OF CAESAR ON JEWISH RIGHTS
( 46-44 BC )
( Johnson, Coleman-Norton & Bourne, Ancient Roman Statutes, Austin, 1961, pp. 91-92, n. 109 ).
There is much uncertainty about this letter's addressor and some uncertainty about its addressee, although Josephus includes it among the senatorial resolutions and Caesarian decrees concerning the Jews (Ant. jud. 14, 10, 1, 189). For Julius Gaius, which is the traditional reading and seems, however unusual, to denote Gaius Julius Caesar, there have been conjectured : Junius Gaius, Publius Servilius Vatias, Vibius Gaius, Publius Servilius Isauricus ; for the Parianians, who lived on the Asian side of the Propontis, has been suggested ingeniously the Parians, who dwelt on the Aegean island of Paros, famous for its marble, some 250 miles southwest of Parium and about 10 miles south of Delos, which is mentioned in the letter.
The letter protests against the recipients' interference with the Jews' customs and rites and demands the revocation of their laws on this matter.
Julius Gaius, consul of the Romans, to the magistrates, the Senate, the people of the Parianians, greetings.
The Jews in Delos and some of the neighboring Jews, when your envoys were present, appealed to me and declared that you prevent them by a decree from using their ancestral customs and rites. Accordingly it displeases me that there are such decrees against our friends and allies and that they are prevented from living according to their customs and from contributing money to their banquets and rites, when they have not been hindered from doing this even in Rome. For Gaius Caesar, our consul, in an edict forbidding religious guilds from meeting in the city, did not forbid these persons alone either from joining in contributing money or from having banquets.
Similarly I also forbid the other religious guilds and allow only these persons both to assemble and to banquet according to their ancestral customs and usages.
And, therefore, it becomes you if you have made any decree against our friends and allies to cancel it on account of their good service and kind will toward us.