Illustrated by Peter Dennis. — UK, Oxford: Osprey Publishing Limited, 2013. — 97 p. — ISBN 978-1-78096-183-5.It was Pompey the Great who first involved Rome in Jewish affairs. Allowing himself to be drawn into a Jewish civil war between two rival claimants to the Hasmonean throne, in 63 bc he seized Jerusalem and profaned the Temple by entering the Holy of Holies. After the emasculation of the Hasmonean dynasty, Judea was inexorably drawn into the nexus of intrigue and civil war that defined the terminal phase of the Roman Republic. It was hardly surprising that a Parthian invasion of Palestine in 40 bc, with the establishment of a Hasmonean king in Jerusalem under their protection, was greeted with enthusiasm by the Jews. Rome’s response – the intervention of the legions and, after yet another bloody siege of Jerusalem, the installation as a puppet-king, the half-Jew Herod in 37 bc – was deeply resented in Judea. After Herod’s death in 4 bc, the Emperor Augustus first divided Judea between three of his sons, then imposed direct Roman rule in ad 6. Herod the Great’s grandson, Herod Agrippa I, reigned briefly over a reunited kingdom from ad 41 to 44. His son, Herod Agrippa II, was allocated a patchwork of territories to administer during the following decade. Roman suzerainity over Judea was administered by a succession of procurators whose performance was as substandard as their credentials, and who lacked the military muscle to impose order. Imperial authority leaned heavily on local elites within the province, but these lacked the confidence or respect of the wider Jewish population. The result was endemic strife, with the line between bandit and revolutionary always a fine one.
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