The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 9 (part 3)

8.  At the time of Nero Caesar, there lived a sage named Andrūmākhus who prepared for king Nero a very effective theriac, called by the Arabs “Diryâq” (16).  King Nero was killed in Rome.  When he learned that the king had been killed, Vespasian lifted the siege of Jerusalem, returned to Caesarea and halted there.  After him [=Nero], there reigned Ghalyās (17) for seven months, and he was killed.  After him reigned Unūn (18) for three months and he was deposed.  After him reigned Nibtāliyūs (19) for eight months, and he was killed.  The empire of the Romans was violently shaken and the peoples revolted.  After violent strife and great trouble, all the generals, commanders and officials of the territories of Rome and the East were unanimous in designating as king Vespasian, who had besieged Jerusalem.  He left Caesarea and went to Rome.  He had already reached the outskirts of Rome, when the generals who were in the city rose up against a general named Artitin, who wanted to take possession of the kingdom, and killed him.  Then they came out from the city to meet Vespasian and put on his head the crown of the kingdom.  After he entered into the city and sat on the throne of the kingdom, Vespasian put to death every person who was dangerous and lawless in Rome, so that the Roman territory was once more stable and peaceful.  He had two sons: one was called Titus (20) and the other Domitian.  He sent Domitian with a large army against the barbarians and the nations:  he killed them, subdued them and wiped them out.  And he sent Titus, after giving him a large army, to Jerusalem.  He besieged it for two years, and all those who were in the city died from hunger, even coming to eat the flesh of corpses and the flesh of their children because of the great famine.

Eventually Titus conquered the city and killed all the men and women that were there.  His soldiers gutted pregnant women and killed little children by banging them against the rocks.  [Titus] destroyed the city and dedicated the Temple to the fire.  He then counted those who had been killed by his efforts, and counted three million.  The survivors fled either to Syria, Egypt or Ghor (21).

9. From the birth of Christ, our Lord, to when Titus destroyed Jerusalem, there passed 70 years;  from Alexander to when Titus destroyed Jerusalem, 389 years; from the Babylonian captivity to when Titus destroyed Jerusalem, 652 years; from the kingdom of David to when Titus destroyed Jerusalem, 1129 years; from the exodus of the children of Israel out of Egypt to when Titus destroyed Jerusalem, 1735 years; from Abraham to when Titus destroyed Jerusalem, 2242 years; by Fāliq when Titus destroyed Jerusalem, 2,783 years; from the flood to when Titus destroyed Jerusalem, 3314 years; from Adam to when Titus destroyed Jerusalem, 5570 years.

10. When the Christians, who fled away from the Jews and had crossed the Jordan and settled in those places, learned that Titus had destroyed the city and killed the Jews, they returned to Jerusalem, which was in ruins, and lived there and built a church and put at its head a second bishop named Simon, son of Cleophas.  This Cleophas was the brother of Joseph who had brought up Christ our Lord.  This happened in the fourth year of the reign of Vespasian.  Vespasian had ruled for twenty-six years old when he killed the king Trajan (22).  In the third year of his reign there was made patriarch of Rome Daklītiyūs (23).  He held the office for two years and died. In the fifth year of his reign was made [patriarch] Clement of Rome (24). He was a Kātib (25).  He held the office for nine years and died.  In the ninth year of his reign there was made patriarch of Alexandria Fīlftiyūs. He held the office for thirteen years and died. Vespasian reigned with power and authority for nine years and seven months and died.

11.  After him his son Titus reigned for three years and two and a half months and died (26).  After him reigned his brother Domitian for fifteen years (27).  He was so ruthless towards the Jews that not even one could be seen in his day.  He had proposed to kill all the kings and their children, so that there would be on earth no king but him.  He therefore killed the sons of the sons of kings and killed many kings.  He was then told that the Christians were saying that Christ was their king, and that his kingdom would last forever, and it was also learned that they formed a large army and were otherwise numerous.  Great was his indignation and he ordered the Christians to be put to death, if any of them were found in his realm.

12.  The Evangelist John was then at Nīshas (28).  Hearing this, he felt great fear, and fled to Ephesus. The king sent his men to Jerusalem, arrested the children of Judah, son of Joseph, one of the disciples, and they bound them and took them to Rome.  Having asked them about Christ and his kingdom, they then said to him: “His kingdom is a heavenly [kingdom], not of this world.  At the end of time he will come with great honour and glory, to judge the living and the dead, and give each one his own reward according to the deeds of each person.”(29).  Hearing them speak in this way, he felt great fear, let them go on their way and ordered that the Christians should no longer be persecuted.  In the second year of his reign Evaristus was made patriarch of Rome (30). He held the office for eight years and died.  In the tenth year of his reign Alexander was made patriarch of Rome (31).  He held the office for ten years and died.  In the fifteenth year of his reign Kurdiyūs was made patriarch of Alexandria (32).  He held the office for ten years and died.  In the fifteenth year of his reign Primus was made patriarch of Alexandria.  He held the office for twelve years and died.

13. The king Domitian Caesar died. After him there reigned in Rome Nerva Caesar, called Barastiyūs Caesar (33), for a year and five months and died.  After him there reigned in Rome Trajan Caesar, called Hadrian Caesar, for nineteen years (34).  This king procured for the Christians serious misfortunes, long affliction and great tribulations.  He put to death many martyrs, and at Rome he had Ignatius, Patriarch of Antioch, executed.  And he had killed Simon, son of Cleophas, Bishop of Jerusalem, on the cross, at the age of one hundred and twenty years (35).  He ordered that the Christians should be enslaved because in his opinion they had neither religion nor law (36).  Despite the seriousness of what the Christians were suffering, and the many killings suffered by them, the Romans showed their piety, and the ministers of the king, together with his generals, pleaded their case before him, asserting that they had a steadfast religion and a good law, and therefore that he should no longer continue to oppress them.  [The king] then gave the order not to persecute them, and desisted from harming them.

14.  At the time of King Trajan Caesar, John wrote his Gospel in Greek in an island called Patmos, in Asia, a territory under the jurisdiction of the Romans.  Also in his time lived a remarkable Roman philosopher named Commodus (37).  In the sixth year of his reign Judah was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the seat for seven years and died.  In the fourteenth year of his reign Zacchaeus was made bishop of Jerusalem.  He held the office for nine years and died.  In the sixth year of his reign Brūn was made patriarch of Antioch (38).  He held the office for twenty years and died.  In the fourth year of his reign Sixtus was made patriarch of Rome (39).  He held the office for ten years and died.  In the fourteenth year of his reign Telesphorus was made patriarch of Rome  (40).  He held the office for eleven years and died.  In the eleventh year of his reign Justus was made patriarch of Alexandria. He held the office for ten years and died.

4 thoughts on “The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 9 (part 3)

  1. There are some fascinating deformations of proper names here, alongside other, perfectly correct, renderings. I think we can confidently recognise Galba, Otho and Vitellius as the successors of Nero, but who is the mysterious Trajan said to have been killed by Vespasian? Has Eutychius simply got things wrong here?

    When I have more time, I would like to compare the details of the patriarchs given by Eutychius with the standard lists, deriving basically from Eusebius, just in case (doubtful, though) he has any original information, particularly in the case of the bishops of Alexandria.

    For those who interested in these things, the traditional dates for the early bishops of Alexandria, which may not be accurate in some cases, are as follows: Mark the Evangelist (43–68), Annianus (68–82), Avilius (83–95), Cedron (96–106), Primus (106–18), Justus (118–29), Eumenes (131–41) and Marcian (142–52).

    The traditional dates for the bishops of Rome, which must also be taken with a considerable pinch of salt, are as follows: Linus (c.64–79), Anacletus (c.79–c.90), Clement (90–99), Evaristus (c.99–c.107), Alexander (c.107–c.117), Sixtus I (c.117–c.126) and Telesphorus (c.126–c.136). The Catholic Encyclopedia 1913, a magnificent work of scholarship that is now online, has very informative articles on all the early popes of Rome, setting out without too much bias what we reasonably can and cannot know about each of them.

    How on earth did Eutychius so lamentably deform the name Anacletus, the second bishop of Rome after Linus?

  2. I blinked a few times, I must confess. But we must remember that Arabic is often written without vowels; and that what we have is Pirone’s interpretation of the Arabic of Eutychius, itself derived from Greek, and possibly through a Coptic intermediary. But proper names in Arabic are awful anyway.

  3. Some thoughts about the text

    “and the ministers of the king, together with his generals, pleaded their case before him, asserting that they had a steadfast religion and a good law, and therefore that he should no longer continue to oppress them. ”
    This sounds like a garbled or second hand redition of the Pliny ((Epistulae X.96))/Trajan correspondence.

    “there lived a sage named Andrūmākhus who prepared for king Nero a very effective theriac, called by the Arabs “Diryâq””
    From wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theriac):
    ” Emperor Nero’s physician Andromachus improved upon mithridatum by bringing the total number of ingredients to sixty four, including viper’s flesh, a mashed decoction of which, first roasted then well aged, proved the most constant ingredient” (from Norman F. Cantor, In the Wake of the Plague: The Black Death and the World It made(New York: Harper) 2001: 174ff. )
    For Andromachus see “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromachus_(physician)”. Andromachus was mentioned in Galen ( Galen, De Antid. i. 6, and De Ther. ad Pis. c. 6. vol. xiv. pp. 32-42).

    Compare “[Titus] destroyed the city and dedicated the Temple to the fire.” to Josephus’ account absolving Titus of responsibility for burning the Temple, to Sulpicius Severus who stated Titus ordered the destruction of the Temple to check rebelliosu Jews and Christians.

    “Vespasian had ruled for twenty-six years old when he killed the king Trajan”, possible confusion with the later Dacian Wars. The older Trajan was one of Vespasian’s commanders.

    Daklītiyūs = Anticletus

    ” He (Domitian) had proposed to kill all the kings and their children, so that there would be on earth no king but him.” A distorted paraphrase of Eusebius” “Church History” : “III.19: The [Emperor Domitian] ordered the execution of all who were of David’s line, and there is an old and firm tradition that a group of heretics accused the descendants of Jude–the brother, humanly speaking, of the Saviour–on the ground that they were of David’s line and related to Christ himself. …”

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