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The romanticized engraving of Flavius Josephus appearing in William Whiston's translation of his works
Yosef ben Matityahu
|Died||c. 100 CE (aged c. 63)|
|Spouse(s)||Captured Jewish woman
Alexandrian Jewish woman
Greek Jewish woman from Crete
Flavius Simonides Agrippa
Titus Flavius Josephus born Yosef ben Matityahu was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer, who was born in Jerusalem—then part of Roman Judea—to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.
He initially fought against the Romans during the First Jewish–Roman War as head of Jewish forces in Galilee, until surrendering in 67 CE to Roman forces led by Vespasian after the six-week siege of Jotapata. Josephus claimed the Jewish Messianic prophecies that initiated the First Roman-Jewish War made reference to Vespasian becoming Emperor of Rome. In response Vespasian decided to keep Josephus as a slave and presumably interpreter. After Vespasian became Emperor in 69 CE, he granted Josephus his freedom, at which time Josephus assumed the emperor's family name of Flavius.
Flavius Josephus fully defected to the Roman side and was granted Roman citizenship. He became an advisor and friend of Vespasian's son Titus, serving as his translator when Titus led the Siege of Jerusalem. Since the siege proved ineffective at stopping the Jewish revolt, the city's destruction and the looting and destruction of Herod's Temple (Second Temple) soon followed. The works of Josephus include useful material for historians about individuals, groups, customs, and geographical places.
Josephus provided crucial information about the First Jewish-Roman War and also represent important literary source material for understanding the context of the Dead Sea Scrolls and late Temple Judaism. His works are major sources of our understanding of Jewish life and history during the first century.
Josephus recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the first century CE and the First Jewish–Roman War (66-70 CE/AD), including the Siege of Masada. His most important works were The Jewish War and Antiquities of the Jews . The Jewish War tells the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation. Antiquities of the Jews tells the history of the world from a Jewish perspective. These works provide valuable insight into first century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity.
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Galilee, site of Josephus's governorship, before the First Jewish–Roman War
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