We should now have a slightly better understanding of the role that royal women could and did play in the political life of the Jewish nation…mostly through their marriage alliances and their advocacy for their children as heirs…but not always.
We have also seen the beginning of religious sects and political parties who will vie for dominance until the nation’s last days…the Sadducees, Pharisees, and the Essene. We know that there is a purist/priest/warrior faction/militia that believes in Holy Wars and bodily resurrection and/or resurrection as a star into heaven as a reward for martyrdom. We will see the rise of another cycle of this group as we go along from both Josephus and the New Testament…
As we approach that great dividing line in history, the B.C./A.D. divide, I hope to show that all things progressed along a continuum. I don’t have the expertise or inclination or even space to show all of what befell this small nation, of course. Josephus wrote reams of pages on all of it, and it is fascinating, and one gets pulled this way and that…but…my red thread running through it all is the very fact of the existence of royal/noble women even if often unnamed.
The generation of Mariamne I were of an age to be the grandmothers of the people around Mary mother of Jesus—and how odd that there is a young virgin princess in a key political position on both sides of that timeline…. named Mariamne/Mary…as we will see. Both these young girls, though two generations apart, carry with them the story of what happened next to the House of the Hasmoneans and the nation. Josephus and his sources give speaking roles to the Jewish queens who are the same royal women that are in the New Testament. Mariamne/Mary will become a popular name among the royal and high priestly houses and among the multitudes, first because of Princess Mariamne and then into Christian circles because of Mary. They are relevant and they have been “veiled,” both by Jewish historians and New Testament theologians alike…both came to be known for their problematic betrothals…as we will see.
As we pick up the story of the first Mariamne–daughter of Alexander son of King and High Priest Aristobulus son of Regent Salome Alexandra AND also daughter of Alexandra daughter of Hyrcanus Ethnarch and High Priest son of the same Salome–with both sides of the civil war in her very person, being the eldest child and not a boy…about 9-10 years old and about to be betrothed….