Merton Hengel in his book "the Zealots" sheds some light on the scene in the time of Jesus through the works of Josephus and others concerning the unrest that existed in the area of Galilee and other places. As far as I know, the term "Zealot" is first mentioned in the New Testament Gospels. It is found first here before any other writings. Simon the "Zealot" was one of Jesus' disciples. The Zealots were founded by Judas the Galilean and Zadok (Saddok) the priest. Judas of Galilee is mentioned to have been killed by an uprising in Acts 5:37. The "prototype" of the Zealots was Phinehas (Numbers 25:6-13). The Galileans had a reputation for their rebellion against Rome and had a certain accent that gave them away when they spoke (Mark 14:70). When we talk about resistance movements I think we can list at least the :Galileans, Sacarii, and Zealots. Some blur them together, but it is hard to go back and accurately reconstruct each movement. VOLITILE was the situation in Israel because of these movements. Some of them believed to pay tribute to Ceasar was paramount to paying him a "tithe" and therefor acknowledging him as deity. That, to them, was a breach of the 1st Commandment. Remember the questions about paying tribute directed towards Jesus? That was part of it. Zealots and Galileans hated the publicans. They collected taxes for Rome and were considered traitors. Imagine how awesome Jesus would have had to have been to keep the peace between all of those men when Matthew was a Publican?