Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Another Jewish War: Who knew?

I consider myself decently read in history. I have long been aware of two major wars between the Jews and the Romans: the uprising which brought an end to the Jerusalem Temple in 70 AD and the Bar Kochba rebellion of the 130's, which led the banning of Jews from Jerusalem .

What I was quite unaware of was the second war between Rome and the Jews, the so-called Kitos Wars of 115-117 AD under Trajan. This took place largely and apparently spontaneously among Diaspora Jews in North Africa and Egypt, Cyprus and Mesopotamia and was hugely bloody, with Jewish gangs slaughtering many of their Gentile neighbors along with the Roman military*.

All news to me.


*I was shocked that a bunch of Jewish insurrectionists could do such damage to the great Roman army til I read a recent book about the Empire, which made it clear that our image of it as filled with soldiers is very inaccurate. The Roman military was relatively small in number, and scattered, so that it would be quite possible for many inhabitants of the Empire never to actually see a Roman soldier.
Many of their internal garrisons were quite small, so a mob uprising would be able to overtake them.

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