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Manetho was a famous Egyptian priest and historian who is one of the best primary sources for life during the Ptolemaic Dynasty. He likely worked in the famous Library of Alexandria during the 3rd century BCE and was responsible for writing Aegyptiaca or History of Egypt which later went on to influence many other famous historians such as Josephus in his Against Apion.
Manetho was originally from the town of Tjebnutjer or Sebennytos to the GreeksNameThe original Egyptian version of Manetho's name is now lost to us, but some[who?] speculate that it means "Gift of Thoth", "Beloved of Thoth", "Truth of Thoth", "Beloved of Neith", or "Lover of Neith". Less accepted proposals are Myinyu-heter ("Horseherd" or "Groom") and Ma'ani-Djehuti ("I have seen Thoth"). In the Greek language, the earliest fragments (the Carthage inscription and Flavius Josephus) write his name as Μανεθων Manethōn, so the rendering of his name here is given as Manetho (the same way that Platōn is rendered "Plato"). Other Greek renderings include Manethōs, Manethō, Manethos, Manēthōs, Manēthōn, and even Manethōth. In Latin we find Manethon, Manethos, Manethonus, and Manetos.Life and workAlthough no sources for the dates of his life and death remain, his work is usually associated with the reigns of Ptolemy I Soter (323–283 BC) and Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC). If the mention of Manetho in the Hibeh Papyri, dated to 241/40 BC, is in fact Manetho the author of Aegyptiaca, then he may well have been working during the reign of Ptolemy III Euergetes (246–222 BC) as well. Although he was Egyptian and his topics dealt with Egyptian matters, he wrote in the Greek language. Other works he wrote include Against Herodotus, The Sacred Book, On Antiquity and Religion, On Festivals, On the Preparation of Kyphi, and the Digest of Physics. The astrological treatise Book of Sothis has also been attributed to Manetho. In Aegyptiaca, he coined the term "dynasty" (Greek: dynasteia, abstractly meaning "governmental power") to refer to a group of kings with a common origin.He was probably a priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis (according to George Syncellus, he was the chief priest), and was also considered an authority on the cult of Sarapis (a derivation of Osiris and Apis). Sarapis itself was a Greco-Macedonian version of the Egyptian cult, probably started after Alexander the Great's establishment of Alexandria in Egypt. A statue of the god was imported between 286 and 278 BC by Ptolemy (probably Ptolemy Soter, as Tacitus and Plutarch attest, although Ptolemy Philadelphus is possible, and there was a tradition in antiquity that it was Ptolemy Euergetes) where Timotheus of Athens (an authority on Demeter at Eleusis) and Manetho directed the project.AegyptiacaThe Aegyptiaca (Ἀιγυπτιακά, Aiguptiaka), the "History of Egypt", may have been Manetho's largest work, and certainly the most important. It was organised chronologically and divided into three volumes, and his division of rulers into dynasties was an innovation. However, he did not use the term in the modern sense, by bloodlines, but rather, introduced new dynasties whenever he detected some sort of discontinuity whether geographical (Dynasty IV from Memphis, Dynasty V from Elephantine), or genealogical (especially in Dynasty I, he refers to each successive Pharaoh as the "son" of the previous to define what he means by "continuity"). Within the superstructure of a genealogical table, he fills in the gaps with substantial narratives of the Pharaonic kings.Some have suggested that Aegyptiaca was written as a competing account to Herodotus' Histories, to provide a national history for Egypt that did not exist before. From this perspective, Against Herodotus may have been an abridged version or just a part of Aegyptiaca that circulated independently. Unfortunately, neither survives in its original form today.Manetho (/ˈmænᵻθoʊ/; Greek: Μανέθων, Manethōn, or Μανέθως, Manethōs) was an Egyptian priest from Sebennytos (ancient Egyptian: Tjebnutjer) who is believed to have lived during the Ptolemaic era in the early 3rd century BC.Contents [hide]1Name2Life and work3Aegyptiaca of Manetho3.1Transmission and reception3.2Sources and methods3.2.1King lists3.2.2Transcriptions of Pharaonic names3.3Content3.4Similarities with Berossos3.5Effect of Aegyptiaca4See also5References6Further reading7External linksNameThe original Egyptian version of Manetho's name is lost to us, but some[who?] speculate it means "Gift of Thoth", "Beloved of Thoth", "Truth of Thoth", "Beloved of Neith", or "Lover of Neith". Less accepted proposals are Myinyu-heter ("Horseherd" or "Groom") and Ma'ani-Djehuti ("I have seen Thoth"). In the Greek language, the earliest fragments (the Carthage inscription and Flavius Josephus) write his name as Μανέθων Manethōn, so the latinised rendering of his name here is given as Manetho (the same way that Platōn is rendered "Plato"). Other Greek renderings include Manethōs, Manethō, Manethos, Manēthōs, Manēthōn, and even Manethōth. In Latin we find Manethon, Manethos, Manethonus, and Manetos.Life and workAlthough no sources for the dates of his life and death remain, he is associated with the reigns of Ptolemy I Soter (323–283 BC) and Ptolemy II Philadelphus (285–246 BC). If the mention of someone named Manetho in the Hibeh Papyri, dated to 241/40 BC, is in fact the celebrated author of the Aegyptiaca of Manetho, then he may well have been working during the reign of Ptolemy III Euergetes (246–222 BC) as well but at a very advanced age. Though the historicity of Manetho of Sebennytus was taken for granted by Josephus and later writers the question is still problematic, for the Manetho of the Hibeh Papyri has no title and this letter deals with affairs in Upper Egypt not the Delta where Manetho is thought to have functioned as a chief priest. The name Manetho is rare but there is no reason a-priori that the Manetho of the Hibeh Papyri must be the historian from Sebennytus who is thought to have authored the Aegyptiaca of Manetho for Ptolemy Philadelphus.Although Manetho was presumably a native Egyptian and Egyptian would have been his mother tongue, and though the topics he supposedly wrote about dealt with Egyptian matters, he is said to have written in the Greek language for a Greek-speaking audience. Other literary works attributed to him include Against Herodotus, The Sacred Book, On Antiquity and Religion, On Festivals, On the Preparation of Kyphi, and the Digest of Physics. The treatise Book of Sothis has also been attributed to Manetho. In the Aegyptiaca of Manetho the term "dynasty" (Greek: δυναστεία dynasteia, abstractly meaning "governmental power") is employed to refer to a group of kings with a common origin. It is important to note that not one of these works are actually attested during the Ptolemaic period when Manetho of Sebennytus is believed to have lived. In fact, they are not mentioned in any known source prior to the 1st century AD, which is a gap of three centuries.If Manetho of Sebennytus was an historical figure he was probably a priest of the sun god Ra at Heliopolis (according to George Syncellus, he was the chief priest). He was considered by Plutarch to be an authority on the cult of Serapis (a derivation of Osiris and Apis). Serapis itself was a Greco-Macedonian version of the Egyptian cult, probably started after Alexander the Great's establishment of Alexandria in Egypt. A statue of the god was imported in 286 by Ptolemy I Soter (or in 278 by Ptolemy II Philadelphus) as Tacitus and Plutarch attest. There was also a tradition in antiquity that Timotheus of Athens (an authority on Demeter at Eleusis) directed the project together with Manetho, but the source of this information is not clear and it may originate from one of the literary works attributed to Manetho, in which case it has no independent value and does not corroborate the historicity of Manetho the priest-historian of the early 3rd century BC.Aegyptiaca of ManethoManetho is believed to have authored the Aegyptiaca of Manetho (Αἰγυπτιακά Μανέθων), or Manetho's History of Egypt, at the request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus. The work is of great interest to Egyptologists for evidence of the chronology of the reigns of the ancient pharaohs. The earliest mention of the Aegyptiaca of Manetho is by the Jewish historian Josephus in his work Contra Apionem ("Against Apion"). This raises a serious question as to the real date and authorship of the work. The notion that an official and authoritative history of Egypt composed in Greek at the request of Ptolemy Philadelphus could go unnoticed or ignored by several professional scholars during a span of three centuries until Josephus is hardly credible. The work may have instead been written in the Roman period and not that long before it is mentioned for the very first time. If so, the real author, who some scholars speculate was the historian Ptolemy of Mendes, an educated Greek who was born and raised in Egypt and became a priest, attributed the contents of the three-volume history to the famous Manetho in order to give the work credibility.The Aegyptiaca of Manetho may have been the largest of all the works attributed to Manetho, and it is certainly the most important. It was organised chronologically and divided into three books. The division of rulers into dynasties was an innovation. However, the author did not use the term in the modern sense, by bloodlines, but rather, introduced new dynasties whenever he detected some sort of discontinuity whether geographical (Dynasty IV from Memphis, Dynasty V from Elephantine), or genealogical (especially in Dynasty I, the author sometimes refers a successive pharaoh as the "son" of the previous to define what he means by "continuity"). Within the superstructure of a genealogical table, he fills in the gaps with substantial narratives of the Pharaonic kings.Some have suggested that Aegyptiaca of Manetho was written as a competing account to Herodotus' Histories, to provide a national history for Egypt that did not exist before. From this perspective, Against Herodotus may have been an abridged version or just a part of Aegyptiaca of Manetho that circulated independently. Unfortunately, neither survives in its original form today.Transmission and receptionThe problem with a close study of Manetho, despite the reliance of Egyptologists on him for their reconstructions of the Egyptian dynasties, is that not only was the Aegyptiaca of Manetho not preserved as a whole, but it is believed to have become involved in a rivalry between advocates of Egyptian, Jewish, and Greek histories in the form of supporting polemics, although there is actually no direct evidence for this. It is however true that during this period disputes raged concerning the oldest civilizations, and so Manetho's history was probably excerpted during this time for use in this argument. Material similar to what has been attributed to Manetho's has been found in Lysimakhos of Alexandria, a brother of Philo, and it has been suggested that this material may have been modified and inserted into Manetho. Again this suggestion is without any real evidence to support it.As mentioned, the earliest attestation of Manetho's writings is found in Josephus' Contra Apionem ("Against Apion") nearly three centuries after the history of Egypt was supposedly commissioned by Ptolemy Philadelphus. Even here, it is clear Josephus knew and consulted conflicting editions of the same work, and he constructed a polemic against Manetho by exploiting some of these differences. For example, it seems clear that the earliest edition of the work did not treat the kings of Dynasty XVIII and Dynasty XIX as two separate regimes but as one dynasty. Apion 1.95–97 is a list of kings with no narratives until 1.98, while running across these two dynasties without any hint of a break.After Josephus wrote, an Epitome or summary of Manetho's history was made by Sextus Julius Africanus in the 3rd century. Eusebius of Caesarea later made his own summary as well, but he used a version of the work that differed from the one Africanus used. Bot summaries involved preserving the outlines of the "Manethonian" dynasties and a few details deemed significant. For the first ruler of the first Dynasty, Menes, we learn that "he was snatched and killed by a hippopotamus". The extent to which the epitome preserved the author's original writing is unclear, so caution must be exercised. The version of the epitome in Africanus is usually considered more reliable than the one made by Eusebius, but there is no assurance that this is always the case. Eusebius in turn was preserved by Jerome in his Latin translation, an Armenian translation, and by George Syncellus. Syncellus recognized the similarities between Eusebius and Africanus, so he placed them side by side in his work, Ecloga Chronographica. These last four copies are what remains of the epitome of Manetho. Other significant fragments include Malalas's Chronographia and Excerpta Latina Barbari ("Excerpts in Bad Latin").Sources and methodsThe methods of the author of the Aegyptiaca of Manetho involved the use of king-lists to provide a structure for his history. There were precedents to his writing available in Egypt (plenty of which have survived to this day), and his Hellenistic and Egyptian background would have been influential in his writing. Josephus records him admitting to using "nameless oral tradition" (1.105) and "myths and legends" (1.229) for his account, and there is no reason to doubt this, as admissions of this type were common among historians of that era. His familiarity with Egyptian legends is indisputable, but how the author came to know Greek is more open to debate if we are dealing with a priest who lived in the early Ptolemaic period. In any case, the author must have been familiar with Herodotus, and in some cases, he even attempted to synchronize Egyptian history with Greek (for example, equating King Memnon with Amenophis, and Armesis with Danaos). This suggests the author was also familiar with the Greek Epic Cycle (for which the Ethiopian Memnon is slain by Achilles during the Trojan War) and the history of Argos (in Aeschylus's Suppliants). Because it is difficult to believe these could be from the hand of a native Egyptian priest from as early as the 3rd century it has also been suggested that they were later interpolations, particularly when the epitome was being written. However, if the author was really an educated Greek from Mendes who lived and wrote in the time of Augustus (BC 28-14 AD) then we could expect him to be interested and thoroughly familiar with the Greek Epic Cycle. He wrote in fluent Koinê Greek which also suggests the author was an educated Greek who probably lived much later than the 3rd century BC.King listsThe king-list that the author of the Aegyptiaca of Manetho had access to is unknown to us, but of the surviving king-lists, the one most similar to his is the Turin Royal Canon (or Turin Papyrus). The oldest source with which we can compare to Manetho are the Old Kingdom Annals (c. 2500-2200 BC). From the New Kingdom are the list at Karnak (constructed by order of Thutmose), two at Abydos (by Seti I and Ramesses II— the latter a duplicate but updated version of the former), and the Saqqara list by the priest Tenry.The provenance of the Old Kingdom Annals is unknown, surviving as the Palermo Stone. The differences between the Annals and Manetho are great. The Annals only reach to the fifth dynasty, but its pre-dynastic rulers are listed as the kings of Lower Egypt and kings of Upper Egypt. By contrast, Manetho lists several Greek and Egyptian gods beginning with Hephaistos and Helios. Secondly, the Annals give annual reports of the activities of the kings, while there is little probability that Manetho would have been able to go into such detail.The New Kingdom lists are each selective in their listings: that of Seti I, for instance, lists seventy-six kings from Dynasties I to XIX omitting the Hyksos rulers and those associated with the heretic Akhenaten. The Saqqara list, contemporaneous with Ramesses II, has fifty-eight names, with similar omissions. If Manetho used these lists at all, he would have been unable to get all of his information from them alone, due to the selective nature of their records. Verbrugghe and Wickersham argue:[...] The purpose of these lists was to cover the walls of a sacred room in which the reigning Pharaoh (or other worshiper, as in the case of Tenry and his Saqqara list) made offerings or prayers to his or her predecessors, imagined as ancestors. Each royal house had a particular traditional list of these "ancestors," different from that of the other houses. The purpose of these lists is not historical but religious. It is not that they are trying and failing to give a complete list. They are not trying at all. Seti and Ramesses did not wish to make offerings to Akhenaten, Tutankhamen, or Hatshepsut, and that is why they are omitted, not because their existence was unknown or deliberately ignored in a broader historical sense. For this reason, the Pharaonic king-lists were generally wrong for Manetho's purposes, and we should commend Manetho for not basing his account on them (2000:105).These large stelae stand in contrast to the Turin Royal Canon (like Saqqara, contemporaneous with Ramesses II), written in hieratic script. Like Manetho, it begins with the gods, and seems to be an epitome very similar in spirit and style to Manetho. Interestingly, the opposite side of the papyrus includes government records. Verbrugghe and Wickersham suggest that a comprehensive list like this would be necessary for a government office "to date contracts, leases, debts, titles, and other instruments (2000:106)" and so could not have been selective the way the king-lists in temples were. Despite numerous differences between the Turin Canon and Manetho, the format must have been available to him. As a priest (or chief priest), he would have had access to practically all written materials in the temple.While the precise origins for Manetho's king-list are unknown, it was certainly a Northern Lower Egyptian one. This can be deduced most noticeably from his selection of the kings for the Third Intermediate Period. Manetho consistently includes the Tanite Dynasty 21 and Dynasty 22 lineage in his Epitome such as Psusennes I, Amenemope and even such short-lived kings like Amenemnisu (5 years) and Osochor (6 years). In contrast, he ignores the existence of Theban kings such as Osorkon III, Takelot III, Harsiese A and Pinedjem I and kings from Middle Egypt like Peftjaubast of Herakleopolis. This implies that Manetho derived the primary sources for his Epitome from a local city's temple library in the region of the River Nile Delta which was controlled by the Tanite-based Dynasty 21 and Dynasty 22 kings. The Middle and Upper Egyptian Pharaohs did not have any effect upon this specific region of the Delta; hence their exclusion from Manetho's king-list.Transcriptions of Pharaonic namesBy the Middle Kingdom, Egyptian kings each had five different names, the "Horus" name; the "Two Ladies" name; the "Gold Horus" name; the praenomen or "throne name"; and a nomen, the personal name given at birth (also called a "Son of Ra" name as it was preceded by Sa Re'). Some Pharaohs also had multiple examples within these names, such as Ramesses II who used six Horus names at various times. Because Manetho's transcriptions agree with many king-lists, it is generally accepted that he was reliant on one or more such lists, and it is not clear to what extent he was aware of the different pharaonic names of rulers long past (and he had alternate names for some). Not all the different names for each king have been uncovered.The author of the Aegyptiaca of Manetho did not choose consistently from the five different types of names, but in some cases, a straightforward transcription is possible. Egyptian Men or Meni (Son of Ra and king-list names) becomes Menes (officially, this is Pharaoh I.1 Narmer—"I" represents Dynasty I, and "1" means the first king of that dynasty), while Menkauhor/Menkahor (Throne and king-list names, the Horus names is Menkhau and the Son of Ra name is "Kaiu Horkaiu[...]") is transcribed as Menkheres (V.7 Menkauhor). Others involve a slight abbreviation, such as A'akheperen-Re' (Throne and king-list names) becoming Khebron (XVIII.4 Thutmose II). A few more have consonants switched for unknown reasons, as for example Tausret becoming Thouoris (XIX.6 Twosre/Tausret). One puzzle is in the conflicting names of some early dynastic kings— though they did not have all five titles, they still had multiple names. I.3/4 Djer, whose Son of Ra name is Itti is considered the basis for Manetho's I.2 Athothis. I.4 Oenephes then is a puzzle unless it is compared with Djer's Gold Horus name, Ennebu. It may be that Manetho duplicated the name or he had a source for a name unknown to us. Finally, there are some names where the association is a complete mystery to us. V.6 Rhathoures/Niuserre's complete name was Set-ib-tawi Set-ib-Nebty Netjeri-bik-nebu Ni-user-Re' Ini Ni-user-Re', but Manetho writes it as Rhathoures. It may be that some pharaohs were known by names other than even just the five official ones.Thus, how the author of the Aegyptiaca of Manetho transcribed these names varies, and as such we cannot reconstruct the original Egyptian forms of the names. However, because of the simplicity with which the author transcribed long names (see above), they were preferred until original king-lists began to be uncovered in Egyptian sites, translated, and corroborated. The author's division of dynasties, however, is still used as a basis for all Egyptian discussions.ContentBook One began with an introduction, with the author giving a brief biography of Manetho and stating the purpose for writing. The introduction also included a letter supposedly written by Manetho to Ptolemy Philadelphus. The letter is certainly a forgery given the fact that Manetho addresses Ptolemy Philadelphus with the title "Augustus" which was not used for Ptolemaic kings. This slip of the pen by the author allows one to determine the earliest possible date of composition, which is the reign of Caesar Augustus (BC 28-14 AD). After this letter the author proceeded to discuss the earliest times in Egypt, listing the reigns of the gods and demigods and spirits of the dead as kings of Egypt. Stories of Isis, Osiris, Set, or Horus might have been found here. The author does not transliterate either, but gives the Greek equivalents by a convention that predates him: (Egyptian) Ptah = (Greek) Hephaistos; Isis = Demeter; Thoth = the first Hermes; Horus = Apollo; Seth = Typhon; etc. This is one of the clues as to how syncretism developed between seemingly disparate religions. In his preamble the author stated that the first Hermes who is the same as the god Thoth invented writing. The writings of this first Hermes were then translated into a new sacred script called hieroglyphics by his son Hermes Trismegistus who is the second Hermes. The books written by this second Hermes were later collected and arranged by his son, the god Agathodaemon. This god also appears in Manetho's list of gods who reigned as kings over Egypt in the pre-dynastic age. According to the author, Agathodaemon only finished his editorial work of arranging the "sacred books" written by his father Hermes Trismegistus after the accession of Ptolemy Philadelphus. It was only at this point that Manetho was able to use these sources to write his own systematic history of Egypt in Greek for that Ptolemaic king.The inferences being made in the preamble are clear: the accession of Ptolemy Philadelphus was considered by the author to be a major turning point in Egypt’s history because it was only during this king’s reign that the god Agathodaemon completed his editorial work, and this was a prerequisite for Manetho to compose a history of Egypt in Greek. The chain of cultural transmission spans three generations of gods (Thoth, Hermes Trismegistus, and Agathodaemon) to the priest Manetho and Greek script is now on a par with the hieroglyphs of the "sacred books". Greek has now become the language and script through which Egypt’s entire history is to be officially recorded in three books for Ptolemy Philadelphus. It is as if the goal of Egyptian civilization was that it become the property of Greek civilization and be eclipsed by Hellenism. The author depicts Manetho as having helped facilitate this transfer in a most significant way by translating the contents of the "sacred books" of supernatural authorship into Greek, something which had not been done in any of the languages spoken by the various foreigners who dominated Egypt before the Greek conquest. Greek is now Egypt’s new language and divinely ordained for translating the hieroglyphic writings of the god Hermes Trismegistus. After this the author proceeds straight to Dynastic Egypt, from Dynasty I to Dynasty XI. This would have included the Old Kingdom, the First Intermediate Period, and the early Middle Kingdom.Book Two covers Dynasties XII–XVIII in the first edition which included the kings of Dynasty XIX in with Dynasty XVIII. Book Two discussed the end of the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Period, the Hyksos invasion, and then their expulsion and the establishment of the New Kingdom by Ahmose (the founder of Dynasty XVIII). Book Two was also of particular interest to Josephus, where he equated the Hyksos or "shepherd-kings" with the ancient Israelites who made their exodus out of Egypt (Apion 1.82–92). Josephus even includes a brief etymological discussion of the word "Hyksos" by noting that the term is defined differently by Manetho in the conflicting editions of his history. Josephus favored Manetho's "captive shepherds" (Apion 1.91), apparently from the first edition, over his "shepherd-kings" (Apion 1.82-83) in the subsequent second and third editions. Evidently in the first edition the Hyksos were suspected by the author of being invaders from Arabia, but in the second and third editions they are confidently identified as Canaanites (Phoenicians). According to Manetho, they were the builders of Jerusalem (previously known as Salem) after their expulsion from Egypt. This tradition may suggest that the Hyksos were the Jebusites (a Canaanite tribe) of the biblical record.Book Three continued with the "XIXth dynasty" of Egypt (= Dynasty XX in the second and third editions) and concludes with the "XXXth dynasty" (= Dynasty XXXI in the second and third editions). The Saite Renaissance occurs in the "XXVth dynasty" (= Dynasty XXVI), while the "XXVIth dynasty" (= Dynasty XXVII) involves the Persian Anshanite rule of Cambyses and then Barziya, sons of Cyrus the Great. However, this Barziya is denounced as a Magi fraud by his successor who overthrew him and the author accepted this charge by calling him "Magi". He is omitted altogether in the author's third edition. This was followed by the Persian Achaemenid regime of Darius Hystaspes and his descendants. Three more local dynasties are mentioned, though they must have overlapped with Persian rule despite the sequential order in Manetho. The "XXXth dynasty" consisted of three more Persian rulers, and some have suggested this dynasty was added to Manetho's history by a later editor. Both Moses of Chorene and Jerome end at Nectanebo II ("last king of the Egyptians" and "destruction of the Egyptian monarchy" respectively), but the Persian Dynasty XXX = XXXI fits within the author's schemata of narrating Egyptian history from the earliest times down through the dynasteia to the eve of the Greek supremacy and is most likely original. The numbering system for the dynasties used in the first edition was revised by the author in subsequent editions but he almost certainly concluded Book Three with Darius III. He also mentioned the capture and execution of Darius III by Alexander the Great, but this was an error on the author's part and removed by him in the final edition. Three editions of this work by one author is further evidenced in the names given to the founder of Dynasty XVIII. In the first edition his name is erroneously and curiously called Tethmosis (Τέθμωσις). In the second edition the author revised this to Amosis (Άμωσις). Finally, in his third edition he corrected this to Amos (Άμως) which is the best of all three Greek renderings of the name Ahmose in ancient Egyptian.Similarities with BerossosMost of the ancient witnesses group the author together with Berossos, and treat the pair as similar in intent, and it is not a coincidence that those who preserved the bulk of their writing are largely the same (Josephus, Africanus, Eusebius, and Syncellus). Certainly both adopted the historiographical approach of the Greek historians Herodotus and Hesiod, who preceded them. While the subjects of their history are different, the form is similar, using chronological royal genealogies as the structure for the narratives. Both extend their histories far into the mythic past, to give the gods rule over the earliest ancestral histories.Syncellus goes so far as to insinuate that "Manetho" copied Berossos because he wrote later than Berossos:If one carefully examines the underlying chronological lists of events, one will have full confidence that the design of both is false, as both Berossos and Manetho, as I have said before, want to glorify each his own nation, Berossos the Chaldean, Manetho the Egyptian. One can only stand in amazement that they were not ashamed to place the beginning of their incredible story in each in one and the same year.While this does seem an incredible coincidence, the reliability of the report is unclear. The reasoning for assuming they started their histories in the same year involved some considerable contortions. Berossos dated the period before the Flood to 120 saroi (3,600 year periods), giving an estimate of 432,000 years before the Flood. This was unacceptable to later Christian commentators, so it was assumed he meant solar days. 432,000 divided by 365 days gives a rough figure of 1,183½ years before the Flood. For Manetho, even more numeric contortions ensued. With no flood mentioned, they assumed that Manetho's first era describing the gods represented the ante-diluvian age. Secondly, they took the spurious Book of Sothis for a chronological count. Six dynasties of gods totalled 11,985 years, while the nine dynasties with demigods came to 858 years. Again, this was too long for the Biblical account, so two different units of conversion were used. The 11,985 years were considered to be months of 29½ days each (a conversion used in antiquity, for example by Diodorus Siculus), which comes out to 969 years. The latter period, however, was divided into seasons, or quarters of a year, and reduces to 214½ years (another conversion attested to by Diodorus). The sum of these comes out to 1,183½ years, equal to that of Berossos. Syncellus rejected both Manetho's and Berossos' incredible time-spans, as well as the efforts of other commentators to harmonise their numbers with the Bible. Ironically as we see, he also blamed them for the synchronicity concocted by later writers.Effect of AegyptiacaIf it is true that Manetho wrote a major history of Egypt at the royal request of Ptolemy II Philadelphus the Aegyptiaca of Manetho was a complete failure, since Herodotus' Histories continued to provide the standard account in the Hellenistic world, that is until Diodorus wrote his voluminous history. It may also have been that some nationalistic sentiments in Manetho provided the impetus for his writing, but that is conjecture. It is clear, however, that when it was written, it would have proven to be the authoritative account of the history of Egypt, superior to Herodotus in every way. The completeness and systematic nature in which he collected his sources was unprecedented. This points to the Roman period for the original date of composition, for Diodorus makes not the slightest mention of Manetho in his history and he visited Alexandria in 60/59 BC. This is not so much an argument from silence since a professional scholar like Diodorus could not possibly have intentionally ignored, or been completely ignorant of, such an important contribution had it existed at the time. His lengthy and detailed discussion of Egyptian history and chronology contradicts the Aegyptiaca of Manetho at virtually every turn. Thus one may conclude that the work was not composed until after Diodorus' visit to Egypt in 60/59 BC.Syncellus similarly recognised its importance when recording Eusebius and Africanus, and even provided a separate witness from the Book of Sothis. Unfortunately, this material is likely to have been a forgery or hoax of unknown date. Every king in Sothis after Menes is irreconcilable with the versions of Africanus and Eusebius. It seems rather that Syncellus used "Book of Sothis" as an alternate title for the Aegyptiaca of Manetho. This is clear when he writes how the "Book of Sothis" begins by describing the reigns of the gods and demi-gods and then the thirty dynasties of the mortal kings. The actual Book of Sothis does none of this. Thus the author of the Aegyptiaca of Manetho, whether he is genuinely Manetho of Sebennytus of the 3rd century BC, and this is unlikely, or Ptolemy of Mendes of the 1st century BC claiming to reproduce the words of the celebrated Manetho from three centuries earlier, more likely, he should not be judged on the factuality of the Book of Sothis but on the method he used to record history, and in this, he was as successful as Herodotus and Hesiod.Finally, in modern times, the effect is still visible in the way Egyptologists divide the dynasties of the pharaohs. The French explorer and Egyptologist, Jean-François Champollion, reportedly held a copy of Manetho's lists in one hand as he attempted to decipher the hieroglyphs he encountered (though it probably gave him more frustration than joy, considering the way the Egyptian author transcribed the names in Greek). Most modern scholarship that mentions the names of the pharaohs will render both the modern transcription and Manetho's version, and Manetho's names are even preferred to more authentic ones in some cases. Today, his division of dynasties is used universally, and this has permeated the study of nearly all royal genealogies by the conceptualization of succession in terms of dynasties or houses.See alsoBerossusHistory of Ancient EgyptList of lists of ancient kingsPlutarchPtolemaic dynastyReferencesJump up ^ Tacitus, Histories 4.83, Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 28.Jump up ^ Waddell, pp. 10-11; 210-211Jump up ^ Apion 1.94, 231.Jump up ^ Waddell, pp. 114-115.Jump up ^ Waddell, pp. 110-111.Jump up ^ Ecloga Chronographica, 30Further readingHelck, Hans Wolfgang. 1975. "Manethon (1)". In Der kleine Pauly: Lexikon der Antike, auf der Grundlage von Pauly’s Realencyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, edited by Konrat Ziegler, Walter Sontheimer, and Hans Gärtner. Vol. 3. München: Alfred Druckenmüller Verlag. 952–953. ISBN 0-8288-6776-3.Laqueur, Richard. 1928. "Manethon". In Paulys Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, edited by August Friedrich von Pauly, Georg Wissowa, and Wilhelm Kroll. Vol. 14 of 24 vols. Stuttgart: Alfred Druckenmüller Verlag. 1060–1106. ISBN 3-476-01018-X.Cerqueiro, Daniel 2012. "Aegyptos fragmentos de una aegyptiaca recóndita". Buenos Aires:Ed.Peq.Ven. ISBN 978-987-9239-22-3.M.A. Leahy. 1990. "Libya and Egypt c1300–750 BC." London: School of Oriental and African Studies, Centre of Near and Middle Eastern Studies, and The Society for Libyan Studies.Redford, Donald Bruce. 1986a. "The Name Manetho". In Egyptological Studies in Honor of Richard A. Parker Presented on the Occasion of His 78th Birthday, December 10, 1983, edited by Leonard H. Lesko. Hannover and London: University Press of New England. 118–121. ISBN 0-87451-321-9.———. 1986b. Pharaonic King–Lists, Annals and Day–Books: A Contribution to the Study of the Egyptian Sense of History. Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities Publications 4, ser. ed. Loretta M. James. Mississauga: Benben Publications. ISBN 0-920168-08-6.———. 2001. "Manetho". In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Egypt, edited by Donald Bruce Redford. Vol. 2 of 3 vols. Oxford, New York, and Cairo: Oxford University Press and The American University in Cairo Press. 336–337. ISBN 0-19-510234-7.Thissen, Heinz-Josef. 1980. "Manetho". In Lexikon der Ägyptologie, edited by Hans Wolfgang Helck, and Wolfhart Westendorf. Vol. 3 of 7 vols. Wiesbaden: Otto Harrassowitz. 1180–1181. ISBN 3-447-01441-5.Verbrugghe, Gerald P., and John Moore Wickersham. 1996. Berossos and Manetho, Introduced and Translated: Native Traditions in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-08687-1.Waddell, William Gillian, ed. 1940. Manetho. The Loeb Classical Library 350, ser. ed. George P. Goold. London and Cambridge: William Heinemann ltd. and Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-99385-3.External linksWikisource has original works written by or about:ManethoChronologie de Manéthon showing the names given by Manetho and the names used nowManetho: History of Egypt, Sacred Book, etc.Who's Who in Ancient Egypt: Manetho"The First Egyptian Narrative History: Manetho and Greek Historiography", ZPE 127 (1999), pp.93-116 by J. Dillery