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Re: Commagenean Antiochus Epiphanes

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  • Jens
    Thanks for all these comments. I agree that there is a certain ironical tone in Josephus account from Jerusalem (V.11.3) when it comes to the failure of the
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 5 11:28 PM
      Thanks for all these comments.

      I agree that there is a certain ironical tone in Josephus' account from Jerusalem (V.11.3) when it comes to the failure of the "Macedonians". It also seems likely that they were a sort of hyspastists or peltasts, as that type of soldiers were common as bodyguards during the Hellenistic period.

      But when it comes to the role of the prince himself, I am uncertain if his performance is portrayed with irony, for in the passage about the downfall of Commagene (VII.7:1-3), he is once again described as fearless, responsible for engaging the Romans in battle. The problem is only that Josephus has forgotten or omitted his previous experience.

      It is probably true that many character descriptions by ancient authors should be seen largely as anecdotes, and these anecdotes are not always consistent.

      Regards,
      Jens Jakobsson


      --- In seleukids@yahoogroups.com, Cristian Emilian Ghita <ghitacristianemilian@...> wrote:
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      > Hello, Jens!
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      > Another possibility is that the first passage is written in ironic key. If I remember the passage correctly, there is a certain crescendo to the description of the soldiers, linking them to Alexander's own Companions, then inserting a sly remark that they may look like Macedonians but were not exactly that, and ends the description in an anticlimax, portraying them as beaten at the first attack. This is what leads me to believe that the passage is meant rather to portray the prince as a snob. However, if this is a back-handed slap at the Seleukid ANtiochos IV, I could not tell...
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      > --- On Thu, 29/7/10, Jens <jens.jakobsson@...> wrote:
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      > From: Jens <jens.jakobsson@...>
      > Subject: [seleukids] Josephus description of the Commagenean Antiochus Epiphanes
      > To: seleukids@yahoogroups.com
      > Date: Thursday, 29 July, 2010, 1:07
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      > Dear group,
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      > I am currently working on a manuscript about the last kings of
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      > Commagene. These kings were as you know related to the Seleucids
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      > (through Laodica, a daughter of Antiochus VIII) and used the name
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      > Antiochus. The last proper ruler was called Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and
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      > his son and joint regent was also named Antiochus Epiphanes, though he
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      > was referred to only as Epiphanes on his coins. The number of the king
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      > is of course a coincidence, but both these rulers were namesakes of the
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      > Seleucid ruler Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
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      > Josephus refers to the Commagenean prince on two occasions in Wars of
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      > the Jews.
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      > In V.11:3, the prince leads the Commagenean troops of his father to
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      > Jerusalem in AD 70, where they support Titus. Here the prince is named
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      > Antiochus Epiphanes, and he is described as a formidable warrior. He
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      > personally attacks the Jewish defenders leading a contingent called the
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      > Macedonians, being showered by arrows but never hurt. There is no other
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      > word than "Herculean" for his appearance.
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      > In V.7:1-3, describes the end of Commagene in AD 72. Josephus now names
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      > the sons of Antiochus IV as merely "Epiphanes " and "Callinicus" and
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      > states that they were "young and unexperienced in war". The older son
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      > is apparently the same as the leader of the forces against Jerusalem.
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      > Now, the name 'Antiochus' is dropped, and his military experience
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      > forgotten.
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      > Why did Josephus portray the same prince under different names, and also
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      > omit his military prowess? Presumably he did not proofread his
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      > manuscript that well, but is it also likely to believe that Josephus
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      > wanted to make the point that a man who could be called 'Antiochus
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      > Epiphanes' appeared outside Jerusalem? I.e., he describes the
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      > Commagenean prince as a formidable enemy of the Jews, because his
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      > namesake, the Seleucid king, had that reputation? Is it likely that the
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      > Commagenean "Macedonians", a contingent of elite youths armed after the
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      > Macedonian fashion, existed, or were they made up to make this Antiochus
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      > Epiphanes the leader of the Macedonians?
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      > Regards,
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      > Jens Jakobsson
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