Ammianus Marcellinus°

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AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS ° (c. 330–400), last of the great Latin pagan historians of antiquity. He speaks of Jews in four separate passages of his history. The first refers to Pompey's conquest of Jerusalem (14, 8:11–12); in the second he quotes the disparaging remarks of Marcus Aurelius on the Jews (22, 5:5). Most important is the third passage which contains a description of the attempt of *Julian the Apostate to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (23, 1:2–3). He ascribes this not to sympathy with the Jews, but to the emperor's desire to leave a memorial to his reign. According to Marcellinus, the project was entrusted to a certain Alypius of Antioch, but it could not be executed because of an explosion of balls of fire on the Temple Mount. The fourth passage mentions a city on the Euphrates deserted by its Jewish inhabitants during Julian's campaign against the Persians (24, 4:1–2). Marcellinus does not express his personal opinion with regard to the proposed rebuilding of the Temple, but from his quotation from Marcus Aurelius he does not seem to have been well disposed to the Jews.


Reinach, Textes, 351–5.

[Menahem Stern]