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Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome$

Jonathan Edmondson, Steve Mason, and James Rives

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780199262120

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199262120.001.0001

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Herodians and Ioudaioi in Flavian Rome

Herodians and Ioudaioi in Flavian Rome

(p.63) 3 Herodians and Ioudaioi in Flavian Rome
Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome

Daniel R. Schwartz (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

Focusing on the political relationship between Judaea and Rome, this chapter examines why Agrippa II, a staunch ally of Vespasian and Titus during the Great Revolt, was never rewarded with the kingship of Judea. The answer to this question, according to Schwartz, lies in the Flavian portrayal of Judaea as a conquered territory. This was illustrated by Vespasian’s coinage featuring the legend Iudaea capta. This chapter argues that ‘Judaea’ ceased to be an official designation and its territory started to be referred to as ‘Idumaea’ or ‘Palaestina’. It then weighs in on the debate over translating Iudaeus as ‘Judean’ or as ‘Jew’. In his view, while Graeco-Roman usage originally designated an ethnicity connected with a geographical region (as in ‘Judean’), the word took on a broader meaning (‘Jew’) when the Judean Diaspora started to grow; Judaean religious attributes became the most distinctive marker of their cultural uniqueness.

Keywords:   kingship, Agrippa II, ethnicity, religion, Ioudaios/Iudaeus, Palaestina, Jews, Judaea, Diaspora

This chapter focuses on the intersection between two topics: the fate of the Herodian dynasty under the Flavian emperors and the precise meaning of the Greek and Latin term Ioudaioi/Iudaei. The fact that Vespasian did not restore the Herodian monarchy in Judaea has come to seem inevitable, largely because this is in fact what happened. But at the time other options did exist, and it is worthwhile considering why Vespasian made the decision he did. As for the term Ioudaioi/Iudaei, even with regard to the Roman period a certain trend in recent scholarship prefers the translation ‘Judaeans’ to the traditional ‘Jews’—whether for historical-philological reasons or to avoid, especially in nasty contexts, a term that applies to people alive today.1 I argue that these two apparently disparate issues, one historical and one philological, are actually closely related, and that attitudes towards the Herodians in Flavian Rome had everything to do with the understanding of Ioudaioi/Iudaei.

According to Josephus, writing the introduction to his account of Agrippa I (AJ 18. 128), all or almost all of the Herodian house died out within a hundred years of Herod's death, that is, around the time Josephus himself was nearing the conclusion of his Antiquities in 93/4. It is interesting to contemplate this displaced priest of Jerusalem considering the displaced dynasty of Judaea. For Josephus, however, several Herodians were still prominent in his day. Berenice was of course the most notable example, but there were others, and Josephus could not be sure which of them (p.64) would or would not be favoured. Indeed, it may well be that Josephus himself thought he could play a role in their future.

Although it is clear in hindsight that Rome would not restore the Herodian monarchy in Judaea, and perhaps it should have been clear to contemporaries as well, there was nothing impossible about such a thing happening. An empire which had given up provincial rule of Judaea three decades after it had been instituted, in order to appoint Agrippa I king of Herod's kingdom (41 CE), might well do the same a few decades later and appoint that man's son, Agrippa II—especially in light of the fact that he had put himself squarely in the Roman camp in the Roman–Jewish war. Thus, whatever we think, or whatever contemporaries thought, about the chances of Agrippa II becoming Titus' brother-in-law, it was definitely possible that he would be enthroned as a Roman client in a restored kingdom of Judaea.

Let us look at things from Agrippa II's point of view, beginning in the 70s. It seems that Agrippa could justifiably be very optimistic about his chances to be made king of Judaea. After all, he had actively supported the Roman cause during the great Jewish revolt (HJP 1. 476–7) beginning from the outset in 66 CE, throwing first all his resources as a politician and speaker, then his kingdom's army, into the Roman cause. His troops had been there alongside Rome's from the start. He had entertained Vespasian sumptuously upon the latter's arrival at Caesarea Philippi in 67. He had been wounded while on the Roman side at the siege of Gamala a few months later. He had stolen out of Vitellius' Rome in the summer of 69 to pay homage to Vespasian. Agrippa had hosted Titus' victory games in his own capital city, Caesarea Philippi, featuring the entertaining deaths of great numbers of Jewish prisoners, and even issued his own coins celebrating the Flavians and linking them with Nike/Victoria. Surely Vespasian owed him some return? Again, Agrippa's sister Berenice was Titus' best friend, and it might have seemed reasonable to think that that relationship would enhance Herodian fortunes (Levick 1999–2000). Finally, one Josephus of Jerusalem, who was a Flavian mouthpiece, was working hard in his work of the 70s, his Jewish War, to portray Agrippa as a monarch who was both peace-loving and courageous, a loyal subject of Rome and one who should be acceptable to the Jews too (S. Schwartz 1990: 131–42).

(p.65) Moreover, apart from statements directly in support of Agrippa II, Josephus, in his Jewish War, also took another line which tended to redound to Agrippa's benefit. I refer to the fact that Josephus as author adopts one of the angles that he makes the first major theme of Agrippa's great anti-war speech in Book 2 of the War, namely, the poor quality of the provincial governors, who all too often were corrupt and/or incompetent. Thus Agrippa, in his speech, begins by focusing upon, and admitting the truth of, the Jews' complaints against their cruel and corrupt governors (BJ 2. 350–4); Josephus too, elsewhere in his narrative, makes the point that such governors exasperated the Jews and were therefore responsible in large measure for the revolt (see esp. BJ 2. 272–9; Bilde 1979: 188–9). But what was the alternative? Although the Romans eventually moved to remedy the situation by raising the level of the provincial governors (HJP 1. 514), a more obvious solution would be to revert to the option which the governors had replaced, that is, a Herodian client king. Agrippa II certainly knew that the turbulent period of Pontius Pilate's term as governor, which ended in 37 CE, had been followed by a restored Herodian kingdom, that of Agrippa I, his father (see D. R. Schwartz 1990: 62–6). What happened once could happen again.

Indeed, Josephus' account of the years preceding the restoration of the Judaean monarchy by the installation of Agrippa I in 41 (AJ 18–19) can easily be read as suggesting a second round. Namely, we read (i) of the turbulent years of Pontius Pilate's tenure as governor of Judaea; (ii) of intervention by the Roman governor of Syria (Vitellius); (iii) of further deterioration which led to a major Roman threat to the Temple (Gaius' attempt to erect a statue in it); but then (iv) of a turnabout, a reconciliation sealed by the installation of a king who combined Hasmonean and Herodian pedigrees and who had been close to the emperor. All of that, apart from the fact that the Roman threat to the Temple had been carried out in 70 as opposed to 41, could well have been written about Agrippa II as well. And that one difference—that in 41 the Temple had not been defiled but in 70 was destroyed—could, in fact, have been put to Agrippa II's advantage.

For it must have been clear to Agrippa II that the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem had put an end to Jewish nationalist (p.66) hopes. He might have emphasized that the Jews who had rebelled had done so because of hopes and memories which centred upon the Temple—which too many of them had persisted in viewing as God's House, that is, as the palace of a supreme Jewish monarch who in no way could be considered a vassal of Rome. With the removal of that competition in the destruction of the Temple, there was no reason to fear renewed trouble, such as might require direct Roman rule. Hence, if the Romans wanted to make a gesture of goodwill toward the Jews, to help heal the wounds of the war, it would not be risky to appoint a descendant of the royal house that had proved itself so loyal to Rome for over a century.

So much, on the one hand, for the rosy future, as king of Judaea, which Agrippa II could have set as his goal in the early 70s (see Levick 1999: 27, 185). However, Agrippa not only failed to become king of Judaea; he disappeared from the historical record, leaving it to epigraphists and numismatists as well as some historians (such as C. P. Jones 2002; Kushnir-Stein 2002; and Kokkinos 2003) to decide when he actually died. Let us ask what went wrong.

Levick pins Vespasian's failure to install Agrippa as king of Judaea on his incompetence during the Judaean war; he had failed to keep order (Levick 1999: 27). Yet Agrippa had never been king in Jerusalem or Caesarea, nor anywhere in Judaea for that matter. He had had no responsibility for law and order there. Why hold the rebellion against him? Rather, we should look elsewhere. First of all, consider some personal data. Agrippa, born c.28 CE, was over 40 years old with no heir. This alone could well explain why an emperor would not think it worthwhile to build upon him a new future for Judaea. Berenice too, born only about a year after Agrippa (AJ 19. 354), was no longer young. Berenice's age might help explain why Titus—who was some twelve years her junior—tired of her after a while (GLAJJ 2. 127–8). But it might also have contributed to the casting of her, in Roman public opinion, in the image of a Cleopatra, a wicked eastern princess who had seduced and subjugated a good but inexperienced Roman boy.2 Her brother, Agrippa II, would have been stained by the same brush.

(p.67) It is also the case that in general the last decades of the first century were not good for client kingdoms. The early 70s had witnessed the disappearance of three other client kings, all of whom were somehow close to Agrippa II (Levick 1999: 165–6; see Bowersock, Ch. 2 above). First, in 71 or 72 Vespasian deposed King Aristobulus of Lesser Armenia and annexed that kingdom's territory to the province of Galatia. Aristobulus was Agrippa's first cousin (AJ 20. 158), and that did not bode well. Second, a year or two later Roman forces invaded Commagene and deposed King Antiochus IV (BJ 7. 219–43); after the Roman invasion, Commagene received legionary garrisons and was attached to the Roman province of Syria. Antiochus had been a close associate of Agrippa I, and Antiochus' daughter, Jotape, was married to another cousin of Agrippa II (AJ 18. 140). This was getting even closer to home. Although Josephus goes out of his way to tell this story at length (BJ 7. 219–43), and to portray the deposition of Antiochus as a wicked and dishonest measure initiated by a wicked Roman governor of Syria—that is, although Josephus portrays this in a way which any client king like Agrippa II would want him to—the fact is that Vespasian allowed the matter to stand. Presumably, there was a Roman version of the affair that explained why Antiochus deserved his fate. Third, around the same time, in the early 70s, the kingdom of Emesa disappeared and its territory likewise was attached to Syria. This too hit close to home for Agrippa, for Sohaemus of Emesa, Antiochus of Commagene, and Agrippa repeatedly figure as a trio of loyal client kings who stood closely by Rome, and by Vespasian in particular, during the Judaean war (BJ 2. 501; 3. 68; 5. 460). If their loyalty had not saved Antiochus and Sohaemus, Agrippa had reason to worry that his loyalty would not help him either.

In other words, if we ask ourselves why the kingdom of Judaea was not restored in 70 CE and instead Roman provincial rule was allowed to continue, one might argue that it is natural for empires to rule and unnatural for them to parcel out authority to client kings. Although the Romans had allowed such anomalies to exist in the East for over a century since Pompey, even occasionally restoring a local kingdom after provincialization as in the cases (p.68) of Judaea and Commagene, ultimately they had annexed them. When we note with hindsight that the last of the eastern client kingdoms, that of the Nabataeans, was annexed as a province in the very first decade of the second century, it may perhaps seem superfluous to ask why the Judaean kingdom was not restored just a few decades earlier.

So either the personal facts about Agrippa and Berenice, or the general tendencies of the Empire in the last decades of the first century, might suffice to explain why Agrippa II was not made king of Judaea. It seems, however, that there is more. A fundamental element of the matter is to be found in the fact that the years after 70 saw the demise of the notion that Ioudaioi constituted the type of collective for which a king would be natural or relevant. With the demise of that notion the Herodians became irrelevant.

It seems that it was clear in antiquity, as today, that kings rule territories; for Greek usage it is enough to cite Aristotle's introduction to kings, which takes for granted that they rule over places, such as cities or countries (Pol. 3.9, 1284b). This was self evident in antiquity (as today), as is evidenced by use of ‘kingdom’ in such phrases as μέχρι τῶν ὁρῶν τῆς βασιλείας (‘right up to the boundaries of the kingdom’; cf. the material collected by Bikerman 1938: 3–4), but it was particularly the case with the Jews and Judaea. This is shown plainly by the events of the late second century BCE and the first century BCE. After the Hasmoneans had expanded their state so as to include non-Jews, they took, beginning with Aristobulus I in 104 BCE, the royal title (AJ 13. 301). That is, the move from an ethnic entity to a territorial one entailed the inauguration of kingship (see D. R. Schwartz 1992: 38–9). Conversely, when forty years later Pompey detached non-Jewish territories from Hasmonean jurisdiction he also reduced Hyrcanus II's title from ‘king’ to ‘(high priest and) ethnarch’ (AJ 14. 191, 194, 196, etc.); but when a generation later Herod was installed as client ruler of more or less all the territories and populations which had formerly been ruled by the Hasmoneans, the royal title was restored to him. For while ethnarchs rule a given people, kings rule territories, which might be inhabited by a variety of peoples. Accordingly, had the Ioudaioi basically been understood, in Flavian Rome, to be the people of or from a certain country, Judaea, it would (p.69) have made sense to wonder whether that country should have a Jewish king. If, in contrast, they were taken to be adherents of a religion, or members of a collegium or the like (see Rives, Ch. 7 below), the notion of a King of Judaea would have become irrelevant. Indeed, the very toponym ‘Judaea’ would become problematic, just as we would find it hard to deal with a toponym such as ‘Protestantland’.

There is some Roman evidence for such a reorientation of the understanding of the Ioudaioi, and of the Herodians, in this period, and also some Christian evidence, but the main evidence comes from Josephus himself. Let us begin with the Roman evidence.

First, anyone who peruses the final sections of the first volume of the late Menahem Stern's Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism (1974) will discover that almost no one in the Flavian period calls the Jews ‘Judaeans’; that is, almost no one links the Ioudaioi to Judaea. The evidence falls very neatly into two groups. Many writers speak not of Judaea but rather of ‘Idumaea’ and/or ‘Palaestina’ as the scene of the war and the site of Vespasian's and Titus' great victory; for ‘Idumaea’ see Valerius Flaccus (GLAJJ, no. 226), Silius Italicus (no. 227), Statius (nos. 232, 235, 237), and Martial (nos. 238, 244); for ‘Palaestina’, Silius Italicus (no. 227), Statius (nos. 233–4, 236), and Dio Chrysostom (no. 251). Others, in contrast, refer to Iudaei or Ioudaioi in connection with Jewish practice but do not link them with Judaea: Frontinus (no. 229) refers to the Iudaei who keep the Sabbath; Quintilian (no. 230) refers to Moses (?) as the Iudaicae superstitionis auctor; Damocritus (no. 247) wrote a book about the Ioudaioi and their sacrifices; Nicarchus (no. 248) wrote a book about the Ioudaioi and their legislator, Moyses; Antonius Diogenes (no. 250) says Pythagoras learned from the ‘Hebrews’; and Epictetus (no. 254) refers to the opinions of the Ioudaioi on food and compares Ioudaioi to Epicureans and Stoics. Epicureans and Stoics were types of philosophers, and no one would think of appointing kings for them.

It thus seems to have been becoming problematic for Romans to speak about a place called Judaea or, accordingly, of the Jews as people from such a place. I would not say it was impossible for them to do so, only that it seems to have been something of a problem. I suggest that we could understand the situation if (p.70) we compare it to that of German speakers who were once used to calling Jews Israeliten, especially when they wanted to use a definitely respectful term, given the fact that Juden was at times pejorative; accordingly, it was very common to call the Jewish community of a given place its israelitische Gemeinde. After the foundation of the State of Israel, however, it became confusing to call Jews Israeliten, and no one uses that term any longer; post-war Jewish communities in Germany prefer to term themselves jüdische Gemeinden. It seems that Greek and Latin speakers of the first century were solving the same problem by the opposite process. Namely, the continued existence of Ioudaioi, despite the Roman conquest of Ioudaia and destruction of its capital,3 made it difficult to go on defining the Ioudaioi by reference to Ioudaia. This could be resolved by finding a new name either for the Jews (à la Juden instead of Israeliten) or for Judaea. For the former the obvious alternative was Hebrews, Hebraioi; but although we find this here and there it never really got off the ground.4 Rather, it seems to have been adjudged simpler to take the other route, namely, to refer to that far-off tiny region of the Middle East by another name—and that is what already the Flavian evidence shows, as we have seen. Two generations later Hadrian would make this official, by changing the name of the province to Syria Palaestina (see Smallwood 1976: 463–4).

What is important for us, in this process, is that to the extent people were finding it difficult to maintain the notion of there being a place called Judaea, to that extent it would be less likely that a descendant of the royal house of what had once been Judaea would be re-enthroned.

Of course, the very fact that ‘Idumaea’ was one of the common substitutes for ‘Judaea’—we find it in Valerius Flaccus, Silius Italicus, Statius, and Martial (in this connection, note also Appian, B. Civ. 5. 75, 319 along with GLAJJ 2. 189–90)—might have helped Agrippa II to a kingdom, had he been willing to bill himself as an Idumaean. Indeed, it may well be that it was the Herodians' Idumaean descent which helped engender the use of (p.71) ‘Idumaea’ instead of ‘Judaea’. However, close to two hundred years after their conversion to Judaism, and after generations of having to defend themselves as Ioudaioi and not Idumaeans or mere ‘half-Jews’ (see AJ 14. 403; cf. 19. 332; m. Sotah 7: 8; and D. R. Schwartz 1990: 124–30, 219–22), Agrippa was not about to do that. Even if there were still some Jews who had their doubts about it, Agrippa was a Ioudaios, certainly in Roman eyes, and in his own. To cite just a few data: he seems to have insisted that his sister's husband convert to Judaism (AJ 20. 139), and in the 40s and 50s he now and then applied his influence in order to support this or that Jewish cause in Rome (AJ 20. 9, 135), just as in Jerusalem he had accepted and fulfilled the role of overseeing the Temple of the Jewish God (AJ 20. 16, 104, 179, etc.). Accordingly, the popularity of the term ‘Idumaea’, just as that of ‘Palaestina’, did nothing to make it seem reasonable that he be made king of the country. It functioned only to undercut the notion that the Ioudaioi constituted an entity for which kings were natural or relevant.

Another factor that contributed to the same result was the growing prominence of Christianity in Rome of the late first century. For it was obvious to all that Christianity came from Judaism—whether one said that it was a type of Judaism, or rather that it had grown out of it. But whatever it was—religio? collegium? philosophia?—Christianity was definitely not a territorial entity or phenomenon. The more prominent Christianity became, the more people there would be who would have to formulate, for themselves or for others, what the difference was between Christians and Ioudaioi—and the answer would necessarily be given with regard to matters of religion, not of state. Thus, the importance of distinguishing between Christians and Ioudaioi served to point up the religious characteristics of the latter. But just as no one would contemplate appointing a king of the Christians, for a king is simply irrelevant to a non-territorial entity, so too would it become less and less relevant to consider doing the same for Ioudaioi.

Moreover, Christianity was to make a very specific contribution to such a reevaluation of the relevance of Herodian kingship, for the Gospels used, and perhaps put into circulation, the term ‘Herodians’ (Matt. 22: 16; Mark 3: 6, 12: 13), using it in such a way that any reader would infer that it was of the same league (p.72) as ‘Pharisees’, ‘Sadducees’, and ‘Christians’. That is precisely how the term is used by its earliest Christian interpreters—to denote those who believed that Herod was the messiah (Schalit 2001: xii, 470–80). Whether or not that is what was meant by the tradition underlying the Gospels is irrelevant. What is important is that the presentation of the supporters of the Herods as if they were at the centre of a religious belief is part and parcel of the same process which assumes that the Jews have a religion but no state, no territory. Hence there was no reason for them to have a king.

But our main evidence for such a reorientation of an understanding of the Ioudaioi, in Flavian Rome, comes from Josephus. Here I would like to focus on two expressions of this process and indicate especially the implications they had for the question of the restoration of a Herodian monarchy in Judaea.

First, I would underline the implication of a central theme of Josephus' Jewish War, which is that the Jewish God had abandoned the Jews. This point is made at numerous places throughout the work, not all as explicit as 2. 539 and 7. 327–31, 358–60, at the beginning and end of the War. In fact, the entire narrative of the War is governed by the notion that it was due solely to God's initiative and intervention that the Romans were able to inflict such a defeat upon the Jews. This is underlined, in the very same way, at all three decisive junctures of the war: in each case, the Romans would not have succeeded had it not been for God's help. No attentive reader can miss the point. Namely, at BJ 4. 76 we read that at Gamala the Jews had at first been impregnable but were finally defeated when the ‘daemonic wind’ (θύελλα δαιμόνιος) turned in such a way as to aid Roman arrows and deflect those of the Jews, the storm also preventing the Jews from being able to defend the city walls. Thus ended the northern campaign. Next, at 6. 252, although Titus had forbidden the burning of the Temple, a soldier acting on ‘daemonic impulse’ (δαιμονίῳ ὁρμῇ) nevertheless threw in a torch and it proved impossible to put out the flames. Thus ended the central stage of the War. Finally, at 7. 318–19 we read again that it was from ‘daemonic provision’ (ἐκ δαιμονίου προνοίας) that the wind turned the flames against the Jews and allowed the Roman success at Masada; and this time, so as to leave no doubt about the identity of the ‘daemon’ who controls the winds, Josephus (p.73) adds explicitly that the Romans had the advantage of a military alliance with God (τοῦ θεοῦ συμμαχίᾳ). The same notion is implied in the other two cases as well; see BJ 4. 26; 6. 250, 268.

That is, at these three crucial junctures which punctuate his Jewish War, the Roman victories in the north, centre, and south of the country, Josephus accepts the notion that the war was not so much between the Jews and Rome as between the Jews and their God.5 The Romans were God's agents; alone, without His assistance, they could not have succeeded. But since He did help them, to the extent of having them destroy His house in Jerusalem even against their own better judgement, it follows that He has abandoned the Jews and—as Josephus put it at War 5. 367—taken up residence in Italy.

This corresponds to a theme I have developed elsewhere, namely, Josephus' claim in his Jewish War that Jewish religious figures were among the main sponsors of the war against Rome (for the next two paragraphs, see D. R. Schwartz 1992: 29–43). True, Josephus does not like those religious figures—he prefers to call them ‘false prophets’ and ‘charlatans’—but he admits they were doing what they did as religious figures. His stance in the Jewish War is that Jewish religion and Jewish state went hand in hand and, having been misled into a course of collision with Rome, had been destroyed.

This was a line that might have suited Agrippa II well. For the more the Romans thought that it was representative of the Jews, the more they would think that now Judaea was just another territory, whose Jewish residents could have no further thought of a competing sovereign apart from Rome and its agents. Agrippa could hope to be made one such agent; he, in fact, had the most promising credentials and curriculum vitae.

In the Antiquities, by contrast, Josephus takes quite another tack, one familiar from the Hebrew Bible and then again from diaspora Judaism of the Second Temple period, although such Judaean, or basically Judaean, works as I Maccabees and Josephus' War largely ignored it. Namely, from the prologue of Antiquities (1. 14) on, Josephus emphasizes that the relationship of the Jews and their God is alive and well, but it includes (p.74) clauses which require obedience to the law and allow for condign and edifying punishment—including at the hands of unwitting agents—when it is disobeyed (Cohen 1979: 87–9, 148–51; D. R. Schwartz 2003: 112 n. 10). He also strives to separate rebel leaders from the Jewish religion, substituting, for the armed prophets of the War, unarmed prophets and nonreligious rebels (compare, especially, BJ 2. 258–65 with AJ 20. 167–72, also BJ 7. 437–41 with Vit. 424–5).

But acceptance of this point of view, which makes being Jewish a function of law rather than place, makes Jewish monarchy irrelevant. And this is not only implicit. It is also explicit in Josephus' work of the 90s: in the claim (Ap. 2. 165) that the Jews' constitution is not—we might add ‘any more’ (D. R. Schwartz 1983/4)—one of the standard political types, such as monarchy or oligarchy, but, rather, a ‘theocracy’, ruled by priests. It is also implied, quite clearly, by Antiquities' emphasis upon liberty (ἐλευθερία) as the Jews' goal;6 although Josephus' main interest is in portraying the Jews' liberty as the freedom to obey their ancestral laws, it is nevertheless true that classical and Hellenistic usage viewed liberty and rule by kings as mutually exclusive categories; see Antiquities 14.41 and its parallel in Diodorus 40. 2 (GLAJJ 1. 185–6). But especially we would direct attention, here, to Josephus' expansive development, in the early books of his Antiquities, of the strictures in Deuteronomy 17 and I Samuel 8 concerning the evils of monarchy (AJ 4. 223–4; 6. 40–2). In these passages, especially the latter, Josephus waxes eloquent about the wicked behaviour to be expected of kings and their servants.

This is particularly important because Agrippa II turns into something of a villain in the Antiquities. Here, as opposed to the War which judges him qua vassal monarch and gives him very high marks, Josephus applies religious standards and condemns him time and again.7 If in elements of the Antiquities (p.75) which were not at all paralleled in the War Josephus portrays Agrippa I as a loyal devotee of the Jewish religion and a hero (19. 328–34), Agrippa II, in similarly new elements, is not only sullied by a rumour of incest (AJ 20. 145) but also condemned for financing idolatry in Berytus (20. 212) while at the same time being disrespectful and sacrilegiously innovative with regard to various aspects of the Jerusalem Temple and its cult (AJ 20. 189–96, 216–18). Indeed, the younger Agrippa is made explicitly responsible for bringing divine wrath down upon Jerusalem (AJ 20. 218).8 Similarly, Josephus severely condemns two of the sisters of Agrippa II, who married unconverted gentiles (AJ. 20. 141–7). In this connection Cleopatra also comes off terribly in the Antiquities, as one who subjugated Antony and tried to seduce Herod too (see AJ 14. 324, 15. 65, and esp. 15. 88–95 and 97–9). While there is one nasty passage in War (1. 359–60), it continues in a restrained vein (1. 362) while the parallel in Antiquities 15. 97 becomes even nastier as it proceeds. Similarly, note the venom against Cleopatra in Against Apion (Ap. 2. 56–60), which is more or less contemporary with Antiquities and equally as nasty. This seems to go hand in hand with the new negative picture of Berenice, just as, correspondingly, there is nothing in the Antiquities to correspond to the picture of a religious Berenice offered in War 2. 313–14. Again, in the Antiquities (20. 214) Josephus blames other relatives of Agrippa II—Saul and Costobar—for hooliganism which contributed to the breakdown of law and order in Jerusalem; although these individuals are mentioned in the War, there they are positively portrayed as seekers of peace, loyal subjects of Rome (BJ 2. 418, 556).

Other descendants of Herod, from his son Alexander, are condemned for dissociating themselves from the Jewish religion (AJ 18. 127, 141); the fact that some of them had been vassal kings here and there no longer impressed Josephus. After all, Josephus himself told at length the story of the royal house of Adiabene which converted to Judaism and nevertheless continued ruling successfully, indeed bringing God's beneficent providence upon their kingdom (AJ 20. 17–96). But this meant all the more clearly (p.76) that kings who were born Jewish could and should remain Jewish even when ruling Armenia or—like another cousin, Alexander—some part of Cilicia (AJ 18. 140); those who did not were to be condemned. In short, as Josephus writes (AJ 18. 127–8), if the whole Herodian house died out within a century of Herod's death, this is because only piety vis- à-vis God matters, and piety was sorely lacking among the Herodians.

This development in Josephus' thought is also reflected, I believe, in his use of the adjective ᾽Ιουδαϊκός ‘Jewish’, and I would suggest that the question of whether to translate Ioudaios by ‘Jew’, as was once usual, or by ‘Judaean’, as some now prefer, may be illuminated by the investigation of this adjective and its nuances in Josephus' different works. Anyone who checks Josephus' usage will find, first of all, that in the War the reference seems almost always ethnic, referring neither to a place nor to a religion, but rather to a people. Thus, in BJ 1. 88 τὸ ᾽Ιουδαϊκόν revolts against Alexander Jannaeus, but at 1. 93 τὸ εὐνοοῦν ᾽Ιουδαϊκόν are the Jews who have good will toward that king; at 1. 351 τὸ ᾽Ιουδαϊκόν refers to the Jewish part of Herod's army; 2. 105 has τὸ ᾽Ιουδαϊκόν being the Jewish population of Rome, and various other passages in War 2 refer to τὸ ᾽Ιουδαϊκόν as being the Jewish population of a given city (2. 399, 478, 487, 492, 495). These are more or less all of the cases; to them we may add one each where it seems to refer more to territory (1. 543) or to religion (2. 560). What is important for us to note, however, is what changed by the time we get to the Antiquities. Here, fifteen years or so after writing the War, while Josephus preserved some of the same usage, especially τὸ ᾽Ιουδαϊκόν being the Jewish population of a given place, and while we frequently find it being used to render the title of Josephus' Jewish War (AJ 13. 173, 298; 20. 258; Vit. 412), where it apparently means ‘Judaean War’,9 it frequently now refers to the Jewish religion. First, and most strikingly, I would note several Roman documents (AJ 14. 228, 234, 237, 240, 258) that refer to the ἱερὰ ᾽Ιουδαϊκά observed by Jews living in the diaspora. Here we must translate ‘Jewish rites’, and we are basically in the realm of religion, not state. Indeed, the last of these documents specifies that those Jews who so desire (p.77) may observe the ἱερὰ ᾽Ιουδαϊκά, thus indicating that there is here a matter of choice. But choice goes together with religion, not state or ethnicity. Similarly, at 18. 55 Josephus speaks of Pilate, the Roman governor of Judaea, violating the νόμιμα ᾽Ιουδαϊκά. It is clear that Josephus does not mean the Roman governor violated the laws of his realm, and so the adjective here should be rendered by ‘Jewish’ or ‘Judaic’, not ‘Judaean’.10 Similarly, at AJ 17. 41, speaking of the Pharisees, Josephus refers to the Pharisees as a μόριόν τι ᾽Ιουδαϊκῶν ἀνθρώπων, ‘a group of Jewish men’, not just a group of Ioudaioi. It seems that this phrasing bespeaks the knowledge that a Ioudaios need not adhere to Judaism, however normal it might be to do so.

That is, to summarize: in this way too, concerning ᾽Ιουδαϊκός, if one compares the War and the Antiquities, Josephus' usage seems to show a growing notion of the Jews as people defined not by virtue of their relationship to a place, but, rather, by virtue of their relationship to a religion. Although the term Ioudaioi would survive, more and more it would be understood not as if it referred to people of or from a place called Ioudaia (Judaea), but, rather, as if it referred to ἄνθρωποι ᾽Ιουδαϊκοί, which I take to denote people devoted to Ioudaismos—what we call ‘Jews’, not Judaeans. Such people had no need for a king. To the extent that even the toponym ‘Judaea’ was becoming problematic and was tending to be changed to something else, whether popularly (‘Idumaea’) or officially (‘Palaestina’), the dynasty which had once ruled Judaea, but now remained Ioudaioi, would become even less relevant. Indeed, the Flavian period would even see Christian writers coining or using a term, ‘Herodians’, which tended to remove Herod's descendants from the political sphere and make them also religious figures. Finally, to the extent that other Jews too, and not just Josephus, tended to adopt a notion of themselves which gave up on statehood or at least shelved hopes for it, the Romans would have little to gain by a gesture to the Jews similar to that of 41 CE, when Agrippa I was installed to calm the situation after Gaius Caligula's threat to the Temple.

Just before introducing Agrippa I, Josephus gives a detailed genealogy of Herod's descendants, tracing especially the (p.78) descendants of his two semi-Hasmonean children, Aristobulus and Alexander. Josephus notes that the descendants of Alexander left Judaism behind (AJ 18. 141). He says no such thing of the descendants of Aristobulus, for he was on the verge of telling the story of one such descendant, Agrippa I, whom he would portray as a pious Jewish king. In the parallel narrative in his Jewish War, Josephus went on to preserve the reputation of Agrippa II as well, whether because he was hoping for Agrippa's enthronement as King of Judaea or because he was simply being prudent and taking such a possibility into consideration. But by the time he wrote the Antiquities Josephus had no such doubts,11 and he had no difficulty applying to Agrippa II the same standard which he had applied to Alexander's descendants. To my mind, this is part and parcel of Josephus' transformation from Judaean into Jew.


(1)  For what may be the most influential conquest of this new fashion, see BDAG, s.v. ᾽Ιουδαῖος. For my own understanding of how the term changed, during the Second Temple period, from the territorial sense that corresponds to ‘Judaean’ to the more nebulous national and religious sense(s) better represented by ‘Jew’, see D. R. Schwartz 1992: 5–15.

(2)  For the comparison of Berenice to Cleopatra, see Levick 1999: 185, 194. For Cleopatra's image, in the context of Roman fears of the East, see Charlesworth 1926: 10–11; Volkmann 1953: 213–18.

(3)  To which one may add that Jews, qua rebels, lost their ownership of much land in Judaea, although this should not be overstated; see Isaac 1984; Levick 1999: 149–50.

(4)  For the evidence, which indicates that the term usually retained an archaic flavour, see Harvey 1996: 104–47; Runia 1994: 14–17.

(5)  For the finality of a thrice-repeated theme, cf. Acts 13: 46, 18: 6, and then, finally, 28: 28.

(6)  ‘One might almost say that liberty is the leitmotif of the history of the Jewish people as Josephus sees it’ (Feldman 1998: 148, referring to AJ 1–8; see also 435, 504). For Josephus' changing views of ‘liberty’, from political sovereignty to religious autonomy, see D. R. Schwartz 2002. On this theme, see e.g. Herodotus 1. 62; Jos. AJ 6. 61; Charlesworth 1926: 10. On this theme in Josephus' own days, see Shotter 1978.

(7)  For the mixed image of Agrippa II in AJ, as opposed to the positive one in BJ, see S. Schwartz 1990: 151–60.

(8)  Elsewhere, I have argued that Josephus borrowed his anti-Agrippa II material in AJ 20 from another source; see D. R. Schwartz 1981–2. Although the present recognition that this material conforms to a Josephan bias in AJ somewhat weakens the point of departure in that article, it need not affect its conclusion.

(9)  The parallel with ‘African War’, ‘Gallic War’ and the like has often been noted, the implication (‘Judaean’ rather than ‘Jewish’) not always as often; see e.g. Thackeray 1929: 29–30.

(10)  In this context, I would note that it is a mistake to translate πάτριοι νόμοι as ‘laws of the country’, although this is frequently done in the Loeb translation; see D. R. Schwartz 1998: 251–2.

(11)  Whether or not Agrippa was still alive; see C. P. Jones 2002; Kushnir-Stein 2002; and Kokkinos 2003.