Introduction of Newton (1728) p1-20

The Table of Contents which contains all the links to my edition of this book can be found here.

The paragraphs on occasion do not correspond to the source material. I have separated some parts in order to make it easier to read and keep your place. The page numbers are added before the first sentence that starts on that page number in the source material.

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First Memory of Things in Europe,
Conquest of Persia by Alexander the Great.


THE Greek Antiquities are full of Poetical Fictions, because the Greeks wrote nothing in Prose, before the Conquest of Asia by Cyrus the Persian. Then Pherecydes Scyrius and Cadmus Milesius introduced the writing in Prose. Pherecydes Atheniensis, about the end of the Reign of Darius Hystaspis, wrote of Antiquities, and digested his work by Genealogies, and was reckoned one of the best Genealogers.

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Epimenides the Historian proceeded also by Genealogies; and Hellanicus, who was twelve years older than Herodotus, digested his History by the Ages of Successions of the Priestesses of Juno Argiva. Others digested theirs by the Kings of the Lacedaemonians, or Archons of Athens.

Hippias the Elean, about thirty years before the fall of the Persian Empire, published a breviary or list of the Olympic Victors; and about ten years before the fall thereof, Ephorus the disciple of Isocrates formed a Chronological History of Greece, beginning with the return of the Heraclides into Peloponnesus, and ending with the siege of Perinthus, in the twentieth year of Philip the father of Alexander the great: But he digested things by Generations, and the reckoning by Olympiads was not yet in use, not doth it appear that the Reigns of Kings were yet set down by numbers of years.

The Arundelian marbles were composed sixty years after the death of Alexander the great (An. 4. Olymp. 128.) and yet mention not the Olympiads: But in the next Olympiad, Timaeus Siculus published an history in several books down to his own times, according to the Olympiads, comparing the Ephori, the Kings of Sparta, the Archons of Athens, and the Priestesses of Argos, with the Olympic Victors, so as to make the Olympiads, and the Genealogies and Successions of Kings, Archons, and Priestesses, and poetical histories suit with one another, according to the best of his judgment.

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And where he left off, Polybius began and carried on the history.

So then a little after the death of Alexander the great, they began to set down the Generations, Reigns and Successions, in numbers of years, and by putting Reigns and Successions equipollent to Generations, and three Generations to an hundred or an hundred and twenty years (as appears by their Chronology) they have made the Antiquities of Greece three or four years older than the truth. And this was the original of the Technical Chronology of the Greeks. Eratosthenes wrote about an hundred years after the death of Alexander the great: He was followed by Apollodorus, and these two have been followed ever since by Chronologers.

But how uncertain their Chronology is, and how doubtful it was reputed by the Greeks of those times, may be understood by these passages of Plutarch. “Some reckon, faith he, “Lycurgus contemporary to Iphitus, and to have been his companion in ordering the Olympic festivals: amongst whom was Aristotle the Philosopher, arguing from the Olympic Disc, which had the name of Lycurgus upon it.

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Others supputing the times by the succession of the Kings of the Lacedaemonians, as Eratosthenes and Apollodorus, affirm that he was not a few years older than the first Olympiad.”

First Aristotle and some others made him as old as the first Olympiad; then Eratosthenes, Apollodorus, and some others made him above an hundred years older: and in another place Plutarch tell us (in the life of Solon.):
The congress of Solon with Croesus, some think they can confute by Chronology. But an history so illustrious, and verified by so many witnesses, and (which is more) so agreeable to the manners of Solon, and so worthy of the greatness of his mind and of his wisdom, I cannot persuade my self to reject because of some Chronological Canons, as they call them: which hundreds of authors correcting, have not yet been able to constitute any thing certain, in which they could agree among themselves, about repugnancies.”

It seems the Chronologers had made the Legislature of Solon too ancient to consist with the Congress.

For conciling such repugnancies, Chronologers have sometimes doubled the persons of men. So when the Poets had changed Io the daughter of Inachus into the Egyptian Isis, Chronologers made her husband Osiris or Bacchus and his mistress Ariadne as old as Io, and so feigned that there were two Ariadnes, one the mistress of Bacchus, and the other the mistress of Theseus, and two Minos’s their fathers, and a younger Io the daughter of Jasus, writing Jasus corruptly for Inachus.

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And so they have made two Pandions, and two Erechtheus’s, giving the name of Erechthonius to the first; Homer calls the first, Erechtheus: and by such corruptions they have exceedingly perplexed Ancient History.

And as for the Chronology of the Latines, that is still more uncertain. Plutarch represents great uncertainties in the Originals of Rome: and so doth Servius. The old records of the Latines were burnt by the Gauls, sixty and four years before the death of Alexander the great; and Quintus Fabius Pictor, the oldest historian of the Latines, lived an hundred years later than that King.

In Sacred History, the Assyrian Empire began with Pul and Tiglathpilaser, and lasted about 170 years. And accordingly Herodotus hath made Semiramis only five generations, or about 166 years older than Nitocris, the mother of the last King of Babylon. But Ctesias hath made Semiramis 1500 years older than Nitocris, and feigned a long series of Kings of Assyria, whose names are not Assyrian, nor have any affinity with the Assyrian names in Scripture.

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The Priests of Egypt told Herodotus, that Menes built Memphis and the sumptuous temple of Vulcan, in that City: and that Rhampsinitus, Maeris, Asychis and Psammiticus added magnificent porticos to that temple. And it is not likely that Memphis could be famous, before Homer’s days who doth not mention it, or that a temple could be above two or three hundred years in building. The Reign of Psammiticus began about 655 years before Christ, and I place the founding of this temple by Menes about 257 years earlier: but the Priests of Egypt had so magnified their Antiquities before the days of Herodotus, as to tell him that from Menes to Maeris (who reigned 200 years before Psammiticus) there were 330 Kings, whose Reigns took up as many Ages, that is eleven thousand years, and had filled up the interval with feigned Kings, who had done nothing. And before the days of Diodorus Siculus they had raised their Antiquities so much higher, as to place six, eight, or ten new Reigns of Kings between those Kings, whom they had represented to Herodotus to succeed one another immediately.

In the Kingdom of Sicyon, Chronologers have split Apis Epaphus or Epopeus into two Kings, whom they call Apis and Epopeus, and between them have inserted eleven or twelve feigned names of Kings who did nothing, and thereby they have made its Founder Aegialeus, three hundred years older than his brother Phoroneus.

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Some have made the Kings of Germany as old as the Flood: and yet before the use of letters, the names and actions of men could scarce be remembered above eighty or an hundred years after their deaths: and therefore I admit no Chronology of things done in Europe, above eighty years before Cadmus brought letters into Europe; none, of things done in Germany, before the rise of the Roman Empire.

Now since Eratosthenes and Apollodorus computed the times by the Reigns of the Kings of Sparta, and (as appears by their Chronology still followed) have made the seventeen Reigns of these Kings in both Races, between the Return of Heraclides into Peloponnesus and the Battel of Thermopylae, take up 622 years, which is after the rate of 36.5 years to a Reign, and yet a Race of seventeen Kings of that length is no where to be met with in all true History, and Kings at a moderate reckoning Reign but 18 or 20 years a-piece one with another: I have stated the time of the return of the Heraclides by the last way of reckoning, placing it about 340 years before Battel of Thermopylae. And making the Taking of Troy eighty years older than that Return, according to Thucydides, and the Argonautic Expedition a Generation older than the Trojan War, and the Wars of Sesostris in Thrace and death of Ino the daughter of Cadmus a Generation older than that Expedition: I have drawn up the following Chronological Table, so as to make Chronology suit with the Course of Nature, with Astronomy, with Sacred History, with Herodotus the Father of History, and with it self; without the many repugnancies complained of by Plutarch.

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I do not pretend to be exact to a year: there may be Errors of five or ten years, and sometimes twenty, and not much above.

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First Memory of Things in Europe, to the Conquest of Persia by Alexander the great.
The Times are set down in years before Christ.

THE Canaanites who fled from Joshua, retired in great numbers into Egypt, and there conquered Timaus, Thamus, or Thammuz King of the lower Egypt, and reigned there under their Kings Salatis, Baeon, Apachnas, Apophis, Janias, Affis, &c. untill the days of Eli and Samuel. They fed on flesh, and sacrificed men after the manner of the Phoenicians, and were called Shepherd by the Egyptians, who lived only on the fruits of the earth, and abominated flesh-eaters. The upper parts of Egypt were in those days under many Kings, Reigning at Coptos, Thebes, This, Elephantis, and other Places, which by conquering one another grew by degrees into one Kingdom, over which Misphragmuthosis Reigned in the days of Eli.

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In the year before Christ 1125 Mephres Reigned over the upper Egypt from Syene to Heliopolis, and his Successor Misphragmuthosis made a lasting war upon the Shepherds soon after, and caused many of them to fly into Palestine, Idumaea, Syria, and Libya; and under Lelex, Aezeus, Inachus, Pelasgus, Aeolus the first, Cecrops, and other Captains, into Greece. Before those days Greece and all Europe was peopled by wandring Cimmerians, and Scythians from the backside of the Euxine Sea, who lived a rambling wild sort of life, like the Tartars in the northern parts of Asia. Of their Race was Ogyges, in whose days these Egyptian strangers came into Greece. The rest of the Shepherds were shut up by Misphragmuthosis, in a part of the lower Egypt called Abaris or Pelusium.

In the year 1100 the Philistims, strengthened by the access of the Shepherds, conquer Israel, and take the Ark. Samuel judges Israel.

1085. Haemon the son of Pelasgus Reigns in Thessaly.

1080. Lycaon the son of Pelasgus builds Lycosura; Phoroneus the son of Inachus, Phoronicum, afterwards called Argos; Aegialeus the brother of Phoroneus and son of Inachus, Aegialeum, afterwards called Sicyon: and these were the oldest town in Peloponnesus.

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‘Till then they built only single houses scattered up and down in the fields. About the same time Cecrops built Cecropia in Attica, afterwards called Athens; and Eleusine, the son of Ogyges, built Eleusis. And these towns gave a beginning to the Kingdoms of the Arcadians, Argives, Sicyons, Athenians, Eleusinians, &c. Deucalion flourishes.

1070. Amosis, or Tethmosis, the successor of Misphragmuthosis, abolishes the Phoenician custom in Heliopolis of sacrificing men, and drives the Shepherds out of Abaris. By their access the Philistims become so numerous, as to bring into the field against Saul 30,000 chariots, 6000 horsemen, and people as the sand of the sea shore for multitude. Abas, the father of Acrisius and Praetus, comes from Egypt.

1069. Saul is made King of Israel, and by the hand of Jonathan gets a great victory over the Philistims. Eurotas the son of Lelex, and Lacedaemon who married Sparta the daughter of Eurotas, Reign in Laconia, and build Sparta.

1060. Samuel dies.

1059. David made King.

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1048. The Edomites are conquered and dispersed by David, and some of them fly into Egypt with their young King Hadad. Others fly to the Persian Gulph with their Commander Oannes; and others from the Red Sea to the coast of the Mediterranean, and fortify Azoth against David, and take Zidon; and the Zidonians who fled from them build Tyre and Aradus, and make Abibalus King of Tyre. These Edomites carry to all places their Arts and Sciences; amongst which were their Navigation, Astronomy, and Letters; for in Idumaea they had Constellations and Letters before the days of Job, who mentions them: and there Moses learnt to write the Law in a book. These Edomites who fled to the Mediterranean, translating the word Erythraea into that of Phoenicia, give the name of Phoenicians to themselves, and that of Phoenicia to all the sea-coasts of Palestine from Azoth to Zidon. And hence came the tradition of the Persians, and of the Phoenicians themselves, mentioned by Herodotus, that the Phoenicians came originally from the Red Sea, and presently undertook long voyages on the Mediterranean.

1047. Acrisius marries Eurydice, the daughter of Lacedaemon and Sparta. The Phoenician mariners who fled from the Red Sea, being used to long voyages for the sake of traffic, begin the like voyages on the Mediterranean from Zidon; and failing as far as Greece, carry away Io the daughter of Inachus, who with other Grecian women came to their ships to buy their merchandise. The Greek Seas begin to be infested with Pyrates.

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1046. The Syrians of Zobah and Damascus are conquered by David. Nyctimus, the son of Lycaon, reigns in Arcadia. Deucalion still alive.

1045. Many of the Phoenicians and Syrians fleeing from Zidon and from David, come under the conduct of Cadmus, Cilix, Phaenix, Membliarius, Nycteus, Thasus, Atymnus, and other Captains, into Asia minor, Crete, Greece, and Libya; and introduce Letters, Music, Poetry, the Octaeteris, Metals and their Fabrication, and other Arts, Sciences, and Customs of the Phoenicians. At this time Cranaus the successor of Cecrops Reigned in Attica, and in his Reign and the beginning of the Reign of Nyctimus, the Greeks place the flood of Deucalion. This flood was succeeded by four Ages or Generations of men, in the first of which Chiron the son of Saturn and Philyra was born, and the last of which according to Hesiod ended with the Trojan War; and so places the Destruction of Troy four Generations or about 140 years later than that flood, and the coming of Cadmus, reckoning with the ancients three Generations to an hundred years.

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With these Phoenicians came a sort of men skilled in the Religious Mysteries, Arts, and Sciences of Phoenicia, and settled in several places under the names of Curetes, Corybantes, Telchines, and Idaei Dactyli.

1043. Hellen, the son of Deucalion, and father of Aeolus, Xuthus, and Dorus, flourishes.

1035. Erectheus Reigns in Attica. Aethlius, the grandson of Deucalion and father of Endymion, build Elis. The Idaei Dactyli find out Iron in mount Ida in Crete, and work it into armour and iron tools, and thereby give a beginning to the trades of smiths and armourers in Europe; and by singing and dancing in their armour, and keeping time by striking upon one another’s armour with their swords, they bring in Music and Poetry; and at the same time they nurse up the Cretan Jupiter in a cave of the same mountain, dancing about him in their armour.

1034. Ammon Reigns in Egypt. He conquered Libya, and reduced that people from a wandering savage life to a civil one, and taught them to lay up the fruits of the earth; and from him Libya and the desert above it were anciently called Ammonia. He was the first that built long and tall ships with sails, and had a fleet of such ships on the Red Sea, and another on the Mediterranean at Irasa in Libya.

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‘Till then they used small and round vessels of burden, invented on the Red Sea, and kept within sight of the shore. For enabling them to cross the seas without seeing the shore, the Egyptians began in his days to observe the Stars: and from this beginning Astronomy and Sailing had their rise. Hitherto the Lunisolar year had been in use: but this year being of an uncertain length, and so, unfit for Astronomy, in his days and in the days of his sons and grandsons, by observing the Heliacal Risings and Setting of the Stars, they found the length of the Solar year, and made it consist of five days more than the twelve calendar months of the old Lunisolar year. Creusa the daughter of Erechtheus marries Xuthus the son of Hellen. Erechtheus having first celebrated the Panathenaea joins horses to a chariot. Aegina, the daughter of Asopus, and mother of Aeacus, born.

1030. Ceres a woman of Sicily, in seeking her daughter who was stolen, comes into Attica, and there teaches the Greeks to sow corn; for which Benefaction she was Deified after death. She first taught the Art to Triptolemus the young son of Celeus King of Eleusis.

1028. Oenotrus the youngest son of Lycaon, the Janus of the Latines, led the first Colony of Greeks into Italy, and there taught them to build houses. Perseus born.

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1020. Arcas, the son of Callisto and grandson of Lycaon, and Eumelus the first King of Achaia, receive bread-corn from Tripolemus.

1019. Solomon Reigns, and marries the daughter of Ammon, and by means of this affinity is supplied with horses from Egypt; and his merchants also bring horses from thence for all the Kings of the Hittites and Syrians: for horses came originally from Libya; and thence Neptune was called Equestris. Tantalus King of Phrygia steals Ganimede the son of Tros King of Troas.

1017. Solomon by the assistance of the Tyrians and Aradians, who had mariners among them acquainted with the Red Sea, sets out a fleet upon that sea. Those assistants build new cities in the Persian Gulph, called Tyre and Aradus.

1015. The Temple of Solomon is founded. Minos Reigns in Crete expelling his father Asterius, who flees into Italy, and becomes the Saturn of the Latines. Ammon takes Gezer from the Canaanites, and gives it to his daughter, Solomon’s wife.

1014. Ammon places Cepheus at Joppa.

1010. Sesac in the Reign of his father Ammon invades Arabia Faelix, and sets up pillars at the mouth of the Red Sea. Apis, Epaphus or Epopeus, the son of Phroroneus, and Nycteus King of Baeotia, slain.

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Lycus inherits the Kingdom of his brother Nycteus. Aetolus the son of Endymion flies into the Country of the Curetes in Achaia, and calls it Aetolia; and of Pronoe the daughter of Phorbas begets Pleuron and Calydon, who built cities in Aetolia called by their own names. Antiopa the daughter of Nycteus is sent home to Lycus by Lamedon the successor of Apis, and in the way brings forth Amphion and Zethus.

1008. Sesac, in the Reign of his father Ammon, invades Afric and Spain, and sets up pillars in all his conquests, and particularly at the mouth of the Mediterranean, and returns home by the coast of Gaul and Italy.

1007. Ceres being dead Eumolpus institutes her Mysteries in Eleusine. The Mysteries of Rhea are instituted in Phrygia, in the city of Cybele. About this time Temples begin to be built in Greece. Hyagnis the Phrygian invents the pipe. After the example of the common-council of the five Lords of the Philistims, the Greeks set up the Amphictyonic Council, first at Thermopylae, by the influence of Amphictyonic the son of Deucalion; and a few years after at Delphi by the influence of Acrisius. Among the cites, whose deputies met at Thermopulae, I do not find Athens, and therefore doubt whether Amphictyon was King of that city.

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If he was the son of Deucalion and brother of Hellen, he and Cranaus might Reign together in several parts of Attica. But I meet with a later Amphictyon who entertained the great Bacchus. This Council worshipped Ceres, and therefore was instituted after her death.

1006. Minos prepares a fleet, clear the Greek seas of Pyrates, and sends Colonies to the Islands of the Greeks, some of which were not inhabited before. Cecrops II. Reigns in Attica. Caucon teaches the Mysteries of Ceres in Messene.

1005. Andromeda carried away from Jappa by Perseus. Pandion the brother of Cecrops II. Reigns in Attica. Car, the son of Phoroneus, builds a Temple to Ceres.

1002. Sesac Reigns in Egypt and adorns Thebes, dedicating it to his father Ammon by the name of No-Ammon or Ammon-No, that is the people or city of Ammon: whence the Greeks called it Diospolis, the city of Jupiter. Sesac also erected Temples and Oracles to his father in Thebes, Ammonia, and Ethiopia, and thereby caused his father to be worshipped as a God in those countries, and I think also in Arabia Faelix: and this was the original of the worship of Jupiter Ammon, and the first mention of Oracles that I meet with in Prophane History.

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War between Pandion and Labdacus the grandson of Cadmus.

994. Aegus Reigns in Attica.

993. Pelops the son of Tantalus comes in to Peloponnesus, marries Hippodamia the granddaughter of Acrisius, takes Aetolia from Aetolus the son of Endymion, and by his riches grows potent.

990. Amphion and Zethus slay Lycus, put Laius the son of Labdacus to flight(?), and Reign in Thebes, and wall the city about.

989. Daedalus and his nephew Talus invent the saw, the turning-lath, the wimble, the chipax, and other instruments of Carpenters and Joyners, and thereby give a beginning to those Arts in Europe. Daedalus also invented the making of Statues with their feet asunder, as if they walked.

988. Minos makes war upon the Athenians, for killing his son Androgeus. Aeacus flourishes.

987. Daedalas kills his nephew Talus, and flies to Minos. A Priestess of Jupiter Ammon, being brought by Phoenician merchants into Greece, sets up the Oracle of Jupiter at Dodona. This gives a beginning to Oracles in Greece: and by their dictates, the Worship of the Dead is every where introduced.

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983. Sisyphus, the son of Aeolus and grandson of Hellen, Reigns in Corinth, and some say that he built that city.

980. Laius recovers the Kingdom of Thebes. Athamas, the brother of Sisyphus and father of Phrixus and Helle, marries Ino the daughter of Cadmus.

979. Rehoboam Reigns. Thoas is sent from Crete to Lemnos, Reigns there in the city Hephoestia, and works in copper and iron.

978. Alcmena born of Electryo the son of Perseus and Andromeda, and of Lysidice the daughter of Pelops.

974. Sesac spoils the Temple, and invades Syria and Persia, setting up pillars in many places. Jeroboam, becoming subject to Sesac, sets up the worship of the Egyptian Gods in Israel.

971. Sesac invades India, and returns with triumph the next year but one: whence Trieterica Bacchi. He sets up pillars on two mountains at the mouth of the river Ganges.

968. Theseus Reigns, having overcome the Minotaur, and soon after unites the twelve cities of Attica under one government. Sesac, having carried on his victories to Mount Caucasus, leaves his nephew Prometheus there, and Aeetes in Colchis.

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