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The Rise of Christianity and the Revolt against the Romans

The Jewish-Christian schism and the Great Revolt led to a new period of Jewish history.


The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called the Great Revolt (Hebrew: המרד הגדול‎ ha-Mered Ha-Gadol), was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire, fought in the Eastern Mediterranean. The First Jewish–Roman War took place mainly in the province of Judea (Iudaea); the second was the Kitos War in 115–117, which took place mainly in the diaspora (in Cyprus, Egypt, Mesopotamia and only marginally in Judea), and the third was Bar Kokhba's revolt of 132–136 CE, concentrating in Judea province.


The Great Revolt began in the year 66 CE, 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 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.


The experienced and unassuming general Vespasian was given the task, by Nero, of crushing the rebellion in Judaea province. Vespasian's son Titus was appointed as second-in-command. Given four legions and assisted by forces of King Agrippa II, Vespasian invaded Galilee in 67. Avoiding a direct attack on the reinforced city of Jerusalem, which was defended by the main rebel force, the Romans launched a persistent campaign to eradicate rebel strongholds and punish the population. Within several months Vespasian and Titus took over the major Jewish strongholds of Galilee and finally overran Jodapatha, which was under the command of Yosef ben Matitiyahu, as well as subdued Tarichaea, which brought an end to the war in Galilee.[5] Driven from Galilee, Zealot rebels and thousands of refugees arrived in Jerusalem, creating political turmoil. Confrontation between the mainly Sadducee Jerusalemites and the mainly Zealot factions of the Northern Revolt under the command of John of Giscala and Eleazar ben Simon, erupted into bloody violence. With Idumeans entering the city and fighting by the side of the Zealots, the former high priest, Ananus ben Ananus, was killed and his faction suffered severe casualties. Simon bar Giora, commanding 15,000 militiamen, was then invited into Jerusalem by the Sadducee leaders to stand against the Zealots, and quickly took control over much of the city. Bitter infighting between factions of Simon, John and Eleazar followed through the year 69.


After a lull in the military operations, owing to civil war and political turmoil in Rome, Vespasian was called to Rome and appointed as Emperor in 69. With Vespasian's departure, Titus moved to besiege the center of rebel resistance in Jerusalem in early 70. The first two walls of Jerusalem were breached within three weeks, but a stubborn rebel standoff prevented the Roman Army from breaking the third and thickest wall. Following a brutal seven-month siege, during which Zealot infighting resulted in the burning of the entire food supplies of the city, the Romans finally succeeded in breaching the defenses of the weakened Jewish forces in the summer of 70. Following the fall of Jerusalem, in the year 71 Titus left for Rome, leaving Legion X Fretensis to defeat the remaining Jewish strongholds including Herodium and Machaerus, finalizing the Roman campaign in Masada in 73–74.


As the Second Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed, one of the events commemorated on Tisha B'Av, Judaism fell into crisis with the Sadducee movement falling into obscurity. However, one of the Pharisaic sages Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai was smuggled away from Jerusalem in a coffin by his students during the Titus siege. The rabbi obtained permission to establish a Judaic school at Yavne, which became a major center of Talmudic study. This became the crucial mark in the development of Rabbinic Judaism, which would allow Jews to continue their culture and religion without the Temple and essentially even in the diaspora. The defeat of the Jewish revolt altered Jewish demographics, as many of the Jewish rebels were scattered or sold into slavery. The demolition of the Temple, Jerusalem, and the farming lifestyle of the economy and land of Israel did not stop the Jews from succeeding in Judea. After a few generations of existing within the Roman systems, the Jewish–Roman tensions resulted in the Bar Kokhba revolt in 132–136 CE.

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Qumran (Hebrew: קומראן‬; Arabic: خربة قمران‎ Khirbet Qumran) is an archaeological site in the West Bank managed by Israel's Qumran National Park. It is located on a dry marl plateau about 1.5 km (1 mi) from the northwestern shore of the Dead Sea, near the Israeli settlement and kibbutz of Kalya. The Hellenistic period settlement was constructed during the reign of John Hyrcanus (134–104 BCE) or somewhat later, and was occupied most of the time until it was destroyed by the Romans in 68 CE or shortly after. It is best known as the settlement nearest to the Qumran Caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were hidden, caves in the sheer desert cliffs and beneath, in the marl terrace. The principal excavations at Qumran were conducted by Roland de Vaux in the 1950s, though several later unearthings at the site have since been carried out.


Dead Sea Scrolls (also Qumran Caves Scrolls) are ancient Jewish religious, mostly Hebrew, manuscripts found in the Qumran Caves in the West Bank near the Dead Sea. Scholarly consensus dates these scrolls from the last three centuries BCE and the first century CE. The texts have great historical, religious, and linguistic significance because they include the second-oldest known surviving manuscripts of works later included in the Hebrew Bible canon, along with deuterocanonical and extra-biblical manuscripts which preserve evidence of the diversity of religious thought in late Second Temple Judaism. Almost all of the Dead Sea Scrolls collection is currently under the ownership of the Government of the state of Israel, and housed in the Shrine of the Book on the grounds of the Israel Museum.


Posted by Conspiracy Cafe on February 7, 2019 at 8:49 AM 84 Views