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Renaming Jerusalem

Contributed by David Verne

The province of Judea was one of several provinces that had become depopulated during the Second Jewish Revolt, also called the Kitos War. This revolt had occurred near the end of Trajan's reign, and it was a mass uprising of the dispersed Jewish population, with hotspots in Cyprus, Egypt, and modern day Libya. Hadrian decided to rebuild Jerusalem, which had been nearly destroyed during the First Jewish Revolt almost 60 years before. Hadrian decided to rebuild it as a Roman colony and renamed it Aelia Capitolina in honor of Jupiter. He also tried to Hellenize, make Greek, Judea through several anti-Jewish laws. This did not go over well with the Jews, who began preparing for another revolt. [1]

My Take by David Verne
I'm not sure if Hadrian was deliberately poking the hornets' nest, or if he just didn't realize what he was doing. Renaming Judaism's holy city in honor of a Roman god, was an egregious insult to the Jews. Jewish leaders had learned from the previous revolts and carefully planned this one. The first revolt had been plagued by infighting between rebel factions, but this time the rebels were united. Jewish blacksmiths working for Roman garrisons would send the Romans shoddy weapons, and when the weapons were returned as sub-par, the blacksmiths would rework the blades and stockpile them. With a unified leadership and armed populace, this revolt would be the most serious one yet.

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References

  1. Duncan, Mike (February 07, 2010). 83- May His Bones Be Crushed.

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