Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Apion: The “Enemy of the Jews” And The Destruction of The Library of Alexandria

Article taken from http://xryshaygh.wordpress.com/
English translation by Hjarulv

«The diference between the Greeks and the jews was stronger in the city of Alexandria during the Hellenistic and Roman Age, which, during that time, was the capitol of the known world.»

The lost scriptures of Ancient Hellenic literature are one of the greatest riddles for the scholars around the world. Many claim that the works of great Greek philosophers still exist and they are used by certain people in a cunning way. Undoubtly, the destruction of the Library of Alexdandria had a great impact, yet this lamentable fact cannot justify the complete disappearence of numerous works of ancient Greek literature. This is true due the fact that the Library of Alexandria was not the only library in existence during the ancient times and because many individuals owned works of wisdom of ancient Hellas.

Indeed, this “disappearence” is strange enough, when works against the jews by Greek authors of the Hellenistic and Roman period are concerned. One of these “lost” scriptures is the work of Apion, a great man of wisdom who lived in Alexandria during the 1st century AYPS.

Apion lived during the era of the complete establishment of Roman rule throughout the known world. The Kingdoms of the heirs of Alexander the Great were subdued, while in Greece, even though Macedonia, Eppirus and Thrace were under strict Roman occupation, the southern parts enjoyed a peculiar freedom. Naturally, the greatest part of the Greek population was on the Roman side, because strong Racial, religious and cultural bonds united them with the Romans.
On the contrary, the jews were in a perpetual conflict with Rome, a conflict which during the close of the 1st century AYPS, led to the utter destruction of Jerusalem.

There was a great difference between the Greeks and the jews and we must not forget that Rome made an alliance with the jews in order to subdue the once strong Seleucid Empire. The adversion between the Greeks and the jews was even more stronger in the city of Alexandria, which during that time constituted both the spiritual (due to the Greek presence) and the economical (due to the granaries) capitol of the known world.

This was the Alexandria where the forgotten now Apion lived, born in the city of Oasis in Egypt. Apion was a great philologist of his era and for this reason he was given the epithets Grammatikos (Scholar), Pleistonikes (Of-Many-Victories) and Mochthos (Toiler). His works, from which only a few passages are saved, were the “Aegyptiaka” in three books, where he narrates the history og Egypt, the work “Of Mages”, the philological study “Of Roman Dialects” and of course the “Homeric Languages”, which was used by later philologists, like Apollonios the Sophist of the 1st century AYPS.

Apion was the leader of the Anti-jewish Party of the Greeks who lived in Egypt and for that reason he visited Rome in 39 AYPS in order to answer to Emperor Caligula about the lies of the jews against the Greeks of Alexandria. He remained in Rome for many years, where he taught and became renowned for his work. They say that in his book “Aegyptiaka”, mentioned Manethon and Mnaseas as his sources. Manethon was an Egyptian who lived during the 3rd century BC where he learned Greek from the interpretor of King Ptolemeus, Timotheus, and he was the high priest of Heliopolis and, most important, was the keeper of the archives of the Egyptian Temples. Manethon, in the history of Egypt, a book written for the sake of Ptolemeus, he spoke about the history of the ancient jews and he wrote that, in fact, they were the slaves and the lepers of Egypt, who escaped the wrath of the Pharaoh, thus overthrowing with his writtings everything presented as historical facts in the bible. The famous geographer Mnaseas from Patras of Peloponnese, was a contemporary of Manethon. He was the author of the work “Periplous”, which also is mentioning the jews and only a few unimportant fragments are saved!

In conclusion, we can see that three works of ancient writers, the works of Apion, Manethon and Mnaseas, speaking against the jews (and they weren’t the only ones!) are lost… The most outrageous thing is that the few fragments of Apion known to us, come from the fanatic jew (pharisee to be exact), Flavius Josephus and especially from his work “Jewish archeology”, also known as “Against Apion”. In this work, Josephus speaks against Apion (calling him “slanderer, vicious and manipulator of the masses”), Manethon and Mnaseas in a harsh way, although nowadays we know nothing at all about the works of none of the aforementioned! Josephus’ works, on the other hand, were preserved through the ages and got praised by many writers during the centuries that followed.

Among other things that Apion mentioned concerning the jews and which Josephus (a descendand of a family of arch-rabbis) answers is that they worshipped the head of an ass as a god, not the “one, true god” as they claim. But what the jew historian was most eager to answer was about the “antiquity of the jewish people” and to “prove” the myth about their return to Canaan, a myth the constitutes the fundaments of the jewish theology.

The cases of Apion, Mnaseas and Manethon are not unique. Many Greek writers during the Hellenistic and Roman era wrote about the jews. However, almost all their works have “coincidentaly vanished”.

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