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Resistance to Roman Rule Resistance to Roman rule not common, occurred only occasionally Roman sources belittle such resistances as latrocinium (brigandage)

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Presentation on theme: "Resistance to Roman Rule Resistance to Roman rule not common, occurred only occasionally Roman sources belittle such resistances as latrocinium (brigandage)"— Presentation transcript:



3 Resistance to Roman Rule Resistance to Roman rule not common, occurred only occasionally Roman sources belittle such resistances as latrocinium (brigandage) 9 CE – Revolt of Arminius and the Cherusci (in Germany). 61 CE - The revolt of Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni (Britain). (66-70 CE) The Judaean Revolt; The Bar Kocchba Revolt (132-135 CE).

4 The Revolt of Boudicca (61 CE) Death of Prasutagus, client-king of the Iceni. Emperor (Nero) named as heir. King’s death unleashes wave of murder and rapine. Boudicca, wife of Prasutagus leads the Iceni in anti-Roman uprising.

5 The Cause of Boudicca’s Revolt “The Icenian king Prasutagus, celebrated for his long prosperity, had named the emperor his heir, together with his two daughters; an act of deference which he thought would place his kingdom and household beyond the risk of injury. The result was contrary — so much so that his kingdom was pillaged by centurions, his household by slaves, as though they had been prizes of war. As a beginning, his wife Boudicca was subjected to the lash and his daughters violated: all the chief men of the Icenians were stripped of their family estates, and the relatives of the king were treated as slaves. Impelled by this outrage and the dread of worse to come — for they had now been reduced to the status of a province — they flew to arms, and incited to rebellion the Trinobantes and others, who, not yet broken by servitude, had entered into a secret and treasonable compact to resume their independence. The bitterest animosity was felt against the veterans; who, fresh from their settlement in the colony of Camulodunum, were acting as though they had received a free gift of the entire country, driving the natives from their homes, ejecting them from their lands, — they styled them "captives" and "slaves," — and abetted in their fury by the troops, with their similar mode of life and their hopes of equal indulgence. More than this, the temple raised to the deified Claudius continually met the view, like the citadel of an eternal tyranny; while the priests, chosen for its service, were bound under the pretext of religion to pour out their fortunes like water. Nor did there seem any great difficulty in the demolition of a colony unprotected by fortifications — a point too little regarded by our commanders, whose thoughts had run more on the agreeable than on the useful.” (Tacitus, Annals 14.31)

6 The Warrior Queen “But the person who was chiefly instrumental in rousing the natives and persuading them to fight the Romans, the person who was thought worthy to be their leader and who directed the conduct of the entire war, was Buduica, a Briton woman of the royal family and possessed of greater intelligence than often belongs to women. 3 This woman assembled her army, to the number of some 120,000, and then ascended a tribunal which had been constructed of earth in the Roman fashion. In stature she was very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh; 4 a great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips; around her neck was a large golden necklace; and she wore a tunic of divers colours over which a thick mantle was fastened with a brooch. This was her invariable attire.” (Cassius Dio 62.2)

7 The Revolt in Judea (66-70) 66 – Nero in dire need of cash; orders Gessius Florus to confiscate the temple treasure in Jerusalem; Donations for the poor procurator; Arrests and crucifixions; General uprising. 67 – Nero appoints Vespasian commander in Syria; Guerilla war against various insurgent groups. 68 – Vespasian occupies Jordan Valley and Galilee. 69 – Nero driven from power; Galba emperor; Galba assassinated by Otho; Otho vs. Vitellius; Vespasian hailed emperor by Syrian legions; Marches on Rome; Titus left to reduce the Judean revolt. 70 (April) – Titus besieges Jerusalem; Massive casualties; Temple plundered and destroyed; 97,000 prisoners; Jerusalem destroyed

8 The Start of the War “Moreover, as to the citizens of Jerusalem, although they took this matter very ill, yet did they restrain their passion; but Florus acted herein as if he had been hired, and blew up the war into a flame, and sent some to take seventeen talents out of the sacred treasure, and pretended that Caesar wanted them. At this the people were in confusion immediately, and ran together to the temple, with prodigious clamors, and called upon Caesar by name, and besought him to free them from the tyranny of Florus. Some also of the seditious cried out upon Florus, and cast the greatest reproaches upon him, and carried a basket about, and begged some spills of money for him, as for one that was destitute of possessions, and in a miserable condition. Yet was not he made ashamed hereby of his love of money, but was more enraged, and provoked to get still more; and instead of coming to Cesarea, as he ought to have done, and quenching the flame of war, which was beginning thence, and so taking away the occasion of any disturbances, on which account it was that he had received a reward [of eight talents], he marched hastily with an army of horsemen and footmen against Jerusalem, that he might gain his will by the arms of the Romans, and might, by his terror, and by his threatenings, bring the city into subjection.” (Josephus, Jewish War, 2.293 ff. Trans. Whiston,Auburn, Buffalo, and Beardsley, 1895)

9 The Bar Kokhba Revolt (132- 35) Ca. 70 – Jerusalem destroyed by the Flavians. 130 – Hadrian visits Jerusalem; vows to rebuild and repopulate the city. Jerusalem re-founded as Aelius Capitolina; settled with Roman colonists; new temple to be erected on the ruins of the second temple and dedicated to Jupiter; Hadrian bans circumcision. Prince Simon Bar Kokhba appointed commander of the Jewish fighters; proclaimed the Messiah. Revolt crushed; 580,000 Jews killed; ca. 1000 towns and villages razed. Israel renamed Syria Palaestina; Jews forbidden to enter Jerusalem.

10 Hadrian’s Reprisals for the Bar Kocchba Revolt (135 BCE) “At first the Romans took no account of them. Soon, however, all Judaea had been stirred up, and the Jews everywhere were showing signs of disturbance, were gathering together, and giving evidence of great hostility to the Romans, partly by secret and partly by overt acts; many outside nations, too, were joining them through eagerness for gain, and the whole earth, one might almost say, was being stirred up over the matter. Then, indeed, Hadrian sent against them his best generals. First of these was Julius Severus, who was dispatched from Britain, where he was governor, against the Jews. Severus did not venture to attack his opponents in the open at any one point, in view of their numbers and their desperation, but by intercepting small groups, thanks to the number of his soldiers and his under-officers, and by depriving them of food and shutting them up, he was able, rather slowly, to be sure, but with comparatively little danger, to crush, exhaust and exterminate them. 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 Judaea was made desolate, a result of which the people had had forewarning before the war. For the tomb of Solomon, which the Jews regard as an object of veneration, fell to pieces of itself and collapsed, and many wolves and hyenas rushed howling into their cities. 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 our children are in health, it is well; I and the legions are in health.“ (Cassius Dio 69.13-14.3. Trans. E. Cary, 1914)

11 The Speech of Calgacus to His Troops before the Battle of Mons Graupius “Every time I consider the causes of this war and our own dire straits, I have great confidence that this day and your new unity will be the beginning of freedom for all in Britain. Now you have joined forces, you who have never been slaves. There is no land beyond ours, no place to flee; even the sea is no longer a safe refuge because a Roman fleet threatens us there. And so war and weapons, which offer honor to the brave, will offer safety even to the cowardly….Up until this day, we who live in this last strip of land and last home of liberty have been protected by our very remoteness…But now the farthest limits of Britain have been opened up…Beyond us, there are no tribes, nothing except waves and rocks and, more dangerous these, the Romans, whose oppression you have in vain tried to escape by obedience and submission. Plunderers of the world they are, and now that there is no more territory left to occupy their hands which have already laid the world waste, they are scouring the seas. If the enemy is rich, they are greedy; if the enemy is poor, they are power-hungry. Neither east nor west has been able to sate them. Alone of all me they covet rich nations and poor nations with equal passion. They rob, they slaughter, they plunder – and they call it empire. Where they make a waste-land they call it peace. Nature has planned that each man love his children and family very dearly. Yet these are torn from us by conscription to be slaves elsewhere. And our wives and sisters, even if they escape rape by an enemy, are yet defiled by Romans pretending to be friends. Our possessions and our money are consumed in providing tribute; our farmland and our yearly produce are consumed in providing them with grain; our very bodies and hands are worn down while clearing forests and swamps for them, who beat and insult us.” (Tacitus, Agricola 29-31. Jo Ann Shelton, Doc. 323)

12 Implications of Roman Imperial Presence Cannot underestimate the cultural, political, and social significance. Shaped the future political and cultural geography of Europe. Must understand but be careful not to glorify.

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