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Parian Chronicle

PARIAN CHRONICLE, the name given to ab',..-i of marblo preserved at Oxford, which contained in it» f*-rJ--t state a chronological account of the principal evenUin Grm history during a period of 1318 years, beginning with Ctcr.-y*. B.C. 1582, and ending with the archonship of Dtognttut. si Athens, B.C. '264. The chronicle of the last ninety tear\ «u however lost, so that the part which now remains endi a: the archonship of Diotimus, u.c. 354. This cbrjnteat was purchased at Smyrna, together with several other relies of antiquity, by Mr. William Petty, who was employed by tha earl of Arundel, in the year 1624, for the purpose of m»fcmg collections for him of antient works of art in Greece. Asa Minor, and the islands of the Archipelago. Gassendi state a his ' Life of Peiresc' (lib. iv., ed. of 1629), who was courutli? in the parliament of Provence, and a munificent patron :l arts and learning, that the Parian Chronicle was first Ascovered by means of Peiresc, and was purchased for hia by one Sampson, his agent at Smyrna, for fifty pieces ofpii. but that when it was ready to be sent on board, Stspson was thrown into prison, and that the Chronicle was afterwards purchased for Lord Arundel, by Mr. Petty, at a much higher price. Dr. Hales, in his'Analysis of"Chroaoi.xj' (vol. i. p. 103, 8vo. edition), brings forward several reamnt to show the improbability of this account; but hoitriw :i^< may be, the Chronicle reached London in 1627. and was examined, at the suggestion of Sir Robert Cotton, with great care by the learned Selden, in conjunction wish Patrick Young, librarian to James Land Charles L.sna' Richard James, Fellow of Corpus Christi College, Oifxi. 'Many of the characters,' says Selden, 'were cntirelj .b litcratcd, and many nearly so; nevertheless, by thr assistance of glasses, and the critical sagacity of my ten t.-.i friend Patrick Young, after a great many repeated traK 1 have restored them as well as I could.' The Chronicle »s» published by Selden, together with other inscription! »hri wero brought to England by Mr. Potty in the WJ.-r.z.t year (1628), under the title of' Marmora Arundelluox.'

During tho civil war in the reign of Charles l„thr Ex! of Arundel removed to Antwerp, and many of the m»r:j-. which were deposited in tho gardens of'Arundel H:uv. were defaced and broken, or used to repair the house. Tit latter was the fate of the Parian Chronicle; the upper rait of it, containing at least half the inscription, is said lo ban been worked up in repairing a chimney at Arundel Hec««. but fortunately a copy of it was preserved in SeUeTt work. In 1667 the Hon. Henry Howard, grandson of the Earl of Arundtl who obtained the chronicle from Greece, preset, u-; it to the university of Oxford, where it is preservetl. tojrthtr with other antiquities collected by the Earl of An.ivli a room adjoining to the public schools, called the Mjj-a Arundelianum. The Chronicle was published again in Pndeaux's 'Marmora Oxoniensia,' fol. 1676, which Wjj rprinted in 1732, under the care of Michael Maittoire.^1 again in 1791, Oxford, under the care of W. Roberts. U Chandler's ' Marmora Oxoniensia,' which was published a 17G3, great pains were bestowed upon the Parian Ciiranx>. and many parts in which the inscription was defaced sere supplied by conjectures, which are frequently very ingccac* and probable. It has also been published, with on Englaa translation, in the works of Robertson. Hewlett, asdHafex which are mentioned in the course of this article.

The authenticity and antiquity of this Chronicle was nerrr called in question till the latter end of the lo»t century. **■ which a work was published by the Rtv. J. RobernuL. under the title of 'The Parian Chronicle, or the Chroo*-« of the Arutulclian Marbles, with a Dissertation concerning its Authenticity,' London, 1788, in which it is maintained to he a fabrication of modern times. The principal objections brought forward by Robertson are:—1, That the characters have no certain or unequivocal marks of antiquity. 2, It is not probable that the Chronicle was engraved for private use. 3. It does not appear to have been engraved by public authority. 4, The Greek and Roman writers for a IiiiiiT time after the date of this Chronicle complain that they had no chronological account of the affairs of anticnt Greece. 5, This Chronicle is not once mentioned by any writer of antiquity. G, Some of the facts seem to bo taken from authors of a later date. 7, Parachronisms appear in some of the epochas, which we can hardly suppose a Greek chronologcr in the 129th Olympiad would be likely to commit. &c. The objections of Robertson were replied to by Mr. Hewlett, in a work entitled 'A Vindication of the Authenticity of the Parian Chronicle,' London, 1789; by Mr. Gough, in the ninth volume of the 'Archseologia;' and by Person, in the ' Monthly Review,'in 1789. His objections hare been more recently noticed in the first volume of Hales's 'Chronology;' and the whole subject has been investigated with great accuracy by Biickh, in the second volume of his 'Corpus Inscriptionum.' The authenticity of the Chronicle has been also vindicated by Wagner, Giitt., 1790, 8vo. The result of these inquiries can leave little doubt respecting the authenticity ana antiquity of the Chronicle; and the subsequent silence of classical writers respecting it, which is perhaps the strongest argument against its antiquity, may be accounted for, as Dr. Hales has remarked, by the retired and insular situation of Paros. It is written in pure and classical Greek; the characters bear several marks of antiquity; and none of the passages adduced by Robertson to prove that parts of it were taken from writers of a later date are sufficient to establish the fact. Mr. Robertson supposes ' that it must have been a spurious fabrication of some learned Greek as late as tlie sixteenth century, executed from a mercenary motive of gain, in order that it might be sold for a high price at Smyrna, a commodious emporium for such rarities, after lie had artfully broken the block, and defaced the inscription in several places, in order to give it an air of antiquity.' This sup|iosition however is very improbable. The inscription could not have been engraved without great trouble and expense; and the events it relates show a greater acquaintance on the partof the engraver, or the person under whose direction it was engraved, with the history of the civilization and literature of Greece, than we can suppose to have been possessed by any Greek in the sixteenth century.

The marble on which the Chronicle was engraved was five inches thick, and measured, when Selden viewed it, 3 feet 7 inches by 2 feet 7 inches; but one corner had been broken off. It contained at that time 93 lines, reckoning the imperfect ones, and might originally perhaps have contained a hundred. Upon an average the lines consist of 130 letters, .ill capitals, in close continuation, and unbroken into words. The events which it records are not so much those which relate to the history of the different states of Greece, but rather such as serve to illustrate the history of the civilization and literature of Greece. Thus we do not find ono event in the Pcloponnc\ian war either mentioned or alluded to, but we have an account of the establishment of the principal religious festivals, of the introduction of the different Kinds of music into those festivals, of the origin of tragedy and comedy, and of the time in which the most eminent poets and philosophers lived. But as a few extracts from the Chronicle will give a better idea of its nature and contents than any description could impart, we subjoin a literal translation of two different parts, the former taken from the beginning, and the latter from the middle of it. The words and letters in brackets are a translation of those Greek words and letters which are supplied by the conjectures of Selden and Chandler, but are effaced in the original.

.... 'I have described preceding] time, bcgin[n]ing from Cecrops the first who reigned at Athens, to [Ast]yanax, archon in Paros, and Diognetos at Athens.

1. 'Since Cecrops reigned at Athens, and the country was called Cecropia, before called Actice, from Actaios, a native (arroxPovoc), 1318 years.

•2. 'Since Deucalion reigned by tho side of Parnassus f-rnpa rav Hapvavoov) in Lycoreia, Cecrops [re]ign[ing] at Athens, 1310 years.

3. 'Since the cause was tried at Athen[s bejtween Ares P. C, No. 1070

and Poseidon concerning Halirrhothios the son of Poseidon, and the place was called Areiopagus (Ap«oc Jrayoc), 12GS years, Cr[ana]os reigning at Alliens. 4. 'Since the deluge happened in the time of Deucalion, and Deucalion escaped the rains, [and went] from Lycoreia to Athens, to [Cranajos, and bu[ilt the tcmpjle of Zcu[s Olympios and] offered sacrifices for his preservation, 12G5 years, Cr[a]n[a]os reigning at Athens.

5. 'S[mce Amphjicyton, tho son of Deucalion, reigned in Thermopylae, and assembled the people inhabiting that district, and [calljed them Amphiclyones, and [the place of meeting P[)la)u], wh[ere] now also the Amphicytones still sacrifice, 1258 years, Amphicyton reigning at Athens.

6. ' Since llellen, the son of Deuc[alion], reigned in [Phthijotis, and they were [najmed Hellenes, who before were called Graikoi, and [they established] the Panathe[nccan] games (ayuv), 1257 years, Aniphictyon reigning at Athens.*

52. 'Since Xerxes formed a bridge of boats on tho Hellespont, and dug through Alhos, and the battle was fought at Thermo[pv]la>, and the sea-fight by the Greeks at Salamis against the Persians, in which the Greeks were victorious, 217 years, Calliades being archon at Athens.

53. 'Since the battle at [Pjlatcca was fought by the Athenians against Mardonios, the general of Xerxes, in which tho Athenians conquered, and Mardonios died in the battle, and the fire (lowed [in Sic]ily around /Etna [2]IG years, Xantippos being archon at Athens.

54. 'Since [Gc]lon, the son of Deinomenes, became tyrant [of Syracuse], 215 years, Timosthen[es] being arclion at Athens.

55. 'Since Simon ides, the son of Leoprepres, the Cean, who invented the art of memory, got the prize at Athens teaching [a chorus], and the statues of Hurmodios and Aristogeiton were erected, 2[14] years, [Ajdimautos being archon at Athens.

56. 'Since Hiero was tyrant of Syracuse, 20[9] years, Ch[ar]es being archon at Athens. Epicharmos, the poet, also lived at this time.

57. ' Since Sophocles, the son of Sophillos, who was of Colonos, gained the victory in tragedy, being 23 years of age, 2U6 years, Apsephion being arclion at Athens.

58. 'Since the stone fell in /Egos Potami, and Simonides, the poet, died, having lived 90 years, 205 years, Theagenidas being archon at Alliens.

59. ' Since A lexander died, and his son Pe[r]diccas reigned over the Macedonians, l'J[8] years, Euthippas being archon at Athens.

60. 'Since jEschylos, the poet, having lived 69 years, died at [Gel]a in [Sijcily, 193 years, Call[i]as the First being archon at Athens.

61. 'Since Euripides, being 43 years of age, first gained the victory in tragedy, 17[9] years, Diphiflos] being archon at Athens. But Socrates and [Anajxagoras lived in tho time of Euripides."

The preceding extracts are sufficient to give a general idea of the nature and contents of the Chronicle. For an examination of the dates which are assigned to the different events it records, the reader is referred to the first volume of Hales's ' Analysis of Chronology.'

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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