3 The same Epphroditus is the dedicatee of Antiquities (1.8-9) and Life (430), thus binding the three works together. He is given here no further description or address (cf. 2.1, 296), and the repetition of identical wording from Life 430 (the end of Josephus’ most recent work) could indicate that the dedication is a formality. The epithet (literally, “most eminent of men,” κράτιστε ἀνδρῶν) is probably formulaic (cf. κράτιστε in Luke 1:3 with comment by Alexander 1993: 132-33; Cadbury 1922: 505-7); it is “a form of address too vague to allow us to determine the man’s social status” (Cotton and Eck 2005: 49). All attempts to identify this figure among the known elite of Flavian Rome run up against the severe limitations in our knowledge. Epaphroditus was a very common name in Rome (nearly 300 cases are known from the 1st and 2nd centuries CE), especially for slaves and freedmen. There are two figures contemporary with Josephus of whom something is known, and both have been proposed as his patron. 1. Epaphroditus, the freedman of Nero (see Steindorff 1905: 2710-11). This man was secretary ( a libellis) to Nero, helped expose the Pisonian plot against him (65 CE), then fled Rome with Nero and helped him commit suicide. He appears to have returned to Rome and was known to Domitian who first exiled him, then had him killed in 95 CE (Suetonius, Dom. 14.4; Dio Cassius 67.14.4-5). We do not know how much “earlier” he was exiled (Dio Cassius 67.14.4; Cotton and Eck [2005: 50] suggest c.90 CE, but without clear warrant), but even if he left Rome in 94 CE it is hard to find time for the composition of Apion after Antiquities (93/94; see Introduction, § 3). Moreover, there is no reason to think that this Epaphroditus wielded significant influence in the Flavian court (see Weaver 1994), where he may have been tainted by his association with Nero. Thus, the older tradition that identifies this man as Josephus’ patron (Luther 1910: 61-63; cf. Mason 1998: 98-100; Nodet 1992: 4, n.1) is now largely discredited (Cotton and Eck 2005: 50-51). Josephus’ description of him as a man used to large changes in fortune ( Ant. 1.8-9) could apply to anyone who had lived through the last few decades of Roman history. 2. M. Mettius Epaphroditus, a freedman scholar ( grammaticus; see Cohn 1905: 2711-14). This man is known only from the Suidas, where he is described as a former slave of the praefectus of Egypt, a scholar on Homer, Hesiod, and Callimachus, who lived in Rome from the time of Nero to Nerva (died 98 CE), and had a library of 30,000 books; for an inscription attached to a statue, see CIL 6.9454. If Josephus’ patron is identifiable at all, this is the most likely candidate: he had both financial and intellectual resources of value to Josephus, and probably had at least some contacts in aristocratic families, even if he was not himself among the elite (see Sterling 1992: 239-40, n.66; Rajak 1983: 223-24; Cotton and Eck 2005: 51-52, perhaps overstressing his social marginality). If one has to choose between these two Epaphroditi, the second is far more probable (cf. Gerber 1997: 65-66; Labow 2005: lxxiv-lxxv; Feldman 2000: 5, n.9; Mason 2001: 173, n.1780). But it is equally possible that Josephus’ Epaphroditus is otherwise unknown to us (Weaver 1994: 474-75; Jones 2002: 114-15, suggesting, as another candidate, a freedman who served ab epistulis under a Flavian emperor, CIL 6.1887). For the relation of this question to the date of the work, see Introduction, § 3.