Persia 12: Pausanias and Paul
Posted By: Charles Pope
Date: Saturday, 15 December 2007, at 7:50 a.m.
- In 461/460 BC, a rebellion broke out in Egypt, which was led by one Inarus (Ien-heru), a prince with an obvious Benjamin-type name. Inarus killed Achaemenes/Darius and according to one source (Africanus) became pharaoh of Egypt for part of a year. However, the following year Megabyzus arrived with an army and Egypt returned to the fold of Artaxerxes. In exchange for his surrender, Megabyzus assured Inarus that his life would be spared. As Artabanus was the one credited in Persian memory for killing prince Darius, he is by association one and the same as the rebel Inarus of Egypt.
- See separate post (to follow this post) on Megabyzus and his relationship with Xerxes.
- Xerxes intended to honor the “covenant” of Megabyzus and Inarus. Xerxes may have even ordered/induced the killing of Darius/Achaemenes by Artabanus/Inarus, or at least condoned it after the fact. Artabanus had been of great service to Xerxes. By legitimizing the standing of Artobarzanes/Artabanus as the eldest royal son, Xerxes also legitimized his own standing as the seventh in the order, and therefore assured his fate as a Benjamin and not more tragically as a Judah. Besides the killing of Darius/Achaemenes, Artabanus had also taken out Mardonius and other potential threats to Xerxes.
- The actual (or most serious revolt) of Artabanus likely did not take place until he no longer felt that Xerxes would protect him from retribution by the Queen Mother (mother of both Xerxes and the slain Darius/Achaemenes). According to Herodotus, Artabanus was successful in his coup and took the throne for a short period of months with the help of Megabyzus. (Megabyzus had married the leading daughter of Xerxes, Amytis, but she was unfaithful to him and Xerxes refused to do anything about it.) Although indignant, Megabyzus changed his mind about supporting Artabanus and actively suppressed the rebellion. Eventually, Artabanus/Inarus was put to death for treason, if not specifically for killing the firstborn son of the Queen Mother.
- Pausanius had a typological basis for his play on the throne. The 18th Dynasty Reuben had formed marriage bonds with both Judah and Joseph and ultimately was authorized to take the role of Benjamin for himself and his line. Artobarzanes/Artabanus, as the Reuben of his generation, had already taken over the role of the Joseph (second to the king). However, Xerxes had apparently put Artabanus off regarding marriage to one of his own royal daughters, therefore at least partially frustrating the attempt of Artabanus to also become a Benjamin (or a twin to Xerxes in the role of Benjamin). Xerxes/Artaxterxes did however possibly authorize Artabanus to assume the Benjamin name Ien-Heru (Inarus).
- This above sequence of events in the life of Pausanius/Artabanus matches what we now understand about the career of a leading Benjamin-figure of the 1st Century AD, the Apostle Paul. Paul (Roman Pompeius Magnus) was first disgraced in Rome over a homosexual affair. He was subsequently bested by James and Peter as leader of the “anti-Roman” alliance. Afterwards he (as Paulinus) became ruler of Egypt, but earned a death sentence for overstepping his bounds. Paul then appealed to Caesar (Nero) and was eventually pardoned. After this he staged a coup against Caesar (Nero) and actually seized the throne briefly (under the name Galba). Again his life was spared, and he served as a leading minister in the early years of the Flavian Dynasty, during which he either died a natural death or was executed.
© Charles N. Pope, US Library of Congress. All rights reserved.