Monday, April 17, 2017

Revolting Jews in Judaea

From a book review in Strata by Tessa Rajak from Reading and Oxford on Gil Gambash's Rome and Provincial Resistance. Routledge,  2015:-

When revolt did occur, the Romans here, as everywhere, reacted speedily. But it was only in 66 CE, after the Jewish rebels against all expectation routed and forced the withdrawal of a force of 30,000 men commanded by Cestius Gallus, governor of Syria, which should have nipped their insubordination in the bud, that the Roman attitude ‘changed dramatically’ (p. 144). The trauma was comparable to that of Augustus’s unforgettable Varian disaster of 9 CE. Now Judaea was no longer treated as part of the provincial system, but as a foreign power to be given the full treatment and resoundingly defeated. This now, was a conquest rather than a reconquest. Hence Vespasian’s approach to the campaign: willing to bring his whole army to bear on relatively small engagements such as the sieges of Jotapata and of Gamala. It was in the nature of such a campaign that he operated with caution and he took his time...In the end, then, the Jewish case was special, but not because there was anything special about the Jews, nor about Roman attitudes to them, but because of the particular turn taken by their revolt.

No Palestine there.

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