previous next
[65] But besides this, Apion objects to us thus: "If the Jews (says he) be citizens of Alexandria, why do they not worship the same gods with the Alexandrians?" To which I give this answer: Since you are yourselves Egyptians, why do you fight it out one against another, and have implacable wars about your religion? At this rate we must not call you all Egyptians, nor indeed in general men, because you breed up with great care beasts of a nature quite contrary to that of men, although the nature of all men seems to be one and the same. Now if there be such differences in opinion among you Egyptians, why are you surprised that those who came to Alexandria from another country, and had original laws of their own before, should persevere in the observance of those laws? But still he charges us with being the authors of sedition; which accusation, if it be a just one, why is it not laid against us all, since we are known to be all of one mind. Moreover, those that search into such matters will soon discover that the authors of sedition have been such citizens of Alexandria as Apion is; for while they were the Grecians and Macedonians who were ill possession of this city, there was no sedition raised against us, and we were permitted to observe our ancient solemnities; but when the number of the Egyptians therein came to be considerable, the times grew confused, and then these seditions brake out still more and more, while our people continued uncorrupted. These Egyptians, therefore, were the authors of these troubles, who having not the constancy of Macedonians, nor the prudence of Grecians, indulged all of them the evil manners of the Egyptians, and continued their ancient hatred against us; for what is here so presumptuously charged upon us, is owing to the differences that are amongst themselves; while many of them have not obtained the privileges of citizens in proper times, but style those who are well known to have had that privilege extended to them all no other than foreigners: for it does not appear that any of the kings have ever formerly bestowed those privileges of citizens upon Egyptians, no more than have the emperors done it more lately; while it was Alexander who introduced us into this city at first, the kings augmented our privileges therein, and the Romans have been pleased to preserve them always inviolable. Moreover, Apion would lay a blot upon us, because we do not erect images for our emperors; as if those emperors did not know this before, or stood in need of Apion as their defender; whereas he ought rather to have admired the magnanimity and modesty of the Romans, whereby they do not compel those that are subject to them to transgress the laws of their countries, but are willing to receive the honors due to them after such a manner as those who are to pay them esteem consistent with piety and with their own laws; for they do not thank people for conferring honors upon them, When they are compelled by violence so to do. Accordingly, since the Grecians and some other nations think it a right thing to make images, nay, when they have painted the pictures of their parents, and wives, and children, they exult for joy; and some there are who take pictures for themselves of such persons as were no way related to them; nay, some take the pictures of such servants as they were fond of; what wonder is it then if such as these appear willing to pay the same respect to their princes and lords? But then our legislator hath forbidden us to make images, not by way of denunciation beforehand, that the Roman authority was not to be honored, but as despising a thing that was neither necessary nor useful for either God or man; and he forbade them, as we shall prove hereafter, to make these images for any part of the animal creation, and much less for God himself, who is no part of such animal creation. Yet hath our legislator no where forbidden us to pay honors to worthy men, provided they be of another kind, and inferior to those we pay to God; with which honors we willingly testify our respect to our emperors, and to the people of Rome; we also offer perpetual sacrifices for them; nor do we only offer them every day at the common expenses of all the Jews, but although we offer no other such sacrifices out of our common expenses, no, not for our own children, yet do we this as a peculiar honor to the emperors, and to them alone, while we do the same to no other person whomsoever. And let this suffice for an answer in general to Apion, as to what he says with relation to the Alexandrian Jews.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (B. Niese, 1892)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Alexandria (Egypt) (3)
Rome (Italy) (1)

Visualize the most frequently mentioned Pleiades ancient places in this text.

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: