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Author Topic: Chapter 07: Jesus Among the Julio-Claudians ("Healing of Antony and Cleopatra)  (Read 1551 times)
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« on: August 11, 2017, 04:30:11 PM »

The following is an excerpt (#8 of 20) from:

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

Antony and Cleopatra Resurrected

Due to increasingly low Nile floods and other factors, the royal family had been phasing out operations in Egypt for many decades. The naval Battle of Actium that pitted Rome against Egypt was used to bring closure to one of the greatest dynasties and empires of all time, the Ptolemaic. Antony was far more experienced at war than the much younger Octavius. This was a contest Plutarch says Antony could easily have won. However, within the rigid pecking order of the royal family, it was also a battle that Antony was obliged to miserably lose. Egypt was not to be saved this time. It was Antony’s role to support and defer to his royal superiors. The Battle of Actium took place about the time of Julius Caesar's actual death, and his presence at the battle is witnessed through the Roman alias of Domitius Ahenobarbus, who presumed to counsel Cleopatra to head for the safety of Egypt. He then deserted Antony's side for that of Octavius and was inexplicably sent graciously on his way by Antony along with his entire entourage.

Upon arriving back in Egypt, Antony further withdrew with only the consolation of two close companions. At last, he forsook them as well and entered a type of mock tomb along the shore he had erected near the Pharos lighthouse. The historian Plutarch wrote that he did this in remembrance of the cynical Greek philosopher Timon, who was renowned as a “hater and enemy of mankind,” which of course was (until then) the exact opposite of Antony’s nature. Plutarch continues to recite a speech supposedly given by Timon as follows: “I have a little plot of ground, and in it grows a fig-tree, on which many citizens have been pleased to hang themselves, and now, having resolved to build in that place, I wish to announce it publicly, that any of you who may be desirous may go and hang yourselves before I cut it down.”

Plutarch spelled out Antony’s fate as best a royal biographer could. It was required of Antony to forsake the dissolute life he loved in order to become king of the Jews, a people known for asceticism and exclusivity, and widely stigmatized in the Greco-Roman world as haters of humanity. In his regional identity of Herod, Antony was obliged to both “go over (submit) to Caesar (Augustus)” with all the forces committed to him and to endure being despised by the Jews as one unworthy of kingship in Israel. Only his wife Mariamne, daughter of the High Priest Hyrcanus II, was allowed to claim a full-blooded Hasmonean pedigree.

Roxane, the wife of Alexander the Great and mother of his heir Alexander IV, was reportedly poisoned 13 years after Alexander. Her Greco-Persian alter ego Barsine was said to have been murdered 14 years after Alexander. However, as the Egyptian Queen Berenice, Roxane, lived a long, full life and even survived Ptolemy I Soter. Consistent with her role model, Cleopatra was reportedly poisoned (by snake bite) 14 years after the death of Caesar. However, under the Roman alias Scribonia, she moved freely even among the Romans, and lived to see her daughter Julia (a.k.a. Cleopatra Selene) torment Octavius to no end.

By the time of the Battle of Actium in 31 BC, Antony was already fully ensconced as king in Israel and Parthia. Yet, it would be nearly an entire year before Antony surrendered his identity in Egypt. There is very compelling evidence that suggests he was not quite ready or willing to end his “affair” with Cleopatra or with Egypt. Antony, as the new Ptolemy also had a clear precedent to follow. Alexander the Great and Ptolemy had famously shared the pleasures of a Greek courtesan by the name of Thais. This woman was particularly known for being an engaging conversationalist and mistress of entertainments. Thais was also celebrated for her role in the destruction of Persepolis. She was probably also a thinly disguised alter ego of one of the royal princesses. After the “death” of Alexander, Thais became the exclusive mistress of Ptolemy Soter and was even said to have bore him three children. This would, of course, have set a precedent for Julius Caesar (as neo-Alexander the Great) and Marc Antony (as neo-Ptolemy Soter) to follow. And we do, in fact, have a courtesan from their time that fits the billing.

Cleopatra had assumed the provocative role of Volumnia Cytheris, the freed-woman and playmate of the Roman aristocratic P. Volumnius Eutrapelus ("The Witty"), which emerges as a pseudonym of Julius Caesar, and tellingly an identity of Caesar that survived him in Rome. After Caesar exited Rome (stage-right) this same “party girl” became the continued obsession of Antony, and under the guise of another archetypal Don Juan, that of Cornelius Gallus. Not to be outdone by Caesar, the identity of Cornelius Gallus was one that also survived Antony “for a good time” in Egypt. Likewise, the career of Lycoris survived that of Cleopatra, and after she had resigned Egypt to its fate as Thais did Persia.

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The prequel "Heroes of the Hellenistic Age" is posted at the page below:
« Last Edit: October 01, 2017, 11:45:42 PM by Chuck-Star » Logged
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