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The emperor Augustus annexed Judea to the Roman Empire in 6 AD (two years after the death of king Herod the Great) not because he wanted to tighten control over Judea, but because the Judeans had asked him to do so. Prior to this, Judea was client kingdom of Rome (a kingdom which was independent, but subordinated to Rome). Herod's Kingdom of Judea was wider than Judea. Augustus was in good term with Herod and let him rule as he saw fit, even though his rule was tyrannical and he was held in contempt by this people.

Herod had made six wills in this life. In the fifth will, Herod had named his youngest son Herod Antipas as his heir. Just before he died, and during a fatal illness, Herod changed his will again and made Antipas' elder brother, Herod Archelaus, king of Judea, Idumea and Samaria and gave Antipas Galilee and Perea with the lesser title of tetrarch (ruler of a quarter). Their half-brother Herod Philip II was given the Golan Heights and areas to the east of the River Jordan. Since Judea was a Roman client kingdom Herod's will had to be ratified by the emperor Augustus. Antipas claimed that the sixth will was not valid due to Herod's ill health and argued that he should have the whole kingdom. His brothers wanted the final will to be honoured. The brothers went to Rome to present the dispute to Augustus, who upheld the final will, but, as a compromise, made Archelaus an ethnarch (leader of an ethnic group, a lesser title) instead of a king.

Archelaus violently suppressed a protest, killing 3,000 people. A delegation of Jews went to Rome to ask Augustus to depose Archelaus. Since many people were fed up with the tyrannical Herodian dynasty, there were requests for Rome to take over. Augustus annexed Judea to the Roman Empire and turned into a province under the oversight of the governor of Syria.

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Q: How did the roman tighten their control over judea in AD 6?
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There was not a Roman invasion. The Romans had already annexed Judea. What happened was the great Jewish Revolt which has also been called the First Jewish- Roman War (66-73). There was tension between the Jews and the Greeks in Judea. The Greeks provoked the Jews by sacrificing birds in front of a synagogue and the Roman soldiers did not intervene. The old tensions between Jews and Greeks escalated. One of the priests of the Temple in Jerusalem stopped praying and performing sacrifices for the Roman emperor in protest. There were also protests over Roman taxation. There were random attacks on Roman citizens and Jews who collaborated with the Romans in Jerusalem. Things were made much worse by the Roman governor, Gessius Florus, who ordered his troops to breach the temple and seize seventeen talents of gold from its treasury, claiming that it was money due to the emperor. Unrest broke out in Jerusalem. Florus reacted by sending soldiers to raid the city and arrest some city leaders who were later whipped and crucifies. This was bad enough, but it was made even worse by the fact that some of these men had been made Roman citizens and Roman law did not allow the crucifixion of Roman citizens. Two Jewish nationalistic factions, the Zealots and the Sicarii, armed themselves and overrun the Roman military garrison in Jerusalem. Their militias then attacked Roman citizens of Judea and pro-Roman officials and removed Roman symbols around the country. The Romans sent armies to Judea. This was the beginning of the first Roman-Jewish War. The Romans eventually besieged Jerusalem stormed it, looted it, killed many people, took 97,000 captives as slaves and destroyed the Second Temple. They finally seized Masada which was a seemingly impregnable fortress on a table-mountain where the Sicarii organised raids on the Romans from and which was the last bastion of Jewish resistance.

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