Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Tacitus.

    [470] The only known King Bocchoris belongs to the eighth
          century B.C., whereas the Exodus is traditionally placed not
          later than the sixteenth.

    [471] See Exod. xvii.

    [472] i.e. an ass.  The idea that this animal was sacred to the
          Jews was so prevalent among ‘the Gentiles’ that Josephus takes
          the trouble to refute it.

    [473] Cp.  Lev. xvi. 3, ’a young bullock for a sin offering,
          and a ram for a burnt offering.’  Tacitus’ reasons are of
          course errors due to the prevalent confusion of Jewish and
          Egyptian history.

    [474] Cp.  Luke xviii. 12, ‘I fast twice a week.’

    [475] Cp.  Deut. v. 15.

    [476] Cp.  Lev. xxv. 4, ’... in the seventh year shall be a
          sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a sabbath unto the Lord: 
          thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard.’

    [477] The seventh day being named after Cronos or Saturn (cp.
          chap. 2, note 464).

    [478] Reading commeent (Woelfflin).

    [479] This refers to proselytes, who, like Jews resident
          abroad, contributed annually to the Temple treasury.  They
          numbered at this time about four millions.  Romans naturally
          regarded this diversion of funds with disfavour.

    [480] Jewish exclusiveness always roused Roman indignation,
          and ‘hatred of the human race’ was the usual charge against
          Christians (see Ann. xv. 44).

    [481] The strict regulations of Deut. xxii. &c. give a strange
          irony to this slander.  Most of these libels originated in

    [482] ‘A people,’ says the elder Pliny, ’distinguished by
          their contemptuous atheism.’

    [483] Agnati, as used here and in Germ. 19 means a child
          born after the father has made his will and therein specified
          the number of his children.  The mere birth of such a child
          invalidated any earlier will that the father had made, but the
          fact of its birth might be concealed by making away with the
          baby.  This crime seems to have been not uncommon, but there is
          no evidence that ‘exposure of infants’ was permitted.

    [484] Josephus also alludes to this belief that the corruption
          of disease chained the soul to the buried body, while violent
          death freed it to live for ever in the air and protect

    [485] Under the kings cremation was an honourable form of
          burial, but in Babylon the Jews came to regard fire as a
          sacred element which should not be thus defiled.

    [486] This was over the door of the Temple.  Aristobulus gave
          it as a present to Pompey.

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