animals, often communicable to men.
  8. [8]Sogdianus.
  9. [9]Darius II Notus.
  10. [10]Heraclitus, Malus (?), Pythagoras, Socrates, Solon, Zeno, Empedocles.
  11. [11]Artaxerxes III Ochus.
  12. [12]This must be Nectanebo II.
  13. [13]I.e. to Macedonia.
  14. [14]Plato, Xenophon, Democrates, Apollonius, and Socrates.

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 2

Let’s carry on with Old Testament narratives from the time of Daniel.  It would interesting to know if any Persian sources were used for any of this.

5. After him, his son Awīl Marūdakh[1] reigned for twenty-three years.  He released Yahūnākhīm, king of the Israelites, from prison, and put on him the garments of honour, and treated him with every respect, and set free all the prisoners of Israel.  In Egypt the prophet Irimiyah[2] was stoned to death and was buried.  It is said that when Alexander entered Egypt, he brought the body of the prophet Irimiya to Alexandria and buried it there.  Awīl Marūdakh died.

6.  After him, his son Baltāssar reigned for three years and was killed. After he had eaten and drunk with his companions, and having become drunk, he had brought in the gold and silver vessels of the temple that his grandfather Bakhtanassar had taken away from Ūrashalīm[3] and drank from them, ordering his companions to do likewise.  But while he slept in the room, behold he saw the fist of a hand move on the wall, and the fingers of the hand write.  He was greatly frightened, and gathered together the wise men of Bābil, to read the writing and explain it.  But they did not succeed.  They said to the king, “There is here an Israelite named Dāniyāl whom your grandfather Bakhtanassar highly honoured and held in great consideration.  He will read it to you, and explain this to you”.  The king then summoned Dāniyāl.  Dāniyāl read the writing and recited the writing as follows: “Mānī. Thākāl. Fārās”. Then he said: “Mānī means ‘God has made your kingdom perfect and great.’ Thākāl means ‘The kingdom, already perfect, is destined to end’ and Fārās means ‘Your kingdom will be divided between the Medes and the Persians'”.  The king gave a mantle of honour to Dāniyāl and put a gold collar on his neck.  That same night, King Baltāssar was killed.

7. Then Dāriyūsh, son of Asrīr, the Mede, that is, of the house of Mādānī, reigned after him for a single year.  He took Dāniyāl and appointed him chief of his soldiers.  But his generals were jealous, and sought to discredit him in the eyes of the king, saying, “Dāniyāl is marching against the king with the intent of killing him”.  The king then cast Dāniyāl into a pit full of hungry lions.  Then, on his own, the next day he removed Dāniyāl from the pit.  The lions had not touched him.  The king felt very afraid, and threw in the pit the generals who had slandered him, and they were all devoured by the lions.  The king reconfirmed Dāniyāl as chief of his soldiers, and supreme organizer of his army.

8.  On the death of Dāriyūsh, the kingdom passed into the hands of the Persians.  The first Persian to reign was Kūrish the Persian.[4]  He also appointed Dāniyāl as chief of the army.  There was in Bābil a huge bronze idol called Bīl.[5]  To this idol there was offered daily twelve “makkūk” [6] of flour, forty rams and six divine measures.  Every day the king prostrated himself and worshipped the idol.[7]  But Dāniyāl responded, saying, “The servants of the idol are those who eat what is given to them as a daily ration”.  The king then called the servants, threatened them and confirmed [what Dāniyāl had said to him].  The king then ordered the demolition of the idol and that the servants should be put to death.

There was also, in Bābil, a great snake that the people of the city worshiped.  Dāniyāl said to the king: “Give me permission, and I will kill it.”  Dāniyāl then took some sausage, some pitch, and some hair, kneaded them together and fed them to the serpent.  As soon as the snake ate this, it died. When the inhabitants of Bābil saw what Dāniyāl had done, they were angry and sought to discredit him in the king’s eyes, saying: “Dāniyāl wants to kill you”.  The king was irritated with him, and threw him into a pit full of hungry lions, where he remained for six days.  The lions were given food, daily, of two bulls, and two rams. But during those six days, no meat was given to the lions.  In the land of Judah, in a place called Tiqwa‘, there was the prophet Habaqūq.[8]  He was cooking lentils and prepared a soup in a bowl to feed the harvesters.  But an angel from heaven called to him and said to him, “Habaqūq, bring the food you have with you to Dāniyāl in Bāhil.  He has been in the pit of the lions for six days and has not eaten any food”.  Then the angel of God grabbed the prophet Habaqūq by his hair and brought him to Bābil with the food that he had.  [Habaqūq] appeared at the pit where Dāniyāl was, called to him, and said to him: “Dāniyāl, I am Habaqūq.  God has sent me to you with food for you to eat”.  Dāniyāl came out of the pit, ate and praised God, then went back down into the pit.  The angel then took Habaqūq and brought him back to the land of Judah.  Then the king repented of what he had done to Dāniyāl and ordered them to pull him out of the pit.  The lions had not touched him.  The king was surprised, and restored to Dāniyāl the post of chief of the army.  The reign of Kūrish the Persian lasted for three years.[9]  Then he died.

9. After him reigned Akhshūwīrus for twelve years.  After him reigned his son Kūrish, known as Dāriyūs, for thirty years.  In the first year of his reign, Dāniyāl the prophet died.  In the second year of his reign he ordered the Israelites to return to Ūrashalīm and to [re]build the city and the temple.  This was because Kūrish the Persian had married an Israelite named Malihāt, sister of Zurūbābil, and made her queen according to the Persian custom.  Kūrish loved her very much and when she asked him to return the Israelites to Ūrashalīm with her brother Zurūbābil, the king agreed.  So Kūrish ordered Zurūbābil to reign at Ūrashalīm.  In his days prophesied Anagua[10] and Zakariya, son of Hağliyah.  He was the Ra’s al-Ğālūth[11] and he was entrusted with the task of [re]building the temple.  There was with him Izra, son of Sirāyā, the priest, and a multitude of the Israelites.  From the captivity of Bābil to the [re]building of the Temple seventy years had passed.  The construction lasted four years.  Zurūbābil, son of Salātiyil, son of Akhiyah, known as Yahūnākhīm, king of Judah, whom Bakhtanassar had deported and put into prison, waited for the construction.  Zurūbābil reigned over the Israelites at Ūrashalīm.  One year after the temple was rebuilt, the priest, `Izrā, died.  He had been a priest before the arrival of Yūsha, son of the priest Yahūsādūq,[12] and seeing the Jews commit many errors against the Torah, he wrote for them the Torah that they currently have.  He reformed the dictates of their law and taught them their religion.  Kūrish-Dāriyūsh, king of Bābil, died.

  1. [1]Or Evil-Merodach, as our bibles memorably label him.
  2. [2]Jeremiah.
  3. [3]Jerusalem
  4. [4]Cyrus.
  5. [5]Baal.
  6. [6]A makkuk is about 55 litres of dry material.
  7. [7]I wonder if something is missing from the text after this sentence – it reads as if someone accused Daniel, who then replies.
  8. [8]The biblical account does not mention that Habakuk lived at Tecoa, modern Khirbet Tiqwa‘.
  9. [9]Much longer in reality; from 559-530 BC.
  10. [10]Haggai.
  11. [11]“27. The wording is obscure and very difficult to interpret.” – Pirone.  It looks like a title, like “Reis” i.e. “overseer”, to me.
  12. [12]The actions of Joshua son of Yozadak are referred to in the books of Esdras and Haggai.

The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 1

Let’s return to the start of chapter 7, in Old Testament times.  Compared to the last two chapters, this chapter is not very long.  So let’s have a crack at it.  Some of this story might be a little familiar…  Read the names aloud, and see if you recognise them.

1. In the eighteenth year of the reign of Bakhtanassar, i.e. in the year before the destruction of Bayt al-Maqdis, [the king] made an idol of gold sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and erected it in the centre of the city of Bābil, ordering all the people of his kingdom to worship it.  Anyone who refused to worship it would be burned in the furnace.  Bakhtanassar chose three young Israelites and named the first Sīdrākh, the second Mīsākh and the third ‘Abdanāghū.  These three young men refused to prostrate themselves in front of the idol and the king commanded them to be thrown into the furnace.  But God sent them an angel from heaven who extinguished the fire, and the fire was changed for them into coolness and health.  Seeing this, Bakhtanassar ordered them to be taken out of the furnace, scrutinized them thoroughly and found no traces of fire injuries either on their bodies or on their garments.  This increased his astonishment, and he was afraid, and honored them, invoking his power and making them heads of his household.

2. In the fourth year after the destruction of Bayt al-Maqdis, Bakhtanassar had a dream.  He therefore summoned the interpreters of dreams and the astrologers and said to them:  “Tell me about the dream I had and give me an explanation, otherwise I will kill you.”  They replied,  “How will we know what dream you had, if you do not tell us what you dreamed about, so that we can give it an interpretation?”  Bakhtanassar became angry and thought about having them beheaded.  The prophet Dāniyāl was still young when the deportation had taken place.  Bakhtanassar had taken him for himself, and had educated him in his house covering him with favours.  He then sent to call him.  Dāniyal said to him: “I will tell you the dream you had, and I will give you an interpretation.  The king saw a great idol, which looked like a beast.  Its head was of gold, its hands of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, the legs of iron, and the feet of clay.  Then the king saw a huge boulder fall from a mountain, and batter and shatter the idol until nothing was left of it.  The boulder then became an imposing mountain and filled the earth.  This is what the king saw.  The interpretation is then the following.  You, O king, are the head of that idol, the gold.  After you will rule one less than you, the silver.  After him will rule a king less than him, the bronze.  After him will rule a king less than him, the iron.  After him will rule a king less than him, the clay.  Then after him will rule a great king whose kingdom will never end.  And just as you saw a boulder fall from the mountain alone and break the idol and fill the earth, so that king will reign over all the earth forever”.  Bakhtanassar then ordered them to give new clothes to Dāniyāl, to cover him with honour, preferred him to all the wise men of Bābīl, appointed him chief of his house and called him Baltāssar.

3. In the fifth year of the captivity of Bābil and the destruction of Ūrashalīm, Hizqiyāl, son of Yūzi, prophesied at Bābil, in the place called Karmila, Bārūkh, son of Nāriyā, and his brother Sirās, Dāniyāl of the house of David, Mardukhāf of the house of Benjamin, Hakāy, Zakhariyā, son of Bārāshiyā, Malākhīya, ‘Izrā e Nāhūm.  In Egypt there were Habaqūq, the tribe of Simeon, and the prophet Irimiyā.  In Bābil the Israelites worshiped idols, and the prophet Hizqiyāl reproached them for their conduct.  But the magnates of the Israelites attacked him and killed him.

4. In the twenty-fifth year of the reign of Bakhtanassar, he marched against Egypt, devastated it and killed its king, thus extending his kingdom over Egypt, Syria, the land of Judah, of the Rūm, of the Greeks, the Fāris, of Bābil and of Mossul.  Bakhtanassar reigned for forty-five years, nineteen of which were before the destruction of Ūrashalīm and the captivity of the Israelites, and twenty-six after the destruction of Ūrashalīm.  King Bakhtnassar died.