Friday, July 6, 2012

Chapter Seven of My New Book

We will never know for certain if Marcia Demetrias was Pope Demetrius's wife.  Yet the broader pattern in this period is clear.  This was something of a heterosexual coup d'etat whether done separately in Rome and Alexandria or in unison.  It wasn't just that women were allowed to be part of the Church.  This was always secure.  Marcia assumes the role traditionally reserved only for men of the highest ranks in the presbytery - as the beloved of the eunuchs of the kingdom of heaven.  This is what was so remarkable about these women.  For a brief period, they really did break the glass ceiling as it were.

Hippolytus references this situation while introducing Callistus, the seated bishop of Rome as benefiting from her largesse and apparently returning the favor.  "For even also he permitted females, if they were unwedded, and burned with passion at an age at all events unbecoming, or if they were not disposed to overturn their own dignity through a legal marriage, that they might have whomsoever they would choose as a bedfellow, whether a slave or free, and that a woman, though not legally married, might consider such a companion as a husband. Whence women, reputed believers, began to resort to drugs for producing sterility, and to gird themselves round, so to expel what was being conceived on account of their not wishing to have a child either by a slave or by any paltry fellow, for the sake of their family and excessive wealth."

Hippolytus insinuates that the sordid past of the Commodian era was still carried by Callistus.  Yet as we have already shown it was also a part of Hippolytus's legacy too with his acceptance of December 25th as the birth date of Jesus. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.  We should never underestimate the influence that political connections can buy.  Indeed we can make a compelling case that
Demetrius the Pope of Alexandria likely began life in Alexandria as an Imperial appointee from the last years of Commodus.

It was Marcia who placed Demetrius to head the Church in Egypt in exactly the same way as we have already demonstrated with respect to the three bishops of Rome (Victor, Zephyrinus and Callistus).  If Marcia could have been so influential in the capitol why not also at Alexandria?  In order to identify who this Demetrius was we have to determine basic details including the start of his reign there and its conclusion.  It is not simply a matter of repeating the details found in the problematic chronology of Eusebius which gives two different starts to Demetrius's tenure at the see of St Mark.[1]

All reports confirm that the beginning of Demetrius's tenure in Alexandria coincide with the years 189 - 190 CE, a period given in official Roman documents as being the beginning of the rule of another Demetrius who was Prefect of Alexandria and the rest of Egypt in the administration of the Emperor Commodus.  This individual - Quintus Tineius Demetrius - was probably related to Quintus Tineius Sacerdos Clemens, the famous Roman politician who was a consul as were his sons.  There is at least a ten year difference between the dating of Demetrius in Book Five and Six of Eusebius's Church History.  These missing ten years account for the difference between Eusebius's forty three year reign for Demetrius and the date various Coptic sources give - thirty three years.  If we assume the Coptic tradition is correct, Demetrius ruled from 189 - 222 CE and was succeeded by an Origenist named either Heraclas, Heraclius or possibly even Heraclides.[2]

Quintus Tineius Demetrius was the prefect of Egypt for only a short time, yet we can suggest that Demetrius possibly moved on to become the head of the most important church in the world in 190 CE.  It is worth noting that our existing material cites Demetrius of Alexandria as working closely- and as something of an adjunct of - the Imperial government.  Eusebius tells us of several instances where the governors of other provinces sent Demetrius requests to send Origen the successor of Clement to visit them.  Perhaps at last we can begin to see why an 'unlearned,' married man could have forced his way to the top of the Egyptian Church - he had Imperial connections.

We should pay attention to the manner in which the surviving letters associated with the bishop were addressed to him and the new governor of Egypt - implying at least that he worked hand and hand with the Imperial government reporting the goings on at the church.  Eusebius writes at one point - "about this time, while [Origen] was still at Alexandria, a soldier came and delivered a letter from the governor of Arabia to Demetrius, bishop of the parish, and to the prefect of Egypt who was in office at that time, requesting that they would with all speed send Origen to him for an interview. Being sent by them, he went to Arabia. And having in a short time accomplished the object of his visit, he returned to Alexandria."  The fifth century Latin Church Father reports much the same thing about the way another Alexandrian scholar who took orders to leave Egypt based on Imperial correspondence with the former prefect.[3]

By assuming that Demetrius was a hold over from the Commodian persecution of Christians we can explain why there is the curious division of the administration of the Alexandrian see between 'bishop' and 'head of the catechetical school' in the period.  Clement, Origen and later Heraclas likely continued the original episcopal line in secret during his tenure.  The separation between this chair of catechetical instruction and the bishop was likely geographical as well as spiritual.  The holiest church in Egypt, the Church of St Mark wasn't actually located in the Greek speaking city of Alexandria proper but in the Cow's Pasture (= Boucolia), a region just to the east of the walls of the main city and considered in later years as a kind of 'no man's land.'[4]

It is interesting to note that we see this same geographic interest manifest itself up to the so-called 'Arian schism' occupied the church in the fourth century.  The orthodox bishops preferred the network of churches behind the safety of the thick walls of Alexandria. So it is amazing to see that despite continuous Imperial persecution of the Egyptian Christian population Demetrius holds on to his job.  The reason for this again is that Demetrius was 'overseeing' the Church in Egypt - he was the eyes and ears of Rome in the city.

This becomes clear from the surviving examples of his periodic correspondences from government officials.  Take the story of Origen's eventual condemnation by Demetrius at a hastily organized synod later in the third century.  Jerome states: "He stands condemned by his bishop, Demetrius, only the bishops of Palestine, Arabia, Phenicia, and Achaia dissenting. Imperial Rome consents to his condemnation, and even convenes a senate to censure him..." [5]  Further we get a sense of Origen's dismay at being hounded by this Imperial watchdog during his period in Alexandria from Jerome's Apology Against Rufius Book II.  It is here we hear a description of a letter of Origen, in which the Alexandrian complains about being excommunicated "the object of the whole letter is to assail Demetrius the Pontiff of Alexandria, and to inveigh against the bishops throughout the world, and to tell them that their excommunication of him is invalid. ...He is contending, then, against the Bishops of the church generally, because they had judged him unworthy of its communion."[6]

How do we explain all of this?  The traditional approach is to simply gloss over the problem.  Few people that have ever written on this subject have taken into account Demetrius's role in transplanting the wholly new Sunday innovation in Alexandria.  The idea appears clearly front and center in the Roman 'Book of Popes' where Victor is said to have "instituted an inquiry among the clergy concerning the cycle of Easter and the Lord's day for Easter and he gathered together the priests and the bishops. Then Theophilus, bishop of Alexandria, was questioned and in the assembly it was decided that the Lord's day between the 14th day of the moon in the first month and the 21st day of the moon should be kept as the holy feast of Easter."  Some have argued that 'Theophilus of Alexandria' is a mistake for Theophilus of Caesarea.  Yet it is more likely to have been a slip for Demetrius.[7]

The bishop of Alexandria was likely brought to Rome to get new marching orders.  In this particular case - how to change the celebration of Easter.  The date for this event is identified as the reign of Commodus's successor Septimius Severus.[8]  As such, if this information is historical, we can tentatively put forward that Q Tineius Demetrius adapted to a change which in part was connected to the change in Imperial administrations. According to the traditional episcopal model, Victor was bishop for six years of the reign of Septimius Severus.  Indeed we also have to assume that this also happens to have been the time that the Church Father Irenaeus introduced the now familiar concept of the gospel of four texts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).

To this end when we look at the historical circumstances which come together at the end of the reign of Victor, it is impossible not to acknowledge that this has to be connected in some way to the new Imperial administration.  There is no clear evidence yet of a role of the new Emperor other than Irenaeus's own boast that there are 'many Christians' in the court of Septimius Severus and it has the heretics very upset.[9]  Irenaeus also acknowledges the complaint that the Catholics are now being corrupted by the gold of Caesar - "in some cases there follows us a small, and in others a large amount of property, which we have acquired from the mammon of unrighteousness ... And as to those believing ones who are in the royal palace, do they not derive the utensils they employ from the property which belongs to Caesar; and to those who have not, does not each one of these give according to his ability? The Egyptians were debtors to the [Jewish] people, not alone as to property, but as their very lives, because of the kindness of the patriarch Joseph in former times; but in what way are the heathen debtors to us, from whom we receive both gain and profit?"[10]

We must suppose with respect to the transformation of Demetrius into a leading voice of change that the Roman Church administration under Septimius Severus likely used the network that was already in place from the last years of Commodus.  In other words, the unlearned, married man who continued to sit on the throne of St Mark was recognized as someone who could be trusted.  How was this so?  The very same thing happens in corporations to this day.  While the Church certainly reacted against the excesses of the previous administration, it did so with many of the same cronies who were already established by this corrupt administration. Irenaeus, may well have been the 'new sheriff' in town, but he still needed willing accomplices who had proven themselves able to work with the civil authorities.

If Demetrius can be identified with Q Tinieus Demetrius it is possible to connected him with a plot involving Marcia and Septimius Severus which is well established among historians.  Of course the connection between the two figures is ultimately based on historical coincidence and a shared common name.  Nevertheless, it might be useful to put forward another reason why Demetrius seems to have worked so well with the Imperial government to condemn Origen, and why he might have been deemed reliable executioner of the new way to celebrate the Christian Passover.

The future Emperor Septimius and Demetrius were brought into a conspiracy hatched by Marcia to solidify her hold on power.  Marcus Aurelius Cleander, a former slave who used to take care of Commodus as a child rose to praetorian prefect and had supreme command of the powerful Praetorian guard, who protected the Emperor.  Cleander became extremely rich selling public offices to the highest bidder as his private business but stood in the way of Marcia's ambition to have complete control over Commodus.  She hatched a plot to bring down Cleander involving the chamberlain Eclectus, Pertinax, Aemelius Laetus, Qunintus Tineius Demetrius and Septimius Severus.  Many, if not all of these individuals were later involved in the plot to kill Commodus on New Years Eve 192 CE.[11]

It was now the middle of summer, 189 CE.  Q Tineius Demetrius had just been sent to Alexandria to replace a certain Marcus Aurelius Papyrius Dionysius as prefect of Alexandria and Egypt.  This appointment was puzzling because Dionysius had only been on the job for a month or so.  Septimius Severus had also just been assigned to govern Sicily, itself also unusual in that Severus was replacing his older brother Publius Septimius Geta at this very same post.  It was very uncommon to have two brothers serve in succession as proconsuls.

The inner circle of conspirators organized by Marcia had a specific objective in mind - to disrupt the grain supply in order to inflame the Roman populace against Cleander.  Most of the grain in the Empire came from either Egypt or Africa. Although not a senior or military province, Sicily was still an important command and was a major exporter of grain to the capital. Severus’ main duty would have been bureaucratic, making sure that the grain ships left harbour on time.  It is interesting to note how many of the future successors of Commodus on the Imperial throne were involved in this plot.  P Helvius Pertinax, serving as the urban prefect of Rome took his new post after serving as governor of Africa.  His successor in Africa was none other than Didius Julianus, the man who would become his own successor on the royal throne after Commodus's assassination.

The only notable exception to this assembly of Imperial who's who is Demetrius, the man governing Egypt.  We have already noted his relationship with Marcia.  Egypt was after all not an ordinary province, but the emperor's personal possession.  A prefect was chosen, a member of the Equestrian class, and the prefectship of Egypt, along with that of the Praetorian Guard, was considered the highest political achievement open to a Roman knight. This was to insure no patrician could take power over the empire and possibly seize the throne.

The reason of this concern is because Egypt could provide up to sixty-percent of the food for the Roman Empire. This food gave an emperor extreme wealth and Augustus' power increased dramatically because of completely controlling this food trade between Aegyptus and Rome. Hence the reason that no patrician was permitted to set foot in Egypt without the permission of an emperor.  That Demetrius had such longevity in Egypt is because he had demonstrated himself as a man who could be trusted and who seemed to have no political ambitions of his own.

Demetrius and all the Imperial conspirators were instructed to prevent the shipment of grain while his predecessor raced back to Rome.  Marcia must have used her influence to have the previous prefect Papyrius Dionysius recalled in order to set in motion the famine.  A number of contemporary historians have noted how the official explanation which emerges from our ancient historical sources don't make much sense.  It is put forward that the unpopular and greedy Cleander was deliberately trying to drive up wheat prices and at the same time that Dionysus holding up the wheat supply in order to pin the blame on Cleander.[12]  Yet Dionysius was in no position to pull this off on his own.  The more likely scenario as noted was that Marcia was orchestrating events so as to both have Cleander removed and replaced by Eclectus.  The two victims in the riots were little more than unfortunate dupes.

Marcia knew that Dionysius would be furious with Cleander whom he presumed the orders had come from.[13]  The reports also indicate that when news of the raging mob demanding Cleander's head eventually reached the Imperial palace, it makes its way to the Commodus with Marcia interpreting and explaining what happened to him.  When the rioters are confronted by Cleander's troops they ultimately receive the support of Pertinax's soldiers.  The praetorian prefect was blamed for inciting the incident and denounced by the court as a rebel and a traitor, whereupon the emperor, fearing for his own safety, summoned Cleander and had him executed.  This must have been Marcia's suggestion or at least developed from the explanation of 'what the crowd wanted' as she relayed the information on the scene.

Cleander's body was then handed over to the mob, who ‘dragged it away and abused it and carried his head all about the city on a pole."[14] Cleander’s sons, along with many of his close associates, suffered a similar fate.  The important thing for us to see here is that Severus was certainly involved in this plot alongside Demetrius.  They were familiar to one another and both received advancements as a result of their actions.  Severus left his post in 190 CE to became consul with Commodus.  If we are correct in our identification of Pope Demetrius with Q Tineius Demetrius, his reward was being placed on the most important seat in all of Christendom.

To this end, when we go back to the situation at the beginning of the Severan administration, the rise of influence of Irenaeus necessarily coincides with a subtle change in orthodoxy.  Irenaeus's writings consistently demonstrate the perplexing emphasis on Roman primacy coupled with Jewish-inspired teachings which ultimately came from Syria.  The interest in Rome was almost something of an afterthought, the connection with the Syrian Church was representative of Irenaeus's true person.  In point of fact, Irenaeus's loathed the Markan tradition in spite of the fact that it was native.  He did everything to diminish the significance of this tradition.  The fourfold gospel he invented can be argued to be nothing more than an attempt to bury the text within successive layers of obscurity.[15]

It will be our working hypothesis that anyone who wanted to keep their job had to go along with his reforms.   Irenaeus clearly testifies to the fact that he comes from the tradition that identified Easter as the Passover.  To this end, his 'compromise' in establishing the first Sunday after the fourteenth of the month betrays a pattern throughout all of his innovations - that is having Christianity defined by an essentially watered down form of Judaism geared for a Gentile audience.  The twofold gospel revelation of Mark the evangelist was only an indirect victim of this effort.  Irenaeus was not so much opposed to the secret revelation as much as he was 'for' defining Christianity in terms of his traditional beliefs rooted in Judaism.  To this end, it was only because the tradition of Mark stood in the way 'Judaizing' effort that it became his target.

This is the proper way of viewing Irenaeus reforms. The institution of Easter Sunday is only the most explicit example of this tendency toward incorporating the Jewish model more fully.  The fourfold nature of his gospel paradigm is perhaps only slightly less obvious with its appeal to the four creatures around the throne of the Jewish god in the book of Ezekiel alongside the pagan interest in the four season.[16]  In each case Irenaeus managed to introduce his reform by hiding something Jewish in something which would seem overtly pagan to a contemporary audience.  Nowhere is this pattern more clearly exemplified than in the development of the figure of Luke, the alleged historical arbitrator of orthodoxy before Irenaeus.

Everyone in the earliest period acknowledged the existence of apostles named Matthew and 'Mark who was called John.'  Yet Irenaeus's sudden unveiling of a previously unknown evangelist 'Luke' would have been utterly perplexing to the contemporary world.  Lukas is only the Syriac spelling of the Roman name Lucius.  The Latin Lucas and the Greek Leukios would both become Luqa in Aramaic, and this would go back into Greek as Loukas.[17]  Of course Acts makes reference to 'Lucius' while the Pauline texts use both Luke and Lucius.  Yet it is worth noting that every ancient witness who ever commented on the  always understood Lukas and Lucius to be the same person.  As one recent scholar noted "it is highly probable that Luke's formal name was Lucius."[18]

It is worth noting that this 'Lucius' is deemed responsible for almost every newly introduced text in the second century, many of which became incorporated into our New Testament canon.  As David Allen and E Ray Clendenen have explained Luke was originally understood to be Jewish rather than Gentile in origin.[19]  As the authors note "this is the simplest explanation of interest shown by the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles in the redemptive history of the Old Testament, in preaching among the Jews, and in Jewish Christian traditions."  Nowhere is this clearer than in the early attribution of the Epistle to the Hebrews as a Lukan composition.  Yet we will argue ultimately that 'Jewishness' associated with this distinctly Roman name is a reflective of his inventor - Irenaeus of Lyons.

It will be our contention that Irenaeus deliberately chose the name Lucius because of its connection with the ruler of contemporary Rome.  Indeed it is worth noting that a surviving north African text from the fourth century takes particular interest in preserving the traditional connection of Lucius of Cyrene of Acts with Luke the evangelist.  Libya happens also to have been the home of the ruler at the time Irenaeus's reforms were being implemented - Lucius Septimius Severus.  While his family was from Lepcis Magna, Cyrene was by far the more important city, and as a former Greek colony the more respectable metropolis. His brother Geta was questor and praetor of the city.

While there is no compelling evidence to suggest that Irenaeus developed 'Luke' to flatter Severus, it is far more likely that the third century writer was incorporating traditions associated with the previous Emperor Lucius Aurelius Commodus's association with Christianity.  For instance a tradition has come down to us which speak of a king "Lucius Britannicus" petitioning the second century Church "to appoint a way by which Lucius might become a Christian."[20]  The story clearly hearkens back to Commodus whom, we are told "was called Britannicus by those who desired to flatter him, whereas the Britons even wished to set up an emperor against him."[20]

The invention of the evangelist named Lucius almost certainly represents a similar filtering of Commodus into the Severan age.[21]  As with the December 25th 'birth date' for Jesus, it represents a surviving remnant of that crazy period only now purified into something acceptable and ultimately apostolic.   The underlying 'kernel' of truth here was the effort reported in all the historians of the age that Commodus had "an insane desire that the city of Rome should be renamed Colonia Commodiana. This mad idea, it is said, was inspired in him while listening to the blandishments of Marcia."  Indeed the report here is only partially correct.  For numismatic evidence reveals that the entire name of Commodus was adopted including Lucius - we read "Colonia Lucia Antoniniana Commodiana."[22]

It is staggering to see the list of things which took on his name.  Since Marcia is the ultimate source of this 'insane idea' it is hard to believe that Christian material was not included in this repainting of all things Lucius.  Indeed as Frederic Weber notes "il reste remarquable que le praenomen Lucia ait été donné à Rome à un moment où Commode lui-même utilisait celui de Marcus, peut-être cependant, qu'il eut à l' esprit la survie de l'ancien nom de Lucius qu'il adoptera deux années après." In other words Commodus curiously adopts the name Marcus while Lucius is given to the world.

This mystical connection between the names Mark and Luke would interestingly become an essential part of Irenaeus's strategy for replacing the 'secret gospel.'  We see over and over again in his writing the idea that there is a 'danger' in the rejection of the material which bears the name Lucius by heretics.  Moreover that they are guilty of adding things to the gospel of Mark and taking away from things in Luke.  In an important section of Book Three Irenaeus speaks on the one hand of "Marcion, mutilating that according to Luke" and on the other "those who separate Jesus from Christ, alleging that Christ remained impassible, but that it was Jesus who suffered, preferring the Gospel by Mark."  These are clearly representatives of one and the same tradition, each of whom have done something dastardly to the received texts of the Catholic canon.

In the following chapter the pattern repeats itself again where Marcion is again invoked as one who rejects "the entire Gospel" and who "boasts that he has divided the Gospel" while "others truly, in order that they might set frustrate the gift of the spirit which in recent times has been poured out upon humankind by the good pleasure of the father, do not admit that aspect which is according to the gospel of John."  These same Marcionites however hold up their supposed 'mutilated' copy of the gospel of Luke as the final word on gospel truth.

The Marcionites are consistently identified as taking away from Luke and adding to Mark in the early reports of the Church Fathers.  Yet we must argue that this strange relationship between the names Marcus (Mark) and Lucius (Luke) in the Christian community of the Severan period goes back to a superstition - 'something left standing' -  from the Commodian period.  It is worth noting that outside of the Roman Empire we have an important tradition that recognizes that Mark and Luke are identified together in Acts as gospels of Paul -  "both these are evangelists and wrote before the discipleship of Paul, and therefore he used to repeat everywhere from their Gospel."[23]  According to the earliest understanding of the Christian Church there were two gospels - one public and one secret, a situation which Irenaeus has gone out of his way to 'correct' with the introduction of his 'according to Luke.'

It is well recognized in scholarship that Irenaeus has identified only Mark and Luke as a subordinate class of revelation, as hearers of the disciples rather than direct witnesses to Jesus.  His understanding was not universally accepted but the legacy continues to this day.  It is an unmistakable part of an attempt to subordinate the traditional gospels of Rome and Alexandria.  The Marcionites themselves said that none of these gospels were written by eyewitnesses to Jesus's ministry.[24]  Irenaeus already creates a two tier revelation within the fourfold gospel 'set.'

Indeed it is worth noting that for Irenaeus Luke is understood to be the 'high priest' or interpreter of all the gospels.  Addressing those who used the longer, secret form of the gospel of Mark he says once again that:

neither can they maintain Paul not to be an Apostle, since for this he was chosen, nor can they make out Luke to be a liar, who declares unto us the truth with all diligence. It may be, indeed, that it was with this view that God set forth many of the gospel through Luke, which all should esteem it necessary to use, in order that all persons, following his subsequent testimony, which treats upon the acts and the doctrine of the apostles, and holding the unadulterated rule of truth, may be saved. His testimony, therefore, is true, and the doctrine of the apostles is open and stedfast, holding nothing in reserve; nor did they teach one set of doctrines in secret, and another in public. [AH 3.15.1]

The material is clearly directed against the elect of the Marcionites who, like Clement in the Letter to Theodore, held there to be two gospels and it would seem denied the authority of 'Luke.'  Luke as anyone can plainly see, is a lengthened version of canonical Mark.  The Marcionites had a longer version of the canonical gospel of Mark which Irenaeus argued was a shortened version of Luke (!).

Luke itself begins with an acknowledgement that the evangelist has previous gospels in his possession and that he is about to add to them or indeed correct them - "many have undertaken to draw up a narrative of the things that have been completed by us."  The original understanding of this material in Luke was that the gospels being used were written by "eyewitnesses and servants of the Word."  Irenaeus goes out of his way to transform this understanding into both Mark and Luke being removed from Jesus.  The Marcionites instead of preserving a gospel divided into two recensions - one secret and the other public - are now claimed to have shortened one and add false information to the other.[25]

Indeed most people have never read what Irenaeus says about Luke, but it is interesting for us to see how he is given the last word on things related to the gospel.  "This Luke was inseparable from Paul," says Irenaeus "and was his fellow-labourer in the Gospel, he himself clearly evinces, not as a matter of boasting, but as bound to do so by the truth itself."  The text of Acts is brought forward by Irenaeus to emphasize that "John who was called Mark had parted company from Paul and sailed to Cyprus."  He is doing this to counter the tradition that Mark's secret gospel was the text mentioned throughout the Pauline epistles.[26]

This is how Irenaeus puts it again "but surely if Luke, who always preached in company with Paul, and is called by him 'the beloved,' and with him performed the work of an evangelist, and was entrusted to hand down to us a Gospel, learned nothing different from him (Paul), as has been pointed out from his words, how can these men, who were never attached to Paul, boast that they have learned hidden and unspeakable mysteries?"[19]  Indeed it often goes noticed that the portions of Marcionites who use the longer version of Mark even deny the existence of Paul " ... we allege the same against those who do not recognise Paul as an apostle: that they should either reject the other words of the Gospel which we have come to know through Luke alone, and not make use of them."  In other words, the fourfold gospel was designed in such a way that Luke preserved important readings found in the longer gospel of Mark.[27]

Indeed the situation is summed up quite succinctly by Irenaeus at the end of the section we are now quoting in Book Three - "it follows then, as of course, that these men must either receive the rest of his narrative, or else reject these parts also. For no persons of common sense can permit them to receive some things recounted by Luke as being true, and to set others aside, as if he had not known the truth. And if indeed Marcion's followers reject these, they will then possess no Gospel; for, curtailing that according to Luke, as I have said already, they boast in having the Gospel."

Our point then is that the notion that someone called 'Luke' had the final word on the gospel is a carry over from the Roman 'Harpocratians' - the influence of the Imperial circle of Marcia Demetria.  This 'Lucius is clearly something left standing from crazy notion that the Emperor's name should be given to everything, an idea which is universally ascribed to Marcia.  As with all things Roman in the third century, it was an adaptation of the heterosexual heresy of the former era.  Marcia can be argued to have quite literally established the 'supply chain' for the idea with the installation of her name sake in Alexandria.  Irenaeus's triumph was successfully adapting Syrian Christianity to the Harpocratian tradition.  Of course it didn't hurt that the new Emperor was named Lucius and his wife was Syrian.


[1]  In Book Five of his famous Church History, Eusebius assigns Demetrius's rise to the top of the Alexandrian see to 'the tenth year' of the Emperor Commodus.  He says "In the tenth year of the reign of Commodus, Victor succeeded Eleutherus [in the church of Rome], the latter having held the episcopate for thirteen years. In the same year, after Julian had completed his tenth year, Demetrius received the charge of the parishes at Alexandria."  But at the beginning of Book Six of the same work he writes "It was the tenth year of the reign of Severus, while Lætus was governor of Alexandria and the rest of Egypt, and Demetrius had lately received the episcopate of the parishes there, as successor of Julian."  It is impossible that Eusebius could have meant that Demetrius became bishop of Alexandria in 203 CE.  The language here is quite imprecise - 'lately' only means that his coming happened a 'few years' or so earlier.  We know that Eusebius means that Demetrius took the throne in 189/190 CE because of the original mention of Victor succeeding Eleutherus.  There is also no evidence that there ever was a Laetus, "governor of Alexandria and the rest of Egypt" in the tenth year of Septimius Severus or any recent Emperor for that matter.  Given that Quintus Aemilius Laetus was an important praefect under Commodus - the prefect of the Roman imperial bodyguard, known as the Praetorian Guard, from 191 until his death in 193 - Eusebius must have garbled an original Roman source which made reference to Demetrius's ascension coinciding with 'the prefect Laetus' and Victor taking over from Eleutherus.  and not Laetus as Eusebius claims was the ruler of the territory.  Indeed this Laetus was an important prefect of the Roman imperial bodyguard, known as the Praetorian Guard until his death in 193.  Another Laeti named Julius Laetus was a general who became too popular with the troops and so was executed by the Emperor Septimius Severus in 199 CE.
[13] Soon after his arrival in Rome, the conspiracy was ready to make it appear that Dionysius was preparing to take action against Cleander.  Yet the timing of the sudden grain shortage is also significant.  The events coincide with  climax during the ludi Ceriales, on April 19th. This festival honoured Ceres, the goddess of corn, probably originally in the hope that her favour would protect the grain ships that usually arrived at about this time. On this occasion, the festivities included horse races. However, before the start of the seventh race, a group of children ran out into the Circus and interrupted the proceedings. Dio remarks that the children, who were led ‘by a tall maiden of grim aspect’, ‘shouted in concert many bitter words, which the people took up." (Her. 1.12.5)  These protests quickly stirred up the people, who ‘set up a shout demanding Cleander’s blood" (Dio 72 (73). 13.4).  Rather than dispersing, the increasingly riotous crowd set off to find the emperor, who seems to have been staying at Laurentum just outside the city, ‘invoking many blessings upon him and many curses upon Cleander’ [10]  Learning of the demonstration, Cleander ordered the Praetorians and imperial horse guards to intercept the march, which they did with stark efficiency, ‘charging and cutting down anyone they came across."'[11] This panicked the already excited crowd, who fled back to the city.  Under normal circumstances, such firmness would presumably have ended the affair. However we are repeatedly told that the demonstration regained its momentum when other soldiers came to their aid, prompting some to attack the Guard with roof tiles and stones. The identity of these soldiers is important. As Cleander, the imperial chamberlain and praetorian prefect, commanded both the Guard and the imperial cavalry these troops must have been the urban cohorts, whose commander was Pertinax, the praefectus urbi. It was the responsibility of the urban cohorts to police the games, which meant that they were already on hand when the disturbance occurred. Pertinax had therefore, either ordered or allowed the soldiers under his command to assist the people. In other words, he was either involved in the conspiracy beforehand or else had let it run its course without interference.  Pertinax was now the urban prefect and the urban prefecture was a very important and influential post.
The prefect presided over his own court, which had jurisdiction within the hundredth milestone of Rome. More importantly, he commanded the urban cohorts, the only armed force, apart from the Praetorian Guard and the imperial horse guard, to be based in the capitol itself.
[17] This is a general rule. In the 1st CE the Greek diphthong [eu] became [ew] or [ev]. Leukios would have been pronounced Levkios or Lefkios. This shows up in the transcriptions in Aramaic, which have VAV VAV or YOD VAV VAV. Writing a YOD or VAV double shows it represents a consonant, not a vowel. Marcus Jastrow does this consistently, and obviously it affects the alphabetical order. However, the mss. are not consistent, and an Aramaic Levka could still be written the same as Luka. The forms with [a] at the end are Samaritan (spelt with HE) or Syriac (spelt with ALEF). Palestinian Jewish Aramaic usually keeps the Greek ending.

Wherefore also Marcion and his followers have betaken themselves to mutilating the Scriptures, not acknowledging some books at all; and, curtailing the Gospel according to Luke and the Epistles of Paul, they assert that these are alone authentic, which they have themselves thus shortened
[18] David L. Allen, E. Ray Clendenen, Lukan Authorship of Hebrews p. 267
[21] (another potential illustration may well be the Herculean motif which still adorns all sides of the chair of St Peter displayed at Rome)

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