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Medieval Jews and the Christian PastJewish Historical Consciousness in Spain and Southern France$
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Ram Ben-Shalom

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781904113904

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: February 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781904113904.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Rome: Images and Influence

Rome: Images and Influence

(p.64) Chapter Two Rome: Images and Influence
Medieval Jews and the Christian Past

Ram Ben-Shalom

, Chaya Naor
Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines the presence of Rome in medieval Jewish life. Both the Jews and the Christians at the time were familiar with—if not deeply interested in—the Roman empire. In fact, there is evidence of Jews' everyday contact with ancient Rome. Considerable segments of Roman history were included in books about the Second Temple period. There were also books dedicated to Rome, as well as additional historical information found in chronicles. Rome was also mentioned in works outside the genres of historiography and travel literature—in ethical books and biblical commentaries, for instance. Before discussing the images of Rome in these books, the chapter first considers Rome's image in the talmudic and midrashic literature. Here, the images, symbolism, and vocabulary of the Talmud determined the content of the collective memory of medieval Jews.

Keywords:   Rome, Roman empire, Jewish literature, talmudic literature, midrashic literature, Talmud, Jewish historiography, travel literature, Roman history, medieval Jewish life

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