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The Siege of Jerusalem

Contributed by David Verne

Now that the civil war is over, the Romans can focus on dealing with the Jewish Revolt. Vespasian's son, Titus, has been given the task of ending the revolt. In Late April, Titus reaches Jerusalem with 70,000 soldiers. Since it is a few days after Passover, the city is filled with a reported 1.1 million people, but this number is seen as way to large by modern historians. With the food supplies already stretched thin, the Zealots burned the grain storage; thinking that this would harden the defenders and prevent surrender to the Romans. Jerusalem was surrounded by 3 walls, each defending an expansion of the city. On May 10, the Romans began bombarding the Third Wall with ballistas, which look like giant crossbows and were capable of firing 100 pound stones.

On May 24, the Romans breach the wall, and after a week manage to secure the Second Wall after vicious street fighting. They are unable to take the First Wall after Jewish raiding parties burned the Roman siege towers. Titus postpones the assault and takes three days to completely encircle the city with 5 miles of trench and wall. After a surprise raid, the Romans take the Antonia Fortress, which gave them a route to attack the Temple wall. In August, the final assault began, and even though Titus had ordered the Temple to be spared, a fire started and it was destroyed, with only the West wall still standing. By September, Jerusalem was taken and Roman control over Judea was reestablished, but there were two mountain fortresses that will stand for another few years. [1]

My Take by David Verne
One of the outcomes of the revolt was a diaspora of Jews and Christians. As they fled the revolt, they settled in many of the cities throughout the Empire. For the Jews, this was the start of the Rabbinic period where the Jews adapted their religion to work without the Temple. Many Christians had fled after Jerusalem was first seized by the rebels, and saw the revolt as a fulfillment of several prophecies Jesus gave before he died. Christianity was already present in small pockets throughout the Empire, and this further spread the new religion.

Batavian Revolt

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

In the Roman province of Germabua Inferior (modern day South Netherlands and North Rhineland) the Batavi tribe started a revolt. The Batavi tribe was relatively small, but was a militarily and politically powerful tribe in the region. When it began it's revolt, several neighboring Germanic and Celtic tribes from both inside and outside the Roman empire joined it in it's battle. With this force, Prince Gaius Julius Civilis of the Batvian tribe was able to defeat the Romans in several pitched battles, and declare Batvia it's own country. However, disaster struck when Civilis decided he wanted to destroy the 2 Roman legions he had battled, and not just establish and independent Gallic kingdom.

A prophetess named Veleda had predicted the early defeats of the Romans and now "foresaw" a complete defeat of the Roman Empire by Civilus was given the commander and officers of these legions as slaves. As this proved to Rome that the rebellion was an existential threat, Vespasian decided to act as soon as he controlled the empire. Upon hearing of this, the tribes within the new Gallic kingdom wanted to surrender, causing disputes to break out between the tribes which destroyed the inter-tribal cooperation that had allowed the rebellion to be successful. When the legions arrived, they were able to defeat the tribal coalition, though there was enough resistance that Civilis was able to negotiate good terms which favored his tribesman and resumed their good relationship with Rome, before Civilis disappears from history.

My Take by Southpaw Ben
This revolt shows how a need for venegence and an absolute destruction of ones enemies can be more fatal for a movement than the enemies themselves would have been. We can also see this in WWII with Nazi Germany. (I by no means support the Nazis, I'm just pointing out an interesting historical counterfactual) Had Hitler not decided to attack the USSR he could have waged a one front war and been more likely to have succeeded. Also, if he had not declared war on the United States, there was a strong enough isolationist feeling in the American populace that the US would only have declared war on Japan, thus giving Germany an even greater chance of success. However, Hitler's hatred of the Jews and belief that the Bolshevik revolution in Russia was created and led by Jews, and the capitalistic US was run by Jews led him to making illogical decisions based on a need for vengence against the Jews and a desire to destroy them. Had he faced these enemies one at a time, or even just settled for a peace treaty strongly in his favor with the other powers when he was at his strongest, the third Reich might have survived past 1945. Thankfully, Hitler's need for vengence against the Jews caused his downfall. This also fits in with how many of the emperors during the year of emperors in the Year of 4 emperors were trying to go to a level of power above their ability, as these tribes tried to expand further than their power structure would allow, and ultimately failed as a result.

See Also


  1. Dando-Collins, Stephen (2010). Legions of Rome. St. Martin's Press. 

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