Marcus Julius Alexander
Ancestry and Family
Marcus was born and raised in Alexandria, Egypt. He was either born in the late reign of Emperor Augustus 27 BC-14 AD or the reign of the Emperor Tiberius 14–37. Marcus was born as the second son to Alexander the Alabarch, a wealthy Jewish Pro-Roman aristocrat and his brother was Tiberius Julius Alexander. His paternal uncle was the exegete and philosopher Philo.
He came from an aristocratic family who lived in Alexandria for generations. His ancestors and family were contemporaries to the rule of the Ptolemaic dynasty and the rule of the Seleucid Empire. Marcus came from a family who were noble, honourable and wealthy. It was either his paternal grandfather or paternal great grandfather who was granted Roman citizenship from Roman dictator Gaius Julius Caesar. His ancestors and family had social ties and connections to the Priesthood in Judea; Hasmonean Dynasty; Herodian Dynasty and Julio-Claudian dynasty in Rome.
Marcus along with his family were contemporaries to the life of Jesus of Nazareth and the lives of The Apostles of Jesus. Marcus along with his brother received a thorough education. They were educated in the Egyptian, Jewish, Greek and Roman cultures, particularly in the traditions of Judaism, the study of the Old Testament and in Greek Philosophy.
Marcus with his brother followed their father into business, becoming partners in an import-export firm. The Petrie Ostraca, mentions Marcus’ activities at Myos Hormos and Berenice Troglodytica, ports located in the Red Sea between 37-44. He had agent called Hermias, who represented him at an unnamed port.
Marcus’ father and Herodian King Agrippa I were long time friends. Agrippa I as an elegant way to give something back to Alexander the Alabarch, who supported Agrippa I in the past, arranged for his daughter princess Berenice to marry Marcus. In 41, Marcus married Berenice as her first husband. This marriage shows that there were good relations between Marcus’ family and the Herodian Dynasty.
Unfortunately, this marriage was short lived as Marcus died before August 44. Marcus had no children with Berenice. Berenice’s father later arranged for her to marry her paternal uncle Herod of Chalcis in 44.
- JOE186, Modrzejewski, p. 186.
- Article of Marcus Julius Alexander from Dutch Version of Wikipedia
- Roman trade with India - See section in article - Myos Hormos and Bernice