As Titus, the Roman general, neared Jerusalem with four legions, the city’s defence was riven by factional warfare. John of Giscala had emerged as head of the Zealots after murdering his rival Eleazar ben Simon, but his erstwhile allies, the Idumaeans, had defected to another group, the Sicarii, led by Simon ben Gioras. In the course of their conflict, they managed to destroy most of the city’s food reserves. Only after Titus breached the western walls of Jerusalem and occupied the New City, did the factions belatedly turn to oppose their common enemy. Titus built a wall round his new perimeter, stormed the Antonia Fortress in July, then used it as springboard for an assault on the Temple. In early August, the Romans finally breached the Temple defences, burning the buildings and slaughtering the defenders. It took another month to finally eliminate the last resistance in the Upper City.
— OR —