Herod the Great as an Intermediary Between Judea and Rome

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MrMacSon
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Herod the Great as an Intermediary Between Judea and Rome

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Feb 27, 2020 10:19 pm

https://www.academia.edu/11509418/Herod ... ntiquities


... scholars often see a natural dichotomy between the Herod of [Josephus'] War and the Herod of Antiquities. Generally speaking, Herod is categorized as being a loyal client king for the Roman Empire in War, since Josephus is intent on proving the innocence of the Jews as a whole in concern to the Jewish-Roman war of the 60’s and 70’s CE (War 1.9-12). ...in Antiquities Herod is generally described as an example of an immoral Jewish leader and betrayer of Jewish culture because of Josephus’s goal: proving the antiquity and relevance of the Jewish people to the Greco-Roman world through their history.

Often, not enough credit is give to the similarities shared between the Herod characters in War and Antiquities because of the differing literary goals in the respective writings. ... Steve Mason understands the relation between Josephus’s writings in their wider context, “Josephus wrote both War and Antiquities to try to maintain a secure place for his people in the political-religious scene,” [Mason, Josephus & the New Testament, 70].

While Herod does have distinct characteristics and portrayals worth noting in both writings, we must examine the binding feature of Josephus’s Herod: his role as a middleman between the Jews and the Romans.

Herod stood between the affairs of Judea and Rome, much like Josephus himself during the Jewish-Roman war of the late first century.

One innovation of Herod’s that exposes this duality is the Court of the Gentiles addition to the Temple ...

...Tamar Landau..noticed, “by placing Herod the Judean king and Octavian the Roman emperor opposite each other, Josephus enhances the developing metaphor of Herod as Judea…it is Judea’s political interests that here presents, just as Octavian represents Rome”, [Landau, Out-Heroding Herod: Josephus, Rhetoric, and the Herod Narratives, 85].

Similarly to Matthew’s usage of Herod within a larger literary structure, Josephus manipulates Herod’s character in War in order to personify Judea within Herod, with all of its economic growth, Hellenization, and internal instability ...

... Josephus recognizes his own position among the Hasmoneans (Ant. 16.7.1), and would likely understand Herod as the usurper of his royal family. Even though Herod’s misfortunes reveal that he is a corrupt non-Hasmonean king, he is still the last independent ruler of Judea before the Romans fully incorporated Judea as a province. Herod [likely] ends up with a conflicting portrayal because of Josephus’s conflicting intentions and beliefs, since both men [were] who [stood] culturally between Judea and Rome. Both men were seen as betrayers of Jewish culture in their own time, which could [have led] Josephus to present Herod as similarly willing to bend to Rome’s will in Judea. ...
.

The author of this essay, Chance Bonar, then further analyzes the relationship between Herod and Octavian in Josephus’s narrative, noting many striking similarities. He also notes

"The pax of Rome and the pax of Judea might even be interconnected [or be seen to have been] because of Herod’s apparent compliance with Roman culture and Octavian’s superiority" and "With the increasing criticism of later emperors and uprising rebellions against the Romans in Judea, Josephus could be using Herod and Octavian as ideal figures of a more prosperous and relatively peaceful time."

pp. 9-10, -

The main interaction between Herod and Octavian in War is Herod’s appeal after the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.E., when Antony was defeated by Octavian and Herod’s security as King of Judea was threatened for his previous allegiance. The uneasiness of Herod’s position is emphasized by dual fights: Herod against Malichus, and Octavian against Antony.

Josephus portrays Herod as humble and recognizing his weakness in the situation, as he comes before Octavian with no royal garb, in order to present an honest speech. Herod’s humility at this point, near the end of the public accomplishment segment of War, acts as transfer of authority from Herod, the last Jewish King, to Octavian, the first Roman “King” in a sense. ...

... By the submission of Herod to Octavian’s authority, Judea as well is represented as ideally submitting. ... Josephus cleverly placed this submission at the climax of the Herod narrative, as the end goal and height of Herod’s socio-economic decisions. Josephus historically knows that Judea will not submit, and that the Temple will be destroyed; he subtly uses Herod to represent his desire for Judea to give up hopes of rebelling against Rome. ...
.

Similar to Josephus' portrayal of himself, Bonar notes Josephus' portrayal of Herod’s character seems to fit into a "greater desire of Josephus to prove that the majority of Jews side with the Romans, and that only a few zealous rabble-rousers [were] causing..issues [that led to] war."

re Antiquities, p. 17., -

Antiquities’s Herod becomes the antithesis of all Hasmonean and earlier Jewish virtue,and appears to break Jewish law and philosophy dating back to Moses. Because of the nationalistic and philosophical-religious tendencies of Antiquities, Herod’s character appears to be more autonomous in his actions and cruel in his reign. In order to emphasize the succession of uncorrupted leadership through the priesthood and few kings, “Antiquities’ thesis of inevitable divine retribution for good and evil conduct invites some changes to the presentation.” [Mason, Josephus & the New Testament, 72].

Herod is more highly criticized for his lack of piety, justice, and love for Judea. Josephus presents Herod as a slave to his passions, an opponent of Jewish leaders, and a ruler who brings divine justice upon himself. Rather than being a Greco-Roman, tragic, innocent victim to Fate as in War, Antiquities is more accusatory concerning Herod’s decisions, forming him as a king who fails to live up to either Greco-Roman or Jewish standards.
.

Previously, pp.13-14 [re-ordered slightly here], -


One of the most noticeable differences between War and Antiquities concerning Antigonus is his death. The portrayal in War [gave] a much stronger hostility against Antigonus, in the midst of Herod’s military successes. In War, Josephus omits Herod’s reasoning and the Hasmonean eulogy, but more abruptly present[ed] Antigonus' [end] in this way: “Therefore, an axe took him, desiring life until the end through a frigid hope, yet he was worthy for his cowardice” (War 1.18.3).

Josephus [likely] downplayed the Hasmonean dynasty because of their association with zealous rebellion against Rome, which would work against his desire to reconcile the two cultures and reveal commonalities between their rulers.

In Antiquities, Herod’s great fear of Antigonus’s freedom and legitimacy as a blood-line royal led to his execution, yet the execution itself is omitted and followed by a glorious Hasmonean eulogy (Ant. 14.16.4).
.


.
CONCLUSION [Re-ordered premises of the beginning sentence & added italics]
.
By examining both Jewish War and Jewish Antiquities, we can see that Josephus was aware of his ability to write Greco-Roman history from his Jewish perspective, and intentional in his portrayals of Herod in each work.

In War, Josephus is able to use a Herod/Octavian parallel in order to emphasize the transfer of power from Judea to Rome, by personifying the states in their respective leaders. In doing so, Josephus argues that the Jews have always supported Rome, and forcibly downplays the rebellious Hasmoneans to show the common Jews’ ability to submit. Whether or not Josephus was forced to write War as propaganda under the Flavians, he appears to give warning to those who rebel against the Romans as Judea did in their war. Although Herod remains faithful to the Romans in War, misfortune lands upon him and tears him apart through his domestic affairs. Josephus builds Herod in a way that he is an extravagant civil and military leader, who understands the superiority of the Romans. However, Herod and Judea both fall prey to misfortune much larger than their own affairs, and hopes of a temperate king or nation fall apart.

In Antiquities, Josephus focuses rather more on the achievements and relevance of the Jewish people in the context of the Roman Empire, and strongly emphasizes issues of Jewish impiety and divine retribution. Unlike the undeserved misfortune of Herod in War, Antiquities makes clear that Herod brings suffering upon himself by his impiety and lack of care for Judea. Yet even with these negative characteristics, Josephus does not hesitate to flaunt the military ability of Herod in reference to the Romans. Josephus again makes parallels between Herod and another major Roman character, Antony, through their simultaneous struggles with both women and war. While Antony loses the battle of Actium and is overwhelmed by Cleopatra, Herod appears temporarily victorious and very quickly kills his irksome wife, Mariamne. Herod, representing Judea as a whole, is portrayed as more successful than Antony. The superiority of Herod’s scenario suggests that Josephus [was] attempt[ing] to present Judea as a relevant nation within the Greco-Roman world.

In any case, Josephus is able to portray Herod by emphasizing the parallels between Jewish and Roman rulers. Herod’s role in Jewish and Roman culture easily allowed for this portrayal, since client kings were not “a permanent part of the machinery of the Empire. Their rule was intended to be a preparatory stage to the full incorporation of their districts into the provincial system.”

In both of his works, Josephus recognizes the potential of Herod’s character and utilizes him for his own purposes; whether Josephus viewed himself as a mediator between Judea and Rome, a Flavian propagandist, or a firsthand historian of the Jewish affairs. Herod [was] the intermediary needed in order to show that Judea, and the larger Jewish community, is able to relate to the larger Greco-Roman world and flourish within the context of the Roman Empire.
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DCHindley
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Re: Herod the Great as an Intermediary Between Judea and Rome

Post by DCHindley » Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:06 am

MrMacSon,

There is a difference, of course(tm), in Josephus' motivation for writing War and twenty years later Antiquities.

The former was written as propaganda (dictionary definition, not the popular meaning) to deter further Judaean attempts at rebellion, especially along the borders of the empire with Parthia and its client states. Since Parthia had previously invaded Syria and Judaea and established the Hasmonean Antigonus as king, Josephus portrays him as a tyrant and Parthian puppet. His point was that the Romans were just too powerful to try to make war against. The inference that the readers would take from this was it was better to submit on terms, which is what the rabbis did at Jamnia. Most all of his source records were the diaries of the Roman generals, his own diaries, war intelligence reports of interrogations, and for periods before Josephus' own time he had Herod's posthumous biography written by his retainer John of Damascus.

The latter, on the other hand, written 20 years later, was a period where Josephus had meticulously collected more source material regarding the events behind the scenes in Jerusalem, his hometown, which he did not witness and were too scattered by the aftermath of the war to be available to him for the writing of War. It seems he found out that some Jerusalem aristocrats who he had previously thought were his trusted friends had stabbed him in the back (e.g., H.P. Anannus son of Anannus) and he was bitter over this. His motivation here, though, was to explain to Romans and Greeks alike a history of the Judaean peoples which gave emphasis to their tenacity to maintain ancestral traditions and forms of governance (Romans, even anti-Semites, grudgingly acknowledged this, e.g., Celsus). Their revolt was due to innovations introduced in the early 1st century that upset the natural order of things. Naturally, he tries to whtewash his own questionable actions in response to criticisms introduced by Justus of Tiberius, who had published his own counter narrative to Josephus' self portrayal in War, probably after the publication of War.

I am hesitant to go too deep into the rabbit hole of rhetorical analysis. I will say, though, that Herod the Great was exceptionally highly regarded by Roman rulers. He was resourceful, innovative, and provided effective military assistance to them in their internal and external wars. Before the Roman rulers, he was very humble, letting his record speak for itself, and did not even try to issue silver coinage under his own name, although as a client king he had this right. In the process of his rule, he won for the Judaean peoples (all peoples of Judaean extraction, wherever they lived in the Roman world) unprecedented rights and privileges. Around 19 BCE the silver shekels needed for temple activity was secretly arranged to be minted in Judaea under the name of the discontinued mint in Tyre. Judaeans were exempted from mandatory service in the Roman legions or auxiliaries. They were granted the right to transfer significant sums of money, including gold, across provincial borders as Temple donations. One Roman provincial governor had even pushed back, confiscating a shipment he learned about, and the emperor made a formal ruling in the favor of this practice. They were also exempted from answering to Roman or Greek civil courts, and could set up their own courts based on their ancestral laws.

I'd recommend downloading a copy of Fabian Udoh's book To Caesar What is Caesar's: Tribute Taxes and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 BCE to 70 CE (2005), which I found available online so it should be available. See chapter 2, which covers Caesar's favors to Judaeans and Herod as well as later ratification and expansion under Cassius and especially Antony. When Antony was defeated by Octavian, Josephus portrays Herod as showing up before Octavian and immediately removed his crown and placed it at Octavian's feet, saying that it was not his to assume he could keep, but merely gave his word that he would serve Octavian in the same manner he served (Caesar and) Antony. Octavian was so surprised by Herod's self confidence that he decided this was a man he could truly trust as a client, and returned the crown to Herod. All Roman emperors afterwards continued the favors he had won for Judaeans, even during the 1st revolt of 66-73 CE.

DCH

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Re: Herod the Great as an Intermediary Between Judea and Rome

Post by MrMacSon » Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:02 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 8:06 am
MrMacSon,

There is a difference, of course(tm), in Josephus' motivation for writing War and twenty years later Antiquities.

The former was written as propaganda ...

The latter, on the other hand, written 20 years later, was a period where Josephus had meticulously collected more source material regarding the events behind the scenes in Jerusalem ....

... Herod the Great was exceptionally highly regarded by Roman rulers. He was resourceful, innovative, and provided effective military assistance to them in their internal and external wars. Before the Roman rulers, he was very humble, letting his record speak for itself, and did not even try to issue silver coinage under his own name, although as a client king he had this right. In the process of his rule, he won for the Judaean peoples (all peoples of Judaean extraction, wherever they lived in the Roman world) unprecedented rights and privileges. Around 19 BCE the silver shekels needed for temple activity was secretly arranged to be minted in Judaea under the name of the discontinued mint in Tyre. Judaeans were exempted from mandatory service in the Roman legions or auxiliaries. They were granted the right to transfer significant sums of money, including gold, across provincial borders as Temple donations. One Roman provincial governor had even pushed back, confiscating a shipment he learned about, and the emperor made a formal ruling in the favor of this practice. They were also exempted from answering to Roman or Greek civil courts, and could set up their own courts based on their ancestral laws.

I'd recommend downloading a copy of Fabian Udoh's book To Caesar What is Caesar's: Tribute Taxes and Imperial Administration in Early Roman Palestine 63 BCE to 70 CE (2005), ...

... Octavian was so surprised by Herod's self confidence that he decided this was a man he could truly trust as a client, and returned the crown to Herod. All Roman emperors afterwards continued the favors he had won for Judaeans, even during the 1st revolt of 66-73 CE.

DCH
Cheers DCH. That's very helpful.

It's interesting that Herod should be portrayed so differently in the NT.

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Re: Herod the Great as an Intermediary Between Judea and Rome

Post by DCHindley » Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:29 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:02 pm
It's interesting that Herod should be portrayed so differently in the NT.
It is a bit of a mystery to me too.

In the past couple years I have been exploring the possibility that the anti-Herod polemic in the Gospels was partly derived from Herod vs Hasmonean rivalries.

Why might it have been associated with Jesus? I can only guess that the Gospel writers borrowed from real-life propaganda literature from the time of Aristobolus II, and his sons Alexander and Antigonus II, challenging the legitimacy of Herod's claim to Judaean descent that qualied him to be the king of the nation.

The Church father (Julius?) Africanus provided an account of Herod supposedly burning the birth registry archives to conceal that he was not qualified to serve as King of the nation. I just cannot shake the feeling that this kind of polemic fits much better with the times Herod was appointed king by Rome and surviving Hasmoneans of royal descent pushed back strongly, having a very strong claim to the throne, even to the point of active revolt against him.

He also mentions a group of people who were "little despots" (i.e., "despots in waiting"), not mentioned by any other writer. Are these "little despots" (not "lords") supposed to be the members of Jesus family who continued to push their understanding of Jesus' agenda into the early decades of the 2nd century CE?

If one were to ask me, this situation reminds me of the "dirty politics" of deception and misinformation that occurs in all ages and places when rival claimants duke out their share of public support. In the recent US past the legitimacy of President Obama's birth certificate was questioned as a way to discredit his election(s) to the presidency, Obama being the first American of African descent to have done so. Prejudice manifests itself in all ages, I suppose.

I think of Aristobolus II, who was drafted by Caesar during his civil war to capture Jerusalem from Hyrcanus II's control (49 BCE), who ruled as king under the command of Caesar's civil war rival Pompey, and with the assistance of 2 Roman legions! He was poisoned en route ("by partisans of Pompey").

Aristobulus' two sons Alexander II and Aristobulus II made several attempts at revolt from the authority of their uncle, Hyrcanus II.

What this all does suggest is that Jesus had made some sort of royal claim to the throne, which the Romans interpreted as pretentious, putting an end to him. There is no hint of semi-divine redeemer theology ("high christology") in this, it is 100% political. Whether Jesus really held royal pretensions or the polemic was adopted from Herod/Hasmonian propaganda still extant in places, adapting it to the times of Jesus.

DCH

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Re: Herod the Great as an Intermediary Between Judea and Rome

Post by DCHindley » Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:19 am

Here is a clear(er) picture of Hasmonean family intrigues and the relationships with Roman factions:
Hasmonean family genealogy

- 140–135 BC Simon Maccabeus
- 134 (110)–104 BC John Hyrcanus I
- 104–103 BC Aristobulus I
- 103–76 BC Alexander Jannaeus
- 76–67 BC Salome Alexandra
- 67–66 BC Hyrcanus II
- 66–63 BC Aristobulus II
- 63–40 BC Hyrcanus II HP with Antipater as Roman Procurator (Herod, Antipater's son, Procurator of Galilee).
- 40–37 BC Antigonus (placed on throne by Parthian forces)

Hyrcanus II was the eldest son of Alexander Jannaeus, King and High Priest, and Alexandra Salome.

After the death of Alexander Jannaeus in 76 BC, his widow Alexandra Salome succeeded to the rule of Judea and installed her elder son Hyrcanus II as High Priest.

When Queen Alexandra Salome died in 67 BC, she named Hyrcanus II as successor to the Kingship as well.

Hyrcanus II shared his mother's religious views and was sympathetic to the Pharisees. In contrast, his father, Alexander Jannaeus, had supported the Sadducees.

Hyrcanus II had scarcely reigned three months when his younger brother Aristobulus II, rose in rebellion.

Hyrcanus II advanced against Aristobulus II at the head of his mercenaries and his followers. The brothers met in battle near Jericho and many of Hyrcanus II's soldiers went over to Aristobulus II, and thereby gave the latter the victory.

Hyrcanus II took refuge in the citadel of Jerusalem, but Aristobulus II captured the Temple and
compelled Hyrcanus II to surrender. A peace was then concluded, according to the terms of which Hyrcanus II was to renounce the throne and the office of high priest, but was to enjoy the revenues of the latter office. (Schürer, "Gesch." i. 291, note 2)

This agreement however did not last, as Hyrcanus II feared that Aristobulus II was planning his death. Such fears were furthered by Hyrcanus' adviser, Antipater the Idumean. According to Josephus, Antipater aimed at controlling Judea by putting the weak Hyrcanus II back onto the throne.

As a result, Hyrcanus II took refuge with Aretas III, King of the Nabataeans, who had been bribed by Antipater into espousing the cause of Hyrcanus II by the promise of returning Arabian towns previously taken by the Hasmoneans.

The Nabataeans advanced toward Jerusalem with an army of 50,000 and besieged the city for several months.

During the siege, the adherents of Hyrcanus II stoned the pious Onias (Honi, also Khoni or Choni ha-Magel), who had refused to pray for the demise of their opponent, being the forces of Aristobolus II, and further angered many Jews by selling a lamb of the paschal sacrifice to the besieged forces of Aristobolus II for the enormous price of one thousand drachmae and then instead delivered a pig, an animal deemed unclean among the Jews and therefore unfit as a sacrifice.

While this Jewish civil war was going on, the Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus defeated the Kingdoms of Pontus and the Seleucids. He sent his deputy Marcus Aemilius Scaurus to take possession of Seleucid Syria.

Because the Hasmoneans had previously allied themselves with the Romans, both brothers appealed for help to Scaurus, now Governor of Stria, each endeavoring by gifts and promises to win him over to his side.

Scaurus, moved by a gift of 400 talents, decided in favor of Aristobulus II and ordered Nabataean king Aretas III to withdraw his army. During his retreat, the Nabateans suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Aristobulus II. After this, Scaurus returned to Damascus.

When Pompey arrived in Syria in 63 BC, both brothers and a third party that desired the removal of the entire dynasty, sent their delegates to Pompey, who however delayed the decision. He favoured Hyrcanus II over Aristobulus II, deeming the elder, weaker brother a more reliable ally of the Roman Empire.

Aristobulus II, suspicious of Pompey, entrenched himself in the fortress of Alexandrium, but when the Romans summoned their army, he surrendered and undertook to deliver Jerusalem over to them.

However, since many of his followers were unwilling to open the gates, the Romans besieged and captured the city by force, badly damaging city and temple.

Aristobulus II was to be taken to Rome a prisoner

Hyrcanus II restored to his position as High Priest, but not to the Kingship. Political authority rested with the Romans whose interests were represented by Antipater, who primarily promoted the interests of his own house.

In 47 BC, Julius Caesar restored some political authority to Hyrcanus II by appointing him ethnarch. This however had little practical effect, since Hyrcanus II yielded to Antipater in everything.

In 40 BC, Aristobulus II's son Antigonus II Mattathias allied himself with the Parthians and was proclaimed King and High Priest.

Hyrcanus II was seized and mutilated at his ears (according to Josephus, Antigonus II bit his uncle's ears off) to make him permanently ineligible for the priesthood.

Then Hyrcanus II was then taken to Babylonia, where for four years he lived amid the Babylonian Jews, who paid him every mark of respect.

In 36 BC, Herod I, who had vanquished Antigonus II with Roman help and feared that Hyrcanus II might induce the Parthians to help him regain the throne, invited the former High Priest to return to Jerusalem. Hyrcanus II accepted and Herod I received him with every mark of respect, assigning to him the first place at his table and the presidency of the state council.

However, in 30 BC Herod I charged Hyrcanus II with plotting with the Nabateans and put him to death.

Aristobulus II was the younger son of Alexander Jannaeus, King and High Priest, and Alexandra Salome.

After the death of Alexander Jannaeus in 76 BC, his widow Alexandra Salome succeeded to the rule of Judea and installed her elder son Hyrcanus II as High Priest.

When Queen Alexandra Salome died in 67 BC, Hyrcanus II succeeded to the kingship as well.

Aristobulus II, who shared his late father's views on religion and politics, entertained designs upon the throne, even during the life of his mother. He courted the nobles and military party by constituting himself the patron of the Sadducees and bringing their cause before the queen. The many fortresses which the queen placed at the disposal of the Sadducees, ostensibly for their defense against the Pharisees, constituted in reality one of the preparatory moves of Aristobulus II for the usurpation of the government.

Queen Alexandra Salome, seeking to direct Aristobulus II's military zeal outside Judea, sent him (70-69) against Ptolemy Mennaei in Damascus, but when the undertaking failed, Aristobulus II resumed his political intrigues. He left Jerusalem secretly and betook himself to his friends, who controlled the largest number of fortified places, with the intention of making war against his aged mother.

But the Queen Alexandra Salome died at the critical moment, and Aristobulus II immediately turned his weapons against his brother Hyrcanus II, the legitimate heir to the throne.

Hyrcanus II shared the religious views of his mother, Queen Alexandra Salome, and was sympathetic to the Pharisees. In contrast to this, Aristobulus II, like his father Alexander Jannaeus, supported the Sadducees. As a result, he rebelled against his elder brother Hyrcanus II.

Hyrcanus II advanced against Aristobulus II at the head of his mercenaries and his followers. The brothers met in battle near Jericho, where many of Hyrcanus II's soldiers went over to Aristobulus II, thus giving the latter the victory.

Hyrcanus II took refuge in the citadel of Jerusalem; but the capture of the Temple by Aristobulus II compelled Hyrcanus II to surrender.

A peace was then concluded, according to the terms of which Hyrcanus II was to renounce the throne and the office of high priest, but was to enjoy the revenues of the latter office. (Schürer, "Gesch." i. 291, note 2)

This agreement however did not last, as Antipater convinced Hyrcanus II that Aristobulus II was planning his death and to take refuge with Aretas III, King of the Nabataeans.

The Nabataeans advanced toward Jerusalem with an army of 50,000 and besieged the city for several months.

During this Judean civil war, the Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus defeated the Kingdoms of Pontus and the Seleucids. He sent his deputy Marcus Aemilius Scaurus to take possession of Seleucid Syria.

As the Hasmoneans had previously become allies of the Romans, both brothers appealed to Scaurus, each endeavoring by gifts and promises to win him over to his side.

Scaurus, moved by a gift of 400 talents, decided in favor of Aristobulus II and ordered Nabataean king Aretas III to withdraw his army. During his retreat, the Nabateans suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Aristobulus II.

When Pompey arrived in Syria in 63 BC, both brothers and a third party that desired the removal of the entire dynasty, sent their delegates to Pompey, who however delayed the decision.

He [Pompey] favoured Hyrcanus II over Aristobulus II, deeming the elder, weaker brother a more reliable ally of the Roman Empire.

Aristobulus II and his sons Alexander and Antigonus II Matthias were captured in 63 BC.

Marc Antony was commander of the cavalry under Gabinius, consul of the Roman province of Syria. It was Marc Antony who had scaled Aristobulus II's fortification and subdued his forces with several men. This is the point that Aristobulus II and his son[s?] were taken prisoner.

However, Aristobulus II escaped in 57 BC, and being suspicious of Pompey, entrenched himself in the fortress of Alexandrium, but when the Romans summoned their army, he surrendered and undertook to deliver Jerusalem over to them.

However, since many of his followers were unwilling to open the gates, the Romans besieged and captured the city by force, badly damaging city and temple.

Hyrcanus II was restored as High Priest, but deprived of political authority.

Aristobulus II was on his way to Judaea with his son Alexander, in 49 BC, when "he was taken off by poison given him by those of Pompey's party". (Josephus, Jewish Wars 1 9:1 (184))

Aristobulus II's son Alexander was beheaded by the Roman commander Scipio at Antioch. (Josephus, Jewish Wars 1 9:2 (185))

Aristobulus II's son Antigonus II Matthias led a rebellion against Rome, with help from the Parthians, and became king and high priest in 40 BC, but was defeated and killed by the Romans in 37 BC.

Alexander II (died 48 or 47 BC), aka Alexander Maccabeus, was the eldest son of Aristobulus II, king of Judaea. He married his cousin Alexandra Maccabeus, daughter of his uncle, Hyrcanus II. Their grandfather was Alexander Jannaeus, the second eldest son of John Hyrcanus. Mariamne, the daughter of king Alexander Jannaeus and Alexandra Salome, was Herod the Great's second wife and thus Hasmonean queen.

Alexander was taken prisoner, along with his father and his brother Antigonus II Matthias, by the Roman general Pompey, on the capture of Jerusalem in 63 BC,

Alexander escaped his captors as they were being conveyed to Rome.[4]

In 57 BC, he appeared in Judaea, raised an army of 10,000 infantry and 1500 cavalry, and fortified Alexandrium and other strong posts.

Alexander's uncle Hyrcanus II (with whom Alexander's father Aristobulus II had clashed) applied for aid to Gabinius, who brought a large army against Alexander, and sent Mark Antony with a body of troops in advance.

In a battle fought near Jerusalem, Alexander was soundly defeated, and took refuge in the fortress of Alexandrium. Through the mediation of his mother he was permitted to depart, on condition of surrendering all the fortresses still in his power.

In the following year, during the expedition of Gabinius into Egypt, Alexander again incited the Jews to revolt, and collected an army. Alexander massacred all the Romans who fell in his way, and besieged the rest, who had taken refuge on Mount Gerizim.

After rejecting the terms of peace which were offered to him by Gabinius, Alexander was defeated near Mount Tabor with the loss of 10,000 men.

The spirit of his adherents, however, was not entirely crushed, for in 53 BC, on the death of Marcus Licinius Crassus, Alexander again collected some forces, but was compelled to come to terms by Cassius in 52 BC.

In 49 BC, on the breaking out of the Roman civil war, Julius Caesar set Alexander's father Aristobulus II free, and sent him to Judaea to further his interests there at the command of two Roman legions.

Aristobulus II was poisoned on the journey, and his son Alexander, who was preparing to support him, was seized at the command of Pompey, and beheaded at Antioch.[5][6]

Antigonus II Mattathias (died 37 BCE) was the last Hasmonean king of Judea. Antigonus II Mattathias was the son of King Aristobulus II of Judea.

Antigonus II Mattathias was handed over by Herod I for execution in 37 BCE, after a reign of three years during which he led a fierce struggle of the Jews for independence from the Romans.

Antigonus II Mattathias the Hasmonean was the second son of Aristobulus II, and together with his father Aristobulus II had been carried prisoner to Rome by Pompey in 63 BCE.

Antigonus II Mattathias escaped and returned to Judea in 57 BCE.

Despite an unsuccessful attempt to oppose the Roman forces there, the senate released him but he refused to surrender his ancestral rights.

After the death of his older brother Alexander, Antigonus II Matthias claimed that his uncle Hyrcanus II was a puppet in the hands of the Idumean Antipater and attempted to overthrow him with the help and consent of the Romans.

He visited Julius Cæsar, who was in Syria in 47, and complained of the usurpation of power by Antipater and Hyrcanus II.

In 42, he attempted to seize the government of Judea by force with the assistance of his brother-in-law, Ptolemy Mennei (of Damascus) but was defeated by Herod I.

The excessive taxation exacted from the people to pay for the extravagances of Antony and Cleopatra had awakened a deep hatred against Rome. Antigonus II Matthias had gained the adherence of both the aristocratic class in Jerusalem and the leaders of the Pharisees.

The Parthians, who invaded Syria in 40 BCE, preferred to see an anti-Roman ruler on the throne of Judea. When Antigonus II Matthias promised them large sums of gold and five hundred female slaves besides, they put a troop of five hundred warriors at his disposal.

Hyrcanus II was sent to Babylon after suffering the mutilation of his ears, which rendered him unfit for the office of high priest.

Herod I fled from Jerusalem and made his way to Rome.

In 40 BCE Antigonus II Matthias was officially proclaimed king and high priest by the Parthians. His three year reign was a continuous struggle.

Herod I, meanwhile, succeeded in having himself declared king of Judea by the Roman Senate.

On Herod I's return from Rome in 39 BCE he opened a campaign against Antigonus II Matthias and laid siege to Jerusalem.

In the spring of 38 BCE, Herod I wrested control of the province of Galilee and eventually all of Judea as far as Jerusalem.

Due to the approach of winter, Herod I postponed his siege of Jerusalem, where Antigonus II Matthias and the remnants of his army took refuge, until spring.

Herod I's siege was held off for 3–5 months but the Roman forces sent with Herod I eventually captured the city; however, the supporters of Antigonus II Matthias fought until the Roman forces reached the inner courtyard of the Temple. (Josephus, Antiquities XIV 16:2.)

Antigonus II Matthias was taken to Antioch and executed,[3] ending Hasmonean rule. There are differing accounts of the death of Antigonus II Matthias. Josephus states that Marc Antony beheaded Antigonus II Matthias (Antiquities, XV 1:2 (8-9). However, Roman historian Cassius Dio says "These people [the Jews] Antony entrusted to a certain Herod I to govern; but Antigonus [II Matthias] he bound to a cross and scourged, a punishment no other king had suffered at the hands of the Romans, and so slew him" (Cassius Dio Cocceianus, Roman History, book xlix, c.22). Yet Plutarch, in his Life of Antony, claims that Antony had Antigonus II Matthias beheaded, "the first example of that punishment being inflicted on a king." (Plutarch, Life of Antony)
I don't know about you, Mr MaxSon, but all that sets my head a spinnin'. :crazy:

I have to admit that this is mainly compiled from Wikipedia pages that had been reduced to a series of statements, so I can't take credit for the phraseology. In many cases I rearranged the statements to make associations clearer to understand in my foggy old brain.

DCH

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Re: Herod the Great as an Intermediary Between Judea and Rome

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Mar 01, 2020 7:38 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 8:29 am
MrMacSon wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:02 pm
It's interesting that Herod should be portrayed so differently in the NT.
It is a bit of a mystery to me too.

In the past couple years I have been exploring the possibility that the anti-Herod polemic in the Gospels was partly derived from Herod vs Hasmonean rivalries.

Why might it have been associated with Jesus? I can only guess that the Gospel writers borrowed from real-life propaganda literature from the time of Aristobolus II, and his sons Alexander and Antigonus II, challenging the legitimacy of Herod's claim to Judaean descent that qualified him to be the king of the nation.

< . . snip . . >

What this all does suggest is that Jesus had made some sort of royal claim to the throne, which the Romans interpreted as pretentious, putting an end to him. There is no hint of semi-divine redeemer theology ("high christology") in this, it is 100% political ...

DCH
The portrayals of Pilate in the Gospels are also at distinct odds with the portrayal of him by Josephus (and by Philo). I think the Gospel author/s was/were primarily using Herod's & Pilate's names to root their story in those times ie. the early first century AD/CE. Those authors were writing mixed literature: a mixture of polemic and [supposed] revelation. I don't think an accurate portrayal of history was high on their agenda.

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