The Romans presumably saved for themselves at least some of these valuables

The romans presumably saved for themselves at least

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The Romans presumably saved for themselves at least some of these valuables. Many people donated houses and fields to the Temple, which were then sold and the proceeds deposited in the Temple treasury. Moreover, the Temple served as a bank for widows and orphans, who entrusted their deposits to it. According to Exodus 30:11–16 , every male Jew over the age of 20 had to contribute a half shekel to the Temple each year. If, as there is good reason to believe, the number of Jews was somewhere between four and eight million, and if, as apparently was the case, the great majority of Jews faithfully contributed this amount, the total collected must have been enormous. Cicero mentions that in four cities of Asia Minor (a province that was admittedly wealthy but probably not the wealthiest) 220 pounds of gold intended for the Temple were seized by the Roman governor Flaccus in 59 B.C.E. According to Josephus, in the year 54 B.C.E., Crassus carried off the 2,000 talents that Pompey had left untouched in Jerusalem and was prepared to strip the sanctuary of all its gold, which totaled 8,000 talents. This would have been the equivalent today of perhaps tens of millions of dollars. During the siege of Jerusalem by the Romans, Josephus relates, gold was so abundant in the city that one could purchase for 12 Attic drachmas what had previously cost 25. Some Jews actually
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swallowed gold coins to prevent their discovery by the Jewish revolutionaries and then, escaping to the Romans, discharged their bowels. When a rumor ran through the Roman camp that the deserters had come full of gold, an Arab and Syrian rabble cut open no fewer than 2,000 deserters in one night to search their intestines. When the Romans entered the Temple court, “so glutted with plunder were the troops, one and all, that throughout Syria the standard of gold was depreciated to half its former value.” Moreover, according to Josephus, 97,000 Jews were taken prisoner during the war with the Romans (this may be the source of the tradition, otherwise unattested, that Jews actually built the Colosseum); of those over 17 years of age many were sent to work in Egypt, while those under 17 were sold. The amount thus raised must have been considerable, especially since we may assume that Jews paid large sums of money to ransom their fellow Jews, inasmuch as ransoming of captives is regarded by the rabbis of the Talmud as of paramount importance, so that even money that has been set aside for charitable purposes or for building a synagogue may be used to ransom captives. A Dead Sea Scroll discovered in 1952 in Qumran Cave 3, engraved on two copper sheets (the so- called Copper Scroll), lists treasures of many tons of silver and gold, as well as other valuables, amounting to approximately 4,500 talents (possibly as much as 100,000 kilograms) or perhaps the equivalent of tens of millions of dollars. Is this imaginary, or is there some basis to this account?
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