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*Artwork from "300: A Graphic novel" by Frank Miller

1 Maccabees 12:18
[18] Wherefore now ye shall do well to give us an answer thereto. 
[19] And this is the copy of the letters which Oniares sent. 
[20] Areus king of the Lacedemonians to Onias the high priest, greeting: 
[21] It is found in writing, that the Lacedemonians and Jews are brethren,

and that they are of the stock of Abraham:

(Lacedemonians , also called "Laconia") was a group, famous in the ancient world, which acknowledged a tribal tie to the Israelites. That group was the Spartans of ancient Greece. The Spartans were known to be descended from a people non-native to Greece who arrived there in ancient times. The Spartans were famous as being the most martial of the Greek city-states. It was the Spartan King Leonidas with 300 elite bodyguards who held back the army of the Persian Empire at the battle of Thermopalyae. They had a rigorous, martial community which was very different from the rest of the Greek city-states.

1 Maccabees 14:11-20 
[11] He made peace in the land, and Israel rejoiced with great joy:

[12] For every man sat under his vine and his fig tree, and there was none to fray them:

[13] Neither was there any left in the land to fight against them: yea, the kings themselves were overthrown in those days.

[14] Moreover he strengthened all those of his people that were brought low: the law he searched out; and every contemner of the law and wicked person he took away.

[15] He beautified the sanctuary, and multiplied vessels of the temple.

[16] Now when it was heard at Rome, and as far as Sparta, that Jonathan was dead, they were very sorry.

[17] But as soon as they heard that his brother Simon was made high priest in his stead, and ruled the country, and the cities therein:

[18] They wrote unto him in tables of brass, to renew the friendship and league which they had made with Judas and Jonathan his brethren:

[19] Which writings were read before the congregation at Jerusalem.

[20] And this is the copy of the letters that the Lacedemonians sent; The rulers of the Lacedemonians, with the city, unto Simon the high priest, and the elders, and priests, and residue of the people of the Jews, our brethren, send greeting:

The Book, Sparta, by A.H.M. Jones, a Professor of Ancient History at Cambridge University, noted several things about Sparta. He states the Spartans worshipped a "great law-giver" who had given them their laws in the "dim past" (page 5 of his book). This law-giver may have been Moses.


Professor Jones also noted the Spartans celebrated "the new moons" and the "seventh day" of the month" (page 13). Observing new moons was an Israelite calendar custom, and their observance of "a seventh day" could originate with the Sabbath celebration. Prof. Jones also notes, as do other authorities, that the Spartans were known for being "ruthless" in war and times of crisis. This sounds exactly like the Simeonite nature, which was given to impulsive cruelty, as the Bible confirms. 

The Spartans called the Jews "our kinsmen." The Spartans did not proclaim themselves to be Jews, but rather that they were "kinsmen" to the Jews (i.e. members of one of the other tribes of Israel). That the Spartans acknowledged a common ancestry with the Jews of the tribe of Judah gives powerful weight to the assertion that they were Israelites who migrated to Greece.

Antiquities xiii.5 by Flavius Josephus
"   “Jonathan having thus gotten a glorious victory, and slain two thousand of the enemy, returned to Jerusalem. So when he saw that all his affairs prospered according to his mind, by the providence of God, he sent ambassadors to the Romans, being desirous of renewing that friendship which their nation had with them formerly. He enjoined the same ambassadors, that, as they came back, they should go to the Spartans, and put them in mind of their friendship and kindred.* So when the ambassadors came to Rome, they went into their senate, and said what they were commanded by Jonathan their high priest to say, how he had sent them to confirm their friendship. The senate then confirmed what had been formerly decreed concerning their friendship with the Jews, and gave them letters to carry to all the kings of Asia and Europe, and to the governors of the cities, that they might safely conduct them to their own country. Accordingly, as they returned, they came to Sparta, and delivered the epistle which they had received of Jonathan to them; a copy of which here follows: ‘Jonathan, the high priest of the Jewish nation, and the senate, and body of the people of the Jews, to the ephori and senate, and body of the people of the Lacedemonians, send greeting."

* The ambassadors claim “brotherhood” and “kindred” with the SPARTANS, (Jacob) but only “friendship” with the ROMANS (Esau).

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