A Jew Among Romans: The Life and Legacy of Flavius Josephus by Frederic Raphael

By Frederic Raphael

From the acclaimed biographer, screenwriter, and novelist Frederic Raphael, this is an audacious background of Josephus (37–c.100), the Jewish basic became Roman historian, whose emblematic betrayal is a touchstone for the Jew by myself within the Gentile world.
 
Joseph ben Mattathias’s transformation into Titus Flavius Josephus, historian to the Roman emperor Vespasian, is a gripping and dramatic tale. His lifestyles, within the palms of Frederic Raphael, turns into some degree of departure for an appraisal of Diasporan Jews looking a spot within the dominant cultures they inhabit. Raphael brings a scholar’s rigor, a historian’s standpoint, and a novelist’s mind's eye to this venture. He is going past the attention-grabbing info of Josephus’s existence and his singular literary achievements to check how Josephus has been seen through posterity, discovering in him the prototype for the un-Jewish Jew, the assimilated highbrow, and the abiding apostate: the recurrent figures within the lengthy centuries of the Diaspora. Raphael’s insightful photographs of  Yehuda Halevi, Baruch Spinoza, Karl Kraus, Benjamin Disraeli, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Hannah Arendt expand and light up the Josephean worldview Raphael so eloquently lays out.

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From the acclaimed biographer, screenwriter, and novelist Frederic Raphael, this is an audacious heritage of Josephus (37–c. 100), the Jewish basic became Roman historian, whose emblematic betrayal is a touchstone for the Jew on my own within the Gentile world.
 
Joseph ben Mattathias’s transformation into Titus Flavius Josephus, historian to the Roman emperor Vespasian, is a gripping and dramatic tale. His existence, within the palms of Frederic Raphael, turns into some degree of departure for an appraisal of Diasporan Jews looking a spot within the dominant cultures they inhabit. Raphael brings a scholar’s rigor, a historian’s viewpoint, and a novelist’s mind's eye to this venture. He is going past the attention-grabbing info of Josephus’s existence and his singular literary achievements to envision how Josephus has been considered via posterity, discovering in him the prototype for the un-Jewish Jew, the assimilated highbrow, and the abiding apostate: the recurrent figures within the lengthy centuries of the Diaspora. Raphael’s insightful photos of  Yehuda Halevi, Baruch Spinoza, Karl Kraus, Benjamin Disraeli, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Hannah Arendt expand and light up the Josephean worldview Raphael so eloquently lays out.

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In normal times (above, p. 19) an army of four legions would be maintained, against any eventuality, together with an equivalent force of Latins and Allies (above, p. 21). Livy provides details of the numbers of legions raised and kept in service during the two Punic Wars. Surprisingly, during the first war, the total remained at four or five, but during a threatened Gallic invasion in 225, and then over a long succession of years from 218 onwards, the total number in service jumped sharply. An additional seven legions were raised in 217, and the same extra number in 216 (partly to replace losses at Trasimene and Cannae).

Little wonder perhaps that Polybius and his Greek contemporaries should be amazed at the success of the Roman army over the successors of Alexander and the well-tried phalanx. In truth of course, the Greeks were divided among themselves and their strength in decline. The vacuum was there to be filled, and this the Romans proceeded to do, with various protestations of reluctance, more or less sincere, according to circumstances. 2 Marius’ Mules Gaius Marius, who held an unprecedented series of consulships during the last decade of the second century BC, and who defeated first the Numidian kinglet Jugurtha and later the much more serious threat to Italy from migrating Celtic tribes, has often been credited with taking the decisive steps which converted the Roman army formally into the longservice professional force of which the state stood much in need.

Perhaps, then, military surveyors adopted the term from their civilian counterparts, and it may be wrong to seek a purely military derivation for the term. At any rate the abolition of the Alae Sociorum in the early first century BC presumably resulted in alterations to the camp-layout, which may help to explain some of the discrepancies between Polybius’ camp and the ground-plans of forts and fortresses under the Empire (cf. below, figs 47, 48, 52). The legions and the Allies all contributed to the essential work of constructing the camp’s defences—the digging out of the ditch, piling up of the soil to form a low rampart, and the setting into the top of the rampart of the palisade-stakes which the soldiers carried as an essential element of their kit.

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