Jews in the Ancient World
compiled by William
23 March 2004
The general opinion
Tacitus, Roman historian of the 1st century AD
"...all their other customs, which are at once
perverse and disgusting, owe their strength to their very badness . . .
they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies..."
"While the East was under the sway of the Assyrians, the Medes,
and the Persians, Jews were the most contemptible of the subject tribes.
When the Macedonians became supreme, King Antiochus strove to destroy the
national superstition, and to introduce Greek civilization, but was
prevented by his war with the Parthians from at all improving this vilest
"Circumcision was adopted by them as a mark of
difference from other men. Those who come over to their religion adopt the
practice, and have this lesson first instilled into them, to despise all
gods, to disown their country, and set at nought parents, children, and
(From The Histories, Book IV: here
A public notice posted by the Emperor Tiberius Claudius (1st
century AD, pre-christian) to the inhabitants of the Greek city of
Alexandria in Egypt, regarding the outbreak of public disturbances between
Jews and Greeks:
"As for the question, which party was responsible
for the riots and feud (or rather, if the truth be told, the war) with the
Jews...I was unwilling to make a strict inquiry, though guarding within me
a store of immutable indignation against whichever party renews the
conflict. And I tell you once and for all that unless you put a stop to
this ruinous and obstinate enmity against each other, I shall be driven to
show what a benevolent Prince can be when turned to righteous
I explicitly order the Jews not to agitate for
more privileges than they formerly possessed, and not in the future to
send out a separate embassy as though they lived in a separate city (a
thing unprecedented), and not to force their way into gymnasiarchic or
cosmetic games, while enjoying their own privileges and sharing a great
abundance of advantages in a city not their own, and not to bring in or
admit Jews who come down the river from Egypt or from Syria, a proceeding
which will compel me to conceive serious suspicions. Otherwise I will by
all means take vengeance on them as fomenters of which is a general plague
infecting the whole world.
(from Select Papyri II [Loeb
Classical Library] (ed. A.S.Hunt and G.C. Edgar) (1934), pp. 78-89,
The Greek Geographer Strabo: "There is hardly any place
on the whole of the earth which is not dominated by the Jews."
(Geographica, 63 BC - 24 AD)
Greek historian Hecataeus of
Abdera: "[T]heir way of living . . . was devoted to seclusion from human
kind and hatred of non-Jews." (cited in Michael Grant, The Jews in the
Roman World (Dorset Press, 1984), p. 24.)
Koran 4:161 That they [Jews] took usury, though they were
forbidden; and that they devoured men's substance wrongfully; -- we have
prepared for those among them who reject faith a grievous punishment.
The Jews themselves:
Deuteronomy 23:20 Unto a stranger
thou mayest lend upon usury; but unto thy brother thou shalt not lend upon
Isaiah 61:06 ...ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles.
See also Rockwell on Jewish Parasitism http://www.acadiacom.net/wa5dxp/buzz-21.html
in the Old Testament.