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FORVM`s Classical Numismatics Discussion Board  |  Numismatic and History Discussions  |  Roman Provincial Coins (Moderator: slokind)  |  Topic: Dates on civic Antioch - Quinctilius Varus 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: Dates on civic Antioch - Quinctilius Varus  (Read 2354 times)
bakkar
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« on: March 27, 2012, 05:11:41 pm »

These issues from Antioch with the name of Quinctilius Varus
show different dates. I found one date only on the web which is zk = year 27 of the Actian Era = 5-4 BC, but what about the other dates EK and EL ?
Is there a link to learn these dates?

Thank you
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2012, 05:40:08 pm »

According to RPC, coins of Varus were issued with three dates:

EK=25=7/6 BC

SK=26=6/5 BC

ZK=27=5/4 BC.

Coins dated EL=35=4/5 AD name a different governor, Volusius Saturninus.
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2012, 06:14:39 pm »

 Thank you very much Curtis for help .

I have found one in a sale site with this addition:



RPC 4262, SNG Cop. 93, Dated year 35 = 4/5 C.E

A RARE coin of an important statesman. Lucius Saturninus was the governor of Syria in charge of Judaea during 4/5 C.E. He was put in charge about the time Herod Archelaus was deposed and prefects were introduced. According to many Christians he started the census of Judea which is recorded having been ended by Quirinus. L. Volusius Saturninus lived for 93 years! - attaining very great age for that time.

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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2012, 03:21:20 pm »

Does anyone know where the association with the census comes from? I've done a quick search and can't find anything, and it would be interesting to find the earliest reference.
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2012, 01:19:39 am »

It's been a while, but I remember reading this in Biblical commentaries at the theological library. When Archelaus was deposed, his realm was transformed into an imperial province under a prefect (ie, someone of the equestrian rank). This prefect was subject to the legate of Syria. In AD 6, when P. Sulpicius Quirinius was legate of Syria, a census was introduced to organise taxation of the new province, and this surely must have been the census mentioned in the gospel of Luke.
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2012, 01:57:45 am »

Sorry, I misread the previous post. The connection of Volusius Saturninus to the census is new to me, but I expect Bakkar meant another person of the name, Gnaeus Sentius Saturninus, who was Syrian legate 9-6 BC, before Varus. Traditionally, the census is attributed to him (starting with Tertullian), to reconcile Luke with Matthew, dating the birth of Jesus to the reign of Herod the Great.
Gert
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« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2012, 03:52:14 pm »

It never ceases to amaze me just what lengths people will go to to harmonise contradictory accounts in the Bible! Judea and Samaria were ruled by the Herods until 6BC, when Quirinius instituted a census in order to establish the taxation base. This is mentioned by Luke, of course, and at greater length by Josephus:

Antiquities of the Jews 18:1-3 

Now Quirinius, a Roman senator, and one who had gone through other magistracies, and had passed through them till he had been consul, and one who, on other accounts, was of great dignity, came at this time into Syria, with a few others, being sent by Caesar to be a judge of that nation, and to take an account of their substance.  Coponius also, a man of the equestrian order, was sent together with him, to have the supreme power over the Jews. Moreover, Quirinius came himself into Judea, which was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their substance, and to dispose of Archelaus' money;  but the Jews, although at the beginning they took the report of a taxation heinously, yet did they stop any further opposition to it, by the persuasion of Joazar, who was the son of Boethus, and the high priest; so they, being persuaded by Joazar's words, gave an account of their estates, without any dispute about it.

This is perfectly plain, but the claim I've heard, based on a mistranslation of a partial inscription which doesn't include the name of the governor it's dedicated to, is dragged into service in order to support a claim that Quirinius was Syrian legate twice, and did his census when Herod I was ruling Judea. This is an embellishment I hadn't heard. Personally I believe in following the evidence, and if two accounts disagree, then we need to look closely at the texts and try an make out what the authors were getting at, not try to make them mean things they don't say!

What Matthew and Luke were writing was theology; 'history' in our sense, hadn't been invented, and each one tailored his acount to the needs of his audience. Matthew, writing for Jews, tells a story of Jesus being born in a Jewish environment, and being persecuted by Herod in much the same way as Israel was by Pharaoh; both massacred babies. The family have to run away to Egypt. God calls them back again, and Matthew, who wants to convince his audience that Jesus is the fulfilment of prophecy, quotes a verse from Hosea which refers to Israel as God's 'son', just to make the parallel really obvious. Luke writes for Romanised Greeks, and retells the story, with Jesus born into the Roman world, just after Roman rule was established in Judea.
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2012, 12:55:51 am »

Of course it's just a typo, but I am sure you mean Judea was ruled by the Herods until AD 6..., not 6 BC.
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Gert
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2012, 04:45:09 am »

Hi All,

Bakkar, I don't think that the Census of Quirinius is as black and white as Robert makes out.

For persons wishing to believe that it could have been the earlier BC date , there are many plausible FACTS that can point to a prior earlier census by Quirinius. These mainly have to do with archeological evidence that Quirinius served in Syria in the BC period and was possibly ordered by Augustus to conduct the census. Another point is in the translation of the original story between the translation as "first census" or "prior census". Also the word "governor" or other designations of rulership were occasionally used with a degree of laxity.

For persons wishing to believe that it was the AD date there are also many FACTS that apply to this theory.

Personally I prescibe to the two census theory (possibly selfishly - but hopefully not) which makes the EK date to be around the birth of Christ..

Below are a few links to really confuse us:

http://christianthinktank.com/quirinius.html
http://www.ankerberg.com/Articles/editors-choice/EC1205W3C.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Census_of_Quirinius
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/quirinius.html#II
http://www.biblicalchronology.com/census.htm
http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/11/01/Once-More-Quiriniuss-Census.aspx

I also would appreciate hearing some discussion on the matter.

All the best,
Col
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Gert
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« Reply #9 on: April 03, 2012, 05:50:30 am »

Hi Col,
I am amazed you write this in a thread that contains hard numismatic evidence to the contrary - namely that Varus was legate of Syria at this time! An earlier census by Quirinius is really out of the question, since we know who were Syrian legates in the years before him, partly from coins like this one.
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Gert
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coldavo
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2012, 07:36:02 am »

Hi Gert,

It must be nice to be so certain of something that happened over 2000 years back.

I agree that Varus was Legate of Syria in the period - but what does that have to do with the discussion?

The first link that I gave includes the statement:
" Quirinius, at the time of King Herod's death was doing military expeditions in the eastern provinces of the Roman empire (Tacitus , Annals 3:48; Florus, Roman History 2:31), with some evidence indicating that he either was a co-ruler with the governor of Syria (the somewhat inept Quintilius Varus) or at least placed in charge of the 14-year census in Palestine"

Some of the other links follow this theme more fully. Where is your "hard numismatic evidence" that this did not occur. I have a coin of Ptolemy VI that shows the name of one of the two co-regents that ruled for him. The other regent is not shown on any coin that I know of. Following your "numismatic evidence" would mean that there was only one regent - history, however, says otherwise.

You will note that I have shown links with both "For" and "Against" arguments on the topic.

I am a coin collector and I added to this thread to hear the opinions of other coin collectors on the subject. So much is written from the points of view of rabid Christians or rabid non-believers. I thought that it would be interesting to get the ideas of coin collectors which might help Bakkar and myself to make up our minds re the matter.

By the way - does anyone know who the "OUAROU" mentione on the coin is. (reverse legend "ANTIOXEWN-EPI OUAROU". Is it Gaius (Sentius Saturninus).

All the best,
Col
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curtislclay
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« Reply #11 on: April 03, 2012, 08:19:12 am »

Those Greek words mean "under Varus", that is during the governorship of Quinctilius Varus, the senator who would later lose three legions for Augustus in Germany.
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Curtis Clay
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2012, 03:56:03 pm »

Of course it's just a typo, but I am sure you mean Judea was ruled by the Herods until AD 6..., not 6 BC.
Regards
Gert

I did. I miss things like that regularly. Thanks.
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2012, 04:16:37 pm »

The first link that I gave includes the statement:
" Quirinius, at the time of King Herod's death was doing military expeditions in the eastern provinces of the Roman empire (Tacitus , Annals 3:48; Florus, Roman History 2:31), with some evidence indicating that he either was a co-ruler with the governor of Syria (the somewhat inept Quintilius Varus) or at least placed in charge of the 14-year census in Palestine"

Tacitus says:

About the same time, he asked the senate to allow the death of Sulpicius Quirinius15 to be solemnized by a public funeral. With the old patrician family of the Sulpicii Quirinius — who sprang from the municipality of Lanuvium16 — had no connection; but as an intrepid soldier and an active p599servant he won a consulate under the deified Augustus, and, a little later, by capturing the Homonadensian strongholds beyond the Cilician frontier,17 earned the insignia of triumph. After his appointment, again, as adviser to Gaius Caesar during his command in Armenia, he had shown himself no less attentive to Tiberius, who was then residing in Rhodes.

Florus:

Augustus put down the Musulami and Gaetulians who dwell near the Syrtes, through the agency of Cossus, who thus gained the name of Gaetulicus, a title more extensive than his actual victory warranted. 41 He entrusted the subjugation of the Marmarides and Garamantes to Quirinius, who likewise might have returned with the title of Marmaricus, had he not been too modest in estimating his victory.

None of this puts Quirinius anywhere near Judea during Herod's reign.
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2012, 07:21:46 pm »

Hi Robert,

I have to admit that I didn't go that far into it.

However, a book by R R Racy (go to the link:  http://books.google.com.au/books?id=oR2c7IBLgyMC&pg=PA307&lpg=PA307&dq=was+quirinius+co+legate+with+varus&source=bl&ots=5-IyVDk0y0&sig=1CnVTdQC-90fQWBQQO5siKfwceo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=zCV-T4ijKceUiAf-s9zwDQ&ved=0CFsQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=was%20quirinius%20co%20legate%20with%20varus&f=false) mentions that Quirinius was a procurator in Syria in 6BC. See the full mention in the attachment.

If you Google -Quirinius Census- you get 127,000 hits and, for every five (hundred) articles for Quirinius having two "governorships" in Syria, there are at least five (hundred) proving that he didn't.

There is also a convincing argument (both FOR and AGAINST) that the translation of the Biblical passage should be "PRIOR to the census of Quirinius" which, if FOR, means that it doesn't matter if he had two terms in Syria or not.

I admit that I am totally confused on the subject - first I find that one argument (of the many different topics) is completely believable - then I read the opposition and am not so sure.

All the best,
Col 
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2012, 11:55:07 pm »

Quote
If you Google -Quirinius Census- you get 127,000 hits and, for every five (hundred) articles for Quirinius having two "governorships" in Syria, there are at least five (hundred) proving that he didn't.


I hope you agree that this is not a very reliable way to learn something about history.
Gert

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« Reply #16 on: April 06, 2012, 02:18:50 am »

If you Google -Quirinius Census- you get 127,000 hits and, for every five (hundred) articles for Quirinius having two "governorships" in Syria, there are at least five (hundred) proving that he didn't.

I'm a great fan of 'crowd-sourcing' - relying on the collective wisdom of large numbers of people to guide you to the most probable answer. It is no surprise to me that the Wikipedia entry is the very first entry because that is a 'crowd-sourced' answer. Thousands of people will have reviewed that Wikipedia entry and perhaps hundreds edited. So what you get (so long as there are no Warning Messages about possibly biased content) is the most probable answers right within the very first link. You don't need to check out the other 126,999 links until after you've reviewed the Wikipedia entry because it is likely to be more reliable than any other answer, and immensely more reliable than all except perhaps the first page of answers.

So, look at the Wikipedia entry. No notations regarding disputes or bias or quality. That's good. That means there is probably a wide consensus among a large number of people about this entry. Look further and one reads the whole issue under dispute neatly discussed in a balanced manner, presenting the main arguments. As a fresh reader to the subject I see very little dispute about the date of the census, a fair deal of uncertainty about Quirinus' governorships and activities, and various references to Matthew being 'problematic' in its dating.

The whole issue is neatly assessed in a balanced manner in Wikipedia and there's no need to go elsewhere until one has read the points in that article. Bear in mind that Wikipedia is a crowd-sourced encyclopedia that reflects the views of all contributors (so long as the article is not marked as being biased) whereas most of the links listed by Coldavo are to explicitly Christian perspectives which may have valid points but are unlikely to have benefited from the crowd-sourced expertise and lack of bias of the whole world considering the issues.

I'm a great fan of Wikipedia.
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« Reply #17 on: April 06, 2012, 03:42:42 pm »

There is also a convincing argument (both FOR and AGAINST) that the translation of the Biblical passage should be "PRIOR to the census of Quirinius" which, if FOR, means that it doesn't matter if he had two terms in Syria or not.

I admit that I am totally confused on the subject - first I find that one argument (of the many different topics) is completely believable - then I read the opposition and am not so sure.

All the best,
Col 

I'm well aware that it's confusing; one of the biggest problems is that people get so committed to a particular reading of the Bible that, conscously or otherwise, they impose the reading they want on the text, and ignore evidence against their view. Even scholars fall into the trap, but they do at least try. What horrified me was when I was doing a training session for some new preachers, and one (who eventually dropped out of the course) openly took the view that he didn't care about the evidence, if it sounded good and supported his view, he was going to use it. I was very glad when he went and preached in another denomination!

The Greek can be translated 'before the census of Quirinius', but it's not the normal reading, and so the question in my mind is whether it's apologetic; whether commentators who go for it actually want the text to say that, for theological reasons. What does appear certain is that the idea that Quirinius was governor twice is based on a mistranslation of a partial inscription, which doesn't name the governor in whose honour it was erected, and which only has the dodgiest of connections with Quirinius.

AUTH APOGRAFH PROTH EGENETO HGEMONEUONTOS THS SURIAS KURHNIOU

Could one of our experts translate this?
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« Reply #18 on: April 06, 2012, 05:13:40 pm »

I think, "The first census took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria."
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« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2012, 03:06:13 pm »

That's the standard translation. Thanks.
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« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2012, 03:19:52 am »

Hi all,

Just to muddy the waters a little more:-

Curtis' translation is the standard one BUT the word "governor" apparently did not only mean a governor. It seems to have been a general description of a person in charge - including, specifically, a procurator. See:

http://christianthinktank.com/quirinius.htm
"the term Luke uses for Quirinius' 'governorship' is the VERY general term hegemon, which in extra-biblical Greek was applied to prefects, provincial governors, and even Caesar himself. In the NT it is similarly used as a 'wide' term, applying to procurators--pilate, festus, felix--and to general 'rulers' (Mt 2.6). [The New Intl. Dict. of New Test. Theology (ed. Brown) gives as the range of meaning: "leader, commander, chief" (vol 1.270)..."

Also I noted the following which seems to have been ignored by most writers:

http://doig.net/NTC05.htm
"Justin Martyr, who was born in about 105 CE, wrote to defend the Christians against persecution, and appealed, "Now there is a village in the land of the Jews, thirty-five stadia from Jerusalem, in which Christ was born, as you can ascertain also from the registries of the taxing under Quirinius your first procurator in Judea." (First Apology, 34) Here is an appeal to the public registries, which have, unfortunately, been lost. Whether his comments are derived only from the writings of Luke, or he had independent verification of the earlier "taxing under Quirinius" is not known. He also refers to Quirinius as the "first procurator in Judea," as opposed to governor of Syria. Again, there is no specific dating"

Here we have a chappie who, apart from Josephus, Luke and Matthew, seems to be a person "very close to the action". We are trying to determine differing accounts and differing translations some 2000 years after the event. But here we have a person "reporting" a bit over 100 years later. We know that there was at least one person termed procurator before Coponius (Antipater the Idumaean (Procurator of Judaea) 47–44 BC) and Justin Martyr specifically mentions thst Quirinius was a procurator. Presumably Justin didn't use the general term under discussion but seems to specifically mention the word "procurator". He also says "first procurator" which rules out the possibility that he was talking of the governorship (he seems to be a bit "out" with the "first" or possibly didn't know of Antipater).

Do you think that this makes any difference in the thought that Quirinius served an earler term of office (not governor) of Judaea.

All the best,
Col 

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« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2012, 05:17:40 am »

If you want to translate the word more generally, then you have to read 'while Quirinius was governing/being in command of Syria', essentially meaning the same thing. I don't think the word can refer to a rank lower than that of provincial governor of Syria, because then Quirinius wouldn't be 'governing Syria', someone else would be.

As for Justin Martyr. He calls Pontius Pilate 'procurator' in the same text, which leads me to think that he uses the word in the general meaning of 'governor'. Bear in mind that Judaea was governed by an equestrian prefect (later named procurator), like Coponius or Pilate, who was subject to, and outranked by, the governor of Syria, of senatorial rank.
Regards
Gert
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« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2012, 05:48:55 am »

Hi Gert,

Once again I disagree with you somewhat ;- you state  “you HAVE to read 'while Quirinius was governing/being in command of Syria', essentially meaning the same thing”.  I feel that it doesn’t have to mean “essentially the same thing”. Just as experts have generally translated the phrase as “while Quirinius was governor” it apparently can possibly be translated as “while Quirinius was procurator/prefect/leader/etc. etc. “  It does not have to mean governor and possibly could mean a person subservient to the governor or even co-ruler. You say that he couldn’t have a rank lower than governor because then he wouldn’t be governing Syria. If one accepts the translation as procurator/prefect/etc., which could also be an acceptable (?) translation, then this doesn’t apply.

As for Justin Martyr – you feel that his specific (?) reference as “procurator” actually means “governor”. This doesn’t seem to be right as in his reference he calls him “your first procurator” -  he would have surely known that Quirinius was not “your first governor”. And so the word “procurator” , or something similar, seems to stand.
  
All the best,
Col  
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« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2012, 07:04:56 am »

So you would prefer to translate 'while Quirinius was a high ranking Roman functionary in Syria, while another man was governor of Syria'? Don't you think Luke would have phrased that differently if that was what he meant to say?

Justin Martyr is enlightening in another way. Yes, he calls Quirinius a 'procurator', but before you draw any conclusions, you have to make sure what he meant by that. The best way to do that is to look in what contexts he uses this word. Since he also calls Pontius Pilate 'procurator', I conclude he uses the word generic as 'governor'. Pilate, as proven by an inscription from Caesarea, was 'prefect of Judea'. Only during Claudius were the equestrian governors of Judea named 'procurator'.

Interestingly, the same thing seems to be going on in Luke. In chapter 3.1, when dating the ministry of John the Baptist, Luke uses the same word 'hegemoneuontos' for Pontius Pilate. There, it is translated the same way: 'while Pontius Pilate was governor in Judea'.
Regards
Gert


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« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2012, 08:13:03 am »

Hi Gert,

Re your first point - Luke's words MIGHT possibly (?) be translated as "The first census took place while Quirinius was prefect of Syria" - or any other term subservient to "governor" as we know who was the governor.

With regard to Justin Martyr's reference - it doesn't really matter if his term "procurator" is generic - as long as it means something similar to prefect or procurator. If it means "governor" then how do we get around his plain statement that Quirinius is "your first" governor. He would know better. Surely, if we accept his statement as being fairly accurate , he cannot mean "governor" - he has to mean procurator, prefect or similar.

Re the last point - you are presuming that 'hegemoneuontos' means "governor" whereas it has already (?) been established that it can mean procurator or prefect or something similar.

All the best,
Col
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