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What Happened to the Jews During the Roman Period?
The Romans were chosen for world domination and they wasted no time in securing new frontiers. They had just secured the Mediterranean with the victory over Carthage in three Punic wars and the victory over the Macedonians securing Greece. The Seleucid kingdom gave way to Rome in the Mithridatic wars and Egypt and Israel were being heavily taxed. The Mediterranean Sea had become a Roman lake and all of Europe was Rome, under Roman domination with Roman laws, Roman roads, and the Roman military. Republican Rome gave way to Imperial Rome and the age of the Caesars began. Leaders in the empire were performing amazing feats to impress Rome. In 63 B.C. Israel who had lost its independence was conquered by the Romans under Pompey. Antipater, an Idumean (Edomite, descendant of Esau), was appointed ruler of Judea. He was succeeded by his son Herod the Great who was king of Judea (37-3 BC). Herod, to obtain favor of the Jews, rebuilt the Temple with great splendor. But he was a brutal, cruel man. This is the Herod who ruled Judah when Jesus was born, and it was he who slew the children of Bethlehem
Map of the Roman World During the Maccabean Period