I have been intrigued by Queen Berenice for many years, in which I researched Jewish women in the Greco-Roman world. I wrote about her an encyclopedia article,1 and a sub-chapter in an article about “Josephus on Women,”2 but it took me a long time to form my own opinion of her, which is radically different from that of my predecessors. This book is a culmination of this process, and it is greatly indebted to feminist thinking on how historical women are portrayed in ancient sources and traditional scholarship.
I want to thank three people for helping me on the way to bringing this book to fruition – my best childhood friend Zohar Hartley Peleg (to whom I dedicate this book), my son Ido Garfinkel and my student Judith von Bresinsky – who each in turn listened to me reading the entire manuscript out loud and made many thoughtful observations which I took into account.
I also especially want to thank my long-time colleague, Jan Willem van Henten, who encouraged me to submit the book to Brill’s STAR series. His notes and comments have been invaluable in making this a much better book. I also wish to thank the anonymous readers of the manuscript, who also helped greatly improve the final product.
All the translations of classical texts in this book, unless otherwise stated, are taken from the Leob Classical Library series or from Menahem Stern’s Greek and Latin Authors on Jews and Judaism. The transliteration of Hebrew names found in classical texts follows the Hebrew form rather than the Greek declination (e.g. Miriam and not Mariamme), but the historian Josephus stays Josephus.
Tal Ilan, “Berenice,” The Encyclopedia of Jewish Women (first published in 2006)
Tal Ilan, “Josephus and Nicolaus on Women,” in H. Cancik, H. Lichtenberger and P. Schaefer (eds.), Geschichte – Tradition – Reflexion: Festschrift für Martin Hengel zum 70. Geburtstag (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1996) 229–62; republished in Tal Ilan, Integrating Women into Second Temple History (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1999) 92–6.