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6 Rome and Romans as the Jews Saw Them

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Chapter Summary

The expansion of the Roman Empire which resulted in the conquest of Judaea by Pompey and the gradual absorption of the country into the Roman Empire created a measure of enmity between the Jewish state and the Empire. Whether the conquest and the immediate events that followed were echoed in contemporary Jewish literature, other than Miṣnaic and Talmudical literature is controversial. The views on Rome and Romans expressed by the rabbis over a period of half a millennium vary, are often the result of changing political conditions and personal experiences; and since many are midraṣic, aggadic and rather fanciful. The history and geography of Rome and of the Roman Empire naturally attracted the attention of the Jews in Antiquity and probably in particular that of the Jews who lived there, first and foremost among them the Jews of Italy.

Keywords: Italy; Jews; Judaea; Pompey; Roman Empire; Rome



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