The War of the Jews



By Flavius Josephus


Contact Truthnet

Truthnet: Christianity


Josephus: The War of the Jews

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

Book 4

Book 5

Book 6

Book 7











1. NOW the necessity which Archelaus was under of taking a journey to
Rome was the occasion of new disturbances; for when he had mourned for
his father seven days, 1 and had given a very expensive funeral feast to the
multitude, (which custom is the occasion of poverty to many of the Jews,
because they are forced to feast the multitude; for if any one omits it, he is
not esteemed a holy person,) he put on a white garment, and went up to
the temple, where the people accosted him with various acclamations. He
also spake kindly to the multitude from an elevated seat and a throne of
gold, and returned them thanks for the zeal they had shown about his
father’s funeral, and the submission they had made to him, as if he were
already settled in the kingdom; but he told them withal, that he would not
at present take upon him either the authority of a king, or the names
thereto belonging, until Caesar, who is made Lord of this whole affair by
the testament, confirm the succession; for that when the soldiers would
have set the diadem on his head at Jericho, he would not accept of it; but
that he would make abundant requitals, not to the soldiers only, but to the
people, for their alacrity and good-will to him, when the superior lords
[the Romans] should have given him a complete title to the kingdom; for
that it should be his study to appear in all things better than his father.
2. Upon this the multitude were pleased, and presently made a trial of
what he intended, by asking great things of him; for some made a clamor
that he would ease them in their taxes; others, that he would take off the
duties upon commodities; and some, that he would loose those that were
in prison; in all which cases he answered readily to their satisfaction, in
order to get the good-will of the multitude; after which he offered [the
proper] sacrifices, and feasted with his friends. And here it was that a
great many of those that desired innovations came in crowds towards the
evening, and began then to mourn on their own account, when the public
mourning for the king was over. These lamented those that were put to
death by Herod, because they had cut down the golden eagle that had been
over the gate of the temple. Nor was this mourning of a private nature, but
the lamentations were very great, the mourning solemn, and the weeping
such as was loudly heard all over the city, as being for those men who had
perished for the laws of their country, and for the temple. They cried out
that a punishment ought to be inflicted for these men upon those that were
honored by Herod; and that, in the first place, the man whom he had made
high priest should be deprived; and that it was fit to choose a person of
greater piety and purity than he was.
3. At these clamors Archelaus was provoked, but restrained himself from
taking vengeance on the authors, on account of the haste he was in of going
to Rome, as fearing lest, upon his making war on the multitude, such an
action might detain him at home. Accordingly, he made trial to quiet the
innovators by persuasion, rather than by force, and sent his general in a
private way to them, and by him exhorted them to be quiet. But the
seditious threw stones at him, and drove him away, as he came into the
temple, and before he could say any thing to them. The like treatment they
showed to others, who came to them after him, many of which were sent
by Archelaus, in order to reduce them to sobriety, and these answered still
on all occasions after a passionate manner; and it openly appeared that
they would not be quiet, if their numbers were but considerable. And
indeed, at the feast of unleavened bread, which was now at hand, and is by
the Jews called the Passover, and used to he celebrated with a great number
of sacrifices, an innumerable multitude of the people came out of the
country to worship; some of these stood in the temple bewailing the
Rabbins [that had been put to death], and procured their sustenance by
begging, in order to support their sedition. At this Archclaus was
aftrighted, and privately sent a tribune, with his cohort of soldiers, upon
them, before the disease should spread over the whole multitude, and gave
orders that they should constrain those that began the tumult, by force, to
be quiet. At these the whole multitude were irritated, and threw stones at
many of the soldiers, and killed them; but the tribune fled away wounded,
and had much ado to escape so. After which they betook themselves to
their sacrifices, as if they had done no mischief; nor did it appear to
Archelaus that the multitude could be restrained without bloodshed; so he
sent his whole army upon them, the footmen in great multitudes, by the
way of the city, and the horsemen by the way of the plain, who, falling
upon them on the sudden, as they were offering their sacrifices, destroyed
about three thousand of them; but the rest of the multitude were dispersed
upon the adjoining mountains: these were followed by Archelaus’s heralds,
who commanded every one to retire to their own homes, whither they all
went, and left the festival.
1. ARCHELAUS went down now to the sea-side, with his mother and his
friends, Poplas, and Ptolemy, and Nicolaus, and left behind him Philip, to
be his steward in the palace, and to take care of his domestic affairs.
Salome went also along with him with her sons, as did also the king’s
brethren and sons-in-law. These, in appearance, went to give him all the
assistance they were able, in order to secure his succession, but in reality
to accuse him for his breach of the laws by what he had done at the
2. But as they were come to Cesarea, Sabinus, the procurator of Syria, met
them; he was going up to Judea, to secure Herod’s effects; but Varus,
[president of Syria,] who was come thither, restrained him from going any
farther. This Varus Archelaus had sent for, by the earnest entreaty of
Ptolemy. At this time, indeed, Sabinus, to gratify Varus, neither went to
the citadels, nor did he shut up the treasuries where his father’s money
was laid up, but promised that he would lie still, until Caesar should have
taken cognizance of the affair. So he abode at Cesarea; but as soon as those
that were his hinderance were gone, when Varus was gone to Antioch, and
Archclaus was sailed to Rome, he immediately went on to Jerusalem, and
seized upon the palace. And when he had called for the governors of the
citadels, and the stewards [of the king’s private affairs], he tried to sift out
the accounts of the money, and to take possession of the citadels. But the
governors of those citadels were not unmindful of the commands laid upon
them by Archelaus, and continued to guard them, and said the custody of
them rather belonged to Caesar than to Archelaus.
3. In the mean time, Antipas went also to Rome, to strive for the kingdom,
and to insist that the former testament, wherein he was named to be king,
was valid before the latter testament. Salome had also promised to assist
him, as had many of Archelaus’s kindred, who sailed along with Archelaus
himself also. He also carried along with him his mother, and Ptolemy, the
brother of Nicolaus, who seemed one of great weight, on account of the
great trust Herod put in him, he having been one of his most honored
friends. However, Antipas depended chiefly upon Ireneus, the orator;
upon whose authority he had rejected such as advised him to yield to
Archelaus, because he was his elder brother, and because the second
testament gave the kingdom to him. The inclinations also of all Archelaus’s
kindred, who hated him, were removed to Antipas, when they came to
Rome; although in the first place every one rather desired to live under
their own laws [without a king], and to be under a Roman governor; but if
they should fail in that point, these desired that Antipas might be their
4. Sabinus did also afford these his assistance to the same purpose by
letters he sent, wherein he accused Archelaus before Caesar, and highly
commended Antipas. Salome also, and those with her, put the crimes
which they accused Archelaus of in order, and put them into Caesar’s
hands; and after they had done that, Archelaus wrote down the reasons of
his claim, and, by Ptolemy, sent in his father’s ring, and his father’s
accounts. And when Caesar had maturely weighed by himself what both
had to allege for themselves, as also had considered of the great burden of
the kingdom, and largeness of the revenues, and withal the number of the
children Herod had left behind him, and had moreover read the letters he
had received from Varus and Sabinus on this occasion, he assembled the
principal persons among the Romans together, (in which assembly Caius,
the son of Agrippa, and his daughter Julias, but by himself adopted for his
own son, sat in the first seat,) and gave the pleaders leave to speak.
5. Then stood up Salome’s son, Antipater, (who of all Archelaus’s
antagonists was the shrewdest pleader,) and accused him in the following
speech: That Archelaus did in words contend for the kingdom, but that in
deeds he had long exercised royal authority, and so did but insult Caesar in
desiring to be now heard on that account, since he had not staid for his
determination about the succession, and since he had suborned certain
persons, after Herod’s death, to move for putting the diadem upon his
head; since he had set himself down in the throne, and given answers as a
king, and altered the disposition of the army, and granted to some higher
dignities; that he had also complied in all things with the people in the
requests they had made to him as to their king, and had also dismissed
those that had been put into bonds by his father for most important
reasons. Now, after all this, he desires the shadow of that royal authority,
whose substance he had already seized to himself, and so hath made
Caesar Lord, not of things, but of words. He also reproached him further,
that his mourning for his father was only pretended, while he put on a sad
countenance in the day time, but drank to great excess in the night; from
which behavior, he said, the late disturbance among the multitude came,
while they had an indignation thereat. And indeed the purport of his whole
discourse was to aggravate Archelaus’s crime in slaying such a multitude
about the temple, which multitude came to the festival, but were
barbarously slain in the midst of their own sacrifices; and he said there was
such a vast number of dead bodies heaped together in the temple, as even a
foreign war, that should come upon them [suddenly], before it was
denounced, could not have heaped together. And he added, that it was the
foresight his father had of that his barbarity which made him never give
him any hopes of the kingdom, but when his mind was more infirm than
his body, and he was not able to reason soundly, and did not well know
what was the character of that son, whom in his second testament he made
his successor; and this was done by him at a time when he had no
complaints to make of him whom he had named before, when he was
sound in body, and when his mind was free from all passion. That,
however, if any one should suppose Herod’s judgment, when he was sick,
was superior to that at another time, yet had Archelaus forfeited his
kingdom by his own behavior, and those his actions, which were contrary
to the law, and to its disadvantage. Or what sort of a king will this man be,
when he hath obtained the government from Caesar, who hath slain so
many before he hath obtained it!
6. When Antipater had spoken largely to this purpose, and had produced a
great number of Archelaus’s kindred as witnesses, to prove every part of
the accusation, he ended his discourse. Then stood up Nicolaus to plead
for Archelaus. He alleged that the slaughter in the temple could not be
avoided; that those that were slain were become enemies not to
Archelaus’s kingdom, only, but to Caesar, who was to determine about
him. He also demonstrated that Archelaus’s accusers had advised him to
perpetrate other things of which he might have been accused. But he
insisted that the latter testament should, for this reason, above all others,
be esteemed valid, because Herod had therein appointed Caesar to be the
person who should confirm the succession; for he who showed such
prudence as to recede from his own power, and yield it up to the Lord of
the world, cannot be supposed mistaken in his judgment about him that
was to be his heir; and he that so well knew whom to choose for arbitrator
of the succession could not be unacquainted with him whom he chose for
his successor.
7. When Nicolaus had gone through all he had to say, Archelaus came, and
fell down before Caesar’s knees, without any noise; — upon which he
raised him up, after a very obliging manner, and declared that truly he was
worthy to succeed his father. However, he still made no firm determination
in his case; but when he had dismissed those assessors that had been with
him that day, he deliberated by himself about the allegations which he had
heard, whether it were fit to constitute any of those named in the
testaments for Herod’s successor, or whether the government should be
parted among all his posterity, and this because of the number of those
that seemed to stand in need of support therefrom.
1. NOW before Caesar had determined any thing about these affairs,
Malthace, Arehelaus’s mother, fell sick and died. Letters also were brought
out of Syria from Varus, about a revolt of the Jews. This was foreseen by
Varus, who accordingly, after Archelaus was sailed, went up to Jerusalem
to restrain the promoters of the sedition, since it was manifest that the
nation would not he at rest; so he left one of those legions which he
brought with him out of Syria in the city, and went himself to Antioch.
But Sabinus came, after he was gone, and gave them an occasion of making
innovations; for he compelled the keepers of the citadels to deliver them
up to him, and made a bitter search after the king’s money, as depending
not only on the soldiers which were left by Varus, but on the multitude of
his own servants, all which he armed and used as the instruments of his
covetousness. Now when that feast, which was observed after seven
weeks, and which the Jews called Pentecost, (i. e. the 50th day,) was at
hand, its name being taken from the number of the days [after the
passover], the people got together, but not on account of the accustomed
Divine worship, but of the indignation they had [‘at the present state of
affairs’]. Wherefore an immense multitude ran together, out of Galilee, and
Idumea, and Jericho, and Perea, that was beyond Jordan; but the people
that naturally belonged to Judea itself were above the rest, both in number,
and in the alacrity of the men. So they distributed themselves into three
parts, and pitched their camps in three places; one at the north side of the
temple, another at the south side, by the Hippodrome, and the third part
were at the palace on the west. So they lay round about the Romans on
every side, and besieged them.
2. Now Sabinus was aftrighted, both at their multitude, and at their
courage, and sent messengers to Varus continually, and besought him to
come to his succor quickly; for that if he delayed, his legion would be cut
to pieces. As for Sabinus himself, he got up to the highest tower of the
fortress, which was called Phasaelus; it is of the same name with Herod’s
brother, who was destroyed by the Parthians; and then he made signs to
the soldiers of that legion to attack the enemy; for his astonishment was so
great, that he durst not go down to his own men. Hereupon the soldiers
were prevailed upon, and leaped out into the temple, and fought a terrible
battle with the Jews; in which, while there were none over their heads to
distress them, they were too hard for them, by their skill, and the others’
want of skill, in war; but when once many of the Jews had gotten up to
the top of the cloisters, and threw their darts downwards, upon the heads
of the Romans, there were a great many of them destroyed. Nor was it
easy to avenge themselves upon those that threw their weapons from on
high, nor was it more easy for them to sustain those who came to fight
them hand to hand.
3. Since therefore the Romans were sorely afflicted by both these
circumstances, they set fire to the cloisters, which were works to be
admired, both on account of their magnitude and costliness. Whereupon
those that were above them were presently encompassed with the flame,
and many of them perished therein; as many of them also were destroyed
by the enemy, who came suddenly upon them; some of them also threw
themselves down from the walls backward, and some there were who,
from the desperate condition they were in, prevented the fire, by killing
themselves with their own swords; but so many of them as crept out from
the walls, and came upon the Romans, were easily mastere by them, by
reason of the astonishment they were under; until at last some of the Jews
being destroyed, and others dispersed by the terror they were in, the
soldiers fell upon the treasure of God, which w now deserted, and
plundered about four hundred talents, Of which sum Sabinus got together
all that was not carried away by the soldiers.
4. However, this destruction of the works [about the temple], and of the
men, occasioned a much greater number, and those of a more warlike sort,
to get together, to oppose the Romans. These encompassed the palace
round, and threatened to deploy all that were in it, unless they went their
ways quickly; for they promised that Sabinus should come to no harm, if
he would go out with his legion. There were also a great many of the king’s
party who deserted the Romans, and assisted the Jews; yet did the most
warlike body of them all, who were three thousand of the men of Sebaste,
go over to the Romans. Rufus also, and Gratus, their captains, did the
same, (Gratus having the foot of the king’s party under him, and Rufus the
horse,) each of whom, even without the forces under them, were of great
weight, on account of their strength and wisdom, which turn the scales in
war. Now the Jews in the siege, and tried to break down walls of the
fortress, and cried out to Sabinus and his party, that they should go their
ways, and not prove a hinderance to them, now they hoped, after a long
time, to recover that ancient liberty which their forefathers had enjoyed.
Sabinus indeed was well contented to get out of the danger he was in, but
he distrusted the assurances the Jews gave him, and suspected such gentle
treatment was but a bait laid as a snare for them: this consideration,
together with the hopes he had of succor from Varus, made him bear the
siege still longer.
1. AT this time there were great disturbances in the country, and that in
many places; and the opportunity that now offered itself induced a great
many to set up for kings. And indeed in Idumea two thousand of Herod’s
veteran soldiers got together, and armed and fought against those of the
king’s party; against whom Achiabus, the king’s first cousin, fought, and
that out of some of the places that were the most strongly fortified; but so
as to avoid a direct conflict with them in the plains. In Sepphoris also, a
city of Galilee, there was one Judas (the son of that arch-robber Hezekias,
who formerly overran the country, and had been subdued by king Herod);
this man got no small multitude together, and brake open the place where
the royal armor was laid up, and armed those about him, and attacked
those that were so earnest to gain the dominion.
2. In Perea also, Simon, one of the servants to the king, relying upon the
handsome appearance and tallness of his body, put a diadem upon his own
head also; he also went about with a company of robbers that he had
gotten together, and burnt down the royal palace that was at Jericho, and
many other costly edifices besides, and procured himself very easily
spoils by rapine, as snatching them out of the fire. And he had soon burnt
down all the fine edifices, if Gratus, the captain of the foot of the king’s
party, had not taken the Trachonite archers, and the most warlike of
Sebaste, and met the man. His footmen were slain in the battle in
abundance; Gratus also cut to pieces Simon himself, as he was flying along
a strait valley, when he gave him an oblique stroke upon his neck, as he ran
away, and brake it. The royal palaces that were near Jordan at
Betharamptha were also burnt down by some other of the seditious that
came out of Perea.
3. At this time it was that a certain shepherd ventured to set himself up for
a king; he was called Athrongeus. It was his strength of body that made
him expect such a dignity, as well as his soul, which despised death; and
besides these qualifications, he had four brethren like himself. He put a
troop of armed men under each of these his brethren, and made use of them
as his generals and commanders, when he made his incursions, while he did
himself act like a king, and meddled only with the more important affairs;
and at this time he put a diadem about his head, and continued after that to
overrun the country for no little time with his brethren, and became their
leader in killing both the Romans and those of the king’s party; nor did any
Jew escape him, if any gain could accrue to him thereby. He once ventured
to encompass a whole troop of Romans at Emmaus, who were carrying
corn and weapons to their legion; his men therefore shot their arrows and
darts, and thereby slew their centurion Arius, and forty of the stoutest of
his men, while the rest of them, who were in danger of the same fate, upon
the coming of Gratus, with those of Sebaste, to their assistance, escaped.
And when these men had thus served both their own countrymen and
foreigners, and that through this whole war, three of them were, after some
time, subdued; the eldest by Archelaus, the two next by falling into the
hands of Gratus and Ptolemeus; but the fourth delivered himself up to
Archelaus, upon his giving him his right hand for his security. However,
this their end was not till afterward, while at present they filled all Judea
with a piratic war.
1. UPON Varus’s reception of the letters that were written by Sabinus and
the captains, he could not avoid being afraid for the whole legion [he had
left there]. So he made haste to their relief, and took with him the other
two legions, with the four troops of horsemen to them belonging, and
marched to Ptolenlais; having given orders for the auxiliaries that were sent
by the kings and governors of cities to meet him there. Moreover, he
received from the people of Berytus, as he passed through their city,
fifteen hundred armed men. Now as soon as the other body of auxiliaries
were come to Ptolemais, as well as Aretas the Arabian, (who, out of the
hatred he bore to Herod, brought a great army of horse and foot,) Varus
sent a part of his army presently to Galilee, which lay near to Ptolemais,
and Caius, one of his friends, for their captain. This Caius put those that
met him to flight, and took the city Sepphoris, and burnt it, and made
slaves of its inhabitants; but as for Varus himself, he marched to Samaria
with his whole army, where he did not meddle with the city itself, because
he found that it had made no commotion during these troubles, but pitched
his camp about a certain village which was called Aras. It belonged to
Ptolemy, and on that account was plundered by the Arabians, who were
very angry even at Herod’s friends also. He thence marched on to the
village Sampho, another fortified place, which they plundered, as they had
done the other. As they carried off all the money they lighted upon
belonging to the public revenues, all was now full of fire and blood-shed,
and nothing could resist the plunders of the Arabians. Emnaus was also
burnt, upon the flight of its inhabitants, and this at the command of Varus,
out of his rage at the slaughter of those that were about Arias.
2. Thence he marched on to Jerusalem, and as soon as he was but seen by
the Jews, he made their camps disperse themselves; they also went away,
and fled up and down the country. But the citizens received him, and
cleared themselves of having any hand in this revolt, and said that they had
raised no commotions, but had only been forced to admit the multitude,
because of the festival, and that they were rather besieged together with
the Romans, than assisted those that had revolted. There had before this
met him Joseph, the first cousin of Archelaus, and Gratus, together with
Rufus, who led those of Sebaste, as well as the king’s army: there also met
him those of the Roman legion, armed after their accustomed manner; for
as to Sabinus, he durst not come into Varus’s sight, but was gone out of
the city before this, to the sea-side. But Varus sent a part of his army into
the country, against those that had been the authors of this commotion,
and as they caught great numbers of them, those that appeared to have
been the least concerned in these tumults he put into custody, but such as
were the most guilty he crucified; these were in number about two
3. He was also informed that there continued in Idumea ten thousand men
still in arms; but when he found that the Arabians did not act like
auxiliaries, but managed the war according to their own passions, and did
mischief to the country otherwise than he intended, and this out of their
hatred to Herod, he sent them away, but made haste, with his own legions,
to march against those that had revolted; but these, by the advice of
Achiabus, delivered themselves up to him before it came to a battle. Then
did Varus forgive the multitude their offenses, but sent their captains to
Caesar to be examined by him. Now Caesar forgave the rest, but gave
orders that certain of the king’s relations (for some of those that were
among them were Herod’s kinsmen) should be put to death, because they
had engaged in a war against a king of their own family. When therefore
Varus had settled matters at Jerusalem after this manner, and had left the
former legion there as a garrison, he returned to Antioch.
1. BUT now came another accusation from the Jews against Archelaus at
Rome, which he was to answer to. It was made by those ambassadors
who, before the revolt, had come, by Varus’s permission, to plead for the
liberty of their country; those that came were fifty in number, but there
were more than eight thousand of the Jews at Rome who supported them.
And when Caesar had assembled a council of the principal Romans in
Apollo’s 2 temple, that was in the palace, (this was what he had himself
built and adorned, at a vast expense,) the multitude of the Jews stood with
the ambassadors, and on the other side stood Archelaus, with his friends;
but as for the kindred of Archelaus, they stood on neither side; for to
stand on Archelaus’s side, their hatred to him, and envy at him, would not
give them leave, while yet they were afraid to be seen by Caesar with his
accusers. Besides these, there were present Archelaus’s brother Philip,
being sent thither beforehand, out of kindness by Varus, for two reasons:
the one was this, that he might be assisting to Archelaus; and the other
was this, that in case Caesar should make a distribution of what Herod
possessed among his posterity, he might obtain some share of it.
2. And now, upon the permission that was given the accusers to speak,
they, in the first place, went over Herod’s breaches of their law, and said
that be was not a king, but the most barbarous of all tyrants, and that they
had found him to be such by the sufferings they underwent from him; that
when a very great number had been slain by him, those that were left had
endured such miseries, that they called those that were dead happy men;
that he had not only tortured the bodies of his subjects, but entire cities,
and had done much harm to the cities of his own country, while he
adorned those that belonged to foreigners; and he shed the blood of Jews,
in order to do kindnesses to those people that were out of their bounds;
that he had filled the nation full of poverty, and of the greatest iniquity,
instead of that happiness and those laws which they had anciently
enjoyed; that, in short, the Jews had borne more calamities from Herod, in
a few years, than had their forefathers during all that interval of time that
had passed since they had come out of Babylon, and returned home, in the
reign of Xerxes 3 that, however, the nation was come to so low a condition,
by being inured to hardships, that they submitted to his successor of their
own accord, though he brought them into bitter slavery; that accordingly
they readily called Archelaus, though he was the son of so great a tyrant,
king, after the decease of his father, and joined with him in mourning for
the death of Herod, and in wishing him good success in that his succession;
while yet this Archelaus, lest he should be in danger of not being thought
the genuine son of Herod, began his reign with the murder of three
thousand citizens; as if he had a mind to offer so many bloody sacrifices to
God for his government, and to fill the temple with the like number of
dead bodies at that festival: that, however, those that were left after so
many miseries, had just reason to consider now at last the calamities they
had undergone, and to oppose themselves, like soldiers in war, to receive
those stripes upon their faces [but not upon their backs, as hitherto].
Whereupon they prayed that the Romans would have compassion upon
the [poor] remains of Judea, and not expose what was left of them to such
as barbarously tore them to pieces, and that they would join their country
to Syria, and administer the government by their own commanders,
whereby it would [soon] be demonstrated that those who are now under
the calumny of seditious persons, and lovers of war, know how to bear
governors that are set over them, if they be but tolerable ones. So the Jews
concluded their accusation with this request. Then rose up Nicolaus, and
confuted the accusations which were brought against the kings, and himself
accused the Jewish nation, as hard to be ruled, and as naturally disobedient
to kings. He also reproached all those kinsmen of Archelaus who had left
him, and were gone over to his accusers.
3. So Caesar, after he had heard both sides, dissolved the assembly for that
time; but a few days afterward, he gave the one half of Herod’s kingdom to
Archelaus, by the name of Ethnarch, and promised to make him king also
afterward, if he rendered himself worthy of that dignity. But as to the
other half, he divided it into two tetrarchies, and gave them to two other
sons of Herod, the one of them to Philip, and the other to that Antipas
who contested the kingdom with Archelaus. Under this last was Perea and
Galilee, with a revenue of two hundred talents; but Batanea, and
Trachonitis, and Auranitis, and certain parts of Zeno’s house about
Jamnia, with a revenue of a hundred talents, were made subject to Philip;
while Idumea, and all Judea, and Samaria were parts of the ethnarchy of
Archelaus, although Samaria was eased of one quarter of its taxes, out of
regard to their not having revolted with the rest of the nation. He also made
subject to him the following cities, viz. Strato’s Tower, and Sebaste, and
Joppa, and Jerusalem; but as to the Grecian cities, Gaza, and Gadara, and
Hippos, he cut them off from the kingdom, and added them to Syria. Now
the revenue of the country that was given to Archelaus was four hundred
talents. Salome also, besides what the king had left her in his testaments,
was now made mistress of Jamnia, and Ashdod, and Phasaelis. Caesar did
moreover bestow upon her the royal palace of Ascalon; by all which she
got together a revenue of sixty talents; but he put her house under the
ethnarchy of Archelaus. And for the rest of Herod’s offspring, they
received what was bequeathed to them in his testaments; but, besides that,
Caesar granted to Herod’s two virgin daughters five hundred thousand
[drachmae] of silver, and gave them in marriage to the sons of Pheroras: but
after this family distribution, he gave between them what had been
bequeathed to him by Herod, which was a thousand talents, reserving to
himself only some inconsiderable presents, in honor of the deceased.
1. In the meantime, there was a man, who was by birth a Jew, but brought
up at Sidon with one of the Roman freed-men, who falsely pretended, on
account of the resemblance of their countenances, that he was that
Alexander who was slain by Herod. This man came to Rome, in hopes of
not being detected. He had one who was his assistant, of his own nation,
and who knew all the affairs of the kingdom, and instructed him to say
how those that were sent to kill him and Aristobulus had pity upon them,
and stole them away, by putting bodies that were like theirs in their
places. This man deceived the Jews that were at Crete, and got a great deal
of money of them for traveling in splendor; and thence sailed to Melos,
where he was thought so certainly genuine, that he got a great deal more
money, and prevailed with those that had treated him to sail along with
him to Rome. So he landed at Dicearchia, [Puteoli,] and got very large
presents from the Jews who dwelt there, and was conducted by his
father’s friends as if he were a king; nay, the resemblance in his
countenance procured him so much credit, that those who had seen
Alexander, and had known him very well, would take their oaths that he
was the very same person. Accordingly, the whole body of the Jews that
were at Rome ran out in crowds to see him, and an innumerable multitude
there was which stood in the narrow places through which he was carried;
for those of Melos were so far distracted, that they carried him in a sedan,
and maintained a royal attendance for him at their own proper charges.
2. But Caesar, who knew perfectly well the lineaments of Alexander’s
face, because he had been accused by Herod before him, discerned the
fallacy in his countenance, even before he saw the man. However, he
suffered the agreeable fame that went of him to have some weight with
him, and sent Celadus, one who well knew Alexander, and ordered him to
bring the young man to him. But when Caesar saw him, he immediately
discerned a difference in his countenance; and when he had discovered that
his whole body was of a more robust texture, and like that of a slave, he
understood the whole was a contrivance. But the impudence of what he
said greatly provoked him to be angry at him; for when he was asked
about Aristobulus, he said that he was also preserved alive, and was left
on purpose in Cyprus, for fear of treachery, because it would be harder for
plotters to get them both into their power while they were separate. Then
did Caesar take him by himself privately, and said to him, “I will give thee
thy life, if thou wilt discover who it was that persuaded thee to forge such
stories.” So he said that he would discover him, and followed Caesar, and
pointed to that Jew who abused the resemblance of his face to get money;
for that he had received more presents in every city than ever Alexander
did when he was alive. Caesar laughed at the contrivance, and put this
spurious Alexander among his rowers, on account of the strength of his
body, but ordered him that persuaded him to be put to death. But for the
people of Melos, they had been sufficiently punished for their folly, by
the expenses they had been at on his account.
3. And now Archelaus took possession of his ethnarchy, and used not the
Jews only, but the Samaritans also, barbarously; and this out of his
resentment of their old quarrels with him. Whereupon they both of them
sent ambassadors against him to Caesar; and in the ninth year of his
government he was banished to Vienna, a city of Gaul, and his effects were
put into Caesar’s treasury. But the report goes, that before he was sent for
by Caesar, he seemed to see nine ears of corn, full and large, but devoured
by oxen. When, therefore, he had sent for the diviners, and some of the
Chaldeans, and inquired of them what they thought it portended; and
when one of them had one interpretation, and another had another, Simon,
one of the sect of Essens, said that he thought the ears of corn denoted
years, and the oxen denoted a mutation of things, because by their
ploughing they made an alteration of the country. That therefore he should
reign as many years as there were ears of corn; and after he had passed
through various alterations of fortune, should die. Now five days after
Archelaus had heard this interpretation he was called to his trial.
4. I cannot also but think it worthy to be recorded what dream Glaphyra,
the daughter of Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, had, who had at first been
wife to Alexander, who was the brother of Archelaus, concerning whom
we have been discoursing. This Alexander was the son of Herod the king,
by whom he was put to death, as we have already related. This Glaphyra
was married, after his death, to Juba, king of Libya; and, after his death,
was returned home, and lived a widow with her father. Then it was that
Archelaus, the ethnarch, saw her, and fell so deeply in love with her, that
he divorced Mariamne, who was then his wife,,and married her. When,
therefore, she was come into Judea, and had been there for a little while,
she thought she saw Alexander stand by her, and that he said to her; “Thy
marriage with the king of Libya might have been sufficient for thee; but
thou wast not contented with him, but art returned again to my family, to
a third husband; and him, thou impudent woman, hast thou chosen for
thine husband, who is my brother. However, I shall not overlook the
injury thou hast offered me; I shall [soon] have thee again, whether thou
wilt or no.” Now Glaphyra hardly survived the narration of this dream of
hers two days.
1. AND now Archelaus’s part of Judea was reduced into a province, and
Coponius, one of the equestrian order among the Romans, was sent as a
procurator, having the power of [life and] death put into his hands by
Caesar. Under his administration it was that a certain Galilean, whose
name was Judas, prevailed with his countrymen to revolt, and said they
were cowards if they would endure to pay a tax to the Romans and would
after God submit to mortal men as their lords. This man was a teacher of a
peculiar sect of his own, and was not at all like the rest of those their
2. For there are three philosophical sects among the Jews. The followers
of the first of which are the Pharisees; of the second, the Sadducees; and
the third sect, which pretends to a severer discipline, are called Essens.
These last are Jews by birth, and seem to have a greater affection for one
another than the other sects have. These Essens reject pleasures as an evil,
but esteem continence, and the conquest over our passions, to be virtue.
They neglect wedlock, but choose out other persons children, while they
are pliable, and fit for learning, and esteem them to be of their kindred, and
form them according to their own manners. They do not absolutely deny
the fitness of marriage, and the succession of mankind thereby continued;
but they guard against the lascivious behavior of women, and are
persuaded that none of them preserve their fidelity to one man.
3. These men are despisers of riches, and so very communicative as raises
our admiration. Nor is there any one to be found among them who hath
more than another; for it is a law among them, that those who come to
them must let what they have be common to the whole order, — insomuch
that among them all there is no appearance of poverty, or excess of riches,
but every one’s possessions are intermingled with every other’s
possessions; and so there is, as it were, one patrimony among all the
brethren. They think that oil is a defilement; and if any one of them be
anointed without his own approbation, it is wiped off his body; for they
think to be sweaty is a good thing, as they do also to be clothed in white
garments. They also have stewards appointed to take care of their
common affairs, who every one of them have no separate business for any,
but what is for the uses of them all.
4. They have no one certain city, but many of them dwell in every city;
and if any of their sect come from other places, what they have lies open
for them, just as if it were their own; and they go in to such as they never
knew before, as if they had been ever so long acquainted with them. For
which reason they carry nothing at all with them when they travel into
remote parts, though still they take their weapons with them, for fear of
thieves. Accordingly, there is, in every city where they live, one appointed
particularly to take care of strangers, and to provide garments and other
necessaries for them. But the habit and management of their bodies is such
as children use who are in fear of their masters. Nor do they allow of the
change of or of shoes till be first torn to pieces, or worn out by time. Nor
do they either buy or sell any thing to one another; but every one of them
gives what he hath to him that wanteth it, and receives from him again in
lieu of it what may be convenient for himself; and although there be no
requital made, they are fully allowed to take what they want of
whomsoever they please.
5. And as for their piety towards God, it is very extraordinary; for before
sun-rising they speak not a word about profane matters, but put up
certain prayers which they have received from their forefathers, as if they
made a supplication for its rising. After this every one of them are sent
away by their curators, to exercise some of those arts wherein they are
skilled, in which they labor with great diligence till the fifth hour. After
which they assemble themselves together again into one place; and when
they have clothed themselves in white veils, they then bathe their bodies
in cold water. And after this purification is over, they every one meet
together in an apartment of their own, into which it is not permitted to
any of another sect to enter; while they go, after a pure manner, into the
dining-room, as into a certain holy temple, and quietly set themselves
down; upon which the baker lays them loaves in order; the cook also
brings a single plate of one sort of food, and sets it before every one of
them; but a priest says grace before meat; and it is unlawful for any one to
taste of the food before grace be said. The same priest, when he hath
dined, says grace again after meat; and when they begin, and when they
end, they praise God, as he that bestows their food upon them; after
which they lay aside their [white] garments, and betake themselves to their
labors again till the evening; then they return home to supper, after the
same manner; and if there be any strangers there, they sit down with them.
Nor is there ever any clamor or disturbance to pollute their house, but
they give every one leave to speak in their turn; which silence thus kept in
their house appears to foreigners like some tremendous mystery; the cause
of which is that perpetual sobriety they exercise, and the same settled
measure of meat and drink that is allotted them, and that such as is
abundantly sufficient for them.
6. And truly, as for other things, they do nothing but according to the
injunctions of their curators; only these two things are done among them at
everyone’s own free-will, which are to assist those that want it, and to
show mercy; for they are permitted of their own accord to afford succor to
such as deserve it, when they stand in need of it, and to bestow food on
those that are in distress; but they cannot give any thing to their kindred
without the curators. They dispense their anger after a just manner, and
restrain their passion. They are eminent for fidelity, and are the ministers
of peace; whatsoever they say also is firmer than an oath; but swearing is
avoided by them, and they esteem it worse than perjury 4 for they say
that he who cannot be believed without [swearing by] God is already
condemned. They also take great pains in studying the writings of the
ancients, and choose out of them what is most for the advantage of their
soul and body; and they inquire after such roots and medicinal stones as
may cure their distempers.
7. But now if any one hath a mind to come over to their sect, he is not
immediately admitted, but he is prescribed the same method of living
which they use for a year, while he continues excluded’; and they give him
also a small hatchet, and the fore-mentioned girdle, and the white garment.
And when he hath given evidence, during that time, that he can observe
their continence, he approaches nearer to their way of living, and is made a
partaker of the waters of purification; yet is he not even now admitted to
live with them; for after this demonstration of his fortitude, his temper is
tried two more years; and if he appear to be worthy, they then admit him
into their society. And before he is allowed to touch their common food,
he is obliged to take tremendous oaths, that, in the first place, he will
exercise piety towards God, and then that he will observe justice towards
men, and that he will do no harm to any one, either of his own accord, or
by the command of others; that he will always hate the wicked, and be
assistant to the righteous; that he will ever show fidelity to all men, and
especially to those in authority, because no one obtains the government
without God’s assistance; and that if he be in authority, he will at no time
whatever abuse his authority, nor endeavor to outshine his subjects either
in his garments, or any other finery; that he will be perpetually a lover of
truth, and propose to himself to reprove those that tell lies; that he will
keep his hands clear from theft, and his soul from unlawful gains; and that
he will neither conceal any thing from those of his own sect, nor discover
any of their doctrines to others, no, not though anyone should compel him
so to do at the hazard of his life. Moreover, he swears to communicate
their doctrines to no one any otherwise than as he received them himself;
that he will abstain from robbery, and will equally preserve the books
belonging to their sect, and the names of the angels 5 [or messengers].
These are the oaths by which they secure their proselytes to themselves.
8. But for those that are caught in any heinous sins, they cast them out of
their society; and he who is thus separated from them does often die after
a miserable manner; for as he is bound by the oath he hath taken, and by
the customs he hath been engaged in, he is not at liberty to partake of that
food that he meets with elsewhere, but is forced to eat grass, and to famish
his body with hunger, till he perish; for which reason they receive many of
them again when they are at their last gasp, out of compassion to them, as
thinking the miseries they have endured till they came to the very brink of
death to be a sufficient punishment for the sins they had been guilty of.
9. But in the judgments they exercise they are most accurate and just, nor
do they pass sentence by the votes of a court that is fewer than a hundred.
And as to what is once determined by that number, it is unalterable. What
they most of all honor, after God himself, is the name of their legislator
[Moses], whom if any one blaspheme he is punished capitally. They also
think it a good thing to obey their elders, and the major part. Accordingly,
if ten of them be sitting together, no one of them will speak while the other
nine are against it. They also avoid spitting in the midst of them, or on the
right side. Moreover, they are stricter than any other of the Jews in resting
from their labors on the seventh day; for they not only get their food
ready the day before, that they may not be obliged to kindle a fire on that
day, but they will not remove any vessel out of its place, nor go to stool
thereon. Nay, on other days they dig a small pit, a foot deep, with a
paddle (which kind of hatchet is given them when they are first admitted
among them); and covering themselves round with their garment, that they
may not affront the Divine rays of light, they ease themselves into that
pit, after which they put the earth that was dug out again into the pit; and
even this they do only in the more lonely places, which they choose out
for this purpose; and although this easement of the body be natural, yet it
is a rule with them to wash themselves after it, as if it were a defilement to
10. Now after the time of their preparatory trial is over, they are parted
into four classes; and so far are the juniors inferior to the seniors, that if
the seniors should be touched by the juniors, they must wash themselves,
as if they had intermixed themselves with the company of a foreigner.
They are long-lived also, insomuch that many of them live above a
hundred years, by means of the simplicity of their diet; nay, as I think, by
means of the regular course of life they observe also. They contemn the
miseries of life, and are above pain, by the generosity of their mind. And
as for death, if it will be for their glory, they esteem it better than living
always; and indeed our war with the Romans gave abundant evidence what
great souls they had in their trials, wherein, although they were tortured
and distorted, burnt and torn to pieces, and went through all kinds of
instruments of torment, that they might be forced either to blaspheme
their legislator, or to eat what was forbidden them, yet could they not be
made to do either of them, no, nor once to flatter their tormentors, or to
shed a tear; but they smiled in their very pains, and laughed those to scorn
who inflicted the torments upon them, and resigned up their souls with
great alacrity, as expecting to receive them again.
11. For their doctrine is this: That bodies are corruptible, and that the
matter they are made of is not permanent; but that the souls are immortal,
and continue for ever; and that they come out of the most subtile air, and
are united to their bodies as to prisons, into which they are drawn by a
certain natural enticement; but that when they are set free from the bonds
of the flesh, they then, as released from a long bondage, rejoice and mount
upward. And this is like the opinions of the Greeks, that good souls have
their habitations beyond the ocean, in a region that is neither oppressed
with storms of rain or snow, or with intense heat, but that this place is
such as is refreshed by the gentle breathing of a west wind, that is
perpetually blowing from the ocean; while they allot to bad souls a dark
and tempestuous den, full of never-ceasing punishments. And indeed the
Greeks seem to me to have followed the same notion, when they allot the
islands of the blessed to their brave men, whom they call heroes and
demi-gods; and to the souls of the wicked, the region of the ungodly, in
Hades, where their fables relate that certain persons, such as Sisyphus,
and Tantalus, and Ixion, and Tityus, are punished; which is built on this
first supposition, that souls are immortal; and thence are those
exhortations to virtue and dehortations from wickedness collected;
whereby good men are bettered in the conduct of their life by the hope
they have of reward after their death; and whereby the vehement
inclinations of bad men to vice are restrained, by the fear and expectation
they are in, that although they should lie concealed in this life, they should
suffer immortal punishment after their death. These are the Divine
doctrines of the Essens 6 about the soul, which lay an unavoidable bait for
such as have once had a taste of their philosophy.
12. There are also those among them who undertake to foretell things to
come, 7 by reading the holy books, and using several sorts of purifications,
and being perpetually conversant in the discourses of the prophets; and it
is but seldom that they miss in their predictions.
13. Moreover, there is another order of Essens, 8 who agree with the rest
as to their way of living, and customs, and laws, but differ from them in
the point of marriage, as thinking that by not marrying they cut off the
principal part of human life, which is the prospect of succession; nay,
rather, that if all men should be of the same opinion, the whole race of
mankind would fail. However, they try their spouses for three years; and
if they find that they have their natural purgations thrice, as trials that
they are likely to be fruitful, they then actually marry them. But they do
not use to accompany with their wives when they are with child, as a
demonstration that they do not many out of regard to pleasure, but for the
sake of posterity. Now the women go into the baths with some of their
garments on, as the men do with somewhat girded about them. And these
are the customs of this order of Essens.
14. But then as to the two other orders at first mentioned, the Pharisees
are those who are esteemed most skillful in the exact explication of their
laws, and introduce the first sect. These ascribe all to fate [or providence],
and to God, and yet allow, that to act what is right, or the contrary, is
principally in the power of men, although fate does co-operate in every
action. They say that all souls are incorruptible, but that the souls of good
men only are removed into other bodies, — but that the souls of bad men
are subject to eternal punishment. But the Sadducees are those that
compose the second order, and take away fate entirely, and suppose that
God is not concerned in our doing or not doing what is evil; and they say,
that to act what is good, or what is evil, is at men’s own choice, and that
the one or the other belongs so to every one, that they may act as they
please. They also take away the belief of the immortal duration of the soul,
and the punishments and rewards in Hades. Moreover, the Pharisees are
friendly to one another, and are for the exercise of concord, and regard for
the public; but the behavior of the Sadducees one towards another is in
some degree wild, and their conversation with those that are of their own
party is as barbarous as if they were strangers to them. And this is what I
had to say concerning the philosophic sects among the Jews.
1. AND now as the ethnarchy of Archelaus was fallen into a Roman
province, the other sons of Herod, Philip, and that Herod who was called
Antipas, each of them took upon them the administration of their own
tetrarchies; for when Salome died, she bequeathed to Julia, the wife of
Augustus, both her toparchy, and Jamriga, as also her plantation of palm
trees that were in Phasaelis. But when the Roman empire was translated to
Tiberius, the son of Julia, upon the death of Augustus, who had reigned
fifty-seven years, six months, and two days, both Herod and Philip
continued in their tetrarchies; and the latter of them built the city Cesarea,
at the fountains of Jordan, and in the region of Paneas; as also the city
Julias, in the lower Gaulonitis. Herod also built the city Tiberius in
Galilee, and in Perea [beyond Jordan] another that was also called Julias.
2. Now Pilate, who was sent as procurator into Judea by Tiberius, sent by
night those images of Caesar that are called ensigns into Jerusalem. This
excited a very among great tumult among the Jews when it was day; for
those that were near them were astonished at the sight of them, as
indications that their laws were trodden under foot; for those laws do not
permit any sort of image to be brought into the city. Nay, besides the
indignation which the citizens had themselves at this procedure, a vast
number of people came running out of the country. These came zealously
to Pilate to Cesarea, and besought him to carry those ensigns out of
Jerusalem, and to preserve them their ancient laws inviolable; but upon
Pilate’s denial of their request, they fell 9 down prostrate upon the ground,
and continued immovable in that posture for five days and as many nights.
3. On the next day Pilate sat upon his tribunal, in the open market-place,
and called to him the multitude, as desirous to give them an answer; and
then gave a signal to the soldiers, that they should all by agreement at once
encompass the Jews with their weapons; so the band of soldiers stood
round about the Jews in three ranks. The Jews were under the utmost
consternation at that unexpected sight. Pilate also said to them that they
should be cut in pieces, unless they would admit of Caesar’s images, and
gave intimation to the soldiers to draw their naked swords. Hereupon the
Jews, as it were at one signal, fell down in vast numbers together, and
exposed their necks bare, and cried out that they were sooner ready to be
slain, than that their law should be transgressed. Hereupon Pilate was
greatly surprised at their prodigious superstition, and gave order that the
ensigns should be presently carried out of Jerusalem.
4. After this he raised another disturbance, by expending that sacred
treasure which is called Corban 10 upon aqueducts, whereby he brought
water from the distance of four hundred furlongs. At this the multitude
had indignation; and when Pilate was come to Jerusalem, they came about
his tribunal, and made a clamor at it. Now when he was apprized
aforehand of this disturbance, he mixed his own soldiers in their armor
with the multitude, and ordered them to conceal themselves under the
habits of private men, and not indeed to use their swords, but with their
staves to beat those that made the clamor. He then gave the signal from his
tribunal [to do as he had bidden them]. Now the Jews were so sadly
beaten, that many of them perished by the stripes they received, and
many of them perished as trodden to death by themselves; by which
means the multitude was astonished at the calamity of those that were
slain, and held their peace.
5. In the mean time Agrippa, the son of that Aristobulus who had been
slain by his father Herod, came to Tiberius, to accuse Herod the tetrarch;
who not admitting of his accusation, he staid at Rome, and cultivated a
friendship with others of the men of note, but principally with Caius the
son of Germanicus, who was then but a private person. Now this
Agrippa, at a certain time, feasted Caius; and as he was very complaisant
to him on several other accounts, he at length stretched out his hands, and
openly wished that Tiberius might die, and that he might quickly see him
emperor of the world. This was told to Tiberius by one of Agrippa’s
domestics, who thereupon was very angry, and ordered Agrippa to be
bound, and had him very ill-treated in the prison for six months, until
Tiberius died, after he had reigned twenty-two years, six months, and
three days.
6. But when Caius was made Caesar, he released Agrippa from his bonds,
and made him king of Philip’s tetrarchy, who was now dead; but when
Agrippa had arrived at that degree of dignity, he inflamed the ambitious
desires of Herod the tetrarch, who was chiefly induced to hope for the
royal authority by his wife Herodias, who reproached him for his sloth,
and told him that it was only because he would not sail to Caesar that he
was destitute of that great dignity; for since Caesar had made Agrippa a
king, from a private person, much mole would he advance him from a
tetrarch to that dignity. These arguments prevailed with Herod, so that he
came to Caius, by whom he was punished for his ambition, by being
banished into Spain; for Agrippa followed him, in order to accuse him; to
whom also Caius gave his tetrarchy, by way of addition. So Herod died in
Spain, whither his wife had followed him.
1. NOW Caius Caesar did so grossly abuse the fortune he had arrived at, as
to take himself to be a God, and to desire to be so called also, and to cut
off those of the greatest nobility out of his country. He also extended his
impiety as far as the Jews. Accordingly, he sent Petronius with an army to
Jerusalem, to place his statues in the temple, 11 and commanded him that,
in case the Jews would not admit of them, he should slay those that
opposed it, and carry all the rest of the nation into captivity: but God
concerned himself with these his commands. However, Petronius marched
out of Antioch into Judea, with three legions, and many Syrian auxiliaries.
Now as to the Jews, some of them could not believe the stories that spake
of a war; but those that did believe them were in the utmost distress how
to defend themselves, and the terror diffused itself presently through them
all; for the army was already come to Ptolemais.
2. This Ptolemais is a maritime city of Galilee, built in the great plain. It is
encompassed with mountains: that on the east side, sixty furlongs off,
belongs to Galilee; but that on the south belongs to Carmel, which is
distant from it a hundred and twenty furlongs; and that on the north is the
highest of them all, and is called by the people of the country, The Ladder
of the Tyrians, which is at the distance of a hundred furlongs. The very
small river Belus 12 runs by it, at the distance of two furlongs; near which
there is Menmon’s monument, 13 and hath near it a place no larger than a
hundred cubits, which deserves admiration; for the place is round and
hollow, and affords such sand as glass is made of; which place, when it
hath been emptied by the many ships there loaded, it is filled again by the
winds, which bring into it, as it were on purpose, that sand which lay
remote, and was no more than bare common sand, while this mine
presently turns it into glassy sand. And what is to me still more
wonderful, that glassy sand which is superfluous, and is once removed out
of the place, becomes bare common sand again. And this is the nature of
the place we are speaking of.
3. But now the Jews got together in great numbers with their wives and
children into that plain that was by Ptolemais, and made supplication to
Petronius, first for their laws, and, in the next place, for themselves. So he
was prevailed upon by the multitude of the supplicants, and by their
supplications, and left his army and the statues at Ptolemais, and then
went forward into Galilee, and called together the multitude and all the
men of note to Tiberias, and showed them the power of the Romans, and
the threatenings of Caesar; and, besides this, proved that their petition was
unreasonable, because while all the nations in subjection to them had
placed the images of Caesar in their several cities, among the rest of their
gods, for them alone to oppose it, was almost like the behavior of
revolters, and was injurious to Caesar.
4. And when they insisted on their law, and the custom of their country,
and how it was not only not permitted them to make either an image of
God, or indeed of a man, and to put it in any despicable part of their
country, much less in the temple itself, Petronius replied, “And am not I
also,” said he, “bound to keep the law of my own Lord? For if I transgress
it, and spare you, it is but just that I perish; while he that sent me, and not
I, will commence a war against you; for I am under command as well as
you.” Hereupon the whole multitude cried out that they were ready to
suffer for their law. Petronius then quieted them, and said to them, “Will
you then make war against Caesar?” The Jews said, “We offer sacrifices
twice every day for Caesar, and for the Roman people;” but that if he
would place the images among them, he must first sacrifice the whole
Jewish nation; and that they were ready to expose themselves, together
with their children and wives, to be slain. At this Petronius was
astonished, and pitied them, on account of the inexpressible sense of
religion the men were under, and that courage of theirs which made them
ready to die for it; so they were dismissed without success.
5. But on the following days he got together the men of power privately,
and the multitude publicly, and sometimes he used persuasions to them,
and sometimes he gave them his advice; but he chiefly made use of
threatenings to them, and insisted upon the power of the Romans, and the
anger of Caius; and besides, upon the necessity he was himself under [to
do as he was enjoined]. But as they could be no way prevailed upon, and
he saw that the country was in danger of lying without tillage; (for it was
about seed time that the multitude continued for fifty days together idle;)
so he at last got them together, and told them that it was best for him to
run some hazard himself; “for either, by the Divine assistance, I shall
prevail with Caesar, and shall myself escape the danger as well as you,
which will he matter of joy to us both; or, in case Caesar continue in his
rage, I will be ready to expose my own life for such a great number as you
are.” Whereupon he dismissed the multitude, who prayed greatly for his
prosperity; and he took the army out of Ptolemais, and returned to
Antioch; from whence he presently sent an epistle to Caesar, and informed
him of the irruption he had made into Judea, and of the supplications of
the nation; and that unless he had a mind to lose both the country and the
men in it, he must permit them to keep their law, and must countermand
his former injunction. Caius answered that epistle in a violent-way, and
threatened to have Petronius put to death for his being so tardy in the
execution of what he had commanded. But it happened that those who
brought Caius’s epistle were tossed by a storm, and were detained on the
sea for three months, while others that brought the news of Caius’s death
had a good voyage. Accordingly, Petronins received the epistle concerning
Caius seven and twenty days before he received that which was against
1. NOW when Caius had reigned three year’s and eight months, and had
been slain by treachery, Claudius was hurried away by the armies that
were at Rome to take the government upon him; but the senate, upon the
reference of the consuls, Sentis Saturninns, and Pomponins Secundus, gave
orders to the three regiments of soldiers that staid with them to keep the
city quiet, and went up into the capitol in great numbers, and resolved to
oppose Claudius by force, on account of the barbarous treatment they had
met with from Caius; and they determined either to settle the nation under
an aristocracy, as they had of old been governed, or at least to choose by
vote such a one for emperor as might be worthy of it.
2. Now it happened that at this time Agrippa sojourned at Rome, and that
both the senate called him to consult with them, and at the same time
Claudius sent for him out of the camp, that he might be serviceable to him,
as he should have occasion for his service. So he, perceiving that Claudius
was in effect made Caesar already, went to him, who sent him as an
ambassador to the senate, to let them know what his intentions were: that,
in the first place, it was without his seeking that he was hurried away by
the soldiers; moreover, that he thought it was not just to desert those
soldiers in such their zeal for him, and that if he should do so, his own
fortune would be in uncertainty; for that it was a dangerous case to have
been once called to the empire. He added further, that he would administer
the government as a good prince, and not like a tyrant; for that he would
be satisfied with the honor of being called emperor, but would, in every
one of his actions, permit them all to give him their advice; for that
although he had not been by nature for moderation, yet would the death of
Caius afford him a sufficient demonstration how soberly he ought to act in
that station.
3. This message was delivered by Agrippa; to which the senate replied,
that since they had an army, and the wisest counsels on their side, they
would not endure a voluntary slavery. And when Claudius heard what
answer the senate had made, he sent Agrippa to them again, with the
following message: That he could not bear the thoughts of betraying them
that had given their oaths to be true to him; and that he saw he must fight,
though unwillingly, against such as he had no mind to fight; that, however,
[if it must come to that,] it was proper to choose a place without the city
for the war, because it was not agreeable to piety to pollute the temples of
their own city with the blood of their own countrymen, and this only on
occasion of their imprudent conduct. And when Agrippa had heard this
message, he delivered it to the senators.
4. In the mean time, one of the soldiers belonging to the senate drew his
sword, and cried out, “O my fellow soldiers, what is the meaning of this
choice of ours, to kill our brethren, and to use violence to our kindred that
are with Claudius? while we may have him for our emperor whom no one
can blame, and who hath so many just reasons [to lay claim to the
government]; and this with regard to those against whom we are going to
fight.” When he had said this, he marched through the whole senate, and
carried all the soldiers along with him. Upon which all the patricians were
immediately in a great fright at their being thus deserted. But still, because
there appeared no other way whither they could turn themselves for
deliverance, they made haste the same way with the soldiers, and went to
Claudius. But those that had the greatest luck in flattering the good fortune
of Claudius betimes met them before the walls with their naked swords,
and there was reason to fear that those that came first might have been in
danger, before Claudius could know what violence the soldiers were going
to offer them, had not Agrippa ran before, and told him what a dangerous
thing they were going about, and that unless he restrained the violence of
these men, who were in a fit of madness against the patricians, he would
lose those on whose account it was most desirable to rule, and would be
emperor over a desert.
5. When Claudius heard this, he restrained the violence of the soldiery, and
received the senate into the camp, and treated them after an obliging
manner, and went out with them presently to offer their thank-offerings to
God, which were proper upon, his first coming to the empire. Moreover,
he bestowed on Agrippa his whole paternal kingdom immediately, and
added to it, besides those countries that had been given by Augustus to
Herod, Trachonitis and Auranitis, and still besides these, that kingdom
which was called the kingdom of Lysanius. This gift he declared to the
people by a decree, but ordered the magistrates to have the donation
engraved on tables of brass, and to be set up in the capitol. He bestowed
on his brother Herod, who was also his son-in-law, by marrying [his
daughter] Bernice, the kingdom of Chalcis.
6. So now riches flowed in to Agrippa by his enjoyment of so large a
dominion; nor did he abuse the money he had on small matters, but he
began to encompass Jerusalem with such a wall, which, had it been brought
to perfection, had made it impracticable for the Romans to take it by siege;
but his death, which happened at Cesarea, before he had raised the walls to
their due height, prevented him. He had then reigned three years, as he had
governed his tetrarchies three other years. He left behind him three
daughters, born to him by Cypros, Bernice, Mariamne, and Drusilla, and a
son born of the same mother, whose name was Agrippa: he was left a very
young child, so that Claudius made the country a Roman province, and
sent Cuspius Fadus to be its procurator, and after him Tiberius Alexander,
who, making no alterations of the ancient laws, kept the nation in
tranquillity. Now after this, Herod the king of Chalcis died, and left behind
him two sons, born to him of his brother’s daughter Bernice; their names
were Bernie Janus and Hyrcanus. [He also left behind him] Aristobulus,
whom he had by his former wife Mariamne. There was besides another
brother of his that died a private person, his name was also Aristobulus,
who left behind him a daughter, whose name was Jotape: and these, as I
have formerly said, were the children of Aristobulus the son of Herod,
which Aristobulus and Alexander were born to Herod by Mariamne, and
were slain by him. But as for Alexander’s posterity, they reigned in

1 NOW after the death of Herod, king of Chalcis, Claudius set Agrippa, the
son of Agrippa, over his uncle’s kingdom, while Cumanus took upon him
the office of procurator of the rest, which was a Roman province, and
therein he succeeded Alexander; under which Cureanus began the troubles,
and the Jews’ ruin came on; for when the multitude were come together to
Jerusalem, to the feast of unleavened bread, and a Roman cohort stood
over the cloisters of the temple, (for they always were armed, and kept
guard at the festivals, to prevent any innovation which the multitude thus
gathered together might make,) one of the soldiers pulled back his garment,
and cowering down after an indecent manner, turned his breech to the
Jews, and spake such words as you might expect upon such a posture. At
this the whole multitude had indignation, and made a clamor to Cumanus,
that he would punish the soldier; while the rasher part of the youth, and
such as were naturally the most tumultuous, fell to fighting, and caught up
stones, and threw them at the soldiers. Upon which Cumanus was afraid
lest all the people should make an assault upon him, and sent to call for
more armed men, who, when they came in great numbers into the cloisters,
the Jews were in a very great consternation; and being beaten out of the
temple, they ran into the city; and the violence with which they crowded
to get out was so great, that they trod upon each other, and squeezed one
another, till ten thousand of them were killed, insomuch that this feast
became the cause of mourning to the whole nation, and every family
lamented their own relations.
2. Now there followed after this another calamity, which arose from a
tumult made by robbers; for at the public road at Beth-boron, one
Stephen, a servant of Caesar, carried some furniture, which the robbers fell
upon and seized. Upon this Cureanus sent men to go round about to the
neighboring villages, and to bring their inhabitants to him bound, as laying
it to their charge that they had not pursued after the thieves, and caught
them. Now here it was that a certain soldier, finding the sacred book of the
law, tore it to pieces, and threw it into the fire. 14 Hereupon the Jews were
in great disorder, as if their whole country were in a flame, and assembled
themselves so many of them by their zeal for their religion, as by an
engine, and ran together with united clamor to Cesarea, to Cumanus, and
made supplication to him that he would not overlook this man, who had
offered such an affront to God, and to his law; but punish him for what he
had done. Accordingly, he, perceiving that the multitude would not be
quiet unless they had a comfortable answer from him, gave order that the
soldier should be brought, and drawn through those that required to have
him punished, to execution, which being done, the Jews went their ways.
3. After this there happened a fight between the Galileans and the
Samaritans; it happened at a village called Geman, which is situate in the
great plain of Samaria; where, as a great number of Jews were going up to
Jerusalem to the feast [of tabernacles,] a certain Galilean was slain; and
besides, a vast number of people ran together out of Galilee, in order to
fight with the Samaritans. But the principal men among them came to
Cumanus, and besought him that, before the evil became incurable, he
would come into Galilee, and bring the authors of this murder to
punishment; for that there was no other way to make the multitude
separate without coming to blows. However, Cumanus postponed their
supplications to the other affairs he was then about, and sent the
petitioners away without success.
4. But when the affair of this murder came to be told at Jerusalem, it put
the multitude into disorder, and they left the feast; and without any
generals to conduct them, they marched with great violence to Samaria; nor
would they be ruled by any of the magistrates that were set over them, but
they were managed by one Eleazar, the son of Dineus, and by Alexander,
in these their thievish and seditious attempts. These men fell upon those
that were ill the neighborhood of the Acrabatene toparchy, and slew them,
without sparing any age, and set the villages on fire.
5. But Cumanus took one troop of horsemen, called the troop of Sebaste,
out of Cesarea, and came to the assistance of those that were spoiled; he
also seized upon a great number of those that followed Eleazar, and slew
more of them. And as for the rest of the multitude of those that went so
zealously to fight with the Samaritans, the rulers of Jerusalem ran out
clothed with sackcloth, and having ashes on their head, and begged of them
to go their ways, lest by their attempt to revenge themselves upon the
Samaritans they should provoke the Romans to come against Jerusalem; to
have compassion upon their country and temple, their children and their
wives, and not bring the utmost dangers of destruction upon them, in order
to avenge themselves upon one Galilean only. The Jews complied with
these persuasions of theirs, and dispersed themselves; but still there were
a great number who betook themselves to robbing, in hopes of impunity;
and rapines and insurrections of the bolder sort happened over the whole
country. And the men of power among the Samaritans came to Tyre, to
Ummidius Quadratus, 15 the president of Syria, and desired that they that
had laid waste the country might be punished: the great men also of the
Jews, and Jonathan the son of Ananus the high priest, came thither, and
said that the Samaritans were the beginners of the disturbance, on account
of that murder they had committed; and that Cumanus had given occasion
to what had happened, by his unwillingness to punish the original authors
of that murder.
6. But Quadratus put both parties off for that time, and told them, that
when he should come to those places, he would make a diligent inquiry
after every circumstance. After which he went to Cesarea, and crucified all
those whom Cumanus had taken alive; and when from thence he was come
to the city Lydda, he heard the affair of the Samaritans, and sent for
eighteen of the Jews, whom he had learned to have been concerned in that
fight, and beheaded them; but he sent two others of those that were of the
greatest power among them, and both Jonathan and Ananias, the high
priests, as also Artanus the son of this Ananias, and certain others that
were eminent among the Jews, to Caesar; as he did in like manner by the
most illustrious of the Samaritans. He also ordered that Cureanus [the
procurator] and Celer the tribune should sail to Rome, in order to give an
account of what had been done to Caesar. When he had finished these
matters, he went up from Lydda to Jerusalem, and finding the multitude
celebrating their feast of unleavened bread without any tumult, he returned
to Antioch.
7. Now when Caesar at Rome had heard what Cumanus and the
Samaritans had to say, (where it was done in the hearing of Agrippa, who
zealously espoused the cause of the Jews, as in like manner many of the
great men stood by Cumanus,) he condemned the Samaritans, and
commanded that three of the most powerful men among them should be
put to death; he banished Cumanus, and sent Color bound to Jerusalem, to
be delivered over to the Jews to be tormented; that he should be drawn
round the city, and then beheaded.
8. After this Caesar sent Felix, 16 the brother of Pallas, to be procurator of
Galilee, and Samaria, and Perea, and removed Agrippa from Chalcis unto a
greater kingdom; for he gave him the tetrarchy which had belonged to
Philip, which contained Batanae, Trachonitis, and Gaulonitis: he added to
it the kingdom of Lysanias, and that province [Abilene] which Varus had
governed. But Claudius himself, when he had administered the government
thirteen years, eight months, and twenty days, died, and left Nero to be his
successor in the empire, whom he had adopted by his Wife Agrippina’s
delusions, in order to be his successor, although he had a son of his own,
whose name was Britannicus, by Messalina his former wife, and a
daughter whose name was Octavia, whom he had married to Nero; he had
also another daughter by Petina, whose name was Antonia.
1. NOW as to the many things in which Nero acted like a madman, out of
the extravagant degree of the felicity and riches which he enjoyed, and by
that means used his good fortune to the injury of others; and after what
manner he slew his brother, and wife, and mother, from whom his
barbarity spread itself to others that were most nearly related to him; and
how, at last, he was so distracted that he became an actor in the scenes,
and upon the theater, — I omit to say any more about them, because there
are writers enough upon those subjects every where; but I shall turn
myself to those actions of his time in which the Jews were concerned.
2. Nero therefore bestowed the kingdom of the Lesser Armenia upon
Aristobulus, Herod’s son, 17 and he added to Agrippa’s kingdom four
cities, with the toparchies to them belonging; I mean Abila, and that Julias
which is in Perea, Tarichea also, and Tiberias of Galilee; but over the rest
of Judea he made Felix procurator. This Felix took Eleazar the arch-robber,
and many that were with him, alive, when they had ravaged the country
for twenty years together, and sent them to Rome; but as to the number of
the robbers whom he caused to be crucified, and of those who were caught
among them, and whom he brought to punishment, they were a multitude
not to be enumerated.
3. When the country was purged of these, there sprang up another sort of
robbers in Jerusalem, which were called Sicarii, who slew men in the day
time, and in the midst of the city; this they did chiefly at the festivals,
when they mingled themselves among the multitude, and concealed daggers
under their garments, with which they stabbed those that were their
enemies; and when any fell down dead, the murderers became a part of
those that had indignation against them; by which means they appeared
persons of such reputation, that they could by no means be discovered.
The first man who was slain by them was Jonathan the high priest, after
whose death many were slain every day, while the fear men were in of
being so served was more afflicting than the calamity itself; and while
every body expected death every hour, as men do in war, so men were
obliged to look before them, and to take notice of their enemies at a great
distance; nor, if their friends were coming to them, durst they trust them
any longer; but, in the midst of their suspicions and guarding of
themselves, they were slain. Such was the celerity of the plotters against
them, and so cunning was their contrivance.
4. There was also another body of wicked men gotten together, not so
impure in their actions, but more wicked in their intentions, which laid
waste the happy state of the city no less than did these murderers. These
were such men as deceived and deluded the people under pretense of
Divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the
government; and these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen,
and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would
there show them the signals of liberty. But Felix thought this procedure
was to be the beginning of a revolt; so he sent some horsemen and footmen
both armed, who destroyed a great number of them.
5. But there was an Egyptian false prophet that did the Jews more
mischief than the former; for he was a cheat, and pretended to be a
prophet also, and got together thirty thousand men that were deluded by
him; these he led round about from the wilderness to the mount which was
called the Mount of Olives, and was ready to break into Jerusalem by
force from that place; and if he could but once conquer the Roman garrison
and the people, he intended to domineer over them by the assistance of
those guards of his that were to break into the city with him. But Felix
prevented his attempt, and met him with his Roman soldiers, while all the
people assisted him in his attack upon them, insomuch that when it came
to a battle, the Egyptian ran away, with a few others, while the greatest
part of those that were with him were either destroyed or taken alive; but
the rest of the multitude were dispersed every one to their own homes,
and there concealed themselves.
6. Now when these were quieted, it happened, as it does in a diseased
body, that another part was subject to an inflammation; for a company of
deceivers and robbers got together, and persuaded the Jews to revolt, and
exhorted them to assert their liberty, inflicting death on those that
continued in obedience to the Roman government, and saying, that such as
willingly chose slavery ought to be forced from such their desired
inclinations; for they parted themselves into different bodies, and lay in
wait up and down the country, and plundered the houses of the great men,
and slew the men themselves, and set the villages on fire; and this till all
Judea was filled with the effects of their madness. And thus the flame was
every day more and more blown up, till it came to a direct war.
7. There was also another disturbance at Cesarea, — those Jews who were
mixed with the Syrians that lived there rising a tumult against them. The
Jews pretended that the city was theirs, and said that he who built it was a
Jew, meaning king Herod. The Syrians confessed also that its builder was a
Jew; but they still said, however, that the city was a Grecian city; for that
he who set up statues and temples in it could not design it for Jews. On
which account both parties had a contest with one another; and this
contest increased so much, that it came at last to arms, and the bolder sort
of them marched out to fight; for the elders of the Jews were not able to
put a stop to their own people that were disposed to be tumultuous, and
the Greeks thought it a shame for them to be overcome by the Jews. Now
these Jews exceeded the others in riches and strength of body; but the
Grecian part had the advantage of assistance from the soldiery; for the
greatest part of the Roman garrison was raised out of Syria; and being thus
related to the Syrian part, they were ready to assist it. However, the
governors of the city were concerned to keep all quiet, and whenever they
caught those that were most for fighting on either side, they punished them
with stripes and bands. Yet did not the sufferings of those that were
caught affright the remainder, or make them desist; but they were still more
and more exasperated, and deeper engaged in the sedition. And as Felix
came once into the market-place, and commanded the Jews, when they had
beaten the Syrians, to go their ways, and threatened them if they would
not, and they would not obey him, he sent his soldiers out upon them, and
slew a great many of them, upon which it fell out that what they had was
plundered. And as the sedition still continued, he chose out the most
eminent men on both sides as ambassadors to Nero, to argue about their
several privileges.
1. NOW it was that Festus succeeded Felix as procurator, and made it his
business to correct those that made disturbances in the country. So he
caught the greatest part of the robbers, and destroyed a great many of
them. But then Albinus, who succeeded Festus, did not execute his office
as the other had done; nor was there any sort of wickedness that could be
named but he had a hand in it. Accordingly, he did not only, in his political
capacity, steal and plunder every one’s substance, nor did he only burden
the whole nation with taxes, but he permitted the relations of such as were
in prison for robbery, and had been laid there, either by the senate of every
city, or by the former procurators, to redeem them for money; and no
body remained in the prisons as a malefactor but he who gave him nothing.
At this time it was that the enterprises of the seditious at Jerusalem were
very formidable; the principal men among them purchasing leave of
Albinus to go on with their seditious practices; while that part of the
people who delighted in disturbances joined themselves to such as had
fellowship with Albinus; and every one of these wicked wretches were
encompassed with his own band of robbers, while he himself, like an
arch-robber, or a tyrant, made a figure among his company, and abused his
authority over those about him, in order to plunder those that lived
quietly. The effect of which was this, that those who lost their goods were
forced to hold their peace, when they had reason to show great indignation
at what they had suffered; but those who had escaped were forced to
flatter him that deserved to be punished, out of the fear they were in of
suffering equally with the others. Upon the Whole, nobody durst speak
their minds, but tyranny was generally tolerated; and at this time were
those seeds sown which brought the city to destruction.
2. And although such was the character of Albinus, yet did Gessius Florus
18 who succeeded him, demonstrate him to have been a most excellent
person, upon the comparison; for the former did the greatest part of his
rogueries in private, and with a sort of dissimulation; but Gessius did his
unjust actions to the harm of the nation after a pompons manner; and as
though he had been sent as an executioner to punish condemned
malefactors, he omitted no sort of rapine, or of vexation; where the case
was really pitiable, he was most barbarous, and in things of the greatest
turpitude he was most impudent. Nor could any one outdo him in
disguising the truth; nor could any one contrive more subtle ways of deceit
than he did. He indeed thought it but a petty offense to get money out of
single persons; so he spoiled whole cities, and ruined entire bodies of men
at once, and did almost publicly proclaim it all the country over, that they
had liberty given them to turn robbers, upon this condition, that he might
go shares with them in the spoils they got. Accordingly, this his greediness
of gain was the occasion that entire toparchies were brought to desolation,
and a great many of the people left their own country, and fled into foreign
3. And truly, while Cestius Gallus was president of the province of Syria,
nobody durst do so much as send an embassage to him against Florus; but
when he was come to Jerusalem, upon the approach of the feast of
unleavened bread, the people came about him not fewer in number than
three millions 19 these besought him to commiserate the calamities of their
nation, and cried out upon Florus as the bane of their country. But as he
was present, and stood by Cestius, he laughed at their words. However,
Cestius, when he had quieted the multitude, and had assured them that he
would take care that Florus should hereafter treat them in a more gentle
manner, returned to Antioch. Florus also conducted him as far as Cesarea,
and deluded him, though he had at that very time the purpose of showing
his anger at the nation, and procuring a war upon them, by which means
alone it was that he supposed he might conceal his enormities; for he
expected that if the peace continued, he should have the Jews for his
accusers before Caesar; but that if he could procure them to make a revolt,
he should divert their laying lesser crimes to his charge, by a misery that
was so much greater; he therefore did every day augment their calamities,
in order to induce them to a rebellion.
4. Now at this time it happened that the Grecians at Cesarea had been too
hard for the Jews, and had obtained of Nero the government of the city,
and had brought the judicial determination: at the same time began the war,
in the twelfth year of the reign of Nero, and the seventeenth of the reign of
Agrippa, in the month of Artemisins [Jyar.] Now the occasion of this war
was by no means proportionable to those heavy calamities which it
brought upon us. For the Jews that dwelt at Cesarea had a synagogue near
the place, whose owner was a certain Cesarean Greek: the Jews had
endeavored frequently to have purchased the possession of the place, and
had offered many times its value for its price; but as the owner overlooked
their offers, so did he raise other buildings upon the place, in way of
affront to them, and made working-shops of them, and left them but a
narrow passage, and such as was very troublesome for them to go along to
their synagogue. Whereupon the warmer part of the Jewish youth went
hastily to the workmen, and forbade them to build there; but as Florus
would not permit them to use force, the great men of the Jews, with John
the publican, being in the utmost distress what to do, persuaded Florus,
with the offer of eight talents, to hinder the work. He then, being intent
upon nothing but getting money, promised he would do for them all they
desired of him, and then went away from Cesarea to Sebaste, and left the
sedition to take its full course, as if he had sold a license to the Jews to
fight it out.
5. Now on the next day, which was the seventh day of the week, when the
Jews were crowding apace to their synagogue, a certain man of Cesarea, of
a seditious temper, got an earthen vessel, and set it with the bottom
upward, at the entrance of that synagogue, and sacrificed birds. This thing
provoked the Jews to an incurable degree, because their laws were
affronted, and the place was polluted. Whereupon the sober and moderate
part of the Jews thought it proper to have recourse to their governors
again, while the seditious part, and such as were in the fervor of their
youth, were vehemently inflamed to fight. The seditions also among the
Gentiles of Cesarea stood ready for the same purpose; for they had, by
agreement, sent the man to sacrifice beforehand [as ready to support him;]
so that it soon came to blows. Hereupon Jucundus, the master of the
horse, who was ordered to prevent the fight, came thither, and took away
the earthen vessel, and endeavored to put a stop to the sedition; but when
20 he was overcome by the violence of the people of Cesarea, the Jews
caught up their books of the law, and retired to Narbata, which was a place
to them belonging, distant from Cesarea sixty furlongs. But John, and
twelve of the principal men with him, went to Florus, to Sebaste, and
made a lamentable complaint of their case, and besought him to help them;
and with all possible decency, put him in mind of the eight talents they
had given him; but he had the men seized upon, and put in prison, and
accused them for carrying the books of the law out of Cesarea.
6. Moreover, as to the citizens of Jerusalem, although they took this
matter very ill, yet did they restrain their passion; but Florus acted herein
as if he had been hired, and blew up the war into a flame, and sent some to
take seventeen talents out of the sacred treasure, and pretended that
Caesar wanted them. At this the people were in confusion immediately,
and ran together to the temple, with prodigious clamors, and called upon
Caesar by name, and besought him to free them from the tyranny of
Florus. Some also of the seditious cried out upon Florus, and cast the
greatest reproaches upon him, and carried a basket about, and begged some
spills of money for him, as for one that was destitute of possessions, and
in a miserable condition. Yet was not he made ashamed hereby of his love
of money, but was more enraged, and provoked to get still more; and
instead of coming to Cesarea, as he ought to have done, and quenching the
flame of war, which was beginning thence, and so taking away the occasion
of any disturbances, on which account it was that he had received a reward
[of eight talents], he marched hastily with an army of horsemen and
footmen against Jerusalem, that he might gain his will by the arms of the
Romans, and might, by his terror, and by his threatenings, bring the city
into subjection.
7. But the people were desirous of making Florus ashamed of his attempt,
and met his soldiers with acclamations, and put themselves in order to
receive him very submissively. But he sent Capito, a centurion,
beforehand, with fifty soldiers, to bid them go back, and not now make a
show of receiving him in an obliging manner, whom they had so foully
reproached before; and said that it was incumbent on them, in case they
had generous souls, and were free speakers, to jest upon him to his face,
and appear to be lovers of liberty, not only in words, but with their
weapons also. With this message was the multitude amazed; and upon the
coming of Capito’s horsemen into the midst of them, they were dispersed
before they could salute Florus, or manifest their submissive behavior to
him. Accordingly, they retired to their own houses, and spent that night in
fear and confusion of face.
8. Now at this time Florus took up his quarters at the palace; and on the
next day he had his tribunal set before it, and sat upon it, when the high
priests, and the men of power, and those of the greatest eminence in the
city, came all before that tribunal; upon which Florus commanded them to
deliver up to him those that had reproached him, and told them that they
should themselves partake of the vengeance to them belonging, if they did
not produce the criminals; but these demonstrated that the people were
peaceably disposed, and they begged forgiveness for those that had
spoken amiss; for that it was no wonder at all that in so great a multitude
there should be some more daring than they ought to be, and, by reason of
their younger age, foolish also; and that it was impossible to distinguish
those that offended from the rest, while every one was sorry for what he
had done, and denied it out of fear of what would follow: that he ought,
however, to provide for the peace of the nation, and to take such counsels
as might preserve the city for the Romans, and rather for the sake of a
great number of innocent people to forgive a few that were guilty, than for
the sake of a few of the wicked to put so large and good a body of men
into disorder.
9. Florus was more provoked at this, and called out aloud to the soldiers to
plunder that which was called the Upper Market-place, and to slay such
as they met with. So the soldiers, taking this exhortation of their
commander in a sense agreeable to their desire of gain, did not only plunder
the place they were sent to, but forcing themselves into every house, they
slew its inhabitants; so the citizens fled along the narrow lanes, and the
soldiers slew those that they caught, and no method of plunder was
omitted; they also caught many of the quiet people, and brought them
before Florus, whom he first chastised with stripes, and then crucified.
Accordingly, the whole number of those that were destroyed that day,
with their wives and children, (for they did not spare even the infants
themselves,) was about three thousand and six hundred. And what made
this calamity the heavier was this new method of Roman barbarity; for
Florus ventured then to do what no one had done before, that is, to have
men of the equestrian order whipped 21 and nailed to the cross before his
tribunal; who, although they were by birth Jews, yet were they of Roman
dignity notwithstanding.
1. ABOUT this very time king Agrippa was going to Alexandria, to
congratulate Alexander upon his having obtained the government of Egypt
from Nero; but as his sister Bernice was come to Jerusalem, and saw the
wicked practices of the soldiers, she was sorely affected at it, and
frequently sent the masters of her horse and her guards to Florus, and
begged of him to leave off these slaughters; but he would not comply with
her request, nor have any regard either to the multitude of those already
slain, or to the nobility of her that interceded, but only to the advantage he
should make by this plundering; nay, this violence of the soldiers brake
out to such a degree of madness, that it spent itself on the queen herself;
for they did not only torment and destroy those whom they had caught
under her very eyes, but indeed had killed herself also, unless she had
prevented them by flying to the palace, and had staid there all night with
her guards, which she had about her for fear of an insult from the soldiers.
Now she dwelt then at Jerusalem, in order to perform a vow 22 which she
had made to God; for it is usual with those that had been either afflicted
with a distemper, or with any other distresses, to make vows; and for
thirty days before they are to offer their sacrifices, to abstain from wine,
and to shave the hair of their head. Which things Bernice was now
performing, and stood barefoot before Florus’s tribunal, and besought him
[to spare the Jews]. Yet could she neither have any reverence paid to her,
nor could she escape without some danger of being slain herself.
2. This happened upon the sixteenth day of the month Artemisius [Jyar].
Now, on the next day, the multitude, who were in a great agony, ran
together to the Upper Market-place, and made the loudest lamentations
for those that had perished; and the greatest part of the cries were such as
reflected on Florus; at which the men of power were aftrighted, together
with the high priests, and rent their garments, and fell down before each of
them, and besought them to leave off, and not to provoke Florus to some
incurable procedure, besides what they had already suffered. Accordingly,
the multitude complied immediately, out of reverence to those that had
desired it of them, and out of the hope they had that Florus would do
them no more injuries.
3. So Florus was troubled that the disturbances were over, and endeavored
to kindle that flame again, and sent for the high priests, with the other
eminent persons, and said the only demonstration that the people would
not make any other innovations should be this, that they must go out and
meet the soldiers that were ascending from Cesarea, whence two cohorts
were coming; and while these men were exhorting the multitude so to do,
he sent beforehand, and gave directions to the centurions of the cohorts,
that they should give notice to those that were under them not to return
the Jews’ salutations; and that if they made any reply to his disadvantage,
they should make use of their weapons. Now the high priests assembled
the multitude in the temple, and desired them to go and meet the Romans,
and to salute the cohorts very civilly, before their miserable case should
become incurable. Now the seditious part would not comply with these
persuasions; but the consideration of those that had been destroyed made
them incline to those that were the boldest for action.
4. At this time it was that every priest, and every servant of God, brought
out the holy vessels, and the ornamental garments wherein they used to
minister in sacred things. The harpers also, and the singers of hymns, came
out with their instruments of music, and fell down before the multitude,
and begged of them that they would preserve those holy ornaments to
them, and not provoke the Romans to carry off those sacred treasures.
You might also see then the high priests themselves, with dust sprinkled in
great plenty upon their heads, with bosoms deprived of any covering but
what was rent; these besought every one of the eminent men by name, and
the multitude in common, that they would not for a small offense betray
their country to those that were desirous to have it laid waste; saying,
“What benefit will it bring to the soldiers to have a salutation from the
Jews? or what amendment of your affairs will it bring you, if you do not
now go out to meet them? and that if they saluted them civilly, all handle
would be cut off from Florus to begin a war; that they should thereby gain
their country, and freedom from all further sufferings; and that, besides, it
would be a sign of great want of command of themselves, if they should
yield to a few seditious persons, while it was fitter for them who were so
great a people to force the others to act soberly.”
5. By these persuasions, which they used to the multitude and to the
seditious, they restrained some by threatenings, and others by the
reverence that was paid them. After this they led them out, and they met
the soldiers quietly, and after a composed manner, and when they were
come up with them, they saluted them; but when they made no answer,
the seditious exclaimed against Florus, which was the signal given for
falling upon them. The soldiers therefore encompassed them presently,
and struck them with their clubs; and as they fled away, the horsemen
trampled them down, so that a great many fell down dead by the strokes
of the Romans, and more by their own violence in crushing one another.
Now there was a terrible crowding about the gates, and while every body
was making haste to get before another, the flight of them all was retarded,
and a terrible destruction there was among those that fell down, for they
were suffocated, an broken to pieces by the multitude of those that were
uppermost; nor could any of them be distinguished by his relations in
order to the care of his funeral; the soldiers also who beat them, fell upon
those whom they overtook, without showing them any mercy, and thrust
the multitude through the place called Bezetha, 23 as they forced their way,
in order to get in and seize upon the temple, and the tower Antonia. Florus
also being desirous to get those places into his possession, brought such as
were with him out of the king’s palace, and would have compelled them to
get as far as the citadel [Antonia;] but his attempt failed, for the people
immediately turned back upon him, and stopped the violence of his
attempt; and as they stood upon the tops of their houses, they threw their
darts at the Romans, who, as they were sorely galled thereby, because
those weapons came from above, and they were not able to make a
passage through the multitude, which stopped up the narrow passages,
they retired to the camp which was at the palace.
6. But for the seditious, they were afraid lest Florus should come again,
and get possession of the temple, through Antonia; so they got
immediately upon those cloisters of the temple that joined to Antonia, and
cut them down. This cooled the avarice of Florus; for whereas he was eager
to obtain the treasures of God [in the temple], and on that account was
desirous of getting into Antonia, as soon as the cloisters were broken
down, he left off his attempt; he then sent for the high priests and the
sanhedrim, and told them that he was indeed himself going out of the city,
but that he would leave them as large a garrison as they should desire.
Hereupon they promised that they would make no innovations, in case he
would leave them one band; but not that which had fought with the Jews,
because the multitude bore ill-will against that band on account of what
they had suffered from it; so he changed the band as they desired, and,
with the rest of his forces, returned to Cesarea.
1. HOWEVER, Florus contrived another way to oblige the Jews to begin the
war, and sent to Cestius, and accused the Jews falsely of revolting [from
the Roman government], and imputed the beginning of the former fight to
them, and pretended they had been the authors of that disturbance,
wherein they were only the sufferers. Yet were not the governors of
Jerusalem silent upon this occasion, but did themselves write to Cestius,
as did Bernice also, about the illegal practices of which Florus had been
guilty against the city; who, upon reading both accounts, consulted with
his captains [what he should do]. Now some of them thought it best for
Cestius to go up with his army, either to punish the revolt, if it was real,
or to settle the Roman affairs on a surer foundation, if the Jews continued
quiet under them; but he thought it best himself to send one of his intimate
friends beforehand, to see the state of affairs, and to give him a faithful
account of the intentions of the Jews. Accordingly, he sent one of his
tribunes, whose name was Neopolitanus, who met with king Agrippa as
he was returning from Alexandria, at Jamnia, and told him who it was that
sent him, and on what errands he was sent.
2. And here it was that the high priests, and men of power among the
Jews, as well as the sanhedrim, came to congratulate the king [upon his
safe return]; and after they had paid him their respects, they lamented
their own calamities, and related to him what barbarous treatment they had
met with from Florus. At which barbarity Agrippa had great indignation,
but transferred, after a subtle manner, his anger towards those Jews whom
he really pitied, that he might beat down their high thoughts of themselves,
and would have them believe that they had not been so unjustly treated, in
order to dissuade them from avenging themselves. So these great men, as of
better understanding than the rest, and desirous of peace, because of the
possessions they had, understood that this rebuke which the king gave
them was intended for their good; but as to the people, they came sixty
furlongs out of Jerusalem, and congratulated both Agrippa and
Neopolitanus; but the wives of those that had been slain came running first
of all and lamenting. The people also, when they heard their mourning, fell
into lamentations also, and besought Agrippa to assist them: they also
cried out to Neopolitanus, and complained of the many miseries they had
endured under Florus; and they showed them, when they were come into
the city, how the market-place was made desolate, and the houses
plundered. They then persuaded Neopolitanus, by the means of Agrippa,
that he would walk round the city, with one only servant, as far as Siloam,
that he might inform himself that the Jews submitted to all the rest of the
Romans, and were only displeased at Florus, by reason of his exceeding
barbarity to them. So he walked round, and had sufficient experience of the
good temper the people were in, and then went up to the temple, where he
called the multitude together, and highly commended them for their fidelity
to the Romans, and earnestly exhorted them to keep the peace; and having
performed such parts of Divine worship at the temple as he was allowed
to do, he returned to Cestius.
3. But as for the multitude of the Jews, they addressed themselves to the
king, and to the high priests, and desired they might have leave to send
ambassadors to Nero against Florus, and not by their silence afford a
suspicion that they had been the occasions of such great slaughters as had
been made, and were disposed to revolt, alleging that they should seem to
have been the first beginners of the war, if they did not prevent the report
by showing who it was that began it; and it appeared openly that they
would not be quiet, if any body should hinder them from sending such an
embassage. But Agrippa, although he thought it too dangerous a thing for
them to appoint men to go as the accusers of Florus, yet did he not think
it fit for him to overlook them, as they were in a disposition for war. He
therefore called the multitude together into a large gallery, and placed his
sister Bernice in the house of the Asamoneans, that she might be seen by
them, (which house was over the gallery, at the passage to the upper city,
where the bridge joined the temple to the gallery,) and spake to them as
4.24 “Had I perceived that you were all zealously disposed to go to war
with the Romans, and that the purer and more sincere part of the people
did not propose to live in peace, I had not come out to you, nor been so
bold as to give you counsel; for all discourses that tend to persuade men to
do what they ought to do are superfluous, when the hearers are agreed to
do the contrary. But because some are earnest to go to war because they
are young, and without experience of the miseries it brings, and because
some are for it out of an unreasonable expectation of regaining their liberty,
and because others hope to get by it, and are therefore earnestly bent upon
it, that in the confusion of your affairs they may gain what belongs to
those that are too weak to resist them, I have thought proper to get you all
together, and to say to you what I think to be for your advantage; that so
the former may grow wiser, and change their minds, and that the best men
may come to no harm by the ill conduct of some others. And let not any
one be tumultuous against me, in case what they hear me say do not please
them; for as to those that admit of no cure, but are resolved upon a revolt,
it will still be in their power to retain the same sentiments after my
exhortation is over; but still my discourse will fall to the ground, even with
a relation to those that have a mind to hear me, unless you will all keep
silence. I am well aware that many make a tragical exclamation concerning
the injuries that have been offered you by your procurators, and
concerning the glorious advantages of liberty; but before I begin the
inquiry, who you are that must go to war, and who they are against whom
you must fight, I shall first separate those pretenses that are by some
connected together; for if you aim at avenging yourselves on those that
have done you injury, why do you pretend this to be a war for recovering
your liberty? but if you think all servitude intolerable, to what purpose
serve your complaint against your particular governors? for if they treated
you with moderation, it would still be equally an unworthy thing to be in
servitude. Consider now the several cases that may be supposed, how
little occasion there is for your going to war. Your first occasion is the
accusations you have to make against your procurators; now here you
ought to be submissive to those in authority, and not give them any
provocation; but when you reproach men greatly for small offenses, you
excite those whom you reproach to be your adversaries; for this will only
make them leave off hurting you privately, and with some degree of
modesty, and to lay what you have waste openly. Now nothing so much
damps the force of strokes as bearing them with patience; and the
quietness of those who are injured diverts the injurious persons from
afflicting. But let us take it for granted that the Roman ministers are
injurious to you, and are incurably severe; yet are they not all the Romans
who thus injure you; nor hath Caesar, against whom you are going to make
war, injured you: it is not by their command that any wicked governor is
sent to you; for they who are in the west cannot see those that are in the
east; nor indeed is it easy for them there even to hear what is done in these
parts. Now it is absurd to make war with a great many for the sake of one,
to do so with such mighty people for a small cause; and this when these
people are not able to know of what you complain: nay, such crimes as we
complain of may soon be corrected, for the same procurator will not
continue for ever; and probable it is that the successors will come with
more moderate inclinations. But as for war, if it be once begun, it is not
easily laid down again, nor borne without calamities coming therewith.
However, as to the desire of recovering your liberty, it is unseasonable to
indulge it so late; whereas you ought to have labored earnestly in old time
that you might never have lost it; for the first experience of slavery was
hard to be endured, and the struggle that you might never have been subject
to it would have been just; but that slave who hath been once brought into
subjection, and then runs away, is rather a refractory slave than a lover of
liberty; for it was then the proper time for doing all that was possible, that
you might never have admitted the Romans [into your city], when
Pompey came first into the country. But so it was, that our ancestors and
their kings, who were in much better circumstances than we are, both as to
money, and strong bodies, and [valiant] souls, did not bear the onset of a
small body of the Roman army. And yet you, who have now accustomed
yourselves to obedience from one generation to another, and who are so
much inferior to those who first submitted, in your circumstances will
venture to oppose the entire empire of the Romans. While those
Athenians, who, in order to preserve the liberty of Greece, did once set fire
to their own city; who pursued Xerxes, that proud prince, when he sailed
upon the land, and walked upon the sea, and could not be contained by the
seas, but conducted such an army as was too broad for Europe; and made
him run away like a fugitive in a single ship, and brake so great a part of
Asia at the Lesser Salamis; are yet at this time servants to the Romans; and
those injunctions which are sent from Italy become laws to the principal
governing city of Greece. Those Lacedemonians also who got the great
victories at Thermopylae. and Platea, and had Agesilaus [for their king],
and searched every corner of Asia, are contented to admit the same lords.
Those Macedonians also, who still fancy what great men their Philip and
Alexander were, and see that the latter had promised them the empire over
the world, these bear so great a change, and pay their obedience to those
whom fortune hath advanced in their stead. Moreover, ten thousand ether
nations there are who had greater reason than we to claim their entire
liberty, and yet do submit. You are the only people who think it a disgrace
to be servants to those to whom all the world hath submitted. What sort of
an army do you rely on? What are the arms you depend on? Where is your
fleet, that may seize upon the Roman seas? and where are those treasures
which may be sufficient for your undertakings? Do you suppose, I pray
you, that you are to make war with the Egyptians, and with the Arabians?
Will you not carefully reflect upon the Roman empire? Will you not
estimate your own weakness? Hath not your army been often beaten even
by your neighboring nations, while the power of the Romans is invincible
in all parts of the habitable earth? nay, rather they seek for somewhat still
beyond that; for all Euphrates is not a sufficient boundary for them on the
east side, nor the Danube on the north; and for their southern limit, Libya
hath been searched over by them, as far as countries uninhabited, as is
Cadiz their limit on the west; nay, indeed, they have sought for another
habitable earth beyond the ocean, and have carried their arms as far as such
British islands as were never known before. What therefore do you
pretend to? Are you richer than the Gauls, stronger than the Germans,
wiser than the Greeks, more numerous than all men upon the habitable
earth? What confidence is it that elevates you to oppose the Romans?
Perhaps it will be said, It is hard to endure slavery. Yes; but how much
harder is this to the Greeks, who were esteemed the noblest of all people
under the sun! These, though they inhabit in a large country, are in
subjection to six bundles of Roman rods. It is the same case with the
Macedonians, who have juster reason to claim their liberty than you have.
What is the case of five hundred cities of Asia? Do they not submit to a
single governor, and to the consular bundle of rods? What need I speak of
the Henlochi, and Colchi and the nation of Tauri, those that inhabit the
Bosphorus, and the nations about Pontus, and Meotis, who formerly
knew not so much as a Lord of their own, but are now subject to three
thousand armed men, and where forty long ships keep the sea in peace,
which before was not navigable, and very tempestuous? How strong a plea
may Bithynia, and Cappadocia, and the people of Pamphylia, the Lycians,
and Cilicians, put in for liberty! But they are made tributary without an
army. What are the circumstances of the Thracians, whose country extends
in breadth five days’ journey, and in length seven, and is of a much more
harsh constitution, and much more defensible, than yours, and by the rigor
of its cold sufficient to keep off armies from attacking them? do not they
submit to two thousand men of the Roman garrisons? Are not the
Illyrlans, who inhabit the country adjoining, as far as Dalmatia and the
Danube, governed by barely two legions? by which also they put a stop to
the incursions of the Daeians. And for the Dalmatians, who have made
such frequent insurrections in order to regain their liberty, and who could
never before be so thoroughly subdued, but that they always gathered their
forces together again, revolted, yet are they now very quiet under one
Roman legion. Moreover, if eat advantages might provoke any people to
revolt, the Gauls might do it best of all, as being so thoroughly walled
round by nature; on the east side by the Alps, on the north by the river
Rhine, on the south by the Pyrenean mountains, and on the west by the
ocean. Now although these Gauls have such obstacles before them to
prevent any attack upon them, and have no fewer than three hundred and
five nations among them, nay have, as one may say, the fountains of
domestic happiness within themselves, and send out plentiful streams of
happiness over almost the whole world, these bear to be tributary to the
Romans, and derive their prosperous condition from them; and they
undergo this, not because they are of effeminate minds, or because they are
of an ignoble stock, as having borne a war of eighty years in order to
preserve their liberty; but by reason of the great regard they have to the
power of the Romans, and their good fortune, which is of greater efficacy
than their arms. These Gauls, therefore, are kept in servitude by twelve
hundred soldiers, which are hardly so many as are their cities; nor hath the
gold dug out of the mines of Spain been sufficient for the support of a war
to preserve their liberty, nor could their vast distance from the Romans by
land and by sea do it; nor could the martial tribes of the Lusitanians and
Spaniards escape; no more could the ocean, with its tide, which yet was
terrible to the ancient inhabitants. Nay, the Romans have extended their
arms beyond the pillars of Hercules, and have walked among the clouds,
upon the Pyrenean mountains, and have subdued these nations. And one
legion is a sufficient guard for these people, although they were so hard to
be conquered, and at a distance so remote from Rome. Who is there among
you that hath not heard of the great number of the Germans? You have, to
be sure, yourselves seen them to be strong and tall, and that frequently,
since the Romans have them among their captives every where; yet these
Germans, who dwell in an immense country, who have minds greater than
their bodies, and a soul that despises death, and who are in rage more fierce
than wild beasts, have the Rhine for the boundary of their enterprises, and
are tamed by eight Roman legions. Such of them as were taken captive
became their servants; and the rest of the entire nation were obliged to save
themselves by flight. Do you also, who depend on the walls of Jerusalem,
consider what a wall the Britons had; for the Romans sailed away to them,
an subdued them while they were encompassed by the ocean, and
inhabited an island that is not less than the [continent of this] habitable
earth; and four legions are a sufficient guard to so large all island And why
should I speak much more about this matter, while the Parthians, that
most warlike body of men, and lords of so many nations, and
encompassed with such mighty forces, send hostages to the Romans?
whereby you may see, if you please, even in Italy, the noblest nation of
the East, under the notion of peace, submitting to serve them. Now when
almost all people under the sun submit to the Roman arms, will you be the
only people that make war against them? and this without regarding the
fate of the Carthaginians, who, in the midst of their brags of the great
Hannibal, and the nobility of their Phoenician original, fell by the hand of
Scipio. Nor indeed have the Cyrenians, derived from the Lacedemonians,
nor the Marmaridite, a nation extended as far as the regions uninhabitable
for want of water, nor have the Syrtes, a place terrible to such as barely
hear it described, the Nasamons and Moors, and the immense multitude of
the Numidians, been able to put a stop to the Roman valor. And as for the
third part of the habitable earth, [Akica,] whose nations are so many that it
is not easy to number them, and which is bounded by the Atlantic Sea and
the pillars of Hercules, and feeds an innumerable multitude of Ethiopians,
as far as the Red Sea, these have the Romans subdued entirely. And
besides the annual fruits of the earth, which maintain the multitude of the
Romans for eight months in the year, this, over and above, pays all sorts
of tribute, and affords revenues suitable to the necessities of the
government. Nor do they, like you, esteem such injunctions a disgrace to
them, although they have but one Roman legion that abides among them.
And indeed what occasion is there for showing you the power of the
Romans over remote countries, when it is so easy to learn it from Egypt,
in your neighborhood? This country is extended as far as the Ethiopians,
and Arabia the Happy, and borders upon India; it hath seven millions five
hundred thousand men, besides the inhabitants of Alexandria, as may be
learned from the revenue of the poll tax; yet it is not ashamed to submit to
the Roman government, although it hath Alexandria as a grand temptation
to a revolt, by reason it is so full of people and of riches, and is besides
exceeding large, its length being thirty furlongs, and its breadth no less than
ten; and it pays more tribute to the Romans in one month than you do in a
year; nay, besides what it pays in money, it sends corn to Rome that
supports it for four months [in the year]: it is also walled round on all
sides, either by almost impassable deserts, or seas that have no havens, or
by rivers, or by lakes; yet have none of these things been found too strong
for the Roman good fortune; however, two legions that lie in that city are a
bridle both for the remoter parts of Egypt, and for the parts inhabited by
the more noble Macedonians. Where then are those people whom you are
to have for your auxiliaries? Must they come from the parts of the world
that are uninhabited? for all that are in the habitable earth are [under the]
Romans. Unless any of you extend his hopes as far as beyond the
Euphrates, and suppose that those of your own nation that dwell in
Adiabene will come to your assistance; but certainly these will not
embarrass themselves with an unjustifiable war, nor, if they should follow
such ill advice, will the Parthians permit them so to do; for it is their
concern to maintain the truce that is between them and the Romans, and
they will be supposed to break the covenants between them, if any under
their government march against the Romans. What remains, therefore, is
this, that you have recourse to Divine assistance; but this is already on the
side of the Romans; for it is impossible that so vast an empire should be
settled without God’s providence. Reflect upon it, how impossible it is for
your zealous observations of your religious customs to be here preserved,
which are hard to be observed even when you fight with those whom you
are able to conquer; and how can you then most of all hope for God’s
assistance, when, by being forced to transgress his law, you will make him
turn his face from you? and if you do observe the custom of the sabbath
days, and will not be revealed on to do any thing thereon, you will easily
be taken, as were your forefathers by Pompey, who was the busiest in his
siege on those days on which the besieged rested. But if in time of war you
transgress the law of your country, I cannot tell on whose account you
will afterward go to war; for your concern is but one, that you do nothing
against any of your forefathers; and how will you call upon God to assist
you, when you are voluntarily transgressing against his religion? Now all
men that go to war do it either as depending on Divine or on human
assistance; but since your going to war will cut off both those assistances,
those that are for going to war choose evident destruction. What hinders
you from slaying your children and wives with your own hands, and
burning this most excellent native city of yours? for by this mad prank
you will, however, escape the reproach of being beaten. But it were best,
O my friends, it were best, while the vessel is still in the haven, to foresee
the impending storm, and not to set sail out of the port into the middle of
the hurricanes; for we justly pity those who fall into great misfortunes
without fore-seeing them; but for him who rushes into manifest ruin, he
gains reproaches [instead of commiseration]. But certainly no one can
imagine that you can enter into a war as by agreement, or that when the
Romans have got you under their power, they will use you with
moderation, or will not rather, for an example to other nations, burn your
holy city, and utterly destroy your whole nation; for those of you who
shall survive the war will not be able to find a place whither to flee, since
all men have the Romans for their lords already, or are afraid they shall
have hereafter. Nay, indeed, the danger concerns not those Jews that dwell
here only, but those of them which dwell in other cities also; for there is no
people upon the habitable earth which have not some portion of you
among them, whom your enemies will slay, in case you go to war, and on
that account also; and so every city which hath Jews in it will be filled
with slaughter for the sake of a few men, and they who slay them will be
pardoned; but if that slaughter be not made by them, consider how wicked
a thing it is to take arms against those that are so kind to you. Have pity,
therefore, if not on your children and wives, yet upon this your
metropolis, and its sacred walls; spare the temple, and preserve the holy
house, with its holy furniture, for yourselves; for if the Romans get you
under their power, they will no longer abstain from them, when their
former abstinence shall have been so ungratefully requited. I call to witness
your sanctuary, and the holy angels of God, and this country common to
us all, that I have not kept back any thing that is for your preservation;
and if you will follow that advice which you ought to do, you will have
that peace which will be common to you and to me; but if you indulge four
passions, you will run those hazards which I shall be free
5. When Agrippa had spoken thus, both he and his sister wept, and by
their tears repressed a great deal of the violence of the people; but still
they cried out, that they would not fight against the Romans, but against
Florus, on account of what they had suffered by his means. To which
Agrippa replied, that what they had already done was like such as make
war against the Romans; “for you have not paid the tribute which is due to
Caesar 25 and you have cut off the cloisters [of the temple] from joining to
the tower Antonia. You will therefore prevent any occasion of revolt if
you will but join these together again, and if you will but pay your tribute;
for the citadel does not now belong to Florus, nor are you to pay the
tribute money to Florus.”
1. THIS advice the people hearkened to, and went up into the temple with
the king and Bernice, and began to rebuild the cloisters; the rulers also and
senators divided themselves into the villages, and collected the tributes,
and soon got together forty talents, which was the sum that was deficient.
And thus did Agrippa then put a stop to that war which was threatened.
Moreover, he attempted to persuade the multitude to obey Florus, until
Caesar should send one to succeed him; but they were hereby more
provoked, and cast reproaches upon the king, and got him excluded out of
the city; nay, some of the seditious had the impudence to throw stones at
him. So when the king saw that the violence of those that were for
innovations was not to be restrained, and being very angry at the
contumelies he had received, he sent their rulers, together with their men of
power, to Florus, to Cesarea, that he might appoint whom he thought fit
to collect the tribute in the country, while he retired into his own kingdom.
2. And at this time it was that some of those that principally excited the
people to go to war made an assault upon a certain fortress called Masada.
They took it by treachery, and slew the Romans that were there, and put
others of their own party to keep it. At the same time Eleazar, the son of
Ananias the high priest, a very bold youth, who was at that time governor
of the temple, persuaded those that officiated in the Divine service to
receive no gift or sacrifice for any foreigner. And this was the true
beginning of our war with the Romans; for they rejected the sacrifice of
Caesar on this account; and when many of the high priests and principal
men besought them not to omit the sacrifice, which it was customary for
them to offer for their princes, they would not be prevailed upon. These
relied much upon their multitude, for the most flourishing part of the
innovators assisted them; but they had the chief regard to Eleazar, the
governor of the temple.
3. Hereupon the men of power got together, and conferred with the high
priests, as did also the principal of the Pharisees; and thinking all was at
stake, and that their calamities were becoming incurable, took counsel what
was to be done. Accordingly, they determined to try what they could do
with the seditious by words, and assembled the people before the brazen
gate, which was that gate of the inner temple [court of the priests] which
looked toward the sun-rising. And, in the first place, they showed the
great indignation they had at this attempt for a revolt, and for their
bringing so great a war upon their country; after which they confuted their
pretense as unjustifiable, and told them that their forefathers had adorned
their temple in great part with donations bestowed on them by foreigners,
and had always received what had been presented to them from foreign
nations; and that they had been so far from rejecting any person’s sacrifice
(which would be the highest instance of impiety,) that they had
themselves placed those donation about the temple which were still
visible, and had remained there so long a time; that they did now irritate
the Romans to take arms against them, and invited them to make war upon
them, and brought up novel rules of a strange Divine worship, and
determined to run the hazard of having their city condemned for impiety,
while they would not allow any foreigner, but Jews only, either to
sacrifice or to worship therein. And if such a law should be introduced in
the case of a single private person only, he would have indignation at it, as
an instance of inhumanity determined against him; while they have no
regard to the Romans or to Caesar, and forbid even their oblations to be
received also; that however they cannot but fear, lest, by thus rejecting
their sacrifices, they shall not be allowed to offer their own; and that this
city will lose its principality, unless they grow wiser quickly, and restore
the sacrifices as formerly, and indeed amend the injury [they have offered
foreigners] before the report of it comes to the ears of those that have been
4. And as they said these things, they produced those priests that were
skillful in the customs of their country, who made the report that all their
forefathers had received the sacrifices from foreign nations. But still not
one of the innovators would hearken to what was said; nay, those that
ministered about the temple would not attend their Divine service, but
were preparing matters for beginning the war. So the men of power
perceiving that the sedition was too hard for them to subdue, and that the
danger which would arise from the Romans would come upon them first of
all, endeavored to save themselves, and sent ambassadors, some to Florus,
the chief of which was Simon the son of Ananias; and others to Agrippa,
among whom the most eminent were Saul, and Antipas, and Costobarus,
who were of the king’s kindred; and they desired of them both that they
would come with an army to the city, and cut off the seditious before it
should be too hard to be subdued. Now this terrible message was good
news to Florus; and because his design was to have a war kindled, he gave
the ambassadors no answer at all. But Agrippa was equally solicitous for
those that were revolting, and for those against whom the war was to be
made, and was desirous to preserve the Jews for the Romans, and the
temple and metropolis for the Jews; he was also sensible that it was not
for his own advantage that the disturbances should proceed; so he sent
three thousand horsemen to the assistance of the people out of Auranitis,
and Batanea, and Trachonitis, and these under Darius, the master of his
horse, and Philip the son of Jacimus, the general of his army.
5. Upon this the men of power, with the high priests, as also all the part
of the multitude that were desirous of peace, took courage, and seized
upon the upper city [Mount Sion;] for the seditious part had the lower
city and the temple in their power; so they made use of stones and slings
perpetually against one another, and threw darts continually on both sides;
and sometimes it happened that they made incursions by troops, and
fought it out hand to hand, while the seditious were superior in boldness,
but the king’s soldiers in skill. These last strove chiefly to gain the temple,
and to drive those out of it who profaned it; as did the seditious, with
Eleazar, besides what they had already, labor to gain the upper city. Thus
were there perpetual slaughters on both sides for seven days’ time; but
neither side would yield up the parts they had seized on.
6. Now the next day was the festival of Xylophory; upon which the
custom was for every one to bring wood for the altar (that there might
never be a want of fuel for that fire which was unquenchable and always
burning). Upon that day they excluded the opposite party from the
observation of this part of religion. And when they had joined to
themselves many of the Sicarii, who crowded in among the weaker people,
(that was the name for such robbers as had under their bosoms swords
called Sicae,) they grew bolder, and carried their undertaking further;
insomuch that the king’s soldiers were overpowered by their multitude
and boldness; and so they gave way, and were driven out of the upper city
by force. The others then set fire to the house of Ananias the high priest,
and to the palaces of Agrippa and Bernice; after which they carried the fire
to the place where the archives were reposited, and made haste to burn the
contracts belonging to their creditors, and thereby to dissolve their
obligations for paying their debts; and this was done in order to gain the
multitude of those who had been debtors, and that they might persuade
the poorer sort to join in their insurrection with safety against the more
wealthy; so the keepers of the records fled away, and the rest set fire to
them. And when they had thus burnt down the nerves of the city, they fell
upon their enemies; at which time some of the men of power, and of the
high priests, went into the vaults under ground, and concealed themselves,
while others fled with the king’s soldiers to the upper palace, and shut the
gates immediately; among whom were Ananias the high priest, and the
ambassadors that had been sent to Agrippa. And now the seditious were
contented with the victory they had gotten, and the buildings they had
burnt down, and proceeded no further.
7. But on the next day, which was the fifteenth of the month Lous, [Ab,]
they made an assault upon Antonia, and besieged the garrison which was
in it two days, and then took the garrison, and slew them, and set the
citadel on fire; after which they marched to the palace, whither the king’s
soldiers were fled, and parted themselves into four bodies, and made an
attack upon the walls. As for those that were within it, no one had the
courage to sally out, because those that assaulted them were so numerous;
but they distributed themselves into the breast-works and turrets, and shot
at the besiegers, whereby many of the robbers fell under the walls; nor did
they cease to fight one with another either by night or by day, while the
seditious supposed that those within would grow weary for want of food,
and those without supposed the others would do the like by the
tediousness of the siege.
8. In the mean time, one Manahem, the son of Judas, that was called the
Galilean, (who was a very cunning sophister, and had formerly reproached
the Jews under Cyrenius, that after God they were subject to the
Romans,) took some of the men of note with him, and retired to Masada,
where he broke open king Herod’s armory, and gave arms not only to his
own people, but to other robbers also. These he made use of for a guard,
and returned in the state of a king to Jerusalem; he became the leader of the
sedition, and gave orders for continuing the siege; but they wanted proper
instruments, and it was not practicable to undermine the wall, because the
darts came down upon them from above. But still they dug a mine from a
great distance under one of the towers, and made it totter; and having done
that, they set on fire what was combustible, and left it; and when the
foundations were burnt below, the tower fell down suddenly. Yet did they
then meet with another wall that had been built within, for the besieged
were sensible beforehand of what they were doing, and probably the tower
shook as it was undermining; so they provided themselves of another
fortification; which when the besiegers unexpectedly saw, while they
thought they had already gained the place, they were under some
consternation. However, those that were within sent to Manahem, and to
the other leaders of the sedition, and desired they might go out upon a
capitulation: this was granted to the king’s soldiers and their own
countrymen only, who went out accordingly; but the Romans that were
left alone were greatly dejected, for they were not able to force their way
through such a multitude; and to desire them to give them their right hand
for their security, they thought it would be a reproach to them; and
besides, if they should give it them, they durst not depend upon it; so
they deserted their camp, as easily taken, and ran away to the royal
towers, — that called Hippicus, that called Phasaelus, and that called
Mariamne. But Manahem and his party fell upon the place whence the
soldiers were fled, and slew as many of them as they could catch, before
they got up to the towers, and plundered what they left behind them, and
set fire to their camp. This was executed on the sixth day of the month
Gorpieus [Elul].
9. But on the next day the high priest was caught where he had concealed
himself in an aqueduct; he was slain, together with Hezekiah his brother,
by the robbers: hereupon the seditious besieged the towers, and kept them
guarded, lest any one of the soldiers should escape. Now the overthrow of
the places of strength, and the death of the high priest Ananias, so puffed
up Manahem, that he became barbarously cruel; and as he thought he had
no antagonist to dispute the management of affairs with him, he was no
better than an insupportable tyrant; but Eleazar and his party, when
words had passed between them, how it was not proper when they
revolted from the Romans, out of the desire of liberty, to betray that
liberty to any of their own people, and to bear a Lord, who, though he
should be guilty of no violence, was yet meaner than themselves; as also,
that in case they were obliged to set some one over their public affairs, it
was fitter they should give that privilege to any one rather than to him;
they made an assault upon him in the temple; for he went up thither to
worship in a pompous manner, and adorned with royal garments, and had
his followers with him in their armor. But Eleazar and his party fell
violently upon him, as did also the rest of the people; and taking up stones
to attack him withal, they threw them at the sophister, and thought, that if
he were once ruined, the entire sedition would fall to the ground. Now
Manahem and his party made resistance for a while; but when they
perceived that the whole multitude were falling upon them, they fled
which way every one was able; those that were caught were slain, and
those that hid themselves were searched for. A few there were of them
who privately escaped to Masada, among whom was Eleazar, the son of
Jairus, who was of kin to Manahem, and acted the part of a tyrant at
Masada afterward. As for Manahem himself, he ran away to the place
called Ophla, and there lay skulking in private; but they took him alive,
and drew him out before them all; they then tortured him with many sorts
of torments, and after all slew him, as they did by those that were captains
under him also, and particularly by the principal instrument of his
tyranny, whose name was Apsalom.
10. And, as I said, so far truly the people assisted them, while they hoped
this might afford some amendment to the seditious practices; but the
others were not in haste to put an end to the war, but hoped to prosecute
it with less danger, now they had slain Manahem. It is true, that when the
people earnestly desired that they would leave off besieging the soldiers,
they were the more earnest in pressing it forward, and this till Metilius,
who was the Roman general, sent to Eleazar, and desired that they would.
give them security to spare their lives only; but agreed to deliver up their
arms, and what else they had with them. The others readily complied with
their petition, sent to them Gorion, the son of Nicodemus, and Ananias,
the son of Sadduk, and Judas, the son of Jonathan, that they might give
them the security Of their right hands, and of their oaths; after which
Metilius brought down his soldiers; which soldiers, while they were in
arms, were not meddled with by any of the seditious, nor was there any
appearance of treachery; but as soon as, according to the articles of
capitulation, they had all laid down their shields and their swords, and
were under no further suspicion of any harm, but were going away,
Eleazar’s men attacked them after a violent manner, and encompassed
them round, and slew them, while they neither defended themselves, nor
entreated for mercy, but only cried out upon the breach of their articles of
capitulation and their oaths. And thus were all these men barbarously
murdered, excepting Metilius; for when he entreated for mercy, and
promised that he would turn Jew, and be circumcised, they saved him
alive, but none else. This loss to the Romans was but light, there being no
more than a few slain out of an immense army; but still it appeared to be a
prelude to the Jews’ own destruction, while men made public lamentation
when they saw that such occasions were afforded for a war as were
incurable; that the city was all over polluted with such abominations, from
which it was but reasonable to expect some vengeance, even though they
should escape revenge from the Romans; so that the city was filled with
sadness, and every one of the moderate men in it were under great
disturbance, as likely themselves to undergo punishment for the
wickedness of the seditious; for indeed it so happened that this murder
was perpetrated on the sabbath day, on which day the Jews have a respite
from their works on account of Divine worship.
1. NOW the people of Cesarea had slain the Jews that were among them on
the very same day and hour [when the soldiers were slain], which one
would think must have come to pass by the direction of Providence;
insomuch that in one hour’s time above twenty thousand Jews were killed,
and all Cesarea was emptied of its Jewish inhabitants; for Florus caught
such as ran away, and sent them in bonds to the galleys. Upon which
stroke that the Jews received at Cesarea, the whole nation was greatly
enraged; so they divided themselves into several parties, and laid waste the
villages of the Syrians, and their neighboring cities, Philadelphia, and
Sebonitis, and Gerasa, and Pella, and Scythopolis, and after them Gadara,
and Hippos; and falling upon Gaulonitis, some cities they destroyed there,
and some they set on fire, and then went to Kedasa, belonging to the
Tyrians, and to Ptolemais, and to Gaba, and to Cesarea; nor was either
Sebaste [Samaria] or Askelon able to oppose the violence with which they
were attacked; and when they had burnt these to the ground; they entirely
demolished Anthedon and Gaza; many also of the villages that were about
every one of those cities were plundered, and an immense slaughter was
made of the men who were caught in them.
2. However, the Syrians were even with the Jews in the multitude of the
men whom they slew; for they killed those whom they caught in their
cities, and that not only out of the hatred they bare them, as formerly, but
to prevent the danger under which they were from them; so that the
disorders in all Syria were terrible, and every city was divided into two
armies, encamped one against another, and the preservation of the one
party was in the destruction of the other; so the day time was spent in
shedding of blood, and the night in fear, which was of the two the more
terrible; for when the Syrians thought they had ruined the Jews, they had
the Judaizers in suspicion also; and as each side did not care to slay those
whom they only suspected on the other, so did they greatly fear them
when they were mingled with the other, as if they were certainly
foreigners. Moreover, greediness of gain was a provocation to kill the
opposite party, even to such as had of old appeared very mild and gentle
towards them; for they without fear plundered the effects of the slain, and
carried off the spoils of those whom they slew to their own houses, as if
they had been gained in a set battle; and he was esteemed a man of honor
who got the greatest share, as having prevailed over the greatest number of
his enemies. It was then common to see cities filled with dead bodies, still
lying unburied, and those of old men, mixed with infants, all dead, and
scattered about together; women also lay amongst them, without any
covering for their nakedness: you might then see the whole province full of
inexpressible calamities, while the dread of still more barbarous practices
which were threatened was every where greater than what had been
already perpetrated.
3. And thus far the conflict had been between Jews and foreigners; but
when they made excursions to Scythopolis, they found Jew that acted as
enemies; for as they stood in battle-array with those of Scythopolis, and
preferred their own safety before their relation to us, they fought against
their own countrymen; nay, their alacrity was so very great, that those of
Scythopolis suspected them. These were afraid, therefore, lest they should
make an assault upon the city in the night time, and, to their great
misfortune, should thereby make an apology for themselves to their own
people for their revolt from them. So they commanded them, that in case
they would confirm their agreement and demonstrate their fidelity to them,
who were of a different nation, they should go out of the city, with their
families to a neighboring grove; and when they had done as they were
commanded, without suspecting any thing, the people of Scythopolis lay
still for the interval of two days, to tempt them to be secure; but on the
third night they watched their opportunity, and cut all their throats, some
as they lay unguarded, and some as they lay asleep. The number that was
slain was above thirteen thousand, and then they plundered them of all
that they had.
4. It will deserve our relation what befell Simon; he was the son of one
Saul, a man of reputation among the Jews. This man was distinguished
from the rest by the strength of his body, and the boldness of his conduct,
although he abused them both to the mischieving of his countrymen; for he
came every day and slew a great many of the Jews of Scythopolis, and he
frequently put them to flight, and became himself alone the cause of his
army’s conquering. But a just punishment overtook him for the murders
he had committed upon those of the same nation with him; for when the
people of Scythopolis threw their darts at them in the grove, he drew his
sword, but did not attack any of the enemy; for he saw that he could do
nothing against such a multitude; but he cried out after a very moving
manner, and said, “O you people of Scythopolis, I deservedly suffer for
what I have done with relation to you, when I gave you such security of
my fidelity to you, by slaying so many of those that were related to me.
Wherefore we very justly experience the perfidiousness of foreigners,
while we acted after a most wicked manner against our own nation. I will
therefore die, polluted wretch as I am, by nine own hands; for it is not fit I
should die by the hand of our enemies; and let the same action be to me
both a punishment for my great crimes, and a testimony of my courage to
my commendation, that so no one of our enemies may have it to brag of,
that he it was that slew me, and no one may insult upon me as I fall.” Now
when he had said this, he looked round about him upon his family with
eyes of commiseration and of rage (that family consisted of a wife and
children, and his aged parents); so, in the first place, he caught his father
by his grey hairs, and ran his sword through him, and after him he did the
same to his mother, who willingly received it; and after them he did the
like to his wife and children, every one almost offering themselves to his
sword, as desirous to prevent being slain by their enemies; so when he had
gone over all his family, he stood upon their bodies to be seen by all, and
stretching out his right hand, that his action might be observed by all, he
sheathed his entire sword into his own bowels. This young man was to be
pitied, on account of the strength of his body and the courage of his soul;
but since he had assured foreigners of his fidelity [against his own
countrymen], he suffered deservedly.
5. Besides this murder at Scythopolis, the other cities rose up against the
Jews that were among them; those of Askelon slew two thousand five
hundred, and those of Ptolemais two thousand, and put not a few into
bonds; those of Tyre also put a great number to death, but kept a greater
number in prison; moreover, those of Hippos, and those of Gadara, did the
like while they put to death the boldest of the Jews, but kept those of
whom they were afraid in custody; as did the rest of the cities of Syria,
according as they every one either hated them or were afraid of them; only
the Antiochtans the Sidontans, and Apamians spared those that dwelt
with them, and would not endure either to kill any of the Jews, or to put
them in bonds. And perhaps they spared them, because their own number
was so great that they despised their attempts. But I think the greatest
part of this favor was owing to their commiseration of those whom they
saw to make no innovations. As for the Gerasans, they did no harm to
those that abode with them; and for those who had a mind to go away,
they conducted them as far as their borders reached.
6. There was also a plot laid against the Jews in Agrippa’s kingdom; for he
was himself gone to Cestius Gallus, to Antioch, but had left one of his
companions, whose name was Noarus, to take care of the public affairs;
which Noarus was of kin to king Sohemus. 26 Now there came certain men
seventy in number, out of Batanea, who were the most considerable for
their families and prudence of the rest of the people; these desired to have
an army put into their hands, that if any tumult should happen, they
might have about them a guard sufficient to restrain such as might rise up
against them. This Noarus sent out some of the king’s armed men by
night, and slew all those [seventy] men; which bold action he ventured
upon without the consent of Agrippa, and was such a lover of money, that
he chose to be so wicked to his own countrymen, though he brought ruin
on the kingdom thereby; and thus cruelly did he treat that nation, and this
contrary to the laws also, until Agrippa was informed of it, who did not
indeed dare to put him to death, out of regard to Sohemus; but still he put
an end to his procuratorship immediately. But as to the seditious, they
took the citadel which was called Cypros, and was above Jericho, and cut
the throats of the garrison, and utterly demolished the fortifications. This
was about the same time that the multitude of the Jews that were at
Machorus persuaded the Romans who were in garrison to leave the place,
and deliver it up to them. These Romans being in great fear, lest the place
should be taken by force, made an agreement with them to depart upon
certain conditions; and when they had obtained the security they desired,
they delivered up the citadel, into which the people of Macherus put a
garrison for their own security, and held it in their own power.
7. But for Alexandria, the sedition of the people of the place against the
Jews was perpetual, and this from that very time when Alexander [the
Great], upon finding the readiness of the Jews in assisting him against the
Egyptians, and as a reward for such their assistance, gave them equal
privileges in this city with the Grecians themselves; which honorary
reward Continued among them under his successors, who also set apart for
them a particular place, that they might live without being polluted [by the
Gentiles], and were thereby not so much intermixed with foreigners as
before; they also gave them this further privilege, that they should be
called Macedonians. Nay, when the Romans got possession of Egypt,
neither the first Caesar, nor any one that came after him, thought of
diminishing the honors which Alexander had bestowed on the Jews. But
still conflicts perpetually arose with the Grecians; and although the
governors did every day punish many of them, yet did the sedition grow
worse; but at this time especially, when there were tumults in other places
also, the disorders among them were put into a greater flame; for when the
Alexandrians had once a public assembly, to deliberate about an embassage
they were sending to Nero, a great number of Jews came flocking to the
theater; but when their adversaries saw them, they immediately cried out,
and called them their enemies, and said they came as spies upon them;
upon which they rushed out, and laid violent hands upon them; and as for
the rest, they were slain as they ran away; but there were three men whom
they caught, and hauled them along, in order to have them burnt alive; but
all the Jews came in a body to defend them, who at first threw stones at
the Grecians, but after that they took lamps, and rushed with violence into
the theater, and threatened that they would burn the people to a man; and
this they had soon done, unless Tiberius Alexander, the governor of the
city, had restrained their passions. However, this man did not begin to
teach them wisdom by arms, but sent among them privately some of the
principal men, and thereby entreated them to be quiet, and not provoke
the Roman army against them; but the seditious made a jest of the
entreaties of Tiberius, and reproached him for so doing.
8. Now when he perceived that those who were for innovations would not
be pacified till some great calamity should overtake them, he sent out upon
them those two Roman legions that were in the city, and together with
them five thousand other soldiers, who, by chance, were come together out
of Libya, to the ruin of the Jews. They were also permitted not only to
kill them, but to plunder them of what they had, and to set fire to their
houses. These soldiers rushed violently into that part of the city that was
called Delta, where the Jewish people lived together, and did as they were
bidden, though not without bloodshed on their own side also; for the Jews
got together, and set those that were the best armed among them in the
forefront, and made a resistance for a great while; but when once they gave
back, they were destroyed unmercifully; and this their destruction was
complete, some being caught in the open field, and others forced into their
houses, which houses were first plundered of what was in them, and then
set on fire by the Romans; wherein no mercy was shown to the infants,
and no regard had to the aged; but they went on in the slaughter of persons
of every age, till all the place was overflowed with blood, and fifty
thousand of them lay dead upon heaps; nor had the remainder been
preserved, had they not be-taken themselves to supplication. So Alexander
commiserated their condition, and gave orders to the Romans to retire;
accordingly, these being accustomed to obey orders, left off killing at the
first intimation; but the populace of Alexandria bare so very great hatred
to the Jews, that it was difficult to recall them, and it was a hard thing to
make them leave their dead bodies.
9. And this was the miserable calamity which at this time befell the Jews
at Alexandria. Hereupon Cestius thought fit no longer to lie still, while the
Jews were everywhere up in arms; so he took out of Antioch the twelfth
legion entire, and out of each of the rest he selected two thousand, with six
cohorts of footmen, and four troops of horsemen, besides those auxiliaries
which were sent by the kings; of which Antiochus sent two thousand
horsemen, and three thousand footmen, with as many archers; and
Agrippa sent the same number of footmen, and one thousand horsemen;
Sohemus also followed with four thousand, a third part whereof were
horsemen, but most part were archers, and thus did he march to Ptolemais.
There were also great numbers of auxiliaries gathered together from the
[free] cities, who indeed had not the same skill in martial affairs, but made
up in their alacrity and in their hatred to the Jews what they wanted in
skill. There came also along with Cestius Agrippa himself, both as a guide
in his march over the country, and a director what was fit to be done; so
Cestius took part of his forces, and marched hastily to Zabulon, a strong
city of Galilee, which was called the City of Men, and divides the country
of Ptolemais from our nation; this he found deserted by its men, the
multitude having fled to the mountains, but full of all sorts of good things;
those he gave leave to the soldiers to plunder, and set fire to the city,
although it was of admirable beauty, and had its houses built like those in
Tyre, and Sidon, and Berytus. After this he overran all the country, and
seized upon whatsoever came in his way, and set fire to the villages that
were round about them, and then returned to Ptolemais. But when the
Syrians, and especially those of Berytus, were busy in plundering, the
Jews pulled up their courage again, for they knew that Cestius was retired,
and fell upon those that were left behind unexpectedly, and destroyed
about two thousand of them. 27
10. And now Cestius himself marched from Ptolemais, and came to
Cesarea; but he sent part of his army before him to Joppa, and gave order,
that if they could take that city [by surprise] they should keep it; but that
in case the citizens should perceive they were coming to attack them, that
they then should stay for him, and for the rest of the army. So some of
them made a brisk march by the sea-side, and some by land, and so coming
upon them on both sides, they took the city with ease; and as the
inhabitants had made no provision beforehand for a flight, nor had gotten
any thing ready for fighting, the soldiers fell upon them, and slew them all,
with their families, and then plundered and burnt the city. The number of
the slain was eight thousand four hundred. In like manner, Cestius sent
also a considerable body of horsemen to the toparchy of Narbatene, that
adjoined to Cesarea, who destroyed the country, and slew a great
multitude of its people; they also plundered what they had, and burnt
their villages.
11. But Cestius sent Gallus, the commander of the twelfth legion, into
Galilee, and delivered to him as many of his forces as he supposed
sufficient to subdue that nation. He was received by the strongest city of
Galilee, which was Sepphoris, with acclamations of joy; which wise
conduct of that city occasioned the rest of the cities to be in quiet; while
the seditious part and the robbers ran away to that mountain which lies in
the very middle of Galilee, and is situated over against Sepphoris; it is
called Asamon. So Gallus brought his forces against them; but while those
men were in the superior parts above the Romans, they easily threw their
darts upon the Romans, as they made their approaches, and slew about
two hundred of them. But when the Romans had gone round the
mountains, and were gotten into the parts above their enemies, the others
were soon beaten; nor could they who had only light armor on sustain the
force of them that fought them armed all over; nor when they were beaten
could they escape the enemies’ horsemen; insomuch that only some few
concealed themselves in certain places hard to be come at, among the
mountains, while the rest, above two thousand in number, were slain.
1. AND now Gallus, seeing nothing more that looked towards an
innovation in Galilee, returned with his army to Cesarea: but Cestius
removed with his whole army, and marched to Antipatris; and when he
was informed that there was a great body of Jewish forces gotten together
in a certain tower called Aphek, he sent a party before to fight them; but
this party dispersed the Jews by affrighting them before it came to a
battle: so they came, and finding their camp deserted, they burnt it, as well
as the villages that lay about it. But when Cestius had marched from
Antipatris to Lydda, he found the city empty of its men, for the whole
multitude 28 were gone up to Jerusalem to the feast of tabernacles; yet did
he destroy fifty of those that showed themselves, and burnt the city, and
so marched forwards; and ascending by Betboron, he pitched his camp at a
certain place called Gabao, fifty furlongs distant from Jerusalem.
2. But as for the Jews, when they saw the war approaching to their
metropolis, they left the feast, and betook themselves to their arms; and
taking courage greatly from their multitude, went in a sudden and
disorderly manner to the fight, with a great noise, and without any
consideration had of the rest of the seventh day, although the Sabbath 29
was the day to which they had the greatest regard; but that rage which
made them forget the religious observation [of the sabbath] made them too
hard for their enemies in the fight: with such violence therefore did they
fall upon the Romans, as to break into their ranks, and to march through
the midst of them, making a great slaughter as they went, insomuch that
unless the horsemen, and such part of the footmen as were not yet tired in
the action, had wheeled round, and succored that part of the army which
was not yet broken, Cestius, with his whole army, had been in danger:
however, five hundred and fifteen of the Romans were slain, of which
number four hundred were footmen, and the rest horsemen, while the Jews
lost only twenty-two, of whom the most valiant were the kinsmen of
Monobazus, king of Adiabene, and their names were Monobazus and
Kenedeus; and next to them were Niger of Perea, and Silas of Babylon,
who had deserted from king Agrippa to the Jews; for he had formerly
served in his army. When the front of the Jewish army had been cut off,
the Jews retired into the city; but still Simon, the son of Giora, fell upon
the backs of the Romans, as they were ascending up Bethoron, and put the
hindmost of the army into disorder, and carried off many of the beasts that
carded the weapons of war, and led Shem into the city. But as Cestius
tarried there three days, the Jews seized upon the elevated parts of the
city, and set watches at the entrances into the city, and appeared openly
resolved not to rest when once the Romans should begin to march.
3. And now when Agrippa observed that even the affairs of the Romans
were likely to be in danger, while such an immense multitude of their
enemies had seized upon the mountains round about, he determined to try
what the Jews would agree to by words, as thinking that he should either
persuade them all to desist from fighting, or, however, that he should cause
the sober part of them to separate themselves from the opposite party. So
he sent Borceus and Phebus, the persons of his party that were the best
known to them, and promised them that Cestius should give them his right
hand, to secure them of the Romans’ entire forgiveness of what they had
done amiss, if they would throw away their arms, and come over to them;
but the seditious, fearing lest the whole multitude, in hopes of security to
themselves, should go over to Agrippa, resolved immediately to fall upon
and kill the ambassadors; accordingly they slew Phebus before he said a
word, but Borceus was only wounded, and so prevented his fate by flying
away. And when the people were very angry at this, they had the
seditious beaten with stones and clubs, and drove them before them into
the city.
4. But now Cestius, observing that the disturbances that were begun
among the Jews afforded him a proper opportunity to attack them, took
his whole army along with him, and put the Jews to flight, and pursued
them to Jerusalem. He then pitched his camp upon the elevation called
Scopus, [or watch-tower,] which was distant seven furlongs from the city;
yet did not he assault them in three days’ time, out of expectation that
those within might perhaps yield a little; and in the mean time he sent out
a great many of his soldiers into neighboring villages, to seize upon their
corn. And on the fourth day, which was the thirtieth of the month
Hyperbereteus, [Tisri,] when he had put his army in array, he brought it
into the city. Now for the people, they were kept under by the seditious;
but the seditious themselves were greatly affrighted at the good order of
the Romans, and retired from the suburbs, and retreated into the inner part
of the city, and into the temple. But when Cestius was come into the city,
he set the part called Bezetha, which is called Cenopolis, [or the new city,]
on fire; as he did also to the timber market; after which he came into the
upper city, and pitched his camp over against the royal palace; and had he
but at this very time attempted to get within the walls by force, he had
won the city presently, and the war had been put an end to at once; but
Tyrannius Priseus, the muster-master of the army, and a great number of
the officers of the horse, had been corrupted by Florus, and diverted him
from that his attempt; and that was the occasion that this war lasted so
very long, and thereby the Jews were involved in such incurable calamities.
5. In the mean time, many of the principal men of the city were persuaded
by Ananus, the son of Jonathan, and invited Cestius into the city, and
were about to open the gates for him; but he overlooked this offer, partly
out of his anger at the Jews, and partly because he did not thoroughly
believe they were in earnest; whence it was that he delayed the matter so
long, that the seditious perceived the treachery, and threw Ananus and
those of his party down from the wall, and, pelting them with stones,
drove them into their houses; but they stood themselves at proper
distances in the towers, and threw their darts at those that were getting
over the wall. Thus did the Romans make their attack against the wall for
five days, but to no purpose. But on the next day Cestius took a great
many of his choicest men, and with them the archers, and attempted to
break into the temple at the northern quarter of it; but the Jews beat them
off from the cloisters, and repulsed them several times when they were
gotten near to the wall, till at length the multitude of the darts cut them
off, and made them retire; but the first rank of the Romans rested their
shields upon the wall, and so did those that were behind them, and the like
did those that were still more backward, and guarded themselves with
what they call Testudo, [the back of] a tortoise, upon which the darts that
were thrown fell, and slided off without doing them any harm; so the
soldiers undermined the wall, without being themselves hurt, and got all
things ready for setting fire to the gate of the temple.
6. And now it was that a horrible fear seized upon the seditious, insomuch
that many of them ran out of the city, as though it were to be taken
immediately; but the people upon this took courage, and where the wicked
part of the city gave ground, thither did they come, in order to set open
the gates, and to admit Cestius 30 as their benefactor, who, had he but
continued the siege a little longer, had certainly taken the city; but it was, I
suppose, owing to the aversion God had already at the city and the
sanctuary, that he was hindered from putting an end to the war that very
7. It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the
besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for
him; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of
any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he
retired from the city, without any reason in the world. But when the
robbers perceived this unexpected retreat of his, they resumed their
courage, and ran after the hinder parts of his army, and destroyed a
considerable number of both their horsemen and footmen; and now Cestius
lay all night at the camp which was at Scopus; and as he went off farther
next day, he thereby invited the enemy to follow him, who still fell upon
the hindmost, and destroyed them; they also fell upon the flank on each
side of the army, and threw darts upon them obliquely, nor durst those
that were hindmost turn back upon those who wounded them behind, as
imagining that the multitude of those that pursued them was immense; nor
did they venture to drive away those that pressed upon them on each side,
because they were heavy with their arms, and were afraid of breaking their
ranks to pieces, and because they saw the Jews were light, and ready for
making incursions upon them. And this was the reason why the Romans
suffered greatly, without being able to revenge themselves upon their
enemies; so they were galled all the way, and their ranks were put into
disorder, and those that were thus put out of their ranks were slain; among
whom were Priscus, the commander of the sixth legion, and Longinus, the
tribune, and Emilius Secundus, the commander of a troop of horsemen. So
it was not without difficulty that they got to Gabao, their former camp,
and that not without the loss of a great part of their baggage. There it was
that Cestius staid two days, and was in great distress to know what he
should do in these circumstances; but when on the third day he saw a still
much greater number of enemies, and all the parts round about him full of
Jews, he understood that his delay was to his own detriment, and that if
he staid any longer there, he should have still more enemies upon him.
8. That therefore he might fly the faster, he gave orders to cast away what
might hinder his army’s march; so they killed the mules and other
creatures, excepting those that carried their darts and machines, which they
retained for their own use, and this principally because they were afraid
lest the Jews should seize upon them. He then made his army march on as
far as Bethoron. Now the Jews did not so much press upon them when
they were in large open places; but when they were penned up in their
descent through narrow passages, then did some of them get before, and
hindered them from getting out of them; and others of them thrust the
hinder-most down into the lower places; and the whole multitude extended
themselves over against the neck of the passage, and covered the Roman
army with their darts. In which circumstances, as the footmen knew not
how to defend themselves, so the danger pressed the horsemen still more,
for they were so pelted, that they could not march along the road in their
ranks, and the ascents were so high, that the cavalry were not able to
march against the enemy; the precipices also and valleys into which they
frequently fell, and tumbled down, were such on each side of them, that
there was neither place for their flight, nor any contrivance could be
thought of for their defense; till the distress they were at last in was so
great, that they betook themselves to lamentations, and to such mournful
cries as men use in the utmost despair: the joyful acclamations of the Jews
also, as they encouraged one another, echoed the sounds back again, these
last composing a noise of those that at once rejoiced and were in a rage.
Indeed, things were come to such a pass, that the Jews had almost taken
Cestius’s entire army prisoners, had not the night come on, when the
Romans fled to Bethoron, and the Jews seized upon all the places round
about them, and watched for their coming out [in the morning].
9. And then it was that Cestius, despairing of obtaining room for a public
march, contrived how he might best run away; and when he had selected
four hundred of the most courageous of his soldiers, he placed them at the
strongest of their fortifications, and gave order, that when they went up to
the morning guard, they should erect their ensigns, that the Jews might be
made to believe that the entire army was there still, while he himself took
the rest of his forces with him, and marched, without any noise, thirty
furlongs. But when the Jews perceived, in the morning, that the camp was
empty, they ran upon those four hundred who had deluded them, and
immediately threw their darts at them, and slew them; and then pursued
after Cestius. But he had already made use of a great part of the night in
his flight, and still marched quicker when it was day; insomuch that the
soldiers, through the astonishment and fear they were in, left behind them
their engines for sieges, and for throwing of stones, and a great part of the
instruments of war. So the Jews went on pursuing the Romans as far as
Antipatris; after which, seeing they could not overtake them, they came
back, and took the engines, and spoiled the dead bodies, and gathered the
prey together which the Romans had left behind them, and came back
running and singing to their metropolis; while they had themselves lost a
few only, but had slain of the Romans five thousand and three hundred
footmen, and three hundred and eighty horsemen. This defeat happened on
the eighth day of the month Dius, [Marchesvan,] in the twelfth year of the
reign of Nero.

1. AFTER this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of
the Jews swam away from the city, as from a ship when it was going to
sink; Costobarus, therefore, and Saul, who were brethren, together with
Philip, the son of Jacimus, who was the commander of king Agrippa’s
forces, ran away from the city, and went to Cestius. But then how
Antipas, who had been besieged with them in the king’s palace, but would
not fly away with them, was afterward slain by the seditious, we shall
relate hereafter. However, Cestius sent Saul and his friends, at their own
desire, to Achaia, to Nero, to inform him of the great distress they were in,
and to lay the blame of their kindling the war upon Florus, as hoping to
alleviate his own danger, by provoking his indignation against Florus.
2. In the mean time, the people of Damascus, when they were informed of
the destruction of the Romans, set about the slaughter of those Jews that
were among them; and as they had them already cooped up together in the
place of public exercises, which they had done out of the suspicion they
had of them, they thought they should meet with no difficulty in the
attempt; yet did they distrust their own wives, which were almost all of
them addicted to the Jewish religion; on which account it was that their
greatest concern was, how they might conceal these things from them; so
they came upon the Jews, and cut their throats, as being in a narrow place,
in number ten thousand, and all of them unarmed, and this in one hour’s
time, without any body to disturb them.
3. But as to those who had pursued after Cestius, when they were
returned back to Jerusalem, they overbore some of those that favored the
Romans by violence, and some them persuaded [by en-treaties] to join
with them, and got together in great numbers in the temple, and appointed
a great many generals for the war. Joseph also, the son of Gorion, 31 and
Ananus the high priest, were chosen as governors of all affairs within the
city, and with a particular charge to repair the walls of the city; for they
did not ordain Eleazar the son of Simon to that office, although he had
gotten into his possession the prey they had taken from the Romans, and
the money they had taken from Cestius, together with a great part of the
public treasures, because they saw he was of a tyrannical temper, and that
his followers were, in their behavior, like guards about him. However, the
want they were in of Eleazar’s money, and the subtle tricks used by him,
brought all so about, that the people were circumvented, and submitted
themselves to his authority in all public affairs.
4. They also chose other generals for Idumea; Jesus, the son of Sapphias,
one of the high priests; and Eleazar, the son of Ananias, the high priest;
they also enjoined Niger, the then governor of Idumea, 32 who was of a
family that belonged to Perea, beyond Jordan, and was thence called the
Peraite, that he should be obedient to those fore-named commanders. Nor
did they neglect the care of other parts of the country; but Joseph the son
of Simon was sent as general to Jericho, as was Manasseh to Perea, and
John, the Esscue, to the toparchy of Thamna; Lydda was also added to his
portion, and Joppa, and Emmaus. But John, the son of Matthias, was
made governor of the toparchies of Gophnitica and Acrabattene; as was
Josephus, the son of Matthias, of both the Galilees. Gamala also, which
was the strongest city in those parts, was put under his command.
5. So every one of the other commanders administered the affairs of his
portion with that alacrity and prudence they were masters of; but as to
Josephus, when he came into Galilee, his first care was to gain the
good-will of the people of that country, as sensible that he should thereby
have in general good success, although he should fail in other points. And
being conscious to himself that if he communicated part of his power to
the great men, he should make them his fast friends; and that he should
gain the same favor from the multitude, if he executed his commands by
persons of their own country, and with whom they were well acquainted;
he chose out seventy of the most prudent men, and those elders in age, and
appointed them to be rulers of all Galilee, as he chose seven judges in
every city to hear the lesser quarrels; for as to the greater causes, and those
wherein life and death were concerned, he enjoined they should be brought
to him and the seventy 33 elders.
6. Josephus also, when he had settled these rules for determining causes
by the law, with regard to the people’s dealings one with another, betook
himself to make provisions for their safety against external violence; and as
he knew the Romans would fall upon Galilee, he built walls in proper
places about Jotapata, and Bersabee, and Selamis; and besides these, about
Caphareccho, and Japha, and Sigo, and what they call Mount Tabor, and
Tarichee, and Tiberias. Moreover, he built walls about the caves near the
lake of Gennesar, which places lay in the Lower Galilee; the same he did to
the places of Upper Galilee, as well as to the rock called the Rock of the
Achabari, and to Seph, and Jamnith, and Meroth; and in Gaulonitis he
fortified Seleucia, and Sogane, and Gamala; but as to those of Sepphoris,
they were the only people to whom he gave leave to build their own walls,
and this because he perceived they were rich and wealthy, and ready to go
to war, without standing in need of any injunctions for that purpose. The
case was the same with Gischala, which had a wall built about it by John
the son of Levi himself, but with the consent of Josephus; but for the
building of the rest of the fortresses, he labored together with all the other
builders, and was present to give all the necessary orders for that purpose.
He also got together an army out of Galilee, of more than a hundred
thousand young men, all of which he armed with the old weapons which
he had collected together and prepared for them.
7. And when he had considered that the Roman power became invincible,
chiefly by their readiness in obeying orders, and the constant exercise of
their arms, he despaired of teaching these his men the use of their arms,
which was to be obtained by experience; but observing that their readiness
in obeying orders was owing to the multitude of their officers, he made his
partitions in his army more after the Roman manner, and appointed a great
many subalterns. He also distributed the soldiers into various classes,
whom he put under captains of tens, and captains of hundreds, and then
under captains of thousands; and besides these, he had commanders of
larger bodies of men. He also taught them to give the signals one to
another, and to call and recall the soldiers by the trumpets, how to expand
the wings of an army, and make them wheel about; and when one wing
hath had success, to turn again and assist those that were hard set, and to
join in the defense of what had most suffered. He also continually
instructed them ill what concerned the courage of the soul, and the
hardiness of the body; and, above all, he exercised them for war, by
declaring to them distinctly the good order of the Romans, and that they
were to fight with men who, both by the strength of their bodies and
courage of their souls, had conquered in a manner the whole habitable
earth. He told them that he should make trial of the good order they would
observe in war, even before it came to any battle, in case they would
abstain from the crimes they used to indulge themselves in, such as theft,
and robbery, and rapine, and from defrauding their own countrymen, and
never to esteem the harm done to those that were so near of kin to them to
be any advantage to themselves; for that wars are then managed the best
when the warriors preserve a good conscience; but that such as are ill men
in private life will not only have those for enemies which attack them, but
God himself also for their antagonist.
8. And thus did he continue to admonish them. Now he chose for the war
such an army as was sufficient, i.e. sixty thousand footmen, and two
hundred and fifty horsemen; 34 and besides these, on which he put the
greatest trust, there were about four thousand five hundred mercenaries; he
had also six hundred men as guards of his body. Now the cities easily
maintained the rest of his army, excepting the mercenaries, for every one of
the cities enumerated above sent out half their men to the army, and
retained the other half at home, in order to get provisions for them;
insomuch that the one part went to the war, and the other part to their
work, and so those that sent out their corn were paid for it by those that
were in arms, by that security which they enjoyed from them.
1. NOW as Josephus was thus engaged in the administration of the affairs
of Galilee, there arose a treacherous person, a man of Gischala, the son of
Levi, “whose name was John. His character was that of a very cunning and
very knavish person, beyond the ordinary rate of the other men of
eminence there, and for wicked practices he had not his fellow any where.
Poor he was at first, and for a long time his wants were a hinderance to
him in his wicked designs. He was a ready liar, and yet very sharp in
gaining credit to his fictions: he thought it a point of virtue to delude
people, and would delude even such as were the dearest to him. He was a
hypocritical pretender to humanity, but where he had hopes of gain, he
spared not the shedding of blood: his desires were ever carried to great
things, and he encouraged his hopes from those mean wicked tricks which
he was the author of. He had a peculiar knack at thieving; but in some time
he got certain companions in his impudent practices; at first they were but
few, but as he proceeded on in his evil course, they became still more and
more numerous. He took care that none of his partners should be easily
caught in their rogueries, but chose such out of the rest as had the
strongest constitutions of body, and the greatest courage of soul, together
with great skill in martial affairs; as he got together a band of four hundred
men, who came principally out of the country of Tyre, and were
vagabonds that had run away from its villages; and by the means of these
he laid waste all Galilee, and irritated a considerable number, who were in
great expectation of a war then suddenly to arise among them.
2. However, John’s want of money had hitherto restrained him in his
ambition after command, and in his attempts to advance himself. But when
he saw that Josephus was highly pleased with the activity of his temper,
he persuaded him, in the first place, to intrust him with the repairing of the
walls of his native city, [Gischala,] in which work he got a great deal of
money from the rich citizens. He after that contrived a very shrewd trick,
and pretending that the Jews who dwelt in Syria were obliged to make use
of oil that was made by others than those of their own nation, he desired
leave of Josephus to send oil to their borders; so he bought four amphorae
with such Tyrian money as was of the value of four Attic drachmae, and
sold every half-amphora at the same price. And as Galilee was very
fruitful in oil, and was peculiarly so at that time, by sending away great
quantities, and having the sole privilege so to do, he gathered an immense
sum of money together, which money he immediately used to the
disadvantage of him who gave him that privilege; and, as he supposed, that
if he could once overthrow Josephus, he should himself obtain the
government of Galilee; so he gave orders to the robbers that were under his
command to be more zealous in their thievish expeditions, that by the rise
of many that desired innovations in the country, he might either catch their
general in his snares, as he came to the country’s assistance, and then kill
him; or if he should overlook the robbers, he might accuse him for his
negligence to the people of the country. He also spread abroad a report far
and near that Josephus was delivering up the administration of affairs to
the Romans; and many such plots did he lay, in order to ruin him.
3. Now at the same time that certain young men of the village Dabaritta,
who kept guard in the Great Plain laid snares for Ptolemy, who was
Agrippa’s and Bernice’s steward, and took from him all that he had with
him; among which things there were a great many costly garments, and no
small number of silver cups, and six hundred pieces of gold; yet were they
not able to conceal what they had stolen, but brought it all to Josephus, to
Tarichee. Hereupon he blamed them for the violence they had offered to
the king and queen, and deposited what they brought to him with Eneas,
the most potent man of Taricheae, with an intention of sending the things
back to the owners at a proper time; which act of Josephus brought him
into the greatest danger; for those that had stolen the things had an
indignation at him, both because they gained no share of it for themselves,
and because they perceived beforehand what was Josephus’s intention,
and that he would freely deliver up what had cost them so much pains to
the king and queen. These ran away by night to their several villages, and
declared to all men that Josephus was going to betray them: they also
raised great disorders in all the neighboring cities, insomuch that in the
morning a hundred thousand armed men came running together; which
multitude was crowded together in the hippodrome at Taricheae, and made
a very peevish clamor against him; while some cried out, that they should
depose the traitor; and others, that they should burn him. Now John
irritated a great many, as did also one Jesus, the son of Sapphias, who was
then governor of Tiberias. Then it was that Josephus’s friends, and the
guards of his body, were so affrighted at this violent assault of the
multitude, that they all fled away but four; and as he was asleep, they
awaked him, as the people were going to set fire to the house. And
although those four that remained with him persuaded him to run away, he
was neither surprised at his being himself deserted, nor at the great
multitude that came against him, but leaped out to them with his clothes
rent, and ashes sprinkled on his head, with his hands behind him, and his
sword hanging at his neck. At this sight his friends, especially those of
Tarichae, commiserated his condition; but those that came out of the
country, and those in their neighborhood, to whom his government seemed
burdensome, reproached him, and bid him produce the money which
belonged to them all immediately, and to confess the agreement he had
made to betray them; for they imagined, from the habit in which he
appeared, that he would deny nothing of what they suspected concerning
him, and that it was in order to obtain pardon that he had put himself
entirely into so pitiable a posture. But this humble appearance was only
designed as preparatory to a stratagem of his, who thereby contrived to
set those that were so angry at him at variance one with another about the
things they were angry at. However, he promised he would confess all:
hereupon he was permitted to speak, when he said,” I did neither intend to
send this money back to Agrippa, nor to gain it myself; for I did never
esteem one that was your enemy to be my friend, nor did I look upon
what would tend to your disadvantage to be my advantage. But, O you
people of Tariehete, I saw that your city stood in more need than others
of fortifications for your security, and that it wanted money in order for
the building it a wall. I was also afraid lest the people of Tiberias and other
cities should lay a plot to seize upon these spoils, and therefore it was
that I intended to retain this money privately, that I might encompass you
with a wall. But if this does not please you, I will produce what was
brought me, and leave it to you to plunder it; but if I have conducted
myself so well as to please you, you may if you please punish your
4. Hereupon the people of Taricheae loudly commended him; but those of
Tiberias, with the rest of the company, gave him hard names, and
threatened what they would do to him; so both sides left off quarrelling
with Josephus, and fell on quarrelling with one another. So he grew bold
upon the dependence he had on his friends, which were the people of
Taricheae, and about forty thousand in number, and spake more freely to
the whole multitude, and reproached them greatly for their rashness; and
told them, that with this money he would build walls about Taricheae, and
would put the other cities in a state of security also; for that they should
not want money, if they would but agree for whose benefit it was to be
procured, and would not suffer themselves to be irritated against him who
procured it for them.
5. Hereupon the rest of the multitude that had been deluded retired; but
yet so that they went away angry, and two thousand of them made an
assault upon him in their armor; and as he was already gone to his own
house, they stood without and threatened him. On which occasion
Josephus again used a second stratagem to escape them; for he got upon
the top of his house, and with his right hand desired them to be silent, and
said to them, “I cannot tell what you would have, nor can hear what you
say, for the confused noise you make;” but he said that he would comply
with all their demands, in case they would but send some of their number
in to him that might talk with him about it. And when the principal of
them, with their leaders, heard this, they came into the house. He then
drew them to the most retired part of the house, and shut the door of that
hall where he put them, and then had them whipped till every one of their
inward parts appeared naked. In the mean time the multitude stood round
the house, and supposed that he had a long discourse with those that were
gone in about what they claimed of him. He had then the doors set open
immediately, and sent the men out all bloody, which so terribly aftrighted
those that had before threatened him, that they threw away their arms and
ran away.
6. But as for John, his envy grew greater [upon this escape of Josephus],
and he framed a new plot against him; he pretended to be sick, and by a
letter desired that Josephus would give him leave to use the hot baths that
were at Tiberias, for the recovery of his health. Hereupon Josephus, who
hitherto suspected nothing of John’s plots against him, wrote to the
governors of the city, that they would provide a lodging and necessaries
for John; which favors, when he had made use of, in two days’ time he did
what he came about; some he corrupted with delusive frauds, and others
with money, and so persuaded them to revolt from Josephus. This Silas,
who was appointed guardian of the city by Josephus, wrote to him
immediately, and informed him of the plot against him; which epistle when
Josephus had received, he marched with great diligence all night, and came
early in the morning to Tiberias; at which time the rest of the multitude
met him. But John, who suspected that his coming was not for his
advantage, sent however one of his friends, and pretended that he was
sick, and that being confined to his bed, he could not come to pay him his
respects. But as soon as Josephus had got the people of Tiberias together
in the stadium, and tried to discourse with them about the letters that he
had received, John privately sent some armed men, and gave them orders
to slay him. But when the people saw that the armed men were about to
draw their swords, they cried out; at which cry Josephus turned himself
about, and when he saw that the swords were just at his throat, he
marched away in great haste to the sea-shore, and left off that speech
which he was going to make to the people, upon an elevation of six cubits
high. He then seized on a ship which lay in the haven, and leaped into it,
with two of his guards, and fled away into the midst of the lake.
7. But now the soldiers he had with him took up their arms immediately,
and marched against the plotters; but Josephus was afraid lest a civil war
should be raised by the envy of a few men, and bring the city to ruin; so he
sent some of his party to tell them, that they should do no more than
provide for their own safety; that they should not kill any body, nor
accuse any for the occasion they had afforded [of disorder]. Accordingly,
these men obeyed his orders, and were quiet; but the people of the
neighboring country, when they were informed of this plot, and of the
plotter, they got together in great multitudes to oppose John. But he
prevented their attempt, and fled away to Gischala, his native city, while
the Galileans came running out of their several cities to Josephus; and as
they were now become many ten thousands of armed men, they cried out,
that they were come against John the common plotter against their
interest, and would at the same time burn him, and that city which had
received him. Hereupon Josephus told them that he took their good-will to
him kindly, but still he restrained their fury, and intended to subdue his
enemies by prudent conduct, rather than by slaying them; so he excepted
those of every city which had joined in this revolt with John, by name,
who had readily been shown him by these that came from every city, and
caused public proclamation to be made, that he would seize upon the
effects of those that did not forsake John within five days’ time, and
would burn both their houses and their families with fire. Whereupon three
thousand of John’s party left him immediately, who came to Josephus,
and threw their arms down at his feet. John then betook himself, together
with his two thousand Syrian runagates, from open attempts, to more
secret ways of treachery. Accordingly, he privately sent messengers to
Jerusalem, to accuse Josephus, as having to great power, and to let them
know that he would soon come as a tyrant to their metropolis, unless they
prevented him. This accusation the people were aware of beforehand, but
had no regard to it. However, some of the grandees, out of envy, and some
of the rulers also, sent money to John privately, that he might be able to
get together mercenary soldiers, in order to fight Josephus; they also made
a decree of themselves, and this for recalling him from his government, yet
did they not think that decree sufficient; so they sent withal two thousand
five hundred armed men, and four persons of the highest rank amongst
them; Joazar the son of Nomicus, and Ananias the son of Sadduk, as also
Simon and Judas the sons of Jonathan, all very able men in speaking, that
these persons might withdraw the good-will of the people from Josephus.
These had it in charge, that if he would voluntarily come away, they
should permit him to [come and] give an account of his conduct; but if he
obstinately insisted upon continuing in his government, they should treat
him as an enemy. Now Josephus’s friends had sent him word that an army
was coming against him, but they gave him no notice beforehand what the
reason of their coming was, that being only known among some secret
councils of his enemies; and by this means it was that four cities revolted
from him immediately, Sepphoris, and Gamala, and Gischala, and Tiberias.
Yet did he recover these cities without war; and when he had routed those
four commanders by stratagems, and had taken the most potent of their
warriors, he sent them to Jerusalem; and the people [of Galilee] had great
indignation at them, and were in a zealous disposition to slay, not only
these forces, but those that sent them also, had not these forces prevented
it by running away.
8. Now John was detained afterward within the walls of Gischala, by the
fear he was in of Josephus; but within a few days Tiberias revolted again,
the people within it inviting king Agrippa [to return to the exercise of his
authority there]. And when he did not come at the time appointed, and
when a few Roman horsemen appeared that day, they expelled Josephus
out of the city. Now this revolt of theirs was presently known at
Taricheae; and as Josephus had sent out all the soldiers that were with him
to gather corn, he knew not how either to march out alone against the
revolters, or to stay where he was, because he was afraid the king’s
soldiers might prevent him if he tarried, and might get into the city; for he
did not intend to do any thing on the next day, because it was the sabbath
day, and would hinder his proceeding. So he contrived to circumvent the
revolters by a stratagem; and in the first place he ordered the gates of
Taricheae to be shut, that nobody might go out and inform [those of
Tiberias], for whom it was intended, what stratagem he was about; he then
got together all the ships that were upon the lake, which were found to be
two hundred and thirty, and in each of them he put no more than four
mariners. So he sailed to Tiberias with haste, and kept at such a distance
from the city, that it was not easy for the people to see the vessels, and
ordered that the empty vessels should float up and down there, while
himself, who had but seven of his guards with him, and those unarmed
also, went so near as to be seen; but when his adversaries, who were still
reproaching him, saw him from the walls, they were so astonished that
they supposed all the ships were full of armed men, and threw down their
arms, and by signals of intercession they besought him to spare the city.
9. Upon this Josephus threatened them terribly, and reproached them, that
when they were the first that took up arms against the Romans, they
should spend their force beforehand in civil dissensions, and do what their
enemies desired above all things; and that besides they should endeavor so
hastily to seize upon him, who took care of their safety, and had not been
ashamed to shut the gates of their city against him that built their walls;
that, however, he would admit of any intercessors from them that might
make some excuse for them, and with whom he would make such
agreements as might be for the city’s security. Hereupon ten of the most
potent men of Tiberias came down to him presently; and when he had
taken them into one of his vessels, he ordered them to be carried a great
way off from the city. He then commanded that fifty others of their
senate, such as were men of the greatest eminence, should come to him,
that they also might give him some security on their behalf. After which,
under one new pretense or another, he called forth others, one after
another, to make the leagues between them. He then gave order to the
masters of those vessels which he had thus filled to sail away immediately
for Taricheae, and to confine those men in the prison there; till at length he
took all their senate, consisting of six hundred persons, and about two
thousand of the populace, and carried them away to Taricheae. 35
10. And when the rest of the people cried out, that it was one Clitus that
was the chief author of this revolt, they desired him to spend his anger
upon him [only]; but Josephus, whose intention it was to slay nobody,
commanded one Levius, belonging to his guards, to go out of the vessel, in
order to cut off both Clitus’s hands; yet was Levius afraid to go out by
himself alone to such a large body of enemies, and refused to go. Now
Clitus saw that Josephus was in a great passion in the ship, and ready to
leap out of it, in order to execute the punishment himself; he begged
therefore from the shore, that he would leave him one of his hands; which
Josephus agreed to, upon condition that he would himself cutoff the other
hand; accordingly he drew his sword, and with his right hand cut off his
left, so great was the fear he was in of Josephus himself. And thus he took
the people of Tiberias prisoners, and recovered the city again with empty
ships and seven of his guard. Moreover, a few days afterward he retook
Gischala, which had revolted with the people of Sepphoris, and gave his
soldiers leave to plunder it; yet did he get all the plunder together, and
restored it to the inhabitants; and the like he did to the inhabitants of
Sepphoris and Tiberias. For when he had subdued those cities, he had a
mind, by letting them be plundered, to give them some good instruction,
while at the same time he regained their good-will by restoring them their
money again.
1. AND thus were the disturbances of Galilee quieted, when, upon their
ceasing to prosecute their civil dissensions, they betook themselves to
make preparations for the war with the Romans. Now in Jerusalem the
high priest Artanus, and do as many of the men of power as were not in
the interest of the Romans, both repaired the walls, and made a great many
warlike instruments, insomuch that in all parts of the city darts and all
sorts of armor were upon the anvil. Although the multitude of the young
men were engaged in exercises, without any regularity, and all places were
full of tumultuous doings; yet the moderate sort were exceedingly sad; and
a great many there were who, out of the prospect they had of the
calamities that were coming upon them, made great lamentations. There
were also such omens observed as were understood to be forerunners of
evils by such as loved peace, but were by those that kindled the war
interpreted so as to suit their own inclinations; and the very state of the
city, even before the Romans came against it, was that of a place doomed
to destruction. However, Ananus’s concern was this, to lay aside, for a
while, the preparations for the war, and to persuade the seditious to
consult their own interest, and to restrain the madness of those that had
the name of zealots; but their violence was too hard for him; and what end
he came to we shall relate hereafter.
2. But as for the Acrabbene toparchy, Simon, the son of Gioras, got a great
number of those that were fond of innovations together, and betook
himself to ravage the country; nor did he only harass the rich men’s
houses, but tormented their bodies, and appeared openly and beforehand
to affect tyranny in his government. And when an army was sent against
him by Artanus, and the other rulers, he and his band retired to the robbers
that were at Masada, and staid there, and plundered the country of Idumea
with them, till both Ananus and his other adversaries were slain; and until
the rulers of that country were so afflicted with the multitude of those that