Wednesday, November 04, 2015

The Herodian Dynasty was Continuous (Kokkinos is wrong about the Coins of the Prefects)

In the book, Judea and Rome in Coins 65 BCE - 135 CE, Kokkinos wrote (page 89) that the period of Judean history from 6 - 36 CE was a "thoroughly misty period".   In my view this is an academic understatement.  He says that the coins of the period refer only "to individual emperors and their years of reign,".  He should have put a full stop after "reign", not a comma.  He continues in academic mode: "and therefore attribution to different prefects depends entirely on their names and chronology as worked out from Josephus." Kokkinos makes no comment on this.  The obvious extreme weakness here is that the only source for the information about the prefects is the writings attributed to Josephus.  What Kokkinos has not considered is that the prefects were the creation of Roman editors.  Given the unreliability of the writings attributed to Josephus, this must stand as a glaring misjudgment. 

So Kokkinos says that the coins of the period refer only "to individual emperors and their years of reign".  On page 90, he says that Octavian was named Augustus on 16 January 27 BCE, and the new Era (the Augustan Era of the years of Octavian's rule) backdated to 1 January.   I dispute the date of 1 January, and say that the Augustan Era was backdated to 31 BCE.   This was the year that Octavian effectively gained power at the battle of Actium. So we need to measure the Octavian/Augustan Era from 31 BCE to 14 CE.  The same method of marking coins was used to identify the years of Tiberius's rule (14 CE to 37 CE).  

In his will, Herod bequeathed his kingdom, divided into a tetrarchy (four kingdoms), to his four sons.  Like Herod, they were loyal supporters of Rome.  Aristobulus inherited the kingdom of Judea and Idumea,   Archelaus was made king of Samaria, Antipas king of Galilee, and Philip king of the north east  part of Herod's territory, Iturea and Trachonitis. When Archelaus was no longer king, Aristobulus took Samaria over, with the permission of
the Romans.  The four sons of Herod, Aristobulus, Archelaus, Antipas and Philip appear to have jointly issued coins, in the tradition of their father, with no image of themselves.  These coins are falsely regarded by scholars and numismatics alike as prefectural coins. Later Aristobulus' son Agrippa I did issue some coins with his image, for at least a part of his reign, presumably when he had recovered most of Herod's original territory.  

Some coins, supposedly only associated with Archelaus, are identified with Year 33 of Octavian's rule, which gives an actual date of 2 CE.  There are also coins marked Year 36 (5 CE) and Year 37 (6 CE).  Archelaus was supposedly removed from being king of Judea in 6 CE, according to Josephus.   Citing Dio, Kokkinos  says Archelaus was "banished sometime in 6 CE". He probably just died from an illness early in his rule.  Kokkinos remarks about the dating: "this is uncomfortable".  Thus the arrival for the first prefect of Judea, Coponius, all the other prefects, the liquidation of Archelaus's estate and the preparation for the census were creations of one Josephus (and Vespasian's other historians).  Vespasian could afford to re-write history - he had just stolen a vast fortune from the temple.   

Josephus did the same for the Roman appointment of high priests from the time of Judas Maccabeus.  There were no high priests from this time.  The priests were outcasts from the temple.  The Herodian period was simply a continuation of the Hasmonean period.  There were no separate periods.  From the time of Judas the history as recorded in Antiquities has been interfered with.  

A false history was created for the period 6 - 36 (and before for that matter).  It was really a partial period of  King Aristobulus's rule of Judea which the Roman historians (I include Josephus and other priests working for the Romans) rode roughshod over.  It was why in the writings attributed to Josephus they invented two Aristobulus's.  They falsified the death of the real Aristobulus at the hands of his father Herod.  This was to blacken Herod because he had served Rome well, assisting Augustus in the battle of Actium.   He had played a vitally important role in the battle and its aftermath.  This cost the death of his wife, father-in law and other relatives and friends.  Then the historians wrote another likely story about an Alexander, a nobody who happened to look like the real Alexander who had died, but who apparently left the real Aristobulus alive on the isle of Crete.  This tells you what Roman historians were like. ( 

Josephus himself gives the game away, as is obvious to a reader skilled in recognising created text.   He has nothing to say about the prefects and procurators except what he fabricates.  It is exactly the same with the high priests. He mentions only their appointment and subsequent replacement by the Roman authorities.  There are a few details, fabricated from an entirely Jewish problem, namely disputes between priests and prophets.