The Jewish Revolts Against Rome, A.D. 66–135

A Military Analysis


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About the Book

During the first and second centuries A.D., the supremacy of the Roman Empire was aggressively challenged by three Jewish rebellions. The facts surrounding the initial uprising of A.D. 66–74 have been filtered through the biased accounts of Judeao Roman historian Flavius Josephus. Primary information regarding the subsequent Diaspora Revolt (A.D. 115–117) and the Bar Kochba Rebellion (A.D. 132–135) is limited to fragmentary anecdotes emphasizing the religious implications of the two insurrections.
In contrast, this analytical history focuses objectively on the military aspects of all three Judean uprisings. The events leading up to each rebellion are detailed, while the nine appendices cover such topics as the nature and number of the Jewish rebels and the factual reliability of the controversial Josephus. One appendix hypothesizes an alternative history of the war between Jerusalem and Rome.

About the Author(s)

James J. Bloom began writing on military history as a consultant to the Historical Evaluation and Research Organization. His contributions have appeared in The International Military Encyclopedia and 100 Decisive Battles from Ancient Times to the Present. He lives in Ashburn, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

James J. Bloom
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 294
Bibliographic Info: maps, appendices, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4479-3
eISBN: 978-0-7864-6020-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface and Introduction      1

1. The First Revolt: Causation and Inevitability      16
2. Foundation for the Roman Involvement in Judaean Affairs      23
3. Herod the Great: Judaea Becomes a Roman Client State      35
4. Adding Insult to Injury: Roman Misrule and Escalating Disturbances in Judaea      47
5. Opening of the First Revolt      65
6. Jewish War Preparations, Preliminary Skirmishes      80
7. Josephus Assumes Command in Galilee: His Unstable Tenure and Challenges to His Authority      92
8. Vespasian Versus Josephus      114
9. The Naval/Amphibious War      129
10. Mopping Up in Galilee as Discord in the Jewish Camp Boils Over      135
11. Suspension of the Roman Campaign; Romans Lay Foundation for the Reduction of Jerusalem      148
12. Death Throes: The Final Phases      156
13. Aftermath of the First Revolt      174

14. Interwar State of Affairs, A.D. 73–115      179
15. Kitos (Quietus) War or Tumultu Iudaico (The Tumult of the Jews)      191
16. Bar-Kokhba Revolt      201
17. Subsequent Rebellions and Conclusions      217

Appendix A. Josephus’s Reliability as a Source for the Military History of the First Jewish Revolt      221
Appendix B. Disposition of Roman and Allied Forces, A.D. 66–73      227
Appendix C. Jewish Combat Effectiveness in the First Revolt      230
Appendix D. Factions, Parties and Patron Allegiance in the First Jewish War: John of Gischala Versus Flavius Josephus      233
Appendix E. The Jewish Rebels—Zealots, Bandits, Sicarii, and Others: Organization, Motivation, Unit Strengths      238
Appendix F. Josephus’s Presumptive Life Story      241
Appendix G. Estimating Numbers in the First Jewish Revolt      246
Appendix H. Epic Stuff: Some Treatments of the First Revolt in Novels, Theater and Motion Pictures      250
Appendix I. Judaea Invicta—The Revolt That Might Have Been: A Reflection on the Elements for an Alternative Outcome      259

Critical Bibliography      267
Complete Bibliography      273
Index      279

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “The most useful look at the subject so far available…an important read for anyone interested in the Roman Empire”—Strategy Page.