Euthymius Zigabenus, Commentary on the Psalms – draft translation online!

John Raffan has written a comment on another post, which deserves to be much more widely known:

On the topic of translations of Greek patristic texts, I would like to announce that I have made a new edition of the Commentary on the Psalter by Euthymius Zigabenus and have started to make an English translation of the work.

I have posted a draft translation of the Introduction and first 75 Psalms on my page.

This, needless to say, is being done without payment or prospect of payment, since commercial demand for such work is essentially non-existent. If, however, anyone would like to sponsor the translation of a patristic work, I would very happily consider the proposition!

Dr Raffan is not kidding: available for download is a complete and rather splendid edition of the Greek, and also the translation in draft.  And, curiously, nobody seems to be aware of it, for it has had only 3 downloads!  Grab yours NOW!

Would somebody like to assist this very worthwhile project?  Surely this should attract a publisher?


Translation of Porphyry’s “Ad Gaurum” on ensoulment

The technical works of antiquity tend to be neglected.  I have written before about the astrological works which, although on a subject of limited interest today, really should exist in English.  And indeed some modern enthusiasts for astrology have made such translations, and perhaps are the only people today to make use of the works in a manner that their authors would recognise.

This creation of translations should be encouraged.  So I thought that I would signal another of these, a translation of Porphyry’s Ad Gaurum by Andrea Gehrtz, under the title of Ensoulment.  Full disclosure: I commented on a draft of the first chapter, and she kindly sent me a copy.

It is offline, unfortunately, but intended for a group of people who perhaps would not usually be interested in ancient texts.  It is available from here for a trivial price.[1]

The book is printed by Moira Press.  It is a slim, small paperback.  There is no introduction, but there is a glossary.


The subject is when an unborn baby acquires a soul.  Porphyry’s answer is “at birth”, apparently; an answer that ought to have provoked some coarse ribaldry about just how that works, but presumably did not.

The Ad Gaurum is only preserved in a single damaged 12th century manuscript, found on Mount Athos by the conman Minoides Mynas, and now in the French National Library as Ms. Paris Suppl. gr. 635.  The manuscript also is the only witness for Galen’s Introduction to logic.  The scribe was unfortunately rather careless, and also used extensive abbreviations, some apparently his own.  Finally the manuscript has suffered water damage to the top and outer edges, and the last few pages are half destroyed in this way.  Another manuscript does exist, Paris Supp. gr. 727; but this is just a transcript made by Mynas, with a few corrections of his own.  The standard edition is that of Kalbfleisch, 1895, who divided the text into chapters and sections (there are no divisions in the manuscript).  I gather that a team of French scholars led by Luc Brisson is at work on a new edition.

The manuscript attributes the work to Galen; but this cannot be right, for, as Kalbfleisch pointed out, it contradicts Galen’s teaching on the subject.  The attribution to Porphyry is based on the fact that the author is plainly a neo-Platonist, some indications that Porphyry held views stated in the text, and the statement of Michael Psellus that Porphyry wrote a work on this subject.

Interestingly there is a rebuttal of the work in a dialogue in two books entitled Hermippus (On Astrology).[2]  This however is a 14th century work, written by a certain Johannes Kareones – a profoundly obscure gentleman! -, who must therefore have been familiar with the manuscript.[3]

Andrea Gehrtz is to be commended for translating the work, and I hope that it enjoys a large sale, and that she undertakes more translations of ancient technical works.

  1. [1]Since she began work on it, an academic translation has appeared: James Wilberding, Porphyry: To Gaurus on How Embryos are Ensouled and On What is in Our Power, A. & C. Black, 2014. Preview here, from which I have taken the remarks on the manuscript.
  2. [2]Printed in Teubner under the title Anonymi Christiani Hermippus : de astrologia dialogus, 1895, and available on here.
  3. [3]Brendan Dooley, A companion to Astrology in the Renaissance, Brill, 2014, p.40, n.117: “see Fritz Jürss, Studien zum spätantiken Dialog “Hermippos de astrologia,” Diss. Berlin 1964; Emilie Boer, “Hermippos 4,” in Der Kleine Pauly 2 (1979), col. 1080.”

Is there a distinctive iconography for Sol Invictus?

It’s that time of the year, when the malevolent delight in posting wild claims that Christmas is “really” – in some undefined sense of “real” – the festival of Sol Invictus, recorded only in the Chronography of 354.

Few of us know much about Sol Invictus, the state cult created by Aurelian in 274 AD.  The literary record is very scanty, as I discovered some years ago when I created a page containing all the sources here.[1]

I found myself wondering … what does Sol Invictus, Aurelian’s god, actually look like?  If you do a Google search, what do you get?

The answer is frustrating: you get very little.  In fact most of the common online images attached to the name are NOT Sol Invictus.

Let’s start with something definite and positive.  Sol Invictus does appear, labelled as such by name, on the coins of the tetrarchy, and continues to appear as late as Constantine.  Here are a couple of examples.  (As usual you can click on the images for a larger size picture.)

The first example that I have is a coin of Probus, with Sol Invictus on the reverse, driving a four-horse chariot, with a pointy crown – which Probus also wears[2]

Here’s another example, this time of Constantine, who derived his legitimacy from the tetrarchy and whose coins continue its coin-types until 325 AD.  Does this too have an orb?[3]


Here the pointy crown is more clearly a crown of rays.  Sol Invictus is depicted standing.

Here’s yet another follis of Constantine, via a nice collection of Sol Invictus coins at Coin Talk here, and very clear:


This from 317 AD, from Trier.[4]

Yet another Constantine is this beautifully clear one, with a gorgeous picture of Constantine (from Cointalk):[5]


Better yet, again from Cointalk (I reproduce the details in case that site disappears) we have this from the reign of Aurelian himself, also holding a globe:[6]


But the coins do not help us as much as we might think.

Here’s our first example – a coin of Elagabalus, who also worshipped a “Sol Invictus”, who was actually Baal of Emesa.  The right hand is upraised, but the left hand holds a whip.[7]


And here’s a denarius of Alexander Severus:[8]

S Alexander 11_sol

This one of Florianus includes Sol, with orb.  He briefly followed Aurelian, so perhaps this is Sol Invictus.  But if so, he is not distinguishable from Severus, is he?[9]

Florianus a

Florianus b

This does not really help us to identify a distinctive iconography for Sol Invictus, it seems.

But the situation is worse when we look at stuff that is often labelled as Sol Invictus online.

First, let’s look at this image.  This is a Greek silver Kylix, 3rd century BC, from Panticapaeum in the Crimea, and depicts Helios.


This lovely object bears much the same image as we see on the coin of Probus, almost 6 centuries later; yet this is not Sol Invictus, but just boring old Helios, the personification of the sun.

At the Metropolitan Museum in New York we find the following fragment of a relief (also this one from Roger Ulrich on Flickr):[10]


The museum dates this to 1st-2nd c. AD, presumably by the lack of use of the drill.  But this is not Sol Invictus either: this is Helios, the sun: the man to the left is a Scythian slave about to flay Marsyas.  The relief is probably from a temple of Apollo.

The next item is from the British Museum website, inv. 1899,1201.2 (this particular photo here):


This is a disk of silver leaf, from Pessinus in Asia Minor, 3rd century.  But … again, why is this not just Sol, or Helios?

Now some Google results.  This one appears often enough, and the words “Sol Invictus” appear in the inscription.[11].


But … at the bottom of the inscription is a clear reference to “Iovis Dolichenus”, Jupiter Dolichenus, the Syrian deity beloved of the Severans.  The sacking of Doliche in the mid-3rd century put an end to this cult, and the last monument is supposedly from 268 AD, before Sol Invictus was invented.  And we can see in the relief, not just Sol, but also Luna, wearing her crescent, and some other chap, at least as important as Sol.  So this is certainly NOT Sol Invictus, but merely Sol, and “Sol Invictus” in the inscription merely is Latin for “the unconquered sun”.

Here’s another favourite, complete with inscription “Soli Sanctissimo Sacrum…”:


But … there is another inscription on the object, although I can find no photograph of it – in Palmyrene.  And this, rather than talking about Sol, bluntly states that the god is Malakbel!  This is a mid-3rd century item, although closer to Aurelian.[12]  So again, this is not Sol Invictus.

On to the next one:


But this is CIMRM546, and Mithras, not Sol Invictus at all.  Again “sol invictus” merely is Latin for “the unconquered sun”, rather than the title of the state cult.

There ought to be a paper somewhere on this subject.  But the impression that I get from this, far from scientific, survey of material is that there is no distinctive iconography of Sol Invictus, who is depicted using standard images used for Sol, or even for Helios.

  1. [1]I find that a Google search will not discover this page, which raises the question of what Google search is doing these days.
  2. [2]Details from Cointalk: PROBUS Antoninianus;  OBVERSE: IMP PROBVS AVG, radiate mantled bust left holding eagle-tipped sceptre;  REVERSE: SOLI INVICTO, Sol in galloping quadriga left, R-thunderbolt-B in ex.;  Struck at Rome, 275-6 AD;  4.2g, 24mm;  Roman Imperial Coinage 202
  3. [3]Another example here at Cointalk. Constantine AE Follis – Sol Invictus – Rome Mint;  Obverse: Laureate cuirassed bust;  IMP CONSTANTINVS PF AVG;  Reverse: Sol standing left with orb and raising right hand, captive to left of Sol;  SOLI INVICTO COMITI – Exergue: RP (Rome Mint); Catalog: RIC Rome 2 – Struck around AD 326 – Size: 19mm
  4. [4]AE follis – 20mm, 3.13g.  Trier, 317 AD.  laureate, cuirassed bust r.  CONSTANTINVS PF AVG.   Sol standing facing, head left, nude but for chlamys across left shoulder, r. hand raised, globe divided into hemispheres in l. hand.  SOL INVIC-TO COMITI  T | F, .ATR in ex. Roman Imperial Coinage vol. 7, Trier 135
  5. [5]CONSTANTINE I AE3;  OBVERSE: CONSTANTINVS P F AVG, laureate and cuirassed bust right;  REVERSE: SOL INVICTO COMITI, Sol, radiate, standing left, raising right hand, globe in left, chlamys across shoulder;  Struck at Trier 313-15 AD;  3.78 g, 18-19 mm; RIC VII Trier 42
  6. [6]Aurelian Antoninianus – Sol Invictus with Captive; Obverse: Radiate and cuirassed bust right;  IMP AVRELIANVS AVG;  Reverse: Sol standing left, right hand raised, holding globe, captive at foot;  ORIENS AVG – Exergue: S (Serdica mint);  Catalog: RIC Serdica 276
  7. [7]Elagabalus Denarius – Sol;  Obverse: Laureate and draped bust right;  IMP ANTONINVS PIVS AVG;  Reverse: Sol advancing left with raised hand and whip;  PM TRP II II COS III PP;  Catalog: RIC 40
  8. [8]SEVERUS ALEXANDER AR Denarius;  OBVERSE: IMP ALEXANDER PIVS AVG, laureate, draped and cuirassed bust right;  REVERSE: P M TR P X COS III P P, Sol, radiate. standing left with raised hand and globe;  Struck at Rome, 231 AD;  3.4g, 20mm;  RIC 109
  9. [9]Also via Cointalk, no details.
  10. [10]Inv. L. 1993.85.  Ulrich gives these details: Roman-period marble fragment carved to represent a kithara (a stringed musical instrument), perhaps belonging to a statue of the god Apollo. In the center, facing frontally, is depicted Helios, the sun god, driving his four-horse chariot (quadriga; note the challenge faced by the artist in depicting the four horses). Also partially depicted: the punishment of Marsyas (only his toes are visitble on the upper right), who is about to be flayed by a Scythian slave (shown sharpening his knife on the left). In the bottom left corner of the relief there is a worn image of a herm. The themes are all suugestive of Apollo: Helios is often associated with Apollo, as is the story of Marsyas, who unsuccessfully challenged Apollo to a musical contest and was hideously punished for his act of hubris. Dated by the Met in NYC to 1st-2nd cent. A.D. Loan by Ross H. Auerbach; inv. L. 1993.85
  11. [11]This stele is recorded as CIL VI.31181 on Wikipedia.
  12. [12]Altar is in the Capitoline museum in Rome. See J. Teixidor, The Pantheon of Palmyra, p.47: “This is the altar (which) Tiberius Claudius Felix and the Palmyrenes offered to Malakbel and the gods of Palmyra.  To their gods. Peace.”  Inscription is CISem II, 3903. “Malakbel” = “The angel/messenger of Bel”.

The Meta Sudans and the Djemila fountain in Algeria

I’ve posted a number of images of the Meta Sudans, the ancient Roman fountain that stood next to the Colosseum and was demolished by Mussolini, in posts such as this one.  Today on Twitter I saw a picture of a standing, much smaller, Roman fountain in Djemila in Algeria, posted by @AlgeriaTTours.  Here’s the image:

Roman fountain at Djemila in Algeria
Roman fountain at Djemila in Algeria

The Meta Sudans is depicted on coins, such as the sestertius of Titus.  I note that the drawing rather looks like the Djemila fountain; but the coins themselves rather suggest a tall base, with a platform on it, and then a relatively small cone at the top.  Anyway here they are:

Meta Sudans in sestertius of Titus
Meta Sudans in sestertius of Titus


The pictures of Djemila did look nice.  The government travel advice for Algeria, sadly, did not.


The temple that Cleopatra built for Caesarion at Armant

While I was looking at the Description de l’Egypte for information about the Serapeum as it was in Napoleon’s time, a whim came over me to look for the now-vanished temple at Armant (ancient Hermonthis), some 12 miles south of Luxor.

The temple was destroyed in 1861-3 in order to get stone to build a sugar factory, which still stands; but I vaguely recalled that there was a picture by the French scholars in the Description.

And so there is, in the first volume of plates of ancient monuments, here at Heidelberg.  In fact there are three drawings, plus a reconstruction and plan and some drawings of the reliefs.  Here is one of them (click on the image for a larger version).

The temple of Cleopatra and Caesarion at Armant
The temple of Cleopatra and Caesarion at Armant

The Napoleonic French soldiers standing on the roof are distinctive!

I then began to search for information about the temples of Armant.  This quickly showed the limits of the internet – there is practically no information to be had.  There was a great temple of Montu-Re at Armant, of which little remains.  In the grounds of this, just as at Dendera, a smaller temple was built, the one above, which was rebuilt by Cleopatra.  It was a mamissi, celebrating a birth, much like the one at Dendera.

Finally there is a temple with bull-burials.  But you try to find any maps of all this!  I believe that there is a monograph, written in 1940 or thereabouts – offline, of course.  Clearly someone needs to upload information about Armant (or Erment as it is sometimes known).

There are still remains of all these temples; although apparently none are open to the public.  I get the impression that parts of a pylon, and two Roman gateways, still exist.

But then I found this:

Cleopatra's temple at Erment. 1857. Francis Frith.
Cleopatra’s temple at Erment. 1857. Francis Frith.

That’s right – there is a photograph of the place!  It was taken, unbelievably, in 1857, only 4 years before demolition started.  In fact there are a number of photographs.  A certain Maxime du Camp published another in “Egypte, Nubie, Palestine et Syrie, 1852,” and Felix Teynard one in “Egypte et Nubie, 1858”.  I was sadly unable to find digitised copies of this.

Well, I had no idea when precisely photography started.  Apparently it was invented by Daguerre who experimented in secret between 1835-1839.  What happened next was startling: his process was purchased, in return for a pension, by the French government, which made it available to the world as an act of benevolence.  Needless to say not everyone felt benevolent – some adventurer in England managed to get a patent in, which meant that English people had to pay for what everyone else could use for free.  There are parallels here to Google Books!

But as soon as photography existed, it seems that people started to carry these new “cameras” down the Nile with them!  A register of very early photographs of Egypt might reveal many interesting things.

Those of us who have visited Egypt and experienced the way that possession of a camera marks the holder for extortion by officials and self-appointed “guardians” of monuments may be permitted to wonder whether the invention of the first camera was swiftly followed by the invention of the first Egyptian camera fees!


1603 Zuccaro drawing in red chalk of Old St Peter’s, Rome

Here’s another image of Old St Peter’s, part-way through the transformation into New St Peter’s.  The main entrance, steps and square are all still present.  From the Getty website:

Federico Zuccaro (Italian, about 1541 – 1609).  25.9 x 41.3 cm (10 3/16 x 16 1/4 in.)

Using red chalk in a highly detailed manner, Federico Zuccaro depicted Saint Peter’s Square in Rome as it appeared in 1603, with the Egyptian obelisk in place at the extreme left and the church dome complete. At the left, the archepiscopal palace adjoins the old facade of Saint Peter’s basilica. In the center, the three-story benediction loggia begun by Pope Pius II in 1462 adjoins the loggia painted by Raphael, lightly sketched at the extreme right. The bastion for the papal guard protects the front of the Vatican entrance, and statues of saints Peter and Paul from the 1400s adorn the foot of the staircase.

I’m rather impressed with the Getty site here. Who of us knew this even existed? (Click for larger image)



Latin translations of Chrysostom’s homilies on John – website

Chris Nighman writes to me:

I’ve just launched a new online resource for several Latin translations of Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Gospel of John. I will be seeking funding for this project in February and, if successful, expect that this resource will be completed by the end of next summer.

I also plan to produce a critical edition of Burgundio of Pisa’s 12th century translation, the only Latin version available for nearly 300 years, which has never been printed. If all goes well, this book should appear in about 5 years.

The translations are those made in ancient and medieval times, so we may wish him well!

Update 12 Sep 2022: Chris writes to say that the project is now at and is still in progress!


The stadium, hippodrome or “Lageion” of Ancient Alexandria

Just to the south of the Serapeum, which stood on a hill, was a Greek stadium or hippdrome.  The temple overlooked it, and there was seating.  The following map by Judith McKenzie indicates the location (click to enlarge):[1]


The area of the stadium was built over in the 19th century.  But it was still visible when the French army under Napoleon occupied the area, and so there is a plan, with notes, in the Description de l’Egypte, 5th vol. of plates, planche 39, as I learned from the splendid article by McKenzie &c.  So I went and searched for the original and here it is, although north is bottom left for some reason (again click on the image for full size):


The “grand colonne” at the bottom left is Pompey’s pillar – the pillar erected in the Serapeum by Diocletian.  The temple stood on that squareish plateau, with the 100 steps of the entrance descending to the left around where the pillar is.  The Arab “Chemin d’Alexandrie” (Alexandria road) runs to the east of the temple, along the Roman street.

The left hand end of the stadium, is marked with “ruins”, where a semi-circular wall is visible, mostly at the north and middle.  Distinct remains are visible at b-b-b.  The most recognisable remains are at a-a-a.

Notable in the picture is the “spina”, at c, the Roman centre structure in all their chariot-racing stadiums.  The Greek stadium is narrow, intended for foot races; so the spina would be a later addition.  But it was only just visible above the ground to Napoleon’s scholars.  It was about 1m above the floor of the arena.  At e was a hole for the meta, the cone-shaped turning post at the end of the spina.

At d is a portion of a stylobate, from a temple frieze, some 2.3m high, next to the steps of an “amphitheatre”.  Possibly part of the stadium was converted to a theatre at some point, as elsewhere.  At f were remains of columns.  At l the remains of a small obelisk.  At o is the exit from the circus, leading to the necropolis.

The interior length of the stadium was 559.37 m, taken from P-P.  The internal width was 51.6m.  The exterior length, between i and q, including the “amphitheatre”, is 614.6m.

Pretty interesting, for a monument now vanished!  There is a book on the architecture of Alexandria, by the same Judith McKenzie, accessible in Google Books preview here, which includes material on the Lageion, and seems frankly very interesting by itself.

  1. [1]Judith S. McKenzie, Sheila Gibson and A. T. Reyes, “Reconstructing the Serapeum in Alexandria from the Archaeological Evidence”, Journal of Roman Studies 94 (2004), pp. 73-121; p.75.  JSTOR.

List of volumes of the “Description de l’Égypte, ou Recueil des observations et des recherches qui ont été faites en Égypte pendant l’expédition de l’armée française”

Today I found that I needed to consult a plate in the Napoleonic Description de l’Egypte.  I had some difficulty in finding online volumes, and so I compiled the following list.  Please feel free to offer additions in the comments.

 First edition (Imperial edition)

  • Book 01 (1809), Volume I – Antiquités, Descriptions. Heidelberg.
  • Book 02 (1818), Volume II – Antiquités, Descriptions.  GoogleGoogleHeidelberg.
  • Book 03 (1809), Volume I – Antiquités, Mémoires. Google. Heidelberg.
  • Book 04 (1818), Volume II – Antiquités, Mémoires.  Google.
  • Book 05 (1809), Volume I – Etat Moderne. GoogleGoogle. Heidelberg.
  • Book 06 (1822), Volume II – Etat Moderne.  GoogleHeidelberg.
  • Book 07 (1822), Volume II – Etat Moderne (2´ Partie).  Google.  Google. Heidelberg.
  • Book 08 (1809), Volume I – Histoire Naturelle.  GallicaGoogle. Heidelberg.
  • Book 09 (1813), Volume II – Histoire Naturelle. Heidelberg.
  • Book 10 (18xx), Volume I – Préface et explication des planches.  Toulouse.
  • Book 11 (1809), Volume I – Planches : Antiquités.  Heidelberg.  Toulouse.
  • Book 12 (1809), Volume II – Planches : Antiquités.  Heidelberg.  Toulouse.
  • Book 13 (18xx), Volume III – Planches : Antiquités.  Heidelberg.  Toulouse.
  • Book 14 (1809), Volume IV – Planches : Antiquités.  Heidelberg.  Toulouse.
  • Book 15 (1822), Volume V – Planches : Antiquités.  Heidelberg.  Toulouse.
  • Book 16 (1809), Volume I – Planches : Etat Moderne.  Heidelberg.  Toulouse.
  • Book 17 (1817), Volume II – Planches : Etat Moderne.  Heidelberg.  Toulouse.
  • Book 18 (1809), Volume I – Planches : Histoire Naturelle.  Heidelberg.  Toulouse.
  • Book 19 (1809), Volume II – Planches : Histoire Naturelle.  Heidelberg.  Toulouse.
  • Book 20 (1809), Volume IIbis – Planches : Histoire Naturelle.
  • Book 21 (18xx), Volume I – Planches : Antiquités. (“Mammutfolio”)
  • Book 22 (18xx), Volume I – Planches : Etat Moderne. (“Mammutfolio”)
  • Book 23 (1818), Volume I – Planches : Carte géographiques et topographique.(“Mammutfolio”)  Heidelberg.

The volumes at Heidelberg. have a 300mb or 80mb download of PDF for each. The Toulouse volumes mostly seem to be imperfect.

Second edition (Panckoucke edition)

  • Book 01 (1821), Volume I – Tome Premier Antiquités-Descriptions. GallicaArchive.
  • Book 02 (1821), Volume II – Tome Deuxième Antiquités-Descriptions.  GallicaArchive.
  • Book 03 (1821), Volume III – Tome Troisième Antiquités-Descriptions.  GallicaArchive.
  • Book 04 (1822), Volume IV – Tome Quatrième Antiquités-Descriptions. Gallica.
  • Book 05 (1829), Volume V – Tome Cinquième Antiquités-Descriptions. GallicaGoogleGoogle.
  • Book 06 (1822), Volume VI – Tome Sixième Antiquités-Mémoires.  Gallica.  GoogleArchive.
  • Book 07 (1822), Volume VII – Tome Septième Antiquités-Mémoires. GallicaGoogleArchive.
  • Book 08 (1822), Volume VIII – Tome Huitième Antiquités-Mémoires. Gallica.  Google.
  • Book 09 (1829), Volume IX – Tome Neuvième Antiquités-Mémoires et Descriptions. Gallica.
  • Book 10 (1823), Volume X – Explication Des Planches, D’Antiquités.  Gallica.  GoogleArchive.
  • Book 11 (1822), Volume XI – Tome Onzième Etat Moderne. GallicaArchiveArchive.
  • Book 12 (1822), Volume XII – Tome Douzième Etat Moderne. GallicaGallicaGoogleArchive.
  • Book 13 (1823), Volume XIII – Tome Treizième Etat Moderne.  Google.
  • Book 14 (1826), Volume XIV – Tome Quatorzième Etat Moderne.  Gallica.  Archive.
  • Book 15 (1826), Volume XV – Tome Quinzième Etat Moderne. Gallica.  Archive.
  • Book 16 (1825), Volume XVI – Tome Seizième Etat Moderne.  GallicaGoogleArchive.
  • Book 17 (1824), Volume XVII – Tome Dix-Septième Etat Moderne. GallicaArchive.
  • Book 18 (1826), Volume XVIII – Tome Dix-Huitième Etat Moderne.  Gallica.  GoogleArchive.
  • Book 19 (1829), Volume XVIII – Tome Dix-Huitième (2´ Partie) Etat Moderne.  Gallica.  GoogleArchive.
  • Book 20 (1830), Volume XVIII – Tome Dix-Huitième (3´ Partie) Etat Moderne.  GallicaGoogleArchive.
  • Book 21 (1824), Volume XIX – Tome Dix-Neuvième Histoire Naturelle, Botanique-Météorologie.  Gallica.
  • Book 22 (1825), Volume XX – Tome Vingtième Histoire Naturelle. GoogleArchive.
  • Book 23 (1826), Volume XXI – Tome Vingt-Unième Histoire Naturelle, Minieralogie – Zoologie. GallicaArchive.
  • Book 24 (1827), Volume XXII – Tome Vingt-Deuxième Histoire Naturelle, Zoologie. Animaux Invertébrés
    (suite). GallicaGoogleArchive.
  • Book 25 (1828), Volume XXIII – Tome Vingt-Troisième Histoire Naturelle. Zoologie. Animaux Invertébrés
    (suite). Animaux Venteures. GallicaGoogle.
  • Book 26 (1829), Volume XXIV – Tome Vingt-Quatrième Histoire Naturelle, Zoologie. GallicaGoogle.
  • Book 27 (1820), Volume I – Planches : Antiquités.
  • Book 28 (182x), Volume II – Planches : Antiquités.
  • Book 29 (182x), Volume III – Planches : Antiquités.
  • Book 30 (182x), Volume IV – Planches : Antiquités.
  • Book 31 (1823), Volume V – Planches : Antiquités.
  • Book 32 (1822), Volume I – Planches : Etat Moderne.
  • Book 33 (1823), Volume II – Planches : Etat Moderne.
  • Book 34 (1826), Volume I – Planches : Histoire Naturelle.
  • Book 35 (1826), Volume II – Planches : Histoire Naturelle.
  • Book 36 (1826), Volume IIbis – Planches : Histoire Naturelle.
  • Book 37 (1826), Volume I – Planches : Atlas géographique.

The raw list of volumes is from Wikipedia, which unfortunately had no links.


Timestamp: Alexandria in the 5th century. Sinister goings-on in the ruins of the Serapeum, in Peter the Iberian

Peter the Iberian is a name that was unfamiliar to me.  He was a Georgian prince who lived in the 5th century A.D. and ended his days as a monk.  His Life was written by his close friend, John Rufus, in Greek.  The Greek is lost, but a Syriac translation survives in two manuscripts.  These are Ms. Berlin Staatsbibliothek, Sachau 321, written in 741 AD; and Ms. London British Library Addit. 12174, written in 1197 in Melitene.  It was edited by Raabe from these in 1895,[1] and the text printed with an English translation in 2008 by Cornelia Horn &c.[2]

By the time of Peter the Iberian, the temple of the Serapeum, standing on the highest point of ground in ancient Alexandria, had been ruined for two generations.  But the colonnaded enclosure in which it had stood still existed, as it was to do for centuries.  At the dark of night, however, unusual activity might be seen by the curious.

John Rufus takes up the tale:

 (§99) The daughter of one of the city’s notables was sick with a severe sickness. She was his only [child, moreover,] and he loved her like an only [child]. Her mother was a lover of Christ and a believer, and she greatly rejoiced in the saints. The father was indeed a Christian, but he was very much seized by the error and friendship of pagan philosophers. Hence, when he received promises from a certain leader of the magicians that, if [the magician] were to take the girl and bring her at night to the Serapeum and there perform on her rites[1] and [other] abominations of the arts of magic, he could heal her, he gladly obeyed and prepared to give the girl over [to him].

When her mother learned these [things] from a slave who [had become] aware of [it], who was a Christian and a strong believer, immediately she sent for the blessed Peter, informing him about the plan of the devil. She asked that he not disregard her and her husband and the girl, who were running the risk of falling into a real death through provoking the Lord to anger. The blessed one heard this and was inflamed with zeal, crying out with a loud voice, “Lord, shall the wicked live?”’

Having said this, immediately he took some of those saints who were with him in the night, and they went to the girl’s mother. He found her sitting with her daughter and tearing [herself] apart with weeping and lamentations and at the same time ensuring that the girl would not be delivered over by her husband to the wicked [magician]. Commanding that all those [who] were superfluous should go outside, he took oil and anointed the girl. After he had given her the holy mysteries, had consoled her mother with many words of consolation, and had encouraged her to trust undoubtedly in Christ, the Lord of life, he returned to where he was staying. The next day that girl was suddenly found healthy and free from her severe sickness.

The philosopher, however, [who] had contended with God was laid to rest. In this way the judgment of the saint, which he cried out when he was enraged, saying, “Lord, shall this wicked one be alive?” proceeded swiftly to [its] fulfilment, so that in all the city this wonder would become known and everyone would praise God on account of his grace given to his saints, and they would run to the blessed one and cleave to [him], and they would be strengthened more and more in the orthodox faith.

  1.  Syriac is equivalent to the Greek teleutai, sacred or magical rituals.

It is interesting to see that the location for the pagan ritual – or magical ritual – was the Serapeum.  A “philosopher” is becoming what he was in the medieval period, a “knowing person” who may well know magic.

This story is interesting as showing how superstition was endemic, among pagans and Christians in the city.  Fifty years later, the Alexandrian pagans were still going to the shrine of Isis at Menouthis to seek healings and the like.

  1. [1]R. Raabe, Petrus der Iberer, Leipzig, 1895.  Online here.  P.71 is the relevant page for us.
  2. [2]Cornelia B. Horn, Robert R. Phenix, The Lives of Peter the Iberian, Theodosius of Jerusalem, and the Monk Romanus, SBL 2008.  Ms info on p.lxxi, chap 99 on p.147 in Google Books preview.