Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations by Martin Goodman

Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient CivilizationsStarts with the war in the year 70, leading up to Titus and the legion burning down the Temple.

Part two covers the Mediterranean region under Roman rule, and the Jewish communities in Jerusalem, Egypt, and other localities. What were communities like, who was head of household, how did they worship, lots of interesting details.

Romans expected citizens to sacrifice to Roman Emperors, past and present. Jews were fiercely monotheistic. Bit of a conflict there. For a long time, Emperors allowed Jews to sacrifice to their own god for the good of the state. When the occasional Emperor insisted that the Jews sacrifice to the cult of Emperors, the Jews revolted, and the Emperor’s eventually made peace.

What changed? Emperors stopped leading the legions, and needed some victory to point at. “Judea Capta” let the capture of Jerusalem stand for military victory for several Caesars. It would have been bad politics to let Jews rebuild their temple and undo the victory. Then Constantine converted to Christianity, and that was the last nail in the coffin.


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