All posts for the month May, 2017

Solomon and Charlemagne

Published May 4, 2017 by amaic

Image result for charlemagne

 Part One:

Life of Charlemagne


Damien F. Mackey


Emperor Charlemagne’s life bears some uncanny likenesses to

that of the ancient King Solomon of Israel and his family.



Charlemagne has indeed been likened to King Solomon of old, e.g. by H. Daniel-Rops (The Church in the Dark Ages, p. 395), who calls him “a witness of God, after the style of Solomon …”, and he has been spoken of in terms of the ancient kings of Israel; whilst Charlemagne’s father, Pepin the Short, was hailed as “the new king David”.

Charlemagne, too, appears sometimes as a larger-than-life king, almost too good to be true. His coronation on Christmas Day of 800 AD can seem just too neat and perfect. He was, according to Daniel-Rops (ibid., p. 390), “… the heaven-sent man, for whom Europe was waiting …”. And: (p. 401): “Who in the world fitted this role more than this glamorous personage, who set every man’s imagination afire and who seemed so much larger than life?”


Charlemagne is assigned to the period known as the Dark Ages (c. 600-900 AD); a period somewhat lacking in archaeology – and there is precious little evidence for the many buildings that this famous king is supposed to have had erected. (See Part Two)

Admittedly, the anomalies and contradictions associated with virtually every aspect of the life of Charlemagne, from his birth to his death, are evident for all to consider.


Other striking likenesses to the persons of the Old Testament, apart from that of Charlemagne’s father king Pepin being like king David; are his mother, Bertha or Bertrada, reminding of Bathsheba; Charlemagne’s wife, “Desideria”, reminding of the “Queen of Sheba”; and Charlemagne’s colourful eastern friend and ally, Harun al-Raschid, most definitely like Solomon’s ally, King Hiram of Tyre. The last I believe to have been – as King Solomon most certainly was – a real historical person:


King Hiram the Historical and Hiram Abiff the Hysterical



Charlemagne’s Father, Pepin, “the new David”


  1. Fraioli tells of Pepin at his peak (Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years War, p. 46): “An aura of prestige now surrounded the king, whom the pope called the “new king David” …”. Gregory of Tours had, as we shall read below, spoken similarly of king Clovis I, of the Merovingian dynasty. This traditional likening of Frankish kings to the ancient Davidic kings immediately raises the important point to be considered in this article concerning a sacred attitude held in regard to French kings, and this might go a long way towards accounting for the phenomenon of Charlemagne.

Let us take a relevant section on this from Fraioli’s book (pp. 43-45):




France developed by far the most sacred mythology around its kingship of all the kingdoms in western Europe, although the earliest known coronations occurred in Visigothic Spain and Ireland. The sacred mythology of French kingship, which became known as “the religion of the monarchy”, first emerged during the Merovingian dynasty, in the context of a baptismal anointing rather than a sacred coronation, when Clovis, king of the Franks, converted to Christianity. ….

Fraioli will however, in a later section on Hincmar (d. 882), suggest that this whole notion of sacred kingship was a late tradition, both mythical and “fabricated”. Here is what she has to say about it there (pp. 47-48. Emphasis added)

Hincmar, archbishop of Reims from 845 to 882, was a learned theologian and nimble politician, whose fame in the development of sacred kingship rests on his introduction of the legend of the Holy Ampulla into the history of Clovis, four centuries after the fact. In an effort to prove the continuity of Frankish kingship and, it is commonly believed, to challenge the influence of the abbey of Saint Denis – then successfully fusing its own history with that of the monarchy – Hincmar authorized a new myth. He is often believed to have fabricated the story himself in an attempt to expand the importance of the see of Reims. In all likelihood, he did not invent it, although he had confessed to forging other documents. The myth made the astonishing assertion that the liquid used to consecrate Frankish kings was of divine origin. A dove, the Christian symbol of the Holy Spirit, had allegedly delivered the Ampulla, or vial, of sacred liquid in its beak, when the bustling crowd at Clovis’ baptism had prevented the bearer of the baptismal oil from a timely arrival at the ceremony. Through this myth the election of French kings was seen as the will of God. Furthermore, the continuity of their rule was guaranteed by an inexhaustible supply of anointing balm in the Holy Ampulla, which could anoint French kings to the end of time.


[End of quote]


This charming story may have Old Testament origins in the miraculous preservation, in liquid form, of the sacred fire as recorded in 2 Maccabees 1:18-36, for the time of the biblical Nehemiah, whom we have found apparently making an anachronistic ‘return visit’ at the time of the Prophet Mohammed, BC dragged into AD time:


Two Supposed Nehemiahs: BC time and AD time


The legend of Hincmar may perhaps have arisen out of a confused transmission of the original true historical account relating to the governor Nehemiah.

We continue now with Fraioli’s earlier section on The French Tradition, where she briefly considers Clovis I (pp. 44-45), and then proceeds on to Pepin (p. 46), emphasis added:


Clovis I (d. 511) and the Franks


…. At his baptism, King Clovis was anointed with a holy balm, or salve … in a ceremony blending kingship and religion. According to the contemporary chronicle of Gregory of Tours, the anointing of Clovis occurred by the grace of God, prompting Gregory to draw an analogy between Clovis and the sacred kingship of David in the Old Testament. ….


Pepin the Short (d. 768)


…. Pepin the Short … receives the credit for introducing the ritual of sacred anointing, or consecration, into the installation ceremony for French kings. …. As Patrick Simon has stated, Pepin’s innovation consisted of “legitimizing through a religious ceremony a power obtained by force …”.

…. The union of king and clergy provided mutual benefit …. An aura of prestige now surrounded the king, whom the pope called the “new David” ….


[End of quotes]


Again, we recall the famous anointing with “the horn of oil” of David the shepherd, the youngest son of Jesse, by Samuel the high priest and prophet, after Samuel had rejected one by one David’s seven older brothers (1 Samuel 16:1-13). After the death of Saul (Samuel was also dead by now) David was anointed again, at Hebron, as king of all Israel (2 Samuel 5:3).

Now Pepin, likewise, was twice crowned (Fraioli, p. 46. Emphasis added): “The second coronation, celebrated at Saint-Denis in 754 [AD], cleverly reconnected Pepin’s reign to the Merovingians through his wife, big-foot Bertha, a descendant of Clovis, which provided fictional continuity to French kingship”.

King David is sometimes found going so far, it seems, as to act out the priest’s rôle, as for example when he had triumphantly returned the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem, and he subsequently offered “burnt offerings and the offering of well-being before the Lord” (2 Samuel 6:17).

Both David and Pepin were warrior-kings and men of great personal courage. Pepin is famous, in his youthful days, like David, for his courage against wild animals, including lions. Daniel-Rops (op. cit., p. 387) tells of it: “A well-known picture, which was already very popular in the Middle Ages, has impressed on our minds the features of this thickset, broad-shouldered little man who, for a wager, amused himself by separating a lion and a bull who were in the middle of a fight in the circus arena”.

In the case of David, this courage is manifest, not “in the circus arena”, but in the field. More serious, and we might say less frivolous, was David’s situation, when the giant, Goliath, was challenging the armies of Israel. Then David said to Saul (1 Samuel 17:34-36):


‘Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and whenever a lion or a bear came, and took a lamb from the flock, I went after it and struck it down, rescuing the lamb from its mouth; and if it turned against me, I would catch it by the jaw, strike it down and kill it. Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, since he has defied the armies of the living God’.


Pepin was nicknamed “the Short”.

Was David also short? He probably was not of very tall stature. When the prophet Samuel came to Jesse’s boys, to anoint the one amongst them whom God had chosen, Samuel had been most impressed by Eliab, who was apparently of a good height (1 Samuel 16:6-7). So, we could probably draw the conclusion that, when the Lord advised Samuel not to look on “the height of [the candidate’s] stature” in making his choice, that David, the youngest of the boys, who eventually was chosen, was not that very tall. But David was of fine appearance, nonetheless: “Now he was ruddy, and had beautiful eyes, and was handsome” (v. 12).


Charlemagne, “after the style of Solomon”


His Beginnings

Like Solomon, the young son, Charlemagne (said to be 26 at the time), succeeded his father. But some hazy legend seems to surround Charlemagne’s mother and the king’s own early years. Thus Daniel-Rops (op. cit., p. 391):


What had he done, this boy who was promised to such a lofty destiny, between that day in 742 when Bertha, the daughter of the Count of Laon – the ‘Bertha of the big feet’ of the chansons de gestes – brought him into the world in some royal villa or other in Austrasia, and the premature hour of his succession? No one really knows, and Einhard of all people, who faithfully chronicled his reign, is strangely discreet about his hero’s early years.

[End of quote]


In the case of Solomon, he was not born out of wedlock, as it is thought of Charlemagne. Rather it was Bathsheba’s child who had died as a result of king David’s sin of adultery with her (2 Samuel 12:16-23). Solomon himself was the child of ‘consolation’ for the pair after the sad death of this un-named child (v. 24).


Now were, perhaps, the French ‘Songs’ (or Chansons), the Song of Roland (La Chanson de Roland) and the “Songs of heroic deeds [or lineages]” (Chansons de gestes), inspired by, or even in part based upon, the biblical “Song of Songs” or “Canticle of Canticles” (also known as the “Song of Solomon”); a love poem that could well have inspired some of the famous French chivalric notions?

Was the ‘wisdom of Oliver’ in the Song of Roland inspired by the Wisdom of Solomon? “Oliver urges caution; wisdom and restraint are part of what makes him a good knight” (

Did the “giants” in these Chansons perhaps arise from the encounter between David and the giant Goliath? Wikipedia tells (article “Chanson de geste”):


Composed in Old French and apparently intended for oral performance by jongleurs, the chansons de geste narrate legendary incidents (sometimes based on real events) in the history of France during the eighth and ninth centuries, the age of Charles Martel, Charlemagne and Louis the Pious, with emphasis on their conflicts with the Moors and Saracens. To these historical legends, fantasy is gradually added; giants, magic, and monsters increasingly appear among the foes along with Muslims. ….

[End of quote]


His Birthplace

More than a dozen places are claiming the honour to be the birthplace of Charles.

The year of birth varies between 742 and 747 AD. Bertrada, the mother of Charles, was said to be a Bretonian princess, an Hungarian noble woman, or a member of the imperial family of Byzantium.

The competition for the throne between Charles and his brother, Carloman, is also very much like what we find in the biblical account of the challenge to the throne by Solomon’s brother, Adonijah (1 Kings 1:5-10). The mother may perhaps have been complicit in this (cf. 2:9). According to Daniel-Rops (op. cit., p. 395): “At the time of [Charles’] accession this question [of Italy, Rome and the Lombards] had been considerably confused owing to the political mistakes of Queen Bertha, his mother”. Solomon, like Carloman, seems to have been twice elected king (accession and coronation), and in the first case, in both instances, the mother appears to have played an ambiguous part.

Again, when Adonijah’s bid for the throne had failed, he cunningly approached Bathsheba to ask Solomon to give him the beautiful Abishag for his wife (2:13-18). When Bathsheba did approach Solomon, the latter acted out the pretence of complying with his mother’s request (2:2): “King Solomon answered his mother, ‘And why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom as well! For he is my elder brother; ask not only for him but also for the priest Abiathar and for Joab the son of Zeruiah!’ [both of whom had supported Adonijah in his revolt against David and Solomon]”.

This situation can perhaps be likened to the case of what Daniel-Rops (op. cit., ibid.) has referred to as “these manoeuvres when Queen Bertha had married her elder son … to Desiderius’s [King of Pavia’s] daughter, Desideria”. Though, in the biblical story, Adonijah apparently was not actually a son of Bathsheba’s (1 Kings 1:5), nor of course did he manage to fulfil his wish of marrying Abishag, despite his desire for her. “Desideria” is certainly a most appropriate appellation for the much-desired Abishag. And soon I shall be showing, from another parallel situation between Solomon and Charlemagne, that Desideria well equates with this Abishag.

Of course Solomon was being completely sarcastic in his reply to Adonijah’s request via Bathsheba. The wise king fully appreciated the implications of the scheming Adonijah’s attaining the hand of David’s favourite, Abishag. Thus he added, chillingly (vv. 23-25):


‘So may God do to me, and more also [a typical idiom of the time], for Adonijah has devised this scheme at the risk of his life! Now therefore as the Lord lives, who has established me and placed me on the throne of my father David, and who has made me a house as he promised, today Adonijah shall be put to death’. So King Solomon sent Benaiah son of Jehoiada; he struck him down, and he died.


Conveniently, likewise, Charlemagne’s brother died suddenly (Daniel-Rops, p. 391): “But scarcely three years had elapsed when an unexpected death completely broke these shackles …. Charles claimed his brother’s heritage and thus rebuilt the unity of the paternal realm under his leadership”.

Solomon’s sarcasm in the face of Bathsheba’s request may even have its faint glimmer in the case of the chaffing compliance of the young Charles towards his own mother (ibid., pp. 394-395): “Despite his twenty-five years Charles had appeared to defer to his energetic mother’s wishes. But he fretted under the restraint”.


His Natural Qualities

Like Solomon, Charlemagne was a most gifted individual, and the perfect king material (Daniel-Rops, p. 392):


Charles was … throughout his life – quick, far-sighted, and energetic. In these instinctive qualities lies the secret of his incomparably fruitful labour, and, to their service, a never-failing vigour lent an activity which was truly prodigious. ….And he had other complementary qualities, which decisively defined his grandeur: prudence, moderation, a realistic appreciation of the possible, a mistrust of unconsidered actions. It is the Emperor Augustus whom Charlemagne recalls, rather than Caesar or Alexander.


Or is it rather king Solomon “whom Charlemagne [most closely] recalls”?

As for “prudence” and his other cardinal virtues, as mentioned in the quote above, well, was not Solomon the first person to list these virtues (Wisdom of Solomon 8:7)?


His Appearance

What did Charlemagne look like?

“Truth to tell, nothing very detailed can be put forward on this point” (Daniel-Rops, ibid.).

What is certain is that Charlemagne was not in fact the giant ‘with the flowing beard’ whom Chanson de Roland has immortalized; the mighty build is a poetic exaggeration, and the beard is an anachronism which owes its origin to the Byzantine-Arab fashion which, in the tenth century, considered that all distinguished Western Europeans should be excessively hairy.

[End of quote]


The beard was of course de rigueur in Solomon’s era.

For an idealized (and even mighty) physical description of king Solomon and his Shunammite bride, from which Chanson de Roland may perhaps have gained some epic inspiration, see “Song of Songs” 5:10-16.


His Intelligence and Discernment

“Was he intelligent?”, asks Daniel-Rops (op. cit., p. 393), who then answers his question:


Most certainly; and when we think of his profound knowledge of men, of his ease at grasping situations, of the immensity of the tasks which he conceived and of the undertakings which he managed, we realize that his intelligence was far above the average”. And: “He unquestionably had a supreme appreciation of the overriding need of the moment – the foundation of a new culture – and this is one of the aspects of his character in which his genius shines forth most brilliantly”.


Solomon was of course the wisest of the wise; his name being a byword for wisdom. We read, for instance, in the Book of Ecclesiastes of king Solomon (12:9-14):



Besides being wise, the Teacher [Qoheleth] also taught the people knowledge, weighing and studying and arranging many proverbs. The Teacher sought to find pleasing words, and he wrote words of truth plainly. The sayings of the wise are like goads, and like nails firmly fixed are the collected sayings that are given by one shepherd. Of anything beyond these, my child, beware. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

The end of the matter: all has been heard. Fear God, and keep his commandments; for that is the whole duty of everyone. For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.


Most of this could be applied to Charlemagne, we shall find, for we shall see unfurl the traditional multi-facetted concept of him as a pious, wise and culturally restructuring (even Renaissance-like) king.

There are many other examples, too, of Solomon’s extraordinary wisdom and discernment. Here are just a few:


1 Kings 4:29: “God gave Solomon very great wisdom, discernment, and breadth of understanding, as vast as the sand on the seashore”.

Wisdom 1:1: “Love righteousness, you rulers of the earth …”.

Ecclesiastes 9:1: “… how the righteous and the wise … are in the hand of God”.

Moreover, Solomon was not shy about broadcasting his wisdom and the fact that he had exceeded all others in it. For example (Ecclesiastes 1:16): “I said to myself, ‘I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me; and my mind has great experience of wisdom and knowledge’.”

However Solomon, in his ‘Prayer for Wisdom’ (Book of Wisdom 7:15-17), had attributed his wisdom to God:

“May God grant me to speak with judgment, and to have thoughts worthy of what I have received; for He is the guide even of wisdom and the corrector of the wise. For both we and our words are in His hand, as are all understanding and skill in crafts. For it is He who gave me unerring knowledge of what exists …”.

Ecclesiastes 1:12: “I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem applied my mind to seek and search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven …”.

Ecclesiastes 7:25: “I turned my mind to know and to search out and to seek wisdom and the sum of things, and to know that wickedness is folly and that foolishness is madness”.


The multi-talented Solomon was, I have proposed, the genius Senenmut (or Senmut), a key organiser in 18th dynasty Egypt:


Solomon and Sheba


“by far the most powerful and important figure of [female pharaoh Hatshepsut’s] reign”, who was – like Solomon – not beyond self-praise: “I was the greatest of the great in the land”. Thus Senenmut.

King Solomon, too, exhorted other kings and officials to follow his way (Wisdom 6:1-9):


Listen therefore, O kings, and understand; learn, O judges of the ends of the earth. Give ear you that rule over multitudes, and boast of many nations. For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High; he will search out your works and inquire into your plans. Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly, or keep the law, or walk according to the purpose of God, he will come upon you terribly and swiftly, because severe judgment falls on those in high places. For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy, but the mighty will be mightily tested. For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of anyone, or show deference to greatness; because he himself made both small and great, and he takes thought for all alike. But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty. To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed, so that you may learn wisdom and not transgress.


His Repudiated Wife

Charlemagne, according to Daniel-Rops (op. cit., p. 396): “… repudiated Desideria, his Lombard wife, and sent her back to Pavia post-haste.

Solomon also divorced “the Queen of Sheba”, Hatshepsut, and sent her back to Egypt. This, as I have explained following the terrific research of Dr. Ed Metzler (, is the full meaning of the Hebrew of 1 Kings 10:13, that now translates weakly as: “Then she returned to her own land, with her servants”. Metzler has suggested that the biblical phrase “she [Sheba] turned” (to go back home) indicates ‘divorce’ (Latin divortium, from divertere, “to turn away”) ….

The Europeans of the Middle Ages would have known of Solomon only from the Bible. They did not have the advantages that we have today of archaeology and other knowledges – and even today this era can still be so poorly known.

Solomon’s divorce of ‘the Queen of Sheba’ was all purely political.

Despite King David’s having made absolutely clear his wish regarding the succession in favour of his son, Solomon, there arose ‘the Abishag incident’, in relation to which Queen Bathsheba was involved in an intrigue with Solomon’s brother for the throne. And, just as Solomon went counter to his mother, Queen Bathsheba, on behalf of David, so, we find from Daniel-Rops (op. cit., ibid.) that: “Bertha’s policy was abruptly abandoned, and Charlemagne was returning to that pursued by Pepin”.

Charlemagne’s triumph is recounted by Daniel-Rops as follows (ibid., p. 397):


At Easter 774, in a grandiose ceremony, the victorious Frank was to be received at St. Peter’s like a hero; the three doors of the basilica were opened in his honour. As he ascended the steps he kissed them piously, one by one, and prostrated himself upon the apostle’s ‘confession’, whilst the choir sang: ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’


Cf. The Accession of King Solomon: 1 Kings 1:28-48.

And the proclamation here: ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!’, is of course straight out of David’s Psalm 118:26.


His Morality and His Piety

“As for his personal morals, they too remained typical of his epoch: this virile man, who married four times certainly followed Old rather than new Testament practices in his private life” (Daniel-Rops, ibid. Emphasis added).

Solomon was of course a serial polygamist.

Charlemagne was most definitely a religious man, too (ibid., p. 394):


Charles was personally devout, rigorously observant in his prayers and his fasting (and the latter cut into his fine appetite), and he was indeed the man as portrayed by the chroniclers, the man who attended interminable religious services entirely of his own free will, his own strong voice mingling with those of the choir.


We could expect that Solomon might have inherited some of David’s musicianship.

Charlemagne was a wise and religious ruler, and here is where Daniel-Rops does actually liken him to King Solomon (ibid., 394-395. Emphasis added):


To make his subjects live in perfect harmony, to establish the concordia pacis between men, above all to fight against all the evils which ravaged the world: famine, cruelty, and injustice – such was the ideal of this mighty and awe-inspiring monarch …. And the certainty which this man held at the bottom of his heart, of ‘taking the place of God on earth, of having, as his task, the exaltation of His Law [the Torah?]’ …. Charles is, on the historical plane, a witness of God, after the style of Solomon….

[End of quote]


Cf. King Solomon’s Prayer of Dedication of the Temple: 1 Kings 8:22-61.

Solomon also acted like a priest on this important and triumphal occasion (vv. 62-64).


His Imperial Coronation

It is unclear whether Charles requested the coronation, or whether he was crowned unexpectedly by the Pope. It is not clear whether there was a formal coronation or an acclamation. Einhard reports just the ‘acceptance of the imperial title’. Andreas from Bergamo (9th century), Bonizo from Sutri (11th century), Gero from Reichersberg (12th century) and Nicolaus Cusanus (15th century) don’t know anything about an emperor Charles.

Similarly Daniel-Rops has written (op. cit., p. 402):


There only remains the … element which was responsible for the great event of Christmas 800: Charles’s own will. This is the point upon which we know the least. Was the imperial coronation the result of a well-matured plan on the part of the Frankish leader, a ladder which he had long ago resolved to climb? It is quite impossible to give an answer.


And Fraioli writes (p. 47):


So on Christmas day 800, in commemoration of the birth of Christ, a surprise coronation took place … Charlemagne, whom his biographer Einhard described as persuaded of his own God-given mission to unite western Christendom …. was looked upon as king and priest (rex et sacerdos).


But now it is Charlemagne who is the ‘new [king] David’. Thus Daniel-Rops (p. 400): “Next the pontiff [Leo III] anointed the forehead of the ‘new David’ with sacred oil and, uniting the ceremonial imposed, since Diocletian’s time, by the protocol of the Roman emperors, with the ancient biblical rite, he prostrated himself before him and ‘adored him’.”

No wonder the French kings came to consider themselves the rightful descendants of the Israelite royalty!

“The triple and ritual acclamation” to which Daniel-Rops refers in this part (ibid.) is also seemingly reminiscent of the triple procedure used by pharaoh Thutmose I to crown Hatshepsut (“Queen of the South”).

Like Solomon, Charlemagne reigned for at least four decades.


His Empire

Whilst Solomon’s empire lay entirely in the ancient region of ‘the Fertile Crescent’ (Egypt; Syro-Palestine; Mesopotamia), as reconstructed in my various articles on him, to Charlemagne are attributed European conquests; firstly, Italy, Rome and the Lombards. “The ease with which Charles could impose his rule on Italy in this way remains astonishing” (Daniel-Rops, op. cit., p. 397). Then, he pushed back Islam and conquered the entire Germanic world, so that (ibid., p. 401): “His domain, which spread to the Elbe, to the middle Danube, to Brussels, and even as far as the outskirts of Rome, seemed now too large for the ordinary world ‘realm’ to fit it any longer”.

In Solomon’s case, he would have been pushing back, not Germans and Islamic armies, but Philistines, Syro-Hittites, Elamites and Nubians.


His Ally, Harun al-Rashid

Finally, the whole Charlemagnian scene does shift to the east.

Daniel-Rops introduces this exotic phase in the life of Charlemagne as follows, once again making allusion to Solomon (and also now to “the Queen of Sheba”), p. 410:


Another aspect of Charlemagne’s ‘Christian policy’ struck his contemporaries very strongly; it is almost unbelievable, and brings into his career, which is almost devoid of poetic quality, a note of exotic charm similar to that which the visit of the Queen of Sheba casts upon the reign of Solomon; in other words, his relations with Haroun-al-Raschid, the Caliph of Bagdad.


I would be more emphatic here and suggest that it is more than “almost unbelievable”. It is unbelievable!

Harun al-Raschid belongs to the world of fairy tales! “Harun al-Raschid has become famous as protagonist in tales from One Thousand and One Night[s]”.



Charles exchanged diplomats with Harun al-Raschid, the Caliph of Baghdad, who sent him the white elephant Abul Abbas, which took part in all journeys and military actions of Charles between 802 and 810 AD. Arab sources do not mention these relations. Harun al-Raschid has become famous as protagonist in tales from One Thousand and One Night[s].

In a Solomonic context, Harun is not unlike the king of Israel’s great Phoenician ally, Hiram, king of Tyre. Though Hiram’s power extended much further than Tyre; for he, as I have argued in my “King Hiram” article (ref. above), was also the mighty merchant-king Iarim-Lim of the Aleppo region, who was able militarily to threaten with extermination rulers as far away as Babylonia (the region of the exotic Harun), if they failed to pay for his shipbuilding services.

King Hiram had told Solomon that the Galilean towns that the latter had given him in payment for his services were “Cabul” (1 Kings 9:13), virtually ‘rubbish dumps’. According to Daniel-Rops (ibid.), Harun “was an intelligent, well-educated, and relatively sympathetic man …”. And Daniel-Rops continues with his account of Harun:


Probably no Eastern ruler ever equalled the glory of this great caliph: he lived in the palace of the ‘Golden Gate’, whose famous green dome dominated the Mesopotamian plain, amongst his priceless carpets and tapestries, in the midst of a gigantic court of servants, concubines and eunuchs, and he was worthy indeed to become the hero of the Arabian Nights. But he was also a skilful diplomat and a soldier.

[End of quote]


The architecture, the lavish courts and the multitudes of servants, as well as the skill factor in ruling and conquering, all are perfectly true of Hiram, too, especially in his partnership with the magnificent Solomon. The royal pair had fleets of ships visiting the most exotic regions, for gold, slaves, precious myrrh and rare spices, and other quite unique flora and fauna. I have suggested that Solomon and Hiram were actually turning Palestine at the time into a zoo and a botanical gardens; a lot of which atmosphere is reflected in the exotic “Song of Songs”.

It is such a pity that the archaeologists have been looking at the wrong strata levels for the cosmopolitan Late Bronze phase of king Solomon.

The harmonious relations between the two sovereigns were marked by exchanges of gifts, which the Carolingian chroniclers enlarge upon charmingly and freely. Everyone at Aix-la-Chapelle was enraptured by the arrival of a chess set with the figures finely carved in ivory, of spices with unknown scents, of a clock which moved by means of a cunning hydraulic mechanism, and even of elephants and other strange animals!


Part Two: Archaeology of Charlemagne


 For AD history to be fully convincing and to be made to rest on firm foundations, it

will need to undergo a rigorous revision similar to the one that scholars have been undertaking for BC history, with the application of a revised stratigraphy.

There may be some indications that the history of Charlemagne is yet far from having been established on such firm stratigraphical foundations.   


The following will be based upon the research of some pioneering European revisionists (Illig; Niemitz; Topper) who have bravely embarked upon a re-assessment of AD time. Whilst I may not necessarily agree with all of their conclusions, or their revised models, I would applaud them for having undertaken so necessary a revision.


Charlemagne’s Economy


The findings of historians regarding Charles’ economy show extreme contradictions: Some concede abundant wealth to Charles, while others have to complain economic decay. Jan Beaufort writes (“Illig’s Hypothesis on Phantom Times – FAQ”:


Economy: The findings of historians regarding Charles’ economy show extreme contradictions: Some concede abundant wealth to Charles, while others have to complain economic decay. [DeM 161 ff.] As Heinsohn has shown recently, coins attributed to Charles (or, likewise Charles the Bald-head) cannot be distinguished from the coins of Charles the Simple (898-929). According to Illig, Carolus Simplex has been a real Carolingian and the model for Charlemagne. The attribute “simplex” (= stupid, but likewise single, not-duplicated) has been used for the first time following the turn of the millennium. [Heinsohn (2001)]



Charlemagne’s Capital City

and His Cultural Achievements


‘The Carolingian Renaissance’, as Daniel-Rops calls it (The Church in the Dark Ages, p. 422), centred on Aix-la-Chapelle. But Aix-la-Chapelle is considered to have been a rather unusual geographical choice anyway:


The vital centre of this Renaissance was Aix-la-Chapelle, the ancient ‘villa’ of Pepin the Short’s time, which was situated some distance off the great Roman roads. From 794 onwards Charlemagne made it into a Carolingian Versailles, judging from its intellectual atmosphere and the splendour of its appearance. The geographical position of this new capital has given rise to much discussion: why was this Rhineland area chosen, rather than some town in Gaul, or even Rome itself? …. Aix was the centre of the intellectual Renaissance; and the centre of Aix, and especially the Palatine school, was a kind of general headquarters of the mind, which influenced the entire empire ….

[End of quote]


Amongst this august group was Charlemagne himself, now “known as David”; this being about the only seemingly eastern factor in what comes across as a very European ‘club of gentlemen’ (ibid., p. 424):


The leaders of this pleiade of scholars and cultured men formed a sort of club, a small, self-contained group. Historians are accustomed to call this group the Palatine Academy. Each of its members bore a pseudonym borrowed from antiquity. Charlemagne himself, who was not a whit averse to residing over this learned assembly, was known as David, which overestimated the power of the cantor of the Psalms and overrated even more outrageously the poetic talents of the son of Pepin!

[End of quote]


Charlemagne is also, like King Solomon, famed for his architectural achievements. Thus Daniel-Rops, p. 425:


…. Because the building, decoration, and beautifying of the House of God was one of the major preoccupations of the master, architecture and the plastic arts developed so much that Dawson has been able to write: ‘Charlemagne founded a Holy Roman architecture as well as a Holy Roman Empire’. In fact, it was not only Roman, but followed tendencies which we have already noticed in the Merovingian epoch, mingling Eastern and remote Asiatic influence with the revival of classical features.

But sadly – as somewhat also with king Solomon (but in his case due to centuries of destruction and looting, and also to the failure by archaeologists to identify Solomon’s era stratigraphically): “We no longer possess many examples of the architecture of this great reign”.

[End of quote]


Beaufort would concur with the fact of this dearth of architectural evidence (op. cit.):


Buildings: As we know from the ancient texts, between 476 and 855 AD more than 1695 large buildings were erected, including 312 cathedrals, 1254 convents and 129 royal palaces. The historian Harald Braunfels: “Of all these buildings [until 1991] only 215 were examined by archaeologists. Artefacts were found only at a fraction of these buildings. One may count with ten fingers the number of buildings that still exist as a whole or as a significant fraction.” [DeM 208]


Publisher Heribert Illig, who has advanced the historical conspiracy theory known as the phantom time hypothesis, has made this observation about the “masterpiece of Carolignian architecture” (as told by Beaufort):


Pfalzkapelle Aachen: The masterpiece of Carolingian architecture, the Chapel of St. Mary at Aachen (about 792-799) is unique. Its direct predecessor (Ravenna’s San Vitale) had been erected some 200 years earlier. Buildings comparable to Aachen in style and technology were not erected until the advent of the Romanesque style in the 11th century. Consequently, Illig assumes the Pfalzkapelle to be a Romanesque building of the 11th century.

[End of quote]


In other words, Illig claims it to be quite anachronistic.


His Burial and Tomb


Beaufort tells about this (op. cit.):


Burial: Charles’ burial place is the Pfalzkapelle at Aachen (his explicit will to find his grave beneath his father at Saint-Denis had been ignored). This contradicted the general prohibition of burials within churches, proclaimed by councils held under Charles at Aachen (809) and Mainz (813). [DeM 44 f.]


And again:


Tomb: Charles’ tomb had been camouflaged so well (in fear of the raiding Normans) that it could not be localized for two centuries. In the year 1000 the emperor Otto III discovers the tomb. He finds Charles sitting on his throne. Again the tomb became forgotten until it was found once more and reopened by Friedrich Barbarossa. Then again, the tomb disappeared and was never found again. For comparison: The tomb of Otto I in the dome of Magdeburg has always been honoured – despite of all destructions and rebuilds of this church. [DeM 44 ff.]


His Cult and Biography


And, again from the same source:

  • Cult: Friedrich Barbarossa (1152-1190) is said to have coined the term Sacrum Romanum Imperium. Friedrich gave order to exhumate Charles, and to canonize him. Most known forgeries referring to Charles were produced during Friedrich’s lifetime. The reliquary for Charles’ arm (dated about 1170) displays the imperial attitude of Barbarossa in reference to Charlemagne. [DeM 338]
  • Biography: Leopold von Ranke classifies the biography of Charles, written by his palatial clerk Einhard: “The small volume is full of historical errors […]. Frequently, the years of reign are false […]; about the split of the empire between the two brothers the opposite of what really happened is reported […]; the names of the popes were confused, the spouses and children of Charles were not noted correctly; so many offences have been found that the authenticity of the book has been questioned quite often, although it is beyond all doubt.” [DeM 345]
  • Tradition: Charles’ son in law Angilbert rhymes in 799 an epos, where he denotes Charles to be the “light of Europe”, “Head of the world; summit of Europe; father of Europe; most graceful father; hero”. But in 799 Charles was not yet crowned as the emperor. [DeM 35 f.] In an essay for the Spiegel magazine (“A dark lighthouse”), Johannes Fried has shown that the myth of Charles as the “father of Europe” came up very much later as a product of a romantic Napoleonism and even Hitlerism. [Fried]

[End of quotes]

It seems that French kings too, such as Philip II and Louis IX, did much to enhance the reputation of the glorious ‘Charlemagne’. D. Fraioli takes up this point (Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years War, pp. 49-50, 51, 52.):


Philip II Augustus (r. 1180-1223)


…. Entranced by the life and imperial image of Charlemagne, to whom he must have considered himself in many ways parallel, Philip consciously patterned himself on the model of the great Christian emperor. …. In the twelfth century, Charlemagne was primarily known through literary rather than historical works. Philip had certainly listened to the popular epic poems about national heroes – the most prominent being Charlemagne – called chansons de geste. ….


Louis IX (r. 1226-1270)

…. Hincmar’s legend of the Holy Ampulla was permanently incorporated into the coronation ritual. As a result, it was declared, with far-reaching consequences, that because French rulers were appointed with oil sent from heaven, the king of France “outshines all the kings of the earth”.

…. As others before him, Saint Louis maintained that the consecration of French kings was intimately connected to the original anointings of Old Testament kings.


[End of quotes]




Hopefully this series has provided sufficient indications that the true Charlemagne must needs be sifted out from the larger-than-life, and often biblically-based “Charlemagne” we read about in the text books.


And, obviously, a proper archaeology needs to be developed to underpin all of this.


Part Three: Archaeology of King Solomon


Three entirely different – supposedly historical – eras, with their accompanying archaeologies, can presently be identified for King Solomon, the wise king of C10th BC Israel.



Whilst a major problem regarding an historical Charlemagne appears to be, from previous considerations, a lack of due archaeological evidence, in the case of Solomon the archaeology is there, but it is not recognised.

The current system of archaeology that underlies a badly warped conventional chronology of antiquity has so ‘knocked into a three-cornered cocked hat’ the era of the wise King Solomon as to render that era today virtually unidentifiable.

The ‘three corners’, that each point in quite different directions, are as follows:


  1. The Era of Hammurabi (c. 1800 BC). Middle Bronze I (2000-1750 BC);
  2. Hatshepsut, 18th Dynasty Egypt (C15th BC). Late Bronze I (1550-1400 BC);
  3. Solomon (biblically c. 950 BC), conventionally Iron Age IIA (1000-900 BC).


Let us consider 1-3 in turn:


  1. The Era of Hammurabi

That the true era of the splendid King Hammurabi of Babylon has mystified historians is apparent from the fact that he, famously described by Dr. D. Courville as “floating about in a liquid chronology of Chaldea”, was originally dated as far back as the mid-third millennium BC, then to c. 2100 BC. Whilst, even today, various high and low chronologies can be proposed for the king, the general opinion is that he is to be dated to c. 1800 BC.

Conventionally, this is the Middle Bronze Age I period.

As we shall see, the need for the significant lowering of Hammurabi from 2100 BC to 1800 BC is based on the flimsiest of evidence.

Dr. Courville’s revision of, especially Egyptian, ancient history (in The Exodus Problem and its Ramifications, 2 vols., 1971) next ‘conveyed’ this misunderstood king to what ought now be regarded as, for him, a far more realistic historical location, in the C15th BC, but still based on very flimsy evidence. The Hammurabi conundrum was finally solved by Dean Hickman (“The Dating of Hammurabi”, Proc. 3rd Seminar of Catastrophism and Ancient History, Uni. of Toronto, 1985, 13-28), who finally laid Hammurabi safely to rest in the C10th BC era of kings David and Solomon.

I have no doubt that this is the correct era for King Hammurabi. See my:

Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim as Contemporaries of Solomon


Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim as Contemporaries of Solomon. Part Two: Zimri-lim’s Mari Palace and King Solomon



This well-documented era (e.g. the Mari archives) has begun to produce biblico-historical synchronisms similar to the abundant el-Amarna period, revised (C14th BC down to C9th BC).

And once its potential becomes fully appreciated by revisionists, it will no doubt produce even more abundantly, along the lines of the far more intensely investigated el-Amarna.


Hammurabic Anomalies


Stratigraphical and Astronomical


The universal influence of kings David and Solomon permeated the entire ancient world of the c. C10th BC, with 18th dynasty (Hatshepsut) Egypt, mentored by the great Senenmut (Solomon) (see 2.), being a most eager recipient.

Nor was Hammurabi’s Babylon to be deprived of this cultural overflow.

See e.g. my series:

Davidic Influence on King Hammurabi


Davidic Influence on King Hammurabi. Part Two: Hebrew and Babylonian Calendars


Davidic Influence on Hammurabi. Part Three: Epic Literature


Given Hammurabi’s proper location now at the time of kings David and Solomon, then Hammurabi could not possibly have been (that is, according to my revision) contemporaneous with the Middle Bronze I period, to where he is conventionally located, as the Middle Bronze I nomads were indubitably the Exodus Israelites.

Dr. I. Velikovsky had told, in his article “Hammurabi and the Revised Chronology”, of how King Hammurabi first came to be dated to c. 2100 BC, and of his chronological importance: “The period of Hammurabi also served as a landmark for the histories of the Middle East from Elam to Syria, and was used as a guide for the chronological tables of other nations”, and of Velikovsky’s own radical revision of the Hammurabic era (


Until a few decades ago, the reign of Hammurabi was dated to around the year 2100 before the present era. This dating was originally prompted by information contained in an inscription of Nabonidus … who reigned in the sixth century ….

In the foundations of a temple at Larsa, Nabonidus found a plaque of King Burnaburiash. This king is known to us from the el-Amarna correspondence in which he participated. On that plaque Burnaburiash wrote that he had rebuilt the temple erected seven hundred years before by King Hammurabi. The el-Amarna letters, according to conventional chronology, were written about -1400. Thus, if Burnaburiash lived then, Hammurabi must have lived about -2100.

When Egyptologists found it necessary to reduce the el-Amarna Age by a quarter of a century, the time of Hammurabi was adjusted accordingly, and placed in the twenty-first century before the present era. It was also observed: “The period of the First Dynasty of Babylon has always been a landmark in early history, because by it the chronology of Babylonia can be fixed, with a reasonable margin of error.”4 The period of Hammurabi also served as a landmark for the histories of the Middle East from Elam to Syria, and was used as a guide for the chronological tables of other nations.

Since the dates for Hammurabi were established originally on the evidence of the plaque of King Burnaburiash found by Nabonidus—which indicated that King Hammurabi had reigned seven hundred years earlier—the revision of ancient history outlined in Ages in Chaos would set a much later date for Hammurabi, for it places the el-Amarna correspondence and King Burnaburiash in the ninth, not the fourteenth, century. Burnaburiash wrote long letters to Amenhotep III and Akhnaton, bore himself in a haughty manner and demanded presents in gold, jewels, and ivory. In the same collection of letters, however, there are many which we have identified as originating from Ahab of Samaria and Jehoshaphat of Jerusalem, and from their governors.5

Therefore, seven hundred years before this correspondence would bring us to the sixteenth century, not the twenty-first. Also, the end of the First Babylonian Dynasty—in circumstances recalling the end of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt—would point to some date close to -1500, or even several decades later.

A connecting link was actually found between the First Babylonian Dynasty and the Twelfth Dynasty of Egypt, the great dynasty of the Middle Kingdom. At Platanos on Crete, a seal of the Hammurabi type was discovered in a tomb together with Middle Minoan pottery of a kind associated at other sites with objects of the Twelfth Egyptian Dynasty,6 more exactly, of its earlier part.7 This is regarded as proof that these two dynasties were contemporaneous.

In the last several decades, however, a series of new discoveries have made a drastic reduction of the time of Hammurabi imperative. Chief among the factors that demand a radical change in the chronology of early Babylonia and that of the entire Middle Eastern complex—a chronology that for a long time was regarded as unassailable—are the finds of Mari, Nuzi, and Khorsabad. At Mari on the central Euphrates, among other rich material, a cuneiform tablet was found which established that Hammurabi of Babylonia and King Shamshi-Adad I of Assyria were contemporaries. An oath was sworn by the life of these two kings in the tenth year of Hammurabi, The finds at Mari “proved conclusively that Hammurabi came to the throne in Babylonia after the accession of Shamshi-Adad I in Assyria”.8

Shamshi-Adad I could not have reigned in the twenty-first century since there exist lists of Assyrian kings which enable us to compute regnal dates. Being compilations of later times, it is admitted by modern research that “the figures in king lists are not infrequently erroneous”.9 But in 1932 a fuller and better-preserved list of Assyrian king names was found at Khorsabad, capital of Sargon II. Published ten years later, in 1942, it contains the names of one hundred and seven Assyrian kings with the number of years of their reigns. Shamshi-Adad I, who is the thirty-first on the list, but the first of the kings whose regnal years are given in figures, reigned much later than the time originally allotted to Hammurabi whose contemporary he was.

The Khorsabad list ends in the tenth year of Assur-Nerari V, which is computed to have been -745; at that time the list was composed or copied. By adding to the last year the sum of the regnal years, as given in the list of the kings from Shamshi-Adad to Assur-Nerari, the first year of Shamshi-Adad is calculated to have been -1726 and his last year -1694. These could be the earliest dates; with a less liberal approach, the time of Shamshi-Adad needs to be relegated to an even later date.

The result expressed in the above figures required a revolutionary alteration in Babylonian chronology, for it reduced the time of Hammurabi from the twenty-first century to the beginning of the seventeenth century. The realization that the dating of Hammurabi must be brought forward by three and a half centuries created “a puzzling chronological discrepancy”,10 which could only be resolved by making Hammurabi later than Amenemhet I of the Twelfth Dynasty.

The process of scaling down the time of Hammurabi is an exciting spectacle. Sidney Smith and W. F. Albright competed in this scaling down; as soon as one of them offered a more recent date, the other offered a still more recent one, and so it went until Albright arrived at -1728 to -1686 for Hammurabi, and S. Smith—by placing Shamshi-Adad from -1726 to -1694—appeared to start Hammurabi at -1716.11

If Hammurabi reigned at the time allotted to him by the finds at Mari and Khorsabad—but according to the finds at Platanos was a contemporary of the Egyptian kings of the early Twelfth Dynasty—then that dynasty must have started at a time when, according to the accepted chronology, it had already come to its end. In conventionally-written history, by -1680 not only the Twelfth Dynasty, but also the Thirteenth, or the last of the Middle Kingdom, had expired.

[End of quotes]


As noted above, Hammurabi underwent a significant chronological shift at the hands of the conventional historians “based on the flimsiest of evidence”. Owing to the discovery of that one seal at Platanos, that was thought to look Hammurabic-ish, and due to a vague piece of neo-Babylonian chronological information, and even vaguer astronomy (see below), Hammurabi has become conventionally set as a contemporary of the 12th dynasty of Egypt. Hammurabi, therefore, stratigraphically and wrongly placed at the time of the wandering Israelites (Middle Bronze Age I), has been located in relation to dynastic Egypt – again quite wrongly according to my revision – to the time of Moses. See e.g. my:


Pharaoh of the Exodus


Hammurabi needs to be lowered from here by about half a millennium!


However, supposedly in support of the 12th dynasty synchronism for Hammurabi, is the astronomical information as supplied by the famous Venus tablets of Hammurabi’s descendant Ammisaduqa. Charles Ginenthal, who has managed to find a place for both Hammurabi and the 12th dynasty of Egypt during the Persian era – following professor G. Heinsohn’s most radical view that Hammurabi was the same as Darius I – writes as follows about Ammisaduqa (


The scientific method by which the Old Babylonians were dated to the early part of the second millennium B.C., and not to Persian times, was based on astronomy and in particular on the Venus tablets of an Old Babylonian king named Ammisaduqa. This was taken to be the absolute anchor of Mesopotamia in the second millennium B.C. to which it was fastened. Since this placement aligned itself with that of the 12th Egyptian Dynasty, also in the early part of the second millennium B.C., it was seen as a double anchor point.


He then adds this most significant information about how the highly-respected Otto Neugebauer came to view the Ammisaduqa data:

…. Otto Neugebauer originally maintained that because the Venus tablets “are given in the contemporary lunar calendar, these documents have become an important element for the determination of the chronology of the Hammurapi [Old Babylonian] period. …”14 This was in 1957. Then in 1983 he claimed:

“From the Old Babylonian period only one isolated text is preserved which contains omina … from the later astrology. Predictions derived from observations of Venus made during the reign of Ammisaduqa (ca. 1600 B.C.) are preserved only in copies written almost a thousand years later and clearly [were] subjected to several changes during this long time. We are thus again left in the dark as to the actual date of the composition of these documents.”15 [emphasis added]

[End of quotes]


  1. Hatshepsut and Senenmut: 18th Dynasty Egypt


The Late Bronze Era of the early 18th Egyptian Dynasty – and not the Middle Bronze I (conventional Hammurabic), nor the Iron II (conventional Solomonic) – is the stratigraphical phase that truly reflects the cosmopolitan reign of King Solomon of Israel.




In 1., we considered King Solomon as a contemporary of the Hammurabic era, which latter era, however, then needed to be dislodged from its date of c. 1800 BC; and from its supposed contemporaneity with the 12th dynasty of Egypt; and from its archaeological situation in the Middle Bronze Age I. King Hammurabi’s era, revised, properly dates to the C10th BC; is contemporaneous with the 18th dynasty of Hatshepsut’s Egypt; and belongs archaeologically to the Late Bronze Age.

We can be more specific about King Solomon. He was, according to my article:

Solomon and Sheba


Hatshepsut’s right-hand man and mentor, Senenmut (Senmut).

Dr. John Bimson had, in a ground-breaking article:


Can There be a Revised Chronology Without a Revised Stratigraphy?


achieved what the conventional archaeologists have so miserably failed to do. He identified archaeologically this glorious era of Solomon (my Senenmut), Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. Here is the relevant portion of Bimson’s article:


  • The Late Bronze Age and the Reign of Solomon


…. Though chiefly concerned with dating the start of LB I A relative to the Hyksos period, I also suggested briefly that the transition to LB I B belonged in the reign of Solomon [13]. Research carried out since that article was written has led me to modify that view. Although an exhaustive study of the LBA contexts of all scarabs commemorating Hatshepsut and Thutmose III would be required to establish this point, a preliminary survey suggests that objects from the joint reign of these two rulers do not occur until the transition from LB I to LB II, and that scarabs of Thutmose III occur regularly from the start of LB II onwards, and perhaps no earlier [14]. Velikovsky’s chronology makes Hatshepsut (with Thutmose III as co-ruler) a contemporary of Solomon, and Thutmose III’s sole reign contemporary with that of Rehoboam in Judah [15]. Therefore, if the revised chronology is correct, these scarabs would suggest that Solomon’s reign saw the transition from LB I to LB II, rather than that from LB I A to LB I B.

Placing the beginning of LB II during the reign of Solomon produces a very good correlation between archaeological evidence and the biblical record of that period. It is with this correlation that we will begin. In taking the LB I – II transition as its starting-point, the present article not only takes up the challenge offered by Stiebing, but also continues the revision begun in my previous articles, and will bring it to a conclusion (in broad outline) with the end of the Iron Age.

Though KENYON has stated that the LB I – II transition saw a decline in the material culture of Palestine [16], ongoing excavations are now revealing a different picture. LB II A “was definitely superior to the preceding LB I”, in terms of stability and material prosperity; it saw “a rising population that reoccupied long abandoned towns” [17]. Foreign pottery imports are a chief characteristic of the period [18]. According to the biblical accounts in the books of Kings and Chronicles, Solomon’s reign brought a period of peace which saw an increase in foreign contacts, unprecedented prosperity, and an energetic building programme which extended throughout the kingdom [19].

I Kings 9:15 specifically relates that Solomon rebuilt Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer. In the revised stratigraphy envisaged here, the cities built by Solomon at these sites would therefore be those of LB II A. More specifically, these three Solomonic cities would be represented by Stratum VIII in Area AA at Megiddo [20], by Stratum XVI at Gezer, and by Stratum XIV of the Upper City at Hazor (= Str. Ib of the Lower City) [21].

The wealth and international trade attested by these levels certainly reflect the age of Solomon far more accurately than the Iron Age cities normally attributed to him, from which we have “no evidence of any particular luxury” [21a].

The above-mentioned strata at Megiddo and Gezer have both yielded remains of very fine buildings and courtyards [22]. The Late Bronze strata on the tell at Hazor have unfortunately not produced a clear picture, because of levelling operations and extensive looting of these levels during the Iron Age; but the LB II A stratum of the Lower City has produced a temple very similar in concept to the Temple built by Solomon in Jerusalem, as described in the Old Testament [23].

Art treasures from these cities not only indicate the wealth of the period, but reflect contacts with Egypt and northern Mesopotamia [24]. These contacts are precisely those we would expect to find attested during Solomon’s reign, the Bible records Solomon’s trade with Egypt and his marriage to the Pharaoh’s daughter [25], and says (I Kings 4:24) that his kingdom extended as far to the north-east as Tiphsah, which is probably to be identified with Thapsacus, “an important crossing in the west bank of the Middle Euphrates … placed strategically on a great east-west trade route” [26].

The Bible adds extra detail concerning Gezer: namely, that Solomon rebuilt it after it had been captured and burnt by the Pharaoh, who had given the site to his daughter, Solomon’s wife, as a dowry (I Kings 9:16-17). In Velikovsky’s chronology, this pharaoh is identified as Thutmose I [27]. In the revised stratigraphy considered here, we would expect to find evidence for this destruction of Gezer at some point during LB I, and sure enough we do, including dramatic evidence of burning [28]. The “latest possible date” for this destruction is said to be the reign of Thutmose III, with some archaeologists preferring an earlier date [29]. We may readily identify this destruction as the work of Solomon’s father-in-law.

From the period between this destruction and the LB II A city comes a group of several dozen burials in a cave. DEVER remarks that most of these “show signs of advanced arthritis, probably from stoop labour, which may be an indication of the hardships of life during this period” [30]. Yet contemporary finds, including “Egyptian glass, alabaster and ivory vessels, and a unique terra-cotta sarcophagus of Mycenaean inspiration” [31], indicate considerable prosperity and international trade at this time. In a revised framework, it is tempting to speculate that the burials were of people who suffered under Solomon’s system of forced labour, by which Gezer was built according to I Kings 9:15. It emerges in I Kings 12 that this forced labour caused sufficient hardship to contribute to the bitterness which split the kingdom after Solomon’s death.

We must turn briefly to Jerusalem, where Solomon’s building activities were concentrated for the first twenty years of his reign, according to I Kings 9:10. Here we find that traces of occupation datable to Solomon’s time in the conventional scheme are rather poor [32] In the revised scheme, we may attribute to Solomon the impressive stone terrace system of LBA date excavated by Kenyon on the eastern ridge [33]. In fact, this is probably the “Millo” which Solomon is said to have built (I Kings 9:15, 24; II:27). Kenyon describes the nucleus of this terrace system as “a fill almost entirely of rubble, built in a series of compartments defined by facings of a single course of stones…” [34]. “Fill”, or “filling”, is the probable meaning of “Millo” [35]. Also to Solomon’s time would belong at least some of the LBA tombs discovered on the western slope of the Mount of Olives; many of these contain LB I – IIA material which includes “a surprisingly large number” of imported items from Cyprus, Aegean and Egypt [36]. The number would not be surprising in the context of Solomon’s reign. ….

Comparison of (A) LB II (Stratum Ib) temple at Hazor with (B) the basic ground plan of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, as deduced from biblical information. Both have a tripartite division on a single axis, side-rooms and a pair of free-standing pillars (though the latter are not identically situated in both cases)


[End of Bimson’s section]


Whilst much more work needs to be done, it seems obvious that Bimson’s Late Bronze Age placement of Solomon and Hatshepsut is far more appropriate than either Middle Bronze I or Iron Age II.



  1. Iron Age II


Iron Age II, the archaeological phase favoured by archaeologists for kings David and Solomon, turns out to be hopelessly inadequate as a representation of that glorious period.





As we read in 2., Dr. John Bimson, contrasting his view of the Late Bronze Age for King Solomon with the conventional view of Iron Age II for the great king, wrote:


I Kings 9:15 specifically relates that Solomon rebuilt Hazor, Megiddo and Gezer. In the revised stratigraphy envisaged here, the cities built by Solomon at these sites would therefore be those of LB II A. More specifically, these three Solomonic cities would be represented by Stratum VIII in Area AA at Megiddo [20], by Stratum XVI at Gezer, and by Stratum XIV of the Upper City at Hazor (= Str. Ib of the Lower City) [21].

The wealth and international trade attested by these levels certainly reflect the age of Solomon far more accurately than the Iron Age cities normally attributed to him, from which we have “no evidence of any particular luxury” [21a].


That the bankrupt conventional arrangement of chronology and attendant stratigraphy falls to pieces completely when subjected to biblical scrutiny is well apparent from the attempted merging of the Solomonic era with a mis-dated archaeological phase: Iron II.

David and Solomon simply disappear. Thus professor Israel Finkelstein famously remarked – and quite logically according to the strictures of his conventional scheme:


“Now Solomon. I think I destroyed Solomon, so to speak. Sorry for that!”


(National Geographic article, “Kings of Controversy” by Robert Draper (David and Solomon, December 2010, p. 85).

What Finkelstein ought to have been “sorry” for, however, was not the wise King Solomon – who continues to exist as a real historical and archaeological entity, despite the confused utterances of the current crop of Israeli archaeologists – but for Finkelstein’s own folly in clinging to a hopelessly out-dated and bankrupt archaeological system that causes him to point every time to the wrong stratigraphical level for Israel’s Old Testament history (e.g. Exodus/Conquest; David and Solomon).

We may read of the current wretched minimalistic (re the Bible) situation at



1000–800 BC – Iron Age II


The memories of the events and persons from the heroic past are the memories that are reactivated. The Davidic monarchy was Judah’s Golden Age. The founders of Israel were not Abraham and Moses; but Saul and David. It was Saul who consolidated the hill farmers under his rule and created fighting units capable of confronting the Philistines. It was David who defeated the Philistines and united the hill farmers with the people of the Canaanite plains, thus establishing the Kingdom of Israel and its capital city. It is generally accepted among scholars today that there is some genuine historical material in the Books of Samuel, which describe the careers of Saul and David; but even these books must be critically examined to distinguish between legend and fact, in as much as it can ever be known.

As recently as the 1980s most scholars viewed the United Monarchy as a fairly secure period of historical reconstruction. Critics debated whether one could speak of the exodus as an actual historical event. Archaeology gives no record of Exodus, of forty years of wandering in the desert, of Joshua’s conquest of the land. But virtually all modern histories of ancient Israel included, if not commenced with, the monarchy of David and Solomon. Archaeological surveys showed that there were about 250 settlements in the central hill country of Canaan in Iron Age I (1200-1000 BC), as compared to about 50 settlements in Late Bronze Age II (14th-13th century BC). Such a large increase in settlements would have required the creation of a state apparatus, such as the United Kingdom.

This is no longer the case: even the Davidic Kingdom becomes reduced. “The United Monarchy no longer unites modern scholars”. During recent decades the scholarly consensus about the United Kingdom was undone. Many modern scholars question the historicity of the Bible’s stories about Saul, David, and Solomon. Doubts have been raised about the historicity of the biblical account, and consequently about the ascription of archaeological strata to this period.

In the opinion of most modern scholars, the Bible is not an entirely reliable historical document. Corroborating evidence is required, and some indeed exists; but it is not conclusive. There is an endeavor to pierce through the displacements and exaggerations of national pride which influenced the historical form of the statements and to discover actuality as it was and developed. This reveals the nature and value of the texts, but grasps also their connection with the original fact, their original relations, their mutual dependence or independence. In religious literature it is necessary to have regard to the conceptions embodied to see whether these are the original gift of the religion or whether they have entered during the course of the development.

There is a fundamental debate between maximalists, such as W.F. Albright and G.E. Wright, who gave considerable credence to biblical descriptions of the United Monarchy and minimalists, such as G. Garbini, N.P. Lemche, D.B. Hedford, and H.M. Niemann, who were rather hesitant to do so. Both these traditions remain very much alive, and many scholars adhere to one or the other of these broad categories. But a third school has emerged – nihilists who contend that the traditional theories of the United Monarchy are unfounded. Scholars such as P. Davies, M. Gelinas, and T. Thompson came to see Saul, David, and Solomon as the stuff of legend — the King Arthurs of ancient Israel. They view the whole narrative of the United Monarchy as a literary construct of scribes writing during the Persian or Hellenistic period. The whole idea of an historical Israel drawn from northern and southern constituencies and governed by a single monarch is seen as a literary fiction.

Iron Age Chronology and the United Monarchy of David and Solomon is the subject of an ongoing and long-standing controversy in both biblical studies and archaeology. The ‘conventional’ chronology, which places the Iron Age I | II transition (in Dor terminology: the Ir1|2 transition) around 1000 BC, is based on the biblical dating. The ‘low chronology’, inspired by the ‘minimalist’ or ‘nihilist’ stance, which regards the biblical narrative of this period as myth, dates the Iron Age I | II transition later, c. 900 BC.

The “Copenhagen School” of biblical researchers advocate a more radical revisionism than anything produced by Israel Finkelstein or his peers in the archaeology department at Tel-Aviv University. The Copenhagen School is the modern descendant of the approach taken in the nineteenth century by Julius Wellhausen, who argued that the Bible offered little in the way of actual history — that it was, as he put it, just a “glorified mirage”. Thompson wrote in his 1999 book The Mythic Past, “Today we no longer have a history of Israel…. There never was a ‘United Monarchy’ in history and it is meaningless to speak of pre-exilic prophets and their writings…. We can now say with considerable confidence that the Bible is not a history of anyone’s past.”

To quote Soggin [J. A. Soggin, “The Davidic-Solomonic Kingdom,” in Israelite and Judaean History, ed. J. H. Hayes and I. M. Miller, OTL (London: SCM, 1977), and ]. A. Soggin, “Prolegomena on the Approach to Historical Texts in the Hebrew Bible andthe Ancient Near East,” in Aumlmm Malmnat Volume (ed. S. Ahituv and B. A. Levine; Erlsr 24;jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1993) 215 ] “There are no traces even of the Davidic and Solomon empire outside the Bible and reasonable doubts have been expressed as to the reliability of the pertinent biblical sources.”

[End of quotes]


Meanwhile David and Solomon rest entirely secure in their real historico-archaeological home.


Caligula and Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’

Published May 3, 2017 by amaic

Image result for caligula painting


 Damien F. Mackey



“What, therefore, do Caligula and Antiochus Epiphanes have in common, as their reigns pertain to the Jews? Both reigned during a time when the Jews were abandoning their God and breaking covenant with him on a national scale. The one ruler officially desecrated the Temple, while the other planned to do so. Both rulers were involved in the emperor cult that required worship from those they ruled”.



This blogger (presuming, apparently, the convenional structure of history) has discerned likenesses between:


Caligula and Antiochus Epiphanes




I believe the reign of Caligula, emperor of Rome (37-41 CE), is underrated, as it pertains to the New Testament and the early Messianic movement in Judea. There was a lot happening during these few years in Jewish history that remind me of the period of Antiochus Epiphanes who desecrated the Temple, which gave rise to the revolt of the Maccabees, cir. 168 BCE.


Just before the days of the Maccabees the corruption of the high priesthood had become so prevalent that the Temple duties of the priests had been ignored in favor of spending time in the gymnasium, bowing to Hellenism. In other words, the desire to become like the nations around them was so intensified among the Jews that true worship of God had been virtually abandoned. In fact, to accentuate his displeasure with his people, the Lord allowed or perhaps caused Antiochus IV to sacrifice swine’s flesh upon the brazen alter in the Temple at Jerusalem, thus polluting it and officially ending worship in the House upon which he placed his name, emphasizing in the words of the writer of the second book of the Maccabees:


2 Maccabees 5:19-20 KJVA  (19)  Nevertheless God did not choose the people for the place’s sake, but the place far the people’s sake.  (20)  And therefore the place itself, that was partaker with them of the adversity that happened to the nation, did afterward communicate in the benefits sent from the Lord: and as it was forsaken in the wrath of the Almighty, so again, the great Lord being reconciled, it was set up with all glory.


In other words, as the people go, so goes the Temple of God. Therefore the abomination that polluted the Temple occurred long before official deed of Antiochus IV. The religious revolution among the dueling High Priests during this time had taken away the hearts of the people and caused them to seek to become like the nations around them, ignoring the Covenant made with the Lord.


During the reign of Caligula and before, Annas, the High Priest, had initiated a persecution of Messianic Jews, thus making war against true worshipers of God, simply because they were so devoted to the Lord. I don’t mean to imply the unbelieving Jews didn’t worship God, but I do mean to say Annas was not among them. Annas’ persecution began with the stoning of Stephen and the expulsion of Hellenist Messianic Jews from Jerusalem (Acts 8:1-3), and pursuing them even to cities outside Judea (Acts 9:1-2; 26:11).


I often wonder if we tend to leave God out of history at times, or, at least, refrain from acknowledging the real reason that historical developments took the shape in which we see them today. What I mean is, what do we really know about Jewish history between the time of Stephen’s death in Acts 7 and the death of Herod Agrippa of Acts 12? All the Scriptures tell us is that there was a persecution, but it doesn’t say how effective or widespread it was. We are told of evangelistic efforts (Acts 8), Paul’s conversion (Acts 9), Peter’s preaching to Cornelius, a Gentile (Acts 10), Peter having to explain himself due to his receiving Cornelius as a believer, and an almost parenthetic remark about the Hellenist believers getting as far as Antioch with the Gospel (Acts 11), and the death of James the Apostle, Peter’s expulsion from Jerusalem and the death of Herod Agrippa (Acts 12). More than this we are not told, and this period covers approximately 10-11 years! Did anything really important occur that we have to read into the text in order to receive the full impact of what God is saying to us?


Unrest in Egypt began over the Jews’ exemption of having to practice the emperor cult, whereby statues of Caligula were placed within their places of worship. This ensued into riots with the result that many Jews were killed. In probable retaliation, Jews rose up in defiance of the emperor cult in Jamnia, a city in Palestine, near the coast and just south of Lydda and Joppa, and destroyed an imperial altar there. When news of this incident reached Caligula, he decided to erect a statue of himself in the Temple at Jerusalem. Meanwhile, an anti-Jewish backlash among the Gentiles began to spread throughout the Gentile cities in Palestine. What does all this mean?


What had occurred in history is only implied in the Scriptures with: “Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified…” (Acts 9:31). Rome and Jerusalem were brought to the brink of war during Caligula’s reign, and war would have indeed occurred had he placed the images of himself in the Temple at Jerusalem. If we allow for the working of God in the historical developments of this time, what may we conclude? What I see is, Annas was seeking to wipe out the Jesus movement in Judaism. God retaliated by threatening to wipe out the Jewish nation, if things persisted as they were. The Jerusalem government left off its persecution of the Messianic believers (Acts 9:31) in order to pursue peace with Rome. By the thousands Jewish families flocked to Ptolemias just north of Caesarea, where the Roman legate of Syria, Petronius, was wintering his troops, planning to erect the statues of Caligula in the spring of 39 CE. It is only through his wise efforts to calm the tumultuous situation that Rome and Jerusalem didn’t come to war at this early date.


What, therefore, do Caligula and Antiochus Epiphanes have in common, as their reigns pertain to the Jews? Both reigned during a time when the Jews were abandoning their God and breaking covenant with him on a national scale. The one ruler officially desecrated the Temple, while the other planned to do so. Both rulers were involved in the emperor cult that required worship from those they ruled. Many scholars associate Daniel’s prophecy of the abomination of desolation as it pertains to the 1290 days of Daniel 12 with Antiochus Epiphanes. In reality these 1290 days have to do with the abomination of desolation set up at the death of Stephen in Acts 7—when persecution culminating in death began (cp. Matthew 24:15), which if we allow for the presence of God in history, brought about Caligula’s decision to set up images of himself within the Temple compound at Jerusalem.







Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ Doubled

Published May 3, 2017 by amaic

Image result for antiochus epiphanes


Damien F. Mackey

As if one king Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ were not enough, there was another such named king, at least according to the history books, ruling in the C1st AD.

King Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ of Commagene (Armenia) and Cilicia Tracheia was, just like his Seleucid namesake, Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’, born to a king Antiochus III – Commagene being the region ruled by the Seleucid tyrant: “Another Epiphania was founded [by the latter] in Armenia”.

For the massive impact upon Cilicia Tracheia by the Seleucid ‘Epiphanes’, see C. Tempesta’s

“Antiochus IV Epiphanes and Cilicia”, in Adalya VIII, Istanbul, 2005, pp. 59-81.

Both the Commagene version, who “reigned … as a client king to the Roman Empire” (, and the Seleucid one, were servants of Rome (

After his father’s defeat by the Romans in 190–189, [Antiochus IV] served as hostage for his father in Rome from 189 to 175, where he learned to admire Roman institutions and policies. His brother, King Seleucus IV, exchanged him for Demetrius, the son of Seleucus; and after Seleucus was murdered by Heliodorus, a usurper, Antiochus in turn ousted him. During this period of uncertainty in Syria, the guardians of Ptolemy VI, the Egyptian ruler, laid claim to Coele Syria, Palestine, and Phoenicia, which Antiochus III had conquered. Both the Syrian and Egyptian parties appealed to Rome for help, but the Senate refused to take sides. In 173 Antiochus paid the remainder of thewar indemnity that had been imposed by the Romans on Antiochus III at the Treaty of Apamea (188).

[End of quote]

The Commagene version also grew up in Rome: “Antiochus seems to have gained Roman citizenship. He lived and was raised in Rome, along with his sister. While he and his sister were growing up in Rome …” (Wikipedia).

Both were descended form a Queen Laodice.

In the case of Commagene: “Through his ancestor from Commagene, Queen Laodice VII Thea, who was the mother of King Antiochus I Theos of Commagene, he was a direct descendant of the Greek Seleucid kings” (Wikipedia).

So, there is a blood connection here between the supposedly two dynasties.

In the case of the Seleucid: “Mother: Laodice III (daughter of Mithradates II of Pontus)”:

That name, “Mithradates”, was in fact the Seleucid’s original name: “Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Επιφανής, Greek: Manifest), originally named Mithradates, but renamed Antiochus either upon his ascension or after the death of his elder brother Antiochus …”. (

Finally, we learn of another connection of an Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ with the emperor Hadrian, over and above what I wrote about this in:

Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’ and Emperor Hadrian. Part One: “… a mirror image”

The Commagene version’s grand-daughter, Julia Balbilla, became a travelling companion of the emperor Hadrian in Egypt (

Perhaps the best candidate for such a figure of females [re “prominence and visibility to females in the domain of cult”] is Julia Balbilla, a granddaughter of Antiochus IV who accompanied Hadrian and Sabina on a trip to Egypt in A.D. 130 (the visit to Sparta was not to occur until late in life for the purpose of attending to the construction of a heroon in honor of her cousin Herculanus). Writer of poetry in the Aeolic dialect of Sappho, with no recorded husband or child, a possible exemplar of lesbian relationships, if she was the lover of Sabina (perhaps modeled on the emperor’s own liaison with Antinous) (pp. 128-129) — a more unconventional female figure (by the standards of Greek antiquity) would be difficult to imagine, but strictly speaking we are no longer here within the limits of religion, much less religion at Sparta. ….

It is unfortunately upon such a dubious historical figure as Julia Balbilla that we must be reliant for much of the account of the emperor Hadrian’s visit to Egypt.


Pericles (Peisistratus) and emperor Hadrian

Published May 2, 2017 by amaic


Damien F. Mackey

“The Panhellenion was devised with a view to associating the Roman Emperor with the protection of Greek culture and of the “liberties” of Greece – in this case, urban self-government. It allowed Hadrian to appear as the fictive heir to Pericles, who supposedly had convened a previous Panhellenic Congress …”.

Some Commonalities

The famous beard

We read about it, for instance, in the book, Rethinking Revolutions Through Ancient Greece (ed. Simon Goldhill, Robin Osborne):

But if Hadrian’s beard is not that of a philosopher, what are we to make of it? Susan Walker has recently refined her answer to this question to describe the beard ‘as worn in the style of Pericles’. …. Pericles’ short, curly beard and moustache put her on safer ground art-historically than those who favour a philosophical reading …. Historiographically it lends him an identity that complements his building in Athens. But the more one pursues the implications of this hypothesis, the more one is made to doubt it. If one reads Plutarch to get a sense of Pericles’ reputation under Hadrian, one encounters an icon whose physical appearance is similar to Pisistratus. …. In some ways this is eminently suitable: Pisistratus is a prolific builder in Athens and inaugurates the Olympeion that Hadrian is to finish. …. But were Hadrian attempting to instigate a revolution, there is danger in even the slightest whiff of tyranny. Rest-assured, there is little additional evidence to support a Pericles-Hadrian parallel, at least not compared to stronger associations with a bearded Zeus or Jupiter ….

[End of quote]

Eleusinian mysteries

Under Pericles

The Eleusinian mysteries attracted many initiates in Athens from about the seventh century BC, and the epics of Homer prove that, even that early, Greeks believed that the Eleusinian rites granted the initiates happiness after death. The citizens of Athens adopted the Mysteries of Eleusis as a feature of the state cult, then, at the time of Pericles, other Greek cities were admitted and later everyone who could speak Greek and had shed no blood or had subsequently been purified.

Under Peisistratus

Since religion was closely interwoven with the structure of the Greek polis, or city-state, many of [Peisistratus’] steps were religious reforms. He brought the great shrine of Demeter at Eleusis under state control and constructed the first major Hall of the Mysteries (Telesterion) for the annual rites of initiation into the cult. Many local cults of Attica were either moved to the city or had branch shrines there. Artemis, for instance, continued to be worshiped at Brauron, but now there was also a shrine to Artemis on the Acropolis. Above all, Athena now became the main deity to be revered by all Athenian citizens. Peisistratus constructed an entry gate (Propylaea) on the Acropolis and perhaps built an old Parthenon under the temple that now stands on the crest of the Acropolis. Many sculptured fragments of limestone from Peisistratid buildings have been found on the Acropolis, and the foundations of a major, unfinished temple can still be seen.

Under Hadrian

Emperor Hadrian was initiated into the Eleusinian Mysteries; he and his successors Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Commodus all protected the shrine and contributed to its embellishment ….

In September 128 [sic], Hadrian attended the Eleusinian mysteries again. This time his visit to Greece seems to have concentrated on Athens and Sparta – the two ancient rivals for dominance of Greece. Hadrian had played with the idea of focusing his Greek revival around the Amphictyonic League based in Delphi, but by now he had decided on something far grander.

Panhellenion and Olympeion


Rethinking Revolutions Through Ancient Greece: “Pisistratus is a prolific builder in Athens and inaugurates the Olympeion that Hadrian is to finish”.

Dedicated to Olympian Zeus, the Olympieion was situated on the bank of the river Ilissus southeast of the Acropolis. It was built on the site of an ancient Doric temple, the foundation of which had been laid out by the tyrant Pisistratus, but construction was abandoned several decades later in 510 BC when his son Hippias, whose rule had become increasingly despotic, was expelled from Athens and a democracy established (he would return twenty years later with the Persians at Marathon, Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, VI.54ff). Aristotle cites the temple and the pyramids of Egypt as examples of how rulers subdue their populations by engaging them in such grandiose projects. Kept poor and preoccupied with hard work, there was not the time to conspire (Politics, V.11). Over three centuries later, in 174 BC, Antiochus IV Epiphanes (king of Syria and the “vile person” of Daniel 11:21) commissioned the Roman architect Cossutius to begin work again on the same ground plan. He did so “with great skill and taste,” says Vitruvius, constructing a temple “of large dimensions, and of the Corinthian order and proportions” (On Architecture, VII, Pref.15, 17). Of all the works of Antiochus, the Temple of Jupiter Olympius or Olympian (as the Romans called it) was the “only one in the world, the plan of which was suitable to the greatness of the deity” (Livy, History of Rome, XLI.20). But when the king died a decade later, the temple still was “left half finished” (Strabo, Geography, IX.1.17), although it extended at least to the architrave of the columns still standing at the southeastern corner.


Plutarch writes that Pericles “introduced a bill to the effect that all Hellenes wheresoever resident in Europe or in Asia, small and large cities alike, should be invited to send deputies to a council at Athens.” The aim was to discuss matters of common interest—restoration of the temples the Persians had burned down, payment of vows to the gods for the great deliverance, and clearing the seas of pirates.


More than half a millennium later [sic] Hadrian picked it up where it had fallen. During his previous visit, his attention had been caught by the synedrion, or council, at Delphi for the Amphictyonic League, but it did not include enough Greek cities. He decided to launch a new Panhellenion along Periclean lines. As before, a grandly refurbished Athens was to be the headquarters and Greek cities would be invited to send delegates to an inaugural assembly. Member communities had to prove their Greekness, both culturally and in genetic descent, although in practice some bogus pedigrees were accepted.

The enterprise had a somewhat antiquarian character. So far as we can tell from the fragmentary surviving evidence, Hadrian aimed at roughly the same catchment area as Pericles had done—in essence, the basin of the Ionian Sea. Italy and Sicily were excluded once again, and there was no representation of Greek settlements in Egypt, Syria, or Anatolia. The emperor made a point of visiting Sparta, presumably to ensure that it did not stay away as it had done in the fifth century.

A renaissance of old glories was reflected in the development of archaized language; so, for example, Spartan young men (epheboi) suddenly took on an antiquated Doric dialect in their dedications to Artemis Orthia, a patron goddess of the city. It seems clear that one of the purposes of Hadrian’s policy was to recruit the past to influence and to help define and improve the decadent present.

Hadrian began to call himself the “Olympian,” echoing the example of Pericles as well as reflecting the completion of the Olympieion, the vast temple to Olympian Zeus. He was soon widely known throughout the Hellenic eastern provinces as “Hadrianos Sebastos Olumpios,” Sebastos being the Greek word for Augustus, or indeed “Hadrianos Sebastos Zeus Olumpios.”

What did the Panhellenion actually do? It administered its own affairs, managed its shrine not far from the Roman Agora and offices, and promoted a quadrennial festival. It also assessed qualifications for membership. But Hadrian was careful to give it no freestanding political powers. All important decisions were referred to him for approval. Rather, the focus was cultural and religious, and a connection was forged with the Eleusinian Mysteries. In essence, the task was to build spiritual and intellectual links among the cities of the Greek world, and to foster a sense of community. The Panhellenion also furthered the careers of delegates, who were usually leading members of Greek elites (but not necessarily Roman citizens), and created an international “old-boy network” of friends who advanced one another’s interests. ….


Part Two: Hadrian “a second Pericles”


“Even Athens may have reflected with complacency on the loss of her liberty,

while she revered a second Pericles in Hadrian”.

 James Bowling Mozley



Ronnie Leslie will, for his part, describe the emperor Hadrian as “a new Pericles” in his article “Hadrian’s Second Jewish Revolt: Political or Religious?”

But see my series arguing against the traditional view that there was a Second Jewish Revolt during the C2nd AD:


Simon Bar Kochba in Temple Period. Part One: Correcting my former views

Simon Bar Kochba in Temple Period. Part Two: Such Meagre Sources

Ronnie Leslie writes:



…. Right from the start Hadrian made it clear that he was his own man in his administration of the empire; he resumed the policy of the early emperors, dedicating his

time to maintaining peace throughout the empire.  However, this policy did not last long;

one of his very first decisions was the abandonment of the eastern territories which Trajan had just conquered during his last campaign.  Such a withdrawal, and the surrender of territory for which the Roman army had just paid for in blood, would hardly have been popular.  Hadrian may be sharply contrasted with his predecessor Trajan, who owed his elevation to his successful wars in the Rhine region.  After Trajan’s death, Hadrian called upon the eastern armies; however, the troops were demoralized by Trajan’s death, which in turn acted as a signal to Rome’s enemies in every province. ….


Hadrian spent the better part of his reign away from the capital exploring every province of the empire. …. On his travels he grew deeply devoted to Greek studies, so much so that some Romans called him the little Greekling. …. Throughout his twenty-one

year reign, Hadrian’s infinity for Greek culture are seen throughout his administration as

well as religious ideology.  He had been so fascinated by the culture of Greece that he introduced Greek customs and even grew a beard which was traditionally Greek. …. Furthermore, his court assumed more and more a Hellenic characteristic.  He was constantly surrounded by Greek playwrights and sophists; his favorite was Antinous … with whom he had become acquainted with in Asia Minor and brought to Rome.    He seemed to have viewed himself as a new Pericles; thus, most of his attention of the empire was exclusively focused on the east, particularly Athens.   ….


[End of quote]


Then there is this one, “Pericles and Athens”:


“From the 450s until 429 the most famous Athenian politician was Pericles, so much so that this era is often known nowadays as the age of ‘Periclean Athens’. The Emperor Hadrian was well aware of Pericles’ example. Among his special favours for Athens, Hadrian may even have modelled his ‘Panhellenic’ role for the city on a project which biographers had ascribed to Pericles himself”.


And also this one, a supposed “renaissance of old glories”:



Plutarch writes that Pericles “introduced a bill to the effect that all Hellenes wheresoever resident in Europe or in Asia, small and large cities alike, should be invited to send deputies to a council at Athens.” The aim was to discuss matters of common interest—restoration of the temples the Persians had burned down, payment of vows to the gods for the great deliverance, and clearing the seas of pirates. The Greek colonies of Sicily and Italy were not invited, for they had not been directly involved in the war. Nothing came of the project owing to opposition from the Spartans, then the great military rival of Athens. Pericles let the idea drop.


More than half a millennium later Hadrian picked it up where it had fallen. During his previous visit, his attention had been caught by the synedrion, or council, at Delphi for the Amphictyonic League, but it did not include enough Greek cities. He decided to launch a new Panhellenion along Periclean lines. As before, a grandly refurbished Athens was to be the headquarters and Greek cities would be invited to send delegates to an inaugural assembly. Member communities had to prove their Greekness, both culturally and in genetic descent, although in practice some bogus pedigrees were accepted.

The enterprise had a somewhat antiquarian character. So far as we can tell from the fragmentary surviving evidence, Hadrian aimed at roughly the same catchment area as Pericles had done—in essence, the basin of the Ionian Sea. Italy and Sicily were excluded once again, and there was no representation of Greek settlements in Egypt, Syria, or Anatolia. The emperor made a point of visiting Sparta, presumably to ensure that it did not stay away as it had done in the fifth century.


A renaissance of old glories was reflected in the development of archaized language; so, for example, Spartan young men (epheboi) suddenly took on an antiquated Doric dialect in their dedications to Artemis Orthia, a patron goddess of the city. It seems clear that one of the purposes of Hadrian’s policy was to recruit the past to influence and to help define and improve the decadent present.


Hadrian began to call himself the “Olympian,” echoing the example of Pericles as well as reflecting the completion of the Olympieion, the vast temple to Olympian Zeus. He was soon widely known throughout the Hellenic eastern provinces as “Hadrianos Sebastos Olumpios,” Sebastos being the Greek word for Augustus, or indeed “Hadrianos Sebastos Zeus Olumpios.”

Ptolemy IX “Chickpea” and Cicero “Chickpea”

Published May 2, 2017 by amaic




 Damien F. Mackey



“… I suggest that Cicero explicitly employs unhistorical (or at least not certifiably true) exempla, with a view to the internal consistency of the dialogues’ fictional world”.

Dan Hanchey




Some Commonalities


Some obvious similarities between the text-book Ptolemy Soter (so-called IX) and Cicero are their supposed beginnings before 100 BC, and their sharing of a name, or nickname, meaning “Chickpea”. In the book, Language Typology and Historical Contingency: In honor of Johanna Nichols (eds. B. Bickel et al.), we read as follows about this name (p. 303):


The possible prehistory of *ḱiḱer- is more interesting. The attested forms are Latin (Glare 1996) cicer ‘chickpea’ (Cicer arietinum), cicera ‘chickling vetch’ (Lathyrus sativus), Armenian siseṙn ‘chickpea’, Macedonian (Hesychius) kíkerroi (Lathyrus ochrus), and Serbo-Croatian sȁstrica (Lathyrus cicera or Lathyrus sativus). …. There is also the possibility of Greek kriós, ‘chickpea’, which Pokorny (1994: 598) tentatively suggests might be from *kikriós with dissimilation, and Hittite kikris, a food item used in a mash, and measured in handfuls. ….

[End of quote]


Likewise, Ptolemy was, Cicero was, contemporaneous with a Cleopatra, who had no great love for the “Chickpea”, or vice versa.

In the case of Ptolemy, we read ( “Although [Cleopatra, so-called III] preferred his younger brother, Ptolemy Alexander, popular sentiment forced the dowager queen to dismiss him and to associate Ptolemy Soter on the throne with herself”.

In parallel fashion, Cleopatra [so-called VII] ruled as co-regent with Ptolemy [so-called XII]: “Before his death, Ptolemy XII chose his daughter Cleopatra VII as his coregent. In his will, he declared that she and her brother Ptolemy XIII should rule the kingdom together”. ( Interestingly, Cicero, according to what we read at this site, is supposed to have commented unfavourably on this latter situation:


Throughout his long-lasting reign the principal aim of Ptolemy [XII] was to secure his hold on the Egyptian throne so as to eventually pass it to his heirs. To achieve this goal he was prepared to sacrifice much: the loss of rich Ptolemaic lands, most of his wealth and even, according to Cicero, the very dignity on which the mystique of kingship rested when he appeared before the Roman people as a mere supplicant.

[End of quote]


As for Cicero and Cleopatra: “Without doubt Cicero was hoping for bad news about Cleopatra. He did not like Greeks and he did not like women, and most of all he hated the Greek woman Cleopatra …”. (Michael Foss, The Search for Cleopatra, 1999).




Ptolemy experienced three of these, according to Encyclopædia Britannica:


…. The latent hostility between the son and his mother finally erupted in October 110, when Cleopatra expelled him from Egypt and recalled his brother from Cyprus. Soter II returned in early 109 but was evicted anew by his mother in March of the following year.

After a reconciliation in May 108 he fled a third time and established himself in Cyprus, from where in 107 he invaded northern Syria to assist one of the claimants to the Seleucid empire, while his mother, allying herself with the Jewish king in Palestine, actively aided another Seleucid pretender. ….

[End of quote]


Nor was Cicero a stranger to exile, as we learn at:


Cicero was elected quaestor in 75, praetor in 66 and consul in 63—the youngest man ever to attain that rank without coming from a political family. During his term as consul he thwarted the Catilinian conspiracy to overthrow the Republic. In the aftermath, though, he approved the key conspirators’ summary execution, a breach of Roman law that left him vulnerable to prosecution and sent him into exile.

Cicero: Alliances, Exiles ….


During his exile, Cicero refused overtures from Caesar that might have protected him, preferring political independence to a role in the First Triumvirate. Cicero was away from Rome when civil war between Caesar and Pompey broke out. He aligned himself with Pompey and then faced another exile when Caesar won the war, cautiously returning to Rome to receive the dictator’s pardon. ….

[End of quote]




Continuing with the Encyclopædia Britannica account of Ptolemy, we read of his lengthy sojourn in Cyprus:


After a reconciliation in May 108 [Ptolemy] fled a third time and established himself in Cyprus, from where in 107 he invaded northern Syria to assist one of the claimants to the Seleucid empire, while his mother, allying herself with the Jewish king in Palestine, actively aided another Seleucid pretender. During the protracted war his mother died (101) and Ptolemy X Alexander became the sole ruler of Egypt, while Soter II remained entrenched in Cyprus. ….

[End of quote]


As for Cicero, Ismail Veli has called him “Cicero The Most Famous Governor in Cypriot History!” (


If I was to choose the most famous Governor in Cypriot history I would choose the great Marcus Tullius Cicero ….

In 51 BC and much against his will he was  assigned to Cilicia which was associated to Cyprus. As usual the previous Governor’s considered their post as an opportunity to enrich themselves at the expense of the local people. Arriving in August 51 B.C he remained until the following year until 3rd August 50 B.C. Though not pleased on his post Cicero as usual set about his task with honesty, hard work and aimed at making the lives of the locals much more comfortable. In addition to the corruption, Cilicia was in an unsettled state due to the Parthian wars. His first order was that the locals need not present him with gifts they could ill afford. He also did away with spending on many forms of Roman entertainment. He only accepted invitations to modest dinner parties so as not to force the locals extra spending. He himself restrained from having extravagant dinner parties, only well served and delicious food at the lowest cost possible was on offer. He never ordered anyone to be beaten with rods or stripped of their clothing. His biggest achievement was in fighting the embezzlement of public funds which was at a chronic level. He invited the culprits to hand over the funds on the condition that they would  not be charged and allowed to retain their citizen rights. The effect was that much money was given back to the point that financial stability and prosperity grew. Any chiefs who refused were met with the wrath of the Roman army at Cicero’s disposal. By the time he left Cilicia the people honoured him with the title of ‘Imperator’.

Meanwhile in Cyprus he found the same if not worse problems as he confronted in Cilicia.

He assigned one of his most trusted men Q. Volusius as prefect to help with the task.  The previous Governors had exacted large sums of money from the locals in compensation for not stationing Legionaries on the Island in winter at their expense. Instead they blackmailed the local cities to pay a charge amounting to over 200 Attic talents (one talent was worth 6000 Denarii. The average pay for a citizen was about 1-2 denarii a day). In addition when the city of Salamis needed a loan, Marcus Brutus levied a charge of 48% interest which was crippling the local economy.  Raising loans by provincials  in Rome  was illegal under the Gabinian law (introduced in 67 B.C) Therefore Brutus together with Cato raised it on their behalf. The reason for their exorbitant interest was the excuse that times were volatile and with wars raging in Asia Minor and the Middle East they were at great risk of losing their money. In the end after heavy negotiation the locals were happy to settle for 106 Talents therefore reducing their heavy burden by almost half. Cicero made good the rest from some of the money he had won back from the embezzlers in Cilicia. A Scaptius complained bitterly to M. Brutus that Cicero was so unreasonable that he was not even allowed fifty troopers to have with him in Cyprus, to which Cicero replied that ”Fifty troopers could do no little harm among such gentle folk as the Cypriotes. Spartacus had begun his insurrection with a smaller troop”.

After leaving Cyprus, Cicero retained an interest in Cypriot affairs. In 47 B.C he wrote to C Sextilius Rufus who was quaestor for the Island in that year warmly commending to him all the Cypriotes, especially the Paphians; and suggesting that he would do well to set an example to his successor, instituting reforms in accordance with the law of P.Lentulus and following Cicero’s decisions and policies on the Island.

So ended Cicero’s period of short but effective Governorship of the Roman province of Cyprus. Not many rulers treated the Cypriots with the care and concern as did Cicero. Even if some did I don’t have any doubt that anyone more famous in history can claim to have presided over the people of the Island. ….

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Sack of Athens


An event that occurred at the hands of the Romans in the lifetime of Ptolemy IX, of Cicero. Thus, according to: Encyclopædia Britannica “Ptolemy Soter refused to give aid to the Romans in the course of their war with Pontus, a Black Sea kingdom, and after the Roman sack of Athens in 88 the Egyptian rulers helped rebuild the city, for which commemorative statues of them were erected”.

And, in the case of Cicero (


Roman aristocrats returned to Athens soon after Sulla’s sack, in search of education and high culture. A shipwreck, found a century ago by sponge divers off the island of Antikythera at the southern point of Greece, revealed a cargo of extraordinary statues and other treasure en route for Italy. Excavations of the luxurious villas constructed in the last century BC show the probable destinations of such cargoes. Ancestral mansions in the city had been rebuilt on ever more lavish scales since the sixth century, but from the later second century Roman aristocrats had begun to expand their property portfolios. Cicero was far from the richest of senators, but even he owned eight villas.

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Dan Hanchey may be closer to the truth than he realises when he writes of Cicero’s employment of “unhistorical (or at least not certifiably true) exempla” (





This paper analyzes Cicero’s citations of the not-always-historical past in his theoretical corpus. Examining both the Marian oak in the prologue of De Legibus and Cicero’s overall use of historical references, I suggest that Cicero explicitly employs unhistorical (or at least not certifiably true) exempla, with a view to the internal consistency of the dialogues’ fictional world. By encouraging the reader’s acceptance of such fictional examples, Cicero establishes an intersubjective and empathetic relationship with his audience. Ultimately, Cicero seeks to uphold and use others to confirm his internal world as an alternative to the tense world of Roman politics. ….


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Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’ and Emperor Hadrian “… a mirror image”

Published May 1, 2017 by amaic


Damien F. Mackey



“Hadrian, revisits the actions of [the] predecessor Antiochus IV Epiphanes and

sets up a Temple of Jupiter on the Temple mount, ordering circumcision to cease …”.



Hadrian “a mirror image”

of Antiochus Epiphanes


That, at least, is how Anthony R. Birley has described the emperor Hadrian in his book, Hadrian, The Restless Emperor (p. 228):


The influence on Hadrian’s thinking of the first and most famous bearer of that name, Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria, had already been seen at Athens. It had, after all, been that king who had revived and gone a long way to completing the construction of the Olympieion. He too, like Hadrian, had promoted the cult of Zeus Olympios. There are various other aspects of the character and policies of the eccentric monarch which find an echo in Hadrian, of whom he seems to be almost a mirror image. In his long years as a hostage the Seleucid prince had acquired a fervent admiration for Roman ways. His behaviour at Antioch, mingling with the common people like a would-be civilis princeps, recalls Hadrian the plebis iactantissimus amator. Antiochus was also, at least in his latter years — and notwithstanding his promotion of Zeus Olympios — a devotee of [Epicureanism]. ….

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On shared Epicureanism still, we also read at:


The transformation of Epicureanism into a competitive sect celebrating Epicurus as “savior” increased the already existing opposition to it. Rhetorical literature falsely accused Epicurus of materialistic hedonism. Complaints of Epicurean dogmatism, “beguiling speech” (Col. 2:4), and compelling argumentation (of Avot 2:14 “…[know] what to answer the Epicurean”) are frequently heard. Rabbinic condemnation reflects knowledge of Greco-Roman rhetoric, experiences with individuals and centers (Gadara, Gaza, Caesarea), and, possibly, the favoritism shown to Epicureanism by *Antiochus Epiphanes and *Hadrian. “Epicurean” became thus a byword for “deviance” – ranging from disrespect to atheism – in Philo, Josephus, and rabbinism alike (see *Apikoros).


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Stephen D. Moore, in The Bible in Theory: Critical and Postcritical Essays, p. 196, when discussing the famous incident in the Maccabees of the mother and her seven martyred sons, adds this intriguing footnote (51) according to which Antiochus was replaced in rabbinic tradition by Hadrian:


Nameless in 4 Maccabees, the mother is dubbed Miriam bat Tanhum, or Hannah, in the rabbinic tradition, Solomone in the Greek Christian tradition, and Mart Simouni in the Syriac tradition (see further Darling Young 1991, 67). The tyrant in the rabbinic versions, however, is not Antiochus Epiphanes but Hadrian: Hadrian came and seized upon a widow …” (S. Eliyahu Rab. 30); “In the days of the shemad [the Hadrianic persecutions]…” (Pesiq. R. 43). ….

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Whilst Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC, conventional dating), a Macedonian Greek, had, as we read above, “acquired a fervent admiration for Roman ways”, Hadrian (117-138 AD, conventional dating), supposedly a Roman emperor, was “strongly Philhellene [Greek loving]”



According to the article, “The Temple in Jerusalem over the threshing floor which is presently under the Al Kas fountain”, “Hadrian [a Hitler type] … revisits … Antiochus IV Epiphanes” (


After Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, Hadrian became Caesar in 117 – 138 AD [sic]. Hadrian, revisits the actions of [the] predecessor Antiochus IV Epiphanes and sets up a Temple of Jupiter on the Temple mount, ordering circumcision to cease and expelling the Jews from Jerusalem altogether. He not only made himself the object of worship in this temple, but made Jerusalem the capital city of the Roman world for the worship of Jupiter. He also built [a] temple to Jupiter in Baalbek, Lebanon that is still standing today. Just as Hitler deceived British Prime Minister Chamberlain in 1938 AD that there would be “peace in our time”, so too Hadrian deceived the Jews to believe that he was peacefully rebuilding the Jewish Temple, when in fact he was constructing the world headquarters “Temple of Jupiter”. As construction began, the Jews probably even helped in thankfulness and praise to Hadrian. But when the Jews finally learned of Hadrian’s true intent, as did England learn of Hitler’s, they rebelled and a huge war broke out in 132 AD [sic] where 85 major Jewish towns were destroyed and 580,000 Jewish men were killed. The false promises of peace of Hadrian and Hitler both resulted in major holocausts against the Jews. Israel came to the promised land with about 600,000 men and they were finally expelled from the land by having about 600,000 men killed by Hadrian. The Temple of Jupiter was completed on the temple mount in 135 AD [sic] and was the most important (Jupiter Capitolinus) “Temple to Jupiter” in the world. While the Jews of Hadrian’s time may have been looking for the story of 2 Maccabees conclude with a similar victory for the Jews, Hadrian was likely reminded of the same 2 Macc. text to make sure the ending was different. ….


And again:


Dan 9:27; 11:31; Matt 24:15; Luke 21:20 are specific prophecies that the “abomination of desolation that will make sacrifice cease” in the Jewish temple which was fully fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. But there were two other shadow or anti-typical fulfillments of these same prophecies. One was in 167 BC with Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the other was in 117 AD with the rise of Hadrian to power. Whereas Antiochus merely offered sacrifices to Jupiter in the Jewish Temple, Hadrian built the largest temples of Jupiter in the world in place of the Jewish temple. ….

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