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BEROTH


515


BEROTH


"Thus it was that Belos, interpreted by the Greeks as signifj-ing Zeus, having divided the darkness, separated the heavens and the earth, and ordered the world; and all animated beings who were not able to endure the action of Ught perished. Belos, seeing that the earth was a desert, though fertile, commanded one of the gods to cut off his head, and kneading the blood which flowed with earth, he produced men, as well as those animals who are able to live in contact with the air. — Then Belos also formed the stars, the sun, the moon, and the five planets. " (Ap. SjTicell., 29; Euseb.. Chronic. Armen.. I, ii. iv, ed. Mai. p. 10; ed. Lenormant, Fragment 1.)

His accomit of the Deluge, which shows a remarka- ble agreement with the eleventh tablet of the Gil- gamesh epic and a striking similarity to the parallel narrative of Genesis, is of great importance, and has come down to us through Alexander Polyhistor; a short extract is also given by Abydenus. After referring to the ten antediluvian kings (cf. the ten antediluvian patriarchs of Genesis), Berosus pro- ceeds as follows: "Obartes (I^baratutu) being dead, his son, Xisuthros, reigned eighteen sars (64,800 years). It was in his time that the great Deluge came to pass, the historj- of which is related in the following manner in the sacred documents: Cronus (Ea) ap- peared to him in his sleep and aimounced to him that on the loth of the month of Daisios (the As- sjTian month Sivan, a little before the summer solstice), all mankind would perish by a deluge. He then commanded liira to take the beginning, the middle and the end of all that had been consigned to writing, and to burj' it in the city of the Sun. Sippara: after that to build a ship, and go on board of it with his family and dearest friends; to place in the vessel provisions for food and drink, and to introduce into it animals, both fowls and quadrupeds; lastly, to get everything ready for navigation. And when Xisuthros asked in which direction he should steer his ves.sel, he was told 'toward the gods', and to pray that good should come of it to men.

" Xisuthros obeyed, and built a ship five stadia long and two broad; he gathered in all that had been commanded him, and took on board his wife, his children, and his intimate friends.

"The deluge having come upon them, and soon subsiding, Xisuthros loosed some birds, who. having found neither food or place of rest, returned to the vessel. Some days later, Xisuthros again gave them their liberty, but they returned once more to the ship, their feet soiled with mud.

"At last, being loosed for a third time, the birds returned no more. Then Xisuthros understood that the earth was bare; he made an opening in the roof of the ship and found that it had gone aground upon a mountain. Then he came down with his wife, his daughter and his pilot, worshipped the Earth, raised an altar and sacrificed thereon to the gods; at this moment he disappeared with those who bore him company.

"Nevertheless, those who remained in the ship, not seeing Xisuthros return, also descended to the ground and began to look for him, calling him by name. They never saw Xisuthros again, but a voice from heaven made itself heard, bidding them be pious towards the gods; that he had received the reward of his piety in being taken up to dwell hence- forth among the gods, and his wife, his daugliter and the pilot of the vessel shared this great honour. The voice said, moreover, to those who were left, that they should return to Babylonia, and agreeably to the decrees of fate dig up the writings buried at Sippara, in order to transmit them to men. It added that the countrj' where they then were was .\rmenia. After hearing the voice they .sacrificed to the gods, and returned on foot to Babylonia. A portion of Xisuthros' ship, whicli finally went agrountl


in Armenia, is still found in the Gordysean Mountains in Armenia, and pilgrims bring away asphaltum which they have scraped from the fragments; they use it against witchcraft. As to the companions of Xisuthros, they arrived in Babylonia, dug up the writings buried at Sippara, founded a number of cities, built temples, and restored Babylon".

The chronological historj' of Babylonia, according to Berosus, was as follows: The first period, reaching from the Creation to the Flood, is said to have in- cluded ten reigns of 432,000 years. Some of the names of these antediluvian kings have been found also in the cuneiform inscriptions. The second period includes eighty-six kings and a period of 34.080 years, which bring us down to about 2500 B. c. The third period includes eight Median kings who, towards 2500 B. c. must have invaded Babylonia. Tliese are followed by eleven other monarchs, the record of the duration of whose reigns is lost. The fifth period includes forty-nine Chaldean kings and 458 years. The end of tliis period brings us down to about 2000 B. c. The sixth period includes nine Arabian kings with 245 years. This so-called Arabian dynasty is identical with the now historically ascertained first Semitic djmasty, to which Hammu- rabi belonged. The seventh period includes forty-five kings and 526 years. Thesucceedingpartsof Berosus's chronology are lost, up to the period of Nabonassar whose era commenced in 747 B. c. The historj- of tills period, whicli reaches the reign of Alexander the Great, including such illustrious kings as Nabopo- lassar, Nebuchadnezzar, Nabonidus, Cyrus, etc.. is well known to us from the cuneiform inscriptions.

Collections of the fragments of Berosus have been made by RicHTER (Leipzig. 182.5); Muller, Fragmeiita HUtoricum- Grmcorum {2 vols.. Paris. 1848); Cory. Ancient FragjTients (London, 1832). The best and most e-xhaustive study on Berosus and his history is that of the late Catholic .\ssyriolo- gist, Lenormant. Essai de Commentaire de fragments cosmogoni- qiies de Beroae (Paris. 1871). For the best text of Berosus see EusEBiTTS. Schone cd.. with Gutschmid's comments. See also Smith. Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, s. v.: Rogers. History of Babylonia and Assyria. (New York. 1901), I. 258 sqq.. 327 sqq.; Brcnengo, Limpero- di Babilonia e di Ninive (1885). I, 67 .sqq.

G.\BRIEL 0USS.\.NI.

Beroth (Bbekoth), a city in Chanaan, one of the confederation of cities under the headship of Gabaon (Gibeon), whose territory was invaded by the Israelites under Josue (Jos., ix). Its inhabitants, together with those of three neighbouring cities, in order to save themselves from extermination, went to Josue in the disguise of travellers from afar an 1 begged mercy; the Israelites entered into a league with them, but when the deception was discovered made them hewers of wood and drawers of water for them.selves. Their city was afterwartis assigned to the tribe of Benjamin (Jos., xviii, 25), but it seems to have remained Chanaanite till the monarchy, as it was only " reckoned " among the cities of Benja- min (II Kings, iv, 2). Later the Berothites fled to Gethaim (iv, .3), probably at the time Saul sought to slay the Gabaonites (Gibeonites, II Kings, xxi, 2), with whom the Berothites seem to have been reckoned (Jos., ix, 3, 17). Two descendants of these Berothites slew Isboseth, the son of Saul, claimant to his throne and rival of David; they brought his head to David, who punished the murder with death (II Kings, iv). Probably revenge on Saul for his injury to their fathers was one of their motives, for blood feud was regarded as a duty. Naharai, armour-bearer of Joab, David's great general, was a Berothite (II Kings, x.xiii, 37), and we read of men of Beroth among the returned exiles (I Esd., ii, 25; II Esd., vii, 29), though these were more probably Israelites.

Beroth is usually identified with EI-BIr^h. a town of 800 inhabitants, about 9 miles north of Jeru- salem, near which is an abundance of water (Berotb,