The importance of this inscription (dating from around 9 BC) is that it is seen as a precursor to Christ's nativity and his role as a Saviour, just as Augustus, who is celebrated in this text was seen as a Saviour of his people, and that with his arrival into this world all trouble and strife would come to an end. Therefore, Fabius Maximus (see a copy of the letter below) ordained that the 23rd September should be commemorated, not just as the birth of Augustus, but also as a new Era.

It is generally known as the Priene text for it was found on two stones in the market-place in the old town of Priene, Turkey (or more correctly, Asia Minor), and suggests that the existence of messianic prophecy was widespread in the Graeco-Roman world around this time. This, and other messianic inscriptions found in Asia Minor, have been seized upon by Christians as an adumbration of the messianic fulfilment that would follow with the birth of Christ (as is also expected in his parousia), and his role as Saviour exactly duplicates the notion this text embodies. Massey, of course, sees it another way; as yet another example of the original type, i.e. the Repa (or coming prince) finding its expression in the same terms in this text, as it had been since antiquity, and that this office of the Messiah was carried through to the Caesar, and lastly to the Christ.

I include here various extracts from a variety of sources. Unfortunately, the first appearance of this inscription in a published format by Mommsen and Wilamowitz-Mollendorff (in the Mittheilungen des Deutschen archaeologischen Institutes in Athen, 1899, vol. 24) does not appear to be available, and I have been unable to locate a copy online. I do, however, include a full copy of the text from Dittenberger's work (published slightly later in 1905 when Massey was working on the last chapters of AE, and may therefore have been his source), with annotations on the text, and also some commentaries from other writers. I have not, as yet, been able to locate an English translation which parallels Massey's wording exactly as it appears in AE 2:760. I suspect that he may have translated the original text himself, and therefore I have included alternatives, if not all of the lines, then at least the relevant ones towards the end.

The letter mentioned above from Fabius Maximus to the Provincial Assembly, recommending the lunar year being changed to the Julian calendar, commencing on the 23rd September, is as follows:

"Decree of the Greek Assembly in the province of Asia, on motion of the High Priest Apolionios, son of Menophilos, of Aizanoi whereas Providence that orders all our lives has in her display of concern and generosity in our behalf adorned our lives with the highest good: Augustus, whom she has filled with arete [virtue] for the benefit of humanity, and has in her beneficence granted us and those who will come after us [a Saviour (σωτῆρα)] who has made war to cease and who shall put everything [in peaceful] order; and whereas Caesar, [when he was manifest], transcended the expectations of [all who had anticipated the good news], not only by surpassing the benefits conferred by his predecessors but by leaving no expectation of surpassing him to those who would come after him, with the result that the birthday of our God (τοῦ θεοῦ) signalled (ἦρξεν δὲ τῶι κὀσμωι τῶι δι᾽ αὐτὸν εὐαγγελίων ἡ γενέυλιος ἡμέρα τοῦ θεοῦ) the beginning of Good News for the world because of him; ..... (proconsul Paul Fabius Maximus) has discovered a way to honour Augustus that was hitherto unknown among the Greeks, namely to reckon time from the date of his nativity; therefore, with the blessings of Good Fortune and for their own welfare, the Greeks in Asia Decreed that the New Year begin for all the cities on September 23, which is the birthday of Augustus; and, to ensure that the dates coincide in every city, all documents are to carry both the Roman and the Greek date, and the first month shall, in accordance with the decree, be observed as the Month of Caesar, beginning with 23 September, the birthday of Caesar."1

This provoked the reply (in stone) which is commonly referred to as the Priene calendar inscription:


[Extracted from A. Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East (1911), p. 390.]

Figures 59 & 60 above, showing parts of the inscription, lines 1-60, out of a total of 84.

The parallelism exists not only with sacred titles, it goes further. Two examples are now forthcoming to prove that the word εὐαγέλλιον, "gospel, good tidings," which was in use in pre-Christian times in the profane sense of good news, and which then became a Primitive Christian cult-word of the first order, was also employed in sacral use in the Imperial cult. One of the examples is that calendar inscription of Priene, about 9 B.C., which we have mentioned twice already, and which is now in the Berlin Museum. Discovered by German archaeologists on two stones of different kinds in the north hall of the market-place at Priene, and published for the first time by Theodor Mommsen and Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff with other allied texts and a commentary, this inscription, designed to introduce the Asian calendar, has already been appreciated by Adolf Harnack and Paul Wendland as of great importance in the history of the sacred language of Asia Minor. Harnack translated the most important parts into German. H. Winnefeld kindly obtained for me a photograph of lines 1-60, from which, with the consent of the Directors of the Royal Museums, our Figures 59 and 60 have been made, their size being less than one-quarter of the original. As far as I know these are the first facsimiles to be published of these important texts. Here we find (line 40 f, Figure 60) this remarkable sentence referring to the birthday of the Emperor Augustus—'But the birthday of the god was for the world the beginning of tidings of joy on his account.' (The whole inscription consists of 84 lines.)


[Extracted from W. Dittenberger, Orientis Graecae Inscriptiones Selectae, Supplementum Sylloges inscriptionum graecarum, (Leipzig, 1905), vol. 2, pp. 48-60.]

458 Exemplarium quae lapidibus incidi iubentur v. 64 sqq. quattuor aetatem tulerunt, Prienense (P), Apamense (A), Eumeniense (E), Dorylaiense (D). Integri lapides omnes superiore loco Latinum titulum habebant, cuius pars servata est in tabula Apamensi, pars in Dorylaiensi, quae nihil ex Graecis habet. Deinde sequebantnr Graeca, quae in P praeter initium paene integra, in A magna certe ex parte exstant, cum in E nihil nisi v. 55 [Greek]— V. 67 [Greek] aetatem tulerit.—A Graeca per quattuor columnas disposita exhibet; partem huius exempli post Arundellium et Hamiltonimi ed. J. Franz C. I. G. 3957, reliqua addiderunt V. Berard Bull. de corr. Hell. XVH (1893) p. 345 n. 9 et Th. Mommsen Mitth. des arch. Inst in Athen XVI (1894) p. 282. Novissime J. G. C. Anderson lapidem denuo accuratissime examinavit et exemplum emendatius proposuit Mitth. des arch. Inst. XXV (1900) p. 111. E ed. Hamilton Researches in Asia minor n. 367 (J. Franz C. I. G. 3902 b). P effossam Prienae in foro, ubi appositum erat pilae porticus septentrionalis. Exscripserunt Schrader et von Prott. Omnia coniuncta ediderunt et enarraverunt Th. Mommsen et U. von Wilamowitz-Mollendorff Mitth. des arch. Inst. in Athen XXIV (1899) p. 275 sqq. inde repetuntur Revue archeologique Troisieme ser. XXXVII 1900 p. 357 n. 76. Editores in versuum dispositione exemplum Prienense omnium integerrimum secuti ea modo quae in nullo ex lapidibus exstant uncis incluserunt, quod institutum ipse quoque tenui.


Fonnas litteraram non omnes easdem exhibent editores. Cam ΞΠΣ abique recurrant. fluctuatar inter itemque inter A et A. Ex parte haec discrimina lapidam, quippe qui quattaor diversis locis alii ab aliis lapicidis elaborati sint, esse non improbabile est, sed alia editoram, antiquioram maxime, incariae accepta ferri videntar.

1 Tria anasqaisqae lapis instramenta Graeca continebat: I. Paulli Fabii Maximi proconsalis Asiae epistalam ad commane civitatium Graecarum, qua suadet ut Augusti Caesaris diem natalem initiam anni civilis habeant fastosque saos ad exemplam anni Iuliani Romanorum commatent. V. 1—30. II. Decretam civitatiam Graecarum Asiae, qua huic Paulli Fabii consilio obsequantur. V. 30—77. III. Alterum earandem decretum de comitiis magistratuum in singolis civitatibus tam mature habeadis, at illi die natali Augusti inire possint, v. 78—81. Praeter baec epistulam Fabii etiam Latine scriptam in eisdem lapidibus incisam faisse, ut v. 30 praecipitur, docamento sant fragmenta exemplorum Dorylaiensis et Apamensis, quae sais locis singillatim afferam. Cf. not. 9. 40. 16. 23. In exemplo Apamensi Graecis, quae per septem columnas quas dicunt disposita sunt, uno versa per totum lapidis latitadinem transcarrente argomenti index praemittitur, ex quo nanc nihil exstat nisi --- [Greek]. De tempore quo haec omnia acta sint fere a. 9 a. Chr. n. cf. quae exposat not. 31. 50.

2 In fragmentis Apameae repertis hoc enuntiatum Latino sermone est: incundior an salubrior natalis principis nost[ri]. M.

3 ΤΗΙ non modo in P, sed etiam in A (non ΤΗΝ) esse nunc Andersoni testimonio constat. Deinde vero [Greek] A, [Greek] P.

4 Sic A, [Greek] P.

5 Hoc totidem litteris in lapide A esse testatur Anderson, cum in P litterae quarta et sexta interciderint.

6 [Greek] A [Greek] P.

7 [Greek] A [Greek] P.

8 [Greek] Mommsen-Wilamowitz ex Schraderi Prottiique apographo; neque est cur dubitetur, quin diphthongus ΑΥ in lapide P sit. Neque vero personale [Greek], sed reflexivum [Greek] hoc esse voluisse scriptorem tituli ex A apparet, ubi ΑΤΩΙ esse Andersoni testimonio constat. Nam hanc diphthongi mutationem, frequentissimam illam quidem Augusti aetate, in reflexivum modo pronomen cadere constat. Cf. J. Wackernagel, Ztschr. f. vergl. Sprachw. XXXIII p. 4 sqq. E. Schweizer Gramm. der pergam. Inschriften p. 91 sq. Meisterhans-Schwyzer Gramm. der att. Inschr. ed. 3 p. 61 not. 516. p. 154 not. 1318.

9 In lapide Dorylaiensi exstat pars haud exigua litterarum Latinarum huic Graeci exempli loco respondens, quam mutilatam neque accurate exscriptam Mommsenus sic restituit: [propterea recte homines existimant hoc sibi principium | vitae,] quod paenitendi fuerit natos se esse [fi]nis | cumque non ullo ex die feliciora et privatim singulis et uni versis puhliee trahi possint aus[pici]a quam ex eo, quem felicissi\mum communiter [credunt,] fere autem omnium | in Asia civitatium idem | tempus anni novi initiumque magistratuum sit, | in quod [fort]ui|to, videlicet ut honoraretur, principis nostri natalis incidit, vel | quia tot erga divina merita gratum esse difficile est nisi omnis | pietatis temptetur materia, vel quia [dies est] pro[p]ria [cui]que | laetitia ingressui honoris [st]atu[t]m, publieum videtur m[ihi---].

10 Verba cumque non ulla ex die feliciora et privatim singulis et universis publice etiam in Apamensibus epistulae Latinae reliquiis exstant. Cf. not. 9.

11 Articulum omisit A, habet P.

12 Sic integra haec esse in A testatur Anderson. [Greek] P. De η, pro εί cf. not. 17.

13 Quod anni civilis initium, quale iam tum observabatur in Asia, fere in ipsum diem natalem Caesaris Augusti incidebat, id ad divinae providentiae consilium, quo ipse quem Paullus proposuit novus fastorum ordo praemonstratus sit, refertur. Utebantur autem tum Asiae civitates anni ordine a Macedonibus per omnem fere orientem propagato, qui annus iunisolaris initium capiebat ab aequinoctio auctumnali paucis modo diebus ab Augusti die natali distante. Memorabile vero est, divinae voluntatis mentionem ([Greek]) ab interprete Graeco demum in haec verba illatam esse, cum Latinae epistulae tenor (not. 9) adverbium fortuito habeat.

14 [Greek] Mommsen Wilamowitz ex P. Sed cum Andersonus testetur in A potius ΝΘΡΩΠΟΙΤ esse, apparet [Greek] scribendum esse. Nam etsi per se Apamensis exemplaris non maior auctoritas est quam Prienensis, tamen neque articulo careri potest neque [Greek]; aptum est sententiae, quia haec enuntiati condicionalis forma sumptionem rei fictae significat; quod contra optativus potentialis [Greek]—[Greek] optime hic se habet.

15 Sic supplendum fuit propter ea quae exposui not. 14 [Greek] Mommsen Wilamowitz.

16 In exemplaris Apamensis parte Latina haec agnoscuntur: quem Oraeei sico nomine diem nean numenian appellant eum elarissimi viri Gaesaris. Mommsenus monuit, neque de reliquo praeter ipsum anni initium ordine fastorum mutando neque de oinnium mensium initiis in ante diem nonum calendas constituendis in epistula quicquam legi, quas res tamen decreto provinciae contineri. Sed illa in litteris epistulae proconsulis annexis fuisse, quarum frustulum exstaret in lapide Apamensi (not. 23), cum in Prienensi omissae essent quia earum argumentum in concilii provincialis decreto rediret.

17 Perfrequens, ut omnino illa aetate, etiam in hoc titulo est η pro εί ante vocales in substantivis feminini generis ut [Greek] (v. 21. 24. 26. 44. 46), in adjectivis eorumque neutris substantive usurpatis ([Greek] 33. [Greek] 61. [Greek] 67). Sed in [Greek]; hoc rarius esse quam alibi consentaneum est, quia ipsa origo ad nomen [Greek] rediens ea orthographia aliquatenus obscuratur. Vs. 4 [Greek] est, v. 4 5 discrepant apographa.

18 ΕΚΕΙΝΗ A [Greek] P.

19 [Greek] A, [Greek] P. Item proximo versu [Greek] A, [Greek] P.

20 Praepositionem in lapide propter terminationem vocabuli proximi errore omissam reposuerunt M. et W.

21 Si articulus hic genuinus esset, statuendum esse in Augusteo Pergamenorum certam quandam pilam eius modi decretis honorificis insculpendis deslinatam fuisse observat Wilamowitz; ac sane articulum aliter defendi non licere verum est. Sed illa [Greek]—[Greek] non possunt non de stela intellegi quae tum demum cum inscripta sit in templo collocetur. Quare articulus perperam, fortasse pro praepositione ΕΝ (not. 20), incisus videtur.

22 I.e. et Graece et Latine; cf. not. !. Mommsenus cum hoc [Greek]; perbene confert locutionem grammatici eruditionis (vel imtitutionis) utritisque Cod. Theod. XI, 16, 15. 18. Sed iam hujus tituli aetate id dicendi genus usitatum fuisse probat illud Horatii Carm. III, 8, 5 docte sermones utriusque linguae.

23 In lapide Prienensi hunc epistulae finem ipsum excipit initium decreti Asianorum (II). Sed Apameae his interiectum est aliud documentum item utraque lingua compositum. Ex Latinis nihil exstat nisi haec: ----- | nonnus XXX, decumtes | XXXI, undecumus XXX, | duodecumus XXXI | interkalaris interpo|netur. Graecae interpretationis aetatem tulerunt relliquiae decem versuum, sed octo priorum tam exiguae et obscurae, ut nihil certi dispiciatur; duo postremi sic se habent [Greek]. Quae frustula argumento quidem respondere illls guae in decreto concilli provincialis legantur v. 70. 71, 77 apparet, neque alia videtur causa, cur in lapide Prienensi omnino hoc totum documentum omitteretur; fuit sine dubio epistulae Paulli proconsulis appendix quae accuratiorem novorum fastorum descriptionem, quam in ipsa epistula desideramus (not. 16), contineret. De numero dierum errorem commissum, cum undecimo Gorpiaeo triginta, duodecimo Hyperberetaeo triginta unus tribuerentur, Mommsenus fragmento A eruto iam perspexerat, id quod comprobatur lapide P invento (v. 70. 71 [Greek]; X ). Unum quod in illo frustulo Graeco Apamensi sit, neque vero in decreto Asianorum redeat, enuntiatum [Greek] est, quo Mommsenus conicit eorum computationem, qui diem intercalarium cum proximo unum duodequadraginta horarum diem efficere statuerint, reici.

24 Concilium provinciale, quod plerumque breviter to [Greek]; dicitur, tamen proprie et accnrate Graecoram qui in illa provincia habitarent appellatum esse huius titali sermo luculentissime demonstrat. Etenim in ipsorum decretoram formalis coastanter additnr nationis Graecae nomen ([Greek] v 30. 34. 78. [Greek] 49. 50), cum in qualibet alia eias meotioae una provinciae appellatio ponatur ([Greek]; v. 61. 63. 66. 67. 81. i[Greek] v. 16. 17. [Greek] v. 44. [Greek] v. 59). Quae observatio lacalentissime confirmatar aliis saecoloram primi et secundi p. Chr. n. titalorum testimoniis. Formulam [Greek] habes n. 470, 9, itemque epistulae ad concilium provinciae Asiae missae praescribitur n. 507, 3 [Greek]. Quod contra [Greek] est 471, 13. 14, [Greek] 490, 41. In decreto concilii provincialis C. I. G. 3487, 40 sqq. legitur [Greek], v. 28. 29 [Greek], sed v. 25—27 [Greek]. Cf. etiam Inscr. Gr. ad res Rom pert III p. 214 n. 603, 45 [Greek]—[Greek], ad illam sollennem appellationem referendum videtar, nam Graeci qui in Asia incolunt natio [Greek] sunt, omnes Asiani non item.

25 [Greek] A, cum P hic [Greek] exhibent. Ac de vocali ε ante α inserta res obscurissima est, siquidem haec scripturae proprietas nusqoam alibi redit. De primae syllabae vocali certins est iudicium; nomen barbarum diphthongum et habuisse consensu nummorum Eckhel D. N. III p.128. 442 , et tituiorum (n.502,4. 504,3. 303,3. 507,4, probatur, qaibuscam 25 inter scriptores faciuot Ptolemaeus Geogr. IV, 2, 4 7 p. 828, 3 [Greek] et Herodianus apud Steph. Byz. s. [Greek]. Neqae vero forma [Greek], quae praeterea in litteris (Strabo XII, 8, 4 2 p. 576 Cas. Steph. Byz. [Greek] Hierocles Synecd. 668, S. ac perraro etiam in inscriptionibus [Greek]; Arch.-epigr. Mitth. aus Oesterreich VIII 4884 p. 24 n. 62 invenitur, ad fortuitam errorem referendaest, sed eam cohaerere cimi affectatione originis Graecae apparet ex Pausan. X, 31, 3: [Greek]. Similiter Cibyratas videmus sibi originem Laconicam affinxisse [n. 497, 2}. Cui rei mnltum tributam esse, quia concilium provinciale Graecae nationis esse existimabatur not. 24; sponte patet. Quare hominem qai hoc decretam rogaret coasulto ethnici forma Graecae originis admonente asum esse, quam lapicida Prienensis religiose conservaret, Apameosis vero cum ea quae ipsi fanuliaris esset commutaret, veri simillimom existimo. Ceterum Aezani oppidum fuerunt Phrygiae quae Epictetos appellabatur (cf. n. 445). Huius Apollonii sacerdotis filius videtur Menophilus n. 475, 2. Cf. ibi not. 3.

26 In restituendis versibus mutiiis 32—51 Wilamowitzium secutus sum praeter paucos locos, quos singillatim indicabo.

27 Cum [Greek] de eis qui laetitiam futuram spe et cogitatione praecepissent dici rectissima iudicaiet Wilamowitzius, supplementum sermonis usui accommodatum se nullum videre professus est; ne ipse quidem video, nam verbi [Greek], quod sane inferiore aetate in superandi notionem abiit (cf. n. 33), utique medium, non activum scribi debuerat.

28 Summa cum veri similitudine hic Mommsenus deprehendere sibi visus est eum Tullum, cui Propertius et universum librura primum sacrum esse voluit et ad quem praeterea singillatira elegias eius libri sextam et quartamdecimam scripsit. Etenim eum ex poetae carminibus sub idem fere tempus cum hoc decreto compositis apparere in Asiara abiisse comitem, ut quidera videretur, praesidis provinciae (I, 6, 14); ipsum administrationi provinciae interfuisse (I, 6, 20 et vetera oblitis iura refer sociis) et plures annos in Asia remansisse (IV, 22, 1 frigida tam multos placuit tibi Cyxicus annos). Etsi Propertius ubique nudo cognomine Tullus utitur, taraen quia amicum suum patruura habuisse consulem indicat I, 6, 19, pridem perspectum est hunc L. Volcaciura Tullura consulem ordinariura anni 32 a. Chr. n. (Prosopogr. irap. Rora. III p. 474 n. 625) esse. lam omnia tara accurate congruunt, ut vix quisquam post Mommseni disputationem L. Volcacium Tullum tituli ab illo Propertiano distinguere audeat. Sed quid ante nomen scriptum fuerit, admodura difficile est diiudicatu. Wil. fere [[Greek]] aut aliam similem temporis definitionem fuisse conicit. At is cum Moraraseno [Greek] ad ipsum Tullum refert, quod certis de causis (not. 29) mihi non probatur. Iramo tempus decreti definiri existirao primum magistratus Romani nomine, deinde scribae concilii Graecorura Asianorum. At quale magistratus vocabulum fuerit plane ambiguus haereo. Utique [Greek] non fuit. Nam si quis non Propertii Tullum sed eius patruum intellegat, ut hic ipse fuerit magistratus quocura ille coraes et adiutor in provinciam iret, obstabit intervallum plus quam viginti annorum inter consulatum et administrationem Asiae ingens et Augusti principatu prorsus incredibile. Natu minorem vero Tulium tum non proconsulem in illam provinciam iisse apparet ex Propertii carrainibus. Sed id nescio an fieri potuerit ut per aliquantum temporis ante Paulli Fabii adventum ille legatus proconsulis vice fungeretur. Quae res tamen quonam vocabulo Graeco enuntiata fuerit latet.

29 Cur ante [Greek]; distinguere mallem, quam cum Mommseno et Wilamowitzio post hoc participium, duae fuerunt causae. Primum enim legatum vel adiutorem proconsulis scribae concilii Graecorum Asianorum fticio fungi permirum ipsi Mommseno visum est, neque eis quae ad eam exn explicandam attulit argumentis ipse magnopere confisus esse videtur. Deinde vero cum hoc officio Graecum homioem functum esse omnium maxime probabile sit, ipsum vero participium in iapide excipiatur initio nominis inter Graecos inferioris aetatis baud infrequentis, cur haec divellamus? Post nomen [Greek] ethnicum intercidisse videtur.

30 ΠΑΡΕ ... ΕΝΤΙ Supplevit et emendavit Wilamowitz ex v. 60.

31 Cf. H. Dessau Prosopographia imp. Rom. II p. 48 n. 38. Consul ordinarius fuit cum Q. Aelio Tuberone a. 11 a. Chr. Proconsulatum Asiae praeter hanc tabulam testantur nummi Hierapolis Phrygiae (Waddington Fastes des provinces Asiatiques de Tempire Romain n. 59) et titulus Pergamenus n. 465. De eius tempore Wadd. sic ratiocinatur: Pro eius aetatis consuetudioe quinquennio post consulatum, i.e. 6 a. Chr. ri. Fabium ad Asiae proconsulatum pervenire debuisse. Sed familiaribus principis, inter quos eum fuisse constat, haud raro id datum esse, ut aliquot annis ante ad hoc summum honorum senatoriorum fastigium pervenirent. Neque certe lulli Antonii, qui proximo post illum anno 1 a. Chr. consul et a. 4 a. Chr., ut quidem videretur, proconsui Asiae fuisset (Ioseph. Ant. XVI, 1 72) a. 2 a. Chr. vero perusset, administrationem Asianam illa Fabii priorem, sed posteriorem fnisse. Accoratiora docent quae infra de fastorum ordine dicuntur, quibus probabile ac paene certum fit, Fabium biennio post coosulatum, a. 9 a. Chr... Asiam proconsulari imperio tenuisse.

32 Ambigi potest utrum ΕΥΕ an ΕΥΗ an ΕΥΚ in lapide sit. Aut hoc nomen aut proximum [Greek] melius abesse observat Wilamowitz.

33 Supplevit Wilamowitz, qui tamen ΜΕΝΠΟ male exscriptum et [Greek] potius in lapide esse suspicatur. Utique si [Greek] verum est, is qui decretum conscripsit pergere in animo habebat [Greek], sed deinde ab instituto orationis cursu paullulum deflexit.

34 Cf. not. 24.

35 I.e. in litteris negotiorum publicorum et privatorum ([Greek], cf. n. 56 41) una ascribere.

36 Nominis novi eandem formam habent tituli haud pauci. Bull. corr. Hell. XI (1887) p. 29 n. 42, 5 (Laginis Cariae) [Greek], Inscr. in the British Museum II p. 93 n. CCCVI f, 1 (Calymnae) [Greek]. C. I. G. 2842, 44 (Aphrodisiade Cariae) [Greek]. Lebas-Waddington Inscr. III, 1535, 1 (ex Lydia Smyrnam delatus lapis) [Greek]. Quod in hemerologio Florentino primus 'Asianorum' mensis Katodpto; appellatur, ea re nihil probatur, quandoquidem illi fasti Asiani in reliquis mensium nominibus plane discrepant ab ordine anni provinciali, quem hic habemus. Re vera derivatio illa in -[Greek]; et -[Greek]; in aliis quidem fastis usitata fuit, veluti Cypriorum (Ideler Chron. I p. 427), et maxime Aegyptiorum, ubi postremi mensis Mesore vel Hyperberetaei locum Katoapeto; tenet, sed nusquam in provincia Asia. De antiquo nomine Aio; etiam post Augusti tempora conservato v. not. 43. Illam vero nominis mutationem iam ante hoc de totorum fastorum ordine novo instituendo decretum factam esse ipsa tituli verba docent.

37 Una cum aede Augusti dedicata (cf. not. 38) etiam hi ludi haberi coepti sunt.

38 Pergami. Cf. quae adnotata sunt n. 4565.

39 Cf. n. 444 16.

40 Vocabulum [Greek]; inde a Ciceronis aetate aliquotiens (Cic. ad. Fam. XIII, 56, 1: [Greek] et [Greek]; pecuniam Cluvio debent: dixerat mihi Euthydemus, cum Ephesi essem, se euraturum, ut ecdiei Mylasii Romam mitterentur; id factum non est: legatos audio missos esse, sed malo ecdicos, ut aliquid confiei possit; quare peto a te, ut et eos et [Greek]; iubeas ecdicos Romam mittere. Plin. epist. X, 4 11, 1: ecdieus, domine, Amisenonim eiriiatis petebat apud me a lulio Pisone denariorum circiter quadraginta milia) usurpatur de hominibus qui civitatiscuiuspiam causas defendunt. Qui frequentius quidem auvotxot appeiiari solent; (O. Seeck ap. Pauly-Wissowa IV, 2 p. 2365), neque vero ante quartum p. Chr. n. saeculum hic ordinarius magistratus factus est, sed singiilatim cuiusque litis causa eiusmodi defensor vel actor vel advocatus constitui soiebat. At aliter in communibus provinciarum conciliis rem se habuisse hic titulus prodit, ex quo discimus iam Augusti aetate quotannis a communi Asiae ecdicos creari consuevisse.

41 Quod hic in principalibus conventuum urbibus erigi iuberetur tabula cum epistula proconsulis et decreto Asianorum, inde Mommsenus magna certe cum probabilitate collegit, oppida ubi hae relliquiae inventae essent, Apameam, Dorylaium, Eumeniam, Prienen, coaventus habuisse, etsi sane non praefracte negare liceret, etiam aliis locis exempla tituli proposita fuisse. Testimonium de conventibus illic habitis sane nuliumdum exstare nisi de Apamea, de qua cf. Cic. ad fam. XV, 4, 2. Plin. Nat. hist. V, 106: tertius (conventus) Apameam vadit ante appellatam Celaenas, dein Ciboton.

42 Hic adiunguntur accuratiora praecepta de anni ordine, quae in Prienensi exemplari ex litteris supra (not. 16) omissis proconsulis, quae appendicis loco eius epistulae annexae erant, repetebantur. Vice versa Eumeniense exemplum hic finiebatur, quia illa ut Apamense superiore loco inseruerat. Wil.

43 Conservantur ordo et nomina mensium ex fastis lunisolaribus Macedonum, sed numerus dierum ita constituitur ut unusquisque mensis ab eo die qui est a. d. VIIII mensis Iuliani incipiat. Memorabile est, hos fastos etiam in Hemerologio Florentino haberi, sed illic non Asiae provinciae, sed Ephesiis tribui. Cf. Ideler Chronol. I p. 419. Pauca in singulorum mensium numeris dierum discrepant, nomina vero illic omnia Macedonica sunt, ita ut primus non [Greek], sed [Greek] appelletur. Quae res tamen neutiquam impedit, quominus illic fastos provinciales. Asiae agnoscamus, nam etiam titulorum testimoniis constat, nequaquam plane expulsum esse antiquum nomen nova appellatione. At quos hemerologium ipsum Asianorum menses recenset (Ideler I p. 414) ex eis ne unusquidem plane idem, duo modo similes ([Greek]; et [Greek]) recurrunt in veris fastis provinciae Asiae, reliqui ([Greek]), [Greek] ab illis alienissimi sunt; quorum de fide et origine quid statuendum sit non video.

44 Hemerologium hic [Greek]; habet, quae est constans ceteroqui in fastis Macedonicis nominis forma. At cum decreto mirum in modum convenit titulo Ephesio SyII.2 636, 38 [Greek]. v. 48 sqq. [Greek]. Sane [Greek] ad Ephesios refertur, quem populum Ionicum antiquitus nominis forma in [Greek] cadente usum esse sponte patet. At titulus cum fere sesquisaeculo post Fabii proconsulatum scriptus sit, apparet non illum antiquum anni ordinem respici, sed fastos provinciae Romanae. Sed in his ipsis quod paullulum inflexa est Macedonica nominis terminatio ad morem sermonis lonici, id honori civitatis Ephesiorum et reverentiae Dianae Ephesiae, a qua mensis nomen habebat, tributum existimo.

45 De aspiratione cf. not. 39. Ab anno intercalario novum fastorum ordinem incipere hinc collegit Wilamowitzius, quia nihil aliud nisi 'hoc anno' significare possent verba. Quio eisdem annis intercalatum sit atque in fastis Romanorum, tota ratio huius instituti dubitari non sinit. Iam propter errorem, de quo dicetur not. 30, hic non potest esse posterior quam 9 a. Chr. n. Sed ne prior quidem esse potest, quia 11 a. Chr. n. annus consulatus Paulli Fabii Maximi est, post quem demum proconsulatum Asiae nactus est.

46 Subaudiendum videtur [Greek]. Nam intercalationis ipsius notionem nomine substantivo [Greek] exprimi credibile non est, et recte dies qui intercalatur in causa esse dicitur, cur totus mensis triginta duorum dierum numerum colligat.

47 Peritius quartus est mensis anni lunisolaris Macedonici ab aequinoctio auctumnali incipientis, respondens Atheniensium Gamelioni, fastorum lulianorum fere lanuario. Cum hic videamus quintum decimum eius diem illo anno in a. d. VIIII calendas Februarias incidere, sequitur ut mensis initium ceperit a decimo die mensis lanuarii fastorum lulianorum.

48 Paullo minus accurate pro [Greek]; dicitur [Greek]. Quod v. 50 scriptum est [Greek], id omnino recte se habet; nam cum [Greek] sit 'primum esse', non minus accurate dicitur [Greek]. Manifesto vero hinc ille nominis [Greek] usus ortus est.

49 Diem qui intercalaretur reliquis omnibus eius mensis praemissum esse, ideoque Latino calendarum intercalariarum nomine significatum observat Mommsen.

50 Hoc redit in Paulii Fabii proconsulis litteris epistulae annexis de anni ordine (v. not. 23), ubi sic se habet: [Greek] [[Greek]---] | [Greek]. Non fugit Mommsenum, hic eam intercalandi ralionem indicari, quae foeda pontificnm inscitia per aliquot decennia obtinuisset. Nempe cum Caesar iossisset quarto quoque anno intercalari, ambiguitas huius dicendi generis homines fefellit, ut non post peractum quartum annum, sed ipso incipiente, i.e. post triennium intercalarent. Quem errorem per sex et triginta annos permansisse, quibus annis intercalati sint dies duodecim cum intercalari debuerint novem, deinde vero Augustum errorem sero deprehensum correxisse refert Macrobius Sat. I, H. Cf. etiam Plin. N. H. XVIII, 2n. Sueton. Aug. 31, Solin. 1,46. 47. Ideler Chronologie II p. 131 sqq. Mommsen Rom. Chronologie p. 288 sqq. Cum igitur primus annns Iulianas 45 a. Chr. n. intercalaris fuisset, deinde perperam annis 48, 39, 36, 33, 30, 27, 24, 21, 18, 43, 13, 9 a. Chr. intercalatum esse ex numeris qui apud Solinum et Macrobium sunt apparet. Tum vero Augastus, qui anno 13 a. Chr. n. in locum M. Aemilii Lepidi defuncti pontifex maximus factus erat, errore deprehenso annis a. Chr., 1 a. Chr., 4 p. Chr. intercalari vetuit, ut tandem ab anno 8 p. Chr. legitimus intercalationum ordo, qualem Caesar voluerat, per omnia deinceps saecula decurreret. Sed errorem ab Augusto anno 8 a. Chr. n. patefactum brevi ab illius familiari Paullo Fabio in ordinandis fastis Asianis iterum commissum esse perquam improbabile est. Quare anno 9 a. Chr. recentius decretum non esse patet; car ne antiqaius quidem esse possit, exposui not. 31.

51 Cf. not. 24.

52 Cf. not. 25.

53 ΑΣΙΑ.

54 Nomen hac vel simili vi in Graecis litteris quod sciam sine exemplo est. Nempe quin recte Mommsenus idem fere ac Latinum renuntiatio significare stataerit, conexus sententiae dubitari non patitur. Etenim in legibus civitatium qaarundam cautam erat, at certus dierom nameras inter renuntiationem magistratus creati et initium officii intercederet. Quae res impedimento esse poterat quominus magistratns ex superiore concilii provincialis decreto primo anni civilis die inirent, si quando comitia magistratuum ([Greek]) sero habita erant. Quare hic interdicitar ne illa minus qaam quinquaginta diebus ante finem anni civilis fiant.

55 Legem Comeliam vix aliam esse posse atque illam Sullae, cuias Cicero in epistulis aliqaotiens mentionem faceret, observavit Mommsen. Nam eam non modo de praesidum provinciarum rebus praecepisse (ad Fam. I, 9, 25: se, quoniam et, senatus eonsullo provinciam haberet, lege Comelia imperium habiturum, quoad m urbem iniroisset. III, 6, 3 iriginta diebm, qui ubi ad decedendum lege, ut opinor, Comella constituti essent. ibid. § 6 et, ut habere rationem jwsm. quo loco me salva lege Comella convenias, ego in provinciam veni pridie Kalendas Sextiles), sed etiam ad civitates provinciales earumque administrationem spectasse apparere ex ep. ad Fam, III, 10,6: ad me adire quosdam memini—qni dieerent nimis magnos sumptus legatis (sc. a civitatibus provinciae) decerni quibus ego non tam imperavi quam censtii sumptus legatis quam maxime ad legem Corneliam decernendos. Ad eandem legem sine dubio spectare fragmentum decreti Thyatireni Mitth. des arch. Inst. in Athen XXIV 1899 p. 234 n. 74, 5: [Greek], esset, ut quidem videretur, inde colllgi in illa lege generatim definitum fuisse quae iura autonomia civitatium continerentur quibusque terminis ea circurascriberetur. Quo minus mirandum esse, quod etiam de magistratuum creatione, renuntiatione, introitu certa praecepta illic fuissent. Quae hic neutiquam abrogari, ac tamen in universum intervallum quinquaginta dierum in posterum sanciri, sane magnam difficultatem habet, quam expedire non possumus, quia quid de hoc argumento in lege scriptum fuerit omnino ignoramus.


(Text, transliteration and translation, of a few lines only)

Εδοξεν τοις επι της Ασιας Ελλησιν, γνωμη του αρχιερεως Απολλωνιου του Μηνοφιλου Αζανιτου· Επειδη η παντα διαταξασα του βιου ημων προνοια σπουδην εισενενκαμενη και φιλοτιμιαν το τεληοτατον τω βιω διεκοσμησεν ενενκαμενη τον Σεβαστον, ον εις ευεργεσιαν ανθρωπων επληρωσεν αρετης, ωσπερ ημειν και τοις μεθ ημας σωτηρα πεμψασα τον παυσοντα μεν πολεμον, κοσμησοντα δε παντα, επιφανεις δε ο Καισαρ τας ελπιδας των προλαβοντων ευανγελια παντων υπερεθηκεν, ου μονον τους προ αυτου γεγονοτας ευεργετας υπερβαλομενος, αλλ ουδ εν τοις εσομενοις ελπιδα υπολιπων υπερβολης, ηρξεν δε τω κοσμω των δι αυτον ευανγελιων η γενεθλιος ημερα του θεου· της δε Ασιας εψηφισμενης εν Σμυρνη. Edoxen tois epi tês Asias | Ellêsin, gnômêi tou archiereôs Apollôniou tou Mênophilou Azanitou: | epe[idê hê panta] diataxasa tou biou hêmôn pronoia spoudêneisen [enka|m]enê kai philotimian to telêotaton tôi biôi diekosmê[sen] | enenkamenê ton Sebaston, hon eis euergesian anthrô[pôn] eplêrôsen aretês, [hô]sper hêmein kai tois meth hê[mas sôtêra pempsasa]| ton pausonta men polemon, kosmêsonta [de panta, phaneis de]| ho Kaisar tas elpidas tôn prolabontôn [euangelia pantôn huper]|ethêken, ou monon tous pro autou gegonot[as euergetas huperba]|lomenos, all oud en tois esomenois elpid[a hupolipôn huperbolês,]| êrxen de tôi kosmôi tôn di auton euangeli[ôn hê genethlios]| tou theou, tês de Asias epsêphismemês en Smurnêi... It seemed good to the Greeks of Asia, in the opinion of the high priest Apollonius of Menophilus Azanitus: ‘Since Providence, which has ordered all things and is deeply interested in our life, has set in most perfect order by giving us Augustus, whom she filled with virtue that he might benefit humankind, sending him as a saviour, both for us and for our descendants, that he might end war and arrange all things, and since he, Caesar, by his appearance (excelled even our anticipations), surpassing all previous benefactors, and not even leaving to posterity any hope of surpassing what he has done, and since the birthday of the god Augustus was the beginning of the good tidings for the world that came by reason of him which Asia resolved in Smyrna.

Evans remarks on the above: "Comparison of Mark's incipit with this part of the inscription seems fully warranted. First, there is reference to good news, or 'gospel.' In Mark the word appears in the singular (εὐαγέλλιον), while in the inscription it appears in the more conventional plural (εὐαγέλλια). Second, there is reference to the beginning of this good news. In Mark the nominal form is employed (αρχη), while in the inscription the verbal form is employed (αρχείν). Third, this good news is brought about by a divine agent. In Mark this agent is 'Jesus the Anointed,' υίος θεου (either in the incipit, or as declared elsewhere in the Markan Gospel), while in the inscription the agent is 'Augustus,' the 'savior' and 'benefactor,' θεος. In many other inscriptions and papyri Augustus is referred to as υίος θεου, or divi filius (IGR 1.901; 4.309, 315; ILS 107, 113; PRyl 601; POslo 26; etc.). The use of the word 'appearance' (επιφανειν), moreover, only enhances the divine element. .... The calendrical inscription from Priene, mentioned above, describes the birthday of Augustus 'the beginning of the good news for the world.' Plutarch says that 'a number of people sailed for Lesbos, wishing to announce to Cornelia the good news [εὐαγέλλιον or εὐαγέλλιξεσθαί] that the war was over' (Pomp. 66.3). Jews also understood and employed this terminology. When word spread of Vespasian's accession to the throne, 'every city celebrated the good news [εὐαγέλλια] and offered sacrifices on his behalf' (Josephus, J.W. 4.10.6 §618). Josephus later relates: 'On reaching Alexandria Vespasian was greeted by the good news [εὐαγέλλια] from Rome and by embassies of congratulation from every quarter of the world, now his own ... The whole empire being now secured and the Roman state saved [σώξείν] beyond expectation, Vespasian turned his thoughts to what remained in Judaea' (J.W. 4.11.5 §656-657).

"When the Markan evangelist begins his Gospel with the words that echo an important element of the Roman imperial cult, he is making the claim that the good news of Jesus Christ is the genuine article. Neither Julius Caesar nor any one of his descendants can rightly be regarded as the 'son of God'; only Jesus the Messiah." (Mark’s Incipit and the Priene Calendar Inscription: From Jewish Gospel to Greco-Roman Gospel, Trinity Western University, thesis, n.d.)

Evans (obviously a Christian himself) goes on to cite other parallels in the texts of classical writers that coincide with the semantics of the inscription and their coincidence with the gospel of Mark. Yet this does not prove anything other than the appropriation of messianic prophecy by the christolaters who saw Christ as the embodiment of this prophecy, not does it prove that Christ actually existed. What the inscription does prove, however, is that these sentiments were already in place long before Christ's supposed appearance. If anything, if Augustus can be deemed a god, when in actuality he was nothing but a common man (albeit an emperor), then why can't a simple man like Jesus also be thought of as a god. That does not necessarily make him one, but rather how he was viewed as one by his own followers.

Lastly, a writer by the name of J. Rouffiac (in his Caractères du Grec, p. 72 passim), makes the remark of how easy it would be for a Christian to 'touch up' this text and substitute the name of Christ, thereby replacing the name of Augustus with Christ's name. But this is exactly what the Christians have been doing for centuries; over-writing, substituting, interpolating, etc., every text they could get hold of to make out that not only did Christ come into this world to redeem mankind, but his destiny was foreshadowed in the messianic prophecy of earlier ages. As Massey has proved elsewhere, there was no physical, historical Christ, only a spiritual one for it was based on the original type which has its validity in the realm of the mythos, and in the mythos only. It is the Christians and early believers of Christ who have appropriated the original type and substituted it for a human type.

I append here a longer version of the above (from Sherk):

Lines 30-34: ἔδοξεν τοῖς ἐπὶ τῆς Ἀσίας Ἕλλησιν, γνώμῃ τοῦ ἀρχιερέως Ἀπολλωνίου τοῦ Μηνοφίλου Ἀζανίτου·ἐπε[ιδὴ ἡ θείως] διατάξασα τὸν βίον ἡμῶν πρόνοια σπουδὴν εἰσεν[ενκα]-[μ]ένη καὶ φιλοτιμίαν τὸ τεληότατον τῶι βίωι διεκόσμη[σεν ἀγαθὸν] ἐνενκαμένη τὸν Σεβαστόν, ὃν εἰς εὐεργεσίαν ἀνθρώ[πων] ἐπλή-
Lines 35-39: ρωσεν ἀρετῆς, <ὥ>σπερ ἡμεῖν καὶ τοῖς μεθ’ ἡ[μᾶς σωτῆρα χαρισαμένη] τὸν παύσαντα μὲν πόλεμον, κοσμήσοντα [δὲ εἰρήνην, ἐπιφανεὶς δὲ] ὁ Καῖσαρ τὰς ἐλπίδας τῶν προλαβόντων [εὐανγέλια πάντων ὑπερ]- έθηκεν, οὐ μόνον τοὺς πρὸ αὐτοῦ γεγονότ[ας εὐεργέτας ὑπερβα- λόμενος, ἀλλ’ οὐδ’ ἐν τοῖς ἐσομένοις ἐλπίδ[α ὑπολιπὼν ὑπερβολῆς,]
Lines 40-44: ἤρξεν δὲ τῶι κόσμωι τῶν δι’ αὐτὸν εὐανγελί[ων ἡ γενέθλιος ἡμέ]ρα τοῦ θεοῦ, τῆς δὲ Ἀσίας ἐψηφισμένης ἐν Σμύρνῃ [ἐπὶ ἀνθυ]π̣άτου Λευκίου Οὐολκακίου Τύλλου, γραμματεύοντος Παπ[ίωνος Διοσιεριτοῦ] τῶι μεγίστας γ’ εἰς τὸν θεὸν καθευρόντι τειμὰς εἶναι στέφανον, Παῦλλος Φάβιος Μάξιμος ὁ ἀνθύπατος τῆς ἐπαρχήας εὐεργέτης
Lines 45-49: ἀπὸ τῆς ἐκείνου δεξιᾶς καὶ [γ]νώμης ἀπεσταλμένος ξὺν τοῖς ἄλλοις οἷς εὐεργέτησεν τὴν ἐπαρχήαν, ὧν εὐεργεσιῶν τὰ μεγέθη λόγος εἰπεῖν οὐδεὶς ἂν ἐφίκοιτο, καὶ τὸ μέχρι νῦν ἀγνοηθὲν ὑπὸ τῶν Ἑλλή- νων εἰς τὴν τοῦ Σεβαστοῦ τειμὴν εὕρετο, τὸ ἀπὸ τῆς ἐκείνου γενέ- σεως ἄρχειν τῷ βίῳ τὸν χρόνον· διὸ τύχῃ ἀγαθῇ καὶ ἐπὶ σωτηρίᾳ δεδό-
Lines 50-54: χθαι τοῖς ἐπὶ τῆς Ἀσίας Ἕλλησι, ἄρχειν τὴν νέαν νουμηνίαν πάσα[ις] ταῖς πόλεσιν τῇ πρὸ ἐννέα καλανδῶν Ὀκτωβρίων, ἥτις ἐστὶν γενέ- θλιος ἡμέρα τοῦ Σεβαστοῦ. ὅπως δὲ ἀεὶ ἡ {τε} ἡμέρα στοιχῇ καθ’ ἑκάσ-την πόλιν, συνχρηματίζειν τῇ Ῥωμαϊκῇ καὶ τὴν Ἑλληνικὴν ἡμέραν.
Lines 55-58: ἄγεσθαι δὲ τὸν πρῶτον μῆνα Καίσαρα, καθὰ καὶ προεψήφισται, ἀρχόμε - νον ἀπὸ πρὸ ἐννέα μὲν καλανδῶν Ὀκτωβρίων, γενεθλίου δὲ ἡμέρας Καίσαρος, τὸν δὲ ἐψηφισμένον στέφανον τῷ τὰς μεγίστας εὑρόντι τειμὰς ὑπὲρ Καίσαρος δεδόσθαι Μαξίμωι τῶι ἀνθυπάτωι, ὃν καὶ ἀεὶ ἀναγορεύεσθαι ἐν τῷ γυμ[νι]κῷ ἀγῶνι τῶι ἐν Περγάμωι τῶν Ῥω[μα]ίων
Line 59: Σεβαστῶν, ὅτι στεφανοῖ [ἡ Ἀσ]ία Παῦλον Φάβιον Μάξιμον εὐ[σεβ]έ[σ]-
Lines 60-61: τατα παρευρόντα τὰς εἰς Καίσαρα τειμάς. ὡσαύτως δὲ ἀνα[γορεύ]εσ - θαι καὶ ἐν τοῖς ἀγομένοις κατὰ πόλιν ἀγῶσιν τῶν Καισαρήων.
Lines 62-64: ἀναγραφῆναι δὲ τὸ δελτογράφημα τοῦ ἀνθυπάτου καὶ τὸ ψήφισμα τῆς Ἀσίας ἐν στήλῃ λευκολίθωι, ἣν καὶ τεθῆναι ἐν τῶι τῆς Ῥώμης καὶ τοῦ Σεβαστοῦ τεμένει. προνοῆσαι δὲ καὶ τοὺς καθ’ ἕτος ἐκδίκους ὅπως
Lines 65-69: ἐν ταῖς ἀφηγουμέναις τῶν διοικήσεων πόλεσιν ἐν στήλαις λευ- κολίθοις ἐνχαραχθῇ τό τε δελτογράφημα τοῦ Μαξίμου καὶ τὸ τῆς Ἀσίας ψήφισμα, αὗταί τε αἱ στῆλαι τεθῶσιν ἐν τοῖς Καισαρήοις. ἀχθήσονται οἱ μῆνες κατὰ τάδε. Καῖσαρ ἡμερῶν λαʹ, Ἀπελλαῖος ἡμερῶν λʹ, Αὐδναῖος ἡμερῶν λαʹ, Περίτιος ἡμερῶν λαʹ, Δύστρος κηʹ, Ξανδικός λαʹ,
Lines 70-74: Ἀρτεμισιὼν ἡμερῶν λʹ, Δαίσιος λαʹ, Πάνημος λʹ, Λῶος λαʹ, Γορπιαῖος λαʹ, Ὑπερβερεταῖος λʹ· ὁμοῦ ἡμέραι τξεʹ. ἐφ’ ἕτος δὲ διὰ τὴν ἰντερκαλάριον ὁ Ξανδικὸς ἀχθήσεται ἡμερῶν λβʹ. ἵνα δὲ ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν στοιχήσωσιν οἱ μῆνες καὶ αἱ ἡμέραι, ὁ μὲν νῦν ἐνεστὼς Περίτιος μὴν ἀχθήσεται μέχρι τῆς ιδʹ, τῇ δὲ πρὸ ἐννέα καλανδῶν Φεβρουαρίων ἄξομεν νουμηνίαν μηνὸς
Lines 75-77: Δύστρου, καὶ καθ’ ἕκαστον μῆνα ἀρχὴ{ι} ἔσται τῆς νουμηνίας ἡ πρὸ ἐννέα καλανδῶν. ἡ δὲ ἐνβόλιμος ἡμέρα ἔσται πάντοτε τῶν ἰντερκαλαρίων κα- λανδῶν τοῦ Ξανδικοῦ μηνός, δύο ἐτῶν μέσων γεινομένων.

Lastly, I give here another extract on this remarkable document, this time from the learned P. Carus.

Virgil's Prophecy on The Saviour's Birth: The Fourth Eclogue
Edited and translated by Paul Carus

[Extracted from the above work, The Open Court Publishing Co., London, 1918, pp. 14-17.]

The documents to which we refer are inscriptions (recently discovered in several cities of Asia Minor) of which those of Priene, Halicarnassus, Apameia and Emneneia are best preserved and have received most attention. They proclaim the introduction of the Julian calendar reform, which among other things or- [p.15] dains that the birthday of Augustus (September 23) shall be celebrated as the New Year's festival.2

We quote the following remarkable passage from the inscriptions of Priene:

"Since Providence3 which ordains all things in our life, has restored enterprise and love of honor, it has accomplished for [our] life the most perfect thing by producing the August One, whom it has filled with virtue for the welfare of the people; having sent him to us and ours as a Saviour,4 who should stop war and ordain all things. Having appeared, however, the Caesar5 has fulfilled the hope of prophecies, since he [p.16] has not only outdone the benefactors who had come before him, but also has not left to future ones the hope of doing better; the birthday of this God has become through him a beginning of the good tidings."6

The word "Augustus" is originally a title, not a name. It reads in Greek Sebastos7 which means "venerable, majestic, worshipful," and might be translated either "Your Majesty," or "Your Holiness." It applies not only to political but also to religious authority.

The phrase "welfare of the people" reads in Greek euergesia8 which means "well doing, or well working," rendered in the dictionary "good service, a good deed, kindness, bounty, benefit." This word is similar to the Gospel term translated "good-will" in our Bible.9 But the [p.17] former is stronger than the latter; the latter denotes ''well-meaning'' while the former means ''well-doing." A similar expression is that which proclaims Augustus as the source of universal welfare, the last word of which belongs to that group of auspicious designations beginning with the particle eu, meaning "well," but it has no parallel in our Gospel language. It might briefly be translated "bliss."


1 Frederick W. Danker, Benefactor: Epigraphic Study of a Graeco-Roman and New Testament Semantic Field (St. Louis, MO.: Clayton Pub. House, 1982), 217.

2 For details see the essay by Mommsen and Wilamowitz-Mollendorff, 'Die Einftihrung des asiatischen Kalenders,' in Mittheilungen des Kaiserlich Deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts,
Athenische Abtheilung
, 1899, Vol. XXIV, p. 275 ff.

3 πρόνοια.

4 Σωτήρ the same word that is applied to Jesus as a synonym of Christ.

5 The name of Caesar has here become a title.

6 In Greek εὐαγέλλιον the same term which is used in the New Testament, meaning "gospel" or "evangel."

7 τον Σεβαστον.

8 εύεργεσία.

9 εύδοξία.