King Xerxes Versus Leonidas, Reloaded
Part IV: Xerxes Compared with Noah/Solomon
By Charles N. Pope
2014www.domainofman.com/boards/index.php?topic=120.0The role model of Xerxes in shouting down the storm that ruined his ship-bridge was the Akkadian wise man Adapa
, who saved himself on the sea by exercising god-like knowledge and ability to command and even curse the gale wind. Adapa, like Biblical Noah, was alone considered blameless in a perverse generation, and after his affront to the gods Adapa (like Xerxes) humbly apologized
for it. He was forgiven, but in the end not allowed to join the ranks of the gods as an immortal. Adapa combines the peculiar traits of both Noah and Solomon, and these two types actually were (or became) equivalent as will be explained below.
The Exodus and Flood myths are actually related and somewhat competing traditions
. In the Flood myth, Noah (Atrahasis/Ziusudra) and his family are saved in Mesopotamia by God (Ea/Enki). In the Exodus myth, a remnant of the people are saved from the Flood in Egypt by Moses (Ra). In the Bible, both versions of the Flood story are carefully preserved.
Noah’s Flood is told as a one-time event. However, although this world-wide “Great Flood” was also inspiration for the Exodus account, there were also distinct exodus events associated with each and every one of the major Egyptian dynasties, that is, just prior to the start of the Old Kingdom, at the end of the Old Kingdom (5th/6th Dynasty), at the end of the Middle Kingdom (12th Dynasty) and during the New Kingdom (end of the 18th Dynasty). This recurrent flood scenario could be driven either by extreme flooding or drought. For example, the 5th/6th Dynasty and 18th Dynasty exodus events were caused by killing drought. The 12th Dynasty exodus was caused by record flood levels of the Nile. The Exodus account given in the Bible was a composite of multiple exodus events and of multiple kings/princes (Akhenaten and Auibre Hor/Hammurabi, especially) that played the role of the sun god Re in preserving at least some human life during an environmental crisis.In the Bible, the career of the sun god Re is broken into two parts.
The first part of the story of Re “going down to Egypt” and becoming head of the pantheon of 12 deities
there. This is related in the story of Jacob and his 12 sons
, who are modeled after the 12 Egyptian deities (Geb-Reuben; Thoth-Simeon; Set-Levi; Horus the Elder-Judah; Osiris-Issachar/Shechem; Shu-Asher; On/An-Gad; Hathor-Naphtali; Isis-Zebulun; Atum-Dan; Ptah-Joseph; Horus the Younger-Benjamin). Each major Egyptian time period also had a distinct “Jacob-the-Grabber” figure, e.g., Khufu of the Old Kingdom, Senusret II of the Middle Kingdom, Yakub-her of the Hyksos Period, Amenhotep II of the 18th Dynasty, and so forth. Each major dynasty also had a distinct Noah figure, e.g., Ny-Netjer (“Belonging to god/Ptah”) of the early dynastic period, Ny-User-Re of the Old Kingdom, Ny-Maat-Re (Amenemhet III) of the Middle Kingdom, User-Maat-Re (Amenhotep III) of the 18th Dynasty, and Pi-Nedjem (“Belonging to the Peaceful One/Ptah”) of the late New Kingdom.
Note: The early dynastic name Ny-Netjer has the same meaning as one of the epithets of Solomon, that being Lemuel, "belonging to God."The second part of the Re story involves his disgrace (as Moses)
and departure from power. This became separated from the memory of his “glory days.” The downfall of Re began with his role in the death of “an Egyptian,” namely his fellow god Osiris. Others had more active parts in this drama, but Re was held responsible for it. After a period of banishment, Re was restored in Egypt, but found that he was no longer respected
as a king there. The timing of the Flood was such that in retrospect it was attributed to the wrath of Re for the country’s rejection of him. All the gods of Egypt were “cast down” and the people suffered from the various calamities and plagues detailed in the Book of Genesis. Some miraculously survived and this too was credited to the intervention of Re on their behalf. The Book of Genesis gives the impression that a significant amount of time passed between the death of Joseph, the rise of Moses, and the promised coming of Shiloh (Solomon). It is only an impression, and was deliberately designed to keep the two competing streams of tradition separated.
The roles of Joseph, Shiloh/Solomon and Moses were always played out in close succession and even overlapped to a considerable degree. For example, in the 18th Dynasty, these roles were played by Prime Minister (Vizier) Yuya, Amenhotep III, and Akhenaten, respectively. The role of Noah/Solomon after the manufactured disaster that was the Amarna Revolution was played by Pharaoh Ay.
As with the god Re, the life of Atrahasis/Ziusudra (Noah) was also split into two parts
. And like Re, Atrahasis/Ziusudra undergoes a name change
as part of the ordeal. Before the Flood, he is a wise and loyal servant of the gods, but also the cruel taskmaster on behalf of those same gods.
He is beloved by God (or the gods), but came to be resented by the people as an oppressor. This negative aspect is downplayed in the Bible, but is nevertheless still detectible. The second part
of the Flood-hero character is found in the post-Flood story of Utna-pishtim (Noah), who gives up his slave-driving ways
and becomes a laid-back farmer and wine-bibber. The re-enactment of this radical transformation was also included in every major dynasty. For example, in the Old Kingdom, Ny-User-Re renews his kingship as Unas/Wenis. In the Middle Kingdom, the great builder pharaoh, Amenemhet III, surfaces after the flood as Aya. At the end of the 18th Dynasty another legendary builder, Amenhotep III, “reappears” after the exodus of Akhenaten as Pharaoh Ay (It-Netjer), as noted above.
The Biblical character of Solomon is of the Noah type, and the story of Solomon was based primarily on the wise builder-king Amenhotep III of the Egyptian 18th Dynasty. Biblical Solomon pushes the people to the point of revolt
with his massive construction works. As a result, his kingdom is diminished at the end of his reign as compared to the start, and then immediately falls apart when he is gone. After the crisis of Akhenaten (“foolish Rehoboam”), the kingdom is partially restored under Ay (“good king Asa”) before an entirely new and vigorous dynasty replaces it under Ramses (Jehoahaz) and his son Seti (Jehoash). This was however only the expected pattern after a major disaster event. A wise Noah/Solomon is unable (or unwilling) to completely restore order after an upheaval brought about by nature’s fury, and is ultimately eclipsed by a younger, more aggressive Ham figure. In the competing version of this stock scenario, Moses passes the mantle of leadership to the youthful Joshua son of Nun (a Noetic name).
The role of Joshua was equivalent to that of Ham/Benjamin in the other formulation of the Flood/Exodus story.
During the Middle Kingdom, the pharaoh cast in the role of Noah/Solomon was Amenemhet III. He tried to “game the system” by also assuming a Ham/Benjamin typecasting. Amenhotep III of the 18th Dynasty attempted to do the same. This ploy, while very clever, did not work in either case. However, future Great Kings of this type would try, try again. And the first that can be said to have definitely succeeded in combining the Noah/Solomon and Ham/Benjamin/Joshua roles was Xerxes himself!
Instead of adding the Joshua typecasting to an original Noah/Solomon role, he did the reverse. He first fulfilled the role of a Joshua (via his invasion of Greece) and then assumed the typecasting of a Noah/Solomon figure. In the process, Xerxes effectively established an entire dynasty of Noah/Solomon kings, and primarily because this was a kingly type (based on mildness/gentleness/meekness) especially venerated by the Medio-Persians.
The metamorphosis of Xerxes from an oppressive pre-Flood Noah/Solomon to a mild-mannered post-Flood Noah/Solomon
begins with the Persian invasion of Greece. Construction of the pontoon bridge across the Hellespont was an architectural marvel, and one worthy of a Solomon figure. Moreover, when the first bridge was damaged by a storm, Xerxes flew into a rage and executed the chief engineer. The work crew was then pressed hard to complete the repairs in time for the arrival of the massive army (“exodus party”). Prior to the actual crossing, Xerxes not only struck the water in the role of Joshua, but viciously and repeatedly lashed it in the role of a pre-Flood Noah/Solomon.
For good measure, he also threw chains (of bondage)
into the waters and also symbolically branded the water’s surface (as a mark of slavery
), and all the while shouting outrageously
Across the continental divide, the behavior of Xerxes begins to gradually soften. However, the transformation would not be complete until Xerxes fully discharged the role of Joshua and underwent a name change back in Persia. He had to be “born again.”
Until then, the characterization of Xerxes (as presented in the narration of Herodotus) is rather bipolar. In fact, the erratic behavior begins at the crossing itself. Xerxes follows the merciless abuse of the Hellespont with a new set of symbolic gestures. A cup, a golden bowl, and a special sword are ceremoniously offered
to the waters. Herodotus suggests that Xerxes may have had remorse for his earlier tirade and was making his peace. The second group of objects are all associated with royal kingship. The cup is particularly an object associated with the Benjamin typecasting. By surrendering these things Xerxes is imitating Noah, who renounced despotic kingship
and elected to cultivate a modest plot of land rather than resume the traditional (Adamic) mandate to “subdue the whole earth.” The type of sword is also specified by Herodotus as the akinakes, which in itself connotes “transfigured spirit of Noah” (from the Hamito-Semitic roots of akku (“transformed spirit”) and nakeh (“smitten, contrite”). Noah was originally a tiller (breaker) of men but became a cultivator of the rain-soaked soil.
The name Noah (the Hebrew Noach/Nowach, pronounced no’-akh) means “rest.” It is an obvious adaptation of Enoch (Enki), whose dedicated servant he once had been. But the labors of Noah had ceased, as did his oppression of the people. Noah is an appropriate epithet of the post-Flood Patriarch. It becomes an interesting puzzle to deduce the formal name or names of Noah prior to the Flood
when he was powerful, and perhaps even considered a divine being. In Egypt, there is a mysterious god or demi-god called Minh
, who is generally thought to be a manifestation of the primary deity Ptah (Enoch) or that of Thoth (Lamech). However, it now seems to be that he was actually a separate entity, and should more properly be associated with the prince subsequently known as Noah. Minh is called an ithyphallic god, that is, a god always depicted with an enormous erect penis. This, of course, lends an entirely other meaning to the characterization of Noah as “ever upright” in the eyes of the Lord.
It also explains the embarrassing episode after the Flood when Ham “uncovered the nakedness” of Noah, which literally means that he sodomized Noah. Noah had formally stuck it to the people. It was time for Noah to now receive his “come-uppance” from Ham!! Ham was not the biological son of Noah, and therefore constituted a different dynastic line. However, as the political junior of Ham, he was called Benjamin, that is, “son of Yamin,” which can be more freely translated as, “son of the god Minh.” The identification of Noah as the ithyphallic god/demi-god Minh also explains one other crude passage in the Old Testament. When Rehoboam was asked whether he would lighten the burden imposed by his predecessor Solomon, he replied, “My pinky is bigger than Solomon’s prick!” The people, immediately understanding the implication, revolted against Rehoboam.
Note: Other forms of the name Minh were likely the Greek Menes and Memnon, and the Cretan Minos.
A Mesopotamian or Eastern form would have been something along the lines of Ma’en(ak), “Great Lord.” See the End Note 1, www.domainofman.com/boards/index.php?topic=120.msg494#msg494
, for further similarities between Minh and Noah/Solomon and End Note 2 for additional etymological fodder.
The Egyptian cult of Amun-Ra was heavily pantheistic, but primarily influenced by the individual cults of Ra, Ptah and Thoth, with Minh perhaps being its “high priest” or “first prophet.” Similarly, the leading (and almost exclusive) deity of the Persian Empire was Ahura Mazda, whose salient characteristics of fire, water and wisdom reflect that of the Egyptian Amun-Ra, and particularly its constituent god Ptah/Khnum, if not also Thoth and Minh. The element Mazda can also be parsed as “Great (Lord) Zida,” in which zida conveys a sense of “olive (peace, health),” “seeker (pursuer of knowledge),” “seventh (zayin),” and “last (zed).” The element, Ahura, summons the “spirit (of the sun god Ra).”
Returning to Xerxes, he was the fourth son (“Judah”) of Atossa, but the seventh (“Benjamin”) son in the overall birth order of royal princes in his generation. At Thermopylae he sacrificed his Judah typecasting (Greek Leonidas). He was also determined to completing his role as Benjamin in order to assume an even more significant typecasting, at least in view of Persian culture. His decision to stage the final battle of his campaign at Salamis was not arbitrary. Salamis alludes both to Salmon (an epithet of Joshua) and to Solomon.
It marked the completion of one role and a redoubled emphasis on the other. At the conclusion of the battle, Xerxes made a token attempt to build a pier from his Persian ships to the harbor, but this time he allowed the effort to fail, and thereby signified that his role of Joshua needed no further fulfillment. However, as a neo-Solomon there was still much room for improvement.
Back in Persia, some years passed before Xerxes enlisted the services of the formerly chastised Moses figure, Artabanus, to help effect his name change to Artaxerxes. Artabanus dutifully deposed his king
, occupied the throne for seven months, and then yielded it back up again
to his master under the name Artaxerxes. The Persian form of the (Greek) name Xerxes had been Xshaya-arsa/rsha, usually translated as “Ruling over Heroes,” but also more simply meaning, “King Arsa.” This indicates that Arsa was his given name
, and it is the same given name known for Artaxerxes. Plutarch wrote, “Artaxerxes, among all the kings of Persia the most remarkable for a gentle and noble spirit
, was surnamed the Long-handed, his right hand being longer than his left, and was the son of Xerxes.” However, Herodotus described Xerxes as a king with an extraordinarily long reach. The “born again” king Artaxerxes had to be named as someone’s son, and he evidently chose to be his own. He had in effect changed from “false Xerxes” to “true Xerxes.”
The Persian form of the new name Artaxerxes was Artakhshathra, which in Old Persian style was Artaxshasa. The “Benjamin element” of Aya in the name Xerxes (Kshaya-Arsa) is absent in the new name, and is replaces with Asa.
Even more significantly, Artakhshathra is also very close to Zarathustra (Zoraster) and Atrahasis, the archaic Mesopotamian names of Biblical Noah.
Xerxes had survived the crisis of his Era, and had successfully renewed his reign. It was also then possible for him to begin grooming his own biological son in the role of Ham/Benjamin, and ultimately place him on the throne under the Benjamin styled name of Darius, which had also been that of his father. The successor of Darius II was in turn his son Artaxerxes II Memnon
. Plutarch states that Memnon began his reign in close emulation of the first Artaxerxes. Artaxerxes is even known for the controversial introduction of the Anahita (“Asherah”) cult (ala King Solomon)
. However, he ironically ended up making a metamorphosis from a Noah/Solomon typecasting to that of a Benjamin, which is actually a more straightforward transition. A traditional alternating king-name dynasty had been established, and very similar to the greatest ones of former times. In the Middle Kingdom, warrior kings assumed the name of Senusret and philosopher kings that of Amenemhet. In the New Kingdom, Thutmose was the name of warrior kings and philosopher kings took the name of Amenhotep. For the Persians, Darius was the name of a conquering king and Artaxerxes that of a peaceful builder. (See Endnote 3, www.domainofman.com/boards/index.php?topic=120.msg496#msg496
Note: Herodotus (5.53-54; 7.151) calls Susa, the capital of Persia
in the time of Darius and Xerxes, by the name “Memnonian City.”
Xerxes found a way to create the personae of a loving Noetic king who not only enjoyed the blessing of long life and continuous rule, but also without the threat of being “bum-rushed” by a neo-Hamitic upstart. The roles of Noah/Solomon and Ham/Joshua are complete opposites – one is characterized by slow and careful planning, and the other by quick action. However, in Xerxes the two have been combined, as well as other divine roles. Xerxes has approached what in later Christian doctrine was called the “fullness of the godhead,”
that is, the feat of assimilating the traits of all the gods into one king. Although Xerxes was not directly remembered in later Jewish and Christian memory for this, he clearly was venerated by subsequent generations of royalty who paid him the highest compliment, that of emulation
. His adaptation of required kingly typecasting was considered ingenious and supremely effective, and therefore Xerxes still had a profound indirect impact on the likes of Alexander the Great and Jesus Christ.