1 Reply on “Anti-Galilean quote

  1. Since Mohammad refuses to come to the mountain, I bring its foothills to to him. Not Gore Vidal, but then I’m not a Jew.
    The Conspiracy of Man
    Chapter I – The Essene and the Hasmonean
    The sun burned Babylon as it had for countless centuries. Its intense heat lay like a bright death shroud upon the city as two men, one tall and one short, wearing flowing, spotless, white robes, made their way through the narrow passageways formed by the city’s tenement walls. Centuries later, this maze of man-made canyons would be called streets.
    While the two brothers gave no outward sign of their agitation, their blood boiled hotter than the sun burning the rapidly shrinking Seleucid empire. No one held the sun to account however, for it wasn’t the sun that desiccated the empire, but the dreams of men that shriveled it towards demise.
    The region had once been unified as part of Alexander’s expansive empire, but after his death in 323 BC, it was ruthlessly dismembered by greater and lesser leaders of other nation states. The true test of man’s power is what remains after his death. Alexander’s power was as ephemeral as all dreams from which one must awaken. Romans, Indians, Macedonians, Parthians – collectively served as crowing rooster for Alexander’s great dream. However, the Jews of Babylon were not truly roused from their slumber until Seleucus’ younger brother, Antiochus IV Epiphanes seized the throne.
    He was referred to by his contemporaries as “Epimanes” or “The Mad One”, a pun on his title, Epiphanes. The sobriquet lent itself well to Antiochus’ treatment of Jews under his dominion. In 168 B.C., Antiochus was leading his second attack on Egypt, but before he could reach Alexandria, he found his path blocked by an old Roman ambassador. Gaius Popilius Laenas, stood firm that day to deliver a message from the Roman Senate, a challenge that would survive history as “a line in the sand”. Popilius demanded Antiochus either withdraw his armies immediately from Egypt or consider himself at war with the Republic.
    According to the Roman historian Livy, “After receiving the submission of the inhabitants of Memphis and of the rest of the Egyptian people, some submitting voluntarily, others under threats, Antiochus marched by easy stages towards Alexandria. After crossing the river at Eleusis, about four milliarium from Alexandria, he was met by the Roman commissioners, to whom he gave a friendly greeting and held out his hand to Popilius. Popilius, however, placed in his hand the tablets on which was written the decree of the senate, telling him to read it first.
    After reading it through, he said he would call his friends into council and consider what he ought to do. Popilius, stern and imperious as ever, drew a circle round the king with the stick he was carrying and said, ‘Before you step out of that circle give me a reply to lay before the senate.’ For a few moments Antiochus hesitated, astounded at such a peremptory order, but at last he replied, ‘I will do what the senate thinks right.’ Not till then did Popilius extend his hand to the king as to a friend and ally. Antiochus evacuated Egypt at the appointed date, and the commissioners exerted their authority to establish a lasting concord between the brothers, as they had as yet hardly made peace with each other.”
    “Mad” though he may have been at times, Antiochus was quite sane when faced with the prospect of war with the rapidly expanding Roman Empire. Understandably, the Greek king deferred to the demand. Antiochus returned home, his soul burning from the nasty sting of ignominious defeat by a simple circle drawn in the sand, but even as he struggled with Rome’s rude, iron-fisted diplomacy, the Jew’s seized their chance. While Antiochus was busy dancing in the sand, rumor spread of his death.
    Shortly before, the High Priest Onias III had been replaced by his brother Jason. For financial reasons Antiochus supported Jason and his reform party. In return for a considerable sum, he permitted Jason to build a Greek style gymnasium in Jerusalem, where the Greek mode of education would be introduced to Jewish boys. Jason’s tenure as high priest, or kohein gadol, came to an abrupt end when he sent Menelaus to deliver an even larger tribute to Antiochus. Instead, Menelaus used the money to buy the priesthood for himself. The predictable result of this subterfuge was Antiochus’ confirmation of Menelaus as kohein gadol.
    Jason quickly fled Jerusalem to find refuge among Ammonites. Hearing the rumor that Antiochus was dead, the deposed kohein gadol gathered a force of 1,000 soldiers to launch a surprise attack on Jerusalem.