Monday, 18 October 2021

The Bar-Kokhba Revolt

The Bar Kokhba revolt was a rebellion of the Jews of Judea, led by Simon bar Kokhba, against the Roman Empire and fought circa 132–136 CE. It was the last of three major Jewish–Roman wars. Although Jewish Christians hailed Jesus as the Messiah and did not support Bar Kokhba, they were barred from Jerusalem along with the Jews. The war and its aftermath helped differentiate Christianity as a religion distinct from Judaism.
A cluster of papyrus containing Bar Kokhba's orders found in the Judean desert.
In 132, a revolt led by Bar Kokhba quickly spread from Modi'in across the country, cutting off the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. The outbreak took the Romans by surprise. Hadrian called his general Sextus Julius Severus from Britain, and troops were brought from as far as the Danube. The struggle lasted for three years before the revolt was brutally crushed in the summer of 135 AD. After losing Jerusalem, Bar Kokhba and the remnants of his army withdrew to the fortress of Betar, which also subsequently came under siege. The Jerusalem Talmud relates that the numbers slain were enormous, that the Romans "went on killing until their horses were submerged in blood to their nostrils"
In September, 2009 the largest cache of rare coins ever found from the period of the Bar-Kokhba revolt was discovered in a cave.

Most of the coins were overstruck as rebels' coins on top of Roman coins. The new imprints show Jewish images and words (for example: the facade of the Temple in Jerusalem and the slogan "for the freedom of Jerusalem"). Other coins that were found, of gold, silver and bronze, are original Roman coins of the period minted elsewhere in the Roman Empire.
The significance of the cave relates to its size, its proximity to Betar, and the large collection of coins found there. Ancient Betar was the site of the "last stand" of the rebels in their struggle against Roman rule in Judea.