The Great Revolt of Judea against Rome

March 3 2022

In 66 CE, Jews in the province of Judea launched a major rebellion against Rome, which lasted until approximately 74 CE. As Barry Strauss notes in a review of a new history of the conflict, it was not the only significant national uprising in Roman history. But it is particularly memorable for three reasons:

First, it caused the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, an event that has left its mark to this day, although in very different ways, on Christianity and Islam as well as on Judaism. Religious Jews pray every day, morning and evening, a heartfelt prayer to see the Temple rebuilt. Christians have at least historically believed that the destruction of the Temple fulfilled Jesus’s prophecy, and so they think it indicates divine favor for the New Israel of Christianity.

Second, the Great Revolt brought a new dynasty to power in Rome, the Flavians, and with them a new architectural program. The dynasty’s founder, Vespasian (r. 69–79 CE), based his claim to the purple on his leading role in putting down the Great Revolt, which he achieved with the help of his son and successor, Titus. They, along with Titus’s younger brother and successor, Domitian, turned the center of Rome into a veritable world’s fair commemorating their defeat of the rebels of Judea. Monuments there included but were not limited to the famous Arch of Titus on the edge of the Roman Forum, with its relief sculpture showing loot captured from the Temple in Jerusalem; the nearby Temple of Peace, which housed some of that loot; a second arch dedicated to Titus, but no longer extant, at the entrance to the Circus Maximus; and above all, the Flavian Amphitheater, better known as the Colosseum. The most famous monument of ancient Rome and the symbol of the city today was built in part from spoils of war looted from Judea and served to commemorate that victory.

The third reason for the importance of the Great Revolt is the historian Josephus, a contemporary of and participant in its dramatic events. His Jewish War, or Judean War as some translate it, is by far the most detailed account of any rebellion in a Roman province that survives, as well as an important source for the history of the imperial Roman army.

Read more at New Criterion

More about: Ancient Israel, Ancient Rome, Josephus, Judean Revolt

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy