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Cosmas Indicopleustes, Christian Topography (1897) Title Page, Contents, Editor's Preface


WORKS ISSUED BY

The Hakluyt Society

------------0------------

THE CHRISTIAN TOPOGRAPHY

OF

COSMAS.


FIRST SERIES.NO. XCVIII-----MDCCCXCVII



KOSMA
AIGUPTIOU MONAXOU
XRISTIANIKH TOPOGRAFIA.

----------------

THE

CHRISTIAN TOPOGRAPHY

OF

COSMAS, AN EGYPTIAN MONK.

 

Translated from the Greek, and Edited, with Notes and Introduction

BY

J. W. McCRINDLE, M.A., M.R.A.S., F.R.S.G.S.,
LATE PRINCIPAL OF THE GOVERNMENT COLLEGE AT PATNA, AND FELLOW OF
CALCUTTA UNIVERSITY;
AUTHOR OF A SERIES OF WORKS ON ANCIENT INDIA, AS DESCRIBED BY THE CLASSICAL AUTHORS,
INCLUDING THE "INDICA" OF CTESIAS, MEGASTHENES AND ARRIAN ; THE PERIPLÛS
OF THE ERYTHRAEAN SEA"; PTOLEMY'S "GEOGRAPHY OF INDIA", AND THE
"INVASION OF INDIA BY ALEXANDER THE GREAT".



COUNCIL
OF
THE HAKLUYT SOCIETY.
---------

SIR CLEMENTS MARKHAM, K.C.B., F.R.S., Pres. R.G.S., PRESIDENT.
THE RIGHT HON. THE LORD STANLEY OF ALDERLEY, VICE-PRESIDENT.
REAR-ADMIRAL SIR WILLIAM WHARTON, K.C.B., VICE-PRESIDENT.
C. RAYMOND BEAZLEY, ESQ., M.A.
COLONEL G. EARL CHURCH.
THE RIGHT HON. GEORGE N. CURZON, M.P.
ALBERT GRAY, ESQ.
ALFRED HARMSWORTH, ESQ.
THE RIGHT HON. LORD HAWKESBURY.
EDWARD HEAWOOD, ESQ., M.A.
ADMIRAL SIR ANTHONY H. HOSKINS, G.C. B.
VICE-ADMIRAL ALBERT H. MARKHAM.
A. P. MAUDSLAY, ESQ.
E. DELMAR MORGAN, ESQ.
CAPTAIN NATHAN, R.E.
ADMIRAL SIR E. OMMANNEY, C.B., F.R.S.
CUTHBERT E. PEEK, ESQ.
E. G. RAVENSTEIN, ESQ.
HOWARD SAUNDERS, ESQ.
CHARLES WELCH, ESQ., F.S.A.
WILLIAM FOSTER, ESQ., B.A., Honorary Secretary.



CONTENTS

PAGE
EDITOR'S PREFACE  ix-xii
INTRODUCTION:
Sources of the Text ----Biography of the Author; His system of the world; Opinions about his work; His place in history 
i-xxvii
THE AUTHOR'S SUPPLICATION FOR DIVINE AID  1
PROLOGUE I  2
PROLOGUE II  3
BOOK I:
The Places and Figures of the Universe; the heresy of affirming that the Heavens are spherical, and that there are Antipodes; Pagan errors as to the causes of rain and of earthquakes 
7
BOOK II:
The position, figure, length and breadth of the earth; the site of Paradise; the Greek inscriptions at Adulê; extract from Ephorus; the ancient empires; the Fall of Man and its effect on the Angels; the circumscription of angels, demons and souls 
23
BOOK III:
The Tower of Babel; the Mission of Moses to the Israelites; comments on his history of the Creation of the World; the conversion of the nations to Christianity 
91
BOOK IV:
A recapitulation of the views advanced; theory of eclipses; doctrine of the sphere denounced
129
BOOK V:
Description of the Tabernacle: Patriarchs and Prophets who predicted the coming of Christ and the future state; the agreement of these with the Apostles
138
BOOK VI:
The size of the Sun; a dissertation on the two states 
244
BOOK VII:
The Duration of the Heavens
263
BOOK VIII:
Interpretation of the Song of Hezekiah; the retrogression of the Sun; ancient dials; predictions referring to Cyrus 
304
BOOK IX:
Courses of the Sun and Moon and other heavenly bodies; their movements effected by the angels 
321
BOOK X:
Passages from the Christian Fathers confirming the Author's views
331
BOOK XI:
Description of certain Indian animals and plants, and of the island of Taprobane (Ceylon) 
358
BOOK XII:
Old Testament narratives confirmed by Chaldaean, Babylonian, Persian and Egyptian records; the island Atlantis 
375
APPENDIX:
Plates with figures illustrative of the Text, and explanations of them 
387
INDEX 393

---------------------

ERRATA

Page ix, line 17, for Theodosius, read Theodorus
 ..  5, line 24,   vail  ,, veil
,, 23, note 2, ,, e0gku&klion   ,, e0gku&klioj.
43, line 19, each of,   ,,  each pair of 
76, line 4, ,, diameter,  ,, dimensions
154, note 1, ,, pavilio, '' papilio
213, line 5, Appolinarius, Apollinarius


EDITOR'S PREFACE.

------------------

TH E Christian Topography of Cosmas Indicopleustes is one of the prodigies of literature. The boldness and perverse ingenuity with which its author, from a long array of irrelevant scripture texts, seeks to construct an impossible theory of the universe can scarcely fail to astonish everyone who reads it. It made its appearance at that period in the world's history, when Christendom, fast losing the light of Greek learning and culture, was soon to be shrouded in the long night of mediaeval ignorance and barbarism. The work reflects with singular distinctness this prominent characteristic of the age which produced it; for while Cosmas, on the one hand, held the principles of the Christian faith combined with others pervading the theology then current which led to the darkening of all true knowledge, he had, on the other hand, a somewhat considerable, if inexact, acquaintance with the philosophical and scientific speculations of the Greeks. He may thus not inaptly be compared to a two-headed Janus, with one face turned to the light of departing day, and the other to the shadows of the coming night. |x 

In our Introduction will be found a statement showing the sources whence the text of this unique work has been derived. A biography of its author then follows; next, a synopsis of his cosmological views, and finally, citations of the opinions which have been passed upon his system of the world and the contents of his work generally.

The translation here presented is literal, as far as the exigencies of idiom would permit. It is the first that has been made of the whole work into English, or, indeed, into any other language except Latin and Norwegian. In its preparation we have lacked the advantage, generally enjoyed by translators of classical texts, that of having at hand for reference a variety of translations and commentaries to throw light on passages that are dark, dubious, or disputed, or otherwise perplexed. We have had, indeed, the assistance of Montfaucon's Latin version, but no commentary whatever to give us light where we found Cosmas dark. That good and learned Father is generally accurate, but, like the good Homer, he sometimes nods, and we give at the foot of the page a list of notes which refer to passages whereof his interpretations differ from our own.1 Another list of notes follows, in which suggestions are offered for the correction of the Greek text.2 |xi

Cosmas tells us, in the outset of his work, that he has inserted notes ( paragrafai/) for the clearer exposition of the text (to_ kei/menon).These notes he seems to have placed, not in the margin, but in the body of the work, after the text to which they refer. In our translation they appear in a similar position, but printed in a type somewhat smaller than that of the text.

Our rendering of the word #Ellhnej requires a word of explanation. In the days of Cosmas it was used, not so much to designate persons of Hellenic descent, as persons who clung to the old superstitions of Greece and Rome and rejected Christianity. Montfaucon's rendering is Graeci, but we have considered Pagans as preferable.3 This class of persons Cosmas sometimes calls also oi9 e1cwqev, those without the pale of the Church, an expression which we render mostly by pagans.

Cosmas had some skill in drawing, and seems to have taken as much delight in covering his MSS. with illustrative sketches as was taken, according to his showing, by the Israelites of old in covering the rocks of Mount Sinai with inscriptions when once they had been taught by Moses the art of writing. Montfaucon, having made a selection from these sketches, relegated them en masse to the end of |xii his work. His copies of them, which are not always quite exact, have been reproduced for the present work, by photographic processes, in a way which leaves nothing to be desired, and will be found, with explanatory notes, in the Appendix.

The passages of Scripture to which Cosmas refers are very numerous, and the words are cited at length both in the Greek text and in the Latin version. We have, however, given only the references, in cases where this could be done without inconvenience to the reader.

In conclusion we have to express our obligations to Mr. J. Coles, Map-Curator of the Royal Geographical Society, and to Dr. James Burgess of Edinburgh, for their kindness in writing for us those mathematical notes to Book vi, in which they show how egregiously Cosmas erred in his calculations of the size of the sun;4 while to Mr. C. Robertson of Edinburgh, late of the Indian Civil Service, we stand greatly indebted for valuable suggestions and criticisms made while he had the goodness to hear us read over our translation to him. Mr. Foster, the Secretary of the Society, must permit us further to say how much the work has profited by his careful correction of the final proofs, and the suggestions which he was kind enough on occasion to offer.

J. W. McC.

32, LAURISTON PLACE, EDINBURGH, 
November
1897.


[Footnotes have been renumbered and placed at the end]

1. 1 N. 2, p. 2; n. 1, p. 19; n. 3, p. 24; n. 3, p. 71; n. 1, p. 85; n. 2, p. 92; n. 1, p. 94; n. 2, p. 106; n. 5, p. 119; n. 1, p. 123; n. 2, p. 131; n. 1, p. 138; n. 2, p. 183; n. 4, p. 192; n. 1, p. 264; n. 2, p. 277; n. r, p. 279; n. 1, p. 322; n. 2, p. 336; n. 3, p. 341; n. 2, p, 361; n. 1, p. 363; n. 2, ibid.; n. 3, p. 364.

2. 2 N. 1, p. 12; n. 1, p. 13; n. 1, p. 16; n. 1, p. 29; n. 1, p. 50; n. 4, p. 120; n. 1, p. 138; n. 1, p. 170; n. 2, p. 190; n. 1, p. 202; n. 1, p. 212; n. 1, p. 224; n. 2, p. 305: n. 4, p. 321; n. 1, p. 329; n. 3, p. 347; n. 1, p. 355; n. 7, p. 366; n. 2, p. 369; 11. 2, p. 383.

3. 1 This point will be found further explained in n. 2, p. 3.

4. 1 For the note with diagrams on pp. 247-8, we are indebted to Mr. Coles; and for n. 2, p. 249, n. 1, p. 250, and n. 1, p. 252, to Dr. Burgess.


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