The same thing is also confirmed by Julius Africanus, who informs us out of former writers, that the 20th year of this Artaxerxes was the 115th year from the beginning of the reign of Cyrus in Persia, and fell in with An. 4 Olymp. 83. It began therefore with the Olympic year, soon after the summer Solstice, An. J.P. 4269. Subduct nineteen years, and his first year will begin at the same time of the year An. J.P. 4250, as above.
His 7th year therefore began after midsummer An. J.P. 4256; and the Journey of Ezra to Jerusalem in the spring following fell on the beginning of An. J.P. 4257, as above.
OF THE TIMES OF THE BIRTH AND PASSION OF CHRIST.
THE times of the Birth and Passion of Christ, with such like niceties, being not material to religion, were little regarded by the Christians of the first age. They who began first to celebrate them, placed them in the cardinal periods of the year; as the annunciation of the Virgin Mary, on the 25th of March, which when Julius Caesar corrected the Calendar was the vernal Equinox; the feast of John Baptist on the 24th of June, which was the summer Solstice; the feast of St. Michael on Sept. 29, which was the autumnal Equinox; and the birth of Christ on the winter Solstice, Decemb.
25, which the feasts of St. Stephen, St. John and the Innocents, as near it as they could place them. And because the Solstice in time removed from the 25th of December to the 24th, the 23d, the 22d, and so on backwards, hence some in the following centuries placed the birth of Christ on Decemb. 23, and at length on Decemb. 20: and for the same reason they seem to have set the feast of St. Thomas on Decemb. 21, and that of St.
Matthew on Sept 21. So also at the entrance of the Sun into all the signs in the Julian Calendar, they placed the days of other Saints; as the conversion of Paul on Jan. 25, when the Sun entered Aquarius; St. Matthias on Feb.