The War of the Jews



By Flavius Josephus


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Josephus: The War of the Jews

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

Book 4

Book 5

Book 6

Book 7











1. NOW all those Galileans who, after the taking of Jotapata, had revolted
from the Romans, did, upon the conquest of Taricheae, deliver themselves
up to them again. And the Romans received all the fortresses and the
cities, excepting Gischala and those that had seized upon Mount Tabor;
Gamala also, which is a city ever against Tarichem, but on the other side of
the lake, conspired with them. This city lay Upon the borders of
Agrippa’s kingdom, as also did Sogana and Scleucia. And these were both
parts of Gaulanitis; for Sogana was a part of that called the Upper
Gaulanitis, as was Gamala of the Lower; while Selcucia was situated at the
lake Semechouitis, which lake is thirty furlongs in breadth, and sixty in
length; its marshes reach as far as the place Daphne, which in other
respects is a delicious place, and hath such fountains as supply water to
what is called Little Jordan, under the temple of the golden calf, 1 where it
is sent into Great Jordan. Now Agrippa had united Sogana and Seleucia by
leagues to himself, at the very beginning of the revolt from the Romans;
yet did not Gamala accede to them, but relied upon the difficulty of the
place, which was greater than that of Jotapata, for it was situated upon a
rough ridge of a high mountain, with a kind of neck in the middle: where it
begins to ascend, it lengthens itself, and declines as much downward before
as behind, insomuch that it is like a camel in figure, from whence it is so
named, although the people of the country do not pronounce it accurately.
Both on the side and the face there are abrupt parts divided from the rest,
and ending in vast deep valleys; yet are the parts behind, where they are
joined to the mountain, somewhat easier of ascent than the other; but then
the people belonging to the place have cut an oblique ditch there, and made
that hard to be ascended also. On its acclivity, which is straight, houses are
built, and those very thick and close to one another. The city also hangs so
strangely, that it looks as if it would fall down upon itself, so sharp is it at
the top. It is exposed to the south, and its southern mount, which reaches
to an immense height, was in the nature of a citadel to the city; and above
that was a precipice, not walled about, but extending itself to an immense
depth. There was also a spring of water within the wall, at the utmost
limits of the city.
2. As this city was naturally hard to be taken, so had Josephus, by
building a wall about it, made it still stronger, as also by ditches and mines
under ground. The people that were in it were made more bold by the
nature of the place than the people of Jotapata had been, but it had much
fewer fighting men in it; and they had such a confidence in the situation of
the place, that they thought the enemy could not be too many for them;
for the city had been filled with those that had fled to it for safety, on
account of its strength; on which account they had been able to resist
those whom Agrippa sent to besiege it for seven months together.
3. But Vespasian removed from Emmaus, where he had last pitched his
camp before the city Tiberias, (now Emmaus, if it be interpreted, may be
rendered “a warm bath,” for therein is a spring of warm water, useful for
healing,) and came to Gamala; yet was its situation such that he was not
able to encompass it all round with soldiers to watch it; but where the
places were practicable, he set men to watch it, and seized upon the
mountain which was over it. And as the legions, according to their usual
custom, were fortifying their camp upon that mountain, he began to cast
up banks at the bottom, at the part towards the east, where the highest
tower of the whole city was, and where the fifteenth legion pitched their
camp; while the fifth legion did duty over against the midst of the city, and
whilst the tenth legion filled up the ditches and the valleys. Now at this
time it was that as king Agrippa was come nigh the walls, and was
endeavoring to speak to those that were on the walls about a surrender, he
was hit with a stone on his right elbow by one of the slingers; he was then
immediately surrounded with his own men. But the Romans were excited
to set about the siege, by their indignation on the king’s account, and by
their fear on their own account, as concluding that those men would omit
no kinds of barbarity against foreigners and enemies, who where so
enraged against one of their own nation, and one that advised them to
nothing but what was for their own advantage.
4. Now when the banks were finished, which was done on the sudden,
both by the multitude of hands, and by their being accustomed to such
work, they brought the machines; but Chares and Joseph, who were the
most potent men in the city, set their armed men in order, though already
in a fright, because they did not suppose that the city could hold out long,
since they had not a sufficient quantity either of water, or of other
necessaries. However, these their leaders encouraged them, and brought
them out upon the wall, and for a while indeed they drove away those that
were bringing the machines; but when those machines threw darts and
stones at them, they retired into the city; then did the Romans bring
battering rams to three several places, and made the wall shake [and fall].
They then poured in over the parts of the wall that were thrown down,
with a mighty sound of trumpets and noise of armor, and with a shout of
the soldiers, and brake in by force upon those that were in the city; but
these men fell upon the Romans for some time, at their first entrance, and
prevented their going any further, and with great courage beat them back;
and the Romans were so overpowered by the greater multitude of the
people, who beat them on every side, that they were obliged to run into
the upper parts of the city. Whereupon the people turned about, and fell
upon their enemies, who had attacked them, and thrust them down to the
lower parts, and as they were distressed by the narrowness and difficulty
of the place, slew them; and as these Romans could neither beat those back
that were above them, nor escape the force of their own men that were
forcing their way forward, they were compelled to fly into their enemies’
houses, which were low; but these houses being thus full, of soldiers,
whose weight they could not bear, fell down suddenly; and when one
house fell, it shook down a great many of those that were under it, as did
those do to such as were under them. By this means a vast number of the
Romans perished; for they were so terribly distressed, that although they
saw the houses subsiding, they were compelled to leap upon the tops of
them; so that a great many were ground to powder by these ruins, and a
great many of those that got from under them lost some of their limbs, but
still a greater number were suffocated by the dust that arose from those
ruins. The people of Gamala supposed this to be an assistance afforded
them by God, and without regarding what damage they suffered
themselves, they pressed forward, and thrust the enemy upon the tops of
their houses; and when they stumbled in the sharp and narrow streets, and
were perpetually falling down, they threw their stones or darts at them,
and slew them. Now the very ruins afforded them stones enow; and for
iron weapons, the dead men of the enemies’ side afforded them what they
wanted; for drawing the swords of those that were dead, they made use of
them to despatch such as were only half dead; nay, there were a great
number who, upon their falling down from the tops of the houses, stabbed
themselves, and died after that manner; nor indeed was it easy for those
that were beaten back to fly away; for they were so unacquainted with the
ways, and the dust was so thick, that they wandered about without
knowing one another, and fell down dead among the crowd.
5. Those therefore that were able to find the ways out of the city retired.
But now Vespasian always staid among those that were hard set; for he
was deeply affected with seeing the ruins of the city falling upon his army,
and forgot to take care of his own preservation. He went up gradually
towards the highest parts of the city before he was aware, and was left in
the midst of dangers, having only a very few with him; for even his son
Titus was not with him at that time, having been then sent into Syria to
Mucianus. However, he thought it not safe to fly, nor did he esteem it a fit
thing for him to do; but calling to mind the actions he had done from his
youth, and recollecting his courage, as if he had been excited by a divine
fury, he covered himself and those that were with him with their shields,
and formed a testudo over both their bodies and their armor, and bore up
against the enemy’s attacks, who came running down from the top of the
city; and without showing any dread at the multitude of the men or of
their darts, he endured all, until the enemy took notice of that divine
courage that was within him, and remitted of their attacks; and when they
pressed less zealously upon him, he retired, though without showing his
back to them till he was gotten out of the walls of the city. Now a great
number of the Romans fell in this battle, among whom was Ebutius, the
decurion, a man who appeared not only in this engagement, wherein he
fell, but every where, and in former engagements, to be of the truest
courage, and one that had done very great mischief to the Jews. But there
was a centurion whose name was Gallus, who, during this disorder, being
encompassed about, he and ten other soldiers privately crept into the
house of a certain person, where he heard them talking at supper, what the
people intended to do against the Romans, or about themselves (for both
the man himself and those with him were Syrians). So he got up in the
night time, and cut all their throats, and escaped, together with his soldiers,
to the Romans.
6. And now Vespasian comforted his army, which was much dejected by
reflecting on their ill success, and because they had never before fallen into
such a calamity, and besides this, because they were greatly ashamed that
they had left their general alone in great dangers. As to what concerned
himself, he avoided to say any thing, that he might by no means seem to
complain of it; but he said that “we ought to bear manfully what usually
falls out in war, and this, by considering what the nature of war is, and
how it can never be that we must conquer without bloodshed on our own
side; for there stands about us that fortune which is of its own nature
mutable; that while they had killed so many ten thousands of the Jews,
they had now paid their small share of the reckoning to fate; and as it is
the part of weak people to be too much puffed up with good success, so is
it the part of cowards to be too much aftrighted at that which is ill; for the
change from the one to the other is sudden on both sides; and he is the best
warrior who is of a sober mind under misfortunes, that he may continue in
that temper, and cheerfully recover what had been lost formerly; and as for
what had now happened, it was neither owing to their own effeminacy,
nor to the valor of the Jews, but the difficulty of the place was the
occasion of their advantage, and of our disappointment. Upon reflecting on
which matter one might blame your zeal as perfectly ungovernable; for
when the enemy had retired to their highest fastnesses, you ought to have
restrained yourselves, and not, by presenting yourselves at the top of the
city, to be exposed to dangers; but upon your having obtained the lower
parts of the city, you ought to have provoked those that had retired
thither to a safe and settled battle; whereas, in rushing so hastily upon
victory, you took no care of your safety. But this incautiousness in war,
and this madness of zeal, is not a Roman maxim. While we perform all that
we attempt by skill and good order, that procedure is the part of
barbarians, and is what the Jews chiefly support themselves by. We ought
therefore to return to our own virtue, and to be rather angry than any
longer dejected at this unlucky misfortune, and let every one seek for his
own consolation from his own hand; for by this means he will avenge
those that have been destroyed, and punish those that have killed them.
For myself, I will endeavor, as I have now done, to go first before you
against your enemies in every engagement, and to be the last that retires
from it.”
7. So Vespasian encouraged his army by this speech; but for the people of
Gamala, it happened that they took courage for a little while, upon such
great and unaccountable success as they had had. But when they
considered with themselves that they had now no hopes of any terms of
accommodation, and reflecting upon it that they could not get away, and
that their provisions began already to be short, they were exceedingly cast
down, and their courage failed them; yet did they not neglect what might
be for their preservation, so far as they were able, but the most courageous
among them guarded those parts of the wall that were beaten down, while
the more infirm did the same to the rest of the wall that still remained
round the city. And as the Romans raised their banks, and attempted to
get into the city a second time, a great many of them fled out of the city
through impracticable valleys, where no guards were placed, as also
through subterraneous caverns; while those that were afraid of being
caught, and for that reason staid in the city, perished for want of food; for
what food they had was brought together from all quarters, and reserved
for the fighting men.
8. And these were the hard circumstances that the people of Gamala were
in. But now Vespasian went about other work by the by, during this siege,
and that was to subdue those that had seized upon Mount Tabor, a place
that lies in the middle between the great plain and Scythopolis, whose top
is elevated as high as thirty furlongs 2 and is hardly to be ascended on its
north side; its top is a plain of twenty-six furlongs, and all encompassed
with a wall. Now Josephus erected this so long a wall in forty days’ time,
and furnished it with other materials, and with water from below, for the
inhabitants only made use of rain water. As therefore there was a great
multitude of people gotten together upon this mountain, Vespasian sent
Placidus with six hundred horsemen thither. Now, as it was impossible for
him to ascend the mountain, he invited many of them to peace, by the
offer of his right hand for their security, and of his intercession for them.
Accordingly they came down, but with a treacherous design, as well as he
had the like treacherous design upon them on the other side; for Placidus
spoke mildly to them, as aiming to take them, when he got them into the
plain; they also came down, as complying with his proposals, but it was
in order to fall upon him when he was not aware of it: however, Placidus’s
stratagem was too hard for theirs; for when the Jews began to fight, he
pretended to run away, and when they were in pursuit of the Romans, he
enticed them a great way along the plain, and then made his horsemen turn
back; whereupon he beat them, and slew a great number of them, and cut
off the retreat of the rest of the multitude, and hindered their return. So
they left Tabor, and fled to Jerusalem, while the people of the country
came to terms with him, for their water failed them, and so they delivered
up the mountain and themselves to Placidus.
9. But of the people of Gamala, those that were of the bolder sort fled
away and hid themselves, while the more infirm perished by famine; but
the men of war sustained the siege till the two and twentieth day of the
month Hyperberetmus, [Tisri,] when three soldiers of the fifteenth legion,
about the morning watch, got under a high tower that was near them, and
undermined it, without making any noise; nor when they either came to it,
which was in the night time, nor when they were under it, did those that
guarded it perceive them. These soldiers then upon their coming avoided
making a noise, and when they had rolled away five of its strongest stones,
they went away hastily; whereupon the tower fell down on a sudden, with
a very great noise, and its guard fell headlong with it; so that those that
kept guard at other places were under such disturbance, that they ran
away; the Romans also slew many of those that ventured to oppose them,
among whom was Joseph, who was slain by a dart, as he was running
away over that part of the wall that was broken down: but as those that
were in the city were greatly aftrighted at the noise, they ran hither and
thither, and a great consternation fell upon them, as though all the enemy
had fallen in at once upon them. Then it was that Chares, who was ill, and
under the physician’s hands, gave up the ghost, the fear he was in greatly
contributing to make his distemper fatal to him. But the Romans so well
remembered their former ill success, that they did not enter the city till the
three and twentieth day of the forementioned month.
10. At which time Titus, who was now returned, out of the indignation he
had at the destruction the Romans had undergone while he was absent,
took two hundred chosen horsemen and some footmen with him, and
entered without noise into the city. Now as the watch perceived that he
was coming, they made a noise, and betook themselves to their arms; and
as that his entrance was presently known to those that were in the city,
some of them caught hold of their children and their wives, and drew them
after them, and fled away to the citadel, with lamentations and cries, while
others of them went to meet Titus, and were killed perpetually; but so
many of them as were hindered from running up to the citadel, not
knowing what in the world to do, fell among the Roman guards, while the
groans of those that were killed were prodigiously great every where, and
blood ran down over all the lower parts of the city, from the upper. But
then Vespasian himself came to his assistance against those that had fled
to the citadel, and brought his whole army with him; now this upper part
of the city was every way rocky, and difficult of ascent, and elevated to a
vast altitude, and very full of people on all sides, and encompassed with
precipices, whereby the Jews cut off those that came up to them, and did
much mischief to others by their darts, and the large stones which they
rolled down upon them, while they were themselves so high that the
enemy’s darts could hardly reach them. However, there arose such a
Divine storm against them as was instrumental to their destruction; this
carried the Roman darts upon them, and made those which they threw
return back, and drove them obliquely away from them; nor could the
Jews indeed stand upon their precipices, by reason of the violence of the
wind, having nothing that was stable to stand upon, nor could they see
those that were ascending up to them; so the Romans got up and
surrounded them, and some they slew before they could defend
themselves, and others as they were delivering up themselves; and the
remembrance of those that were slain at their former entrance into the city
increased their rage against them now; a great number also of those that
were surrounded on every side, and despaired of escaping, threw their
children and their wives, and themselves also, down the precipices, into
the valley beneath, which, near the citadel, had been dug hollow to a vast
depth; but so it happened, that the anger of the Romans appeared not to
be so extravagant as was the madness of those that were now taken, while
the Romans slew but four thousand, whereas the number of those that had
thrown themselves down was found to be five thousand: nor did any one
escape except two women, who were the daughters of Philip, and Philip
himself was the son of a certain eminent man called Jacimus, who had been
general of king Agrippa’s army; and these did therefore escape, because
they lay concealed from the rage of the Romans when the city was taken;
for otherwise they spared not so much as the infants, of which many were
flung down by them from the citadel. And thus was Gamala taken on the
three and twentieth day of the month Hyperberetens, [Tisri,] whereas the
city had first revolted on the four and twentieth day of the month
Gorpieus [Elul].
1. NOW no place of Galilee remained to be taken but the small city of
Gischala, whose multitude yet were desirous of peace; for they were
generally husbandmen, and always applied themselves to cultivate the
fruits of the earth. However, there were a great number that belonged to a
band of robbers, that were already corrupted, and had crept in among
them, and some of the governing part of the citizens were sick of the same
distemper. It was John, the son of a certain man whose name was Levi,
that drew them into this rebellion, and encouraged them in it. He was a
cunning knave, and of a temper that could put on various shapes; very
rash in expecting great things, and very sagacious in bringing about what he
hoped for. It was known to every body that he was fond of war, in order
to thrust himself into authority; and the seditious part of the people of
Gischala were under his management, by whose means the populace, who
seemed ready to send ambassadors in order to a surrender, waited for the
coming of the Romans in battle-array. Vespasian sent against them Titus,
with a thousand horsemen, but withdrew the tenth legion to Scythopolis,
while he returned to Cesarea with the two other legions, that he might
allow them to refresh themselves after their long and hard campaign,
thinking withal that the plenty which was in those cities would improve
their bodies and their spirits, against the difficulties they were to go
through afterwards; for he saw there would be occasion for great pains
about Jerusalem, which was not yet taken, because it was the royal city,
and the principal city of the whole nation, and because those that had run
away from the war in other places got all together thither. It was also
naturally strong, and the walls that were built round it made him not a
little concerned about it. Moreover, he esteemed the men that were in it to
be so courageous and bold, that even without the consideration of the
walls, it would be hard to subdue them; for which reason he took care of
and exercised his soldiers beforehand for the work, as they do wrestlers
before they begin their undertaking.
2. Now Titus, as he rode ut to Gischala, found it would be easy for him to
take the city upon the first onset; but knew withal, that if he took it by
force, the multitude would be destroyed by the soldiers without mercy.
(Now he was already satiated with the shedding of blood, and pitied the
major part, who would then perish, without distinction, together with the
guilty.) So he was rather desirous the city might be surrendered up to him
on terms. Accordingly, when he saw the wall full of those men that were
of the corrupted party, he said to them, — That he could not but wonder
what it was they depended on, when they alone staid to fight the Romans,
after every other city was taken by them, especially when they have seen
cities much better fortified than theirs is overthrown by a single attack
upon them; while as many as have intrusted themselves to the security of
the Romans’ right hands, which he now offers to them, without regarding
their former insolence, do enjoy their own possessions in safety; for that
while they had hopes of recovering their liberty, they might be pardoned;
but that their continuance still in their opposition, when they saw that to
be impossible, was inexcusable; for that if they will not comply with such
humane offers, and right hands for security, they should have experience
of such a war as would spare nobody, and should soon be made sensible
that their wall would be but a trifle, when battered by the Roman
machines; in depending on which they demonstrate themselves to be the
only Galileans that were no better than arrogant slaves and captives.
3. Now none of the populace durst not only make a reply, but durst not
so much as get upon the wall, for it was all taken up by the robbers, who
were also the guard at the gates, in order to prevent any of the rest from
going out, in order to propose terms of submission, and from receiving any
of the horsemen into the city. But John returned Titus this answer: That
for himself he was content to hearken to his proposals, and that he would
either persuade or force those that refused them. Yet he said that Titus
ought to have such regard to the Jewish law, as to grant them leave to
celebrate that day, which was the seventh day of the week, on which it
was unlawful not only to remove their arms, but even to treat of peace
also; and that even the Romans were not ignorant how the period of the
seventh day was among them a cessation from all labors; and that he who
should compel them to transgress the law about that day would be equally
guilty with those that were compelled to transgress it: and that this delay
could be of no disadvantage to him; for why should any body think of
doing any thing in the night, unless it was to fly away? which he might
prevent by placing his camp round about them; and that they should think
it a great point gained, if they might not be obliged to transgress the laws
of their country; and that it would be a right thing for him, who designed
to grant them peace, without their expectation of such a favor, to preserve
the laws of those they saved inviolable. Thus did this man put a trick
upon Titus, not so much out of regard to the seventh day as to his own
preservation, for he was afraid lest he should be quite deserted if the city
should be taken, and had his hopes of life in that night, and in his flight
therein. Now this was the work of God, who therefore preserved this
John, that he might bring on the destruction of Jerusalem; as also it was his
work that Titus was prevailed with by this pretense for a delay, and that
he pitched his camp further off the city at Cydessa. This Cydessa was a
strong Mediterranean village of the Tyrians, which always hated and made
war against the Jews; it had also a great number of inhabitants, and was
well fortified, which made it a proper place for such as were enemies to
the Jewish nation.
4. Now, in the night time, when John saw that there was no Roman guard
about the city, he seized the opportunity directly, and, taking with him
not only the armed men that where about him, but a considerable number
of those that had little to do, together with their families, he fled to
Jerusalem. And indeed, though the man was making haste to get away, and
was tormented with fears of being a captive, or of losing his life, yet did he
prevail with himself to take out of the city along with him a multitude of
women and children, as far as twenty furlongs; but there he left them as he
proceeded further on his journey, where those that were left behind made
sad lamentations; for the farther every one of them was come from his
own people, the nearer they thought themselves to be to their enemies.
They also affrighted themselves with this thought, that those who would
carry them into captivity were just at hand, and still turned themselves
back at the mere noise they made themselves in this their hasty flight, as if
those from whom they fled were just upon them. Many also of them
missed their ways, and the earnestness of such as aimed to outgo the rest
threw down many of them. And indeed there was a miserable destruction
made of the women and children; while some of them took courage to call
their husbands and kinsmen back, and to beseech them, with the bitterest
lamentations, to stay for them; but John’s exhortation, who cried out to
them to save themselves, and fly away, prevailed. He said also, that if the
Romans should seize upon those whom they left behind, they would be
revenged on them for it. So this multitude that run thus away was
dispersed abroad, according as each of them was able to run, one faster or
slower than another.
5. Now on the next day Titus came to the wall, to make the agreement;
whereupon the people opened their gates to him, and came out to him,
with their children and wives, and made acclamations of joy to him, as to
one that had been their benefactor, and had delivered the city out of
custody; they also informed him of John’s flight, and besought him to
spare them, and to come in, and bring the rest of those that were for
innovations to punishment. But Titus, not so much regarding the
supplications of the people, sent part of his horsemen to pursue after
John, but they could not overtake him, for he was gotten to Jerusalem
before; they also slew six thousand of the women and children who went
out with him, but returned back, and brought with them almost three
thousand. However, Titus was greatly displeased that he had not been able
to bring this John, who had deluded him, to punishment; yet he had
captives enough, as well as the corrupted part of the city, to satisfy his
anger, when it missed of John. So he entered the city in the midst of
acclamations of joy; and when he had given orders to the soldiers to pull
down a small part of the wall, as of a city taken in war, he repressed those
that had disturbed the city rather by threatenings than by executions; for
he thought that many would accuse innocent persons, out of their own
private animosities and quarrels, if he should attempt to distinguish those
that were worthy of punishment from the rest; and that it was better to let
a guilty person alone in his fears, that to destroy with him any one that did
not deserve it; for that probably such a one might be taught prudence, by
the fear of the punishment he had deserved, and have a shame upon him
for his former offenses, when he had been forgiven; but that the
punishment of such as have been once put to death could never be
retrieved. However, he placed a garrison in the city for its security, by
which means he should restrain those that were for innovations, and
should leave those that were peaceably disposed in greater security. And
thus was all Galilee taken, but this not till after it had cost the Romans
much pains before it could be taken by them.
1. NOW upon John’s entry into Jerusalem, the whole body of the people
were in an uproar, and ten thousand of them crowded about every one of
the fugitives that were come to them, and inquired of them what miseries
had happened abroad, when their breath was so short, and hot, and quick,
that of itself it declared the great distress they were in; yet did they talk
big under their misfortunes, and pretended to say that they had not fled
away from the Romans, but came thither in order to fight them with less
hazard; for that it would be an unreasonable and a fruitless thing for them
to expose themselves to desperate hazards about Gischala, and such weak
cities, whereas they ought to lay up their weapons and their zeal, and
reserve it for their metropolis. But when they related to them the taking of
Gischala, and their decent departure, as they pretended, from that place,
many of the people understood it to be no better than a flight; and
especially when the people were told of those that were made captives,
they were in great confusion, and guessed those things to be plain
indications that they should be taken also. But for John, he was very little
concerned for those whom he had left behind him, but went about among
all the people, and persuaded them to go to war, by the hopes he gave
them. He affirmed that the affairs of the Romans were in a weak condition,
and extolled his own power. He also jested upon the ignorance of the
unskillful, as if those Romans, although they should take to themselves
wings, could never fly over the wall of Jerusalem, who found such great
difficulties in taking the villages of Galilee, and had broken their engines of
war against their walls.
2. These harangues of John’s corrupted a great part of the young men, and
puffed them up for the war; but as to the more prudent part, and those in
years, there was not a man of them but foresaw what was coming, and
made lamentation on that account, as if the city was already undone; and
in this confusion were the people. But then it must be observed, that the
multitude that came out of the country were at discord before the
Jerusalem sedition began; for Titus went from Gischala to Cesates, and
Vespasian from Cesarea to Jamnia and Azotus, and took them both; and
when he had put garrisons into them, he came back with a great number of
the people, who were come over to him, upon his giving them his right
hand for their preservation. There were besides disorders and civil wars in
every city; and all those that were at quiet from the Romans turned their
hands one against another. There was also a bitter contest between those
that were fond of war, and those that were desirous for peace. At the first
this quarrelsome temper caught hold of private families, who could not
agree among themselves; after which those people that were the dearest to
one another brake through all restraints with regard to each other, and
every one associated with those of his own opinion, and began already to
stand in opposition one to another; so that seditions arose every where,
while those that were for innovations, and were desirous of war, by their
youth and boldness, were too hard for the aged and prudent men. And, in
the first place, all the people of every place betook themselves to rapine;
after which they got together in bodies, in order to rob the people of the
country, insomuch that for barbarity and iniquity those of the same nation
did no way differ from the Romans; nay, it seemed to be a much lighter
thing to be ruined by the Romans than by themselves.
3. Now the Roman garrisons, which guarded the cities, partly out of their
uneasiness to take such trouble upon them, and partly out of the hatred
they bare to the Jewish nation, did little or nothing towards relieving the
miserable, till the captains of these troops of robbers, being satiated with
rapines in the country, got all together from all parts, and became a band of
wickedness, and all together crept into Jerusalem, which was now become
a city without a governor, and, as the ancient custom was, received
without distinction all that belonged to their nation; and these they then
received, because all men supposed that those who came so fast into the
city came out of kindness, and for their assistance, although these very
men, besides the seditions they raised, were otherwise the direct cause of
the city’s destruction also; for as they were an unprofitable and a useless
multitude, they spent those provisions beforehand which might otherwise
have been sufficient for the fighting men. Moreover, besides the bringing
on of the war, they were the occasions of sedition and famine therein.
4. There were besides these other robbers that came out of the country,
and came into the city, and joining to them those that were worse than
themselves, omitted no kind of barbarity; for they did not measure their
courage by their rapines and plunderings only, but preceded as far as
murdering men; and this not in the night time or privately, or with regard
to ordinary men, but did it openly in the day time, and began with the
most eminent persons in the city; for the first man they meddled with was
Antipas, one of the royal lineage, and the most potent man in the whole
city, insomuch that the public treasures were committed to his care; him
they took and confined; as they did in the next place to Levias, a person of
great note, with Sophas, the son of Raguel, both which were of royal
lineage also. And besides these, they did the same to the principal men of
the country. This caused a terrible consternation among the people, and
everyone contented himself with taking care of his own safety, as they
would do if the city had been taken in war.
5. But these were not satisfied with the bonds into which they had put the
men forementioned; nor did they think it safe for them to keep them thus
in custody long, since they were men very powerful, and had numerous
families of their own that were able to avenge them. Nay, they thought the
very people would perhaps be so moved at these unjust proceedings, as to
rise in a body against them; it was therefore resolved to have them slain
accordingly, they sent one John, who was the most bloody-minded of
them all, to do that execution: this man was also called “the son of
Dorcas,” 3 in the language of our country. Ten more men went along with
him into the prison, with their swords drawn, and so they cut the throats
of those that were in custody there. The grand lying pretence these men
made for so flagrant an enormity was this, that these men had had
conferences with the Romans for a surrender of Jerusalem to them; and so
they said they had slain only such as were traitors to their common
liberty. Upon the whole, they grew the more insolent upon this bold
prank of theirs, as though they had been the benefactors and saviors of the
6. Now the people were come to that degree of meanness and fear, and
these robbers to that degree of madness, that these last took upon them to
appoint high priests. 4 So when they had disannulled the succession,
according to those families out of which the high priests used to be made,
they ordained certain unknown and ignoble persons for that office, that
they might have their assistance in their wicked undertakings; for such as
obtained this highest of all honors, without any desert, were forced to
comply with those that bestowed it on them. They also set the principal
men at variance one with another, by several sorts of contrivances and
tricks, and gained the opportunity of doing what they pleased, by the
mutual quarrels of those who might have obstructed their measures; till at
length, when they were satiated with the unjust actions they had done
towards men, they transferred their contumelious behavior to God himself,
and came into the sanctuary with polluted feet.
7. And now the multitude were going to rise against them already; for
Ananus, the ancientest of the high priests, persuaded them to it. He was a
very prudent man, and had perhaps saved the city if he could but have
escaped the hands of those that plotted against him. These men made the
temple of God a strong hold for them, and a place whither they might
resort, in order to avoid the troubles they feared from the people; the
sanctuary was now become a refuge, and a shop of tyranny. They also
mixed jesting among the miseries they introduced, which was more
intolerable than what they did; for in order to try what surprise the people
would be under, and how far their own power extended, they undertook to
dispose of the high priesthood by casting lots for it, whereas, as we have
said already, it was to descend by succession in a family. The pretense
they made for this strange attempt was an ancient practice, while they said
that of old it was determined by lot; but in truth, it was no better than a
dissolution of an undeniable law, and a cunning contrivance to seize upon
the government, derived from those that presumed to appoint governors as
they themselves pleased.
8. Hereupon they sent for one of the pontifical tribes, which is called
Eniachim, 5 and cast lots which of it should be the high priest. By fortune
the lot so fell as to demonstrate their iniquity after the plainest manner, for
it fell upon one whose name was Phannias, the son of Samuel, of the
village Aphtha. He was a man not only unworthy of the high priesthood,
but that did not well know what the high priesthood was, such a mere
rustic was he! yet did they hail this man, without his own consent, out of
the country, as if they were acting a play upon the stage, and adorned him
with a counterfeit thee; they also put upon him the sacred garments, and
upon every occasion instructed him what he was to do. This horrid piece
of wickedness was sport and pastime with them, but occasioned the other
priests, who at a distance saw their law made a jest of, to shed tears, and
sorely lament the dissolution of such a sacred dignity.
9. And now the people could no longer bear the insolence of this
procedure, but did all together run zealously, in order to overthrow that
tyranny; and indeed they were Gorion the son of Josephus, and Symeon
the son of Gamaliel, 6 who encouraged them, by going up and down when
they were assembled together in crowds, and as they saw them alone, to
bear no longer, but to inflict punishment upon these pests and plagues of
their freedom, and to purge the temple of these bloody polluters of it. The
best esteemed also of the high priests, Jesus the son of Gamalas, and
Ananus the son of Ananus when they were at their assemblies, bitterly
reproached the people for their sloth, and excited them against the zealots;
for that was the name they went by, as if they were zealous in good
undertakings, and were not rather zealous in the worst actions, and
extravagant in them beyond the example of others.
10. And now, when the multitude were gotten together to an assembly,
and every one was in indignation at these men’s seizing upon the
sanctuary, at their rapine and murders, but had not yet begun their attacks
upon them, (the reason of which was this, that they imagined it to be a
difficult thing to suppress these zealots, as indeed the case was,) Ananus
stood in the midst of them, and casting his eyes frequently at the temple,
and having a flood of tears in his eyes, he said, “Certainly it had been good
for me to die before I had seen the house of God full of so many
abominations, or these sacred places, that ought not to be trodden upon at
random, filled with the feet of these blood-shedding villains; yet do I, who
am clothed with the vestments of the high priesthood, and am called by
that most venerable name [of high priest], still live, and am but too fond of
living, and cannot endure to undergo a death which would be the glory of
my old age; and if I were the only person concerned, and as it were in a
desert, I would give up my life, and that alone for God’s sake; for to what
purpose is it to live among a people insensible of their calamities, and
where there is no notion remaining of any remedy for the miseries that are
upon them? for when you are seized upon, you bear it! and when you are
beaten, you are silent! and when the people are murdered, nobody dare so
much as send out a groan openly! O bitter tyranny that we are under! But
why do I complain of the tyrants? Was it not you, and your sufferance of
them, that have nourished them? Was it not you that overlooked those
that first of all got together, for they were then but a few, and by your
silence made them grow to be many; and by conniving at them when they
took arms, in effect armed them against yourselves? You ought to have
then prevented their first attempts, when they fell a reproaching your
relations; but by neglecting that care in time, you have encouraged these
wretches to plunder men. When houses were pillaged, nobody said a word,
which was the occasion why they carried off the owners of those houses;
and when they were drawn through the midst of the city, nobody came to
their assistance. They then proceeded to put those whom you have
betrayed into their hands into bonds. I do not say how many and of what
characters those men were whom they thus served; but certainly they
were such as were accused by none, and condemned by none; and since
nobody succored them when they were put into bonds, the consequence
was, that you saw the same persons slain. We have seen this also; so that
still the best of the herd of brute animals, as it were, have been still led to
be sacrificed, when yet nobody said one word, or moved his right hand for
their preservation. Will you bear, therefore, will you bear to see your
sanctuary trampled on? and will you lay steps for these profane wretches,
upon which they may mount to higher degrees of insolence? Will not you
pluck them down from their exaltation? for even by this time they had
proceeded to higher enormities, if they had been able to overthrow any
thing greater than the sanctuary. They have seized upon the strongest
place of the whole city; you may call it the temple, if you please, though it
be like a citadel or fortress. Now, while you have tyranny in so great a
degree walled in, and see your enemies over your heads, to what purpose
is it to take counsel? and what have you to support your minds withal?
Perhaps you wait for the Romans, that they may protect our holy places:
are our matters then brought to that pass? and are we come to that degree
of misery, that our enemies themselves are expected to pity us? O
wretched creatures! will not you rise up and turn upon those that strike
you? which you may observe in wild beasts themselves, that they will
avenge themselves on those that strike them. Will you not call to mind,
every one of you, the calamities you yourselves have suffered? nor lay
before your eyes what afflictions you yourselves have undergone? and will
not such things sharpen your souls to revenge? Is therefore that most
honorable and most natural of our passions utterly lost, I mean the desire
of liberty? Truly we are in love with slavery, and in love with those that
Lord it over us, as if we had received that principle of subjection from our
ancestors; yet did they undergo many and great wars for the sake of
liberty, nor were they so far overcome by the power of the Egyptians, or
the Medes, but that still they did what they thought fit, notwithstanding
their commands to the contrary. And what occasion is there now for a war
with the Romans? (I meddle not with determining whether it be an
advantageous and profitable war or not.) What pretense is there for it? Is it
not that we may enjoy our liberty? Besides, shall we not bear the lords of
the habitable earth to be lords over us, and yet bear tyrants of our own
country? Although I must say that submission to foreigners may be borne,
because fortune hath already doomed us to it, while submission to wicked
people of our own nation is too unmanly, and brought upon us by our
own consent. However, since I have had occasion to mention the Romans,
I will not conceal a thing that, as I am speaking, comes into my mind, and
affects me considerably; it is this, that though we should be taken by
them, (God forbid the event should be so!) yet can we undergo nothing
that will be harder to be borne than what these men have already brought
upon us. How then can we avoid shedding of tears, when we see the
Roman donations in our temple, while we withal see those of our own
nation taking our spoils, and plundering our glorious metropolis, and
slaughtering our men, from which enormities those Romans themselves
would have abstained? to see those Romans never going beyond the
bounds allotted to profane persons, nor venturing to break in upon any of
our sacred customs; nay, having a horror on their minds when they view at
a distance those sacred walls; while some that have been born in this very
country, and brought up in our customs, and called Jews, do walk about in
the midst of the holy places, at the very time when their hands are still
warm with the slaughter of their own countrymen. Besides, can any one be
afraid of a war abroad, and that with such as will have comparatively much
greater moderation than our own people have? For truly, if we may suit
our words to the things they represent, it is probable one may hereafter
find the Romans to be the supporters of our laws, and those within
ourselves the subverters of them. And now I am persuaded that every one
of you here comes satisfied before I speak that these overthrowers of our
liberties deserve to be destroyed, and that nobody can so much as devise a
punishment that they have not deserved by what they have done, and that
you are all provoked against them by those their wicked actions, whence
you have suffered so greatly. But perhaps many of you are aftrighted at
the multitude of those zealots, and at their audaciousness, as well as at the
advantage they have over us in their being higher in place than we are; for
these circumstances, as they have been occasioned by your negligence, so
will they become still greater by being still longer neglected; for their
multitude is every day augmented, by every ill man’s running away to
those that are like to themselves, and their audaciousness is therefore
inflamed, because they meet with no obstruction to their designs. And for
their higher place, they will make use of it for engines also, if we give them
time to do so; but be assured of this, that if we go up to fight them, they
will be made tamer by their own consciences, and what advantages they
have in the height of their situation they will lose by the opposition of
their reason; perhaps also God himself, who hath been affronted by them,
will make what they throw at us return against themselves, and these
impious wretches will be killed by their own darts: let us but make our
appearance before them, and they will come to nothing. However, it is a
right thing, if there should be any danger in the attempt, to die before these
holy gates, and to spend our very lives, if not for the sake of our children
and wives, yet for God’s sake, and for the sake of his sanctuary. I will
assist you both with my counsel and with my hand; nor shall any sagacity
of ours be wanting for your support; nor shall you see that I will be
sparing of my body neither.”
11. By these motives Ananus encouraged the multitude to go against the
zealots, although he knew how difficult it would be to disperse them,
because of their multitude, and their youth, and the courage of their souls;
but chiefly because of their consciousness of what they had done, since
they would not yield, as not so much as hoping for pardon at the last for
those their enormities. However, Ananus resolved to undergo whatever
sufferings might come upon him, rather than overlook things, now they
were in such great confusion. So the multitude cried out to him, to lead
them on against those whom he had described in his exhortation to them,
and every one of them was most readily disposed to run any hazard
whatsoever on that account.
12. Now while Ananus was choosing out his men, and putting those that
were proper for his purpose in array for fighting, the zealots got
information of his undertaking, (for there were some who went to them,
and told them all that the people were doing,) and were irritated at it, and
leaping out of the temple in crowds, and by parties, spared none whom
they met with. Upon this Ananus got the populace together on the
sudden, who were more numerous indeed than the zealots, but inferior to
them in arms, because they had not been regularly put into array for
fighting; but the alacrity that every body showed supplied all their defects
on both sides, the citizens taking up so great a passion as was stronger
than arms, and deriving a degree of courage from the temple more forcible
than any multitude whatsoever; and indeed these citizens thought it was
not possible for them to dwell in the city, unless they could cut off the
robbers that were in it. The zealots also thought that unless they
prevailed, there would be no punishment so bad but it would be inflicted
on them. So their conflicts were conducted by their passions; and at the
first they only cast stones at each other in the city, and before the temple,
and threw their javelins at a distance; but when either of them were too
hard for the other, they made use of their swords; and great slaughter was
made on both sides, and a great number were wounded. As for the dead
bodies of the people, their relations carried them out to their own houses;
but when any of the zealots were wounded, he went up into the temple,
and defiled that sacred floor with his blood, insomuch that one may say it
was their blood alone that polluted our sanctuary. Now in these conflicts
the robbers always sallied out of the temple, and were too hard for their
enemies; but the populace grew very angry, and became more and more
numerous, and reproached those that gave back, and those behind would
not afford room to those that were going off, but forced them on again, till
at length they made their whole body to turn against their adversaries, and
the robbers could no longer oppose them, but were forced gradually to
retire into the temple; when Ananus and his party fell into it at the same
time together with them. 7 This horribly affrighted the robbers, because it
deprived them of the first court; so they fled into the inner court
immediately, and shut the gates. Now Ananus did not think fit to make
any attack against the holy gates, although the other threw their stones and
darts at them from above. He also deemed it unlawful to introduce the
multitude into that court before they were purified; he therefore chose out
of them all by lot six thousand armed men, and placed them as guards in
the cloisters; so there was a succession of such guards one after another,
and every one was forced to attend in his course; although many of the
chief of the city were dismissed by those that then took on them the
government, upon their hiring some of the poorer sort, and sending them
to keep the guard in their stead.
13. Now it was John who, as we told you, ran away from Gischala, and
was the occasion of all these being destroyed. He was a man of great craft,
and bore about him in his soul a strong passion after tyranny, and at a
distance was the adviser in these actions; and indeed at this time he
pretended to be of the people’s opinion, and went all about with Ananus
when he consulted the great men every day, and in the night time also
when he went round the watch; but he divulged their secrets to the zealots,
and every thing that the people deliberated about was by his means known
to their enemies, even before it had been well agreed upon by themselves.
And by way of contrivance how he might not be brought into suspicion,
he cultivated the greatest friendship possible with Ananus, and with the
chief of the people; yet did this overdoing of his turn against him, for he
flattered them so extravagantly, that he was but the more suspected; and
his constant attendance every where, even when he was not invited to be
present, made him strongly suspected of betraying their secrets to the
enemy; for they plainly perceived that they understood all the resolutions
taken against them at their consultations. Nor was there any one whom
they had so much reason to suspect of that discovery as this John; yet
was it not easy to get quit of him, so potent was he grown by his wicked
practices. He was also supported by many of those eminent men, who
were to be consulted upon all considerable affairs; it was therefore thought
reasonable to oblige him to give them assurance of his good-will upon oath;
accordingly John took such an oath readily, that he would be on the
people’s side, and would not betray any of their counsels or practices to
their enemies, and would assist them in overthrowing those that attacked
them, and that both by his hand and his advice. So Ananus and his party
believed his oath, and did now receive him to their consultations without
further suspicion; nay, so far did they believe him, that they sent him as
their ambassador into the temple to the zealots, with proposals of
accommodation; for they were very desirous to avoid the pollution of the
temple as much as they possibly could, and that no one of their nation
should be slain therein.
14. But now this John, as if his oath had been made to the zealots, and for
confirmation of his good-will to them, and not against them, went into the
temple, and stood in the midst of them, and spake as follows: That he had
run many hazards o, their accounts, and in order to let them know of every
thing that was secretly contrived against them by Ananus and his party;
but that both he and they should be cast into the most imminent danger,
unless some providential assistance were afforded them; for that Ananus
made no longer delay, but had prevailed with the people to send
ambassadors to Vespasian, to invite him to come presently and take the
city; and that he had appointed a fast for the next day against them, that
they might obtain admission into the temple on a religious account, or gain
it by force, and fight with them there; that he did not see how long they
could either endure a siege, or how they could fight against so many
enemies. He added further, that it was by the providence of God he was
himself sent as an ambassador to them for an accommodation; for that
Artanus did therefore offer them such proposals, that he might come upon
them when they were unarmed; that they ought to choose one of these two
methods, either to intercede with those that guarded them, to save their
lives, or to provide some foreign assistance for themselves; that if they
fostered themselves with the hopes of pardon, in case they were subdued,
they had forgotten what desperate things they had done, or could suppose,
that as soon as the actors repented, those that had suffered by them must
be presently reconciled to them; while those that have done injuries,
though they pretend to repent of them, are frequently hated by the others
for that sort of repentance; and that the sufferers, when they get the power
into their hands, are usually still more severe upon the actors; that the
friends and kindred of those that had been destroyed would always be
laying plots against them; and that a large body of people were very angry
on account of their gross breaches of their laws, and [illegal] judicatures,
insomuch that although some part might commiserate them, those would
be quite overborne by the majority.
1. NOW, by this crafty speech, John made the zealots afraid; yet durst he
not directly name what foreign assistance he meant, but in a covert way
only intimated at the Idumeans. But now, that he might particularly
irritate the leaders of the zealots, he calumniated Ananus, that he was
about a piece of barbarity, and did in a special manner threaten them.
These leaders were Eleazar, the son of Simon, who seemed the most
plausible man of them all, both in considering what was fit to be done, and
in the execution of what he had determined upon, and Zacharias, the son of
Phalek; both of whom derived their families from the priests. Now when
these two men had heard, not only the common threatenings which
belonged to them all, but those peculiarly leveled against themselves; and
besides, how Artanus and his party, in order to secure their own
dominion, had invited the Romans to come to them, for that also was part
of John’s lie; they hesitated a great while what they should do, considering
the shortness of the time by which they were straitened; because the
people were prepared to attack them very soon, and because the
suddenness of the plot laid against them had almost cut off all their hopes
of getting any foreign assistance; for they might be under the height of
their afflictions before any of their confederates could be informed of it.
However, it was resolved to call in the Idumeans; so they wrote a short
letter to this effect: That Ananus had imposed on the people, and was
betraying their metropolis to the Romans; that they themselves had
revolted from the rest, and were in custody in the temple, on account of
the preservation of their liberty; that there was but a small time left
wherein they might hope for their deliverance; and that unless they would
come immediately to their assistance, they should themselves be soon in
the power of Artanus, and the city would be in the power of the Romans.
They also charged the messengers to tell many more circumstances to the
rulers of the Idumeans. Now there were two active men proposed for the
carrying this message, and such as were able to speak, and to persuade
them that things were in this posture, and, what was a qualification still
more necessary than the former, they were very swift of foot; for they
knew well enough that these would immediately comply with their
desires, as being ever a tumultuous and disorderly nation, always on the
watch upon every motion, delighting in mutations; and upon your
flattering them ever so little, and petitioning them, they soon take their
arms, and put themselves into motion, and make haste to a battle, as if it
were to a feast. There was indeed occasion for quick despatch in the
carrying of this message, in which point the messengers were no way
defective. Both their names were Ananias; and they soon came to the
rulers of the Idumeans.
2. Now these rulers were greatly surprised at the contents of the letter,
and at what those that came with it further told them; whereupon they ran
about the nation like madmen, and made proclamation that the people
should come to war; so a multitude was suddenly got together, sooner
indeed than the time appointed in the proclamation, and every body
caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their metropolis;
and twenty thousand of them were put into battle-array, and came to
Jerusalem, under four commanders, John, and Jacob the son of Sosas; and
besides these were Simon, the son of Cathlas, and Phineas, the son of
3. Now this exit of the messengers was not known either to Ananus or to
the guards, but the approach of the Idumeans was known to him; for as he
knew of it before they came, he ordered the gates to be shut against them,
and that the walls should be guarded. Yet did not he by any means think of
fighting against them, but, before they came to blows, to try what
persuasions would do. Accordingly, Jesus, the eldest of the high priests
next to Artanus, stood upon the tower that was over against them, and
said thus: “Many troubles indeed, and those of various kinds, have fallen
upon this city, yet in none of them have I so much wondered at her
fortune as now, when you are come to assist wicked men, and this after a
manner very extraordinary; for I see that you are come to support the
vilest of men against us, and this with so great alacrity, as you could
hardly put on the like, in case our metropolis had called you to her
assistance against barbarians. And if I had perceived that your army was
composed of men like unto those who invited them, I had not deemed
your attempt so absurd; for nothing does so much cement the minds of
men together as the alliance there is between their manners. But now for
these men who have invited you, if you were to examine them one by one,
every one of them would be found to have deserved ten thousand deaths;
for the very rascality and offscouring of the whole country, who have
spent in debauchery their own substance, and, by way of trial beforehand,
have madly plundered the neighboring villages and cities, in the upshot of
all, have privately run together into this holy city. They are robbers, who
by their prodigious wickedness have profaned this most sacred floor, and
who are to be now seen drinking themselves drunk in the sanctuary, and
expending the spoils of those whom they have slaughtered upon their
unsatiable bellies. As for the multitude that is with you, one may see them
so decently adorned in their armor, as it would become them to be had
their metropolis called them to her assistance against foreigners. What can
a man call this procedure of yours but the sport of fortune, when he sees a
whole nation coming to protect a sink of wicked wretches? I have for a
good while been in doubt what it could possibly be that should move you
to do this so suddenly; because certainly you would not take on your
armor on the behalf of robbers, and against a people of kin to you, without
some very great cause for your so doing. But we have an item that the
Romans are pretended, and that we are supposed to be going to betray this
city to them; for some of your men have lately made a clamor about those
matters, and have said they are come to set their metropolis free. Now we
cannot but admire at these wretches in their devising such a lie as this
against us; for they knew there was no other way to irritate against us men
that were naturally desirous of liberty, and on that account the best
disposed to fight against foreign enemies, but by framing a tale as if we
were going to betray that most desirable thing, liberty. But you ought to
consider what sort of people they are that raise this calumny, and against
what sort of people that calumny is raised, and to gather the truth of
things, not by fictitious speeches, but out of the actions of both parties;
for what occasion is there for us to sell ourselves to the Romans, while it
was in our power not to have revolted from them at the first, or when we
had once revolted, to have returned under their dominion again, and this
while the neighboring countries were not yet laid waste? whereas it is not
an easy thing to be reconciled to the Romans, if we were desirous of it,
now they have subdued Galilee, and are thereby become proud and
insolent; and to endeavor to please them at the time when they are so near
us, would bring such a reproach upon us as were worse than death. As for
myself, indeed, I should have preferred peace with them before death; but
now we have once made war upon them, and fought with them, I prefer
death, with reputation, before living in captivity under them. But further,
whether do they pretend that we, who are the rulers of the people, have
sent thus privately to the Romans, or hath it been done by the common
suffrages of the people? If it be ourselves only that have done it, let them
name those friends of ours that have been sent, as our servants, to manage
this treachery. Hath any one been caught as he went out on this errand, or
seized upon as he came back? Are they in possession of our letters? How
could we be concealed from such a vast number of our fellow citizens,
among whom we are conversant every hour, while what is done privately
in the country is, it seems, known by the zealots, who are but few in
number, and under confinement also, and are not able to come out of the
temple into the city. Is this the first time that they are become sensible
how they ought to be punished for their insolent actions? For while these
men were free from the fear they are now under, there was no suspicion
raised that any of us were traitors. But if they lay this charge against the
people, this must have been done at a public consultation, and not one of
the people must have dissented from the rest of the assembly; in which
case the public fame of this matter would have come to you sooner than
any particular indication. But how could that be? Must there not then
have been ambassadors sent to confirm the agreements? And let them tell
us who this ambassador was that was ordained for that purpose. But this
is no other than a pretense of such men as are loath to die, and are laboring
to escape those punishments that hang over them; for if fate had
determined that this city was to be betrayed into its enemies’ hands, no
other than these men that accuse us falsely could have the impudence to
do it, there being no wickedness wanting to complete their impudent
practices but this only, that they become traitors. And now you Idumeans
are come hither already with your arms, it is your duty, in the first place,
to be assisting to your metropolis, and to join with us in cutting off those
tyrants that have infringed the rules of our regular tribunals, that have
trampled upon our laws, and made their swords the arbitrators of right and
wrong; for they have seized upon men of great eminence, and under no
accusation, as they stood in the midst of the market-place, and tortured
them with putting them into bonds, and, without bearing to hear what
they had to say, or what supplications they made, they destroyed them.
You may, if you please, come into the city, though not in the way of war,
and take a view of the marks still remaining of what I now say, and may
see the houses that have been depopulated by their rapacious hands, with
those wives and families that are in black, mourning for their slaughtered
relations; as also you may hear their groans and lamentations all the city
over; for there is nobody but hath tasted of the incursions of these profane
wretches, who have proceeded to that degree of madness, as not only to
have transferred their impudent robberies out of the country, and the
remote cities, into this city, the very face and head of the whole nation,
but out of the city into the temple also; for that is now made their
receptacle and refuge, and the fountain-head whence their preparations are
made against us. And this place, which is adored by the habitable world,
and honored by such as only know it by report, as far as the ends of the
earth, is trampled upon by these wild beasts born among ourselves. They
now triumph in the desperate condition they are already in, when they
hear that one people is going to fight against another people, and one city
against another city, and that your nation hath gotten an army together
against its own bowels. Instead of which procedure, it were highly fit and
reasonable, as I said before, for you to join with us in cutting off these
wretches, and in particular to be revenged on them for putting this very
cheat upon you; I mean, for having the impudence to invite you to assist
them, of whom they ought to have stood in fear, as ready to punish them.
But if you have some regard to these men’s invitation of you, yet may
you lay aside your arms, and come into the city under the notion of our
kindred, and take upon you a middle name between that of auxiliaries and
of enemies, and so become judges in this case. However, consider what
these men will gain by being called into judgment before you, for such
undeniable and such flagrant crimes, who would not vouchsafe to hear
such as had no accusations laid against them to speak a word for
themselves. However, let them gain this advantage by your coming. But
still, if you will neither take our part in that indignation we have at these
men, nor judge between us, the third thing I have to propose is this, that
you let us both alone, and neither insult upon our calamities, nor abide
with these plotters against their metropolis; for though you should have
ever so great a suspicion that some of us have discoursed with the
Romans, it is in your power to watch the passages into the city; and in
case any thing that we have been accused of is brought to light, then to
come and defend your metropolis, and to inflict punishment on those that
are found guilty; for the enemy cannot prevent you who are so near to the
city. But if, after all, none of these proposals seem acceptable and
moderate, do not you wonder that the gates are shut against you, while
you bear your arms about you.”
4. Thus spake Jesus; yet did not the multitude of the Idumeans give any
attention to what he said, but were in a rage, because they did not meet
with a ready entrance into the city. The generals also had indignation at the
offer of laying down their arms, and looked upon it as equal to a captivity,
to throw them away at any man’s injunction whomsoever. But Simon, the
son of Cathlas, one of their commanders, with much ado quieted the
tumult of his own men, and stood so that the high priests might hear him,
and said as follows: “I can no longer wonder that the patrons of liberty are
under custody in the temple, since there are those that shut the gates of
our common city 8 to their own nation, and at the same time are prepared
to admit the Romans into it; nay, perhaps are disposed to crown the gates
with garlands at their coming, while they speak to the Idumeans from their
own towers, and enjoin them to throw down their arms which they have
taken up for the preservation of its liberty. And while they will not intrust
the guard of our metropolis to their kindred, profess to make them judges
of the differences that are among them; nay, while they accuse some men
of having slain others without a legal trial, they do themselves condemn a
whole nation after an ignominious manner, and have now walled up that
city from their own nation, which used to be open to even all foreigners
that came to worship there. We have indeed come in great haste to you,
and to a war against our own countrymen; and the reason why we have
made such haste is this, that we may preserve that freedom which you are
so unhappy as to betray. You have probably been guilty of the like crimes
against those whom you keep in custody, and have, I suppose, collected
together the like plausible pretenses against them also that you make use
of against us; after which you have gotten the mastery of those within the
temple, and keep them in custody, while they are only taking care of the
public affairs. You have also shut the gates of the city in general against
nations that are the most nearly related to you; and while you give such
injurious commands to others, you complain that you have been
tyrannized over by them, and fix the name of unjust governors upon such
as are tyrannized over by yourselves. Who can bear this your abuse of
words, while they have a regard to the contrariety of your actions, unless
you mean this, that those Idumeans do now exclude you out of your
metropolis, whom you exclude from the sacred offices of your own
country? One may indeed justly complain of those that are besieged in the
temple, that when they had courage enough to punish those tyrants whom
you call eminent men, and free from any accusations, because of their
being your companions in wickedness, they did not begin with you, and
thereby cut off beforehand the most dangerous parts of this treason. But if
these men have been more merciful than the public necessity required, we
that are Idumeans will preserve this house of God, and will fight for our
common country, and will oppose by war as well those that attack them
from abroad, as those that betray them from within. Here will we abide
before the walls in our armor, until either the Romans grow weary in
waiting for you, or you become friends to liberty, and repent of what you
have done against it.”
5. And now did the Idumeans make an acclamation to what Simon had
said; but Jesus went away sorrowful, as seeing that the Idumeans were
against all moderate counsels, and that the city was besieged on both sides.
Nor indeed were the minds of the Idumeans at rest; for they were in a rage
at the injury that had been offered them by their exclusion out of the city;
and when they thought the zealots had been strong, but saw nothing of
theirs to support them, they were in doubt about the matter, and many of
them repented that they had come thither. But the shame that would
attend them in case they returned without doing any thing at all, so far
overcame that their repentance, that they lay all night before the wall,
though in a very bad encampment; for there broke out a prodigious storm
in the night, with the utmost violence, and very strong winds, with the
largest showers of rain, with continued lightnings, terrible thunderings, and
amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth, that was in an
earthquake. These things were a manifest indication that some destruction
was coming upon men, when the system of the world was put into this
disorder; and any one would guess that these wonders foreshowed some
grand calamities that were coming.
6. Now the opinion of the Idumeans and of the citizens was one and the
same. The Idumeans thought that God was angry at their taking arms, and
that they would not escape punishment for their making war upon their
metropolis. Ananus and his party thought that they had conquered
without fighting, and that God acted as a general for them; but truly they
proved both ill conjectures at what was to come, and made those events to
be ominous to their enemies, while they were themselves to undergo the ill
effects of them; for the Idumeans fenced one another by uniting their
bodies into one band, and thereby kept themselves warm, and connecting
their shields over their heads, were not so much hurt by the rain. But the
zealots were more deeply concerned for the danger these men were in than
they were for themselves, and got together, and looked about them to see
whether they could devise any means of assisting them. The hotter sort of
them thought it best to force their guards with their arms, and after that to
fall into the midst of the city, and publicly open the gates to those that
came to their assistance; as supposing the guards would be in disorder, and
give way at such an unexpected attempt of theirs, especially as the greater
part of them were unarmed and unskilled in the affairs of war; and that
besides the multitude of the citizens would not be easily gathered together,
but confined to their houses by the storm: and that if there were any
hazard in their undertaking, it became them to suffer any thing whatsoever
themselves, rather than to overlook so great a multitude as were miserably
perishing on their account. But the more prudent part of them
disapproved of this forcible method, because they saw not only the guards
about them very numerous, but the walls of the city itself carefully
watched, by reason of the Idumeans. They also supposed that Ananus
would be every where, and visit the guards every hour; which indeed was
done upon other nights, but was omitted that night, not by reason of any
slothfulness of Ananus, but by the overbearing appointment of fate, that
so both he might himself perish, and the multitude of the guards might
perish with him; for truly, as the night was far gone, and the storm very
terrible, Ananus gave the guards in the cloisters leave to go to sleep; while
it came into the heads of the zealots to make use of the saws belonging to
the temple, and to cut the bars of the gates to pieces. The noise of the
wind, and that not inferior sound of the thunder, did here also conspire
with their designs, that the noise of the saws was not heard by the others.
7. So they secretly went out of the temple to the wall of the city, and
made use of their saws, and opened that gate which was over against the
Idumeans. Now at first there came a fear upon the Idumeans themselves,
which disturbed them, as imagining that Ananus and his party were coming
to attack them, so that every one of them had his right hand upon his
sword, in order to defend himself; but they soon came to know who they
were that came to them, and were entered the city. And had the Idumeans
then fallen upon the city, nothing could have hindered them from
destroying the people every man of them, such was the rage they were in
at that time; but as they first of all made haste to get the zealots out of
custody, which those that brought them in earnestly desired them to do,
and not to overlook those for whose sakes they were come, in the midst of
their distresses, nor to bring them into a still greater danger; for that when
they had once seized upon the guards, it would be easy for them to fall
upon the city; but that if the city were once alarmed, they would not then
be able to overcome those guards, because as soon as they should perceive
they were there, they would put themselves in order to fight them, and
would hinder their coming into the temple.
1. THIS advice pleased the Idumeans, and they ascended through the city
to the temple. The zealots were also in great expectation of their coming,
and earnestly waited for them. When therefore these were entering, they
also came boldly out of the inner temple, and mixing themselves among the
Idumeans, they attacked the guards; and some of those that were upon the
watch, but were fallen asleep, they killed as they were asleep; but as those
that were now awakened made a cry, the whole multitude arose, and in the
amazement they were in caught hold of their arms immediately, and
betook themselves to their own defense; and so long as they thought they
were only the zealots who attacked them, they went on boldly, as hoping
to overpower them by their numbers; but when they saw others pressing
in upon them also, they perceived the Idumeans were got in; and the
greatest part of them laid aside their arms, together with their courage, and
betook themselves to lamentations. But some few of the younger sort
covered themselves with their armor, and valiantly received the Idumeans,
and for a while protected the multitude of old men. Others, indeed, gave a
signal to those that were in the city of the calamities they were in; but
when these were also made sensible that the Idumeans were come in, none
of them durst come to their assistance, only they returned the terrible echo
of wailing, and lamented their misfortunes. A great howling of the women
was excited also, and every one of the guards were in danger of being
killed. The zealots also joined in the shouts raised by the Idumeans; and
the storm itself rendered the cry more terrible; nor did the Idumeans spare
any body; for as they are naturally a most barbarous and bloody nation,
and had been distressed by the tempest, they made use of their weapons
against those that had shut the gates against them, and acted in the same
manner as to those that supplicated for their lives, and to those that fought
them, insomuch that they ran through those with their swords who desired
them to remember the relation there was between them, and begged of
them to have regard to their common temple. Now there was at present
neither any place for flight, nor any hope of preservation; but as they were
driven one upon another in heaps, so were they slain. Thus the greater
part were driven together by force, as there was now no place of
retirement, and the murderers were upon them; and, having no other way,
threw themselves down headlong into the city; whereby, in my opinion,
they underwent a more miserable destruction than that which they
avoided, because that was a voluntary one. And now the outer temple was
all of it overflowed with blood; and that day, as it came on, they saw eight
thousand five hundred dead bodies there.
2. But the rage of the Idumeans was not satiated by these slaughters; but
they now betook themselves to the city, and plundered every house, and
slew every one they met; and for the other multitude, they esteemed it
needless to go on with killing them, but they sought for the high priests,
and the generality went with the greatest zeal against them; and as soon as
they caught them they slew them, and then standing upon their dead
bodies, in way of jest, upbraided Ananus with his kindness to the people,
and Jesus with his speech made to them from the wall. Nay, they
proceeded to that degree of impiety, as to cast away their dead bodies
without burial, although the Jews used to take so much care of the burial
of men, that they took down those that were condemned and crucified, and
buried them before the going down of the sun. I should not mistake if I
said that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the
city, and that from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall,
and the ruin of her affairs, whereon they saw their high priest, and the
procurer of their preservation, slain in the midst of their city. He was on
other accounts also a venerable, and a very just man; and besides the
grandeur of that nobility, and dignity, and honor of which he was
possessed, he had been a lover of a kind of parity, even with regard to the
meanest of the people; he was a prodigious lover of liberty, and an admirer
of a democracy in government; and did ever prefer the public welfare
before his own advantage, and preferred peace above all things; for he was
thoroughly sensible that the Romans were not to be conquered. He also
foresaw that of necessity a war would follow, and that unless the Jews
made up matters with them very dexterously, they would be destroyed; to
say all in a word, if Ananus had survived, they had certainly compounded
matters; for he was a shrewd man in speaking and persuading the people,
and had already gotten the mastery of those that opposed his designs, or
were for the war. And the Jews had then put abundance of delays in the
way of the Romans, if they had had such a general as he was. Jesus was
also joined with him; and although he was inferior to him upon the
comparison, he was superior to the rest; and I cannot but think that it was
because God had doomed this city to destruction, as a polluted city, and
was resolved to purge his sanctuary by fire, that he cut off these their
great defenders and well-wishers, while those that a little before had worn
the sacred garments, and had presided over the public worship; and had
been esteemed venerable by those that dwelt on the whole habitable earth
when they came into our city, were cast out naked, and seen to be the food
of dogs and wild beasts. And I cannot but imagine that virtue itself groaned
at these men’s case, and lamented that she was here so terribly conquered
by wickedness. And this at last was the end of Ananus and Jesus.
3. Now after these were slain, the zealots and the multitude of the
Idumeans fell upon the people as upon a flock of profane animals, and cut
their throats; and for the ordinary sort, they were destroyed in what place
soever they caught them. But for the noblemen and the youth, they first
caught them and bound them, and shut them up in prison, and put off their
slaughter, in hopes that some of them would turn over to their party; but
not one of them would comply with their desires, but all of them preferred
death before being enrolled among such wicked wretches as acted against
their own country. But this refusal of theirs brought upon them terrible
torments; for they were so scourged and tortured, that their bodies were
not able to sustain their torments, till at length, and with difficulty, they
had the favor to be slain. Those whom they caught in the day time were
slain in the night, and then their bodies were carried out and thrown away,
that there might be room for other prisoners; and the terror that was upon
the people was so great, that no one had courage enough either to weep
openly for the dead man that was related to him, or to bury him; but those
that were shut up in their own houses could only shed tears in secret, and
durst not even groan without great caution, lest any of their enemies
should hear them; for if they did, those that mourned for others soon
underwent the same death with those whom they mourned for. Only in
the night time they would take up a little dust, and throw it upon their
bodies; and even some that were the most ready to expose themselves to
danger would do it in the day time: and there were twelve thousand of the
better sort who perished in this manner.
4. And now these zealots and Idumeans were quite weary of barely killing
men, so they had the impudence of setting up fictitious tribunals and
judicatures for that purpose; and as they intended to have Zacharias 9 the
son of Baruch, one of the most eminent of the citizens, slain, — so what
provoked them against him was, that hatred of wickedness and love of
liberty which were so eminent in him: he was also a rich man, so that by
taking him off, they did not only hope to seize his effects, but also to get
rid of a mall that had great power to destroy them. So they called together,
by a public proclamation, seventy of the principal men of the populace,
for a show, as if they were real judges, while they had no proper
authority. Before these was Zacharias accused of a design to betray their
polity to the Romans, and having traitorously sent to Vespasian for that
purpose. Now there appeared no proof or sign of what he was accused;
but they affirmed themselves that they were well persuaded that so it was,
and desired that such their affirmation might he taken for sufficient
evidence. Now when Zacharias clearly saw that there was no way
remaining for his escape from them, as having been treacherously called
before them, and then put in prison, but not with any intention of a legal
trial, he took great liberty of speech in that despair of his life he was
under. Accordingly he stood up, and laughed at their pretended accusation,
and in a few words confuted the crimes laid to his charge; after which he
turned his speech to his accusers, and went over distinctly all their
transgressions of the law, and made heavy lamentation upon the confusion
they had brought public affairs to: in the mean time, the zealots grew
tumultuous, and had much ado to abstain from drawing their swords,
although they designed to preserve the appearance and show of judicature
to the end. They were also desirous, on other accounts, to try the judges,
whether they would be mindful of what was just at their own peril. Now
the seventy judges brought in their verdict that the person accused was not
guilty, as choosing rather to die themselves with him, than to have his
death laid at their doors; hereupon there arose a great clamor of the zealots
upon his acquittal, and they all had indignation at the judges for not
understanding that the authority that was given them was but in jest. So
two of the boldest of them fell upon Zacharias in the middle of the temple,
and slew him; and as he fell down dead, they bantered him, and said,
“Thou hast also our verdict, and this will prove a more sure acquittal to
thee than the other.” They also threw him down from the temple
immediately into the valley beneath it. Moreover, they struck the judges
with the backs of their swords, by way of abuse, and thrust them out of
the court of the temple, and spared their lives with no other design than
that, when they were dispersed among the people in the city, they might
become their messengers, to let them know they were no better than
5. But by this time the Idumeans repented of their coming, and were
displeased at what had been done; and when they were assembled together
by one of the zealots, who had come privately to them, he declared to
them what a number of wicked pranks they had themselves done in
conjunction with those that invited them, and gave a particular account of
what mischiefs had been done against their metropolis. — He said that
they had taken arms, as though the high priests were betraying their
metropolis to the Romans, but had found no indication of any such
treachery; but that they had succored those that had pretended to believe
such a thing, while they did themselves the works of war and tyranny,
after an insolent manner. It had been indeed their business to have hindered
them from such their proceedings at the first, but seeing they had once
been partners with them in shedding the blood of their own countrymen, it
was high time to put a stop to such crimes, and not continue to afford any
more assistance to such as are subverting the laws of their forefathers; for
that if any had taken it ill that the gates had been shut against them, and
they had not been permitted to come into the city, yet that those who had
excluded them have been punished, and Ananus is dead, and that almost all
those people had been destroyed in one night’s time. That one may
perceive many of themselves now repenting for what they had done, and
might see the horrid barbarity of those that had invited them, and that they
had no regard to such as had saved them; that they were so impudent as to
perpetrate the vilest things, under the eyes of those that had supported
them, and that their wicked actions would be laid to the charge of the
Idumeans, and would be so laid to their charge till somebody obstructs
their proceedings, or separates himself from the same wicked action; that
they therefore ought to retire home, since the imputation of treason
appears to be a Calumny, and that there was no expectation of the coming
of the Romans at this time, and that the government of the city was
secured by such walls as cannot easily be thrown down; and, by avoiding
any further fellowship with these bad men, to make some excuse for
themselves, as to what they had been so far deluded, as to have been
partners with them hitherto.
1. THE Idumeans complied with these persuasions; and, in the first place,
they set those that were in the prisons at liberty, being about two
thousand of the populace, who thereupon fled away immediately to
Simon, one whom we shall speak of presently. After which these
Idumeans retired from Jerusalem, and went home; which departure of
theirs was a great surprise to both parties; for the people, not knowing of
their repentance, pulled up their courage for a while, as eased of so many
of their enemies, while the zealots grew more insolent not as deserted by
their confederates, but as freed from such men as might hinder their
designs, and plat some stop to their wickedness. Accordingly, they made
no longer any delay, nor took any deliberation in their enormous practices,
but made use of the shortest methods for all their executions and what
they had once resolved upon, they put in practice sooner than any one
could imagine. But their thirst was chiefly after the blood of valiant men,
and men of good families; the one sort of which they destroyed out of
envy, the other out of fear; for they thought their whole security lay in
leaving no potent men alive; on which account they slew Gorion, a person
eminent in dignity, and on account of his family also; he was also for
democracy, and of as great boldness and freedom of spirit as were any of
the Jews whosoever; the principal thing that ruined him, added to his other
advantages, was his free speaking. Nor did Niger of Peres escape their
hands; he had been a man of great valor in their war with the Romans, but
was now drawn through the middle of the city, and, as he went, he
frequently cried out, and showed the scars of his wounds; and when he
was drawn out of the gates, and despaired of his preservation, he besought
them to grant him a burial; but as they had threatened him beforehand not
to grant him any spot of earth for a grave, which he chiefly desired of
them, so did they slay him [without permitting him to be buried]. Now
when they were slaying him, he made this imprecation upon them, that
they might undergo both famine and pestilence in this war, and besides all
that, they might come to the mutual slaughter of one another; all which
imprecations God confirmed against these impious men, and was what
came most justly upon them, when not long afterward. they tasted of their
own madness in their mutual seditions one against another. So when this
Niger was killed, their fears of being overturned were diminished; and
indeed there was no part of the people but they found out some pretense
to destroy them; for some were therefore slain, because they had had
differences with some of them; and as to those that had not opposed them
in times of peace, they watched seasonable opportunities to gain some
accusation against them; and if any one did not come near them at all, he
was under their suspicion as a proud man; if any one came with boldness,
he was esteemed a contemner of them; and if any one came as aiming to
oblige them, he was supposed to have some treacherous plot against them;
while the only punishment of crimes, whether they were of the greatest or
smallest sort, was death. Nor could any one escape, unless he were very
inconsiderable, either on account of the meanness of his birth, or on
account of his fortune.
2. And now all the rest of the commanders of the Romans deemed this
sedition among their enemies to be of great advantage to them, and were
very earnest to march to the city, and they urged Vespasian, as their Lord
and general in all cases, to make haste, and said to him, that “the
providence of God is on our side, by setting our enemies at variance
against one another; that still the change in such cases may be sudden, and
the Jews may quickly be at one again, either because they may be tired out
with their civil miseries, or repent them of such doings.” But Vespasian
replied, that they were greatly mistaken in what they thought fit to be
done, as those that, upon the theater, love to make a show of their hands,
and of their weapons, but do it at their own hazard, without considering,
what was for their advantage, and for their security; for that if they now
go and attack the city immediately, they shall but occasion their enemies
to unite together, and shall convert their force, now it is in its height,
against themselves. But if they stay a while, they shall have fewer
enemies, because they will be consumed in this sedition: that God acts as a
general of the Romans better than he can do, and is giving the Jews up to
them without any pains of their own, and granting their army a victory
without any danger; that therefore it is their best way, while their enemies
are destroying each other with their own hands, and falling into the
greatest of misfortunes, which is that of sedition, to sit still as spectators
of the dangers they run into, rather than to fight hand to hand with men
that love murdering, and are mad one against another. But if any one
imagines that the glory of victory, when it is gotten without fighting, will
be more insipid, let him know this much, that a glorious success, quietly
obtained, is more profitable than the dangers of a battle; for we ought to
esteem these that do what is agreeable to temperance and prudence no less
glorious than those that have gained great reputation by their actions in
war: that he shall lead on his army with greater force when their enemies
are diminished, and his own army refreshed after the continual labors they
had undergone. However, that this is not a proper time to propose to
ourselves the glory of victory; for that the Jews are not now employed in
making of armor or building of walls, nor indeed in getting together
auxiliaries, while the advantage will be on their side who give them such
opportunity of delay; but that the Jews are vexed to pieces every day by
their civil wars and dissensions, and are under greater miseries than, if they
were once taken, could be inflicted on them by us. Whether therefore any
one hath regard to what is for our safety, he ought to suffer these Jews to
destroy one another; or whether he hath regard to the greater glory of the
action, we ought by no means to meddle with those men, now they are
afflicted with a distemper at home; for should we now conquer them, it
would be said the conquest was not owing to our bravery, but to their
sedition.” 10
3. And now the commanders joined in their approbation of what
Vespasian had said, and it was soon discovered how wise an opinion he
had given. And indeed many there were of the Jews that deserted every
day, and fled away from the zealots, although their flight was very
difficult, since they had guarded every passage out of the city, and slew
every one that was caught at them, as taking it for granted they were going
over to the Romans; yet did he who gave them money get clear off, while
he only that gave them none was voted a traitor. So the upshot was this,
that the rich purchased their flight by money, while none but the poor
were slain. Along all the roads also vast numbers of dead bodies lay in
heaps, and even many of those that were so zealous in deserting at length
chose rather to perish within the city; for the hopes of burial made death in
their own city appear of the two less terrible to them. But these zealots
came at last to that degree of barbarity, as not to bestow a burial either on
those slain in the city, or on those that lay along the roads; but as if they
had made an agreement to cancel both the laws of their country and the
laws of nature, and, at the same time that they defiled men with their
wicked actions, they would pollute the Divinity itself also, they left the
dead bodies to putrefy under the sun; and the same punishment was
allotted to such as buried any as to those that deserted, which was no
other than death; while he that granted the favor of a grave to another
would presently stand in need of a grave himself. To say all in a word, no
other gentle passion was so entirely lost among them as mercy; for what
were the greatest objects of pity did most of all irritate these wretches, and
they transferred their rage from the living to those that had been slain, and
from the dead to the living. Nay, the terror was so very great, that he who
survived called them that were first dead happy, as being at rest already; as
did those that were under torture in the prisons, declare, that, upon this
comparison, those that lay unburied were the happiest. These men,
therefore, trampled upon all the laws of men, and laughed at the laws of
God; and for the oracles of the prophets, they ridiculed them as the tricks
of jugglers; yet did these prophets foretell many things concerning [the
rewards of] virtue, and [punishments of] vice, which when these zealots
violated, they occasioned the fulfilling of those very prophecies belonging
to their own country; for there was a certain ancient oracle of those men,
that the city should then be taken and the sanctuary burnt, by right of war,
when a sedition should invade the Jews, and their own hand should pollute
the temple of God. Now while these zealots did not [quite] disbelieve
these predictions, they made themselves the instruments of their
1. BY this time John was beginning to tyrannize, and thought it beneath
him to accept of barely the same honors that others had; and joining to
himself by degrees a party of the wickedest of them all, he broke off from
the rest of the faction. This was brought about by his still disagreeing with
the opinions of others, and giving out injunctions of his own, in a very
imperious manner; so that it was evident he was setting up a monarchical
power. Now some submitted to him out of their fear of him, and others
out of their good-will to him; for he was a shrewd man to entice men to
him, both by deluding them and putting cheats upon them. Nay, many
there were that thought they should be safer themselves, if the causes of
their past insolent actions should now be reduced to one head, and not to a
great many. His activity was so great, and that both in action and in
counsel, that he had not a few guards about him; yet was there a great
party of his antagonists that left him; among whom envy at him weighed a
great deal, while they thought it a very heavy thing to be in subjection to
one that was formerly their equal. But the main reason that moved men
against him was the dread of monarchy, for they could not hope easily to
put an end to his power, if he had once obtained it; and yet they knew that
he would have this pretense always against them, that they had opposed
him when he was first advanced; while every one chose rather to suffer
any thing whatsoever in war, than that, when they had been in a voluntary
slavery for some time, they should afterward perish. So the sedition was
divided into two parts, and John reigned in opposition to his adversaries
over one of them: but for their leaders, they watched one another, nor did
they at all, or at least very little, meddle with arms in their quarrels; but
they fought earnestly against the people, and contended one with another
which of them should bring home the greatest prey. But because the city
had to struggle with three of the greatest misfortunes, war, and tyranny,
and sedition, it appeared, upon the comparison, that the war was the least
troublesome to the populace of them all. Accordingly, they ran away from
their own houses to foreigners, and obtained that preservation from the
Romans which they despaired to obtain among their own people.
2. And now a fourth misfortune arose, in order to bring our nation to
destruction. There was a fortress of very great strength not far from
Jerusalem, which had been built by our ancient kings, both as a repository
for their effects in the hazards of war, and for the preservation of their
bodies at the same time. It was called Masada. Those that were called
Sicarii had taken possession of it formerly, but at this time they overran
the neighboring countries, aiming only to procure to themselves
necessaries; for the fear they were then in prevented their further ravages.
But when once they were informed that the Roman army lay still, and that
the Jews were divided between sedition and tyranny, they boldly
undertook greater matters; and at the feast of unleavened bread, which the
Jews celebrate in memory of their deliverance from the Egyptian bondage,
when they were sent back into the country of their forefathers, they came
down by night, without being discovered by those that could have
prevented them, and overran a certain small city called Engaddi: — in
which expedition they prevented those citizens that could have stopped
them, before they could arm themselves, and fight them. They also
dispersed them, and cast them out of the city. As for such as could not run
away, being women and children, they slew of them above seven hundred.
Afterward, when they had carried every thing out of their houses, and had
seized upon all the fruits that were in a flourishing condition, they brought
them into Masada. And indeed these men laid all the villages that were
about the fortress waste, and made the whole country desolate; while there
came to them every day, from all parts, not a few men as corrupt as
themselves. At that time all the other regions of Judea that had hitherto
been at rest were in motion, by means of the robbers. Now as it is in a
human body, if the principal part be inflamed, all the members are subject
to the same distemper; so, by means of the sedition and disorder that was
in the metropolis,. had the wicked men that were in the country
opportunity to ravage the same. Accordingly, when every one of them had
plundered their own villages, they then retired into the desert; yet were
these men that now got together, and joined in the conspiracy by parties,
too small for an army, and too many for a gang of thieves: and thus did
they fall upon the holy places 11 and the cities; yet did it now so happen
that they were sometimes very ill treated by those upon whom they fell
with such violence, and were taken by them as men are taken in war: but
still they prevented any further punishment as do robbers, who, as soon
as their ravages [are discovered], run their way. Nor was there now any
part of Judea that was not in a miserable condition, as well as its most
eminent city also.
3. These things were told Vespasian by deserters; for although the
seditious watched all the passages out of the city, and destroyed all,
whosoever they were, that came thither, yet were there some that had
concealed themselves, and when they had fled to the Romans, persuaded
their general to come to their city’s assistance, and save the remainder of
the people; informing him withal, that it was upon account of the people’s
good-will to the Romans that many of them were already slain, and the
survivors in danger of the same treatment. Vespasian did indeed already
pity the calamities these men were in, and arose, in appearance, as though
he was going to besiege Jerusalem, but in reality to deliver them from a
[worse] siege they were already under. However, he was obliged first to
overthrow what remained elsewhere, and to leave nothing out of Jerusalem
behind him that might interrupt him in that siege. Accordingly, he marched
against Gadara, the metropolis of Perea, which was a place of strength, and
entered that city on the fourth day of the month Dystrus [Adar]; for the
men of power had sent an embassage to him, without the knowledge of the
seditious, to treat about a surrender; which they did out of the desire they
had of peace, and for saving their effects, because many of the citizens of
Gadara were rich men. This embassy the opposite party knew nothing of,
but discovered it as Vespasian was approaching near the city. However,
they despaired of keeping possession of the city, as being inferior in
number to their enemies who were within the city, and seeing the Romans
very near to the city; so they resolved to fly, but thought it dishonorable
to do it without shedding some blood, and revenging themselves on the
authors of this surrender; so they seized upon Dolesus, (a person not only
the first in rank and family in that city, but one that seemed the occasion
of sending such an embassy,) and slew him, and treated his dead body
after a barbarous manner, so very violent was their anger at him, and then
ran out of the city. And as now the Roman army was just upon them, the
people of Gadara admitted Vespasian with joyful acclamations, and
received from him the security of his right hand, as also a garrison of
horsemen and footmen, to guard them against the excursions of the
runagates; for as to their wall, they had pulled it down before the Romans
desired them so to do, that they might thereby give them assurance that
they were lovers of peace, and that, if they had a mind, they could not
now make war against them.
4. And now Vespasian sent Placidus against those that had fled from
Gadara, with five hundred horsemen, and three thousand footmen, while
he returned himself to Cesarea, with the rest of the army. But as soon as
these fugitives saw the horsemen that pursued them just upon their backs,
and before they came to a close fight, they ran together to a certain village,
which was called Bethennabris, where finding a great multitude of young
men, and arming them, partly by their own consent, partly by force, they
rashly and suddenly assaulted Placidus and the troops that were with him.
These horsemen at the first onset gave way a little, as contriving to entice
them further off the wall; and when they had drawn them into a place fit
for their purpose, they made their horse encompass them round, and
threw their darts at them. So the horsemen cut off the flight of the
fugitives, while the foot terribly destroyed those that fought against them;
for those Jews did no more than show their courage, and then were
destroyed; for as they fell upon the Romans when they were joined close
together, and, as it were, walled about with their entire armor, they were
not able to find any place where the darts could enter, nor were they any
way able to break their ranks, while they were themselves run through by
the Roman darts, and, like the wildest of wild beasts, rushed upon the
point of others’ swords; so some of them were destroyed, as cut with
their enemies’ swords upon their faces, and others were dispersed by the
5. Now Placidus’s concern was to exclude them in their flight from getting
into the village; and causing his horse to march continually on that side of
them, he then turned short upon them, and at the same time his men made
use of their darts, and easily took their aim at those that were the nearest
to them, as they made those that were further off turn back by the terror
they were in, till at last the most courageous of them brake through those
horsemen and fled to the wall of the village. And now those that guarded
the wall were in great doubt what to do; for they could not bear the
thoughts of excluding those that came from Gadara, because of their own
people that were among them; and yet, if they should admit them, they
expected to perish with them, which came to pass accordingly; for as they
were crowding together at the wall, the Roman horsemen were just ready
to fall in with them. However, the guards prevented them, and shut the
gates, when Placidus made an assault upon them, and fighting
courageously till it was dark, he got possession of the wall, and of the
people that were in the city, when the useless multitude were destroyed;
but those that were more potent ran away, and the soldiers plundered the
houses, and set the village on fire. As for those that ran out of the village,
they stirred up such as were in the country, and exaggerating their own
calamities, and telling them that the whole army of the Romans were upon
them, they put them into great fear on every side; so they got in great
numbers together, and fled to Jericho, for they knew no other place that
could afford them any hope of escaping, it being a city that had a strong
wall, and a great multitude of inhabitants. But Placidus, relying much upon
his horsemen, and his former good success, followed them, and slew all
that he overtook, as far as Jordan; and when he had driven the whole
multitude to the river-side, where they were stopped by the current, (for it
had been augmented lately by rains, and was not fordable,) he put his
soldiers in array over against them; so the necessity the others were in
provoked them to hazard a battle, because there was no place whither they
could flee. They then extended themselves a very great way along the
banks of the river, and sustained the darts that were thrown at them, as
well as the attacks of the horsemen, who beat many of them, and pushed
them into the current. At which fight, hand to hand, fifteen thousand of
them were slain, while the number of those that were unwillingly forced to
leap into Jordan was prodigious. There were besides two thousand and
two hundred taken prisoners. A mighty prey was taken also, consisting of
asses, and sheep, and camels, and oxen.
6. Now this destruction that fell upon the Jews, as it was not inferior to
any of the rest in itself, so did it still appear greater than it really was; and
this, because not only the whole country through which they fled was
filled with slaughter, and Jordan could not be passed over, by reason of the
dead bodies that were in it, but because the lake Asphaltiris was also full
of dead bodies, that were carried down into it by the river. And now
Placidus, after this good success that he had, fell violently upon the
neighboring smaller cities and villages; when he took Abila, and Julias, and
Bezemoth, and all those that lay as far as the lake Asphaltitis, and put
such of the deserters into each of them as he thought proper. He then put
his soldiers on board the ships, and slew such as had fled to the lake,
insomuch that all Perea had either surrendered themselves, or were taken
by the Romans, as far as Macherus.
1. IN the mean time, an account came that there were commotions in Gall,
and that Vindex, together with the men of power in that country, had
revolted from Nero; which affair is more accurately described elsewhere.
This report, thus related to Vespasian, excited him to go on briskly with
the war; for he foresaw already the civil wars which were coming upon
them, nay, that the very government was in danger; and he thought, if he
could first reduce the eastern parts of the empire to peace, he should make
the fears for Italy the lighter; while therefore the winter was his hinderance
[from going into the field], he put garrisons into the villages and smaller
cities for their security; he put decurions also into the villages, and
centurions into the cities: he besides this rebuilt many of the cities that had
been laid waste; but at the beginning of the spring he took the greatest part
of his army, and led it from Cesarea to Antipatris, where he spent two
days in settling the affairs of that city, and then, on the third day, he
marched on, laying waste and burning all the neighboring villages. And
when he had laid waste all the places about the toparchy of Thamnas, he
passed on to Lydda and Jamnia; and when both these cities had come over
to him, he placed a great many of those that had come over to him [from
other places] as inhabitants therein, and then came to Emmaus, where he
seized upon the passage which led thence to their metropolis, and fortified
his camp, and leaving the fifth legion therein, he came to the toparchy of
Bethletephon. He then destroyed that place, and the neighboring places,
by fire, and fortified, at proper places, the strong holds all about Idumea;
and when he had seized upon two villages, which were in the very midst
of Idumea, Betaris and Caphartobas, he slew above ten thousand of the
people, and carried into captivity above a thousand, and drove away the
rest of the multitude, and placed no small part of his own forces in them,
who overran and laid waste the whole mountainous country; while he,
with the rest of his forces, returned to Emmaus, whence he came down
through the country of Samaria, and hard by the city, by others called
Neapoils, (or Sichem,) but by the people of that country Mabortha, to
Corea, where he pitched his camp, on the second day of the month Desius
[Sivan]; and on the day following he came to Jericho; on which day Trajan,
one of his commanders, joined him with the forces he brought out of Perea,
all the places beyond Jordan being subdued already.
2. Hereupon a great multitude prevented their approach, and came out of
Jericho, and fled to those mountainous parts that lay over against
Jerusalem, while that part which was left behind was in a great measure
destroyed; they also found the city desolate. It is situated in a plain; but a
naked and barren mountain, of a very great length, hangs over it, which
extends itself to the land about Scythopolis northward, but as far as the
country of Sodom, and the utmost limits of the lake Asphaltiris,
southward. This mountain is all of it very uneven and uninhabited, by
reason of its barrenness: there is an opposite mountain that is situated
over against it, on the other side of Jordan; this last begins at Julias, and
the northern quarters, and extends itself southward as far as Somorrhon, 13
which is the bounds of Petra, in Arabia. In this ridge of mountains there is
one called the Iron Mountain, that runs in length as far as Moab. Now the
region that lies in the middle between these ridges of mountains is called
the Great Plain; it reaches from the village Ginnabris, as far as the lake
Asphaltitis; its length is two hundred and thirty furlongs, and its breadth a
hundred and twenty, and it is divided in the midst by Jordan. It hath two
lakes in it, that of Asphaltitis, and that of Tiberias, whose natures are
opposite to each other; for the former is salt and unfruitful, but that of
Tiberias is sweet and fruitful. This plain is much burnt up in summer time,
and, by reason of the extraordinary heat, contains a very unwholesome air;
it is all destitute of water excepting the river Jordan, which water of Jordan
is the occasion why those plantations of palm trees that are near its banks
are more flourishing, and much more fruitful, as are those that are remote
from it not so flourishing, or fruitful.
3. Notwithstanding which, there is a fountain by Jericho, that runs
plentifully, and is very fit for watering the ground; it arises near the old
city, which Joshua, the son of Naue, the general of the Hebrews, took the
first of all the cities of the land of Canaan, by right of war. The report is,
that this fountain, at the beginning, caused not only the blasting of the
earth and the trees, but of the children born of women, and that it was
entirely of a sickly and corruptive nature to all things whatsoever; but that
it was made gentle, and very wholesome and fruitful, by the prophet
Elisha. This prophet was familiar with Elijah, and was his successor, who,
when he once was the guest of the people at Jericho, and the men of the
place had treated him very kindly, he both made them amends as well as
the country, by a lasting favor; for he went out of the city to this fountain,
and threw into the current an earthen vessel full of salt; after which he
stretched out his righteous hand unto heaven, and, pouring out a mild
drink-offering, he made this supplication, — That the current might be
mollified, and that the veins of fresh water might be opened; that God also
would bring into the place a more temperate and fertile air for the current,
and would bestow upon the people of that country plenty of the fruits of
the earth, and a succession of children; and that this prolific water might
never fail them, while they continued to he righteous. To these prayers
Elisha 14 joined proper operations of his hands, after a skillful manner, and
changed the fountain; and that water, which had been the occasion of
barrenness and famine before, from that time did supply a numerous
posterity, and afforded great abundance to the country. Accordingly, the
power of it is so great in watering the ground, that if it do but once touch a
country, it affords a sweeter nourishment than other waters do, when they
lie so long upon them, till they are satiated with them. For which reason,
the advantage gained from other waters, when they flow in great plenty, is
but small, while that of this water is great when it flows even in little
quantities. Accordingly, it waters a larger space of ground than any other
waters do, and passes along a plain of seventy furlongs long, and twenty
broad; wherein it affords nourishment to those most excellent gardens that
are thick set with trees. There are in it many sorts of palm trees that are
watered by it, different from each other in taste and name; the better sort
of them, when they are pressed, yield an excellent kind of honey, not
much inferior in sweetness to other honey. This country withal produces
honey from bees; it also bears that balsam which is the most precious of
all the fruits in that place, cypress trees also, and those that bear
myrobalanum; so that he who should pronounce this place to be divine
would not be mistaken, wherein is such plenty of trees produced as are
very rare, and of the must excellent sort. And indeed, if we speak of those
other fruits, it will not be easy to light on any climate in the habitable earth
that can well be compared to it, — what is here sown comes up in such
clusters; the cause of which seems to me to be the warmth of the air, and
the fertility of the waters; the warmth calling forth the sprouts, and
making them spread, and the moisture making every one of them take root
firmly, and supplying that virtue which it stands in need of in summer
time. Now this country is then so sadly burnt up, that nobody cares to
come at it; and if the water be drawn up before sun-rising, and after that
exposed to the air, it becomes exceeding cold, and becomes of a nature
quite contrary to the ambient air; as in winter again it becomes warm; and
if you go into it, it appears very gentle. The ambient air is here also of so
good a temperature, that the people of the country are clothed in
linen-only, even when snow covers the rest of Judea. This place is one
hundred and fifty furlongs from Jerusalem, and sixty from Jordan. The
country, as far as Jerusalem, is desert and stony; but that as far as Jordan
and the lake Asphaltitis lies lower indeed, though it be equally desert and
barren. But so much shall suffice to have said about Jericho, and of the
great happiness of its situation.
4. The nature of the lake Asphaltitis is also worth describing. It is, as I
have said already, bitter and unfruitful. It is so light [or thick] that it bears
up the heaviest things that are thrown into it; nor is it easy for any one to
make things sink therein to the bottom, if he had a mind so to do.
Accordingly, when Vespasian went to see it, he commanded that some
who could not swim should have their hands tied behind them, and be
thrown into the deep, when it so happened that they all swam as if a wind
had forced them upwards. Moreover, the change of the color of this lake is
wonderful, for it changes its appearance thrice every day; and as the rays
of the sun fall differently upon it, the light is variously reflected. However,
it casts up black clods of bitumen in many parts of it; these swim at the
top of the water, and resemble both in shape and bigness headless bulls;
and when the laborers that belong to the lake come to it, and catch hold of
it as it hangs together, they draw it into their ships; but when the ship is
full, it is not easy to cut off the rest, for it is so tenacious as to make the
ship hang upon its clods till they set it loose with the menstrual blood of
women, and with urine, to which alone it yields. This bitumen is not only
useful for the caulking of ships, but for the cure of men’s bodies;
accordingly, it is mixed in a great many medicines. The length of this lake is
five hundred and eighty furlongs, where it is extended as far as Zoar in
Arabia; and its breadth is a hundred and fifty. The country of Sodom
borders upon it. It was of old a most happy land, both for the fruits it bore
and the riches of its cities, although it be now all burnt up. It is related
how, for the impiety of its inhabitants, it was burnt by lightning; in
consequence of which there are still the remainders of that Divine fire, and
the traces [or shadows] of the five cities are still to be seen, as well as the
ashes growing in their fruits; which fruits have a color as if they were fit to
be eaten, but if you pluck them with your hands, they dissolve into smoke
and ashes. And thus what is related of this land of Sodom hath these marks
of credibility which our very sight affords us.
1. AND now Vespasian had fortified all the places round about Jerusalem,
and erected citadels at Jericho and Adida, and placed garrisons in them
both, partly out of his own Romans, and partly out of the body of his
auxiliaries. He also sent Lucius Annius to Gerasa, and delivered to him a
body of horsemen, and a considerable number of footmen. So when he had
taken the city, which he did at the first onset, he slew a thousand of those
young men who had not prevented him by flying away; but he took their
families captive, and permitted his soldiers to plunder them of their
effects; after which he set fire to their houses, and went away to the
adjoining villages, while the men of power fled away, and the weaker part
were destroyed, and what was remaining was all burnt down. And now the
war having gone through all the mountainous country, and all the plain
country also, those that were at Jerusalem were deprived of the liberty of
going out of the city; for as to such as had a mind to desert, they were
watched by the zealots; and as to such as were not yet on the side of the
Romans, their army kept them in, by encompassing the city round about
on all sides.
2. Now as Vespasian was returned to Cesarea, and was getting ready with
all his army to march directly to Jerusalem, he was informed that Nero
was dead, after he had reigned thirteen years and eight days. Bnt as to any
narration after what manner he abused his power in the government, and
committed the management of affairs to those vile wretches, Nymphidius
and Tigellinus, his unworthy freed-men; and how he had a plot laid against
him by them, and was deserted by all his guards, and ran away with four
of his most trusty freed-men, and slew himself in the suburbs of Rome;
and how those that occasioned his death were in no long time brought
themselves to punishment; how also the war in Gall ended; and how Galba
was made emperor 16 and returned out of Spain to Rome; and how he was
accused by the soldiers as a pusillanimous person, and slain by treachery
in the middle of the market-place at Rome, and Otho was made emperor;
with his expedition against the commanders of Vitellius, and his
destruction thereupon; and besides what troubles there were under
Vitellius, and the fight that was about the capitol; as also how Antonius
Primus and Mucianus slew Vitellius, and his German legions, and thereby
put an end to that civil war; — I have omitted to give an exact account of
them, because they are well known by all, and they are described by a
great number of Greek and Roman authors; yet for the sake of the
connexion of matters, and that my history may not be incoherent, I have
just touched upon every thing briefly. Wherefore Vespasian put off at first
his expedition against Jerusalem, and stood waiting whither the empire
would be transferred after the death of Nero. Moreover, when he heard
that Galba was made emperor, he attempted nothing till he also should
send him some directions about the war: however, he sent his son Titus to
him, to salute him, and to receive his commands about the Jews. Upon the
very same errand did king Agrippa sail along with Titus to Galba; but as
they were sailing in their long ships by the coasts of Achaia, for it was
winter time, they heard that Galba was slain, before they could get to him,
after he had reigned seven months and as many days. After whom Otho
took the government, and undertook the management of public affairs. So
Agrippa resolved to go on to Rome without any terror; on account of the
change in the government; but Titus, by a Divine impulse, sailed back from
Greece to Syria, and came in great haste to Cesarea, to his father. And now
they were both in suspense about the public affairs, the Roman empire
being then in a fluctuating condition, and did not go on with their
expedition against the Jews, but thought that to make any attack upon
foreigners was now unseasonable, on account of the solicitude they were
in for their own country.
3. And now there arose another war at Jerusalem. There was a son of
Giora, one Simon, by birth of Gerasa, a young man, not so cunning indeed
as John [of Gisehala], who had already seized upon the city, but superior
in strength of body and courage; on which account, when he had been
driven away from that Acrabattene toparchy, which he once had, by
Ananus the high priest, he came to those robbers who had seized upon
Masada. At the first they suspected him, and only permitted him to come
with the women he brought with him into the lower part of the fortress,
while they dwelt in the upper part of it themselves. However, his manner
so well agreed with theirs, and he seemed so trusty a man, that he went
out with them, and ravaged and destroyed the country with them about
Masada; yet when he persuaded them to undertake greater things, he could
not prevail with them so to do; for as they were accustomed to dwell in
that citadel, they were afraid of going far from that which was their
hiding-place; but he affecting to tyrannize, and being fond of greatness,
when he had heard of the death of Ananus, he left them, and went into the
mountainous part of the country. So he proclaimed liberty to those in
slavery, and a reward to those already free, and got together a set of
wicked men from all quarters.
4. And as he had now a strong body of men about him, he overran the
villages that lay in the mountainous country, and when there were still
more and more that came to him, he ventured to go down into the lower
parts of the country, and since he was now become formidable to the
cities, many of the men of power were corrupted by him; so that his army
was no longer composed of slaves and robbers, but a great many of the
populace were obedient to him as to their king. He then overran the
Acrabattene toparchy, and the places that reached as far as the Great
Idumea; for he built a wall at a certain village called Nain, and made use of
that as a fortress for his own party’s security; and at the valley called
Paran, he enlarged many of the caves, and many others he found ready for
his purpose; these he made use of as repositories for his treasures, and
receptacles for his prey, and therein he laid up the fruits that he had got by
rapine; and many of his partizans had their dwelling in them; and he made
no secret of it that he was exercising his men beforehand, and making
preparations for the assault of Jerusalem.
5. Whereupon the zealots, out of the dread they were in of his attacking
them, and being willing to prevent one that was growing up to oppose
them, went out against him with their weapons. Simon met them, and
joining battle with them, slew a considerable number of them, and drove
the rest before him into the city, but durst not trust so much upon his
forces as to make an assault upon the walls; but he resolved first to subdue
Idumea, and as he had now twenty thousand armed men, he marched to
the borders of their country. Hereupon the rulers of the Idumeans got
together on the sudden the most warlike part of their people, about
twenty-five thousand in number, and permitted the rest to be a guard to
their own country, by reason of the incursions that were made by the
Sicarii that were at Masada. Thus they received Simon at their borders,
where they fought him, and continued the battle all that day; and the
dispute lay whether they had conquered him, or been conquered by him.
So he went back to Nain, as did the Idumeans return home. Nor was it long
ere Simon came violently again upon their country; when he pitched his
camp at a certain village called Thecoe, and sent Eleazar, one of his
companions, to those that kept garrison at Herodium, and in order to
persuade them to surrender that fortress to him. The garrison received this
man readily, while they knew nothing of what he came about; but as soon
as he talked of the surrender of the place, they fell upon him with their
drawn swords, till he found that he had no place for flight, when he threw
himself down from the wall into the valley beneath; so he died
immediately: but the Idumeans, who were already much afraid of Simon’s
power, thought fit to take a view of the enemy’s army before they
hazarded a battle with them.
6. Now there was one of their commanders named Jacob, who offered to
serve them readily upon that occasion, but had it in his mind to betray
them. He went therefore from the village Alurus, wherein the army of the
Idumeans were gotten together, and came to Simon, and at the very first he
agreed to betray his country to him, and took assurances upon oath from
him that he should always have him in esteem, and then promised him that
he would assist him in subduing all Idumea under him; upon which account
he was feasted after an obliging manner by Simon, and elevated by his
mighty promises; and when he was returned to his own men, he at first
belied the army of Simon, and said it was manifold more in number than
what it was; after which, he dexterously persuaded the commanders, and
by degrees the whole multitude, to receive Simon, and to surrender the
whole government up to him without fighting. And as he was doing this,
he invited Simon by his messengers, and promised him to disperse the
Idumeans, which he performed also; for as soon as their army was nigh
them, he first of all got upon his horse, and fled, together with those whom
he had corrupted; hereupon a terror fell upon the whole multitude; and
before it came to a close fight, they broke their ranks, and every one retired
to his own home.
7. Thus did Simon unexpectedly march into Idumea, without bloodshed,
and made a sudden attack upon the city Hebron, and took it; wherein he
got possession of a great deal of prey, and plundered it of a vast quantity
of fruit. Now the people of the country say that it is an ancienter city, not
only than any in that country, but than Memphis in Egypt, and
accordingly its age is reckoned at two thousand and three hundred years.
They also relate that it had been the habitation of Abram, the progenitor of
the Jews, after he had removed out of Mesopotamia; and they say that his
posterity descended from thence into Egypt, whose monuments are to this
very time showed in that small city; the fabric of which monuments are of
the most excellent marble, and wrought after the most elegant manner.
There is also there showed, at the distance of six furlongs from the city, a
very large turpentine tree 17 and the report goes, that this tree has
continued ever since the creation of the world. Thence did Simon make his
progress over all Idumen, and did not only ravage the cities and villages,
but lay waste the whole country; for, besides those that were completely
armed, he had forty thousand men that followed him, insomuch that he
had not provisions enough to suffice such a multitude. Now, besides this
want of provisions that he was in, he was of a barbarous disposition, and
bore great anger at this nation, by which means it came to pass that
Idumea was greatly depopulated; and as one may see all the woods behind
despoiled of their leaves by locusts, after they have been there, so was
there nothing left behind Simon’s army but a desert. Some places they
burnt down, some they utterly demolished, and whatsoever grew in the
country, they either trod it down or fed upon it, and by their marches they
made the ground that was cultivated harder and more untractable than that
which was barren. In short, there was no sign remaining of those places
that had been laid waste, that ever they had had a being.
8. This success of Simon excited the zealots afresh; and though they were
afraid to fight him openly in a fair battle, yet did they lay ambushes in the
passes, and seized upon his wife, with a considerable number of her
attendants; whereupon they came back to the city rejoicing, as if they had
taken Simon himself captive, and were in present expectation that he
would lay down his arms, and make supplication to them for his wife; but
instead of indulging any merciful affection, he grew very angry at them for
seizing his beloved wife; so he came to the wall of Jerusalem, and, like wild
beasts when they are wounded, and cannot overtake those that wounded
them, he vented his spleen upon all persons that he met with.
Accordingly, he caught all those that were come out of the city gates,
either to gather herbs or sticks, who were unarmed and in years; he then
tormented them and destroyed them, out of the immense rage he was in,
and was almost ready to taste the very flesh of their dead bodies. He also
cut off the hands of a great many, and sent them into the city to astonish
his enemies, and in order to make the people fall into a sedition, and desert
those that had been the authors of his wife’s seizure. He also enjoined
them to tell the people that Simon swore by the God of the universe, who
sees all things, that unless they will restore him his wife, he will break
down their wall, and inflict the like punishment upon all the citizens,
without sparing any age, and without making any distinction between the
guilty and the innocent. These threatenings so greatly affrighted, not the
people only, but the zealots themselves also, that they sent his wife back
to him; when he became a little milder, and left off his perpetual
9. But now sedition and civil war prevailed, not only over Judea, but in
Italy also; for now Galba was slain in the midst of the Roman
market-place; then was Otho made emperor, and fought against Vitellius,
who set up for emperor also; for the legions in Germany had chosen him.
But when he gave battle to Valens and Cecinna, who were Vitellius’s
generals, at Betriacum, in Gaul, Otho gained the advantage on the first day,
but on the second day Vitellius’s soldiers had the victory; and after much
slaughter Otho slew himself, when he had heard of this defeat at Brixia,
and after he had managed the public affairs three months and two days. 18
Otho’s army also came over to Vitellius’s generals, and he came himself
down to Rome with his army. But in the mean time Vespasian removed
from Cesarea, on the fifth day of the month Deasius, [Sivan,] and marched
against those places of Judea which were not yet overthrown. So he went
up to the mountainous country, and took those two toparchies that were
called the Gophnitick and Acrabattene toparchies. After which he took
Bethel and Ephraim, two small cities; and when he had put garrisons into
them, he rode as far as Jerusalem, in which march he took many prisoners,
and many captives; but Cerealis, one of his commanders, took a body of
horsemen and footmen, and laid waste that part of Idumea which was
called the Upper Idumea, and attacked Caphethra, which pretended to be a
small city, and took it at the first onset, and burnt it down. He also
attacked Caphatabira, and laid siege to it, for it had a very strong wall; and
when he expected to spend a long time in that siege, those that were within
opened their gates on the sudden, and came to beg pardon, and surrendered
themselves up to him. When Cerealis had conquered them, he went to
Hebron, another very ancient city. I have told you already that this city is
situated in a mountainous country not far off Jerusalem; and when he had
broken into the city by force, what multitude and young men were left
therein he slew, and burnt down the city; so that as now all the places
were taken, excepting Herodlum, and Masada, and Macherus, which were
in the possession of the robbers, so Jerusalem was what the Romans at
present aimed at.
10. And now, as soon as Simon had set his wife free, and recovered her
from the zealots, he returned back to the remainders of Idumea, and driving
the nation all before him from all quarters, he compelled a great number of
them to retire to Jerusalem; he followed them himself also to the city, and
encompassed the wall all round again; and when he lighted upon any
laborers that were coming thither out of the country, he slew them. Now
this Simon, who was without the wall, was a greater terror to the people
than the Romans themselves, as were the zealots who were within it more
heavy upon them than both of the other; and during this time did the
mischievous contrivances and courage [of John] corrupt the body of the
Galileans; for these Galileans had advanced this John, and made him very
potent, who made them suitable requital from the authority he had
obtained by their means; for he permitted them to do all things that any of
them desired to do, while their inclination to plunder was insatiable, as
was their zeal in searching the houses of the rich; and for the murdering of
the men, and abusing of the women, it was sport to them. They also
devoured what spoils they had taken, together with their blood, and
indulged themselves in feminine wantonness, without any disturbance, till
they were satiated therewith; while they decked their hair, and put on
women’s garments, and were besmeared over with ointments; and that
they might appear very comely, they had paints under their eyes, and
imitated not only the ornaments, but also the lusts of women, and were
guilty of such intolerable uncleanness, that they invented unlawful
pleasures of that sort. And thus did they roll themselves up and down the
city, as in a brothel-house, and defiled it entirely with their impure actions;
nay, while their faces looked like the faces of women, they killed with
their right hands; and when their gait was effeminate, they presently
attacked men, and became warriors, and drew their swords from under
their finely dyed cloaks, and ran every body through whom they alighted
upon. However, Simon waited for such as ran away from John, and was
the more bloody of the two; and he who had escaped the tyrant within the
wall was destroyed by the other that lay before the gates, so that all
attempts of flying and deserting to the Romans were cut off, as to those
that had a mind so to do.
11. Yet did the army that was under John raise a sedition against him, and
all the Idumeans separated themselves from the tyrant, and attempted to
destroy him, and this out of their envy at his power, and hatred of his
cruelty; so they got together, and slew many of the zealots, and drove the
rest before them into that royal palace that was built by Grapte, who was
a relation of Izates, the king of Adiabene; the Idumeans fell in with them,
and drove the zealots out thence into the temple, and betook themselves to
plunder John’s effects; for both he himself was in that palace, and therein
had he laid up the spoils he had acquired by his tyranny. In the mean time,
the multitude of those zealots that were dispersed over the city ran
together to the temple unto those that fled thither, and John prepared to
bring them down against the people and the Idumeans, who were not so
much afraid of being attacked by them (because they were themselves
better soldiers than they) as at their madness, lest they should privately
sally out of the temple and get among them, and not only destroy them,
but set the city on fire also. So they assembled themselves together, and
the high priests with them, and took counsel after what manner they
should avoid their assault. Now it was God who turned their opinions to
the worst advice, and thence they devised such a remedy to get themselves
free as was worse than the disease itself. Accordingly, in order to
overthrow John, they determined to admit Simon, and earnestly to desire
the introduction of a second tyrant into the city; which resolution they
brought to perfection, and sent Matthias, the high priest, to beseech this
Simon to come ill to them, of whom they had so often been afraid. Those
also that had fled from the zealots in Jerusalem joined in this request to
him, out of the desire they had of preserving their houses and their effects.
Accordingly he, in an arrogant manner, granted them his lordly protection,
and came into the city, in order to deliver it from the zealots. The people
also made joyful acclamations to him, as their savior and their preserver;
but when he was come in, with his army, he took care to secure his own
authority, and looked upon those that had invited him in to be no less his
enemies than those against whom the invitation was intended.
12. And thus did Simon get possession of Jerusalem, in the third year of
the war, in the month Xanthicus [Nisan]; whereupon John, with his
multitude of zealots, as being both prohibited from coming out of the
temple, and having lost their power in the city, (for Simon and his party
had plundered them of what they had,) were in despair of deliverance.
Simon also made an assault upon the temple, with the assistance of the
people, while the others stood upon the cloisters and the battlements, and
defended themselves from their assaults. However, a considerable number
of Simon’s party fell, and many were carried off wounded; for the zealots
threw their darts easily from a superior place, and seldom failed of hitting
their enemies; but having the advantage of situation, and having withal
erected four very large towers aforehand, that their darts might come from
higher places, one at the north-east corner of the court, one above the
Xystus, the third at another corner over against the lower city, and the last
was erected above the top of the Pastophoria, where one of the priests
stood of course, and gave a signal beforehand, with a trumpet 19 at the
beginning of every seventh day, in the evening twilight, as also at the
evening when that day was finished, as giving notice to the people when
they were to leave off work, and when they were to go to work again.
These men also set their engines to cast darts and stones withal, upon
those towers, with their archers and slingers. And now Simon made his
assault upon the temple more faintly, by reason that the greatest part of
his men grew weary of that work; yet did he not leave off his opposition,
because his army was superior to the others, although the darts which
were thrown by the engines were carried a great way, and slew many of
those that fought for him.
1. NOW about this very time it was that heavy calamities came about
Rome on all sides; for Vitellius was come from Germany with his soldiery,
and drew along with him a great multitude of other men besides. And when
the spaces allotted for soldiers could not contain them, he made all Rome
itself his camp, and filled all the houses with his armed men; which men,
when they saw the riches of Rome with those eyes which had never seen
such riches before, and found themselves shone round about on all sides
with silver and gold, they had much ado to contain their covetous desires,
and were ready to betake themselves to plunder, and to the slaughter of
such as should stand in their way. And this was the state of affairs in Italy
at that time.
2. But when Vespasian had overthrown all the places that were near to
Jerusalem, he returned to Cesarea, and heard of the troubles that were at
Rome, and that Vitellius was emperor. This produced indignation in him,
although he well knew how to be governed as well as to govern, and could
not, with any satisfaction, own him for his Lord who acted so madly, and
seized upon the government as if it were absolutely destitute of a
governor. And as this sorrow of his was violent, he was not able to
support the torments he was under, nor to apply himself further in other
wars, when his native country was laid waste; but then, as much as his
passion excited him to avenge his country, so much was he restrained by
the consideration of his distance therefrom; because fortune might prevent
him, and do a world of mischief before he could himself sail over the sea to
Italy, especially as it was still the winter season; so he restrained his anger,
how vehement soever it was at this time.
3. But now his commanders and soldiers met in several companies, and
consulted openly about changing the public affairs; — and, out of their
indignation, cried out, how “at Rome there are soldiers that live delicately,
and when they have not ventured so much as to hear the fame of war, they
ordain whom they please for our governors, and in hopes of gain make
them emperors; while you, who have gone through so many labors, and are
grown into years under your helmets, give leave to others to use such a
power, when yet you have among yourselves one more worthy to rule
than any whom they have set up. Now what juster opportunity shall they
ever have of requiting their generals, if they do not make use of this that is
now before them? while there is so much juster reasons for Vespasian’s
being emperor than for Vitellius; as they are themselves more deserving
than those that made the other emperors; for that they have undergone as
great wars as have the troops that come from Germany; nor are they
inferior in war to those that have brought that tyrant to Rome, nor have
they undergone smaller labors than they; for that neither will the Roman
senate, nor people, bear such a lascivious emperor as Vitellius, if he be
compared with their chaste Vespasian; nor will they endure a most
barbarous tyrant, instead of a good governor, nor choose one that hath no
child 20 to preside over them, instead of him that is a father; because the
advancement of men’s own children to dignities is certainly the greatest
security kings can have for themselves. Whether, therefore, we estimate
the capacity of governing from the skill of a person in years, we ought to
have Vespasian, — or whether from the strength of a young man, we
ought to have Titus; for by this means we shall have the advantage of both
their ages, for that they will afford strength to those that shall be made
emperors, they having already three legions, besides other auxiliaries from
the neighboring kings, and will have further all the armies in the east to
support them, as also those in Europe, so they as they are out of the
distance and dread of Vitellius, besides such auxiliaries as they may have in
Italy itself; that is, Vespasian’s brother, 21 and his other son [Domitian];
the one of whom will bring in a great many of those young men that are of
dignity, while the other is intrusted with the government of the city, which
office of his will be no small means of Vespasian’s obtaining the
government. Upon the whole, the case may be such, that if we ourselves
make further delays, the senate may choose an emperor, whom the
soldiers, who are the saviors of the empire, will have in contempt.”
4. These were the discourses the soldiers had in their several companies;
after which they got together in a great body, and, encouraging one
another, they declared Vespasian emperor, 22 and exhorted him to save the
government, which was now in danger. Now Vespasian’s concern had been
for a considerable time about the public, yet did he not intend to set up for
governor himself, though his actions showed him to deserve it, while he
preferred that safety which is in a private life before the dangers in a state
of such dignity; but when he refused the empire, the commanders insisted
the more earnestly upon his acceptance; and the soldiers came about him,
with their drawn swords in their hands, and threatened to kill him, unless
he would now live according to his dignity. And when he had shown his
reluctance a great while, and had endeavored to thrust away this dominion
from him, he at length, being not able to persuade them, yielded to their
solicitations that would salute him emperor.
5. So upon the exhortations of Mucianus, and the other commanders, that
he would accept of the empire, and upon that of the rest of the army, who
cried out that they were willing to be led against all his opposers, he was
in the first place intent upon gaining the dominion over Alexandria, as
knowing that Egypt was of the greatest consequence, in order to obtain the
entire government, because of its supplying of corn [to Rome]; which
corn, if he could be master of, he hoped to dethrone Vitellius, supposing
he should aim to keep the empire by force (for he would not be able to
support himself, if the multitude at Rome should once be in want of food);
and because he was desirous to join the two legions that were at
Alexandria to the other legions that were with him. He also considered
with himself, that he should then have that country for a defense to
himself against the uncertainty of fortune; for Egypt 23 is hard to be
entered by land, and hath no good havens by sea. It hath on the west the
dry deserts of Libya; and on the south Siene, that divides it from Ethiopia,
as well as the cataracts of the Nile, that cannot be sailed over; and on the
east the Red Sea extended as far as Coptus; and it is fortified on the north
by the land that reaches to Syria, together with that called the Egyptian
Sea, having no havens in it for ships. And thus is Egypt walled about on
every side. Its length between Pelusium and Siene is two thousand
furlongs, and the passage by sea from Plinthine to Pelusium is three
thousand six hundred furlongs. Its river Nile is navigable as far as the city
called Elephantine, the forenamed cataracts hindering ships from going any
farther, The haven also of Alexandria is not entered by the mariners
without difficulty, even in times of peace; for the passage inward is
narrow, and full of rocks that lie under the water, which oblige the
mariners to turn from a straight direction: its left side is blocked up by
works made by men’s hands on both sides; on its right side lies the island
called Pharus, which is situated just before the entrance, and supports a
very great tower, that affords the sight of a fire to such as sail within three
hundred furlongs of it, that ships may cast anchor a great way off in the
night time, by reason of the difficulty of sailing nearer. About this island
are built very great piers, the handiwork of men, against which, when the
sea dashes itself, and its waves are broken against those boundaries, the
navigation becomes very troublesome, and the entrance through so narrow
a passage is rendered dangerous; yet is the haven itself, when you are got
into it, a very safe one, and of thirty furlongs in largeness; into which is
brought what the country wants in order to its happiness, as also what
abundance the country affords more than it wants itself is hence
distributed into all the habitable earth.
6. Justly, therefore, did Vespasian desire to obtain that government, in
order to corroborate his attempts upon the whole empire; so he
immediately sent to Tiberius Alexander, who was then governor of Egypt
and of Alexandria, and informed him what the army had put upon him, and
how he, being forced to accept of the burden of the government, was
desirous to have him for his confederate and supporter. Now as soon as
ever Alexander had read this letter, he readily obliged the legions and the
multitude to take the oath of fidelity to Vespasian, both which willingly
complied with him, as already acquainted with the courage of the man,
from that his conduct in their neighborhood. Accordingly Vespasian,
looking upon himself as already intrusted with the government, got all
things ready for his journey [to Rome]. Now fame carried this news
abroad more suddenly than one could have thought, that he was emperor
over the east, upon which every city kept festivals, and celebrated
sacrifices and oblations for such good news; the legions also that were in
Mysia and Pannonia, who had been in commotion a little before, on
account of this insolent attempt of Vitellius, were very glad to take the
oath of fidelity to Vespasian, upon his coming to the empire. Vespasian
then removed from Cesarea to Berytus, where many embassages came to
him from Syria, and many from other provinces, bringing with them from
every city crowns, and the congratulations of the people. Mucianus came
also, who was the president of the province, and told him with what
alacrity the people [received the news of his advancement], and how the
people of every city had taken the oath of fidelity to him.
7. So Vespasian’s good fortune succeeded to his wishes every where, and
the public affairs were, for the greatest part, already in his hands; upon
which he considered that he had not arrived at the government without
Divine Providence, but that a righteous kind of fate had brought the empire
under his power; for as he called to mind the other signals, which had been
a great many every where, that foretold he should obtain the government,
so did he remember what Josephus had said to him when he ventured to
foretell his coming to the empire while Nero was alive; so he was much
concerned that this man was still in bonds with him. He then called for
Mucianus, together with his other commanders and friends, and, in the
first place, he informed them what a valiant man Josephus had been, and
what great hardships he had made him undergo in the siege of Jotapata.
After that he related those predictions of his 24 which he had then
suspected as fictions, suggested out of the fear he was in, but which had
by time been demonstrated to be Divine. “It is a shameful thing (said he)
that this man, who hath foretold my coming to the empire beforehand, and
been the minister of a Divine message to me, should still be retained in the
condition of a captive or prisoner.” So he called for Josephus, and
commanded that he should be set at liberty; whereupon the commanders
promised themselves glorious things, froth this requital Vespasian made to
a stranger. Titus was then present with his father, and said, “O father, it is
but just that the scandal [of a prisoner] should be taken off Josephus,
together with his iron chain. For if we do not barely loose his bonds, but
cut them to pieces, he will be like a man that had never been bound at all.”
For that is the usual method as to such as have been bound without a
cause. This advice was agreed to by Vespasian also; so there came a man
in, and cut the chain to pieces; while Josephus received this testimony of
his integrity for a reward, and was moreover esteemed a person of credit as
to futurities also.
1. AND now, when Vespasian had given answers to the embassages, and
had disposed of the places of power justly, 25 and according to every one’s
deserts, he came to Antioch, and consulting which way he had best take,
he preferred to go for Rome, rather than to march to Alexandria, because
he saw that Alexandria was sure to him already, but that the affairs at
Rome were put into disorder by Vitellius; so he sent Mucianus to Italy,
and committed a considerable army both of horsemen and footmen to him;
yet was Mucianus afraid of going by sea, because it was the middle of
winter, and so he led his army on foot through Cappadocia and Phrygia.
2. In the mean time, Antonius Primus took the third of the legions that
were in Mysia, for he was president of that province, and made haste, in
order to fight Vitellius; whereupon Vitellius sent away Cecinna, with a
great army, having a mighty confidence in him, because of his having
beaten Otho. This Cecinna marched out of Rome in great haste, and found
Antonius about Cremona in Gall, which city is in the borders of Italy; but
when he saw there that the enemy were numerous and in good order, he
durst not fight them; and as he thought a retreat dangerous, so he began to
think of betraying his army to Antonius. Accordingly, he assembled the
centurions and tribunes that were under his command, and persuaded them
to go over to Antonius, and this by diminishing the reputation of Vitellius,
and by exaggerating the power of Vespasian. He also told them that with
the one there was no more than the bare name of dominion, but with the
other was the power of it; and that it was better for them to prevent
necessity, and gain favor, and, while they were likely to be overcome in
battle, to avoid the danger beforehand, and go over to Antonius willingly;
that Vespasian was able of himself to subdue what had not yet submitted
without their assistance, while Vitellius could not preserve what he had
already with it.
3. Cecinna said this, and much more to the same purpose, and persuaded
them to comply with him; and both he and his army deserted; but still the
very same night the soldiers repented of what they had done, and a fear
seized on them, lest perhaps Vitellius who sent them should get the better;
and drawing their swords, they assaulted Cecinna, in order to kill him; and
the thing had been done by them, if the tribunes had not fallen upon their
knees, and besought them not to do it; so the soldiers did not kill him, but
put him in bonds, as a traitor, and were about to send him to Vitellius.
When [Antonius] Primus heard of this, he raised up his men immediately,
and made them put on their armor, and led them against those that had
revolted; hereupon they put themselves in order of battle, and made a
resistance for a while, but were soon beaten, and fled to Cremona; then did
Primus take his horsemen, and cut off their entrance into the city, and
encompassed and destroyed a great multitude of them before the city, and
fell into the city together with the rest, and gave leave to his soldiers to
plunder it. And here it was that many strangers, who were merchants, as
well as many of the people of that country, perished, and among them
Vitellius’s whole army, being thirty thousand and two hundred, while
Antonius lost no more of those that came with him from Mysia than four
thousand and five hundred: he then loosed Cecinna, and sent him to
Vespasian to tell him the good news. So he came, and was received by him,
and covered the scandal of his treachery by the unexpected honors he
received from Vespasian.
4. And now, upon the news that Antonius was approaching, Sabinus took
courage at Rome, and assembled those cohorts of soldiers that kept watch
by night, and in the night time seized upon the capitol; and, as the day
came on, many men of character came over to him, with Domitian, his
brother’s son, whose encouragement was of very great weight for the
compassing the government. Now Vitellius was not much concerned at
this Primus, but was very angry with those that had revolted with
Sabinus; and thirsting, out of his own natural barbarity, after noble blood,
he sent out that part of the army which came along with him to fight
against the capitol; and many bold actions were done on this side, and on
the side of those that held the temple. But at last, the soldiers that came
from Germany, being too numerous for the others, got the hill into their
possession, where Domitian, with many other of the principal Romans,
providentially escaped, while the rest of the multitude were entirely cut to
pieces, and Sabinus himself was brought to Vitellius, and then slain; the
soldiers also plundered the temple of its ornaments, and set it on fire. But
now within a day’s time came Antonius, with his army, and were met by
Vitellius and his army; and having had a battle in three several places, the
last were all destroyed. Then did Vitellius come out of the palace, in his
cups, and satiated with an extravagant and luxurious meal, as in the last
extremity, and being drawn along through the multitude, and abused with
all sorts of torments, had his head cut off in the midst of Rome, having
retained the government eight months and five days 26 and had he lived
much longer, I cannot but think the empire would not have been sufficient
for his lust. Of the others that were slain, were numbered above fifty
thousand. This battle was fought on the third day of the month Apelleus
[Casleu]; on the next day Mucianus came into the city with his army, and
ordered Antonius and his men to leave off killing; for they were still
searching the houses, and killed many of Vitellius’s soldiers, and many of
the populace, as supposing them to be of his party, preventing by their
rage any accurate distinction between them and others. He then produced
Domitian, and recommended him to the multitude, until his father should
come himself; so the people being now freed from their fears, made
acclamations of joy for Vespasian, as for their emperor, and kept festival
days for his confirmation, and for the destruction of Vitellius.
5. And now, as Vespasian was come to Alexandria, this good news came
from Rome, and at the same time came embassies from all his own
habitable earth, to congratulate him upon his advancement; and though this
Alexandria was the greatest of all cities next to Rome, it proved too narrow
to contain the multitude that then came to it. So upon this confirmation of
Vespasian’s entire government, which was now settled, and upon the
unexpected deliverance of the public affairs of the Romans from ruin,
Vespasian turned his thoughts to what remained unsubdued in Judea.
However, he himself made haste to go to Rome, as the winter was now
almost over, and soon set the affairs of Alexandria in order, but sent his
son Titus, with a select part of his army, to destroy Jerusalem. So Titus
marched on foot as far as Nicopolis, which is distant twenty furlongs from
Alexandria; there he put his army on board some long ships, and sailed
upon the river along the Mendesian Nomus, as far as the city Tumuis;

there he got out of the ships, and walked on foot, and lodged all night at a
small city called Tanis. His second station was Heracleopolis, and his third
Pelusium; he then refreshed his army at that place for two days, and on the
third passed over the mouths of the Nile at Pelusium; he then proceeded
one station over the desert, and pitched his camp at the temple of the
Casian Jupiter, 27 and on the next day at Ostracine. This station had no
water, but the people of the country make use of water brought from other
places. After this he rested at Rhinocolura, and from thence he went to
Raphia, which was his fourth station. This city is the beginning of Syria.
For his fifth station he pitched his camp at Gaza; after which he came to
Ascalon, and thence to Jamnia, and after that to Joppa, and from Joppa to
Cesarea, having taken a resolution to gather all his other forces together at
that place.