The Temple of Herod 

The Arch of Titus, Rome, 180.



Modified from the Jerusalem Bible:
See Also: [Textbook]   [Kabbalah]


    [...following a] violent anti-Jewish persecution (AD 38),. the Jews of Alexandria, In protest ,finally sent a legation to the emperor in AD 40 to plead their cause. A noted member of it was the philosopher, Philo, but the emissaries had little success (Ant. 18.8, i § 257; Philo, Embassy to Gaius). When Herod Antipas was exiled in 39, his territory (Galilee and Perea) was added to the domain of Herod Agrippa I. The latter, who had been insulted by the Roniart prefect of Egypt, was more successful in influencing the legate of Syria, P. Petronius, who had been sent out by Caligula in 39. King Herod urged him not to press the issue of emperor worship; consequently, Petronius delayed as far as Jerusalem was concerned. But when the pagan inhabitants of the coastal town Janinia erected a crude altar to the emperor, it was torn down by the Jews of the locale. The incident was re­ported to the emperor, who retaliated by ordering the immediate erection of a colossal statue of himself in the Jerusalem Temple (Philo, Embassy to Gaius 30 § 203). But Petronius still procrastinated, while trying to get the Jewish leaders to accept this order with good grace. Horrified, the Jews gathered in Ptolemais where Petro­nius was quartered, and begged him not to erect the statue. Petronius wrote to Caligula, only to bring down im­perial wrath on his own head. Then Herod Agrippa visited Caligula in the hope of having him rescind the order. Incensed at Petronius, the emperor commanded him to commit suicide. However, the whole issue was resolved by the murder of Caligula on 24 January AD 41­

    When Claudius (41-54) came to the throne by the acclamation of the Roman troops, his reign began with an edict of toleration in favor of the Jews (Ant. 19.5, 2-3 § 279ff ). He rewarded Herod Agrippa I for his support of the Roman rule, extending his territory to include that of the ethnarchy of Archelaus (Judea, Samaria, Idumea), so that from then until his death he ruled over a territory almost as vast as that of Herod the Great. Herod Agrippa undertook to build Jerusalem’s “third north wall,” which, if completed, would have made the city impregnable. But before it could be finished, Claudius who had been warned by Maurus, the­legate of Syria, forbade any further work on it (Ant. 19.7, 2 § 326-27). [...] Herod Agrippa was an insignificant but pious king, whose passing was mourned by the people, for at home he supported Pharisaism, even though abroad he liberally advocated Hellenistic culture and contributed inuch to the pagan institutions of Berytus [modern Beirut]. Given his support of Pharisaism, however, it is not surprising that he persecuted the nascent Christian Church (Acts 12:1-19); one of his victims was James, the son of Zebedee, beheaded ca. AD 44. Herod Agrippa died suddenly at Caesarea in AD 44, while attending the Vicennalia, games in honor of the emperor (Acts 12:20­ 23 ; Ant. 19.8, 2 § 343-50)­

Spread of the Christian Church.

     On the death of Herod Agrippa I, the Emperor Claudius The primitive Christian community became more and more conscious of its comission to proclaim the “gospel of Jesus Christ” (Mk i:r). After some initial success in converting Palestinian Jews (Acts 2:47; 6:7; etc.), the apostolic preachers turned to the metropolitan centers of the Roman Empire. Gradually the “good news” spread from Jerusalem to “the end of the earth” (Acts 1:18), addressed first of all to the Jews of the Diaspora and then to the Gentiles.

    Possibly it was in AD 36, when P. Pilate was sent back to Rome and a new prefect Marcellus was named (36-37), that the “great persecution of the church” (Acts 8:1) took place. The appointment of a new governor seems to have been particularly apt for such an outbreak. At any rate, it was in the context of a Jewish persecution of the young Palestinian Christian community that Stephen was martyred and Saul of Tarsus “breathed [his] murderous threats” (Acts 9:1-2). Saul’s conversion, which cannot be dated accurately, is plausibly related to this time (-. Life of Paul, 46:16).

Herod Agrippa I (37-44).

The Emperor Tiberius died on 16 March AD 37. The legate of Syria, L. Vitellius, was still in Jerusalein, trying to soothe the feelings of the Palestinian Jews who had been out­raged by Pilate, when the news reached there of the new eniperor, Gaius Caligula (37-41). The Jews were the first of the nationalities of Syria to pledge their allegiance to the new emperor and hailed his regime, which was peaceful and quiet for the first 18 inonths. But whereas Tiberius had eschewed emperor worship, Caligula now began to insist on it. He wanted images of himself as divus erected in all shrines and temples (including syna­gogues) in the empire.

    Caligula was not long on the imperial throne before he conferred on his friend Herod Agrippa I, the brother of Herodias and the grandson of Herod the Great, the terri­tory of Philip’s tetrarchy in N Transjordan (-. 141 above). With this grant went the title of king. On his way back to Palestine, King Herod stopped at Alexandria, and his brief sojourn there became the occasion of a serious defamatory outburst against hini and against the local once again reorganized the country into a Roman prov­ince to be ruled by procurators. The last of the Herodian family to enjoy partial rule in the area, however, was Marcus Julius Agrippa II, the son of Herod Agrippa I, who like most of his family had been brought up at Rome and was a mere boy of 17 when his father died. He did not inherit his father’s realm immediately, but when his uncle, Herod of Chalcis, died (48), he became the ruler of this small territory on the slopes of the Antilebanon. He subsequently relinquished this realm (ca. 52) and received from Claudius the old tetrarchy of Philip, to which Nero later added parts of Galilee and Perea. His relations with his sister Bernice (probably incestuous) caused scandal in Rome (Ant. 20.7, 3 § 145; Juvenal, Sat. 6.156fî.). It was before Agrippa and Bernice that the prisoner Paul had to explain his case in Caesarea (Acts 25:23fî.). After the fall of Jerusalem, Agrippa II went to Rome and lived there with Bernice; he was a praetor for a while and died between 93 and too. While ruling in Palestine, he had little influence on the Jewish population; he was opposed constantly by the priests and arbitrarily nominated and deposed high priests in rapid succession. The end of the Herodian dynasty was not glorious.

    In this period, and more precisely in the pro­curatorship of Tiberius Julius Alexander (46-48), Judea and other parts of the eastern Mediterranean world suffered from a severe famine. A prediction that it would affect “the whole world” is recorded in Acts 11:28. The striken Palestinian populace was aided by grain brought from Egypt with the help of a Jewish convert, Queen Helen of Adiabene (Ant. 20.5, 2 § 100-101). Pos­sibly this famine was the occasion of the visit of Barnabas and Saul to Jerusalem (Acts 11:29-30; 12:25; -> Life of Paul, 46:5, 24). It was possibly in the summer of 49-the date cannot be determined precisely (-. Life of Paul, 46:28-34)-that the meeting of the apostles and elders took place in Jerusalem. The Jerusalem “Council” decided against the circumcision of Gentile Christians and their obligation to observe the Mosaic Law (Acts 15:2-12). It was the historic decision that emancipated the Christian Church from its Jewish origins.

    The true rulers of Palestine in this period were the procurators, who made no attempt to understand the Jewish people, made little allowance for popular mani­festations, and rather looked for the chance to harass them. The period was marked by a succession of minor uprisings (Ant. 20.5, 1 § 97-98; 20.5, 3 § 106-12; HE 2.11, 2-3). The most notorious procurator of this period was M. •Antonius Felix (ca. 52-60), who married into the Herodian family, becoming the second husband of Drusilla, the sister of Agrippa II. Under him the up­risings developed into open hostility. He had been sent to Palestine by the emperor at the request of a deposed high priest (Jonathan), then living at Rome. Tacitus wrote of Felix, “In the spirit of a slave he carried out the royal duties with all sorts of cruelty and lust” (Histories 5.9; cf. Acts 24:24-26; Josephus, Ant. 20.7, 2 § 142). The decades preceding his arrival in Palestine saw the rise of Jewish “Zealots” (Gk zélütai, Aram gannānāyê), chau­vinists fanatically opposed to Roman occupation. Jo­sephus refers to them as “bandits” (lēstai) and records that Felix crucified countless numbers of them (JW 2.13, 2 § 253), in an effort to rid the country of them. A similar group, the “Sicarii” (nationalists armed with short daggers, sicae, and dedicated to the removal of their political opponents by quiet assassination, often at public functions), also arose at this time. Political murders occurred almost daily; their first victim was Jonathan the high priest, whom Felix was happy to have out of the way. There arose still another group of villains, “with cleaner hands but more wicked intentions” (JW 2.13, 4 § 258), who aroused the people to a wild enthusiasm against Rome and claimed a divine mission. To this period probably belongs the exploit of the Egyptian impostor of Acts 21:38. This Jewish false prophet led a crowd of people to the Mt. of Olives, promising that at his word the walls of Jerusalem would fall so that they could enter the city and wrest it from the Romans. Felix went out to meet them with heavy-armed infantry; the Egyptian escaped, but most of his force was either cap­tured or killed. During the last two years of Felix’ procuratorship Paul lay in prison at Caesarea (Acts 23:33-24:27). In the midst of Felix’ term the Emperor Claudius died (13 October AD S4), and Nero succeeded him.

     Nero sent out Porcius Festus (ca. 60-62) to succeed Felix; he sincerely tried to be an honest administrator (even showing favor to the Jews, cf. Acts 24:27). But the tinderbox situation that had developed under Felix was beyond the point of any lasting solution. Soon after Festus’ arrival a dispute arose between the Jewish and Syrian inhabitants of Caesarea; it was decided by an imperial rescript in favor of the Syrians. This embittered the Jews still more. It was Festus who finally sent Paul to Rome, when as a Roman citizen he used his right to appeal to the emperor for justice (Acts 25:11fî.). The situation was not improved under the next procurator L. Albinus (62-64), whose corruption was rampant. “There was no form of crime that he failed to perform” (JW 2.14, 1§ 272).


    The last of the Roman procurators was Gessius Florus (64-66), who by comparison made his predecessor seem to be a paragon of virtue (JW 2.14, 2 § 277). He openly plundered the land, robbed individuals, sacked towns, and took bribes from bandits. The Jews were greatly humiliated in Caesarea when Nero decided to grant the Gentiles superior civic rights and the “Hellenes” obstructed access to the syna­gogue by building shops before its entrance. They ap­pealed to G. Florus, but he did nothing to correct the situation. Later, when he took 17 talents from the Temple treasury, the Jerusalem Jews could contain themselves no longer. With supreme sarcasm and contempt they passed around their community a basket to take up a collection for the “indigent” Florus (JW 2.14, 6 § 293fî.). He took bloody revenge on them for the insult and turned part of the city over to his soldiers for plunder. Since the priests tried to control the Jews during these incidents and coun­seled them to patience, the meek attitude of the people, who did not react against the soldiers, was interpreted by the latter as scorn. Slaughter ensued. The Jews withdrew to the Temple precincts and soon cut off the portico passageway between the Temple and the Fortress Antonia. Florus, who was momentarily not strong enough to check the rebels, was forced to withdraw to Caesarea. The revolt against Rome had become formal.

    The leader of the Jews was Eleazar, who was aided by Menahem, a son of the Zealot leader Judas of Galilee. The land was organized for battle. The San­hedrin entrusted Galilee to the priest and Pharisee, Joseph, son of Matthias (= the historian Josephus; - Apocrypha, 68:114). He was, however, suspected of disloyalty by John of Gischala, a leader of Galilean Zealots; for Josephus spent more time in curbing the insurgents than in organizing them. At first the Jews succeeded in routing the troops of G. Florus and even those of C. Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, whose aid had been sum­moned. Nero eventually sent out an experienced field commander, Vespasian, who began operations in Antioch in the winter of 66-67, and soon moved against Galilee. Within a year the last of the Galilean posts fell with the surrender of Josephus at Jotapata.

    Northern Palestine was once again subject to Rome. Two legions, the Fifth and the Fifteenth, wintered at Caesarea (67-68), while the Tenth Legion was quartered at Scythopolis (Beth-shan). Meanwhile, the Jews sought aid from Idumea, but the Idumeans who came soon re­alized that the situation was hopeless and withdrew. It seems that at this time the Jerusalem Christians fled to Perea, settling mostly in Pella (Eusebius, HE 3.5, 3). 160 In the spring of 68 Vespasian moved toward Jerusalem via the Jordan Valley, seizing and burning rebel headquarters en route (Samaria, Jericho, Perea, Machae­rus, Qumran, etc.). He would have proceeded im­mediately to Jerusalem, had Nero not died on 9 June, 68. For this reason Vespasian halted his activities and watched developments in Rome. Meanwhile, civil war broke out in Jerusalem in the spring of 69. Simon bar Giora had been riding through the land with bands, plundering what the Romans had left. Finally he turned toward Jerusalem, where the people, tired of the tyranny of John of Gis­chala, welcomed the new leader. John and his party withdrew to the Temple and closed themselves in, while Simon ruled in the city itself.

Siege of Jerusalem (69-70).

    It was the Year of the Four Emperors: Galba succeeded Nero in Rome, but was murdered in January 69; Otho then be­came emperor, but was soon replaced by Vitellius. The latter only reigned until December 69. Since Vespasian had moved against Jerusalem in June of 69 and the Roman troops acclaimed him imperator on i July, he soon returned to Rome, leaving his son Titus to continue the attack on Jerusalem.

           The siege proper began in the spring of 70, just before Passover. Because the town was accessible only from the N (deep valleys flanked it on the W, S, and E), Titus encamped to the NE on Mt. Scopus. At Passover riots took place within the city in sight of the Romans, but the Jews eventually united to face the common enemy. Titus then threw up circunivallation and in plain view of the defenders crucified all who tried to flee from the besieged city. Hunger and thirst began to tell, so that in July the Fortress Antonia was entered by the Romans and razed. From this stronghold Titus was able to move toward the Temple. Fire was set to the gates on the 8th of Ab (August) and entry was made on the next day. Titus wanted to spare the Temple (JW 6.4, 3 § 241) but demanded surrender as the price. The people refused; and when further fighting ensued on the loth, a soldier cast a blazing brand into one of the Temple chambers. Although Titus tried to extinguish it, con­fusion reigned and more firebrands were thrown. Before the Holy of Holies was consumed, Titus and some of his officers managed to enter it to inspect it (JW 6.4, 6-7 § 254). Roman standards were soon set up opposite the east gate, and the soldiers “with the loudest of shouts acclaimed Titus imperator” (JW 6.6, 1 § 316).

    The Jews were slaughtered. John of Gischala had withdrawn to Herod’s palace in the upper city, and once more siege was set. By September 70 the city was finally taken, plundered, and razed; its walls were torn down, with only a few sections left standing. A Roman garrison was stationed in the city. John of Gischala, Simon bar Giora, and the 7-branched candlestick taken from the Temple formed part of Titus’ triumphal pro­cession at Rome in 711. Pockets of rebels still had to be conquered throughout the land (at Herodium, Masada, Machaerus); the last stronghold, Masada, did not yield until 74 (- e. Apocrypha, 68:110).

    Judaea capta was the inscription that appeared on the coins struck for the Roman province thereafter. This inscription expressed a truth with which the Jewish people have had to live until the formation of the modern state of Israel. Except for a very brief time during the “Liberation of Jerusalem” by Simon ben Kosibah (Bar Cochba; - below), when it is likely that the Temple sacrifice was resumed, the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 meant much more than the mere leveling of the holy city. It brought an end to the tradition of centuries according to which sacrifice was offered to Yahweh only in Jerusalem. This cultic act had made of Jerusalem the center of the world for Jews. Now the Temple stood no more; Rome dominated the land as it had not done be­fore. The fall of Jerusalem represented a decisive break with the past. From now on Judaism would emerge in a different direction. The Christian community was affected by this destruction too. To the Romans they were subject people like the Jews; to the Jews they were traitors. Christian refugees from Palestine carried to the Diaspora the reminiscences of the life of Jesus and of Palestinian conditions that we find in the Gospels.


    After Titus left Jerusalem in ruins, and a garrison was stationed there to maintain Roman military control, the lot of the Jews was not easy. Roman colonists were settled in Flavia Neapolis (modern Nablus) and 8oo veterans were given property in Emmaus. In Jerusalem itself some of the old inhabitants, both Jews and Christians, returned to live side by side with the Romans, as ossuaries and tombs of the period attest. Vespasian claimed the entire land of Judea as his private property, while tenant farmers worked the land for him.

    The Jewish community, which was used to paying a half-shekel as a tax for the Temple of Yahweh, now had to contribute the same to the fiscus iudaicus for the Roman temple of Jupiter Capitolinus. Religious practice shifted to certain forms of synagogue worship and to a more intensive study of the Torah, which became henceforth the rallying point for the Jews. With the destruction of the Temple the influence of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, headed by the high priest, waned. An academic San­hedrin of 72 elders (or rabbis) in Janmia under the leadership of Rabbi Johanan ben Zakkai and later under Rabbi Gamalicl II took over the authoritative position in the Jewish community. Even though Judea was ruled by the Romans, this Sanhedrin enjoyed a certain auton­omy. It fixed the calendar, and even functioned as a court of law.

    But both in Palestine and in the Diaspora there was always a yearning for the “restoration of Israel”-a yearning fed by the recollection of what had taken place after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BC. While Trajan was occupied toward the end of his reign with the threat of the Parthians, revolts of the Jews occurred in various parts of the empire (Cyrene, Egypt, Cyprus, Mesopotamia) ca. AD 1115-116. These uprisings stemmed in part from oppression, but also from messianic expecta­tions current among the Jews. The general who finally put down the Mesopotamian revolt was a Romanized Moor, Lusius Quietus, who was subsequently rewarded with the governorship of Judea. This appointment, however, suggests that elements of unrest in that area called for an experienced hand to manage the situation. 

SECOND REVOLT (132-135).

    The unsettled conditions in Judea finally came to a head in the so-called Second Revolt. Its causes are not certain. Dio Cassius (Rom. Hist. 69.12, 1-2) records that it was sparked by Hadrian’s attempt to build a Graeco-Roman city (Aelia Capitolina) on the site of Jerusalem and to erect a shrine to Jupiter on the ruins of the Temple of Yahweh. The Vita Hadriani 14.2 gives an imperial edict forbidding circumcision as the cause for the revolt. Hadrian had previously prohibited castration, but about this time renewed the prohibition and understood it to include circumcision. Though the decree was not directed specifi­cally against the Jews, it affected them in a major religious issue. Both causes may be true.

    At any rate, the Jews rose up once again against the Romans. Coins struck by them show that they re­garded the uprising as the “Liberation of Jerusalem” and the “Redemption of Israel.” Their intellectual leader was Rabbi Aqiba, their spiritual leader, the priest Eleazar, and their military commander, Simon ben Kosibah (more commonly known by the name he bears in Christian documents, Bar Cochba [Kochba, Cocheba]). Besides acting as military commander, he administered the land politically from his headquarters, probably in liberated Jerusalem. He preserved the elaborate administrative machinery and division of Judea into toparchies that the Romans had set up. Judea was now his private property, and tenant farmers paid their rent into his treasury. His military tactics against the Romans were those of guerrilla warfare, launched from many villages and outposts throughout the land (such as Herodium, Tekoa, En-gedi, Mesad Hasidin [= Khirbet Qumran?], Beth-ter).

    At the beginning of the revolt the Roman gov­ernor, Tineius Rufus, was helpless, even though he had Roman troops in the country. The legate of Syria, Publicius Marcellus, came to his aid with additional troops, but eventually Hadrian was forced to send his best general, Sextus Julius Severus, recalling him from Britain. Severus succeeded in putting down the revolt, but only after a long process of starving out the Jews who had taken refuge in strongholds and desert caves. In the valleys of Murabba’at, Hever, and Se’elim, caves were used by families who fled there with a few household belongings, biblical scrolls, and family archives. Officers from En-gedi fled to the Hever caves, taking with them letters of their commander, Simon ben Kosibah. When Jerusalem was once again captured by the Romans, Simon withdrew and made his last stand at Beth-ter (near modern Bittir, about 6 mi. WSW ofJerusalem). The war reached its height there in Hadrian’s 18th regnal year (134-135). A siege was raised by the Romans, and Beth-ter finally fell. Subsequently, Hadrian razed Jerusalem again, to build Aelia Capitolina. He decreed “that the whole [Jewish] nation should be absolutely prevented from that time on from entering even the district around Jerusalem, so that not even from a distance could it see its ancestral home” (Eusebius, HE 4.6, 3).

    The defeat of the Jews in the Second Revolt [resulted in a diaspora that lasted] 1800 years. Until 1967 they were not to be masters of the ancient holy city and the Temple area that had been for so many years the rallying point of the nation. After the destruction of AD 70 the hope lived on that the city and the Temple would be rebuilt. This hope was nurtured by the appearance of Simon ben Kosibah, who was even regarded as a messianic figure (whence his name “Son of the Star” [bar Cochba; cf. NM 24:17], said to have been given to him by Rabbi Aqiba). But it was an unfulfilled hope. He was the last major Palestinian political leader whom the Jews had until modern times. The hope of a return to Jerusalem and of a restoration of the Temple has been a part of the prayer of the Jews ever since those early days (cf. the prayer Shemoneh Esreh 14, 17).

    Very little is known about the Christian Church in Judea during this period. It was certainly then that the clear break between the Synagogue and the Church took place. When the Christians returned to Jerusalem after 70, the church there was presided over by Simeon, the son of Clopas, who was bishop until his martyrdom in 107. (Some would identify him with Simon, the “brother” of Jesus [Mk 6:3; Mt 13:551, so that a succes­ sion of Jesus’ relatives would have ruled the Jerusalem church, in the manner of a “caliphate.” With less evidence [Apostolic Constitutions 7.46], B. H. Streeter, The Primitive Church [N.Y., 1929], identifies Judas or Jude, the “brother” of Jesus, as the third bishop of Jerusalem.) After Simeon 13 other Jewish Christian bishops ruled the Jerusalem church up until the time of Hadrian (i.e., up until 132 roughly): Justus, Zacchaeus, Tobias, Benjamin, John, Matthias, Philip, Seneca, Justus Levi, Éphraem, Joseph, and Judas (Eusebius, HE 4.5, 3). Eusebius records that by the martyrdom of Simeon, “many thousands of the circumcision came to believe in Christ” (HE 3.35). This suggests that there was an active missionary program not only in the Diaspora but also in Judea itself.




of the F





(1) [Timeline]
AUGUSTUS 31 B.C.-14 A.D.



(2) [Timeline]


Punishes criticism of government: encourages informants to denounce traitors.  Initiates police state and reign of terror.


(3) [Timeline]


Demands that a statue of himself be erected in the Temple in Jerusalem and accorded divine honors: dies before the project is carried out.


(4)  [Timeline]


    Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome. . .” 


He utterly abolished the cruel and inhuman religion of the Druids among the Gauls, which under Augustus had merely been prohibited to Roman citizens; on the other hand he even attempted to transfer the Eleusinian rites from Attica to Rome, and had the temple of Venus Erycina in Sicily, which had fallen to ruin through age, restored at the expense of the treasury of the Roman people. Seutonius, Claudius, 25.


(5) [Timeline] NERO  54-68 

“  ... Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievious superstition...
Suetonius, Nero 16

Tacitus, Annals xv. 44. But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and be­come popular.
Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multi­tude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.
Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination when day­light had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car.
Hence, even for criminals who deserve extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.






(6) [Timeline]


Begins subjugation of rebellious Judea.


(7) [Timeline]


Completes subjugation of Judea. Destroys Temple in Jerusalem



(8) [Timeline]


Demanded the titles and honor of a god
while still living.
Revived the spies and informers of Tiberias' era.


Suetonius, Domitian 12.17.  Besides other taxes, that on the Jews was levied with the utmost rigor, and those were prosecuted who without publicly acknowledging that faith yet lived as Jews, as well as those who concealed their origin and did not pay the tribute levied upon their people.

κἀν τῷ αὐτῷ ἔτει ἄλλους τε πολλοὺς καὶ τὸν Φλάουιον <τὸν> Κλήμεντα ὑπατεύοντα, καίπερ ἀνεψιὸν ὄντα καὶ γυναῖκα καὶ αὐτὴν συγγενῆ ἑαυτοῦ Φλαουίαν Δομιτίλλαν ἔχοντα, 67.14.2 κατέσφαξεν ὁ Δομιτιανός. ἐπηνέχθη δὲ ἀμφοῖν ἔγκλημα ἀθεότητος, ὑφ' ἧς καὶ ἄλλοι ἐς τὰ τῶνουδαίων ἤθη ἐξοκέλλοντες πολλοὶ κατεδικάσθησαν, καὶ οἱ μὲν ἀπέθανον, οἱ δὲ τῶν γοῦν οὐσιῶν ἐστερήθησαν·     67.14.3 ἡ δὲ Δομιτίλλα ὑπερωρίσθη μόνον ἐς Πανδατερίαν.

Cassius Dio
Roman History 
Epitome of Book 67:14,1-3
Greek: Historiae Romanae : Cassii Dionis Cocceiani historiarum Romanarum 
(Weidmann, Berlin pyr 1895-190. rpr. 1955)

14 … And the same year Domitian slew, along with many others, Flavius Clemens the consul, although he was a cousin and had as his wife Flavia Domitilla, who was also a relative of the emperor's. The charge brought against them both was that of atheism, a charge on which many others who drifted into Jewish ways were condemned. Some of these were put to death, and the rest were at least deprived of their property. Domitilla was merely banished to Pandateria.



(THE FIVE Good Emperors)



(9) [Timeline]

NERVA 96-98

Dio Cassius says Nerva forbade accusations of maiestas (treason)
or of
Jewish practice 


(10)  [Timeline]

  TRAJAN  98-117

Pliny correspondence: Christians to be executed if obstinate, freed if recant.  Not to be sought out 



(11) [Timeline]

HADRIAN 117-138

Christians are to be executed if won't recant; but false informants to be dealt with harshly.

Ἀδριανοῦ ὑπὲρ Χριστιανῶν ἐπιστολή.

Epistle of {H}Adrian on Behalf of the Christians.

Μινουκίῳ Φουνδανῷ. 68.6Ἐπιστολὴν ἐδεξάμην γραφεῖσάν μοι ἀπὸ Σερηνίου Γρανιανοῦ, λαμπροτάτου ἀνδρός, ὅντινα σὺ διεδέξω. 68.7 οὐ δοκεῖ οὖν μοι τὸ πρᾶγμα ἀζήτητον καταλιπεῖν, ἵνα μήτε οἱ ἄνθρωποι ταράττωνται καὶ τοῖς συκοφάνταις χορηγία κακουργίας παρασχεθῇ.

     I have received the letter addressed to me by your predecessor Serenius Granianus, a most illustrious man; and this communication I am unwilling to pass over in silence, lest innocent persons be disturbed, and occasion be given to the informers for practising villany.

68.10 εἴ τις οὖν κατηγορεῖ καὶ δείκνυσί τι παρὰ τοὺς νόμους πράττοντας, οὕτως διόριζε κατὰ τὴν δύναμιν τοῦ ἁμαρτήματος· ὡς μὰ τὸνἩρακλέα, εἴ τις συκοφαντίας χάριν τοῦτο προτείνοι, διαλάμβανε ὑπὲρ τῆς δεινότητος, καὶ φρόντιζε ὅπως ἂν ἐκδικήσειας.

     If, therefore, any one makes the accusation, and furnishes proof that the said men do anything contrary to the laws, you shall adjudge punishments in proportion to the offences. And this, by Hercules; you shall give special heed to, that if any man shall, through mere calumny, bring an accusation against any of these persons, you shall award to him more severe punishments in proportion to his wickedness

                      Antoninus Pius

(12) [Timeline]



                      Marcus Aurelius



Authorizes amphitheater - torture by wild beasts for Christians in Gaul in 177


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