further city conflict and more attacks on Jewish minorities in the cities around Palestine.
The Jews showed a lively awareness of the determining role of the ruling power on their fortunes and an appreciation of the vital importance of governmental support (whatever the kind of government). This is epitomized in the widely told story of how the Septuagint was translated at the enthusiastic command of king Ptolemy ii Philadephus. A precedent was set by the decree of the Seleucid conqueror Antiochus iii to protect the purity and sacred rights ofthe Jerusalem temple, with obvious significance for ioudaioi, wherever they were. Diplomacy, in which the members of the Herodian dynasty played a leading role, gained for Jewish communities in the Roman provinces the patronage successively of Julius Caesar, of Marcus Antonius and of Augustus. Synagogues were exempted by Julius Caesar from his ban on collegia ('associations'). In their disputes with their neighbours, communities were assisted by Roman pronouncements which upheld their right to observe their customary practices (nomoi) and required regular reiteration. Josephus' Antiquitates judaicae bears witness to the resolute and vigilant manner by which the edicts and decrees of senate, magistrates or governors of the Roman republican, tri-umviral and early imperial period supportingJews in Greek cities were sought, generated, guarded and archived.47 They were a source of pride as well as of practical assistance throughout the period. Christian authors were later to perceive Judaism as having legitimate status as, in Tertullian's words, a religio licita ('lawful religion') in the Roman empire, by contrast with the church (Apol. 21.1).
Yet, in reality, the history of the Jews under Rome was often deeply troubled. Three temporary expulsions of Jews from the city of Rome are recorded: the first as early as 139 bce and the others under the emperors Tiberius and Claudius. These measures were consistently ascribed to Jewish proselytising activity and this, at least as a perception, exacerbated the general religious and social anxiety which induced sporadic Roman actions against eastern cults and against philosophers.48 Only in the reign of Septimius Severus was conversion to Judaism officially forbidden.
The crushing of the revolt in 70-3 ce, celebrated by Rome's issue of the famous 'Judaea capta' coins, resulted in a degradation of the standing of Jews everywhere. Rebuilding of the temple was not permitted. The consequent diversion of the former temple tax to a new Roman fiscus iudaicus used to
47 Rajakin The Jewish dialogue, 301-34; Pucci Ben Zeev, Jewish rights; Gruen, Diaspora.
48 Isaac, 'Roman religious policy'.
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