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Updated 5929± 11 20 2025 [2009-02-16]
The Regnal Years and Dates of Roman Emperors
from Julius Caesar thru Domitian
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Once the year of the Passover of Crucifixion is established it becomes a relatively easy matter to place many other events more or less firmly in time. Under the guidance of Yahweh and based upon an 18 CE crucifixion, and/or upon 18± celestial events dated using astronomical tables, a number of New Testament events, various rulers over Israel and Judae, the War and the Destruction of Jerusalem, and also the Regnal Years and Dates of all Roman Emperors from Julius Caesar through Caesar Domitian, have been identified and dated.
to my understanding of the time references used by Josephus is: 1. a visible
crescent of the moon defining each New Moon, 2. Josephus, not any particular
ruler, culture, or country, determines what calendar and what rules he is using
to designate time, 3. Josephus is using accession periods, e.g. accession year,
accession months, etc., i.e. the first year counted, in whichever direction, of
any time period, reign, etc., starts at the beginning of the next calendar
year, calendar month, etc., whether civil or sacred, 4. a difference in the
wording used, e.g. “in” or “after”, may define whether or not an inclusive count
is used, but these items may not always be reliably translated, and 5. Josephus
is always very precise in his time statements, and 6. Josephus is recording
Jewish history even while apparently recording Roman history, e.g. when giving
the history of Roman emperors who are in control of
The complete details of my study re the Roman Emperors may be seen below this initial brief outline:
§ “Alexander died in the hundred and fourteenth Olympiad” and between Tishri 22, 327 BCE and the beginning of July 1, 326 BCE.
- Ides of March (March 15), 49 BCE.
§ Augustus was born September 23, 67 BCE [Note: September 23, 67 BCE is a pre-Caesar Julius’ calendar revision date. September 23, 67 BCE in a corrected calendar comes out to Elul 24 or 25, 67 BCE, but this date is not when Augustus was born.]
§ Augustus’ (seasonally corrected) date of delivery was June 28 [Sivan (or Tammuz) 26 (or 27), 67 BCE; Notice the number 26 as well as 3, i.e. the Third Moon, Sivan!] Augustus’ mother’s calculated LMP was September 21 (seasonally corrected) [Elul or Tishri 11, 68 BCE; Notice its relationship to the Day of At-One-Ment!] and Augustus was most likely conceived October 4 (seasonally corrected) [Tishri 21, 68 BCE; Notice its relationship to the Eighth Day and the beginning of the Scriptural year!] [While Augustus was conceived on about October 4, 68 BC, Jupiter was in Capricorn from December 24, 69 BC until January 6, 67 BC. Quickening may also have happened within the month associated with Capricorn, however, using an astrological chart based on the uncorrected pre-Julian calendar reform finds Augustus being conceived in the sign of Capricorn.]
§ Augustus died “on the fourteenth day before the Kalends of September at the ninth hour, just thirty-five days before his seventy-sixth birthday,” i.e. Av 19 or 20, 10 CE [August 19, 10 CE.]
§ Tiberius was born on November 16, 56 BCE (as dated per the then current Roman calendar) and on August 22, 56 BCE per a seasonally adjusted calendar [Av (or Elul) 24 (or 25), 56 BCE.]
- Tiberius was appointed the heir of Augustus on June 26, 1 BCE [Tammuz 4 or 5, 1 BCE].
- Tiberius died on 4 Adar I/Adar II, 23 CE [after sunset March 15, 23 CE.]
§ Caius’ was born August 31, 4 BCE [Elul 8 (or 9,) 4 BCE.]
§ Caius’ accession period, per Josephus, began on the eve of the visible new moon crescent at sunset February 10, 23 CE [Tevet/Shevat 1, 23 CE,]
§ Caius’ de facto reign began after Tiberius died after sunset on March 15, 23 CE.
§ Dio claims that Caius’ reign began March 26, possibly because as Suetonius puts it: “It had been provided by decree of the senate that the execution of the condemned should in all cases be put off for ten days” and “since [Tiberius’] cruelty endured even after his death.”
§ Caius died in the afternoon on January 24, 27 CE [Tevet (or Shevat) [10th (or 11th) Moon] 21, 27 CE.] (Notice: This is subsequent to the expected solar eclipse on Claudius’ birthday August 1, 26 CE!)
VI. Claudius’ reign
§ Claudius was born August 1, 24 BCE [Tammuz or Av 26, 24 BCE.]
§ Claudius’ de jure reign began in his 50th year of life when Caius died: In the afternoon on January 24, 27 CE [Tevet (or Shevat) [10th (or 11th) Moon] 21, 27 CE.]
§ Claudius’ son Britannicus was born, most likely, on January 20, 26 CE [Tevet or Shevat (10th or 11 Moon) 11 or 12, 26 CE,] (or less likely in January or February, 27 CE) and he died before the end of extended festivities attributed to the feast of Saturn in (December, 40 CE or) January 41 CE [Tevet or Shevat, (40/) 41 CE.]
§ Claudius’ daughter Octavia was born between mid May, 28 CE and mid June, 29 CE.
Claudius’ wife Messalina, the mother of Britannicus and Octavia, was
killed in 32 CE after she married another man behind Claudius’ back and
conspired to have Claudius killed. Narcissus took the initiative for this and
was nominated as emperor of
§ The marriage of Claudius and Agrippina, the Agrippina’s killing of Octavia’s former fiancé Lucius Silanus, Octavia’s espousal to Domitian (Nero,) and the adoption of Domitian as Claudius’ son all took place in 33 CE – at a time when Domitian was 9 years old and Octavia was only 3 or 4 years old.
§ Octavia was married to Nero (between December 15 and 31, 39 CE) at an age of only 10 or 11, Nero being then 16 years old.
§ Josephus is making no statement as to the length of Claudius’ “reign” per se, but is making instead a statement re the length of time that Claudius was “administering the government.” Considering the apparent fact that Claudius was a consul, and thus a part of the government, prior to becoming emperor of Rome, I find that Josephus’ statement “But Claudius himself, when he had administered the government thirteen years, eight months, and twenty days, died” is referencing a time period beginning with Tishri 22, 26 CE, and ending, when Claudius died, on either Zif 21 or Sivan 21, 40 CE [May 22 or else June 20 or 21, 40 CE.]
§ Claudius’ death was concealed for almost 4 or 5 month until October 13, 40 CE when his death was finally made public.
VII. Nero’s reign
§ Nero was born December 15, 23 CE.
§ Nero began his de facto reign after a period of co-regency with Claudius, which co-regency, based upon Josephus’ reckoning of Nero’s years of reign, began between Aviv 1, 39 CE [March 14 or 15 or April 14, 39 CE] and Tishri 1, 39 CE [September 9 or October 8 or 9, 39 CE.]
§ Nero’s 1st civil year of de jure reign began Tishri 1, 39 CE, [September 9, or October 8 (or 9,) 39 CE,] which year is largely concurrent with his 16th civil year of life. He was not yet 17 years old, by Roman reckoning when Claudius died.
§ Josephus counts Nero’s 1st sacred year of reign from the beginning of Aviv 22, 40 CE [April 23 or May 22, 40 CE.] Josephus is using sacred years of reign when referencing certain time periods within the war of the Jews in his work The War of the Jews.
Nero’s reign, as recognized by Josephus, ended on
Aviv 9, 53 CE [March 19, 53 CE,] when he first “heard of the insurrection in
Nero died some
time within a very few days prior to the time when Galba, sometime between June
1 and June 6, 53 CE [between Sivan 24 and 30, 53 CE,] received the “advice…
1. Nero’s poisoning of his step-brother Britannicus ((14 or) 15 years old) before the end of extended festivities attributed to the feast of Saturn in (December, 40 CE or) January, 41 CE [Tevet or Shevat, (40/) 41 CE.]
1. Paul, the apostle, arrives to Rome [Monday night July 19, or Tuesday July 20, 45 CE;]
release from bondage in
3. Nero’s first Quinquennial games [October 3 or 5 through 12, 46 CE;]
4. Nero’s comet [first seen in the lunar month between December 17, 46 CE and January 15, 47 CE;]
5. Nero’s matricide [March 19, 47 CE;]
7. Nero “dearly loved Poppaea, whom he married twelve days after his divorce from Octavia;”
8. Octavia was divorced and later, “in her twentieth year,” killed, i.e. 19 years old [in the first half of 48 CE;]
9. Nero’s daughter’s, Claudia Augusta, birth and death [March(?) and June(?), 48 CE;]
Nero’s burning of
Seneca’s first letter to Paul (Chapter XII) re
Nero’s fire of
12. The apostle Paul’s last letter to Seneca [August 1, 50 CE;]
13. Nero’s second Quinquennial games [October 3 or 5 through 12, 50 CE;]
14. Seneca’s death [October, 50 CE;] and
15. The death of Nero’s wife Poppaea [October, 50 CE.]
16. The beginning of the War of the Jews: Artemisius [Jyar,] 51 CE [between May 30 and June 28, 51 CE;]
VIII. Galba’s reign
§ Galba began his reign as Caesar
of Rome when, sometime between June 1 and June 6, 53 CE [between Sivan 24 and
30, 53 CE,] he received the “advice… from
§ Galba died after sunset on January 15, 54 CE [Day 15 in the 11th Moon, Shevat 15, 54 CE,] but Josephus counts Galba’s reign as ending on January 8, 54 CE [Shevat 8, 54 CE] when…
§ Piso was adopted as Galba’s son on January 8, 54 CE [Shevat 8, 54 CE.]
§ Piso was killed before sunset January 15, 54 CE [Day 14 in the 11th Moon, Shevat 14, 54 CE.]
IX. Otho’s reign
§ “II. The emperor Otho was born upon the fourth of the calends of May [“IIII. Kal. Mai;” 28th April], in the consulship of Camillus Aruntius and Domitius Aenobarbus…”
§ Otho’s de facto reign began when Galba died after sunset on January 15, 54 CE [Day 15 in the 11th Moon, Shevat 15, 54 CE.]
§ This allows for Otho’s accession period to be reckoned, alternatively, all the way from the beginning of the Civil War Aviv 9, 53 CE [March 19, 53 CE.]
§ Otho died on Adar III 22, the 22nd Day of the Fourteenth Moon, 54 CE [April 19, 54 CE.] Otho’s funeral was performed on April 19, 54 CE.
§ Vitellius reign is recognized by Josephus as having begun with the beginning of the Civil War on Aviv 9, 53 CE [March 19, 53 CE] on the anniversary of Nero’s matricide.
§ Upon Vitellius’ death Domitian, the son of Vespasian, was first [briefly] celebrated as the new Emperor of Rome.
Astronomical correlations to Vitellius’ reign:
Dio is giving reference to a comet during the reign of Vitellius as well as of a lunar eclipse in the middle of the summer. The following event satisfies all criteria provided in his record:
1. The comet observation is confirmed by recordings of the ancient Chinese astronomers who states: “This comet had a tail measuring about 5 degrees and was seen between June 9 and July 9 of that year.” In 54 CE June 9 and July 9 are the days for the astronomical full moons, not necessarily the duration of the observation of the comet.
There was a total lunar
eclipse lasting 1 hour 46 minutes on Wednesday August 7, 54 CE at 04:36 UT, the
first visible part of the eclipse beginning at 02:38 UT (i.e. beginning at
3. From the language of Dio’s record, which could represent an indirect quote from a first hand observer, it appears as though the above referenced comet may have been (?) eclipsed by the moon on the very same day as the lunar eclipse, possibly (?) even concurrent with the lunar eclipse. – However, I am not proposing that such a two-fold event can be proven from Dio’s original Greek words alone!
Based upon Suetonius’ records Vespasian was born November 17, 5 BCE [Heshvan (or Kislev) 16, 5 BCE:] “Vespasian was born in the Sabine country, in a small village beyond Reate, called Falacrina, on the evening of the fifteenth day before the Kalends of December, in the consulate of Quintus Sulpicius Camerinus and Gaius Poppaeus Sabinus, five years before the death of Augustus…”
– The Latin words translated “death of Augustus” may alternatively be translated “withdrawal…” or “retirement of Augustus…” As best I can tell this event is in reference of Tiberius being appointed the heir of Augustus on June 26, 1 BCE.
Vespasian’s reign began:
As reckoned by Josephus, at the beginning
of the Civil War, Aviv 9, 53 CE [March 19, 53 CE,] when “at
Vespasian was first acclaimed Emperor by Otho’s soldiers following the death of Otho,
finally by the senate and the populace in
Vespasian’s 2nd year of reign –Josephus used sacred years in reference to the time period corresponding to the War of the Jews; civil years for other time periods: Vespasian’s 2nd sacred year of reign corresponds to Aviv 1, 55 CE thru Adar, 56 CE [March 19, 55 CE thru April 4 or 5, 56 CE;] his 2nd civil year of reign covers Tishri 54 CE thru Elul 55 CE:
1. Sacred years (Aviv-Adar) – Used by Josephus when referencing an event during the War of the Jews (Between Iyar 51 CE – Elul 55 CE)
2. Civil years (Tishri-Elul) - Used by Josephus when referencing an event outside of the time frame of the War of the Jews (before Iyar 51 CE, or after Elul 55 CE:)
Vespasian died on June 24, 66 CE [Sivan or Tammuz 11 or 12, 66 CE.]
Titus was born December 30, 26 CE [The 10th (or 11th) Moon 1 or 2, 26 CE] (prior to Caius’ death, or else December 30, 27 CE [Tebeth (the 10th Moon) 12 or 13, 27 CE.] )
Titus co-reigned from the beginning with his father Vespasian whom he succeeded together with his brother Domitian on June 24, 66 CE [Sivan or Tammuz 11 or 12, 66 CE,] (or possibly 67 or 68) CE after his father Vespasian died.
Titus died on “the Ides of September,” September 13, 68 CE [Elul 26 or 27, 68 CE,] (or possibly 69 CE or 70 CE) “in the forty-second year of his age” as reckoned by Suetonius, i.e. following either his 42nd birthday anniversary (if born prior to Caius’ death, or else, if born after Caius’ death, following his 41st birthday anniversary.)
§ “Domitian was born on the ninth day before the Kalends of November…” [October 24, 32 CE [Tishri 30, 32 CE] (or 33 CE [Tishri or Heshvan 11, 33 CE.])]
§ Domitian died on “the fifth hour…” [between 11 AM and 12 AM (considering Suetonius’ use of ordinals)] on “the fourteenth day before the Kalends of October…” September 18, 77 CE, [Elul or Tishri 11, 77 CE] “in the forty-fifth year of his age and the fifteenth of his reign.”
Domitian’s death is anchored upon a rare astronomical constellation in conjunction with Jerome’s statement re the time of death of the apostle John.
XIV. Nerva’s reign
§ Nerva’s brief reign lasted from September 18, 77 CE until January 27, 78 or 79 CE (Cf. Wikipedia)
XV. Trajan’s reign
§ Trajan’s reign began on January 27, 78 or 79 CE (Cf. Wikipedia)
XVI. Hadrian’s reign
The death of Caesar Julius: None of the dates above builds on a date connected with Ceasar Julius. Yet it is important to fit him into the overall time frame. Caesar Julius died on the Ides of March (March 15), 49 BCE as based upon the astronomical data, i.e. a comet and a solar eclipse, identified by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
When was Augustus born?
What may be learnt re how Josephus records the age of man?
What might be considered re the patriarchy of Augustus?
Solution found!: Perfect agreement between Josephus and Suetonius!
Quote from Ronald L. Conte Jr:
“According to Suetonius, Caesar Augustus died just short of his 76th birthday. “He died…just thirty-five days before his seventy-sixth birthday.”839 Dio Cassius confirms this age: “…he passed away, having lived seventy-five years, ten months, and twenty-six days (he had been born on the twenty-third of September)….”840 So, both Suetonius and Dio give the date of Augustus’ death as August 19. Josephus gives the length of Augustus’ life as 77 years.841 He does not, however, give the length of Augustus’ life exact to the day, as he does when giving the length of his reign or the reigns of other emperors.” (Conte Jr., Ronald L., Important Dates in the Lives of Jesus and Mary, p.190.)
839 Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars, Loeb Classical Library, 2.100.1.
840 Dio, Roman History, Volume VII, Loeb Classical Library, 56.30.5.
841 Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 18.32.
Assuming that Dio and Suetonius both are using a Julian calendar, their respective statements as quoted by Ronald L. Conte Jr. above makes perfect sense considering that August has 31 days. Assuming further that both Dio and Suetonius counts birthday as we do today, i.e. from birthday to birthday regardless of when the calendar year begins and ends, we then find that Augustus was born September 23rd in the astronomical year – ( 76 – 10 ) = -66 = 67 BCE [Elul 24 or 25, 67 BCE.]
Please correct me where I am wrong, but I am not aware of any culture where the age of man is not given in full years only, though with optional, though rarely used, months and/or days added on top, or on occasion as referenced by Suetonius above. What is known is that a majority of cultures even today are using a much earlier starting point than the point of delivery as used in Western – Roman based - cultures today. Most certainly an earlier point was used also by Josephus. As it turns out Augustus was seventy-seven years [plus four lunar months and eighteen or nineteen days] old at his death, when his birth [=beginning] is counted from the beginning of the sacred year within which he was conceived (LMP = December 17, 68 BCE [Kislev 30, 68 BCE.]) I believe this is also the way the Torah is referencing the age of man, especially in patriarchal times. Remember, Josephus was a Jewish priest! And it is apparent that Josephus thought very highly of Augustus – who made a very important point of patriarchy by reaching for and achieving recognition as Pater Patriae in commemoration of his 25th year of reign! Notice that, by counting the birth of Augustus from the beginning of a sacral year of conception, credit is given not only to the biological father of Augustus, but also to the Father of sacred time. In the first quote below, notice that babies were being killed for similar purposes when Augustus was born , and 50 years later when Yeshua was born. Please note re the quotes given below that almost certainly the BCE years, as given by Earnest L. Martin, needs revision in accord with Ronald L. Conte’s work!
“According to Julius Marathus, a personal confidant of Augustus Caesar, the Roman Senate in the year 63 B.C.E ordered all boy babies to be killed who were born in that year because prophetic dreams and astrological signs suggested that a “King of the Romans” was to be born. 3 The Senate ostensibly considered a “King of the Romans” to be anathema to the government of the Republic. So concerned were some of the senators of this astrological interpretation, whose wives were pregnant, that they refused to register births from their wives in hopes that the signs applied to them. We are informed that in that very year (23 September, 63 B.C.E.), the person who later became the first emperor of the Romans (Augustus) was born.
“Augustus celebrated his 25th jubilee year of being emperor of the Romans (from the time he was proclaimed “Augustus” on January 16, 27 B.C.E.). 6 This year also coincided with the 750th year of the founding of Rome as determined by the chronological records of the Roman priests. 7 In August of 2 B.C.E. (the month named after Augustus himself and still a month we recognize today) there were festivities in Rome and throughout the provinces and client kingdoms. People came to the festivities from all over the Empire and even beyond. In Rome during this year there were magnificent displays and carnival activities. There were sham sea-fights on the flooded Tibertine fields, gladiators in abundance and wild beast hunts. The Roman Empire was in great celebration. Along with this, Augustus, in 2 B.C.E., finally dedicated the new Forum bearing his name after many delays and he sanctified the Temple of Mars Ultor (Mars the Avenger). 8
“Augustus was given his most prestigious title: Pater Patriae (Father of the Country). In the previous year a decree went out from Augustus that required “the entire Roman people” scattered over the Empire to register their approval that Augustus should be given the most prestigious title of his career, the Pater Patriae.
“This award itself was given to Augustus by decree of the Senate and the people of Rome on February 5, 2 B.C.E. This was the festival day dedicated to Concord. It was the traditional day that honored peace and reconciliation among all classes of people all over the Roman Empire. 14 ” (From Martin, Earnest L., The Star that Astonished the World, Chapter 1.)
The death of Augustus: Josephus states “the Roman empire was translated to Tiberius, the son of Julia, upon the death of Augustus, who had reigned fifty-seven years, six months, and two days” (Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, 18.32.)
in the following year, when Sextus Apuleius and Sextus Pompeius were consuls,
Augustus set out for Campania, and after superintending the games at Neapolis,
passed away shortly afterward at Nola.
Indeed, not a few omens had appeared, and these by no means difficult of interpretation, all pointing to this fate for him. Thus, the sun suffered a total eclipse and most of the sky seemed to be on fire; glowing embers appeared to be falling from it and blood-red comets were seen.” (Dio, Roman History, Volume VII, Loeb Classical Library, 56.29.3.)
the troops in
Let’s remember that Josephus was a Jewish priest. Time reckoning and the proper rules for recording various time periods should be among the most sacred objectives for Josephus as a priest. One of the most sacred rules for counting and recording time is taught us through the ante type of counting towards and keeping the Feast of Weeks. The counting of time towards the Feast of Weeks, Hag Ha-Shavout, is a special annual lesson for all, designed to make as many as will do so consider how the 49 year Sabbath Cycles and the years of Jubilee are to be kept in order for blessings to result. I’ve discussed the basis for a correct keeping of the Hag Ha-Shavout in a special article which I would like for all interested to seriously consider.
May I suggest this rational for the recording of sacred counts of time based upon directives given by Yahweh, the Creator, on the one hand, and on the other secular counts of time, based upon ungodly, baseless, and erroneous foundations: The creator has created everything in the entire universe upon solid foundations. Cause and effect is one of the most basic foundation stones of our existence. Man has a strong tendency to run ahead of himself, do things prematurely, to keep on adding one error upon another, and to rely on and delegate his powers to others when he is given the freedom and authority to retain the Power Of Choice for himself, others who neither can, nor will, take responsibility for another. In the sacred way of counting as taught in the 50 year count of 49 years towards the Feast of Weeks and the year of Jubilee, both the beginning partial day/year and the final partial day/year are to be included according to the biblical instructions - as also demonstrated in my Shavout article as also referenced above.
However, that still does not tell us why Josephus used a reverse count for Augustus, when most certainly he knew which day Augustus died, does it? In comparison to many other rulers, it appears that Augustus was a very wise emperor who was able to accomplish much peace throughout the Roman Empire. After his death apparently he was considered divine:
“…the inscription of Tibur (called the lapis tiburtinus)… The phrase “divi Augusti” is part of the text. This title, showing that the Senate reckoned Augustus as divine, was only bestowed on him after Augustus’ death” (Martin, Earnest L., The Star that Astonished the World)
Apparently Josephus thought very highly of Augustus. One of the primary differences between good and evil is life, life in contradistinction to death. Such ones as works towards more quality of life may be considered good, whereas such as works towards death and suffering may be considered wicked or evil. True conversion should make one turn towards the source and beginning of life, towards the One God, Yahweh Elohim, the One that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters, the One God located at the beginning of time. Failing such conversion one is by default headed for death and destruction.
One way for Josephus, the priest and historian, to signify secretly that he thought very highly of Augustus would be to count Augustus’ reign in the direction towards the beginning of his reign, towards his source, towards the Creator of life, and towards the One God who alone has power to give powers of any kind at all, whether to kings, emperors, or anyone. At the same time a reverse count which does not include the year of death will symbolically signify the worthlessness of death as a basis for anything. Now, doesn’t it make a lot of sense for Josephus not to count the year of death as part of the total tally of years for Augustus’ reign? Doesn’t it make sense for Josephus to count the years of Augustus in a reverse manner? Additionally the number 58 is a number associated in the bible with victory over severe trials. The fact that Augustus reign lasted more than 57½ years when counted in a reverse manner could have been a contributing factor in the mind of Josephus as well, who knows?
After finding that Josephus is using reverse counts also for some of the other Caesars, I find that perhaps his choice of doing so may be either arbitrary, perhaps based upon a desire to pinpoint exactly the beginning date, or else possibly when the new emperor is not of the same family as the former.
“2. As Coponius, who we told you was sent along with Cyrenius, was exercising his office of procurator, and governing Judea, the following accidents happened. As the Jews were celebrating the feast of unleavened bread, which we call the Passover, it was customary for the priests to open the temple-gates just after midnight. When, therefore, those gates were first opened, some of the Samaritans came privately into Jerusalem, and threw about dead men's bodies, in the cloisters; on which account the Jews afterward excluded them out of the temple, which they had not used to do at such festivals; and on other accounts also they watched the temple more carefully than they had formerly done. A little after which accident Coponius returned to Rome, and Marcus Ambivius came to be his successor in that government; under whom Salome, the sister of king Herod, died, and left to Julia, [Caesar's wife,] Jamnia, all its toparchy, and Phasaelis in the plain, and Arehelais, where is a great plantation of palm trees, and their fruit is excellent in its kind. After him came Annius Rufus, under whom died Caesar, the second emperor of the Romans, the duration of whose reign was fifty-seven years, besides six months and two days (of which time Antonius ruled together with him fourteen years; but the duration of his life was seventy-seven years); upon whose death Tiberius Nero, his wife Julia's son, succeeded. He was now the third emperor; and he sent Valerius Gratus to be procurator of Judea, and to succeed Annius Rufus. This man deprived Ananus of the high priesthood, and appointed Ismael, the son of Phabi, to be high priest. He also deprived him in a little time, and ordained Eleazar, the son of Ananus, who had been high priest before, to be high priest; which office, when he had held for a year, Gratus deprived him of it, and gave the high priesthood to Simon, the son of Camithus; and when he had possessed that dignity no longer than a year, Joseph Caiaphas was made his successor. When Gratus had done those things, he went back to Rome, after he had tarried in Judea eleven years, when Pontius Pilate came as his successor.” (Josephus, Antiquities XVIII:2:2.)
Notice in the above passage how that the translator makes it appear as though Caesar Augustus died under Annius Rufus and prior to the accession of Tiberius Nero. Is this statement of Josephus sufficient basis for disproving the within revision of history as based upon exact astronomical records and historical records of many celestial events? If not, does it represent an error on the part of Josephus? Or perhaps it is a translation error based upon a correct Hebrew or possibly Greek original? Or, is it sufficient to say that every ruler succeeding a prior ruler is also under such prior ruler? Thus, if Augustus did indeed die under Valerius Gratus, he also died under Annius Rufus, didn’t he? And “upon [Augustus’] death Tiberius Nero… succeeded [de facto as] the third emperor,” though Tiberius de jure reign began June 26, 1 BCE when he was in fact appointed as the heir of Augustus and after which date it appears as though Augustus did retire from his post of duty in all but title, while transferring most or all of the responsibilities to Tiberius.
Greek rendition of Josephus’ passage above:
“ Kwpwni/ou de\ th\n )Ioudai/an die/pontoj, o(\n e)/fhn Kurini/w| sunekpemfqh=nai, ta/de pra/ssetai. tw=n a)zu/mwn th=j e(orth=j a)gome/nhj, h(\n pa/sxa kalou=men, e)k me/shj nukto\j e)n e)/qei toi=j i(ereu=sin h)=n a)noignu/nai tou= i(erou= tou\j pulw=naj.  kai\ to/te ou)=n e)pei\ to\ prw=ton gi/netai h( a)/noicij au)tw=n, a)/ndrej Samarei=tai kru/fa ei)j (Ieroso/luma e)lqo/ntej dia/rriyin a)nqrwpei/wn o)stw=n e)n tai=j stoai=j kai\ dia\ panto\j tou= i(erou= h)/rcanto mh\ pro/teron e)pi\ toiou/toij nomi/zontej ta/ te a)/lla dia\ fulakh=j mei/zonoj h)=gon to\ i(ero/n.  kai\ Kwpw/nioj met' ou) polu\ ei)j (Rw/mhn e)panaxwrei=, dia/doxoj d' au)tw=| th=j a)rxh=j paragi/netai Ma=rkoj )Ambibouxoj, e)f' ou(= kai\ Salw/mh h( tou= basile/wj (Hrw/dou a)delfh\ metasta=sa )Iouli/a| me\n )Ia/mneia/n te katalei/pei kai\ th\n toparxi/an pa=san, th/n t' e)n tw=| pedi/w| Fasahli/da kai\ )Arxelai/+da, e)/nqa foini/kwn plei/sth fu/teusij kai\ karpo\j au)tw=n a)/ristoj.  diade/xetai de\ kai\ tou=ton )/Annioj (Rou=foj, e)f' ou(= dh\ kai\ teleuta=| Kai=sar, deu/teroj me\n (Rwmai/wn au)tokra/twr geno/menoj e(pta\ de\ kai\ penth/konta th=j a)rxh=j e)/th, pro\j oi(=j mh=nej e(\c h(me/rai duoi=n plei/onej, tou/tou de\ au)tw=| tou= xro/nou dekate/ssara e)/th sunh=rcen )Antw/nioj, biw/saj e)/th e(bdomhkontaepta/.  diade/xetai de\ tw=| Kai/sari th\n h(gemoni/an Tibe/rioj Ne/rwn gunaiko\j au)tou= )Iouli/aj ui(o\j w)/n, tri/toj h)/dh ou(=toj au)tokra/twr, kai\ pempto\j u(p' au)tou= parh=n )Ioudai/oij e)/parxoj dia/doxoj )Anni/w| (Rou/fw| Ou)ale/rioj Gra=toj:  o(\j pau/saj i(era=sqai )/Ananon )Isma/hlon a)rxiere/a a)pofai/nei to\n tou= Fabi/, kai\ tou=ton de\ met' ou) polu\ metasth/saj )Elea/zaron to\n )Ana/nou tou= a)rxiere/wj ui(o\n a)podei/knusin a)rxiere/a. e)niautou= de\ diagenome/nou kai\ to/nde pau/saj Si/mwni tw=| Kami/qou th\n a)rxierwsu/nhn paradi/dwsin.  ou) plei/wn de\ kai\ tw=|de e)niautou= th\n timh\n e)/xonti diege/neto xro/noj, kai\ )Iw/shpoj o( kai\ Kai+a/faj dia/doxoj h)=n au)tw=|. kai\ Gra=toj me\n tau=ta pra/caj ei)j (Rw/mhn e)panexw/rei e(/ndeka e)/th diatri/yaj e)n )Ioudai/a|, Po/ntioj de\ Pila=toj dia/doxoj au)tw=| h(=ken.”
§ Augustus was born September 23, 67 BCE [Note: September 23, 67 BCE is a pre-Caesar Julius’ calendar revision date. September 23, 67 BCE in a corrected calendar comes out to Elul 24 or 25, 67 BCE, but this date is not when Augustus was born.]
§ Augustus’ (seasonally corrected) date of delivery was June 28 [Sivan (or Tammuz) 26 (or 27), 67 BCE; Notice the number 26 as well as 3, i.e. the Third Moon, Sivan!] Augustus’ mother’s calculated LMP was September 21 (seasonally corrected) [Elul or Tishri 11, 68 BCE; Notice its relationship to the Day of At-One-Ment!] and Augustus was most likely conceived October 4 (seasonally corrected) [Tishri 21, 68 BCE; Notice its relationship to the Eighth Day and the beginning of the Scriptural year!] [Quickening may be associated with Capricorn, however, using an astrological chart based on the uncorrected pre-Julian calendar reform finds Augustus being conceived in the sign of Capricorn.]
§ The beginning of Augustus’ reign: Adar 27 or 28, 47 BCE [April 1 or 2, 47 BCE ± 1 lunar month (March 3 or May 1)]
§ Augustus died “on the fourteenth day before the Kalends of September at the ninth hour, just thirty-five days before his seventy-sixth birthday,” i.e. Av 19 or 20, 10 CE [August 19, 10 CE,]
Quoting Augustus Caesar:
“A third time, with the consular imperium, p359and with my son Tiberius Caesar as my colleague, I performed the lustrum in the consulship of Sextus Pompeius and Sextus Apuleius.37” (The Res Gestae of Augustus, Monumentum Ancyranum, Part II)
- For the benefit of anyone who may claim that Tiberius was not named Caesar until after Augustus’ death…
“5 Some have supposed that Tiberius was born at Fundi, on no better evidence than that his maternal grandmother was a native of that place, and that later a statue of Good Fortune was set up there by decree of the senate. But according to the most numerous and trustworthy authorities, he was born at Rome, on the Palatine, the sixteenth day before the Kalends of December, in the consulship of Marcus Aemilius Lepidus and Lucius Munatius Plancus (the former for the second time) while the war of Philippi was going on. In fact it is so recorded both in the calendar and in the public gazette. Yet in spite of this some write that he was born in the preceding year, that of Hirtius and Pansa, and others in the following year, in the consulate of Servilius Isauricus and Lucius Antonius.”
“73 Meanwhile, having read in the proceedings of the senate that some of those under accusation, about whom he had written briefly, merely stating that they had been named by an informer, had been discharged without a hearing, he cried out in anger that he was held in contempt, and resolved to return to Capreae at any cost, since he would not risk any step except from his place of refuge. Detained, however, by bad weather and the increasing violence of his illness, he died a little later in the villa of Lucullus, in the seventy-eighth year of his age and the twenty-third of his reign, on the seventeenth day before the Kalends of April, in the consulship of Gnaeus Acerronius Proculus and Gaius Pontius Nigrinus.”
Quoting Ronald L. Conte Jr:
“If Augustus died in A.D. 10, then Tiberius’ sudden rise to power began in mid 1 B.C.E. Tiberius was adopted as heir to Augustus on June 26.” (From Ronald L. Conte Jr with reference to Finegan, Handbook of Biblical Chronology, revised edition, no. 183 and table 42, p. 86.)
Let’s see how this fits Josephus’ statements:
976 Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, p. 150. See also: Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars, Loeb Classical Library, 3.73.1.
(Conte, Important Dates in the Lives of Jesus and Mary.)
977 Dio, Roman History, Volume VII, Loeb Classical Library, 58.28.5.
(From Conte, Important Dates in the Lives of Jesus and Mary.)
Starting Tiberius first year of reign with Tishri 22, 1 BCE through Elul, 1 CE, which count is also consistent with the dating as recorded by Luke as referenced above, Tiberius’ “twenty-two years” ended at the beginning of Tishri 1, 22 CE. Then we have two options given by Josephus:
Notice that for the years 16 CE until 42 CE, 23 CE is the only year where the 4th day of a biblical month may possibly fall on March 16, a fact which is strong confirmation for this being the correct year of Tiberius’ death. Dio provides further confirmation, cf. below!
“Dio and Suetonius both place Tiberius’ death in the month of March…” and “Suetonius states that Tiberius died on March 16.” Quoting further from Ronald L. Conte Jr.: “The ancient historians Josephus, Dio, and Suetonius… all give the length of [Tiberius’] reign as greater than 22 years and less than 23 years.” (However, cf. the discussion about Dio below.)
The one likely reason I’ve found so far for why Josephus is writing “five months” in one book and “six months” in the other book is simply that - probably due to an unusually late aviv in 22 CE - there existed two different Jewish calendars for the year starting in 22 CE. March 14 (or 15), 23 CE would then correspond to Adar 3, 23 CE in one calendar while in the other the same day corresponds to Adar II 3, 23 CE. However, Adar 3 occurs “five months, and three days” into the civil year, while Adar II 3 occurs “six months, and three days, into the civil year. Thus both statements of Josephus are correct, while Josephus is telling us also that two different Hebrew calendars existed that particular year.
[Note re sacred vs. civil years: Mostly in his work Wars of the Jews I have found that Josephus is using a sacred year calendar beginning in Abib. After studying this usage I conclude that Josephus uses sacred years when referencing points in time during civil war.]
An important confirmation and a note re Dio: If Dio is correct and if he is using a Julian calendar and if Tiberius died March 26, 23 CE, then Tiberius’ reign began September 19 or 20, 1 BCE depending upon whether or not Dio is counting the days inclusively. It is important to notice that Tishri 1, 1 BCE may well correspond to September 19, 1 BCE, which is evidence that Dio is basing his count of Tiberius’ reign upon a Jewish source, very possibly upon Josephus?, while probably not fully understanding all the intricacies of the time reckoning used by his Jewish source. However, the fact that his date falls on Tishri 1 is strong confirmation that indeed Tiberius’ reign began in 1 BCE, because from 11 BCE through 18 CE only 1 BCE and 8 CE allows for Tishri 1 to fall on either September 19 or 20, i.e. it is a relatively rare incidence.
Re Tiberius’ birth:
Given that Tiberius died March 16, 23 CE “in the seventy-eighth year of his age” and that he was born “the sixteenth day before the Kalends of December,” i.e. on November 16, we may now easily calculate Tiberius’ year of birth: 23 CE – 78 = - 55 = 56 BCE. Thus Tiberius was born November 16, 56 BCE. That is in a seasonally unadjusted pre-Julian reform calendar. Adjusting this date to a seasonally corrected calendar in harmony with the celestial bodies may be made thusly:
Recognizing that Caesar Julius corrected the drifting Roman calendar years by making not 46 BCE (relative to the conventional 44 BCE of Julius’ death,) but 51 BCE (revised date for Julius’ death being 49 BCE,) 445 days long, we may extrapolate as follows:
1. Assuming that 50 BCE was synchronous with the seasons as intended;
Assuming also that the year of the founding of
3. Assuming that the drift of the year from year to year was more or less the same over the interval 753-50 BCE we may then extrapolate the total drift which should be 365.25-445=79.75 days total, or about 79.75/(753-50)=79.75/703=0.113 days per year.
4. Tiberius was born (conception or delivery?) November 16, 56 BCE.
5. 56 BCE is 56-50=6 years before Julius’ calendar reform, thus the correction should be 6x.113=0.68 days.
6. Accordingly, if the total correction was 90 days then the appropriate correction should be 90-1=89 days in 56 BCE.
7. If the contemporary calendar read November 16 of that year when Tiberius was born [conception or delivery?] then the seasonally corrected date should be about 89 days prior to November 16. Counting November=16 days, October=31 days, September=30 days I get 77 days total, which should bring me to August 22 for Tiberius’ birthday (conception or delivery?)
8. If Tiberius’ seasonally corrected date of delivery EDC was August 22 [Av (or Elul) 24 (or 25), 56 BCE] then his mom’s LMP should have been November 15 [Heshvan 27, 57 BCE] and he should have been conceived around November 26 [Chisleu 9, 57 BCE.]
9. Else if Tiberius’ seasonally corrected date of conception was August 22 [Av (or Elul) 24 (or 25), 56 BCE] then his mom’s LMP should have been August 11 [Av (or Elul) 13 (or 14), 56 BCE] and he should have been delivered around May 18 [Zif/Ijjar 27, 55 BCE.]
Furthermore, this date may be confirmed by the following words…
Tiberius’ astrologer Marcus Manilius had this to say about him:
''Sed, cum autumnales coeperunt surgere Chelae, felix aequato genitus sub pondere Librae. iudex examen sistet vitaeque necisque imponetque iugum terris legesque rogabit. illum urbes et regna trement nutuque regentur unius et caeli post terras iura manebunt.''
"When Autumn claws begin to rise, blessed is the man born under the scales of Libra. As a judge he places the balance of life and death: he will make laws and impose his yoke over the world. Cities and kingdoms will tremble before him and be ruled by his will alone, and after his time on earth, command of the heavens will await him."
That is, after noticing also that Mars was in Libra from Mars 24, 56 BCE – September 5, 56 BCE and that neither the sun, moon, or any of the planets are in Libra on any of the other above dates in 55 or 57 BCE, or isn’t that so? And isn’t it relevant that it is Mars that is in Libra considering that Tiberius was very much a general and a military man of war?
§ Tiberius was born on November 16, 56 BCE (as dated per the then current Roman calendar) and on August 22, 56 BCE per a seasonally adjusted calendar [Av (or Elul) 24 (or 25), 56 BCE.]
§ Tiberius was appointed the heir of Augustus on June 26, 1 BCE [Tammuz 4 or 5, 1 BCE].
§ Tiberius died on 4 Adar I/Adar II, 23 CE [March 16, 23 CE.]
§ I find that Josephus and Suetonius are in perfect agreement within them selves as well as with one another, while Dio provides confirmatory evidence for these same data albeit apparently not in full agreement while, as it may appear, Dio does not fully comprehend the method of reckoning used by his Jewish source, which source may well be Josephus.
Based upon Josephus’ dates as given while considering also the dates for the beginning of the last prior Aviv, I conclude that most likely two different Hebrew calendars were in use that year, such that Adar I of one calendar was concurrent with Adar II of the other.
“58 On the ninth day before the Kalends of February at about the seventh hour he hesitated whether or not to get up for luncheon, since his stomach was still disordered from excess of food on the day before, but at length he came out at the persuasion of his friends. In the covered passage p495through which he had to pass, some boys of good birth, who had been summoned from Asia to appear on the stage, were rehearsing their parts, and he stopped to watch and to encourage them; and had not the leader of the troop complained that he had a chill, he would have returned and had the performance given at once. 2 From this point there are two versions of the story: some say that as he was talking with the boys, Chaerea came up behind, and gave him a deep cut in the neck, having first cried, "Take that,"108º and that then the tribune Cornelius Sabinus, who was the other conspirator and faced Gaius, stabbed him in the breast. Others say that Sabinus, after getting rid of the crowd through centurions who were in the plot, asked for the watchword, as soldiers do, and that when Gaius gave him "Jupiter," he cried "So be it,"109 and as Gaius looked around, he split his jawbone with a blow of his sword. 3 As he lay upon the ground and with writhing limbs called out that he still lived, the others dispatched him with thirty wounds; for the general signal was "Strike again." Some even thrust their swords through his privates. At the beginning of the disturbance his bearers ran to his aid with their poles,110 and presently the Germans of his body-guard, and they slew several of his assassins, as well as some inoffensive senators.
“5. This was the end of Caius, after he had reigned four years, within four months. He was, even before he came to be emperor, ill-natured, and one that had arrived at the utmost pitch of wickedness; a slave to his pleasures, and a lover of calumny;” Josephus, The Antiquities of the Jews, XIX:2:5
“1. NOW when Caius had reigned three year's and eight months, and had been slain by treachery, Claudius was hurried away by the armies that were at Rome to take the government upon him; but…” Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, II:11:1
Caligula Gaius Caesar was appointed the heir of Tiberius Caesar while Tiberius was still alive (Biography by Suetonius, i.e. per Svensk Uppslagsbok; Caligula.) As will be seen below, the date of Gaius’ death, which latter date is also the beginning of his successor, Claudius Caesar, may be exactly determined as January 24, 27 CE based upon the records of Josephus, Suetonius and Tacitus. Using a reverse count such as Josephus used also for Augustus the day of appointment for Claudius as Tiberius’ successor has been found, i.e. February 10, 27 CE. (Cf. below!)
“3. So Vitellius prepared to make war with Aretas, having with him two legions of armed men; he also took with him all those of light armature, and of the horsemen which belonged to them, and were drawn out of those kingdoms which were under the Romans, and made haste for Petra, and came to Ptolemais. But as he was marching very busily, and leading his army through Judea, the principal men met him, and desired that he would not thus march through their land; for that the laws of their country would not permit them to overlook those images which were brought into it, of which there were a great many in their ensigns; so he was persuaded by what they said, and changed that resolution of his which he had before taken in this matter. Whereupon he ordered the army to march along the great plain, while he himself, with Herod the tetrarch and his friends, went up to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice to God, an ancient festival of the Jews being then just approaching; and when he had been there, and been honorably entertained by the multitude of the Jews, he made a stay there for three days, within which time he deprived Jonathan of the high priesthood, and gave it to his brother Theophilus. But when on the fourth day letters came to him, which informed him of the death of Tiberius, he obliged the multitude to take an oath of fidelity to Caius; he also recalled his army, and made them every one go home, and take their winter quarters there, since, upon the devolution of the empire upon Caius, he had not the like authority of making this war which he had before…
“It was also reported, that when Aretas heard of the coming of Vitellius to fight him, he said, upon his consulting the diviners, that it was impossible that this army of Vitellius's could enter Petra; for that one of the rulers would die, either he that gave orders for the war, or he that was marching at the other's desire, in order to be subservient to his will, or else he against whom this army is prepared. So Vitellius truly retired to Antioch; but Agrippa, the son of Aristobulus, went up to Rome, a year before the death of Tiberius, in order to treat of some affairs with the emperor, if he might be permitted so to do.” Josephus, Antiquities, XVIII:5:3
[Apparently Agrippa “went up to Rome” prior to Tishri 22, 22 CE, possibly even prior to Tishri 22, 21 CE, i.e. if “a year before” means “one full year before and not merely “in a year prior to the year of Tiberius’ death.”]
“5. Now as the friendship which Agrippa had for Caius was come to a great height, there happened some words to pass between them, as they once were in a chariot together, concerning Tiberius; Agrippa praying [to God] (for they two sat by themselves) that Tiberius might soon go off the stage, and leave the government to Caius, who was in every respect more worthy of it. Now Eutychus, who was Agrippa's freed-man, and drove his chariot, heard these words, and at that time said nothing of them; but when Agrippa accused him of stealing some garments of his, (which was certainly true,) he ran away from him; but when he was caught, and brought before Piso, who was governor of the city, and the man was asked why he ran away, be replied, that he had somewhat to say to Caesar, that tended to his security and preservation: so Piso bound him, and sent him to Capreae. But Tiberius, according to his usual custom, kept him still in bonds, being a delayer of affairs…” Josephus, Antiquities, XVIII:6:5.
“6. On this account it was that Eutychus could not obtain a bearing, but was kept still in prison. However, some time afterward, Tiberius came from Capreae to Tusculanum, which is about a hundred furlongs from Rome. Agrippa then desired of Antonia that she would procure a hearing for Eutychus, let the matter whereof he accused him prove what it would. Now Antonia was greatly esteemed by Tiberius on all accounts… Then Tiberius asked him what he had to say against a man who had given him his liberty. Upon which he said, "O my lord! this Caius, and Agrippa with him, were once riding in a chariot, when I sat at their feet, and, among other discourses that passed, Agrippa said to Caius, Oh that the day would once come when this old fellow will dies and name thee for the governor of the habitable earth! for then this Tiberius, his grandson, would be no hinderance, but would be taken off by thee, and that earth would be happy, and I happy also." Now Tiberius took these to be truly Agrippa's words, and bearing a grudge withal at Agrippa, because, when he had commanded him to pay his respects to Tiberius, his grandson, and the son of Drusus, Agrippa had not paid him that respect, but had disobeyed his commands, and transferred all his regard to Caius; he said to Macro, "Bind this man…
“8. But for Tiberius, upon his return to Caprein, he fell sick. At first his distemper was but gentle; but as that distemper increased upon him, he had small or no hopes of recovery. Hereupon he bid Euodus, who was that freed-man whom he most of all respected, to bring the children (23) to him, for that he wanted to talk to them before he died…” Josephus, Antiquities, XVIII:6:8.
“9. But when Tiberius had given order to Euodus to bring the children to him the next day in the morning, he prayed to his country gods to show him a manifest signal which of those children should come to the government…
“This was the speech which Tiberius made, which did not persuade Caius to act accordingly, although he promised so to do; but when he was settled in the government, he took off this Tiberius [i.e. Caesar’s grandson, /ed.,] as was predicted by the other Tiberius; as he [Caesar Tiberius /ed.] was also himself, in no long time afterward, slain by a secret plot laid against him.” Josephus, Antiquities XVIII:6:9.
“10. So when Tiberius had at this time appointed Caius to be his successor, he outlived but a few days, and then died, after he had held the government twenty-two years five months and three days.” Josephus, Antiquities, XVIII:6:10
[From these passages it is clear that Tiberius’ illness began prior to the time when he “appointed Caius to be his successor.” Counting from sunset February 10, 23 CE [Tevet/Shevat 1, 23 CE,] there are indeed “but a few days” before Tiberius died on March 16, 23 CE, i.e. 18+15=33 days.]
There was a delay in setting Agrippa free due to funeral and mourning traditions, which pushes the end, and thus also the beginning, of said six months period forwards in time, probably by several weeks or even months:
The end point of the “six months” “condition” of Agrippa may well reference a day one or two days after the death of Tiberius rather than Agrippa’s full release out of custody and his appointment as king.
Notice especially that “…although he was still in custody” Agrippa’s “evil condition” was apparently discontinued when “the next day… Caius… gave order that Agrippa should be removed out of the camp, and go to that house where he lived before he was put in prison.”
“10. So when Tiberius had at this time appointed Caius to be his successor, he outlived but a few days, and then died, after he had held the government twenty-two years five months and three days. Now Caius was the fourth emperor. But when the Romans understood that Tiberius was dead, they rejoiced at the good news, but had not courage to believe it; not because they were unwilling it should be true, for they would have given huge sums of money that it might be so, but because they were afraid, that if they had showed their joy when the news proved false, their joy should be openly known, and they should be accused for it, and be thereby undone. For this Tiberius had brought a vast number of miseries on the best families of the Romans, since he was easily inflamed with passion in all cases, and was of such a temper as rendered his anger irrevocable, till he had executed the same, although he had taken a hatred against men without reason; for he was by nature fierce in all the sentences he gave, and made death the penalty for the lightest offenses; insomuch that when the Romans heard the rumor about his death gladly, they were restrained from the enjoyment of that pleasure by the dread of such miseries as they foresaw would follow, if their hopes proved ill-grounded. Now Marsyas, Agrippa's freed-man, as soon as he heard of Tiberius's death, came running to tell Agrippa the news; and finding him going out to the bath, he gave him a nod, and said, in the Hebrew tongue, "The lion (26) is dead;" who, understanding his meaning, and being ovejoyed at the news, "Nay," said he, "but all sorts of thanks and happiness attend thee for this news of thine; only I wish that what thou sayest may prove true." Now the centurion who was set to keep Agrippa, when he saw with what haste Marsyas came, and what joy Agrippa had from what he said, he had a suspicion that his words implied some great innovation of affairs, and he asked them about what was said. They at first diverted the discourse; but upon his further pressing, Agrippa, without more ado, told him, for he was already become his friend; so he joined with him in that pleasure which this news occasioned, because it would be fortunate to Agrippa, and made him a supper. But as they were feasting, and the cups went about, there came one who said that Tiberius was still alive, and would return to the city ill a few days. At which news the centurion was exceedingly troubled, because he had done what might cost him his life, to have treated so joyfully a prisoner, and this upon the news of the death of Caesar; so he thrust Agrippa from the couch whereon he lay, and said, "Dost thou think to cheat me by a lie about the emperor without punishment? and shalt not thou pay for this thy malicious report at the price of thine head?" When he had so said, he ordered Agrippa to be bound again, (for he had loosed him before,) and kept a severer guard over him than formerly, and in that evil condition was Agrippa that night; but the next day the rumor increased in the city, and confirmed the news that Tiberius was certainly dead; insomuch that men durst now openly and freely talk about it; nay, some offered sacrifices on that account. Several letters also came from Caius; one of them to the senate, which informed them of the death of Tiberius, and of his own entrance on the government; another to Piso, the governor of the city, which told him the same thing. He also gave order that Agrippa should be removed out of the camp, and go to that house where he lived before he was put in prison; so that he was now out of fear as to his own affairs; for although he was still in custody, yet it was now with ease to his own affairs. Now, as soon as Caius was come to Rome, and had brought Tiberius's dead body with him, and had made a sumptuous funeral for him, according to the laws of his country, he was much disposed to set Agrippa at liberty that very day; but Antonia hindered him, not out of any ill-will to the prisoner, but out of regard to decency in Caius, lest that should make men believe that he received the death of Tiberius with pleasure, when he loosed one whom he had bound immediately. However, there did not many days pass ere he sent for him to his house, and had him shaved, and made him change his raiment; after which he put a diadem upon his head, and appointed him to be king of the tetrarchy of Philip. He also gave him the tetrarchy of Lysanias, (27) and changed his iron chain for a golden one of equal weight. He also sent Marullus to be procurator of Judea.” Josephus, Antiquities XVIII:6:10.
The fact that Josephus seems to have nothing to record between 1. Caius’ release of Agrippa (and his crowning Agrippa to king,) and 2. an event in Caius’ “second year” of reign may well be an indication that the corresponding time span is very short, i.e. less than six months (Aviv-Elul) rather than 1 ½ years:
“10. So when Tiberius had at this time appointed Caius to be his successor, he outlived but a few days… Now, as soon as Caius was come to Rome, and had brought Tiberius's dead body with him, and had made a sumptuous funeral for him, according to the laws of his country, he was much disposed to set Agrippa at liberty that very day; but Antonia hindered him, not out of any ill-will to the prisoner, but out of regard to decency in Caius, lest that should make men believe that he received the death of Tiberius with pleasure, when he loosed one whom he had bound immediately. However, there did not many days pass ere he sent for him to his house, and had him shaved, and made him change his raiment; after which he put a diadem upon his head, and appointed him to be king of the tetrarchy of Philip. He also gave him the tetrarchy of Lysanias, (27) and changed his iron chain for a golden one of equal weight. He also sent Marullus to be procurator of Judea.” Josephus, Antiquities XVIII:6:10.
”11. Now, in the second year of the reign of Caius Caesar, Agrippa desired leave to be given him to sail home, and settle the affairs of his government; and he promised to return again, when he had put the rest in order, as it ought to be put. So, upon the emperor's permission, he came into his own country, and appeared to them all unexpectedly as asking, and thereby demonstrated to the men that saw him the power of fortune, when they compared his former poverty with his present happy affluence; so some called him a happy man, and others could not well believe that things were so much changed with him for the better.” Josephus, Antiquities XVIII:6:11.
[The Greek word “Deute/rw|” translated “second year” apparently may also be translated “next year” (cf. entries in LSJ and Middle Liddell!) The context makes the latter more likely, especially considering that the next civil year, as referenced by Josephus, would most likely not begin before Tishri 22, 23 CE, which is already half a year after Tiberius’ death. Considering the sailing seasons and the dangers of sailing during the winter season, most likely Agrippa sailed to Judea during the spring or summer 24 CE, or, if indeed “second year” is a correct translation, in 25 CE.]
“2. Hereupon Caius, taking it very heinously that he should be thus despised by the Jews alone, sent Petronius to be president of Syria, and successor in the government to Vitellius, and gave him order to make an invasion into Judea, with a great body of troops; and if they would admit of his statue willingly, to erect it in the temple of God; but if they were obstinate, to conquer them by war, and then to do it. Accordingly, Petronius took the government of Syria, and made haste to obey Caesar's epistle. He got together as great a number of auxiliaries as he possibly could, and took with him two legions of the Roman army, and came to Ptolemais, and there wintered, as intending to set about the war in the spring. He also wrote word to Caius what he had resolved to do, who commended him for his alacrity, and ordered him to go on, and to make war with them, in case they would not obey his commands. But there came many ten thousands of the Jews to Petronius, to Ptolemais, to offer their petitions to him, that he would not compel them to transgress and violate the law of their forefathers; "but if," said they, "thou art entirely resolved to bring this statue, and erect it, do thou first kill us, and then do what thou hast resolved on; for while we are alive we cannot permit such things as are forbidden us to be done by the authority of our legislator, and by our forefathers' determination that such prohibitions are instances of virtue." But Petronius was angry at them, and said, "If indeed I were myself emperor, and were at liberty to follow my own inclination, and then had designed to act thus, these your words would be justly spoken to me; but now Caesar hath sent to me, I am under the necessity of being subservient to his decrees, because a disobedience to them will bring upon me inevitable destruction." Then the Jews replied, "Since, therefore, thou art so disposed, O Petronius! that thou wilt not disobey Caius's epistles, neither will we transgress the commands of our law; and as we depend upon the excellency of our laws, and, by the labors of our ancestors, have continued hitherto without suffering them to be transgressed, we dare not by any means suffer ourselves to be so timorous as to transgress those laws out of the fear of death, which God hath determined are for our advantage; and if we fall into misfortunes, we will bear them, in order to preserve our laws, as knowing that those who expose themselves to dangers have good hope of escaping them, because God will stand on our side, when, out of regard to him, we undergo afflictions, and sustain the uncertain turns of fortune. But if we should submit to thee, we should be greatly reproached for our cowardice, as thereby showing ourselves ready to transgress our law; and we should incur the great anger of God also, who, even thyself being judge, is superior to Caius." ” Josephus, Antiquities XVIII:8:2.
“3. When Petronius saw by their words that their determination was hard to be removed, and that, without a war, he should not be able to be subservient to Caius in the dedication of his statue, and that there must be a great deal of bloodshed, he took his friends, and the servants that were about him, and hasted to Tiberias, as wanting to know in what posture the affairs of the Jews were; and many ten thousands of the Jews met Petronius again, when he was come to Tiberias. These thought they must run a mighty hazard if they should have a war with the Romans, but judged that the transgression of the law was of much greater consequence, and made supplication to him, that he would by no means reduce them to such distresses, nor defile their city with the dedication of the statue. Then Petronius said to them, "Will you then make war with Caesar, without considering his great preparations for war, and your own weakness?" They replied, "We will not by any means make war with him, but still we will die before we see our laws transgressed." So they threw themselves down upon their faces, and stretched out their throats, and said they were ready to be slain; and this they did for forty days together, and in the mean time left off the tilling of their ground, and that while the season of the year required them to sow it [I.e. during the 8th and 9th months, i.e. October-December. Editor’s comment.] (31) Thus they continued firm in their resolution, and proposed to themselves to die willingly, rather than to see the dedication of the statue. ” Josephus, Antiquities XVIII:8:3.
“7. But king Agrippa, who now lived at Rome, was more and more in the favor of Caius; and when he had once made him a supper, and was careful to exceed all others, both in expenses and in such preparations as might contribute most to his pleasure; nay, it was so far from the ability of others, that Caius himself could never equal, much less exceed it (such care had he taken beforehand to exceed all men, and particularly. to make all agreeable to Caesar); hereupon Caius admired his understanding and magnificence, that he should force himself to do all to please him, even beyond such expenses as he could bear, and was desirous not to be behind Agrippa in that generosity which he exerted in order to please him. So Caius, when he had drank wine plentifully, and was merrier than ordinary, said thus during the feast, when Agrippa had drunk to him: "I knew before now how great a respect thou hast had for me, and how great kindness thou hast shown me, though with those hazards to thyself, which thou underwentest under Tiberius on that account; nor hast thou omitted any thing to show thy good-will towards us, even beyond thy ability; whence it would be a base thing for me to be conquered by thy affection. I am therefore desirous to make thee amends for every thing in which I have been formerly deficient; for all that I have bestowed on thee, that may be called my gifts, is but little. Everything that may contribute to thy happiness shall be at thy service, and that cheerfully, and so far as my ability will reach." (34) And this was what Caius said to Agrippa, thinking be would ask for some large country, or the revenues of certain cities. But although he had prepared beforehand what he would ask, yet had he not discovered his intentions, but made this answer to Caius immediately: That it was not out of any expectation of gain that he formerly paid his respects to him, contrary to the commands of Tiberius, nor did he now do any thing relating to him out of regard to his own advantage, and in order to receive any thing from him; that the gifts he had already bestowed upon him were great, and beyond the hopes of even a craving man; for although they may be beneath thy power, [who art the donor,] yet are they greater than my inclination and dignity, who am the receiver. And as Caius was astonished at Agrippa's inclinations, and still the more pressed him to make his request for somewhat which he might gratify him with, Agrippa replied, "Since thou, O my lord! declarest such is thy readiness to grant, that I am worthy of thy gifts, I will ask nothing relating to my own felicity; for what thou hast already bestowed on me has made me excel therein; but I desire somewhat which may make thee glorious for piety, and render the Divinity assistant to thy designs, and may be for an honor to me among those that inquire about it, as showing that I never once fail of obtaining what I desire of thee; for my petition is this, that thou wilt no longer think of the dedication of that statue which thou hast ordered to be set up in the Jewish temple by Petronius." ” Josephus, Antiquities XVIII:8:7.
“9. This was the epistle which Caius wrote to. Petronius; but Petronius did not receive it while Caius was alive, that ship which carried it sailing so slow, that other letters came to Petronius before this, by which he understood that Caius was dead; for God would not forget the dangers Petronius had undertaken on account of the Jews, and of his own honor. But when he had taken Caius away, out of his indignation of what he had so insolently attempted in assuming to himself divine worship, both Rome and all that dominion conspired with Petronius, especially those that were of the senatorian order, to give Caius his due reward, because he had been unmercifully severe to them; for he died not long after he had written to Petronius that epistle which threatened him with death. But as for the occasion of his death, and the nature of the plot against him, I shall relate them in the progress of this narration. Now that epistle which informed Petronius of Caius's death came first, and a little afterward came that which commanded him to kill himself with his own hands. Whereupon he rejoiced at this coincidence as to the death of Caius, and admired God's providence, who, without the least delay, and immediately, gave him a reward for the regard he had to the temple, and the assistance he afforded the Jews for avoiding the dangers they were in. And by this means Petronius escaped that danger of death, which he could not foresee.” Josephus, Antiquities XVIII:8:9.
“12. Cherea consented to this delay; and when the shows were exhibited, it was resolved to do the work the first day. But fortune, which allowed a further delay to his slaughter, was too hard for their foregoing resolution; and as three days of the regular times for these shows were now over, they had much ado to get the business done on the last day. Then Cherea called the conspirators together, and spake thus to them: "So much time passed away without effort is a reproach to us, as delaying to go through such a virtuous design as we are engaged in; but more fatal will this delay prove if we be discovered, and the design be frustrated; for Caius will then become more cruel in his unjust proceedings. Do we not see how long we deprive all our friends of their liberty, and give Caius leave still to tyrannize over them? while we ought to have procured them security for the future, and, by laying a foundation for the happiness of others, gain to ourselves great admiration and honor for all time to come." Now while the conspirators had nothing tolerable to say by way of contradiction, and yet did not quite relish what they were doing, but stood silent and astonished, he said further, "O my brave comrades! why do we make such delays? Do not you see that this is the last day of these shows, and that Caius is about to go to sea? for he is preparing to sail to Alexandria, in order to see Egypt. Is it therefore for your honor to let a man go out of your hands who is a reproach to mankind, and to permit him to go, after a pompous manner, triumphing both at land and sea? Shall not we be justly ashamed of ourselves, if we give leave to some Egyptian or other, who shall think his injuries insufferable to free-men, to kill him? As for myself, I will no longer bear your stow proceedings, but will expose myself to the dangers of the enterprise this very day, and bear cheerfully whatsoever shall be the consequence of the attempt; nor, let them be ever so great, will I put them off any longer: for, to a wise and courageous man, what can be more miserable than that, while I am alive, any one else should kill Caius, and deprive me of the honor of so virtuous an action?"” Josephus, Antiquities XIX:1:12
Caesar Tiberius died on Adar I/Adar II 4, 23 CE [March 16, 23 CE.] Josephus, as it appears, has showed us that there were two different calendars in use at the time for Tiberius’ death (cf. “Two Calendars …” above.) Given that, and Josephus’ statement:
…I find that these “six months” most likely comprises either the last six lunar months prior to the month of the death of Tiberius, i.e. those named either Elul through Shevat or else named Tishri through Adar I, [corresponding in either case to September 16 or 17 through March 12, 23 CE,] or else including the month of the death of Tiberius, i.e. the months named either Tishri through Adar I or else named Heshvan through Adar II, [corresponding in either case to October 16, 22 CE through April 10, 23 CE.] Thus, I conclude that the event recorded as follows:
“Now Tiberius took these to be truly Agrippa's words, and bearing a grudge withal at Agrippa, because, when he had commanded him to pay his respects to Tiberius, his grandson, and the son of Drusus, Agrippa had not paid him that respect, but had disobeyed his commands, and transferred all his regard to Caius; he said to Macro, "Bind this man…
…took place either in the lunar month named either Av or Elul (depending on which calendar is being referenced by Josephus) [i.e. August 18 through September 15 or 16,] or else in the lunar month named either Elul or Tishri [September 16 or 17 through October 15, 22 CE.] Certainly there is nothing very unusual in there being “very hot weather” in August, perhaps even in September, in Rome, Italy, is it?! Is this hot weather item perhaps a hint that the above quoted event happened in August rather than later? Cf. the brief discussion under “Abstract” at this link!
The details re timing in the quote below [cf. each of the bracketed comments] falls into place only when it is discovered that Agrippa’s 1st year of reign is concurrent with Caius’ 2nd year of reign etc.:
“2. Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea [i.e. Claudius’ 1st, 2nd, and 3rd years of reign and in Agrippa’s 4th, 5th, and 6th years of reign,] he came to the city Cesarea, which was formerly called Strato's Tower; and there he exhibited shows in honor of Caesar, upon his being informed that there was a certain festival celebrated to make vows for his safety. At which festival a great multitude was gotten together of the principal persons, and such as were of dignity through his province. On the second day of which shows he put on a garment made wholly of silver… And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign [i.e. Claudius’ 4th year of reign;] for he reigned four years under Caius Caesar [i.e. Caius’ 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th years of reign and Agrippa’s accession year, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year of reign,] three of them were over Philip's tetrarchy only [i.e. Caius’ 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year of reign,] and on the fourth he had that of Herod added to it [i.e. Caius’ 4th year and Agrippa’s 3rd year of reign; cf. Josephus, Antiquities, XVIII:6:11 through XVIII:7:2 quoted above;] and he reigned, besides those, three years under the reign of Claudius Caesar [i.e. Claudius’ 1st, 2nd, and 3rd year and Agrippa’s 4th, 5th, and 6th year of reign;] in which time he reigned over the forementioned countries, and also had Judea added to them, as well as Samaria and Cesarea [i.e. Judea, Samaria, and Cesarea were added in Claudius accession year.]” Josephus, Antiquities, XIX:8:2