Lhomond's Epitome Historiae Sacrae

1st LTM Edition © 2003-2004. Latest revisions June 1, 2004.

Prefatory Note     Story-Index

Elementary Readers Index


A Kindle bilingual pari passu translation is available here:


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lho title-page






Prefatory Note and Textual Information


Since no one can really understand Western culture without some solid knowledge of the Bible, and since no one can really understand our world today without some solid knowledge of Western culture, it seems educationally valuable and even necessary to introduce all of our students to some of the vivid, long-revered narratives of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

These stories are at least as instructive, at least as influential, and at least as important for our larger self-understanding as the Greco-Roman materials that can be found in a reader like Hillard and Botting's Elementary Latin Translation Book. They also provide an interesting source of comparison with both the mythological and the historical content found in that reader.

This Epitome, authored by the Abbé Charles François Lhomond at the end of the 18th century, has been scanned and revised almost entirely from the edition made by George Ironside (Philadelphia: Thomas, Cowperthwait, & Co., 1843). I add to the text found there some revision of punctuation, a few minor emendations where necessary, and the full marking of long vowels, which supports a habit of correct pronunciation and accentuation. Circumflex accents are used in place of macrons for better compatibility with various fonts, even though the rarely-occurring long Y cannot be indicated this way. I have kept the titles that I found in the original, with their utterly archaic chronology and their overt Christian reference, to allow for the students' insights into the development of historical and religious consciousness. And of course, there is some value in keeping the titles for those who wish to study the development of texts for Latin-learning: they can have the content a bit closer to the way in which it originally stood.

The text uses an "easy-comprehension" (or Acceleration-Reader format) to facilitate the acts of understanding that readers must learn to make. The students' easier recognition and then mastery of frequently recurring structural patterns should accelerate their acquisition of reading-fluency. I have tried to keep the average line at between two and five words. When the meanings of the individual lines can be grasped immediately, it will be helpful to practice comprehending the units in as large a context as possible and appropriate, in a process that is similar to reading down the vertical columns of text in newspapers. Reading the passages aloud with understanding is also highly recommended.

When a sound-file is available, it is marked by an icon like this: Hear this text.  An Italianate / late-antique / ecclesiastical pronunciation is used, reflecting what seems likely to have been the more widespread traditional usage through the many post-classical centuries into our own day.

The Epitome Historiae Sacrae consists of 209 stories and is approximately 14,000 Latin words in length. It is being made freely available here for non-commercial educational use. I am indebted to the Society of Jesus and to Saint Louis University for the support that has made this work possible.

Claude Pavur, S.J.
Saint Louis University
June 26, 2003 (Revised July 19, 2008)







Index of Stories

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1. God creates the world in six days: in the year 4004 before Jesus Christ

2. God makes the body of Adam of the clay of the Earth.

3. God places man in Paradise.

4. The disobedience of Adam and Eve.

5. Adam and Eve hide and excuse themselves.

6. The curse of the serpent, and the Saviour promised.

7. Adam and Eve driven from Paradise.

8. Cain and Abel.

9. Cain kills Abel.

10. Cain punished.

11. The building of the Ark.

12. The deluge; in the year 2348 before Christ.

13. The end of the deluge.

14. Noah goes out of the Ark.

15. The Corruption of Mankind.

16. Call of Abraham in the year 1921, before J.C.

17. Isaac born.

18. Abraham prepares to sacrifice his Son.

19. Abraham's hand arrested.

20. Eliezer, Abraham's servant, goes in search of a wife for Isaac.

21. Eliezer consults God on the subject.

22. Eliezer inquires of Rebecca concerning her family.

23. Eliezer received at the house of Bathuel.

24. The consent of Rebecca

25. Rebecca departs.

26. Marriage of Isaac; in the year 1856 before J.C.

27. Esau sells his birth-right.

28. Isaac sends Esau a-hunting.

29. Rebecca's advice to Jacob.

30. Rebecca prepares food for Isaac.

31. Isaac blesses Jacob instead of Esau.

32. Esau's return from hunting.

33. Jacob's departure.

34. Jacob's vision.

35. Jacob arrives in Mesopotamia.

36. Jacob's reception by Laban.

37. Jacob's Return.

38. Joseph's infancy.

39. Joseph's dreams.

40. Joseph's brethren resolve to kill him.

41. Reuben the eldest tries to save him.

42. Joseph sold by his brethren to merchants.

43. They send to their father Joseph's robe stained with blood.

44. Potiphar purchases Joseph.

45. Joseph accused by Potiphar's wife, is cast into prison.

46. The Dreams of two of Pharaoh's officers.

47. Joseph explains the chief cupbearer's dream.

48. He explains the chief butler's dream.

49. The accomplishment of the two dreams.

50. The dreams of king Pharaoh.

51. The chief cupbearer mentions Joseph to the king.

52. Joseph explains the king's dream.

53. Joseph is made Governor of all Egypt.

54. Joseph reserves part of the grain, which he afterwards sells.

55. Jacob sends his sons into Egypt, retaining only Benjamin with him.

56. Joseph pretends to take his brothers for spies.

57. Joseph detains Simeon until they bring Benjamin to him.

58. The brothers of Joseph return.

59. Jacob will not let Benjamin depart.

60. His sons press him to consent.

61. Jacob at last consents.

62. Joseph prepares a feast for his brethren.

63. They are admitted into Joseph's presence.

64. Joseph causes his silver cup to be put into Benjamin's sack.

65. Joseph sends in pursuit of them.

66. The cup is found in Benjamin's sack.

67. They retum to the city overpowered with sorrow.

68. Judah offers himself into slavery instead of Benjamin.

69. Joseph makes himself known to his brethren.

70. Joseph charges them to bring his father into Egypt.

71. Pharaoh sends presents and chariots to Jacob.

72. Joseph's brethren tell their father that Joseph is living.

73. Jacob departs with all his family, to go into Egypt, in the year 1706 before J.C.

74. Joseph mentions to the king the arrival of his father.

75. He presents his father to Pharaoh.

76. Jacob desires to be buried in the sepulchre of his fathers.

77. Joseph presents his two sons to his father that he may bless them.

78. Joseph performs the last duties to his father.

79. Joseph comforts his brethren.

80. The death of Joseph.

81. After Joseph's death, the Israelites are persecuted.

82. The birth of Moses, in the year 1571 before J.C.

83. The daughter of Pharaoh preserves the infant.

84. Moses undertakes the deliverance of his people.

85. The Hebrews go out of Egypt conducted by a pillar of fire.

86. Moses divides the waters of the sea.

87. The Hebrews pass the sea dry shod.

88. The Egyptians are swallowed up by the waves.

89. God nourishes his people in the desert.

90. God publishes his law in the midst of thunders and lightnings, in the year 1491 before J.C.

91. The principal articles of the law.

92. Construction of the tabernacle and the ark. Moses's death.

93. The Hebrews, under the conduct of Joshua, pass the Jordan dry-shod: in the year 1451 before J.C.

94. Joshua erects a monument.

95. The walls of Jericho fall down of themselves.

96. Joshua stops the sun.

97. He establishes the Hebrews in the land of promise, and dies.

98. An Angel appears to Gideon, and sends him to deliver his people: in the year 1245 before J.C.

99. Gideon raises an army, and marches against the Midianites.

100. Gideon fights, and gains the victory.

101. Birth of Samson; his extraordinary strength.

102. Samson becoming great, molests the Philistines in the year 1135 before J.C.

103. Samson inclosed in a city, carries off the gates with the posts.

104. His wife bribed by the Philistines, betrays him.

105. Samson dies in causing 3000 Philistines to perish.

106. Birth of Samuel.

107. God reveals to Samuel the chastisement which he has in reserve for Eli.

108. Samuel discloses to Eli what God has said.

109. Misfortunes fall upon Eli and his children; in the year 1116 before J.C.

110. Samuel the last judge of the Hebrews. Saul is elected king.

111. Saul's first disobedience.

112. Jonathan the son of Saul, routs the Philistines.

113. Saul wishes to put his son Jonathan to death.

114. Saul disobeys a second time, is rejected, and David is consecrated king.

115. Saul is disturbed by a demon; David is sent for to court to calm him.

116. The Giant Goliath defies the Hebrews.

117. David presents himself to fight Goliath.

118. David takes only a sling, and advances against Goliath.

119. David kills Goliath.

120. Saul conceives jealousy against David.

121. Saul is unwilling to perform the promise which he had made.

122. Saul frequently attempts to kill David.

123. David in flight spares Saul, who pursued him.

124. Saul dies, in the year 1054 before J.C.

125. David mourns the Death of Saul, his enemy.

126. David commits two great crimes.

127. The prophet proposes a parable to the guilty king.

128. The prophet applies the parable to David.

129. David fasts and prays for the life of the infant.

130. Absalom revolts against his father.

131. The admirable patience of David.

132. David assembles an army against Absalom.

133. Absalom is vanquished and remains suspended to a tree by his hair.

134. Absalom's death.

135. David bewails the death of his rebellious son.

136. David dies.

137. Solomon requests wisdom of God.

138. A difficult affair is brought to Solomon's tribunal.

139. The judgment of Solomon.

140. Solomon builds and consecrates the Temple of Jerusalem, in the year 1005 before J.C.

141. Solomon in his old age gives himself up to disorder and idolatry.

142. Rehoboam, Solomon's son, exasperates the people.

143. Ten tribes forsake Rehoboam, and choose for themselves a king, in the year 980 before J.C.

144. Short duration of the kingdom of Israel; its end, in the year 718 before J.C.

145. The history of Tobit.

146. Tobit retains his piety in the midst of the Gentiles.

147. Tobit inters the dead at the risk of his life.

148. He perseveres in the practice of this duty against the will of his friends.

149. Tobit becomes blind, and suffers this affliction, with patience.

150. Tobit's abhorrence of theft.

151. Tobit's advice to his son.

152. Continuation of his advice.

153. Tobit informs his son that he had lent ten talents to Gabael.

154. The angel Raphael offers to accompany Tobias.

155. The tears of Tobias's mother.

156. Tobias delivered from a monstrous fish.

157. He arrives at the city of Ecbatan.

158. Tobias is received at the house of Raguel his relation.

159. Tobias's marriage.

160. Gabael comes to the wedding.

161. The unhappiness of Tobit and his wife.

162. Tobias returns to his father.

163. Arrival of Tobias.

164. The father recovers his sight.

165. The angel Raphael discovers himself to Tobit.

166. The happy death of Tobit; his posterity.

167. Abias and Asa kings of Judah.

168. Jehosaphat, king of Judah; in the year 919 before Jesus, Christ.

169. Joram and Ochozias kings of Judah.

170. Death of Athalia; reign of Joash; in the year 883 before Jesus Christ.

171. The change of Joash, his crimes, and his death.

172. Amasias, king of Judah.

173. Osias and Joatham, kings of Judah.

174. Achas, king of Judah.

175. Reign of Ezechias, his piety.

176. His disorder and remarkable cure.

177. The king of Assyria besieges Jerusalem, which God delivers by a miracle, in the year 710 before Jesus Christ.

178. Death of king Ezechias.

179. The crimes of Manasses, his imprisonment, his penitence.

180. King Amon; his speedy death; the piety of his son Jossia.

181. The captivity of Babylon, in the year 606 before Jesus Christ.

182. Daniel and his companions raised in the palace of Nebuchodonosor.

183. The three young men in the furnace.

184. Daniel in the lion's den.

185. History of Esther, wife of king Assuerus.

186. Mardocheus makes known to Esther the danger of her people.

187. Alman's disgrace, his shameful death, in the year 460 before Jesus Christ.

188. Cyrus, king of Persia, makes himself master of Babylon, and grants the Jews liberty; in the year 536 before Jesus Christ.

189. The state of the Jews after their return from captivity.

190. The persecution of Antiochus in the year 170 before Jesus Christ.

191. The constancy of Eleazar.

192. Death of Eleazar.

193. The martyrdom of a mother and her seven children.

194. Zeal of Mathathias and his children.

195. Death of Mathathias. First actions of Judas Machabeus.

196. Victory of Judas Machabeus over Nicanor.

197. Lysias vanquished by Judas.

198. Judas purifies the temple, which had been desecrated by the infidels.

199. Striking marks of the divine protection over Judas Machabeus.

200. God punishes Antiochus.

201. Death of Antiochus.

202. Lysias vanquished a second time by Judas Machabeus.

203. King Eupator enters Judea at the head of a numerous army.

204. Courage of Eleazer, the brother of Judas.

205. Impiety of Nicanor; his defeat, and death.

206. Death of Judas Machabeus.

207. Jonathan succeeds Judas Machabeus. His death.

208. Simon succeeds Jonathan. His death; his successor.

209. Judea becomes tributary to the Romans. King Herod. Birth of the Messiah. (Year of the world 4004).






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