Artapanus of Alexandria

Artapanus of Alexandria

Artapanus of Alexandria was a historian, of Jewish origin, who lived in Alexandria during the 2nd century BCE. He wrote a history of the Jews but his books have not survived.

Parts of his work have been preserved in the books of two later historians:

In his account of Moses, he associates him in certain aspects to Hermes (Thoth, ie, Egyptian version).

Artapanus seems to have had the agenda of crediting the Hebrews, Abraham, Joseph and Moses, with being the originators of significant aspects of ancient Egyptian culture, such as astronomy, geographical divisions [nomes] and hieroglyphic writing. The names he assigns to some kings of Egypt are rather inscrutable but Artapanus purports to know the names of the pharaohs associated with the life of Moses. These are clearly rulers found in the various epitomes of Manetho's kinglist, derived from his "Aegyptiaca", a history of his homeland in three books. The pharaohs are those of the 18th Dynasty.

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