Part Two: Gunnar Heinsohn claims
“The Romans were Greeks”
Mystery: Why did the Romans converse in Greek?
Answer 1: The Romans were Greeks.
Professor Gunnar Heinsohn
Professor Gunnar Heinsohn seems to me to be someone who can get things either very right, or very wrong – with the very wrong side of the scale, I think, tending to tip the heavier.
The following post of his, which probably - and typically - fluctuates between right and wrong, grabbed my interest, nonetheless, for its moving in a direction similar to this present series on Pilate and to some of my recent articles, a favouring of the Greeks over the Romans.
Heinsohn’s post also explores some serious apparent anomalies with the conventional view of Roman chronology, a standpoint with which I am in full agreement, whilst not necessarily sharing all of Heinsohn’s specific details. And so, wherever I feel it necessary, I shall add my own comments to professor Heinsohn’s post, which he has entitled: “Roman Chronology: Credibility Gap”:https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2018/04/26/roman-chronology-credibility-gap/
The chronology of the Roman Empire is built directly upon the very shaky foundations of the Crisis of the Roman Republic which may [or may not] have lasted from 134 to 27 BC.
Unfortunately, the academics can’t agree upon whether the Crisis of the Roman Republic had an early start in 134 BC or a late start in 69 BC and whether it had an early finish in 44 BC or a late finish in 27 BC.
The Crisis of the Roman Republic refers to an extended period of political instability and social unrest that culminated in the demise of the Roman Republic and the advent of the Roman Empire, from about 134 BC to 44 BC.
The exact dates of the Crisis are unclear because “Rome teetered between normality and crisis” for many decades.
Likewise, the causes and attributes of the crises changed throughout the decades, including the forms of slavery, brigandage, wars internal and external, land reform, the invention of excruciating new punishments, the expansion of Roman citizenship, and even the changing composition of the Roman army.
Modern scholars also disagree about the nature of the crisis.
Mackey’s comment: As it happens, I have thrown out much of this supposed Republican ‘history’ in my article:
A New Timetable for the Nativity of Jesus Christ
whilst retaining the Roman Republican history as outlined in Maccabees 1-2.
The Crisis of the Roman Republic – an extended period of political historical unrest, from about 133 BC to 30 BC.
In it’s turn, the chronology of the Crisis of the Roman Republic is based upon the “fragmentary” and “somewhat erroneous” Chronology of Rome where AD 1 = 754 AUC.
The ancient Romans were certain of the day Rome was founded: April 21, the day of the festival sacred to Pales… However they did not know, or they were uncertain of, the exact year the city had been founded…
Ab urbe condita is a Latin phrase meaning “from the founding of the City (of Rome)”, traditionally dated to 753 BC. AUC is a year-numbering system used by some ancient Roman historians to identify particular Roman years.
It was later calculated (from the historical record of the succession of Roman consuls) that the year AD 1 corresponds to the Roman year 754 AUC, based on Varro’s epoch.
Marcus Terentius Varro (116 BC – 27 BC) was an ancient Roman scholar and writer.
The compilation of the Varronian chronology was an attempt to determine an exact year-by-year timeline of Roman history up to his time… It has been demonstrated to be somewhat erroneous but has become the widely accepted standard chronology, in large part because it was inscribed on the arch of Augustus in Rome; though that arch no longer stands, a large portion of the chronology has survived under the name of Fasti Capitolini.
The Fasti Capitolini, or Capitoline Fasti, are a list of the chief magistrates of the Roman Republic, extending from the early fifth century BC down to the reign of Augustus, the first Roman emperor.
The Capitoline Fasti were originally engraved on marble tablets erected in the Roman forum. The main portions were discovered in a fragmentary condition, and removed from the forum in 1546, as ancient structures were dismantled to produce material for the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Thirty fragments of the Fasti Capitolini were recovered, along with twenty-six fragments of the Acta Triumphalia, or Fasti Triumphales, dating to the same period and recording the names of Roman generals who had been honoured with a triumph.
Two additional fragments were discovered during excavations in the forum in 1817 and 1818. Others were discovered in excavations from 1872 to 1878, with the last discovered in the Tiber in 1888.
One peculiarity of the Crisis of the Roman Republic is the tumultuous narrative of the Roman Legions where 27 new legions are founded before “about half” of all the legions are suddenly disbanded in 31 BC.
This fine finesse helps mask the massive turmoil experienced by the Roman Legions between 59 and 31 BC when 27 Roman Legions were founded and “about half of the over 50 legions” were disbanded in 31 BC.
However, peculiarities in the Chronology of Rome are not unusual.
The history of the Roman Empire begins with the outlier reign of Emperor Augustus who rules for 40 years from 27 BC.
Augustus… was a Roman statesman and military leader who served as the first Emperor of the Roman Empire, controlling Imperial Rome from 27 BC until his death in AD 14.
The saga of the Roman Empire then proceeds with the most extraordinary sequence of Emperors that contains a multi-layered mix of man-made manipulation artefacts.
The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterized by government headed by emperors and large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, Africa and Asia.
The imperial period of Rome lasted approximately 1,500 years compared to the 500 years of the Republican era.
The 100 Year Credibility Gap
A charitable interpretation of the data suggests the first 100 years of the Roman Empire narrative is creative fiction using characters and artefacts from the Roman Republic.
Apparently, the Roman Empire didn’t need to steadily increase the number of Roman Legions as the empire expanded towards it’s “greatest extent” in 117 AD.
Arguably, the best support for the 100 Year Credibility Gap is the Pantheon in Rome where the classical architecture of a temple providentially borrowed from before the Arabian Horizon becomes the portico to the temple built by Hadrian in 126 AD.
The Pantheon is a former Roman temple, now a church, in Rome, Italy, on the site of an earlier temple commissioned by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of Augustus (27 BC – 14 AD).
The present building was completed by the emperor Hadrian and probably dedicated about 126 AD.
Mackey’s comment: I am even more radical than Heinsohn here, having argued in my article, “A New Timetable” (above), for a re-dating of Hadrian as a Seleucid Greek ruler.
The Pantheon of Agrippa well deserves the name of the Sphinx of the Campus Martius, because, in spite of its preservation, it remains inexplicable from many points of view.
This uncertainty relates to the general outline as well as to the details of the building.
The rotunda is obviously disjointed from the portico, and their architectural lines are not in harmony with each other.
On the other hand, it is evident that the Pantheon seen by Pliny the elder, in Vespasian’s time, was not the one which has come down to us, because there is no place in the present building for the Caryatides of Diogenes the Athenian, and for the capitals of Syracusan bronze which he saw and described as crowning the columns of the temple.
Therefore, when I was asked in 1881 to write an official account of the excavations undertaken by Guido Baccelli, the Minister of Public Instruction, who freed the Pantheon from its ignoble surroundings, I began the report by stating that the veil of mystery in which the monument was shrouded had by no means been lifted by these last researches, and that perhaps it never would be.
We were far from supposing that before a few years had elapsed we should discover another, nay, two more Pantheons under the existing one, and should be able to declare that Agrippa’s name engraved on the epistyle of the pronaos is historically and artistically misleading.
The Ruins and Excavations of Ancient Rome – Rodolfo Lanciani – 1897
The Romans only developed fired clay bricks under the Empire, but had previously used “mud brick”, dried only by the sun and therefore much weaker and only suitable for smaller buildings.
Development began under Augustus, using techniques developed by the Greeks, who had been using fired bricks much longer, and the earliest dated building in Rome to make use of fired brick is the Theatre of Marcellus, completed in 13 BC.
The 200 Year Credibility Gap
A less charitable interpretation of the data suggests the entire Roman Empire narrative is creative fiction that incorporates convenient characters and available artefacts from Greek Republics scattered across Europe and around the Mediterranean Sea.
The 200 Year Credibility Gap suggests the concept of the Roman Empire was created in the 2nd millennium to validate and encapsulate the narrative of Jesus of Nazareth.
Mackey’s comment: But see my revision of the chronology of Jesus Christ as above.
Herod Antipater, known by the nickname Antipas, was a 1st-century ruler of Galilee and Perea, who bore the title of tetrarch (“ruler of a quarter”) and is referred to as both “Herod the Tetrarch” and “King Herod” in the New Testament although he never held the title of king.
He is widely known today for accounts in the New Testament of his role in events that led to the executions of John the Baptist and Jesus of Nazareth.
After being recognized by Augustus upon the death of his father, Herod the Great (c. 4 BC/AD 1), and subsequent ethnarch rule by his brother, Herod Archelaus, Antipas officially ruled Galilee and Perea as a client state of the Roman Empire.
Persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire occurred intermittently over a period of over two centuries between the Great Fire of Rome in 64 AD under Nero Caesar and the Edict of Milan in 313 AD, in which the Roman Emperors Constantine the Great and Licinius legalised the Christian religion.
Support for the 200 Year Credibility Gap is found in Alexandria [Egypt] where the Roman remains [including coins of Trajan and Hadrian] are buried deep beneath the debris layer associated with the Arabian Horizon of 637 CE.
Mackey’s comment: But see my articles arguing for the non-historicity of Mohammed.
Strangely enough, the 200 Year Credibility Gap resolves a few thorny issues.
Mystery: Why did the Roman Empire continue to use the SPQR emblem?
Answer: The Empire narrative providentially borrowed it from the Republic.
SPQR is an initialism of a phrase in Latin: Senātus Populusque Rōmānus, referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic, and used as an official emblem of the modern-day comune (municipality) of Rome.
It appears on Roman currency, at the end of documents made public by inscription in stone or metal, and in dedications of monuments and public works, and it was emblazoned on the vexilloids of the Roman legions.
This signature continued in use under the Roman Empire.
Mystery: Why did the Romans converse in Greek?
Answer 1: The Romans were Greeks.
Answer 2: Latin, like the Roman Empire, was only invented in the 2nd millennium.
The Church issued the dogmatic definitions of the first seven General Councils in Greek.
Even in Rome, Greek remained at first the language of the liturgy and the language in which the first popes wrote.
During the Late Republic and the Early Empire, educated Roman citizens were generally fluent in Greek, but state business was conducted in Latin.
Medieval Latin was the form of Latin used in the Middle Ages…
There is no real consensus on the exact boundary where Late Latin ends and medieval Latin begins.
Some scholarly surveys begin with the rise of early Ecclesiastical Latin in the middle of the 4th century, others around 500, and still others with the replacement of written Late Latin by written Romance languages starting around the year 900.
Mystery: Why do Roman cultural artefacts look Greek?
Answer: The Romans were Greeks.