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Josephus’ Nabataeans: a vision of Roman power in the Near East

Josephus’ Nabataeans: a vision of Roman power in the Near East 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. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Ancient History de Gruyter

Josephus’ Nabataeans: a vision of Roman power in the Near East

Journal of Ancient History , Volume 8 (2): 25 – Nov 27, 2020

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Publisher
de Gruyter
Copyright
© 2020 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
2324-8114
eISSN
2324-8114
DOI
10.1515/jah-2019-0018
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

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

Journal of Ancient Historyde Gruyter

Published: Nov 27, 2020

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