Jews under Roman Rule - W. D. Morrison

Destruction of the Jewish State
(A.D. 37-73.)

A feeling of relief and satisfaction ran through the whole empire when it became known that the gloomy Tiberius was dead. His successor Caligula, then in the twenty-sixth year of his age, assumed the responsibilities of power amid the acclamations of the Jewish provincials as well as the citizens of Rome (37-41). The new emperor began his career as a ruler under the happiest auspices. The senate, the people, the provinces, hailed the young monarch's advent to supreme authority with delight; his first public utterances produced an excellent impression, and for a short time it was believed that a new and brighter era had begun. These illusions were of brief duration; the true character of Caligula revealed itself as soon as he was securely seated on the throne, and he proved as his discerning predecessor had prophesied both a curse to himself and to the community. It may be said with a near approach to certainty that Caligula soon after he became emperor was mad; the unspeakable vices to which he was addicted are hardly compatible with sanity, and the abominable cruelties and caprices of his reign are clearly the aberrations of a disordered mind.

Unfortunately for the Jews, Caligula among his other peculiarities seriously imagined that he was a god. At Rome he sat among the statues of the divinities for the purpose of receiving public adoration. At Alexandria, where there was a large and important Jewish colony, he compelled the rabbis to admit his statue into their synagogues, and practically changed them in spite of all remonstrances into temples for the worship of himself. Orders were also sent to Petronius (A.D. 39), who had succeeded Vitellius as governor of Syria to place the imperial statue in the Temple of Jerusalem, and to crush out by force of arms any resistance which the Jews might offer to such a step. The cordial relations Vitellius had established by his conciliatory measures after the fall of Pilate were once more snapped asunder, and the Jewish people suddenly found themselves confronted by the same dangers as had menaced their ancestors when Antiochus Epiphanes polluted the sanctuary with the image of Olympian Zeus. But in the two centuries that had elapsed since this act of desecration a decided change had taken place in the feelings of the Temple aristocracy. They had now become as ardent upholders of Judaism as the Pharisees and the common people; and even the family of Herod joined with the rest of the nation in resisting the insane folly of Caligula.

In face of the tremendous and menacing opposition which immediately manifested itself in Judaea, Petronius, the governor, hesitated to carry out the imperial commands. He foresaw from the desperate temper of the people that it would be impossible to place Caligula's statue in the Temple without inflicting terrible misery on the unhappy country, and involving it in all the horrors of a religious war. In these circumstances this humane officer, well knowing the extreme peril in which he was placing himself, resolved to ask Caligula to rescind the obnoxious decree. While Petronius's letter was on its way to the emperor, King Agrippa, at a feast which he gave at Rome in honour of Caligula, adroitly interceded for his co-religionists; and orders were sent to the Syrian governor to proceed no farther with the project for erecting the emperor's statue in the Temple. When, however, the tyrant discovered that Petronius was also acting in behalf of the Jews, and that he had shrunk from executing the imperial will, a message was sent to him in which he was commanded to put himself to death. Fortunately for Petronius, Caligula was assassinated before the fatal message reached its destination; it came into his hands soon after the welcome announcement that the hateful monster was no more (A.D. 41).

Although all immediate danger was now at an end, the persecutions of Caligula produced a profound feeling of disquietude among the Jews. It was perceived on all sides that their religious liberty rested upon a frail foundation, and might at any moment be overthrown by the caprice or vanity of a heathen emperor. These apprehensions were fruitful ground for the operations of the Zealots, who had since the death of Judas the Galilean been actively and successfully propagating the doctrine of armed resistance to the Roman oppressor. The warlike teaching of these enthusiasts was rapidly superseding the passive doctrines of the Pharisees, and the latter were in consequence beginning to lose their accustomed hold upon the confidence of the masses. The people were becoming impatient of the fine distinctions drawn by the Pharisees on the subject of Roman domination. Why should they continue to wait any longer for the advent of the Messiah in order to be forever rid of the accursed heathen and all their works? Would it not be better, as the Zealots said, to follow the example of Mattathias, the noble father of the Maccabees, and once again win freedom at the point of the sword. It was not perceived by the fanatical masses that the historical conditions were entirely different, and that the mighty empire of the West, with its splendid military resources, was not for a moment to be compared with an effete Eastern monarchy in the last stages of decay. It was enough for the ignorant population that Caligula had been playing the same part as Antiochus Epiphanes; the hateful Roman with his heathen images was another type of Antichrist, and his dominion over God's elect people must no longer be endured. Such were the convictions which were fast ripening in the popular mind when Caligula was succeeded by his uncle Claudius (A.D. 41-54), then fifty years of age.

The personal character of the new Caesar made him in many respects as unfitted as his predecessor for the immense task of governing so vast an empire. For fifty years he had lived in comparative obscurity, and when the praetorians carried him into their camp and proclaimed him emperor, he was destitute of any real practical experience of public affairs. On account of bodily and mental infirmities, which had afflicted him from childhood, he had always been looked upon by his imperial relatives with feelings of pity or contempt; and when he became master of the Roman world, so weak, timid, and irresolute was his character, that he soon fell under the domination of women and slaves. Very little was to be expected from a ruler so unhappily constituted, and yet the policy which Claudius at first adopted in Judaea was singularly wise and opportune. Instead of sending a procurator, who with the best intentions would probably have added to the existing state of exasperation, Claudius fell back upon the methods of Augustus, and decided to manage Jewish affairs by means of a prince who understood the peculiarities of the people.

In King Agrippa who already ruled the two tetrarchies in the north of Palestine, formerly held by his uncles Philip and Antipas, Claudius found a man admirably suited to his purpose. Agrippa was a loyal friend of the imperial family; he had been of signal service to Claudius when he was proclaimed emperor, and gratitude as well as policy induced the new Caesar to extend the dominions of Agrippa, who was accordingly made ruler (A.D. 41) over all those territories which had formerly been administered by his grandfather, Herod the Great. As a precautionary measure Roman troops continued to garrison Caesarea and Samaria. The appointment of Agrippa had a mollifying effect upon the population, and his sagacious conduct of the government dissipated all fears of a revolt. At Jerusalem where he took up his residence, he lived in accordance with the strict principles of the Pharisees, and exercised his authority with mildness and moderation. The powers of the Sanhedrin were extended, the doctors became guests at the royal table, the populace was treated with affable generosity, and national sentiment gratified to a degree which brought the king into collision with Rome. Excepting the Christians whom he persecuted and put to death, all classes of the community were devoted to Agrippa, and when he died after a brief reign of little more than three years there was grief and lamentation throughout the land (A.D. 44).

The affairs of Palestine had been so successfully conducted by the deceased king, that Claudius decided to send Agrippa's son, then a youth of seventeen to occupy the vacant throne. Had the emperor possessed sufficient strength of mind to carry out this wise intention, and had he also withdrawn the Roman garrison which was mostly composed of Syrians, the elements of friction between Rome and Judaea would have been to a great extent removed. It is even possible that such a policy would have so far satisfied Jewish national aspirations as to avert the terrible insurrection which was already looming in the distance. Agrippa with Maccabaean blood in his veins had rehabilitated the Herodian family in the eyes of the populace; all but a few extreme fanatics would have joyfully submitted to the authority of his son.

Unhappily for the peace of Palestine, Claudius allowed himself to be overruled by his advisers; the youth of Agrippa's son, who was then being educated in Rome, was alleged as a reason for not transferring him to so responsible a position. The old method of governing the country by procurators was again resorted to. The Zealots were not slow to take advantage of the error which had been committed by the counselors of Caesar. Agrippa's reign though brief had indirectly furthered their cause by imparting a fresh impulse to patriotic feeling, and when the new procurator, Cuspius Fadus, (A.D. 44—46) entered upon his duties, he immediately found himself confronted with disaffection and disturbances.

[Illustration] from The Jews Under Roman Rule by W. D. Morrison


In spite, however, of the outbreak of insurrectionary movements among that portion of the population over which the Zealots had gained so great an ascendency, the emperor and his procurators still went on with the work of conciliation. The vestments of the high priest, which except for a brief interval after Pilate's deposition had always been in charge of the garrison in the tower of Antonia, were handed over to the Temple aristocracy. The power of nominating the high priest was taken away from the procurator, and in order that there might be no conflict between the civil and ecclesiastical authorities, Claudius appointed Herod, prince of Chalcis, a brother of the late king, to supreme control over all religious affairs. After the departure of Fadus, who had succeeded in restoring order, and in repressing a movement of a Messianic character, Claudius rightly discerning that Jewish discontent was at bottom of a religious nature, nominated Tiberius Alexander (A.D. 47), a nephew of Philo the philosopher, to the office of procurator. The emperor may have hoped that this officer, understanding the idiosyncrasies of his countrymen, would be competent to keep them within the bounds of order and law. But his mission proved a failure; a serious revolt of the Zealots took place; James and Simon, two sons of Judas the Galilean, were captured and crucified, and when Alexander was succeeded by Cumanus (A.D. 48-52), the situation in Judaea had become more menacing than ever. In fact, the procuratorship of Cumanus is little else than a painful record of robberies, murders, race hatreds, and insurrection. At last matters became so serious that the legate of Syria, Ummidius Quadratus felt himself compelled to interfere. This official had been entrusted with extraordinary powers in the East, and after investigating into the conduct of Cumanus, with respect to a bloody feud which had broken out between the Jews and Samaritans, he suspended the procurator, and sent him to Rome to justify his proceedings before the emperor. Once again Claudius gave evidence of his anxiety to conciliate the Jews. The Samaritans were condemned, Cumanus was banished, and a tribune named Celer, who had made himself offensive to the Jews, was sent back to Jerusalem to be executed.

It was no doubt believed in imperial circles that the people of Judaea would be appeased by the unwonted spectacle of a Roman officer perishing in obloquy at the scene of his misdeeds. The spirit of revolt, however, was not to be so easily allayed; every day it was gaining a firmer hold upon the popular mind, and the enemies of Rome had now become too numerous and implacable to be satisfied with anything short of national independence. The Temple aristocracy, it is true, still held aloof from the ideas of the Zealots, but it had become a rotten and effete caste, ever ready to plunder the poor and helpless, and as the trial of St. Paul before Ananias shows, very brutal in the exercise of its powers. Such men were regarded by the people as oppressors, and were utterly without influence. The Pharisees retained the respect of the masses, but they too were unable to stem the tide of popular feeling. It had become impossible to get the people to wait any longer for the advent of the Messianic king, and although they still believed that he would come to their deliverance they were determined in the meantime to begin the task themselves. The Zealots, in fact, were now triumphant, and the Zealots had opened their ranks to all who would swear eternal hatred against Rome. Robbers, brigands, assassins, the malefactor who murdered for hire as well as the honest patriot burning to be free, were all equally welcomed by the Zealots. . . . It was not so much the hardness of Roman rule as the fact that they were being ruled by aliens which was driving the Jews into rebellion. The time for concessions was at an end, and the only course now open to the emperor was to garrison the disaffected province with an overwhelming force, and to place a resolute procurator at the head of it. This stern line of policy Claudius did not deem it necessary to adopt, and under Felix, who succeeded Cumanus, the bonds of social order were dissolved.

The choice of Felix (52—60) at such a critical period was most unfortunate. It was said even by the Romans that he exercised his powers in the spirit of a slave; St. Paul was one of the many victims of his avarice; and his remedies for the disorders of Palestine only aggravated the disease. Under his procuratorship the Zealots and their allies, the Sicarii, or assassins became bolder and more defiant, and measures of severity produced no permanent result. Even in Jerusalem itself the procurator was incapable of holding the forces of anarchy in check. The functions of government were at times in abeyance; riot and bloodshed defiled the streets; assassinations took place with impunity within the Temple courts, and the worshipper at the feasts was in constant dread of having a dagger plunged into his heart by some mysterious hand. In the country districts the same lamentable disorder prevailed. Villages were sacked and burned down, houses plundered, the peacefully disposed were terrorized; the friends of Rome murdered whenever an opportunity presented itself. Passionate appeals were made to the people to revolt, and acquiescence in the established order of things was regarded as a crime. A feverish exaltation existed in the popular mind; the air was filled with rumours of the supernatural, and multitudes were ready to follow any deluded visionary who undertook to verify his vocation by the performance of some miracle or the revelation of a sign from heaven. On the Mount of Olives, a Jew from Egypt was able to collect a great number of people to witness the lofty walls of Jerusalem fall down at his command.

His followers, like the adherents of another fanatic named Theudas, were dispersed or slain; but the atmosphere of miracle which then hung over Palestine was fatal to the teachings of experience, and as soon as another visionary assumed the part of his baffled predecessor he immediately found a credulous multitude eager to espouse his cause.

Two years after the appointment of Felix to the procuratorship, Claudius was poisoned at the instigation of his wife Agrippina (54); and her son Nero, in whose interest this crime was perpetrated, was presented to the soldiers and proclaimed emperor (A.D. 54-68). But the change which had taken place in the occupant of the throne produced no alteration in Roman policy with respect to Palestine. Felix remained for some time longer at the head of affairs, and was eventually replaced by Porcius Festus (A.D. 60-62). The new procurator found himself confronted with a population in a state of anarchy, and although he made strenuous efforts to restore an outward semblance of order, the Zealots still continued to gain ground, visionaries still retained their hold upon the masses, and when Festus died (62) the disorder and confusion had become more deeply seated than before? Till the arrival of a successor to Festus, Ananus the high priest assumed supreme authority, and exercised it with extreme barbarity. James the Just and many other Christians were sentenced to be stoned; even the Jews felt his conduct to be intolerable, and the people impatiently longed for the arrival of Albinus, the new procurator (62-64). Albinus achieved as little success as his predecessors, and, judging by the nature of his proceedings, it is questionable if he expected much. He allowed sedition to go on unchecked as long as he was paid by the seditious to overlook it; he willingly accepted bribes from the Zealots to release their imprisoned companions; by practicing extortion on a wide scale he no doubt increased the number of the disaffected, and he was to all appearance more anxious to enrich himself than to pacify the distracted province.

Gessius Florus (64-66), the last of the procurators, proved even a greater scourge than Albinus. Under his administration the patience of the people became exhausted, and the revolt, which terminated in the destruction of the Jewish state, began.

The smallness of the Roman garrison, as well as the mutinous temper of the masses, who had now gone over in a body to the Zealots, combined to render the revolt inevitable, but its approach was accelerated by the arbitrary conduct of the procurator. Whole districts were plundered and reduced to desolation; all guarantees for the safety of life and property had disappeared; and numbers of the peaceably disposed inhabitants, finding the condition of Judaea becoming more and more intolerable, forsook the country and sought a home elsewhere. The first outbreak took place in Caesarea. It assumed the form of a street fight between the Jews and Greeks, which the Roman commander was not able to suppress. The flame of revolt spread to Jerusalem, and became most menacing when it was known that Florus had just taken seventeen talents from the Temple treasury. Florus soon appeared upon the scene, and made this seditious movement in the Holy City a pretext for letting loose his soldiers on the inhabitants. A sad scene of pillage and murder was the result; many eminent Jews were crucified, and by pursuing a policy of exasperation, Florus hoped to incite the populace into acts of rebellion. In this design he partially succeeded; serious fighting occurred in the streets of Jerusalem, the Zealots gained possession of the Temple Mount, and the Roman garrison was confined to the fortress of Antonia. Quiet, however, was for a time restored. Florus left the city, and Cestius Gallus, the legate of Syria, who had been apprised of the dangerous posture of affairs, sent one of his officers to Jerusalem to inquire into the true nature of the disturbances.

[Illustration] from The Jews Under Roman Rule by W. D. Morrison

When Neapolitanus, the officer charged with this duty, arrived in the Holy City, accompanied by Agrippa II., the tumult had abated, and he w s received by the people with many outward tokens of respect. After his departure, Agrippa, conscious of the burning passions that lay beneath this momentary calm, exhorted the populace in impressive language to remain at peace with Rome. But no amount of persuasion would induce them to submit for the future to the authority of Florus. For venturing upon such a suggestion, Agrippa was stoned by the multitude, and had to flee from the city. Every day the breach between Rome and Judaea was becoming wider, and, in spite of every effort of the friends of peace, the Zealots were rapidly making any pacific solution impossible. Headed by Menahem, another son of Judas the Galilean, they captured the fortress of Masada, and Put the Roman garrison to the sword. In accordance with their principles, the daily sacrifice which had been offered for the emperor since the days of Augustus was discontinued—a step which was equivalent to a declaration of war with Rome.

Many of the priests now joined the ranks of the disaffected, and Eleazar, the son of Ananias the high priest, placed himself at the head of the war party in Jerusalem. Most of the notables in the Holy City were terrified at the prospect of a rebellion, and Agrippa sent them three thousand men to assist the Roman garrison and hold the Zealots in check. But Agrippa's soldiers were unequal to the task, and after a series of bloody conflicts in the streets, they had to lay down their arms. In the midst of the disorder the public records were destroyed. The palaces of the high priest and the Herodian family were burnt to the ground. The opponents of the Zealots had to flee into hiding-places, and Ananias the high priest was discovered and slain. It was now a capital offence for any Jew to be suspected of desiring to live at peace with Rome. Flushed with their success over the forces of Agrippa, the Zealots now directed their efforts against the Roman garrison; the Romans were so small in number and so hard pressed that they offered to surrender on condition of being permitted to withdraw from the country. These terms of capitulation were solemnly accepted by the Jewish leaders, but the Romans had no sooner laid down their arms than they were basely massacred. It was a war of extermination upon which the Zealots had entered; Palestine must, they declared, be purified from the pollutions of the heathen; frightful massacres took place in different parts of the country, and the non-Jewish population, when unable to defend itself; was mercilessly put to the sword.

When tidings of these events began to arrive at Antioch, the capital of the proconsulate of Syria, the Romans quickly realized the gravity of the situation, and Cestius Gallus immediately made preparations for suppressing the revolt. With a force of twenty thousand Roman soldiers, and at least an equal number of auxiliaries, he commenced his march upon Jerusalem. In the month of September (A.D. 66) the Roman army appeared before the walls of the Holy City. But Gallus met with such an obstinate resistance that he determined to abandon the siege. His retreat was most disastrous, and terminated in a headlong flight. In addition to losing over six thousand men and several superior officers, his war material, baggage, and military chest fell into the hands of the victors, who returned triumphantly to Jerusalem laden with the spoils of war. Fired with the success of the Zealots, all classes now espoused the cause of national independence. The aristocracy placed themselves at the head of it. The whole of Palestine was for the present free, a government was organized, and vigorous preparations were made for the approaching conflict with Rome.

The disastrous expedition of Cestius Gallus compelled the Roman government to take a serious view of the rebellion, and it was decided at the court of Nero to send an officer of the highest rank to Palestine for the purpose of suppressing it. Titus Flavius Vespasian, a general of great sagacity and experience, who had achieved distinction in Germany and Britain, was invested with the powers of an imperial legate, and appointed to command the army destined to operate against the Jews. In the spring of the year A.D. 67, Vespasian assembled his forces, numbering about fifty thousand men, at Ptolemais on the sea coast, and made preparations for the reduction of the neighbouring province of Galilee. Here Josephus the historian was in command of the Jews, but the Zealot John of Gischala was the soul of the revolt. In the first campaign Galilee was brought into subjection; Josephus fell into the hands of the Romans, and John fled with a number of his followers to Jerusalem. While the Roman army was in winter quarters (A.D. 67-8), a terrible state of anarchy prevailed in the Holy City. John of Gischala, with the assistance of wild Idumaean hordes, overthrew the aristocratic government, massacred the most distinguished inhabitants, and literally drenched the city with blood. Vespasian was pressed by his subordinates to utilize this fratricidal strife for the advantage of the Roman arms. But he preferred allowing the Jews to continue weakening their powers of resistance, and was conscious that the appearance of a hostile army before the city walls would be a signal for all factions to rally round the common cause.

When the Roman general again took, the field, he deferred marching on Jerusalem till all effective opposition had been crushed out in Peraea, Samaria, and Idumaea. In the early part of the summer these operations were successfully accomplished; the rear of the Roman army was now secure from hostile assaults, and Vespasian was making dispositions for a close investment of the Holy City, when tidings reached the camp that the emperor Nero was dead (June, 68). As Vespasian was now without orders, all active operations were suspended, and the Zealots were able for some time longer to continue the work of self-destruction. For the moment the rebellion in Judaea ceased to occupy the first place in Vespasian's thoughts; civil war had broken out respecting a successor to Nero; the legions were at variance as to the choice of a new emperor. Galba Otho and Vitellius were set up and rapidly overthrown (A.D. 689); and finally the legions in the East proclaimed Vespasian, and seated him securely on the throne (A.D. 69-79).

For a period of nearly two years the war in Judaea remained at a standstill. At the expiration of that time Vespasian, whose hands were now free determined to complete the task he had undertaken in the reign of Nero, and to restore imperial authority within the walls of Jerusalem. An army consisting of four legions, besides a body of Syrian auxiliaries assembled at Caesarea, and the emperor's son Titus, then about thirty years of age, was appointed to the chief command. At the head of this force Titus advanced through Samaria, and about the Feast of the Passover (A.D, 70) the Roman troops encamped before the Holy City. Jerusalem was strongly fortified; to capture it was a formidable undertaking. It was protected on all sides by a triple circle of walls; in the interior of the city there were besides the massive fortifications around the Temple three mighty towers of enormous strength. The garrison consisted of the most determined and fanatical adherents of Judaism, whose desperate valour compensated to a great extent for their want of discipline. The defenders of the city were also sustained by the belief that the God of Israel would aid them in preserving His sanctuary from the pollutions of the heathen, and would intervene at the appointed moment to confound the enemies of His people. These lofty hopes, however, did not prevent the Zealots from dividing themselves into hostile and embittered factions during the long interval of respite which elapsed between the departure of Vespasian and the arrival of Titus. Instead of utilizing this period in strenuous preparations for defense, it was in great part wasted in bloody encounters between the rival parties which had sprung up within the ranks of the Zealots themselves. Ultimately the struggle for supremacy lay between John of Gischala, who held the Temple, and a certain Simon of Geraza, who held the city. Many of the followers of these two chiefs had perished in the daily conflicts which took place in the streets, and these conflicts continued till the appearance of the Roman army before Jerusalem compelled both parties to act in concert for its defense.

Titus, after an ineffectual attempt to treat with the insurgents, assailed Jerusalem from the north, and in a few weeks his soldiers obtained possession of the two outer walls and the lower portion of the city. The Romans now pushed forward upon the remaining fortifications, but failing in their efforts to storm the tower of Antonia, they surrounded the city with a wall, so as to starve the defenders into submission. As soon as this work was completed they renewed their operations against Antonia, and on the 5th of July it was carried by surprise. Fully another month elapsed before the Temple which was burnt down during the assault upon it fell into the hands of the Roman commander (August 10th). The loss of the Temple was a grievous blow to the Zealots, and entailed upon them an immense sacrifice of life. Some of them succeeded in joining their comrades in the upper city, where a terrible famine was raging, and although hope was now wellnigh extinguished, the insurgents were resolved to hold out to the very last. Three weeks after the destruction of the Temple the Romans delivered a final assault on the upper city; the Jews offered but a feeble resistance, and after an unprecedented struggle of five months' duration Jerusalem lay once more at the feet of Rome (Sept. 7, 70). Titus ordered the place to be demolished. A number of the captives, and among them John of Gischala and Simon of Gerasa, were reserved to adorn the triumph of the conqueror; the rest either perished in the Roman amphitheatres, or were transported to Egypt to labour in the mines. The capture of Masada, a Jewish fortress on the southwestern shores of the Dead Sea, put a termination to one of the fiercest struggles recorded in history (A.D. 73).

[Illustration] from The Jews Under Roman Rule by W. D. Morrison


The implacable attitude of the Zealots had taught Vespasian that it was no longer possible to govern Judaea in accordance with the principles of his predecessors. The policy pursued by them of allowing the Jews to manage their internal affairs subject to the cursory supervision of a procurator was liberal in its aim, and had proved successful in other parts of the empire, but it failed in Palestine in consequence of the political aspect which religious feeling had assumed in the minds of the population.

The perfect freedom enjoyed by the doctors of the Law under a system of local autonomy enabled them to turn the synagogues into schools of sedition. An ignorant and fanatical multitude had been trained from childhood to consider that it was at variance with their religion to accept a foreign yoke. It is not therefore surprising that every true son of the Law felt a burden upon his conscience till he was in arms against the power of Rome. This dangerous condition of popular feeling remained for the most part unknown to the Romans, and if symptoms of disaffection at times became manifest, they were probably treated by the Roman officials with a lofty disdain. In their eyes it no doubt seemed impossible that a petty Oriental nationality would ever venture into open conflict with the colossal forces at the command of the Caesars. The Romans, accustomed to regard human society from a secular point of view, had no notion of the overwhelming potency of religion in the Jewish mind, and remained unconscious of the deep and powerful passions which religious sanctions were implanting in the Jewish heart. It was not till the rebellion had been crushed that the Romans recognized the nature of the people with whom they had to deal.

A state which could produce such men as the Zealots, who were just as irreconcilable after defeat as they were before it, was seen to be a constant source of menace to the empire, and its continued existence as an organized community was clearly incompatible with imperial order, stability, and peace. If the smaller organism was not to cripple or paralyze the larger one, the only course before Vespasian was to decree the dissolution of the Jewish state. It was a harsh measure, but the necessities of imperial policy demanded it. Accordingly all the outward symbols of a separate nationality were as far as possible obliterated. Jerusalem and the Temple were purposely left in ruins. The High Priesthood and the Sanhedrin were also abolished, and no centre of authority was permitted to remain. Even the Jewish Temple, which had existed for some centuries in Egypt, was now shut up; it was determined to prevent this sanctuary from becoming a new source of disturbance and disaffection. The Temple tax, which the Jews had been in the habit of sending as a pious offering to Jerusalem, had now to be paid into the imperial treasury. The transformation of this offering into a Roman impost was probably intended to remind the Jews of their true position in the empire. In pursuance of the policy of completely severing Palestine from its past, a colony of veterans was settled near Jerusalem, the chief cities of the province were re-organized upon Western principles, and a determined effort was made to Romanize the whole land. The results of Vespasian's policy were only partially successful; a large force had to be maintained in the country, and the Jews, after all their disasters, were still the most important element in the community.