Josephus as a Roman Historian

Steve Mason

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter attempts two things. First, it offers reasons for assuming that Flavius Josephus was engaged with his Roman environment in ways that were normal for writers of that time and place. Second, the chapter highlights what seem to be Roman features of both his historiographical perspective and his treatment of imperial themes. It considers how Romans authors presented their texts to their audiences and finds Josephus's texts to have been produced under the normal circumstances at Rome, with a patron and an audience. With respect to the emperors, Josephus struck three poses: flattery and dissimulation; honesty; and ironic flattery; this does not stop him from questioning the explosive issue of hereditary monarchy in Flavian Rome, proposing aristocracy as a better form of government than “tyranny”. Least noticed of all are Josephus's rather forceful critiques of monarchy and its crucial prerequisite in the first century: hereditary succession.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationA Companion to Josephus
EditorsZuleika Rodgers, Honora Chapman
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781118325162, 1118325168
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2015


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