compare/ contrast Romans vs 1st Jewish revolt vs Boudica’s Iceni in Britain.

Nov 2016
44
Australia
How big were these battles in terms of soldiers/combatants?
Is it true that the Jewish revolt was (temporarily) more successful against the Romans?
Which would you rate as the most significant historically?
 

Matthew Amt

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
2,966
MD, USA
Well, not a simple question. Both revolts involved multiple battles, including a number of sieges in the Jewish revolt. And I'm assuming you mean the Jewish revolt of 66 AD--pretty sure there was one before that, under Pompey, unless we count that as part of the initial conquest?

According to Tacitus, the final battle against Boudicca involved c. 10,000 Romans versus 100,000 Britons. Naturally a lot of historians start by throwing out the written sources (because we know better than they do?) and declare the numbers to be completely exaggerated, but whatever. Of course, that was after part of Legio IX got trashed, and three towns overrun and destroyed. And there was a rather savage campaign of reprisal and destruction after the final battle, to the point where Nero had to recall the governor to keep the entire province from being leveled. But the entire revolt took place in less than a year.

The Jewish revolt, by contrast, lasted something like 6 years, involved at least 3 legions plus auxiliaries, and the total death toll is estimated at half a million. As with the British revolt, it started with an initial Jewish victory, but rapidly went downhill for them. If you want to say that the Jews were "more successful" because they were able to spend several years ferociously fighting each other while the Romans flattened their home and slaughtered their people, cool, but I'm not sure I'd define it that way.

Which was more significant? Kind of depends on what you're interested in, I should think. Both are pretty well documented, compared to other conflicts which may have been larger but we just don't have as much literature. Both areas were "hot spots", with internal unrest as well as problems from outside the Empire. It might be noted that the *next* Jewish revolt resulted in the Jews being expelled from their homeland, to which they did not return until 1948. You wanna make something last, get the Romans to do it, boyo.

Does that get you started?

Matthew
 
Mar 2016
1,222
Australia
Which would you rate as the most significant historically?
The Jewish Revolt. While it was not the last one, it did create a permanent distrust and mutual dislike between the Romans and the Jews, which contributed to the Romans' extremely harsh final measures against the Jews in the next revolt. Meanwhile the British revolt was fairly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Britain was one of Rome's least important provinces, and remained so until the very end. The native British people were displaced not by the Romans, primarily, but by the Germanic migrators in the 5th century.
 
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Caesarmagnus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,572
Australia
The common thread is both were doomed. Rebellions against Rome in the centuries of it's prime weren't smart. Those guys didn't mess around. As flagged, the next time the Jews rose Rome was merciless, and basically triggered the biggest Jewish Diaspora ever, and inflicted genocidal retributions (which worked). Stupid, stupid rebellion. This is what people don't understand about modern wars v.s ancient wars. In modern wars guerrilla campaigns can be effective, because the stronger power isn't trying to conquer the land usually; they're trying to win the peace, and achieve a political settlement. They also have to worry about bad press and media images of their brutality. Rome didn't have that problem. If you weren't willing to go under the thumb, they were fine with just wiping you out and bringing in a new population of settlers.
 
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Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,466
Dispargum
The Jewish Revot had a significant impact on Judaism and a tangential impact on Christianity. The Jews saw their Temple of Solomon destroyed. This had the effect of turning Judaism into an internal religion based on teachings and doctrine rather than on blood sacrifices.

The revolt probably increased the growing scism between Judaism and Christianity. There's been some speculation that during the revolt the Christians sided with the Romans against the Jews. None of the Gospels were written yet at the time of the revolt, and some religious scholars have detected some ideas in the Gospels that make more sense after the revolt than before. In other words, Jesus was long dead, but His message was still evolving before it was written down. The whole charge about the Jews killing Jesus may have been added to the story during the revolt as Christians shifted the blame off of the Romans and onto the Jews.
 
Mar 2018
789
UK
The common thread is both were doomed. Rebellions against Rome in the centuries of it's prime weren't smart. Those guys didn't mess around. As flagged, the next time the Jews rose Rome was merciless, and basically triggered the biggest Jewish Diaspora ever, and inflicted genocidal retributions (which worked). Stupid, stupid rebellion. This is what people don't understand about modern wars v.s ancient wars. In modern wars guerrilla campaigns can be effective, because the stronger power isn't trying to conquer the land usually; they're trying to win the peace, and achieve a political settlement. They also have to worry about bad press and media images of their brutality. Rome didn't have that problem. If you weren't willing to go under the thumb, they were fine with just wiping you out and bringing in a new population of settlers.

The Jewish was doomed for sure, there's no way the Romans would have walked away from a province in the middle of the rich eastern side of the empire. Boudicca, I'm less sure about, it isn't completely impossible that the Romans would have abandoned the province in the same way as Augustus abandoned Germanica. I'm not saying it was likely by any means - for a start Boudicca had far more military success and dealt far more death than she should have had any reasonable chance of doing. But politically she had less far to go for Britain to be left alone by the Romans than for Palestine.
 

Caesarmagnus

Ad Honorem
Jan 2015
3,572
Australia
The Jewish was doomed for sure, there's no way the Romans would have walked away from a province in the middle of the rich eastern side of the empire. Boudicca, I'm less sure about, it isn't completely impossible that the Romans would have abandoned the province in the same way as Augustus abandoned Germanica. I'm not saying it was likely by any means - for a start Boudicca had far more military success and dealt far more death than she should have had any reasonable chance of doing. But politically she had less far to go for Britain to be left alone by the Romans than for Palestine.
If Rome eventually made a geopolitical decision to strategically withdraw from Britain, it wouldn't have helped Boudica, because there would have been a demand for vengeance (and a lot of popularity with the soldiers for granting it). Remember Germany? Rome decided it wasn't a good investment, and withdrew... but it wasn't long before they were raiding it again inflicting genocidal retribution on those who rose against them. The main reason to think they'd have abandoned Britain, as they one day did, is because it wasn't very valuable compared to a place like Syria, and offered them no strategic advantage to hold. But I still think they'd have taken it back regardless, given the timing in Rome's history, etc. It was no time to be abandoning viable provinces.
 
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