– Jewish War – Outbreak
section describes first clashes between Romans and Jews and Vespasian returning
to Rome to become emperor.
emperor Nero decided to sent army to Judea to crush the rebellion.
appointed new commander: Titus Flavius Vespasianus, known as Vespasian.
commanded legions in Germania and Britain.
recently been pensioned off after falling asleep during one of Nero's musical
recall proves that the situation had become very critical indeed.
appointed his son Titus as one of his lieutenants.
younger son Domitian was kept in honorable detention at the imperial court, to assure
that his father doesn't rebel.
authorities elected generals and ordered them to take charge of the
- One of
these was Joseph, son of Matthias, the future historian Flavius Josephus.
- One of
their aims was to seize the ports, which would make it difficult for the Romans
to land their forces.
peasant leaders arose in Judea.
them tried to keep their community out of the war.
organized militias to attack all non-Jews.
- John of
Gischala was one of those militant leaders.
controlled the Galilean countryside, which was the province assigned to Joseph,
son of Matthias.
conflict prevented the Jews from seizing Sepphoris, the pro-Roman capital of
defeat Josephus and John:
first action was to reinforce Sepphoris (Spring 67).
after the rainy season, he proceeded to the port of Ptolemais (modern Acre),
where he gathered his troops.
legion, surnamed Fretensis, he had taken over from the Syrian governor Cestius,
who had committed suicide.
legion, called Macedonica, had been under his own command for some time.
Titus brought the fifteenth legion, Apollinaris.
addition to this army, there were numerous cavalry units and auxiliary troops.
expelled John of Gischala from a town named Gadara, but John escaped.
- Then he
marched on Jotapata, where he defeated Joseph, son of Matthias, who was
was imprisoned and saved his life by applying messianic prophecy to Vespasian
predicting him imperial rule.
- The road
to Sepphoris being now secured, Vespasian proceeded along the coast to liberate
- John of
Gischala continued the struggle in the Golan heights, on Mount Tabor and from
his hometown Gischala.
November 67, John had abandoned his guerilla war and gone to Jerusalem.
an important leader, behaving himself as a king.
were two other parties in the city: the Sadducee Temple authorities and the
Zealots of Eleaser son of Simon.
of Eleaser were the most influential.
occupied the Temple, removed the high priest from the scene and replaced him by
a strawman named Phannias.
these two parties used violence in their quarrels, and many Jews left the city.
the Roman generals about the civil strife.
Vespasian decided to postpone his attack on Jerusalem until the defenders had
worn themselves down.
secures the region:
- He used
the spring of 68 to gain control of the Jordan valley and the fertile region
called Peraea ('the other side', that is,
his soldiers seized the crops of the Jewish peasants.
this campaign, the settlement at Qumran was destroyed by soldiers of X Fretensis.
where Scrolls of the Dead Sea were found.
- It took
Titus and other commanders a lot of time and energy to pacify Galilee which
they finally did in January 68.
Galilee, coastal region and Jordan valley, Vespasian could have attacked
Jerusalem from 3 sides.
retreats to become emperor:
- At that
moment, however, a messenger brought remarkable news came from Italy:
committed suicide and a senator named Galba was the new ruler of the Roman
immediately sent his son Titus to Rome to congratulate the new emperor.
before he had reached Greece, Titus learned that Galba had been lynched by his
result, two new pretenders, Vitellius and Otho, were engaged in a civil war.
returned to Judaea, where his father decided to postpone the war against the
Jews and to intervene in the civil war. Vespasian
and Titus were clever diplomats, who secured the support of several Syrian
princes, the governor of Egypt
legions along the Danube.
- In July
69, on hearing the news that Vitellius had defeated Otho, Vespasian had himself
claimed that he wanted to avenge Galba.
to Egypt, where he cut off the Italian food supply.
September, the army of the Danube defeated the troops of Vitellius.
December, Vespasian was the sole ruler of the world empire.
who had predicted it, Joseph son of Matthias, was released and received Roman
citizenship and a new name
- To the
Jews, the situation did not seem hopeless.
appearance of a new comet seemed to indicate that the time for the great war of
liberation had come.
Romans paused their attacks for some time because of a civil war.
other end of the empire, the Batavians had revolted.
In Gaul a new emperor, Julius
Sabinus, had been proclaimed.
optimism was permitted; however, the Romans would come to restore the order