Roman Comparison Essay, Research Paper
The emergence of Christianity, the rise of empires, and the idealism of the Hebrews; it all creates a fascinating perspective towards the proceeding paragraphs concerning this statement: “Roman conquerors and emperors, aware of the problems of their Hellenistic predecessors, went to considerable lengths to avoid antagonizing this small unusual group of people.” This statement under certain analysis poses several points of view. In order to analyze this properly we must break down the statement and understand it each part for what it means.
The first part of the statement: “Roman conquerors and emperors, aware of the problems of their Hellenistic predecessors?” This part of the statement quotes the fact that the Roman conquerors and emperors looking in the past, realized that they must learn from the mistakes that their predecessors had done in order to survive. Specifically, an example of some of the problems that the Hellenistic predecessors had would be during around the second century B.C. when “?a powerful Jewish faction, which included a High Priest of Yahweh, supported hellenization.” (Kishlansky, 100) This attempt at allowing two cultures proved to be ineffective. “With the assistance of the Seleucid kind, this faction set up a gymnasion in Jerusalem where Jewish youths and even priest began to study Greek and participate in Greek culture. Some even underwent painful surgery to reverse the effects of circumcision so that they could pass for Greeks in naked athletic contests. This rejection of tradition infuriated a large portion of the Jewish population.
When the Seleucids finally attempted to introduce pagan cult into the temple in 167 B.C., open rebellion broke out and continued intermittently until the Jews gained independence in 141 B.C.” (Kishlansky, 100) This statement is very powerful concerning the fact that there was an attempt towards unity but because of culture indifferences and their particular devotion to them, the two cannot coincide. It goes on further to note that “This violent opposition was repeated elsewhere from time to time?” (Kishlansky, 100) This shows the power of the Jewish population whereas their belief gives them their cultural difference as well as their power.
Another example of the Hebrew power would be in 1050 B.C. when “?the Philistines had defeated the Israelites, captured the Ark of the Covenant, and occupied most of their territory.” (Kishlansky, 28) The Ark of the Covenant “? contained the law of Moses and mementos of Exodus.” (Kishlansky, 28). At this point in time it would seem as if the Israelites were to be defeated. But in an effort to fight back what they created kingdom whose most important kings were David and his son Solomon. “David and his successor Solomon, brought the kingdom of Israel to its peak power, prestige and territorial expansion. David defeated and expelled the Philistines, subdued Israel’s other enemies?” This retaliation created a new kingdom that was to be subordinate to Yahweh. Whereas the power for this attack was as stated prior, believed to be owed to their cultural belief.
“Roman conquerors and emperors, aware of the problems of their Hellenistic predecessors, went to considerable lengths to avoid antagonizing this small unusual group of people.” Together the statement now makes more sense. The Roman conquerors realizing some of the mistakes from their predecessors, decided not to mess with the small groups of people because throughout the past have proven their worth as a culture in their own right. The belief of a single god proved to be very powerful to the human spirit. “When one Roman woman was asked why she remained shut up in her cell, she replied, “I am on a journey.” When asked where she was going, she answered simply, “To God.”" (Kishlansky, 191). An example showing that even through confinement the power of self-belief may triumph over torment. As the statement says, the Romans were not dumb. Through analysis of previous failures, the Romans realized the mistakes of the past made by others and decided to learn prior to experience, thereby enhancing their kingdom by expansion through acceptance and cultural individuality.