Europe 132: Bar Kokhba Revolt
In 130 Hadrian visited Judea and decided to build Aelia Capitolina—a new city dedicated to the Roman god Jupiter—on Jerusalem’s ruins. This act antagonized the Jewish population, who revolted under the leadership of Simon bar Kokhba. The outcome would be the bloodiest of the Jewish–Roman wars and the last serious attempt at Jewish independence for centuries.
123 Osroene Crisis▲
In 123 Parthamaspates—former Roman client king of Parthia and now Roman puppet king of Osroene—was overthrown by a member of the Abgarid dynasty, either Abgar or Ma’nu VII bar Ezad. Shah Osroes I of Parthia supported the new king, creating a short crisis with the Roman Empire. Peace was restored later that year with a second Hadrian–Osroes treaty, in which Parthia recognized Osroene as a Roman client under an Abgarid king.
124 Dacia Porolissensis▲
In 124 the Roman emperor Hadrian created the new province of Dacia Porolissensis (capital Porolissum) in the northern portion of Upper Dacia. These reorganizations helped the Romans defend Dacia from its different strategic threats: Lower Dacia against the Roxolani; Upper Dacia against the Iazyges; and Dacia Porolissensis against attacks from the northwest plains.
? ?? 127–10 Jul 138 Hadrian’s division of Italy▲
In late 127, following his Italian tour, Hadrian ordered the division of Italy into four regions, each under an imperial legate and effectively treated as a province. Of these regions, only Italia Transpadana is known by name, although Rome was probably exempt and there is some information on where the legates were based. The system proved to be unpopular, especially with the Senate, and Antoninus Pius abolished it when he assumed power in 138.
129 Pharasmanes the Valiant▲
In 129 the Roman emperor Hadrian toured Syria and called for assembly of Rome’s eastern client kings. Despite receiving numerous gifts from Hadrian, including a war elephant, Pharasmanes II of Iberia refused to come and pay homage to the emperor. Possibly inspired by Pharasmanes, the ruler of the neighboring Caucasian Kingdom of Albania also spurned Hadrian.
129–140 Parthian Civil War of 129–40▲
In 129 Osroes I of Parthia died and his rival Vologases III gained control over most of the Parthian Empire. However, Osroes’ son Mithridates V quickly reignited the civil war, establishing himself in Ecbatana. Two years later Characene reemerged as a kingdom, possibly also in revolt. Mithridates’ resistance continued, with few other apparent gains, until his death in 140.
130? Aelia Capitolina▲
In 130 the Roman emperor Hadrian visited Jerusalem, which still lay in wreckage after its destruction in 70 AD. Hadrian considered rebuilding the city as a gift to the Jewish people, but later changed his mind and decided to construct a Roman colony on the site, to be inhabited by his legionaries. The new city was named Aelia Capitolina and was dedicated to both Hadrian and the Roman god Jupiter.
131 Kingdom of Lazica▲
In 131 the Roman emperor Hadrian detached Colchis from the province of Cappadocia, granting it some independence as a Roman client state. Under the rule of King Malassas of the Lazi, Colchis (also known as Lazica) provided a buffer between the Roman Empire and the resurgent Kingdom of Iberia.
? ?? 132–4 Aug 135 Bar Kokhba Revolt▲
In 132, apparently incensed by the Roman construction of Aelia Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem, Jewish partisans led by Simon ben Koseba began an insurgency against Roman rule. By summer they had seized control of settlements throughout Judea, prompting the prominent Rabbi Akiba to declare ben Koseba to be Bar Kokhba (‘son of a star’). After a number of unsuccessful Roman attempts to handle the situation, legions dispatched from Britain under Sextus Julius Severus defeated the rebels, killing Bar Kokhba and his followers in the Siege of Betar (135). Some 580,000 men perished in the war and one or more legions may have been destroyed.