PERSIUS°


PERSIUS° (34–62 C.E.), Roman satirist. Persius gives a vivid picture of a Jewish Sabbath or festival celebration in Rome, which he calls "Herod's day" (presumably another name for one of the Jewish holidays, though some regard it as referring to the celebration of Herod's birthday): "The lamps on the greasy windows garlanded with violets emit thick smoke, the tail of a tunny fish swims in the red dish, and the white jug overflows with wine; you silently move your lips and turn pale at the Sabbath of the circumcised" (Satire 5). Persius also refers to Sabbath (or Ḥanukkah?) observance in the home of a Jew or a convert to Judaism. His allusion to turning pale at the Sabbath of the circumcised probably indicates that he, like *Martial and so many other Romans, had confused the Sabbath with a fast day. Persius' satire reflects the view of the educated Romans on what they considered the superstitious cult of the Jews.

[Jacob Petroff]


Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.