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A leader of the Zealots, a party of extremists who were most responsible for the Judean rebellion against Rome from 67-70 C.E. Simon Bar Giora was a man of great physical strength, boundless courage, and ceaseless ambition. During the siege of Jerusalem, he fought ruthlessly not only against the Roman legions, but also against the moderate party in Jerusalem, until the commander of the garrison forced him to flee the city. Bar Giora fortified himself in Masada, a mountain fortress on the western shore of the Dead Sea. There he gathered a large army, and with the help of the Edomites, moved into Jerusalem and massacred many of his Zealot opponents. The incessant fighting among the Zealots stopped only when the Roman Emperor Titus surrounded Jerusalem in a bitter siege and Roman battering rams pounded down its walls. Then, Bar Giora fought the Romans with single-minded fury, but when the Temple was destroyed by Titus, he retreated to the Upper City. When that, too, was captured, Bar Giora hid in a cave and then tried to escape, but fell into the hands of the victorious Romans. As he was brought back to Rome with the other Judean captives, Bar Giora was forced to march in chains behind Titus’s chariot at the head of the triumphal procession. Later, he was executed as a chief of the rebellion.

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