Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Wars of the Jews or History of the Destruction of Jerusalem by Flavius Josephus

Part 10 out of 12

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 1.3 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

properly no more than ethnarch, as Josephus assures us, Antiq. B.
XVII. ch. 11. sect. 4; Of the War, B. II. ch. 6. sect. 3. Thus
also the Jews called the Roman emperors "kings," though they
never took that title to themselves:" We have no king but
Caesar," John 19:15. "Submit to the king as supreme," 1 Peter
2:13, 17; which is also the language of the Apostolical
Constitutions, II. II, 31; IV. 13; V. 19; VI. 2, 25; VII. 16;
VIII. 2, 13; and elsewhere in the New Testament, Matthew 10:18;
17:25; 1 Timothy 2:2; and in Josephus also; though I suspect
Josephus particularly esteemed Titus as joint king with his
father ever since his divine dreams that declared them both such,
B. III. ch. 8. sect. 9.

(8) This situation of the Mount of Olives, on the east of
Jerusalem, at about the distance of five or six furlongs, with
the valley of Cedron interposed between that mountain and the
city, are things well known both in the Old and New Testament, in
Josephus elsewhere, and in all the descriptions of Palestine.

(9) Here we see the true occasion of those vast numbers of Jews
that were in Jerusalem during this siege by Titus, and perished
therein; that the siege began at the feast of the passover, when
such prodigious multitudes of Jews and proselytes of the gate
were come from all parts of Judea, and from other countries, in
order to celebrate that great festival. See the note B. VI. ch.
9. sect. 3. Tacitus himself informs us, that the number of men,
women, and children in Jerusalem, when it was besieged by the
Romans, as he had been informed. This information must have been
taken from the Romans: for Josephus never recounts the numbers of
those that were besieged, only he lets us know, that of the
vulgar, carried dead out of the gates, and buried at the public
charges, was the like number of 600,000, ch. viii. sect. 7.
However, when Cestius Gallus came first to the siege, that sum in
Tacitus is no way disagreeable to Josephus's history, though they
were become much more numerous when Titus encompassed the city at
the passover. As to the number that perished during this siege,
Josephus assures us, as we shall see hereafter, they were
1,100,000, besides 97,000 captives. But Tacitus's history of the
last part of this siege is not now extant; so we cannot compare
his parallel numbers with those of Josephus.

(10) Perhaps, says Dr. Hudson, here was that gate, called the
"Gate of the Corner," in 2 Chronicles 26:9. See ch. 4. sect. 2

(11) These dove-courts in Josephus, built by Herod the Great,
are, in the opinion of Reland, the very same that are mentioned
by the Talmudists, and named by them "Herod's dove courts." Nor
is there any reason to suppose otherwise, since in both accounts
they were expressly tame pigeons which were kept in them.

(12) See the description of the temples hereto belonging, ch. 15.
But note, that what Josephus here says of the original scantiness
of this Mount Moriah, that it was quite too little for the
temple, and that at first it held only one cloister or court of
Solomon's building, and that the foundations were forced to be
added long afterwards by degrees, to render it capable of the
cloisters for the other courts, etc., is without all foundation
in the Scriptures, and not at all confirmed by his exacter
account in the Antiquities. All that is or can be true here is
this, that when the court of the Gentiles was long afterward to
be encompassed with cloisters, the southern foundation for these
cloisters was found not to be large or firm enough, and was
raised, and that additional foundation supported by great pillars
and arches under ground, which Josephus speaks of elsewhere,
Antiq. B. XV. ch. 11. sect. 3, and which Mr. Maundrel saw, and
describes, p. 100, as extant under ground at this day.

(13) What Josephus seems here to mean is this: that these
pillars, supporting the cloisters in the second court, had their
foundations or lowest parts as deep as the floor of the first or
lowest court; but that so far of those lowest parts as were equal
to the elevation of the upper floor above the lowest were, and
must be, hidden on the inside by the ground or rock itself, on
which that upper court was built; so that forty cubits visible
below were reduced to twenty-five visible above, and implies the
difference of their heights to be fifteen cubits. The main
difficulty lies here, how fourteen or fifteen steps should give
an ascent of fifteen cubits, half a cubit seeming sufficient for
a single step. Possibly there were fourteen or fifteen steps at
the partition wall, and fourteen or fifteen more thence into the
court itself, which would bring the whole near to the just
proportion. See sect. 3, infra. But I determine nothing.

(14) These three guards that lay in the tower of Antonia must be
those that guarded the city, the temple, and the tower of

(15) What should be the meaning of this signal or watchword, when
the watchmen saw a stone coming from the engine, "The Stone
Cometh," or what mistake there is in the reading, I cannot tell.
The MSS., both Greek and Latin, all agree in this reading; and I
cannot approve of any groundless conjectural alteration of the
text from ro to lop, that not the son or a stone, but that the
arrow or dart cometh; as hath been made by Dr. Hudson, and not
corrected by Havercamp. Had Josephus written even his first
edition of these books of the war in pure Hebrew, or had the Jews
then used the pure Hebrew at Jerusalem, the Hebrew word for a son
is so like that for a stone, ben and eben, that such a correction
might have been more easily admitted. But Josephus wrote his
former edition for the use of the Jews beyond Euphrates, and so
in the Chaldee language, as he did this second edition in the
Greek language; and bar was the Chaldee word for son, instead of
the Hebrew ben, and was used not only in Chaldea, etc. but in
Judea also, as the New Testament informs us. Dio lets us know
that the very Romans at Rome pronounced the name of Simon the son
of Giora, Bar Poras for Bar Gioras, as we learn from Xiphiline,
p. 217. Reland takes notice, "that many will here look for a
mystery, as though the meaning were, that the Son of God came now
to take vengeance on the sins of the Jewish nation;" which is
indeed the truth of the fact, but hardly what the Jews could now
mean; unless possibly by way of derision of Christ's threatening
so often made, that he would come at the head of the Roman army
for their destruction. But even this interpretation has but a
very small degree of probability. If I were to make an emendation
by mere conjecture, I would read instead of, though the likeness
be not so great as in lo; because that is the word used by
Josephus just before, as has been already noted on this very
occasion, while, an arrow or dart, is only a poetical word, and
never used by Josephus elsewhere, and is indeed no way suitable
to the occasion, this engine not throwing arrows or darts, but
great stones, at this time.

(16) Josephus supposes, in this his admirable speech to the Jews,
that not Abraham only, but Pharaoh king of Egypt, prayed towards
a temple at Jerusalem, or towards Jerusalem itself, in which were
Mount Sion and Mount Moriah, on which the tabernacle and temple
did afterwards stand; and this long before either the Jewish
tabernacle or temple were built. Nor is the famous command given
by God to Abraham, to go two or three days' journey, on purpose
to offer up his son Isaac there, unfavorable to such a notion.

(17) Note here, that Josephus, in this his same admirable speech,
calls the Syrians, nay, even the Philistines, on the most south
part of Syria, Assyrians; which Reland observes as what was
common among the ancient writers. Note also, that Josephus might
well put the Jews in mind, as he does here more than once, of
their wonderful and truly miraculous deliverance from
Sennacherib, king of Assyria, while the Roman army, and himself
with them, were now encamped upon and beyond that very spot of
ground where the Assyrian army lay seven hundred and eighty years
before, and which retained the very name of the Camp of the
Assyrians to that very day. See chap. 7. sect. 3, and chap. 12.
sect. 2.

(18) This drying up of the Jerusalem fountain of Siloam when the
Jews wanted it, and its flowing abundantly when the enemies of
the Jews wanted it, and these both in the days of Zedekiah and of
Titus, (and this last as a certain event well known by the Jews
at that time, as Josephus here tells them openly to their faces,)
are very remarkable instances of a Divine Providence for the
punishment of the Jewish nation, when they were grown very
wicked, at both those times of the destruction of Jerusalem.

(19) Reland very properly takes notice here, how justly this
judgment came upon the Jews, when they were crucified in such
multitudes together, that the Romans wanted room for the crosses,
and crosses for the bodies of these Jews, since they had brought
this judgment on themselves by the crucifixion of their Messiah.

(20) Josephus, both here and before, B. IV. ch. 8. sect. 4,
esteems the land of Sodom, not as part of the lake Asphaltiris,
or under its waters, but near it only, as Tacitus also took the
same notion from him, Hist. V. ch. 6. 7, which the great Reland
takes to be the very truth, both in his note on this place, and
in his Palestina, tom. I. p. 254-258; though I rather suppose
part of that region of Pentapolis to be now under the waters of
the south part of that sea, but perhaps not the whole country.


Containing The Interval Of About One Month.

From The Great Extremity To Which The Jews Were
Reduced To The Taking Of Jerusalem By Titus.



1. Thus did the miseries of Jerusalem grow worse and worse every
day, and the seditious were still more irritated by the
calamities they were under, even while the famine preyed upon
themselves, after it had preyed upon the people. And indeed the
multitude of carcasses that lay in heaps one upon another was a
horrible sight, and produced a pestilential stench, which was a
hinderance to those that would make sallies out of the city, and
fight the enemy: but as those were to go in battle-array, who had
been already used to ten thousand murders, and must tread upon
those dead bodies as they marched along, so were not they
terrified, nor did they pity men as they marched over them; nor
did they deem this affront offered to the deceased to be any ill
omen to themselves; but as they had their right hands already
polluted with the murders of their own countrymen, and in that
condition ran out to fight with foreigners, they seem to me to
have cast a reproach upon God himself, as if he were too slow in
punishing them; for the war was not now gone on with as if they
had any hope of victory; for they gloried after a brutish manner
in that despair of deliverance they were already in. And now the
Romans, although they were greatly distressed in getting together
their materials, raised their banks in one and twenty days, after
they had cut down all the trees that were in the country that
adjoined to the city, and that for ninety furlongs round about,
as I have already related. And truly the very view itself of the
country was a melancholy thing; for those places which were
before adorned with trees and pleasant gardens were now become a
desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down: nor
could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judea and the most
beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but
lament and mourn sadly at so great a change: for the war had laid
all the signs of beauty quite waste: nor if any one that had
known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he
have known it again; but though he were at the city itself, yet
would he have inquired for it notwithstanding.

2. And now the banks were finished, they afforded a foundation
for fear both to the Romans and to the Jews; for the Jews
expected that the city would be taken, unless they could burn
those banks, as did the Romans expect that, if these were once
burnt down, they should never be able to take it; for there was a
mighty scarcity of materials, and the bodies of the soldiers
began to fail with such hard labors, as did their souls faint
with so many instances of ill success; nay, the very calamities
themselves that were in the city proved a greater discouragement
to the Romans than those within the city; for they found the
fighting men of the Jews to be not at all mollified among such
their sore afflictions, while they had themselves perpetually
less and less hopes of success, and their banks were forced to
yield to the stratagems of the enemy, their engines to the
firmness of their wall, and their closest fights to the boldness
of their attack; and, what was their greatest discouragement of
all, they found the Jews' courageous souls to be superior to the
multitude of the miseries they were under, by their sedition,
their famine, and the war itself; insomuch that they were ready
to imagine that the violence of their attacks was invincible, and
that the alacrity they showed would not be discouraged by their
calamities; for what would not those be able to bear if they
should be fortunate, who turned their very misfortunes to the
improvement of their valor! These considerations made the Romans
to keep a stronger guard about their banks than they formerly had

3. But now John and his party took care for securing themselves
afterward, even in case this wall should be thrown down, and fell
to their work before the battering rams were brought against
them. Yet did they not compass what they endeavored to do, but as
they were gone out with their torches, they came back under great
discouragement before they came near to the banks; and the
reasons were these: that, in the first place, their conduct did
not seem to be unanimous, but they went out in distinct parties,
and at distinct intervals, and after a slow manner, and
timorously, and, to say all in a word, without a Jewish courage;
for they were now defective in what is peculiar to our nation,
that is, in boldness, in violence of assault, and in running upon
the enemy all together, and in persevering in what they go about,
though they do not at first succeed in it; but they now went out
in a more languid manner than usual, and at the same time found
the Romans set in array, and more courageous than ordinary, and
that they guarded their banks both with their bodies and their
entire armor, and this to such a degree on all sides, that they
left no room for the fire to get among them, and that every one
of their souls was in such good courage, that they would sooner
die than desert their ranks; for besides their notion that all
their hopes were cut off, in case these their works were once
burnt, the soldiers were greatly ashamed that subtlety should
quite be too hard for courage, madness for armor, multitude for
skill, and Jews for Romans. The Romans had now also another
advantage, in that their engines for sieges co-operated with them
in throwing darts and stones as far as the Jews, when they were
coming out of the city; whereby the man that fell became an
impediment to him that was next to him, as did the danger of
going farther make them less zealous in their attempts; and for
those that had run under the darts, some of them were terrified
by the good order and closeness of the enemies' ranks before they
came to a close fight, and others were pricked with their spears,
and turned back again; at length they reproached one another for
their cowardice, and retired without doing any thing. This attack
was made upon the first day of the month Panemus [Tamuz.] So when
the Jews were retreated, the Romans brought their engines,
although they had all the while stones thrown at them from the
tower of Antonia, and were assaulted by fire and sword, and by
all sorts of darts, which necessity afforded the Jews to make use
of; for although these had great dependence on their own wall,
and a contempt of the Roman engines, yet did they endeavor to
hinder the Romans from bringing them. Now these Romans struggled
hard, on the contrary, to bring them, as deeming that this zeal
of the Jews was in order to avoid any impression to be made on
the tower of Antonia, because its wall was but weak, and its
foundations rotten. However, that tower did not yield to the
blows given it from the engines; yet did the Romans bear the
impressions made by the enemies' darts which were perpetually
cast at them, and did not give way to any of those dangers that
came upon them from above, and so they brought their engines to
bear. But then, as they were beneath the other, and were sadly
wounded by the stones thrown down upon them, some of them threw
their shields over their bodies, and partly with their hands, and
partly with their bodies, and partly with crows, they undermined
its foundations, and with great pains they removed four of its
stones. Then night came upon both sides, and put an end to this
struggle for the present; however, that night the wall was so
shaken by the battering rams in that place where John had used
his stratagem before, and had undermined their banks, that the
ground then gave way, and the wall fell down suddenly.

4. When this accident had unexpectedly happened, the minds of
both parties were variously affected; for though one would expect
that the Jews would be discouraged, because this fall of their
wall was unexpected by them, and they had made no provision in
that case, yet did they pull up their courage, because the tower
of Antonia itself was still standing; as was the unexpected joy
of the Romans at this fall of the wall soon quenched by the sight
they had of another wall, which John and his party had built
within it. However, the attack of this second wall appeared to be
easier than that of the former, because it seemed a thing of
greater facility to get up to it through the parts of the former
wall that were now thrown down. This new wall appeared also to be
much weaker than the tower of Antonia, and accordingly the Romans
imagined that it had been erected so much on the sudden, that
they should soon overthrow it: yet did not any body venture now
to go up to this wall; for that such as first ventured so to do
must certainly be killed.

5. And now Titus, upon consideration that the alacrity of
soldiers in war is chiefly excited by hopes and by good words,
and that exhortations and promises do frequently make men to
forget the hazards they run, nay, sometimes to despise death
itself, got together the most courageous part of his army, and
tried what he could do with his men by these methods. "O fellow
soldiers," said he, "to make an exhortation to men to do what
hath no peril in it, is on that very account inglorious to such
to whom that exhortation is made; and indeed so it is in him that
makes the exhortation, an argument of his own cowardice also. I
therefore think that such exhortations ought then only to be made
use of when affairs are in a dangerous condition, and yet are
worthy of being attempted by every one themselves; accordingly, I
am fully of the same opinion with you, that it is a difficult
task to go up this wall; but that it is proper for those that
desire reputation for their valor to struggle with difficulties
in such cases will then appear, when I have particularly shown
that it is a brave thing to die with glory, and that the courage
here necessary shall not go unrewarded in those that first begin
the attempt. And let my first argument to move you to it be taken
from what probably some would think reasonable to dissuade you, I
mean the constancy and patience of these Jews, even under their
ill successes; for it is unbecoming you, who are Romans and my
soldiers, who have in peace been taught how to make wars, and who
have also been used to conquer in those wars, to be inferior to
Jews, either in action of the hand, or in courage of the soul,
and this especially when you are at the conclusion of your
victory, and are assisted by God himself; for as to our
misfortunes, they have been owing to the madness of the Jews,
while their sufferings have been owing to your valor, and to the
assistance God hath afforded you; for as to the seditions they
have been in, and the famine they are under, and the siege they
now endure, and the fall of their walls without our engines, what
can they all be but demonstrations of God's anger against them,
and of his assistance afforded us? It will not therefore be
proper for you, either to show yourselves inferior to those to
whom you are really superior, or to betray that Divine assistance
which is afforded you. And, indeed, how can it be esteemed
otherwise than a base and unworthy thing, that while the Jews,
who need not be much ashamed if they be deserted, because they
have long learned to be slaves to others, do yet despise death,
that they may be so no longer; and do make sallies into the very
midst of us frequently, no in hopes of conquering us, but merely
for a demonstration of their courage; we, who have gotten
possession of almost all the world that belongs to either land or
sea, to whom it will be a great shame if we do not conquer them,
do not once undertake any attempt against our enemies wherein
there is much danger, but sit still idle, with such brave arms as
we have, and only wait till the famine and fortune do our
business themselves, and this when we have it in our power, with
some small hazard, to gain all that we desire! For if we go up to
this tower of Antonia, we gain the city; for if there should be
any more occasion for fighting against those within the city,
which I do not suppose there will, since we shall then be upon
the top of the hill (1) and be upon our enemies before they can
have taken breath, these advantages promise us no less than a
certain and sudden victory. As for myself, I shall at present
wave any commendation of those who die in war, (2) and omit to
speak of the immortality of those men who are slain in the midst
of their martial bravery; yet cannot I forbear to imprecate upon
those who are of a contrary disposition, that they may die in
time of peace, by some distemper or other, since their souls are
condemned to the grave, together with their bodies. For what man
of virtue is there who does not know, that those souls which are
severed from their fleshly bodies in battles by the sword are
received by the ether, that purest of elements, and joined to
that company which are placed among the stars; that they become
good demons, and propitious heroes, and show themselves as such
to their posterity afterwards? while upon those souls that wear
away in and with their distempered bodies comes a subterranean
night to dissolve them to nothing, and a deep oblivion to take
away all the remembrance of them, and this notwithstanding they
be clean from all spots and defilements of this world; so that,
in this ease, the soul at the same time comes to the utmost
bounds of its life, and of its body, and of its memorial also.
But since he hath determined that death is to come of necessity
upon all men, a sword is a better instrument for that purpose
than any disease whatsoever. Why is it not then a very mean thing
for us not to yield up that to the public benefit which we must
yield up to fate? And this discourse have I made, upon the
supposition that those who at first attempt to go upon this wall
must needs be killed in the attempt, though still men of true
courage have a chance to escape even in the most hazardous
undertakings. For, in the first place, that part of the former
wall that is thrown down is easily to be ascended; and for the
new-built wall, it is easily destroyed. Do you, therefore, many
of you, pull up your courage, and set about this work, and do you
mutually encourage and assist one another; and this your bravery
will soon break the hearts of your enemies; and perhaps such a
glorious undertaking as yours is may be accomplished without
bloodshed. For although it be justly to be supposed that the Jews
will try to hinder you at your first beginning to go up to them;
yet when you have once concealed yourselves from them, and driven
them away by force, they will not be able to sustain your efforts
against them any longer, though but a few of you prevent them,
and get over the wall. As for that person who first mounts the
wall, I should blush for shame if I did not make him to be envied
of others, by those rewards I would bestow upon him. If such a
one escape with his life, he shall have the command of others
that are now but his equals; although it be true also that the
greatest rewards will accrue to such as die in the attempt." (3)

6. Upon this speech of Titus, the rest of the multitude were
afrighted at so great a danger. But there was one, whose name was
Sabinus, a soldier that served among the cohorts, and a Syrian by
birth, who appeared to be of very great fortitude, both in the
actions he had done, and the courage of his soul he had shown;
although any body would have thought, before he came to his work,
that he was of such a weak constitution of body, that he was not
fit to be a soldier; for his color was black, his flesh was lean
and thin, and lay close together; but there was a certain heroic
soul that dwelt in this small body, which body was indeed much
too narrow for that peculiar courage which was in him.
Accordingly he was the first that rose up, when he thus spake: "I
readily surrender up myself to thee, O Caesar; I first ascend the
wall, and I heartily wish that my fortune may follow my courage
and my resolution And if some ill fortune grudge me the success
of my undertaking, take notice that my ill success will not be
unexpected, but that I choose death voluntarily for thy sake."
When he had said this, and had spread out his sheild over his
head with his left hand, and hill, with his right hand, drawn his
sword, he marched up to the wall, just about the sixth hour of
the day. There followed him eleven others, and no more, that
resolved to imitate his bravery; but still this was the principal
person of them all, and went first, as excited by a divine fury.
Now those that guarded the wall shot at them from thence, and
cast innumerable darts upon them from every side; they also
rolled very large stones upon them, which overthrew some of those
eleven that were with him. But as for Sabinus himself, he met the
darts that were cast at him and though he was overwhelmed with
them, yet did he not leave off the violence of his attack before
he had gotten up on the top of the wall, and had put the enemy to
flight. For as the Jews were astonished at his great strength,
and the bravery of his soul, and as, withal, they imagined more
of them had got upon the wall than really had, they were put to
flight. And now one cannot but complain here of fortune, as still
envious at virtue, and always hindering the performance of
glorious achievements: this was the case of the man before us,
when he had just obtained his purpose; for he then stumbled at a
certain large stone, and fell down upon it headlong, with a very
great noise. Upon which the Jews turned back, and when they saw
him to be alone, and fallen down also, they threw darts at him
from every side. However. be got upon his knee, and covered
himself with his shield, and at the first defended himself
against them, and wounded many of those that came near him; but
he was soon forced to relax his right hand, by the multitude of
the wounds that had been given him, till at length he was quite
covered over with darts before he gave up the ghost. He was one
who deserved a better fate, by reason of his bravery; but, as
might be expected, he fell under so vast an attempt. As for the
rest of his partners, the Jews dashed three of them to pieces
with stones, and slew them as they were gotten up to the top of
the wall; the other eight being wounded, were pulled down, and
carried back to the camp. These things were done upon the third
day of the month Panemus [Tamuz].

7. Now two days afterward twelve of those men that were on the
forefront, and kept watch upon the banks, got together, and
called to them the standard-bearer of the fifth legion, and two
others of a troop of horsemen, and one trumpeter; these went
without noise, about the ninth hour of the night, through the
ruins, to the tower of Antonia; and when they had cut the throats
of the first guards of the place, as they were asleep, they got
possession of the wall, and ordered the trumpeter to sound his
trumpet. Upon which the rest of the guard got up on the sudden,
and ran away, before any body could see how many they were that
were gotten up; for, partly from the fear they were in, and
partly from the sound of the trumpet which they heard, they
imagined a great number of the enemy were gotten up. But as soon
as Caesar heard the signal, he ordered the army to put on their
armor immediately, and came thither with his commanders, and
first of all ascended, as did the chosen men that were with him.
And as the Jews were flying away to the temple, they fell into
that mine which John had dug under the Roman banks. Then did the
seditious of both the bodies of the Jewish army, as well that
belonging to John as that belonging to Simon, drive them away;
and indeed were no way wanting as to the highest degree of force
and alacrity; for they esteemed themselves entirely ruined if
once the Romans got into the temple, as did the Romans look upon
the same thing as the beginning of their entire conquest. So a
terrible battle was fought at the entrance of the temple, while
the Romans were forcing their way, in order to get possession of
that temple, and the Jews were driving them back to the tower of
Antonia; in which battle the darts were on both sides useless, as
well as the spears, and both sides drew their swords, and fought
it out hand to hand. Now during this struggle the positions of
the men were undistinguished on both sides, and they fought at
random, the men being intermixed one with another, and
confounded, by reason of the narrowness of the place; while the
noise that was made fell on the ear after an indistinct manner,
because it was so very loud. Great slaughter was now made on both
sides, and the combatants trod upon the bodies and the armor of
those that were dead, and dashed them to pieces. Accordingly, to
which side soever the battle inclined, those that had the
advantage exhorted one another to go on, as did those that were
beaten make great lamentation. But still there was no room for
flight, nor for pursuit, but disorderly revolutions and retreats,
while the armies were intermixed one with another; but those that
were in the first ranks were under the necessity of killing or
being killed, without any way for escaping; for those on both
sides that came behind forced those before them to go on, without
leaving any space between the armies. At length the Jews' violent
zeal was too hard for the Romans' skill, and the battle already
inclined entirely that way; for the fight had lasted from the
ninth hour of the night till the seventh hour of the day, While
the Jews came on in crowds, and had the danger the temple was in
for their motive; the Romans having no more here than a part of
their army; for those legions, on which the soldiers on that side
depended, were not come up to them. So it was at present thought
sufficient by the Romans to take possession of the tower of

8. But there was one Julian, a centurion, that came from
Eithynia, a man he was of great reputation, whom I had formerly
seen in that war, and one of the highest fame, both for his skill
in war, his strength of body, and the courage of his soul. This
man, seeing the Romans giving ground, and ill a sad condition,
(for he stood by Titus at the tower of Antonia,) leaped out, and
of himself alone put the Jews to flight, when they were already
conquerors, and made them retire as far as the corner of the
inner court of the temple; from him the multitude fled away in
crowds, as supposing that neither his strength nor his violent
attacks could be those of a mere man. Accordingly, he rushed
through the midst of the Jews, as they were dispersed all abroad,
and killed those that he caught. Nor, indeed, was there any sight
that appeared more wonderful in the eyes of Caesar, or more
terrible to others, than this. However, he was himself pursued by
fate, which it all not possible that he, who was but a mortal
man, should escape; for as he had shoes all full of thick and
sharp nails (4) as had every one of the other soldiers, so when
he ran on the pavement of the temple, he slipped, and fell down
upon his back with a very great noise, which was made by his
armor. This made those that were running away to turn back;
whereupon those Romans that were in the tower of Antonia set up a
great shout, as they were in fear for the man. But the Jews got
about him in crowds, and struck at him with their spears and with
their swords on all sides. Now he received a great many of the
strokes of these iron weapons upon his shield, and often
attempted to get up again, but was thrown down by those that
struck at him; yet did he, as he lay along, stab many of them
with his sword. Nor was he soon killed, as being covered with his
helmet and his breastplate in all those parts of his body where
he might be mortally wounded; he also pulled his neck close to
his body, till all his other limbs were shattered, and nobody
durst come to defend him, and then he yielded to his fate. Now
Caesar was deeply affected on account of this man of so great
fortitude, and especially as he was killed in the sight of so
many people; he was desirous himself to come to his assistance,
but the place would not give him leave, while such as could have
done it were too much terrified to attempt it. Thus when Julian
had struggled with death a great while, and had let but few of
those that had given him his mortal wound go off unhurt, he had
at last his throat cut, though not without some difficulty, and
left behind him a very great fame, not only among the Romans, and
with Caesar himself, but among his enemies also; then did the
Jews catch up his dead body, and put the Romans to flight again,
and shut them up in the tower of Antonia. Now those that most
signalized themselves, and fought most zealously in this battle
of the Jewish side, were one Alexas and Gyphtheus, of John's
party, and of Simon's party were Malachias, and Judas the son of
Merto, and James the son of Sosas, the commander of the Idumeans;
and of the zealots, two brethren, Simon and Judas, the sons of


How Titus Gave Orders To Demolish The Tower Of Antonia
And Then Persuaded Josephus To Exhort The Jews Again
[To A Surrender].

1. And now Titus gave orders to his soldiers that were with him
to dig up the foundations of the tower of Antonia, and make him a
ready passage for his army to come up; while he himself had
Josephus brought to him, (for he had been informed that on that
very day, which was the seventeenth day (5)of Panemus, [Tamuz,]
the sacrifice called "the Daily Sacrifice" had failed, and had
not been offered to God, for want of men to offer it, and that
the people were grievously troubled at it,) and commanded him to
say the same things to John that he had said before, that if he
had any malicious inclination for fighting, he might come out
with as many of his men as he pleased, in order to fight, without
the danger of destroying either his city or temple; but that he
desired he would not defile the temple, nor thereby offend
against God. That he might, if he pleased, offer the sacrifices
which were now discontinuned by any of the Jews whom he should
pitch upon. Upon this Josephus stood in such a place where he
might be heard, not by John only, but by many more, and then
declared to them what Caesar had given him in charge, and this in
the Hebrew language. (6) So he earnestly prayed them to spare
their own city, and to prevent that fire which was just ready to
seize upon the temple, and to offer their usual sacrifices to God
therein. At these words of his a great sadness and silence were
observed among the people. But the tyrant himself cast many
reproaches upon Josephus, with imprecations besides; and at last
added this withal, that he did never fear the taking of the city,
because it was God's own city. In answer to which Josephus said
thus with a loud voice: "To be sure thou hast kept this city
wonderfully pure for God's sake; the temple also continues
entirely unpolluted! Nor hast thou been guilty of ally impiety
against him for whose assistance thou hopest! He still receives
his accustomed sacrifices! Vile wretch that thou art! if any one
should deprive thee of thy daily food, thou wouldst esteem him to
be an enemy to thee; but thou hopest to have that God for thy
supporter in this war whom thou hast deprived of his everlasting
worship; and thou imputest those sins to the Romans, who to this
very time take care to have our laws observed, and almost compel
these sacrifices to be still offered to God, which have by thy
means been intermitted! Who is there that can avoid groans and
lamentations at the amazing change that is made in this city?
since very foreigners and enemies do now correct that impiety
which thou hast occasioned; while thou, who art a Jew, and wast
educated in our laws, art become a greater enemy to them than the
others. But still, John, it is never dishonorable to repent, and
amend what hath been done amiss, even at the last extremity. Thou
hast an instance before thee in Jechoniah, (7) the king of the
Jews, if thou hast a mind to save the city, who, when the king of
Babylon made war against him, did of his own accord go out of
this city before it was taken, and did undergo a voluntary
captivity with his family, that the sanctuary might not be
delivered up to the enemy, and that he might not see the house of
God set on fire; on which account he is celebrated among all the
Jews, in their sacred memorials, and his memory is become
immortal, and will be conveyed fresh down to our posterity
through all ages. This, John, is an excellent example in such a
time of danger, and I dare venture to promise that the Romans
shall still forgive thee. And take notice that I, who make this
exhortation to thee, am one of thine own nation; I, who am a Jew,
do make this promise to thee. And it will become thee to consider
who I am that give thee this counsel, and whence I am derived;
for while I am alive I shall never be in such slavery, as to
forego my own kindred, or forget the laws of our forefathers.
Thou hast indignation at me again, and makest a clamor at me, and
reproachest me; indeed I cannot deny but I am worthy of worse
treatment than all this amounts to, because, in opposition to
fate, I make this kind invitation to thee, and endeavor to force
deliverance upon those whom God hath condemned. And who is there
that does not know what the writings of the ancient prophets
contain in them, - and particularly that oracle which is just now
going to be fulfilled upon this miserable city? For they foretold
that this city should be then taken when somebody shall begin the
slaughter of his own countrymen. And are not both the city and
the entire temple now full of the dead bodies of your countrymen?
It is God, therefore, it is God himself who is bringing on this
fire, to purge that city and temple by means of the Romans, (8)
and is going to pluck up this city, which is full of your

2. As Josephus spoke these words, with groans and tears in his
eyes, his voice was intercepted by sobs. However, the Romans
could not but pity the affliction he was under, and wonder at his
conduct. But for John, and those that were with him, they were
but the more exasperated against the Romans on this account, and
were desirous to get Josephus also into their power: yet did that
discourse influence a great many of the better sort; and truly
some of them were so afraid of the guards set by the seditious,
that they tarried where they were, but still were satisfied that
both they and the city were doomed to destruction. Some also
there were who, watching a proper opportunity when they might
quietly get away, fled to the Romans, of whom were the high
priests Joseph and Jesus, and of the sons of high priests three,
whose father was Ishmael, who was beheaded in Cyrene, and four
sons of Matthias, as also one son of the other Matthias, who ran
away after his father's death, (9) and whose father was slain by
Simon the son of Gioras, with three of his sons, as I have
already related; many also of the other nobility went over to the
Romans, together with the high priests. Now Caesar not only
received these men very kindly in other respects, but, knowing
they would not willingly live after the customs of other nations,
he sent them to Gophna, and desired them to remain there for the
present, and told them, that when he was gotten clear of this
war, he would restore each of them to their possessions again; so
they cheerfully retired to that small city which was allotted
them, without fear of any danger. But as they did not appear, the
seditious gave out again that these deserters were slain by the
Romans, which was done in order to deter the rest from running
away, by fear of the like treatment. This trick of theirs
succeeded now for a while, as did the like trick before; for the
rest were hereby deterred from deserting, by fear of the like

3. However, when Titus had recalled those men from Gophna, he
gave orders that they should go round the wall, together with
Josephus, and show themselves to the people; upon which a great
many fled to the Romans. These men also got in a great number
together, and stood before the Romans, and besought the
seditious, with groans and tears in their eyes, in the first
place to receive the Romans entirely into the city, and save that
their own place of residence again; but that, if they would not
agree to such a proposal, they would at least depart out of the
temple, and save the holy house for their own use; for that the
Romans would not venture to set the sanctuary on fire but under
the most pressing necessity. Yet did the seditious still more and
more contradict them; and while they cast loud and bitter
reproaches upon these deserters, they also set their engines for
throwing of darts, and javelins, and stones upon the sacred gates
of the temple, at due distances from one another, insomuch that
all the space round about within the temple might be compared to
a burying-ground, so great was the number of the dead bodies
therein; as might the holy house itself be compared to a citadel.
Accordingly, these men rushed upon these holy places in their
armor, that were otherwise unapproachable, and that while their
hands were yet warm with the blood of their own people which they
had shed; nay, they proceeded to such great transgressions, that
the very same indignation which Jews would naturally have against
Romans, had they been guilty of such abuses against them, the
Romans now
had against Jews, for their impiety in regard to their own
religious customs. Nay, indeed, there were none of the Roman
soldiers who did not look with a sacred horror upon the holy
house, and adored it, and wished that the robbers would repent
before their miseries became incurable.

4. Now Titus was deeply affected with this state of things, and
reproached John and his party, and said to them, "Have not you,
vile wretches that you are, by our permission, put up this
partition-wall before your sanctuary? Have not you been allowed
to put up the pillars thereto belonging, at due distances, and on
it to engrave in Greek, and in your own letters, this
prohibition, that no foreigner should go beyond that wall. (10)
Have not we given you leave to kill such as go beyond it, though
he were a Roman? And what do you do now, you pernicious villains?
Why do you trample upon dead bodies in this temple? and why do
you pollute this holy house with the blood of both foreigners and
Jews themselves? I appeal to the gods of my own country, and to
every god that ever had any regard to this place; (for I do not
suppose it to be now regarded by any of them;) I also appeal to
my own army, and to those Jews that are now with me, and even to
yourselves, that I do not force you to defile this your
sanctuary; and if you will but change the place whereon you will
fight, no Roman shall either come near your sanctuary, or offer
any affront to it; nay, I will endeavor to preserve you your holy
house, whether you will or not." (11)

5. As Josephus explained these things from the mouth of Caesar,
both the robbers and the tyrant thought that these exhortations
proceeded from Titus's fear, and not from his good-will to them,
and grew insolent upon it. But when Titus saw that these men were
neither to be moved by commiseration towards themselves, nor had
any concern upon them to have the holy house spared, he proceeded
unwillingly to go on again with the war against them. He could
not indeed bring all his army against them, the place was so
narrow; but choosing thirty soldiers of the most valiant out of
every hundred, and committing a thousand to each tribune, and
making Cerealis their commander-in-chief, he gave orders that
they should attack the guards of the temple about the ninth hour
of that night. But as he was now in his armor, and preparing to
go down with them, his friends would not let him go, by reason of
the greatness of the danger, and what the commanders suggested to
them; for they said that he would do more by sitting above in the
tower of Antonia, as a dispenser of rewards to those soldiers
that signalized themselves in the fight, than by coming down and
hazarding his own person in the forefront of them; for that they
would all fight stoutly while Caesar looked upon them. With this
advice Caesar complied, and said that the only reason he had for
such compliance with the soldiers was this, that he might be
able to judge of their courageous actions, and that no valiant
soldier might lie concealed, and miss of his reward, and no
cowardly soldier might go unpunished; but that he might himself
be an eye-witness, and able to give evidence of all that was
done, who was to be the disposer of punishments and rewards to
them. So he sent the soldiers about their work at the hour
forementioned, while he went out himself to a higher place in the
tower of Antonia, whence he might see what was done, and there
waited with impatience to see the event.

6. However, the soldiers that were sent did not find the guards
of the temple asleep, as they hoped to have done; but were
obliged to fight with them immediately hand to hand, as they
rushed with violence upon them with a great shout. Now as soon as
the rest within the temple heard that shout of those that were
upon the watch, they ran out in troops upon them. Then did the
Romans receive the onset of those that came first upon them; but
those that followed them fell upon their own troops, and many of
them treated their own soldiers as if they had been enemies; for
the great confused noise that was made on both sides hindered
them from distinguishing one another's voices, as did the
darkness of the night hinder them from the like distinction by
the sight, besides that blindness which arose otherwise also from
the passion and the fear they were in at the same time; for which
reason it was all one to the soldiers who it was they struck at.
However, this ignorance did less harm to the Romans than to the
Jews, because they were joined together under their shields, and
made their sallies more regularly than the others did, and each
of them remembered their watch-word; while the Jews were
perpetually dispersed abroad, and made their attacks and retreats
at random, and so did frequently seem to one another to be
enemies; for every one of them received those of their own men
that came back in the dark as Romans, and made an assault upon
them; so that more of them were wounded by their own men than by
the enemy, till, upon the coming on of the day, the nature of the
right was discerned by the eye afterward. Then did they stand in
battle-array in distinct bodies, and cast their darts regularly,
and regularly defended themselves; nor did either side yield or
grow weary. The Romans contended with each other who should fight
the most strenuously, both single men and entire regiments, as
being under the eye of Titus; and every one concluded that this
day would begin his promotion if he fought bravely. What were the
great encouragements of the Jews to act vigorously were, their
fear for themselves and for the temple, and the presence of their
tyrant, who exhorted some, and beat and threatened others, to act
courageously. Now, it so happened, that this fight was for the
most part a stationary one, wherein the soldiers went on and came
back in a short time, and suddenly; for there was no long space
of ground for either of their flights or pursuits. But still
there was a tumultuous noise among the Romans from the tower of
Antonia, who loudly cried out upon all occasions to their own men
to press on courageously, when they were too hard for the Jews,
and to stay when they were retiring backward; so that here was a
kind of theater of war; for what was done in this fight could not
be concealed either from Titus, or from those that were about
him. At length it appeared that this fight, which began at the
ninth hour of the night, was not over till past the fifth hour of
the day; and that, in the same place where the battle began,
neither party could say they had made the other to retire; but
both the armies left the victory almost in uncertainty between
them; wherein those that signalized themselves on the Roman side
were a great many, but on the Jewish side, and of those that were
with Simon, Judas the son of Merto, and Simon the son of Josas;
of the Idumeans, James and Simon, the latter of whom was the son
of Cathlas, and James was the son of Sosas; of those that were
with John, Gyphtheus and Alexas; and of the zealots, Simon the
son of Jairus.

7. In the mean time, the rest of the Roman army had, in seven
days' time, overthrown [some] foundations of the tower of
Antonia, and had made a ready and broad way to the temple. Then
did the legions come near the first court, (12) and began to
raise their banks. The one bank was over against the north-west
corner of the inner temple (13) another was at that northern
edifice which was between the two gates; and of the other two,
one was at the western cloister of the outer court of the temple;
the other against its northern cloister. However, these works
were thus far advanced by the Romans, not without great pains and
difficulty, and particularly by being obliged to bring their
materials from the distance of a hundred furlongs. They had
further difficulties also upon them; sometimes by their
over-great security they were in that they should overcome the
Jewish snares laid for them, and by that boldness of the Jews
which their despair of escaping had inspired them withal; for
some of their horsemen, when they went out to gather wood or hay,
let their horses feed without having their bridles on during the
time of foraging; upon which horses the Jews sallied out in whole
bodies, and seized them. And when this was continually done, and
Caesar believed what the truth was, that the horses were stolen
more by the negligence of his own men than by the valor of the
Jews, he determined to use greater severity to oblige the rest to
take care of their horses; so he commanded that one of those
soldiers who had lost their horses should be capitally punished;
whereby he so terrified the rest, that they preserved their
horses for the time to come; for they did not any longer let them
go from them to feed by themselves, but, as if they had grown to
them, they went always along with them when they wanted
necessaries. Thus did the Romans still continue to make war
against the temple, and to raise their banks against it.

8. Now after one day had been interposed since the Romans
ascended the breach, many of the seditious were so pressed by the
famine, upon the present failure of their ravages, that they got
together, and made an attack on those Roman guards that were upon
the Mount of Olives, and this about the eleventh hour of the day,
as supposing, first, that they would not expect such an onset,
and, in the next place, that they were then taking care of their
bodies, and that therefore they should easily beat them. But the
Romans were apprized of their coming to attack them beforehand,
and, running together from the neighboring camps on the sudden,
prevented them from getting over their fortification, or forcing
the wall that was built about them. Upon this came on a sharp
fight, and here many great actions were performed on both sides;
while the Romans showed both their courage and their skill in
war, as did the Jews come on them with immoderate violence and
intolerable passion. The one part were urged on by shame, and the
other by necessity; for it seemed a very shameful thing to the
Romans to let the Jews go, now they were taken in a kind of net;
while the Jews had but one hope of saving themselves, and that
was in case they could by violence break through the Roman wall;
and one whose name was Pedanius, belonging to a party of
horsemen, when the Jews were already beaten and forced down into
the valley together, spurred his horse on their flank with great
vehemence, and caught up a certain young man belonging to the
enemy by his ankle, as he was running away; the man was, however,
of a robust body, and in his armor; so low did Pedanius bend
himself downward from his horse, even as he was galloping away,
and so great was the strength of his right hand, and of the rest
of his body, as also such skill had he in horsemanship. So this
man seized upon that his prey, as upon a precious treasure, and
carried him as his captive to Caesar; whereupon Titus admired the
man that had seized the other for his great strength, and ordered
the man that was caught to be punished [with death] for his
attempt against the Roman wall, but betook himself to the siege
of the temple, and to pressing on the raising of the banks.

9. In the mean time, the Jews were so distressed by the fights
they had been in, as the war advanced higher and higher, and
creeping up to the holy house itself, that they, as it were, cut
off those limbs of their body which were infected, in order to
prevent the distemper's spreading further; for they set the
north-west cloister, which was joined to the tower of Antonia, on
fire, and after that brake off about twenty cubits of that
cloister, and thereby made a beginning in burning the sanctuary;
two days after which, or on the twenty-fourth day of the
forenamed month, [Panemus or Tamuz,] the Romans set fire to the
cloister that joined to the other, when the fire went fifteen
cubits farther. The Jews, in like manner, cut off its roof; nor
did they entirely leave off what they were about till the tower
of Antonia was parted from the temple, even when it was in their
power to have stopped the fire; nay, they lay still while the
temple was first set on fire, and deemed this spreading of the
fire to be for their own advantage. However, the armies were
still fighting one against another about the temple, and the war
was managed by continual sallies of particular parties against
one another.

10. Now there was at this time a man among the Jews, low of
stature he was, and of a despicable appearance; of no character
either as to his family, or in other respects: his flame was
Jonathan. He went out at the high priest John's monument, and
uttered many other insolent things to the Romans, a challenged
the best of them all to a single combat.But many of those that
stood there in the army huffed him, and many of them (as they
might well be) were afraid of him. Some of them also reasoned
thus, and that justly enough: that it was not fit to fight with a
man that desired to die, because those that utterly despaired of
deliverance had, besides other passions, a violence in attacking
men that could not be opposed, and had no regard to God himself;
and that to hazard oneself with a person, whom, if you overcome,
you do no great matter, and by whom it is hazardous that you may
be taken prisoner, would be an instance, not of manly courage,
but of unmanly rashness. So there being nobody that came out to
accept the man's challenge, and the Jew cutting them with a great
number of reproaches, as cowards, (for he was a very haughty man
in himself, and a great despiser of the Romans,) one whose name
was Pudens, of the body of horsemen, out of his abomination of
the other's words, and of his impudence withal, and perhaps out
of an inconsiderate arrogance, on account of the other's lowness
of stature, ran out to him, and was too hard for him in other
respects, but was betrayed by his ill fortune; for he fell down,
and as he was down, Jonathan came running to him, and cut his
throat, and then, standing upon his dead body, he brandished his
sword, bloody as it was, and shook his shield with his left hand,
and made many acclamations to the Roman army, and exulted over
the dead man, and jested upon the Romans; till at length one
Priscus, a centurion, shot a dart at him as he was leaping and
playing the fool with himself, and thereby pierced him through;
upon which a shout was set up both by the Jews and the Romans,
though on different accounts. So Jonathan grew giddy by the pain
of his wounds, and fell down upon the body of his adversary, as a
plain instance how suddenly vengeance may come upon men that have
success in war, without any just deserving the same.


Concerning A Stratagem That Was Devised By The Jews,
By Which They Burnt Many Of The Romans; With Another
Description Of The Terrible Famine That Was In The City.

1. But now the seditious that were in the temple did every day
openly endeavor to beat off the soldiers that were upon the
banks, and on the twenty-seventh day of the forenamed month
[Panemus or Tamuz] contrived such a stratagem as this: They
filled that part of the western cloister (14) which was between
the beams, and the roof under them, with dry materials, as also
with bitumen and pitch, and then retired from that place, as
though they were tired with the pains they had taken; at which
procedure of theirs, many of the most inconsiderate among the
Romans, who were carried away with violent passions, followed
hard after them as they were retiring, and applied ladders to the
cloister, and got up to it suddenly; but the prudent part of
them, when they understood this unaccountable retreat of the
Jews, stood still where they were before. However, the cloister
was full of those that were gone up the ladders; at which time
the Jews set it all on fire; and as the flame burst out every
where on the sudden, the Romans that were out of the danger were
seized with a very great consternation, as were those that were
in the midst of the danger in the utmost distress. So when they
perceived themselves surrounded with the flames, some of them
threw themselves down backwards into the city, and some among
their enemies [in the temple]; as did many leap down to their own
men, and broke their limbs to pieces; but a great number of those
that were going to take these violent methods were prevented by
the fire; though some prevented the fire by their own swords.
However, the fire was on the sudden carried so far as to surround
those who would have otherwise perished. As for Caesar himself,
he could not, however, but commiserate those that thus perished,
although they got up thither without any order for so doing,
since there was no way of giving the many relief. Yet was this
some comfort to those that were destroyed, that every body might
see that person grieve, for whose sake they came to their end;
for he cried out openly to them, and leaped up, and exhorted
those that were about him to do their utmost to relieve them; So
every one of them died cheerfully, as carrying along with him
these words and this intention of Caesar as a sepulchral
monument. Some there were indeed who retired into the wall of the
cloister, which was broad, and were preserved out of the fire,
but were then surrounded by the Jews; and although they made
resistance against the Jews for a long time, yet were they
wounded by them, and at length they all fell down dead.

2. At the last a young man among them, whose name was Longus,
became a decoration to this sad affair, and while every one of
them that perished were worthy of a memorial, this man appeared
to deserve it beyond all the rest. Now the Jews admired this man
for his courage, and were further desirous of having him slain;
so they persuaded him to come down to them, upon security given
him for his life. But Cornelius his brother persuaded him on the
contrary, not to tarnish his own glory, nor that of the Roman
army. He complied with this last advice, and lifting up his sword
before both armies, he slew himself. Yet there was one Artorius
among those surrounded by the fire who escaped by his subtlety;
for when he had with a loud voice called to him Lucius, one of
his fellow soldiers that lay with him in the same tent, and said
to him, "I do leave thee heir of all I have, if thou wilt come
and receive me." Upon this he came running to receive him
readily; Artorius then threw himself down upon him, and saved his
own life, while he that received him was dashed so vehemently
against the stone pavement by the other's weight, that he died
immediately. This melancholy accident made the Romans sad for a
while, but still it made them more upon their guard for the
future, and was of advantage to them against the delusions of the
Jews, by which they were greatly damaged through their
unacquaintedness with the places, and with the nature of the
inhabitants. Now this cloister was burnt down as far as John's
tower, which he built in the war he made against Simon over the
gates that led to the Xystus. The Jews also cut off the rest of
that cloister from the temple, after they had destroyed those
that got up to it. But the next day the Romans burnt down the
northern cloister entirely, as far as the east cloister, whose
common angle joined to the valley that was called Cedron, and was
built over it; on which account the depth was frightful. And this
was the state of the temple at that time.

3. Now of those that perished by famine in the city, the number
was prodigious, and the miseries they underwent were unspeakable;
for if so much as the shadow of any kind of food did any where
appear, a war was commenced presently, and the dearest friends
fell a fighting one with another about it, snatching from each
other the most miserable supports of life. Nor would men believe
that those who were dying had no food, but the robbers would
search them when they were expiring, lest any one should have
concealed food in their bosoms, and counterfeited dying; nay,
these robbers gaped for want, and ran about stumbling and
staggering along like mad dogs, and reeling against the doors of
the houses like drunken men; they would also, in the great
distress they were in, rush into the very same houses two or
three times in one and the same day. Moreover, their hunger was
so intolerable, that it obliged them to chew every thing, while
they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not
touch, and endured to eat them; nor did they at length abstain
from girdles and shoes; and the very leather which belonged to
their shields they pulled off and gnawed: the very wisps of old
hay became food to some; and some gathered up fibres, and sold a
very small weight of them for four Attic [drachmae]. But why do I
describe the shameless impudence that the famine brought on men
in their eating inanimate things, while I am going to relate a
matter of fact, the like to which no history relates, (15) either
among the Greeks or Barbarians? It is horrible to speak of it,
and incredible when heard. I had indeed willingly omitted this
calamity of ours, that I might not seem to deliver what is so
portentous to posterity, but that I have innumerable witnesses to
it in my own age; and besides, my country would have had little
reason to thank me for suppressing the miseries that she
underwent at this time.

4. There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name
was Mary; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezob, which
signifies the house of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family and
her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the
multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The
other effects of this woman had been already seized upon, such I
mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the
city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she
had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious
guards, who came every day running into her house for that
purpose. This put the poor woman into a very great passion, and
by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she east at these
rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her;
but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised
against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take
away her life; and if she found any food, she perceived her
labors were for others, and not for herself; and it was now
become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while
the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow, when also
her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself; nor
did she consult with any thing but with her passion and the
necessity she was in. She then attempted a most unnatural thing;
and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast,
she said, "O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve
thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition? As to the war
with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves.
This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes
upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both
the other. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these
seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that
is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews." As soon as
she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and
eat the one half of him, and kept the other half by her
concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently, and
smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her that
they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them
what food she had gotten ready. She replied that she had saved a
very fine portion of it for them, and withal uncovered what was
left of her son. Hereupon they were seized with a horror and
amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight, when she
said to them, "This is mine own son, and what hath been done was
mine own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it
myself! Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman,
or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so
scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten
the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also." After which
those men went out trembling, being never so much aftrighted at
any thing as they were at this, and with some difficulty they
left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole
city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every
body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they
trembled, as if this unheard of action had been done by
themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine were
very desirous to die, and those already dead were esteemed happy,
because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see
such miseries.

5. This sad instance was quickly told to the Romans, some of whom
could not believe it, and others pitied the distress which the
Jews were under; but there were many of them who were hereby
induced to a more bitter hatred than ordinary against our nation.
But for Caesar, he excused himself before God as to this matter,
and said that he had proposed peace and liberty to the Jews, as
well as an oblivion of all their former insolent practices; but
that they, instead of concord, had chosen sedition; instead of
peace, war; and before satiety and abundance, a famine. That they
had begun with their own hands to burn down that temple which we
have preserved hitherto; and that therefore they deserved to eat
such food as this was. That, however, this horrid action of
eating an own child ought to be covered with the overthrow of
their very country itself, and men ought not to leave such a city
upon the habitable earth to be seen by the sun, wherein mothers
are thus fed, although such food be fitter for the fathers than
for the mothers to eat of, since it is they that continue still
in a state of war against us, after they have undergone such
miseries as these. And at the same time that he said this, he
reflected on the desperate condition these men must be in; nor
could he expect that such men could be recovered to sobriety of
mind, after they had endured those very sufferings, for the
avoiding whereof it only was probable they might have repented.


When The Banks Were Completed And The Battering
Rams Brought, And Could Do Nothing, Titus Gave Orders
To Set Fire To The Gates Of The Temple; In No Long Time
After Which The Holy House Itself Was Burnt Down, Even
Against His Consent.

1. And now two of the legions had completed their banks on the
eighth day of the month Lous [Ab]. Whereupon Titus gave orders
that the battering rams should be brought, and set over against
the western edifice of the inner temple; for before these were
brought, the firmest of all the other engines had battered the
wall for six days together without ceasing, without making any
impression upon it; but the vast largeness and strong connexion
of the stones were superior to that engine, and to the other
battering rams also. Other Romans did indeed undermine the
foundations of the northern gate, and after a world of pains
removed the outermost stones, yet was the gate still upheld by
the inner stones, and stood still unhurt; till the workmen,
despairing of all such attempts by engines and crows, brought
their ladders to the cloisters. Now the Jews did not interrupt
them in so doing; but when they were gotten up, they fell upon
them, and fought with them; some of them they thrust down, and
threw them backwards headlong; others of them they met and slew;
they also beat many of those that went down the ladders again,
and slew them with their swords before they could bring their
shields to protect them; nay, some of the ladders they threw down
from above when they were full of armed men; a great slaughter
was made of the Jews also at the same time, while those that bare
the ensigns fought hard for them, as deeming it a terrible thing,
and what would tend to their great shame, if they permitted them
to be stolen away. Yet did the Jews at length get possession of
these engines, and destroyed those that had gone up the ladders,
while the rest were so intimidated by what those suffered who
were slain, that they retired; although none of the Romans died
without having done good service before his death. Of the
seditious, those that had fought bravely in the former battles
did the like now, as besides them did Eleazar, the brother's son
of Simon the tyrant. But when Titus perceived that his endeavors
to spare a foreign temple turned to the damage of his soldiers,
and then be killed, he gave order to set the gates on fire.

2. In the mean time, there deserted to him Ananus, who came from
Emmaus, the most bloody of all Simon's guards, and Archelaus, the
son of Magadatus, they hoping to be still forgiven, because they
left the Jews at a time when they were the conquerors. Titus
objected this to these men, as a cunning trick of theirs; and as
he had been informed of their other barbarities towards the Jews,
he was going in all haste to have them both slain. He told them
that they were only driven to this desertion because of the
utmost distress they were in, and did not come away of their own
good disposition; and that those did not deserve to be preserved,
by whom their own city was already set on fire, out of which fire
they now hurried themselves away. However, the security he had
promised deserters overcame his resentments, and he dismissed
them accordingly, though he did not give them the same privileges
that he had afforded to others. And now the soldiers had already
put fire to the gates, and the silver that was over them quickly
carried the flames to the wood that was within it, whence it
spread itself all on the sudden, and caught hold on the
cloisters. Upon the Jews seeing this fire all about them, their
spirits sunk together with their bodies, and they were under such
astonishment, that not one of them made any haste, either to
defend himself or to quench the fire, but they stood as mute
spectators of it only. However, they did not so grieve at the
loss of what was now burning, as to grow wiser thereby for the
time to come; but as though the holy house itself had been on
fire already, they whetted their passions against the Romans.
This fire prevailed during that day and the next also; for the
soldiers were not able to burn all the cloisters that were round
about together at one time, but only by pieces.

3. But then, on the next day, Titus commanded part of his army to
quench the fire, and to make a road for the more easy marching up
of the legions, while he himself gathered the commanders
together. Of those there were assembled the six principal
persons: Tiberius Alexander, the commander [under the general] of
the whole army; with Sextus Cerealis, the commander of the fifth
legion; and Larcius Lepidus, the commander of the tenth legion;
and Titus Frigius, the commander of the fifteenth legion: there
was also with them Eternius, the leader of the two legions that
came from Alexandria; and Marcus Antonius Julianus, procurator of
Judea: after these came together all the rest of the procurators
and tribunes. Titus proposed to these that they should give him
their advice what should be done about the holy house. Now some
of these thought it would be the best way to act according to the
rules of war, [and demolish it,] because the Jews would never
leave off rebelling while that house was standing; at which house
it was that they used to get all together. Others of them were of
opinion, that in case the Jews would leave it, and none of them
would lay their arms up in it, he might save it; but that in case
they got upon it, and fought any more, he might burn it; because
it must then be looked upon not as a holy house, but as a
citadel; and that the impiety of burning it would then belong to
those that forced this to be done, and not to them. But Titus
said, that "although the Jews should get upon that holy house,
and fight us thence, yet ought we not to revenge ourselves on
things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves;" and
that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as
that was, because this would be a mischief to the Romans
themselves, as it would be an ornament to their government while
it continued. So Fronto, and Alexander, and Cerealis grew bold
upon that declaration, and agreed to the opinion of Titus. Then
was this assembly dissolved, when Titus had given orders to the
commanders that the rest of their forces should lie still; but
that they should make use of such as were most courageous in this
attack. So he commanded that the chosen men that were taken out
of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and
quench the fire.

4. Now it is true that on this day the Jews were so weary, and
under such consternation, that they refrained from any attacks.
But on the next day they gathered their whole force together, and
ran upon those that guarded the outward court of the temple very
boldly, through the east gate, and this about the second hour of
the day. These guards received that their attack with great
bravery, and by covering themselves with their shields before, as
if it were with a wall, they drew their squadron close together;
yet was it evident that they could not abide there very long, but
would be overborne by the multitude of those that sallied out
upon them, and by the heat of their passion. However, Caesar
seeing, from the tower of Antonia, that this squadron was likely
to give way, he sent some chosen horsemen to support them.
Hereupon the Jews found themselves not able to sustain their
onset, and upon the slaughter of those in the forefront, many of
the rest were put to flight. But as the Romans were going off,
the Jews turned upon them, and fought them; and as those Romans
came back upon them, they retreated again, until about the fifth
hour of the day they were overborne, and shut themselves up in
the inner [court of the] temple.

5. So Titus retired into the tower of Antonia, and resolved to
storm the temple the next day, early in the morning, with his
whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house. But as for
that house, God had, for certain, long ago doomed it to the fire;
and now that fatal day was come, according to the revolution of
ages; it was the tenth day of the month Lous, [Ab,] upon which it
was formerly burnt by the king of Babylon; although these flames
took their rise from the Jews themselves, and were occasioned by
them; for upon Titus's retiring, the seditious lay still for a
little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those that
guarded the holy house fought with those that quenched the fire
that was burning the inner [court of the] temple; but these
Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy
house itself. At which time one of the soldiers, without staying
for any orders, and without any concern or dread upon him at so
great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine
fury, snatched somewhat out of the materials that were on fire,
and being lifted up by another soldier, he set fire to a golden
window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were
round about the holy house, on the north side of it. As the
flames went upward, the Jews made a great clamor, such as so
mighty an affliction required, and ran together to prevent it;
and now they spared not their lives any longer, nor suffered any
thing to restrain their force, since that holy house was
perishing, for whose sake it was that they kept such a guard
about it.

6. And now a certain person came running to Titus, and told him
of this fire, as he was resting himself in his tent after the
last battle; whereupon he rose up in great haste, and, as he was,
ran to the holy house, in order to have a stop put to the fire;
after him followed all his commanders, and after them followed
the several legions, in great astonishment; so there was a great
clamor and tumult raised, as was natural upon the disorderly
motion of so great an army. Then did Caesar, both by calling to
the soldiers that were fighting, with a loud voice, and by giving
a signal to them with his right hand, order them to quench the
fire. But they did not hear what he said, though he spake so
loud, having their ears already dimmed by a greater noise another
way; nor did they attend to the signal he made with his hand
neither, as still some of them were distracted with fighting, and
others with passion. But as for the legions that came running
thither, neither any persuasions nor any threatenings could
restrain their violence, but each one's own passion was his
commander at this time; and as they were crowding into the temple
together, many of them were trampled on by one another, while a
great number fell among the ruins of the cloisters, which were
still hot and smoking, and were destroyed in the same miserable
way with those whom they had conquered; and when they were come
near the holy house, they made as if they did not so much as hear
Caesar's orders to the contrary; but they encouraged those that
were before them to set it on fire. As for the seditious, they
were in too great distress already to afford their assistance
[towards quenching the fire]; they were every where slain, and
every where beaten; and as for a great part of the people, they
were weak and without arms, and had their throats cut wherever
they were caught. Now round about the altar lay dead bodies
heaped one upon another, as at the steps (16) going up to it ran
a great quantity of their blood, whither also the dead bodies
that were slain above [on the altar] fell down.

7. And now, since Caesar was no way able to restrain the
enthusiastic fury of the soldiers, and the fire proceeded on more
and more, he went into the holy place of the temple, with his
commanders, and saw it, with what was in it, which he found to be
far superior to what the relations of foreigners contained, and
not inferior to what we ourselves boasted of and believed about
it. But as the flame had not as yet reached to its inward parts,
but was still consuming the rooms that were about the holy house,
and Titus supposing what the fact was, that the house itself
might yet he saved, he came in haste and endeavored to persuade
the soldiers to quench the fire, and gave order to Liberalius the
centurion, and one of those spearmen that were about him, to beat
the soldiers that were refractory with their staves, and to
restrain them; yet were their passions too hard for the regards
they had for Caesar, and the dread they had of him who forbade
them, as was their hatred of the Jews, and a certain vehement
inclination to fight them, too hard for them also. Moreover, the
hope of plunder induced many to go on, as having this opinion,
that all the places within were full of money, and as seeing that
all round about it was made of gold. And besides, one of those
that went into the place prevented Caesar, when he ran so hastily
out to restrain the soldiers, and threw the fire upon the hinges
of the gate, in the dark; whereby the flame burst out from within
the holy house itself immediately, when the commanders retired,
and Caesar with them, and when nobody any longer forbade those
that were without to set fire to it. And thus was the holy house
burnt down, without Caesar's approbation.

8. Now although any one would justly lament the destruction of
such a work as this was, since it was the most admirable of all
the works that we have seen or heard of, both for its curious
structure and its magnitude, and also for the vast wealth
bestowed upon it, as well as for the glorious reputation it had
for its holiness; yet might such a one comfort himself with this
thought, that it was fate that decreed it so to be, which is
inevitable, both as to living creatures, and as to works and
places also. However, one cannot but wonder at the accuracy of
this period thereto relating; for the same month and day were now
observed, as I said before, wherein the holy house was burnt
formerly by the Babylonians. Now the number of years that passed
from its first foundation, which was laid by king Solomon, till
this its destruction, which happened in the second year of the
reign of Vespasian, are collected to be one thousand one hundred
and thirty, besides seven months and fifteen days; and from the
second building of it, which was done by Haggai, in the second
year of Cyrus the king, till its destruction under Vespasian,
there were six hundred and thirty-nine years and forty-five days.


The Great Distress The Jews Were In Upon The
Conflagration Of The Holy House. Concerning A False
Prophet, And The Signs That Preceded This Destruction.

1. While the holy house was on fire, every thing was plundered
that came to hand, and ten thousand of those that were caught
were slain; nor was there a commiseration of any age, or any
reverence of gravity, but children, and old men, and profane
persons, and priests were all slain in the same manner; so that
this war went round all sorts of men, and brought them to
destruction, and as well those that made supplication for their
lives, as those that defended themselves by fighting. The flame
was also carried a long way, and made an echo, together with the
groans of those that were slain; and because this hill was high,
and the works at the temple were very great, one would have
thought the whole city had been on fire. Nor can one imagine any
thing either greater or more terrible than this noise; for there
was at once a shout of the Roman legions, who were marching all
together, and a sad clamor of the seditious, who were now
surrounded with fire and sword. The people also that were left
above were beaten back upon the enemy, and under a great
consternation, and made sad moans at the calamity they were
under; the multitude also that was in the city joined in this
outcry with those that were upon the hill. And besides, many of
those that were worn away by the famine, and their mouths almost
closed, when they saw the fire of the holy house, they exerted
their utmost strength, and brake out into groans and outcries
again: Pera (17) did also return the echo, as well as the
mountains round about [the city,] and augmented the force of the
entire noise. Yet was the misery itself more terrible than this
disorder; for one would have thought that the hill itself, on
which the temple stood, was seething hot, as full of fire on
every part of it, that the blood was larger in quantity than the
fire, and those that were slain more in number than those that
slew them; for the ground did no where appear visible, for the
dead bodies that lay on it; but the soldiers went over heaps of
those bodies, as they ran upon such as fled from them. And now it
was that the multitude of the robbers were thrust out [of the
inner court of the temple by the Romans,] and had much ado to get
into the outward court, and from thence into the city, while the
remainder of the populace fled into the cloister of that outer
court. As for the priests, some of them plucked up from the holy
house the spikes (18) that were upon it, with their bases, which
were made of lead, and shot them at the Romans instead of darts.
But then as they gained nothing by so doing, and as the fire
burst out upon them, they retired to the wall that was eight
cubits broad, and there they tarried; yet did two of these of
eminence among them, who might have saved themselves by going
over to the Romans, or have borne up with courage, and taken
their fortune with the others, throw themselves into the fire,
and were burnt together with the holy house; their names were
Meirus the son of Belgas, and Joseph the son of Daleus.

2. And now the Romans, judging that it was in vain to spare what
was round about the holy house, burnt all those places, as also
the remains of the cloisters and the gates, two excepted; the one
on the east side, and the other on the south; both which,
however, they burnt afterward. They also burnt down the treasury
chambers, in which was an immense quantity of money, and an
immense number of garments, and other precious goods there
reposited; and, to speak all in a few words, there it was that
the entire riches of the Jews were heaped up together, while the
rich people had there built themselves chambers [to contain such
furniture]. The soldiers also came to the rest of the cloisters
that were in the outer [court of the] temple, whither the women
and children, and a great mixed multitude of the people, fled, in
number about six thousand. But before Caesar had determined any
thing about these people, or given the commanders any orders
relating to them, the soldiers were in such a rage, that they set
that cloister on fire; by which means it came to pass that some
of these were destroyed by throwing themselves down headlong, and
some were burnt in the cloisters themselves. Nor did any one of
them escape with his life. A false prophet (19) was the occasion
of these people's destruction, who had made a public
proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them
to get upon the temple, and that there they should receive
miraculous signs of their deliverance. Now there was then a great
number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose on the
people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for
deliverance from God; and this was in order to keep them from
deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care
by such hopes. Now a man that is in adversity does easily comply
with such promises; for when such a seducer makes him believe
that he shall be delivered from those miseries which oppress him,
then it is that the patient is full of hopes of such his

3. Thus were the miserable people persuaded by these deceivers,
and such as belied God himself; while they did not attend nor
give credit to the signs that were so evident, and did so plainly
foretell their future desolation, but, like men infatuated,
without either eyes to see or minds to consider, did not regard
the denunciations that God made to them. Thus there was a star
(20) resembling a sword, which stood over the city, and a comet,
that continued a whole year. Thus also before the Jews'
rebellion, and before those commotions which preceded the war,
when the people were come in great crowds to the feast of
unleavened bread, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus, (21)
[Nisan,] and at the ninth hour of the night, so great a light
shone round the altar and the holy house, that it appeared to be
bright day time; which lasted for half an hour. This light seemed
to be a good sign to the unskillful, but was so interpreted by
the sacred scribes, as to portend those events that followed
immediately upon it. At the same festival also, a heifer, as she
was led by the high priest to be sacrificed, brought forth a lamb
in the midst of the temple. Moreover, the eastern gate of the
inner (22) [court of the] temple, which was of brass, and vastly
heavy, and had been with difficulty shut by twenty men, and
rested upon a basis armed with iron, and had bolts fastened very
deep into the firm floor, which was there made of one entire
stone, was seen to be opened of its own accord about the sixth
hour of the night. Now those that kept watch in the temple came
hereupon running to the captain of the temple, and told him of
it; who then came up thither, and not without great difficulty
was able to shut the gate again. This also appeared to the vulgar
to be a very happy prodigy, as if God did thereby open them the
gate of happiness. But the men of learning understood it, that
the security of their holy house was dissolved of its own accord,
and that the gate was opened for the advantage of their enemies.
So these publicly declared that the signal foreshowed the
desolation that was coming upon them. Besides these, a few days
after that feast, on the one and twentieth day of the month
Artemisius, [Jyar,] a certain prodigious and incredible
phenomenon appeared: I suppose the account of it would seem to be
a fable, were it not related by those that saw it, and were not
the events that followed it of so considerable a nature as to
deserve such signals; for, before sun-setting, chariots and
troops of soldiers in their armor were seen running about among
the clouds, and surrounding of cities. Moreover, at that feast
which we call Pentecost, as the priests were going by night into
the inner [court of the temple,] as their custom was, to perform
their sacred ministrations, they said that, in the first place,
they felt a quaking, and heard a great noise, and after that they
heard a sound as of a great multitude, saying, "Let us remove
hence." But, what is still more terrible, there was one Jesus,
the son of Ananus, a plebeian and a husbandman, who, four years
before the war began, and at a time when the city was in very
great peace and prosperity, came to that feast whereon it is our
custom for every one to make tabernacles to God in the temple,
(23) began on a sudden to cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a
voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against
Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and
the brides, and a voice against this whole people!" This was his
cry, as he went about by day and by night, in all the lanes of
the city. However, certain of the most eminent among the populace
had great indignation at this dire cry of his, and took up the
man, and gave him a great number of severe stripes; yet did not
he either say any thing for himself, or any thing peculiar to
those that chastised him, but still went on with the same words
which he cried before. Hereupon our rulers, supposing, as the
case proved to be, that this was a sort of divine fury in the
man, brought him to the Roman procurator, where he was whipped
till his bones were laid bare; yet he did not make any
supplication for himself, nor shed any tears, but turning his
voice to the most lamentable tone possible, at every stroke of
the whip his answer was, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" And when
Albinus (for he was then our procurator) asked him, Who he was?
and whence he came? and why he uttered such words? he made no
manner of reply to what he said, but still did not leave off his
melancholy ditty, till Albinus took him to be a madman, and
dismissed him. Now, during all the time that passed before the
war began, this man did not go near any of the citizens, nor was
seen by them while he said so; but he every day uttered these
lamentable words, as if it were his premeditated vow, "Woe, woe
to Jerusalem!" Nor did he give ill words to any of those that
beat him every day, nor good words to those that gave him food;
but this was his reply to all men, and indeed no other than a
melancholy presage of what was to come. This cry of his was the
loudest at the festivals; and he continued this ditty for seven
years and five months, without growing hoarse, or being tired
therewith, until the very time that he saw his presage in earnest
fulfilled in our siege, when it ceased; for as he was going round
upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, "Woe, woe to
the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!" And
just as he added at the last, "Woe, woe to myself also!" there
came a stone out of one of the engines, and smote him, and killed
him immediately; and as he was uttering the very same presages he
gave up the ghost.

4. Now if any one consider these things, he will find that God
takes care of mankind, and by all ways possible foreshows to our
race what is for their preservation; but that men perish by those
miseries which they madly and voluntarily bring upon themselves;
for the Jews, by demolishing the tower of Antonia, had made their
temple four-square, while at the same time they had it written in
their sacred oracles, "That then should their city be taken, as
well as their holy house, when once their temple should become
four-square." But now, what did the most elevate them in
undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle that was also found
in their sacred writings, how," about that time, one from their
country should become governor of the habitable earth." The Jews
took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and
many of the wise men were thereby deceived in their
determination. Now this oracle certainly denoted the government
of Vespasian, who was appointed emperor in Judea. However, it is
not possible for men to avoid fate, although they see it
beforehand. But these men interpreted some of these signals
according to their own pleasure, and some of them they utterly
despised, until their madness was demonstrated, both by the
taking of their city and their own destruction.


How The Romans Carried Their Ensigns To The Temple,
And Made Joyful Acclamations To Titus. The Speech That
Titus Made To The Jews When They Made Supplication
For Mercy. What Reply They Made Thereto; And How That
Reply Moved Titus's Indignation Against Them.

1. And now the Romans, upon the flight of the seditious into the
city, and upon the burning of the holy house itself, and of all
the buildings round about it, brought their ensigns to the temple
(24) and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did
they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus
imperator (25) with the greatest acclamations of joy. And now all
the soldiers had such vast quantities of the spoils which they
had gotten by plunder, that in Syria a pound weight of gold was
sold for half its former value. But as for those priests that
kept themselves still upon the wall of the holy house,(26) there
was a boy that, out of the thirst he was in, desired some of the
Roman guards to give him their right hands as a security for his
life, and confessed he was very thirsty. These guards
commiserated his age, and the distress he was in, and gave him
their right hands accordingly. So he came down himself, and drank
some water, and filled the vessel he had with him when he came to
them with water, and then went off, and fled away to his own
friends; nor could any of those guards overtake him; but still
they reproached him for his perfidiousness. To which he made this
answer: "I have not broken the agreement; for the security I had
given me was not in order to my staying with you, but only in
order to my coming down safely, and taking up some water; both
which things I have performed, and thereupon think myself to have
been faithful to my engagement." Hereupon those whom the child
had imposed upon admired at his cunning, and that on account of
his age. On the fifth day afterward, the priests that were pined
with the famine came down, and when they were brought to Titus by
the guards, they begged for their lives; but he replied, that the
time of pardon was over as to them, and that this very holy
house, on whose account only they could justly hope to be
preserved, was destroyed; and that it was agreeable to their
office that priests should perish with the house itself to which
they belonged. So he ordered them to be put to death.

2. But as for the tyrants themselves, and those that were with
them, when they found that they were encompassed on every side,
and, as it were, walled round, without any method of escaping,
they desired to treat with Titus by word of mouth. Accordingly,
such was the kindness of his nature, and his desire of preserving
the city from destruction, joined to the advice of his friends,
who now thought the robbers were come to a temper, that he placed
himself on the western side of the outer [court of the] temple;
for there were gates on that side above the Xystus, and a bridge
that connected the upper city to the temple. This bridge it was
that lay between the tyrants and Caesar, and parted them; while
the multitude stood on each side; those of the Jewish nation
about Sinran and John, with great hopes of pardon; and the Romans
about Caesar, in great expectation how Titus would receive their
supplication. So Titus charged his soldiers to restrain their
rage, and to let their darts alone, and appointed an interpreter
between them, which was a sign that he was the conqueror, and
first began the discourse, and said, "I hope you, sirs, are now
satiated with the miseries of your country, who have not bad any
just notions, either of our great power, or of your own great
weakness, but have, like madmen, after a violent and
inconsiderate manner, made such attempts, as have brought your
people, your city, and your holy house to destruction. You have
been the men that have never left off rebelling since Pompey
first conquered you, and have, since that time, made open war
with the Romans. Have you depended on your multitude, while a
very small part of the Roman soldiery have been strong enough for
you? Have you relied on the fidelity of your confederates? And
what nations are there, out of the limits of our dominion, that
would choose to assist the Jews before the Romans? Are your
bodies stronger than ours? nay, you know that the [strong]
Germans themselves are our servants. Have you stronger walls than
we have? Pray, what greater obstacle is there than the wall of
the ocean, with which the Britons are encompassed, and yet do
adore the arms of the Romans. Do you exceed us in courage of
soul, and in the sagacity of your commanders? Nay, indeed, you
cannot but know that the very Carthaginians have been conquered
by us. It can therefore be nothing certainly but the kindness of
us Romans which hath excited you against us; who, in the first
place, have given you this land to possess; and, in the next
place, have set over you kings of your own nation; and, in the
third place, have preserved the laws of your forefathers to you,
and have withal permitted you to live, either by yourselves, or
among others, as it should please you: and, what is our chief
favor of all we have given you leave to gather up that tribute
which is paid to God (27) with such other gifts that are
dedicated to him; nor have we called those that carried these
donations to account, nor prohibited them; till at length you
became richer than we ourselves, even when you were our enemies;
and you made preparations for war against us with our own money;
nay, after all, when you were in the enjoyment of all these
advantages, you turned your too great plenty against those that
gave it you, and, like merciless serpents, have thrown out your
poison against those that treated you kindly. I suppose,
therefore, that you might despise the slothfulness of Nero, and,
like limbs of the body that are broken or dislocated, you did
then lie quiet, waiting for some other time, though still with a
malicious intention, and have now showed your distemper to be
greater than ever, and have extended your desires as far as your
impudent and immense hopes would enable you to do it. At this
time my father came into this country, not with a design to
punish you for what you had done under Cestius, but to admonish
you; for had he come to overthrow your nation, he had run
directly to your fountain-head, and had immediately laid this
city waste; whereas he went and burnt Galilee and the neighboring
parts, and thereby gave you time for repentance; which instance
of humanity you took for an argument of his weakness, and
nourished up your impudence by our mildness. When Nero was gone
out of the world, you did as the wickedest wretches would have
done, and encouraged yourselves to act against us by our civil
dissensions, and abused that time, when both I and my father were
gone away to Egypt, to make preparations for this war. Nor were
you ashamed to raise disturbances against us when we were made
emperors, and this while you had experienced how mild we had
been, when we were no more than generals of the army. But when
the government was devolved upon us, and all other people did
thereupon lie quiet, and even foreign nations sent embassies, and
congratulated our access to the government, then did you Jews
show yourselves to be our enemies. You sent embassies to those of
your nation that are beyond Euphrates to assist you in your
raising disturbances; new walls were built by you round your
city, seditions arose, and one tyrant contended against another,
and a civil war broke out among you; such indeed as became none
but so wicked a people as you are. I then came to this city, as
unwillingly sent by my father, and received melancholy
injunctions from him. When I heard that the people were disposed
to peace, I rejoiced at it; I exhorted you to leave off these
proceedings before I began this war; I spared you even when you
had fought against me a great while; I gave my right hand as
security to the deserters; I observed what I had promised
faithfully. When they fled to me, I had compassion on many of
those that I had taken captive; I tortured those that were eager
for war, in order to restrain them. It was unwillingly that I
brought my engines of war against your walls; I always prohibited
my soldiers, when they were set upon your slaughter, from their
severity against you. After every victory I persuaded you to
peace, as though I had been myself conquered. When I came near
your temple, I again departed from the laws of war, and exhorted
you to spare your own sanctuary, and to preserve your holy house
to yourselves. I allowed you a quiet exit out of it, and security
for your preservation; nay, if you had a mind, I gave you leave
to fight in another place. Yet have you still despised every one
of my proposals, and have set fire to your holy house with your
own hands. And now, vile wretches, do you desire to treat with me
by word of mouth? To what purpose is it that you would save such
a holy house as this was, which is now destroyed? What
preservation can you now desire after the destruction of your
temple? Yet do you stand still at this very time in your armor;
nor can you bring yourselves so much as to pretend to be
supplicants even in this your utmost extremity. O miserable
creatures! what is it you depend on? Are not your people dead? is
not your holy house gone? is not your city in my power? and are
not your own very lives in my hands? And do you still deem it a
part of valor to die? However, I will not imitate your madness.
If you throw down your arms, and deliver up your bodies to me, I
grant you your lives; and I will act like a mild master of a
family; what cannot be healed shall be punished, and the rest I
will preserve for my own use."

3. To that offer of Titus they made this reply: That they could
not accept of it, because they had sworn never to do so; but they
desired they might have leave to go through the wall that had
been made about them, with their wives and children; for that
they would go into the desert, and leave the city to him. At this
Titus had great indignation, that when they were in the case of
men already taken captives, they should pretend to make their own
terms with him, as if they had been conquerors. So he ordered
this proclamation to be made to them, That they should no more
come out to him as deserters, nor hope for any further security;
for that he would henceforth spare nobody, but fight them with
his whole army; and that they must save themselves as well as
they could; for that he would from henceforth treat them
according to the laws of war. So he gave orders to the soldiers
both to burn and to plunder the city; who did nothing indeed that
day; but on the next day they set fire to the repository of the
archives, to Acra, to the council-house, and to the place called
Ophlas; at which time the fire proceeded as far as the palace of
queen Helena, which was in the middle of Acra; the lanes also
were burnt down, as were also those houses that were full of the
dead bodies of such as were destroyed by famine.

4. On the same day it was that the sons and brethren of Izates
the king, together with many others of the eminent men of the
populace, got together there, and besought Caesar to give them
his right hand for their security; upon which, though he was very
angry at all that were now remaining, yet did he not lay aside
his old moderation, but received these men. At that time, indeed,
he kept them all in custody, but still bound the king's sons and
kinsmen, and led them with him to Rome, in order to make them
hostages for their country's fidelity to the Romans.


What Afterward Befell The Seditious When They Had Done
A Great Deal Of Mischief, And Suffered Many Misfortunes; As Also
How Caesar Became Master Of The Upper City,

1. And now the seditious rushed into the royal palace, into which
many had put their effects, because it was so strong, and drove
the Romans away from it. They also slew all the people that had
crowded into it, who were in number about eight thousand four
hundred, and plundered them of what they had. They also took two
of the Romans alive; the one was a horseman, and the other a
footman. They then cut the throat of the footman, and immediately
had him drawn through the whole city, as revenging themselves
upon the whole body of the Romans by this one instance. But the
horseman said he had somewhat to suggest to them in order to
their preservation; whereupon he was brought before Simon; but he
having nothing to say when he was there, he was delivered to
Ardalas, one of his commanders, to be punished, who bound his
hands behind him, and put a riband over his eyes, and then
brought him out over against the Romans, as intending to cut off
his head. But the man prevented that execution, and ran away to
the Romans, and this while the Jewish executioner was drawing out
his sword. Now when he was gotten away from the enemy, Titus
could not think of putting him to death; but because he deemed
him unworthy of being a Roman soldier any longer, on account that
he had been taken alive by the enemy, he took away his arms, and
ejected him out of the legion whereto he had belonged; which, to
one that had a sense of shame, was a penalty severer than death

2. On the next day the Romans drove the robbers out of the lower
city, and set all on fire as far as Siloam. These soldiers were
indeed glad to see the city destroyed. But they missed the
plunder, because the seditious had carried off all their effects,
and were retired into the upper city; for they did not yet at all
repent of the mischiefs they had done, but were insolent, as if
they had done well; for, as they saw the city on fire, they
appeared cheerful, and put on joyful countenances, in
expectation, as they said, of death to end their miseries.
Accordingly, as the people were now slain, the holy house was
burnt down, and the city was on fire, there was nothing further
left for the enemy to do. Yet did not Josephus grow weary, even
in this utmost extremity, to beg of them to spare what was left
of the city; he spake largely to them about their barbarity and
impiety, and gave them his advice in order to their escape;
though he gained nothing thereby more than to be laughed at by
them; and as they could not think of surrendering themselves up,
because of the oath they had taken, nor were strong enough to
fight with the Romans any longer upon the square, as being
surrounded on all sides, and a kind of prisoners already, yet
were they so accustomed to kill people, that they could not
restrain their right hands from acting accordingly. So they
dispersed themselves before the city, and laid themselves in
ambush among its ruins, to catch those that attempted to desert
to the Romans; accordingly many such deserters were caught by
them, and were all slain; for these were too weak, by reason of
their want of food, to fly away from them; so their dead bodies
were thrown to the dogs. Now every other sort of death was
thought more tolerable than the famine, insomuch that, though the
Jews despaired now of mercy, yet would they fly to the Romans,
and would themselves, even of their own accord, fall among the
murderous rebels also. Nor was there any place in the city that
had no dead bodies in it, but what was entirely covered with
those that were killed either by the famine or the rebellion; and
all was full of the dead bodies of such as had perished, either
by that sedition or by that famine.

3. So now the last hope which supported the tyrants, and that
crew of robbers who were with them, was in the caves and caverns
under ground; whither, if they could once fly, they did not
expect to be searched for; but endeavored, that after the whole
city should be destroyed, and the Romans gone away, they might
come out again, and escape from them. This was no better than a
dream of theirs; for they were not able to lie hid either from
God or from the Romans. However, they depended on these
under-ground subterfuges, and set more places on fire than did
the Romans themselves; and those that fled out of their houses
thus set on fire into the ditches, they killed without mercy, and
pillaged them also; and if they discovered food belonging to any
one, they seized upon it and swallowed it down, together with
their blood also; nay, they were now come to fight one with
another about their plunder; and I cannot but think that, had not
their destruction prevented it, their barbarity would have made
them taste of even the
dead bodies themselves.


How Caesar Raised Banks Round About The Upper City
[Mount Zion] And When They Were Completed, Gave
Orders That The Machines Should Be Brought. He Then
Possessed Himself Of The Whole City.

1. Now when Caesar perceived that the upper city was so steep
that it could not possibly be taken without raising banks against
it, he distributed the several parts of that work among his army,
and this on the twentieth day of the month Lous [Ab]. Now the
carriage of the materials was a difficult task, since all the
trees, as I have already told you, that were about the city,
within the distance of a hundred furlongs, had their branches cut
off already, in order to make the former banks. The works that
belonged to the four legions were erected on the west side of the
city, over against the royal palace; but the whole body of the
auxiliary troops, with the rest of the multitude that were with
them, [erected their banks] at the Xystus, whence they reached to
the bridge, and that tower of Simon which he had built as a
citadel for himself against John, when they were at war one with

2. It was at this time that the commanders of the Idumeans got
together privately, and took counsel about surrendering up
themselves to the Romans. Accordingly, they sent five men to
Titus, and entreated him to give them his right hand for their
security. So Titus thinking that the tyrants would yield, if the
Idumeans, upon whom a great part of the war depended, were once
withdrawn from them, after some reluctancy and delay, complied
with them, and gave them security for their lives, and sent the
five men back. But as these Idumeans were preparing to march out,
Simon perceived it, and immediately slew the five men that had
gone to Titus, and took their commanders, and put them in prison,
of whom the most eminent was Jacob, the son of Sosas; but as for
the multitude of the Idumeans, who did not at all know what to
do, now their commanders were taken from them, he had them
watched, and secured the walls by a more numerous garrison, Yet
could not that garrison resist those that were deserting; for
although a great number of them were slain, yet were the
deserters many more in number. They were all received by the
Romans, because Titus himself grew negligent as to his former
orders for killing them, and because the very soldiers grew weary
of killing them, and because they hoped to get some money by
sparing them; for they left only the populace, and sold the rest
of the multitude, (28) with their wives and children, and every
one of them at a very low price, and that because such as were
sold were very many, and the buyers were few: and although Titus
had made proclamation beforehand, that no deserter should come
alone by himself, that so they might bring out their families
with them, yet did he receive such as these also. However, he set
over them such as were to distinguish some from others, in order
to see if any of them deserved to be punished. And indeed the
number of those that were sold was immense; but of the populace
above forty thousand were saved, whom Caesar let go whither every
one of them pleased.

3. But now at this time it was that one of the priests, the son
of Thebuthus, whose name was Jesus, upon his having security
given him, by the oath of Caesar, that he should be preserved,
upon condition that he should deliver to him certain of the
precious things that had been reposited in the temple (29) came
out of it, and delivered him from the wall of the holy house two
candlesticks, like to those that lay in the holy house, with
tables, and cisterns, and vials, all made of solid gold, and very
heavy. He also delivered to him the veils and the garments, with
the precious stones, and a great number of other precious vessels
that belonged to their sacred worship. The treasurer of the
temple also, whose name was Phineas, was seized on, and showed
Titus the coats and girdles of the priests, with a great quantity
of purple and scarlet, which were there reposited for the uses of
the veil, as also a great deal of cinnamon and cassia, with a
large quantity of other sweet spices, (30) which used to be mixed
together, and offered as incense to God every day. A great many
other treasures were also delivered to him, with sacred ornaments
of the temple not a few; which things thus delivered to Titus
obtained of him for this man the same pardon that he had allowed
to such as deserted of their own accord.

4. And now were the banks finished on the seventh day of the
month Gorpieus, [Elul,] in eighteen days' time, when the Romans
brought their machines against the wall. But for the seditious,
some of them, as despairing of saving the city, retired from the
wall to the citadel; others of them went down into the
subterranean vaults, though still a great many of them defended
themselves against those that brought the engines for the
battery; yet did the Romans overcome them by their number and by
their strength; and, what was the principal thing of all, by
going cheerfully about their work, while the Jews were quite
dejected, and become weak. Now as soon as a part of the wall was
battered down, and certain of the towers yielded to the
impression of the battering rams, those that opposed themselves
fled away, and such a terror fell upon the tyrants, as was much

Book of the day: