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Areios (Areus) I°

AREIOS (Areus) I°

AREIOS (Areus) I ° (309–265 b.c.e.), king of Sparta. According to Josephus, Areios wrote a letter to the high priest, Onias, telling of the discovery of a document proving "that the Jews and Spartans are of one race and are related by descent from Abraham." Josephus wrongly states that this high priest was Onias ii (c. 170 b.c.e), but there is no doubt that it was Onias i. Many scholars are reluctant to accept that there was contact between the Spartan king and the obscure land of Judea but it is known that Areios cultivated many similar international relationships.


i Macc. 12:5 ff.; Jos., Ant., 12:225 ff.; 13:167; Schuerer, Gesch, 1 (19014), 237, n. 33; M. Stern, Ha-Te'udot le-Mered ha-Ḥashmona'im (1965), 92, 111–6. For literature on Spartans and Jews see Josephus, Works (Loeb Classical Library), 7 (1943), 769.

[Isaiah Gafni]

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