Jesus was Caesar – Crux 3

Chapter  III, Part 3, of the English edition

© Francesco Carotta, Kirchzarten, Germany

© 2005, Uitgeverij Aspekt b.v., Soesterberg, The Nederlands

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Crux (3)

Caesar a prototype of Jesus?

All events related to Caesar’s death were so dramatic—with treason, murder, and subsequent apotheosis—that the Passion story of the god incarnate becomes the centerpiece of each vita of Divus Julius. That is why a biography of Caesar, especially an ancient one always reads like a hagiography and leaves an impression of sacredness. So for example it could be said:

    ‘…the panegyric Emperor-biography, composed by Nicolas of Damascus, Chancellor and Historian of Herodes’ palace in the years 23-21 BC, reads in part like a Gospel-text.’[179]

This is not limited to the pro-Caesarean authors nor does it rely on subjective impressions. That the Christian Easter-liturgy follows the ritual of Caesar’s funeral like a script has already attracted attention:

    ‘The funeral ritual for Divus Iulius [is] a unique passion-liturgy … this celebration is one of the most essential events of history contemporaneous with the New Testament.’[180]

This is all the more striking as one would expect that the Easter-liturgy would follow the Gospel and not the funeral ritual of Caesar. Some details and requisites are not grounded in the Gospel Passion-story, but they find their counterpart in Caesar’s funeral. Think for example of the unveiling of the cross, accompanied by the chant:

    ‘Here is the cross of torture on which the salvation of the world hung.’[181]

It corresponds to the action of removing Caesar’s toga on the tropaeum and to the content of the words of Antonius. Think of the ensuing improperia, the lamentations of the crucified one over the ingratitude of the people of Israel which are sung in the Catholic liturgy of the Good Friday Mass. They conform to Antonius’ demonstrated repetitive example: the reading out of each of the benefactions conferred on his people which are counter-pointed by the lamentations over the murder of God. Consider the beginning:

    ‘My people, what did I do to you? How did I offend? Answer me. I led you out of Egypt, you lead your savior to the cross.’[182]

It sounds like the words spoken through Caesar’s death-mask: ‘Ah, did I
save them, that they should murder me?’ Only that here the liberation from the threat of the Gauls is spoken of, there it is the liberation from the hand of Egyptian oppression, and, instead of the lines from Pacuvius and the Electra, one seems to hear those verses from the Bible with a parallel meaning, which would have been recited by the Jews who, as Suetonius tells us, kept a long vigil at Caesar’s funeral pyre and sung ‘songs of lament’—‘according to their custom’.[183]

Think of the adoration of the cross, of the procession behind the cross, and finally of the renewing of baptismal vows. There is also the Easter-fire on Holy Saturday. While the congregation waits in the dark church for the Easter Light, the priest ignites a small pile of wood, a little pyre outside, on which the Easter candle is lit.[184] The correspondence with the funeral pile and Caesar’s apotheosis is striking, even in the re-enactment: the believers carry the fire into the night, as once the fire-brands were carried to the houses of Caesar’s murderers, whereas the holy water sprinkled and distributed in the church recalls the corresponding extinguishing of the fires. The Easter-communion itself—where nothing is permitted to remain—evinces an unsettling symmetry with the total annihilation of Caesar’s intimate, Cinna.

There even appears to be another corresponding custom preserved by the people independent of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. When the triumvirate finally managed to gain the upper-hand over the murderers of Caesar, they decreed that the Ides of March—which the murderers had celebrated on their coins as the day of liberation from the tyrant—be damned as dies parricidii, ‘the day of parricide’. Further, they converted the venue of the murder, Pompeius’ Curia, into a latrine, so that everyone had the opportunity to express their greater or lesser opinion of the self-styled Liberators.[185] The Catholic farmers in Germany, at least those from within the limes, seem to have conserved this practice until today, because they regard the celebration of Good Friday as a provocation, and on that day they vent their displeasure by spreading compost and manure on their fields.

A chronological Re-Orientation?

Now, as is well-known, Caesar is a century more ancient than Jesus (born exactly 100 years before the official birth of Christ) and he died still 76 years before Jesus (Caesar 44 BC, Jesus traditionally 33 AD). So four to five generations lie between them.

Thus the cult of Divus Iulius is older than that of Jesus, and in the face of change, liturgy tends to be conservative. We can rule out the notion that the similarities between the two rituals can be attributable to their both drawing upon collective oriental examples,[186] because Caesar’s ritual was improvised—it had to be—due to the context in which it fell. So it is more logical to consider the unconventional but nevertheless possible alternative, namely, that Divus Iulius could have been the prototype for Jesus.

And our texts even offer some circumstantial evidence for this assumption.

A praetexta?

In the reconstruction of Caesar’s funeral, Appianus was our main source with Suetonius serving as a guideline. Appianus is more elaborate, but his offerings have a repetitive character. These repetitions give rise to the supposition that he employed not only the Historiae of Asinius Pollio as a schema,[187] but used literary sources as well.[188] We can point to the funeral oration of Antonius as a possibility, which was published according to custom, or even a praetexta Iulius Caesar[189] which developed from it—a drama—written with classic Roman gravity. In fact, Appianus’ account reads like the libretto of a play, where the repetitions seem to arise from the arrangement of the different roles in sequences .

It is true that a praetexta Iulius Caesar has not been passed down to us, but it is quite probable that Antonius’ funeral oration was published.[190] And because Antonius, when giving his funeral oration, had the herald recite the decrees that honored Caesar while he himself only commented on them, and also selected the verses from the Electra and set the tone for the people’s chorus, then the text of his funeral oration must have had the character of a libretto. As flamen Divi Iulii, who on the basis of the honor decrees was beholden (like all the other priests) to liturgically celebrate Caesar’s victories annually, he would not have neglected to celebrate Caesar’s funeral, which precisely because of its staging and oratory could amount to his apotheosis. Had Appianus attended Passion-plays designed to honor Divus Julius? The immediacy that characterizes his account invites such a conclusion.

In light of this situation, it gives cause for thought that the tradition of the Passion play has been preserved right up to the present day—for which Appianus’ account could have served as an excellent exemplar.

Was it the original one?

In any case, in the sequence of Marcion, who saw Jesus on the cross as a mere phantasma (cf. Tert. adv. Marc. 4.42), and Nestorius, the Koran also rejects the notion that Jesus was crucified and it says, that ‘a very similar figure appeared to them’ or more precisely ‘was shown’ (sura 4.157). Hence it confirms that the idea of Jesus’ crucifixion was a later and contested one (as late as 325 ad, the Council of Nicaea in its creed, the Symbolum Nicaenum, in the original form does not say anything about crucifixion or Pilate[190b]). It even sounds as if it developed from a stage-setting that displayed Caesar’s wax-figure on the cruciform tropaeum. Was it the Passion play of the original Easter ritual? In actuality, Jesus is scarcely depicted dying on the cross throughout the whole of the first millennium (cf. also note 157 p. 384).

A delocalization?

In perusing the above cited historical texts, especially in the Greek original, it is striking that the sole reason we know that the whole scene occurred in Rome is because—we just happen to know it. The name itself is not mentioned: it is referred to as ‘the city’. It could be any city. The fact that Romans are involved does not locate the scene: at this time all the officials in the empire were Romans. Also the Senate is often called Synedrion,[191] so that we easily could imagine it to be in Jerusalem, all the more post festum, when only the mourning Jews remained at the reliquies. (cf. p. 79).

Caesar too, is barely mentioned by name:[192] we hear of the one ‘killed’, the ‘murdered’, the ‘martyred’, of the ‘dead’, the ‘corpse’, the ‘body’ and the ‘bier’, rarely of the ‘autocrat’, the ‘dictator’, the ‘king’, or the ‘tyrant’; but rather we hear of the ‘high priest’, ‘son of God’, of ‘God’; or of the ‘saviour’, the ‘father’, and if we do hear of him , then it is just ‘him’. It could easily be assumed that another person is being spoken of—Jesus.

The personae surrounding him play well-known roles too: there is a follower who betrays him, and a murderer who gets an amnesty; there is somebody who bears his cross, someone who demands his body, and somebody who proclaims his apotheosis.

The requisites also seem to be familiar: the cross-shaped tropaeum, the wax-figure on the cross, the spear, the passion-garment, the improperia, the Easter fire, the empty tomb, the stone that has rolled over. And—we even have the Via Dolorosa and the Pietà:

    ‘A little later, three slaves, who were nearby, placed the body on a litter and carried it home through the Forum. The wounds on the face and the arms hanging down were visible on both sides, as the curtain had been drawn back. There was no one who refrained from tears at the sight of him who for a long time had been revered as a god. Much weeping and lamentation accompanied them from either side, from mourners on the roofs, in the streets, and in the vestibules. When they approached his house, a far greater wailing met their ears, for his wife rushed out with a number of women and servants, calling on her husband and bewailing her lot in that she had in vain counselled him not to go out on that day. But he had suffered a fate far worse than she had feared.’[193]

All the participants in the Roman drama were incidentally old acquaintances of the Jews, who remained conspicuously long at Caesar’s cremation site. Because they all had also made an appearance in Jerusalem: Caesar’s adversary Pompeius had conquered the city and the temple in 63. It is no coincidence that Cicero (Att. 2.9.1) mocked him as noster Hierosolymarius, ‘our Jerusalemite’—with a play on words on ‘Marius’, Caesar’s uncle. Pompeius had brought the rebellious Aristobulos as a captive to Rome. After Crassus’ defeat against the Parthians in 53/52, Cassius Longinus had been able to hold Syria and renegade Judaea only with brute force, in the process he had had Pitholaos, who had defected and led the rebellion after Aristobulos, executed—i.e. probably crucified. At the beginning of the civil war Caesar had freed Aristobulos and sent him back to Jerusalem—without success, because some Pompeians poisoned him. For a long time the burial of his body was denied until Antonius later sent it, embalmed in honey, to the Jews to bury it in the royal tombs (cf. note 183).

Now all these Jerusalemite protagonists cast similar, appropriate respective roles in Rome also:

Pompeius was dead already, but it was in front of his statue, which incidentally Caesar had had re-erected, where Caesar was murdered. Thus Pompeius had his revenge, but also showed himself to be ungrateful posthumously.

Cassius Longinus had raged and murdered again. And the exposition of Caesar’s body as a wax simulacrum on the cruciform tropaeum had to have even more so called to mind the execution of Pitholaos by the hand of the same Longinus, as well as all the other crucified ones of Judaea.

And Antonius repeated the same act of piety on Caesar that he once had shown to Aristobulos: again he has the dead one buried anyway, against the resistance of the Pompeians. This time he does not have the martyred body embalmed in honey, but, appropriate for the cremation, duplicated and affixed to the cruciform tropaeum not least to the shame of Longinus.

Now all these players, well-known to the Jews, also appeared in a drama which happened during their most important holiday: Passover.

An accidental coincidence of the calendar?

Caesar had reformed the calendar one year earlier (46/45), switching over from the old-Roman solar-lunar one, which had got into disorder, to the solar one, called the Julian after him—which actually made the concurrence of the Roman Ides on the 15th of March, now reckoned according to the sun, with the Jewish Passover, still reckoned according to the moon, on the 15th of Nizan, a rarity. However, since Caesar apparently let the first year of the new calendar, 45, start with the moon prima luce, it just so happened that in 45 BC the 15th of March, was a full moon day: that is to say that on the Ides of March of the initial year it was Passover at the same time (cf. note 183).

This, of course, changed in the following years, because there is a difference of 11 to 12 days between solar and lunar years. Since the future is, in a sense, already present at the beginning, however, and since the Jews at that time apparently conformed to the valid calendar of their respective area of residence in the timing of their Passover (cf. note 183), it might be that at least the Caesareans among them went with the Julian calendar in the next year also and celebrated Passover simultaneously with the Ides of March, on which a lamb was sacrificed also, the ovis idulis.

There is enough here to justify our looking for other evidence indicating that the cross of Jesus originated from Caesar’s tropaeum.

Let us first address the context.

The Crucifixion of Caesar

One of the more famous anecdotes concerning Caesar tells of when he fell into the hands of pirates during his youth. It happened near the island of Pharmakussa, on the Ionian coast between Miletus and Halicarnassus. Caesar wanted to go to Rhodes to hear the lectures of Apollonius Molo, the most eloquent teacher of that time. Pirates were greatly feared because they did not handle their victims with kid gloves, even killing or throwing overboard the more obstinate. The pirates that captured him only wanted twenty talents ransom which insulted Caesar because, as he advised them, he was worth at least fifty. He sent his companions into the surrounding area to raise this hefty sum and spent almost forty days alone with the pirates during which time he complained when they disturbed his sleep, gambled and competed in fighting with them and read aloud poems and speeches. Since they were not enthusiastic Caesar called them uneducated barbarians and promised and swore to hang them soon. All this delighted their hearts and they thought they had hooked the most hilarious of patrons. So when he paid them the fifty talents ransom they readily let him go. When he reached shore he manned some ships, set out to sea, and surprised the pirates still anchored on the island. He captured most of them and had them crucified as he had sworn under oath to do, which they had taken to be his joking. But because he abhorred cruelty even in revenge, he had them strangled first so that they would not suffer.[194]

By the way, we should note that the Church, of all institutions, followed suit in this leniency in punishment and was always anxious to have heretics strangled before they were burnt at the stake. But back to our theme.

We see that from the start of his career Caesar was associated with crucifixion, but not in the same way as Crassus and Pompeius who defeated the Spartacus slave rebellion and lined the streets with the crucified rebels. For Caesar himself had fallen into the hands of those pirates who had furnished Spartacus’ fleet, and had risked being speared or drowned by them with scorn and derision.

The terminology does not allow enough differentiation to know whether Plutarchus says that Caesar had the pirates crucified or impaled, and says that when Caesar spoke the threat he said he would have them kremân, ‘hung by the neck,’ ‘hung’, or ‘strung up’.[195] When Caesar carries out the threat Plutarchus says that he anestaurôsen them, he had them ‘impaled’, ‘speared’. Suetonius remains vague at first and says generally that ‘he had them executed’ (supplicio adfecit), and then becomes more precise by saying literally that he had them ‘fixed, stuck to the cross’ (cruci suffixit). Strictly speaking, it cannot be decided from Suetonius either whether it is about a crux punica, i. e. acuta, a ‘punic’ or ‘sharp’ crucifixion, which was an impalement. For the Roman pronounced the penalty; the executioner carried it out according to the custom of the country or his own taste.[196]

Assuming it was a crucifixion similar to popular iconography, with the arms outstretched and nails in the hands and feet, we see that Plutarchus used stauros as root for his verb anestaurôsen, ‘he speared’. Stauros means primarily ‘stake’, in this case in the sense of a ‘martyr’s stake’ and is used as the translation for crux. Thus, here we would have, independent of Christian literature, an equation stauros = crux, ‘martyr’s stake’ = ‘cross’, and in fact one referring to Caesar, not to Jesus. The other verb that Plutarchus uses, however—kremô, ‘hang by the neck’, ‘hang’, ‘string up’—is so very similar to the Latin cremo, ‘burn, cremate’, that the cremated Caesar could become the ‘crucified one’.
Be that as it may, one must assume that at Caesar’s funeral the tropaeum that Antonius raised with Caesar’s simulacrum hanging on it was seen by people who remembered his pirate-crucifixion, and regarded this as a crucifixion committed by robbers on a Roman. Thus the assassins of Caesar must have been regarded as common criminals: an unbearable exchange of roles crying out for revenge.

It is therefore understandable why, when the tropaeum with Caesar’s wax effigy nailed to it was displayed, the people seized the first Cinna that they met, tore him apart, stuck his head on a pole and carried it around: occidit caputque eius praefixum hastae circumtulit, says Suetonius. We see here how this praefixum hastae, which is normally translated with ‘fixed on a lance’, but could as well be rendered as ‘hefted to a stake’—the original meaning of hasta is ‘pole’, thin ‘stake’, only later via ‘shaft’ did it come to mean ‘lance’—joins that suffixum cruci, ‘nailed to a martyr’s stake’ we came across with the pirates. Since Helvius Cinna co-suffered the martyr death of Caesar—lat. cruciatus—because of a mix up of names, the carrying around of Cinna’s hasta with his head on it can, under changed conditions, be perceived as co-carrying Caesar’s martyr stake, i. e. the cross of Jesus. Thus cruciatus becomes crucifixus, the martyr death becomes the crucified one and Helvius Cinna confused with Cornelius Cinna becomes one of the two crucified with him.

The tragedy within the tragedy

The decisive impetus for perceiving Caesar’s cruciatus as crucifixion was given by the repetition of Caesar’s assassination carried out on his successor and namesake Gaius Caesar, i. e. Caligula.

This time, too, the main ringleader was a Cassius (Chaerea), and that it was meant as a repetition of the ‘tyrannicide’ of the other Gaius Caesar is clarified not least by the watchword chosen by the murderers, which they shouted while stabbing with the daggers: Repete!—‘once more’ (cf. Suet. Cal. 58).

This second act of the assassination of Gaius Caesar took place during a mime play that was written by a Catullus (coincidentally also a namesake of Caesar’s bosom foe, the poet Catullus) and named after an infamous brigand: Laureolus—‘small laurel’. From Flavius Josephus we learn that in this mime play ‘the bandit chief was nailed to the cross’, and this had been consciously chosen as the background scene for the ‘spectacle of the tyrannicide’ performed on Caligula (Jos. A.J. 19.1.13 [§94]).

This, too, was no coincidence. Because it had been Caesar who had particularly supported the mime plays and himself had maintained mimes. And then a mime had also performed at his funeral, as we saw, imitating gesture and voice of the deceased and speaking, as if from beyond, the famous verse of Pacuvius: ‘Alas, did I save these men that they might murder me?’

Now Gaius Caesar had been murdered as a tyrant again, during a mime play, in which a bandit chief was crucified. It was inevitable that this would rub off on the later depictions of Caesar’s funeral—whether in Passion plays or in the liturgy. As a result, the exposition of his body as wax figure had to be perceived as crucifixion and mockery from the time of Caligula’s death.

Speaking of repercussions, let it be mentioned briefly here that the execution of Vitellius by followers of Vespasian might have molded the image of Jesus’ Via Dolorosa also. Suet. Vit. 17: ‘They dragged him to the Forum with his arms bound behind his back, a rope around his neck, with rent garments and half-naked. All along the Via Sacra he endured the grossest abuses by deeds and words…’.

The image of the flagellation of Jesus, which accompanies the crucifixion, however, was co-influenced by the manner of execution of Antigonus which Cassius Dio described as outrageous. Antigonus was flagellated and crucified in Jerusalem—by the hand of the same Antonius who performed Caesar’s funeral (cf. note 183).

But Caesar had himself already experienced a flagellation of sorts. His political enemies had a man flagellated in order to challenge and insult Caesar by demonstrating that the Roman citizenship rights he had granted to the man would not be honored (cf. p. 310).

Suppression by Decree?

What may have contributed to perceiving Caesar’s cruciatus as crucifixion, might have its roots in the original charter from the time of the Divus Iulius Cult.

The day of Caesar’s assassination, the Ides of March, was declared dies parricidii, the day of parricide, the dies ater, nefastus, the black day, the abominable day. Any recognition of the day and the deed was forbidden, because this would have led to its celebration by the anti-Caesar side also. The place of the assassination was even made into a latrine and thus the deed itself was presented as filth. The obvious consequence was the detachment of day and place from the memory of Caesar and the worship of the Divus Iulius. In a religious sense, the stabbing took place on no day and in no place, never and nowhere, i. e. it was rendered undone. The resurrection of Divus Iulius, rung-in with the people’s revolt at his funeral and completed by the victory over his assassins in Philippi, undid his death even more in retrospect, all the more since with Octavianus the new, younger Caesar, Divi Filius, existed, live and in the flesh. There was no death and no murder anymore. That which remained alive was the memory of the Passion, of the cruciatus, which naturally had to be relocated, while the expositio, the presentation of Caesar’s martyred body in the form of an exposed wax figure hanging on a tropaeum, had to be reinterpreted as a crucifixion (ill. 115 in note 157). That means that the first impetus to the reinterpretation of Caesar’s stabbing as the crucifixion of Jesus was the inherent necessity and inner logic of the Divus Iulius Cult. The mistakes of copyists and translators, who made cruciatus crucifixio, cremo kremô and the dagger of the conjuror Longinus the spear of the soldier Longinus, are not the result of their stupidity, but are their creative attempts to bring the history of the Passion in accord with the political and theological necessity of undoing the stabbing of Caesar.

An important point in the lex templi—the law that decreed the building of the Divi Iulii Temple on the place of Caesar’s cremation in the Forum Romanum initiating the worship of the new God throughout the entire empire—was the ban placed on the Gens Iulia from thenceforth carrying along images of the dead Caesar in the funeral processions of his family members. (In funeral processions it was the custom to carry the image of the newly deceased in front of the procession; from the family mausoleum the images of the dead family members came to meet him halfway, to welcome him, and to accompany him to the family grave). The reason was that, from that point on, he was no longer to be considered as a dead person—as his murderers, Cicero imprimis, would have wanted it—but as a living god, as the people demanded and Octavian decreed it. This ban had an iconographic effect and resulted in his image as Divus Iulius no longer having the facial features of Caesar (see ill. 48, 92, 98). This means that the uncoupling of Divus Iulius from Caesar was deliberate and desired from the beginning. So that the God—who, unlike the man from whom he emerged like a butterfly from a caterpillar, was never born and never died but always was, is and will be, eternally—having discarded everything human, is received, perfectly celestial, amongst the Gods.

The tropaeum


The Tropaea of the Pompeians and Caesar’s Cross


Sun, Moon and Stars


The Habitus of Divus Iulius


The Resurrection of Divus Iulius


Christophorus and other symbols


Caesar’s Saints


Divi Filius


The Trinity of Divi Filius


[ for the missing passages please refer to the printed edition ]

[ Excursus: Re-Orientation ]


Notes to III. Crux3

[ for a Greek text with diacritic signs please refer to the printed edition or to the PDF of the notes ]

[179] Stauffer (1957), p. 28—where in Bios Kaisaros we read ‘Emperor biography’, rather than ‘Caesar-biography’, because Nicolaus Damascenus starts by writing about the life of the young Caesar—Octavianus Augustus—then inserts an excursus about the elder Caesar, resulting in it becoming a central part of this ‘Emperor’-biography. [<]

[180] Stauffer (1957), p. 21. [<]

[181] Cf. Gregorian massbook, Good Friday: ‘Ecce lignum Crucis, in quo salus mundi pependit.’ [<]

[182] Cf. Gregorian massbook, Good Friday: ‘Popule meus, quid feci tibi? Aut in quo contristavi te? Responde mihi. Quia eduxi te de terra Aegypti: parasti Crucem Salvatori tuo […].’ [<]

[183] Suetonius does not say anything about why the Jews were so eager here. Although he is the only one amongst the ancient historians to report the presence of the Jews at Caesar’s cremation site, his testimony is generally not doubted by the commentators—there is speculation about their reasons, however.
Some say the reason for the affection of the Jews was Caesar’s pro-Jewish policy, since he had granted them many privileges and the right to practice their religion freely. Others say that the Jews were very thankful to Caesar because he had defeated Pompeius, who had conquered Jerusalem and desecrated the temple. They had seen in Caesar the avenging angel—or even the Messiah?
Both arguments seem to suggest themselves, even though they are not without certain contradictions.
The first one—that Caesar had granted a number of privileges and free exercise of religion—is based mainly on Flavius Josephus (Jos. JA 14.10.1): Caesar had declared the Jews living in Alexandria as ‘fellow citizens of the Alexandrians’—which was not a small thing, because only as such could Egyptians obtain Roman citizenship (cf. Plinius, ep. X, 6; 7; 10)—and allowed Hyrcanus to keep the office of Jewish high priest because he had come to his help with 1500 men in the Alexandrine war (Jos. AJ 14.10.2). In fact, however, according to the same Flavius Josephus, the Idumean Antipater governed Judea at that time, only pro forma on Hyrcanus’ order, and it was he who joined Mithridates with 3000 (that is, twice as many) ‘foot soldiers of the Jews’ (cf. Jos. BJ 1.9.3), made a good showing at the capture of Pelusium, was repeatedly wounded during the campaign, and persuaded the Egyptian Jews, who were fighting against Caesar, to change sides (Jos. JA 14.8.1). The Idumean Antipater whose wife Kypros, the mother of the later Herod the Great, was a Nabatean sheik’s daughter (Jos. BJ 1.8.9) apparently also lead the troops of his Nabatean father-in-law along with the cavalrymen of the Nabatean Malchus, whom Caesar had called for help, and who joined Mithridates Pergamenus, who was gathering auxiliary troops from Cilicia and Syria and was advancing by land on his way (B. Alex. 1.1 and 26). As reward, Caesar made Antipater a Roman citizen and procurator of all of Judaea after the war.
So he had allowed Hyrcanus to keep the religious office (of Jewish high priest), but had given the political one into the hands of an Idumean and his non-Jewish descendants. However, many among the Jews were glad about this also, the opponents of Hyrcanus as well as those who rejected all Hasmoneans as non-Davidians—e. g. the Pharisees—or were generally opposed to the kingship.
Anyhow, all were glad about Caesar’s clemency which they had experienced again, because the Egyptian Jews, especially those from the Onias destrict in Leontopolis—where since the conquest of Jerusalem by the notorious Antiochos Epiphanes stood a small copy of the Temple of Jerusalem—had fought against Caesar at first and only changed sides after the situation had already tilted in favor of Caesar, and only on massive pressure of Antipater who could produce letters of Hyrcanus on this matter. So they had reason to fear Caesar’s revenge. But he tempered justice with mercy this time also.
This could explain why the Jews were especially attached to him from then on.
How grateful they were to him can be recognized by a decree of Augustus whereby he affirmed the regulations of his adoptive father, which Flavius Josephus cites as one of the main records for the privileges granted to Hyrcanus (Jos. AJ 16.6.2[§162-165]).
Therein Caesar Augustus, pontifex maximus (arciereuV), tribunicia potestas permits, with reference to the fact that the nation of the Jews was found to be friendly (eucariston—socius et amicus populi Romani?) not only in his time but especially in the time of his father, the dictator Caesar, as well as due to the agreement of the Roman people: Jews are allowed to pursue their customs according to the ‘fatherly’ law as at the time of Hyrcanus, the high priest (arciereuV) of the ‘Highest God’ (qeoV uyistoV).
It is interesting here that ‘fatherly’ law means the ‘Caesarean’ one, the law of the ‘father’ of Augustus, i. e. Caesar’s law (cf. Noethlichs p 86). It may be asked whether the confusion with the ‘fatherly’ law of the Jews, i. e. their father Moses’, which suggests itself—incidentally, editors and translators usually blunder into it—was intended by Augustus who, as is generally known, aimed at identification (starting with his own with Caesar, whose name he did not take over by chance). QeoV uyistoV, ‘Highest God’ is what Jupiter was called (cf. thereto i. a. A.D. Nock, «The Guild of Zeus Hypsistos», Harv. Theol. Rev. 29, 1936, p. 39-88), an equating that was certainly intended by Augustus, a clear interpretatio Romana of Jahve = Iove.
High priest of the ‘Highest God’ (arciereuV qeou uyistou), anyway, was not only Hyrcanus but also Caesar, who was not only pontifex maximus but flamen Dialis, too, high priest of Jupiter: And he had appointed Hyrcanus as a smaller duplicate in Jerusalem, as it were. However, the deified Caesar himself was equated with Jupiter also, it is not by chance stated expressly with Cassius Dio (HR 44,6,4: kai teloV Dia te auton antikruV Ioulion proshgoreusan), so that Caesar appears here not only as father of Augustus but also of Hyrcanus and the Jews themselves, God the Father and Moses at the same time: As new Romulus he analogously was also a new Moses and as new Jupiter a new Jahweh as well. And as Augustus was his adoptive son, it seems here that Hyrcanus together with his God becomes adoptive too—to plagiarize Tertullian, who distinguished di adoptivi from di captivi (cf. Tertullian, apol. 10.5). This, incidentally, is confirmed by the fact that Augustus does not mention Judaea among the provinces nor the allies in his account of his deeds, thus expressing a personal relationship.
Hence, when Antonius lamented that Caesar, of all people, who had freed Rome from the Gallic threat like a new Camillus, had been murdered and all foreigners joined in suo more, ‘according to their customs’ and sang dirges, the Jews will probably have praised him as a new Moses, who had led them out of Egypt again and for whom they now prepared the ‘stake’: his stavrós—by which, at least for the Caesareans among them, was meant not the ‘cross’, the lignum crucis, but the ‘flammable wood’ for the pyre, as was right and proper for their savior, yes, their father and God (cf. note 157). The lament became an improperium addressing those who had joined the murderers thus making themselves co-responsible for his cruciatus.
So this fateful hour, on which opinions differed in Rome and the whole Empire, had also divided Jewry: The Caesareans among them—those who did not celebrate with Brutus and Cassius on the Sabbath after Caesar’s Passover and would rather be Sabbath desecrators than not mourn for him—had carried out the break with the old law and gone over to the new religion born in that hour: the cult of Divus Iulius which was to become Christianity after the Jewish war.
As for the second assumed reason: the fact that Pompeius, by capturing Jerusalem and storming the Jewish temple, did not make only friends among the Jews cannot be disputed. In the Jewish tradition he was never forgiven for entering into the holy of holies, which was forbidden not only for strangers but even Jews themselves (Jos. AJ 12.145sq). Still under Traianus when the insurrections broke out in Egypt in 115-117 the Jews exhumed the head of Pompeius from the grove, where Caesar had had it buried, out of revenge for the sacrilege of 63 bc (App. BC 2.90.380). But the fact of the matter is that in the process, Pompeius had entangled himself in inner-Jewish quarrels over the throne, in which the two brothers fighting over regality had made him arbiter, and he then had to support, together with the older one whom he favored, the younger one who was barricading himself in Jerusalem. ‘For this calamity of Jerusalem, only the conflict between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus was to blame’, Josephus himself realizes (Jos. AJ 14.4.5). He also gives great credit to Pompeius for not touching the temple treasure-unlike Crassus later on his unfortunate campaign against the Parthians, who took all the gold with him—and ‘behaving as one could expect of his virtue’: for he had the sanctuary purified again and appointed Hyrcanus as high priest (Jos. AJ 14.4.4). Also, we see that in the following Roman civil war ‘the people of the Hebrews and their Arabic neighbors’ (App. BC 2.71.294) stood on Pompeius’ side: so Pompeius must have come to an arrangement with not a few Jews after the capture of Jerusalem and they with him. That Caesar, inversely, did not only make enemies amongst the Jews by freeing Aristobulus, who had been arrested by Pompeius, cannot be disputed either. Aristobulus was an opponent of Hyrcanus though, who also had his sympathizers. Thus not all Jews will have been furious that the Pompeians poisoned Aristobulus soon afterwards, still in Rome, while in Syria Pompeius’ new father in law, Q. Metellus Scipio, had Aristobulos’s son decapitated. Furthermore Caesar had later not supported Aristobulus’ presumptuous and unreliable young son Antigonus but instead favored Antipater, who had more actively supported him and possessed scars all over his body. So one has to come to terms with the thought that Caesar had intervened in a biased manner with the Jews, as with all other peoples and nations, and as a result had aroused sympathies as well as antipathies—depending on one’s point of view.
The one who must have been hated by all Jews, whether Caesareans or Anti-Caesareans, is Cassius Longinus. Because in 53/52, after Crassus’ defeat against the Parthians, he had still been able to maintain control of the province Syria, then had turned against the rebelling province of Judaea, captured 30,000 Jews and in so doing had Pitholaus, who had defected and led the rebellion after Aristobulus, executed on Antipater’s advice, whom he held in high regard (Jos. AJ 14.7.3, Jos. BJ 1.89). Flavius Josephus does not say how Pitholaus was executed. So it will have been the usual way of execution for rebels, in Judaea normally crucifixion. Not the least significant was the fact that it was Aristobulus’ father Alexander Jannaeus, himself king of the Jews who had set standards in that respect. After he had killed umpteen thousands of Jews who were rebelling against him he had 800 of the captives nailed to the cross in the middle of Jerusalem and their wives and children slaughtered in front of their eyes, while he himself, boozing and lying with his concubines, was watching (Jos. BJ 1.4.5).
But now, nine years later, the same Cassius Longinus had made his mark for himself by murdering Caesar, and as a result the same Antipater joined him. Because of that, Caesar must have, for the Jews of Rome, inevitably become one of theirs, and the attempt on him an attempt on them too. They had suffered from the same deadly hand and naturally found themselves together in mourning, beyond all partiality. Caesar’s death from the hand of Cassius Longinus must have carried more weight for them than the fact that it had occurred in front of Pompeius’s statue. The exhibition of Caesar’s body, tortured by all the wounds, at the tropaeum must have seemed a crucifixion to them particularly.
This being true all the more so in recollection, by the time when Suetonius, one and a half centuries later, writes and reports of the conspicuously long time that the Jews remained at Caesar’s cremation site. For history had soon repeated itself among the children. The son of Aristobulus, Antigonus, who during an invasion of the Parthians in the year 40 as the last of the Hasmoneans, with their help had managed to become king instead of the captured Hyrcanus (in his hatred he had bitten off one of Hyrcanus’ ears, so that he could no longer be high priest, since bodily integrity was a pre-condition for that). Soon afterwards, in 38, he is captured himself by the Romans and brought to Antonius in Antiochia, where Herod, the son of Antipater, bribed Antonius to have him killed (Jos. BJ 1.357; Jos. AJ 14.489-491; 15.9sq). Here too, Flavius Josephus does not say what kind of execution it was. Cassius Dio however (HR 49.22.6) speaks about a flagellation and crucifixion of Antigonus before his killing, a punishment that no other king had ever suffered under the Romans. One may ask oneself how much this flagellation and killing of Antigonus by Antonius may have affected the transformation of the exhibition of the tropaeum with the wax figure during Caesar’s funeral, directed by the same Antonius.
But for the moment, Antonius’ act of piety towards Caesar, preventing his body from being dragged like that of a tyrant through the streets of Rome and then thrown in the Tiber—as his murderers had planned—must have evoked, especially among the Jews, the memory of a previous act of piety by the same Antonius towards Aristobulus. This man had been brought captured to Rome by Pompeius in 63, and was able to flee together with his son Antigonus seven years later in order to take possession of Judaea again. But the rebellion failed and Aristobulus was brought to Rome a second time. However, in 49 Caesar freed him to fight the civil war for him against Pompeius in Judaea, for which he gave him two legions (Cass. Dio HR 41.18.1)—whereupon he was poisoned by Pompeians. His body, too, was denied a burial in home soil until Antonius finally sent it to the Jews, embalmed in honey, to be buried in the royal tombs (Jos. AJ 13.16.1-14.7.4; BJ 1.5.4-9.1).
Furthermore, it must be taken into consideration that Caesar did pay back, with high interest, all the money he had borrowed for ‘his Gallic tarts to pay’, as his soldiers had poked fun during the triumphal procession, and the amount was not negligible. But he was already about to go to war again, namely against the Parthians in order to grind out the defeat of Crassus. For that he had put 19 legions on stand by and sent them ahead. To finance the forthcoming greatest of all wars—after crushing the Parthians he wanted to attack the Germans from the rear in the East, marching around the Black Sea through the regions of the Scythes and the Sarmatians, and thus close the gap to Gaul—he had borrowed great sums of money again. We know about the hectic minting activity of those last months of his life. For it the financially strong Orientals will have been asked to pay up also, without exception—according to his well-known maxim: ‘One needs money for the soldiers and one has soldiers for the money’. We thus have to assume that the Jewish financial circles took part one way or another. He will have particularly considered their inclusion for the reason alone that the Jews of the Adiabene were under Parthian sovereignity and a pro-Parthian party was active in Judaea. Therefore, after Caesar’s assassination all was at stake for the Jews on Caesar’s side as it was for all other Caesareans—not least the return of the temple treasure formerly purloined by Crassus, which could have been expected from a Caesar victorious against the Parthians.
For these reasons it can be concluded that Caesar’s policy was not hostile towards the Jews, even if it was not conflict-free, and that it obligated as well as involved the Jews living in the City and the Empire. That is why Suetonius’ remark that the Jews in Rome stayed and mourned at the site of Caesar’s cremation for a long time can be regarded as certain and justified.
But is this sufficient to explain why they lingered there for a conspicuously long time?
Fortunately, as is often the case, the solution to the mystery is simpler than one might think. We have seen that the fifteenth of the Aramaic month Nisan (Hebrew Abib), i. e. the first month of spring, beginning with the new moon, corresponds with the Ides of March. This is based on the calculation of the Jews for their Passover-feast ‘after the cycle of the moon beginning from the spring equinox (= depending on calculation, between the 20th and 25th of March)’ (Philo zu Ex. 12.2). But because all the other nations in principle did the same, as a rule they used the month of the civilian calendar of the respective areas wherein the spring equinox occurred—so in Syria it was regularly the Xantikos, in Alexandria the Parmuthi and in Rome just March. On the full moon of this month the Passover was celebrated (cf. G. Gentz, RE s. v. ‘Ostern’ Sp. 1647-48). But now, one year earlier, 45 bc, Caesar had introduced the solar calendar, named the Julian calendar after him. Chance has it that on the Ides of March 45 BC it was full moon as can easily be calculated on the basis of Julian calendar which is still valid in the Eastern Church, as well as with the help of the Easter tables of Dionysius Exiguus. In the first year according to the new calendar the month of March perfectly corresponded to Nizan.
This was different in the following year because there is a difference of 11 to 12 days between solar and lunar years. However, since the future is, in a sense, already present at the beginning, the Jews among the Caesareans, respectively the Caesareans among the Jews, might very well have celebrated their Passover in Rome in the year 44 BC on the same date as the Romans did the Ides, which also included the ritual offering of a lamb—ovis Idulis—to Jupiter. This happened at the end of the 14th and in the beginning of the 15th, because the day was reckoned as beginning at evening. But for the Jews, the feast of the unleavened bread (matzoth) followed from the 15th till the 21st of Nisan (Lv. 23.6). This means that they still had at least one holiday left until the end of the Matzoth festival after Caesar’s funeral, which happened presumably on the 20th (cf. u. a. Drumann-Gröbe 1.417). So, even if they did not have more reason to keep vigil at Caesar’s funeral site than other denizens of Rome, they had more spare time.
It should be pointed out here that this fact—Matzoth festival following Passover in the Jewish religious calendar—later led to to continual arguments with the Christians, when they began to reckon Easter according to the solar/lunar system in order to prevent ‘dark Easter’ without a moon (which happened regularly during the use of the purely solar Julian calendar; that the Christians originally always celebrated Easter in March is substantiated by Tertullian, de jejun. 14: pascha celebramus annuo circulo in mense primo). Because, whereas the Christians fasted until the resurrection of the Lord, the Jews terminated their fasting on the evening of the 14th, which led to the impression that they were scoffing at the death of Jesus or even that they were glad about it (cf. Epiph. 70.10 sq). But when the Christians joyfully celebrated the resurrection, the Jews still ate unleavened bread and bitter herbs for some days (namely the Matzoth is celebrated en pikrisin, ‘in bitterness’, cf. Ex. 12:8), leading again to the assumption that they were mocking Christ’s resurrection. This led to continuous irritations and finally to the determination of the Christian Easter so that it no longer coincided with the Jewish celebrations.
But back to Caesar and our question:
A clear indication of this associating by some of the Jews with the murderers of Caesar is given by Flavius Josephus himself.
Among the Roman benefactors of the Jews—who secured their cult which encountered resistance in the whole Empire and especially in the free towns or those allied with Rome in Asia minor—Josephus (Jos. AJ 14.10) counts, besides Caesar, who apparently made a start, and Augustus who confirmed it, a proconsul Marcus Iunius Brutus, Son of Iunius, of all people, who according to the predominant opinion of the commentators is the murderer of Caesar (AJ 14.10.25 [§262-264]; cf. Benedictus Niese, Flavii Iosephi Opera, Berlin 1892, vol. III, p 288, among other things the lection Marcus Iunius Brutus, Son of Caepio, as well as Noethlichs (1996), p. 85 and note 480). It is said that this Brutus had been requested by the Jews of the town of Ephesos that they might practice Sabbath and traditional customs without interference and he as the proconsul had conceded this to them. Hence the Ephesians decided: According to the Romans nobody shall prevent a Jew from celebrating the Sabbath or for this reason convict him to pay a fine, but the Jews may do everything according to their laws.
If Jews should have stayed particularly long at Caesar’s cremation site out of gratitude to him, then other Jews should have abstained from it out of gratitude to Brutus. Even if one assumes that Brutus gave that permission to the Jews of Ephesos only later, e. g. 42 bc when he was in Asia, one would hardly want to suppose that Brutus had favored the Jews then, shortly before his Philippi, where the demon of the dead Caesar was to appear before him again, if they all had been with the mourners and so had been counted among those who had caused his flight from Rome. On the contrary: Just then, at the time of Caesar’s funeral, the association between Brutus and likeminded Jews must have arisen and it must have had to do with the Sabbath celebration. Had they celebrated the Quinquatrus falling on the Sabbath of the week of Passover not only at the same time, but also together?
A coincidental similarity in the appearance and manner might have also contributed to the fusion of the image of the Jews with that of the murderers of Caesar. These, who posed as liberators, ostentatiously wore the pilleus, a felt hat or cap, the traditional Roman liberty cap. Brutus had it stamped on his coins, between two daggers and the inscription eid(ibus) mar(tiis), ‘on the Ides of march’ (cf. ill. 30, p. 95), as a sign of the regained liberty of the Roman citizens from the alleged tyrant. Now, the same pilleus was also worn by freedmen as a sign of their personally won liberty (cf. Marquardt–Mau (1886) p. 355 u. Anm. 8: Nonius p. 528: Plautus in Amphitruone (462): Ut ego hodie raso capite calvus capiam pilleum.—‘in order that I, with shaved head, receive the cap of liberty today’). It was far from uncommon that the Jews gained Roman citizenship by way of manumission, and so they presented exactly this habitus (which Jews, bound to tradition, interestingly maintain until today). It was a similarity that was even completed by the fact that Brutus wore a beard in order to emphasize the connection with the old Brutus, while those mourning over Caesar did not shave either anymore (according to custom). Since in times of tumults, in dangers, in war, and eminently during civil war, it was usual practice servos ad pilleum vocare—‘to call the slaves to the liberty cap’, which means promising them liberty so that they joined in the battle instead of running away or defecting. And since Brutus did call all to insurrection, it probably resulted in many a confusion with fatal consequences. Caesar’s friend Helvius Cinna had indeed been lynched by the enraged crowd only because he was mistaken for the homonymous Cornelius Cinna, who had spoken against Caesar. So the uncanny situation arose that Caesar’s freedmen, especially those named in the testament, who according to tradition walked alongside the relatives and heirs in front of or beside the bier out of gratitude, that they wore the same cap as the conspirators and all those to whom Brutus had given liberty in the heat of the battle. On that day all wearers of caps lived in danger, all the more so if they wore a beard also. And if the conspirators had left Rome even before the funeral reception (cf. Nic. Dam. 17, Plut. Brut. 21), the same crowd that tore Helvius Cinna into pieces on the spot without listening to explanations, certainly caught many another man, whether he was the right one or not.
A reverberation of this ambivalent relationship, first of the Caesareans and then of the Christians, towards the Jews could also resonate in Suetonius’ account. Writing between two Jewish wars, the secretary of Hadrian—who soon had to cope with the Bar-Kochba insurrection—at any rate, always reports on the negative attitude of the emperors towards the Jews and with a preference to issues connected with money or expulsions at that. (The famous passage that we already dealt with in the chapter ‘Re-Orientation’—Suet. Claud. 25.4: Iudaeos impulsore chresto assidue tumultuantis Roma expulit—does not make an exception either, since we meanwhile know, how it is translated correctly: ‘…he banished from Rome the Jews, who were practicing usury and by that continually created unrest’). So that one finally is quite surprised to learn that Jews stayed particularly long at Caesar’s cremation site, when he has not given a reason for it. What did he want to say? Look, all emperors after Caesar treated the Jews badly, only Caesar did not: for they mourned especially long over his murder? Does Suetonius here really want to praise their reverence—that the Jews had stood at his bustum out of attachment and adoration to Caesar and stood there longest of all, even longer than the Gauls themselves—or rather to report gossip—that they had stood there longest of all, at night, in order to hush up the fact that they together with Antipater, were already about to reach an agreement with the murderers of Caesar, or even, to have the opportunity to screen the ashes for gold. Or both?
Suetonius remains silent about why the Jews were so eager here. But by the sequence of his account he seems to suggest ironically to the reader what they might have been looking for in a place where such a lot of jewelry had come under the ashes—relics? Because staying longer than necessary at a bustum, a spent funeral pyre, was suspicious, for it was implied that one might search through the ashes for the remnants of the molten valuables that had been thrown into the fire by the mourners.
That even respected personalities were not immune to that suspicion is shown by Plutarchus who reports an accusation of Cato, who was above suspicion, a reproach which probably was raised by Caesar in his Anticato against the upholder of moral standards he was in conflict with. When Cato’s brother died, Cato had arranged a splendid funeral, in which a lot of incense goods, many precious garments and much jewelry donated by cities and rulers had been burnt together with the dead. Cato pretended to not want to accept money and gifts, but had to put up with being reproached in writing of having sieved the ashes of the deceased in order to get hold of the melted gold (Plut. Cato Minor 11). Since the reproach against Cato had been taken up by Caesar himself in his Anticato (cf. Tschiedel (1981) p. 113 sqq), Caesar’s followers will hardly for their part have sieved Caesar’s ashes: ergo it remained a ‘valuable’ relic in that respect also. The oldest sacral law, recorded in the twelve tables, forbade giving the dead person gold into the grave (‘Neve aurum addito … Cui auro dentes iuncti escunt, ast im cum illo sepelirei ureive se fraude esto.’: cf. Cic., leg. 2.24.60. This was probably in order to not encourage desecration by plunderers). In Caesar’s case, at any rate, it is said that only the bones which remained after the cremation were picked up for burying in the family tomb (cf. Dio Cass. HR 44.51.1-2: ta gar <osta> autou oi exeleuqeroi proaneilonto kai eV to patrwon mnhmeion kateqento—‘for his freedmen had already picked up his bones and buried them in the family tomb’), so that the relics now would have been available for picking up by the mourners, i. e. in the case of Caesar by the whole people, because except for the murderers all were mourning.
This, however, was risqué. Because the robbing of dead people was punishable with the death penalty and for its imposition during the civil war, the suspicion was sufficient. After Philippi, Antonius spread his very precious purple robe across the body of Brutus and instructed a freedman to take care of the burial. When he later learned that the freeman had not burnt the purple robe together with the body and also had embezzled a big part of the money destined for the burial, he had him executed (Plut. Ant. 22, Brut. 53) (Mark’s lection—‘…and when they had crucified him, they parted his garments casting lots upon them?’—could still retain a memory of that). And as burial gifts belonged to the dead person it is hardly conceivable that those, of all people, who had thrown the offerings on Caesar’s funeral pyre—and everyone had thrown just what they had with them, the actors their triumphal garments (cf. Suet. Jul. 84), the veterans their gold and silver decorated splendor weapons (cf. Suet. Jul. 67), the family mothers their pieces of jewelry and even the golden breast-plaques and purple-fringed tunics of their children—now went there again and fetched back remains of the melted things: A gift is a gift. But they must have been pikked up, those relics, because they were too valuable, in every respect. Since at first an altar was erected at the cremation site, where the people carried on bringing offerings, and later the temple of Divus Iulius was added, one could assume that those relics were kept in that temple, like exvotos. But did they all get there? Did they all still exist? That altar was first knocked over by the consuls, the initiators were killed, even crucified, and years passed until the temple of Divus Iulius could be consecrated. Had the same freedmen of Caesar, who had ‘picked up his bones and buried them in the family tomb,’ also saved the relics and did their status succor them in doing so, because being Romans and strangers at the same time, they were less affected by the religious taboos? And had they handed them over to the followers of Caesar from all the peoples of the earth whom Suetonius calls ‘the many foreigners who lived in Rome’, who ‘had sung dirges in groups according to their respective customs’ and who had thus now become the moving force of the cult of Divus Iulius? Had they distributed them among Caesar’s followers and thereby scattered them over the whole Empire, where they were kept in all the caesarea resp. basilicas, which had already emerged everywhere in the Empire and continued to emerge? And did ‘especially the Jews who even visited the cremation site for many nights in a row’ distinguish themselves in that respect too? In any case, when centuries later St. Helena, the mother of Constantine, let the allegedly ‘true cross’ be searched for and wanted to find it in Jerusalem and found it, it is said that the place was revealed to her by an inspired Jew (Cyriacus: cf. Paulinus of Nola, ep. 31.5). Had the tradition about it already formed from the relics at Caesar’s cremation site? Was it therefore regarded as a matter of course that ‘particularly the Jews’ knew where some, and not the unimportant ones, of ‘His’ relics were hiding? Did the traditional collecting of relics on the part of the Christians as well as the dealing in relics that inevitably went along with it, originate at Caesar’s cremation site? [<]

[184] In Jerusalem the Greek patriarch lights the Easter fire in the Holy Sepulchre. As he leaves the tomb, he lights the torches of the believers who then run with them out of the church and announce the resurrection: Christós anesti! In the Eastern churches (Greece, Armenia, etc.) the Easter fire is enormous, and in some rural parishes there is still an effigy of ‘Judas’ on top, understood by the people as the burning of Judas. A comparable custom is seen in the West too, indeed not always at Easter, but in the week between the 15th and the 20th of March, presumably the ancient date of Easter. For example at the ‘fallas’ of Valencia and environs they also burn a huge fire with effigies of Judas in multifarious variations. Does ‘Judas’ here stand for ‘Julas’, i. e. ‘Julius’? (Compare: IVLIVS > IOULAS > IOUDAS). With this custom the people would be faithfully re-enacting the cremation of Caesar’s body—which in the meantime had become incomprehensible to them—so they would have changed its meaning to the desired burning of Judas. [<]

[185] Cf. Dio Cass. HR 47.19.1. [<]

[186] Stauffer (1957), p. 135, note 4, does just this, but does not specify the common archetypes. [<]

[187] Cf. Gabba (1956), as well the Introduzione van Gabba (1958). [<]

[188] That Appianus could have used novel-like sources has often been suggested, cf. i.a. Schwartz (Ed.), RE, s. v. Appianus, Sp. 222-37, explicitly in reference to Antonius’ funeral speech: Sp. 230; André (1949), p. 41 sqq. [<]

[189] Weinstock (1971), p. 354. He points out that a praetexta Cato by Curiatius Maternus existed (Tac. Dial. 2.1; cf. Teuffel-Kroll 2.296, s. v. Vespasian), which leads us to assume a praetexta Iulius Caesar, in the same way that the Cato by Cicero was followed immediately by Caesar’s Anticato—and they were read in counterpoise. [<]

[190] Even if this is not absolutely confirmed by Cic. Att. 14.10.1 and Phil. 2.90 sq (cf. Drumann & Groebe, 1899-19222, reprint Hildesheim 1964, i p. 74), yet the publication of the oratio funebris by Antonius in accordance with Roman tradition is probable (cf. Bengtson (1977), p. 82 sqq). Hence the speech as rendered by Appianus can be regarded as authentic. [<]

[190b] The Original Form of the Nicene Creed, as adopted at Nicæa (A.D. 325), does not mention Pilate nor the crucifixion:
Pisteuomen eiV ena QEON PATERA pantokratora, pantwn oratwn te kai aoratwn poihthn.
Kai eiV ena kurion IHSOUN CRISTON, ton uion tou qeou, genneqenta ek tou patroV monogenh, toutestin ek thV ousiaV tou patroV, qeon ek qeou, fwV ek fwtoV, qeon alhqinon ek qeou alhqinou, genneqenta, ou poihqenta, omoousion tw patri: di ou ta panta egeneto, ta te en tw ouranw kai ta epi thV ghV ton di hmaV touV anqrwpouV kai dia thn hmeteran swthrian katelqonta kai sarkwqenta kai enanqrwphsanta, paqonta, kai anastanta th trith hmera, kai anelqonta eiV touV ouranouV, kai ercomenon krinai zwntaV kai nekrouV.
TouV de legontaV, oti hn pote ote ou hn, kai prin gennhqenai ouk hn, kai oti ex ouk ontwn egeneto, h ex eteraV upostasewV h ousiaV faskontaV einai, [h ktiston,] trepton h alloiwton ton uion tou qeou, [toutouV] anaqematizei h katolikh [kai apostolikh] ekklhsia.

And here its Latin Version according to Hilarius Pictaviensis (between A.D. 356 and 361):
Credimus in unum Deum Patrem omnipotentem, omnium visibilium et invisibilium factorem.
Et in unum Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei, natum ex Patre unigenitum, hoc est, de substantia Patris, Deum ex Deo, Lumen ex Lumine, Deum verum, de Deo vero, natum, non factum, unius substantiæ cum Patre, quod Græci dicunt homoousion; per quem, omnia facta, sunt, quæ in cælo et in terra; qui [propter nos homines et] propter nostram salutem descendit, incarnatus est et homo factus est, et passus est; et resurrexit tertia die, et ascendit in cælos; venturus judicare vivos et mortuos.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum.
Eos autem qui dicunt: 'erat, quando non erat,' et 'antequam nasceretur, non erat,' et 'quod de non exstantibus factus est,' vel 'ex alia, substantia' aut 'essentia,' dicentes ['creatum, aut] 'convertibilem et demutabilem Filium Dei,' hos anathematizat catholica [et apostolica] ecclesia.
Cf. The Creeds of Christendom with a History and Critical Notes, Volume II. The History of Creeds, by Philip Schaff:
Pilate and the crucifixion appear later, in the enlarged Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed (A.D. 325 and 381):
Notice that also numerous and important ante-nicene Church Fathers do not mention Pilate and the crucifixion in their Creed, i.a.: Cyprian (Carthage) A.D. 250, Novatian (Rome) A.D. 250, Origenes (Alexandria) A.D. 230, Gregory (Neo Caesarea) A.D. 270, Lucian (Antioch) A.D. 300, Eusebius (Caesarea, Pal.) A.D. 325, Cyril (Jerusalem) A.D. 350. [<]

[191] Cf. Nicolaus Damascenus, Bios Kaisaros, FGrH, ed. F. Jacoby, 26.82, i. a. [<]

[192] Suetonius does not mention the name Caesar at all in his report on the funeral (Jul. 84). [<]

[193] Nicolaus Damascenus, Bios Kaisaros, FGrH, ed. F. Jacoby, 26.97: oiketai de dh treiV, oiper hsan plhsion, oligon usteron enqemenoi ton nekron eiV foreion oikade ekomizon dia thV agoraV. oran d¢ enhn enqen kai enqen apestalmenwn twn parakalummatwn, aiwroumenaV taV ceira kai taV epi to' proswpou plhgaV. enqa oudeiV adakruV hn orwn ton palai isa kai qeon timwmenon: oimwghi te pollhi kai stonwi sumparepempeto enqen kai enqen olofuromenwn apo te twn tegwn kaq¢ ouV an genoito kai en taiV odoiV kai proquroiV. kai epeidh plhsion thV oikiaV egeneto, polu dh meizwn uphnta kwkutoV: ex<ep>ephdhkei gar h gunh meta pollou oclou gunaikwn te kai oiketwn, anakaloumenh ton andra kai eauthn oduromenh, oti mathn proulege mh exienai thn hmeran ekeinhn. twi d¢ hdh moira efeisthkei polu kreittwn h kata thn authV elpida. [<]

[194] Plut. Caes. 1-2: eit¢ apoplewn, alisketai peri thn Farmakoussan nhson upo peiratwn, hdh tote stoloiV megaloiV kai skafesin apletoiV katecontwn thn qalattan. Prwton men oun aithqeiV up¢ autwn lutra eikosi talanta, kategelasen wV ouk eidotwn on hrhkoien, autoV d¢ wmologhse penthkonta dwsein: epeita twn peri auton allon eiV allhn diapemyaV polin epi ton twn crhmatwn porismon, en anqrwpoiV fonikwtatoiV Kilixi meq¢ enoV filou kai duoin akolouqoin apoleleimmenoV, outw katafronhtikwV eicen, wste pempwn osakiV anapauoito prosetatten autoiV siwpan. hmeraiV de tessarakonta duein deousaiV, wsper ou frouroumenoV alla doruforoumenoV up¢ autwn, epi pollhV adeiaV sunepaize kai sunegumnazeto, kai poihmata grafwn kai logouV tinaV akroataiV ekeinoiV ecrhto, kai touV mh qaumazontaV antikruV apaideutouV kai barbarouV apekalei, kai sun gelwti pollakiV hpeilhse kreman autouV: oi d¢ ecairon, afeleia tini kai paidia thn parrhsian tauthn nemonteV. wV d¢ hkon ek Milhtou ta lutra kai douV afeiqh, ploia plhrwsaV euquV ek tou Milhsiwn limenoV epi touV lhstaV anhgeto, kai katalabwn eti proV th nhsw naulocountaV, ekrathse twn pleistwn. kai ta men crhmata leian epoihsato, touV d¢ andraV en Pergamw kataqemenoV eiV to desmwthrion, autoV eporeuqh proV ton dieponta thn Asian Iougkon, wV ekeinw proshkon onti strathgw kolasai touV ealwkotaV. ekeinou de kai toiV crhmasin epofqalmiwntoV (hn gar ouk oliga), kai peri twn aicmalwtwn skeyesqai faskontoV epi scolhV, cairein easaV auton o Kaisar eiV Pergamon wceto, kai proagagwn touV lhstaV apantaV anestaurwsen, wsper autoiV dokwn paizein en th nhsw proeirhkei pollakiV.
Suet. Jul. 4: […] Rhodum secedere statuit, et ad declinandam inuidiam et ut per otium ac requiem Apollonio Moloni clarissimo tunc dicendi magistro operam daret. huc dum hibernis iam mensibus traicit, circa Pharmacussam insulam a praedonibus captus est mansitque apud eos non sine summa indignatione prope quadraginta dies cum uno medico et cubicularis duobus. nam comites seruosque ceteros initio statim ad expediendas pecunias, quibus redimeretur, dimiserat. numeratis deinde quinquaginta talentis expositus in litore non distulit quin e uestigio classe deducta persequeretur abeuntis ac redactos in potestatem supplicio, quod saepe illis minatus inter iocum fuerat, adficeret.
Suet. Jul. 74: sed et in ulciscendo natura lenissimus piratas, a quibus captus est, cum in dicionem redegisset, quoniam suffixurum se cruci ante iurauerat, iugulari prius iussit, deinde suffigi […]. [<]

[195] Plut. Caes. 1-2: kai sun gelwti pollakiV hpeilhse kreman autouV kai proagagwn touV lhstaV apantaV anestaurwsen, wsper autoiV dokwn paizein en th nhsw proeirhkei pollakiV. Appianus also uses the same verb kremô for ‘to crucify’, for example when he reports that Antonius had the slave followers of Amatius crucified. App. BC 3.3.9: ewV eterwn epipemfqentwn ex Antwniou amunomenoi te anhreqhsan enioi kai sullhfqenteV eteroi ekremasqhsan, osoi qeraponteV hsan, oi de ejleuqeroi kata tou krhmnou katerrifhsan. As the rebellion originated because Amatius had erected an altar on the site of Caesar’s funeral pyre, the confusion of ‘to cremate’, cremo > kremô, ‘to crucify’, could have originated here. As statues of Caesar are also concerned here, called by Appianus—andriantes—similar to the word for the wax simulacrum on Caesar’s cross—andreikelon—the confusion could have been executed backwards there as well. To make it more complete, we note here that during the slaughter of Amatius’ followers, as well as during the cremation of Caesar, people were hurled from the Tarpeian rock—in the one instance the free citizens amongst the followers of Amatius and in the other the daring fellows who wanted to cremate Caesar’s body on the Capitol. Appianus calls the Tarpeian rock krêmnos ‘overhanging bank’—the root of which is the same as for kremô. Not by chance are both words found in the above cited quotation from Appianus—as if the one would demand the presence of the other: this could have given the last kick to the confusion. [<]

[196] Namely the fashion of crucifixion was not uniform: cf. Mommsen (1899), p. 918 sqq. [<]

[ Excursus: Re-Orientation ]