Useful Notes: Jewish Revolts

"Since we long ago resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any other than to God Himself, Who alone is the true and just Lord of mankind, the time is now come that obliges us to make that resolution true in practice...We were the very first that revolted, and we are the last to fight against them; and I cannot but esteem it as a favor that God has granted us, that it is still in our power to die bravely, and in a state of freedom."
—credited to Elazar Ben Yair at Masada

These were a series of revolts by the Jews against The Roman Empire, which ended with the Jews uprooted from the province of Judea and scattered. This began the Diaspora era, in which the Jews were scattered across the globe. They were not to return to their ancient lands as a nation again until the founding of the State of Israel.

Despite the tragedy of this episode, there is one thing Jews can take pride in. No one had given Rome a fight like that for generations. The defense of the province of Judea was ferocious to the point of fanaticism and required the utmost effort — so much so that the final victory was considered worthy of a Triumph for Titus (he declined it, saying there was no honor in defeating people forsaken by their own god), the Roman general in command, and lifted him to the highest rank. The Arch of Titus in Rome today, while not intended as such, comes off accidently as a backhanded tribute to the valor of the Jews.

This war was ritualistically mourned by Jews through the ages. It was the beginning of the custom of pouring part of the Passover wine on the ground in mourning for the lost Temple as well as the Catch Phrase "Next Year In Jerusalem". It was also the beginning of adjustments in Jewish doctrine which included the end of the priesthood, and the increase in the prestige of the Rabbinate, with their expertise in the study of The Talmud.



Live-Action TV

Tabletop Games
  • Avalon Hill's The Siege of Jerusalem