The Wars of the Jewsby Flavius Josephus
Comprised of seven books, Josephus' account of the fraught and conflicted period of/b>/i>
The Wars of the Jews (also titled The Jewish War) is a history by Roman-Jewish author Flavius Josephus, who chronicles a series of conflicts, skirmishes and events between the Jews, Romans, and other influential groups in the Middle East in the 1st century AD.
Comprised of seven books, Josephus' account of the fraught and conflicted period of Judeo-Roman history is written with an urgency expected of a man who personally witnessed and lived through the tumultuous events he describes. Josephus commences his work with an overview of Jewish history from the Maccabees through to the Roman conquest. Rome's victory celebrations, and the temporary transition of the Roman military from a conquering to an occupying force, is detailed.
The subsequent suppression of the Jewish revolt and the stages of the First Jewish-Roman war are detailed. The Emperor Vespasian oversaw the renewed conflict: his son Titus proved his personal capabilities as a military commander in the Judean theater. Subsequent to Josephus's history, Titus would succeed his father as Roman Emperor with a reputation of a decorated veteran.
Having personally observed the shocking destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. , Josephus felt moved to write his own interpretation of the conflicts which ultimately led to the temple's demise. Having traveled throughout the Middle East and to Rome personally, Josephus had a strong grasp of Jewish and Roman cultures.
Rather than echo other historians of the era by condemning the Jews for agitating the Roman forces, Josephus instead asserts that the war and consequent damage were the result of fanatical zealots. Their charisma led to swathes of the masses lending their support, leaving the traditional Jewish aristocracy - of which Josephus was a member - unable to rein in the popular fury against Rome.
This edition of The Wars of the Jews contains all seven books of Josephus' history in their entirety, together with complete sets of notes which clarify certain passages and terms used in the text, appended at the conclusion of each book. The translation to English is by the respected 18th century scholar, historian and theologian William Whiston.
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