Caesar Must Die Again and Again

The following is an excerpt (#11 of 20) from:

"Jesus Among the Julio-Claudians"
copyright 2017 Charles N. Pope

Caesar Must Die Again and Again

The royal family’s (“God’s”) partnership (“Covenant”) with the Jews was renewed by the Roman Empire even as it had been in previous Eras, i.e., the Ptolemaic/Seleucid, Persian, Babylonian/Assyrian, and Egyptian). A prestigious new temple complex was to be built for the Jews in Jerusalem. However, as customary, their reconfirmation came only after a traumatic “attitude adjustment.” Jerusalem was sacked by Herod with considerable loss of life and property. Herod then assumed kingship over the Jews as a putative Edomite/Idumaean with dubious pedigree. Herod next dashed all hopes of a Hasmonean revival (and renewed independence) by forging ever stronger ties with Rome and by “purging” the old High Priest Hyrcanus along with the young Hasmonean protégé Jonathan. This was ultimately followed by the haunting “executions” of Hasmonean Queen Mariamne and her two sons Alexander and Aristobulus.

According to the writings of Josephus, Herod the Great had many wives and many sons. However, it can now be deduced that there were not nearly as many as it appears. The Hasmonean identity of Cleopatra/Scribonia was sacrificed early on, however the Great Queen of the Empire would not have truly surrendered a direct influence over the Empire’s second city. She continued to watch over things using another thinly veiled alias, that of “Cleopatra of Jerusalem.” The two daughters of Cleopatra VII, namely Julia the Elder/Antonia Major and Vipsania/Antonia Minor also assumed double identities in Herod’s Jerusalem. The former was known as Bernice and Glaphyra while the latter was called Mariamne II and Malthace.

The royal family was endogamous, which is to say that they were highly inbred, and remained that way by taking turns mating with one another. Their fertility rate was very low, so they repeated their round-robin mating process as often as necessary to perpetuate “the holy family.” Such an awkward practice required the use of multiple identities in order to make the royal breeding model more socially acceptable (at least partially disguised) to commoners. In Rome, polygamy was unlawful, however divorce was easy. On the contrary, in Jerusalem, divorce was more difficult than murder, but polygamy was tolerated! However, multiple identities helped compensate for any difficulties in managing their evolving relationships (based upon who was able to have healthy children, and especially sons, by whom).

The two great “Princes of the Realm” also assumed multiple identities in Jerusalem. It has already been deduced that Caesarion possessed the lion’s share of princely identities (see the prior posts/sections) in both Egypt and Rome. Similarly, it can be discerned that four of the five oldest “sons” of Herod corresponded to that same highly favored prince. Only the second son of Herod represents a different prince, that being Tiberius. Together, Tiberius and Caesarion are given the coveted status of Hasmonean heirs (under the local aliases of Alexander and Aristobulus, respectively), but this was done only so this honor could be viciously removed as a deliberate provocation to the Jews. Curiously, in Jerusalem it was not Caesarion but Tiberius that was assigned the illustrious name of Alexander (son of “Hasmonean” Mariamne). It was also only Tiberius that was capable of making an eloquent defense in the face of Herod’s trumped up accusations against the two of them. Although Caesarion (as the former High Priest Jonathan) looked the part of a well-bred prince, he seems to have had a significant impairment with regard to refined communications (more about this later).

The identities of the first four “sons” of Herod were all intended to be disposable. The fifth place in the royal birth order had been that of Alexander the Great in his own generation. It is not too surprising then that only the fifth Herodian prince was allowed to survive Herod himself. (Caesarion held the distinction of having been killed three times by Herod!) This fifth birth position further corresponded to Ptolemy Philadelphius in Egypt. He and Alexander Helios were said to have been “spared” as a favor to Cleopatra Selene (and she in fact received the “favor” of marrying this same multifarious prince in Numidia/Mauretania under his local alias of Juba II.)

1) Caesarion = Antipater son of Doris (a variant of Drusilla, former Arsinoe IV)
2) Tiberius = Alexander son of Mariamne (former Cleopatra VII)
3) Alexander Helios = Aristobulus son of Mariamne
4) Drusus (died in 9 BC) = Unnamed Prince (“Died Young in Rome”)
5) Philadelphius = Philip (Tetrarch in the Trans-Jordan) son of Cleopatra of Jerusalem (former Cleopatra VII).
6) Germanicus = Archelaus son of Malthace (Vipsania/Antonia Minor)
7) Drusus II = Herod Antipas son of Malthace (Vipsania/Antonia Minor)

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