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Author Topic: Chapter 15: Jesus Among the Julio-Claudians (The Amarna Do-Overs)  (Read 1801 times)
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« on: August 11, 2017, 04:20:05 PM »

The following is an excerpt from:

"Jesus Among the Julio-Claudians"
copyright 2017 Charles N. Pope

The Amarna Period All Over Again: Germanicus as Akhenaten in Israel and Caligula in Rome

The dynasty of Alexander the Great was not a traditional, linear dynasty, but one of fits and starts. Yet, it had somehow managed to become one of the most stable and globally successful royal franchises of all time. Ironically, Ptolemaic success abroad was accompanied by a catastrophic meltdown at home. Even more surprisingly, Ptolemy IV took as his direct role model the 18th Dynasty pharaoh Amenhotep IV (Akhenaten), who was blamed for the ignominious collapse of the glorious New Kingdom. After a 17-year reign, Ptolemy IV vanished from Egypt and left his son Sekhem-ankhamun (Ptolemy V) to deal with the fall-out of escalating civil and religious rebellion in Upper Egypt (even as Akhenaten had left a devastated Upper Egypt for Tutankhamun to “restore”).

It was shown (in the previous chapters) that during the Julio-Claudian Dynasty there was a discernible Amarna Period tribute in Parthia and an even more elaborate rendition in China. As shocking as it may be, there were also Amarna Period recreations in Israel as well as in Rome itself. Rather than being ignored or suppressed, the memory of Ptolemy IV (and of his own inspiration Akhenaten) received complete attention by the Julio-Claudian family and their associated royal courts of the East.

The history of Josephus indicates that there was considerable debate over whether Caesarion (under his Herodian identity of Antipater “eldest son” of Herod the Great) or one of the younger princes should directly succeed the dying Herod the Great. Unfortunately for Caesarion, none of his existing sons (Claudius b. 10 BC, Lepidus the Younger b. 7 BC or Torquatus b. 2 BC) were yet able to take on the demanding role of a neo-Ptolemy IV in Israel. The young sons of Augustus were only slightly better suited for the task. Germanicus (Archelaus), the second true son of Augustus, was still quite young and not even yet a teenager. Drusus II (Herod Antipas) was (ostensibly) even younger, but he was nonetheless designated as the successor of Herod for a brief period.

Early in the reign of Archelaus (and role of "foolish" Rehoboam) the people petitioned him to lift some of the heavy burden laid upon them by Herod (in his role as Solomon). The young Archelaus was perhaps too tender to make for a convincing tyrant. Or, perhaps in his childlike idealism hoped to avoid repeating the ill-advised response of Rehoboam to the people. According to Josephus, "Archelaus spake the more gently and civilly to them … so Archelaus contradicted them in nothing." However, as in the case of the Egyptian New Kingdom Rehoboam, namely Akhenaten, Archelaus would not be permitted by the royal fixers to escape his "fate."
Curiously, the even younger prince, Herod Antipas, had no qualms vigorously pursuing the course of his role model Jeroboam (the nemesis of Rehoboam) by forming an alliance against his "master" and reducing his territory from all of Israel to only Judaea. Caesar Augustus then intervened and ruled that Archelaus would no longer rule the entire country as Herod willed but only half (as ethnarch). Philip and Antipas would each be rulers of one quarter (as tetrarchs). So, the kingdom of Herod was effectively divided even as it had been in the days just after the death of Solomon. Any resistance of Archelaus to the role of Akhenaten proved futile! The people were induced to rebel anyway and he was still blamed just the same!

With the exception of having spindly legs (a trait of Akhenaten, by the way), the wildly popular Germanicus possessed the physical and intellectual traits desired in a kingly successor. However, there are clear indications that Germanicus could not sire a true royal son of his own. For example, although Germanicus was (and still is) credited with three sons (Nero Julius Caesar, Drusus Caesar III and Caligula), the Gospels suggest that all of the sons of his Roman spouse Agrippina (“Mary”) were considered to be those of the former Caesarion/Drusus (“Joseph”), including and especially her firstborn/holy-child Torquatus (“Jesus”). See Chapter 17, note (a).

In Israel, Germanicus went so far as to divorce his first wife Mariamne (Roman Agrippina the Elder), contrary to Jewish Law, in order to take a new wife Glaphyra of Cappadocia (Roman Antonia Minor). However, when he still remained without a (true) male heir, he was deposed. Caesarion required a Moses-figure like Ptolemy IV, who eventually sired two actual sons, rather than one like Akhenaten (that had at most one).[h] Therefore, Germanicus was removed from the role of Ptolemy IV after around 10 years of rule in Israel. By then, the sons of Germanicus were maturing and the need to rely on rival princes was rapidly diminishing. The traumatic remainder of an expected 17-year reign for Archelaus would have to be completed later by another prince, and specifically by a true son of Caesarion.

Germanicus was “poisoned” in 19 AD after conducting a “Farewell Tour” that parodied the invasion of Alexander the Great (in his aspect of a Greek Moses), Germanicus was also about the same age (33 years old) as Alexander the Great when he was said to have been poisoned. And like Alexander, Germanicus would not have literally died at that time, but would have “departed” his own personal “Babylon” for the East. There he would continue his kingly career under a different name and wait for his fortune in fatherhood to change. If Germanicus were to acquire an heir in the years to come (from a new generation of princesses), he could always return (ala “Moses”) and possibly even claim succession to the Great Throne (as the next Alexander the Great in a growing line of Alexanders).

Germanicus had already been exiled from one kingship (modeled after Ptolemy IV) in Jerusalem under the regional alias of Archelaus. The interrupted 10-year reign of Archelaus certainly left room for a sequel, but it would not specifically feature him again. The missing seven years of his reign would be played out during the “seven-year tribulation” that was the Jewish Revolt. As in the Ptolemaic Era, “God’s dealing with the Jews” would be a multi-stage production. Because Torquatus (“Jesus”) was born early in the reign of Archelaus, it qualified him to add the role of Ptolemy V son of Ptolemy IV to his initial role of Ptolemy VI (at least in the locale of Israel). And because Torquatus also was Great King (and the royal superior of Nero) during Jerusalem’s destruction, he could further claim a share of the Ptolemy IV (Akhenaten/Moses) role as the one that gave final approval for the mission.

When Germanicus and then Drusus II subsequently failed to deliver the dynastic goods, they were suppressed in Rome like Gaius and Lucius Caesar before them. This, and the persistent infertility of other princes, eventually allowed Caligula to directly succeed Tiberius. Caligula, although a true son of Tiberius and Agrippina, did not object to being considered the son of the ever popular Germanicus. He in fact could not have claimed Tiberius as his real father even if he had wanted to (as this would have made his succession of Tiberius look like a dynasty and therefore unacceptable). Even though Caligula was not ashamed of the pedigree of Germanicus (although false), he tellingly did flatly reject the mother of Germanicus, Antonia Minor, as his putative grandmother. Instead, Caligula asserted that his mother Agrippina was the true daughter of Julia the Elder and Augustus (rather than Marcus Agrippa). The other actual grandmother of Caligula would have been Livia Drusilla, mother of Tiberius.
As Augustus was typecast as the Roman “great builder” pharaoh Amenhotep III, Tiberius followed him in the role of a neo-Thutmose IV, the 18th Dynasty “Judah” prince. The disturbing reign of Caligula that followed Tiberius can then best be understood as a deliberate Roman reproduction of the reign of Akhenaten. When compared schematically with Akhenaten, the role of Caligula essentially becomes self-evident:

- Caligula was hailed as a child prodigy, but also specifically prophesied to become a ruination on the order of mythical Phaethon (a Greek analog of the Aton/Aten).

- Caligula commissioned a number of engineering marvels (in the spirit of the innovative nature of the sun-god Re) during his short reign, such as: the two massive “Nemi Ships” (a floating palace and a floating temple of Diana); and the “Tour d’Ordre” (a multi-colored pyramidal lighthouse made up of twelve octagonal stories) at Boulogne-sur-Mer south of Dunkirk and Calais along the NW coast of France and across the English Channel from Dover (to commemorate his “conquest” of Britain).

- Caligula also completed the building works (and defended the honor) of his predecessor (and true father) Tiberius, and completed the temple of (his true grandfather) Augustus.

- Caligula further initiated two ambitious new aqueducts for Rome and enlarged ports in Sicily and southern Italy to expedite the import of grain from Africa. The former work was hailed as a wonder by Pliny the Elder, and the latter prized by the “grain-gathering Joseph-figure” Josephus.

- Caligula envisioned a fantasy city high up in the Alps.

- Caligula transported an obelisk from Egypt to be featured in a new circus (racing venue). This obelisk now stands at the Vatican.

- The early rule of the chicken-legged Caligula was promising and praiseworthy, but it quickly disintegrated into capricious and murderous madness. (The god Re became dangerously senile at the end of his reign.)

- Caligula was extravagant in bestowing gifts upon the populace as well as his friends, and to the point of bankrupting the state (ala Akhenaten at Amarna).

- Caligula insisted on being worshipped as a living god, and particularly as the sun-god (“Neos Helios”), as well as Hercules and Jupiter (deities also associated with Akhenaten/“Moses son of Joseph”)
- A serious famine was associated with Caligula’s reign, and one that was likely made more severe by his ill-advised actions.

- Caligula honored the pantheon but singled out Judaism for persecution. The Egyptian cult of Amen/Amun (that was so virulently attacked by Akhenaten) was the analog and precursor of Judaism. Caligula created a religious crisis among the Jews of both Alexandria and Jerusalem by imposing his divinity upon them, again with the help of Agrippa.

- Caligula also consciously and explicitly emulated Xerxes (another self-styled Moses/Akhenaten-figure) by constructing a boat bridge across the Bay of Naples and passing over it on horseback (as if on dry land).

- The reign and histories of Caligula, like that of Akhenaten, was largely denigrated and suppressed by his immediate successors and by posterity.

- Due to sickness or other factors, the expected 17-year reign of Caligula (patterned after that of both Akhenaten and Ptolemy IV) was limited to only 4 years. However, the balance of the required 17 years, as well as the official and obligatory dam~natio memoriae, was considered fulfilled by the equally shocking 13-year reign of Nero (see Chapter 16, below).

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