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ANGARIA , transportation corvée. A postal system was introduced under the Achaemenian monarchy (see *Persia) for the transaction of official business between the various states in the Persian Empire and the imperial court. Herodotus (7:98) describes how the Persians divided the principal routes of the empire into stages, none of which exceeded a day's journey.

Although there are no data in the sources, the angaria must have been introduced in Ereẓ Israel by the Persians at the beginning of the Second Temple period, since the main coastal route to Egypt, then ruled by the government of the Persian king Cambyses, passed through it. The first mention of the angaria in Ereẓ Israel, however, dates from the Hasmonean period: release from it being included in the immunities which Demetrius ii of Syria offered to the Jews (i Macc. 10:33). There is no mention of the angaria being imposed under the Hasmoneans. During the Roman period the highway between Sidon and Jerusalem was considered a principal route for the purposes of angaria, while the cities of Acre, Caesarea, Samaria, and Beth-El were important stations along it. The Jerusalem-Antipatris highway was also a principal route, its important stations being Emmaus and Lydda. Although the original institution of the angaria was as a postal service, the term came to mean impressment for nearly any public service. Not only were animals requisitioned, but men were conscripted to perform tasks quite unrelated to the cursus publicus. Thus, R. Zeiri (third-fourth centuries) relates that he was forced be-angaria to bring myrtles to the palace (tj, Ber. 1:1, 2d). It is related of Eleazar b. Ḥarsom, a member of a high-priestly family, that his servants failed to recognize him when they encountered him with a sack of flour on his shoulder traveling to study the Torah and seized him for the duty of angaria (Yoma 35b). The third century was a period of economic and administrative breakdown, and the angaria served as a pretext for the imposition of all manner of burdens, levies, and confiscations (e.g., Lev. R. 12:1). In this period animals were requisitioned, but never returned (bm 78a–b); but this may have been a purely Babylonian phenomenon, as it is not mentioned in the parallel Jerusalem Talmud (bm 7:3, 11a; cf. tb, bm 49b). As a result, in rabbinic literature, the term came to mean any act done unwillingly; cf. the statements that Israel accepted the Torah be-simḥah ("joyfully") and not be-angaria (pr 21:99) and that the sun runs its daily course with delight, and not be-angaria (Mid. Ps. to 12:12), though here there is a subtly pointed allusion to the original connotation, the cursus publicus.


Pauly-Wissowa, 2 (1894), 2184–85, s.v.Angaria and Angarium; 8 (1901), 1846–63, s.v.Cursus publicus; Rostowzew, in: Klio, 6 (1906), 249–58; Preisigke, ibid., 7 (1907), 241–77; Krauss, Tal Arch, 2 (1911), 327, 374, 461 (no. 340), 502 (no. 748), 677 (no. 162); O. Seeck, Geschichte des Untergangs der antiken Welt, 2 (19212), 289 ff.; Supplement, 2 (1901), 550 ff.; Guttmann, Mafte'aḥ, 3 pt. 1 (1924), 216–7; M.P. Charlesworth, Trade-routes and Commerce of the Roman Empire (19262); Allon, Toledot, 2 (19583), 189–90; I. Hahn, in: Acta Antiqua, 7 (Budapest, 1959), 155; R.N. Frey, The Heritage of Persia (1966), ch. 3, no. 74, ch. 5, notes 65, 67; D. Sperber, in: Antiquité Classique, 38 (1969), 164–8.

[Joshua Gutmann and

Daniel Sperber]