Here I continue my account about how some human beings became gods according to ancient Greek and Roman traditions. Last time I discussed the “founder of Rome,” Romulus. Now I shift to a time period more relevant for Jesus – in fact his own period – and to figures who are not legendary (Romulus), but actual historical figures we know about from a large range of sources.
Again, this will be taken from my book How Jesus Became God.
The traditional date for the founding of Rome [under Romulus] is 753 BCE. If we move the calendar forward about seven centuries, we still find men who are declared to have become gods. Few are better known than Julius Caesar, the self-declared dictator of Rome who was assassinated on the Ides of March, 44 BCE, by political enemies who preferred not having a dictator when all was said and done. A life of Julius Caesar is provided for us by the Roman biographer Suetonius, in his Lives of the Caesars, published in 115 CE. According to Suetonius, already during his lifetime Caesar had declared that he had a divine heritage. In a funeral oration he delivered for his aunt he stated that one side of his family descended from the ancient Roman kings — through the legendary Marcus Ancius, the fourth king of Rome — and the other side descended from the gods. His family line, in fact, could be traced back to the goddess Venus.
At Caesar’s death there was…
Julius Caesar, a god? Wasn’t he a tyrant? Well, yes, tyrants often imagine they are divine. And Caesar pulled it off! Keep reading an you’ll see how. If you’re not a member of the blog, there has never been a better time to join!