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Babylonian Canon of Ptolemy

1 Nabonassaros Nabonasar 14 747734
2 Nadios Nab-nadin-zer 2 733732
3 Chinzer and Poros Tiglath-Pileser III 5 731727
4 Iloulaios Salmaneser V 5 726722
5 Mardokempados Marduk-apla-iddina II 12 721710
6 Arkeanos Sargon II 6 709704
7 Without kings 2 704703
8 Bilibos Bl-ipni 3 702700
9 Aparanadios Assur-nadin-sumni 6 699694
10 Rhegebelos Nergal-usezib 1 693692
11 Mesesimordakos Musezib-Marduk 4 692689
12 Without kings8 688681
13 Asaradinos Esarhaddon 13 680668
14 Saosdouchinos Samas-suma-ukin 20 667648
15 Kineladanos Kandalanu 22 647626
Babylonian / Mede
16 Nabopolassaros Nabopolassar 21 625605
17 Nabokolassaros Nebuchadnezzar II 43 604562
18 Illoaroudamos Amel-Marduk 2 561560
19 Nerigasolassaros Neriglissar 4 559556
20 Nabonadios Nabonidus 17 555539
21 Kyros Cyrus the Great 9 538530
22 Kambysos Cambyses II 8 529522
23 Dareios the First Darius I the Great 36 521486
24 Xerxes Xerxes I 21 485465
25 Artaxerxes the First Artaxerxes I Makrocheir 41 464424
26 Dareios the Second Darius II Nothus 19 423405
27 Artaxerxes the Second Artaxerxes II Mnemon 46 404359
28 Ochos Artaxerxes III Ochus 21 358338
29 Arogos Artaxerxes IV Arses 2 337336
30 Dareios the Third Darius III Codomannus 4 335332

The astronomical records of the ancients, by whose means it is possible to fix with certainty the chronology of the earlier centuries of the "times of the Gentiles," are contained in the "Syntaxis," or "Almagest" of Ptolemy. Ptolemy's great work, the "Almagest," is a treatise on astronomy, setting forth the researches of ancient observers and mathematicians. The chronological value of the " Almagest" is owing to the fact that it interweaves a series of ancient dates with a series of celestial positions. It contains a complete catalogue of the succession of Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman monarchs, from Nabonassar to Hadrian and Antoninus, together with the dates of their accession and the duration of their reigns. The ' Syntaxis' of Ptolemy contains an account of many historic events, and blended with them is a multitude of astronomic observations. The astronomic and historic cannot be separated, and they must both stand or fall together. The astronomic can be rigidly verified, and the truth of the historic is a legitimate deduction.

The Canon of Ptolemy is a chronological work, with astronomical notes, beginning with the foundation of the middle Babylonian empire by Nabonassar in BC 747. In spite of certain artificial arrangements, it is a valuable historical document, and stands the test of comparison with the Assyrian Canon. The canon of Ptolemy is a chronological document, which had no object in view except to deduce with historical exactness the succession of time, through the various dynasties of the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, Egyptian, and Roman kings or emperors, from the first year of the era of Nabonassar to his own time in the reign of Antoninus Pius.

The date BC 538, for the taking of Babylon by Cyrus, is assumed to be established beyond all controversy, on the authority of the Babylonian Canon of Ptolemy the astronomer. For Ptolemy, adopting the opinion of all the Greek historians who wrote concerning Persia, (who are opposed nevertheless by all Asiatic authorities,) knew but of one Cyrus king of Persia, and naturally, therefore, took it for granted that Cyrus who conquered Babylon was Cyrus father of that Cambyses, whose seventh year as king of Babylon, B.C. 523, he had rightly fixed by an eclipse of the moon recorded at Babylon in that year of his reign. Ptolemy indeed has not taken this date without consideration, and at random: for it is the traditional and true date of the year following the death of Astyages king of Media, B.C. 539, and therefore truly the date of the first year of Cyrus I, father of Cambyses.

This invaluable Canon, representing the unbroken imperial rule administered by successive dynasties of Gentile empires, is divided by Ptolemy into four distinct parts.

  1. Babylonian kings, twenty in number.
  2. Persian kings, ten in number, terminating with Alexander the Great, of Macedon, eleven names in all.
  3. Grecian kings, twelve in number.
  4. Roman emperors, twelve in number.

The sum of years given in the calendar is divided into two parts : first, 424 years, from Nabonassar to Alexander of Macedon; and secondly, 483 years, from Philip Aridaeus to Antoninus Pius. This scheme of reckoning was so almost universally received in the 19th Century, and had become so much part and parcel of authorised Bibles by insertion in the margin, that it may not improperly be styled the orthodox reckoning of Scripture chronology.

As the prophet Daniel employed the four successive empires of Babylon, and Persia, and Greece, and Rome, in the capacity of The Grand Calendar Of Prophecy, so Ptolemy employed the very same four empires in the construction of his invaluable Canon ; because the several lines of their sovereigns so begin and end, when the one line is engrafted upon the other line, as to form a single unbroken series from Nabonassar to Augustus Ciesar.

The prophet Daniel, who was cognisant of all the great events of the century, having served in the Courts of Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Belshazzar, and Darius, 4ells us that Jerusalem lay desolate after its destruction by the Chaldees just seventy years, and that these seventy years expired about the first year of the reign of his master Darius king of Babylon. But, with regard to the Book of Daniel, so little has this hook (as now received) the framework of chronicle, that it presents four kings in succession, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus, whom no discoverable history arranges in that order.

Where Ptolemy makes the Persian Cyrus the immediate successor of the Babylonian Nabonadius, or Belshazzar, without taking into account the preceding kings of Persia or of Media, there, in the image, the silver joins itself to the gold ; where Ptolemy makes the Grecian Alexander the immediate successor of the Persian Darius, without taking into account the preceding kings of Macedon, there, in the image, the brass joins itself to the silver ; aud where Ptolemy makes the Roman Augustus the immediate successor of the Grecian Cleopatra, without taking into account the loug preceding roll of the consular Fasti and the primitive Roman monarchy, there, in the image, the iron joins itself to the brass.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:48:41 ZULU