(ζηλωταί) were, in a technical Jewish sense, the followers of Judas the Gaulonite, or Galilsean (q.v.). Josephus speaks of them as forming the "fourth sect of Jewish philosophy," and as distinguished from the Pharisees chiefly by a quenchless love of liberty and a contempt of death. Their leading tenet was the unlawfulness of paying tribute to the Romans, as being a violation of the theocratic constitution. This principle, which they maintained by force of arms against the Roman government, was soon converted into a pretext for deeds of violence against their own countrymen, and during the last days of the Jewish polity the Zealots were lawless brigands or guerrillas, the pest and terror of the land. After the death of Judas, and of his two sons, Jacob and Simon (who suffered crucifixion), they were headed by Eleazar, one of his descendants, and were often denominated Sicari, from the use of a weapon resembling the.Roman sica (Joseph. Ant. 18:1; War, 4:1-6; 7:8; see Lardner,
Credibility, part 1, book 1, chapter 6, 9; Kitto, Palestine, pages 741, 751). SEE ZELOTES.