Jerusalem Archaeological Park
The Causes of the War

Most of the Second Temple period is marked by the Jews' growing resentment of the Roman rule. This attitude is related to in Rabbinic literature which stressed its opposition to violent confrontations with the foreign rulers. The outbreak of the Great Revolt is therefore perplexing: What did the Jews expect to gain? The Roman empire was at its peak in the first century CE, and held the world in its grip. The Roman army was the greatest at the time, and included 29 legions - 350,000 trained soldiers, with superb warfare at hand. A confrontation with such an army would be nothing but an act of suicide!
The historians of the time, The Jewish historian Josephus (The Jewish War, Book 2, Chapter 14, 293; (The Jewish War, Book 2, Chapter 15, 318-332) and the Roman historian Tacitus (Chronicles 5, 10), relate the deterioration of the relationship between Jews and Romans in the days of Roman procurator Florus (64-66 CE); growing tension between the Jewish and non-Jewish populations, and the zealots' demand for complete separation from gentiles, were further catalystis to rebellion. Striving to prevent the upcoming war, the Jewish ruler Agrippa II arrived in Jerusalem to dissuade the Jews from an act of rebellion (The Jewish War, Book 2, Chapter 16, 344-401). He failed and was compelled to leave the city. Following this incident, the zealots took over the city, and abolished the traditional sacrifice offered for the emperor's welfare (The Jewish War, Book 2, Chapters 16-17, 401-409).
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