Forum

Josephus on Domitian
In Response To: Vespatian as "Moses" ()

Hi Charles,

You wrote: 'About the time Titus was killed, Josephus was no doubt dubbed a "false prophet" and taken down with him. It is also completely logical that Domitian would raise up his own prophet Suetonius ("John of Patmos"?) and produce the Book of Revelation to be read intertextually with his biography of Domitian. Yes, why not! Or perhaps Josephus, the ultimate survivor that he was, sold Titus out and became a second "witness" to Domitian.'

It is interesting to see what Josephus himself has to say about Domitian. At the end of his autobiography he writes:

"However, the kindness of the emperor to me continued still the same; for when Vespasian was dead, Titus, who succeeded him in the government, kept up the same respect for me which I had from his father; and when I had frequent accusations laid against me, he would not believe them. And Domitian, who succeeded, still augmented his respects to me; for he punished those Jews that were my accusers, and gave command that a servant of mine, who was a eunuch, and my accuser, should be punished. He also made that country I had in Judea tax free, which is a mark of the greatest honor to him who hath it; nay, Domitia, the wife of Caesar, continued to do me kindnesses." (Life 76)

And in "War of the Jews" he has this to say about the young Domitian:

"...for as soon as ever the news of their revolt was come to Rome, and Caesar Domitian was made acquainted with it, he made no delay, even at that his age, when he was exceeding young, but undertook this weighty affair. He had a courageous mind from his father, and had made greater improvements than belonged to such an age: accordingly he marched against the barbarians immediately; whereupon their hearts failed them at the very rumor of his approach, and they submitted themselves to him with fear, and thought it a happy thing that they were brought under their old yoke again without suffering any further mischiefs. When therefore Domitian had settled all the affairs of Gaul in such good order, that it would not be easily put into disorder any more, he returned to Rome with honor and glory, as having performed such exploits as were above his own age, but worthy of so great a father." (War, 7.4.2)

So Josephus seems to have been on quite friendly terms also with the brother of Titus. Perhaps, as you say, he was the "ultimate survivor".

Helge