The Zealot Movement:

The Zealot movement was started because they rejected Roman rule.  They believed in one God and one God only, which was not the case with the Romans.  They did not accept the rule and taxation of the Romans.  They believed that there should be one God and Israel should serve him alone.  They refused to acknowledge the king as a God which the Romans were not happy with.  This was a political movement that occurred in the first century.  There goal was to expel the Romans from the holy land with force.  

Who were the Zealots?

The Zealots were Jews who were rebelling against Roman rule and taxation. They believe in one God and the Romans had many Gods which they did not accept.  They believed the Torah to be the only guide to living a good life.  They also believed that serving their Emperor in any way was not acceptable.  They were described as unconquerable because they would serve no one but god.  Since God was on their side they knew that they would triumph in the end.  This led to their reputation for being able to withstand harsh treatment throughout their lives.  

What did the Zealots want?

The Zealots wanted to be free from Roman rule and taxation. They wanted to have there own holy land with one God and this would entail physical contact.  They wanted to be completely separated from the Roman rule because they were not happy at all with the belief in many Gods.  They were not ready to serve the emperor as a God.  

Actions of the Zealots:

The Zealots were known as the strongest in the Galilean hills engaging in sporadic guerrilla warfare and being a general nuisance. This escalated into an uprising in 6 AD. At first the uprisings had a small amount of people because the religious groups did not support this.  The Zealots wanted to speed up this process so they took direct action.  As the prophetic vision of the messiah increased, so did the tension between the Romans and Zealots.  More and more people started joining the Zealots movements.  As the masses of people got bigger the Romans rule and resistance got stronger.  

The Results of the Zealots actions:

The Zealots killed many Roman soldiers, ambushed sentries, broke into the military stores, stole horses and sabotaged new roads and water works.  Many of them were caught and executed, including the founder of the Zealots, Judah.  The final destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and the siege of Masada put an end to the Zealots and the other parties as well.  The Messiah they were waiting for was completely overlooked because they were so concentrated on defeating the Romans.  The Zealots healed out until there was no hope at all.  In the end they chose to kill themselves and their families rather than serve anyone but God.  The mass suicide ended the Zealot movement.  

Zealots in Thessaloniki:

 In the beginning of the fourteenth century there was a major civil war in Thessaloniki.  This was due to the decline of the Byzantine Empire.  There were invasions into Thessaloniki from all sides.  During this time Thessaloniki was the second most powerful city in the empire after Constantinople.  The people resented the rule of the far-off capital and had once before rebelled against it.  When this second civil war broke out there were a couple of revolts, but this time the common people decided to revolt.  They were led by the sailors and dockworkers.  This was called the Zealot movement and they eventually took control of the city.  Michael Palaiologos was the true leader of the city now because he was the Zealots leader.  The city was run as a commune and a people's republic.  There were two different groups of Zealots, one was the church Zealots and the other was the political Zealots, they were strongly opposed towards each other.  

Project at a Glance:

  • The Zealot Movement 
  • Who were the Zealots?
  • What did the Zealots want?
  • What actions did the Zealots take to get what they want?
  • What were the results of the Zealots actions?/How did the movement end?
  • Zealots in Thessaloniki.


Web Citation: 
"Zealots." Follow the Rabbi - That the World May Know. Web. 08 Nov. 2011. <>.
- "Zealots." Follow the Rabbi - That the World May Know. Web. 08 Nov. 2011. <>.

Picture Citations:


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