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    The Era of the Olympiads

    This era dates from July 19th, b. c. 776, from which time the Olympic games were celebrated by the Grecians once in four years, without interruption. An Olympiad is a cycle of four years; and the years are reckoned as the first, second, third, or fourth years of any given Olympiad.ASC 19.1

    To find the time from its commencement, of a year in any Olympiad, multiply the number of the Olympiad,-1, by 4, and to the product add the number in the Olympiad of the current year.ASC 20.1

    The Olympic games consisted of various athletic sports, a record of which was kept at Elis, and the names of the victors inserted in it by the presidents of the games. These registers are pronounced accurate by ancient historians, and are complete, with the exception of the 211th Olympiad-“the only one,” says Pausanias, “omitted in the register of the Eleans.” This record is pronounced by Dr. Hales: “a register of the most public authenticity.”-New Anal. Chro., vol. i., p. 224.ASC 20.2

    The learned chronologer Varro considers the era of the Olympiads as the limit between the fabulous and historical ages. In this opinion Dr. Hales concurs.ASC 20.3

    Its adjustment to the Christian Era.-This has been “fully ascertained by historical and astronomical evidence.”-Hales, vol. i., p. 245. Says Dr. Hales:-ASC 20.4

    “The learned Censorinus, in his excellent work, ‘De die natali,’ cap. 21, marks the year in which he wrote it, a. d. 238, in the consulate of Ulpius and Pontianus, by its reference to some of the most remarkable eras; and among the rest, states that it was “the 1014th year from the first Olympiad, reckoned from the summer days, on which the Olympic games were celebrated.” But 1014-a. d. 238 = b. c. 776.ASC 20.5

    “Polybius relates, that in the third year of the 140th Olympiad, during spring, there happened two memorable battles; the former between the Romans and Carthaginians, at the lake Thrasymene, in Italy; the latter between Antiochus and Ptolemy, at Raphia, in Cælo-Syria. And, also, that in the course of the same year, there was an eclipse of the moon, which terrified the Gallic auxiliaries whom Attalus was bringing over from Europe, in consequence of which they refused to proceed.-Liv. v., p. 42. The third year of the 140th Olympiad began July, b. c. 218, and ended July, b. c. 217; but in the former Julian year there was a great eclipse of the moon on Sept. 1st, an hour after midnight, in which the moon was nearly an hour and a half immersed in the earth’s shadow, and which was, therefore, fully sufficient to terrify the ignorant and superstitious; and the battle of Thrasymene was fought in the next Julian year, b. c. 217, in the consulate of Servilius Geminus and C. Flaminius II., but as it was in spring, it fell within the compass of the same Olympic year. But 139 Olympiads and two years over make 558 years, which, added to b. c. 218, give b. c. 776 for the date of the first Olympiad. These demonstrative characters are furnished by Petavius (tom. ii., p. 56.”)-New Anal. of Chro., vol. i., p. 245-6.ASC 21.1

    With this adjustment of the era, there is no difficulty in assigning the events of any given Olympiad to its corresponding year of the Vulgar Era.ASC 22.1

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