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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Strabo, Geography, 16.2.28

nanThen Joppa, where the coast of Egypt, which at first stretches towards the east, makes a remarkable bend towards the north. In this place, according to some writers, Andromeda was exposed to the sea-monster. It is sufficiently elevated; it is said to command a view of Jerusalem, the capital of the Jews, who, when they descended to the sea, used this place as a naval arsenal. But the arsenals of robbers are the haunts of robbers. Carmel, and the forest, belonged to the Jews. The district was so populous that the neighbouring village Iamneia, and the settlements around, could furnish forty thousand soldiers.Thence to Casium, near Pelusium, are little more than 1000 stadia, and 1300 to Pelusium itself.

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1. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 19.98 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

2. Strabo, Geography, 16.2.34-16.2.45, 16.4.21 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

16.2.34. The western extremities of Judaea towards Casius are occupied by Idumaeans, and by the lake [Sirbonis]. The Idumaeans are Nabataeans. When driven from their country by sedition, they passed over to the Jews, and adopted their customs. The greater part of the country along the coast to Jerusalem is occupied by the Lake Sirbonis, and by the tract contiguous to it; for Jerusalem is near the sea, which, as we have said, may be seen from the arsenal of Joppa. These districts (of Jerusalem and Joppa) lie towards the north; they are inhabited generally, and each place in particular, by mixed tribes of Egyptians, Arabians, and Phoenicians. of this description are the inhabitants of Galilee, of the plain of Jericho, and of the territories of Philadelphia and Samaria, surnamed Sebaste by Herod; but although there is such a mixture of inhabitants, the report most credited, [one] among many things believed respecting the temple [and the inhabitants] of Jerusalem, is, that the Egyptians were the ancestors of the present Jews. 16.2.35. An Egyptian priest named Moses, who possessed a portion of the country called the Lower [Egypt] * * * *, being dissatisfied with the established institutions there, left it and came to Judaea with a large body of people who worshipped the Divinity. He declared and taught that the Egyptians and Africans entertained erroneous sentiments, in representing the Divinity under the likeness of wild beasts and cattle of the field; that the Greeks also were in error in making images of their gods after the human form. For God [said he] may be this one thing which encompasses us all, land and sea, which we call heaven, or the universe, or the nature of things. Who then of any understanding would venture to form an image of this Deity, resembling anything with which we are conversant? on the contrary, we ought not to carve any images, but to set apart some sacred ground and a shrine worthy of the Deity, and to worship Him without any similitude. He taught that those who made fortunate dreams were to be permitted to sleep in the temple, where they might dream both for themselves and others; that those who practised temperance and justice, and none else, might expect good, or some gift or sign from the God, from time to time. 16.2.36. By such doctrine Moses persuaded a large body of right-minded persons to accompany him to the place where Jerusalem now stands. He easily obtained possession of it, as the spot was not such as to excite jealousy, nor for which there could be any fierce contention; for it is rocky, and, although well supplied with water, it is surrounded by a barren and waterless territory. The space within [the city] is 60 stadia [in circumference], with rock underneath the surface.Instead of arms, he taught that their defence was in their sacred things and the Divinity, for whom he was desirous of finding a settled place, promising to the people to deliver such a kind of worship and religion as should not burthen those who adopted it with great expense, nor molest them with [so-called] divine possessions, nor other absurd practices.Moses thus obtained their good opinion, and established no ordinary kind of government. All the nations around willingly united themselves to him, allured by his discourses and promises. 16.2.37. His successors continued for some time to observe the same conduct, doing justly, and worshipping God with sincerity. Afterwards superstitious persons were appointed to the priesthood, and then tyrants. From superstition arose abstinence from flesh, from the eating of which it is now the custom to refrain, circumcision, excision, and other practices which the people observe. The tyrannical government produced robbery; for the rebels plundered both their own and the neighbouring countries. Those also who shared in the government seized upon the property of others, and ravaged a large part of Syria and of Phoenicia.Respect, however, was paid to the acropolis; it was not abhorred as the seat of tyranny, but honoured and venerated as a temple. 16.2.38. This is according to nature, and common both to Greeks and barbarians. For, as members of a civil community, they live according to a common law; otherwise it would be impossible for the mass to execute any one thing in concert (in which consists a civil state), or to live in a social state at all. Law is twofold, divine and human. The ancients regarded and respected divine, in preference to human, law; in those times, therefore, the number of persons was very great who consulted oracles, and, being desirous of obtaining the advice of Jupiter, hurried to Dodona, to hear the answer of Jove from the lofty oak.The parent went to Delphi, anxious to learn whether the child which had been exposed (to die) was still living;while the child itself was gone to the temple of Apollo, with the hope of discovering its parents.And Minos among the Cretans, the king who in the ninth year enjoyed converse with Great Jupiter, every nine years, as Plato says, ascended to the cave of Jupiter, received ordices from him, and conveyed them to men. Lycurgus, his imitator, acted in a similar manner; for he was often accustomed, as it seemed, to leave his own country to inquire of the Pythian goddess what ordices he was to promulgate to the Lacedaemonians. 16.2.39. What truth there may be in these things I cannot say; they have at least been regarded and believed as true by mankind. Hence prophets received so much honour as to be thought worthy even of thrones, because they were supposed to communicate ordices and precepts from the gods, both during their lifetime and after their death; as for example Teiresias, to whom alone Proserpine gave wisdom and understanding after death: the others flit about as shadows.Such were Amphiaraus, Trophonius, Orpheus, and Musaeus: in former times there was Zamolxis, a Pythagorean, who was accounted a god among the Getae; and in our time, Decaeneus, the diviner of Byrebistas. Among the Bosporani, there was Achaicarus; among the Indians, were the Gymnosophists; among the Persians, the Magi and Necyomanteis, and besides these the Lecanomanteis and Hydromanteis; among the Assyrians, were the Chaldaeans; and among the Romans, the Tyrrhenian diviners of dreams.Such was Moses and his successors; their beginning was good, but they degenerated. 16.2.40. When Judaea openly became subject to a tyrannical government, the first person who exchanged the title of priest for that of king was Alexander. His sons were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. While they were disputing the succession to the kingdom, Pompey came upon them by surprise, deprived them of their power, and destroyed their fortresses, first taking Jerusalem itself by storm. It was a stronghold, situated on a rock, well fortified and well supplied with water within, but externally entirely parched with drought. A ditch was cut in the rock, 60 feet in depth, and in width 250 feet. On the wall of the temple were built towers, constructed of the materials procured when the ditch was excavated. The city was taken, it is said, by waiting for the day of fast, on which the Jews were in the habit of abstaining from all work. Pompey [availing himself of this], filled up the ditch, and threw bridges over it. He gave orders to raze all the walls, and he destroyed, as far as was in his power, the haunts of the robbers and the treasure-holds of the tyrants. Two of these forts, Thrax and Taurus, were situated in the passes leading to Jericho. Others were Alexandrium, Hyrcanium, Machaerus, Lysias, and those about Philadelphia, and Scythopolis near Galilee. 16.2.41. Jericho is a plain encompassed by a mountainous district, which slopes towards it somewhat in the manner of a theatre. Here is the Phoenicon (or palm plantation), which contains various other trees of the cultivated kind, and producing excellent fruit; but its chief production is the palm tree. It is 100 stadia in length; the whole is watered with streams, and filled with dwellings. Here also is a palace and the garden of the balsamum. The latter is a shrub with an aromatic smell, resembling the cytisus and the terminthus. Incisions are made in the bark, and vessels are placed beneath to receive the sap, which is like oily milk. After it is collected in vessels, it becomes solid. It is an excellent remedy for headache, incipient suffusion of the eyes, and dimness of sight. It bears therefore a high price, especially as it is produced in no other place. This is the case also with the Phoenicon, which alone contains the caryotes palm, if we except the Babylonian plain, and the country above it towards the east: a large revenue is derived from the palms and balsamum; xylobalsamum is also used as a perfume. 16.2.42. The Lake Sirbonis is of great extent. Some say that it is 1000 stadia in circumference. It stretches along the coast, to the distance of a little more than 200 stadia. It is deep, and the water is exceedingly heavy, so that no person can dive into it; if any one wades into it up to the waist, and attempts to move forward, he is immediately lifted out of the water It abounds with asphaltus, which rises, not however at any regular seasons, in bubbles, like boiling water, from the middle of the deepest part. The surface is convex, and presents the appearance of a hillock. Together with the asphaltus, there ascends a great quantity of sooty vapour, not perceptible to the eye, which tarnishes copper, silver, and everything bright — even gold. The neighbouring people know by the tarnishing of their vessels that the asphaltus is beginning to rise, and they prepare to collect it by means of rafts composed of reeds. The asphaltus is a clod of earth, liquefied by heat; the air forces it to the surface, where it spreads itself. It is again changed into so firm and solid a mass by cold water, such as the water of the lake, that it requires cutting or chopping (for use). It floats upon the water, which, as I have described, does not admit of diving or immersion, but lifts up the person who goes into it. Those who go on rafts for the asphaltus cut it in pieces, and take away as much as they are able to carry. 16.2.43. Such are the phenomena. But Posidonius says, that the people being addicted to magic, and practising incantations, (by these means) consolidate the asphaltus, pouring upon it urine and other fetid fluids, and then cut it into pieces. (Incantations cannot be the cause), but perhaps urine may have some peculiar power (in effecting the consolidation) in the same manner that chrysocolla is formed in the bladders of persons who labour under the disease of the stone, and in the urine of children.It is natural for these phenomena to take place in the middle of the lake, because the source of the fire is in the centre, and the greater part of the asphaltus comes from thence. The bubbling up, however, of the asphaltus is irregular, because the motion of fire, like that of many other vapours, has no order perceptible to observers. There are also phenomena of this kind at Apollonia in Epirus. 16.2.44. Many other proofs are produced to show that this country is full of fire. Near Moasada are to be seen rugged rocks, bearing the marks of fire; fissures in many places; a soil like ashes; pitch falling in drops from the rocks; rivers boiling up, and emitting a fetid odour to a great distance; dwellings in every direction overthrown; whence we are inclined to believe the common tradition of the natives, that thirteen cities once existed there, the capital of which was Sodom, but that a circuit of about 60 stadia around it escaped uninjured; shocks of earthquakes, however, eruptions of flames and hot springs, containing asphaltus and sulphur, caused the lake to burst its bounds, and the rocks took fire; some of the cities were swallowed up, others were abandoned by such of the inhabitants as were able to make their escape.But Eratosthenes asserts, on the contrary, that the country was once a lake, and that the greater part of it was uncovered by the water discharging itself through a breach, as was the case in Thessaly. 16.2.45. In the Gadaris, also, there is a lake of noxious water. If beasts drink it, they lose their hair, hoofs, and horns. At the place called Taricheae, the lake supplies the best fish for curing. On its banks grow trees which bear a fruit like the apple. The Egyptians use the asphaltus for embalming the bodies of the dead. 16.4.21. The Nabataeans and Sabaeans, situated above Syria, are the first people who occupy Arabia Felix. They were frequently in the habit of overrunning this country before the Romans became masters of it, but at present both they and the Syrians are subject to the Romans.The capital of the Nabataeans is called Petra. It is situated on a spot which is surrounded and fortified by a smooth and level rock (petra), which externally is abrupt and precipitous, but within there are abundant springs of water both for domestic purposes and for watering gardens. Beyond the enclosure the country is for the most part a desert, particularly towards Judaea. Through this is the shortest road to Jericho, a journey of three or four days, and five days to the Phoenicon (or palm plantation). It is always governed by a king of the royal race. The king has a minister who is one of the Companions, and is called Brother. It has excellent laws for the administration of public affairs.Athenodorus, a philosopher, and my friend, who had been at Petra, used to relate with surprise, that he found many Romans and also many other strangers residing there. He observed the strangers frequently engaged in litigation, both with one another and with the natives; but the natives had never any dispute amongst themselves, and lived together in perfect harmony.
3. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 13.326, 13.335, 13.357-13.364 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

13.326. but when they were distressed with this siege, Zoilus, who possessed Strato’s Tower and Dora, and maintained a legion of soldiers, and, on occasion of the contest between the kings, affected tyranny himself, came and brought some small assistance to the people of Ptolemais; 13.335. and promising to give him four hundred talents of silver, he desired that, by way of requital, he would take off Zoilus the tyrant, and give his country to the Jews. And then indeed Ptolemy, with pleasure, made such a league of friendship with Alexander, and subdued Zoilus; 13.357. Yet did not this misfortune terrify Alexander; but he made an expedition upon the maritime parts of the country, Raphia and Anthedon, (the name of which king Herod afterwards changed to Agrippias,) and took even that by force. 13.358. But when Alexander saw that Ptolemy was retired from Gaza to Cyprus, and his mother Cleopatra was returned to Egypt, he grew angry at the people of Gaza, because they had invited Ptolemy to assist them, and besieged their city, and ravaged their country. 13.359. But as Apollodotus, the general of the army of Gaza, fell upon the camp of the Jews by night, with two thousand foreign and ten thousand of his own forces, while the night lasted, those of Gaza prevailed, because the enemy was made to believe that it was Ptolemy who attacked them; but when day was come on, and that mistake was corrected, and the Jews knew the truth of the matter, they came back again, and fell upon those of Gaza, and slew of them about a thousand. 13.361. but it happened that before he came Apollodotus was slain; for his brother Lysimachus envying him for the great reputation he had gained among the citizens, slew him, and got the army together, and delivered up the city to Alexander 13.362. who, when he came in at first, lay quiet, but afterward set his army upon the inhabitants of Gaza, and gave them leave to punish them; so some went one way, and some went another, and slew the inhabitants of Gaza; yet were not they of cowardly hearts, but opposed those that came to slay them, and slew as many of the Jews; 13.363. and some of them, when they saw themselves deserted, burnt their own houses, that the enemy might get none of their spoils; nay, some of them, with their own hands, slew their children and their wives, having no other way but this of avoiding slavery for them; 13.364. but the senators, who were in all five hundred, fled to Apollo’s temple, (for this attack happened to be made as they were sitting,) whom Alexander slew; and when he had utterly overthrown their city, he returned to Jerusalem, having spent a year in that siege.
4. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 1.61, 1.87 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

1.61. 5. And now Antiochus was so angry at what he had suffered from Simeon, that he made an expedition into Judea, and sat down before Jerusalem and besieged Hyrcanus; but Hyrcanus opened the sepulchre of David, who was the richest of all kings, and took thence about three thousand talents in money, and induced Antiochus, by the promise of three thousand talents, to raise the siege. Moreover, he was the first of the Jews that had money enough, and began to hire foreign auxiliaries also. 1.61. However, when he was in Cilicia, he received the forementioned epistle from his father, and made great haste accordingly. But when he had sailed to Celenderis, a suspicion came into his mind relating to his mother’s misfortunes; as if his soul foreboded some mischief to itself. 1.87. Whereupon Theodorus marched against him, and took what belonged to himself as well as the king’s baggage, and slew ten thousand of the Jews. However, Alexander recovered this blow, and turned his force towards the maritime parts, and took Raphia and Gaza, with Anthedon also, which was afterwards called Agrippias by king Herod.
5. Josephus Flavius, Against Apion, 2.79 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.79. 7. However, I cannot but admire those other authors who furnished this man with such his materials; I mean Posidonius and Apollonius [the son of] Molo, who while they accuse us for not worshipping the same gods whom others worship, they think themselves not guilty of impiety when they tell lies of us, and frame absurd and reproachful stories about our temple; whereas it is a most shameful thing for freemen to forge lies on any occasion, and much more so to forge them about our temple, which was so famous over all the world, and was preserved so sacred by us;
6. Pliny The Elder, Natural History, 5.69 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

7. Tacitus, Histories, 5.6-5.7 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5.6.  Their land is bounded by Arabia on the east, Egypt lies on the south, on the west are Phoenicia and the sea, and toward the north the people enjoy a wide prospect over Syria. The inhabitants are healthy and hardy. Rains are rare; the soil is fertile; its products are like ours, save that the balsam and the palm also grow there. The palm is a tall and handsome tree; the balsam a mere shrub: if a branch, when swollen with sap, is pierced with steel, the veins shrivel up; so a piece of stone or a potsherd is used to open them; the juice is employed by physicians. of the mountains, Lebanon rises to the greatest height, and is in fact a marvel, for in the midst of the excessive heat its summit is shaded by trees and covered with snow; it likewise is the source and supply of the river Jordan. This river does not empty into the sea, but after flowing with volume undiminished through two lakes is lost in the third. The last is a lake of great size: it is like the sea, but its water has a nauseous taste, and its offensive odour is injurious to those who live near it. Its waters are not moved by the wind, and neither fish nor water-fowl can live there. Its lifeless waves bear up whatever is thrown upon them as on a solid surface; all swimmers, whether skilled or not, are buoyed up by them. At a certain season of the year the sea throws up bitumen, and experience has taught the natives how to collect this, as she teaches all arts. Bitumen is by nature a dark fluid which coagulates when sprinkled with vinegar, and swims on the surface. Those whose business it is, catch hold of it with their hands and haul it on shipboard: then with no artificial aid the bitumen flows in and loads the ship until the stream is cut off. Yet you cannot use bronze or iron to cut the bituminous stream; it shrinks from blood or from a cloth stained with a woman's menses. Such is the story told by ancient writers, but those who are acquainted with the country aver that the floating masses of bitumen are driven by the winds or drawn by hand to shore, where later, after they have been dried by vapours from the earth or by the heat of the sun, they are split like timber or stone with axes and wedges. 5.7.  Not far from this lake is a plain which, according to report, was once fertile and the site of great cities, but which was later devastated by lightning; and it is said that traces of this disaster still exist there, and that the very ground looks burnt and has lost its fertility. In fact, all the plants there, whether wild or cultivated, turn black, become sterile, and seem to wither into dust, either in leaf or in flower or after they have reached their usual mature form. Now for my part, although I should grant that famous cities were once destroyed by fire from heaven, I still think that it is the exhalations from the lake that infect the ground and poison the atmosphere about this district, and that this is the reason that crops and fruits decay, since both soil and climate are deleterious. The river Belus also empties into the Jewish Sea; around its mouth a kind of sand is gathered, which when mixed with soda is fused into glass. The beach is of moderate size, but it furnishes an inexhaustible supply.
8. Anon., Lamentations Rabbah, 2.2 (2nd cent. CE - 5th cent. CE)

2.2. אֵיכָה יָעִיב בְּאַפּוֹ ה' אֶת בַּת צִיּוֹן. אָמַר רַבִּי חָמָא בַּר רַבִּי חֲנִינָא אֵיךְ חַיֵּיב ה' בְּרוּגְזֵיהּ יָת בַּת צִיּוֹן. אִית אַתְרָא דְּצָוְוחִין לְחַיָּיבָא עֲיָיבָא. רַבִּי שְׁמוּאֵל בַּר נַחְמָנִי אָמַר, אֵיךְ כַּיֵּיב ה' בְּרוּגְזֵיהּ. אִית אַתְרָא דְּצַוְוחִין לְכֵיבָא עֵייבָא. וְרַבָּנָן אָמְרִין אֵיךְ שַׁיֵּים ה' בְּרוּגְזֵיהּ יָת בַּת צִיּוֹן. הִשְׁלִיךְ מִשָּׁמַיִם אֶרֶץ תִּפְאֶרֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, רַבִּי הוּנָא וְרַבִּי אַחָא בְּשֵׁם רַבִּי חֲנִינָא בְּרֵיהּ דְּרַבִּי אַבָּהוּ, מָשָׁל לְמֶלֶךְ שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ בֵּן, בָּכָה וּנְתָנוֹ עַל אַרְכּוּבוֹתָיו, בָּכָה וּנְתָנוֹ עַל זְרוֹעוֹתָיו, בָּכָה וְהִרְכִּיבוֹ עַל כְּתֵפוֹ, טִנֵּף עָלָיו וּמִיָּד הִשְׁלִיכוֹ לָאָרֶץ, וְלָא הֲוַת מְחוּתִיתֵיהּ כִּמְסוּקִיתֵיהּ, מְסוּקִיתֵיהּ צִיבְחַר צִיבְחַר, וּמְחוּתִיתֵיהּ כּוֹלָּא חֲדָא. כָּךְ (הושע יא, ג): וְאָנֹכִי תִרְגַּלְתִּי לְאֶפְרַיִם קָחָם עַל זְרוֹעֹתָיו. וְאַחַר כָּךְ (הושע י, יא): אַרְכִּיב אֶפְרַיִם יַחֲרוֹשׁ יְהוּדָה יְשַׂדֶּד לוֹ יַעֲקֹב. וְאַחַר כָּךְ: הִשְׁלִיךְ מִשָּׁמַיִם אֶרֶץ תִּפְאֶרֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל. דָּבָר אַחֵר, הִשְׁלִיךְ מִשָּׁמַיִם אֶרֶץ תִּפְאֶרֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, אָמַר רַבִּי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בְּרַבִּי נַחְמָן מָשָׁל לִבְנֵי מְדִינָה שֶׁעָשׂוּ עֲטָרָה לַמֶּלֶךְ, הִקְנִיטוּהוּ וּסְבָלָן, הִקְנִיטוּהוּ וּסְבָלָן, אָחַר כָּךְ אָמַר לָהֶם הַמֶּלֶךְ כְּלוּם אַתֶּם מַקְנִיטִין אוֹתִי אֶלָּא בַּעֲבוּר עֲטָרָה שֶׁעִטַּרְתֶּם לִי, הֵא לְכוֹן טְרוֹן בְּאַפֵּיכוֹן, כָּךְ אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, כְּלוּם אַתֶּם מַקְנִיטִין אוֹתִי אֶלָּא בִּשְׁבִיל אִיקוּנִין שֶׁל יַעֲקֹב שֶׁחֲקוּקָה עַל כִּסְאִי, הֵא לְכוֹן טְרוֹן בְּאַפֵּיכוֹן, הֱוֵי: הִשְׁלִיךְ מִשָּׁמַיִם אֶרֶץ וגו'.
9. Pausanias, Description of Greece, 4.35.9 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

4.35.9. The bluest that I know from personal experience is that at Thermopylae, not all of it, but that which flows into the swimming-baths, called locally the Women's Pots. Red water, in color like blood, is found in the land of the Hebrews near the city of Joppa . The water is close to the sea, and the account which the natives give of the spring is that Perseus, after destroying the sea-monster, to which the daughter of Cepheus was exposed, washed off the blood in the spring.
10. Babylonian Talmud, Gittin, None (3rd cent. CE - 6th cent. CE)

57a. במאי דפסיק אנפשיה כל יומא מכנשי ליה לקיטמיה ודייני ליה וקלו ליה ומבדרו אשב ימי,אזל אסקיה לבלעם בנגידא אמר ליה מאן חשיב בההוא עלמא א"ל ישראל מהו לאידבוקי בהו א"ל (דברים כג, ז) לא תדרוש שלומם וטובתם כל הימים א"ל דיניה דההוא גברא במאי א"ל בשכבת זרע רותחת,אזל אסקיה [ליש"ו] בנגידא (לפושעי ישראל) א"ל מאן חשיב בההוא עלמא א"ל ישראל מהו לאדבוקי בהו א"ל טובתם דרוש רעתם לא תדרוש כל הנוגע בהן כאילו נוגע בבבת עינו,א"ל דיניה דההוא גברא במאי א"ל בצואה רותחת דאמר מר כל המלעיג על דברי חכמים נידון בצואה רותחת תא חזי מה בין פושעי ישראל לנביאי אומות העולם עובדי ע"ז,תניא אמר רבי אלעזר בא וראה כמה גדולה כחה של בושה שהרי סייע הקב"ה את בר קמצא והחריב את ביתו ושרף את היכלו:,אתרנגולא ואתרנגולתא חריב טור מלכא דהוו נהיגי כי הוו מפקי חתנא וכלתא מפקי קמייהו תרנגולא ותרנגולתא כלומר פרו ורבו כתרנגולים,יומא חד הוה קא חליף גונדא דרומאי שקלינהו מינייהו נפלו עלייהו מחונהו אתו אמרו ליה לקיסר מרדו בך יהודאי אתא עלייהו הוה בהו ההוא בר דרומא דהוה קפיץ מילא וקטיל בהו שקליה קיסר לתאגיה ואותביה אארעא אמר ריבוניה דעלמא כוליה אי ניחא לך לא תמסריה לההוא גברא לדידיה ולמלכותיה בידיה דחד גברא,אכשליה פומיה לבר דרומא ואמר (תהלים ס, יב) הלא אתה אלהים זנחתנו ולא תצא אלהים בצבאותינו דוד נמי אמר הכי דוד אתמוהי קא מתמה,על לבית הכסא אתא דרקונא שמטיה לכרכשיה ונח נפשיה אמר הואיל ואיתרחיש לי ניסא הא זימנא אישבקינהו שבקינהו ואזל איזדקור ואכלו ושתו ואדליקו שרגי עד דאיתחזי בליונא דגושפנקא ברחוק מילא אמר מיחדא קא חדו בי יהודאי הדר אתא עלייהו,א"ר אסי תלת מאה אלפי שליפי סייפא עיילו לטור. מלכא וקטלו בה תלתא יומי ותלתא לילוותא ובהך גיסא הלולי וחנגי ולא הוו ידעי הני בהני,(איכה ב, ב) בלע ה' ולא חמל את כל נאות יעקב כי אתא רבין אמר רבי יוחנן אלו ששים רבוא עיירות שהיו לו לינאי המלך בהר המלך דאמר רב יהודה אמר רב אסי ששים רבוא עיירות היו לו לינאי המלך בהר המלך וכל אחת ואחת היו בה כיוצאי מצרים חוץ משלש שהיו בהן כפלים כיוצאי מצרים,אלו הן כפר ביש כפר שיחליים כפר דכריא כפר ביש דלא יהבי ביתא לאושפיזא כפר שיחליים שהיתה פרנסתן מן שחליים כפר דכריא אמר רבי יוחנן שהיו נשותיהן יולדות זכרים תחלה ויולדות נקבה באחרונה ופוסקות,אמר עולא לדידי חזי לי ההוא אתרא ואפילו שיתין ריבוותא קני לא מחזיק אמר ליה ההוא צדוקי לרבי חנינא שקורי משקריתו אמר ליה (ירמיהו ג, יט) ארץ צבי כתיב בה מה צבי זה אין עורו מחזיק את בשרו אף ארץ ישראל בזמן שיושבין עליה רווחא ובזמן שאין יושבין עליה גמדא,רב מניומי בר חלקיה ורב חלקיה בר טוביה ורב הונא בר חייא הוו יתבי גבי הדדי אמרי אי איכא דשמיע ליה מילתא מכפר סכניא של מצרים לימא,פתח חד מינייהו ואמר מעשה בארוס וארוסתו שנשבו לבין העובדי כוכבים והשיאום זה לזה אמרה לו בבקשה ממך אל תגע בי שאין לי כתובה ממך ולא נגע בה עד יום מותו,וכשמת אמרה להן סיפדו לזה שפטפט ביצרו יותר מיוסף דאילו ביוסף לא הוה אלא חדא שעתא והאי כל יומא ויומא ואילו יוסף לאו בחדא מטה והאי בחדא מטה ואילו יוסף לאו אשתו והא אשתו,פתח אידך ואמר מעשה ועמדו ארבעים מודיות בדינר נחסר השער מודיא אחת ובדקו ומצאו אב ובנו שבאו על נערה מאורסה ביום הכפורים והביאום לבית דין וסקלום וחזר השער למקומו,פתח אידך ואמר מעשה באדם אחד שנתן עיניו באשתו לגרשה והיתה כתובתה מרובה מה עשה הלך וזימן את שושביניו והאכילן והשקן שיכרן והשכיבן על מיטה אחת והביא לובן ביצה והטיל ביניהן והעמיד להן עדים ובא לבית דין,היה שם זקן אחד מתלמידי שמאי הזקן ובבא בן בוטא שמו אמר להן כך מקובלני משמאי הזקן לובן ביצה סולד מן האור ושכבת זרע דוחה מן האור בדקו ומצאו כדבריו והביאוהו לב"ד והלקוהו והגבוהו כתובתה ממנו,א"ל אביי לרב יוסף ומאחר דהוו צדיקים כולי האי מאי טעמא איענוש א"ל משום דלא איאבול על ירושלים דכתיב (ישעיהו סו, י) שמחו את ירושלם וגילו בה כל אוהביה שישו אתה משוש כל המתאבלים עליה:,אשקא דריספק חריב ביתר דהוו נהיגי כי הוה מתיליד ינוקא שתלי ארזא ינוקתא שתלי תורניתא וכי הוו מינסבי קייצי להו ועבדו גננא יומא חד הוה קא חלפא ברתיה דקיסר אתבר שקא דריספק קצו ארזא ועיילו לה אתו נפול עלייהו מחונהו אתו אמרו ליה לקיסר מרדו בך יהודאי אתא עלייהו:,(איכה ב, ג) גדע בחרי אף כל קרן ישראל א"ר זירא א"ר אבהו א"ר יוחנן אלו שמונים [אלף] קרני מלחמה שנכנסו לכרך ביתר בשעה שלכדוה והרגו בה אנשים ונשים וטף עד שהלך דמן ונפל לים הגדול שמא תאמר קרובה היתה רחוקה היתה מיל,תניא רבי אליעזר הגדול אומר שני נחלים יש בבקעת ידים אחד מושך אילך ואחד מושך אילך ושיערו חכמים שני חלקים מים ואחד דם במתניתא תנא שבע שנים בצרו עובדי כוכבים את כרמיהן מדמן של ישראל בלא זבל 57a. bThat which he decreed against himself,as he undergoes the following: bEvery day his ashes are gathered, and they judge him, and they burn him, and they scatter him over the seven seas. /b,Onkelos then bwent and raised Balaamfrom the grave bthrough necromancy. He said to him: Who ismost bimportant in that worldwhere you are now? Balaam bsaid to him: The Jewish people.Onkelos asked him: bShould Ithen battachmyself bto themhere in this world? Balaam bsaid to him: You shall not seek their peace or their welfare all the days(see Deuteronomy 23:7). Onkelos bsaid to him: What is the punishment of that man,a euphemism for Balaam himself, in the next world? Balaam bsaid to him:He is cooked bin boiling semen,as he caused Israel to engage in licentious behavior with the daughters of Moab.,Onkelos then bwentand braised Jesus the Nazarenefrom the grave bthrough necromancy.Onkelos bsaid to him: Who ismost bimportant in that worldwhere you are now? Jesus bsaid to him: The Jewish people.Onkelos asked him: bShould Ithen battachmyself bto themin this world? Jesus bsaid to him: Their welfare you shall seek, their misfortune you shall not seek,for banyone who touches them isregarded bas if he were touching the apple of his eye(see Zechariah 2:12).,Onkelos bsaid to him: What is the punishment of that man,a euphemism for Jesus himself, in the next world? Jesus bsaid to him:He is punished bwith boiling excrement. As the Master said: Anyone who mocks the words of the Sages will be sentenced to boiling excrement.And this was his sin, as he mocked the words of the Sages. The Gemara comments: bComeand bsee the difference between the sinners of Israel and the prophets of the nations of the world.As Balaam, who was a prophet, wished Israel harm, whereas Jesus the Nazarene, who was a Jewish sinner, sought their well-being.,To conclude the story of Kamtza and bar Kamtza and the destruction of Jerusalem, the Gemara cites a ibaraita /i. It bis taught: Rabbi Elazar says: Come and see how great is the power of shame, for the Holy One, Blessed be He, assisted bar Kamtza,who had been humiliated, banddue to this humiliation and shame bHe destroyed His Temple and burned His Sanctuary. /b,§ It was previously mentioned (55b) that the place known as bthe King’s Mountain [ iTur Malka /i] was destroyed on account of a rooster and a hen.The details of what happened are as follows: bIt was customaryin that place bthat when they would lead a bride and groomto their wedding, bthey would take out a rooster and a hen before them,as if bto sayin the manner of a good omen: bBe fruitful and multiply like chickens. /b, bOne day a troop [ igunda /i] of Romansoldiers bpassed bythere while a wedding was taking place band tookthe rooster and hen bfrom them.The residents of the city bfell upon them and beat them.The soldiers bcame and said to the emperor: The Jews have rebelled against you.The emperor then bcame against themin war. Among the residents of the King’s Mountain bthere was a certain mannamed bbar Deroma who could jumpthe distance of ba imil /i, and he killedmany of the Romans, who were powerless to stand up against him. bThe emperorthen btook his crown and set it on the groundas a sign of mourning. bHe said: Master of the Universe, if it is pleasing to You, do not give over that man,a euphemism for himself, band his kingdom into the hands ofonly bone man. /b,In the end it was the words issuing from bhisown bmouththat bcaused bar Deroma to stumble, as he utteredthis verse in complaint against God: b“Have You not rejected us, O God, so that You go not forth, O God, with our hosts?”(Psalms 60:12). The Gemara asks: But did not bDavid also say this?The Gemara answers: bDavid utteredthese words bas a question,wondering whether they were true, whereas bar Deroma pronounced them as a statement of fact.,The Gemara recounts what happened to bar Deroma: bHe entered an outhouse, a snake cameand beviscerated him, and he died.The emperor bsaid: Since a miracle was performed for me,as I had no part in bar Deroma’s death, bI will letthe rest of the people bbe this timeand take no further action against them. bHe let them be and wenton his way. bThey leaptabout, bate, drank, and litso many bcandlesin celebration bthat the image [ ibilyona /i]imprinted bon a seal [ igushpanka /i] was visible from a distance of a imil /i.The emperor then bsaid: The Jews are rejoicing over me.So bhe went backand bcame against them. /b, bRav Asi says: Three hundred thousand men with drawn swords entered the King’s Mountain and massacredits inhabitants bfor three days and three nights. Andat the same time bonthe other bsideof the mountain, bweddings andother bfestivitiescontinued to be celebrated, band they did not know about each other,owing to the enormous size of the place.,§ Concerning the verse: b“The Lord has swallowed up without pity all the habitations of Jacob”(Lamentations 2:2), it is related that bwhen Ravin camefrom Eretz Yisrael to Babylonia bhesaid that bRabbi Yoḥa says: Thisis referring to the bsix hundred thousand citiesthat bKing Yannai had in the King’s Mountain.As bRav Yehuda saysthat bRav Asi says: King Yannai had six hundred thousand cities in the King’s Mountain, and each of themhad a population as great basthe number of bthose who left Egypt, except for threeof those cities, the population of which bwas doublethe number of bthose who left Egypt. /b, bTheseare bthosethree cities: bKefar Bish, Kefar Shiḥalayim, and Kefar Dikhrayya.The Gemara explains the meaning of these place-names. bKefar Bish,Evil Town, was called by that name because its inhabitants bwould not opentheir bhouses to guests. Kefar Shiḥalayimwas referred to by that name because btheir livelihood wasderived bfromthe cultivation of bcress [ ishaḥalayim /i].As for bKefar Dikhrayya,Town of Males, bRabbi Yoḥa says: Their women would first give birth to boys, and afterward give birth to girls, andthen bthey would stophaving children., bUlla said: I myself saw that place, and it could not hold even six hundred thousand reeds,all the more so that number of people. bA certain heretic said to Rabbi Ḥanina: You liewith your exorbitant exaggerations. Rabbi Ḥanina bsaid to him: With regard toEretz Yisrael bit is written: Land of the deer(see Jeremiah 3:19). bJust as the skin of a deer cannot hold its flesh,for after the animal is skinned, its hide shrinks, bso too,with regard to bEretz Yisrael, when it is settled, it expands, but when it is not settled, it contracts.This explains how a place that is so small today could have been so highly populated prior to the Temple’s destruction.,§ The Gemara relates that bRav Minyumi bar Ḥilkiya, Rav Ḥilkiya bar Toviya, and Rav Huna bar Ḥiyya wereonce bsitting together. They said: If there is someone who has heard anything about Kefar Sekhanya of Egypt,which was in that region, blet him relateit., bOne of them beganthe discussion band said:There was ban incident involving a betrothed man and womanfrom there bwho were taken captive by gentiles andthe latter bmarried them off to each other.The woman bsaid tothe man: bPlease do not touch me, as I do not have a marriage contract from you,and it is prohibited for us to live together without one. bAnd untilthe day of bhis deaththe man bdid not touchthe woman., bAnd when he diedwithout having touched her, the woman bsaid tothe Sages: bEulogize thisman bwho conquered [ ishepitpet /i] his passion [ ibeyitzro /i] more than Joseph. Asin the case of bJoseph it was only for a short timethat he had to overpower his inclination and resist Potiphar’s wife (see Genesis, chapter 39), bwhereas thisman struggled with his passion beach and every day.Furthermore, bJosephwas bnot in one bedwith Potiphar’s wife, bwhereas thisman was bin one bedwith his wife. In addition, with bJosephthe woman was bnot his wife, whereaswith bthisman she was bhis wife,as she was already betrothed to him., bAnotherSage bbeganhis remarks band said: It once happened thatthe market price of bforty ise’a /iof grain bstood at one dinar.And then bthe rate went down one ise’a[ imodeya /i],so that only thirty-nine ise’awere sold for a dinar. bAnd they checkedto see what sin had caused this, band they found a father and son who had engaged in sexual intercourse with a betrothed young woman on Yom Kippur. They broughtthe offenders bto court and stoned them, and the rate returned to itsformer blevel. /b,Yet banotherSage bbeganhis remarks band said:There was ban incidentthere binvolving a man who set his eyes upon his wife to divorce her, but her marriage contract was largeand he wished to avoid having to pay it. bWhat did he do? He went and invited his friends, gave them food and drink, made them drunk, and layhis friends and his wife bin one bed. Hethen bbrought the white of an egg,which has the appearance of semen, band placed iton the sheet bbetween them. Hethen bstood witnesses over themso that they could offer testimony, band went to courtclaiming that his wife had committed adultery., bA certain Elder of the disciples of Shammai the Elder was there, and Bava ben Butawas bhis name. He said to them: This isthe tradition that bI received from Shammai the Elder: Egg whiteon a bedsheet bcontractsand hardens when heated bby fire, whereas semen is absorbedinto the sheet bby the fire. They checkedthe matter band found in accordance with his statementthat the substance on the sheet was not semen but egg white. bTheythen bbroughtthe husband bto court, administered lashes to him, and made him payhis wife’s bmarriage contractin full., bAbaye said to Rav Yosef: But sincethose in the city bwere so righteous, what is the reason that they were punishedand destroyed? Rav Yosef bsaid to him:It is bbecause they did not mourn for Jerusalem, as it is written: “Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her, rejoice with joy with her, all you that did mourn for her”(Isaiah 66:10). The verse teaches that one who mourns for Jerusalem will rejoice in its rebuilding, and one who fails to mourn for Jerusalem is destroyed.,§ It was stated earlier that the city of bBeitar was destroyed on account of a shaft from a carriage.The Gemara explains that bit was customaryin Beitar that bwhen a boy was born they would plant a cedartree and when ba girlwas born they bwould plant a cypress [ itornita /i]. And when they wouldlater bmarryeach other bthey would cutdown these trees band constructa wedding bcanopyfor them with their branches. bOne day the emperor’s daughter passed bythere and bthe shaft of the carriagein which she was riding bbroke.Her attendants bchopped down a cedarfrom among those trees band brought it to her.Owing to the importance that they attached to their custom, the residents of Beitar bcameand bfell upon them and beat them.The attendants bcameand bsaid to the emperor: The Jews have rebelled against you.The emperor then bcame against themin war.,It was in connection with the war that ensued that the Sages expounded the following verse: b“He has cut off in His fierce anger all the horn of Israel”(Lamentations 2:3). bRabbi Zeira saysthat bRabbi Abbahu saysthat bRabbi Yoḥa says: These are the eighty thousandofficers bearing bbattle trumpetsin their hands, bwho entered the city of Beitar whenthe enemy btook it and killed men, women, and children until their blood flowed into the Great Sea. Lest you saythat the city bwas closeto the sea, know that bit was a imilaway. /b, bIt issimilarly btaughtin a ibaraitathat bRabbi Eliezer the Great says: There are two rivers in the Yadayim Valleyin that region, bone flowing one way and one flowing the other way. And the Sages estimatedthat in the aftermath of this war these rivers were filled with btwo parts water to one part blood.Likewise, bit was taught in a ibaraita /i: For seven years the gentiles harvested their vineyardsthat had been soaked bwith the blood of Israel withoutrequiring any additional bfertilizer. /b

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
alexander jannaeus, conquests of Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
alexander jannaeus Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
ancestral language' Schwartz, 2 Maccabees (2008) 424
andromeda Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 121
anthedon Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
antiochus ix cyzicenus Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
antiochus vii sidetes Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
aristobulus ii Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
ascalon Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
asphalt, and sorcery Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
bucolopolis Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104
cepheus Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 121
coastal cities, battles in Schwartz, 2 Maccabees (2008) 424
crocodilopolis Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104
dead sea and area, in strabo Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
dead sea and area Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
dora Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104, 127
edelstein, l. Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
egypt Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
eleutheros river Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104
gaza, destruction of by alexander jannaeus Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
great revolt Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
hasmonean period, conquest during Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
hyrcanus ii Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
iamnia (jabneh) Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
inscriptions Schwartz, 2 Maccabees (2008) 424
jerusalem Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
jews, emigrate to phoenicia Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104
john hyrcanus, conquests of Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
joppa/japho/jaffa Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 121
joppa Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
judea, overpopulated Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
judea Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 121
kidd, i. g. Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
maccabean revolt Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104
mount carmel Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104
myth, greek (pagan) Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 121
nabataea/nabataeans Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
palestine Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 121
paralia Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104
pelusium Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104
perseus Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 121
phineas Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 121
phoenicia, defined Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104
phoenicia, jewish emigration to Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104
pompey Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
posidonius, in strabo Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
posidonius Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
pseudo-hecataeus, on the jews, dating, terminus post quem Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
raphia Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
rome, romans Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 121
sinai' "363.0_104.0@strato's tower" Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 104
stern, m. Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
strabo, dead sea description of Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
strabo, eratosthenes, use of Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
strabo, posidonius, use of Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
strabo Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 216
strato's tower" '363.0_104.0@zeno papyri Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (1997) 127
tourism Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 121