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Author Topic: Chapter 08: Jesus Among the Julio-Claudians (Octavius as the New Antiochus)  (Read 1670 times)
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« on: August 11, 2017, 04:27:09 PM »

The following is an excerpt from:

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

Octavius (Augustus) as the New Antiochus

As the oldest prince of the royal generation following Julius Caesar, Octavius (the future Caesar Augustus) would have naturally been typecast as the new Antiochus, who had been the oldest prince in the royal generation following that of Alexander the Great. Antiochus (former Persian prince Ochus) had been adopted as heir by his much older half-brother King Seleucus, and eventually became successor to the Seleucid Kingdom, which was the most prestigious throne of the day, and despite not having a royal son of his own. Such was the infertility crisis of that time due to royal inbreeding.

In his will that took effect upon his “death” in 44 BC, Julius Caesar had made Octavius (the former Ptolemy XIII) his designated son and heir, at least from the perspective of Rome. (The toddler Caesarion was heir to the greater royal empire and soon thereafter also heir of Octavius.) Octavius had already been paired with the senior princess, Cleopatra VII in Egypt, but their first try at parenthood was unsuccessful. Back in Rome, the younger princess, Arsinoe IV, was married to Octavius in 42 BC under the name Clodia Pulchra (“Lame Beauty”), and they were blessed with the birth of a son that same year. Nevertheless, for dynastic purposes, this birth was instead attributed to Tiberius Claudius Nero and his wife Livia Drusilla, with Livia being an alternate Roman identity of Clodia.[a] After two years and no further children, the marriage of Clodia to Augustus was dissolved in order to give Cleopatra a second chance under the Roman name of Scribonia.

After another two years, Scribonia (Cleopatra) became pregnant, not by Augustus but Marc Antony instead. However, the end of her second sterile union with Augustus was postponed until Scribonia could give birth to her first daughter Julia (Cleopatra Selene) and have the child duly recognized as heiress in Rome (as the official daughter of Augustus). [b ] Scribonia (Cleopatra) then graciously stepped aside and allowed Octavius to remarry Clodia Pulcher (the former Arsinoe IV) under the name of Livia Drusilla. This additional marital maneuver was also highly effective for dynastic purposes. It officially established the two eldest royal princes (Caesarion and Tiberius) as prospective male successors to Augustus in Rome. Most importantly for Augustus, his true son Tiberius was now recognized as his step-son. A traditional dynasty was in the works in Rome without the citizens even being aware of it!

Prior to Clodia Pulcher becoming the wife of Augustus again (as Livia Drusilla), it was decided to eliminate her royal Egyptian name. However, as Arsinoe and Drusilla were one and the same, Cleopatra VII and Antony (her own father) obviously had not literally put this princess to death. In fact, they obviously were fulfilling Ptolemaic history in which the first queen named Arsinoe escaped from the temple of Artemis at Ephesus where she too had taken refuge. She was said to have allowed her own servant girl to be sacrificed in her place while she slipped away dressed in rags. Any contemporary aristocrat worth their salt would have known about this precedent and understood that Arsinoe was only forfeiting her Egyptian identity (even as every other royal person was being required to do) and not her actual life. [c] Moreover, multi-lingual aristocrats would have easily recognized that the Roman name Drusilla and Greek name Arsinoe were synonymous (both denote “strength”).

A real pregnancy of Livia (leading to the birth of Antonia Minor) was evidently used to have Caesarion adopted as the son of Augustus under the name Drusus Claudius Nero.[e] [f] This had the further benefit of allowing Caesarion to acquire yet another birth position in his royal generation. Augustus had to cooperate with all of this, because he was not the family Godfather. Julius Caesar still very much exercised the prerogative to arrange family affairs as he saw fit. Consequently, Caesarion son of Cleopatra VII (Scribonia) was effectively “born again” as the son of the former Arsinoe IV (now Livia Drusilla). Caesarion was also considered the son of Drusilla in Jerusalem, as well, and where Drusilla was known by the very similar name Doris. The age difference of up to nine years between Caesarion and Drusus would seem far too great for them to have been one and the same. However, there were work-arounds for this. As a young child Drusus was raised away from the court, supposedly in the private home of his putative father. Drusus did not enter public service until 19 BC at which time the discrepancy would no longer have been obvious. In 19 BC, he was officially five years younger than the minimum age for public office, however his actual age would have been about four years over that minimum.

Octavius, now ruling as the formidable Caesar Augustus, was possessive of Julia and able to justify this selfish behavior by appealing to patriarchal Roman culture. Nevertheless, Julia was not beholden to him and motivated to produce royal children by as many qualified males as possible. The later Roman Emperor, Caligula, shockingly claimed that Julia was even fooling around with the hypocritical Augustus himself, and that Augustus became the actual father of his own mother Agrippina the Elder! Ironically, this may be the reason why Augustus was held in such regard in Christian tradition. Although Caligula was remembered as a monster, Agrippina had given birth to other more celebrated Roman princes, including Torquatus (better known as Jesus). She also would be the real daughter of Augustus (as opposed to Julia the Elder) that became Great Queen and allowed him to more completely fulfill the Ptolemaic precedent of King Antiochus.

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The prequel "Heroes of the Hellenistic Age" is posted at the page below:
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