Epistula Claudii ad Alexandrinos: Siriad Jews (a Jewish merchant marine corp)

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billd89
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Epistula Claudii ad Alexandrinos: Siriad Jews (a Jewish merchant marine corp)

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Letter of Claudius on recent anti-Jewish disturbances in Alexandria (November 10, AD 41) P. Lond. VI, 1912 = C. Pap. Jud. II, 153 = Sel. Pap. II, 212 (DDBDP):
On the other hand, I order the Jews not to agitate for more privileges than they had and in the future not to send separate embassies, as if living in separate cities, which has never happened before, nor to seek to enter the gymnasiarchics or cosmetice games, while enjoying their own festivals and sharing in an abundance of blessings in a city which is not their own, nor to introduce or to admit Jews coming by boat from 'Syria' or from Upper Egypt—an act which I shall be compelled to regard with great suspicion.

Syria? No: the Siriad. Claudius warned the Alexandrian Jews not to summon their compatriots from the proximate areas of the Fayum or the Siriad (Sethrum) of Egypt. Col. 5:
... μηδὲ ἐπάγεσθαι ἢ προσίεσθαι ἀπὸ Συρίας ἢ Αἰγύπ<τ>ου καταπλέοντας Ἰουδαίους ἐξ οὗ μείζονας ὑπονοίας ἀναγκασθήσομαι λαμβάνειν·

..and to not [ἐπάγεσθαι=] bring on/call in nor [προσίεσθαι=] let in/admit from 'Syria' or 'Egypt' the sailing Jews whom I am compelled to view with great suspicion...

Consider the phrasing: ἀπὸ Συρίας ἢ Αἰγύπ του καταπλέοντας Ἰουδαίους = the Jews who sail in from 'Syria' or 'Egypt'. The issue is never raised that Alexandrian Jews were causing unrest elsewhere in the Roman Empire - that wasn't the case. Nor is the Edict regarding any other distant province outside the land we now know as 'Egypt'. Everything that Claudius mentions is specific to this one area: the Nile, Delta and Alexandria proper.

On news and an urgent Alexandrian Jewish call for help, the feared 'merchant marine' would rapidly deploy, sailing from Mendes, Tanis, Pelusium, Kedua, Migdol, Hebua, Gilbana, Daphne... 9-12 ports?! In an emergency, the arrival of Jewish marines would be within 7-10 days, I suppose. Why is this (allied?) Jewish force of the Siriad nowhere else mentioned, never critically examined? Emperor Claudius recognized a real threat, so this Jewish merchant marine could possibly 'take over' Alexandria: w/ +10,000 men?

Period sources may give more information about the Sethrum c.40 AD, see Alexander Fuks, "The Jewish Revolt in Egypt (A.D. 115-117) in the light of the papyri" in Aegyptus, Anno 33, No.1, [1953], Link.

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The Siriad was the Sethrum, 'Eastern Egypt'.
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