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Beros(s)us  

Johannes Haubold

Beros(s)us, Greek Bērōs(s)os, Akkadian Bēl-rē’ûšunu(?), Babylonian priest and historian of the late 4th to early 3rd centuriesbce. Berossus wrote a now fragmentary history of Babylon in Greek, the Babyloniaca, which he dedicated to the Seleucid king Antiochus I.1 He worked in Babylon, where he was attached to the main temple complex of the city, the Esagila. Vitruvius (BNJ 680 T 5a) suggests that he later moved to the Greek island of Cos (then under Ptolemaic rule) to found a school of astronomy. Pliny the Elder claims that the Athenians erected a statue in Berossus’ honour (BNJ 680 T 6), while Pausanias reports the view that he was the father of a prophetess called Sabbe, the Babylonian Sibyl according to some (BNJ 680 T 7a). This last piece of information takes us into the realm of myth and suggests just how little was known about Berossus already in the 2nd centuryce.