Julianus ben Sabar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Julianus ben Sabar (also known as Julian or Julianus ben Sahir and Latinized as Iulianus Sabarides) was a messianic leader of the Samaritans, who led a failed revolt against Byzantium during the early 6th century.

In 529 Julianus led a revolt against the Byzantine Empire ruled by Justinian I, because of legislation outlawing the Samaritan religion according to Procopius, though Cyril of Scythopolis claimed it was because of tension with Christians.[1]

Julianus declared himself King of Israel, taking Jeroboam as his model, and led a Samaritan army to ravage the cities of Scythopolis, Caesarea Maritima, Neapolis, Bethlehem, and Emmaus. By 530 he had succeeded in capturing virtually all of Samaria. The revolt was marked by large scale slaughter of Christians and destruction of churches.[2]

Justinian enlisted the help of the Ghassanids, and by 531 the rebellion had been put down.[3] Julianus himself was beheaded according to Theophanes the Confessor. Tens of thousands of Samaritans were killed and enslaved and many were sold as slaves throughout the Middle East.[4] Others were sold as far away as Sassanid Persia, where their descendants would be included in the Persian invasion of the Levant some 85 years later.[citation needed]

Julianus' revolt has been compared[by whom?] to the Bar Kokhba Revolt 400 years prior.


  1. ^ Alan David Crown, Reinhard Pummer, Abraham Tal A companion to Samaritan studies Coronet Books (1993) p140 entry for Julianus ben Sabar
  2. ^ Alan David Crown The Samaritans Coronet Books (1989)p74
  3. ^ Irfan Shahîd Byzantium and the Arabs in the Sixth Century, Volume 2, Part 2 Harvard University Press (2010) p8
  4. ^ Alan David Crown The Samaritans Coronet Books (1989) pp74-75