Born in Jerusalem a short time after Jesus, Josephus became educated in Judaism and Greek. At the age of sixteen he decided to know more about the various Jewish sects so he lived in the wilderness for three years. A few years later, Josephus embarked to Rome in order to have freed several Judean priests held by Emperor Nero. Upon his successful journey home, he learned that the Jews planned an uprising against the Romans. Doubtful of victory, Josephus nonetheless agreed to be in charge of the forces in Galilee.
Josephus's men suffered defeat, and in retreat, Josephus hid inside a cave. Found and captured by the Romans, Josephus gave them valuable information about the Jewish revolt. He also claimed to be a prophet who predicted the ascension to power of Vespasian. When Vespasian assumed the Emperorship, he was not only pleased to have not killed Josephus, he rewarded him. Josephus's bondage ended, and he became part of the Emperor's family, receiving a pension which allowed him the opportunity to write. By being adopted into the Emperor's family, as was custom then, Josephus took on the patron's family name and became Josephus Flavius. Now on the side of the Romans, Josephus couldn't convince the Jewish defenders to surrender, and so witnessed the city and the Holy Temple destroyed.
Josephus returned to Rome and began writing about the recent war. The Jewish Wars was lost, but Josephus wrote another seven volume book known now as The Jewish War. His next book Antiquities of the Jews describes the Jewish history from creation to the revolution. Though it resembles a rephrased version of the Hebrew Bible and reiterates work from other historians, Josephus's work gives later generations insight and information to better understand Jewish sects, the Jewish-Roman War, the Dead Sea Scrolls, later Judaism, and early Christianity. He references important people of the time including Pontius Pilate and John the Baptist. Through Josephus's writings, an archaeologist discovered the site of Herod's tomb, helping prove the accuracy of what Josephus had penned under Roman influence and patronage. Some time after writing his autobiography, Josephus died, the year of which is unknown.
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