Bar Kokhba's revolt

Bar Kokhba's revolt

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The Bar Kokhba revolt 132–136 CE; or mered bar kokhba) against the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, was the third major rebellion by the Jews of Judaea Province being the last of the Jewish-Roman Wars
Jewish-Roman wars
The Jewish–Roman wars were a series of large-scale revolts by the Jews of Iudaea Province and Eastern Mediterranean against the Roman Empire. Some sources use the term to refer only to the First Jewish–Roman War and Bar Kokhba revolt...

. Simon bar Kokhba
Simon bar Kokhba
Simon bar Kokhba was the Jewish leader of what is known as the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 CE, establishing an independent Jewish state of Israel which he ruled for three years as Nasi...

, the commander of the revolt, was acclaimed as a Messiah, a heroic figure who could restore Israel. The revolt established an independent state of Israel over parts of Judea for over two years, but a Roman army made up of six full legions
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

 with auxiliaries and elements from up to six additional legions finally crushed it. The Romans then barred Jews from Jerusalem, except to attend Tisha B'Av
Tisha B'Av
|Av]],") is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date...

. Although Jewish Christians
Jewish Christians
Jewish Christians is a term which appears in historical texts contrasting Christians of Jewish origin with Gentile Christians, both in discussion of the New Testament church and the second and following centuries....

 hailed Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba, they were barred from Jerusalem along with the rest of the Jews. The war and its aftermath helped differentiate Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism, see also List of events in early Christianity.The rebellion is also known as The Third Jewish-Roman War or The Third Jewish Revolt, though some historians relate it as Second Jewish Revolt, not counting the Kitos War
Kitos War
The Kitos War , translation: Rebellion of the exile) is the name given to the second of the Jewish–Roman wars. Major revolts by diasporic Jews in Cyrene , Cyprus, Mesopotamia and Aegyptus spiraled out of control resulting in a widespread slaughter of Roman citizens and others by the Jewish rebels...

, 115–117 CE.

Background



After the failed Great Jewish Revolt in 70 CE, the Roman authorities took measures to suppress the rebellious province of Iuadea. Instead of a procurator
Procurator (Roman)
A procurator was the title of various officials of the Roman Empire, posts mostly filled by equites . A procurator Augusti was the governor of the smaller imperial provinces...

, they installed a praetor
Praetor
Praetor was a title granted by the government of Ancient Rome to men acting in one of two official capacities: the commander of an army, usually in the field, or the named commander before mustering the army; and an elected magistratus assigned varied duties...

 as a governor and stationed an entire legion
Roman legion
A Roman legion normally indicates the basic ancient Roman army unit recruited specifically from Roman citizens. The organization of legions varied greatly over time but they were typically composed of perhaps 5,000 soldiers, divided into maniples and later into "cohorts"...

, the X Fretensis
Legio X Fretensis
Legio X Fretensis was a Roman legion levied by Augustus Caesar in 41/40 BC to fight during the period of civil war that started the dissolution of the Roman Republic...

. Because the Great Revolt of 70 CE had resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, the Council at Yavne
Council of Jamnia
The Council of Jamnia or Council of Yavne is a hypothetical late 1st-century council at which it is postulated the canon of the Hebrew Bible was finalized....

 provided spiritual guidance for the Jewish nation, both in Judea and throughout the Jewish diaspora
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

. The tensions continued to build up in the consequence of the Kitos War
Kitos War
The Kitos War , translation: Rebellion of the exile) is the name given to the second of the Jewish–Roman wars. Major revolts by diasporic Jews in Cyrene , Cyprus, Mesopotamia and Aegyptus spiraled out of control resulting in a widespread slaughter of Roman citizens and others by the Jewish rebels...

, the second large-scale Jewish insurrection in the Eastern Mediterranean, which final stages were fought in Judaea.

Multiple reasons have been offered for the beginning of the Bar Kokhba revolt. One interpretation is that in 130 CE, Emperor Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 visited the ruins of the temple. At first sympathetic towards the Jews, Hadrian promised to rebuild the temple, but the Jews felt betrayed when they found out that his intentions were to build a temple dedicated to Jupiter upon the ruins of the Second Temple
Second Temple
The Jewish Second Temple was an important shrine which stood on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem between 516 BCE and 70 CE. It replaced the First Temple which was destroyed in 586 BCE, when the Jewish nation was exiled to Babylon...

. A rabbinic version of this story claims that Hadrian was planning on rebuilding the Temple, but a malevolent Samaritan convinced him not to.

An additional legion, the VI Ferrata
Legio VI Ferrata
Legio sexta Ferrata , was a Roman Legion formed in 65 BC, and in existence up to at least 3rd century. A Legio VI fought in the Roman Republican civil wars of the 40s and 30s BC...

, was stationed in the province to maintain order, and the works commenced in 131 CE after the governor
Governor
A governor is a governing official, usually the executive of a non-sovereign level of government, ranking under the head of state...

 of Judaea Tineius Rufus
Quintus Tineius Rufus (consul 127)
Quintus Tineius Rufus was a Roman politician.He was Legatus Augusti pro praetore of Thracia between 124 and 126, Consul Suffectus between May and September 127 and Legatus Augusti pro praetore in Judaea c...

 performed the foundation ceremony of Aelia Capitolina
Aelia Capitolina
Aelia Capitolina was a city built by the emperor Hadrian, and occupied by a Roman colony, on the site of Jerusalem, which was in ruins since 70 AD, leading in part to the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132–136.-Politics:...

, the city’s projected new name. "Ploughing up the Temple" was a religious offence that turned many Jews against the Roman authorities. The tensions grew higher when Hadrian abolished circumcision (brit milah
Brit milah
The brit milah is a Jewish religious circumcision ceremony performed on 8-day old male infants by a mohel. The brit milah is followed by a celebratory meal .-Biblical references:...

), which he, a Hellenist, viewed as mutilation
Mutilation
Mutilation or maiming is an act of physical injury that degrades the appearance or function of any living body, usually without causing death.- Usage :...

. Subsequently, it is known that a Roman coin inscribed Aelia Capitolina was issued in 132, right with the revolt beginnings.

Revolt


The Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva
Rabbi Akiva
Akiva ben Joseph simply known as Rabbi Akiva , was a tanna of the latter part of the 1st century and the beginning of the 2nd century . He was a great authority in the matter of Jewish tradition, and one of the most central and essential contributors to the Mishnah and Midrash Halakha...

 (alternatively Akiba) indulged the possibility that Simon Bar Kosiba (Bar Kokhba) could be the Jewish Messiah
Jewish Messiah
Messiah, ; mashiah, moshiah, mashiach, or moshiach, is a term used in the Hebrew Bible to describe priests and kings, who were traditionally anointed with holy anointing oil as described in Exodus 30:22-25...

, and gave him the surname "Bar Kokhba" meaning "son of a star" in the Aramaic language
Aramaic language
Aramaic is a group of languages belonging to the Afroasiatic language phylum. The name of the language is based on the name of Aram, an ancient region in central Syria. Within this family, Aramaic belongs to the Semitic family, and more specifically, is a part of the Northwest Semitic subfamily,...

, from the Star Prophecy
Star Prophecy
The "Star Prophecy" is a Messianic reading applied by radical Jews and early Christians to a text from the Book of Numbers 24:17:...

 verse from Numbers
Book of Numbers
The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch....

 24:17: "There shall come a star out of Jacob
Jacob
Jacob "heel" or "leg-puller"), also later known as Israel , as described in the Hebrew Bible, the Talmud, the New Testament and the Qur'an was the third patriarch of the Hebrew people with whom God made a covenant, and ancestor of the tribes of Israel, which were named after his descendants.In the...

"

At the time, Jewish Christians
Jewish Christians
Jewish Christians is a term which appears in historical texts contrasting Christians of Jewish origin with Gentile Christians, both in discussion of the New Testament church and the second and following centuries....

 were still a minor sect of Judaism
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

, and most historians believe that it was this messianic claim in favor of Bar Kokhba alienated many of them, who believed that the true Messiah was Jesus, and sharply deepened the schism between Jews and Messianic Jews.

The Jewish leaders carefully planned the second revolt to avoid numerous mistakes that had plagued the first Great Jewish Revolt sixty years earlier. In 132, a revolt led by Bar Kokhba quickly spread from Modi'in across the country, cutting off the Roman garrison in Jerusalem.

Roman reaction


The outbreak took the Romans by surprise. Hadrian called his general Sextus Julius Severus
Sextus Julius Severus
Sextus Julius Severus was an accomplished Roman General of the 2nd century.Julius Severus served as Governor of Moesia; he was appointed Governor of Britain around 131.In 133 he was transferred to Judea, to help suppress the Bar Kochba rebellion there...

 from Britain
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

, and troops were brought from as far as the Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

. The size of the Roman army amassed against the rebels was much larger than that commanded by Titus
Titus
Titus , was Roman Emperor from 79 to 81. A member of the Flavian dynasty, Titus succeeded his father Vespasian upon his death, thus becoming the first Roman Emperor to come to the throne after his own father....

 sixty years earlier. Roman losses were very heavy - XXII Deiotariana
Legio XXII Deiotariana
Legio vigesima secunda Deiotariana was a Roman legion, levied approximately in 48 BC and disbanded during the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132–135...

 was disbanded after serious losses. In addition, some argue that Legio IX Hispana
Legio IX Hispana
Legio Nona Hispana was a Roman legion, which operated from the first century BCE until mid 2nd century CE. The Spanish Legion's disappearance has raised speculations over its fate, largely of its alleged destruction in Scotland in about 117 CE, though some scholars believe it was destroyed in the...

 disbandment in the mid 2nd century could also have been a result of this war.

The struggle lasted for three years before the revolt was brutally crushed in the summer of 135 CE. After losing Jerusalem, Bar Kokhba and the remnants of his army withdrew to the fortress of Betar
Betar (fortress)
The Betar Fortress was the last standing Jewish fortress in the Bar Kochba revolt of the 2nd century CE, destroyed by the Roman army of Emperor Hadrian in the year 135...

, which also subsequently came under siege. The Jerusalem Talmud
Jerusalem Talmud
The Jerusalem Talmud, talmud meaning "instruction", "learning", , is a collection of Rabbinic notes on the 2nd-century Mishnah which was compiled in the Land of Israel during the 4th-5th century. The voluminous text is also known as the Palestinian Talmud or Talmud de-Eretz Yisrael...

 relates that the numbers slain were enormous, that the Romans "went on killing until their horses were submerged in blood to their nostrils". The Talmud also relates that for seventeen years the Romans did not allow the Jews to bury their dead in Betar.

"The Era of the redemption of Israel"



A sovereign State of Israel was restored for two and a half years that followed. The functional public administration
Public administration
Public Administration houses the implementation of government policy and an academic discipline that studies this implementation and that prepares civil servants for this work. As a "field of inquiry with a diverse scope" its "fundamental goal.....

 was headed by Simon Bar Kokhba, who took the title Nasi Israel (prince [lord, president] of Israel). The "Era of the redemption of Israel" was announced, contracts were signed and coins were minted
Bar Kochba Revolt coinage
Bar Kochba Revolt coinage were coins issued by the Jews during the Bar Kochba revolt against the Roman Empire of 132-135 AD.During the Revolt, large quantities of coins were issued in silver and copper with rebellious inscriptions, all being overstruck over foreign coins, when a file was used to...

 in large quantity in silver and copper with corresponding inscriptions (all were struck over foreign coins).

It has been argued that attempts were made to restore the Temple in Jerusalem
Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple in Jerusalem or Holy Temple , refers to one of a series of structures which were historically located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem, the current site of the Dome of the Rock. Historically, these successive temples stood at this location and functioned as the centre of...

, but the evidence—letters written in Jerusalem and dated to the revolutionary era—has turned out to belong to the revolt of 66–70.

Outcome of the war



According to Cassius Dio, 580,000 Jews were killed, and 50 fortified towns and 985 villages razed. Cassius Dio claimed that "Many Romans, moreover, perished in this war. Therefore, Hadrian, in writing to the Senate, did not employ the opening phrase commonly affected by the emperors: 'If you and your children are in health, it is well; I and the army are in health.'"

Hadrian attempted to root out Judaism, which he saw as the cause of continuous rebellions. He prohibited the Torah
Torah
Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five books of the bible—Genesis , Exodus , Leviticus , Numbers and Deuteronomy Torah- A scroll containing the first five books of the BibleThe Torah , is name given by Jews to the first five...

 law and the Hebrew calendar
Hebrew calendar
The Hebrew calendar , or Jewish calendar, is a lunisolar calendar used today predominantly for Jewish religious observances. It determines the dates for Jewish holidays and the appropriate public reading of Torah portions, yahrzeits , and daily Psalm reading, among many ceremonial uses...

, and executed Judaic scholars. The sacred scroll was ceremonially burned on the Temple Mount
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

. At the former Temple sanctuary, he installed two statues, one of Jupiter, another of himself. In an attempt to erase any memory of Judea
Judea
Judea or Judæa was the name of the mountainous southern part of the historic Land of Israel from the 8th century BCE to the 2nd century CE, when Roman Judea was renamed Syria Palaestina following the Jewish Bar Kokhba revolt.-Etymology:The...

 or Ancient Israel, he wiped the name off the map and replaced it with Syria Palaestina
Syria Palaestina
Syria Palæstina was a Roman province between 135CE and 390CE. It had been established by the merge of Roman Syria and Roman Judaea, following the defeat of the Bar Kokhba Revolt in 135 CE. In 193 Syria-Coele was split to form a separate provincial locality...

 (after the Philistines
Philistines
Philistines , Pleshet or Peleset, were a people who occupied the southern coast of Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Age . According to the Bible, they ruled the five city-states of Gaza, Askelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath, from the Wadi Gaza in the south to the Yarqon River in the north, but with...

, the ancient enemies of the Jews), supplanting earlier terms, such as "Judaea" and Israel
Land of Israel
The Land of Israel is the Biblical name for the territory roughly corresponding to the area encompassed by the Southern Levant, also known as Canaan and Palestine, Promised Land and Holy Land. The belief that the area is a God-given homeland of the Jewish people is based on the narrative of the...

. Similarly, he re-established Jerusalem but now as the Roman pagan polis
Polis
Polis , plural poleis , literally means city in Greek. It could also mean citizenship and body of citizens. In modern historiography "polis" is normally used to indicate the ancient Greek city-states, like Classical Athens and its contemporaries, so polis is often translated as "city-state."The...

 of Aelia Capitolina, and Jews were forbidden from entering it, except on the day of Tisha B'Av
Tisha B'Av
|Av]],") is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date...

.

According to a Rabbinic midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

 (the Ten Martyrs
Ten Martyrs
The Ten Martyrs refers to a group of ten rabbis living during the era of the Mishnah who were martyred by the Romans in the period after the destruction of the second Temple...

), in addition to Bar Kokhba the Romans executed ten leading members of the Sanhedrin
Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was an assembly of twenty-three judges appointed in every city in the Biblical Land of Israel.The Great Sanhedrin was the supreme court of ancient Israel made of 71 members...

: the high priest, R. Ishmael; the president of the Sanhedrin, R. Shimon ben Gamaliel; R. Akiba; R. Hanania ben Teradion; the interpreter of the Sanhedrin, R. Huspith; R. Eliezer ben Shamua; R. Hanina ben Hakinai
Hanina ben Hakinai
Hanina ben Hakinai or Hanania ben Hakinai was a Tanna of the 2nd century; contemporary of Ben 'Azzai and Simon the Temanite . Sometimes he is cited without his prænomen .- Life :Who his early teachers were is not certainly known...

; the secretary of the Sanhedrin, R. Yeshevav; R. Yehuda ben Dama; and R. Yehuda ben Baba. The Rabbinic account describes agonizing tortures: R. Akiba was flayed, R. Ishmael had the skin of his head pulled off slowly, and R. Hanania was burned at a stake, with wet wool held by a Torah scroll wrapped around his body to prolong his death.

By destroying association of Jews to Judea and forbidding the practice of Jewish faith, Hadrian aimed to root out a nation that engaged heavy casualties on the Empire. Yet, Hadrian's death in 138 CE marked a significant relief to the surviving Jewish communities.
Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism
Rabbinic Judaism or Rabbinism has been the mainstream form of Judaism since the 6th century CE, after the codification of the Talmud...

 had already become a portable religion, centered around synagogue
Synagogue
A synagogue is a Jewish house of prayer. This use of the Greek term synagogue originates in the Septuagint where it sometimes translates the Hebrew word for assembly, kahal...

s, and the Jews themselves kept books
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

 and dispersed throughout the Roman world and beyond
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

.

Long-term consequences and historic importance


Constantine I allowed Jews to mourn their defeat and humiliation once a year on Tisha B'Av
Tisha B'Av
|Av]],") is an annual fast day in Judaism, named for the ninth day of the month of Av in the Hebrew calendar. The fast commemorates the destruction of both the First Temple and Second Temple in Jerusalem, which occurred about 655 years apart, but on the same Hebrew calendar date...

 at the Western Wall
Western Wall
The Western Wall, Wailing Wall or Kotel is located in the Old City of Jerusalem at the foot of the western side of the Temple Mount...

. Jews remained scattered
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

 for close to two millennia; their numbers in the region fluctuated with time.

Modern historians have come to view the Bar-Kokhba Revolt as being of decisive historic importance. The massive destruction and loss of life occasioned by the revolt has led some scholars to date the beginning of the Jewish diaspora
Jewish diaspora
The Jewish diaspora is the English term used to describe the Galut גלות , or 'exile', of the Jews from the region of the Kingdom of Judah and Roman Iudaea and later emigration from wider Eretz Israel....

 from this date. They note that, unlike the aftermath of the First Jewish-Roman War
First Jewish-Roman War
The First Jewish–Roman War , sometimes called The Great Revolt , was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Judaea Province , against the Roman Empire...

 chronicled by Josephus
Josephus
Titus Flavius Josephus , also called Joseph ben Matityahu , was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the Destruction of...

, the majority of the Jewish population of Judea was either killed, exiled, or sold into slavery after the Bar-Kokhba Revolt, and Jewish religious and political authority was suppressed far more brutally. After the revolt the Jewish religious center shifted to the Babylonian Jewish community and its scholars. Judea would not be a center of Jewish religious, cultural, or political life again until the modern era, though Jews continued to live there and important religious developments still occurred there. In Galilee, the Jerusalem Talmud
Jerusalem Talmud
The Jerusalem Talmud, talmud meaning "instruction", "learning", , is a collection of Rabbinic notes on the 2nd-century Mishnah which was compiled in the Land of Israel during the 4th-5th century. The voluminous text is also known as the Palestinian Talmud or Talmud de-Eretz Yisrael...

 was compiled in the 2nd–4th centuries. Eventually, Safed
Safed
Safed , is a city in the Northern District of Israel. Located at an elevation of , Safed is the highest city in the Galilee and of Israel. Due to its high elevation, Safed experiences warm summers and cold, often snowy, winters...

 became known as a center of Jewish learning, especially Kabbalah
Kabbalah
Kabbalah/Kabala is a discipline and school of thought concerned with the esoteric aspect of Rabbinic Judaism. It was systematized in 11th-13th century Hachmei Provence and Spain, and again after the Expulsion from Spain, in 16th century Ottoman Palestine...

 in the 15th century.

Historian Shmuel Katz writes that even after the disaster of the revolt:
"Jewish life remained active and productive. Banished from Jerusalem, it now centred on Galilee
Galilee
Galilee , is a large region in northern Israel which overlaps with much of the administrative North District of the country. Traditionally divided into Upper Galilee , Lower Galilee , and Western Galilee , extending from Dan to the north, at the base of Mount Hermon, along Mount Lebanon to the...

. Refugees returned; Jews who had been sold into slavery were redeemed. In the centuries after Bar Kochba and Hadrian, some of the most significant creations of the Jewish spirit were produced in Palestine. It was there that the Mishnah
Mishnah
The Mishnah or Mishna is the first major written redaction of the Jewish oral traditions called the "Oral Torah". It is also the first major work of Rabbinic Judaism. It was redacted c...

 was completed and the Jerusalem Talmud
Jerusalem Talmud
The Jerusalem Talmud, talmud meaning "instruction", "learning", , is a collection of Rabbinic notes on the 2nd-century Mishnah which was compiled in the Land of Israel during the 4th-5th century. The voluminous text is also known as the Palestinian Talmud or Talmud de-Eretz Yisrael...

 was compiled, and the bulk of the community farmed the land."



Katz lists the communities left in Palestine:
"43 Jewish communities in Palestine in the sixth century: 12 on the coast, in the Negev
Negev
The Negev is a desert and semidesert region of southern Israel. The Arabs, including the native Bedouin population of the region, refer to the desert as al-Naqab. The origin of the word Neghebh is from the Hebrew root denoting 'dry'...

, and east of the Jordan, and 31 villages in Galilee and in the Jordan valley
Jordan Valley (Middle East)
The Jordan Valley forms part of the larger Jordan Rift Valley. It is 120 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide, where it runs from Lake Tiberias in the north to northern Dead Sea in the south. It runs for an additional 155 kilometer south of the Dead Sea to Aqaba, an area also known as Wadi...

."


The disastrous end of the revolt also occasioned major changes in Jewish religious thought. Messianism
Messianism
Messianism is the belief in a messiah, a savior or redeemer. Many religions have a messiah concept, including the Jewish Messiah, the Christian Christ, the Muslim Mahdi and Isa , the Buddhist Maitreya, the Hindu Kalki and the Zoroastrian Saoshyant...

 was abstracted and spiritualized, and rabbinical political thought became deeply cautious and conservative. The Talmud, for instance, refers to Bar-Kokhba as "Ben-Kusiba", a derogatory term used to indicate that he was a false Messiah. The deeply ambivalent rabbinical position regarding Messianism, as expressed most famously in the Rambam's (also known as Maimonides) "Epistle to Yemen", would seem to have its origins in the attempt to deal with the trauma of a failed Messianic uprising.

In the post-rabbinical era, however, the Bar-Kokhba Revolt became a symbol of valiant national resistance. The Zionist youth movement
Zionist youth movement
A Zionist youth movement is an organization formed for Jewish children and adolescents for educational, social, and ideological development, including a belief in Jewish nationalism as represented in the State of Israel...

 Betar
Betar
The Betar Movement is a Revisionist Zionist youth movement founded in 1923 in Riga, Latvia, by Vladimir Jabotinsky. It has been traditionally linked to the original Herut and then Likud political parties of Israel, and was closely affiliated with the pre-Israel Revisionist Zionist splinter group...

 took its name from Bar-Kokhba's traditional last stronghold, and David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, Israel's first prime minister, took his Hebrew last name from one of Bar-Kokhba's generals.

A popular children's song, included in the curriculum of Israeli kindergartens, has the refrain "Bar Kokhba was a Hero/He fought for Liberty" and its words describe Bar Kokhba as being captured, thrown into a lion's den but managing to escape riding on the lion's back.

Further relations between the Jews and the Roman Empire


In 351–352 CE, the Jews launched yet another revolt, provoking once again heavy retribution.

In 438 CE, when the Empress Eudocia
Licinia Eudoxia
Licinia Eudoxia was a Roman Empress, daughter of Eastern Emperor Theodosius II and wife of the Western Emperors Valentinian III and Petronius Maximus.- Family :...

 removed the ban on Jews' praying at the Temple site
Temple Mount
The Temple Mount, known in Hebrew as , and in Arabic as the Haram Ash-Sharif , is one of the most important religious sites in the Old City of Jerusalem. It has been used as a religious site for thousands of years...

, the heads of the Community in Galilee issued a call "to the great and mighty people of the Jews" which began: "Know that the end of the exile of our people has come!"

During the 5th and the 6th centuries, a series of Samaritan insurrections
Samaritan Revolts
The Samaritan Revolts were a series of insurrections during the 5th and 6th centuries in Palaestina Prima province, launched by the Samaritans against the Christian East Roman/Byzantine Empire...

 broke out across the Palaestina Prima province. Especially violent were the third and the fourth revolts, which resulted in almost entire annihilation of the Samaritan community. It is likely that the 4th Samaritan Revolt was joined by the Jewish community, which had also suffered a brutal suppression of Israelite (Mosaic) religion.

In the belief of restoration to come, the Jews made an alliance with the Persians
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 who invaded Palaestina Prima in 614, fought at their side, overwhelmed the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 garrison in Jerusalem, and for five years governed the city. However, their autonomy was brief: with the withdrawal of Persian forces, Jews surrendered to Byzantine forces in 625 CE and were consequently massacred by them in 629 CE. The Byzantine (Eastern Roman Empire) control of the region was finally lost to the Muslim Arab armies in 637 CE, when Umar ibn al-Khattab completed the conquest of Akko.

Sources


The best recognized sources are Cassius Dio, Roman History (book 69) and Aelius Spartianus, Life of Hadrian (in the Augustan History
Augustan History
The Augustan History is a late Roman collection of biographies, in Latin, of the Roman Emperors, their junior colleagues and usurpers of the period 117 to 284...

). The discovery of the Cave of Letters
Cave of Letters
The Cave of Letters is a cave located in the Dead Sea area that contained one of the largest caches of ancient documents and personal correspondence ever discovered in the land of Israel. Discovered in 1960 by Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin, the cave contained letters from Bar Kochba, leader...

 in the Dead Sea area, which contained letters actually written by Bar Kochba and his followers, has added much new primary source data.

See also

  • Bar Kochba Revolt coinage
    Bar Kochba Revolt coinage
    Bar Kochba Revolt coinage were coins issued by the Jews during the Bar Kochba revolt against the Roman Empire of 132-135 AD.During the Revolt, large quantities of coins were issued in silver and copper with rebellious inscriptions, all being overstruck over foreign coins, when a file was used to...

  • Cave of Letters
    Cave of Letters
    The Cave of Letters is a cave located in the Dead Sea area that contained one of the largest caches of ancient documents and personal correspondence ever discovered in the land of Israel. Discovered in 1960 by Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin, the cave contained letters from Bar Kochba, leader...

  • List of conflicts in the Near East

Further reading

  • Yohannan Aharoni & Michael Avi-Yonah, "The MacMillan Bible Atlas", Revised Edition, pp. 164–65 (1968 & 1977 by Carta Ltd.)
  • The Documents from the Bar Kokhba Period in the Cave of Letters (Judean Desert studies). Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1963–2002.
    • Vol. 2, "Greek Papyri", edited by Naphtali Lewis; "Aramaic and Nabatean Signatures and Subscriptions", edited by Yigael Yadin
      Yigael Yadin
      Yigael Yadin on 21 March 1917, died 28 June 1984) was an Israeli archeologist, politician, and the second Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces.-Early life and military career:...

       and Jonas C. Greenfield
      Jonas C. Greenfield
      Jonas Carl Greenfield was a scholar of Semitic languages, who published in the fields of Semitic Epigraphy, Aramaic Studies and Qumran Studies....

      . (ISBN 9652210099).
    • Vol. 3, "Hebrew, Aramaic and Nabatean–Aramaic Papyri", edited Yigael Yadin, Jonas C. Greenfield, Ada Yardeni, Baruch A. Levine (ISBN 9652210463).
  • W. Eck, 'The Bar Kokhba Revolt: the Roman point of view' in the Journal of Roman Studies 89 (1999) 76ff.
  • Faulkner, Neil. Apocalypse: The Great Jewish Revolt Against Rome. Stroud, Gloucestershire, UK: Tempus Publishing, 2004 (hardcover, ISBN 0-7524-2573-0).
  • Goodman, Martin. The Ruling Class of Judaea: The Origins of the Jewish Revolt against Rome, A.D. 66–70. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987 (hardcover, ISBN 0-521-33401-2); 1993 (paperback, ISBN 0-521-44782-8).
  • Richard Marks: The Image of Bar Kokhba in Traditional Jewish Literature: False Messiah and National Hero: University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press: 1994: ISBN 0-271-00939-X
  • David Ussishkin: "Archaeological Soundings at Betar, Bar-Kochba's Last Stronghold", in: Tel Aviv. Journal of the Institute of Archaeology of Tel Aviv University 20 (1993) 66ff.
  • Yadin, Yigael. Bar-Kokhba: The Rediscovery of the Legendary Hero of the Second Jewish Revolt Against Rome. New York: Random House, 1971 (hardcover, ISBN 0394471849); London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1971 (hardcover, ISBN 0297003453).
  • Mildenberg, Leo. The Coinage of the Bar Kokhba War. Switzerland: Schweizerische Numismatische Gesellschaft, Zurich, 1984 (hardcover, ISBN 3-7941-2634-3).

External links