This Jewish sect was a political and religious rebellion movement against Rome that began in 6 A.D. and was defeated by the Romans in 70 A.D. The ancient historian Josephus mentions its founder and reports that Tiberius Julius Alexander (a Jewish born general and governor—procurator of Judea for Rome) executed the founder’s sons James and Simon (around 46 A.D.).
The Zealots refused to pay tribute (taxes) to the Romans, on the ground that this was a violation of the principle that God was the only king of Israel. They were looking for a militant conquering Messiah, not a spiritual one. They eventually scattered, and some became a lawless band of brigands and assassins. These were called Sicarii, from their use of the sica, i.e., the Roman dagger.