THE JEWS IN PARTHIA
BEFORE he tells the story of the break with Rome and the disastrous war which followed, Josephus interrupts his narrative by relating the doings of the Jews in the remote East beyond the boundaries of the Roman Empire. Among other things, we have the long story of Asineus and Anileus, to be told later in this chapter, which may appear irrelevant when first perused, but is in reality of great significance in accounting for subsequent events.
The known East. -- In the days of Josephus the civilised portion of the human race, exclusive of those of the remote and practically unknown East, i.e. of Hindustan and China, inhabited a narrow strip of the earth's surface between the river Indus and the shores of the Atlantic. To the north were the nomad barbarians, destined hereafter to play so important a part in history, to the south lay the Indian Ocean and the burning sands of the African deserts. Two organised governments were in rivalry, one European, which here may be styled Graeco-Roman, the other Asiatic, the Perso-Parthian. Speaking generally, the Roman Empire of the East was the successor and representative of that founded by Alexander the Great, whilst the Parthian stood for Cyrus and Darius, and their predecessors in the East who had claimed to be 'Kings of kings.' The external history of Judaism is often explained by the age-long conflict of these successive great monarchies with the Western powers.
Alexander and the Seleucids. -- The greatness of Alexander of Macedon is to be measured even more by his