Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire episode 3: The Jewish Revolt, which swept through Judea in AD 66, was the biggest rebellion by a province in Roman history. For a while it threatened to destabilize the whole empire. Who was behind this rebellion and what happened?
Dramatic reconstructions and computer graphics tell the story of ancient Rome. Turning points in ancient Roman history and some of the Empire’s greatest stories are brought to life in this drama documentary series. This dramatized documentary series tells the story of the rise and fall of Ancient Rome concentrating on six key turning points.
Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire episode 3
First Jewish–Roman War
The First Jewish–Roman War, or The Jewish War, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire, fought in Roman-controlled Judea, resulting in the destruction of Jewish towns, the displacement of its people and the appropriation of land for Roman military use, as well as the destruction of the Jewish Temple and polity.
The Great Revolt began in the year 66 CE, during the twelfth year of the reign of Nero, originating in Roman and Jewish religious tensions. The crisis escalated due to anti-taxation protests and attacks upon Roman citizens by the Jews. The Roman governor, Gessius Florus, responded by plundering the Second Temple, claiming the money was for the Emperor, and the next day launching a raid on the city, arresting numerous senior Jewish figures. This prompted a wider, large-scale rebellion and the Roman military garrison of Judaea was quickly overrun by the rebels, while the pro-Roman king Herod Agrippa II, together with Roman officials, fled Jerusalem.
As it became clear the rebellion was getting out of control, Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, brought in the Syrian army, based on Legion XII Fulminata and reinforced by auxiliary troops, to restore order and quell the revolt. Despite initial advances and the conquest of Jaffa, the Syrian Legion was ambushed and defeated by Jewish rebels at the Battle of Beth Horon with 6,000 Romans massacred and the Legion’s aquila lost. During 66, the Judean provisional government was formed in Jerusalem including former High Priest Ananus ben Ananus, Joseph ben Gurion and Joshua ben Gamla elected as leaders. Yosef ben Matityahu (Josephus) was appointed the rebel commander in Galilee and Eleazar ben Hanania as the commander in Edom. Later, in Jerusalem, an attempt by Menahem ben Yehuda, leader of the Sicarii, to take control of the city failed. He was executed and the remaining Sicarii were ejected from the city. Simon bar Giora, a peasant leader, was also expelled by the new government.