Gaius Cestius Gallus - Encyclopedia




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GAIUS CESTIUS GALLUS, governor of Syria during the reign of Nero. When the Jews in Jerusalem, stirred to revolt by the outrages of the Roman procurators, had seized the fortress of Masada and treacherously murdered the garrison of the palace of Herod, Gallus set out from Antioch to restore order. On the 17th of November A.D. 66 he arrived before Jerusalem. Having gained possession of the northern suburb, he attacked the temple mount; but, after five days' fighting, just when (according to Josephus) success was within his grasp, he unaccountably withdrew his forces. During his retreat he was closely pursued by the Jews and surrounded in a ravine, and only succeeded in making good his escape to Antioch by sacrificing the greater part of his army and a large amount of war material. Soon after his return Gallus died (before the spring of 67), and was succeeded in the governorship by Licinius Mucianus, the prosecution of the war being entrusted to Vespasian.

See Tacitus, Hist. v. 10, 13; Suetonius, Vespasian, 4; Josephus, Bell. Jud. ii. 14-20; E. Scharer, Hist. of the Jewish People, div. i. vol. ii. p. 212 (Eng. tr., 1890).

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