Terrorism pp 19-27 | Cite as

Terrorism in the Ancient World

  • James M. Lutz
  • Brenda J. Lutz


While terrorism is not normally thought of as a phenomenon that was prevalent in the ancient world, there are at least some examples of it from early periods of history. There were secret societies in ancient China that worked against early dynasties, but their revolts involved conventional warfare, and there is no indication that anti-government activities involved the use of any terrorist techniques.1 The clearest indications of early uses of terrorism in ancient times came from the internal politics of Rome during some periods of the Republic, Jewish revolts in the Eastern Mediterranean first against the Seleucid Greeks and then against its incorporation into the Roman Empire, and battles between different factions in the Eastern Roman/Byzantine Empire. In these cases there is little doubt that organized groups were using violence directed toward target audiences beyond the immediate victims in order to achieve political objectives. In these cases the violence was frequently organized and widespread enough to meet the criteria for terrorism.


Jewish Community Jewish Population Political Violence Ancient World Secret Society 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© James M. Lutz and Brenda J. Lutz 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • James M. Lutz
  • Brenda J. Lutz

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