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21. Supplement on the Interval Between the First Dynasty of Babylon and Nebuchadrezzar (§§241-299)

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21. Supplement on the Interval Between the First Dynasty of Babylon and Nebuchadrezzar (§§241-299)




241. The following fragment of Berossus was preserved by Eusebius in his Chronicle. Eusebius used, not the actual writings of Berossus, but an epitome of them drawn up by Alexander Polyhistor. Eusebius’ Chronicle in its original form (as opposed to Jerome’s edited version of it in Latin) survived in an Armenian translation. The following is Bedrosian’s online translation of the Armenian (http://rbedrosian.com/euseb2.htm):

Polyhistor supplements this [topic] by adding that after the Flood [g39], Evexius ruled over the Chaldeans for four ners. After him his son, Comosbelus, held authority for four ners and five soses. Polyhistor counts a total of 86 monarchs from the time of Xisuthrus and the Flood until the Medes captured Babylon, and he provides the name of each one from Berosus’ book. The total for all of them comes to three myriad, three thousand and ninety-one [33,091] years. Now after these generations, one after the other, suddenly the Medes massed troops against Babylon and took it, and set up tyrants of their own [nationality] there.

Then he enumerates the names of the Median tyrants, 8 of them, ruling for 224 years. Then 11 kings for …years; then Chaldeans again, 49 kings for 458 years; then 9 Arab kings for 245 years. After this period he writes that Shamiram [Semiramis] ruled the Assyrians. Then he briefly lists [g40] the names of 45 monarchs, giving them a total of 526 years. He says that after them, the kingship of the Chaldeans was held by a man named Phulus [Tiglath-Pileser III], also recalled in Hebrew history as Phulos. They say that he came against the country of the Jews.

Polyhistor relates that following [Phulus] Sennacherib became king. He is mentioned by the Hebrew books as ruling during the time of King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah. Scripture mentions in order that “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them” [2 Kings 18:13]. After this entire narration he continues with [the information that] [Sennacherib’s] son Asordan [Esarhaddon] ruled after him. Then he proceeds to relate that in that period Hezekiah became sick. Continuing on, [g41] he states that the king of the Babylonians, Merodach Baldan [Marduk II], sent messengers, letters, and gifts to Hezekiah. This is what the Hebrew books say.

Now the historian of the Chaldeans mentions Sennacherib, his son Asordan, Marodach Baghdan, and with them Nebuchadnezzar as our passage has done. Here is his description.”

The following is an English rendering of Mai’s Latin translation of the Armenian (ed. Mai p. 17), which forms fragment 11 of Berosus Chaldaeus in ed. Müller Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (FHG), each passage followed by a translations of the relevant note(s) in FHG:

The Armenian version of Eusebius’ Chronicle (edited and translated into Latin by Mai p. 17), with additions from Syncellus, citing Polyhistor’s epitome of Berossus. Round brackets enclose matter in the FHG edition, other brackets enclose matter added in this translation.

Polyhistor likewise adds these statements to what has already been said:

[The post-diluvian Dynasties:]


241.1. “After the Flood Evexius (Syncellus: Euechoos) gained power over the region of the Chaldaeans for 4 neroi. Thereafter the kingdom was taken by his son, Chomasbelus, for 4 neroi and 5 sossoi. From Xisuthrus and from the Flood, until the Medes occupied Babylon, Polyhistor reckons the total number of kings as 86, and lists each and every one by name out of the book of Berossus. He makes the sum of the periods comprising all these 30,000 years, and thereafter 3,091 years.


241.2. FHG note 1: “These statements are to be emended from Syncellus p. 78, C [ed. Mosshammer 88 = ed. Dindorf 147f.] as follows: [Greek of Syncellus:] “Alexander Polyhistor from this year of the world 2405 represents the kingdom after the Flood as once again being held by the Chaldaeans, with a fabulous account of periods of saroi, neroi and sossoi, when 86 kings of the Chaldaeans and Medes held sway, during a period of 34,090 years, that is, for 9 saroi, 2 neroi and 8 sossoi …. [FHG here omits some intervening matter in Syncellus.] After this period of the 86 kings — 2 (the books read “secondly”) kings of the Chaldaeans, Euechios and Chomasbelos, then 84 Medes — the same Polyhistor introduces ….” [The citation from Syncellus is continued below]


241.3. {FHG note 1 comments as follows on this section of the epitome of Berossus: “Therefore for the 33,091 years Syncellus has 34,090, yet the number of sossoi which Syncellus mentions comprises a mere 34,080 years, as is correctly noted in the margin of Syncellus.}

[The Median Dynasty:]


242. “After these, who obtained the kingdom by succession, without conflict, suddenly, he says, the Medes gathered forces together and captured Babylon, and set up overlords [lit. tyrants] there from their own number. Whereupon he proceeds to list next 8 names of Median overlords, and their years as 224.


243. FHG note 1 continued [Greek of Syncellus ibid.:] “ …. the same Polyhistor introduces Zoroaster and 7 kings of the Chaldaeans after him, who held sway for 190 solar years, no longer employing saroi, neroi and sossoi, and the rest of the fabulous history, which is mere nonsense, but employing solar years instead.”


244. {FHG note 1 comments as follows on this section of the epitome of Berossus: “The 8 overlords of the Medes who follow in Eusebius, correspond in number to Zoroaster and his 7 successors, who Syncellus says reigned 190 years. In the Armenian Eusebius the years are 224, or, as is noted in the margin, 234 [incorrectly printed in FHG as 243] years (= 189 + 45).”}

[Successors of the Median Dynasty:]


245. “Then again 11 kings and (48 — this from the margin, there is a lacuna in the codex) years; thereafter 49 Chaldaean kings, and the years 458; then 9 Arab kings, and the years 245.


246. {FHG note 1 comments as follows on this section of the epitome of Berossus: “There follow 11 kings who ruled for a number of years which is illegible in the text. This lacuna Mai fills from the margin, where the number 48 is found. Perhaps in Greek it was 45 (with a confusion of the sigla mu epsilon [= 45] and mu eta [= 48].”) If so, the 234 years seem to have arisen thus, as a result of an accidental conflation of the periods of the two dynasties into one [189 for the 190 years of the Median dynasty according to Syncellus + 45 for the 11 succeeding kings]. However, in Syncellus there is a notable absence of any reference to the 11 kings of Eusebius.”}


247. {FHG note 1 comments as follows on a discrepancy between Syncellus and the epitome of Berossus preserved here: “Of the Chaldaean kings and Arabs who come next under consideration, there is a far different account in Syncellus p. 90, C, and p. 92, A [= ed. Mosshammer 101f., 103f. = ed. Dindorf 169, 172]: where he lists 7 Chaldaeans, who reign for 225 years; then 6 Arabs reigning for 215 years. Syncellus’ computation fills up the period which intervenes between the Flood and the kingdom of the Assyrians [beginning with Belus and his son Ninus (I)] with these 13 reigns. The names of the first and second king are [in Greek script:] Euechios and Chomasbelos, the same as the names of the immediate successors of Xisuthrus in Berossus. These, therefore, are derived from what appear quite clearly to be different sources.”}

[An Aside relating to Semiramis:]


248. “After recording this account, he goes on to tell of Samiramis, the woman who ruled over the Assyrians.


248.1. {FHG note 2 comments as follows on this section of the epitome of Berossus: “Aucher translates: ‘After these years, he represents Samiramis as having ruled over the Assyrians.’”}

[Another Series of Kings:]


249. “Then again he enumerates individually and precisely 45 names of kings, and attributes to them 526 years.


250. {FHG note 2 comments as follows on this section of the epitome of Berossus: “As regards the 526 years which appear next, they are appropriately compared with the 520 years during which, according to Herodotus, the Assyrians held sway [till the revolt of the Medes, which ended in the destruction of Nineveh 612 BC: Herodotus I. 95. 2: “The Medes were the first who began the revolt from the Assyrians, after they had maintained the dominion over Upper Asia for a period of 520 years.”]. The number of the kings, 45, is probably corrupt. The number 245 which closely preceded it in the king list could have given rise to the error.”}

[Assyrian Kings of Chaldaea:]


251. “After these he says there was a king of the Chaldaeans whose name was Pul [“Phulus”]: the history of the Hebrews makes mention of him also, and likewise calls him Pul [Assyrian Pulu, i.e. Tiglath-pileser III, 745-727 BC]. He is said to have invaded Judaea [2 Kings 15. 19, 1 Chron. 5. 26]. Then Polyhistor says Sennacherib [“Senecheribus”] gained power over the kingdom. The books of the Hebrews represent him as reigning when Hezekiah was king and Isaiah was prophet. Now the Divine Book plainly says [2 Kings 18. 13]: “In the 14th year of King Hezekiah Sennacherib came up against the fortified cities of Judaea and captured them.” After noting this, the history continues: “And Esarhaddon [“Asordanes”] his son reigned in his stead [ibid. 19. 37].” It then goes on to say that Hezekiah fell ill at that time [ibid. 20. 7]. Subsequently, in that same period, Merodach-baladan [“Marudachus Baldanes”] the king of Babylon sent messengers with letters and gifts to Hezekiah [ibid. 20. 12]. This is what the Hebrew Scriptures relate. And indeed the historiographer of the Chaldaeans makes mention of Sennacherib and his son Esarhaddon, as well as of Merodach-baladan. Along with them he also refers to Nebuchadrezzar [“Nabuchadonosorus”], as will be recounted presently. This is the substance of his narrative concerning them.”



252. Syncellus preserves from another source, but probably ultimately also from Berossus, a record of two post-diluvian dynasties between the Flood and the list of Assyrian kings (beginning with Belus and his son Ninus [I]) which was derived from Ctesias, Castor etc. These dynasties are as follows:


253. Syncellus ed. Mosshammer 101f. = ed. Dindorf 169: “AM 2776 [= 2727/6 BC, and the 5th year of Peleg, the same year as the Dispersion from the Tower in Shinar, according to the chronology of Syncellus] the Chaldaeans first openly appointed kings for themselves, the first of whom was:”

(1) “Euechios [vars.: Euechoios, Euechoos], who is Nimrod [“Nebrod”] in our tradition. He ruled Babylon for 6⅓ [sic] years.”
(2) Chosmasbelos [var.: Chomasbelos] 7½ [sic] years
(3) Poros [var.: Puros] 35 years
(4) Nechoubes 43 years
(5) Nabios [vars.: Abios, Nablios] 48 years
(6) Oniballos [var.: Onibalos] 40 years
(7) Zinzeros [var.: Zinziros] 45 years

Syncellus ed. Mosshammer 103f. = ed. Dindorf 172: “The first of the Arab kings following the 6 [sic] Chaldaeans, was:”

(1) Mardokentes 45 years
(2) Mardakos 40 years
(3) Sisimordakos [vars.: Sisimardakos, Osimordakos] 28 years
(4) Nabios 37 years
(5) Parannos 40 years
(6) Nabounnabos [vars.: Nabonnabos, Nabonabos] 25 years

…. 41 Assyrian kings succeeded to this dynasty … from the first of them, Belos, to the 41st Konkoleros, who is also Sardanapalos, as many of the noted historians agree, Polybius, Diodorus, Cephalion, Castor, Thallus and others.”


254. A literal reading of Polyhistor’s epitome of Berossus in Eusebius’ Chronicle results in the following scheme (ignoring for the present purpose the slightly different figures in Syncellus):

1) Nebuchadrezzar and Merodach-baladan, kings of Babylon, preceded by Esarhaddon, Sennacherib and Pul kings of Assyria. Pul = Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 BC).

2) A line of kings going back 526 years before Pul. At this point in the king-list Berossus makes reference to Semiramis (historically c. 1360 BC or, less probably c. 810-805 BC sole rule). 745 + 526 = 1271 BC, and this is near the beginning of the Assyrian Empire, founded traditionally by Asshur-uballit I (c. 1354-c. 1318 BC). As noted in FHG these 526 years seem to correspond to the 520 years Herodotus ascribes to the Assyrian Empire till the revolt of the Medes. Presumably Berossus makes special mention of Semiramis at this point, even before the other Assyrian kings, not only because she was a female on a throne almost always occupied by males, but also because he wished to refute what he referred to as the “lies” of Greek historians, that the lecherous queen founded his beloved city of Babylon.

3) 3 preceding dynasties lasting, in reverse order, 245, 458 and 48 years to 2022 BC.

4) The dynasty of “8 Median kings” (Zoroaster and 7 Chaldaean kings who succeeded him in Syncellus), going back to the capture of Babylon at the beginning of the dynasty in 2246 BC.

5) 86 kings, beginning with Evexius (= Enmerkar) and Chomasbelos, reigning 33,091 years, i.e. from 35,337 BC to 2246 BC.


255. No secure chronological scheme can be extracted from these figures. Obviously the saroi, neroi and sossoi of Evexius’ dynasty (5) have resulted in hugely inflated regnal figures for this part of the king-list. In the case of Evexius (Euechios) himself, Syncellus provides us with a much more reasonable date in his alternative scheme. His chronology in that scheme dates:

a) The birth of Christ (at a year-date corresponding to 3/2 BC) to AM (from the Creation) 5500 (Syncellus ed. Mosshammer 382 = ed. Dindorf 598).
b) The last year of Sardanapalus, at the end of Ctesias’ old Assyrian empire, to AM 4679, which corresponds, therefore, correctly, to 824/3 BC and his first year to AM 4660 = 843/2 BC (Syncellus ed. Mosshammer 193 = ed. Dindorf 312).
c) The last year of Ninus (I), at the beginning of Ctesias’ old Assyrian empire, a little over 1300 years earlier, to AM 3322 = 2181 BC (Syncellus ed. Mosshammer 109 = ed. Dindorf 181).
d) The beginning of the reign of Euechios to the year of the Dispersion from the Tower in Shinar, and the 5th year of the Biblical patriarch Peleg, AM 2776 = 2727/6 BC (Syncellus ed. Mosshammer 101 = ed. Dindorf 168f.)


256. Syncellus claims that solar years came into use in the era of Zoroaster and his 7 successors. There can be no certainty, however, that, even when solar years were employed, the dynasties following Zoroaster did not overlap (as in native Mesopotamian king-lists and Manetho’s Egyptian king-list), that superfluous names were not included within the dynasties themselves (as commonly in Manetho), or that other chronological dislocations did not occur to distort the historical regnal sequence. If we were to accept the date of the capture of Babylon by the Medes (the era of Zoroaster) as 2246 BC, according to Polyhistor’s epitome in Eusebius’ Chronicle, and also Syncellus’ date for Euechios, 2727 BC, then the epitome’s 86 kings between Euechios and the capture of Babylon would have had to have reigned an improbable average of 5.6 years each.


257. The best that might be hoped for in these circumstances is an approximation, a satisfactory estimate, of the intervals between critical points in the king-list. This can be achieved by totaling the number of kings within accepted chronological parameters, and then allocating each dynasty or span of dynasties an interval proportionate to the number of its kings. If the termini are taken to be Syncellus’ date for the beginning of the reign of Euechios, viz. 2727 BC, and the known date of the first year of Pul (Tiglath-pileser III), viz. 745 BC, then a total of 208 kings are listed in the intervening period of 1982 years, and 122 kings in the shorter interval from Zoroaster to Pul. The reign of Zoroaster, therefore, commenced a fraction of the larger interval, that fraction being 122/208, in terms of the respective number of kings in the two intervals, or, to the nearest simple fraction, 3/5, of 1982 years, viz. 1189 years, before 745 BC = 1934 BC. 1934 BC, then, would be the approximate date of the capture of Babylon and the era of Zoroaster, given Syncellus’ date for the reign of Euechios. However, that date is conditioned by Syncellus’ adherence to the post-diluvian chronology of the Septuagint, in which the 5th year of Peleg corresponds to 2727 BC. The Biblical or Hebrew chronology is considerably shorter. In that, the 5th year of Peleg is 2330 BC (see the chart at §71.1, above, >>). That reduces the interval between the first year of Euechios (the 5th year of Peleg) and Pul from 1982 to 1585 years (2330 — 745). The interval between Zoroaster and Pul is then 3/5 of 1585 years = 951 years, which results in an approximate date for the capture of Babylon and the era of Zoroaster of 951 + 745 = 1696 BC, or around 1700 BC. This happens to accord with the calculations of the modern Parsis whose consensus it is that the floruit of the prophet Zarathustra was in the 18th century BC, and, more specifically, that the Zoroastrian Religious Era commenced in 1737 BC.


258. The latter scheme not only has the advantage of dating Berossus’ Euechios to a period immediately preceding Early Dynastic III, i.e. to the historical era of Enmerkar, according to the Biblical chronology and the uncalibrated radiocarbon dates, it also brings down the date of the capture of Babylon to a point in time when Babylon actually existed, viz. the era of the First Dynasty of Babylon c. 1700 BC. Furthermore, it accurately reflects native Mesopotamian tradition in respect both of the geographical origin and of the success of the invaders of Babylonia at that very period: traditionally Gaddash or Gandash, the first king of the Kassites, from the land later known as Media, set up a Kassite dynasty in Babylon some time around the latter half of the 18th century BC. The first mention of Kassite invaders is in year 9 of Shamshu-iluna (also written Samsu-iluna), the successor of Hammurabi, and the reign of Shamshu-iluna is commonly dated, too, around the end of the 18th century BC. Though the fall of the First Dynasty of Babylon was not the immediate consequence of the achievement of Gaddash, — whatever that might have been in historical terms, — it paved the way for the rise of the Kassites to total power in Southern Babylonia somewhat later. This Gaddash or Gandash seems to have been the leader of the Kassite invaders at the time referred to by Berossus when the Medes, under Zoroaster, captured Babylon. Mesopotamian kings were commonly identified with Dumuzi. If the name Zarathustra, “Careful camel (or star) herder,” was the Avestan equivalent of the Mesopotamian Sipa-zi-ana (“True Herder of Heaven”), viz. Orion, the astral form of Dumuzi, then the name Zarathustra as a designation of Dumuzi-Orion, may have become attached to this person, who held authority over the Medes when Gaddash invaded Babylonia, during the Kassite ascendancy, since the Kassites are known to have adopted, and even developed and promoted, native Babylonian religious customs. The name seems to be pure Aramaic: zahara-d-eshterah, meaning “shining, glittering, or, careful supervision (zahara) of (d) the herd-animal(s)/star/Venus (eshterah),” though it is commonly explained in terms of similar-sounding ancient Avestan words which have almost the identical meanings. (The Arabic word used to translate the Biblical Hebrew ashtaroth, the plural of eshterah, likewise denotes herd-animals of various sorts, including camels, and is not restricted to bovines, Bochart, Opera Omnia, 3rd ed. Leiden, 1692, col. 709.) But the Avestan etymologies cannot account adequately for the medial th (d), which contrariwise is a natural and necessary component of the Aramaic name. Since the historical Zoroaster flourished in the Old Babylonian period and in a region where the Old Babylonian dialect predominated, not Aramaic, we might also expect the name to have had, at least in that area and that time-frame, an Old Babylonian form, such as Nur-Eshtar, in which the Old Babylonian nur, “glittering, light,” stood in place of the Aramaic zahara, and the construct case in place of the Aramaic prefix d (“of”), and, as it happens, the personal name Nur-Eshtar is actually attested as that of a prominent person in the official correspondence of the reign of Hammurabi.


259. Zoroaster was honored by his followers of a later era as a prophet of the Magi, rather than as a political figure. The Magi were an Iranian caste, or priestly tribe, who kept alive in their homeland the ancient paganism of their ancestors. This was similar to the animism of the early Hindu Scriptures known as the Vedas, which date from the second millennium BC. The most popular form of Magian religion before the rise of Mithraism under the Roman Empire, was Zoroastrianism. It was well known to the Greeks of the East, and later to the Romans, and many intellectual Greeks in the homeland adopted elements of Zoroastrianism into their philosophies and mystic systems, including even such well-known figures as Plato. Zoroastrians revered the memory and the writings (or alleged writings) of the prophet Zarathustra. They believed in the cosmic battle of two principles, that of Good, embodied in the God Ahura Mazda (Ohrmazd), and that of Evil, embodied in the Satanic figure of Angra Mainyu (Ahriman). They also believed in a system of cosmic cycles, 7 periods of 1000 years each, and in the repeated embodiment or reincarnation of the Good spirit in the form of successive Savior figures through the ages, Zarathustra being himself the supreme embodiment, followed by Ukhshyat-ereta (whose name means “Let Truth be embodied”) the second Savior-figure (Saoshyant) etc. In many ways, Zoroastrianism was a revolt against, or a reformation of, traditional Iranian religion, and was at first strongly opposed by the Magian hierarchy. Later it was incorporated into the Magian mainstream. It is even today a thriving, if numerically rather insignificant, religion, being the faith of the Parsis (popularly, and incorrectly, known as the “fire-worshipers”) of India. They have preserved it in their land of exile in a more strongly monotheistic form, after having been ousted from their homeland in Iran by the Muslims.


260. As regards Classical religion, the influence of Zoroastrianism is well attested. It seems that the learning and religion of Ancient Greece and Rome owed much more to oriental religion, particularly Iranian religion, than the Greeks or Romans were, in general, willing to admit. This is no more than could be expected, as the Greeks (from whom the Romans borrowed heavily in matters of religion), inherited an empire in the East from the Iranian Persians, through the campaigns of Alexander the Great at the end of the fourth century before Christ, and they swiftly adopted oriental manners and modes of thought. Even before Alexander, the Persians had been the dominant power in the Near East for two hundred years, and the Persians were themselves heirs to the learning, science, culture and religion of ancient Babylon and Egypt. Compared to the Greeks, these were the true “ancients.” The East looked down on the simplistic philosophy and childish mythology of the Greeks and their Italian colonies. The higher ranks of the spiritual and philosophical circles in Greece concurred with the orientals on this point and readily plagiarized their eastern masters.


261. In its tendency towards monotheism, in its exaltation of the prophet and Savior figure, in its scheme of world-history manifesting in the material sphere the cosmic battle between God and Satan, in its angelology and extensive demonology, and in many other ways, Zoroastrianism has a curious similarity to the Biblical Scriptures, to Christianity and later Judaism. It is much disputed amongst secular scholars as to who borrowed from whom between the Hebrews and the Zoroastrians.


262. The origins of great movements, in the ancient, as in the modern, world, can sometimes be traced back to the least significant events — an unusual coincidence of time and place, perhaps, in which seminal figures met and there occurred a mingling of intellectual, religious or scientific ideas. In the case of the Hebrew prophetic faith in Israel, Zoroastrianism in Iran and the Orphic mystery religion in Greece (one of the earliest oriental influences on that country), a report of such an event has survived the wreck of history. This reveals that the twin streams of Zoroastrianism and the Orphic mystery-religion had a common source in the great river of Biblical, prophetic, revelation. In this instance, the findings of history and modern archaeology combine to confirm the veracity of the report.


263. The point in time and space where these three great movements met, mingled and diverged is recorded in a defense of Christianity (called an “Apology”) dating from the late second, or early third, century AD, and surviving only in a Syriac translation, which claims to have been delivered before the Roman Emperor “Antoninus” (= Marcus Aurelius) c. AD 170-177 by the early Christian writer, Melito of Sardis. (The Syriac text came to light amongst the Nitrian mss. preserved in the British Museum [No. 14,658], and was published with an English translation by Cureton, in his Spicilegium Syriacum p. 41-51). The account is as follows:


264. (The alleged apologist Melito is describing how the ancient, pagan, gods were deified historical figures): “The Syrians worshiped Athi, a Hadibite, who sent the daughter of Belat, a person skilled in medicine, and she healed Simi, the daughter of Hadad king of Syria; and some time afterwards, when Hadad himself had the leprosy upon him, Athi entreated Elisha the Hebrew, and he came and healed him of his leprosy. The people of Mesopotamia also worshipped Cuthbi, a Hebrew woman, because she delivered Bakru, the paternal king of Edessa, from his enemies. With respect to Nebo, who is worshiped in Mabug, why should I write to you? For, lo! all the priests who are in Mabug know that it is the image of Orpheus, a Thracian Magus. Hadran [the storm-god Hadad], again, is the image of Zaradusht [= Zarathustra, Zoroaster], a Persian Magus. For both of these Magi practiced magic at a well which was in a wood in Mabug, in which was an unclean spirit, and it assaulted and disputed the passage of every one who passed by in all that country in which the town of Mabug is situated; and these Magi, in accordance with what was a mystery in their Magian system, bade Simi, the daughter of Hadad, to draw water from the sea and pour it into the well, so that the spirit should not come up and commit assault. In like manner, the rest of mankind made images to their kings and worshipped them; of which matter I will not write further.”


265. In this account, the scene is set in the time of one Hadad, king of Syria (Hadad is an abbreviation for Ben-Hadad, a common name in the Syrian royal line). The era is about 850 BC. King Hadad had a daughter called Simi. Simi became ill, but was healed through the attention of the daughter of Belat, who had been sent on this healing mission to the king’s daughter by a woman called Athi from the city Hadib. This Athi, in turn, was an acquaintance of the great Hebrew prophet, Elisha, in whose ministry many miracles of healing are known to have occurred. Now, some time after the healing of princess Simi, her own father, king Hadad, fell ill of leprosy. The kind and thoughtful Athi once again intervened and requested the prophet Elisha himself to go and pray for the king. As a result, Hadad, too, was healed. The Bible confirms that Elisha was known personally to Ben-Hadad and was consulted by him for healing, and that admirers of the prophet, including at least one Hebrew servant girl, operated in Syrian court circles (2 Kings 5. 2ff., 8. 8ff.) We can be sure that these events in the royal palace had an impact throughout the kingdom of Syria.


266. Now, in that very same era, there were two Magi, devotees of Iranian paganism, plying their mystic trade in the Syrian city of Mabug. One of them came from Thrace in Northern Greece and the other came from Persia. Seemingly, they had met in this great oriental emporium, and had begun to practice their occult art there together. A poltergeist in a well at Mabug caught their attention. Local superstition affirmed that this poltergeist buffeted travelers as they passed by the well and, indeed, tried to prevent their passage. The two Magi determined to exorcise the evil spirit. In order to accomplish their aims they contacted the king’s daughter, Simi, over whom they appear to have claimed some kind of spiritual authority. They instructed the princess to perform the necessary magical rite, which involved Simi’s bringing sea-water to the sweet-water well and pouring it in. The rite is backgrounded in the following paragraphs. Whether Simi complied with their instruction, and whether their exorcism was successful, is left unstated. However, these two Magi became, in time, two of the most famous prophets in paganism. One of them was Zoroaster, the Iranian prophet, and the other was Orpheus, founder of the Orphic mystery-religion of Greece. A similar connection between Zoroaster and Orpheus is suggested in Eusebius’ assertion (Praeparatio Evangelica, V. iv. 1) that the doctrine that demons were a class of spirits midway between gods and humans derived either from Zoroaster and his Magian circle or from the Thracian Orpheus.


267. The water rite at Mabug recommended by the Magi was connected with the Flood of Noah (Xisouthros, Deukalion), according to Lucian of Samosata:


268. Lucian of Samosata De Dea Syria 12-13: “12 Most say Deukalion, called Sisuthes [a variant of Xisouthros] founded the sanctuary [at Mabug or Hierapolis in Syria]. This is the Deukalion in whose time the great Flood befell. Of Deukalion I have heard a tale among the Greeks, which they tell in honor of him; and the story goes as follows:


269. “This generation, the people of nowadays, was not the first, but that first generation all perished, and this is of the second generation which came from Deukalion and multiplied. Concerning the first humans, they say that they were quite violent and committed wicked deeds, for they did not keep oaths, nor welcomed strangers, nor spared suppliants; and because of these offenses, the great tribulation came upon them. Suddenly the earth spewed forth a flood of water and heavy rains fell and the rivers rushed in torrents, and the sea rose amazingly high, until all things were changed into water and all humans perished. Deukalion alone among men was left for the second generation because of his prudence and his piety. And his deliverance came in this way. Into a great ark that he possessed he put his children and his wives, and then he himself entered, and as he boarded there came to him swine and horses and lionkind and serpents and every kind of creature that grazes on the earth, all in pairs. And he welcomed them all, and none did him any harm, for among them was great charity from the gods, and in a single ark they all sailed while the flood prevailed. So say the Greeks about Deukalion.


270. “13 But what happened after this, the inhabitants of the Holy City [Mabug-Hierapolis] tell a tale at which we may rightly be amazed, how in their land a great chasm opened up and took in all the water; and when this happened, Deukalion set up altars and built a temple over the hole sacred to Hera [Atargatis]. I myself saw the hole, a quite little one, which is beneath the temple. If once it was large and now has become such as it is, I do not know, but the one I saw is small.


271. “As a token of this story, they do thus. Twice each year water from the Sea is brought into the temple. Not only priests, but the whole of Syria and Arabia brings it; and from beyond the Euphrates many men go to the Sea and all bring water, that soon they pour out in the temple, and then it goes down into that hole; and even though the hole is small, nonetheless it takes in a great deal of water. And in doing thus they say that Deukalion established this custom for the sanctuary as a memorial both of that disaster and that divine favor.”


272. The Syrian royal court, in whose circles the two religious innovators, Zoroaster and Orpheus, operated, was strongly influenced by the ministry of the Hebrew prophet, Elisha. Elisha himself was no innovator, but a successor to the prophetic mantle of the great Elijah, and, like him, an upholder of the traditional faith of Israel. Accordingly, the innovation on the side of the Magi, which was in the direction of a form of monotheism and a system of belief reminiscent of the Hebraic tradition, we can conclude to have arisen by contact with the prophetic circle of Elisha. The following detailed account is from Yohannan and Jackson, JAOS 28 issue 1 (1907), p. 183ff., with my notes added in braces {}: “This Persian treatise, entitled Siwar-i Akalim-i Sabah, or ‘Sketches of Seven Countries,’ was written about A.D. 1400 …, and contains a legend which ascribes the heavy snows in winter around Ardabil and Mount Savalan to the working of a curse uttered long ago by Zoroaster, whose prophetic mission and teaching are described. The author mentions in succession the regions of Azarbaijan, Armenia, Kurdistan, Western Rum (i. e. Turkey) and Mughan in Mazandaran, and speaks of Azarbaijan as Zoroaster’s native place, describing, moreover, his wanderings from that province to Khorasan and Balkh, where his teachings were ultimately accepted. For the text see Salemann (Mél. Asiat., pp. 496-501); the translation is as follows: “Zaradusht the Sage was from Azarbaijan. He acquired the sciences in Antioch of Rum {viz. in Syria, the name Antioch being a modernization of the ancient Hamath on the Orontes}, and knew astronomy well, and he was for some time in attendance upon Jonas {= Jonah} the Prophet, may peace be upon him. {Jonah, according to tradition, operated in the prophetic circle of Elijah.} When Zaradusht beheld the manner (lit. order) of prophecy and the guidance of the people by Jonas, he was pleased with it, and an aspiration to be a prophet arose in him. He returned then and came back to Azerbaijan and lived for fifteen years on Mount Sabalan, a very famous mountain, and compiled the Zand u Pazand and entered upon his mission (lit. began his calling). At first he came to Ardabil and extended his invitation to the people there, but they did not accept it, and he called down a malediction upon them and spake: ‘May God send disaster upon your town so that ye all perish!’ Then he departed thence. And some days afterwards it began to snow and be cold. The snow continued for three days and nights without cessation, so that the houses were full of snow, and all the people perished from the cold. From Ardabil he turned his face towards Khorasan, but found that it was not a favourable place for him to expound his doctrine. He went later as far as Balkh, and there they accepted his call. The king in those days was Lohrasp, and into Lohrasp’s presence he came, and invited him to the faith. And some say that he (Zoroaster) came down from the front of Lohrasp’s roof, and Lohrasp said, ‘Who art thou?’ He replied, ‘I am a prophet, and am come from the presence of God in order to invite you to God.’ Lohrasp demanded some miracles from him, and one of them was this: He had a matchless horse, and both its fore legs and hind legs had gone into its body, and the horse was cramped and fell down. (Lohrasp) said, ‘Make the horse well.’ He (Zardusht) made signs four times over (lit. towards) the horse. The horse became well and got up, and Lohrasp accepted the religion of Zardusht and promulgated it (lit. gave it fame), and Gushtasp and Isfandiar and Bahman, all gave their sanction to the religion of Zardusht. And the country of Iran and a part of Turan and Hindustan and Arabia accepted his religion. He then presented (to them) the Zand u Pazand, and enjoined upon them five things as obligatory: husbandry, benevolence, truthfulness, harmlessness, loyalty to the king. He enjoined upon them to pray three times a day, at sunrise, noonday, and sunset, making the sun their (kiblah). He taught them a few words, saying, ‘Ye shall recite these words,’ and the words are the following: …. {A series of unintelligible words follows, apparently a corruption of the two Zoroastrian sacred formulas, the Ashem Vohu and the Yatha Ahu Vairyo}. And they said, ‘How is it that these words (lit. this word) do not resemble the words of man (lit. of anybody)?’ He replied: ‘As God does not resemble man, so likewise his words do not resemble the words of man.’ And he pronounced the . . . man {an attribute apparently omitted}, and every Magian woman that is menstruous unclean; whatever she wears and whatever she puts her hand upon, they shall throw into the desert. And they place the dead in the open air in order that each one of the elements may go to its center (i. e. original source). And the Dakhmah in which they put the dead they must strew with small pieces of iron, and in each case they ought to make a small Dakhmah on the side of that, so that no grass may grow. And if grass still appear in the Dakhmah, they must abandon the Dakhmah and transfer it elsewhere, and they say (the reason for this is) that the earth declines it; therefore they should not put the dead on the ground, because the earth will be defiled, they say, and any product that comes out of the earth will be defiled. Moreover, they should not eat bread nor drink wine out of a vessel that is made of clay (of the place). And since, according to the religion of Zardusht, harmlessness is an obligation, they slaughter no animal; but (lit. and) they do eat of what has been slaughtered (by any one) who is not of their own religion. The Magi say that Zardusht was Abraham Khalil {i.e. the Biblical patriarch Abraham}, and this fire that we are burning is the same fire that did not burn Abraham {viz. the fire of Nimrod son of Canaan}. But they speak lies, for Zardusht Hakim {viz. the Sage} is not Abraham Khalil. And again the Magi say that God and Iblis {the Devil} are two brothers. A thousand years of the world are a cycle of God, and a thousand years a cycle of Iblis. But Zardusht did not make such a statement because it is far from wisdom. Furthermore, Zardusht has said that there is a heaven and a hell and a resurrection an assembling and a retribution and a punishment, also Ahriman and Sarush. And (he said) ‘Sarush comes to me from the presence of God and brings me orders from God, and ye must not be deceived by Ahriman, but be engaged in goodness.’ For that reason Zardusht can not have said this word.”


273. The traditional connection of Zoroaster with the circle of Hebrew prophets, and specifically with Elijah, is brought out in other sources, but not in the detail of the account already given, and in a mystical manner. The theory of transmigration identifying Zoroaster with Biblical figures, which is condemned by the writer cited supra, features in these accounts too. Bar-Hebraeus (c. AD 1250) says Zoroaster was one of the disciples of Elijah. (Arabic Chronicon, ed. Salhani, Beirut, 1890, p. 83.) That should date him around 800 BC, but Bar-Hebraeus himself sets the scene for his story in the time of Cyrus, i.e. nearer 500 BC. The Persian Magi believed their ancestors were instructed by the disciples of Elijah and Elisha (Herbélot, Bibliotheque, s.v. Ilia). Tabari (ob. AD 923) says Zoroaster translated into Persian what he heard from a Hebrew prophet called Sumi. The pronunciation of the latter name is uncertain, but the consonantal form (“SMY”) is reminiscent of the Melitonian Simi. Zoroaster is said to have received understanding of the Hebrew language by “inspiration.” (Tabari, Part i, Leyden, 1888, p. 681.) Tabari also records the belief (ibid., p. 648) that Zoroaster was the disciple of the “reawakened” prophet Jeremiah who had fallen asleep for an hundred years. He says Jeremiah came to Jerusalem in the days of Nebuchadrezzar and fell asleep outside the Temple. He awoke one hundred years later, which would be in the time of Cyrus, as in Bar-Hebraeus’ tradition. A wayward servant of a disciple of Jeremiah, cursed by God to become a leper, then preached his heterodox beliefs to Gushtasp (ancient Iranian Vishtaspa) the king of Balkh, who had been prior to this an adherent of the Sabian religion (meaning Mesopotamian paganism as preserved amongst the Sabians of Harran). This servant was the prophet Zoroaster. Syriac sources identify Jeremiah’s servant, the scribe Baruch, as Zoroaster, claiming he had strayed from the Hebrew faith and authored the Avesta. (Bar Bahlul, c. AD 963, s.v. Qasoma, Payne-Smith, col. 3704, Ishodad of Hadatha, fl. AD 852, on Mtt. 2. 1, Solomon of Basra, b. AD 1222, Book of the Bee, Budge, Oxford 1886, p. 81f.) Baruch was, in fact, a faithful and blessed servant of God. God Himself promised Baruch the wellbeing of his soul wherever he went as a reward for his faithfulness. (Jer. 45.) It was Gehazi, the wayward servant of Elisha, who was cursed with leprosy. (II Kings 5. 27.) The sources have confused, rather deliberately fused, Elisha with Jeremiah, and Elisha’s servant with Jeremiah’s.


274. The word “reawakening” hints that the original reference was to the return or revival of a “spirit” in the Zoroastrian sense. Jeremiah “fell asleep,” in death, then “awoke” when his spirit fell on a later prophet. There was a Muslim tradition that Jeremiah woke up and lived on specifically as the prophet Ezra. (Herbélot, Bibliotheque, s.v. Irmia.) The hundred year sleep of a person at Jerusalem during the time of the Babylonian captivity is mentioned in the Quran (Sura 2), and this person was commonly believed by Arab commentators to be Ezra. Zoroaster was a disciple of Ezra, according to Abu Mohammed Mustapha (in his Life of Gushtasp, apud Hyde, Hist. Relig. Veterum Persarum, Oxford, 1760, p. 317f.), who later contradicted his teacher, and was smitten in consequence with the curse of leprosy. He was excluded by the Israelites, and migrated to the East. There he wrote books incorporating the words of the Psalmist David which he had heard originally from Ezra. (A reference to the psalm-like Gathas of Zarathustra, the earliest part of the Avesta.) Ezra flourished in the days of Cyrus, hence the mention of Cyrus in connection with Zoroaster in the Muslim sources. Others said the person who fell asleep was the immortal Al Khidr, “The Evergreen One,” who often appeared mysteriously in a human form, and in peculiar circumstances, as a stranger or wayfarer. (Rendel Harris, The Rest of the Words of Baruch, 1889, p. 41. This work deals with yet another long sleeper at the time of the Babylonian Captivity, viz. the Ethiopian Abimelech = Ebed-melech, the friend of Jeremiah, Jer. 38. 7-13.) Al Khidr was identified notably with the translated prophets Enoch and Elijah (the latter as Khidr Ilyas), but also with others who “revived” or were immune to the power of death, e.g. the Christian Saint George, whose story of multiple deaths and revivals was identical to that of the pagan deified king Tammuz, the Persian Jamshid. Al Khidr was surnamed Dhu’l Karnain, “He of the Two Horns” (Herbélot, Bibliotheque, s.v. Dhoulcarnein). Jamshid and Jamshid’s grandson Feridun, who overcame his grandfather’s murderer, Zohak, were identified with the same figure. This was the more primitive Dhu’l Karnain who lived in the time of Abraham, and traveled the known world westward and eastward (the “two horns” being interpreted as opposite points of the compass), from whom Alexander of Macedon received the title secondarily in honor of his far-flung conquests (Herbélot, Bibliotheque, s.vv. Giamschid, Feridoun, but see §677.13.1, below, >>, for the original reason for the title “Two-horned”). Zoroaster’s genealogy was traced from Jamshid, and the sacred fire of Jamshid was believed to be the most ancient of all: king Gushtasp, on the advice of Zoroaster, is said to have investigated the whereabouts of this fire, discovered it in Kharezm, and brought it to Darabdjerd in Persia, where a temple was built for it called Azerdzoui, the “Fire-River,” the religious edifice most venerated by the Magi. (Masudi, Meadows of Gold, iv. p. 72.) Evidently the Muslim legends were based on the identification of Jeremiah and Ezra with Al Khidr, who was earlier the Mesopotamian Tammuz and the Persian Jamshid.


275. According to the Byzantine tradition, Zoroaster himself became one with, through being consumed by, the fire of Nimrod-Kronos-Orion. Nimrod and Tammuz were merged in Syriac sources (§334.2, below, >>), and Orion was anciently identified with Tammuz. This Magian “fire of Orion,” therefore, was the same as the fire of Tammuz, Jamshid or Al Khidr. Contrariwise, Nimrod as Kronos was Nunu, “the Fish,” that is, the water-god Enki. Now the fish is the “vehicle” or mode of manifestation of Al Khidr. He is commonly depicted seated on the back of a fish. The element water is his province, though that of his alter ego Ilyas (Elijah) is dry land. Ilyas is the prophet of fire, Al Khidr of water. In the region of the Indus valley he is the presiding spirit of the water of the Indus, called Khwaja Khidr, who is worshiped especially on Sundays, and twice a year after harvest at the well with lighted lamps, and with festivals at Holi and Diwali, in which little boats of grass holding lamps are sent out over the water. They represent in material form the combination of fire and water, of Al Khidr and Ilyas. Though Khwaja Khidr is a Muslim saint, the Hindus revere him as the Matsya or Fish incarnation of Vishnu (Anna Aronovna Suvorova, Muslim Saints of South Asia, 2004, p. 167), whose province likewise is water. The Fish incarnation was the form Vishnu took to reveal the secret of the Flood to the Hindu Noah, Manu (= “Man,” viz. the post-diluvian Adam). Khwaja Khidr’s symbol, the Fish, is painted over the doors of both Hindus and Muslims. Note the identity of the immortal and oft-incarnated Muslim saint with the similarly oft-incarnated Vishnu. (Vishnu = Apsu = Enki.) A related tradition is that Enoch, the pre-diluvian Al Khidr, was Hermes and Hermes was Budasaf, Buddha (Al Biruni, Chronology, ed. Sachau, London, 1879, p. 188, ms. p. 206): Vishnu likewise became incarnate as Buddha at the commencement of the Kali yuga, though only in order to deceive unfaithful Hindus by his anti-idolatrous philosophy. (For more on the pre-diluvian sages, Al Khidr and Vishnu, see §448, below, >>.)


276. The real connection between the Hebrew, Zoroastrian and Hindu religions goes back, according to Zoroastrian tradition, to the days of Zoroaster himself and Gushtasp (Vishtaspa), viz. to the days of Elijah and Elisha. In the Dasatir (ed. Mulla Bin Firuz Kaus, Bombay, 1818, pp. 125, §64, 126, §§65-67, 143, §162, and its Commentary) the Hindu sage Senkarakas (otherwise written Jangranghachah, Chengerengacheh) comes to Iran after hearing of Zoroaster (Zardusht, Zertusht), but God forewarns Zoroaster of his arrival and tells him to answer his questions with a reading from the Avesta. When the Hindu sage witnesses this miracle, he returns, converted to the faith of Zoroaster, to India. The account in the Dabistan (vol. I, trans. Shea-Troyer, Paris 1843, p. 276) reads as follows: “Zaratusht Bahram, the son of Pazhdu, relates that, at the time of the promulgation of the pure faith in Iran, there lived in India a sage of profound learning, named Jangranghachah {Shea, note 1, ibid.: Jangranghachah = Sankara acharya, usually dated c. 800 BC}, whose pupil Jamasp had been during many years, a circumstance which procured him great distinction. {Jamasp was the vizier of Gushtasp, and a philosopher.} On being informed of Gushtasp’s conversion, he wrote an epistle to the great king, to dissuade him from the profession of the pure faith. By the king’s command, this sage came to Iran to hold a disputation with Zardusht, who said to him: “Listen to one Nosk of this Asta [Avesta] which I have received from God, and attend to its interpretation.” Upon this, at the illustrious prophet’s command, one of his disciples read a Nosk in which God said thus to Zardusht: “On the promulgation of the pure faith, there shall come from Hindustan a wise man, named Jangranghachah, who will ask thee questions, after such and such guise, the answers to which are after this manner, thus answering all his questions:

By this same Nosk his condition was improved,
And the answer to each question was correctly given.’

When he heard the solutions to his questions, he fell from his chair, and on recovering his senses adopted the pure faith.” News of the conversion spread through the land. A Brahmin called Bias (that is the famous sage Vyasa, the “Compiler,” whose proper name was Dwaipayana) came to Balkh where Zoroaster resided. He said (Dasatir p. 143, §162 Commentary): “O Zertusht, the inhabitants of the world, moved by the answers and expounding of Secrets given to Chengerengacheh, are desirous to adopt thy religion. I have heard, moreover, of many of thy miracles. I am a Hindi man, and, in my own country, of unequaled knowledge. I have in my mind several secrets, which I have never entrusted to my tongue, because some say that the Ahermans (devils) might give information of them to the idolaters of the Aherman faith: so no ear hath heard them, except that of my heart. If, in the presence of this assembly, you tell me, one after another, what those secrets are that remain on my mind, I will be converted to your faith. Shet Zertusht said, O Bias, Yezdan [God] communicated to me your secrets, before your arrival. He then mentioned the whole in detail from beginning to end. When Bias heard, and asked the meaning of the words, and had them explained to him, he returned thanks to Yezdan [God] and united himself to the Behdin [i.e was converted], after which he returned back to Hind [India].” This account is the more remarkable in light of the all-pervading influence Vyasa is held to have had on Hinduism as it developed in the succeeding centuries. Vyasa was responsible, according to Hindu tradition, for the composition of the major writings of that faith. He compiled the four Vedas, the most sacred of the Sanskrit scriptures, and authored the Puranas. He was also the author of the Mahabharata, the epic concerning the war of the Pandavas and Kauravas. These were his own grandchildren, and their disastrous civil strife he treated in his epic as an outworking of the unfathomably mysterious divine decrees. The cousin and charioteer of the Pandava Arjuna, called Krishna Vasudeva, who offered spiritual advice to Arjuna, Vyasa depicted as nothing less than an incarnation of the supreme deity, Vishnu, himself. This section of the epic, known as the Bhagavad Gita, or Song of the Lord Krishna, is perhaps the most popular of the Hindus’ sacred writings today. Krishna, originally an obscure chieftain who lived in Northern India eight centuries before Christ, has been exalted by its means to the rank of the supreme godhead, according to the dogma of one of the two major divisions of the Hindu faith, and in the popular cult. Of course the disparate nature of the writings ascribed to Vyasa make it impossible to credit he was the author of them in their current form. In fact, the native Hindu tradition is that Vyasa is one of the “ever-living ones,” a manifestation of Vishnu (the Muslim Al Khidr), in the usual lists the seventeenth such manifestation, and has had himself multiple incarnations: it is believed by some, therefore, that different members of the school of Vyasa, treated as reincarnations of their master, authored the various sacred scriptures. Again in this Hindu system the central idea is the repeated manifestation of the spirit of a magisterial divine sage, like the Hebrew belief that Elisha was endowed with the spirit of his prophetic predecessor Elijah.


277. Another philosopher who adopted Zoroaster’s teaching was the Greek Pythagoras. He was carried into slavery at the time of Cambyses’ occupation of Egypt and received instruction at that time from Zoroastrian sages. Pythagoras’ doctrines in turn, including his concept of the transmigration of souls, played a pivotal role in the formulation of the Buddhist system, according to the Manichaean account of the origin of Buddhism, as preserved in Hegemonius’ Acts of Archelaus. This work survives only in a Latin translation (cap. LXIIff. on Buddha and his background). A more detailed epitome of the relevant portions of the Acts is found in Epiphanius’ Panarion Haer. LXVI, and a less full one in Cyril of Jerusalem (Catech. VI, 22ff.). Additional details are given in Petrus Siculus (Historia Manichaeorum, ed. 1604, p. 20ff.) and Photius (Contra Manichaeos, I. xii, ed. Migne, PG CII). According to Hegemonius, the founder of the Buddhist system was “Scythianus.” This is the proper name of the person later known as “Buddha,” viz. Shakya Muni, Shakya Sage: Shakya means “of the Scythian (Sakae) people,” as does “Scythianus.” Hegemonius’ is the only surviving circumstantial account of the life of Shakya Muni: the Buddhist traditional biographies are distorted by mysticism, and provide no clear synchronism with real history. Hegemonius says Scythianus was a Saracen by race, and a native of Egypt (Photius, ed. Migne, ibid., col. 33), but of Scythian geographical origin (Acta, MS. Montecassino 371 “ex Scythia”), who built up a prosperous trading business between Egypt and India, via the Red Sea ports of Aelana (Elath), Berenice and Castrum Clysma, adjoining the Saracen homeland in the Sinai peninsula. No doubt his family traded amongst the rest with the Sakae of Northern India and he himself was born in their territory, Buddhist tradition pointing to Lumbini in southern Nepal, near a residence of his father at Kapilavastu, as the actual birth-place. Evidently, according to the Manichaean account, he prospered in the family business, and continued trading with Egypt, at that time under Greek control, where he became interested in Greek philosophy. In the town of Hypsele in the Thebaid in Egypt he met a woman whom he saved from prostitution or slavery, and then married. He was resident for a time in Alexandria, the Greek metropolis of Egypt (Cyril, ibid., Photius, ed. Migne, ibid., col. 33). He adopted the doctrines of Pythagoras and the Aristotelean philosophical lifestyle, as well as the arts of Egyptian and Indian occultists. He discovered the Hebrew Scriptures and learned from them the existence of one true God, the Father, and of His Son, and the Holy Spirit. However, he boasted that he, Scythianus, was himself the Father (Petrus Siculus, Historia, ed. 1604, p. 22, Photius, ed. Migne, ibid., col. 37). He unsuccessfully disputed with Jewish elders, and intended to make a journey to Jerusalem “around the times of the apostles,” which he did not accomplish in his lifetime, though the Manichaeans may have believed he did so in the form of the later apostles, or missionaries of Buddha: his personal disciple, at least, is said to have spent some time there. This phrase has given rise to the assumption that Scythianus lived in the time of the “Apostles” of Jesus, but there is nothing in Hegemonius to support it, and Epiphanius only mentions Jewish adherents of the doctrines of Moses as contemporaries and disputants of Scythianus in his epitome. Scythianus had the single disciple present with him called Terebinthus, who was the amenuensis for his four sacred books. The books were titled “Mysteries,” “Chapters,” “Gospel” (which had nothing to do with Jesus [Cyril, Petrus], but which was, in the form preserved by the Manichaeans, a parody of His ministry, Photius, ed. Migne, ibid., col. 36), and “Treasures.” During the period he was disputing with the Jews, Scythianus went up on a rooftop and there performed some occult rites, including the production of an “apparition.” Depleted of strength (Epiphanius), and smitten with ill-health (Cyril), he fell off the roof and died. It is recorded in Epiphanius’ account that he “wasted a considerable number of years” there. The reference seems to be to the kind of extreme and prolonged meditative practices indulged in by later Buddhists, which has been known to result in fatal seizures. Shakya Muni experienced Nirvana, and subsequently Parinirvana (utter extinction), according to Buddhist tradition, through intense meditation of precisely this sort. Having seen to the burial of Scythianus, Terebinthus first visited Palestine, where he found a hostile reception (Cyril), then migrated to the “land of the Persians,” taking Scythianus’ books, and his wealth, with him. According to the Latin Acts, cap. LXIII, his destination was “Babylonia, which is now [my emphasis] a province settled by the Persians,” showing the era of Terebinthus and his predecessor Scythianus was prior to the capture of Babylonia by the “Persians,” viz. the Parthians, in 141 BC. There he changed his name to “Buddha,” claiming he was born in Persia (Suidas s.v. Manes), of a virgin, and brought up by an angel in the mountains (Latin Acts, ibid.). He, Buddha, was the virgin-born Son of God, whilst Scythianus was the Father (Petrus Siculus, ibid., pp. 22, 24, Photius, ed. Migne, ibid., col. 37). Yet Terebinthus taught atheism (Photius, ibid.). That is, he himself was the “Son of God” and Scythianus “God the Father:” the gods were sages, like him and his mentor. The idea that Buddha was the principal disciple of Shakya Muni is found in Chinese Buddhist traditions (see further §682, below, >>), which claim the virgin-born Buddha (Terebinthus in Hegemonius) was actually Lao-zi, the supreme exponent of Daoism, who migrated westwards from China towards the end of his life and became the chief disciple of Shakya Muni in India under the name Mahakashyapa. “Buddha” was a word of “Assyrian” derivation, according to Epiphanius, as has been surmised, from the “Assyrian” (i.e. Aramaic or Syriac) root betiy, with a dull or “d”-like medial letter t, “to swell, burst forth,” whence butem, butna, “terebinth.” The “bodhi-tree” features prominently in later Buddhism. The Aramaic word butna, “terebinth,” means also “swollen belly” (from the root meaning “to swell”): the appropriately “swollen belly” of the images of Buddha, evidently a visual pun on the name, is well known. It is probable the Aramaic word butna was adopted by him as an echo of the Greek word puthon, meaning “a Pythagorean soothsayer.” The Aramaic word would have doubly commended itself because the butna or terebinth was also known in Aramaic as elah, which means “terebinth,” and also, with a hardly noticeable difference in the vowels with which it is pronounced, “God.” Terebinthus’ particular penchant was for the mystical doctrines of the Pythagorean and dualist Greek philosopher and self-proclaimed “god” Empedocles (Suidas s.v. Manes). Terebinthus disputed unsuccessfully in his new homeland with the priests of Mithras. He ascended a rooftop in order to gain occult power against his disputants, but perished in the same manner as his master, by falling from the roof, or rather, in his case, by being cast from it by an “angel” (Epiphanius), a “spirit” (Latin Acts) or “God/god” (Cyril). The Manichaeans believed the Brahmin Mani, who lived in the time of the Roman Emperor Aurelian in the middle of the third century AD, was a reincarnation of Buddha, as well of Zoroaster and Christ. Mani’s original name was Cubricus. Cubricus, then, according to this Manichaean account, was a member of the household of the widow in Babylonia with whom Buddha, Terebinthus himself, “took refuge,” and who had possession of Terebinthus’ books when he died. However, there had been at least one intermediate teacher of the doctrine of Scythianus and Terebinthus, called Zaranes, who flourished a short while prior to Mani, to transmit the doctrine of the former to the era of Mani. (Photius, ed. Migne, ibid., col. 41.) In fact, Mani belonged originally to the baptizing sect of the Elkesaites, as the Cologne Mani Codex has revealed, and Zaranes may have operated in that same circle. Mani called himself the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, to compare with Buddha’s representation of himself as the Son of God, and Scythianus’ as God the Father (Petrus Siculus, Photius, ibid.). Mani also adopted the name of Scythianus (Suidas s.v. Manes). The mention of Scythianus’ presence in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, which was founded in 331 BC, along with the Northern Buddhist traditional dating of Shakya Muni’s “entrance into Nirvana” (= Parinirvana, death?) to a round 100 years before the Indian King Ashoka (reign c. 270-230 BC) and 400 years before the Kushan King Kanishka (whose era began shortly before or just after AD 100), fixes the latest period of Scythianus’ life pretty closely to around 330-320 BC. The terminus ante quem for the death of Shakya Muni is the reign of Ashoka, whose contemporary inscriptions referring to the King’s acceptance of the departed sage’s doctrine are extant, and Shakya Muni being the same as Scythianus, the terminus post quem the foundation of Alexandria in 331 BC.


278. The connection between the doctrines of Pythagoras (and therefore of Terebinthus’ Pythagorean master Empedocles) and Buddha are obvious. According to Heraclitus, Pythagoras used to say of himself that he remembered not only what men, but what plants and animals, he had passed through. Pythagoras also said he remembered that he had inhabited four bodies, and it is he to whom Ovid (Metamorphoses XV. 160f.) alludes in the lines — “Ipse nam memini, Trojani tempore belli, Panthoides Euphorbus, eram,” “I myself recall that at the time of the Trojan War I was Panthous’ son Euphorbus.” Empedocles declared of himself that he had been first a boy, then a girl, then a plant, a bird, and fish. The following is from Weber’s History of Philosophy (trans. Thilly), New York, 1912, p. 38f. n.1, with my comments enclosed in braces{}: “When we compare the doctrines, aims, and organization of this brotherhood {viz. Pythagoras’ brotherhood at Crotona in Magna Graecia}, as portrayed by the Neo-Platonic historians (especially Jamblichus), with Buddhistic monachism, we are almost tempted (with Alexander Polyhistor and Clement of Alexandria) to regard Pythagoras as the pupil of the Brahmins {though the dependence, according to the Parsi tradition, was in the reverse direction: the Brahmin sages Senkarakas (Sankara), and Bias (Vyasa), were influenced by Zoroaster}, nay, to identify him with Buddha himself. Indeed, not only do the names ({Gk.} Puthon, Puthagoras = an inspired one, a soothsayer, and Buddha = enlightened) bear such close resemblance to each other that even the most fastidious philologist can find no objection in translating {Gk.} Puthagoreios by “preacher of Buddhism,” but the Pythagorean and Buddhistic teachings are very much alike. Dualism, pessimism, metempsychosis, celibacy, a common life according to rigorous rules, frequent self-examinations, meditations, devotions, prohibitions against bloody sacrifices and animal nourishment, kindliness towards all men, truthfulness, fidelity, justice, — all these elements are common to both. The fact that most ancient authors and above all Aristotle himself have comparatively little to say concerning the person and life of Pythagoras, would tend to confirm the hypothesis of the identity of Pythagoreanism and Buddhism. However, the existence of Pythagoras, the mathematician, five centuries before the Christian era, is placed beyond doubt by the testimony of Heraclitus, Herodotus, etc. Furthermore, Buddhism in the form of Manichaeism (that is to say, monachism) did not begin to spread westward before the third century of our era. We may perhaps explain everything satisfactorily by distinguishing between the Pythagoreanism of the Neo-Platonic historians and primitive and genuine Pythagoreanism. The biographers of Pythagoras were without exact and sufficient data regarding the life and work of the sage of Samos, and somewhat unscrupulous, besides, in the choice of their sources. They likewise allowed themselves to be misled by certain analogies; the essential features of their imaginary portrait are derived from Persian dualism and Hindoo pessimism.” More from Jevons, An Introduction to the History of Religion, London, 1896, p. 320f.: “The unanimous voice of antiquity proclaimed that Pythagoras (in the sixth century B.C.) taught the doctrine of the transmigration of souls, and — with how much truth may be questioned — that he derived the doctrine from Egypt, and that he himself remembered his experiences in his previous states, which, if true, would have made it unnecessary, we might suppose, for him to learn the fact of transmigration from anyone else, Egyptian or other. Empedocles, a follower of Pythagoras, taught — doubtless in accord with his master’s teaching — that the cause of transmigration was sin {Buddhism teaches similarly}, that the term of transmigration was thirty thousand years, that he himself had served that term, and that finally his soul, like others in the same case, would become a god — which indeed it had been from the beginning. Pindar, who was a contemporary of Empedocles, and picked up some Pythagoreanism on his visits to Sicily, also lets us see that it was only the wicked who were doomed to transmigration, the good went straight to a happy otherworld; and that, after transmigration and return to human form, the soul had to be judged by Persephone, and might then enter the abodes of bliss. In quite recent years {viz. prior to 1896} there have been discovered in graves near Thurii and Petelia, that is in the home of Pythagoreanism, three golden tablets bearing inscriptions. These inscriptions contain directions to the deceased Pythagorean with whom they were buried, to enable him to find his way about in the underworld, thus: “On the left you will find a stream and near it a white poplar: go not near that stream; you will find another, cool water flowing from the mere of Memory; in front of it are guards. Say, ‘I am the child of earth and starry sky; I am of heavenly origin, as ye yourselves know full well. I am parched and perishing with thirst; give me at once cool water flowing from the mere of Memory,’ and they will give you of the divine stream to drink.” The tablets were buried with the deceased, because they possessed a magical power to direct and protect him. The name of Persephone occurs on two of them, thus confirming what Pindar says; the cause of transmigration is said to be sin, its nature a cycle ({Gk.} kuklos), and the soul that escapes from the cycle becomes a god — thus confirming Empedocles. To this we must add that when the soul is said to become a god or God, and still more when it is said to be a child of earth and starry sky, the expression was one which could be taken in two senses, a religious sense and a philosophical sense. It could be taken by the Pythagorean to mean either that his individual personality would be dissolved in the One, the All, the sky; or that his personal identity would continue in a blissful life in a happy other-world. The latter is the view which commends itself to Pindar (in his second Olympian), the former makes itself felt in Euripides, and is expressed in the funeral inscription on the grave of the Athenians who fell at Potidaea in B.C. 431. But the average man did not distinguish the two views very clearly: whether the place was the sky, or the ether, or Olympus, or Elysium, he did not curiously inquire — he used all the terms convertibly.”


279. Returning now to the Hebrew and related Syriac Christian traditions: some saw Jesus in the early days of His ministry as a “revived” Elijah, Jeremiah, or John the Baptist (who himself was empowered by the spirit of Elijah, Lk. 1. 17 etc.), or one of the prophets (Mtt. 14. 2, 17. 14, Mk. 6. 14f., 8. 28, Lk. 9. 7f., 19), showing how these prophets, or indeed any number of prophets indwelt by the genuine prophetic spirit, might become identified between themselves and also with the pre-existent Spirit of the Messiah. This post-Biblical Jewish tradition predated the Muslim. How wide the identifications might spread is demonstrated by the later Jewish tradition (this particular list in Shelshelet ha-Kabbalah, Biegeliesen, New York, p. 13) that there were nine “immortals” (like the Muslim Al Khidr) who entered Paradise alive: Enoch, Messiah, Elijah, Eliezer, the servant of Abraham, Ebed-melech, the Ethiopian in the days of Jeremiah, Hiram king of Tyre (according to others, Joshua son of Levi), Jaabetz son of Rab. Judah the Holy, Sarah daughter of Asher, and Bithia, daughter of Pharaoh. It could work another way too. Damascus-Eliezer, Abraham’s servant was Canaan, son of Ham (i.e. his spirit was in him), though he was liberated from the curse of Canaan because of his faithfulness to the patriarch (Beresh. Rab. 60. 7, Vayiqr. Rab. 17. 5, 2 Alphabet Ben Sira 28b). He was also Og the giant king of Bashan slain by Moses (Ginzberg, Legends III. p. 344, a clear anachronism, except in the sense that the spirit of the Canaanite “giants” was in him). Hence also Og survived the flood (Ginzberg, op. cit. I. p. 160). I.e. the spirit of the pre-diluvian giants was revived in the post-diluvian giants of Canaan. The Al Khidr in the Quran who was a contemporary of Moses was, in the underlying tradition, Og of Bashan. The confusion of character, time and place in the Syriac and then in the Arabic Zoroastrian traditions is evidence that the Syrian Christians were parodying the Zoroastrian belief in the reincarnation of Zoroaster’s spirit (Al Khidr in the Muslim interpretation), which itself depended on the true Biblical teaching that Elijah’s spirit came upon Elisha (II Kings 2. 9f., 15) and was to appear again before the end of the world (Mal. 4. 5). Jeremiah and Ezra might be viewed, according to the stated principles, as so many “reincarnations” of Elijah’s spirit. Therefore Zoroaster, originally a wayward disciple of Elisha (like Gehazi), according to the Syriac sources, came to be treated as a wayward servant of Jeremiah, in the days of Nebuchadrezzar, or of Ezra, in the days of Cyrus. For a similar reason, but without explicit resort to the doctrine of reincarnation, Zoroaster was called in another line of Syriac tradition a “second Balaam” (Solomon of Basra, loc. cit.), or alternatively was identified outright with Balaam (Bar Ali, c. AD 832, Payne-Smith, Thesaurus Syriacus, col. 1155, cf. col. 539).

Note. In the earliest times kings were identified with the sky-god, An, in Sumer, and with Horus in Egypt, and later with Dumuzi (Tammuz), and Osiris. In Iran multiple Jamshids (Jamshid = Tammuz), Feriduns and Zoroasters replaced the earlier Babylonian figures. In Arabic romance there were multiple manifestations of the Immortal Al Khidr or Dhu’l Karnaim (see §297, below, >>). The story of Al Khidr was recognized in antiquity to be the same as that of Jamshid, and Tammuz. One such manifestations of Al Khidr was Canaan, another was Damascus-Eliezer, and another, the giant Og. Al Khidr was each and all of these, as well as a medley of other figures of pagan and Biblical history, including Noah and Hermes Trismegistus. Wherever Al Khidr or Dhu’l Karnaim appears in Oriental romance without an explicit statement of his identity, the circumstantial detail determines which Biblical or pagan figure is alluded to under that name. The same applies to any individually named figure who was a manifestation of Al Khidr. For example, where the giant Og, under that name, appears as a pre-diluvian figure in Rabbinic and Arabic tradition (surviving the Flood by clinging onto a plank of Noah’s boat), instead of as a king of Bashan at the time of Moses, we know we are dealing with an “immortalized” figure who had multiple manifestations: in this case, an incarnation before the Flood in a pre-diluvian giant, and also an incarnation after it, in the form of Og king of Bashan. Canaan similarly appears in Arabic legend as a fourth son of Noah, and is said to have perished in the waters of the Flood, because he refused to heed Noah’s warning of the impending catastrophe. The pre-diluvian anachronism shows Canaan here is an “immortalized” figure, whose spirit was in the giants destroyed by the Flood. Isolated motifs were transferred from one manifestation of Al Khidr to another. For example, the motif of Abraham’s dismissal of his sons by Keturah from the presence of Isaac to the east, was transferred from Midian (Al Khidr, see §140.5, above, >>) to Damascus-Eliezer (Al Khidr, see §140, above, >>). Another manifestation of Al Khidr was the prophet Jonah. Yet another was Nimrod son of Canaan, and Nimrod son of Canaan was the Tyrian Herakles (Hercules) and the Greek hero Perseus. Motifs from the Biblical history of Jonah were transferred to Herakles (in relation to the myth of Hesione, three days after a shipwreck [Aeneas of Gaza, Theophrastus, ed. Boissonade, Paris, 1836, p. 37] spent by Herakles in the belly of the sea-monster which attacked Hesione, Lycophron, Cassandra, vers. 31-37, Tzetzes, scholia, ad loc., similarly in Justin Martyr, Cyril of Alexandria, Empress Eudokia, Theophylact), and from Herakles to Perseus (in relation to the myth of Andromeda, where the action centered at Jonah’s city, Joppa: Perseus, like Herakles, swallowed by the sea-monster which attacked Andromeda, Tzetzes, scholia on Lycophron, Cassandra, vers. 838). In the former case Herakles is said to have lost his hair in the belly of the monster (Tzetzes), and the same is said in post-Biblical Rabbinic tradition to have happened to Jonah (Yalk. Jonah §551). As Herakles-Perseus was the ancient Nergal, the Mesopotamian god of fire identified with the planet Mars, corresponding to the Iranian Atar or Azar (“fire” and “Mars”), it is easy to see how incidents in the life of Jonah (Al Khidr) could become attached in the mystical tradition to his pupil Zoroaster (Al Khidr), who was consumed by the heavenly fire, and, indeed, became one with that element, and similarly to Herakles, and Perseus. Perseus, the eponymus of the Persians, according to Pausanias of Damascus (FHG IV, p. 467, Pausanias Damascenus, Fr. 3), witnessed a descent of the celestial fire at the city, Ione-Iopolis (Antioch), which gave its name to another immortalized figure, Ioniton (§140.5, above, >>), and set up there, in commemoration of the event, a fire-temple, thus inaugurating the Persian fire-cult. The identification of Samson with Herakles (Syncellus, Ecloga Chronographica, ed. Moshammer, 191f. = ed. Dindorf, 309) is likely to have a similar background.


280. The date of the prophet Zoroaster has long been the subject of debate. That the report in the Melitonian fragment, confirmed by the Persian treatise Siwar-i Akalim-i Sabah, accurately represents the era of at least one of Zoroaster’s incarnations, around 815 BC, can be demonstrated by an examination of Greek legend relating to Zoroaster in the light of certain discoveries of modern archaeology in the Near East. According to Justinus’ epitome of Trogus Pompeius (1. 9f.) Zoroaster (“Zoroastres”), the Persian Magus, and king of the Bactrians, perished in battle with Ninus, king of Assyria, towards the end of the latter’s reign. The same name for Ninus’ opponent is found in Arnobius’ reference to the first book of Ctesias (Adv. Gentes, i. 52, cf. also i. 5). In Diodorus (II. 6. 2), drawing similarly on the Persica of Ctesias, the king is called Oxuartes, not “Zoroaster,” with manuscript variants Exaortes, Zaortes and Xaortes. The last two appear in the MSS. preceded by the Greek definite article, an aspirated “o,” suggesting Oxuartes should be split similarly, with an aspirated “o,” so the proper name in that case is “Xuartes.” (The name occurs only once in the account, in the nominative case, therefore a simple transcriptional error, of the common kind, is understandable.) Diodorus represents Ninus’ last mentioned military campaign as being directed against Xuartes, king of the Bactrians. Ninus hunted him out from a remote, mountainous, citadel and slew him, with the help of his queen-to-be, Semiramis. The citadel was Bactra, the capital of Bactria, which was Balkh, the chief city of Khorasan. Balkh is the traditional site of the ministry and slaughter of the prophet Zoroaster. Ninus then returned to Nineveh and married Semiramis, and was succeeded in the kingdom by their son, Ninuas. (The form of the Bactrian king’s name with initial “e,” Exaortes, if it is not a scribal error, may be a Greek transcription of the Avestan Ukhshya(t)-ereta, “Let Truth Be Embodied,” which is the name of the re-embodied Zoroaster, or second Savior figure in the Zoroastrian scheme of world-ages.) So, Zoroaster-Xuartes, according to this Greek tradition, was a contemporary of Ninus.


281. Which Ninus is referred to here? Was it the third millennium BC Ninus A, who was identified in antiquity with Nimrod-Enmerkar, the eighteenth-century-BC Ninus I, or the ninth-century-BC Ninus II a.k.a. Shamshi-Adad V? The last Ninus lived around 820 BC. Here Ninus is said to have fought against Zoroaster-Xuartes, and coincidentally, in the account ascribed to Melito of Sardis, Zoroaster lived in the time of Elisha, i.e. precisely around the year 820 BC. In Wetzel’s “A Chronology of Biblical Christianity,” Ben-Hadad I, whose name corresponds to the Hadad of Melito, began to rule Syria in 880 BC, Elisha succeeded Elijah 868 BC, Ben-Hadad was succeeded by Hazael in 842 BC, Shamshi-Adad V began to rule in Assyria 823 BC, Adad-Nirari III succeeded in Assyria in 810 BC, Elisha died 808 BC. This means Elisha was contemporary with Ben-Hadad I, or Hadad, king of Syria, from 868 to 842 BC, and with Shamshi-Adad V, or Ninus II, of Assyria from 823-811 BC. It would make sense for the two Magi, Zoroaster and Orpheus, to have been in Syria around 850 BC, in contact with the court of Ben-Hadad (Hadad), and for Zoroaster to have later migrated to the area east of Assyria where he came into conflict with, and finally perished at the hands of, Ninus II or Shamshi-Adad V.


282. Further strengthening our confidence in the reliability of the account ascribed to Melito, we find that the historical Ninus II, Shamshi-Adad V, conducted a military campaign against certain tribes, including Iranian tribes, to the east of Assyria. This campaign, — the third of four listed, the fourth dating to 814 BC, and located chronologically, therefore, towards the end of his reign 823-811 BC — was commemorated on a monument discovered in the ruins of the temple of Nabu in Calah (Nimrud). The engraver used an archaic script like that of the earliest kings of Assyria a thousand years previous. One of the kings whom Shamshi-Adad V defeated in this third campaign against Nairi and the Medes barricaded himself in a mountainous retreat and had an Iranian name, whose form corresponds exactly to the Greek Xuartes, the defeated Iranian opponent of Ninus. No other known opponent of Shamshi-Adad V had a name ending in the element -arta (representing the popular Avestan nominal component ereta, “truth”) so if there was an historical figure behind the Xuartes of Ctesias and Diodorus, the contemporary of the ninth-century Ninus (Shamshi-Adad V), it could only be this character defeated by the Assyrian king in his third campaign. On the monument, in its archaizing script, the name is spelled with five signs which can be read “Mu-nir Su-ar-ta.” The name has been transcribed until recently mu-un-su-ar-ta, Munsuarta, but latterly the second sign has been confirmed to be the similar-looking sign nir, not un, resulting in the form “Munir Suarta.” Suarta or S’uarta, corresponds to the Greek Xuartes or Zaortes, and the initial two signs spell the Iranian munir, meaning “sage, wise man.” The Greek letter xi (the initial “x” in the name Xuartes) was borrowed from the Semitic samekh, an “s” sound, and is therefore the precisely correct equivalent of the initial samekh-like consonant (“s”) in “Suarta,” the









Balkh, Afghanistan, satellite image of site and walls of the citadel




The location of Balkh in relation to Mesopotamia



Assyrian transcription of the chieftain’s name. The Greek form with initial “e,” (Exaortes), if it represents the Iranian Ukhshya(t)-ereta, “Let Truth Be Embodied,” will then be a re-interpretation of the natural name of the prophet, preserving something close to its original sound, and reflecting the nature of his ministry, according to the Zoroastrian belief.

BM 118892 iii 37-44a: “On my return, I [Shamshi-Adad V] crossed the mountain of muu-stone. I felled with the sword Munir Suarta of the land Araziash, together with 1,070 of his fighting men, (and) filled (iii 40) the ravines and crevices of the mountain with their corpses. The numerous troops of my land plundered them of their sons, daughters, property, possessions, oxen, (and) sheep. I razed, destroyed, (and) burned their cities.”

Munir Suarta is described here as being “of the land Araziash.” This land is thought to have been the region between Hamadan (Ecbatana) and the headwaters of the Safed-Rud, which flows ultimately into the Caspian. These headwaters are within the territory known as Shiz, the latter name being derived from the ancient Iranian name of Lake Urmiah around which it centered. Traditionally Zoroaster originated precisely from Shiz or Urmiah on his paternal side, in the wider district known as Azerbaijan, whilst his mother came from Rai near Teheran. This detail, along with the title “munir,” confirms the identification of the opponent of Shamshi-Adad V with the Iranian prophet. The Zoroastrian belief was that Zoroaster was cut down violently by his enemies in Balkh (Bactra), along with a multitude of his faithful disciples and fellow-citizens, during a military incursion into their territories, which set out from the capital city “Khallakh” or “Khallukh.” This, presumably, is a reminiscence of the Assyrian city-name Calah, or “Khalkhu,” as it was pronounced in Assyrian. The hand which dealt the fatal blow was long remembered by the Zoroastrians as that of a vile Turanian. Of course, the Assyrian king himself claimed credit for the elimination on the official monument in the Temple of Nabu back in Calah. To Shamshi-Adad V, Munir Suarta will have been just another dead Iranian rebel chief, but to the Magi who had accepted his reformed version of the Iranian national religion, he was nothing less than the re-embodied Zoroaster, the second World-Savior in the cosmic battle between Good and Evil.


283. The same dating of Zoroaster can be deduced from the traditional history of India preserved in the Introduction to the history of the Muslim dynasties of India of Ferishta (floruit late 16th early 17th centuries AD, see §627, below, >>, for a translation of Ferishta’s Introduction), and related accounts. In these the Hindu kings (in some cases dynasties, according to Dow’s interpretation) are traced from Ham, son of Noah, through his descendant Hind, the eponymus of India, down to kings known from historical sources to be contemporaries of Alexander of Macedon and his successors, namely, Ferishta’s Roja Fur, who is Poros, the Indian king defeated by Alexander in 327 BC, and his successor, Sinsar Chand (Chandragupta). Ferishta’s method is typically Iranian. The name of a single king, the founder of the line, or a dynastic title, is attached to a series of kings of the same line, and the regnal figures extended accordingly. “Afrasiyab,” for example, crops up in different historical eras as the personification of Turanian oppression. This was common practice among transmitters of the native Iranian traditions of Balkh. Alternatively, and additionally, a magisterial sage, reincarnated in a series of sages, was held to have lived for several centuries, as is illustrated in the chart infra, reconstructing the scheme underlying Ferishta’s account, where Vasishta lives from c. 2220 BC through c. 1100 BC, and Parashurama lives from c. 1100 BC through 600 BC. In that case historical events which transpired over the course of several centuries are telescoped into the single lifetime of the sage. The doctrine of reincarnation held by Magians and Zoroastrians fostered such a fusion, or confusion, of history and metaphysics. Persian scribes transferred the system to India, and it appears multiple times, accordingly, in the king-list of Ferishta. In India “long-lived” sages like Parashurama are referred to as Immortals. The known date of the end of the reign of Poros, towards the end of Ferishta’s list, can be used to estimate earlier dates, though the figures are not precisely consecutive. The individual reigns, if treated as consecutive, reach back to the twenty-sixth century BC, with a few figures intervening between that date and the Flood, implying the chronology was originally similar to that of the Septuagint. Synchronisms between the Hindu kings and the traditional kings of Iran are a prominent feature. From these the era of Zoroaster can be computed. The kings are as follows, from Ham to Roja Fur (Poros) and Sinsar Chand (Chandragupta); braces enclose my additional comments, and there are occasional references to Dow’s interpretation and chronology, which, however, do not reflect the nuances of the underlying scheme, his dates being placed immediately adjacent to the specific figure given by him:





Hindu Tradition

Ferishta

{Firoz and Suraj are sons of Keshu, son of Maha Raj, son of Kishan, son of Purb, brother of Bang, the sons of Hind, son of Ham. This is a genealogical expression of the following historical statement: the Somavansha (Firoz) and Suryavansha (Suraj) were descended from Ikshvaku (Keshu), the eponymus of the Cushite Maha Rajas (Maha Raj) of the line of Kushan (Kishan) ruling at Ayodhya in the Eastern Region (Purb) of Bengal, which received its name from Vanga (Bang) of the Somavansha, and was located in the region east of the Indus (Hind), settled by the sons of Ham (Ham).}


Ham


Hind [= Dedan son of Cush son of Ham]


Purb son of Hind


Kishan (or, Krishna) [= Cush Fil-dendan a.k.a./son of Cush son of Ham]


Maha Raj son of Kishan








Ikshvaku


Keshu Raj son of Maha Raj


Vasishta




The Moon = Soma = Vijayadatta = Firoz, the eponymus of Somavansha (the Lunar royal line).

Firoz Rai son of Keshu Raj





The Sun = Surya = Suraj, the eponymus of Suryavansha (the Solar royal line).

Suraj of Hind c. 1300 BC

Bhrigu (= Bah Raj) Jamadagni son of a princess of the Suryavansha called Renuka

Bah Raj son of Suraj, eponymus of Broach = Bhrigu City

Kartavirya (= Kidar) Arjuna

Parashurama

Kidar Brahmin c. 1100 BC

Harischandra Traishankavana (shankavana = Shankal)

Shankal

Rohit (= Rahat) son of Traishankavana, eponymus of Rohtas

Rahat son of Shankal, eponymus of Rohtas




A disturbance arose because there was no heir to the throne


Maha Raj Kachhwaha c. 600 BC



Kaid Raj nephew of Maha Raj r. c. 546-503 BC



Jai Chand commander-in-chief of Kaid Raj r. c. 503-443 BC



Interregnum of the queen regent for the infant son of Jai Chand



Roja Dihlu brother of Jai Chand eponymus of Delhi r. c. 443-403 BC



Roja Fur rebel against Roja Dihlu r. c. 400-327 BC. Known to the Greeks as Poros, defeated by Alexander of Macedon 327 BC

Chandragupta

Sinsar Chand




Notes on the individual kings of Ferishta’s account, with Iranian synchronisms:

Noah

Ham, son of Noah.

Hind, son of Ham, the eponymus of Hindustan or India.

{This is the common Muslim genealogy and is how Ferishta presents it at the beginning of his king list. However, according to another account (Sheikh Sadik Ali Sher Ali, Ansari, A Short Sketch, Historical and Traditional, of the Musulman Races found in Sind, Baluchistan and Afghanistan, Karachi, 1901, p. 53, quoting an earlier work “Sabaikazahab”) the full genealogy is: Noah, Ham, Kosh (Cush), Taama (Raamah), and the sons of Taama (Raamah), Shaba (Sheba) and Daran (Dedan) (as in Gen. 10. 6f.). Shaba (Sheba) begot Sind, the eponymus of Sindh, the region of the Indus, and Daran (Dedan) begot Hind, the eponymus of Hindustan or India. Sheba = (Al) Sind and Dedan = (Al) Hind, see §782, below, >>. This is the same genealogy found in Hebrew chronicles, e.g. Jerahmeel (Sefer ha-Zikhronot), ed. Gaster, XXXI. 16, citing the 10th century chronicler Yosippon ([Book I], Pereq 1) on the descent of the “People of India/the Indus” (Indaya) from Sheba son of Raamah son of Cush, and in the Defloratio Berosi of Giovanni Nanni (Lib. II genealogical chart, §886.2, below, >>), going back to Hispanus c. AD 300 and ultimately to a Berossian Sibylline work c. BC 300: Indus (eponymus of the Indians) grandson of Sheba (Saba Turifer) son of Cur/Cush.}

Purb {eldest son of Hind}

Kishan (or, Krishna {see §316.1.2, below, >>}, not the god commonly worshiped {who was Krishna Vasudeva, and whose floruit was around the 9th century BC at the time of the Mahabharata war, rather than in the third millennium BC like this Krishna}), lived 400 years.

A contemporary of Tahmurasp {whom Arab chroniclers identified with Nimrod, son of Cush, see note at §669, below, >>}. The first to sit on the royal throne of Hind.

Maha Raj reigned 700 years.

During his reign sun-worship was introduced. His realm was attacked by Gurshasp, the general of Faridun. {Arab chroniclers identified Faridun with Noah}. Towards the end of this period the Indus region (Punjab) was invaded by and brought under the control of the Turanian army of Sam Nariman, the emissary of Faridun.

Keshu Raj son of Maha Raj reigned 220 years.

A contemporary of Sam Nariman and the Iranian Minuchihr. Keshu was in alliance with the Turanians and Iranians.

Firoz Rai son of Keshu Raj {Dynasty: Dow} reigned 537 years.

A contemporary of Minuchihr, Afrasiyab, Zal son of Sam Nariman, Rustam son of Zal. Firoz Rai recovered Punjab from the Turanians, but lost it again to Rustam.

Suraj of Hind {Dynasty: Dow} reigned 250 years.

A contemporary of Kai-kubad and Rustam, who put him on the throne. In this period a Brahmin inculcated idolatry.

Bah Raj son of Suraj reigned 36 years.

Kidar Brahmin reigned 19 years.

A contemporary of, and tribute payer to, the Iranians Kai-Kaus and Kai-Khusru. {According to native Iranian sources, Kai-Khusru was succeeded by Lohrasp who, after reigning some years, and welcoming Zoroaster, surrendered the throne to Gushtasp, the royal patron of the prophet.}

Shankal reigned 64 years.

A contemporary of Afrasiyab, who ruled an empire from Persia to Tartary and drove Shankal from power. Shankal is slain by Rustam. {According to Troyer, Shankal was a title of the kings of Kanoj. See §659 note, below, >>, for the dating of this incident in Iranian tradition to the reign of Kai-Khusru, that is, towards the end of the second millennium BC, c. 1095-1035 BC, cf. supra for Rustam under Firoz Rai and Suraj.}

Rahat son of Shankal reigned 81 years.

A disturbance arose because there was no heir to the throne.

Maha Raj Kachhwaha reigned c. 586 [Dow]-546 BC.

A contemporary of Gushtasp {= Hystaspes father of Darius I: Dow}.

Kaid Raj reigned c. 546-503 BC.

Jai Chand reigned c. 503-443 BC.

A contemporary of, and tribute payer to, Darius {I} of Persia.

Interregnum of the queen regent for the infant son of Jai Chand.

Roja Dihlu reigned c. 443-403 BC.

The builder of Dehli, so named after him.

A rebellion led by Fur.

Roja Fur reigned c. 400-327 BC.

Known to the Greeks as Poros, defeated by Alexander of Macedon 327 BC.

The synchronisms in Ferishta suggest the era of Zoroaster was some time around the end of the reign of Kidar Brahmin, as the latter is said to have been a contemporary of the immediate precursors of Zoroaster’s patrons Lohrasp and Gushtasp. This is confirmed by Ghulam Husain Salim in his Riyazu-s-salatin (trans. Maulavi Abdus Salam, Calcutta, 1902), p. 53f.: “[Following a notice concerning Suraj (c. 1300 BC)] Some say that fire-worship was introduced by Ibrahim Zardasht [Zoroaster, identified, as commonly, with the Hebrew patriarch Abraham] in the times of Gashtasp [Gushtasp], Emperor of Persia, and spread to Kabul and Sistan and throughout the empire of Persia, and that, in process of time, the kingdom of Bengal became subject to the Rais of Hindustan, and the Rais of Bengal paid revenue and sundry tributes. After this Shangaldip [Ferishta’s Shankal], emerging from the environs of Koch, became victorious over Kidar [Ferishta’s Kidar Brahmin], and founded the city of Gaur, and made it the seat of government, and for a period ruled over the Kingdom of Bengal and the whole empire of Hindustan.” The era of Kidar Brahmin and Shankal here is the era of Zoroaster. The era of Kidar and Shankal spanned several centuries, according to the reconstruction of Ferishta’s tradition explained at §679.0.5ff., below, >>, between c. 1100 BC and c. 600 BC, transpiring during the lifetime of the “long-lived” Parashurama, and covering the reigns of the traditional Iranian kings Kai Khusru (from c. 1100 BC), Lohrasp, his son Gushtasp, his son Isfendiyar and his son Bahman, the last being contemporary with Nebuchadnezzar II, c. 600 BC. Zoroaster, the contemporary of Gushtasp son of Lohrasp, is dateable therefore, by simple averaging, to the third of this period of five centuries, spanning the five royal generations, that is, to c. 900-800 BC. Here too, Zoroaster is dated to the ninth century BC.


284. In the Zoroastrian system the second World-Savior, Ukhshya(t)-ereta, followed the first Zoroaster after an interval of 1000 years. In fact, it came to be believed that every 1000 years a new World-Savior would be born into the world, embodying in each case Zoroaster’s spirit. This doctrine confirms the above identification of the first Zoroaster and, at the same time, enables us to understand why Xuartes was believed to be a reincarnation of this man’s spirit. As we have seen, an estimate based on the number of intervening reigns, rather than the number of years as stated, in the king-list of Berossus, results in a date for the career of Zoroaster around the middle of the 18th century BC and for his birth, accordingly, around 1800 BC. That leaves an interval between him and Semiramis III c. 800 BC of almost exactly 1000 years. Berossus’ Zoroaster, king of the Medes, was a contemporary or near contemporary of Gaddash a.k.a. Gandash, king of the Kassites, and was intimately involved with the early stages of the Kassite occupation of Babylon. He lived 1000 years before the era of the Assyrian Semiramis III (Sammuramat) and Ninus II (Shamshi-Adad V), the latter of whom defeated in battle and slew Munir Suarta (Xuartes, Zaortes, Ukhshyat-ereta), the second Zoroaster, around 815 BC. A common role in thus fomenting rebellion against the Mesopotamian foe seems to have given rise to the belief that Zoroaster and Xuartes were two manifestations of the same spirit. Hence the doctrine that Zoroaster was re-embodied in the Second World-Savior after an interval of 1000 years.


285. A connection of Gaddash with Zoroaster tends to be confirmed by an Armenian tradition preserved by Moses of Khorene and Thomas Artzruni from Mar Abas Catina (Moses of Khorene, History of the Armenians, lib. I. capp. XV, §973ff., below, >>, XVII, §987ff., below, >>, XX, §998ff., below, >>, Thomas Artzruni, infra). This dates Zoroaster to the era of the Armenian king Ara son of Aram (c. 1769-1743 BC: see the chart at §286.1, below, >>). Semiramis (I) Queen of Assyria is said to have installed Zoroaster in her Assyrian dominions as vice-regent, but subsequently to have made war against him, in the event, unsuccessfully, as she was forced to flee to Armenia in order to evade him. Semiramis’ son Zames or Ninuas later defeated and slew Zoroaster. The Armenian tradition represents Zoroaster as a ruler of territories within the Assyrian (in later parlance = Mesopotamian) dominions, which echoes Berossus’ depiction of Zoroaster as a leader of the Medes at the time they conquered Babylon. Thomas Artzruni (in Brosset, Collection d’historiens arméniens, Thomas Ardzrouni etc., tom. i, 1874, pp. 19-22, 25, 27, livre I. 3, 4) adds further detail as follows (livre I. 3, my translation from Brosset’s French):

Of the time which passed between Bel and Ninos, as we have said before, no significant and clear trace remains in the old books, and this, no doubt, for several reasons. First, as a result of the confusion of languages, there was an unfortunate misunderstanding, then the Chaldean annalists did not investigate and keep record of the failings of men of high rank. And again, if even the exploits and bravery of Ninos have been told, like Bel but worse, he came to such a degree of pride that he regarded himself as the first of the heroes, as the first of the kings, and having gathered in a heap, in great haste, all the ancient writings, he delivered them to the flames, so that thereafter would remain no other person’s memory more illustrious than his own. As the record stands, therefore, he ruled over all Asia, except India, and Libya. He also repaired, for the honor of his name, the city of Nineveh, formerly built by Assour {Ashur}, to be the royal residence, which also Nebroth {Nimrod} had ravaged. He then dethroned the magus Zradasht {Zoroaster}, king of the Bactrians and Medes, and drove him to the frontiers of the Hephthalites {the White Huns}, became the mighty master of all Khoujastan, lands of the east and Persia, as far as Balkh and Depouhan; from Comaïd, Guzpan, Cheribamamacan, Khodjihrastan, and to tell the truth, he subdued during a period of 52 years, with incredible merit, all the territory up to the Indian Ocean. When he died, leaving only very young children, he handed over the authority to his wife Shamiram {Samiramis}, who exercised it herself more vigorously than Ninos; because she encompassed Babylon with walls, subdued the rebellion of Zradasht and reduced him to servitude. But in the intoxication of voluptuousness, forgetting her sons, she lavished her treasures on her favorite lovers and established Zradasht as commander of Babylon, Khoujastan and all of eastern Persia. As for herself, she passed over into Armenia, attracted by the fame of a descendant of Haïc. Concerning the time of her arrival in this country, and as to the details of the battle, of the construction of superb buildings, truly admirable, of the revolt of Zradasht, and the death of Shamiram, the stories relayed by magicians on all this matter, the tale has been told by others. She reigned 42 years. Authority passed to her son Zarmia {Zames}, who was called Ninovas {Ninuas}, from the name of his father. He was master of Assyria and, for a time, of Armenia. Not worried about enlargements, endowed with a peaceful character and not beautiful liquor, he spent his days quietly.

However, Zradasht, possessing the countries to the east of Persia, ceased thereafter to worry Assyria. Disdaining as worthless fables and matters by far too obscure the stories about Bel and the other descendants of the genii, he turned out on his own account new fables, in order to separate at one and the same time the Persians and Mars {Medes} from the Babylonians, and, by his doctrines and by names, to procure an affinity with the Assyrians. He began to call by the new terms Zrovan {Zervan} and Root of the gods Sem {Shem}, son of Noah. “This latter,” he says, “wanting to become father of Ormizd, said: ‘Be as it may, I will have Ormizd {Ahuramazda} for a son, who will make heaven,’ and consequently Zrovan conceived two twins, one of which was very cunning for hastening to appear first. ‘Who are you?’ Zrovan said to him. — ‘Your son Ormizd.’ — ‘My son Ormizd is bright and fragrant, but you are dark and evil-mouthed.’” This latter having insisted much, he gave him power for a thousand years. Ormizd, being born at the end of this term, said to his brother: “I yielded to you for a thousand years; you yield to me presently.” Knowing his inferiority, Ahrman {Ahriman} resisted and rebelled, and became a god opposite to Ormizd. When Ormizd created the light, Ahrman made darkness; when Ormizd created life, Ahrman made death; when Ormizd created fire, and good, Ahrman made water and evil. To put it briefly, one after the other, all that is good, and virtuous souls, come from Ormizd, and from Ahrman, all that is bad, and the demons. Now to one who thinks these doctrines deserve only a hale of laughter, and treats Zradasht as a madman, it is explained that this impotent god, Ormizd, does not work in vain, and that the two brothers, although mutual enemies, will direct their anger at him for a time in order to exterminate him.”

According to this account Zoroaster, the king of the Bactrians and Medes, was known to Semiramis’ predecessor, Ninus (I): that he was dethroned by him and driven into exile to the borders of the Hephtalites (White Huns). On the death of Ninus, Zoroaster rebelled, but was defeated by Semiramis and given a post in her administration, as in Mar Abas Catina, then perished in the reign of Zames. (Likewise in the Defloratio Berosi, based on Armenian sources, §889.51, below, >>, Zoroaster, called in this work “Chemesenuus” and identified with Ham, son of Noah [as in the pseudo-Clementines], is beheaded by “Ninias,” otherwise known as “Ninus” son of Semiramis. Chemesenuus here is an earlier incarnation of Zoroaster.) Zoroaster is described by Thomas as a magus as well as a political leader, and is said to have applied the name Zervan, as the origin of the gods, to Shem son of Noah (as in Mar Abas Catina), in place of the “obscure” Babylonian mythology of Bel and the other “descendants of the genii,” inventing at the same time fables about the combat between Zervan’s twin sons Ahura Mazda and Ahriman. This is reminiscent of the “Magian” theology copied by Damascius from Eudemus (Damascius, cap. 125, ed. Kopp, p. 384) which represents Space or Zervan, the original primal principle, as having begotten Light and Darkness (some omitted these two), then the Good God (Ahura Mazda) and the Evil Spirit (Ahriman). Sanchuniathon (c. 1300 BC) claims Zoroaster (some time before c. 1300 BC) depicted the supreme god with the head of a hawk, like the Egyptian Kneph (Agathodaimon). According to Thomas, Zoroaster hoped by this invented theology to separate the Persians and Medes from the Babylonians, and align himself instead with the Assyrians. It is likely the positive connotation of the word “ahura” in Avestan (as compared with the negative connotation of the corresponding word “asura” in Sanskrit) dates to this period, being equivalent to the divine name As(s)hur (the eponymous patron deity of Assyria, cf. the form “Asura”), which became Ahura (Mazda) in Avestan. As(s)hur son of Shem would thus become Ahura Mazda son of Zervan. In earlier pre-Zoroastrian times, no doubt, the “gods” (of Babylon) were known as “devs,” a positive term at that time, and the gods of Assyria, or the Assyrians themselves, as demonic “asuras” (meaning “evil Assyrians”). This older nomenclature survived in India, in Vedic Sanskrit. Zoroaster’s new Assyrianizing theological terminology made the Assyrian eponymous deity (As[s]hur > Asura > Ahura) the supreme god and the old gods of Babylon, the “devs,” the anti-gods or demons.


285.1. Mar Abas Catina himself does not pursue the matter further, but Greek tradition as early as Plato (apud Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, lib. V. cap. XIV, s. 103) identified Zoroaster as “Er son of Armenios,” and this latter name is a transcription in Greek of the Armenian Ara son of Aram, the eponymus of Armenia, who features indeed as a contemporary of Zoroaster in Mar Abas Catina, though the two are not explicitly identified by him. Both Er and Ara were held to have been raised miraculously from the dead. Zoroastrian belief looked to Ara-Er’s experiences in the other world as evidence of their teachings concerning the future life. It would make nonsense of Mar Abas Catina’s scheme if Ara son of Aram was literally Zoroaster, since Ara never exercised power in Mesopotamia, was always opposed to Semiramis (though passionately admired by her), and was finally slain by her troops in battle, whereas Zoroaster started out as the vice-regent of Semiramis in Assyria (Mesopotamia), and only later came in conflict with her. However, Mar Abas Catina (ibid. cap. XV) says Semiramis was so besotted with Ara that not only did she claim he had been revived from the dead by the gods, she also dressed up one of her supporters as Ara to prove to the public he was still alive. If this supporter was her vice-regent Zoroaster, that would account for the identification of Zoroaster and Er son of Armenios (Ara son of Aram) in the Greek sources. Another possibility is that Ara was “re-embodied,” so to speak, in his own son: Mar Abas Catina (ibid. cap. XX) notes Ara son of Aram had a son Gartos by his wife Nouart, and, on the death of Ara, Gartos came under the control of Semiramis, was named Ara by her after his father (John Catholicos, History of Armenia, cap. VIII, p. 23), and appointed by her governor of Armenia. Subsequently, like Zoroaster, he came into conflict with Semiramis and, in his case, fell a casualty in the fray. “Ara son of Aram” is the same person as “Er son of Armenios” and the latter the same as Zoroaster. Therefore, Gartos, a.k.a. Ara, the bearer of his father’s name, might have come to be considered the actual “re-embodiment” of, or the “revived,” Ara son of Aram, just like Zoroaster, and, consequently, not merely the contemporary of Zoroaster, but Zoroaster himself. The traditional dates of Gartos are c. 1743-1725 BC (see the chart at §286.1, below, >>), which is the era of the Kassite Gaddash, and his name is strikingly similar to, and perhaps the Armenian pronunciation of, that of the Kassite king. This complex of traditions confirms the historical era of the original Zoroaster c. 1750 -1700 BC (the era of the earliest Kassite incursions against the First Dynasty of Babylon), and suggests Zoroaster was the revived Ara son of Aram, and a contemporary of, if not also identified with, Gartos son of Ara.


286. The general historical reliability of these traditions is confirmed further by references in Mar Abas Catina to the foreign expeditions of Ara’s father Aram (op. cit. lib. I. cap. XIV, §964ff., below, >>). The traditional date for the beginning of the reign of Aram is 1827 BC (see the chart at §286.1, below, >>). He is said to have led a convoy of his Japhethite (in modern parlance “Indo-European”) troops into Turkey, after campaigning for some time previously to the east of Armenia against the Medes, and there to have conquered the local “Titan” prince, founding a capital city in his territory, surrounded by small stone-walls, near the Halys (Kizil Irmak) River. The governor he left in charge of the place named it Meshag after his own name. This is the ancient Mazaca, or Caesarea of Cappadocia, the modern Kayseri. According to Josephus (Antiquities 1. 125 [= I. vi. 1]) the person after whom Mazaca was named was Meshech (Mar Abas Catina’s Meshag), the son of Japheth, the son of Noah. Meshech son of Japheth was a notable patriarch. He was the ancestor of the Moschi, the tribe to which the fabled Midas belonged. Midas figures in history as well as in fable, being mentioned in the Annals of the Assyrian king Sargon (“Mita of Mushki”). The Moschi succeeded the Hittites in the first millennium BC as masters of the region around Mazaca. The traditional Turkish histories, according to Hamdullah, citing the great Jewish historian Rashid-ud-din, called their ancestral patriarch Meshech “Dib-jakui,” otherwise “Dib-bakui,” meaning “Magnificence (Dib), Chief of the grandees (bakui),” describing him correctly as son of Japheth, whom they titled “Abulja” (in other accounts Dib-bakui son of Abulja son of Japheth), and tracing the ancestry of the Mongols and Tartars from him (Erdmann, Temudschin, Leipzig, 1862, p. 521, 523f., 463ff.). See §782ff., below, >>, for a summary of the traditional history of the Turks.


286.0.1. The particular Meshechites who invaded Turkey at this time were the Huns, later known as Oghuz and Turks. We associate the Huns with the fall of the Roman Empire and the medieval period, but the tribal name has much earlier roots. The eponymous ancestor of the Huns was Chun-wei, in Latin transcription Hunnus or Hunor. According to Chinese historians he lived in the first third of the second millennium BC, and was the son of the last corrupt ruler of the first dynasty of China, the Xia dynasty, which itself, according to Muslim historians, descended from Fu-xi, that is, Ya-fu-xi or Japheth, son of Noah. Medieval Latin accounts describe Hunnus likewise as a descendant of Japheth, his ancestral line crossing with that of Meshech and Aram, through Araxa daughter of Araxes, the eponymus of the River Araxes, and a relative of Aram. Remains of what have been thought to be the settlements of the Xia dynasty, the first dynasty of China, have been discovered by archaeologists at Erlitou in the Yellow River basin. From Yu, the founder of the Xia dynasty, was descended Chun-wei. Chun-wei was the son of Jie, and Jie the last, corrupt emperor of the dynasty. (Sima Qian, Shiji, 110.) Chun-wei was Dib-bakui’s (Meshech’s) descendant named “Oghuz (= Hun) Khan” in the traditional Turkish accounts, and Tanaus or Tanausis (= Tanju) in Classical historians. Having retired to Turkestan, he became the founding father of the empire and royal line of the Huns, as well as a great defender of monotheism against the idolatry which began to sweep the world in those ages. (J. De Guignes, Mémoire historique sur l’origine des Huns et des Turcs, in Le Nouveau Magasin François, Londres, Janvier, 1750, 2e édition, pp. 33-38, and ibid. p. 33, citing Beidawi and Mirkhond, followed by Kam mo, the 1703 “Abridgment” in 100 volumes of the 668 volumes of the Chinese Annals, and Ven hien tum Kao, i.e. Wenxian tongkao, the “General Study of the Literary Remains” of Ma Duanlin, AD 1254-1325, an illustrious encyclopedist under the Mongols, and id., Histoire, ut cit., p. 21. De Guignes’identification of Dib-bakui with Yu, the first king of the Xia dynasty is an otherwise improbable conjecture of his own. On Oghuz and monotheism, Erdmann, ibid., p. 467f., and see further §814ff., below, >>.) Chun-wei was an ancient form of the tribal name Hiongnu (Xiongnu), “Hun,” and thus Chun-wei is the historical eponymous founding father of the Huns, the Hunnus of the Defloratio and Hunor of Hungarian chronicles, whose descendants occupied the greater Xia lands (named after the Xia dynasty) from Korea in the east to the steppes bordering the Black Sea in the west. (See further on Chun-wei = Hunnus-Hunor §904.1f., below, >>.) Klaproth (Asia Polyglotta, p. 210, trans. from German mine) says: “… The princes of the Turks inhabiting the lands to the north of China sprang from Shun-wy {Chun-wei} or Chun-ju, a son of the last Emperor of the Chia {Xia} Dynasty, who, after the death of his father, fled to their land with a retinue of 500 men and there was made Tchen-ju or King. The whole people took their name from him and were called Chiun-ju {Huns}.” Hunor is said to have settled eventually in the Maeotic Marshes where the Don enters the Black Sea. The River Don, according to the common medieval tradition, received its name from Tanaus (= Oghuz Tanju = Chun-wei), and Oghuz the Meshechite is described likewise as having occupied the area. The incursion of Chun-wei, a.k.a Hunnus/Hunor, a.k.a. Oghuz, coincided with that of his relative Aram, and was doubtless one phase of the same historical process. Quoted at §814, below, >>, is a passage of Jordanes (Gothic History 47) which says Tanausis (Tanju), having conquered the whole of Asia (which included Asia Minor, Turkey), rendered it subject to his “dear friend” and king of the Medes, “Sornus.” That is how the name appears in the manuscripts, but the person who bore it is otherwise unknown. Now the Medes, according to the Armenian accounts, had been subdued by Aram immediately prior to his expedition into Asia Minor, and remained so for a long time thereafter. Consequently the Medes, at the time of Tanausis, were under Armenian rule. Aram himself was contemporary in the latter part of his life, towards the end of the 18th century BC, with Ninus (Shamshi-Adad I) of Assyria, and so also, therefore, was Tanausis. Ninuas, the successor of Ninus, was contemporary with the Armenian successors of Aram, of Aram’s son Ara, of his son, Gartos, and of Gartos’ son, Anushavan. The last was called Sos in Armenian, which is Sosna in Old Slavic, “pine-tree.” It is probable the text of Jordanes should be emended to read Sosnus instead of Sornus, the tall miniscule medial “s” in the name, which looks rather like an “f,” being easily and commonly misread as an “r.” This suggestion is confirmed by the observation that the “pine-tree” Sosna gave its name to the River Sosna which runs into the Don. For if the Don was named after king Tanausis (Tanju), is it not probable that the Sosna, which thus “joins” with the Don, was named more particularly after that Sosnus king of the Medes, the “pine-tree,” who “joined” in alliance with Tanausis? Sos (Sosnus) being an ally of Tanausis further confirms the union of forces suggested here between the Armenians of Aram and the Huns of Oghuz Tanju. The same is indicated by the flight of Zoroaster (identified with Ara and/or Gartos) to the land of the White Huns, according to Thomas Artzruni, supra. And this 18th century BC Zoroaster is referred to as master of the “Medes” in Berossus.


286.0.2. Here, in the Armenian histories, Meshech, that is a Meshechite related to the ruling family of the line of Haig, bearing the eponymous title of his clan, was left in charge of Mazaca. (For more on this person, see §889.2.3, below, >>.) The previous inhabitants of the land, Mar Abas Catina informs us, were forced to use the Armenian language of their conquerors, the people of Aram and Meshech. It is a fact that in the nineteenth century BC this was the precise location from which the earliest-attested Indo-European speakers dispersed throughout the region. The name of the archaeological site corresponding to the ancient Mazaca is Kültepe near Kayseri. The Indo-Europeans called it, according to the modern transcription, Nesa, or Kanes, and their language Nesili or “the language of Nesa.” The first evidence of an Indo-European presence there synchronizes with the end of the reign of Erishum I of Assyria, around the middle of the nineteenth century BC, i.e. the traditional era of Aram: Assyrian merchants in Nesa dated their documents, uncovered by archaeologists at the site in layer II (following the destruction at the end of the Early Bronze Age, §73ff., above, >>), by reference to Assyrian officials in the Assyrian homeland. The ancient, pre-Indo-European, name of this land was Hatti, or the land of the Hittites. In the seventeenth century BC, when the Indo-European speakers were more firmly established in Asia Minor, a dynasty of Nesili-speakers, who counted the natives of Nesa as their “fathers and mothers,” formed what is now known as the Hittite Empire. It was based at a new capital, Hattusa, some 200 miles away, within the curve of the Halys River. In the later second millennium BC this was the main power-base of the Indo-European speakers in the Near East, and rivaled even Egypt and Mesopotamia in political and military might.


286.0.3. At the beginning of the Middle Bronze Age, before the first evidence of Indo-European speakers in Nesa, the native king of the land of Hatti was one Pamba. He is known to have rebelled against Naram-Sin of the Southern Mesopotamian Dynasty of Agade, in his attempt c. 2000-1900 BC (Biblical and uncalibrated radiocarbon chronology) to maintain the transient yoke of Agade’s empire on these far-off lands. Mar Abas Catina records (ibid.) that when Aram invaded the region in the nineteenth century BC he had to remove a “Titan” (Hamite) prince called “Payapis” (otherwise “Baiabis,” “Babais” etc.), who at that time exercised authority over the area (§964ff., below, >>): it is possible this is the Armenian pronunciation of Pamba, and represents either the identical person, or a dynastic title of the “Titan” rulers of Hatti. In Mar Abas Catina (Moses of Khorene, lib. I. cap. XIV, §964ff., below, >>) the names of the kings in the era between Titan Bel and Ninus (I) are reminiscent of, or appear to be variations on, the names of the kings in Abydenus dated to the same era. (Abydenus’ names are found in the Armenian translation of Eusebius’ Chronicle, as transcribed by Bedrosian, [original Armenian text] g77.) These are Payapis (= Abydenus: Babus [Bab in the following chart]), K‛aałea (= Abydenus: Chaalus [Chael]) and Barsam (= Abydenus: Arbelus [Arbel] = Arabelos = Zeus Belos = Baal-shamin = Bars[h]am, §338f., below, >>). These names in Mar Abas Catina and Abydenus are those of “Titan” kings of the line of Bel Titan. The first two, Payapis and K‛aałea, belong to the same person in Mar Abas Catina’s account, viz. to the Titan prince ousted by Aram. The first may be a patronymic in this instance, meaning “of the line of Bab,” similar to the title “Babios” applied to Castor’s Tithonus father of Memnon in the following chart. Its presence in the latter position seems to have attracted to it other names from the pre-Ninus list, which have been inserted erroneously in some texts as immediate precursors of Tithonus. If, as seems probable, Payapis-Bab is Pamba, the king who rebelled against Naram-Sin, then the “Arab” (Semitic-speaking) Mesopotamian kings listed as contemporary in Syncellus, represent the Semitic-speaking kings of the Agade (Akkad, Accad) Dynasty. Chronologically this is the proper location for the Agade Dynasty: following the First Dynasty of Uruk under Enmerkar (Nimrod, Bel Titan) and his successors in Early Dynastic III, and preceding the rise of Assyria (Belus, Ninus I etc.) in the Middle Bronze Age in the 19th century BC, viz. from c. 2000 BC to c. 1850 BC (Biblical chronology and uncalibrated radiocarbon dates).


286.0.4. Note on the Agade Dynasty in Syncellus. The names of the “Arab” kings in Syncellus (see §253, above, >>) are probably interpretations of the names of the kings of the First Dynasty of Agade (§604, below, >>), based on the theory that different words for “king, lord” in these names are references to the king and the lord, Marduk: Bel (“Lord”) and Sharru (“King”) are epithets of Marduk, and are often used instead of the divine name itself. It is, of course, possible these later Greek transcriptions preserve more accurate vocalizations of the original names than the modern scholarly approximations. The signs used to write the name Marduk in that early period of the development of the script may have come to be used later in a more restricted way, to denote epithets merely of the divinity or the king.

1) Sharrum-ken (Sargon [I]) becomes Mardo[k]-kentes (Marduk-kenti). Sharru(m) “king” is here understood to refer to Marduk and the second element in the name, written with the signs gi or gi-na, is read not as the adjective “ken,” “reliable,” but as the noun “kentu” (= kettu = kittu), “reliability, truth,” so the name means “Marduk of truth.”

2) Rimush is read “Marduk-Mush,” Gk. Mardak-Os. The first sign in the name “ri” (ri2, urun), means “mighy one” or “sun” (ri2 = shapsu [shamash], the sun), Marduk being the Sun-god, Shamash, and “mighty one” a common title of Marduk. The second element “mush” means “snake” (Sumerian mush = Akkadian iru, snake). The initial “m” in “mush” may be transformed into a “w,” so “mush” becomes “wush,” or (with the absorption of the “w” into following vowel “u”) “ush.” Ri/Marduk-ush then becomes Mardak-Os, meaning “Marduk the snake.”

3) Man-ishtishshu. This is the Greek Sisi-Mordakos. The two elements of the name are reversed, as commonly in Greek transcriptions of Oriental names. Sisi represents the element ishtishshu. The initial element “man,” if understood as a Sumerian word, can be read “sharru” in Akkadian, “king,” otherwise a title of Marduk, as afore said, and so evidently it was understood in Greek (Mordakos). The same sign is also a numeric title of the sun-god Shamash, “20,” and Shamash was commonly identified with Marduk. Man/Marduk-ishtishshu (“Bel/Marduk is with him”) thus becomes Sisi-Mordakos.

4) Naram-Suen (Naram-Sin, “Beloved of Sin”) becomes Nam-sinos (with disappearance of the weak medial -r- in the first element), which in turn becomes Nam-sios (with disappearance of medial -n- in the second element), and that becomes Namios (with elision of the medial -s- following m), then Nabios (with b exchanged for m).

5) Shar-kali-sharri. Again the initial element “sharru”(king) is understood to represent a title of Marduk/Bel and in this case it is read Bel (Gk. Par, a common deformation of the name Bel, with interchange of b to p, and l to r). The second element, “kali,” is written ga-ni, represented in Greek by -ann-, and the final element “sharri,” ending with a weak double “r,” is represented by the Greek final -os. Bel/Marduk-gani-sharri (“[Divine] Ruler of all kings”) thus becomes Par-ann-os.

6) Nanum and Imi: Nanum > Nanoum > Namoun (with transposition of m and n) > Naboun (with exchange of b for m). Imi > Amos > Abos (with exchange of b for m). The two names were combined by error into one: Nanum-Imi = Naboun(n)-abos. This was an uncertain period at the end of the Agade dynasty. The Sumerian King List (WB col. VII. 3f.) reads: “Was Nanum king? Was Imi king?” and the same for two other rulers at this time, followed by the statement (line 6f.): “Their tetrad was king and reigned 3 years;” which shows how Nanum and Imi could easily be treated as a single king (“Nabounabos”).




286.0.5. Following the defeat of Arbelos (Arbel), Aram is said to have contended with K‛aałea in Asia Minor, that is (hypothetically), with Abydenus’ king Chael. As he is called more fully Payapis K‛aałea in Mar Abas Catina, it may be he reimposed the rule of the line of Payapis-Pamba in his domain following Aram’s defeat of Arbelos. According to the reconstruction of the early section of Abydenus’ king-list suggested at §354.5ff., below, >>, Chael = Alkaios, son of the Egyptian Herakles, viz. of Heth, son of Canaan. In that case, K‛aałea (Chael, Alkaios) was prince of the primitive Hittite inhabitants of Asia Minor, prior to the arrival of Aram’s Indo-Europeans.




286.1. Chart of Traditional Mesopotamian History From Nimrod to Ninus II



Berossus (Eusebius)

Berossus (Syncellus)

Syncellus

Castor (Syncellus)

Mar Abas Catina
(dates as per Chamich and Saint-Martin)

Mar Abas Catina
(synchronisms with Armenian kings [left] his)

Chaldaean kings:

Chaldaean kings:

Chaldaean kings:

Assyrian kings:

Armenian kings:

Chaldaean kings:

Evexius (Enmerkar)

Euechios (Enmerkar)

Euechios (Enmerkar) = Nimrod


Japheth son of Noah

Bel the Titan = Nimrod = Kronos (= Ninus [A] husband of Semiramis [A])

Chomasbelus

Chomasbelos

Chomasbelos


Gomer his son 2342






Togarmah his son 2305


First of 86 (unnamed) kings

Median kings:
84 (unnamed) kings for 9 saroi 2 neroi 8 sossoi

Poros






Nechoubes






Nabios






Oniballos


Haig his son 2107




Zinzeros






Arab kings:


Armenag his son 2026

Bab



Mardokentes






Mardakos


Aramais his son 1980

Anebis



Sisimordakos


Amasia his son 1940

Arbel



Nabios


Kegham his son 1908

Chael



Parannos

Belos (55)
(= Arbel, Arabelos, Arbelus, in Cyril Contra Julianum)

Harma his son 1858

Arbel



Nabounnabos


Aram his son 1827




Castor’s list follows
as in next column


Ara the Handsome his son 1769





Ninos (I) (52)


Ninus (I)




Semiramis (I) (42)


Semiramis (I)




Ninuas-Zames (38)


Ninuas-Zamassis




Areios (30)


Arius




Aralios (40)

Gartos named Ara after his father Ara son of Aram a.k.a. Er son of Armenius a.k.a. Zoroaster 1743

Aralius

Capture of Babylon
8 Median overlords 224 years

Zoroaster followed by 7 kings of the Chaldaeans 190 years



Anouschavan (Sos) his son 1725 along with his successors, came under the sway of foreign kings

Sosares

11 kings for 48 years



Xerxes (30)

Bared 1662

Xerxes

49 Chaldaean kings for 458 years




Arpag 1612

Galeus




Armamithres (38)

Zavan 1558

Armamitres




Belochos (35)
his 32nd year = year of the Exodus (1446 BC MT) and 402nd year of Assyrian Empire Clem. Alex. Strom. I. xxi, s. 102

Pharhnag 1531

Belochus




Balaios (52)






Altadas (32)

Sour 1478

Altadas




Mamuthos (30)

Havanag a.k.a. Honag 1433

Mamithus




Aschalios (28)

Vaschdag 1403

Machaleus




Sphairos (22)

Haigag I 1381

Sphaerus




Mamulos (30)


Mamylus




Spartheos (42)


Sparethus




Askatades (38)


Ascatades




Amuntes (45)


Amynthas




Belochos (25)
his daughter Atossa a.k.a. Semiramis (II)


Belochus




Balatores (30)

Ampag I 1363

Balatores




Lamprides (30)

Arhnag 1349

Lamprides




Sosares (20)

Schavarsch I 1332

Sosares




Lampraes (30)

Norair 1326

Lampares




Panuas (45)

Vesdam 1302

Panyas





Gar 1289





Sosarmos (22)

Korhag 1285

Sosarmus




Mithraios (27)

Hrand I 1267

Mithreus




Teutamos-Tautanes I (32)

Endzag 1242

Teutamus





Keghag 1227


9 Arab kings for 245 years




Horoi 1197






Zarmair 1194 served with Memnon in army of Teutamus in Trojan War and was slain by the Greeks






Interregnum 1182






Schavarsch II 1180





Teutaios (44)

Berdj I 1137

Teuteus




Some omit the following bracketed kings { }. Their names look suspiciously like four of those between Bel the Titan and Ninus I above right

{Arabelos (42)}






{Chalaos (45)}






{Anebos (38)}






{Babios-Tithonos (37)
father of Memnon a.k.a. Tautanes II}






Thinaios (30)

Arpoun 1102

Tineus

45 kings for 526 years




Berdj II 1075





Derkulos (40)

Pazoug 1035

Dercylus




Eupakmes (38)

Hoi 985

Eupalmeus




Laosthenes (45)

Housag 941

Laosthenes





Ampag II 910





Pertiades (30)

Gaibag 883

Prietiades





Pharhnavaz I 838






Pharhnag II 805





Ophrataios (21)

Sgaiorti 765

Ophrateus




Ophratanes (52)


Ophratanes




Akraganes (42)


Acrazanes




Sardanapalos (Asshur-da’’in-apla) 20 843-824


Sardanapalus





Baroir son of Sgaiorti 768 ally of Arbaces the Mede, declared independence on death of Sardanapalos





Ninos (II) (Shamshi-Adad V) <823-811>
[conflicts with Xuartes = Zoroaster (II)]



(Semiramis [III]) <810-805>
















287. To recap, Munir Suarta (Xuartes, Zaortes) was the second Zoroaster. Just as the original Zoroaster achieved notoriety as a leader of the “Medes” in their campaign against Babylon, when that city was under the dominion of Semiramis I, the wife of the Assyrian king Ninus I, so the Median Magus, Munir Suarta, came into conflict with Assyria, a thousand years later, under Semiramis III (Sammuramat) and Ninus II (Shamshi-Adad V). However, Munir Suarta perished at the hands of the Assyrian king. What the Magus left behind him as his heirloom was a reformed Magian religion, Zoroastrianism, which perpetuated even to the present day traditions relating to that leader of the “Medes” at the end of the eighteenth century BC, the first and original bearer of the name Zoroaster.


288. Another issue arising out of this discussion is the historical identity of Semiramis I and her family, the contemporaries of the original Zoroaster. Here, around 1750 BC, according to the traditional account, emerged a powerful and exotic queen, with a strange sexual orientation, who founded the great city of Babylon and then proceeded on military expeditions to the west and to the east, even as far as India, which were proverbial well into the Classical period. It would be difficult to miss such a person, even in the limited archaeological record, if there was an historical kernel to the legend. The solution to the mystery of the identity of this earlier Semiramis, lies in the work for she was most famous amongst the Greek and Roman chronographers and of the credit for which she has most frequently been stripped by modern historians, following the lead of the Babylonian Berossus. That work is the founding of the city of Babylon. In one point modern history agrees with the complex of traditions examined here, namely in the fact that Babylon was founded, or rather built into a city of importance and magnificence, precisely in the middle of the eighteenth century BC. But that was the work of perhaps the most famous of the ancient Babylonian kings, Hammurabi, not of this infamous Queen Semiramis. Consider for a moment, however, the two names Semiramis, or rather Samiramis (as it was also written), and Hammurabi. The guttural (similar to the Hebrew ayin) at the beginning of the name Hammurabi (otherwise Ammurabi, Hammurapi, Ammurapi, Ammirapi etc.) was commonly exchanged for a sibilant (“s” or “sh”) in various Semitic dialects and the “b” or “p” in the last syllable for “m.” There is no philological objection to the idea that the name Hammurabi should have been transmogrified at some point in time into the Greek form Samiramis or Semiramis. Neither is there any difficulty in understanding how the sexes of the two figures came to be reversed (Hammurabi being commonly understood to have been male, and Semiramis female). It is specifically stated of Semiramis that she disguised her sex with long-sleeved and floor-length garments and a turban, in order to appear as a king, rather than a queen, to avoid the trouble a female on the throne in such a tumultuous period might have expected. Thus, if monuments of Semiramis had survived, it would be no surprise to find her depicted on them as a male. And in fact, the only credible depiction of Hammurabi, on the stele in the Louvre containing the Law Code, shows the Babylonian ruler dressed in the type of garments alleged to have been worn by Semiramis.


289. Semiramis, furthermore, was said to have grown up an orphan in Ashkelon in the land of Canaan and subsequently to have moved to Syria (as wife of an Assyrian general), then to Assyria (after she had been forcibly removed from her first husband by the king of Nineveh), and finally to Babylonia, where she built Babylon and established her empire. Her name was said to have been derived from her native land, signifying a god who was particularly worshiped in those regions, and whose icon was a dove. Hammurabi likewise was notably of Amorite derivation, and the Amorite homeland was Canaan and Syria. The name Hammurabi, too, was Amorite and the first element in it, Hammu or Ammu, was the name of an Amorite god. Semiramis is said to have received divine honors during her lifetime. Hammurabi, too, was enrolled amongst the gods whilst still seated on the throne. A hymn claims reverence for “the god Hammurabi,” the good shepherd, from all the gods of the south. Children were named “Hammurabi-is-my-god.” Semiramis was famed as a constructor of levées. Herodotus refers to her earthworks near Babylon and the same is recorded of Ctesias’ Semiramis (Semiramis I), with a gruesome twist, in a fragment preserved by John of Antioch (FHG Joannes Antiochenus Fr. 1. 22): “The Semiramis famed in legend built earthworks everywhere, professedly on account of averting catastrophic inundations; actually these were places where her lovers were entombed, buried alive, as Ctesias reports.” Hammurabi was a famous builder of irrigation canals: “I dug the canal “Hammurabi-is-the-abundance-of-the-people” which brings a profusion of water to the land of Sumer and Akkad.” Hammurabi boasted of works on canals in three of the official names given to regnal years and in many of the surviving inscriptions. The unification of the south of the country during Hammurabi’s reign, a territory stretching some 350 miles from north to south along the Tigris and Euphrates, allowed the construction of long canals connecting various cities, like the one cited which ran by Nippur, Isin, Uruk, Larsa, Ur and Eridu.


290. Semiramis ruled the land for 42 years. Hammurabi likewise ruled for 42 years. Semiramis had a son and successor called Zames (Gk. Zamês), and Hammurabi a son and successor called Shamshu-iluna, the first element in whose name, Shamash (also written Samsu), the name of the sun-god, could be represented in Greek as Zames, as Greek did not have a “sh” sound. (Thus Zames is “Shimi” with initial shin in Jerahmeel, ed. Gaster, XXXII. 7.) Sayce accepted the equivalence of Zames and Shamash (Hibbert Lectures 1887, p. 271). Zames is said by Thomas Artzruni to have waged a successful war against Zoroaster. Zoroaster is the same who, according to Berossus, was in authority over the Medes at the time they captured Babylon. This we have shown to be a reference to the Kassite incursions into Babylonia at the end of the eighteenth century BC. It was specifically Shamshu-iluna, the son and successor of Hammurabi, who first recorded a conflict with the Kassites. The Kassites of the Iranian highlands, known as Cossaeans to Classical writers, were classed as Indians. These may be presumed to be the Indians attacked by Semiramis in Ctesias’ legend, as Hammurabi certainly campaigned successfully in these same highland regions.


291. Though famed for the founding of Babylon, Semiramis was also held to have had sway over Assyria. Hammurabi likewise had control of Assyria, though the precise details are obscure. Immediately preceding the reign of Semiramis I, Ninus I was king of Assyria, and it was he, according to the legend, who took Semiramis as his wife. Others say the relationship was that of father and daughter (Cononis narrationes apud Phot. p. 427), but that is likely to be a reflex of the relationship between Semiramis-Atossa and Belochus. The name (or rather title) Ninus means “He of Nineveh.” Immediately preceding, and partially contemporary with, the rise of Hammurabi to power in Babylon, the most influential ruler in the area was Shamshi-Adad I of Assyria (c. 1808-1776 BC). He gave new impulse to the Assyrian royal line and established it as a major power on the international stage. It is remarkable that Ninus II who married Semiramis III (Sammuramat) at the end of the ninth century BC was Shamshi-Adad V, and he liked to see himself as a reviver of the glories of the Assyrian empire in the days of his namesake, Shamshi-Adad I. The historical Ninus I could have been none other than this same Shamshi-Adad I. Ishme-Dagan, the son of Shamshi-Adad I, is referred to in contemporary correspondence as the “brother” of Hammurabi. Presumably nothing more is meant than “ally,” — a common usage at the time, — but this shows how Semiramis/Hammurabi could come to be considered a close relative of Ninus I.


292. Moses of Khorene relates of his Ninus, i.e. Ninus I in this scheme, Shamshi-Adad I, that he did not die in Assyria, but at the end of his life fled from Assyria, in trepidation at the rise of Semiramis, to Crete. (Mar Abas Catina seems to have been his authority here, History of the Armenians, lib. I. cap. XVII, §987f., below, >>, and see also cap. XV., §973, below, >>.) This relates to the tradition enshrined in the Excerpta Barbari that Ninus was called Picus in Italy, Zeus amongst the Greeks, and Serapis in Egypt, and that he migrated from Assyria to the West. In Peri Theon the same Picus or Zeus is said to have to have ended his days specifically in Crete, and to have been buried there, that is on Mount Iuktas near Knossos. The son of this Cretan Zeus was the famous king Minos to whom the constitution of the Cretan cities was ascribed. Minos was accepted as a historical personage by Thucydides and Aristotle, who say he was the first dynast in Greece to establish dominion on the sea (the “Minoan Thalassocracy [= Sea-Rule]”). The Cretans reverenced the tomb of his father Zeus and hence were held by the pagan poet Epimenides, as repeated by Callimachus and quoted by the Apostle Paul, to be “liars” (Titus 1. 12): the pagan was horrified at the very thought that his own supreme divinity Zeus could die and be buried like a mortal man. This ignores the fact that gods of the type of Tammuz in Mesopotamia and Osiris (Serapis) in Egypt were customarily identified with mortal men,






The Palace at Knossos (Reconstruction)



particularly kings. In Assyria the reigning king impersonated Tammuz in the so-called “sacred marriage” rite. In Egypt each king became Osiris when he died. Osiris and Tammuz were two forms of the same god, according to the ancients. Osiris was also equated with the Egyptian High-god, Amun, and the Greeks called Amun Zeus. It is a curious fact that the peak-sanctuary known later as the tomb of Zeus on Mount Iuktas was constructed at the end of what archaeologists call the Old Palace period or the beginning of the New Palace period c. 1750 BC. This is precisely the era of Shamshi-Adad I. It served as the public sanctuary for the great palace at Knossos which arose in the immediately preceding period. At around the same time there appeared in the island the so-called Linear A script, which many think embodied a Semitic language of the kind spoken in Assyria, the Levant, and other parts of the Near East. The god worshiped at Iuktas by the ruling élite of Knossos has been identified by some as Welchanos or Huakinthos (§180ff., above, >>), the young, Tammuz-like, fertility-god, subordinate to a Great Goddess, and assimilated to Zeus. A “sacred marriage” between Zeus and Hera is said to have been celebrated in that region (Diodorus Siculus, V. 72. 4): “Men say also that the marriage of Zeus and Hera was held in the territory of the Knossians, at a place near the river Theren, where now a temple stands in which the natives of the place annually offer holy sacrifices and imitate the ceremony of the marriage, in the manner in which tradition tells it was originally performed.” With the New Palace period, immediately following the building of the peak-sanctuary identified as the tomb of Zeus, began a phase of expansion in which the surrounding coastal regions of the Mediterranean came under the commercial and political sway of the Cretan ruling élite. This is as expected if the “Thalassocracy” of Minos, son of Zeus, was a historical reality. The epitaph on the tomb is said to have read as follows (§101.16, above, >>): “Here lies Picus who is also Zeus, whom they call Dia [accusative case].” The interesting use of the two forms of the name, Zeus and Di(a), is doubtless dependent directly on the personal name of the Assyrian king believed to be buried at the site: Shamshi-Adad is the modern scholarly reading of the name, but the second element, the divine name Adad, was also pronounced “Adi,” which, with transposition of the initial vowel, or loss of the same and a grammatical inflexion, results in the form “Dia,” and the first element was transcribed into Greek as Zeus (Shamash > Sheps > Zews > Zeus, §352, below, >>), so Shamshi-Adad (or “Sheps-Adi” as his name might have been pronounced in Canaanite) was precisely “Zeus-Di(a).” The combination of the two forms in the declension of the noun (Zeus in the nominative, Di- in the inflected forms), nicely reflects the combination of attributes of the two Oriental gods, Shamash and Adad, of the sun-god and the storm-god, in the personality of the Greek Zeus. (Presumably the Oriental Adi > Di was given a native Greek etymology as if from diwos = Latin deus, “god”.)

Note. On the citation of Epimenides by Paul: From the Expository Times Vol. XVIII. No. 3, 1906, p. 98: “Dr. Rendel Harris has in his possession a copy of a rare Nestorian commentary upon the Scriptures, known as the ‘Garden of Delights.’ This commentary is full of valuable extracts from Syrian fathers, of the Eastern school especially, and it has incorporated a very large number of passages from Theodore of Mopsuestia. Among the rest it contains a passage, which has no author’s name attached to it, but which Dr. Rendel Harris believes to belong to Theodore, in which there is an account of the circumstances under which Zeus met his death.

This is the passage: ‘“In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” The Cretans used to say of Zeus, that he was a prince, and was ripped up by a wild boar, and he was buried: and lo! his grave is with us. Accordingly Minos, the son of Zeus, made over him a panegyric, and in it he said: “A grave have fashioned for thee, O holy and high One, the lying Cretans, who are all the time liars, evil beasts, idle bellies; but thou diest not, for to eternity thou livest and standest; for in thee we live, and move, and have our being.”’ …. its most immediate interest for us lies in the quotation of the words, ‘in thee we live, and move, and have our being.’

St. Paul used these words in his speech at Athens. Are they his own? We have always understood they were. But Dr. Rendel Harris throws doubt upon it. In the first place, Theodore seems to be writing for the very purpose of tracing them to their source in some Greek poet; and in the second place, they are evidently an essential part of the panegyric which that poet puts into the mouth of Minos. For if they were not, and if Theodore himself had added them at the end of it, we should not find the word to be ‘thee’ but ‘him.’ ‘In thee we live, and move, and have our being,’ — that is manifestly meant to be part of the address of Minos to his father, Zeus.

Who, then, is the Greek poet from whom Theodore of Mopsuestia makes the quotation? It is Epimenides of Crete. Dr. Rendel Harris has little doubt that it is Epimenides. But what would put it into the mind of St. Paul to quote Epimenides to the Athenians? It would be the connexion of Epimenides with the city of Athens and the altar ‘to the Unknown God’ which the Apostle saw there. For there was a day when a great pestilence raged in Athens, and the Athenians sent for Epimenides to quench it. Epimenides came. When he came he let loose over the Areopagus some white and black sheep, and he ordered that wherever one of them lay down an altar should be erected to the appropriate god {including altars bearing “no names,” Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers, I. 10. Epimenides ch. 3, infra}. And that is the reason, says Diogenes Laertius, why you find at Athens … altars without names.

Dr. Rendel Harris believes that the sight of the altar to an unknown god brought Epimenides into the Apostle’s mind, and when he proceeded with his speech he perceived the value of making a quotation from Epimenides which would be at once familiar and grateful to his audience.”

The passage from Diogenes Laertius relating to Epimenides’ visit to Athens is as follows (Lives of Eminent Philosophers I. 10. 3): “3. And when he was recognized he was considered by the Greeks as a person especially beloved by the Gods, on which account when the Athenians were afflicted by a plague, and the priestess at Delphi enjoined them to purify their city, they sent a ship and Nicias the son of Niceratus to Crete, to invite Epimenides to Athens; and he, coming there in the forty-sixth Olympiad [Summer BC 596 through Summer 592], purified the city and eradicated the plague for that time; he took some black sheep and some white ones and led them up to the Areopagus, and from thence he let them go wherever they chose, having ordered the attendants to follow them, and wherever any one of them lay down they were to sacrifice him to the god who was the patron of the spot, and so the evil was stayed; and owing to this one may even now find in the different boroughs of the Athenians altars without names, which are a sort of memorial of the propitiation of the gods that then took place. Some said that the cause of the plague was the pollution contracted by the city in the matter of Cylon, and that Epimenides pointed out to the Athenians how to get rid of it, and that in consequence they put to death two young men, Cratinus and Ctesilius, and that thus the pestilence was put an end to.”


293. The interest of the Greeks was in the Ninus who was the Cretan Zeus, viz. Ninus I, Shamshi-Adad I. He was the “re-embodiment” of the original Ninus (A), “Nin” or “Nunu,” the Fish, that is Enki or Kronos, Nimrod-Enmerkar. Accordingly in the Greek versions of the legend, the various traditions relating to Ninus A, Ninus I, Ninus II, Semiramis and Zoroaster, tended to cluster around Ninus I.


294. The testimony of Berossus relating to the capture of Babylon by the Medes in the days of Zoroaster and to the change of dynasty in that land thereafter to a Median one, suggests the achievements of Semiramis, in spite of her fame and power, could not have had a lasting effect. The common Greek tradition, accordingly, was that after the reign of Zames, the following kings descended from Semiramis were weak and ineffectual. Historically, the line of Hammurabi survived intact for over a century, but none of Hammurabi’s successors was able to recapture the glory of the founder’s empire. Increasingly they suffered foreign oppression, invasion and subjection, until they were completely ousted by the Kassites, following the capture of Babylon by a lightning incursion of the Hittites under Mursili I c. 1531 BC. According to the common Greek tradition, one remnant line of the house of Semiramis gave rise in the ninth century BC to Sardanapalus (Asshur-da’’in-apla), and then to his successor, the last of the line in Castor’s version of the king-list, viz. Ninus II a.k.a. Shamshi-Adad V. A thousand years after the era of Hammurabi certain kings of the Middle Euphrates area similarly referred to Hammurabi as a ruler of the remote past from whom a prestigious line of progenitors could be traced. King Shamash-resha-usur claimed to be a direct descendant of Hammurabi, but at only five generations removed, according to his abbreviated genealogy. Another traced his descent from an otherwise unknown “son” of Hammurabi called Tunamissah, which looks like a Kassite name and suggests some Kassites had the blood of Hammurabi in their veins. Longer genealogies, or, more probably, king-lists, seem to have been employed by the sixth-century BC king Nabu-naid as a basis for his calculation that Hammurabi lived 700 years before Burnaburiash. Burnaburiash flourished some time around the middle of the fourteenth century BC. This results in an unhistorical dating of Hammurabi c. 2050 BC, which accords with the similarly unhistorical early dating of Semiramis, based on an inflated traditional king list (regnal years as in Castor) between around 2180 and 1976 BC. Just like the successors of Semiramis in Ctesias, Castor etc., the individual members of Hammurabi’s line through which the later kings claimed descent, were obscure and otherwise unidentifiable figures.


295. According to what is proposed here, the same Greek name Semiramis (Samiramis) was used to designate two people with different names: Hammurabi and Sammuramat. Something similar happened in the case of the name Sardanapalos. Callisthenes of Olynthus (in Suidas s.v. Sardanapalos) said there were two kings of this name, one of them weak and ineffectual, the other noble and manly. The former we know was Asshur-da’’in-apla. The other Sardanapalos, according to Abydenus and Polyhistor (Armenian translation of Eusebius’ Chronicle, Chronicorum lib. I. cap. V. 1-3 and cap. IX, ed. Migne PG XIX cols. 118-120 and 123f.), was the successor of Esarhaddon (Axerdis), the son of Sennacherib, king of Assyria, and brother of Sammuges or Samoges, who ruled over the Chaldaeans for 21 years and was followed as ruler of that realm by Sardanapalos himself for another 21 years. Sardanapalos was followed, in turn, as king of Assyria by one Sarakos, who lost the Assyrian Empire to the Chaldaean Nabopolassar. Sardanapalos here can be none other than the bold and notable Assyrian king Ashurbanipal (Asshur-ban-apli, ruled 668-627 BC): he was the successor and son of Esarhaddon, as king of Assyria, and the brother of Shamash-shum-ukin (Sammuges = -shum-ukin), ruler of the Chaldaeans of Babylon for around 21 years. Ashurbanipal then ruled the Chaldaeans himself thereafter on the order of 21 years, as Sardanapalos is said to have ruled the Chaldaeans following his brother Sammuges for 21 years. Ashurbanipal was followed on the throne of Assyria by Sin-shar-ishkun (Sarakos = -shar-ishkun, ruled 623-612 BC), after a civil-war between the latter and Ashurbanipal’s immediate successor Asshur-etil-ilani, and the short interregnum of Sin-shumu-lishir (one year). Sin-shar-ishkun finally lost the Assyrian Empire to Nabopolassar, as Sarakos is said to have done. (A lacuna in Polyhistor’s excerpt has led to the ascription to this Sardanapalos of a series of events belonging properly to the history of his contemporary Nabopolassar, but Abydenus, ibid., preserves the true account.) Here Sardanapalos represents the similar, but not identical, name Asshur-ban-apli, instead of Asshur-da’’in-apla, and unless the native Mesopotamian names had come to light, it would have been presumed Sardanapalos I and Sardanapalos II had identical native names. Some similar phenomenon occurred in the case of Semiramis I and Semiramis III.


296. A Zoroastrian source most probably gave rise to this complex of traditions, in which, (a) Xuartes was seen as a re-embodiment of the Zoroaster who lived in the eighteenth century BC, and then (b) Sammuramat (“Semiramis”) and Shamshi-Adad V (“Ninus” or the current king “of Nineveh”), Xuartes’ contemporary opponents, were seen as duplicates of Hammurabi (“[S]amirami[s]”) and Shamshi-Adad I (“Ninus”), the contemporaries of the original Zoroaster. As the interest focused on the original Zoroaster, more than on Xuartes, the earlier eclipsed the later Semiramis in popular legend, though a consideration of equal, or greater, weight in this regard was the splendor of the actual achievements of the earlier Semiramis. An artificial structure was imposed on the historical tradition: the Assyrian empire began and ended with a Ninus and Semiramis, and either or both fought on the side of the forces of darkness against the successive incarnations of the prophet Zoroaster, and the forces of light. The difference between the two eras is demonstrated clearly in the differing accounts of Zoroaster. In Mar Abas Catina no mention is made of Zoroaster, nor of his elimination, in relation to the eighteenth century BC Ninus I, and little is said of this Ninus’ empire-building or exploits outside Assyria. Thomas Artzruni adds that Ninus defeated Zoroaster in battle and drove him into exile, but agrees with Mar Abas Catina that he was not responsible for his death. These accounts accurately reflect the modest achievements of Shamshi-Adad I. According to them, Ninus’ wife Semiramis appointed Zoroaster vice-regent of Assyria. Zoroaster then rebelled against her, and he was finally defeated by Semiramis’ son Zames-Ninuas. In Diodorus’ epitome of Ctesias, and in Justinus’ epitome of Trogus Pompeius, it is Ninus, not Ninuas, who fights against and defeats Xuartes or Zoroaster, and there is no hint that this rebel chief ever exercised power in the Assyrian homeland. Here the name Xuartes betrays the fact that it is the ninth-century-BC Ninus II, viz. Shamshi-Adad V, who is principally referred to. In the underlying scheme there was, in addition, an original Ninus, Ninus A, or Nimrod-Enmerkar of the third millennium BC, who was the actual builder of Nineveh in the Jemdet Nasr period, and who formed the first kingdom on earth. This Ninus was not the opponent of Zoroaster, but was identified with him. He was the founder of the fire-cult associated with that name, as in the pseudo-Clementine Homilies. The empire-building Ninus also was this Ninus A. Elements of tradition from these different eras became attached, without regard to historical accuracy, to the names Ninus, Semiramis and Zoroaster, in the Greek chronographers. It was Ctesias who brought the legend to the attention of the Greeks, and he operated in Persian court-circles, where Zoroastrianism flourished. Hence the clear bias of his account against the Assyrians and for the Medes, and the representation of the Median royal line descended from the Mede Arbaces as the true successors to the empire of Sardanapalus.



Note on Jonah and Sardanapalus


297. Medieval chronicles commonly dated the preaching of Jonah in Nineveh either to the reign of Sardanapalus or to that of his immediate predecessor in the list of Ctesias (cf. Matthiae, Theatrum historicum theoretico-practicum 39b, Sardanapalus in Albiruni, ed. trans. Sachau, p. 100, MS. p. 87, citing “western [Christian] authors”). Presumably this chronology was based on the Biblical dating of Jonah some time between the era of Hazael and the era of Jeroboam II (c. 842-753 BC, see 2 Kings 14. 25, cp. 13. 3-7, and Fausset’s Bible Dictionary s.v. Jonah), and earlier rather than later within that time-frame. Since Sardanapalus’ predecessor, unlike Sardanapalus (Asshur-da’’in-apla) himself, is not known ever to have been king in Nineveh, but only a member of a co-lateral royal branch or otherwise of an obscure lineage, Sardanapalus would be the favored candidate for the king of Nineveh who, according to the Book of Jonah, repented at the preaching of the Hebrew prophet. Hence, in that case, the hostility he faced from the side of his ouster, Shamshi-Adad V (Ninus II). According to the book On the Lives of the Sixteen Prophets ascribed to Epiphanius (ibid. 9, ed. Migne, PG XLIII, col. 417, cf. the alternative text ibid. 5, col. 416, followed by Michael of Syria, Chronicle, ed. Chabot, t. I, p. 76 [margin]), Jonah was the boy who was raised by Elijah from the dead, the son of the widow of Zarephath (I Kings 17. 17ff.). Thus, the antagonism evinced by Shamshi-Adad V (Ninus II) against the school of Elijah, namely, the converts of Elijah’s disciple Jonah, at the start of his career, was continued in his campaign against Munir Suarta (Xuartes, Zoroaster) in Bactria later in his reign, as the latter also, according to tradition, was instructed by disciples of Elijah, and more specifically, by Jonah himself.


298. The traditional account of Ctesias, as preserved in Diodorus Siculus (II. 25ff.), held that Sardanapalus went through a strange transformation towards the end of his reign. When the forces of his adversaries massed against him, he marched out to meet them, not in the weak and ineffectual way they might have expected on the basis of their observation of him in the past, but in a surprisingly bold and manly fashion. This transformation is left unexplained in the traditional account, but is understandable if he was, indeed, the king who had whole-heartedly received the message sent from the God of Israel to Nineveh through His chastened prophet, Jonah (Jonah 3. 6-9). And it was not only the king who was affected by that message. The whole population of Nineveh, according to the Book of Jonah (3. 5), turned to God in true repentance. The men of Nineveh were specifically commended by Jesus and promised a resurrection in which they would sit in judgment on mere professed adherents of the God of Israel, such as those who refused Jesus’ own message of repentance in that day (Matthew 12. 41, Luke 11. 32). The reference to the faithfulness of these Ninevites and to their resurrection, along with the failure of Assyria, as the historical record demonstrates, to reform in the longer term, suggests the possibility that the converts of Jonah suffered at the hands of their contemporaries for their abandonment of the ancestral gods. The change in the political tide in Nineveh at the end of the reign of Asshur-da’’in-apla certainly explains why this national revival had no permanent effect. Shamshi-Adad V ensured that the populations of the “rebellious” cities faithful to his opponent suffered along with their king. Shamshi-Adad V described the events as follows in his royal inscription found in the temple of Nabu:


299. BM 118892 i 39-53a “When Asshur-da’’in-apla at the time of Shalmaneser (III), his father, acted treacherously by inciting insurrection, uprising, and criminal acts, caused the land to rebel and prepared for battle; (at that time) the people of Assyria, above and below, he won over to his side and made them take binding oaths. He caused the cities to revolt and made ready to wage battle and war. The cities Nineveh, Adia, Shibaniba, Imgur-Enlil, Ishshabri, Bit-Shashshiria, Shimu, Shibhinish, Tamnuna, Kipshuna, Kurbail, Tidu, Nabilu, Kahat, Ashshur, Urakka, Sallat, Huzirina, Dur-balati, Dariga, Zaban, Lubda, Arrapha, (and) Arbail, together with the cities Amedu, Til-abni and Hindanu, — altogether twenty-seven towns with their fortresses which had rebelled against Shalmaneser (III), king of the four quarters, my father, sided with Asshur-da’’in-apla. By the command of the great gods, my lords, I subdued (them).”