Damien F. Mackey
“The tempest being over and the light breaking out, when the people gathered again, they missed and inquired for their king; the senators suffered them not to search, or busy themselves about the matter, but commanded them to honour and worship Romulus as one taken up to the gods, and about to be to them, in the place of a good prince, now a propitious god”.
Plutarch: Parallel Lives.
Hugh J. Schonfield (d. 1988) is well known for his controversial book about Jesus, entitled The Passover Plot, which he wrote in 1965.
According to the author, Jesus, desirous of saving his people, actually - and one must think, somewhat incredibly - orchestrated, as far as he could, his own manner of death, so as to accord with the ancient Messianic prophecies. “…the Crucifixion was part of a larger, conscious attempt by Jesus to fulfill the Messianic expectations rampant in his time, and that the plan went unexpectedly wrong”.
I recently read Schonfield’s follow-up book to The Passover Plot, which, written in 1981, he had entitled After the Cross. On pp. 115-117 of this book the author introduced the Greek historian Plutarch’s piece about King Romulus, supposed first king of Rome, beginning with:
Very few Christians would seem to be aware, however, of the strong similarity that exists between the image of the death and resurrection of Jesus and that of Romulus, the eponymous founder of Rome. The latter is set down in Plutarch’s Parallel Lives. Plutarch was born in the reign of the Emperor Claudius (41-54 A.D.) and was a contemporary of the authors of the Gospels. The relevant passage is quoted in full from an old English translation, which gives the flavor of the Authorized Version of the Bible.
Before quoting this passage (and I shall be using instead John Dryden’s translation), I should like to preface it by recalling, once again, that Greco-Roman mythology and pseudo-history is replete with appropriations and distortions of the original Hebrew biblical tales. I have written articles on this subject, including the Greek appropriation of King Solomon as Solon.
Solomon and Sheba
Anyway, here is the passage by Plutarch (http://classics.mit.edu/Plutarch/romulus.html):
… whereas Romulus, when he vanished, left neither the least part of his body, nor any remnant of his clothes to be seen. So that some fancied the senators, having fallen upon him in the temple of Vulcan, cut his body into pieces, and took each a part away in his bosom; others think his disappearance was neither in the temple of Vulcan, nor with the senators only by, but that it came to pass that, as he was haranguing the people without the city, near a place called the Goat's Marsh,
[Comment: “… without the city” is appropriate, as is Goat. Recall the goat for sin offering]
on a sudden strange and unaccountable disorders and alterations took place in the air; the face of the sun was darkened, and the day turned into night, and that, too, no quiet, peaceable night, but with terrible thunderings, and boisterous winds from all quarters; during which the common people dispersed and fled, but the senators [read Sanhedrin?] kept close together. The tempest being over and the light breaking out, when the people gathered again, they missed and inquired for their king; the senators suffered them not to search, or busy themselves about the matter, but commanded them to honour and worship Romulus as one taken up to the gods, and about to be to them, in the place of a good prince, now a propitious god. The multitude, hearing this, went away believing and rejoicing in hopes of good things from him; but there were some, who, canvassing the matter in a hostile temper, accused and aspersed the patricians, as men that persuaded the people to believe ridiculous tales, when they themselves were the murderers of the king.
Things being in this disorder, one, they say, of the patricians, of noble family and approved good character, and a faithful and familiar friend of Romulus himself, having come with him from Alba, Julius Proculus
[Comment: Wife of Pontius Pilate was Claudia Procula].