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AMMIANUS MARCELLINUS:

Roman historian; born at Antioch, Syria, about 320; died about 395. He wrote a history of Rome, from Nerva to Valens, in which the Jews are mentioned in Books XIV. ch. viii.; XXII. ch. v.; XXIII. ch. i.; XXIV. ch. iv. It is interesting to note that from the passage xxii. 5, §§ 4, 5, the legend of the "fœtor judaicus" or evil smell of the Jews which was so widely believed in during the Middle Ages, took its origin. Reinach does not share the view of Joel ("Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte," ii. 131) and Loeb ("Rev. Ét. Juives," xx. 52) that the word "fœtentium" is a mistake of a copyist for "petentium." In xxiii. 1, §§ 2, 3, we have the only pagan account of the unsuccessful attempt of the Jews under the emperor Julian to rebuild the Temple; all the other authorities being church fathers (M. Adler, in "Jew. Quart. Rev." v. 617).

Bibliography:
  • Th. Reinach, Textes d'Auteurs Grecs et Romains Relatifs au Judaïsme, pp. 351-355, Paris, 1895.
H. R. G.
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