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Ancient World Seminar: Steve Mason (Groningen) – “The Flavian Triumph”

When:Mo 22-02-2016 16:15 - 17:30
Where:Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies (Oude Boteringestraat 38), room 130
Click to enlarge. Poster design by Caroline van Toor
Click to enlarge. Poster design by Caroline van Toor

Vespasian and Titus are generally included among the ‘good’, sober and prudent emperors. The triumph they celebrated in June 71 was a landmark event of what we call the first century. Everyone realises that they exploited to the full a relatively minor victory, but still it is commonly assumed that they did suppress a province in revolt, and that Flavius Josephus — who happens to provide the fullest eyewitness account of a triumph -- was their Judaean cheerleader. In this lecture I invite the audience to walk through this triumph again as we try to figure out what was really going on: for the Flavians and their enablers, for Josephus, and ‘over there’ on the ground in southern Syria.

Steve Mason , Distinguished Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions and Cultures at the University of Groningen, is an expert in the history of the Eastern Roman Empire. Mason is a leading specialist on the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, the Jewish religion of the early Roman period, and Jewish interaction with Greek and Roman culture. He is editor of Brill’s commentary series on Flavius Josephus and developer of the PACE electronic database including translation, commentary and bibliography on texts of Josephus and Polybius. Mason’s landmark study on the great Jewish revolt against the Romans, A History of the Jewish War, A.D. 66-74, appeared just a few weeks ago.