I Claudius, Episode #12, ďA God in ColchesterĒ by Jack Pullman, from Robert Gravesís I Claudius


Claudius (narration): More grave news of the situation in Jerusalem was hurried to me by Marius from his agent Catalos

Claudius (to Marius):But what exactly is this messiah?

Marius (diplomat): A king, Caesar, who is to come and redeem Israel of all its sins. Philo, their greatest living scholar, has declared that he must be descended from King David and born in a village called Bethlehem.

Claudius: Bethlehem?

Marius: Yes

Claudius: In what year?

Marius: Well, opinions differ as, of course, they always will in events of this kind.

Claudius: Yes, but have there been any candidates recently?

Marius:No. Not recently. The last one, I heard from a learned Jew, died about fifteen years ago.

Claudius: Fifteen?

Marius: Yes. Is that significant?

Claudius: Who was this man?

Marius: His name was Joshua bar Joseph, a native of Galilee. He had a large following amongst the uneducated and used to preach to gatherings by the lakeside.He was also called Jesus by the Greeks.

Claudius: And was he born in Bethlehem?

Marius: Well, itís not precisely known. There was some scandal concerning his birth.A Greek soldier was supposed to have seduced his mother who was a tapestry worker at the temple.

Pallas (freedman/Claudius's advisor): And what happened to this Joshua?

Marius:Well, he tried to form a new religion out of Judaism but of course he lacked the authority. He then began identifying himself as this messiah. He was executed as a heretic.

Claudius: Did you find out what King Herod thought of it.

Marius: Not very much, I imagine for he recently executed one of his followers, a man called James. Heís looking for another one called Simon.

Claudius: He has followers then?

Marius: Yes, yes, yes , yes. Itís a cult. There are always cults.

Pallas: All this is most interesting for you, Caesar, with your fascination for strange religions. But what more does it tell us of King Herodís intentions?

Claudius: I will tell you, Pallas. King Herodís mother was on her way to Jerusalem for the lying in when she was overtaken by her pains in a small village. King Herod was born there. The name of the village was Bethlehem.