||This study searches for an answer to the question who the Palestinian leistes was and which role he played within early Roman Palestinian society. It starts with a re-examination of earlier models, mainly the Zealot model and the social banditry model. Due to dissatisfaction with both major models, it continues by seeing latrocinium as a means used by both regional strongmen and Palestinian peasant communities to fulfil economic, social, and political goals. Peasants entered into patronal relations with regional strongmen and performed latrocinium-like activities for the former in exchange for protection against subsistence crises and external enemies. The regional strongmen on the other hand, used their leistai to strengthen their own position in society. This study looks at how latrocinium worked in Early Roman Palestine and how it penetrated into all levels of society. Furthermore, making use of both the model developed in this study and the model of multi-polar network-centric insurgency, it proposes a new way of looking at the First Jewish War (66-74AD) and at the role of leistai within this event.