Re: Naughty Daughter of Aretes
In Response To: Naughty Daughter of Aretes ()

Sorry to butt in-

but we did some work on the Antony/Cleopatra lineage here about a year ago. Their official progeny were twins, a girl and a boy, named Alexander Helios and Cleopatra Selene, and also a boy later, Named Ptolemy Philadelphus. Finally, there is some confusion, and perhaps deliberately so, as to the fate of a fourth child, a girl. Ralph Ellis (who I suspect was reading the threads after reading his book) drew a similar conclusion, namely that an unattested female child of Antony and Cleopatra was adopted by Julia (wife of Augustus) along with the other children, and later presented to the Parthian court as a slave/gift/wife.

As to the boys, Alexander Helios, Ptolemy Philadelphus history does not record their fates. To a patriarchical lineage society like the Romans, these guys were very dangerous, but perhaps less so if adopted by Augustus. But to a Jewish court, the girl would be the prize. I suspect that Ralph Ellis' unattested child (with which I agree was indeed a fourth child) was awarded to Phraates IV, in exchange for the Roman Standards that had been captured during Crassus' disastrous campaign into Parthia. She became his chief wife, and ultimately killed off all of Phraates' heirs other than her son Phraateces, whom she installed on the throne. Cleopatra Selene was awarded to Juba (, who we suspect was none other than Herod. This directly links the Parthian and Jewish thrones to a common recent ancestor who was a product of both Roman and Egyptian royalty. Powerful stuff.

Rather than recount the whole thing, I wish to draw another interesting parallel.

The epithet "mary magdalene", can be rendered as "mary of the tower." The defining feature of Antony and Cleopatra's court in Alexandria, and the place where she spent her final days and ultimately died, was the pharos lighthouse in alexandria. It served as their castle and court. If we are to believe that "magdalene" is a sobriquet and not a true name, it would be especially rich- the kind of thing that would get a laugh from Epaphroditus and Seneca- that 'this' mary would get a name that preserved that memory.

I like that theory better than 'Megadela Neshaya' meaning hairdresser. Although she is the patron saint of hairdressers- (yep, look it up if you don't believe me), and "hairdresser" had a variant slang meaning in aramaic of prostitute, which explains alot. I suspect that none of these titles expressed her true identity and that it became convenient later to perpetuate the confusion.

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Herod and Salome