Sunday, June 01, 2003

The Campaign of Cestius Gallus and the Defeat of the Twelfth Legion

By G. J. Goldberg

In July of 66 CE, after violent clashes between the Judean people and the troops of Judean procurator Florus, Roman governor of Syria Cestius Gallus received a complaint from the leaders of Jerusalem and a simultaneous counter-complaint by Florus against the Judaeans. Although Cestius advisers recommended he lead an army to Jerusalem to settle the dispute one way or the other, Cestius himself decided to gather more information by sending an emissary--thus showing the personality traits of reasonableness and slowness to take action that would prove disastrous in his subsequent campaign.

Cestius emissary, Neapolitanus, was treated with great respect by the Jerusalem leaders and given a full account of the recent actions, including a tour of the significant sites. While waiting for Neapolitanus to make his report to Cestius and for the Governor to respond, however, King Agrippa made a disastrous attempt to persuade the people to abstain from complaining to the Emperor and to continue to submit to Florus, which resulted in the outbreak of open revolt.
Post a Comment