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Jewish uprisings and wars

(66-135 CE)

This post is also available in: Polish (polski)

Jewish-Roman wars, the series of revolts and uprisings by Jews from the Judea province against the Roman Empire, were many and never brought full sovereignty to the Jews. When in the middle of the 1st century BCE the Jewish state was internally divided, Rome took advantage of the situation and began to meddle in the politics of Judea. In 67 BCE King Aristobulus II ascended the throne of Judea. Two years after the coronation, his brother, the high priest John Hirkan II, together with the governor of Idumea Antipas, stood against him. Both Aristobulus and Hyrcanus sought support from the Romans in 64 BCE to secure their final victory. they have just conquered the territory of Syria. Pompey the Great first supported Aristobulus, but changed his mind and took Jerusalem. Judea was brought under the sovereignty of Rome, becoming in 63 BCE another Roman province.

Herod the Great in 39-4 BCE king of Judea by the grace of Rome.
Creative Commons Attribution license - On the same terms 3.0.

From that moment on, Rome was able to legally intervene and shape the policy of the region. He placed his candidates on the throne who faithfully did their will. An example of a Roman pawn was Herod the Great, who ruled from 40 to 4 BCE He was a cruel and ruthless ruler, much disliked by his subjects and zealously serving Rome. However, he was at the same time a great builder and a great organizer, and at the same time a clever man, because in the conflict for power between Octavian and Marcus Antony, he manoeuvred between them so skillfully that after the battle of Actium in 31 BCE. he sided with the victorious Octavian, who confirmed his right to the throne of Judea. Herod was not accepted by his subordinates, so he had to rely on the support of Rome and absolute obedience to the emperor.

After his death in 4 BCE discontent in Judea against Roman rule began to escalate. His young sons could not calm their moods. In 6 CE, after ten years of despotic rule, the son of Archelaus lost his power in Judea, which since then became even more dependent on Rome and began to be administered by Roman governors with the title of prefectus. Already in the times of Pontius Pilate (governorship of 26-36 / 37 CE), discontent and aversion to the Romans grew more and more. Many decisions of the Roman administration were open provocations against Jews, offending their religious traditions and feelings.

All these factors later led to many Jewish uprisings against the Roman occupiers. The rebellious and lively character of the inhabitants of Judea did not allow them to be “slaves” of Rome. As it turned out, their efforts were futile, because all revolts were brutally suppressed by the legions.

Presumed look of Antonia fortress. It was a complex of defensive structures built by Herod in 31 BCE. at the end of the eastern wall surrounding Jerusalem, on the site of an earlier Maccabean fortification. Its task was to defend access to the Jerusalem Temple and to strengthen the defence of the walls from the north, the most exposed to possible attacks. It resembled a tower with four other corners. It was destroyed by the army of Titus during the siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE.
Creative Commons Attribution license - On the same terms 3.0.
  • Josephus Flavius, Jewish War
  • Johnson Paul, Historia Żydów, 1996
  • Krawczuk Aleksander, Rzym i Jerozolima

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