Julius Africanus

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For the Christian traveller and historian, see Sextus Julius Africanus. For others with this name, see Africanus.

Julius Africanus was a celebrated orator in the reign of Nero,[1] and seems to have been the son of the Julius Africanus, of the Gallic state of the Santoni, who was condemned by Tiberius in 32 AD.[2] Quintilian, who had heard Julius Africanus, spoke of him and Domitius Afer as the best orators of their time. The eloquence of Africanus was chiefly characterized by vehemence and energy.[3][4] Pliny the Younger mentions a grandson of this Julius Africanus, who was also an advocate and was opposed to him upon one occasion.[5] He was consul suffectus in 108 AD.

There is a persistent belief in some quarters that Africanus was actually an African. However, being the son of a Gallic chief he was a member of a Celtic tribe.[citation needed] This confusion probably arises from an incorrect belief that the Roman cognomen Africanus means from Africa (i.e. born in Africa) rather than the correct meaning of famous relation to Africa.[citation needed] The name Africanus originated with Scipio Africanus, who defeated Carthage (in North Africa) during the Second Punic War.[citation needed]


Only fragments of his religious writings have been preserved. One fragment deals with Eschatology.

The 70th week

Africanus begins the seventy weeks with the twentieth year of Artaxerxes, in Olympiad 83, year 4, and ends the period in Olynipiad 202, year 2, or 475 solar years inclusive, which would be equivalent to 490 uncorrected lunar years. This is from 444 B.C. to A.D. 31.

Prophecy of Daniel 8

After referring to the standard interpretation of the 'ram' and the 'he-goat', as symbolizing Persia and Greece, Africanus suggested that the 2300 days might be taken form months, totaling about 185 years which he applied to the time from the Capture of Jerusalem to the 20 year of Artaxerxes. He seems to be the only one who developed this interpretation.[6]


  1. ^ Smith, William (1870), "Africanus, Julius", in Smith, William, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology 1, Boston, p. 56 
  2. ^ Tacitus, Annales vi. 7
  3. ^ Quintilian, x. 1. § 118, xii. 10. § 11, comp. viii. 5. § 15
  4. ^ Dial. de Orat. 15
  5. ^ Pliny the Younger, Epistulae vii. 6
  6. ^ Froom 1950, p. 280.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainSmith, William, ed. (1870). "article name needed". Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology.