2 “Ancient History” (
ἀρχαιολογία) is Josephus’ shorthand title for his 20-volume work, which we term his
Antiquities (cf. 1.54, 127; 2.136, 287;
Ant. 20.259, 267;
Life 430). Its public title (if it had one) would have had to indicate
whose “ancient history” this recounted (cf.
Apion 2.136, “our ancient histories”). The connotations of the term are ambiguous at a critical point (see Rajak 2002: 241-55). For some in antiquity,
ἀρχαιολογία suggested “ancient lore,” the sagas and “myths” which historians could at best sift for true history, but might wholly discard (Plutarch,
Thes. 1); for others (presumably Josephus; cf. Dionysius of Halicarnassus,
Ant. rom. 1.4.1) it simply meant the history of ancient times. In his
Antiquities Josephus had not fully defended his almost complete dependence on a particular, Judean source for the most ancient history (the Judean scriptures), and thus encountered (or imagined) scepticism (1.2).