Herod's kingdom did not survive his death in 4 BCE. The Romans did not bestow the royal title to his sons and after some years Judea was ruled by Roman governors, or procurators as they were known. Thus, even in the facade of independence was gone. The procurators varied in their attitude to the Jewish population but nearly all of them favoured the non Jewish or the Hellenised population. Judea, as an ordinary province, was seen by the procurators as a means of quick enrichment by exorbitant taxation.
Toward the end of the period of the procurators, the outbursts and rebellions became more severe and frequent. It is in this period in 30 ce that Jesus was crucified by the Romans, most probably because he assumed the title King of the Jews.
In 66 CE the great revolt broke out; the Temple authorities refused to accept sacrifices for the welfare of the Roman people and the emperor. The Roman garrison at Jerusalem was destroyed and a Roman army sent from Syria was defeated. A provisional government was set up, but the Jewish population was torn by dissension. A huge army under the control of Vespasian was sent to suppress the revolt. The command later passed to his son, Titus. Jerusalem was besieged in the year 70 and ransacked, and the Temple destroyed. The fast of the ninth of Av (Tisha B'av) has been observed ever since as the anniversary of that event, which coincided with the date of the destruction of the First Temple.
The teachings and activities of the Pharisees and their predecessors helped preserve the continuity of Jewish life. Thus this catastrophe did not mark the end of the Jewish religion or the Jewish people. The centre of religious activities moved from Jerusalem with the transfer of the Sanhedrin Supreme Court to Yavneh.
Spasmodic revolts flared up, especially in the years 115 to 117, culminating in the Bar Kokhba war. This struggle was provoked by the emperor Hadrian's decision to establish a Roman colony on the ruins of Jerusalem, and was supported by the great scholar of the age, Rabbi Akiva. The war of Bar Kokhba lasted three years (132 - 135 CE) and seriously strained the military resources of the Roman Empire. When it ended after the capture of Behar and the destruction of the last rebels in the Judean desert caves, the Jewish population of Judea was either dead, enslaved or in flight. Jerusalem and its environs were settled with non Jews and only Galilee remained as a bastion of Judaism. Hadrian forbade the practice of the Jewish religion. Many Jews had fled the country and thousands were sold as slaves abroad. As a result of the Bar Kokhba disaster, the Jewish communities in the Diaspora were strengthened, especially in Babylonia.