There were Jewish communities throughout the Mediterranean at the time of the Punic Wars? What role if any, did jews play in these wars?
migrated from judaism.stackexchange.com Jan 1 at 15:22
I believe we can spit this up into three parts:
Roman Jewish Community: "Jews have lived in Rome for over 2,000 years [...] They may even have established a community there as early as the second pre-Christian century, for in the year 139 B.C. the pretor Hispanus issued a decree expelling all Jews who were not Italian citizens" Jewish Encyclopaedia So we can pretty much discount there role there.
Jews in the Levant At the time part of the Seleucid Empire. The Battle of Magnesia between them and Rome as well as the Treaty of Apamea are in scope. Jewish nationalism against the Seleucids is also in scope. It seems Jews here were largely antagonistic to the Seleucids who were at war with Rome, who were at war with Carthage. But no direct link to Roman wars in the western Mediterranean here, I think.
Carthaginian Jewish Community Algerian Jews: "There is evidence of a Jewish presence in Algeria since at least the late Roman period". Out of scope, probably. Tunisian Jews : "The ruins of an ancient synagogue dating back to the 3rd-5th century CE was discovered by the French captain Ernest De Prudhomme". Excellent. There were also jews in Carthage according to the Jewish Encyclopaedia, based on evidence from the Talmud. So Jews would have been around in numbers during the Punic Wars.
Did they do much fighting? There is evidence for Jewish mercenaries in Egypt here and in the Seleucid shpere of influence (Crete etc) here, search for jewish. There are stories of a Jew (I think) called Zepho running away to Carthage and becoming a general (in that first "here" link) but I think it's too early in history and I don't stand by it's validity.
I would say there was a community there were involved in so far as they lived, worked, traded there. But I don't think there's much to write as far as "Jewish involvement goes".
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