It's still a little early in the Persia study, but we should already be recognizing a very familiar pattern.
Athens, like the later Jerusalem, was the focal point of a Great Revolt against the dominant power.
The leaders of Athens include the militant Cimon, widely thought of as illiterate, and the ultra-righteous Aristides the Just, leader of the Delian League. These magnates, of course, were obvious archetypes of uncouth Simon Peter and his holiness, James the Just, leader of the Jerusalem "congregation". Ancient Athens even boasted of a "doubted" Themistocles, who is compelled to go out and intrigue at the Persian royal court. Later, we have another Thomas, who is sent to "evangelize" at eastern courts.
In Athens there was constructed one of the most magnificent temples of the ancient world. Likewise, the Jerusalem Temple excelled any of its time. Both were at first patronized by the "barbarians", but then targeted for destruction by that same major power.
The Hasmonean/Maccabean Revolt had been a struggle between more-or-less equally matched Ptolemaic and Seleucid princes. It was the earlier Greek revolution that best paralleled the situation of 1st Century Jerusalem, in that it pitted a clear underdog against a seemingly irresistible force. The level of domination of Rome was on par with that of earlier Persia.
The Athenian Revolt had also been orchestrated by Persian wolves in Greek clothing. Once Xerxes achieved his basic objective of culling potential threats, the Greek unity quickly degenerated into one of the longest, bloodiest and irrational wars of attrition ever known, the Peloponnesian War. It was perhaps only equaled by the Jewish Revolt, which also witnessed as much or more energy being spent in counter-productive regional/sectarian violence than in fighting Romans. And the sectarian leaders of Israel, such as Peter and James, also turn out to be Romans in Jewish robes.
Leaders of ancient Greece, such as Pausanias of Sparta, were not mere pawns of the Great King, but were Persian enough to expect marriage to a daughter of the Great King and even make a play for the throne. The 1st Century figures of Jerusalem were no less privileged relatives of Caesar (as they were of Herodian kings), and also played significant roles in the Roman (and Herodian) succession.
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