Jewish War A. D. 66–73

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Jewish War (A. D. 66–73)


an anti-Roman uprising in the Roman province of Judea sparked by abuses on the part of the Roman procurator Florus.

The uprising was headed by the Zealots and the Sicarii, who expressed the interests of the peasants and artisans. In the beginning they captured Jerusalem, and a Roman punitive expedition was completely defeated in November 66. In response the Romans sent a strong army under the command of the general Vespasian Flavius against the rebels, and in 67 and 68 the Roman army subjugated a large part of Judea. After the fall of Galilee, Johanan (John) of Giscala, the leader of the Galilean Zealots, broke through with his detachment to Jerusalem and assumed the leadership of the uprising. The general Joseph ben Mattathias (Flavius Josephus) defected to the Romans. When Vespasian was proclaimed emperor in 69 his son Titus was put in command of the Roman army, and he proceeded to lay siege to Jerusalem. An internecine struggle broke out in the besieged city. At first the struggle was between the Zealots and partisans of the Sanhedrin, the latter composed of representatives of the higher priesthood who wanted to surrender the city to the Romans; later, conflict developed between groups of Zealots and Sicarii, the latter led by Simeon bar Giora, who advocated a more resolute struggle. After a five-month siege the Romans captured Jerusalem, destroyed the city and the Temple (August 70), and made slaves of the prisoners, including Johanan. Simeon bar Giora was executed in Rome. The resistance of the Sicarii lasted until 73, when their last stronghold, the fortress of Masada, fell. The chief source for the history of the Jewish War is Flavius Josephus’ The Jewish War.


Ranovich, A. “Sotsial’naia revoliutsiia v Iudee v 66–73 gg.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1937, no. 1.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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