Tim, you've had a very intense day!
The appeal to brotherhood between the Maccabees and Spartans is nothing short of astounding. I first read of this some years back from Bernal's Black Athena series, not having previously ever read the Apocrypha.
It was a busy day for me as well. In the spirit of the Mochabeans I sat down with a cup of expresso joe and made some observations:
The Maccabean war of independence took place at the same time the Parthian empire was expanding rapidly to the west.
The genealogy provided by Josephus for the Maccabees can be overlaid neatly onto the top part of the king-list of the Parthians.
Asamoneus = Arsaces
Simeon = Tiradates
John = Artabanus/Arsaces II)
Mattathias = Mithradites
Mattathias is a convincing Hebrew transliteration/adaptation of Mithradites. The place name Modin/Modein recalls biblical Midian, which referred to Mesopotamia in the original sense. The founding father's name Asamoneus also compares with Achaemenes. The priestly affiliation Joarib makes a play both on Araba/Arabia and Eber. Eber is one who crosses over the Euphrates. It was also the epithet of Hammurabi, who was the role model of the Persian king Achaemenes (Assurdan III/Osorkon III) as detailed in the on-line book. Asamoneus may also be closer to Arsaces/Arsa-ka/Ar-saka/Asaak than it at first appears. See the etymology work on the following web site:
A later Herodian named Tigranes has also been linked to the Hebrew name Simon.
John or the later "Janneus" may associate with Banus in some way.
Then we come to the five "sons" of Matthathias:
Most of these names also relate and pattern well with Parthian royal names, especially to the five immediate successors of Mithradates.
John a.k.a. Gaddis (Artabanus II) - by association with the earlier John and Artabanus)
Simon a.k.a. Matthes (Mithradates II) - by association with the earlier Mattathias and Mithradates I
Jonathan a.k.a. Apphas (Phraates)
Eleazar a.k.a. Auran (Orodes II)
Judas a.k.a. Maccabeus (?)
See the following web site for a little more insight into the name Maccabeus: www.bible.org/isbe.asp?id=859
This is not to say that the five sons of Mattathias were the five successors of Mithradites. However, we have here a basic thesis: The struggle of the Parthians and Seleucids in the region of Judea took the form of the Maccabean revolt. Mithradates had a sufficient presence in Judea to pass for a Jewish elder. His five sons may not have all been literal sons (or successors) but at a minimum high-ranking members of the Parthian court.
Certain interactions between Parthians and Seleucids also makes me suspect that the Parthian royal family might have actually been a branch of the Seleucid that gained dominance over formerly Persian tribes, or a branch of the Seleucid that intermarried with an old Persian line and thereby gained dominance of the said tribes.
"The truth hides where no one dares to find it"
- The movie Freedomland
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.