First Jewish-Roman War

First Jewish-Roman War

Overview
The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called The Great Revolt , was the first of three major rebellions
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...

 by the Jews of Judaea Province (Iudaea), 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....

. The second was 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...

 in 115–117 CE; the third was Bar Kokhba's revolt
Bar Kokhba's revolt
The Bar Kokhba revolt 132–136 CE; or mered bar kokhba) against the Roman Empire, was the third major rebellion by the Jews of Judaea Province being the last of the Jewish-Roman Wars. Simon bar Kokhba, the commander of the revolt, was acclaimed as a Messiah, a heroic figure who could restore Israel...

 of 132–135 CE).

The Great Revolt began in the year 66 CE, initially due to Greek and Jewish religious tensions, but later escalated due to anti-taxation protests
Tax resistance
Tax resistance is the refusal to pay tax because of opposition to the government that is imposing the tax or to government policy.Tax resistance is a form of civil disobedience and direct action...

 and attacks upon Roman citizens.
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Encyclopedia
The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called The Great Revolt , was the first of three major rebellions
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...

 by the Jews of Judaea Province (Iudaea), 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....

. The second was 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...

 in 115–117 CE; the third was Bar Kokhba's revolt
Bar Kokhba's revolt
The Bar Kokhba revolt 132–136 CE; or mered bar kokhba) against the Roman Empire, was the third major rebellion by the Jews of Judaea Province being the last of the Jewish-Roman Wars. Simon bar Kokhba, the commander of the revolt, was acclaimed as a Messiah, a heroic figure who could restore Israel...

 of 132–135 CE).

The Great Revolt began in the year 66 CE, initially due to Greek and Jewish religious tensions, but later escalated due to anti-taxation protests
Tax resistance
Tax resistance is the refusal to pay tax because of opposition to the government that is imposing the tax or to government policy.Tax resistance is a form of civil disobedience and direct action...

 and attacks upon Roman citizens. The Roman military garrison of Judaea was quickly overrun by rebels and the pro-Roman king Agrippa II
Agrippa II
Agrippa II , son of Agrippa I, and like him originally named Marcus Julius Agrippa, was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, thus last of the Herodians. He was the brother of Berenice, Mariamne, and Drusilla...

 fled Jerusalem, together with Roman officials to 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...

. Cestius Gallus
Cestius Gallus
Gaius Cestius Gallus was the son of a consul in ancient Rome and himself a suffect consul in 42.He was legate of Syria from 63 or 65. He marched into Judea in 66 in an attempt to restore calm at the outset of the Great Jewish Revolt...

, the legate
Legatus
A legatus was a general in the Roman army, equivalent to a modern general officer. Being of senatorial rank, his immediate superior was the dux, and he outranked all military tribunes...

 of Syria
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

, brought the Syrian army, based on XII Fulminata
Legio XII Fulminata
Legio duodecima Fulminata , also known as Paterna, Victrix, Antiqua, Certa Constans, and Galliena, was a Roman legion, levied by Julius Caesar in 58 BC and which accompanied him during the Gallic wars until 49 BC. The unit was still guarding the Euphrates River crossing near Melitene at the...

, reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order and quell the revolt. The legion, however, was ambushed and defeated by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon
Battle of Beth Horon (66)
The Battle of Beth Horon was a battle fought in 66 AD between the Roman army and Jewish rebel forces in the First Jewish-Roman War. The Battle of Beth Horon was the worst defeat the Romans suffered at the hands of rebels.-Background:...

, a result that shocked the Roman leadership.

The Roman command of the revolt's suppression was then handed to general Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 and his son 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....

, who assembled four legions and began cleansing the country, starting with Galilee, in the year 67 CE. The revolt ended when 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"...

 under Titus besieged and destroyed the center of rebel resistance in Jerusalem in the year 70 CE, and defeated the remaining Jewish strongholds later on.

Outbreak of the rebellion


According to 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 revolt, which began at Caesarea in 66
66
Year 66 was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Telesinus and Paullinus...

, was provoked by Greeks sacrificing birds in front of a local 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...

. The Roman garrison did not intervene and the long-standing Greek and Jewish religious tensions took a downward spiral. In reaction, the son of the Kohen Gadol
Kohen Gadol
The High Priest was the chief religious official of Israelite religion and of classical Judaism from the rise of the Israelite nation until the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem...

 (high priest) Eliezar ben Hanania ceased prayers and sacrifices for the Roman Emperor
Roman Emperor
The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman State during the imperial period . The Romans had no single term for the office although at any given time, a given title was associated with the emperor...

 at the Temple. Protests over taxation joined the list of grievances and random attacks on Roman citizens and perceived 'traitors' occurred in Jerusalem. Fearing the worst, the pro-Roman king Agrippa II
Agrippa II
Agrippa II , son of Agrippa I, and like him originally named Marcus Julius Agrippa, was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, thus last of the Herodians. He was the brother of Berenice, Mariamne, and Drusilla...

 and his sister Berenice
Berenice of Cilicia
Berenice of Cilicia, also known as Julia Berenice and sometimes spelled Bernice , was a Jewish client queen of the Roman Empire during the second half of the 1st century. Berenice was a member of the Herodian Dynasty, who ruled the Roman province of Judaea between 39 BC and 92 AD...

 fled Jerusalem to 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...

. Cestius Gallus
Cestius Gallus
Gaius Cestius Gallus was the son of a consul in ancient Rome and himself a suffect consul in 42.He was legate of Syria from 63 or 65. He marched into Judea in 66 in an attempt to restore calm at the outset of the Great Jewish Revolt...

, the legate
Legatus
A legatus was a general in the Roman army, equivalent to a modern general officer. Being of senatorial rank, his immediate superior was the dux, and he outranked all military tribunes...

 of Syria
Syria (Roman province)
Syria was a Roman province, annexed in 64 BC by Pompey, as a consequence of his military presence after pursuing victory in the Third Mithridatic War. It remained under Roman, and subsequently Byzantine, rule for seven centuries, until 637 when it fell to the Islamic conquests.- Principate :The...

, brought a legion, the XII Fulminata
Legio XII Fulminata
Legio duodecima Fulminata , also known as Paterna, Victrix, Antiqua, Certa Constans, and Galliena, was a Roman legion, levied by Julius Caesar in 58 BC and which accompanied him during the Gallic wars until 49 BC. The unit was still guarding the Euphrates River crossing near Melitene at the...

, and auxiliary troops as reinforcements to restore order. They invested Jerusalem, then for uncertain reasons, withdrew back towards the coast and were ambushed and defeated at the Battle of Beth Horon
Battle of Beth Horon (66)
The Battle of Beth Horon was a battle fought in 66 AD between the Roman army and Jewish rebel forces in the First Jewish-Roman War. The Battle of Beth Horon was the worst defeat the Romans suffered at the hands of rebels.-Background:...

, a result that shocked the Roman leadership.

The Roman response


Emperor Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

 appointed general Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 instead of Gallus to crush the rebellion. Vespasian, along with legions 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...

 and V Macedonica
Legio V Macedonica
Legio quinta Macedonica was a Roman legion. It was probably originally levied by consul Gaius Vibius Pansa Caetronianus and Octavian in 43 BC, and it was stationed in Moesia at least until 5th century. Its symbol was the bull, but the eagle was used as well...

, landed at Ptolemais
Acre, Israel
Acre , is a city in the Western Galilee region of northern Israel at the northern extremity of Haifa Bay. Acre is one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the country....

 in April 67. There he was joined by his son 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....

, who arrived from Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

 at the head of Legio XV Apollinaris
Legio XV Apollinaris
Legio quinta decima Apollinaris was a Roman legion. It was recruited by Octavian in 41/40 BC. The emblem of this legion was probably a picture of Apollo, or of one of his holy animals....

, as well as by the armies of various local allies including that of king Agrippa II
Agrippa II
Agrippa II , son of Agrippa I, and like him originally named Marcus Julius Agrippa, was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, thus last of the Herodians. He was the brother of Berenice, Mariamne, and Drusilla...

. Fielding more than 60,000 soldiers, Vespasian began operations by subjugating 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...

. Many towns gave up without a fight, although others had to be taken by force. Of these, 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...

 provides detailed accounts of the sieges of Yodfat
Yodfat
Yodfat , is a moshav shitufi in the Lower Galilee, south of Carmiel, Israel. Part of the Misgav Regional Council and located in the vicinity of the Atzmon mountain ridge, north of the Beit Netofa Valley, Yodfat is named after the Second Temple-era town of the same name. It is situated north of the...

 and Gamla
Gamla
Gamla was an ancient Jewish city in the Golan Heights. Inhabited since the Early Bronze Age, it is believed to have been founded as a Seleucid fort during the Syrian Wars. The site of a Roman siege during the Great Revolt of the 1st century CE, Gamla is a symbol of heroism for the modern state of...

. By the year 68
68
Year 68 was a leap year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Asconius and Thraculus...

, Jewish resistance in the north had been crushed, and Vespasian made Caesarea Maritima his headquarters and methodically proceeded to clear the coast.

Jews, who were driven out of Galilee rebuilt Joppa
Jaffa
Jaffa is an ancient port city believed to be one of the oldest in the world. Jaffa was incorporated with Tel Aviv creating the city of Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. Jaffa is famous for its association with the biblical story of the prophet Jonah.-Etymology:...

 (Jaffa), which had been destroyed earlier by Cestius Gallus
Cestius Gallus
Gaius Cestius Gallus was the son of a consul in ancient Rome and himself a suffect consul in 42.He was legate of Syria from 63 or 65. He marched into Judea in 66 in an attempt to restore calm at the outset of the Great Jewish Revolt...

. Surrounded and cut off by the Romans, they rebuilt the city walls, and used light flotilla
Jewish pirates
Ancient Jewish life was concentrated around Jerusalem, located some distance from the sea. Therefore, Jews were initially not very interested in seafaring or navigation. After 142 BCE, Jews got ports of their own. Joppa , Ashdod and Gaza were added to Hasmonean dominions, and a small number of...

 to demoralize commerce and interrupt the grain supply to Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

 from Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

.

In his The Jewish War Josephus wrote:
The leaders of the collapsed Northern revolt, John of Giscala
John of Giscala
John of Giscala , was a leader of the Jewish revolt against the Romans in the First Jewish-Roman War, and played a part in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70....

 and Simon Bar Giora
Simon Bar Giora
Simon bar Giora d. 70 CE, was a leader of revolutionary forces during the First Jewish-Roman War in the 1st century Judea.- History :...

, managed to escape to Jerusalem. Brutal civil war erupted, the Zealots and the fanatical Sicarii
Sicarii
Sicarii is a term applied, in the decades immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, to an extremist splinter group of the Jewish Zealots, who attempted to expel the Romans and their partisans from Judea using concealed daggers .-History:The Sicarii used...

 executed anyone advocating surrender, and by 68
68
Year 68 was a leap year starting on Friday of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Asconius and Thraculus...

 the entire leadership of the southern revolt was dead, killed by Jewish hands in the infighting, some at the Zealot Temple Siege
Zealot Temple Siege
The Zealot Temple Siege was a short siege of the Temple in Jerusalem fought between Jewish factions during the Great Jewish Revolt against the Roman Empire...

.

New Emperor



While the war in Judea was being won, great events were occurring in Rome. In the middle of 68 CE, the emperor Nero's increasingly erratic behaviour finally lost him all support for his position. The Roman Senate
Roman Senate
The Senate of the Roman Republic was a political institution in the ancient Roman Republic, however, it was not an elected body, but one whose members were appointed by the consuls, and later by the censors. After a magistrate served his term in office, it usually was followed with automatic...

, the praetorian guard
Praetorian Guard
The Praetorian Guard was a force of bodyguards used by Roman Emperors. The title was already used during the Roman Republic for the guards of Roman generals, at least since the rise to prominence of the Scipio family around 275 BC...

 and several prominent army commanders conspired for his removal. When the senate declared Nero an Enemy of the people
Enemy of the people
The term enemy of the people is a fluid designation of political or class opponents of the group using the term. The term implies that the "enemies" in question are acting against society as a whole. It is similar to the notion of "enemy of the state". The term originated in Roman times as ,...

, he fled Rome and committed suicide. The newly installed emperor Galba
Galba
Galba , was Roman Emperor for seven months from 68 to 69. Galba was the governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, and made a bid for the throne during the rebellion of Julius Vindex...

 was murdered after just a few months by Otho
Otho
Otho , was Roman Emperor for three months, from 15 January to 16 April 69. He was the second emperor of the Year of the four emperors.- Birth and lineage :...

 a rival, triggering a civil war that came to be known as the Year of the Four Emperors
Year of the Four Emperors
The Year of the Four Emperors was a year in the history of the Roman Empire, AD 69, in which four emperors ruled in a remarkable succession. These four emperors were Galba, Otho, Vitellius, and Vespasian....

. In 69 CE, though previously uninvolved, the popular Vespasian
Vespasian
Vespasian , was Roman Emperor from 69 AD to 79 AD. Vespasian was the founder of the Flavian dynasty, which ruled the Empire for a quarter century. Vespasian was descended from a family of equestrians, who rose into the senatorial rank under the Emperors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty...

 was also hailed emperor by the legions under his command. He decided, upon gaining further widespread support, to return to Rome to claim the throne from the usurper Vitellius
Vitellius
Vitellius , was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69. Vitellius was acclaimed Emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

, leaving his son 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....

 to finish the war in Judea.

Fall of Jerusalem


The siege of Jerusalem, the capital city, had begun early in the war, but had turned into a stalemate. Unable to breach the city's defences, the Roman armies established a permanent camp just outside the city, digging a trench around the circumference of its walls and building a wall as high as the city walls themselves around Jerusalem. Anyone caught in the trench attempting to flee the city would be captured, crucified, and placed in lines on top of the dirt wall facing into Jerusalem. The two Zealot leaders, John of Gischala and Simon Bar Giora
Simon Bar Giora
Simon bar Giora d. 70 CE, was a leader of revolutionary forces during the First Jewish-Roman War in the 1st century Judea.- History :...

, only ceased hostilities and joined forces to defend the city when the Romans began to construct ramparts for the siege. Those attempting to escape the city were crucified, with as many as five hundred crucifixions occurring in a day.

Titus Flavius
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....

, Vespasian's son, led the final assault and siege of Jerusalem
Siege of Jerusalem (70)
The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was the decisive event of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in...

. During the infighting inside the city walls, a stockpiled supply of dry food was intentionally burned by Sicarii
Sicarii
Sicarii is a term applied, in the decades immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, to an extremist splinter group of the Jewish Zealots, who attempted to expel the Romans and their partisans from Judea using concealed daggers .-History:The Sicarii used...

 to induce the defenders to fight against the siege instead of negotiating peace; as a result many city dwellers and soldiers died of starvation during the siege. Zealots under Eleazar ben Simon
Eleazar ben Simon
Eleazar ben Simon was a Zealot leader during the First Jewish-Roman War who fought against the armies of Cestius Gallus, Vespasian, and Titus Flavius...

 held the Temple, Sicarii
Sicarii
Sicarii is a term applied, in the decades immediately preceding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, to an extremist splinter group of the Jewish Zealots, who attempted to expel the Romans and their partisans from Judea using concealed daggers .-History:The Sicarii used...

 led by Simon Bar Giora held the upper city. Titus eventually wiped out the last remnants of Jewish resistance.


By the summer of 70, the Romans had breached the walls of Jerusalem, ransacking and burning nearly the entire city. The Romans began by attacking the weakest spot: the third wall. It was built shortly before the siege so it did not have as much time invested in its protection. They succeeded towards the end of May and shortly afterwards broke through the more important second wall. 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...

 (the renovated Herod's Temple) was destroyed 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...

 (29 or 30 July 70). Tacitus
Tacitus
Publius Cornelius Tacitus was a senator and a historian of the Roman Empire. The surviving portions of his two major works—the Annals and the Histories—examine the reigns of the Roman Emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and those who reigned in the Year of the Four Emperors...

, a historian of the time, notes that those who were besieged in Jerusalem amounted to no fewer than six hundred thousand, that men and women alike and every age engaged in armed resistance, everyone who could pick up a weapon did, both sexes showed equal determination, preferring death to a life that involved expulsion from their country. All three walls were destroyed and in turn so was the Temple, some of whose overturned stones and their place of impact can still be seen. John of Giscala surrendered at Agrippa II
Agrippa II
Agrippa II , son of Agrippa I, and like him originally named Marcus Julius Agrippa, was the seventh and last king of the family of Herod the Great, thus last of the Herodians. He was the brother of Berenice, Mariamne, and Drusilla...

's fortress of Jotapata and was sentenced to life imprisonment. The famous Arch of Titus
Arch of Titus
The Arch of Titus is a 1st-century honorific arch located on the Via Sacra, Rome, just to the south-east of the Roman Forum. It was constructed in c.82 AD by the Roman Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus' victories, including the Siege of...

 still stands in Rome: it depicts Roman legionaries carrying the Temple of Jerusalem's treasuries, including the Menorah, during 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....

's triumphal procession
Roman triumph
The Roman triumph was a civil ceremony and religious rite of ancient Rome, held to publicly celebrate and sanctify the military achievement of an army commander who had won great military successes, or originally and traditionally, one who had successfully completed a foreign war. In Republican...

 in Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

.

Fall of Masada




During the spring of 71, Titus set sail for Rome. A new military governor was then appointed from Rome, Lucilius Bassus
Lucilius Bassus
Lucilius Bassus was a Roman legatus appointed by Emperor Vespasian to the Iudaea Province in 71 AD. Assigned to finish off the last remnants of the Great Jewish Revolt in the province, he led the legion Legio X Fretensis, destroying the Jewish strongholds Herodium and Machaerus on their march to...

, whose assigned task was to undertake the "mopping-up" operations in Judea. He used X Fretensis to besiege and capture the few remaining fortresses that still resisted. Bassus took Herodium
Herodium
Herodium or Herodion is a volcano-like hill with a truncated cone located south of Jerusalem, near the city of Bethlehem in the West Bank. Herod the Great built a fortress and palace on the top of Herodium, and may have been buried there...

, and then crossed the Jordan to capture the fortress of Machaerus
Machaerus
Machaerus is a fortified hilltop palace located in Jordan fifteen miles southeast of the mouth of the Jordan river on the eastern side of the Dead Sea...

 on the shore of the Dead Sea
Dead Sea
The Dead Sea , also called the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west. Its surface and shores are below sea level, the lowest elevation on the Earth's surface. The Dead Sea is deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world...

. Because of illness, Bassus did not live to complete his mission. Lucius Flavius Silva
Lucius Flavius Silva
Lucius Flavius Silva Nonius Bassus was a late-1st century Roman general, governor of the province of Iudaea and consul. History remembers Silva as the Roman commander who led his army, composed mainly of the Legio X Fretensis, in 73 AD up to Masada and laid siege to its near-impenetrable mountain...

 replaced him, and moved against the last Jewish stronghold, Masada
Masada
Masada is the name for a site of ancient palaces and fortifications in the South District of Israel, on top of an isolated rock plateau, or horst, on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Masada is best known for the violence that occurred there in the first century CE...

, in the autumn of 72. He used Legio X
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...

, auxiliary troops, and thousands of Jewish prisoners, for a total of 10,000 soldiers. After his orders for surrender were rejected, Silva established several base camps and circumvallated the fortress. According to 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...

, when the Romans finally broke through the walls of this citadel in 73, they discovered that 960 of the 967 defenders had committed suicide.

The outcome





The defeat of the Jewish revolt altered 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....

, as many of the Jewish rebels were scattered or sold into slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

. Josephus claims that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, a sizeable portion of these were at Jewish hands and due to illnesses brought about by hunger. "A pestilential destruction upon them, and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly." 97,000 were captured and enslaved and many others fled to areas around the Mediterranean.

The Jewish Encyclopedia
Jewish Encyclopedia
The Jewish Encyclopedia is an encyclopedia originally published in New York between 1901 and 1906 by Funk and Wagnalls. It contained over 15,000 articles in 12 volumes on the history and then-current state of Judaism and the Jews as of 1901...

 article on the Hebrew Alphabet states: "Not until the revolts against Nero and against Hadrian did the Jews return to the use of the old Hebrew script
Paleo-Hebrew alphabet
The Paleo-Hebrew alphabet , is an abjad offshoot of the ancient Semitic alphabet, identical to the Phoenician alphabet. At the very least it dates to the 10th century BCE...

 on their coins, which they did from motives similar to those which had governed them two or three centuries previously; both times, it is true, only for a brief period."

Titus reportedly refused to accept a wreath of victory, claiming that he had "lent his arms to God".

Before Vespasian's departure, the Pharisaic sage and Rabbi
Rabbi
In Judaism, a rabbi is a teacher of Torah. This title derives from the Hebrew word רבי , meaning "My Master" , which is the way a student would address a master of Torah...

 Yohanan ben Zakkai obtained his permission to establish a Judaic school 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....

. Zakkai was smuggled away from Jerusalem in a coffin by his students. Later this school became a major center of Talmud
Talmud
The Talmud is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history....

ic study. (See 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...

)

Sources


The main account of the revolt comes from 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 former Jewish commander of 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...

 who, after capture by the Romans, attempted to end the rebellion by negotiating with the Judeans on Titus's behalf. Josephus and Titus became close friends, and later Josephus was granted Roman citizenship and a pension. He never returned to his homeland after the fall of Jerusalem, living in Rome as a historian under the patronage of Vespasian and Titus.

He wrote two works, The Jewish War (c. 75) and Jewish Antiquities (c. 94) which, on occasion, are contradictory. These are the only surviving source materials containing information on specific events occurring during the fighting. But the material has been questioned because of claims that cannot be verified by secondary sources and because of Josephus' potential bias as a client of the Romans and defender of the Roman cause. Only since the discovery of the Dead Sea scrolls
Dead Sea scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of 972 texts from the Hebrew Bible and extra-biblical documents found between 1947 and 1956 on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, from which they derive their name...

 has some solid confirmation been given to the events he describes.

See also

  • Arch of Titus
    Arch of Titus
    The Arch of Titus is a 1st-century honorific arch located on the Via Sacra, Rome, just to the south-east of the Roman Forum. It was constructed in c.82 AD by the Roman Emperor Domitian shortly after the death of his older brother Titus to commemorate Titus' victories, including the Siege of...

  • First Jewish Revolt coinage
    First Jewish Revolt coinage
    First Jewish Revolt coinage was issued by the Jews after the Zealots captured Jerusalem and the Jewish temple from the Romans in 66 AD at the beginning of the First Jewish Revolt...

  • Masada
    Masada
    Masada is the name for a site of ancient palaces and fortifications in the South District of Israel, on top of an isolated rock plateau, or horst, on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Masada is best known for the violence that occurred there in the first century CE...

  • 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...

  • Siege of Jerusalem (70)
    Siege of Jerusalem (70)
    The Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD was the decisive event of the First Jewish-Roman War. The Roman army, led by the future Emperor Titus, with Tiberius Julius Alexander as his second-in-command, besieged and conquered the city of Jerusalem, which had been occupied by its Jewish defenders in...

  • Siege of Yodfat
    Siege of Yodfat
    The Siege of Yodfat was a 47 day siege by Roman forces of the Jewish town of Yodfat which took place in 67 CE, during the Great Revolt. Led by Roman General Vespasian and his son Titus, both future emperors, the siege ended with the sacking of the town, the deaths of most of its inhabitants and...

  • 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...

  • 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...

  • Bar Kokhba revolt
  • List of conflicts in the Middle East

External links