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SABINUS (end of first century B.C.E.), Roman official. Sabinus, then Augustus' treasurer in Syria, was sent to Judea after Herod's death in 4 B.C.E., to take charge of the latter's estate as procurator. On his arrival he acceded to the request of Varus, governor of Syria, to hand over the custody of the citadels and treasures to Herod's son *Archelaus, pending Caesar's decision concerning Herod's will. However, immediately after the departure of Varus and Archelaus for Antioch and Rome, respectively, he took possession of the royal palace and demanded from the custodians particulars regarding Herod's treasure. Sabinus' conduct caused a revolt on the festival of Shavuot, when many pilgrims had assembled in Jerusalem. Sabinus seized the Tower of Phasael, from which he gave the signal to attack the rebels. As the battle developed, the Romans set fire to the Temple chambers, capturing and plundering the Temple treasury. These acts further enraged the people, and they besieged the royal palace where Sabinus and his followers had fortified themselves. The Jews demanded that the Romans leave the city, offering to spare their lives, but Sabinus would not trust them. Riots continued throughout Judea until Varus hurried back to suppress them. When he reached Jerusalem, Sabinus fled.


Jos., Ant., 17:221–94; Jos., Wars, 2:16–74; Schuerer, Hist, 161f.; Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 4 (19502), 173–7; Pauly-Wissowa, 2nd series. 2 (1920), 1595f., no. 4; A.H.M. Jones, The Herods of Judea (1938), 159, 161–2, 165.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.