Today,  Jews across the world observe Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day. It celebrates that day 44 years ago when Israeli troops reunited Jerusalem and Jews were able to pray at holy sites in the old city for the first time in almost 20 years.

One of the Palestinian Authority’s famous frauds is the claim that there was never a Jewish Community in the Holy Land. They like to say that any Jewish claim to Jerusalem or the Temple Mount began with the Zionist movement 100 years ago. Of course that’s a lie.

Even after the Bar Kochba revolt in 135 CE when the Romans punished the Jews  for revolting by changing the name of their country from Judea to Palestinia (after the Philistines the ancient Jewish Enemy who no longer existed) and the name of the holy city from Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina (literally Capitoline Hill of the House of Aelius) ,  most of the world recognized the Holy Land and Jerusalem as Jewish. The truth of the matter is that even ancient Muslim writings recognized Jerusalem as a Jewish City.

For ancient Greek and Roman pagan authors, Jerusalem definitely was a Jewish city. An examination of their texts indicates the unanimous agreement that Jerusalem was Jewish by virtue of the fact that its inhabitants were Jews, it was founded by Jews and the Temple, located in Jerusalem, was the center of the Jewish religion.

These ancient texts, disprove recent attempts by Muslims and others to deny the historic connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem and the location of the Temple in Jerusalem through fabrications and lies.

The Greeks probably were the first to record information about the customs, life styles and societies of the different peoples whom they encountered or heard about during their travels in various parts of the world. Jews were one of the many peoples whom they met and observed.[10] 

In the late fourth century BCE, several texts portray Jews in a complimentary fashion, as philosophers.[14] Throughout the third century BCE, however, less favorable comments about the Jews circulated throughout Ptolemaic Egypt, which had undergone rapid Hellenization. Outstanding among the anti-Jewish accusations was an alternative to the Biblical narrative of the Exodus.[15] One of the anti-Exodus tales, presented by the Egyptian priest Manetho (mid-third century BCE) portrayed the Jews as foreigners, descendants of shepherd-kings who had taken over Egypt and had joined with others who were ridden with disease and killed the animals which the Egyptians venerated as gods.[16] Subsequently, they were expelled from Egypt and established their own polity under their leader Moses who gave them a way of life which differed from that of the rest of mankind. Hence, the Jews were accused of xenophobia and disrespect for the gods of other nations and were viewed as practitioners of a strange way of life.[17]

Some writers recall distinctive Jewish customs, such as the absence of representations of the deity, male circumcision, dietary laws and the observance of the weekly day of rest, the Sabbath. Indeed, in 167 BCE, the Greek Seleucid King Antiochus IV ordered Jews to place an idol of Zeus in the Temple, outlawed circumcision, demanded the sacrifice of swine and forbade Sabbath observance (I Maccabees 1:41-50). He thus desired to eliminate those unique features of the Jewish religion which had been noted by pagan writers.

Anti-Exodus narratives and accusations of Jewish sacrilege against other nations’ gods emerged in times of political and cultural crises and may have been a reaction to the fact that Judaism was attractive to many Greeks and Romans.[18] By the middle to late first century BCE, the Romans dominated much of the known world west of the Euphrates, with its large Greek and Jewish populations. The Romans adopted many of the Greek charges against the Jews, to which they added accusations of insubordination to Roman rule.

So embedded were the Greek libels, that even several decades after the brutal suppression of the Jewish revolt against Rome (66-70 CE) and the destruction of the Temple and of Jerusalem (70 CE), the Roman historian Tacitus repeated the standard anti-Exodus canard and expressed himself as though the Jews were still a major threat to Imperial world domination, as follows: “… Moses introduced new religious practices, quite opposed to those of all other religions. The Jews regard as profane all that we hold sacred; on the other hand, they permit all that we abhor.”[19]

During the decades and centuries following the conquest of the Near East by Alexander the Great in the 330s and 320s BCE, Greek soldiers and civilians populated and colonized the entire area, established major cities, such as Alexandria in Egypt, and spread their system of local government, language, culture, art, religion, and way of life throughout the region. The Greeks promoted and advocated the adoption of their life style and mores; namely, Hellenization, which in contemporary parlance may be termed the first manifestation of “globalization.” All the peoples whom they ruled and amongst whom they lived, including the Jews in the Land of Israel and the Diaspora (a Greek term), had to contend with the challenge of Hellenization through assimilation, adaptation or resistance.[13]

Even 2,000 years ago Antisemitism was popular in western cuture.

According to Manetho, for example, after Pharaoh expelled the sacrilegious Jews, a tribe of the usurper shepherd-kings called “Hyksos” dominated the land. They were joined by others who were afflicted with leprosy and diseases. “They journeyed over the desert … they built in the land now called Judaea a city large enough to hold all those thousands of people and gave it the name of Jerusalem.” In a subsequent section, Josephus again quotes Manetho as stating that after the Jews “were driven out of the country, [they] occupied what is now Judea, founded Jerusalem, and built the temple.” While Josephus wrongly cites Manetho’s history as attributing to Moses the building of the Temple, he mentions that Manetho notes that Moses “who framed their [the Jews’] constitution and their laws” was a native Egyptian.[20]

In an account by Hecataeus of Abdera (c. 300 BCE), Jerusalem appears toward the conclusion of his counter-Exodus account and before his description of Jewish society and practices. He attributes the expulsion of the Jews to the pestilence which the Egyptians blamed upon the presence of foreigners, not only Jews, who caused the natives to falter in religious observance. “Therefore, the aliens were driven from the country.” While some went to Greece, most “were driven into what is now called Judaea … at that time utterly uninhabited … on taking possession of the land, he [Moses] founded, besides other cities, one that is the most renowned of all, called Jerusalem. In addition, he established the temple that they hold in chief veneration, instituted their forms of worship and ritual, drew up their laws and ordered their political institutions.”[21]

Hecataeus and other writers designate Moses as founder of Jerusalem, builder of the Temple, and architect of the Jewish religion. .. For a Greek, however, it would make sense that Moses built the Temple. Logically speaking, the first major leader of people, conqueror of its land and creator of its laws and social norms had to be regarded as the founder of its most important city and shrine. It is noteworthy that Moses “the Lawgiver” figures prominently as the founder of Judaism both in Greek and Roman writings and in Josephus’ defense of Judaism in the second half of his Against Apion.[22]

While the narratives noted above feature Moses as the founder of the Temple, three relatively obscure sources of the second century BCE link the Temple to King Solomon and point out his association with King Hiram of Tyre, who assisted in its construction. These sources are brief and contain no historical background or material on the Jews.[28]

Several of the selections in Against Apion which include the anti-Exodus narrative also provide descriptions of the interior and exterior of the Temple and some of its rituals. For example, Hecataeus states that in the center of the city is an enclosure where there is “a square altar built of heaped up stones, unhewn and unwrought.” The Temple itself is “a great edifice containing and altar and a lamp stand, both made of gold … upon these is a light which is never extinguished … there is not a single statue or votive offering, no trace of a plant in the form of a sacred grove, or the like.”[29] And in his account of Titus’ siege of Jerusalem, Tacitus describes the Temple as “… built like a citadel, with walls of its own … the very colonnades made a splendid defense. Within the enclosure is an ever-flowing spring.”[30]

In addition to physical descriptions, the authors mention the religious aspect of the Temple which differed radically from Greek and Roman paganism. In the text preserved by Diodorus, Hecataeus mentions the priests and their duties in the Temple and even describes a worship service and sacrifice.[31] Similarly, the first century Roman historian Livy remarks that the Jews do not state “to which deity pertains the temple at Jerusalem, nor is any image found there, since they do not think the God partakes of any figure.”

In the same vein, Tacitus reports that “there were no representations of the gods within, but … the place was empty and the secret shrine contained nothing” and “only a Jew may approach its doors, and that all save the priests were forbidden to cross its threshold.”[32] Cassius Dio (c.200 CE) recalls that the Jews “never had any statue of him [the deity] even in Jerusalem itself.” The latter states that their temple “was extremely large and beautiful, except in so far as it was open and roofless.”[33]

Hecataeus, Livy, and Cassius Dio explain the absence of representation as part of Jewish “otherness” in a factual manner. Several Greek writers, however, interpret the fact that there were no statues of the gods in the Temple not only as unusual, but also as barbaric and indicative of Jewish misanthropy. In their view, it would be inconceivable that a sacred shrine would be empty. Therefore, several authors offered their versions of what exactly stood in the Temple. Diodorus (first century BCE) writes that when “Antiochus, called Epiphanes, on defeating the Jews had entered the innermost sanctuary of the god’s temple, where it was lawful for the priest alone to enter. Finding there a marble statue of a heavily bearded man seated on an ass, with a book in his hands, he supposed it to be an image of Moses, founder of Jerusalem … who had ordained for the Jews their misanthropic and lawless customs. … Antiochus … sacrificed before the image of the founder and the open-air altar of the god a great sow.”[34] Diodorus asserts that what stood in Judaism’s holiest place was ridiculous and revolting; namely, the presence of a statue of an ass, a lowly beast of burden, whose rider had established Jewish xenophobia, and that Antiochus sacrificed an animal known by all to be forbidden to the Jews in their holiest shrine.[35]

With the Antisemitism, the Greeks also started the “blood libel”

Apion (mid-first century CE) conveys a malicious and defamatory description of the contents of the sanctuary in Jerusalem. In order to give his anti-Jewish arguments greater authority, Apion attributes this account to the well known Greek philosopher and ethnographer Posidonius (c.135-51 BCE) and the rhetorician Apollonius Molon (first century BCE).[36] As in the case of Diodorus, the invasion of Antiochus Epiphanes serves as the point of departure for the description, as follows: “Within the sanctuary … the Jews kept an ass’s head [made of gold], worshipping that animal and deeming it of deepest reverence.”[37]

The narrative continues with an astonishing calumny. Apion relates that when Antiochus entered the sanctuary, he discovered a Greek imprisoned inside, on a couch next to a table laden with excellent food. The Greek hailed Antiochus as his savior. For, according to Apion, the Jews kidnapped a Greek annually, brought him to the sanctuary, fattened him up with sumptuous meals, sacrificed him, ate his flesh and then swore an oath of hostility to the Greeks.[38] While Josephus dismisses this canard as malicious rubbish and baseless lies, it is clear that the fact that Jews had no statues in their Temple in Jerusalem served as the background for the fabrication of accusations of kidnapping, human sacrifice, cannibalism and misanthropy on the part of the Jews.[39] This libel provided a basis for the attempts to deprive them of their civic rights which were contested in Alexandria in the first century CE by figures such as Apion. Hence, the Temple appears as a salient feature of pagan anti-Judaism.

Panorama of Jerusalem Taken in Early 1800s

In addition, the fact that Jews contributed annually to the Temple thereby filling it with silver and gold objects and monies was considered as a point of contention. In 59 BCE, the great Roman orator Cicero defended Flaccus, when the latter sought to prevent the Jews of the Empire from sending large sums of money to Jerusalem. Cicero describes the collection of vast amounts of gold and calls Judaism a “barbaric superstition.”[40]

Tacitus also adds a financial dimension to his critique of Judaism and the Temple, complaining that other peoples join the Jews, “renouncing their ancestral religions … sending tribute and contributing to Jerusalem, thereby increasing the wealth of the Jews.”[41] While both Cicero and Tacitus mention Jerusalem as the destination for the contributions of the Jews, it is clear from the context that their intention is the Temple, which the latter describes as “possessing enormous riches.”[42]

In conclusion, descriptions of the Temple form part of the accounts on Jerusalem and on Judaism. They range from the factual to the libelous and bizarre. For the Greeks and Romans, Jerusalem was famous for its Temple which served as the focal point of the xenophobic, strange and possibly menacing rites of the Jews whose contributions brought much gold into the city. The latter may have encouraged a certain amount of envy among Gentiles. After its destruction in 70 CE, the memory of the Temple persisted in the retrospective histories by Tacitus and by Cassius Dio.

Jerusalem and the Temple also appear as the site of several major historical events, mainly invasions of Greek monarchs and Roman generals. We have seen the significance of Antiochus IV Ephiphanes’ entry into Jerusalem and his despoliation of the Temple which served as the pretext for anti-Jewish descriptions of the interior of the sanctuary, distortions of Judaism and slander of the Jews. Antiochus appears favorably in the works of Diodorus and Apion, cited above. Similarly, Tacitus presents Antiochus positively as the prototype of a leader who attempted to “abolish Jewish superstition and to introduce Greek civilization.”[43]

It is noteworthy that an earlier capture of Jerusalem by the Greek-Egyptian King Ptolemy, son of Lagus, provided an opportunity for the obscure Agatharchides of Cnidus (second century BCE) to remark about the fact that “the people known as Jews, who inhabited the most strongly fortified of cities, called by the natives Jerusalem” lost their city because they would not defend it on the Sabbath. Josephus includes this selection in Against Apion as one of the early pagan critiques of the Jewish Sabbath which Agatharchides deemed as “folly,” “dreams,” and “traditional fancies about the law.”[44]

In this instance, the capture of Jerusalem serves as background for the author’s unfavorable comments on the Sabbath. Similarly, Cassius Dio attributes the capture of the Temple by the Roman general Pompey the Great in 63 BCE to the fact that the Jews, given their “superstitious awe” did not defend the city on “the day of Saturn” (the Sabbath).[45] Cassius Dio, however, concentrates on Roman victories and accomplishments and mentions the issue of the Sabbath in passing.

The biographer Plutarch (mid-first-early second century CE) notes the siege of Jerusalem by the Seleucid monarch Antiochus VII Sidetes in 133-132 BCE at the time of the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles. The author describes this festival at length in another work.[46] According to Plutarch, Antiochus VII provided the sacrificial animals for the Temple and allowed a seven day truce, after which the Jews submitted to him.[47] From this passage, it is clear that the inhabitants of Jerusalem are the Jews; that their Temple is located there; and their religious practices affect the outcome of the invasions of Greek rulers.

Jerusalem also serves as the venue for eliciting praise of Roman figures or glorifying the victories and history of Rome. The invasion of Jerusalem and the Temple by Pompey the Great in 63 BCE appears in several Roman sources. Livy erroneously states that Pompey was the first to capture Jerusalem and the Temple.[48] Other authors focus on the fact that Pompey neither damaged the Temple nor removed any of the gold or he vessels of the Temple.[49]

While Jerusalem and the Temple are important in these sections, they serve as the background for praise of the Roman invader. Similarly, in the works of Tacitus and Cassius Dio, the city of Jerusalem and its destruction form part of the history of the Roman Empire, and in the case of Tacitus, the accomplishments of the Flavian dynasty.[50] These historians assume Roman cultural superiority and political hegemony throughout the world and the conquest and subjugation of Jerusalem supported this world-view.

An outstanding example of the role of Jerusalem as the location for a minor event in the life of an emperor may be found in Suetonius’ The Twelve Caesars, a work replete with intimate details of the public and private lives of the first twelve Roman emperors. In his biography of Titus, then commander of his father Vespasian’s Imperial forces and later emperor, Suetonius writes that “in the final attack on Jerusalem he slew twelve of the defenders with as many arrows; and he took the city on his daughter’s birthday, so delighting the soldiers and winning their devotion …”[51] In this case, “the personal is political” and Jerusalem serves as the location for commemorating an event in the private life of Titus.

Finally, Cassius Dio’s indispensable account of the Jewish revolt against the Emperor Hadrian (132-135 CE) designates the following as a cause of the revolt: “At Jerusalem he [Hadrian] founded a city in place of the one which had been razed to the ground, naming it Aelia Capitolina, and on the site of the temple of the god, he raised a new Temple to Zeus [Jupiter].”[52] Dio then proceeds with his report of the revolt of the Jews and its methodical suppression by the Romans.

Although the source concentrates on the course of the revolt against Hadrian, the founding of a pagan city on the ruins of Jerusalem and a pagan temple on the Temple Mount is presented as a historical fact and not simply as background for the author’s views on the Jewish religion or his praise of a particular emperor. Once again, Jerusalem, the Temple and the Jews are linked together in the major Roman historical work, written over more than a century after the destruction of the city and its holiest place.

All of this happened between 500-1,000 years before Islam was founded by the Muslim prophet MohammadThere is even a Koranic passage which indicates that Jerusalem might not be so holy to Muslims, and is passed on to the Jews  “

(Koran, Sura 2:145, “The Cow”)

“…They would not follow thy direction of prayer (qiblah), nor art thou to follow their direction of prayer; nor indeed will they follow each other’s direction of prayer…”  

Commentators explain that “thy qiblah” (direction of prayer for Muslims) clearly refers the Ka’bah of Mecca, while “their qiblah” (direction of prayer for Jews) refers to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

This Koranic passage appears to show that the holiness of Jerusalem a Jewish concept, and should not be confused with an Islamic concept.

The 13th-century Arab biographer and geographer Yakut noted: “Mecca is holy to Muslims, and Jerusalem to the Jews.”

On this 44th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem it is important to note that the Muslim claims on the holy city is a false one. All text prior to the establishment of Islam point to Jerusalem as the holy city of the Jews and home to the temples of God. And even the early texts of Islam differentiate between Jerusalem as the city holy to the Jews and Mecca the city holy to Muslims.

Today the Muslim world claims Jerusalem as theirs only as a straw dog, to further delegitimize the Jewish hold on the Holy Land. They understand even more than some Jews that Israel is the heart of the Jews, Jerusalem is the heart of Israel, and the Temple Mount is the heart of Jerusalem.  Rip out the heart and the body will die.

The Greek and Roman history is excerpted from a white paper called,“Jerusalem: Capital of the Jews The Jewish Identity of Jerusalem in Greek and Roman Sources by Rivkah Fishman-Duker. If you have the time I recommend you read the entire piece.

Footnotes follow.

[11] Herodotus, Historiae II, 104:3; Stern, I, No. 1,,2.

[12] On the twentieth-century Palestinian Arab adoption and use of the terms “Palestine” and “Palestinian” as labels of ethnic identification, which originally and for millennia were geographical terms see Bernard Lewis, “The Palestinians and the PLO: A Historical Approach,” Commentary, 59 (January, 1975), 32-48. Lewis notes that the Roman renamed Judea “Syria-Palestina” and Jerusalem as “Aelia Capitolina” in 137 CE, in order to “stamp out the embers not only of the [Bar Kokhba] revolt but of Jewish nationhood and statehood … with the same intention – of obliterating its historic Jewish identity,” 32.

[13] For a summary of scholarly interpretations of the varied reactions of Jews to the impact of Hellenism and the significance of Hellenization in Jewish history of the Second Temple and Talmudic periods see L. Levine, “Hellenism and the Jewish World of Antiquity,” Judaism and Hellenism in Antiquity: Conflict or Confluence (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1998), 3-32.

[14] Momigliano, 90-91; Johanan Hans Lewy, “Aristotle and the Jewish Sage,” in: Studies in Jewish Hellenism (Hebrew: Olamot Nifgashim) (Jerusalem: Bialik Institute, 1969), 15-43; Josephus, Against Apion, I, 176-183; Stern, I, VII, no. 15, 47-52.

[15] On the anti-Exodus narrative as a major motif of Greco-Roman anti-Semitism: Van der Horst; Schaefer, 15-33. Momigliano, 91-95, holds that the Greek authors either did not know of the account of the Exodus in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Torah or refused to acknowledge its historicity. In contrast, Erich S. Gruen maintains that these tales were not part of a concerted pagan anti-Jewish campaign and they “do not derive from Egyptian distortion of Jewish legend, but the reverse, Jewish inventiveness expropriated Egyptian myth.” (“The Use and Abuse of the Exodus Story,” Heritage and Hellenism: The Reinvention of Jewish Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998), 41-73, especially 71-73. Gruen’s argument, however, is neither relevant nor convincing as it is clear that the oft-repeated anti-Exodus tales indeed formed part of the essential underpinning for anti-Judaism and Jew-hatred in the Greco-Roman world. For a reaction to Gruen, see John J. Collins, “Reinventing Exodus: Exegesis and Legend in Hellenistic Egypt,” Jewish Cult and Hellenistic Culture (Leiden: Brill, 2005), 44-57 and 191-193.

[16] The anti-Exodus texts by Hecataeus: Aegyptiaca, in: Diodorus Siculus, Bibliotheca HistoricaAgainst Apion I, 183-204; Stern, I, V, no.12, pp.35-44; and by Manetho, in: Against Apion I, 73-91, 93-105, 228-252; Stern, I, X, nos.19-21, 66-86. On theories concerning the date of the texts attributed to Hecataeus, see Note 21. XL:3 (Photius, Cod. 244) Stern, I, V, no. 11, 1-8; pp. 20-35; in:

[17] Van der Horst, op.cit.

[18] Daniel R. Schwartz, “Introduction,” Studies in the Jewish Background of Christianity., 3-14, argues the crises which stimulated anti-Jewish writing were the influx of Jews into Ptolemaic Egypt during the third century BCE, the triumph of the Hasmonean dynasty (mid-late second century BCE) against the Greek Seleucids, Hasmonean policies toward Greeks, the subjugation of formerly Greek dominions to the Romans, and the crisis fomented by Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula’s insistence on worshipping his statue. Later Roman intellectuals perceived attraction to Judaism and Jewish missionary activity as undermining their traditional way of life. Repeating the anti-Exodus material in order to support his campaign against the rights of Jews, Apion led the Greek delegation to the Emperor Gaius Caligula (37-41CE) during the period of inter-ethnic crisis in Alexandria, aggravated by the Imperial policies and the pogrom of 38 CE. On Alexandria, see: Van der Horst op.cit; Schaefer, Judeophobia, 136-160; and Collins, “Anti-Semitism in Antiquity? The Case of Alexandria,” op.cit., 181-201. (Tuebingen: Mohr, 1992), 10-15, attributes the wide-spread phenomenon of conversion to Judaism, a way of life and set of beliefs which transcended territorial boundaries, to the influence of the massive acculturation to Hellenism throughout the Mediterranean world, whereby one could become Hellenized without living in Greece. On the attraction of Judaism and the success of proselytism among Greeks and Romans see Feldman, 177-341. J.H. Lewy, “The Second Temple Period in Light of Greek and Roman Literature”, op.cit

[19] Tacitus, Historiae V: 4:1, Stern, II, XCII, no. 281,19, 25. According to Bloch, 221-223, Tacitus’ excursus on the Jews reflects the anti-Jewish discourse of the Flavian era and beliefs in the superiority of the Roman Empire. See Goodman, 453 ff. Erich S. Gruen, however, downplays any notion of a “long-simmering hostility” as the basis of anti-Jewish expression in the wake of the revolt in Judea and attributes negative Roman attitudes to the shock of the challenge of a “laughable” people. Gruen, “Roman Perspectives on the Jews in the Age of the Great Revolt,” in Andrea M. Berlin & J. Andrew Overman, The First Jewish Revolt: Archaeology, History, Ideology (London: Routledge, 2002), 27-39.

[20] Manetho’s references to Jerusalem come from his Aegyptiaca, refuted by Josephus in Against Apion I, 90; I, 93; I, 228; Stern, I, X, no.19, 68-69; no. 20, 74-75; no. 21, 78,81,83.

[21] Hecataeus, in Stern, I, V, no. 11, 26-28. According to Stern (I, 20-24), Hecataeus wrote in c. 300 BCE. His Aegyptiaca comes down to us from the first century B.C.E. work of Diodorus Siculus via the tenth-century Bibliotheca of Photius. Diodorus may have altered the original text. In Against Apion I, 183-204, Josephus includes a selection entitled “On the Jews” by Hecataeus, which was regarded as the earliest Greek description of the Temple and Jerusalem. Several scholars have challenged the authenticity of the passages in Josephus. Stern presents the commonly accepted opinion that “Josephus had before him a Jewish revision, however slight” which was more pro-Jewish than the original Hecataeus (I, 23-24). However, an exhaustive study of the material which Josephus attributes to Hecataeus, asserts that it was written by an Egyptian Jew of the late second- early first century BCE and not by Hecataeus at all, see Bezalel Bar Kochba, Pseudo-Hecataeus’ On the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), especially 110-121, 249-252. This view suits Erich S. Gruen’s later thesis (Note 15), although it is not universally accepted. See also Bloch, 29-36.

[22] On Moses in pagan writing: Feldman, Jew and Gentile, 232-287. On the Greek logic behind the identity of the founder of the religion, conqueror of the land and builder of the shrine see Bloch, 34, Note 38. Josephus, Against Apion II: 154-178, 352-365. Josephus argues that Moses is the oldest legislator in human history and that his laws are superior to those of other peoples and they are accessible to all.

[23] Diodorus, Bibliotheca Historica XXXIV, 1: 1,2, 3, in : Stern, I, XXXII, no. 63.

[24] Lysimachus, in: Against Apion I, 304-311; Stern, I, LXII, no.158, 383-386. Stern notes that Lysimachus’ reference to “Hierosyla” is an example of the etymology of a name of a nation (386, no.311).

[25] Tacitus, Historiae V, 2:1-2; Stern, II, XCII, no. 281, 17-18, 24-25. Stern points out that Tacitus’ references to “Hierosolymus “and “Iuda” resemble those of his contemporary Plutarch (33, Note 2:2). For Plutarch: Stern, I, XCI, No. 259, 563..

[26] Tacitus, Historiae V, 3: 1-5:5; Stern, II, XCII, no. 281, 18-19, 25-27.

[27] Tacitus, Historiae V, 6:1-13:4; Stern, II, XCII, no. 281, 19-23, 27-31. Bloch, 102-107, points out correctly that Tacitus devotes hardly any attention to the political history of Judea prior to the Great Revolt, siege of Jerusalem by Titus. It simply did not interest him. The otherness of the Jewish religion, which he knew from the Jews of Rome, however, merited his critique (Bloch, 222-223).

[28] Menander of Ephesus, in Against Apion I, 126; Stern, I, XX, no.35, 120-121; Dius, in Against Apion I, 114-115; Stern, I, XXI, No. 36, 124-125; Laetus, in Stern, I, XXIII, No.39, 128-129. Perhaps these authors were acquainted with the Biblical account which describes the relationship between Solomon and Hiram and the latter’s role in providing materials for the Temple or obtained their information from an unknown Phoenician source.

[29] Hecataeus “On the Jews”, in Against Apion I, 198-199; Stern, I, V, No.12, 36-37, 39. See Note 21 on the problems relating to this passage. Bar Kochba, 153-154, 160-168, states that the author, Pseudo-Hecataeus, an Egyptian Jew at the turn of the first century BCE, based his description on Greek literary models of temples and was acquainted with pagan temples and their surroundings. Therefore, the Temple in Jerusalem is not the structure described in the text.

[30] Tacitus, Historiae V:12:1 (Stern, II, XCII, no. 281) 22,30.

[31] Hecataeus, in Diodorus, Aegyptiaca, Bibliotheca Historica XL, 3, 4-6; Stern, I, V, No. 11, 26-28.

[32] Livy, in Stern, I, XLVI, No. 133, 330. Tacitus, Historiae V: 8:1, 9:1; Stern, II, XCII, No. 281, 21, 28. Tacitus relates that only after Pompey’s invasion of the Temple in 63BCE did the emptiness of the sanctuary become common knowledge. He does not repeat the Greek calumnies and rumors about the sanctuary.

[33] Cassius Dio, Historia Romana XXXVII, 17:2-3; Stern, II, CXXII, No.406, 349, 351.

[34] Diodorus, Bibliotheca Historica, XXXIV:2-4; Stern, I, XXXII, No.63, 182-183. On the pagan accusation of Jewish ass worship see Schaefer, 58-62.

[35] This account differs from the Jewish versions of Antiochus IV invasion of Jerusalem and desecration of the Temple of I and II Maccabees. While all stress Antiochus’ attempts to abolish Jewish practices, Diodorus states that after taking tribute from the Jews and dismantling the walls of Jerusalem, he left the Jews alone. He does not mention the Jews led by Judah the Maccabee taking the Temple from Antiochus’ soldiers and supporters and consecrating it.

[36] Posidonius, in: Against Apion II, 80, 89-96; Stern, I, XXVIII, No. 44, 145-146; Apollonius Molon, in: Against Apion II, 80, 89-96; Stern, I, XXIX, No. 48, 12-154; Apion, in: Against Apion II, 80-90-96; Stern, I, LXIII, no.170, 408-412.

[37] Ibid.

[38] Ibid.

[39] An explanation of the origins of Apion’s accusation of cannibalism on the part of the Jews may be found in Stern, I, 412, Note 89. See also Schaefer, 62-67. Periodic kidnapping and killing of a Gentile, of course, occurs in the medieval blood libels, the first of which took place in Norwich, England in 1144. There are vast differences between Apion’s claims and the context of blood libels in Europe, in which innocent Christian children appear as the victims, murdered by Jews who use their blood for Passover rituals.

[40] Cicero, Pro Flacco 28:66-69; Stern, I, XXXIV, No.68, 196-201. On Cicero’s attitude to the Jews see J. Lewy, “Cicero and the Jews in the Pro Flacco,” op.cit ., 79-114. According to Feldman, 70, the Jews were so loyal to Jerusalem and the Temple that they were prepared to defy a Roman edict and send large sums of money to the Temple.

[41] Tacitus, Historiae V, 5:1; Stern, II, XCII, No. 281, 19, 26. Both Bloch, 93 and Feldman, 110, state that the fact that the numerous proselytes also paid the annual half-shekel to the Temple in Jerusalem resulted in the accumulation of vast sums of money collected throughout the Empire and sent to the Temple treasury, thus causing Gentile envy of Jewish wealth and antipathy toward converts to Judaism.

[42] Tacitus, Historiae V, 8:1; Stern, II, XCII, no. 281, 21, 28.

[43] Tacitus, Historiae V, 8:2; Stern, ibid.

[44]Against Apion I, 209-211; Stern, I, XVII, No. 30a, 106-107.

[45] Cassius Dio, Historia Romana XXXVII, 15:2:1-4: Stern, II, XCII, No. 281, 21, 28. Josephus praises and describes at length the fact that the Jews did not put up defenses around Jerusalem during Pompey’s campaign in order not to desecrate the Sabbath and thus facilitated his invasion of the city and the Temple (Jewish War I: 145-147; Jewish Antiquities XIV: 63-65).

[46] On the Feast of Tabernacles: Plutarch, Quaestiones Convivales IV: 6:2, in: Stern, I, XCI, No.258, .553-554, 557-558. On Plutarch’s description of the festival: Schaefer, 53-54.

[47] Plutarch, Regum et Imperatorum Apophthegmata; Stern I, XCI, No. 260, 563-564. For a similar reference to the siege of Jerusalem by Antiochus VII Sidetes on the Feast of Tabernacles see Josephus, Jewish Antiquities XIII: 242-248. Josephus, however, points out that Antiochus withdrew the siege, whereas Plutarch states that the Jews were amazed and placed themselves in his hands.

[48] Livy, Periochae CII; Stern, I, XLVI, No. 131, 329.

[49] Cicero states that Pompey “‘laid his victorious hands on nothing in that shrine,'” Pro FlaccoHistoriae V, 9:1; Stern, II, XCII, No.281, 21, 28, notes that during Pompey’s invasion “the walls of Jerusalem were razed and the Temple remained standing.” Cassius Dio, Historia Romana XXXVII, 15:2:1-4; Stern, II, CXXII, no. 406, 349-350, briefly describes the difficulty of capturing the Temple, but unlike the others, writes that “its wealth was plundered.” In both the Jewish War I: 152-153 and Jewish Antiquities XIV: 72, Josephus praises Pompey’s virtuous character and the fact that he touched none of the gold and Temple vessels. 28:67; Stern, I, XXXIV, No. 68, 196-197; Tacitus,

[50] Tacitus; Stern, II, XCII, Nos. 273-294,1-93; Cassius Dio; Stern, II, CXXII, Nos. 406-441, 345-407. On Tacitus’ depiction of Vespasian and Titus in light of the Jewish revolt, see Bloch, 137-142.

[51] Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, “Divus Titus” 5:2; Stern, II, XCIV, No. 317, 125-126.

[52] Cassius Dio, Historia Romana LXIX, 12:1; Stern, II, CXXII, No. 440, 391-392.

[53] Against Apion I: 197; Stern, I, V, No. 12, 36, 39. Bar Kochba, 110-113, argues that this description of a walled and fortified city serves as part of the proof of a later date and a different author of the passage attributed to Hecataeus by Josephus.

[54] Against Apion I:209; Stern, I, XVII, No. 30a, 106-107.

[55] Timochares, in: Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica IX:35:1; Stern, I, XXV, No. 41, 135. Stern explains the source of the exaggerated figures.

[56] Xenophon of Lampsascus, in PE IX: 36:1; Stern, I, XXVI, No. 42, 138.

[57] Pliny the Elder, Naturalis Historia V:71: Stern, I, LXXVIII, No. 204, 469, 471-472.

[58] Tacitus, Historiae V, 8:1; Stern, II, XCII, No. 281, 21, 28. On Tacitus’ physical description of Judea and Jerusalem in comparison with his geographical data about other locations, see Bloch, 101-102.

[59] Tacitus, Historiae V, 11:3; Stern, II, XCII, no. 281, 22, 30. The most detailed physical description of Jerusalem and the Temple prior to the siege of Titus may be found in Josephus, The Jewish War, V, 136-247.

[60] Cassius Dio, Historia Romana LXVI, 4:1; Stern, II, CXXII, No. 430, 371, 373.

[61] Valerius Flaccus , Argonautica, I, 14; Stern, I, LXXIX, No. 226, 504-505; Martial, Epigrammata, VII,82, 7; Stern, I, LXXXIV, No. 242, 526.

[62] Juvenal, Saturae, VI, 542-544; Stern, II, XCIII, No. 299, 100-101. On the threat of Judaism as perceived by the Romans: Stern II, 94-95,106-107. Both Tacitus and Juvenal, displayed their contempt for proselytes (Bloch, 134-135) and their dislike of all peoples, whether Jews, Germans or Greeks, who did not behave like Romans (Goodman, 110, 160; Bloch, 136-137).

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Rivkah Fishman-Duker is a Lecturer in Jewish history at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Israel School of Tourism. She teaches courses on the Second Temple and Talmudic (RomanByzantine) periods in both institutions and has published several articles on Byzantine historiography of Jews in the ancient period and numerous book reviews of scholarly works on ancient Jewish and Byzantine history.