Europe 70 AD: Siege of Jerusalem
Upon becoming Roman emperor (69), Vespasian left suppressing the three-year-old Jewish revolt in the hands of his son Titus. In April 70 Titus besieged the Jewish capital and holy city of Jerusalem, capturing it in September and razing the city and its temple to the ground. After enslaving the survivors, Titus moved on to besiege the Sicarii at Masada, eventually capturing that formidable fortress in 73 and bringing the Great Jewish Revolt to an end.
21 Dec 69–24 Jun 79 AD Principate of Vespasian▲
Following the killing of Vitellius (December 69 AD), the Roman Senate proclaimed his opponent Vespasian as emperor, although the latter was still in Egypt at the time. The founder of the 27-year-long Flavian dynasty and the first emperor to hail from an equestrian family, Vespasian reformed the Roman financial system, expanded the empire in Britain, and initiated several major construction projects, most notably the Flavian Amphitheater (a.k.a. the Colosseum). Following his death from illness at the age of 69, Vespasian was succeeded by his eldest son Titus in 79 AD, thus becoming the first Roman emperor to be directly succeeded by his own natural son.
Jan–May 70 AD Empire of Gaul▲
Following the death of Emperor Vitellius in Rome, the Romano-Gallic officers Julius Classicus, Julius Tutor, and Julius Sabinus led a rebellion of the Treviran and Lingonian auxiliary forces on the west bank of the Rhine. Allying themselves with the Batavi, the Romano-Gauls proclaimed the Empire of Gaul at Augusta Treverorum (Trier) and accepted the surrender of the two besieged legions at Vetera (Xanten). However, when Cerialis led a three-legion army against them in May 70 AD, the rebellion quickly disintegrated, with most taking advantage of Cerialis’ clemency and capitulating.
Jan 70 AD Death of Proconsul Piso▲
Following the death of Vitellius, Lucius Calpurnius Piso, the proconsul of Africa, held out in his palace in Carthage, rejecting the new emperor Vespasian and ordering the execution of his centurion messenger—who had previously helped kill Piso’s predecessor Macer—to popular acclaim. Learning of Piso’s actions, the commander of the legion of Africa, Gaius Calpetanus Rantius Quirinalis Valerius Festus—who had been in secret negotiations with Vespasian—sent cavalry to kill Piso. Breaking into his palace in early dawn, the horsemen killed Piso and brought an end to his abortive revolt.
70 AD Garamantian War of 70▲
In the confusion of the Roman civil wars of 68–70 AD, differences between the African towns of Oea (Tripoli) and Leptis Magna escalated to the point of regular armed confrontations. In early 70 the people of Oea aligned with the Garamantes of the desert interior, who proceeded to terrorize the Lepititani and forced them to retreat behind their walls. At this point the Roman auxiliaries arrived and, in possibly the first Roman use of camels in the Sahara, routed the Garamantes and chased them back south into the desert.
14 Apr–8 Sep 70 AD Titus’ Siege of Jerusalem▲
Upon becoming Roman emperor, Vespasian placed his son Titus in command of the Jewish campaign. On 14 April 70, three days before the beginning of Passover and after the failure of negotiations, Titus began the siege of Jerusalem, breaking into the city on 30 August. The Romans burned and destroyed the Second Temple, completing the conquest of the city on 8 September after over a week of street fighting. Jerusalem was then razed to the ground, its gardens and trees destroyed, and its surviving citizens sold into slavery.