Friday, July 06, 2007

Translating Eusebius' Chronicle

Roger Pearse, the public benefactor behind the online source collection (far more than just Tertullian), is challenging the Republic of Letters to pitch in and just for the fun of it, translate the Chronicle of Eusebius into English.

Eusebius was bishop of Caesarea in Palestine at the time of the Great Persecution and the miraculous-seeming turnabout when Constantine became the first Christian Roman Emperor. Eusebius was an important advisor to the new convert and wrote some important works, including the first detailed history of the church and a detailed universal chronology (his Chronicle) that showed how biblical history fit in with pagan chronologies and, by implication, how Christian history contained and superceded pagan history.

Eusebius's Chronicle was a complicated graph-like work for much of its extent, in a way that seems, perhaps mistakenly, modern to us. Or it might: it doesn't survive in its original Greek form, but only in ancient Latin and Armenian translations. But the Latin one by Jerome at least is taken as a pretty accurate reflection of Eusebius' work. It's an interesting document of how 4th century Christians understood historical time, and is our main link between ancient chronology and our own.

Would you like to play with this text, and help make it more widely available? Here's Roger Pearse's invitation:

The chronicle of Eusebius has never been translated into English. But we
have a simple Latin version, and also a German one. Much of it is in
short sentences or phrases, so even a novice at Latin would probably find
something they could do.

I've now put online the entries for the second chunk, starting with more
material from Alexander Polyhistor using Berossus.

I've made it editable so that anyone can enter stuff. Each sentence is separately editable. There's no passwords or logons involved. Anyone can edit anything by just pressing the edit button.

If you know any Latin at all, or German, why not buzz over to this page and contribute a sentence or two?

The intention is that the whole translation should be in the public domain and be put online for everyone.

I'll add some stuff in, but by all means feel free to add notes to each bit you do if something is uncertain and see if someone else can find the answer!

It's a bit of fun, not something serious - if you know amo amas amat, I think you could probably do a sentence or two!

All the best,

Roger Pearse

Image: A late medieval Spanish copy of Jerome's translation of Eusebius.

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