Josephus' hidden dialogue with Strabo

Yuval Shahar*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There are many parallels between Josephus and Strabo, both in their own lives and in the books that they wrote. Biographically, both of them note proudly that they belong to a high priestly origin on their mothers' side, and the lineage of both stems from the aristocratic class of an independent kingdom, but during their lifetime they themselves cooperate with the conquering power. Both of them move from their homeland to the city of Rome (at least for a long period of time). In both cases their connection with Rome appears to have affected the status of their family, back in the city where they were born. Both writers are rooted in a culture other than Roman Latin culture and, in general, they are convinced of the advantage of their original culture over that of Rome. Albeit with differing degrees of definition, they both work on bridging the gap between their national cultures and pasts and the all-embracing actuality of the Roman empire. And it is against this background that they both devote especial attention to a laudatory description of their individual homelands, Pontus and Judaea. From the literary point of view, both Strabo and Josephus undoubtedly belong to the historiographic genre formed by Polybius in the second century <small-caps>bce</small-caps>. The great innovation of Polybius, when compared with the rest of the school of Thucydides to which he belongs, is that for him geography is a distinct field of scholarship characterised as an essential generic element.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationStrabo's Cultural "Geography"
Subtitle of host publicationThe Making of a Kolossourgia
EditorsDaniela Dueck, Lindsay Hugh, Sarah Pothecary
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780511616099
ISBN (Print)9780521853064
StatePublished - 2005

RAMBI Publications

  • rambi
  • Eretz Israel -- Geography
  • Josephus, Flavius
  • Strabo


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