Phlegon of Tralles
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Phlegon of Tralles
|Born||Early second century AD|
Tralles, Roman Empire (modern-day Turkey)
|Died||Late second century AD|
|Occupation||Chronicler and historian|
On Long-Lived Persons,
His chief work was the Olympiads, an historical compendium in sixteen books, from the 1st down to the 229th Olympiad (776 BC to AD 137), of which several chapters are preserved in Eusebius' Chronicle, Photius and George Syncellus.
Two short works by him are extant. On Marvels consists of "anecdotes culled from sources as diverse as the Greek poet Hesiod and the Roman natural historian Pliny the Elder. Each... recounts a fantastical or paranormal event." On Long-Lived Persons contains a list of Italians who had passed the age of 100, taken from the censuses of the Roman Empire.
- "Phlegon of Tralles, freedman of Augustus Caesar, but some say of Hadrian: historian. He wrote Olympiads in 16 books. Up to the 229th Olympiad they contain what was done everywhere. And these in 8 books: Description of Sicily; On long-lived and marvelous persons, On the feasts of the Romans 3 books, On the places in Rome and by what names they are called, Epitome of Olympic victors in 2 books, and other things.
- "Of this Phlegon, as Philostorgius says, to relate fully in detail what befell with the Jews, while Phlegon and Dio mentioned [these events] briefly and made them an appendix to their own narrative. Since this man does not exhibit at all prudently those who would lead to piety and other virtues, as those others do not either. Josephus, on the contrary, is like one who fears and takes care not to offend the [sc.pagan] Greeks."[clarification needed]
Reference to Jesus
Origen of Alexandria (182-254 AD), in Against Celsus (Book II, Chap. XIV), wrote that Phlegon, in his "Chronicles", mentions Jesus: "Now Phlegon, in the thirteenth or fourteenth book, I think, of his Chronicles, not only ascribed to Jesus a knowledge of future events (although falling into confusion about some things which refer to Peter, as if they referred to Jesus), but also testified that the result corresponded to His predictions." He referred to a description by Phlegon of an eclipse accompanied by earthquakes during the reign of Tiberius: that there was "the greatest eclipse of the sun" and that "it became night in the sixth hour of the day [i. e., noon] so that stars even appeared in the heavens. There was a great earthquake in Bithynia, and many things were overturned in Nicaea."
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Phlegon". Encyclopædia Britannica. 21 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 447.
- Karl Wilhelm Ludwig Müller, Frag. hist. graec., iii
- O Keller, Rerum naturalium scriptores, i. (1877)
- H Diels, "Phlegons Androgynenorakel" in Sibyllinische Bücher (1890).
- Phlegon of Tralles' Book of Marvels. Translated with an introduction and commentary by William Hansen. University of Exeter Press (1996) pp.xvi + 215. Review.