Caesarea (2) in Palestine, under its original name of Strato's Tower (after a king of *Sidon), was captured by the *Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus in 103 bce, attached to the province of Syria by Pompey in 63, and given to *Herod (1) by Octavian in 30. Between c.22 and 10 bce, Herod rebuilt the city on a lavish scale, renaming it after the emperor, and constructing a huge artificial *harbour, now exposed through underwater archaeology. Tensions over the control of the constitution between the large Jewish minority and the Graeco-Syrian majority led to riots, and delegations were sent to Nero. His decision against the Jews was followed by the desecration of a synagogue. The ensuing massacre of 20,000 Jews, allegedly in a single day, sparked off the first Jewish revolt against Rome in 66 ce. The city was the administrative capital of *Judaea under the procurators and again after 70, with a vigorous commercial life and a Roman lifestyle.
A late antique genre in which material from the Bible is versified in hexameters. Six major texts survive, the earliest being (1) the Evangeliorum libri IV of *Iuvencus. (2) The Heptateuchos of ‘Cyprianus Gallus’ versifies the first seven books of the Old Testament, and may originally have extended further. (3) The Carmen Paschale of Caelius *Sedulius consists of four books which synthesize the Gospel narratives, preceded by a résumé of Old Testament miracles. A prose version of the same material was written to accompany the poem. Provenance is uncertain, but the works are usually dated to ce 425–50. (4) The Alethia of Claudius Marius Victorius, a teacher of Marseilles, is a three-book paraphrase of the earliest portion of Genesis, written c.430. (5) Alcimus Avitus, born of a noble family c.450 and appointed bishop of Vienne c.490, wrote a five-book epic De spiritalis historiae gestis, treating Genesis 1–3, the Flood, and the Crossing of the Red Sea. (6) The De actibus Apostolorum of the Italian subdeacon Arator treats the material of Acts in two books, devoted respectively to Sts Peter and Paul.
In ancient literature (both Graeco-Roman and Jewish and Christian) as well as in epigraphic material (mainly Jewish), one finds references to persons or groups variously called theosebeis, sebomenoi, phoboumenoi (ton theon), metuentes (in Hebrew parlance yir’ei shamayim, “fearers of heaven [=God]”). Although in the past scholars sometimes assumed these terms to be just designations of pious persons in general,1 nowadays the prevalent opinion is that they often refer to a quite specific category: gentiles who sympathize with the Jewish religion.2 The evidence evinces the existence of non-Jewish groups or individuals on the fringes of local synagogues who were deeply interested in aspects of Judaism and observed ad libitum precepts of the Jewish law (Torah), for instance by keeping the Sabbath and attending synagogue services or adhering to some form of monotheism, without, however, formally converting to Judaism (in contrast to proselytes).In Greek and Latin literature of the imperial period, references to gentiles who were attracted to Judaism are rare. Juvenal the satirist ridicules gentiles who have themselves circumcised and revere the Law of Moses after their father had begun to observe the Sabbath (metuentem sabbata patrem) and to abstain from pork (Sat.
St Paul, a Roman citizen from *Tarsus was a convert (see conversion) from Pharisaic to Messianic Judaism as a result of a mystical experience (Galatians 1: 12 and 16) when he believed himself called to be the divine agent by whom the biblical promises about the eschatological ingathering of the pagans would be fulfilled. That transference of allegiance led him to renounce his previous religious affiliations (Philippians 3: 6 f.), even though the form of his religion remains in continuity with apocalyptic Judaism; see religion, jewish. We know him as the result of letters which he wrote over a period of about ten years to maintain communities of Jews and gentiles in Rome and several other urban centres in a pattern of religion which enjoined faithfulness to Jesus Christ as the determining factor in the understanding of the Mosaic Law. This subordination of the Law inevitably led to conflict with Jewish and Christian opponents who suspected him of antinomianism and apostasy. He commended Christianity as a religion which was both the fulfilment of the Jewish tradition and also the negation of central precepts like food laws and circumcision, though he was emphatic in his rejection of idolatry. In his letters we have clear evidence of the emergence of identifiable Christian communities separate from Judaism with a loose adherence to the Jewish tradition as interpreted by Paul. At the end of his life he organized a financial offering for the poor in Jerusalem from the gentile churches he had founded. According to *Acts his journey to Jerusalem with this collection preceded his journey to Rome where later Christian tradition suggests that he died in the Neronian persecution.