Romans and Jews


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Romans and Jews


Livy was a Historian who had a great understanding of the Roman psychology, something he portrayed in most of his works. He had a lot of sympathy because his Roman people were undergoing a form of suffering. In most of his work, we learn that the Roman’s had suffered so much but most of these sufferings were due to their unworthy and unacceptable immorality. On the other hand, Josephus was a Jewish leader when the City of Judaea was plunged into a very bad state after the Jews began fighting amongst themselves instead of making and preparing powerful weapons and be able to fight the Romans.

Disorders among the Romans in Livy’s Roman Republic

The life of Livy is not known very well since there is no much-recorded information about him. The information known about him is derived from a small number of anecdotes that were recorded by authors who came later after his life and who may have obtained the information from Roman biographers (Livy, 2006). At the age of ten, there was civil war that broke out; this war was between Pompey the Great and Caesar. This war had been decided in the year 48 during the time of Pharsalus battle. Later after the battle, Livy came to recall of a very miraculous occurrence when a prophet by the name Cornelius prophesied Caesar’s victory during the war (Livy, 2006).

Livy showed a great understanding of the Roman psychology something he portrayed in most of his works and had a lot of sympathy because of the people suffering (Livy, 2006). From his work, we can learn that the Roman’s had suffered so much but the sufferings were due to their unworthy and unacceptable immorality. However, Livy held that there was stillroom for the people to revive their rotten morals and change for the better (Livy, 2006). During this time, Livy decided to write about history and use it in teaching moral lessons that he felt had died in his Roman people. According to him, the Roman society was totally decaying because of corruption and the loss of moral values. He therefore felt strongly that the days of Rome’s glory could be regained if the Romans were to learn from her history and become better. His strong argument was that there would always be a rise, a fall, and a rebirth of any nation, or affair in anything (Livy, 2006).

One thing the Historian realized was that his Roman ancestors were facing the same kind of problems that the people of his own generation were still facing. He understood that there was the importance for the people to know the good and acceptable things and differentiate them from the bad things that had occurred in the Roman history (Livy, 2006). He targeted at bringing the Romans to the re-birth he was thinking about hence making him a significant Historian figure. In that case, Livy directed all his readers to re-examine their morals together with the policies applied by others to see how it was important in maintaining moral standards (Livy, 2006).

Disorders among the Jews in Josephus’ Judaea

Josephus, a Hebrew Jew, was the son of Matthias in the lineage of the Hasmonaean. Josephus became a Pharisee at the age of 19 years and went to Rome; he later returned to the Palestinian land in 66. There he became the leader during the revolting of the Romans against the Jews, during the time of Nero (Josephus, 1984). Josephus was then appointed the commander of the northerly region of Galilee. The Romans later captured him in the year 67 at the small village of Jotapata. At the time of his imprisonment, Josephus became the negotiator between the Palestine’s concerning this war (Josephus, 1984).

During the reign of Josephus as the governor of Galilee, many Jews flee from Jerusalem knowing the disaster that would follow. This was due to the slaughtering of the Jews at Damascus. The election of Josephus, the son of Gorion, by the Jews as the leader of the city would be a wise decision (Josephus, 1984). Following his election to head the city, Josephus was appointed as the commander in chief in Galilee region. After this appointment, Josephus organized the military army in Galilee but was defeated by the Gischala army and plundered into pieces, then developing monopolies in Galilee. Afterwards, one of King Agrippa’s ministers was robbed and charged with treason (Josephus, 1984). Josephus then promised to build a wall of protection for Tarichaea. For several occasions, a number of assassinations were tried on Josephus as well as developing further plots (Josephus, 1984).

Josephus added a sober warning to any army group of the danger involved in trying to resist any Roman army. This made Josephus's troops escape after being confronted by the Roman army. It was very clear that failure is now inevitable and hence Josephus led the troops to surrender; Josephus then entered Jotapata, which would be attacked, and be under siege (Josephus, 1984). Josephus later declared that Jerusalem’s fall began Ananus’ saying. Josephus held that Ananus believed that God was sentencing this city for pollution and massive destruction; God also wished that this rot would only be washed by fire to put off all those who clung to it (Josephus, 1984). The following days saw savagery, torture, and savagery occurring on the land. In addition, there was the existence of sham courts and faked trials during this reign of terror in Judaea. A good example can be the murder of Zachariah who was a distinguished person in the place.

Later there was civil war in the small country that forced the Idumaeans to regret for their reason for coming and their great participation in the savagery and for that reason, some departed back to their soil (Josephus, 1984). It is therefore clear that Jews were specifically busy fighting amongst themselves instead of making and preparing powerful weapons to fight against the Romans. The next thing that worsened everything was the fact that burial of the dead was outlawed so that the bodies would decay in the streets. On hearing that the disorder and the war among the Jews was Godsend, John becomes determined to be the sole leader and save the people. At the same, there was another calamity that developed when the Sicariis began killing people and plundering the villages that was surrounding Masada. There was a widespread terrorism, injustice and plunder in the city of Judaea that was believed to be Godsend (Josephus, 1984).

Later on after the people had suffered much from God’s wrath, God burned down the walls of the Romans and this forced  Eleazar, Jairus’s son, to  appeal to his people for the possible mass suicide and by so doing preventing them from being captured and taken as slaves. By so doing, it is very clear that God himself decided take away all their hopes of survival (Josephus, 1984). Most of them also burned all their belongings and hence Eleazar noted how the Romans were being tortured with others being left to be eaten by beasts. Later, the arrival of the Roman army found only two women who had survived the ordeal (Josephus, 1984).


From these two disorders, it will be argued that most of the disorders in the Romans occurred due to the widespread immorality and general moral decay in the land. This was the reason why Livy targeted to bring the Romans to a re-birth hence making him a significant Historian figure on the land (Livy, 2006). Through his writings, Livy directed all his readers to re-examine their morals together with the policies applied by others to see how it was important in maintaining good moral standards. For the Jews, their disorder was believed and therefore it would be very hard to overcome this division since they had to learn from this wrath that God had sent them. For the Romans, it would be very easy to solve and overcome their disorders by re-examining their moral issues in the society.



Livy (2006): The History of Rome: Books 1-5. Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company.

Josephus, M (1984): The Jewish War. Fort Collins: Penguin Classics.