"[T]hey ran every one through whom they met with, and obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these men's blood. And truly so it happened, that though the slayers left off at the evening, yet did the fire greatly prevail in the night, and as all was burning, came that eighth day of the month Gorpieus [Elul] upon Jerusalem; a city that had been liable to so many miseries during the siege, that, had it always enjoyed as much happiness from its first foundation, it would certainly have been the envy of the world. Nor did it on any other account so much deserve these sore misfortunes, as by producing such a generation of men as were the occasions of this its overthrow." - Josephus
The Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE is arguably the most important event in Jewish history. First, it was the central battle in the First Jewish-Roman war. Second, the failure of the siege on the Jewish side resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem, a disaster that would eventually prove both permanent and catastrophic, since it was never rebuilt. Third, it permanently altered the diaspora of Judaism in the ancient world. Fourth, because it was indecisive in breaking the power of the Jewish revolt permanently, it was also inconclusive and led to further, inevitable revolts that broke Judean identity completely. The siege of Jerusalem was a classic case of two opposing and incompatible worldviews. It was not the first time the Romans had conquered the capital of the kingdom, nor was it the first time Jerusalem had been sacked by a foreign power. It was unusual for the Romans, however, because it was not the final act that such a conquest generally was.
©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2016 Charles River Editors