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

Let’s do a bit more of Eutychius, just to keep in touch with it.  The scene begins at the funeral of Alexander the Great, most of which is fiction, and then proceeds down the list of the Ptolemaic kings.

18. When the philosophers had finished speaking, the wife of Alexander, Rushtak, daughter of Dāriyūsh, king of the Persians, who had been the most dear creature to Alexander, arose, and laid her hand on the coffin, and said: “I did not think, O king, that by conquering Dāriyūsh your own kingdom would be conquered.” Then she said to the philosophers: “If you’re afraid about what you’ve spoken about Alexander, you have the cup that he’s been drinking with, and each one of you is free to think as he wishes. But if you have spoken to give comfort and as a sign of mourning, be prepared to answer, and to make good arguments, otherwise you will enjoy what he enjoyed and so your works will be in accordance with your words because, of course, you are not sheltered.” Then Alexander’s mother came forward, put her cheek on the coffin and said, “You have comforted us enough. What I feared for Alexander has happened to him and now there is no kingdom for him or against him. Be great in your loyalty to earthly life and also defend [your] truth.  For my part, I have been pleased with your comfort. ” And so she ordered that he be buried.

19. Alexander reigned for sixteen years.  He lived in all for thirty-two years. Alexander had appointed a servant to each country.  (In another text it is said: “a prefect”.) He ordered them not to entertain relations by correspondence with anyone superior to them, but everyone was to write only to him, and no one, except him, was called a king.  On the death of Alexander, however, each of them took possession of his own province.  The kingdom of Ağam was divided.[1]  In the hands of the Iskāniyyūn there remained the kingdoms of Paris and of al-Ahwāz  and these were called “rules.”[2]

20. After Alexander there reigned in Alexandria and Egypt his brother named Philip, called Batlīmūs Arīdāwus, for seven years.[3] (In another text it is said:  “for forty years”.) After him ruled Ptolemy, called al-Iksandrus, and nicknamed “the conquerer of Ur” for twenty-seven years. (In another text it is said:  “for twenty-one years.”) In his twentieth year of reign he ordered seventy Jews taken from Ūrashalīm and brought them to Alexandria, ordering them to translate the Torah and the Books of Prophets from Hebrew to Greek, placing each of them in a dwelling, isolated from the others, to see what was the interpretation of each of them.  When they finished translating the books, he saw their interpretations.  The versions were identical, with no discrepancy.  He then gathered the books together, sealed them with his own seal and placed them in the temple of an idol called Sirābiyūn.[4]

21. Among the Seventy was a man named Simeon the Just, who took Christ our Lord [into his arms] in the temple. This Simeon, in explaining the Torah and translating the Prophets from Hebrew into Greek, found in every letter that he was transcribing, a prophecy about Christ our Lord, and in his heart he tried not to admit it by saying, “This is not possible!”  God therefore delayed his death, and he lived three hundred and fifty years until he saw Christ our Lord.  When he saw Him he said: “Now send your servant out in peace, O Lord, according to your word, for our eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for the benefit of all peoples.”

22. Ptolemy, the conqueror of Ur, died. After him ruled Ptolemy [I], called Lagus, for twenty-nine years.[5] He built a large hippodrome for horse racing in Alexandria, which was later burned down in the days of King Zeno.  After him, his son Ptolemy [II] reigned, called Philadelphus, for twenty-six years.  After him ruled Ptolemy [III], called Euergetes, for twenty-five years.  After him ruled Ptolemy [IV], named Philopator, for seventeen years.  After him ruled Ptolemy [V], Epiphanes, for twenty-four years. After him ruled Ptolemy [VI], known as Philometor, for twenty years.  In his time Syria and the land of Judah were subjugated by Antiyukhus, king of Rūm, who expelled the Jews from Syria, and slaughtered them with all sorts of violence and punishment.[6]  After him ruled his brother Ptolemy [VIII], also called Evergetes, for twenty-three years.[7]  In his time, Antiochus, King of the Rūm, founded Antakiya, who gave his own name. And so the city of Antiochus was called Antioch.  After him ruled Ptolemy [IX], Soter, for twenty years.  In its time the city of Sulukiyah was built.[8] After him ruled Ptolemy, also called Soter, for fifteen years.[9] After him ruled Ptolemy [X], called al-Iskandrus, and nicknamed Yasfis Philopator, for ten years.[10] (In another text it says “for twelve years”.)  After him ruled Ptolemy [XI], called Phusas, for eighteen days. (In another text it is said “for eight years”.)  After him ruled Ptolemy [XII] Diyunisiyus for twenty-nine years. After him, his daughter Iklawbatrah reigned, [the name] meaning “she who weeps on the rock,” for twenty-two years.[11] She built many great buildings in Alexandria and many wonderful things, introduced mosaic work, and built an imposing temple called “the Temple of Saturn.” When the Christians came, they transformed the temple into a church and called it ‘kanīsat Mīkā’īl’ (i.e. St. Michael’s Church), which is then what they call today ‘al-Qaysāriyyah’ and which was burnt down in the time when the Maghāribah entered into Alexandria with Mawlana al-Mansūr Abu’l Qasim, known under the name Abdallah and with Habāsah, when the caliph was al-Muqtadir Ja’far and Takin, his freeman, was prince of Egypt and Alexandria.[12]  [Cleopatra] build in the city of Ikhmīm[13] a hydrometer in order to keep under control the waters of the Nile of Egypt.  She then built another nilometer in the town of Ansinā.[14]

  1. [1]I.e. the kingdom of the non-Arabs.
  2. [2]Not sure about this: e furono chiamati “regoli”.  The kingdoms are Pars, old Persia, and Susiana.
  3. [3]I.e. Philip III Aridhaeus.
  4. [4]I.e. the Serapeum.
  5. [5]Eutychius has got confused here.  Ptolemy I, son of Lagus, was the first Ptolemy.
  6. [6]Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  Cf. 1 Maccabees.
  7. [7]Ptolemy VII, co-regent of Ptolemy VI, seems to be omitted.
  8. [8]I.e. Seleucia, near Babylon; but actually founded much earlier, just like Antioch.
  9. [9]Unknown to the Ptolemaic king-lists.
  10. [10]Ptolemy X Alexander.
  11. [11]The famous Cleopatra VII.
  12. [12]This is the Caesarium, converted into a church and burned down in 912 AD.
  13. [13]I.e. the Greek Chemnis or Panopolis.
  14. [14]Antinoe or Antinopolis.

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