Cvm Trivilegio Regis

Fig. 1.4. The title of the second volume of Rationarium Tem-porum by D. Petavius, published in 1652. Taken from [1338].

Middle Ages the Scaliger-Petavius version. We shall simply refer to it as "Scaligerian Chronology". As will be pointed out, this version wasn't the only one existing in the XYII-XVIII century. Its veracity has been questioned by eminent scientists.

The groundlaying works of Scaliger and Petavius of the XVI-XVII century present the ancient chronology as a table of dates given without any reasons whatsoever. It is declared to have been based on ecclesiastical tradition. This is hardly surprising, since "history has remained predominantly ecclesial for centuries, and for the most part, was written by the clergy" ([217], page 105).

Today it is believed that the foundations of chronology were laid by Eusebius Pamphilus and Saint Hieronymus, allegedly in the IV century a.d. On fig. 1.6 we have a mediaeval painting of Eusebius Pamphilus of Caesarea dated 1455 ([140], page 80).

It is worth noting that Eusebius of Caesarea is painted in typically mediaeval attire of the Renaissance epoch. Most probably because he had lived in that period of time and not any earlier.

Despite the fact that Scaligerian history ascribes Eusebius to the IV century a.d., during the years 260-340 ([936], vol. 1, page 519), it is interesting to note that his famous work tided The History of Time from the Genesis to the Nicaean Council, the so-called Chronicle, as well as the tractate by St. Hieronymus (Jerome) weren't discovered until very late in the Middle Ages. Apart from that, historians say that "the Greek original (of Eusebius - A. F.) is only available in fragmentary form nowadays, and is complemented by the ad libitum translation made by St. Hieronymus" ([267], page VIII, Introduction). Mark the fact that Nicephorus Callistus attempted to write the new history of the first three centuries in the XIV century, or "revise" the History of

Gerhard Friedrich
Fig. 1.5. Portrait of the German historian Gerhard Friedrich Miller (1705-1783). Taken from the Russian Academy of Sciences Courier ([129], page 880).

Eusebius, but "he could not do more than repeat that which was written by Eusebius" ([267], page XI). However, since the work of Eusebius was only published in 1544 (see [267], page XIII), that is, much later than the writing of Nicephorus, one has reason to wonder: Could the "ancient" Eusebius have based his work on the mediaeval tractate by Nicephorus Callistus?

On fig. 1.7 we can see a painting by Cesare Nebbia and Giovanni Guerra that was allegedly created in 1585-1590. According to historians, it depicts a scene "of St. Jerome and his pet lion visiting the library of Eusebius (whose Chronicle was translated by Jerome) in Caesarea" ([ 1374], page 45). What we see here, however, is a typically mediaeval scene of the Renaissance epoch, or maybe even the epoch of the XVI-XVII century. The library shelves are filled with books that look basically the same as those of the XVIII-XIX century,

Fig. 1.6. "Eusebius of Caesarea, the Chronicler and the Companion of Constantine the Great. A fragment of the mural by Piero della Francesca in the Cathedral of St. Francisco (Frezzo, Italy). 1455." ([140], page 80). One should note that the gap between the Scaligerian dating of the life of Eusebius (the alleged IV century A.D.) and the time of the portrait's creation exceeds a thousand years. This is most probably a result of a chronological shift by roughly 1053 years that transferred Eusebius of Caesarea, who lived in the XV century, into the phantom IV century. Taken from [140], page 80.

Fig. 1.6. "Eusebius of Caesarea, the Chronicler and the Companion of Constantine the Great. A fragment of the mural by Piero della Francesca in the Cathedral of St. Francisco (Frezzo, Italy). 1455." ([140], page 80). One should note that the gap between the Scaligerian dating of the life of Eusebius (the alleged IV century A.D.) and the time of the portrait's creation exceeds a thousand years. This is most probably a result of a chronological shift by roughly 1053 years that transferred Eusebius of Caesarea, who lived in the XV century, into the phantom IV century. Taken from [140], page 80.

in hard covers with wide fastening straps. The artists of the XVI-XVII century have most probably painted recent mediaeval events and characters that were cast into the "dark ages" by the latter XVII-XVII1 century chronologists of the Scaligerian tradition.

It is assumed that Scaligerian chronology was based on the interpretations of assorted numeric data collected from the Bible. Certain "basis dates" that were used as reference points originated as results of scholastic exercises with numbers. For instance, according to the eminent chronologist J. Usher (Usse-rius), the world was created on Sunday, 23 October 4004 b.c., in the small hours of the morning ([76]). Mind-boggling precision. One is to bear in mind that the "secular" chronology of the present days is largely based on the scholastic biblical chronology of the Middle Ages. E. Bickerman, a contemporary histo rian, is perfectly right to note that "the Christian historians have made secular chronography serve eccle-sial history... The compilation made by Hieronymus is the foundation of the entire edifice of occidental chronological knowledge." ([72], page 82).

Although "I. Scaliger, the founding father of modern chronology as a science, had attempted to reconstruct the entire tractate of Eusebius", as E. Bickerman tells us, "the datings of Eusebius, that often got transcribed erroneously in manuscripts (! - A. F.), are hardly of any use to us nowadays" ([72], page 82).

Due to the controversy and the dubiety of all these mediaeval computations, the "Genesis dating", for instance, varies greatly from document to document. Let us quote the main examples:

5969 b.c. — the Antiochian dating according to Theophilus, see other version below;

5508 b.c. - the Byzantine dating, also known as "The Constantinople version";

5493 b.c. - Alexandrian, the Annian era, also 5472 b.c. or 5624 b.c.;

4004 b.c. - according to Usher, a Hebraic dating;

5872 b.c. - the so-called "dating of the seventy interpreters";

3491 b.c. - according to Hieronymus;

5199 b.c. - according to Eusebius of Caesarea;

5500 b.c. - according to Hippolytus and Sextus Julius Africanus;

5515 b.c., also 5507 b.c. - according to Theophilus;

5551 b.c. - according to Augustine ([72], page 69).

As we can see, this temporal reference point, considered fundamental for the ancient chronology, fluctuates within the span of 2,100 years. We have only quoted the most famous examples here. It is expedient to know that there are about two hundred various versions of the "Genesis date" in existence. On fig. 1.8 you can see an ancient painting of the seventy Bible translators commonly referred to as "the seventy interpreters" today.

The "correct Genesis dating" issue was far from being scholastic, and had been given plenty of attention in the XVII-XVIII century for good reason. The matter here is that many ancient documents date events in years passed "since Adam" or "since the Genesis". This is why the existing millenarian discrepancies between the possible choices of this reference point substantially affect the datings of many ancient documents.

I. Scaliger together with D. Petavius were the first ones to have used the astronomical method for proving - but not examining critically, the late mediaeval version of the chronology of the preceding centuries. Modern commentators consider Scaliger to have ipso facto transformed this chronology into a "scientific"

Cesare Nebbia Euseb

Fig. 1.7. Painting by Cesare Nebbia and Giovanni Guerra allegedly dated 1585-1590. Depicts St. Jerome visiting the library of Eusebius Pamphilus in Caesarea. We see a typically mediaeval scene of the Renaissance epoch or, possibly, of an even later age. Modern history assures us that all of this happened about a thousand years earlier, in the alleged IV century A.D. Taken from [ 1374], page 45.

Fig. 1.7. Painting by Cesare Nebbia and Giovanni Guerra allegedly dated 1585-1590. Depicts St. Jerome visiting the library of Eusebius Pamphilus in Caesarea. We see a typically mediaeval scene of the Renaissance epoch or, possibly, of an even later age. Modern history assures us that all of this happened about a thousand years earlier, in the alleged IV century A.D. Taken from [ 1374], page 45.

Fig. 1.8. Ancient miniature from the Ostrog Bible, allegedly dated 1581, showing the Bible's translators and interpreters, commonly referred to nowadays as "the 70 interpreters." It is assumed that they were responsible for dating Genesis to 5872 B.C. Taken from [623], page 165. Also see [745], Volume 9, page 17.

Fig. 1.8. Ancient miniature from the Ostrog Bible, allegedly dated 1581, showing the Bible's translators and interpreters, commonly referred to nowadays as "the 70 interpreters." It is assumed that they were responsible for dating Genesis to 5872 B.C. Taken from [623], page 165. Also see [745], Volume 9, page 17.

one. This "scientific" veneer proved sufficient for the chronologists of the XVII-XVIII century to have invested unquestioning belief in the largely rigidified chronological date grid that they had inherited.

It is very significant that Scaligerian chronology was initially created within the paradigm of the Western European Catholic Church, which had remained in its firm control for a great amount of time. A. Oleinikov wrote, "The mediaeval theologians had often tried to calculate the age of the Earth interpreting assorted data contained in the Holy Writ." On having studied the text of the Bible, Archbishop Hieronymus had come to the conclusion that the world had been created 3,941 years prior to the beginning of modern chronology. His colleague Theophilus, the Bishop ofAntiochia, had extended this period to 5,515 years. St. Augustine had added another thirty-six years; whilst the Irish Archbishop James Usher, who had obviously nurtured a fondness for precise numbers, had made the assumption that the world had been created in the early morning hours on 23 October 4004 b.c. ([616], page 8). Many eminent Western European chronologists of the XVI-XVII century have belonged to the clergy. I. Scaliger (1540-1609), for instance, was a theologian; Ti-schendorf (1815-1874), the founding father of paleography, was a Doctor of Divinity; Dionisius Petavius (1583-1652) - a Jesuit and an author of several theological writings ([82], page 320, comment 5).

Their absolute trust in the infallibility of what the ecclesial chronology told them, determined their entire Weltanschauung. Hence their attitude to the data offered by other disciplines was determined by whether or not it could serve the advocacy of this a priori assumption or the other, invariably based on the mediaeval ecclesial chronology that was later re-christened "scientific".

The fact that the clerical chronologists of the Occidental church have deified the endeavours of their predecessors of the XV-XVI century, excluded the very possibility of criticizing the foundations of chronology in any way at all, even minutely.

I. Scaliger, for instance, could not even conceive of such heresy as running a check on the chronological materials of the holy fathers (Eusebius and others): "Scaliger calls this work by Eusebius (the Evangelical Preparation - A. E), divine" ([267], page VIII, Introduction). Trusting the authority of their predecessors unconditionally, the chronologists reacted at external criticisms very bitterly. The same I. Scaliger makes a perfect demonstration of his attitude toward objective scientific criticisms in the following episode: "The eminent philologist Joseph de Scaliger, the author of the chronology that has received such high scientific acclaim, had turned into a keen quadraturist" ([458], page 130). Let us remind that a "quadraturist" was someone who tried to build a square equalling a given circle (disc) in area, using nothing but a pair of compasses and a ruler. This mathematical problem is insoluble as a principle, which is proven by geometry. However, I. Scaliger had published a book where he claims to have proved the "true quadrature" - which solved the problem, "The best mathematicians of the epoch - Viete, Clavius... have tried their hardest to prove to him that... his reasoning was incorrect - all in vain" ([458], page 130). The point here is that Scaliger's erroneous "proof" made the easy corollary, that the perimeter of an equilateral polygon with 196 angles being greater than that of the circle circumscribing it, which is, naturally, quite absurd. Nevertheless, "Scaliger and his supporters, who had a habit of defending their opinions vehemently, didn't want to acknowledge anything... replying... with maledictions and scornful epithets, and finally calling all the geometricians complete ignoramuses in what concerned geometry" ([458], page 130).

One might imagine how these people reacted towards attempts of analyzing their version of chronology critically.

Few are aware that Scaliger and Petavius had brought chronology to "perfection" and "absolutely precise datings" quoting the year, day, month, and sometimes even the time of day for all the principal events in history of humankind. For whatever reason, modern monographies and textbooks usually only quote the years of events according to Scaliger-Peta-vius, coyly omitting the month, day, and hour. It is verily a step backwards that deprives the chronology calculated in the XVII-XVIII century of its former splendour and fundamentality.

By the XIX century, the accumulated volume of chronological material grew to the extent of inducing respect a priori by its sheer scale, so the chronologists of the XIX century saw their objective in making minor corrections and not much else.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
The Art Of Astrology

The Art Of Astrology

Get All The Support And Guidance You Need To Be A Success With Astrology. This Book Is One Of The Most Valuable Resources In The World When It Comes To A Look at Principles and Practices.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment