Republication from following Hadrian


Cyrene – Temple of Apollo

Apollo was the patron and foremost divinity of Cyrene, and the temple dedicated to him on the terrace beneath the sacred spring was one of the most important monuments of the ancient city.
© Mohamed Kenawi, Manar al-Athar Photo-Archive, Oxford 2013–, available at (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


In AD 115, while Trajan and the majority of the Roman troops were campaigning in Parthia in the East, the diasporic Jews rose against Rome, creating havoc in Cyrenaica, Egypt and Cyprus. The hostilities started in Cyrene and quickly spread to Alexandria, Judaism’s largest city, and resulted not only in great loss of life but also in widespread destruction. In Cyrenaica, the revolt raged all over the country and was characterized by extreme violence and bloodshed. Dio Cassius paints a horrific picture of unrelieved brutality.

The Jews, he claimed,

would eat the flesh of their victims, make belts for themselves of their entrails, anoint themselves with their blood and wear their skins for clothing; many they sawed in two, from the head downwards; others they gave to wild beasts, and still others they forced to fight as gladiators. (Dio, LXVIII 32.2-4)

Dio adds that 220,000 Greeks and Romans were slaughtered in Egypt and Cyrene, and another 240,000 perished in Cyprus. Many public buildings and several temples were destroyed while the roads were made unusable. The Epigraphical and archaeological evidence for the damage caused during the rebellion is particularly clear at Cyrene where many of the oldest and finest monuments were reduced to rubble….

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