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Epi'genes

Ἐπιγένης) of Byzantium is supposed to have lived about the time of Augustus by some, and several centuries earlier by others; nothing, in fact, is known of his date, except what may be inferred from the slight mention of him by Seneca, Pliny, and Censorinus. According to Seneca (Nat. Quaest. 7.30.), Epigenes professed to have studied in Chaldea, from whence he brought, among other things, the notions of the Chaldeans on comets, in his account of which he is held to differ much from Apollonius Myndius [see his life], though it is not, we think, difficult to reconcile the two. Pliny (Plin. Nat. 7.56) has a passage about Epigenes, which states that he asserts the Chaldeans to have had observations recorded on brick (coctilibus laterculis) for 7)20 (?) years, and that Berosus and Critodemus say 420 (?) years. But among the various readings are found 720 thousand and 420 thousand, which seem to be the true 1 ones, for on them Pliny goes on to remark "Ex quo apparet aeternus litterarum usus." Fa-bricias and Bayle (Dict. art. Babylon) adopt the larger readings, and also Bailly, who takes them to mean days. Pliny may perhaps seem to say that Epigenes is the first author of note who made any such assertion about the Chaldeans: " Epigenes . . . docet gravis auctor imprimis;" and thus interpreted, he is made to mean that Epigenes was older than Berosus, and therefore than Alexander the Great. Weidler adopts this conclusion on different and rather hypothetical grounds.

[A. De M.]

1 * Diodorus (2.8) says the Chaldeans claim for themselves 473,000 years.

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