Saturday, 28 January 2012

Three strikes, and Carotta is out!

Readers may have noticed that I devoted January's postings to reviewing the eccentric theory (I use the adjective advisedly -- Merriam-Webster defines it as "deviating from conventional or accepted usage" -- I am not trying to match one of Signor Carotta's colorful terms of abuse) that "the entire Gospel is a mutated history of the Roman Civil War, from the Rubicon to the assassination and burial of Caesar, i.e. from the Jordan to the ‘capture’ and the ‘crucifixion’ of Jesus."


Three strikes!

Three times, I have tried to engage Signor Carotta in debate (here, here and here), and three times he has denied me. Three times, I have listed errors in his argument, gaps in his logic, and mistakes in his research. But each time, rather than answering my criticism, Signor Carotta has cunningly chosen to turn the tables.

He prefers to restrict his responses to slandering my blog and nit-picking my critique. He offers no defense of his eccentric theory, other than to assert that it is true. When forced to recant on one of his ill-considered arguments, far from taking the opportunity to reconsider how it might impact upon the rest of his eccentric theory, he merely counterblasts that "there are hundreds upon hundreds of links and parallels, and this is simply one of them".

With typical cunning, the great man has distanced himself from the mean-spirited and puerile name-calling on his web site. Instead, we are informed that "our rebuttals don’t come from Carotta, but from Divus Iulius". Well, whether it's Signor Carotta or his Divine Iulius mouthpiece doesn't make much difference. I'm sure that, if his web site minion has adopted this low level of playground debate, it cannot be without the great man's blessing. "If you throw enough mud", goes the saying ... mehercle, he has certainly slung shovelfuls in this direction!

Whose is the Lost Cause?

The latest blustering reply from Carotta, a.k.a. Divine Iulius (C.D.J.) will apparently be the last:

A.P. needn’t worry, though: all good things go by three, and it’s likely that there will not be another return coming from our side of the imperial court. But he may feel free to serve again ...

That is kind of Signor Carotta, inviting me to contribute to my own blog! (Perhaps this arrogance is part of his Divine Iulius persona? The same arrogance that expects to read "future blunders" in my blog. Eheu!)

Predictably, his final reply is no better than his previous efforts. I am, it appears, "a lost cause" and "essentially a clueless fraud"; my criticisms are "insignificant, biased, undocumented, etc."; and my study of Caesar's inscriptions "shows that A.P. doesn’t even rudimentarily know the art of textual criticism".

Rather than defending his use of the ugly term "diegetic transposition" as the key to his theory, perhaps by explaining its alleged importance, he prefers to criticize Merriam-Webster (one of our fundamental national reference works) for not listing the awful term! Is there no end to C.D.J.'s arrogance?

At least this time, I am not accused of smear tactics (one of C.D.J.'s most bizarre accusations), but I have, apparently, "made a fool" of myself. (I can't help noticing that all of these "observations" seem to apply quite accurately to Signor Carotta's theory!)

Carotta Trickery

Cunning, innuendo and trickery

While C.D.J. bickers about how many people Plutarch actually called chrêstós -- and there seem to be rather a lot, which makes a fool of anyone wishing to assign divine significance to the term ... while C.D.J. devises ever-more childish slanders (there must surely be some intellectual Italian innuendo behind the otherwise inexplicable slur, "our incurable parrot"!), readers are cunningly diverted from the real point of my review.

It's really quite simple:

  • Signor Carotta claims that there was no Jesus Christ.
  • Signor Carotta thinks that we have been duped by the Gospel accounts into believing in Jesus Christ.
  • Signor Carotta claims that the Gospels really tell the story of Julius Caesar "from the Rubicon to the assassination and burial of Caesar."
  • And Signor Carotta believes that he has proved this by twisting the names and the events of the Gospels until they supposedly resemble features from the latter part of Caesar's life.

As I have explained (three times), there is absolutely no factual foundation upon which to base this eccentric theory. None, whatsoever. Zero.

  • Signor Carotta thought that he could "spin" a disputed bust of Caesar into a pathetic pietà of the dictator, which in turn could be worshipped as a Christ image.
  • He is mistaken.
  • Signor Carotta thought that this was sufficient proof to establish that Julius Caesar was worshipped as Christ, with his official titles chanted in "perpetual formulaic repetition".
  • He is mistaken.
  • Signor Carotta thought that a lengthy list of supposedly significant parallels -- he claims "hundreds upon hundreds of links and parallels", but this is cunning exaggeration -- between the Gospels and some events from Caesar's life would clinch the deal.
  • He is mistaken.

It is surprising that an accomplished philosopher like Signor Carotta seems to be ignorant of the fundamental rules of historical enquiry. In fact, he is guilty of improper argumentation, on a large scale. When he claims to have cited "hundreds upon hundreds of links and parallels", he has fallen into the trap of the formal fallacy, for nowhere has he proved that these "links and parallels" are at all significant. All the parallels in the world mean nothing, unless he can come up with some reason to link them to his theory.

  • Why should we believe that Caesar's Gaul has become Christ's Galilee?
  • Why should we believe that Caesar crossing the Rubicon has become Christ crossing the Jordan to reach Capernaum? (Did Christ even cross the Jordan? Signor Carotta is a little vague on this one. And by no stretch of the imagination can the word Rubicon become corrupted into Jordan.)
  • Why should we believe that Pilate washing his hands is a corrupted description of Lepidus? (And why, if Lepidus was at Caesar's "Last Supper", wasn't Pilate at Christ's?)
  • Why should we believe that Pompey the Great has become a character called "John the Baptist"? (Oddly, in this case, Carotta's linguistic gymnastics can only show Gnaeus becoming Johannes. So how does Pompey become The Baptist?)
  • Why should we believe that Scribonius Curio and Mark Antony have become the brothers Andrew and Simon Peter? (Carotta's theory has a bizarre sequence whereby Curio first becomes vir, in order to facilitate translation into Greek andros, which mutates into Andreas. However, he cannot get Antonius to become Petros, so he tries to convince us to read Antonius backwards and transliterate into Greek -- Συινωτνα -- so that it looks like Simôna! Does it?)
  • And above all, why should we believe that the "character" called Jesus is a coded reference to Divus Iulius?

Of course, Signor Carotta's response can be anticipated. Everything is explained by "diegetical transposition", that ugly term that requires no justification! We have a different term for this low level of debate: pseudo-science.

Signor Carotta unscientifically believes that there is "such an overwhelming amount of similarities ... that coincidence can be ruled out". But, of course, the serious historian never rules out coincidence, in the absence of proof.

Sadly, Signor Carotta has consistently failed to supply proof of his eccentric theory. He has, quite simply, struck out!


  1. << Carotta's theory has a bizarre sequence whereby Curio first becomes vir, in order to facilitate translation into Greek andros, which mutates into Andreas. >>

    This is also remarkable. Apparently the copyist, who made so many basic errors in copying his source, did possess a knowledge of the Latin language good enough to enable him to see through the etymology of "curia" and related forms. Sounds plausible?

    In fact, this etymology is far from obvious: modern scholars derive "curia" from "co"+"vir", but Isidore, for example, thought it derived from unrelated "cura" ("Curia dicitur eo quod ibi cura per senatum de cunctis administretur" (Et. 15.2.28)).

    Then the copyist for some reason decided to translate only the element "vir" and do away with "co"; and voilà, there we have Andreas.

  2. It seems that some of my criticism of Carotta was pre-empted here ... nearly seven years ago! And Carotta is still unashamedly touting his ridiculous theory! Eheu!

  3. I just now returned from an interesting lecture on early Christian iconography as relates to ancient coinage. The speaker,who had never heard of Mssr Carotta (I asked), made what seemed to be a rather remarkable observation. One of the four moneyers in the 'fatefull' year of 44BC was L Aemilius Buca. By this time period almost all coinage produced in Rome either had the portrait and name of Caesar or otherwise made reference to him (head of Venus etc.). Lets face it, these gentlemen knew where the olive oil the bread was dipped in came from. But the moneyer Buca produced one rather odd denarius as well as the usual glorification of Caesar types (ref. Sear 476) which some sources claim to date pre-assassination but may well be a post assassination piece. The 'standard' reference describes it thus;
    (Sear #)476 Denarius. L. Aemilius Buca 44 BC. Diademed hd. of Venus r. L BVCA behind.Rev. Sulla reclining r. against rock, Luna descending l. from mountain on r. Victory with spread wings facing in backround. RRC 480/1. CRR 1064
    The coin depicted in the Sear catalogue does not show it but other ones certainly do. Venus is wearing earings (no they aren't diamond studs) interestingly they are often shown as cruciform. In itself this would not be too unusual. It is the reverse which really makes the whole thing rather odd. The identification that it depicts the Dictator Sulla is based on a rather distant claim of kinship between Buca and the famous Generalissimo and a story about a dream Sulla had before entering the City with his legions. Sounds plausible and why not ? But considering that all of the other silver denarii of this time period are accepted as referencing Caesar, why should this one be any different ? The coin makes no actual mention of anyone but the 'moneyer' L Buca. But if it isn't Sulla on the reverse, then who (the hell) is it ? Caesar ? Strangely it does look quite a bit like a depiction of a resurrection and the year 44BC wasn't that far gone when the Ides of March came and went. Some authorities claim a date of January 44 BC for this issue but I have no clue as to how they can claim such precision. We know who the moneyers were for the year but no records exist as to what months of the year a particular coin was produced. Perhaps the imagery seemed too ridiculous to even consider this possibility and thus an alternative explanation (Sulla) was deemed prudent (and plausible). Whatever the explanation the 'timing' of this issue seems to be a rather strange coincidence. I am still a skeptic ... but sometimes am given to pause.

  4. << But if it isn't Sulla on the reverse, then who (the hell) is it ? Caesar ? Strangely it does look quite a bit like a depiction of a resurrection >>

    Well, nice idea. But resurrections are in the eye of the beholder! It doesn't look at all "Christian" (proto-Christian, pseudo-Christian, whatever) to me:
    Sear #476

  5. No it doesn't look 'Christian' at all.... but it does have some 'odd' imagery. Typically Victory would have a wreath in hand or a garland or even a sword - sometimes a 'palm' branch but generally these were in reference to places like Judea or 'Africa', not Rome. Additionally the 'palm' branch seems to be held almost wandlike as if being an 'active' object. Lastly the Goddess Luna is not one to make many appearances on coinage of either Republican or Imperial periods. The fact that she holds a torch (typically)in one hand could be coincidental .... or it may have some deeper implication. I notice also that Luna had a Temple on the Palatine (possibly overlooking the Forum?)and that a major festival of hers was held on March 31. Whether these things add up to anything at all, I dare not guess. But they are .... odd.

  6. With out wishing to 'try the patience' of an "Old Emperor" The entry for the Wildwinds depiction of Sear#476 reads
    " L Aemilius Buca AR Denarius. January 44 BC. Diademed head of Venus Victrix right / Allegedly “Sulla’s Dream” - Reclining male figure left; before him, Luna seated left on rock, extending lighted torch in right hand; behind him, Victory standing almost to front, holding cursor’s long palmae staff in raised right hand. Cr480/1, Syd 1064."
    The identification of Luna is based on the 'billowing' crescent shaped veil around her head and shoulders. The fact that she is holding an extended torch usually 'qualifies' her persona as DIANA LVCIFERA on later Imperial coinage and as this she appears on an interesting 'DIVA' Sestertius (minus 'billowing veil')of your beloved daughter Faustina issued by Marcus (Sear# 5272)and one of Lucilla (Sear#5498)dated to AD 164 and while she was never 'deified' she did 'lose' a son at some time close to this period. The torch whether held by the variously identified Ceres, Vesta,or Diana Lucifera is an important aspect of many of the 'DIVI' and 'DIVA' coinage. Likewise the 'billowing' veil theme appears on a 'DIVA' sestertius of your (again) beloved wife Faustina (Sear#4624)issued by yourself and described as "Empress bourne aloft by eagle,head encircled by billowing mantle" and looking quite a bit like Luna.Luna does also appear on an Ae As of that 'other' Antoninus Pius aka Caracalla (Sear#6999) again with 'billowing' drapery overhead and dated to the AD 216. Whether Caracalla was intending to deify himself I do not know but if so may have contributed to his successor 'following through' so to speak. The arrangements may already have been made so why not ? I really can't think of any reason to 'force' the Senate into complying with this request by Macrinus ... can you ?
    We do know that Caesar was deified some short time after his assasination and that a shrine was constructed at the site of his cremation (would they covet the 'ashes' or hire some puellae to sweep up?) Likewise a Priesthood was formed and a Temple established with 'respected' men of appropriate stature filling the ranks. While we could debate whether these men were 'true believers' in the cult of Caesar they must have endeavored to write up some theology to go with the 'job description'. They were afterall presumably getting paid rather well by some powerful individuals (ie the State!)and the Xmass bonus could only be improved by putting on a good show. Passion play anyone? Here he lived - here he died - here he arose from the ashes ('Sulla' is lying on some strange sort of unidentified 'stuff' on Sear #476) I would also assume the Temple/Shrines had adequate decoration inside - a few mosaics maybe a nice fresco on the wall above the altar - scenes of the 'living God' kind of stuff.
    I really see no reason to accept the Sulla ID put forth by Sear and others. This looks to me very much like a magic wand 'miracle'(rising from the ashes) and subsequent Deification (Luna is awaiting someone).
    Seen in this perspective (of borrowed imagery) I wonder not whether Christ is Caesar but just the opposite. In the later centuries why waste a good floor mosaic or wall fresco when the workmen might say "Oh yea...we can fix that up for you"

  7. < Strangely it does look quite a bit like a depiction of a resurrection ... >
    For Jupiter's sake, don't say that to Carotta, or you'll find it has become the subject of a new chapter!

    < Allegedly “Sulla’s Dream” - Reclining male figure left; before him, Luna seated left on rock, extending lighted torch in right hand; behind him, Victory standing >
    I think you could make a case for Caesar's deification. (Not resurrection!!)

    < In the later centuries why waste a good floor mosaic or wall fresco when the workmen might say "Oh yea...we can fix that up for you" >
    Good point. After all, it worked for Constantine.

  8. And lest we forget .... Constantine (according to the customs of his day)was duly 'deified' by the Senate of Rome. Interesting thought ..... Son of a God (deified Constantius) becomes one himself ! Only to get 'demoted' by beatification ! Would they have demolished the temple/shrine? Or brought in the 'day labor' for a little touching up ?

  9. Just stumbled on this blog, and it seems the discussion stopped.
    Truth is, discussion on all of the details is endless, but I read Carotta's book years ago, and there just seem to exist too many resemblances and parallels to be coincidental.
    We have to be careful in formulating conclusions, but typically in hellenistic times all kinds of cults, philosophies and speculations got mixed up.
    It seems to me that the cult of Caesar was projected on the existing Jewish messiah-expectations by (descendants of) Gallic veterans of Caesar who as a reward for loyal service got allotments of land in the northern region of Palestine perhaps thence called Gallilea.
    Caesar can plausibly have become to be seen as their deified leader and saviour, and these poorly educated farmers can have translated tellings of (the last few weeks of) Caesar's life from Latin to Aramaic and Greek, thus eventually resulting in the canonical gospels.
    Caesar and Jesus simply have too much in commmon that is indisputable: the forgiveness of the savior, the enemies in the establishment, the march on the Holy City, the king-accusation, the treason by a friend, the place of execution (Skull Hill), the time of execution (Easter)...
    Of course we can never explain lots and lots of elements in the gospels, although admittedly Carotta gives some nice explanations for some otherwise rather weird passages.
    But apart from that, the question is rather, how much coincidence are we still prepared to believe in?

  10. < there just seem to exist too many resemblances and parallels to be coincidental >
    Just read my blog for an exposé of those supposed "resemblances and parallels" -- you will find that they evaporate into thin air!

    < Gallic veterans of Caesar who as a reward for loyal service got allotments of land in the northern region of Palestine perhaps thence called Gallilea >
    Now you are just inventing stuff to support Carotta's barmy theory. Do you know how many veterans Caesar settled in Judaea? None. Zero. Why? Because they were Italians, Spaniards, southern Gauls -- they would have lynched him, if he'd tried to settle them anywhere other than Italy. (This is a classic Carotta tactic -- suggest a barmy theory and put the onus on others to try and disprove it.)

    < Caesar and Jesus simply have too much in commmon that is indisputable >
    Now you're just being ridiculous! There is no coincidence. You have been well and truly duped by the insidious Señor Carotta.


    1. A grand exaggeration, some are discounted, some are brought into doubt (which they already where to begin with) and many more remain.

      They would not necessarilly have to have been Caesars Legions directly, under Augustus the Legions where settled al over the frontier provinces, and beyond a doubt the Caesar cult would still have been practised by the Legions at that time.

      A blatant lie, Caesar disbanded the X Equestris for instance and gave them lands in Gaul and Hispania.

      And by the way, is settlement a prerequisite for the mixing of religions?
      I think not, the VI Ferrata (one of Caesars) garrisoned Judea for two hundred years after the civil wars.

    2. Just a quick example for the mixing of religions without mingling of populations, many a Knight Templar adopted Islam during the crusades, whilst retaining various rituals and traditions.

  11. Insert quotes of your previuos post, Doh...

  12. I really value these anonymous contributions to the discussion. But why doesn't Snr Carotta just sign with his name, rather than hide in anonymity?