Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Arabic is a Central Semitic language that first emerged in Iron Age northwestern Arabia and is now the lingua franca of the Arab world. It is named after the Arabs, a term used to describe peoples living in the area bounded by Mesopotamia in the east and the Anti-Lebanon mountains in the west, in northwestern Arabia, in the Sinai Peninsula. Arabic is classified as a macrolanguage comprising 30 modern varieties, including its standard form, Modern Standard Arabic, derived from Classical Arabic; as the modern written language, Modern Standard Arabic is taught in schools and universities, is used to varying degrees in workplaces and the media. The two formal varieties are grouped together as Literary Arabic, the official language of 26 states, the liturgical language of the religion of Islam, since the Quran and Hadith were written in Arabic. Modern Standard Arabic follows the grammatical standards of Classical Arabic, uses much of the same vocabulary. However, it has discarded some grammatical constructions and vocabulary that no longer have any counterpart in the spoken varieties, has adopted certain new constructions and vocabulary from the spoken varieties.
Much of the new vocabulary is used to denote concepts that have arisen in the post-classical era in modern times. Due to its grounding in Classical Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic is removed over a millennium from everyday speech, construed as a multitude of dialects of this language; these dialects and Modern Standard Arabic are described by some scholars as not mutually comprehensible. The former are acquired in families, while the latter is taught in formal education settings. However, there have been studies reporting some degree of comprehension of stories told in the standard variety among preschool-aged children; the relation between Modern Standard Arabic and these dialects is sometimes compared to that of Latin and vernaculars in medieval and early modern Europe. This view though does not take into account the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic as a medium of audiovisual communication in today's mass media—a function Latin has never performed. During the Middle Ages, Literary Arabic was a major vehicle of culture in Europe in science and philosophy.
As a result, many European languages have borrowed many words from it. Arabic influence in vocabulary, is seen in European languages Spanish and to a lesser extent Portuguese, Catalan, owing to both the proximity of Christian European and Muslim Arab civilizations and 800 years of Arabic culture and language in the Iberian Peninsula, referred to in Arabic as al-Andalus. Sicilian has about 500 Arabic words as result of Sicily being progressively conquered by Arabs from North Africa, from the mid-9th to mid-10th centuries. Many of these words relate to related activities; the Balkan languages, including Greek and Bulgarian, have acquired a significant number of Arabic words through contact with Ottoman Turkish. Arabic has influenced many languages around the globe throughout its history; some of the most influenced languages are Persian, Spanish, Kashmiri, Bosnian, Bengali, Malay, Indonesian, Punjabi, Assamese, Sindhi and Hausa, some languages in parts of Africa. Conversely, Arabic has borrowed words from other languages, including Greek and Persian in medieval times, contemporary European languages such as English and French in modern times.
Classical Arabic is the liturgical language of 1.8 billion Muslims, Modern Standard Arabic is one of six official languages of the United Nations. All varieties of Arabic combined are spoken by as many as 422 million speakers in the Arab world, making it the fifth most spoken language in the world. Arabic is written with the Arabic alphabet, an abjad script and is written from right to left, although the spoken varieties are sometimes written in ASCII Latin from left to right with no standardized orthography. Arabic is a Central Semitic language related to the Northwest Semitic languages, the Ancient South Arabian languages, various other Semitic languages of Arabia such as Dadanitic; the Semitic languages changed a great deal between Proto-Semitic and the establishment of the Central Semitic languages in grammar. Innovations of the Central Semitic languages—all maintained in Arabic—include: The conversion of the suffix-conjugated stative formation into a past tense; the conversion of the prefix-conjugated preterite-tense formation into a present tense.
The elimination of other prefix-conjugated mood/aspect forms in favor of new moods formed by endings attached to the prefix-conjugation forms. The development of an internal passive. There are several features which Classical Arabic, the modern Arabic varieties, as well as the Safaitic and Hismaic inscriptions share which are unattested in any other Central Semitic language variety, including the Dadanitic and Taymanitic languages of the northern Hejaz; these features are evidence of common descent from Proto-Arabic. The following features can be reconstructed with confidence for Proto-Arabic: negative particles m *mā.
Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church
The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is the largest of the Oriental Orthodox Christian churches. One of the few pre-colonial Christian churches in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church has a membership of between 45 and 50 million people, the majority of whom live in Ethiopia, it is a founding member of the World Council of Churches. The Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church is in communion with the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, having gained autocephaly in 1959; the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church was administratively part of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria from the first half of the 4th century until 1959, when it was granted its own patriarch by Cyril VI, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. As one of the oldest Christian churches and a non-Chalcedonian church, it is not in communion with the Ethiopian Catholic Church. Ethiopia is the second country following only Armenia, to have proclaimed Christianity as state religion. Tewahedo is a Ge'ez word meaning "being made one".
This word refers to the Oriental Orthodox belief in the one unified nature of Christ. The Oriental Orthodox churches adhere to a Miaphysitic Christological view followed by Cyril of Alexandria, the leading protagonist in the Christological debates of the 4th and 5th centuries, who advocated "mia physis tou theou logou sesarkōmenē", or "one nature of the Word of God incarnate" and a "union according to hypostasis", or hypostatic union; the distinction of this stance was that the incarnate Christ has one nature, but that one nature is of the two natures and human, retains all the characteristics of both after the union. Miaphysitism holds that in the one person of Jesus Christ and humanity are united in one nature without separation, without confusion, without alteration and without mixing where Christ is consubstantial with God the Father. Around 500 bishops within the Patriarchates of Alexandria and Jerusalem refused to accept the dyophysitism doctrine decreed by the Council of Chalcedon in 451, an incident that resulted in the first major split in the main body of the Christian Church.
The Oriental Orthodox churches, which today include the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Syriac Orthodox Church, the Malankara Orthodox Church of India, the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Eritrean Orthodox Tewahedo Church, are referred to as "Non-Chalcedonian", sometimes incorrectly by outsiders as "monophysite". Monophysitism is a theology adopted by a 5th-century presbyter and archimandrite in Constantinople known as Eutyches and claims that Christ has "one single nature" where his divinity absorbed his humanity resulting in a "simple" mathematical "one" nature to which the Oriental Orthodox churches object. According to these, both natures in Christ are preserved after the union in "mia physis"—one nature. Tewahedo is a Ge'ez word meaning "being made one" or "unified"; this word refers to the Oriental Orthodox belief in the one single unified nature of Christ. This is in contrast to the "two Natures of Christ" belief, held by the Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Oriental Orthodoxy is known as "non-Chalcedonian", sometimes by outsiders as "monophysite". However, these Churches themselves describe their Christology as miaphysite. Many traditions claim that Christian teachings were introduced to the region after Pentecost. John Chrysostom speaks of the "Ethiopians present in Jerusalem" as being able to understand the preaching of Saint Peter in Acts, 2:38. Possible missions of some of the Apostles in the lands now called Ethiopia is reported as early as the 4th century. Socrates of Constantinople includes Ethiopia in his list as one of the regions preached by Matthew the Apostle, where a specific mention of "Ethiopia south of the Caspian Sea" can be confirmed in some traditions such as the Roman Catholic Church among others. Ethiopian Church tradition tells that Bartholomew accompanied Matthew in a mission which lasted for at least three months. Paintings depicting these missions are available in the Church of St. Matthew found in the Province of Pisa, in northern Italy portrayed by Francesco Trevisan and Marco Benefial.
The earliest account of an Ethiopian converted to the faith in the New Testament books is a royal official baptized by Philip the Evangelist, one of the seven deacons: Then the angel of the Lord said to Philip, Start out and go south to the road that leads down from Jerusalem to Gaza. So he was on his way when he caught sight of an Ethiopian; this man was a eunuch, a high official of the Kandake Queen of Ethiopia in charge of all her treasure. The passage continues by describing ho
Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy and capital of the province of the same name. In 2016, Mantua became Italian Capital of Culture. In 2017, Mantua was the European Capital of Gastronomy, included in the Eastern Lombardy District. In 2007, Mantua's centro storico and Sabbioneta were declared by UNESCO to be a World Heritage Site. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family has made it one of the main artistic and musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole. Mantua is noted for its significant role in the history of opera, it is the place where the composer Monteverdi premiered his opera L'Orfeo and where Romeo was banished in Shakespeare's play Romeo and Juliet. It is the nearest town to the birthplace of the Roman poet Virgil, commemorated by a statue at the lakeside park "Piazza Virgiliana". Mantua is surrounded on three sides by artificial lakes, created during the 12th century, as the city's defence system; these lakes receive water from the Mincio River, a tributary of the Po River which descends from Lake Garda.
The three lakes are called Lago Superiore, Lago di Mezzo, Lago Inferiore. A fourth lake, Lake Pajolo, which once served as a defensive water ring around the city, dried up at the end of the 18th century; the area and its environs are important not only in naturalistic terms, but anthropologically and historically. These dated, without interruption, from Neolithic times to the Bronze Age and the Gallic phases, ended with Roman residential settlements, which could be traced to the 3rd century AD. In 2017, Legambiente ranked Mantua as the best Italian city for the quality of the life and environment. Mantua was an island settlement, first established about the year 2000 BC on the banks of River Mincio, which flows from Lake Garda to the Adriatic Sea. In the 6th century BC, Mantua was an Etruscan village which, in the Etruscan tradition, was re-founded by Ocnus; the name may derive from the Etruscan god Mantus. After being conquered by the Cenomani, a Gallic tribe, Mantua was subsequently fought between the first and second Punic wars against the Romans, who attributed its name to Manto, a daughter of Tiresias.
This territory was populated by veteran soldiers of Augustus. Mantua's most famous ancient citizen is the poet Virgil, or Publius Vergilius Maro, born in the year 70 BC at a village near the city, now known as Virgilio. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire at the hands of Odoacer in 476 AD, Mantua was, along with the rest of Italy, conquered by the Ostrogoths, it was retaken by the Eastern Roman Empire in the middle of the 6th century following the Gothic war but was subsequently lost again to the Lombards. They were in turn conquered by Charlemagne in 774, thus incorporating Mantua into the Frankish Empire. Partitions of the empire in the Treaties of Verdun and Prüm led to Mantua passing to Middle Francia in 843 the Kingdom of Italy in 855. In 962 Italy was invaded by King Otto I of Germany, Mantua thus became a vassal of the newly formed Holy Roman Empire. In the 11th century, Mantua became a possession of Boniface of marquis of Tuscany; the last ruler of that family was the countess Matilda of Canossa, according to legend, ordered the construction of the precious Rotonda di San Lorenzo in 1082.
The Rotonda still exists today and was renovated in 2013. After the death of Matilda of Canossa, Mantua became a free commune and strenuously defended itself from the influence of the Holy Roman Empire during the 12th and 13th centuries. In 1198, Alberto Pitentino altered the course of River Mincio, creating what the Mantuans call "the four lakes" to reinforce the city's natural protection. Three of these lakes still remain today and the fourth one, which ran through the centre of town, was reclaimed during the 18th century. Podesteria Rule From 1215, the city was ruled under the podesteria of the Gallic-Guelph Rambertino Buvalelli. During the struggle between the Guelphs and the Ghibellines, Pinamonte Bonacolsi took advantage of the chaotic situation to seize power of the podesteria in 1273, he was declared the Captain General of the People. The Bonacolsi family ruled Mantua for the next two generations and made it more prosperous and artistically beautiful. On August 16, 1328, Luigi Gonzaga, an official in Bonacolsi's podesteria, his family staged a public revolt in Mantua and forced a coup d'état on the last Bonacolsi ruler, Rinaldo.
Ludovico Gonzaga, Podestà of Mantua since 1318, was duly elected Captain General of the People. The Gonzagas renovated the city in the 14th century. During the Italian Renaissance, the Gonzaga family softened their despotic rule and further raised the level of culture and refinement in Mantua. Mantua became a significant center of humanism. Marquis Gianfrancesco Gonzaga had brought Vittorino da Feltre to Mantua in 1423 to open his famous humanist school, the Casa Giocosa. Isabella d'Este, Marchioness of Mantua, married Fra
Joseph Justus Scaliger
Joseph Justus Scaliger was a French religious leader and scholar, known for expanding the notion of classical history from Greek and ancient Roman history to include Persian, Babylonian and ancient Egyptian history. He spent the last sixteen years of his life in the Netherlands. Scaliger was born at Agen, the tenth child and third son of Italian scholar Julius Caesar Scaliger and Andiette de Roques Lobejac; when he was twelve years old, he was sent with two younger brothers to the College of Guienne in Bordeaux, under the direction of Jean Gelida. An outbreak of the plague in 1555 caused the boys to return home, for the next few years Joseph was his father's constant companion and amanuensis; the composition of Latin verse was the chief amusement of his father Julius in his years, he would daily dictate to his son between eighty and a hundred lines, sometimes more. Joseph was required each day to write a Latin theme or declamation, though in other respects he seems to have been left to his own devices.
He learned from his father to be not only a scholar, but an acute observer, aiming at historical criticism more than at correcting texts. After his father's death he spent four years at the University of Paris, where he began the study of Greek under Adrianus Turnebus, but after two months he found he was not in a position to profit from the lectures of the greatest Greek scholar of the time. He read Homer in twenty-one days, went through all the other Greek poets and historians, forming a grammar for himself as he went along. From Greek, at the suggestion of Guillaume Postel, he proceeded to attack Hebrew, Arabic, his most important teacher was Jean Dorat. He was able not only to impart knowledge, but to kindle enthusiasm in Scaliger, it was to Dorat that Scaliger owed his home for the next thirty years of his life, for in 1563 the professor recommended him to Louis de Chastaigner, the young lord of La Roche-Posay, as a companion in his travels. A close friendship sprang up between the two young men, which remained unbroken till the death of Louis in 1595.
The travellers first went to Rome. Here they found Marc Antoine Muret, when at Bordeaux and Toulouse, had been a great favourite and occasional visitor of Julius Caesar Scaliger at Agen. Muret soon recognized the young Scaliger's merits, introduced him to many contacts well worth knowing. After visiting a large part of Italy, the travellers moved on to England and Scotland, passing as it would seem La Roche-Posay on their way. Scaliger formed an unfavourable opinion of the English, their inhuman disposition and inhospitable treatment of foreigners made a negative impression on him. He was disappointed in finding only a few Greek manuscripts and few learned men, it was not until a much period that he became intimate with Richard Thomson and other Englishmen. In the course of his travels he had become a Protestant. On his return to France he spent three years with the Chastaigners, accompanying them to their different châteaux in Poitou, as the calls of the civil war required. In 1570 he accepted the invitation of Jacques Cujas and proceeded to Valence to study jurisprudence under the greatest living jurist.
Here he remained three years, profiting not only by the lectures but more by the library of Cujas, which filled no fewer than seven or eight rooms and included five hundred manuscripts. The massacre of St Bartholomew — occurring as he was about to accompany the bishop of Valence on an embassy to Poland — made Scaliger flee, together with other Huguenots, for Geneva, where he was appointed a professor in the academy, he lectured on the Organon of Aristotle and the De Finibus of Cicero to much satisfaction for the students, but not appreciating it himself. He hated lecturing, was bored with the importunities of the fanatical preachers. Of his life during this period we have interesting details and notices in the Lettres françaises inédites de Joseph Scaliger, edited by Tamizey de Larroque. Moving through Poitou and the Limousin, as the exigencies of the civil war required taking his turn as a guard, at least on one occasion trailing a pike on an expedition against the Leaguers, with no access to libraries, separated from his own books, his life during this period seems most unsuited to study.
He had, what so few contemporary scholars possessed—leisure, freedom from financial cares. It was during this period of his life that he composed and published his books of historical criticism, his editions of the Catalecta, of Festus, of Catullus and Propertius, are the work of a man determined to discover the real meaning and force of his author. He was the first to lay down and apply sound rules of criticism and emendation, to change textual criticism from a series of haphazard guesses into a "rational procedure subject to fixed laws", but these works, while proving Scaliger's right to the foremost place among his contemporaries as Latin scholar and critic, did not go beyond mere scholarship. It was reserved for his edition of Manilius, his De emendatione temporum, to revolutionize perceived ideas of ancient chronology—to show that ancient history is not confined to that of the Greeks and Romans, but comprises that of the Persians, the Babylonians and the Egyptians, hitherto neglected, that of the Jews, hitherto treated as a thing apart.
It was this innovation that disti
The Romaniote Jews or Romaniotes are an ethnic Jewish community native to the Eastern Mediterranean. They are one of the oldest Jewish communities in existence and the oldest Jewish community in Europe, their distinct language was Judaeo-Greek, a Greek dialect that contained Hebrew along with some Aramaic and Turkish words but now speak modern Greek or the languages of their new home countries. They derived their name from the old name for the people of Romaioi. Large communities were located in Thebes, Chalcis, Arta, Volos, Corinth, on the islands of Zakynthos, Chios, Samos and Cyprus, among others; the Romaniotes are distinct and still remain distinct from the Sephardim, who settled in Ottoman Greece after the 1492 expulsion of the Jews from Spain. A majority of the Jewish population of Greece was killed in the Holocaust after Axis powers occupied Greece during World War II, they deported most of the Jews to Nazi concentration camps. After the war, a majority of the survivors emigrated to Israel, the United States, Western Europe.
Today there are still functioning Romaniote Synagogues in Chalkis which represents the oldest Jewish congregation on European ground, in Ioannina, New York and Israel. The name Romaniote refers to the medieval Eastern Roman Empire, which included the territory of modern Greece, was for centuries the homeland of this Jewish group; the Empire was referred to as Rhomania and its Christian citizens as Rhomaioi, while the Greek-speaking Jews were called Romaniotes. Further Information: Ῥωμαῖοι. Jews have lived in Greece long before the Second Temple era; the Greek Judaism dates back over 2,300 years to the time of Alexander the Great. The earliest reference to a Greek Jew is an inscription dated c. 300–250 BC, found in Oropos, a small coastal town between Athens and Boeotia, which refers to "Moschos, son of Moschion the Jew", who may have been a slave. On the Island Aegina a Hellenistic Jewish synagogue was discovered in 1829 in the capital of the Island, near the ancient military port; the synagogue was discovered by the Scottish German historian Ludwig Ross, from the royal court of King Otto of Greece.
The floor was covered in order to be protected and was studied again by Thiersch in 1901, Furtwängler in 1904, E. Sukenik in 1928, by the German archaeologist Dr. G. Welter, in 1932; the studies were completed by the National Archaeological Service. Based on the quality of the floor's mosaic, the building is believed to have been constructed in the 4th century AD and was used until the 7th century AD; the mosaic floor of the synagogue still survives and is made up of multi-colored tesserae, that create the impression of a carpet, in a geometric pattern of blue, gray and white. Two Greek inscriptions were found in front of the synagogue's entrance, on the western side of the building. Today, only part of the synagogue's mosaic floor is extant, it has been moved from its original location to the courtyard of the island's Archaeological Museum. In 1977 an other ancient Synagogue has been discovered in Athens, the Synagogue in the Agora of Athens, which may be the Synagogue that Paul the Apostle preached.
Inscriptions in the Samaritan and the Greek alphabet found in Thessaloniki may originate from Samaritan synagogues. Concurrently the oldest synagogue found in the diaspora is the oldest Samaritan synagogue. A Romaniote oral tradition tells that the first Jews arrived in Ioannina shortly after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. Before the migration of the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi Jews into the Balkans and Eastern Europe, the Jewish culture in these areas consisted of Romaniote Jews; the Romaniote Rites represent those of the Greek-speaking Jews of the Byzantine empire, ranging from southern Italy in the west, to much of Turkey in the East, Crete to the south, Crimea to the north and the Jews of the early medieval Balkans and Eastern Europe. The Sefer Yosippon was written down in the 10th century in Byzantine Southern Italy by the Greek-speaking Jewish community there. Judah Leon ben Moses Mosconi, a Romaniote Jew from Achrida edited and expanded the Sefer Josippon later.
This community of Byzantine Jews of southern Italy produced such prominent works like the Sefer Ahimaaz of Ahimaaz ben Paltiel, the Sefer Hachmoni of Shabbethai Donnolo, the Aggadath Bereshit and many Piyyutim. The liturgical writings of these Romaniote Jews the piyyut were eminent for the development of the Ashkenazi Mahzor, as they found their way through Italy to Ashkenaz and are preserved to this day in the most Ashkenazi mahzorim; the Jews of Southern Italy continued to be Greek-speakers until the 15th century. When they were expelled and went to different regions of Greece Corfu and Thessaloniki, they could continue speak their Greek language if this language was somewhat different from that of Greece. In the 12th century, Ben
Vespasian was Roman emperor from 69–79, the fourth, last, in the Year of the Four Emperors. He founded the Flavian dynasty. Vespasian was the first emperor who hailed from an equestrian family, only rose into the senatorial rank as the first member of his family in his lifetime. Vespasian's renown came from his military success. While Vespasian besieged Jerusalem during the Jewish rebellion, emperor Nero committed suicide and plunged Rome into a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors. After Galba and Otho perished in quick succession, Vitellius became emperor in April 69; the Roman legions of Roman Egypt and Judaea reacted by declaring Vespasian, their commander, emperor on 1 July 69. In his bid for imperial power, Vespasian joined forces with Mucianus, the governor of Syria, Primus, a general in Pannonia, leaving his son Titus to command the besieging forces at Jerusalem. Primus and Mucianus led the Flavian forces against Vitellius. On 20 December 69, Vitellius was defeated, the following day Vespasian was declared emperor by the Senate.
Little information survives about the government during Vespasian's ten-year rule. He reformed the financial system of Rome after the campaign against Judaea ended and initiated several ambitious construction projects, including the building of the Flavian Amphitheatre, better known today as the Roman Colosseum. Through his general Agricola, Vespasian increased imperial expansion in Britain. After his death in 79, he was succeeded by his eldest son Titus, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to be directly succeeded by his own natural son and establishing the Flavian dynasty. Vespasian was born in a village north-east of Rome called Falacrinae, his family was undistinguished and lacking in pedigree. His paternal grandfather, Titus Flavius Petro, became the first to distinguish himself, rising to the rank of centurion and fighting at Pharsalus for Pompey in 48 BC. Subsequently, he became a debt collector. Petro's son, Titus Flavius Sabinus, worked as a customs official in the province of Asia and became a moneylender on a small scale among the Helvetii.
He gained a reputation as a scrupulous and honest "tax-farmer". Sabinus married up in status, to Vespasia Polla, whose father had risen to the rank of prefect of the camp and whose brother became a Senator. Sabinus and Vespasia had the eldest of whom, a girl, died in infancy; the elder boy, Titus Flavius Sabinus, pursued the cursus honorum. He served in the army as a military tribune in Thrace in 36; the following year he was served in Creta et Cyrenaica. He rose through the ranks of Roman public office, being elected aedile on his second attempt in 39 and praetor on his first attempt in 40, taking the opportunity to ingratiate himself with the Emperor Caligula; the younger boy, seemed far less to be successful not wishing to pursue high public office. He followed in his brother's footsteps. During this period he married Flavia Domitilla, the daughter of Flavius Liberalis from Ferentium and the mistress of Statilius Capella, a Roman equestrian from Sabratha in Africa, they had two sons, Titus Flavius Vespasianus and Titus Flavius Domitianus, a daughter, Domitilla.
His wife Domitilla and his daughter Domitilla both died before Vespasian became Emperor in 69. After the death of his wife, Vespasian's longstanding mistress, Antonia Caenis, became his wife in all but formal status, a relationship that continued until she died in 75. In preparation for a praetorship, Vespasian needed two periods of service in the minor magistracies, one military and the other public. Vespasian served in the military in Thracia for about three years. On his return to Rome in about 30 AD, he obtained a post in the vigintivirate, the minor magistracies, most in one of the posts in charge of street cleaning, his early performance was so unsuccessful that Emperor Caligula stuffed handfuls of muck down his toga to correct the uncleaned Roman streets, formally his responsibility. During the period of the ascendancy of Sejanus, there is no record of Vespasian's significant activity in political events. After completion of a term in the vigintivirate, Vespasian was entitled to stand for election as quaestor.
But his lack of political or family influence meant that Vespasian served as quaestor in one of the provincial posts in Crete, rather than as assistant to important men in Rome. Next he needed to gain a praetorship, carrying the Imperium, but non-patricians and the less well-connected had to serve in at least one intermediary post as an aedile or tribune. Vespasian failed at his first attempt to gain an aedileship but was successful in his second attempt, becoming an aedile in 38. Despite his lack of significant family connections or success in office, he achieved praetorship in either 39 or 40, at the youngest age permitted, during a period of political upheaval in the organisation of elections, his longstanding relationship with freedwoman Antonia Caenis, confidential secretary to Antonia Minor and part of the circle of courtiers and servants around the Emperor, may have contributed to his success. Upon the accession of Claudius as emperor in 41, Vespasian was appointed legate of Legio II Augusta, stationed in Germania, thanks to the influence of the Imperial freedman Narcissus.
In 43, Vespasian and the II Augusta participated in the Roman invasion of Bri