Siege of Yodfat


The opposing sides and armies were the Romans and the Galiliean Jews. The Romans were commanded by Titus Flavius Vespasianus and the Jews were commanded by Yosef Ben Maitityahu. The Jewish army consisted of 42,000 combatants and the Roman army consisted of 60,000 men including 3 legions, auxiliaries and allies.

There were 40,000 Jews slain and 1,200 enslaved, so the Romans basically killed the entire army and enslaved 1,200, leaving only 800 Jews to escape and the Roman losses are unknown.

The date of the battle was on the Summer of 67 AD and located in Galilee, Judea Province which is modern day Israel. The town of Yodfat was located on an isolated hill hidden between high peaks, surrounded by three sides of steep ravines and easily accessible only from saddle to the north.

In early June 67 AD a force of 1000 cavalrymen arrived at Yodfat to seal off the town, followed a day later by the entire Roman army. Titus set up camp on the north face of the town, facing its only accessible side, while his forces surrounded the city. An assault against the towns wall failed on the second day, and after several days the defenders made several successful attacks against the Roman army. The Roman army decided to build a siege ramp up against the city walls, and when the Jews disrupted the placement and buildment of the ramp, Titus set 160 siege weapons up, including catapults and ballista’s, backed my lightly armoured troops, slingers and archers to dislodge the defenders from the walls.

With the completion of the siege ramp, Titus ordered a battering ram  to be brought up against the wall, An attempt to take down the wall continued for several days and when Titus was wounded by a defenders dart, the Romans then continued to lay siege on the wall through the night as a revenge tactic. By morning a breach was in the wall, the Romans charged in and failed as the defenders poured oil on the walls to stop the Romans from scaling them, So Titus’ next plan was to build the ramp even further. To protect the building of the ramp, Titus constructed 3 siege towers to rain missiles onto the enemy using Ballista’s.

On the 47th night a band of Romans stealthily scaled the walls, cut the throats of the of the guards and opened the gate of the town letting the entire Roman army in.

The ballista was very effective in the siege of Yodfat as it allowed the Romans to finish the construction of the siege ramp and scale the walls. It served as a protector to the builders building the ramp as it forced the Jews to fall back from the heavy fire of the Ballista’s. Without the ballista, the Romans would be forced to use only arrows and catapults which very hard to use to protect against the construction of the siege ramp and would ultimately cause more Roman casualties.

EDIT: I forgot to add the sources in, so here they are! :)