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BEROSnS


514


BEROSUS


of the empire, it was allotted to Macedonia Prima (Hierocles, Synecdemos, 638), and its see made suffragan to Thessalonica. Amongst its bishops, Gerontius was present at Sardiea in 344, Luke at the Latrocinium of Ephesus in 449, Timothy at the Council of Constantinople under the Patriarch Menas in 536, Joseph at the Eighth Oecumenical Council in 869. Under Andronicus II (1283-1328) Ber^ta was made a metropolis. The actual Greek metropolitans add the title of \aoussa, a neighbouring city. It has now aliout 10,000 inhabitants.

Besides this Bercea. there was in Tliracia a Beroe, or Augusta Trajana (Hierocles, 635), whither Pope Liberius (355-358) was exiled (Sozomen, IV, 11). It is called Berrhrea. or Beroe. in episcopal lists (Georgius Cyprius, 53; Parthey, Notit. episc, VI, 57; VII, 53; VIII, 57). Its Turkish name was Eski- Zagra, for which the present Bulgarian substitute is Slara-Zagora. For its episcopal list see Lequien, I, 1165-68; Gams, 427. Bercea is also an ancient name of Aleppo.

Leql'ien, Or. Christ., II. 71-74; Gams, Series epiacop.. 429; Leake, Northern Greece, III, 290 sqq.; Cousinery, Voyage en MacMoinf, I, 57 sqq.

L. Petit.

Berosus (Bt/^uo-^s or B7;^w<r<r65) , the name of a native historian of Babylonia and a priest of the great god Bel (Bel-Marduk). He flourished during and after the lifetime of Alexander the Great, al- though the exact dates of his birth and death are unknown. It is certain, however, that he lived in the days of Alexander (356-326 B. c.) and continued to live at least as late as Antiochus I Soter (280-261 B. c), to whom he dedicated his famous history of Babylonia. The meaning of his name is uncertain, notwithstanding the fanciful etymology of Scaliger and others who claim it is composed of Bar and Hosea, "Son of Hosea". Concerning his personality very- little is known with certainty. According to Vi- truvius and Pliny (whose testimony, taken as a whole, is to be accepted with caution), Berosus was profoundly versed in the science of astronomy and as- trology; that much is certain. Leaving Babylonia, he settled for awhile in Greece, on the island of Cos, where he opened a school of astronomy and astrolog}\ From there he passed to Athens where his wonderful learning and remarkable astronomical predictions brought him such fame that a statue with a gilt tongue was erected in his honour in the public gym- nasium. Vitruvius attributes to him the invention of a semi-circular simdial. Justin Martyr, imdoubtedly through a misunderstanding, affirms that the Baby- lonian Sibyl who gave oracles at Cumae in the time of the Tarquins was a daughter of Berosus. Tatian, the tlisciple of Justin, and himself a Mesopotamian by birth, rightly calls Berosus the most learned liistorian of Western Asia. It is doubtful, however, whether the Babylonian Berosus is the same per- sonage as the astronomer Berosus of whom many Greek and Latin historians make mention.

Berosus wrote a history of Babylonia, probably under title of " Rabyloniaca", though it is referred to imder the title of "Chaldaica" by Josephus and Clement of Alexandria. The work was divided into three books, or parts, of which the first dealt with human history from the beginning of the world to the Flood, the second from the Flood to Nabonassar (747 B. c), and the third from Nabonassar to Alex- aniler the Great and even as far down as the reign of his patron Antiochus. The materials of this his- tory, written in Greek, he professes to have derived from ancient Babylonian chronicles and inscriptions preserved in the temple of Bel in Babylon, and there is every reason to believe in the truth of his assertion, as most of his statements, notwithstanding the manifold and unconscientious handlings which his work underwent at the hands of later Greek and


Roman writers, show a remarkable agreement witn the cuneiform records and inscriptions found in the libraries and temples of Babylonia and Assyria. Unfortunately, however, by far the greater part of tliis priceless work has perislied. What has come down is in the form of fragments preserved princi- pally by late Greek historians and writers, such as Alexander Polyhistor, Abydenus, and Apollodorus, whose writings are quoted by Josephus, Nicholas of Damascus, Julius Africanus, Eusebius, Syncellus, and a few others. So it is apparent that the views put forth by Berosus come down in a very round- about manner. In places his statements have been so garbled as to seem absurd, and yet, fragmentary as his work is, it is of great importance.

Of the origin of the gods and of the world, ac- cording to the cosmology and mythology of the Baby- lonians, Berosus lias the following account, pre- served by Damascius, which shows a remarkable agreement with the Babylonian Creation epic dis- covered recently and masterly discussed and studied by Smith, Dehtzscli, Jenson. Zimmem, Jastrow, King. Dhorme, and others. "Among the barbarians, the Babylonians seem to pass over the first of all princi- ples in silence, imagining two to begin with, Tavthe (Tiamat, the Hebrew Tehom) and Apason (Apsu). making Apason the consort of Tavthe, whom they called the 'mother of the gods'. The issue of their union, as tliey said, was an only son, Myoniis (Mummu), who seems to me to stantl for the visible world, offspring of the first two principles, from whom are subsequently produced another genera- tion, Dache and Dachos (should be Lachme and Laclimos = Lahamu and Luhmu). A third follows from the same parents, Kissare (Kishar) and As- soros (.Anshar), of whom three gods are bom: Anos (Anu), Illinois (Elim? = Bel) and Aos (Ea); finally the son of Aos and of Davke is Belos (Bel-Marduk), called by them the 'demiurge'" (Damascius, De primis principiis, ed. Kopp, 125, p. 184).

Berosus's account of the creation of the world and of mankind, as preserved to us by Syncellus who copied it from Alexander Polyhistor, runs as follows: " 'There was a time when all was darkness and water, and from the midst thereof issuetl spontaneously monstrous animals and the most peculiar figure.?: men with two wings, and others with four, with two faces or two heads, one of a man, the other of a woman, on one body, and with the two sexes together; men witli goats' legs and goats' horns, or with horses' hoofs; others with the hinder parts of a horse and the foreparts of a man, like the hippocentaurs. There were, besides, human-headed bulls, dogs with four bodies and fishes' tails, horses with dogs' heads, animals with the head and body of a horse and the tail of a fish, other quadrupeds in which all sorts of animal shapes were confused together, fislies. reptiles, serpents, and every kind of marvellous monster presenting the greatest variety in their shapes, representations of which may be seen in the paintings of the temple of Belos. A woman named Omoroca (Um-Uruk, the mother of Uruk) presitled over this creation; in the Chaklean language she bears the name of Thavatth (Tiamat), signifying in Greek ' the sea ', and she is also identified with the moon.

" Things being in this condition, Belos (Bel-Marduky came upon the scene and cut the woman in half; of the lower part of her body he made the earth, and of the upper half the heavens, and all the crea- tures that were in her disappeared. This is a figura- tive way of explaining the production of the universe and of animated beings from humid matter. Belos then cut off his own head, and the other gods having kneaded the blood flowing from it with the earth, formed men, who by that means were gifted with imderstanding, and made participants of divine thought.