The Roman Arthur and Sir Galahad, Part I
In Response To: Count Bassianus ()

After the Jewish Revolt, Aristobulus IV (a.k.a. "Jesus Justus" son of “Jesus Christ”/Aristobulus III) assisted Vespatian in deposing Antiochus of Commagene (in Western Armenia near Antioch) and his cocky son Antiochus Epiphanes. This was passed off as a preemptive measure against a military force from the East crossing the Euphrates where it adjoined the kingdom of Commagene. To his discredit, the king of Commagene had earlier been accused of getting too chummy with Agrippa II of Judaea (as related by Josephus).

In the very same passage, Josephus explains that Antiochus Epiphanes (not to be confused with an earlier and more famous king by this name) and another son of Antiochus named Callineius fled to the Parthian king Vologeses and were favorably received by him. Immediately after this is the account of a tribal nation called the Alans descending from the north (coming from Lake Meotis) and around the Caucusus through Hyrcania along the western banks of the Caspian Sea (by permission of its ruler) in order to plunder Medea and Armenia. A ruler in Media named Pacorus (Herodian?) was humiliated by the Alans as was Tiridates/Tigranes (Aristobulus IV?) the king of Armenia.

Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book VII, Chapter VII. (Callineius and the Alans)
Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Book V, Chapter XI. (Antiochus Epiphanes)
Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XIX, Chapter VIII. (Agrippa II)

What was really going on here? Vespatian was obviously restructuring the Empire after his succession. He was raising up a few lesser princes and knocking down a few others in order to secure his own position. For example, we have a figure named Callineius (a variant of Galains/Alain) seeking refuge with Vologeses (the Parthian identity of Vespatian) and then immediately being associated with a raid on Media and Armenia by the tribal group Alans. In Grail lore, the son and heir of Jesus Justus is variously called Alain and Galains, however this prince was an avowed celibate knight, therefore the birthright passed instead to Josue son of Joseph/Josephes (who also had a son named Hyrcanus). Of course in some circles Jesus himself was also assumed to have been celibate, but we now know he did produce at least two royal sons, Josephes (Nerva) and Jesus Justus (Aristobulus IV). Therefore, we ought to revisit the lineage of Alain/Galains within the context of the Roman royal family.

Note: After the ignominious end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, Rome entered a period in which the populace was again bitterly opposed to the notion of a royal dynasty. Commitment to that notion however did not by any means die among the ruling family. Dynasties continued but had to be carefully disguised, at least for awhile. The royal and ancient bloodline was not aborted by the appointment of Pannonian shopkeeper's sons and the like as Emperors. It would be incredibly naive to think so. The true challenge for a "Grail researcher" is that of determining what the actual line of descent for the Emperors was in each time period. It is primarily a historical rather than spiritual quest.

The origin of the Alans is somewhat mysterious. They seem to be related to certain Saka/Scythian peoples that were displaced after resettlement of Kushans in the Eastern part of Parthia. Alans moved west and some eventually made a new homeland in the Roman province of Pannonia (Hungary). However, this migration can no longer be considered autonomous but closely coordinated by members of the royal family. The Alans were perhaps typecast as “Canaanites” to be driven out by Kushans, but subsequently they became “Israelites” en route to a new promised land where other more unworthy inhabitants would have to be evicted by them.

Nor can it be considered coincidental that the Alans developed a distinctive style of knightly society that would eventually come to be associated exclusively with Medieval Europe. During the decades just prior and just after the birth of Christ, Parthia transitioned from being a subordinate state of Ptolemaic Egypt to one in subjection to Rome. The highly centralized administration of the former Persian Empire had by then been replaced by a feudal system of petty rulers that was easier for the new centralized empires, first in Egypt and then Rome, to control. “One of the cultural legacies of the Parthian era was the ayin (custom) of the Pahlavan (Pahlav = Parthian). Traditions such as the banquet of warriors, the Meezgerd-e-Savaran (Knights of the Round Table), the hunt, the pursuit of frahang (intellect, culture, and noble conduct), and leer (martial prowess and battlefield performance) became known as the Pahlavan culture. The Pahlavan may be roughly translated from Pahlavi (Middle Persian) as being a man with conviction, courage, generosity, fairness, and mercy in battle, a powerful sense of camaraderie, strict obedience, high standards of culture and moral conduct, an obligation to protect the weak and helpless, and treat non-combatants with generosity.” (quoted from: Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War, by Kaveh Farrokh, p 157.)

The Alans shared the Parthian fighting culture, but added to it an innovative new use of armor for horses and their riders. This combination was unique in the Near East of the time, but found its way to Europe, and again under the supervision of Roman Emperors.

“Emperor Marcus Aurelius defeated the Iazyges Alans in Pannonia (Hungary), and exiled 5,000 of their cavalry to Britain in AD 175 … The Alans introduced Iranian mythology, Zorastrian themes and legends in to Celtic folklore. The characters and themes of the King Arthur legend have direct parallels in Alanic mythology … Some themes are … the lake goddess … Excalibur … and the supreme god Ahura Mazda dressed as a magus (Merlin). (quoted from: Farrokh, p 156.

Note: The Parthian practice of frahang morphed into the similarly titled Varangian/Frankish culture of feudal Europe.