Historical Authenticity of Roman Kings

Jul 2019
1,092
New Jersey
Aside from the fact that, as many have pointed out, Solomon is generally thought to be a real person, the analogy doesn't work at all. Solomon was supposedly born around 1000 BC. The people writing about him had no continuous history or historical records as the Romans did, many years separate the event from the written tellings. In the case of Solomon the "record" left of him is a work of religious propaganda, not a credible historical source. The Jews were not a people who enjoyed more or less continued peace and continuity in the same place for the duration of the legend, they were dispersed and scattered multiple times, and that makes for the beginnings of most historical fictions. The Romans had credible historians and historical records; not by modern standards obviously, but compared to the bible they might as well be texts on quantum physics. The building in question was a continuous and living component of the forum, the heart of Roman society. Every day people going by would have known the name of the building, because they passed it every day in the same way people pass the White House. Buildings like that usually have a plaque on them, commemorating the patron/builder, and there were real historical records, letters, speeches, etc, that were doubtless recorded about it. It would be too implausible that this kind of retrospective history could have been conjured up in real time, with acceptance from all the different active and opposing factions and members of the community.
That you consider Livy's first 10 books to be a more credible historical source than the Books of Kings and Chronicles is astonishing, to say the least. Those two books are broadly accepted to have been based off a legitimate historical tradition and earlier written sources. When you take out the miracle stories of Elijah and Elisha you are left with a conventional regnal history written with an eye towards religious moralizing. There are probably more portents, miracles, and dramatizations in Livy's first decade than in the entirety of those two books - never mind the Assyrian, Aramean, and Moabite inscriptions (as well as extensive archaeological digs in Israel) which corroborate the Books' historical framework (regnal names and order, regnal years, military campaigns, etc).
 
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Caesarmagnus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,680
Australia
I don't agree obviously, but I'm not going to sidetrack the thread into a discussion of religious "history", since your position doesn't actually conflict with mine in a way that negates the point I'm making about Hostilius.
 
Jul 2019
1,092
New Jersey
I don't agree obviously, but I'm not going to sidetrack the thread into a discussion of religious "history", since your position doesn't actually conflict with mine in a way that negates the point I'm making about Hostilius.
The point here isn't about the Book of Kings per se. It's about the fact that the First Temple was known as the Temple of Solomon, even though you would probably maintain that Solomon didn't build it. That challenges your argument that the Senate building couldn't be named for Tullus Hostilius if he didn't build it. You countered this point by making the outrageous claim that we have no legitimate historical tradition for the Kingdom of Judah, as opposed to early Rome. I'm challenging that defense you're making, by pointing out to you that the basic chronology of the Book of Kings is well-corroborated by other primary sources - such as inscriptions and other archaeological finds. That puts you in a position where you need to either (a) attempt to show me that I'm wrong re: the Book of Kings, or else (b) explain how the Temple could have been known as the Temple of Solomon if Solomon didn't actually build it. Technically, you can also choose (c), in which you concede that Solomon existed and actually built the temple. In my opinion, this is the only route which will ultimately allow you to sustain your argument about Hostilius.
 
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Caesarmagnus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,680
Australia
It's moot, because I didn't bring up Solomon. He was brought up as a supposed example of how Kings who have some basis in the physical history of a land are now thought by some to be fictional. Thus your argument of "Dude, Solomon was real" is not in opposition to my position. It is in opposition to the claim of someone criticizing me. I actually opened by saying "well most people believe Solomon was a real person anyway", if you want that crumb to sustain you, though I reject completely the claims of the sources about him being more credible than Roman history it is not necessary to get into it because you're actually attacking the position of the guy who criticized my claim, not me.
 
Jul 2019
1,092
New Jersey
It's moot, because I didn't bring up Solomon. He was brought up as a supposed example of how Kings who have some basis in the physical history of a land are now thought by some to be fictional. Thus your argument of "Dude, Solomon was real" is not in opposition to my position. It is in opposition to the claim of someone criticizing me. I actually opened by saying "well most people believe Solomon was a real person anyway", if you want that crumb to sustain you, though I reject completely the claims of the sources about him being more credible than Roman history it is not necessary to get into it because you're actually attacking the position of the guy who criticized my claim, not me.
No, my point is that its possible to have a major building attributed to someone who didn't build it. Since a great many (most?) modern scholars don't believe Solomon actually built the Temple, even if he may have existed, the point stands: how did the Temple which Solomon didn't build come to be called Solomon's Temple?
 
Feb 2017
526
Latin America
Aside from the fact that, as many have pointed out, Solomon is generally thought to be a real person, the analogy doesn't work at all. Solomon was supposedly born around 1000 BC. The people writing about him had no continuous history or historical records as the Romans did, many years separate the event from the written tellings. In the case of Solomon the "record" left of him is a work of religious propaganda, not a credible historical source. The Jews were not a people who enjoyed more or less continued peace and continuity in the same place for the duration of the legend, they were dispersed and scattered multiple times, and that makes for the beginnings of most historical fictions. The Romans had credible historians and historical records; not by modern standards obviously, but compared to the bible they might as well be texts on quantum physics.
This last statement is so hilariously unhinged it definitely can only come from a most fanatical Romanist with teenage anti-religious rebel syndrome who believes the Romans were the greatest thing to happen to humanity. The Levant has some of the oldest continuous written texts. To say the Hebrews did not have the same continuous historical record keeping as the Romans, who had no literary tradition until around the mid-Republican period, is a completely naive statement. And seeing how the Roman kings includes Romulus, a son of the god Mars with the demigoddess Rhea Silva, the Roman records you speak of are as much "religious propaganda" as anything in Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. Even the supposedly historical Tarquinius Priscus has a mythological story around him where an eagle stole his cap and returned it to him as a sign of divine favour from Jupiter. The only remotely true claim is that the Romans were not invaded, conquered and displaced, but this happened late in Israelite history, during the Neo-Assyrian and especially Neo-Babylonian history. While the Assyrians and Babylonians were brutal, I doubt they would have been capable of destroying all records of the Israelite kingdom so that enough survived for Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. In other words, the records about the Roman kings are about as good as those for Solomon and David.
 

Caesarmagnus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,680
Australia
The issue isn't about whether the Jews were literate or whatever, of course they were. The issue is about historical tradition v.s myth. A culture needs stability and continuity to develop and maintain a historical record and tradition. Rome had that, because of how long their society was stable for, and how vast the records, and well travelled the people reading and writing it. When a society isn't stable, when it is destroyed or uprooted, that is when historical fiction is ripe for dissemination. Israel is the poster child for that, which is probably why so much of the "historical claims" of ancient Israel haven't been found, even by the Israeli scholars and archeologists who were so confident they would find them when paid by Israel's government to do so. This isn't to say other societies, like Rome, didn't fictionalize history to a degree. Of course they did. They all did in ancient times, to paint a more favourable picture of themselves, but the sorts of lies that get woven into a historical record need the opportunity to be sown. One can see how Rome's demographic shifts and wars and so on in the early days could lead to various legends springing up and getting exaggerated, and becoming fact to later historians. I've said that all along. What I don't see is how the Senate building could be falsified in this way, because it was a living and continuous part of the heart of Roman political life. It's just too implausible. Solomon's Temple isn't analogous, because of the very factors you (and I) alluded to. The situation isn't the same, because in one case there was a continuous living record, and in the other there was not.
 
Mar 2015
923
Europe
The building in question was a continuous and living component of the forum, the heart of Roman society. Every day people going by would have known the name of the building, because they passed it every day in the same way people pass the White House. Buildings like that usually have a plaque on them, commemorating the patron/builder, and there were real historical records, letters, speeches, etc, that were doubtless recorded about it. It would be too implausible that this kind of retrospective history could have been conjured up in real time, with acceptance from all the different active and opposing factions and members of the community.
Show me a plaque on Etruscan building.
No, seriously. The fashion of placing commemorative inscriptions on buildings did appear in Roman Republic... and went on to disappear in Late Antiquity. Early Christians could write, and did copy bibles and write lives of saints, but how many early Christian churches have plaques commemorating a builder (rather than patron saint)?

Romans of early Republic built a lot of stuff that they did not write on. The stories of builders were oral, and could be forgotten or distorted in a few generations.
 
Jul 2019
1,092
New Jersey
The issue isn't about whether the Jews were literate or whatever, of course they were. The issue is about historical tradition v.s myth. A culture needs stability and continuity to develop and maintain a historical record and tradition. Rome had that, because of how long their society was stable for, and how vast the records, and well travelled the people reading and writing it. When a society isn't stable, when it is destroyed or uprooted, that is when historical fiction is ripe for dissemination. Israel is the poster child for that, which is probably why so much of the "historical claims" of ancient Israel haven't been found, even by the Israeli scholars and archeologists who were so confident they would find them when paid by Israel's government to do so. This isn't to say other societies, like Rome, didn't fictionalize history to a degree. Of course they did. They all did in ancient times, to paint a more favourable picture of themselves, but the sorts of lies that get woven into a historical record need the opportunity to be sown. One can see how Rome's demographic shifts and wars and so on in the early days could lead to various legends springing up and getting exaggerated, and becoming fact to later historians. I've said that all along. What I don't see is how the Senate building could be falsified in this way, because it was a living and continuous part of the heart of Roman political life. It's just too implausible. Solomon's Temple isn't analogous, because of the very factors you (and I) alluded to. The situation isn't the same, because in one case there was a continuous living record, and in the other there was not.
Except that the Kingdom of Judah had continuity. The bulk of the Book of Kings (Deuteronomistic history) is generally dated by bible critics to the reign of Josiah. The dates you see placing the books to a later period are referring to redaction, not composition.