Alexandrian riots (38)
The Alexandrian pogrom, or Alexandrian riots, were attacks directed against Jews in 38 CE in Roman Alexandria, Egypt.
The sole source is Philo of Alexandria, himself a Jew, who witnessed the riots and afterwards led the Jewish delegation to the Roman emperor Caligula, and requested the re-establishment of legal Jewish residence in Alexandria. Philo's writings on the topic are found in two sources: In Flaccum (meaning "Against Flaccus"), which is wholly devoted to the riots, and Legatio ad Gaium (meaning "Embassy to Caligula"), which makes some references to the event in its introduction.
Aulus Avilius Flaccus, the Egyptian prefect of Alexandria appointed by Tiberius in 32 CE, may have encouraged the outbreak of violence; Philo wrote that Flaccus was later arrested and eventually executed for his part in this event.
Scholarly research around the subject has been divided on certain points, including whether the Alexandrian Jews fought to keep their citizenship or to acquire it, whether they evaded the payment of the poll-tax or prevented any attempts to impose it on them, and whether they were safeguarding their identity against the Greeks or against the Egyptians.
Sandra Gambetti states that "[s]cholars have frequently labeled the Alexandrian events of 38 C.E. as the first pogrom in history, and have often explained them in terms of an ante litteram explosion of anti-Semitism." In her book The Alexandrian Riots of 38 C.E. and the Persecution of the Jews (2009), however, Gambetti "deliberately avoids any words or expressions that in any way connect, explicitly or implicitly, the Alexandrian events of 38 C.E. to later events in modern... Jewish experience" as – in her view – this would "require a comparative re-discussion of two historical frames".
- Jewish–Roman wars
- History of the Jews in Egypt
- History of the Jews in the Roman Empire
- List of conflicts in the Near East
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