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For after 132, see Bar Kokhba's revolt.
Iudaea (Hebrew: יהודה, Standard Yehuda Tiberian ; ; ; sometimes spelled Judaea in English) is the term used by historians to refer to the Roman province that extended over parts of the former regions of the Hasmonean and Herodian kingdoms of Israel. It was named after Herod Archelaus's ethnarchy of Judea of which it was an expansion, the latter name deriving from the Kingdom of Judah of the 6th century BCE.

Rome's involvement in the area dated from 63 BCE, following the end of the Third Mithridatic War, when Rome made Syria a province. After the defeat of Mithridates VI of Pontus, general Pompeius Magnus (Pompey the Great) remained to secure the area. Subsequently, during the 1st century BCE, the Herodian Kingdom was established as a client kingdom and then later in the first century CE parts became a province of the Roman Empire.

Iudaea Province was the stage of three major rebellions (see Jewish-Roman wars), including the Great Jewish Revolt (66-70 CE) the Kitos War (115-117 CE), and Bar Kokhba's revolt (132-135 CE), after which Hadrian changed the name of the province to Syria Palaestina and Jerusalemmarker to Aelia Capitolina in an attempt to erase the historical ties of the Jewish people to the region.

The Herodian client kingdom

The first intervention of Rome in the region dates from 63 BCE, following the end of the Third Mithridatic War, when Rome made a province of Syriamarker. After the defeat of Mithridates VI of Pontus, Pompey (Pompey the Great) remained there to secure the area.

The region at the time was not a peaceful place. Queen Salome Alexandra had recently died and her sons, Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, divided against each other in a civil war. In 63 BCE, Aristobulus was besieged in Jerusalemmarker by his brother's armies. He sent an envoy to Marcus Aemilius Scaurus, Pompey's representative in the area. Aristobulus offered a massive bribe to be rescued, which Pompey promptly accepted. Afterwards, Aristobulus accused Scaurus of extortion. Since Scaurus was Pompey's brother in law and protégée, the general retaliated by putting Hyrcanus in charge of the kingdom as Prince and High Priest.

When Pompey was defeated by Julius Caesar, Hyrcanus was succeeded by his courtier Antipater the Idumaean, also known as Antipas, as the first Roman Procurator. In 57-55 BCE, Aulus Gabinius, proconsul of Syria, split the former Hasmonean Kingdom of Israel into five districts of Sanhedrin/Synedrion (councils of law).

Both Caesar and Antipater were killed in 44 BCE, and the Idumean Herod the Great, Antipater's son, was designated "King of the Jews" by the Roman Senate in 40 BCE. He didn't gain military control until 37 BCE. During his reign the last representatives of the Maccabees were eliminated, and the great port of Caesarea Maritimamarker was built. He died in 4 BCE, and his kingdom was divided among his sons, who became tetrarchs ("rulers of a quarter part"). One of these quarters was Judea corresponding to the region of the ancient Kingdom of Judah. Herod's son Herod Archelaus, ruled Judea so badly that he was dismissed in 6 CE by the Roman emperor Augustus, after an appeal from his own population. Another, Herod Antipas, ruled as tetrarch of Galilee and Perea from 4 BCE to 39 CE, being then dismissed by Caligula.


In 6 CE Judea became part of a larger Roman province, called Iudaea, which was formed by combining Judeamarker proper with Samariamarker and Idumea. Even though Iudaea is simply derived from the Latin for Judea, many historians use it to distinguish the Roman province from the previous territory and history. Iudaea province did not include Galilee, Gaulanitis (the Golan), nor Peraea or the Decapolis. The capital was at Caesareamarker, not Jerusalemmarker which had been the capital for King David, King Hezekiah, King Josiah, the Maccabees and Herod the Great. Quirinius became Legate (Governor) of Syria and conducted the first Roman tax census of Iudaea, which was opposed by the Zealots. Since Iudaea was not a Senatorial or Imperial province in its own right, but a sub-province of Syria, it was governed by a knight of the equestrian order, not a former consul or praetor of senatorial rank; even though its revenue was of little importance to the Roman treasury, it controlled the land and coastal sea routes to the bread basket Egyptmarker and was a border province against Parthia because of the Jewish connections to Babylonia. Pontius Pilate was one of these prefects, from 26 to 36 CE. Caiaphas was one of the appointed High Priest of Herod's Temple, being appointed by the Prefect Valerius Gratus in 18. Both were deposed by the Syrian Legate Lucius Vitellius in 36 CE.

The 'Crisis under Caligula' (37-41) has been proposed as the first open break between Rome and the Jews.

Between 41 and 44 CE, Iudaea regained its nominal autonomy, when Herod Agrippa was made King of the Jews by the emperor Claudius. Following Agrippa's death, the province returned to direct Roman control for a short period. Iudaea was returned to Agrippa's son Marcus Julius Agrippa in 48. He was the seventh and last of the Herodians. There was, however, an imperial procurator in the area, responsible for keeping peace and tax raising. When Agrippa II died, about 100, the area returned to direct Roman Empire control.

Iudaea was the stage of three major rebellions against the Romans. They were (see Jewish-Roman wars for the full account):

Following the suppression of Bar Kokhba's revolt, the emperor Hadrian changed the name of the province to Syria Palaestina and Jerusalem became Aelia Capitolina in order to humiliate the Jewish population by attempting to erase their historical ties to the region.

According to historian H.H. Ben-Sasson, under Diocletian (284-305) the region was divided into Palaestina Prima which was Judea, Samaria, Idumea, Peraea and the coastal plain with Caesarea as capital, Palaestina Secunda which was Galilee, Decapolis, Golan with Beth-shean as capital, and Palaestina Tertia which was the Negev with Petra as capital.

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