Johann Joachim Eschenburg.

Manual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions online

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crucifixion, was on April 3d, in the 4746th year of the Julian Period."— Cf. Ferguson, as cited § 203.

(b) Precession of the Equijioxes. The equinoxes, being the points where the equator
crosses the ecliptic, are not precisely the same from year to year ; but they move back-
ward (i. e. to the west) 50 seconds every year, or 1 degree in 72 years. If, then, the
place of the equinox in the ecliptic at the time of any event is stated, we may determine
the date of the event, by noticing how far the equinox has now receded from the place
it then held, and allowing 72 years for a degree. The only objection to this method is
the difficulty, perhaps impossibility of deciding what point the equinoxes actually did
occupy at the time of particular events in ancient history.

Sir 1. Newton applied this principle also to settle the time of the Argonautic Expedition. — A
sphere, representing the heavens with the constellations, is said by ancient writers to have been
fornied for the Argonauts, by Chiron ; on this sphere, it is also said, the equinox was placed in
►hp middle point in the sign Aries. In the year 1689, the equinox had gone back from that point


36 decrees 44 minutes : this, allowing 72 years for a degree, gives a period of 2645 years between
the year 1689 ami the Expedition ; making it B. C. 955; nearly the same as by the calculation

from generations by the same author. If it be stated how a star rises or sets in relation ui the

sun, the place of the equinox may be found, and dates ascertained, in the way just mentioned. —
Sir Isaac Newton and others have employed this to ascertain the time when Hesiod lived. In
a passage in the li'urks and Days [vs. 564], Hesiod says, that ^returns rose at sunset, 60 days
after the sun entered the winter solstice, a point 90 degrees distant from the equinox.— lint tlie
place of the equinox cannot be settled with certainty in this way; because it cannot be cer-
tainly known whether tht^ ancient writer means his own time and residence or not, whether he
means true or apparent rising, or even what constellation or star he means exactly. Cf. Costard,
in the Philusuphical Transactiuns, vol. xlviii. p. 2.

§ 200. A tfiird help in the fixing of dates is found in the coins, medals, monuments, and
i?iscriptiofzs, which are preserved for the benefit of succeeding ages. These often throw
great light upon historical events, and aflTord important aid in ascertaining the time of
iheir occurrence. Interesting facts are sometimes first made known, and the period
when they took place is often indicated, by the face of a medal, or the representations
on a public monument. — Inscriptions are of still greater service. x4s one of the most
valuable of these we must mention the chronicle of Faros, which fixes the date ot the
chief events in Grecian history from Cecrops down to the time of Alexander. (See
P. IV. §91.4.)

§ 201. The fourth source is furnished by the testimony of historians, who state the
distance between events, or between events and an epoch. The early historians paid
very little attention to the subject of chronology; it was not until a comparatively late
period, that they began to think of dates and distances of time. The principal frag-
ments of the earlier writers, Eratosthenes, ApoUodorus, and 'I'hrasyllus, are still to be
found in the Clironkon of Eyseliiis, and the Silromala of Clemciis AUxandrinus. The
writings of the Byzaiitine Chroniclers are also ot service; particularly the chronologi-
cal work (EKXayfi Xfiovoypa'piai) ol Syncellus. It is chiefly from this and the above-
mentioned work of Eusebius, that the details of the commonly received Chronology have
been gathered. (Cf § 205; and P. V. % 236, 239, 288.)

§ 202. (B) Epochs and Eras employed in Chronology. — It is essential to correct and
exact chronology that there should be some fixed epoch, to which all events may be
referred and be measured by their distance from it. But it is of comparatively little
consequence what the epoch is, provided it is fixed and acknowledged, as it is periectly
easy to compute in a retrograde manner the time before it, as well as in a direct man-
ner the time after it. An epoch is distinguished from an era. Epoch is the point of
time which is taken as a starting-place from which to reckon, and taken usually be-
cause signalized by some important event. Era is the space of time, that follows the
epoch ; the series of years computed from it. — The two terms may be interchanged as
nearly synonymous, because every era has its epoch and every epoch its era.

^ 203. The following are the most important eras, which are noticed in Chronology.
— (a) Era of Olympiads. The Greeks for a long time had no fixed epoch ; but after-
wards reckoned by Olympiads, periods of 4 years. They began 776 B. C. A new
Olympiad era, however, came into use under the Roman emperors, beginning A. D.
131. — {b) Era of Rome. The Romans often reckoned by lustrums, often by the year
of the consul or the emperor. The building of the city was their grand epoch. This
was 752 B. C. (It is placed by some 753 or 754.) — (c) Era of Nabonassar (or Belesis).
Used by some historians; the commencement of Nabonassar's reign at Babylon, 747
B. C. — ((i) Era of the SeleucidcB. From the reign of Seleucus and his descendants in
Syria. The Jews chiefly tised this. The Nestorians still compute from it. (Researches
of Smith and D wight, vol. ii. p. 257.) It is usually dated 312 B. C. when Seleucus
recovered Babylon, 10 years before the real commencement of the kingdom of Syria.
— (e) Era of Diocletian. This was founded on the persecution of Christians in the
reign of Diocletian. It was used by Christians until the Christian era was adopted.
It began 2S4 A. D. — (/) The Mahoinetan Era or Hegira ; foutided on the flight of
Mahomet from Mecca to Medina, A. D. 622. — {g) The Persian Era, or Era of Yezde-
jerd; founded on the reign of a Persian king, named Yezdejerd, A, D. 632. — (ti) The
Christian Era ; Annus Domini; the year of our Lord. This era is founded on
the birth of Christ, but chronologers are not agreed as to the year of his birth ; some
placing it s^ven years before the received epoch, others four years. This, however, is
of no consequence as respects the utility of the era in chronology, because all, who
adopt the Christian era, agree to call the same year by the same numerical date ; aK
meaning (e. g.) identically the same year by A. D. 1&36. The era began to be used
about A. D. 360, according to some writers; but others state that it was invented by
Dionysius, a monk, A. D. 527.

On the Ctirlstian Era, see J. Piiestley, Lectures on History, L. xiv.— /. Guil. Jani, Histnria Mrx DionysianaB— G. Hamberget, l)e
EpocliK Cliristian.^ ortu et auctore.— Afan?ie. Dissertation on the Birth of Christ.— Cf. Lardner, Credibility of the Gospel, &c. Part L
vol. ii p. 796.— FiT^tSOTi's Astronomy, by D. Brewster, Phil. 1617 2 vols. 8. i. 460-65.

Perhaps we should mention here the Era of the Frtnch Republic, which the revolutionists attempted to establish. This was intro-
duced in 1793, with a formal rejection of the Sabbath and of the hebdominal week, and a novel arranReraent and pedantic nomen-
clature o( the months. The twenty-second of September was fixed as the beginning of the year. The year consisted of twelve
Diontbs ol 'Oirty days each ; which were divided, not by weeks, but into threfi decades, or periods of ten days. As this would com

9 f2


pnse but 360 days,yn)e were added at the close of the last month of the year, called complementary days ; and at the close of every
fourlh or bissextile year, a sixth, called the day of the Republic. The cycle of the fnur years was termed the Franciade. The
three months of A u t u m n were named Vindemiaire, Brumane, Frimaire ; those of Winter, Nivose, Pluviose, f^entose : those
of Spring, Germinal, Florial, Prairial ; those of Summer, Messidor, Thermidor, Fructidor. This infidel calendar was used
about twehv years. The Gregorian was restored January I, 1S06.

§ 204. (C) Systems of Arrangement and Chronological Tables. — There is a great
discrepancy between the various systems of chronology which have been advocated in
different nations and at different times. Among the oriental nations there was a strong
desire for the honor of the earhest antiquity, and hence each carried back its chronolo-
gical dates into the regions of mere fable or absolute falsehood, and the Egyptians,
Babylonians, Hindoos, and Chinese, present a list of events happening hundreds or
thousands of years before the creation. Such systems need not be particularly noticed
here. (Cf. P. IV. § 21.)

^ 205. There are two systems, one derived from the Hebrew Scriptures and the
other from the Septuagint Version, which are highly deserving of the student's atten-
tion. They differ from each other considerably; that drawn from the Septuagint
assigns to many events a date much more ancient than that which follows the Hebrew ;
6. g. the former places the flood some hundred years further from the Christian era,
and the Creation at least 600 years further from the Flood, than the latter. There has
been much discussion among the learned, concerning the respective claims of these two
systems. We only remark here, that the Hebrew chronology is generally adopted.

The system of Archbishop Usher is the basis of the principal systems for chronolo-
gical tables and charts which are commonly used. The system of Usher is in general
accordance with the evidence drawn from the Hebrew Bible, the Arundelian Marbles,
and the Chronicon of Eusebius.

The system of Sir Isaac ^Tewlon has already been mentioned, and some of the methods em-
ployed by him for fixing dates. TJiis system assigns many important events, particularly of
Grecian history, to periods considerably'later than other systems. His chronology was at first
received with some favor, but is not usually regarded, although Mitford adopts it.

On this, see Mitford's Hist. Greece, ch. iii. Append.— Cf. Sh.uckford's Prof, and Sac. Hist. Conn. bk. vi. Pref.— For the titles of
some of the most important helps on the sutiject of Chrouolo^, see P. V. § 7. 7 (c) ; § 299. 6.— For others, we refer to Homers
Intro, to Grit. Study of Holy Script, vol. ii. p. 730.— A labored defence of the Septuagint Chronology is made by Rev. /. /. Jackson,
iu his Chronological .Antiquities,— See also Fred. Nolan, on the antiquity and connection of the early cycles, and their utility in
settling the differences of chronologists, in Trails, of Royal Soc. of Literature, vol. iii. Lond 1837.— iojirf. Quart. Rev. vol. v. p. 4.
—A. B. Chapm, Agreement of the true Biblical, Egyptian, and Chaldean Chronologies. New Haven, 1839. pp. 16.— Cf. Christ.
Spect. June, 1837, and Dec. 1838.— AforiAam, as cited P. V. § 236.

§ 206. Tables and charts are among the greatest facilities in the study of history and
chronology. They bring before the eye, at a glance, what can be presented but gra-
dually and slowly by description ; the locality of events and dates on the paper also
helps to fix them more firmly in the memory. Every student ought to avail himsell
nf the aid of a historical and chronological chart, ehher by purchase or (which is bet
ter) by actually forming one himself

$ 207. A great variety of plans for charts have been adopted, possessing greater or less degrees
of utility.— (d) One of the most simple and obvious plans is to form two perpendicular columns;
one for events of every kind ranired promiscuously in order of occurrence ; the other for their cor-
responding dates. Sometimes a third column is added to this plan, for Biography.— (6) Another
plan of similar nature, but improved, is to form several perpendicular columns ; one for dates,
and each of the others for a class of events: e. g. sovereigns in one, remarkable events in an-
other, battles in another, &c. Such is the plan of fVorcester's Charts. Both the plans men-
tioned may be marked for centuries by horizontal lines.— (c) A third plan is the contrivance of a
sort of tree, whose brandies represent nations; and events are ranged in them according to
their dates, the earliest at the bottom. Such is the plan of Eddy's Chronology delineated. Con-
quests by a nation may, in devices of this kind, be exhibited byone branch receivitig others into
itself, atid the origin of new states by branches shooting out from others. — (.d) A fourth plan is
marked by the peculiarity of being divided into periods, limited on each side by prominent events.
Such is Goodrich's Chart. — (e) \ Jiffh plan, worthy of notice, is that devised by Emma IVillard,
called "Perspective sketch of the course of Empire." It is essentially the Chronohisical Tree
inverted ; the earliest events being placed at the topof the chart, and diverging lines being sub-
stituted instead of the trunk and branches. Light and shade are etnployed to indicate the com-
parative rank and culture of diff.^rent nations. (IVillard's Atlas. Hartford, 1836.)

But it is worthy of remark, that in all these plans there are two grand faults ; 1. equal length
of time is not represented by equal spaces on the chart; 2. duration is represented by perpendi-
cular lines, while the horizontal line is altogether the most natural and most satisfactory repre-
sentation.— (/) A stx/A plan adopts these two important improvements, with the division into
periods, and the several columns for different classes of events, allowing, where the scale is
laree enough, each event to be located in its exact place in the line of time. The chief objection
to this method is the difticulty of using a scale sufficiently large to iticlude all the important
i.'vents of some periods without increasing too much the size of the chart, and rendering it in-
convenient for portable use.— (ir) A seventh plan unites geography with the history and chrono-
logy. This method is exhibited in Priestley's "Specimen of a New Chart of History," given in
his Lectures on Hi.story.— (A) The device of a combination of streams or rivers is employed in a
recent chart by /. /. Hitchcock, called History made visible, Phil. 1839, 54 inches by 27.

^ 208. (D) Actual Dates of the most prominent events. Nothing occasions more per
plexity and discouragement to the student in classical history, than the difficulty of re-
membering actual dates. Many have found this so great as to give over in despair.


But, as has been repeatedly remarked, accurate chronology is essential to the utility,
and it is no less so to the pleasure, of reading history. And the difficulty complained
of is by no means insuperable.

Various expedients to aid the memory have been invented ($ 210) ; but on the whole,
the writer knows of none better than to take a glance over the whole field of past time,
select a few grand events which stand out as landmarks, associate these events with
their dates, and commit them to memory with perfect exactness, making them as
familiar as the letters of the alphabet. Any person of common capacity can do this ;
and the student who wishes to lay any foundation at all for historical knowledge must
do at least as much as this. This being done, he will find it comparatively easy to
locate the various events, which he may read about or learn from time to time, in their
proper place between these grand events whose dates are thus fixed in the memory.

^ 209. With these views the following outhne, in which it seemed desirable to include
modern chronology, is offered to the student, to be perfectly committed to memory.

The learner is advised to draw it off on a roll of paper prepared for the purpose; using aliori-
Zcntal line to represent the flowing or progress of time. Let this line be divided into equal spaces,
each representing an equal length of time; let the dates of the events he distinctly written
exactly at tke points in the Vwe where they belong according to this equal division; and let the
events also be written directly above or under the dates.

Brief Outline. Chronology is Ancient or Modern. Ancient includes the whole time before
Christ, comprehending 4004 years. Modern includes the whole time since Christ.

I. Ancient Chronology is divided into two portions by the Flood; Antediluvian ages, the
portion before the flood, and Postdiluvian ages, the portion after the flood.— The Antediluvian
ages may be considered as containing only one period; the Postdiluvian ages as containing ci^At
periods. The grand events and periods are the following.

Of the Antediluvian ages.

The one period is from Creation B. C. 4004,

to Deluge B. C. 2318.

Of the Postdiluvian ages, the
1st periorf, is from Deluge .... to Calling of Abraham
2rf period, from Calling of Abraham . . to Escape of Israelites .
3d period, from Escape of Israelites . . to Building of Temple .
4t/i period, from Building of Temple . . to Founding of Rome
5th period, from Founding of Rome . . to Battle of Marathon
6tA ;>eriorf, from Battle of Marathon . . to Reign of Alexander .
7tA;)eru<d, from Reign of Alexander . . to Capture of Carthage
8tA period, from Capture of Carthage . . to Coming of Christ.

II. Modern Chronology is divided into three distinct portions by the Fall of Rome and the
Fall of Constantinople: Early Jiges, the portion before the Fall of Rome ; Middle JSges, the por-
tion between the Fall of Rome and the Fall of Constantinople ; Recent Ages, the portion since
the Fall of Constantinople. — The early ages may be considered as containing fico periods; the
middle ages, /ye periods; and the recent ages /oe periods. The grand events and periods are
the following.

Of the Early ages, the

1st period, is from Christ ... to the Reign of Constantine .

2d period, from Reign of Constantino . to Fall of Rome ....

Of the Middle ages, the

1st period, is from Fall of Rome . . . to Flight of Mahomet .

2d period, from Flight of Mahomet . . to Crowning of Charlemagne

3d period, from Crowning of Charlamigne . to Landing of William

4tA period, from Landing of William . . to Overthrow of Saracens .

bth period, from Overthrow of Saracens . to Fall of Constantinople

Of the Recent ages, the

1st period is from Fall of Constantinople . to Abdication of Charles Fifth .

2d period, from Abdication of Charles 5th . to Restoration of Charles Second

3d period, from Restoration of Charles 2d . to Independence of United States
5tA period, from Independence of United States to Downfall of Bonaparte

5(A period, from Downfall of Bonaparte . to the Present Time.

? 210. But it is perhaps due to the scholar to mention here some of the expedients, above
alluded to (J 208), which have been devised to assist in the recollection of dates. We wiH
briefly notice three difterert systems of artificial memory.

I. The first is that of Dr. Grey, whose Memoria Technica has generally met with the most
favorable reception. "As this method," says Priestley, "is so easily learned and mav be of
Buch use in recollecting dates, I think all persons of a liberal education inexcusable, who will















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not take the small decree of pains that is necessary to make themselves master of it." The ex-
pedient is to substitute letters for figures, and form of these letters a syllable or word, and asso-
ciate it with the name of the persons, the date of whose birth, reign, death, or the like, you
wish to remember, or with a prominent term or word connected with an event to be remem-
bered. The following is Dr. Grey's substitution alphabet, in which each of the ten numerical
chsiracteTshas Its consonant and hs vowel or diphthong; I, a b; 2, e rf; 3,ti;4,fo; 5, I u; Q,sau;
7, p oi; 8, k ei; 9, n ou; 0, z y. To remember the dale of the founding of Rome by this system,
substitute for 752 such letters as will, according to the above alphabet, represent 752; e. g. pud,
and join the syllable thus formed to the word Rome, or a part of the word, thus Rom-pud. The
very oddness and uncouthness of this combination will sometimes impress it on the n)emory. To
remember the date of the Deluge, 2348, we may form the word De\-etok; of the battle of Mara-
thon, 490, Marath-ony, or Mara-/owz. Where a series of dates of successive events are to be
fixed in memory, this system recommends the uniting of the barbarous words thus formed in
Hexameter verses ; which, however, the student must understand, are to be committed to me-
mory ; these are called memorial lines.

See R. Grey's Memoria Technica, or Method of artifiml Memory. (With Lowe's Mnemonics.) Load. 1S12. 8. Cf. Lond.
quart. Rev. ix. 125.

2. The second method is a system of topical memory, including also the substitution of letters
for figures. The principle of the topical method is to conceive a certain number of places in a
room, or in some limited space marked by sensible objects; and conceive these plaos as ar-
ranged in a certain fixed order; and then whatever successive events or objects one wishes to
remember, throw, in imagination, some pictures of or concerning- them, in their proper order, into
these conceived places. Such is the principle of Fe inaigle's ^irt of Memory. By this a four-
sided room is divided into fifty ideal squares ; these who wish a more capacious memory may
take also a second story having 50 squares more, numbered up to a hundred ; and one may g&
on so ascending through as many stories as he chooses. J^lne squares are to be placed on the
floor of the room, and nine on each of the four walls, thus making forty-five; the other fine on
the ceiling above : the squares on the floor number from 1 to 9 ; the square numbered 10 is put
on the ceiling over the wall supposed to be on your left hand, and the next nine squares from 11
to 19 are on the left hand wall under it; the square 20 is on the ceiling over the wall opposite in
front of you, and the next nine from 21 to 29 on that wall under it ; the square 30, and the next
nine from 31 to 39 are put in like manner on the right hand; and the square 40, and the next
nine from 41 to 49 behind you ; the remaining square 50 is placed in the centre of the ceiling. In
each of these squares a picture of some visible object is located; e. g. in 1, a pump; in 2, a swan;
in 3, a man using- a spade. This scheme of squares, numbers, and pictures is first to be committed
to memory. Then if one would remember by aid of the system the date e. g. of the kings of Eng-
land, he would create in his mind a picture in connection with each one of them, throw these
pictures in imagination into the squares in the exact order of the regal succession, and associate
the picture pertaining to the king with the picture fixed in the square to which he falls ; in form-
ing the new picture two things are important ; it should be so conceived as to have some casual
or slight association suggesting the name of the king, and suggesting at the same time a word or
phrase; which is devised by the person along with the ideal picture, and which expresses the
date according to an alphabet of letters substituted for figures. E. g. to remember the dale of
Henry 7th, it is said the ideal picture of 7 hens is a good one for the purpose ; the square to
which he is assigned is 29; the picture fixed in this square (in the engraved illustration of the
system) is a woman spinning on a small wheel; these two pictures then are to be somehow bound
together, and it may be thus, the woman spinning s e e s 7 hens ; the next thing is to form a word
or phrase indicative of the date; and by the alphabet adopted in this system, " The oakrail"
is such a phrase; the remaining step in this process of storage in the memory, is to bind the
phrase to the pictures, which may be done by imagining that the xcoman spinning sees 7 hens
on TAe oaA: roiZ.— The following is the substitution alphabet; 1,6 c; 2, d/; 3,o-h; 4,jkz; 5,1;
6,mn; 7,yqi 8, r s; 9,tv; 0, wx; and 100, St; 1,000, Th; 100,000, Y.

See The New Art of Memory, founded on the principles of F e i n a i g 1 e, illustrated by engravings. Lond. 1813. 8. 2d ed. Cf.
Lund. Quart. Rev. as above cited.

It is worthy of remark here, that the ancients, particularly the Roman orators, made use of a
system of topical memory. Quintilian gives an account of a system, in which the various parts

Online LibraryJohann Joachim EschenburgManual of classical literature : from the German of J.J. Eschenburg, with additions → online text (page 18 of 153)