The Jewish War

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Penguin Books Limited, Sep 17, 1981 - History - 511 pages
21 Reviews
2 MP3-CDs, Unabridged, With Music and Sound Effects, Includes Volumes 1 and 2, Running Time: 20 hours Contents of Volume I: In A.D. 66, nationalist and religious revolutionaries in Palestine led a ferocious revolt of the Jewish people against the authority of mighty Rome, culminating in the greatest upheaval and savagery the world had known up to that time. By the end of the conflict seven years later, over one million Jews had perished and tens of thousands were sold into slavery. Until the Holocaust, it remained the greatest tragedy ever endured by a people. How had this once peaceful and prosperous region been struck down, and by what process did its fratricidal feuds take it down this slippery slope to utter annihilation? Fortunately for us, there was an eyewitness historian to the momentous events: Joseph ben Mattathias, known to posterity as Flavius Josephus. In beautifully written and clearly understood prose, Josephus sets out to explain the origin of the conflict. He describes how the fanatical zealots came to dominate the political life of Palestine, illustrates ho! w the Romans were drawn into the fight, and shows how the war was carried on by both sides, ending with the siege of the fortress of Masada.

In volume 1, discover how Herod the Great came to be king of the Jews during the time of Julius Caesar, how he ruled and what he accomplished. You will hear the story of his larger-than-life personality and how family conflict poisoned his reign. Discover the means by which Herod eliminated his enemies, including members of his own family, and how his successors' corruption and ineptitude brought on growing anarchy and religious tension. Peer into the mind of nationalist fanatics bent on destroying themselves and their nation for the sake of their beliefs. Hear how famous persons like Cleopatra, Mark Antony, Pontius Pilate, Augustus, Nero, Vesapasian and Josephus himself played their parts in this fascinating history.

Volume 1 begins with the origins of the House of Herod in the middle of the first century B.C. and carries us to the opening battles of the Jewish revolt and the arrival of Vespasian in Judaea. Although we encourage listeners to hear the entire work from the beginning in order to form a more complete understanding, those who are only interested in the revolt itself may skip to Chapter 9 in volume 1.

Running time: 10 hours for Volume 1.

Contents of Volume II: The spectacularly violent Jewish revolt of A.D. 66 is in full swing as volume 2 opens, and we begin our story with the horrific siege of Jotapata and the capture of Josephus. Listeners receive a rousing, eyewitness account of Roman arms in action as Vespasian presses relentlessly onward to Jerusalem. As the Roman war machine closes in on Jerusalem, the fanatic zealots inside the city are involved in tearing each other apart and savaging the citizens trapped inside. With doom approaching from afar and civil war convulsing the city from within, the once grand metropolis of Jerusalem begins to disintegrate. Vespasian is proclaimed emperor upon Nero's death, and turns over command of the army to his brilliant son, Titus, who encircles Jerusalem and places it under siege. Unable to escape the city and preyed upon by the enraged fanatics from within, the pitiful citizens can only watch helplessly as the horrible specter of famine begins to envelope Jerusale! m and spread into every household. The horrors of siege warfare are driven home as we hear some of the most impassioned descriptions of man's folly ever put on paper. Learn how the magnificent Great Temple was burned and obliterated, and discover the fate of Jerusalem itself. And finally, hear the account of the incredible siege of Masada, one of the last major events of the war.

The Jewish War is one of the most important histories to survive from ancient times, dealing as it does with a subject of which there are very few sources. This is an engaging and heart-felt chronicle by

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Review: The Jewish War

User Review  - Spirit Of - Goodreads

A fascinating, if biased, look at the revolt against Rome that lead to the destruction of Jerusalem by one of the few people to have seen the war from both sides. Vital reading for anyone interested in the period. Read full review

Review: The Jewish War

User Review  - Emer Mccarthy - Goodreads

Keep coming back to this book, having read widely on Josephus and his work, I have to love him, he such a devious, self serving rat. The essential character of the politician has changed little in 2,000 years. Love this book. Read full review

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About the author (1981)

G.A. Williamson was born in 1895 and was a Classical Exhibitioner at Worcester College, Oxford, graduating with a First Class Honours degree. He was Senior Classics Master at Norwich School from 1922 to 1960. He also translated Josephus: The Jewish War (1959) and Procopius: The Secret History (1966) for the Penguin Classics. He died in 1982.
G.A. Williamson was born in 1895 and was a Classical Exhibitioner at Worcester College, Oxford, graduating with a First Class Honours degree. He was Senior Classics Master at Norwich School from 1922 to 1960. He also translated Josephus: The Jewish War (1959) and Procopius: The Secret History (1966) for the Penguin Classics. He died in 1982.
Betty Radice read classics at Oxford, then married and, in the intervals of bringing up a family, tutored in classics, philosophy and English. She became joint editor of the Penguin Classics in 1964. As well as editing the translation of Livy's The War with Hannibal she translated Livy's Rome and Italy, Pliny's Letters, The Letters of Abelard and Heloise and Erasmus's Praise of Folly, and also wrote the introduction to Horace's Complete Odes and Epodes, all for the Penguin Classics. She also edited Edward Gibbon's Memoirs of My Life for the Penguin English Library, and edited and annotated her translation of the younger Pliny's works for the Loeb Library of Classics and translated from Renaissance Latin, Greek and Italian for the Officina Bodoni of Verona. She collaborated as a translator in the Collected Works of Erasmus, and was the author of the Penguin Reference Book Who's Who in the Ancient World. Betty Radice was an honorary fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford, and a vice-president of the Classical Association. Betty Radice died in 1985.

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