Biblical Archaeology Review 33:5, September/October 2007

Hadrian’s Hard-Won Victory

Romans Suffer Severe Losses in Jewish War

By Werner Eck

The First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66–70 A.D.), which ended with the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple, was chronicled by the great Jewish historian Josephus. Much of his Jewish War, which extends to 681 pages in the standard Loeb Classical Texts edition, is an eye-witness account: Josephus commanded the Jewish forces in Galilee until he surrendered in 67; for some time he was a prisoner of war and accompanied Vespasian to Alexandria. Later he returned to Judea with Titus, however, and was thus able to describe the destruction of Jerusalem day by day, sometimes hour by hour.

The Second Jewish Revolt against Rome (132–135/6 A.D.) had no Josephus. The only account written relatively close to the events is that of the Roman historian Cassius Dio, who wrote at the beginning of the third century. His report in the abbreviation of a Byzantine monk of the 11th century covers slightly more than two pages in the Loeb Classical Texts edition.1

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