Like what:

(scripture supplements) - Backstory for traditional nativity portrayal of the three wise men.

About time:

Julius Caesar is killed as per Shakespeare in an attempt to prevent the expanding Roman republic from being hijacked and dictated to by an emperor; after which Caesar's crony Marc Antony turns public opinion against the conspirators and having procured the involvement of Cleopatra's Egyptian forces rises against the succession of Octavian, who nevertheless defeats their combined navies at the battle of Actium and, naming himself Augustus Caesar, proceeds to realize his imperial holdings by decreeing a momentous & far- reaching census and tax in what will turn out to be the year 1 AD.


This is primarily a condensation of Lew Wallace's elaborate "retelling" from the first 'book' (fourteen chapters) of his well- known novel "Ben-Hur": though some additional traditions are also noted. In the Bible, mention of the wise men occurs only in Matthew chapter 2. ~?brief yet significant: one of the reasons why Mat's gospel appears first in the NT - Nat Geo Dec 08 Herod article lead labels slaughter of innocents a fabrication; implying whole wise men fable as well

Into it:

~interest of wise men in area of palestine, and perhaps their adoption of Jehovah, occasioned by Solomon's spreading of wisdom - particularly location of Sheba as Sabean area of Arabia: 3 kings meet at Ur (see below) & follow desert caravan route west (see Queen of Sheba worksheet/ map)


"AD"= Anno Domini (movie's lead- in)


~Joseph (w newly betrothed, expecting, Mary) journeys to Bethlehem (house of Boaz, Jesse, David) to answer census - star appears (?at birth) in "cave" (?stable) within area of "khan" - angels attract shepherds - wise men independently observe star from widespread locations

Caspar (brief location/ circumstances per Wallace)



~representative aspects of 3 kings= reassociation of post- flood dispersal sons of Noah (back to Mt. Ararat `?prox to Ur) - several cultures of the day - ages of man (youth, adult, elder) - attributed gifts= aspects of Christ (anointed of God, son of God, lamb of God= new kingdom, new covenant, new life) - Wallace's additional embodiments of approaches to God:

Caspar deserted to cave as devotee (hermit/ anchorite) to find Faith & recovery - `?roved to "Cimmeria"/ Asia Minor & farther eastern regions= Spartans' contention with Persians

Melchior deserted to seminary (?Tibetan) as theologian (student) to find Love & recovery

Balthazar deserted to temple (?Karnak) as minister (sexton: Anna, Simeon) to find Good Works & recovery

kings ally and move to Jerusalem, arriving 11 days after birth (ie. tradition of Epiphany/ Twelfth Night) - Herod is notified and consults scholars incl Hillel, then direscts them to Bethlehem - kings find holy family (adoration of magi) next day - don't return to Herod, who slays all male children <=2 yr