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From The Biographical Writings and Letters of Venerable Bede, translated from the Latin, by J. A. Giles; James Bohn, London, 1845; pp. 242-256.
The fifth age, or age of senility, from the Babylonish captivity to our Lord and Saviour’s coming in the flesh, is also divided into fourteen generations, and extends through 589 years, wherein the Hebrew people, old and enfeebled, is shaken by repeated misfortunes.
SIX AGES OF THE WORLD.
Age. THE FIFTH AGE
B.C. 588.] The fifth age of the world began with the captivity of the kingdom of Judah, which lasted 70 years, according to the prophet Jeremiah.
A.M. 3377 .
In the fourteenth year after the city was smitten, which is the twenty-fifth of the captivity of King Jehoiachin, with whom Ezechiel was carried away captive, the same Ezechiel, being brought in the visions of God into the land of Israel, saw the restitution of the city, and of the temple and its ceremonies.
Rome. Servius, the sixth king of Rome, reigned 33 years: he added three hills to the city, — the Quirinal, the Esquiline, and the Viminal. He dug trenches around the walls, and first instituted the census of the Roman people.
A.M. 3389 .
In the twenty-sixth year after the destruction of Jerusalem, being the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of King Jehoiachin,
of Babylon. Evilmerodach, king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin, king of Judah, out of prison, and set this throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon. The prophet Jeremiah speaks before of this time, when he writes: Jer. xxv.
verse 9. “Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the Lord, and Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all the nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and a hissing, and perpetual desolations; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon 70 years. And when 70 years are accomplished, I will visit the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the lands of the Chaldæans, and will make 243 it perpetual desolations.” The Fifth
Age. And in another place, when writing to the captivity which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon with King Jechoniah, he says: Jer. xxlx.
verse 10. “After 70 years be accomplished at Babylon, I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, and bring you back to this place, saith the Lord.” Again, it is thus recorded in the Chronicles, concerning the same period: 2 Chron.
v. 20-22. “He that escaped from the sword was carried to Babylon, where he served the king and his sons until the time of the reign of the king of the Persians; to fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths. For all the days that she lay desolate she kept sabbath, until 70 years were fulfilled. But in the first year of Cyrus, king of the Persians, that the word of the Lord, which He had spoken by the mouth of Jeremiah, might be accomplished, the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus, king of the Persians, etc.” From which it appears, that when the Chaldæans spoiled Judæa, they did not introduce other colonists, as the Assyrians did to Samaria, but left the land desolate till the Jews themselves returned thither after 70 years. With this agrees Josephus, who, in the tenth book of his Antiquities, writes that the temple, and Jerusalem, and all Judæa remained desolate 70 years; and again, in enumerating the kings of Babylon, (if indeed, he really so wrote, and the manuscript be not corrupted,) he says, that nearly 100 years intervened between the overthrow of Jerusalem and that of the kingdom of the Chaldæans. For he writes that, after Nebuchadnezzar, who, according to Holy Scripture, lived 25 years after the overthrow of Jerusalem, his son Evilmerodach reigned 18 years: that next to him his son Neriglissar reigned 40 years, and was succeeded by his son Laborosoarchod, who reigned 9 months; Belshazzar.
verse 1-2. on whose death the kingdom passed to Belshazzar, surnamed Nabonadius; that after he had reigned 18 years, Babylon was taken by Cyrus king of the Persians, and 244 Darius king of the Medes. Darius, son of Astyages, who, with his kinsman Cyrus, destroyed the Babylonian empire, was 62 years old when Babylon was attacked: he was called by the Greeks by another name. He took with him the prophet Daniel into Media, where he was held in high honour. Of this Darius Daniel himself thus makes mention. “In the first year of Darius, son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, who ruled over the kingdom of the Medes, I, Daniel, understood from books the number of the years, concerning which the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah the prophet, that 70 years should be fufilled in the desolation of Jerusalem.” Eusebius, in his book of Chronicles, reckons 30 years from the overthrow of Jerusalem to the beginning of the reign of Cyrus king of the Persians; but Julius Africanus reckons 70. Furthermore, Jerome, in his exposition of the prophet Daniel, says as follows: “The Hebrews have a tradition of this sort down to the seventieth year, in which Jeremiah had said that the captivity of the Jewish people should be loosed.” Zacharias, too, in the beginning of his book, speaks the same. Now Belshazzar, thinking the promise of God vain and falsified, in his wantonness made a great feast; Belshazzar’s.
feast. at which, in a manner, he derided the hope of the Jews, and profaned the vessels of God’s temple. But speedily vengeance overtook him.
A.M. 3423 .
Cyrus, the first king of the Persians, reigned 30 years.
B.C. 536.] That the word of the Lord, by the mouth of Jeremiah, might be fulfilled, he, in the first year of his reign, loosed the captivity of the Hebrews, causing nearly 50,000 of them to return to Judæa, and restoring to them the gold and silver vessels of the temple of the Lord, to the number of 5400. These assembled at Jerusalem and built the altar in the seventh month; and from the first day of the same month they offered burnt sacrifices to the Lord. Moreover, in the second 245 year, The Fifth
Age. in the second month, they laid the foundations of the temple, in the seventy-second year after it had been burnt, according to Africanus; but in the thirty-second according to Eusebius’s Chronicles. But the work was interrupted until the second year of Darius, through the opposition of the Samaritans, who, in the reign of Ahasuerus and Artaxerxes, wrote an accusation against the Jews, whereupon Artaxerxes gave commandment that Jerusalem should not be built. Tarquinius
B.C. 509.] Tarquin, the seventh king of Rome, reigned 35 years, and was driven from the kingdom for the sake of the younger Tarquin, his son, because he had ravished Lucretia.
A.M. 3431 .
Cambyses. Cambyses, son of Cyprus, reigned 8 years. He conquered Egypt, and from abhorrence of its religion, pulled down its temples and interrupted its worship. He built Babylon in Egypt. They say that he was called Nebuchadnezzar the second by the Hebrews, to whose reign the history of Judith belongs.
A.M. 3432 .
The Magi brethren reigned 7 months. The illustrious men of this period are Jeshua the high priest, and Zerubbabel the prince of the Jewish nation, the prophets Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi, and Pythagoras. Pythagoras the natural philosopher.
A.M. 3468 .
Darius reigned 36 years. We find in the books of the Chronicles of Eusebius, that two Magi brethren reigned between Darius and Cambyses. But Jerome, in his exposition of Daniel, writes that Smerdos the Magian reigned after Cambyses, whose daughter Pantaphthe he married, and that he was slain by seven Magi, and that Darius succeeded to the empire, and married the same Pantaphthe, who bore him his son Xerxes.246
In the second year of Darius,
Age. the seventieth year of the captivity of Jerusalem is completed, according to Eusebius, who cites the prophet Zechariah, where in the second year of Darius the angel says, O Lord of Hosts, how long will thou not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah, against which thou hast had indignation these threescore and ten years? Again, in the fourth year of King Darius, it is written in the same prophet, When ye fasted and mourned these seventy years, did ye at all fast unto me?
Temple. In the sixth year of Darius, the building of the temple is completed, on the third day of the month Adar, which is the forty-sixth year from that in which its foundations were laid under Cyrus. Hence the Jews say in the Gospel, Forty and six years was this temple in building. Now they began to build in the second year of Darius, in the sixth month, on the twenty-fourth day of the month; and, as has been said, in the sixth year, in the twelfth month, on the third day of the month, they completed it. From which it appears that the work had advanced in no small degree before the period, and that 70 years are to be computed from its destruction until full liberty was given for its restoration. The kings being expelled from the city, after it had been subject to their rule 243 years, Rome with difficulty retained its dominion within a limit of 19 miles. The kings were succeeded first by consuls, Brutus, the
first consul. beginning with Brutus, and then by tribunes of the people and dictators, and again by consuls, who governed the commonwealth for nearly 404 years, until Julius Cæsar, who first grasped the sole authority in the 183rd [184th] Olympiad.
A.M. 3488 .
Xerxes, son of Darius, reigned 20 years. He recovers Egypt, which had revolted from Darius, and makes an expedition against Greece, in which his armament
Age. to have consisted of 700,000 fighting men from his own kingdom, and 300,000 from his allies, also of 1200 ships of war and 3000 transports. Nevertheless he was defeated, and returned a fugitive to his country. Herodotus
And Zeuxis. Herodotus the historian and Zeuxis the painter, flourished at this period.
A.M. 3489 .
B.C. 465.] Artabanus reigned 7 months. Socrates is born.
A.M. 3539 .
Esdras. Artaxerxes, surnamed Longimanus, or Longhanded, reigned 40 years. In the seventh year of his reign, on the first day of the first month, Esdras the priest, and a scribe of the law of God, went up from Babylon with letters from the king, and on the first day of the fifth month came to Jerusalem with 1700 men. Among his other noble acts, he separated the children of the captivity from their strange wives. In the twentieth year of the same reign, Nehemiah
B.C. 445.] Nehemiah the cupbearer came from the city of Susa, and rebuilt the wall of Jerusalem in fifty-two days, and governed the people for twelve years. Hitherto the divine writings afford a continued chronicle. But the subsequent history of the Jews is presented to the reader from the book of the Maccabees, and the writings of Josephus and Africanus, who wrote a universal history from this period down to the times of the Romans. Africanus, in the fifth book of his Chronicles, thus speaks of this period: — “The work, therefore, remained unfinished until Nehemiah and the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, which was the 115th year of the Persian monarchy, and the 185th year of the captivity of Jerusalem. And now for the first time Artaxerxes commanded the walls of Jerusalem to be built. Nehemiah superintended the work, and the street was built, and the walls raised. And from that time, if you reckon, you will find seventy weeks of years unto Christ. 248 Xerxes reigned 2 months: The Fifth
Hippocrates. and after him Sogdianus reigned 7 months. Plato is born. Hippocrates is an illustrious physician.
A.M. 3548 .
B.C. 424.] Darius, surnamed Nothus, reigned 19 years. Egypt revolted from the Persians. The Jews, after their return from captivity, were governed not by kings, but by the high priests, until Aristobulus, who with the priestly dignity began to usurp the regal title also.
A.M. 3588 .
B.C. 405.] Artaxerxes, surnamed Mnemon, son of Darius and Parysatis, reigned 40 years. The history of Esther belongs to his reign, since he is called Ahasuerus by the Hebrews, and Artaxerxes by the Seventy. The Athenians increased their alphabet from sixteen to twenty-four letters. The Carthaginians carried on a famous war. Brennus
sacks Rome. The Senogalli, under Brennus, assaulted Rome, and, except the Capitol, burnt the whole, and sacked it for six months. The consuls gave place to military tribunes. Aristotle. Aristotle, at the age of eighteen, became a pupil of Plato.
A.M. 3614 .
[B.C. 348.] Artaxerxes, who is also called Ochus, reigned 26 years. He united Egypt to his empire, and drove Nectanebus, its king, into Ethiopia, with whom perished the Egyptian monarchy. Demosthenes the orator is universally celebrated. The Romans conquer the Gauls. Plato dies, and is succeeded in the Academy by Speusippus.
A.M. 3618 .
B.C. 3336.] Arses, son of Ochus, reigned 4 years. Jaddua, the Pontiff of the Jews, is an illustrious man: his brother Manasses built a temple on Mount Gerizim. Speusippus 249 dies, and is succeeded by Xenocrates. In the fourth year of Ochus, Alexander, son of Philip and Olympias, begins to reign over the Macedonians, in the twentieth year of his age.
A.M. 3624 .
Darius, son of Arsanes, reigned 6 years. Alexander, after fighting successfully against the Illyrians and Thracians, and overthrowing Thebes, turned his arms against Persia, and after defeating the king’s generals at the river Granicus, he takes Sardis, and afterwards Tyre. He then invades Judæa; where being favourably received, he offers sacrifices to God, and treats the Pontiff Jaddua with distinguished honours, and dismisses Andromachus the governor. In the seventh year of his reign he founded Alexandria in Egypt,
Alexandria. and Darius being slain, he straightway possessed himself of Babylon, by which the Persian monarchy was ended, after a continuance of 231 years. At the same time the Latins were subdued by the Romans.
A.M. 3629 .
Alexander reigned 5 years after the death of Darius, having reigned 7 years previously. He subdued the Hyrcani and Marsi, and on his return built Parætonium in Ammo.
of Siwah. He penetrated India as far as the Ocean, in a series of victories rather than of battles, and having returned to Babylon, he died from drinking poison, in the thirty-second year of his age, and the twelfth of his reign. His empire was divided. Ptolemy
Soter. Ptolemy, son of Lagus, obtained Egypt. Philip, who is also called Arideus, brother of Alexander, obtained Macedon. Syria, Babylon, and all the kingdom of the East fell to Seleucus Nicanor. Division of
B.C. 321.] Antigonus reigned over Asia. These are designated in the book of Daniel, as the four horns of the he-goat which smote the ram.
A.M. 3669 .
dius. Ptolemy, son of Lagus, and first king of Egypt, reigned 40 years. Appius Claudius Cœcus was an illustrious Roman: he constructed the Claudian aqueduct and the Appian way. Ptolemy, by craft, reduced Jerusalem and Judæa under his rule, and carried many of the people into Egypt. Onias. Onias, son of Jaddua, was an illustrious Jewish High Priest . . . In the thirteenth year of Ptolemy, Seleucus Nicanor begins to reign over Syria and Babylon, and the upper regions; from which time the Hebrew history of the Maccabees dates the dominion of the Greeks, and the Edesseni their chronicles. Seleucus.
[B.C. 300.] Seleucus founded the cities of Seleucia, Laodicea, Antioch, Apamia, Edessa, Berœa, and Pella. Simon, the Jewish Pontiff, and son of Onias, was distinguished for his devotion and piety. He left an infant son, Onias, and was succeeded in the priesthood by his brother Eleazar. Seleucus transfers many Jews to his new cities, and grants them equal civil privileges with the Greeks.
A.M. 3707 .
[B.C. 284.] Ptolemy Philadelphus reigned 38 years. Sostratus, of Pharos, built the tower of Pharos at Alexandria. Ptolemy granted the Jews who were in Egypt their liberty, and sent many presents to Eleazar the Pontiff, and vessels for the service of the temple, requesting that seventy interpreters might be sent to him to translate the The Septua-
tion. Holy Scriptures into the Greek language. Aratus is a distinguished man. After Eleazar, his uncle, Manasses, succeeded to the Jewish priesthood. Such was the greatness of this Ptolemy Philadelphus, that he surpassed Ptolemy his father; for it is recorded that he had 200,000 footmen, 20,000 horse, 20,000 chariots, 500 elephants, which he was the first to bring from Ethiopia, and other such like things.
A.M. 3723 .
B.C. 247.] Ptolemy Euergetes, brother of the former king, reigned 26 years. He was called Euergetes by the Egyptians, because, when he made himself master of Syria and Cilicia, and nearly all Asia, among the immense quantity of silver and precious vessels which he took, he also recovered their gods which Cambyses had carried away into Persia when he conquered Egypt. The Jewish Pontiff Onias, son of Simon the Just, is distinguished; and no less so is his son Simon, under whom Jesus Syrach. Jesus the son of Syrach wrote the book of Wisdom, which is called Panareton, and in which he makes mention of Simon.
A.M. 3750 .
[B.C. 221.] Ptolemy Philopater, son of Euergetes, reigned 17 years. Antiochus, king of Syria, defeated Philopater, and annexed Judæa to his kingdom. Onias, son of Simon, is an illustrious Jewish Pontiff, to whom Arius, king of the Lacedæmonians, sent ambassadors.
A.M. 3774 .
B.C. 204.] Ptolemy Epiphanes, son of Philopater, reigned 24 years. The second book of the Maccabees narrates the events of this period among the Jews. Onias the high priest, with a number of the Jews, fled into Egypt, where he was honourably received by Ptolemy, and obtained of him a grant of the region called Heliopolis, and Onias erects
at Heliopolis. permission to erect a temple like that of the Jews, which continued 250 years, unto the reign of Vespasian. During the pontificate therefore of Onias, innumerable swarms of Jews fled into Egypt, which was also at that time filled with multitudes of Cyrenians. The cause of Onias and the others fleeing into Egypt was this: Antiochus the Great and the generals of Ptolemy were contending together, and Judæa, which lay between 252 both, The Fifth
Age. was torn with opposite factions, — some favouring Antiochus, and others Ptolemy.
A.M. 3809 .
B.C. 180.] Ptolemy Phimometor reigned 35 years. Aristobulus, a Jew by nation, is a distinguished Peripatetic philosopher: he addressed to Ptolemy Philometor commentaries on the books of Moses. Antiochus Epiphanes, who reigned 11 years in Syria after Seleucus, with the surname of Philopater, in his hatred of the Jewish law, filled every place with idolatrous pollutions, and placed an image of Olympian Jupiter in the temple. Moreover, at the request of the Samaritans themselves, he built a temple of Jupiter Peregrinus, on the summit of Mount Gerizim in Samaria. Mattathias. But Mattathias, a priest, zealous of the laws of his fathers, took up arms against the generals of Antiochus, and on his death, his son Judas
Maccabæus. Judas Maccabæus succeeded to the command, in the 146th year of the Grecian monarchy, in the twentieth of Ptolemy, and in the 155th Olympiad. He eventually drives the generals of Antiochus out of Judæa, and having released the temple from idols, restores to his people the laws of their fathers, after an interval of three years. Wherefore, after the flight of Onias into Egypt, of which we have spoken above, and the death of Alcimus, who unworthily sought to obtain the pontificate after he had driven out Onias, by the universal consent of the Jews, it devolved on Maccabæus, and after his death was still more ably administered by his brother Jonathan. Jonathan, for nineteen years.
A.M. 3838 .
Euergetes. Ptolemy Euergetes reigned 29 years. Jonathan, the captain and high priest of the Jews, makes an alliance with the Romans and Spartans. On his being slain by Triphon, Simon Hyr-
The priesthood devolves on his brother Simon, in the seventh year of Euergetes. After ably filling the 253 office for eight years, The Fifth
Age. he left it to his son John. He made war with the Hyrcani, whence he received the name of Hyrcanus; and on his application he was, by a decree of the Senate, enrolled among the friends of the Roman people. He besieged Samaria, and took it and levelled it to the ground; it was afterwards rebuilt by Herod, and named by him Sebaste, in compliment to Augustus.
A.M. 3855 .
M. T. Cicero
Aristobulus. Ptolemy Physcon, who is also called Physcon, reigned 17 years, Cicero is born at Arpinum: his mother was named Helvia; his father was of equestrian rank, of the royal family of the Volsci. Hyrcanus, after holding the priesthood twenty-six years, is succeeded by Aristobulus for one year, who, equally king and high priest, first assumed the diadem among the Jews 484 years after the Babylonish captivity. Jannæus. After him reigned Jannæus, surnamed Alexander, for 27 years; he also held the priesthood, and ruled with excessive cruelty.5
A.M. 3865 .
Alexander. Ptolemy, who is also named Alexander, reigned 10 years. In the seventh year of his reign, Philip and Gabinus were taken prisoners, and Syria fell under the Roman sway. Ptolemy Physcon was driven from Egypt Cleopatra. by his mother Cleopatra, and retired into Cyprus.
A.M. 3873 .
Lathyrus. Ptolemy, who had been driven out by his mother, returned after an exile of eight years, and obtained the kingdom; the people having driven out Alexander, his predecessor, for slaying his mother. Sylla. Sylla spoils the Athenians.
A.M. 3903 .
lem. Ptolemy Dionysius reigned 30 years. From the fifth year of his reign, Alexandra, after the death of the pontiff, Alexander, her husband, reigned 9 years in Judæa, during which period the Jews were a prey to anarchy and slaughter. After her death, her sons, Aristobulus and Hyrcanus, by their contentions for the throne, afforded an opportunity to the Romans of invading Judæa. Accordingly, Pompey came to Jerusalem and took the city: he entered the temple and went even into the most holy place. Carrying away Aristobulus with him in fetters, he confirmed Hyrcanus in the pontificate, which he filled for 34 years, and made Antipater, son of Herod of Ascalon, governor of Palestine. Virgil born. Virgilius Maro is born in a village called Andes, not far from Mantua. In the consulship of Pompey and Crassus, Pompey takes Jerusalem, and makes the Jews tributary. Virgil studies at Cremona. Cæsar con-
Britain. Cæsar conquers the Germans and Gauls, and compels the Britons, who were previously unacquainted even with the name of the Romans, to give hostages and pay tribute.
A.M. 3905 .
Egypt. Cleopatra, sister of Ptolemy, reigned 22 years. For a civil war having broken out between Cæsar and Pompey, the latter being defeated fled to Alexandria, where he was slain by order of Ptolemy, from whose hands he looked for succour. Civil War of
Pharsalia.] And when Cæsar shortly after came to Alexandria, Ptolemy would have cut him off also; but perished himself in the war which he then kindled. Cæsar, having made himself master of Alexandria, gave the kingdom to Cleopatra, with whom he had had an adulterous intercourse. In the third year of her reign he obtained the sole dominion over the Romans, and from him the Roman princes were called Cæsars. Cleopatra made her entry into the city with royal state.
A.M. 3910 .
Cassius. Upwards of seventy roman senators and knights having conspired against Cæsar on account of his overbearing conduct, he was stabbed to death in the senate-house four years and six months from the commencement of his reign. Cassius
Temple. Cassius conquers Judæa and spoils the Temple.
A.M. 3966 .
B.C. 27.] Octavianus Cæsar Augustus, the second of the Roman princes, from whom all his successors assumed the title of Augustus, reigned 56 years and 6 months; 15 in Cleopatra’s lifetime, and 41 after her death. In the eleventh year of Augustus, on the Jewish priesthood becoming vacant, Herod,
of the Jews. Herod, an entire stranger, whose father, Antipater, was a native of Ascalon, and his mother, Cypris, an Arabian, was made king by the Romans. He reigned 36 years; and that his ignoble and foreign extraction might not be known, he burned all the books in which the lineage of the Jewish nobility was registered in the temple; that, by the suppression of the proofs to the contrary, he might himself be deemed to have belonged to it. Moreover, that his own offspring might partake of the royal blood, he put away Dosis, a woman of Jerusalem, whom he had married when in a private station, together with his son Antipater, whom he had gotten by her, and took to wife Marianne, daughter of Alexander, and grand-daughter of Aristobulus, the brother of Hyrcanus, his predecessor. By her he had five sons, two of whom, Aristobulus and Alexander, he put to death in Samaria; and not long after their mother also, whom he passionately loved. Of these sons, Aristobulus had, by Berenice, a son, Herod, who, we read in the Acts of the Apostles, was smitten by an Angel. A third war having arisen between Augustus and Antony, Death of An-
Age. because the latter, who had Asia and the East, had put away the sister of Augustus and married Cleopatra, Antony and Cleopatra are overcome, 256 and slay themselves. From which period some date the first year of the reign of Augustus. Up to this time, the descendants of Lagus had reigned in Egypt 295 years.
5 Ptolemy Physcon died A.M. 3887, B.C. 117, and was succeeded by his son Ptolemy Lathyrus, who was driven from Egypt by his mother Cleopatra.