Daniel's vision of the four beasts in Daniel 7 has long intrigued commentators. Regarding the vision of the fourth beast, the text reads:
7 After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. [ESV]
A fuller description of this beast, and interpretation of the vision, appears in verses 19–27.
Based on this and an apparently related passage in Revelation 17, commentators have historically associated the Roman Empire with this fourth beast. C. F. Keil writes:
These four kingdoms, according to the interpretation commonly received in the church, are the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, the Macedo-Grecian, and the Roman. "In this interpretation and opinion," Luther observes, "all the word are agreed, and history and fact abundantly establish it." (source)
Keil notes that this is a slight overstatement; at least one early commentator, Ephrem the Syrian (306–373) held that the fourth kingdom referred to Macedonia. Wikipedia notes that shortly thereafter, Jerome (347–420) advocated the now-traditional view that the fourth kingdom is Rome.
Was Jerome the first to make this connection? Which Christian author first associated the fourth kindgom of Daniel 7 with the Roman Empire?