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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



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Tacitus, Histories, 5.4.1
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1. Hebrew Bible, Exodus, 34 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

2. Hebrew Bible, Genesis, 4, 22 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

3. Herodotus, Histories, 2.35, 9.82 (5th cent. BCE - 5th cent. BCE)

2.35. It is sufficient to say this much concerning the Nile . But concerning Egypt, I am going to speak at length, because it has the most wonders, and everywhere presents works beyond description; therefore, I shall say the more concerning Egypt . ,Just as the Egyptians have a climate peculiar to themselves, and their river is different in its nature from all other rivers, so, too, have they instituted customs and laws contrary for the most part to those of the rest of mankind. Among them, the women buy and sell, the men stay at home and weave; and whereas in weaving all others push the woof upwards, the Egyptians push it downwards. ,Men carry burdens on their heads, women on their shoulders. Women pass water standing, men sitting. They ease their bowels indoors, and eat out of doors in the streets, explaining that things unseemly but necessary should be done alone in private, things not unseemly should be done openly. ,No woman is dedicated to the service of any god or goddess; men are dedicated to all deities male or female. Sons are not compelled against their will to support their parents, but daughters must do so though they be unwilling. 9.82. This other story is also told. When Xerxes fled from Hellas, he left to Mardonius his own establishment. Pausanias, seeing Mardonius' establishment with its display of gold and silver and gaily colored tapestry, ordered the bakers and the cooks to prepare a dinner such as they were accustomed to do for Mardonius. ,They did his bidding, but Pausanias, when he saw golden and silver couches richly covered, and tables of gold and silver, and all the magnificent service of the banquet, was amazed at the splendor before him, and for a joke commanded his own servants to prepare a dinner in Laconian fashion. When that meal, so different from the other, was ready, Pausanias burst out laughing and sent for the generals of the Greeks. ,When these had assembled, Pausanias pointed to the manner in which each dinner was served and said: “Men of Hellas, I have brought you here because I desired to show you the foolishness of the leader of the Medes who, with such provisions for life as you see, came here to take away from us our possessions which are so pitiful.” In this way, it is said, Pausanias spoke to the generals of the Greeks.
4. Aristotle, Eudemian Ethics, None (4th cent. BCE - 4th cent. BCE)

5. Diodorus Siculus, Historical Library, 1.94.1-1.94.2 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

1.94.1.  We must speak also of the lawgivers who have arisen in Egypt and who instituted customs unusual and strange. After the establishment of settled life in Egypt in early times, which took place, according to the mythical account, in the period of the gods and heroes, the first, they say, to persuade the multitudes to use written laws was Mneves, a man not only great of soul but also in his life the most public-spirited of all lawgivers whose names are recorded. According to the tradition he claimed that Hermes had given the laws to him, with the assurance that they would be the cause of great blessings, just as among the Greeks, they say, Minos did in Crete and Lycurgus among the Lacedaemonians, the former saying that he received his laws from Zeus and the latter his from Apollo. 1.94.2.  Also among several other peoples tradition says that this kind of a device was used and was the cause of much good to such as believed it. Thus it is recorded that among the Arians Zathraustes claimed that the Good Spirit gave him his laws, among the people known as the Getae who represent themselves to be immortal Zalmoxis asserted the same of their common goddess Hestia, and among the Jews Moyses referred his laws to the god who is invoked as Iao. They all did this either because they believed that a conception which would help humanity was marvellous and wholly divine, or because they held that the common crowd would be more likely to obey the laws if their gaze were directed towards the majesty and power of those to whom their laws were ascribed.
6. Strabo, Geography, 3.3.8, 16.2.36-16.2.38 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

3.3.8. The rough and savage manners of these people is not alone owing to their wars, but likewise to their isolated position, it being a long distance to reach them, whether by sea or land. Thus the difficulty of communication has deprived them both of generosity of manners and of courtesy. At the present time, however, they suffer less from this both on account of their being at peace and the intermixture of Romans. Wherever these [influences] are not so much experienced people are harsher and more savage. It is probable that this ruggedness of character is increased by the barrenness of the mountains and some of the places which they inhabit. At the present day, as I have remarked, all warfare is put an end to, Augustus Caesar having subdued the Cantabrians and the neighbouring nations, amongst whom the system of pillage was mainly carried on in our day. So that at the present time, instead of plundering the allies of the Romans, the Coniaci and those who dwell by the sources of the Ebro, with the exception of the Tuisi, bear arms for the Romans. Tiberius, who succeeded Augustus Caesar, carried out his intention of placing a military force of three legions in these parts, by which means he has not only preserved peace, but introduced amongst some of them a civil polity. 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.
7. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 3.75-3.76, 3.78-3.79, 3.82-3.84, 3.86-3.90, 3.93, 14.227-14.264, 16.44, 16.163-16.166 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

3.75. 1. Now Moses called the multitude together, and told them that he was going from them unto mount Sinai to converse with God; to receive from him, and to bring back with him, a certain oracle; but he enjoined them to pitch their tents near the mountain, and prefer the habitation that was nearest to God, before one more remote. 3.76. When he had said this, he ascended up to Mount Sinai, which is the highest of all the mountains that are in that country and is not only very difficult to be ascended by men, on account of its vast altitude, but because of the sharpness of its precipices also; nay, indeed, it cannot be looked at without pain of the eyes: and besides this, it was terrible and inaccessible, on account of the rumor that passed about, that God dwelt there. 3.78. So they feasted and waited for their conductor, and kept themselves pure as in other respects, and not accompanying with their wives for three days, as he had before ordered them to do. And they prayed to God that he would favorably receive Moses in his conversing with him, and bestow some such gift upon them by which they might live well. They also lived more plentifully as to their diet; and put on their wives and children more ornamental and decent clothing than they usually wore. 3.79. 2. So they passed two days in this way of feasting; but on the third day, before the sun was up, a cloud spread itself over the whole camp of the Hebrews, such a one as none had before seen, and encompassed the place where they had pitched their tents; 3.82. for they were not such as they were accustomed to; and then the rumor that was spread abroad, how God frequented that mountain, greatly astonished their minds, so they sorrowfully contained themselves within their tents, as both supposing Moses to be destroyed by the divine wrath, and expecting the like destruction for themselves. 3.83. 3. When they were under these apprehensions, Moses appeared as joyful and greatly exalted. When they saw him, they were freed from their fear, and admitted of more comfortable hopes as to what was to come. The air also was become clear and pure of its former disorders, upon the appearance of Moses; 3.84. whereupon he called together the people to a congregation, in order to their hearing what God would say to them: and when they were gathered together, he stood on an eminence whence they might all hear him, and said, “God has received me graciously, O Hebrews, as he has formerly done; and has suggested a happy method of living for you, and an order of political government, and is now present in the camp: 3.86. for it is not to be supposed that the author of these institutions is barely Moses, the son of Amram and Jochebed, but He who obliged the Nile to run bloody for your sakes, and tamed the haughtiness of the Egyptians by various sorts of judgments; he who provided a way through the sea for us; he who contrived a method of sending us food from heaven, when we were distressed for want of it; he who made the water to issue out of a rock, when we had very little of it before; 3.87. he by whose means Adam was made to partake of the fruits both of the land and of the sea; he by whose means Noah escaped the deluge; he by whose means our forefather Abraham, of a wandering pilgrim, was made the heir of the land of Canaan; he by whose means Isaac was born of parents that were very old; he by whose means Jacob was adorned with twelve virtuous sons; he by whose means Joseph became a potent lord over the Egyptians; he it is who conveys these instructions to you by me as his interpreter. 3.88. And let them be to you venerable, and contended for more earnestly by you than your own children and your own wives; for if you will follow them, you will lead a happy life you will enjoy the land fruitful, the sea calm, and the fruit of the womb born complete, as nature requires; you will be also terrible to your enemies for I have been admitted into the presence of God and been made a hearer of his incorruptible voice so great is his concern for your nation, and its duration.” 3.89. 4. When he had said this, he brought the people, with their wives and children, so near the mountain, that they might hear God himself speaking to them about the precepts which they were to practice; that the energy of what should be spoken might not be hurt by its utterance by that tongue of a man, which could but imperfectly deliver it to their understanding. 3.93. 6. Now when the multitude had heard God himself giving those precepts which Moses had discoursed of, they rejoiced at what was said; and the congregation was dissolved: but on the following days they came to his tent, and desired him to bring them, besides, other laws from God. 14.227. I do therefore grant them a freedom from going into the army, as the former prefects have done, and permit them to use the customs of their forefathers, in assembling together for sacred and religious purposes, as their law requires, and for collecting oblations necessary for sacrifices; and my will is, that you write this to the several cities under your jurisdiction.” 14.228. 13. And these were the concessions that Dolabella made to our nation when Hyrcanus sent an embassage to him. But Lucius the consul’s decree ran thus: “I have at my tribunal set these Jews, who are citizens of Rome, and follow the Jewish religious rites, and yet live at Ephesus, free from going into the army, on account of the superstition they are under. This was done before the twelfth of the calends of October, when Lucius Lentulus and Caius Marcellus were consuls 14.229. in the presence of Titus Appius Balgus, the son of Titus, and lieutet of the Horatian tribe; of Titus Tongins, the son of Titus, of the Crustumine tribe; of Quintus Resius, the son of Quintus; of Titus Pompeius Longinus, the son of Titus; of Catus Servilius, the son of Caius, of the Terentine tribe; of Bracchus the military tribune; of Publius Lucius Gallus, the son of Publius, of the Veturian tribe; of Caius Sentius, the son of Caius, of the Sabbatine tribe; 14.231. 14. The decree of the Delians. “The answer of the praetors, when Beotus was archon, on the twentieth day of the month Thargeleon. While Marcus Piso the lieutet lived in our city, who was also appointed over the choice of the soldiers, he called us, and many other of the citizens, and gave order 14.232. that if there be here any Jews who are Roman citizens, no one is to give them any disturbance about going into the army, because Cornelius Lentulus, the consul, freed the Jews from going into the army, on account of the superstition they are under;—you are therefore obliged to submit to the praetor.” And the like decree was made by the Sardians about us also. 14.233. 15. “Caius Phanius, the son of Caius, imperator and consul, to the magistrates of Cos, sendeth greeting. I would have you know that the ambassadors of the Jews have been with me, and desired they might have those decrees which the senate had made about them; which decrees are here subjoined. My will is, that you have a regard to and take care of these men, according to the senate’s decree, that they may be safely conveyed home through your country.” 14.234. 16. The declaration of Lucius Lentulus the consul: “I have dismissed those Jews who are Roman citizens, and who appear to me to have their religious rites, and to observe the laws of the Jews at Ephesus, on account of the superstition they are under. This act was done before the thirteenth of the calends of October.” 14.235. 17. “Lucius Antonius, the son of Marcus, vice-quaestor, and vice-praetor, to the magistrates, senate, and people of the Sardians, sendeth greeting. Those Jews that are our fellowcitizens of Rome came to me, and demonstrated that they had an assembly of their own, according to the laws of their forefathers, and this from the beginning, as also a place of their own, wherein they determined their suits and controversies with one another. Upon their petition therefore to me, that these might be lawful for them, I gave order that these their privileges be preserved, and they be permitted to do accordingly.” 14.236. 18. The declaration of Marcus Publius, the son of Spurius, and of Marcus, the son of Marcus, and of Lucius, the son of Publius: “We went to the proconsul, and informed him of what Dositheus, the son of Cleopatrida of Alexandria, desired, that, if he thought good 14.237. he would dismiss those Jews who were Roman citizens, and were wont to observe the rites of the Jewish religion, on account of the superstition they were under. Accordingly, he did dismiss them. This was done before the thirteenth of the calends of October.” /p19. “In the month Quntius, when Lucius Lentulus and Caius Mercellus were consuls; 14.238. and there were present Titus Appius Balbus, the son of Titus, lieutet of the Horatian tribe, Titus Tongius of the Crustumine tribe, Quintus Resius, the son of Quintus, Titus Pompeius, the son of Titus, Cornelius Longinus, Caius Servilius Bracchus, the son of Caius, a military tribune, of the Terentine tribe, Publius Clusius Gallus, the son of Publius, of the Veturian tribe, Caius Teutius, the son of Caius, a milital tribune, of the EmilJan tribe, Sextus Atilius Serranus, the son of Sextus, of the Esquiline tribe 14.239. Caius Pompeius, the son of Caius, of the Sabbatine tribe, Titus Appius Meder, the son of Titus, Publius Servilius Strabo, the son of Publius, Lucius Paccius Capito, the son of Lucius, of the Colline tribe, Aulus Furius Tertius, the son of Aulus, and Appius Menus. 14.241. 20. “The magistrates of the Laodiceans to Caius Rubilius, the son of Caius, the consul, sendeth greeting. Sopater, the ambassador of Hyrcanus the high priest, hath delivered us an epistle from thee, whereby he lets us know that certain ambassadors were come from Hyrcanus, the high priest of the Jews, and brought an epistle written concerning their nation 14.242. wherein they desire that the Jews may be allowed to observe their Sabbaths, and other sacred rites, according to the laws of their forefathers, and that they may be under no command, because they are our friends and confederates, and that nobody may injure them in our provinces. Now although the Trallians there present contradicted them, and were not pleased with these decrees, yet didst thou give order that they should be observed, and informedst us that thou hadst been desired to write this to us about them. 14.243. We therefore, in obedience to the injunctions we have received from thee, have received the epistle which thou sentest us, and have laid it up by itself among our public records. And as to the other things about which thou didst send to us, we will take care that no complaint be made against us.” 14.244. 21. “Publius Servilius, the son of Publius, of the Galban tribe, the proconsul, to the magistrates, senate, and people of the Milesians, sendeth greeting. 14.245. Prytanes, the son of Hermes, a citizen of yours, came to me when I was at Tralles, and held a court there, and informed me that you used the Jews in a way different from my opinion, and forbade them to celebrate their Sabbaths, and to perform the sacred rites received from their forefathers, and to manage the fruits of the land, according to their ancient custom; and that he had himself been the promulger of your decree, according as your laws require: 14.246. I would therefore have you know, that upon hearing the pleadings on both sides, I gave sentence that the Jews should not be prohibited to make use of their own customs.” 14.247. 22. The decree of those of Pergamus. “When Cratippus was prytanis, on the first day of the month Desius, the decree of the praetors was this: Since the Romans, following the conduct of their ancestors, undertake dangers for the common safety of all mankind, and are ambitious to settle their confederates and friends in happiness, and in firm peace 14.248. and since the nation of the Jews, and their high priest Hyrcanus, sent as ambassadors to them, Strato, the son of Theodatus, and Apollonius, the son of Alexander, and Eneas, the son of Antipater 14.249. and Aristobulus, the son of Amyntas, and Sosipater, the son of Philip, worthy and good men, who gave a particular account of their affairs, the senate thereupon made a decree about what they had desired of them, that Antiochus the king, the son of Antiochus, should do no injury to the Jews, the confederates of the Romans; and that the fortresses, and the havens, and the country, and whatsoever else he had taken from them, should be restored to them; and that it may be lawful for them to export their goods out of their own havens; 14.251. Now Lucius Pettius, one of our senators, a worthy and good man, gave order that we should take care that these things should be done according to the senate’s decree; and that we should take care also that their ambassadors might return home in safety. 14.252. Accordingly, we admitted Theodorus into our senate and assembly, and took the epistle out of his hands, as well as the decree of the senate. And as he discoursed with great zeal about the Jews, and described Hyrcanus’s virtue and generosity 14.253. and how he was a benefactor to all men in common, and particularly to every body that comes to him, we laid up the epistle in our public records; and made a decree ourselves, that since we also are in confederacy with the Romans, we would do every thing we could for the Jews, according to the senate’s decree. 14.254. Theodorus also, who brought the epistle, desired of our praetors, that they would send Hyrcanus a copy of that decree, as also ambassadors to signify to him the affection of our people to him, and to exhort them to preserve and augment their friendship for us, and be ready to bestow other benefits upon us 14.255. as justly expecting to receive proper requitals from us; and desiring them to remember that our ancestors were friendly to the Jews even in the days of Abraham, who was the father of all the Hebrews, as we have [also] found it set down in our public records.” 14.256. 23. The decree of those of Halicarnassus. “When Memnon, the son of Orestidas by descent, but by adoption of Euonymus, was priest, on the —— day of the month Aristerion, the decree of the people, upon the representation of Marcus Alexander, was this: 14.257. Since we have ever a great regard to piety towards God, and to holiness; and since we aim to follow the people of the Romans, who are the benefactors of all men, and what they have written to us about a league of friendship and mutual assistance between the Jews and our city, and that their sacred offices and accustomed festivals and assemblies may be observed by them; 14.258. we have decreed, that as many men and women of the Jews as are willing so to do, may celebrate their Sabbaths, and perform their holy offices, according to the Jewish laws; and may make their proseuchae at the sea-side, according to the customs of their forefathers; and if any one, whether he be a magistrate or private person, hindereth them from so doing, he shall be liable to a fine, to be applied to the uses of the city.” 14.259. 24. The decree of the Sardians. “This decree was made by the senate and people, upon the representation of the praetors: Whereas those Jews who are fellowcitizens, and live with us in this city, have ever had great benefits heaped upon them by the people, and have come now into the senate 14.261. Now the senate and people have decreed to permit them to assemble together on the days formerly appointed, and to act according to their own laws; and that such a place be set apart for them by the praetors, for the building and inhabiting the same, as they shall esteem fit for that purpose; and that those that take care of the provision for the city, shall take care that such sorts of food as they esteem fit for their eating may be imported into the city.” 14.262. 25. The decree of the Ephesians. “When Menophilus was prytanis, on the first day of the month Artemisius, this decree was made by the people: Nicanor, the son of Euphemus, pronounced it, upon the representation of the praetors. 14.263. Since the Jews that dwell in this city have petitioned Marcus Julius Pompeius, the son of Brutus, the proconsul, that they might be allowed to observe their Sabbaths, and to act in all things according to the customs of their forefathers, without impediment from any body, the praetor hath granted their petition. 14.264. Accordingly, it was decreed by the senate and people, that in this affair that concerned the Romans, no one of them should be hindered from keeping the Sabbath day, nor be fined for so doing, but that they may be allowed to do all things according to their own laws.” 16.44. If any one therefore examine into our observances, he will find they are good in themselves, and that they are ancient also, though some think otherwise, insomuch that those who have received them cannot easily be brought to depart from them, out of that honor they pay to the length of time they have religiously enjoyed them and observed them. 16.163. it seemed good to me and my counselors, according to the sentence and oath of the people of Rome, that the Jews have liberty to make use of their own customs, according to the law of their forefathers, as they made use of them under Hyrcanus the high priest of the Almighty God; and that their sacred money be not touched, but be sent to Jerusalem, and that it be committed to the care of the receivers at Jerusalem; and that they be not obliged to go before any judge on the Sabbath day, nor on the day of the preparation to it, after the ninth hour. 16.164. But if any one be caught stealing their holy books, or their sacred money, whether it be out of the synagogue or public school, he shall be deemed a sacrilegious person, and his goods shall be brought into the public treasury of the Romans. 16.165. And I give order that the testimonial which they have given me, on account of my regard to that piety which I exercise toward all mankind, and out of regard to Caius Marcus Censorinus, together with the present decree, be proposed in that most eminent place which hath been consecrated to me by the community of Asia at Ancyra. And if any one transgress any part of what is above decreed, he shall be severely punished.” This was inscribed upon a pillar in the temple of Caesar. 16.166. 3. “Caesar to Norbanus Flaccus, sendeth greeting. Let those Jews, how many soever they be, who have been used, according to their ancient custom, to send their sacred money to Jerusalem, do the same freely.” These were the decrees of Caesar.
8. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 7.148-7.150, 7.162 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

7.148. and for the other spoils, they were carried in great plenty. But for those that were taken in the temple of Jerusalem, they made the greatest figure of them all; that is, the golden table, of the weight of many talents; the candlestick also, that was made of gold, though its construction were now changed from that which we made use of; 7.149. for its middle shaft was fixed upon a basis, and the small branches were produced out of it to a great length, having the likeness of a trident in their position, and had every one a socket made of brass for a lamp at the tops of them. These lamps were in number seven, and represented the dignity of the number seven among the Jews; 7.162. But still he gave order that they should lay up their Law, and the purple veils of the holy place, in the royal palace itself, and keep them there.
9. Josephus Flavius, Against Apion, 2.25 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.25. However, our admirable author Apion hath before told us, that “they came to Judea in six days’ time;” and again, that “Moses went up to a mountain that lay between Egypt and Arabia, which was called Sinai, and was concealed there forty days, and that when he came down from thence he gave laws to the Jews.” But then, how was it possible for them to tarry forty days in a desert place where there was no water, and at the same time to pass all over the country between that and Judea in the six days? 2.25. 36. Wherefore it deserves our inquiry what should be the occasion of this unjust management, and of these scandals about the Deity. And truly I suppose it to be derived from the imperfect knowledge the heathen legislators had at first of the true nature of God; nor did they explain to the people even so far as they did comprehend of it: nor did they compose the other parts of their political settlements according to it
10. Juvenal, Satires, 6.544, 14.96-14.106 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

11. New Testament, 1 Corinthians, 14.16, 14.23 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

14.16. Otherwise if you blesswith the spirit, how will he who fills the place of the unlearned saythe "Amen" at your giving of thanks, seeing he doesn't know what yousay? 14.23. If therefore thewhole assembly is assembled together and all speak with otherlanguages, and unlearned or unbelieving people come in, won't they saythat you are crazy?
12. New Testament, 2 Corinthians, 3 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

13. Tacitus, Annals, 2.85 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

2.85.  In the same year, bounds were set to female profligacy by stringent resolutions of the senate; and it was laid down that no woman should trade in her body, if her father, grandfather, or husband had been a Roman knight. For Vistilia, the daughter of a praetorian family, had advertised her venality on the aediles' list — the normal procedure among our ancestors, who imagined the unchaste to be sufficiently punished by the avowal of their infamy. Her husband, Titidius Labeo, was also required to explain why, in view of his wife's manifest guilt, he had not invoked the penalty of the law. As he pleaded that sixty days, not yet elapsed, were allowed for deliberation, it was thought enough to pass sentence on Vistilia, who was removed to the island of Seriphos. — Another debate dealt with the proscription of the Egyptian and Jewish rites, and a senatorial edict directed that four thousand descendants of enfranchised slaves, tainted with that superstition and suitable in point of age, were to be shipped to Sardinia and there employed in suppressing brigandage: "if they succumbed to the pestilential climate, it was a cheap loss." The rest had orders to leave Italy, unless they had renounced their impious ceremonial by a given date.
14. Tacitus, Germania (De Origine Et Situ Germanorum), 17 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

15. Tacitus, Histories, 5.2-5.5, 5.2.1, 5.4.2, 5.5.1-5.5.5, 5.8.2-5.8.3, 5.13 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

5.2.  However, as I am about to describe the last days of a famous city, it seems proper for me to give some account of its origin. It is said that the Jews were originally exiles from the island of Crete who settled in the farthest parts of Libya at the time when Saturn had been deposed and expelled by Jove. An argument in favour of this is derived from the name: there is a famous mountain in Crete called Ida, and hence the inhabitants were called the Idaei, which was later lengthened into the barbarous form Iudaei. Some hold that in the reign of Isis the superfluous population of Egypt, under the leadership of Hierosolymus and Iuda, discharged itself on the neighbouring lands; many others think that they were an Egyptian stock, which in the reign of Cepheus was forced to migrate by fear and hatred. Still others report that they were Assyrian refugees, a landless people, who first got control of a part of Egypt, then later they had their own cities and lived in the Hebrew territory and the nearer parts of Syria. Still 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 Hierosolyma, formed from their own. 5.3.  Most authors agree that once during a plague in Egypt which caused bodily disfigurement, King Bocchoris approached the oracle of Ammon and asked for a remedy, whereupon he was told to purge his kingdom and to transport this race into other lands, since it was hateful to the gods. So the Hebrews were searched out and gathered together; then, being abandoned in the desert, while all others lay idle and weeping, one only of the exiles, Moses by name, warned them not to hope for help from gods or men, for they were deserted by both, but to trust to themselves, regarding as a guide sent from heaven the one whose assistance should first give them escape from their present distress. They agreed, and then set out on their journey in utter ignorance, but trusting to chance. Nothing caused them so much distress as scarcity of water, and in fact they had already fallen exhausted over the plain nigh unto death, when a herd of wild asses moved from their pasturage to a rock that was shaded by a grove of trees. Moses followed them, and, conjecturing the truth from the grassy ground, discovered abundant streams of water. This relieved them, and they then marched six days continuously, and on the seventh seized a country, expelling the former inhabitants; there they founded a city and dedicated a temple. 5.4.  To establish his influence over this people for all time, 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. They dedicated, in a shrine, a statue of that creature whose guidance enabled them to put an end to their wandering and thirst, sacrificing a ram, apparently in derision of Ammon. They likewise offer the ox, because the Egyptians worship Apis. They abstain from pork, in recollection of a plague, for the scab to which this animal is subject once afflicted them. By frequent fasts even now they bear witness to the long hunger with which they were once distressed, and the unleavened Jewish bread is still employed in memory of the haste with which they seized the grain. They say that they first chose to rest on the seventh day because that day ended their toils; but after a time they were led by the charms of indolence to give over the seventh year as well to inactivity. Others say that this is done in honour of Saturn, whether it be that the primitive elements of their religion were given by the Idaeans, who, according to tradition, were expelled with Saturn and became the founders of the Jewish race, or is due to the fact that, of the seven planets that rule the fortunes of mankind, Saturn moves in the highest orbit and has the greatest potency; and that many of the heavenly bodies traverse their paths and courses in multiples of seven. 5.5.  Whatever their origin, these rites are maintained by their antiquity: the other customs of the Jews are base and abominable, and owe their persistence to their depravity. For the worst rascals among other peoples, renouncing their ancestral religions, always kept sending tribute and contributions to Jerusalem, thereby increasing the wealth of the Jews; again, the Jews are extremely loyal toward one another, and always ready to show compassion, but toward every other people they feel only hate and enmity. They sit apart at meals, and they sleep apart, and although as a race, they are prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse with foreign women; yet among themselves nothing is unlawful. They adopted circumcision to distinguish themselves from other peoples by this difference. Those who are converted to their ways follow the same practice, and the earliest lesson they receive is to despise the gods, to disown their country, and to regard their parents, children, and brothers as of little account. However, they take thought to increase their numbers; for they regard it as a crime to kill any late-born child, and they believe that the souls of those who are killed in battle or by the executioner are immortal: hence comes their passion for begetting children, and their scorn of death. They bury the body rather than burn it, thus following the Egyptians' custom; they likewise bestow the same care on the dead, and hold the same belief about the world below; but their ideas of heavenly things are quite the opposite. The Egyptians worship many animals and monstrous images; the Jews conceive of one god only, and that with the mind alone: they regard as impious those who make from perishable materials representations of gods in man's image; that supreme and eternal being is to them incapable of representation and without end. Therefore they set up no statues in their cities, still less in their temples; this flattery is not paid their kings, nor this honour given to the Caesars. But since their priests used to chant to the accompaniment of pipes and cymbals and to wear garlands of ivy, and because a golden vine was found in their temple, some have thought that they were devotees of Father Liber, the conqueror of the East, in spite of the incongruity of their customs. For Liber established festive rites of a joyous nature, while the ways of the Jews are preposterous and mean. 5.13.  Prodigies had indeed occurred, but to avert them either by victims or by vows is held unlawful by a people which, though prone to superstition, is opposed to all propitiatory rites. Contending hosts were seen meeting in the skies, arms flashed, and suddenly the temple was illumined with fire from the clouds. of a sudden the doors of the shrine opened and a superhuman voice cried: "The gods are departing": at the same moment the mighty stir of their going was heard. Few interpreted these omens as fearful; the majority firmly believed that their ancient priestly writings contained the prophecy that this was the very time when the East should grow strong and that men starting from Judea should possess the world. This mysterious prophecy had in reality pointed to Vespasian and Titus, but the common people, as is the way of human ambition, interpreted these great destinies in their own favour, and could not be turned to the truth even by adversity. We have heard that the total number of the besieged of every age and both sexes was six hundred thousand; there were arms for all who could use them, and the number ready to fight was larger than could have been anticipated from the total population. Both men and women showed the same determination; and if they were to be forced to change their home, they feared life more than death. Such was the city and people against which Titus Caesar now proceeded; since the nature of the ground did not allow him to assault or employ any sudden operations, he decided to use earthworks and mantlets; the legions were assigned to their several tasks, and there was a respite of fighting until they made ready every device for storming a town that the ancients had ever employed or modern ingenuity invented.
16. Philostratus The Athenian, Life of Apollonius, 5.33 (2nd cent. CE

5.33. While Apollonius spoke, Euphrates concealed the jealousy he already felt of one whose utterances clearly interested the emperor hardly less than those of an oracular shrine interest those who repair to it for guidance. But now at last his feelings overcame him, and, raising his voice above its usual pitch, he cried: We must not flatter men's impulses, nor allow ourselves to be carried away against our better judgment by men of unbridled ambition; but we should rather, if we are enamored of wisdom, recall them to the sober facts of life. Here is a policy about the very expediency of which we should first calmly deliberate, and yet you would have us prescribe a way of executing it, before you know if the measures under discussion are desirable. For myself, I quite approve of the deposition of Vitellius, whom I know to be a ruffian drunk with every sort of profligacy; nevertheless, although I know you to be a worthy man and of pre-eminent nobility of character, I deny that you ought to undertake the correction of Vitellius without first establishing an ideal for yourself. I need not instruct you in the excesses chargeable to monarchy as such, for you have yourself described them; but this I would have you recognize, that whereas youth leaping into the tyrant's saddle does but obey its own instincts — for playing the tyrant comes natural to young men as wine or women, and we cannot reproach a young man merely for making himself a tyrant, unless in pursuit of his role he shows himself a murderer, a ruffian, or a debauchee — on the other hand when an old man makes himself a tyrant, the first thing we blame in him is that he ever nursed such an ambition. It is no use his showing himself an example of humanity and moderation, for of these qualities we shall give the credit not to himself, but to his age and mature training. And men will believe that he nursed the ambition long before, when he was still a stripling, only that he failed to realize it; and such failures are partly attributed to ill luck, partly to pusillanimity. I mean that he will be thought to have renounced his dream of becoming a tyrant, because he distrusted his own star, or that he stood aside and made way for another who entertained the same ambition and whose superior manliness was dreaded. As for the count of ill luck, I may dismiss it; but as for that of cowardice, how can you avoid it? How escape the reproach of having been afraid of Nero, the most cowardly and supine of rulers? Look at the revolt against him planned by Vindex, you surely were the man of the hour, its natural leader, not he! For you had an army at your back, and the forces you were leading against the Jews, would they not have been more suitably employed in chastising Nero? For the Jews have long been in revolt not only against the Romans, but against humanity; and a race that has made its own a life apart and irreconcilable, that cannot share with the rest of mankind in the pleasures of the table nor join in their libations or prayers or sacrifices, are separated from ourselves by a greater gulf than divides us from Susa or Bactra or the more distant Indies. What sense then or reason was there in chastising them for revolting from us, whom we had better have never annexed? As for Nero, who would not have prayed with his own hand to slay a man well-nigh drunk with human blood, singing as he sat amidst the hecatombs of his victims? I confess that I ever pricked up my ears when any messenger from yonder brought tidings of yourself, and told us how in one hand battle you had slain thirty thousand Jews and in the next fifty thousand. In such cases I would take the courier aside and ask him: “But what of the great man? Will he not rise to higher things than this?' Since then you have discovered in Vitellius an image and ape of Nero, and are turning your arms against him, persist in the policy you have embraced, for it too is a noble one, only let its sequel be noble too. You know how dear to the Romans are the popular institutions, and how nearly all their conquests were won under a free polity. Put then an end to monarchy, of which you have repeated to us so evil a record; and bestow upon Romans a popular government, and on yourself the glory of inaugurating for them a reign of liberty. [ 1]


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
altar Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
aster, claudia Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
bacchanalia, action against them in Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 453
baruch (benedictus) de spinoza Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 272, 273
body Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 91
bruno, giordano Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 452
cannibalism Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
child, children Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
christians Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 262
circumcision Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 273; Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 453
claudius, roman emperor, expulsion of jews from rome by Feldman, Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (2006) 538
contact, between peoples Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 245
conversion, to judaism Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 453
cosmopolitanism Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 280
dead sea Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
dietary laws Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 453
disciplina Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
egyptians, distinct from all other peoples Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 452
enlightenment Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 280
ethnicity, ethnography Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
ethnography Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 91
exegesis Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
expulsion, of jews Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 280
fides Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
flavians Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 272
gens, gentes Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
genus Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
geography Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
glory Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
heinrich leo Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 280
humanity (humanitas) Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 245
interpretation, christian Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
interpretation, hellenistic jewish Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
israelites Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 262, 273, 280
jerusalem, second temple Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
jerusalem Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 91, 262, 272, 280; Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
jewish-roman war Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 280
jewish religion, conversion to Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 453
jews, proselytes Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 453
jews, regarded as immoral Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 453
jews, regarded as unsociable Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 245
jews, sexual customs of Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 453
jews, unsociable Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 452, 453
judaea Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
judaean/jewish Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
judaism Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
judea Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 280
juvenal, attacks jewish proselytes Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 453
law, 2 corinthians Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
law, christianity Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
levites Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 272
mosaic law Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
moses, appearance Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
moses, art Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
moses, pagan literature Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
moses Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104; Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 262; Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152; Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 452, 453
mother Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
northern iberia, unsociable Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 245
paul Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
philo of alexandria Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
pietas Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
pork' Rosenblum, The Jewish Dietary Laws in the Ancient World (2016) 33
priesthood, priests Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
primitive peoples, human sacrifice offered by, lack of sociability of Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 245
proculus, tiberius claudius Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
puteoli Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
religio Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
revelation Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
rome, romans Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 280
rome Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
sacrifice Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104; Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 91, 273; Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
shekhina, ritual Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
sinai Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
sociability, as essential Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 245
sociability, lack of Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 245
tacitus, on the britons, criticizes jewish proselytes Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 453
theodor mommsen Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 280
topoi, ethnographic Bloch, Ancient Jewish Diaspora: Essays on Hellenism (2022) 91
torah, giving of Brooke et al., Past Renewals: Interpretative Authority, Renewed Revelation, and the Quest for Perfection in Jewish Antiquity (2008) 152
torah Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
violence, cultural (symbolic) Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
violence, direct Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
violence, structural Dijkstra and Raschle, Religious Violence in the Ancient World: From Classical Athens to Late Antiquity (2020) 161
worship Bay, Biblical Heroes and Classical Culture in Christian Late Antiquity: The Historiography, Exemplarity, and Anti-Judaism of Pseudo-Hegesippus (2022) 104
xenophobia, in athens, in rome Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 245
xenophobia, in athens Isaac, The invention of racism in classical antiquity (2004) 245