Simon bar Kokhba

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Shimon bar Kokhba (Hebrew: שמעון בר כוכבא‎, also transliterated as Bar Kochba) was the Jewish leader of what is known as the Bar Kokhba revolt against the Roman Empire in 132 AD, establishing an independent Jewish state of Israel which he ruled for three years as Nasi ("Ruler"). His state was conquered by the Romans in 135 following a two-year war.

Documents discovered in the modern era give us his original name, Simon ben Kosiba, (Hebrew: שמעון בן כוסבא‎) he was given the surname Bar Kokhba, (Aramaic for "Son of a Star", referring to the Star Prophecy of Numbers 24:17, "A star has shot off Jacob") by his contemporary, the Jewish sage Rabbi Akiva.

After the failure of the revolt, the rabbinical writers referred to bar Kokhba as "Simon bar Kozeba" (Hebrew: בר כוזיבא‎, "Son of lies" or "Son of deception").

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Third Jewish revolt

Despite the devastation wrought by the Romans during the First Jewish-Roman War (66–73 AD), which left the population and countryside in ruins, a series of laws passed by Roman Emperors provided the incentive for the second rebellion. The last straw was a series of laws enacted by the Roman Emperor Hadrian, including an attempt to prevent Jews from living in Jerusalem; a new Roman city, Aelia Capitolina, was to be built in its place. The second Jewish rebellion took place 60 years after the first and re-established an independent state lasting three years. For many Jews of the time, this turn of events was heralded as the long hoped for Messianic Age. The excitement was short-lived, however; after a brief span of glory, the revolt was eventually crushed by the Roman legions.

The state minted its own coins, known today as Bar Kochba Revolt coinage. These were inscribed "the first (or second) year of the redemption of Israel". Bar Kokhba ruled with the title of "Nasi". The Romans fared very poorly during the initial revolt facing a completely unified Jewish force (unlike during the First Jewish-Roman War, where Flavius Josephus records three separate Jewish armies fighting each other for control of the Temple Mount during the three weeks time after the Romans had breached Jerusalem's walls and were fighting their way to the center).

A complete Roman legion with auxiliaries was annihilated. The new state knew only one year of peace. The Romans committed no fewer than twelve legions, amounting to one third to one half of the entire Roman army, to reconquer this now independent state. Being outnumbered and taking heavy casualties, the Romans refused to engage in an open battle and instead adopted a scorched earth policy which reduced and demoralized the Judean populace, slowly grinding away at the will of the Judeans to sustain the war.

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