Mistress and, after 62 C.E., second wife of the emperor Nero; died 65. She had a certain predilection for Judaism, and is characterized by Josephus ("Ant." xx. 8, § 11; "Vita," § 3) as θεοσεβής ("religious"). Some Jews, such as the actor Alityros, were well received at court, and Poppæa was always ready to second Jewish petitions before the emperor. In 64 Josephus went to Rome to obtain the liberation of some priests related to him who had been taken captive to that city for some minor offense. With the help of Alityros, Josephus succeeded in gaining the intercession of the empress, and returned home with his friends, bearing rich gifts with him.

When King Agrippa added a tower to the ancient palace of the Hasmoneans, at Jerusalem, that he might overlook the city and the Temple and watch the ceremonial in the sanctuary, the priests cut off his view by a high wall. He then appealed to the procurator Festus, but a Jewish delegation sent to Rome succeeded through Poppæa's intercession in having the case decided in favor of the priests. The last procurator, Gessius Florus (64-66), owed his appointment to the empress, who was a friend of his wife Cleopatra.

  • Grätz, Gesch. 2d ed., iii. 331 et seq.;
  • Friedländer, Darstellungen aus der Sittengeschichte Roms, i. 348;
  • Hertzberg, Gesch. des Römischen Kaiserreiches, pp. 237 et seq.;
  • Schiller, Gesch. des Römischen Kaiserreiches Unter Nero, p. 528;
  • Vogelstein and Rieger, Gesch. der Juden in Rom, i. 21, 74, 101;
  • Schürer, Gesch. i. 57, 489, 494 et seq.; ii. 510.
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