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Thread: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    You know, Hadrian.

    I don't think the VV sub-forum has ever been graced with a thread about the Bar Kokhba Revolt, otherwise known as the Third Jewish-Roman War (132 - 136 AD), so I'll take the opportunity to start what I think is the first discussion on that. I'd like to focus on the ramifications of it for the Jewish community at the time as well as consequences and reverberations throughout the ages, the potential impact it had on Jewish cultures for centuries to come.

    Jewish rebel leader and Nasi prince Simon ben Kosevah, or Simon Bar Kokhba, revolted against the authority Emperor Hadrian of the Roman Empire to form a newly independent Jewish state in Judea. He was eventually killed along with his followers in 135 AD during the Roman siege of Betar. Hundreds of thousands of Jews allegedly perished in and around Judea, and others were enslaved, but other communities were also left intact like those in Galilee and Golan. Afterwards, Hadrian apparently renamed the provincial region as Syria Palaestina, to diminish its ties to the historical kingdoms of Israel and Judea. Jewish scholars would later accuse Simon of being a false messiah and Jewish philosophy and collective societal outlook became very cautious in terms of mixing spirituality with politics.

    In this thread I'd like to talk about the potential impact this event had on Jews going into the late Roman period after its Christianization under Constantine I as well as the later roles Jews played in medieval Europe and the Middle East under Christian and Islamic rulers. At the very least, the political aspirations of the Jewish people seem to have been crushed by this event, since they only enjoyed brief moments of autonomy under Roman and Sasanian Persian rulers afterwards. It wasn't until the formation of the state of Israel in the mid-20th century that Jews once again became political leaders of their own ethnic state in the region. From what I recall, the only other significant Jewish polity between these two events was the late Khazar Khaganate, after the conversion of the Turkic Khazars to Judaism in the 8th century as a neutral religion that didn't require them to bow to the political forces of Christendom in Byzantium or that of Islam in the Abbasid Caliphate.

    I'd also like to discuss the legacy of Hadrian in all of this and how he is viewed in mainstream scholarship for his role in transforming the region of Israel/Palestine. Some call his war of attrition a genocide. I guess it would be classified as such in modern terms, and not just because of the killing of Jews, but also the erasure of anyone of Jewish identity within the city of Jerusalem itself. Roman laws forbade the Jews from even entering the city of Jerusalem except for on the annual holiday of Tisha B'Av where Jewish attendees engage in fasting, mourning and prayer over the historical destruction of their temples in the city.

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    Ludicus's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae
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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    The annoyed Hadrian should have forgotten the circumcision thing,

    Hadrian's Second Jewish Revolt - Western Oregon University

    To assume that Hadrian despised the Jews due to their religious and social characteristics would be completely uncalled for in understanding his philology towards the empire as a whole. What can be argued is that Hadrian became annoyed that the Jews were in constant revolt towards the empire which caused his Hellenistic program as well as stability of the empire to be deterred... In any case, it seems Hadrian’s reforms and policies concerning the Jews and Jerusalem was strictly political.
    -----

    The Bar Kokhba War Reconsidered - Princeton University

    Just as the Jews outside Judaea most likely continued to circumcise their sons freely during the Bar Kokhha War, here, too, we find no clear indication that this phenomenon reflects a general imperial policy on circumcision, but rather it may very well have been no more than the consequence of the local administration of subject populations.

    (PDF) The Bar Kokhba Revolt and Hadrian's Religious Policy excerpts,
    On the one hand, Bar Kokhba's attempt to reject Roman rule is widely interpreted in contemporary Israeli society and political discourse as the true antecedent of the State of Israel’s foundation and of its long and successful fight to obtain and preserve the right to exist; on the other hand, many critics chose this exemplary event to underpin their picture of
    the Jewish people as obstinate and incapable of living peacefully as part of a super national organism (in so doing, of course, they revive a dumb, but unfortunately long standing anti-semitic slander)

    In particular, it would be very interesting to re-examine Hadrian’s attitude in the Eastern part of his empire and put his troubled relations with the Jewish people within the broader context of his political initiatives toward eastern religions and cults.
    This could contribute in blurring the widespread idea of a clear cut opposition between Roman rule and the entire people of Israel.It is well known that Hadrian’s policy was more inclined to pacify and consolidate his domains than to provoke open and violent confrontations.

    ...the presence of civic and imperial cults was strictly linked to the political and administrative life of Roman coloniae and of their citizens – that was how the new political entities became part of the wider Roman world system. The usual practice included a legal exemption from public pagan rites for the Jewish communities in the remnant of the empire, but it is not difficult to see how he possible renewal of Jerusalem’s status could appear as an intolerable offence for at least a part of Israel.

    A large number of witnesses, mainly of an archeological and numismatic nature, can confirm the idea that Hadrian’s policy gained some approval because of the privileges and the benefits he granted: that is particularly clear for some cities such as Tiberias and Sepphoris in Galilee where it is very difficult to hypothesize that the majority of the population was formed by Gentiles.

    As far as many of these cities are concerned, we know very well that Hadrianeia were dedicated to the cult of the emperor; this forged a very useful link between colonial foundation and introduction of pagan cults in a way that Cassius Dio seems to envisage for Aelia Capitolina.

    Anyway, this evidence can also demonstrate the rationality and political opportunity of Hadrian’s project which was not a mere provocative act directed against Israel's religious tradition, but could have been designed to meet some approval.

    Only too narrow a concept of the opposition between Judaism and Hellenism in the Land of Israel at this time allows to maintain the strict image of a complete and total refusal, on Israel’s side, of the empire and its institutions.

    .... On the one hand Hadrian tried to bind Israel to Rome through benefactions, such as the rebuilding of the Temple and the conferral of the status of colony on Jerusalem, while, on the other hand, he wanted to erase the major sign of the Israelite distinction, which was identified in antiquity with the practice of circumcision.

    Israel’s response to the imperial move involved at least two opposing positions: some accepted the offer as a good way to obtain integration in the Greco-Roman world, while others fought back fiercely not only against the Roman authority, but also particularly against the negotiation propounded by their fellow Israelites. From such a tragic clash the religious life of Israel was radically changed and the very notion of “religion” was shaped in ways that would go on to influence the entire western world until modern times.
    Il y a quelque chose de pire que d'avoir une âme perverse. C’est d'avoir une âme habituée
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    Every human society must justify its inequalities: reasons must be found because, without them, the whole political and social edifice is in danger of collapsing”.
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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Good work as always, Ludicus.

    On the one hand, Bar Kokhba's attempt to reject Roman rule is widely interpreted in contemporary Israeli society and political discourse as the true antecedent of the State of Israel’s foundation and of its long and successful fight to obtain and preserve the right to exist; on the other hand, many critics chose this exemplary event to underpin their picture of the Jewish people as obstinate and incapable of living peacefully as part of a super national organism (in so doing, of course, they revive a dumb, but unfortunately long standing anti-semitic slander)
    Giovanni Bazzana makes a good point here. The Jews in Judea were certainly sensitive to any perceived intrusion upon their unique monotheistic faith by Roman authorities, just like with the previous Hellenistic Greek Seleucids. However, the fact they led three great revolts against Roman rule over the course of a century shouldn't be seen as something so remarkable, out of the ordinary, or wholly peculiar to their ethno-religious group. The Romans faced a lot of native revolts for various reasons, usually economic ones, but also ones that were just as ethnocentric, nativist and tribal in their resistance to Latin/Hellenistic/Greco-Roman culture.

    Take for instance the Iceni under Boudica in Britain, or the Celtic Revolt of the Batavi in 69-70 AD more than a century after the Revolt of Ambiorix against Julius Caesar in Gaul between 54 and 53 BC. I don't hear any arguments about the various Celtic peoples as a whole being unable to tolerate living peacefully in a supranational entity or larger multi-ethnic state considering the centuries of living peacefully in the Roman Empire. The Jews largely did the same after Bar Kokhba for that matter, seeing resistance as futile given the consequences and the power of Rome to marshal huge armies to squash any of their rebellions.

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    Carmen Sylva's Avatar Domesticus
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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Psst the Batavi were germanic.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batavi_(Germanic_tribe)

    In both of your mentioned cases incompetent provincial governors had pissed of the native leaders by extreme humiliation.

    In case of the Iceni revolt it was the raping / flogging of Boudica's daughters.

    In case of the Batavi it was the execution of Julius Paullus on a false charge of rebellion and the later leader of the rebellion Gaius Iulius Civilis was paraded in chains before Nero.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batavi_(Germanic_tribe)

    The Bar Kochbar revolt on the other side broke out because of the resurrection of Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina.

    It was the second religious/ethnocentric uprising in the short time of 70 years.

    I think Hadrian wanted to make an example of what will happen to permanent rebellious provinces.

    Finally Hadrian was a irascible man, as this episode shows:

    When he became emperor, therefore, he remembered this slight and would not endure the man's freedom of speech. He sent him the plan of the temple of Venus and Roma by way of showing him that a great work could be accomplished without his aid, and asked Apollodorus whether the proposed structure was satisfactory. 4 The architect in his reply stated, first, in regard to the temple, that it ought to have been built on p433 high ground and that the earth should have been excavated beneath it, so that it might have stood out more conspicuously on the Sacred Way from its higher position, and might also have accommodated the machines in its basement, so that they could be put together unobserved and brought into the theatre without anyone's being aware of them beforehand. Secondly, in regard to the statues, he said that they had been made too tall for the height of the cella. 5 "For now," he said, "if the goddesses wish to get up and go out, they will be unable to do so." When he wrote this so bluntly to Hadrian, the emperor was both vexed and exceedingly grieved because he had fallen into a mistake that could not be righted, and he restrained neither his anger nor his grief, but slew the man.

    http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...Dio/69*.html#4

    So his harsh treatment of the Bar Kochba revolt could also be because of his irascible character.
    Last edited by Carmen Sylva; December 04, 2019 at 05:10 PM.

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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    To be fair to Hadrian, the Jews proved to be even more troublesome than most of the subjects of the Romans. The rebellion of the Jews in the Kitos War wasn't confined to one particular location, but was seen throughout the empire whereever Jews lived. The widespread slaughter slaughter committed by Jews would not have made Hadrian favorably disposed to the Jews.

    While the Jews were not unique in their rebellions, they were unique in the Kitos War in that their rebellion in that war was not confined to just one locality. Also, the Jewish revolts were very serious revolts, especially the Bar Kocha rebellion. Hadrian drastic actions were to discourage future rebellions by the Jews, not just in Judea, but by Jews living elsewhere in the empire. Romans often underestimated the attachment of the Jews to their religion. Hadrian likely didn't fully understand how the Jews intolerance for any other religion but their own, and how they would react to his plans for Jerusalem. What Hadrian planned was not different from what he would have done in other provinces with a similar history.

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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Its not my area of expertise but I'll blab freely about it if I may.

    The Jewish diaspora was already evolved a modus vivendi that allowed significant Jewish communities to survive around the Mediterranean basin and Mesopotamia. This was so successful that Jewish communities not only managed to retain their separate culture and religion but also migrated to Northern Europe. I do not know if this occurred via the establishment Holy Roman Empire or with the opening of the North Sea and Baltic trade routes but I suspect it was a bit both.

    I think the strength of Jewish national feeling meant the "home province" was more unruly than most Roman provinces. There was an elite leadership tied to monotheism, and a body of ordinary people prepared to follow them into suicidal revolt (which they did twice).

    Goldsworthy mentions in his Pax Romana that while Roman Provinces could revolt in favour of a separate political existence (and he discusses the Iceni and Gallic uprisings, and to a lesser extent the Batavi) this typically occurred within a generation of conquest and then never occurred again. Once pacified they stayed pacific, in that there might be revolts in favour of a candidate for the imperial throne but there was no war to establish a separate political entity for the previous indigenous groups. Zenobia certainly claimed for her husband and son Eastern-style Royal titles but also carefully claimed "legitimate" Roman ones and aspired to rule "the Empire". Orly the Persian and Macedonian Empires ranked as legitimate entities alongside the Imperium Romanum.

    I imagine the Roman method of slaughtering everyone who resisted and offering status and a pleasant lifestyle to elites who cooperated is a big factor on this ability to pacify provinces. The comfortable lifestyle was essentially Hellenistic: a life of landowning and mercantile wealth, civic service, public entertainments and priesthoods.

    The exceptions were in Hispania and Judaea. I forget the reasons for Hispanic intransigence, maybe it was the fact the place was a mine for triumphs in the late Republican period and there was a tendency for propraetors and Proconsuls to head out to get their tally of corpses of gold so they could come home and get their grass crown. Ultimately though even bloody Iberia was pacified.

    However Judea once made a province had a serious revolt a century after conquest. The elite that led this was killed or exiled and so the "threat generator" of montheist populace and elite dispersed, never again to revolt.

    Hadrian seems to have employed standard Roman operating procedure here. The superstition of Romans, prone to awe of foreign gods, seems to have prevented them from eradicating Judaism as a cult in the first instance, or even as a result of the several wars. They had no such qualms with annihilating the Druids, whose religion did not promote obedience to Rome. Likewise the Carthaginian elite were exterminated.

    I don't know much of the Kitos War. It seems to be blatant anti-Jewish propaganda as recorded, although the Jewish community does seem to have retained a strong corporate identity despite dispersal and Roman rule. I can imagine some Jewish leaders leading uprisings in favour of perceived benevolent eastern monarchs against the Romans.Its hard to imagine hundreds of thousands of deaths in a few months though. That's Rwanda levels of violence...so its possible.

    It does seem the strength and cohesion of Jewish identity based around a literate culture was a challenge for an Imperial entity looking to submerge ethnic/religious/cultural identity into an obedient mass. Jewish communities did continue to survive and even spread after the bar Kochba revolt.

    The survival strategies developed by the Rivers of Babylon after the Exile served the Jewish community so well they spread over the entire world despite a strong point of irritation with the Pagan Christian and Islamic hegemonies in which they found themselves. if you can survive Assyria and Babylon you can survive anything I guess.
    Jatte lambastes Calico Rat

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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    From what I recall, the only other significant Jewish polity between these two events was the late Khazar Khaganate, after the conversion of the Turkic Khazars to Judaism in the 8th century as a neutral religion that didn't require them to bow to the political forces of Christendom in Byzantium or that of Islam in the Abbasid Caliphate.
    The Khazars probably never converted to Judaism. See here: Did the Khazars Convert to Judaism? Also: No Evidence from Genome-Wide Data of a Khazar Origin for the Ashkenazi Jews

    At the main topic, the outcomes of the Jewish revolts came to be seen as divine punishment for Jews having been divided.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Quote Originally Posted by Carmen Sylva View Post
    Psst the Batavi were germanic.
    Oops! My mistake. Although the Batavi were joined in their rebellion by Celtic tribes from Gallia Belgica, so the rebellion was in fact both Celtic and Germanic.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    To be fair to Hadrian, the Jews proved to be even more troublesome than most of the subjects of the Romans. The rebellion of the Jews in the Kitos War wasn't confined to one particular location, but was seen throughout the empire whereever Jews lived. The widespread slaughter slaughter committed by Jews would not have made Hadrian favorably disposed to the Jews.

    While the Jews were not unique in their rebellions, they were unique in the Kitos War in that their rebellion in that war was not confined to just one locality. Also, the Jewish revolts were very serious revolts, especially the Bar Kocha rebellion. Hadrian drastic actions were to discourage future rebellions by the Jews, not just in Judea, but by Jews living elsewhere in the empire. Romans often underestimated the attachment of the Jews to their religion. Hadrian likely didn't fully understand how the Jews intolerance for any other religion but their own, and how they would react to his plans for Jerusalem. What Hadrian planned was not different from what he would have done in other provinces with a similar history.
    Yep, the Kitos War was very destructive indeed. It is very easy to say Hadrian was sending a message to those in the region considering rebellion, but I guess also to Jews living throughout the empire that another episode would not be tolerated.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclops View Post
    It does seem the strength and cohesion of Jewish identity based around a literate culture was a challenge for an Imperial entity looking to submerge ethnic/religious/cultural identity into an obedient mass. Jewish communities did continue to survive and even spread after the bar Kochba revolt.

    The survival strategies developed by the Rivers of Babylon after the Exile served the Jewish community so well they spread over the entire world despite a strong point of irritation with the Pagan Christian and Islamic hegemonies in which they found themselves. if you can survive Assyria and Babylon you can survive anything I guess.
    Pretty much, although the Jews didn't exactly fair that much better under say the Parthian Empire. The Jewish leaders Anilai and Asinai from Nehardea (near modern Fallujah, Iraq) were successful in rebelling and gaining some autonomy from the Parthians at first, but their ultimate failure led to the harassment and exile of the Jews from Babylon and then Seleucia, forced to resettle in places like Ctesiphon and Nisibis during the 1st century AD.

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    The Khazars probably never converted to Judaism. See here: Did the Khazars Convert to Judaism? Also: No Evidence from Genome-Wide Data of a Khazar Origin for the Ashkenazi Jews

    At the main topic, the outcomes of the Jewish revolts came to be seen as divine punishment for Jews having been divided.
    I was under the impression that Khazar leadership converted to Judaism or at least paid lip service to the idea, while most Khazars and Turkic subjects retained their shamanistic Tengriist belief system. I also don't believe in the whole Khazar origin of Ashkenazi Jews thing either.

    As for divine punishment for not banding together, that's ironic, because most Jews after Bar Kokhba, while maintaining tight knit communities in various countries, didn't really seem to desire to take over or lead nations or kingdoms under Jewish leadership. Or perhaps they became so scattered that this became virtually impossible, especially with the successes of different waves of invaders from the Arabs to the Seljuk Turks to the Mongols, to say nothing of what was going on in the West with the Franks, then the Normans, then the Crusades, etc. The Jews also clearly never had a strong enough presence in the Western Mediterranean or Western Europe for that matter to consider achieving these things. They sought autonomy in various locations of West Asia, though, under Roman, Parthian, and Sasanian rule.

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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    Oops! My mistake. Although the Batavi were joined in their rebellion by Celtic tribes from Gallia Belgica, so the rebellion was in fact both Celtic and Germanic.
    The Romans were not always very good a distinguishing ethnic groups. Those living beyond (east) of the Rhine were often called Germans, whether in fact they were a Germanic speaking people or not, and those living west of the Rhine were often classified as Celts. Tribes like the Belgica, were called Celts but the Romans talked about them having "German" ancestry, which could just mean they originally came from east of the Rhine.


    Yep, the Kitos War was very destructive indeed. It is very easy to say Hadrian was sending a message to those in the region considering rebellion, but I guess also to Jews living throughout the empire that another episode would not be tolerated.
    The Jews had a long history of being a rebellious people. Even in the Book of Ezra chapter 4, people complained that the Jews had a long history of being rebellious subjects:

    4 Now since we are under obligation to the palace and it is not proper for us to see the king dishonored, we are sending this message to inform the king,15 so that a search may be made in the archives of your predecessors. In these records you will find that this city is a rebellious city, troublesome to kings and provinces, a place with a long history of sedition. That is why this city was destroyed.16 We inform the king that if this city is built and its walls are restored, you will be left with nothing in Trans-Euphrates. Ezra 4 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage...+4&version=NIV

    Pretty much, although the Jews didn't exactly fair that much better under say the Parthian Empire. The Jewish leaders Anilai and Asinai from Nehardea (near modern Fallujah, Iraq) were successful in rebelling and gaining some autonomy from the Parthians at first, but their ultimate failure led to the harassment and exile of the Jews from Babylon and then Seleucia, forced to resettle in places like Ctesiphon and Nisibis during the 1st century AD.
    I think it is simply that those who are not willing to conform to a given society's norms, who are different, are always going to face discrimination and suspicion, and the Jews have always followed their own standards and path. This is always going to create a degree of tension at times with the host society, and historically, even the Old Testament acknowledges the Jews were a stubborn and rebellious people, as the prophets often said.


    I was under the impression that Khazar leadership converted to Judaism or at least paid lip service to the idea, while most Khazars and Turkic subjects retained their shamanistic Tengriist belief system. I also don't believe in the whole Khazar origin of Ashkenazi Jews thing either.
    The Jewish identity of the Khazars has become invovled in a wider political issue. A review of the sources indicate that the best contemporary sources on the Khazars are silent about them being Jewish, which seems somewhat strange given how odd a Jewish leadership of a Turkish tribe would be, and those sources that do talk about Jewish Khazars are of questionable reliability. https://new.huji.ac.il/en/article/22007 Evidence that provides some indication of Jewish Khazars like this one are doubtful by many scholars. https://www.persee.fr/doc/rebyz_0766..._num_53_1_1906
    Last edited by Common Soldier; December 05, 2019 at 03:15 PM.

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    Ludicus's Avatar Vicarius Provinciae
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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    The Romans were not always very good a distinguishing ethnic groups
    Indeed. And the Greeks,or the ancient peoples generally speaking. Let's keep in mind that the introduction of ethnicity/ethnic identity is a relative new term, first used by David Riesman in 1953.
    I would like to hear our resident anthropologist -sumskilz-explain to us (in simple terms) the core concepts behind Barth's seminal work on ethnic groups. If I have understood it well, in the Hellenistic period the term ethne came to denote vocacional groups (farmers, heralds, prostitutes,etc. whatever). I also read that in the Roman period provinces were so designated in some instances.
    According to Jonathan Hall, in Identity in Greek Antiquity, the ethnic groups may be distinguished from other social groups, sic," by virtue of association with a specific territory and a shared myth of descent..that is putative rather than actual, and judged by consensus"
    According to Erikson, "for ethnicity to come about, the groups must have a minimum contact between them, and they must entertain ideas of each other as being culturally different from themselves". To sum up, ethnicity was nothing more than a special form of social/group identity.
    --
    I forgot to mention PDF) The Bar-Kokhba revolt: The Greek point of view - Full paper
    From the abstract,

    ...This paper collects the remains of a considerable number of Greek writings, including those of biographies and encomia of Hadrian: owing to the very nature of these fragments only a few can be proven to have dealt with the Jewish war, and only some authors can be shown to have displayed on various occasions a decidedly anti-Jewish stance. Yet a survey and analysis of the remains of about a dozen Greek authors will suggest their passionate reaction to the rebellion and their support for Hadrian and the Roman cause
    Il y a quelque chose de pire que d'avoir une âme perverse. C’est d'avoir une âme habituée
    Charles Péguy

    Every human society must justify its inequalities: reasons must be found because, without them, the whole political and social edifice is in danger of collapsing”.
    Thomas Piketty

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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    As for divine punishment for not banding together, that's ironic, because most Jews after Bar Kokhba, while maintaining tight knit communities in various countries, didn't really seem to desire to take over or lead nations or kingdoms under Jewish leadership. Or perhaps they became so scattered that this became virtually impossible, especially with the successes of different waves of invaders from the Arabs to the Seljuk Turks to the Mongols, to say nothing of what was going on in the West with the Franks, then the Normans, then the Crusades, etc. The Jews also clearly never had a strong enough presence in the Western Mediterranean or Western Europe for that matter to consider achieving these things. They sought autonomy in various locations of West Asia, though, under Roman, Parthian, and Sasanian rule.
    According to the Talmud, Bar Kokhba had supposedly said “Adonai if you choose not to help us, at least don’t aid of our enemies” which implied that the Jews could be victorious without God’s aid (later interpreted as blasphemy). Whether this is historical or invented dialog to accompany a post-hoc explanation for God’s apparent lack of assistance, it had the effect of leading many Jews to believe any attempt to reestablish political independence without an explicit sign from God would lead to disaster, which is why most political Zionists were atheists and most religious Jews opposed, or were at least wary about, the establishment of the modern state of Israel until the great Israeli military victories started being seen as explicit signs of God’s approval.

    The story about lack of unity also served Rabbinic Judaism’s attempts to bring all the various strands of Judaism under one legal system.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ludicus View Post
    II would like to hear our resident anthropologist -sumskilz-explain to us (in simple terms) the core concepts behind Barth's seminal work on ethnic groups.
    That’s a pretty big topic, but I could make a few comments relevant to the observation that Romans not always being good at distinguishing ethnic groups. In Barth’s view, which is generally accepted, ethnic groups arise from inter-group relations. Without a “them” there can be no “us”. So boundaries are defined by a limited set of dichotomizations - “We are X, while they are Y”, “We do A, while they do B”. Different ethnicities use different dichotomizations to define boundaries, and these can change over time. Neither culture, nor language, nor ancestry are synonymous with ethnicity, though cultural traits, language, and ancestry are commonly (though not universally) used to define boundaries, and the emphasis or lack thereof on each varies between ethnicities.

    For ancient Jews, neither language nor most cultural traits could effectively serve as ethnic boundaries with Canaanites, because the dialects existed on a continuum and the majority of cultural traits were shared. So the boundaries were primarily defined by religious practices, and an emphasis placed on an ancestry which was semi-mythological. At a Jewish funeral, close relatives of the deceased cut or tear a hole in their clothes to symbolize a wound that can never fully heal, whereas the mourners at Canaanite funeral would lacerate themselves, presumably to create a scar that can never fully heal. To the outside observer, these may appear to be two variations of the same cultural practice, but to Jews one is a meaningful symbolic custom whereas the other is a barbaric practice “they” used to engage in.

    I had an anthropology professor who did regular fieldwork with Quechua people who lived in a village in the Andes. One time she was asking about member of the village who had moved to a lowland city, she wanted to try to get in touch with him to find out how the transition was going for him. The Quechua people in the village were confused as to why she would even still be interested in talking to him considering he was no longer Quechua; he was Mestizo now. My prof was surprised to find out that to them Mestizo was primarily an ethnic identity based on lifestyle. Being American, she had assumed it referred primarily to ancestry and phenotype, because that’s how ethnicities tend to be bounded in the US.

    So from the Barth perspective, I don’t think the Romans were particularly interested in identifying ethnicities as they were self-defined, but rather in categorizing different cultural groups from their own Roman perspective as was useful for their own dealings with said groups.
    Quote Originally Posted by Enros View Post
    You don't seem to be familiar with how the burden of proof works in when discussing social justice. It's not like science where it lies on the one making the claim. If someone claims to be oppressed, they don't have to prove it.


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    Roma_Victrix's Avatar Gatorade, is it in you?
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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    Whether this is historical or invented dialog to accompany a post-hoc explanation for God’s apparent lack of assistance, it had the effect of leading many Jews to believe any attempt to reestablish political independence without an explicit sign from God would lead to disaster, which is why most political Zionists were atheists and most religious Jews opposed, or were at least wary about, the establishment of the modern state of Israel until the great Israeli military victories started being seen as explicit signs of God’s approval.
    Kinda like the chicken before the egg argument! How can you demonstrate if God is favoring you in battle or not if you don't engage in battle in the first place?

    From what I understand that's how some medieval wars were won, not always by attrition and an endless series of sieges, but by swinging things wildly in the favor of one faction due to a few lucky field battles. This would help convince people on either side that one of the factions was truly being favored by God and the other not so much! Hence the need for a speedy diplomatic resolution by the apparent losing faction. Henry V in the Hundred Years' War between France and England comes to mind. His court chronicler and colorful author of the Gesta Henrici Quinti certainly helped to spread this idea of Henry's divine favor and how he'd been destined to win from the very start.

    It's just funny that this sort of thing can still be applied to people in the 20th century, in this case Orthodox Jews. In the case of ancient Jews in the Roman Empire, it would have certainly been wise to distance their faith from the messianic movement of Bar Kokhba, because losing battles or being crushed by the Romans wouldn't exactly seem like a ringing endorsement from the big guy himself, Yahweh.

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    I had an anthropology professor who did regular fieldwork with Quechua people who lived in a village in the Andes. One time she was asking about member of the village who had moved to a lowland city, she wanted to try to get in touch with him to find out how the transition was going for him. The Quechua people in the village were confused as to why she would even still be interested in talking to him considering he was no longer Quechua; he was Mestizo now. My prof was surprised to find out that to them Mestizo was primarily an ethnic identity based on lifestyle. Being American, she had assumed it referred primarily to ancestry and phenotype, because that’s how ethnicities tend to be bounded in the US.

    So from the Barth perspective, I don’t think the Romans were particularly interested in identifying ethnicities as they were self-defined, but rather in categorizing different cultural groups from their own Roman perspective as was useful for their own dealings with said groups.
    So it would basically be like an Englishman becoming French because he adopts an outrageous accent, wears a beret, striped shirt, and eats baguettes with camembert and wine.

    Quote Originally Posted by Common Soldier View Post
    The Romans were not always very good a distinguishing ethnic groups. Those living beyond (east) of the Rhine were often called Germans, whether in fact they were a Germanic speaking people or not, and those living west of the Rhine were often classified as Celts. Tribes like the Belgica, were called Celts but the Romans talked about them having "German" ancestry, which could just mean they originally came from east of the Rhine.
    I've always suspected this as well and it's why I often unconsciously mix up or confuse certain ancient continental groups and tribes living in the hazy middle ground between Gaul and Germania. The Romans weren't exactly precise ethnographers, although they did at least try on occasion to explain accurately how people lived and what kind of customs they had. Julius Caesar's descriptions of the Gauls and Britons come to mind. He even pointed out how their houses were built in a similar manner.

    The Jews had a long history of being a rebellious people. Even in the Book of Ezra chapter 4, people complained that the Jews had a long history of being rebellious subjects:
    Jews, they're such rebels, with their Che Guevera shirts and telling dad that they're not the boss of them anymore while going out to skateboard and smoke pot past midnight!

    I think it is simply that those who are not willing to conform to a given society's norms, who are different, are always going to face discrimination and suspicion, and the Jews have always followed their own standards and path. This is always going to create a degree of tension at times with the host society, and historically, even the Old Testament acknowledges the Jews were a stubborn and rebellious people, as the prophets often said.
    There's that, but there's also the fact that many insular Jewish communities in Europe just wanted to be left to their own devices or given a modicum of respect by the Christian communities around them. A lot of times they were happy to keep a low profile but garnered attention anyway due to their alien practices and the public's bitterness over their control of money. For instance the Jews in medieval England, while barred from owning land and such, were happy to serve as the King's Jews involved in money lending (since Christians couldn't engage in usury) so long as they weren't being taxed to death or harassed by mobs over silly myths that they were killing Christian children and eating them by turning them into matzo. Well, at least until Edward I had them all expelled in 1290, after centuries of tension and conflict between Jews and the English locals who resented them (especially the ones who still owed the Jews money, LOL). The Jews that came to England in the 1650s during the regime of Oliver Cromwell were largely not descended from the Jews who were forced to flee centuries earlier. However, this new wave of Jews kept the same low profile for the most part or involved themselves in social and political movements that were pro-English, ingratiating themselves with the people of their new homeland.

    The Jewish identity of the Khazars has become invovled in a wider political issue. A review of the sources indicate that the best contemporary sources on the Khazars are silent about them being Jewish, which seems somewhat strange given how odd a Jewish leadership of a Turkish tribe would be, and those sources that do talk about Jewish Khazars are of questionable reliability. https://new.huji.ac.il/en/article/22007 Evidence that provides some indication of Jewish Khazars like this one are doubtful by many scholars. https://www.persee.fr/doc/rebyz_0766..._num_53_1_1906
    Thanks for the links! It's a fun conversation, but I'll leave it there since I don't want to derail my own thread talking about the Khazars.

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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Quote Originally Posted by Roma_Victrix View Post
    In this thread I'd like to talk about the potential impact this event had on Jews going into the late Roman period after its Christianization under Constantine I as well as the later roles Jews played in medieval Europe and the Middle East under Christian and Islamic rulers. At the very least, the political aspirations of the Jewish people seem to have been crushed by this event, since they only enjoyed brief moments of autonomy under Roman and Sasanian Persian rulers afterwards. It wasn't until the formation of the state of Israel in the mid-20th century that Jews once again became political leaders of their own ethnic state in the region. From what I recall, the only other significant Jewish polity between these two events was the late Khazar Khaganate, after the conversion of the Turkic Khazars to Judaism in the 8th century as a neutral religion that didn't require them to bow to the political forces of Christendom in Byzantium or that of Islam in the Abbasid Caliphate.
    Well there is the Himyarite kingdom in Yemen and the Beta Israel in Ethiopia who if I do recall managed to establish an independent state during the 16th century.

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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Quote Originally Posted by sumskilz View Post
    ...
    So from the Barth perspective, I don’t think the Romans were particularly interested in identifying ethnicities as they were self-defined, but rather in categorizing different cultural groups from their own Roman perspective as was useful for their own dealings with said groups.
    Thanks for summarizing so well
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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    I'm reading a interesting article in the german wikipedia today, that a circumcision ban by Hadrian as one of the reason for the Bar Kochbar War is only one more myth by Historia Augusta than historical fact:

    circumcision ban

    The Historia Augusta dedicates a brief sentence to the Bar Kochba rebellion: "At that time, the Jews also started a war because they were forbidden to mutilate the genitals." [16] Some historians concluded that Hadrian had released a prohibition of circumcision which we no longer have. This shall be the occasion, or another occasion, for the Bar Kochba revolt. [17] Since the source value of the Historia Augusta is questionable, the historians who expect such a counterargumenr, are calling a rescript of Antoninus Pius. This rescript is then interpreted as saying that Antoninus Pius, as Hadrian's successor, again allowed the Jew to circumcise his own sons, while penalizing
    the circumcision of a gentile like a castration. Peter Kuhlmann rejects this text understanding from a philological point of view. He interprets the rescript as a restriction on the permissible circumcision by prohibiting the inclusion of non-Jews in the Jewish community. [18] Ra'anan Abusch sees in the rescript of Antoninus Pius the first Roman legislation ever dealing with the Jewish circumcision ritual (Brit Mila). [19] Since numerous eunuchs were offered on the Roman slave markets, several emperors had previously seen an occasion to intervene against the castration of slaves. According to Abusch, such a provision for the protection of slaves is also contained in a rescript by Hadrian: He put castration on a par with murder, thus aggravating the punishment. The connection between the Historia Augusta and Hadrian's slave legislation, Jewish circumcision and the Bar Kochba uprising, is not supported by any classical author, according to Abusche's analysis. [20] Christopher Weikert states: "It is better to reject the testimony of the Historia Augusta, instead of building on its foundation a hypothetical argument." [21]

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar-Ko...neidungsverbot

    And Abusch has read the Digestes 48,8,4,2 well:

    (4) The Divine Hadrian also stated in a Rescript that he who killed anyone who was forcibly attempting to commit an act of debauchery with himself, or with those belonging to him, should be discharged.

    https://droitromain.univ-grenoble-al...Scott.htm#VIII

    Once again the Historia Augusta are proving that they are more yellow press than historical record.

    Hadrian was defintely not motivated by some sort of bias against jews, he want to make a example what happens if you challenge roman rule.
    Last edited by Carmen Sylva; December 08, 2019 at 11:08 PM.

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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Quote Originally Posted by RandomPerson2000 View Post
    Well there is the Himyarite kingdom in Yemen and the Beta Israel in Ethiopia who if I do recall managed to establish an independent state during the 16th century.
    Oh snap! I forgot about the Himyarites. I shouldn't have done that either, since I learned about their longstanding relationship with Ethiopia's Axum a long time ago.

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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Quote Originally Posted by Carmen Sylva View Post
    I'm reading a interesting article in the german wikipedia today, that a circumcision ban by Hadrian as one of the reason for the Bar Kochbar War is only one more myth by Historia Augusta than historical fact:

    circumcision ban

    The Historia Augusta dedicates a brief sentence to the Bar Kochba rebellion: "At that time, the Jews also started a war because they were forbidden to mutilate the genitals." [16] Some historians concluded that Hadrian had released a prohibition of circumcision which we no longer have. This shall be the occasion, or another occasion, for the Bar Kochba revolt. [17] Since the source value of the Historia Augusta is questionable, the historians who expect such a counterargumenr, are calling a rescript of Antoninus Pius. This rescript is then interpreted as saying that Antoninus Pius, as Hadrian's successor, again allowed the Jew to circumcise his own sons, while penalizing
    the circumcision of a gentile like a castration. Peter Kuhlmann rejects this text understanding from a philological point of view. He interprets the rescript as a restriction on the permissible circumcision by prohibiting the inclusion of non-Jews in the Jewish community. [18] Ra'anan Abusch sees in the rescript of Antoninus Pius the first Roman legislation ever dealing with the Jewish circumcision ritual (Brit Mila). [19] Since numerous eunuchs were offered on the Roman slave markets, several emperors had previously seen an occasion to intervene against the castration of slaves. According to Abusch, such a provision for the protection of slaves is also contained in a rescript by Hadrian: He put castration on a par with murder, thus aggravating the punishment. The connection between the Historia Augusta and Hadrian's slave legislation, Jewish circumcision and the Bar Kochba uprising, is not supported by any classical author, according to Abusche's analysis. [20] Christopher Weikert states: "It is better to reject the testimony of the Historia Augusta, instead of building on its foundation a hypothetical argument." [21]

    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bar-Ko...neidungsverbot

    And Abusch has read the Digestes 48,8,4,2 well:

    (4) The Divine Hadrian also stated in a Rescript that he who killed anyone who was forcibly attempting to commit an act of debauchery with himself, or with those belonging to him, should be discharged.

    https://droitromain.univ-grenoble-al...Scott.htm#VIII

    Once again the Historia Augusta are proving that they are more yellow press than historical record.

    Hadrian was defintely not motivated by some sort of bias against jews, he want to make a example what happens if you challenge roman rule.

    The Histroia Augusta as a historical source is not the most reliable, and anything it.says must be treated with a degree of skepticism..

    Even if Hadrian had a ban on circumcism, it could have been a reaction against the revolt, and implemented after the revolt as a punishment, and not before.

    Or it could have been, as suggested, that Hadrian was merely banning non-Jews from practicing it. I could also see Hadrian banning the practice on unconsenting infants, feeling parents had no right to mutilate their sons who were not old enough to decide for themselves. As an adult, you are free to multilate yourself, but Hadrian may have thought that parents had no right to make such a permanent decission for their child.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    heh, I thought you were talking about Solzhenitsyn.

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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    I thought he was talking about Ford
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    Default Re: A thread about that gay guy who hated Jews

    Quote Originally Posted by Settra View Post
    I thought he was talking about Ford
    Which Ford? Henry Ford I? Henry Ford II? Or President Gerald R. Ford?

    None of the Ford were gay as far as I know, although Henry Ford I was anti-Semitic.
    Last edited by Common Soldier; December 25, 2019 at 12:16 AM.

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