Archive for April 2012

10. Deus Absconditus   Leave a comment

This is the final Incognito of the Unknowable, Unrecognized, Concealed . . .

 

1. ‘Jesus Was Caesar, on the Julian Origins of Christianity’ – book review

2. Esoteric Historians – The Resurrection Poets Osiris, Homer, and St. Mark

3. ‘King Jesus’, by Robert Graves – book review

4. Ancient Egypt online/Cleopatra-Caesar

5. book review – ‘Cleopatra’, by Michael Grant

6. HEROD – book reviews of 2 Archaeological links with Rome, & Jesus

7. [cont.] ERODOS CHRISTOS – ‘The Roman Near East, 31 BC’

8. Photos of Holy Lands re: HEROD

9. other Erodos Christos aliases – Aretas IV, and King Juba II

 

Deus Absconditus, decalogue:

1. ‘Hymn to My Mother’

2. ‘Humnos Oide of Thoth: Slayer of Argus’

3. ‘Osiris: Someday, My Son’

4. ‘The Libyad’, stage adaptation ‘The Prince of Libya’

5. ‘Herodeia Decalogue, Thunder Nation’

6. ‘The Creation Myth’

7. ‘Abduction at Roswell’

8. ‘Abduction at Flagstaff’

9. ‘Arizona Savagery’

10. ‘Deus Absconditus’

 

 

 

 

Posted April 16, 2012 by dionoia in Uncategorized

9. other Erodos Christos aliases – Aretas IV, and King Juba II   Leave a comment

Image The Master Builder {architectron-carpenter} also reigned at Petra 9 bce – 40 ce, designing its magnificent temples, tombs, treasuries, theatres, and entire cities

Image Masada, nearby to Petra, designed and built at the exact same time and same artistic style as “Herod”, during the same mythic lifetime of “Jesus Christ”

Image Petra

Image Petra Monastery, designed by Aretas IV and ruled

Image Masada

Image one of many Roman Aqueducts designed and built by Herod Aretas IV, this one near Jericho, another City he restored to classical artistry

Image King Juba II and his sister-wife Cleopatra Selene, daughter of Cleopatra VII of Egyptian fame – – rulers of Africa under the secret Southern Roman Empire under Augustus and Tiberius – Selene’s brothers by Mark Antony were Alexander Helios and Ptolemy Philadephus Philip

Image King Juba II of Africa (Mauretania, Libya, Numidia), ruling at the exact same time as Aretas IV in Petra, Herod in Jerusalem – they are all the same personCaesar Ptolemy XV

Image Tomb of Juba II and his sister-queen Cleopatra Selene, in Algeria

Image Juba II and Selene

ImageImage Their Mother Cleopatra VII

Image Caesarea, Palestine ruins of the inspired Prophet

 

 

Posted April 13, 2012 by dionoia in Uncategorized

8. Photos of Holy Lands re: HEROD   Leave a comment

Image HERODOS BASILEUS coin, c. BCE

Image eastern Mediterranean coast from the air, Egypt, Palestine, Israel – Dead Sea in the middle stretching on Jordan River to Galilee and Mt. Hermon at Caesarea Philippi – , Lebanon, Turkey

Image Palestinian warriors constantly at war for thousands of years over failure to understand Erodos Basileus

Image Arab Spring revolutions beginning, as always, in North Africa and spreading to the Near East

Image same journey from Egypt to Arabia as Caesar Ptolemy XV took in 30 bce, to rebuild Solomon’s Temple and Petra

Image statue of Caesar Ptolemy XV found in Alexandria harbor

Image mountains south of Tripoli, Libya which Herodotus in 500 bce described as the holiest of all ancient origin-sites, ‘The Hill of Graces’, the birthplace of Dionysos, the Greek equivalent of Osiris-Hades-Jesus, and Demeter, and Athene; where fighting is also raging today to overthrow the Islamic dictatorship of invaders from Arabia

Image everyone of these pseudo-Islamic tyrants is dead or thrown out of power, in the revival of Herod’s true Principate following Osiris/Isis

Image dead tyrant Col. Muammar al-Qathafi, 2011 c.e., in Libya, as North Africa is breaking up and back into its correct Roman tribal areas that Caesar respected and helped administer

Image beautiful Tripoli where I lived from 1962-1965 – the Sacred City on The Hill of Graces, where Jason and the Argonauts came to honor the birthplace of the Palladium of Athene-Neith, Odysseus landed to honor the Lotus Eaters, Aeneas to honor Dido of Carthage – all in the world’s greatest origins of Literature: The Book of the Dead, Argonautika, Odyssey, Aeneid, Libyad

Image Libyan Women fighting to become free of the male tyranny of the Jewish “God Jahweh Allah”

Image The Libyans know how to get rid of tyrants, just as the Caesars did

Image aerial view of Wheelus Air Base in 1965 when I lived there as a U.S. Air Force kid in high school – a NATO colonial military post meant to subjugate the local Libyans into abject poverty and steal their rich petroleum; the same as today, forcing false Christian-Capitalist ideas down their throats in the name of a euphemism for brutal merchant piracy called ‘democracy’

Image The Roman Catholic Church has gone bad, ever since it adopted the heresy beginning about 300 c.e. that Jesus Christ was not the father-son gods Julius Caesar-Ptolemy XV Herod

Image Almost its worst heresy, among genocidal abominations for thousands of years in the Inquisitions worldwide, Crusades, priest raping altar boys and covered up by bishops, cardinals, and popes, is the denial of the Goddess Mother Isis-Cleopatra

Image

 

Posted April 12, 2012 by dionoia in Uncategorized

7. [cont.] ERODOS CHRISTOS – ‘The Roman Near East, 31 BC’   Leave a comment

Image Caesarea Maritima, Roman colonia and the normal residence of the legatus and residence of the Tetrarch; built by “Herod”, @ 10 bce, in what today’s Palestinians call ‘The Zionist Entity’ {Israel, 1948 c.e.}

“This work [‘The Roman Near East 31 BC – AD 337’ by Fergus Millar] has long been awaited and will fill a very great need. It is an authoritative synoptic view of the entire Roman Near East, with reference to the most important recent discussions and discoveries.” – G.W. Bowersock, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton

[Fergus Millar is Camden Professor of Ancient History, Oxford University]

Image Banyas, Temple of Pan, rebuilt by “Herod” b.c.e.; called Caesarea Philippi in the Bible: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” – Matthew 16:13

“And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.” – Acts 21:8-10

Millar writes on p. 1: “Our difficulty in studying the ancient Near East is not only that modern Europeans approaching it cannot help doing so with a host of confused and half-formed preconceptions about the ‘Orient’. . .

“Bardesanes’ ‘Book of the Laws of Countries’, written in Syriac in the first part of the third century, and perhaps the only rival to Josephus’ ‘Antiquities’ as a contribution to the anthropology of the Roman Near East. . . [p. 11]

” . . . all the evidence cited for the worship of altars in particular or for aniconic cults in general, usually of large stones, comes not from the Hellenistic but from the Imperial period.” [p. 12]

“And the Doumatenoi of Arabia used each year to sacrifice a boy whom they buried beneath an altar, which they treat as a cult-statue.” [p. 13, footnote 31. Porphyry, De abst.II, 56,6]

” . . . moreover Theos Ouranos thought up baitulia, having devised stones invested with life.” [p. 13, Eusebius, Praep. Ev. I, 10,23]

” . . . one contemporary writer, the historian Herodian, clearly asserts that the stone which represented the god Elagabal at Emesa was imagined to have fallen from heaven. His words provide a clear example of how a Classical writer of the Imperial period may put that same distance between himself and the customs of the ‘Orient’ as the modern European observer tends to do: ‘There was no actual man-made statue of the god, the sort Greeks and Romans put up; but there was an enormous black stone, rounded at the base and coming to a point at the top, conical in shape and black. This stone is worshipped as though it were sent from heaven.’ [Herodian V, 3,5, Loeb. trans.] Whether the stone actually was a meteorite we cannot know; what is significant is the conception. But it is almost inevitable that speculation should lead one to think of a possible connection between the patterns of cult-practice visible here and the central role which Mahomet was to give to the black stone built into the Kaaba in the new cult he instituted at Mecca; this was one element which he took over from the existing pagan worship there.” [p. 15]

Image Banyas, Paneas, Grotto of Pan, Caesarea Philippi, Golan Heights on the disputed borders of Israel, Syria, and Lebanon, under Mount Hermon named after the god Hermes – mentioned frequently in the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles

Image newly discovered bust of Caesar Ptolemy XV {‘Caeserion’} , Heroides basilleia – It is a sad, determined face, of a young man whose father has been brutally murdered in Rome, and his mother at the very least has abdicated her throne in Alexandria

“But had the Near East really offered a distinctively favourable cultural and religious setting for Christianity since the time of Jesus? Had there been in this region gentile Christian communities using Aramaic or a dialect of it? The Jewish community of Dura-Europos had certainly used Aramaic, as well as Greek. But had the Christian community nearby? Even if we do not treat the question as a purely linguistic one, was there, as so many modern books presume, a distinctive ‘Syrian’ Christianity using Greek, which owed its character to its regional environment? If so, what would that mean? Of which of the many sub-regions of the Near East are we talking, and what are the criteria of ‘Syrian’ Christianity?” [p. 21] ” . . . But it is suggestive that in the later second century the bishop Melito of Sardis acknowledged that it had been by divine providence that Christianity, beginning among barbaroi, had coincided with the foundation of the Imperial monarchy (basileia) by Augustus. Since that time the power of the Empire had grown, and Christianity had flourished with it.” [p. 22, note 59. Eusebius HE V, 26, 7-8]

Forgetting Josephus {although he has many, many, complimentary things to say about some of the Herodian Family} and Eusebius for a while, as unreliable and biased ‘historians’, it’s better to turn to Strabo and his ‘Geography’ which was written in the last part of the reign of Augustus {c. 31 bce-14 ce} as a more factual report. According to Bowersock in ‘Roman Arabia’, among Strabo’s sources about the Nabataeans was a Hellenistic writer named Agatharchides of Cnidus, who had visited their capital of Petra. Diodorus of Sicily had also written about the earlier Nabataeans as well, and he was a contemporary acquaintance of Strabo in Rome during the time all these events concerning Herod were happening, and they surely met and exchanged notes.

Bowersock supplements Millar’s exhaustive details about the quasi-Arabic Nabataeans, at the time of Caesar Ptolemy {47 bce – 40 ce}, by explaining that Strabo reports the whole area was treated in a unique and “unexplainable” way by Augustus. “The geographer Strabo stated unambiguously, in a passage that has been curiously neglected, that in his day the Nabataeans, like the Syrians, were subjects of the Romans. [note 36. Strabo 16, 4.21 C 779] . . . The words of Strabo can mean only one thing: the territory of the Nabataeans was, at the time he was writing, a province of the Roman Empire. Yet it is perfectly well known that Aretas IV ruled for some forty-nine years {9 bce – 40 ce} with great success and that the kingdom of the Nabataeans did not become a province of Rome until the age of Trajan. For all that, Strabo ought to have known what he was saying, and his remarks should perhaps be considered in the light of other possibilities than simple egregious error. It is worth asking whether the kingdom of Aretas was actually annexed for a brief interval and returned subsequently as a client state of Rome.” [p. 54, Bowersock]

There are numerous other examples of puzzled historians, both ancient and modern, who couldn’t understand the special government from Rome not only of Arabia and Judaea but also Egypt at that crucial point of 31 bce. They all admit that Egypt especially was kept hidden from the Senate, governed by a personal, hand-picked friend of Augustus. For the next 70 years the whole area was administered secretly, first by Augustus, and then Tiberius, Caius Caligula, and Claudius, who must have all been in on the sacred Family Secret – or how else did a Divi Filius of a mythical Iesous {Son of Isis, whom Cleopatra identified with} the anointed Christos King appear simultaneously on the scene, protected no less by successive all-powerful Emperors in a newly instituted Imperial Cult that began with his father Gaius Julius Caesar? The concurrent appearance of a genius architect-carpenter with the title of Erodos Herode, who also wrote an extensive Memoir of those years of his career with the help of his old tutor Nicolaus of Damascus, and which has subsequently disappeared (or has it?)?

“We have then to consider the possibility that in about 3 B.C. a province of Arabia might have been in existence. This is precisely the problematic time after the death of Herod.” [Bowersock, p. 55]

“King Aretas {ERODOS} IV is regularly described on coins and inscriptions as “the lover of his people” (rhm ‘mh). To judge from the unprecedented prosperity and growth of the Nabataean kingdom during the long years of his reign, extending as far as A.D. 40, the appellation was richly deserved. With the newly won security in the central regions of Herod’s former kingdom, Aretas had less to fear from the Jews.” [p. 59]

“From approximately A.D. 1 to 30 the literary record of historical events concerning the Nabataeans is silent.” [p. 60]

Or is it?

We come to Josephus. No responsible historian or theologian can dismiss everything he wrote, and whose major characters of ‘Herod the Great’ and his extensive, confusing family genealogy are still cited routinely, sedulously, by Biblical scholars as just about the only resource they have to supplement their holy Bible. In it, they love to highlight the villainous deeds of the murderous, treacherous Herod whom everyone loves to hate even more than Judas or Pontius Pilate – who may or may not be named in the ‘Antiquities’ and the ‘History’ as the same real-life characters in the New Testament – and generally ignoring his more provable architectural and political feats of true genius. Just one example among many complimentary quotes by Josephus, about a supposed son of Herod the Grandfather is a Tetrarch familiar to Biblical students named Philip, who supposedly succeeded his father when he died somewhere around 8 bce to 6 ce, if you’re to trust the confusing, contradictory Scriptures and/or Josephus:

“6. (106) About this time it was that Philip, Herod’s brother, departed this life, in the twentieth year of the reign of Tiberius, [footnote by William Whiston, translator 1736, “This calculation, from all Josephus’s Greek copies is exactly right; for since Herod died about September, in the fourth year before the Christian era, and Tiberius began, as is well known, Aug. 19, A.D. 14, it is evident that the 37th year of Philip, reckoned from his father’s death, was the 20th of Tiberius, or near the end of A.D. 33 (the very year of our Savior’s death also), or, however, in the beginning of the next year, A.D. 34. This Philip the tetrarch seems to have been the best of all the posterity of Herod, for his love of peace, and his love of justice.” p. 483] after he had been tetrarch of Trachonitis, and Gaulonitis, and of the nation of the Bataneans also, thirty-seven years. He had shown himself a person of moderation and quietness in the conduct of his life and government; (107) he constantly lived in that country which was subject to him; [footnote. Whiston, “An excellent example this!”] he used to make his progress with a few chosen friends; his tribunal also, on which he sat in judgement, followed him in his progress; and when anyone met him who wanted his assistance, he made no delay but had his tribunal set down immediately, wheresoever he happened to be, and sat down upon it, and heard his complaint: he there ordered the guilty that were convicted to be punished, and absolved those that had been accused unjustly. (108) He died at Julias; and when he was carried to that monument which he had already erected for himself beforehand, he was buried with great pomp. His principality Tiberius took (for he left no sons behind him) and added it to the province of Syria, but gave order that the tributes which arose from it should be collected, and laid up in his tetrarchy.” [Josephus, Book 18, Chapter 4, 6. ‘The Antiquities of the Jews‘]

– – – to be continued – – –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted April 12, 2012 by dionoia in Uncategorized

6. HEROD — book reviews of 2 Archaeological links with Rome, & Jesus   Leave a comment

ImageHerod’s Temple in Jerusalem (model)

‘Roman Arabia’ by G.W. Bowersock, Harvard University Press, 1983

Image Herod

‘The Roman Near East 31 BC-AD 337, Fergus Millar, Harvard University Press, 1993

The missing link in the search for an historical model of Jesus Christ, from Rome in 44 bce, to Jerusalem in 33 ce, can be found in only one proven Name at the time and place.

Herod of course is not a name at all, but a title Heroides meaning “Song of a Hero”, and ERODOS BASILLEUS is how a basilleus king is written on a few coins of the time which have survived. It is a questionable family surname that is found almost nowhere else except 50 years later in the unreliable pages of a Jewish writer named Josephus (more of whom will be said later), and pages of the “New Testament, Bible” which did not appear in their present form until hundreds of years after the events it describes.

To find a real-life model for the fictional character of Jesus Christ (who is not found anywhere else in mss. or coins or inscriptions whatsoever), it is essential to look for hard evidence – literally in stone, as even manuscripts are unreliable and subject to editing – in the alleged time and place he was supposed to have lived, that is, from around 4 bce to @ 30 ce in Judaea, Galilee and the immediate environs of what has come to be known to scholars as Roman Arabia.

Princeton Professor of Ancient History Dr. G.W. Bowersock wrote the standard text on the subject ‘Roman Arabia’, which he said encompassed what is now Jordan, southern Syria, northwest Saudi Arabia, and the Negev of Israel. In the preface he says:

“I have occupied myself principally with the Roman presence in the Nabataean kingdom and the Roman province which was subsequently created out of that kingdom. . .

“When the emperor Trajan established the province by annexation in the early second century A.D., a little less than half of the imperial frontiers looked out upon the desert.. .

Pompey had already annexed Greater Syria (including all of modern Lebanon, as well as Antioch and its environs). Accordingly, when Augustus added to his realm the former kingdom of Judaea as a province under equestrian procurators, there remained in the circuit of imperial provinces along the desert’s edge only the space extending across the Sinai from Egypt into and encompassing the Negev, together with the entire territory of Transjordan, from the Syrian Hawran to the Gulf of Aqaba.”

Bowersock’s pioneer work was greatly expanded upon 10 years later, after extensive archaelogical expeditions throughout the entire ancient province, in Oxford’s Dr. Fergus Millar, Camden Professor of Ancient History, in the 580 page definitive text ‘The Roman Near East: 31 BC – AD 337’.  Expanding upon Bowersock’s studies of the Nabataean culture at the time of Caesar and Cleopatra, Millar found many inscriptions in stone of ‘Tetrarchic Land-Surveyors’ in the areas of the Golan Heights mentioned in the Bible and Josephus, referring to ‘Herod’. As with all orthodox historians he relies almost entirely on Josephus for his chronological narrative of the Christian time period in question; although the dates do not correspond at all with the Biblical time-frame. Quoting Josephus, he writes on page 37:

“The area concerned is described by Josephus as Trachonitis (the lava plate), Auranitis (the Hauran), and Batanea, which borders on the Hauran to the north-west. After the police-action by Varro, it was now, in 23 BC, added to Herod’s territory, which already included Galilee and, as we have seen, Hippos and Gadara to the east and south-east of the Sea of Galilee. Three years later, as Josephus records, Augustus paid a visit to Syria, in fact in 20 BC, and is described as granting to Herod Trachonitis (again), Ulatha (the area around Lake Huleh) and Paneas, which belonged to Zenodorus and lay on the southern slope of Mount Hermon above the Golan Heights.”

Where did this titular, unnamed Hero come from, to be so gifted and honored by the undisputed Roman Princeps Augustus himself? We have seen in the previous reviews of this series, that Nicolaus of Damascus is commonly credited as a first-hand source not only in Julius Caesar’s court in Rome, but Nicolaus was also the tutor of Cleopatra’s children by Caesar and Mark Antony, and then Nicolaus went on from there to be Herod’s court historian as well. He is a proven evidentiary link between Caesar, Cleopatra, and Herod, telling their simultaneous, and consecutive, stories in lively detail.

But then we are assured by respected academic historians like Bowersock and Millar, and Michael Grant and Robert Graves, to name only a few of the great majority, Josephus is unreliable – while at the same time, all the time, he is their only contemporary source.

“How and to what extent (if indeed at all), Roman authority was exercised here in the early Imperial period is a mystery.” [Millar, p. 39]

It was a secret Augustus had to keep from the murdering Senate, and his poisonous wife Livia, who would allow no threats to her power and the succession of her son Tiberius to the Princeps. {see ‘King Jesus’ and ‘I, Claudius’] It all goes back to Alexandria, and the events there in 31 bce after the so-called Battle Of Actium in which Cleopatra and Mark Antony apparently were defeated by Octavian Augustus, with the help of Caesar’s old trusted admiral Agrippa. Histories are ambivalent, to say the least, about whether Cleopatra and Antony died, or Caesar Ptolemy, nicknamed ‘Caesarion’ really was put to death at the age of 17 {as reported in rumor only a century later by Plutarch}. Velleius Paterculus, for instance, writing at the time, makes no mention that he was put to death.

What if Caesar Ptolemy did survive to manhood, in the south of Egypt and Arabia, emerging as a Erodos Basilleus highly favored and protected by the greatest Imperial Design as the Divi Filius of Gaius Julius Caesar? Octavian really had no need to kill him. A genius of architecture and politics emerges at exactly that same time and place to build the Jerusalem Temple in 23 BC – he would have been about 24 years old then, born in 47 bce as Cleopatra said – and royally protected and funded by Augustus. He was a man of peace, a builder or carpenter {‘architectron’ in Greek for carpenter, architect, mason}, Messiah who rebuilt “His Father’s House’ and reunited the kingdoms of David and Solomon as prophesied. For 100 years Pax Romana reigned during those years after Actium, during the enlightenment of Augustus and the Herodian dynasty. It was one of the rarest times of literature and devotion in human history.

“The great Egyptian kingdom of the Ptolemies would fall in its entirety to the first emperor of Rome.” (Bowersock, p. 42)

Or did it? Roman Arabia in name only, Cleopatra’ successor was Ptolmey XV Caesar and he loyally built up the entire southern and eastern half of the Roman Imperium, controlling all of North Africa and Transjordan under the aliases of Aretas IV in Petra – whose exquisite architecture he also designed and built – as well as marrying his sister Selene in good African tradition in Libya, Mauretania, and Numidia as King Juba II (also rumored as a son of Julius Caesar). It all had to be kept secret from history and the Senate/Sanhedrin so Divi Filius {on coins he is shown with a beard} would not meet the same treacherous murderers as his father did, in the conservative “republic’.

“Arabs appealed to Herod to become their patron.” [Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 15.159]

Image Herodion, near Bethlehem, where Herod was buried mythically, and Jesus born

Aretas, as we have seen,was an important figure in the region and may plausibly be identified with the mysterious Arab king Herotimus in Justin’s ‘Epitome’ of Pompeius Trogus. This king is said to have presided over a race of Arabs who had been peaceable hitherto (one is reminded of the Nabataeans in the Books of the Maccabees), but who now were threatening both Egypt and Syria with armies. It is customary and entirely reasonable to identify King Herotimus with Aretas II. Herotimus represents a possible Greek equivalent of the king’s Aramaic name (Haritat), and his distinction as an expansionist is adequately borne out by what we know about him.” [Bowersock, p. 23]

– – – to be continued – – –

Posted April 11, 2012 by dionoia in Uncategorized

De Codicillo · Incipit   Leave a comment

De Codicillo · Incipit.

Posted April 9, 2012 by dionoia in Uncategorized

5. book review – ‘Cleopatra’, by Michael Grant   Leave a comment

Image [authentic first-person evidence of “Cleopatra VII and her son Caesarion”, on the Dendera Monuments, 30 b.c.e.]

1. ‘Jesus was Caesar: on the Julian Origins of Christianity’ – book review

2. Esoteric Historians, the Resurrection Poets Osiris, Homer, and St. Mark

3. ‘King Jesus’, by Robert Graves – book review

4. Ancient Egypt online/ Cleopatra-Caesar

 

     In this 5th of the series, on this Dionoia blog, on the factual origins of the 3 contemporary monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, only a very few really hard facts – literally, in stone – are evident to prove what happened in the Mediterranean region over 2,000 years ago; and that still profoundly affect almost all human affairs today.

     Cambridge professor Michael Grant’s 1972 biography of Egypt’s famous Queen Cleopatra VII became almost the standard textbook for a neverending rash of popular bestsellers, films, and TV shows about her. And yet he is careful to point out:

                      “The only contemporary historians from whom a few references to Cleopatra have come down to us are Julius Caesar and one of his officers, both writing in Latin, and the tutor of her children Nicolaus of Damascus, writing in Greek. Julius Caesar in his ‘Civil War’ touches briefly, and with a characteristic mixture of accuracy and disingenuousness, upon the initial stages of his visit to Alexandria in the autumn of 48 BC; and a member of his staff narrates the ensuing ‘Alexandrian War’ which continued early in the following year. But they tell us nothing about Caesar’s personal relations with Cleopatra. The voluminous compositions of Nicolaus of Damascus, who taught Cleopatra’s children before entering the service of Herod, are represented only by six excerpts from his autobiography and two sections of his eulogistic account of the youth of Octavian. However, a good deal more of his work has come down to us at second hand in the pages of Josephus. Apart from these allusions, almost all contemporary literary evidence for the life and reign of Cleopatra is lost.” – p. 239, Bibliography, Ancient Sources

     Huh? It turns out that all the information about her notorious love-affair with Julius Caesar came out over a century later and in foreign countries, from Plutarch in Greece and even Josephus in Judaea, and Roman historians Tacitus and Dio another hundred years after that, from second-hand and third-hand sources that were little more than gossip. It sounds like the unreliable sources for the gospels and history of the early “Chrestian” Church.

     Professor Grant is also a little more than disingenuous when he seems to dismiss the hard evidence of contemporary coinage and stone monuments errected in Egypt by Cleopatra herself. He attributes her lineage solely to a Greek/Macedonian descent from Alexander the Great through his general Ptolemy {and whom some historians like Robin Lane Fox think was a son of Alexander}, even though he admits, “We do not know who Cleopatra VII’s mother was.” [p. 3] He goes on to describe her great linguistic skills and desire to restore the glory of Greece – and ignores Africa and Egypt. “Cleopatra, too, was a Greek much more than anything else. Though queen of Egypt, she possessed not a drop of Egyptian blood in her veins. The last ruler of the dynasty of the Ptolemies, she was of wholly Greek upbringing, and to a very considerable extent of Greek race.”

     How does he know that? He writes in the Bibliography at the end of the book we know almost nothing about her. At the beginning of the book in the Foreword, where this quote was taken from, he does inform us we know a lot about the first 12 or so Ptolemies, before her and her brothers came to power around 50 BC, who had ruled Egypt since Alexander died in Persia back in 323 BC. “Her father Auletes [Ptolemy XII?] a complex individual whose influence upon her development is often underestimated.” Apparently there are hard-rock evidences of this, as well as some hieroglyphic testimonies also carved in rock. But . . . “The ancient sources upon which every such inquiry has to be based are tantalizingly fragmentary, intractable and enigmatic.” [ -p. XVIII, Foreword]

                   “We also rely on several categories of non-literary evidence. In the first place, there are many coins extant, some with Latin and some with Greek inscriptions. Although much work on the subject still remains to be done, this numismatic material is revealing not only (rather disconcertingly) about Cleopatra’s physical appearance, but also about her political position and ‘image’. Two coins of c. 34 BC bearing the heads of Antony and Cleopatra are as replete with historical information as any other documents of the age.

                   “A number of Greek and Latin inscriptions add their quota of evidence. And finally there is the valuable but cryptic Egyptological material, including various shrines illustrating the building activity of Auletes, the Bucheum stele apparently describing a visit by Cleopatra to Hermonthis immediately after her accession, and the politically significant birth temple of Caesarion at the same centre. These reliefs display the Pharaonic trends which still persisted in Egyptian art, though other works of art of the period blend native and Egyptian features in varying proportions.

                   “All these sources only add up to a tantalizingly inadequate total, and while making the best use of them that we can, we have to concede that it still remains impossible to penetrate all the mists. We can only hope that, in the future, further research and discoveries will throw new light on Cleopatra’s profoundly significant career.” [ – p. 245]

 

Posted April 5, 2012 by dionoia in Uncategorized