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Author Topic: Chapter 8: The Destruction of Jerusalem by Titus (Flamininus)  (Read 2821 times)
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« on: January 10, 2016, 01:50:40 PM »

Chap. 8-Heroes of the Hellensitic Age (2016) Charles N. Pope

Due to being the only prince born between 240 BC and 210 BC, Ptolemy V was effectively “Lord-from-His-Birth,” and consequently co-regent alongside Ptolemy IV from birth.  However, as a young prince he was highly detached and effeminate in nature with little or none of the charisma of his Amarna Period role model Tutankhamun or Ptolemy (Hephaestion).  Although royal propaganda depicts Ptolemy V as more vigorous later in his reign, he remained without a son by Queen Cleopatra (the daughter of Antiochus III).  Even so, in the continued absence of any other princely births, there was nothing to be gained in removing him prior to his 18th birthday (192 BC) as was the case for King Tut.

The next prince to be born was another Alexander (future Alexander Balas) in 190 BC, followed by another Ptolemy (future Ptolemy VI) in 187 BC.  Although the new Alexander was the oldest prince (even as his own father Alexander A had been in his generation), Ptolemy VI had superior status due to being born of the “House of Joseph/Antiochus III.”  Upon the death/retirement of Antiochus III in 187 BC, there were still no princes that could claim a royal grandson, so the Great Throne quietly passed to the oldest son of Antiochus III by default, and under the name Seleucus IV.  

The first “casualty” after the end of Antiochus III’s reign was his friend, ally and choice as High Priest, namely Onias III (Prince Alexander/Hannibal).  Both Seleucus IV and Antiochus (future Antiochus IV) agreed that he had to go, especially now that he had a royal son.  In 185 BC, the High Priest of Amun, Hauron/Ankh-Wennefer was sacked for the final time and declared dead along with his son.  Josephus writes:

“… upon the death of Onias the high priest, they gave the high priesthood to Jesus his brother; for that son which Onias left was yet but an infant; and, in its proper place, we will inform the reader of all the circumstances that befell this child.”  Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, Chapter 5, verse 1


This passage written by Josephus has caused utter confusion (and the rejection of Josephus as being unhistorical by some), but can easily be understood when placed in the proper historical context of the contemporary ruling family.  Onias III was deposed (figuratively killed) as High Priest and had a young son that was eligible for the High Priesthood upon coming of age.  Josephus promises to give the story of this son later in his account and does in fact provides a highly detailed history under this prince’s more famous name of Judas Maccabee, who not only survived the purges of 190 BC and 185 BC, but became High Priest and a Messianic figure in his own right.

With Onias III unceremoniously removed, the High Priesthood was offered to Prince Antiochus (Jason/Jesus), the future Antiochus IV, because he was second in rank among the older royal males.  The book of 2 Maccabees indicates that Antiochus IV gained the priesthood not as a conquering outsider, but as a nominal son of Onias II (not of Onias III) by the name of Jesus/Jason, and with considerable popular support.  Jason and his Ptolemaic henchmen engage in a considerable amount of Jew-baiting at this time.  The intent does not seem to be a genuine attempt to Hellenize Jerusalem/Thebes, but to incite more unrest and ultimately justify the use of extreme force to seize temple wealth and decimate the regional population.
Around 183 BC a third prince (the future Ptolemy VIII) was born to Cleopatra by Antiochus, which demanded that the kingly and priestly status quo be further shaken up if not completely overturned.  Once Queen Cleopatra had three royal sons by other royal males, the days of Ptolemy V as her husband and pharaoh were numbered.  The last certain regnal date of Ptolemy V is Year 24, and his death is generally placed early in his 25th year (180 BC), which is the same age of death for another of his role models, Teti-ankh-kem of the 6th Dynasty.  Of course, Ptolemy V did not literally die at such a young age, but was deposed both in keeping with tradition and to clear the way for a new set of heirs.

The deposing of Ptolemy V (180 BC) was followed immediately by that of Seleucus IV (180 BC) and King Philip V (179 BC) in Macedon, which indicates that these events were closely linked.  More specifically, it reveals that Philip/Seleucus had not produced any further royal heirs of his own by that time to replace his weak and childless son Ptolemy V and therefore his own power had to be reduced.  It further indicates that Ptolemy VI (born 187 BC) was the true son of Antiochus III sired in his old age.  Moreover, we can conclude that Ptolemy VIII (born 183 BC) was the true son of Antiochus IV, who succeeded Seleucus IV at that time, and is known to have later favored Ptolemy VIII over Ptolemy VI in Egypt.  It can also be deduced that Antiochus IV succeeded Philip V as king of Macedon in 179 BC under the name of Perseus (Roman Porcius/Priscus).  The omens associated with the birth of Ptolemy VIII must have been very, very good!

After the elevation of Antiochus IV/Perseus, the former Seleucus IV would have felt entitled to the High Priesthood as consideration, but his seizing of that office led to intense controversy.  Seleucus IV (a.k.a. Komanos, the Egyptian General under Ptolemy V) is called by the Greek name of Menelaus by Josephus, and is blamed for the death of Onias III in the Book of 2 Maccabees.  Irrespective, he manages to overcome staunch local resistance and designate himself as High Priest Onias IV.  Menelaus/Seleucus (as Great King) was of course exonerated in the “killing” of Onias, however a surrogate named Andronicus (symbolically made to wear the purple) was brutally killed in the place of Menelaus.  (Andriscus the “pretender” was incidentally also the name of the last king of Macedon.)  He has Andronicus treacherously ensnared and killed on the very spot he had formerly condemned Onias.  Another surrogate code-named Lysimachus is also sacrificed to cover for the thefts committed by Menelaus in the temple treasury.  However, Menelaus himself is beyond reproach.

With the former Seleucus IV back on more-or-less equal footing with Antiochus IV, the succession drama could then be settled in the usual way, i.e., by which of the younger princes (Alexander Balas, Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VIII) sired sons of their own upon the new heiress, Cleopatra II.  However, the next prince to be born, Ptolemy Eupator (174 BC), was instead fathered by the deposed Philip V/Seleucus IV.  When Ptolemy VI and Ptolemy VIII reached puberty in the years that immediately followed and did not produce a single son, yet another round of musical thrones was begun.  The aging father of the former Ptolemy V and future Ptolemy VII was compelled to place his new son in a position of dominance as the time of his own passing approached.  This required the removal of Perseus/Antiochus IV from his lofty perch in Macedon and Seleucia, as well as the removal of his son Ptolemy VIII as pharaoh down in Egypt.

An “Angel of the Lord” with the curious name of Popilius Laena was sent by the family Godfather (Scipio Africanus) to Antiochus IV in Egypt.  Ptolemy IV/Seleucus IV had played the role of Akhenaten/Nebuchadnezzar I, as well as that of Assurbanipal in his attack on Thebes/Jerusalem.  It was time for Antiochus to now fulfill his typecasting as Nebuchadnezzar II by “finishing God’s dealing with Jerusalem” (Thebes) and preparing the way for a new Messianic Dynasty.  Popilius Laena drew a circle around Antiochus, from which he was not to leave until accepting his orders.  Popilius has been placed in the role the Amarna figure Smenkhkare (the prophet Elijah) and Antiochus is the designated sacrificial offering to be consumed.  The name Popilius Laena connotes “Chief-Double-Mantle-Wearer,” which is obviously Messianic in itself.  The bearer of this name, Prince Alexander/Hannibal/Onias III (i.e., archetypal Honi-the-Circle-Maker), is being characterized as the Messiah in advance, and as not being fickle (like the Masters he currently served), but worthy of the election that his line finally received.

The Jerusalem destroyed by Antiochus IV is described in 2 Maccabees as hosting a “world-renowned temple,” which did not exist in Palestine during the Ptolemaic Period.  The leading temple of the ancient world was that of Karnak/Amun-Re in Thebes of Upper Egypt, and was during the time of “King Solomon” (Amenhotep III) as well.  The size of that “Jerusalem” was consistent with the numbers given in 2 Maccabees for those slaughtered or deported as slaves, which approach or even exceed 200,000.  The staggering wealth of the treasury also reflects that of a royal capital such as Thebes rather than provincial Jerusalem in Palestine.  The latter Jerusalem did not achieve that status until the following century when Egypt was made the personal estate of Caesar Augustus and Herod built a new temple for the Jews in Palestine.  Up until that time, Upper Egypt would have remained the center of world-wide Jewry and the Jews of Palestine were referred to only as Samarians.

In the New Testament Era, it is of course Titus who places Jerusalem under siege and eventually destroys the city.  He was not villainized later for the sacrilege, but generally esteemed by Josephus and other histories.  The precedent for this was Titus Flamininus, who attacked the Jerusalem of his day under his Seleucid identity of Antiochus IV.  Antiochus IV is libeled as an Anti-Christ, whereas his Roman alias, Titus, is celebrated as a major contributor in Rome’s rapid expansion.  This Titus not only humbled Philip V of Macedon in 197 BC, but also dethroned Philip V (before succeeding him) in 179 BC.  He also assisted Scipio Africanus in his “defeat” of Antiochus III “The Great.”  When it came time for him to take a fall (as Perseus and Antiochus IV), Titus was not quite as cooperative.  Arguably, his overlord Scipio Africanus was a bit quick to accomplish this trick.  Despite his protests, Titus was at the end of the day a “team player” and fully complied with orders.  He also seems to have lived until 149 BC and enjoyed continued influence and a comfortable retirement in Rome under such names as Marcus Porcius Cato (the Elder) and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus.

Antiochus IV did not spare Jerusalem, and a year later Aemilius Paullus refused to spare Antiochus IV (the deposed Perseus of Macedon) the embarrassment of being paraded in Triumph, which was very much analogous to walking the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem.   Though he was a Crown Prince and potential Messiah, he had to endure rejection and humiliation, at least of his Macedonian identity.  Plutarch paints Perseus as an unwilling, begrudging, and ultimately failed Messiah.  Antiochus IV Epiphanes was mocked by the epithet of Epimanes, “madman.”  And like Nebuchadnezzar of old, Plutarch claims that his alter ego Perseus was “removed of his senses,” i.e., his sanity.  In clear contrast, Aemilius Paulus has the right stuff for leadership.  He never shirks in his duty or even cops an attitude.  As the great-grandfather of Julius Caesar, Plutarch was likely obligated to put Aemilius Paulus in the best possible light, and also to provide some justification as to why the line of Ptolemy Epigone fell and that of Ptolemy II (the true father of Aemilius Paulus) recovered the Great Throne.

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