Readings and Authors HIS207 NCSU

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North Carolina State University HIS 207 Kent Authors and reading selections for quizzes

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The Legend of Sargon Anonymous Sargon the Great lived in the land of Akkad in Mesopotamia. His supposed biography was written on a clay tablet in the Sumerian language by an unknown author. It does not survive intact, but preserves an account of his being put in a basket and placed in a river similar to other similar stories such as Moses, Romulus and Remus, as well as Cyrus the Great. Sargon was appointed a cupbearer of Ur-Zababa, the king of Kish. Eventually he overthrew the king and seized power for himself in 2270 BCE, becoming the king of Kish. He went on to conquer the first Empire in history.
A Lamentation over the Destruction of Ur Anonymous The Sumerian city of Ur faded into obscurity following the end of the Third Dynasty of Ur. The Lamentation over the Destruction of Ur is part of a Mesopotamian poetic genre, laments, that reflects the general pessimistic attitude of the region and its peoples. The text is written in the Sumerian language by an unknown author. Similar lamentations are known from other Mesopotamian cities as well as from early Jewish scriptures (e.g. the Book of Lamentations). The Lamentation is written in the voice of the patron deity of Ur, Nanna (Sin in Akkadian), who begs the other gods to spare her city.
(Selections from) The Code of Hammurabi Anonymous (Hammurabi) Around 1772 BCE, Hammurabi, the king of Babylon, ordered the laws of his city recorded and displayed on a stele as a demonstration to the gods that he was performing his duties. This law code is the earliest that survives intact, although fragments from earlier ones are known. The stele was found in modern-day Iran (ancient Elam) where it was taken as a war prize following an attack in Babylon in the 12th century BCE. In the text, the exact meanings of awêlum and mushkênum are unclear and have been left untranslated. Awêlum literally translates as ‘man’, but in different contexts can mean any male person (including slaves), a free man, a landowner, or a noble. Mushkênum translates as ‘commoner’ in other Semitic languages, and here is clearly inferior to an awêlum.
Life without Ma’at Anonymous Ma’at was the Egyptian concept of truth, order, stability, harmony, wisdom, and justice. It was closely related to the cycle of the Nile River, which provided stability for Egypt. Unlike Mesopotamian culture, which was in a perpetual state of chaos and had a pessimistic outlook, Egyptian culture valued ma’at. The importance of this concept to the Egyptians is clearly demonstrated in periods when stability was lost. This excerpt comes from a larger poem known as A Dispute between a Man and his Ba. The poem is written in the voice of a man who has lost any hope for this life and is intent on committing suicide, which his ba (soul) attempts stop him from doing.
The Amarna Letters Anonymous (Other peoples and the pharoah) The Amarna Letters are a collection of documents that came from an Egyptian royal storehouse in the city of Akhetaten (modern el-Amarna). They are written in Akkadian, which served as a lingua franca at the time. Many of the letters are fragmentary. They are mostly letters from other peoples written to the pharaoh during the New Kingdom Period when Egypt controlled an empire. These letters reveal the political machinations and conflicts between the Egyptians, Hittites, and various vassal states that existed between them in Canaan and Syria.
The Victory of Ramesses at Qadesh Anonymous (Ramesses II) The Battle of Qadesh is the earliest battle in history for which any details survive. Qadesh was a city on the border of Canaan and Syria, and thus of great strategic value to both the Egyptians and Hittites. The city traded hands several time. In 1274 BCE, the pharaoh Ramesses II the Great led an army north to take the city, while the Hittite king Muwattallis raised armies to stop the Egyptians. This account was recorded by Ramesses on temple walls, recording a great victory for which he was personally responsible. Brief Hittite accounts also survive that claim the Battle of Qadesh was a Hittite victory.
The Report of Wenamun Anonymous The Report of Wenamun is a story that records the adventures of an Egyptian official in Canaan in the period after the collapse of Egyptian domination in the region following the end of the Bronze Age. It was once believed that the story was a genuine historical account written, perhaps by Wenamun himself. However, scholars now believe that it is a later work of historical fiction by an unknown author. Nevertheless, it seems to accurately describe the conditions of the loss of Egyptian control in Canaan in the period it purports to describe. Wenamun must contend with hostile local leaders, storms, and pirates, amongst other difficulties, as he attempts to obtain timber from Lebanon. Unfortunately, the story does not survive in its complete form.
Exodus Anonymous (traditionally attributed to Moses) The Exodus is the second book of the Torah, Jewish scriptures that are traditionally attributed to Moses. It recounts the story of the escape of the Hebrews from Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan. Dating of the story is difficult, although Ramesses II (1303-1213 BCE) has often been suggested as the unnamed pharaoh. Historians have generally assigned a later date to its composition, variously assigned to the time of the Divided Monarchy or the Babylonian Captivity. The story is likely based on older oral tradition and was continuously edited even after it was written down. Notice the similarities of Moses’ story of being placed in a basket with the Legend of Sargon.
Job Anonymous The Book of Job was likely written sometime between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE and is part of the Hebrew scriptures. The book describes the trials of Job, a God-fearing man, and his reaction to them. It is Satan, literally ‘the accuser’, who, with the permission of God, destroys Job’s life in order to test his faith. Important aspects of early Judaism are reflected including the idea of reward and punishment in this life, and Satan as a non-evil entity. The book was written at a time when Judaism was undergoing changes due to Zoroastrian influences after the Babylonian Captivity and was part of a debate over ideas of the afterlife, evangelism, sin, evil, and the nature of God. This debate can be seen in Ecclesiastes, Jonah, Esther, Nehemiah, and other books.
Sennacherib’s Invasion of the West Anonymous In 701 BCE, Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, faced a widespread rebellion of vassal states in the regions of Syria and Canaan. As a result, he led a massive campaign in the region and put many of the rebels down before marching towards the city of Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom of Judah and home to king Hezekiah. The account was displayed in Assyrian royal palace in Ninevah, being written in Akkadian on a large clay prism. It survives virtually intact. The text recounts Sennacherib’s success in putting down the Western rebels and forcing Hezekiah to submit. Compare Sennacherib’s account with that preserved in Jewish scriptures below.
Hezekiah’s War with Sennacherib Anonymous (in the Second book of Kings) The story of Sennacherib’s invasion is told in the Second Book of Kings. The story seems to comprise two (or perhaps three) different accounts that have been combined into a single, if somewhat unclear, narrative. The first portion seems to generally agree with the Assyrian account. However, the second portion is far more detailed and hostile. Not only does it preserve a dialogue between Assyrian and Judaean messengers, it also describes how God saved Jerusalem by completely destroying Sennacherib’s army. The place where the two stories are joined is noted in the text. Compare the Jewish account with that of Sennacherib.
The Rise of the Persian Empire Herodotus Herodotus is known as the Father of History, writing in the late 5th century. Although earlier small historical monographs had been written, Herodotus greatly expanded the genre and giving rise to many subsequent writers. He was from the city of Halicarnassus in Asia Minor, but travelled a great deal, including time in Athens, Tarentum (in Italy), and perhaps even Egypt. His major source seems to have been the priests of the Oracle of Delphi, which served as a gathering point for the peoples of Greece. Herodotus mixed a great deal of mythology into his work, although the gods do not play an active role as they had in the poems of Homer. The subject of his Histories was the Persian Wars, the conflicts between the Greeks and Persian Empire, and the events leading up to them. He sought to discover how such a small people managed to resist the might of the most powerful empire of the day. In this selection, Herodotus describes the rise to power of Cyrus the Great, who founded the Persian Empire. He also delves into an ethnographic description of Persian religion and customs, sometimes relating questionable assertions.
The Iliad Homer According to legend, Homer was a blind poet from the Ionian region of Asian Minor. He was, and still is, considered the greatest Greek poet in history. Modern scholars generally believe that he lived in the 8th or 7th century BCE, and that he composed the Iliad and Odyssey into their final forms and wrote them down. Homer’s poems were likely based on older oral traditions, seemingly preserving and blending aspects of Dark Age and earlier Greek/Mycenaean culture. Homer’s works shaped Greek history for centuries to come, becoming models for Greek culture, religion, and society. Alexander the Great was said to have slept with a copy of the Iliad under his pillow. The Iliad and the Odyssey show a great number of similarities with Mesopotamian epic poems such as the Epic of Gilgamesh, and were likely inspired by Eastern poetic styles by way of the peoples of Asia Minor. The Iliad describes the Trojan War, when the Greeks [Achaeans] attacked the city of Troy when the Trojan prince absconded with the Spartan queen Helen. Throughout the poem, heroes and gods contend with each other, with the dispute between Achilles and Agamemnon forming the core conflict. This selection is an abridged form of the poem.
Odyssey Homer The Odyssey is the story of the Greek hero Odysseus’ journey to return home after the events of the Trojan War. Odysseus was known as the cleverest of the Greek heroes, a talent that served him well throughout his adventures. In this selection, Odysseus describes his adventures on the island of the Cyclopes.
The Polis of the Spartans Xenophon Xenophon was a Greek historian who wrote in the 4th century BCE. He saw himself as a successor to Thucydides, and sought to chronicle the history of his own day. Xenophon was an Athenian who served as a mercenary for a Persian usurper. When the usurper was killed, Xenophon and ten thousand other Greek mercenaries were forced to fight their way out of Persia back to Greece. He was later exiled from Athens and lived near Sparta. Among his historical works, he also recorded the sayings of Socrates, works on hunting, horsemanship, and an account of the Spartan constitution. Xenophon was among a group of Athenian elites who held the Spartan constitution in high regard, admiring it for its stability. Here, he describes the Spartan military and social system which he saw as the basis for Spartan success.
The Polis of the Athenians The Old Oligarch The Polis of the Athenians is a work that describes Athenian society. The work was found among the works of Xenophon and was attributed to him by ancient and medieval copyists. However, scholars have determined that Xenophon was not the author, although the author was Athenian, and the work dated from some time in the late 5th century BCE. The author is known as the Old Oligarch given his hostility to the Athenian democracy. The author sees the democratic environment of Athens as hostile to aristocrats like himself in order to prevent the rich and powerful from dominating the state. Nevertheless, he notes the strengths of the Athenian state along with its faults.
The Battle of Thermopylae Herodotus In this selection, the Battle of Thermopylae, during the invasion of Xerxes, is described. Here, a small Greek force led by 300 Spartans defended a small pass against Xerxes’ massive army.
Melian Dialogue Thucydides Thucydides was an Athenian historian who wrote in the late 5th century BCE. He wrote a history of the Peloponnesian War, which he briefly served in as an admiral. After failing to successfully defend an allied city from Spartan assault, Thucydides fell victim to his political opponents and was exiled from Athens. He drew on his own experiences and personal contacts to write his history. Unlike Herodotus, Thucydides advocated a careful adherence to verifiable facts with little attention paid to religious matters or explanations. His history was incomplete at the time of his death, ending in the middle of a sentence. Thucydides sought to explain how Athens, with its greater resources, lost a war against Sparta it should have won. A common theme is the overbearing nature of the Athenians, especially in regard to weaker peoples, which is reflected in this selection where the Athenians have attacked the small neutral island of Melos for refusing to become their allies.
Lysistrata Aristophanes Aristophanes was the preeminent comedic playwright in Athens in the late 5th and early 4th centuries BCE. He wrote around forty plays, although only eleven survive, some of which he directed himself. Aristophanes included a great many contemporary events and people in his plays. Socrates is mocked in the Clouds, the Athenian politician Cleon is a target in several plays, and the Peloponnesian War is also central to a few plays. Aristophanes is renowned for his ability to capture Athenian society of his day and is an invaluable source for our knowledge of the peoples of Athens. Often his comedy is crude and blunt, including foul language as well as scatological and sexual humor. In the Lysistrata, Aristophanes delves into gender issues (as he also does in the Assemblywomen), suggesting that Athens was so poorly led that it could be better run by women. In the play, Lysistrata organizes a sex strike among the women in order to force the cities of Greece to make peace and end the destructive war.
Apology of Socrates Plato Socrates is often considered the greatest Greek philosopher. He taught students in Athens in the late 5th century for which he did not charge money. His most fundamental teaching was the belief that everything should be questioned. He believed that there was no such thing as a conclusion. If one believed they had come to a conclusion, they should start their questioning over in an effort to verify or refute it. Socrates was known to engage anyone who thought they knew anything in a debate, in which he would make the person seem foolish. In the later years of the Peloponnesian War, Socrates came into conflict with the Athenian democracy and was put on trial for impiety and corrupting the youth of the city. Here is Socrates’ Apology (or defense speech). In addition to refuting the charges brought against him, he also makes an argument of the punishment he believed he should receive. Unfortunately, Socrates never wrote anything down and we are reliant on others for his teachings and beliefs. This version of his apology was written by his student Plato, although another version is recorded by Xenophon.
Allegory of the Cave Plato Plato was an Athenian philosopher who wrote in the early 4th century BCE in the aftermath of Athens’ loss in the Peloponnesian War. He was a student of Socrates. Plato often used Socrates as a character in his own philosophical writings, as in this selection drawn from the Republic. However, the character of Socrates is often made to reflect Plato’s own philosophical ideas, which were quite different. In this passage, Plato describes the way in which philosophers differed from the rest of society. They were able to see higher truths. He used this conclusion to argue elsewhere in the Republic that states should be led by philosopher-kings, who were the only members of society able to rule well. Plato was quite resentful over the death of his teacher, Socrates, which is reflected in his description of peoples’ violent reaction to the truth outside the cave.
Life of Alexander Plutarch Plutarch was a Greek writer (including history, biography, and rhetoric) in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, during the height of the Roman Empire. Although he was a Roman citizen, he was not involved in Roman politics. He did participate in the affairs of his home time of Chaeronea. He was also the head priest at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, site of the preeminent oracle of the ancient world. Plutarch’s most well-known surviving work is the Parallel Lives, which were pairs of biographies of Romans and Greeks. He paired individuals (one Greek and one Roman) by what he saw as their defining characteristics. Like Suetonius, Plutarch intended to try to convey a nuanced picture of individual people as opposed to providing a comprehensive historical narrative. In this passage from the Life of Alexander, Plutarch describes what he sees as Alexander’s intentions in the East, bringing civilization to the barbarians he had conquered. He sees Alexander as far more than an ordinary conqueror, but someone who would reshape the world.
Histories of Alexander the Great Q. Curtius Rufus Quintus Curtius Rufus was a Roman historian who wrote in the 1st century CE. Little is known of his life, although he may be the same Curtius Rufus mentioned by Tacitus and Pliny the Younger as a senator who rose to high office from very humble origins (perhaps being a son of a gladiator). The first two books of his Histories of Alexander the Great are lost, but the remaining eight survive nearly complete. Throughout his work, Curtius Rufus is fascinated with the negative aspects of Alexander’s personality and the negative impact of power on him. Such a view may be a partial commentary on Roman emperors such as Caligula, who was particularly cruel and likely insane. Alexander the Great was a very popular topic among Roman writers, often portraying him in a more Roman fashion than Greek. In this passage, Curtius Rufus describes the decline of Alexander’s personality.
Theories of the Circumference of the Earth Cleomedes Cleomedes was a Greek astronomer. He likely lived in the 1st century CE, although dates have been suggested as late as the 4th century. Little else is known of his life. Cleomedes’ surviving work, On the Circular Motion of the Celestial Bodies, is essentially an astronomy textbook. While not always clearly written, the work preserves quotations and descriptions of Hellenistic astronomical works that do not otherwise survive. In this passage, Cleomedes describes the attempts to measure the circumference of the Earth by Posidonius (who calculates a figure of about 23,490 miles) and Eratosthenes (who calculates a figure of about 24,469 miles). Today the circumference of the Earth is measured at around 24,901 miles. (The measurement is not precise due to the rotation of the planet, which causes it to bulge at the equator.)
The Founding of Rome Livy Livy was a Roman historian from Patavium (modern Padua) who wrote in the late 1st century BCE and the first decade of the 1st century CE. Livy was a professional historian and was not involved in public life. He wrote in the time of Augustus, who became his patron and supporter as part of his general support of literature and the arts. His history, called Ab Urbe Condita (From the Founding of the City), was intended to give an account of Roman history from Rome’s foundation to his own day. When completed, it included 142 books, of which 35 survive today. Livy’s work is exemplary history, intended to provide good and bad examples for ‘modern’ Romans of his day. He chronicles what made the Romans great as well as the instances where they fell short of their full potential. Although Livy falls short of modern historical standards, we are often left in the dark for those periods where his narrative is lost. He relied on Roman and Greek historians that stretched back to the late 3rd centuries, but most often used later sources from the early 1st century BCE. In this selection, Livy describes the most common story of Rome’s foundation.
The Founding of Rome Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dionysius was a Greek historian from the city of Halicarnassus in southwestern Asia Minor. He wrote in the late 1st century BCE and the first decade of the 1st century CE, and was a contemporary of Livy. Dionysius wrote a number of works on history, historiography, and rhetoric (including a scathing critique of Thucydides). His Roman Antiquities was reflects a common aspect of ancient history; it did not matter so much what you wrote as how you wrote it. Archaic Roman history offered Dionysius an opportunity to exercise his rhetorical abilities, especially in the numerous speeches included in it. In addition, Dionysius argued that the Roman culture and society was, at its root, Greek. Like Livy, Dionysius used Roman and Greek sources that stretched back centuries, but usually he relied on later works. In this selection, Dionysius recounts the many different Greek and Roman accounts, which were often contradictory, concerning the foundation of Rome.
Heroes of Early Rome Dionysius of Halicarnassus For a description of Dionysius of Halicarnassus and his historical work, see page 115. In this selection, Dionysius describes the invasion of the Etruscan king Lars Porsena, who was attempting to put Tarquin the Proud back on the Roman throne. The passage contains two spectacular actions by Roman heroes that would be praised by later Romans.
The Constitution of the Romans Polybius Polybius was a Greek politician and historian who wrote in the middle of the 2nd century BCE. He was from the city of Megalopolis in the Peloponnesus and the son of a prominent politician. In 170, he was elected hipparch (vice president) of the Achaean League, a coalition of Greek cities. The Achaean League was a strong supporter of the Romans in their wars in the East, but tried to stay neutral in the Third Macedonian, eliciting suspicion from the Romans. In 167, the Romans demanded 1,000 Achaean hostages, among them Polybius. He lived in Rome for the next seventeen years, becoming well acquainted with all things Roman, including developing a close friend of Scipio Aemilianus, one of the most prominent men of the 2nd century. After the destruction of Corinth in 146, Polybius worked on behalf of the Romans in Greece. He composed several historical works, although only his Histories survive. The Histories are intended to be universal (combining the history of the western and eastern Mediterranean), and pragmatic (useful for political and military leaders). The work attempts to explain how the Romans came to dominate the Mediterranean and familiarize Polybius’ fellow Greeks with the Romans. In this selection, Polybius describes the nature of the Roman constitution, which he saw as the basis for Roman success.
On Italian Manpower Polybius In this selection, Polybius gives an account of the manpower resources of the Romans and their Italian allies on the eve of the Second Punic War, which he contrasts with the army that Hannibal brought into Italy.
T. Quinctius Flamininus at the Isthmian Games Livy In this passage, Livy describes the aftermath of the second war between the Romans and Macedonians in the early 2nd century BCE. The Greeks expected the Romans to establish their own control in Greece, but were surprised by the decree of Titus Quinctius Flamininus at the Isthmian Games. The Isthmian Games were one of four sets of games that also included the Olympics.
The Aetolian Surrender Polybius In this selection, Polybius describes negotiations between the Aetolian League, a Greek confederation, and the Romans made difficult by inherent cultural differences and misconceptions. The Aetolians had joined in a war against the Romans.
The Decline of the Republic Sallust Sallust was a Roman politician and historian who wrote in the 1st century BCE. He was involved in the political disputes of the Late Republic, being an ardent support of Caesar against Pompey and the Senate. In 50, he was expelled from the Senate, but was reinstated by Caesar shortly thereafter. Caesar used Sallust for several missions during the Civil Wars, ultimately appointing him as a proconsular governor of Africa and Numidia. After his time in office, Sallust was tried for extortion. Although acquitted (probably thanks to Caesar), he retired from public life and, thanks to the fortune he had amassed, lived a comfortable life writing history. Throughout his works, Sallust displays a bias against the Senate and the nobility that he saw as playing a major role in the decline of the Republic. He firmly believed that the Republic was in decline. He connected this decline with the rise of Rome and their vast empire, which he saw as a source of corruption. These selections are from his War with Jugurtha and War with Catiline. Here he gives an account of Roman decline.
The Dictatorship of Sulla Appian Appian was a Greek historian from Alexandria in Egypt who wrote in the 2nd century CE. He was a Roman citizen during the height of the Empire, becoming a lawyer in Rome. Sometime between 147 and 161, Appian was given the (likely honorary) office of procurator by the emperor Marcus Aurelius thanks to the recommendation of his friend Cornelius Fronto. Appian’s Roman History covers the history of Rome from its foundation to the end of the Republic, although much of it is lost. It is uniquely organized by geography or theme (e.g. the Wars in Spain or the Civil Wars). There are a number of problems with this work; including factual errors, a biased viewpoint, and the fact that Appian lived long after the events he describes. Nonetheless, Appian’s books on the Civil Wars are the only surviving narrative of the period and are thus invaluable. His portrayal of Sulla is a mixture of criticism for his tyrannical seizure of power against Republican values and acknowledgement of the need for order, which was no doubt influenced by the fact that Appian lived under the rule of emperors. In this passage, he describes the dictatorship of Sulla, who had seized sole control of Rome and instituted a series of reforms.
The Proscriptions of the Second Triumvirate Appian In this selection, Appian describes the proscriptions (mass killings) of the Second Triumvirate (Octavian, Antony, and Lepidus) in 43/2 BCE after they had seized power in Rome, having driven out Caesar’s assassins (Brutus and Cassius).
Res Gestae Augustus Augustus (also known as Gaius Ovtavius and Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus) was the first emperor of Rome following his victory in the Civil Wars that ripped the Roman Republic apart. He was the nephew of Julius Caesar as well as his adopted son and heir upon his death. In the aftermath of Caesar’s death, Augustus outmaneuvered and defeated numerous opponents, including Cicero, Brutus, Cassius, Antony, and Cleopatra. At the battle of Actium in 31 BCE, Augustus defeated Antony and Cleopatra, establishing his sole control of the Roman world. The name Augustus was bestowed by the Senate. He then reordered Rome, reestablishing stability and prosperity, creating the Roman Empire, and ushering the Pax Romana. Sometime prior to his death in 14 CE, Augustus composed, or ordered composed, a description of the things that he had done for the good of Rome, the Res Gestae Divi Augusti (Things Done by the Divine Augustus). The account was then inscribed in Latin and Greek on the sides of temples throughout the Empire by his heir Tiberius. The most complete example comes from a temple dedicated to Augustus in modern day Ankara, Turkey.
The Speech of Calgacus Tacitus Tacitus was a Roman Senator and historian in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE, during the height of the Roman Empire. His family origins were humble (his nomen, Cornelius, may indicate that their Roman citizenship was thanks to Sulla), and he owed his own position in the Senate to the Flavian emperors. Tacitus served in a variety of public posts throughout the Empire. Tacitus greatly admired the Republic, when the Roman Senate had been preeminent. However, he was also well aware that the Senate had failed to maintain stability, acknowledging the need for a strong individual to keep order. As such, Tacitus had a complex view of the position of emperor, although he was often critical of those emperors he felt did not rule well. Indeed, Tacitus’ views on Rome in general were complex; while he never doubted the superiority of the Romans, he was willing to admit that they were far from perfect. This selection comes from Tacitus’ biography of his father-in-law Agricola, who served as a successful governor of Britannia from 77 to 85 CE. Calgacus was a native chieftain from Caledonia (Scotland), which was never subdued by the Romans. The speech was composed entirely by Tacitus, despite its harsh statements.
Speech of Herod Agrippa Josephus Josephus was a Jew who wrote in the 1st century CE. He was a politician and military commander in Judaea during the Jewish Revolt from 66 to 73. During the conflict, he hid from the Romans with a number of rebels in a cave; only Josephus survived to be captured by the Romans under questionable circumstances. He then became a client and associate of the Roman general and future emperor Vespasian, as well as his son Titus. He then became a Roman citizen. In time, Josephus came to the conclusion that the Jewish revolt had been wrong. He wrote a number of historical works in Greek. One, Jewish Antiquities, was intended to introduce Jewish history into the Greco-Roman tradition. This selection is from Josephus’ Jewish War, which was similar to Polybius’ Histories in explaining Roman dominance to the Jewish people, describing the Romans for a Jewish audience, as well as justifying his own change in loyalties. Here, the king of Judaea, Herod Agrippa (son of Herod the Great) attempts to convince his people not to revolt.
The Gospel According to Mark Anonymous The gospels describe the life, teachings, and (usually) death of Jesus Christ. Four gospels are included in the Christian New Testament, although many others exist beyond them. The Gospel of Mark is generally thought by historians to be the earliest of the gospels, dating to around 65 CE, sum thirty years after the death of Jesus. It is ascribed by early Church Fathers to Mark the Evangelist, who was a companion of the Disciple Peter, although this tradition does not appear until the 2nd century. The work is written in a simple form of Greek (koine), which had become a lingua franca in the Eastern Mediterranean since the conquests of Alexander the Great. This passage describes the final days of Jesus, including His arrest and execution at the hands of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate. The final eleven verses of the gospel (16:9-20) do not appear in the earliest manuscripts and are thus omitted here.
Concerning Christians Pliny and Trajan Pliny (the Younger) was a Roman politician and intellectual in the 1st and 2nd centuries CE. He was the nephew of Pliny the Elder, a renowned intellectual. The two Plinys witnessed the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79. While Pliny the Younger watched from across the Bay of Naples, Pliny the Elder, who was a prefect of the Roman navy stationed nearby, attempted to return to Pompeii with ships to transport survivors to safety; he died doing so. Pliny the Younger served in a number of offices and was well known for his skill as a bureaucrat. In 110, he was asked by the emperor Trajan to become governor of Bithynia-Pontus (in Asia Minor). Pliny collected and published his personal letters, which was common at the time (Cicero had done likewise). Among these letters are those from his time as governor of Bithynia-Pontus, including not only his own letters but the replies given by the emperor Trajan. Trajan was the second of the socalled ‘Good Emperors,’ who ruled in the early 2nd century CE. He was a renowned military commander; during his reign, the Roman Empire reached its maximum size. Although ostensibly from Trajan, many of his letters to governors, including Pliny, were likely handled by subordinates. Pliny wrote the emperor on numerous issues so as to avoid going against the emperor’s wishes and policies. In this selection, Pliny writes to Trajan concerning trials he is holding of Christians in his province. The matter has clearly gotten out of hand and Pliny seeks guidance in how to handle this odd cult.
On Martyrdom St. Ignatius St. Ignatius was one of the early Church Fathers from Antioch in Syria, who lived in the late 1st and very early 2nd centuries CE. Details concerning his life are scarce and not always reliable. Sources claims that he was one of the children held by Jesus. Ignatius served as bishop of Antioch. Supposedly, St. Peter appointed him as such. At some point, he was convicted of being a Christian and convicted to death in the Coliseum in Rome. Being Christian was illegal in the Roman Empire and punishable by death. Christians that were killed for their faith were known as martyrs and were venerated. In the Christian tradition established by St. Paul, Ignatius wrote a number of letters. These letters helped disparate Christian communities to stay in touch. In this letter written on his way to Rome, Ignatius expresses his desire for martyrdom, which will ensure his place in Heaven.
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