Strato and Strabo for Starters

Josephus describes the defeat of Alexander Jannaeus (Ptolemy X/Mithradates II) at Shechem by the Seleucid king Demetrius III in 88 BC. Demetrius is in turn defeated by a coalition of his brother Philip king of Syria, Strato tyrant of Berea (a locale north of Jerusalem and/or Greece and/or Bactria), Sinax of Parthia (who replaced Mithradates II), and Zizon of Arabia (Aretes III Philhellen/Phraates III?).

Here we have the major players that are at the same time vying for control of Rome and its legions.

In 88 BC, Ptolemy X died and was replaced in Egypt by his "brother" Ptolemy IX, who lasted another eight years or so. Rome was wrested away during this period from Marius by Cornelius Sulla. Sulla is the apparent counterpart of Ptolemy IX, while Marius corresponds to Demetrius III. Philip king of Syria was father of another Philip (II) king of Syria. He matches the Roman Lucius Marcius Phillipus, consul of 56 BC, and second husband of Atia niece of Julius Caesar and step-father of Octavius/Augustus.

Strato tyrant of Berea probably corresponds Strato I (Epiphanes) son of Menander of Bactria/India.

He probably also corresponds to Gnaeus Pompeius Strabo of Rome, the father of Pompey the Great.

Alexander Jannaeus was the father of Alexander, the Roman Gaius Julius Caesar. As such, Jannaeus would have been himself called Gaius Julius Caesar in Rome, as well as his own father John Hyrcanus.

If Ptolemy IX "Lathyrus" was in fact Sulla, then he was probably not the biological father of Ptolemy XII, as commonly assumed. In Rome, Mark Antony was the son of another Mark Antony (who died around 74 BC), which would represent a collateral royal line.

Anyway, there is enough correlation to let us know we are still on the right track. There is also enough to dismiss any ideas that figures like Marius or Pompey were commoners. We can also reject any presumed equestrian origins for Octavius (Caesar Augustus). Julius Caesar would have picked as his dynastic successor someone closely related to him, someone even more closely related than Mark Antony. There are a number of possibilities. The most likely would be Hasmonean Antigonus (likely also the contemporary Pharnaces of Pontus and Tigranes of Armenia).

Josephus tells us, almost as an aside, that Herod the Great's son Antipater was given a surviving daughter of Antigonus in marriage. He does not otherwise discuss the descendants of Antigonus. But perhaps Antigonus was the Roman Octavius father of Octavius/Augustus and of at least one daughter named Octavia, who previously had been married to Marcellus and then Mark Antony. If not, there are still other Hasmonean princes whose descendants are not addressed by Josephus.

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