The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 2 – part 1

Chapter 2 is another short chapter of material summarised from the bible.

1. After the death of Joseph, his brothers and all those of their generation, the Israelites became numerous and spread to such an extent that Egypt was full of them. Then there reigned over Egypt a king who did not know Joseph, who told his advisers: “The sons of Israel have become numerous, and we can not be sure that if a rebel rises against us, they will not give him a hand and drive us out of Egypt.”  He then stirred up the Egyptians against them, reduced them to slavery and forced them to work clay, bricks and stones, to dig mountains and caves and to plough the land.  The pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill every male who was born among the sons of Israel by drowning him in the river.  Countless little children were killed and drowned in the river.  When Moses was born, his mother feared that they would kill him and she kept him hidden for three months.  Fearing then for her own life – Moses’ mother was called Yūkhābad (1) – she made a small ark of papyrus, – in the Torah it is said to be made of pine wood (2) -, covered it within and without with bitumen, placed the child inside and abandoned it on the bank of the Nile, where the water was low, near a city named Dan (3), of the province of Egypt, so that the waves, hitting it, would carry it to the water and the child would be drowned without her being able to see it.  Maryam, sister of Moses, was hiding, far away, to see what happened to the baby.  Then the daughter of the pharaoh came, whose name was Sī‘ūn (4), to bathe in the Nile.  She heard the baby crying in the ark, she felt great tenderness and compassion and took him up.  She then commanded a nurse to be brought to feed him and raise him.  Then Maryam, the sister of Moses, met her and said to her: “I will bring you a nurse from among the children of Israel to breastfeed and raise him” (5).  She went and returned with her mother, Moses’ mother, but Pharaoh’s daughter never knew that she was his mother.  She then gave her the baby to breastfeed and bring up.

2. When Moses grew and became a man, he saw an Israelite arguing with an Egyptian.  Moses punched the Egyptian and killed him; then he buried him in the sand.  A few days later two Israelites were arguing and Moses intervened.  But they told him: “So what? Do you want to kill one of us, as you recently did with the Egyptian?”(6).  Moses feared for his life and escaped to the Hiğāz, settling in the city of Madiyan.  There he married a woman named Sīfūra, daughter of Yatrū (7), whom the Arabs call Shu‘ayb (8), one of the descendants of Ishmael, son of Abraham, and who was a priest in the temple of the city of Madiyan.  Sīfūra gave Moses two sons, Girsām and Ilyāzar.  While Moses was grazing the sheep of his father-in-law Yatrū, he saw, on the mountain, a bush that burned, at noon, without however being consumed by the fire.  He approached to look, and God spoke to him from the bush: “Do not be afraid, Moses, it’s me, God.  Go to Pharaoh and tell him to let the children of Israel leave, in order to worship me” (9).  Moses went to the pharaoh.  Moses was eighty years old when God spoke to him, Hārūn was eighty-three and Maryam, their sister, was eighty-seven.  Moses was fifty-six years old when his father ‘Imrān (10) died at the age of one hundred and thirty-six.  There prophesied in Egypt, among the sons of Israel, Zārākh, of the tribe of Judah, Zamrī, Abiyātar, Haymān, Halkūk, Dardà‘ and finally Moses.  When the sons of Israel entered Egypt for the first time, there were only seventy.  They had lived in Egypt two hundred and seventeen years, as slaves of the pharaohs, serving one pharaoh after another.




The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 3 – part 2 and final

Eutychius continues summarising the Book of Judges.  Today… Gideon, Samson etc.  This material is of no special interest, except as showing what seemed interesting to include to the author. 

3. Gid‘ūn, son of Yuwās, of the tribe of Manasseh came out against them, and took ten of his servants with him in the night, and destroyed the temple of the idol Bā‘il.  But the Midianites surprised them and they fled away.  Then he gathered three hundred Israelites and moved against them at night.  When they reached the place where the Midianite soldiers were, he divided his men around the soldiers’ camp and made the drums and trumpets sound.  Among the Midianites there was great turmoil and they began to run, madly killing each other and trying to escape from the Israelites.  Gid‘ūn wrote to the Israelites of the tribe of Ifrām, who lived in the area of the Jordan, to move and confront the Midianites who were fleeing.  They went out against them and made a great slaughter, taking prisoners ‘Ūzīb and Zīb, kings of the Midianites.  They killed ‘Uzīb at the rock of ‘Uzīb and Zīb at the kiosk of Zīb (22), and sent their heads to Gid‘ūn.  Gid‘ūn then went to Shukūt (23) and asked the population to give his soldiers food and hospitality.  But they answered him: “We will feed your soldiers and offer them hospitality if you bring us the heads of Zābā‘ and of Salmānā‘, king of the Midianites” (24).  Gid‘ūn left them, moved against Zābā‘ and Salmânā‘, kings of the Midianites, who had with them fifteen thousand fighters, routed them and brought back a great victory by killing the two kings and their men.  He then returned to Shukūt, killed its inhabitants and destroyed it.  Gid‘ūn had seventy children.  He also had a concubine from Nābulus (25) who gave birth to a son, to whom he gave the name Abimālikh.  Gid‘ūn governed the people for forty years, died and was buried near the tomb of his father Yuwāsh at ‘Ufrā ‘Azāriya (26).

4. After the death of Gid‘un the children of Israel began to worship the idols of Ba‘ālim, ‘Ashtarūt and Bā‘il.  Abīmālikh then went to Nābulus to his uncles and told them: “My brothers are seventy in number, and they want to govern the people.  Help me, so that I can govern alone, because one alone governs the people better than seventy”(27).  So they gave him seventy qintār of silver, taking it from the temple of the idol Bā‘il.  Then he took some men with him, went to his father’s house in ‘Ufrā and killed his seventy brothers.  Only one was saved, the smallest, or Yūthām, who went to Bīrā (28), where he established his abode.  Abīmālikh ruled the people for three years.  The inhabitants of Nābulus rose up to remove him, but he gathered his men and made a great slaughter.  Then he went out of the city, placed wood all around it, and set fire to it, burning the city and all that were there.  Then Abīmālikh went to Gabal Nābulus (29) and besieged it. The fortified tower of the city was very large.  From the top of the fortified tower a woman threw a stone that fell on Abīmālikh’s head (30).  Feeling close to death, he said to the servant who was near him: “Strike my neck with my sword so that I die, and so it will not be said that it was a woman who killed me” (31). Then he hit him with the sword and killed him.  After his death there governed the people Yuwākh, son of Fūdī, son of Hālāt, of the tribe of Issākhar (32), for twenty-three years. He died and was buried in Sāmīr (33).

After him there governed the people Tāyir, son of ‘Alghād (34), of the tribe of Manasseh, for twenty-two years.  He had thirty-two sons who rode purebred horses behind him.  He died and was buried in Qāmurā (35).

5. After his death, the children of Israel began to worship the idols of Ba‘alim, ‘Ashtārūt, Bā‘il, the gods of Syria, of Saydā, of Moab, of ‘Amman and of Palestine.  The people were overwhelmed by the Ammonites and were governed by them for eighteen years, with pain, afflictions and distresses.  The Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight against the children of Israel, the children of Judah, and the children of Benjamin, who were terrified of them.  When the Ammonites came to the city of Ğala‘ād the leaders of the people gathered and said: “Who will fight against the Ammonites and be our leader?”  Niftākh, son of Ğala‘ād, was a violent and strong man, and was the son of a prostitute (36).  His brothers had driven him out and disavowed him, depriving him of the right to inherit.  He had then fled away into the land of Tūb, and there had been joined by a crowd of beggars who fought with him against the Ammonites.  The leaders of the city of Ğala’ād then went to Niftākh and asked him to continue fighting against the Ammonites and to be their leader.  He consented, gathered some men and went out to fight against the Ammonites, vowing to the Lord that if He granted him the victory over them, he would offer to God the first of his family to meet him when he came back.  God granted him the victory, and he made a great slaughter of the Ammonites and stormed twenty cities.  Having heard of it, his daughter came out and stood at the door of the house with all the drum and cymbal players, to welcome her father.  The first one he met at the door was his daughter.  He had no other children besides her. As soon as he saw her, he tore off his clothes and felt intense pain.  His daughter told him: “Do not be sad, my father, and fulfil your vow as well.  But let me gather my eldest maids and make them come up with me on the mountain, so that they can cry over me and I cry over my youth” (37).  She remained crying over herself on the mountain for two months.  The advisers of Niftak suggested that he go to the prophet Finhās, son of Il‘āzār, son of Harūn, to ask him if he could give him a response to save his daughter.  But his majesty of kings did not allow him to go to the prophet, as also the dignity of the prophet Finhās kept him from going to the king.  Two months later, Niftak made a great feast for the Jews, and on the same day he sacrificed his daughter.  That party was called “the weeping party”.  Later the sons of Ifrām went to Niftākh in the city of Shaqil (38) and said to him:  “Since you have come out to fight against the Ammonites without consulting us and taking none of us with you, we will burn you and your home” (39).  Niftākh fought against them and overcame them, killing forty-two thousand.  Niftākh ruled the people for six years, died and was buried in Gala‘ād.

6. At that time there was a severe famine in the land of the Greeks.  People were starving to such an extent that the streets and markets were full of the dead and the dogs were grazing on corpses.  Because this was often happening, they dug great graves and buried their dead.  This was the first reason for which burial pits were dug.

After Niftākh’s death there governed the people Ifsān (40), of the tribe of Judah, of Bethlehem, for seven years.  He had thirty sons, thirty daughters and thirty wives.  When he died, he was buried in Bethlehem.  After him there governed the people, Iblūn the Zabulonite, for ten years.  He died and was buried in Zābulūn (41).  After him there governed the people ‘Abdūn, son of Hillāl, of the tribe of Ifrām, for eight years.  He had forty sons and thirty grandchildren who rode behind him.  When he died he was buried in Fārātūn (42), in the territory of Ifrām, in the mountains of Amāliq.

After his death the sons of Israel re-embraced the worship of idols and were subjugated by the foreign tribes, who ruled the people for forty years.

7. There was a man from the tribe of Dān, named Mānūh, descendant of Mānūh, of the city of Surgha (43).  His wife was sterile.  An angel appeared in her dream and announced that she would give birth.  In fact, she conceived and gave birth to a son whom they called Shimshūn (44).  Having grown up he went to the city of Timnāthā (45) where he saw a woman from the foreign tribes and married her.  He stayed with her for a while, then left her and went to the parts of ‘Asqalān (46) where he gave himself to brigandage.  Thirty men attacked him, robbed them, and took his clothes, and he went to his wife’s house in Timnāthā.  But the woman’s father prevented him from seeing her by telling him: “I gave her in marriage to another.  I have a younger sister of hers, if you want I will give her in marriage” (47).  Samson became angry, went away and captured three hundred foxes, set fire to their tails and unleashed them across the fields.  So it was that all the camps of the foreign tribes including the trees went up in flames.  When the foreign tribes knew what Samson had done, they went to his wife’s house and burned her and her home.  Then they formed an army and went out to fight against the sons of Judah, who were terrified of them.  Samson was then on the cliff of Aghīzām (48).  The foreign tribes said to the sons of Judah: “Deliver Samson to us, and we will leave without fighting you”.  Three thousand men of the sons of Judah went to Aghīzām for Samson.  Samson said to them: “Guarantee me that you will not kill me and that you will not hand me over to foreign tribes” (4). They guaranteed it, knowing they were deceiving him.  In fact, they took him and handed him over to the foreign tribes who took him away, tying his hands to his back.  But Samson untied the ropes, seized the jawbone of a dead donkey, and killed more than a thousand men of the foreign tribes.  Then he was thirsty and invoked the Lord who made water spring from the ass’s jawbone: he drank and overwhelmed the foreign tribes.

8. [Samson] ruled the people for twenty years.  Then he fell in love with a woman from Ghazza (50).  Going to Ghazza, the inhabitants of the city were very afraid of him.  In the middle of the night, Samson grasped the door of Ghazza’s stronghold with his hand, and took it from its hinges, placed it on his shoulders, carried it to the top of the mountain in the area of ​​Hibrun, and took the woman.  Later he fell in love with another woman of the people of Sakhīrā (51), named Dalīlā, and took her with him.  The leaders of the foreign tribes told her: “Try to deceive him and make him say from which part of his body his strength comes to him”.  Samson replied: “If they bound me with seven fresh tendons, not passed through the fire, I would become weak”.They surprised him and bound him with seven still wet tendons.  But Samson leaned over them and broke them.  Dalīlā told him: “You do not love me, because if you loved me you would tell me in which part of your body your strength resides”.  He told her: “If they tied me with seven new hemp ropes, I would become weak”.  Dalīlā did it, but Samson broke them like cotton threads. Dalīlā told him: “You do not love me, because if you loved me you would tell me in which part of your body your strength resides”.  He replied: “If you intertwined the seven braids of my head with an inch-wide frame I would become weak”. Dalīlā did so, but Samson took them off. She told him: “You do not love me, because if you loved me you would tell me in which part of your body your strength resides”.  Samson then replied impatiently: “It was announced to me by God, in the womb of my mother, that never should my head have known the touch iron, because on the day when my head was shaved I would lose my strength” (52). Then he fell asleep in Dalīlā’s lap and while he was sleeping Dalīlā cut off his seven hair braids.  When he awoke, his strength was weakened.  Dalīlā then sent for the leaders of the foreign tribes.  They captured Samson, took out his eyes and bound him with chains of copper.  They took him to Ghazza and threw him into jail.  Samson’s hair began to grow again. The leaders of the foreign tribes gathered to offer a sacrifice to their god Dā‘ūn (53).  So they gave orders to bring Samson out to have some fun with him and kill him.  The temple of the god Dā‘ūn was full of people, men and women.  Even the temple terraces were so crowded that there was no longer a place to stop and see Samson and what was being done to him.  Samson then said to the young man that was leading him: “Put my hand on the column that holds up the temple” (54).  He stretched out his right hand and grasped a column.  Then he grasped the other one with his left hand and pushed them, so that the columns and the temple fell.  So it was that Samson died and all the men and women who were in the temple.  The dead that Samson killed, dying himself, were more numerous than those he had killed when he was alive.  His men took him and buried him between Su‘rā and Ishtāwul with his father Mānūh (55).  After the death of Samson the sons of Israel governed themselves with tranquility and peace for forty years.


The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 3 – part 1

As we’re translating backwards, we now find ourselves at the start of chapter 3.  This is material from the biblical book of Judges.

1. Later the sons of Israel began to visit the surrounding nations, marrying and giving in marriage their daughters and worshiping the idols, i.e. Ba‘alīm (1), ‘Ashtārūt and Bā‘il.  The sons of Israel were then subjugated by Kūshān Rish‘atāym, king of Aram (2), i.e. the king of Tyre and Sidon, called for this reason “the king of the two seas” (3).  He ruled the people for eight years with firmness and cruelty.  There were so many afflictions upon the sons of Israel that they began to worship God, abandoning their impiety.  Then the young ‘Ithā‘īl, son of Qinān and brother of Kālib (4), of the tribe of Judah rebelled, fought against Kūshān Rish‘atāym and killed him.  He ruled the people for forty years.  At the death of ‘Ithā‘īl, the sons of Israel began to worship the idols.  ‘Aqlūn, king of Moab, gathered the Ammonites and the Amalekites (5), marched against the sons of Israel and conquered them, occupying the city of Fīq (6).  The children of Israel served him and were under his domination for eighteen years, between anguish and cruelty of all kinds.  The sons of Israel chose one of their men named Ihūd, son of Gara, of the tribe of Ephraim (7) – he was left-handed, strong and daring – and sent him with gifts to ‘Aqlūn, king of Moab.  When he was in the presence of the king with gifts, he said to him: “I need to tell the king a secret, and I would therefore like to speak to him separately”.  He stood face to face with the king, and stabbed him with a dagger which he had with him, and killed him.  He went out, closed the door of the king’s meeting room and told his advisors: “The king has ordered that no one come to him” (8). Ihūd then ran away and joined his men.  He gathered a group of soldiers and went out against the city of Moab, occupied it, killed all those who were there and destroyed it.  He ruled the people for fifty-five years.  After him there ruled over the people Sim`ān (9), son of ‘Anāt, for twenty-five years. The Philistines waged war and killed six hundred. Sim‘ān died.

2. After his death the children of Israel returned to the worship of idols. Nāyīn (10), king of Canaan, originally from a city named Hāsūr (11), subdued them to his dominion. A man named Sīsarā was the head of his soldiers.  He ruled the people for twenty-five years, afflicting them with anguish and pain.  In his day there prophesied Dibūrā, wife of al-Qandūn (12), of the tribe of Ephraim.  Dibūrā lived between ar-Rāma and Bethel and served as a judge among the sons of Israel.  A large group of Israelites came to her and said to her: “You know in what anguish and afflictions we live. Nāyīn (13), king of Canaan, has enslaved us. [Why don’t] you govern the sons of Israel and liberate them from the hands of Nāyīn (14), king of Canaan”.  Dibūrā chose Bāraq, son of Abū Nu‘am, of the tribe of Nifthālīm, and entrusted him with the government of the people.  In another text it says: “And she gave him the command of the army”.  Bāraq took ten thousand Israelites from among the sons of Nifthālīm and Zābūlūn, and together with Dibūrā (15) they ascended Mount Thābūr (16).  When Sīsarā, Lieutenant of Nāyīn (17), learned of it, he came out against them.  The sons of Israel came down from the mountain and defeated him, killing all who were with Sīsarā, lieutenant of Nāyīn (18). Sīsarā managed to escape and sheltered under the tent of Yā‘īl, wife of Hābir al-Qaynī, i.e. of the descendants of Qā’in, the father-in-law of Moses called [also] Yaru (19).  [The woman] hid him from them.  [Sisara] asked her for some water to drink and she poured him some milk to put him to the test and see if he was able to discern. That was how he drank milk, thinking he had drunk water.  Then the woman made him lie down and hammered a peg into his temple, so that he was pinned to the earth and died.  Dibūrā found him when he was already dead.  Dibūrā and Bāraq went out against Nāyīn (20), king of Canaan, defeated him and killed him along with his men. Dibūrā ruled the people for forty years.  At her death the sons of Israel resumed adoring idols.  The Midianites ‘Ūzīb and Zīb (21) subdued them to their power and oppressed the people for seven years amid continued distress and afflictions, taking their flocks, cows and possessions.


Important items that are not online – Souter’s “Glossary of Later Latin”

Long ago, probably in the 1990s, I purchased in Heffers in Cambridge a copy of Alexander Souter’s Glossary of Later Latin.  Today I had occasion to dig it out and use it.

The original edition was printed in 1949, with a corrected edition in 1957.  Tiny print was used.  A scan would be very useful to those of us whose eyesight is not what it was.

Happily 1949 is also the date of the author’s death.  Even under our corrupt copyright laws, this means that the Glossary comes out of copyright next year, in 2019.

I think a scan of it and an upload to will be highly desirable.

There ought to be more modern equivalents, I would hope.

The same task led me to look up words relating to parts of the body.  This too should be a specialised glossary, but I didn’t know of one!

There is another alternative.  I could consult the Oxford Latin Dictionary, a paper copy of which bows the floor under my bookcase with its sheer weight and size.  But … I never look at it, so I didn’t think of that!  Oops!


Life of Aesop, translated by Anthony Alcock

Anthony Alcock has deviated from his usual work in Syriac and Coptic to translate one of the ancient Lives of Aesop.  His full introduction explains which, and based on what manuscripts.  This work belongs to the genre of “sayings” or “wisdom” literature (gnomologia); but I presume might also relate to the genre of Saints’ lives.

This is therefore very valuable to have.  Thank you!


The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 4

Chapter four is also derived from the Arabic bible.

1.  Then the priest ‘Ālī governed the people for twenty years.  The temple was located in Shīlūm (1).  The priest ‘Ālī had two sons.  The first was called Hufni and the second Finhās.  In his time there lived a prophet of ar-Rāmayyayn (2) named Hilqānā, son of Yārūhām, of the tribe of Levi (3).  The prophet Hilqānā had two wives: one was called Hanna, and was sterile, and the other Hanānā (4), who had children.  Hanna used to go to the temple in Shīlūn to invoke God and ask him to give her a child.  She had made a vow to God that she would put him at the service of the temple.  She conceived and bore Samū’il, the prophet.  When Samū’il was three years old, his father Hilqānā and his mother Hanna took him to the temple in Shīlūn, where they offered sacrifices to God and entrusted their son Samū’il to the priest ‘Ālī.  So Samū’īl began to serve in the temple.  The foreign tribes gathered to fight against the children of Israel and killed four thousand men in war.  Then the leaders of the sons of Israel said:  “Let us take the Ark of the Covenant from Shīlūn and keep it among us when we fight for God, to deliver us through it from the hands of our enemies” (5).  So they took the ark from Shīlūn and placed the two sons of ‘Ālī, Hufni and Finhās near them. The foreign tribes came out against them and beat them and killed thirty thousand Israelites.  Whoever managed to escape fled.  The two sons of ‘Ālī, Hufni and Finhās were also killed.  The foreign tribes seized the ark and took it from Yazdūd to Ghazza (6), placing it in the temple of the idol Dā‘ūn.  The priest ‘Ālī was sitting at the temple door in Shīlūn, when a man entered who had taken part in the defeat, with a dirty face and tattered clothes. The priest Ālī said to him: “What happened to you?”  He replied: “The sons of Israel have been defeated. They made a great slaughter, even your children were killed and the ark was taken” (7).  On hearing that the ark had been taken, the priest ‘Ālī fell face down and died instantly, at the age of ninety (8).  The next day the inhabitants of Ghazza poured into the temple of Dā‘ūn to see the ark, but they found the idol Dā‘ūn with his face to the ground, at the foot of the ark.  Death fell on the city of Ghazza, the inhabitants were hit by dysentery and their territory filled with flies and geckos (9). The ark stayed with them for four months.  In another text it is said: for seven months.  Eventually the inhabitants of Ghazza said: “Clearly if we were struck by the dysentery and the plague of these flies and geckos it was because of this ark.  Let’s carry it away if we do not want to die”.  But some said: “Let’s see if it is precisely for this reason.  Let us take two bulls that have never ploughed, attach them to a new cart and place the ark on top of it, placing a chest near it with images of the flies and geckos (10) of gold and silver, gift of every village, of Ghazza, of ‘Asqalān, of Rafakh, of Yazdūd and of ‘Aqrūn (11). If the bulls go to the land of the sons of Israel, we will get rid of the ark and we will know that this dysentery, flies and geckos are here because of the ark.  But if they do not go in the direction of the land of the sons of Israel, we will know that all this is a phenomenon of the alteration of the air and of the pestilence” (12).  They did as they said.  But the two bulls made their way to the land of the sons of Israel, and that was how they found peace from the dysentery that had struck them, and the geckos and flies left them.  When the two bulls arrived at Bayt Shams (13), the inhabitants were busy at the harvest in the camp of Usiyā  (14).  They took the ark, tore the chariot to pieces and sacrificed the two bullocks, hastening them to God as a sacrifice.  Then they took the casket with pictures of flies and geckos of gold and silver. The ark was taken to the village known to the inhabitants under the name of Qaryat al-Inab (15), and to the home of Abinādāb, father of Ghazā (16) and hidden in a place called “al-Ğab’ā “, i.e. the stronghold.  There were chosen as custodians of the Ark Ghazā and Ahnū (17).

3. After the death of the priest ‘Ālī, the prophet Samuel ruled the people for twenty years. The children of Israel abandoned the worship of idols and began to worship God.  The foreign tribes were afraid of them.  The sons of Israel took back from the foreign tribes all the cities they had occupied, from ‘Aqrūn to Rafakh.  The prophet Samuel had two sons: the elder was called Yū’il and the younger Abiyyā.  They ruled the people in peace and quiet at Bi’r Sab‘a (18).  When the prophet Samuel became old, some of the Israelites went to him, to ar-Rāma, and told him: “Give us a king to reign over us like all the other peoples have.” The prophet Samuel answered them: “If you make a king, he will take your possessions for himself, and he will take tithes of all that you possess” (19).  They answered him: “That is acceptable”. Then the prophet Samuel told them: “I know a man from the tribe of Beniamin, named Qīsh, son of Anī’īl (20), who has a son named Shāwl (21), handsome, tall and brave. I will make him your king “.  Qish, Saul’s father, [found that] some donkeys were lost. Qīsh said to his son Saul: “Take your servant with you and go and look for the donkeys”. Saul went out from village to village looking for the donkeys.  The servant told him: “Let us go to the village of the prophet Samuel and he will show us the place where the donkeys are” (22).  Then they went to the prophet Samuel, who gave them food and drink.  Then he took a horn full of oil, poured it on Saul’s head and anointed him saying: “Today God makes you king of the children of Israel.  You will have a sign in the fact that you will go to your father and find the donkeys are with him” (23).  And it happened as the prophet Samuel had said.

4. Saul was the first to reign over the sons of Israel.  The men of the city of Yābīn (24) and of the city of Gala’ad went over to Māhash (25) the Ammonite because they were not satisfied with King Saul.  Māhash went out with many men to fight Saul.  But Saul won, and he made a great slaughter of the Ammonites.  Then the prophet Samuel took with him Saul and a group of elders of the sons of Israel and went with them to Galğāl (26).  He took a horn full of oil and anointed Saul a second time in Galğal before those gathered there.  The people were pleased with the choice of Saul and offered many sacrifices to God. Saul chose three thousand Israelites to stay with him.  Saul had a son named Yūnāthān (27).  Gionata, son of Saul, took a thousand of his father’s men and fought against Nāsīm (28) who was in Yūnawā (29) and killed him along with a great multitude of the foreign tribes.  When the foreign tribes learned what Jonathan had done, they gathered thirty thousand foot soldiers and six thousand horsemen (30) and went out to fight against the sons of Israel in Galğal.  The children of Israel were overwhelmed by fear and escaped into the mountains, through the valleys and into the desert.  Saul was in Galğāl.  Gionata then took with him a group of Israelites, went out against the soldiers of the foreign tribes and defeated them, making a great slaughter.  When he heard about it, Saul attacked the soldiers of the foreign tribes by surprise and killed them, and none were saved.  Then the prophet Samuel said to King Saul: “Go to the city of the Amalekites, destroy it and fire it, killing all those who are there, men, women, children and animals” (31). Saul took with him four thousand infantrymen of Galğal and thirty thousand Israelites of the tribe of Judah (32) and set off against the Amalekites.  He killed all the Amalekites from the city of Hayūlā to the city of Sur (33) and captured Aghāğ, king of the Amalekites alive. But he did not destroy their farms and their vineyards, nor did he kill any of their animals; on the contrary, his men looted their flocks, their cattle and their pack animals. When [Saul] returned from the war to Galğāl, the prophet Samuel told him: “Did I not order you to kill their flocks, their cattle, their pack animals and destroy their land?  Since you have not done so, I will anoint another man as king of the sons of Israel “(34). Then the prophet Samuel took Aghağ, king of the Amalekites, and had him killed. Then he returned to ar-Rāma and Saul returned to his home, al-Gab‘a (35).

5. A few days later Samuel went to Bethlehem, took Dāwud (36), son of Yassà, and anointed him with the oil as king of the sons of Israel.  David was still young.  Later the foreign tribes reunited to fight against Saul.  Saul went out to face them with his men. David’s brothers were fighting alongside Saul.  Yassà took his son David, provided him with food and sent him to his brothers at the war.  David reached his brothers in the middle of the war and saw a man of the foreign tribes, named Gulyāt (37), who shouted: “Sons of Israel, is there no one to come forward?”(38).  David told his brothers: “I will kill that man” (39).  The brothers scolded him.  But King Saul heard about it, called David, gave him a shield and a sword and ordered him to face Goliath.  When he was on the front line, David got rid of the shield and the weapons, throwing the sword away and took a sling that he always carried with him, put a stone on it and threw it, striking Goliath’s forehead.  Goliath collapsed on the ground.  David took the sword and finished him off.  The soldiers of the foreign tribes therefore fled and were massacred.  Saul named David the head of a thousand leaders (40).

6. Saul sent David to fight against the foreign tribes a second time.  David went out and killed a hundred men and cut off their foreskins and sent them to Saul.  Saul gave his daughter Milhūl to him as wife (41).  And those foreskins were her dowry.  Every time Saul sent David to fight he won and conquered [the city].  Seeing this, Saul feared he could take the throne away from him.  He was therefore very afraid of David and thought to kill him.  But David fled and four hundred men joined him (42).  The prophet Samuel died and was buried in his house, in ar-Rāmah.  Saul went out once again to fight against the foreign tribes, but he was defeated and was left wounded on the field.  He then said to his armour-bearer: “Kill me, so that the enemy do not take me alive” (43).  But the servant refused to do so.  Then Saul took the sword and killed himself.  Seeing this, the servant also gave himself death.  In that battle a great slaughter of the sons of Israel was made and among them were killed Gionata, Abīnādām and Malhīsh, the sons of Saul (44).  The next morning the tribes sought out the dead, took the head of Saul and those of his sons, and sent them to their country, hanging their bodies on the fortified tower of Baniyas (45).  Learning of this in his country (46), they took the bodies and buried them in Baniyas (47).  David was in Siqlā` (48).  A man with a smeared face and tattered clothes showed up.  David told him: “What news do you bring?” He replied: “Saul and his sons Gionata, Abinādam and Malhish were killed in the war.  And it was I who killed them” (49).  David and his men tore their clothes and for three days (50) remained without eating bread, because of the sadness felt for the fate of Saul and the sons of Israel who had died with him.  Then David called the man who had brought him the news and had him killed, to punish him for having himself confessed to having killed them.  Saul had reigned for twenty years.


The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 5 – part 4 and final

Let’s return to the “Annals” of Sa`id ibn Bitriq, Melkite Patriarch of Alexandria in the 10th century.  I’m reading the Italian translation using Google Translate, and thereby producing an English translation – the only one that exists.  The material in chapter 5 is mainly derived from the Arabic bible, so is of limited historical interest.  The variations from our own version, however, are entertaining.  Judging by the erratic use of [] in the text, the proof-readers found this really dull too.  Onwards: the sons of Solomon, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, down to Elijah and Elisha.

10. Solomon had a servant named Rubu’ām, son of Nābāt, of the tribe of Ephraim, whose mother, named Sīsarā, was a prostitute (48). Solomon entrusted the government of the tribe of Joseph to Rubu’am.  Rubu’ām [re]founded the city of Sā’īr [Sichem] in the territory of Ephraim.  He was strong and very brave.  The prophet Akhiyā came to him, took his garment and cut it into twelve pieces, gave ten to Rubu’ām, son of Nābāt, telling him:  “You will reign over ten tribes of the sons of Israel” (49).  Solomon then decided to kill Rubu’am, but he fled from him and took refuge with Shīshaq, Pharaoh of Egypt, and settled with him (50).  The pharaoh gave him as wife the sister of his wife, named Atū, who gave him a son whom he called Nābāt, like his father.  There prophesied, in the days of Solomon, Nāthān and Akhiyā (51) of the village of Shilūn.  The high priest was Sādūq (52).  At that time there lived, in the land of the Greeks, the Greek poet Homer.

Solomon died after reigning forty years.  He was buried in the house of David, and his son Ragī’ām reigned after him, at the age of sixteen.  He reigned for seventeen years in Ūrashalīm.  When Rubu’ām, the son of Nābāt, heard that Solomon was dead, he left Egypt, going to the city of Sā’īr (53).  The sons of Israel gathered together and went to Ragī’ām, son of Solomon, and said to him:  “Your father has administered us in a bad and reprehensible way.  Govern us with good manners and we will be your servants.”  He answered them: “Go ahead, I will give you my answer in three days”.  He therefore consulted his advisors who told him: “You will tell them: ‘”Where my father has ruled you badly, I will use with you and for you the most beautiful and good manners as well as the sweetest and mildest” (54).’  But he did not accept their advice.  Instead he went to his women and told them the same words he had addressed to his advisors.  The women advised him to tell the children of Israel: “Where my father has ruled you badly, I will so govern you as to disperse your community and break your union”. They also told him: “Tell them so, so that they will not treat you like a child and not give you due respect.”  He received their counsel and spoke to the children of Israel as his women had suggested to him (55).  When [the sons of Israel] heard his words, they left the hall and turned against him.  Ragī‘ām warred against them, and sent against them Dūnīrām, head of the receivers of tribute (56).  The sons of Israel stoned him and killed him.  Then Ragī’ām fled away from them and returned to Ūrashalīm.  The sons of Israel gathered and chose King Rubu’ām, son of Nābāt, as their king, and the kingdom divided.

11. Rubu’am, the son of Nābāt, reigned over ten tribes of the sons of Israel.  He built the city of Nābulus (57), which he chose as his home, and the city of Fāthūyil (58).  Ragī‘ām, son of Solomon, reigned over the tribes of Judah and Benjamin.  Ragī’ām, son of Solomon, had with him a hundred and twenty thousand (59) warriors and ruled over many cities, including Bethlehem, Bātshūr, Zīf, Lākhīsh, Gāt, ‘Azīqā and the cities of the territories of Judah and Benjamin (60) .  His mother was called Nānān and was an Ammonite (61).  His mother urged him to worship idols.  As for Rubu’ām, son of Nābāt, fearing that the sons of Israel would go up to Ūrashalīm, to the house of the Lord, with offerings and, on seeing the temple, would rebel against him and betray him to Ragī’ām, son of Solomon, king of Judah, he had two calves of gold made and placed one in Bayt-īl and the other in Bāniyās (62).  He appointed to their service some priests of the lineage of Levi telling them: “These are your gods who have saved you from the hand of the Pharaoh.  Worship them and you will no longer need to go up to Ūrashalīm “(63).  Then he set up for them a great feast that is still celebrated today in the land of Judah.

12. In the fifth year of the reign of Ragī’ām, son of Solomon, Shīshaq, pharaoh of Egypt, came up to Ūrashalīm at the head of twenty-two thousand men of whom seven thousand were horsemen.  Ragī’ām, son of Solomon, fled and Shīshaq, pharaoh of Egypt, took all the gold and silver that was in the house of the Lord and the gold and silver vessels that was in the palace of the King.  Ragī’ām, son of Solomon, then replaced it with vessels of copper [1 Kings 14.25-27].  There were many wars between Ragī’ām, son of Solomon, and Rubu’ām, son of Nābāt, for as long as Ragī’ām lived.  Ragī’ām, son of Solomon, married eighteen women and had many children.  He also married Mākhā, daughter of Abīshālūm (64), who bore him Abiyā and his brothers.  He also had thirty concubines (65).  His children were thirty-eight in total between males and females (66).  In the days of Ragī’ām, son of Solomon, there prophesied Sim‘ayā of Nahlām (67) and Akhiyā from Silo.  At Bayt-īl there prophesied ‘Ubīd (68) and the altar split in two.

13. Ragī’ām, son of Solomon, died and was buried with his father in David’s house.  After him his son Abiyā reigned, over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, for six years.  This occurred in the eighteenth year of the reign of Rubu’am, the son of Nābāt, king of Israel.  Between Abiyā, king of Judah, and Rubu’ām, king of Israel, there were many wars.  Abiyā, king of Judah, defeated him and killed five hundred thousand of the sons of Israel.  Rubu’ām, king of Israel, was afraid of Abiyā, king of Judah.  Abiyā, king of Judah, died and was buried in the city of David.  After him his son Āsā reigned over Judah, at Urashalīm, for forty-one years.  This occurred in the twenty-fourth year (69) of the reign of Rubu’ām, son of Nābāt, king of Israel. The mother of Āsā, king of Judah, was called Nā’imah, daughter of Abīshālūm (70).  Rubu’ām, son of Nābāt, king of Israel, died after having reigned for twenty-four years.  After him his son Nābāt (71) reigned over Israel for two years.  This took place in the second year of the reign of Āsā, king of Judah.  Fa’shā, son of Akhiyā, attacked Nābāt in Kib’ātūn and killed him (72).  Then he destroyed all the descendants of Rubu’ām, son of Nābāt.  Fa’shā, son of Akhiyā, reigned over Israel at Tirsā (73) for twenty-four years.  This took place in the third year of the reign of Āsā, king of Judah.  Between Āsā, king of Judah, and Fa’shā, king of Israel, there were many wars.  Fa’shā, king of Israel, crossed into the territory of Judah and founded Rāmā (74).  Āsā, king of Judah, sent [messengers] to Hadād, son of Ğazāyil, king of Damascus (75), with many gifts, and with all the gold, the silver and the precious stones that were piled up in his house asking his help against Fa’shā, king of Israel.  Hadād, son of Ğazāyil, sent him a huge army to help him.  [Āsā] then went out with the army and destroyed the cities of ‘Iyūn, of Bai, all the heights and all the territory of the Nifthālīm (76).  When Fa’shā, king of Israel, learned of it, he abandoned the construction of Rāmā and returned to Tirsā.  Āsā, king of Judah, took away the stones and wood with which Fa’shā, king of Israel, intended to build Rāmā and used it to build fortresses and palaces in the territory of Benjamin.  Zārākh, king of the Kushites, i.e. the inhabitants of Sūdān, came out against him at the head of a thousand thousand warriors.  Āsā, king of Judah, confronted them with three hundred thousand men of the tribe of Judah, and with fifty and two thousand men of the tribe of Benjamin (77), and he defeated them and made a great slaughter and put all their possessions to booty.

14. Fa’shā, king of Israel, died and was buried at Tirsā.  After him, his son Īlā reigned at Tirsā for two years.  This took place in the twenty-sixth year of the reign of Āsā, king of Judah.  ‘Omrī was commander of the army of Īlā, king of Israel, (78).  ‘Omrī attacked Īlā and killed him.  He also killed all the descendants of Fa’shā, king of Israel.  The sons of Israel had gathered at Gib’āthūr (79) to fight against the tribes, when they heard of the killing of Īlā, king of Israel.  Some of them accepted as king Omrī and others proclaimed their king Tibnī, son of Khīnāt, for a short time.  But Tibnī died and Omrī reigned over Israel for twelve years.  This took place in the twenty-seventh year of the reign of Āsā (80), king of Judah.  He reigned for six years at Tirsā and founded a city he called ‘Omrī, on Mount Sāmir (81).  He then reigned for six years in Samaria.  ‘Omrī died and was buried in Samaria.  After him, his son Akhāb reigned over Israel in Samaria for twenty-one years.  This occurred in the thirty-eight year of the reign of Āsā, king of Judah.  In old age Āsā fell ill with gout but his kingdom continued to be tranquil and at peace.  There prophesied, in his days, Hanānī, his son Yāhū, and ‘Azariyā, son of ‘Ūbid the prophet (82).  Āsā, king of Judah, died and was buried in the city of David.

15. After him his son Yūshāfāt reigned over Judah, at Ūrashalīm, at the age of thirty-five.  This took place in the fourth year of the reign of Akhāb, king of Israel.  The reign of Yūshāfāt was full of splendor and many were his possessions and numerous his army.  In his day, there prophesied Mikhā, son of Īlā (83), Yāhū, son of Hanānī, Ili’āzār, son of Dūdāyā (84), ‘Ubīdiyā (85), Iliyā, or al-Khadir (86), and the disciple of the latter Ilīsha ‘(87).  In his day there lived a pseudo-prophet named Sidiqiyā, son of Kina‘nā (88).  As for Akhāb, king of Israel, he married a woman named Izbil, daughter of Thalmānī, king of Sidon (89).  Akhāb, king of Israel, built a temple in Samaria where he placed the idol Bā‘il and worshiped him.  In the days of Akhāb, king of Israel, there lived an Israelite named Nābūthā (90) who had a very nice vegetable garden.  King Akhāb fell in love with it and sent messengers from Nābūthā asking him to sell him the garden because it was adjoining his home.  But Nābūthā refused it, saying:  “I inherited this garden from my fathers and my ancestors and I will not sell it or give it to anyone” (91).  Akhāb, king of Israel, received this badly, became irritated and angry.  His wife Izbil entered and told him: “Why do I always see you so angry and sad?”  He replied: “I asked Nābūthā to sell me his garden, but he refused it, and the fact that he rejected me and did not satisfy my request gave me great pain” (92).  Izbil left Akhāb, king of Israel, called the Israelites ready to obey them and told them: “Testify for me against Nābūthā by saying that he has denied God and has blasphemed against Moses” (93).  They testified against him and Izbil commanded that Nābūthā should be stoned to death.  Then Izbil went to Akhāb, king of Israel, and said to him: “Do not be in pain anymore.  I had Nābūthā killed.  Take your garden”(94).  Then the prophet Īliyās came to Akhāb, king of Israel, and scolded him and told him:  “Beware of putting your hands on the garden of Nābūthā and approaching it, because God is full of anger with you for having worshiped the idols and with your wife Izbil for killing prodigally Nābūthā.  But God has already chosen against you and your wife he who will kill you and her” (95).  On hearing the words of Iliyā, Akhāb, king of Israel, he felt great fear, left the garden and did not approach it.  When Izbil then heard that the prophet Iliyā had forbidden King Akhāb to take possession of the garden, she sent men to search for the prophet Iliyā with the intent of killing him.  The prophet Iliyā was afraid of her and asked the Lord not to rain on the earth (96).  The prophet Iliya escaped to the borders of the Jordan, on Mount Khūrīb, or Tūr-Sīnā (97), and he lived near the crevice of a spring.  He used to drink water from the crevasse, and every day a crow brought him bread and in the evening some meat to eat.  The prophet Īliyās, son of ‘Arbā, [was] from Gala’ad and the Arabs call him al-Khidr.  After a few days the spring dried up and the prophet Īliyās repaired to the city of Sārafiyyah of Sidon (98).  He came across a widow who collected wood and asked her for food and drink.  The woman took him to her house.  She had a little flour and some oil, prepared a focaccia and fed him and her children (99).  Iliyā invoked the blessing of the Lord on the container that contained the flour and on the one that contained the oil: that of flour was filled with flour, as was that of oil with oil.  The widow’s son became ill, and died.  Iliyā invoked his Lord, God restored his health and he lived.

16. After three years and six months (100) the prophet Iliyā decided to go to Akhāb, king of Israel.  It had never rained in all that time, and many people had died because of the great famine and drought.  And while ‘Ubīdiyā, lieutenant of Akhāb (101), went around the valleys in search of water he came upon Īliyā, who went with him to Akhāb, king of Israel.  King Akhāb told him: “It was you who asked the sky not to give rain all this time”. The prophet Iliyā answered him: “It was you who made the sky give no more rain because you worshiped idols and your wife Izbil killed prodigally Nābūthā and because you received the words of the false prophets” (102). Then King Akhāb summoned all the Israelites and all the false prophets: the prophets of the idol Bā‘il were four hundred thirty-four – In another text it says: they were four hundred and eighty – (103), and the prophets of Astīrā, which was a palm-tree they worshiped, were four hundred (104).  The prophet Iliyā said to the false prophets: “Let us take two calves. You will choose the best, slay it and offer it to your gods as a sacrifice. If a fire comes down from heaven and consumes it, we will know that your gods are true.  Otherwise I alone will do it and you will know that you are in error and I in truth “(105).  They then took a calf, slaughtered it and invoked their gods, Bā’il and others, from noon to night, but nothing happened.  Then the prophet Iliyā took twelve stones, formed an altar around which he dug a trench and laid wood on the stones.  He slaughtered the calf and laid it on the stones and wood. He poured twelve pitchers of water over it until it filled the little trench that ran around the altar.  He invoked his Lord, and there came a fire from heaven that devoured the flesh, the stones and the water until it dug a large ditch into the earth.  The Israelites were dismayed.  The prophet Iliyā then had the false prophets in the valley of Qīsūn killed by the sword (106).  Then the prophet Iliyā invoked his Lord.  God rained on them and the calamity left them.  When Izbil, wife of Akhab, heard what Iliya had done to the false prophets, she again threatened to kill him.  He was afraid of her and ran away.  Elisha, son of Yūshāfāt, met him while he was busy grazing oxen (107).  He left the oxen, followed Iliyā and became a disciple.

17. Then it happened that Ibn Hadād, king of Damascus (108), gathered the people of his kingdom, asked aid from thirty-two kings, formed a large and innumerable army and went out to fight against Akhāb, king of Israel, to whom he sent to say: “All the gold and silver you have, your male slaves and your female slaves, your women and everything you own is mine” (109).  Akhāb, king of Israel, was very afraid and consented to give him everything he had asked.  While the messengers came and went from one [king] to another, some young men, sons of the Syrian leaders, made a sortie by beating on the drums around the camp. When the Syrian soldiers saw them they believed they were being assaulted by the children of Israel and they flee wildly, chasing each other and killing each other.  Learning this, Akhāb, king of Israel, chased them together with his men.  He ransacked their camps, their tents and train and all they had (110).  Ibn-Hadād, king of Damascus, succeeded in escaping to Damascus where the other survivors reached him.  Then he raised an army and went out to fight, driven by the desire to take revenge on what had happened to him.  Akhāb, king of Israel, came out against him and put him to flight, killing twenty-seven thousand men (111).  Ibn-Hadād repaired by himself to Damascus where some councilors addressed these words to him: “The king of Israel is merciful, let’s go to him and ask him to leave us alone”.  Then they wore worn garments, and went to Akhāb, king of Israel, and said to him:  “Your servant, Ibn-Hadād, sends you to say: ‘Do not hold it against me for what I did against you.”‘ Akhāb, king of Israel, answered them: “I consider him my brother”. They answered him: “If he is your brother, give him a guarantee on Damascus, so that there is a truce between you and him”.  [Akhāb] consented (112).

18. Three years later Yūshāfāt, king of Judah, came down to Akhāb, king of Israel, to greet him. Akhāb met with him and hosted him at his house.  Yūshāfāt married his son Yūrām to ‘Ataliyā, sister of Akhāb, king of Israel.  Akhāb said to Yūshāfāt, king of Judah: “The city of Rāmūth of Kal’ād was ours (113), but the king of Syria took it from us.  If you helped me we could take it back”.  Yūshāfāt consented to what he had asked of him.  Then they gathered their men and marched on Ramwāth (114) of Kal’ād.  Learning this, the king of Syria gathered his men and went out against them.  Akhāb then said to Yūshāfāt: “Take off your clothes and wear mine so that you will not be recognized in war” (115).  He did so.  Now the king of Syria had ordered his men to seek, during the fight, the king of Israel, describing how he was dressed.  When they saw the garments of Yūshāfāt, king of Judah, they believed that it was Akhāb, king of Israel, pursued him and surrounded him.  But he gave a cry, addressed them and escaped them.  Akhāb, king of Israel, was hit by a dart and fled before the king of Syria.  Yūshāfāt returned to Ūrashalīm and Akhāb, king of Israel, returned home wounded.  Akhāb died because of the wound he had brought back and was buried in Samaria.



The Studios monastery in Constantinople – lots of it still standing

Today I came across a new Twitter feed, @ConstantineCity, publishing additions to, “Cataloging the remnants of Roman Constantinople in Istanbul”.  This is a great idea, which I wonder nobody has had before.

The website doesn’t seem to have much on it, but the twitter feed does.  Here is a tweet on the Studios monastery:

Stoudios Monastery: Monastic complex founded in the 5th c. and dedicated to St. John the Baptist. Its main basilica is still standing, albeit roofless, with elaborate flooring exposed to the elements.

The last image must be taken by a drone, which highlights how useful these things can be.

A Google search for “İmrahor İlyasbey Anıtı” or “Imrahor camii” – Camii is Turkish for mosque – will find more photos of the main basilica. 

The Studios monastery is immensely important in the transmission of Greek culture.  The Greek minuscule book hand was supposedly developed there in the 9th century, replacing the larger uncial hand.    The Wikipedia article (caution!) is here.


Hoaxed! “Dionysus, the son of the virgin, … His blood, the blood of the grape…”

I got scammed today.  Doesn’t happen that often.  It was on twitter, and a very respectable person tweeted:

From his blood, Dionysus created the first grapes and so the drinking of wine was the drinking of the God’s blood. It’s not the only parallel between Dionysus and later religious figures.

Of course I was all over this, and replied:

Does any ancient source make this link… drinking the god’s blood? (I can just see the headbangers incoming….!)

To which my friend replied:

How about Euripides?

“Next came Dionysus, the son of the virgin, bringing the counterpart to bread: wine & the blessings of life’s flowing juices. His blood, the blood of the grape, lightens the burden of our mortal misery.  Though himself a God, it is his blood we pour out to offer thanks to the Gods”  (Bacchae)

Well, there’s no arguing with that; and I expressed my thanks.  Until a kindly stranger butted in and asked:

Why does your translation replace the name “Semele” with “virgin”?

Silly me, not to check.  I googled, and quickly found the translation above given by “quote” sites; and also, ominously, by Christian-hating crank Tom Harpur in his 2007 book Water into Wine, p.125 (or so I find from Google Books).

At this point, as any of us might, and I should have done first, I reached for Perseus.  I quickly found the quote in the English, part of the speech by Tiresias in Bacchae line 266 here:

This new god, whom you ridicule, I am unable to express how great he will be throughout Hellas. For two things, young man, [275] are first among men: the goddess Demeter—she is the earth, but call her whatever name you wish; she nourishes mortals with dry food; but he who came afterwards, the offspring of Semele, discovered a match to it, the liquid drink of the grape, and introduced it [280] to mortals. It releases wretched mortals from grief, whenever they are filled with the stream of the vine, and gives them sleep, a means of forgetting their daily troubles, nor is there another cure for hardships. He who is a god is poured out in offerings to the gods, [285] so that by his means men may have good things.

Hardly “the son of the virgin”, eh?  And where is the “blood of the god” stuff in this?  As I tweeted, it was now easy enough to find the Greek, line 278, thanks to Perseus:

οὗτος δ᾽ δαίμων νέος, ὃν σὺ διαγελᾷς,
οὐκ ἂν δυναίμην μέγεθος ἐξειπεῖν ὅσος
καθ᾽ Ἑλλάδ᾽ ἔσται. δύο γάρ, νεανία,
275) τὰ πρῶτ᾽ ἐν ἀνθρώποισι: Δημήτηρ θεά–
γῆ δ᾽ ἐστίν, ὄνομα δ᾽ ὁπότερον βούλῃ κάλει:
αὕτη μὲν ἐν ξηροῖσιν ἐκτρέφει βροτούς:
ὃς δ᾽ ἦλθ᾽ ἔπειτ᾽, ἀντίπαλον Σεμέλης γόνος
βότρυος ὑγρὸν πῶμ᾽ ηὗρε κεἰσηνέγκατο
280) θνητοῖς, παύει τοὺς ταλαιπώρους βροτοὺς
λύπης, ὅταν πλησθῶσιν ἀμπέλου ῥοῆς,
ὕπνον τε λήθην τῶν καθ᾽ ἡμέραν κακῶν
δίδωσιν, οὐδ᾽ ἔστ᾽ ἄλλο φάρμακον πόνων.
οὗτος θεοῖσι σπένδεται θεὸς γεγώς,
285) ὥστε διὰ τοῦτον τἀγάθ᾽ ἀνθρώπους ἔχειν.

Which clearly indicates that Semele, not “virgin”, is given; that there is no reference to wine as the blood of Dionysus; rather that the wine itself is the god, not his blood.

So where did the original quotation come from?  I found an attribution here: to Michael Cacoyannis, a film maker.  It looks as if Mr Cacoyannis took liberties in order to sell his film!  His translation was published in 1987.  I’ve not been able to access it to verify the quote, but I do believe it.  Sadly the link is for an Indiana University class; which suggests that the university has fallen for this one too.

You have to be so careful, don’t you?