AbstractNabataean history is significantly overlooked in the works of ancient historians. Josephus is an exception to this, as he includes several important events from Nabataean history in De Bello Judaico and Antiquitates Judaicae. However, his retelling of these events differs between the two works. In this paper, I argue that Josephus became more “pro-Roman” over time and eventually overshadowed an accurate portrayal of Nabataean history in his later narrative. He undermined moments of tension between Rome and Nabataea in order to showcase Roman power in the Near East, even beyond reality. In support of this argument, I analyze the Nabataean sections of Josephus’ works, as each passage has overlapping details, but significantly different emphasis, characterization, and perspective through variations in terminology, imagery, and tone. Though problematic, Josephus has preserved a unique look into Roman-Nabataean relations in the two centuries prior to the incorporation of Nabataea into the Empire.
Journal of Ancient History – de Gruyter
Published: Nov 27, 2020