Manetho or Manethon of Sebennytos , (ca. 3rd century BC) was a Hellenistic Egyptian historian and a priest of Serapis in Heliopolis during the reigns of Ptolemy I and Ptolemy II.
His magnum opus, Aegyptiaca , written in Greek, which he wrote to contest errors he claimed existed in Herodotus's History, was the most important source for the history of Ancient Egypt before the successful translation of the Egyptian language. Even now, it remains a major primary source for its aid in compiling and systematizing ancient Egyptian Pharaonic dynasties into the order that still serves as a basis by the historians. The titles of his other works include The Sacred Book, and An Epitome of Physical Doctrines. Much of what the ancient Greek and Latin authors write about Egyptian religion is believed to come from Manetho's works.
His works were lost over the centuries, except for what was quoted in works of later authors such as Josephus Flavius, Sextus Julius Africanus, Eusebius of Caesarea and George Syncellus.
By the time of Josephus, it was widely believed that the Hyksos, who ruled Egypt during the 13th Dynasty , were the same as the Hebrews who were believed to have lived for several generations in Egypt. Because Manetho and some of his followers, such as Apion, voiced the hostility their countrymen felt towards the Hyksos, Josephus believed they were espousing anti-Semitic views, and wrote his pamphlet Against Apion to combat them .
- Verbrugghe, G.P. and Wickersham, J.M. Berossos and Manetho Introduced and Translated: Native Traditions in Ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan Press, 2000. ISBN 0472107224
- W.G Waddell,.Manetho with an English Translation. Harvard: Loeb Classical Library, 1940. ISBN 0674993853
Last updated: 10-17-2005 22:11:54