TACITUS: The Histories [Book V]

The beginning of the Judaean War under Titus – Tacitus describes the origin of the Jews and asserts that they are the basest of peoples. Jerusalem is the capital city of the Jews. In the middle of the city is their temple, which is very well defended by natural hills and fortifications. Tacitus reports that all 600,000 of the Jews in the city were willing and eager to defend against the Romans. Titus draws up his forces at the base of the temple walls and orders the construction of siege weapons.

The end of the Batavian War, more or less — although the fate of Civilis is left hanging as our manuscripts abruptly fail – Cerialis defeats Civilis at the battle of Vetera, but Civilis manages to escape and fight several more skirmishes before finally submitting to Roman rule.


To establish his influence over this people for all time, Moses introduced new religious practices, quite opposed to those of all other religions. The Jews regard as profane all that we hold sacred; on the other hand, they permit all that we abhor.

They adopted circumcision to distinguish themselves from other peoples by this difference. Those who are converted to their ways follow the same practice, and the earliest lesson they receive is to despise the gods, to disown their country, and to regard their parents, children, and brothers as of little account.

One thought on “TACITUS: The Histories [Book V]”

  1. I didn’t realize Tacitus addressed the strike against the empire by Judea! It would make for interesting comparison against Josephus’ own account, I’ll bet.

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