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Aspects of the Jewish Revolt in A.D. 115-117
Author(s): Alexander Fuks
Source: The Journal of Roman Studies, Vol. 51, Parts 1 and 2 (1961), pp. 98-104
Published by: Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/298842
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ASPECTS OF THE JEWISH REVOLT IN A.D.
II5-II7
*
By ALEXANDER FUKS
Our knowledge of the Jewish Revolt in A.D. II5-II7, derived formerly from scanty
literary sources only, has been considerably enriched during the last few decades by new
evidence, papyrological, epigraphical, and archaeological 1 and the course of the events in
the countries of the Jewish Diaspora can now be ascertained in fuller detail than was
possible before.2
The purpose of this paper is to inquire into the general aspects of the revolt.
i. Extent of the Revolt.-Evidence for fighting in Cyrenaica, Egypt, Cyprus, Mesopo-
tomia is reliable as well as for its repercussions in Judaea, though actual fighting did not
occur there.
The impression given by the literary sources is that in Cyrenaica hostilities raged all
over the country: ' per totam Libyam adversus incolas atrocissima bella gesserunt;
quae adeo tunc interfectis cultoribus desolata est, ut, nisi postea Hadrianus imperator
collectas illuc aliunde colonias deduxisset, vacua penitus terra abraso habitatore
mansisset.'
3
Epigraphical and archaeological evidence of damage caused during the
fighting and of reconstruction work after the revolt permits some localization. The bulk
of the evidence points to Cyrene and its vicinity as the main field of hostilities. In an
inscription dated A.D. I38, Hadrian, styled aCATr p Ka' KTf'lrTT, is said to have adorned
the city of Cyrene; the inscription probably refers to the comprehensive work of
reconstruction, begun shortly after the end of the revolt.4 From another inscription we
learn about reconstruction of the temple of Apollo, which was 'thrown down' (xacalplp )
in war' (?K EroA0o0).5 Second century rebuilding of the Roman Prothura of the
Sanctuary of Apollo is to be inferred from a carmen dedicatorium.6 Inscriptions from the
Caesareum and its vicinity mention buildings or parts of buildings being ' pulled down '
and ' burned out ' tumultu Iudaico.7 Similar expressions occur in an inscription of A.D. I I9
commemorating the restoration of the Baths.8 The restored temple of Hecate is said to
have been ' destroyed and burned ' in the Jewish Revolt.9 Restoration of a
temple,
probably that of Artemis, is recorded in another inscription.10 Milestone inscriptions
refer to the repair of roads entering the city, which were ' torn and broken up ' in the
'Jewish disorder '.1" From an inscription honouring Hadrian as
KTioTrqs
Kai
TpoqT[E'S
(JRS XL, 88, A.3) we can possibly deduce difficulties in food-supply caused by damage
to roads, and perhaps also to agricultural areas near Cyrene, which were alleviated by
Hadrian. Archaeological finds testify to damage to buildings and other objects in Cyrene,
including the temples of Zeus, Demeter, Artemis, Isis, Hecate, the Dioscuri, and Apollo,
the theatre in the Sanctuary, and the Baths; a number of other buildings rebuilt in the
late second or early third century were probably, but less certainly, damaged in the
revolt. 12
*
I owe thanks to Mr. P. M. Fraser (All Souls,
Oxford), to Dr. S. Applebaum (Jerusalem), and to
Prof. Ch. Wirszubski (The Hebrew University,
Jerusalem) for their advice and criticism.
I
Papyrological evidence is collected in the Corpus
Papyrorum3'udaicarum (=
CP_'ud.)
II, nos. 435-450,
cf. also nos. I58a, I58b. For inscriptional sources
see J7RS XL, I950, 87-90 ; cf. ibid. 77 if. For an
account of the archaeological evidence, cf. Apple-
baum,
_Journ. _Jew.
Stud. II, I95I, I77 f.f; id. Zion
XIX, 1954, 23 if. (in Hebrew).
2 For the events in Egypt, see Tcherikover, The
J7ews in Egypt in the Hellenistic-Roman Age, 1945,
2o6 if. (in Hebrew) ; id. CP
_Jud.
i, 86 ff. ; Fuks,
Aegyptus xxxiii, 1953, 13I ff.; id. Zion XXII, 1957,
i ff. (in Hebrew) ; on the course of events in
Cyrenaica see Applebaum,
_ourn. _ew.
Stud. II, 1951,
I77 if.; id. Zion XIX, 1954, 23 ff. (in Hebrew) ; on
the revolt in Cyprus, see Alon, A history of the yews
in Palestine in the Period of the Mishnah and the
Talmud2, 1954, 241 (in Hebrew) ; for Mesopotamia
see ibid. 250 ff. ; cf. also Motta, Aegyptus xxxii,
1952, 479 ff. For some repercussions of the revolt
in Judaea, cf. Alon, O.C. 255 if.
3
Oros. vii, 12, 6; see also: ' totam et Cyrenem'
in para. 7; cf. Syncellus 349 b, who mentions a
colony sent by Hadrian ?iS
AtIp*lv
?pIThoe?cav.
4
SEG Ix, 136; on Hadrian's measures for the
restoration of normal life in Cyrene cf. Fraser, JRS
XL, 1950, 84 ff.
5
SEG ix, I89; cf. Ferri, Contributi di Cirene,
etc., I923, 5.
6 SEG ix, 190.
7
Applebaum, JRS XL, 1950, 89, no. D.3, and
89-90, no. E.
8 Afr. Ital. I, 321.
9
SEG ix, i68.
10 SEG IX, 171.
"I
SEG IX, 252; Applebaum, o.c. p. 89, no.
D.4 ; Afr. Ital. I, 3I8.
12 For a survey of archaeological evidence, up to
about 1950, see Applebaum, Journ. Jew. Stud. ii,
1951, 177-18I, nos. 1-21, cf. also map on p. i86.
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THE JEWISH REVOLT A.D. II5-II7 99
There is some evidence for damage caused in other regions of Cyrenaica, to be taken
in conjunction with that for repopulation after the revolt. An inscription from Attaleia 13
records the fact that Gavius Fronto of the XV Apollinaris had been sent by Trajan at the
head of three thousand veterans Eis TO Kc(TOlKicdcl
Kup9vrlv.
Unfortunately we do
not know in which region or regions of Cyrenaica these veterans were settled.14 An area
indicative of limitatio in the vicinity of Apollonia suggests that there may have been a new
settlement there.15 Reconstruction seems to have occurred at Balagrae in the Antonine
period, probably after damage during the rising.16 Finally, a shrine in an oasis 35 km.
south of Al Dab'a shows signs of destruction at the beginning of the second century, and
is attributed by the excavators to the Jewish revolt.17
All this shows that hostilities were widespread throughout Cyrenaica and corroborates
the general statements of literary sources.18
In Egypt hostilities spread all over the country. In Alexandria a battle (pax'i)
between the Jews and the Romans followed on clashes between the Jews and the
Alexandrian Greeks.19 Both the Nemesieion and the Great Synagogue of Alexandria
were ruined 20 either during these clashes, which ended in a Roman victory before
13th October, II5,21 or during the renewed, short, outbreak at the beginning of Hadrian's
reign.22 Evidence for Jewish military activity exists in the vicinity of Pelousion.23 Further
south, hostilities in the Athribite district can be deduced from confiscation of land owned
by Jews who were killed or missing in the revolt.24 Memphis was an important con-
centration-point of Roman forces and a battle between the Roman and the Jewish forces
took place in its vicinity.25 Damage to agricultural property in the Fayuim testifies to
fighting in that district.26 Confiscation of Jewish property in the Herahleopolite nome
would suggest fighting there too.27 Oxyrhynchos was one of the battlefields.28 Further
south, effects of fighting are recorded for the Kynopolite nome.29 Both actual heavy
fighting and the effects thereof are attested in a detailed manner for the Hermopolite
district.30 Finally, while the literary sources speak in general terms of heavy fighting
throughout the Thebais, 31 the papyri localize unrest at least in two of the southern
districts, the Lycopolite and the Apollinopolite.32 This evidence largely corroborates
Orosius': 'Aegyptum vero totam. . . cruentis seditionibus turbaverunt ...' (VII, I2, 7).
In Cyprus the evidence centres on the city of Salamis, which had been captured and
sacked by the Jewish rebels, who slaughtered its Greek population.33 Dio Cassius
34
in
speaking of the island of Cyprus in general states that after the suppression of the revolt
Jews were forbidden to settle on the island. In fact, Jewish settlement in Cyprus seems
to have ceased altogether until the fourth century A.D.35 It is, therefore, reasonable to
suppose that hostilities were not restricted to Salamis and its vicinity.
In Mesopotamia, the Jewish rebellion was, it would seem, part of a general revolt of
the local population against Roman occupation, and it is impossible to ascertain the extent
of Jewish military activities there.36
The magnitude of the Jews' military effort is to be measured not only by the wide
13
Turk Tarth Bellet. xi, 1947, IOI-4, no. i9; cf.
Robert, Rev. Ft. Gr. LXI, 1948, 20I.
14 It is perhaps worth noting that a veteran, pro-
bably of XV Apollinaris, is mentioned in an inscrip-
tion from Teucheira, CIL iII, i, 6. For rebuilding
there in the late second century, cf. Applebaum, Yourn.
yew. Stud. ii, 195I, i82.
15
cf. Applebaum, ibid. i8i. In IG II2, 3306,
close in time to the revolt, Hadrian is called OIK1MTn
Kai E)epyiTns by the Apolloniates; though the
title might be conventional, it may perhaps refer to
real work of rehabilitation in Apollonia.
16 Applebaum, o.c. I83.
17 )'EA XVII, 193I, 8i ff.
18 cf. also Alon, o.c. (n. 2) 239 if.
19
Tcherikover-Fuks, CP JIud. II, no. 435; cf.
also nos. Is8a and 158b.
20
cf. Appian. iI,
90;
J. Sukkah 5, 55b.
21 For dating see below, p. IOO.
22
cf. Euseb., Chron. II, I64; cf. Hier., ad Chron.
Eutseb.; Euseb., Versio Armenica II, I64; Syncell.
348d, 349b; cf. also SHA, Hadr. 5, 2. See
Aegyptuis
XXXIII, I953, Iz52
f
23 Appian, fr. i9: an account of
Appian's flight
from Egypt via Pelousion and his narrow
escape
from
the hands of the Jews who seized the
waterways
there.
24 CP
Yud.
no. 448.
25
ibid. no. 438, 11.
i5 ff., and no. 439.
26
ibid. no. 449.
27
ibid. no. 445.
28 ibid. nos. 445,
447, 450.
29
ibid. no. 445.
30
ibid. nos. 436, 438, 442, 443, 446.
31
Oros. vii, 12, 7; Eus., Chron.
iI, i64;
Vers.
Arm. ii, i64; cf. Hieron. ad Chron. Euseb.;
Syncell. 347d.
32
CP Yud. nos. 444, 436.
33
Euseb., Chron. iT, i64; cf. Vers.
Arm.;
Oros.
VII, 12, 8; Syncell. 348a.
34
LXVIII, 32.
35
cf.
Alon, o.c. (n. 2) 246.
36
See below, p. I03, n. 69.
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100 ALEXANDER FUKS
territorial extension of the revolt over Cyrenaica, Egypt, Cyprus and Mesopotamia, but
also by the number of participants. In Cyrenaica, the extent of physical damage caused
by the Jews demonstrates the use of considerable forces.
'
Many tens of thousands' of
Cyrenean and Egyptian Jews are said to have been killed in the final struggle waged on
Egyptian soil against Turbo's expeditionary force.37 Many more Jews from Cyrene must
have reached Egypt in something like a national 'trek' from Cyrenaica to Egypt.
With regard to Egyptian Jewry itself, it is possible, and even probable, that some
strata of the Jewish population of Alexandria did not join in the fighting there.38 Yet
great numbers of Alexandrian Jews must have taken part in the clashes in Alexandria,
since Roman legions were finally called in against the rebels. The fighting that ensued is
styled
pa'Xr-
in an official Roman source-evidently the clash was of no small magnitude.39
Though in the chora the Egyptian Jews were helped by Cyrenean fighters, it would be
hard to account for the fact that in certain stages of revolt the Jews were in control of
entire districts, that even Egyptian fellahln had to be called to arms, that a great expedi-
tionary force, including cavalry and a fleet, had to be sent against the rebels and quelled
the rebellion with difficulty 40-unless we suppose that very great numbers of the Egyptian
Jews rose in revolt.
In Cyprus, the Jews succeeded in capturing and destroying Salamis and annihilating
its population.41 Though military details of this operation escape our knowledge, the
result would seem to point to the use of large forces.
z. Duration of the Revolt.-Though many chronological questions still remain
unsolved, new evidence makes it possible to establish with some exactitude the overall
duration of the revolt. According to Eusebius,42 the revolt broke out TO'J aCvToKpCTOpOS
(sc. Trajan) EIS EvlaJTOv OKTCcKa arEKcTov EavJvovTos, i.e. according to the chronology
of the Ecclesiastical History, the year which starts after 27 January, I I
5,
while the Chronicon
of Eusebius dates it to the seventeenth year of Trajan, which means, according to the
chronological scheme of the Chronicon, September I i4-September II5. These dates are
not mutually exclusive; in fact it would seem that the date which Eusebius recognized
for the outbreak was the first part of II5.43 This statement of Eusebius, doubted by
some scholars, is now corroborated by a papyrological document, the edict of Rutilius
Lupus, dated 13 October, A.D. I I5.44 The document reviews a series of events in
Alexandria from the outbreak of the revolt-including Graeco-Jewish clashes, and a battle
between Jews and Romans-up to the suppression of the revolt there. All these events
took place before the date of the edict, i.e. before I3 October, A.D. II5, and time must be
allowed for them. Since the revolt broke out in Cyrenaica before it started in Egypt,45
and the revolt in Alexandria was already a past event in October I I5, the early date given
by Eusebius would seem to be highly probable. Perhaps we shall not be far wrong if we
put the beginning of the revolt early in A.D. I I5.
The end of hostilities can now be fixed with some exactitude with the help of
inscriptional and papyrological evidence. According to Eusebius, the rebellion was
quelled by Q. Marcius Turbo after prolonged fighting.46 After his Egyptian assignment,
Turbo was sent by Hadrian to deal with a revolt in Mauretania.47 It was supposed until
recently that Turbo acted in Egypt as a military commander, while civil authority was
vested in the prefect of Egypt, Rutilius Lupus, until the appointment of Rammius
Martialis. But an inscription from Caesarea in Mauretania 48 states that Turbo was
'
praef.
A]eg',
and there is little doubt that he was praefectus Aegypti after Lupus and
37 Euseb., HE IV, 2, 4: 6 8E (scil. Turbo) wro22aTs
tixats
oOK
6Wiy&
E
Xp6vcp
T6v Trp6s caCrroCs Sta-rovicas
n6XEov oJXXS .aipt6c5aS1ouvcdaov, O lO6vov-C3v d&T6 Kupivr,
e?xXe Kc1 TrCov Trr' AIyirT'rrou cuvaipouvvcov AouKo1a TC,O ,BactriA
c;Jrr6Cv, dcvaipEI.
38 On the political attitudes of the Jewish popula-
tion in Alexandria, cf. V. Tcherikover, CP Yud. I,
59 ff., who stresses the moderate policies of the upper
class.
39 ibid. no. 435, an edict of the prefect of Egypt,
Rutilius Lupus; cf. Aegyptus XXXIII, 1953, 135 ff.
40
CPJYud.
nos0. 438, 439; Euseb., HE IV, 2, 3-4.
41
cf. above, notes 33-4.
42 HE
IV,
2, 1-3.
43
ibid. IV, 2, i, with Hieron., ad Chron. Euseb. ii,
I65; cf. Longden, JRS xxi, 193I, 6-7; Wilcken,
Hermes, xxvii, I892, 472; Premerstein, Hermes
LVII,
1928, 306.
44
CP Jud. no. 435; for dating and recent works
on this papyrus see Introduction and bibliographical
list given there.
45
See below, n. 52.
46 HE IV, 2, 3-4; cf. SHA, Hadr. 5,
8.
47
SHA, Hadr. S, 8.
48 Compt. rend. 1945, I44 ff. = Ann. epigr. 1946,
I 13.
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THE JEWISH REVOLT IN A.D. II5-II7 IOI
before Martialis.49 He replaced Lupus sometime after 5 January, A.D. II7. Since
Rammius Martialis was prefect in the first Egyptian regnal year of Hadrian (II-28 August,
A.D. II7), and Turbo was appointed to his Mauretanian command after the death of
Trajan, it is probable that both appointments took place between I I and 28 August, II 7.
Because Eusebius states definitely that Turbo put an end to the revolt of Egyptian and
Cyrenean Jews on the soil of Egypt,50 it would seem to follow that the revolt was regarded
as having been quelled about mid-August II 7.
This chronology is corroborated by the movements of Apollonios, the Strategos of
Apollinopolis-Heptakomia, during the revolt. About June A.D. ii6 he left his nome,
probably with a unit of militia from the district; he took part in a battle near Memphis
early in I I7; he was still away from nome in July I I7. The first certain evidence for
his return to peace-time duties is P. Giss. 3, dated September or October II 7. Some time
between September and November A.D. II7 Apollonios wrote an application, and then
a reminder, to the prefect of Egypt, asking for sixty days leave to put in order his estates
in the Hermopolite district damaged by the impious Jews. By then the fighting must
have been over.51
On all these counts we may posit the second half of A.D. I I7 as the end of fighting.
Thus the revolt of the Jewish Diaspora-or at least the revolt of Egyptian and Cyrenean
Jewry-lasted for approximately two and a half years.
3. Co-ordination of the Revolt.-The revolt first broke out in Cyrenaica, where Jews
rallied around the leader Loukuas-Andreas; shortly after the Jews of Egypt rose;
Cyprus comes next in most of our literary sources; the Jews of Mesopotamia rebelled
later, when a general revolt started there in A.D. II6.52
It is certain that co-ordination between the rebels of Cyrenaica and of
Egypt
was
complete; indeed, more than that. Late in A.D. II5, or early in A.D. I I6, the Jews of
Cyrenaica left their country for Egypt. In Egypt, disappointed in their hope of joining
forces with the Jews of Alexandria, they turned to the chora. Here they fought hand in
hand with the Egyptian Jews, until, finally ' many tens of thousands' of Cyrenean and
Egyptian Jews fell fighting.53 Thus, from the end of A.D. II5, or the beginning of
A.D. II6, the revolt of the Cyrenean Jews and the revolt of Egyptian Jewry became one
movement, under the command of the Cyrenean
'
Jewish King', Loukuas-Andreas.
Whether there was also co-ordination between the Cyrenean-Egyptian fighters and the
Jewish rebels of Cyprus and of Mesopotamia is uncertain, though it is possible that there
were some links.54 That, however, can be neither proved nor disproved.
4. Character of the Fighting.-Though military details about the revolt are unknown,
it is at least clear how the Jews fought. A chapter in Dio epitomized and
paraphrased
by Xiphilinus describes the Jews' cruelties in a horrific passage. ' They would eat the
flesh of their victims, make belts for themselves of their entrails, anoint themselves with
their blood and wear their skins for clothing; many they sawed in two, from the head
downwards; others they gave to wild beasts, and still others they forced to fight as
gladiators. In all 220,000 persons perished. In Egypt, too, they perpetrated many similar
outrages, and in Cyprus, under the leadership of a certain Artemion. There, also, 240,000
perished.
.a.n"
55
The anti-Semitic tendencies of
Xiphilinus
have
long
been
recognized.56
But even if
49
Stein, Die Prafekten Agyptens 59 ff.
50
HE IV, 2, 4.
51
For the evidence and discussion of its dating,
cf. Aegyptus XXXIII, I953, 150 ff.
52
Euseb., Chron. II, i64 (since in HE iv, z, I ff.,
Eusebius deals with Egypt only, his Kai Trpoa?-rt xcar&
Kupi'vTv is no indication of sequence of outbreaks);
Hieron., ad chron. Euseb. II, I65 ; Euseb., Vers. Arm.
II, I64; Syncell. 347d; Dio Cass. LXVIII, 32 (we
should not be misled by the fact that in cap. 29 Dio
starts telling the story of revolt in the East before he
tells the general story of the revolt, in cap. 32).
53 Euseb., HE IV, 2, 3 ff.: -rfis ? -rap& TO-rTorV (i.e.
Alexandrian Jews) avxpuaxias drTo-X6v-rEso1 xacrr Kupwviv,
TfrV
Xcbpav rfis
Ai 'TroU 2?Sq0-rOUV-re Kal TOrg (v aCrri9 vopo
s
q8eEpoVTES 8ivrrPovv, 'yoUpvoU aCrav AoUKoOaJ ?' 0g 6
calrOKp&TCOp
?TrE[y)e
M6pKlov Toiippcova
c'vv
Bvv&atEi
rrEr3 iail
varAJTtKi &Fi 8e Kai irrIriK 6 8? TroNaIS p&Xats onK 6?iycp -rE
Xp6vc -rTOv rrpOs aCrro',s 8iaTrov1Lras Tr6XsEpov Tro\A&S gUpi&aSS
'Iousaicov, ou ,u6vov &nro
Kupi'vijs,
&aX Kai TO5V &Tr' Aiyorrvov
avvatpoUw?vCOV AovnOCOU TCp paarAEi acorrZv, avaipET.
54 Turbo's expeditionary force included a fleet (cf.
preceding note) ; the Jews commanded, at a certain
stage in the revolt, the water-ways of Pelousion (cf.
Appian, fr. i9), which would seem to show that the
Jews were in possession of vessels (a vessel captured
by them is specifically mentioned by Appian). Con-
tact with Cyprus is a possibility. For Mesopotamia,
see n. 69 below.
55
Dio Cassius LXVIII, 32.
56 cf. Wilcken, Hermes XXVII, 1892, 479; id. Die
Bremer Papyri p. I4, with n. 4.
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102 ALEXANDER FUKS
Dio-Xiphilinus' story is stripped of its more terrible details and the notoriously exaggerated
numbers discounted, the fact of cruel and severe fighting would seem to remain. Indeed,
without the horror-details, a similar story is told in other sources ; Orosius says that the
Jews ' quasi rabie efferati . . . exarserunt ', and speaks of ' atrocissima bella ', and a
similar impression is given by other sources.57 It could be contended that all of them
are prejudiced against the Jews, were it not for the fact that their general tenor is rather
unexpectedly corroborated by a letter to Apollonios, the Strategos, from his old mother,
Eudaimonis, who prays to the gods to preserve her son from being roasted by the Jews.58
That is, to be sure, not a proof that the Jewish rebels did roast their enemies ; the prayer
of Eudaimonis may very well be a symptom of war hysteria.59 The fact remains, however,
that there were people in Egypt who believed that Jews used to roast their enemies, and
what they believed then matters more than what we believe, or do not believe to-day.
The Jews waged not only an unusually atrocious and cruel war, but also a war of
annihilation and destruction. Salamis in Cyprus had been, as we have seen, ' sacked and
its population annihilated' ; Libya was so deserted after the cultivators had been killed
' that it would have remained a desert had not Hadrian sent new settlers thither ' ; the
evidence for heavy damage in Cyrenaica to roads, public buildings, and temples has
already been detailed above.60 The extent and character of damage would seem to
presuppose the use of great numbers of men and of tools for work of destruction. In
regard to Egypt, Eusebius states that Hadrian ' rebuilt Alexandria, ruined by the Jews ',61
and the papyri refer to heavy damage to roads, buildings, fields, and agricultural property
in the chora. The estates of Apollonios in the Hermopolite district were left ' completely
uncared for . . because of the attack of impious Jews'; fields in the Fayium, damaged
by the rebels, were still waste-land as late as thirty years after the revolt.62 It might be
contended that the damage was incidental to the fighting 63 but for the impression given
by the evidence from Cyrenaica that wholesale annihilation and destruction was an
objective in itself, an impression sustained by Eusebius, HE iv, 2, 3, who says of the
rebels: TT'v
Xc?pav 7rs Aiy(JTrTou
?~ETIVXrOUOvES
i<Kal TroVS EV aQUT1 VOPOuS (pOEipOVTES
81ET?EXJAV. Against whom was this fury directed ? In Cyrenaica the war seems to have
been waged mainly against the Greeks, who must have borne the brunt of the Jewish
onslaught. It is clear, however, from an incidental piece of evidence, in which the death
on the battlefield of a praefectus castrorum is recorded, that Roman detachments fought
against the Jews in Cyrenaica.64
In Alexandria the revolt might have seemed at the beginning just another Graeco-
Jewish stasis. But regular Roman forces stepped in, and it was they who quelled the
rising in Alexandria in a battle against the Jews. In the chora also the clashes between
Jews and Greeks soon developed into an all-out war between Jews and the Roman forces,
supported by the Greek population of Egypt.65 The rebellion was finally put down by a
joint effortofTurbo's expeditionaryforce, thestanding Romanforces andthe Greekpopulation.
In Cyprus the war was waged against the local Greek population, though some
military inscriptions show employment of vexillationes.66 The question whether the Jews
also attacked the non-Graeco-Roman population is incapable of an answer. In the
Hermopolite district Egyptian villagers fought against the Jewish forces and were cut
down by them,67 but the fellahin might have been forced into service by the government.
There is otherwise no proof that the Jews attacked the Egyptian villagers. On the other
57VII, I2, 6, also ' cruentae seditiones' in para. 7;
cf. Euseb., Chron. ii, i64, also Versio Arm. ; HE iv,
2, 3 ; Syncell. 347d.
58 CPJ7ud. no. 437; cf. Aegyptus xxxiii, I953, I42.
59
cf. Wilcken, Die Bremer Papyri I5, n. 5.
60 cf. above, nn.
4-i8.
61
Reading according to the Versio Armenica of the
Chron. of Eusebius; Hieron., ad Chron. Euseb. has:
' Hadrianus Alexandriam a Romanis (Helm, p. 197:
1. Iudaeis) subversam publicis instauravit expensis.'
cf. Tcherikover, The Jews in Egypt 207 and n. 2;
Weber, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des Kaisers
Hadrianus 5I, n. 174.
62
CPJ_ud.
nos. 443, 449; see also nos. 444, 446,
447-
63
As the damage done to the Nemesieion certainly
was: EiS T&S TOi ITOMPOVJ XpEias. . . Appian II, 90.
64
Artemidor. Daldianus, Oneirocritica IV, 24. cf.
Zion XXII, 2-3, 1958, 82-4, where it is suggested that
the prefect concerned commanded a detachment of
the Egyptian legions.
"6 See CP Jud. no. 450, 11. 33 ff., where the in-
habitants of Oxyrhynchos are said to be r6v
Trp6S
Eioubaiouvs -rr6XEOv
avJpiaXiaacvTEs. See in general CPJud.
nos. 436-449.
66 ILS 949I ; Mitford, Opuscula Archaeologica vi,
54.
67
CPyud.no.438.
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THE JEWISH REVOLT A.D. II5-II7
I03
hand, there is no evidence whatsoever for the supposition of Rostovtzeff that the Egyptian
fellahin supported the Jewish rebels.68
In Mesopotamia the Jews' fight against the Romans was part of the general effort of
the population to shake off the Roman yoke; there the Jews certainly did not fight
against the non-Jewish population, and most probably joined forces with it.69
5. Causes and
Objectives
of the Revolt.-The literary sources do not state any tangible
cause of the revolt of the Jewish Diaspora. The authors seem to have been baffled by
the unexpectedness, intensity, and ruthlessness of the events of A.D. II5-II7.
According to Eusebius: 'IoJ8(akcov xivriV IV rcvIS ETrava-Taca TrapTToAu -rrA?OoS ac&v
81EcpOE1pEV
... C'OTrEp 0JTro TrVEV'JparoS 8EIVOU TiVOS KXaii TraicLCO'8Os acVEPPl1TrLOEVTES COppInVTO
TrpQS
TOU& ouvoixou&I
'ErvaS orralaEIV.70
Orosius says ' incredibili deinde motu sub uno tempore Judaei quasi rabie efferati per
diversas terrarum partes exarserunt '; and ' tertia sub Trajano plaga Iudaeos excitavit,
qui cum antea ubique dispersi ita iam quasi non essent quiescerent, repentino omnes
calore permoti in ipsos, inter quos erant, toto orbe saevierunt '.71 The very perplexity
of Eusebius and Orosius gives us, I think, some inkling of the causes of the revolt.
Perhaps they did not state any tangible cause because there was no tangible cause to be
seen. It has been suggested by Lagrange,72 and argued by Tcherikover,73 that the
' Revolt of the Diaspora ' sprang not from any tangible, rational cause, but was rooted
in the messianic yearnings of the Jews. Some of the arguments brought forward to
substantiate this supposition can be worked out in fuller detail:
(a) According to Eusebius, a ' King', by the name of Loukuas, led the Cyrenean
Jewry, and later on the united forces of the Cyrenean and Egyptian fighters.74 That
there was a ' Jewish King' is borne out by papyrological evidence. According to the
Acta Pauli et Antonini 75 a 'Jewish King ' of the stage and the mime was led forth by
the Alexandrian Greeks and reviled by them in a mock-procession. Possibly the incident
of the ' Jewish King ' is also alluded to in the edict of Lupus, which is concerned in part
with the same events as the Acta.76 According to Wilcken, the ' King' alluded to in the
papyri is Loukuas ; he suggests that the Jewish leader fell into the hands of the Romans
and was exposed to ridicule in Alexandria in a ' triumphal ' procession.77 According to
both Weber and Premerstein,78 Loukuas was not led in person in mock procession by
the Alexandrian mob, but was ridiculed in effigy in a theatrical performance staged by
the Alexandrian anti-Semites. The latter would seem a more probable supposition, since
Loukuas most probably never was a Roman prisoner, certainly not in the time of Lupus,
to whose prefectureship the incident belongs. It would seem that Jewish messianic
yearnings, personified in a 'Jewish King
'
(i.e. on Tcherikover's equation-a Messiah 79)
were derided on the stage by the Alexandrian anti-Semites.
(b) The term a&v6aioi 'lov8caloi came into use during the revolt in Egypt; it
became almost an official designation by the end of it, and is echoed shortly after the
revolt in the Acta Alexandrinorum.80 There seems to be some inner connection between
68
SEHRE2 p. 348. Bilabel's interpretation of P.
Bad. 36, which if correct would point in the same
direction, is almost certainly wrong; cf.
Aegyptus
XXXIII, 1953, I 54, n. i, and CPyud. no. 440.
69 Main evidence: Dio Cassius LXVIII, 29 ff.;
Euseb., HE IV, 2, 5; Suid. s.vv. 6rr&aOcaa, TrapEiKOl;
Oros. VII, I2, 7; Euseb., Chron. ii, I64; Vers. Arm.
I64 ; Hieron., ad chron. Euseb. ii, I65; Syncell.
348a; Nikeph. Callist. PG CXLV, pp. 940 ff.; Pseudo-
Dionysius (ed. Chabot) I, I23. For discussion cf.
Alon, o.c. 250 ff.; Longden, CAH XI, 858-9,
236-7; id. JRS XXI, I93I, I ff.; Groag in P-W
XXVI, coll. I878 ff.; Schiurer4 I, 666; Motta,
Aegyptus XXXII, I952, 484 if.; see also Lepper,
Trajan's Parthian War (1948).
70 HE IV, 2, I-2.
71
VII, I2, 6, and VII, 27, 6.
72
Le Messianisme chez lesYuifs 1909, 308.
73 Yews in Egypt 225 if.; CPJud. I, pp. 90 ff.
For some other views, see Tcherikover's n. 87.
74 HE IV, 2, 4; cf. also 3 ; cf. Joh. Nikiu 72, I4;
he is called 'Av8pEas by Dio LXVIII, 32; possibly his
name was AOVKoIJas O Kaai 'Av5p&as, or vice-versa.
cf. Wilcken, Hermes xxvii, i892, 472 if.
7
CPJ3ud. nos. 158a, I58b.
76 ibid. no. 435, col. I, i6; cf. Aegyptus xxxiii,
I953, '39.
7
7Zum alexandrinischen Antisemitismuts 8I5.
78
Hermes L, 1915, 8i f.; ibid. LVII, I922, 277.
7
cf. CPJud. I, 92.
80
ibid. no. 438, 1. 4-the writer, probably one of
Apollonios' household, tells of the attack [rrp]6S Tol/S
&voaiovs Iov58aiovs. In no. 443, col. II, 11. 4-5,
Apollonios, the strategos, uses the designation &v6aioi
lov8aiot in an official communication to the prefect.
It would seem that by the end of the revolt it has
become almost an official designation. In the Acta
Pauli et Antonini the Alexandrians complain that the
prefect 5ITra=' &voaious 'Iou8aiouS TrpOaKa-rCoKETV (CP Jud.
no. i58a, col. VI, 4). In the Acta Hermaisci (CPJud.
no. 157, col. III, 49-50) the Alexandrians beg Trajan:
TOTS aEavToli poTIOEiV Kai pi -roS &voaioS '1ouvatoiS aVvfYOpEtV.
cf. ibid. III, 42-3: NvJTrocipEOa 6Tri Tr6 auvvpiov aou -TrNaOT
-rv &voaicv lov8aicv.
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I 04 THE JEWISH REVOLT A.D. II5-II7
the actions of the Jews in A.D. II5-117 and the genesis of the term avoiaoi 'louvaToi.
I submit that it was the iconoclastic aspect of the Jews' action that generated the designa-
tion of ' impious '. Destruction of temples, of shrines, as well as of statues of pagan gods
is well attested at least for Cyrenaica; indeed, temples and other sacred objects form
a high proportion of the objects destroyed or damaged by the Jews, and the evil plight
of temples and statues of the Greek gods is testified by inscriptions. This violent
iconoclasm of the Jews and the designation 'impious ', which it seems to have earned
them, make it probable that the Jews waged a war not only against the pagans but also
against their gods.
The
objectives
of the Jewish war can only be guessed at. Annihilation of the pagans
and their holy places seems to have been an objective in itself and not merely incidental
to the fighting. Physical damage especially in Cyrenaica, but also in Egypt and Cyprus
was so thorough and extensive that one might suppose that the Jews did not intend to
go on living in these countries. And in fact, the Jews of Cyrene left their country,
leaving scorched earth behind. Was this trek only a first stage in leaving the Diaspora ?
Was Judaca the final destination of the rebels ?
Whatever the answers to these questions, the Jewish Revolt of A.D. II5-II7 emerges
from old and new sources as the most massive and powerful movement of the Jews of
the Diaspora against the Graeco-Roman world.
81 There is nothing specific or unusual about the
use of the term &v6aios. It was not infrequently used
within religious groups to denote deviations from the
rules and views of certain members of these groups,
as well as to designate members of other hostile
religious groups. It was used by the Christians (see
Bauer's Griech. Deutsch. Wotterb .5, s.v. &v6aios;
cf. also e.g. P. Thead. 2I, I 5 ; P. land. 20; P.
Fouad 86, i8); according to Josephus, C. Apionz. i,
248, &Vooicos was used by the Egyptian priest
Manetho to denote the way his co-religionists were
treated by the Jews ; it was often used by the Jews
to designate their enemies (e.g. 2 Macc. 7, 34;
8, 32; 4 Macc. I2, II ; Ep. Arist. 289, see also
Philo, in Flacc. I04; CPJzud. no. I58a, col. ii, I3).
Before A.D. II5-II7 the term &v6aiot was never a
standing designation of the Jews.
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