Philo on Happiness in History.

Pura Nieto Hernandez, “Filón de Alejandría: felicidad, historia y virtud,” In Juan Antonio Gonzalez Iglesias Guillermo Aprile (Eds.), La Felicidad en la Historia Representaciones Literarias de La Felicidad desde la Antiguedad al Presente. (Transl: Happiness in History. Literary Representations of Happiness from Antiquity to the Present.) Ediciones Universidad, Salamanca, 2023, pp. 23-44.

Authors Abstract: “This paper explores Philo of Alexandria’s views on social happiness under an unfair ruler, as expressed in his Legatio ad Gaium, in which he describes the violent anti-Jewish uprising that took place in Alexandria in 38 A.D. and the events that led up to it. In this work, Philo assigns full responsibility for these events to the emperor Caligula, who is described as a model of extreme vice, in contrast to Tiberius and especially Augustus, who is treated as the personification of the perfect ruler. Philo highlights three important requirements for the happiness of a social group, which seem to be the same as those required for personal happiness: freedom, stability, and a sense of communal values. All three were violated in respect to the Jewish community, in Philo’s dramatic description, when even synagogues were desecrated. Philo builds on the traditional Greek idea that under a good king the community prospers, a notion that became common among Hellenistic philosophers. For Philo, however, Moses, the quasi-divine lawgiver and ruler, represents the very highest idea, to which even good emperors could only aspire.”

This book is the result of the research project «Happiness in History: from Rome to the present day. Discourse Analysis (FELHIS)» funded by the Logos Program of grants for research in Classical Studies 2019 of the BBVA Foundation with the participation of the Spanish Society of Classical Studies.