ALTHOUGH, as we saw in Chapter 5, Jews and Romans had different -ideas about the ultimate authority on which their governments were based, that there should be states and governments of some kind was not generally questioned in either society. But how should governments operate and relate to individual citizens? When did the good of the community override the rights of the individual? And when was the use of force justified in imposing the will of the state?

In one crucial area of government, the extraction of tax to pay for the activities of the state, Jews and Romans were in general agreement, although in practice the impact of taxation in the first century CE on the inhabitants of Jerusalem was far greater than its impact on the inhabitants of Rome. In theory, the right of the authorities to extract tax in order to pay for communal facilities of all kinds was taken for granted in both societies. But in contrast to the land tax levied in Judaea by both Herod and Roman governors, direct taxation on property, which brought in the bulk of the income of the Roman state, was not levied at all under the emperors either in the city of Rome or in the rest of Italy. Romans considered such taxes on the property of citizens as suitable only for emergencies when state finances were in severe difficulties, and since the mid-second century BCE there had been sufficient income from Rome's overseas conquest for such emergencies to be very rare. In this respect, then, those who lived in Rome got off lightly, but Romans as much as Jerusalemites paid indirect taxes on sales, and they too found the price of goods raised by tolls levied on goods imported into the city.1

What did Romans and Jews expect their states to do with the money thus raised?


THE CONSTRUCTION of a coherent, clearly categorized structure of law was one of the great achievements of the Roman empire. The huge extant corpora of legal opinions in Justinian's Digest, and of judicial decisions by emperors in the Codes of Theodosius and Justinian, were compiled only in the fifth and sixth centuries CE, but the process of compilation had already been begun in the early Republic a millennium earlier. According to Roman tradition, the Twelve Tables, the earliest such collection, had been compiled by a commission of ten senior senators in the mid-fifth century BCE in order to write down as statutes the provisions of customary law and thus put an end to arbitrary decisions by magistrates. Regardless of the veracity of this tradition, by the late Republic the text of the Twelve Tables in archaic Latin was much cited, and commentaries on their provisions were composed by scholars: when Cicero was young, Roman boys were required to memorize their precise wording, such as “Persons shall mend roadways. If they do not keep them laid with stone, a person may drive his beasts where he wishes,” or “If theft has been done by night, if the owner kill the thief, the thief shall be held lawfully killed,” even though some of the clauses had ceased to apply for centuries and (as Cicero complained) “no one learns them nowadays.” Other Roman works of legal literature took the form of discussion of difficult cases, real or imaginary, and commentaries on the edict issued by the urban praetor when he took office. The prolific and influential legal authors Marcus Antistius Labeo and Gaius Ateius Capito were both senators in the time of Augustus, but from the time of Claudius professional jurists had a greater impact on legal literature, and the classical period of Roman law, when jurists were at their most productive, was in the late second and early third centuries CE. This Roman law was perceived by Romans as man-made, a product of political decisions by assemblies and magistrates, of experience, in the form of case law, and of reasoning. The interests of jurists were practical and precise. Many were well versed in Greek philosophy, but the underlying questions, such as the nature of justice, which preoccupied Socrates, Plato or Aristotle, were not their concern. At no point did they claim divine authority for their views. Religious law for them consisted in the regulations made by magistrates to ensure that men avoided offending the gods, as the jurist Gaius made clear in the second century CE:

The highest division of things is into two classes; for some are subject to divine law, some to human law. Within divine law, some things are sacred, some religious. Things sacred are those consecrated to the gods above; things religious are those left to the gods below [manes]. Nothing can be considered sacred unless it has been consecrated by the authority of the Roman people, which can result either through the passing of a law or through a decree of the Senate. On the other hand, things can become religious by our own act of will when we bury the dead in our own ground.2

The theoretical basis of most Jewish law was quite different, since the written Torah enshrined in the Pentateuch covered all aspects of life, religious and secular together, and was believed to have come direct from God to Moses. The Pentateuch dealt with law of all kinds—private and public, civil and criminal, issues of property ownership and questions surrounding ritual actions in the Temple—as did also the Mishnah, a collection of legal opinions redacted in about 200 CE on a series of issues arising mostly from interpretation of the laws in the Pentateuch, in which the opinions cited are those of a quite restricted cadre of jurists who shared allegiance to the movement which became rabbinic Judaism, or at least were believed by the compiler of the Mishnah to have belonged to this group. How standard their view of the law was among their Jewish contemporaries is disputed: much of the law found in the documents discovered in the caves in the Judaean desert, such as those which belonged to Babatha, whose affairs were discussed in Chapter 5, is similar to the law presupposed by the early rabbis, but not identical.

Common obeisance by Jews to the authority of the biblical text gives an impression of uniformity within differing systems of Jewish law which can be rather misleading. In fact, there are a number of laws presupposed in the Mishnah for which no basis is offered in the Bible itself. As the Mishnah states explicitly, mixing religious law and civil law, “[the rules about] release from vows hover in the air and have nothing to support them, and rules about the Sabbath … are as mountains hanging by a hair, for Scripture [thereon] is scanty and the rules many… .” Thus, for instance, no reference to marriage documents of any kind is to be found in the Pentateuch, so it is highly unlikely that this element of Jewish law derived from elaboration of Pentateuchal law. The Pharisees, who considered themselves to be the most accurate interpreters of the law, believed that in accepting ancestral custom they were fulfilling what the written law “really” said. By the third century CE rabbis were to codify a similar (but not identical) principle, with the assertion that the Torah was handed down from Mount Sinai in two forms, one written, one oral. According to this doctrine, ascribed (unreliably) in the Babylonian Talmud to Hillel and Shammai in the late first century BCE, the “Torah that is by mouth” was given by God to Moses at the same time as the written scriptures and then handed down from one generation to the next by trustworthy teachers.3

On occasion Jews were even prepared to admit quite freely that some of their laws were entirely man-made. It is hard to tell how much the Dead Sea sectarians believed that their own special regulations derived from the mind of the Teacher of Righteousness whom God had “raised … to guide them in the way of his heart,” or the Master envisaged in the Community Rule, who “shall acquire all the wisdom that has been gained according to the ages,” and “shall conceal the teaching of the Law in the midst of the men of injustice, but shall reproach [with] true knowledge and righteous judgement those who have chosen the way.” More explicit were the early rabbis, who ascribed some, though not many, specific laws to the authoritative decrees of the sages. Most audacious of these was a decree about repayment of loans attributed to the great rabbinic sage Hillel, who lived around the beginning of the first century CE. Biblical law required all loans to be rendered null and void on the onset of each sabbatical year (that is, every seven years). “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release. And this is the manner of the release: every creditor shall release what he has lent to his neighbour; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, his brother; because the Lord's release has been proclaimed.” The danger that this might result in a drying up of loans as the sabbatical year approached was already envisaged in Deuteronomy: “Beware that there be not a base thought in your heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand’; and your eye be hostile to your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and it be sin in you.” But evidently such injunctions did not always work, so, according to the Mishnah, Hillel devised a legal procedure, the prozbul, by means of which the creditor could enforce repayment: “When he saw that the people refrained from giving loans one to another and transgressed what is written in the Law, ‘Beware that there be not a base thought in your heart …,’ Hillel ordained the prozbul.This is the formula of the prozbul: ‘I affirm to you, such-a-one and such-a-one, the judges in such-a-place, that, with regard to any debt due to me, I shall collect it whenever I will.’ And the judges sign below, or the witnesses.” In analysing the development of Jewish law it may be less important to determine whether Hillel really was responsible for this legal innovation (and it is quite likely that he was not), than to marvel at the later rabbis' insouciant attribution to the great sage of a measure that in its effect directly contradicted God's Torah.4

Both Jews and Romans have sometimes been accused of excessive legal-ism, a regard for legal minutiae for their own sake regardless of the demands of justice. The caricature is itself unjust—all societies have laws, and to accuse others of legalism may simply be abuse—but it reflects accurately the fascination shown by both Romans and Jews in the process of elucidating laws by close analysis of their wording. This interest might take an essentially scholarly form, jurists elaborating ever more complex scenarios in order to tax their legal ingenuity: the specialist Roman jurists belonged to a self-contained intellectual world in which the experts pitted themselves against the challenges of complex legal conundrums sometimes more than a little removed from reality. Some Jews, too, may have shared some of the intellectual enjoyment of attempting solutions to artificial legal puzzles; it is hard to understand the more nitpicking discussions in the Mishnah in any other way:

Shreds of wool which the washerman pulls out belong to him; but those which the woolcomber pulls out belong to the householder. If the washerman pulled out three threads they belong to him, but if more than this they belong to the householder. If there were black [threads] among the white, and he took them all out, they belong to him. If the tailor had left over thread sufficient to sew with or a piece of cloth three fingerbreadths square, these belong to the householder.5

On the other hand, to denigrate the making of such detailed distinctions may miss their real practical significance: in a complex society economic relations can sometimes require very precise regulations of just this type. One hundred and forty wax tablets, generated by the family of the Sulpicii at Puteoli during the course of thirty-five years of financial dealings in the first century CE, were preserved in a villa at Murecine, a suburb of Pompeii. They reveal the use by quite ordinary Roman financiers of precise legal jargon as a means to enforce their rights, and many of the intricate problems thrashed out by Roman lawyers were potentially significant for the facilitation of commerce:

A number of merchants had on board the same ship a variety of cargoes … A great storm arose and they had to jettison. The following questions arose: must all parties contribute to make up the loss, even those whose cargoes added no weight to the ship, such as gems or pearls? And what is the basis of apportionment? … And by what action is all this to be achieved? The answers were: all who had a [pecuniary] interest in the jettison taking place must contribute, because things thereby saved owe contribution; therefore the owner of the vessel is himself liable for a share. The sum of loss is to be apportioned pro rata to the values of the respective cargoes … The owners of the goods sacrificed will have an action on their contract of hire with the captain, i.e. the shipmaster.6

Nonetheless, the Bible sometimes rightly distinguishes law from justice, and the existence of complex rules was not enough to ensure that justice was done for individuals, either in Jerusalem or in Rome. In both societies access to justice was restricted by practical difficulties in enforcing rights in civil cases; by lack of protection against abuses by the state when the judiciary was identical to the executive; by obstacles blocking access by private individuals to the courts; by lack of a police force to discover and apprehend criminals except for those most dangerous to the state itself; and by the absence of any public system to ensure that court decisions in private civil cases were effectively enforced. None of these problems is wholly unknown in many societies now, but such issues were particularly acute for Romans and Jews in late antiquity.

Access to a court for a decision on a civil claim was perhaps more of a problem in the city of Rome than in Jerusalem. In Rome a claimant needed to persuade a magistrate—a praetor or aedile—of the nature of his complaint, and the magistrate, having defined the matters at stake, would then usually appoint one or two arbitrators to decide on the facts. Difficulty will have lain primarily in ensuring that the magistrate had time even for the beginning of the procedure, given the huge population of the city. To a great extent legal transactions in Rome required the physical presence of the parties or their representatives at a specified place, and the enunciation of specified words: written documents functioned to record transactions, but only as proof of what had been said. Stories from the provinces, where the magistrate in question was the governor, tell of the frustrating months of waiting for a hearing. It is likely that in Rome, too, the wealth and connections of particular claimants will have pushed their cases to the front of the queue. The system does not seem to have allowed for more local district courts. Doubtless many cases were settled by informal arbitration, with all the inherent dangers of later repudiation of the verdict by the losing side. It is probable that increasing use in the early empire of a different and simpler system, which involved a designated official investigating and carrying out the whole trial, was a partial response to this problem.

In Jerusalem, by contrast, none of the judges in a civil or criminal case had to be appointed by the state, so far as is known. The only requirement specified by early rabbis was that judges should be adult, male and Jewish. If that was a generally accepted view, access to a court should in theory have been easy. In practice, however, matters may have been complicated by the possibility of appeal to non-Jewish jurisdiction: nothing, apart from difficulty of access and possible social disapproval from fellow Jews, prevented a disgruntled litigant from ignoring the decision of a Jewish court and taking a case to the Roman governor. Precisely this seems to have been the intention in the province of Arabia in the early second century CE of the litigious Babatha, whose papers (as we have seen) were found in the Judaean desert. Despite the use of Jewish terms and formulae in the documents which regulated her private affairs, suggesting that she expected (for instance) her rights on divorce to be upheld by a Jewish court, when she sought redress against the guardians of her son by her first marriage (known in the documents consistently, if bizarrely, as “the orphan,” because his father was dead even if his mother was not), she had recourse to the Roman governor: among her papers were found three copies of a Greek version, slightly amended, of the praetor's formula about guardianship as known from the Institutes written by the jurist Gaius.7

Access to a court of any kind can bring justice only if the judges can be trusted. All judicial systems must grapple with the dangers of bias and corruption. The solution adopted in classical Athens, where cases were tried before large juries, was to seek fairness in numbers, a notion that both Romans and Jews would recognize but Romans would rarely adopt in practice. In Republican Rome, appeals against alleged injustice by magistrates had been heard by the people in assembly or by jurors selected from a panel drawn from the richer echelons of Roman society, but by the early empire only few vestiges of this system continued to operate, in cases involving the exceptionally wealthy. Trials before popular assemblies ceased, and little is heard of the functioning of the “perpetual jury-courts” whose operation and selection had been major political issues in the time of Cicero. Disputes over inheritance of large estates were heard in the cen-tumviral (literally, “hundred-man”) courts before one hundred and eighty jurors, and criminal trials of senators and their relatives sometimes took place in the Senate itself, so that elite politicians were judged by their peers; but ordinary appeals by ordinary Romans went no longer to any popular court or mass jury but to the unreliable, and final, decision of the emperor. According to Cassius Dio, already in 30 BCE, before he was accorded the name Augustus, Octavian was given the right to hear appeals and, at his discretion, to exercise the prerogative of mercy. Hence the speech of Paul to the Roman governor Festus, as reported in Acts: “I stand at Caesar's judgement seat, where I ought to be judged … For if I be an offender, or have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die: but if there is nothing in these things of which these people accuse me, no one should gratify them by delivering me to them. I appeal to Caesar.”8

By contrast, the Mishnah notes that “non-capital cases are decided by three and capital cases by three and twenty …,” and elsewhere envisages also an even larger court, comparing “the greater Sanhedrin … of one and seventy” to “the lesser of three and twenty.” And, although it is unclear how much these comments relate to any real institution in first-century Jerusalem, or indeed at any other time or place in Jewish history, the terms of the rabbinic discussion presuppose the principle that the larger the number of jurors who hear a case, the more reliable the verdict will be: thus the early rabbinic sources envisage larger courts dealing with more serious issues, such as murder, and tackling the more tricky legal problems unresolved by the smaller courts, although they do not seem to have entertained the concept of an appeal against sentence by a lower court—in ordinary cases, the decision of a small local court of three or more judges would presumably be final. A similar assumption that more judges ensured better justice is found in the judicial procedures described by Josephus, in his account of his own career as revolutionary commander in Galilee in 66—7. He claims in the Jewish War that he “selected from the nation seventy persons of mature years and the greatest distinction, and appointed them as magistrates of the whole of Galilee, and seven individuals in each city as judges of petty disputes, with instructions to refer more important matters and capital cases to himself and the seventy,” although in his autobiography, published some twenty-five or so years later, he suggests a rather more restricted advisory role for these seventy “magistrates,” whom he describes as being already in authority in Galilee before his arrival: “I made them my friends and companions in travel, took them as assessors to cases which I tried, and obtained their approbation of the sentences which I pronounced; endeavouring not to fail in justice through precipitate action and in these matters to keep clear of all bribery.” On the other hand, Josephus asserts in hisAntiquities that the requirement that “seven men should rule in every city” had originally been laid down by Moses himself, and that someone who accidentally lost a deposit should “come before the seven judges and swear by God that nothing had been lost through his own intention and malice,” which suggests—since the number seven for the quota of judges is not found anywhere in the Bible—that use of such larger tribunals was standard in his own day.9

Among the courts mentioned in the ancient sources, the composition and functions of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin of seventy-one judges is the most difficult to pin down in the history of judicial operations among Jews in antiquity. The institution is not found in the Hebrew Bible, and the fact that the name in Hebrew was derived from the Greek word synhedrion, “council,” suggests that it originated in Jewish society some time after the fourth century BCE, when Judaean Jews first came under Greek influence. The rabbis envisaged a court composed of sages like themselves, presided over by a rabbinic nasi, “patriarch” or “prince.” This picture runs counter to the description of the Sanhedrin to be found in the New Testament, where the presiding officer was assumed to be the High Priest, as after the arrest of Peter, when “the high priest came, and they that were with him, and called the Sanhedrin and all the council of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought,” and the Sanhedrin before which Paul was brought was envisaged as including in its membership both Pharisees and Sadducees. Josephus also assumed that the Sanhedrin could be convened by a High Priest—in 62 CE the High Priest Ananus son of Ananus “convened a Sanhedrin of judges and brought before it the brother of Jesus called the Christ, by name Jacob, and certain others”—but elsewhere he uses the term synhedrion to refer to the advisory council of Agrippa II and even of the Roman emperor Augustus. It may be that an advisory council was all that the term implied: for important decisions it was important for Jewish leaders, like Roman aristocrats, to take appropriate advice. Thus when the High Priest Caiaphas needed to decide what to do with Jesus, he was surrounded by “all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes,” just as a Roman magistrate would surround himself with his trusted friends and in the same way as Josephus “obtained their approbation of the sentences which I pronounced” from his seventy assessors in Galilee. The Sanhedrin thus played a judicial role in first-century Jerusalem, but only as adjunct to the High Priest, about whose role as judge Josephus is explicit: “with his priestly colleagues, he [the High Priest] will sacrifice to God, safeguard the laws, adjudicate in cases of dispute, punish those convicted of crime. Any who disobey him will pay the penalty as for impiety towards God himself.”10

In court procedure, the most striking difference between Jews and Romans lay in the treatment of witnesses. The testimony of any individual was valued in a Roman trial, including that of slaves, who could be subjected to torture to extract the truth, except against their master. Even this exception could be circumvented: in the trial of a certain Marcus Scribo-nius Libo Drusus, accused of treason in the early years of Tiberius' rule, the identification of his handwriting on an incriminating paper was done by his slaves. The only way to confirm that they were not misleading the court was to torture them. So the emperor ordered their sale to the state treasury. Torture was not standard, and was only used in criminal cases, but it might also be used on citizens suspected of conspiracy, like the freedwoman Epicharis, who escaped continued torture by Nero only by heroic suicide. By contrast, Jewish rules of evidence were very restrictive indeed. In practice, Herod used torture to investigate rumours of plots against him by his sons, and the brutality of his investigations sometimes led to the death of his victims, but no source suggests that torture was admissible in Jewish law. According to both the Bible and the Mishnah, only testimony from adult male Jews was acceptable, and, even in such cases, evidence from at least two witnesses was essential. The legal tradition placed strong moral pressure to testify on those in possession of knowledge relevant to a case: “if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he has seen or known—if he does not utter, then he shall bear his iniquity.” Moral pressure could of course translate into social stigma, and refusal to testify must have been difficult. On the other hand, testimony must be based on direct knowledge and not on hearsay. Early rabbinic literature is strongly condemnatory of gossip (leshon ha-ra, “evil tongue”), talebearing even when the information imparted is true, and asserts that a skin disease like leprosy is divine punishment for scandalmongering: “ ‘Remember what the Lord thy God did unto Miriam’: what does this have to do with the matter under discussion? The connection here is intended to show you that plagues come only as a result of evil talk …” The attitude to gossip seems to have been very different in Roman court cases, in which allusions to every conceivable aspect of the character and previous history of a defendant could be invoked by the parties to a dispute. The use of unsubstantiated stories to blacken the reputation of an opponent was standard procedure in Roman public life, in court as much as in politics. There were no rules to forbid either the presentation in court of rumour as fact or the introduction of information irrelevant to the case in dispute, and experienced pleaders, like Cicero, often offered arguments which would be wholly inadmissible in a trial under most modern legal systems.11

The restriction that in most cases witness by women, children or slaves had to be ignored in a Jewish court, combined with the need for two adult male witnesses to agree for their testimony to be used, may often have made the Jewish criminal law unenforceable. Some scholars have indeed suggested that this result might have been deliberately fostered by the rabbis in times and places where they were prevented by non-Jewish authorities from putting Jewish criminal law into practice. In favour of such an interpretation is the notable relaxation of strict biblical law about single witnesses to be found in the sectarian Damascus Document of which numerous fragments were discovered among the Dead Sea scrolls:

Every sin which a man commits against the Law, and which his companion witnesses, he being alone, if it is a capital matter he shall report it in his presence, with rebuke, to the Guardian [the highest official in the sect]; and the Guardian shall personally record it, until he commits it again before one man and he reports it to the Guardian once more. Should he repeat it and be caught in the act before one man, his judgement shall be complete. And if there are two [witnesses], each testifying to a different matter, the man shall be excluded from the pure Meal provided that they are trustworthy and that each informs the Guardian on the day that he saw him [offending]. In matters of property, they shall accept two trustworthy witnesses and shall exclude from the pure Meal on the word of one witness alone.

In some cases involving personal status, the early rabbis too envisaged occasionally relying on the evidence even of a woman, even if she was the sole witness: “If a woman and her husband went beyond the sea and there was peace between him and her and peace in the world, and she came back and said, ‘My husband is dead,’ she may marry again.”12

Enforcing the court's decision in civil cases was left, both in Roman and in Jewish society, to the legal victor, without any intervention by the state: in essence, the upshot of legal procedures could be no more than to grant permission to a private individual to use reasonable force to gain what was rightfully his without incurring the wrath of the authorities. The enforcement of punishments following criminal convictions was much more systematic. In Roman society, the range of penalties inflicted depended not only on the offence committed but also on the status of the guilty party. Some of the most violent punishments were reserved for slaves. Imprisonment was not usually in itself seen as a punitive measure but simply as a means to prevent absconding before trial. Little use was made of fines payable to the state (as opposed to restitution to injured parties, as in the punishment of provincial governors convicted of stealing from their erstwhile subjects), or of corporal punishment such as flogging (which was, however, common in the enforcement of military discipline). The main sanctions for more important citizens were loss of status, a powerful deterrent in a society where being a senator or eques mattered a great deal, or relegation to some place outside Rome, or (more generally) exile. The more humble were condemned to work in the mines or other public projects requiring intense physical labour. The ultimate penalty for all classes was execution, which could take various forms, from the brutal simplicity of crucifixion, a standard mode for disposing of ordinary criminals, to the ceremonial casting of traitors from the Tarpeian rock, a cliff on the side of the Capitoline hill. Condemnation to fight as a gladiator was effectively a delayed death sentence. These very public deaths doubtless fulfilled a useful social function as deterrence against criminal behaviour. It was also important that for every crime the penalty should seem to be appropriate. What was considered appropriate was in many cases a matter primarily of tradition: for instance, in the Republic, the convicted murderer of a close relative was drowned in the sea, tied up in a sack with a dog, a cock, an ape and a viper. The state expected public approval for the use of such justified violence to protect society. The edicts, official letters and coins of the emperors proclaimed IUSTITIA, “Justice.”13

Jews too recognized the desirability of punishment appropriate to the offence, and in principle accepted that the death penalty should be inflicted for crimes such as murder. The biblical injunction “an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a hand for a hand” was interpreted to mean that appropriate monetary compensation should be made for personal injury, or financial restitution in the case of damage to property. Josephus states that the law laid down by Moses required that “he that maims a man shall undergo the like, being deprived of that limb whereof he deprived the other, unless indeed the maimed man be willing to accept money; for the law empowers the victim himself to assess the damage that has befallen him and make this concession, unless he would show himself too severe.” For the rabbis, the amount to be paid was to be fixed not (as for Josephus) by the victim but by a court. No such negotiation was possible for the punishment of deliberate homicide, for which the death penalty was required, as also, in biblical law, for a series of other offences, sexual and religious. Hence the types of death penalty envisaged in the Mishnah are nearly as varied as those in the Roman system: “Four kinds of death penalty were entrusted to a court: stoning, burning, beheading and strangling,” although to what extent these punishments were actually inflicted in the late Second Temple period has been much debated, not least because of the explicit statement ascribed in the Gospel of John to “the Jews” in conversation with Pontius Pilate before the death of Jesus: when he told them to judge Jesus “according to your law,” they stated “it is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” The author of the Gospel glosses this assertion with the aside that thus “the saying of Jesus might be fulfilled, which he spoke, indicating by what death he should die.” It is possible that the restriction on Jewish use of the death penalty applied only at the specific time of year when Jesus' trial took place, since it coincided with the pilgrim festival of the Passover. Or it may be argued, in the light of the history of the early Church, that an allegation that Jews were not permitted to put Jesus to death explained to gentile Christians why the death which Jesus had suffered was of a distinctively Roman type despite the traditions that the Roman governor had judged him guiltless, and that the charge of blasphemy on which he was condemned was of concern not to Romans but to Jews.14

It is in any case a reasonable assumption that both Hasmonaeans and Herodians used Jewish criminal law at least to some extent when they were in power in Jerusalem, not least because Josephus records popular opposition to a legal innovation by Herod designed to crack down on theft:

In his administration of the state the king in an earnest effort to put a stop to the successive acts of injustice committed both in the city and in the country made a law in no way resembling earlier ones, and he enforced it himself. It provided that house-breakers should be sold (into slavery) and be deported from the kingdom—a punishment that not only weighed heavily upon those who suffered it but also involved a violation of the laws of the country. For to be enslaved to foreigners and to those who did not have the same manner of life (as the Jews) and to be compelled to do whatever such men might command was an offence against religion rather than a punishment of those who were caught, especially as the following kind of penalty was anciently observed. The laws ordered that a thief was to pay a fourfold fine, and, if he were unable to do so, he was to be sold, but in any case not to foreigners, nor was he to suffer lifelong slavery, for he was to be released after six years.

The implication of this passage is that in normal times in Jerusalem the courts tended to impose fines as legal penalties for theft, and both biblical and rabbinic law envisaged corporal punishment in the form of flogging for specified offences: “How many stripes do they inflict on him? Forty save one … They bind his two hands to a pillar on either side, and the minister of the assembly lays hold on his garments … And he that smites, smites with his one hand with all his might.” There is no reason to believe that such judicial beatings were not imposed more or less in this way both in the periods when Jerusalem was an independent state and also, with the consent of the accused to accept the jurisdiction of the Jewish court, when supreme power in Jerusalem was in the hands of a Roman governor and in Jewish communities in the diaspora. Paul, eager to demonstrate his Jewish-ness, as well as his willingness to suffer for the sake of Christ, boasted that “of the Jews five times I received forty [stripes] save one.”15


BOTH ROMANS and Jews made war frequently in the first century BCE and the first century CE. Roman campaigns of imperial expansion were to continue at irregular intervals throughout the early empire, whenever an emperor felt the need of a great military achievement to consolidate his image, notably Claudius in Britain in 43 CE, Domitian in the 80s and Trajan in Dacia in the first decade of the second century and in northern Mesopotamia in the second decade. Even more frequent were wars to suppress rebellions within the frontiers. Jews fought wars of conquest under the late Hasmonaeans, and, as we have seen, an extended war of liberation in 66–70. Jews also served as mercenaries for the Ptolemies in the second and first centuries BCE, and both Babylonian and Idumaean Jews were professional soldiers in the pay of Herod. For both Jews and Romans, war was an inevitable part of life.

EVERY SPRING the priests of the Roman state threw open the gates of the temple of Janus to indicate the beginning of the campaigning season. The temple gates were usually shut again only when the onset of winter brought fighting to a standstill. In 28 BCE, and on two later occasions, Augustus ceremonially shut the gates in the middle of the year to symbolize the completion of a current campaign, but this signified only a temporary hiatus in what was, in essence, a permanent state of war. Indeed, the political system of Rome categorized the citizenry by their military potential, with rich cavalrymen (equites) at the top, the poorer (who were less able to arm themselves well) nearer the bottom, and women and children, who were excluded from fighting, also excluded from all formal influence over policy. From the beginning of Augustus' rule, after his victory over Mark Antony at Actium, in practice the Roman army was as professional and permanent as that of the Ptolemies had been, but the ideology of Rome as a state dependent on its armed citizenry persisted in the history books of Augustus' contemporary Livy, and in Roman images of their ideal society. Despite this underlying militarism, Romans in the Republic valued the implausible notion that all the wars they fought were defensive. Only thus was divine approval guaranteed. It may seem surprising that any Roman in the first century BCE could believe, or even half-believe, that they had conquered the entire Mediterranean world in defence of their city in central Italy, but the illusion that they fought only in defence was achieved by a formality which, although it might appear now a mere pretext, Romans seem to have taken very seriously. Religious law required the enemy to have unreasonably rejected Roman demands if the ensuing conflict was to be denoted just, as Cicero records: “As for war, equitable rules touching it are drawn up in the … law of the Roman people in the most sacred fashion; and from this it may be gathered that no war is just, unless it is entered upon after an official demand for satisfaction has been submitted or warning has been given and a formal declaration made.” Cicero (or a later interpolator) added an improving story to illustrate:

Popilius was general in command of a province. In his army Cato's son was serving on his first campaign. When Popilius decided to disband one of his legions, he discharged also young Cato, who was serving in that same legion. But when the young man out of love for the service stayed on in the field, his father wrote to Popilius to say that if he let him stay in the army, he should swear him into service with a new oath of allegiance, for in view of the voidance of his former oath he could not legally fight the foe. So extremely scrupulous was the observance of the laws in regard to the conduct of war.

However, the demands on enemies could, if required, be made as unreasonable as necessary to produce the desired hostile response, as when, for instance, Rome in 200 BCE requested that Philip V of Macedon should not make war on any Greek state or intervene in the possessions of the Ptolemies, and that he should submit to arbitration with respect to the injustices he had perpetrated against Attalus and Rhodes, on pain of war with Rome if he did not immediately accept such terms: Philip refused, Rome declared war, and in 197 BCE Philip was decisively defeated at the battle of Cynoscephalae. Nonetheless, by the imperial period not even this charade seems to have been followed. The senatorial historian Tacitus puts into the mouth of the Celtic chieftain Calgacus, faced in the 80s CE by the Roman forces commanded in Britain by Tacitus' father-in-law and hero Agricola, the cynical observation that “the Romans are the only people who invade, with equal ardour, the wealth and the poverty of nations. To rob, to murder, and to ravage, the liars call ‘empire.’ When they have made the world a solitude, they call it peace.” But not all Romans were as aware as the cynical Tacitus of the unsubtle subterfuges that had been employed in the spread of Roman power, and there are few traces of guilt about the indulgence in warfare which had led Romans so directly and successfully to the current prosperity of their city.16

One reason for insouciance about warfare and its terrible consequences may have been the ability of many inhabitants of Rome in the early empire to pass their entire lives without witnessing war directly. Triumphal processions gave them a sense of the most dramatic moments, carefully selected for maximum impact, but to the spectators, it was like watching a story, the bloodshed kept at a safe emotional distance, as in the depersonalized slaughter of gladiatorial fights. Hence mass enthusiasm for war in distant countries was combined with a reluctance to admit that the human cost fell on anyone who mattered. The battle scenes depicted on Trajan's column, erected in celebration of the Dacian war, showed moments of extreme violence in the subjugation of the enemy. Dehumanizing the enemy was the key to Roman military success, and Tacitus' effort in his biography of Agricola to conjure up the feelings of Rome's (and Agricola's) opponents, and express them with a rhetoric of patriotism, honour and liberty put into the mouth of Calgacus, was as unusual and subversive as much of the rest of his histories:

When I consider the motives that have roused us to this war; when I reflect on the necessity that now demands our firmest vigour, I expect everything great and noble from that union of sentiment that pervades us all. From this day I date the liberty of all Britain. For you are all here together, still untouched by slavery. Beyond this spot there is no land where liberty can find a refuge … We have not so much as seen the melancholy regions of slavery, our eyes have been unpolluted by the sight of tyranny … In a private family the slave who is last bought in provokes the ridicule even of his fellow slaves; and in this general world-wide servitude, we, the most recent and worth least, are marked out for destruction.

Such empathy with the conquered was rare, or at least rarely expressed. No one in Rome preached pacifism.17

The Roman army which achieved these conquests was famously disciplined, with a clear structure of command. The legionaries, all Roman citizens, were highly trained foot-soldiers, all provided with the same equipment and organized into small groups of eighty men, centuriae, each under the command of a centurion. The centuries were grouped into cohorts (usually six centuries to a cohort), and ten cohorts made up a legion, each usually commanded (from the time of Augustus) by a legionary legate of senatorial rank. Each legion was supported by auxiliary forces of non-citizens, also organized into cohorts and used both as infantry and for other military purposes, such as cavalry. An ethos of service, obedience and loyalty flourished in units in which, in the imperial period, colleagues might spend their whole lives together, from birth “in the camp” to retirement in a colony of veterans after legionary service of twenty or more years. The result was impressive military efficiency at the level of the cohort and the legion, although there was less competence in the strategic operations of the legions as a whole: it may be significant that Romans talked of “the legions” or “the armies” (in the plural) rather than “the army.” In wartime the Roman forces stationed round the empire's frontiers were too fragmented for efficient cooperation. Communications were slow and local commanders were frequently left to their own devices. Hence the tally of defeated troops in the early empire is long. Most notorious was the loss of three legions by Publius Quinctilius Varus in the Teuto-burger forest in 9 CE, which is said to have brought Augustus close to despair. The contemporary historian Velleius Paterculus could only lament the disaster in which “an army unexcelled in bravery, the first of Roman armies in discipline, in energy, and in experience in the field, through the negligence of its general, the perfidy of the enemy, and the unkindness of fortune was surrounded … Hemmed in by forests and marshes and ambushes, it was exterminated almost to a man.” These Roman soldiers could rely for victories on no novel infantry tactics such as the Macedonian phalanx which had enabled Alexander the Great to conquer the Near East in the fourth century BCE, but they excelled in siege warfare and especially the use of the testudo, “tortoise shell,” in which

the heavy-armed troops who use the oblong, curved and cylindrical shields are drawn up around the outside, making a rectangular figure; and, facing outward and holding their arms at the ready, they enclose the rest. The others, who have flat shields, form a compact body in the centre and raise their shields over their own heads and the heads of all the others, so that nothing but shields can be seen in every part of the phalanx alike, and all the men by the density of the formation are under shelter from missiles.

This formation “is so marvellously strong that men can walk upon it, and whenever they come to a narrow ravine, even horses and vehicles can be driven over it.” In open battle the rather rigid methods used by the heavily armed legionary infantry often had to be supplemented by the more fluid fighting techniques of auxiliary troops, who operated not just as light infantry but as cavalry or archers, or camel riders.18

In practice the course of battles might be decided less by firepower or military skill than by psychology, as in the Roman victory at the battle of Zama in 202 BCE, according to the account composed, probably mostly from his imagination, by Livy in the time of Augustus: “The Punic battle-line had been stripped of its cavalry when the infantry clashed, now no longer matched either in their hopes or in their strength. In addition there were what seem small things to mention, but at the same time were highly important in the battle: a harmony in the shouting of the Romans, which consequently was greater in volume and more terrifying; on the other side discordant voices, as was natural from many nations with a confusion of tongues.” In a long fight it was physically impossible to keep actively engaging the enemy without exhaustion. Victory came only when the enemy were persuaded, by displays of force, that they could not win. In any ancient battle, the moment when one side turned to flee was decisive. Soldiers were poorly protected from the rear and could rarely reform once in retreat. Psychology also helped the Romans to win wars even when they lost battles: they treated defeats in battle as temporary reverses and refused to give up, and they ensured that their enemies knew the awful violence they would suffer when Rome was eventually victorious. No matter the scale of the Roman disaster, reinforcements would always come eventually, even if it took years. Even the remarkable career of Arminius, warchief of the Cherusci, who successfully defeated Varus in 9 CE, showed the inexorability of Rome. His victory led to the abandonment of all the land annexed by Augustus between the Elbe and the Rhine, but he himself was subjected to a series of attacks by Roman and pro-Roman forces. In 16 CE he was defeated and wounded and, after a series of intrigues, he died in 19 at the hands of his own kin. Even the change in Roman strategy in the region was disguised by the institutionalization of two Roman armies and two provinces, one of Upper Germany and one of Lower Germany, each in fact with a base on the western bank of the Rhine: for the Roman public, “Germania” was under Roman rule, even though much of the Germany Augustus had once conquered or hoped to conquer in fact remained free. The Romans treated defeated enemies with a ruthlessness unusual in the ancient world. In marked contrast to the ancient Greeks, who subscribed, at least in theory, to gentler rules for the conduct of war, Roman soldiers expected to indulge in extreme violence in the sack of cities at the close of a siege. They treated a period of looting, rape and indiscriminate slaughter of civilians as a natural reward for soldiers as recompense for their efforts. It is unsurprising that many of their opponents preferred to make terms and surrender rather than risk facing such savagery.19

Not that all Romans wholly lacked scruples about warfare. Cicero asserts that: “the only reason to go to war is that we may live in peace unharmed; and when the victory is won, we should spare those who have not been bloodthirsty and barbarous in their warfare,” and he urged that “as to destroying and plundering cities, let me say that great care should be taken that nothing be done in reckless cruelty or wantonness,” although such scruples did not prevent Cicero himself from glorying in his victory over brigands on the Amanus mountain range during his governorship of Cilicia (in modern Turkey) in 51–50 BCE, for which he earned a public supplication in Rome and hoped, unsuccessfully, for a triumph. With rather more integrity, the Stoic philosopher Gaius Musonius Rufus risked his personal safety by preaching peace to the Flavian army before the battle of Cremona on 24 October 69 CE: “he mixed among the soldiers, and, reasoning much concerning good and evil, began a dissertation on the blessings of peace, and the calamities of war. Many were moved to ridicule by his words, more were bored; and there were some who would have jostled him and trampled on him, if he had not listened to the warnings of the quieter individuals and the threats of others and given up his ill-timed maxims of wisdom.” Musonius Rufus would have had little chance of success with such arguments even in a purely philosophical milieu. His fellow Stoic Dio Chrysostom argued later in the first century CE that morality dictated the fulfilment of duty, which could include fighting for your country. The Stoic emperor Marcus Aurelius composed his Meditations while on campaign. The role of philosophy for such Romans was not to provide a moral basis for warfare but to put war into a wider perspective. For the true philosopher, only the interior self really mattered, and it was an error to become too concerned by the horrors of the world around.20

Jews as much as Romans viewed war as a natural condition but, unlike Romans, they sometimes expressed a hope that this might change. Deuteronomy lays down rules for conscription, and for the conduct of troops during conflicts, which presuppose total war. All adult male Israelites, with only a few exceptions, are to fight. The enemy in cities “very far from you” are to be offered a choice of total subjection or the violent consequences: “When the Lord your God has delivered it into your hands, you shall put all its males to the sword, but the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil, shall you take to yourself, and you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemies.” As for the cities in the land of Israel, “which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes; but you shall utterly destroy them.” Hence the treatment of the kingdom of Ai by Joshua more than a thousand years before Jews and Romans came into contact, in the conquest of the land as described in the biblical book of Joshua:

When Israel had made an end of slaying all the inhabitants of Ai in the open wilderness where they chased them, and when all of them to the very last had fallen by the edge of the sword, all Israel returned to Ai, and smote it with the edge of the sword. And all who fell that day, both men and women, were twelve thousand, all the people of Ai. For Joshua did not draw back his hand, with which he stretched out the spear, until he had utterly destroyed all the inhabitants of Ai. Only the cattle and the spoil of that city Israel took as their booty, according to the word of the Lord which he commanded Joshua. And Joshua burned Ai, and made it for ever a heap of ruins, as it is to this day.

Cicero, who approved of the razing “to the ground” of Carthage and Numantia in 146 and 133 BCE, would have been at home in the savage world in which Ai and its inhabitants were said to have been destroyed. In stark contrast, the biblical prophets Isaiah, Micah and Joel all looked forward with longing to a time when there would be no more war at all.

And it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. And many peoples shall come and say: “Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways, and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge between the nations, and shall decide for many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

This notion of permanent peace, shalom, and an end to war, espoused by Isaiah was quite different from the Roman notion of pax, which constituted little more than a pause to take stock between victorious and glorious campaigns.21

Jews in the first two centuries CE were heir to both these biblical traditions. Early rabbis, intent on divining the real meaning of the Bible, distinguished “religious” wars and “mandatory” wars in defence of the Holy Land from “permitted” wars for increase of territory, requiring, in line with Deuteronomy, that no surrender terms be offered to an enemy in mandatory wars. If God requires his people to conquer and kill, it is not for them to argue: “Rabbi Judah said … ‘In a mandatory war all go forth, even the bridegroom out of his chamber and the bride out of her bridechamber.’” The biblical story of the fate of Saul, who was deprived by God of his kingdom in Israel for sparing alive Agag, the king of the Amalekites, against express divine command, as mediated by the prophetSamuel, to “destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass,” functioned as a sufficiently clear lesson. On the other hand, the sacred obligation on Jews in all generations to annihilate the Amalekites and “blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven,” as the injunction was expressed in Deuteronomy, was softened by Josephus, following the version in Exodus, into a prediction by Moses that in fact the Amalekites would be exterminated by an unspecified agent, presumably God. Rabbinic wisdom sayings, attributed to sages such as Hillel, urged generally that Jews should seek peace: “Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving mankind and bringing them close to the Torah,” though this is as likely to refer to the cessation of domestic strife as to avoidance of warfare.22

It seems unlikely from their reported behaviour that any Jews in late antiquity thought of any of the conflicts in which they were involved as “mandatory” wars such as are described in Deuteronomy, although it is evident that they believed they fought with religious authority. Judas Mac-cabee, in his struggle to free the Temple from idolatry in the 160s BCE, is said to have destroyed and plundered the hostile city of Ephron with a ruthlessness equal to Roman practice: “He destroyed every male with the edge of the sword.” Judas' call to arms is described in biblically heroic fashion in I Maccabees:

Then was the congregation gathered together, that they might be ready for battle, and that they might pray, and ask mercy and compassion … Then they fasted that day, and put on sackcloth, and put ashes upon their heads, and tore their garments, and spread out the book of the law, wherein the heathen had sought to paint the likeness of their images. They brought also the priests' garments, and the firstfruits, and the tithes: and they stirred up the nazirites, who had fulfilled their days. Then cried they with a loud voice towards heaven … But as for such as were building houses, or had betrothed wives, or were planting vineyards, or were timid, those he commanded that they should return, every man to his own house, in accordance with the law.

The use of Temple images on the coins of the rebels in Jerusalem in 66—70 suggests strongly that these Jews also believed, at the least, that they were fighting with divine approval, but there is no hint in either Jewish or gentile sources of the ruthless treatment of the gentile enemy in the land of Israel that was prescribed in Deuteronomy for mandatory wars. On the contrary, according to Cassius Dio the Jews in Jerusalem even welcomed deserters from the Roman side in the course of the siege of the city. Reference to holy war seems to have been confined to imaginative accounts of the final eschatological battles at the end of days, as envisaged in the War Scroll from Qumran: “All these shall pursue the enemy to destroy him in an everlasting destruction in the battle of God. The priests shall sound for them the trumpets of pursuit, and they shall deploy against all the enemy in a pursuit to destruction; and the cavalry shall thrust them back on the flanks of the battle until they are utterly destroyed.” In general, however, warfare as described in the War Scroll was not very realistic. It was more like a ritual dance, led by the priests: “And as the slain men fall, the priests shall trumpet from afar; they shall not approach the slain lest they be defiled with unclean blood. For they are holy, and they shall not profane the anointing of their priesthood with the blood of nations of vanity.”23

When Jews fought what later rabbis called “permitted” wars, they seem to have considered themselves more bound by rules of war than Romans did. Josephus, in his summary of the laws of the Jews in Against Apion, chose to include the claim that Moses required Jews to be “considerate even to those who have been adjudged enemies. He does not allow us to burn up their country or to cut down their fruit trees, and forbids even the spoiling of fallen combatants; he has taken measures to prevent outrage to prisoners of war, especially women … [He] bade us even in an enemy's country to spare and not to kill the beasts employed in labour. Thus, in every particular, he had an eye to mercy.” Some of this description was taken from Deuteronomy, but selectively, and some—no burning of enemy territory; no spoiling of dead bodies; sparing beasts of burden—was either traditional or (less likely) invented by Josephus. What is curious is Josephus' evident belief that such an emphasis on the mercy shown by Jews in warfare would appeal to his Roman readers, since he was quite able to write for the same readers in his Jewish War, without obvious disapproval, about the standard violent behaviour of Roman generals in the Jewish world, including, conspicuously, in the treatment by Vespasian in 67 of captured rebels in Tarichaeae, a town on the shore of the Sea of Galilee:

After the battle Vespasian took his seat on his tribunal at Tarichaeae, and, separating the native population from the crowd of immigrants who had evidently given the signal for hostilities, consulted with his commanders whether the lives of the latter also should be spared. All unanimously declared that their liberation would be pernicious; once let loose, these expatriated men would never keep quiet, and would, moreover, be capable of forcing into revolt those with whom they sought refuge. Vespasian recognized that they were undeserving of being saved and that they would only abuse their liberty to the detriment of their liberators, but he asked himself how he could make away with them: if he killed them on the spot, he suspected that he would bitterly alienate the residents, who would not tolerate the massacre in their city of all these refugees who had sued for mercy; on the other hand, he could not bring himself to let them go, and then, after pledging his word, to fall upon them.

But Josephus records that Vespasian was persuaded to overcome his scruples:

Vespasian accordingly granted them an amnesty in equivocal terms, but permitted them to quit the city by only one route, that leading to Tiberias. Prompt to believe what they earnestly desired, the wretches set out in complete confidence, carrying their effects without any disguise, in the prescribed direction. The Romans, meanwhile, lined the whole road to Tiberias, to prevent any deviation from it, and on their arrival shut them into that town. Vespasian followed in due course and had them all removed to the stadium. He then gave orders for the execution of the old and unserviceable, to the number of twelve hundred; from the youths he selected six thousand of the most robust and sent them to Nero at the isthmus. The rest of the multitude, numbering thirty thousand four hundred, he sold, excepting those of whom he made a present to Agrippa, namely the former subjects of his realm; these Vespasian permitted him to deal with at his discretion, and the king in his turn sold them.24

Josephus was not alone in stressing the mercy enjoined on Jews by the Torah. Philo also had emphasized this aspect of the Torah to the greatest extent possible without actually directly contradicting the laws laid down in Deuteronomy. He wrote of the “general commands he [the lawgiver] addresses to the whole nation in common, advising them how to behave not only to friends and allies but also to those who renounce their alliance.” Since the rules which follow mention all those laws about warfare not included in Deuteronomy in the category of mandatory laws required by God for the purification of the Holy Land, it seems that Philo, unlike the early rabbis, and even more unlike the Romans, did not even entertain the possibility that the Torah might permit wars of conquest. According to Philo, the treatment of such rebels must always follow the path of reason:

The Jewish nation is ready for agreement and friendship with all who are like-minded whose intentions are peaceful, yet is not of the contemptible kind which surrenders through cowardice to wrongful aggression. When it takes up arms it distinguishes between those whose life is one of hostility and the reverse. For to breathe slaughter against all, even those who have done very little or nothing amiss, shows what I should call a savage and brutal soul, and the same may be said of counting women, whose life is naturally peaceful and domestic, to be accessories to men who have brought about the war.

Philo elsewhere praises extravagantly the pacifism of the Essenes: “In vain would one look among them for makers of arrows, or javelins, or swords, or helmets, or armour, or shields; in short, for makers of arms, or military machines, or any instrument of war, or even of peaceful objects which might be turned to evil purposes.”25 This aspect of the Essenes was not mentioned by other Greek and Latin writers, nor indeed by Philo in his other account of the group, and it may well be attributable to his desire to idealize his picture of them, but the production of the ideal by a Jewish author writing about Jews of ideal piety in the middle of the first century CE is itself significant. It is evident that some Jews liked to think of themselves as less indiscriminately militaristic than most contemporary Romans. Whether in practice there was any difference in behaviour when the opportunity for war arose is of course another matter. But at least in the case of Jews ethical considerations about the welfare of the enemy could sometimes be raised as a pertinent moral issue, however difficult in practice it might be to enforce such scruples in the heat of conflict. The suggestion that Jews were not belligerent would have sounded bizarre to Romans by 70 CE, after the suppression of a bloody Jewish revolt, but in the time of Philo these unhappy events lay in the future.

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