For after 132, see Bar Kokhba's revolt.
Roman Empire 125

The Roman empire in the time of Hadrian (ruled 117-138 CE), showing, in western Asia, the Roman province of Iudaea (modern Israel/Palestine). 1 legion deployed in 125

Iudaea (Hebrew: יהודה, Standard Yehuda Tiberian Yehûḏāh; Greek: Ἰουδαία; Latin: Iudaea; sometimes spelled Judaea in English) is the term used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel. It was named after Herod Archelaus's ethnarchy of Judea of which it was an expansion, the latter name deriving from the Kingdom of Judah of the 6th century BCE.

Rome's involvement in the area dated from 63 BCE, following the end of the Third Mithridatic War, when Rome made Syria a province. After the defeat of Mithridates VI of Pontus, general Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) remained to secure the area. Subsequently, during the 1st century BCE, the Herodian Kingdom was established as a client kingdom and then later in the first century CE parts became a province of the Roman Empire.

Iudaea Province was the stage of three major rebellions (see Jewish-Roman wars), including the Great Jewish Revolt (66-70 CE) the Kitos War (115-117 CE), and Bar Kokhba's revolt (132-135 CE), after which Hadrian changed the name of the province to Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina in an attempt to erase the historical ties of the Jewish people to the region.[1]

The Herodian client kingdom

Pompée dans le Temple de Jérusalem

Pompey in the Temple of Jerusalem, by Jean Fouquet

The first intervention of Rome in the region dates from 63 BCE, following the end of the Third Mithridatic War, when Rome made a province of Syria. After the defeat of Mithridates VI of Pontus, Pompey (Pompey the Great) remained there to secure the area.

The region at the time was not a peaceful place. Queen Salome Alexandra had recently died and her sons, Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, divided against each other in a civil war. In 63 BCE, Aristobulus was besieged in Jerusalem by his brother's armies. He sent an envoy to Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, Pompey's representative in the area. Aristobulus offered a massive bribe to be rescued, which Pompey promptly accepted. Afterwards, Aristobulus accused Scaurus of extortion. Since Scaurus was Pompey's brother in law and protégée, the general retaliated by putting Hyrcanus in charge of the kingdom as Prince and High Priest.

When Pompey was defeated by Julius Caesar, Hyrcanus was succeeded by his courtier Antipater the Idumaean, also known as Antipas, as the first Roman Procurator. In 57-55 BCE, Aulus Gabinius, proconsul of Syria, split the former Hasmonean Kingdom of Israel into five districts of Sanhedrin/Synedrion (councils of law).[2]

Both Caesar and Antipater were killed in 44 BCE, and the Idumean Herod the Great, Antipater's son, was designated "King of the Jews" by the Roman Senate in 40 BCE[3]. He didn't gain military control until 37 BCE. During his reign the last representatives of the Maccabees were eliminated, and the great port of Caesarea Maritima was built. He died in 4 BCE, and his kingdom was divided among his sons, who became tetrarchs ("rulers of a quarter part"). One of these quarters was Judea corresponding to the region of the ancient Kingdom of Judah. Herod's son Herod Archelaus, ruled Judea so badly that he was dismissed in 6 CE by the Roman emperor Augustus, after an appeal from his own population. Another, Herod Antipas, ruled as tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE to 39 CE, being then dismissed by Caligula.


Template:Infobox Former Subdivision

In 6 CE Judea became part of a larger Roman province, called Iudaea, which was formed by combining Judea proper with Samaria and Idumea.[4] Even though Iudaea is simply derived from the Latin for Judea, many historians use it to distinguish the Roman province from the previous territory and history. Iudaea province did not include Galilee, Gaulanitis (the Golan), nor Peraea or the Decapolis. The capital was at Caesarea[5], not Jerusalem which had been the capital for King David, King Hezekiah, King Josiah, the Maccabees and Herod the Great. Quirinius became Legate (Governor) of Syria and conducted the first Roman tax census of Iudaea, which was opposed by the Zealots.[6] Since Iudaea was not a Senatorial or Imperial province in its own right, but a sub-province of Syria, it was governed by a knight of the equestrian order, not a former consul or praetor of senatorial rank;[7] even though its revenue was of little importance to the Roman treasury, it controlled the land and coastal sea routes to the bread basket Egypt and was a border province against Parthia because of the Jewish connections to Babylonia. Pontius Pilate was one of these prefects, from 26 to 36 CE. Caiaphas was one of the appointed High Priests of Herod's Temple, being appointed by the Prefect Valerius Gratus in 18. Both were deposed by the Syrian Legate Lucius Vitellius in 36 CE.

The 'Crisis under Caligula' (37-41) has been proposed as the first open break between Rome and the Jews.[8]

Between 41 and 44 CE, Iudaea regained its nominal autonomy, when Herod Agrippa was made King of the Jews by the emperor Claudius. Following Agrippa's death, the province returned to direct Roman control for a short period. Iudaea was returned to Agrippa's son Marcus Julius Agrippa in 48. He was the seventh and last of the Herodians. There was, however, an imperial procurator in the area, responsible for keeping peace and tax raising. When Agrippa II died, about 100, the area returned to direct Roman Empire control.

Iudaea was the stage of three major rebellions against the Romans. They were (see Jewish-Roman wars for the full account):

Following the suppression of Bar Kokhba's revolt, the emperor Hadrian changed the name of the province to Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem became Aelia Capitolina in order to humiliate the Jewish population by attempting to erase their historical ties to the region.[1]

According to historian H.H. Ben-Sasson[9], under Diocletian (284-305) the region was divided into Palaestina Prima which was Judea, Samaria, Idumea, Peraea and the coastal plain with Caesarea as capital, Palaestina Secunda which was Galilee, Decapolis, Golan with Beth-shean as capital, and Palaestina Tertia which was the Negev with Petra as capital.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0674397312, page 334: "In an effort to wipe out all memory of the bond between the Jews and the land, Hadrian changed the name of the province from Iudaea to Syria-Palestina, a name that became common in non-Jewish literature."
  2. Antiquities of the Jews 14.5.4: "And when he had ordained five councils (συνέδρια), he distributed the nation into the same number of parts. So these councils governed the people; the first was at Jerusalem, the second at Gadara, the third at Amathus, the fourth at Jericho, and the fifth at Sepphoris in Galilee." Jewish Encyclopedia: Sanhedrin: "Josephus uses συνέδριον for the first time in connection with the decree of the Roman governor of Syria, Gabinius (57 BCE), who abolished the constitution and the then existing form of government of Palestine and divided the country into five provinces, at the head of each of which a sanhedrin was placed ("Ant." xiv. 5, § 4)."
  3. Jewish War 1.14.4: Mark Antony " ...then resolved to get him made king of the Jews ... told them that it was for their advantage in the Parthian war that Herod should be king; so they all gave their votes for it. And when the senate was separated, Antony and Caesar went out, with Herod between them; while the consul and the rest of the magistrates went before them, in order to offer sacrifices [to the Roman gods], and to lay the decree in the Capitol. Antony also made a feast for Herod on the first day of his reign."
  4. H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0674397312, page 246: "When Archelaus was deposed from the ethnarchy in 6 CE, Judea proper, Samaria and Idumea were converted into a Roman province under the name Iudaea."
  5. A History of the Jewish People, H.H. Ben-Sasson editor, 1976, page 247: "When Judea was converted into a Roman province [in 6 CE, page 246], Jerusalem ceased to be the administrative capital of the country. The Romans moved the governmental residence and military headquarters to Caesarea. The centre of government was thus removed from Jerusalem, and the administration became increasingly based on inhabitants of the hellenistic cities (Sebaste, Caesarea and others)."
  6. Josephus' Antiquities 18
  7. Josephus, Antiquities 17.355 & 18.1-2;
  8. H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0674397312, The Crisis Under Gaius Caligula, pages 254-256: "The reign of Gaius Caligula (37-41) witnessed the first open break between the Jews and the Julio-Claudian empire. Until then — if one accepts Sejanus' heyday and the trouble caused by the census after Archelaus' banishment — there was usually an atmosphere of understanding between the Jews and the empire ... These relations deteriorated seriously during Caligula's reign, and, though after his death the peace was outwardly re-established, considerable bitterness remained on both sides. ... Caligula ordered that a golden statue of himself be set up in the Temple in Jerusalem. ... Only Caligula's death, at the hands of Roman conspirators (41), prevented the outbreak of a Jewish-Roman war that might well have spread to the entire East."
  9. H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0674397312, page 351

External links

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