Villa Historia - Event’s Background Story
The chronicles of the First Jewish – Roman War (The Great Revolt), and its suppression by Rome with the generous help of the participating houses.
The tensions in Jerusalem increase
Revolt breaks in Jerusalem
The revolt spreads to the Galilee
Roman legion fails to suppress the revolt
The Jewish leadership of the Galilee splits
Emperor Neron sends Vespasian to quell the revolt
Yodfat city is conquered
The Jewish forces in the Galilee are defeated
The celebration at Villa Trabiata, before the army marches to Jerusalem
The Jews revolt
In 66 AD, Jerusalem was a political powder keg just waiting to explode. The combination of despair over the death of I, internal power struggles among the Jews, and the rule of a corrupt and cruel Roman commissioner, created a fragile political situation. When the governor of Judea Florus massacred thousands of Jews in Jerusalem and threatened to sack the Temple, many of the people revolted. Despite the attempts of the Jewish King Agrippa II, who ruled under Roman patronage, the Great Revolt broke out.
Jerusalem was occupied by the rebels, and riots spread throughout the Judea province. In many ethnically diverse cities, where Jew, Greeks, and Syrians lived side by side, the riots turned into a war between the groups. In Caesarea, the Syrians seized the opportunity and massacred their Jewish neighbors, and in Scythopolis (modern-day Beit She'an), the Jews and Syrians made an alliance, which was broken when the Syrians betrayed the Jews and killed them in their thousands. Similar riots erupted in many other places. In response, Jews massacred the residents of Philadelphia, Ashkelon, Acre, and other cities. In Alexandria, the riots turned into a full-fledged war between the Jews and the Greeks, and after the failure of the attempts of the local governor, a converted Jew, the Roman soldiers massacred the Jews.
The first attempt at suppression, and the fortification of the Galilee
During late summer, the riots only spread, with the Roman commissioners unable to calm the situation. The Roman governor in Syria was sent at the head of an army of 36,000 soldiers to bring order to Jerusalem and the entire province, but his siege of Jerusalem failed when the army was pushed back by the Jewish forces.
In Jerusalem, Yosef ben Matityahu was elected commander of the Galilee and was sent to command the area. 19 cities, including Yodfat, Safed, Tiberias, and Tzipori, were swiftly fortified, and the Jews fought against the Romans in the region.
Yet the Jewish front in the Galilee failed to remain united: Yochanan of Gush Halav claimed that Yosef ben Matityahu was collaborating with the Romans, and the leadership in the Galilee split.
The suppression of the rebellion
Emperor Neron, furious at the Syrian governor’s failed attempt to crush the rebolt, sent talented general Vespasian with an army of 60,000 soldiers. With the coming of spring, the armies arrived at the Jewish city of Sepphoris, which surrendered after denying the aid of the Jewish rebels.
The next critical Roman goal was the conquest of Yodfat, which was a strategic point for control of the entire Galilee. For six weeks the Roman army laid siege to Yodfat but failed to break through the city walls until a captured Jew admitted that the conditions in the city were bleak and that the guards of the last watch each night slept at their posts. Yodfat fell overnight, and its fall heralded the failure of the Jewish rebellion in the Galilee, after which Tiberias surrendered without a fight, and many settlements fell quickly. By the end of the summer of 67, the revolt in Galilee was finally suppressed.
Now, in 68 AD, before the continued suppression of the rebellion in Jerusalem and the south of the country, the generals, the noble houses which supported the fighting, and the nobles of the region, came together for a three-day victory celebration at the Villa Trabiata, who were the first to offer to host the great event.