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Eusebius of Caesarea, Chronicle book 1 (2008).  Introduction by Robert Bedrosian

Eusebius' Chronicle

Translated from Classical Armenian by Robert Bedrosian

For my sister Karen Bedrosian Richardson

This work is in the public domain. It may be copied and distributed freely.

Translator's Preface

[i] Eusebius, (ca. 263-ca. 339) author of the Chronicle translated below, was a major Christian author and cleric of the fourth century. His other writings, many of which have survived, include the Ecclesiastical History, the Life of Constantine, historical, martyrological, apologetic, dogmatic, exegetical, and miscellaneous works. Although originally written in Greek, his important Chronicle (Chronography, or Chronicon) has survived fully only in an Armenian translation of the 5th century, of which our present edition is a translation. A fifth century Latin translation (known as Jerome's Chronicle) contains only the second part of Eusebius' two-part work, namely the chronological tables which accompany the text of Book One. Nonetheless, the Latin translation of the chronlogical tables is invaluable, since the beginning and ending of the corresponding Armenian parts of Book Two are damaged. Reflecting 5th century Armenia's multi-lingual cultural milieu, Eusebius' Chronicle initially was translated into Armenian from the original Greek, then corrected using a Syriac edition. During the same period Eusebius' other influential work, the Ecclesiastical History, was translated into Armenian from the Syriac. From almost the moment of their translation, Eusebius' works played an important role in the development of Armenian historical writing.

Many of Eusebius' extant Greek texts were written while the author worked at the library in Caesarea Palestina founded by the scholar Origen (ca. 185—ca. 254), where he had access to numerous works of antiquity which have not survived. Eusebius' welcome technique of including sometimes lengthy passages from such lost works guaranteed his writings an important place in historical literature, quite apart from his impressive literary and analytical abilities. These general characteristics of Eusebius' work are particularly highlighted in the Chronicle. The Chronicle was the ancient world's first systematic, chronologically sound, universal history. It begins with the earliest extant written records available to our author and continues to his own day, that is to the year 325. Among the sources cited and often quoted from at length are Berosus, Alexander Polyhistor, Abydenus, Josephus, Castor, Diodorus, Cephalion, various named translations of the Bible, the writings of Manetho, Porphyrius, and others. In a brief introduction, Eusebius describes the plan of his work. He proposes to give a prose description of salient events and personalities from the civilizations of the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Medes, Lydians, Persians, Hebrews, Egyptians, and Greeks, plus listings of the Greek Olympiads, and the rulers of the Greek city-states, the Macedonians, and Romans.

[ii] I will convert all the material collected about all these folk into chronological tables. Including, from the beginning, who from each nation ruled as king and for how long, I will put these [facts] into separate [chronological tables] together with the number of years involved. In this way, if we need to know who ruled and for how long [that information] will be easily and quickly accessible. Furthermore, the valiant deeds of each kingdom, which all nations have transmitted, I will place in summary form within [my account] of [these] kingdoms. However, that [material] will be in the second part of this work [Book Two].
Thus the text of Book One carefully established the chronological framework from which the tables in Book Two derived. To modern historians, syncretic chronological tables are taken for granted. However, it was Eusebius who introduced them initially and accurately in the Chronicle. This was a radical, revolutionary development in Eusebius' day, not sufficiently appreciated in modern works on historiography.

In addition to its importance as a source for Western historians on the most ancient known recorded history of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Mediterranean lands generally, Eusebius' Chronicle is a virtually untapped source for contemporary Armenists. It contains the classical Armenian equivalents of the names of gods, mythological creatures, Olympic sporting events and other terms rarely encountered or so precisely defined elsewhere in Armenian historical literature. Beyond its value for historians, anthropologists, and linguists, the Chronicle presents hitherto unexplored material regarding the possible role of extraterrestrial beings in the creation and development of human civilization.


Unlike any of the other translations in the present series, both Eusebius and his Chronicle have a substantial Internet presence. For this reason, readers are urged to consult the links suggested below for materials prepared by specialists. A general biography of Eusebius with references is available from Wikipedia. An excellent annotated bibliography of Eusebius' writings is available in the online article Editions and Translations of Eusebius of Caesarea by Roger Pearse. For a description of the manuscript tradition, see the same author's online Eusebius of Caesarea: the Manuscripts of the "Chronicle" which includes his English translation of a German lecture by Dr. Armenuhi Drost-Abgaryan on the Armenian manuscript tradition.

[iii] The present work was translated from the classical Armenian text published in 1818 in Venice by the philologist Father Mkrtich' Awgerean (known in the West as Jean-Baptiste Aucher). Aucher's bilingual edition (classical Armenian and Latin), once a collector's item, now is available as a free download (.pdf format) from Google Books. The Armenian Chronicle subsequently was translated again into Latin by Julius Heinrich Petermann and Alfred Schoene (known as the Schoene-Petermann edition, 1875/76), and into German by Josef Karst (1911). Karst's German translation is available online courtesy of R. Pearse. While the present work is the first English translation of the Armenian version of Eusebius' Chronicle, it is not the first English translation of the Chronicle. That distinction belongs to the noteworthy collaborative work of Andrew Smith, Roger Pearse and colleagues who made an English translation from the Latin translation of Schoene-Petermann, and placed it online. We made frequent use of their work during our own translation, especially for Greek and Latin names and dates. Indeed, it is unlikely that we would have undertaken such an enormous task without their important contribution as a guide. Hopefully the present translation will clear up some of the questions indicated in their work. Eusebius' chronological charts, which accompanied the text of the Chronicle, also were given to the public by Roger Pearse. We have included them with our work, since they cannot be equalled. The reader is encouraged to explore at length the websites of the polymaths Smith and Pearse [The Tertullian Project, Early Church Fathers, and Roger Pearse's Pages] to see what can be accomplished by motivated scholars who also possess virtuoso computer skills. Their accomplishments are all the more impressive and welcome since they are freely given, for public enlightenment.

The transliteration employed here is a modification of the Library of Congress system, substituting x for the LOC's kh, for the thirteenth character of the Armenian alphabet. Otherwise we follow the new LOC system for Armenian, which eliminates diacritical marks above or below a character and substitutes the single or double quotation mark to the character's right. In the LOC romanization, the seventh character of the alphabet appears as e', the eighth as e", the twenty-eighth as r', and the thirty-eighth, as o'.

Robert Bedrosian
Long Branch, New Jersey 2008

A Note on Pagination

The printed editions of these online texts show the page number at the top of the page. In the right margin the pagination of the classical Armenian (grabar) text also is provided. We have made the following alterations for the online texts: the page number of the printed English editions (Sources of the Armenian Tradition series) appears in square brackets, in the text. For example [101] this text would be located on page 101, and [102] this text would be on page 102. The grabar pagination is as follows. This sentence corresponds to the information found on page 91 of the classical Armenian text [g91] and what follows is on page 92. In other words, the classical Armenian text delimiters [gnn] indicate bottom of page.

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