previous next
[223] At this time Seleucus, who was called Soter, reigned over Asia, being the son of Antiochus the Great. And [now] Hyrcanus's father, Joseph, died. He was a good man, and of great magnanimity; and brought the Jews out of a state of poverty and meanness, to one that was more splendid. He retained the farm of the taxes of Syria, and Phoenicia, and Samaria twenty-two years. His uncle also, Onias, died [about this time], and left the high priesthood to his son Simeon. And when he was dead, Onias his son succeeded him in that dignity. To him it was that Areus, king of the Lacedemonians, sent an embassage, with an epistle; the copy whereof here follows:

Areus, King of the Lacedemonians, to Onias, sendeth greeting.
We have met with a certain writing, whereby we have discovered that both the Jews and the Lacedemonians are of one stock, and are derived from the kindred of Abraham 1 It is but just therefore that you, who are our brethren, should send to us about any of your concerns as you please. We will also do the same thing, and esteem your concerns as our own, and will look upon our concerns as in common with yours. Demoteles, who brings you this letter, will bring your answer back to us. This letter is four-square; and the seal is an eagle, with a dragon in his claws.


1 Whence it comes that these Lacedemonians declare themselves here to be of kin to the Jews, as derived from the same ancestor, Abraham, I cannot tell, unless, as Grotius supposes, they were derived from Dores, that came of the Pelasgi. These are by Herodotus called Barbarians, and perhaps were derived from the Syrians and Arabians, the posterity of Abraham by Keturah. See Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 10. sect. 22; and Of the War, B. I. ch. 26. sect. l; and Grot. on 1 Macc. 12:7. We may further observe from the Recognitions of Clement, that Eliezer, of Damascus, the servant of Abraham, Genesis 15:2; 24., was of old by some taken for his son. So that if the Lacedemonians were sprung from him, they might think themselves to be of the posterity of Abraham, as well as the Jews, who were sprung from Isaac. And perhaps this Eliezer of Damascus is that very Damascus whom Trogus Pompeius, as abridged by Justin, makes the founder of the Jewish nation itself, though he afterwards blunders, and makes Azelus, Adores, Abraham, and Israel kings of Judea, and successors to this Damascus. It may not be improper to observe further, that Moses Chorenensis, in his history of the Armenians, informs us, that the nation of the Parthians was also derived from Abraham by Keturah and her children.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (B. Niese, 1892)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: