The First Jewish Revolt: Archaeology, History, and Ideology

By Andrea M. Berlin; J. Andrew Overman | Go to book overview

2

Roman perspectives on the Jews in the age of the Great Revolt

Erich S. Gruen

The “Great War” of the Jews against the Romans struck Josephus as a contest of monumental significance. He spared no rhetoric in the preface to his War (1.1): this war was not only the greatest of any in his own time but nearly the greatest of any conflict between cities or nations throughout history. This, of course, is wild hyperbole, a patent attempt to imitate Herodotus and Thucydides who made similar claims for the wars about which they wrote-with rather more justification. For the Jews, to be sure, this conflict did have momentous implications. To confront in all-out war the predominant imperial power of the world could only have been viewed as a clash of colossal proportions. Such, at least, would be a Jewish perspective.

But how was it perceived in Rome? Who were these strange, mad creatures, the Jews? Many a Roman must have asked himself that question when word arrived of the outbreak of rebellion-and, more particularly, when the rebellion persisted and the rebels persevered. How could this puny nation venture to challenge the awesome might of the Roman empire? For many Romans, the uprising must have appeared bizarre, inexplicable, even unthinkable. Certainly it provoked a harsh and brutal retaliation that left an enduring mark on all subsequent Jewish history.

Not that the Jews were unknown or unfamiliar to Romans. Roman governors, procurators, tax-farmers, various public officials, military officers, rank and file soldiers, visitors and tourists had spent time in Judea over the past two generations. And even Romans who had never been abroad knew about the Jews. A large Jewish community existed in the city of Rome, indeed had existed there for a long time. Philo reports that they occupied a substantial proportion of Trastevere, most of them freedmen or descendants of freedmen (Embassy to Gaius, 155). Moreover, the Romans knew full well that close ethnic, political, and cultural ties bound together the Jews resident in Rome and those in the homeland or elsewhere in the diaspora. They had occasion to appreciate that fact as long ago as the age of Cicero. When the Roman governor of Asia, L. Valerius Flaccus, prohibited the exportation of gold from his province, he struck, whether intentionally or inadvertantly, at the Jews resident in his jurisdiction who were accustomed to sending their annual tithe to Jerusalem. The matter had a direct impact in Rome. The

-27-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The First Jewish Revolt: Archaeology, History, and Ideology
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 258

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.