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Bible Encyclopedias

The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia

Gallus, Caius Cestius

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Consul "suffectus" in 42 C.E. Pliny ("Historia Naturalis," 34:48) calls him "consularis," i.e. ," retired consul." According to a dubious passage in Tacitus ("Annales," 15:25), he was appointed successor to Corbulo as legate of Syria (63) but his coins date only from the years 65,66 (Mionnet, 5:169, No. 189 Supplement, Nos. 190, 191). When the Jewish war broke out in the twelfth year of Emperor Nero (Oct., 65-66 see Josephus, "Ant." 20:11, § 1), Gallus was already governor ("B. J." Preface, § 7 ib. 2:14, § § 3, 4). Gallus appears to have been favorably inclined toward the Jews ("B. J." 2:14, § 3).

Actions During the War.
When Florus left Jerusalem and his troops were defeated, Gallus (Josephus, "Vita," § 5), the officer holding the highest military command in that region, had to take action. Opposing ambassadors from Florus, and from the Jews had already appeared before him. Gallus, however, did not at once intervene with arms, but sent his tribune Neapolitanus to Jerusalem, who, together with Agrippa II., vainly tried to quiet the people ("B. J." 2:16, § 1). When hostilities actually commenced Gallus advanced from Antioch, upon Palestine. Along the seacoast he executed a bloody vengeance on the Jews, burning the city Chabulon to the ground, killing 8,000 Jews in Jaffa, and arriving during the Feast of Tabernacles at Lydda, which was almost forsaken by its inhabitants. He pitched his camp in Gabao (Gibeon) but even here he was violently attacked by the Jews from Jerusalem, and came very near being completely defeated (ib. 2:19, § 2 "Vita," § 7). Gallus then advanced nearer to Jerusalem upon the so-called Scopus occupied and burned the suburb Bezetha, which was wholly undefended by the Jews ("B. J." 2:19, § 4) stormed the inner wall for five days and had already undermined the northern wall protecting the Temple ( ib. § 6) when he withdrew pursued by the Jews. The latter fell upon him suddenly at Gabao, and forced him to beat a hasty retreat, leaving his valuable war materials behind. His best men, whom he had left as a cover, were cut down in the narrow pass at Beth-horon. Nero, who was at Achaia, heard of the defeat ( ib. 2:20, § 1 3:1, § 1), and Gallus' career as a, general was at an end. He seems to have died soon after (Tacitus, "Hist." 5:10).

Bibliography : Grä atz, Gesch. 4th ed., 3:465 Wellhausen, I. J. G. 4th ed., p. 365, Berlin, 1901 Pauly-Wissowa, Real- Encyc. 3:2005 Prosopographia Imperii Romani , 1:340: Schü rer, Gesch. 3d ed., 1:604. G. S. Kr.

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Bibliography Information
Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Gallus, Caius Cestius'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. 1901.

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