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Epiphanius of Salamis, Weights and Measures (1935) pp.v-xii, 1-9. Foreword and introduction.






Edited by 

With a Foreword by 



[Note to the online text: copyright not renewed after 28 years, so text now in public domain]



Just to refresh the memory of some of us who do not come fresh from work upon him, Epiphanius was born about 315 and died a.d. 403. He is thus an older contemporary of a famous pair, Jerome and Rufinus, both born in the neighborhood of 340, the latter dying in 410 while the former lived until 420. During their eastern residence both of these men became acquainted with the old fellow, and both at one period of their lives admired him, Jerome's admiration, as well as his life, outlasting that of Rufinus. Jerome, himself a linguist of parts, was particularly taken with Epiphanius' knowledge of five tongues: Hebrew, Syriac, Egyptian, Greek, and Latin.

Epiphanius was born almost in the very middle of Palestine, perhaps of Jewish parentage or extraction. In his youth he spent a considerable time in Egypt, attracted by and presently drawn into narrowly orthodox, anti-Origenistic, monastic circles. The rest of his life he passed in spreading this type of orthodox monasticism and combating all heresies, tracing them all to Origen and Origenism. This brought him not indeed one of the great bishoprics, nor a patriarchate, but a position not without influence as bishop of Constantia (Salamis) in Cyprus, which chair he occupied for thirty-five years (367-402).

His quarrels and his writings show Epiphanius to have had a crabbed old single-track mind, and the track he covers is usually a sidetrack. He clearly knew too much for his limited understanding. His style is discursive; his thought is poorly organized. Good and bad information, important and unimportant matters, stand side by side and form a rather unsavory mess. Hence the study and editing of his works, a thorny subject at best, has attracted few students and lags behind that of his contemporaries. In the case of his Ἀγκυρωτός, a summary of what he considered the true faith, that does not matter so much, for it is little used at any time. His Panarion, a statement about eighty heresies and the remedies for them, is another matter. Here, after all, there is much information not to be found elsewhere. No work of similar bulk and compass on the same subject was produced by any medieval Christian. Its fame, indeed, exceeds its merit. |viii Yet, as is often the case in such encyclopedic works, it was the best for want of a better; and so it continued to be used and quoted, especially in the East, throughout the Middle Ages and well into modern times. It should be properly edited and thoroughly studied.

The work with a few elements of which this Foreword deals is usually quoted, in whatever language (Greek, Latin, Syriac, etc.) it may be, as a book or essay on Weights and Measures. This title is clearly not the one which Epiphanius gave to it. We do not know what Epiphanius himself called it. From its contents it might be designated as a brief introduction to the Bible. Such general introductions, however, presently grew and multiplied; and in this case Epiphanius' work, not remaining alone in the field, proved clearly not to be the best.

The one feature of this particular work of Epiphanius which did remain unique in the Christian and scriptural field was the extensive statement on biblical weights, measures, and related subjects into which, with his usual discursiveness and lack of organizatory ability, the addleheaded old pedant permitted himself to be drawn. No one else covered this ground to anything like the same extent; and so on this matter Epiphanius remained once more the best, and as such is quoted throughout the Middle Ages, especially by Syriac writers. In editing Barhebraeus (a.d. 1226-72) and in studying the Karkaphensians and their philological statements, one constantly meets quotations from or references to Epiphanius. The anti-Origenic orientation of both major branches of the Syriac church, Nestorian and Monophysite (Jacobite), may have something to do with his popularity in those quarters. In any case, in order to trace the sources of Barhebraeus, Karkaphensian philology, and much else in Syriac literature, it proved necessary to recur time and again to Epiphanius' Weights and Measures.

Of this redoubtable work only fragments remain in Greek. The complete work was preserved in Syriac translation only. Of this Syriac translation there are more or less voluminous extracts in every manuscript of Karkaphensian textual studies. The whole work exists, so far as we know, in two manuscripts, both in the British Museum, one from the middle of the 7th, the other from the 9th century.

As we got under way in the Oriental Institute on the Peshitta or |ix Syriac Bible projects, it soon became evident that the Dindorf-Migne Greek material did not suffice for our needs. This had become manifest likewise to our last predecessor in a similar undertaking, the curious Paul de Lagarde of Gottingen. Lagarde had therefore undertaken an extensive study and a series of editions of this Epiphanius material. In his usual fashion he scattered this work around in a series of odd publications, many of them in small editions. These are not easy to get and, when obtained, generally not easy to use. The Syriac text, for example, he printed in Hebrew letters, because there was no Syriac type in Gottingen. His translation into German is curious. In various notes voicing his disgust and alleging (a thing Lagarde does not often admit) his incompetence, he shows that this was to him no labor of love. Jülicher's statement in Pauly-Wissowa that the text is "sehr schlecht ediert" by Lagarde is, indeed, too harsh a judgment. But a better, more easily accessible, more usable, and in every way more definitive edition than that of Lagarde, dated 1880, was clearly called for.

So we undertook a new edition, with a carefully annotated English translation. The work was given under my supervision to a younger doctor of our department, a diligent and careful southerner, James E. Dean. We soon found that editing any Epiphanius text was no joke, least of all in a Syriac translation for much of which the original Greek is missing. Piecing together the oddments of information and misinformation which he considers knowledge, sorting them, getting at the meaning of his sloppy style of expression, is often much like attempting to create order out of chaos; it demands heavenly patience and superhuman, perhaps superdivine, ingenuity.

Epiphanius' knowledge of Hebrew, or at least of the Hebrew Bible, was not all that Jerome's praise would lead us to believe. Among other things he quotes Ps. 141:1 (in § 6) in a barbarous Hebrew text form not otherwise known. This is clearly not a valuable variant in any sense, nor does he preserve thereby an otherwise unknown ancient text. It is manifest on the face of it that either he or some rabbi spoofing him, as a little later such men spoofed Mohammed, is rendering back into Hebrew perhaps a Greek or Latin translation or at any rate the general sense of the passage. If a Jewish rabbi committed the atrocity, he may have been trying to avoid defiling the ipsissima verba |x of the sacred text by keeping them out of the hands of the unbelieving goy and fooling him into accepting others. If Epiphanius himself made a mere show of his knowledge of Hebrew, it is unforgivable that he placed something of his own concoction in place of the original, which was easily obtainable and was well known to his pet adversary Origen before him and to his admiring friend Jerome in his own time. This is merely an example of Epiphanius' inaccuracy and sloppiness.

As touching at most points on Greek and Latin and therefore of more general interest, there may here be presented solutions, or attempted solutions, of lexicographical problems found not at all or not in full in lexicons, Syriac, Greek, and Latin, and, at least so far as I know, not taken up or not fully studied previously:

§ 20. "Diocletian @@ (οὐαὶ τρανίσας) ceased to reign." The curious Syriac transliteration belongs in the Syriac lexica, the fully Hellenized verb in the Greek lexica.

§ 21. Syriac: "craft of the oil press." The Greek, ἐλαιοτρίπτης (Breslau ms., ἐλαιοτρήπτης), is not in Liddell and Scott, though Epiphanius is elsewhere quoted. Here he clearly attests the use of the word in Cyprus in the 4th century.

@@@, passive of 'akil, "to measure," is not merely "to be measured," "to be defined by measure"; it clearly means here "to be used as a measure" by such and such a people. This meaning is not found in any Syriac lexicon.

§ 24. Epiphanius expatiates on the mystery of the number 22: 22 works of God, 22 generations to Jacob, 22 books of the Bible to Esther, 22 letters of the alphabet, 22 xestai in the Hebrew and the Roman modius. In Hebrew a child learns to aleph, in Greek ἀλφεῖν; the latter, known as from ἀλφάνω, 2d aor. inf., is here apparently used in a sense for which we would say "to learn one's ABC's." No lexicon, so far as I know, exhibits this crochet of Epiphanius' learning.

§ 43. In connection with xou~j (6 or 8 xestai, sextarii [cf. § 55], pints) the Syriac clearly furnishes by transliteration τριχοῦς. The word is labored over by Lagarde unsuccessfully. So far as I know no Greek lexicon has the combination. The transliteration belongs in the Syriac lexicon.

§ 46. The word litra is said to mean ἐμοί ἐστιν. The li, @@, "to me," fits. For the tra we can find nothing that makes good sense, |xi though in § 54 Epiphanius dogmatically makes the statement that in Hebrew and/or Syriac it means "it is."

§ 54. In connection with litra, where it comes up the second time, Epiphanius mentions its Latin equivalent, libra, which, he says, by @@ means "equality." The pointing indicates a foreign, in this case almost certainly Greek, compound term. Seeking for Greek equivalents to the members of the compound, one could see fairly easily that tajjev, metajjev, "prepare," was some form of Greek e9toi=moj, that the ending -uth indicated a Greek abstract ending -ia, perhaps ἑτοιμασία, and that melletha = word = λόγος. The abstract ending, in Semitic necessarily placed in the first member of the genitival combination, might, indeed probably would, in Greek be found at the end of the compound.1 Trying this out, we arrive at etoimologia. Since the itacistic equation oi > u fits exactly the time demanded for this Syriac,2 we arrive at ἐτυμολογία as the original Greek, and this fits perfectly into the context. Up to a short time ago I thought that I had been the first to see this; and, as far as our form and context are concerned, this remains true. Then I happened upon a note by the fine old Syriac scholar G. Hoffmann of Kiel. In this note3 he takes up the vain labors of E. Nestle and Nöldeke over the similar, but clearly more Syriacized, term tujdva demelletha used by the highly learned Jacob of Elessa. For tujava Nestle had arrived only at κατασκευή, with which of course he could do nothing; and Noldeke had suggested that it stood for a Greek technical term, but had not supplied it. Hoffmann tersely states: "@@ = ἕτοιμον = ἔτυμον. @@ @@ = ἑτοιμολογία = ἐτυμολογία, denn oi = u." Our work therefore supplies only the first known occurrence of this combination, its older form (later Syriacized further by Jacob), and the greater precision attained by Sturtevant for the equation oi = u.

Syriac usage for "etymology" is interesting.4 The study of Greek |xii was continued seriously and intensively in the Syriac world of scholarship to the 8th or 9th century (by translators for the Arabs), and a smattering of it remained to the 13th century (Barhebraeus). So we find the grammarians Severus bar Shakko, Elias of Sobha, and Barhebraeus (8th/9th-13th century) using @@ and derivatives in this simple transliteration. The translators of Aristotle, and following them the lexicographers Bar cAli and Bar Bahlul (10th-11th century), transliterate @@, perhaps with the rough breathing of ἑτοιμολογία, but possibly simply equating @ (h) with e since the two letters are related in origin. Finally, perhaps following the lead of the Arabs, the late Ebedjesu uses a proper translation, @@ ( = deductio, derivatio).

§ 59. σαταῖον, κορεῖον, and perhaps καβεῖον (or καβιεῖον) are attested by Syriac transliterations. They are measures of the ground areas which can be sown by a sa&ton or seah, a kor, and a cab respectively of grain. These forms in these meanings do not seem to occur in any Greek or Syriac lexicon.

§ 82. @@ is an astronomical term, but not = ἀστρονομία. A compound like ἐτυμολογία above is indicated, @@ = τίθημι; @@ (or @@) = θέσις, better -θεσία. The term ἀστρθεσία, "placing or configuration of stars," fits the context perfectly. The constellations Pleiades and Orion as mentioned in Job 9:9 (at least as Epiphanius reads it) are the "configurations of stars" to which the reference applies.

It remains to express our appreciation of the kindness of the British Museum in making available to the Oriental Institute photostatic copies of both its Syriac manuscripts concerned, the older of which we here reproduce in facsimile. Our reproductions are two-thirds of actual size. Where the signs were too faint in the photostats they have been strengthened by Dr. Anis Kh. Frayha.


     July 5, 1935

[Footnotes moved to end]

1 Semitic has very few actual compounds; it habitually renders such terms by a genitival combination of two words.

2 See E. H. Sturtevant, The Pronunciation of Greek and Latin (Chicago, 1920) pp. 143-46, cf. 132-35.

3 ZDMG XXXII (1878) 736.

4 Incidentally, we must correct three errors of pagination in the index of Brockelmann's Lexicon under "etymologia": read 174b for 172b; 270b for 276b; 800a for 806a.




Abbreviations etc................       xv
IntRoduction................         1
The Treatise of St. Epiphanius on Weights and Measures (Syriac Introductory Sections)............       11
(The Treatise) of St. Epiphanius, Bishop of the City of Constantia in Cyprus, on Measures and Weights and Numbers and
Other Things That Are in the Divine Scriptures ....       15


Introduction..............1       15
Signs Used in the Scriptures.........2       16
Why, How, and When the Greek Translations Were Made . 9       23
The Septuagint.............9       24
Aquila...............13       29
Symmachus..............16       32
Theodotion..............17       33
The Fifth and Sixth Translations.......18       34
Origen's Edition of the Combined Texts......18       35
Measures...............21       39
Of Capacity..............21       39
Of Weight, Including Coinage.........44      56
Of Capacity, Local Usages..........54      63
Of Area and Length............57       66
Concerning Names of Places, in Part1......61       71
Individual Sites.............61       71
The Quarters of the Heavens.........80       77
The Geography of Palestine..........81       80
The Stars............... 82       81
Geographic Terms............83       82
Colophon...............84       83

Syriac Text of Manuscript A...........     85
Collation.................    119

1 Only this one heading occurs in the Syriac. The rest of the analysis included in the Table of Contents is added merely for the reader's convenience.|xiv


I. The Alphabets in Syriac Manuscript B.......135
II. Translation of the Greek Text of § 21.......136
III.  Translation of the Fragmentary Conclusion of the Greek Text Following § 24.............138
IV.  Summary of the Weights and Measures.......142



Most of the references in the footnotes are written in full, or so nearly so that no special key is needed; but the following abbreviations occur:

A   British Museum Or. Add. 17148, the manuscript used as our text

B   British Museum Or. Add. 14620, all of whose variants are given in the collation 

c   The symbol employed by Lagarde (Symmicta II [Göttingen, 1880] 149-216) for Oporinus' edition of the Greek text and retained here in the footnotes

K   The Karkaphensian manuscript belonging to Mar Severius, archbishop of Syria and the Lebanon, the variants from which also are given 

L    Lagarde's edition of the Syriac text in his Veteris Testamenti ab Origine recensiti fragmenta apud Syros servata quinque (Gottingae, 1880) pp. 1-76; his variations from A are collated 

LXX  Septuagint 

MT    Massoretic text 

P      Peshitta

r      The symbol employed by Lagarde for Codex Rehdigeranus 

SG   Sprengling and Graham, Barhebraeus' Scholia on the Old Testament.

Part I: Genesis-II Samuel (Chicago, 1931) The letter @ is transliterated with j (e.g. in folio 60d). The style of the collation here (pp. 119-33) is similar to that in SG, for which see details ibid. page xv. For other conventions see page 6.

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Among the Greek Fathers of the Christian church Epiphanius holds an important place. This is not because of his literary ability or his constructive achievements, but rather because of his great and far-reaching influence, in the main reactionary. In literary attainment he takes very low rank, but his influence was much greater. Jiilicher says that he converted Jerome from an admirer of Origen to an antagonist, and that it was essentially through his influence that after a.d. 400 the free scientific theology of Origen was outlawed by the church. And, again, "etwas Rätselhaftes behält die Stärke des Einflusses, den dieser überaus beschränkte Mann auf seine Zeitgenossen und die Nachwelt übte." 1

Epiphanius was born about a.d. 315 near Eleutheropolis in Palestine. He is thought to have been of Jewish parentage. While yet a youth he went to Egypt. The monastic movement was just getting under way, and he became a staunch adherent. At the age of twenty he returned to Palestine, and at this time he met Jerome and Rufinus and the three became firm friends, though the friendship with Rufinus was later lost in the dispute over Origen. Epiphanius founded a monastery and became its head. He was ordained a presbyter and rose to the rank of bishop. He attained fame for his piety and orthodoxy, and it was because of this fame that he was elevated to the bishopric of Constantia (Salamis), the principal city of Cyprus, where he remained from 367 until his death in 403. In Cyprus his two great ambitions were the establishment of monasticism and the uprooting of heresy. He planted monasteries throughout the island, and combated heresy both in personal disputations and in his writings. His first book was the Ἀγκυρωτός ("Anchored"), a discourse on the true faith. His second and most famous was Κατὰ αἱπέσεων (called also by the Latinized name Panarion), in which he undertook to refute eighty heresies, beginning as far back as the pre-Christian Samaritans, |2 Sadducees, and Stoics. In his enthusiastic heresy-hunting he came to believe that Origen was the source of practically all the later heresies, especially of Arianism. He brought Jerome to this view, and one of the last acts of his life was a combat with Chrysostom. The story of his final parting from the Bishop of Constantinople 2 is not to be taken literally, but it reveals something of the spirit of Epiphanius and of his times. Having rebuked Chrysostom for harboring heretics, he expressed the wish that Chrysostom might not die a bishop. The latter is said to have rejoined with a wish that Epiphanius might not live to get home. Both these things actually came to pass. Epiphanius died at sea on his return to Cyprus, in 403.

Weights and Measures was composed in 392. Epiphanius also composed a treatise on the twelve stones in the breastplate of Aaron. This latter does not exist in its complete form, but it is most fully preserved in a Latin translation. Two of Epiphanius' letters have been preserved, one to Jerome, the other to John of Jerusalem. In 1915 Sir E. A. Wallis Budge published a Coptic version of a Discourse on the Holy Virgin by Epiphanius.3 There exists also the Ἀνακεφαλαίωσις, an abridgment of the Panarion. But this is little more than a compilation of the various epitomes prefixed by Epiphanius to the various volumes (τομοι) of the Panarion, and it is the opinion of Karl Holl that the Ἀνακεφαλαίωσις was put in its present form by someone else.4 The Migne edition of the Fathers gives other things with which the name of Epiphanius has been associated, but which are evidently not from his hand.


The complete Weights and Measures exists in Syriac only. In fact, it is not known what was the original title, if it had one. Not one of the older Greek manuscripts has the title from the hand of the original scribe. The Codex Parisinus Graecus 835 has the title Περὶ μέτρων καὶ σταθμῶν, added by a later hand. Codex Vindobonensis suppl. gr. |3 91 has some of its material disarranged. Weights and Measures is divided into two parts, and there is no title for the first. At the beginning of the second part someone has added the foregoing Greek title in the margin. The text of this part begins: Περὶ τῶν ἐν ταῖς θείαις γραφ-
(sic) σταθμῶν τε καὶ μέτρων καὶ ἀριθμῶν δηλώσαντες.5 The oldest Syriac manuscript has the title: @@. It is readily apparent that the title is inadequate, for the work is really "die Urform eines Bibellexikons," as Jülicher well says.6 Viedebantt says: "Librum enim non ab ipso Epiphanio ita inscriptum esse inde luce clarius apparet, quod mensurae et pondera exigua tantum libelli parte continentur, cum ceteras paginas varia rerum materies expleat."7 Indeed, the work contains much material that has no relation to weights or measures, and it could much more appropriately be called a Bible handbook.


As stated above, the Weights and Measures in its complete form exists in only the Syriac version, of which there are two manuscripts, both in the British Museum. The Museum has numbered them Or. Add. 17148 (the older) and Or. Add. 14620. According to the colophon at the end of the older, it was written between a.d. 648 and a.d. 659. The colophon is partly gone and no longer gives the month or the last figure in the year number. But this is certainly the oldest known manuscript of Epiphanius. The other Syriac manuscript is thought to be from the 9th century. Both are on vellum. Hitherto the Syriac text has been published only by Paul de Lagarde.8 He attempted to reconstruct the original text on the basis of the two manuscripts mentioned, giving his collation in footnotes. But no Syriac type was available at Gottingen, and the result is a most unusual specimen of Syriac printed in Hebrew letters. The Pauly-Wissowa Real-Encyclopädie says it is "sehr schlecht ediert."9 |4 

In the original language Weights and Measures is preserved in a mutilated form only, in five principal manuscripts and a number of fragments. Manuscripts important for other works of Epiphanius are not considered here except incidentally. The five major manuscripts are:

1.  Codex Jenensis (ms. Bose 1), a bombycine manuscript dated 1304. Holl says this comes from Codex Urbinas 17/18, a manuscript of the 12th or 13th century no longer containing anything about weights and measures. This manuscript came into the possession of Dindorf, who issued his edition of Epiphanius in 1859-62. But as early as 1543 Janus Cornarius had published a Latin translation of the manuscript; Joannes Oporinus published the Greek itself in 1544.

2.  Codex Rehdigeranus 240 (Breslau) is a parchment of the 15th century, said by Holl to have been derived from Codex Jenensis.10 Dindorf says, "ab codice Jenensi non discrepans nisi in rebus levissimis." 11 Lagarde used this manuscript in his edition of the Greek text.12

3.  Codex Parisinus Graecus 835, a paper manuscript of the 16th century. Holl says it was derived from Codex Rehdigeranus 240.13 Dindorf pronounces it to have been copied from a codex very much like ("simillimus") Codex Jenensis.14 This manuscript was the basis for Weights and Measures in the edition of Epiphanius published by Dionysius Petau, or Petavius, in 1622. Dindorf used the edition of Petavius, and Lagarde used the edition of Oporinus, as one of his main sources.

4.  Codex Vindobonensis suppl. gr. 91, a paper manuscript which Dindorf attributes to the 14th century. He adds: "Ipse quoque Jenensi est simillimus, propria vero sibi habet vitia orthographica imperiti librarii diphthongos et vocales pronunciatione similes saepissime confundentis, quod raro commisit antiquior et peritior codicis Jenensis librarius."15 Holl calls it a descendant or a twin of Codex Urbinas 17/18,16 from which Codex Jenensis also is said to have come. |5 Viedebantt says of this manuscript: "Lectiones nusquam adnotatae sunt."17

5. Codex Laurentianus VI 12, a bombycine codex of the 14th century, of the same ancestry as Codex Jenensis according to Holl.18 So far as the writer is aware, this last has never been used in any edition. The known Greek manuscripts containing material on weights and measures thus seem to be very closely related.


In the preface to his fourth volume of the works of Epiphanius, Dindorf quotes two fragments of the first part of Weights and Measures. The subjects and sources are as follows:

1.  On the LXX translators and τῶν παρερμηνευσάντων. This was first edited by Montfaucon, in his Prolegomena ad Origenis Hexapla, from Codex Parisinus Graecus 146 (earlier called Regius 1807) and a certain Codex Vaticanus.19

2.  On the creation of the world. This was taken by Dindorf from Codex Venetus Marcianus Graecus 125.

The first three Greek manuscripts previously listed 20 deal for the most part with the weights and measures per se in a very fragmentary fashion. Their text is in general agreement with the Syriac version in the discussion of the kor, lethekh, homer, bath, menasis, medimnos, seah, and modius. But here divergence appears. The Greek material on all the remaining weights and measures is but a small fraction of what the Syriac has preserved. In his Quaestiones Epiphanianae Viedebantt lists various fragments containing material on weights and measures which is much the same as the concluding portions of the Greek manuscripts just mentioned. Some of these fragments are to be found in Lagarde's Symmicta I (Gottingen, 1877) 210-25. Others are in Fridericus Hultsch, Metrologicorum scriptorum reliquiae I (Lipsiae, 1864) 267-76. For his own material and for Hultsch's Lagarde has a convenient index in his Symmicta II 184 f. There is an old Latin fragment in Hultsch's second volume (pp. 100-106). |6 Viedebantt notes also certain Greek fragments perhaps not yet published.21 Besides the foregoing there is a considerable extract in the Karkaphensian manuscript belonging to Mar Severius, archbishop of Syria and the Lebanon, a photograph of which is owned by the University of Chicago (fol. 397a, 1. 23 - fol. 398a, 1. 16).22


This is essentially an edition of the Syriac version of the Weights and Measures. Or. Add. 17148 of the British Museum is here reproduced photographically, following our translation. Then comes the collation of Or. Add. 14620, the Lagarde edition of 1880, and the unpublished fragment of Epiphanius in the Karkaphensian manuscript mentioned above. Square brackets in the translation indicate words supplied from the margin of the basic manuscript or from Or. Add. 14620. Parentheses inclose words required by the English idiom. Footnotes indicate the striking Greek variants as gleaned from the editions of Migne, Dindorf, and Lagarde. A single folio of Or. Add. 14620 which could not be conveniently collated appears as Appendix I. The translation of section 21 of the Greek forms Appendix II, and the fragmentary conclusion of the Greek manuscripts has been translated and appears as Appendix III. The weights and measures discussed have been summarized in Appendix IV.


Anyone making a careful study of the Weights and Measures will find himself confronting some very puzzling problems, such as these:

1. How did the introductory three sections of the Syriac version arise?23 The Greek manuscripts have nothing like them, unless it be their curtailed conclusion dealing specifically with weights and measures. The first of these sections of the Syriac may well be in its original position, for in both the Ἀγκυρωτός and the Panarion an introduction gives the circumstances of the compilation. The two sections that follow here claim to be "a list in brief of the topics found in this treatise," but it is neither a complete nor an orderly list. It might serve as a |7 summary of most of the latter part of Weights and Measures, if the order of the two sections were reversed. Epiphanius prefixed a sort of summary to each volume (τομος) of the Panarion, and he may well have done the same for the two parts of Weights and Measures. If so, the summary of the first part was lost, or nearly so; for the fragment edited by Montfalcon, cited above, is called an epitome by Viedebantt.24 The curtailed portion of the Greek dealing with the weights and measures per se may be from the summary of that part. Just how the portion of the summary preserved in the Syriac found its present place, a part of it in reverse order, may never be determined.

2.  How did the long interpolation in section 21 originate? This is a mere catalogue of measures and is unmistakably interpolated in the midst of the discussion of the kor in both the Greek and the Syriac. It must have been inserted by some clumsy scribe, and seems to be part of an index for Weights and Measures. In both word order and phrasing it is surprisingly like part of the summary prefixed to the Syriac version, and here Viedebantt would find its source.25

3.  Where did Epiphanius get his data on the Ptolemies and the Roman emperors? Most certainly from the Chronicle of Eusebius; for he expressly quotes that work elsewhere, and the reigns of the Roman emperors agree in remarkable fashion. But this is not the whole story. His figures do not exactly agree with any existing version of Eusebius (the original being long since lost), but there is one most interesting agreement with the Bodleian manuscript of Jerome's version. Cleopatra reigned 51-30 B.C., but Epiphanius says thirty-two years. All the versions of Eusebius say twenty-two except this manuscript of Jerome's. It read originally XXII, but someone has inserted another X and thus made it XXXII.26 Is it possible that this very error misled Epiphanius? He and Jerome were intimate friends, and one of his letters to Jerome is extant. Jerome called Epiphanius the "five-tongued," and Latin was one of the five.

4.  Did Epiphanius complete his treatise on weights and measures, or did he leave merely a first draft of an unfinished work? This latter |8 is the view of Lagarde, who says: "ausserdem ist mir sicher, dass wir kein herausgegebenes buch vor uns haben, sondern die abschrift einer kladde, in welcher gleichwertige versuche, eine fassung zu gewinnen, gelegentlich nebeneinander standen: diese sind in den verschiedenen abschriften je nach belieben der kopisten gerettet worden."27 It would surely be strange for such a work as this, written in 392, to remain yet a mere first draft upon the death of the author eleven years later, in 403. When the character of the other works of Epiphanius is taken into consideration, there is no need to regard the original which lies back of the Syriac version as "die abschrift einer kladde." His style was far from elegant and was also repetitious. Moreover, in section 57 he seems to describe his method of procedure in the composition of this work. He says: "No one of those who have met with these weights and measures which have been mentioned by us for the second time can find fault, as though the writing were without purpose, instead of to teach accuracy; for although we spoke of them heretofore somewhat briefly, we have now set down for the sake of accuracy those things also that had been abbreviated." Perhaps there is here a reference to the fact that he wrote his summary first and later the more expanded form, as was the custom with ancient Greek writers. Such considerations lead Viedebantt to challenge Lagarde's statement and to conclude: "Quare nihil est causae, cur cum Lagardio non ab ipso Epiphanio librum editum esse sumamus."28 It ought to be added that, even in those sections for which no corresponding Greek is preserved, the Syriac shows in many places unmistakable evidence of a Greek original. This can be seen in the new translation here presented and in the footnotes.


As early as A.D. 200 Galen, a Greek physician, often made mention of "those writing on weights and measures." Dardanius wrote about weights in the latter part of the 4th century, and Diodorus a little later. That this work by Epiphanius was thus by no means indispensable among the Greeks may account largely for the present state of the Greek text. It seems to have been neglected because not |9 recognized as of special value. But when translated into Syriac the work filled a larger need and found for itself a much more secure place. As late as 1272 Epiphanius is frequently quoted by Barhebraeus in his Awsar 'Raze or scholia on the Sacred Scriptures. The Syriac version of Weights and Measures was so highly treasured that an extract from it is even found in the Karkaphensian Massorah manuscript to which we have already referred.

[Notes to introduction moved to the end]

1. 1 Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft VI (Stuttgart, 1909) 194.

2. 2 Encyclopaedia Britannica, 9th ed., VIII (1878) 482.

3. 3 Miscellaneous Coptic Texts in the Dialect of Upper Egypt (London, 1915) pp. 120-46.

4. 4 "Die handschriftliche Überlieferung des Epiphanius" (Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, hrsg. von Adolf Harnack und Carl Schmidt, Bd. XXXVI, Heft 2 [Leipzig, 1910] pp. 95-98).

5. 5 Ibid. p. 57.                 

6. 6 Pauly-Wissowa, Real-Encyclopädie VI 193.

7. 7 Oscarius Viedebantt, Quaestiones Epiphanianae metrologicae et criticae (Lipsiae, 1908) p. 1.

8. 8  Veteris Testamenti ab Origene recensiti fragmenta apud Syros servata quinque. Praemittitur Epiphanii de mensuris et ponderibus liber nunc primum integer et ipse syriacus (Gottingae, 1880).

9. 9 Loc. cit.

10. 10 Holl, op. cit. p. 94.

11. 11 Epiphanii episcopi Constantiae opera, ed. G. Dindorfius, I (Lipsiae, 1859) vi.

12. 12 Symmicta II (Gottingen, 1880) 152-83.

13. 13 Op. cit. pp. 72 f. and 94.

14. 14 Op. cit. p. v.             

15. 16 Ibid. p. vi.             

16. 17 Op. cit. p. 63.

17. 17 Quaestiones Epiphanianae, p. 25.

18. 18 Op. cit. pp. 80, 87, 94.

19. 19 Viedebantt, op. cit. p. 26.

20. 20 Nothing is said for the other two, since they are not cited for this part of the work by either Dindorf or Lagarde.

21. 21 Op. tit. pp. 27 f.

22. 22 It is hoped that this may be published by Dr. Martin Sprengling.

23. 23 Section divisions follow Lagarde, but the numbers of these first three sections have been italicized.

24. 24 Op. cit. p. 26.                       

25. 25 Op. cit. pp. 12-15.

26. 26 The Bodleian Manuscript of Jerome's Version of the Chronicle of Eusebius, reproduced in collotype with an introd. by J. K. Fotheringham (Oxford, 1905) fol. 103b.

27. 27 Symmicta II 183.

28. 28 Quaestiones Epiphanianae, p. 23.

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