Josephus and a date for Philip's death

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Fingy
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Josephus and a date for Philip's death

Post by Fingy »

I was reading Josephus' description of the assassination of Caligula and came across this interesting passage. Josephus claims that Caligula and Philip were assassinated on the same day, the 24th of January.

Jewish Antiquities 9.95 "It is also agreed that the day of the year was the same as that on which Philip, the son of Amyntas and king of the Macedonians, was slain by Pausanias, one of his companions, as he entered the theater".

The notes tell me that they could not have occurred on the same day as Philip was killed in the autumn. Is there any possibility that Josephus is correct? Didn't he have much better sources at his disposal than modern historians?
agesilaos
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Re: Josephus and a date for Philip's death

Post by agesilaos »

He had more sources available but since the sources he used for his Caligulan narrative were Roman it is likely that he found the synchronism in them and simply repeated it. They seem to have confused Alexander's accession and hence Philip's death with a traditional date for his birthday. 24-1-41 was 2nd Shabatu which equated to the Macedonian month of Dystros in Philip's day (and Caligula's) but had slipped to Peritios, the previous month, by Josephos'.

We know the date of Alexander's death 30th Daisios and Aristoboulos gave the length of his reign as 12 years and eight months, Diodoros, working from the most popular Alexander historian in the early empire gave 12 years seven months. Counting back from Dystros these bring you to Loios which Plutarch claims as Alexander's birthday. Aristoboulos says that Alexander lived 32 years 'and the same eight months' so he acceded in the same month he was born, though he seems not to have said which. By starting from a faulty birth tradition the Roman historian found the happy co-incidence. OR Josephos' source just thought of another man who wanted to be counted with the Gods and was killed at the theatre and manufactured the synchronism with no further thought! :shock:
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Taphoi
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Re: Josephus and a date for Philip's death

Post by Taphoi »

Fingy wrote:I was reading Josephus' description of the assassination of Caligula and came across this interesting passage. Josephus claims that Caligula and Philip were assassinated on the same day, the 24th of January.

Jewish Antiquities 9.95 "It is also agreed that the day of the year was the same as that on which Philip, the son of Amyntas and king of the Macedonians, was slain by Pausanias, one of his companions, as he entered the theater".

The notes tell me that they could not have occurred on the same day as Philip was killed in the autumn. Is there any possibility that Josephus is correct? Didn't he have much better sources at his disposal than modern historians?
I don't believe that there is any need for calendar manipulation. The original (from Perseus) has no mention of the "year":
Josephus, AJ 19.1.13 or 19.84 wrote:It was also confessed that this was the same day wherein Pausanias, a friend of Philip, the son of Amyntas, who was king of Macedonia, slew him, as he was entering into the theater.
ὁμολογεῖταιδὲ καὶ τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην γενέσθαι, ἐν ᾗ Φίλιππον τὸνἈμύντου Μακεδόνων βασιλέα κτείνει Παυσανίας εἷς τῶν ἑταίρωνεἰς τὸ θέατρον εἰσιόντα.
It looks to me as though Josephus is trying to say that the events of the two days were the same: the monarch was assassinated by being cut down by one of his bodyguards on his way into a theatre on a festival day in both cases. (It is true that many people have tried, very unconvincingly and in many different ways, to equate the two dates in some way, but they would appear to be engaging in a wild goose chase.)

Best regards,

Andrew
agesilaos
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Re: Josephus and a date for Philip's death

Post by agesilaos »

I don't think hemere can bear the meaning 'the events of the day' it simply means 'the day', also the context is a list of omens concerning the impending slaughter of Gaius and his family, synchronicity works for that the events unfolding in the same way doesn't.

I haven't posited any calendar manipulation, only confusion on the part of a Roman source. However, the real answer may lay in a manuscript corruption. Suetonius tells us, Cal. 57 iv that Mnester performed the same play that Neoptolemos had acted for Philip II. This would seem to be borne out by the emphatic 'kai', 'and furthermore';
[94] ἔνθα δὲ καὶ σημεῖα μανθάνει δύο γενέσθαι: καὶ γὰρ μῖμος εἰσάγεται, καθ᾽ ὃν σταυροῦται ληφθεὶς ἡγεμών, ὅ τε ὀρχηστὴς δρᾶμα εἰσάγει Κινύραν, ἐν ᾧ αὐτός τε ἐκτείνετο καὶ ἡ θυγάτηρ Μύρρα, αἷμά τε ἦν τεχνητὸν πολὺ καὶ περὶ τὸν σταυρωθέντα ἐκκεχυμένον καὶ τῶν περὶ τὸν Κινύραν. [95] ὁμολογεῖται δὲ καὶ τὴν ἡμέραν ἐκείνην γενέσθαι, ἐν ᾗ Φίλιππον τὸν Ἀμύντου Μακεδόνων βασιλέα κτείνει Παυσανίας εἷς τῶν ἑταίρων εἰς τὸ θέατρον εἰσιόντα.
Josephos, or his source, noticed TWO omens, if [95] referred to the date that would be a third omen; now, it is not beyond an author to make a mistake but given that we know this cannot be a true synchronism and scribal error ἡμέραν for δρᾶμα which preserves the omen count and explains the emphatic 'kai' , not only do the principals die in Kinyras but it was also '..agreed the latter was the play produced for Philip the son of Amyntas...' making it an especially loaded omen; this also makes better sense of ἐκείνην 'that very one' and γενέσθαι 'had been produced'.
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