Phoenician perspectives: Philo of Byblos on “Phoenician Matters” (early second century CE)

Citation with stable link: Philip A. Harland, 'Phoenician perspectives: Philo of Byblos on “Phoenician Matters” (early second century CE),' Ethnic Relations and Migration in the Ancient World, last modified May 28, 2024,

Ancient authors: Philo of Byblos (and Sanchuniathon), Phoenician Matters = FGrHist 790 (link to FGrHist), as cited by Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel 1.9.23-29; 1.10.6; 1.9.30-10.42; 1.10.44 = 4.16.11 (link; Greek text follows translation below).

Comments: Philo of Byblos’ Phoenician Matters (ca. 115–125 CE) provides an example of a native author presenting his own ancestral traditions (in Greek) to a broader audience, in this case expressly claiming that Greeks have misunderstood stories about the gods generally. Philo claims that he is drawing on an earlier Phoenician source by a Sanchuniathon (which may or may not be a real figure) who in turn was drawing on the teachings of Taautos (who is equated with the Egyptian deity Thoth or Thouth). In the process of re-expressing Phoenician traditions, Philo shapes them to incorporate Greek stories. Furthermore, there are many cases here where Philo attributes to Phoenician figures important inventions that led to the development of human civilization. Ancient myths about gods are presented as though they describe actual historical events and people of the past, with gods being humans of the past who accomplished great things (an idea that is usually associated with the Greek philosopher Euhemeros).


Phoenician Matters

Fragment 1: Preface regarding Sanchuniathon as a source (Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel 1.9.23-29, 1.10.6)

(9.23) When Philo had divided the entire treatise of Sanchuniathon into nine books, he wrote (in the introduction to the first book) prefatory remarks on Sanchuniathon in these words:

(9.24) “Since these things were so, Sanchuniathon, truly a man of great learning and curiosity, who desired to learn from everyone about what happened from the first, when the universe came into being, quite carefully searched out the works of Taautos. He did this since he realized that Taautos was the first person under the sun who thought of the invention of writing and who began to compose records, thereby laying the foundation, as it were, of learning. The Egyptians call him Thouth and the Alexandrians Thoth and the Greeks translated his name as Hermes.”

(9.25) After these words, Philo next reproaches more recent authors, who, as it were in a forced and untruthful way, have subsequently reduced the stories about the gods to allegories and to descriptions of and theories about physical phenomena. Thus, he goes on to say:

(9.26) “But the more recent writers of sacred accounts have from the first rejected what really happened. By devising allegories and myths and by inventing a kinship with cosmic phenomena, they established mysteries and introduced into them tremendous delusion, so that it is not easy for anyone to perceive what in truth happened. Sanchuniathon, however, came upon the secret works procured from the sanctuaries, composed in the letters of the Ammoneans [followers of the god Ammon (?)], which certainly were not familiar to everyone. He pursued the study of all of them, and when he put an end to his work, having removed the original myth and the allegories, he accomplished his aim, until once again the priests who later came on the scene wished to conceal his accomplishment and to restore it to the domain of fable. From that time the practice of mysteries arose, which had not yet reached the Greeks.”

(9.27) Directly after this Philo says:

“These discoveries were made by us, who have earnestly desired to understand Phoenician culture and who have investigated much material apart from that in Greek authors, for this is inconsistent and composed by some people more for the sake of disputation than for truth.”

(9.28) And after further discussion, he says:

“It came to us to be convinced that it was as he wrote, when we saw the inconsistency in Greek authors, with which I have contended in a three-volume work entitled ‘Incredible History’.”

(9.29) Again after further discussion he adds:

“It is necessary to make a preliminary clarification for the sake of subsequent clarity and for the analysis of particular questions. The most ancient of the barbarians, and especially Phoenicians and Egyptians, from whom the rest of humankind received their traditions, considered as greatest gods those men who had made discoveries valuable for life’s necessities or those who had in some way benefited their peoples. Since they considered these men as benefactors and sources of many blessings, they worshipped them as gods even after they had passed on. They built temples and also consecrated steles [stone slabs] and staves [wands or rods] in their name. The Phoenicians paid great honor to them and instituted magnificent feasts for them. They assigned names chosen especially from those of their kings to the cosmic elements and to some of the recognized deities. Among things of nature they acknowledged as gods only the sun, the moon, the other planets, the elements and their combinations, so that for them some gods were mortal and some immortal.”

Fragment 1a: Preface (1.10.6)

(10.6) “But these first humans, at least, considered sacred the things which sprouted up from the earth and recognized them as gods. They worshipped the things by means of which they and all their descendants and ancestors were sustained; and they made libations and incense offerings. [They established rituals of pity, lamentation and mourning for the vegetation when it departed from the earth, and for the birth of animals, both their initial birth from the earth and subsequently their birth from other animals, and also for their death, when they departed from life.]” Then he adds, “These notions of worship were appropriate for their own weakness and spiritual cowardice.”

Fragment 2: book 1 (1.9.30-10.42)

A) Cosmogony (9.30-10.5)

(9.30) After setting out these definitions in his preface, Philo next begins his interpretation of Sanchuniathon and he presents the Phoenician theology roughly as follows: (10.1) He posits as the source of the universe a dark and windy gas, or a stream of dark gas, and turbid, gloomy chaos. These things were unbounded and for ages were without limit. He says, “When the wind lusted after its own sources” and a mixture came into being, that combination was, called Desire. This was the beginning of the creation of all things. It was not aware of its own creation. From the same interweaving of the wind Mot [Death personified as a god] came into being. Some say that this is mud; others, that it is a putrifaction of the moist mixture. From this substance came every seed of creation and the genesis of the universe.

(10.2) “There were some living creatures without sensation, from which came intelligent creatures and they were called ‘Zophasemin,’ that is, ‘heavenly observers.’ They were formed roughly in the shape of an egg. Mot shone forth with sun and moon, stars and great constellations.”

Such was their cosmogony, which openly introduces atheism. Next let us see how he says that the generation of animals took place. He says:

“And when the air became luminous, there arose, because of the heating of both the sea and the land, winds and clouds and very great downpours and floods from the celestial waters. These were separated out and removed from their proper place through heating by the sun. When they all intermingled once again and collided in the air, then peals of thunder and flashes of lightning were produced. At the crash of the thunder, the intelligent creatures previously mentioned awoke. They were alarmed at the noise, and male and female creatures began to stir on both land and sea.”

Such is their account of the generation of animals. Next the same author adds:

“This is the account found written in the Cosmogony of Taautos and in his records, based on conjectures and on bits of evidence which his intellect perceived, discovered and clarified for us.”

B) Development of Civilization (1.10.6-14)

(10.6) After this he mentions the names of the winds, the South and the North and the rest and then adds: [a paragraph that follows here is omitted in this translation since it seems out of place, repeating material from the preface]. (10.7) Then he says that from the wind Colpia and his wife Baau (this means night) were born Aeon and Protogonos, so-called mortal men. Aeon discovered the nourishment from trees. Their offspring were called Genes and Genea and they settled Phoenicia. When droughts occurred, they raised their hands to heaven, toward the sun. “For,” he says, “they considered him, the lord of heaven, to be the only god and called him Beelsamen [Ba’al Shamem], which is ‘Lord of Heaven’ in Phoenician, Zeus in Greek.”

(10.8) After these remarks he berates the error of the Greeks and says:

“For it is not without reason that we have defined these things in many ways, but because of the later erroneous transmissions of the names related to these matters, which names the Greeks, out of ignorance, received in an improper sense, misled by the ambiguity of translation.”

(10.9) Next he says that from Genos, son of Aeon and Protogonos, there were born further mortal children, whose names are Light, Fire, and Flame. He says:

“These discovered fire by rubbing sticks of wood together, and they taught its usefulness. They begot sons greater in size and stature, whose names were given to the mountains over which they ruled. Thus from them derive the names of Mount Kassios [Jebel Aqra], the Lebanon, the Anti-Lebanon and Mount Brathy. “From these,” he says, “were born Samemroumos, who is also called Hypsouranios, <and Ousōos>.” He says, “They took their names from their mothers, since women at that time mated indiscriminately with whomever they chanced to meet.”

(10.10) Then he says that Hypsouranios settled Tyre and that he invented huts made of reeds, rushes, and papyrus. He quarrelled with his brother, Ousōos, who first discovered how to gather a covering for the body from the hides of animals which he captured. Once, when there were fierce rainstorms and gales, the trees in Tyre rubbed against one another and started a fire and it burned down their woodland. Ousōos took part of a tree, cut off the branches and, for the first time ever, dared to travel on the sea. He dedicated two monuments (steles) for Fire and Wind. He worshipped them and poured out to them libations of blood from the animals which he had hunted. He says that when these men died, those who survived them dedicated staves [wands or rods] to them. They worshipped the steles and conducted annual festivals for them.

(10.11) In much later times there were born, in the line of Hypsouranios, Hunter and Fisher, the inventors of fishing and hunting, from whom hunters and fishermen are named. From them were born two brothers who discovered iron and how to work it. One of these, Chousor, practised verbal arts including spells and prophecies. He is, in fact, Hephaistos and he invented the hook, lure, line, and raft, and was the first of all men to sail. Therefore they honored him, too, as a god after his death. He is also called Zeus Meilichios [Gentle One]. Some say that his brothers invented walls of brick.

(10.12) Later, in the line of these men, there were two youths. One of them is called Craftsman and the other Earthly Native.

“These youths invented the method of making bricks by mixing straw with clay, then baking them in the sun. In addition, they also devised roofed dwellings. From these came others, one of whom was called Field, and the other Hero of the Field or Rustic, in whose honor there is in Phoenicia both a very (10.13) venerable image and a shrine drawn by a pair of beasts. Especially among the Byblians he is named the greatest of gods. These two conceived of adding courtyards to dwellings, as well as encircling walls and grottoes.”

From these came Trappers and Huntsmen. These are also called Rovers and Titans. From these came Amynos and Magos, who introduced villages and flocks of sheep. From these came Misor and Sydyk, that is “agile” and “just.” These discovered how to use salt.

(10.14) “From Misor came Taautos,” who discovered how to write the first letters. He is the one whom the Egyptians called Thouth, the Alexandrians Thoth, and the Greeks Hermes. From Sydyk came the Dioscouroi,or Kabeiroi, or Korybantes, or Samothracians. “These,” he says, “first invented a boat. From these came others who discovered the use of herbs, and the remedy for animals’ bites, and spells.”

C) History of Kronos (1.10.15-30)

(10.15) “Among their contemporaries was a certain Elioun, called ‘Most High,’ and a woman called Berouth , who settled the area around Byblos. From these were born Terrestrial Native, subsequently called Ouranos [Heaven or Sky]. Because of his superlative beauty, the element above us was given the name ‘heaven,’ from him. A sister, who was called Ge [Earth], was born for him from the previously mentioned individuals.” “Because of her beauty,” he says, “they call the earth by the same name after her. The Father of these, Most High, became an object of worship after he died in an encounter with beasts. His children performed funeral libations and sacrifices for him.”

(10.16) “Ouranos inherited his father’s dominion and married his sister Ge, and from her produced four children: Elos [El], who is also Kronos, Baetylos, Dagon, who is Grain, and Atlas [Attar (?)]. From other wives Ouranos had numerous offspring. Ge, therefore, being angry and jealous, (10.17) reproached Ouranos, and as a result they separated from one another. After Ouranos had left her, he would come and forcefully rape her whenever he wished and then depart again. He also tried to kill his children by her, but Ge repeatedly defended herself once she had assembled an alliance for herself.”

“When Kronos [El] reached manhood, he punished his father Ouranos and thus avenged his mother, utilizing Hermes Trismegistos [Thrice-great, perhaps equated with Taautos] – (10.18) for he was his secretary – as counsellor and helper. The children of Kronos were Persephone and Athena [perhaps the goddess Anat is in mind]. The former died in early maidenhood; with the advice of the latter, Athena, as well as of Hermes, Kronos made a sickle and spear of iron. Then Hermes used magic spells on the allies of Kronos and instilled in them a desire to fight against Ouranos on behalf of Ge. Thus, Kronos waged war against Ouranos, expelled him from his dominion, and took up his kingdom. Ouranos’ favorite mistress, who was pregnant, was also captured in the battle and Kronos gave her in marriage to Dagon. (10.19) While with the latter, she gave birth to the child conceived by Ouranos, whom she called Demarous [Ba’al Hadad (?)].”

(10.20) “Furthermore, Kronos surrounded his own dwelling with a wall, and founded the first city, Byblos in Phoenicia. Afterwards, Kronos began to suspect his own brother Atlas [Attaar (?)], and on the advice of Hermes he cast him down and buried him in the depths of the earth. During this same era the descendants of the Dioscouroi constructed rafts and ships and made voyages. Cast ashore near Mount Kassios, they consecrated a shrine there. Now the allies of Elos, that is Kronos, were called ‘Eloim,’ as the ones named after Kronos would be ‘Kronians.’”

(10.21) “Kronos had a son Sadidos whom he destroyed with his own weapon because he was suspicious of him. He became the murderer of his own child and deprived him of life. Similarly, he beheaded his own daughter, so that all the gods were astounded at the disposition of Kronos.”

(10.22) “Some time later, while Ouranos was in exile, he secretly sent his maiden daughter Astarte together with two other sisters of hers, Rhea and Dione, to kill Kronos by stealth. Kronos, however, caught the (10.23) lasses and made the sisters his wives. When Ouranos found out, he sent Destiny, Hour, and other allies into battle against Kronos. These too Kronos won over and kept at his side. Also,” he says, “the god Ouranos further invented baetyls, by devising stones endowed with life.”

(10.24) “Kronos had seven daughters, Titanids or Artemids, by Astarte, and again by Rhea he had seven sons, the youngest of whom was made an object of worship at the time of his birth. By Dione he had <two> female children and again by Astarte two male children, called Desire and Love.”

(10.25) “Dagon, since he discovered grain and plough, was called Zeus Ploughman. One of the Titanids mated with Sydyk, called ‘just one,’ and bore Asklepios.”

(10.26) “Three more children were born to Kronos in (or “by”) Peraea: Kronos, named after his father, Zeus Belos, and Apollo. In their time there also lived Pontos, Typhon, and Nereus, father of Pontos and son of Belos. From Pontos came Sidon, who first discovered how to sing a song because of her superlative voice, and Poseidon. Demarous had a son Melkarthos [Melqart, patron deity of Sidon], who is also known as Herakles.”

(10.28) “Then Ouranos again went to battle, against Pontos. Demarous revolted and allied himself with <him> and Demarous advanced against Pontos, but Pontos routed him. Demarous vowed to offer a sacrifice in return for his escape.”

(10.29) “In the thirty-second year of his own assumption of royal authority Elos, that is Kronos, trapped his father Ouranos in a certain inland place. He overpowered and castrated him near springs and rivers. There Ouranos was made an object of worship and he breathed his last and the blood from his genitals dripped into the springs and the rivers’ waters. Even now the place is visible.”

(10.30) Such are the things told about Kronos; and such are the solemn tales about the life of the contemporaries of Kronos that is celebrated by the Greeks. They say that these were the first, indeed golden, race of mortals. Oh, for that blessed happiness of the ancients!

D) Accounts of later rulers (

(10.30) After relating other matters, our author continues as follows:

(10.31) “Greatest Astarte and Zeus, called both Demarous and Adodos [Hadad], king of gods, were ruling over the land with the consent of Kronos. Astarte placed upon her own head a bull’s head as an emblem of kingship. (10.32) While traveling around the world, she discovered a star which had fallen from the sky. She took it up and consecrated it in Tyre, the holy island. The Phoenicians say that Astarte is Aphrodite.”

“Also when Kronos was traveling around the world, he gave the kingdom of Attica to his own daughter Athena. (10.33) At the occurrence of a fatal plague, Kronos immolated his only son to his father Ouranos, and circumcised himself, forcing the allies who were with him to do the same. And not long after this, when another of his children died, one born of Rhea and called Muth [Moth], he made him an object of worship. The Phoenicians call him Death and Pluto. In addition, Kronos gave the city Byblos to the goddess Baaltis who is also Dione [the goddes also known as the “Lady of Byblos], and the city Berytos [Beirut] to Poseidon and to the Kabeiroi, the Hunters and the Fishers, who made the relics of Pontos an object of worship in Beirut.”

(10.36) “Before this, the god Taautos, imitating the visages of his fellow gods, Kronos, Dagon and the rest, engraved the sacred forms of the letters. He also invented as royal emblems for Kronos four eyes, on the front and in the rear, <two awake> and two closed restfully; (10.37) and upon the shoulders, four wings, two as if fluttering, and two as if relaxed. This a symbol, since Kronos was watchful even when in repose, and was in repose even when awake; similarly the wings were symbolic because he flew while at rest, and was at rest while flying. Each of the other gods had two feathers upon his shoulders, since they in fact flew with Kronos. In addition, he also had two wings on his head, one for the mind, which is the supreme authority, and one for the faculty of perception. When he went to the southern land, Kronos transferred all of Egypt to the god Taautos, so that it might become his kingdom.”

(10.38) “The seven sons of Sydyk, the Kabeiri, and the eighth son, their brother Asclepius,” he says, “were the first of all men to record these things, as the god Taautos ordered them.”

(10.39) “When Thabion, the very first hierophant [revealer of sacred objects] of the Phoenicians since the beginning of time, had interpreted all these things allegorically and had combined them with natural and cosmic phenomena, he transmitted them to the priests and to the prophets who led the rites. They, in turn, intending to magnify the delusion in every way, handed them on to their successors and to the aliens, one of whom was Eisirios, inventor of the three scripts, brother of Chna [Canaan], the first to change his name to Phoenix.”

(10.40) Next, Philo of Byblos makes these additional comments:

“The Greeks, who surpass all men in their natural cleverness, first appropriated most of these tales. They then dramatized them in various ways with additional literary ornaments, and intending to beguile with the delights of myths, they embellished them in all sorts of ways. From this, Hesiod and the highly touted cyclic poets fabricated their own versions and made excerpts of Theogonies and Giants’ Battles and Titans’ Battles, which they carried about and with which they defeated the truth. (10.41) Our ears have for ages become habituated to and predisposed by their fictions. We preserve the received mythology as a sacred trust, as I said also at the beginning. Assisted by the force of time, it has rendered its hold inescapable, so that the truth is regarded as drivel and the bastard tale as truth.”

Let these selections serve as examples from the writing of Sanchuniathon, which was interpreted by Philo of Byblos and whose veracity is attested by the testimony of the philosopher Porphyry.

Fragment 3 (1.10.44 – 4.16.11)

E) On human sacrifice.

Shortly afterward Philo of Byblos says:

“Among ancient peoples in critically dangerous situations it was customary for the rulers of a city or people, rather than lose everyone, to provide the clearest of their children as a propitiatory sacrifice to the avenging deities. The children thus given up were slaughtered according to a secret ritual. Now Kronos, whom the Phoenicians call El, who was in their land and who was later divinized after his death as the star of Kronos, had an only son by a local bride named Anobret, and therefore they called him Ieoud. (Even now among the Phoenicians the only son is given this name.) When war’s gravest dangers gripped the land, Kronos dressed his son in royal attire, prepared an altar and sacrificed him.”

Fragment 4 (1.10.45-53)

F) On snakes

(10.45) The same author, again dealing with the letters of the Phoenicians, translating from the works of Sanchuniathon, says such wondrous things about the creeping and venemous beasts, which certainly perform nothing beneficial for humans, but rather effect ruin and destruction for whomever they strike with deadly and cruel venom. He writes these things just as follows:

(10.46) “So Taautos himself regarded as divine the nature of the serpent and snakes, as did the Phoenicians and Egyptians after him; for this animal, according to the tradition established by him, was fiery and the most filled with breath of all crawling things. Moreover, it displayed a matchless swiftness by means of its breath, without feet, hands or any other external members by which the other animals make their movements. In addition, it produces shapes of many sorts, and while moving along makes twisting advances as swiftly as it wishes. (10.47) It is also exceedingly long-lived, and by nature not only does it slough off old age and. become rejuvenated, but it also attains greater growth. When it fulfills its determined limit, it is consumed into itself, as Taautos himself similarly narrates in his sacred writings. Therefore, this animal is included in the rites and mysteries.”

(10.48) “We have discussed this species at greater length in our monographs entitled ‘Ethothion,’ in which we demonstrate that it is immortal and that it dissolves into itself, as noted above; for this sort of animal does not die an ordinary death unless it is violently struck. The Phoenicians call it Good Daimon. Similarly the Egyptians give it a name, Kneph, and they also give it the head of a hawk, because of the hawk’s active character.”

(10.49) “Epēeis, whom they call a very great hierophant [revealer of sacred objects] and sacred scribe and whom Areios of Herakleopolis translated, says just what follows in an allegorical fashion: ‘The first most divine being is a very beautiful snake with the form of a hawk. Whenever it would open its eyes, there was light everywhere in its land which was the first created, but whenever it would shut its eyes, there was darkness.’ Epēeis gives the impression that the animal is also glowing, since he says ‘it shone,’ for to shine is a characteristic of light.”

(10.50) Pherekydes [of Syros, sixth century BCE] too, took his materials from the Phoenicians and dealt with the divine attributes of the god he called Ophioneus [Snake-like] and with Ophionides, about whom we will have more to say.”

(10.51) “The Egyptians still portray the cosmos according to this same notion. They draw an encompassing sphere, misty and fiery, and a hawk-shaped snake dividing the middle. (The entire device is rather like our letter theta.) They indicate that the circle is the cosmos, and they signify that the snake in the middle holding it together is Good Daimon.”

(10.52) “Also the Magian Zoroaster, in his sacred collection of Persian lore, says just this: ‘The one who has the head of a hawk is god. He is the first, imperishable, everlasting, unbegotten, undivided, incomparable, the director of everything beautiful, the one who cannot be bribed, the best of the good, the wisest of the wise. He is also father of order and justice, self-taught, and without artifice and perfect and wise and he alone discovered the sacred nature.”

Ostanes [another legendary Persian wise man] also says the same thing about the animal in the work entitled Octateuch.

(10.53) “Therefore, all took their materials from Taautos and speculated on nature as previously indicated. They built temples and consecrated, in the temples’ innermost shrines, the first letters, those created by serpents, and for them they celebrated feasts and sacrifices and rites. They considered them the greatest gods and the founders of the universe. So much, then, for serpents.”

Epilogue of Eusebius

The theology of the Phoenicians has this character. The salvific word proclaims that we flee from this without turning back and search out the cure for the ancient peoples’ madness. For myths and fictions of poets do not happen to contain some hidden theory in allegorical form. Instead, as they themselves would have it, these are the authentic testimonies of wise and ancient theologians, with material older than all authors of poetry or prose. The trustworthiness of these accounts is deduced from the gods’ appellations, even now prevalent in the cities and villages settled by the Phoenicians, and from the account of the rites performed among each of these cities and villages. It should be evident that it is no longer necessary to track down forced explanations of natural phenomena in these matters, since the facts of themselves provide a clear refutation of such an endeavor. Such, then, is the theology of the Phoenicians.

[Remaining three fragments outside of Eusebius omitted.]


Greek text

(23) ὁ δὴ Φίλων εἰς ἐννέα βίβλους τὴν πᾶσαν τοῦ Σαγχουνιάθωνος πραγματείαν διελὼν κατὰ τὸ προοίμιον τοῦ πρώτου συγγράμματος αὐτοῖς ῥήμασι προλέγει περὶ τοῦ Σαγχουνιάθωνος ταῦτα·
(24) “Τούτων οὕτως ἐχόντων ὁ Σαγχουνιάθων, ἀνὴρ δὴ πολυμαθὴς καὶ πολυπράγμων γενόμενος καὶ τὰ ἐξ ἀρχῆς, ἀφ’ οὗ τὰ πάντα συνέστη, παρὰ πάντων εἰδέναι ποθῶν, πολυφροντιστικῶς ἐξεμάστευσεν τὰ Τααύτου, εἰδὼς ὅτι τῶν ὑφ’ ἥλιον γεγονότων πρῶτός ἐστι Τάαυτος, ὁ τῶν γραμμάτων τὴν εὕρεσιν ἐπινοήσας καὶ τῆς τῶν ὑπομνημάτων γραφῆς κατάρξας καὶ ἀπὸ τοῦδε ὥσπερ (5) κρηπῖδα βαλόμενος τοῦ λόγου, ὃν Αἰγύπτιοι μὲν ἐκάλεσαν Θωύθ, Ἀλεξανδρεῖς
δὲ Θώθ, Ἑρμῆν δὲ Ἕλληνες μετέφρασαν.” (25) Ταῦτα εἰπὼν ἐπιμέμφεται τοῖς μετὰ ταῦτα νεωτέροις, ὡς ἂν βεβιασμένως καὶ οὐκ ἀληθῶς τοὺς περὶ θεῶν μύθους ἐπ’ ἀλληγορίας καὶ φυσικὰς διηγήσεις τε καὶ θεωρίας ἀνάγουσιν· λέγει δ’ οὖν προϊών· (26) “Ἀλλ’ οἱ μὲν νεώτατοι τῶν ἱερολόγων τὰ μὲν γεγονότα πράγματα ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἀπεπέμψαντο, ἀλληγορίας δὲ καὶ μύθους ἐπινοήσαντες καὶ τοῖς κοσμικοῖς παθήμασιν συγγένειαν πλασάμενοι μυστήρια κατέστησαν καὶ πολὺν αὐτοῖς ἐπῆγον τὸν τῦφον, ὡς μὴ ῥᾳδίως τινὰ συνορᾶν τὰ κατ’ ἀλήθειαν γενόμενα· ὁ δὲ συμβαλὼν τοῖς ἀπὸ τῶν ἀδύτων εὑρεθεῖσιν ἀποκρύφοις Ἀμμουνέων (5) γράμμασι συγκειμένοις, ἃ δὴ οὐκ ἦν πᾶσιν γνώριμα, τὴν μάθησιν ἁπάντων αὐτὸς ἤσκησεν· καὶ τέλος ἐπιθεὶς τῇ πραγματείᾳ, τὸν κατ’ ἀρχὰς μῦθον καὶ τὰς ἀλληγορίας ἐκποδὼν ποιησάμενος, ἐξηνύσατο τὴν πρόθεσιν, ἕως πάλιν οἱ ἐπιγενόμενοι ἱερεῖς χρόνοις ὕστερον ἠθέλησαν αὐτὴν ἀποκρύψαι καὶ εἰς τὸ μυθῶδες ἀποκαταστῆσαι· ἐξ οὗ τὸ μυστικὸν ἀνέκυπτεν οὐδέπω φθάσαν εἰς Ἕλληνας.” (10)
(27) Τούτοις ἑξῆς φησι· “Ταῦθ’ ἡμῖν εὕρηται ἐπιμελῶς εἰδέναι τὰ Φοινίκων ποθοῦσι καὶ πολλὴν
ἐξερευνησαμένοις ὕλην, οὐχὶ τὴν παρ’ Ἕλλησι· διάφωνος γὰρ αὕτη καὶ φιλονεικότερον ὑπ’ ἐνίων μᾶλλον ἢ πρὸς ἀλήθειαν συντεθεῖσα”. (28) Καὶ μεθ’ ἕτερα· “Οὕτως τε ἔχειν πεπεῖσθαι ἡμῖν παρέστη ὡς ἐκεῖνος γέγραφεν, τὴν διαφωνίαν ὁρῶσι τὴν παρ’ Ἕλλησι. περὶ ἧς μοι τρία πεφιλοτίμηται βιβλία τὴν ἐπιγραφὴν ἔχοντα Παραδόξου ἱστορίας.” (29) Καὶ αὖθις μεθ’ ἕτερα ἐπιλέγει· “Προδιαρθρῶσαι δὲ ἀναγκαῖον πρὸς τὴν αὖθις σαφήνειαν καὶ τὴν τῶν κατὰ μέρος διάγνωσιν, ὅτι οἱ παλαίτατοι τῶν βαρβάρων, ἐξαιρέτως δὲ Φοίνικές τε καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι, παρ’ ὧν καὶ οἱ λοιποὶ παρέλαβον ἄνθρωποι, θεοὺς ἐνόμιζον μεγίστους τοὺς τὰ πρὸς τὴν βιωτικὴν χρείαν εὑρόντας ἢ καὶ κατά τι εὖ (5) ποιήσαντας τὰ ἔθνη εὐεργέτας τε τούτους καὶ πολλῶν αἰτίους ἀγαθῶν ἡγούμενοι ὡς θεοὺς προσεκύνουν καὶ εἰς τὸ χρεὼν μεταστάντας, ναοὺς κατασκευασάμενοι, στήλας τε καὶ ῥάβδους ἀφιέρουν ἐξ ὀνόματος αὐτῶν καὶ ταῦτα μεγάλως σεβόμενοι καὶ ἑορτὰς ἔνεμον αὐτοῖς τὰς μεγίστας Φοίνικες· ἐξαιρέτως δὲ καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν σφετέρων βασιλέων τοῖς κοσμικοῖς στοιχείοις καί τισι τῶν (10) νομιζομένων θεῶν τὰς ὀνομασίας προσέθηκαν· φυσικοὺς δὲ ἥλιον καὶ σελήνην καὶ τοὺς λοιποὺς πλανήτας ἀστέρας καὶ τὰ στοιχεῖα καὶ τὰ τούτοις συναφῆ θεοὺς μόνους ἐγίνωσκον, ὥστε αὐτοῖς τοὺς μὲν θνητούς, τοὺς δὲ ἀθανάτους θεοὺς εἶναι.”(30) Ταῦτα κατὰ τὸ προοίμιον ὁ Φίλων διαστειλάμενος ἑξῆς ἀπάρχεται
τῆς τοῦ Σαγχουνιάθωνος ἑρμηνείας, ὧδέ πως τὴν Φοινικικὴν ἐκτι-
θέμενος θεολογίαν·

(1) “Τὴν τῶν ὅλων ἀρχὴν ὑποτίθεται ἀέρα ζοφώδη καὶ πνευματώδη ἢ πνοὴν
ἀέρος ζοφώδους, καὶ χάος θολερόν, ἐρεβῶδες. ταῦτα δὲ εἶναι ἄπειρα καὶ διὰ
πολὺν αἰῶνα μὴ ἔχειν πέρας. ὅτε δέ, φησίν, ἠράσθη τὸ πνεῦμα τῶν ἰδίων
ἀρχῶν καὶ ἐγένετο σύγκρασις, ἡ πλοκὴ ἐκείνη ἐκλήθη πόθος. αὕτη δ’ ἀρχὴ
κτίσεως ἁπάντων. αὐτὸ δὲ οὐκ ἐγίνωσκε τὴν αὑτοῦ κτίσιν, καὶ ἐκ τῆς αὐτοῦ (5)
(2) συμπλοκῆς τοῦ πνεύματος ἐγένετο Μώτ. τοῦτό τινές φασιν ἰλύν, οἱ δὲ
ὑδατώδους μίξεως σῆψιν. καὶ ἐκ ταύτης ἐγένετο πᾶσα σπορὰ κτίσεως καὶ γέ-
νεσις τῶν ὅλων. ἦν δέ τινα ζῷα οὐκ ἔχοντα αἴσθησιν, ἐξ ὧν ἐγένετο ζῷα
νοερά, καὶ ἐκλήθη Ζοφασημίν, τοῦτ’ ἔστιν οὐρανοῦ κατόπται. καὶ ἀνεπλάσθη
ὁμοίως ᾠοῦ σχήματι, καὶ ἐξέλαμψε Μὼτ ἥλιός τε καὶ σελήνη ἀστέρες τε καὶ (5)
ἄστρα μεγάλα.”
(3) Τοιαύτη μὲν αὐτῶν ἡ κοσμογονία, ἄντικρυς ἀθεότητα εἰσάγουσα·
ἴδωμεν δὲ ἑξῆς ὡς καὶ τὴν ζῳογονίαν ὑποστῆναι λέγει. φησὶν οὖν·
(4) “Καὶ τοῦ ἀέρος διαυγάσαντος, διὰ πύρωσιν καὶ τῆς θαλάσσης καὶ τῆς
γῆς ἐγένετο πνεύματα καὶ νέφη καὶ οὐρανίων ὑδάτων μέγισται κατα-
φοραὶ καὶ χύσεις. καὶ ἐπειδὴ διεκρίθη καὶ τοῦ ἰδίου τόπου ἐχωρίσθη διὰ τὴν
τοῦ ἡλίου πύρωσιν καὶ πάλιν συνήντησεν πάντα ἐν ἀκαρεῖ τάδε τοῖσδε καὶ
συνέρραξαν, βρονταί τε ἀπετελέσθησαν καὶ ἀστραπαί, καὶ πρὸς τὸν πάτα- (5)
γον τῶν βροντῶν τὰ προγεγραμμένα νοερὰ ζῷα ἐγρηγόρησεν, καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἦχον
ἐπτύρη καὶ ἐκινήθη ἔν τε γῇ καὶ θαλάσσῃ ἄρρεν καὶ θῆλυ.”
(5) Τοιαύτη αὐτοῖς καὶ ἡ ζῳογονία. τούτοις ἑξῆς ὁ αὐτὸς συγγραφεὺς
ἐπιφέρει λέγων·
“Ταῦθ’ ηὑρέθη ἐν τῇ κοσμογονίᾳ γεγραμμένα Τααύτου καὶ τοῖς ἐκεί-
νου ὑπομνήμασιν, ἔκ τε στοχασμῶν καὶ τεκμηρίων ὧν ἑώρακεν αὐτοῦ ἡ διά-
νοια καὶ εὗρεν καὶ ἡμῖν ἐφώτισεν.” (5)
(6) Ἑξῆς τούτοις ὀνόματα τῶν ἀνέμων εἰπὼν Νότου καὶ Βορέα καὶ
τῶν λοιπῶν ἐπιλέγει·
“Ἀλλ’ οὗτοί γε πρῶτοι ἀφιέρωσαν τὰ τῆς γῆς βλαστήματα, καὶ θεοὺς ἐνό-
μισαν καὶ προσεκύνουν ταῦτα, ἀφ’ ὧν αὐτοί τε διεγίνοντο καὶ οἱ ἑπόμενοι
καὶ οἱ πρὸ αὐτῶν πάντες, καὶ χοὰς καὶ ἐπιθύσεις ἐποίουν.” (5)
(7) Καὶ ἐπιλέγει·
“Αὗται δὲ ἦσαν αἱ ἐπίνοιαι τῆς προσκυνήσεως ὅμοιαι τῇ αὐτῶν ἀσθε-
νείᾳ καὶ ψυχῆς ἀτολμίᾳ. εἶτά φησιν γεγενῆσθαι ἐκ τοῦ Κολπία ἀνέμου καὶ γυναι-
κὸς Βάαυ (τοῦτο δὲ νύκτα ἑρμηνεύει) Αἰῶνα καὶ Πρωτόγονον, θνητοὺς ἄνδρας,
οὕτω καλουμένους· εὑρεῖν δὲ τὸν Αἰῶνα τὴν ἀπὸ δένδρων τροφήν. ἐκ τούτων (5)
τοὺς γενομένους κληθῆναι Γένος καὶ Γενεάν, καὶ οἰκῆσαι τὴν Φοινίκην· αὐχ-
μῶν δὲ γενομένων τὰς χεῖρας εἰς οὐρανὸν ὀρέγειν πρὸς τὸν ἥλιον. τοῦτον γὰρ
(φησί) θεὸν ἐνόμιζον μόνον οὐρανοῦ κύριον, Βεελσάμην καλοῦντες, ὅ ἐστι
παρὰ Φοίνιξι κύριος οὐρανοῦ, Ζεὺς δὲ παρ’ Ἕλλησιν.”
(8) Μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα πλάνην Ἕλλησιν αἰτιᾶται λέγων·
“Οὐ γὰρ ματαίως αὐτὰ πολλαχῶς διεστειλάμεθα, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς αὖθις
παρεκδοχὰς τῶν ἐν τοῖς πράγμασιν ὀνομάτων, ἅπερ οἱ Ἕλληνες ἀγνοήσαντες
ἄλλως ἐξεδέξαντο, πλανηθέντες τῇ ἀμφιβολίᾳ τῆς μεταφράσεως.”
(9) Ἑξῆς φησιν·
“Ἀπὸ γένους Αἰῶνος καὶ Πρωτογόνου γεννηθῆναι αὖθις παῖδας θνη-
τούς, οἷς εἶναι ὀνόματα Φῶς καὶ Πῦρ καὶ Φλόξ. οὗτοι (φησίν) εὗρον ἐκ παρα-
τριβῆς ξύλων πῦρ καὶ τὴν χρῆσιν ἐδίδαξαν. υἱοὺς δὲ ἐγέννησαν οὗτοι μεγέθει
τε καὶ ὑπεροχῇ κρείσσονας, ὧν τὰ ὀνόματα τοῖς ὄρεσιν ἐπετέθη ὧν ἐκρά- (5)
τησαν, ὡς ἐξ αὐτῶν κληθῆναι τὸ Κάσσιον καὶ τὸν Λίβανον καὶ τὸν Ἀντιλί-
βανον καὶ τὸ Βραθύ. ἐκ τούτων (φησίν) ἐγεννήθησαν Σαμημροῦμος, ὁ καὶ
Ὑψουράνιος <καὶ Οὔσωος>· ἀπὸ μητέρων δὲ (φησίν) ἐχρημάτιζον, τῶν τότε
γυναικῶν ἀνέδην μισγομένων οἷς ἐντύχοιεν.”
(10) Εἶτά φησι·
“Τὸν Ὑψουράνιον οἰκῆσαι Τύρον καλύβας τε ἐπινοῆσαι ἀπὸ καλάμων
καὶ θρύων καὶ παπύρου, στασιάσαι δὲ πρὸς τὸν ἀδελφὸν Οὔσωον, ὃς σκέπην
τῷ σώματι πρῶτος ἐκ δερμάτων ὧν ἴσχυσεν συλλαβεῖν θηρίων εὗρεν. ῥαγ-
δαίων δὲ γενομένων ὄμβρων καὶ πνευμάτων παρατριβέντα τὰ ἐν τῇ Τύρῳ (5)
δένδρα πῦρ ἀνάψαι καὶ τὴν αὐτόθι ὕλην καταφλέξαι. δένδρου δὲ λαβόμενον
τὸν Οὔσωον καὶ ἀποκλαδεύσαντα πρῶτον τολμῆσαι εἰς θάλατταν ἐμβῆναι·
ἀνιερῶσαι δὲ δύο στήλας πυρὶ καὶ πνεύματι καὶ προσκυνῆσαι αἷμά τε σπέν-
(11) δειν αὐταῖς ἐξ ὧν ἤγρευε θηρίων. τούτων δὲ τελευτησάντων τοὺς ἀπο-
λειφθέντας φησὶ ῥάβδους αὐτοῖς ἀφιερῶσαι καὶ τὰς στήλας προσκυνεῖν καὶ τού-
τοις ἑορτὰς ἄγειν κατ’ ἔτος. χρόνοις δὲ ὕστερον πολλοῖς ἀπὸ τῆς Ὑψουρανίου
γενεᾶς γενέσθαι Ἀγρέα καὶ Ἁλιέα, τοὺς ἁλιείας καὶ ἄγρας εὑρετάς, ἐξ ὧν
κληθῆναι ἀγρευτὰς καὶ ἁλιεῖς· ἐξ ὧν γενέσθαι δύο ἀδελφοὺς σιδήρου εὑρετὰς (5)
καὶ τῆς τούτου ἐργασίας, ὧν θάτερον τὸν Χουσὼρ λόγους ἀσκῆσαι καὶ ἐπῳ-
δὰς καὶ μαντείας· εἶναι δὲ τοῦτον τὸν Ἥφαιστον, εὑρεῖν δὲ ἄγκιστρον καὶ
δέλεαρ καὶ ὁρμιὰν καὶ σχεδίαν πρῶτόν τε πάντων ἀνθρώπων πλεῦσαι· διὸ
(12) καὶ ὡς θεὸν αὐτὸν μετὰ θάνατον ἐσεβάσθησαν. καλεῖσθαι δὲ αὐτὸν καὶ Δία
Μειλίχιον· οἱ δὲ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ τοίχους φασὶν ἐπινοῆσαι ἐκ πλίνθων.
μετὰ ταῦτα ἐκ τοῦ γένους τούτων γενέσθαι νεανίας δύο, καλεῖσθαι δὲ αὐτῶν
τὸν μὲν Τεχνίτην, τὸν δὲ Γήϊνον Αὐτόχθονα. οὗτοι ἐπενόησαν τῷ πηλῷ τῆς
πλίνθου συμμιγνύειν φορυτὸν καὶ τῷ ἡλίῳ αὐτὰς τερσαίνειν, ἀλλὰ καὶ στέγας (5)
ἐξεῦρον. ἀπὸ τούτων ἐγένοντο ἕτεροι, ὧν ὁ μὲν Ἀγρὸς ἐκαλεῖτο, ὁ δὲ
Ἀγροῦ Ἥρως ἢ Ἀγρότης, οὗ καὶ ξόανον εἶναι μάλα σεβάσμιον καὶ
ναὸν ζυγοφορούμενον ἐν Φοινίκῃ· παρὰ δὲ Βυβλίοις ἐξαιρέτως θεῶν
(13) ὁ μέγιστος ὀνομάζεται. ἐπενόησαν δὲ οὗτοι αὐλὰς προστιθέναι τοῖς
οἴκοις καὶ περιβόλους καὶ σπήλαια. ἐκ τούτων ἀγρόται καὶ κυνηγοί. οὗτοι
δὲ καὶ Ἀλῆται καὶ Τιτᾶνες καλοῦνται. ἀπὸ τούτων γενέσθαι Ἄμυνον καὶ
Μάγον, οἳ κατέδειξαν κώμας καὶ ποίμνας. ἀπὸ τούτων γενέσθαι Μισὼρ
καὶ Συδύκ, τουτέστιν εὔλυτον καὶ δίκαιον. οὗτοι τὴν τοῦ ἁλὸς χρῆσιν εὗρον. (5)
(14) ἀπὸ Μισὼρ ὁ Τάαυτος, ὃς εὗρεν τὴν τῶν πρώτων στοιχείων γραφήν· ὃν
Αἰγύπτιοι μὲν Θωύθ, Ἀλεξανδρεῖς δὲ Θώθ, Ἕλληνες δὲ Ἑρμῆν ἐκάλεσαν.
ἐκ δὲ Συδὺκ Διόσκουροι ἢ Κάβειροι ἢ Κορύβαντες ἢ Σαμοθρᾷκες. οὗτοι
(φησί) πρῶτοι πλοῖον εὗρον. ἐκ τούτων γεγόνασιν ἕτεροι, οἳ καὶ βοτάνας
εὗρον καὶ τὴν τῶν δακετῶν ἴασιν καὶ ἐπῳδάς. κατὰ τούτους γίνεταί τις Ἐλιοῦμ, (5)
καλούμενος Ὕψιστος, καὶ θήλεια, λεγομένη Βηρούθ· οἳ καὶ κατώκουν περὶ
(15) Βύβλον. ἐξ ὧν γεννᾶται Ἐπίγειος Αὐτόχθων, ὃν ὕστερον ἐκάλεσαν Οὐρα-
νόν· ὡς ἀπ’ αὐτοῦ καὶ τὸ ὑπὲρ ἡμᾶς στοιχεῖον δι’ ὑπερβολὴν τοῦ κάλλους
ὀνομάζειν οὐρανόν. γεννᾶται δὲ τούτῳ ἀδελφὴ ἐκ τῶν προειρημένων, ἣ καὶ
ἐκλήθη Γῆ. καὶ διὰ τὸ κάλλος ἀπ’ αὐτῆς (φησίν) ἐκάλεσαν τὴν ὁμώνυμον
γῆν. ὁ δὲ τούτων πατὴρ ὁ Ὕψιστος ἐν συμβολῇ θηρίων τελευτήσας ἀφιερώθη, (5)
(16) ᾧ χοὰς καὶ θυσίας οἱ παῖδες ἐτέλεσαν. παραλαβὼν δὲ ὁ Οὐρανὸς τὴν τοῦ
πατρὸς ἀρχὴν ἄγεται πρὸς γάμον τὴν ἀδελφὴν Γῆν καὶ ποιεῖται ἐξ αὐτῆς
παῖδας τέσσαρας, Ἦλον, τὸν καὶ Κρόνον, καὶ Βαίτυλον καὶ Δαγών, ὅς ἐστι
Σίτων, καὶ Ἄτλαντα. καὶ ἐξ ἄλλων δὲ γαμετῶν ὁ Οὐρανὸς πολλὴν ἔσχεν γε-
νεάν. διὸ χαλεπαίνουσα ἡ Γῆ τὸν Οὐρανὸν ζηλοτυποῦσα κακίζει, ὡς καὶ δια- (5)
(17) στῆναι ἀλλήλων. ὁ δὲ Οὐρανὸς ἀποχωρήσας αὐτῆς, μετὰ βίας, ὅτε καὶ
ἐβούλετο, ἐπιὼν καὶ πλησιάζων αὐτῇ πάλιν ἀπηλλάσσετο. ἐπιχειρεῖν δὲ καὶ
τοὺς ἐξ αὐτῆς παῖδας διαφθείρειν, τὴν δὲ Γῆν ἀμύνασθαι πολλάκις, συμμα-
χίαν αὑτῇ συλλεξαμένην. εἰς ἄνδρας δὲ προελθὼν ὁ Κρόνος Ἑρμῇ τῷ τρισμε-
γίστῳ συμβούλῳ καὶ βοηθῷ χρώμενος—οὗτος γὰρ ἦν αὐτῷ γραμματεύς— (5)
(18) τὸν πατέρα Οὐρανὸν ἀμύνεται, τιμωρῶν τῇ μητρί. Κρόνῳ δὲ γίνονται παῖδες
Περσεφόνη καὶ Ἀθηνᾶ. ἡ μὲν οὖν πρώτη παρθένος τελευτᾷ, τῆς δὲ Ἀθηνᾶς
γνώμῃ καὶ Ἑρμοῦ κατεσκεύασεν Κρόνος ἐκ σιδήρου ἅρπην καὶ δόρυ. εἶτα
ὁ Ἑρμῆς τοῖς τοῦ Κρόνου συμμάχοις λόγους μαγείας διαλεχθεὶς πόθον ἐνε-
ποίησεν τῆς κατὰ τοῦ Οὐρανοῦ μάχης ὑπὲρ τῆς Γῆς. καὶ οὕτως Κρόνος τὸν (5)
Οὐρανὸν πολέμῳ συμβαλὼν τῆς ἀρχῆς ἤλασεν καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν διεδέξατο.
ἑάλω δὲ καὶ ἐν τῇ μάχῃ ἡ ἐπέραστος τοῦ Οὐρανοῦ σύγκοιτος ἐγκύμων οὖσα,
(19) ἣν ἐκδίδωσιν ὁ Κρόνος Δαγῶνι πρὸς γάμον. τίκτει δὲ παρὰ τούτῳ ὃ κατὰ
γαστρὸς ἐξ Οὐρανοῦ ἔφερεν, ὃ καὶ ἐκάλεσε Δημαροῦν. ἐπὶ τούτοις ὁ Κρόνος
τεῖχος περιβάλλει τῇ ἑαυτοῦ οἰκήσει καὶ πόλιν πρώτην κτίζει τὴν ἐπὶ Φοι-
(20) νίκης Βύβλον. μετὰ ταῦτα τὸν ἀδελφὸν τὸν ἴδιον Ἄτλαντα ὑπονοήσας
ὁ Κρόνος μετὰ γνώμης τοῦ Ἑρμοῦ εἰς βάθος γῆς ἐμβαλὼν κατέχωσεν. κατὰ
τοῦτον τὸν χρόνον οἱ ἀπὸ τῶν Διοσκούρων σχεδίας καὶ πλοῖα συνθέντες ἔπλευ-
σαν, καὶ ἐκριφέντες περὶ τὸ Κάσσιον ὄρος ναὸν αὐτόθι ἀφιέρωσαν. οἱ δὲ σύμ-
μαχοι Ἤλου τοῦ Κρόνου Ἐλωεὶμ ἐπεκλήθησαν, ὡς ἂν Κρόνιοι οὗτοι (5)
(21) <εἴ>ησαν οἱ λεγόμενοι ἐπὶ Κρόνου. Κρόνος δὲ υἱὸν ἔχων Σάδιδον ἰδίῳ αὐτὸν
σιδήρῳ διεχρήσατο, δι’ ὑπονοίας αὐτὸν ἐσχηκώς, καὶ τῆς ψυχῆς, αὐτόχειρ
τοῦ παιδὸς γενόμενος, ἐστέρησεν· ὡσαύτως καὶ θυγατρὸς ἰδίας τὴν κεφαλὴν
(22) ἀπέτεμεν, ὡς πάντας ἐκπεπλῆχθαι θεοὺς τὴν Κρόνου γνώμην. χρόνου
δὲ προϊόντος Οὐρανὸς ἐν φυγῇ τυγχάνων θυγατέρα αὐτοῦ παρθένον Ἀστάρ-
την μεθ’ ἑτέρων ἀδελφῶν αὐτῆς δύο, Ῥέας καὶ Διώνης, δόλῳ τὸν Κρόνον ἀνελεῖν
ὑποπέμπει· ἃς καὶ ἑλὼν ὁ Κρόνος κουριδίας γαμετὰς ἀδελφὰς οὔσας ἐποιή-
(23) σατο. γνοὺς δὲ Οὐρανὸς ἐπιστρατεύει κατὰ τοῦ Κρόνου Εἱμαρμένην καὶ
Ὥραν μεθ’ ἑτέρων συμμάχων· καὶ ταύτας ἐξοικειωσάμενος Κρόνος παρ’ αὑτῷ
κατέσχεν. ἔτι δὲ (φησίν) ἐπενόησεν θεὸς Οὐρανὸς βαιτύλια, λίθους ἐμψύχους
μηχανησάμενος. Κρόνῳ δὲ ἐγένοντο ἀπὸ Ἀστάρτης θυγατέρες ἑπτὰ Τιτανί-
(24) δες ἢ Ἀρτέμιδες. καὶ πάλιν τῷ αὐτῷ γίνονται ἀπὸ Ῥέας παῖδες ἑπτά,
ὧν ὁ νεώτατος ἅμα τῇ γενέσει ἀφιερώθη· καὶ ἀπὸ Διώνης θήλειαι, καὶ ἀπὸ
(25) Ἀστάρτης πάλιν ἄρρενες δύο, Πόθος καὶ Ἔρως. ὁ δὲ Δαγών, ἐπειδὴ εὗρεν
σῖτον καὶ ἄροτρον, ἐκλήθη Ζεὺς Ἀρότριος. Συδύκῳ δέ, τῷ λεγομένῳ δικαίῳ,
(26) μία τῶν Τιτανίδων συνελθοῦσα γεννᾷ τὸν Ἀσκληπιόν. ἐγεννήθησαν
δὲ καὶ ἐν Περαίᾳ Κρόνῳ τρεῖς παῖδες, Κρόνος, ὁμώνυμος τῷ πατρί, καὶ Ζεὺς
Βῆλος καὶ Ἀπόλλων. κατὰ τούτους γίνονται Πόντος καὶ Τυφῶν καὶ Νηρεύς,
(27) πατὴρ Πόντου, Βήλου δὲ παῖς. ἀπὸ δὲ τοῦ Πόντου γίνεται Σιδών, ἣ καθ’
ὑπερβολὴν εὐφωνίας πρώτη ὕμνον ᾠδῆς εὗρεν, καὶ Ποσειδῶν. τῷ δὲ Δημα-
(28) ροῦντι γίνεται Μέλκαθρος, ὁ καὶ Ἡρακλῆς. εἶτα πάλιν Οὐρανὸς πολεμεῖ
Πόντῳ καὶ ἀποστὰς Δημαροῦντι προστίθεται· ἔπεισί τε Πόντῳ ὁ Δημαροῦς
(29) τροποῦταί τε αὐτὸν ὁ Πόντος, ὁ δὲ Δημαροῦς φυγῆς θυσίαν ηὔξατο. ἔτει
δὲ τριακοστῷ δευτέρῳ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ κρατήσεως καὶ βασιλείας ὁ Ἦλος, τοῦτ’
ἔστιν ὁ Κρόνος, Οὐρανὸν τὸν πατέρα λοχήσας ἐν τόπῳ τινὶ μεσογείῳ καὶ
λαβὼν ὑποχείριον ἐκτέμνει αὐτοῦ τὰ αἰδοῖα σύνεγγυς πηγῶν τε καὶ ποταμῶν.
ἔνθα ἀφιερώθη Οὐρανὸς καὶ ἀπηρτίσθη αὐτοῦ τὸ πνεῦμα καὶ ἀπέσταξεν αὐτοῦ   (5)
τὸ αἷμα τῶν αἰδοίων εἰς τὰς πηγὰς καὶ τῶν ποταμῶν τὰ ὕδατα, καὶ μέχρι
τούτου δείκνυται τὸ χωρίον.”
(30)   Τοσαῦτα μὲν δὴ τὰ τοῦ Κρόνου, καὶ τοιαῦτά γε τὰ σεμνὰ τοῦ παρ’
Ἕλλησι βοωμένου βίου τῶν ἐπὶ Κρόνου, οὓς καί φασι γεγονέναι
“πρῶτον χρύσεόν τε γένος μερόπων ἀνθρώπων”, τῆς μακαριζομένης
ἐκείνης τῶν παλαιῶν εὐδαιμονίας. πάλιν δὲ ὁ συγγραφεὺς τούτοις μεθ’
ἕτερα ἐπιφέρει λέγων·   (5)
(31)   “Ἀστάρτη δὲ ἡ μεγίστη καὶ Ζεὺς Δημαροῦς καὶ Ἄδωδος, βασιλεὺς
θεῶν, ἐβασίλευον τῆς χώρας Κρόνου γνώμῃ. ἡ δὲ Ἀστάρτη ἐπέθηκεν τῇ
ἰδίᾳ κεφαλῇ βασιλείας παράσημον κεφαλὴν ταύρου· περινοστοῦσα δὲ τὴν
οἰκουμένην εὗρεν ἀεροπετῆ ἀστέρα, ὃν καὶ ἀνελομένη ἐν Τύρῳ τῇ ἁγίᾳ νήσῳ
(32) ἀφιέρωσεν. τὴν δὲ Ἀστάρτην Φοίνικες τὴν Ἀφροδίτην εἶναι λέγουσιν.
καὶ ὁ Κρόνος δὲ περιιὼν τὴν οἰκουμένην Ἀθηνᾷ τῇ ἑαυτοῦ θυγατρὶ δίδωσι
(33) τῆς Ἀττικῆς τὴν βασιλείαν. λοιμοῦ δὲ γενομένου καὶ φθορᾶς τὸν ἑαυτοῦ
μονογενῆ υἱὸν ὁ Κρόνος Οὐρανῷ τῷ πατρὶ ὁλοκαρποῖ καὶ τὰ αἰδοῖα περιτέμνε-
(34) ται, ταὐτὸν ποιῆσαι καὶ τοὺς ἅμ’ αὐτῷ συμμάχους ἐξαναγκάσας. καὶ
μετ’ οὐ πολὺ ἕτερον αὐτοῦ παῖδα ἀπὸ Ῥέας ὀνομαζόμενον Μοὺθ ἀποθανόντα
(35) ἱεροῖ· Θάνατον δὲ τοῦτον καὶ Πλούτωνα Φοίνικες ὀνομάζουσιν. καὶ ἐπὶ
τούτοις ὁ Κρόνος Βύβλον μὲν τὴν πόλιν θεᾷ Βααλτίδι, τῇ καὶ Διώνῃ, δίδωσι,
Βηρυτὸν δὲ Ποσειδῶνι καὶ Καβείροις Ἀγρόταις τε καὶ Ἁλιεῦσιν, οἳ καὶ τὰ
(36) τοῦ Πόντου λείψανα εἰς τὴν Βηρυτὸν ἀφιέρωσαν. πρὸ δὲ τούτων θεὸς
Τάαυτος μιμησάμενος τῶν συνόντων θεῶν ὄψεις, Κρόνου τε καὶ Δαγῶνος
καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν, διετύπωσεν τοὺς ἱεροὺς τῶν στοιχείων χαρακτῆρας. ἐπενόησεν
δὲ καὶ τῷ Κρόνῳ παράσημα βασιλείας ὄμματα τέσσαρα ἐκ τῶν ἐμπροσθίων
καὶ ὀπισθίων μερῶν, <δύο μὲν ἀτενὲς βλέποντα>, δύο δὲ ἡσυχῆ μύοντα,    (5)
καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ὤμων πτερὰ τέσσαρα, δύο μὲν ὡς ἱπτάμενα, δύο δὲ ὡς ὑφειμένα.
(37)   τὸ δὲ σύμβολον ἦν, ἐπειδὴ Κρόνος κοιμώμενος ἔβλεπεν καὶ ἐγρηγορὼς
ἐκοιμᾶτο· καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν πτερῶν ὁμοίως, ὅτι ἀναπαυόμενος ἵπτατο καὶ ἱπτάμενος
ἀνεπαύετο. τοῖς δὲ λοιποῖς θεοῖς δύο ἑκάστῳ πτερώματα ἐπὶ τῶν ὤμων, ὡς
ὅτι δὴ συνίπταντο τῷ Κρόνῳ. καὶ αὐτῷ δὲ πάλιν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς πτερὰ δύο,
(38) ἓν ἐπὶ τοῦ ἡγεμονικωτάτου νοῦ καὶ ἓν ἐπὶ τῆς αἰσθήσεως. ἐλθὼν δὲ ὁ
Κρόνος εἰς Νότου χώραν ἅπασαν τὴν Αἴγυπτον παρέδωκεν θεῷ Τααύτῳ, ὅπως
βασίλειον αὐτῷ γένηται. ταῦτα δὲ (φησί) πρῶτοι πάντων ὑπεμνηματίσαντο
οἱ ἑπτὰ Συδύκου παῖδες Κάβειροι καὶ ὁ ὄγδοος αὐτῶν ἀδελφὸς Ἀσκληπιός,
(39) ὡς αὐτοῖς ἐνετείλατο θεὸς Τάαυτος. ταῦτα πάντα ὁ Θαβίωνος, πάμπρω-
τος τῶν ἀπ’ αἰῶνος γεγονότων Φοινίκων ἱεροφάντης ἀλληγορήσας τοῖς τε
φυσικοῖς καὶ κοσμικοῖς πάθεσιν ἀναμίξας, παρέδωκεν τοῖς ὀργεῶσι καὶ τελετῶν
κατάρχουσι προφήταις· οἱ δὲ τὸν τῦφον αὔξειν ἐκ παντὸς ἐπινοοῦντες ταῖς αὐτῶν
διαδοχαῖς παρέδοσαν καὶ τοῖς ἐπεισάκτοις· ὧν ἦν καὶ Εἰσίριος, τῶν τριῶν (5)
γραμμάτων εὑρετής, ἀδελφὸς Χνᾶ τοῦ μετονομασθέντος Φοίνικος.”
(40) Εἶθ’ ἑξῆς αὖθις ἐπιλέγει·
“Οἱ δὲ Ἕλληνες εὐφυΐᾳ πάντας ὑπερβαλλόμενοι τὰ μὲν πρῶτα πλεῖστα
ἐξιδιώσαντο, εἶτα τοῖς προ<σ>κοσμήμασι ποικίλως ἐξετραγώδησαν ταῖς τε
τῶν μύθων ἡδοναῖς θέλγειν ἐπινοοῦντες παντοίως ἐποίκιλλον· ἔνθεν Ἡσίοδος
οἵ τε κυκλικοὶ περιηχημένοι Θεογονίας καὶ Γιγαντομαχίας καὶ Τιτανομαχίας (5)
ἔπλασαν ἰδίας καὶ ἐκτομάς· οἷς συμπεριφερόμενοι ἐξενίκησαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν.
(41) σύντροφοι δὲ τοῖς ἐκείνων πλάσμασιν αἱ ἀκοαὶ ἡμῶν γενόμεναι καὶ
προληφθεῖσαι πολλοῖς αἰῶσιν ὡς παρακαταθήκην φυλάσσουσιν ἥνπερ ἐδέξαντο
μυθοποιίαν, καθάπερ καὶ ἀρχόμενος εἶπον, ἥτις συνεργηθεῖσα χρόνῳ δυσεξί-
τητον αὐτῆς τὴν κατοχὴν ἀπείργασται, ὥστε τὴν μὲν ἀλήθειαν δοκεῖν λῆρον,
τὸ δὲ τῆς ἀφηγήσεως νόθον ἀλήθειαν.” (5)
(42) Ταῦτα ἀπὸ τῆς Σαγχουνιάθωνος προκείσθω γραφῆς, ἑρμηνευ-
θείσης μὲν ὑπὸ Φίλωνος τοῦ Βυβλίου, δοκιμασθείσης δὲ ὡς ἀληθοῦς
ὑπὸ τῆς Πορφυρίου τοῦ φιλοσόφου μαρτυρίας. ὁ δ’ αὐτὸς ἐν τῷ Περὶ
Ἰουδαίων συγγράμματι ἔτι καὶ ταῦτα περὶ τοῦ Κρόνου γράφει·
(43) “Τάαυτος, ὃν Αἰγύπτιοι προσαγορεύουσιν Θωύθ, σοφίᾳ διενεγκὼν παρὰ
τοῖς Φοίνιξιν, πρῶτος τὰ κατὰ τὴν θεοσέβειαν ἐκ τῆς τῶν χυδαίων ἀπειρίας
εἰς ἐπιστημονικὴν ἐμπειρίαν διέταξεν. ᾧ μετὰ γενεὰς πλείους θεὸς Σουρμου-
βηλὸς Θουρώ τε ἡ μετονομασθεῖσα Χούσαρθις ἀκολουθήσαντες κεκρυμμένην
τοῦ Τααύτου καὶ ἀλληγορίαις ἐπεσκιασμένην τὴν θεολογίαν ἐφώτισαν.” (5)
(44) Καὶ μετὰ βραχέα φησίν·
“Ἔθος ἦν τοῖς παλαιοῖς ἐν ταῖς μεγάλαις συμφοραῖς τῶν κινδύνων ἀντὶ
τῆς πάντων φθορᾶς τὸ ἠγαπημένον τῶν τέκνων τοὺς κρατοῦντας ἢ πόλεως
ἢ ἔθνους εἰς σφαγὴν ἐπιδιδόναι, λύτρον τοῖς τιμωροῖς δαίμοσιν· κατεσφάτ-
τοντο δὲ οἱ διδόμενοι μυστικῶς. Κρόνος τοίνυν, ὃν οἱ Φοίνικες Ἢλ προσαγο- (5)
ρεύουσιν, βασιλεύων τῆς χώρας καὶ ὕστερον μετὰ τὴν τοῦ βίου τελευτὴν ἐπὶ τὸν
τοῦ Κρόνου ἀστέρα καθιερωθείς, ἐξ ἐπιχωρίας νύμφης Ἀνωβρὲτ λεγομένης
υἱὸν ἔχων μονογενῆ (ὃν διὰ τοῦτο Ἰεοὺδ ἐκάλουν, τοῦ μονογενοῦς οὕτως
ἔτι καὶ νῦν καλουμένου παρὰ τοῖς Φοίνιξι) κινδύνων ἐκ πολέμου μεγίστων
κατειληφότων τὴν χώραν βασιλικῷ κοσμήσας σχήματι τὸν υἱὸν βωμόν τε κατα- (10)
σκευασάμενος κατέθυσεν.”
δὲ καὶ λύμην οἷς ἂν τὸν δυσαλθῆ καὶ χαλεπὸν ἰὸν ἐγχρίμψειεν ἀπερ-
γάζεται. γράφει δὲ καὶ ταῦτα πρὸς λέξιν ὧδέ πως λέγων· (5)
(46) “Τὴν μὲν οὖν τοῦ δράκοντος φύσιν καὶ τῶν ὄφεων αὐτὸς ἐξεθείασεν ὁ
Τάαυτος καὶ μετ’ αὐτὸν αὖθις Φοίνικές τε καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι· πνευματικώτατον γὰρ
τὸ ζῷον πάντων τῶν ἑρπετῶν καὶ πυρῶδες ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ παρεδόθη· παρ’ ὃ καὶ
τάχος ἀνυπέρβλητον διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος παρίστησιν, χωρὶς ποδῶν τε καὶ χειρῶν
ἢ ἄλλου τινὸς τῶν ἔκτοθεν, δι’ ὧν τὰ λοιπὰ ζῷα τὰς κινήσεις ποιεῖται· καὶ (5)
ποικίλων σχημάτων τύπους ἀποτελεῖ καὶ κατὰ τὴν πορείαν ἑλικοειδεῖς ἔχει
(47) τὰς ὁρμὰς ἐφ’ ὃ βούλεται τάχος. καὶ πολυχρονιώτατον δέ ἐστιν οὐ μόνον
τε ἐκδυόμενον τὸ γῆρας νεάζειν, ἀλλὰ καὶ αὔξησιν ἐπιδέχεσθαι μείζονα πέ-
φυκεν· καὶ ἐπειδὰν τὸ ὡρισμένον μέτρον πληρώσῃ, εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἀναλίσκεται,
ὡς ἐν ταῖς ἱεραῖς ὁμοίως αὐτὸς ὁ Τάαυτος κατέταξεν γραφαῖς. διὸ καὶ ἐν ἱεροῖς
(48) τοῦτο τὸ ζῷον καὶ μυστηρίοις συμπαρείληπται. εἴρηται δὲ ἡμῖν περὶ αὐτοῦ
ἐν τοῖς ἐπιγεγραμμένοις Ἐθῶ<ν Ὀ>θ<νε>ίων ὑπομνήμασιν ἐπὶ πλεῖον,
ἐν οἷς κατασκευάζεται ὅτι ἀθάνατον εἴη καὶ ὡς εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἀναλύεται, ὥσπερ
πρόκειται· οὐ γὰρ θνήσκει ἰδίῳ θανάτῳ εἰ μὴ βίᾳ τινὶ πληγὲν τοῦτο τὸ ζῷον.
Φοίνικες δὲ αὐτὸ Ἀγαθὸν Δαίμονα καλοῦσιν. ὁμοίως καὶ Αἰγύπτιοι Κνὴφ (5)
ἐπονομάζουσιν· προστιθέασιν δὲ αὐτῷ ἱέρακος κεφαλήν, διὰ τὸ πρακτικὸν
(49) τοῦ ἱέρακος. καί φησιν Ἐπήεις ἀλληγορῶν (ὁ ὀνομασθεὶς παρ’ αὐτοῖς
μέγιστος ἱεροφάντης καὶ ἱερογραμματεύς, ὃν μετέφρασεν Ἄρειος Ἡρακλεο-
πολίτης) κατὰ λέξιν οὕτως· ‘τὸ πρῶτον ὂν θειότατον ὄφις ἐστὶν ἱέρακος ἔχων
μορφήν, ἄγαν ἐπίχαρις· ὃς εἰ ἀναβλέψειεν, φωτὸς τὸ πᾶν ἐπλήρου ἐν τῇ πρω-
(50) τογόνῳ χώρᾳ αὐτοῦ· εἰ δὲ καμμύσειεν, σκότος ἐγίνετο’· ἔμφασιν διδοὺς
ὁ Ἐπήεις ὅτι καὶ διάπυρόν ἐστι διὰ τοῦ φάναι ‘διηύγασεν’· φωτὸς γὰρ ἴδιόν ἐστι
τὸ διαυγάσαι. παρὰ Φοινίκων δὲ καὶ Φερεκύδης λαβὼν τὰς ἀφορμὰς ἐθεολό-
γησεν περὶ τοῦ παρ’ αὐτῷ λεγομένου Ὀφίονος θεοῦ καὶ τῶν Ὀφιονιδῶν, περὶ
(51) ὧν αὖθις λέξομεν. ἔτι μὴν οἱ Αἰγύπτιοι ἀπὸ τῆς αὐτῆς ἐννοίας τὸν κό-
σμον γράφοντες περιφερῆ κύκλον ἀεροειδῆ καὶ πυρωπὸν χαράσσουσιν καὶ μέσα
τεταμένον ὄφιν ἱερακόμορφον (καὶ ἔστι τὸ πᾶν σχῆμα ὡς τὸ παρ’ ἡμῖν Θῆτα),
τὸν μὲν κύκλον κόσμον μηνύοντες, τὸν δὲ μέσον ὄφιν συνεκτικὸν τούτου
(52) Ἀγαθὸν Δαίμονα σημαίνοντες. καὶ Ζωροάστρης δὲ ὁ μάγος ἐν τῇ Ἱερᾷ
Συναγωγῇ τῶν Περσικῶν φησι κατὰ λέξιν· ‘Ὁ δὲ θεός ἐστι κεφαλὴν ἔχων ἱέρα-
κος. οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ πρῶτος, ἄφθαρτος, ἀΐδιος, ἀγένητος, ἀμερής, ἀνομοιότατος,
ἡνίοχος παντὸς καλοῦ, ἀδωροδόκητος, ἀγαθῶν ἀγαθώτατος, φρονίμων φρονι-
μώτατος· ἔστι δὲ καὶ πατὴρ εὐνομίας καὶ δικαιοσύνης, αὐτοδίδακτος, φυσικὸς (5)
καὶ τέλειος καὶ σοφὸς καὶ ἱεροῦ φυσικοῦ μόνος εὑρετής’. τὰ δ’ αὐτὰ καὶ Ὀστά-
(53) νης φησὶ περὶ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῇ ἐπιγραφομένῃ Ὀκτατεύχῳ. πάντες δὲ τὰς
ἀφορμὰς παρὰ τοῦ Τααύτου λαβόντες ἐφυσιολόγησαν, ὥσπερ πρόκειται. καὶ
τὰ μὲν πρῶτα στοιχεῖα τὰ διὰ τῶν ὄφεων, ναοὺς κατασκευασάμενοι, ἐν ἀδύ-
τοις ἀφιέρωσαν, καὶ τούτοις ἑορτὰς καὶ θυσίας ἐπετέλουν καὶ ὄργια, θεοὺς
τοὺς μεγίστους νομίζοντες καὶ ἀρχηγοὺς τῶν ὅλων. τοσαῦτα καὶ περὶ τῶν (5)
(54) Ἀλλὰ γὰρ τὰ μὲν τῆς Φοινίκων θεολογίας τοῦτον περιέχει τὸν
τρόπον· ἧς ἀμεταστρεπτεὶ φεύγειν καὶ τῆς τῶν παλαιῶν φρενοβλαβείας
(55) τὴν ἴασιν μεταδιώκειν ὁ σωτήριος εὐαγγελίζεται λόγος. ὅτι δὲ μὴ
μῦθοι ταῦτα καὶ ποιητῶν ἀναπλάσματα λανθάνουσάν τινα ἐν ὑπονοίαις
ἔχοντα θεωρίαν τυγχάνει, σοφῶν δὲ καὶ παλαιῶν, ὡς ἂν αὐτοὶ φαῖεν,
θεολόγων ἀληθεῖς μαρτυρίαι, τὰ καὶ ποιητῶν ἁπάντων καὶ λογογρά-
φων πρεσβύτερα περιέχουσαι τό τε πιστὸν τῶν λόγων ἐπαγόμεναι ἀπὸ (5)
τῆς εἰσέτι δεῦρο ἐν ταῖς κατὰ Φοινίκην πόλεσί τε καὶ κώμαις κρατού-
σης τῶν θεῶν προσηγορίας τε καὶ ἱστορίας τῶν τε παρ’ ἑκάστοις ἐπι-
τελουμένων μυστηρίων, δῆλον ἂν εἴη, ὡς μηκέτι χρῆναι τούτων βιαίους
ἀνιχνεύειν φυσιολογίας, σαφῆ τὸν ἐξ αὑτῶν ἔλεγχον ἐπιφερομένων τῶν
πραγμάτων. τοιαύτη μὲν οὖν ἡ Φοινίκων θεολογία· ὥρα δὲ μεταβάντας (10)
καὶ τὰ Αἰγυπτίων ἐπιθεωρῆσαι.


Source of the translation: Harold W. Attridge and Robert A. Oden, Philo of Byblos: The Phoenician History (Washington, DC: Catholic Biblical Association of America, 1981). Reproduced with permission from the translators and from the Catholic Biblical Association. Minor modifications by Harland.

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