Josephus was born Jerusalem of a priestly and royal family. He excelled in his studies of Jewish law, studied with the Sadducees, Pharisees, and the Essenes, eventually aligning himself with the Pharisees. He went to Rome to free some imprisoned priests. After accomplishing this mission through the intercession of Nero's wife, Poppaea, he returned to Jerusalem to find the country in revolt against Rome. Josephus wrote a history of the Jewish War, wroteAntiquities of the Jews, Against Apion and his autobiography The Life of Josephus. Josephus was an eyewitness to history, and his writings are considered authoritative.