Alexandrian riots (38)
The current title of this article is disputed. An alternative proposed title is Alexandrian riots. (February 2013)
The Alexandrian pogrom, or Alexandrian riots, were attacks directed against Jews in 38 CE in Roman Alexandria, Egypt.
The Roman emperor Caligula did not trust the prefect of Egypt, Aulus Avilius Flaccus. Flaccus had been loyal to Tiberius, had conspired against Caligula's mother and had connections with Egyptian separatists. In 38 CE, Caligula sent Agrippa to Alexandria unannounced to check on Flaccus. According to Philo, the visit was met with jeers from the Greek population who saw Agrippa as the king of the Jews. Flaccus tried to placate both the Greek population and Caligula by having statues of the emperor placed in Jewish synagogues. As a result, riots broke out in the city. Caligula responded by removing Flaccus from his position and executing him.
Riots again erupted in Alexandria in 40 CE between Jews and Greeks. Jews were accused of not honouring the emperor. Disputes occurred in the city of Jamnia. Jews were angered by the erection of a clay altar and destroyed it. In response, Caligula ordered the erection of a statue of himself in the Jewish Temple of Jerusalem, a demand in conflict with Jewish monotheism. In this context, Philo of Alexandria wrote that Caligula "regarded the Jews with most especial suspicion, as if they were the only persons who cherished wishes opposed to his".
The sole source is Philo of Alexandria, himself a Jew, who witnessed the riots and afterwards led the Jewish delegation to Caligula, and requested the re-establishment of legal Jewish residence in Alexandria. Philo's writings on the topic are found in two sources: In Flaccum (meaning "Against Flaccus"), which is wholly devoted to the riots, and Legatio ad Gaium (meaning "Embassy to Caligula"), which makes some references to the event in its introduction. Scholarly research around the subject has been divided on certain points, including whether the Alexandrian Jews fought to keep their citizenship or to acquire it, whether they evaded the payment of the poll-tax or prevented any attempts to impose it on them, and whether they were safeguarding their identity against the Greeks or against the Egyptians.
Sandra Gambetti states that "[s]cholars have frequently labeled the Alexandrian events of 38 CE as the first pogrom in history, and have often explained them in terms of an ante litteram explosion of anti-Semitism." In her book The Alexandrian Riots of 38 CE and the Persecution of the Jews (2009), however, Gambetti "deliberately avoids any words or expressions that in any way connect, explicitly or implicitly, the Alexandrian events of 38 CE to later events in modern... Jewish experience" as – in her view – this would "require a comparative re-discussion of two historical frames".
Adalbert Polacek referred to the event as a holocaust in his work Holocaust, Two Millenia Ago, a characterization that Miriam Pucci Ben Zeev believes is "misleading and methodologically unsound."
- Gambetti, Sandra, "Alexandrian Pogrom", in Levy, Richard S. (2005). Antisemitism: A Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 9. ISBN 1-85109-439-3
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- Peter Frick (1999). Divine Providence in Philo of Alexandria. Mohr Siebeck. p. 12. ISBN 9783161471414
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- Gambetti, Sandra, The Alexandrian Riots of 38 C.E. and the Persecution of the Jews: A Historical Reconstruction, pages 11-12
- The Alexandrian Riot in 38 CE, p139-145, in The Exodus Story in the Wisdom of Solomon: A Study in Biblical Interpretation, by Samuel Cheon
- "The Alexandrian Riots, 38-41 CE", in The Oxford Handbook of Roman Egypt, edited by Christina Riggs
- Introduction to Philonis Alexandrini Legatio Ad Gaium, 1961, Brill
- Greek and Jew: Philo and the Alexandrian Riots of 38-41 CE, Schwartz, Matthew B., March 2000
- "The Attack on the Jews in Alexandria", in Jew and Gentile in the Ancient World, by Louis H. Feldman, pp113-117
- Philo's 'In Flaccum': Ethnicity and Social Space in Roman Alexandria, Richard Alston, Greece & Rome, Second Series, Vol. 44, No. 2 (Oct., 1997), pp. 165-175, Published by: Cambridge University Press
- Sympathy for the Devil, Philo on Flaccus and Rome, in Studia Philonica Annual XXIV, 2012, edited by David T. Runia, Gregory E. Sterling, pages 167-182
- The Roman World: 44 BC - AD 180, by Martin Goodman, Jane Sherwood, p269
- Associations, Synagogues, and Congregations, by Philip A. Harland, p218
- The Jews in Egypt and Alexandria, in The Jews Under Roman Rule: From Pompey to Diocletian, by E. Mary Smallwood, p220-256
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- A Psychoanalytic History of the Jews, by Avner Falk, p303
- "Anti-Semitism and Anti-Romanism in Egypt", in Origins of Anti-Semitism, by John G. Gager, p43-52
- Philo of Alexandria, Flaccus III.8, IV.21.
- Philo of Alexandria, Flaccus V.26–28.
- Philo of Alexandria, Flaccus V.29.
- Philo of Alexandria, Flaccus VI.43.
- Philo of Alexandria, Flaccus VII.45.
- Philo of Alexandria, Flaccus XXI.185.
- Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews XVIII.8.1.
- Philo of Alexandria, On the Embassy to Gaius XXX.201.
- Philo of Alexandria, On the Embassy to Gaius XXX.203.
- Philo of Alexandria, On the Embassy to Gaius XVI.115.
- Philo of Alexandria, "In Flaccum"
- Philo of Alexandria, "Legatio ad Gaium"
- Gambetti, p13
- Runia, D.T.; Keizer, H.M. (2000). Philo of Alexandria: An Annotated Bibliography, 1987-1996 : with Addenda for 1937-1986. Brill. p. 331. ISBN 9789004116825.
- Runia, D.T.; Keizer, H.M. (2000). Philo of Alexandria: An Annotated Bibliography, 1987-1996 : with Addenda for 1937-1986. Brill. p. 117. ISBN 9789004116825.