CARACALLA, MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS°
CARACALLA, MARCUS AURELIUS ANTONINUS°, Roman emperor 211–217, the eldest son of Emperor Septimius *Severus. The reign of Caracalla was a continuation of the period of rapprochement between the Roman Empire and the Jewish people begun by his father Severus. Contemporary legal sources (Corpus Juris Civilis, Digesta 50:2, 3) indicate that both emperors granted Jews honorary offices in the cities of the Empire on the condition that their religion not come into play. The Church Father *Jerome also refers to their friendship with the Jews in his commentary on Daniel (11:34), and an inscription found in the Kasyoun synagogue in Galilee (Frey, Corpus, 2, no. 972) expresses the friendship of the Jews with these two emperors. Some scholars hold that *Judah ha-Nasi's friendship with Antoninus refers to Caracalla, who was also known by this name. According to Historia Augusta (Caracalla 1:6), Caracalla was a child of seven when he first disclosed his sympathy toward Jews. This source also mentions that Septimius Severus agreed that his son was to hold a triumphal procession, and the Senate voted for a "Jewish triumph" (Severus 16:6–8). Caracalla's political move to grant Roman citizenship to all free residents of the empire (212 C.E.)
S. Krauss, Antoninus und Rabbi (1910); W. Reusch, Der historische Wert der Caracallavita in den Scriptores Historiae Augustae (1913), 10f.; M. Avi-Yonah, Bi-Ymei Roma u-Vizantiyyon (1952), index; Juster, Juifs, 2 (1914), 23–25, 30–35.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.