Pompey’s Campaign Against Jerusalem 63 BCE

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Map Code: Ax01082

The Roman general Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (Pompey) annexed Syria in 64 BCE. To the south, in Jerusalem, a war erupted between two Jewish princes, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. After being besieged by Hyrcanus and his allies, while worshipping in a temple, Aristobulus despatched an envoy to Pompey asking for his help, in return for 17,600 lbs (8,000 kg) of silver. Pompey enthusiastically left Damascus, Syria, and upon arriving in Jerusalem was gifted a 1,760-lbs (800-kg) golden vine. Pompey’s intervention secured the peace. However, after Aristobolus made an excuse not to pay Pompey his silver, the general switched allegiance to Hyrcanus. Followed by Hyrcanus and his forces, Pompey attacked from the north and, using giant catapults, destroyed the temple where Aristobulus and his soldiers were stationed. After much bloodshed, Pompey occupied the temple and brought Roman control to Palestine. Pompey appointed Hyrcanus as high priest.

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