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Diaspora of the Jews

After the third Jewish revolt occurred in 135 A.D. the Jewish people were scattered throughout the world by Emperor Hadrian. Since the time Rome had controlled Judea starting in 40 B.C., the Jews had been revolting and trying to gain their freedom. Rome had to suffer and put up with the Jews for almost 150 years before they finally decided to wipe them out and take their homeland from them. This is known as the Diaspora of the Jews and appears on the Biblical Timeline Poster in 135 AD.

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A History of Jewish Exile

Roman Triumphal arch panel copy from Beth Hatefutsoth, showing spoils of Jerusalem temple.

Jewish people were constantly deported from their homeland starting first with the Babylonians, then the Persians, the Greeks and finally the Romans. They enjoyed a brief period of autonomous rule that lasted during the Hasmonean Dynasty. This ended in 40 B.C. when King Herod used the Roman Empire to gain control of Judea. Since that point, the Jews had been fighting hard against Roman domination.

Revolts and Rebellions

The next 150 years of Jewish history was marked by rebellion and revolts against Rome. The Jews were tired of the Romans and their lack of respect for Jewish life. They formed militant resistance groups that came and went over the years. The Zealots were probably the most famous resistance group during this era. Many of the people might not have liked the things that the Zealots had done, but most of them were allied to their cause. Eventually, the Zealots rebellion culminated in the first Jewish-Roman war where Jerusalem was taken and the Temple of Solomon was destroyed by the Romans once and for all. Many Jewish people were sold into slavery or resettled into other cities. These events happened in 70 A.D. About 45 years later in 115 A.D. a second Jewish revolt happened and shortly after this event (in 132 A.D.) the Jews revolted a third time under the rule of Hadrian. This was the final straw and after they were defeated Hadrian deported the Jews, sold them into slavery and renamed Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina and the kingdom of Judea was now called Palestine, Syria. This event would mark a significant changing point in the history of the Jewish people.

The Jews in Other Territories

Many of the Jews were scattered across the empire and they never were able to regain their homeland. So they developed their own communities in the cultures where they lived. Jews were now living in various parts of Africa, Rome, Greece, Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt and some had gone to India and even as far as China. In time, Jews migrated to Russia, Germany, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and the United States.

They concentrated on keeping their way of life and did not assimilate into the dominant cultures that surrounded them. They became powerful members of their society and many Jewish people were involved in banking and commerce. The Jews learned how to gain leadership positions and they pretty much kept to themselves in order to avoid as much conflict as possible. They were hard workers and a respectable people who did their best not to be a burden on the societies where they lived.

The events of World War II forced the Jews to once again back into their homeland. In 1949, the British took Palestine and gave it back to the Jewish people and all the Jews in the world now had a place to call home once again.