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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



12021
Papyri, Cpj, 77-79
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1. Philo of Alexandria, Against Flaccus, 74, 78-80, 50 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

50. For if we were to neglect the opportunity of adhering to our national customs when it is afforded to us, we should deserve to meet with the severest punishment, as not giving any proper or adequate return for the benefits which we have received; but if, while it is in our power to do so, we, in conformity with our own laws which Augustus himself is in the habit of confirming, obey in everything, then I do not see what great, or even what small offence can be laid to our charge; unless any one were to impute to us that we do not transgress the laws of deliberate purpose, and that we do not intentionally take care to depart from our national customs, which practices, even if they at first attack others, do often in the end visit those who are guilty of them.
2. Philo of Alexandria, On The Embassy To Gaius, 144-158, 250, 143 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

143. Again, why did you not pay similar honour to him who exceeded the common race of human nature in every virtue, who, by reason of the greatness of his absolute power and his own excellence, was the first man to be called Augustus, not receiving the title after another by a succession of blood as a part of his inheritance, but who was himself the origin of his successors, having that title and honour? He who first became emperor, when all the affairs of the state were in disorder and confusion;
3. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 12.8, 13.62-13.72, 14.98-14.99, 14.127-14.132, 14.188 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

12.8. And as he knew that the people of Jerusalem were most faithful in the observation of oaths and covets; and this from the answer they made to Alexander, when he sent an embassage to them, after he had beaten Darius in battle; so he distributed many of them into garrisons, and at Alexandria gave them equal privileges of citizens with the Macedonians themselves; and required of them to take their oaths, that they would keep their fidelity to the posterity of those who committed these places to their care. 12.8. while small shields, made of stones, beautiful in their kind, and of four fingers’ depth, filled up the middle parts. About the top of the basin were wreathed the leaves of lilies, and of the convolvulus, and the tendrils of vines in a circular manner. 13.62. 1. But then the son of Onias the high priest, who was of the same name with his father, and who fled to king Ptolemy, who was called Philometor, lived now at Alexandria, as we have said already. When this Onias saw that Judea was oppressed by the Macedonians and their kings 13.63. out of a desire to purchase to himself a memorial and eternal fame he resolved to send to king Ptolemy and queen Cleopatra, to ask leave of them that he might build a temple in Egypt like to that at Jerusalem, and might ordain Levites and priests out of their own stock. 13.64. The chief reason why he was desirous so to do, was, that he relied upon the prophet Isaiah, who lived above six hundred years before, and foretold that there certainly was to be a temple built to Almighty God in Egypt by a man that was a Jew. Onias was elevated with this prediction, and wrote the following epistle to Ptolemy and Cleopatra: 13.65. “Having done many and great things for you in the affairs of the war, by the assistance of God, and that in Celesyria and Phoenicia, I came at length with the Jews to Leontopolis, and to other places of your nation 13.66. where I found that the greatest part of your people had temples in an improper manner, and that on this account they bare ill-will one against another, which happens to the Egyptians by reason of the multitude of their temples, and the difference of opinions about divine worship. Now I found a very fit place in a castle that hath its name from the country Diana; this place is full of materials of several sorts, and replenished with sacred animals; 13.67. I desire therefore that you will grant me leave to purge this holy place, which belongs to no master, and is fallen down, and to build there a temple to Almighty God, after the pattern of that in Jerusalem, and of the same dimensions, that may be for the benefit of thyself, and thy wife and children, that those Jews which dwell in Egypt may have a place whither they may come and meet together in mutual harmony one with another, and he subservient to thy advantages; 13.68. for the prophet Isaiah foretold that, ‘there should be an altar in Egypt to the Lord God;’” and many other such things did he prophesy relating to that place. 13.69. 2. And this was what Onias wrote to king Ptolemy. Now any one may observe his piety, and that of his sister and wife Cleopatra, by that epistle which they wrote in answer to it; for they laid the blame and the transgression of the law upon the head of Onias. And this was their reply: 13.71. But since thou sayest that Isaiah the prophet foretold this long ago, we give thee leave to do it, if it may be done according to your law, and so that we may not appear to have at all offended God herein.” 13.72. 3. So Onias took the place, and built a temple, and an altar to God, like indeed to that in Jerusalem, but smaller and poorer. I do not think it proper for me now to describe its dimensions or its vessels, which have been already described in my seventh book of the Wars of the Jews. 14.98. 2. Now when Gabinius was making an expedition against the Parthians, and had already passed over Euphrates, he changed his mind, and resolved to return into Egypt, in order to restore Ptolemy to his kingdom. This hath also been related elsewhere. 14.99. However, Antipater supplied his army, which he sent against Archelaus, with corn, and weapons, and money. He also made those Jews who were above Pelusium his friends and confederates, and had been the guardians of the passes that led into Egypt. 14.127. 1. Now after Pompey was dead, and after that victory Caesar had gained over him, Antipater, who managed the Jewish affairs, became very useful to Caesar when he made war against Egypt, and that by the order of Hyrcanus; 14.128. for when Mithridates of Pergamus was bringing his auxiliaries, and was not able to continue his march through Pelusium, but obliged to stay at Askelon, Antipater came to him, conducting three thousand of the Jews, armed men. He had also taken care the principal men of the Arabians should come to his assistance; 14.129. and on his account it was that all the Syrians assisted him also, as not willing to appear behindhand in their alacrity for Caesar, viz. Jamblicus the ruler, and Ptolemy his son, and Tholomy the son of Sohemus, who dwelt at Mount Libanus, and almost all the cities. 14.131. But it happened that the Egyptian Jews, who dwelt in the country called Onion, would not let Antipater and Mithridates, with their soldiers, pass to Caesar; but Antipater persuaded them to come over with their party, because he was of the same people with them, and that chiefly by showing them the epistles of Hyrcanus the high priest, wherein he exhorted them to cultivate friendship with Caesar, and to supply his army with money, and all sorts of provisions which they wanted; 14.132. and accordingly, when they saw Antipater and the high priest of the same sentiments, they did as they were desired. And when the Jews about Memphis heard that these Jews were come over to Caesar, they also invited Mithridates to come to them; so he came and received them also into his army. 14.188. while there is no contradiction to be made against the decrees of the Romans, for they are laid up in the public places of the cities, and are extant still in the capitol, and engraven upon pillars of brass; nay, besides this, Julius Caesar made a pillar of brass for the Jews at Alexandria, and declared publicly that they were citizens of Alexandria.
4. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 1.33, 1.175, 1.187, 7.421-7.436 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.33. But Onias, the high priest, fled to Ptolemy, and received a place from him in the Nomus of Heliopolis, where he built a city resembling Jerusalem, and a temple that was like its temple, concerning which we shall speak more in its proper place hereafter. 1.33. He also made an immediate and continual attack upon the fortress. Yet was he forced, by a most terrible storm, to pitch his camp in the neighboring villages before he could take it. But when, after a few days’ time, the second legion, that came from Antony, joined themselves to him, the enemy were affrighted at his power, and left their fortifications in the nighttime. 1.175. 7. But now as Gabinius was marching to the war against the Parthians, he was hindered by Ptolemy, whom, upon his return from Euphrates, he brought back into Egypt, making use of Hyrcanus and Antipater to provide everything that was necessary for this expedition; for Antipater furnished him with money, and weapons, and corn, and auxiliaries; he also prevailed with the Jews that were there, and guarded the avenues at Pelusium, to let them pass. 1.187. 3. Now, after Pompey was dead, Antipater changed sides, and cultivated a friendship with Caesar. And since Mithridates of Pergamus, with the forces he led against Egypt, was excluded from the avenues about Pelusium, and was forced to stay at Ascalon, he persuaded the Arabians, among whom he had lived, to assist him, and came himself to him, at the head of three thousand armed men. 7.421. who having in suspicion the restless temper of the Jews for innovation, and being afraid lest they should get together again, and persuade some others to join with them, gave orders to Lupus to demolish that Jewish temple which was in the region called Onion 7.422. and was in Egypt, which was built and had its denomination from the occasion following: 7.423. Onias, the son of Simon, one of the Jewish high priests, fled from Antiochus the king of Syria, when he made war with the Jews, and came to Alexandria; and as Ptolemy received him very kindly, on account of his hatred to Antiochus, he assured him, that if he would comply with his proposal, he would bring all the Jews to his assistance; 7.424. and when the king agreed to do it so far as he was able, he desired him to give him leave to build a temple somewhere in Egypt, and to worship God according to the customs of his own country; 7.425. for that the Jews would then be so much readier to fight against Antiochus who had laid waste the temple at Jerusalem, and that they would then come to him with greater goodwill; and that, by granting them liberty of conscience, very many of them would come over to him. 7.426. 3. So Ptolemy complied with his proposals, and gave him a place one hundred and eighty furlongs distant from Memphis. That Nomos was called the Nomos of Heliopoli 7.427. where Onias built a fortress and a temple, not like to that at Jerusalem, but such as resembled a tower. He built it of large stones to the height of sixty cubits; 7.428. he made the structure of the altar in imitation of that in our own country, and in like manner adorned with gifts, excepting the make of the candlestick 7.429. for he did not make a candlestick, but had a [single] lamp hammered out of a piece of gold, which illuminated the place with its rays, and which he hung by a chain of gold; 7.431. Yet did not Onias do this out of a sober disposition, but he had a mind to contend with the Jews at Jerusalem, and could not forget the indignation he had for being banished thence. Accordingly, he thought that by building this temple he should draw away a great number from them to himself. 7.432. There had been also a certain ancient prediction made by [a prophet] whose name was Isaiah, about six hundred years before, that this temple should be built by a man that was a Jew in Egypt. And this is the history of the building of that temple. 7.433. 4. And now Lupus, the governor of Alexandria, upon the receipt of Caesar’s letter, came to the temple, and carried out of it some of the donations dedicated thereto, and shut up the temple itself. 7.434. And as Lupus died a little afterward, Paulinus succeeded him. This man left none of those donations there, and threatened the priests severely if they did not bring them all out; nor did he permit any who were desirous of worshipping God there so much as to come near the whole sacred place; 7.435. but when he had shut up the gates, he made it entirely inaccessible, insomuch that there remained no longer the least footsteps of any Divine worship that had been in that place. 7.436. Now the duration of the time from the building of this temple till it was shut up again was three hundred and forty-three years.
5. Josephus Flavius, Against Apion, 1.186-1.189, 2.37, 2.49-2.56, 2.60 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.186. Again, Hecateus says to the same purpose, as follows:—“Ptolemy got possession of the places in Syria after the battle at Gaza; and many, when they heard of Ptolemy’s moderation and humanity, went along with him to Egypt, and were willing to assist him in his affairs; 1.187. one of whom (Hecateus says) was Hezekiah, the high priest of the Jews; a man of about sixty-six years of age, and in great dignity among his own people. He was a very sensible man, and could speak very movingly, and was very skilful in the management of affairs, if any other man ever were so; 1.188. although, as he says, all the priests of the Jews took tithes of the products of the earth, and managed public affairs, and were in number not above fifteen hundred at the most.” 1.189. Hecateus mentions this Hezekiah a second time, and says, that “as he was possessed of so great a dignity, and was become familiar with us, so did he take certain of those that were with him, and explained to them all the circumstances of their people: for he had all their habitations and polity down in writing.” 2.37. Had this man now read the epistles of king Alexander, or those of Ptolemy the son of Lagus, or met with the writings of the succeeding kings, or that pillar which is still standing at Alexandria, and contains the privileges which the great [Julius] Caesar bestowed upon the Jews; had this man, I say, known these records, and yet hath the impudence to write in contradiction to them, he hath shown himself to be a wicked man: but if he knew nothing of these records, he hath shown himself to be a man very ignorant; 2.49. and as for Ptolemy Philometor and his wife Cleopatra, they committed their whole kingdom to Jews, when Onias and Dositheus, both Jews, whose names are laughed at by Apion, were the generals of their whole army; but certainly instead of reproaching them, he ought to admire their actions, and return them thanks for saving Alexandria, whose citizen he pretends to be; 2.51. Yes, do I venture to say, and that he did rightly and very justly in so doing; for that Ptolemy who was called Physco, upon the death of his brother Philometor, came from Cyrene, and would have ejected Cleopatra as well as her sons out of their kingdom 2.52. that he might obtain it for himself unjustly. For this cause then it was that Onias undertook a war against him on Cleopatra’s account; nor would he desert that trust the royal family had reposed in him in their distress. 2.53. Accordingly, God gave a remarkable attestation to his righteous procedure; for when Ptolemy Physco had the presumption to fight against Onias’s army, and had caught all the Jews that were in the city [Alexandria], with their children and wives, and exposed them naked and in bonds to his elephants, that they might be trodden upon and destroyed, and when he had made those elephants drunk for that purpose, the event proved contrary to his preparations; 2.54. for these elephants left the Jews who were exposed to them, and fell violently upon Physco’s friends, and slew a great number of them; nay, after this, Ptolemy saw a terrible ghost, which prohibited his hurting those men; 2.55. his very concubine, whom he loved so well (some call her Ithaca, and others Irene), making supplication to him, that he would not perpetrate so great a wickedness. So he complied with her request, and repented of what he either had already done, or was about to do; whence it is well known that the Alexandrian Jews do with good reason celebrate this day, on the account that they had thereon been vouchsafed such an evident deliverance from God. 2.56. However, Apion, the common calumniator of men, hath the presumption to accuse the Jews for making this war against Physco, when he ought to have commended them for the same. This man also makes mention of Cleopatra, the last queen of Alexandria, and abuses us, because she was ungrateful to us; whereas he ought to have reproved her
6. Papyri, P.Oxy., 4.705

7. Papyri, Cpj, 157, 78-79, 154



Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
alexander, tiberius julius Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
alexandria, social conflict in Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 2
alexandria Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 2
apion Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 2
augustus Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 2
caesar, julius Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 2
cairo genizah Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
cassius dio Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
claudius Taylor and Hay, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (2020) 2
diospolis magna (= thebes) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
egyptians, and jews in the papyri Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
fatimids (dynasty) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
fiscus iudaicus' Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
isakis son of straton (of jewish family in thebes) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
josephus, on egyptian jews Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
names (as ethnic-religious markers) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
ostraca arabic, demotic Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
ostraca arabic, greek Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
oxyrhynchus, celebration of victory over the jews Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
oxyrhynchus, jews in Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
papyri, as evidence for jews in egypt Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
papyri, greek Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
philo of alexandria Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
straton son of straton (of jewish family in thebes) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
thebes (= diospolis magna) Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306
trajan, jewish revolts under Salvesen et al., Israel in Egypt: The Land of Egypt as Concept and Reality for Jews in Antiquity and the Early Medieval Period (2020) 306