Julius Caesar was a Roman leader. During the civil war between him and Pompey (49 B.C.E.), Caesar freed Aristobulus II, the deposed ruler of Judea, planning to send him to Syria, along with troops to aid him to recover his throne. Pompey's supporters, however, succeeded in poisoning Aristobulus before he could leave Rome (cf. Dio Cassius 41:18, 1). At the same time, Hyrcanus II and Antipater, in common with the other vassal rulers in the East, remained loyal to Pompey and even sent him troops for the battle of Pharsalus (48 B.C.E.); but after Caesar's victory and his conquest of the Orient, they went over to the side of the victor. When Caesar besieged Alexandria, Hyrcanus was one of the Oriental rulers who sent him reinforcements, and Hyrcanus's letter influenced the Jews living in the "territory of Onias" to grant the invading army free passage. Upon his return to Syria, Caesar ratified Hyrcanus' appointment as high priest and granted Antipater Roman citizenship and exemption from taxes. The efforts of Aristobulus' younger son Antigonus to turn Caesar against Hyrcanus and Antipater met with failure. At the same time, Caesar nullified Gabinius' Judean settlement and even attempted to correct some of Pompey's abuses against the Jews. In a series of decrees and through decisions made by the Senate at his instigation, Caesar instituted a new administration in Judea. He permitted the reconstruction of the walls of Jerusalem, restored to Judea the port of Jaffa, and confirmed Hyrcanus and his descendants after him as high priests and ethnarchs of Judea. Hyrcanus' realm now included Judea, Jaffa, and the Jewish settlements in Galilee and Transjordan. He also ratified Hyrcanus' ownership of the Hasmonean territory in the "Great Valley of Jezreel." The annual taxation of Judea was
Jos., Ant., 14:123–48, 156–7, 192–216, 268–70; Jos., Wars, 1:183–203, 218; Buechler, in: Festschrift Steinschneider (1896), 91–109; Schuerer, Gesch, 1 (19014), 342ff.; O. Roth, Rom und die Hasmonaeer (1914), 47ff.; Momigliano, in: Annali della Realescuola normale superiore di Pisa (1934), 192ff.; A. Schalit, Koenig Herodes (1969), index.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.