With four full Roman legions bearing down on them, bent on their destruction, the rebellious Jewish defenders of Jerusalem decided to embark on a full-scale civil war. While there were numerous sub-factions, the heart of the conflict pitted Zealot refugees from the rebellion in Galilee against the Sanhedrin, or Religious Council presiding over the southern revolt. Respite was granted by upheaval in Rome: 68 CE was the infamous ‘Year of the Four Emperors’. The fifth Emperor, accepted through the acclaim of his legions, turned out to be Vespasian, then in the middle of pacifying Judaea. While Vespasian returned to Rome to enjoy his promotion, his son Titus resumed the pacification, advancing steadily towards Jerusalem. Within the city walls, the Zealots had emerged victorious after being besieged in the Temple. With their Idumaean allies, they had massacred their opponents, including the High Priest of Israel.
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