Answers to Questions by Yair Davidiy (23 August 2017, 1 Elul, 5777)
How did the Romans disperse the Jews after the Titus victory and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD?
The Dispersion of the Jews should be seen as not only an outcome of the events of 70 CE but rather the result of Roman policy over an extended period.
The Romans had facilitated the Dispersion of Jews from the beginning of their arrival.
Pompey, after the conquest of Jerusalem in 63 BCE transported many Jews as hostages to Rome.
A colony of Jews had been found in Rome from at least 139 BCE since we hear of those Jews who were not citizens being expelled at that time.
It is implied that some of the Jews in Rome at that time were already citizens of the State.
In 6 CE the Romans annexed Judea.
The Emperor Tiberius exiled 4,000 Jews to the Island of Sardinia in 19 CE.
After the revolt in 70 CE the Romans killed a great many Jews but others were sent to Italy as slaves. Some of the slaves were used on public works whereas others came into private hands.
The Temple was destroyed along with the entire city of Jerusalem. It was partially rebuilt as a Roman center. A Roman garrison was located on its area. A temple to the goddess Aphrodite was built on the Temple site.
Other Jews fled to the east to Babylon in the Parthian Empire and other areas. Existing Jewish colonies in Cyprus, North Africa and Egypt were strengthened by Jews fleeing to them. This may have been a factor in the Kito War of 115-117 CE in which Jews from these areas rebelled against Rome.
Many of the Jewish settlements in Judea had been destroyed, their inhabitants killed enslaved, or in flight.
A portion of the Jews however remained. These took part in the revolt of Simon Bar Kokba in 135 CE.
The Emperor Hadrian defeated Bar Kokba and banished all Jews from the land.
Judea was renamedÂ Syria Palaestina. This is we get the modern word Palestine.
Jerusalem was calledÂ Aelia Capitolina. A Roman colony and entirely pagan city was set up in its place.
Jews were forbidden entrance to the city area on pain of death, except for the day of the Ninth of Av which was the anniversary of the Temple Destruction.
Hadrian encouraged non-Jews to settle the land.
The Jews in Judea were killed, or sold as slaves, or forced to seek refuge elsewhere.
About 80% of the Jews seem to have still been within the confines of the Roman Empire. In many cases Jewish slaves were eventually freed or manumitted by their coreligionists. Jews were to be found throughout Italy but also in Gaul, in Roman Germany, everywhere.
Jews in the east congregated in the area of Babylon but with the passing of the Parthians and the initially favorable Sassanian Emperors of Persia they began to move northwards.
This was a factor in the rise of the Khazars north of the Black Sea as pointed out by Stephen Collins.
Other members of the Khazar Federation belonged to the Ten Tribes, especially Simeon and Manasseh, as they themselves claimed.
Being already intermixed with Jews the Khazars converted to Judaism in about 700 CE.
They were eventually assimilated into the main Jewish body.
Nevertheless, most Jews descended from those who had come out of Judea.