Second Jewish Revolt - Jewish History
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Second Jewish Revolt

Hadrian
Hadrian

July 2016 - During the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, the Jews once again tried to get free of Roman rule. But like the First Jewish Revolt, this revolt failed as well. In addition, Hadrian hated the Jews. Hadrian was really into anything Greek, including Greek religion, and he considered Judaism (and probably Christianity) to be a dirty superstition. When it was over, Hadrian not only brought Israel back under Roman rule, he destroyed the Second Temple, and he forced many of the Jews to leave Jerusalem and Israel and settle elsewhere in the Roman or Parthian empires. This is known as the Diaspora (die-ASS-pour-ah), like dispersion, because it scattered the Jews. It has a lot in common with the Babylonian Captivity. As a result, there got to be fewer Jews in Israel, and a lot more Jews in Babylon, Alexandria, Rome, and other big cities of the Roman and Parthian empires.

Capernaum
Synagogue at Capernaum

Here are some examples of synagogues that were built by the Jews of the Diaspora around the Roman and Parthian Empires. This one is in Capernaum (ka-pear-NOW-um), in Israel, and dates to the fourth century AD, but the ruins of an earlier 1st c. AD synagogue lie beneath it and have recently been excavated.

a man on a throne with a woman standing behind the throne and a smaller man speaking
Dura-Europos fresco of

This is a wall-painting (a fresco) from the synagogue of Dura-Europos, which was mainly a Parthian town though sometimes captured by the Romans. It was painted in the third century AD. Later it was buried under a big dirt wall that Roman soldiers built to defend Dura-Europos against the Sassanid invaders. That preserved the painting so we can see it today. The painting shows the story of Esther from the Bible. Can you see Esther all the way on the right? Haman is on the horse. Why would the story of Esther be especially important to Diaspora Jews living in the Parthian empire?

Learn by doing - visit a synagogue in your city
More about Christian persecution of the Jews

Bibliography and further reading about the Second Jewish Revolt:

Christian persecution of the Jews
More about the Jews
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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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