Of the War — Book V
Containing the interval of near six months.
From the coming of Titus to besiege Jerusalem, to the great extremity to which the Jews were reduced.
Book 5: Chapter 1: Concerning the seditious at Jerusalem: and what terrible miseries afflicted the city by their means.
[1.1] When therefore Titus had marched over that desert which lies between Egypt and Syria, in the manner forementioned, he came to Cesarea: having resolved to set his forces in order at that place, before he began the war. Nay indeed while he was assisting his father at Alexandria, in settling that government which had been newly conferred upon them by God, it so happened, that the sedition at Jerusalem was revived, and parted into three factions: and that one faction fought against the other. Which partition in such evil cases may be said to be a good thing; and the effect of divine justice. Now as to the attack the zealots made upon the people, and which I esteem the beginning of the cities destruction; it hath been already explained after an accurate manner: as also whence it arose: and to how great a mischief it was increased. But for the present sedition, one should not mistake if he called it a sedition begotten by another sedition: and to be like a wild beast grown mad, which, for want of food from abroad, fell now upon eating its own flesh.
[1.2] For Eleazar, the son of Simon, who made the first separation of the zealots from the people, and made them retire into the temple, appeared very angry at John’s insolent attempts, which he made everyday upon the people. For this man never left off murdering. But the truth was, that he could not bear to submit to a tyrant, who set up after him. So he being desirous of gaining the entire power and dominion to himself, revolted from John; and took to his assistance Judas the son of Chelcias, and Simon the son of Ezron; who were among the men of greatest power. There was also with him Hezekiah the son of Chobar; a person of eminence. Each of these were followed by a great many of the zealots. These seized upon the inner court of the temple, and laid their arms upon the holy gates, and over the holy fronts of that court. And because they had plenty of provisions, they were of good courage. For there was great abundance of what was consecrated to sacred uses; and they scrupled not the making use of them. Yet were they afraid on account of their small number. And when they had laid up their arms there, they did not stir from the place they were in. Now as to John, what advantage he had above Eleazar in the multitude of his followers; the like disadvantage he had in the situation he was in: since he had his enemies over his head. And as he could not make any assault upon them without some terror, so was his anger too great to let them be at rest. Nay although he suffered more mischief from Eleazar and his party, than he could inflict upon them, yet would he not leave off assaulting them. Insomuch that there were continual sallies made one against another; as well as darts thrown at one another; and the temple was defiled every where with murders.
[1.3] But now the tyrant Simon, the son of Gioras, whom the people had invited in, out of the hopes they had of his assistance in the great distresses they were in; having in his power the upper city, and a great part of the lower, did now make more vehement assaults upon John, and his party; because these were fought against from above also. Yet was he beneath their situation, when he attacked them: as they were beneath the attacks of the others above them. Whereby it came to pass, that John did both receive and inflict great damage; and that easily: as he was fought against on both sides. And the same advantage that Eleazar and his party had over him, since he was beneath them; the same advantage had he, by his higher situation, over Simon. On which account he easily repelled the attacks that were made from beneath, by the weapons thrown from their hands only: but was obliged to repel those that threw their darts from the temple above him, by his engines of war. For he had such engines as threw darts, and javelins, and stones; and that in no small number. By which he did not only defend himself from such as fought against him, but slew moreover many of the priests, as they were about their sacred ministrations. For notwithstanding these men were mad with all sorts of impiety, yet did they still admit those that desired to offer their sacrifices: although they took care to search the people of their own country beforehand; and both suspected, and watched them. While they were not so much afraid of strangers: who although they had gotten leave of them, how cruel soever they were, to come into that court, were yet often destroyed by this sedition. For those darts that were thrown by the engines came with that force, that they went over all the buildings, and reached as far as the altar, and the temple itself; and fell upon the priests, and those that were about the sacred offices. Insomuch that many persons who came thither with great zeal from the ends of the earth, to offer sacrifices, at this celebrated place; which was esteemed holy by all mankind; fell down before their own sacrifices themselves, and sprinkled that altar which was venerable among all men, both Greeks and Barbarians, with their own blood; till the dead bodies of strangers were mingled together with those of their own country; and those of profane persons with those of the priests: and the blood of all sorts of dead carcasses stood in lakes in the holy courts themselves. And now, “O must wretched city, what misery so great as this didst thou suffer from the Romans, when they came to purify thee from thy intestine hatred? For thou couldest be no longer a place fit for God; nor couldest thou long continue in being, after thou hadst been a sepulchre for the bodies of thy own people; and hadst made the holy house itself a burying place in this civil war of thine. Yet mayst thou again grow better, if perchance thou wilt hereafter appease the anger of that God who is the author of thy destruction.” But I must restrain myself from these passions by the rules of history: since this is not a proper time for domestical lamentations, but for historical narrations; I therefore return to the operations that follow in this sedition.
[1.4] And now there were three treacherous factions in the city, the one parted from the other. Eleazar and his party; that kept the sacred first fruits, came against John in their cups. Those that were with John, plundered the populace, and went out with zeal against Simon. This Simon had his supply of provisions from the city, in opposition to the seditious. When therefore John was assaulted on both sides, he made his men turn about; throwing his darts upon those citizens that came up against him, from the cloisters he had in his possession. While he opposed those that attacked him from the temple, by his engines of war. And if at any time he was freed from those that were above him, which happened frequently; from their being drunk and tired; he sallied out with a great number upon Simon, and his party. And this he did always in such parts of the city as he could come at, till he set on fire those houses that were full of corn, and of all other provisions. The same thing was done by Simon, when, upon the others retreat, he attacked the city also. As if they had on purpose done it to serve the Romans; by destroying what the city had laid up against the siege: and by thus cutting off the nerves of their own power. Accordingly it so came to pass, that all the places that were about the temple were burnt down; and were become an intermediate desert space, ready for fighting on both sides of it: and that almost all that corn was burnt, which would have been sufficient for a siege of many years. So they were taken by the means of the famine: which it was impossible they should have been, unless they had thus prepared the way for it by this procedure.
[1.5] And now, as the city was engaged in a war on all sides, from these treacherous crowds of wicked men; the people of the city between them were, like a great body, torn in pieces. The aged men, and the women were in such distress by their internal calamities, that they wished for the Romans; and earnestly hoped for an external war, in order to their delivery from their domestical miseries. The citizens themselves were under a terrible consternation and fear. Nor had they any opportunity of taking counsel, and of changing their conduct. Nor were there any hopes of coming to an agreement with their enemies: nor could such as had a mind flee away. For guards were set at all places; and the heads of the robbers, although they were seditious one against another in other respects, yet did they agree in killing those that were for peace with the Romans; or were suspected of an inclination to desert to them, as their common enemies. They agreed in nothing but this, to kill those that were innocent. The noise also of those that were fighting was incessant, both by day and by night: but the lamentations of those that mourned exceeded the other. Nor was there ever any occasion for them to leave off their lamentations; because their calamities came perpetually one upon another: although the deep consternation they were in prevented their outward wailing. But being constrained by their fear to conceal their inward passions, they were inwardly tormented; without daring to open their lips in groans. Nor was any regard paid to those that were still alive by their relations: nor was there any care taken of burial for those that were dead. The occasion of both which was this, that every one despaired of himself. For those that were not among the seditious had no great desires of any thing; as expecting for certain, that they should very soon be destroyed. But for the seditious themselves, they fought against each other while they trod upon the dead bodies, as they lay heaped one upon another: and taking up a mad rage from those dead bodies that were under their feet, became the fiercer thereupon. They moreover were still inventing somewhat or other that was pernicious against themselves. And when they had resolved upon any thing, they executed it without mercy: and omitted no method of torment, or of barbarity. Nay John abused the sacred materials; and employed them in the construction of his engines of war. For the people and the priests had formerly determined to support the temple, and raise the holy house twenty cubits higher. For King Agrippa had, at a very great expence, and with very great pains, brought thither such materials as were proper for that purpose; being pieces of timber very well worth seeing; both for their straightness, and their largeness. But the war coming on, and interrupting the work, John had them cut, and prepared for the building him towers; he finding them long enough; to oppose from them those his adversaries, that fought him from the temple that was above him. He also had them brought, and erected behind the inner court; over against the west end of the cloisters: where alone he could erect them. Whereas the other sides of that court had so many steps, as would not let them come nigh enough to the cloisters.
[1.6] Thus did John hope to be too hard for his enemies by these engines constructed by his impiety. But God himself demonstrated that his pains would prove of no use to him, by bringing the Romans upon him before he had reared any of his towers. For Titus, when he had gotten together part of his forces about him, and had ordered the rest to meet him at Jerusalem, marched out of Cesarea. He had with him those three legions, that had accompanied his father when he laid Judea waste: together with that twelfth legion which had been formerly beaten with Cestius. Which legion, as it was otherwise remarkable for its valour, so did it march on now with greater alacrity, to avenge themselves on the Jews, as remembring what they had formerly suffered from them. Of these legions he ordered the fifth to meet him, by going through Emmaus: and the tenth to go up by Jericho. He also moved himself, together with the rest. Besides which marched those auxiliaries that came from the Kings; being now more in number than before: together with a considerable number that came to his assistance from Syria. Those also that had been selected out of these four legions, and sent with Mucianus to Italy, had their places filled up out of those soldiers that came out of Egypt with Titus. Which were two thousand men, chosen out of the armies at Alexandria. There followed him also three thousand drawn from those that guarded the river Euphrates. As also there came Tiberius Alexander, who was a friend of his, most valuable both for his good will to him, and for his prudence. He had formerly been governor of Alexandria: but was now thought worthy to be general of the army [under Titus]. The reason of this was, that he had been the first who encouraged Vespasian very lately to accept this his new dominion: and joined himself to him, with great fidelity, when things were uncertain, and fortune had not yet declared for him. He also followed Titus, as a counsellor; very useful to him in this war, both by his age, and skill in such affairs.
Book 5: Chapter 2: How Titus marched to Jerusalem: and how he was in danger, as he was taking a view of the city. Of the place also where he pitched his camp.
[2.1] Now as Titus was upon his march into the enemies country, the auxiliaries that were sent by the Kings marched first: having all the other auxiliaries with them. After whom followed those that were to prepare the roads, and measure out the camp. Then came the commanders baggage; and after that the other soldiers, who were compleatly armed to support them. Then came Titus himself; having with him another select body; and then came the pike-men. After whom came the horse belonging to that legion. All these came before the engines. And after these engines came the tribunes, and the leaders of the cohorts, with their select bodies. After these came the ensigns, with the eagle: and before those ensigns came the trumpeters belonging to them. Next these came the main body of the army in their ranks: every rank being six deep. The servants belonging to every legion came after these: and before these last their baggage. The mercenaries came last: and those that guarded them brought up the rear. Now Titus, according to the Roman usage, went in the front of the army, after a decent manner; and marched through Samaria, to Gophna; a city that had been formerly taken by his father, and was then garrisoned by Roman soldiers. And when he had lodged there one night, he marched on in the morning: and when he had gone as far as a day’s march, he pitched his camp at that valley which the Jews, in their own tongue, call the valley of thorns: near a certain village called Gabaothsaul: which signifies the hill of Saul: being distant from Jerusalem about thirty furlongs. There it was that he chose out six hundred select horsemen, and went to take a view of the city; to observe what strength it was of; and how courageous the Jews were. Whether, when they saw him, and before they came to a direct battle, they would be affrighted, and submit. For he had been informed, what was really true, that the people who were fallen under the power of the seditious and the robbers, were greatly desirous of peace: but being too weak to rise up against the rest, they lay still.
[2.2] Now so long as he rode along the straight road which led to the wall of the city, no body appeared out of the gates. But when he went out of that road, and declined towards the tower Psephinos: and led the band of horsemen obliquely; an immense number of the Jews leaped out suddenly at the towers called the Womens towers; through that gate which was over against the monuments of Queen Helena; and intercepted his horse: and standing directly opposite to those that still ran along the road, hindered them from joining those that had declined out of it. They intercepted Titus also, with a few others. Now it was here impossible for him to go forward; because all the places had trenches dug in them from the wall, to preserve the gardens round about; and were full of gardens obliquely situate, and of many hedges. And to return back to his own men he saw it was also impossible; by reason of the multitude of the enemies that lay between them. Many of whom did not so much as know that the King was in any danger; but supposed him still among them. So he perceived that his preservation must be wholly owing to his own courage, and turned his horse about, and cried out aloud to those that were about him to follow him; and ran with violence into the midst of his enemies; in order to force his way through them to his own men. And hence we may principally learn that both the success of wars, and the dangers that kings are in, are under the providence of God. For while such a number of darts were thrown at Titus, when he had neither his head-piece on, nor his breast-plate: (for, as I told you, he went out not to fight, but to view the city:) none of them touched his body, but went aside without hurting him. As if all of them missed him on purpose; and only made a noise as they passed by him. So he diverted those perpetually with his sword that came on his side, and overturned many of those that directly met him; and made his horse ride over those that were overthrown. The enemy indeed made a shout at the boldness of Cæsar, and exhorted one another to rush upon him. Yet did these against whom he marched fly away, and go off from him in great numbers. While those that were in the same danger with him kept up close to him, though they were wounded both on their backs, and on their sides. For they had each of them but this one hope of escaping, if they could assist Titus in opening himself a way, that he might not be encompassed round by his enemies, before he got away from them. Now there were two of those that were with him, but at some distance: the one of which the enemy compassed round, and slew him with their darts, and his horse also. But the other they slew, as he leaped down from his horse, and carried off his horse with them. But Titus escaped with the rest, and came safe to the camp. So this success of the Jews first attack raised their minds, and gave them an ill-grounded hope: and this short inclination of fortune on their side made them very courageous for the future.
[2.3] But now, as soon as that legion that had been at Emmaus was joined to Cæsar at night, he removed thence, when it was day, and came to a place called Scopus: from whence the city began already to be seen: and a plain view might be taken of the great temple. Accordingly this place, on the north quarter of the city, and joining thereto, was a plain, and very properly named Scopus: [the prospect:] and was no more than seven furlongs distant from it. And here it was that Titus ordered a camp to be fortified for two legions, that were to be together: but ordered another camp to be fortified at three furlongs farther distance behind them, for the fifth legion. For he thought that by marching in the night they might be tired, and might deserve to be covered from the enemy, and with less fear might fortify themselves. And as these were now beginning to build, the tenth legion, who came through Jericho, was already come to the place, where a certain party of armed men had formerly lain, to guard that pass into the city, and had been taken before by Vespasian. These legions had orders to encamp at the distance of six furlongs from Jerusalem: at the mount called the mount of Olives. Which lies over against the city, on the east side; and is parted from it by a deep valley, interposed between them, which is named Cedron.
[2.4] Now when hitherto the several parties in the city had been dashing one against another perpetually, this foreign war now suddenly come upon them, after a violent manner, put the first stop to their contentions one against another. And as the seditious now saw, with astonishment the Romans pitching three several camps, they began to think of an aukward sort of concord: and said one to another, “What do we here? and what do we mean, when we suffer three fortified walls to be built, to coop us in, that we shall not be able to breathe freely: while the enemy is securely building a kind of city in opposition to us: and while we sit still, within our own walls, and become spectators only of what they are doing, with our hands idle, and our armour laid by: as if they were about somewhat that was for our good and advantage. We are, it seems, (so did they cry out) only courageous against our selves: while the Romans are likely to gain the city without bloodshed, by our sedition.” Thus did they encourage one another, when they were gotten together; and took their armour immediately, and ran out upon the tenth legion, and fell upon the Romans with great eagerness, and with a prodigious shout, as they were fortifying their camp. These Romans were caught in different parties, and this in order to perform their several works; and on that account had, in great measure, laid aside their arms. For they thought the Jews would not have ventured to make a sally upon them: and had they been disposed so to do, they supposed their sedition would have distracted them. So they were put into disorder unexpectedly. When some of them left their works they were about, and immediately marched off; while many ran to their arms: but were smitten and slain before they could turn back upon the enemy. The Jews became still more and more in number, as encouraged by the good success of those that first made the attack. And while they had such good fortune, they seemed both to themselves, and to the enemy, to be many more than they really were. The disorderly way of their fighting at first put the Romans also to a stand: who had been constantly used to fight skilfully, in good order, and with keeping their ranks, and obeying the orders that were given them. For which reason the Romans were caught unexpectedly, and were obliged to give way to the assaults that were made upon them. Now when these Romans were overtaken, and turned back upon the Jews, they put a stop to their career; yet when they did not take care enough of themselves, through the vehemency of their pursuit, they were wounded by them. But as still more and more Jews sallied out of the city, the Romans were at length brought into confusion, and put to fight, and ran away from their camp. Nay things looked as though the intire legion would have been in danger; unless Titus had been informed of the case they were in; and had sent them succours immediately. So he reproached them for their cowardise; and brought those back that were running away; and fell himself upon the Jews on their flank, with those select troops that were with him; and slew a considerable number, and wounded more of them: and put them all to flight, and made them run away hastily down the valley. Now as these Jews suffered greatly in the declivity of the valley, so when they were gotten over it, they turned about, and stood over against the Romans, having the valley between them, and there fought with them. Thus did they continue the fight till noon: but when it was already a little after noon, Titus set those that came to the assistance of the Romans with him, and those that belonged to the cohorts, to prevent the Jews from making any more sallies; and then sent the rest of the legion to the upper part of the mountain, to fortify their camp.
[2.5] This march of the Romans seemed to the Jews to be a flight. And as the watchman, who was placed upon the wall, gave a signal, by shaking his garment, there came out a fresh multitude of Jews, and that with such mighty violence, that one might compare it to the running of the most terrible wild beasts. To say the truth, none of those that opposed them could sustain the fury with which they made their attacks: but, as if they had been cast out of an engine, they brake the enemies ranks to pieces, who were put to flight, and ran away to the mountain. None but Titus himself, and a few others with him, being left in the midst of the acclivity. Now these others, who were his friends, despised the danger they were in, and were ashamed to leave their general, earnestly exhorting him, “To give way to these Jews, that are fond of dying; and not to run into such dangers before those that ought to stay before him: to consider what his fortune was: and not by supplying the place of a common soldier, to venture to turn back upon the enemy so suddenly. And this because he was general in the war, and lord of the habitable earth, on whose preservation the publick affairs do all depend.” These persuasions Titus seemed not so much as to hear: but opposed those that ran upon him, and smote them on the face; and when he had forced them to go back, he slew them. He also fell upon great numbers as they marched down the hill, and thrust them forward. While those men were so amazed at his courage, and his strength, that they could not fly directly to the city; but declined from him on both sides: and pressed after those that fled up the hill. Yet did he still fall upon their flank, and put a stop to their fury. In the mean time a disorder and a terror fell again upon those that were fortifying their camp, at the top of the hill: upon their seeing those beneath them running away. Insomuch that the whole legion was dispersed: while they thought that the sallies of the Jews upon them were plainly insupportable; and that Titus was himself put to flight. Because they took it for granted, that if he had staid, the rest would never have fled for it. Thus were they encompassed on every side, by a kind of panick fear: and some dispersed themselves one way, and some another: till certain of them saw their general in the very midst of an action: and being under great concern for him, they loudly proclaimed the danger he was in to the intire legion. And now shame made them turn back: and they reproached one another, that they did worse than run away, by deserting Cæsar. So they used their utmost force against the Jews; and declining from the straight declivity, they drove them on heaps into the bottom of the valley. Then did the Jews turn about, and fight them: but as they were themselves retiring. And now because the Romans had the advantage of the ground, and were above the Jews, they drove them all into the valley. Titus also pressed upon those that were near him; and sent the legion again to fortify their camp. While he, and those that were with him before, opposed the enemy; and kept them from doing farther mischief. Insomuch, that if I may be allowed neither to add any thing out of flattery, nor to diminish any thing out of envy, but to speak the plain truth, Cæsar did twice deliver that entire legion, when it was in jeopardy: and gave them a quiet opportunity of fortifying their camp.
Book 5: Chapter 3: How the sedition was again revived within Jerusalem. And yet the Jews contrived snares for the Romans. How Titus also threatened his soldiers for their ungovernable rashness.
[3.1] As now the war abroad ceased for a while; the sedition within was revived. And on the feast of unleavened bread, which was now come; it being the fourteenth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan] [A.D. 70], when it is believed the Jews were first freed from the Egyptians: Eleazar and his party opened the gates of this [inmost court of the] temple, and admitted such of the people as were desirous to worship God into it. But John made use of this festival as a cloak for his treacherous designs, and armed the most inconsiderable of his own party, the greater part of whom were not purified, with weapons concealed under their garments, and sent them with great zeal into the temple, in order to seize upon it. Which armed men, when they were gotten in, threw their garments away, and presently appeared in their armour. Upon which there was a very great disorder and disturbance about the holy house: while the people, who had no concern in the sedition, supposed that this assault was made against all, without distinction: as the zealots thought it was made against themselves only. So these left off guarding the gates any longer; and leaped down from their battlements, before they came to an engagement: and fled away into the subterranean caverns of the temple. While the people that stood trembling at the altar, and about the holy house, were rolled on heaps together, and trampled upon; and were beaten both with wooden and with iron weapons, without mercy. Such also as had differences with others, slew many persons that were quiet, out of their own private enmity and hatred: as if they were opposite to the seditious. And all those that had formerly offended any of these plotters were now known, and were now led away to the slaughter. And when they had done abundance of horrid mischief to the guiltless, they granted a truce to the guilty; and let those go off that came out of the caverns. These followers of John also did now seize upon this inner temple, and upon all the warlike engines therein; and then ventured to oppose Simon. And thus that sedition, which had been divided into three factions, was now reduced to two.
[3.2] But Titus, intending to pitch his camp nearer to the city than Scopus, placed as many of his choice horsemen and footmen as he thought sufficient, opposite to the Jews; to prevent their sallying out upon them; while he gave orders for the whole army to level the distance, as far as the wall of the city. So they threw down all the hedges and walls, which the inhabitants had made about their gardens and groves of trees; and cut down all the fruit trees, that lay between them and the wall of the city; and filled up all the hollow places, and the chasms; and demolished the rocky precipices with iron instruments: and thereby made all the place level from Scopus to Herod’s monuments, which adjoined to the pool, called the Serpents pool.
[3.3] Now at this very time, the Jews contrived the following stratagem against the Romans. The bolder sort of the seditious went out at the towers, called the Womens towers; as if they had been ejected out of the city by those who were for peace; and rambled about as if they were afraid of being assaulted by the Romans, and were in fear of one another. While those that stood upon the wall, and seemed to be of the peoples side, cried out aloud for peace; and intreated they might have security for their lives given them; and called for the Romans: promising to open the gates to them. And as they cried out after that manner, they threw stones at their own people, as though they would drive them away from the gates. These also pretended that they were excluded by force; and that they petitioned those that were within to let them in: and rushing upon the Romans perpetually, with violence, they then came back; and seemed to be in great disorder. Now the Roman soldiers thought this cunning stratagem of theirs was to be believed real: and thinking they had the one party under their power, and could punish them as they pleased; and hoping that the other party would open their gates to them, set to the execution of their designs accordingly. But for Titus himself, he had this surprizing conduct of the Jews in suspicion. For whereas he had invited them to come to terms of accommodation by Josephus, but one day before, he could then receive no civil answer from them. So he ordered the soldiers to stay where they were. However some of them that were set in the front of the works, prevented him: and catching up their arms, ran to the gates. Whereupon those that seemed to have been ejected at the first retired: but as soon as the soldiers were gotten between the towers on each side of the gate, the Jews ran out and encompassed them round, and fell upon them behind: while that multitude, which stood upon the wall, threw an heap of stones and darts of all kinds at them. Insomuch that they slew a considerable number, and wounded many more. For it was not easy for the Romans to escape; by reason those behind them pressed them forward. Besides which, the shame they were under for being mistaken; and the fear they were in of their commanders, engaged them to persevere in their mistake. Wherefore they fought with their spears a great while, and received many blows from the Jews: though indeed they gave them as many blows again: and at last repelled those that had encompassed them about. While the Jews pursued them, as they retired; and followed them, and threw darts at them as far as the monuments of Queen Helen.
[3.4] After this these Jews, without keeping any decorum, grew insolent upon their good fortune; and jested upon the Romans for being deluded by the trick they bad put upon them: and making a noise with beating their shields, leaped for gladness, and made joyful exclamations. While these soldiers were received with threatenings by their officers; and with indignation by Cæsar himself: [who spake to them thus] “These Jews, which are only conducted by their madness, do every thing with care, and circumspection: they contrive stratagems, and lay ambushes, and fortune gives success to their stratagems, because they are obedient, and preserve their good will and fidelity to one another. While the Romans, to whom fortune uses to be ever subservient, by reason of their good order, and ready submission to their commanders, have now had ill success, by their contrary behaviour: and by not being able to restrain their hands from action, they have been caught: and that which is the most to their reproach, they have gone on without their commanders in the very presence of Cæsar. Truly, says Titus, the laws of war cannot but groan heavily: as will my father also himself, when he shall be informed of this wound that hath been given us: since he, who is grown old in wars, did never make so great a mistake. Our laws of war do also ever inflict capital punishment on those, that in the least break into good order: while at this time they have seen an intire army run into disorder. However, those that have been so insolent shall be made immediately sensible, that even they who conquer among the Romans, without orders for fighting, are to be under disgrace.” When Titus had enlarged upon this matter before the commanders, it appeared evident that he would execute the law against all those that were concerned. So these soldiers minds sunk down in despair; as expecting to be put to death, and that justly, and quickly. However, the other legions came round about Titus, and intreated his favour to these their fellow soldiers; and made supplication to him, that he would pardon the rashness of a few, on account of the better obedience of all the rest: and promised for them that they should make amends for their present fault, by their more virtuous behaviour for the time to come.
[3.5] So Cæsar complied with their desires, and with what prudence dictated to him also. For he esteemed it fit to punish single persons by real executions: but that the punishment of great multitudes, should proceed no farther than reproofs. So he was reconciled to the soldiers: but gave them a special charge, to act more wisely for the future. And he considered with himself, how he might be even with the Jews for their stratagem. And now, when the space between the Romans and the wall had been levelled; which was done in four days; and as he was desirous to bring the baggage of the army, with the rest of the multitude that followed him, safely to the camp; he set the strongest part of his army over against that wall which lay on the north quarter of the city; and over against the western part of it; and made his army seven deep, with the footmen placed before them, and the horsemen behind them, each of the last in three ranks; while the archers stood in the midst in seven ranks. And now as the Jews were prohibited by so great a body of men from making sallies upon the Romans, both the beasts that bare the burdens, and belonged to the three legions; and the rest of the multitude marched on without any fear. But as for Titus himself, he was but about two furlongs distant from the wall; at that part of it where was the corner, and over against that tower which was called Psephinus: at which tower the compass of the wall belonging to the north, bended and extended itself over against the west. But the other part of the army fortified itself at the tower called Hippicus: and was distant, in like manner, but two furlongs from the city. However the tenth legion continued in its own place, upon the mount of Olives.
Book 5: Chapter 4: The description of Jerusalem.
[4.1] The city of Jerusalem was fortified with three walls, on such parts as were not encompassed with unpassable valleys. For in such places it had but one wall. The city was built upon two hills, which are opposite to one another, and have a valley to divide them asunder. At which valley the corresponding rows of houses on both hills end. Of these hills that which contains the upper city is much higher, and in length more direct. Accordingly it was called the citadel, by King David. He was the father of that Solomon who built this temple at the first. But ’tis by us called the upper market place. But the other hill, which was called Acra, and sustains the lower city, is of the shape of a moon, when she is horned. Over against this there was a third hill; but naturally lower than Acra; and parted formerly from the other by a broad valley. However, in those times, when the Asamoneans reigned, they filled up that valley with earth; and had a mind to join the city to the temple. They then took off part of the height of Acra, and reduced it to be of less elevation than it was before; that the temple might be superior to it. Now the valley of the cheesemongers, as it was called, and was that which we told you before distinguished the hill of the upper city, from that of the lower, extended as far as Siloam. For that is the name of a fountain, which hath sweet water in it, and this in great plenty also. But on the outsides these hills are surrounded by deep valleys; and by reason of the precipices to them belonging on both sides, they are every where unpassable.
[4.2] Now of these three walls, the old one was hard to be taken; both by reason of the valleys; and of that hill on which it was built, and which was above them. But besides that great advantage, as to the place where they were situate, it was also built very strong: because David, and Solomon, and the following Kings were very zealous about this work. Now that wall began on the north, at the tower called Hippicus: and extended as far as the Xistus, a place so called, and then joining to the council house, ended at the west cloister of the temple. But if we go the other way westward, it began at the same place; and extended through a place called Bethso, to the gate of the Essens: and after that it went southward: having its bending above the fountain Siloam; where it also bends again towards the east at Solomon’s pool, and reaches as far as a certain place which they called Ophlas, where it was joined to the eastern cloister of the temple. The second wall took its beginning from that gate which they called Gennath, which belonged to the first wall. It only encompassed the northern quarter of the city, and reached as far as the tower Antonia. The beginning of the third wall was at the tower Hippicus: whence it reached as far as the north quarter of the city, and the tower Psephinus: and then was so far extended till it came over against the monuments of Helena. Which Helena was Queen of Adiabene, the daughter of Izates. It then extended farther to a great length; and passed by the sepulchral caverns of the Kings, and bent again at the tower of the corner, at the monument which is called the monument of the fuller: and joined to the old wall at the valley called the valley of Cedron. It was Agrippa who encompassed the parts added to the old city with this wall: which had been all naked before. For as the city grew more populous, it gradually crept beyond its old limits: and those parts of it that stood northward of the temple, and joined that hill to the city, made it considerably larger, and occasioned that hill, which is in number the fourth, and is called Bezetha, to be inhabited also. It lies over against the tower Antonia: but is divided from it by a deep valley; which was dug on purpose: and that in order to hinder the foundations of the tower of Antonia from joining to this hill, and thereby affording an opportunity for getting to it with ease, and hindering the security that arose from its superior elevation. For which reason also that depth of the ditch made the elevation of the towers more remarkable. This new-built part of the city was called Bezetha, in our language: which, if interpreted in the Grecian language, may be called The New City. Since therefore its inhabitants stood in need of a covering, the father of the present King, and of the same name with him, Agrippa, began that wall we spoke of. But he left off building it when he had only laid the foundations; out of the fear he was in of Claudius Cæsar: lest he should suspect that so strong a wall was built in order to make some innovation in public affairs. For the city could no way have been taken, if that wall had been finished in the manner it was begun. As its parts were connected together by stones twenty cubits long, and ten cubits broad: which could never have been either easily undermined by any iron tools, or shaken by any engines. The wall was, however, ten cubits wide, and it would probably have had an heighth greater than that, had not his zeal who began it been hindered from exerting itself. After this, it was erected with great diligence by the Jews, as high as twenty cubits; above which it had battlements of two cubits, and turrets of three cubits altitude. Insomuch that the entire altitude extended as far as twenty-five cubits.
[4.3] Now the towers that were upon it were twenty cubits in breadth, and twenty cubits in height. They were square, and solid, as was the wall itself. Wherein the niceness of the joints, and the beauty of the stones were no way inferior to those of the holy house itself. Above this solid altitude of the towers, which was twenty cubits, there were rooms of great magnificence: and over them upper rooms, and cisterns to receive rain-water. They were many in number: and the steps by which you ascended up to them were every one broad. Of these towers then the third wall had ninety: and the spaces between them were each two hundred cubits. But in the middle wall were forty towers: and the old wall was parted into sixty. While the whole compass of the city was thirty three furlongs. Now the third wall was all of it wonderful. Yet was the tower Psephinus elevated above it at the north-west corner: and there Titus pitched his own tent. For being seventy cubits high, it both afforded a prospect of Arabia, at sun-rising: as well as it did of the utmost limits of the Hebrew possessions at the sea westward. Moreover it was an octagon: and over against it was the tower Hippicus: and hard by it two others were erected by King Herod, in the old wall. These were for largeness, beauty, and strength beyond all that were in the habitable earth. For besides the magnanimity of his nature, and his magnificence towards the city on other occasions, he built these after such an extraordinary manner, to gratify his own private affections: and dedicated these towers to the memory of those three persons who had been the dearest to him: and from whom he named them. They were his brother; his friend; and his wife. This wife he had slain, out of his love [and jealousy], as we have already related. The other two he lost in war, as they were courageously fighting. Hippicus, so named from his friend, was square; its length and breadth were each twenty five cubits: and its height thirty: and it had no vacuity in it. Over this solid building, which was composed of great stones united together, there was a reservoir twenty cubits deep. Over which there was an house of two stories; whose height was twenty five cubits: and divided into several parts. Over which were battlements, of two cubits; and turrets all round of three cubits high. Insomuch that the entire height added together amounted to fourscore cubits. The second tower, which he named from his brother Phasaelus, had its breadth and its height equal; each of them forty cubits. Over which was its solid height of forty cubits. Over which a cloister went round about; whose height was ten cubits: and it was covered from enemies by breastworks, and bullwarks. There was also built over that cloister another tower, parted into magnificent rooms, and a place for bathing. So that this tower wanted nothing that might make it appear to be a royal palace. It was also adorned with battlements and turrets, more than was the foregoing. And the entire altitude was about ninety cubits. The appearance of it resembled the tower of Pharus, which exhibited a fire to such as sailed to Alexandria; but was much larger than it in compass. This was now converted to a house, wherein Simon exercised his tyrannical authority. The third tower was Mariamne, for that was his Queen’s name. It was solid as high as twenty cubits. Its breadth and its length were twenty cubits; and were equal to each other. Its upper buildings were more magnificent; and had greater variety than the other towers had. For the king thought it most proper for him to adorn that which was denominated from his wife, better than those denominated from men: as those were built stronger than this that bore his wife’s name. The entire height of this tower was fifty cubits.
[4.4] Now as these towers were so very tall, they appeared much taller by the place on which they stood. For that very old wall wherein they were, was built on an high hill; and was itself a kind of elevation that was still thirty cubits taller. Over which were the towers situate, and thereby were made much higher to appearance. The largeness also of the stones was wonderful. For they were not made of common small stones, nor of such larger ones only as men could carry; but they were of white marble, cut out of the rock. Each stone was twenty cubits in length, and ten in breadth, and five in depth. They were so exactly united to one another, that each tower looked like one entire rock of stone, so growing naturally; and afterward cut by the hands of the artificers into their present shape and corners: so little or not at all did their joints and connection appear. Now as these towers were themselves on the north side of the wall, the King had a palace inwardly thereto adjoined; which exceeds all my ability to describe it. For it was so very curious as to want no cost nor skill in its construction: but was entirely walled about to the heighth of thirty cubits; and was adorned with towers at equal distances, and with large bed-chambers, that would contain beds for an hundred guests apiece. In which the variety of the stones is not to be expressed. For a large quantity of those that were rare of that kind was collected together. Their roofs were also wonderful; both for the length of the beams, and the splendor of their ornaments. The number of the rooms was also very great; and the variety of the figures that were about them was prodigious. Their furniture was compleat; and the greatest part of the vessels that were put in them was of silver and gold. There were besides many portico’s, one beyond another, round about; and in each of those portico’s curious pillars. Yet were all the courts that were exposed to the air every where green. There were moreover several groves of trees, and long walks through them, with deep canals, and cisterns, that in several parts were filled with brazen statues: through which the water ran out. There were withal many dove-courts of tame pigeons about the canals. But indeed it is not possible to give a compleat description of these palaces; and the very remembrance of them is a torment to one, as putting one in mind what vastly rich buildings that fire which was kindled by the robbers hath consumed. For these were not burnt by the Romans, but by these internal plotters; as we have already related, in the beginning of their rebellion. That fire began at the tower of Antonia, and went on to the palaces, and consumed the upper parts of the three towers themselves.
Book 5: Chapter 5: A description of the temple.
[5.1] Now this temple, as I have already said, was built upon a strong hill. At first the plain at the top was hardly sufficient for the holy house and the altar: for the ground about it was very uneven, and like a precipice. But when King Solomon, who was the person that built the temple, had built a wall to it, on its east side, there was then added one cloister, founded on a bank cast up for it, and on the other parts the holy house stood naked. But in future ages the people added new banks; and the hill became a larger plain. They then brake down the wall on the north side, and took in as much as sufficed afterward for the compass of the entire temple. And when they had built walls on three sides of the temple round about, from the bottom of the hill; and had performed a work that was greater than could be hoped for; (in which work long ages were spent by them; as well as all their sacred treasures were exhausted; which were still replenished by those tributes which were sent to God from the whole habitable earth;) they then encompassed their upper courts with cloisters, as well as they [afterward] did the lowest [court of the] temple. The lowest part of this was erected to the height of three hundred cubits: and in some places more. Yet did not the entire depth of the foundations appear: for they brought earth, and filled up the valleys: as being desirous to make them on a level with the narrow streets of the city. Wherein they made use of stones of forty cubits in magnitude. For the great plenty of money they then had, and the liberality of the people, made this attempt of theirs to succeed to an incredible degree. And what could not be so much as hoped for, as ever to be accomplished, was, by perseverance, and length of time brought to perfection.
[5.2] Now for the works that were above these foundations, these were not unworthy of such foundations. For all the cloisters were double: and the pillars to them belonging were twenty five cubits in height, and supported the cloisters. These pillars were of one entire stone each of them: and that stone was white marble. And the roofs were adorned with cedar, curiously graven. The natural magnificence, and excellent polish, and the harmony of the joints in these cloisters afforded a prospect that was very remarkable. Nor was it on the outside adorned with any work of the painter, or engraver. The cloisters [of the outmost court] were in breadth thirty cubits; while the entire compass of it was by measure six furlongs: including the tower of Antonia. Those entire courts that were exposed to the air were laid with stones of all sorts. When you go through these [first] cloisters, unto the second [court of the] temple, there was a partition made of stone, all round; whose height was three cubits, its construction was very elegant. Upon it stood pillars, at equal distances from one another; declaring the law of purity, some in Greek and some in Roman letters; that no foreigner should go within that sanctuary. For that second [court of the] temple was called the sanctuary: and was ascended to by fourteen steps from the first court. This court was four square; and had a wall about it peculiar to itself. The height of its buildings, although it were on the outside forty cubits, was hidden by the steps; and on the inside that height was but twenty five cubits. For it being built over against an higher part of the hill with steps, it was no farther to be entirely discerned within; being covered by the hill itself. Beyond those fourteen steps there was the distance of ten cubits; this was all plain. Whence there were other steps, each of five cubits apiece, that led to the gates: which gates on the north and south sides were eight; on each of those sides four: and of necessity two on the east. For since there was a partition built for the women on that side; as the proper place wherein they were to worship; there was a necessity for a second gate for them. This gate was cut out of its wall over against the first gate. There was also on the other sides one southern, and one northern gate; through which was a passage into the court of the women. For as to the other gates the women were not allowed to pass through them. Nor when they went through their own gate could they go beyond their own wall. This place was allotted to the women of our own country, and of other countries, provided they were of the same nation, and that equally. The western part of this court had no gate at all; but the wall was built entire on that side. But then the cloisters which were betwixt the gates extended from the wall inward, before the chambers. For they were supported by very fine and large pillars. These cloisters were single: and, excepting their magnitude, were no way inferior to those of the lower court.
[5.3] Now nine of these gates were on every side covered over with gold and silver; as were the jambs of their doors, and their lintels. But there was one gate that was without the [inward court of the] holy house, which was of Corinthian brass; and greatly excelled those that were only covered over with silver and gold. Each gate had two doors; whose height was severally thirty cubits, and their breadth fifteen. However, they had large spaces within of thirty cubits, and had on each side rooms, and those, both in breadth and in length built like towers; and their height was above forty cubits. Two pillars did also support these rooms: and were in circumference twelve cubits. Now the magnitudes of the other gates were equal one to another; but that over the Corinthian gate, which opened on the east, over against the gate of the holy house it self, was much larger. For its height was fifty cubits: and its doors were forty cubits: and it was adorned after a most costly manner; as having much richer and thicker plates of silver and gold upon them than the other. These nine gates had that silver and gold poured upon them by Alexander, the father of Tiberius. Now there were fifteen steps, which led away from the wall of the court of the women to this greater gate: whereas those that led thither from the other gates were five steps shorter.
[5.4] As to the holy house it self, which was placed in the midst [of the inmost court], that most sacred part of the temple, it was ascended to by twelve steps: and in front its height and its breadth were equal; and each an hundred cubits: though it was behind forty cubits narrower. For on its front it had what may be styled shoulders on each side, that passed twenty cubits farther. Its first gate was seventy cubits high, and twenty five cubits broad: but this gate had no doors: for it represented the universal visibility of heaven, and that it cannot be excluded from any place. Its front was covered with gold all over; and through it the first part of the house, that was more inward, did all of it appear. Which as it was very large, so did all the parts about the more inward gate appear to shine to those that saw them. But then as the intire house was divided into two parts within, it was only the first part of it that was open to our view. Its height extended all along to ninety cubits in height; and its length was fifty cubits; and its breadth twenty. But that gate which was at this end of the first part of the house, was, as we have already observed, all over covered with gold: as was its whole wall about it. It had also golden vines above it: from which clusters of grapes hung as tall as a man’s height. But then this house, as it was divided into two parts, the inner part was lower than the appearance of the outer, and had golden doors of fifty five cubits altitude, and sixteen in breadth: but before these doors there was a veil of equal largeness with the doors. It was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue, and fine linen, and scarlet, and purple: and of a contexture that was truly wonderful. Nor was this mixture of colours without its mystical interpretation: but was a kind of image of the universe. For by the scarlet there seemed to be enigmatically signified fire; by the fine flax, the earth; by the blue, the air; and by the purple, the sea. Two of them having their colours the foundation of this resemblance: but the fine flax, and the purple have their own origin for that foundation. The earth producing the one, and the sea the other. This curtain had also embroidered upon it all that was mystical in the heavens; excepting that of the [twelve] signs, representing living creatures.
[5.5] When any persons entered into the temple, its floor received them. This part of the temple therefore was in height sixty cubits, and its length the same. Whereas its breadth was but twenty cubits. But still that sixty cubits in length was divided again; and the first part of it was cut off at forty cubits, and had in it three things that were very wonderful and famous among all mankind: the candlestick; the table [of shew bread]; and the altar of incense. Now the seven lamps signified the seven planets. For so many there were springing out of the candlestick. Now the twelve loaves that were upon the table signified the circle of the zodiack, and the year. But the altar of incense, by its thirteen kinds of sweet smelling spices, with which the sea replenished it, signified that God is the possessor of all things that are both in the uninhabitable, and habitable parts of the earth; and that they are all to be dedicated to his use. But the inmost part of the temple of all was of twenty cubits. This was also separated from the outer part by a veil. In this there was nothing at all. It was inaccessible, and inviolable, and not to be seen by any; and was called the Holy of Holies. Now about the sides of the lower part of the temple there were little houses, with passages out of one into another. There were a great many of them; and they were of three stories high. There were also entrances on each side into them, from the gate of the temple. But the superior part of the temple had no such little houses any farther: because the temple was there narrower, and forty cubits higher, and of a smaller body than the lower parts of it. Thus we collect that the whole height, including the sixty cubits from the floor, amounted to an hundred cubits.
[5.6] Now the outward face of the temple in its front wanted nothing that was likely to surprize either mens minds, or their eyes. For it was covered all over with plates of gold, of great weight: and at the first rising of the sun reflected back a very fiery splendor, and made those who forced themselves to look upon it, to turn their eyes away: just as they would have done at the sun’s own rays. But this temple appeared to strangers, when they were coming to it at a distance, like a mountain covered with snow. For as to those parts of it that were not gilt, they were exceeding white. On its top it had spikes; with sharp points; to prevent any pollution of it by birds sitting upon it. Of its stones some of them were forty five cubits in length, five in height, and six in breadth. Before this temple stood the altar, fifteen cubits high; and equal both in length and breadth: each of which dimensions was fifty cubits. The figure it was built in was a square: and it had corners like horns; and the passage up to it was by an insensible acclivity. It was formed without any iron tool: nor did any such iron tool so much as touch it at any time. There was also a wall of partition, about a cubit in height, made of fine stones, and so as to be grateful to the sight. This encompassed the holy house, and the altar; and kept the people that were on the outside off from the priests. Moreover those that had the gonorrhea, and the leprosy, were excluded out of the city intirely. Women also, when their courses were upon them, were shut out of the temple. Nor, when they were free from that impurity, were they allowed to go beyond the limit beforementioned. Men also that were not thoroughly pure were prohibited to come into the inner [court of the] temple. Nay the priests themselves that were not pure, were prohibited to come into it also.
[5.7] Now all those of the stock of the priests that could not minister by reason of some defect in their bodies, came within the partition, together with those that had no such imperfection; and had their share with them, by reason of their stock: but still made use of none except their own private garments. For no body but he that officiated had on his sacred garments. But then those priests that were without any blemish upon them went up to the altar, clothed in fine linen. They abstained chiefly from wine; out of this fear, lest otherwise they should transgress some rules of their ministration. The High-priest did also go up with them: not always indeed; but on the seventh days, and new moons; and if any festivals belonging to our nation, which we celebrate every year, happened. When he officiated he had on a pair of breeches, that reached beneath his privy parts, to his thighs; and had on an inner garment of linen; together with a blue garment round without seam, with fringe work; and reaching to the feet. There were also golden bells, that hung upon the fringes; and pomegranates intermixed among them. The bells signified thunder; and the pomegranates lightning. But that girdle that tied the garment to the breast, was embroidered with five rows of various colours. Of gold, and purple, and scarlet; as also of fine linen, and blue. With which colours we told you before the veils of the temple were embroidered also. The like embroidery was upon the ephod; but the quantity of gold therein was greater. Its figure was that of a stomacher for the breast. There were upon it two golden buttons, like small shields; which buttoned the ephod to the garment. In these buttons were inclosed two very large, and very excellent sardonyxes; having the names of the tribes of that nation ingraved upon them. On the other part there hung twelve stones; three in a row one way, and four in the other. A sardius, a topaz, and an emerald: a carbuncle, a jasper, and a sapphire: an agate, an amethyst, and a ligure: an onyx, a beryl, and a chrysolite. Upon every one of which was again ingraved one of the forementioned names of the tribes. A mitre also of fine linen encompassed his head: which was tied by a blue ribband, about which there was another golden crown; in which was engraven the sacred name [of God]. It consists of four vowels. However, the High-priest did not wear these garments at other times; but a more plain habit. He only did it when he went into the most sacred part of the temple, which he did but once in a year: on that day when our custom is for all of us to keep a fast to God. And thus much concerning the city, and the temple. But for the customs and laws hereto relating, we shall speak more accurately another time. For there remain a great many things thereto relating, which have not been here touched upon.
[5.8] Now as to the tower of Antonia, it was situate at the corner of two cloisters of the court of the temple: of that on the west, and that on the north. It was erected upon a rock of fifty cubits in height: and was on a great precipice. It was the work of King Herod. Wherein he demonstrated his natural magnanimity. In the first place the rock itself was covered over with smooth pieces of stone, from its foundation; both for ornament; and that any one who would either try to get up, or to go down it, might not be able to hold his feet upon it. Next to this, and before you come to the edifice it self of the tower, there was a wall, three cubits high; but within that wall all the space of the tower of Antonia it self was built upon, to the height of forty cubits. The inward parts had the largeness and form of a palace. It being parted into all kinds of rooms, and other conveniencies; such as courts, and places for bathing, and broad spaces for camps: insomuch that by having all conveniencies that cities wanted, it might seem to be composed of several cities; but by its magnificence it seemed a palace. And as the intire structure resembled that of a tower, it contained also four other distinct towers, at its four corners. Whereof the others were but fifty cubits high: whereas that which lay upon the south east corner was seventy cubits high: that from thence the whole temple might be viewed. But on the corner, where it joined to the two cloisters of the temple, it had passages down to them both: through which the guards (for there always lay in this tower a Roman legion) went several ways among the cloisters, with their arms, on the Jewish festivals; in order to watch the people, that they might not there attempt to make any innovations. For the temple was a fortress, that guarded the city; as was the tower of Antonia a guard to the temple. And in that tower were the guards of those three . There was also a peculiar fortress belonging to the upper city, which was Herod’s palace. But for the hill Bezetha, it was divided from the tower of Antonia, as we have already told you. And as that hill on which the tower of Antonia stood, was the highest of these three, so did it adjoin to the new city: and was the only place that hindred the sight of the temple on the north. And this shall suffice at present to have spoken about the city, and the walls about it: because I have proposed to my self to make a more accurate description of it elsewhere.
Book 5: Chapter 6: Concerning the tyrants Simon and John. How also, as Titus was going round the wall of the city, Nicanor was wounded by a dart. Which accident provoked Titus to press on the siege.
[6.1] Now the warlike men that were in the city, and the multitude of the seditious that were with Simon, were ten thousand: besides the Idumeans. Those ten thousand had fifty commanders: over whom this Simon was supreme. The Idumeans that paid him homage were five thousand; and had eight commanders. Among whom those of greatest fame were Jacob the son of Sosas, and Simon the son of Cathlas. John, who had seized upon the temple, had six thousand armed men; under twenty commanders. The zealots also that had come over to him, and left off their opposition, were two thousand four hundred: and had the same commander that they had formerly, Eleazar; together with Simon the son of Arinus. Now while these factions fought one against another, the people were their prey on both sides, as we have said already. And that part of the people which would not join with them in their wicked practices, were plundered by both factions. Simon held the upper city, and the great wall, as far as Cedron; and as much of the old wall as bent from Siloam to the east; and which went down to the palace of Monobazus; who was King of the Adiabeni, beyond Euphrates. He also held that fountain; and the Acra, which was no other than the lower city. He also held all that reached to the palace of Queen Helena, the mother of Monobazus. But John held the temple, and the parts thereto adjoining, for a great way; as also Ophla, and the valley called the valley of Cedron. And when the parts that were interposed between their possessions were burnt by them, they left a space wherein they might fight with each other. For this internal sedition did not cease, even when the Romans were encamped near their very walls. But although they had grown wiser at the first onset the Romans made upon them; this lasted but a while: for they returned to their former madness, and separated one from another, and fought it out: and did everything that the besiegers could desire them to do. For they never suffered any thing that was worse from the Romans, than they made each other suffer. Nor was there any misery endured by the city, after these mens actions, that could be esteemed new. But it was most of all unhappy before it was overthrown. While those that took it did it a greater kindness. For I venture to affirm, that the sedition destroyed the city, and the Romans destroyed the sedition: which it was a much harder thing to do, than to destroy the walls. So that we may justly ascribe our misfortunes to our own people, and the just vengeance taken on them to the Romans. As to which matter let every one determine by the actions on both sides.
[6.2] Now when affairs within the city were in this posture, Titus went round the city, on the outside, with some chosen horsemen; and looked about for a proper place, where he might make an impression upon the walls. But as he was in doubt where he could possibly make an attack, on any side: for the place was no way accessible where the valleys were; and on the other side, the first wall appeared too strong to be shaken by the engines. He thereupon thought it best to make his assault about the monument of John, the High-priest. For there it was that the first fortification was lower, and the second was not joined to it. The builders neglecting to build strong, where the new city was not much inhabited. Here also was an easy passage to the third wall: through which he thought to take the upper city: and through the tower of Antonia the temple itself. But at this time, as he was going round about the city, one of his friends, whose name was Nicanor, was wounded with a dart on his left shoulder: as he approached, together with Josephus, too near to the wall; and attempted to discourse to those that were upon the wall about terms of peace. For he was a person known by them. On this account it was that Cesar, as soon as he knew their vehemence, that they would not hear even such as approached them, to persuade them to what tended to their own preservation, was provoked to press on the siege. He also, at the same time, gave his soldiers leave to set the suburbs on fire: and ordered that they should bring timber together, and raise banks against the city. And when he had parted his army into three parts, in order to set about those works, he placed those that shot darts, and the archers, in the midst of the banks that were then raising. Before whom he placed those engines that threw javelins, and darts, and stones; that he might prevent the enemy from sallying out upon their works; and might hinder those that were upon the wall from being able to obstruct them. So the trees were now cut down immediately, and the suburbs left naked. But now, while the timber was carrying to raise the banks, and the whole army was earnestly engaged in their works, the Jews were not however quiet. And it happened that the people of Jerusalem, who had been hitherto plundered, and murdered, were now of good courage; and supposed they should have a breathing time: while the others were very busy in opposing their enemies without the city: and that they should now be avenged on those that had been the authors of their miseries, in case the Romans did but get the victory.
[6.3] However, John stayed behind, out of his fear of Simon; even while his own men were earnest in making a sally upon their enemies without. Yet did not Simon lie still: for he lay near the place of the siege. He brought his engines of war, and disposed of them at due distances upon the wall; both those which they took from Cestius formerly; and those which they got when they seized the garrison that lay in the tower Antonia. But though they had these engines in their possession, they had so little skill in using them, that they were in great measure useless to them. But a few there were who had been taught by deserters how to use them: which they did use, though after an aukward manner. So they cast stones, and arrows at those that were making the banks. They also ran out upon them by companies, and fought with them. Now those that were at work covered themselves with hurdles, spread over their banks; and their engines were opposed to them when they made their excursions. These engines, that all the legions had ready prepared for them, were admirably contrived: but still more extraordinary ones belonged to the tenth legion. Those that threw darts, and those that threw stones were more forcible, and larger than the rest; by which they not only repelled the excursions of the Jews, but drove those away that were upon the walls also. Now the stones that were cast were of the weight of a talent; and were carried two furlongs, and farther. The blow they gave was no way to be sustained; not only by those that stood first in the way, but by those that were beyond them, for a great space. As for the Jews, they at first watched the coming of the stone: for it was of a white colour; and could therefore not only be perceived by the great noise it made, but could be seen also before it came by its brightness. Accordingly the watchmen that sat upon the towers gave them notice when the engine was let go, and the stone came from it; and cried out aloud, in their own country language, the stone cometh. So those that were in its way stood off, and threw themselves down upon the ground. By which means, and by their thus guarding themselves, the stone fell down, and did them no harm. But the Romans contrived how to prevent that, by blacking the stone: who then could aim at them with success, when the stone was not discerned beforehand, as it had been till then: and so they destroyed many of them at one blow. Yet did not the Jews, under all this distress, permit the Romans to raise their banks in quiet. But they shrewdly and boldly exerted themselves, and repelled them, both by night, and by day.
[6.4] And now, upon the finishing the Roman works, the workmen measured the distance there was from the wall, and this by lead, and a line, which they threw to it from their banks. For they could not measure it any otherwise; because the Jews would shoot at them, if they came to measure it themselves. And when they found that the engines could reach the wall, they brought them thither. Then did Titus set his engines at proper distances, so much nearer to the wall, that the Jews might not be able to repel them: and gave orders they should go to work. And when thereupon a prodigious noise echoed round about from three places, and that on the sudden there was a great noise made by the citizens that were within the city; and no less a terror fell upon the seditious themselves. Whereupon both sorts, seeing the common danger they were in, contrived to make a like defence. So those of different factions cried out one to another, that they acted entirely as in concert with their enemies: whereas they ought however, notwithstanding God did not grant them a lasting concord, in their present circumstances to lay aside their enmities one against another, and to unite together against the Romans. Accordingly Simon gave those that came from the temple leave, by proclamation, to go upon the wall. John also himself, though he could not believe Simon was in earnest, gave them the same leave. So on both sides, they laid aside their hatred, and their peculiar quarrels; and formed themselves into one body. They then ran round the walls: and having a vast number of torches with them, they threw them at the machines, and shot darts perpetually upon those that impelled those engines which battered the wall. Nay the bolder sort leaped out by troops upon the hurdles that covered the machines, and pulled them to pieces, and fell upon those that belonged to them, and beat them: not so much by any skill they had, as principally by the boldness of their attacks. However, Titus himself still sent assistance to those that were the hardest set; and placed both horsemen and archers on the several sides of the engines; and thereby beat off those that brought the fire to them. He also thereby repelled those that shot stones or darts from the towers; and then set the engines to work in good earnest. Yet did not the wall yield to these blows: excepting where the battering ram of the fifteenth legion moved the corner of a tower; while the wall it self continued unhurt. For the wall was not presently in the same danger with the tower; which was extant far above it. Nor could the fall of that part of the tower easily break down any part of the wall itself together with it.
[6.5] And now the Jews intermitted their sallies for a while. But when they observed the Romans dispersed all abroad at their works, and in their several camps; (for they thought the Jews had retired out of weariness and fear;) these all at once made a sally, at the tower Hippicus, through an obscure gate; and at the same time brought fire to burn the works: and went boldly up to the Romans, and to their very fortifications themselves: where, at the cry they made, those that were near them came presently to their assistance; and those farther off came running after them: and here the boldness of the Jews was too hard for the good order of the Romans. And as they beat those whom they first light upon, so they pressed upon those that were now gotten together. So this fight about the machines was very hot; while the one side tried hard to set them on fire; and the other side to prevent it. On both sides there was a confused cry made: and many of those in the fore-front of the battle were slain. However, the Jews were now too hard for the Romans, by the furious assaults they made, like mad men: and the fire caught hold of the works: and both all those works, and the engines themselves had been in danger of being burnt, had not many of these select soldiers that came from Alexandria opposed themselves to prevent it: and had they not behaved themselves with greater courage than they themselves supposed they could have done. For they outdid those in this fight that had greater reputation than themselves before. This was the state of things till Cæsar took the stoutest of his horsemen, and attacked the enemy. While he himself slew twelve of those that were in the forefront of the Jews. Which death of these men, when the rest of the multitude saw, they gave way; and he pursued them, and drove them all into the city, and saved the works from the fire. Now it happened at this fight, that a certain Jew was taken alive; who by Titus’s order was crucified before the wall: to see whether the rest of them would be affrighted, and abate of their obstinacy. But after the Jews were retired, John, who was commander of the Idumeans, and was talking to a certain soldier of his acquaintance before the wall, was wounded by a dart, shot at him by an Arabian, and died immediately: leaving the greatest lamentation to the Jews, and sorrow to the seditious. For he was a man of great eminence, both for his actions, and his conduct also.
Book 5: Chapter 7: How one of the towers erected by the Romans fell down of its own accord: and how the Romans, after great slaughter had been made, got possession of the first wall. How also Titus made his assaults upon the second wall. As also concerning Longinus the Roman, and Castor the Jew.
[7.1] Now, on the next night, a surprizing disturbance fell upon the Romans. For whereas Titus had given orders for the erection of three towers, of fifty cubits high; that by setting men upon them at every bank he might from thence drive those away who were upon the wall; it so happened, that one of these towers fell down about midnight. And as its fall made a very great noise, fear fell upon the army; and they supposing that the enemy was coming to attack them, ran all to their arms. Whereupon a disturbance and a tumult arose among the legions. And as nobody could tell what had happened, they went on after a disconsolate manner: and seeing no enemy appeared, they were afraid one of another: and every one demanded of his neighbour the watch word, with great earnestness: as though the Jews had invaded their camp. And now were they like people under a panick fear, till Titus was informed of what had happened, and gave orders that all should be acquainted with it. And then, though with some difficulty, they got clear of the disturbance they had been under.
[7.2] Now these towers were very troublesome to the Jews; who otherwise opposed the Romans very courageously. For they shot at them out of their lighter engines from those towers; as they did also by those that threw darts, and the archers, and those that flung stones. For neither could the Jews reach those that were over them, by reason of their height: and it was not practicable to take them, nor to overturn them, they were so heavy: nor to set them on fire, because they were covered with plates of iron. So they retired out of the reach of the darts, and did no longer endeavour to hinder the impression of their rams: which by continually beating upon the wall, did gradually prevail against it. So that the wall already gave way to the Nico, for by that name did the Jews themselves call the greatest of their engines, because it conquered all things. And now they were for a long while grown weary of fighting; and of keeping guards; and were retired to lodge on the night times at a distance from the wall. It was on other accounts also thought by them to be superfluous to guard the wall: there being besides that two other fortifications still remaining: and they being slothful, and their counsels having been ill concerted on all occasions. So a great many grew lazy and retired. Then the Romans mounted the breach; where Nico had made one; and all the Jews left the guarding that wall, and retreated to the second wall: so those that had gotten over that wall opened the gates, and received all the army within it. And thus did the Romans get possession of this first wall, on the fifteenth day of the siege: which was the seventh day of the month Artemisius [Jyar]; when they demolished a great part of it; as well as they did of the northern parts of the city, which had been demolished also by Cestius formerly.
[7.3] And now Titus pitched his camp within the city, at that place which was called the Camp of the Assyrians, having seized upon all that lay as far as Cedron; but took care to be out of the reach of the Jews darts; he then presently began his attacks: upon which the Jews divided themselves into several bodies, and courageously defended that wall. While John, and his faction did it from the tower of Antonia; and from the northern cloister of the temple: and fought the Romans before the monuments of King Alexander: and Simon’s army also took for their share the spot of ground that was near John’s monument, and fortified it, as far as to that gate where water was brought into the tower Hippicus. However, the Jews made violent sallies, and that frequently also, and in bodies together, out of the gates, and there fought the Romans. And when they were pursued all together to the wall, they were beaten in those fights, as wanting the skill of the Romans. But when they fought them from the walls, they were too hard for them. The Romans being encouraged by their power, joined to their skill: as were the Jews by their boldness, which was nourished by the fear they were in, and that hardiness which is natural to our nation under calamities. They were also encouraged still by the hope of deliverance; as were the Romans by their hopes of subduing them in a little time. Nor did either side grow weary. But attacks and fightings upon the wall, and perpetual sallies out in bodies were there all the day long. Nor were there any sort of warlike engagements that were not then put in use. And the night itself had much ado to part them; when they began to fight in the morning. Nay the night itself was passed without sleep on both sides; and was more uneasy than the day to them. While the one was afraid lest the wall should be taken; and the other lest the Jews should make sallies upon their camps. Both sides also lay in their armour during the night time; and thereby were ready at the first appearance of light to go to the battle. Now among the Jews the ambition was who should undergo the first dangers; and thereby gratify their commanders. Above all they had a great veneration and dread of Simon; and to that degree was he regarded by every one of those that were under him, that at his command they were very ready to kill themselves with their own hands. What made the Romans so courageous was their usual custom of conquering, and disuse of being defeated; their constant wars, and perpetual warlike exercises; and the grandeur of their dominion. And what was now their chief encouragement, Titus, who was present every where with them all. For it appeared a terrible thing to grow weary while Cæsar was there; and fought bravely as well as they did, and was himself at once an eye-witness of such as behaved themselves valiantly, and he who was to reward them also. It was besides esteemed an advantage at present to have any one’s valour known by Cæsar. On which account many of them appeared to have more alacrity than strength to answer it. And now as the Jews were about this time standing in array before the wall, and that in a strong body; and while both parties were throwing their darts at each other, Longinus, one of the equestrian order, leaped out of the army of the Romans, and leaped into the very midst of the army of the Jews. And as they dispersed themselves upon this attack, he slew two of their men of the greatest courage. One of them he struck in his mouth, as he was coming to meet him; the other was slain by him by that very dart which he drew out of the body of the other; with which he ran this man through his side, as he was running away from him. And when he had done this, he first of all ran out of the midst of his enemies to his own side. So this man signalized himself for his valour; and many there were who were ambitious of gaining the like reputation. And now the Jews were unconcerned at what they suffered themselves from the Romans; and were only sollicitous about what mischief they could do them. And death itself seemed a small matter to them, if at the same time they could but kill any one of their enemies. But Titus took care to secure his own soldiers from harm, as well as to have them overcome their enemies. He also said, that inconsiderate violence was madness; and that this alone was the true courage, that was joined with good conduct: he therefore commanded his men to take care, when they fought their enemies, that they received no harm from them at the same time: and thereby shew themselves to be truly valiant men.
[7.4] And now Titus brought one of his engines to the middle tower of the north part of the wall. In which a certain crafty Jew, whose name was Castor, lay in ambush, with ten others like himself: the rest being fled away by reason of the archers. These men lay still for a while, as in great fear, under their breast-plates. But when the tower was shaken, they arose, and Castor did then stretch out his hand, as a petitioner, and called for Cæsar, and by his voice moved his compassion, and begged of him to have mercy upon them. And Titus, in the innocency of his heart, believing him to be in earnest, and hoping that the Jews did now repent, stopped the working of the battering ram; and forbad them to shoot at the petitioners; and bid Castor say what he had a mind to say to him. He said, that he would come down, if he would give him his right hand for his security. To which Titus replied, that he was well pleased with such his agreeable conduct; and would be well pleased if all the Jews would be of his mind, and that he was ready to give the like security to the city. Now five of the ten dissembled with him, and pretended to beg for mercy; while the rest cried out aloud, that they would never be slaves to the Romans, while it was in their power to die in a state of freedom. Now while these men were quarrelling for a long while, the attack was delayed. Castor also sent to Simon, and told him that they might take some time for consultation about what was to be done; because he would delude the power of the Romans for a considerable time. And at the same time that he sent thus to him, he appeared openly to exhort those that were obstinate to accept of Titus’s hand for their security. But they seemed very angry at it; and brandished their naked swords upon the breast-works, and struck themselves upon their breasts, and fell down; as if they had been slain. Hereupon Titus, and those with him, were amazed at the courage of the men. And as they were not able to see exactly what was done, they admired at their great fortitude, and pitied their calamity. During this interval, a certain person shot a dart at Castor, and wounded him in his nose. Whereupon he presently pulled out the dart, and shewed it to Titus, and complained that this was unfair treatment. So Cæsar reproved him that shot the dart, and sent Josephus, who then stood by him, to give his right hand to Castor. But Josephus said, that he would not go to him; because these pretended petitioners meant nothing that was good: he also restrained those friends of his who were zealous to go to him. But still there was one Eneas, a deserter, who said he would go to him. Castor also called to them, that some body should come, and receive the money which he had with him. This made Eneas the more earnestly to run to him, with his bosom open. Then did Castor take up a great stone, and threw it at him. Which missed him, because he guarded himself against it. But still it wounded another soldier that was coining to him. When Cæsar understood that this was a delusion, he perceived that mercy in war is a pernicious thing; because such cunning tricks have less place under the exercise of greater severity. So he caused the engine to work more strongly than before, on account of his anger at the deceit put upon him. But Castor, and his companions set the tower on fire, when it began to give way; and leaped through the flame into an hidden vault that was under it. Which made the Romans farther suppose that they were men of great courage; as having cast themselves into the fire.
Book 5: Chapter 8: How the Romans took the second wall twice; and got all ready for taking the third wall.
[8.1] Now Cæsar took this wall there on the fifth day after he had taken the first. And when the Jews had fled from him, he entred into it, with a thousand armed men, and those of his choice troops; and this at a place where were the merchants of wool; the braziers; and the market for cloth: and where the narrow streets led obliquely to the wall. Wherefore if Titus had either demolished a larger part of the wall immediately, or had come in, and, according to the law of war, had laid waste what was left, his victory would not, I suppose, have been mixed with any loss to himself. But now, out of the hope he had that he should make the Jews ashamed of their obstinacy, by not being willing, when he was able, to afflict them more than he needed to do; he did not widen the breach of the wall, in order to make a safer retreat upon occasion. For he did not think they would lay snares for him that did them such a kindness. When therefore he came in, he did not permit his soldiers to kill any of those they caught; nor to set fire to their houses neither. Nay he gave leave to the seditious, if they had a mind, to fight without any harm to the people: and promised to restore the peoples effects to them. For he was very desirous to preserve the city for his own sake; and the temple for the sake of the city. As to the people he had them of a long time ready to comply with his proposals. But as to the fighting men, this humanity of his seemed a mark of his weakness; and they imagined that he made these proposals because he was not able to take the rest of the city. They also threatened death to the people, if they should any one of them say a word about a surrender. They moreover cut the throats of such as talked of a peace: and then attacked those Romans that were come within the wall. Some of them they met in the narrow streets; and some they fought against from their houses: while they made a sudden sally out at the upper gates, and assaulted such Romans as were beyond the wall; till those that guarded the wall were so affrighted, that they leaped down from their towers, and retired to their several camps. Upon which a great noise was made by the Romans that were within; because they were encompassed round on every side by their enemies: as also by them that were without, because they were in fear for those that were left in the city. Thus did the Jews grow more numerous perpetually; and had great advantages over the Romans by their full knowledge of those narrow lanes; and they wounded a great many of them, and fell upon them, and drove them out of the city. Now these Romans were at present forced to make the best resistance they could; for they were not able, in great numbers, to get out at the breach in the wall; it was so narrow. It is also probable that all those that were gotten within had been cut to pieces, if Titus had not sent them succours. For he ordered the archers to stand at the upper ends of these narrow lanes: and he stood himself where was the greatest multitude of his enemies: and with his darts he put a stop to them. As with him did Domitius Sabinus also; a valiant man, and one that in this battle appeared so to be. Thus did Cæsar continue to shoot darts at the Jews continually; and to hinder them from coming upon his men: and this until all his soldiers had retreated out of the city.
[8.2] And thus were the Romans driven out, after they had possessed themselves of the second wall. Whereupon the fighting men that were in the city were lifted up in their minds, and were elevated upon this their good success; and began to think that the Romans would never venture to come into the city any more: and that, if they kept within it themselves, they should not be any more conquered. For God had blinded their minds for the transgressions they had been guilty of; nor could they see how much greater forces the Romans had than those that were now expelled; no more than they could discern how a famine was creeping upon them. For hitherto they had fed themselves out of the publick miseries, and drank the blood of the city. But now poverty had for a long time seized upon the better part; and a great many had died already for want of necessaries. Although the seditious indeed supposed the destruction of the people to be an easement to themselves. For they desired that none others might be preserved, but such as were against a peace with the Romans; and were resolved to live in opposition to them: and they were pleased when the multitude of those of a contrary opinion were consumed; as being then freed from an heavy burden. And this was their disposition of mind with regard to those that were within the city: while they covered themselves with their armour, and prevented the Romans, when they were trying to get into the city again; and made a wall of their own bodies over against that part of the wall that was cast down. Thus did they valiantly defend themselves for three days. But on the fourth day, they could not support themselves against the vehement assaults of Titus: but were compelled by force to fly whither they had fled before: So he quietly possessed himself again of that wall; and demolished it entirely. And when he had put a garrison into the towers that were on the south parts of the city, he contrived how he might assault the third wall.
Book 5: Chapter 9: Titus when the Jews were not at all mollified by his leaving off the siege for a while, set himself again to prosecute the same: but soon sent Josephus to discourse with his own countrymen about peace.
[9.1] A resolution was now taken by Titus to relax the siege for a little while, and to afford the seditious an interval for consideration; and to see whether the demolishing of their second wall would not make them a little more compliant; or whether they were not somewhat afraid of a famine: because the spoils they had gotten by rapine would not be sufficient for them long. So he made use of this relaxation in order to compass his own designs. Accordingly as the usual appointed time, when he must distribute subsistence money to the soldiers, was now come, he gave orders that the commanders should put the army into battle array, in the face of the enemy; and then give every one of the soldiers their pay. So the soldiers, according to custom, opened the cases wherein their arms before lay covered, and marched with their breast plates on: as did the horsemen lead their horses in their fine trappings. Then did the places that were before the city shine very splendidly for a great way. Nor was there any thing so grateful to Titus’s own men, or so terrible to the enemy as that sight. For the whole old wall, and the north side of the temple was full of spectators: and one might see the houses full of such as looked at them. Nor was there any part of the city which was not covered over with their multitudes. Nay a very great consternation seized upon the hardiest of the Jews themselves, when they saw all the army in the same place, together with the fineness of their arms, and the good order of their men. And I cannot but think that the seditious would have changed their minds at that sight, unless the crimes they had committed against the people had been so horrid, that they despaired of forgiveness from the Romans. But as they believed death with torments must be their punishment, if they did not go on in the defence of the city; they thought it much better to die in war. Fate also prevailed so far over them, that the innocent were to perish with the guilty; and the city was to be destroyed, with the seditious, that were in it.
[9.2] Thus did the Romans spend four days in bringing this subsistence money to the several legions. But on the fifth day, when no signs of peace appeared to come from the Jews, Titus divided his legions; and began to raise banks, both at the tower of Antonia, and at John’s monument. Now his designs were to take the upper city at that monument; and the temple at the tower of Antonia. For if the temple were not taken, it would be dangerous to keep the city it self. So at each of these parts he raised him banks: each legion raising one. As for those that wrought at John’s monument, the Idumeans, and those that were in arms with Simon, made sallies upon them; and put some stop to them. While John’s party, and the multitude of zealots with them, did the like to those that were before the tower of Antonia. These Jews were now too hard for the Romans, not only in direct fighting, because they stood upon the higher ground, but because they had now learned to use their own engines. For their continual use of them one day after another did by degrees improve their skill about them. For of one sort of engines for darts they had three hundred: and forty for stones. By the means of which they made it more tedious for the Romans to raise their banks. But then Titus, knowing that the city would be either saved or destroyed for himself; did not only proceed earnestly in the siege, but did not omit to have the Jews exhorted to repentance. So he mixed good counsel with his works for the siege. And being sensible that exhortations are frequently more effectual than arms, he persuaded them to surrender the city, now in a manner already taken, and thereby to save themselves: and sent Josephus to speak to them in their own language. For he imagined they might yield to the persuasion of a countryman of their own.
[9.3] So Josephus went round about the wall, and tried to find a place that was out of the reach of their darts; and yet within their hearing: and besought them, in many words, “To spare themselves; to spare their country, and their temple; and not to be more obdurate in these cases than foreigners themselves. For that the Romans, who had no relation to those things, had a reverence for their sacred rites and places: although they belonged to their enemies, and had till now kept their hands off from meddling with them. While such as were brought up under them, and, if they be preserved, will be the only people that will reap the benefit of them, hurry on to have them destroyed. That certainly they have seen their strongest walls demolished; and that the wall still remaining was weaker than those that were already taken. That they must know the Roman power was invincible: and that they had been used to serve them. For that in case it be allowed a right thing to fight for liberty; that ought to have been done at first. But for them that have once fallen under the power of the Romans, and have now submitted to them for so many long years, to pretend to shake off that yoke afterward, was the work of such as had a mind to die miserably; not of such as were lovers of liberty. Besides, men may well enough grudge at the dishonour of owning ignoble masters over them: but ought not to do so to those who have all things under their command. For what part of the world is there that hath escaped the Romans, unless it be such as are of no use for violent heat, or for violent cold? And evident it is that fortune is on all hands gone over to them: and that God, when he had gone round the nations with this dominion, is now settled in Italy. That moreover it is a strong and fixed law, even among brute beasts, as well as among men, to yield to those that are too strong for them: and to suffer those to have the dominion, who are too hard for the rest in war. For which reason it was, that their forefathers, who were far superior to them both in their souls, and bodies, and other advantages, did yet submit to the Romans. Which they would not have suffered, had they not known that God was with them. As for themselves, what can they depend on in this their opposition, when the greatest part of their city is already taken? and when those that are within it are under greater miseries than if they were taken? although their walls be still standing. For that the Romans are not unacquainted with that famine which is in the city; whereby the people are already consumed; and the fighting men will in a little time be so too. For although the Romans should leave off the siege, and not fall upon the city with their swords in their hands; yet was there an insuperable war that beset them within, and was augmented every hour. Unless they were able to wage war with famine; and fight against it: or could alone conquer their natural appetites.” He added this farther, “How right a thing it was to change their conduct, before their calamities were become incurable: and to have recourse to such advice as might preserve them, while opportunity was offered them for so doing. For that the Romans would not be mindful of their past actions, to their disadvantage, unless they persevered in their insolent behaviour to the end. Because they were naturally mild in their conquests; and preferred what was profitable, before what their passions dictated to them. Which profit of theirs lay in not leaving the city empty of inhabitants, nor the country a desert. On which account Cæsar did now offer them his right hand for their security. Whereas, if he took the city by force, he would not save any of them; and this especially, if they rejected his offers in these their utmost distresses. For the walls that were already taken, could not but assure them that the third wall would quickly be taken also. And although their fortifications should prove too strong for the Romans to break through them, yet would the famine fight for the Romans against them.”
[9.4] While Josephus was making this exhortation to the Jews, many of them jested upon him from the wall; and many reproached him: nay some threw their darts at him. But when he could not himself persuade them by such open good advice, he betook himself to the histories belonging to their own nation: and cried out aloud, “O miserable creatures! are you so unmindful of those that used to assist you, that you will fight by your weapons, and by your hands against the Romans! When did we ever conquer any other nation by such means? And when was it that God, who is the creator of the Jewish people, did not avenge them, when they had been injured? Will not you turn again, and look back, and consider whence it is that you fight with such violence, and how great a Supporter you have profanely abused? Will not you recall to mind the prodigious things done for your forefathers and this holy place, and how great enemies of yours were by him subdued under you? I even tremble my self in declaring the works of God before your ears, that are unworthy to hear them. However, hearken to me, that you may be informed, how you fight, not only against the Romans, but against God himself. In old time there was one Necao, King of Egypt, who was also called Pharaoh. He came with a prodigious army of soldiers, and seized Queen Sarah, the mother of our nation. What did Abraham our progenitor then do? Did he defend himself from this injurious person by war? although he had three hundred and eighteen captains under him, and an immense army under each of them? Indeed he deemed them to be no number at all, without God’s assistance: and only spread out his hands towards this holy place, which you have now polluted; and reckoned upon him as upon his invincible supporter, instead of his own army. Was not our Queen sent back without any defilement, to her husband, the very next evening? While the King of Egypt fled away: adoring this place which you have defiled, by shedding thereon the blood of your own countrymen: and he also trembled at those visions which he saw in the night season; and bestowed both silver and gold on the Hebrews, as on a people beloved by God. Shall I say nothing, or shall I mention the removal of our fathers into Egypt? Who when they were used tyrannically, and were fallen under the power of foreign kings, for four hundred years together, and might have defended themselves by war, and by fighting; did yet do nothing but commit themselves to God. Who is there that does not know that Egypt was over-run with all sorts of wild beasts, and consumed by all sorts of distempers; how their land did not bring forth its fruit; how the Nile failed of water; how the ten plagues of Egypt followed one upon another; and how, by those means, our fathers were sent away, under a guard, without any bloodshed; and without running any dangers: because God conducted them, as his peculiar servants. Moreover, did not Palestine groan under the ravage the Assyrians made, when they carried away our sacred ark? as did their idol Dagon: and as also did that intire nation of those that carried it away: how they were smitten with a loathsome distemper, in the secret parts of their bodies, when their very bowels came down, together with what they had eaten; till those hands that stole it away were obliged to bring it back again; and that with the sound of cymbals, and timbrels; and other oblations, in order to appease the anger of God for their violation of his holy ark. It was God, who then became our general, and accomplished these great things for our fathers: and this because they did not meddle with war and fighting; but committed it to him to judge about their affairs. When Sennacherib, King of Assyria, brought along with him all Asia, and encompassed this city round with his army, did he fall by the hands of men? were not those hands lift up to God in prayers, without meddling with their arms, when an angel of God destroyed that prodigious army in one night? when the Assyrian King, as he rose the next day, found an hundred fourscore and five thousand dead bodies: and when he, with the remainder of his army, fled away from the Hebrews; though they were unarmed, and did not pursue them. You are also acquainted with the slavery we were under at Babylon; where the people were captives for seventy years: yet were they not delivered into freedom again, before God made Cyrus his gracious instrument in bringing it about. Accordingly they were set free by him; and did again restore the worship of their deliverer, at his temple. And, to speak in general, we can produce no example wherein our fathers got any success by war, or failed of success when without war they committed themselves to God. When they stayed at home they conquered, as pleased their judge; but when they went out to fight, they were always disappointed. For example, when the King of Babylon besieged this very city, and our King Zedekiah fought against him; contrary to what predictions were made to him by Jeremiah the prophet; he was at once taken prisoner, and saw the city and the temple demolished. Yet how much greater was the moderation of that King, than is that of your present governors? and that of the people then under him, than is that of you at this time? For when Jeremiah cried out aloud, how very angry God was at them, because of their transgressions; and told them they should be taken prisoners, unless they would surrender up their city: neither did the King, nor the people put him to death. But for you, (to pass over what you have done within the city; which I am not able to describe as your wickedness deserves;) you abuse me, and throw darts at me, who only exhort you to save your selves: as being provoked when you are put in mind of your sins, and cannot bear the very mention of those crimes, which you every day perpetrate. For another example: when Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, lay before this city, and had been guilty of many indignities against God, and our forefathers met him in arms; they then were slain in the battle; this city was plundered by our enemies; and our sanctuary made desolate for three years and six months. And what need I bring any more examples? Indeed what can it be that hath stirred up an army of the Romans against our nation? Is it not the impiety of the inhabitants? Whence did our servitude commence? was it not derived from the seditions that were among our forefathers? when the madness of Aristobulus and Hyrcanus, and our mutual quarrels, brought Pompey upon this city: and when God reduced those under subjection to the Romans, who were unworthy of the liberty they had enjoyed. After a siege therefore of three months, they were forced to surrender themselves: although they had not been guilty of such offences with regard to our sanctuary and our laws as you have. And this while they had much greater advantages to go to war than you have. Do not we know what end Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, came to? under whose reign God provided that this city should be taken again, upon account of the peoples offences. When Herod, the son of Antipater, brought upon us Sosius, and Sosius brought upon us the Roman army. They were then encompassed and besieged for six months; till, as a punishment for their sins, they were taken; and the city was plundered by the enemy. Thus it appears that arms were never given to our nation; but that we are always given up to be fought against, and to be taken. For I suppose that such as inhabit this holy place, ought to commit the disposal of all things to God: and then only to disregard the assistance of men, when they resign themselves up to their arbitrator, who is above. As for you, what have you done of those things that are recommended by our legislator? and what have you not done of those things that he hath condemned? How much more impious are you than those who were so quickly taken? You have not avoided so much as those sins that are usually done in secret: I mean thefts, and treacherous plots against men, and adulteries. You are quarrelling about rapines, and murders; and invent strange ways of wickedness. Nay the temple it self is become the receptacle of all. And this divine place is polluted by the hands of those of our own country: which place hath yet been reverenced by the Romans, when it was at a distance from them: when they have suffered many of their own customs to give place to our law. And after all this do you expect Him whom you have so impiously abused to be your supporter? To be sure then you have a right to be petitioners; and to call upon him to assist you; so pure are your hands! Did your King [Hezekiah] lift up such hands in prayer to God against the King of Assyria, when he destroyed that great army in one night? And do the Romans commit such wickedness, as did the king of Assyria, that you may have reason to hope for the like vengeance upon them? Did not that King accept of money from our King on this condition, that he should not destroy the city; and yet, contrary to the oath he had taken, he came down to burn the temple? While the Romans do demand no more than that accustomed tribute, which our fathers paid to their fathers: and if they may but once obtain that, they neither aim to destroy this city, nor to touch this sanctuary. Nay they will grant you besides, that your posterity shall be free; and your possessions secured to you; and will preserve your holy laws inviolate to you. And ’tis plain madness to expect that God should appear as well disposed toward the wicked, as towards the righteous; since he knows when it is proper to punish men for their sins immediately. Accordingly he brake the power of the Assyrians, the very first night that they pitched their camp. Wherefore had he judged that our nation was worthy of freedom, or the Romans of punishment, he had immediately inflicted punishment upon those Romans, as he did upon the Assyrians, when Pompey began to meddle with our nation; or when, after him, Sosius came up against us; or when Vespasian laid waste Galilee; or lastly when Titus came first of all near to this city. Although Magnus, and Sosius did not only suffer nothing; but took the city by force: as did Vespasian go from the war he made against you to receive the Empire. And as for Titus, those springs that were formerly almost dried up, when they were under your power; since he is come, run more plentifully than they did befor. Acordingly you know that Siloam, as well as all the other springs that were without the city, did so far fail; that water was sold by distinct measures: whereas they now have such a great quantity of water for your enemies, as is sufficient not only for drink, both for themselves, and their cattle; but for watering their gardens also. The same wonderful sign you had also experience of formerly; when the forementioned King of Babylon made war against us; and when he took the city, and burnt the temple. While yet I believe the Jews of that age were not so impious as you are. Wherefore I cannot but suppose that God is fled out of his sanctuary, and stands on the side of those against whom you fight. Now even a man, if he be but a good man, will fly from an impure house, and will hate those that are in it: and do you persuade your selves that God will abide with you in your iniquities; who sees all secret things; and hears what is kept most private? Now what crime is there, I pray you, that is so much as kept secret among you; or is concealed by you? Nay what is there that is not open to your very enemies? For you shew your transgressions after a pompous manner; and contend one with another which of you shall be more wicked than another: and you make a publick demonstration of your injustice; as if it were virtue. However, there is a place left for your preservation, if you be willing to accept of it: and God is easily reconciled to those that confess their faults, and repent of them. O hard-hearted wretches as you are! Cast away all your arms, and take pity of your country, already going to ruin, return from your wicked ways, and have regard to the excellency of that city you are going to betray; to that excellent temple, with the donations of so many countries in it. Who could bear to be the first that should set that temple on fire? Who could be willing that these things should be no more? And what is there that can better deserve to be preserved? O insensible creatures, and more stupid than are the stones themselves! And if you cannot look at these things with discerning eyes; yet, however, have pity upon your families; and set before every one of your eyes your children, and wives, and parents; who will be gradually consumed, either by famine, or by war. I am sensible that this danger will extend to my mother, and wife, and to that family of mine who have been by no means ignoble; and indeed to one that hath been very eminent in old time. And perhaps you may imagine that it is on their account only that I give you this advice. If that be all; kill them: nay take my own blood, as a reward, if it may but procure your preservation. For I am ready to die; in case you will but return to a sound mind after my death.”
Book 5: Chapter 10: How a great many of the people earnestly endeavoured to desert to the Romans: as also what intolerable things those that stayed behind suffered by famine, and the sad consequences thereof.
[10.1] As Josephus was speaking thus, with a loud voice, the seditious would neither yield to what he said; nor did they deem it safe for them to alter their conduct. But as for the people, they had a great inclination to desert to the Romans. Accordingly some of them sold what they had, and even the most precious things that had been laid up as treasures by them, for every small matter: and swallowed down pieces of gold, that they might not be found out by the robbers. And when they had escaped to the Romans went to stool, and had wherewithal to provide plentifully for themselves. For Titus let a great number of them go away into the country, whither they pleased. And the main reasons why they were so ready to desert were these; that now they should be freed from those miseries which they had endured in that city; and yet should not be in slavery to the Romans. However, John and Simon, with their factions, did more carefully watch these mens going out, than they did the coming in of the Romans. And if any one did but afford the least shadow of suspicion of such an intention, his throat was cut immediately.
[10.2] But as for the richer sort, it proved all one to them whether they stayed in the city, or attempted to get out of it: for they were equally destroyed in both cases. For every such person was put to death under this pretence, that they were going to desert: but in reality that the robbers might get what they had. The madness of the seditious did also increase, together with their famine, and both those miseries were every day inflamed more and more. For there was no corn which any where appeared publickly; but the robbers came running into, and searched men’s private houses; and then, if they found any, they tormented them, because they had denied they had any: and if they found none, they tormented them worse; because they supposed they had more carefully concealed it. The indication they made use of whether they had any or not was taken from the bodies of these miserable wretches: which if they were in good case, they supposed they were in no want at all of food: but if they were wasted away, they walked off, without searching any farther. Nor did they think it proper to kill such as these: because they saw they would very soon die of themselves, for want of food. Many there were indeed who sold what they had for one measure: it was of wheat, if they were of the richer sort; but of barley, if they were poorer. When these had so done, they shut themselves up in the inmost rooms of their houses, and eat the corn they had gotten. Some did it without grinding it; by reason of the extremity of the want they were in: and others baked bread of it, according as necessity and fear dictated to them. A table was no where laid for a distinct meal: but they snatched the bread out of the fire, half baked, and eat it very hastily.
[10.3] It was now a miserable case, and a sight that would justly bring tears into our eyes, how men stood as to their food: while the more powerful had more than enough; and the weaker were lamenting [for want of it.] But the famine was too hard for all other passions: and it is destructive to nothing so much as to modesty; for what was otherwise worthy of reverence, was in this case despised. Insomuch that children pulled the very morsels that their fathers were eating out of their very mouths: and, what was still more to be pitied, so did the mothers do as to their infants. And when those that were most dear were perishing under their hands, they were not ashamed to take from them the very last drops that might preserve their lives. And while they eat after this manner, yet were they not concealed in so doing. But the seditious every where came upon them immediately, and snatched away from them what they had gotten from others. For when they saw any house shut up, this was to them a signal that the people within had gotten some food. Whereupon they brake open the doors, and ran in, and took pieces of what they were eating almost up out of their very throats, and this by force. The old men, who held their food fast, were beaten: and if the women hid what they had within their hands, their hair was torn for so doing. Nor was there any commiseration shewn either to the aged, or to the infants: but they lifted up children from the ground, as they hung upon the morsels they had gotten, and shook them down upon the floor. But still they were more barbarously cruel to those that had prevented their coming in, and had actually swallowed down what they were going to seize upon: as if they had been unjustly defrauded of their right. They also invented terrible methods of torments, to discover where any food was; and they were these: to stop up the passages of the privy parts of the miserable wretches; and to drive sharp stakes up their fundaments. And a man was forced to bear what ’tis terrible even to hear, in order to make him confess that he had but one loaf of bread; or that he might discover a handful of barley-meal that was concealed. And this was done when these tormentors were not themselves hungry. For the thing had been less barbarous had necessity forced them to it. But this was done to keep their madness in use; and as making preparation of provisions for themselves for the following days. These men went also to meet those that had crept out of the city by night, as far as the Roman guards, to gather some plants and herbs that grew wild. And when those people thought they had got clear of the enemy, these snatched from them what they had brought with them; even while they had frequently entreated them, and that by calling upon the tremendous name of God, to give them back some part of what they had brought: though these would not give them the least crum. And they were to be well contented that they were only spoiled, and not slain at the same time.
[10.4] These were the afflictions which the lower sort of people suffered from these tyrants guards. But for the men that were in dignity, and withal were rich, they were carried before the tyrants themselves. Some of whom were falsely accused of laying treacherous plots, and so were destroyed; others of them were charged with designs of betraying the city to the Romans. But the readiest way of all was this; to suborn some body to affirm that they were resolved to desert to the enemy. And he who was utterly despoiled of what he had by Simon, was sent back again to John. As of those who had been already plundered by John, Simon got what remained. Insomuch that they drank the blood of the populace to one another, and divided the dead bodies of the poor creatures between them. So that although, on account of their ambition after dominion, they contended with each other; yet did they very well agree in their wicked practices. For he that did not communicate what he got by the miseries of others, to the other tyrant, seemed to be too little guilty, and in one respect only. And he that did not partake of what was so communicated to him, grieved at this, as at the loss of what was a valuable thing, that he had no share in such barbarity.
[10.5] It is therefore impossible to go distinctly over every instance of these mens iniquity. I shall therefore speak my mind here at once briefly; that neither did any other city ever suffer such miseries; nor did any age ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this was from the beginning of the world. Finally, they brought the Hebrew nation into contempt, that they might themselves appear comparatively less impious with regard to strangers. They confessed what was true, that they were the slaves, the scum, and the spurious and abortive offspring of our nation. While they overthrew the city themselves; and forced the Romans, whether they would or no, to gain a melancholy reputation by acting gloriously against them: and did almost draw that fire upon the temple, which they seemed to think came too slowly. And indeed, when they saw that temple burning, from the upper city, they were neither troubled at it, nor did they shed any tears on that account. While yet these passions were discovered among the Romans themselves. Which circumstances we shall speak of hereafter, in their proper place, when we come to treat of such matters.
Book 5: Chapter 11: How the Jews were crucified before the walls of the city. Concerning Antiochus Epiphanes. And how the Jews overthrew the banks that had been raised by the Romans.
[11.1] So now Titus’s banks were advanced a great way; notwithstanding his soldiers had been very much distressed from the wall. He then sent a party of horsemen, and ordered they should lay ambushes for those that went out into the valleys to gather food. Some of these were indeed fighting men, who were not contented with what they got by rapine. But the greater part of them were poor people, who were deterred from deserting by the concern they were under for their own relations. For they could not hope to escape away, together with their wives and children, without the knowledge of the seditious. Nor could they think of leaving these relations to be slain by the robbers, on their account. Nay the severity of the famine made them bold in thus going out.. So nothing remained but that, when they were concealed from the robbers, they should be taken by the enemy. And when they were going to be taken they were forced to defend themselves, for fear of being punished. As after they had fought, they thought it too late to make any supplications for mercy. So they were first whipped, and then tormented with all sorts of tortures, before they died; and were then crucified before the wall of the city. This miserable procedure made Titus greatly to pity them; while they caught every day five hundred Jews; nay some days they caught more. Yet it did not appear to be safe for him to let those that were taken by force go their way; and to set a guard over so many he saw would be to make such as guarded them useless to him. The main reason why he did not forbid that cruelty was this, that he hoped the Jews might perhaps yield at that sight, out of fear lest they might themselves afterwards be liable to the same cruel treatment. So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another to the crosses, by way of jest. When their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses; and crosses wanting for the bodies.
[11.2] But so far were the seditious from repenting at this sad sight, that, on the contrary, they made the rest of the multitude believe otherwise. For they brought the relations of those that had deserted upon the wall, with such of the populace as were very eager to go over upon the security offered them, and shewed them what miseries those underwent who fled to the Romans: and told them, that those which were caught were supplicants to them, and not such as were taken prisoners. This sight kept many of those within the city who were so eager to desert, till the truth was known. Yet did some of them run away immediately, as unto certain punishment: esteeming death from their enemies to be a quiet departure, if compared with that by famine. So Titus commanded that the hands of many of those that were caught should be cut off; that they might not be thought deserters; and might be credited on account of the calamity they were under; and sent them in to John and Simon: with this exhortation, that “They would now at length leave off [their madness], and not force him to destroy the city: whereby they would have those advantages of repentance, even in their utmost distress; that they would preserve their own lives; and so fine a city of their own, and that temple which was their peculiar.” He then went round about the banks that were cast up, and hastened them; in order to shew that his words should in no long time be followed by his deeds. In answer to which the seditious cast reproaches upon Cæsar himself, and upon his father also: and cried out with a loud voice, that “They contemned death, and did well in preferring it before slavery. That they would do all the mischief to the Romans they could, while they had breath in them. And that for their own city, since they were, as he said, to be destroyed, they had no concern about it: and that the world itself was a better temple to God than this. That yet this temple would be preserved by him that inhabited therein: whom they still had for their assistant in this war: and did therefore laugh at all his threatenings, which would come to nothing. Because the conclusion of the whole depended upon God only.” These words were mixed with reproaches; and with them they made a mighty clamour.
[11.3] In the mean time Antiochus Epiphanes came to the city, having with him a considerable number of other armed men; and a band called the Macedonian band about him: all of the same age: tall, and just past their childhood: armed, and instructed after the Macedonian manner; whence it was that they took that name. Yet were many of them unworthy of so famous a nation. For it had so happened, that the King of Commagene had flourished more than any other Kings that were under the power of the Romans, till a change happened in his condition: and when he was become an old man he declared plainly, that we ought not to call any man happy before he be dead. But this son of his, who was then come thither before his father was decaying, said that “he could not but wonder what made the Romans so tardy in making their attacks upon the wall.” Now he was a warlike man, and naturally bold in exposing himself to dangers. He was also so strong a man, that his boldness seldom failed of having success. Upon this Titus smiled, and said, “He would share the pains of an attack with him.” However Antiochus went, as he then was, and with his Macedonians made a sudden assault upon the wall. And indeed, for his own part, his strength, and his skill were so great, that he guarded himself from the Jewish darts, and yet shot his darts at them. While yet the young men with him were almost all sorely galled. For they had so great a regard to the promises that had been made of their courage, that they would needs persevere in their fighting; and at length many of them retired, but not till they were wounded. And then they perceived that true Macedonians, if they were to be conquerors, must have Alexander’s good fortune also.
[11.4] Now as the Romans began to raise their banks on the twelfth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar] [A.D. 70], so had they much ado to finish them by the twenty ninth day of the same month: after they had laboured hard for seventeen days continually. For there were now four great banks raised. One of which was at the tower Antonia. This was raised by the fifth legion; over against the middle of that pool which was called Struthius. Another was cast up by the twelfth legion, at the distance of about twenty cubits from the other. But the labours of the tenth legion, which lay a great way off these, was on the north quarter, and at the pool called Amygdalon. As was that of the fifteenth legion about thirty cubits from it, and at the High-priest’s monument. And now, when the engines were brought, John had from within undermined the space that was over against the tower of Antonia, as far as the banks themselves; and had supported the ground over the mine with beams laid across one another: whereby the Roman works stood upon an uncertain foundation. Then did he order such materials to be brought in, as were daubed over with pitch and bitumen; and set them on fire. And as the cross beams that supported the banks were burning, the ditch yielded on the sudden, and the banks were shaken down, and fell into the ditch, with a prodigious noise. Now at the first there arose a very thick smoke and dust, as the fire was choked with the fall of the bank. But as the suffocated materials were now gradually consumed, a plain flame brake out. On which sudden appearance of the flame a consternation fell upon the Romans; and the shrewdness of the contrivance discouraged them. And indeed this accident coming upon them at a time when they thought they had already gained their point, cooled their hopes for the time to come. They also thought it would be to no purpose to take the pains to extinguish the fire, since if it were extinguished, the banks were swallowed up already [and become useless to them].
[11.5] Two days after this, Simon and his party made an attempt to destroy the other banks. For the Romans had brought their engines to bear there; and began already to make the wall shake. And here one Tephtheus, of Garsis, a city of Galilee, and Megassarus, one who was derived from some of Queen Mariamne’s servants, and with them one from Adiabene, he was the son of Nabateus, and called by the name of Chagiras, from the ill fortune he had: the word signifying a lame man: snatched some torches, and ran suddenly upon the engines. Nor were there during this war any men that ever sallied out of the city who were their superiors, either in their boldness, or in the terror they struck into their enemies. For they ran out upon the Romans, not as if they were enemies, but friends; without fear, or delay. Nor did they leave their enemies till they had rushed violently through the midst of them, and set their machines on fire. And though they had darts thrown at them on every side, and were on every side assaulted with their enemies swords, yet did they not withdraw themselves out of the dangers they were in, till the fire had caught hold of the instruments. But when the flame went up, the Romans came running from their camp to save their engines. Then did the Jews hinder their succours from the wall, and fought with those that endeavoured to quench the fire, without any regard to the danger their bodies were in. So the Romans pulled the engines out of the fire: while the hurdles that covered them were on fire. But the Jews caught hold of the battering rams through the flame itself, and held them fast; although the iron upon them was become red hot. And now the fire spread itself from the engines to the banks, and prevented those that came to defend them. And all this while the Romans were encompassed round about with the flame; and, despairing of saving their works from it, they retired to their camp. Then did the Jews become still more and more in number, by the coming of those that were within the city to their assistance. And as they were very bold upon the good success they had had, their violent assaults were almost irresistible. Nay they proceeded as far as the fortifications of the enemies camp; and fought with their guards. Now there stood a body of soldiers in array before that camp, which succeeded one another by turns in their armour: and as to those, the law of the Romans was terrible; that he who left his post there, let the occasion be whatsoever it might be, he was to die for it. So that body of soldiers, preferring rather to die in fighting courageously, than as a punishment for their cowardice, stood firm. And at the necessity these men were in of standing to it, many of the others that had run away out of shame turned back again. And when they had set the engines against the wall, they put the multitude from coming more of them out of the city; [which they could the more easily do] because they had made no provision for preserving or guarding their bodies at this time. For the Jews fought now hand to hand with all that came in their way; and without any caution fell against the points of their enemies spears: and attacked them bodies against bodies. For they were now too hard for the Romans; not so much by their other warlike actions, as by these courageous assaults they made upon them. And the Romans gave way more to their boldness, than they did to the sense of the harm they had received from them.
[11.6] And now Titus was come from the tower of Antonia; whither he was gone to look out for a place for raising other banks; and reproached the soldiers greatly for permitting their own walls to be in danger, when they had taken the wails of their enemies; and sustained the fortune of men besieged, while the Jews were allowed to sally out against them, though they were already in a sort of prison. He then went round about the enemy with some chosen troops, and fell upon their flank himself. So the Jews, who had been before assaulted in their faces, wheeled about to Titus, and continued the fight. The armies also were now mixed one among another; and the dust that was raised so far hindered them from seeing one another, and the noise that was made so far hindered them from hearing one another, that neither side could discern an enemy from a friend. However the Jews did not flinch; though not so much from their real strength, as from their despair of deliverance. The Romans also would not yield, by reason of the regard they had to glory, and to their reputation in war; and because Cæsar himself went into the danger before them. Insomuch that I cannot but think the Romans would in the conclusion have now taken even the whole multitude of the Jews: so very angry were they at them, had these not prevented the upshot of the battle, and retired into the city. However, seeing the banks of the Romans were demolished, these Romans were very much east down upon the loss of what had cost them so long pains; and this in one hour’s time. And many indeed despaired of taking the city with their usual engines of war only.
Book 5: Chapter 12: Titus thought fit to encompass the city round with a wall. After which the famine consumed the people by whole houses, and families together.
[12.1] And now did Titus consult with his commanders what was to be done. Those that were of the warmest tempers thought he should bring the whole army against the city, and storm the wall. For that hitherto no more than a part of their army had fought with the Jews: but that in case the entire army was to come at once, they would not be able to sustain their attacks, but would be overwhelmed by their darts. But of those that were for a more cautious management, some were for raising their banks again; and others advised to let the banks alone; but to lie still before the city, to guard against the coming out of the Jews, and against their carrying provisions into the city, and so to leave the enemy to the famine: and this without direct fighting with them. For that despair was not to be conquered; especially as to those who are desirous to die by the sword; while a more terrible misery than that is reserved for them. However, Titus did not think it fit for so great an army to lie intirely idle: and that yet it was in vain to fight with those that would be destroyed one by another. He also shewed them how impracticable it was to cast up any more banks, for want of materials; and to guard against the Jews coming out still more impracticable. As also that to encompass the whole city round with his army, was not very easy; by reason of its magnitude, and the difficulty of the situation: and on other accounts dangerous, upon the sallies the Jews might make out of the city. For although they might guard the known passages out of the place, yet would they, when they found themselves under the greatest distress, contrive secret passages out; as being well acquainted with all such places. And if any provisions were carried in by stealth, the siege would thereby be longer delayed. He also owned that he was afraid that the length of time thus to be spent, would diminish the glory of his success. For though it be true, that length of time will perfect every thing; yet that to do what we do in a little time, is still necessary to the gaining reputation. That therefore his opinion was, that if they aimed at quickness, joined with security, they must build a wall round about the whole city. Which was, he thought, the only way to prevent the Jews from coming out any way. And that then they would either entirely despair of saving the city, and so would surrender it up to him; or be still the more easily conquered when the famine had farther weakened them. For that besides this wall, he would not lie entirely at rest afterward; but would take care then to have banks raised again, when those that would oppose them were become weaker. But that if any one should think such a work to be too great, and not to be finished without much difficulty, he ought to consider, that it is not fit for Romans to undertake any small work: and that none but God himself could with ease accomplish any great thing whatsoever.
[12.2] These arguments prevailed with the commanders. So Titus gave orders that the army should be distributed to their several shares of this work. And indeed there now came upon the soldiers a certain divine fury, so that they did not only part the whole wall that was to be built among them, nor did only one legion strive with another; but the lesser divisions of the army did the same. Insomuch that each soldier was ambitious to please his decurion; each decurion his centurion; each centurion his tribune; and the ambition of the tribunes was to please their superior commanders; while Cæsar himself took notice of, and rewarded the like contention in those commanders. For he went round about the works many times every day; and took a view of what was done. Titus began the wall from the camp of the Assyrians: where his own camp was pitched: and drew it down to the lower parts of Cenopolis. Thence it went along the valley of Cedron, to the mount of Olives. It then bent towards the south; and encompassed the mountain as far as the rock called Peristereon, and that other hill which lies next it, and is over the valley which reaches to Siloam. Whence it bended again to the west; and went down to the valley of the fountain. Beyond which it went up again at the monument of Ananus, the High-priest; and encompassing that mountain where Pompey had formerly pitched his camp, it returned back to the north side of the city; and was carried on as far as a certain village called the house of the Erebinthi. After which it encompassed Herod’s monument: and there, on the east, was joined to Titus’s own camp, where it began. Now the length of this wall was forty furlongs, one only abated. Now at this wall without were erected thirteen places to keep garrison in: whose circumferences, put together, amounted to ten furlongs. The whole was completed in three days. So that what would naturally have required some months, was done in so short an interval as is incredible. When Titus had therefore encompassed the city with this wall, and put garrisons into proper places, be went round the wall, at the first watch of the night, and observed how the guard was kept. The second watch he allotted to Alexander. The commanders of legions took the third watch. They also cast lots among themselves who should be upon the watch in the night time; and who should go all night long round the spaces that were interposed between the garrisons.
[12.3] So all hope of escaping was now cut off from the Jews, together with their liberty of going out of the city. Then did the famine widen its progress, and devoured the people by whole houses and families. The upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying by famine: and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged. The children also, and the young men wandered about the market places like shadows, all swelled with the famine, and fell down dead, wheresoever their misery seized them. As for burying them, those that were sick themselves were not able to do it; and those that were hearty and well, were deterred from doing it, by the great multitude of those dead bodies; and by the uncertainty there was how soon they should die themselves. For many died as they were burying others: and many went to their coffins before that fatal hour was come. Nor was there any lamentations made under these calamities; nor were heard any mournful complaints. But the famine confounded all natural passions. For those who were just going to die, looked upon those that were gone to rest before them with dry eyes, and open mouths. A deep silence also, and a kind of deadly night had seized upon the city. While yet the robbers were still more terrible than these miseries were themselves. For they brake open those houses which were no other than graves of dead bodies, and plundered them of what they had, and carrying off the coverings of their bodies, went out laughing; and tried the points of their swords in their dead bodies; and in order to prove what mettle they were made of, they thrust some of those through that still lay alive upon the ground. But for those that intreated them to lend them their right hand, and their sword to dispatch them, they were too proud to grant their requests, and left them to be consumed by the famine. Now every one of these died with their eyes fixed upon the temple; and left the seditious alive behind them. Now the seditious at first gave orders that the dead should be buried out of the publick treasury: as not enduring the stench of their dead bodies. But afterwards, when they could not do that, they had them cast down from the walls into the valleys beneath.
[12.4] However, when Titus, in going his rounds along those valleys, saw them full of dead bodies, and the thick putrefaction running about them, he gave a groan; and spreading out his hands to heaven, called God to witness, that this was not his doing. And such was the sad case of the city it self. But the Romans were very joyful: since none of the seditious could now make sallies out of the city, because they were themselves disconsolate, and the famine already touched them also. These Romans besides had great plenty of corn, and other necessaries, out of Syria, and out of the neighbouring provinces. Many of whom would stand near to the wall of the city, and shew the people what great quantities of provisions they had, and so make the enemy more sensible of their famine, by the great plenty, even to satiety, which they had themselves. However, when the seditious still shewed no inclinations of yielding, Titus, out of his commiseration of the people that remained, and out of his earnest desire of rescuing what was still left out of these miseries, began to raise his banks again; although materials for them were hard to he come at. For all the trees that were about the city had been already cut down, for the making of the former banks. Yet did the soldiers bring with them other materials from the distance of ninety furlongs; and thereby raised banks, in four parts, much greater than the former; though this was done only at the tower of Antonia. So Cæsar went his rounds through the legions, and hastened on the works; and shewed the robbers that they were now in his hands. But these men, and these only, were incapable of repenting of the wickednesses they had been guilty of; and separating their souls from their bodies, they used them both as if they belonged to other folks, and not to themselves. For no gentle affection could touch their souls: nor could any pain affect their bodies: since they could still tear the dead bodies of the people as dogs do: and fill the prisons with those that were sick.
Book 5: Chapter 13: The great slaughters, and sacrilege that were in Jerusalem.
[13.1] Accordingly Simon would not suffer Matthias, by whose means he got possession of the city, to go off without torment. This Matthias was the son of Boethus, and was one of the High Priests; one that had been very faithful to the people, and in great esteem with them. He, when the multitude were distressed by the zealots, among whom John was numbred, persuaded the people to admit this Simon to come in to assist them; while he had made no terms with him, nor expected any thing that was evil from him. But when Simon was come in, and had gotten the city under his power, he esteemed him that had advised them to admit him as his enemy, equally with the rest: as looking upon that advice as a piece of his simplicity only. So he had him then brought before him, and condemned to die, for being on the side of the Romans; without giving him leave to make his defence. He condemned also his three sons to die with him. For as to the fourth, he prevented him, by running away to Titus before. And when he begged for this, that he might be slain before his sons, and that as a favour, on account that he had procured the gates of the city to be opened to him, he gave order that he should be slain the last of them all. So he was not slain, till he had seen his sons slain before his eyes: and that by being produced over against the Romans. For such a charge had Simon given to Ananus, the son of Bamadus, who was the most barbarous of all his guards. He also jested upon him, and told him, that he might now see whether those to whom he intended to go over, would send him any succours, or not. But still he forbad their dead bodies should be buried. After the slaughter of these, a certain priest, Ananias, the son of Masambalus, a person of eminency; as also Aristeus, the scribe of the sanhedrim, and born at Emmaus; and with them fifteen men of figure among the people were slain. They also kept Josephus’s father in prison; and made publick proclamation, that no citizen whosoever should either speak to him himself, or go into his company among others; for fear he should betray them. They also slew such as joined in lamenting these men, without any farther examination.
[13.2] Now when Judas, the son of Judas, who was one of Simon’s under officers, and a person intrusted by him to keep one of the towers, saw this procedure of Simon’s, he called together ten of those under him, that were most faithful to him: (perhaps this was done partly out of pity to those that had so barbarously been put to death; but principally in order to provide for his own safety:) and spake thus to them: “How long shall we bear these miseries? or what hopes have we of deliverance, by thus continuing faithful to such wicked wretches? Is not the famine already come against us? Are not the Romans in a manner gotten within the city? Is not Simon become unfaithful to his benefactors? and is there not reason to fear he will very soon bring us to the like punishment? while the security the Romans offer us is sure. Come on, let us surrender up this wall, and save our selves, and the city. Nor will Simon be very much hurt, if, now he despair of deliverance, he be brought to justice a little sooner than he thinks on.” Now these ten were prevailed upon by those arguments. So he sent the rest of those that were under him some one way, and some another; that no discovery might be made of what they had resolved upon. Accordingly he called to the Romans, from the tower, about the third hour. But they some of them out of pride despised what he said; and others of them did not believe him to be in earnest; though the greatest number delayed the matter, as believing they should get possession of the city in a little time, without any hazard. But when Titus was just coming thither with his armed men, Simon was acquainted with the matter before he came; and presently took the tower into his own custody, before it was surrendred; and seized upon these men, and put them to death, in the sight of the Romans themselves: and when he had mangled their dead bodies, he threw them down before the wall of the city.
[13.3] In the mean time Josephus, as he was going round the city, had his head wounded by a stone, that was thrown at him. Upon which he fell down as giddy. Upon which fall of his the Jews made a sally; and he had been hurried away into the city, if Cæsar had not sent men to protect him immediately. And as these men were fighting, Josephus was taken up; though he heard little of what was done. So the seditious supposed they had now slain that man whom they were the most desirous of killing, and made thereupon a great noise, in way of rejoicing. This accident was told in the city: and the multitude that remained became very disconsolate at the news: as being persuaded that he was really dead, on whose account alone they could venture to desert to the Romans. But when Josephus’s mother heard in prison that her son was dead, she said to those that watched about her; that “She had always been of opinion since the siege of Jotapata, [that he would be slain:] and she should never enjoy him alive any more.” She also made great lamentation privately to the maid servants that were about her, and said, that “This was all the advantage she had of bringing so extraordinary a person as this son into the world, that she should not be able even to bury that son of hers, by whom she expected to have been buried her self.” However, this false report did not put his mother to pain; nor afford merriment to the robbers long. For Josephus soon recovered of his wound; and came out, and cried out aloud, that “It would not be long ere they should be punished for this wound they had given him.” He also made a fresh exhortation to the people, to come out upon the security that would be given them. This sight of Josephus encouraged the people greatly; and brought a great consternation upon the seditious.
[13.4] Hereupon some of the deserters, having no other way, leaped down from the wall immediately; while others of them went out of the city, with stones, as if they would fight them: but thereupon they fled away to the Romans. But here a worse fate accompanied these, than what they had found within the city: and they met with a quicker dispatch from the too great abundance they had among the Romans, than they could have done from the famine among the Jews. For when they came first to the Romans, they were puffed up by the famine, and swelled like men in a dropsy. After which, they all on the sudden over-filled those bodies, that were before empty, and so burst asunder: excepting such only as were skilful enough to restrain their appetites; and by degrees took in their food into bodies unaccustomed thereto. Yet did another plague seize upon those that were thus preserved. For there was found among the Syrian deserters a certain person who was caught gathering pieces of gold out of the excrements of the Jews bellies. For the deserters used to swallow such pieces of gold, as we told you before, when they came out: and for these did the seditious search them all. For there was a great quantity of gold in the city. Insomuch, that as much was now sold [in the Roman camp] for twelve attick [drams], as was sold before for twenty five. But when this contrivance was discovered in one instance, the fame of it filled their several camps, that the deserters came to them full of gold. So the multitude of the Arabians, with the Syrians, cut up those that came as supplicants, and searched their bellies. Nor does it seem to me, that any misery befel the Jews that was more terrible than this: since in one night’s time about two thousand of these deserters were thus dissected.
[13.5] When Titus came to the knowledge of this wicked practice, he had like to have surrounded those that had been guilty of it with his horse, and have shotten them dead; and he had done it, had not their number been so very great; and those that were liable to this punishment would have been manifold more than those whom they had slain. However he called together the commanders of the auxiliary troops he had with him; as well as the commanders of the Roman legions: (for some of his own soldiers had been also guilty herein, as he had been informed:) and had great indignation against both sorts of them, and said to them, “What? Have any of my own soldiers done such things as this, out of the uncertain hope of gain, without regarding their own weapons, which are made of silver and gold? Moreover, do the Arabians and Syrians now first of all begin to govern themselves as they please, and to indulge their appetites in a foreign war? and then out of their barbarity in murdering men; and out of their hatred to the Jews, get it ascribed to the Romans?” For this infamous practice was said to be spread among some of his own soldiers also. Titus then threatened, that he would put such men to death, if any of them were discovered to be so insolent as to do so again. Moreover, he gave it in charge to the legions, that they should make a search after such as were suspected, and should bring them to him. But it appeared that the love of money was too hard for all their dread of punishment; and a vehement desire of gain is natural to men, and no passion is so venturesome as covetousness. Otherwise such passions have certain bounds, and are subordinate to fear. But in reality it was God who condemned the whole nation, and turned every course that was taken for their preservation to their destruction. This therefore, which was forbidden by Cæsar under such a threatening, was ventured upon privately against the deserters; and these barbarians would go out still, and meet those that ran away, before any saw them; and looking about them to see that no Roman spied them, they dissected them, and pulled this polluted money out of their bowels. Which money was still found in a few of them; while yet a great many were destroyed by the bare hope there was of thus getting by them. Which miserable treatment made many that were deserting, to return back again into the city.
[13.6] But as for John, when he could no longer plunder the people, he betook himself to sacrilege, and melted down many of the sacred utensils, which had been given to the temple; as also many of those vessels which were necessary for such as ministered about holy things: the caldrons, the dishes, and the tables. Nay he did not abstain from those pouring vessels that were sent them by Augustus, and his wife. For the Roman emperors did ever both honour and adorn this temple. Whereas this man, who was a Jew, seized upon what were the donations of foreigners: and said to those that were with him, that it was proper for them to use divine things, while they were fighting for the divinity, without fear: and that such whose warfare is for the temple, should live of the temple. On which account he emptied the vessels of that sacred wine and oil, which the priests kept to be poured on the burnt offerings, and which lay in the inner court of the temple: and distributed it among the multitude. Who in their anointing themselves, and drinking, used [each of them] above an hin of them. And here I cannot but speak my mind, and what the concern I am under dictates to me: and it is this. I suppose that had the Romans made any longer delay in coming against these villains, that the city would either have been swallowed up by the ground opening upon them, or been overflowed by water; or else been destroyed by such thunder, as the country of Sodom perished by. For it had brought forth a generation of men much more atheistical than were those that suffered such punishments. For by their madness it was that all the people came to be destroyed.
[13.7] And, indeed, why do I relate these particular calamities? While Manneus, the son of Lazarus, came running to Titus at this very time, and told him, that there had been carried out through that one gate, which was intrusted to his care, no fewer than an hundred and fifteen thousand eight hundred and eighty dead bodies, in the interval between the fourteenth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan] [A.D. 70] when the Romans pitched their camp by the city; and the first day of the month Panemus [Tamuz]. This was itself a prodigious multitude. And though this man was not himself set as a governour at that gate, yet was he appointed to pay the public stipend for carrying these bodies out: and so was obliged of necessity to number them: while the rest were buried by their relations. Though all their burial was but this, to bring them away, and cast them out of the city. After this man there ran away to Titus many of the eminent citizens, and told him the entire number of the poor that were dead: and that no fewer than six hundred thousand were thrown out at the gates. Though still the number of the rest could not be discovered. And they told him further, that when they were no longer able to carry out the dead bodies of the poor, they laid their corpses on heaps in very large houses, and shut them up therein. As also that a medimnus of wheat, was sold for a talent: and that when, a while afterward, it was not possible to gather herbs, by reason the city was all walled about, some persons were driven to that terrible distress, as to search the common sewers, and old dunghills of cattle, and to eat the dung which they got there: and what they of old could not endure so much as to see, they now used for food. When the Romans barely heard all this, they commiserated their case: while the seditious, who saw it also, did not repent; but suffered the same distress to come upon themselves. For they were blinded by that fate, which was already coming upon the city, and upon themselves also.
Of the War — Book VI
Containing the interval of about one month.
From the great extremity to which the Jews were reduced, to the taking of Jerusalem by Titus.
Book 6: Chapter 1: That the miseries still grew worse: and how the Romans made an assault upon the tower of Antonia.
[1.1] Thus did the miseries of Jerusalem grow worse and worse every day; and the seditious were still more irritated by the calamities they were under, even while the famine preyed upon themselves; after it had preyed upon the people. And indeed the multitude of carcasses that lay in heaps one upon another was an horrible sight; and produced a pestilential stench; which was an hindrance to those that would make sallies out of the city, and fight the enemy. But as those were to go in battle array, who had been already used to ten thousand murders, and must tread upon those dead bodies as they marched along, so were not they terrified, nor did they pity men as they marched over them. Nor did they deem this affront offered to the deceased to be any ill omen to themselves. But as they had their right hands already polluted with the murders of their own country men, and in that condition ran out to fight with foreigners, they seem to me to have cast a reproach upon God himself; as if he were too slow in punishing them. For the war was not now gone on with, as if they had any hope of victory: for they gloried after a brutish manner in that despair of deliverance they were already in. And now the Romans, although they were greatly distressed in getting together their materials, raised their banks in one and twenty days; after they had cut down all the trees that were in the country that adjoined to the city: and that for ninety furlongs round about; as I have already related. And truly the very view itself of the country was a melancholy thing. For those places which were before adorned with trees, and pleasant gardens, were now become a desolate country every way; and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judea, and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it, as a desert; but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all the signs of beauty quite waste. Nor if any one that had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again: but though he were at the city it self, yet would he have enquired for it notwithstanding.
[1.2] And now the banks were finished, they afforded a foundation for fear, both to the Romans, and to the Jews. For the Jews expected that the city would be taken, unless they could burn those banks; as did the Romans expect that if these were once burnt down, they should never be able to take it. For there was a mighty scarcity of materials; and the bodies of the soldiers began to fail with such hard labours, as did their souls faint with so many instances of ill success. Nay the very calamities themselves that were in the city proved a greater discouragement to the Romans, than to those within the city. For they found the fighting men of the Jews to be not at all mollified among such their sore afflictions; while they had themselves perpetually less and less hopes of success; and their banks were forced to yield to the stratagems of the enemy; their engines to the firmness of their wall; and their closest fights to the boldness of their attacks. And, what was their greatest discouragement of all, they found the Jews courageous souls to be superior to the multitude of the miseries they were under by their sedition, their famine, and the war itself. Insomuch that they were ready to imagine, that the violence of their attacks was invincible; and that the alacrity they shewed would not be discouraged by their calamities. For what would not those be able to bear, if they should be fortunate; who turned their very misfortunes to the improvement of their valour! These considerations made the Romans to keep a stronger guard about their banks, than they formerly had done.
[1.3] But now, John and his party took care for securing themselves afterward, even in case this wall should be thrown down: and fell to their work before the battering rams were brought against them. Yet did they not compass what they endeavoured to do; but, as they were gone out with their torches, they came back under great discouragement, before they came near to the banks. And the reasons were these: that, in the first place, their conduct did not seem to be unanimous; but they went out in distinct parties, and at distinct intervals, and after a slow manner; and timorously: and, to say all in a word, without a Jewish courage. For they were now defective in what is peculiar to our nation, that is in boldness, in violence of assault, and in running upon the enemy all together, and in persevering in what they go about, though they do not at first succeed in it. But they now went out in a more languid manner than usual; and at the same time, found the Romans set in array, and more courageous than ordinary; and that they guarded their banks both with their bodies, and their entire armour; and this to such a degree on all sides, that they left no room for the fire to get among them; and that every one of their souls were in such good courage, that they would sooner die than desert their ranks. For besides their notion that all their hopes were cut off, in case these their works were once burnt, the soldiers were greatly ashamed that subtilty should quite be too hard for courage; madness for armour; multitude for skill; and Jews for Romans. The Romans had now also another advantage, in that their engines for sieges co-operated with them in throwing darts and stones, as far as the Jews, when they were coming out of the city. Whereby the man that fell, became an impediment to him that was next him: as did the danger of going farther make them less zealous in their attempts. And for those that had run under the darts, some of them were terrified by the good order and closeness of the enemies ranks, before they came to a close fight; and others were pricked with their spears, and turned back again. At length they reproached one another for their cowardice, and retired without doing any thing. This attack was made upon the first day of the month Panemus [Tamuz] [A.D. 70]. So when the Jews were retreated, the Romans brought their engines, although they had all the while stones thrown at them from the tower of Antonia, and were assaulted by fire and sword, and by all sorts of darts which necessity afforded the Jews to make use of. For although these had great dependence on their own wall, and a contempt of the Roman engines, yet did they endeavour to hinder the Romans from bringing them. Now these Romans struggled hard, on the contrary, to bring them: as deeming that this zeal of the Jews was in order to avoid any impression to be made on the tower of Antonia; because its wall was but weak, and its foundations rotten. However that tower did not yield to the blows given it from the engines. Yet did the Romans bear the impressions made by the enemies darts which were perpetually cast at them; and did not give way to any of those dangers that came upon them from above; and so they brought their engines to bear. But then, as they were beneath the other, and were sadly wounded by the stones thrown down upon them, some of them threw their shields over their bodies, and partly with their hands, and partly with their bodies, and partly with crows, they undermined its foundations: and with great pains they removed four of its stones. Then night came upon both sides, and put an end to this struggle for the present. However that night the wall was so shaken by the battering rams, in that place where John had used his stratagem before, and had undermined their banks, that the ground then gave way, and the wall fell down suddenly.
[1.4] When this accident had unexpectedly happened, the minds of both parties were variously affected. For though one would expect that the Jews would be discouraged, because this fall of their wall was unexpected by them; and they had made no provision in that case; yet did they pull up their courage, because the tower of Antonia itself was still standing: As was the unexpected joy of the Romans at this fall of the wall soon quenched by the sight they had of another wall, which John and his party had built within it. However, the attack of this second wall appeared to be easier than that of the former. Because it seemed a thing of greater facility to get up to it through the parts of the former wall that were now thrown down. This new wall appeared also to be much weaker than the tower of Antonia: and accordingly the Romans imagined that it had been erected so much on the sudden, that they should soon overthrow it. Yet did not any body venture now to go up to this wall. For that such as first ventured so to do must certainly be killed.
[1.5] And now Titus, upon consideration that the alacrity of soldiers in war is chiefly excited by hopes, and by good words; and that exhortations and promises do frequently make men to forget the hazards they run, nay and sometimes to despise death itself; got together the most courageous part of his army, and tried what he could do with his men by these methods. “O fellow soldiers said he, to make an exhortation to men to do what hath no peril in it, is on that very account inglorious to such, to whom that exhortation is made: and indeed so it is in him that makes the exhortation an argument of his own cowardice also. I therefore think that such exhortations ought then only to be made use of, when affairs are in a dangerous condition, and yet are worthy of being attempted by every one themselves. Accordingly I am fully of the same opinion with you, that it is a difficult task to go up this wall. But that it is proper for those that desire reputation for their valour to struggle with difficulties in such cases will then appear, when I have particularly shewed, that it is a brave thing to die with glory; and that the courage here necessary shall not go unrewarded in those that first begin the attempt. And let my first argument to move you to it, be taken from what probably some would think reasonable to dissuade you, I mean the constancy and patience of these Jews, even under their ill successes. For it is unbecoming you, who are Romans, and my soldiers, who have in peace been taught how to make wars, and who have also been used to conquer in those wars, to be inferior to Jews, either in action of the hand, or in courage of the soul: and this especially when you are at the conclusion of your victory, and are assisted by God himself. For as to our misfortunes, they have been owing to the madness of the Jews: while their sufferings have been owing to your valour, and to the assistance God hath afforded you. For as to the seditions they have been in, and the famine they are under, and the siege they now endure, and the fall of their walls without our engines, what can they all be but demonstrations of God’s anger against them, and of his assistance afforded us? It will not therefore be proper for you either to shew your selves inferior to those to whom you are really superior; or to betray that divine assistance which is afforded you. And indeed, how can it be esteemed otherwise than a base and unworthy thing, that while the Jews, who need not be much ashamed if they be deserted, because they have long learned to be slaves to others, do yet despise death, that they may be so no longer; and do make sallies into the very midst of us frequently; not in hopes of conquering us, but merely for a demonstration of their courage: we who have gotten possession of almost all the world that belongs to either land or sea, to whom it will be a great shame if we do not conquer them, do not once undertake any attempt against our enemies wherein there is much danger; but sit still idle, with such brave arms as we have, and only wait till the famine, and fortune do our business themselves: and this when we have it in our power, with some small hazard, to gain all that we desire. For if we go up to this tower of Antonia, we gain the city. For if there should be any more occasion for fighting against those within the city; which I do not suppose there will; since we shall then be upon the top of the hill, and be upon our enemies before they can have taken breath, these advantages promise us no less than a certain and sudden victory. As for myself, I shall at present wave any commendation of those who die in war; and omit to speak of the immortality of those men who are slain in the midst of their martial bravery. Yet cannot I forbear to imprecate upon those who are of a contrary disposition, that they may die in time of peace, by some distemper or other; since their souls are condemned to the grave, together with their bodies. For what man of virtue is there who does not know, that those souls which are severed from their fleshly bodies in battles by the sword, are received by the ether, that purest of elements, and joined to that company which are placed among the stars: that they become good demons, and propitious heroes; and shew themselves, as such, to their posterity afterwards? While upon those souls that wear away in and with their distempered bodies, comes a subterranean night, to dissolve them to nothing; and a deep oblivion to take away all the remembrance of them: and this notwithstanding they be clean from all spots and defilements of this world. So that, in this case, the soul at the same time comes to the utmost bounds of its life, and of its body, and of its memorial also. But since fate hath determined that death is to come of necessity upon all men, a sword is a better instrument for that purpose than any disease whatsoever. Why is it not then a very mean thing for us not to yield up that to the publick benefit, which we must yield up to fate? And this discourse have I made upon the supposition that those who at first attempt to go upon this wall, must needs be killed in the attempt: though still men of true courage have a chance to escape, even in the most hazardous undertakings. For, in the first place, that part of the former wall that is thrown down is easily to be ascended: and for the new built wall, it is easily destroyed. Do you therefore, many of you, pull up your courage, and set about this work: and do you mutually encourage and assist one another: and this your bravery will soon break the hearts of your enemies. And perhaps such a glorious undertaking as yours is may be accomplished without bloodshed. For although it be justly to be supposed that the Jews will try to hinder you at your first beginning to go up to them; yet when you have once concealed yourselves from them, and driven them away by force, they will not be able to sustain your efforts against them any longer; though but a few of you prevent them, and get over the wall. As for that person who first mounts the wall, I should blush for shame if I did not make him to be envied of others, by those rewards I would bestow upon him. If such an one escape with his life, he shall have the command of others that are now but his equals: although it be true also, that the greatest rewards will accrue to such as die in the attempt.”
[1.6] Upon this speech of Titus, the rest of the multitude were affrighted at so great a danger. But there was one, whose name was Sabinus, a soldier that served among the cohorts, and a Syrian by birth, who appeared to be of very great fortitude both in the actions he had done, and the courage of his soul he had shewed. Although any body would have thought, before he came to his work, that he was of such a weak constitution of body, that he was not fit to be a soldier. For his colour was black; his flesh was lean, and thin, and lay close together. But there was a certain heroick soul that dwelt in this small body; which body was indeed much too narrow for that peculiar courage which was in him. Accordingly he was the first that rose up: when he thus spake: “I readily surrender up my self to thee, O Cæsar. I first ascend the wall. And I heartily wish that thy fortune may follow my courage, and my resolution. And if some ill fortune grudge me the success of my undertaking, take notice, that my ill success will not be unexpected; but that I chuse death voluntarily for thy sake.” When he had said this, and had spread out his shield over his head, with his left hand; and had, with his right hand, drawn his sword, he marched up to the wall, just about the sixth hour of the day. There followed him eleven others, and no more, that resolved to imitate his bravery. But still this man was the principal person of them all; and went first, as excited by a divine fury. Now those that guarded the wall shot at them from thence, and cast innumerable darts upon them from every side. They also rolled very large stones upon them; which overthrew some of those eleven that were with him. But as for Sabinus himself, he met the darts that were cast at him: and though he was overwhelmed with them, yet did he not leave off the violence of his attack before he had gotten upon the top of the wall; and had put the enemy to flight. For as the Jews were astonished at his great strength, and the bravery of his soul; and as, withal, they imagined more of them had gotten upon the wall than really had; they were put to flight. And now one cannot but complain here of fortune, as still envious at virtue; and always hindring the performance of glorious achievements. This was the case of the man before us; when he had just obtained his purpose. For he then stumbled at a certain large stone, and fell down upon it headlong, with a very great noise. Upon which the Jews turned back; and when they saw him to be alone, and fallen down also, they threw darts at him from every side. However, he got upon his knee, and covered himself with his shield; and at the first defended himself against them, and wounded many of those that came near him. But he was soon forced to relax his right hand, by the multitude of the wounds that had been given him; till at length he was quite covered over with darts, before he gave up the ghost. He was one who deserved a better fate, by reason of his bravery; but, as might be expected, he fell under so vast an attempt. As for the rest of his partners, the Jews dashed three of them to pieces with stones; and slew them as they were gotten up to the top of the wall. The other eight being wounded, were pulled down, and carried back to the camp. These things were done upon the third day of the month Panemus [Tamuz] [A.D. 70].
[1.7] Now two days afterward twelve of those men that were on the forefront, and kept watch upon the banks, got together; and called to them the standard bearer of the fifth legion, and two others of a troop of horsemen; and one trumpeter: these went without noise, about the ninth hour of the night, through the ruins, to the tower Antonia. And when they had cut the throats of the first guards of the place, as they were asleep, they got possession of the wall; and ordered the trumpeter to sound his trumpet. Upon which the rest of the guard got up on the sudden, and ran away, before any body could see how many they were that were gotten up. For partly from the fear they were in; and partly from the sound of the trumpet which they heard, they imagined a great number of the enemy were gotten up. But as soon as Cæsar heard the signal, he ordered the army to put on their armour immediately; and came thither with his commanders; and first of all ascended: as did the chosen men that were with him. And as the Jews were flying away to the temple, they fell into that mine which John had dug under the Roman banks. Then did the seditious of both the bodies of the Jewish army, as well that belonging to John, as that belonging to Simon, drive them away: and indeed were no way wanting as to the highest degree of force and alacrity. For they esteemed themselves intirely ruined, if once the Romans got into the temple: as did the Romans look upon the same thing as the beginning of their intire conquest. So a terrible battle was fought at the entrance of the temple: while the Romans were forcing their way, in order to get possession of that temple; and the Jews were driving them back to the tower of Antonia. In which battle the darts were on both sides useless; as well as the spears: and both sides drew their swords, and fought it out hand to hand. Now during this struggle, the positions of the men were undistinguished on both sides; and they fought at random: the men being intermixed one with another, and confounded, by reason of the narrowness of the place. While the noise that was made fell on the ear after an indistinct manner, because it was so very loud. Great slaughter was now made on both sides: and the combatants trod upon the bodies, and the armour of those that were dead, and dashed them to pieces. Accordingly, to which side soever the battle inclined, those that had the advantage exhorted one another to go on: as did those that were beaten make great lamentation. But still there was no room for flight, nor for pursuit: but disorderly revolutions and retreats: while the armies were intermixed one with another. But those that were in the first ranks were under the necessity of killing or being killed, without any way for escaping. For those on both sides that came behind, forced those before them to go on; without leaving any space between the armies. At length the Jews violent zeal was too hard for the Romans skill: and the battle already inclined intirely that way. For the fight had lasted from the ninth hour of the night, till the seventh hour of the day: while the Jews came on in crouds, and had the danger the temple was in for their motive; the Romans having no more here than a part of their army. For those legions, on which the soldiers on that side depended, were not come up to them. So it was at present thought sufficient by the Romans to take possession of the tower of Antonia.
[1.8] But there was one Julian, a centurion, that came from Bithynia; a man he was of great reputation; whom I had formerly seen in that war; and one of the highest fame, both for his skill in war; his strength of body; and the courage of his soul. This man, seeing the Romans giving ground, and in a sad condition: for he stood by Titus at the tower of Antonia: leaped out, and of himself alone put the Jews to flight, when they were already conquerors; and made them retire as far as the corner of the inner court of the temple. From him the multitude fled away in crouds: as supposing that neither his strength, nor his violent attacks could be those of a mere man. Accordingly he rushed through the midst of the Jews, as they were dispersed all abroad, and killed those that he caught. Nor indeed was there any sight that appeared more wonderful in the eyes of Cæsar, or more terrible to others, than this. However, he was himself pursued by fate; which it was not possible, that he, who was but a mortal man, should escape. For as he had shoes all full of thick and sharp nails; as had every one of the other soldiers; so when he ran on the pavement of the temple, he slipped, and fell down upon his back with a very great noise which was made by his armour. This made those that were running away to turn back. Whereupon those Romans that were in the tower of Antonia set up a great shout, as they were in fear for the man. But the Jews got about him in crouds, and struck at him with their spears, and with their swords, on all sides. Now he received a great many of the strokes of these iron weapons upon his shield, and often attempted to get up again: but was thrown down by those that struck at him. Yet did he, as he lay along, stab many of them with his sword. Nor was he soon killed; as being covered with his helmet, and his breast-plate, in all those parts of his body where he might be mortally wounded: he also pulled his neck close to his body, till all his other limbs were shattered, and no body durst come to defend him; and then he yielded to his fate. Now Cæsar was deeply affected on account of this man of so great fortitude: and especially as he was killed in the sight of so many people. He was desirous himself to come to his assistance: but the place would not give him leave. While such as could have done it, were too much terrified to attempt it. Thus when Julian had struggled with death a great while; and had let but few of those that had given him his mortal wound go off unhurt, he had at last his throat cut, though not without some difficulty: and left behind him a very great fame; not only among the Romans, and with Cæsar himself; but among his enemies also. Then did the Jews catch up his dead body, and put the Romans to flight again; and shut them up in the tower of Antonia. Now those that most signalized themselves, and fought most zealously in this battle of the Jewish side, were one Alexas and Gyphtheus, of John’s party; and of Simon’s party were Malachias; and Judas the son of Merto, and James the son of Sosas, the commander of the Idumeans. And of the zealots, two brethren, Simon and Judas, the sons of Jairus.
Book 6: Chapter 2: How Titus gave orders to demolish the tower of Antonia: and then persuaded Josephus to exhort the Jews again [to a surrender].
[2.1] And now Titus gave orders to his soldiers that were with him to dig up the foundations of the tower of Antonia, and make him a ready passage for his army to come up. While he himself had Josephus brought to him: (for he had been informed that on that very day, which was the seventeenth day of Panemus [Tamuz], the sacrifice, called the daily sacrifice had failed, and had not been offered to God, for want of men to offer it: and that the people were grievously troubled at it:) and commanded him to say the same things to John, that he had said before: that “If he had any malicious inclination for fighting, he might come out, with as many of his men as he pleased, in order to fight, without the danger of destroying either his city, or temple: but that he desired he would not defile the temple, nor thereby offend against God. That he might, if he pleased, offer the sacrifices which were now discontinued, by any of the Jews whom he should pitch upon.” Upon this Josephus stood in such a place where he might be heard, not by John only, but by many more; and then declared to them what Cæsar had given him in charge: and this in the Hebrew language. So he earnestly prayed them, “To spare their own city; and to prevent that fire, which was just ready to seize upon the temple; and to offer their usual sacrifices to God therein.” At these words of his a great sadness and silence were observed among the people. But the tyrant himself cast many reproaches upon Josephus; with imprecations besides: and at last added this withal, “That he did never fear the taking of the city: because it was God’s own city.” In answer to which, Josephus said thus with a loud voice: “To be sure thou hast kept this city wonderful pure for God’s sake: the temple also continues intirely unpolluted! Nor hast thou been guilty of any impiety against him for whose assistance thou hopest! He still receives his accustomed sacrifices! Vile wretch that thou art! if any one should deprive thee of thy daily food, thou wouldst esteem him to be an enemy to thee: but thou hopest to have that God for thy supporter in this war, whom thou hast deprived of his everlasting worship: and thou imputest those sins to the Romans, who to this very time take care to have our laws observed; and almost compel these sacrifices to be still offered to God, which have by thy means been intermitted. Who is there that can avoid groans and lamentations at the amazing change that is made in this city? since very foreigners and enemies do now correct that impiety which thou hast occasioned: while thou, who art a Jew, and wast educated in our laws, art become a greater enemy to them than the others. But still, John, it is never dishonourable to repent, and amend what hath been done amiss, even at the last extremity. Thou hast an instance before thee in Jechoniah, the King of the Jews, if thou hast a mind to save the city: who, when the king of Babylon made war against him, did of his own accord, go out of this city, before it was taken; and did undergo a voluntary captivity, with his family; that the sanctuary might not be delivered up to the enemy; and that he might not see the house of God set on fire. On which account he is celebrated among all the Jews, in their sacred memorials; and his memory is become immortal; and will be conveyed fresh down to our posterity through all ages. This, John, is an excellent example in such a time of danger. And I dare venture to promise, that the Romans shall still forgive thee. And take notice, that I who make this exhortation to thee, am one of thine own nation: I, who am a Jew, do make this promise to thee. And it will become thee to consider, who I am that give thee this counsel; and whence I am derived. For while I am alive I shall never be in such slavery, as to forego my own kindred; or forget the laws of our forefathers. Thou hast indignation at me again, and makest a clamour at me, and reproachest me. Indeed I cannot deny but I am worthy of worse treatment than all this amounts to, because, in opposition to fate, I make this kind invitation to thee, and endeavour to force deliverance upon those whom God hath condemned. And who is there that does not know what the writings of the ancient prophets contain in them? and particularly that oracle which is just now going to be fulfilled upon this miserable city. For they foretold, that this city should be then taken, when some body shall begin the slaughter of his own countrymen. And are not both the city, and the intire temple now full of the dead bodies of your countrymen? It is God therefore, it is God himself who is bringing on this fire to purge that city and temple by means of the Romans; and is going to pluck up this city, which is full of your pollutions.”
[2.2] As Josephus spoke these words, with groans, and tears in his eyes, his voice was intercepted by sobs. However the Romans could not but pity the affliction he was under, and wonder at his conduct. But for John, and those that were with him, they were but the more exasperated against the Romans on this account; and were desirous to get Josephus also into their power. Yet did that discourse influence a great many of the better sort. And truly some of them were so afraid of the guards set by the seditious, that they tarried where they were: but still were satisfied that both they, and the city were doomed to destruction. Some also there were who, watching a proper opportunity, when they might quietly get away, fled to the Romans. Of whom were the High-priests Joseph, and Jesus: and of the sons of High-priests, three; whose father was Ishmael, who was beheaded in Cyrene, and four sons of Matthias: as also one son of the other Matthias, who ran away after his father’s death; and whose father was slain by Simon, the son of Gioras, with three of his sons; as I have already related. Many also of the other nobility went over to the Romans, together with the High-priests. Now Cæsar not only received these men very kindly, in other respects; but, knowing they would not willingly live after the customs of other nations, he sent them to Gophna; and desired them to remain there for the present; and told them, that when he was gotten clear of this war, he would restore each of them to their possessions again. So they cheerfully retired to that small city which was allotted them, without fear of any danger. But as they did not appear, the seditious gave out again, that these deserters were slain by the Romans; which was done in order to deter the rest from running away, by fear of the like treatment. This trick of theirs succeeded now for a while; as did the like trick before: for the rest were hereby deterred from deserting, by fear of the like treatment.
[2.3] However, when Titus had recalled those men from Gophna, he gave orders that they should go round the wall, together with Josephus, and shew themselves to the people. Upon which a great many fled to the Romans. These men also got in a great number together, and stood before the Romans, and besought the seditious, with groans, and tears in their eyes; in the first place to receive the Romans intirely into the city, and save that their own place of residence again; but that, if they would not agree to such a proposal, they would at least depart out of the temple, and save the holy house for their own use. For that the Romans would not venture to set the sanctuary on fire; but under the most pressing necessity. Yet did the seditious still more and more contradict them: and while they cast loud and bitter reproaches upon those deserters, they also set their engines for throwing of darts, and javelins, and stones, upon the sacred gates of the temple, at due distances from one another. Insomuch that all the space round about, within the temple, might be compared to a burying ground: so great was the number of the dead bodies therein. As might the holy house itself be compared to a citadel. Accordingly these men rushed upon these holy places in their armour, that were otherwise unapproachable: and that while their hands were yet warm with the blood of their own people, which they had shed. Nay they proceeded to such great transgressions, that the very same indignation which Jews would naturally have against Romans, had they been guilty of such abuses against them, the Romans now had against Jews, for their impiety in regard to their own religious customs. Nay indeed there were none of the Roman soldiers, who did not look with a sacred horror upon the holy house; and adored it; and wished that the robbers would repent, before their miseries became incurable.
[2.4] Now Titus was deeply affected with this state of things, and reproached John, and his party, and said to them, “Have not you, Vile wretches that you are, by our permission put up this partition wall before your sanctuary? Have not you been allowed to put up the pillars thereto belonging, at due distances, and on it to engrave in Greek, and in your own letters this prohibition, that No foreigner should go beyond that wall? Have not we given you leave to kill such as go beyond it, though he were a Roman? And what do you do now, You pernicious villains! Why do you trample upon dead bodies in this temple? And why do you pollute this holy house with the blood of both foreigners, and Jews themselves? I appeal to the gods of my own country; and to every god that ever had any regard to this place: (for I do not suppose it to be now regarded by any of them:) I also appeal to my own army; and to those Jews that are now with me, and even to your selves, that I do not force you to defile this your sanctuary. And if you will but change the place whereon you will fight, no Roman shall either come near your sanctuary, or offer any affront to it. Nay I will endeavour to preserve you your holy house, whether you will or not.”
[2.5] As Josephus explained these things, from the mouth of Cæsar, both the robbers, and the tyrant thought that these exhortations proceeded from Titus’s fear, and not from his good will to them: and grew insolent upon it. But when Titus saw that these men were neither to be moved by commiseration towards themselves; nor had any concern upon them to have the holy house spared; he proceeded unwillingly to go on again with the war against them. He could not indeed bring all his army against them: the place was so narrow. But chusing thirty soldiers of the most valiant, out of every hundred; and committing a thousand to each tribune; and making Cerealis their commander in chief, he gave orders that they should attack the guards of the temple about the ninth hour of that night. But as he was now in his armour, and preparing to go down with them, his friends would not let him go; by reason of the greatness of the danger: and what the commanders suggested to them. For they said, that “He would do more, by sitting above in the tower of Antonia, as a dispenser of rewards to those soldiers that signalized themselves in the fight; than by coming down, and hazarding his own person in the forefront of them. For that they would all fight stoutly, while Cæsar looked upon them.” With this advice Cæsar complied: and said that “The only reason he had for such compliance with the soldiers was this, that he might be able to judge of their courageous actions; and that no valiant soldier might lie concealed, and miss of his reward; and no cowardly soldier might go unpunished: but that he might himself be an eye witness, and able to give evidence of all that was done, who was to be the disposer of punishments, and rewards to them.” So he sent the soldiers about their work, at the hour forementioned: while he went out himself to an higher place in the tower of Antonia, whence he might see what was done; and there waited with impatience to see the event.
[2.6] However, the soldiers that were sent did not find the guards of the temple asleep, as they hoped to have done: but were obliged to fight with them immediately, hand to hand, as they rushed with violence upon them, with a great shout. Now as soon as the rest within the temple heard that shout of those that were upon the watch, they ran out in troops upon them. Then did the Romans receive the onset of those that came first upon them: but those that followed them fell upon their own troops, and many of them treated their own soldiers as if they had been enemies. For the great confused noise that was made on both sides hindred them from distinguishing one another’s voices: as did the darkness of the night hinder them from the like distinction by the sight. Besides that blindness which arose otherwise also, from the passion and the fear they were in at the same time. For which reason it was all one to the soldiers, who it was they struck at. However, this ignorance did less harm to the Romans, than to the Jews; because they were joined together under their shields, and made their sallies more regularly than the others did: and each of them remembered their watch word. While the Jews were perpetually dispersed abroad, and made their attacks and retreats at random; and so did frequently seem to one another to be enemies. For every one of them received those of their own men that came back in the dark as Romans; and made an assault upon them. So that more of them were wounded by their own men, than by the enemy: till, upon the coming on of the day, the nature of the right was discerned by the eye afterward. Then did they stand in battle array in distinct bodies; and cast their darts regularly, and regularly defended themselves. Nor did either side yield, or grow weary. The Romans contended with each other who should fight the most strenuously, both single men, and intire regiments; as being under the eye of Titus. And every one concluded, that this day would begin his promotion, if he fought bravely. What were the great encouragements of the Jews to act vigorously were, their fear for themselves, and for the temple; and the presence of their tyrant; who exhorted some, and beat and threatened others to act courageously. Now it so happened, that this fight was, for the most part, a stationary one; wherein the soldiers went on, and came back in a short time, and suddenly. For there was no long space of ground for either of their flights or pursuits. But still there was a tumultuous noise among the Romans, from the tower of Antonia, which loudly cried out, upon all occasions, to their own men; to press on courageously, when they were too hard for the Jews; and to stay, when they were retiring backward. So that here was a kind of theatre of war. For what was done in this fight could not be concealed, either from Titus, or from those that were about him. At length it appeared that this fight, which began at the ninth hour of the night, was not over till past the fifth hour of the day: and that in the same place where the battle began, neither party could say they had made the other to retire: but both the armies left the victory almost in uncertainty between them. Wherein those that signalized themselves on the Roman side were a great many; but on the Jewish side, and of those that were with Simon, Judas, the son of Merto; and Simon, the son of Josias. Of the Idumeans, James, and Simon; the latter of whom was the son of Cathlas, and James was the son of Sosas. Of those that were with John, Gyphtheus and Alexas; and of the zealots, Simon, the son of Jairus.
[2.7] In the mean time, the rest of the Roman army had, in seven days time, overthrown [some] foundations of the tower of Antonia; and had made a ready and broad way to the temple. Then did the legions come near the first court, and began to raise their banks. The one bank was over against the north west corner of the inner temple. Another was at that northern edifice which was between the two gates. And of the other two, one was at the western cloister of the outer court of the temple. The other against its northern cloister. However, these works were thus far advanced by the Romans, not without great pains and difficulty: and particularly by being obliged to bring their materials from the distance of an hundred furlongs. They had farther difficulties also upon them. Sometimes by their over great security they were in that they should overcome the Jewish snares laid for them; and by that boldness of the Jews which their despair of escaping had inspired them withal. For some of their horsemen, when they went out to gather wood, or hay, let their horses feed, without having their bridles on, during the time of foraging. Upon which horses the Jews sallied out in whole bodies, and seized them. And when this was continually done, and Cæsar believed, what the truth was, that the horses were stolen more by the negligence of his own men, than by the valour of the Jews; he determined to use greater severity to oblige the rest to take care of their horses. So he commanded that one of those soldiers who had lost their horses should be capitally punished: whereby he so terrified the rest, that they preserved their horses for the time to come. For they did not any longer let them go from them, to feed by themselves: but, as if they had grown to them, they went always along with them when they wanted necessaries. Thus did the Romans still continue to make war against the temple, and to raise their banks against it.
[2.8] Now after one day had been interposed since the Romans ascended the breach, many of the seditious were so pressed by the famine, upon the present failure of their ravages, that they got together, and made an attack on those Roman guards that were upon the mount of olives: and this about the eleventh hour of the day. As supposing first that they would not expect such an onset, and, in the next place, that they were then taking care of their bodies: and that therefore they should easily beat them. But the Romans were apprized of their coming to attack them beforehand; and running together from the neighbouring camps on the sudden, prevented them from getting over their fortification, or forcing the wall that was built about them. Upon this came on a sharp fight. And here many great actions were performed on both sides: while the Romans shewed both their courage, and their skill in war: as did the Jews come on them with immoderate violence, and intolerable passion. The one part were urged on by shame, and the other by necessity. For it seemed a very shameful thing to the Romans to let the Jews go, now they were taken in a kind of net. While the Jews had but one hope of saving themselves, and that was in case they could by violence break through the Roman wall. And one, whose name was Pedanius, belonging to a party of horsemen, when the Jews were already beaten, and forced down into the valley together, spurred his horse on their flank, with great vehemence, and caught up a certain young man belonging to the enemy by his ankle, as he was running away. The man was however of a robust body; and in his armour. So low did Pedanius bend himself downward from his horse, even as he was galloping away: and so great was the strength of his right hand, and of the rest of his body: as also such skill had he in horsemanship. So this man seized upon that his prey, as upon a precious treasure; and carried him, as his captive, to Cæsar. Whereupon Titus admired the man that had seized the other for his great strength: and ordered the man that was caught to be punished [with death] for his attempt against the Roman wall; but betook himself to the siege of the temple, and to pressing on the raising of the banks.
[2.9] In the mean time the Jews were so distressed by the fights they had been in; as the war advanced higher and higher, and creeping up to the holy house itself, that they, as it were, cut off those limbs of their body which were infected, in order to prevent the distemper’s spreading farther. For they set the northwest cloister which was joined to the tower of Antonia on fire: and after that brake off about twenty cubits of that cloister: and thereby made a beginning in burning the sanctuary. Two days after which, or on the twenty fourth day of the fore-named month, [Panemus, or Tamuz, A.D. 70] the Romans set fire to the cloister that joined to the other: when the fire went fifteen cubits farther. The Jews in like manner cut off its roof. Nor did they entirely leave off what they were about till the tower of Antonia was parted from the temple: even when it was in their power to have stopped the fire. Nay they lay still while the temple was first set on fire; and deemed this spreading of the fire to be for their own advantage. However the armies were still fighting one against another about the temple: and the war was managed by continual sallies of particular parties against one another.
[2.10] Now there was at this time a man among the Jews; low of stature he was, and of a despicable appearance; of no character either as to his family, or in other respects. His mame was Jonathan. He went out at the High-priest John’s monument, and uttered many other insolent things to the Romans; and challenged the best of them all to a single combat. But many of those that stood there in the army huffed him; and many of them (as they might well be) were afraid of him. Some of them also reasoned thus, and that justly enough, that it was not fit to fight with a man that desired to die: because those that utterly despaired of deliverance had, besides other passions, a violence in attacking men that could not be opposed: and had no regard to God himself. And that to hazard ones self with a person, whom if you overcome you do no great matter; and by whom it is hazardous that you may be taken prisoner; would be an instance not of manly courage, but of unmanly rashness. So there being no body that came out to accept the man’s challenge; and the Jew cutting them with a great number of reproaches, as cowards: (for he was a very haughty man in himself, and a great despiser of the Romans:) one whose name was Pudens, of the body of horsemen, out of his abomination of the other’s words, and of his impudence withal; and perhaps out of an inconsiderate arrogance, on account of the other’s lowness of stature, ran out to him: and was too hard for him in other respects; but was betrayed by his ill fortune. For he fell down: and as he was down, Jonathan came running to him, and cut his throat; and then standing upon his dead body he brandished his sword, bloody as it was, and shook his shield with his left hand; and made many acclamations to the Roman army; and insulted over the dead man; and jested upon the Romans. Till at length one Priscus, a centurion, shot a dart at him, as he was leaping, and playing the fool with himself; and thereby pierced him through. Upon which a shout was set up both by the Jews, and the Romans; though on different accounts. So Jonathan grew giddy by the pain of his wounds, and fell down upon the body of his adversary; as a plain instance how suddenly vengeance may come upon men that have success in war, without any just deserving the same.
Book 6: Chapter 3: Concerning a stratagem that was devised by the Jews, by which they burnt many of the Romans: with another description of the terrible famine that was in the city.
[3.1] But now the seditious that were in the temple did every day openly endeavour to beat off the soldiers that were upon the banks; and on the twenty seventh day of the forenamed month [Panemus, or Tamuz, A.D. 70] contrived such a stratagem as this. They filled that part of the western cloister which was between the beams, and the roof under them, with dry materials; as also with bitumen and pitch. And then retired from that place: as though they were tired with the pains they had taken. At which procedure of theirs many of the most inconsiderate among the Romans, as carried away with violent passions, followed hard after them, as they were retiring; and applied ladders to the cloister, and got up to it suddenly. But the prudenter part of them, when they understood this unaccountable retreat of the Jews, stood still where they were before. However, the cloister was full of those that were gone up the ladders. At which time the Jews set it all on fire. And as the flame burst out every where on the sudden, the Romans that were out of the danger were seized with a very great consternation; as were those that were in the midst of the danger in the utmost distress. So when they perceived themselves surrounded with the flames, some of them threw themselves down backwards into the city: and some among their enemies [in the temple:] as did many leap down to their own men, and brake their limbs to pieces. But a great number of those that were going to take these violent methods were prevented by the fire. Though some prevented the fire by their own swords. However, the fire was on the sudden carried so far, as to surround those who would have otherwise perished. As for Cæsar himself, he could not however but commiserate those that thus perished: although they got up thither without any order for so doing: since there was no way of giving the many relief. Yet was this some comfort to those that were destroyed, that every body might see that person grieve, for whose sake they came to their end. For he cried out openly to them, and leaped up, and exhorted those that were about him to do their utmost to relieve them. So every one of them died cheerfully: as carrying along with him these words, and this intention of Cæsar, as a sepulchral monument. Some there were indeed who retired into the wall of the cloister, which was broad: and were preserved out of the fire: but were then surrounded by the Jews” and although they made resistance against the Jews for a long time, yet were they wounded by them; and at length they all fell down dead.
[3.2] At the last a young man among them, whose name was Longus, became a decoration to this sad affair; and while every one of them that perished were worthy of a memorial, this man appeared to deserve it beyond all the rest. Now the Jews admired this man for his courage; and were farther desirous of having him slain. So they persuaded him to come down to them, upon security given him for his life. But Cornelius his brother persuaded him on the contrary, not to tarnish his own glory, nor that of the Roman army. He complied with this last advice: and lifting up his sword before both armies, he slew himself. Yet there was one Artorius among those surrounded with the fire, who escaped by his subtilty. For when he had with a loud voice called to him Lucius, one of his fellow soldiers, that lay with him in the same tent, and said to him, “I do leave thee heir of all I have, if thou wilt come, and receive me.” Upon this he came running to receive him readily. Artorius then threw himself down upon him, and saved his own life; while he that received him was dashed so vehemently against the stone pavement by the other’s weight, that he died immediately. This melancholy accident made the Romans sad for a while; but still it made them more upon their guard for the future; and was of advantage to them against the delusions of the Jews: by which they were greatly damaged, through their unacquaintedness with the places, and with the nature of the inhabitants. Now this cloister was burnt down as far as John’s tower, which he built, in the war he made against Simon, over the gates that led to the Xystus. The Jews also cut off the rest of that cloister from the temple, after they had destroyed those that got up to it. But the next day the Romans burnt down the northern cloister entirely, as far as the east cloister; whose common angle joined to the valley that was called Cedron; and was built over it. On which account the depth was frightful. And this was the state of the temple at that time.
[3.3] Now of those that perished by famine in the city, the number was prodigious; and the miseries they underwent were unspeakable. For if so much as the shadow of any kind of food did any where appear, a war was commenced presently; and the dearest friends fell a fighting one with another about it: snatching from each other the most miserable supports of life. Nor would men believe that those who were dying had no food; but the robbers would search them when they were expiring; lest any one should have concealed food in their bosoms, and counterfeited dying. Nay these robbers gaped for want, and ran about stumbling and staggering along, like mad dogs; and reeling against the doors of the houses, like drunken men. They would also, in the great distress they were in, rush into the very same houses, two or three times in one and the same day. Moreover their hunger was so intolerable, that it obliged them to chew every thing; while they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not touch; and endured to eat them. Nor did they at length abstain from girdles, and shoes; and the very leather which belonged to their shields they pulled off and gnawed. The very wisps of old hay became food to some; and some gathered up fibres, and sold a very small weight of them for four Attick [drachmæ]. But why do I describe the shameless impudence that the famine brought on men in their eating inanimate things? While I am going to relate a matter of fact, the like to which no history relates, either among the Greeks or Barbarians. ’Tis horrible to speak of it: and incredible when heard. I had indeed willingly omitted this calamity of ours, that I might not seem to deliver what is so portentous to posterity but that I have innumerable witnesses to it in my own age. And besides, my country would have had little reason to thank me, for suppressing the miseries that she underwent at this time.
[3.4] There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan; her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar; of the village Bethezob; which signifies the house of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family, and her wealth; and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon; such I mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. This put the poor woman into a very great passion; and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she cast at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her. But none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take away her life. And if she found any food she perceived her labours were for others, and not for herself: and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels, and marrow. When also her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself. Nor did she consult with any thing but with her passion, and the necessity she was in. She then attempted a most unnatural thing: and snatching up her son, which was a child sucking at her breast, she said, “O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee, in this war, this famine, and this sedition? As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on. Be thou my food: and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world. Which is all that is now wanting to compleat the calamities of us Jews.” As soon as she had said this, she slew her son; and then roasted him; and eat the one half of him; and kept the other half by her concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently; and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her, that they would cut her throat immediately, if she did not shew them what food she had gotten ready. She replied, that “She had saved a very fine portion of it for them:” and withal uncovered what was left of her son. Hereupon they were seized with an horror, and amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight: when she said to them, “This is mine own son: and what hath been done was mine own doing. Come, eat of this food: for I have eaten of it myself. Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother. But if you be so scrupulous and do abominate this my sacrifice; as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also.” After which those men went out trembling: being never so much affrighted at any thing as they were at this: and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard-of action had been done by themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine, were very desirous to die: and those already dead were esteemed happy; because they had not lived long enough either to hear, or to see such miseries.
[3.5] This sad instance was quickly told to the Romans, some of whom could not believe it: and others pitied the distress which the Jews were under. But there were many of them who were hereby induced to a more bitter hatred than ordinary against our nation. But for Cæsar he excused himself before God, as to this matter, and said, that “He had proposed peace and liberty to the Jews, as well as an oblivion of all their former insolent practices: but that they, instead of concord, had chosen sedition; instead of peace, war; and before satiety and abundance, a famine. That they had begun with their own hands to burn down that temple; which we have preserved hitherto: and that therefore they deserved to eat such food as this was. That however, this horrid action of eating an own child ought to be covered with the overthrow of their very country itself; and men ought not to leave such a city upon the habitable earth, to be seen by the sun, wherein mothers are thus fed, although such food be fitter for the fathers, than for the mothers to eat of; since it is they that continue still in a state of war against us, after they have undergone such miseries as these.” And at the same time that he said this, he reflected on the desperate condition these men must be in. Nor could he expect that such men could be recovered to sobriety of mind, after they had endured those very sufferings, for the avoiding whereof it only was probable they might have repented.
Book 6: Chapter 4: When the banks were compleated, and the battering rams brought, and could do nothing; Titus gave orders to set fire to the gates of the temple. In no long time after which the holy house itself was burnt down, even against his consent.
[4.1] And now two of the Legions had completed their banks, on the eighth day of the month Lous [Ab]. Whereupon Titus gave orders that the battering rams should be brought, and set over against the western edifice of the inner temple. For before these were brought, the firmest of all the other engines had battered the wall for six days together, without ceasing; without making any impression upon it. But the vast largeness and strong connexion of the stones were superior to that engine, and to the other battering rams also. Other Romans did indeed undermine the foundations of the northern gate: and, after a world of pains, removed the outermost stones, yet was the gate still upheld by the inner stones, and stood still unhurt: till the workmen despairing of all such attempts by engines and crows, brought their ladders to the cloisters. Now the Jews did not interrupt them in so doing: but when they were gotten up, they fell upon them, and fought with them. Some of them they thrust down, and threw them backwards headlong. Others of them they met, and slew. They also beat many of those that went down the ladders again, and slew them with their swords, before they could bring their shields to protect them. Nay some of the ladders they threw down from above, when they were full of armed men. A great slaughter was made of the Jews also at the same time: while those that bare the ensigns fought hard for them: as deeming it a terrible thing, and what would tend to their great shame, if they permitted them to be stolen away. Yet did the Jews, at length, get possession of these engines; and destroyed those that had gone up the ladders. While the rest were so intimidated by what those suffered who were slain, that they retired. Although none of the Romans died without having done good service before his death. Of the seditious, those that had fought bravely in the former battles, did the like now. As besides them did Eleazar, the brother’s son of Simon the tyrant. But when Titus perceived that his endeavours to spare a foreign temple, turned to the damage of his soldiers, and made them be killed, he gave order to set the gates on fire.
[4.2] In the mean time, there deserted to him Ananus, who came from Emmaus, the most bloody of all Simon’s guards; and Archelaus, the son of Magadatus: they hoping to be still forgiven, because they left the Jews at a time when they were the conquerors. Titus objected this to these men, as a cunning trick of theirs. And as he had been informed of their other barbarities towards the Jews, he was going, in all haste, to have them both slain. He told them, that “They were only driven to this desertion because of the utmost distress they were in: and did not come away of their own good disposition. And that those did not deserve to be preserved, by whom their own city was already set on fire. Out of which fire they now hurried themselves away.” However, the security he had promised deserters overcame his resentments; and he dismissed them accordingly; though he did not give them the same privileges that he had afforded to others. And now the soldiers had already put fire to the gates; and the silver that was over them quickly carried the flames to the wood that was within it: whence it spread itself all on the sudden, and caught hold on the cloisters. Upon the Jews seeing this fire all about them, their spirits sunk, together with their bodies: and they were under such astonishment, that not one of them made any haste, either to defend himself, or to quench the fire: but they stood as mute spectators of it only. However, they did not so grieve at the loss of what was now burning, as to grow wiser thereby for the time to come. But as though the holy house itself had been on fire already, they whetted their passions against the Romans. This fire prevailed during that day, and the next also. For the soldiers were not able to burn all the cloisters that were round about together at one time, but only by pieces.
[4.3] But then, on the next day, Titus commanded part of his army to quench the fire, and to make a road for the more easy marching up of the legions; while he himself gathered the commanders together. Of those there were assembled the six principal persons, Tiberius Alexander, the commander [under the general] of the whole army, with Sextus Cerealis, the commander of the fifth legion: and Larcius Lepidus the commander of the tenth legion: and Titus Frigius the commander of the fifteenth legion. There was also with them Eternius, the leader of the two legions that came from Alexandria: and Marcus Antonius Julianus, procurator of Judea. After these came together all the rest of the procurators and tribunes. Titus proposed to these, that they should give him their advice what should be done about the holy house. Now some of these thought, “It would be the best way to act according to the rules of war, [and demolish it:] because the Jews would never leave off rebelling, while that house was standing: at which house it was that they used to get all together.” Others of them were of opinion, that “In case the Jews would leave it, and none of them would lay their arms up in it, he might save it: but that in case they got upon it, and fought any more, he might burn it: because it must then be looked upon not as an holy house, but as a citadel: and that the impiety of burning it would then belong to those that forced this to be done, and not to them.” But Titus said, that “Although the Jews should get upon that holy house, and fight us thence, yet ought we not to revenge ourselves on things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves: and that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as that was: because this would be a mischief to the Romans themselves; as it would be an ornament to their government while it continued.” So Fronto, and Alexander, and Cerealis grew bold upon that declaration; and agreed to the opinion of Titus. Then was this assembly dissolved; when Titus had given orders to the commanders, that the rest of their forces should lie still; but that they should make use of such as were most courageous in this attack. So he commanded that the chosen men that were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire.
[4.4] Now it is true, that on this day the Jews were so weary, and under such a consternation, that they refrained from any attacks. But on the next day they gathered their whole force together, and ran upon those that guarded the outward court of the temple, very boldly, through the east gate; and this about the second hour of the day. These guards received that their attack with great bravery: and by covering themselves with their shields before, as if it were with a wall, they drew their squadron close together. Yet was it evident that they could not abide there very long; but would be overborne by the multitude of those that sallied out upon them, and by the heat of their passion. However, Cæsar seeing, from the tower of Antonia, that this squadron was likely to give way, he sent some chosen horsemen to support them. Hereupon the Jews found themselves not able to sustain their onset: and upon the slaughter of those in the forefront, many of the rest were put to flight. But as the Romans were going off, the Jews turned upon them, and fought them. And as those Romans came back upon them, they retreated again: until about the fifth hour of the day they were overborne, and shut themselves up in the inner [court of the] temple.
[4.5] So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia; and resolved to storm the temple, the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army: and to encamp round about the holy house. But as for that house, God had, for certain, long ago doomed it to the fire. And now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of ages: it was the tenth day of the month Lous [Ab, A.D. 70]: upon which it was formerly burnt by the King of Babylon. Although these flames took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by them. For upon Titus’s retiring, the seditious lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again; when those that guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire that was burning the inner [court of the] temple. But these Romans put the Jews to flight; and proceeded as far as the holy house it self. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so great an undertaking; and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire: and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamour, such as so mighty an affliction required; and ran together to prevent it. And now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered any thing to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard about it.
[4.6] And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him of this fire; as he was resting himself in his tent, after the last battle. Whereupon he rose up in great haste; and, as he was, ran to the holy house; in order to have a stop put to the fire. After him followed all his commanders: and after them followed the several legions, in great astonishment. So there was a great clamour, and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly motion of so great an army. Then did Cæsar, both by calling to the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice; and by giving a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the fire. But they did not hear what he said; though he spake so loud: having their ears already dinned by a greater noise another way. Nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand neither: as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and others with passion. But as for the legions that came running thither, neither any persuasions, nor any threatenings could restrain their violence: but each one’s own passion was his commander at this time. And as they were crowding into the temple together, many of them were trampled on by one another; while a great number fell among the ruins of the cloisters, which were still hot, and smoaking; and were destroyed in the same miserable way with those whom they had conquered. And when they were come near the holy house, they made as if they did not so much as hear Cæsar’s orders to the contrary: but they encouraged those that were before them to set it on fire. As for the seditious, they were in too great distress already to afford their assistance [towards quenching the fire]. They were every where slain, and every where beaten. And as for a great part of the people, they were weak, and without arms, and had their throats cut wherever they were caught. Now round about the altar lay dead bodies, heaped one upon another; as at the steps going up to it, ran a great quantity of their blood: whither also the dead bodies that were slain above [on the altar] fell down.
[4.7] And now, since Cæsar was no way able to restrain the enthusiastick fury of the soldiers, and the fire proceeded on more and more, he went into the holy place of the temple, with his commanders; and saw it, with what was in it: which he found to be far superior to what the relations of foreigners contained; and not inferior to what we ourselves boasted of, and believed about it. But as the flame had not as yet reached to its inward parts, but was still consuming the rooms that were about the holy house only; and Titus supposing, what the fact was, that the house it self might yet he saved, he came in haste, and endeavoured to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire; and gave order to Liberalius the centurion, and one of those spearmen that were about him, to beat the soldiers that were refractory with their staves; and to restrain them. Yet were their passions too hard for the regards they had for Cæsar, and the dread they had of him who forbad them: as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement inclination to fight them too hard for them also. Moreover, the hope of plunder induced many to go on; as having this opinion, that all the places within were full of money: and as seeing that all round about it was made of gold. And besides, one of those that went into the place prevented Cæsar, when he ran so hastily out to restrain the soldiers: and threw the fire upon the hinges of the gate, in the dark. Whereby the flame burst out from within the holy house itself immediately: when the commanders retired, and Cæsar with them; and when nobody any longer forbad those that were without to set fire to it. And thus was the holy house burnt down, without Cæsar’s approbation.
[4.8] Now, although any one would justly lament the destruction of such a work as this was; since it was the most admirable of all the works that we have seen, or heard of; both for its curious structure, and its magnitude, and also for the vast wealth bestowed upon it, as well as for the glorious reputation it had for its holiness: yet might such an one comfort himself with this thought, that it was fate that decreed it so to be: which is inevitable, both as to living creatures, and as to works and places also. However, one cannot but wonder at the accuracy of this period thereto relating. For the same month and day were now observed, as I said before, wherein the holy house was burnt formerly by the Babylonians. Now the number of years that passed from its first foundation, which was laid by King Solomon, till this its destruction, which happened in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, are collected to be one thousand, one hundred, and thirty: besides seven months, and fifteen days. And from the second building of it, which was done by Haggai, in the second year of Cyrus the King, till its destruction under Vespasian, there were six hundred, thirty nine years, and forty five days.
Book 6: Chapter 5: The great distress the Jews were in upon the conflagration of the holy house. Concerning a false prophet; and the signs that preceded this destruction.
[5.1] While the holy house was on fire, every thing was plundered that came to hand; and ten thousand of those that were caught were slain. Nor was there a commiseration of any age, or any reverence of gravity; but children, and old men, and profane persons, and priests, were all slain in the same manner. So that this war went round all sorts of men, and brought them to destruction; and as well those that made supplication for their lives, as those that defended themselves by fighting. The flame was also carried a long way, and made an echo, together with the groans of those that were slain. And because this hill was high, and the works at the temple were very great, one would have thought the whole city had been on fire. Nor can one imagine any thing either greater, or more terrible than this noise. For there was at once a shout of the Roman legions, who were marching all together; and a sad clamour of the seditious, who were now surrounded with fire and sword. The people also that were left above were beaten back upon the enemy; and under a great consternation; and made sad moans at the calamity they were under. The multitude also that was in the city joined in this outcry with those that were upon the hill. And besides, many of those that were worn away by the famine, and their mouths almost closed, when they saw the fire of the holy house, they exerted their utmost strength, and brake out into groans, and outcries again. Perea did also return the echo: as well as the mountains round about [the city:] and augmented the force of the intire noise. Yet was the misery it self more terrible than this disorder. For one would have thought that the hill it self, on which the temple stood, was seething hot; as full of fire on every part of it, that the blood was larger in quantity than the fire, and those that were slain, more in number than those that slew them. For the ground did no where appear visible, for the dead bodies that lay on it; but the soldiers went over heaps of those bodies, as they ran upon such as fled from them. And now it was that the multitude of the robbers were thrust out [of the inner court of the temple] by the Romans; and had much ado to get into the outward court, and from thence into the city. While the remainder of the populace fled into the cloister of that outer court. As for the priests, some of them plucked up from the holy house the spikes that were upon it; with their bases, which were made of lead; and shot them at the Romans, instead of darts. But then, as they gained nothing by so doing; and as the fire burst out upon them; they retired to the wall, that was eight cubits broad; and there they tarried. Yet did two of these of eminence among them, who might have saved themselves by going over to the Romans, or have borne up with courage, and taken their fortune with the others, throw themselves into the fire, and were burnt, together with the holy house. Their names were Meirus, the son of Belgas; and Joseph the son of Daleus.
[5.2] And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what was round about the holy house, burnt all those places; as also the remains of the cloisters, and the gates: two excepted: the one on the east side, and the other on the south. Both which however they burnt afterward. They also burnt down the treasury chambers; in which was an immense quantity of money, and an immense number of garments, and other precious goods there reposited. And, to speak all in a few words, there it was that the intire riches of the Jews were heaped up together: while the rich people had there built themselves chambers [to contain such furniture]. The soldiers also came to the rest of the cloisters that were in the outer [court of the] temple: whither the women, and children, and a great mixed multitude of the people fled in number about six thousand. But before Cæsar had determined any thing about these people, or given the commanders any orders relating to them, the soldiers were in such a rage, that they set that cloister on fire. By which means it came to pass that some of these were destroyed by throwing themselves down headlong; and some were burnt in the cloisters themselves. Nor did any one of them escape with his life. A false prophet was the occasion of these peoples destruction: who had made a publick proclamation in the city, that very day, that “God commanded them to get up upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance.” Now there was then a great number of false prophets, suborned by the tyrants, to impose on the people: who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from deserting; and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes. Now a man that is in adversity does easily comply with such promises. For when such a seducer makes him believe that he shall be delivered from those miseries which oppress him, then it is that the patient is full of hopes of such his deliverance.
[5.3] Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers, and such as belied God himself. While they did not attend, nor give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly foretel their future desolation. But like men infatuated, without either eyes to see, or minds to consider, did not regard the denunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star, resembling a sword, which stood over the city: and a comet, that continued a whole year. Thus also before the Jews rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war, when the people were come in great crouds to the feast of unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus, [Nisan,] and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light shone round the altar, and the holy house, that it appeared to be bright day time. Which light lasted for half an hour. This light seemed to be a good sign to the unskilful: but was so interpreted by the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed immediately upon it. At the same festival also an heifer, as she was led by the High-priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb, in the midst of the temple. Moreover the eastern gate of the inner [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very deep into the firm floor; which was there made of one intire stone: was seen to be opened of its own accord, about the sixth hour of the night. Now those that kept watch in the temple came hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of it: who then came up thither: and, not without great difficulty, was able to shut the gate again. This also appeared to the vulgar to be a very happy prodigy: as if God did thereby open them the gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord: and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies. So these publickly declared that this signal foreshewed the desolation that was coming upon them. Besides these, a few days after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be a fable; were it not related by those that saw it; and were not the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to deserve such signals. For, before sun setting, chariots and troops of soldiers in their armour were seen running about among the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast which we call Pentecost; as the priests were going by night into the inner [court of the] temple, as their custom was, to perform their sacred ministrations, they said, that in the first place they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise: and after that they heard a sound, as of a multitude, saying, “Let us remove hence.” But what is still more terrible; there was one Jesus, the son of Ananus, a plebeian, and an husbandman, who, four years before the war began; and at a time when the city was in very great peace and prosperity; came to that feast whereon it is our custom for every one to make tabernacles to God in the temple, began on a sudden to cry aloud, “A voice from the east; a voice from the west; a voice from the four winds; a voice against Jerusalem, and the holy house; a voice against the bridegrooms, and the brides; and a voice against this whole people.” This was his cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of the city. However certain of the most eminent among the populace had great indignation at this dire cry of his; and took up the man, and gave him a great number of severe stripes. Yet did not he either say any thing for himself, or any thing peculiar to those that chastised him: but still went on with the same words which he cried before. Hereupon our rulers, supposing, as the case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the man; brought him to the Roman procurator. Where he was whipped till his bones were laid bare. Yet he did not make any supplication for himself, nor shed any tears: but turning his voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of the whip his answer was, “Woe, woe to Jerusalem.” And when Albinus, (for he was then our procurator;) asked him, “Who he was? and whence he came? and why he uttered such words?” he made no manner of reply to what he said: but still did not leave off his melancholy ditty: till Albinus took him to be a mad-man, and dismissed him. Now, during all the time that passed before the war began, this man did not go near any of the citizens; nor was seen by them while he said so. But he every day uttered these lamentable words, as if it were his premeditated vow: “Woe, woe to Jerusalem.” Nor did he give ill words to any of those that beat him every day, nor good words to those that gave him food: but this was his reply to all men; and indeed no other than a melancholy presage of what was to come. This cry of his was the loudest at the festivals; and he continued this ditty for seven years, and five months; without growing hoarse, or being tired therewith. Until the very time that he saw his presage in earnest fulfilled in our siege; when it ceased. For as he was going round upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, “Woe, woe to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house.” And just as he added at the last, “Woe, woe to myself also,” there came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed him immediately. And as he was uttering the very same presages he gave up the ghost.
[5.4] Now if any one consider these things, he will find that God takes care of mankind; and by all ways possible foreshews to our race what is for their preservation: but that men perish by those miseries which they madly and voluntarily bring upon themselves. For the Jews, by demolishing the tower of Antonia, had made their temple four square: while at the same time they had it written in their sacred oracles, that “then should their city be taken, as well as their holy house, when once their temple should become four square.” But now what did the most elevate them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle, that was also found in their sacred writings; how “About that time one, from their country, should become governor of the habitable earth.” The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular: and many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian: who was appointed emperor in Judea. However, it is not possible for men to avoid fate: although they see it beforehand. But these men interpreted some of these signals according to their own pleasure; and some of them they utterly despised: until their madness was demonstrated, both by the taking of their city, and their own destruction.
Book 6: Chapter 6: How the Romans carried their ensigns to the temple, and made joyful acclamations to Titus: the speech that Titus made to the Jews, when they made supplication for mercy. What reply they made thereto: and how that reply moved Titus’s indignation against them.
[6.1] And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple, and set them over-against its eastern gate. And there did they offer sacrifices to them: and there did they make Titus Imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy. And now all the soldiers had such vast quantities of the spoils, which they had gotten by plunder, that in Syria a pound weight of gold, was sold for half its former value. But as for those priests that kept themselves still upon the wall of the holy house, there was a boy that, out of the thirst he was in, desired some of the Roman guards to give him their right hands, as a security for his life; and confessed he was very thirsty. These guards commiserated his age, and the distress he was in: and gave him their right hands accordingly. So he came down himself; and drank some water: and filled the vessel he had with him when he came to them with water, and then went off, and fled away to his own friends. Nor could any of those guards overtake him: but still they reproached him for his perfidiousness. To which he made this answer, “I have not broken the agreement; for the security I had given me was not in order to my staying with you, but only in order to my coming down safely, and taking up some water: both which things I have performed, and thereupon think myself to have been faithful to my engagement.” Hereupon those whom the child had imposed upon admired at his cunning; and that on account of his age. On the fifth day afterward the priests that were pined with the famine came down; and when they were brought to Titus by the guards, they begged for their lives. But he replied, that “The time of pardon was over, as to them: and that this very holy house, on whose account only they could justly hope to be preserved, was destroyed: and that it was agreeable to their office that priests should perish with the house it self to which they belonged.” So he ordered them to be put to death.
[6.2] But as for the tyrants themselves, and those that were with them, when they found that they were encompassed on every side; and, as it were, walled round, without any method of escaping, they desired to treat with Titus by word of mouth. Accordingly, such was the kindness of his nature, and his desire of preserving the city from destruction, and was joined to the advice of his friends, who now thought the robbers were come to a temper, that he placed himself on the western side of the outer [court of the] temple. For there were gates on that side, above the Xystus; and a bridge that connected the upper city to the temple. This bridge it was that lay between the tyrants, and Cæsar, and parted them. While the multitude stood on each side; those of the Jewish nation about Simon and John, with great hopes of pardon: and the Romans about Cæsar, in great expectation how Titus would receive their supplication. So Titus charged his soldiers to restrain their rage; and to let their darts alone: and appointed an interpreter between them, which was a sign that he was the conqueror; and first began the discourse, and said, “I hope you, sirs, are now satiated with the miseries of your country; who have not had any just notions either of our great power, or of your own great weakness; but have, like mad-men, after a violent and inconsiderate manner made such attempts, as have brought your people, your city, and your holy house to destruction. You have been the men that have never left off rebelling since Pompey first conquered you. And have since that time made open war with the Romans. Have you depended on your multitude? While a very small part of the Roman soldiery have been strong enough for you. Have you relied on the fidelity of your confederates? And what nations are there, out of the limits of our dominion, that would chuse to assist the Jews before the Romans? Are your bodies stronger than ours? Nay, you know that the [strong] Germans themselves are our servants. Have you stronger walls than we have? Pray, what greater obstacle is there than the wall of the ocean: with which the Britains are encompassed; and yet do adore the arms of the Romans. Do you exceed us in courage of soul, and in the sagacity of your commanders? Nay indeed, you cannot but know, that the very Carthaginians have been conquered by us. It can therefore be nothing certainly but the kindness of us Romans which hath excited you against us. Who in the first place have given you this land to possess; and in the next place have set over you Kings of your own nation; and in the third place have preserved the laws of your forefathers to you; and have withal permitted you to live either by yourselves, or among others, as it should please you. And, what is our chief favour of all, we have given you leave to gather up that tribute which is paid to God; with such other gifts that are dedicated to him. Nor have we called those that carried these donations to account; nor prohibited them. Till at length you became richer than we were ourselves, even when you were our enemies: and you made preparations for war against us with our own money. Nay, after all, when you were in the enjoyment of all these advantages, you turned your too great plenty against those that gave it you: and like merciless serpents have thrown out your poison against those that treated you kindly. I suppose therefore that you might despise the slothfulness of Nero, and, like limbs of the body that are broken or dislocated, you did then lie quiet, waiting for some other time: though still with a malicious intention: and have now shewed your distemper to be greater than ever, and have extended your desires as far as your impudent and immense hopes would enable you to do it. At this time my father came into this country; not with a design to punish you for what you had done under Cestius; but to admonish you. For had he come to overthrow your nation, he had run directly to your fountain head; and had immediately laid this city waste. Whereas he went and burnt Galilee, and the neighbouring parts; and thereby gave you time for repentance. Which instance of humanity you took for an argument of his weakness; and nourished up your impudence by our mildness. When Nero was gone out of the world, you did, as the wickedest wretches would have done, and encouraged yourselves to act against us by our civil dissensions; and abused that time when both I and my father were gone away for Egypt, to make preparations for this war. Nor were you ashamed to raise disturbances against us when we were made emperors: and this while you had experienced how mild we had been, when we were no more than generals of the army. But when the government was devolved upon us, and all other people did thereupon lie quiet; and even foreign nations sent ambassies, and congratulated our access to the government, then did you Jews shew yourselves to be our enemies. You sent ambassies to those of your nation that are beyond Euphrates, to assist you in your raising disturbances. New walls were built by you round your city; seditions arose; and one tyrant contended against another; and a civil war brake out among you: such indeed as became none but so wicked a people as you are. I then came to this city, as unwillingly sent by my father; and received melancholy injunctions from him. When I heard that the people were disposed to peace, I rejoiced at it. I exhorted you to leave off these proceedings before I began this war. I spared you, even when you had fought against me a great while. I gave my right hand, as security to the deserters. I observed what I had promised faithfully. When they fled to me, I had compassion on many of those I had taken captive. I tortured those that were eager for war, in order to restrain them. It was unwillingly that I brought my engines of war against your walls. I always prohibited my soldiers when they were set upon your slaughter, from their severity against you. After every victory I persuaded you to peace: as though I had been my self conquered. When I came near your temple, I again departed from the laws of war, and exhorted you to spare your own sanctuary, and to preserve your holy house to yourselves. I allowed you a quiet exit out of it: and security for your preservation. Nay, if you had a mind, I gave you leave to fight in another place. Yet have you still despised every one of my proposals: and have set fire to your holy house with your own hands. And now, vile wretches, do you desire to treat with me by word of mouth? To what purpose is it that you would save such an holy house as this was, which is now destroyed? What preservation can you now desire, after the destruction of your temple? Yet do you stand still at this very time in your armour. Nor can you bring yourselves so much as to pretend to be supplicants, even in this your utmost extremity. O miserable creatures! what is it you depend on? Are not your people dead? Is not your holy house gone? Is not your city in my power? And are not your own very lives in my hands? And do you still deem it a part of valour to die? However, I will not imitate your madness. If you throw down your arms, and deliver up your bodies to me, I grant you your lives. And I will act like a mild master of a family: what cannot be healed shall be punished: and the rest I will preserve for my own use.”
[6.3] To that offer of Titus’s they made this reply: that “They could not accept of it, because they had sworn never to do so. But they desired they might have leave to go through the wall that had been made about them, with their wives, and children. For that they would go into the desert, and leave the city to him.” At this Titus had great indignation: that when they were in the case of men already taken captives, they should pretend to make their own terms with him, as if they had been conquerors. So he ordered this proclamation to be made to them: that “They should no more come out to him as deserters, nor hope for any farther security. For that he would henceforth spare no body: but fight them with his whole army: and that they must save themselves as well as they could. For that he would from henceforth treat them according to the laws of war.” So he gave orders to the soldiers both to burn, and to plunder the city. Who did nothing indeed that day: but on the next day they set fire to the repository of the archives, to Acra, to the council house, and to the place called Ophlas: at which time the fire proceeded as far as the palace of queen Helena, which was in the middle of Acra. The lanes also were burnt down; as were also those houses that were full of the dead bodies of such as were destroyed by famine.
[6.4] On the same day it was that the sons and brethren of Izates the king, together with many others of the eminent men of the populace, got together there; and besought Cæsar to give them his right hand for their security. Upon which, though he were very angry at all that were now remaining, yet did he not lay aside his old moderation; but received these men. At that time indeed he kept them all in custody: but still bound the king’s sons, and kinsmen; and led them with him to Rome, in order to make them hostages for their country’s fidelity to the Romans.
Book 6: Chapter 7: What afterward befel the seditious; when they had done a great deal of mischief, and suffered many misfortunes. As also how Cæsar became master of the upper city.
[7.1] And now the seditious rushed into the royal palace, into which many had put their effects; because it was so strong; and drove the Romans away from it. They also slew all the people that had crowded into it; who were in number about eight thousand, four hundred; and plundered them of what they had. They also took two of the Romans alive: the one was an horseman, and the other a footman. They then cut the throat of the footman: and immediately had him drawn through the whole city: as revenging themselves upon the whole body of the Romans by this one instance. But the horseman said he had somewhat to suggest to them, in order to their preservation. Whereupon he was brought before Simon. But he having nothing to say when he was there, he was delivered to Ardalas, one of his commanders, to be punished. Who bound his hands behind him, and put a ribband over his eyes, and then brought him out overagainst the Romans; as intending to cut off his head. But the man prevented that execution; and ran away to the Romans: and this while the Jewish executioner was drawing out his sword. Now when he was gotten away from the enemy, Titus could not think of putting him to death; but because he deemed him unworthy of being a Roman soldier any longer, on account that he had been taken alive by the enemy, he took away his arms, and ejected him out of the legion whereto he had belonged: which to one that had a sense of shame was a penalty severer than death itself.
[7.2] On the next day the Romans drove the robbers out of the lower city, and set all on fire as far as Siloam. These soldiers were indeed glad to see the city destroyed. But they missed the plunder; because the seditious had carried off all their effects, and were retired into the upper city. For they did not yet at all repent of the mischiefs they had done; but were insolent, as if they had done well. For as they saw the city on fire, they appeared chearful, and put on joyful countenances, in expectation, as they said, of death to end their miseries. Accordingly, as the people were now slain, the holy house was burnt down, and the city was on fire; there was nothing farther left for the enemy to do. Yet did not Josephus grow weary, even in this utmost extremity, to beg of them to spare what was left of the city: he spake largely to them about their barbarity, and impiety; and gave them his advice in order to their escape. Though he gained nothing thereby more than to be laughed at by them. And as they could not think of surrendring themselves up, because of the oath they had taken; nor were strong enough to fight with the Romans any longer upon the square; as being surrounded on all sides, and a kind of prisoners already; yet were they so accustomed to kill people, that they could not restrain their right hands from acting accordingly. So they dispersed themselves before the city, and laid themselves in ambush among its ruins, to catch those that attempted to desert to the Romans. Accordingly many such deserters were caught by them, and were all slain. For these were too weak, by reason of their want of food, to fly away from them. So their dead bodies were thrown to the dogs. Now every other sort of death was thought more tolerable, than the famine. Insomuch, that though the Jews despaired now of mercy, yet would they fly to the Romans, and would themselves, even of their own accord, fall among the murderous rebels also. Nor was there any place in the city that had no dead bodies in it; but what was intirely covered with those that were killed, either by the famine, or the rebellion: and all was full of the dead bodies of such as had perished, either by that sedition, or by that famine.
[7.3] So now the last hope which supported the tyrants, and that crew of robbers which were with them, was in the caves and caverns under ground. Whither, if they could once fly, they did not expect to be searched for: but endeavoured, that after the whole city should be destroyed, and the Romans gone away, they might come out again, and escape from them. This was no better than a dream of theirs. For they were not able to lie hid either from God, or from the Romans. However they depended on these under ground subterfuges, and set more places on fire than did the Romans themselves. And those that fled out of their houses, thus set on fire, into the ditches, they killed without mercy, and pillaged them also. And if they discovered food belonging to any one, they seized upon it, and swallowed it down, together with their blood also. Nay they were now come to fight one with another about their plunder. And I cannot but think that had not their destruction prevented it, their barbarity would have made them taste of even the dead bodies themselves.
Book 6: Chapter 8: How cæsar raised banks round about the upper city [i.e. Mount Sion]: and when they were compleated, gave orders that the machines should be brought. He then possessed himself of the whole city.
[8.1] Now when Cæsar perceived that the upper city was so steep, that it could not possibly be taken without raising banks against it, he distributed the several parts of that work among his army; and this on the twentieth day of the month Lous [Ab] [A.D. 70]. Now the carriage of the materials was a difficult task: since all the trees, as I have already told you, that were about the city, within the distance of a hundred furlongs, had their branches cut off already, in order to make the former banks. The works that belonged to the four legions were erected on the west side of the city; over against the royal palace. But the whole body of the auxiliary troops, with the rest of the multitude that were with them, [erected their banks] at the Xystus: whence they reached to the bridge, and that tower of Simon, which he had built, as a citadel for himself, against John, when they were at war one with another.
[8.2] It was at this time that the commanders of the Idumeans got together privately, and took counsel about surrendring up themselves to the Romans. Accordingly they sent five men to Titus; and intreated him to give them his right hand for their security. So Titus thinking that the tyrants would yield, if the Idumeans, upon whom a great part of the war depended, were once withdrawn from them, after some reluctancy and delay, complied with them; and gave them security for their lives; and sent the five men back. But as these Idumeans were preparing to march out, Simon perceived it: and immediately slew the five men that had gone to Titus: and took their commanders, and put them in prison. Of whom the most eminent was Jacob, the son of Sosas. But as for the multitude of the Idumeans, who did not at all know what to do, now their commanders were taken from them, he had them watched; and secured the walls by a more numerous garrison. Yet could not that garrison resist those that were deserting. For although a great number of them were slain, yet were the deserters many more in number. These were all received by the Romans: because Titus himself grew negligent as to his former orders for killing them: and because the very soldiers grew weary of killing them: and because they hoped to get some money by sparing them. For they left only the populace; and sold the rest of the multitude, with their wives and children; and every one of them for a very low price: and that because such as were sold were very many, and the buyers very few. And although Titus had made proclamation beforehand, that no deserter should come alone by himself; that so they might bring out their families with them; yet did he receive such as these also. However, he set over them such as were to distinguish some from others; in order to see if any of them deserved to be punished. And indeed the number of those that were sold was immense. But of the populace above forty thousand were saved: whom Cæsar let go whither every one of them pleased.
[8.3] But now at this time it was, that one of the priests, the son of Thebuthus, whose name was Jesus; upon his having security given him by the oath of Cæsar that he should be preserved, upon condition that he should deliver to him certain of the precious things that had been reposited in the temple, came out of it, and delivered him from the wall of the holy house two candlesticks; like to those that lay in the holy house: with tables, and cisterns, and vials, all made of solid gold; and very heavy. He also delivered to him the veils, and the garments; with the precious stones, and a great number of other precious vessels that belonged to their sacred worship. The treasurer of the temple also, whose name was Phineas, was seized on, and shewed Titus the coats, and girdles of the priests: with a great quantity of purple, and scarlet, which were there reposited for the uses of the veil: as also a great deal of cinnamon, and cassia, with a large quantity of other sweet spices, which used to be mixed together, and offered as incense to God every day. A great many other treasures were also delivered to him; with sacred ornaments of the temple, not a few. Which things thus delivered to Titus, obtained of him for this man the same pardon, that he had allowed to such as deserted of their own accord.
[8.4] And now were the banks finished on the seventh day of the month Gorpieus [Elul] [A.D. 70], in eighteen days time: when the Romans brought their machines against the wall. But for the seditious, some of them, as despairing of saving the city, retired from the wall to the citadel. Others of them went down into the subterranean vaults: though still a great many of them defended themselves against those that brought the engines for the battery. Yet did the Romans overcome them, by their number, and by their strength: and, what was the principal thing of all, by going chearfully about their work, while the Jews were quite dejected, and become weak. Now as soon as a part of the wall was battered down, and certain of the towers yielded to the impression of the battering rams, those that opposed themselves fled away; and such a terror fell upon the tyrants, as was much greater than the occasion required. For before the enemy got over the breach they were quite stunned, and were immediately for flying away. And now one might see these men, who had hitherto been so insolent and arrogant in their wicked practices, to be cast down, and to tremble: insomuch that it would pity one’s heart to observe the change that was made in those vile persons. Accordingly they ran with great violence upon the Roman wall that encompassed them; in order to force away those that guarded it; and to break through it, and get away. But when they saw that those who had formerly been faithful to them had gone away: (as indeed they were fled whithersoever the great distress they were in persuaded them to flee:) as also when those that came running before the rest told them, that the western wall was intirely overthrown: while others said the Romans were gotten in; and others that they were near, and looking out for them; which were only the dictates of their fear, which imposed upon their sight: they fell upon their face, and greatly lamented their own mad conduct: and their nerves were so terribly loosed, that they could not fly away. And here one may chiefly reflect on the power of God exercised upon these wicked wretches; and on the good fortune of the Romans. For these tyrants did now wholly deprive themselves of the security they had in their own power; and came down from those very towers of their own accord, wherein they could have never been taken by force; nor indeed any other way than by famine. And thus did the Romans, when they had taken such great pains about weaker walls, get by good fortune, what they could never have gotten by their engines. For three of these towers were too strong for all mechanical engines whatsoever. Concerning which we have treated above.
[8.5] So they now left these towers of themselves, or rather they were ejected out of them by God himself, and fled immediately to that valley which was under Siloam. Where they again recovered themselves out of the dread they were in for a while, and ran violently against that part of the Roman wall which lay on that side. But as their courage was too much depressed to make their attacks with sufficient force, and their power was now broken with fear and affliction; they were repulsed by the guards; and dispersing themselves at distances from each other, went down into the subterranean caverns. So the Romans being now become masters of the walls, they both placed their ensigns upon the towers, and made joyful acclamations for the victory they had gained: as having found the end of this war, much lighter than its beginning. For when they had gotten upon the last wall, without any bloodshed, they could hardly believe what they found to be true; but seeing no body to oppose them, they stood in doubt what such an unusual solitude could mean. But when they went in numbers into the lanes of the city, with their swords drawn, they slew those whom they overtook without mercy; and set fire to the houses whither the Jews were fled, and burnt every soul in them: and laid waste a great many of the rest: and when they were come to the houses to plunder them, they found in them intire families of dead men; and the upper rooms full of dead corpses: that is of such as died by the famine. They then stood in an horror at this sight: and went out, without touching any thing. But although they had this commiseration for such as were destroyed in that manner, yet had they not the same for those that were still alive: but they ran every one through whom they met with; and obstructed the very lanes with their dead bodies; and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree indeed, that the fire of many of the houses was quenched with these mens blood. And truly so it happened, that though the slayers left off at the evening; yet did the fire greatly prevail in the night. And as all was burning, came that eighth day of the month Gorpieus [Elul] upon Jerusalem: a city that had been liable to so many miseries during this siege, that had it always enjoyed as much happiness from its first foundation, it would certainly have been the envy of the world. Nor did it on any other account so much deserve these sore misfortunes, as by producing such a generation of men as were the occasions of this its overthrow.
Book 6: Chapter 9: What injunctions Cæsar gave, when he was come within the city. The number of the captives, and of those that perished in the siege. As also concerning those that had escaped into the subterranean caverns: among whom were the tyrants, Simon and John, themselves.
[9.1] Now when Titus was come into this [upper] city, he admired not only some other places of strength in it, but particularly those strong towers which the tyrants, in their mad conduct, had relinquished. For when he saw their solid altitude, and the largeness of their several stones, and the exactness of their joints; as also how great was their breadth, and how extensive their length, he expressed himself after the manner following: “We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war: and it was no other than God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications. For what could the hands of men, or any machines, do towards overthrowing these towers?” At which time he had many such discourses to his friends. He also let such go free, as had been bound by the tyrants, and were left in the prisons. To conclude, when he intirely demolished the rest of the city, and overthrew its walls, he left these towers as a monument of his good fortune; which had proved his auxiliaries; and enabled him to take what could not otherwise have been taken by him.
[9.2] And now, since his soldiers were already quite tired with killing men; and yet there appeared to be a vast multitude still remaining alive; Cæsar gave orders, that they should kill none but those that were in arms, and opposed them: but should take the rest alive. But, together with those whom they had orders to slay, they slew the aged, and the infirm. But for those that were in their flourishing age; and who might be useful to them, they drove them together into the temple; and shut them up within the walls of the court of the women. Over which Cæsar set one of his freed men: as also Fronto, one of his own friends: which last was to determine every one’s fate, according to his merits. So this Fronto slew all those that had been seditious, and robbers, who were impeached one by another. But of the young men he chose out the tallest, and most beautiful; and reserved them for the triumph. And as for the rest of the multitude, that were above seventeen years old, he put them into bonds, and sent them to the Egyptian mines. Titus also sent a great number into the provinces; as a present to them: that they might be destroyed upon their theatres, by the sword, and by the wild beasts. But those that were under seventeen years of age, were sold for slaves. Now during the days wherein Fronto was distinguishing these men, there perished, for want of food, eleven thousand. Some of whom did not taste any food, through the hatred their guards bore to them: and others would not take in any, when it was given them. The multitude also was so very great, that they were in want even of corn for their sustenance.
[9.3] Now the number of those that were carried captive, during this whole war, was collected to be ninety-seven thousand. As was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand. The greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation [with the citizens of Jerusalem], but not belonging to the city it self. For they were come up from all the country to the feast of unleavened bread; and were on a sudden shut up by an army; which at the very first occasioned so great a straitness among them, that there came a pestilential destruction upon them; and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more suddenly. And that this city could contain so many people in it, is manifest by that number of them, which was taken under Cestius. Who being desirous of informing Nero of the power of the city, who otherwise was disposed to contemn that nation, intreated the High-priests, if the thing were possible, to take the number of their whole multitude. So these High-priests, upon the coming of that feast which is called the passover, when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour till the eleventh; but so that a company not less than ten, belong to every sacrifice: (for ’tis not lawful for them to feast singly by themselves). And many of us are twenty in a company. Now the number of sacrifices was two hundred fifty six thousand and five hundred: which, upon the allowance of no more than ten that feast together, amounts to two millions seven hundred thousand, and two hundred persons that were pure and holy. For as to those that have the leprosy, or the gonorrhœa; or women that have their monthly courses, or such as are otherwise polluted, it is not lawful for them to be partakers of this sacrifice. Nor indeed for any foreigners neither, who come hither to worship.
[9.4] Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote places. But the entire nation was now shut up by fate, as in prison; and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. Accordingly the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world. For, to speak only of what was publickly known, the Romans slew some of them; some they carried captives; and others they made a search for under ground: and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground, and slew all they met with. There were also found slain there above two thousand persons: partly by their own hands, and partly by one another; but chiefly destroyed by the famine. But then, the ill savour of the dead bodies was most offensive to those that light upon them. Insomuch that some were obliged to get away immediately; while others were so greedy of gain, that they would go in among the dead bodies that lay on heaps, and tread upon them. For a great deal of treasure was found in these caverns: and the hope of gain made every way of getting it to be esteemed lawful. Many also of those that had been put in prison by the tyrants were now brought out. For they did not leave off their barbarous cruelty at the very last. Yet did God avenge himself upon them both, in a manner agreeable to justice. As for John, he wanted food, together with his brethren, in these caverns; and begged that the Romans would now give him their right hand for his security which he had often proudly rejected before. But for Simon, he struggled hard with the distress he was in, till he was forced to surrender himself, as we shall relate hereafter. So he was reserved for the triumph: and to be then slain. As was John condemned to perpetual imprisonment. And now the Romans set fire to the extreme parts of the city, and burnt them down, and entirely demolished its walls.
Book 6: Chapter 10: That whereas the city of Jerusalem had been five times taken formerly, this was the second time of its desolation. A brief account of its history.
[10.1] And thus was Jerusalem taken, in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, on the eighth day of the month Gorpeius [Elul] [A.D. 70]. It had been taken five times before: though this was the second time of its desolation. For Shishak, the King of Egypt; and after him Antiochus, and after him Pompey, and after them Sosius and Herod, took the city; but still preserved it. But before all these, the King of Babylon conquered it, and made it desolate: one thousand, four hundred, sixty eight years, and six months, after it was built. But he who first built it was a potent man among the Canaanites: and is in our own tongue called [Melchisedek], The righteous King. For such he really was. On which account he was [there] the first priest of God; and first built a temple [there]; and called the city Jerusalem: which was formerly called Salem. However, David, the King of the Jews, ejected the Canaanites, and settled his own people therein. It was demolished entirely by the Babylonians, four hundred, seventy seven years, and six months after him. And from King David, who was the first of the Jews who reigned therein, to this destruction under Titus, were one thousand, one hundred, and seventy nine years. But from its first building, till this last destruction, were two thousand, one hundred, seventy seven years. Yet hath not its great antiquity; nor its vast riches; nor the diffusion of its nation over all the habitable earth; nor the greatness of the veneration paid to it on a religious account, been sufficient to preserve it from being destroyed. And thus ended the siege of Jerusalem.
Of the War — Book VII
Containing the interval of about three years.
From the taking of Jerusalem by Titus, to the sedition at Cyrene.
Book 7: Chapter 1. How the entire city of Jerusalem was demolished, excepting three towers; and how titus commended his soldiers in a speech made to them, and distributed rewards to them and then dismissed many of them.
How the entire city of Jerusalem was demolished, excepting three towers. And how Titus commended his soldiers in a speech made to them; and distributed rewards to them; and then dismissed many of them.
[1.1] Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay, or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury: (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done:) Cæsar gave orders that they should now demolish the intire city, and temple: but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency, that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne: and so much of the wall as inclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison: as were the towers also spared in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valour had subdued. But for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground, by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to, by the madness of those that were for innovations. A city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.
[1.2] But Cæsar resolved to leave there, as a guard, the tenth legion: with certain troops of horsemen, and companies of footmen. So, having intirely compleated this war, he was desirous to commend his whole army, on account of the great exploits they had performed; and to bestow proper rewards on such as had signalized themselves therein. He had therefore a great tribunal made for him in the midst of the place where he had formerly encamped, and stood upon it with his principal commanders about him; and spake so as to be heard by the whole arrmy in the manner following: “That he returned them abundance of thanks for their good will, which they had shewed to him. He commended them for that ready obedience they had exhibited in this whole war: which obedience had appeared in the many and great dangers which they had courageously undergone; as also for that courage they had shewed, and had thereby augmented of themselves their country’s power; and had made it evident to all men, that neither the multitude of their enemies, nor the strength of their places, nor the largeness of their cities, nor the rash boldness and brutish rage of their antagonists were sufficient at any time to get clear of the Roman valour; although some of them may have fortune in many respects on their side. He said farther, that it was but reasonable for them to put an end to this war, now it had lasted so long: for that they had nothing better to wish for when they entred into it. And that this happened more favourably for them, and more for their glory, that all the Romans had willingly accepted of those for their governours, and the curators of their dominions, whom they had chosen for them, and had sent into their own country for that purpose; which still continued under the management of those whom they had pitched on, and were thankful to them for pitching upon them. That accordingly, although he did both admire, and tenderly regard them all, because he knew that every one of them had gone as chearfully about their work, as their abilities and opportunities would give them leave; yet he said, that he would immediately bestow rewards and dignities on those that had fought the most bravely, and with greater force, and had signalized their conduct in the most glorious manner, and had made his army more famous by their noble exploits: and that no one who had been willing to take more pains than another, should miss of a just retribution for the same. For that he had been exceeding careful about this matter: and that the more, because he had much rather reward the virtues of his fellow soldiers, than punish such as had offended.”
[1.3] Hereupon Titus ordered those, whose business it was, to read the list of all that had performed great exploits in this war. Whom he called to him by their names, and commended them before the company; and rejoiced in them in the same manner as a man would have rejoiced in his own exploits. He also put on their heads crowns of gold, and golden ornaments about their necks, and gave them long spears of gold, and ensigns that were made of silver, and removed every one of them to an higher rank. And besides this, he plentifully distributed among them, out of the spoils, and the other prey they had taken, silver, and gold, and garments. So when they had all these honours bestowed on them, according to his own appointment made to every one, and he had wished all sorts of happiness to the whole army, he came down, among the great acclamations which were made to him: and then betook himself to offer thank-
Book 7: Chapter 2. How Titus exhibited all sorts of shows at Cesarea Philippi. Concerning Simon the tyrant how he was taken, and reserved for the triumph.
How Titus exhibited all sorts of shews at Cesarea Philippi. Concerning Simon the tyrant, how he was taken, and reserved for the triumph.
[2.1] Now at the same time that Titus Cæsar lay at the siege of Jerusalem, did Vespasian go on board a merchant ship, and sailed from Alexandria to Rhodes. Whence he sailed away in ships with three rows of oars; and as he touched at several cities that lay in his road, he was joyfully received by them all; and so passed over from Ionia into Greece. Whence he set sail from Corcyra, to the promontory of Iapyx: whence he took his journey by land. But as for Titus, he marched from that Cesarea which lay by the sea side, and came to that which is named Cesarea Philippi, and stayed there a considerable time, and exhibited all sorts of shews there. And here a great number of the captives were destroyed: some being thrown to wild beasts; and others in multitudes forced to kill one another, as if they were their enemies. And here it was that Titus was informed of the seizure of Simon, the son of Gioras: which was made after the manner following. This Simon, during the siege of Jerusalem, was in the upper city. But when the Roman army was gotten within the walls, and were laying the city waste, he then took the most faithful of his friends with him: and among them some that were stone-
Book 7: Chapter 3. How Titus upon the celebration of his brothers and fathers birthdays had many of the Jews slain. Concerning the danger the Jews were in at Antioch, by means of the transgression and impiety of one Antiochus, a Jew.
How Titus, upon the celebration of his brothers and fathers birth days, had many of the Jews slain. Concerning the danger the Jews were in at Antioch, by means of the transgression and impiety of one Antiochus a Jew.
[3.1] While Titus was at Cesarea, he solemnized the birthday of his brother [Domitian], after a splendid manner: and inflicted a great deal of the punishment intended for the Jews in honor of him. For the number of those that were now slain in fighting with the beasts, and were burnt, and fought with one another, exceeded two thousand five hundred. Yet did all this seem to the Romans, when they were thus destroyed ten thousand several ways, to be a punishment beneath their deserts. After this Cæsar came to Berytus, which is a city of Phenicia, and a Roman colony; and stayed there a longer time, and exhibited a still more pompous solemnity about his father’s birth-
[3.2] It happened also about this time, that the Jews who remained at Antioch were under accusations, and in danger of perishing, from the disturbances that were raised against them by the Antiochians; and this both on account of the slanders spread abroad at this time against them; and on account of what pranks they had played not long before: which I am obliged to describe without fail, though briefly: that I may the better connect my narration of future actions, with those that went before.
[3.3] For as the Jewish nation is widely dispersed over all the habitable earth, among its inhabitants; so is it very much intermingled with Syria, by reason of its neighbourhood; and had the greatest multitudes in Antioch, by reason of the largeness of the city: wherein the Kings, after Antiochus, had afforded them an habitation, with the most undisturbed tranquillity. For though Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, laid Jerusalem waste, and spoiled the temple; yet did those that succeeded him in the Kingdom restore all the donations that were made of brass to the Jews of Antioch, and dedicated them to their synagogue, and granted them the enjoyment of equal privileges of citizens with the Greeks themselves. And as the succeeding Kings treated them after the same manner, they both multiplied to a great number, and adorned their temple gloriously by fine ornaments, and with great magnificence, in the use of what had been given them. They also made proselytes of a great many of the Greeks perpetually; and thereby, after a sort, brought them to be a portion of their own body. But about this time when the present war began, and Vespasian was newly sailed to Syria, and all men had taken up a great hatred against the Jews; then it was that a certain person, whose name was Antiochus, being one of the Jewish nation, and greatly respected on account of his father, who was governor of the Jews at Antioch, came upon the theatre at a time when the people of Antioch were assembled together; and became an informer against his father, and accused both him and others, that they had resolved to burn the whole city in one night: he also delivered up to them some Jews that were foreigners, as partners in their resolutions. When the people heard this, they could not refrain their passion, but commanded that those who were delivered up to them should have fire brought to burn them: who were accordingly all burnt upon the theatre immediately. They did also fall violently upon the multitude of the Jews; as supposing that by punishing them suddenly they should save their own city. As for Antiochus, he aggravated the rage they were in; and thought to give them a demonstration of his own conversion, and of his hatred of the Jewish customs, by sacrificing after the manner of the Greeks. He persuaded the rest also to compel them to do the same; because they would by that means discover who they were that had plotted against them; since they would not do so. And when the people of Antioch tried the experiment, some few complied: but those that would not do so were slain. As for Ailtiochus himself, he obtained soldiers from the Roman commander, and became a severe master over his own citizens. Not permitting them to rest on the seventh day; but forcing them to do all that they usually did on other days. And to that degree of distress did he reduce them in this matter, that the rest of the seventh day was dissolved, not only at Antioch; but the same thing, which took thence its rise, was done in other cities also in like manner, for some small time.
[3.4] Now after these misfortunes had happened to the Jews at Antioch a second calamity befel them; the description of which when we were going about we premised the account foregoing. For upon this accident, whereby the four-
Book 7: Chapter 4. How Vespasian was received at Rome; as also how the Germans revolted from the romans, but were subdued. That the Sarmatians overran Mysia, but were compelled to retire to their own country again.
How Vespasian was received at Rome. As also how the Germans revolted from the Romans; but were subdued. That the Sarmatians over-
[4.1] And now Titus Cæsar, upon the news that was brought him concerning his father, that his coming was much desired by all the Italian cities; and that Rome especially received him with great alacrity and splendor, betook himself to rejoicing and pleasures, to a great degree; as now freed from the sollicitude he had been under, after the most agreeable manner. For all men that were in Italy shewed their respects to him in their minds, before he came thither; as if he were already come: as esteeming the very expectation they had of him to be his real presence, on account of the great desires they had to see him; and because the good will they bore him was intirely free and unconstrained. For it was a desirable thing to the senate, who well remembered the calamities they had undergone in the late changes of their governors, to receive a governor who was adorned with the gravity of old age, and with the highest skill in the actions of war, whose advancement would be, as they knew, for nothing else but for the preservation of those that were to be governed. Moreover, the people had been so harassed by their civil miseries, that they were still more earnest for his coming immediately: as supposing they should then be firmly delivered from their calamities, and believed they should then recover their secure tranquillity and prosperity. And for the soldiery, they had the principal regard to him; for they were chiefly apprized of his great exploits in war. And since they had experienced the want of skill, and want of courage in other commanders, they were very desirous to be freed from that great shame they had undergone by their means; and heartily wished to receive such a prince, as might be a security and an ornament to them. And as this good will to Vespasian was universal, those that enjoyed any remarkable dignities could not have patience enough to stay in Rome, but made haste to meet him at a very great distance from it. Nay indeed, none of the rest could endure the delay of seeing him; but did all pour out of the city in such crowds, and were so universally possessed with the opinion that it was easier and better for them to go out than to stay there, that this was the very first time that the city joyfully perceived itself almost empty of its citizens. For those that stayed within were fewer than those that went out. But as soon as the news was come that he was hard by, and those that had met him at first related with what good humour he received every one that came to him; then it was that the whole multitude that had remained in the city, with their wives and children, came into the road, and waited for him there. And for those whom he passed by they made all sorts of acclamations, on account of the joy they had to see him, and the pleasantness of his countenance; and styled him their benefactor, and saviour; and the only person who was worthy to be ruler of the city of Rome. And now the city was like a temple, full of garlands, and sweet odors. Nor was it easy for him to come to the royal palace, for the multitude of the people that stood about him, where yet at last he performed his sacrifices of thanksgiving to his household gods, for his safe return to the city. The multitude did also betake themselves to feasting. Which feasts, and drink-
[4.2] But before this time, and while Vespasian was about Alexandria, and Titus was lying at the siege of Jerusalem, a great multitude of the Germans were in commotion, and tended to rebellion. And as the Gauls in their neighbourhood joined with them, they conspired together, and had thereby great hopes of success, and that they should free themselves from the dominion of the Romans. The motives that induced the Germans to this attempt for a revolt, and for beginning the war were these: In the first place the nature [of the people], which was destitute of just reasonings, and ready to throw themselves rashly into danger upon small hopes. In the next place the hatred they bore to those that were their governors: while their nation had never been conscious of subjection to any, but to the Romans; and that by compulsion also. Besides these motives, it was the opportunity that now offered itself, which above all the rest prevailed with them so to do. For when they saw the Roman government in a great internal disorder, by the continual changes of its rulers; and understood that every part of the habitable earth under them was in an unsettled and tottering condition, they thought this was the best opportunity that could afford it self for themselves to make a sedition, when the state of the Romans was so ill. Classicus also, and Vitellius, two of their commanders, puffed them up with such hopes. These had, for a long time, been openly desirous of such an innovation; and were induced by the present opportunity to venture upon the declaration of their sentiments. The multitude was also ready; and when these men told them of what they intended to attempt, that news was gladly received by them. So when a great part of the Germans had agreed to rebel; and the rest were no better disposed; Vespasian, as guided by divine providence, sent letters to Petilius Cerealis, who had formerly had the command of Germany: whereby he declared him to have the dignity of consul, and commanded him to take upon him the government of Britain; so he went whither he was ordered to go: and when he was informed of the revolt of the Germans, he fell upon them, as soon as they were gotten together, and put his army in battle array, and slew a great multitude of them in the fight, and forced them to leave off their madness, and to grow wiser. Nay had he not fallen thus suddenly upon them on the place, it had not been long ere they would however have been brought to punishment. For assoon as ever the news of their revolt was come to Rome, and Cæsar Domitian was made acquainted with it, he made no delay, even at that his age, when he was exceeding young; but undertook this weighty affair. He had a courageous mind from his father, and had made greater improvements than belonged to such an age. Accordingly he marched against the barbarians immediately. Whereupon their hearts failed them at the very rumour of his approach: and they submitted themselves to him with fear; and thought it an happy thing that they were brought under their old yoke again without suffering any farther mischiefs. When therefore Domitian had settled all the affairs of Gall in such good order, that it would not be easily put into disorder any more, he returned to Rome, with honour and glory: as having performed such exploits as were above his own age, but worthy of so great a father.
[4.3] At the very same time with the forementioned revolt of the Germans did the bold attempt of the Scythians against the Romans occur. For those Scythians who are called Sarmatians, being a very numerous people, transported themselves over the Danube into Mysia; without being perceived. After which, by their violence, and intirely unexpected assault, they slew a great many of the Romans that guarded the frontiers: and as the consular legate Fonteius Agrippa came to meet them, and fought courageously against them, he was slain by them. They then over-
Book 7: Chapter V. Concerning the Sabbatic river which Titus saw as he was journeying through syria; and how the people of Antioch came with a petition to Titus against the jews but were rejected by him; as also concerning Titus’s and Vespasian’s triumph.
Concerning the sabbatick river, which Titus saw, as he was journeying through Syria. And how the people of Antioch came with a petition to Titus against the Jews, but were rejected by him. As also concerning Titus’s and Vespasian’s triumph.
[5.1] Now Titus Cæsar tarried some time at Berytus, as we told you before. He thence removed, and exhibited magnificent shews in all those cities of Syria through which he went; and made use of the captive Jews as publick instances of the destruction of that nation. He then saw a river, as he went along, of such a nature as deserves to be recorded in history. It runs in the middle between Arcea, belonging to Agrippa’s Kingdom, and Raphanea. It hath somewhat very peculiar in it. For when it runs, its current is strong, and has plenty of water. After which its springs fail for six days together, and leave its chanel dry, as any one may see. After which days it runs on the seventh day as it did before, and as though it had undergone no change at all: it hath also been observed to keep this order perpetually, and exactly. Whence it is that they call it the sabbatick river: that name being taken from the sacred seventh day among the Jews.
[5.2] But when the people of Antioch were informed that Titus was approaching, they were so glad at it, that they could not keep within their walls; but hasted away to give him the meeting: nay they proceeded as far as thirty furlongs, and more, with that intention. These were not the men only, but a multitude of women also, with their children did the same. And when they saw him coming up to them, they stood on both sides of the way, and stretched out their right hands, saluting him, and making all sorts of acclamations to him, and turned back together with him. They also among all the acclamations they made to him, besought him all the way they went to eject the Jews out of their city. Yet did not Titus at all yield to this their petition; but gave them the bare hearing of it quietly. However, the Jews were in a great deal of terrible fear, under the uncertainty they were in, what his opinion was, and what he would do to them. For Titus did not stay at Antioch; but continued his progress immediately to Zeugma, which lies upon the Euphrates; whither came to him messengers from Vologeses King of Parthia, and brought him a crown of gold, upon the victory he had gained over the Jews. Which he accepted of, and feasted the King’s messengers, and then came back to Antioch. And when the senate and people of Antioch earnestly entreated him to come upon their theatre, where their whole multitude was assembled, and expected him; he complied with great humanity. But when they pressed him, with much earnestness, and continually begged of him, that he would eject the Jews out of their city, he gave them this very pertinent answer: “How can this be done? since that country of theirs, whither the Jews must be obliged then to retire, is destroyed, and no place will receive them besides.” Whereupon the people of Antioch, when they had failed of success in this their first request, made him a second. For they desired that he would order those tables of brass to be removed, on which the Jews privileges were engraven. However Titus would not grant that neither: but permitted the Jews of Antioch to continue to enjoy the very same privileges in that city which they had before: and then departed for Egypt. And as he came to Jerusalem in his progress, and compared the melancholy condition he saw it then in, with the ancient glory of the city; and called to mind the greatness of its present ruins, as well as its ancient splendor, he could not but pity the destruction of the city: so far was he from boasting, that so great and goodly a city as that was, had been by him taken by force. Nay he frequently cursed those that had been the authors of their revolt; and had brought such a punishment upon the city. Insomuch that it openly appeared that he did not desire that such a calamity as this punishment of theirs amounted to, should be a demonstration of his courage. Yet was there no small quantity of the riches that had been in that city still found among its ruins: a great deal of which the Romans dug up: but the greatest part was discovered by those who were captives, and so they carried it away. I mean the gold, and the silver, and the rest of that most precious furniture which the Jews had, and which the owners had treasured up under ground, against the uncertain fortunes of war.
[5.3] So Titus took the journey he intended to Egypt; and passed over the desert very suddenly, and came to Alexandria, and took up a resolution to go to Rome by sea. And as he was accompanied by two legions, he sent each of them again to the places whence they had before come. The fifth he sent to Mysia: and the fifteenth to Pannonia. As for the leaders of the captives, Simon and John, with the other seven hundred men, whom he had selected out of the rest, as being eminently tall, and handsome of body, he gave order that they should be soon carried to Italy: as resolving to produce them in his triumph. So when he had had a prosperous voyage, to his mind, the city of Rome behaved itself in his reception, and their meeting him at a distance, as it did in the case of his father. But what made the most splendid appearance in Titus’s opinion was, when his father met him, and received him. But still the multitude of the citizens conceived the greatest joy, when they saw them all three together, as they did at this time. Nor were many days overpast, when they determined to have but one triumph that should be common to both of them, on account of the glorious exploits they had performed. Although the senate had decreed each of them a separate triumph by himself. So when notice had been given beforehand of the day appointed for this pompous solemnity to be made, on account of their victories, not one of the immense multitude was left in the city; but every body went out so far as to gain only a station where they might stand; and left only such a passage as was necessary for those that were to be seen to go along it.
[5.4] Now all the soldiery marched out beforehand by companies, and in their several ranks, under their several commanders, in the night time: and were about the gates, not of the upper palaces, but those near the temple of Isis. For there it was that the Emperors had rested the foregoing night. And as soon as ever it was day, Vespasian and Titus came out, crowned with laurel; and clothed in those ancient purple habits which were proper to their family: and then went as far as Octavian’s walks. For there it was that the senate, and the principal rulers, and those that had been recorded as of the equestrian order, waited for them. Now a tribunal had been erected before the cloisters, and ivory chairs had been set upon it. When they came and sat down upon them. Whereupon the soldiery made an acclamation of joy to them immediately; and all gave them attestations of their valour. While they were themselves without their arms, and only in their silk garments, and crowned with laurel. Then Vespasian accepted of these shouts of theirs. But while they were still disposed to go on in such acclamations, he gave them a signal of silence. And when every body intirely held their peace, he stood up; and covering the greatest part of his head with his cloak, he put up the accustomed solemn prayers. The like prayers did Titus put up also. After which prayers Vespasian made a short speech to all the people; and then sent away the soldiers to a dinner prepared for them by the Emperors. Then did he retire to that gate which was called the gate of the pomp; because pompous shews do always go through that gate. There it was that they tasted some food: and when they had put on their triumphal garments, and had offered sacrifices to the gods that were placed at the gate, they sent the triumph forward, and marched through the theatres; that they might be the more easily seen by the multitudes.
[5.5] Now it is impossible to describe the multitude of the shews as they deserve; and the magnificence of them all: such indeed as a man could not easily think of, as performed either by the labour of workmen, or the variety of riches, or the rarities of nature. For almost all such curiosities as the most happy men ever get by piece meal, were here one heaped on another; and those both admirable, and costly in their nature: and as all brought together on that day, demonstrated the vastness of the dominions of the Romans. For there was here to be seen a mighty quantity of silver, and gold, and ivory, contrived into all sorts of things: and did not appear as carried along in pompous shew only, but, as a man may say, running along like a river. Some parts were composed of the rarest purple hangings, and so carried along: and others accurately represented to the life what was embroidered by the art of the Babylonians. There were also precious stones that were transparent, some set in crowns of gold, and some in other ouches, as the workmen pleased. And of these such a vast number were brought, that we could not but thence learn how vainly we imagined any of them to be rarities. The images of the gods were also carried, being as well wonderful for their largeness, as made very artificially, and with great skill of the workmen. Nor were any of these images of any other than very costly materials. And many species of animals were brought, every one in their own natural ornaments. The men also who brought every one of these shews were great multitudes, and adorned with purple garments, all over interwoven with gold. Those that were chosen for carrying these pompous shews having also about them such magnificent ornaments, as were both extraordinary, and surprizing. Besides these, one might see that even the great number of the captives was not unadorned. While the variety that was in their garments, and their fine texture, concealed from the sight the deformity of their bodies. But what afforded the greatest surprize of all was the structure of the pageants that were borne along. For indeed he that met them could not but be afraid that the bearers would not be able firmly enough to support them; such was their magnitude. For many of them were so made, that they were on three or even four stories one above another. The magnificence also of their structure afforded one both pleasure, and surprize. For upon many of them were laid carpets of gold. There was also wrought gold, and ivory, fastened about them all. And many resemblances of the war, and those in several ways, and variety of contrivances, affording a most lively portraiture of it self. For there was to be seen an happy country laid waste; and intire squadrons of enemies slain; while some of them ran away, and some were carried into captivity: with walls of great altitude, and magnitude overthrown, and ruined by machines; with the strongest fortifications taken; and the walls of most populous cities upon the tops of hills seized on; and an army pouring it self within the walls: as also every place full of slaughter; and supplications of the enemies, when they were no longer able to lift up their hands in way of opposition. Fire also sent upon temples was here represented; and houses overthrown, and falling upon their owners: rivers also, after they came out of a large and melancholy desert, ran down, not into a land cultivated, nor as drink for men, or for cattle, but through a land still on fire upon every side. For the Jews related that such a thing they had undergone during this war. Now the workmanship of these representations was so magnificent and lively, in the construction of the things, that it exhibited what had been done to such as did not see it, as if they had been there really present. On the top of every one of these pageants was placed the commander of the city that was taken; and the manner wherein he was taken. Moreover there followed those pageants a great number of ships. And for the other spoils they were carried in great plenty. But for those that were taken in the temple of Jerusalem, they made the greatest figure of them all. That is the golden table, of the weight of many talents. The candlestick also, that was made of gold; though its construction were now changed from that which we made use of. For its middle shaft was fixed upon a basis, and the small branches were produced out of it to a great length: having the likeness of a trident in their position, and had every one a socket made of brass for a lamp at the tops of them. These lamps were in number seven; and represented the dignity of the number seven among the Jews. And the last of all the spoils was carried the law of the Jews. After these spoils passed by a great many men, carrying the images of victory: whose structure was intirely either of ivory, or of gold. After which Vespasian marched in the first place: and Titus followed him. Domitian also rode along with them; and made a glorious appearance, and rode on an horse that was worthy of admiration.
[5.6] Now the last part of this pompous shew was at the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus; whither when they were come, they stood still. For it was the Romans ancient custom to stay till some body brought the news, that the general of the enemy was slain. This general was Simon, the son of Gioras: who had then been led in this triumph among the captives. A rope had also been put upon his head; and he had been drawn into a proper place in the forum; and had withal been tormented by those that drew him along. And the law of the Romans required, that malefactors condemned to die, should be slain there. Accordingly when it was related that there was an end of him, and all the people had set up a shout for joy, they then began to offer those sacrifices which they had consecrated, in the prayers used in such solemnities. Which when they had finished, they went away to the palace. And as for some of the spectators, the Emperors entertained them at their own feast: and for all the rest there were noble preparations made for feasting at home. For this was a festival day to the city of Rome: as celebrated for the victory obtained by their army over their enemies; for the end that was now put to their civil miseries; and for the commencement of their hopes of future prosperity and happiness.
[5.7] After these triumphs were over, and after the affairs of the Romans were settled on the surest foundations, Vespasian resolved to build a temple to Peace. Which was finished in so short a time, and so glorious a manner, as was beyond all human expectation and opinion. For he having now by providence a vast quantity of wealth; besides what he had formerly gained in his other exploits; he had this temple adorned with pictures and statues; for in this temple were collected and deposited all such rarities as men aforetime used to wander all over the habitable world to see, when they had a desire to see one of them after another; he also laid up therein those golden vessels and instruments that were taken out of the Jewish temple, as ensigns of his glory. But still he gave order that they should lay up their law, and the purple veils of the holy place, in the royal palace it self; and keep them there.
Book 7: Chapter 6. Concerning Macherus, and how Lucilius Bassus took that citadel, and other places.
Concerning Macherus; and how Lucilius Bassus took that citadel, and other places.
[6.1] Now Lucilius Bassus was sent as legate into Judea: and there he received the army from Cerealis Vitellianus; and took that citadel which was in Herodium, together with the garrison that was in it. After which he got together all the soldiery that was there, (which was a large body; but dispersed into several parties:) with the tenth legion, and resolved to make war upon Macherus. For it was highly necessary that this citadel should be demolished; lest it might be a means of drawing away many into a rebellion, by reason of its strength. For the nature of the place was very capable of affording the surest hopes of safety to those that possessed it; as well as delay and fear to those that should attack it. For what was walled in was itself a very rocky hill, elevated to a very great height: which circumstance alone made it very hard to he subdued. It was also so contrived by nature, that it could not be easily ascended. For it is, as it were, ditched about with such valleys on all sides, and to such a depth, that the eye cannot reach their bottoms; and such as are not easily to be passed over; and even such as it is impossible to fill up with earth. For that valley which cuts it on the west, extends to threescore furlongs, and did not end till it came to the lake Asphaltitis. On the same side it was also that Macherus had the tallest top of its hill elevated above the rest. But then for the valleys that lay on the north and south sides, although they be not so large as that already described, yet it is in like manner an impracticable thing to think of getting over them. And for the valley that lies on the east side, its depth is found to be no less than an hundred cubits. It extends as far as a mountain that lies over-
[6.2] Now when Alexander [Janneus], the King of the Jews observed the nature of this place, he was the first who built a citadel here: which afterwards was demolished by Gabinius, when he made war against Aristobulus. But when Herod came to be King, he thought the place to be worthy of the utmost regard, and of being built upon in the firmest manner; and this especially, because it lay so near to Arabia. For it is seated in a convenient place on that account; and hath a prospect toward that country. He therefore surrounded a large space of ground with walls, and towers; and built a city there. Out of which city there was a way that led up to the very citadel it self, on the top of the mountain. Nay more than this, he built a wall round that top of the hill; and erected towers at the corners, of an hundred and sixty cubits high. In the middle of which place he built a palace, after a magnificent manner: wherein were large and beautiful edifices. He also made a great many reservoirs, for reception of water; that there might be plenty of it ready for all uses; and those in the properest places that were afforded him there. Thus did he, as it were, contend with the nature of the place, that he might exceed its natural strength and security; which yet it self rendred it hard to be taken; by those fortifications which were made by the hands of men. Moreover, he put a large quantity of darts, and other machines of war into it; and contrived to get every thing thither that might any way contribute to its inhabitants security, under the longest siege possible.
[6.3] Now within this palace there grew a sort of rue, that deserves our wonder, on account of its largeness. For it was no way inferior to any fig tree whatsoever; either in height, or in thickness. And the report is, that it had lasted ever since the times of Herod: and would probably have lasted much longer, had it not been cut down by those Jews, who took possession of the place afterward. But still in that valley which encompasses the city on the north side there is a certain place called Baaras: which produces a root of the same name with itself. Its colour is like to that of flame: and towards the evenings it sends out a certain ray like lightening. It is not easily taken by such as would do it, but recedes from their hands, nor will yield it self to be taken quietly, until either the urine of a woman, or her menstrual blood be poured upon it. Nay even then it is certain death to those that touch it, unless any one take and hang the root it self down from his hand, and so carry it away. It may also be taken another way, without danger: which is this. They dig a trench quite round about it, till the hidden part of the root be very small. They then tie a dog to it: and when the dog tries hard to follow him that tied him, this root is easily plucked up; but the dog dies immediately: as if it were instead of the man that would take the plant away. Nor after this need any one be afraid of taking it into their hands. Yet after all this pains in getting, it is only valuable on account of one virtue it hath, that if it be only brought to the sick persons, it quickly drives away those called demons, which are no other than the spirits of the wicked, that enter into men that are alive, and kill them; unless they can obtain some help against them. Here are also fountains of hot water, that flow out of this place; which have a very different taste one from the other. For some of them are bitter; and others of them are plainly sweet. Here are also many eruptions of cold waters: and this not only in the places that lie lower, and have their fountains near one another, but, what is still more wonderful, here is to be seen a certain cave hard by; whose cavity is not deep; but it is covered over by a rock that is prominent: above this rock there stand up two [hills or] breasts, as it were, but a little distant one from another; the one of which sends out a fountain that is very cold; and the other sends out one that is very hot. Which waters, when they are mingled together, compose a most pleasant bath; they are medicinal indeed for other maladies; but especially good for strengthening the nerves. This place has in it also mines of sulphur, and alum.
[6.4] Now when Bassus had taken a full view of this place, he resolved to besiege it, by filling up the valley that lay on the east side: so he fell hard to work, and took great pains to raise his banks as soon as possible: and by that means to render the siege easy. As for the Jews that were caught in the place, they separated themselves from the strangers that were with them; and they forced those strangers, as an otherwise useless multitude, to stay in the lower part of the city, and undergo the principal dangers. While they themselves seized on the upper citadel, and held it; and this both on account of its strength, and to provide for their own safety. They also supposed they might obtain their pardon, in case they should [at last] surrender the citadel. However, they were willing to make trial in the first place, whether the hopes they had of avoiding a siege would come to any thing. With which intention they made sallies every day, and fought with those that met them. In which conflicts they were many of them slain; as they therein slew many of the Romans. But still it was the opportunities that presented themselves, which chiefly gained both sides their victories. These were gained by the Jews, when they fell upon the Romans as they were off their guard; but by the Romans when upon the others sallies against their banks, they foresaw their coming, and were upon their guard when they received them. But the conclusion of this siege did not depend upon these bickerings. But a certain surprizing accident, relating to what was done in this siege, forced the Jews to surrender the citadel. There was a certain young man among the besieged, of great boldness, and very active of his hand. His name was Eleazar. He greatly signalized himself in those sallies, and encouraged the Jews to go out in great numbers, in order to hinder the raising of the banks: and did the Romans a vast deal of mischief when they came to fighting. He so managed matters, that those who sallied out, made their attacks easily, and returned back without danger; and this by still bringing up the rear himself. Now it happened that on a certain time, when the fight was over, and both sides were parted, and retired home, he, in way of contempt of the enemy, and thinking that none of them would begin the fight again at that time, staid without the gates, and talked with those that were upon the wall. And his mind was wholly intent upon what they said. Now a certain person, belonging to the Roman camp, whose lame was Rufus, by birth an Egyptian, ran upon him suddenly, when no body expected such a thing, and carried him off, with his armour it self: while in the mean time those that saw it from the wall were under such an amazement, that Rufus prevented their assistance, and carried Eleazar to the Roman camp. So the general of the Romans ordered, that he should be taken up naked, set before the city to be seen, and sorely whipped before their eyes. Upon this sad accident that befel the young man, the Jews were terribly confounded; and the city, with one voice, sorely lamented him: and the mourning proved greater than could well be supposed upon the calamity of a single person. When Bassus perceived that, he began to think of using a stratagem against the enemy: and was desirous to aggravate their grief, in order to prevail with them to surrender the city, for the preservation of that man. Nor did he fail of his hope. For he commanded them to set up a cross, as if he were just going to hang Eleazar upon it immediately. The sight of this occasioned a sore grief among those that were in the citadel: and they groaned vehemently; and cried out, that they could not bear to see him thus destroyed. Whereupon Eleazar besought them not to disregard him, now he was going to suffer a most miserable death; and exhorted them to save themselves, by yielding to the Roman power, and good fortune: since all other people were now conquered by them. These men were greatly moved with what he said: there being also many within the city that interceded for him, because he was of an eminent and very numerous family. So they now yielded to their passion of commiseration, contrary to their usual custom. Accordingly they sent out immediately certain messengers, and treated with the Romans, in order to a surrender of the citadel to them: and desired that they might be permitted to go away, and take Eleazar along with them. Then did the Romans, and their general, accept of these terms. While the multitude of strangers that were in the lower part of the city, hearing of the agreement that was made by the Jews for themselves alone, were resolved to fly away privately in the night time. But as soon as they had opened their gates, those that had come to terms with Bassus, told him of it. Whether it were that they envied the others deliverance: or whether it were done out of fear, lest an occasion should be taken against them upon their escape, is uncertain. The most courageous therefore of those men that went out prevented the enemy, and got away, and fled for it. But for those men that were caught within they were slain, to the number of one thousand seven hundred: as were the women and the children made slaves. But as Bassus thought he must perform the convenant he had made with those that had surrendred the citadel, he let them go, and restored Eleazar to them.
[6.5] When Bassus had settled these affairs, he marched hastily to the forest of Jarden, as it is called. For he had heard that a great many of those that had fled from Jerusalem and Macherus formerly, were there gotten together. When he was therefore come to the place, and understood that the former news was no mistake; he, in the first place, surrounded the whole place with his horsemen: that such of the Jews as had boldness enough to try to break through, might have no way possible for escaping, by reason of the situation of these horsemen. And for the footmen, he ordered them to cut down the trees that were in the wood whither they were fled. So the Jews were under a necessity of performing some glorious exploit, and of greatly exposing themselves in a battle; since they might perhaps thereby escape. So they made a general attack: and with a great shout fell upon those that surrounded them. Who received them with great courage. And so while the one side fought desperately, and the others would not yield, the fight was prolonged on that account. But the event of the battle did not answer the expectation of the assailants. For so it happened, that no more than twelve fell on the Roman side, with a few that were wounded. But not one of the Jews escaped out of this battle; but they were all killed; being in the whole not fewer in number than three thousand: together with Judas the son of Jairus their general: concerning whom we have before spoken, that he had been a captain of a certain band at the siege of Jerusalem, and by going down into a certain vault under ground, had privately made his escape.
[6.6] About the same time it was that Cæsar sent a letter to Bassus, and to Liberius Maximus, who was the procurator [of Judea], and gave order that all Judea should be exposed to sale. For he did not found any city there, but reserved the country for himself. However, he assigned a place for eight hundred men only, whom he had dismissed from his army, which he gave them for their habitation. It is called Emmaus and is distant from Jerusalem threescore furlongs: he also laid a tribute upon the Jews wheresoever they were, and enjoined every one of them to bring two drachmæ every year into the capitol, as they used to pay the same to the temple at Jerusalem. And this was the state of the Jewish affairs at this time.
Book 7: Chapter 7. Concerning the calamity that befell Antiochus, King of Commagene. As also concerning the alans and what great mischiefs they did to the Medes and Armenians.
Concerning the calamity that befel Antiochus King of Commagene. As also concerning the Alans; and what great mischiefs they did to the Medes, and Armenians.
[7.1] And now, in the fourth year of the reign of Vespasian [A.D. 72], it came to pass, that Antiochus, the King of Commagene, with all his family, fell into very great calamities. The occasion was this: Cesennius Petus, who was president of Syria at this time, whether it were done out of regard to truth, or whether out of hatred to Antiochus; (for which was the real motive, was never thoroughly discovered;) sent an epistle to Cæsar, and therein told him, that “Antiochus, with his son Epiphanes, had resolved to rebel against the Romans; and had made a league with the King of Parthia to that purpose. That it was therefore fit to prevent them; lest they prevent us, and begin such a war as may cause a general disturbance in the Roman Empire.” Now Cæsar was disposed to take some care about the matter, since this discovery was made. For the neighbourhood of the kingdoms made this affair worthy of greater regard. For Samosata, the capital of Commagene, lies upon Euphrates: and upon any such design could afford an easy passage over it to the Parthians: and could also afford them a secure reception. Petus was accordingly believed; and had authority given him of doing what he should think proper in the case. So he set about it without delay: and fell upon Commagene, before Antiochus and his people had the least expectation of his coming. He had with him the tenth legion: as also some cohorts, and troops of horsemen. These Kings also came to his assistance: Aristobulus, King of the country called Chalcidene; and Sohemus, who was called King of Emesa. Nor was there any opposition made to his forces when they entered the kingdom. For no one of that country would so much as lift up his hand against them. When Antiochus heard this unexpected news, he could not think in the least of making war with the Romans; but determined to leave his whole kingdom in the state wherein it now was, and to retire privately, with his wife and children: as thinking thereby to demonstrate himself to the Romans to be innocent as to the accusation laid against him. So he went away from that city, as far as an hundred and twenty furlongs, into a plain; and there pitched his tents.
[7.2] Petus then sent some of his men to seize upon Samosata; and by their means took possession of that city: while he went himself to attack Antiochus, with the rest of his army. However the King was not prevailed upon by the distress he was in to do any thing in the way of war against the Romans: but bemoaned his own hard fate; and endured with patience what he was not able to prevent. But his sons, who were young, and unexperienced in war, but of strong bodies, were not easily induced to bear this calamity without fighting. Epiphanes therefore, and Callinicus, betook themselves to military force. And as the battle was a sore one, and lasted all the day long, they shewed their own valour in a remarkable manner: and nothing but the approach of night put a period thereto; and that without any diminution of their forces. Yet would not Antiochus, upon this conclusion of the fight, continue there by any means; but took his wife, and his daughters, and fled away with them to Cilicia: and by so doing quite discouraged the minds of his own soldiers. Accordingly they revolted, and went over to the Romans, out of the despair they were in of his keeping the kingdom: and his case was looked upon by all as quite desperate. It was therefore necessary that Epiphanes, and his soldiers should get clear of their enemies before they became entirely destitute of any confederates. Nor were there any more than ten horsemen with him; who passed with him over Euphrates. Whence they went undisturbed to Vologeses, the King of Parthia. Where they were not disregarded as fugitives; but had the same respect paid them, as if they had retained their ancient prosperity.
[7.3] Now when Antiochus was come to Tarsus, in Cilicia, Petus ordered a centurion to go to him; and send him in bonds to Rome. However, Vespasian could not endure to have a king brought to him in that manner: but thought it fit rather to have a regard to the ancient friendship that had been between them, than to preserve an inexorable anger upon pretence of this war. Accordingly he gave orders that they should take off his bonds, while he was still upon the road; and that he should not come to Rome, but should now go and live at Lacedemon. He also gave him large revenues; that he might not only live in plenty, but like a king also. When Epiphanes, who before was in great fear for his father, was informed of this, their minds were freed from that great, and almost incurable concern they had been under. He also hoped that Cæsar would be reconciled to them, upon the intercession of Vologeses. For although he lived in plenty, he knew not how to bear living out of the Roman empire. So Cæsar gave him leave, after an obliging manner; and he came to Rome: and as his father came quickly to him from Lacedemon, he had all sorts of respect paid him there, and there he remained.
[7.4] Now there was a nation of the Alans, which we have formerly mentioned somewhere, as being Scythians, and inhabiting at the lake Meotis. This nation, about this time, laid a design of falling upon Media, and the parts beyond it; in order to plunder them. With which intention they treated with the King of Hyrcania. For he was master of that passage which King Alexander [the Great] shut up with iron gates. This king gave them leave to come through them. So they came in great multitudes, and fell upon the Medes unexpectedly, and plundered their country: which they found full of people, and replenished with abundance of cattle. While no body durst make any resistance against them. For Pacorus, the King of the country, had fled away for fear, into places where they could not easily come at him; and had yielded up every thing he had to them; and had only saved his wife, and his concubines from them, and that with difficulty also, after they had been made captives, by giving them an hundred talents for their ransom. These Alans therefore plundered the country, without opposition; and with great ease: and proceeded as far as Armenia: laying all waste before them. Now Tiridates was King of that country; who met them, and fought them; but had like to have been taken alive in the battle;. Fr a certain man threw a net over him, from a great distance; and had soon drawn him to him, unless he had immediately cut the cord with his sword, and ran away, and prevented it. So the Alans being still more provoked by this sight; laid waste the country, and drove a great multitude of the men, and a great quantity of the other prey they had gotten out of both kingdoms along with them, and then retreated back to their own country.
Book 7: Chapter 8. Concerning Masada and those Sicarii who kept it; and how Silva betook himself to form the siege of that citadel. Eleazar’s speeches to the besieged.
Concerning Masada, and those Sicarii who kept it: And how Silva betook himself to form the siege of that citadel. Eleazar’s speeches to the besieged.
[8.1] When Bassus was dead in Judea, Flavius Silva succeeded him, as procurator there [about A.D. 73]. Who when he saw that all the rest of the country was subdued in this war, and that there was but one only strong hold that was still in rebellion, he got all his army together, that lay in different places, and made an expedition against it. This fortress was called Masada. It was one Eleazar, a potent man, and the commander of these Sicarii that had seized upon it. He was a descendant from that Judas, who had persuaded abundance of the Jews, as we have formerly related, not to submit to the taxation, when Cyrenius was sent into Judea to make one. For then it was that the Sicarii got together against those that were willing to submit to the Romans, and treated them, in all respects, as if they had been their enemies: both by plundering them of what they had; by driving away their cattle; and by setting fire to their houses. For they said, that they differed not at all from foreigners, by betraying, in so cowardly a manner, that freedom which Jews thought worthy to be contended for to the utmost: and by owning that they preferred slavery under the Romans, before such a contention. Now this was in reality no better than a pretence, and a cloak for the barbarity which was made use of by them, and to colour over their own avarice: which they afterward made evident by their own actions. For those that were partners with them in their rebellion, joined also with them in the war against the Romans: and went farther lengths with them in their impudent undertakings against them. And when they were again convicted of dissembling in such their pretences, they still more abused those that justly reproached them for their wickedness. And indeed that was a time most fertile in all manner of wicked practices: insomuch that no kind of evil deeds were then left undone. Nor could any one so much as devise any bad thing that was new: so deeply were they all infected, and strove with one another in their single capacity, and in their communities, who should run the greatest lengths in impiety towards God, and in unjust actions towards their neighbours. The men of power oppressing the multitude: and the multitude earnestly labouring to destroy the men of power. The one part were desirous of tyrannizing over others; and the rest of offering violence to others; and of plundering such as were richer than themselves. They were the Sicarii who first began these transgressions; and first became barbarous towards those allied to them; and left no words of reproach unsaid, and no works of perdition untried; in order to destroy those whom their contrivances affected. Yet did John demonstrate by his actions, that these Sicarii were more moderate than he was himself. For he not only slew all such as gave him good counsel to do what was right; but treated them worst of all; as the most bitter enemies that he had among all the citizens. Nay he filled his entire country with ten thousand instances of wickedness: such as a man who was already hardened sufficiently in his impiety towards God, would naturally do. For the food was unlawful that was set upon his table; and he rejected those purifications that the law of his country had ordained. So that it was no longer a wonder, if he who was so mad in his impiety towards God, did not observe any rules of gentleness, and common affection towards men. Again therefore, what mischief was there which Simon, the son of Gioras, did not do? Or what kind of abuses did he abstain from as to those very free men who had set him up for a tyrant? What friendship or kindred were there that did not make him more bold in his daily murders? For they looked upon the doing of mischief to strangers only, as a work beneath their courage: but thought their barbarity towards their nearest relations would be a glorious demonstration thereof. The Idumeans also strove with these men, who should be guilty of the greatest madness. For they [all], vile wretches as they were, cut the throats of the High-
[8.2] For now it was that the Roman general came, and led his army against Eleazar, and those Sicarii who held the fortress Masada together with him. And for the whole country adjoining he presently gained it, and put garrisons into the most proper places of it. He also built a wall quite round the intire fortress; that none of the besieged might easily escape. He also set his men to guard the several parts of it. He also pitched his camp in such an agreeable place as he had chosen for the siege; and at which place the rock belonging to the fortress did make the nearest approach to the neighbouring mountain: which yet was a place of difficulty for getting plenty of provisions. For it was not only food that was to be brought from a great distance [to the army], and this with a great deal of pain to those Jews who were appointed for that purpose; but water was also to be brought to the camp: because the place afforded no fountain that was near it. When therefore Silva had ordered these affairs beforehand, he fell to besieging the place. Which siege was likely to stand in need of a great deal of skill and pains; by reason of the strength of the fortress: the nature of which I will now describe.
[8.3] There was a rock, not small in circumference, and very high. It was encompassed with valleys of such vast depth downward, that the eye could not reach their bottoms. They were abrupt; and such as no animal could walk upon; excepting at two places of the rock where it subsides, in order to afford a passage for ascent; though not without difficulty. Now of the ways that lead to it, one is that from the lake Asphaltitis, towards sun rising: and another on the west, where the ascent is easier. The one of these ways is called the serpent; as resembling that animal in its narrowness, and its perpetual windings. For it is broken off at the prominent precipices of the rock, and returns frequently into it self, and lengthening again by little and little, hath much ado to proceed forward. And he that would walk along it must first go on one leg, and then on the other. There is also nothing but destruction in case your feet slip. For on each side there is a vastly deep chasm, and precipice; sufficient to quell the courage of every body, by the terror it infuses into the mind. When therefore a man hath gone along this way for thirty furlongs, the rest is the top of the hill; not ending at a small point; but is no other than a plain upon the highest part of the mountain. Upon this top of the hill Jonathan the High-
[8.4] As for the furniture that was within this fortress, it was still more wonderful on account of its splendor, and long continuance. For here was laid up corn in large quantities, and such as would subsist men for a long time. Here was also wine, and oil in abundance; with all kinds of pulse, and dates heaped up together. All which Eleazar found there, when he and his Sicarii got possession of the fortress by treachery. These fruits were also fresh and full ripe; and no way inferior to such fruits newly laid in. Although they were little short of an hundred years from the laying in these provisions [by Herod], till the place was taken by the Romans. Nay indeed when the Romans got possession of those fruits that were left, they found them not corrupted all that while. Nor should we be mistaken if we supposed, that the air was here the cause of their enduring so long. This fortress being so high, and so free from the mixture of all terrene and muddy particles of matter. There was also found here a large quantity of all sorts of weapons of war; which had been treasured up by that king; and were sufficient for ten thousand men. There was cast iron, and brass, and tin. Which shew that he had taken much pains to have all things here ready for the greatest occasions. For the report goes, how Herod thus prepared this fortress on his own account, as a refuge against two kinds of danger. The one for fear of the multitude of the Jews; lest they should depose him, and restore their former kings to the government. The other danger was greater and more terrible; which arose from Cleopatra, Queen of Egypt, who did not conceal her intentions, but spoke often to Antony, and desired him to cut off Herod; and intreated him to bestow the kingdom of Judea upon her. And certainly it is a great wonder that Antony did never comply with her commands in this point: as he was so miserably enslaved to his passion for her. Nor should any one have been surprized if she had been gratified in such her request. So the fear of these dangers made Herod rebuild Masada: and thereby leave it for the finishing stroke of the Romans, in this Jewish war.
[8.5] Since therefore the Roman commander, Silva, had now built a wall on the outside, round about this whole place, as we have said already; and had thereby made a most accurate provision to prevent any one of the besieged’s running away; he undertook the siege it self: though he found but one single place that would admit of the banks he was to raise. For behind that tower which secured the road that led to the palace, and to the top of the hill, from the west, there was a certain eminency of the rock; very broad, and very prominent: but three hundred cubits beneath the highest part of Masada. It was called The white promontory. Accordingly he got upon that part of the rock, and ordered the army to bring earth. And when they fell to that work with alacrity, and abundance of them together, the bank was raised, and became solid, for two hundred cubits in height. Yet was not this bank thought sufficiently high for the use of the engines that were to be set upon it: but still another elevated work, of great stones, compacted together was raised upon that bank. This was fifty cubits both in breadth and height. The other machines that were now got ready, were like to those that had been first devised by Vespasian, and afterwards by Titus for sieges. There was also a tower made, of the height of sixty cubits; and all over plated with iron. Out of which the Romans threw darts, and stones from the engines; and soon made those that fought from the walls of the place to retire; and would not let them lift up their heads above the works. At the same time Silva ordered that great battering ram which he had made, to be brought thither; and to be set against the wall, and to make frequent batteries against it. Which, with some difficulty, brake down a part of the wall, and quite overthrew it. However, the Sicarii made haste, and presently built another wall within that, which should not be liable to the same misfortune from the machines with the other. It was made soft and yielding; and so was capable of avoiding the terrible blows that affected the other. It was framed after the following manner: they laid together great beams of wood, lengthways; one close to the end of another; and the same way in which they were cut. There were two of these rows parallel to one another; and laid at such a distance from each other, as the breadth of the wall required; and earth was put into the space between those rows. Now that the earth might not fall away upon the elevation of this bank to a greater height, they farther laid other beams over cross them; and thereby bound those beams together that lay lengthways. This work of theirs was like a real edifice. And when the machines were applied, the blows were weakened by its yielding: and as the materials by such concussion were shaken closer together, the pile by that means became firmer than before. When Silva saw this, he thought it best to endeavour the taking of this wall by setting fire to it. So he gave order that the soldiers should throw a great number of burning torches upon it. Accordingly, as it was chiefly made of wood, it soon took fire: and when it was once set on fire, its hollowness made that fire spread to a mighty flame. Now at the very beginning of this fire, a north wind that then blew proved terrible to the Romans. For by bringing the flame downward, it drove it upon them: and they were almost in despair of success: as fearing their machines would be burnt. But after this, on a sudden, the wind changed into the south: as if it were done by divine providence: and blew strongly the contrary way, and carried the flame, and drove it against the wall: which was now on fire through its intire thickness. So the Romans, having now assistance from God, returned to their camp with joy; and resolved to attack their enemies the very next day. On which occasion they set their watch more carefully that night, lest any of the Jews should run away from them, without being discovered.
[8.6] However, neither did Eleazar once think of flying away; nor would he permit any one else to do so. But when he saw their wall burned down by the fire; and could devise no other way of escaping, or room for their farther courage; and setting before their eyes what the Romans would do to them, their children, and their wives, if they got them into their power; he consulted about having them all slain. Now as he judged this to be the best thing they could do in their present circumstances, he gathered the most courageous of his companions together, and encouraged them to take that course: by a speech which he made to them, in the manner following: “Since we long ago, my generous friends, resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any other than to God himself, who alone is the true and just lord of mankind; the time is now come that obliges us to make that resolution true in practice. And let us not at this time bring a reproach upon our selves for self contradiction; while we formerly would not undergo slavery, though it were then without danger; but must now, together with slavery, chuse such punishments also as are intolerable. I mean this upon the supposition that the Romans once reduce us under their power while we are alive. We were the very first that revolted from them; and we are the last that fight against them. And I cannot but esteem it as a favour that God hath granted us, that ’tis still in our power to die bravely, and in a state of freedom. Which hath not been the case of others, who were conquered unexpectedly. ’Tis very plain that we shall be taken within a days time: but ’tis still an eligible thing to die, after a glorious manner, together with our dearest friends. This is what our enemies themselves cannot by any means hinder: although they be very desirous to take us alive. Nor can we propose to our selves any more to fight them, and beat them. It had been proper indeed for us to have conjectured at the purpose of God much sooner; and at the very first; when we were so desirous of defending our liberty; and when we received such sore treatment from one another, and worse treatment from our enemies: and to have been sensible that the same God, who had of old took the Jewish nation into his favour, had now condemned them to destruction. For had he either continued favourable, or been but in a lesser degree displeased with us, he had not overlooked the destruction of so many men, or delivered his most holy city to be burnt; and demolished by our enemies. To be sure we weakly hoped to have preserved our selves, and our selves alone still in a state of freedom; as if we had been guilty of no sins our selves against God; nor been partners with those of others. We also taught other men to preserve their liberty. Wherefore consider how God hath convinced us, that our hopes were in vain, by bringing such distress upon us, in the desperate state we are now in, and which is beyond all our expectations. For the nature of this fortress, which was in it self unconquerable, hath not proved a means of our deliverance. And even while we have still great abundance of food, and a great quantity of arms, and other necessaries, more than we want, we are openly deprived by God himself of all hope of deliverance. For that fire which was driven upon our enemies, did not, of its own accord, turn back upon the wall which we had built. This was the effect of God’s anger against us, for our manifold sins, which we have been guilty of in a most insolent and extravagant manner, with regard to our own countrymen. The punishments of which let us not receive from the Romans, but from God himself, as executed by our own hands. For these will be more moderate than the other. Let our wives die before they are abused; and our children before they have tasted of slavery. And after we have slain them, let us bestow that glorious benefit upon one another mutually; and preserve our selves in freedom, as an excellent funeral monument for us. But first let us destroy our money, and the fortress by fire. For I am well assured that this will be a great grief to the Romans; that they shall not be able to seize upon our bodies, and shall fall of our wealth also. And let us spare nothing but our provisions. For they will be a testimonial, when we are dead, that we were not subdued for want of necessaries: but that, according to our original resolution, we have preferred death before slavery.”
[8.7] This was Eleazar’s speech to them. Yet did not the opinions of all the auditors acquiesce therein: but although some of them were very zealous to put his advice in practice, and were in a manner filled with pleasure at it, and thought death to be a good thing; yet had those that were most effeminate a commiseration for their wives and families. And when these men were especially moved by the prospect of their own certain death, they looked wistfully at one another; and by the tears that were in their eyes declared their dissent from his opinion. When Eleazar saw these people in such fear; and that their souls were dejected at so prodigious a proposal; he was afraid lest perhaps these effeminate persons should, by their lamentations and tears, infeeble those that heard what he had said courageously. So he did not leave off exhorting them; but stirred up himself, and recollecting proper arguments for raising their courage, he undertook to speak more briskly and fully to them, and that concerning the immortality of the soul. So he made a lamentable groan; and fixing his eyes attently on those that wept, he spake thus: “Truly I was greatly mistaken, when I thought to be assisting to brave men, who struggled hard for their liberty, and to such as were resolved either to live with honour, or else to die. But I find that you are such people as are no better than others, either in virtue, or in courage: and are afraid of dying; though you be delivered thereby from the greatest miseries. While you ought to make no delay in this matter, nor to await any one to give you good advice. For the laws of our country, and of God himself, have from ancient times, and as soon as ever we could use our reason, continually taught us; and our forefathers have corroborated the same doctrine by their actions, and by their bravery of mind; that it is life that is a calamity to men, and not death. For this last affords our souls their liberty; and sends them by a removal into their own place of purity; where they are to be insensible of all sorts of misery. For while souls are tied down to a mortal body, they are partakers of its miseries: and really, to speak the truth, they are themselves dead. For the union of what is divine, to what is mortal, is disagreeable. ’Tis true, the power of the soul is great, even when it is imprisoned in a mortal body. For by moving it, after a way that is invisible, it makes the body a sensible instrument; and causes it to advance farther in its actions than mortal nature could otherwise do. However, when it is freed from that weight which draws it down to the earth, and is connected with it, it obtains its own proper place, and does then become a partaker of that blessed power, and those abilities which are then every way incapable of being hindred in their operations. It continues invisible indeed to the eyes of men, as does God himself. For certainly it is not it self seen, while it is in the body. For it is there after an invisible manner: and when it is freed from it, it is still not seen. It is this soul which hath one nature; and that an incorruptible one also. But yet it is the cause of the change that is made in the body. For whatsoever it be which the soul touches, that lives, and flourishes. And from whatsoever it is removed, that withers away, and dies. Such a degree is there in it of immortality. Let me produce the state of sleep, as a most evident demonstration of the truth of what I say. Wherein souls, when the body does not distract them, have the sweetest rest depending on themselves; and conversing with God, by their alliance to him. They then go every where; and foretell many futurities beforehand. And why are we afraid of death, while we are pleased with the rest that we have in sleep? And how absurd a thing is it to pursue after liberty while we are alive; and yet to envy it to ourselves where it will be eternal? We therefore who have been brought up in a discipline of our own, ought to become an example to others of our readiness to die. Yet if we do stand in need of foreigners to support us in this matter, let us regard those Indians who profess the exercise of philosophy. For these good men do but unwillingly undergo the time of life; and look upon it as a necessary servitude; and make haste to let their souls loose from their bodies. Nay when no misfortune presses them to it, nor drives them upon it, these have such a desire of a life of immortality, that they tell other men beforehand that they are about to depart. And no body hinders them. But every one thinks them happy men, and gives them letters to be carried to their familiar friends [that are dead]. So firmly and certainly do they believe that souls converse with one another [in the other world]. So when these men have heard all such commands that were to be given them, they deliver their body to the fire: and in order to their getting their soul a separation from the body in the greatest purity, they die in the midst of hymns of commendations made to them. For their dearest friends conduct them to their death, more readily than do any of the rest of mankind conduct their fellow-
Book 7: Chapter 9. How the people that were in the fortress were prevailed on by the words of eleazar, two women and five children only excepted and all submitted to be killed by one another.
How the people that were in the fortress were prevailed on by the words of Eleazar, two women and five children only excepted; and all submitted to be killed by one another.
[9.1] Now as Eleazar was proceeding on in his exhortation, they all cut him off short, and made haste to do the work, as full of an unconquerable ardor of mind, and moved with a demoniacal fury. So they went their ways, as one still endeavouring to be before another; and as thinking that this eagerness would be a demonstration of their courage, and good conduct; if they could avoid appearing in the last class. So great was the zeal they were in to slay their wives, and children, and themselves also. Nor indeed, when they came to the work itself, did their courage fail them, as one might imagine it would have done: but they then held fast the same resolution, without wavering, which they had upon the hearing of Eleazar’s speech, while yet every one of them still retained the natural passion of love to themselves, and their families: because the reasoning they went upon appeared to them to be very just, even with regard to those that were dearest to them. For the husbands tenderly embraced their wives, and took their children into their arms, and gave the longest parting kisses to them, with tears in their eyes. Yet at the same time did they compleat what they had resolved on; as if they had been executed by the hands of strangers. And they had nothing else for their comfort, but the necessity they were in of doing this execution, to avoid that prospect they had of the miseries they were to suffer from their enemies. Nor was there at length any one of these men found that scrupled to act their part in this terrible execution: but every one of them dispatched his dearest relations. Miserable men indeed were they! whose distress forced them to slay their own wives, and children, with their own hands, as the lightest of those evils that were before them. So they being not able to bear the grief they were under for what they had done any longer; and esteeming it an injury to those they had slain to live even the shortest space of time after them, they presently laid all they had upon an heap, and set fire to it. They then chose ten men by lot, out of them; to slay all the rest. Every one of whom laid himself down by his wife, and children, on the ground, and threw his arms about them, and they offered their necks to the stroke of those who by lot executed that melancholy office. And when these ten had, without fear, slain them all, they made the same rule for casting lots for themselves; that he whose lot it was should first kill the other nine; and after all should kill himself. Accordingly all these had courage sufficient to be no way behind one another in doing or suffering. So, for a conclusion, the nine offered their necks to the executioner; and he who was the last of all took a view of all the other bodies; lest perchance some or other among so many that were slain should want his assistance to be quite dispatched: and when he perceived that they were all slain, he set fire to the palace, and with the great force of his hand ran his sword entirely through himself, and fell down dead near to his own relations. So these people died with this intention, that they would not leave so much as one soul among them all alive to be subject to the Romans. Yet was there an ancient woman, and another who was of kin to Eleazar, and superior to most women in prudence and learning, with five children: who had concealed themselves in caverns under ground; and had carried water thither for their drink; and were hidden there when the rest were intent upon the slaughter of one another. Those others were nine hundred and sixty in number: the women, and children being withal included in that computation. This calamitous slaughter was made on the fifteenth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan] [A.D. 73].
[9.2] Now for the Romans, they expected that they should be fought in the morning: when accordingly they put on their armour, and laid bridges of planks upon their ladders from their banks, to make an assault upon the fortress. Which they did. But saw nobody as an enemy, but a terrible solitude on every side, with a fire within the place, as well as a perfect silence. So they were at a loss to guess at what had happened. At length they made a shout, as if it had been at a blow given by the battering ram, to try whether they could bring any one out that was within. The women heard this noise, and came out of their under ground cavern; and informed the Romans what had been done, as it was done: and the second of them clearly described all both what was said, and what was done; and the manner of it. Yet did they not easily give their attention to such a desperate undertaking, and did not believe it could be as they said. They also attempted to put the fire out, and quickly cutting themselves a way through it, they came within the palace, and so met with the multitude of the slain: but could take no pleasure in the fact, though it were done to their enemies. Nor could they do other than wonder at the courage of their resolution, and the immoveable contempt of death which so great a number of them had shewn, when they went through with such an action as that was.
Book 7: Chapter 10. That many of the Sicarii fled to Alexandria also and what dangers they were in there; on which account that temple which had formerly been built by Onias the high priest was destroyed.
That many of the Sicarii fled to Alexandria also: and what dangers they were in there. On which account that temple, which had formerly been built by Onias the High-
[10.1] When Masada was thus taken, the general left a garrison in the fortress to keep it; and he himself went away to Cesarea. For there were now no enemies left in the country: but it was all overthrown by so long a war. Yet did this war afford disturbances and dangerous disorders even in places very far remote from Judea. For still it came to pass, that many Jews were slain at Alexandria, in Egypt. For as many of the Sicarii as were able to fly thither, out of the seditious wars in Judea, were not content to have saved themselves; but must needs be undertaking to make new disturbancesl; and persuaded many of those that entertained them to assert their liberty; to esteem the Romans to be no better than themselves; and to look upon God as their only Lord and Master. But when part of the Jews of reputation opposed them, they slew some of them: and with the others they were very pressing in their exhortations, to revolt from the Romans. But when the principal men of the senate saw what madness they were come to, they thought it no longer safe for themselves to overlook them. So they got all the Jews together to an assembly, and accused the madness of the Sicarii; and demonstrated that they had been the authors of all the evils that had come upon them. They said also, that “These men, now they were run away from Judea, having no sure hope of escaping; because as soon as ever they shall be known, they will be soon destroyed by the Romans; they come hither, and fill us full of those calamities which belong to them, while we have not been partakers with them in any of their sins.” Accordingly they exhorted the multitude to have a care, lest they should be brought to destruction by their means; and to make their apology to the Romans for what had been done, by delivering these men up to them. Who being thus apprized of the greatness of the danger they were in, complied with what was proposed; and ran with great violence upon the Sicarii, and seized upon them. And indeed six hundred of them were caught immediately: but as to all those that fled into Egypt, and to the Egyptian Thebes, it was not long ere they were caught also, and brought back. Whose courage, or whether we ought to call it madness, or hardiness in their opinions, every body was amazed at. For when all sorts of torments and vexations of their bodies that could be devised were made use of to them, they could not get any one of them to comply so far as to confess, or seem to confess, that Cæsar was their lord: but they preserved their own opinion, in spite of all the distress they were brought to; as if they received these torments, and the fire it self, with bodies insensible of pain, and with a soul that in a manner rejoiced under them. But what was most of all astonishing to the beholders, was the courage of the children. For not one of these children was so far overcome by these torments, as to name Cæsar for their lord. So far does the strength of the courage [of the soul] prevail over the weakness of the body.
[10.2] Now Lupus did then govern Alexandria. Who presently sent Cæsar word of this commotion. Who having in suspicion the restless temper of the Jews for innovation, and being afraid lest they should get together again, and persuade some others to join with them, gave orders to Lupus to demolish that Jewish temple which was in the region called Onion, and was in Egypt. Which was built, and had its denomination from the occasion following. Onias, the son of Simon, one of the Jewish High-
[10.3] So Ptolemy complied with his proposals; and gave him a place one hundred and eighty furlongs distant from Memphis. That Nomos was called the Nomos of Heliopolis. Where Onias built a fortress; and a temple, not like to that at Jerusalem, but such as resembled a tower. He built it of large stones, to the height of sixty cubits. He made the structure of the altar in imitation of that in our own country, and in like manner adorned with gifts: excepting the make of the candlestick. For he did not make a candlestick; but had a [single] lamp hammered out of a piece of gold; which illuminated the place with its rays, and which he hung by a chain of gold. But the intire temple was encompassed with a wall of burnt brick, though it had gates of stone. The King also gave him a large country for a revenue in money; that both the priests might have a plentiful provision made for them; and that God might have great abundance of what things were necessary for his worship. Yet did not Onias do this out of a sober disposition. But he had a mind to contend with the Jews at Jerusalem; and could not forget the indignation he had for being banished thence. Accordingly he thought, that by building this temple he should draw away a great number from them to himself. There had been also a certain ancient prediction made by [a prophet] whose name was Isaiah, about six hundred years before, that this temple should be built by a man that was a Jew in Egypt. And this is the history of the building of that temple.
[10.4] And now Lupus, the governor of Alexandria, upon the receipt of Cæsar’s letter, came to the temple, and carried out of it some of the donations dedicated thereto, and shut up the temple itself. And as Lupus died a little afterward [about A.D. 75], Paulinus succeeded him. This man left none of those donations there: and threatened the priests severely, if they did not bring them all out. Nor did he permit any who were desirous of worshipping God there, so much as to come near the whole sacred place. But when he had shut up the gates, he made it intirely inaccessible: insomuch that there remained no longer the least footsteps of any divine worship that had been in that place. Now the duration of the time from the building of this temple till it was shut up again was three hundred and forty-
Book 7: Chapter 11. Concerning Jonathan, one of the Sicarii, that stirred up a sedition in Cyrene, and was a false accuser [of the innocent].
Concerning Jonathan, one of the Sicarii, that stirred up a sedition in Cyrene; and was a false accuser [of the innocent].
[11.1] And now did the madness of the Sicarii, like a disease, reach as far as the cities of Cyrene. For one Jonathan, a vile person, and by trade a weaver, came thither; and prevailed with no small number of the poorer sort to give ear to him. He also led them into the desert: upon promising them, that he would shew them signs, and apparitions. And as for the other Jews of Cyrene, he concealed his knavery from them; and put tricks upon them. But those of the greatest dignity among them informed Catullus, the governour of the Libyan Pentapolis, of his march into the desert, and of the preparations he had made for it. So he sent out after him both horsemen and footmen, and easily overcame them: because they were unarmed men. Of these many were slain in the fight; but some were taken alive, and brought to Catullus. As for Jonathan, the head of this plot, he fled away at that time: but upon a great and very diligent search, which was made all the country over for him, he was at last taken. And when he was brought to Catullus, he devised a way whereby he both escaped punishment himself, and afforded an occasion to Catullus of doing much mischief. For he falsely accused the richest men among the Jews; and said, that they had put him upon what he did.
[11.2] Now Catullus easily admitted of these his calumnies; and aggravated matters greatly; and made tragical exclamations: that he might also be supposed to have had an hand in the finishing of the Jewish war. But what was still harder, he did not only give a too easy belief to his stories; but he taught the Sicarii to accuse men falsely. He bid this Jonathan therefore to name one Alexander, a Jew (with whom he had formerly had a quarrel, and openly professed that he hated him). He also got him to name his wife Bernice, as concerned with him. These two Catullus ordered to be slain in the first place. Nay after them he caused all the rich and wealthy Jews to be slain: being no fewer in all than three thousand. This he thought he might do safely; because he confiscated their effects, and added them to Cæsar’s revenues.
[11.3] Nay indeed, lest any Jews that lived elsewhere should convict him of this villainy, he extended his false accusations farther; and persuaded Jonathan, and certain others that were caught with him, to bring an accusation of attempts for innovation against the Jews that were of the best character, both at Alexandria, and at Rome. One of these, against whom this treacherous accusation was laid, was Josephus, the writer of these books. However this plot, thus contrived by Catullus, did not succeed according to his hopes For though he came himself to Rome, and brought Jonathan and his companions along with him in bonds; and thought he should have had no farther inquisition made as to those lies that were forged under his government, or by his means; yet did Vespasian suspect the matter, and made an enquiry how far it was true. And when he understood that the accusation laid against the Jews was an unjust one, he cleared them of the crimes charged upon them; and this on account of Titus’s concern about the matter: and brought a deserved punishment upon Jonathan. For he was first tormented, and then burnt alive.
[11.4] But as to Catullus, the Emperors were so gentle to him, that he underwent no severe condemnation at this time. Yet was it not long before he fell into a complicated and almost incurable distemper; and died miserably. He was not only afflicted in body; but the distemper in his mind was more heavy upon him than the other. For he was terribly disturbed, and continually cried out, that “He saw the ghosts of those whom he had slain standing before him.” Whereupon he was not able to contain himself; but leaped out of his bed, as if both torments and fire were brought to him. This his distemper grew still a great deal worse and worse continually; and his very entrails were so corroded, that they fell out of his body: and in that condition he died. Thus he became as great an instance of divine providence as ever was; and demonstrated that God punishes wicked men.
[11.5] And here we shall put an end to this our history. Wherein we formerly promised to deliver the same with all accuracy, to such as should be desirous of understanding after what manner this war of the Romans with the Jews was managed. Of which history, how good the style is, must be left to the determination of the Readers. But as for its agreement with the facts, I shall not scruple to say, and that boldly, that Truth hath been what I have alone aimed at through its intire composition.
The End of JOSEPHUS’S books, concerning the destruction of the Jewish nation.