Europe 66 AD: Great Jewish Revolt
Tensions between the Roman Empire and its Jewish population had steadily escalated since the annexation of Judea in 6 AD. When the Roman governor raided the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem over outstanding taxes in 66 AD, mass violence erupted. The Jews overthrew the Roman garrison in September, defeating an invading Roman legion at Beth Horon the following month.
[Actual date uncertain: Map depicts Jewish situation before Roman forces arrive in September/October.]
62?–69? AD Nero’s Cimmerian Bosporus▲
After 61/62 AD Cotys I, king of the Roman client kingdom of the Cimmerian Bosporus (or Bosporan Kingdom), was replaced by Nero in coinage from his kingdom. Nero remained on coinage until 68/69, when he was in turn replaced by Cotys’ son Rhescuporis. It is widely inferred from this evidence that the Cimmerian Bosporus was part of the Roman Empire during this period.
63 AD Alpes Cottiae▲
In 63 AD Marcus Julius Cottius II, Roman client king of the Cottian kingdom in what is now the Italian Alps, died, ending a reign which had begun in 5 AD. The kingdom was annexed to the Roman Empire as the province of Alpes Cottiae.
63 AD Treaty of Rhandeia▲
In the spring of 63 AD Parthian demands over Armenia reached Rome, but were rejected by Nero and the Senate who instead opted to “accept a dangerous war over a disgraceful peace”. The Roman general Corbulo reorganized the legions in the East and crossed the Euphrates, compelling the Parthians to compromise. At the Treaty of Rhandeia—chosen as a location to acknowledge the Parthian victory the year before—Rome agreed to recognize the Parthian prince Tiridates as king of Armenia, while Tiridates in return accepted his crown as a Roman client. Also, at about this time, Rome annexed the neighboring kingdoms of Lesser Armenia and Sophene.
19–27 Jul 64 AD Great Fire of Rome▲
On the night of 18/19 July 64 AD a fire started among shops at the southeastern end of the Circus Maximus, Rome, and soon spread throughout the city. It took five days to end the conflagration, only for it to start up again, and eventually it destroyed 10 of Rome’s 14 districts. Blaming the Christians for starting the fire and ordering their persecution, Emperor Nero nonetheless readily took advantage of the devastation to build a massive palace in the center of Rome.
64? AD Annexation of Pontus▲
In 64 or possibly 65 AD Nero compelled the client king Polemon II to abdicate the throne of the kingdom of Pontus, on the southern shore of the Black Sea, possibly to secure the eastern border after the war over Armenia. Pontus was incorporated into the Roman province of Cappadocia, while Polemon continued to govern in Cilicia until his death a decade later.
19 Apr 65 AD Pisonian conspiracy▲
In 65 AD the Roman senator Gaius Calpurnius Piso conspired with the Praetorian Guard prefect Faenius Rufus and the Praetorian tribune Subrius Flavus, among others, to overthrow the despotic rule of Nero and replace him with Piso, with some even advocating a restoration of the Republic. However, on the morning that the conspirators had planned to act, Nero was alerted and ordered the arrests and executions of those involved or suspected of being so. Among the many accused of complicity were the philosopher Seneca, his nephew Lucan, and the satirist Petronius, who were all forced to commit suicide.
??–Sep 66 AD Jerusalem riots of 66▲
In 66 AD a Jewish revolt broke out in Caesarea, capital of Roman Judea, as a result of Jewish grievances over both religious desecration and taxation. Unrest exploded in Jerusalem soon after, when Roman governor Gessius Florus raided the Second Temple’s treasury to compensate for unpaid taxes and arrested a number of city leaders. Jewish rebels quickly overran the Roman military garrison, seizing control of Jerusalem in September and much of Judea thereafter. The pro-Roman king Agrippa II fled the city, while Jewish militias turned on Romans and their supporters.