Other Greek and Roman Historians
Most other Greek and Roman writers (e.g., Suetonius, Pliny) display only incidental interest in the military in Palestine. Thus, while it is important to understand their distinctive interests and aims, it is not vital to elaborate upon them here. Three broad trends are important for our discussion. As with Josephus, most Greek and Roman authors have no interest in auxiliary forces and shed little light on the matter. The second issue is the literary trope of the incompetence of the Syrian soldiers. Everett Wheeler has detailed this topos and demonstrates that such depictions are better understood as one expression of Western Roman prejudice against the East. Stories of their insubordination, drunkenness, and other tendencies toward vice are at odds with documentary evidence from the region and should not be accepted uncritically. This trope is worth noting insofar as Judaea was a sub-province of Syria 6-70 CE and Syrian soldiers garrisoned Palestine. For instance, Wheeler suggests that Suetonius’s depiction of Vespasian as the restorer of legiones III Gallica, VI Ferrata, X Fretensis, and XII Fulminata’s competence during the Judaean War should be viewed in this light (Vesp. 4.6); Vespasian was so great a leader that he was able to inspire the Syrian party animals into excellence.
Finally, most Roman writers display nothing but contempt for soldiers. In short, this was because most of the surviving writers were elites that perceived soldiers as new and unwelcome competition for various social resources; the manner that new configurations of acquiring social capital during the Principate placed the interests of soldiers and civic elites in direct conflict with one another. Clifford Ando suggests that this struggle originated in Augustus’s innovation of concentrating both civic and military power on the person of the princeps. In that the emperor tended to depict his relationship with the troops as a personal one, he was obliged to favor the legions when it came to donatives, land grants, honorifics, etc. Aristocratic Roman writers were acutely aware of this perceived favor and this is reflected in their depictions of the military: the military is imagined to be properly located in the frontier provinces, where they ought to remain focused on expansion of the empire and preventing incursion from opponents. Roman depictions of military conflicts in Palestine – surely a frontier region – generally fit this paradigm.
 Wheeler, Everett. 1996. “The Laxity of Syrian Legions.” Pages 230-276 in The Roman Army in the East. Edited by David L. Kennedy. Journal of Roman Archaeology Supplement 18. Ann Arbor: Journal of Roman Archaeology.; this essay includes a massive bibliography for further research. Wheeler observes that Josephus’s histories do not deploy this trope for a variety of complex reasons.
 Ando, Clifford. 2007. “The Army and the Urban Elite: A Competition for Power.” Pages 359-378 in A Companion to the Roman Army. Edited by Paul Erdkamp. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World. Malden: Blackwell.