DIASPORA

-Introduction The word Diaspora, from the Greek διασπορά ("dispersion"), is used in the present context for the voluntary dispersion of the Jewish people as distinct from their forced dispersion, which is treated under galut . As such it confines itself to Jewish settlement outside Ereẓ Israel during the periods of Jewish independence or compact settlement in their land. It therefore applies to the period of the First Temple, the Second Temple, and that subsequent to the establishment of the State of Israel. The only dispersion during the period of the First Temple of which there is definite knowledge is the Jewish settlement in Egypt referred to in Jeremiah 44. (That in Babylon following the capture of Jehoiachin in 597 B.C.E., since it was forced and was the prelude to the complete Exile after the destruction of the Temple in 586, can be classified as an exile.) By the same definition, the Jewish communities in the world at present, after the establishment of the State of Israel, constitute a Diaspora, and since that event the custom has developed of referring to them in Hebrew as the tefuẓot, the Hebrew equivalent of Diaspora, in preference to the word previously used, golah, or galut ("exile"; for the concept of exile, see galut ). For the modern Diaspora, see jewish history and state of israel ; for its demographic and statistical aspects, see demography , population , and vital statistics ; see contemporary periods of entries on the respective countries for the aspect of interrelation between Israel and the Jews living elsewhere. By far the most important Diaspora during the period of the Second Temple was that of the Greco-Roman world. For the populous Babylonian Diaspora during this period, see babylonia . -In the Hellenistic-Roman Period THE DISTRIBUTION OF JEWISH POPULATION. The existence of a Diaspora is one of the distinguishing features of the Jewish people in the Greco-Roman period. In part this Diaspora was a heritage from the preceding era; in part it was established only in the Hellenistic period with the rise of new Jewish groups as extensions of earlier ones. Among the various factors operating to enlarge the Diaspora geographically and increase it numerically were the banishments from Ereẓ Israel, political and religious pressures there, economic prospects emerging in prosperous countries such as egypt in the third century B.C.E., and the proselytizing movement, whose roots go back to the beginning of Second Temple times and which reached its zenith in the first century C.E, within the framework of the Roman Empire. As early as in the Hellenistic period the sibyl could sing of the Jewish nation "Every land is full of you, and every sea," and, in a reference to the first century B.C.E., the Greek geographer Strabo declared that it was difficult to find a place in the entire world to which the Jewish nation had not penetrated. Literary sources from the end of the Second Temple period (Philo, Acts) assert that the Jewish people had spread to all cities and lands. The bulk of the Diaspora came under the sway of the Hellenistic and later of the Hellenistic-Roman civilization. Shaped first by the political, social, and economic changes which fashioned the character of the Mediterranean world in the period of "the balance of power" between the Hellenistic states, its development was afterward molded by the centralizing regime of the Roman Empire. Only one large Jewish group, that in Babylonia and in the countries of the Parthian Empire, was outside the sphere of Hellenistic or Roman political rule during the greater part of the period and developed its own forms of life, which in the course of time influenced Jewry as a whole. Two countries in particular bordering on Ereẓ Israel, namely Egypt and Syria (including Phoenicia), were influenced by their Jewish populations. Already in the Persian period, the Jewish inhabitants in Egypt were considerable in number. The fact that Ereẓ Israel was under the same rule at the beginning of the Hellenistic period encouraged the migration of Jews to the Nile Valley. Living in all the cities and border districts, from the capital alexandria in the north to Syene in the south of Upper Egypt, the Jews in Roman Egypt numbered by the first century C.E., according to Philo, a million souls. Alexandria became one of the largest Jewish centers in the world. From the beginning of the Jewish settlement in that city they had their own quarter, voluntarily established. Later they were also especially predominant in two of the city's five districts, although they were also to be found in the other three, in which they had synagogues. Other places in Lower Egypt distinguished for their Jewish populations were Schedia near Alexandria, Xenephiris, Athribis, and Nitrae, in all of which the Jews had synagogues. Particularly important was the concentration of the Jewish population in the Heliopolite nome, east of the Delta. Distinguished for its military spirit, it even erected its own temple, "the temple of Onias," headed by descendants of the high priest Onias III. The large number of papyri discovered in the villages and towns of the district of Fayyum (Magdola, Crocodilopolis, Psenyris,   Tebtunis, Berenice-Hormos, Philadelphia, Apollonias, Trikomia, Alexandrou-Nesos, etc.) afford valuable information on Jewish settlement in that area. Among the villages of Fayyum was one named Samaria (whose founders were undoubtedly immigrants from Samaria). During the whole Roman period Jews lived continuously in Oxyrhyncus. The ostraca found in excavations have shed light also on the life of the Jews in Apollinopolis Magna (Edfu) and in Thebes in Upper Egypt. The number of Jews in Egypt presumably reached its zenith in the period of the Julio-Claudian emperors. The revolt of the Jews in the days of trajan dealt a severe blow to the Jewish population of Egypt both in Alexandria and especially in the provincial cities and in the villages. In many places the Jews disappeared entirely, and it was only from the third century onward that they gradually began to resettle in them. The Jewish settlement in Cyrenaica was, as it were, a direct extension of that of Egypt, having been largely under the same rule. There were considerable numbers of Jews in the principal cities – in cyrene , where already at the end of the Hellenistic period they constituted an important part of the city's population, and in berenice – as well as in the villages. In the life of the Jewish people the Jews of Cyrenaica filled a notable function and played a leading role in the revolt in the days of Trajan. Josephus describes Syria as the country with the highest percentage of Jewish inhabitants, which is very probably on account of its proximity to Ereẓ Israel. There were particularly important Jewish centers in the capital antioch , in damascus , and in apamea . According to Philo, numerous Jews lived in Syria and in Asia Minor, where the settlement of Jews was greatly promoted by the policy of the Seleucid kings, whose rule extended over large areas of asia minor . Thus it is known that Antiochus III (223–187 B.C.E.) settled 2,000 Babylonian Jewish families in Phrygia and Lydia. From the period of the Roman rule at the end of the republic and the beginning of the Julio-Claudian principate there is clear evidence of the existence of Jews in most of the important cities of Asia Minor, in Adramyttium, pergamum , sardis , ephesus , Tralles, miletus , Iasus, Halicarnassus, laodicea , Tarsus, and very many others, as well as in the regions of bithynia , Pontus, and cappadocia . Asia Minor was undoubtedly also a homeland, or at least a transit station, for the Jews who established the Jewish center on the northern bank of the Black Sea (Panticapaeum). No grave political crisis, such as the revolt of the Jews in Egypt and Cyrenaica, overtook the Jews of Asia Minor, and so their development in the cities of Asia could continue undisturbed. There were many Jews, too, in the various islands of the eastern Mediterranean. The first Jewish settlement there was undoubtedly in cyprus , close as it was to the coast of Ereẓ Israel. But the war of the Jews against the island's non-Jewish inhabitants in the days of Trajan led to the temporary break in Jewish settlement on the island. Many Jews also lived in crete , Delos, Paros, Melos, Euboea, and in other islands. greece proper, which at the end of the Hellenistic period and during that of the Roman Empire suffered from a declining population and a stagnant economy, attracted fewer Jewish immigrants than did Egypt and Asia Minor. Nevertheless, there were Jews in all the important urban centers of Greece and macedonia . The first mention of Jews in Greece, a reference to a Jewish freedman, appears on a third-century inscription from the city of Oropus in Boeotia. Inscriptions of the second century B.C.E. mention the freeing of Jewish slaves in Delphi. In the days of Philo, Jews lived in most of the important districts of Greece (Thessaly, Boeotia, Macedonia, Aetolia, Attica, and most of the areas of the Peloponnesus). According to the Acts of the Apostles, there were Jewish communities in Thessalonica, in the Macedonian cities of Philippi and Beroea, and in the famed Greek cities of athens and corinth . Inscriptions also attest to Jewish settlements in various places in the Peloponnesus (the district of Laconia, the city of Patrae, Tegea), in Athens, and in Thessaly. From Greece the Jewish settlements spread northward to the Balkan peninsula (Stobi) and reached Pannonia. A special position was held by the Jewish settlement in Italy and principally rome , which became the political capital of the entire Mediterranean world. As early as the second century B.C.E. Jews were found in Rome, from which they were expelled in 139 B.C.E. because of their attempts to propagate the Jewish religion there. However, even before Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem (63 B.C.E.) their number had increased in Rome, while the Jewish captives brought to the country by Pompey and subsequent Roman conquerors hastened the process of Jewish settlement in Italy. The Jewish slaves who, on being freed, had become Roman citizens constituted a not insignificant factor in the life of the capital. By 59 B.C.E. in his speech in defense of Flaccus, the governor of Asia, Cicero was complaining of the decisive Jewish influence in the assemblies of the Roman masses. julius caesar allowed them to maintain their position, and under augustus and his successors the Jewish population in Rome numbered thousands and possibly even tens of thousands. The administrative measures taken by Tiberius and claudius were ineffective in hindering Jewish settlement in the capital, and they remained a permanent factor in the life of Rome throughout the whole period of the empire. Certain areas in the city were especially noted for their concentrations of Jewish inhabitants. Gradually Jewish settlements also arose in other cities in Italy, chiefly in the south, in the port of Puteoli, in Pompeii, in the cities of sicily , and in the course of time in northern Italy too. More slowly Jewish groups came into existence in the other provinces of the Latin west (Gaul, spain , and germany ). Of great importance was the Jewish settlement in africa and especially in carthage . Special features distinguished the development of Jewry in the Parthian kingdom which included the Babylonian Jewish population and its extensions in Persia, Media, Elam, etc. This Jewry was not only ancient but extremely numerous, particularly in Babylonia proper, where in some regions and   cities the Jews constituted the majority of the inhabitants. The centers of Jewish settlement in Babylonia at the end of Second Temple times were in the cities of nehardea and nisibis . There was also a considerable Jewish population in the large city of Seleucia on the Tigris, where the Jews were the counterpoise between the eastern-Syrian and the Greek inhabitants. Through the proselytization of the rulers of adiabene in the first century C.E. the Jewish population in the region of the Euphrates was greatly augmented. OCCUPATIONS The occupations of the Jews in the countries of the Hellenistic-Roman Diaspora were varied, and certainly they were not confined to only a few specified occupations, as was the case in the Middle Ages, and no restrictions were placed on them. In Judea, the Jews had been farmers from the earliest days, and, while the cultivation of the soil remained an important occupation of the Jews in the countries of the Diaspora, they also engaged in other pursuits. Numerous papyri in particular furnish considerable evidence of the part played by the Jews in the agriculture of Egypt. Among the Jewish agriculturists in Ptolemaic Egypt were "royal farmers," tenant farmers, military settlers, and agricultural workers. There were also Jewish peasants and shepherds. Other documents show that there was a Jewish family of potters in "a Syrian village" in the Fayyum district, and also a Jewish weaver in Upper Egypt in the second century B.C.E. Jewish officials were prominent in government service, occupying positions in the police force, in the administration of the government banks, and particularly in the collection of taxes. A similar diversity characterized the economic life of the Jews in Roman Egypt. In Roman Alexandria there were wealthy Jews, bankers with interterritorial connections, important merchants, and ship owners who filled a notable role in the Egyptian, and in the entire Mediterranean, economy. However, alongside these, Jewish artisans and poor Jews were no less prominent. The Jewish artisans in Roman Alexandria engaged in various trades, and even occupied places in the large synagogue according to their occupations. Among the Alexandrian Jews, some owned land in various places whereas others had difficulty in making a livelihood, as can be seen from the papyri of Abusir el Meleq. This picture is confirmed by documents relating to the provincial towns. Thus in Roman Egypt some Jews owned land, some engaged in cultivating the soil and in rearing sheep, some in transport on land or along the Nile where they loaded cargo for various parts of Egypt, while others were artisans. Only in military service and in the collection of taxes was there a decline in the activities of the Jews as compared with the preceding period, as a result of general changes in these spheres following the Roman conquest. More or less the same state of affairs existed in the other countries of the Mediterranean world. In Cyrenaica there were rich Jews who, after the Jewish War in 70 C.E., aroused the jealousy of the Roman governor; but there were also poor Jews, who were apparently adversely affected by the agricultural policy of the Roman regime in libya . There were likewise rich Jews in Puteoli and on the island of Melos. The vast sums of money which flowed to the Temple in Jerusalem from all parts of the Diaspora attest in some measure to the existence of wealthy circles among the Jews. It is however important to point out that at least in Rome itself at the zenith of the imperial period it was chiefly the poor and mendicant Jews, and not the rich ones, who attracted the attention of those who derided Jewry. JEWISH LIFE IN THE HELLENISTIC KINGDOMS In the period preceding the annexation to Rome of the Hellenistic kingdoms there was no uniformity in the political fortunes of the Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora, since they lived under the rule of various states. Yet several general lines in the policy toward the Jews had already taken shape. Among these the most prominent were the toleration of the Jewish religion shown by the various Hellenistic kings, the right enjoyed by the Jews to organize themselves in their own communities, and the permission to maintain contact with the religious-national center in Jerusalem, which found expression in the contribution of the half shekel to the Temple. Where their number permitted, such as in Egypt, the Jews also played an active part in the general political life of the country. Egypt is, in fact, the only land on which there is detailed information about the relations between the Hellenistic regime and the Jews. ptolemy II Philadelphus, the most renowned of the Ptolemaic kings in the third century B.C.E., was well disposed toward them. The Jewish slaves taken captive during his father's rule of Ereẓ Israel were freed, and Jewish tradition even ascribed the inception of the Septuagint to his initiative. Some deterioration occurred apparently during the reign of Ptolemy Philopator (222–204 B.C.E.), due both to the situation in Ereẓ Israel and to the king's religious policy in Alexandria itself; but the conflict was short-lived, and the political influence of the Jews in Ptolemaic Egypt reached its summit in the second century B.C.E. More than all the Ptolemaic kings, Ptolemy VI Philometor (180–145 B.C.E.) showed especial friendship toward the Jews. In his days the stream of emigration from Judea to Egypt increased as a result of the pressure of antiochus Epiphanes. Ptolemy Philometor was on intimate terms with the Alexandrian Jewish philosopher aristobulus , and prominent among his army commanders were men of Jewish origin. Well disposed to onias IV, the son of the Jerusalem High Priest Onias III, the king permitted him to build a temple in Egypt. The Jews in "the land of Onias" became in his time an organized military body and a not insignificant factor in Egyptian politics. After the death of Ptolemy Philometor, the Jewish army appeared in Alexandria to help cleopatra II in her struggle against her rival for the throne, Ptolemy Euergetes II (Ptolemy Physcon). As a result, the general position of the Egyptian Jews deteriorated for a time at the beginning of the rule of Ptolemy Physcon (145–116 B.C.E.). However, due to revolts and riots, the Egyptian kingdom was unable to forego the help of the Jews, and Ptolemy Physcon did not long persist in his anti-Jewish policy.   There is reason to assume that an appreciable number of Jews were granted Alexandrian citizenship by this king when his relations with the Greek population deteriorated. At the end of the second century B.C.E., in the struggle between Cleopatra III and Ptolemy Lathyrus, her son and rival for the throne, the Jews supported the queen, and Hilkiah and Hananiah, the sons of Onias IV, even commanded her army in the operations outside the borders of Egypt. At the beginning of the first century (88 B.C.E.) the Jews in Alexandria were persecuted. When Gabinius invaded Egypt the Jews on the frontier assisted the Roman army, as they also did when the army, which had come to extricate Caesar from dire straits in Alexandria, reached the gates of the country (47 B.C.E.). Their actions were undertaken under the influence of Hyrcanus II and Antipater, the rulers of Judea, who were friendly toward the Romans. ROMAN RULE Rome's domination of the entire Mediterranean world led to the concentration of the bulk of the Jewish people under homogeneous rule, so that the development of the various Jewish settlements followed a more uniform political pattern. The Roman regime, faced with the need to lay down a comprehensive approach to the Jewish people, based its policy on showing toleration toward the Jewish religion and doing nothing either directly or indirectly to its detriment. This Roman attitude stemmed from several factors: (1) it was the prevailing Roman policy to refrain as far as possible from affronting the different religions in the empire; (2) Roman conservatism tended to maintain the existing situation in the various states comprising the empire, and the Jewish community, from the period of the Hellenistic kingdoms, had been an element with its own status and claims, and toleration toward it was an established principle even before the Roman conquest; (3) the important role played by the Jews in the life and economy of the empire and the comparatively high percentage of the Jewish population among the peoples of the empire, particularly in the east; (4) the great unity prevailing among the various settlements of the Jews wherever they were, so that any serious attack on one of the great centers of Jewish population produced echoes in other Jewish groups; (5) secondary factors, such as the ties of Herod and other rulers of his dynasty, and also some individual Jews, with the Roman Empire, on occasion influenced the steps taken by the governors; (6) primarily the realization that the alternative facing Rome was either toleration or persecution, for the loyalty of the Jews to their religion was well-known, as was their readiness to suffer martyrdom for it. An attack on the Jewish religion was bound to provoke the Jews to revolt, and the emperors' tolerant policy toward the Jews constituted no injury to the empire. This toleration found expression in several spheres: in the right granted to the Jews to organize themselves in their own institutions and to establish an autonomous system of internal administration and justice, to refrain from taking part in what they regarded as idolatry, and to be exempt from duties involving a transgression of Jewish religious precepts. The permission to refrain from idolatry also included the right to abstain from taking part in emperor worship, the chief expression of the loyalty of the peoples of the empire, abstention from which was generally regarded as treason. For this worship the Jews found a substitute by offering sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem for the well-being of the emperor and by prayers on his behalf recited in the various synagogues in Ereẓ Israel and in the Diaspora. Dispensation from duties conflicting with the Jewish religion included the right of Jews who were Roman citizens to be exempted from military service, since this precluded the observance of the Sabbath and other commandments. The architects of the defined Roman policy toward the Jews were Julius Caesar and Augustus, both of whom issued a series of orders to preserve the rights of the Jews and ensure their religious freedom. Caesar explicitly excluded the organizations of the Jews from the prohibition of maintaining collegia "except the ancient and legitimate ones," and the representatives of the Roman regime in the islands of the Mediterranean Sea and in Asia Minor acted within the area of their rule in accordance with Caesar's approach. After Caesar's death, the two sides in the Roman civil war virtually competed with each other in granting privileges to the Jews. The consul Dolabella, ally of Mark Antony, confirmed the right of the Jews of Asia Minor to religious freedom and exemption from military service, and made his action known to the authorities of Ephesus, the most important city in Asia Minor. Marcus Brutus, one of Caesar's assassins, adopted a similar course. Augustus, in particular, set an example to succeeding Roman rulers. Agrippa intervened to protect the rights of the Jews against the claims of the inhabitants of the Greek cities in Asia Minor, and Augustus instituted a general arrangement whereby the Jews were permitted to send money to the Temple in Jerusalem. Any attack on this money was regarded as sacrilege. This arrangement remained in force until the destruction of the Second Temple. In general, the framework of the relations with the Jews, laid down at the beginning of the Julio-Claudian principate, was preserved during the existence of the pagan Roman Empire. The Julio-Claudian emperors, from Tiberius onward, remained faithful to the policy of Augustus. In fact, it was only during the short reign of gaius caligula (37–41 C.E.) that this policy was seriously challenged. Taking his divinity seriously, the insane emperor demanded of his Jewish subjects the full observance of emperor worship. In Alexandria the Greek enemies of the Jews took advantage of the new situation to incite riots against the Jews, the first "pogrom" in the history of the Roman Empire. Caligula's attempt to introduce his image into the Temple in Jerusalem almost led to an uprising of the entire Jewish nation. Due to the intervention of Agrippa I the immediate threat against the Temple was removed and the danger of a revolt passed,   particularly after Caligula was murdered by conspirators in Rome, but the episode left a turbid sediment in the relations between the Roman regime and the Jews. At the beginning of Claudius' reign the riots in Alexandria were renewed, whereupon Jews from Ereẓ Israel and from the provincial towns of Egypt flocked to the assistance of their coreligionists. The intervention of the emperor restored the status quo, which remained undisturbed until the Jewish War. There were echoes of this war in the larger cities of the Diaspora. In Alexandria the riots between Jews and Greeks broke out again, and the Roman army under the command of the governor, Tiberius Julius Alexander, massacred numbers of Jews in the city. Difficulties were also placed in the way of the Jews in the cities of Syria: there were riots against the Jews of Damascus, and the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch attempted, after the destruction of the Second Temple, to deprive the Jews of their rights but were prevented from doing so by Titus' opposition. In Egypt and Cyrenaica, the remnants of the freedom fighters of Ereẓ Israel who had escaped to these countries tried to incite new riots, but their attempt was foiled by the opposition of the Jewish upper classes and the leading instigators of the revolt were executed by the Roman authorities. Nonetheless, wealthy Jews, too, suffered, especially in Cyrenaica, and many of them lost their lives in the brutal acts of the Roman governor there. In general, the destruction of the Second Temple turned Rome into a ruthless regime and an evil kingdom in the eyes of the Jews everywhere. The humiliating position to which the people had sunk in the Roman Empire found legal expression in the obligation imposed on all the Jews to pay, instead of the half shekel which they had contributed to the Temple before its destruction, a tax of two drachmas to the treasury of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus ("the Jews' tax"). This tax, collected with particular severity under the emperor domitian (81–96 C.E.), continued to be an aggravating and humiliating burden on the Jews until the fourth century. THE TRAJANIC REVOLT AND ITS AFTERMATH The greatest crisis in the relations between the Roman Empire and the Jews of the Diaspora was the revolt in the days of Trajan. Encompassing a large part of the Jewish settlements in Mesopotamia and in the eastern basin of the Mediterranean Sea (in particular Egypt, Cyrenaica, and Cyprus), it was, in effect, the most dangerous agitation against the Roman regime in the east since the wars of Mithridates at the end of the republican period, for it jeopardized the very existence of Roman rule in the eastern lands. Various factors combined to cause the eruption. These were the hatred of Rome in consequence of the destruction of the Temple and of the humiliation suffered by the Jews, the persistent tension between the Jews and the Greek inhabitants of the large cities such as Alexandria, and eschatological-messianic expectations. The revolt continued for several years (115–117 C.E.). Apparently Cyrenaica served at first as a base of prime importance for the rebels, who were led by Andreas (or Lucuas). The war assumed large proportions. Thousands of the non-Jewish inhabitants of the country were killed, and extremely serious damage was caused to the temples and public buildings of Cyrene as well as to the entire economy of the province. In Egypt the Jewish uprising embraced all the Nile country, from Alexandria in the north to Thebes in the south. Fierce battles were fought in the capital, in the villages, and in the various provincial towns, and many years later (199–200 C.E.) the victory over the Jews was still celebrated at Oxyrhyncus in Middle Egypt. Papyri tell of the enormous dimensions of the material damage and the gravity of the war. Only after full-scale battles, in which considerable forces of Roman legions fought alongside the local population, was the revolt crushed. In Cyprus, too, a ruthless war was waged, at the outset of which the Jews, under the leadership of Artemion, massacred large numbers of the island's non-Jewish inhabitants and destroyed the city of Salamis. When the revolt was finally quelled, the death penalty was decreed against any Jew who set foot on the island. The riots in Mesopotamia were connected with Trajan's wars against the Parthians, and no direct connection has been established between these riots and the Jewish revolt in Cyrenaica and Egypt, the actions of the Jews in Mesopotamia being essentially part of the uprisings of the peoples of the east consequent on the Roman invasion of the Parthian kingdom. In any event, the Jews suffered severely from the riots, and the emperor's representative, the commander lusius quietus , massacred many of the Jewish people in the region. The Jewish revolt in the days of Trajan undermined to a great extent the existence of the Jewish communities in Egypt and in Cyrenaica and for a long time put an end to the settlement of Jews in Cyprus. As a result of the revolt there was a certain decrease in the Jewish population in the east of the empire, the material basis of their existence was shaken, and their political and social influence declined. During the reigns of Trajan and his successor hadrian (117–138 C.E.), suppressor of the Bar Kokhba revolt, the history of the Jews in the pagan Roman Empire reached its nadir. However, from the days of antoninus pius (138–161 C.E.) a gradual improvement took place in their position. There were no more Jewish revolts in the lands of the Diaspora nor punitive actions by the imperial regime, and the Jews once more acquired a strong position in the economic life of the empire. Antoninus Pius permitted the Jews to practice circumcision, which had been forbidden under Hadrian, although with the aim of putting a stop to proselytization he prohibited them from circumcising non-Jews. This prohibition continued also under the emperor septimius severus (193–211 C.E.) but in general the Severian period was marked by a reconciliation between the Jews and the imperial regime. The rights of the Jews were assured; the nesi'im of the family of Hillel exercised great influence over the Jewish nation throughout the Roman Empire and were officially recognized by the authorities. Alexander Severus (222–235 C.E.) was favorably disposed toward the Jewish religion, while under caracalla (212 C.E.) the masses of the Jews in the empire, like its other peoples, became in every respect Roman citizens. These more favorable relations between the Jewish people and the empire continued,   in effect, until the beginning of the fourth century, when Christianity became dominant. The Jews certainly suffered during the political and economic crisis which affected all the inhabitants of the empire in the third century, from the frequent changes of rulers and the civil wars, the barbarian invasions, inflation, and the heavy burden of taxation and exactions, but under no circumstances did they suffer because they were Jews. They had become an accepted part of the society of the Roman Empire, although there is no evidence at this time of political activity by the Jews in the Diaspora. ORGANIZATION OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITIES In their various places of residence the Jews had the right of self-organization, recognized by the Hellenistic and Roman authorities. This measure of autonomy was an expression of their religious freedom, and the background to promoting the Jewish religion and to the continued existence of the Jewish people in the Diaspora. Different names were given to the Jewish communities in different cities. At times the terms denoting them were taken from the general organizational terminology (such as the name politeuma), at others they were called simply "Jews," at others again they were designated "synagogue." Not only the name but also the form of organization differed among the Jews in the various cities and countries. In Alexandria, for example, as early as the Ptolemaic period, the Jews had established a unified organization, a community known as a politeuma, led by the elders. At the beginning of the Roman period the Alexandrian community was headed by a president (ethnarch) who enjoyed an independent status and supervised the juridical arrangements in the community. During the reign of Augustus, apparently, certain changes took place in the organization of the community, when the authority passed from the ethnarch to the gerousia , consisting of scores of members. In the city of Berenice, too, as shown by an inscription, the Jews were organized in a politeuma, headed by nine archons. In Rome the Jews were organized around their synagogues, but no proof has yet been discovered of a central organization embracing all the Jews in the city. Neither in the Hellenistic nor in the Roman imperial period did the Jews of the Diaspora have central, countrywide organizations. To the extent that there was a unified leadership for all the Jews of the empire, it was supplied by the Jewish rulers in Ereẓ Israel and the high priests, while these existed, and afterward by the nesi'im and the Sanhedrin at Jabneh and in Galilee. In marked contrast to the picture among Hellenistic-Roman Jewry was the Babylonian Jews' more stable organization, which had hereditary leadership in the person of the exilarch, who traced his descent from the Davidic dynasty, was accorded official recognition by the Parthian regime, and had extremely wide-ranging authority. The communities of the Greco-Roman world exercised fairly extensive authority, the most important aspect of which was the right to maintain a system of battei din with autonomous jurisdiction not only in matters of worship and religion but also in civil cases. However, from papyri it is evident that in various places, even in Alexandria itself where there was a developed system of Jewish jurisdiction, the Jews nevertheless had occasion to turn to non-Jewish law courts. Hence recourse to Jewish autonomous jurisdiction in civil cases was not compulsory. A community also had the right to hold property as a corporate legal body and to collect money from its members, since various expenses, either current or exceptional, had to be met by the communities. The current expenditure included primarily that connected with maintaining religious services, the synagogues, and other Jewish public institutions, such as schools and cemeteries. One of the characteristic features of the community was supplying the needs of the local poor from a charity fund. Exceptional expenditure comprised that associated with building new synagogues, sending delegations to the authorities, ransoming captives, and so on. Here the Jewish community was often assisted by the generosity of individuals. One of the grave problems requiring adjustment was the relation between Jewish self-organization and the institutions of the Greek cities in the Hellenistic-Roman east organized in the form of a polis. Since in any event not all the inhabitants of a city were its citizens, there are no grounds for assuming that all the Jews were citizens of the Hellenistic cities in which they lived. Nor was the position identical in all cities, and in any case everywhere there were Jews with a differing civic status. At least some members of the first groups of Jews who settled in a city at the time of its establishment undoubtedly enjoyed civic rights; thus in Alexandria there were Jews who were "Macedonians." In general, however, most of the Jews who arrived in the Greek cities were presumably either foreigners or enjoyed a special status laid down for the Jewish members of the politeuma. Where there were special arrangements with the Hellenistic kings and the Roman emperors, the practical consequences of the status granted to Jews was no less congenial than the grant of civic rights by the Greek city itself, and this status could even be tantamount to equal civic rights. Generally the position in this respect was flexible. At times the Greek cities tried to deprive the Jews of the rights granted to them by the kings and confirmed by the emperors. On the other hand, there were also attempts by Jews, mainly by those of the upper classes, to infiltrate into the body of the citizens in such places and at such times as seemed to them expedient. It must also be noted that those men whose activities caused them to rise in the scale of the municipal leadership or in the administrative hierarchy of the Hellenistic kingdoms or the Roman Empire very often severed themselves, to a greater or lesser extent, from the Jewish world and made concessions to idolatry. Indeed the Jews who in those years attained prominence actually forsook Judaism, such as Dositheus b. Drimylus in Ptolemaic Egypt, or Tiberius Julius Alexander, Philo's nephew, who became the governor of Egypt. In the Roman Empire the special citizenship of the Greek cities gradually lost its value; all Jews became Roman citizens, and in the various cities of the empire Jews also became members of the municipal councils, a position which by then was less of an honor than a heavy financial burden.   LINKS WITH EREẒ ISRAEL In the days of the Second Temple, as also after its destruction, the Jews of the Diaspora maintained close ties with Ereẓ Israel which found expression in several ways. Many Diaspora Jews fulfilled the commandment of going on pilgrimage to the Temple, and during the festivals Jews from all parts of the world, from Parthia and Media in the east to Italy in the west, could be found in Jerusalem. Some came to study Torah in the renowned schools, as did, for example, the apostle Paul, who studied under Rabban Gamaliel the Elder. This situation also continued after the destruction of the Temple. The greatest scholars of Babylonian Jewry came to study in the academies of Ereẓ Israel; some settling and becoming active there, while others, returning to Babylonia, made that country a great spiritual center. Among the Jews of the Diaspora who settled permanently in Ereẓ Israel were some who shaped the character of Jewish society in Jerusalem at the end of the Second Temple period, the most prominent of these being the families of Boethus and Phiabi, houses of high priests whose members had immigrated from Egypt, and bet hillel and the benei bathyra , whose roots lay in the Babylonian Diaspora. Material support from the Diaspora to Jerusalem consisted primarily of the half shekel contributed to the Temple. This money was sent by Jews and proselytes, not only from the Roman Empire but also from eastern Jewry under Parthian rule. The Jews of Babylonia sent their half shekels to Nehardea and Nisibis, from where a caravan, accompanied by many thousands of Jews to defend it against possible attack by brigands, transported the money to Jerusalem. Wealthy Jews in Alexandria also made liberal contributions to enhance the outward splendor of the Temple. During the years following the destruction of the Second Temple the Jews of the Diaspora continued their financial support of the patriarchate. Important, too, was the political assistance which the Diaspora rendered to the Jews of Ereẓ Israel. As early as in the days of Alexander Yannai, the intervention of Hananiah and Hilkiah, Jewish commanders in the Ptolemaic army, was a prime factor in the development of military events in Ereẓ Israel, where the Jews derived encouragement from the large numbers and steady loyalty of the Jews in the Diaspora during the Roman Empire. CULTURE IN THE GRECO-ROMAN DIASPORA Although the Jewish Diaspora gave rise to considerable spiritual creativity, only a small portion of the literary productions have been preserved. They were written mainly in Greek, which in the Hellenistic period had become the principal language of the Jews of the Roman Empire outside Ereẓ Israel. The characteristic feature of these works is that they are not Greek literature produced by authors of Jewish origin, but Jewish literature written in Greek, for Jewry. Jewish history and problems are the central themes, and not the subjects typical of Greek literature. Whether it chiefly aimed at satisfying the internal needs of Jewish society or whether it was partially of an apologetic nature, intended for external purposes, it must, restrained though it sometimes is, be regarded as polemical literature. In form, however, Jewish-Hellenistic literature adopted most of the types characteristic of Greek literary productions, and among its representatives were historians, philosophers, and dramatic and epic poets. In the Hellenistic-Roman period very few authors of Jewish origin achieved fame in general Greek works unrelated to Jewry. Among these was, apparently, caecilius of calacte in Sicily, an author and literary critic who was a contemporary of Augustus. Only gradually and at a later period did Jewish names begin to appear in the fields of general medicine and science, literature and art. Most of the Jewish-Greek writers were from Egypt, but other places, too, such as Cyrene (where the historian Jason of cyrene lived), participated in these productions. The influence of Jewish-Hellenistic literature on the development of later Jewry was scant and it became generally known chiefly through the channels of the Christian Church. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Schuerer, Gesch, 3 (19093/4), 1–188; M. Radin, The Jews among the Greeks and Romans (1915); A. Causse, Les dispersés d'Israël (1929); E.G. Kraeling, Brooklyn Museum Aramaic Papyri (1953); A. Schalit, in: jqr, 50 (1960), 289–318; H.J. Leon, Jews of Ancient Rome (1960); I. Ben-Zvi, in: Eretz Israel, 6 (1961), 130–48; V. Tcherik-over, Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews (1959); idem, Ha-Yehudim ve-ha-Yevanim ba-Tekufah ha-Hellenistit (1963); idem; Ha-Yehudim be-Mizrayim ba-Tekufah ha-Hellenistit-ha-Romit le-Or ha-Papirologyah (19632), Eng. Summary; idem, in: jjs, 14 (1963), 1–32; Juster, Juifs; Tcherikover, Corpus; Frey, Corpus; Neusner, Babylonia. (Menahem Stern)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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