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Thread: Sparta and Judea

  1. #1 Sparta and Judea 
    Forum Freshman okamido's Avatar
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    In I Maccabees, the Spartan King Areus(309-265BC) is mentioned as well as his fellow Spartans, as being of the same "stock" as the Israelites by the High Priest Onias. Onias states that, "your stock and goods are ours, and ours yours".

    Areus responded back similarily," Areus king of the Lacedemonians to Onias the high priest, greeting: It is found in writing, that the Lacedemonians and Jews are brethren, and that they are of the stock of Abraham:Now therefore, since this is come to our knowledge, ye shall do well to write unto us of your prosperity.We do write back again to you, that your cattle and goods are our's, and our's are your's."

    Apparently ambasador's where sent back and forth over the next several decade, establishing a good enough relationship that allowed the ousted High Priest Jason to take final refuge in Sparta until his death in 168BC.

    Any thought on this interesting political friendship?


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    It's likely false mythologizing to justify a political partnership, even if we accept that the conversation ever occurred. Pleasant words to justify the military alliance against the Seleucids. Or, maybe they are referring to a past political marriage between royal families. There is substantial anthropological and historical information on the people of South-Eastern Greece, and there is no evidence I know of them sharing a close cultural connection or origin with the Israelites.


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    Forum Freshman okamido's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy View Post
    It's likely false mythologizing to justify a political partnership, even if we accept that the conversation ever occurred. Pleasant words to justify the military alliance against the Seleucids. Or, maybe they are referring to a past political marriage between royal families. There is substantial anthropological and historical information on the people of South-Eastern Greece, and there is no evidence I know of them sharing a close cultural connection or origin with the Israelites.
    I agree. I just found this "political friendship" to be odd at best while reading about it. At the time, Sparta was a shell of itself, not yet undergoing the brief resurgence of Cleomenes III. I just wondered what Onias was actually attempting to accomplish?
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    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by okamido View Post
    I agree. I just found this "political friendship" to be odd at best while reading about it. At the time, Sparta was a shell of itself, not yet undergoing the brief resurgence of Cleomenes III. I just wondered what Onias was actually attempting to accomplish?
    Maybe an "enemy of my enemy is my friend" sort of thing. There could have been a very good reason, but I don't know the historical conditions of the period well enough to feel comfortable in guessing.
    "I almost went to bed
    without remembering
    the four white violets
    I put in the button-hole
    of your green sweater

    and how i kissed you then
    and you kissed me
    shy as though I'd
    never been your lover "
    - Leonard Cohen
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    "enemy of my enemy is my friend" nice quotes (i_feel_tiredsleepy)
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