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POSIDONIUS ° (c. 135–c. 51/50 b.c.e.), Greek philosopher, ethnologist, scientist, and historian from Apamea in Syria, one of *Cicero's teachers. He lived on the island of Rhodes. No book of his survives, though his influence was great. His voluminous writings included a history and ethnology of the Jews, who were treated also in his book on Pompey. The anti-semitic accusations he retailed in his writing (on Jewish asocial behavior, misanthropy, impiety, inhumane religion and rites) reflected common Hellenistic opinions and attitudes, and later found wide echoes, e.g., in Apion (according to Jos., Apion, 2:79). His antisemitic remarks can be reconstructed from the more or less close paraphrase of Posidonius by Diodorus Siculus (as quoted in Photius, Bibliotheca, 244; 379), including the story that Antiochus Epiphanes found a statue of a bearded man seated on an ass in the Holy of Holies. However, if, as is likely, the respectful appraisal of Moses and his beliefs found in Strabo 16:2, 35ff. also derives from Posidonius, it is probable that the latter did not concur fully in the slanders he related.


Reinach, Textes, 56–59; F. Jacoby, Fragmente der griechischen Historiker 2a (text, 1926), 222–317, no. 87; 2a (1926), 154–220 no. 87.

[Daniel E. Gershenson]