Flaccus, Avillius Aulus°

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FLACCUS, AVILLIUS AULUS °, prefect of Egypt 32–38 c.e. Until the death in 37 of Tiberius, to whom he owed his appointment, Flaccus discharged his duties with devotion and ability. However, with the accession of Caligula and the consequent uncertainty of his position, his attitude toward the Jews of Alexandria changed for the worse. He withheld their expression of homage to Caligula on the latter's accession, permitted the mob to jeer at the Jewish king Agrippa when he visited Alexandria, allowed them to place idols in the local synagogues, and issued an edict declaring the Jews to be aliens. He arrested and maltreated members of the gerousia (the local community council) and ordered Jewish homes to be searched and any weapons found to be confiscated. When the Jews were attacked and many of them killed by the Alexandrians, Flaccus made no attempt to restrain the mob. Suddenly arrested, he was sent to Rome and there banished to Andros, and later executed. Philo, who describes the entire episode in his In Flaccum, saw in his fate the hand of Providence.


Pauly-Wissowa, 4 (1896), 2392, no. 3 and Suppl. 1 (1903), 228f.; U. Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka aus Aegypten und Nubien, 2 (1899), no. 1372; E. Groag and A. Stein (eds.), Prosopographia Imperii Romani, 1 (19332), 290f., no. 1414; H. Box, Philonis Alexandrini in Flaccum (1939).

[Lea Roth]