"Jerusalem: Capital of the Jews":
1 The Jewish Identity of Jerusalem in
Greek and Roman Sources* Rivkah Fishman-Duker
The Jewish identity of Jerusalem as recorded in the writings of Greek
and Roman authors of classical antiquity is a subject worthy of study
in its own right. This article draws on references to Jerusalem in
nearly twenty different sources dating from the third century BCE to
the third century CE, roughly six centuries.
An examination of the sources indicates their authors' complete and
unanimous agreement that Jerusalem was Jewish by virtue of the fact
that it was founded by Jews, its inhabitants were Jews and that the
Temple, located in Jerusalem, was the center of the Jewish religion.
Despite the fact that some of these authors had distinctly negative
views about Jews and Judaism, they were all in agreement about the
Jewish identity of the city. These texts possess an importance which
transcends their purely academic and cultural content. Newcomers to
the historical stage and their apologists have based their political
claims upon historical accounts which they have fabricated. For
example, in his lengthy account of the Camp David Summit of July 2000,
chief American negotiator Dennis Ross attributes much of its failure
to the late Chairman Yasir Arafat of the Palestinian Authority and to
his version of the history of Jerusalem.
While one may dismiss Arafat's outrageous statement as a fabrication
invented to promote his political agenda, this distortion and similar
assertions make up part of ongoing Muslim efforts to negate Israel's
claim to Jerusalem, challenge an essential element of the Jewish
faith, and attack historical truth. Scholarly refutations of such
false historical claims have usually drawn upon ancient and medieval
Jewish and Christian sources, modern scholarship and archeological
excavations. Despite the fact that the ancient pagan Greek and
Roman sources have been known for centuries, they have not received a
level of attention commensurate with their importance. The references
to Jerusalem in these classical texts not only demonstrate the
historical attachment of the Jewish people to Jerusalem, but also
contribute to our knowledge of Jews and Judaism in the ancient world.
It should be noted that such information, particularly of the negative
variety regarding Jewish history, society and religion influenced
later Christian and Western views of the Jews.
The major source for most of the Greek views of the Jews is the
treatise Against Apion written by the Jewish historian Josephus some
time after 93CE in Rome. Apion, a Greek grammarian and intellectual
in Alexandria, was active in the mid-first century CE in the struggle
against the civic rights of Jews in his city, and a notorious defamer
of Jews and Judaism. In Against Apion, Josephus presents lengthy
citations from the works of numerous Greek writers and intellectuals
from the third century BCE through the first century CE. In several
instances, such writings are extant only in Josephus' work.
While several sources are neutral or even positive toward Jews, many
accounts portray the Jews and the Jewish religion negatively and are
replete with outrageous lies and calumnies. Josephus meticulously and
successfully debunks these anti-Jewish tracts and provides a vigorous
defense of Judaism, pointing out its strength and greatness in
contrast to Greek and Roman pagan beliefs and life style.
Selections from other Greek and Latin works which are no longer extant
may be found in other pagan anthologies, in the writings of Church
Fathers, such as Origen or Eusebius of Caesarea, and in later
Byzantine texts. In addition, the writings of major authors, such as
the Roman orator Cicero and the historian Tacitus exist independently
and provide information on the Jews.
The entire corpus of texts in their original languages and English
translation, with learned introductions, commentaries and explanations
is available to the public in the form of the excellent comprehensive
three volume collection of Menahem Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on
Jews and Judaism. The texts used in this article, quoted in English
translation, come from Professor Stern's magnum opus, which includes
554 selections of varying length and content, dating from the fifth
century BCE to the sixth century CE.
The Greeks probably were the first to record information about the
customs, life styles and societies of the different peoples whom they
encountered or heard about during their travels in various parts of
the world. Jews were one of the many peoples whom they met and
observed. The "father of history", Herodotus, who visited Egypt
under Persian rule in the 450s BCE, wrote extensively about the
Egyptians and referred to the "
Syrians of Palestine" who were circumcised and were assumed to be the
Jews. In fact, it is likely that it was Herodotus who coined the
name "Palestine," namely, the area of the Land of Israel, as his
encounter was with the descendants of the Philistines who inhabited
the coastal towns of Gaza, Ashdod, and Ashkelon. The Jews inhabited
the landlocked region of Jerusalem and its surrounding hills, known as
During the decades and centuries following the conquest of the Near
East by Alexander the Great in the 330s and 320s BCE, Greek soldiers
and civilians populated and colonized the entire area, established
major cities, such as Alexandria in Egypt, and spread their system of
local government, language, culture, art, religion, and way of life
throughout the region. The Greeks promoted and advocated the adoption
of their life style and mores; namely, Hellenization, which in
contemporary parlance may be termed the first manifestation of
"globalization." All the peoples whom they ruled and amongst whom they
lived, including the Jews in the Land of Israel and the Diaspora (a
Greek term), had to contend with the challenge of Hellenization
through assimilation, adaptation or resistance.
In the late fourth century BCE, several texts portray Jews in a
complimentary fashion, as philosophers. Throughout the third
century BCE, however, less favorable comments about the Jews
circulated throughout Ptolemaic Egypt, which had undergone rapid
Hellenization. Outstanding among the anti-Jewish accusations was an
alternative to the Biblical narrative of the Exodus. One of the
anti-Exodus tales, presented by the Egyptian priest Manetho (mid-third
century BCE) portrayed the Jews as foreigners, descendants of
shepherd-kings who had taken over Egypt and had joined with others who
were ridden with disease and killed the animals which the Egyptians
venerated as gods. Subsequently, they were expelled from Egypt and
established their own polity under their leader Moses who gave them a
way of life which differed from that of the rest of mankind. Hence,
the Jews were accused of xenophobia and disrespect for the gods of
other nations and were viewed as practitioners of a strange way of
Some writers recall distinctive Jewish customs, such as the absence of
representations of the deity, male circumcision, dietary laws and the
observance of the weekly day of rest, the Sabbath. Indeed, in 167 BCE,
the Greek Seleucid King Antiochus IV ordered Jews to place an idol of
Zeus in the Temple, outlawed circumcision, demanded the sacrifice of
swine and forbade Sabbath observance (I Maccabees 1:41-50). He thus
desired to eliminate those unique features of the Jewish religion
which had been noted by pagan writers.
Anti-Exodus narratives and accusations of Jewish sacrilege against
other nations' gods emerged in times of political and cultural crises
and may have been a reaction to the fact that Judaism was attractive
to many Greeks and Romans. By the middle to late first century
BCE, the Romans dominated much of the known world west of the
Euphrates, with its large Greek and Jewish populations. The Romans
adopted many of the Greek charges against the Jews, to which they
added accusations of insubordination to Roman rule.
So embedded were the Greek libels, that even several decades after the
brutal suppression of the Jewish revolt against Rome (66-70 CE) and
the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem (70 CE), the Roman
historian Tacitus repeated the standard anti-Exodus canard and
expressed himself as though the Jews were still a major threat to
Imperial world domination, as follows: "... Moses introduced new
religious practices, quite opposed to those of all other religions.
The Jews regard as profane all that we hold sacred; on the other hand,
they permit all that we abhor."
Jerusalem in Context
Most Greek and Roman items on Jerusalem, therefore, must be viewed
within the context of the general background described above. This
applies to the texts quoted in Josephus' Against ApionHistories of
Tacitus and in later works.
Mention of Jerusalem occurs in several contexts. First, it is the
climax of the largely pejorative foundation narratives of Judea and of
the Jewish people, which begin with the expulsion from Egypt. Second,
Jerusalem is associated with the construction and the existence of the
Jewish Temple and the Temple cult and practices, which Greeks and
Romans viewed with fascination, despite the fact that they may have
found them highly distasteful and offensive. Josephus devotes much
attention to presenting and refuting the foundation narratives and the
calumnies against Judaism and Temple practices.
Third, depending on the date of their works, several authors record
historical events, namely invasions of Jerusalem by Greeks or Romans.
The major captures of the city were the seizure of the Temple by the
Seleucid monarch Antiochus IV in 167 BCE; the invasion of Jerusalem
and entry into the Temple by the Roman general Pompey the Great in 63
BCE, and the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Titus during
the Great Revolt against Rome in 70 CE.
Fourth, physical descriptions of Jerusalem appear in geographical and
ethnographical works, with or without the occasional historical fact.
Finally, in several Roman sources the term "Solyma" (Jerusalem)
appears as part of an insult. Some authors combine several of the
features listed above: foundation narratives, focus on the Temple,
historical events, physical descriptions and use of name of the city
in an demeaning manner.
Jerusalem in Foundation Narratives
Greeks and Romans explored their own origins and the beginnings of the
peoples, countries and cities which they conquered and ruled.
Furthermore, they attempted to explain to their readers how existing
locations, shrines and customs came into being and to answer possible
queries as to when and under what circumstances contemporary events
and customs began. Therefore, they presented and repeated foundation
narratives. The earliest Greek material on the construction of
Jerusalem appears as part of the conclusion of the anti-Exodus
narratives mentioned above.
According to Manetho, for example, after Pharaoh expelled the
sacrilegious Jews, a tribe of the usurper shepherd-kings called
"Hyksos" dominated the land. They were joined by others who were
afflicted with leprosy and diseases. "They journeyed over the desert
... they built in the land now called Judaea a city large enough to
hold all those thousands of people and gave it the name of Jerusalem."
In a subsequent section, Josephus again quotes Manetho as stating that
after the Jews "were driven out of the country, [they] occupied what
is now Judea, founded Jerusalem, and built the temple." While Josephus
wrongly cites Manetho's history as attributing to Moses the building
of the Temple, he mentions that Manetho notes that Moses "who framed
their [the Jews'] constitution and their laws" was a native
In an account by Hecataeus of Abdera (c. 300 BCE), Jerusalem appears
toward the conclusion of his counter-Exodus account and before his
description of Jewish society and practices. He attributes the
expulsion of the Jews to the pestilence which the Egyptians blamed
upon the presence of foreigners, not only Jews, who caused the natives
to falter in religious observance. "Therefore, the aliens were driven
from the country." While some went to Greece, most "were driven into
what is now called Judaea ... at that time utterly uninhabited ... on
taking possession of the land, he [Moses] founded, besides other
cities, one that is the most renowned of all, called Jerusalem. In
addition, he established the temple that they hold in chief
veneration, instituted their forms of worship and ritual, drew up
their laws and ordered their political institutions."
Hecataeus and other writers designate Moses as founder of Jerusalem,
builder of the Temple, and architect of the Jewish religion. This
point differs substantially from the Hebrew Bible which names King
David as the conqueror and builder of the city and his son King
Solomon as the builder of the Temple (II Samuel 5:6-12; I Chronicles
11:4-9; I Kings 6:1-38; 7:15-51; II Chronicles 2:1-5:2). For a Greek,
however, it would make sense that Moses built the Temple. Logically
speaking, the first major leader of people, conqueror of its land and
creator of its laws and social norms had to be regarded as the founder
of its most important city and shrine. It is noteworthy that Moses
"the Lawgiver" figures prominently as the founder of Judaism both in
Greek and Roman writings and in Josephus' defense of Judaism in the
second half of his Against Apion.
The link between the expulsion from Egypt and the building of
Jerusalem appears in later sources which have a more negative view of
the Jews and Judaism. This change took place after the invasion of
Jerusalem and desecration of the Temple by Antiochus IV and his
subsequent defeat by the Jews. For example, in his Bibliotheca
Historica, the compiler Diodorus Siculus (first century BCE) recycles
the essential anti-Exodus plot of Manetho. Here, the Jews were driven
out of Egypt because they "were impious and detested by the gods."
They were joined by others "with leprous marks on their bodies... The
refugees occupied the territory round about Jerusalem, and having
organized the nation of the Jews had made their hatred of mankind into
a tradition, and on this account, had introduced utterly outlandish
laws..." Later on, Diodorus refers to "Moses, the founder of
In a similar vein, Josephus includes an excerpt from Lysimachus
(possibly first century BCE), whose work exhibits an anti-Jewish bias
close to that of Apion. Lysimachus relates that after the leprous Jews
were expelled from the Egyptian temples, where they took refuge, "a
certain Moses" taught them "to show goodwill to no man" and "to
overthrow any temples and altars of the gods..." They eventually "came
to the country now called Judaea where they built a city in which they
settled. This town was called Hierosyla because of their sacrilegious
propensities. At a later date ... they altered the name to avoid the
disgraceful imputation and called the city Hierosolyma and themselves
In circa 110 CE, several decades after the defeat of the Jews by the
Romans in 70 CE, the Roman historian Tacitus included a brief excursus
on the Jews in his Histories. The Great Revolt against Rome and the
siege and destruction of Jerusalem by Titus, which make up the major
part of this section of Tacitus' work, appear in the context of his
extensive treatment of the Flavian dynasty, the theme of his work.
Tacitus openly declares that Jerusalem is "the capital of the Jews."
Before his description of its devastation, he gives a terse account of
its origins and some of its history. Tacitus refers to the origin of
the Jews as either from "Ida" in Crete or from Ethiopia, or Assyria
and their leaders as "Hierosolymus and Iuda." He adds that "others say
that the Jews are of illustrious origin, being the Solymi, a people
celebrated in Homer's poems, who founded a city and gave it the name
A version of the Greek anti-Exodus story follows in which Tacitus
notes that Moses, with his fellow exiles, seized a country, expelled
the former inhabitants, founded a city and dedicated a temple.
Afterwards, he launches a vicious attack against Moses' xenophobic
laws and way of life which persist even to his own times. A brief
geographical description of the country and of Jerusalem precedes a
terse summary of the history of Judea, its domination by Rome and the
events leading up to the Great Revolt, the defeat of the Jews and the
destruction of Jerusalem.
In conclusion, Jerusalem clearly is the major city of the Jews,
founded by a people expelled from Egypt under inauspicious
circumstances. The Jews were either oppressive foreigners or carriers
of a plague or leprosy or both. Their leader Moses turned them against
humanity with strange customs and laws, founded a city, Jerusalem, and
built a Temple. Its interior and cultic practices will be discussed
below. By the early second century CE, when Tacitus wrote his history,
it is clear that this narrative of the circumstances of Jerusalem's
foundation had become a standard depiction among Greeks and Roman
who not only repeated "old mythologies" but invented "a new one ...
[that] the Temple did not exist in Jerusalem but in Nablus."
The Centrality of the Temple
The Temple of the Jews was a famous building, although it was not one
of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. According to Greek and
Roman sources, it definitely was located in Jerusalem, a city founded
and inhabited by Jews. While the narratives noted above feature Moses
as the founder of the Temple, three relatively obscure sources of the
second century BCE link the Temple to King Solomon and point out his
association with King Hiram of Tyre, who assisted in its construction.
These sources are brief and contain no historical background or
material on the Jews.
Several of the selections in Against Apion which include the
anti-Exodus narrative also provide descriptions of the interior and
exterior of the Temple and some of its rituals. For example, Hecataeus
states that in the center of the city is an enclosure where there is
"a square altar built of heaped up stones, unhewn and unwrought." The
Temple itself is "a great edifice containing an altar and a lamp
stand, both made of gold ... upon these is a light which is never
extinguished ... there is not a single statue or votive offering, no
trace of a plant in the form of a sacred grove, or the like." And
in his account of Titus' siege of Jerusalem, Tacitus describes the
Temple as "... built like a citadel, with walls of its own ... the
very colonnades made a splendid defense. Within the enclosure is an
In addition to physical descriptions, the authors mention the
religious aspect of the Temple which differed radically from Greek and
Roman paganism. In the text preserved by Diodorus, Hecataeus mentions
the priests and their duties in the Temple and even describes a
worship service and sacrifice. Similarly, the first century Roman
historian Livy remarks that the Jews do not state "to which deity
pertains the temple at Jerusalem, nor is any image found there, since
they do not think the God partakes of any figure."
In the same vein, Tacitus reports that "there were no representations
of the gods within, but ... the place was empty and the secret shrine
contained nothing" and "only a Jew may approach its doors, and that
all save the priests were forbidden to cross its threshold."
Cassius Dio (c.200 CE) recalls that the Jews "never had any statue of
him [the deity] even in Jerusalem itself." The latter states that
their temple "was extremely large and beautiful, except in so far as
it was open and roofless."
Hecataeus, Livy, and Cassius Dio explain the absence of representation
as part of Jewish "otherness" in a factual manner. Several Greek
writers, however, interpret the fact that there were no statues of the
gods in the Temple not only as unusual, but also as barbaric and
indicative of Jewish misanthropy. In their view, it would be
inconceivable that a sacred shrine would be empty. Therefore, several
authors offered their versions of what exactly stood in the Temple.
Diodorus (first century BCE) writes that when "Antiochus, called
Epiphanes, on defeating the Jews had entered the innermost sanctuary
of the god's temple, where it was lawful for the priest alone to
enter. Finding there a marble statue of a heavily bearded man seated
on an ass, with a book in his hands, he supposed it to be an image of
Moses, founder of Jerusalem ... who had ordained for the Jews their
misanthropic and lawless customs. ... Antiochus ... sacrificed before
the image of the founder and the open-air altar of the god a great
sow." Diodorus asserts that what stood in Judaism's holiest place
was ridiculous and revolting; namely, the presence of a statue of an
ass, a lowly beast of burden, whose rider had established Jewish
xenophobia, and that Antiochus sacrificed an animal known by all to be
forbidden to the Jews in their holiest shrine.
Apion (mid-first century CE) conveys a malicious and defamatory
description of the contents of the sanctuary in Jerusalem. In order to
give his anti-Jewish arguments greater authority, Apion attributes
this account to the well known Greek philosopher and ethnographer
Posidonius (c.135-51 BCE) and the rhetorician Apollonius Molon (first
century BCE). As in the case of Diodorus, the invasion of
Antiochus Epiphanes serves as the point of departure for the
description, as follows: "Within the sanctuary ... the Jews kept an
ass's head [made of gold], worshipping that animal and deeming it of
The narrative continues with an astonishing calumny. Apion relates
that when Antiochus entered the sanctuary, he discovered a Greek
imprisoned inside, on a couch next to a table laden with excellent
food. The Greek hailed Antiochus as his savior. For, according to
Apion, the Jews kidnapped a Greek annually, brought him to the
sanctuary, fattened him up with sumptuous meals, sacrificed him, ate
his flesh and then swore an oath of hostility to the Greeks. While
Josephus dismisses this canard as malicious rubbish and baseless lies,
it is clear that the fact that Jews had no statues in their Temple in
Jerusalem served as the background for the fabrication of accusations
of kidnapping, human sacrifice, cannibalism and misanthropy on the
part of the Jews. This libel provided a basis for the attempts to
deprive them of their civic rights which were contested in Alexandria
in the first century CE by figures such as Apion. Hence, the Temple
appears as a salient feature of pagan anti-Judaism.
In addition, the fact that Jews contributed annually to the Temple
thereby filling it with silver and gold objects and monies was
considered as a point of contention. In 59 BCE, the great Roman orator
Cicero defended Flaccus, when the latter sought to prevent the Jews of
the Empire from sending large sums of money to Jerusalem. Cicero
describes the collection of vast amounts of gold and calls Judaism a
Tacitus also adds a financial dimension to his critique of Judaism and
the Temple, complaining that other peoples join the Jews, "renouncing
their ancestral religions ... sending tribute and contributing to
Jerusalem, thereby increasing the wealth of the Jews." While both
Cicero and Tacitus mention Jerusalem as the destination for the
contributions of the Jews, it is clear from the context that their
intention is the Temple, which the latter describes as "possessing
In conclusion, descriptions of the Temple form part of the accounts on
Jerusalem and on Judaism. They range from the factual to the libelous
and bizarre. For the Greeks and Romans, Jerusalem was famous for its
Temple which served as the focal point of the xenophobic, strange and
possibly menacing rites of the Jews whose contributions brought much
gold into the city. The latter may have encouraged a certain amount of
envy among Gentiles. After its destruction in 70 CE, the memory of the
Temple persisted in the retrospective histories by Tacitus and by
Jerusalem and the Temple also appear as the site of several major
historical events, mainly invasions of Greek monarchs and Roman
generals. We have seen the significance of Antiochus IV Ephiphanes'
entry into Jerusalem and his despoliation of the Temple which served
as the pretext for anti-Jewish descriptions of the interior of the
sanctuary, distortions of Judaism and slander of the Jews. Antiochus
appears favorably in the works of Diodorus and Apion, cited above.
Similarly, Tacitus presents Antiochus positively as the prototype of a
leader who attempted to "abolish Jewish superstition and to introduce
It is noteworthy that an earlier capture of Jerusalem by the
Greek-Egyptian King Ptolemy, son of Lagus, provided an opportunity for
the obscure Agatharchides of Cnidus (second century BCE) to remark
about the fact that "the people known as Jews, who inhabited the most
strongly fortified of cities, called by the natives Jerusalem" lost
their city because they would not defend it on the Sabbath. Josephus
includes this selection in Against Apion as one of the early pagan
critiques of the Jewish Sabbath which Agatharchides deemed as "folly,"
"dreams," and "traditional fancies about the law."
In this instance, the capture of Jerusalem serves as background for
the author's unfavorable comments on the Sabbath. Similarly, Cassius
Dio attributes the capture of the Temple by the Roman general Pompey
the Great in 63 BCE to the fact that the Jews, given their
"superstitious awe" did not defend the city on "the day of Saturn"
(the Sabbath). Cassius Dio, however, concentrates on Roman
victories and accomplishments and mentions the issue of the Sabbath in
The biographer Plutarch (mid-first-early second century CE) notes the
siege of Jerusalem by the Seleucid monarch Antiochus VII Sidetes in
133-132 BCE at the time of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. The author
describes this festival at length in another work. According to
Plutarch, Antiochus VII provided the sacrificial animals for the
Temple and allowed a seven day truce, after which the Jews submitted
to him. From this passage, it is clear that the inhabitants of
Jerusalem are the Jews; that their Temple is located there; and their
religious practices affect the outcome of the invasions of Greek
Jerusalem also serves as the venue for eliciting praise of Roman
figures or glorifying the victories and history of Rome. The invasion
of Jerusalem and the Temple by Pompey the Great in 63 BCE appears in
several Roman sources. Livy erroneously states that Pompey was the
first to capture Jerusalem and the Temple. Other authors focus on
the fact that Pompey neither damaged the Temple nor removed any of the
gold or the vessels of the Temple.
While Jerusalem and the Temple are important in these sections, they
serve as the background for praise of the Roman invader. Similarly, in
the works of Tacitus and Cassius Dio, the city of Jerusalem and its
destruction form part of the history of the Roman Empire, and in the
case of Tacitus, the accomplishments of the Flavian dynasty. These
historians assume Roman cultural superiority and political hegemony
throughout the world and the conquest and subjugation of Jerusalem
supported this world-view.
An outstanding example of the role of Jerusalem as the location for a
minor event in the life of an emperor may be found in Suetonius' The
Twelve Caesars, a work replete with intimate details of the public and
private lives of the first twelve Roman emperors. In his biography of
Titus, then commander of his father's Vespasian's Imperial forces and
later emperor, Suetonius writes that "in the final attack on Jerusalem
he slew twelve of the defenders with as many arrows; and he took the
city on his daughter's birthday, so delighting the soldiers and
winning their devotion ..." In this case, "the personal is
political" and Jerusalem serves as the location for commemorating an
event in the private life of Titus.
Finally, Cassius Dio's indispensable account of the Jewish revolt
against the Emperor Hadrian (132-135 CE) designates the following as a
cause of the revolt: "At Jerusalem he [Hadrian] founded a city in
place of the one which had been razed to the ground, naming it Aelia
Capitolina, and on the site of the temple of the god, he raised a new
Temple to Zeus [Jupiter]." Dio then proceeds with his report of
the revolt of the Jews and its methodical suppression by the Romans.
Although the source concentrates on the course of the revolt against
Hadrian, the founding of a pagan city on the ruins of Jerusalem and a
pagan temple on the Temple Mount is presented as a historical fact and
not simply as background for the author's views on the Jewish religion
or his praise of a particular emperor. Once again, Jerusalem, the
Temple and the Jews are linked together in a major Roman historical
work, written over more than a century after the destruction of the
city and its holiest place.
Greeks and Romans displayed a keen interest in their own surroundings,
distant lands, natural phenomena, and landmarks, among them Jerusalem.
Some of the descriptions of Jerusalem precede details about the Temple
and Judaism and others occur within the context of historical events,
such as the siege of Titus in 70 CE. Generally speaking, Jerusalem
appears as a strongly fortified city with a temple which is difficult
to capture. A few writers note that it has sources of water and
several authors provide measurements of its area. Despite the tendency
in the ancient world to exaggerate figures, it is clear that Jerusalem
was relatively large and populous.
The selection by Hecataeus, cited in Against Apion, describes the city
as follows: "The Jews have ... only one fortified city, which has a
circumference of about fifty stades and some hundred and twenty
thousand inhabitants; they call it Jerusalem. Nearly in the centre of
the city stands a stone wall, enclosing an area about five plethra
long and a hundred cubits broad, approached by a pair of gates."
He then proceeds to describe the Temple.
Agatharcides notes that Jerusalem is "the most strongly fortified of
cities." The obscure Greek writer Timochares (late second century
BCE) states that: "Jerusalem has a circumference of 40 stades. It is
hard to capture her, as she is enclosed on all sides by abrupt
ravines. The whole city has a plenitude of running waters, so that the
gardens are also irrigated by the waters streaming from the city."
In the anonymous Schoinometresis Syriae, possibly written by Xenophon
of Lampsacus (c. 100 BCE), the writer notes that: "Jerusalem is
situated on high and rough terrain; some parts of the wall are built
of hewn stone, but most of it consists of gravel. The city has a
circumference of 27 stades and in that place there is a fount from
which water spouts in abundance."
Similarly, in his famous Natural History, the Roman polymath Pliny the
Elder (d.79 CE) recorded that the Dead Sea "is faced ... on the south
by Machaerus, at one time, next to Jerusalem, the most important
fortress in Judaea..." and that "Engeda [the oasis of Ein Gedi was]
second only to Jerusalem in the fertility of its land and in its
groves of palm-trees, but now like Jerusalem, [is] a heap of
Both Tacitus and Cassius Dio provide details about Jerusalem in their
accounts of Roman conquests of the city. Despite the fact that the
city had been destroyed, Tacitus uses the present tense as if it were
still standing. Prior to his lengthy section on the Great Revolt, he
gives a brief summary of the history of the city which he introduces
as follows: ..."The first line of fortifications protected the city,
next the palace, and the innermost wall the temple." At the time
of Titus' siege of Jerusalem, Tacitus describes its defenses: "...the
city stands on an eminence;... the two hills that rise to a great
height had been included within walls that had been skillfully built
... The rocks terminated in sheer cliffs and towers rose to a height
of sixty feet where the hill assisted the fortifications, and in the
valleys they reached one hundred and twenty; they presented a
wonderful sight ... An inner line of walls had been built around the
palace, and on a conspicuous height stands Antony's tower ... in the
hills are subterraneous excavations, with pools and cisterns for
Cassius Dio briefly states that at the time of Titus' siege, some
Romans thought that the city was impregnable and went over to the
other side. Its strength lay in the fact that it "had three walls,
including one that surrounded the temple" and that the Jews "had
tunnels dug from inside the city and extending out under the walls",
from which they attacked the Roman water carriers. Both Tacitus
and Cassius Dio emphasize the fortifications of the city and thus show
the great achievement of the Romans in capturing and devastating
Jerusalem. The physical descriptions clearly are subordinated to the
aggrandizement of the Roman Empire.
The Use of the Term "Solyma"
Several Roman writers after 70 CE use the term "Solyma" (Jerusalem) in
a derogatory manner. As discussed above, the explanation of the
etymology of the name of the city was part of the foundation
narratives of Lysimachus, Plutarch and Tacitus. After the destruction
of Jerusalem, the term "Solyma" seems to have acquired a pejorative
meaning used in personal insults and accusations and not associated
with its etymology. This use of the term connotes both the derision of
Judaism and a link with a defeated people and a destroyed city, whose
capture was difficult for the Romans.
Apparently, despite the fact that Jerusalem was in ruins and its
inhabitants killed, exiled or sold into slavery, Judaism continued to
be a source of attraction for the Romans. In the late first century
CE, both Valerius Flaccus and Martial, the well-known coiner of
epigrams, insult their non-Jewish rivals and opponents by linking them
with "Solyma." In his diatribe against Domitian, the brother of Titus,
the former notes that he is "foul with the dust of Solyma." The latter
contemptuously likens his rival to one who "comes from Solyma now
consumed by fire, and is lately condemned to tribute."
The term appears in the Satires of Juvenal (60-130 CE), who penned
several barbs against Judaism, which he viewed as superstitious
nonsense and as destructive to Roman society and family life because
of its widespread popularity. He labels Jews as false prophets and
beggars and ridicules "a palsied Jewess" who is "an interpreter of the
laws of Jerusalem" (Latin, legum Solymarum). In this instance,
"Solyma" or "Jerusalem" means the hated religion of Judaism.
For ancient Greek and Roman pagan writers, Jerusalem was a Jewish city
and the site of the Temple, the holy place of the Jews. It was founded
in the remote past by ancient Jews, possibly by Moses, who led a
pariah people, expelled from Egypt, and established its theology, laws
and customs, which were and continued to be inimical to most of
The Temple was the religious center of the Jews where their hostility
to others was reinforced. Jerusalem was a strongly fortified and
fertile city, attacked on several occasions by Greeks and Romans.
Although difficult to capture, because of its natural circumstances
and its fortifications, the Romans invaded it and later destroyed both
the city and the Temple. All Jews were linked to Jerusalem, through
historical origins, financial contributions to the Temple, or
religious observances which derived from that city and its founder.
As Judaism was considered a type of xenophobic superstition, innately
hostile to the pagan gods and to the Greek and Roman way of life, and
a threat to the Roman society because of its appeal to many, the
memory and term "Solyma" or "Hierosolyma" occasionally became a
synonym for all that was Jewish and abhorred by various Roman authors.
Thus, the sole identity of Jerusalem was its status as the "capital of
* * *
* To Isaac Jacob Meyers (1979-2008) In Memoriam Perpetuam.
My cousin, Isaac Jacob Meyers of New York, was a doctoral candidate in
Classics at Harvard University. An observant Jew, Isaac loved
Jerusalem, Judaism, Hebrew, Latin and Greek. His untimely death in a
traffic accident is a great personal loss and a loss to scholarship.
May his memory be blessed.
I should like to express my gratitude to Mr. David Zwebner and Mr.
Menahem Lewinsky of the Hazvi Yisrael Synagogue in Jerusalem who
invited me to address the congregation at the Jerusalem Day
commemoration on 1 June 2008, where I gave a lecture in Hebrew on this
subject which served as the inspiration for this article.
 Tacitus, Historiae V, 8:1, in Menahem Stern, Greek and Latin
Authors on Jews and JudaismHierosolyma genti caput." The term "gens"
refers to the people of Judea, the Jews, mentioned in the first part
of the sentence. All sources in this article are from Stern's
anthology, see note 9. (Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and
Humanities, Vol. II, No. 281,1980), 21,28.
 Dennis Ross, The Missing Peace: The Inside Story of the Fight for
Middle East Peace (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004), 694,
699. It is noteworthy that the pagan town of Nablus (the Arabic
pronunciation of the Greek "Neapolis") was founded by the Roman
Emperor Vespasian several years after his victory over the Jews and
the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 C.E. Neapolis,
located in Samaria near the Biblical town of Shechem, had a pagan
population. A brief popular summary of officially supported and
sanctioned rewriting and falsifying of the ancient history of
Jerusalem and the region by the Palestinian Authority, in order to
negate their Jewish past, deny Jewish claims and replace them with
those of Arabs, Muslims and Palestinians may be found in Itamar Marcus
& Barbara Crook, "Anti-Semitism among Palestinian Authority
Academics," Post-Holocaust and Anti-Semitism 69, 1 June 2008,.
 The vehement negations of the existence of a Jewish pre-Islamic
past in the history of Jerusalem and numerous counter-narratives
claiming that the Temple was built by Adam or Abraham and later
renovated by King Solomon and Herod, have been collected and analyzed
by Yitzhak Reiter, From Jerusalem to Mecca and Back: The Muslim
Rallying Around JerusalemHa-Aretz, 27 November 2005. For the use of
Muslim arguments in promoting plans for division of Jerusalem see
Nadav Shragai, "Jerusalem: The Danger of Division," 1-6 (Hebrew)
http://www.jcpa.org/ . On Islamic appropriation of the Biblical Jewish
past see Jacob Lassner, "The Origins of Muslim Attitudes toward the
Jews and Judaism," Judaism, 39, 4 (Fall, 1990), 494-507. According to
Lassner, "... the Muslim response to the Jews and Judaism stemmed from
an intense competition to occupy the center of a stage held sacred by
both faiths. The story of the Jews was a history that Muslims
appropriated in the Qur'an, its commentaries and other Islamic texts,"
497-98. The history of Jerusalem seems to belong to this category as
well. (Jerusalem: Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, 2005).
[Hebrew] For a summary in English see Nadav Shragai, "In the Beginning
 For a cogent presentation of the issues, see Dore Gold, The Fight
for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy
City (Washington, D.C.: Regnery, 2007). An excellent integration of
historical and archeological sources may be found in Lee I. Levine,
Jerusalem: Portrait of a City in the Second Temple Period (538 BCE -
70 CE) (Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society, 2002), which clearly
demonstrates the Jewish character of Jerusalem in the Second Temple
period. On the Temple Mount excavations see Eilat Mazar, The Complete
Guide to the Temple Mount Excavations (Jerusalem: Shoham Academic and
Research Publication, 2002).
 Martin Goodman emphasizes the intense anti-Judaism of the Flavian
dynasty (69-96 CE) which owed its prestige to the decisive and brutal
victory against the Jews. Furthermore, after the destruction of
Jerusalem, the Flavians initiated an anti-Jewish policy in order to
show that "the conquest was being celebrated not just over Judea but
over Judaism." Goodman argues that this Imperial policy was a source
of Christian anti-Judaism. Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient
Civilizations, (London: Penguin Books, 2007), 453 ff., 582 ff.
Similarly, Rene S. Bloch relates the negative statements of Tacitus to
the anti-Jewish discourse of the Flavian era and their influence on
Western attitudes to Jews and Judaism. Antike Vorstellungen vom
Judentum: Der Judenexcursus des Tacitus im Rahmen der
Griechisch-Roemischen Ethnographie (Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag,
2002), 221-223. [German]
On Greek and Roman attitudes to Jews and Judaism see E. Gabba, "The
Growth of anti-Judaism or the Greek Attitude towards Jews," in W.D.
Davies and L. Finkelstein eds., The Cambridge History of Judaism, Vol.
II: The Hellenistic Age (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989),
614-656; Louis H. Feldman, Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World
(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1993), especially
123-176; Peter Schaefer, Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the
Ancient World (Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press, 1997). On
the origins of anti-Semitism in Egypt in the third century BCE and the
circumstances of the first pogrom against Jews, which took place in
Alexandria in 38 CE, and was perpetrated by its Greek majority see
Manfred Gerstenfeld, Interview with P.W. van der Horst, "The Egyptian
Beginning of Anti-Semitism's Long History," Post Holocaust and
Anti-Semitism, 62, 1 November 2007.
 Josephus, The Life; Against Apion, translated by H. St. John
Thackery (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1966). For a
summary of the history, importance and contents of Against Apion see
E. Schuerer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus
Christ, revised by Geza Vermes and Fergus Millar (Edinburgh: T. & T.
Clark, 1973), I, 54-60. The most recent and thorough study of Against
Apion is: Louis H. Feldman & John R. Levison, eds., Josephus' Contra
Apionem: Studies in Its Character and Context (Leiden: Brill, 1996).
Josephus, Against Apion, II: 151-296.
 Schuerer, I, 20-43, 63-68.
 Menahem Stern, Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism, I-III
(Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1974-84). My
teacher and master, Professor Menahem Stern, of blessed memory, was
professor of Jewish History of the Second Temple Period at the Hebrew
University of Jerusalem. Stern, a prolific scholar and expert in Greek
and Latin texts, was murdered by a Palestinian terrorist while on his
way to the Hebrew University and National Library in Jerusalem in
1989. For an earlier, smaller anthology of Greek and Latin texts:
Theodore Reinach, Textes d'auteurs grecs et romains relatifs au
Judaisme (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1895). [French]
Arnaldo Dante Momigliano, "The Hellenistic Discovery of Judaism,"
in: Alien Wisdom: The Limits of Hellenization (Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press, 1975), 74-96. Momigliano states that "by the end of
the sixth century B.C., they were already writing books on ethnography
and geography," 74.
According to Bloch, passim., 222, Greek and Roman ethnographers
related to the Jews differently than they did to other ancient peoples
whose dress, habitations, climate, and weaponry were discussed at
 Herodotus, Historiae II, 104:3; Stern, I, No. 1,,2.
 On the twentieth-century Palestinian Arab adoption and use of the
terms "Palestine" and "Palestinian" as labels of ethnic
identification, which originally and for millennia were geographical
terms see Bernard Lewis, "The Palestinians and the PLO: A Historical
Approach," Commentary, 59 (January, 1975), 32-48. Lewis notes that the
Roman renamed Judea "Syria-Palestina" and Jerusalem as "Aelia
Capitolina" in 137 CE, in order to "stamp out the embers not only of
the [Bar Kokhba] revolt but of Jewish nationhood and statehood ...
with the same intention - of obliterating its historic Jewish
 For a summary of scholarly interpretations of the varied
reactions of Jews to the impact of Hellenism and the significance of
Hellenization in Jewish history of the Second Temple and Talmudic
periods see L. Levine, "Hellenism and the Jewish World of Antiquity,"
Judaism and Hellenism in Antiquity: Conflict or Confluence (Seattle:
University of Washington Press, 1998), 3-32.
 Momigliano, 90-91; Johanan Hans Lewy, "Aristotle and the Jewish
Sage," in: Studies in Jewish Hellenism (Hebrew: Olamot Nifgashim)
(Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1969), 15-43; Josephus, Against Apion,
I, 176-183; Stern, I, VII, no. 15, 47-52.
 On the anti-Exodus narrative as a major motif of Greco-Roman
anti-Semitism: Van der Horst; Schaefer, 15-33. Momigliano, 91-95,
holds that the Greek authors either did not know of the account of the
Exodus in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Torah or
refused to acknowledge its historicity. In contrast, Erich S. Gruen
maintains that these tales were not part of a concerted pagan
anti-Jewish campaign and they "do not derive from Egyptian distortion
of Jewish legend, but the reverse, Jewish inventiveness expropriated
Egyptian myth." ("The Use and Abuse of the Exodus Story," Heritage and
Hellenism: The Reinvention of Jewish Tradition (Berkeley: University
of California Press, 1998), 41-73, especially 71-73. Gruen's argument,
however, is neither relevant nor convincing as it is clear that the
oft-repeated anti-Exodus tales indeed formed part of the essential
underpinning for anti-Judaism and Jew-hatred in the Greco-Roman world.
For a reaction to Gruen, see John J. Collins, "Reinventing Exodus:
Exegesis and Legend in Hellenistic Egypt," Jewish Cult and Hellenistic
Culture (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 44-57 and 191-193.
 The anti-Exodus texts by Hecataeus: Aegyptiaca, in: Diodorus
Siculus, Bibliotheca HistoricaAgainst Apion I, 183-204; Stern, I, V,
no.12, pp.35-44; and by Manetho, in: Against Apion I, 73-91, 93-105,
228-252; Stern, I, X, nos.19-21, 66-86. On theories concerning the
date of the texts attributed to Hecataeus, see Note 21. XL:3 (Photius,
Cod. 244) Stern, I, V, no. 11, 1-8; pp. 20-35; in:
 Van der Horst, op.cit.
 Daniel R. Schwartz, "Introduction," Studies in the Jewish
Background of Christianity., 3-14, argues the crises which stimulated
anti-Jewish writing were the influx of Jews into Ptolemaic Egypt
during the third century BCE, the triumph of the Hasmonean dynasty
(mid-late second century BCE) against the Greek Seleucids, Hasmonean
policies toward Greeks, the subjugation of formerly Greek dominions to
the Romans, and the crisis fomented by Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula's
insistence on worshipping his statue. Later Roman intellectuals
perceived attraction to Judaism and Jewish missionary activity as
undermining their traditional way of life. Repeating the anti-Exodus
material in order to support his campaign against the rights of Jews,
Apion led the Greek delegation to the Emperor Gaius Caligula (37-41CE)
during the period of inter-ethnic crisis in Alexandria, aggravated by
the Imperial policies and the pogrom of 38 CE. On Alexandria, see: Van
der Horst op.cit; Schaefer, Judeophobia, 136-160; and Collins,
"Anti-Semitism in Antiquity? The Case of Alexandria," op.cit.,
181-201. (Tuebingen: Mohr, 1992), 10-15, attributes the wide-spread
phenomenon of conversion to Judaism, a way of life and set of beliefs
which transcended territorial boundaries, to the influence of the
massive acculturation to Hellenism throughout the Mediterranean world,
whereby one could become Hellenized without living in Greece. On the
attraction of Judaism and the success of proselytism among Greeks and
Romans see Feldman, 177-341. J.H. Lewy, "The Second Temple Period in
Light of Greek and Roman Literature", op.cit
 Tacitus, Historiae V: 4:1, Stern, II, XCII, no. 281,19, 25.
According to Bloch, 221-223, Tacitus' excursus on the Jews reflects
the anti-Jewish discourse of the Flavian era and beliefs in the
superiority of the Roman Empire. See Goodman, 453 ff. Erich S. Gruen,
however, downplays any notion of a "long-simmering hostility" as the
basis of anti-Jewish expression in the wake of the revolt in Judea and
attributes negative Roman attitudes to the shock of the challenge of a
"laughable" people. Gruen, "Roman Perspectives on the Jews in the Age
of the Great Revolt," in Andrea M. Berlin & J. Andrew Overman, The
First Jewish Revolt: Archaeology, History, Ideology (London:
Routledge, 2002), 27-39.
 Manetho's references to Jerusalem come from his Aegyptiaca,
refuted by Josephus in Against Apion I, 90; I, 93; I, 228; Stern, I,
X, no.19, 68-69; no. 20, 74-75; no. 21, 78,81,83.
 Hecataeus, in Stern, I, V, no. 11, 26-28. According to Stern (I,
20-24), Hecataeus wrote in c. 300 BCE. His Aegyptiaca comes down to us
from the first century B.C.E. work of Diodorus Siculus via the
tenth-century Bibliotheca of Photius. Diodorus may have altered the
original text. In Against Apion I, 183-204, Josephus includes a
selection entitled "On the Jews" by Hecataeus, which was regarded as
the earliest Greek description of the Temple and Jerusalem. Several
scholars have challenged the authenticity of the passages in Josephus.
Stern presents the commonly accepted opinion that "Josephus had before
him a Jewish revision, however slight" which was more pro-Jewish than
the original Hecataeus (I, 23-24). However, an exhaustive study of the
material which Josephus attributes to Hecataeus, asserts that it was
written by an Egyptian Jew of the late second- early first century BCE
and not by Hecataeus at all, see Bezalel Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus'
On the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1996), especially 110-121, 249-252. This view suits
Erich S. Gruen's later thesis (Note 15), although it is not
universally accepted. See also Bloch, 29-36.
 On Moses in pagan writing: Feldman, Jew and Gentile, 232-287. On
the Greek logic behind the identity of the founder of the religion,
conqueror of the land and builder of the shrine see Bloch, 34, Note
38. Josephus, Against Apion II: 154-178, 352-365. Josephus argues that
Moses is the oldest legislator in human history and that his laws are
superior to those of other peoples and they are accessible to all.
 Diodorus, Bibliotheca Historica XXXIV, 1: 1,2, 3, in : Stern, I,
XXXII, no. 63.
 Lysimachus, in: Against Apion I, 304-311; Stern, I, LXII, no.158,
383-386. Stern notes that Lysimachus' reference to "Hierosyla" is an
example of the etymology of a name of a nation (386, no.311).
 Tacitus, Historiae V, 2:1-2; Stern, II, XCII, no. 281, 17-18,
24-25. Stern points out that Tacitus' references to "Hierosolymus "and
"Iuda" resemble those of his contemporary Plutarch (33, Note 2:2). For
Plutarch: Stern, I, XCI, No. 259, 563..
 Tacitus, Historiae V, 3: 1-5:5; Stern, II, XCII, no. 281, 18-19, 25-27.
 Tacitus, Historiae V, 6:1-13:4; Stern, II, XCII, no. 281, 19-23,
27-31. Bloch, 102-107, points out correctly that Tacitus devotes
hardly any attention to the political history of Judea prior to the
Great Revolt, siege of Jerusalem by Titus. It simply did not interest
him. The otherness of the Jewish religion, which he knew from the Jews
of Rome, however, merited his critique (Bloch, 222-223).
 Menander of Ephesus, in Against Apion I, 126; Stern, I, XX,
no.35, 120-121; Dius, in Against Apion I, 114-115; Stern, I, XXI, No.
36, 124-125; Laetus, in Stern, I, XXIII, No.39, 128-129. Perhaps these
authors were acquainted with the Biblical account which describes the
relationship between Solomon and Hiram and the latter's role in
providing materials for the Temple or obtained their information from
an unknown Phoenician source.
 Hecataeus "On the Jews", in Against Apion I, 198-199; Stern, I,
V, No.12, 36-37, 39. See Note 21 on the problems relating to this
passage. Bar Kochba, 153-154, 160-168, states that the author,
Pseudo-Hecataeus, an Egyptian Jew at the turn of the first century
BCE, based his description on Greek literary models of temples and was
acquainted with pagan temples and their surroundings. Therefore, the
Temple in Jerusalem is not the structure described in the text.
 Tacitus, Historiae V:12:1 (Stern, II, XCII, no. 281) 22,30.
 Hecataeus, in Diodorus, Aegyptiaca, Bibliotheca Historica XL, 3,
4-6; Stern, I, V, No. 11, 26-28.
 Livy, in Stern, I, XLVI, No. 133, 330. Tacitus, Historiae V: 8:1,
9:1; Stern, II, XCII, No. 281, 21, 28. Tacitus relates that only after
Pompey's invasion of the Temple in 63BCE did the emptiness of the
sanctuary become common knowledge. He does not repeat the Greek
calumnies and rumors about the sanctuary.
 Cassius Dio, Historia Romana XXXVII, 17:2-3; Stern, II, CXXII,
No.406, 349, 351.
 Diodorus, Bibliotheca Historica, XXXIV:2-4; Stern, I, XXXII,
No.63, 182-183. On the pagan accusation of Jewish ass worship see
 This account differs from the Jewish versions of Antiochus IV
invasion of Jerusalem and desecration of the Temple of I and II
Maccabees. While all stress Antiochus' attempts to abolish Jewish
practices, Diodorus states that after taking tribute from the Jews and
dismantling the walls of Jerusalem, he left the Jews alone. He does
not mention the Jews led by Judah the Maccabee taking the Temple from
Antiochus' soldiers and supporters and consecrating it.
 Posidonius, in: Against Apion II, 80, 89-96; Stern, I, XXVIII,
No. 44, 145-146; Apollonius Molon, in: Against Apion II, 80, 89-96;
Stern, I, XXIX, No. 48, 12-154; Apion, in: Against Apion II, 80-90-96;
Stern, I, LXIII, no.170, 408-412.
 An explanation of the origins of Apion's accusation of
cannibalism on the part of the Jews may be found in Stern, I, 412,
Note 89. See also Schaefer, 62-67. Periodic kidnapping and killing of
a Gentile, of course, occurs in the medieval blood libels, the first
of which took place in Norwich, England in 1144. There are vast
differences between Apion's claims and the context of blood libels in
Europe, in which innocent Christian children appear as the victims,
murdered by Jews who use their blood for Passover rituals.
 Cicero, Pro Flacco 28:66-69; Stern, I, XXXIV, No.68, 196-201. On
Cicero's attitude to the Jews see J. Lewy, "Cicero and the Jews in the
Pro Flacco," op.cit ., 79-114. According to Feldman, 70, the Jews were
so loyal to Jerusalem and the Temple that they were prepared to defy a
Roman edict and send large sums of money to the Temple.
 Tacitus, Historiae V, 5:1; Stern, II, XCII, No. 281, 19, 26. Both
Bloch, 93 and Feldman, 110, state that the fact that the numerous
proselytes also paid the annual half-shekel to the Temple in Jerusalem
resulted in the accumulation of vast sums of money collected
throughout the Empire and sent to the Temple treasury, thus causing
Gentile envy of Jewish wealth and antipathy toward converts to
 Tacitus, Historiae V, 8:1; Stern, II, XCII, no. 281, 21, 28.
 Tacitus, Historiae V, 8:2; Stern, ibid.
Against Apion I, 209-211; Stern, I, XVII, No. 30a, 106-107.
 Cassius Dio, Historia Romana XXXVII, 15:2:1-4: Stern, II, XCII,
No. 281, 21, 28. Josephus praises and describes at length the fact
that the Jews did not put up defenses around Jerusalem during Pompey's
campaign in order not to desecrate the Sabbath and thus facilitated
his invasion of the city and the Temple (Jewish War I: 145-147; Jewish
Antiquities XIV: 63-65).
 On the Feast of Tabernacles: Plutarch, Quaestiones Convivales IV:
6:2, in: Stern, I, XCI, No.258, .553-554, 557-558. On Plutarch's
description of the festival: Schaefer, 53-54.
 Plutarch, Regum et Imperatorum Apophthegmata; Stern I, XCI, No.
260, 563-564. For a similar reference to the siege of Jerusalem by
Antiochus VII Sidetes on the Feast of Tabernacles see Josephus, Jewish
Antiquities XIII: 242-248. Josephus, however, points out that
Antiochus withdrew the siege, whereas Plutarch states that the Jews
were amazed and placed themselves in his hands.
 Livy, Periochae CII; Stern, I, XLVI, No. 131, 329.
 Cicero states that Pompey "'laid his victorious hands on nothing
in that shrine,'" Pro FlaccoHistoriae V, 9:1; Stern, II, XCII, No.281,
21, 28, notes that during Pompey's invasion "the walls of Jerusalem
were razed and the Temple remained standing." Cassius Dio, Historia
Romana XXXVII, 15:2:1-4; Stern, II, CXXII, no. 406, 349-350, briefly
describes the difficulty of capturing the Temple, but unlike the
others, writes that "its wealth was plundered." In both the Jewish War
I: 152-153 and Jewish Antiquities XIV: 72, Josephus praises Pompey's
virtuous character and the fact that he touched none of the gold and
Temple vessels. 28:67; Stern, I, XXXIV, No. 68, 196-197; Tacitus,
 Tacitus; Stern, II, XCII, Nos. 273-294,1-93; Cassius Dio; Stern,
II, CXXII, Nos. 406-441, 345-407. On Tacitus' depiction of Vespasian
and Titus in light of the Jewish revolt, see Bloch, 137-142.
 Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, "Divus Titus" 5:2; Stern, II,
XCIV, No. 317, 125-126.
 Cassius Dio, Historia Romana LXIX, 12:1; Stern, II, CXXII, No.
 Against Apion I: 197; Stern, I, V, No. 12, 36, 39. Bar Kochba,
110-113, argues that this description of a walled and fortified city
serves as part of the proof of a later date and a different author of
the passage attributed to Hecataeus by Josephus.
 Against Apion I:209; Stern, I, XVII, No. 30a, 106-107.
 Timochares, in: Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica IX:35:1; Stern,
I, XXV, No. 41, 135. Stern explains the source of the exaggerated
 Xenophon of Lampsascus, in PE IX: 36:1; Stern, I, XXVI, No. 42, 138.
 Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia V:71: Stern, I, LXXVIII, No.
204, 469, 471-472.
 Tacitus, Historiae V, 8:1; Stern, II, XCII, No. 281, 21, 28. On
Tacitus' physical description of Judea and Jerusalem in comparison
with his geographical data about other locations, see Bloch, 101-102.
 Tacitus, Historiae V, 11:3; Stern, II, XCII, no. 281, 22, 30. The
most detailed physical description of Jerusalem and the Temple prior
to the siege of Titus may be found in Josephus, The Jewish War, V,
 Cassius Dio, Historia Romana LXVI, 4:1; Stern, II, CXXII, No.
430, 371, 373.
 Valerius Flaccus , Argonautica, I, 14; Stern, I, LXXIX, No. 226,
504-505; Martial, Epigrammata, VII,82, 7; Stern, I, LXXXIV, No. 242,
 Juvenal, Saturae, VI, 542-544; Stern, II, XCIII, No. 299,
100-101. On the threat of Judaism as perceived by the Romans: Stern
II, 94-95,106-107. Both Tacitus and Juvenal, displayed their contempt
for proselytes (Bloch, 134-135) and their dislike of all peoples,
whether Jews, Germans or Greeks, who did not behave like Romans
(Goodman, 110, 160; Bloch, 136-137).
* * *
Rivkah Fishman-Duker is a Lecturer in Jewish history at the Rothberg
International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the
Israel School of Tourism. She teaches courses on the Second Temple and
Talmudic (Roman\Byzantine) periods in both institutions and has
published several articles on Byzantine historiography of Jews in the
ancient period and numerous book reviews of scholarly works on ancient
Jewish and Byzantine history..