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Dante ‘resembles Hebrew prophet’

Published May 3, 2016 by amaic

 The Divine Comedy

 by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

 

‘The immediate parallelism of Dante’s “old man” is to King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the second book of Daniel. Here, the man is similarly fashioned, with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, a waist of bronze, and legs of iron. However, both the feet in the Biblical passage are of iron mixed with clay, while in Dante one foot is iron and the other is of clay’.

  

 

Some Similarities

 

When reading through the life of Dante Alighieri (dated to C13th-14th’s AD) one may find some likenesses to the Jewish prophet, Daniel (c. 600 BC).

Using for Dante, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04628a.htm we find (emphasis in red):

 

Possibly of nobility, like Daniel (1:3).

[Dante] was the son of Alighiero di Bellincione Alighieri, a notary belonging to an ancient but decadent Guelph family, by his first wife, Bella, who was possibly a daughter of Durante di Scolaio Abati, a Ghibelline noble.

 

Kingdom [Italian empire] fell and was succeeded by foreign power (Daniel 1:1-2).

A few months after the poet’s birth, the victory of Charles of Anjou over King Manfred at Benevento (26 February, 1266) ended the power of the empire in Italy, placed a French dynasty upon the throne of Naples, and secured the predominance of the Guelphs in Tuscany.

 

Good Education (Daniel 1:4, 20).

To take any part in public life, it was necessary to be enrolled in one or other of the “Arts” (the guilds in which the burghers and artisans were banded together), and accordingly Dante matriculated in the guild of physicians and apothecaries.

 

Spoke out on justice matter and hence became famed (Daniel, “Susanna”).

On 6 July, 1295, he spoke in the General Council of the Commune in favour of some modification in the Ordinances of Justice after which his name is frequently found recorded as speaking or voting in the various councils of the republic.

 

Famous Woman (Susanna again, but also Wisdom).

Already Dante had written his first book, the “Vita Nuova”, or “New Life”, an exquisite medley of lyrical verse and poetic prose, telling the story of his love for Beatrice, whom he had first seen at the end of his ninth year. Beatrice, who was probably the daughter of Folco Portinari, and wife of Simone de’ Bardi, died in June, 1290, and the “Vita Nuova” was completed about the year 1294. Dante’s love for her was purely spiritual and mystical, the amor amicitiae defined by St. Thomas Aquinas: “That which is loved in love of friendship is loved simply and for its own sake”. Its resemblance to the chivalrous worship that the troubadours offered to married women is merely superficial.

The book is dedicated to the Florentine poet, Guido Cavalcanti, whom Dante calls “the first of my friends”, and ends with the promise of writing concerning Beatrice “what has never before been written of any woman“.

 

Ruling interdict (Daniel 6:9: Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the interdict”.)

At the beginning of 1300 the papal jubilee was proclaimed by Boniface VIII. It is doubtful whether Dante was among the pilgrims who flocked to Rome. Florence was in a disastrous condition, the ruling Guelph party having split into two factions, known as Bianchi and Neri, “Whites” and “Blacks”, which were led by Vieri de’ Cerchi and Corso Donati, respectively. On 7 May Dante was sent on an unimportant embassy to San Gemignano. Shortly after his return he was elected one of the six priors who for two months, together with the gonfaloniere, formed the Signoria, the chief magistracy of the republic. His term of office was from 15 June to 15 August. Together with his colleagues. he confirmed the anti-Papal measures of his predecessors, banished the leaders of both factions, and offered such opposition to the papal legate, Cardinal Matteo d’Acquasparta, that the latter returned to Rome and laid Florence under an interdict.

 

To be burned at stake (Daniel 3: Blazing Furnace – Three Young Men).

On 1 November Charles of Valois entered Florence with his troops, and restored the Neri to power. Corso Donati and his friends returned in triumph, and were fully revenged on their opponents. Dante was one of the first victims. On a trumped-up charge of hostility to the Church and corrupt practices, he was sentenced (27 January, 1302), together with four others, to a heavy fine and perpetual exclusion from office. On 10 March, together with fifteen others, he was further condemned, as contumacious, to be burned to death, should he ever come into the power of the Commune.

 

Exile honour. Justice (Daniel was an exile).

A few years before his exile Dante had married Gemma di Manetto Donati, a distant kinswoman of Corso, by whom he had four children.

Dante now withdrew from all active participation in politics. In one of his odes written at this time, the “Canzone of the Three Ladies” (Canz. xx), he finds himself visited in his banishment by Justice and her spiritual children, outcasts even as he, and declares that, since such are his companions in misfortune, he counts his exile an honour.

 

Writer on Matters Divine (Daniel 5: ‘Call for Daniel, and he will tell you what the writing means’).  

His literary work at this epoch centres round his rime, or lyrical poems, more particularly round a series of fourteen canzoni or odes, amatory in form, but partly allegorical and didactic in meaning, a splendid group of poems which connect the “Vita Nuova” with the “Divina Commedia”.

 

Lover of philosophy (Daniel 1:20: “In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom”).

About this time (1306-08) he began the “Convivio”, or “Banquet” in Italian prose, a kind of popularization of Scholastic philosophy in the form of a commentary upon his fourteen odes already mentioned. Only four of the fifteen projected treatises were actually written, an introduction and three commentaries. In allegorical fashion they tell us how Dante became the lover of Philosophy, that mystical lady whose soul is love and whose body is wisdom, she “whose true abode is in the most secret place of the Divine Mind”.

 

Disappears from scene (Nothing hear of Daniel from early reign of Nebuchednezzar until reign of Belshazzar).

All certain traces of Dante are now lost for some years.

 

On Monarchy (Daniel 4:27: ‘Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue’).

It was probably in 1309, in anticipation of the emperor’s coming to Italy, that Dante wrote his famous work on the monarchy, “De Monarchiâ”, in three books. Fearing lest he “should one day be convicted of the charge of the buried talent”, and desirous of “keeping vigil for the good of the world”, he proceeds successively to show that such a single supreme temporal monarchy as the empire is necessary for the well-being of the world, that the Roman people acquired universal sovereign sway by Divine right, and that the authority of the emperor is not dependent upon the pope, but descends upon him directly from the fountain of universal authority which is God.

It is therefore the special duty of the emperor to establish freedom and peace “on this threshing floor of mortality”. Mr. Wicksteed (whose translation is quoted) aptly notes that in the, “De Monarchiâ” “we first find in its full maturity the general conception of the nature of man, of government, and of human destiny, which was afterwards transfigured, without being transformed, into the framework of the Sacred Poem”.

 

Most wicked. (Daniel 4:17: ‘… the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men’.)

Thence, on 31 March, he wrote to the Florentine Government (Epist. vi), “the most wicked Florentines within”, denouncing them in unmeasured language for their opposition to the emperor, and, on 16 April, to Henry (Epist. vii), rebuking him for his delay, urging him to proceed at once against the rebellious city, “this dire plague which is named Florence”.

 

Bad Decree (Daniel 6:8: ‘Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered–in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians’).

By a decree of 2 September (the reform of Baldo d’Aguglione), Dante is included in the list of those who are permanently excepted from all amnesty and grace by the commune of Florence.

 

Joined emperor Pisa (Daniel 8:2: ‘In this vision I was at the fortress of Susa …’).

In the spring of 1312 he seems to have gone with the other exiles to join the emperor at Pisa, and it was there that Petrarch, then a child in his eighth year, saw his great predecessor for the only time.

 

And Jeremiah/Jeremias (Daniel 9:2: ‘I, Daniel, learned from reading the word of the LORD, as revealed to Jeremiah the prophet …’).

Reverence for his fatherland, Leonardo Bruni tells us, kept Dante from accompanying the imperial army that vainly besieged Florence in September and October; nor do we know what became of him in the disintegration of his party on the emperor’s death in the following August, 1313. A vague tradition makes him take refuge in the convent of Santa Croce di Fonte Avellana near Gubbio. It was possibly from thence that, after the death of Clement V, in 1314, he wrote his noble letter to the Italian cardinals (Epist. viii), crying aloud with the voice of Jeremias, urging them to restore the papacy to Rome.

 

 

Part Two: Some More Comparisons

 

 

We continue with the New Advent life of Dante http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04628a.htm (emphasis in red):

 

 

Condemned to death. Pardoned (Daniel 2:24, also Fiery Furnace incident).

A little later, Dante was at Lucca under the protection of Uguccione della Faggiuola, a Ghibelline soldier who had temporarily made himself lord of that city. Probably in consequence of his association with Uguccione the Florentines renewed the sentence of death against the poet (6 Nov. 1315), his two sons being included in the condemnation. In 1316 several decrees of amnesty were passed, and (although Dante was undoubtedly excluded under a provision of 2 June) some attempt was made to get it extended to him.

 

Ideal ruler (Daniel 2:36-38, “Head of Gold”)

The poet’s answer was his famous letter to an unnamed Florentine friend (Epist. ix), absolutely refusing to return to his country under shameful conditions. He now went again to Verona, where he found his ideal of knightly manhood realized in Can Grande della Scala, who was ruling a large portion of Eastern Lombardy as imperial vicar, and in whom he doubtless saw a possible future deliverer of Italy. It is a plausible theory, dating from the fifteenth century, that identifies Can Grande with the “Veltro”, or greyhound, the hero whose advent is prophesied at the beginning of the “Inferno”, who is to effectuate the imperial ideals of the “De Monarchiâ”, and succeed where Henry of Luxemburg had failed.

 

Paradiso and its Explanation (Daniel’s Heavenly Vision, 7:9-10, 13-14 and Interpretation, 15-28).

In 1317 (according to the more probable chronology) Dante settled at Ravenna, at the invitation of Guido Novello da Polenta. Here he completed the “Divina Commedia”. From Ravenna he wrote the striking letter to Can Grande (Epist. x), dedicating the “Paradiso” to him, commenting upon its first canto, and explaining the intention and allegorical meaning of the whole poem.

 

Laurel crown of Bologna turned down (Daniel 5:17 turns down King Belshazzar’s honours: “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else”).

A letter in verse (1319) from Giovanni del Virgilio, a lecturer in Latin at the University of Bologna, remonstrating with him for treating such lofty themes in the vernacular, inviting him to come and receive the laurel crown in that City, led Dante to compose his first “Eclogue” a delightful poem in pastoral Latin hexameters, full of human kindness and gentle humour. In it Dante expresses his unalterable resolution to receive the laurel from Florence alone, and proposes to win his correspondent to an appreciation of vernacular poetry by the gift of ten cantos of the “Paradiso”.

 

Divina Commedia relates a vision (Daniel is a man of dreams and visions).

The “Divina Commedia” is an allegory of human life, in the form of a vision of the world beyond the grave, written avowedly with the object of converting a corrupt society to righteousness: “to remove those living in this life from the state of misery, and lead them to the state of felicity“. It is composed of a hundred cantos, written in the measure known as terza rima, with its normally hendecasyllabic lines and closely linked rhymes, which Dante so modified from the popular poetry of his day that it may be regarded as his own invention. He is relating, nearly twenty years after the event, a vision which was granted to him (for his own salvation when leading a sinful life) during the year of jubilee, 1300, in which for seven days (beginning on the morning of Good Friday) he passed through hell, purgatory, and paradise, spoke with the souls in each realm, and heard what the Providence of God had in store for himself and to world. The framework of the poem presents the dual scheme of the “De Monarchiâ” transfigured.

 

Beasts, Mountain (Daniel 7, Dream of Four Beasts, and 2:34 Mountain).

Virgil, representing human philosophy acting in accordance with the moral and intellectual virtues, guides Dante by the light of natural reason from the dark wood of alienation from God (where the beasts of lust pride, and avarice drive man back from ascending the Mountain of the Lord), through hell and purgatory to the earthly paradise, the state of temporal felicity, when spiritual liberty has been regained by the purgatorial pains.

 

Sight of God (Daniel’s Heavenly Vision, 7:9-10, 13-14).

Beatrice, representing Divine philosophy illuminated by revelation, leads him thence, up through the nine moving heavens of intellectual preparation, into the true paradise, the spaceless and timeless empyrean, in which the blessedness of eternal life is found in the fruition of the sight of God.

 

Sun and stars (Daniel 12:3).

There her place is taken by St. Bernard, type of the loving contemplation in which the eternal life of the soul consists, who commends him to the Blessed Virgin, at whose intercession he obtains a foretaste of the Beatific Vision, the poem closing with all powers of knowing and loving fulfilled and consumed in the union of the understanding with the Divine Essence, the will made one with the Divine Will, “the Love that moves the sun and the other stars”.

 

Victim persecution and injustice, burning with zeal (Daniel 6, Den of Lions).

Himself the victim of persecution and injustice, burning with zeal for the reformation and renovation of the world, Dante’s impartiality is, in the main, sublime. He is the man (to adopt his own phrase) to whom Truth appeals from her immutable throne ….

 

Lofty mountain (Daniel 2:34), rising out of ocean (Daniel 7:2).

The “Purgatorio”, perhaps the most artistically perfect of the three canticles, owes less to the beauty of the separate episodes. Dante’s conception of purgatory as a lofty mountain, rising out of the ocean in the southern hemisphere, and leading up to the Garden of Eden, the necessary preparation for winning back the earthly paradise, and with it all the prerogatives lost by man at the fall of Adam, seems peculiar to him; nor do we find elsewhere the purifying process carried on beneath the sun and stars, with the beauty of transfigured nature only eclipsed by the splendour of the angelic custodians of the seven terraces.

 

Beatrice on banks of Lethe (Daniel 8:16 Angel on banks of river Ulai).

The meeting with Beatrice on the banks of Lethe, with Dante’s personal confession of an unworthy past, completes the story of the “Vita Nuova” after the bitter experiences and disillusions of a lifetime.

 

Works of Dante considered spurious (Many sceptics of Book of Daniel).

The title of father of modern Dante scholarship unquestionably belongs to Karl Witte (1800-83), whose labours set students of the nineteenth century on the right path both in interpretation and in textual research. More recently, mainly through the influence of G.A. Scartazzini (d. 1901), a wave of excessive scepticism swept over the field, by which the traditional events of Dante’s life were regarded as little better than fables and the majority of his letters and even some of his minor works were declared to be spurious.

 

Hebrew prophet (Daniel was indeed that).

Never, perhaps, has Dante’s fame stood so high as at the present day, when he is universally recognized as ranking with Homer, Æschylus, Sophocles, and Shakespeare, among the few supreme poets of the world. It has been well observed that his inspiration resembles that of the Hebrew prophet more than that of the poet as ordinarily understood.

 

 

Part Three:

Dante ‘Becomes’ Nebuchednezzar

 

 

Dante’s “inspiration resembles that of the Hebrew prophet more than that of the poet as ordinarily understood”. So we read in Part Two. But it has also been said (see below): “Dante is to Nebuchadnezzar as Beatrice is to Daniel”.

 

 

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“Why should Dante have cast himself as the tyrannical Babylonian ruler?”

 

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For some incredible likenesses to the Book of Daniel in Dante’s writings it may suffice to quote from the following two intriguing articles:

 

 

Robert Hollander (Princeton University) 17 May 2005 Paradiso 4.14: Dante as Nebuchadnezzar?
The following passage, a simile, apparently establishes a four-way typological analogy, three terms of which are disclosed, and one of which is not expressed, but is understood easily and by all who have dealt with this text. At the same time, it has always caused displeasure or avoidance in its readers:

 

Fé sì Beatrice qual fé Danïello, Nabuccodonosor levando d’ira, che l’avea fatto ingiustamente fello; (Par. 4.13-15)

 

The cast of characters of this passage also (and obviously) includes the protagonist, even if he is not named in it. And indeed, all readily agree that, in this “equation,” Dante is to Nebuchadnezzar as Beatrice is to Daniel. The problem only begins once we have come that far.

Dante has accustomed his readers to understanding his typological analogies readily. One such that usefully comes to mind with reference to our passage is found farther along in Paradiso, the allusion to the figurally related pair Ananias/Beatrice and its unexpressed but pellucidly clear companion duo, in similar relation, Saul of Tarsus/Dante:

 

“perché la donna che per questa dia regïon ti conduce, ha ne lo sguardo la virtù ch’ebbe la man d’ Anania .” (Par. 26.10-12)

 

While not all aspects of this quadripartite relation have proven to be easily assimilated (for instance, what exactly Beatrice’s gaze represents), it is probably fair to say that its basic business has escaped no one: Dante, blinded by the presence of St. John, is assured by him that he will soon regain his sight by the ministrations of Beatrice, who will serve as the new Ananias to his Saul (Acts 9:8-18), blinded on the road to Damascus.

To return to our less well understood simile, we find that it puts into parallel Beatrice (placating Dante’s anxiety) and Daniel (stilling Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath). It thus also necessarily puts into parallel Dante and Nebuchadnezzar, a relation that at first makes no sense at all[1]. The poet has earlier in the Commedia visited this biblical text (found in the second book of the prophet Daniel), the account of the king’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation of it (see Inf. 14.94-111 for Dante’s version of that dream, embodied in the representation of the veglio di Creta ). Here he fastens on its perhaps strangest aspect: the new king’s desire to kill all the wise men in his kingdom of Babylon who could neither bring his forgotten dream back to mind nor then interpret it � about as untoward a royal prerogative as anyone has ever sought to enjoy. Thus it seems natural to wonder in what way Dante may possibly be conceived of as being similar to the wrathful king of Babylon . The entire commentary tradition observes only a single link: Nebuchadnezzar’s displeasure and Dante’s puzzlement are both finally relieved by (divinely inspired � see Trucchi on these verses [2]) external intervention on the part of Daniel, in the first case, and then of Beatrice. However, saying that is akin to associating Joseph Stalin and Mother Teresa on the nearly meaningless grounds that both were among the most famous people of their time. Why should Dante have cast himself as the tyrannical Babylonian ruler? That is a question that has only stirred the edges of the ponds in the commentaries and has never had a sufficient answer. If we turn to the work of my friend Lino Pertile, we find that he, after correctly noting the verbal playfulness of the tercet (“Fé… fé… l’avea fatto… fello” [we might want to compare Par. 7.10-12: “Io dubitava e dicea ‘Dille, dille! / fra me, ‘dille’ dicea, ‘a la mia donna / che mi diseta con le dolci stille’,” an even more notably–and playfully–overwrought tercet]), characterizes this simile as being “hyperbolic and distracting rather than illuminating.”[3] That is because Pertile, like almost everyone else (and perhaps understandably), believes that “Beatrice might reasonably be compared to Daniel, but the analogy between Dante’s tongue-tying intellectual anxiety and Nebuchadnezzar’s wrath is hardly fitting.”[4] That, this writer must confess, was until very recently his own view of the matter.[5] However, if one looks in the Epistle to Cangrande (77-82), one finds a gloss to Par. 1.4-9 that is entirely germane here. And apparently, in the centuries of discussion of this passage, only G.R. Sarolli, in his entry “Nabuccodonosor” in the Enciclopedia dantesca[6], has noted the striking similarity in the two texts, going on to argue that such similarity serves as a further proof of the authenticity of the epistle.[7] In that passage Dante explains that his forgetting of his experience of the Empyrean (because he was lifted beyond normal human experience and could not retain his vision) has some egregious precursors: St. Paul, three of Jesus’s disciples, Ezekiel (such visionary capacity certified by the testimony of Richard of St. Victor, St. Bernard, and St. Augustine); and then he turns to his own unworthiness to be included in such company (if not hesitating to insist on the fact that he had been the recipient of exactly the same sort of exalted vision): “Si vero in dispositionem elevationis tante propter peccatum loquentis oblatrarent, legant Danielem, ubi et Nabuchodonosor invenient contra peccatores aliqua vidisse divinitus, oblivionique mandasse” [But if on account of the sinfulness of the speaker (Dante himself, we want to remember) they should cry out against his claim to have reached such a height of exaltation, let them read Daniel, where they will find that even Nebuchadnezzar by divine permission beheld certain things as a warning to sinners, and straightway forgot them].[8] Dante, like the Babylonian king, has had a vision that was God-given, only to forget it. And now he is, Nebuchadnezzar-like, distraught; Beatrice, like the Hebrew prophet, restores his calm. It is worth observing that Dante’s way of stating what Daniel accomplished is set forth in negative terms: He helped the king put off the wrath that had made him unjustly cruel; the poet does not say Daniel restored the dream, the loss of which caused the king to become angry with his wise men in the first place. But that is precisely what we are meant to conclude, as the text of the epistle makes still clearer. Thus the typological equation here is not otiose; Dante is the new Nebuchadnezzar in that both of them, if far from being holy men (indeed both were sinners), were nonetheless permitted access to visionary experience of God, only to be unable to retain their visions in memory. The king enters this perhaps unusual history, that of those who, less than morally worthy, forgot the divine revelation charitably extended to them, as the first forgetter; Dante, as the second. This is exactly the sort of spirited, self-conscious playfulness that we expect from this greatest of poets, who doubled as his own commentator. And that commentator, in the Epistle to Cangrande, was not only the first to deal with this passage but the only one to have got it right.[9]

[1] If one also considers Dante’s other typological reference to the book of Daniel (6:22; see Mon. III.i.1), where Dante compares himself to the prophet in the lions’ den, one quickly understands the non-binding nature of any particular identity in his series of self-definitions. See note 5 for his drawing attention to himself as David or as Uzzah, depending on the context in which he is working.

[2] Ernesto Trucchi, comm. to Par. 4.13-15, DDP.

[3] Lino Pertile, “Paradiso IV,” in Dante’s “Divine Comedy,” Introductory Readings III: “Paradiso,” ed. Tibor Wlassics ( Lectura Dantis [virginiana], 16-17, supplement, 1995), p. 50.

[4] Ibid.

[5] But see an earlier study of another figural construction in which Dante is observed connecting himself as antitype to an entirely negative precursor in surprisingly positive terms: Robert Hollander, “Dante as Uzzah? (Purg. X.57 and Epistle XI.9-12),” in Sotto il segno di Dante: Scritti in onore di Francesco Mazzoni, ed. L. Coglievina & D. De Robertis (Florence: Le Lettere, 1999), pp. 143-51. In that instance also the meaning of a passage in the poem is deepened by one in an epistle, if in that case the Latin text may have preceded the vernacular one, as is almost certainly not true in this.

[6] ED IV, 1973, p. 1a.  For an independent and similar argument (without reference to Sarolli’s voce), see Albert Ascoli, “Dante after Dante,” in Dante for the New Millennium, ed. T. Barolini and H.W. Storey (New York: Fordham University Press, 2003), pp. 358-59 & nn.

[7] Sarolli continues, brushing aside the traditional commentator’s explanation, which focuses on the Daniel/Beatrice typology by simply avoiding the Nebuchadnezzar/Dante one, to speculate that what is really at stake is the parallelism Babylonian wise men/Plato, a pairing that simply doesn’t compute. (The wise men are not wrong; Plato is–or at least his ideas, in their raw form, are deeply culpable.)

[8] Epistola XIII.81, ed. E. Pistelli (SDI, 1960); tr. P. Toynbee (both cited from the Princeton Dante Project).

[9] Whatever doubt remains concerning the authenticity of the epistle has been effectively and considerably challenged by a recent study: Luca Azzetta, “Le chiose alla Commedia di Andrea Lancia, l’Epistola a Cangrande e altre questioni dantesche,” L’Alighieri 21 (2003): 5-76.

 

 

And we read further at: http://members.tripod.com/Snyder_AMDG/ImageMan.html

 

 

An Image of Man

Dante’s Divine Comedy: Inferno, Canto XIV, Lines 103-116

What makes a man? According to nursery rhymes the ingredients include snips and snails and puppy dog tails; according to modern times the ingredients are dollars and bills, gold and silver. According to Dante, the image of every man is revealed in the fourteenth canto of the Inferno with the allegory of the “old man” beneath Mount Ida from whom the three mythological rivers spring, and who is made of gold, silver, bronze, iron and clay. But is this a man, this concoction of various elements? And is this everyman? Dante’s answer would be ‘yes,’ followed by an injunction to ‘look deeper.’

Taking Dante’s command to heart, the immediate parallelism of this “old man” is to King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the second book of Daniel. Here, the man is similarly fashioned, with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, a waist of bronze, and legs of iron. However, both the feet in the Biblical passage are of iron mixed with clay, while in Dante one foot is iron and the other is of clay. Daniel explains the various metals as the succession of empires after the “golden age” of Nebuchadnezzar. In the dream, a stone “cut out by no human hand (Daniel 2:34)” smites the base, cracking every layer of the statue. The image crumbles, blown away by the wind, and the stone becomes a mountain. Dante’s man is likewise fissured, but no reason is given for the disfigurement. Here the golden head remains intact, and no mountain takes the place of the statue in the Inferno, but “from the splay/of that great rift run tears (Canto XIV, ln. 112-113)” which form three of the four mythological rivers: Acheron, Styx, and Phlegethon.

The similarity between the two images is striking, and one must assume that Dante expected his Medieval audience to draw such an obvious connection. It remains to the reader to probe the deeper meanings. Biblical scholars have long held that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was not merely a prophecy about the King’s own reign and the empires after him, but a foreshadowing of the Reign of God, as symbolized by the victorious mountain. In Dante’s Divine Comedy, Christ has already come through Hell (Canto IV, ln. 52-63) and liberated the righteous – the stone has already cracked the statue and become a mountain. The Reign of God proclaimed by the Gospels and symbolized by the mountain has come to pass. In Dante’s geography, the “great old man stands under the mountain’s mass (Canto XIV, ln. 159).” This mountain may be either Calvary or Purgatory, both “ladders” to the Heavenly Kingdom.

Daniel explains that the feet of the King’s statue that are made of iron mixed with clay represents an ill-made empire that shall be a “divided kingdom” with “some of the firmness of iron…in it,” that is “partly strong and partly brittle,” “mix[ed] with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together (Daniel 2:41-43).” By separating the two substances so that one leg is iron and the other clay, Dante shows a more completely “divided kingdom.” Some scholars have argued that this may represent or prefigure our own modern separation of church and state. Secular critics have made the case that the “right foot…baked of the earthen clay,/…the foot upon which he chiefly stands (Canto XIV, ln. 110-111)” is the Church herself, “weakened and corrupted by temporal concerns and political power struggles (Musa, 77).” This may certainly have been one of Dante’s multilayered meanings, but is not necessarily the only allegory.

The old man is mentioned as Virgil and Dante enter the Burning Sands after the Wood of the Suicides in Hell. These two rings are reserved for those violent against the Self (suicides), God (blasphemers), Nature (Sodomites) and Art (usurers). The iron foot is described in Daniel as that metal that “breaks to pieces and shatters all things…it crushes (Daniel 2:40).” Iron is the element associated with weaponry and war – a violent element appropriate to the circle of the violent. Clay, often used as a symbol for man’s human frailty, may be one answer to the riddle of the right foot. The people in Hell fell because they relied on their own flawed humanity rather than the divine providence or intellect, which the unshattered golden head may symbolize.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pompey the Great: ‘Roman Alexander’?

Published August 20, 2015 by amaic

Image result for pompey

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

Conventional ancient Roman history/chronology needs to be subjected to revisionist scrutiny just as we found to have been the case with ancient Egypt and the Near East.

This article will be a continuation of efforts towards trying to determine whether the seemingly impregnable fortress of conventional ancient Roman history is firmly based, or if it, too, might be susceptible to breaches when revisionist pressure is applied.

 

Introduction

 

So far my revision has engaged two areas of ancient Roman history, one Republican and one Imperial.

 

Republican. My recently completed three-part series:

Jesus Christ was the Model for some legends surrounding Julius Caesar

https://www.academia.edu/14752305/Jesus_Christ_was_the_Model_for_some_legends_surrounding_Julius_Caesar

https://www.academia.edu/14805253/Jesus_Christ_was_the_Model_for_some_legends_surrounding_Julius_Caesar._Part_Two_Hellenistic_Influence

https://www.academia.edu/14886145/Jesus_Christ_was_the_Model_for_some_legends_surrounding_Julius_Caesar._Part_Three_Divine_Augustus

found me arriving at the conclusion that the renowned ‘Julius Caesar’ was largely – if not entirely – a composite figure, based upon, among others, Jesus Christ; Alexander the Great; and Octavius (Augustus).

 

Imperial. Already, in my semifictional work:

 

I Am Barabbas

https://www.academia.edu/3704873/I_Am_Barabbas

 

 

I had suggested the following possible folding of two supposedly distinct phases of early Roman imperial history, the First and Second Jewish Revolt:

This is a hypothetical account of the life of the largely unknown Barabbas, a lestés, which description today is recognised (based on Saint John’s Gospel and Josephus) as meaning more than just a brigand, but rather a partisan fighter. “[Barabbas] had committed murder in the insurrection” (John 15:7), presumably indicating a revolutionary action against the Romans.

According to this article, he was SIMON BAR ABBAS, the same as the famous Simon Bar Giora who led the Jewish Revolt against Rome in the 60’s AD.

Known in tradition as Jesus Barabbas, he was once baptised by the Apostle Philip as Bar-Jesus, meaning “Disciple of Jesus”, but he was not a sincere convert.

My connection between Simon Barabbas and Simon Bar Giora is based on this, albeit vague, tradition: “Some sources also say that [Barabbas] was later killed while taking part in another revolt against the Romans” (http://www.gospel-mysteries.net/barabbas.html), and, conversely, that Simon Bar Giora had previous “form” as a revolutionary bandit. “[Simon Bar Giora was] already apparently known as a partisan leader”

(http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0003_0_02036.html):

Bar Giora (also Bar Poras), meaning “Son of the Proselyte”, can be taken as a descriptive, rather than a proper, name. The Jews were fond of using the phrase “Son of … (Man, the Father, Deception, the Lie, Iniquity, the Star, etc., etc.)”.

Now here comes the really controversial bit.

I have for quite some time considered that the First Jewish Revolt in which Simon Bar Giora figures prominently was the very same event as the so-called Second Jewish Revolt led by the far more famous Simon Bar Kochba, or Simon “Son of the Star”, ostensibly 70 years later (during the 130’s AD), at the time of the emperor Hadrian.

Bar Kochba is a messianic figure.

I know that history can repeat itself, and that one might argue, for instance, that there were many common factors in the First and Second World Wars of the C20th.

In previous articles I had noted that the First and Second Jewish Revolts were similarly, e.g.:

  • of about 3 years’ duration;
  • had a prominent military leader named Simon Bar ….;
  • and had a religious leader named Eleazer.

But the most compelling argument in favour of a necessary (as I think) synchronisation of the activities of Simon Bar Giora and Simon Bar Kochba is that the destruction in Israel was so complete in the first case, at the hands of Vespasian and Titus, with the entire land devastated, the great City (Jerusalem) and its Temple completely burned to the ground, and the people slaughtered wholesale, or sent into slavery, that I do not consider it reasonable to suggest that, some 60-70 years later (and again readers might cite the recovery of nations much sooner after the First World War going in to the Second – but these nations, e.g. Germany, had not been obliterated internally), Simon Bar Kochba was able to command armies of 400,000 men in Israel against a Hadrian-led Rome and to have several of the most famous of all the Roman legions on the verge of annihilation – only afterwards to see some 580,000 Jewish men die, almost 1000 fortified villages in Israel completely devastated, once again, and the people, once again, slaughtered or taken into captivity en masse.

The “Son of the Star” was now being called, contemptuously, Bar Kozeba, “Son of Deception”, or “Son of the Lie”.

Now here is the clincher:

The nail in the coffin of the textbook history for these times is that Simon Bar Kochba issued coins depicting “The Redemption of Israel” – oh, yes, and so did Simon Bar Giora do the exact same thing. And, guess what was depicted on Bar Kochba’s coins?: THE TEMPLE OF JERUSALEM, which I believe he was so desperately defending, with the Ark of the Covenant inside it, and a star, his own star, depicted over the Temple.

Yet all of this had supposedly disappeared with Titus’s assault, 60-70 years earlier! Of course, the history books rationalise this – as they must always do in the case of anomalous situations caused by their faulty chronologies – by saying that Simon Bar Kochba may have resumed the Temple services for a brief time. That is, of course, even without a Temple! More natural to say, I think, that the revolt of Simon Bar Kochba preceded the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple by the Romans.

The difficulty now becomes one of “folding” early Roman Imperial history (as I think the evidence demands ought to be done) in order to align the 60’s AD with the supposed 130’s AD. An alignment of the mad Nero Domitius with the mad Domitian might perhaps suggest itself, thereby greatly easing the pressure on the chronology of St. John the Evangelist. There is that strong ancient tradition of a “Nero redivivus” (i.e., of a Nero coming to life again). Anyway, readers may be able to suggest some compelling possible model of alignment.

Such I think is entirely necessary if the Book of Apocalypse is ever to be properly interpreted.

I noted at this point that the revision has already successfully undertaken some necessary folding of Egyptian and Mesopotamian history: “Historical “folding” has also been required in Egyptian and Assyro-Babylonian history, for instance, and I think that plausible “folds” have now been achieved in those cases (at a far higher level of research than here)”.

For respective examples of this, see my:

Egypt’s Old and Middle Kingdoms Far Closer in Time than Conventionally Thought

https://www.academia.edu/3690058/Egypt_s_Old_and_Middle_Kingdoms_Far_Closer_in_Time_than_Conventionally_Thought

and

Bringing New Order to Mesopotamian History and Chronology

https://www.academia.edu/8042890/Bringing_New_Order_to_Mesopotamian_History_and_Chronology

 

Apart from the inestimable benefit of getting rid of the artificial ‘Dark Ages’ – P. James et al., Centuries of Darkness, being a leader in the field here – such revisionism can serve to make more realistic certain ancient genealogies. Thus I continued in my “Barabbas” article:

For instance, it was found that the conventional Egyptian history, in the case of some detailed genealogies of officials serving a string of named pharaohs, ends up with a whole lot of octogenarian persons, or older, still actively functioning in office. Similarly does the received Roman Imperial chronology create aged but still active characters: e.g. John the Evangelist, in his 90’s (according to a tradition) vigorously chasing a young man on horseback; Yohanan ben Zakkai still going at 120 (highly unlikely), straddling the supposedly two Jewish Revolts.

[End of quotes]

Now, reverting back to the Roman Republican period again, I turn to a brief consideration of Julius Caesar’s famous contemporary and fellow triumvir, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus, or, as we know him better, Pompey ‘the Great’.

 

 

Is Pompey also a composite?

If there is any value in the conclusions that I reached about ‘Julius Caesar’ in my series, “Jesus Christ was the Model for some legends surrounding Julius Caesar”, then that, I believe, must put extreme pressure on the validity of ‘Pompey the Great’ himself, Caesar’s fellow triumvir (along with Crassus). More especially so as Pompey, too, like Julius Caesar, was – as we shall shortly learn – likened to Alexander the Great – Pompey perhaps even more explicitly so than Caesar was.

  1. Fields tells of it in Warlords of Republican Rome. Caesar versus Pompey (2008, p. 67):

Meteoric Rise

His flatterers, so it was said, likened Pompey to Alexander the Great, and whether because of this or not, the Macedonian king would appear to have been constantly in his mind. His respect for the fairer sex is comparable with Alexander’s, and Plutarch mentions that when the concubines of Mithridates were brought to him he merely restored them to their parents and families. …. Similarly he treated the corpse of Mithridates in a kingly way, as Alexander treated the corpse of Dareios, and ‘provided for the expenses of the funeral and directed that the remains should receive royal interment’. …. Also, like Alexander, he founded many cities and repaired many damaged towns, searched for the ocean that was thought to surround the world, and rewarded his soldiers munificently. Finally, Appian adds that in his third triumph he was said to have worn ‘a cloak of Alexander the Great’. ….

It is interesting to learn that the original name of Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’, who, like Pompey, would desecrate the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem, was likewise “Mithridates” (http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Antiochus_IV_Epiphanes).

And (p. 98):

In a sense Pompey personified Roman imperialism, where absolute destruction was followed by the construction of stable empire and the rule of law. It also, not coincidentally, raised him to a pinnacle of glory and wealth. The client–rulers who swelled the train of Rome also swelled his own. He received extraordinary honours from the communities of the east, as ‘saviour and benefactor of the People and of all Asia, guardian of land and sea’. …. There was an obvious precedent for all this. As the elder Pliny later wrote, Pompey’s victories ‘equalled in brilliance the exploits of Alexander the Great’. Without a doubt, so Pliny continues, the proudest boast of our ‘Roman Alexander’ would be that ‘he found Asia on the rim of Rome’s possessions, and left it in the centre’. ….

Pompey is even supposed to have gone so far as to have tried to emulate Alexander’s distinctive appearance:

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/miscellanea/cleopatra/pompey.html

The marble bust of Pompey is in the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek (Copenhagen). Its somewhat incongruous appearance, the round face and small lidded eyes beneath the leonine mane of hair, is because Pompey, the most powerful Roman of his day, sought a comparison with Alexander the Great, whose distinctive portraits were characterized by a thoughtful facial expression and, more iconographically, locks of hair brushed back high from the forehead, a stylistic form known as anastole, from the Greek “to put back.”

Did Pompey absorb – like I argued may have been the case with Julius Caesar – not only Alexander-like characteristics, but also general Hellenistic ones?

And might that mean that the famous event of Pompey’s desecration (by his presence therein) of the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem, supposedly in 63 BC:

The capture of the Temple mount was accompanied by great slaughter. The priests who were officiating despite the battle were massacred by the Roman soldiers, and many committed suicide; while 12,000 people besides were killed. Pompey himself entered the Temple, but he was so awed by its sanctity that he left the treasure and the costly vessels untouched (“Ant.” xiv. 4, § 4; “B. J.” i. 7, § 6; Cicero, “Pro Flacco,” § 67). The leaders of the war party were executed, and the city and country were laid under tribute. A deadly blow was struck at the Jews when Pompey separated from Judea the coast cities from Raphia to Dora, as well as all the Hellenic cities in the east-Jordan country, and the so-called Decapolis, besides Scythopolis and Samaria, all of which were incorporated in the new province of Syria.

http://jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12264-pompey-the-great

may be in fact a muddled version of that real historical incident when Antiochus (Mithridates) ‘Epiphanes’ most infamously desecrated the Temple by erecting an image of Zeus in his own likeness on the altar?

Jesus Christ was the Model for some legends surrounding Julius Caesar. Part Three: Divine Augustus.

Published August 13, 2015 by amaic

julius

by

Damien F. Mackey

  

 

Finally, the ‘Julius Caesar’ that has come down to us is also found to have similarities remarkably akin to those of that historically verifiable Julius Caesar, Octavianus Augustus.

 

 

 

The Lord of History and

the Emperor of Rome

Jesus Christ, whose birth occurred during the reign of emperor (Julius Caesar) Augustus, is the absolute Fulcrum of history. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End.

Professor P. Kreeft, writing of Jesus as the philosopher par excellence, has reminded us that, owing to Jesus, history is now divided between what came before his birth and whatever is subsequent to it (The Philosophy of Jesus):

Amazingly, no one ever seems to have looked at Jesus as a philosopher, or his teaching as philosophy. Yet no one in history has ever had a more radically new philosophy, or made more of a difference to philosophy, than Jesus. He divided all human history into two, into “B.C.” and “A.D.”; and the history of philosophy is crucial to human history, since philosophy is crucial to man; so how could He not also divide philosophy?

http://www.staugustine.net/our-books/books/the-philosophy-of-jesus

He, as Paul tells us (Philippians 2:6-7):

Who, though he was in the form of God,

did not regard equality with God something to be grasped.

Rather, he emptied himself,

taking the form of a slave,

coming in human likeness;

and found human in appearance ….

And He ‘found that human appearance’, as a helpless baby, during the reign of the aforesaid emperor Augustus (Luke 2:1-7. NIV):

The Birth of Jesus

 

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. ….

Fortunately, in the last few years, the vexed problem of the “census” in Luke’s Gospel – and the true date for the Birth of Christ – has been sorted out by D. Graham in:

Ancient History, Archaeology and the Birth of Jesus Christ

Ancient History, archaeology, and the Birth of Jesus Christ

http://thebirthofjesuschrist.blogspot.com.au/2009/09/ancient-history-archaeology-and-birth.html

The date is 8 BC. The Lord of History apparently stands on the side of historical revisionism, correcting the conventional BC history by some 8 years.

In fact, He whose kingdom is Truth, came to correct every manner of human falsehood. Replying to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, Jesus proclaimed (John 18:37): ‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me’.

The Lord of the Cosmos and the Alpha and Omega of Creation, will even defer, in part, to the lord of empire and kingdoms (Mark 12:17): “Jesus said to them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’. And they marvelled at him”.

Yet this was He about whom (http://zimmerman.catholic.ac/):

Paul instructs us that God made our existence take its origin in Christ Jesus as our Alpha; that God created all things in and through the First Born, the Incarnate Christ; through that same Christ who is now fully in charge of this universe; who, when He will finalize His work of submitting the Cosmos to Himself, will deliver it back to God: “When everything is subjected to him, then the Son himself will [also] be subjected to the One who subjected everything to him, so that God may be all in all” (1 Cor 14:28).

 

Exploring Comparisons:

‘Julius Caesar’ and Octavianus

Some of the ‘Julius Caesar’, ostensibly the ‘perfect man’, that has come down to us may have picked up elements from the Divine Jesus (Ecce Homo), the God-Man; and from the Hellenistic king worship; the undefeatable Alexander the Great, the military genius.

But even if that were so, does it mean that there was not an actual Julius Caesar apart from all of this?

In the case of my recent studies of the Prophet Mohammed, I eventually came to the firm conclusion that ‘he’, a composite biblical character, did not exist in reality as a C7th AD person, and that ‘his’ biography actually plays havoc with real history:

Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History

http://www.academia.edu/12500381/Biography_of_the_Prophet_Mohammed_Muhammad_Seriously_Mangles_History

And that the ‘Mohammed’ that has come down to us was based largely – at least up until the time of ‘his’ marriage – upon Tobias (my Job), the son of Tobit:

Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History. Part Two: From Birth to Marriage

http://www.academia.edu/12538867/Biography_of_the_Prophet_Mohammed_Muhammad_Seriously_Mangles_History._Part_Two_From_Birth_to_Marriage

Is the same type of conclusion to be reached about ‘Julius Caesar’, that he was a non-real composite, from whose biography a significant piece of presumed Roman history may need to be rescued?

Military Campaigns

These took ‘Julius Caesar’ to the same places wherein Octavianus would campaign: namely, Gaul; Britain; Greece; Spain; Africa (Egypt), with a famous civil war also involved.

Julius Caesar

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_campaigns_of_Julius_Caesar

The military campaigns of Julius Caesar constituted both the Gallic War (58 BC-51 BC) and Caesar’s civil war (50 BC-45 BC). They followed Caesar’s consulship (chief magistracy) in 59 BC, which had been highly controversial. The Gallic War mainly took place in what is now France. In 55 and 54 BC, he invaded Britain, although he made little headway. The Gallic War ended with complete Roman victory at the Battle of Alesia. This was followed by the civil war, during which time Caesar chased his rivals to Greece, decisively defeating them there. He then went to Egypt, where he defeated the Egyptian pharaoh and put Cleopatra on the throne. He then finished off his Roman opponents in Africa and Spain. Once his campaigns were over, he served as Roman Dictator until his assassination on March 15, 44 BC. These wars were critically important in the transition from the Roman Republic to the Roman Empire.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman%E2%80%93Parthian_Wars

Julius Caesar elaborated plans for a campaign against Parthia, but his assassination averted the war.

Octavianus

http://applet-magic.com/caesaraugustus.htm

  • 46 BCE: Octavius accompanied Julius Caesar in the public precession celebrating the victory of Caesar over his opponents in Africa.
  • 45 BCE: Octavius accompanied Caesar on his military expedition to Spain to defeat and destroy the sons of Pompey, his defeated rival, who were trying to perpetuate their father’s opposition to Caesar.
  • 44 BCE: …. The troops of Octavius joined with troops which the Senate has at its command. The combined forces drove Antony out of Italy into Gaul. In the battle with Anthony’s forces the two elected Consuls of Rome were killed. Octavius’s troops demanded that the Senate confer the title of Consul on Octavius. Octavius was officially recognized as the son of Julius Caesar. He then took the name Gaius Julius Caesar (Octavianus). He was more generally known as Octavian during this period.
  • 42 BCE: The Senate deemed Julius Caesar as having been a god. This enhanced Octavian’s status still further. Antony and Octavian undertook a military expedition to the East to defeat Brutus and Cassius. In two battles at Philippi the troops of Brutus and Cassius were defeated and Brutus and Cassius killed themselves. The Triumvirate then divided up the Empire. Anthony got the East and Gaul. Lepidus got Africa and Octavian got the West except for Italy which was to be under common control of all three.
  • 31 BCE: Antony decided to bring his forces to the western side of Greece. Cleopatra accompanied him. Octavian sent a military expedition under the command of Agrippa to challenge Antony’s control of Greece. Octavian later joined Agrippa and their fleet bottled up Antony and Cleopatra’s fleet in the Gulf of Ambracia. A naval battle ensued at Actium in which Cleopatra, for fear of being captured, pulled her ships out of the battle and headed back to Egypt thus ensuring the defeat of Anthony’s forces. Anthony and some of his ships escaped from the battle and followed Cleopatra.
  • 30 BCE: Octavian invaded Egypt; Anthony commits suicide and Cleopatra follows suit in a tragic sequence of events. ….Octavian annexed Egypt into the Roman Empire and put it under his direct control.
  • 20 BCE: The empires of Rome and Parthia reached a peace agreement in which Parthia accepted Armenia as being within the Roman sphere of influence.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_conquest_of_Britain

Augustus prepared invasions [of Britain] in 34 BC, 27 BC and 25 BC. The first and third were called off due to revolts elsewhere in the empire, the second because the Britons seemed ready to come to terms.[1] According to Augustus’s Res Gestae, two British kings, Dubnovellaunus and Tincomarus, fled to Rome as supplicants during his reign,[2] and Strabo‘s Geography, written during this period, says that Britain paid more in customs and duties than could be raised by taxation if the island were conquered.[3]

Crossing the Rubicon

 

This is a defining moment in the ambitious progress of Julius Caesar. N. Fields tells of it in Warlords of Republican Rome. Caesar versus Pompey (2008, pp. 145-146):

… on the night of 10 January Caesar crossed the Rubicon into Italy accompanied by a single legion, legio XIII, apparently repeating, in Greek, a proverb of the time, ‘let the die be cast’. ….

On one side [of the Rubicon] Caesar still held imperium pro consule and had the right to command troops, on the other he was a mere privatus, a private citizen. It was frank initiation of a civil war. ….

Moreover, just as Julius was then faced with the situation of “the fugitives Antonius and Cassius” (p. 146), so was Octavianus – as we shall shortly learn – when he crossed the Rubicon. In fact, he would cross it twice. Fields (p. 204):

For the second time in ten months Octavianus set out to march on Rome. Crossing the Rubicon at the head of his eight legions, he then pushed on to Rome with the celerity of Caesar …. On 19 August Octavianus took over one of the vacant consulships. Cicero’s protégé, the ‘divine youth whom heaven had sent to save the state … was not quite 20 years old.

…. Antonius entered Gallia Transalpina unopposed ….

(P. 207): Their next chief task was to eliminate Brutus and Cassius ….

Triumvirate

 

Again an item common to Julius Caesar and Octavianus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Triumvirate

The First Triumvirate was a political alliance between three prominent Roman politicians (triumvirs) which included Gaius Julius Caesar, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) and Marcus Licinius Crassus. “Pompey and Caesar now formed a pact, jointly swearing to oppose all legislation of which any one of them might disapprove. It lasted from approximately 59 BCE to Crassus’ defeat by the Parthians in 53 BCE.[1] The alliance was “not at heart a union of those with the same political ideals and ambitions”, but one where “all [were] seeking personal advantage.”[2]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Triumvirate

The Second Triumvirate is the name historians have given to the official political alliance of Gaius Octavius (Octavian, Caesar Augustus), Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony), and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus, formed on 26 November 43 BCE with the enactment of the Lex Titia, the adoption of which is viewed as marking the end of the Roman Republic. The Triumvirate existed for two five-year terms, covering the period 43 BCE to 33 BCE. Unlike the earlier First Triumvirate,[2][3] the Second Triumvirate was an official, legally established institution, whose overwhelming power in the Roman state was given full legal sanction and whose imperium maius outranked that of all other magistrates, including the consuls.

Conclusion

 

Whether or not Julius Caesar really existed as an entity distinct from, for example, Octavianus, by the time that all of the accretions that have been added to that presumed historical person have been removed from him, and from his history, the original model will have thinned out about as radically as Julius Caesar’s famous receding hairline.

 

 

13th August 2015

Jesus Christ was the Model for some legends surrounding Julius Caesar. Part Two: Hellenistic Influence.

Published August 10, 2015 by amaic

Caesar

by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

 

In Part One we learned that much of the ‘Julius Caesar’ that has come down to us constitutes a composite figure drawn from, e.g., Jesus Christ; Alexander the Great; and “perhaps other composites as well”, such as Julius Caesar Octavianus Augustus.  

The ‘heretical’ question had to be asked (though without an answer so far given):

Did Julius Caesar really exist?

 

Now, enlarging upon the Alexander factor, this Part Two will consider a broader Hellenistic influence upon the composition of the one we know as ‘Julius Caesar’.  

Hellenistic Influence

A common theme of mine, as also referred to and referenced in Part One, has been the constant Greco-Roman appropriations of various aspects of ancient Near Eastern culture and civilisation – most notably that of the Hebrews.

The younger histories borrowing from the vastly older ones.

But might not the younger Roman Republican ‘history’ have also absorbed, and appropriated, certain elements of the widespread Hellenistic empire? Biblically (I accept the Catholic canon), Rome emerges very late, but with glowing praise. I refer to 1 Maccabees 8, in which Judas Maccabeus makes a treaty with Rome. The conventional date for this is c. 160 BC, but I would imagine that this will need to be, through astute revisionism, significantly lowered. The Maccabean writer eulogises both Roman military might and Roman fair dealing (1-13):

Judas had heard of the reputation of the Romans. They were valiant fighters and acted amiably to all who took their side. They established a friendly alliance with all who applied to them. He was also told of their battles and the brave deeds that they performed against the Gauls, conquering them and forcing them to pay tribute; and what they did in Spain to get possession of the silver and gold mines there. By planning and persistence they subjugated the whole region, although it was very remote from their own. They also subjugated the kings who had come against them from the far corners of the earth until they crushed them and inflicted on them severe defeat. The rest paid tribute to them every year. Philip and Perseus, king of the Macedonians, and the others who opposed them in battle they overwhelmed and subjugated. Antiochus the Great, king of Asia, who fought against them with a hundred and twenty elephants and with cavalry and chariots and a very great army, was defeated by them. They took him alive and obliged him and the kings who succeeded him to pay a heavy tribute, to give hostages and to cede Lycia, Mysia, and Lydia from among their best provinces. The Romans took these from him and gave them to King Eumenes. When the Greeks planned to come and destroy them, the Romans discovered it, and sent against the Greeks a single general who made war on them. Many were wounded and fell, and the Romans took their wives and children captive. They plundered them, took possession of their land, tore down their strongholds and reduced them to slavery even to this day. All the other kingdoms and islands that had ever opposed them they destroyed and enslaved; with their friends, however, and those who relied on them, they maintained friendship. They subjugated kings both near and far, and all who heard of their fame were afraid of them. Those whom they wish to help and to make kings, they make kings; and those whom they wish, they depose; and they were greatly exalted.

This terrifying military strength and domination was, however, modified by wise government (vv. 14-16):

Yet with all this, none of them put on a diadem or wore purple as a display of grandeur. But they made for themselves a senate chamber, and every day three hundred and twenty men took counsel, deliberating on all that concerned the people and their well-being. They entrust their government to one man every year, to rule over their entire land, and they all obey that one, and there is no envy or jealousy among them.

Unfortunately, the Maccabean account of the journey to Rome for Treaty purposes by “Eupolemus, son of John, son of Accos, and Jason, son of Eleazar” (vv. 17-32) does not include any Roman names whatsoever.

“Later, Simon sent Numenius to Rome with the gift of a large gold shield weighing half a ton, to confirm the Jews’ alliance with the Romans” (14:24). Judas Maccabeus was now dead and his brother Simon was High Priest. Conventionally, this second Jewish approach to Rome is dated about 20 years later (c. 140 BC) than the one at the time of Judas.

Finally, this time, we are given a Roman name, “Lucius”, a consul, most generally thought to have been Lucius Calpurnius Piso.

http://biblehub.com/topical/l/lucius.htm

A Roman consul who is said (1 Maccabees 15:16;) to have written a letter to Ptolemy Euergetes securing to Simon the high priest and to the Jews the protection of Rome. As the praenomen only of the consul is given, there has been much discussion as to the person intended. The weight of probability has been assigned to Lucius Calpurnius Piso, who was one of the consuls in 139-138 B.C., the fact of his praenomen being Cneius and not Lucius being explained by an error in transcription and the fragmentary character of the documents. The authority of the Romans not being as yet thoroughly established in Asia, they were naturally anxious to form alliances with the kings of Egypt and with the Jews to keep Syria in check. The imperfections that are generally admitted in the transcription of the Roman letter are not such as in any serious degree to invalidate the authority of the narrative in 1 Maccabees.

The Maccabean text reads as follows (15:5-24):

 Meanwhile, Numenius and those with him arrived in Jerusalem from Rome with the following letter addressed to various kings and countries:

From Lucius, consul of the Romans, to King Ptolemy, greetings. A delegation from our friends and allies the Jews has come to us to renew the earlier treaty of friendship and alliance. They were sent by the High Priest Simon and the Jewish people, and they have brought as a gift a gold shield weighing half a ton. So we have decided to write to various kings and countries urging them not to harm the Jews, their towns, or their country in any way. They must not make war against the Jews or give support to those who attack them. We have decided to accept the shield and grant them protection. Therefore if any traitors escape from Judea and seek refuge in your land, hand them over to Simon the High Priest, so that he may punish them according to Jewish law.

Lucius wrote the same letter to King Demetrius, to Attalus, Ariarathes, and Arsaces, and to all the following countries: Sampsames, Sparta, Delos, Myndos, Sicyon, Caria, Samos, Pamphylia, Lycia, Halicarnassus, Rhodes, Phaselis, Cos, Side, Aradus, Gortyna, Cnidus, Cyprus, and Cyrene.

A copy of the letter was also sent to Simon the High Priest.

The Divine Julius

That the ‘Julius Caesar’ that has come down to us exhibits some marked Hellenistic aspects is apparent from the account of Caesar given by N. Fields in his Warlords of Republican Rome. Caesar versus Pompey (2008). Fields, writing in his section, “The Second Dictator”, finds himself confronted with those vexed questions regarding Caesar’s status and intentions (pp. 175-176):

[Caesar’s] acceptance of the title dictator perpetuus demonstrates that Caesar did intend to retain power indefinitely, but this then raise two further extraordinary questions. First, was Caesar seeking a quasi-divine status, and second, was he going to convert the perpetual dictatorship into a hereditary monarchy? Even to this day both of these points are fiercely argued about by academics. Balsdon, for instance, coolly argues that the notion that Caesar hankered after divine status and kingship was the invention and elaboration of his assassins. On the other hand, others such as Taylor and Weinstock earnestly believe that Caesar was seeking divine status, that is to say, a Hellenistic-type monarch, despotic and absolute, worshipped with god-like honours ….

Fields becomes more explicit in his section, “The ‘Divine King’”. Following the battle of Munda, Fields writes (pp. 176-177):

… the Senate awarded Caesar another heap of honours in his absence. Again this included an ivory statue, which was inscribed ‘To the undefeated God’ and carried in procession with a statue of Victory at the opening of all games in the circus. The inscription itself had strong overtones of Alexander the Great and admittedly this is a difficult one to explain away, especially as the master of Rome did not over-rule the Senate this time.

Post-Alexander

 

But such excessive honour also smacked of the post-Alexander Ptolemies (p. 177): “Naturally Caesar was worshipped in the Greek east, where Hellenistic monarchs (and powerful Romans before Caesar) had been typically granted divine status while alive, the most celebrated being the Ptolemies of Egypt”.

Without my having yet done really thorough research on the matter, I would nonetheless anticipate that Hellenistic history – just like I have shown to be the case with Egyptian, Assyro-Babylonian and Persian history – will require significant streamlining.

How many of those many Ptolemies and Cleopatras are actually repetitions?

And how much belongs to Greece, and how much to Rome? Contemporaneous with the famous Cicero (c. 106-43 BC), or “Chickpea”, for example, was a Ptolemaïc “Chickpea”, Ptolemy IX Lathyrus (= Chickpea).

There is much sorting out to be done here.

Fields’ account of the enigmatic Caesar is full of questions, often with Hellenistic answers.

  1. 178:

Herein lies a possible solution to the question of Caesar’s so-called divine status. It is certainly true that the divine worship of Hellenistic monarchs became the model for the Roman emperors, and thus we could argue that Caesar, dictator for life, was the first example of this practice.

….

King of Rome?

But why did Caesar need the more glamorous but invidious title of rex, especially as he now held all the power he required by ruling Rome through the position of dictator perpetuus? Syme believes it is not necessary to accept that he sought to establish a Hellenistic-style monarchy, because the dictatorship was sufficient ….

Did Julius Caesar really exist?

Stay posted.

Jesus Christ was the Model for some legends surrounding Julius Caesar

Published August 10, 2015 by amaic

 Jesus

by

Damien F. Mackey

  

 

In 2004 I wrote an article, “The Lost Cultural Foundations of Western Civilisation”, from which this site has developed: (http://westerncivilisationamaic.blogspot.com.au).

Towards the end of this article I included a section titled, “Jesus Christ and Julius Caesar”, showing what I believed to be Roman plagiarisation of the New Testament – Greco-Roman appropriation of Hebrew-Israelite (Jewish) culture in its various forms being the subject matter of this article and of this site.

Here is that brief and not yet fully developed article:

 

….

  1. Jesus Christ and Julius Caesar

 

We read at the very beginning of this article that Virgil’s Aeneid “is an immortal poem at the heart of Western life and culture.” But it too appears to have been inspired by the Hebrew Bible. According to C. McDowell [“The Egyptian Prince Moses”, Proc. Third Seminar of Catastrophism and Ancient History (C and AH Press, CA, 1986), p. 2]:

 

“The Romans, with the advent of the creation of their empire, wanted to give great antiquity to their patriarchs. The first major effort along this line was put forth by Virgil in his Aeneid. This Roman “bible” portrays the imperial city as having been founded and enhanced according to a divine plan: Rome’s mission was to bring peace and civilization to the world. Cyrus Gordon has compared Virgil’s accounts of the royal house of Rome with the New Testament account of the Messianic office as expressed in Jesus of Nazareth. Both Roman and New Testament writers drew upon the Old Testament. Virgil used the Old Testament account of Israel’s national experience as a literary model to recount Rome’s history. But he went much further. He drew upon the saying of the Hebrew prophets concerning the coming Messiah and applied them to Augustus, the first emperor, to make him “scion of a god”. The divinely sired ruler who descended from an ancient line was to rule the world in a golden age. Thus the new theology of Rome was set forth. It was heavily infused with theology appropriated and adapted from the Old Testament of the Jews”.

 

This explanation by McDowell may, in part, help to account for the distinct parallels now to be discussed between history’s most famous J.C’s – Jesus Christ and Julius Caesar – both referred to as the greatest man the earth has ever produced [Grant, M., Julius Caesar (Weidenfield and Nicholson, London, 1969), Foreword p. 15: “A hundred or even fifty years ago, Gaius Julius Caesar (J.C.) was variously described as the greatest man of action who ever lived, and even as ‘the entire and perfect man’.”].

 

Whilst in most aspects Jesus and Julius could not be any more different, there are nevertheless certain incredibly close likenesses, especially in regard to their violent deaths.

Both Jesus and Julius were born into poor circumstances; but their ancestry was one of blue blood: Davidic in the case of Jesus, Patrician in the case of Caesar. Their births were notable, a miraculous Virgin birth for Jesus, Julius’ birth giving rise to the term ‘Caesarian’.

Julius belonged to the populares, and Jesus was likewise for the common people.

“The tax collectors”, said Cicero, “have never been loyal, and are now very friendly with Caesar” [as cited ibid., p. 161]. Likewise, the Pharisees were critical of Jesus for eating with “tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 9:11).

 

Trial and Death

 

Both Jesus and Julius had spoken of an early death. Both had entered their capital city (Jerusalem, Rome) in triumph, on an ancient feast-day (Passover, Lupercalia), shortly before mid-March, and had been hailed as “king”. This had caused anger and had the plotters conspiring. But there was also an ambivalence about the kingship. Caesar, though a king in deed, had rejected the diadem thrice. And Pilate had tried to get to the bottom of Jesus’ kingship: ‘So you are a king, then?’ (John 18:37); eventually having written in three languages: “Jesus of Nazareth, the king of the Jews” (19:19).

The prime mover of Caesar’s fatal stabbing was the soldier, Gaius Cassius Longinus, the last name (Longinus) being the very name that tradition has associated with the Roman soldier who rent Christ’s side with a spear (19:34).

The zealot amongst the conspirators was the intense young Brutus, in whom Dante at least had obviously discerned a similarity with Judas, having located “Brutus and Cassius with Judas Iscariot in Hell” [as cited by Grant, op. cit., p. 257]. Even Christ’s words to Judas in Gethsemane, ‘So you would betray the Son of Man with a kiss?’ (Luke 22:48), resemble what is alleged to be Caesar’s anguished last cry: re-made by Shakespeare as ‘Et tu Brute?’.

There is the premonitory dream warning by the woman (cf. Matthew 27:19).

There may even be a confused reminiscence of Barabbas: “Caesar … staged an elaborate legal charade against an old man called Rabirius [Barabbas?] … [who] had been allegedly implicated in … murder … not interested in having the old Rabirius actually executed” [ibid., p. 51]. (Cf. Matthew 27:15-23).

On the Ides of March Julius Caesar is supposed to have died, like Jesus, riddled with wounds.

 

The ‘heretical’ question must now be asked: Did Julius Caesar really exist? Or was his ‘life’ merely a mixture of his nephew Augustus, who also bore the name Julius Caesar, and aspects of the life of Jesus Christ according to Virgil’s biblical borrowings? And perhaps other composites as well? “Portrait busts are not a safe guide to [Julius Caesar’s] appearance, since they may or may not date from his life-time” [ibid., p. 245].

Do we thus have any primary evidence for Caesar, as apparently we do not for Socrates?

Do we have anything for Jesus Christ for that matter? I believe that we do have a most precious artifact of his in the enigmatic ‘Shroud of Turin’ [See outstanding article “The Mystery of the Shroud” in National Geographic, June 1980, pp. 730f. Ian Wilson has disputed the 1988 carbon dating of the Shroud in The Blood and the Shroud (Weidenfield and Nicholson, London, 1998), and has traced the Shroud back historically to the early Christian centuries].

[End of article]

 

Further concerning the Shroud, see my recent:

 

Resurrection and the Shroud: ‘a New Dimension’, ‘a New Science’.

https://www.academia.edu/11838754/Resurrection_and_the_Shroud_a_New_D

 

 

Regarding those “perhaps other composites as well” referred to above, from which the character of ‘Julius Caesar’ may have borrowed, I can now add that one of these “composites” could well have been Alexander the Great. Consider the following compelling comparisons (taken from: http://www.livius.org/aj-al/alexander/alexander_t65.html):

 

 

Alexander and Caesar

In Antiquity, a boy who wanted to play a role of some importance in his town, had to visit a rhetorical school, where he learned how to speak and behave in public. Often, a teacher would ask his pupils to make a speech on a historical theme, so that they could show their skills as a rhetor and their ability to deal with historical sources. A well-known theme was the comparison of Alexander the Great and the Roman commander Gaius Julius Caesar (100-44).

The following text was written by the Greek historian Appian of Alexandria (c.95-c.165) and is a part of his History of the Civil wars (2.149-154). It is the end of his description of Caesar’s career, and Appian, a Greek, gives the Roman the ultimate compliment: he was comparable to Alexander.

 

The translation was made by John Carter.

 

Thus Caesar died on the day they call the Ides of March, about the middle of Anthesterion, the day which the seer said he would not outlive. In the morning Caesar made fun of him, and said, ‘The Ides have come.’ Unabashed, the seer replied, ‘But not gone’, and Caesar, ignoring not only the predictions of this sort given him with such confidence by the seer, but also the other portents I mentioned earlier, left the house and met his death. He was in the fifty-sixth year of his life, a man who was extremely lucky in everything, gifted with a divine spark, disposed to great deeds, and fittingly compared with Alexander.

They were both supremely ambitious, warlike, rapid in executing their decisions, careless of danger, unsparing of their bodies, and believers not so much in strategy as in daring and good luck. One of them made a long journey across the desert in the hot season [1] to the shrine of Ammon, and when the sea was pushed back crossed the Pamphylian gulf by divine power, for heaven held back the deep for him until he passed, and it rained for him while he was on the march. In India he ventured on an unsailed sea. He also led the way up a scaling-ladder, leapt unaccompanied on to the enemy wall, and suffered thirteen wounds. He was never defeated and brought all his campaigns to an end after one or at most two pitched battles. In Europe he conquered much foreign territory and subdued the Greeks, who are a people extremely difficult to govern and fond of their independence, and believe that they had never obeyed anyone before him except Philip, and that for only a short time on the pretext that he was their leader in a war. As for Asia, he overran virtually the whole of it. To sum up Alexander’s luck and energy in a sentence, he conquered the lands that he saw, and died intent on tackling the rest.

In Caesar’s case, the Adriatic yielded by becoming calm and navigable in the middle of winter. He also crossed the western ocean in an unprecedented attempt to attack the Britons, and ordered his captains to wreck their ships by running them ashore on the British cliffs. He forced his way alone in a small boat at night against another stormy sea, when he ordered the captain to spread the sails and take courage not from the waves but from Caesar’s good fortune. On many occasions he was the only man to spring forward from a terrified mass of others and attack the enemy. The Gauls alone he faced thirty times in battle, finally conquering 400 of their tribes, who the Romans felt to be so menacing that in one of their laws concerning immunity from military service for priests and older men there was a clause ‘unless the Gauls invade’ – in which case priests and older men were to serve. In the Alexandrian war, when he was trapped by himself on a bridge and his life was in danger, he threw off his purple cloak and jumped into the sea. The enemy hunted for him, but he swam a long way under water without being seen, drawing breath only at intervals, until he approached a friendly ship, when he stretched out his hands, revealed himself, and was rescued. When he became involved in these civil wars, whether from fear, as he himself used to say, or from a desire for power, he carne up against the best generals of his time and several great armies which were not composed of uncivilized peoples, as before, but of Romans at the peak of their success and fortune, and he too needed only one or two pitched battles in each case to detect them. Not that his troops were unbeaten like Alexander’s, since they were humiliated by the Gauls in the great disaster which overtook them when Cotta and Titurius were in command, in Hispania Petreius and Afranius had them hemmed in under virtual siege, at Dyrrhachium and in Africa they were well and truly routed, and in Hispania they were terrified of the younger Pompey. But Caesar himself was impossible to terrify and was victorious at the end of every campaign. By the use of force and the conferment of favor, and much more surely than Sulla and with a much stronger hand, he overcame the might of the Roman state, which already lorded it over land and sea from the far west to the river Euphrates, and he made himself king against the wishes of the Romans, even if he did not receive that title. And he died, like Alexander, planning fresh campaigns.

 

The pair of them had armies, too, which were equally enthusiastic and devoted to them and resembled wild beasts when it came to battle, but were frequently difficult to manage and made quarrelsome by the hardships they endured. When their leaders were dead, the soldiers mourned them, missed them, and granted them divine honors in a similar way. Both men were well formed in body and of fine appearance. Each traced his lineage back to Zeus, the one being a descendant of Aeacus and Heracles, the other of Anchises and Aphrodite. They were unusually ready to fight determined opponents, but very quick to offer settlement. They liked to pardon their captives, gave them help as well as pardon, and wanted nothing except simply to be supreme. To this extent they can be closely compared, but it was with unequal resources that they set out to seek power. Alexander possessed a kingdom that had been firmly established under Philip, while Caesar was a private individual, from a noble and celebrated family, but very short of money.

 

Neither of them took any notice of omens which referred to them, nor showed any displeasure with the seers who prophesied their deaths. On more than one occasion the omens were similar and indicated a similar end for both. Twice each was confronted with a lobeless liver. The first time it indicated extreme danger. In Alexander’s case this was among the Oxydracans, when after he had climbed on to the enemy’s wall at the head of his Macedonian troops the scaling-ladder broke, and he was left isolated on top. He leapt audaciously inwards towards the enemy, where he was badly beaten around the chest and neck with a massive club and was about to collapse, when the Macedonians, who had broken down the gates in panic, just managed to rescue him. In Caesar’s case it happened in Hispania, when his army was seized with terror when it was drawn up to face the younger Pompey and would not engage the enemy. Caesar ran out in front of everyone into the space between the two armies and took 200 throwing-spears on his shield, until he too was rescued by his army, which was swept forward by shame and apprehension. Thus the first lobeless victim brought both of them into mortal danger, but the second brought death itself, as follows. The seer Peithagoras told Apollodorus, who was afraid of Alexander and Hephaestion and was sacrificing, not to be afraid, because both of them would soon be out of the way. When Hephaestion promptly died, Apollodorus was nervous that there might be some conspiracy against the king, and revealed the prophecy to him. Alexander, smiling, asked Peithagoras himself what the omen meant, and when Peithagoras replied that it meant his life was over, he smiled again and still thanked Apollodorus for his concern and the seer for his frankness.

When Caesar was about to enter the senate for the last time, as I described not many pages back, the same omens appeared. He scoffed at them, saying they had been the same in Hispania, and when the seer said that he had indeed been in danger on that occasion, and that the omen was now even more deadly, he made some concession to this forthrightness by repeating the sacrifice, until finally he became irritated by being delayed by the priests and went in to his death. And the same thing happened to Alexander, who was returning with his army from India to Babylon and was already approaching the city when the Chaldaeans begged him to postpone his entry for the moment. He quoted the line ‘That prophet is the best, who guesses rightly’ but the Chaldaeans begged him a second time not to enter with his army looking towards the setting sun, but to go round and take the city while facing the rising sun. Apparently he relented at this and began to make a circuit, but when he became annoyed with the marshes and swampy ground disregarded this second warning too and made his entrance facing west. Anyway, he entered Babylon, and sailed down the Euphrates as far as the river Pallacotta which takes the water of the Euphrates away into swamps and marshes and prevents the irrigation of the Assyrian country. They say that as he was considering the damming of this river, and taking a boat to look, he poked fun at the Chaldaeans because he had safely entered and safely sailed from Babylon. Yet he was destined to die as soon as he returned there. Caesar, too, indulged in mockery of alike sort. The seer had foretold the day of his death, saying that he would not survive the Ides of March. When the day came Caesar mocked the seer and said, ‘The Ides have come’, but he still died that day. In this way, then, they made similar fun of the omens which related to themselves, displayed no anger with the seers who announced these omens to them, and were none the less caught according to the letter of the prophecies.

 

In the field of knowledge they were also enthusiastic lovers of wisdom, whether traditional, Greek or foreign. The Brahmans, who are considered to be the astrologers and wise men of the Indians like the Magians among the Persians, were questioned by Alexander on the subject of Indian learning, and Caesar investigated Egyptian lore when he was in Egypt establishing Cleopatra on the throne. As a result he improved much in the civilian sphere at Rome, and brought the year, which was still of variable length due to the occasional insertion of intercalary months which were calculated according to the lunar calendar, into harmony with the course of the sun, according to Egyptian observance.

[End of quote]

 

Carotta’s Extraordinary Claim

 

Such apparent close similarities between Jesus Christ and Julius Caesar has a scholar named Francesco Carotta perceived that he has gone so far as to claim that: Jesus was Caesar.

 

 

Whilst this is not my own view, which is rather that “Jesus Christ was the Model for some legends surrounding Julius Caesar”, the similarities found by Carotta are indeed intriguing.

Some of these I have already listed above.

Carotta, not failing to notice the same sorts of stunning parallels between the two lives, has written a book which is the other way round to my article, that Julius Caesar was, in part, based on Jesus Christ. For Carotta, Jesus Christ was instead based on Julius Caesar.

Whilst I believe that Carotta is wrong, I am intrigued that he, too, has attempted to fuse the two lives. Here is one review of Carotta’s fascinating book:

http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/jesus-was-caesar-new-book-by-philosopher-and-linguist-francesco-carotta-claims-that-the-real-identity-of-jesus-christ-has-been-discovered-154575075.html

 

– Carotta: ‘Everything of the Story of Jesus can be Found in the Biography of Caesar.’

The Italian-German linguist and philosopher Francesco Carotta proves in his book Jesus was Caesar that the story of Jesus Christ has its origin in Roman sources. In more than fifteen years of investigation Carotta has found the traces which lead to the Julian origin of Christianity. He concludes that the story of Jesus is based on the narrative of the life of Julius Caesar.

….

Carotta’s new evidence leads to such an overwhelming amount of similarities between the biography of Caesar and the story of Jesus that coincidence can be ruled out.

 

– Both Caesar and Jesus start their rising careers in neighboring states in the north: Gallia and Galilee.

– Both have to cross a fateful river: the Rubicon and the Jordan. Once across the rivers, they both come across a patron/rival: Pompeius and John the Baptist, and their first followers: Antonius and Curio on the one hand and Peter and Andrew on the other.

– Both are continually on the move, finally arriving at the capital, Rome and Jerusalem, where they at first triumph, yet subsequently undergo their passion.

– Both have good relationships with women and have a special relationship with one particular woman, Caesar with Cleopatra and Jesus with Magdalene.

– Both have encounters at night, Caesar with Nicomedes of Bithynia, Jesus with Nicodemus of Bethany.

– Both have an affinity to ordinary people-and both run afoul of the highest authorities: Caesar with the Senate, Jesus with the Sanhedrin.

– Both are contentious characters, but show praiseworthy clemency as well: the clementia Caesaris and Jesus’ Love-thy-enemy.

– Both have a traitor: Brutus and Judas. And an assassin who at first gets away: the other Brutus and Barabbas. And one who washes his hands of it: Lepidus and Pilate.

– Both are accused of making themselves kings: King of the Romans and King of the Jews. Both are dressed in red royal robes and wear a crown on their heads: a laurel wreath and a crown of thorns.

– Both get killed: Caesar is stabbed with daggers, Jesus is crucified, but with a stab wound in his side.

– Jesus as well as Caesar hang on a cross. For a reconstruction of the crucifixion of Caesar, see:

http://www.carotta.de/subseite/texte/jwc_e/crux.html#images

– Both die on the same respective dates of the year: Caesar on the Ides (15 th) of March, Jesus on the 15 th of Nisan.

– Both are deified posthumously: as Divus Iulius and as Jesus Christ.

– Caesar and Jesus also use the same words, e.g.: Caesar’s famous Latin ‘Veni, vidi, vici’-I came, I saw, I conquered-is in the Gospel transmitted into: ‘I came, washed and saw’, whereby Greek enipsa, ‘I washed’, replaces enikisa, ‘I conquered’. ….

 

[End of quote]

 

To which we find this rejoinder: “Good try, boys. But I think that our site provides copious evidence for the fact that the Greeks and the Romans tended to be the plagiarisers”.

And I would fully agree with this last observation, having by now written several articles on what I consider to have been the Greco-Roman appropriation of Hebrew (Jewish) culture and civilisation at various levels.

To give but two examples of this:

 

Joseph as Thales: Not an “Hellenic Gotterdamerung” but Israelite Wisdom

https://www.academia.edu/3690014/Joseph_as_Thales_Not_an_Hellenic_Gotterdamerun

 

and

Re-Orienting to Zion the History of Ancient Philosophy

 

https://www.academia.edu/4105845/Re-Orienting_to_Zion_the_History_of_Ancient_Philosophy