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Papyrus Baden 4.59 , verso (fifth century AD): Presumed partial copy of the epitome, based on the Aegyptiaca of Manetho

Manetho ( Greek Μανεθώς Manethṓs or Μανέθων Manéthōn ; ancient Egyptian Graecised to Mane thoth "truth of Thoth") was a priest from Sebennytos in Lower Egypt , who was probably under the pharaohs Ptolemy I , Ptolemy II and Ptolemy III. lived. The papyrus Hibeh 1.72 is possibly the only contemporary document by Manetho. The dates of birth and death are not recorded in any source. Georgios Synkellos set Manethos work at the same time as or a little later than Berossus in the reign of Ptolemy II (285–246 BC), under which he is said to have written his works.

The best-known script is the Aegyptiaca , which he wrote in three books, among other things, in ancient Egyptian and Greek as " History of Egypt from the earliest times to the Macedonian conquest ".


Manetho (Egypt)
Sebennytos (new)
Diospolis Inferior (old)
Diospolis Inferior 
The places of Sebennytos in Egypt

Suidas names two authors named Manetho: on the one hand "Manetho of Mendes " as a priest who was involved in the Kyphi texts, and on the other hand "Manetho of Sebennytos ( Diospolis Inferior )". There are no other name connections from Manetho. The place Mendes is only about 25 km away from Sebennytos, which is why a reliable assignment is difficult. Both Manethos can be considered, provided that “Manetho of Mendes” is not confused with “Ptolemy of Mendes”, who as an Egyptian priest probably also wrote a three-volume work on Egyptian chronology in the time of Augustus . Therefore only the general description of Manetho can be used without any doubt: "Born on the west bank of the Damietta - arm of the Nile and priest in the temple of Sebennytos, who lived in Heliopolis ."

According to Plutarch , Manetho is said to have been one of two priestly advisers to the Pharaoh who were commissioned to introduce the Serapis cult. The name Manetho is carved on the base of a statue in the Temple of Serapis in Carthage . Since the name is very rare, it may indeed be this Manetho.

Aegyptiaca (history of Egypt)

Manetho's work Aegyptiaca , the history of Egypt, went under early. The list of the dynasties , a third of the ruler's names and some fragments have been preserved in "copies of copies" that were supplemented, changed or interspersed with forgeries by other authors, before Flavius ​​Josephus and the Christian historians Iulius Africanus and Eusebius again included their copies made further additions. The work of Africanus has only survived in excerpts mainly from Eusebius and Georgios Synkellos (in the 9th century ), the Chronicle of Eusebius again only in an Armenian translation and a Latin adaptation of Hieronymus .

So if Manetho (Josephus) , Manetho (Africanus) or Manetho (Eusebius) is mentioned in Egyptology , then the respective second name in brackets means the indirect source of the actual statement of the Egyptian priest Manetho.

Lore in Georgios Synkellos

By George Syncellus acquired - partly an alarming qualitative state - Manethonian Eusebius- and Africanus lore contain additional manipulated already in frühester time Manetho- Epitome of Aegyptiaca .

Traditions in Eusebius of Caesarea

For his traditions of the Manethonic Aegyptiaca , Eusebius relied in longer excerpts on the one hand in his 15 books " Praeparatio evangelica " on the apology " On the originality of Judaism " and on the other hand in book 1 of the "Chronicle" on further excerpts from the texts of Flavius ​​Josephus . In addition, Eusebius reports in Book 2 of the "Chronicle" on the epitomes of Manethos. Book 1 has only survived in the Armenian language . Book 2 of the “Chronicle” contains for the most part only the tradition of Hieronymus written in Latin ; individual fragments of the original text are available in quotation form.

The traditional Eusebius quotes are important historical text witnesses because of their high accuracy and, compared to Flavius ​​Josephus, as higher quality traditions. The original Greek text could not yet be subjected to a critical examination, since the quotations used could only be separated from subsequent processing. However, this makes a decision with regard to problematic passages impossible. In this respect, the first part of the Eusebius Chronicle is only a source that is in a dubious condition. The translations made by Benedikt Niese have meanwhile been revised and partially corrected by Karl Mras , which is why, according to an assessment by Folker Siegert, the works of Karl Mras are considered “authoritative ".

Book of Sothis

The pseudo-Manethonic work Book of Sothis is based mainly on the information provided by Flavius ​​Josephus ( On the Originality of Judaism ) and Eusebius of Caesarea (Chronicles) and was dated by Alfred von Gutschmid to the end of the third century AD.

Georgios Synkellos assumed on the basis of the information provided by Panodorus of Alexandria that a " Sothis year " with regard to the first ancient Egyptian divine dynasty, which comprised six deities as rulers, had to be converted into lunar months , assuming a lunar month length of about 29.53 days . Georgios Synkellos reduced the number of “Sothis years” from “11,985 years” to 968 years and eleven months on the basis of this calculation base.

For the "second and third dynasties of demigods", Panodorus of Alexandria chose a quarter ( horai , seasonal ) as the conversion factor . According to Georgios Synkellos, he shortened the total number of "858 Sothis years" for 15 demigods to 214 years and six months. Overall, before the first earthly ancient Egyptian king ( pharaoh ) Menes ruled 21 divine or semi-divine kings with a rulership of 1,183 years and five months.

See also

Text output

  • Dagmar Labow: Flavius ​​Josephus “Contra Apionem”, Book I: Introduction, text, text-critical apparatus, translation and commentary . Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 2005, ISBN 3-17-018791-0 .
  • Carolus Müller: Fragmenta historicorum Graecorum. Vol. 2 (reprint of the Paris 1938 editions). Minerva, Frankfurt a. M. 1975
  • Folker Siegert : Flavius ​​Josephus: About the originality of Judaism (Contra Apionem). With contributions by Jan Dochhorn and Manuel Vogel (= writings of the Institutum Judaicum Delitzschianum ). German translation. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 3-525-54206-2 .
  • Gerald P. Verbrugghe, John M. Wickersham: Berossos and Manetho, introduced and translated. Native traditions in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt . University of Michigan Press, Ann Arbor (Michigan) 2000, ISBN 0-472-08687-1 .
  • William Gillian Waddell: Manetho (= The Loeb classical library. Vol. 350). Heinemann et al., London 1940, digitized . Reprint: Harvard University Press, Cambridge (Mass.) 2004, ISBN 0-674-99385-3 .


Overview representations


  • Russell Gmirkin: Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus . T. & T. Clark, New York 2006, ISBN 0-567-02592-6 .
  • Wolfgang Helck : Investigations on Manetho and the Egyptian king lists . Academy, Berlin 1956

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Waddell flat share: Manetho. Cambridge (Mass.) 2004, pp. X-XI.
  2. ^ Waddell flat share: Manetho. Cambridge (Mass.) 2004, p. XIII; Gerald P. Verbrugghe, John M. Wickersham: Berossos and Manetho . Pp. 96 and 121.
  3. Folker Siegert: Flavius ​​Josephus: About the originality of Judaism . P. 71.
  4. a b Folker Siegert: Flavius ​​Josephus: About the originality of Judaism (Contra Apionem). With contributions by Jan Dochhorn and Manuel Vogel (writings of the Institutum Judaicum Delitzschianum). German translation . Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen 2008, ISBN 3-525-54206-2 , p. 70.
  5. ^ Waddell flat share: Manetho. Cambridge (Mass.) 2004, pp. 234-235.
  6. a b Gerald P. Verbrugghe, John M. Wickersham: Berossos and Manetho. Ann Arbor (Michigan) 2000, pp. 175-177.