14 Cf. Iulius Caesar’s address at his aunt’s funeral: “The maternal side of my aunt Iulia’s family took its origin from the kings, and the paternal one is linked with the immortal gods” (Suetonius, Jul. 6). It seems (cf. Misch 1950:1.265) that Augustus, in his autobiography, altogether downplayed his father’s disputed ancestry (Suetonius, Aug. 2.3), while dwelling on that of his mother—the daughter of Iulius Caesar’s sister ( Aug. 4.1-2). Josephus appears at first to refer to his own mother, because he does not qualify the term and especially in view of the War parallel (5.419), which mentions his mother and wife (not his still-living father: cf. War 5.533) alongside a reference to his distinguished ancestry ( γένος). His mother is also featured later in the War (5.544-47). Nevertheless, here in the Life Josephus moves directly to his father’s pedigree, which supplies the link with the Hasmoneans claimed for his mother, and he reiterates in § 7 that his father had a noble birth. Conceivably, both his mother and his father (through a female ancestor) had distinguished pedigrees; but that is unlikely given his failure to say so. The only woman mentioned in the genealogy is his father’s great-grandmother, who indeed connects his father’s line with the famous priestly dynasty of Asamoneus. Radin (1929:193-96) and Rajak (1983:15) argue, via parallel uses of “mother” in Hebrew and Aramaic literature (e.g., m. Qidd. 4.4), that Josephus’ μήτηρ must be this ancestral matriarch: the daughter of the Hasmonean Ionathes mentioned in § 4. We may add that Josephus himself can use μήτηρ loosely, as when he calls Abraham’s wife Sarah the “mother of our race/ancestry” ( γένος: War 5.319). Perhaps, too, he did not know of an efficient term to describe this ancestor: προμάμμη is barely attested (six occurrences on the TLG-D CD-ROM) and not used by Josephus elsewhere; προμήτωρ is both rare and ambiguous as to gender (LSJ s.v.). Contrast πρόπαππος, which he uses at Life 2 and Ant. 8.315 (and which occurs 73 times in the TLG). If Josephus refers to his maternal ancestor here, as it seems, and if in fact she is the connection with nobility, then his reference to his mother in War 5.419 (above) must be unrelated to his ancestry claim in the same sentence. It remains a problem that he should make no effort to clarify his usage of μήτηρ (cf. Cohen, 1979:107-8 n. 33). Perhaps the best solution, given the highly exaggerated tone of this entire opening section, is that he deliberately obfuscates, stretching the use of μήτηρ to make a verbal impact. That he should rhetorically conflate this ancestor with his own mother might at least fit the contemporary Roman élite’s openness to claims of “maternal ancestry”: Augustus appears to have featured his mother’s connection with the Iulian family (Suetonius, Aug. 4.1-2); Nero’s claim to an Augustan heritage was through his mother Agrippina; and other aristocrats of the period also appealed to their mothers’ lines (cf. Barrett 1996:97-8, 113, 152, 154). Significantly, even this woman, who is so important to Josephus’ claim to nobility, is nowhere given a name. Nor are his three wives named. Yet his brother (§ 8), surviving sons (§§ 5, 427), and father are all named, though they are less significant in the narrative than either this “mother” or his current wife (§ 427). Josephus reflects the general lack of interest in women’s names, exemplified in Rome where women simply bore the name of the gens.