Domain Of Man

General Category => Greek (Ptolemy) & Hasmonean Period => Topic started by: Chuck-Star on January 10, 2016, 01:43:46 PM

Title: Chapter 10: Judas Maccabee, Savior of Saviors
Post by: Chuck-Star on January 10, 2016, 01:43:46 PM
Chap. 10-Heroes of the Hellensitic Age (2016) Charles N. Pope

After the destruction of Jerusalem, two junior officers took the initiative to fight against the oppressors of the Jews, but they were sternly rebuffed.  The reason was, "They did not belong to the family of those who were permitted to save Israel with their hands." (1 Maccabees 5:62)  Only Mattathias could be their “Savior” and only his “sons” were deputized to represent him in battle.  In other words, the only family allowed to build Israel back up was the same one that had just mercilessly crushed it.  The former scourges of Jerusalem are to be the new champions of a restored nation!

The five named "sons" of Mattathias that led the “Maccabean Revolt” correspond to the five highest-ranking princes of the Realm, and were subordinate only to Mattathias (Ptolemy VI) and the family Godfather Scipio-Africanus (former Ptolemy IV), if he was in fact still living at this time which is doubtful.  After the sack of Jerusalem, Ptolemy VI Philometer was restored to the throne of Egypt in place of his younger brother Ptolemy VIII, who had been the favorite of Antiochus IV.  As the re-instated Pharaoh of Egypt he cannot take a direct role in the “War of Independence,” but he must be perceived as delegating that task to his political subordinates.  Once “Mattathias” (Ptolemy VI) blesses the venture, he almost immediately leaves the dirty work to his “sons.”  The princes under him are expended (figurately, not literally) in the enterprise one-by-one until only Simon remains.  It is then and only then, and with considerable resignation, that the people finally accept him as their permanent High Priest.

The assumed throne name of Ptolemy Philometer was Ir-Maat-en-Amun-Re, which relates to the Parthian name of Ptolemy VI, that being Mithri-dates (Philhellene) and the Hebrew name Mattan.  The choice of feminine Hebrew form Mattath-ias rather than the masculine Mattan may reflect the gentle nature of Ptolemy VI (and in contrast to his more robust brother Ptolemy VIII).  Mattath also associates more closely with the Persian/Aryan title, Mathišta (“Chief”), which designated a Persian satrap/ruler of Bactria.  The astute ancient historian would have recognized that Mattathias was a variation on the name of Mattaniah, the last ruler of Jerusalem before its destruction by Nebuchadnezzar II.  Upon the restoration of Ptolemy VI, his typecasting would have been upgraded to that of a new-Darius and his half-brother Ptolemy VIII to that of Cyrus the Great.  Neither of them proved successful in fatherhood and the attempted emulation of the Persian Period (that rose after the epic fail of Nebuchadnezar and the Babylonian Empire) fell flat.  The sterility of the brothers also required the identification of a new Savior-figure, which turned out to be Judas Maccabee, and who became the expected “Messiah of Judah” of the Book of Jubilees.

Note:  The Roman family name of Ptolemy VI Philometer was Metellus, which has an uncertain meaning in Latin and may be a transliteration from Egyptian and/or Hebrew.  It also appears to have been a name used by Ptolemy Epigone in Rome and therefore represented the dynasty of Epigone.  Ptolemy VIII “Pot Belly” associates with the contemporary Roman general Galba (“Fat”), who likewise was known for indiscriminant violence.  Ptolemy V can be associated with the Roman general Tiberius Gracchus, who is represented in Rennaisance art with a distinctly feminine look.

The first/eldest of these magnates is John Gaddi, whose name is derived from Marcus Porcias Cato and particularly his epithet “of Gades” (earned as the conqueror of Cadiz in Spain).  Not too surprisingly, very little is said about John Gaddi in the Maccabean histories, because he is the Hasmonean alter ego of Antiochus IV Epiphanes.  Not everyone was willing to let bygones be bygones!  This prince took the lead in destroying Jerusalem.  He was then tasked with organizing the recovery process!

Mattathias urges his Jewish followers to take his second son Simon Matthes/Thassi as their "father."  He corresponds to Ptolemy VIII, the younger half-brother of Ptolemy VI, and the true son of Antiochus III (John Gaddi).  Of course, this was only a little less tolerable than accepting Antiochus IV as their new leader!  Simon Matthes (Ptolemy VIII) is consequently not recognized in Judea as an acceptable ruler and High Priest until all the other “sons of Mattathias” are exhausted. Only then, and it seems with a sense of resignation, is Simon allowed to take his divinely appointed place.
Judas Maccabee corresponds to the royal prince, Alexander Balas, the son of Prince Alexander (son of Ptolemy II) born about 190 BC to Cleopatra (and also to the unnamed son of Hannibal by Imclea).  He would have been a newborn at his father’s first defeat in 190 BC, and still only a young child when his father completed his stint as High Priest in 185 BC.  However, by 168 BC he was old enough to take an active role in royal wars.  During the Maccabean Revolt, Judas takes on the role of the Judah-figure Aye (Rib-Addi) in the earlier Amarna Revolt, that being one of a revolutionary leader in Palestine.  After fighting valiantly, Prince Alexander was required to take a dive in favor of higher ranking members of the family.  About the time of Judas’ demise, a new prince had been born in Egypt, Ptolemy D (Hasmonean Aristobulus II), which completely rehabilitated the career of this prince’s father, the former Ptolemy V.  Although he was not allowed to unseat Ptolemy VI as Great King, Ptolemy V was appointed as the new High Priest (under the Hasmonean name Jonathan).  Although Jonathan was the fifth son of Mattathias, he was actually the third oldest.

After another decade passed by and no further princes were born, the former Judas Maccabee was (belatedly) rewarded with kingship in Syria and marriage to Cleopatra Thea the daughter of Ptolemy VI.  It was likely Ptolemy VI’s close friendship and alliance with the new Messiah, Alexander Balas (“Judas Maccabee”), that gained him the veneration of royal posterity.  Alexander Balas is depicted with a lion-skin headdress on his coins, however, during much of his short reign there, Alexander neglected Syria in order to participate in the latest Roman campaign in North Africa.  In 147 BC, as Scipio-Aemilianus, he was elected Consul of Rome in order to bring the 3rd Punic War with Carthage to an end, which he did by 146 BC.  The Messianic figure of Scipio-Aemilianus (dubbed “Africanus” after this victory) was even said to have wept over the city as it was being reduced to dust.

After the war in Africa, Alexander returned the favor and protection of his powerful father-in-law Ptolemy VI by “attempting” to poison him.  This led to a war between the two, which neither survived, at least under those local names/identities.  Ptolemy VI was relieved of the burden of ruling Egypt in order to finish his kingly career in the East.  The Crown Prince (and co-regent) Ptolemy VII, was killed (ala Osiris/”John”) at a marriage banquet, and left Egypt with Ptolemy VI.  Alexander was said to have fled to Arabia where he was “beheaded” in the Trans-Jordan by (his alter ego) Zabdibelus (II).  In reality, Alexander Balas returned to Rome to achieve even greater distinction there!  In their respective places, Ptolemy VIII (“Simon Matthes”) was restored to kingship in an impoverished Egypt, while the former Ptolemy VII was made king of the equally passé Seleucid Kingdom.  Ptolemy VIII was the new “father” of the Jews in Egypt and Palestine.  The former Ptolemy VII was a little too young to play a role in the Maccabean Revolt, but was by this time preparing to succeed Ptolemy VI as Great King of the Empire, which included dominions spanning from China and India to Rome and Spain.

Balas became father to a natural son, Alexander Zabinas in this same year (145 BC).  (The Crown Prince under Alexander Balas referred to as Antiochus VI was probably the son of Ptolemy VIII known as Ptolemy Apion in Egypt or the slightly older Ptolemy D.)  In 142 BC Alexander/Scipio-Aemilianus was elected Censor.  In 134 BC he was elected Consul in order to subdue the Spanish territory of Numantia, which earned him the title of Numantinus.  Ptolemy VI, on the other hand, was said to have died from wounds inflicted in the battle with Balas, but he certainly did not endure a literal death either.  He lived until at least 138 BC, and remained king of Parthia.  The purpose of the contrived conflict was then to allow Ptolemy VI’s son and heir, the former Ptolemy VII, to return from the Far East and resume an active role back in the West.  The line of Alexander Balas would not emerge as the dominant one until the death of Ptolemy VII (a.k.a. Hasmonean John Hyrcanus).

Note:  The betrayal (with great affection and good intentions) of the “Savior” Mattathias by Judas Maccabee is recycled in the Gospel characterization of militant Judas Iscariot.

Alexander Zabinas (Hasmonean Alexander Jannaeus) the son of Alexander Balas was born around the time of Ptolemy VIII’s (second/renewed) coronation at Memphis.  Ptolemy Memphitis, as the new prince was called in Egypt, was thereafter hated intensely by Ptolemy VIII and his royal identity was eventually  eliminated by him there with extreme prejudice (hence turning Memphitis into an Osiris and future Savior figure, as well).  This prince, known by the Hasmonean name of Alexander Jannaeus, was also hated by the former Ptolemy VII, now king of Seleucia under the name of Demetrius II (John Hyrcanus), who we are told (by Josephus) would also not at all tolerate the presence of the new prince at his own court either!  This is the very prince that eventually “took the kingdom” for the line of Judas Maccabee, therefore some of the persecution was probably exaggerated for effect and part of a deliberate Horus typecasting.

The final “son” of Mattathias is variously called Eleazar, Auran and Avaranus, and corresponds to the still living Alexander A (Horan-Wennefer/Onias III).  Josephus has in this case placed the father (Onias III) after his own son Judas Maccabee (Onias V).   ahead of his own father in the list of Mattathias’ sons.  The Book of 1 Maccabees has Eleazar heroically sacrifice himself (ala a Roman devotio) before the first great battle of the Jewish Revolt.  In that version of the history, the fall of Onias is itself viewed as an “offering” that marks the transition from the Great Revolt to the Maccabean Revolt that followed.  Onias III is venerated as an honorary “son of Mattathias” and a revered Jewish Patriot.  2 Maccabees states that righteous Onias was taken prisoner under the false promise of safety.  Consistent with this, an inscription of Ptolemy V at the Temple of Philae at Aswan in Nubia also claims that the rebel priest/king “Hr-nefer” (Horan-Wennefer) was captured and later executed by order of Ptolemy.   It further claims that the rebel’s son was killed.  However, Josephus, who was fond of offering “alternate endings,” states that the following pharaoh, Ptolemy VI, allowed this same Onias (and/or his son Onias) to retire in Lower Egypt and build the controversial (bastardized) Jerusalem theme temple on polluted soil.  (Josephus variously calls this Onias the son of Simon or the son of another Onias.)

The Book of 2 Maccabees does not explicitly say that Onias was put to death, only that the command had been given.  It is left up to the reader to conclude that the killing was carried out.  Josephus was writing from the royal perspective, and it was understood that royal persons were not typically put to death.  If an actual execution was deemed necessary, a substitute for the “royal vicitim” would be used instead.  Regardless, it can be concluded that Onias III did not literally die at this time, but had returned (as his son would later do after him) to Rome to enjoy more illustrious exploits and lofty public offices.

The above scenario was modeled after the previous revolt in Egypt associated with the Persian Dynasty.  The initiator of rebellion against the Ptolemies was the irascible High Priest Onias II, who looked to the earlier rebel leader Amyrtaeus, initiator of a “native Egyptian” insurgency against Persian overlords.  His successor, High Priest Simon II, emulated Nefaarud I (Neferites) successor of Amyrtaeus.  Onias III was in turn patterned after Hakor (Achoris) of the Persian Period.  High Priest Menelaus and his “son” High Priest Onias IV emulated Nakhtnebef (Nectanebo I) and Nakhthoreb (Nectanebo II) of the Persian Period.  Finally, High Priest Jason was modeled after Djedhor (Teos), who was ousted from power but later returned under his “foreign” identity (Artaxerxes III) to reclaim it.

The Persian Period revolt had itself been patterned after the intense and prolonged civil war of the preceding era (Late Egyptian New Kingdom/Third Intermediary Period), which occupied the 70 years following the death of Ramses the Great.  Amyrtaeus would have been modeled after Prince Hori (Kashta), who rejected the election of Merenptah as successor to Ramses II and set up his own son as pharoah (under the name Piye in Nubia and Rudamon at Libyan Leontopolis).  Piye/Rudamon bacame the role model for Nefaarud successor of Amyrtaeus.  The eldest son of Ramses II, namely Amen-hir-khepeshef/Assurdan III/Osorkon III also set up his own son as successor in Assyria as Tiglath-Pileser III and among the Libyan tribes as Takelot III in Leontopolis and Bakenrenef/Bocchoris in Sais. The name Bocchoris appears to have been the inspiration for the later Achoris, who usurped the throne from the son of Nefaarud during the uprising against the Persian kings.

Osorkon III (Biblical “King Uzziah”) was beloved by the priesthood and during his final years used that popularity to designate his son Takelot III as both priest and king in Thebes under the names of High Priest Amenhotep and Pharoah Amenmesses (“son of Amon”).  In Tanis of Lower Egypt, this prince may have been called pharaoh Amenemnisu (“Amon is King”), as well.  When High Priest Amenhotep was subsequently suppressed by a grandson of Hori/Kashta named Panehesy (the future Taharqa), he returned with a vengence using Assyrian and other forces in what became known as “The Year of the Hyenas.”  This occurred in Year 9 of Ramses XI/Khakheperre Pinedjem, who appears to have been the inspiration for Nakhtnebef Kheperkare (Nectanebo) of later times.

A truce was declared nine years later in “The Year of Rebirth,” however it did not last.  Djedhor/Teos (i.e., Artaxerxes III in the role of Aye) appears to have been patterned after Taharqa (who was himself in the role of Aye/Ahab).  The last “native” pharaoh of Egypt, Nakhthoreb S’nedjem-ibre (Nectanebo II) seems to have embodied the archetypes of two former High Priests, Pinedjem II (“Jeremiah”) and Siamun, who inflicted the final blow on the great city under the Babylonian name of Nebuchadnezzar II.  The “Funeral Games of Ramses II” had continued until the princely lines of Hori/Kashta and Amen-hir-khepeshef/Assurdan III had exhausted themselves and a collateral line (that of Khaemwaset son of Ramses II) emerged in their place using a Persian base.


The time of actual confusion that ended “native rule” in Egypt became the inspiration for more controlled repetitions, first during the Persian Period and then in the Ptolemaic Period.  The Ptolemaic Period especially emphasized competition over the High Priesthood and the assumption of kingship by those same High Priests of Amen.

Unlike the “Expulsion of the Hyksos” and founding of the Egyptian New Kingdom by Tao, the new Egyptian kingdom founded by Amyrtaeus was eventually crushed and Egypt returned to direct Persian control.  Likewise, in the Ptolemaic Period, rebellion in Egypt led initially to independence, but it was not allowed to stand in the long run.  A pseudo-independent kingdom was instead stood up in Israel rather than in Egypt proper.  This was accomplished by effectively repeating the Persian Era rebellion a second time using Jewish identities.  The role of Amyrtaeus was taken up by Mattathias (founder of the Maccabean Revolt).  Judas Maccabee was the new Nefaarud.  Jonathan was the new Hakor.  Simon was the new Nakhtnebef.  John Gaddi was the new Djedhor and John Hyrcanus was the new Nakhthoreb.

Thus, there were three phases of the Great Revolt that inflamed Upper Egypt and Palestine/Israel:  

a) Initial-bid-for-independence-is-put down-violently;
b) Hellenizing-leads-to-further-unrest-and-sacking-of-the-city;
c) Counter-revolution-leads-to-independence.  

There was at least 60 years of brutality!


A-Long-Decline:  Excerpt-from-the-Oxford-History-of-Ancient-Egypt: