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Josephus = Nerva, Is it a Bust?

I don't recall what the rationale was for associating the bust in question with Josephus. But, it seems that statues that are known to represent the same individual, even those of Julius Caesar, are significantly different and would be unrecognizable as the same person if they were not marked as such.

The instant acceptance of Nerva as Emperor and "Father of the Nation" is another reason I suspect he was something more than meets the eye. Besides being considered heir to the Flavian party, Nerva was also given the title "Germanicus". If in fact Vespatian was one and the same as Drusus son of Germanicus, then the title of Germanicus for Nerva was consistent with his dynastic succession within the "House of Germanicus".

Curiously, Seneca gave Josephus the epithet "episemos", meaning prominent. If Josephus was Nerva then he was heir to a number of other important princely lines, as well. As discussed in a previous post, Aristobulus III, his putative father, was both a prominent Piso (M. Crassus Frugi) and a salient Silanus (Decimus Junius Silanus Torquatus). These distinctions made Josephus/Nerva heir to the lines of "Hasmonean" Aristobulus son of Mariamne, and of Herod Phillip (son of Cleopatra of Jerusalem/Selene and grandson of Cleopatra VII).

Last but certainly not least, the designation of Aristobulus III as "Tigranes son of Tigranes" effectively identified him as the next Augustus/Octavius, who was the "Tigranes son of Tigranes" of his day.

It could be said however that Josephus/Nerva became Emperor by virtue of being the last royal of his generation still standing. In fact, he does not seem to have been in line for succession even within his immediate family. According to Josephus, the three sons of "Tigranes son of Tigranes", a.k.a. Alexander were called Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus. One of these sons must represent Josephus himself. According to Grail tradition Joseph/Josephes gained the birthright of kingly succession only after Alain/Galains, the son of his elder brother Jesus II/Justus, died without an heir. We have already mentioned (in a previous post) the role of Alain in suppressing unrest in the East at the time of the first Jewish Revolt. Jesus Justus probably corresponds to Aristobulus, i.e., "Aristobulus son of Aristobulus", perhaps named last for reasons of security.

Josephus may in fact correspond to Agrippa as he named one of his own sons Agrippa (a.k.a. Simonides). His other two surviving sons were called Hyrcanus and Justus. Regardless, the inclusion of the name Agrippa is an indication that this royal house claimed descent from the important line of Agrippa in addition to those already mentioned.

In Rome, Nerva is not at immediately followed on the throne by a natural son, but the adopted son Trajan. In terms of typecasting, Trajan was a Davidic (Joshua) figure. Like Pharaoh Aye/Sheshonq of the Egyptian 18th Dynasty, he was only the adopted "son of Joseph" (Yuya). The successor of Josephes in Grail legend is called Josue, a name which would make a ready Hebrew short-form of the Roman Suetonius, but also could instead represent Trajan as first successor of Nerva. The name Trajan may have been a Spanish rendition of the Roman Drusus.

Trajan is then followed by the Solomonic figure of Hadrian, a name that is only a slightly transposed form of Herodian or Herodion, a prince and son of Aristobulus III mentioned in the New Testament. Emporor Hadrian could not have been the immediate son of Aristobulus III, but now appears to have been a descendant.

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