were neither clearly defined nor fully definable. Graeco-Syrian cities in which Jews co-existed with pagans (and later with Christians) ringed the small Jewish territory, both on the coast and in the Decapolis, across the Jordan. Notable among them was Caesarea, the capital of the Roman province. Outside the major centres, rural Galilee too, as distinct from Judaea, was a mixed area. An expert on this region can thus quite reasonably ask whether living in Galilee was 'a form of Diaspora existence for a Jew'.5 The question has, of course, no single or simple answer.
Major Jewish settlements were located in the cities of the Roman provinces of Asia (both coastal and inland Asia Minor), in Greece and in Egypt. There, the pre-Hellenistic Jewish military colonists on the island of Elephantine (at Aswan), established perhaps as early as the seventh century bce, were joined by new military and civilian settlers in both towns and villages. A window onto the life of these communities is provided by a range of private and public documents preserved on papyrus.6 The Alexandrian community was the most important in the Graeco-Roman diaspora. In spite of harassment and persecution, it maintained a vigorous life until damaged by the Jewish uprising in the reign of Trajan. This community stood out because of its numbers; its strong hinterland of smaller Jewish communities;7 its visibility in the city (where there were two Jewish quarters out of the five divisions and Jews resided in other areas too); the size and splendour of its synagogue, which was still mentioned with awe in Talmudic literature (t. Sukk. 4.6; y. Sukk. 5.i.55a-b; b. Sukk. 51b); the high status of some members of its elite in both Hellenistic and Roman periods; and its creative Jewish Greek culture, which sprang from and built upon the Septuagint. We are fortunate in the survival of most of the output of its principal luminary, Philo, the first century ce exegete, philosopher and communal spokesman.8
In Rome, a Jewish community established before the mid-second century bce was increased to number several thousands, not only by general immigration, but by subsequent waves of enslaved Jewish individuals.9 Many of these were captured after the various wars in Palestine and were able to achieve citizenship within two generations through manumission in accordance with Roman law. Prosperity and elevated social status were undoubtedly harder to
5 See S. Freyne, 'Introduction: studying the Jewish diaspora in antiquity', in Bartlett, Jews in the Hellenistic and Roman cities, 1-5; see also ch. i, above.
6 See Méleze-Modrzejewski, Jews of Egypt. For the documents, see CPJ.
7 Detailed account in Kasher, Jews in Hellenistic andRoman Egypt.
8 For an introduction to Philo's copious and complex writings, see Schtirer, History, vol. 111. 2, 809-89.
9 See Leon and Osiek, Jews ofancient Rome; Rutgers, Jews in late ancientRome.
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