Josephus the Traitor! and Historian!

Jotapata was a city in Lower Galilee about 3 mi. [5 km.] north of Sepphoris and 9 mi. [14.5 km.] north of Nazareth.  It is not mentioned in scripture, but 37 times in the works of the Jewish historian Josephus.

It was fortified by Josephus, who was the Jewish commander in Galilee at the beginning of the First Revolt (AD 66-70) and after a 47-day siege the Romans captured the city.

View to Jotapata from the north

Here Josephus went over to the side of the Romans—being one of the few survivors of the siege (War III: 141-408)!  It was here that he prophesied that the general Vespasian would become emperor—which in fact he did!

Ritual Bath (Miqvah) at Jotapata

The site has been excavated in recent years and here remains of the siege ramp, the defensive walls, houses (one with frescoes!), cisterns, caves, ritual baths, stone vessels, arrowheads, etc. have been discovered.

Josephus wrote his description of the First Jewish Revolt in his The Jewish Wars around AD 75-85.  This is a first hand description, with embellishments, of the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple by Titus in AD 70.

For more pictures and commentary on Jotapata Click Here.

For a description of the excavations see: Aviam, Mordechai. “Yodfat.” Pages 2076–78 in The New Encyclopedia of Archaeological Excavations in the Holy Land — vol. 5 — Supplementary Volume. Edited by Ephraim Stern, Ayellet Lewinson–Gilboa, and Joseph Aviram. Jerusalem and Washington, DC: Israel Exploration Society and Biblical Archaeological Society, 2008.


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