Bassus, Lucilius°

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BASSUS, LUCILIUS° (d. 72 c.e.), Roman governor of Judea after the fall of Jerusalem in 70 c.e. Bassus was instructed to subdue the fortresses of *Herodium, *Machaerus, and *Masada, which still remained in Jewish hands. He first attacked Herodium, which fell without a battle. Then he marched on Machaerus, which was so strongly fortified as to "inspire its occupants with high hopes of security." The defenders fought bravely until one of their leaders, Eleazar, was captured and the Romans threatened to crucify him opposite the walls. The defenders then agreed to surrender the fortress if Eleazar's life were spared. Bassus kept his promise and allowed the occupants to escape, but followed some *Sicarii who had escaped to a forest called Jardes, where they were all killed. Bassus died as he was preparing to begin operations against Masada. It was during his administration of Judea that Jewish-held lands were confiscated to become imperial domain, and that the poll-tax of the *Fiscus Judaicus was put into operation.


Jos., Wars, 7:163–5, 190–216, 252; Klaus-ner, Bayit Sheni, 5 (19512), 285ff.; Pauly-Wissowa, 26 (1927), 1640–42 (22).

[Edna Elazary]