“..probably the greatest single slaughter in ancient history.”
VISUAL TIMELINE OF THE WAR
TRACKING THE FIRST JEWISH REVOLT FROM A
MILITARY POINT OF VIEW
NET RESULT: THE ULTIMATE DEFILING AND DESTRUCTION OF TEMPLE AND NATION BY A “HEATHEN CONQUEROR”
1QM, 4Q491-496 – The War Scroll
“Lost Cause” Document on Resistance to Invaders
“There is no evidence that the altar that stood before the temple was similarly desecrated in Jesus’ time. After the temple was destroyed in 70 C.E., however, Roman soldiers celebrated their victory by raising their standards, which bore the image of the emperor, on the holy place.” (Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and the Jesus Seminar, The Five Gospels)
CHRONOLOGY IMMEDIATELY SURROUNDING THE WAR
- Stage 1: Murder of James the Just, “Opposition High Priest” ; Irrevocable Split: 62
- Stage 2: General Revolt in Jerusalem ; Zealot Occupation of Masada: August-September 66
- Stage 3: Campaign of Cestius Gallus and Defeat of the Twelfth Legion: October-November 66
- Stage 4: End of Collaborative Government, Priesthood ; General Flight: November 66 – March 67
- Part 5: Vespasian Subdues Northern and Western Palestine: December 66 – December 68
- Part 6: Three-way Power Struggle within Jerusalem After Roman Retreat: January 68 – May 70
- Part 7: Romans Breach City Walls and Leave Jerusalem Desolate: May 10 – September 10, 70
A.D. 62 – JERUSALEM
Hegesippus – “James, the brother of the Lord, succeeded to the government of the Church in conjunction with the apostles.. Because of his exceeding great justice he was called the Just.. Coming therefore in a body to James (the Scribes and Pharisees) said, ‘We entreat thee, restrain the people; for they are gone astray in regard to Jesus, as if he were the Christ.. Do thou therefore persuade the multitude not to be led astray concerning Jesus. For the whole people, and all of us also, have confidence in thee.. And he answered with a loud voice,’ Why do ye ask me concerning Jesus, the Son of Man ? He himself sitteth in heaven at the right hand of the great Power, and is about to come upon the clouds of heaven.’ And when many were fully convinced and gloried in the testimony of James, and said, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ these same Scribes and Pharisees said again to one another,’ We have done badly in supplying such testimony to Jesus.. So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to each other, ‘Let us stone James the Just.’ And thus he suffered martyrdom. And they buried him on the spot, by the temple, and his monument still remains by the temple. He became a true witness, both to Jews and Greeks, that Jesus is the Christ. And immediately Vespasian besieged them.”
MARCH, A.D. 66 – JERUSALEM
MAY, A.D. 66 – JERUSALEM
A.D. 66-69 – GALILEE
JOSEPHUS CAPTURED IN SIEGE OF JOTAPATA
Jewish General Josephus in captured in siege of Jotapata. After a short imprisonment, he serves the Roman field marshals until the completion of the war. After the war, Josephus is adopted into the Flavian family, and he writes the definitive history of the Roman-Jewish War.
A.D. 68 & 69 – ROME, ITALY
A.D. 70 – JERUSALEM
They will take away your turban and remove your crown; everything will be changed; the low will be high and the high brought low. To ruin, and to ruin on ruin, am I going to bring it, to such ruin as was never known before this man came who is appointed to inflict the punishment which I am determined to impose on it.” (Ez.21:23-27).
With Vespasian taking over the government of the Roman Empire, his son Titus Flavius Vespasianus (AD 9-79; Joint Emperor AD 69-79 ; Sole Emperor 79-81) takes over as field marshal of the Roman forces opposing the Jewish revolt. Titus and Tiberius Alexander, Prefect of Egypt, march to Caesarea from Alexandria, bringing with them reinforcements from the 18th and 3rd Augusta Legions. The 12th Legion marched down from Syria, and three thousand legionaries of the 23rd and/or 24th Legions marched west from the Euphrates. In April, 70, Titus led the 12th and 15th Legions and the 3rd Augusta and 18th Legion cohorts out of Caesarea towards Jerusalem. Upon arriving, he encamped on Mount Scopus, north of the city.
APRIL, A.D. 70 – PHASE ONE
THE ROMAN ARMY ARRIVES AT JERUSALEM TO PREPARE THE SIEGE
The first night of Titus’ encampment with the 15th, 3rd and 18th Legions, the 5th Legion arrived from Emmaus and set camp north of the city on Mount Scopus. Later the next day, the famed 10th Legion (founded by Julius Caesar) marched in from Jericho and camped on the Mount of Olives, east of the city. Instead of waiting to starve the Jews into submission, Titus decides to assault many different parts of the city and overwhelm the defenders. Titus was early on in the middle of the fighting with his soldiers. At least two times, Titus and his detachment are surrounded by defenders, only to escape unharmed.
The first obstacle was the Third Wall, just to the north of the Jaffa Gate. The ground leading up to it was felled to provide clear fields of fire and to provide timber for siege equipment. Two of the Jewish factions fighting within the city agree to work together against the Romans, but a third continued to fight the other factions. Massive quantities of corn were destroyed in bitter factional fighting.
MAY 10, A.D. 70 – AT DAWN
THE ROMAN ASSAULT BEGINS AT THIRD WALL OF JERUSALEM
Assault troops attempt to breach the wall using a variety of methods – stone-hurling ballistas, spear throwing “scorpion” catapults, mantlets, siege towers, battering rams, and the testudo method of interlocking shields for attempt at undermining the wall’s strength. Jewish defenders, with covering fire from 340 artillery pieces of their own (captured after the Battle of Beth-horon and the taking of the Antonia Fortress four years earlier), attempt many sallies outside the walls of the city in a desperate attempt to drive the armies back.
‘Admirable as were the engines constructed by all the legions, those of the tenth were of peculiar excellence. Their scorpions were of greater power and their stone-projectors larger, and with these they not only kept in check the sallying parties, but those also on the ramparts. The stones that were thrown were of the weight of a talent, and had a range of two furlongs and more. The shock, not only to such as first met it, but even to those beyond them for a considerable distance, was irresistible. The Jews, however, at the first, could guard against the stone; for its approach was intimated, not only to the ear by its whiz, but also, being white, to the eye by its brightness. Accordingly they had watchmen posted on the towers, who gave warning when the engine was discharged and the stone projected, calling out in their native language, “The son is coming,” on which those towards whom it was directed would separate, and lie down before it reached them. Thus it happened that, owing to these precautions, the stone fell harmless. It then occurred to the Romans to blacken it; when, taking a more successful aim, as it was no longer equally discernible in its approach, they swept down many at a single discharge.’ Josephus, Jewish Wars, bk. v. chap. vi. 3.
The rams kept up their work day in and day out.. creating a massive din which troubled the sleep of the defenders.
LATE MAY, A.D. 70 – PHASE TWO
THE 5TH, 12TH, and 15TH LEGIONS QUARTER IN THE CAMP OF THE ASSYRIANS
Titus positioned the battering rams to attack the central northern tower of the Second Wall. The tower crumbled, and a section of the wall adjacent to the tower collapsed. The defenders then retreated inside the First Wall. Josephus was used at this juncture to implore the partisans to surrender, promising honorable treatment at the hands of the Romans. The defenders, in response, threatened death to any of the hundreds of thousands of refugees still inside should they have attempted to surrender.
JUNE 2, A.D. 70 – MIGHT & MADNESS
ROMANS PARADE IN FULL DRESS WHILE FAMINE GRIPS CITY
SUMMER, A.D. 70 – PHASE THREE
JUNE – WALL OF CIRCUMVALLATION BUILT TO QUICKEN FAMINE
Ultimate Act of Infamy : “Mary” Devours Child
JULY – ALL FOUR LEGIONS CONCENTRATED ON ANTONIA FORTRESS
“Paul the Apostle was arrested in the Temple Court where the angry Jewish mob tried to kill him. He asked for permission to speak to the crowd from the steps leading up from the Court of the Gentiles into the barracks of the Antonia Fortress (Acts 21:31-22:29). When Paul stood before the Council the following day he once again needed to be rescued and was taken up the stairs into the barracks (Acts 22:30-23:10). The soldiers later took him secretly at night from the Antonia Fortress to Caesarea (Acts 23:23-35).”
After all four battering rams were positioned on the northern wall of the fortress, the ground gave way. A tunnel dug by the defenders collapsed, and a gap in the wall appeared. Discouraged to find another wall built behind it, operations turned to volunteers. Sabinus volunteered to climb the hastily erected wall, and actually reached the top. In his excitement, he stumbled and was cut down. Two nights later, twenty legionaries and an eagle-bearer from the 5th Legion quietly climbed the wall and overpowered the Jewish sentries on duty. The trumpeter blew his instrument to alert the troops below. Panic-stricken, the other Jewish guards abandoned their posts. Titus and his officers were among those who flooded, unopposed, over the wall. The Jewish defenders withdrew to the Temple. Hand to hand fighting commenced in the Sanctuary of the Temple. The struggle that evening lasted until the afternoon of the next day.
After a council of war apparently decided to spare the temple if possible, as a monument to Rome’s glory, full scale assault began on the Sanctuary. The gates were burned and stormed, but the fight was a stalemate. Titus withdrew his troops beyond the Sanctuary and retired to bed.
“Destruction of Jerusalem” by John Martin
9TH OF AV, A.D. 70 – CHURBAN HABAYIT
DATE OF THE DESTRUCTION OF BOTH TEMPLES OF SOLOMON AND HEROD
A single Roman soldier threw a firebrand into one of the Temple’s windows, starting a raging fire. As the temple burned, the Romans looted it and massacred the defenders. Titus passed through a curtained opening, and entered the Holy of Holies.
“On the day the Temple fell, Titus found God’s room to be empty.”
Jewish people have mourned the loss of the Temple since that day – “Napoleon once passed a synagogue on the day of Tisha B’Av and observed the entire congregation sitting and weeping. Quite intrigued, he asked his officers if they could explain this unusual sight. One intelligent officer responded by recounting the history of the Jewish People and the Holy Temple in Jerusalem that was destroyed two thousand years ago. Totally amazed by the phenomenon that he witnessed before his very eyes, Napoleon exclaimed: “any nation that can retain such a fierce love and loyalty for a Holy site that they’ve never seen that was so far away, and for so long, is destined for greatness and will outlive us all!”
FINISHING JERUSALEM’S DESOLATION AND CAPTIVITY OF JEWS
“Judea Capta” Coin
Tens of Thousands Sold Into Slavery or used by Army Engineers for Slave Labor
A.D. 71 – ROME, ITALY
JOINT TRIUMPH OF TITUS AND VESPASIAN
ZEALOT ESCAPE AND FALL OF MASADA ; END OF OPEN HOSTILITIES
Masasa Was Prepared by Jonathan, but finally made into a fortress by Herod. The King prepared it as a summer vacation spot, and also as a fortress in case he and his family had to flee… although it was never utilized for this purpose. One of the earliest acts of the First Revolt was the seizing of the fortress by Jewish Zealots.
APRIL 15 – The last of the rebelling enclaves falls to the Romans when the mountain fortress of Masada is taken after a long siege. Instead of being taken and sold into slavery, the defenders chose death by group suicide. This represents the final official action of the First Jewish Revolt.
Roman Items Found at Masada
1730 French Josephus
Weapons Used by Defenders
ROMAN COLOSSEUM AND ARCH OF TITUS BUILT WITH BOOTY FROM THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM – NUMEROUS OTHER ROMAN ENGINEERING PROJECTS AIDED BY JEWISH SLAVE LABOR
|The Arch of Titus (81)
Built With Jewish Slave Labor
|Flavian Amphitheatre (72)
Built With Jewish Slave Labor
Reputedly the First Tunnel in History – Panoramio Page
Built With Jewish Slave Labor
William Blake – Jerusalem