Philo, Legatio ad Gaium 155-161

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מקורות ראשוניים ועתיקים פ / מקורות ראשוניים ועתיקים P

טקסט

155

How then did he look upon the great division of Rome which is on the other side of the river Tiber, which he was well aware was occupied and inhabited by the Jews? And they were mostly Roman citizens, having been emancipated; for, having been brought as captives into Italy, they were manumitted by those who had bought them for slaves, without ever having been compelled to alter any of their hereditary or national observances.

156

He knew therefore that they have houses of prayer and meet together in them, particularly on the sacred Sabbaths when they receive as a body a training in their ancestral philosophy. He knew too that they collect money for sacred purposes from their first-fruits and send them to Jerusalem by persons who would offer sacrifices.

157

Yet nevertheless he neither ejected them from Rome nor deprived them of their roman citizenship because they were careful to preserve their Jewish citizenship also' nor took any violent measures against the houses of prayer, nor prevented them from meeting to receive instructions in the laws' nor opposed their offerings of the first-fruits. Indeed so religiously did he respect our interests that supported our temple through the costliness of his dedications, and order that for all time continuous sacrifices of whole burnt offerings should be carried out day at his own expense as a tribute to the most high god. And these sacrifices are maintained to the present day and will be maintained for ever to tell the story of a character truly imperial.

158

Moreover, in the monthly divisions of the country, when the whole people receives money or corn in turn, he never allowed the Jews to fall short in their reception of this favor, but even if it happened that this distribution fell on the day of their sacred sabbath, on which day it is not lawful for them to receive any thing, or to give any thing, or in short to perform any of the ordinary duties of life, he charged the dispenser of these gifts, and gave him the most careful and special injunctions to make the distribution to the Jews on the day following, that they might not lose the effects of his common kindness.

159

Therefore, all people in every country, even if they were not naturally well inclined towards the Jewish nation, took great care not to violate or attack any of the Jewish customs of laws. And in the reign of Tiberius things went on in the same manner, although at that time things in Italy were thrown into a great deal of confusion when Sejanus was preparing to make his attempt against our nation.

160

 for he knew immediately after his death that the accusations which had been brought against the Jews who were dwelling in Rome were false calumnies, inventions of Sejanus, who was desirous to destroy our nation, which he knew alone, or above all others, was likely to oppose his unholy counsels and actions in defence of the emperor, who was in great danger of being attacked, in violation of all treaties and of all honesty.

161

And he sent commands to all the governors of provinces in every country to comfort those of our nation in their respective cities, as the punishment intended to be inflicted was not meant to be inflicted upon all, but only on the guilty; and they were but few. And he ordered them to change none of the existing customs, but to look upon them as pledges, since the men were peaceful in their dispositions and natural characters, and their laws trained them and disposed them to quiet and stability.

הערות

155: יהודים ששועבדו ברומא זכו בחירותם מקץ זמן מה ובחרו להישאר לחיות בעיר.

156-157: על שמירת זכויות היהודים על ידי אוגוסטוס קיסר.

158: על כך שאוגוסטוס דאג לשמור את מנת החלוקה של היהודים העניים ברומא, במקרה והחלוקה התבצעה ביום שבת.

159: הזכויות שקיבלו היהודים עוררו את קנאתם וזעמם של עמים אחרים.

160-161: סיאנוס ופעולותיו נגד היהודים. החזרת המצב לקדמותו על ידי טיבריוס.

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