The Bar Kokhba revolt (Hebrew: מֶרֶד בַּר כּוֹכְבָא Mereḏ Bar Kōḵḇāʾ) was a large-scale armed rebellion initiated by the Jews of Judea, led by Simon bar Kokhba, against the Roman Empire in 132 CE.[6] Lasting until 135 or early 136, it was the third and final escalation of the Jewish–Roman wars.[7] Like the First Jewish–Roman War and the Second Jewish–Roman War, the Bar Kokhba revolt resulted in a total Jewish defeat; Bar Kokhba himself was killed by Roman troops at Betar in 135 and the Jewish rebels who remained after his death were all killed or enslaved within the next year.

Bar Kokhba revolt
מֶרֶד בַּר כּוֹכְבָא
Part of the Jewish–Roman wars
Close-up view of the rebellion's leader on a large menorah sculpture in Jerusalem
Detail of Simon bar Kokhba from Benno Elkan's Knesset Menorah
Date132–136 CE
(main phase: autumn 132 – summer 135)
Judea, Roman Empire
Result Roman victory
  • Restructuring of Judea as Syria Palaestina
  • Massacre of the Judean populace
  • Suppression of Jewish religious/political autonomy by Hadrian
  • Expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem
Destruction of the rebels' Jewish state by the Roman army
Roman Empire Judeans
Commanders and leaders
Units involved
  • Bar Kokhba's army
  • * Bar Kokhba's guard
  • * Local militias
  • Samaritan youth bands
2 legions – 20,000 (132–133)
5 legions – 80,000 (133–134)
6–7 full legions, cohorts of 5–6 more, 30–50 auxiliary units – 120,000 (134–135)
200,000–400,000 militiamen
• 12,000 Bar Kokhba's guard force
Casualties and losses
Legio XXII Deiotariana possibly destroyed[1]
Legio IX Hispana possibly disbanded[2][a]
Legio X Fretensis sustained heavy casualties[3]
500,000–600,000 killed[4][5]

Roman rule in Judea was not well-received among the Jewish population, especially after the destruction of the Second Temple during the Roman siege of Jerusalem in 70. The Romans had also continued to maintain a large military presence across the province; pushed unpopular changes in administrative and economic life;[8] constructed the colony of Aelia Capitolina over the destroyed city of Jerusalem; and erected a place of worship for Jupiter on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, where the Jews' Second Temple had stood.[9] Rabbinic literature and the Church Fathers emphasize the role of Quintus Tineius Rufus, the erstwhile Roman governor of Judea, in provoking the Bar Kokhba revolt.[10] The charismatic and messianic nature of Bar Kokhba may have also been a factor in popularizing the uprising across all of Judea.[11]

With the onset of the conflict, initial rebel victories established an independent Jewish enclave covering much of the province for several years. Bar Kokhba was appointed nasi (נָשִׂיא, lit.'prince') of the rebels' provisional state, and much of Judea's populace regarded him as the Messiah of Judaism who would restore Jewish national independence.[12] This initial setback for the Romans led Hadrian to assemble a large army—six full legions with auxiliaries and other elements from up to six additional legions, all under the command of Sextus Julius Severus—and launch an extensive military campaign across Judea in 134, ultimately crushing the revolt.[13]

The killing of Bar Kokhba and the subsequent defeat of his rebels yielded disastrous consequences for Judea's Jewish populace, even more so than the crackdown that had taken place during and after the First Jewish–Roman War.[14] Based on archeological evidence, ancient sources, and contemporary analysis, between 500,000–600,000 Jews are estimated to have been killed in the conflict.[5] Judea was heavily depopulated as a result of the number of Jews killed or expelled by Roman troops, with a significant number of captives sold into slavery.[15][16][17] Following the failure of the Bar Kokhba revolt, the center of Jewish society shifted from Judea to Galilee.[18] The Jews were also subjected to a series of religious edicts by the Romans, including an edict that barred all Jews from entering Jerusalem.[9][19] The Bar Kokhba revolt also had philosophical and religious ramifications; Jewish belief in the Messiah was abstracted and spiritualized, and rabbinical political thought became deeply cautious and conservative. The rebellion was also among the events that helped differentiate Early Christianity from Judaism.[20]


The Bar Kokhba revolt was the last of three major Jewish–Roman wars, so it is also known as the Third Jewish–Roman War or the Third Jewish Revolt. Some historians also refer to it as the Second Revolt of Judea,[21] not counting the Kitos War (115–117 CE), which had only marginally been fought in Judea.


The first coin issued at the mint of Aelia Capitolina about 130/132 CE. Reverse: COL[ONIA] AEL[IA] CAPIT[OLINA] COND[ITA] ('The founding of Colonia Aelia Capitolina').

After the First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), Roman authorities took measures to suppress the rebellious province of Roman Judea. Instead of a procurator, they installed a praetor as a governor and stationed an entire legion, the X Fretensis, in the area. Tensions continued to build up in the wake of the Kitos War, the second large-scale Jewish insurrection in the Eastern Mediterranean during 115–117, the final stages of which saw fighting in Judea. Mismanagement of the province during the early 2nd century might well have led to the proximate causes of the revolt, largely bringing governors with clear anti-Jewish sentiments to run the province. Gargilius Antiques may have preceded Rufus during the 120s.[22] The Church Fathers and rabbinic literature emphasize the role of Rufus in provoking the revolt.[10]

Historians have suggested multiple reasons for the sparking of the Bar Kokhba revolt, long-term and proximate. Several elements are believed to have contributed to the rebellion; changes in administrative law, the widespread presence of legally-privileged Roman citizens, alterations in agricultural practice with a shift from landowning to sharecropping, the impact of a possible period of economic decline, and an upsurge of nationalism, the latter influenced by similar revolts among the Jewish communities in Egypt, Cyrenaica and Mesopotamia during the reign of Trajan in the Kitos War.[9]

The proximate reasons seem to centre around the construction of a new city, Aelia Capitolina, over the ruins of Jerusalem and the erection of a temple to Jupiter on the Temple mount.[9] Until recently, some historians had tried to question the Colonia foundation event as one of the causes of the revolt, suggesting to rather time the Colonia establishment to the aftermath of the revolt as a punishment.[23] However, the 2014 archaeological finding of the Legio Fretensis inscription in Jerusalem dedicated to Hadrian and dated to 129/130 CE,[24] as well as identification of Colonia Aelia Capitolina struck coins have since been largely accepted as confirmation to the sequence of events depicted in Jewish traditional literature. One interpretation involves the visit in 130 CE of Hadrian to the ruins of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. At first sympathetic towards the Jews, Hadrian promised to rebuild the Temple, but the Jews felt betrayed when they found out that he intended to build a temple dedicated to Jupiter upon the ruins of the Second Temple.[4] A rabbinic version of this story claims that Hadrian planned on rebuilding the Temple, but that a malevolent Samaritan convinced him not to. The reference to a malevolent Samaritan is, however, a familiar device of Jewish literature.[25]

An additional legion, the VI Ferrata, arrived in the province to maintain order. Works on Aelia Capitolina, as Jerusalem was to be called, commenced in 131 CE. The governor of Judea, Tineius Rufus, performed the foundation ceremony, which involved ploughing over the designated city limits.[26] "Ploughing up the Temple",[27][28][29] seen as a religious offence, turned many Jews against the Roman authorities. The Romans issued a coin inscribed Aelia Capitolina.[30][31][32]

The Historia Augusta, a text which is problematic when used as a source for historical fact,[33][34] states tensions rose after Hadrian banned circumcision, referred to as mutilare genitalia,[35][36] taken to mean brit milah.[37] Were the claim true it has been conjectured that Hadrian, as a Hellenist, would have viewed circumcision as an undesirable form of mutilation.[38] The claim is often considered suspect, and it may in reality have been intended to constitute a form of mockery of Jewish traditions which seemed absurd to the Romans. [39][40][41]

Timeline of events

Jewish leaders carefully planned the second revolt to avoid the numerous mistakes that had plagued the first First Jewish–Roman War sixty years earlier.[42] In 132, the revolt, led by Simon bar Kokhba and Elasar, quickly spread from Modi'in across the country, cutting off the Roman garrison in Jerusalem.[6]

After Legio X and Legio VI failed to subdue the rebels, additional reinforcements were dispatched from neighbouring provinces. Gaius Poblicius Marcellus, the Legate of Roman Syria, arrived commanding Legio III Gallica, while Titus Haterius Nepos, the governor of Roman Arabia, brought Legio III Cyrenaica.[43] Later on it is proposed by some historians[vague] that Legio XXII Deiotariana was sent from Arabia Petraea, but was ambushed and massacred on its way to Aelia Capitolina (Jerusalem), and possibly disbanded as a result.[44]

According to Rabbinic sources some 400,000 men were at the disposal of Bar Kokhba at the peak of the rebellion.[45]

Bar Kokhba's tetradrachm overstruck on a denarius. Obverse: the Jewish Temple facade with the rising star. Reverse: A lulav, the text reads: "to the freedom of Jerusalem"
Bar Kokhba's coin. Obverse: Grapes, the text reads: "year 1 to the redemption of Israel". Reverse: a date palm with two branches of dates; “Eleazar the Priest” (in Hebrew) around
Territory held by the rebels in blue.

Simon bar Kokhba took the title Nasi Israel[46] and ruled over an entity named Israel that was virtually independent for over two and a half years. The Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva, who was the spiritual leader of the revolt,[47] identified Simon Bar Koziba as the Jewish messiah, and gave him the Aramaic patronymic bar Kokhba, meaning "Son of a Star", a reference to the Star Prophecy in Numbers 24:17: "A star rises from Jacob".[48] The name Bar Kokhba does not appear in the Talmud but in ecclesiastical sources.[49]

With the slowly advancing Roman army cutting supply lines, the rebels engaged in long-term defense. The defense system of Judean towns and villages was based mainly on underground hiding complexes, which were created in large numbers in almost every population center. Many houses utilized underground hideouts, where Judean rebels hoped to withstand Roman superiority by the narrowness of the passages and even ambushes from underground. The cave systems were often interconnected and used not only as hideouts for the rebels but also for storage and refuge for their families.[50] Hideout systems were employed in the Judean hills, the Judean desert, northern Negev, and to some degree also in Galilee, Samaria and Jordan Valley. As of July 2015, some 350 hideout systems have been mapped within the ruins of 140 Jewish villages.[51]

Following a series of setbacks, Hadrian called his general Sextus Julius Severus from Britannia,[52] and troops were brought from as far as the Danube. In 133/4, Severus landed in Judea with three legions from Europe (including Legio X Gemina and possibly also Legio IX Hispana), cohorts of additional legions and between 30 and 50 auxiliary units.[citation needed]

The size of the Roman army amassed against the rebels was much larger than that commanded by Titus sixty years earlier - nearly one third of the Roman army took part in the campaign against Bar Kokhba. It is estimated that forces from at least 10 legions participated in Severus' campaign in Judea, including Legio X Fretensis, Legio VI Ferrata, Legio III Gallica, Legio III Cyrenaica, Legio II Traiana Fortis, Legio X Gemina, cohorts of Legio V Macedonica, cohorts of Legio XI Claudia, cohorts of Legio XII Fulminata and cohorts of Legio IV Flavia Felix, along with 30–50 auxiliary units, for a total force of 60,000–120,000 Roman soldiers facing Bar Kokhba's rebels. It is plausible that Legio IX Hispana was among the legions Severus brought with him from Europe, and that its demise occurred during Severus' campaign, as its disappearance during the second century is often attributed to this war.[53][unreliable source?]

According to some views one of the crucial battles of the war took place near Tel Shalem in the Beit She'an valley, near what is now identified as the legionary camp of Legio VI Ferrata. This theory was proposed by Werner Eck in 1999, as part of his general maximalist work which did put the Bar Kokhba revolt as a very prominent event on the course of the Roman Empire's history.[54] Next to the camp, archaeologists unearthed the remnants of a triumphal arch, which featured a dedication to Emperor Hadrian, which most likely refers to the defeat of Bar Kokhba's army.[55] Additional finds at Tel Shalem, including a bust of Emperor Hadrian, specifically link the site to the period. The theory for a major decisive battle in Tel Shalem implies a significant extension of the area of the rebellion, with Werner Eck suggesting the war encompassed also northern Valleys together with Galilee.[56]

Ruined walls of the Beitar fortress, the last stand of Bar Kokhba

After losing many of their strongholds, Bar Kokhba and the remnants of his army withdrew to the fortress of Betar, which subsequently came under siege in the summer of 135. Legio V Macedonica and Legio XI Claudia are said to have taken part in the siege.[57] According to Jewish tradition, the fortress was breached and destroyed on the fast of Tisha B'av, the ninth day of the lunar month Av, a day of mourning for the destruction of the First and the Second Jewish Temple. Rabbinical literature ascribes the defeat to Bar Kokhba killing his maternal uncle, Rabbi Elazar Hamudaʻi, after suspecting him of collaborating with the enemy, thereby forfeiting Divine protection.[58] The horrendous scene after the city's capture could be best described as a massacre.[59] The Jerusalem Talmud relates that the number of dead in Betar was enormous, that the Romans "went on killing until their horses were submerged in blood to their nostrils."[60]

Roman Inscription found near Battir mentioning the 5th and 11th Roman Legions

According to a rabbinic midrash, the Romans executed eight leading members of the Sanhedrin (The list of Ten Martyrs includes two earlier rabbis): Rabbi Akiva; Haninah ben Teradion; the interpreter of the Sanhedrin, Rabbi Huspith; Eleazar ben Shammua; Hanina ben Hakinai; Jeshbab the Scribe; Judah ben Dama; and Judah ben Bava. The precise date of Akiva's execution is disputed, some dating it to the beginning of the revolt based on the midrash, while others link it to final phases. The rabbinic account describes agonizing tortures: Akiva was flayed with iron combs, Ishmael had the skin of his head pulled off slowly, and Haninah was burned at a stake, with wet wool held by a Torah scroll wrapped around his body to prolong his death.[61]

Following the Fall of Betar, the Roman forces went on a rampage of systematic killing, eliminating all remaining Jewish villages in the region and seeking out the refugees. Legio III Cyrenaica was the main force to execute this last phase of the campaign. Historians disagree on the duration of the Roman campaign following the fall of Betar. While some claim further resistance was broken quickly, others argue that pockets of Jewish rebels continued to hide with their families into the winter months of late 135 and possibly even spring 136. By early 136 however, it is clear that the revolt was defeated.[62] The Babylonian Talmud (Sanhedrin 93b) says that Bar Kokhba reigned for a mere two and a half years.


Roman losses

Schematic reconstruction of the Arch of Hadrian in Tel Shalem, dedicated to the Emperor for defeating the Jewish revolt of 132–135

Roman casualties are also considered to have been heavy; the Roman army disbanded Legio XXII Deiotariana following the revolt, perhaps due to serious losses.[63] Cassius Dio wrote that "Many Romans, moreover, perished in this war. Therefore, Hadrian, in writing to the Senate, did not employ the opening phrase commonly affected by the emperors: 'If you and your children are in health, it is well; I and the army are in health.'"[64] Some argue that the exceptional number of preserved Roman veteran diplomas from the late 150s and 160s CE indicate an unprecedented conscription across the Roman Empire to replenish heavy losses within military legions and auxiliary units between 133 and 135, corresponding to the revolt.[65]

As noted above, XXII Deiotariana may have been disbanded after serious losses.[63][66] In addition, some historians argue that Legio IX Hispana's disbandment in the mid-2nd century could have been a result of this war.[53] Previously it had generally been accepted that the Ninth disappeared around 108 CE, possibly suffering its demise in Britain, according to Mommsen; but archaeological findings in 2015 from Nijmegen, dated to 121 CE, contained the known inscriptions of two senior officers who were deputy commanders of the Ninth in 120 CE, and lived on for several decades to lead distinguished public careers. It was concluded that the Legion was disbanded between 120 and 197 CE—either as a result of fighting the Bar Kokhba revolt, or in Cappadocia (161), or at the Danube (162).[67][unreliable source?] Legio X Fretensis sustained heavy casualties during the revolt.[3]

Impact on the Jewish population

The Bar Kokhba Revolt had catastrophic consequences for the Jewish population in Judaea, with profound loss of life, extensive forced displacements, and widespread enslavement. The scale of suffering surpassed even the aftermath of the First Jewish–Roman War, leaving central Judea in a state of desolation.[14][17] Some scholars characterize these consequences as an act of genocide.[14][68] After the revolt, the province of Judaea was renamed Syria Palaestina[69] as an intended punishment for the Jews and as a result of the desires of the region’s non-Jewish inhabitants.[70]

Casualties and widespread destruction

Roman historian Cassius Dio (c. 155–235) wrote that:[5]

50 of their most important outposts and 985 of their most famous villages were razed to the ground. 580,000 men were slain in the various raids and battles, and the number of those that perished by famine, disease and fire was past finding out, Thus nearly the whole of Judaea was made desolate."

— Cassius Dio, History of Rome, 69.14.1–2

Archaeological evidence supports the widespread destruction in Judaea. Excavations have revealed that every village in Judea shows signs of destruction from the revolt.[19] The majority of Roman-period settlements in Judea that have been excavated exhibit destruction or abandonment layers, and there is a settlement gap above these layers. It appears that Jewish settlement in Judea had been almost completely eradicated by the end of the revolt.[5]

In 1981, Schäfer suggested that Dio exaggerated his numbers.[71] On the other hand, in 2003 Cotton considered Dio's figures highly plausible, in light of accurate Roman census declarations.[72] In 2021, an ethno-archaeological comparison analysis by Dvir Raviv and Chaim Ben David supported the accuracy of Dio's depopulation claims, describing his account as "reliable" and "based on contemporaneous documentation."[5] Applebaum estimates that about two-thirds of the Jewish population of Judea died during the revolt.[73][74]


Eusebius writes that:

[...] all the families of the Jewish nation have suffered pain worthy of wailing and lamentation because God's hand has struck them, delivering their mother-city over to strange nations, laying their Temple low, and driving them from their country, to serve their enemies in a hostile land.

— Eusebius of Caesarea, Demonstratio Evangelica, VIII, 4, 23

Jerome provides a similar account:

in Hadrian's reign, when Jerusalem was completely destroyed and the Jewish nation was massacred in large groups at a time, with the result that they were even expelled from the borders of Judaea.

— Jerome, Commentary on Daniel (translated by Gleason L. Archer), III, ix, 24

Jews were expelled from the area of Jerusalem.[75] Mor writes that Jews were expelled from the districts of Gophna, Herodion, and Aqraba.[76] In addition, the revolt triggered a widespread migration of Jews from Judaea to coastal cities and Galilee.[74]

Artistic, epigraphic and numismatic findings from post-revolt Judea, in Klein's assessment, indicates that the Roman authorities replaced the departing and slain Jews with a mixed population that was made up of a mixture of Roman veterans and immigrants from the western parts of the empire who settled in Aelia Capitolina, its surroundings, administrative centers, and along the main roads, as well as immigrants from the coastal plain and neighboring provinces from Syria, Phoenicia, and Arabia who settled in the Judean countryside.[77][78][79]

In the vicinity of Jerusalem, villages were depopulated, and arable land owned by Jews was confiscated. The lack of an alternative population to fill the empty villages led Roman and later Byzantine authorities to seek a different approach to benefit the nobles and finally the church by constructing estate farms and monasteries on the empty village lands.[80] The Roman legionary tomb at Manahat, the ruins of Roman villas at Ein Yael, Khirbet er-Ras, Rephaim Valley and Ramat Rachel, and the Tenth Legion's kilns discovered near Giv'at Ram are all indications that the rural area surrounding Aelia Capitolina underwent a romanization process, with Roman citizens and Roman veterans settling in the area during the Late Roman period.[81] Indications for the settlement of Roman veterans in other parts of Judea proper includes a magnificent marble sarcophagus showing Dionysus discovered in Turmus Ayya, Latin-inscribed stone discovered at Khirbet Tibnah, a statue of Minerva discovered at Khirbat al-Mafjar, a tomb of a centurion at Beit Nattif and a Roman mansion with western elements discovered at Arak el-Khala, near Beit Guvrin.[77]

In Perea, a Roman military presence in the middle of the second century CE suggests that the Jews there were also victims of the revolt. The name of a Roman veteran from the village of Meason in Perea appears on a papyrus that was signed in Caesarea in the year 151 CE, implying that lands there had been expropriated and given to Roman settlers. A building inscription of the Sixth Legion from the second century CE was discovered at as-Salt, which is identified as Gadara, one of the principal Jewish settlements in Perea, and provides more proof of the Roman military presence there.[5]


Sources indicate that Jewish captives were sold into slavery and sent to various parts of the empire.[15] A chronicle written in the 7th century CE, which was based on lost ancient sources, states that "Jewish captives were sold for the price of one ration of food for a horse."[82] This number indicates that the slave market was flooded with new slaves. According to Harris, the overall number of enslaved captives taken in the revolt must have been much higher than 100,000.[83] Captives who were not sold as slaves were deported to Gaza, Egypt and elsewhere, greatly adding to the Jewish diaspora.[82]

Punitive measures against Jews

Expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem during the reign of Hadrian. A miniature from the 15th-century manuscript "Histoire des Empereurs".

After the suppression of the revolt, Hadrian promulgated a series of religious edicts aimed at uprooting the Jewish nationalism in Judea.[9][19] He prohibited Torah law and the Hebrew calendar and executed Judaic scholars. The sacred scrolls of Judaism were ceremonially burned at the large Temple complex for Jupiter which he built on the Temple Mount. At this Temple, he installed two statues, one of Jupiter, another of himself. These proclamations remained in effect until Hadrian’s death in 138, which marked a significant relief to the surviving Jewish communities.[19]

A further, more lasting punishment was also implemented by the Romans.[19] In an attempt to erase any memory of Judea or Ancient Israel, the name Judaea was dropped from the provincial name, and Provincia Iudaea was renamed Syria Palaestina.[84][85][86] Despite such name changes taking place elsewhere, rebellions have never resulted in a nation's name being expunged.[19] Similarly, under the argument to ensure the prosperity of the newly founded Roman colony of Aelia Capitolina, Jews were forbidden to enter, except on the day of Tisha B'Av.[87] After Hadrian's death in 138, the Romans scaled back on their crackdown across Judea, but the ban on Jewish entry into Jerusalem remained in place, exempting only those Jews who wished to enter the city for Tisha B'Av.[20] By destroying the association of Jews with Judea and forbidding the practice of the Jewish faith, Hadrian aimed to root out a nation that had inflicted heavy casualties on the Roman Empire.

Sharp decline of Hebrew language

After the victorious defeat of the Jews in the Bar Kokhba revolt and the destruction of Judea, the Hebrew language disappeared from daily use. Before the revolt, Hebrew was still used as a living language among a very significant part of the Jewish population in this region of the country. In the 3rd century sages no longer knew how to identify the Hebrew names of many plants mentioned in the Mishnah. Only a small number of sages who resided in the south still spoke Hebrew. The Jerusalem Talmud and the classic legend midrashes (in which the majority of the acts and stories are in Aramaic) both demonstrate that Hebrew was used mostly as a literary and artificial language. Hebrew is only found on a small percentage of cemeteries and synagogues.[88]

Philosophical and religious consequences

Rabbinical political thought became deeply cautious and conservative, with Jewish belief in the Messiah becoming abstracted and spiritualized. The Talmud refers to Bar Kokhba as "Ben Koziva" (בֶּן כּוֹזִיבָא, lit.'Son of Deception'), placing him among the false Messiahs.[20]

Jewish continuity in Palestine

The Galilee in late antiquity

While Jewish presence in the region significantly dwindled after the failure of the Bar Kokhba revolt,[89] there was a continuous small Jewish presence, and Galilee became its religious center.[90][91] Some of the Judean survivors resettled in Galilee, with some rabbinical families gathering in Sepphoris.[92] The Mishnah and part of the Talmud, central Jewish texts, were composed during the 2nd to 4th centuries CE in Galilee.[93]

Jewish communities continued to live on the edges of Judea, including Eleutheropolis,[94] Ein Gedi[95] and the southern Hebron Hills. There were also Jewish communities along the coastal plain, in Caesarea, Beit She'an and on the Golan Heights.[96][97]

In the aftermath of the defeat, the maintenance of Jewish settlement in Palestine became a major concern of the rabbis.[98] They endeavored to halt Jewish dispersal, and even banned emigration from Palestine, branding those who settled outside its borders as idolaters.[98]

Impact on Jewish Christians

Eusebius of Caesarea wrote that Christians were killed and suffered "all kinds of persecutions" at the hands of rebel Jews when they refused to help Bar Kokhba against the Roman troops.[99][100] Although Christians regarded Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba,[101] they were barred from Jerusalem along with the Jews.[102]

The rebellion contributed to the differentiation between early Christianity and Judaism, and their eventual clear separation.[20]

Later relations between the Jews and the Roman Empire

Relations between the Jews in the region and the Roman Empire continued to be complicated. Constantine I allowed Jews to mourn their defeat and humiliation once a year on Tisha B'Av at the Western Wall. In 351–352 CE, the Jews of Galilee launched yet another revolt, provoking heavy retribution.[103] The Gallus revolt came during the rising influence of early Christians in the Eastern Roman Empire, under the Constantinian dynasty. In 355, however, the relations with the Roman rulers improved, upon the rise of Emperor Julian, the last of the Constantinian dynasty, who, unlike his predecessors, defied Christianity. In 363, not long before Julian left Antioch to launch his campaign against Sassanian Persia, he ordered the Jewish Temple rebuilt in his effort to foster religions other than Christianity.[104] The failure to rebuild the Temple has mostly been ascribed to the dramatic Galilee earthquake of 363, and traditionally also to the Jews' ambivalence about the project. Sabotage is a possibility, as is an accidental fire, though Christian historians of the time ascribed it to divine intervention.[105] Julian's support of Judaism caused Jews to call him "Julian the Hellene".[106]

In 438 CE, when the Empress Eudocia removed the ban on Jews' praying at the Temple site, the heads of the Community in Galilee issued a call "to the great and mighty people of the Jews" which began: "Know that the end of the exile of our people has come!" However, the Christian population of the city saw this as a threat to their primacy, and a riot erupted which chased Jews from the city.[107][108]

During the fifth and sixth centuries, a series of Samaritan revolts broke out across the Palaestina Prima province. Especially violent were the third and the fourth revolts, which resulted in near annihilation of the Samaritan community.[109] It is likely that the Samaritan revolt of 556 was joined by the Jewish community, which had also suffered brutal suppression of their religion under Emperor Justinian.[110][111][112]

In the belief of restoration to come, in the early seventh century, the Jews made an alliance with the Sasanian Empire, joining the invasion of Palaestina Prima in 614 to overwhelm the Byzantine garrison, and briefly gained autonomy in Jerusalem.[113]


Destroyed Jewish villages and fortresses

Several archaeological excavations have been performed during the 20th and 21st centuries in ruins of Roman-period Jewish villages across Judea and Samaria, as well in the Roman-dominated cities on the coastal plain. Most of the villages in Judea's larger region show signs of devastation or abandonment that dates to the Bar-Kokhba revolt. Buildings and underground installations carved out beneath or close to towns, such as hiding complexes, burial caves, storage facilities, and field towers, have both been found to have destruction layers and abandonment deposits. Furthermore, there is a gap in settlement above these levels. Fragmentary material from Transjordan and the Galilee adds to the discoveries from Judea.[5]

The ruins of Hurvat Itri display a destruction layer dating to the revolt, along with a mass grave containing the remains of 15 individuals, including one with signs of beheading

Excavations at archaeological sites such as Hurvat Itri and Khirbet Badd ‘Isa have demonstrated that these Jewish villages were destroyed in the revolt, and were only resettled by pagan populations in the third century.[114][115][116] Discoveries from towns like Gophna, known to be Jewish before the revolt, demonstrate that pagans of Hellenistic and Roman culture lived there during the Late Roman period.[117]

Herodium was excavated by archaeologist Ehud Netzer in the 1980s, publishing results in 1985. According to findings, during the later Bar-Kokhba revolt, complex tunnels were dug, connecting the earlier cisterns with one another.[118] These led from the Herodium fortress to hidden openings, which allowed surprise attacks on Roman units besieging the hill.

The ruins of Betar, the last standing stronghold of Bar Kokhba, can be found at Khirbet al-Yahud, an archeological site located in the vicinity of Battir and Beitar Illit. A stone inscription bearing Latin characters and discovered near the site shows that the Fifth Macedonian Legion and the Eleventh Claudian Legion took part in the siege.[119]

Underground refuges

There were three categories of underground refuges: man-made hiding complexes with living spaces connected by tunnels, cliff shelters carved into steep cliff faces, and natural caves.

Hiding complexes

Entrance to a hiding complex dating from the revolt which was discovered in Hurvat Midras

The Bar Kokhba revolt has been better understood thanks to the discovery of artificially carved hiding complexes under many sites across Judea, and on a lesser level in the Lower Galilee. Their discovery is consistent with Cassius Dio's writings, which reported that the rebels used underground networks as part of their tactics to avoid direct confrontations with the Romans. Many were hewn in earlier times and were utilized by rebels during the revolt as indicated by the usage of the coinage produced by Bar Kokhba and other archaeological findings.[120][121]

Hiding complexes were found at more than 130 archaeological sites in Judea; most of them in the Judaean Lowlands, but also in the Judaean Mountains, and some also in Galilee.[120][122] Examples include: Hurvat Midras, Tel Goded, Maresha, Aboud and others.

Cliff shelters and natural caves

The Cave of Letters, where several documents of the period, including letters from Simeon bar Kokhba to the people of Ein Gedi, were discovered

Near the end of the uprising, many Jews fleeing for their life sought asylum in refuge caves, the most of which are found in Israel's Judaean Desert on high cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea and the Jordan Valley. The majority of these caves are large natural caverns (with few man-made modifications) that are situated in nearly inaccessible vertical cliffs. [120]

They carried luxury goods, cash, arms, papers and deeds, and even the keys to their homes as a hint that they intended to return there once the fighting was over. These items were frequently discovered with their owners' bones in caverns, which is evidence of their tragic fate. The Cave of Letters in Nahal Hever and the caverns in Wadi Murabba'at, which yielded a plethora of written records from the time of the revolt, are among the best-known refuge caves.[120]

The Cave of Letters was surveyed in explorations conducted in 1960–1961, when letters and fragments of papyri were found dating back to the period of the Bar Kokhba revolt.

A scroll found in the cave, part of the Babatha archive

Cave of Horror is the name given to Cave 8, where the skeletons of 40 Jewish refugees from the Bar Kokhba revolt, including men, women and children, were discovered.[123][124] Three potsherds with the names of three of the deceased were also found alongside the skeletons in the cave.

In 2023, archaeologists discovered a cache consisting of four Roman swords and a pilum concealed within a crevice in a cave located within the Ein Gedi nature reserve. Analysis of the sword types and the discovery of a Bar Kokhba revolt coin within the cave strongly support the hypothesis put forth by archaeologists, which suggests that these items were concealed by Jewish rebels during the Bar Kokhba revolt, serving as a precautionary measure to elude detection by Roman authorities.[125]


As of 2023, twenty-four coins from the Bar Kokhba revolt have been discovered outside of Judaea in various parts of Europe, including what was then the provinces of Britannia, Pannonia, Dacia, and Dalmatia. The bulk of the coins were discovered near Roman military locations, including multiple legionary and auxiliary camps, though not necessarily in a strict military context. It has been suggested to attribute these findings to Roman soldiers who took part in the uprising and brought the coins as souvenirs or commemorative relics, or to Jewish captives, slaves or immigrants who arrived in those areas in the aftermath of the revolt.[126][127][128]


One Baraita contains a rabbinic depiction of a widespread archeological phenomenon: the discovery of hoards of Bar Kokhba coinage all over Judea. The Jews who hid those hoards were unable to collect them due to the presence of Roman garrisons, or because they were killed during the revolt's suppression. It is reasonable to believe that the extensive destruction played a part in the loss of the hiding locations as well. Thirty hoards from this era have been found, more than any other decade.[129]

Roman legionary camps

A number of locations have been identified with Roman Legionary camps in the time of the Bar Kokhba War, including in Tel Shalem, Jerusalem, Lajjun and more.

Jerusalem inscription dedicated to Hadrian (129/30 CE)

In 2014, one half of a Latin inscription was discovered in Jerusalem during excavations near the Damascus Gate.[130] It was identified as the right half of a complete inscription, the other part of which was discovered nearby in the late 19th century and is currently on display in the courtyard of Jerusalem's Studium Biblicum Franciscanum Museum. The complete inscription was translated as follows:

To the Imperator Caesar Traianus Hadrianus Augustus, son of the deified Traianus Parthicus, grandson of the deified Nerva, high priest, invested with tribunician power for the 14th time, consul for the third time, father of the country (dedicated by) the 10th legion Fretensis Antoniniana.

The inscription was dedicated by Legio X Fretensis to the emperor Hadrian in the year 129/130 CE. The inscription is considered to greatly strengthen the claim that indeed the emperor visited Jerusalem that year, supporting the traditional claim that Hadrian's visit was among the main causes of the Bar Kokhba Revolt, and not the other way around.[130]

Tel Shalem triumphal arc and Hadrian's statue

The location was identified as a Roman military post during the 20th century, with archaeological excavation performed in the late 20th century following an accidental discovery of Hadrian's bronze statue in the vicinity of the site in 1975.[131] Remains of a large Roman military camp and fragments of a triumphal arc dedicated to Emperor Hadrian were consequently discovered at the site.

Geographic extent of the revolt

Over the years, two schools formed in the analysis of the Revolt. One of them is maximalists, who claim that the revolt spread through the entire Judea Province and beyond it into neighboring provinces. The second one is that of the minimalists, who restrict the revolt to the area of the Judaean hills and immediate environs.[132]

Judea proper

It is generally accepted that the Bar Kokhba revolt encompassed all of Judea, namely the villages of the Judean hills, the Judean desert, and northern parts of the Negev desert. It is not known whether the revolt spread outside of Judea.[133]


Until 1951, Bar Kokhba Revolt coinage was the sole archaeological evidence for dating the revolt.[9] These coins include references to "Year One of the redemption of Israel", "Year Two of the freedom of Israel", and "For the freedom of Jerusalem". Despite the reference to Jerusalem, as of early 2000s, archaeological finds, and the lack of revolt coinage found in Jerusalem, supported the view that the revolt did not capture Jerusalem.[134]

In 2020, the fourth Bar Kokhba minted coin and the first inscribed with the word "Jerusalem" was found in Jerusalem Old City excavations.[135] Despite this discovery, the Israel Antiques Authority still maintained the opinion that Jerusalem was not taken by the rebels, due to the fact that of thousands of Bar Kokhba coins had been found outside Jerusalem, but only four within the city (out of more than 22,000 found within the city). The Israel Antiques Authority's archaeologists Moran Hagbi and Dr. Joe Uziel speculated that "It is possible that a Roman soldier from the Tenth Legion found the coin during one of the battles across the country and brought it to their camp in Jerusalem as a souvenir."[136]


Among those findings are the rebel hideout systems in the Galilee, which greatly resemble the Bar Kokhba hideouts in Judea, and though are less numerous, are nevertheless important. The fact that Galilee retained its Jewish character after the end of the revolt has been taken as an indication by some that either the revolt was never joined by Galilee or that the rebellion was crushed relatively early there compared to Judea.[137]

Northern valleys

Several historians, notably W. Eck of the University of Cologne, theorized that the Tel Shalem arch depicted a major battle between Roman armies and Bar Kokhba's rebels in Bet Shean valley,[132] thus extending the battle areas some 50 km northwards from Judea. The 2013 discovery of the military camp of Legio VI Ferrata near Tel Megiddo.[138] However, Eck's theory on battle in Tel Shalem is rejected by M. Mor, who considers the location implausible given Galilee's minimal (if any) participation in the Revolt and distance from the main conflict flareup in Judea proper.[132]


A 2015 archaeological survey in Samaria identified some 40 hideout cave systems from the period, some containing Bar Kokhba's minted coins, suggesting that the war raged in Samaria at high intensity.[51]


Jews from Peraea are thought to have taken part in the revolt. This is demonstrated by a destruction layer dating from the early second century at Tel Abu al-Sarbut in the Sukkoth Valley,[139] and by abandonment deposits from the same period that were discovered at al-Mukhayyat[140] and Callirrhoe.[141] There is also evidence for Roman military presence in Perea in the middle of the century, as well as evidence of the settlement of Roman veterans in the area.[5]

This view is supported by a destruction layer in Tel Hesban that dates to 130 CE,[142] and a decline in settlement from the Early Roman to the Late Roman periods discovered in the survey of the Iraq al-Amir region.[143] However, it is still unclear whether this decline was caused by the First Jewish–Roman War or the Bar Kokhba revolt.[5]

Bowersock suggested of linking the Nabateans to the revolt, claiming "a greater spread of hostilities than had formerly been thought... the extension of the Jewish revolt into northern Transjordan and an additional reason to consider the spread of local support among Safaitic tribes and even at Gerasa."[86]


The revolt is mostly still shrouded in mystery, and only one brief historical account of the rebellion survives.[9]

Dio Cassius

The best recognized source for the revolt is Cassius Dio, Roman History (book 69),[4][144] even though the writings of the Roman historian concerning the Bar Kokhba revolt survived only as fragments. The account extends on about two pages and is largely an historical perspective with the general course of the rebellion and its disastrous results, without mentioning specific names and locations.

Eusebius of Caesarea

The Christian author Eusebius of Caesarea wrote a brief account of the revolt within the Church History (Eusebius) compilation, notably mentioning Bar Chochebas (which means “star” according to Eusebius) as the leader of the Jewish rebels and their last stand at Beththera (i.e., Betar). Though Eusebius lived one and a half centuries after the revolt and wrote the brief account from the Christian theological perspective, his account provides important details on the revolt and its aftermath in Judea.

Jerusalem Talmud

The Jerusalem Talmud contains descriptions of the results of the rebellion, including the Roman executions of Judean leaders and religious persecution.

Primary sources

A cluster of papyrus containing Bar Kokhba's orders during the last year of the revolt, found at the Cave of Letters in the Judean desert by Israeli archaeologist Yigael Yadin.

The discovery of the Cave of Letters in the Dead Sea area, dubbed as "Bar Kokhba archive",[145] which contained letters actually written by Bar Kokhba and his followers, has added much new primary source data, indicating among other things that either a pronounced part of the Jewish population spoke only Greek or there was a foreign contingent among Bar Kokhba's forces, accounted for by the fact that his military correspondence was, in part, conducted in Greek.[146] Close to the Cave of Letters is the Cave of Horror, where the remains of Jewish refugees from the rebellion were discovered along with fragments of letters and writings. Several briefer sources have been uncovered in the area over the past century, including references to the revolt from Nabatea and Roman Syria.


In Rabbinic Judaism

The disastrous end of the revolt occasioned major changes in Jewish religious thought. Jewish messianism was abstracted and spiritualized, and rabbinical political thought became deeply cautious and conservative. The Talmud, for instance, refers to Bar Kokhba as "Ben-Kusiba", a derogatory term used to indicate that he was a false Messiah. The deeply ambivalent rabbinical position regarding Messianism, as expressed most famously in Maimonides' "Epistle to Yemen," would seem to have its origins in the attempt to deal with the trauma of a failed Messianic uprising.[147]

In Zionism and modern Israel

In the post-rabbinical era, the Bar Kokhba Revolt became a symbol of valiant national resistance. The Zionist youth movement Betar took its name from Bar Kokhba's traditional last stronghold, and David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, took his Hebrew last name from one of Bar Kokhba's generals.[148]

A popular children's song, included in the curriculum of Israeli kindergartens, has the refrain "Bar Kokhba was a Hero/He fought for Liberty," and its words describe Bar Kokhba as being captured and thrown into a lion's den, but managing to escape riding on the lion's back.[149]

See also

Jewish and Samaritan revolts
Related topics

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ Legion was also possibly disbanded as a result of the campaigns in Brittania or Roman–Parthian War of 161–166


  1. ^ L. J. F. Keppie (2000). Legions and veterans: Roman army papers 1971–2000. Franz Steiner Verlag. ISBN 3-515-07744-8. pp. 228–229.
  2. ^ Menachem, Mor, Two Legions: The Same Fate?, JSTOR 20186341
  3. ^ a b Mor, M. The Second Jewish Revolt: The Bar Kokhba War, 132–136 CE. Brill, 2016. p. 334.
  4. ^ a b c Cassius Dio, Translation by Earnest Cary. Roman History, book 69, 12.1-14.3. Loeb Classical Library, 9 volumes, Greek texts and facing English translation: Harvard University Press, 1914 thru 1927. Online in LacusCurtius:[1][permanent dead link] and[2] Archived 2016-08-13 at the Wayback Machine. Book scan in Internet Archive:[3].
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Raviv, Dvir; Ben David, Chaim (2021-05-27). "Cassius Dio's figures for the demographic consequences of the Bar Kokhba War: Exaggeration or reliable account?". Journal of Roman Archaeology. 34 (2): 585–607. doi:10.1017/S1047759421000271. ISSN 1047-7594. S2CID 236389017.
  6. ^ a b Axelrod, Alan (2009). Little-Known Wars of Great and Lasting Impact. Fair Winds Press. p. 29. ISBN 9781592333752.
  7. ^ for the year 136, see: W. Eck, The Bar Kokhba Revolt: The Roman Point of View, pp. 87–88.
  8. ^ Davies, W. D. (William David); Finkelstein, Louis; Horbury, William; Sturdy, John; Katz, Steven T.; Hart, Mitchell Bryan; Michels, Tony; Karp, Jonathan (1984). The Cambridge history of Judaism. Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press. p. 106. ISBN 978-0-521-21880-1.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g Hanan Eshel,'The Bar Kochba revolt, 132-135,' in William David Davies, Louis Finkelstein, Steven T. Katz (eds.) The Cambridge History of Judaism: Volume 4, The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period, pp.105-127, p.105.
  10. ^ a b Katz, Steven T. (2006). The Cambridge history of Judaism. Cambridge University press. p. 35. ISBN 978-0-521-77248-8.
  11. ^ Mor 2016, p. 11.
  12. ^ John S. Evans (2008). The Prophecies of Daniel 2. Xulon Press. ISBN 9781604779035. Known as the Bar Kokhba Revolt, after its charismatic leader, Simon Bar Kokhba, whom many Jews regarded as their promised messiah
  13. ^ "Israel Tour Daily Newsletter". 27 July 2010. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011.
  14. ^ a b c Taylor, J. E. (15 November 2012). The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199554485. These texts, combined with the relics of those who hid in caves along the western side of the Dead Sea, tell us a great deal. What is clear from the evidence of both skeletal remains and artefacts is that the Roman assault on the Jewish population of the Dead Sea was so severe and comprehensive that no one came to retrieve precious legal documents, or bury the dead. Up until this date the Bar Kokhba documents indicate that towns, villages and ports where Jews lived were busy with industry and activity. Afterwards there is an eerie silence, and the archaeological record testifies to little Jewish presence until the Byzantine era, in En Gedi. This picture coheres with what we have already determined in Part I of this study, that the crucial date for what can only be described as genocide, and the devastation of Jews and Judaism within central Judea, was 135 CE and not, as usually assumed, 70 CE, despite the siege of Jerusalem and the Temple's destruction
  15. ^ a b Mor 2016, p. 471.
  16. ^ Powell, L.; Dennis, P. (2017). The Bar Kokhba War AD 132–136: The last Jewish revolt against Imperial Rome. Campaign. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 80. ISBN 978-1-4728-1799-0.
  17. ^ a b Jones, A.H.M. (1971). The Cities of the Eastern Roman Provinces (2nd ed.). Oxford. p. 277. This provoked the last Jewish war, which seems from our meager accounts [...] to have resulted in the desolation of Judaea and the practical extermination of its Jewish population.
  18. ^ David Goodblatt, 'The political and social history of the Jewish community in the Land of Israel,' in William David Davies, Louis Finkelstein, Steven T. Katz (eds.) The Cambridge History of Judaism: Volume 4, The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period, Cambridge University Press, 2006 pp.404-430, p.406.
  19. ^ a b c d e f Eshel, Hanan (2006). "4: The Bar Kochba Revolt, 132 – 135". In T. Katz, Steven (ed.). The Cambridge History of Judaism. Vol. 4. The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period. Cambridge: Cambridge. pp. 105–127. ISBN 9780521772488. OCLC 7672733.
  20. ^ a b c d M. Avi-Yonah, The Jews under Roman and Byzantine Rule, Jerusalem 1984 p. 143
  21. ^ Mor 2016, pp. i–xxiv.
  22. ^ "Ancient Inscription Identifies Gargilius Antiques as Roman Ruler on Eve of Bar Kochva Revolt". The Jewish Press. December 1, 2016.
  23. ^ "Jerusalem and the Bar Kokhba Revolt Again: A Note" by Eran Almagor, ELECTRUM Vol. 26 (2019): 141–157, (abstract with link to full pdf article) which suggests Aelia Capitolina was founded during the last stage of the revolt which halted earlier reconstruction and "Eusebius and Hadrian's Founding of Aelia Capitolina in Jerusalem" by Miriam Ben Zeev Hofman, ELECTRUM Vol. 26 (2019): 119–128
  24. ^ "WATCH: 2,000-year-old inscription dedicated to Roman emperor unveiled in Jerusalem". The Jerusalem Post |
  25. ^ Schäfer, Peter (2003). The History of the Jews in the Greco-Roman World: The Jews of Palestine from Alexander the Great to the Arab Conquest. Translated by David Chowcat. Routledge. p. 146.
  26. ^ See Platner, Samuel Ball (1929). "Pomerium". A Topographical Dictionary of Ancient Rome – via LacusCurtius. Gates, Charles (2011). Ancient Cities: The Archaeology of Urban Life in the Ancient Near East and Egypt, Greece and Rome. Taylor & Francis. p. 335. ISBN 9781136823282.
  27. ^ The Mishnah has a segment: "[O]n the 9th of Ab...and the city was ploughed up." on mas. Taanith, Chapter 4, Mishnah no. 6. See:
  28. ^ The Babylonian Talmud and Jerusalem Talmud both explicate the segment refers to Rufus: Babylonian: mas. Taanith 29a. See
    • "Shas Soncino: Taanith 29a". Archived from the original on 2020-02-09. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
    • "Bab. Taanith; ch.4.1-8, 26a-31a". RabbinicTraditions. Retrieved 2014-06-28.
    • "Ta'anis 2a-31a" (PDF). Soncino Babylonian Talmud. Translated by I Epstein. pp. 92–93. Retrieved 2014-06-27. AND THE CITY WAS PLOUGHED UP. It has been taught: When Turnus Rufus the wicked destroyed[note 20: Var lec.: 'ploughed'.] the Temple,....
    See notes on "Ta'anit 29a-b" (PDF). Daf Yomi series. The Aleph Society/Adin Steinsaltz. Archived from the original on 2018-10-05. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
  29. ^ The Jerusalem Talmud relates it to the Temple, Taanith 25b:
  30. ^ "Roman provincial coin of Hadrian [image]". Israel Museum. Archived from the original on 2014-07-02. Retrieved 2014-07-01 – via Europeana.
  31. ^ Boatwright, Mary Taliaferro (2003). Hadrian and the Cities of the Roman Empire. Princeton University Press. p. 199. ISBN 0691094934.
  32. ^ Metcalf, William (2012-02-23). The Oxford Handbook of Greek and Roman Coinage. Oxford University Press. p. 492. ISBN 9780195305746.
  33. ^ Benjamin H. Isaac, Aharon Oppenheimer, 'The Revolt of Bar Kochba:Ideology and Modern Scholarship,' in Benjamin H. Isaac, The Near East Under Roman Rule: Selected Papers , BRILL (Volume 177 of Mnemosyne, bibliotheca classica Batava. 177: Supplementum), 1998 pp.220-252, 226-227
  34. ^ Aharon Oppenheimer, 'The Ban on Circumcision as a cause of the Revolt: A Reconsideration,' in Peter Schäfer (ed.) The History of the Jews in the Greco-Roman World: The Jews of Palestine from Alexander the Great to the Arab Conquest, Mohr Siebeck 2003 pp.55-69 pp.55f.
  35. ^ Craig A. Evans, Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies, BRILL 2001 p.185:'moverunt ea tempestate et Iudaei bellum, quod vetabantur mutilare genitalia.'
  36. ^ Aharon Oppenheimer, ‘The Ban on Circumcision as a Cause of the Revolt: A Reconsideration,’ Aharon Oppenheimer, Between Rome and Babylon, Mohr Siebeck 2005 pp.243-254 pp.
  37. ^ Schäfer, Peter (1998). Judeophobia: Attitudes Toward the Jews in the Ancient World. Harvard University Press. pp. 103–105. ISBN 9780674043213. Retrieved 2014-02-01. [...] Hadrian's ban on circumcision, allegedly imposed sometime between 128 and 132 CE [...]. The only proof for Hadrian's ban on circumcision is the short note in the Historia Augusta: 'At this time also the Jews began war, because they were forbidden to mutilate their genitals (quot vetabantur mutilare genitalia). [...] The historical credibility of this remark is controversial [...] The earliest evidence for circumcision in Roman legislation is an edict by Antoninus Pius (138-161 CE), Hadrian's successor [...] [I]t is not utterly impossible that Hadrian [...] indeed considered circumcision as a 'barbarous mutilation' and tried to prohibit it. [...] However, this proposal cannot be more than a conjecture, and, of course, it does not solve the questions of when Hadrian issued the decree (before or during/after the Bar Kokhba war) and whether it was directed solely against Jews or also against other peoples.
  38. ^ Christopher Mackay, Ancient Rome a Military and Political History Cambridge University Press 2007 p.230
  39. ^ Peter Schäfer, The Bar Kokhba War Reconsidered: New Perspectives on the Second Jewish Revolt Against Rome, Mohr Siebeck 2003. p.68
  40. ^ Peter Schäfer, The History of the Jews in the Greco-Roman World: The Jews of Palestine from Alexander the Great to the Arab Conquest, Routledge, 2003 p. 146.
  41. ^ Aharon Oppenheimer, 'The Ban on Circumcision as a cause of the Revolt: A Reconsideration,' in Peter Schäfer (ed.) The History of the Jews in the Greco-Roman World: The Jews of Palestine from Alexander the Great to the Arab Conquest, Mohr Siebeck 2003 pp.55-69 pp.55f.
  42. ^ Gilad, Elon (6 May 2015). "The Bar Kochba Revolt: A Disaster Celebrated by Zionists on Lag Ba'Omer". Haaretz. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  43. ^ Eck, Werner. "The bar Kokhba Revolt: The Roman Point of View". The Journal of Roman Studies. 89: 81.
  44. ^ Eck, Werner. "The bar Kokhba Revolt: The Roman Point of View". The Journal of Roman Studies. 89: 80.
  45. ^ "The Creators of the Mishna, Rabbi Akiba ben Joseph".
  46. ^ Bourgel, Jonathan (23 March 2023). "Ezekiel 40–48 as a Model for Bar Kokhba's Title "Nasi Israel"?". Journal of Ancient Judaism. 14 (3): 446–481. doi:10.30965/21967954-bja10037. S2CID 257812293.
  47. ^ Mor 2016, p. 466.
  48. ^ "Numbers 24:17". What I see for them is not yet, What I behold will not be soon: A star rises from Jacob, A scepter comes forth from Israel; It smashes the brow of Moab, The foundation of all children of Seth.
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  58. ^ Jerusalem Talmud Ta'anit iv. 68d; Lamentations Rabbah ii. 2
  59. ^ Jerusalem Talmud, Taanit 4:5 (24a); Midrash Rabba (Lamentations Rabba 2:5).
  60. ^ Ta'anit 4:5
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