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Born into Jerusalem’s aristocracy, the historian Josephus at the age of sixteen undertook a three-year journey into the wilderness with an ascetic hermit. He joined a Jewish revolt against Roman rule in 66. Arrested the following year, Josephus avoided the punishment of death by prophesying that the general in charge of Rome’s troops in the east, Vespasian, would become emperor. Two years later the prediction proved true, and Josephus was rewarded with citizenship and imperial patronage in the Roman capital, where he wrote The Jewish War, Antiquities of the Jews, and Against Apion.

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