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This essay will explore how far the Roman writers Horace, Ovid, Seneca, Petronius, and Juvenal thought the Jewish people were disturbing Roman society through proselytizing. These writers were an elite group in Rome. They were both patronised by the aristocracy but most were also high-born themselves[1]. Through exploring the backgrounds of these writers and the times in which they wrote I will assess why they may have thought as they did and the quality of their testimony.

Horace and Ovid lived in the triumviral and Augustan eras from 43 BCE. During this period poets assumed a different role to the one that had been traditional in Rome that of conferring lasting fame, to a role of ‘serving citizens of the state in a moral and educative fashion’[2]. This period also saw the rise of Herod the Great in Palestine, who managed to obtain the favour of…

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