The Effect of Roman Occupation on First Century Judaism

Roman Occupation

63 BCE- General Pompey marched into Jerusalem. Palestine became part of the Roman empire.

At the time of Jesus' birth, the whole known world belonged to the Roman empire under Augustus. Each country was governed by a senator but Palestine had its own king, King Herod the Great, who was considered a puppet king of the Romans'.

In 4BCE, Herod died, and Augustus divided the land between three of Herod's sons though none were named king.

Benefits of Herod as King:

  • Jewish king of Palestine?
  • Allowed Jewish festivals to take place
  • Refurbished the temple


  • Built temples to the emperor
  • Puppet to the Romans
  • Only half Jewish- converted for political reasons?
  • Offered sacrifice to Jupiter when he became king
  • Removed High Priest as he saw fit
  • Reduced power of Sanhedrin
  • Heavy taxes to pay…


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