Interesting stuff. Fascinating, the way all these things seem to be linked together - the Magi, Mithraism, the Parthian Kings, Christianity.
Certainly, the Christian religion seems to be patterned to a very large degree on Mithraism. In the first century CE Josephus and the Flavians should have been quite familiar with the Mithraic cult, which was also probably widespread among the Roman soldiers who were sent to destroy Jerusalem.
Concerning the twelve tribes of Israel and the alleged kingdom of David and Solomon, one has to ask oneself whether these things were ever real, or whether they more properly belong altogether to the realm of legend and saga.
Perhaps, as suggested by archaeologists Finkelstein and Silberman ("The Bible Unearthed"), the "Israeliteness" of parts of Canaan was a late Judaic invention, rather than a once historical fact? Perhaps the golden age of David and Solomon represents a late Judaic ideal, rather than sheer history?
According to these archaeologists, the historical David - if he ever existed - amounted to nothing more than some isolated highland chieftain or even robber, and Jerusalem of the 10th century is described as nothing more than "a small highland village".
I sense a lot of myth and saga in the stories about both David and Solomon. So the Hiram and Solomon enterprise, like the meeting of King Solomon and "the Queen of Sheba", for example, may properly belong to the realm of legend. Of course, there was a great "Phoenician" (or whatever it was called) maritime empire, but was there a "Solomon"?
Seems to me that the golden age of David and Solomon is a saga patterned foremost on ancient chronicles of the lives and reigns of the earlier Egyptian kings, Thutmoses III (the great warrior king) and Amenhotep III (the man of peace).
What do you think?
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.