Roman Emporers Trajan 98-117 Hadrian 117-138 Anotninus Pius 138-161
Sources Contemporary letters and coins. See http://www.livius.org/ja-jn/jewish_wars/bk07.html. http://www.livius.org/ja-jn/jewish_wars/bk07.html Dio Cassius (164-235CE) a Roman senator who wrote a Roman history considered the best ancient book on the subject. Translation at http://www.livius.org/ja-jn/jewish_wars/bk05.html http://www.livius.org/ja-jn/jewish_wars/bk05.html Eusebius (263-339) bishop of Caesarea writes history of early church Talmud. See http://www.livius.org/ja-jn/jewish_wars/bk01.html#grasshttp://www.livius.org/ja-jn/jewish_wars/bk01.html#grass See Schiffman, Texts, pp. 487-494, and http://cojs.org/cojswiki/The_Bar_Kokhba_Revolt_%28132-135_CE%29. http://cojs.org/cojswiki/The_Bar_Kokhba_Revolt_%28132-135_CE%29
Background Diaspora Revolt 115-117CE While Trajan was busy with a war in the East against the Parthians, Jews of Egypt, Cyrenaica (Libya) and Cyprus rose up and destroyed many pagan temples and killed their worshippers. The non-Jews retaliated and it blew up into all out civil war until the Roman army brutally stopped it. Causes: Building frustration because of anti- semitism, and messianism.
This inscription, in one of the bathhouses of Cyrene, commemorates how the city was rebuilt after the tumulto Iudaico, the disorders caused by the Jews. Dio Cassius reports 220,000 gentiles were killed. He also reports cannibalism and mutilation. Tens of thousands of Jews were killed by the Romans to restore order.
Hadrian Roman Emperor Ruled 117-138CE Renamed Jerusalem as Aelia Capitolina He outlawed circumcision
The Leader and His Name Name is Shimon ben Koseva – שמעון בן כוסבא Given the title Nasi and a nickname בר כוכבא during the revolt based on: במדבר פרק כד:יז אֶרְאֶנּוּ וְלֹא עַתָּה אֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ וְלֹא קָרוֹב דָּרַךְ כּוֹכָב מִיַּעֲקֹב וְקָם שֵׁבֶט מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל וּמָחַץ פַּאֲתֵי מוֹאָב וְקַרְקַר כָּל בְּנֵי שֵׁת. אונקלוס (110CE)- חזיתיה ולא כען סכיתיה וליתוהי קריב כד יקום מלכא מיעקב ויתרבא משיחא מישראל ויקטיל רברבי מואב וישלוט בכל בני אנשא. Later called בר כוזיבא “Son of the Liar.”
Rabbinic Controversy Rabbi Simeon bar Yohai taught, “Akiva, my master, expounded, ‘A star will go forth from Jacob’ (Num. 28:17), (as) ‘Koziba has come forth from Jacob.’” When Rabbi Akiva would see Bar Koziba, he would say, “This is the King Messiah!” Rabbi Yohanan ben Torta said to him, “Akiva, grass will grow on your cheeks and still the Son of David will not have come.” - Yerushalmi Ta`anit 4:5, 68d
Timeline 130CE Hadrian visits Judea, orders rebuilding of Jerusalem with new Temple to Jupiter Appointed Tinneius Rufus as governor. Rufus ruled roughly. (say 3x fast) April 132 - Bar Kokhba in charge, initial success for a couple of years January 134 - Hadrian sends one of his best generals Julius Severus as well as one third of his entire army to put down the rebellion. Rebellion ended in summer of 135.
Bar Kokhba Coin Front: the Aron in the middle and star above. “שמעון” Back: Lulav. “לחרות ירושלם“ in Ketav Ivri (Ancient Hebrew script)
Bar Kokhba Coin Front: Trumpets. "לחרות ירושלים" Back: Lyre. "ש[נה] ב לחר[ות] ישראל"
Cluster of Bar Kokhba’s letters, found by Yigael Yadin
Letters from Simon bar Kochba  Shimeon bar Kosiba to Yehonathan and to Masabala. Let all men from Tekoa and other places who are with you, be sent to me without delay. And if you shall not send them, let it be known to you, that you will be punished.  Letter of Shimeon bar Kosiba to Yehonathan, son of Be'ayan: Peace! My order is that whatever Elisha tells you, do to him and help him and those with him. Be well.  Shimeon to Yehudah bar Menashe in Qiryath 'Arabaya. I have sent to you two donkeys, and you must send with them two men to Yehonathan, son of Be'ayan and to Masabala, in order that they shall pack and send to the camp, towards you, palm branches and citrons. And you, from your place, send others who will bring you myrtles and willows. See that they are tithed and send them to the camp. The request is made because the army is big. Be well.  From Shimeon bar Kosiba to the men of En-gedi. To Masabala and to Yehonathan bar Bey'ayan, peace! In comfort you sit, eat and drink from the property of the House of Israel, and care nothing for your brothers.
Results - Cassius Dio, Roman History 69.12.1-14.3 Very few of them in fact survived. Fifty of their most important outposts and nine hundred and eighty-five of their most famous villages were razed to the ground. Five hundred and eighty thousand 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 Judea was made desolate… 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 legions are in health.”
Aftermath Jews were prohibited from living in Judea. Center of activity moved to Galilee. Hadrian bans Torah study, tortures Rabbis. Antoninus Pius (emperor 138-161) allowed only the Jews to circumcise their own sons. He also allows Jewish bodies to be buried. Bavli Berakhot 48b says Birkhat הטוב והמטיב is to commemorate this.
Rebuilding at Usha Shir haShirim Rabbah 2:5 At the end of the [Hadrianic] persecution, our teachers gathered at Usha, and they are: R. Judah, R. Nehemiah, R. Meir, R. Yose, R. Shimon bar Yohai, R. Eliezer ben R. Yoe haGalili, and R. Eliezer ben Yaakov. They send to the Elders of the Galilee saying, “Whoever has learned, let him come and teach; whoever has not learned, let him come and learn.” They gathered and learned, and they took care of all of their needs.