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Siege of Miletus, 494 BC
The siege of Miletus (494 BC) followed the Ionian naval defeat in the battle of Lade, and saw the Persians recapture the city that had triggered the Ionian Revolt in 499.
The revolt had originally been led by Aristagoras, tyrant of Miletus. He had fled from the city during the first major Persian counterattack in 497-496 and died in a minor siege in Thrace, but the Persians still considered Miletus to be their most important enemy.
In 494 the Persians raised a 600-strong fleet and a large army, and advanced towards Miletus. The Ionians managed to gather a fleet of 353 ships, which they posted at Lade, then an island just to the west of Miletus (since then the Maeander River has silted up its estuary and both Miletus and Lade are now inland.
When the Persians attacked the Ionian fleet fell apart, with several contingents deserting the cause (starting with the Samians, and then the Lesbians). The part of the fleet that did stay and fight suffered a heavy defeat, and the survivors scattered back to their home cities (or even further afield in some cases).
This left Miletus isolated in the face of the Persian army. The Ionians had decided to focus most of their effort on the fleet, leaving the Milesians to defend their own city.
The resulting siege appears to have been quite lengthy. Herodotus records that the Persians undermined the walls, and other sources suggest that battering rams were used as well. Eventually the city was captured, and devastated. According to Herodotus the Persians killed most of the men, enslaved the women and children and destroyed the shrines at Didyma. Archaeological evidence supports the idea that there was significant destruction at this point, and the harbour area was abandoned. Miletus had been one of the great cities of the Greek world, but it took centuries for it to recover from this blow.
The Persians then went on to restore control of the rest of Ionian and the remaining rebel cities in the Hellespont area. In 494 and the first part of 493 they acted with a similar level of ferocity as at Miletus, but eventually they adopted a more conciliatory approach, which helped restore some normality to the area.
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Histiaeus, (died 494/493 bc ), tyrant of the Anatolian city of Miletus under the Persian king Darius I and a reputed instigator of the revolt (499–494) of the Ionian Greeks against Darius.
According to Herodotus, Histiaeus rendered great service to Darius during the king’s Scythian campaign (c. 513) by persuading the tyrants of other cities not to destroy the Danubian bridge over which the Persians were to return. Histiaeus received Thracian territory as a reward. Darius, however, became distrustful of Histiaeus and recalled him to Susa, where he held him a virtual prisoner. Histiaeus’ son-in-law Aristagoras replaced him as ruler of Miletus.
According to a questionable account by Herodotus, Histiaeus sent Aristagoras a secret message encouraging him to stir up the Ionians to revolt. After persuading Darius that he could quell the disturbances, Histiaeus was allowed to leave Susa. On his arrival at the Lydian coast, however, he found himself suspected of disloyalty by the satrap (provincial governor) Artaphernes and was ultimately driven to establish himself as a pirate at Byzantium. After the total defeat of the Ionian fleet (c. 495), Histiaeus made various attempts to reestablish himself but was captured and crucified at Sardis by Artaphernes.
(2) Metals and Weight Standards of Milesian Coins
The earliest coins of Miletus and Lydia were not made of gold or silver but rather of , a naturally-occurring alloy of gold and silver that was especially common in the Lydian rivers. Since the gold/silver ratio in natural electrum is variable, the Lydian kings purposely regulated the proportion of gold in their coinage to guarantee that it would have a consistent value (and almost certainly to guarantee that it would generate a profit for themselves, as well). Although the gold content of the earliest Lydian coins appears to have been closely regulated, at least some of the Ionian Greek cities—including Samos, a few miles off the coast from Miletus—issued early electrum coins that were highly variable in gold content, although this was not readily detectable because copper was routinely added to maintain consistency of color (Konuk, in press). Much remains to be learned, even today, about the details of early electrum coinage production. Progress in this area will certainly depend upon techniques of materials analysis that have only become available within the last few years (Keyser and Clark, 2001).
The economic uncertainties that followed from the use of an alloyed metal for coinage soon led to the widespread replacement of electrum issues with separate series of gold and silver coins, and this innovation was made by the Lydian king Croesus (Kroisos), who ruled from 561–546 BC . Just as the oil of the Middle Eastern countries has made them wealthy today, so the electrum, gold, and silver of Lydia made that country wealthy in the sixth century BC . The expression “as rich as Croesus” has been a by-word for wealth for more than 2500 years.
(2a) Weight Standards Used at Miletus
If you ask him, “How much is the sea-bass?” he answers, “Ten obols,” not saying what kind. Then, when you pay him the silver, he makes you pay Aeginetan but if he has to give back small change, he pays you back in Attic, and in each case he has the fee for changing.
—Diphilus, Polypragmon ( The Busybody ), 300 BC (Melville Jones, 1993: 381)
The technicalities of the weight standards used in ancient coinage are very complex and will not be examined in detail here (see Kraay, 1976 Melville Jones, 1986). For our purposes four weight standards are of importance: the early , used for the early electrum coins of Miletus and their silver successors the Chian or , used for the Milesian silver Apollo/lion issues of the fourth century BC the Attic-Euboic or , used at Miletus mainly for the extensive imperial coinage of Alexander the Great, as well as for a few later large-denomination strikings and the Persian or , used (often in a slightly reduced form) for much of the Milesian silver coinage of the third and second centuries BC .
The Lydo-Milesian standard was likely borrowed from the Near East (Balmuth, 2001), and it was based on dividing a larger unit, the or “standard,” into fractions. An electrum stater, weighing about 14 grams, may have represented a month’s pay for a soldier, and electrum fractions as small as one ninety-sixth were commonly issued. At the high end of the scale, not used in regular exchange, was the , which equalled 60, or later 50, staters. The earliest electrum staters of Miletus are quite beautiful, and feature a crouching lion with its head reverted—a in the language of Medieval heraldry. Smaller fractions in this series feature a lion’s head only, or a facing lion’s mask. The lion was the civic badge of Miletus, and lions in some form appear on nearly all of the city’s coinage, from the sixth-century electrum issues to the first-century bronzes. One of the city’s harbors had two lion sculptures, looking much like the crouching lions on the early staters, flanking its entrance.
The smallest of the small: It has long been said that the smallest Lydo-Milesian electrum denomination was the ninety-sixth stater with a standard weight of 0.15 g . One of the many known examples of this denomination is Kayhan #691 (Konuk, 2002), a minuscule electrum nugget featuring what appears to be a human eye on the obverse. Konuk has recently concluded that this specimen is in fact half of a ninety-sixth stater: “This tiny coin, which is in perfect condition with no sign of wear whatsoever, weighs half as much [as a ninety-sixth] and should perhaps be considered as a 1/192nd of a stater. At just 0.08 g this particular specimen is the lightest electrum coin that we have been able to record” (Konuk, 2003: 33). I believe that some of the smallest Milesian silver fractions may be 1/192nds as well.
A further note: Lot 190 of the Triton XIII sale (4 January 2010) is “apparently the second known” example of a Lydo-Milesian electrum 1/192nd.
In contrast to the Lydo-Milesian standard, which was based on dividing a stater into fractions, the family of weight standards that were more strictly Greek, including the Attic and Rhodian standards, were based on adding small units ( or iron spits) into groups ( or handfuls). The value of the original 2 kg iron obol (a spit) was translated into a small silver coin of the same value, also called an obol, that weighed, under the Attic standard, about 0.72 g .
The table below summarizes the known denominations of the Lydo-Milesian standard and their rough equivalents under the later Rhodian, Attic, and Persic standards.
(2) Miletus · Lion Protome / Abstract Sun Design · Electrum · 550–494 BC
As noted above, this general Milesian twelfth-stater type is known almost exclusively in silver. A few rare electrum specimens have been recorded however I am aware of the following published examples:
One possible electrum specimen of this type (RJO 79) is included in this collection. Both the obverse and reverse styles of this specimen are somewhat similar to Kayhan #482, although they are certainly not die duplicates. There is black spotting on the surface of this specimen, which could indicate that it is a fourrée, but this may be surface encrustation also. If it is a forgery, is it an ancient forgery or a modern one? And if it is a forgery, is it possible that the other published electrum examples are also forgeries?
(2a) EL ? Lydo-Milesian 1/12 Stater (1.18 g )
Electrum examples of this type are known only in twelfth-stater denominations.
The original topographical position of Miletus was on a peninsula at the S side of the opening to the Latmian Gulf. The natural harbors of the site gained additional shelter from the offshore island of Lade to the W. In contrast to Ephesus, Smyrna, and other Anatolian ports situated at the opening of broad valleys leading to the interior, Miletus had mountainous terrain at its back. The city was therefore more completely maritime in character and when silt deposited by the Maeander River closed the gulf and extended the shore line (today it is ca. 10 km beyond Miletus), the economy collapsed.
The early Archaic city of Miletus appears to have been centered around the temple of Athena, located between the southwestern Athena harbor and the central Theater harbor. After the Persian destruction in the beginning of the 5th century B.C. the city rebuilt and made extensive use of the grid system developed by the Milesian architect Hippodamos. The city center moved toward the NE, to the area between the base of the Lions harbor and E of the Theater harbor.
The remains of the Hellenistic and Roman city cover all of the flat area of the peninsula N of the Kalabak Tepe and were enclosed by a city wall completed in the 4th century B.C. The larger Athena and Theater harbors were backed by the city wall, but the narrower, more defendable Lion harbor allowed an opening in the city wall. This was sealed by a chain in time of danger.
In addition to the three W harbors at Miletus ships could also be landed on the east side of the city. The Lion harbor was the principal port of the city and was surrounded on three sides by quays, warehouses, and shops. At the S base of the Lion harbor is the North agora and the sanctuary of Apollo. Below the North agora is the South agora (the largest agora in the Greek world: 164 x 196 m) and the civic center of the city. Located here are the bouleuterion, major temples and hero shrines, the nymphaeum, and the starting point of the Didyma sacred way.
West of the South agora are the Baths of Faustina (the only structure not aligned to the city grid system) and the West gymnasium. Farther W, between the Athena and Theater harbors is the West agora, the latest of the city's three market places. The West agora is immediately N of the temple of Athena. North of the Theater harbor is the theater of Miletus, originally built in the 4th century B.C. and enlarged in the Hellenistic and Roman periods to a final capacity of 15,000 seats.
According to tradition, Miletus was first founded as a trading post by colonists from the Cretan city of Milatos sometime before 1400 B.C. The site appears to have passed into Mycenaean control and finally by the end of the Late Bronze Age into Carian hands. Miletus was the only Ionian city mentioned by Homer, who records that the Carian-led Miletians fought against the Greeks at Troy. Archaeological excavations at Kalabak Tepe, to the SW of the site, verify the early Minoan and Mycenaean presence.
The refounding of Miletus, early in the Iron Age, was traditionally credited to Neleus, a son of the legendary King Kodros of Athens. Neleus and the Ionian Greeks occupied the city, slaughtered the Carian males, and took the women as mates.
Because of its important maritime location and its proximity to the famous sanctuary of Apollo at Didyma, Miletus prospered as a trading center. During the 8th and 7th centuries B.C., Miletus established over 90 colonies throughout the E Aegean from Naucratis in Egypt to Sinope on the Black Sea. The trade and international contacts of Miletus brought a prosperity and cosmopolitan character to the city. In the Archaic period Miletus was a major center for the early development of Greek science and philosophy. By the 6th century B.C. the city had grown in size and extended from the original site on Kalabak Tepe to the area of the harbor of the Lions. The city was renouned throughout the Greek world and was the most important of the 12 cities in the Panionian League.
Although Miletus seems to have had special privileges under Persian rule, it took an active part in the Ionian revolt of 500-494 B.C. Following the Greek defeat at the naval battle of Lade in 494 B.C., the Persians destroyed Miletus and killed or enslaved all the inhabitants. At the same time the sanctuary of Apollo at Didyma was also plundered and destroyed.
In 480 B.C. Greek victory over the Persians restored freedom to the Ionian cities. Miletus joined the Delian League and regained much of its former status. The previous prosperity of Miletus, however, had been based on its sea trade which was hindered by the rise of Athenian naval supremacy.
In 386 B.C. the Ionian cities again came under Persian control as a result of the Kings' Peace settlement. In 334 B.C., in the course of freeing the Ionian cities from Persian rule, Alexander the Great defeated the Persian garrison at Miletus. During the Hellenistic period Miletus passed under the control of a number of dynasties, finally being presented to the Romans by the last Attalid king.
Under Roman rule, Miletus had the status of a free city and continued to flourish until the 4th century A.D. when the silting of the Maeander delta closed the harbors and created a swamp at the former shore line. Miletus had always been predominately a maritime city and the loss of its harbors terminated the life of the city. In the Byzantine period a fortress was constructed on the upper ruins of the theater.
German excavations began at Miletus at the end of the 19th century and continue to the present.
The Ionian Revolt
With the failure of his attempt to intervene in Naxos, Aristagoras found himself in dire straits: unable to repay Artaphernes, he had alienated the Persian government and placed himself in imminent danger. In a desperate attempt to save himself, Aristagoras chose to incite his own subjects, the Ionian Greeks, to revolt against their Persian masters. He was also aided by his father-in-law Histiaeus, the former tyrant of Miletus who was now an advisor to Darius.
In 499 BC Aristagoras called a council of the leading citizens of Miletus and laid out a plan of rebellion. They all came to support idea of revolt, except (famously) for the historian Hecataeus. Aristagoras, who had already dispatched soldiers to arrest the leaders of Mylasa, Termera, and Mytilene, laid down his Persian governorship, and the city adopted a democratic form of government.
The revolt spread quickly through the whole of Ionia, and the Greeks had soon found universal freedom from the Persian governors/tyrants. They realized, however, that the Persian Empire would soon be sending a military expedition to reclaim their cities. As a result, Aristagoras travelled to Greece in an effort to garner support. There he repeated his former tactics of offering money he did not have, alienating Sparta, but gaining the support of Athens and Eretria.
Miletus: (Μίλητος): one of the main Greek cities in Ionia.
Miletus is already mentioned in Hittite sources, which call the site Millawanda and state that it belonged to a political unit called Ahhiyawa , which is probably the kingdom of the Achaeans, although this identification is not uncontested. Archaeologists, digging in the area of the archaic temple of Athena, have distinguished three occupation phases:
- a Minoan settlement,
- a Mycenaean town founded in the second half of the fifteenth century and destroyed at the turn of the third and fourth quarter of the fourteenth century (captured by troops of the Hittite king Mursili II?)
- a walled Late-Mycenaean town that flourished in the thirteenth century and was destroyed in the second half of the twelfth century the founding of this city may have been remembered in the legend told by Strabo that a man named Miletus came to Asia from Crete, together with the Homeric hero Sarpedon. note [Strabo, Geography 14.1.6.]
Miletus was the main Mycenaean settlement in Asia Minor. From Hittite documents, we know that in the east and north, it bordered to a kingdom named Mira, and in the south to Lukka (Lycia). In the first half of the twelfth century, Millawanda was the base of an Anatolian prince named Pijamaradu, whose aggressive policies caused sufficient concern to the king of the Hittites to send a letter to the king of Ahhijawa (the "Tawaglawa Letter").
After the fall of Millawanda, the inhabitants appear to have moved to a hill in the southwest called Kalabak Tepe. Homer reckons these people among the Carians, note [Homer, Iliad 2.867-870.] and that they were indeed assimilated, or took part in a process of ethnogenesis, is confirmed by Herodotus, who says that Miletus was founded by Neileos of Athens his men had no wives, and they married to Carian girls whose fathers the invaders had killed. note [Herodotus, Histories 1.146 and 9.97.] Whatever the historical truth, at the end of the Dark Ages, the city was still or again Greek.
Center of Ionia
The city rapidly expanded. Finds from the eighth century have been done all over the area between Kalabak Tepe and the archaic temple of Athena, and in the sixth century, the city occupied an area that was four times as large, even northeast of the site that was - in the classical and Roman age - the port. Miletus was the unofficial capital of the Ionian Greeks. It sent out colonies, reportedly no less than seventy-five, note [Seneca, Consolation to Helvia 7.] like Abydus in the Hellespont area, Sinope on the southern shore of the Black Sea (which in turn founded Trapezus), and Naucratis in Egypt. The city must have been wealthy, and was a logical place for the invading Cimmerians to attack.
Miletus was also a center of learning. Citizens like Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes invented philosophy, and Hecataeus was the founder of geography. The city was ruled by tyrants we know the names of Thoas and Damasenor, and we know that a tyrant named Thrasybulus withstood an attack from the king of Lydia, Alyattes, and a deal was concluded that offered the city a special position within the sphere of influence of the Lydians. This deal continued during the reign of Alyattes' son and successor Croesus, and Cyrus the Great, the Persian king who subdued the Lydian empire at some point after 547 BCE.
Miletus and its neighbors
According to Herodotus of Halicarnassus, the Milesians played an important role during the Scythian campaign of Darius I the Great, in c.513. The tyrants Histiaeus and Aristagoras were rewarded and the city received, as a present, a silver mine in Thrace, which made Miletus virtually independent.
After a failed Persian expedition to conquer the islands in the Aegean Sea, the Milesians and the other Ionians revolted. However, they were defeated in the battle of Lade, and the city was captured and sacked. Many inhabitants were deported (494 BCE). Miletus was rebuilt on a gridiron plan that was named after the Milesian Hippodamus this became the Greek and Roman standard for urban planning.
After the Persian Wars, Miletus became part of the Delian League, Athens' anti-Persian alliance, paying ten talents of silver. Somewhere in the 440s, the city tried to leave the league, but it was defeated and from then on had a garrison. For a generation, the city was a safe part of the Athenian empire, and Milesians made their way into the highest circles: one lady from Miletus, Aspasia, even married to Athens' unofficial leader, Pericles. It was only after the Athenians had decided to intervene in the affairs of the Persian Empire (the Amorges Affair), that king Darius II Nothus decided to support Athens' enemy Sparta, which created revolts in the Athenian Empire (the Ionian War), and led to the fall of Athens and the end of its league.
Miletus was one of the main rebels and had been one of the navy bases of the Spartans. However, it did not really benefit: at the beginning of the fourth century, the Persian satrap of Caria, Tissaphernes, controlled the city. Later, Hecatomnus, another satrap of Caria, ruled Miletus. During his reign, the Milesians started to build the theater that still dominates the site. The next ruler was Alexander the Great who, after his victory at the Granicus, proceeded to the south, obtained Sardes and captured both Lade and Miletus, the latter after a brief siege (334 BCE). Although the city had to pay contributions to Alexander's war chest, it was more autonomous than it had been for at least two centuries.
It managed to retain some of its independence during the wars of the Diadochi, who were all courting the Greek cities with promises of freedom and autonomy, and had to deliver the goods somehow. However, after 300, the city was in the Seleucid zone of influence, and when the city was occupied by a condotierre named Timarchus, the Seleucid king Antiochus II felt free to intervene the liberated Milesians awarded him the surname Theos , "the god", in 259/258.
As was common in this age, the city concluded treaties of mutual help and isopoliteia with other cities: if one settled in the city of the treaty partner, one could receive full citizen rights. These alliances (Tralles 212, Mylassa 209) helped Miletus to resist Priene, which was situated across a small gulf, and was rapidly becoming more powerful. The main alliance, however, was with Rome. After the Syrian War, when the Peace of Apamea was concluded, Miletus received back a holy district which it had had to evacuate. New alliances of isopoliteia followed (Pedasa 188, Heraclea 185), but in 133 the city became part of the province of Asia.
Miletus benefited from Roman sovereignty. It was from the beginning a major center for the provincial cult there was a monument for an important naval victory - although it is not known who was defeated, the Cilician Pirates or Mark Antony. The other side, however, was that the city was attacked by any anti-Roman leader, like Mithridates VI Eupator of Pontus. Still, generally speaking, the city prospered, and it showed its gratitude by starting a new era in 17/16 BCE, at the same time of Augustus' festival of the Saeculum Novum .
/> A statue of the Meander river
Most monuments that you can see today in Miletus date back to the Roman age, even when the buildings are originally older. Only Ephesus was a more important city in Asia Minor. Miletus continued to attract foreigners (Jews and Christians are both attested in the first century).
In 262, the city received new city walls, which surrounded more or less the entire region that had already been covered in the sixth century BCE, except for the Kalabak Tepe area. However, the harbor was silting up, the Roman economy was in decline, and the city was suffering. When the emperor Justinian rebuilt the city wall in 538, it had become a really small town, and in the seventh century, we see adaptations to a new age. The Middle Ages had begun.
MILETUS , city in Asia Minor captured by Alexander the Great in 334 b.c.e. According to a document cited by Josephus (Ant. 14:244–6), the inhabitants of Miletus during the Roman period attacked the Jews, "forbidding them to observe their Sabbaths, perform their native rites or manage their produce [tithes] in accordance with their custom." The Roman proconsul, Publius Servilius Galba, the author of the aforementioned document, was informed at Tralles of the inhabitants' actions by Prytanis, the son of Hermas and a citizen of Miletus. The proconsul subsequently ruled in favor of restoring the rights of the Jewish population. An inscription from the Roman theater refers to "the place of the Jews who are also called God-fearing." A ruined building dating from the late Roman-Byzantine period has been surmised by some to have been a synagogue.
Siege of Miletus, 494 BC - History
In Part 1 of this study, we considered the very numerous written records of the ancient Middle East in which the Table of Nations was corroborated and verified as an historically accurate document. Briefly, this particular portion of the Genesis record told us what happened to the early nations in the centuries immediately following the Flood and how most of those nations developed and retained their ethnic and racial identities after the Dispersion from Babel, even carrying with them the names of their various founders. They were known amongst themselves and to each other by those same generic names, and it was the appearance of those names in the records of so many different languages and cultures that enabled us to test the claims of Genesis to be a thoroughly reliable historical account. In that part of our study alone, we were able to see how Genesis passed the test with an astonishingly high degree of accuracy.
Few people realize, however, that the records do not stop there. Records that we studied in Part 1 were mostly written and then lost (until rediscovered in modern times), during the Old Testament period, in which time many of the various peoples mentioned in them had vanished altogether from the historic scene, or had been assimilated into other more power nations and cultures. Even those who retained their national or tribal identities intact, gradually lost all trace and memory of their own beginnings, and thus went on to invent fantastic accounts of how they came to be. In time, their true histories became obscured beyond all recognition. Josephus was given good cause to complain that this had happened to the Greeks of his own day, and he lamented the fact that by obscuring their own history, they had obscured the histories of other nations also. 1
However, and as if more evidence were needed, there exists yet today, a considerable body of surviving records that have carried the story on, and which provide a direct link between the ancient post-Flood era and that of more modem times. These records have been preserved and transmitted, not by Middle Eastern nations, but by certain pre-Christian European peoples. (It is important that we remember the pre-Christian aspect of much of the following evidence, because it is too easily alleged by modernist scholars that these records are the inventions of early Christian monks, and are therefore worthless.) These surviving records belong to both the early Irish-CeIts, the British and the Saxons, and they have been neglected and ignored for far too long. We shall, therefore, take this opportunity to allow these records to speak for themselves and see what we can learn.
Virtually all the historical accounts that have survived from early Irish-Celtic times, have been labelled as "tradition," and the use of this one word in describing them has been enough to have them dismissed from serious discussion by modern historians. Yet:
". tradition is not necessarily either a pure myth or a falsified account of facts. The traditions of a nation are like an aged man's recollection of his childhood, and should be treated as such. If we would know his early history, we let him tell the tale in his own fashion. It may be he will dwell long enough upon occurrences interesting (only) to himself, and apart from the object of our inquiries it may be he will equivocate unintentionally if cross-examined in detail but truth will underlie his garrulous story, and by patient analysis we may sift it out, and obtain the information we desire." 2
The records in which early Irish history is preserved have been masterfully set out and enumerated by Miss Cusack, authoress of The Illustrated History of Ireland, published in 1868 (and from which the above passage is taken). For her history, she drew upon an extensive number of manuscripts, many of which still survive, and are known under such evocative names as The Book of Leinster (written in 1130 AD, and copied from the much older Saltair of Cashel) The Book of Ballymote (1390 AD) and the Annals of the Four Masters. But two others received special mention, the Chronicum Scotorum, and the even more important (because earlier) Cin Droma Snechta.
The Cin Droma Snechta is now lost by all accounts, yet its contents were preserved by Keating, the Irish historian who wrote his own History from this and many other early manuscripts in about 1630. (See Bibliography.) The importance of the Cin Droma Snechta lies in the early date of its compilation, concerning which a note in the twelfth-century Book of Leinster tells us:
"Ernin, son of Duach, that is son of the King of Connacht. it was he that collected the Genealogies and Histories of the men of Erinn in one book, that is the Cin Droma Snechta." 3
The importance of this statement lies in the fact that Duach, Ernin's father, lived towards the end of the fourth century AD, which places the compilation of the Cin Droma Snechta well before the coming of Christianity to Ireland (and the oft-alleged forgeries of the Christian monks)!
The contents of the Cin Droma Snechta were themselves, of course, far older than the book into which Ernin had gathered them, and they thus pre-dated the close of the fourth-century by a very long time indeed. In short, this remarkable book recalled the times when certain peoples first settled in Ireland after the Flood (itself a very real event in the memory of the Irish), and it recalled those times and events with remarkable erudition. Admittedly there were some early Irish chroniclers who would look wistfully back to the time Ireland was settled before the Flood, but this was nothing more than Miss Cusack's Old Man recalling incidents that were real enough, even though time-scales and sequences had become blurred and confused. We should therefore, be wary of the fact that here we are dealing, not with documents that bear a Scriptural authority (or even claim one), but with the records of a people who had already begun to be confused about certain phases of their own past.
However, it must also be emphasized there are certain points about which the records are by no means confused, and these should be examined closely, for they reveal a sequence of historical events that accord closely indeed with the Genesis record in particular and other records in general, and of which too few students of history are aware.
These points relate to the colonization and recolonizations of Ireland after the Flood, and the compilers of the records even attempted to supply the dates in which these colonizations took place. Briefly, the records state the first colony to settle in Ireland after the Flood was that led by Partholan. All are agreed on this, and it is well worth taking seriously. This first colony is said to have landed in the 2520th year after the Creation (ie. Anno Mundi - the year of the World.) It is also recorded that while Partholan and his clan were roaming the sea searching for a land to settle, they were intercepted by a fleet of British ships returning to England from Denmark:
". their leader, Partholan. entreated from the prince some small portion of land in Britain. the British prince received him under his protection, and assigned faithful guides to attend him into Ireland, which was then wholly uninhabited and he granted it to them subject to an annual tribute, and confirmed the appointment of Partholan as their chief. This account. is specially set forth in an Irish act (11th of Elizabeth) among "the ancient and sundry strong authentique tytles for the kings of England to this land of Ireland." 4
That, however, is not the end of the account, for Partholan is recorded as having subsequently landed in the estuary of what is now the River Kenmare. (He was to die 30 years later in Anno Mundi 2550.) After only 300 years, the colony which he founded was wiped out by a plague, 9000 men, women and children dying in one week alone. The name of the area in which they had settled was later called Tattaght, a place where plague victims are buried together, and it is interesting to note it is still littered with ancient burial-mounds today.
Also of interest are certain details that were passed down to us concerning Partholan by Geoffrey of Monmouth in his History of the Kings of Britain. 5 We are told how Partholan's company consisted of thirty ships. (Nennius, in the Historia Brittonum, tells us that the people numbered a thousand.) We are also told the colony had been expelled from Spain, and that they were called Basclenses, i.e.Basques. Now, we know the Basques are of a somewhat mysterious origin, and speak a language quite unrelated to any known Indo-European tongue. In this context, it is of interest to note what Professor Mackie has written concerning the language of the early Picts who had more than a passing influence on the early history of the Irish:
"The Picts certainly used a form of P-Celtic (the mother of Welsh, Cornish and Breton,) with traces of Gaulish forms. However, it is clear, from the few scraps of evidence which survive, the Picts also used another language, probably unrelated to any "Indo-European" tongue and therefore so different from modern European languages as to be incomprehensible to us." 6
Presumably, this knowledge was not available to Geoffrey of Monmouth, whose works are so readily disparaged by modern scholars and while more work may yet need to be done in exploring any relationship that may exist between the few surviving scraps of the early Pictish language and the language of the Basques, we are still faced with a formidable number of "coincidences" which, when added together, tell us that these early chronicles were not simply engaged in fabricating stories.
On the contrary, they were engaged in writing history, using records that were already ancient and damaged by transmission yet what they wrote contained more than a kernel of truth. This much becomes plain as the story progresses.
The next colonization of Ireland after Partholan's, was that of Nemedh, who landed with his colony in Anno Mundi 2859, only a few years after the decimation by plague of the first settlers. The Nemedians are credited with having built certain forts and clearing the land for cultivation. A later outbreak of plague took its toll on the population, the remainder of whom are later recorded as fighting off an invasion by "Fomorians," who, according to the Annals of Clonmacnois: "were a sept descended from Cham (Ham,) sonne of Noeh, and lived by pyracie and spoile of other nation, and were in those days very troublesome to the whole world" (tr. Conell MacGheoghegan).7
After the battle, the few survivors of the Nemedians settled far inland, presumably for safety while they consolidated their numbers. Then they are recorded as dividing themselves up into three, "bands," each with their respective leaders. One group migrated to Europe, where they founded a nation known later to the Irish as the Tuatha De Danann. A second group migrated to the north of England, "which is said to have obtained its name of Briton from their leader, Briaton Maol." And the third group made their way to Greece.
This third group, known as the "Firbolgs," later returned to Ireland, which they subsequently divided up amongst themselves into five provinces. They were, however, conquered in their turn by the invasion, or rather return to Ireland, of the Tuatha De Danannan in the year Anno Mundi 3303.
The last colonization of Ireland after the Flood is recorded as taking place in Anno Mundi 3500, according to The Annals of the Four Masters:
"The fleet of the sons of Milidh came to Ireland at the end of this year to take it from the Tuatha De Dananns and they fought the battle of Sliabh Mis with them on the third day after landing." 8
The children of Milidh, known to us as the Milesians, had landed unobserved in the mouth of the River Slaneey in the county of Wexford, from where they marched on Tara, the central seat of government. More pertinent to our present inquiry, is the fact that they were descended from Miletus, who was himself descended from Magog, a son of Japheth, a son of Noah.
In this context it is especially interesting to note, even today, the word Milesian is used to describe the Irish, or thing pertaining to Ireland. Of further interest, is the fact the Milesians were again recorded as having come from Spain. We return to this "Spanish connection" shortly.
Meanwhile, Cusack adds yet again to our present store of knowledge: 9
"As the Milesians were the last of the ancient colonists. only their genealogies, with a few exceptions, have been presented. The genealogical tree begins, therefore, with the brothers Eber and Eremon, the two surviving leaders of the expedition, whose ancestors are traced back to Magog, the son of Japhet. The great southern chieftains, such as the MacCarthys and O'Briens, claim descent front Eber the northern families of O'Connor, O'Donnell, and O'Neill, claim descent from Eremon as their head. There are also other families claiming descent from Emer, the son of Ir, brother to Eber and Eremon as also from their cousin Lugaidh, the son of Ith. From these four sources the principle Celtic families of Ireland have sprung. "
(1 and 2) BAATH and JOBHATH. These two names also occur in the earliest portions of the British genealogy (see Table 4) where JOBAATH is rendered IOBAATH. An intriguing thought is the possibility that these two names may betray the origins of the European royal blood. The very concept of royalty has long been a mystery, as has the reason why descendants of a certain family have always been set apart from and above the common herd. The royal families of Europe have always been interrelated to a greater or lesser degree throughout history and it seems very likely that the blood-royal began with Baath and Iobaath. The fact that here Baath and Jobaath are depicted as brothers, whereas in British genealogy, they are depicted as father and son, testifies to the distortion these records underwent in transmission. Their historicity, however, is convincingly demonstrated in their appearance in such diverse records as the Irish-Celtic and British.
(3) PARTHOLAN. The first person to colonize Ireland after the Flood, His people landed in Ireland in the year 1484 BC, Patholan died in 1454 BC, and the entire colony was wiped out by plague 300 years later in 1184 BC.
(4 and 5) EASRU and SRU. These two names, along with those of Baath and Iobaath, also occur in the earliest portions of the British genealogy (see Table 2) where they are rendered IZRAU and EZRA, and again they appear to be the names of important founders of European royalty who lived before the division and dispersal of the various races and tribes of Europe.
(6) GADELAS. The founder of the Gaels and the Galic language.
(7) HEBER and EREMON. The leaders of the Milesian settlement who landed in Ireland in the year 504 BC. From Heber, from whom Ireland derives its name Hibernia, are descended the great southern clans of Ireland, the McCarthy's and O'Brien's, and so-on, while from Eremon are descended the northern clans of O'Connor, O'Donnnell and O'Neill.
(8) NEMEDIUS. Otherwise Nemedh, the leader of the Nemedian invasion of 1145 BC. His ancestry is a little more detailed than Heber and Eremon.
The appearance of Magog's name in the Milesian ancestry is of great significance, for we saw in Part I of our study how Magog was the founder, or co-founder, of the Scythian peoples, and the early Irish chroniclers were emphatic in their claim that the Irish were descended from Scythian stock. This claim is confirmed in many points, not the least of which is the fact that "Scot" and "Scythian" share the same etymological root:
"Scot (is) the same as Sythian in etymology the root of both is Sct. The Greeks had no c, and would change "t" into "th" making the root "skth," and by adding a phonetic vowel, we get Skuth-ai (Scythians,) and Skoth-ai (Skoths.) The Welsh disliked "s" at the beginning of a word, and would change it to "ys" they would also change "c" or "k" to "g," and "th" to "d" whence the Welsh root would be "Ysgd," and Skuth or Skoth would become "ysgod." Once more, the Saxons would cut off the Welsh "y," and change the "g" back again to "c," and the "d" to "t," converting the Ysgod to Scot." 10
The early Irish were originally known as Scots, of course, and they were later to leave Ireland and invade and settle the country that still bears their name, displacing and subduing the native Picts in waves and waves of invasion that have tested the sanity of school children ever since! 11
It is obvious from other points the early Irish looked back to the time when their ancestors had left the Aegean, or Eastern Mediterranean seaboard in search of a land in which they could settle and it is equally obvious that in such a westward maritime migration, the Spanish Peninsula would be the most convenient stopping-off point during the first stage of migration.
In this context it is important for us to take special note of the names of the two patriarches who were to lead the Milesian (or Scythian) invasion of Ireland, Eber and Eremon for in his own account of the matter, the Portuguese historian, Emanuel de Faria y Sousa, tells us that Iberus and Himerus were said to have "sailed into Ireland, and given the name Hibernia to it." 12
The early Irish historians further deduced their origins lay with the Phoenician colonists who had also previously settled that Spanish Peninsula, later to migrate to Ireland. In this context it is of additional interest to note that the ancient Greeks once held the Phoenician nation to have been founded by Phoenix, whose brother Cadmus had invented the alphabet. Likewise, the Irish also recalled the time when they lived under a king named "Phenius, who devoted himself especially to the study of languages, and composed an alphabet and the elements of grammar." It is agreed among scholars the system of alphabetic writing originated among the Phoenicians, and this is deduced from hard and independent archaeological evidence, not Irish myths. So it is clear at the very least, the early Irish chroniclers were passing on an account, albeit garbled in places, of authentic historical events, and of the equally historic descent of their own race from Phoenician and/or Scythian stock (see Table 1).
Further to these claims, we have already noticed the Irish chroniclers even attempted to date certain events in the early post-Flood history of Ireland and if we allow the records to simply tell their own story, we come to one particular corroboration that should at least give us pause for thought, and which argues strongly against the notion these early historians simply made it all up as they went along. Their account, though confused in places, must have derived from a body of solid historical data.
These early chroniclers dated events from the Creation of the World, (Anno Mundi,) and so we that may unravel the information they were attempting to convey, and purely for the purposes of this present study, we shall rely on Ussher's Chronology for the date of the Creation, 4004 BC. It must be stressed that we are using Ussher's Chronology, not because it is the best (it isn't,) but because someone had obviously reached Ussher's conclusions many centuries before him. This will become evident as we progress. 13
Thus, if the chronicles give a date for a certain event of, say Anno Mundi 2000, then we simply deduct 2000 from 4004 and arrive at a date of 2004 BC for the event in question. The conversion is that simple. As an instance, the date for the first colonization of Ireland (by Partholan,) is given in the chronicles as Anno Mundi 2520. For our own system, we deduct 2520 from 4004, and arrive at the year 1484 BC for this event (Table 2 and notes.)
Following Genesis chapter five, we see the Creation and the Flood is 1656, which converts to 2348 BC as the date for the Flood according to Ussher (and, apparently, the early Irish chroniclers.) Thus, deducting 1484 (the date of the Flood), we learn that Partholan's colony arrived in Ireland 864 years after the Flood a period of time that is in remarkable accord with the general history of Europe and the Middle East as laid down in other ancient histories, and in the Genesis record.
However, more certain confirmation concerning the general reliability of these dates as given in the early Irish accounts, is the date given for the fourth (and final) colonization of Ireland by the Milesians. The chronicles tell us that this event occurred in Anno Mundi 3500, in other words in the year 504 BC and a look at what was happening in Asia Minor at this moment in time is most instructive.
The city of Miletus, whose ruins stand on the present-day Turkish mainland, was finally overrun and destroyed by the Persian army in the year 494 BC, (14) and in the decades prior to this disaster, the people of Miletus had been under an ever-increasing threat. Life, such as it was, was neither comfortable nor certain, and nothing would have been more natural than that a colony of Milesians should decide to flee the Persian menace. They would seek a land sufficiently far away to be safe, was fertile, and which was well-known to the mariners (in particular the Phoenician mariners) of the Eastern Mediterranean. That the city of Miletus should be known to us today as having been an essentially Ionian outpost should be of no real consequence, for we have already seen the Irish accounts traced descent of the Irish variously from both Phoenician and Scythian stock, and both Phoenicians and Scythians would certainly have been found amongst the city's population and we are thus compelled to take the claims of the early Irish chroniclers very seriously indeed.
The first column of Table 2 shows the dates given Anno Mundi for various events in early Irish-Celtic history. The equivalents of these dates, for both BC and PD (i.e. Post Diluvian = after the Flood,) appear in the other two columns. The early Irish, however, were not alone in establishing chronologies for their history. The early Britons and the Saxons did the same, and they all looked back to both a recent Creation and the Flood as historical, datable events. They differed in details, of course: the Irish chronicles generally favoured a date of 4000 BC for the Creation the early British looked back a few hundred years further, counting instead of the 1656 years given in Genesis 5 for the Creation-Flood era, a period of 2242 years. (A principio mundi usque ad diluvium anni IICCXLII. Nennius, i. See Bibliography.) Interestingly, the British chronicles agree exactly with the Saxon for this figure, ("Fran Adame" to the "flod. twa hund wintra & twa thusenda & twa flowertig." MS. Cotton. Vesparsian. D. IV. fol. 69.v.)
It would be interesting to find the sources for both the British and Saxon chronologies. It could not have been the Latin Bible, which agrees with the Hebrew in giving 1656 years for the Creation-Flood era. Likewise, it could not have been the Septuagint version, for that gives 2256 years for that period, and was also virtually unheard of in these islands until the 16th century Renaissance. It is equally unlikely that the British and Saxons borrowed from one another, simply because the Britons looked with disdain upon the historical claims that the Saxons had brought over with them. For example, Nennius informs us that although he had included certain Saxon genealogies in the first edition of his history of the Britains, he was later "advised" to omit them from subsequent editions. This "advice" came from Beulan, his master, who gave as his reason the "pointless" nature of Saxon claims and records. (Set cum inutiles magistro meo id est Beulano presbytero ulsae sunt genealogiae Saxonum at allarum genealogiae gentium nolul eas scribere)* Saxon chronology would therefore have received an equally short shrift.
Whatever the sources, they differed yet again from those used, for example, by Stowe in his Chronicle of England (see Bibliography,) whose dates give the Creation as occurring in only 3962 BC. Obviously, any date (Anno Mundi) for a certain event would differ drastically from one preferred date of Creation to the next. Indeed, Stowe has Partholan landing in Ireland over 1,000 years later (375 BC) than the date given for that event in the Irish Chronicles (1484 BC!)
As fascinating as they are, however, these differences in dating are relatively unimportant, and fairly easily resolved. What is important for our present study is the fact that these entirely diverse races and cultures all looked back to the same historical events, namely the recent Creation of the World and the universal Flood of Noah.
*(Morris, p.3 and Sisam, p. 292. See Bibliography.) __________________________________________________________________________
We are also obliged to take seriously the fact that these Irish accounts in spite of some admittedly garbled content, are more sensible and realistic in both their dates and narrative than those of certain other nations. We meet with none of the impossibly long reigns of which the Babylonians, for example, were so fond. In stark contrast to the historically perverse legends of Babylon, and the plainly fanciful accounts of many other peoples the early Irish chronicles give every indication they have been built upon carefully preserved and mainly accurate records reaching back to Ireland's earliest times, and that they are, consequently, possessed of a general trustworthiness.
Equally reliable are the pre-Christian genealogies that are presented in the ancient Irish chronicles, and which trace the descent of certain clans and tribes back to those same patriarches whose names appear in the Genesis record:
"The Books of Genealogies and Pedigrees form a most important element in Irish pagan history. For social and political reasons, the Irish Celt preserved his genealogical tree with scrupulous precision. Property rights and the governing power were transmitted with patriarchal exactitude on strict claims of primogeniture, which could only be refused under certain conditions defined by law. and in obedience to an ancient law, established long before the introduction of Christianity, all the provincial records, as well as those of the various chieftains, were required to be furnished every third year to the convocation at Tara, where they were compared and corrected." 15
It thus becomes clear the Irish genealogies were compiled at a time when it would have been beyond all possibility for the Christian monks to have influenced or altered them in any way, and we are left with the simple conclusion that these genealogies owed their existence to the preservation of records that was entirely independent of either the Jewish or Christian churches and we see that the ancient Irish, in common with their forebears in the Middle East, preserved records of events that significantly confirm the Genesis account concerning the descent and dispersal of the nations.
The same can be said for an equally neglected series of documents that belong to another race altogether: