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Исаак Ньютон

Исправленная хронология древних царств

Впервые на русском языке в издательстве РИМИС вышла книга Исаака Ньютона "Исправленная хронология древних царств". Исаак Ньютон, великий английский ученый XVIII века, много лет своей жизни отдал изучению исторической хронологии. Приводим предисловие к его труду:



First Memory of
Things in Europe,
Conquest of Persia
by Alexander the


The Greek Antiquities are full of Poetical Fictions, because the Greeks wrote nothing in Prose, before the Conquest of Asia by Cyrus the Persian. Then Pherecydes Scyrius and Cadmus Milesius introduced the writing in Prose. Pherecydes Atheniensis, about the end of the Reign of Darius Hystaspis, wrote of Antiquities, and digested his work by Genealogies, and was reckoned one of the best Genealogers. Epimenides the Historian proceeded also by Genealogies; and Hellanicus, who was twelve years older than Herodotus, digested his History by the Ages or Successions of the Priestesses of Juno Argiva. Others digested theirs by the Kings of the Lacedaemonians, or Archons of Athens. Hippias the Elean, about thirty years before the fall of the Persian Empire, published a breviary or list of the Olympic Victors; and about ten years before the fall thereof, Ephorus the disciple of Isocrates formed a Chronological History of Greece, beginning with the return of the Heraclides into Peloponnesus, and ending with the siege of Perinthus, in the twentieth year of Philip the father of Alexander the great: But he digested things by Generations, and the reckoning by Olympiads was not yet in use, nor doth it appear that the Reigns of Kings were yet set down by numbers of years. The Arundelian marbles were composed sixty years after the death of Alexander the great {An. 4. Olymp. 128.) and yet mention not the Olympiads: But in the next Olympiad, Timaeus Siculus published an history in several books down to his own times, according to the Olympiads, comparing the Ephori, the Kings of Sparta, the Archons of Athens, and the Priestesses of Argos, with the Olympic Victors, so as to make the Olympiads, and the Genealogies and Successions of Kings, Archons, and Priestesses, and poetical histories suit with one another, according to the best of his judgment. And where he left off, Polybius began and carried on the history.

So then a little after the death of Alexander the great, they began to set down the Generations, Reigns and Successions, in numbers of years, and by putting Reigns and Successions equipollent to Generations, and three Generations to an hundred or an hundred and twenty years (as appears by their Chronology) they have made the Antiquities of Greece three or four hundred years older than the truth. And this was the original of the Technical Chronology of the Greeks. Eratosthenes wrote about an hundred years after the death of Alexander the great: He was followed by Apollodorus, and these two have been followed ever since by Chronologers.

But how uncertain their Chronology is, and how doubtful it was reputed by the Greeks of those times, may be understood by these passages of Plutarch. Some reckon, saith he, 1 Lycurgus contemporary to Iphitus, and to have been his companion in ordering the Olympic festivals: amongst whom was Aristotle the Philosopher, arguing from the Olympic Disc, which had the name of Lycurgus upon it. Others supputing the times by the succession of the Kings of the Lacedaemonians, as Eratosthenes and Apollodorus, affirm that he was not a few years older than the first Olympiad. First Aristotle and some others made him as old as the first Olympiad; then Eratosthenes, Apollodorus, and some others made him above an hundred years older: and in another place Plutarch 2 tells us: The congress of Solon with Croesus, some think they can confute by Chronology. But an history so illustrious, and verified by so many witnesses, and (which is more) so agreeable to the manners of Solon, and so worthy of the greatness of his mind and of his wisdom, I cannot persuade my self to reject because of some Chronological Canons, as they call them: which hundreds of authors correcting, have not yet been able to constitute any thing certain, in which they could agree among themselves, about repugnancies. It seems the Chronologers had made the Legislature of Solon too ancient to consist with that Congress.

For reconciling such repugnancies, Chronologers have sometimes doubled the persons of men. So when the Poets had changed Io the daughter of Inachus into the Egyptian Isis, Chronologers made her husband Osiris or Bacchus and his mistress Ariadne as old as Io, and so feigned that there were two Ariadnes, one the mistress of Bacchus, and the other the mistress of Theseus, and two Minos's their fathers, and a younger Io the daughter of Jasus, writing Jasus corruptly for Inachus. And so they have made two Pandions, and two Erechtheus's, giving the name of Erechthonius to the first; Homer calls the first, Erechtheus: and by such corruptions they have exceedingly perplexed Ancient History.

And as for the Chronology of the Latines, that is still more uncertain. Plutarch represents great uncertainties in the Originals of Rome: and so doth Servius. The old records of the Latines were burnt by the Gauls, sixty and four years before the death of Alexander the great; and Quintus Fabius Pictor, the oldest historian of the Latines, lived an hundred years later than that King. In Sacred History, the Assyrian Empire began with Pul and Tiglathpilaser, and lasted about 170 years. And accordingly Herodotus hath made Semiramis only five generations, or about 166 years older than Nitocris, the mother of the last King of Babylon. But Ctesias hath made Semiramis 1500 years older than Nitocris, and feigned a long series of Kings of Assyria, whose names are not Assyrian, nor have any affinity with the Assyrian names in Scripture.

The Priests of Egypt told Herodotus, that Menes built Memphis and the sumptuous temple of Vulcan, in that City: and that Rhampsinitus, Moeris, Asychis and Psammiticus added magnificent porticos to that temple. And it is not likely that Memphis could be famous, before Homer's days who doth not mention it, or that a temple could be above two or three hundred years in building. The Reign of Psammiticus began about 655 years before Christ, and I place the founding of this temple by Menes about 257 years earlier: but the Priests of Egypt had so magnified their Antiquities before the days of Herodotus, as to tell him that from Menes to Moeris (who reigned 200 years before Psammiticus) there were 330 Kings, whose Reigns took up as many Ages, that is eleven thousand years, and had filled up the interval with feigned Kings, who had done nothing. And before the days of Diodorus Siculus they had raised their Antiquities so much higher, as to place six, eight, or ten new Reigns of Kings between those Kings, whom they had represented to Herodotus to succeed one another immediately.

In the Kingdom of Sicyon, Chronologers have split Apis Epaphus or Epopeus into two Kings, whom they call Apis and Epopeus, and between them have inserted eleven or twelve feigned names of Kings who did nothing, and thereby they have made its Founder AEgialeus, three hundred years older than his brother Phoroneus. Some have made the Kings of Germany as old as the Flood: and yet before the use of letters, the names and actions of men could scarce be remembred above eighty or an hundred years after their deaths: and therefore I admit no Chronology of things done

in Europe, above eighty years before Cadmus brought letters into Europe; none, of things done in Germany, before the rise of the Roman Empire.

Now since Eratosthenes and Apollodorus computed the times by the Reigns of the Kings of Sparta, and (as appears by their Chronology still followed) have made the seventeen Reigns of these Kings in both Races, between the Return of the Heraclides into Peloponnesus and the Battel of Thermopylae, take up 622 years, which is after the rate of 36 1/2 years to a Reign, and yet a Race of seventeen Kings of that length is no where to be met with in all true History, and Kings at a moderate reckoning Reign but 18 or 20 years a-piece one with another: I have stated the time of the return of the Heraclides by the last way of reckoning, placing it about 340 years before the Battel of Thermopylae. And making the Taking of Troy eighty years older than that Return, according to Thucydides, and the Argonautic Expedition a Generation older than the Trojan War, and the Wars of Sesostris in Thrace and death of Ino the daughter of Cadmus a Generation older than that Expedition: I have drawn up the following Chronological Table, so as to make Chronology suit with the Course of Nature, with Astronomy, with Sacred History, with Herodotus the Father of History, and with it self; without the many repugnancies complained of by Plutarch. I do not pretend to be exact to a year: there may be Errors of five or ten years, and sometimes twenty, and not much above.

1 В Жизнеописании Ликурга.

2 В Жизнеописании Солона.