Cuspius Fadus


There seems to have been a break in the governmental structure after Marcellus or whoever might have come after him and Fadus. King Agrippa seems to have also ruled the province directly as well, but it is hard to tell for sure. Josephus writes: "Claudius made the country a Roman province, and sent Cuspius Fadus to be its procurator" (War 2.11.6). Even more telling is Tacitus' comment on this governmental restructuring: "As for Claudius, he took advantage of the death or declining fortunes of the Jewish kings to commit the government of the province to Roman knights or freedmen" (Histories 5.9).

Claudius Caesar sent Fadus to be procurator of Judaea and of surrounding provinces as well. Thus the area was consolidated and the position was given greater responsibility. This happened after Agrippa, a client king, died. Claudius was going to send in Agrippa's son to rule his areas, but Claudius' advisors told him that Agrippa junior was too young, so he gave the reigns of authority to a more senior man, Fadus.

Claudius gave Fadus orders to chastise the people of Cesarea and Sebaste, because the people of those towns have given Agrippa a hard time. Fadus also dealt with a minor civil eruption between the Jews of Perea and the residents of Philadelphia. Fadus was upset that the people who instigated the quarrel had not gone to him to settle it, but had taken matters up into their own hands. So, he killed some of the leaders of the factions, and banished some others.

Fadus also prohibited the wearing of a certain type of clothing, a sacred vestment, which was to be worn only by the high priest. So the Jews sent ambassadors to Claudius Caesar in Rome, and asked if they could have direct control over who would be able to wear the sacred vestment. Claudius said it was okay for them to have this right, after Agrippa, Jr., urged him to say so.

There seems to have been a self-described prophet wandering around Judaea at this time. "Now it came to pass, while Fadus was procurator of Judaea, that a certain magician, whose name was Theudas, persuaded a great part of the people to take their effects with them, and follow him to the river Jordan; for he told them he was a prophet, and that he would, by his own command, divide the river, and afford them an easy passage over it; and many were deluded by his words" (Antiquities 20.5.1). Fadus stopped them from following Theudas, and cut off the latter's head, while also killing many of his followers.

Finally, it seems that Fadus had a pretty tranquil reign. "Judaea was cleared of robberies by the care and providence of Fadus" (Antiquities 20.1.1).

Ancient sources: Antiquities 15.11.4, 19.9.2, 20.1.1-2, 20.5.1-2; War 2.11.6.

Taken from: Biographies of the Roman Procurators of Judaea A.D. 6 to c. 70
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