Kings Of Osrhoene; Why Ptolemy Menneus Was Philip Epiphanes, And Christian Origins

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yakovzutolmai
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Kings Of Osrhoene; Why Ptolemy Menneus Was Philip Epiphanes, And Christian Origins

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Hello,
Being new, I want to thank the site and its members for existing. I have not found anywhere on the internet so far where these subjects provoke enough interest for discussion. I hope I can be a decent member.

I would like to bring up a topic of recent interest to me, which is a possible historical mystery solved pertaining to the Kingdom of Adiabene of antiquity. I believe I have developed a strong sense of the identity and relevance of this kingdom both in terms of certain revelations about Judaism, but certainly about Christianity. I'd like to present the evidence and the interpretation, at least until the Christian era.

I also want to preface my thoughts by making it clear that I am aware of the work of a certain Ralph Ellis concerning the Kingdom of Edessa and I do not agree whatsoever with his thesis or work.

SUMMARY

I believe that the Kingdom of Adiabene was founded by intermarriage between a Seleucid family member, and an Assyrian local. It was intended by Parthia to be a buffer client more or less contiguous with the Assyrian Empire, and meant as a replacement for Macedonian rule in Syria. The rise of the kingdom corresponded to a revival of the Assyrian identity and the now somewhat lost Assyrian religion (which I believe was, simply, Solar worship).

For convenience, I assume that the kingdom of "Osrhoene" at Edessa was not established until the turmoil of reign of Osroes of Parthia around 100 CE. That Osrhoene simply derives from "Assyria", and that the ostensible kingdom as grated to Arbela by Ctesiphon was meant to extend from the Zab to Galilee. The inhabitants of this land being, specifically, Arabs/Arameans, Assyrians, large Jewish populations, and some Macedonian urban colonists. I also speculate that the region outside of Damascus and in Lebanon may have had a population of non-Aramean, non-Arabs (we call them Itureans) who may have identified as Assyrian, at least distantly.

During the Seleucid civil war, the death of Seleucus VI may have marked the defeat of the Grypus faction which, descended from the released Parthian captive Demetrius II, Parthia preferred over the Cyzenicus faction led by Antiochus X. Consequently, Parthia became involved in the civil war at that point, providing troops to Adiabene's Seleucid descent king and their Arab clients, to support the allied Antiochus XI. The king of Adiabene being Philip I Epiphanes (Philadelphus), who, contrary to history's reckoning, was not a son of Grypus - but may have had a close relationship with Antiochus XI.

As the Seleucid civil war played out, the combine Arab/Parthian forces defeated the last of the major Seleucids. Philip is the last man standing (the brief and underwhelming career of Antiochus XII notwithstanding).

We see that Philip is tricked into being locked out of Damascus, and declines to besiege it. We also see that he fails - as far as we know - to be welcomed again in Antioch.

The fate of Philip is a historical mystery. All we know is that he was locked out of Damascus around 84 BCE, then by 75 BCE with the Armenian Tigranes the Great being invited to send a governor to Antioch, Philip must have been killed.

I propose a much more elegant explanation of Philip's destiny. Philip is the same character as Josephus's Ptolemy Menneus. Thus, after his exile from Damascus, Philip retreats to the Valley of Lebanon to plot his return. 80-70 BCE is a time in which three particular character troubled Damascus: Cleopatra Selene, Ptolemy Menneus and Aretas III. Philip being of the Adiabenian throne also explains the reluctance of Antioch to recognize him as sovereign.

Thus, Ptolemy's son Philippus must be Philip II. For reasons I will explain, I associate Philip with Ma'nu II of Osrhoene. This would make Philip II, Ma'nu III Saflul. Drawing on Armenian history, I believe this Ma'nu Saflul will have been the inspiration for Arsham the father of Abgar. Arsham is contextually equivalent to the mysterious Tiridates II, who usurped briefly the Parthian throne. This figure is responsible for capturing the sons of Phraates IV, who were critical in the negotiated peace between Rome and Parthia.

Thus, I would identify Ma'nu III as a key negotiator in the peace deal which must have occurred in 23 BCE (facilitated by Marcus Agrippa). This is also the year Simon Boethus takes over as High Priest.

So, I would identify Zamaris the Babylonian Jew as Abgar Ukkama, son of Ma'nu III Saflul, and the Boethusians with the B'nei Bathyra who are connected to Zamaris. I would also identify the "family of Jesus" inasmuch as they were historical figures, with a "Bethany in Bathyra", thus linking this family, this speculative and mysterious branch of Jewish scholars, with the royal Izates, Monobazus and Helena themselves.

The value of this identification is that it provides a contextual explanation for Christian teachings. Essentially, Christianity began as the "Golden Calf in Bethel" religion of Hadad, the resurrecting sky god who became associated with the Sun. Either this religion was born of the cult of Ashur, or the Josephite captives brought it with them into Assyria. Either way, it is with the return of Assyrian Jewish influence to the Holy Land - in the form of the Adiabenians in Iturea - which stimulates an awakening of this ancient, purged and redacted element of Israelite religion. Now interpreted through a Hellenic lens.

THE EVIDENCE CONCERNING PHILIP

I will now record the information from the Syriac Chronicle of Zuqnin which lists the kings of Osrhoene from 125 BCE. Using the plainest methodology, I will tie the record to specific dates. Then I will interpret the events surrounding those dates to explain my reasoning.

I) "Abdu son of Maz'ur reigned over Edessa for seven years. In this same year Arsaces the Parthian killed Antiochus"
II) "The King of Edessa died and Phardasht son of Gebar'u reigned for five years."
III) "Bakru son of Phardasht reigned over Edessa for three years; Bakru son of Bakru followed him for twenty years."
IV) "Ma'nu reigned over Edessa for four months, and after the latter Abgar Pica (reigned over Edessa) for twenty-five years and nine months. During this time Sylla ravaged the Athenians"
V) "Abgar killed Bakru and reigned alone twenty-three years and five months"
VI) "The king of Edessa died and the Edessans remained without a lord for one year...Afterwards, Ma'nu who was called god reigned over them 18 years and five months"
VII) "The king of Edessa died, and Pacorus reigned for five years. In the same year, Pacorus ... marched up against Syria"
VIII) "Pacorus died and Abgar reigned for three years followed by Abgar the red for three years. Herod fought against Jerusalem and took it."
IX) "Ma'nu, called Saphlul, reigned over Edessa for 18 years and 7 months."

Assumptions:
1) When Edessa became an independent kingdom, ruled by Adiabenian family members, it "inherited" Adiabene's ancestral kings. I am not convinced that the chronicler here understands that there may not have been an Edessan kingdom at this time. The chronicle, of course, does extend into a period in which an Edessan kingdom decidedly exists.
2) I am not convinced the chronicler is entirely aware of who is whose son or father. Later in the list there is a repetitive, successive listing of Ma'nus and Abgars. Armenian history assigns other names to these people, so I suspect the chronicler may have not been aware of names and was making them up. Or, the names may have been an embarassment. (For example, I believe the Adiabene kingdom split into the Edessan and Hatran kingdoms respectively. Thus, Edessan monarchs of the third century would not possibly want Hatran royal names in their ancestral kings list)

Dating:
My rubric for dating is simple. Item VI mentions the death of Pacorus and Herod's siege of Jerusalem. That is 38 BCE. The dates listed by the Chronicler seem off, and the "Edessan Kings List" produced by some scholars also seem totally willing to ignore the obvious here. Item I would be 129 BCE, the date of the Battle of Ecbatana.

I) 129 BCE - Abdu 7 years
II) 122 BCE - Phradasht reigns 5 years
III) 117 BCE - Bakru reigns 3 years
IV) 114 BCE - Bakru son of Bakru reigns 20 years
IV) 88 BCE - Ma'nu reigns four months
IV) 88 BCE - Abgar reigns 25 years and 9 months
V) 86 BCE - Abgar killed Bakru and reigned alone 23 years and 5 months.
* 84 BCE - (death of Bakru if counting from IV)
VI) 63-62 BCE - Edessa remains without a lord
VI) 62-61 BCE - Ma'nu called god reigns 18 years 5 months
VII) 43 BCE - Pacorus reigns 5 years
VIII) 38-37 BCE - Pacorus dies; Abgar reigns for 3 years
VIII) 35-24 BCE - Abgar the Red reigns for 3 years
IX) 32-31 BCE - Ma'nu Saflul reigns for 18 years and 7 months

(Immaterial to today's discussion, but the continuation for reference)
13-12 BCE - Abgar "Ukkama" reigns 37 years, I believe this is Monobazus
25 CE - 40 days reigns the son of Abgar
25-31 CE - 6 years Abgar "The White", I believe this is the same Monobazus moved for military purposes to Edessa; the confusion is the result of trying to fabricate the Abgar from "Doctrine of Addai" into past history
31-45 CE - "Ma'nu son of Abgar" 14 years, I believe this is Izates II from Josephus; although Josephus vaguely has him living a bit longer
45-65 CE - "Abgar son of Ma'nu" 20 years, I believe this is Monobazus II
65-67 CE - "Ma'nu bar Abgar" 2 years, I believe this is the Armenian history's "Ananey brother of Sanatruk"
67-73 CE - "Ma'nu bar Izat" 6y9mo, I believe this is the Armenian history's "Sanatruk" who did not reign in Armenia.

The swap of birthright from Monobazus to Izates would have caused conflict among their sons since Izates's son might believe he inherits Izates's right. Notably, the ostensible Sanatruk is actually listed as "bar Izat" in the chronicle. This is also where the name "YZT" appears in the Syriac record.


Commentary:
I) Abdu, if this is referring to Adiabene, must be Abdissares, the famous first great king of Adiabene. The same year he rules is the year that Phraates II defeats Antiochus Sidetes at Ecbatana. A son of Antiochus, named Seleucus, is famously captured and allegedly given "great honors". While there is no proof that this Seleucus is Abdissares, the circumstantial evidence allows for it. It also makes a lot of sense. The Parthians released Demetrius to rule in Antioch, then set up Seleucus to rule Assyria as a highly honored client. This would have appeased the Macedonian Babylonians, and given Parthia a useful face for the West. We see, archeologically, that this rise of Adiabene corresponds to a seeming attempt to resurrect the Assyrian identity. History doesn't discuss this, but why would it not be the case? Assyria was an empire that constantly rose and declined. Why would that have not persisted into the first century? "Maz'ur" seems to mean "uniter" in Syria. Could this refer to Seleucus Nicator? Even Antiochus VII reunited much of the empire for a brief period.

II) Phardasht is a name with a distinct Eastern quality. Gebar'u means "the Great" or conqueror in Syriac. In spite of Phraates II and his conquests, Parthian rule dissolved for a decade due to invasions in the East. It wasn't until the return of Mithridates II that the Empire was finally firmly unified. 120 BCE marks Mithridates's invasion of Armenia. 122 BCE is a plausible year for his reassertion of authority over Assyria. Thus, we can interpret Phardasht as the reduction of Adiabene's status from kingdom to Satrapy according to Mithridates's prerogative

III) The date corresponds to Mithridates II warring in Characene, while Cyzicenus is preparing to invade Syria. Thus, I interpret Bakru as being Antiochus VIII Grypus, who has reasserted control over Upper Mesopotamia in an alliance with the Seleucid/Assyrian satrap (presumably, Abdissares). With the actual invasion of Syria occurring in 114 BCE, Antiochus would leave "Osrhoene" to a suitable heir. Grypus's heir was Seleucus VI, however the next son was Antiochus XI "brother of Philip". As the second heir, I interpret Antiochus being granted the crown of Osrhoene similar to the notion of the "Prince of Wales". This would be Bakru II.

IV) This is difficult to interpret, because this is where the dates don't match when counting down and counting up. Although, they are close. Scholars have invented "Abgar I" and "Abgar II" and other conventions I don't think are implied in the text, in order to make their datings work - which for some reason ignore clear identifications such as the timing of the Battle of Ecbatana and Herod's siege of Jerusalem. What I have done to fix the dating is simply assume that "Bakru" refers to the dynasty of the sons of Grypus. When an ambiguous "Abgar" kills Demetrius III in Syria, this is roughly 20 years after "Bakru", that is Grypus, is acknowledged as king in 117 BCE. So, we can explain the 20 years that way (very precisely), and we have to assume that Abgar reigned 23 years, not 25. He would have killed Demetrius 2 years and 5 months after his reign began - and the chronicler accidentally added the years instead of subtracting them.

The key date is 87 BCE, which is precisely identified due to the reference to Sulla. Philip allies with a Parthian commander, the Arab Phylarch of Assyria, Aziz, and the ruler of Beroea, Straton. Abgar may be the Parthian governor, or even Straton. I do not think he is Aziz, because Aziz goes on to found the Emesene Kingdom in the Orontes river valley.

So, the Grypus dynasty rules Osrhoene for 20 years, 117-87 BCE. When "Abgar" defeats Demetrius III, this rule ends. Very briefly, "Ma'nu" is said to rule. I interpret this as, with the death of Demetrius (Philip's rival, by the way), the Abdissarid dynasty reasserts their claim to the throne of Assyria. This is Philip, who I interpret to be the son of Abdissares (Seleucus). Although, "Ma'nu" could be Abdissares, who may still be living. Perhaps he died after the four month period, leaving the throne entirely to this Abgar.

Philip and Antiochus XI were "Philadelphus" and "Epiphanes" to assert a partnership in Assyria as god-kings, and also deep allies united to avenge Seleucus VI and rule Syria/Assyria together. They would be half-cousins. Philip seeking recognition of his family's importance, and Antiochus seeking to maintain an important ally. One can even speculate that they grew up and were educated together in Oshroene.

However, Philip is unable to maintain permanent control in Antioch and seems unliked there. Him not being a son of Grypus would explain the desire of the rulers of Antioch to choose to have Tigranes rule them, and why Philip did not return to Antioch after his exile from Damascus.

Philip being "Ma'nu" either the first and second, but certainly the second, provide a connection to the name "Menneus". So, upon Philip's exile from Damascus, Antioch doesn't want him, and Osrhoene is now controlled by this warlord "Abgar". This leaves the tetrachy of Iturea for Philip to rule over. Him being Ptolemy Menneus.

One very curious mystery of history is the nature of the relationship of Ptolemy Menneus and Sampsiceramus. Ptolemy was notoriously ambitious, but his domain overlaps with Sampsiceramus's at Baalbek Heliopolis. There isn't a clear memory of conflict between him and the Emesenes. Both are tolerated by Pompey. My interpretation, which I will elucidate with further evidence, is that the Emesenes remained oath-sworn phylarchs of the Arabs of all Assyria, sworn to Assyria's king. In this case, Philip/Ptolemy even though he had lost control of Mesopotamia. The title for this kind of ruler, in Arabic, is "Abia". Thus, even in Emesa, the Sampsiceramids were Abia of Osrhoene.

Moreover, the tetrarchy of Itureans is curious for the ethnic identity of this people being unclear. One theory is the name was "Astureans" from "Assyrians". We can incorporate the Biblical tribe of Asher into this context, also considering the unclear nature of the Assyrian identity. This time period (80 BCE) is precisely when Alexander Janneus the Hasmonean king is forcing Iturean peoples of the Hauran and Galilee to convert to Judaism and be circumcized.

I would speculate that these Itureans could be consciously Assyrian in identity, that they recognize Assyria's god-king (Philip/Ptolemy) as their sovereign, that they are part of the ancient history responsible for golden calf/solar worship in Israel, and that they become the force responsible for asserting the Enochian tradition in Judaism/Christianity. The proximity to Hermon, the vague reference to the "lands around Damascus" in the Dead Sea Scrolls, and so forth.

VI) Pompey defeats Armenia and its allies in 64 BCE, he initiates a new calendar for Syria in 63 BCE. This explains a gap in rulership in Osrhoene during 64, quite precisely, with the presumption that "Ma'nu who was called god" was the Roman selection for rule in Osrhoene given the Syrian reorganization. Philip Epiphanes, of course, meaning god.

There are a few very important facts about Pompey's activities in Syria. First, Ptolemy Menneus is said to have paid a large sum to Pompey to maintain his rule. Second, Pompey seems to eagerly make use of Sampsiceramus in Syria. Finally, oddly, the Romans begin to remint old Philip coins in Antioch, dated from 63. The prominent theory is that this was just for convenience. However, the obvious is missed. That Ptolemy Menneus - Philip - is acknowledged as symbolic king of Syria/Assyria by the Romans.

The Osrhoene phylarch, Sampsiceramus, becomes Pompey's enforcer. Philip is restored to Adiabene/Osrhoene as Ma'nu II. Ptolemy Menneus is tolerated in Lebanon. Philip's coins are reissued.

One need only consider the attention which Rome and Parthia conceded to Armenia as a buffer state, to realize the importance of an Assyrian power as a buffer state in Syria and Upper Mesopotamia. It's an odd political arrangement, regardless. Syria being a Roman province, Adiabene being a Parthian client kingdom officially of rather small size. Yet, Sampsiceramus and his Arabs, along with the historically neglected Assyrian identity (perhaps present in Lebanon/Damascus as well), along with their loyalties and the trade routes overlapping their zones and cities, represent powers to be reckoned with.

VII) Ptolemy Menneus was killed by Pacorus. We see Pacorus becomes king of Osrhoene as well, only for another Abgar or two to rule after his death. Thus, the theory of Ptolemy being Ma'nu II is not contradicted by this piece of evidence. The implication is, of course, that Philip I had lived until the 40s BCE as Ptolemy Menneus, and history seems to have missed it.

IX) Ma'nu Saflul rules from 32.

The identity of this Ma'nu III is complex. I identify him with Tiridates II of Parthia (whose usurpation of Phraates IV does in fact begin in 32, another validation of dating). Also with Philip II Philoromaios (though not overly convincing, Tiridates did adopt the title "Arsaces Philoromaios"), son of Philip I. Finally, with Philippus, son of Ptolemy Menneus

First, Philippus. Josephus mentions an incident where the family of Hasmonean Aristobulus II is threatened by the Romans, and Ptolemy protects their children. The timing is hard to decipher, since it seems like Josephus quickly conflates the beginning and end of the story, but I think it begins around 70 BCE. Philippus, Ptolemy's son, marries a princess - Alexandra - leading to Ptolemy executing him. Ptolemy then marries Alexandra.

Philip II has a very vague history. He was a rival in the 50s BCE with one of the sons of Cleopatra Selene for a restoration of Seleucid rule in Antioch (of course, with Roman permission). Pompey is said to have grown tired of this rivalry, ordering Sampsiceramus to murder them both. A difficult to find source, I think an off-hand remark not a sober chronicle, says that Philip was warned about the attempt in advance and was able to escape. Antiochus XIII wasn't so lucky. Of course, Antiochus's brother was killed by a spiteful Queen of Egypt. Philip II would remain the last Seleucid, but just like his father, fades into the darkness of history.

My interpretation is that Philip was not killed by Ptolemy, but rather exiled. Perhaps, ordered to be killed. Since Sampsiceramus came after Philip, if he was Abia to Ptolemy Menneus, then we would assume there was consent to the order. Josephus is so deliberately obtuse about certain things, I would assume that he is deliberately content to allow his readers to assume Philippus died, the story being a half-truth.

This means that Philip escapes, perhaps to the East. That places him in an ideal place to rise up as a Seleucid/Assyrian claimant to the throne at Ctesiphon as Tiridates II. The only question is, why is he named "Arsaces". The simplest explanation is that Philip I had a Parthian princess as a wife, which would explain Parthian support for Philip's war against Demetrius.

Both Ptolemy and Philippus are said to have married Alexandra. It's unclear whether Philippus's child could have been of Alexandra, and thus a lost Hasmonean descendant. Ptolemy certainly could have produced children with Alexandra, but his only other known descendant is Lysanias, who inherits Iturea/Chalcis of Lebanon (not to be confused Lysanias's grandson, Lysanias II, who ruled the tiny Abila - the biblical tetrarchy of Lysanias).

Material to a later conversation, I would like to think that Philippus's son by Alexandra was Bazeus Monobazus, and that Ptolemy's son by her was Simon Boethus - who would have been educated in Alexandria.

In any event, the story of Tiridates is echoed in the Armenian history in the form of Arsham. Arsham is clearly a composite and a fabrication, but time, place and events match the conquest of Tiridates. Arsham's domain is the "Armenia" south of "Upper Armenia" (Ararat) which includes Nisibis and Upper Mesopotamia. If Ma'nu Saflul is king of an Osrhoene that includes Adiabene, then he must be this same character.

The explanation for the Armenian history is that the rulers of Hatra in the third century are the remnant of the Adiabenian royalty, who then by the fifth century move to Armenian to become the noble Amutani family - known for being formerly Jewish royals from Adiabene. The Amutani played a role in ancestry of the Bagrutani rulers of Armenia, so I believe the Armenian chroniclers are trying to tie the ancestry of the current rulers to a mythologized "we always ruled Armenia".

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS

Ma'nu Saflul as Tiridates has fascinating implications. Firstly, Saflul is a Hebrew word. It means cup, but refers most commonly to a type of flower with a cup shape. More significantly, less noticed, saflul is also applied to the cap of the Tabor Oak acorn, which is cup-like. This cap resembles precisely the "spiked crown" you can seen worn by a King Ma'nu on coins found in Syria. This is King Ma'nu named by Hebrew subjects, who recognize his crown as resembling an acorn cap they are familiar with. This implies a legacy tied to a presence in the holy land. Why would Ma'nu III care enough about what Hebrew subjects think so that the Syrian chroniclers would remember him by that name?

Tiridates is profoundly important to the entire history of the Middle East from 30 BCE to 70 CE. The hostages he captured from Phraates were returned by Augustus in 20 BCE, with the return of the stolen Legionary Eagles captured at Harran (53 BCE, and yes, our Ma'nu could have been involved, as a mysterious Greek man is blamed for leading Crassus's legions to their doom). However, it can be clearly deduced that the deal was negotiated in 23 BCE by Marcus Agrippa, on a semi-secret mission.

23 BCE is the year Herod adopts Simon Boethus as high priest.

I believe Josephus is being deliberately misleading about Boethus and the need to make him High Priest. I think Josephus is trying to obfuscate the role of the Adiabenian monarchy in first century Jewish politics. In part because of the beliefs of proto-Christian groups, which he is obfuscating, and the origins of Judaism. The Assyrian connection, the cult of Bethel, are deeply harmful and embarrassing to Judaism.

If Boethus is the son of both the Seleucid/Assyrian line of god-kings (avatars of the god of Bethel), and a Hasmonean, that would make him an extremely appealing candidate to certain circles. Appalling to others.

Herod had just displaced the last Hasmonean High Priests, so having another would be convenient.

However, the implication is that inserting Boethus as High Priest is uplifting the role of the Adiabenian royalty in Judea. It's an assertion of the arc of influence of the old Assyrian Empire. Tiridates/Ma'nu Saflul could easily have made Boethus's elevation part of the deal, in which Rome strong arms Herod into compliance. The Herodian/Adiabenian/Emesene power being the southern equivalent of the Armenian buffer state, and a check against Nabatea.

Meanwhile, Herod invites Zamaris into Iturea to fight "robbers". Zamaris is a "Babylonian Jew" but who is commanding a troop of elite Persian horse archers, implying heavily his association with Babylonian royalty. The robbers Zamaris is meant to fight are controlled by Zenodorus. Zenodorus is the son of Lysanias, son of Ptolemy Menneus.

When Pacorus is driven back from Judea, it is Mark Antony who is responsible. We see Zenodorus minting coins with Cleopatra/Antony emblems, and later Augustus. Prior to Pacorus, Ptolemy and Lysanias minted their own coins as "Tetrach and High Priest" for the area of Chalcis of Lebanon in the Beqa valley. Cleopatra claims Iturea/Chalcis as an ancient domain of Egypt, rather, Antony gifts it to her in the "Donations of Alexandria". Zenodorus is leased the land.

It is 23-21 BCE when Zenodorus's downgraded landlord status is revoked finally, by Herod, leading to Zenodorus resorting to robbery. Zamaris is sent to deal with this problem, and founds Bathyra.

If we acknowledge Zamaris as a grandson of Ptolemy Menneus, and see the ouster of Zenodorus as corresponding to Ma'nu Saflul's requirements of Herod related to the deal of 23, then we can see Zamaris being invited to Iturea by Herod as a request to that family to deal with their own problems. Which is a remarkably coherent narrative for these events.

Armenian history validates Zamaris's connection to Adiabene by recalling that Herod demands of Arsham that he send forces to deal with some robbers for him. This figure could certainly be King Monobazus, once Ma'nu III dies around 12 BCE.

Now we have a stage set for the Christian era, and context with characters for explaining many of the events. That is a discussion at least as long as this one.

CHRISTIAN CONNECTIONS

For context, I'll summarize some of the ways I believe this connects to Christian history, but this is very incomplete for the moment.

First, I believe Josephus is entirely misleading about the Boethusians. Boethus was made High Priest at Rome's behest due to Tiridates's demand. The story of having to elevate the family is a double deception. Cleopatra of Jerusalem has the children Herod and Philip. Mariamne Boethus's son is Herod. Cleopatra's Herod is never mentioned again. I believe Herod "The Second" who was briefly Herod The Great's heir, is in fact the older brother of Philip.

One interpretation is that Cleopatra of Jerusalem is a pseudonym for Mariamne Boethus, and that because Philip was protected from the downfall of the Boethusian family due to his presence in Rome during his education, Cleopatra was used to protect Philip from his mother's shame.

However, I have another interpretation I'll share shortly.

In any event, if Herod and Philip are brothers and Boethusians, then they are also descendants of Ptolemy Menneus. The Tetrarchy of Chalcis, mentioned abundantly before 23 BCE in Josephus, and also after 40 CE, is curiously absent from Herod's will. Herod - allegedly a private citizen in Rome - also disappears from history. I believe the explanation is simple. When Boethus was elevated to High Priest in 23, Herod was forced to concede back Chalcis to the Adiabenian family. The deal was softened for Herod by allowing it to return to the family via Herod's child with Mariamne Boethus. Thus, Herod II inherited Chalcis from 23 BCE. In this sense, it was not Herod The Great's to give away in his will, neither could he take it from Herod II after his disinheritance. As ruler of Chalcis, Herod II would have rights not through his father Herod The Great, but rather through his ancestor Ptolemy. Thus, he would be Herod bar Ptolemy.

Herod and Philip the sons of Cleopatra of Jerusalem and Herod the Great, would be Bartholomew and Philip. Inseparable disciples. Philip the Tetrarch building his capital at the border with Chalcis, near to his brother. Combined, their lands would be the old Iturean tetrarchy.

Philo of Alexandria has a letter which implies that Herod II would have been landed and wealthy by 33 CE, and not a private citizen in Rome.

I can also apply evidence to this construction to derive a few other New Testament characters, but I'll save that for another time. The point is that it can be done, and approach the historical basis for the gospel characters.

For now, I want to end with a more radical interpretation that nevertheless reveals the potential explanatory power of this construction.

There is a text called Joseph and Asenath, which had been abused, but which is interesting because of how it represents an unexplained convergence of Jewish characters with Christian ideas. One theory is that it might be a product of a very early Christian group, of Jews of course, hiding their "true story" in an inoffensive pseudo-narrative.

I would like to do the experiment of applying it to the setting I've constructed.

In the story, Joseph (the patriarch), seeks Asenath (daughter of Pharoah's high priest) for marriage. Pharoah's son also seeks her. Asenath lives in a tower and is ashamed of her sin, her lack of virginity. Joseph, in an esoteric event, assures her that her sin is washed away and her virginity is perpetual, and the two of them combined achieve and ascended, Christ-like position (she as the Queen of Heaven). Then, the sons of Israel fight off Pharoah's son and save Asenath, and there's a celestial/esoteric wedding.

Asenath, curiously, has idols representative of celestial bodies. This corresponds to the kind of idols the Adiabenian royal family would hold, and the Syrian solar religion of the time. For instance, certain animals represented star constellations, certain characters represented the sun, moon, etc. The text unambiguously correlates these idols and their worship with the stars (crown of stars, Queen of Heaven motif).

If the early Christians arose out of the Boethusian and Adiabenian circles in Iturea, then if Joseph and Asenath is a cover story, it could be a cover story for a real event.

If so, we have to assume Pharoah is Herod, Pharoah's High Priest is Simon Boethus. Asenath is Mariamne. Joseph must be Bazeus. Pharoah's son would be Archeleus.

We know that Archeleus failed in the face of the uprising of Judas the Galilean in 6 CE, and was removed. We also know he was briefly married to a Mariamne, but for unclear reasons then married another woman.

Here's my interpretation: Herod II was actually the son of Cleopatra of Jerusalem, who is not Mariamne Boethus. Cleopatra, as a relation of Ptolemy Menneus, would probably have been Simon Boethus's sister. Simon Boethus's son was Simon Cantheras, rendered QTRS. I have a theory that this was abbreviated QLPTRS, or Cleopatros. Which was also a name Simon Boethus senior held. Thus, Simon Boethus is Cleopas.

Mariamne was married to Herod as part of the deal of 23, but she was a child, and they had no children. The idea is simple. Simon Boethus of Hasmonean parentage is made High Priest. His grandson, son of Herod the Great, becomes King of Judea and inherits the High Priesthood from Simon. Thus, the High Priesthood and throne are reunited in a Herodian/Hasmonean line.

Herod dies before Mariamne is old enough to produce an heir. This is where Archeleus marries her, meaning Mariamne Boethus is the mysterious Mariamne of Archeleus.

Zamaris was given a tax-exempt status in Bathyra by Herod. We know that Philip's attempt to revoke it caused consternation. Perhaps Quirinus's census and the tax concerns of Judas the Galilean are related to this. Regardless, I am proposing that Judas the Galilean was Zamaris/Bazeus, and that the war was not merely against Rome and over taxation, but against Archeleus with the idea of liberating Mariamne.

Mariamne, now the object of a war, is become Helen. And Monobazus's wife was Helena of Adiabene. Meanwhile, the narrative of Joseph and Asenath is maintained.

I have to acknowledge that there seem to be two Judas the Galileans. Judas of Sepphoris (son of Hezekiah), who rose up in 4 BCE, and Judas of Gamala in 6 CE. It has never been clear to me if scholars distinguish between the two. My theory is that they are remarkably different people, but that perhaps later their stories were confused by folklorists. Judas of Sepphoris being more nationalistic and pharisaical in nature, Judas of Gamala serving (later) in a more esoteric role. By the 60s CE, perhaps many peasants conflating their stories as heroes of Judean nationalism. Both being objects of messiah speculation. Ultimately, though, the difference between them being related to some of the zealot infighting such as the betrayal of Ananus ben Ananus and Jesus of Gamala by John of Ghiscala.

Returning to Joseph and Asenath, Asenath lives in a tower and seems worried about her virginity. Historically, this could be the fact she was not a virgin and felt unworthy of Bazeus her savior, and he trying to reassure her. Later, the story taking on an esoteric meaning as Christology developed.

However, the presence in the tower is invocative of the name "Magdelene". Bazeus as pseudo-Joseph invocative of Joseph the Tekton. Mariamne being Mary - here Magdelene - but also as wife of Joseph. She also has a virginity, which deeply explains the virginity doctrine - not as a later evolution - but rather now having an esoteric meaning. A perpetual virginity through Christian grace, in spite of being not literally a virgin. Asenath is also portrayed as Queen of Heaven. So you have Mary, the wife of Joseph, the virgin Queen of Heaven. But who is also Mary Magdelene the impure woman in the tower. Who is also Helena, the object of a war between Joseph and Pharoah's son.

As a final explanation for context, my interpretation is that after Bazeus's death (I conclude, 31 AD), his Assyrian subjects esoterically perceive his apotheosis as an incarnation of Hadad/Helios, who is distinctly Christ-like in nature to them. Meanwhile, Bazeus as Judas the Galilean is the patriarch of the "family of the lord" (Jesus, James, Thaddeus, Joses, etc.) In the Pauline conception of Christ, Bazeus as Helios ascended becomes interpreted and contextualized to Hellenic Judaism as an incarnation of Logos. The Assyrian/Enochian doctrine (not unfamiliar to ancient Israel) is syncretized with Philonic Judaism. Bazeus becomes Paul's Christ, and the Christ for this family.

Ananus ben Ananus and Paul both are attributed as the murderer of James. Ananus senior is identified as the agent who converted the Adiabenians to Judaism. Thus, the Pauline Christ could have begun as an Ananian exposition on ascended Bazeus, conflating him with the Logos as a way to bring these people into Judaism. Which, in Philonic thinking, is a more universal religion. The application of committed Jewish monotheism to Hellenic ideals.

Nevertheless, if the Joseph and Asenath interpretation is correct, then the mysterious "historical Jesus" who is mentioned as brother of James and Thaddeus, would be Izates himself. But, Izates' real identity in this narrative is Theudas of the River Jordan. Both Izates and Theudas dying in 45 CE.

The concept would be that Izates and his family are converted to Judaism by conflating an apotheosis of their father Bazeus with Logos. The Christ figure being a known esoteric element of Assyrian/Hadad and Enochian, "Golden Calf of Bethel" theology. This is a cosmic Christ which sets the heavens in order.

Josephus says Izates fought against "Abia" of the Arabs at "Arsamus". Abia would be, presumably, the Emesene king. Their citadel was Ash-Shmamish. Sampsiceramus II died of unclear causes in 42 CE. So this is all consistent with the construction.

After defeating Sampsiceramus II in 42, Izates goes to Iturea and is seized by a madness (very possibly drug induced by Acacia or Cannabis). He, assuming the assistance of his "Father in Heaven" Bazeus, recruits all Israel to come to the River Jordan to purify themselves. The idea being that when sufficiently pure, they will take the form of angels, Bazeus will open the gates to heaven for the host to flood out, and Izates will be a new Joshua, parting the Jordan so that the Iturean "Jews" can re-enter and re-found a pure Kingdom of Israel. One need only consider the Dead Sea Scrolls and their language to this effect, including the feeling that the lunar calendar for temple ceremony was false and a solar calendar was necessary.

Theudas was of course stopped and beheaded. However, now you have a shift in the ideology. The Enochian cosmic Christ is syncretized with the Judean conquering messiah of Daniel. The syncretism has two messiahs, the heavenly then the earthly.

Bazeus becomes the heavenly, and with Theudas's death, James becomes the expected earthly messiah. Theudas becomes the agent who "prepares the way" who taught people to sanctify themselves. James is the messiah for whom the baptizer was preparing the way.

Skipping almost the entire Roman portion, I feel I favor the notion that the Gospel of Mark began as a stage performance for the Flavian household. To avoid embarrassing the Herodians and Alexandrians who were Flavian friends, the story of Theudas is moved from Agrippa and Tiberius Alexander's time period back to the time of Pilate and Antipas - who were both disgraced. Thus, there was never a John the Baptist, only Theudas. "Jesus of Nazareth" is fabricated to fill in the gaps that separate this story from Theudas and James (who were also failures).

Thus, Bazeus as the new Joseph, an esoteric incarnation of Asham Bethel, the spiritual Christ who redeems souls and cures sin, and facilitates the resurrection of the dead, is conflated with his son, the new Joshua. James is made an ecclesiastical figure, so Jesus is given a second coming as the two messiah roles are combined into one person. John is fabricated to explain the role of the baptizer in the story.

So Joseph the father of Jesus was Paul's Christ, and Jesus was the baptizer preaching the doctrine of his Father in Heaven. Preparing the way (after his failure) for the Kingdom of Heaven which James would have to facilitate.

I also want to note the speculation that Yahweh as Yahou comes from the Phoenician Iahu or Iaow, an alternative name for Yam. That Yahou was a version of Neptune-as-a-Titan, that the Levites were the priests of Leviathan, or Lotan, the symbol and servant of Yam. That Yam and Hadad (of the golden calf) were rivals in an eternal war between life and death, order and chaos (the early Israel attributing Egypt and Ugarit's downfall to the chaos of the Sea Peoples invasion, thus honoring Yahou as their deliverer).

Thus, Marcion's belief that the God of Christ was not Yahweh, even that they were enemies may be very firmly based in Canaanite tradition.

My interpretation is that there was only Gnosticism after the destruction of the Temple, until Marcion. And that recognizable Christianity doesn't emerge until after 150 CE, with this being the time of the construction of the Iohannite literature, which represents a completely incorrect interpretation of extant texts, but consolidates the canon into a recognizably Christian orthodoxy.

Regardless, apologies for the extensive commentary at the end. I felt it necessary to provide interpretative context, answering, "What does it matter who Ptolemy Menneus was?"

Finally, if I have major errors in my interpretations of dates or the Edessan kings list, absolutely please let me know. I have been searching for more information and can't find it. I am aware of Elias of Nisibis, but the extant information validates the dating at 65 CE as the death of whichever king reigned for 20 years (presumably Monobazus II, who, interestingly, was probably critical in the Roman-Armenian war's outcome).
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Re: Kings Of Osrhoene; Why Ptolemy Menneus Was Philip Epiphanes, And Christian Origins

Post by Peter Kirby »

yakovzutolmai wrote: Sat Jun 05, 2021 9:55 am Hello,
Being new, I want to thank the site and its members for existing. I have not found anywhere on the internet so far where these subjects provoke enough interest for discussion. I hope I can be a decent member.
Welcome to the forum!

And a very interesting first post! Thank you.
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Re: Kings Of Osrhoene; Why Ptolemy Menneus Was Philip Epiphanes, And Christian Origins

Post by DCHindley »

yakovzutolmai wrote: Sat Jun 05, 2021 9:55 am Hello,
Being new, I want to thank the site and its members for existing. I have not found anywhere on the internet so far where these subjects provoke enough interest for discussion. I hope I can be a decent member.

I would like to bring up a topic of recent interest to me, which is a possible historical mystery solved pertaining to the Kingdom of Adiabene of antiquity. I believe I have developed a strong sense of the identity and relevance of this kingdom both in terms of certain revelations about Judaism, but certainly about Christianity. I'd like to present the evidence and the interpretation, at least until the Christian era.

I also want to preface my thoughts by making it clear that I am aware of the work of a certain Ralph Ellis concerning the Kingdom of Edessa and I do not agree whatsoever with his thesis or work.

...
That's a lot of information to digest, however, I am interested in the Iturean and Adiabene angles and will have to give it a close inspection.

This may take a while. DCH
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Re: Kings Of Osrhoene; Why Ptolemy Menneus Was Philip Epiphanes, And Christian Origins

Post by yakovzutolmai »

DCHindley wrote: Sun Jun 06, 2021 10:46 am
That's a lot of information to digest, however, I am interested in the Iturean and Adiabene angles and will have to give it a close inspection.

This may take a while. DCH
Thanks!

The most important takeaway is that Philip I Epiphanes Philadelphus was the same as Ptolemy Menneus and "Ma'nu II" of Osrhoene. Important consequences are that Ptolemy's son Philippion would therefore be Philip II Philoromaios, and that this person is also identified with Tiridates II of Parthia (also called Arsaces Philoromaois). The son of Philip would have been Bazeus Monobazus, who is identified as the Zamaris who founds the all important Bathyra in Iturea.

The implication is that there existed a geopolitical power in Assyria, in the form of the Adiabenian monarchy, which had some sort of suzerainty over the Arabs from Hatra to Emesa, and that the monarchs of this power converted to Judaism. We also know that there were large Jewish populations between Syria and Babylon (centered at Nisibis, which may have been the "Antioch" relevant to some early fathers). These populations rose up - as Jewish nationalists - in 31, 115, and were also defeated by Rome and permanently occupied in 166. This is also the homeland of Jewish/Babylonian Gnosticism (Elcesites).

This means an entire set of Jews to rival the wishes of Jerusalem and its orthodoxy. It also represents a geopolitical thorn in Rome's side, which could explain incentives possessed by Rome to suppress this power, its history and national religion.
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Re: Kings Of Osrhoene; Why Ptolemy Menneus Was Philip Epiphanes, And Christian Origins

Post by DCHindley »

yakovzutolmai wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 6:25 amThe most important takeaway is that Philip I Epiphanes Philadelphus was the same as Ptolemy Menneus and "Ma'nu II" of Osrhoene. Important consequences are that Ptolemy's son Philippion would therefore be Philip II Philoromaios, and that this person is also identified with Tiridates II of Parthia (also called Arsaces Philoromaois). The son of Philip would have been Bazeus Monobazus, who is identified as the Zamaris who founds the all important Bathyra in Iturea.

The implication is that there existed a geopolitical power in Assyria, in the form of the Adiabenian monarchy, which had some sort of suzerainty over the Arabs from Hatra to Emesa, and that the monarchs of this power converted to Judaism. We also know that there were large Jewish populations between Syria and Babylon (centered at Nisibis, which may have been the "Antioch" relevant to some early fathers). These populations rose up - as Jewish nationalists - in 31, 115, and were also defeated by Rome and permanently occupied in 166. This is also the homeland of Jewish/Babylonian Gnosticism (Elcesites).

This means an entire set of Jews to rival the wishes of Jerusalem and its orthodoxy. It also represents a geopolitical thorn in Rome's side, which could explain incentives possessed by Rome to suppress this power, its history and national religion.
Can you supply sources for these equations?

Are they your identifications, that of others, or a little of both?

Thanks!

DCH
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Re: Kings Of Osrhoene; Why Ptolemy Menneus Was Philip Epiphanes, And Christian Origins

Post by yakovzutolmai »

I've explained my reasoning in the larger body of text.

I use the primary source Chronicle of Zuqnin (to be fair, no actual primary source is extant) to establish dating for the Abgarid dynasty which I think is more appropriate than what previous historians have done (they are viewing Osrhoene as the vicinity around Harran, and I don't believe this kingdom emerged until Osroes's usurpation of Parthia around 100 AD).

Then it's the synthesis of Seleucid with Syrian with Armenian history, including also Josephus, that allows for the cross identifications. For example, Tiridates II of Parthia figures prominently for turning over Phraates's sons to Augustus, but other than that there's no identification of who this person is in Parthian society. Armenian history has a character who overlaps with his context, and then also overlaps with the Osrhoene kings. It's not proof, but it does provide context missing from the sources. For example, the existence of Oshroene as a geopolitical entity larger than merely Adiabene.

The Talmud marks Izates and Monobazus as "Sons of Ptolemy". I couldn't tell you if anyone has tried to explain that, but this seems to be referring to Ptolemy Menneus.

I think you have to look at each claim one by one and decide how credible it seems, then view the big picture and see if there's a narrative which is compelling and currently missing from conventional history.

I'd love to find more particular evidence. Things like a little inscription or coin. Even so, this "Jewish-Assyrian" power of Adiabene sure seems relevant to a lot of history but is never mentioned as a coherent power.

The paucity of evidence is reflected in the historical narrative in the form of Adiabene having a paucity of power. However, that seems to run in contrast to repeated patterns of evidence. I don't think it's a matter of this being a minor, forgettable state. More a matter of lacking hard information about it.

There are three problems with the evidence. First, Parthian history is missing, and it's worse to be on the border and fringe of both Parthia and Rome. Second, the church redactors might find things to dislike in what chronicles might have once existed. Finally, even pagan Rome may have hoped to erase the context of this power from history for geopolitical reasons, especially if there's a link between some of the Jewish uprisings and this state as a military power.

History really suffers because of evidence problems. I remember once trying to examine a connection of Cleopatra V to this story of what's happening in the Levant. It turns out there's some confusion about even what generation she belonged to in spite of being a perfectly ordinary Ptolemaic. I found an paper which completely unpacked all the documentary evidence about her, then backed it up with some inscriptions. It was pretty conclusive about which generation she belonged to. And yet, that didn't prevent reputable papers and encyclopedic sources from continuing to misplace her identity.

Sometimes the only source that mentions someone at all is also a very bad source. And church history in particular suffers from the dangling sword of apologetics, so there are a lot of "misplaced Cleopatras".

I'd hope that what I'm saying about Ptolemy Menneus here can reach someone who has better access to really deep evidence, and this big picture can emerge in the literature. I only want to read about it, not really write. But no one is writing on this.

For example, I was lost in a rabbit hole of inscriptions and markings found on holy site at the summit of Mt. Hermon. I got stuck when I found a reference a book written in French and only available in print a major university libraries. I'll hunt it down someday, and I doubt it will be revelatory. However, only so much an amateur can do when scholars can't be bothered.

I would direct you to my development of the chronology for the Abgarid Kings. I pin the chronology based on the reign of Pacorus of Parthia, which corresponds to an event involving Herod. That seems perfectly reasonable to me, and it defies my understanding why scholars would take Pacorus, who definitely reigned 43-38, and having him ruling Edessa after 35. As an example. I've emailed people, with very polite and concise questions and there's no desire to engage.

I just don't think the cross-cultural synthesis of evidence is occurring, Syriac studies as a rabbit hole, Christian and Jewish histories full of apologetics, and then maybe we could benefit from talking to Iranian scholars but that's not so easy nowadays. It's the Cleopatra V problem overmagnified.

I'm happy to be wrong, but I won't give up the big picture until someone else gives me their hard evidence. I think, unfortunately, it's hard to come by for all of us.
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Re: Those $600 Brill titles

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yakovzutolmai wrote: Sun Jul 25, 2021 3:10 pm ...For example, I was lost in a rabbit hole of inscriptions and markings found on holy site at the summit of Mt. Hermon. I got stuck when I found a reference a book written in French and only available in print a major university libraries. I'll hunt it down someday, and I doubt it will be revelatory. However, only so much an amateur can do when scholars can't be bothered.
Inter-Library Loan. Use it! It's free, and fast.
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