This study proposes that the empire-wide Iudaea capta discourse should be viewed as a motivating pressure on the author of 4 Ezra. The discourse focused on Iudaea capta, Judaea captured, was pervasive across the Roman empire following the First Revolt. Though initiated by the Flavians, it became misrecognized across the Mediterranean and was expressed in a range of media. In this article, I examine the diverse evidence for this discourse and demonstrate that it not only cast Judaeans as barbaric enemies of Rome using a common set of symbols, but also attributed responsibility for a minor provincial revolt to a transregional ethnos/gens. One of the most distinctive symbols of this discourse was a personification of Judaea as a mourning woman. I argue that 4 Ezra delegitimates this Iudaea capta discourse, with its mourning woman, through the counter-image of a Mother Zion figure who transforms into the eschatological city.