Parthia and the Tribe of Issachar
In Response To: Phraataces and Malthace ()


It was considered necessary (for the sake of earlier tradition, and specifically the precedent set in 18th Dynasty Egypt) for the prince designated as "the Issachar" to produce and heir by his own mother (or at least receive an heir by his own mother). This could be the reason that Thea Muses became the consort of her own son Phraataces (placed in the role of Issachar).

In the Herodian court, such an explicit mother-son relationship was clearly too scandalous. Yet, I was still able to deduce that Phillip son of Mariamne II was expected to adopt Phillip II as his son and heir (although the younger Phillip was actually his half-brother and not a literal son). See the following charts:

Perhaps Queen Urania was not one and the same as Thea Muses. That is, Thea Muses could correspond to Cleopatra Selene (Cleopatra of Jerusalem) and Urania correspond to Malthace, or vice versa. If there were two daughters of Cleopatra VII and both married Herod, then we should expect both to have been prominent in Parthia as well as Israel. Only in Mauritania it seems was kingly polygomy not socially acceptable.

The marriage of Herod to one or more daughters of Cleopatra VII would have established him as successor to the Ptolemaic line of kings. Similarly marriage to Pallas probably made Herod heir to the main Seleucid line. It has already been established that marriage to Mariamne I allowed Herod to claim rightful succession in the Hasmonean house.

So, it seems that Rome willingly allowed all the major eastern royal houses to feed into that of Herod's. It is still somewhat shocking that Herod would deliberately be granted this kind of power and be allowed to rule over lands as widely distributed as Mauritania, Parthia, Israel, and probably also even parts of France (Gaul), Germany, and Britain. His rise came during a time of civil war in Rome, and so a cooperative Greek prince was no doubt expedient. Part of that cooperation would have been to produce heirs through women with elite Roman family ties, and to have other heirs produced for him by elite Roman males.

[As an aside, the name Mariamne seems to be an adaptation of the Parthian name Ariamne, which in turn was the equated to the Nabatean name Aretes.]


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