He Didn’t Mean to be Crassus

In the year before the Battle of Alesia (and the year after the “death” of Caesar’s daughter Julia), the eldest member of the triumverate, Crassus, took a dive, and as part of Caesar’s transition to power, not merely in Rome, but as the next head of the royal family and next “incarnation” of Alexander. Crassus took no ordinary dive, but one specifically choreographed after Alexander’s greatest contemporary rival (and putative “Successor”) Seleucus. As part of his own kingly draw-down, Seleucus had first eliminated his primary Western identity, Lysimachus of Thrace. Seleucus was subsequently “killed” by his nominal son Ceraunus. In remembrance of Seleucus, the Western identity of Crassus had to first be killed off by one of his own Eastern identities, Orodes II. Later, Orodes would be “murdered” by one of his “sons,” Phraates IV, who (as we shall see) was fulfilling his own personal typecasting as the new Ceraunus. The leading Romans were exhibiting and reenacting a very privileged understanding of the royal history of Alexander and his “Successors.”

Note: For the kingly draw-down of Seleucus, see, Heroes of the Hellenistic Age: http://www.domainofman.com/boards/index....

The Roman name Crassus is actually an anagram of Seleucus/Seleukos. Crassus, like the earlier Seleucus, had once been in pole position with regard to propagating the royal line. However, no matter one’s status within the royal family, if one didn’t produce qualified sons then eventually it was necessary to yield to those who did, and spectacularly so. Success in battle generally reflected success in royal fatherhood. Ignomineous failure in battle (even if staged) was often the consequence of failing in royal fatherhood. Lysimachus, the example Crassus was obliged to follow, was said to have been deserted by everyone in his final battle, except for his dog! Ouch.

Even though the Battle of Alesia was entirely scripted, it was possibly still an extremely risky exercise. Caesar supposedly led his men personally on horseback, but under the circumstances this strains credulity. Surrogates were of course used routinely by the royal family. Orodes/Crassus (as Sedullos) would not have been literally killed at Alesia. Cinna/Gotarze (as Vercingetorix) was not personally paraded in Rome and imprisoned for five years before being executed. Cassius Longinus (as Vercassivellaunus) did not flee the battle of Alesia only to be captured and consigned to some unknown fate. It seems obvious also that Caesar himself used a body double. Common soldiers recognized their commanders by their distinctive armour and especially headgear.

Caesar only had to create the appearance of being in the utmost peril. However, this still required the cooperation and confidence of his fellow royal males as accomplices. And, even with their help, there was still ample opportunity for a freak accident to occur. (Philip II of Macedon was said to have lost an eye during a seige.) What’s more, Caesar’s associates could always change their minds regarding the making of a living god. This latter possibility would have weighed heavily on Caesar’s mind, because Alexander had not actually been wounded by the city’s defenders but by “friendly fire” ordered by his royal peers. It was a genuine assassination attempt. In emulation, Caesar arranged to be attacked/ambushed from the side or behind his siege position at Alesia. We must once again discern that the Roman magnates not only knew the public history of Alexander but also the private, i.e., exclusively royal, history of Alexander, and because they were themselves the royal descendants and successors of Alexander.

The contrived nature of the Battle of Alesia can even be deduced from the names given to the Gaulic cheiftains themselves. The leader of the “Gaullic rebellion” was called Vercingetorix, which is commonly translated as “King of Warriors” or “Most Courageous King.” However, it also encodes both the name of the Roman magnate Cinna and an important Eastern idenity of Cinna, that being the Parthian prince/king Gotarze. The two other Gaullic leaders aligned with Vercingetorix were called Vercassivellaunos and Sedullos. Vercassivellaunus incorporates the name of Cass/Cassi, i.e., Roman Cassius. To a multi-lingual aristocratic audience it would have screamed, “Behold the true Cassius Longinus.” The identity of Sedullos is just as obvious. Sedullo is Orodes backwards.

The uncle of Vercingetorix, who was also actively involved in the war, is called Gobanitio, which is an even more obvious form of Gabinus, the general used by Pompey to “fix” things in the East, particularly in Israel and Egypt. The participation of Gobanitio (Gabinus) in this publicity stunt implies that Pompey also approved of it, even if he didn’t directly participate in it. Cinna, on the other hand, had formerly acted as a foil in Sulla and Pompey’s military adventures. He was now doing the same for Caesar. The chosen pseudonyms of royal family members were scarcely disguised to the aristocracy. The royal family wanted everyone (that mattered) to know how all-encompassing their empire was and how clever they were in administering it.

Verscassivellaunus was unable to save Vercingetorix, even as Cassius was unable to save Crassus the previous year. Crassus reportedly rejected the counsel of Cassius. Similarly, Vercingetorix failed to make effective use of the help brought by Verscassivellaunus. Schematically, these engagements are very similar, but they had very different purposes. In one event, the greed of Crassus (as a “dynastic loser”) is turned into an object lesson, i.e., that “crime doesn’t pay.” (However, the royal family operated entirely above the law. The money Crassus stole from the poor was not returned to them.) In the second event, the brilliance of Caesar (as a “dynastic winner”) is established and celebrated. All that remained for Caesar to do was return to Rome in glory even as Alexander had returned to his beloved Babylon. And like Alexander, Caesar was not in any hurry to get there.

Note: The root ver has meanings of, “true” and “see/behold.”

Note: The Indian root vel indicates “spear/javelin.”

Note: The root launos has meanings of “strong,” “plunder/profit/reward.” and “secret/concealed” (laugno), and in addition to being close to make a word play on long.

Note: Suggestively, Lingones (cf Longines) was a province in the vacinity of Alesia.

Note: An alternate form of Verscassivellaunus is Vergasillaunus, which is very similar in form to the later Parthian king name of Vologases (I & II). This is in turn suggestive of an affinity between tribal groups in disperate regions, e.g., those having a common origin, such as Scythian.

Note: Cassius Longinus was the Quaestor of Crassus at Carrhae. Longinus later became famous for plunging his dagger into Caesar’s side. The word quaestor is defined as, “to inqire” (i.e., investigate/probe a murder case, and therefore in a sense, penetrate/pierce). The analog to Longinus in Alexander’s time was Peucestes (“piercing”), who was among those that attacked and nearly killed Alexander in India. Longinus reappears in the Gospels as the Roman soldier that pierces the side of Jesus with a spear.

Previous blog in the series:
http://www.dailygrail.com/blogs/Charles-...

Next blog in the series:
http://www.dailygrail.com/blogs/Charles-...

First blog in the series:
http://www.dailygrail.com/blogs/Charles-...

The prequel "Heroes of the Hellenistic Age" is posted at the page below: http://www.domainofman.com/boards/index....