Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

capitol, so early as the second century of the republic, Hence the numerous complaints of imperfect and penurious materials in the Augustan age, for constructing a full and continuous history of the early times.

After an equal period of time from the dissolution of the late monarchy in France, should the rage for annihilating every reli&t of arbitrary government continue ; should accidents and violence' make alike havoc of public archives ;-it may fairly be presumed, fix centuries hence, that antiquaries' and critics will divide into parties concerning the genealogy of the French monarchs from 1610 to 1774. In this interval of 164 years, from the murder of Henry IV. to the accession of Louis XVI. only three sovereigns occupied succesfively that throne, the mean proportion of as many reigns being 54 years eight months. Those numerous and bulky volumes, which now have for their subject the story of a single reign, or of one kingdom, will then shrink into little abstracts, with very concise hints of family descents and dates. Serious controversies may then be agitated, whether the uncommon length of those three reigns ought not, as incredible, to bę reduced, or the intermediate generations multiplied. : This example seems directly applicable to the present disquisition. Sir Isaac Newton, in order to authenricate his scheme of retrenching-125 years from the regal government, prior to the republic, endeavours, by a like effort of ingenuity, to invalidate the chronology of the first 60 or 70 olympiads. If this arrangement be adopted, it will be altogether imposlible to connect,

by by infallible synchronisms, the profane history with the facred, and to reconcile any one national era of the gentile world with another. · The Julian period comprehends all other terms in computation, whether circulating or fixed. This, therefore, is the regulating measure and ultimate test to which not only the first, but all the subsequent years of the olympiads, of Rome, Nabonassar, the Seleucidæ, and those of the world, must be adjusted.

The number of the Julian period 3937, coincident with A. M. 3232, and the 34th of Uzziah king of Judah, is not the first year of the first olympiad, but the exclusive source of computation. That year was bisfextile, a chara&ter common to the last or fourth of every olympiad, and consequently A. P. J. 3938, and A. M. 3233, was the first of the first olympiad.

The building of Rome was begun in the third of the sixth olympiad A. P. J. 3960, A. M. 3255, the 5th of Jotham king of Judah, and the first of Romulus, the year before the Varronian computation, first Jan. A. P. J. 3961.

IN A. P. J. 3967, A. M. 3262, the 12th of Jotham, the 7th of Romulus, the 6th Varronian year, and the second year of the 8th olympiad, began the famous era of Nabonaflar, by which Ptolemy reckoned the years of the four Pagan empires.

Thus, by a multiplicity of chronological chara&ters, is a firm basis laid for computation in the descending series indefinitely. But remove the source of the olympiads almost three centuries lower, and that of Rome

125 125 years, the chain of chronology is broken, connect. ing numbers misplaced, and historical order involved in a labyrinth of perplexity and confusion inextricable.

THAT 34th year of Uzziah was the 202d of the 390 from the apostacy of the ten tribes, and 88th before the conflagration of the temple, A. P. J. 4126, A. M. 3421, Er. Nab. 160. This conflagration was the first of the 46th olympiad, the year before the archonship of Philombrotus; the 166th Varronian year, and the 29th of Tarquinius Priscus. But by two bold anachronisms in the “ Chronology of ancient Kingdoms amended,” is the connexion of the sacred history with that of Greece and Rome, deferred not only without neceflity, but contrary to authentic evi. dence.

To no purpose does Mr. Hooke pretend that we have no better authority for the long reigns of the seven kings in Rome, than for the long reigns of the 14 kings of Alba, their predecessors. The reverse has been established. The very existence of many in the latter class is doubtful; whereas the existence of all the kings subsequent to Numitor, is much more fully confirmed than that of many pairs of consuls under the republic.

EQUALLY frivolous are the reasons urged for ab. breviating the reigns of the sovereigns after Numitor. The history of the longelt reigns, and of the moft active princes, may be comprised within very narrow limits, if the records of the times were destroyed or little known, except the names of magiftrates and the dusation of their offices ; which, it is admitted, was the case in the early ages both of Greece and Rome.

On the whole, this defender of Sir Isaac Newton is more sanguine than judicious. His primary object was to abridge the chronology of the regal state in Rome to an agreement with a retrenched and mutilated genealogy. But the historical evidence is much stronger, nay decisively certain in favour of an additional generation between Priscus and Superbus. Mr. Hooke argued fallaciously. By setting Livy and Dionyfius at variance, he artfully tried to set aside the arrangement of both. But a minute examination of their testimony invalidates the poftulates and conclusions of Sir Isaac Newton.

If these remarks should be deemed rather diffuse, they exemplify the subfervience of genealogy to the truth of computation, and the orderly form of hiftory, By inserting them here the subjects of the ensuing chap. ters, being in part anticipated, will the more concisely be discusfed.

CHAP

CH A P. I.

SECOND SERIES OF XIV. GENERATIONS.

TN the ages prior to David, the spaces between de.

scents in families have been ascertained in the order of occurrence; their application to chronology and history having been necessary only in certain emergent circumstances. Henceforth the chronologer, if he regulate his procedure with a due regard to generations, finds thorns in his way at every flep. David, the last of the first series from Abraham, was born, as already noted, in the zoth of Saul, succeeded him at 30, and after a reign of 40, died, leaving his throne and how nours to

1. Solomon. In the history of his life, the date of his birth is not defined; neither the time of his accession, nor the years of his life. The duration of his reign over all Ifrael (40 years) is twice recorded *: and hence, perhaps, all the other notations may with tolerable certainty be inferred. In the progressive series this discovery, as important, is desirable. Another biographical article, * 1 Kings, xi. 42 and 2 Chron. ix. 30.

intimately

« PoprzedniaDalej »