Of Revolts and Rebellions Posted by on Dec 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

Rome was an unrivaled power with a mighty military. Even so, there were certain groups and individuals who dared to revolt against the Ancient War Machine that was Rome.

As its name suggests, the Third Jewish Revolt was the third major attempt at liberation from Roman control. When Emperor Hadrian learned that the Jews practiced circumcision, he banned the practice. He also wanted to build a large Roman metropolis over the ruins of the sacred Second Temple. In 132 A.D., the Jews made their move against a Roman garrison in Jerusalem. Emperor Hadrian reacted quickly and eventually defeated the Jews three years later. Although Rome won the war, it sustained heavy casualties that outnumbered the Jewish casualties.

Boudica’s Uprising began in AD 60-61. Boudica was a queen from the Iceni tribe. When her husband died, the Romans annexed her territory as part of the Empire, flogged her and raped her daughters. In revenge, Boudica led several military revolts against the Romans. The Romans eventually defeated her in the Battle of Watling Street, but by that time Boudica had already done too much damage. Archeological digs still show the charred remains of the Roman villages that she razed. The Ancient Romans were never able to capture her body for public display, so she was able to keep her honor.

The Third Servile War is also known as the Spartacus Rebellion. For a time, Spartacus was a slave who was able to route a professional Roman army. Of course like many revolts against Rome, his forces were eventually demolished by Crassus. Although Spartacus was defeated, his revolt is an extraordinary story. For a short period of time a mere slave was able to round up other slaves and stir fear in the hearts of the Roman elite. Unlike the revolts of the Jews and Boudica, Spartacus’s revolt threatened the heart of Rome; which was a feat the other revolts were unable to accomplish.

In all these cases, the rebels were the underdogs. In the eyes of the Romans, slaves, women and non-Romans were considered barbarians and inferior to Roman citizens. These revolts shamed the Romans and caught them off guard. The rebellions gave the Romans a taste of their own medicine and for a short period of time, the leaders of the revolt gave the Romans hell. For that they were remembered by the Romans and for that they will never be forgotten in history.

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