Gailus, Cestius

Gailus, Cestius (Graecized Κέστιος Γάλλος), son of C. Cestius Gallus Camerinus, a Roman senator of consular rank, was president ("legatus," Suetonius, Vesp. 4) of Syria, A.D. 64, 65, at the time of the final Jewish war (Tacitus, Hist. 5:10). Maddened by the tyranny of Gessius Florus (q.v.), the Jews applied to Gallus for protection; but, though he sent Neapolitanus, one of his officers, to investigate the case, and received from him a report favorable to the Jews, he took no effectual steps either to redress their injuries, or to prepare for any outbreak into which their discontent might drive them. When at last he found it necessary to act, he marched from Antioch, and, having taken Ptolemais and Lydda, advanced on Jerusalem. There he drove the Jews into the upper part of the city and the precincts of the Temple, and he might, according to Josephus, have finished the war at once, had he not been dissuaded by some of his officers from pressing his advantage. Soon after he unaccountably drew off his forces (leaving an interval of which the Christians availed themselves to escape, according to our Savior's direction, Lu 21:21-22), and was much harassed by the Jews, who took from him a quantity of spoil. Nero was at this time in Achaia, and Gallus sent messengers to him to give an account of his affairs, and to represent them as favorably as possible for himself. The emperor, much exasperated, commissioned Vespasian to conduct the war; and the words of Tacitus (ut sup.) seem to imply that Gallus died before the arrival of his successor, his death being probably hastened by vexation (Josephus, Lif, 43; War, 2:14, 3; 16, 1, 2; 18, 9, 10; 19, 1-9; 20, 1; 3:1). — Smith, Dict. of Class. Biog. s.v. SEE GOVERNOR.

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