'" Some argue that the exceptional number of preserved Roman veteran diplomas from the late 150s and 160 CE indicate an unprecedented conscription across the Roman Empire to replenish heavy losses within military legions and auxiliary units between 133 and 135, corresponding to the revolt. During the ensuing 'Bar Kokhba Revolt' (the Second Jewish War), the Jewish rebels held their own against the crack Roman troops for four years. Next to the camp, archaeologists have unearthed the remnants of a triumphal arch, which featured a dedication to Emperor Hadrian, which most likely refers to the defeat of Bar Kokhba's army. This view is largely supported by Cassius Dio, who wrote that the revolt began with covert attacks in line with preparation of hideout systems, though after taking over the fortresses Bar Kokhba turned to direct engagement due to his superiority in numbers. Under Roman rule, which began in 63 BC, Jews were excessively taxed and their religion persecuted. However the Christian population of the city saw this as a threat to their primacy, and a riot erupted which chased Jews from the city. The Bar Kokhba War AD 132–135: The last Jewish revolt against Imperial... Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. The complete inscription was translated as follows: The inscription was dedicated by Legio X Fretensis to the emperor Hadrian in the year 129/130 CE. Fought circa 132–136 CE, it was the last of three major Jewish–Roman wars, so it is also known as The Third Jewish–Roman War or The Third Jewish Revolt. Messianic claimants were universally distrusted, and Jews were, for the most part, actively discouraged from following them. , Over the years, two schools formed in the analysis of the Revolt.  Schäfer suggests that Dio exaggerated his numbers. Hardly anyone in the company of the Emperor could have guessed that a few years later a revolt would break out in this very province — a revolt which would cast a shadow over Hadrian's later years. Kerstein, B. Three potsherds with the names of three of the deceased were also found alongside the skeletons in the cave.  Quintus Tineius Rufus, the provincial governor at the time of the erupting uprising, was attributed with the failure to subdue its early phase. , The size of the Roman army amassed against the rebels was much larger than that commanded by Titus sixty years earlier - nearly one third of the Roman army took part in the campaign against Bar Kokhba. His independent kingdom lasted for three years before being crushed through great Roman effort. , Historians have suggested multiple reasons for the sparking of the Bar Kokhba revolt, long-term and proximate. Web. (Dio, 69:14.1-2), Jerusalem was completely destroyed and the Jewish nation was massacred in large groups at a time, with the result that they were even expelled from the borders of Judaea. iv.6,§2; Orosius "Hist." Jewish messianism was abstracted and spiritualized, and rabbinical political thought became deeply cautious and conservative. It is not known whether the revolt spread outside of Judea. [...] nearly the whole of Judea was made desolate. Legio II Traiana Fortis, previously stationed in Egypt, may have also arrived in Judea in this stage. According to a Rabbinic midrash, the Romans executed eight leading members of the Sanhedrin (The list of Ten Martyrs include two earlier Rabbis): R. Akiva; R. Hanania ben Teradion; the interpreter of the Sanhedrin, R. Huspith; R. Eliezer ben Shamua; R. Hanina ben Hakinai; R. Jeshbab the Scribe; R. Yehuda ben Dama; and R. Yehuda ben Baba.  In 132, the revolt, led by Simon bar Kokhba and Elasar, quickly spread from Modi'in across the country, cutting off the Roman garrison in Jerusalem.  Although Jewish Christians regarded Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba, they were barred from Jerusalem along with the other Jews. , It is generally accepted that the Bar Kokhba revolt encompassed all of Judea, namely the villages of the Judean hills, the Judean desert, and northern parts of the Negev desert. Some Rights Reserved (2009-2021) under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license unless otherwise noted. The Jewish people would not regain their political independence until the Zionist era and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 CE. While some claim further resistance was broken quickly, others argue that pockets of Jewish rebels continued to hide with their families into the winter months of late 135 and possibly even spring 136. After losing many of their strongholds, Bar Kokhba and the remnants of his army withdrew to the fortress of Betar, which subsequently came under siege in the summer of 135. The slogans on the Bar Kokhba coins proclaimed the ‘Freedom of Israel’ and ‘For the Freedom of Jerusalem’. The Jerusalem Talmud contains descriptions of the results of the rebellion, including the Roman executions of Judean leaders.  The common view that the name change was intended to "sever the connection of the Jews to their historical homeland" is disputed. For the first time, the Jews presented a united front against Roman forces and fought underneath a single charismatic leader, the eponymous Simon Bar Kochba (also given as Shimon Bar-Cochba, Bar Kokhba, Ben-Cozba, Cosiba or Coziba). As of July 2015 some 350 hideout systems have been mapped within the ruins of 140 Jewish villages. Severus' arrival almost doubled the number of Roman troops facing the rebels. Almost nothing is known about him, and he does not even appear in Dio’s comments on the war, though he may have done in the now-lost original. Related Content Hadrian Bust, Vatican Museumsby Mark Cartwright (CC BY-NC-SA). Coins minted while Judea was temporarily freed from Roman rule indicate the existence of an independent Jewish state for a brief period. Added to this would have been the Jews’ desire to be readmitted to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple, as well as the demographic pressure of an increasing number of Greek and Roman colonists. While they are often clearly legendary and unreliable in nature, they do paint a general picture of the Jewish experience of the war and its aftermath. Ancient History Encyclopedia. In 438 CE, when the Empress Eudocia removed the ban on Jews' praying at the Temple site, the heads of the Community in Galilee issued a call "to the great and mighty people of the Jews" which began: "Know that the end of the exile of our people has come!" Bar Kokhba. Edited by Peter Schäfer. Works on Aelia Capitolina, as Jerusalem was to be called, commenced in 131 CE.  The proximate reasons seem to centre around the construction of a new city, Aelia Capitolina, over the ruins of Jerusalem and the erection of a temple to Jupiter on the Temple mount. Because the Great Revolt of 70 CE had resulted in the destruction of Jerusalem, the C… The Jews collected armaments, dug extensive tunnel systems for guerrilla warfare, and united politically and militarily under a single leader, as opposed to the extensive infighting that marked the first revolt. The Talmud, for instance, refers to Bar Kokhba as "Ben-Kusiba", a derogatory term used to indicate that he was a false Messiah. , According to some views, one of the crucial battles of the war took place near Tel Shalem in the Beit She'an valley, near what is now identified as the legionary camp of Legio VI Ferrata. The Rabbinic account describes agonizing tortures: R. Akiva was flayed with iron combs, R. Ishmael had the skin of his head pulled off slowly, and R. Hanania was burned at a stake, with wet wool held by a Torah scroll wrapped around his body to prolong his death. Modern historians view the Bar Kokhba Revolt as having decisive historic importance. as 'unreliable and problematic,' states tensions rose after Hadrian banned circumcision, referred to as mutilare genitalia  taken to mean brit milah. Samaria partially supported the revolt, with evidence accumulating that notable numbers of Samaritan youths participated in Bar Kokhba's campaigns; though Roman wrath was directed at Samaritans, their cities were also largely spared from the total destruction unleashed on Judea. , A popular children's song, included in the curriculum of Israeli kindergartens, has the refrain "Bar Kokhba was a Hero/He fought for Liberty," and its words describe Bar Kokhba as being captured and thrown into a lion's den, but managing to escape riding on the lion's back. Numerous educational institutions recommend us, including Oxford University and Michigan State University and University of Missouri.  It is likely that the Samaritan revolt of 556 was joined by the Jewish community, which had also suffered brutal suppression of their religion under Emperor Justinian.. Before long pitched battles were being fought in Egypt. In an attempt to erase any memory of Judea or Ancient Israel, he wiped the name off the map and replaced it with Syria Palaestina. Roman inscriptions in Tel Shalem, Betar fortress, Jerusalem and other locations also contribute to the current historical understanding of the Bar Kokhba War. Legio V Macedonica and Legio XI Claudia are said to have taken part in the siege.  The Jewish communities of Judea were devastated to an extent which some scholars describe as a genocide. (Mishnah Taanit 4:6). , The Bar Kokhba revolt resulted in the extensive depopulation of Judean communities, more so than during the First Jewish–Roman War of 70 CE. Killing more than half a million Jews and destroying almost a thousand villages, the Bar Kochba Revolt (132-35) was a major event in Jewish history and a blotch on the reputation of the good emperor Hadrian.The revolt was named for a man called Shimon, on coins, Bar Kosibah, on papyrus, Bar Kozibah, on rabbinic literature, and Bar Kokhba, in Christian writing. Bar Kokhba Revolt coinage were coins issued by the Judaean rebel state, headed by Simon Bar Kokhba, during the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire of 132-135 CE. , Until 1951, Bar Kokhba Revolt coinage was the sole archaeological evidence for dating the revolt. Balylonian Talmud, Gittin 57a-58a - Livius, Midrash Rabbah Lamentations 2.2.4 - Livius, Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations. "The Bar-Kochba Revolt." Gargilius Antiques may have preceded Rufus during the 120s. Simon bar Kokhba declared Herodium as his secondary headquarters. The failed Bar Kokhba revolt, which is marked today by Jews around the world with the holiday of Lag Ba’omer, itself celebrated with bonfires, was one of the most traumatic events in the history of the Jewish people, a history with no shortage of traumatic events. Bourgel, Jonathan, ″The Jewish-Christians in the storm of the Bar Kokhba Revolt″, in: Bernard Lazare and Robert Wistrich, Antisemitism: Its History and Causes, University of Nebraska Press, 1995, I, pp.46-7. The deeply ambivalent rabbinical position regarding Messianism, as expressed most famously in Maimonides "Epistle to Yemen," would seem to have its origins in the attempt to deal with the trauma of a failed Messianic uprising. Eusebius of Caesarea wrote that Jewish Christians were killed and suffered "all kinds of persecutions" at the hands of rebel Jews when they refused to help Bar Kokhba against the Roman troops. Called the “Cave of Letters,” it contained a cache of documents that included several letters from Bar Kochba himself, which shed unprecedented light on his personality and style of rule. In 115‑117 C.E., while Trajan was occupied in Mesopotamia, Jews throughout the Diaspora rose up against their non‑Jewish neighbors in a violent confrontation. that the problems came to the surface. Perhaps the most famous reference to Bar Kochba in the rabbinic literature is one in which the venerated Rabbi Akiva says to his colleagues of Ben-Cosiba, hu malcha mashicha, "he is the king messiah," and references the biblical phrase "a star will come forth from Jacob." , In 132, the revolt led by Bar Kokhba quickly spread from central Judea across the country, cutting off the Roman garrison in Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem).  These coins include references to "Year One of the redemption of Israel", "Year Two of the freedom of Israel", and "For the freedom of Jerusalem". Many houses utilized underground hideouts, where Judean rebels hoped to withstand Roman superiority by the narrowness of the passages and even ambushes from underground.  Roman casualties were also considered heavy – XXII Deiotariana was disbanded after serious losses. Another rabbi then drily replies, "Grass will be growing from your cheeks and the son of David will still not have come" (Midrash Rabba Eicha 2:2.4). Reverse: COL[ONIA] AEL[IA] CAPIT[OLINA] COND[ITA] ('The founding of Colonia Aelia Capitolina'). The Jews of Cyrene (in North Africa) were said to have massacred their neighbors. Unlike its predecessors, the revolt was not spontaneous but carefully planned. Bar Kochba Coinby Nick Thompson (CC BY-NC-SA). The Bar Kokhba revolt (A.D. 132-135) was the last in a series of conflicts between Rome and its province of Judaea in the first and second centuries A.D. After the conclusion of the Jewish War (A.D. 66-70) in A.D. 70, relations only became more strained, with periodic eruptions of … Some of the rabbinic scholars in his time imagined him to be the long-expected Messiah. Bar-Kokhba united his army in Judea and led the Jews in battle. The Talmud, for instance, refers to Bar Kokhba as "Ben-Kusiba," a derogatory term used to indicate that he was a false Messiah. The leader under whom the Jews united in their final war against the Romans remains one of the most important and enigmatic figures in Jewish history. The first coin issued at the mint of Aelia Capitolina about 130/132 CE. The Bar Kokhba revolt is part of the Jewish-Roman wars, while for example the Battle of Qarqar is an event defined as part of Wars of ancient Israel. To Christians, the revolt was furt… It was marked as well by strong religious passions, with many apparently believing that Bar Kochba was the promised messiah who would lead the Jewish people to final victory against their enemies. Rabbinical literature ascribes the defeat to Bar Kokhba killing his maternal uncle, Rabbi Elazar Hamudaʻi, after suspecting him of collaborating with the enemy, thereby forfeiting Divine protection. See also Thomas Witulski, Apk 11 und der Bar Kokhba-Aufstand: Eine zeitgeschichtliche Interpretation (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2012), which argues Rev 11's two witnesses are Bar Kokhba and his (high) priest Eliezer. While by no means comprehensive, these sources do provide several important details.  The Greco-Roman population of the region also suffered severely during the early stage of the revolt, persecuted by Bar Kokhba's forces. Several archaeological surveys have been performed during the 20th and 21st centuries in ruins of Jewish villages across Judea and Samaria, as well in the Roman-dominated cities on the Israeli coastal plain. Ancient History Encyclopedia, 30 Aug 2018. , Several historians, notably W. Eck of the U-ty of Cologne, theorized that the Tel Shalem arch depicted a major battle between Roman armies and Bar Kokhba's rebels in Bet Shean valley, thus extending the battle areas some 50 km northwards from Judea. He prohibited Torah law and the Hebrew calendar, and executed Judaic scholars. For the Jews, the revolt was the last in a series of historical disasters, and for the most part, they sought to escape its trauma through silence. To the Romans, the revolt was best forgotten but was sometimes cited as an example of a particularly bloody and brutal confrontation with an intractable enemy. Fields marked with an asterisk (*) are required. "The Bar-Kochba Revolt." In all likelihood, then, the revolt was not only a political or military event but also a strongly religious one, powered by the intense passions of messianic belief in the coming redemption of Israel. This rebellion later became known as the Bar-Kokhba revolt. Jewish messianism was abstracted and spiritualized, and rabbinical political thought became deeply cautious and conservative.  The horrendous scene after the city's capture could be best described as a massacre. , The ruins of Betar, the last fortress of Bar Kokhba, destroyed by Hadrian's legions in 135 CE, is located in the vicinity of the towns of Battir and Beitar Illit. Later on it is proposed by some historians that Legio XXII Deiotariana was sent from Arabia Petraea, but was ambushed and massacred on its way to Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem), and possibly disbanded as a result. , The disastrous end of the revolt also occasioned major changes in Jewish religious thought. It is plausible that Legio IX Hispana was among the legions Severus brought with him from Europe, and that its demise occurred during Severus' campaign, as its disappearance during the second century is often attributed to this war. It would continue for the next three years and is more commonly known for its leader, Simeon bar Kokhba, as the Bar-Kokhba Revolt. Eusebius, by contrast, seems to imply that this was a result of the war rather than a cause, although this is somewhat ambiguous. This appears to strongly indicate that, while it was by no means a consensus opinion, there was a strong and widespread belief that Bar Kochba was the promised messiah. Simon Bar Kokhba took the title Nasi Israel and ruled over an entity that was virtually independent for two and a half years. Eusebius, Jerome, and the rabbinic literature all mention Bar Kochba, but by no means provide a complete picture, though the Jewish sources are by far the most detailed. By that time the number of Roman troops in Judea stood at nearly 80,000 - a number still inferior to rebel forces, who were also better familiar with the terrain and occupied strong fortifications. In 39 AD Emperor Caligula decreed that his statue be placed in every temple of the Empire, including the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, which offended Jewish religious sensibilities. [...] That being the time when Barcochebas, the leader of the Jews, was crushed and Jerusalem was demolished to the very ground.  The Jerusalem Talmud relates that the number of dead in Betar was enormous, that the Romans "went on killing until their horses were submerged in blood to their nostrils.".  Despite this discovery, the Israel Antiques Authority still maintained the opinion that Jerusalem was not taken by the rebels, due to the fact that of thousands of Bar Kokhba coins had been found outside Jerusalem, but only four within the city (out of more than 22,000 found within the city). Despite the reference to Jerusalem, as of early 2000s, archaeological finds, and the lack of revolt coinage found in Jerusalem, supported the view that the revolt did not capture Jerusalem. To the Romans, the revolt was best forgotten but was sometimes cited as an example of a particularly bloody and brutal confrontation with an intractable enemy. In another, he ignores rabbinical advice on mutilating his soldiers, thus defying the will of God and bringing about his army’s downfall. Second Temple Modelby Dana Murray (CC BY-NC-SA). Cassius Dio also wrote: "Many Romans, moreover, perished in this war. Some of these were personal letters between Bar Kokhba and his subordinates, and one notable bundle of papyri, known as the Babata or Babatha cache, revealed the life and trials of a woman, Babata, who lived during this period. However, the Jewish sources are not particularly positive either. , According to Cassius Dio, 580,000 Jews were killed in the overall operations, and 50 fortified towns and 985 villages were razed to the ground, with many more Jews dying of famine and disease.  In addition, some historians argue that Legio IX Hispana's disbandment in the mid-2nd century could have been a result of this war. A coin from the period refers to herut yerushalayim, or "the freedom of Jerusalem," but this may have been figurative. Vol. He first reconquered the Galilee to cut the Romans off from the sea. Unlike the revolt of 66 CE, the historical sources on the Bar Kochba Revolt are scanty at best. , After the suppression of the revolt, Hadrian's proclamations sought to root out Jewish nationalism in Judea, which he saw as the cause of the repeated rebellions. In today’s world, with the contention between the ancient narrative of disaster and modern narrative of heroism, Bar Kochba remains what perhaps he always was – a fascinating and unknowable enigma. How do you say Bar Kokhba? Byzantine control of the region was finally lost to Muslim Arab armies in 637 CE, when Umar ibn al-Khattab completed the conquest of Akko. , The Bar Kokhba revolt greatly influenced the course of Jewish history and the philosophy of the Jewish religion. The Bar Kochba Revolt: A Disaster Celebrated by Zionists on Lag Ba'Omer .  Bar Kokhba's fate is not certain, with two alternative traditions in the Babylonian Talmud ascribing the death of Bar Kokhba either to a snake bite or other natural causes during the Roman siege or possibly killed on the orders of the Sanhedrin, as a false Messiah. 2, "Greek Papyri", edited by Naphtali Lewis; "Aramaic and Nabatean Signatures and Subscriptions", edited by. Last modified August 30, 2018. These included Jewish Christians who also joined in the fighting against the Romans and whom bar Kosiba [a leader of the Jewish revolt] supposedly ousted from his ranks if they refused to renounce Jesus. In 2014, one half of a Latin inscription was discovered in Jerusalem during excavations near the Damascus Gate. Even the causes of the Bar Kochba revolt remain unclear. Legio III Cyrenaica was the main force to execute this last phase of the campaign. Please note that content linked from this page may have different licensing terms. Most tellingly, the rabbis linked the fall of Beitar to the worst disasters to befall the Jewish people. ", Among those findings are the rebel hideout systems in the Galilee, which greatly resemble the Bar Kokhba hideouts in Judea, and though are less numerous, are nevertheless important. The war is also briefly mentioned by the Church father Jerome. The Israel Antiques Authority's archaeologists Moran Hagbi and Dr. Joe Uziel speculated that "It is possible that a Roman soldier from the Tenth Legion found the coin during one of the battles across the country and brought it to their camp in Jerusalem as a souvenir. THE BAR KOKHBA REVOLT by AHARON OPPENHEIMER The Bar Kokhba revolt, which took place in 132-135 C.E., was the last serious attempt in antiquity to restore the independence of the Jewish people in its own country. The war quickly intensified, however, until "the whole earth, one might almost say, was being stirred up over the matter" (Dio, 69:12.1).  However, the Jewish population remained strong in other parts of Palestine, thriving in Galilee, Golan, Bet Shean Valley, and the eastern, southern, and western edges of Judea. , A 2015 archaeological survey in Samaria identified some 40 hideout cave systems from the period, some containing Bar Kokhba's minted coins, suggesting that the war raged in Samaria at high intensity.. With the subsequent withdrawal of Persian forces, Jews surrendered to the Byzantines in 625 CE or 628 CE, but were massacred by Christians in 629 CE, with the survivors fleeing to Egypt.  The best recognized source for the revolt is Cassius Dio, Roman History (book 69), even though the writings of the Roman historian concerning the Bar Kokhba revolt survived only as fragments. The fact that Severus had to be dispatched from as far away as Britain indicates the seriousness of the Romans’ predicament. Bar Kokhba revolt is similar to these military conflicts: Jewish–Roman wars, First Jewish–Roman War, Kitos War and more. According to Rabbinic sources some 400,000 men were at the disposal of Bar Kokhba at the peak of the rebellion, though historians tend to more conservative numbers of 200,000. It is estimated that forces from at least 10 legions participated in Severus' campaign in Judea, including Legio X Fretensis, Legio VI Ferrata, Legio III Gallica, Legio III Cyrenaica, Legio II Traiana Fortis, Legio X Gemina, cohorts of Legio V Macedonica, cohorts of Legio XI Claudia, cohorts of Legio XII Fulminata and cohorts of Legio IV Flavia Felix, along with 30-50 auxiliary units, for a total force of 60,000–120,000 Roman soldiers facing Bar Kokhba's rebels. Reverse: A lyre surrounded by "Year two to the freedom of Israel ". Shalev-Hurvitz, V. Oxford University Press 2015. p235, "Ancient Inscription Identifies Gargilius Antiques as Roman Ruler on Eve of Bar Kochva Revolt", A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome, "Roman provincial coin of Hadrian [image]", "The Bar Kochba Revolt: A Disaster Celebrated by Zionists on Lag Ba'Omer", "Julian the Apostate and the Holy Temple", Evans, J.A.S. The Jewish sources are not per se historical and, while also scanty, are found throughout the rabbinical literature of the period and after, in particular, in the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds. .  In addition, some historians argue that Legio IX Hispana's disbandment in the mid-2nd century could have been a result of this war. , An additional legion, the VI Ferrata, arrived in the province to maintain order. The rabbinical sources refer to him throughout as Shimon Ben-Cozba or Coziba, which is often turned into a play on the word cuzav, meaning 'fake' or 'falsehood,' indicating their view of Bar Kochba as a false messiah. Books The revolt established a three-year-long independent Jewish state in which Bar Kokhba ruled as nasi ("prince"). The Ancient History Encyclopedia logo is a registered EU trademark. At the same time, however, others have warned against the new mythology of Bar Kochba, believing it could result in the same disastrous outcome as the revolt itself.  The era of the redemption of Israel was announced, contracts were signed and a large quantity of Bar Kokhba Revolt coinage was struck over foreign coins.  The claim is often considered suspect.. From the little that can be gleaned, a general picture of Bar Kochba emerges of a charismatic, physically courageous, somewhat brutal, and at times tyrannical leader who led his followers and perhaps himself to believe that he was a messianic king born to free his people.  The Gallus revolt came during the rising influence of early Christians in the Eastern Roman Empire, under the Constantinian dynasty.  Julian's fatal wound in the Persian campaign put an end to Jewish aspirations, and Julian's successors embraced Christianity through the entirety of Byzantine rule of Jerusalem, preventing any Jewish claims. Mismanagement of the province during the early 2nd century might well have led to the proximate causes of the revolt, largely bringing governors with clear anti-Jewish sentiments to run the province. These tensions were related to the establishment of a large Roman military presence in Judea, changes in administrative life and the economy, together with the outbreak and suppression of Jewish revolts from Mesopotamia to Libya and Cyrenaica. As a result, the remaining centers of Jewish cultural and religious life were all outside the land of Israel, especially in Babylonia, where the definitive codex of Jewish law – the Babylonian Talmud – was collected and redacted. , A disputed tradition, based on the single source of the Historia Augusta, regarded[by whom?]  A rabbinic version of this story claims that Hadrian planned on rebuilding the Temple, but that a malevolent Samaritan convinced him not to. Roman forces and would remain so until 1948 CE Capitolina about 130/132 CE plausible, in light of accurate census. Horrendous as the messiah, who would restore their national independence at Tel,. Time ascribed it to divine intervention revolt came during the revolt, he installed two statues one... And political tensions in Judea following on the Identity of Eleazar the,! Israel Numismatic Journal 18 ( 2014 ): pp to rabbinic sources [ 4 ] that! 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