recourse, in some degree, to conjecture. Berosus
declared that six dynasties had reigned in Chaldaea
since the great flood of Xisuthrus, or Noah.
To the first, which consisted of 86 kings, he allowed
the extravagant period of 34,080 years. Evechous,
the founder of the dynasty, had enjoyed the royal
dignity for 2400 years, and Chomasbelus, his son and
successor, had reigned 300 years longer than his father.
The other 84 monarchs had filled up the remaining
space of 28,980 years—their reigns thus
averaging 345 years apiece. It is clear that
these numbers are unhistoric; and though it would
be easy to reduce them within the limits of credibility
by arbitrary suppositions—as for instance,
that the years of the narrative represent months or
days—yet it may reasonably be doubted whether
we should in this way be doing any service to the cause
of historic truth. The names Evechous and Chomasbelus
seem mythic rather than real; they represent personages
in the Babylonian Pantheon, and can scarcely have
been borne by men. It is likely that the entire
series of names partook of the same character, and
that, if we possessed them, their bearing would be
found to be, not historic, but mythological.
We may parallel this dynasty of Berosus, where he
reckons king’s reigns by the cyclical periods
dynasties of Gods and Demigods in Egypt, where the
sum of the years is nearly as great.
It is necessary, then, to discard as unhistorical
the names and numbers assigned to his first dynasty
by Berosus, and to retain from this part of his scheme
nothing but the fact which he lays down of an ancient
Chaldaean dynasty having ruled in Babylonia, prior
to a conquest, which led to the establishment of a
second dynasty, termed by him Median.
The scheme of Berosus then, setting aside his numbers
for the first period, is—according to the
best extant authorities, as follows:—
Dynasty I. of (?) Chaldaean kings. (?) years.
of 8 Median " 234 (?) "
11 " " 48 (?) "
" 49 Chaldaean " 458 "
" 9 Arabian " 245 "
" 45 (?) " 526 "
Reign of Pul (?)
Dynasty VII. of (?) (?) kings (?)
" VIII. " 6 Chaldaean
" 87 "
[Illustration: PAGE 98]
It will be observed that this table contains certain
defects and weaknesses, which greatly impair its value,
and prevent us from constructing upon it, without
further aid, an exact scheme of chronology. Not
only does a doubt attach to one or two of the numbers—to
the years, i.e., of the second and third dynasty—but
in two cases we have no numbers at all set down for
us, and must supply them from conjecture, or from
extraneous sources, before we can make the scheme available.
Fortunately in the more important case, that of the