14. The Byzantine Chronographical Tradition “Peri Theon” (§§101-103)

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14. The Byzantine Chronographical Tradition “Peri Theon” (§§101-103)

101. What emerges is a scheme in which Ninus and his wife Semiramis were held to have appeared in different incarnations in different eras, first in the immediate post-diluvian period (the era of Ninus A = Nimrod), then in the 18th century BC (the era of Ninus I), then in the 9th century BC (the era of Ninus II). (The word “incarnation,” as elsewhere in this study the word “avatar,” are used in the popular, not the technical, theological, sense.) In a series of Byzantine chronicles beginning with that of John Malalas (c. AD 491-578), fragments of various traditions relating to the first of these incarnations are mixed with ones of similar type to form a mosaic of Christian chronographical excerpts, the purpose of which is to explain how Classical paganism arose as a result of the deification of early post-diluvian kings and heroes. It is called “On Those Called Gods by the Greeks” (Peri tôn legomenôn par ‘Ellêsi theôn), abbreviated here to Peri Theon. It may be a reworking of the essay of Isogonus similarly titled “On Greek Gods” (Peri ‘Ellênikôn theôn), which included an euhemeristic account of the migration of Kronos to Libya and Sicily, reminiscent of Peri Theon. A fragment of Lydus, De mensibus, Bk. IV mentions Isogonus’ composition: “The Phoenicians, guided by the similarity of the name, or by some allegory, told the story of Kronos in a different way, as may be gathered in the second book of Herennius Philo’s Phoenician History. Their traditional history tells how he [Kronos] reigned over Libya and Sicily, as I explained above; that he settled inhabitants there and founded cities, like the one of which Charax speaks, and which was at first called Kronia, and now Hierapolis, as Isigonos narrates in his book, On the Greek Gods, and Polemon, and Aeschylus in his tragedy of Etna.” (Published by Hase on p. 274 of the treatise De Ostentis, by the same author.) The following summary,a selection of the major elements in this mosaic,is based on the extract from a Byzantine chronographer which replaces the missing first book of John Malalas in Dindorf’s edition of the Greek, on the immediately following section of the second book of the chronicle of Malalas himself, on the earlier fragments of John of Antioch collected in Müller’s Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum and on the relevant portions of the Chronicon Paschale and related chronicles. (The first book of Malalas himself in the original Greek can be consulted in ed. Thurn, Ioannis Malalae Chronographia, Berlin, New York, 2000, and in English translation in The Chronicle of John Malalas, Jeffreys et al., Melbourne, 1986.) Earlier sources cited in Peri Theon include Diodorus Siculus (first century BC), and Palaephatus of Egypt or Athens (c. 200 BC). The more immediate sources were Christian or Jewish traditions similar to those considered here, some of them, at least, transmitted through the notable Christian chronographer, Africanus. Each section is preceded by the most relevant quotations from the sources.

101.1. FHG John of Antioch Fr. 3 (from Exc. Salmasii in Crameri Anecd. Par. II. p. 386): “From the tribe of Shem [sic] the son of Noah arose one Nimrod, the first hunter with dogs, whom the Assyrians deified and set amongst the stars. They call him Orion. That is why they placed the Dog-star [Sirius] next to him.”

101.2. Ibid. Fr. 4 (from Codex Paris. 1630) 1: “Of the tribe of Shem [sic] was born Cush called Aethiops [the ancestor of the Ethiopians], who engendered Nimrod the giant, the founder of Babylon. The Persians say he was deified and turned into the heavenly constellation they call Orion. He was the first to practice hunting with dogs.”

101.3. Anonymous Chronographer = Malalas Bk. 1 ed. Dindorf p. 16f.: “In the aforementioned time [between the Flood and Abraham] arose a giant called Nimrod, the son of Cush Aethiops, of the tribe of Ham, who founded Babylon, and he was the first to practice hunting with dogs, and introduced the magic art to the Persians, teaching them star-lore and astrology, all the things signified thereby in relation to new-born infants by the movement of the heavens. The Greeks learned genethlialogy from them and began to classify people at their birth by reference to the movement of the stars. The truth is that star-lore, astrology and the magic art began with the Magousaeans [the Magi], that is, the Persians, and, indeed, Persians are called by the natives of those lands Magog. They also claim Nimrod was deified and turned into the constellation they call Orion, concerning whom Moses said that the beginning of his kingdom was Babylon and Calneh in the land of Shinar. Out of that land went forth Philistim [ancestor of the Philistines, see §339, below, >>, for his background and his connection with Nimrod] of the tribe Asshur descended from Shem, and that is where the Assyrians come from.”

101.4. Chronicon Paschale (ed. Dindorf p. 50f.) “Peter the Apostle in the Clementine literature says how he [Nimrod] ruled in Babylon after receiving his allotted portion in Egypt. For Peter says: ‘This Nimrod emigrated from Egypt to the Assyrians, and, having settled in the city of Ninos [Nineveh], which Ashur founded, and having founded the city known as Babylon, he gave its name to the city: the Assyrians called this same Nimrod Ninos. He taught the Assyrians to worship fire, which is why the Assyrians made him the first king after the Flood, whose name they changed to Ninos.’”

101.5. Comments. The Biblical history of Nimrod is here briefly referred to, and, as in the pseudo-Clementines, Nimrod is credited with the foundation of Babylon and the invention of occult sciences. He is said to have been identified, on death, with the constellation Orion. Orion was identified with Tammuz in Mesopotamia and with the soul of Osiris in Egyptian myth. Compare with this account the identification of the deceased Nimrod in the pseudo-Clementines with Ptah, a.k.a. Apis, a.k.a. Serapis, a.k.a. Osiris.

101.6. FHG John of Antioch Fr. 3 ctd.: “He [viz. Nimrod] was also named by the natives [of Assyria] Kronos, and he took as his wife Semiramis, who was named Rhea.”

101.7. Ibid. Fr. 4. 1 ctd.: “Of the same tribe of Shem the first son of Noah was born Kronos. [Ibid.] 2. [Section heading:] On Those Called Gods by the Greeks. When this Kronos was born he turned out to be of the giant stock. He was called Kronos by his father after the planet [Kronos being the Greek name for the planet Saturn]. He was a powerful and aggressive man, who was the first to rule openly over the earth. He was king of Assyria for many years. He had a wife who similarly was called Rhea by the Assyrians, because she also was an arrogant and boastful member of the same tribe.”

101.8. Anonymous Chronographer = Malalas Bk. 1 ed. Dindorf p. 17f.: “There also appeared another who held sway over Syria, Persia and the rest of the East, the son of a person called Ouranos and his wife Aphrodite, of the giant race, his name being Kronos, so called after the planet. This man had great power too, and subdued many, and when he had become master of them, he first ruled as king and controlled other men. He began by ruling Syria for 56 years. Next he subdued Persia, setting out from Syria. He had a wife Semiramis, who was also called Rhea by the Assyrians.”

101.9. Cedrenus ed. Migne PG CXXI, col. 47ff: “During the reign of Nimrod Babylon was founded and the Tower over a period of 43 years. Nimrod was a son of Ham and a descendant of Enoch. Nimrod was also called Euechios. All the nations involved in the construction were 70, but they all had one language. Nimrod, the son of Cush Aethiops, was a giant to them, and he used to provide animals in abundance for food by his hunting.”

101.10. Ibid. col. 53: “The Assyrians deified Nimrod and set him amongst the stars of heaven. They call him Orion. He was the first to practice hunting with dogs. That is why they placed the so-called Dog-star [Sirius] next to Orion. They also call him Kronos after the planet.”

101.11. Comments. A Syrian, or Assyrian, king called Kronos is here introduced, the son of one Ouranos, and his wife Aphrodite. This is a different person from the Phoenician Aphrodite, i.e. Eshterah, Astarte, who is a wife of Kronos, and a daughter of Ouranos in Sanchuniathon (see §387, below, >>, §397, below, >>). On the other hand, Sanchuniathon uses of his Kronos almost the identical words found in the Byzantine chronicles: that Kronos was identified with the “star” Kronos, viz. the planet Saturn, and hence acquired his name. (§400, below, >>.) The name Aphrodite is used symbolically by the Byzantine chronographers to represent an illicit liaison, as stated explicitly infra. Compare the illicit liaisons of Ouranos in Sanchuniathon. (§380ff., below, >>.) The Sibylline Oracles are behind the Byzantine tradition, as can be deduced from the description of Kronos more commonly as a descendant of Shem or of Cush, the “son of Shem,” than of Ham. This is contrary to the Biblical genealogy, but in accord with the Sibylline Oracles, which identify Kronos son of Ouranos with Shem. The Semitic genealogy of Nimrod is found for the first time in Christian writings in Theophilus of Antioch (Ad Autolycum II. xxxi.): Mizraim is termed by him “another son of Shem,” that is, presumably, in addition to Nimrod, who is the subject of the statement immediately preceding this one. Immediately after it, Theophilus quotes the Sibylline Oracles on the Shinar Tower, which suggests he had in mind the identification of Kronos son of Ouranos with Shem in the Oracles. The equation of Ouranos with Noah is not explicit, however, in the Byzantine tradition. According to John of Antioch Kronos, the descendant of Shem, received this name and his wife the name Rhea, specifically because they were of the tribe of Shem, the firstborn son of Noah. Kronos in the Sibylline Oracles is the firstborn son of Ouranos. “Kronos” here evidently means “Shem” or “Semite.” Cedrenus’ version of the scheme, like one fragment of John of Antioch (Fr. 3 above), identifies this Kronos with Nimrod (ed. Migne PG CXXI, col. 53) and Cedrenus further identifies Nimrod with Berossus’ Euechios (i.e. Enmerkar, ibid. col. 48). That Kronos’ wife is called Semiramis and Rhea tends to confirm the suspicion that in the underlying tradition Kronos was indeed Nimrod, as in Mar Abas Catina’s list of god-kings adapted from Manetho (Kronos [Geb] = Nimrod). The identification may have become problematic because Ninos, described as the son of Kronos and Semiramis, also features in Peri Theon, and in the pseudo-Clementine Recognitions Ninos is identified with Nimrod. Again, in the Excerpta Barbari (amongst traditions related to those in Peri Theon) Ninos is identified with Serapis, i.e. Osiris, the son of Geb, rather than with Geb (Kronos) himself. The application of the name Nimrod (and Ninos) to different individuals descended from Nimrod son of Cush has already been noted. Similarly, Semiramis, the wife of Ninos, is identified with the Mother-Goddess Rhea, and, in the Excerpta Barbari, with Rhea’s daughter Hera also, and two other Greek goddesses of the succeeding divine generation. (Semiramis = Rhea in the summary of Castor’s Assyrian king list in the Excerpta Barbari, 37a, “because of her many atrocities.” In Peri Theon Semiramis-Rhea marries her own son, Ninos. As wife of Nimrod-Kronos, she is Rhea, as wife of Ninos-Serapis-Zeus, she is Hera, as wife of Ninos-Serapis-Plouto, she is Hekate, etc.)

101.12. There is no trace in this particular genealogy of the Belos (Latin Belus) who is the father of Ninos in the standard Greek authorities (the earliest Herodotus). His name appears a little later in the Byzantine tradition at the end of the Assyrian and Egyptian sections considered here, amongst the heroes famed in Greek myth. Nevertheless, this same Belos, the son of Poseidon and Libya, the brother of Agenor, and founder of the Phoenician royal line, features implicitly in the scheme on which this section of Peri Theon seems to have drawn. (For the genealogy of Ninos’ father, Belos, see Castor in the Armenian translation of Eusebius’ Chronicle, s.n. Aegialeus of Sicyon, Chronicorum lib. I. cap. XXV. 1, Migne PG XIX, col. 210 and footnote in Greek. Poseidon, the father of Belos here corresponds to the Mesopotamian water-god Ea, father of Bel-Marduk/Asshur, see §337, below, >>.) The connections of Belos were with North Africa and its Phoenician colonists. He was the Hammon of the Siwa Oasis and Cyrenaica in North Africa (Nonnus, Dionysiaca ed. Köchly, III. 291: this Belos, the ancestor of the Phoenician royal house, is called by Nonnus “the Libyan Zeus,” i.e. Hammon, and “Dius,” i.e. Zeus, simply, without the national epithet, in the summary of Castor’s Assyrian king list in the Excerpta Barbari, 37a). Hammon was the Egyptian (originally Ethiopian) god Amun or Amun-Ra of Siwa. Hence the alternative Greek tradition that Belos was an Egyptian. It was the belief of the Egyptians themselves (Diodorus Siculus, I. 28. 1) that this African Belos founded a colony on the banks of the Euphrates and appointed there priests who only “imperfectly” practiced the Egyptian astral religion, viz. the priests known to the Babylonians as Chaldaeans. Here we have precisely the ancestry of Nimrod in Mar Abas Catina, viz. Ninos son of Belos = Nimrod son of Cush = Geb son of Ra, i.e. Amun-Ra of Siwa, i.e. Hammon, i.e. Belos. The Phoenicians called Amun-Ra “Kneph,” — a deformation of the Egyptian name Kem-atef, — and in this aspect pictured him as a serpent, encircling the globe and devouring his own tail. According to Macrobius’ Saturnalia (I. 9), the Phoenician Kneph represented the universe, or space, and was the same god the Romans knew as Janus. The two faces of the latter represented the bipolar nature of the universe, the night and day hemispheres, sun, moon, sunrise and sunset. (Amun, Hammon, a.k.a. Belos father of Ninos, was the Mesopotamian god Asshur or Bel Marduk of Babylon, who was a two-faced god already in the second millennium BC, and the prototype of the Roman Janus.) Like Amun and Kem-atef, Janus was identified particularly with the sun.

101.13. In medieval expansions of the series of god-kings in Peri Theon, Janus appears as a deified king of the immediate post-diluvian period, and a migrant to the West. He is said to have settled in Rome on the Janiculum (named after him), and to have been followed there by Saturnus (= Kronos, the planet Saturn), specifically identified with Nimrod, who was succeeded in turn by Picus and Faunus. Anticipating results of inquiries pursued elsewhere in this study, we find there were three forms of Amun, or of Janus, father, son and grandson, in this strand of the tradition, identified respectively with Noah, Ham and Cush. The god Amun (Roman Janus) was known also as Min amongst the Egyptians, and Minos (the Bull, Tauros, Mino-tauros) or Asterios amongst the Cretans, Minos being the eponymous ancestor of the Minaeans or Minoans, the inhabitants first of Minoa (Gaza) and its environs, and later of Crete. Gaza had another name, Ione (the “Ionian” city), and consequently the same multiply-embodied god-man (Min[os]) came to treated as the ancestor of the “Ionitai” or people of Ione (Minoa, Gaza), that is, of the Levantine Ionians, called Javanites by the Hebrews. As the Javanites or Greeks merged historically with the Minoans in Crete and in the Greek mainland and further West, the interchange of the eponymi in this tradition reflects an actual historical process. The name Javan was used generally in the Levant to denote the Greek people or Hellenes, Javan himself being the son of Japheth, son of Noah. Thus Janus, the father of the Ianili (the “people of Janus”), took on the further role of founding patriarch of the Javanite Greeks, the Ionians and Hellenes. In native Greek tradition “Hellen” was the equivalent eponymous ancestor of the Hellenes (= Hebrew “Javan”), and he was a son of Deukalion, the survivor of the Greek flood. Deukalion corresponds to, and was traditionally equated with, the Biblical Noah. Thus “Janus” (= Javan = Hellen) came to be treated also in medieval chronicles as a fourth, post-diluvian “son of Noah.” We must in each case distinguish which particular “Janus” is referred to in the medieval accounts, whether Janus-Noah, the flood-hero, Janus-Hellen, the post-diluvian son of Noah, or Janus-Javan, the son of Japheth, son of Noah, etc. A typical account (Martinus Polonus, Chronica Pontificum et Imperatorum, MGH SS 22, p. 399f.) reads as follows: “Escodius explains the manner in which Rome was built and set in order as follows: After the sons of Noah had built the Tower of Confusion, Noah with certain others embarked on a boat and came to Italy, and not far from that place where Rome is now, built a city named after him, in which he worked and lived the rest of his life. His son Janus [= Hellen son of Deukalion] along with Janus [= Javan], son of Japheth, his grandson, and Cameses a native of the place built the city Janiculum and took the kingdom. The same individual with the aforesaid Cameses built a palace in Trastevere, which he called Janiculum, in that location where presently the church of Saint Johannes [John the Baptist] on Janiculum is situated. At that same time, Nimrod, who is Saturnus [Saturn], having been castrated by his son Jupiter, arrived in the kingdom of the aforementioned Janus, and with his help constructed a city where now stands the Capitol.” The name of the source Martinus Polonus draws on here, “Escodius,” is a miswriting of “Methodius,” and means the 6th century AD “Revelation of Methodius,” ultimately of Syriac Christian origin, in which a seminal version of the legend is found. Here the second Janus, the “son of Japheth,” is Javan, son of Japheth, the ancestor of the Ionians or Greeks, corresponding to the Greek eponymus Ion, the ancestor of the Ionians (Ion son of Xouthos son of Hellen), based on the traditional equation of Ion with Janus (De Originis Gentis Romanae cap. II, Cod. Pulm. fol. 52). In the 14th century Chronicon Bohemorum of Giovanni di Marignola the identification of Janus and Javan is stated explicitly: “Noah went to Cyprus [presumably Kittim in the underlying tradition] and, devoting his time to the raising of a family and the working of the ground, he begot sons. Noah begot Janus …. Janus, the son of Noah and father of Italy, is called Janan [sic for Javan, corresponding to Hellen son of Deukalion] in Genesis. He studied astrology and came to Italy, where Rome is now, and made himself an encampment. To this day there is in Rome a church, which is called Saint Maria on the Janiculum, where once was the encampment of Janus. He also set up another encampment on the sea-coast for his grandson [here Javan/Janus = Ion grandson of Hellen], who had the same name as himself, and called it Janus, where the city of Janua [= Genoa] is now, which in later times the Trojans extended ….” The Minaeans were Hivites and the Hivites merged with the Hebrew clan of Edom. Thus also in Rabbinic tradition Edom is connected with the founding of Rome. The building referred to supra was actually done, according to medieval Rabbinic tradition, by a later Edomite incarnation of Janus, viz. Zepho, son of Eliphaz, son of Esau, whose arrival in Italy represented the spread of Minoan civilization into that area c. 1700 BC. Janus here is the eponymus of the “Javanites” or “Minaeans” passed down to Zepho because he was a “Minaean,” of mixed Edomite-Hivite/Minaean descent. See §140.5, below, >>, on Janus as the supposed eponymus of the Ionian Greeks = Minoans = Minaeans = the clan of Zepho. In this tradition, it was Zepho-Janus who was the builder of palaces in Rome, being succeeded by Janus II, or alternatively by Picus, Faunus etc., and who constructed, and was buried in, Genoa (Janua), so named after him. (Yosippon, Breithaupt’s edition, Book I, ch. 2, Sefer ha-Zikhronot [Jerahmeel], ed. trans. Gaster, cap. XL., Abarbanel, Commentary on Isaiah 34.) The equation of Janus with Javan or Ion shows Janus in these accounts is the eponymus of the Ionians, Greeks or Hellenes. The name Hellenes was that used by the Greeks themselves for their own nation, and Hellas for the country, and Javan was the equivalent Hebrew name. Javan is translated “Hellas” in the Septuagint in Ezk. 27. 13 and “Hellenes” in Joel 4. 6 (EV 3. 6), Zech 9. 13, Dan. 8. 21, 10. 20, 11. 2 (also implied in Jer. 26. 16 [Heb. EV 46. 16], 27. 16 [Heb. EV 50. 16]). Ion is the grandson of Hellen (Ion, son of Xouthos son of Hellen), as Janus II (= Javan-Ion) is the grandson of Janus I (= Javan-Hellen), in Marignola. Hellen, the founding father of the Hellenes, is a son of Deukalion, and Deukalion is the Greek name for Noah. Deukalion = Noah, Philo, De Praemiis et Poenis, IV. 23, Justin Martyr, II Apologia, 7, Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum II. 30. The name Deukalion has been explained to be a transcription of the Syriac Degal-ion, “The sign of the dove,” Fabricius, Codex Pseudepigraphus, Hamburg, 1722, p. 250, citing Scipio Sgambatus, in Archivis Vet. Test., p. 143.

101.13.1. Note on the name Noah = Ziusudra = Deukalion. Another interpretation of the name Deukalion, if derived from an oriental root, would be “Finder of relief/support,” Akkadian Dagil-imnu. Akkadian dagalu, whence dagil, means “look for, find,” from the same root as Heb. degel, Syriac degal, “sign,” and Akkadian imnu (Heb. yamin) = “support, relief.” With softening of the medial m in the latter word to w, y-m-n (whence imnu) = y-w-n (“ion”), hence Dagil-imnu > Deukal-ion. The interpretation “Finder of relief/support” reflects an early understanding of Noah-Deukalion’s Sumerian name Ziusudra, as will become clear through the following analysis. The Sumerian name Ziusudra means “life/relief (zi) of long (sudra/sura) days (u),” translating Noah, “long-term relief.” The original meaning, however, seems to have been “Breathing (zi) with a prolonged (sudra) groaning sound (u),” or in the shorter form of the name (spelled with the signs UD.ZI) “A consoling groan breathed out.” That is, the signs UD.ZI represented the Akkadian name “Naggu napishti” (UD, read ‘u’ = naggu, ‘groaning,’ ZI = napishti, ‘of the breath’). The element “Naggu” is the same as the Hebrew “Noah.” (See §457, below, >>, §887.6f., below, >>.) The first sign in this name, UD, could be read in a different way as wait, meaning “emergence, proceeding, into,” and the second sign means “breath, breathing” (napishtu), but also “life, relief, support, etc.” UD.ZI might be held to mean “He who emerged/proceeded into life.” Accordingly, the name was interpreted by the Babylonians to mean “I have found life,” Uta-napishti, uta from atû, “look for, find,” reflecting the meaning (“emerge into”), and echoing the sound, of the first sign UD, and napishti = Sumerian ZI, “life, relief, etc.” The verb dagalu is a synonym of atû (standing for the first sign UD), and imnu is an alternative reading of the second sign ZI, so instead of UD.ZI = Uta-napishti, we might read UD.ZI = Dagil-imnu, “Finder of relief,” phonetically echoed, as suggested, in the Greek name Deukalion. The softening of the medial m in the second element imnu to w, y-m-n > y-w-n, results in a word formed from the same three consonants as Aramaic yon, yona (m.), yonta (f.), Heb. yonah, “dove.” If the second component of the name is interpreted as “dove,” the name means “The observer of the sign (dagil) of the dove (yon),” the verb dagalu being commonly used to describe precisely the act of observing birds to obtain omens. From the same root y-w-n is formed the noun yayin, wine. Dagil-yayin would mean: “The discoverer of wine.” Similarly in Greek Deukalion could mean “He who searches out sweet wine,” Gk. Deukos, “sweet wine,” and alieuō, “to fish, catch, (metaphorically) search out.” As the same three consonants in Semitic languages are the root of the ethnic name Javan (Greece, “Ionia” from Ion = Javan), the name could also be interpreted to mean “He who found (proceeded into) Javan, Greece.” In Greek Deukalion could mean “sweetly idle,” Gk. Deukos, “sweetness,” and alios, “idle,” which would be equivalent to the meaning “he who found relief.” Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum III. 19, took it to mean “(God) calls ‘come here!’” (Gk. Deute kalei), with reference to the salvation offered to mankind by God through Noah-Deukalion from the judgment of the Flood. This might depend on an interpretation of the Sumerian signs representing the name Ziusudra as “calling out (UD = nagagu, ‘groan, call out’) to his right hand (ZI = imnu, ‘right hand’).” That is, the first sign UD is interpreted as supra, “groan, call out,” but the second sign ZI is interpreted in its alternative sense, “support, right hand” (imnu), in this case Deukalion’s right hand, rather than “breath, breathing” (napishtu). See §457, below, >>. A similar interpretation would explain the account in Berossus, §476, below, >>, which describes how, after his translation to the gods, Xisouthros called to men out of the air (UD = nagagu, ‘groan, cry out’ and ZI = napishtu, the invisible or aerial ‘soul’) admonishing them to pay due regard to religion (ZI = napishtu, ‘soul, life, preservation of the soul’).

The idea that Javan or Hellen was a son of Noah depended on the genealogy which represented Hellen as a son of Deukalion. This nicely tied in with the Roman tradition that Janus was a son of Caelum, since Caelum, — the Greek Ouranos, — was equated with Noah in the Sibylline Oracles. An alternative genealogy represented Hellen as a son of Zeus (the sky-god). The supposed root meaning of the name Javan in Semitic languages is “to boil or bubble up, be in a ferment” (Gesenius-Tregelles s.vv. ywn, yôm). The Greeks believed they were first known as “Graikoi” which means “frothy ones,” in conformity with the Hebrew root, and only afterwards as Hellenes. Hellen is the eponym of Hellas, signifying literally “he of Hellas.” In this case it means “father of Hellas,” and is a retrospective eponym, Hellas himself being Elishah, and Hellen the “father of Hellas” being Javan father of Elishah, as in the LXX. (The Targum of Jonathan translates Elishah as Allas/Illas = Hellas, Jastrow Talmudic Dictionary, s.n., and the same equation is made commonly in post-Biblical literature.) Accordingly Kleidemos (Scholion to Kallimachos, F7. 29 Pfeiffer, P. Berol. 11521) called all Hellenes in common “Iaones” (Iaon = Javan), though in later times the term designated the Ionians of Athens, the descendants of Ion son of Xouthos; the latter Ion inherited the eponymus, in that case, from his ancestor Javan. Elishah is the ancient Alashiya (in the vicinity of Cyprus, §193.1, below, >>), from which the Japhethite tribe doubtless spread originally into the Aegean. Because of the retrospective nature of the eponymus Hellen, the form “Aiolos” replaced “Hellas” as the tribal eponym in Greece, Hellas being used mainly as a geographical term (Josephus identifies Elishah as the eponym of the Aiolians, Ant. I. vi. 1 [= 127], and the same identification is found commonly thereafter, see §884.4.5.9, below, >>). Thus in Turmair [Aventinus], Germania Illustrata, ed. Leidinger, Munich, 1908, p. 117, Aeolus and Dodoneus are sons of Ion [Javan] son of Iapetus [Japheth]: the genealogy is borrowed ultimately from the Defloratio Berosi, where Helisa and Dodoneus, the sons of Ion, are the forms of the two national eponymi Elishah and Dodanim, the offspring of Javan in Gen. 10; but Turmair or his source exchanges Aeolus for the Defloratio’s Helisa [Elishah].) The verb Tarshish, forming the personal name of the brother of Elishah, signifies “golden sapphire” (a bright yellow corundum), known to the Greeks and Romans as chrysolithos (“golden gem”), and Xouthos or Xanthos (meaning “yellow”) is likewise the name of a gem, a variety of chrysolithos. So the Greek genealogy Xouthos son of Hellen is precisely equivalent to the Hebrew Tarshish son of Javan. From the two sons of Javan (Hellen), that is, from Elishah (Aiolos) and Tarshish (Xouthos), the various Greek tribes of the line of Japheth traced their descent. The eldest was Aiolos (Elishah) and Aeolic Greek was the most primitive form of the language. From Aiolos was traced the royal line of Corinth, the chief city of southern Greece: Aiolos, his son Sisuphos, his son Glaukos (apotheosized as the god/hero Melikertes), his son Hipponous (apotheosized as the god/hero Bellerophon), succeeded by Lukaithos, then his son Kreon, and his daughter Kreousa, who is identified by Klei(to)demos (F19, scholion [B] to Euripides Medea 19), confirmed by the most significant elements in her mythology, with Kreousa of Athens: she consorted with the deified Xouthos (now identified as Apollo, or the Cretan sun-god Zeus, earlier the Baal of Tarshish [= Xouthos]), and became the mother of Ion and of the Ionians of Athens. The alternative form of Aiolos, viz. “Hellas,” is thought to be related to the tribal name Selloi or Helloi of the priests of Dodona, from a root meaning “to glow, shine,” which similarly supplies the word ‘êlios, “helios,” viz. “sun, daylight.” In medieval times (§884.4.5.9 ad fin., below, >>) the word Helios was believed to be the Greek form of the initial element in the name El-ishah. This is the Hebrew word El, “god,” more fully Eyal, which doubtless, in fact, gave rise to the equivalent eponym Aiol-os. El was the sun-god of the ancient Levant, and the Greek sun-god Helios shared the attributes of the Levantine divinity as well as the phonetics of his name. (See Roscher, Lexikon, s.n. Hellotis, for the root variously interpreted as that found in Selloi, Helloi, Helios, etc., and the Semitic El.) Javan (“Hellen”) was treated as a “son” of Noah (Deukalion) in the common Greek tradition, rather than his grandson by Japheth, for a particular spiritual reason, examined more fully in a subsequent section (see §884.4.5.6, below, >>, with references), which relates to Noah’s adoption of a whole group of his descendants as “Ianili” or people of “Janus:” the name Janus was applied variously in this tradition to Noah, to his “son” (grandson) Javan, and to these other adopted offspring. However, a remnant of the original Biblical genealogy was preserved firstly in relation to Ionios (the eponymus of the Ionian Sea adjoining the Adriatic Sea on the south), which represented him as a “son of Italos” (Stephanus Byz. De Urbibus, s.n. Ionios, in the phrase “Ioniou Italou”): for Italos/Atlas was a title of the patriarch Japheth son of Noah. (See Japheth = Atlas, §310, section 3, with cross-references, below, >>, and Atlas = Italus, §886.2.1, note 2, below, >>.) Likewise, secondly, Hellen himself was described as the son of “Phthios” son of Poseidon, Phthios being the eponymus of Phthiotis in Thessaly, and Phthiotis the Hellenic homeland. As Hellen = Javan, and Javan is a son of Japheth, we may presume Phthios father of Hellen stands for Japheth father of Javan. Phthios appears to be a transcription of the Semitic consonants p-t-y, which is an alternative form of the name Japheth (p-t-y or p-t-u > Pethi-el, Pethu-el, “Prince [el] Japheth [Pethi/u]).” (On this Semitic root and Pethi/uel = Japheth, see §313f., below, >>.) Phthios’ divine father Poseidon is the Levantine El, who was alternatively identified with the Greek god Kronos. (On these identifications see §337, below, >>.) El was the father of three divine sons, Baal, Yam and Mot, and these correspond to Kronos’ sons, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades; they represent the three sons of Noah, Japheth, Shem and Ham. (§314, below, >>.) Here Zeus son of Kronos stands for Japheth son of Noah, hence also Hellen (Javan) is referred to as the son of Zeus (Japheth). Noah’s “fourth son” Janus/Javan was known commonly in medieval chronography as “Ionites,” “Ioniton,” “Yonton” etc. The Greeks of Syria, amongst whom the fourth-son tradition arose, were called “Ionitai.” “Ionitai” means “people of Ione.” Ione was another name for Antioch on the Orontes, the major Greek city of Syria, as well as for Gaza further south (Stephanus Byz. s.n. Gaza). These cities were said to have been named from Io, the moon-goddesss, but Io is a female form of the name Ion, Javan. (Buttmann, Mythologus II, p. 182; cf. Io as the female eponymus of the Ionian Sea, so called from the Ionian race who inhabited its shores. The oriental root of the name Ion = Javan is y-w-n, or y-m-n, the first two consonants of which, corresponding to the Io in Io-n, viz. y-w or y-m, mean, in other contexts, “sea,” §354 subsection [3], below, >>. Sea [Tamtu, Tiamat] is a female divinity in Babylonia, and Berossus says she might be understood to be “the moon.” [§469, below, >>.] Io likewise is the eponymus of the Ionian Sea, and is goddess of the moon.) Thus the Ionitai were literally “people of the Ionian city;” and Antioch itself was termed “polis Ioniton” or “city of the Ionitai,” the eponymus for which would be “Ioniton.” The singular “Ionites” and the eponymus “Ioniton” are equivalent in meaning to the eponymi “Javan,” “Hellen,” “Ion” and “Janus.” “Hellen” in later oriental terminology means “pagan,” particularly a member of the Sabian, astrological, sect of Harran, which preserved in that city, an ancient center of the Babylonian moon-cult, the remnants of Babylonian paganism well into the medieval period. Noah’s fourth son, accordingly, is said to have been an astrologer. As “Hellenism” or “Javanism” later meant “Sabianism, astrological paganism, idolatry,” the eponymus “Hellen,” “Ion” or “Javan” came to represent the founding father of pagan astrology, and first man to be worshiped with an image (§106.1, below, >>), Belos or Amun-Ra of Siwa, otherwise known as Kneph. The latter was equated with the Roman Janus. See further on Janus the fourth son of Noah §85, above, >>, and §279 note, below, >>.

101.14. FHG John of Antioch Fr. 4. 3: “Kronos had a son called Picus, who was called Zeus by his parents, he too being named thus after the planet [Zeus = Jupiter]. 4. He had another son Ninos and a daughter Hera. [Contrariwise, in the Excerpta Barbari Ninus is identified with Picus-Zeus.] Picus who is also Zeus took his own sister Hera as his wife. Some called her Zygia Nemesis, in gratitude for her goodness and justice. Picus Zeus had by her a son whom he called Belos because of his great ferocity. His progenitor Kronos left his son Picus in Assyria, with his own wife Rhea, and taking with him a great host of supporters, departed for the West [Gk. dusis], which had no kings at the time, and held sway there many years. He took a wife in those parts called Philura, by whom he had a son Aphros. [Fr. 3 adds: “He (Kronos) gave Libya to him, and Africa originated from him.”] Aphros married Astunome and engendered a daughter whom he called Aphrodite, named likewise after the planet [Aphrodite = Venus]. She became a philosopher and married Adonis of Athens, who was also a philosopher. They studied philosophy together to the end of their life. Kronos had another son by Philura, Kheiron. He too was a philosopher. 5. When Picus who is also Zeus had been king in Assyria 30 years he made Belos king of Assyria and went to the West to his own father Kronos. Kronos, suffering affliction for a time, made his own son Zeus king. Zeus ruled for 60 [var. 62] years. 6. After Belos had ruled 2 years, Ninos, the other son of Kronos, took the kingdom. He married his own mother Semiramis. That is the origin of the custom practiced by the Persians of marrying their own mothers and sisters. Kronos then died. Ninos became master of Syria and built Nineveh the city of the Assyrians.”

101.14.1. From ‘The Chronicle of John Malalas’ 1. 9 (= Dindorf p. 13-14), Jeffreys et al., Melbourne, 1986, with minor orthographic adjustments; brackets show pages of Dindorf’s edition:

…. Libya. Aphros controlled the district there and reigned over it; he married Astunome from the island of Lakeria and became the father of a daughter whom he called Aphrodite, likewise after the planet, the heavenly Aphrodite. She became a philosopher and married Adonis the Athenian, himself a philosopher, the son of Kinuros by his own daughter. Kinuros, having performed this act which went against nature, secretly exposed the child in the mountains, where he was reared by those known as the mountain nymphs. He became extraordinarily handsome and Aphrodite fell in love with him. Ares became angry (14) and struck him, for he was a rival for Aphrodite’s affections. They say that Aphrodite went down with Adonis to Hades not to die but to resurrect him because she loved him very much. There are various stories about him which they call mysteries. They are said to have practiced philosophy together until death. Kronos had by Philura another son known as Kheiron, also a philosopher.”

101.15. Anonymous Chronographer = Malalas Bk. 1 ed. Dindorf p. 19f.: “Picus who is also Zeus, the brother of Ninos, remained king of Italy. In those times there was neither city nor any government in the West, but all that territory was settled without exception by those who colonized the region of the tribe of Japheth the son of Noah.”

101.16. FHG John of Antioch Fr. 6. 3 (Codex Paris. 1630): “Picus who is also Zeus lived 120 years, holding sway over the West and ruling as king there. He had many sons and daughters by pretty women, whom he procured by corruption. He was a practitioner of mystic arts and consequently deceived them by illusions he was able to work on them. Such women took him to be a god when they were defiled by him. 4. The same Picus who is also Zeus had by Maia the Italian woman a son called Faunus, whom he called also Hermes [Mercury] after the planet. When he was about to die he commanded his remains to be interred in the island of Crete. His children built him a shrine and placed him there in Crete in a tomb. The tomb stands to this day. On the tomb is the following inscription: “Here lies Picus who is also Zeus, whom they call Dia [accusative case].”

101.17. Excerpta Barbari, 20b-22b: “We have now described the period of the Judges. In those times existed those who they represent as having been sprung from Zeus. Picus the descendant [pronepus, sic in the Excerpta] of Kronos ruled the western regions in those times [around the time of the Judges, with an interval between Kronos and Picus, see infra]. His ancestor Kronos held sway over the western regions as a result of the division of the earth, since they were without cities or kings. There is much said about this which has been left untranslated. After the death of Kronos and after the passing of many years, Picus, his descendant in the interval, became the first king of Italy. Some have explained him as Serapis, others as Olympian Zeus, still others as Plouto the god of Hades and others as Chthonian Poseidon. Those titles were applied to him because he held great power over all mankind. In his youth he reigned over the Assyrians, and was there called Ninus, and founded Nineveh, the city of the Assyrians. His wife Semiramis [MS. “Semimaris”] was an evil, impudent and shameless woman, and they called her Rhea, and others Hera Zygia, and others many-formed Nemesis, and still others Chthonian Hecate, because of her innumerable acts of terror. He left his kingdom to his wife and came and ruled over the regions of the West. All those areas had no cities and no king, as the history relates it. Picus the descendant of Kronos found that land spacious for habitation then and held sway over it. He held sway over it, possessing it as his own country, for 80 years. He won round the most high-born women by his magic practices and ingenious occult arts and made them abort their foetuses, and thus the women who were deluded by him provided houses and estates for him and fashioned multitudes of sculptures of him, as he pleased them, and he consorted with them as if he was a god, and they honored him as a god. After his death Faunus his son ruled in Italy for 35 years. He became a godless, but very enterprising, man. He went down to Egypt and sojourned there, clothing himself in royal apparel. He made a show of his wisdom amongst the Egyptians, and deceived them by magic and occult practices, teaching them concoctions and divinations, and studying methods of taking auspices from birds, heraldings of hoopoes, and neighings of horses, divinations of the dead and many other evil practices. Since the wise ones amongst the Egyptians viewed him as learned and very able in utterance, they glorified him as Hermes Thrice-blessed [“Terbeatissimus”], because he was thoroughly versed in their languages. Also they conceived of him as the Abundant in Wealth and the Abundant in Riches, and the Minister of Gods. Now he reigned there 35 years. Now from Adam to the beginning of the reign of Picus who was explained as Serapis, the descendant of Kronos, there were 4,100 years. Then Heracles on his return from the regions of Spain deposited his arms in Rome, in the Forum Boarium, shutting them out of sight in a temple. They say Heracles was born in Lato of Thebes of Zeus and Alcmena. Fleeing from Eurystheus king of Thebes, he set sail with all of his and reigned over the regions of the West. Whence he made images of himself arrayed in golden garments in the most remote regions of the West, which remain standing to this day. Euripides the poet made mention of it. He produced a son from Auge the daughter of Aleus the temple-guardian, that is Telephus, whom he also called Latinus. Heracles reigned for 38 years. After the death of Heracles his son Telephus, also called Latinus, reigned in the same region for 18 years, and he called the Romans, also known as Kittaei, Latins after his own name. They are called Latins to this day. In those times the Phrygian Aeneas, the son of Anchises and Aphrodite, arrived from Lybia, made alliance with Latinus, and fought against the Rutulians. In that battle Latinus was slain, and Aeneas took his kingdom ….”

101.18. Comments. In Peri Theon, as in the Sibylline Oracles, Kronos begets a son, Zeus, who later migrates to the West. He is given another name, Picus, “Griffin” or “Woodpecker,” which was a title of Jupiter (Zeus) in Latium. Finally he arrives in Crete and dies there, being buried in a tomb with the inscription “Here lies Picus who is also Zeus.” The dating of Picus-Zeus to the time of the Judges in the Excerpta Barbari is found also in Michael of Syria (ed. trans. Langlois, Venice, 1868, p. 54, ed. Chabot, Liv. IV. ch. VII, t. I, p. 57) and in the Armenian Vardan (ed. Venice, 1862, 22, 6). They say Zeus died in the time of the Judge Samson and was buried in Crete. They add, however, that he died at the extraordinarily advanced age of 880 (Michael, ed. Chabot: 780) or 850 (Vardan) years, and hence he was called Zeus, interpreted to mean “Life.” It is thought this account was derived ultimately from Africanus. In the chronology of Africanus, the era of the Judges ended in the 4292nd year from the creation of Adam, Samson’s floruit being about 60 years before that date, and year 1 of Adam was 5502/1 BC. (The chronology of Africanus follows Finegan.) That means Picus-Zeus died some time around 1270 BC. 880/850 years prior is around 2150 or 2120 BC, which is the traditional, though erroneous, era of Ninus I and of his contemporary Abraham, adapted to the chronology of the Septuagint. (Africanus dated Abraham’s entry into Canaan in the year of Adam 3277, i.e. 2225 BC, and Abraham lived 100 years after that.) It is this same Ninus I who is equated with Zeus and Serapis in the Excerpta Barbari. According to that account, it was in his “youth,” i.e. in the early phase of his extraordinarily long life, that he was called Ninus and founded Nineveh etc. On the flight of Ninus (I) to Crete at the end of his reign in Assyria, according to Mar Abas Catina in Moses of Khorene, see further §292, below, >>. Since Serapis (Osiris) was identified with successive kings in Egypt, Ninus or Picus-Zeus most likely represents, in the tradition underlying this, a line of kings, each identified with Serapis, reigning between Ninus I, king of Crete (c. 2150 BC on the long chronology, properly c. 1750 BC), and the Italian king Picus (c. 1270 BC). The ancient tradition (Tzetzes, Antehomerica, 102 sq., Chiliades, 9. Hist. 273. 452-457, and Chil. 5. Hist. 1. 244) is that, indeed, in olden times all kings bore the title Zeus. (Tzetzes Chil. 9. Hist. 273. 452ff: “The men of yore called all the kings of olden times “Zeus” after Belos Zeus [viz. Amun] the king of Egypt, and from the planet Zeus [Jupiter] as the king-maker, for if, whilst the sun is in the fifth sign Leo, Zeus [Jupiter] is found there also, everyone born at that time acquires possession of a kingdom or the wearing of a crown.” See also §125, below, >>, where the divine titles Zeus and Osiris are applied indiscriminately to Noah.) The Kronos of Peri Theon (Nimrod) is said to have preceded Picus-Zeus as a migrant to the western lands. Kronos settled in Africa (cf. the African, specifically Egyptian, Geb = Kronos = Nimrod in Mar Abas Catina), and begot a son Aphros, the eponymus of Africa, whose daughter was Aphrodite (Venus). Aphrodite married the handsome Adonis “of Athens,” even though she had been mentioned already in one version of the scheme as the wife of Ouranos. These ancient deified humans, identified with planets, form a series of gods whose names are, in reverse order, those of the patron planetary deities of the days of the week. They are said to have appeared in the West (Greek dusis, literally “setting,” the direction in which planets set) in this reverse weekday order:

    1. Kronos = Saturn, Saturday (Saturn’s day)
    2. Aphrodite = Venus [= Germanic Frig], Friday (Frig’s day)
    3. Picus = Zeus = Jupiter [= Germanic Thor], Thursday (Thor’s day).

    Picus is said to have engendered Faunus, also known as Hermes, after the planet (Mercury), in Italy. According to the Excerpta Barbari Faunus-Hermes was the Hermes known as Trismegistus, the “Thrice-greatest.” This adds another deity to the weekday series:

4. Hermes = Mercury [= Germanic Woden], Wednesday (Woden’s day).

101.19. Anonymous Chronographer = Malalas Bk. 1 ed. Dindorf p. 18: “After Kronos reigned Ninos, his son, 52 years. He took his own mother Semiramis to wife, and so the custom arose amongst the Persians to take their own mothers and sisters to wife, seeing also that Zeus married his own sister Hera, he who was called Picus. Ninos rose to power in Syria and built a great city of three days journey across, called Nineveh after him. He was the first to rule as king there. From him came Zoroastros, the famed astrologer of the Persians. When he was about to die, he prayed he would be consumed by the heavenly fire, saying to the Persians: “If the fire burns me up, then take my cremated remains and preserve them. The supremacy will never depart from your land, so long as you preserve my remains.” Then he prayed to Orion, and he was consumed by a fire that came down from the sky. The Persians took some of his charred remains and have preserved them to this day.”

101.20. Chronicon Paschale ed. Migne PG XCII col. 149: “After Ninos one called Thourrhas [var. Thouras, Thouros] reigned over the Assyrians, whose name his father changed to Zames, (and his) brother by Rhea [vars. “of Rhea” in Chron. Pasch., “the brother of Hera” in Codex Paris. 1630] to Ares [Mars], after the planet. He was an aggressive war-monger who waged war in the northern regions. He came against one Kaukasos, who also was a powerful man of the race of the giants, and a warrior. He traced his descent from the tribe of Japheth the son of Noah. He entered into battle with Kaukasos and killed him, and took his land. Then he came into Thrace and died there, and that is where he lies buried. The Assyrians were the first to raise a monument to him and worship him as a god. They still call him in the Persian language “the god Baal,” which means Ares the war-god. The prophetic Scriptures make mention of him in the account of Daniel and the three children, telling how they were put under pressure to worship him.”

101.21. Comments. It is related of Kronos that when he migrated to the West from Assyria, he left Ninos as king of Assyria. Ninos married his own mother Semiramis-Rhea, whence the practice of incest passed down amongst the Persians. From Ninos was descended Zoroaster, who prayed to Orion that he might be consumed by the heavenly fire. His prayer was answered and his charred remains were reverently preserved thereafter amongst the Persians. The identification of Nimrod with Zoroaster in the pseudo-Clementines is here explained: Zoroaster was believed to have been consumed by, and to have become one with, the same celestial fire as his predecessor Nimrod, a.k.a. Ninos, a.k.a. Osiris, a.k.a. Orion. Semiramis had a son, Zames, a.k.a. Ninuas, or Ninos junior (“Ninos the son of Semiramis,” so called e.g. in Cephalion apud Syncellus, ed. Mosshammer, p. 195), whose name was changed to Thouros or Ares (Mars). (The text is ambiguous here, and it could be interpreted in the sense that Zames was the father of Thouros: “After Ninos one called Thouros reigned over the Assyrians, whose name his father Zames, (his) brother by Rhea, changed to Ares, after the planet.” However, the lack of any prior mention of Zames in Peri Theon, the resulting redundancy of the phrase “his brother by Rhea [or “of Rhea” or the variant “of Hera”], and the fact that Zames, like the Thouros of Peri Theon, is the immediate successor of Ninos in all versions of the traditional Assyrian king-lists based on Ctesias, support the reading according to which Zames is identified with Thouros. German chroniclers interpreted the text this way, and identified Zames-Thouros further with Trebetas, the eponymous founder of Trier in the medieval Gesta Treverorum, who fled from the incestuous advances of his mother Semiramis into Germany, and was likewise deified as the god Mars [Sale, Bower etc. in An Universal History, vol. IV, London, 1747, p. 297ff. Note K]. The same equation Zames = Thouros-Mars is implied in Eusebius’ dating in his Canon of Amraphel’s expedition to the reign of the Assyrian king Zames, son of Ninos. See further on the complex of traditions identifying Amraphel with Mars and Zames, §79f., above, >>. Thouros was known as Belos and the god Baal (Baal Melqart of Tyre). He followed Ninos on the throne of Assyria. He slew the giant Kaukasos (Latin Caucasus) of the race of Japheth. (See further on this §163, below, >>.) Thouros-Ares is called Belos in Exc. Salmas. p. 386f. Belos, so called “because of his ferocity,” is the son of Picus-Zeus in Codex Paris. 1630, but only implicitly identified with the war-god Mars there. The reference in the word “ferocity” is to the traditional etymology bellum, “war,” from Belus, because Belus fought with a sword, improving on the more primitive stone-age weapons of the Africans and Egyptians of earlier times (Hyginus Fab. 274). That makes two incarnations of the same figure in Codex Paris. 1630: 1) Belos, son of Picus-Zeus, 2) Thouros-Ares-Baal, or Zames, successor to Ninos, the last being a brother of Picus-Zeus who ruled after Belos (1). In the Excerpta Barbari Ninus is identified with Picus-Zeus, instead of being his brother. The explanation is as stated supra in relation to Ninus-Picus-Zeus: that there were multiple incarnations of the figure identified with the planet-god Jupiter (Zeus, Picus etc.) and similarly multiple incarnations of the figure identified with the planet-god Mars (Thouros, Ares etc.). Each king in succession between the original third-millenium BC king who was first worshiped as a planet-god and the second-millennium BC Assyrian king similarly so worshiped, could be identified with the planet-god Jupiter or the planet-god Mars, Mars replacing or usurping Jupiter in each case. The succession of reigns thus follows the planetary order of Saturn, Jupiter, Mars: 1) Kronos (Saturn) 2) Zeus (Jupiter) = Picus, or alternatively Zeus (Jupiter) = Ninos, 3) Ares (Mars) = Thouros. This, then, is the fifth and last in the weekday series:

5. Ares = Mars [Germanic Tiu], Tuesday (Tiu’s day).

Note the same planetary order of the male deities is found in the Excerpta Barbari in Italy: 1) Kronos = Saturn [2) Aphrodite = Venus only mentioned as mother of Aeneas] 3) Picus Zeus = Jupiter 4) Faunus-Hermes = Mercury 5) Heracles = Mars. Heracles or Hercules was the Chaldaean name for the planet Mars, according to Macrobius, Saturnalia III. 12.

101.22. FHG John of Antioch Fr. 6. 5 (Codex Paris. 1630): “After the death of Zeus, his son Faunus who is also Hermes ruled Italy for 35 years. He was a shrewd astrologer. He was the first to discover the metal gold in the West and how to cast it. He knew that his brothers, about 70 in number (Zeus had many children because of his numerous liaisons), envied him, so he departed with a great quantity of gold and went to Egypt to the tribe of Ham. He was received honorably by them and spent a considerable time there, pompously parading in a golden robe and uttering divinations. He was an expert in the oracular art [lit. of the logos]. They worshiped him, claiming he was a god, because he could predict the future. He also provided them with money, and received in consequence the title “wealth-giver.” When Mizraim of the tribe of Ham, the king of Egypt, died, the Egyptians made Hermes king. He ruled them 39 years. … 7. After Hermes Hephaistos ruled the Egyptians, and they also claimed he was a god. He was warlike and trained in the occult. When his horse stumbled in battle he fell with it and was injured. He remained a cripple thereafter. By enchantments he obtained tongs out of the air for the manufacture of weapons of iron. This is how he succeeded in overpowering his enemies in battle. Prior to him they used to fight with clubs and stones. He made a law for the Egyptians that women should have only one husband and conduct themselves decently. 8. After the death of Hephaistos, his son Helios became king. … This king of Egypt Helios found a woman committing adultery and punished her, to give weight to the law of his father. This is what Homer was referring to in poetic language when he said Helios reproved Aphrodite for her liaison with Ares one night. He called the adulterous lust reproved by Helios “Aphrodite.””

101.23. FHG John of Antioch Fr. 1. (Exc. Salmas. p. 383-388) 21.: “After him [viz. Helios] (ruled) Sos, otherwise known as Ares, after him Keb the son of Helios, otherwise known as Kronos.”

101.24. Malalas Bk. 2 ed. Dindorf p. 24f.: “And after his reign [viz. of Sosis = Sos above] Osiris was king [Keb is omitted here], and after Osiris, Horus was king. … These old, ancient reigns of the Egyptians were written up by Manetho, and in his writings different names are given for the five planets: the planet called Kronos they called Lampon, the planet Zeus Phaethon, the planet Ares Purodes, the planet Aphrodite Kallistos, and the planet Hermes Stilbon.”

101.25. Comments. According to Peri Theon, Faunus-Hermes, Zeus’ western son, migrated to Egypt from Italy, became king there immediately after Mizraim, and was exalted to divinity, because of his prophetic ability, as a “man of the Logos.” (On his “about seventy” hostile brothers, see §148.1, below, >>.) Egypt having been introduced at this point in the narrative, the list of god-kings, based on Manetho, follows. It is treated, as in Mar Abas Catina, as a series of deified kings, but without the Biblical equations: Hephaistos (= Ptah), Helios (= Ra), Sosis (= Shu, a deity who was interposed here in some versions of the list), Keb (= Geb), Osiris, Horus and so forth. Hephaistos sang the praises of marital fidelity. Helios, his son, exposed the adultery of the wife of Hephaistos with Ares, either the Egyptian Ares, identified in Peri Theon with Sosis, or the Assyrian, identified with Thouros. The illicit liaison is said to have been termed poetically “Aphrodite.” This is an interpretation of the well-known Greek myth one version of which appears in Homer. Its meaning and its relation to the kings of the First Dynasty of Egypt are examined at §126.1ff., below, >>. Malalas finally cites Manetho to the effect that the five planets had different names in the past, different, that is from those of the deified kings and queens in Peri Theon, viz. Kronos or Saturn was known as Lampon (“Shining One”) Zeus or Jupiter as Phaethon (“Radiant One”) Ares or Mars as Purodes (“Fiery One”) Aphrodite or Venus as Kallistos (“Fairest One”) and Hermes or Mercury as Stilbon (“Glittering One”).

102. The thesis of Peri Theon can be summarized as follows: around the time of the Shinar Tower and the reign of Mizraim in Egypt (i.e. c. 2300 BC in the Early Dynastic period according to the chronology established here), kings reigned in “Assyria” (Mesopotamia) who migrated subsequently to the West, some to Egypt and North Africa, others to the Mediterranean coastal regions, who were identified with astral deities and eventually became the foundational figures of Classical pagan mythology. This thesis is viable historically, as is demonstrated in the following section by a consideration of historical and religious evidence recovered by modern archaeologists from Mesopotamia and Egypt. Peri Theon specifically highlights the so-called “Kingship in Heaven” theme, — the succession of the gods Ouranos, Kronos and Zeus. The Oriental roots of this mythological theme are becoming increasingly evident to modern researchers of whatever persuasion, as the civilizations of the ancient East, and the civilization of Classical Greece, for that matter, emerge more clearly into the light of day.

103. The Chart below summarizes the data in Peri Theon and related literature. Greek planetary identifications are in bold italic: Kronos = Saturn, Zeus = Jupiter, Ares = Mars, Aphrodite = Venus, Hermes = Mercury. The three figures in underlined bold are dated traditionally to the immediate post-diluvian period, c. 2300-2000 BC. They correspond to three historical figures, who were all kings of the same dynasty in the Early Dynastic Period, two of them separated by one intervening reign or generation from Enmerkar, as in the Chart:

Euechios = Enmerkar
Adonis = Dumuzi the “fish-catcher”
Baal = Nergal = Gilgamesh

The historical evidence will be examined in the following section.

103.1. Summary Chart of the Traditions in Peri Theon














Kronos-Nimrod-Euechios c. 2300 BC

= Orion, a.k.a. Ninos (A)

marries Rhea-Semiramis (A)

Jupiter Picus


(Osiris) Serapis


Picus-Zeus brother of, or a.k.a, Ninos (I)






Belos-Thouros-AresBaal brother of, or a.k.a., Zames

(c. 500 year interval)

Ninos (I) = Picus-Zeus
Semiramis (I)
c. 1750 BC

Zames (a.k.a. Ninuas, Ninos Junior) = Thouros

(c. 400 year interval)

(Atossa = Semiramis II
c. 1350-1300 BC)

(c. 500 year interval)

Sardanapalos [= Asshur-da’’in-apla] (843)-824 BC

(Ninos II [= Shamshi-Adad V] 823-811 BC marries Semiramis III [= Sammuramat] 810-805 BC)

103.2. Summary Chart of Historical, Peri Theon and Medieval Traditions

Historical (See further supra and §§288ff. and 343.2)

Peri Theon

Syriac, Armenian, Other Medieval Chronicles

Puzur (Utu)


Hephaestos (Ptah)

Mes-kianga-sher (Utu)


Helios (Ra)


Nimrod Kronos Euechios (Saturn)

Nimrod (Kronos [Geb], Ninos A)


Picus Zeus (Jupiter)

Belos (Zeus, Jupiter)


Thouros Ares Baal (Mars)

Ninos (B, identified with A, Zeus and I)

(c. 500 year interval)

(c. 500 year interval)

Shamshi-Adad I c. 1750 BC

Hammurabi c. 1720 BC

Shamshu-iluna c. 1700 BC

Ninos I(a) (son, grandson, descendant, or, a successor of Nimrod)

Semiramis I

Zames (Ninos Ib)

(c. 400 year interval)

(c. 400 year interval)

Ashur-uballit I c. 1360 BC

Muballitat-Sherua c. 1350-1300 BC

Belochos (Ninos Ic)

Atossa (Semiramis II)

(c. 500 year interval)

(c. 500 year interval)

Shamshi-Adad V 823-811 BC

Sammuramat 810-805 BC

Ninos II

Semiramis III

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