2 Josephus uses the word γένος four times in these opening two sections. Thus he immediately fulfills the promise of Ant. 20.266 to describe his outstanding pedigree. For Josephus, as for all aristocrats and especially those in Rome, a distinguished ancestry (cf. Lat. genus and gens) was the normally expected source of a sterling character, since character was considered more or less fixed along blood lines (cf. §§ 3-6, 430; Polybius 6.53.9-54.2; 9.1.4-2.2; Cicero Part. or. 82; May 1988:6). Rhetorical handbooks identified the pedigree as the first item to consider when assessing a person’s character. Accordingly, epic poets, historians, and biographers tended to begin with their subject’s ancestry (Homer, Il. 6.123-231; Od. 19.165-84; Herodotus Hist. 4.147; 7.204; Virgil, Aen. 6.761-895; Tacitus, Agr. 4.1-2; Diogenes Laertius, 3.1-2 [Plato]; Plutarch, Alex. 2.1; Iamblichus, Vita Pyth. 3-4; y. Ta’an. 4.68a [Hillel]; Gen. Rab. 33 [the rabbinic patriarch]; Matt. 1:2-17/Luke 3:23-38 [Jesus of Nazareth]). When noble genealogies could not be found, they were sometimes invented—as in many of these examples. On the invention of distinguished genealogies in late-republican Rome, see Wiseman 1987:207-18. For negative examples, compare Cicero’s treatment of some opponents (e.g., in Pis. 1) and Tacitus’ biting remark about Curtius Rufus, a man who had achieved high rank without the requisite pedigree: “As to the origin of Curtius Rufus, whom some have described as the son of a gladiator, I would not promulgate a falsehood and I am ashamed to investigate the truth” ( Ann. 11.21; cf. Plass 1988:23). On ancestry in general, see Flower 1996 and Millar 1999:5-6.