Europe 115: Kitos War
Crossing the Taurus mountains, Trajan invaded the Parthian client kingdoms in Upper Mesopotamia in 115. However, while the emperor was focused on Parthia, Jews across the empire seized the opportunity to revolt against Roman rule, mounting uprisings in Cyrenaica, Egypt, Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cyprus. This “Kitos War” caused much death and destruction, but was eventually suppressed in 117.
115–116 Trajan’s Upper Mesopotamia campaign▲
In the spring of 115 the Roman emperor Trajan crossed the Taurus mountains, dividing his army for a two-pronged attack into the Parthian client kingdoms of Upper Mesopotamia. One force, led by Trajan himself, entered Osroene—which quickly confirmed its alliance with him—before moving on to capture the cities of Araba. The second force invaded Adiabene, completing its conquest in 116 when both forces combined to capture Arbela.
115 Outbreak of Kitos War▲
In 115 Jews across the eastern regions of the Roman Empire apparently took advantage of Trajan’s preoccupation with his war against Parthia to launch revolts against Roman rule. The revolts began in June/July with simultaneous rebellions among the Jews of Cyrene and Mesopotamia, but soon spread to Jewish communities in Egypt, Judea, and Cyprus. This uprising would become known as the “Kitos War”, after the Roman general Lusius Quietus (“Kitos” being a later corruption of “Quietus”) who eventually suppressed it.
?? 115–Aug 117 Lukuas’ rebellion▲
In June/July 115 the Jews of Cyrene revolted against Roman rule, beginning what would become known as the Kitos War. Under the leadership of Lukuas (also known as Andreas) they seized control in the region and marched on Alexandria in neighboring Egypt, destroying many buildings and (in 116) conquering much of the countryside. In fear and retaliation for Jewish brutality—according to Cassius Dio, 220 thousand Greeks and Romans died—Alexandria massacred most of its Jewish population. The revolt was eventually suppressed by Trajan’s appointee Quintus Marcius Turbo in August 117, forcing Lukuas to flee to Judea.
115–117 Kitos War in Mesopotamia▲
While the Kitos War was breaking out in Cyrenaica, a simultaneous Jewish revolt erupted in Roman-occupied Mesopotamia. Armed rebels surrounded and massacred Roman garrisons left behind by Trajan, eventually gaining control in Nisibis and a number of other cities. Trajan tasked the Moorish prince and Roman general Lusius Quietus with suppressing this revolt, a mission he accomplished with thoroughness and brutality by the summer of 117.
?? 115–Aug 117 Julianus and Pappos revolt▲
Following the success of the Kitos War in Egypt, two Jews, Julianus and Pappos, led their own revolt in Roman Judea. In 115 they captured the city of Lydda and made it their capital; they were joined here by the Cyrenaican Jewish rebel Lukuas in 117 after he fled Africa. The last holdout in the Kitos War, Lydda fell to its Roman besiegers—led by Lusius Quietus and Quintus Marcius Turbo—in late August 117.
115–117? Artemion’s rebellion▲
In 115, inspired by Jewish uprisings across the eastern Roman Empire (the Kitos War), Artemion led a revolt of the Jews in Cyprus, attacking the Greek and Roman population. The rebels razed the provincial capital of Salamis and, according to Cassius Dio, were responsible for 240 thousand deaths. Eventually the uprising was crushed, after which Cyprus passed laws banning Jews from the island, including even victims of shipwreck.