The Sicarii, Jewish Revolutionaries Formed To Push Rome Out Of Israel.

by Daniel Russ on February 4, 2016



The Sicarii were an underground society of Jewish terrorists who bred fear and dissension among the Roman occupiers and their sympathizers in the first century. They were assassins who struck without warning against Roman sentries, soldiers, precepts or supporters in the crowds of locals in occupied Jerusalem.

Their attacks were characterized by the sudden appearance of an unassuming local wielding a curved dagger from beneath his robes. A wound to the neck, or into the heart would kill victims within moments. Other operatives nearby would over react and create a scene sowing panic – thus paving the way for the assailant to egress into the crowd.

From time to time, the Sicarii would take a hostage and hold them pending release of Jewish prisoners. The secretary of Eleazar was held for ransom, as Josephus mentions.

According to the Talmud, the Sicarii poisoned Jerusalem’s food storage so the locals would have to battle the Romans for supplies.

In 66 AD, the Sicarii and rival movements joined forces and liberated Jerusalem and held it for four years. In 70 AD, Titus returned with a Roman Legion and retook the city.

This was and is classical textbook asymmetrical warfare. A small group of highly motivated individuals can keep an entire occupying army busy and demoralized. A small contingent can now cost an entire empire.

Does all of this look familiar?



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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Louis October 13, 2017 at 4:35 am

Well, yes, and no. The reaction by the Romans was their usual: push back with more force, and less scruples, than the enemy. They basically made Judea a wasteland, or at least they killed, enslaved or exiled anyone who was suspected of colluding with the rebels. And they then had peace for at least two generations. Our enlightend times, or at least enlightend societies, do not condone the use of that kind of force and ruthlessness, which then gives rise to quicker springback from the enemy. You win some, you lose some I gues

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