Judith Huldah Greek Sappho poet Lesbos Hypatia Alexandria

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Herod Antipas and Henry VIII

Published September 20, 2016 by amaic

 Logo for The Tudors


 Damien F. Mackey


Dr Davies suggests that the idea of a distinct Tudor period of history was first established in the 18th Century by the historian and philosopher, David Hume.



Talk about parallel lives!

Herod Antipas and Henry VIII. John the Baptist and Bishop John Fisher.

This is astutely picked up by Thomas McGovern, in his article for Catholic Culture.org, “Bishop John Fisher: Defender of the Faith and Pastor of Souls”



Adultery is worth dying for


Henry replied to the legates, in answer to the bishop, in a manner which clearly showed how resentful he was at the bishop’s protest, particularly that he was ready to suffer like St. John the Baptist, as it naturally suggested a comparison between Henry and Herod Antipas. However, the martyrdom of St. John had long been a familiar subject of contemplation to Fisher, as is clear from his treatise (1525) in defense of Henry’s book against Luther — the “Defensio.” “One consideration,” Fisher writes, “that greatly affects me to believe in the sacrament of marriage is the martyrdom of St. John the Baptist, who suffered death for his reproof of the violation of marriage. There were many crimes in appearance more grevious for rebuking which he might have suffered, but there was none more fitting than the crime of adultery to be the cause of the blood-shedding of the Friend of the Bridegroom, since the violation of marriage is no little insult to Him who is called the Bridegroom.”30 Bridgett draws the striking parallel between the fate of the Baptist and John Fisher: “At that time (1525) no thought of divorce had as yet, in all probability, entered the mind of Henry; Anne Boleyn, Fisher’s Herodias, was then unknown. But the circumstances of Fisher’s death bear so close a resemblance to those of the Baptist’s, that it is strange even Henry did not observe and seek to avoid it. Both were cast into prison and left there to linger at the will of a tyrant; both were beheaded, and both by the revenge of impure women. But what Herod did reluctantly, Henry did with cruel deliberation.”31


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Perhaps the received Tudor history needs to subjected to a more intense scrutiny. According to Oxford University historian, Dr. Cliff Davies, the very term “Tudor” is highly problematical. We read about this, for instance, at: http://www.bbc.com/news/education-18240901


‘Tudor era’ is misleading myth, says Oxford historian


By Sean Coughlan

BBC News education correspondent


29 May 2012

From the section Education & Family


The idea of a “Tudor era” in history is a misleading invention, claims an Oxford University historian.


Cliff Davies says his research shows the term “Tudor” was barely ever used during the time of Tudor monarchs.


Dr Davies says films and period dramas have reinforced the “myth” that people thought of themselves as living under a “Tudor” monarchy.

“The term is so convenient,” says Dr Davies, of Wadham College and the university’s history faculty. But he says it is fundamentally “erroneous”.


Missing name


During the reigns of Tudor monarchs – from Henry VII to Elizabeth I – he said there was no contemporary recognition of any common thread or even any recognition of the term “Tudor”.


Dr Davies, who specialises in 16th-Century history, says “the rather obvious thought occurred to me” of investigating whether there had been any references to “Tudor” during the years of the Tudor monarchs.

His years of trawling through contemporary documents yielded almost no references – with only one poem on the accession of James I (James VI of Scotland) recognising the transition from Tudor to Stuart.


Surprised by this absence of any contemporary usage, he says he expected “clever American professors to come up with examples to prove me wrong” – but so far there has been no such evidence.


There might also be suggestions that the use of “Tudor” was deliberately omitted – as monarchs, always sensitive to rival claims, wanted to assert their legitimacy.

“I do think that Henry VII was defensive about his past and wanted to downplay ‘Tudor’, which might have been used by his opponents.”

He says that in Welsh documents the name of Tudor is “celebrated” but it was “considered an embarrassment in England”.

Henry VIII preferred to represent himself as the embodiment of the “union of the families of Lancaster and York”, says Dr Davies.


False memory


Dr Davies suggests that the idea of a distinct Tudor period of history was first established in the 18th Century by the historian and philosopher, David Hume.


This has proved a very “seductive” way of approaching history, he argues. It also helps to create the idea of a separate historical period, different from what came before and after.

But the text-book writers and makers of period dramas should re-think their terminology, as he says that talking about “Tudor men and women” introduces an artificial concept which would have had no contemporary resonance.

If historians aim to “recover the thought processes” of past generations – he says it means understanding how they saw themselves and their own times.


Dr Davies says that in the late 16th Century people in England would have understood the idea of living in the reign of Elizabeth I – but would not have identified her as a Tudor.

“The word ‘Tudor’ is used obsessively by historians,” says Dr Davies. “But it was almost unknown at the time.”




Tigranes II ‘the Great’ and ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ of Judith

Published May 4, 2016 by amaic


 Damien F. Mackey



The invasions of the supposed C1st BC Armenian ruler, Tigranes ‘the Great’, have been suggested as providing the basis for the Jewish story of the heroine Judith.



Encyclopaedia Iranica introduces the C1st BC King Tigranes II (Tigran) ‘the Great’ as follows (http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/tigran-ii):

TIGRAN II, THE GREAT, king of Armenia (r. 95-55 BCE). Tigran (Tigranes) II was the most distinguished member of the so-called Artašēsid/Artaxiad dynasty, which has now been identified as a branch of the earlier Eruandid dynasty of Iranian origin attested as ruling in Armenia from at least the 5th century B.C.E …. During Tigran’s reign Armenia briefly reached its widest extension in the vacuum of power resulting from the final decline of the Seleucids, the still incomplete consolidation of the Parthian empire, and the absence as yet of Rome’s full commitment to an expansionist policy in the East. Despite considerable information, Tigran’s achievements have been difficult to reconstruct and evaluate, because of the almost exclusively classical sources, whose treatment of him, as the son-in-law and supporter of Rome’s greatest enemy Mithradates VI Eupator (r. 120-63 BCE) of Pontus, is invariably hostile, and the much later and anachronistic account in the Armenian History of Movsēs Xorenac’i.

The beginning of Tigran II’s reign in 95BCE was not auspicious. He apparently succeeded his father Tigran I, of whom nothing is known beyond a few possible copper coins, rather than his uncle, as has sometimes been argued. ….

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Unfortunately, there seems to be a fair amount of obscurity here, “Tigran’s achievements have been difficult to reconstruct and evaluate”, “the much later and anachronistic account …”, “his father Tigran I, of whom nothing is known beyond a few possible copper coins …”.

Yet, the military activities of Tigranes have been proposed as the model for the story of Judith, which can also be thought – again wrongly, I suggest – to have been Maccabean influenced

Book of Judith Not a Maccabean Product


And so we read of the theories of Samuel Rocca and Gabriele Boccaccini on this http://www.4enoch.org/wiki4/index.php?title=Category:Salome_Alexandra–history_(subject:

In 2005 Samuel Rocca first suggested that the story of Judith could contains echoes of the crisis generated by the invasion of the Armenian King Tigranes the Great.

The argument was taken up in 2009 by Gabriele Boccaccini who drew attention on the Armenian and Roman sources that seem to confirm the chronological and geographical details provided in the Book of Judith about the military campaign of the new “Nebuchadnezzar,” Tigranes the Great.

[End of quote]

We read further of the striking similarities between the Judith account and Queen Salome against Tigranes in Rocca’s article, “The Book of Judith, Queen Salome Alexandra, and Tigranes of Armenia”:


Tigranes did not stop at Seleucid Syria. The Armenian King was ready to move against Judaea. For the Eastern potentate to face a small kingdom, moreover under the leadership of a woman, would have been nothing more than a promenade! He thus came against Judaea. According to Josephus, the queen and the nation were terrified! It was then that Queen Salome Alexandra opted for a diplomatic solution. She sent ambassadors to Tigranes. It seems that the ambassadors, with the help of many expensive gifts, persuaded Tigranes not to move against Judaea, for the time being at least. Queen Salome Alexandra had then the time to organize an army to face the Armenian despot. But she was not going at war alone. She cleverly bought enough time to allow her Roman ally, Lucullus to move against Tigranes, striking at the Armenian heartland. Thus as soon as Seleucid Ptolemais fell to the Armenian horde, Tigranes received the bad news that Lucullus, pursuing Mithridates was lying waste Armenia. Tigranes had to go home. And after him now there was a professional army of around 40.000, a Hasmonean Army, ready to fight …! In fact in 69 BCE Lucullus invaded Armenia, defeated Tigranes and conquered Tigranocerta his capital. The Hasmonean Queen and her subjects could now breath freely. This important episode makes up the main part of the Book of Judith.

[End of quote]

Returning again to

http://www.4enoch.org/wiki4/index.php?title=Category:Tigranes_the_Great–history_(subject) we read this:

Tigranes the Great is quite a neglected figure in Biblical and Judaic Studies. Only Armenian scholarship has preserved vivid memory of his military campaigns, in which Judea also was subdued. As an example of the way in which the relationship between Tigranes and Queen Alexandra is retold in modern Armenian culture, we may read the passage in Armen’s biography (1940):

“As the king’s forces poured into southern Phoenicia, Jews were alarmed at the proximity of such vast hosts to Judea. Queen Alexandra of Jerusalem, and the Jewish leaders already visioned Armenian cuirassiers riding into the sacred city, and once more the recollection of Babylonian captivity intensified their present panic. The undimmed prestige of Tigranes as a conqueror, who moved peoples, among them Jews from Syria, to populate his native territories, made him appear as a new Nebuchadnezzar, while the prospect of singing the songs of Zion on the banks of Euphrates and Tigris to satisfy the disdainful curiosity of their enslavers terrified them. For “how shall we sing the Lord’s songs in a strange land!” Trembling Jewish ambassadors met Tigranes in Phoenicia, they “interceded with him, and entreated him he would determine nothing that was severe about their queen and nation.”

Tigranes alleviated their fears and assured then of his peaceful intentions toward Judea” (p.150).

[End of quotes]

It reads suspiciously like a pinch from the Hebrew Book of Judith.