Foreword by Rev. Pádraig S. Dinneen
The following table, with the exception of the column giving the Irish kings, was abridged by Keating from Bellarmine's "Chronologia Brevis," which is a short tract printed as a supplement to his work "de Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis." Bellarmine's Chronological table is wider than the excerpt given here as it includes Ecclesiastical writers and Heresiarchs, also the Turkish kings, etc., as well as various notes and historical events. The first two columns of Bellarmine, widening to three columns at the separation of the Eastern and Western Empires were adopted by Keating, and the list of Irish kings given in a further column, with their dates. The "Chronologia Brevis" was first published in 1612, and I have collated that edition with Keating's lists, and made any necessary corrections in the latter. There were not many corrections to be made, but occasionally the numbers of the months and days were copied with slight inaccuracies. In the complete edition of Bellarmine's works, printed in 1838, this chronology is given not in parallel columns, the various lists being printed successively. The 1838 edition besides is very inaccurately printed. Bellarmine divides his table into two parts, the first extending from the first year of the world to the year 4045 of the world ; the second from the first year of our Lord to A.D. 1612. In the first column of the first list the number of years the patriarchs lived together with the dates of their birth is given up to the death of Moses; then the Judges begin, and the date of their coming into office, and the length of their time of office are given. The kings, potentates, etc., are similarly dealt with. It is scarcely necessary to say that even at the present day the world's chronology is in a very unsettled state, some writers who treat of the subject being in the habit of employing very large figures indeed when there is question of the age of man on this planet. As regards the ages of the patriarchs, too, many writers see a difficulty in the figures, sometimes approaching a thousand years, assigned to some of them. It is certain that the solution of this difficulty suggested in some quarters, that the years are to be regarded as months, solves nothing, and leads to very ludicrous results. The table is here printed, not for its chronological accuracy or importance, but purely because it was adopted by Keating as the basis of his synchronisms of the Irish kings. Bellarmine adds some notes stating his authorities. Thus as to the age of Cainan which is not found in the Hebrew text of Genesis, he says "addidimus propter Lucae auctoritatem ex interpretatione LXX." He gives the years of Bel and the Assyrian kings from Eusebius, though he puts the dynasty farther back than Eusebius does. He follows Nicephorus in his list of the Jewish Pontiffs. He takes the reigns of the Babylonian kings, with a slight change "ex Beroso apud Josephum lib. I. contra Appionem." He gives many reasons for putting Cyrus before the destruction of the Babylonian empire. He identifies "Darius Medus," "Darius the Mede," who reigned one year after Baltassar with Cyaxares son of Astyax who is mentioned by Xenophon. He takes the years of the Persian kings from Diodorus, books 11, 13 and 17. Herodotus and Eusebius differ from Diodorus. For Alexander he follows Diodorus (lib. 17 and 18), and Josephus "lib. 12 Antiquitatum." He says it is believed that Orpheus and Linus flourished in the time of the Judges (of Israel), and that Homer flourished in the time of Solomon and Thales in the time of Iosias, etc. As regards the early Roman dates and reigns, Bellarmine gives 244 years to the Roman kings (following Livy and Dionysius Halicarnasus) and 462 years to the Consular republic (from the year of the world 3478 to the "Imperium " of Julius Cæsar).
For remarks on the chronologies of the Irish annals and other Irish historical writings, the reader is referred to MacCarthy, Todd Lectures Series, Vol. III, 237 sq ; also to the same writer's Introduction to the Annals of Ulster, Vol. IV.