Friday, February 25, 2011

Spartan Hebrew Relations

Menelaus of Sparta travelled to Phoenicia after the Trojan War.

"I [Menelaus] wandered to Cyprus and Phoenicia, and to the Egyptians,
and reached the Ethiopians, Sidonians, and Erembi [Arabs],
and Libya, where rams become horned suddenly,
for the sheep give birth three times in the course of a year.
There neither lord nor shepherd lacks any
cheese and meat, or sweet milk either,
but the sheep always produce ample milk for suckling."
-- Homer, poet, Odyssey, Book IV, 83-89, 8th century B.C.

"Hiram gave his daughter to Solomon about the time of the arrival of Menelaus in Phoenicia, after the capture of Troy, as is said by Menander of Pergamus, and Laetus in The Phoenicia. ... Solomon, in whose days occurred the arrival of Menelaus in Phoenicia, as was said above." -- Clement of Alexandria, theologian, Stromata, Book I, 2nd century

1 Maccabees 12:
1: Now when Jonathan saw that time served him, he chose certain men, and sent them to Rome, for to confirm and renew the friendship that they had with them.
2: He sent letters also to the Lacedemonians, and to other places, for the same purpose.
3: So they went unto Rome, and entered into the senate, and said, Jonathan the high priest, and the people of the Jews, sent us unto you, to the end ye should renew the friendship, which ye had with them, and league, as in former time.
4: Upon this the Romans gave them letters unto the governors of every place that they should bring them into the land of Judea peaceably.
5: And this is the copy of the letters which Jonathan wrote to the Lacedemonians:
6: Jonathan the high priest, and the elders of the nation, and the priests, and the other of the Jews, unto the Lacedemonians their brethren send greeting:
7: There were letters sent in times past unto Onias the high priest from Darius, who reigned then among you, to signify that ye are our brethren, as the copy here underwritten doth specify.
8: At which time Onias entreated the ambassador that was sent honourably, and received the letters, wherein declaration was made of the league and friendship.
9: Therefore we also, albeit we need none of these things, that we have the holy books of scripture in our hands to comfort us,
10: Have nevertheless attempted to send unto you for the renewing of brotherhood and friendship, lest we should become strangers unto you altogether: for there is a long time passed since ye sent unto us.
11: We therefore at all times without ceasing, both in our feasts, and other convenient days, do remember you in the sacrifices which we offer, and in our prayers, as reason is, and as it becometh us to think upon our brethren:
12: And we are right glad of your honour.
13: As for ourselves, we have had great troubles and wars on every side, forsomuch as the kings that are round about us have fought against us.
14: Howbeit we would not be troublesome unto you, nor to others of our confederates and friends, in these wars:
15: For we have help from heaven that succoureth us, so as we are delivered from our enemies, and our enemies are brought under foot.
16: For this cause we chose Numenius the son of Antiochus, and Antipater he son of Jason, and sent them unto the Romans, to renew the amity that we had with them, and the former league.
17: We commanded them also to go unto you, and to salute and to deliver you our letters concerning the renewing of our brotherhood.
18: Wherefore now ye shall do well to give us an answer thereto.
19: And this is the copy of the letters which Oniares sent.
20: Areus king of the Lacedemonians to Onias the high priest, greeting:
21: It is found in writing, that the Lacedemonians and Jews are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham:
22: Now therefore, since this is come to our knowledge, ye shall do well to write unto us of your prosperity.
23: We do write back again to you, that your cattle and goods are our's, and our's are your's We do command therefore our ambassadors to make report unto you on this wise.
"And to all the countries and to Sampsames, and the Lacedemonians, and to Delus, and Myndus, and Sicyon, and Caria, and Samos, and Pamphylia, and Lycia, and Halicarnassus, and Rhodus, and Aradus, and Cos, and Side, and Aradus, and Gortyna, and Cnidus, and Cyprus, and Cyrene." -- 1 Maccabees 15:23

"Thus he [Jason] that had driven many out of their country perished in a strange land, retiring to the Lacedemonians, and thinking there to find succour by reason of his kindred:" -- 2 Maccabees 5:9

Ginsburg, M.S., Sparta and Judaea, Classical Philology, Volume 29, Number 2, Pages 117-122, Apr 1934


Jeffery Keown said...

So I tried finding an online copy of Durant's book, but no dice. I didn't know it covered Atlantis in such detail.

Anyhow... this post here shows that the Hebrews weren't separate from ancient culture. I think current belief is that they were special, but this is just a bias based on the Bible being the most common source of knowledge about them. It isolates them, from the point of view of a historical narrative.

All the more reason to buy into the theories at, say, where Judeaism is just a derived form of Canaanite worship, with Yahweh and Baal as members of a pantheon.

Gives plenty of creedance to the notion that lots of messiah stories and "Pagan Christs" were common before the rise of the Jesus Myth.

OilIsMastery said...


Like you, I also tried finding an online copy. Unfortunately, Google Books no dice and Amazon has no preview because it's an older book.

However, you should be able to find an offline copy quite easily (I have one at my Mother's house lol).

I agree that there are biases against the Jews.

I prefer to believe the Bible -- rather that Hebrew is just derived from Egyptian worship or rather as an alternative to Egyptian worship -- no image of God vs. images of gods.

Orpheus was one such pagan Messianic figure associated with Jesus - Orpheus torn apart by his enemies.

Jeffery Keown said... has some pretty convincing, if light, discussion of the concept that Jesus was "nothing new" and that there is plenty of evidence of prior iterations of Miracle-worker/sacrifice/ressurection/paradise stories.

Fungus FitzJuggler III said...

Christos is Greek
Krishna is Hindu

Arabs sat astride the trade routes to India and we use Al Gebra, and 0 and Arabic numerals ......

The Phoenix was the ship prow emblem that united and divided east from west in the same way that drove Columbus to find India by sailing west. The Phoenicians obtained their aleph bet from the east and their christ myths also. Did you not also quote that Egypt was possibly an Indian colony?