Cyrene Asclepius Cult, Alexander Son of God

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yakovzutolmai
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Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 6:03 am

Cyrene Asclepius Cult, Alexander Son of God

Post by yakovzutolmai »

This investigation stems from considering the importance of Simon of Cyrene to the narrative of Mark. A quiet protagonist, indicative of Simon as closest to Jesus among many sectarian leaders mentioned. Where Jesus calls to Simon and Andrew, James and John, visiting the Baptist and rebuking Pharisees, it is Simon of Cyrene who is already by his side ready to bear his cross.

I have found two remarkable religious locii in Cyrene.

The first is the temple of Zeus-Ammon which is so critical to the mythology of Alexander the Great as the Son of God. Josephus borrows (it appears) this encounter at Siwah for his discussion of Alexander's visit to Jerusalem. It also seems that Alexander is heavily discussed in Zechariah. The temple at Siwah is already in decline at the time of Alexander's visit, and declines only further from then.

The second is the cult of Asclepius at Balagrae.

Pausanias, Description of Greece 2. 26. 1 (trans. Jones) (Greek travelogue C2nd A.D.) :
"At Balagrai [near Kyrene, Libya] of the Kyreneans there is an Asklepios called Iatros (Healer), who like the others came from Epidauros. From the one at Kyrene was founded the sanctuary of Asklepios at Lebene, in Krete. There is this difference between the Kyrenieans and the Epidaurians, that whereas the former sacrifice goats, it is against the custom of the Epidaurians to do so."
Okay, so bear with me here.

What if Cyrenian Jews integrated with the Asclepius cult, and then in aspiration sought to integrate a the Siwan temple as well. Where Alexander meets Yahweh rather than Zeus-Hammon?

It's outlandish, hard to fathom. And yet, imagine what form the cult of these goat-sacrificing Asclepians would take?

Their Christ would be a healer who is also the legendary Son of God and prince of peace, the uniter of the the Greek world. A parallel to Serapis. A deified Alexander-Asclepius.

Again, it's outlandish, but I couldn't construct a closer Markan Jesus out of non-Christian sources. Mark is light on the prophetic material, but that's because the prophets have already created that content. We understand that Jesus is the subject of their prophecies.

We also have Lukuas of Cyrene with the pseudonym Andreas. A Greek Andreas is the famous physician of a Ptolemy, and author of important Ptolemaic medical texts.

I am also noticing a historical consensus speculating that the critical herb of Cyrene, central to the Balagrae Asclepion, silphium, would have been traded throughout the Mediterranean primarily by Jewish merchants. Religious differences aside, the silphium trade would have giving Jews an interest in the Asclepion, and moreover, the Jewish population in Cyrene is rather ancient. Among the rare pre-Maccabean diaspora locations. This lends me to expect a looser theology among them.

Finally, some have speculated that the silphium trade network specifically would have been the avenue by which the proto-Christian (Pauline) sect would have spread throughout the diaspora. So I will go ahead and say that naming Zeus Hammon as Yahweh, treating Alexander as a subject of Jewish prophecy, and then combining Asclepius and Alexander as their version of the heavenly priest was the particular project of the Cyrenian Jews, and that their Jesus is the basis for the Markan Jesus who later inspires the gospel narrative.
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billd89
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Re: PhD on the Asclepius Cult in Roman Times

Post by billd89 »

Ghislaine Elisabeth van der Ploeg "The Impact of the Roman Empire on the Cult of Asclepius" (PhD, 2016)
LINK, p.266:
The title Dominus is equivalent to the Phoenician Adon which is an epithet found with numerous gods, for example Baal. It identified gods and rulers of cities, signalling the holder’s power.898 Sanctus is only found in Numidia in a dedication by Marcus Porcius Iustus, an officer of the Third Augustan Legion (Fig. 77): ...

The term is similar to the Greek Agios, which rarely occurs, but a similar term is found in Africa with Baal-Hammon, namely the semitic qds.900 The similarity between the epithets used by Asclepius and Baal is notable and signals the important position and power held by Asclepius in Africa. Baal was a civic god similar to Eshmun, whose worship will be discussed in the next section. Asclepius is also called Soter in an inscription from Lepcis Magna (see below).901 The use of this epithet is perhaps unsurprising in the military context of the cult. The legion, more than anyone else, had a need for a saviour-god and, over time, Asclepius became the healing god for the legion as well as a guarantor of the safety and security of the empire.902

900 Benseddik (2010a) 1.60: in Semitic sr qds means 'holy prince'.

In the Libyan myth, the young 'Cousin'/Boyfriend -- the mqm ‘lm, 'awakener of deity' -- offers something tasty to resurrect his Daddy. Pigeon! As 'Libyan' Herakles had his Boy-Healer ("Iatros" - maybe called smthg else), so the Jewish mercenaries had Horon and ... ? If any resemblance to David and Jonathan is a stretch here, it does seem the Temple priests always kept attractive youths handy.

The Semite mercs definitely had Horon: archaeological evidence proves that. Did they have a Young Savior god? What was the Semitic equivalent besides Eshmun? There's definite evidence of Eshmun in the Eastern Delta, c.250 BC. And then the Young God was called Harpocrates by the Egypto-Greeks. I wonder what the N.African and Egyptian Semites called 'the Young God Who Heals' before 500 BC.

Statue from Cyrene:
Image

Recent news, first known Asclepion on Black Sea?
https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-hi ... on-0017246
yakovzutolmai
Posts: 250
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 6:03 am

Re: PhD on the Asclepius Cult in Roman Times

Post by yakovzutolmai »

billd89 wrote: Fri Sep 09, 2022 6:28 am Ghislaine Elisabeth van der Ploeg "The Impact of the Roman Empire on the Cult of Asclepius" (PhD, 2016)
LINK, p.266:
The title Dominus is equivalent to the Phoenician Adon which is an epithet found with numerous gods, for example Baal. It identified gods and rulers of cities, signalling the holder’s power.898 Sanctus is only found in Numidia in a dedication by Marcus Porcius Iustus, an officer of the Third Augustan Legion (Fig. 77): ...

The term is similar to the Greek Agios, which rarely occurs, but a similar term is found in Africa with Baal-Hammon, namely the semitic qds.900 The similarity between the epithets used by Asclepius and Baal is notable and signals the important position and power held by Asclepius in Africa. Baal was a civic god similar to Eshmun, whose worship will be discussed in the next section. Asclepius is also called Soter in an inscription from Lepcis Magna (see below).901 The use of this epithet is perhaps unsurprising in the military context of the cult. The legion, more than anyone else, had a need for a saviour-god and, over time, Asclepius became the healing god for the legion as well as a guarantor of the safety and security of the empire.902

900 Benseddik (2010a) 1.60: in Semitic sr qds means 'holy prince'.

In the Libyan myth, the young 'Cousin'/Boyfriend -- the mqm ‘lm, 'awakener of deity' -- offers something tasty to resurrect his Daddy. Pigeon! As 'Libyan' Herakles had his Boy-Healer ("Iatros" - maybe called smthg else), so the Jewish mercenaries had Horon and ... ? If any resemblance to David and Jonathan is a stretch here, it does seem the Temple priests always kept attractive youths handy.

The Semite mercs definitely had Horon: archaeological evidence proves that. Did they have a Young Savior god? What was the Semitic equivalent besides Eshmun? There's definite evidence of Eshmun in the Eastern Delta, c.250 BC. And then the Young God was called Harpocrates by the Egypto-Greeks. I wonder what the N.African and Egyptian Semites called 'the Young God Who Heals' before 500 BC.

Statue from Cyrene:
Image

Recent news, first known Asclepion on Black Sea?
https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-hi ... on-0017246
I'm not sure if I want to go check the infancy gospel. I digress.

It's interesting to note the role of a god as military or mercenary patron. I have tied Paulina and Melchizedek to Marduk, and certainly we know the role of Joshua. The Jamesian view, as mythicism, would promote the divine patron of the troops to a central figure.

I interpret the gospel (and perhaps we could say Pauline) Jesus as a rebuttal to James. Taking the divine figure central to Jamesianism (Barabbas, perhaps) and replacing him with someone decidedly more Asclepian.
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