Europe 68 AD: Downfall of Nero
Nero’s extravagances alienated the Roman elite, encouraging the governors Vindex and Galba to lead the Gallic and Spanish provinces in revolt in 68 AD. Although Vindex was quickly defeated by the Rhine legions, the Praetorians and Senate declared for Galba in June. Deposed and condemned, Nero committed suicide, bringing an abrupt end to the Julio-Claudian dynasty.
Oct 66 AD Battle of Beth Horon▲
In response to the revolt in Judea, the Roman legate of Syria, Cestius Gallus, advanced south with the Syrian legion XII Fulminata and accompanying units, auxiliaries, and allies—some 30,000–36,000 troops in all. Reconquering Galilee, Caesarea, and Jaffa, Gallus marched inland towards Jerusalem but abandoned his attempt on the city after a short siege. As he was withdrawing, Jewish rebels ambushed his forces at Beth Horon, killing 6,000 Roman troops and wounding many more. Defeated, Gallus fled back to Syria, leaving most of Judea in rebel hands.
Apr–?? 67 AD Vespasian’s Galilee Campaign▲
In April 67 AD the Roman general Vespasian landed at Ptolemais (Acre) to subdue the Jewish rebels in Galilee. Most surrendered without a fight but some, including the rebel leader and later historian Josephus, held out at Yodfat (June–July) and Gamla (October). The last town to fall was Gush Halav (Jish), whose Zealot defenders fled south to Judea.
Jan–Feb 68 AD Zealot Temple Siege▲
When Galilee fell to the Romans, the radical Zealots fled south to Jerusalem, where the Judean Provisional Government (JPG) held sway. Claiming the JPG were preparing to negotiate with the Romans, the Zealots seized control of the Temple and drew 20,000 armed men from neighboring Idumea into the city. In the ensuing carnage, 12,000 people were killed including the heads of the JPG, Ananus ben Ananus and Joseph ben Gurion.
68?–87 AD Dacian resurgence▲
For a century or so after the death of Burebista (44 BC) the Dacian Kingdom remained somewhat weak and often divided. This ended with the advent of Scorilo in the mid-1st century, who restored Dacian unity and took advantage of apparent Roman weakness around the end of Nero’s reign to mount attacks into Moesia. He died in 70 AD, possibly during one such invasion, but was succeeded as king by Duras, who continued his aggressive policy towards Rome.
??–1 Jun 68 AD Vindex’s Rebellion▲
In early 68 AD Gaius Julius Vindex, Roman governor of Gallia Lugdunensis and a scion of a noble Gallic family, conspired to proclaim Servius Sulpicius Galba, governor of Hispania Tarraconensis, as emperor in place of Nero. Despite the 70-year-old Galba’s reluctance, Vindex led the governors of Gaul and Britain in revolt soon after. However, Lucius Verginius Rufus, commander of the Rhine legions, rejected the move, defeating Vindex outside Vesontio (Besançon) and compelling him to commit suicide in early June.
Apr–8 Jun 68 AD Galba’s Rebellion▲
When Vindex led the Gallic provinces in revolt against Nero on behalf of Servius Sulpicius Galba, the 70-year-old Galba, fearing Nero would retaliate regardless, followed suit, leading the Spanish provinces in revolt in April 70 AD. Despite Vindex’s defeat a month or so later, the Praetorian Guards decided to support his claim and on 8 June were joined by the Senate in declaring Nero deposed.
May–Oct 68 AD Macer’s Rebellion▲
In May 68 AD Lucius Clodius Macer, legatus of the legion Legio III Augusta in Africa, rose in revolt against Nero, cutting off the vital African grain supply to Rome. Refusing to relinquish his command when Galba was proclaimed emperor, Macer was killed at the latter’s behest by the procurator Trebonius Garutianus.