In the twelfth book his Christian Topography, the sixth-century Italian known as Cosmas the Indian Navigator tries to show that biblical history is consistent with the best records of ancient pagans. “Best” means not-Greek. It’s a highly inaccurate, charming, amusing passage:
“But the Chaldaeans and the Medes and Persians, having a somewhat wider knowledge, were instructed by the building of the Tower, and the deluge, and by what happened in the case of Hezekiah and Jonah, and by the Captivity, and by Daniel and the Three Children, and also partly by the writings themselves. In like manner also the Egyptians were instructed by the affairs of Joseph and of Moses, and by the people of Israel, and these nations were thus better prepared for a ready acceptance of Christianity. Even the Greeks, however, did believe later on through the Apostles, when they saw the wonders which they wrought. And when still later again signs ceased, and time rolled on, you will find Greeks who have believed, and have been baptized, lapsing, nevertheless, many of them into unbelief, and ignoring the Old and the New Testament, that is, divine scripture, as persons who have not long had the root of religion and the foundation of faith deeply implanted. . . .
“Wherefore in their writings they have not mentioned, as the early Chaldaeans and Egyptians have done, anything about the deluge and the building of the Tower, and the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, and about the first historian, Moses. But though they regard themselves as very superior persons and the wisest and foremost of men, they are nevertheless from their swelling vanity ignorant of many things. Wherefore one of the Egyptians, whose name was Solomon [he means Solon!], said to Plato: The Greeks are always children, and no Greek is ever old, nor is there any learning among you that is of hoar antiquity. Yet some, for instance Dius and Menander, who translated the antiquities of the Tyrians into the Greek language, in the works they composed bear testimony to Solomon and the Jews; and further, the whole, I may almost say, of Ethiopia, and the regions to the south of it, bear testimony to divine scripture. But the Greeks alone, who are wise in their own conceit, know not wherein their salvation lies. Timaeus alone, who has been already mentioned, drawing from what source I know not, but perhaps from the Chaldaeans, recast the story of those ten kings, feigning that they came from the earth beyond the Ocean into the island of Atlantis, which he says was submerged below the sea, and that taking its inhabitants as mercenaries, and arriving in this earth, they conquered Europe and Asia—-all which is a most manifest invention, for as he could not point out the island, he gave out that God had consigned it to a watery grave.”