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Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome$
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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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Foreign Elites at Rome

Foreign Elites at Rome

(p.53) 2 Foreign Elites at Rome
Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome

G. W. Bowersock

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at Josephus’ literary career in Rome as part of a larger trend, which involved an increasing imperial interest in luring members of the foreign elite to the city within the context of the patron-client relationship. Examples of such men were the Syrian Nicolaus of Damascus, court historian to King Herod the Great during the first century BCE, and Antiochus IV of Commagene, a client king who helped Vespasian’s forces in the Judean War of 66-73 CE. Similarly, this chapter argues that Josephus was closely enmeshed within the Roman elite because of his usefulness as a cultural mediator, a role which had both socio-political and strategic value. Roman interest in the stability of the eastern frontier of the Empire meant an increasing interest in its resident cultures. Josephus’ role was realized through his production of a ‘new kind of historiography’ never before seen at Rome, which portrayed Roman values within the context of Judean history and vice-versa.

Keywords:   patrons, Nicolaus of Damascus, Antiochus IV of Commagene, Agrippa II, historiography, cultural interaction, cultural mediation, foreign elites

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