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Messianic claimants


Coin of Bar Kochba, showing the Temple with a star on the roof and the Ark of the Covenant. British Museum, London (Britain). Photo Jona Lendering.
 Coin of Simon ben Kosiba ,showing the Temple with the Messianic star on the roof and the Ark of the Covenant inside (British Museum)
Although we cannot be certain whether a person in Antiquity was indeed called a Messiah (and by whom), the list of messianic claimants in modern literature seems endless. At the moment, it seems a common idea that ancient Judea and Galilee were crowded with Messiahs. It may have been so, but we simply cannot know. The main problem is that our most important source, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, felt a strong dislike for messianism and knew that the Romans shared this dislike. Consequently, he refused to use the title, except for Jesus of Nazareth. Modern scholars, however, suspect that several people mentioned by Josephus were in fact called Messiah, but it is of course tricky to try to know it better than the ancients. The following men, however, are likely candidates.
Ancient-Warfare.com, the online home of Ancient Warfare magazine

1. Judas, son of Hezekiah (4 BCE)
2. Simon of Peraea (4 BCE)
3. Athronges, the shepherd (4 BCE)
4. Judas, the Galilean (6 CE)
5. John the Baptist (c.28 CE)
6. Jesus of Nazareth (c.30 CE)
7. The Samaritan prophet (36 CE)
8. King Herod Agrippa (44 CE)
9. Theudas (45 CE)
10. The Egyptian prophet (52-58 CE)
11. An anonymous prophet (59 CE)
12. Menahem, the son of Judas the Galilean (66 CE)
13. John of Gischala (67-70 CE)
14. Vespasian (67 CE)
15. Simon bar Giora (69-70 CE)
16. Jonathan, the weaver (73 CE)
17. Lukuas (115 CE)
18. Simon ben Kosiba (132-135)
19. Moses of Crete (448)
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