Josephus son of the Gods
In Response To: The Ancestry of Josephus ()

In his autobiographical work, Life, Josephus concocts a genealogy for himself in the style of a Roman aristocrat. In order to better understand Josephus, we should then look at how the leading Roman family derived their own genealogy.

"Julius Caesar and Augustus claimed direct ancestry to Aeneas through Ascanius, son of Aeneas, otherwise known as Iulus."

"Borges has written that Virgil tried to repeat Homer's prowesses, and that he, strange enough, succeeded in his purpose. Others, however, have preferred to unveil the element of seduction that is present in the Aeneid, the 'purposeful propaganda' that permeates Virgil's poem and that was aimed at proving that the Romans had a right granted by Fate to rule the world. They point out that Julius Caesar and Augustus claimed to be descendants of Aeneas's son Iulus (also called Ascanius, the founder of the Julian clan), and affirm that Augustus and Virgil exchanged favours the Emperor as sponsor and the poet through a number of allusions, as for example Aeneas's visions of the future in Chapter 6, and the shield that Vulcan fashioned for Aeneas which featured the triple triumph of Augustus (Aeneid 8.714). Morford and Lenardon call the Aeneid a 'supreme monument of Roman patriotism.' "

"Caesar was Gods son from birth: it is well known that the Iulii claimed Venus as their ancestor, through Aeneas and his son Ascanius, whom the Romans also called Ilus or Iulus."

"Statues in the [forum] courtyard depicted the genealogy of Augustus including both Julius Caesar and Aeneas."

"For Aeneas--son of a human father, Anchises, and a divine mother, Aphrodite--had saved both his father and his own son from the embers of Troy's destruction and brought that son, Julus, to Italy as sire of the Julian family."

"Julian gens which claimed Romulus and Mars as well as Aeneas and Venus in its ancestry."

"Julian gens which claimed Romulus and Mars as well as Aeneas and Venus in its ancestry ... To say that Ovid nowhere calls Mars ancestor of the Julii, then, misses the dynastic implications ... which Ovid imparts in his unique fashion in the Fasti. It is not a convincing reason for selecting suos over tuos in the text, especially when tuos belongs to the best manuscripts. F.[Fantham (ed.), Ovid: Fasti Book IV] rightly says that the suos of line 24 links with suos in line 57, but tuos at line 24 could also be linked with tuus at line 22. In the end, of course, the pronouns are interchangeable, for the genealogies of Romulus and Caesar are the same."

Comparison has been and should be made between the techniques used in the genealogy Josephus invents for himself and those applied to the Julio-Caesars. Josephus, for example, reaches Rome like Aeneas (or perhaps as a young Julus son of Aenaes) for the first time in great danger and by a wondering path. He also uses subtlety and word play in order to forge divine family ties.

For the Caesars, Aeneas is the link to the renowned Greek king Priam (of Homer's Iliad) and to the god Mars and goddess Aphrodites/Venus. For Josephus, it is Matthias, now understood as divine Ptolemy Euergetes, "The Do-Gooder", and this further establishes him an heir to Alexander the Great son of Amun. In some respects such a genealogy discretely trumped even that of the Caesars.