This paper analyzes the neglected theme of suffering women and children in Josephus’s Jewish War. Women and children did suffer the effects of sieges in Greco-Roman antiquity, but historiographers also use the stories of their suffering to interpret warfare. Josephus participates in this tradition by using the imagery of suffering women and children to condemn the Jewish rebels, a presentation which is also influenced by Deut 28 and Lamentations. The warnings against rebellion in J.W. 2.237, 400, and 5.418 heighten the rhetorical power of this condemnation by offering the alternative of surrender for the sake of women and children.
Jonathan J. Price“Some Aspects of Josephus’ Theological Interpretation of the Jewish War,” in “The Words of a Wise Man’s Mouth are Gracious” (Qoh 1012) (ed. Mauro Perani; SJ: Forschungen zur Wissenschaft des Judentums 32; Berlin: de Gruyter2005) 109-19esp. 116-17.
Cf. Daniel Marguerat“Jewish and Christian Understandings of the Fall of Jerusalem: Conflicting Interpretations of a Historical Event,” in Ancient and Modern Scriptural Historiography (ed. George J. Brooke and Thomas Römer; BETL 207; Leuven: University Press2007) 311-31esp. 328-29; Fausto Parente “The Impotence of Titus or Flavius Josephus’s Bellum Judaicum as an Example of ‘Pathetic’ Historiography” in Josephus and Jewish History in Flavian Rome and Beyond (ed. Joseph Sievers and Gaia Lembi; JSJSup 104; Leiden: Brill 2005) 45-69 esp. 49-51; Price “Some Aspects” 112-13.
Jonathan J. PriceJerusalem Under Siege: The Collapse of the Jewish State 66-70 C.E. (Brill’s Series in Jewish Studies 3; Leiden: Brill1992) 180. See also Tessa Rajak Josephus: The Historian and His Society (London: Duckworth 1983) 81 91-93; Steve Mason “ ‘Should Any Wish to Enquire Further’ (Ant. 1.25): The Aim and Audience of Josephus’s Judean Antiquities/Life” in Understanding Josephus: Seven Perspectives (ed. Steve Mason; JSPSup 32; Sheffield: Sheffield Academic 1998) 64-103 esp. 73; Parente “The Impotence of Titus” 57.
Adrian GoldsworthyRoman Warfare (London: Cassell2000) 96-100; Nathan Rosenstein Rome at War: Farms Families and Death in the Middle Republic (Studies in the History of Greece and Rome; Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press 2004) 19.
Cf. Patrick D. MillerDeuteronomy (Louisville: John Knox1990) 189; Nelson Deuteronomy 327; Berlin Lamentations 21-22; Paul R. House “Lamentations” in Song of Songs and Lamentations (Duane Garrett and Paul R. House; WBC; Nashville: Thomas Nelson 2004) 267-473 esp. 386.
E.g. Miriam B. Peskowitz“Family/ies in Antiquity: Evidence from Tannaitic Literature and Roman Galilean Architecture,” in The Jewish Family in Antiquity (ed. Shaye J. D. Cohen; BJS 289; Atlanta: Scholars Press1993) 9-36esp. 28-30; Meredith S. Chesson “Households Houses Neighborhoods and Corporate Villages: Modeling the Early Bronze Age as a House Society” Journal of Mediterranean Archaeology 16 (2003): 79-102 esp. 85.