Northern Africa 116: Kitos War

Political map of Northern Africa on 08 Sep 116 (Rome and Northern Africa: Kitos War), showing the following events: Trajan’s Parthian War; Lukuas’ rebellion; Kitos War; Artemion’s rebellion.

In 113 Trajan declared war on Parthia, invading and conquering much of that empire in the following years. However in 115, while he was engaged against the Parthians, rebellion broke out among the Jewish communities in Cyrenaica, Egypt, Cyprus, Mesopotamia, and Judea. It took over two years for the Romans to crush the last remnants of these revolts, by which time Trajan was dead and his successor Hadrian had been convinced to abandon his expansionist policies.

Main Events

113–118 Trajan’s Parthian War

In 113 the Roman emperor Trajan used a dispute over Armenia as an excuse to declare war on Parthia. Trajan annexed Armenia the following year, then invaded the Parthian Empire itself in 115–116, overrunning it to reach as far as the Persian Gulf. However, widespread insurgencies in both the conquered territories and the Roman Empire itself undermined Trajan’s plans and, when he died in 117, his successor Hadrian abandoned the wikipedia

?? 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 wikipedia

?? 115–Aug 117 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 helped suppress it in late wikipedia

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 wikipedia