Published online by Cambridge University Press: 24 September 2020
King Agrippa II’s address to the people of Jerusalem (Josephus, BJ II.342–404) is one of the most impressive and outstanding rhetorical statements from classical antiquity to have survived. Scholars have been dealing with this well-known passage, so central to our understanding of Josephus’s Jewish War, since early in the last century. Until quite recently, most studies focused on the central part of the address – the description of the Roman Empire – extracting information on the political, economic, and, above all, the military situation of the Roman Empire between the final years of Nero’s reign and the early years of Vespasian’s rule.1 A notable exception is M. Rostovzeff. By the early twentieth century, this Russian-American scholar already understood the importance of Josephus’ use of rhetoric and quoted the aforementioned address in an article on the history of political speeches in the Roman Empire.