Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from F-J

Josephus

jews history roman war

The Jewish priest, aristocrat, military leader, and historian Flavius Josephus played an important role in, and wrote about, the war waged between the Romans and the *Jews (66-70). The leader of Galilean forces in the revolt, Josephus was taken prisoner by the Romans in 67, after which he won the favor of the Roman emperor Vespasian and his successors, the emperors Titus and Domitian. His surrender as well as his service as interpreter for the emperor Titus during the siege of Jerusalem in 70 perhaps inevitably caused hostility toward him on the part of the Jews. Honored with a pension and Roman citizenship, Josephus resided in Rome after the war and wrote several works, including the Jewish War (De bello Judaico) in 77-78, and the Antiquities of the Jews (Antiquitates Judaicae) in 94. The former work purports to be largely an eye-witness account of recent history; the latter work describes the history of the Jews from *Creation to the mid-first century A.D. Writing under Roman imperial patronage and support, his works exhibit a distinctive slant in his efforts to sympathetically present his descriptions of Jewish life, conduct, customs, and history to the Roman audience (and vice versa). The famous reference to *Christ included in his Antiquitates is considered by many to be an interpolation by a later Christian writer. More influential after his *death than with his contemporaries, Josephus’ works were greatly appreciated and commented upon during the early Christian and medieval period when he was considered an expert source on numerous topics including history, geography,   military tactics, theology, and natural sciences. His works were frequently copied and studied and also appear in illustrated versions (especially for aristocratic patrons) through the Middle Ages.
Joshua [next] [back] Josephson, Hannah (1900–1976) - U.S. History

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or