A Scythian by Any Other Name
In Response To: to wrap it ()


Should we then conclude that Ptolemy Soter was originally a Scythian king who supported Alexander the Great? This would not surprise me. All of these royal families were interlocking. The court of Phillip of Macedon was no more Greek than Darius' was Persian. Alexander was called "Last of the Achaemenids" and not "First of the Greeks"!

No doubt Ptolemy Soter realized that with possession of the north (Scythia) and the south (Egypt, Nubia), he had a strategic advantage over the Seleucids in the middle. It seems that Arabia was added by him to the empire, even as Alexander had planned. The position of the Ptolemies became even more superior with the addition of the east (Parthia). But I don't suppose Soter could have seen the Romans coming.

I think it is now obvious that the family of Antipater and Herod the Great were also part of the extended Ptolemy family. Antipater was perhaps not due to inherit the throne so he cut a deal with the Romans for greater power. It seems that he was not only given a franchise in Judea but also commissioned to carve another one out in Parthia.

If history is our guide, then the Ptolemies set up the Parthian throne as a Libyan-style double dynasty. The mission of the Libyan dynasty in the Egyptian New Kingdom era was primarily the reconquest of Mesopotamia. Many of the Libyan pharaohs became pharoahs of the greater Egyptian throne. Perhaps Antipater and then Herod were "tanists" of a superior Ptolemy in Parthia.

Most of the specific Arsacid king names contain the root "rd", as in the Biblical name Nimrod and Libyan name Rud-amun. We have Ti-rid-ates, A-rt-abanes, Mith-rad-ates, O-rod-ates, Ph-raat-es.

Incidently, perhaps not coincidently, the leading son of Antipater was He-rod. I'm not convinced yet that he was one and the same as Phraates IV, but this is exactly the kind of association that I would look for (i.e., contemporaries with similar reign lengths and other characteristics, "warts and all"). I would not expect a perfect match because of distortions and even outright lies that were told in local accounts of kings.

(By the way, on one of the links you provided there was the Parthian king name of Moneaces. This is patently a transposition of the Hebrew form Asamones!)

Oscar Calle Mesa convinced me that Herod's wife Miriamne II daughter of Simon Boethus (of Alexandria) was one and the same as Cleopatra of Jerusalem. But who was this Simon of Boethus. Was he actually a Ptolemy or Seluecid or both? (The old line of priests from the Persian era seem to be represented by the family of Gaius Julius Alexander, Philo, and Tiberius Alexander. Same as Piso's?) Was this wife of Herod the Great named Cleopatra then for all practical purposes a Ptolemy/Seleucid?

(The name Simon Boethus is sometimes expanded as Simon son of Boethus. This must be related to the convention in 1 Maccabees where second names were added to the various sons of Mattathias.)

So what happened in Parthia after Rome conquered Egypt? No doubt the Ptolemies stranded there struggled to hold on as Arsacids. When direct conquest by Rome failed, it makes sense to me that they used the family of Herod and other compromised Ptolemies to reel Parthia in. I'll have to think more about the children of Cleopatra and see if I can add any more insight. You lost me regarding whether the children were all girls, or whether the younger two (the twins) were a boy and a girl.

Certainly we have to expect that Herodian princesses had children by leading Romans, who were then raised as Herodians. I think the princesses with Hasmonean blood would be particular candidates. We saw that Mary mother of Jesus (Mariamne/Helen?) had five husbands, and the man she was with at the end was not her husband!

Props, Praise to All!
Woe is We!

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