Archives

All posts for the month March, 2017

Heraclius of Byzantium and Heraclius of Jerusalem

Published March 13, 2017 by amaic

Nuruddin Zengi

 by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

Strangely, then, we are finding that the ancient city of Nineveh, destroyed in the late C7th BC, and not uncovered again until the mid-C19th AD – a period of approximately two and a half millennia, according to conventional estimates – experienced an eerie phase of ‘resurgence’ in the C7th AD, roughly halfway between these two cut-off points. This is clearly a pseudo-history.

  

 

The neo-Assyrian empire of the Sargonids, of the C8th-C7th’s BC – coupled with the contemporaneous drama of the Book of Judith – appears to have left its mark in various unexpected places.

For instance, as we have discovered in this series, the supposed C7th AD emperor of Byzantium, Heraclius, and his contemporaries, are horribly anachronistic, notably in relation to the Assyrians and Nineveh:

 

Strangely, then, we are finding that the ancient city of Nineveh, destroyed in the late C7th BC, and not uncovered again until the mid-C19th AD – a period of approximately two and a half millennia, according to conventional estimates – experienced an eerie phase of ‘resurgence’ in the C7th AD, roughly halfway between these two cut-off points. This is clearly a pseudo-history.

 

And in c. 960 AD, seeming flashes of the neo-Assyrian empire startlingly re-emerge, again in a Judith-like context, in the supposedly Ethiopian kingdom of “Aksum” (or Axum).

See e.g. my:

 

Judith the Simeonite and Judith the Semienite

https://www.academia.edu/24416713/Judith_the_Simeonite_and_Judith_the_Semienite

 

But it does not end there.

Later again, in the C12th AD, according to the history books, we find the supposed Seljuk Turks manifesting similar suspicious likenesses to the greatest of the neo-Assyrian kings, with events recorded about them strongly reminiscent, too, of the dramatic conflict described in the Book of Judith. See my:

 

Seljuk, Zengi, and the neo-Assyrians

https://www.academia.edu/25411810/Seljuk_Zengi_and_the_neo-Assyrians

 

In this “Zengi” article I also introduced another supposedly historical Heraclius, but this time apparently ruling over, not Byzantium, but Jerusalem. Thus I wrote:

Most interestingly, too, in light of my massive historical query:

Two Supposed Nehemiahs: BC time and AD time

https://www.academia.edu/12429764/Two_Supposed_Nehemiahs_BC_time_and_AD_time

 

an “Heraclius” appears to get a re-run.

Firstly, king Chosroes II (said to have been a Persian king) of c. 600 AD was opposed to the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. Then, incredibly – or is it, anymore? – one named Heraclius (var. Eraclius) emerges in c. 1128-1190/91 AD, now as Patriarch of Jerusalem, at the time of Zengi.

 

 

Advertisements

Jesus Christ and Apollonius of Tyana

Published March 12, 2017 by amaic

Prose, by Lawrence Alma-Tadema [1879] (Public Domain Image)

Greco-Roman Glimmers of Jesus’s Death/Rising

 

Part One: King Romulus

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

“The tempest being over and the light breaking out, when the people gathered again, they missed and inquired for their king; the senators suffered them not to search, or busy themselves about the matter, but commanded them to honour and worship Romulus as one taken up to the gods, and about to be to them, in the place of a good prince, now a propitious god”.

 

Plutarch: Parallel Lives.

 

Hugh J. Schonfield (d. 1988) is well known for his controversial book about Jesus, entitled The Passover Plot, which he wrote in 1965.

According to the author, Jesus, desirous of saving his people, actually – and one must think, somewhat incredibly – orchestrated, as far as he could, his own manner of death, so as to accord with the ancient Messianic prophecies. “…the Crucifixion was part of a larger, conscious attempt by Jesus to fulfill the Messianic expectations rampant in his time, and that the plan went unexpectedly wrong”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_J._Schonfield

I recently read Schonfield’s follow-up book to The Passover Plot, which, written in 1981, he had entitled After the Cross. On pp. 115-117 of this book the author introduced the Greek historian Plutarch’s piece about King Romulus, supposed first king of Rome, beginning with:

 

Very few Christians would seem to be aware, however, of the strong similarity that exists between the image of the death and resurrection of Jesus and that of Romulus, the eponymous founder of Rome. The latter is set down in Plutarch’s Parallel Lives. Plutarch was born in the reign of the Emperor Claudius (41-54 A.D.) and was a contemporary of the authors of the Gospels. The relevant passage is quoted in full from an old English translation, which gives the flavor of the Authorized Version of the Bible.

 

Before quoting this passage (and I shall be using instead John Dryden’s translation), I should like to preface it by recalling, once again, that Greco-Roman mythology and pseudo-history is replete with appropriations and distortions of the original Hebrew biblical tales. I have written articles on this subject, including the Greek appropriation of King Solomon as Solon.

 

Solomon and Sheba

http://www.academia.edu/3660164/Solomon_and_Sheba

 

Anyway, here is the passage by Plutarch (http://classics.mit.edu/Plutarch/romulus.html):

 

… whereas Romulus, when he vanished, left neither the least part of his body, nor any remnant of his clothes to be seen. So that some fancied the senators, having fallen upon him in the temple of Vulcan, cut his body into pieces, and took each a part away in his bosom; others think his disappearance was neither in the temple of Vulcan, nor with the senators only by, but that it came to pass that, as he was haranguing the people without the city, near a place called the Goat’s Marsh,

 

[Comment: “… without the city” is appropriate, as is Goat. Recall the goat for sin offering]

 

on a sudden strange and unaccountable disorders and alterations took place in the air; the face of the sun was darkened, and the day turned into night, and that, too, no quiet, peaceable night, but with terrible thunderings, and boisterous winds from all quarters; during which the common people dispersed and fled, but the senators [read Sanhedrin?] kept close together. The tempest being over and the light breaking out, when the people gathered again, they missed and inquired for their king; the senators suffered them not to search, or busy themselves about the matter, but commanded them to honour and worship Romulus as one taken up to the gods, and about to be to them, in the place of a good prince, now a propitious god. The multitude, hearing this, went away believing and rejoicing in hopes of good things from him; but there were some, who, canvassing the matter in a hostile temper, accused and aspersed the patricians, as men that persuaded the people to believe ridiculous tales, when they themselves were the murderers of the king.

Things being in this disorder, one, they say, of the patricians, of noble family and approved good character, and a faithful and familiar friend of Romulus himself, having come with him from Alba, Julius Proculus

 

[Comment: Wife of Pontius Pilate was Claudia Procula].

 

by name, presented himself in the forum; and, taking a most sacred oath, protested before them all, that, as he was travelling on the road, he had seen Romulus coming to meet him, looking taller and comelier than ever, dressed in shining and flaming armour; and he, being affrighted at the apparition, said, “Why, O king, or for what purpose have you abandoned us to unjust and wicked surmises, and the whole city to bereavement and endless sorrow?” and that he made answer, “It pleased the gods, O Proculus, that we, who came from them, should remain so long a time amongst men as we did; and, having built a city to be the greatest in the world for empire and glory, should again return to heaven. But farewell; and tell the Romans, that, by the exercise of temperance and fortitude, they shall attain the height of human power; we will be to you the propitious god Quirinus.” This seemed credible to the Romans, upon the honesty and oath of the relater, and indeed, too, there mingled with it a certain divine passion, some preternatural influence similar to possession by a divinity; nobody contradicted it, but, laying aside all jealousies and detractions, they prayed to Quirinus and saluted him as a god.

 

Part One (b):

Romulus, Remus and Old Testament

  

“The modern [sic] connection of Romulus and Remus would be the story of Cain and Abel. Remus is like Cain because they are the jealous brothers, and Abel is like Romulus because they are the good brothers. In the story of Cain and Abel, Cain killed [Abel] because he was jealous that God favored Abel’s offering more than Cain’s. But with Romulus and Remus, Remus was jealous of Romulus’s wall around the hill, so they argued and Romulus killed Remus. Both stories have a sibling rivalry and in the end, both stories have one brother killing the other. Also in both stories, jealousy is involved, but both for different reasons”.

 

 

Introduction

 

Like so many of the Greco-Roman myths – even the so-called history of ancient philosophy – the well-known characters were distorted, garbled versions of originally Egyptian, Hebrew and Near Eastern persons. These being cultures and civilisations far older than those of the Greeks and the Romans. Thus, for instance, in typical Greek fashion, a Hebrew prophet will be re-presented as a philosopher.  See e.g. my:

 

‘Socrates’ as a Prophet

 

https://www.academia.edu/25249243/Socrates_as_a_Prophet

 

https://www.academia.edu/25249791/_Socrates_as_a_Prophet._Part_Two_Presumed_Era

 

https://www.academia.edu/25252804/_Socrates_as_a_Prophet._Part_Three_A_Composite_Figure

 

We saw in Part One of this present series that the absolutely unique accounts in the Gospels of the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ were picked up (albeit messily) in the writings of the approximately contemporary Greek biographer and essayist, Plutarch, and applied to the legendary first king of Rome, Romulus.

In Part Three of ‘Socrates’ above, the renowned, so-called Greek philosopher, it is argued, had no actual historical reality qua Socrates, but, rather, was a biblical composite. To consider just one of his biblical ‘manifestations’, Socrates, who is so often likened to Jesus Christ, will be found in Plato’s Meno doing what Jesus in fact did: writing on the ground (John 8:6, 8).

But what will Socrates write? Not something ethical.

In typically Greek fashion he will draw geometric figures in the ground.

The mythological Romulus and Remus, too, are biblical composites. They are commonly compared with Cain and Abel, and also with Moses. And one could no doubt find other biblical manifestations of them as well (see e.g. previous comparisons with Jesus Christ and Romulus).

 

Like Cain and Abel

 

Romulus and Remus were twin brothers and their mother was princess Rhea Silvia.

So, apparently, were Eve’s sons, Cain and Abel, twins.

(http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/articles_cainandabel.html):

 

Their Births

It is a well-known fact that Jacob and Esau were twins, but what is not commonly known is that Cain and Abel were also twins. In the normal Hebraic accounting of multiple births the conception then birth of each child is mentioned such as we can see in Genesis 29:32-33 where it states that Leah conceived and bore a son, and then she conceived again and bore a son. Note that there are two conceptions and two births. But notice how it is worded in Genesis 4:1-2.

 

Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain; And again, she bore his brother Abel. (RSV)

 

Notice that there is only one conception, but two births. The Hebrew word for “again” is asaph, meaning to add something, in this case the birthing of Abel was added to the birthing of Cain. Cain and Abel were twins.

 

And, further (https://sites.google.com/site/creationmythofromulsuandremus/):

 

The modern [sic] connection of Romulus and Remus would be the story of Cain and Abel. Remus is like Cain because they are the jealous brothers, and Abel is like Romulus because they are the good brothers. In the story of Cain and Abel, Cain killed [Abel] because he was jealous that God favored Abel’s offering more than Cain’s. But with Romulus and Remus, Remus was jealous of Romulus’s wall around the hill, so they argued and Romulus killed Remus. Both stories have a sibling rivalry and in the end, both stories have one brother killing the other. Also in both stories, jealousy is involved, but both for different reasons. Both stories are involved with marks. Cain is marked so everyone knows he killed his brother, Abel. But in the Roman myth, Romulus marks Rome by naming it after himself.

 

Similarly, at (http://jandyongenesis.blogspot.com.au/2010/12/cain-and-abel-were-twins.html):

 

The tradition of twins as the progenitors of tribal units or city builders is very well documented in Semitic and Indo-European cultures. When birth order is specified, the younger twin always receives the blessing over the first born brother. In the account of the sons of Adam, the first born twin is envious of the second and commits fratricide. There are many variations on this theme in other twin genesis accounts. Jacob is fearful that Esau will kill him, Romulus killed Remus and Gwyn and Gwythurin in Celtic tradition duel every May.

 

The Gemini twins, Castor and Pollux, shared a mortal and an immortal existence. Castor was killed on a cattle raid but Pollux persuaded Zeus to allow the brothers to switch places periodically. The word Gemini comes from the PIE root *ym which means ‘to pair’. This word is very similar to the Hebrew im mimation suffix but, of course, linguists say they are unrelated (sigh). ….

 

 

Parallels to Moses

 

Romulus and Remus, abandoned on the bank of the Tiber river, were famously suckled by a she-wolf.

From whence did this pagan myth arise?

We well know the Exodus (2:1-10) account of the birth of Moses and the forced abandonment of him due to the decree of the cruel Pharaoh – how the baby Moses was placed in a papyrus basket and set adrift on the river Nile (which the Romans inevitably replaced with their Tiber). Long before the Romans, I suggest, the ancient Egyptians had corrupted the legend of the baby Moses in the bulrushes so that now it became the goddess Isis who drew the baby Horus from the Nile and had him suckled by Hathor (the goddess in the form of a cow – the Egyptian personification of wisdom).

In the original story, of course, baby Moses was drawn from the water by an Egyptian princess, not a goddess, and was weaned by Moses’s own mother (Exodus 2:5-9).

Anyway, Moses became for the Egyptians Hor-mes, meaning ‘son of Hathor’, which legendary person the Greeks eventually absorbed into their own pantheon as Hermes, the winged messenger god. [The Roman version of Hermes is Mercury].

Thus the story evolved from the original Hebrew account, suckled by the mother, to the Egyptian version, suckled by the goddess in the form of a cow, to an entirely bestial suckler in the Roman account, a she-wolf.

In the name Remus (also Cadmus), the mus element is suspiciously Moses like.

Part Two:

Apollonius of Tyana

 

“Presenting further evidence that Philostratus’s biography of Apollonius is in many ways a replica of the life of Jesus, Cardinal Newman writes: The favour in which Apollonius from a child was held by gods and men; his conversations when a youth in the Temple of Aesculapius; his determination, in spite of danger to go up to Rome; the cowardice of his disciples in deserting him …”.

 

Introduction

 

The supposed C1st AD character, Apollonius of Tyana, is such a Jesus-like figure in many ways that some commentators would insist that the Gospels were based on the life of this Apollonius. Whereas, as I am arguing in this series, the precedence ought to be given to the Gospel version over the pagan one. And there are very good reasons, again, for claiming this to be correct, given the vagueness surrounding the author of the “Life of Apollonius”, the Greek sophist Philostratus, and that he wrote about Apollonius much later than the Gospels, in the C3rd AD. I favour Fr. Jean Carmignac’s compelling argument, as set out in his Birth of the Synoptics (1987), that the Synoptic Gospels were written by eyewitnesses at a very early date.

 

Philostratus

 

As I have often remarked, one of the most common phrases used by the conventional historians of ancient history is this one, “… little is known about …”. And that fully applies to Philostratus, who himself, I suspect, may not have been an actual historical character, but a ‘ghost’ based upon some previous person – perhaps upon one of the Evangelists. Thus we read of Philostratus

http://www.theodora.com/encyclopedia/p/philostratus.html

 

Very little is known of his career. Even his name is doubtful. The Lives of the Sophists gives the praenomen Flavius, which, however, is found elsewhere only in Tzetzes. Eunapius and Synesius call him a Lemnian; Photius a Tyrian; his letters refer to him as an Athenian. It is probable that he was born in Lemnos, studied and taught at Athens, and then settled in Rome ….

 

I rest my case.

But furthermore:

 

The Lives are not in the true sense biographical, but rather picturesque impressions of leading representatives of an attitude of mind full of curiosity, alert and versatile, but lacking scientific method, preferring the external excellence of style and manner to the solid achievements of serious writing. The philosopher, as he says, investigates truth; the sophist embellishes it, and takes it for granted. ….

 

That appears to be a very shaky historical foundation, indeed, upon which to raise a life story of one who is considered by some to have been the exemplar for Jesus Christ himself.

 

Apollonius of Tyana

 

Most commentators simply presume the historicity of Philostratus when considering the Apollonius of Tyana of whom he wrote.

Two such, who would regard Apollonius as being modelled upon Jesus Christ, were F. Bauer and Cardinal Newman http://www.mountainman.com.au/Apollonius_the_Nazarene_3.htm

 

Even as late as 1832, [F.] Bauer attempted to show that not only were there resemblances between the “Life of Apollonius of Tyana” and the Gospels, but that Philostratus deliberately modeled his hero on the type set forth by the Evangelists. He was followed in this view by Zeller, the celebrated Greek historian.

 

Typical of latter nineteenth century views on the subject is that of Cardinal Newman, a Catholic apologist, who, admitting the identity of Apollonius and the Gospel messiah, considers the former an imitation of the latter, in spite of the fact that he preceded him by three centuries (For the Jesus of the Gospels was evidently born in the year 325 A.D., at the Council of Nicea, rather than when the star appeared over Bethlehem).

 

To support his view, Newman mentions certain typical examples, such as Apollonius’s bringing to life a dead girl in Rome, which he considers as “an attempt, and an elaborate, pretentious attempt, to outdo certain narratives in the Gospels (Mark v. 29, Luke vii. John xi: 41-43, Acts iii: 4-6). This incident, is described by Philostratus.

 

Presenting further evidence that Philostratus’s biography of Apollonius is in many ways a replica of the life of Jesus, Cardinal Newman writes: The favour in which Apollonius from a child was held by gods and men; his conversations when a youth in the Temple of Aesculapius; his determination, in spite of danger to go up to Rome; the cowardice of his disciples in deserting him; the charge brought against him of disaffection to Caesar; the Minister’s acknowledging, on his private examination, that he was more than man; the ignominious treatment of him by Domitian on his second appearance at Rome; his imprisonment with criminals; his vanishing from Court and sudden reappearance to his mourning disciples at Puteoli–these, with other particulars of a similar cast, evidence a history modelled after the narrative of the Evangelists. Expressions, moreover, and descriptions occur, clearly imitated “from the sacred volume.”

 

Reville, another Catholic apologist, thinks as does Newman that “the biography of Apollonius is in great measure an imitation of the Gospel narrative.’* (*Reville bases his argument on the similarity of the characters of Apollonius and Pythagoras (which is natural in view of Apollonius following Pythagoras as his example); and he seeks to prove that Apollonius, rather than Jesus, is a fictitious creation, rather than an historical character. Reville writes: “It is hard to say whether the Pythagoras of the Alexandrians is not an Apollonius of an earlier date by some centuries, or whether the Apollonius of Julia Domna, besides his resemblance to Christ, is not a Pythagoras endowed with a second youth. The real truth of the matter will probably be found to lie between the two suggestions.”

[End of quotes]

 

For my view that Pythagoras was, for his part, based upon an ancient Hebrew sage, see e.g.:

 

Joseph of Egypt and Pythagoras

https://www.academia.edu/24378098/Joseph_of_Egypt_and_Pythagoras

 

Philostratus’s account of the life of Apollonius of Tyana is thought to have been written as late as the 220’s/230’s AD, which is obviously later than the Gospels.

 

Wikipedia gives these:

 

Similarities shared by the stories about Apollonius and the life of Jesus [23]

 

  • Birth miraculously announced by God
  • Religiously precocious as a child
  • Asserted to be a native speaker of Aramaic
  • Influenced by Plato/ reflected Platonism (Jesus)
  • [Renounced/ denounced (Jesus)] wealth
  • Followed abstinence and asceticism
  • Wore long hair and robes
  • Was unmarried and childless
  • Was anointed with oil
  • Went to Jerusalem
  • Spoke in [metaphors/ parables] (Jesus)
  • Saw and predicted the future
  • Performed miracles
  • Healed the sick
  • Cast out evil spirits/ Drove out demons (Jesus)
  • Raised the daughter of a [Roman official/ Jewish official (Jesus)] from the dead
  • Spoke as a “law-giver”
  • Was on a mission to bring [Greek culture/ Jewish culture (Jesus)] to [the “barbarians”/ the ” nations” (Jesus)]
  • Believed to be “saviors” from heaven
  • Were accused of being a magician
  • Were accused of killing a boy
  • Condemned [by Roman emperor/ by Roman authorities (Jesus)]
  • Imprisoned [at Rome/ at Jerusalem (Jesus)]
  • Was assumed into heaven/ Ascended into heaven (Jesus)
  • Appeared posthumously to a detractor as a brilliant light
  • Had his image revered [in temples/ in churches (Jesus)]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollonius_of_Tyana#Comparisons_with_Jesus

 

Akhimiti and Archimedes

Published March 3, 2017 by amaic

Image result for archimedes

 King Hezekiah and the strong Fort of Lachish

Part Two: Akhi-miti’s short tenure

by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

“Azuri king of Ashdod, not to bring tribute his heart was set, and to the kings in his neighbourhood proposals of rebellion against Assyria he sent. Because of the evil he did, over the men of his land I changed his lordship. Akhimiti his own brother, to sovereignty over them I appointed”.

King Sargon of Assyria

  

 

Introduction

 

In the course of this series I shall be presuming that Sargon II was the same Assyrian ruler as Sennacherib:

Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

https://www.academia.edu/6708474/Assyrian_King_Sargon_II_Otherwise_Known_As_Sennacherib

 

A failure to recognise this fact will lead to what I described in my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

as “Worrying Duplications and Anomalies”. These affect not only Sargon II/Sennacherib himself, but, naturally, his contemporaries, such as our proposed high-priests, Azuri and Akhi-miti (var. Mitinti). As I pointed out on pp. 142, 144:

 

  • Worrying Duplications and Anomalies.

 

  1. The ubiquitous king of Babylon, Merodach-baladan II, was:

 

– already a political factor in the days of Tiglath-pileser III (c. 744-727 BC).

– He then, supposedly two reigns later, becomes a complete thorn in Sargon II’s side for the latter’s first, approximately, 12 years of reign (c. 721-710).

– He then resurfaces at the time of Sennacherib, who defeats him in his first

campaign and then, finally, in his fourth campaign (c. 704-700).

 

Kings can reign over long periods of time, but this Merodach-baladan seems perhaps to have overstayed his welcome.

Mitinti of ‘Ashdod’ ranges through the same approximate, long neo-Assyrian period.

….

 

  1. Sennacherib is thought, already by 713 BC, to have been the recipient, as crown prince, of the heavy tribute from Azuri of ‘Ashdod’, who was in fact Sargon’s foe.336

 

In the course of this series I shall also be presuming that “Ashdod” as referred to by Sargon II, and by Isaiah (20:1), was the great Judaean city of Lachish:

Sargon II’s “Ashdod” – the Strong Fort of Lachish

https://www.academia.edu/8713108/Sargon_II_s_Ashdod_-_the_Strong_Fort_of_Lachish

 

Continuing on with my thesis, I also wrote about the problematical Ashdod:

 

  1. Disturbing, too, is the following unprecedented situation at ‘Ashdod’ as viewed by

Tadmor from the conventional angle:337

 

Ashdod was then organized [by Sargon] as an Assyrian province. Sennacherib

however restored it to its former state as a tributary kingdom. …. Mitinti, the king

of Ashdod, is mentioned in the Annals of Sennacherib …. There is no doubt, therefore, that at the time of the campaign of Judah (701) Ashdod had an autonomous king and not an Assyrian governor. The reorganization of Ashdod – from a province back to a vassaldom – has no precedent. …. in the time of Esarhaddon Ashdod was again turned into a province.

 

All this topsy turvy supposedly in the space of a few decades!

 

Akhi-miti

 

Historians, such as D. Redford, have chosen to date Akhi-miti’s appointment to the fort of Ashdod by the Assyrians to 713 BC. Thus I wrote on p. 27:

 

Redford has actually called this campaign, that he dates to 712 BC, “an anchor date”.

Here is his account (my dating of these events will be slightly different from his):83

 

Thanks to a variety of studies over the last 25 years, the year 712 B.C. has emerged as an anchor date in the history of the Late Period in Egypt. The general course of events leading up to and culminating in the Assyrian campaign against Ashdod in that year is now fairly sure, and may be sketched as follows. Sometime early in 713 B.C. the Assyrians deposed Aziri [Azuri], king of Ashdod on suspicion of lese-majeste, and appointed one Ahimetti [Akhi-miti] to replace him.

 

Then I proceeded to enlarge on all of this, and on Ashdod, on pp. 154-158:

 

‘Ashdod’

 

Now, when Sargon refers to ‘Ashdod, we need to be clear as to which exact location he had in mind, for he also refers in the same account to an ‘Ashdod-by-the-Sea’. Thus we read: “Ashdod, Gimtu [Gath?], Ashdudimmu [Ashdod-by-the-Sea], I besieged and captured”. It is the maritime Ashdod357 that I am going to propose – contrary to the usual view – is the well known Ashdod of the Philistine plain; whilst the ‘Ashdod’ mentioned first here by Sargon I shall identify as the mighty inland stronghold of Lachish (approx. 50 km south west of Jerusalem), the most important Judaean fort after Jerusalem itself. These three cities of Lachish, Gath and Ashdod, taken together, formed something of a line of formidable forts in Judaea358. Assyria had to take them as they were a dangerous base for hostile Egypt.

That Sargon would have had to confront Lachish would seem to be inevitable, militarily, due to the fact that he did indeed capture its neighbouring fort of Azekah.359 (For more on this, see pp. 158-159 below). Did not Sargon II boast anyway of his having been the “subduer of the land of Iaudu (Judah), which lies far away …”?360

Now, the fortress of Lachish was the high point of Sennacherib’s western campaign. To no Judaean city apart from Jerusalem itself would the description ‘Ashdod’ … that is, ‘a very strong place’, apply more aptly than to Lachish. The name ‘Ashdod’, from the root shádad …, ‘to be strong’, signifies ‘a stronghold’. “What a surprise, then”, writes Russell,361 regarding the surrender of Lachish, “to turn to the annalistic account of that same campaign – inscribed on the bulls at the throne-room entrance – and discover that Lachish is not mentioned at all”.

 

Was it that Sargon II – hence, that Sennacherib – had instead referred to Lachish by the descriptive title of ‘Ashdod’, whose capture Sargon covers in detail?

 

Let us now follow [Charles] Boutflower in his reconstruction of this somewhat complex campaign, referring to the fragment Sm. 2022 of Sargon’s Annals, which he calls “one particularly precious morsel”:362

 

The longer face [of this fragment] … has a dividing line drawn across it near the bottom. Immediately below this line, and somewhat to the left, there can be seen with the help of a magnifying-glass a group of nine cuneiform indentations

arranged in three parallel horizontal rows. Even the uninitiated will easily understand that we have here a representation of the number “9”. It is this figure, then, which gives to the fragment its special interest, for it tells us, as I am about to show, “the year that the Tartan came unto Ashdod”.

 

Boutflower now moves on to the focal point of Assyria’s concerns: mighty ‘Ashdod’:363

 

The second difficulty in Sm. 2022 is connected with the mention of Ashdod in the part below the dividing line. According to the reckoning of time adopted on this fragment something must have happened at Ashdod at the beginning of Sargon’s ninth year, i.e. at the beginning of the tenth year, the year 712 BC, according to the better-known reckoning of the Annals. Now, when we turn to the Annals and examine the record of this tenth year, we find no mention whatever of Ashdod. Not till we come to the second and closing portion of the record for the eleventh year do we meet with the account of the famous campaign against that city.

 

What, then, is the solution to this second difficulty Boutflower asks? And he answers this as follows:364

 

Simply this: that the mention of Ashdod on the fragment Sm. 2022 does not refer to the siege of that town, which, as just stated, forms the second and closing event in the record of the following year, but in all probability does refer to the first of those political events which led up to the siege, viz. the coming of the Tartan to Ashdod. To make this plain, I will now give the different accounts of the Ashdod imbroglio found in the inscriptions of Sargon, beginning with the one in the Annals (lines 215-228) already referred to, which runs thus:

 

“Azuri king of Ashdod, not to bring tribute his heart was set, and to the kings in his neighbourhood proposals of rebellion against Assyria he sent. Because of the evil he did, over the men of his land I changed his lordship. Akhimiti his own brother, to sovereignty over them I appointed. The Khatte [Hittites], plotting rebellion, hated his lordship; and Yatna, who had no title to the throne, who, like themselves, the reverence due to my lordship did not acknowledge, they set up over them. In the wrath of my heart, riding in my war-chariot, with my cavalry, who do not retreat from the place whither I turn my hands, to Ashdod, his royal city, I marched in haste. Ashdod, Gimtu [Gath?], Ashdudimmu … I besieged and captured. …”.

 

Typical Assyrian war records! Boutflower shows how they connect right through to

Sargon’s Year 11, which both he and Tadmor365 date to 711 BC:366

 

The above extract forms … the second and closing portion of the record given in the Annals under Sargon’s 11th year, 711 BC., the earlier portion of the record for that year being occupied with the account of the expedition against Mutallu of Gurgum. In the Grand Inscription of Khorsabad we meet with a very similar account, containing a few fresh particulars. The usurper Yatna, i.e. “the Cypriot”, is there styled Yamani, “the Ionian”, thus showing that he was a Greek. We are also told that he fled away to Melukhkha on the border of Egypt, but was thrown into chains by the Ethiopian king and despatched to Assyria.

 

…. In order to effect the deposition of the rebellious Azuri, and set his brother Akhimiti on the throne, Sargon sent forth an armed force to Ashdod. It is in all probablity the despatch of such a force, and the successful achievement of the end in view, which were recorded in the fragment Sm. 2022 below the dividing line. As Isa xx.1 informs us – and the statement, as we shall presently see, can be verified from contemporary sources – this first expedition was led by the Tartan. Possibly this may be the reason why it was not thought worthy to be recorded in the Annals under Sargon’s tenth year, 712 BC. But when we come to the eleventh year, 711 BC, and the annalist very properly and suitably records the whole series of events leading up to the siege, two things at once strike us: first, that all these events could not possibly have happened in the single year 711 BC; and secondly, as stated above, that a force must have previously been despatched at the beginning of the troubles to accomplish the deposition of Azuri and the placing of Akhimiti on the throne. On the retirement of this force sedition must again have broken out in Ashdod, for it appears that the anti-Assyrian party were able, after a longer or shorter interval, once more to get the upper hand, to expel Akhimiti, and to set up in his stead a Greek adventurer, Yatna-Yamani. The town was then strongly fortified, and surrounded by a moat.

 

 

We have by no means seen the end of the important Akhi-miti, or Mitinti, who will re-emerge again shortly, during King Sennacherib’s major campaign to Judah, as King Hezekiah’s chief official, Eliakim son of Hilkiah (Isaiah 36:3).

And then he will further emerge as the high priest, Joakim (Joiakim) of the Book of Judith, during Sennacherib’s ill-fated campaign occurring about a decade later.

* * *

Archimedes

 

Did the Greeks appropriate the C8th BC official, Akhi-miti, and re-cast him as Archimedes, about whom “… very little is known about the early life of Archimedes or his family”? http://archimedespalimpsest.org/about/history/archimedes.php – and, about whom there are “… many fantastic tales surrounding the life of Archimedes”.

Given that Stephanie Dalley has now proved that the water screw, thought to have been invented by Archimedes, was in use as early as the time of King Sennacherib of Assyria (“Sennacherib, Archimedes, and the Water Screw”: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/40151), we have to be very doubtful, I think, of the historical reality of this Archimedes.

Famed for his supposedly having held off the besieging Romans, this may be just another of the many legends that have arisen from the historical dramas at the time of King Hezekiah of Judah, at both of which Eliakim (= Akhi-miti?) was present: namely Sennacherib’s aborted siege of Jerusalem, and the later siege by the Assyrian army as recorded in the Book of Judith.