Africanus, Junus

, a Christian historian, was born at Nicopolis in Palestine, in the third century. He composed a chronology, to convince the heathens of the antiquity of the true religion, and the novelty of the fables of Paganism. This work was divided into five books, and is a sort of universal history, from the creation of Adam, to the reign of the emperor Macrinus. No more, however, is extant than what we find of it in the Chronicon of Eusebius. He wrote a letter to Origen concerning the history of Susannah, which he deemed to be spurious, and another to Aristides, to reconcile the genealogical tables of St. Matthew and St. Luke. It was in consequence of his entreaties, that the emperor Heliogabalus rebuilt the city of Nicopolis, which he founded on the spot where the village of Emmaus stood. A mathematical work, entitled “Cæstus,” has been attributed to him. The fragments which remain of this author were printed among the “Mathematici Veteres,” at Paris, in 1693, fol. and were translated into French by M. Guiscard, in his “Mernoires Militaires des Grecs et des Remains,Paris, 1774, 3 vols. 8vo. It is supposed that the ancient part of the work of Julius Africanus, was an abridgment of the famous work of Manetho, an Egyptian priest, who flourished about 300 years before Christ. (See Manetho). A great part of Africanus’s Chronography is extant in Georg. Syncellus, edit. Paris, 1652, from whence, not being then published, it was borrowed by Scaliger in his edition of Eusebius’s Chronicon in Greek. Africanus is placed by Cave at the year 220, who likewise supposes that he died in an advanced age, about the year 232. But Dr. Lardner does not think that he was then in an advanced age, or died so soon. Of his character, he says, that we may glory in Africanus as a Christian. For it cannot but be a pleasure to observe, that in those early days there were some within the inclosure of the church of Christ, whose shining abilities rendered them the ornament of the age in which they lived; when they appear also to have been men of unspotted characters, and give evident proofs of honesty and integrity. 1

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Lardner’s Works.—Fabr. Bibl. Græc.—Bibliographical Dict. vol. I.—Moreri.—Cave.—Saxii Onomasticon.