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

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greater than the occasion required; for before the enemy got over
the breach they were quite stunned, and were immediately for
flying away. And now one might see these men, who had hitherto
been so insolent and arrogant in their wicked practices, to be
cast down and to tremble, insomuch that it would pity one's heart
to observe the change that was made in those vile persons.
Accordingly, they ran with great violence upon the Roman wall
that encompassed them, in order to force away those that guarded
it, and to break through it, and get away. But when they saw that
those who had formerly been faithful to them had gone away, (as
indeed they were fled whithersoever the great distress they were
in persuaded them to flee,) as also when those that came running
before the rest told them that the western wall was entirely
overthrown, while others said the Romans were gotten in, and
others that they were near, and looking out for them, which were
only the dictates of their fear, which imposed upon their sight,
they fell upon their face, and greatly lamented their own mad
conduct; and their nerves were so terribly loosed, that they
could not flee away. And here one may chiefly reflect on the
power of God exercised upon these wicked wretches, and on the
good fortune of the Romans; for these tyrants did now wholly
deprive themselves of the security they had in their own power,
and came down from those very towers of their own accord, wherein
they could have never been taken by force, nor indeed by any
other way than by famine. And thus did the Romans, when they had
taken such great pains about weaker walls, get by good fortune
what they could never have gotten by their engines; for three of
these towers were too strong for all mechanical engines
whatsoever, concerning which we have treated above.

5. So they now left these towers of themselves, or rather they
were ejected out of them by God himself, and fled immediately to
that valley which was under Siloam, where they again recovered
themselves out of the dread they were in for a while, and ran
violently against that part of the Roman wall which lay on that
side; but as their courage was too much depressed to make their
attacks with sufficient force, and their power was now broken
with fear and affliction, they were repulsed by the guards, and
dispersing themselves at distances from each other, went down
into the subterranean caverns. So the Romans being now become
masters of the walls, they both placed their ensigns upon the
towers, and made joyful acclamations for the victory they had
gained, as having found the end of this war much lighter than its
beginning; for when they had gotten upon the last wall, without
any bloodshed, they could hardly believe what they found to be
true; but seeing nobody to oppose them, they stood in doubt what
such an unusual solitude could mean. But when they went in
numbers into the lanes of the city with their swords drawn, they
slew those whom they overtook without and set fire to the houses
whither the Jews were fled, and burnt every soul in them, and
laid waste a great many of the rest; and when they were come to
the houses to plunder them, they found in them entire families of
dead men, and the upper rooms full of dead corpses, that is, of
such as died by the famine; they then stood in a horror at this
sight, and went out without touching any thing. But although they
had this commiseration for such as were destroyed in that manner,
yet had they not the same for those that were still alive, but
they ran every one through whom they met with, and obstructed the
very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run
down with blood, to such a degree indeed that the fire of many of
the houses was quenched with these men's blood. And truly so it
happened, that though the slayers left off at the evening, yet
did the fire greatly prevail in the night; and as all was
burning, came that eighth day of the month Gorpieus [Elul] upon
Jerusalem, a city that had been liable to so many miseries during
this siege, that, had it always enjoyed as much happiness from
its first foundation, it would certainly have been the envy of
the world. Nor did it on any other account so much deserve these
sore misfortunes, as by producing such a generation of men as
were the occasions of this its overthrow.


What Injunctions Caesar Gave When He Was Come Within
The City. The Number Of The Captives And Of Those That
Perished In The Siege; As Also Concerning Those That
Had Escaped Into The Subterranean Caverns, Among
Whom Were The Tyrants Simon And John Themselves.

1. Now when Titus was come into this [upper] city, he admired not
only some other places of strength in it, but particularly those
strong towers which the tyrants in their mad conduct had
relinquished; for when he saw their solid altitude, and the
largeness of their several stones, and the exactness of their
joints, as also how great was their breadth, and how extensive
their length, he expressed himself after the manner following:
"We have certainly had God for our assistant in this war, and it
was no other than God who ejected the Jews out of these
fortifications; for what could the hands of men or any machines
do towards overthrowing these towers?" At which time he had many
such discourses to his friends; he also let such go free as had
been bound by the tyrants, and were left in the prisons. To
conclude, when he entirely demolished the rest of the city, and
overthrew its walls, he left these towers as a monument of his
good fortune, which had proved his auxiliaries, and enabled him
to take what could not otherwise have been taken by him.

2. And now, since his soldiers were already quite tired with
killing men, and yet there appeared to be a vast multitude still
remaining alive, Caesar gave orders that they should kill none
but those that were in arms, and opposed them, but should take
the rest alive. But, together with those whom they had orders to
slay, they slew the aged and the infirm; but for those that were
in their flourishing age, and who might be useful to them, they
drove them together into the temple, and shut them up within the
walls of the court of the women; over which Caesar set one of his
freed-men, as also Fronto, one of his own friends; which last was
to determine every one's fate, according to his merits. So this
Fronto slew all those that had been seditious and robbers, who
were impeached one by another; but of the young men he chose out
the tallest and most beautiful, and reserved them for the
triumph; and as for the rest of the multitude that were above
seventeen years old, he put them into bonds, and sent them to the
Egyptian mines (31) Titus also sent a great number into the
provinces, as a present to them, that they might be destroyed
upon their theatres, by the sword and by the wild beasts; but
those that were under seventeen years of age were sold for
slaves. Now during the days wherein Fronto was distinguishing
these men, there perished, for want of food, eleven thousand;
some of whom did not taste any food, through the hatred their
guards bore to them; and others would not take in any when it was
given them. The multitude also was so very great, that they were
in want even of corn for their sustenance.

3. Now the number (32) of those that were carried captive during
this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was
the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven
hundred thousand, the greater part of whom were indeed of the
same nation [with the citizens of Jerusalem], but not belonging
to the city itself; for they were come up from all the country to
the feast of unleavened bread, and were on a sudden shut up by an
army, which, at the very first, occasioned so great a straitness
among them, that there came a pestilential destruction upon them,
and soon afterward such a famine, as destroyed them more
suddenly. And that this city could contain so many people in it,
is manifest by that number of them which was taken under Cestius,
who being desirous of informing Nero of the power of the city,
who otherwise was disposed to contemn that nation, entreated the
high priests, if the thing were possible, to take the number of
their whole multitude. So these high priests, upon the coming of
that feast which is called the Passover, when they slay their
sacrifices, from the ninth hour till the eleventh, but so that a
company not less than ten (33) belong to every sacrifice, (for
it is not lawful for them to feast singly by themselves,) and
many of us are twenty in a company, found the number of
sacrifices was two hundred and fifty-six thousand five hundred;
which, upon the allowance of no more than ten that feast
together, amounts to two millions seven hundred thousand and two
hundred persons that were pure and holy; for as to those that
have the leprosy, or the gonorrhea, or women that have their
monthly courses, or such as are otherwise polluted, it is not
lawful for them to be partakers of this sacrifice; nor indeed for
any foreigners neither, who come hither to worship.

4. Now this vast multitude is indeed collected out of remote
places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in
prison, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was
crowded with inhabitants. Accordingly, the multitude of those
that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either
men or God ever brought upon the world; for, to speak only of
what was publicly known, the Romans slew some of them, some they
carried captives, and others they made a search for under ground,
and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground and
slew all they met with. There were also found slain there above
two thousand persons, partly by their own hands, and partly by
one another, but chiefly destroyed by the famine; but then the
ill savor of the dead bodies was most offensive to those that
lighted upon them, insomuch that some were obliged to get away
immediately, while others were so greedy of gain, that they would
go in among the dead bodies that lay on heaps, and tread upon
them; for a great deal of treasure was found in these caverns,
and the hope of gain made every way of getting it to be esteemed
lawful. Many also of those that had been put in prison by the
tyrants were now brought out; for they did not leave off their
barbarous cruelty at the very last: yet did God avenge himself
upon them both, in a manner agreeable to justice. As for John, he
wanted food, together with his brethren, in these caverns, and
begged that the Romans would now give him their right hand for
his security, which he had often proudly rejected before; but for
Simon, he struggled hard with the distress he was in, fill he was
forced to surrender himself, as we shall relate hereafter; so he
was reserved for the triumph, and to be then slain; as was John
condemned to perpetual imprisonment. And now the Romans set fire
to the extreme parts of the city, and burnt them down, and
entirely demolished its walls.


That Whereas The City Of Jerusalem Had Been Five Times
Taken Formerly, This Was The Second Time Of Its
Desolation. A Brief Account Of Its History.

1. And thus was Jerusalem taken, in the second year of the reign
of Vespasian, on the eighth day of the month Gorpeius [Elul]. It
had been taken five (34) times before, though this was the second
time of its desolation; for Shishak, the king of Egypt, and after
him Antiochus, and after him Pompey, and after them Sosius and
Herod, took the city, but still preserved it; but before all
these, the king of Babylon conquered it, and made it desolate,
one thousand four hundred and sixty-eight years and six months
after it was built. But he who first built it. Was a potent man
among the Canaanites, and is in our own tongue called
[Melchisedek], the Righteous King, for such he really was; on
which account he was [there] the first priest of God, and first
built a temple [there], and called the city Jerusalem, which was
formerly called Salem. However, David, the king of the Jews,
ejected the Canaanites, and set-tied his own people therein. It
was demolished entirely by the Babylonians, four hundred and
seventy-seven years and six months after him. And from king
David, who was the first of the Jews who reigned therein, to this
destruction under Titus, were one thousand one hundred and
seventy-nine years; but from its first building, till this last
destruction, were two thousand one hundred and seventy-seven
years; yet hath not its great antiquity, nor its vast riches, nor
the diffusion of its nation over all the habitable earth, nor the
greatness of the veneration paid to it on a religious account,
been sufficient to preserve it from being destroyed. And thus
ended the siege of Jerusalem.


(1) Reland notes here, very pertinently, that the tower of
Antonia stood higher than the floor of the temple or court
adjoining to it; and that accordingly they descended thence into
the temple, as Josephus elsewhere speaks also. See Book VI. ch.
2. sect. 5.

(2) In this speech of Titus we may clearly see the notions which
the Romans then had of death, and of the happy state of those who
died bravely in war, and the contrary estate of those who died
ignobly in their beds by sickness. Reland here also produces two
parallel passages, the one out of Atonia Janus Marcellinus,
concerning the Alani, lib. 31, that "they judged that man happy
who laid down his life in battle ;" the other of Valerius
Maximus, lib. 11. ch. 6, who says, "that the Cimbri and Celtiberi
exulted for joy in the army, as being to go out of the world
gloriously and happily."

(3) See the note on p. 809.

(4) No wonder that this Julian, who had so many nails in his
shoes, slipped upon the pavement of the temple, which was smooth,
and laid with marble of different colors.

(5) This was a remarkable day indeed, the seventeenth of
Paneruns. [Tamuz,] A.D. 70, when, according to Daniel's
prediction, six hundred and six years before, the Romans "in half
a week caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease," Daniel 9:27.
For from the month of February, A.D. 66, about which time
Vespasian entered on this war, to this very time, was just three
years and a half. See Bishop Lloyd's Tables of Chronology,
published by Mr. Marshall, on this year. Nor is it to be omitted,
what year nearly confirms this duration of the war, that four
years before the war begun was somewhat above seven years five
months before the destruction of Jerusalem, ch. 5. sect. 3.

(6) The same that in the New Testament is always so called, and
was then the common language of the Jews in Judea, which was the
Syriac dialect.

(7) Our present copies of the Old Testament want this encomium
upon king Jechoniah or Jehoiachim, which it seems was in
Josephus's copy.

(8) Of this oracle, see the note on B. IV. ch. 6. sect. 3.
Josephus, both here and in many places elsewhere, speaks so, that
it is most evident he was fully satisfied that God was on the
Romans' side, and made use of them now for the destruction of
that wicked nation of the Jews; which was for certain the true
state of this matter, as the prophet Daniel first, and our Savior
himself afterwards, had clearly foretold. See Lit. Accompl. of
Proph. p. 64, etc.

(9) Josephus had before told us, B. V. ch. 13. sect. 1, that this
fourth son of Matthias ran away to the Romans "before" his
father's and brethren's slaughter, and not "after" it, as here.
The former account is, in all probability, the truest; for had
not that fourth son escaped before the others were caught and put
to death, he had been caught and put to death with them. This
last account, therefore, looks like an instance of a small
inadvertence of Josephus in the place before us.

(10) Of this partition-wall separating Jews and Gentiles, with
its pillars and inscription, see the description of the temples,
ch. 15.

(11) That these seditious Jews were the direct occasions of their
own destruction, and of the conflagration of their city and
temple, and that Titus earnestly and constantly labored to save
both, is here and every where most evident in Josephus.

(12) Court of the Gentiles.

(13) Court of Israel.

(14) Of the court of the Gentiles.

(15) What Josephus observes here, that no parallel examples had
been recorded before this time of such sieges, wherein mothers
were forced by extremity of famine to eat their own children, as
had been threatened to the Jews in the law of Moses, upon
obstinate disobedience, and more than once fulfilled, (see my
Boyle's Lectures, p. 210-214,) is by Dr. Hudson supposed to have
had two or three parallel examples in later ages. He might have
had more examples, I suppose, of persons on ship-board, or in a
desert island, casting lots for each others' bodies; but all this
was only in cases where they knew of no possible way to avoid
death themselves but by killing and eating others. Whether such
examples come up to the present case may be doubted. The Romans
were not only willing, but very desirous, to grant those Jews in
Jerusalem both their lives and their liberties, and to save both
their city and their temple. But the zealots, the rubbers, and
the seditious would hearken to no terms of submission. They
voluntarily chose to reduce the citizens to that extremity, as to
force mothers to this unnatural barbarity, which, in all its
circumstances, has not, I still suppose, been hitherto paralleled
among the rest of mankind.

(16) These steps to the altar of burnt-offering seem here either
an improper and inaccurate expression of Josephus, since it was
unlawful to make ladder steps; (see description of the temples,
ch. 13., and note on Antiq. B. IV. ch. 8. sect. 5;) or else those
steps or stairs we now use were invented before the days of Herod
the Great, and had been here built by him; though the later Jews
always deny it, and say that even Herod's altar was ascended to
by an acclivity only.

(17) This Perea, if the word be not mistaken in the copies,
cannot well be that Perea which was beyond Jordan, whose
mountains were at a considerable distance from Jordan, and much
too remote from Jerusalem to join in this echo at the
conflagration of the temple; but Perea must be rather some
mountains beyond the brook Cedron, as was the Mount of Olives, or
some others about such a distance from Jerusalem; which
observation is so obvious, that it is a wonder our commentators
here take no notice of it.

(18) Reland I think here judges well, when he interprets these
spikes (of those that stood on the top of the holy house) with
sharp points; they were fixed into lead, to prevent the birds
from sitting there, and defiling the holy house; for such spikes
there were now upon it, as Josephus himself hath already assured
us, B. V. ch. 5. sect. 6.

(19) Reland here takes notice, that these Jews, who had despised
the true Prophet, were deservedly abused and deluded by these
false ones.

(20) Whether Josephus means that this star was different from
that comet which lasted a whole year, I cannot certainly
determine. His words most favor their being different one from

(21) Since Josephus still uses the Syro-Macedonian month
Xanthicus for the Jewish month Nisan, this eighth, or, as
Nicephorus reads it, this ninth of Xanthicus or Nisan was almost
a week before the passover, on the fourteenth; about which time
we learn from St. John that many used to go "out of the country
to Jerusalem to purify themselves," John 11:55, with 12:1; in
agreement with Josephus also, B. V. ch. 3. sect. 1. And it might
well be, that in the sight of these this extraordinary light
might appear.

(22) This here seems to be the court of the priests.

(23) Both Reland and Havercamp in this place alter the natural
punctuation and sense of Josephus, and this contrary to the
opinion of Valesilus and Dr. Hudson, lest Josephus should say
that the Jews built booths or tents within the temple at the
feast of tabernacles; which the later Rabbins will not allow to
have been the ancient practice: but then, since it is expressly
told us in Nehemiah, ch. 8:16, that in still elder times "the
Jews made booths in the courts of the house of God" at that
festival, Josephus may well be permitted to say the same. And
indeed the modern Rabbins are of very small authority in all such
matters of remote antiquity.

(24) Take Havercamp's note here: "This (says he) is a remarkable
place; and Tertullian truly says in his Apologetic, ch. 16. p.
162, that the entire religion of the Roman camp almost consisted
in worshipping the ensigns, in swearing by the ensigns, and in
preferring the ensigns before all the [other] gods." See what
Havercamp says upon that place of Tertullian.

(25) This declaring Titus imperator by the soldiers, upon such
signal success, and the slaughter of such a vast number of
enemies, was according to the usual practice of the Romans in
like cases, as Reland assures us on this place.

(26) The Jews of later times agree with Josephus, that there were
hiding-places or secret chambers about the holy house, as Reland
here informs us, where he thinks he has found these very walls
described by them.

(27) Spanheim notes here, that the Romans used to permit the Jews
to collect their sacred tribute, and send it to Jerusalem; of
which we have had abundant evidence in Josephus already on other

(28) This innumerable multitude of Jews that were "sold" by the
Romans was an eminent completion of God's ancient threatening by
Moses, that if they apostatized from the obedience to his laws,
they should be "sold unto their enemies for bond-men and
bond-women," Deuteronomy 28;68. See more especially the note on
ch. 9. sect. 2. But one thing is here peculiarly remarkable, that
Moses adds, Though they should be "sold" for slaves, yet "no man
should buy them;" i.e. either they should have none to redeem
them from this sale into slavery; or rather, that the slaves to
be sold should be more than were the purchasers for them, and so
they should be sold for little or nothing; which is what Josephus
here affirms to have been the case at this time.

(29) What became of these spoils of the temple that escaped the
fire, see Josephus himself hereafter, B. VII. ch. 5. sect. 5, and
Reland de Spoliis Templi, p. 129-138.

(30) These various sorts of spices, even more than those four
which Moses prescribed, Exodus 31:34, we see were used in their
public worship under Herod's temple, particularly cinnamon and
cassia; which Reland takes particular notice of, as agreeing with
the latter testimony of the Talmudists.

(31) See the several predictions that the Jews, if they became
obstinate in their idolatry and wickedness, should be sent again
or sold into Egypt for their punishment, Deuteronomy 28:68;
Jeremiah 44:7; Hosea 8:13; 9:3; 9:4, 5; 2 Samuel 15:10-13; with
Authentic Records, Part I. p. 49, 121; and Reland Painest And,
tom. II. p. 715.

(32) The whole multitude of the Jews that were destroyed during
the entire seven years before this time, in all the countries of
and bordering on Judea, is summed up by Archbishop Usher, from
Lipsius, out of Josephus, at the year of Christ 70, and amounts
to 1,337,490. Nor could there have been that number of Jews in
Jerusalem to be destroyed in this siege, as will be presently set
down by Josephus, but that both Jews and proselytes of justice
were just then come up out of the other countries of Galilee,
Samaria, Judea, and Perea and other remoter regions, to the
passover, in vast numbers, and therein cooped up, as in a prison,
by the Roman army, as Josephus himself well observes in this and
the next section, and as is exactly related elsewhere, B. V. ch.
3. sect. 1 and ch. 13. sect. 7.

(33)This number of a company for one paschal lamb, between ten
and twenty, agrees exactly with the number thirteen, at our
Savior's last passover. As to the whole number of the Jews that
used to come up to the passover, and eat of it at Jerusalem, see
the note on B. II. ch. 14. sect. 3. This number ought to be here
indeed just ten times the number of the lambs, or just 2,565,(D0,
by Josephus's own reasoning; whereas it is, in his present
copies, no less than 2,700,(D0, which last number is, however,
nearest the other number in the place now cited, which is
3,000,000. But what is here chiefly remarkable is this, that no
foreign nation ever came thus to destroy the Jews at any of their
solemn festivals, from the days of Moses till this time, but came
now upon their apostasy from God, and from obedience to him. Nor
is it possible, in the nature of things, that in any other nation
such vast numbers should be gotten together, and perish in the
siege of any one city whatsoever, as now happened in Jerusalem.

(34) This is the proper place for such as have closely attended
to these latter books of the War to peruse, and that with equal
attention, those distinct and plain predictions of Jesus of
Nazareth, in the Gospels thereto relating, as compared with their
exact completions in Josephus's history; upon which completions,
as Dr: Whitby well observes, Annot. on Matthew 24:2, no small
part of the evidence for the truth of the Christian religion does
depend; and as I have step by step compared them together in my
Literal Accomplishment of Scripture Prophecies. The reader is to
observe further, that the true reason why I have so seldom taken
notice of those completions in the course of these notes,
notwithstanding their being so very remarkable, and frequently so
very obvious, is this, that I had entirely prevented myself in
that treatise beforehand; to which therefore I must here, once
for all, seriously refer every inquisitive reader. Besides these
five here enumerated, who had taken Jerusalem of old, Josephus,
upon further recollection, reckons a sixth, Antiq. B. XII. ch. 1.
sect. 1, who should have been here inserted in the second place;
I mean Ptolemy, the son of Lagus.


Containing The Interval Of About Three Years.

From The Taking Of Jerusalem By Titus To The Sedition At Cyrene


How The Entire City Of Jerusalem Was Demolished,
Excepting Three Towers; And How Titus Commended His
Soldiers In A Speech Made To Them, And Distributed
Rewards To Them And Then Dismissed Many Of Them.

1. Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to
plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their
fury, (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any
other work to be done,) Caesar gave orders that they should now
demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of
the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency; that is,
Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as
enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in
order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as
were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity
what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman
valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall, it was so
thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to
the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that
came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. This was the end
which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for
innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of
mighty fame among all mankind. (1)

2. But Caesar resolved to leave there, as a guard, the tenth
legion, with certain troops of horsemen, and companies of
footmen. So, having entirely completed this war, he was desirous
to commend his whole army, on account of the great exploits they
had performed, and to bestow proper rewards on such as had
signalized themselves therein. He had therefore a great tribunal
made for him in the midst of the place where he had formerly
encamped, and stood upon it with his principal commanders about
him, and spake so as to be heard by the whole arrmy in the manner
following: That he returned them abundance of thanks for their
good-will which they had showed to him: he commended them for
that ready obedience they had exhibited in this whole war, which
obedience had appeared in the many and great dangers which they
had courageously undergone; as also for that courage they had
shown, and had thereby augmented of themselves their country's
power, and had made it evident to all men, that neither the
multitude of their enemies, nor the strength of their places, nor
the largeness of their cities, nor the rash boldness and brutish
rage of their antagonists, were sufficient at any time to get
clear of the Roman valor, although some of them may have fortune
in many respects on their side. He said further, that it was but
reasonable for them to put an end to this war, now it had lasted
so long, for that they had nothing better to wish for when they
entered into it; and that this happened more favorably for them,
and more for their glory, that all the Romans had willingly
accepted of those for their governors, and the curators of their
dominions, whom they had chosen for them, and had sent into their
own country for that purpose, which still continued under the
management of those whom they had pitched on, and were thankful
to them for pitching upon them. That accordingly, although he did
both admire and tenderly regard them all, because he knew that
every one of them had gone as cheerfully about their work as
their abilities and opportunities would give them leave; yet, he
said, that he would immediately bestow rewards and dignities on
those that had fought the most bravely, and with greater force,
and had signalized their conduct in the most glorious manner, and
had made his army more famous by their noble exploits; and that
no one who had been willing to take more pains than another
should miss of a just retribution for the same; for that he had
been exceeding careful about this matter, and that the more,
because he had much rather reward the virtues of his fellow
soldiers than punish such as had offended.

3. Hereupon Titus ordered those whose business it was to read the
list of all that had performed great exploits in this war, whom
he called to him by their names, and commended them before the
company, and rejoiced in them in the same manner as a man would
have rejoiced in his own exploits. He also put on their heads
crowns of gold, and golden ornaments about their necks, and gave
them long spears of gold,. and ensigns that were made of silver,
and removed every one of them to a higher rank; and besides
this, he plentifully distributed among them, out of the spoils,
and the other prey they had taken, silver, and gold, and
garments. So when they had all these honors bestowed on them,
according to his own appointment made to every one, and he had
wished all sorts of happiness to the whole army, he came down,
among the great acclamations which were made to him, and then
betook himself to offer thank-offerings [to the gods], and at
once sacrificed a vast number of oxen, that stood ready at the
altars, and distributed them among the army to feast on. And when
he had staid three days among the principal commanders, and so
long feasted with them, he sent away the rest of his army to the
several places where they would be every one best situated; but
permitted the tenth legion to stay, as a guard at Jerusalem, and
did not send them away beyond Euphrates, where they had been
before. And as he remembered that the twelfth legion had given
way to the Jews, under Cestius their general, he expelled them
out of all Syria, for they had lain formerly at Raphanea, and
sent them away to a place called Meletine, near Euphrates, which
is in the limits of Armenia and Cappadocia; he also thought fit
that two of the legions should stay with him till he should go to
Egypt. He then went down with his army to that Cesarea which lay
by the sea-side, and there laid up the rest of his spoils in
great quantities, and gave order that the captives should he kept
there; for the winter season hindered him then from sailing into


How Titus Exhibited All Sorts Of Shows At Cesarea Philippi.
Concerning Simon The Tyrant How He Was Taken, And
Reserved For The Triumph.

1. Now at the same time that Titus Caesar lay at the siege of
Jerusalem, did Vespasian go on board a merchantship and sailed
from Alexandria to Rhodes; whence he sailed away ,in ships with
three rows of oars; and as he touched at several cities that lay
in his road, he was joyfully received by them all, and so passed
over from Ionia into Greece; whence he set sail from Corcyra to
the promontory of Iapyx, whence he took his journey by land. But
as for Titus, he marched from that Cesarea which lay by the
sea-side, and came to that which is named Cesarea Philippi, and
staid there a considerable time, and exhibited all sorts of shows
there. And here a great number of the captives were destroyed,
some being thrown to wild beasts, and others in multitudes forced
to kill one another, as if they were their enemies. And here it
was that Titus was informed of the seizure of Simon the son of
Gioras, which was made after the manner following: This Simon,
during the siege of Jerusalem, was in the upper city; but when
the Roman army was gotten within the walls, and were laying the
city waste, he then took the most faithful of his friends with
him, and among them some that were stone-cutters, with those iron
tools which belonged to their occupation, and as great a quantity
of provisions as would suffice them for a long time, and let
himself and all them down into a certain subterraneous cavern
that was not visible above ground. Now, so far as had been digged
of old, they went onward along it without disturbance; but where
they met with solid earth, they dug a mine under ground, and this
in hopes that they should be able to proceed so far as to rise
from under ground in a safe place, and by that means escape. But
when they came to make the experiment, they were disappointed of
their hope; for the miners could make but small progress, and
that with difficulty also; insomuch that their provisions, though
they distributed them by measure, began to fail them. And now
Simon, thinking he might be able to astonish and elude the
Romans, put on a white frock, and buttoned upon him a purple
cloak, and appeared out of the ground in the place where the
temple had formerly been. At the first, indeed, those that saw
him were greatly astonished, and stood still where they were; but
afterward they came nearer to him, and asked him who he was. Now
Simon would not tell them, but bid them call for their captain;
and when they ran to call him, Terentius Rufus (2) who was left
to command the army there, came to Simon, and learned of him the
whole truth, and kept him in bonds, and let Caesar know that he
was taken. Thus did God bring this man to be punished for what
bitter and savage tyranny he had exercised against his countrymen
by those who were his worst enemies; and this while he was not
subdued by violence, but voluntarily delivered himself up to them
to be punished, and that on the very same account that he had
laid false accusations against many Jews, as if they were falling
away to the Romans, and had barbarously slain them for wicked
actions do not escape the Divine anger, nor is justice too weak
to punish offenders, but in time overtakes those that transgress
its laws, and inflicts its punishments upon the wicked in a
manner, so much more severe, as they expected to escape it on
account of their not being punished immediately. (3) Simon was
made sensible of this by falling under the indignation of the
Romans. This rise of his out of the ground did also occasion the
discovery of a great number of others Of the seditious at that
time, who had hidden themselves under ground. But for Simon, he
was brought to Caesar in bonds, when he was come back to that
Cesarea which was on the seaside, who gave orders that he should
be kept against that triumph which he was to celebrate at Rome
upon this occasion.


How Titus Upon The Celebration Of His Brothers And
Fathers Birthdays Had Many Of The Jews Slain.
Concerning The Danger The Jews Were In At Antioch, By
Means Of The Transgression And Impiety Of One
Antiochus, A Jew.

1. While Titus was at Cesarea, he solemnized the birthday of his
brother Domitian] after a splendid manner, and inflicted a great
deal of the punishment intended for the Jews in honor of him; for
the number of those that were now slain in fighting with the
beasts, and were burnt, and fought with one another, exceeded two
thousand five hundred. Yet did all this seem to the Romans, when
they were thus destroyed ten thousand several ways, to be a
punishment beneath their deserts. After this Caesar came to
Berytus, (4) which is a city of Phoenicia, and a Roman colony,
and staid there a longer time, and exhibited a still more pompous
solemnity about his father's birthday, both in the magnificence
of the shows, and in the other vast expenses he was at in his
devices thereto belonging; so that a great multitude of the
captives were here destroyed after the same manner as before.

2. It happened also about this time, that the Jews who remained
at Antioch were under accusations, and in danger of perishing,
from the disturbances that were raised against them by the
Antiochians; and this both on account of the slanders spread
abroad at this time against them, and on account of what pranks
they had played not long before; which I am obliged to describe
without fail, though briefly, that I may the better connect my
narration of future actions with those that went before.

3. For as the Jewish nation is widely dispersed over all the
habitable earth among its inhabitants, so it is very much
intermingled with Syria by reason of its neighborhood, and had
the greatest multitudes in Antioch by reason of the largeness of
the city, wherein the kings, after Antiochus, had afforded them a
habitation with the most undisturbed tranquillity; for though
Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, laid Jerusalem waste, and
spoiled the temple, yet did those that succeeded him in the
kingdom restore all the donations that were made of brass to the
Jews of Antioch, and dedicated them to their synagogue, and
granted them the enjoyment of equal privileges of citizens with
the Greeks themselves; and as the succeeding kings treated them
after the same manner, they both multiplied to a great number,
and adorned their temple gloriously by fine ornaments, and with
great magnificence, in the use of what had been given them. They
also made proselytes of a great many of the Greeks perpetually,
and thereby after a sort brought them to be a portion of their
own body. But about this time when the present war began, and
Vespasian was newly sailed to Syria, and all men had taken up a
great hatred against the Jews, then it was that a certain person,
whose name was Antiochus, being one of the Jewish nation, and
greatly respected on account of his father, who was governor of
the Jews at Antioch (5) came upon the theater at a time when the
people of Antioch were assembled together, and became an informer
against his father, and accused both him and others that they had
resolved to burn the whole city in one night; he also delivered
up to them some Jews that were foreigners, as partners in their
resolutions. When the people heard this, they could not refrain
their passion, but commanded that those who were delivered up to
them should have fire brought to burn them, who were accordingly
all burnt upon the theater immediately. They did also fall
violently upon the multitude of the Jews, as supposing that by
punishing them suddenly they should save their own city. As for
Antiochus, he aggravated the rage they were in, and thought to
give them a demonstration of his own conversion, arm of his
hatred of the Jewish customs, by sacrificing after the manner of
the Greeks; he persuaded the rest also to compel them to do the
same, because they would by that means discover who they were
that had plotted against them, since they would not do so; and
when the people of Antioch tried the experiment, some few
complied, but those that would not do so were slain. As for
Ailtiochus himself, he obtained soldiers from the Roman
commander, and became a severe master over his own citizens, not
permitting them to rest on the seventh day, but forcing them to
do all that they usually did on other days; and to that degree of
distress did he reduce them in this matter, that the rest of the
seventh day was dissolved not only at Antioch, but the same thing
which took thence its rise was done in other cities also, in like
manner, for some small time.

4. Now, after these misfortunes had happened to the Jews at
Antioch, a second calamity befell them, the description of which
when we were going about we premised the account foregoing; for
upon this accident, whereby the four-square market-place was
burnt down, as well as the archives, and the place where the
public records were preserved, and the royal palaces, (and it was
not without difficulty that the fire was then put a stop to,
which was likely, by the fury wherewith it was carried along, to
have gone over the whole city,) Antiochus accused the Jews as the
occasion of all the mischief that was done. Now this induced the
people of Antioch, who were now under the immediate persuasion,
by reason of the disorder they were in, that this calumny was
true, and would have been under the same persuasion, even though
they had not borne an ill-will at the Jews before, to believe
this man's accusation, especially when they considered what had
been done before, and this to such a degree, that they all fell
violently upon those that were accused, and this, like madmen, in
a very furious rage also, even as if they had seen the Jews in a
manner setting fire themselves to the city; nor was it without
difficulty that one Cneius Collegas, the legate, could prevail
with them to permit the affairs to be laid before Caesar; for as
to Cesennius Petus, the president of Syria, Vespasian had already
sent him away; and so it happened that he was not yet come back
thither. But when Collegas had made a careful inquiry into the
matter, he found out the truth, and that not one of those Jews
that were accused by Antiochus had any hand in it, but that all
was done by some vile persons greatly in debt, who supposed that
if they could once set fire to the market-place, and burn the
public records, they should have no further demands made upon
them. So the Jews were under great disorder and terror, in the
uncertain expectations of what would be the upshot of these
accusations against them.


How Vespasian Was Received At Rome; As Also How The
Germans Revolted From The Romans, But Were Subdued.
That The Sarmatians Overran Mysia, But Were Compelled
To Retire To Their Own Country Again.

1. And now Titus Caesar, upon the news that was brought him
concerning his father, that his coming was much desired by all
the Italian cities, and that Rome especially received him with
great alacrity and splendor, betook himself to rejoicing and
pleasures to a great degree, as now freed from the solicitude he
had been under, after the most agreeable manner. For all men that
were in Italy showed their respects to him in their minds before
he came thither, as if he were already come, as esteeming the
very expectation they had of him to be his real presence, on
account of the great desires they had to see him, and because the
good-will they bore him was entirely free and unconstrained; for
it was, desirable thing to the senate, who well remembered the
calamities they had undergone in the late changes of their
governors, to receive a governor who was adorned with the gravity
of old age, and with the highest skill in the actions of war,
whose advancement would be, as they knew, for nothing else but
for the preservation of those that were to be governed. Moreover,
the people had been so harassed by their civil miseries, that
they were still more earnest for his coming immediately, as
supposing they should then be firmly delivered from their
calamities, and believed they should then recover their secure
tranquillity and prosperity; and for the soldiery, they had the
principal regard to him, for they were chiefly apprized of his
great exploits in war; and since they had experienced the want of
skill and want of courage in other commanders, they were very
desirous to be free from that great shame they had undergone by
their means, and heartily wished to receive such a prince as
might be a security and an ornament to them. And as this
good-will to Vespasian was universal, those that enjoyed any
remarkable dignities could not have patience enough to stay in
Rome, but made haste to meet him at a very great distance from
it; nay, indeed, none of the rest could endure the delay of
seeing him, but did all pour out of the city in such crowds, and
were so universally possessed with the opinion that it was
easier and better for them to go out than to stay there, that
this was the very first time that the city joyfully perceived
itself almost empty of its citizens; for those that staid within
were fewer than those that went out. But as soon as the news was
come that he was hard by, and those that had met him at first
related with what good humor he received every one that came to
him, then it was that the whole multitude that had remained in
the city, with their wives and children, came into the road, and
waited for him there; and for those whom he passed by, they made
all sorts of acclamations, on account of the joy they had to see
him, and the pleasantness of his countenance, and styled him
their Benefactor and Savior, and the only person who was worthy
to be ruler of the city of Rome. And now the city was like a
temple, full of garlands and sweet odors; nor was it easy for him
to come to the royal palace, for the multitude of the people that
stood about him, where yet at last he performed his sacrifices of
thanksgiving to his household gods for his safe return to the
city. The multitude did also betake themselves to feasting; which
feasts and drink-offerings they celebrated by their tribes, and
their families, and their neighborhoods, and still prayed God to
grant that Vespasian, his sons, and all their posterity, might
continue in the Roman government for a very long time, and that
his dominion might be preserved from all opposition. And this was
the manner in which Rome so joyfully received Vespasian, and
thence grew immediately into a state of great prosperity.

2. But before this time, and while Vespasian was about
Alexandria, and Titus was lying at the siege of Jerusalem, a
great multitude of the Germans were in commotion, and tended to
rebellion; and as the Gauls in their neighborhood joined with
them, they conspired together, and had thereby great hopes of
success, and that they should free themselves from the dominion
of the Romans. The motives that induced the Germans to this
attempt for a revolt, and for beginning the war, were these: In
the first place, the nature [of the people], which was destitute
of just reasonings, and ready to throw themselves rashly into
danger, upon small hopes; in the next place, the hatred they bore
to those that were their governors, while their nation had never
been conscious of subjection to any but to the Romans, and that
by compulsion only. Besides these motives, it was the opportunity
that now offered itself, which above all the rest prevailed with
them so to do; for when they saw the Roman government in a great
internal disorder, by the continual changes of its rulers, and
understood that every part of the habitable earth under them was
in an unsettled and tottering condition, they thought this was
the best opportunity that couldd afford itself for themselves to
make a sedition, when the state of the Romans was so ill.
Classicus (6) also, and Vitellius, two of their commanders,
puffed them up with such hopes. These had for a long time been
openly desirous of such an innovation, and were induced by the
present opportunity to venture upon the declaration of their
sentiments; the multitude was also ready; and when these men told
them of what they intended to attempt, that news was gladly
received by them. So when a great part of the Germans
had agreed to rebel, and the rest were no better disposed,
Vespasian, as guided by Divine Providence, sent letters to
Petilius Cerealis, who had formerly had the command of Germany,
whereby he declared him to have the dignity of consul, and
commanded him to take upon him the government of Britain; so he
went whither he was ordered to go, and when he was informed of
the revolt of the Germans, he fell upon them as soon as they were
gotten together, and put his army in battle-array, and slew a
great number of them in the fight, and forced them to leave off
their madness, and to grow wiser; nay, had he not fallen thus
suddenly upon them on the place, it had not been long ere they
would however have been brought to punishment; for as soon as
ever the news of their revolt was come to Rome, and Caesar
Domitian was made acquainted with it, he made no delay, even at
that his age, when he was exceeding young, but undertook this
weighty affair. He had a courageous mind from his father, and had
made greater improvements than belonged to such an age:
accordingly he marched against the barbarians immediately;
whereupon their hearts failed them at the very rumor of his
approach, and they submitted themselves to him with fear, and
thought it a happy thing that they were brought under their old
yoke again without suffering any further mischiefs. When
therefore Domitian had settled all the affairs of Gaul in such
good order, that it would not be easily put into disorder any
more, he returned to Rome with honor and glory, as having
performed such exploits as were above his own age, but worthy of
so great a father.

3. At the very same time with the forementioned revolt of the
Germans did the bold attempt of the Scythians against the Romans
occur; for those Scythians who are called Sarmatians, being a
very numerous people, transported themselves over the Danube into
Mysia, without being perceived; after which, by their violence,
and entirely unexpected assault, they slew a great many of the
Romans that guarded the frontiers; and as the consular legate
Fonteius Agrippa came to meet them, and fought courageously
against them, he was slain by them. They then overran all the
region that had been subject to him, tearing and rending every
thing that fell in their way. But when Vespasian was informed of
what had happened, and how Mysia was laid waste, he sent away
Rubrius Gallus to punish these Sarmatians; by whose means many of
them perished in the battles he fought against them, and that
part which escaped fled with fear to their own country. So when
this general had put an end to the war, he provided for the
future security of the country also; for he placed more and more
numerous garrisons in the place, till he made it altogether
impossible for the barbarians to pass over the river any more.
And thus had this war in Mysia a sudden conclusion.


Concerning The Sabbatic River Which Titus Saw As He
Was Journeying Through Syria; And How The People Of
Antioch Came With A Petition To Titus Against The Jews
But Were Rejected By Him; As Also Concerning Titus's And
Vespasian's Triumph.

1. Now Titus Caesar tarried some time at Berytus, as we told you
before. He thence removed, and exhibited magnificent shows in all
those cities of Syria through which he went, and made use of the
captive Jews as public instances of the destruction of that
nation. He then saw a river as he went along, of such a nature as
deserves to be recorded in history; it runs in the middle between
Arcea, belonging to Agrippa's kingdom, and Raphanea. It hath
somewhat very peculiar in it; for when it runs, its current is
strong, and has plenty of water; after which its springs fail for
six days together, and leave its channel dry, as any one may see;
after which days it runs on the seventh day as it did before, and
as though it had undergone no change at all; it hath also been
observed to keep this order perpetually and exactly; whence it is
that they call it the Sabbatic River (7) that name being taken
from the sacred seventh day among the Jews.

2. But when the people of Antioch were informed that Titus was
approaching, they were so glad at it, that they could not keep
within their walls, but hasted away to give him the meeting; nay,
they proceeded as far as thirty furlongs, and more, with that
intention. These were not the men only, but a multitude of women
also with their children did the same; and when they saw him
coming up to them, they stood on both sides of the way, and
stretched out their right hands, saluting him, and making all
sorts of acclamations to him, and turned back together with him.
They also, among all the acclamations they made to him, besought
him all the way they went to eject the Jews out of their city;
yet did not Titus at all yield to this their petition, but gave
them the bare hearing of it quietly. However, the Jews were in a
great deal of terrible fear, under the uncertainty they were in
what his opinion was, and what he would do to them. For Titus did
not stay at Antioch, but continued his progress immediately to
Zeugma, which lies upon the Euphrates, whither came to him
messengers from Vologeses king of Parthia, and brought him a
crown of gold upon the victory he had gained over the Jews; which
he accepted of, and feasted the king's messengers, and then came
back to Antioch. And when the senate and people of Antioch
earnestly entreated him to come upon their theater, where their
whole multitude was assembled, and expected him, he complied with
great humanity; but when they pressed him with much earnestness,
and continually begged of him that he would eject the Jews out of
their city, he gave them this very pertinent answer: How can this
be done, since that country of theirs, whither the Jews must be
obliged then to retire, is destroyed, and no place will receive
them besides?" Whereupon the people of Antioch, when they had
failed of success in this their first request, made him a second;
for they desired that he would order those tables of brass to be
removed on which the Jews' privileges were engraven. However,
Titus would not grant that neither, but permitted the Jews of
Antioch to continue to enjoy the very same privileges in that
city which they had before, and then departed for Egypt; and as
he came to Jerusalem in his progress, and compared the melancholy
condition he saw it then in, with the ancient glory of the city,
and called to mind the greatness of its present ruins, as well as
its ancient splendor, he could not but pity the destruction of
the city, so far was he from boasting that so great and goodly a
city as that was had been by him taken by force; nay, he
frequently cursed those that had been the authors of their
revolt, and had brought such a punishment upon the city; insomuch
that it openly appeared that he did not desire that such a
calamity as this punishment of theirs amounted to should be a
demonstration of his courage. Yet was there no small quantity of
the riches that had been in that city still found among its
ruins, a great deal of which the Romans dug up; but the greatest
part was discovered by those who were captives, and so they
carried it away; I mean the gold and the silver, and the rest of
that most precious furniture which the Jews had, and which the
owners had treasured up under ground, against the uncertain
fortunes of war.

3. So Titus took the journey he intended into Egypt, and passed
over the desert very suddenly, and came to Alexandria, and took
up a resolution to go to Rome by sea. And as he was accompanied
by two legions, he sent each of them again to the places whence
they had before come; the fifth he sent to Mysia, and the
fifteenth to Pannonia: as for the leaders of the captives, Simon
and John, with the other seven hundred men, whom he had selected
out of the rest as being eminently tall and handsome of body, he
gave order that they should be soon carried to Italy, as
resolving to produce them in his triumph. So when he had had a
prosperous voyage to his mind, the city of Rome behaved itself in
his reception, and their meeting him at a distance, as it did in
the case of his father. But what made the most splendid
appearance in Titus's opinion was, when his father met him, and
received him; but still the multitude of the citizens conceived
the greatest joy when they saw them all three together, (8) as
they did at this time; nor were many days overpast when they
determined to have but one triumph, that should be common to both
of them, on account of the glorious exploits they had performed,
although the senate had decreed each of them a separate triumph
by himself. So when notice had been given beforehand of the day
appointed for this pompous solemnity to be made, on account of
their victories, not one of the immense multitude was left in the
city, but every body went out so far as to gain only a station
where they might stand, and left only such a passage as was
necessary for those that were to be seen to go along it.

4. Now all the soldiery marched out beforehand by companies, and
in their several ranks, under their several commanders, in the
night time, and were about the gates, not of the upper palaces,
but those near the temple of Isis; for there it was that the
emperors had rested the foregoing night. And as soon as ever it
was day, Vespasian and Titus came out crowned with laurel, and
clothed in those ancient purple habits which were proper to their
family, and then went as far as Octavian's Walks; for there it
was that the senate, and the principal rulers, and those that had
been recorded as of the equestrian order, waited for them. Now a
tribunal had been erected before the cloisters, and ivory chairs
had been set upon it, when they came and sat down upon them.
Whereupon the soldiery made an acclamation of joy to them
immediately, and all gave them attestations of their valor; while
they were themselves without their arms, and only in their silken
garments, and crowned with laurel: then Vespasian accepted of
these shouts of theirs; but while they were still disposed to go
on in such acclamations, he gave them a signal of silence. And
when every body entirely held their peace, he stood up, and
covering the greatest part of his head with his cloak, he put up
the accustomed solemn prayers; the like prayers did Titus put up
also; after which prayers Vespasian made a short speech to all
the people, and then sent away the
soldiers to a dinner prepared for them by the emperors. Then did
he retire to that gate which was called the Gate of the Pomp,
because pompous shows do always go through that gate; there it
was that they tasted some food, and when they had put on their
triumphal garments, and had offered sacrifices to the gods that
were placed at the gate, they sent the triumph forward, and
marched through the theatres, that they might be the more easily
seen by the multitudes.

5. Now it is impossible to describe the multitude of the shows as
they deserve, and the magnificence of them all; such indeed as a
man could not easily think of as performed, either by the labor
of workmen, or the variety of riches, or the rarities of nature;
for almost all such curiosities as the most happy men ever get by
piece-meal were here one heaped on another, and those both
admirable and costly in their nature; and all brought together on
that day demonstrated the vastness of the dominions of the
Romans; for there was here to be seen a mighty quantity of
silver, and gold, and ivory, contrived into all sorts of things,
and did not appear as carried along in pompous show only, but, as
a man may say, running along like a river. Some parts were
composed of the rarest purple hangings, and so carried along; and
others accurately represented to the life what was embroidered by
the arts of the Babylonians. There were also precious stones that
were transparent, some set in crowns of gold, and some in other
ouches, as the workmen pleased; and of these such a vast number
were brought, that we could not but thence learn how vainly we
imagined any of them to be rarities. The images of the gods were
also carried, being as well wonderful for their largeness, as
made very artificially, and with great skill of the workmen; nor
were any of these images of any other than very costly
materials; and many species of animals were brought, every one in
their own natural ornaments. The men also who brought every one
of these shows were great multitudes, and adorned with purple
garments, all over interwoven with gold; those that were chosen
for carrying these pompous shows having also about them such
magnificent ornaments as were both extraordinary and surprising.
Besides these, one might see that even the great number of the
captives was not
unadorned, while the variety that was in their garments, and
their fine texture, concealed from the sight the deformity of
their bodies. But what afforded the greatest surprise of all was
the structure of the pageants that were borne along; for indeed
he that met them could not but be afraid that the bearers would
not be able firmly enough to support them, such was their
magnitude; for many of them were so made, that they were on three
or even four stories, one above another. The magnificence also of
their structure afforded one both pleasure and surprise; for upon
many of them were laid carpets of gold. There was also wrought
gold and ivory fastened about them all; and many resemblances of
the war, and those in several ways, and variety of contrivances,
affording a most lively portraiture of itself. For there was to
be seen a happy country laid waste, and entire squadrons of
enemies slain; while some of them ran away, and some were carried
into captivity; with walls of great altitude and magnitude
overthrown and ruined by machines; with the strongest
fortifications taken, and the walls of most populous cities upon
the tops of hills seized on, and an army pouring itself within
the walls; as also every place full of slaughter, and
supplications of the enemies, when they were no longer able to
lift up their hands in way of opposition. Fire also sent upon
temples was here represented, and houses overthrown, and falling
upon their owners: rivers also, after they came out of a large
and melancholy desert, ran down, not into a land cultivated, nor
as drink for men, or for cattle, but through a land still on fire
upon every side; for the Jews related that such a thing they had
undergone during this war. Now the workmanship of these
representations was so magnificent and lively in the construction
of the things, that it exhibited what had been done to such as
did not see it, as if they had been there really present. On the
top of every one of these pageants was placed the commander of
the city that was taken, and the manner wherein he was taken.
Moreover, there followed those pageants a great number of ships;
and for the other spoils, they were carried in great plenty. But
for those that were taken in the temple of Jerusalem, (9) they
made the greatest figure of them all; that is, the golden table,
of the weight of many talents; the candlestick also, that was
made of gold, though its
construction were now changed from that which we made use of; for
its middle shaft was fixed upon a basis, and the small branches
were produced out of it to a great length, having the likeness of
a trident in their position, and had every one a socket made of
brass for a lamp at the tops of them. These lamps were in number
seven, and represented the dignity of the number seven among the
Jews; and the last of all the spoils, was carried the Law of the
Jews. After these spoils passed by a great many men, carrying the
images of Victory, whose structure was entirely either of ivory
or of gold. After which Vespasian marched in the first place, and
Titus followed him; Domitian also rode along with them, and made
a glorious appearance, and rode on a horse that was worthy of

6. Now the last part of this pompous show was at the temple of
Jupiter Capitolinus, whither when they were come, they stood
still; for it was the Romans' ancient custom to stay till
somebody brought the news that the general of the enemy was
slain. This general was Simon, the son of Gioras, who had then
been led in this triumph among the captives; a rope had also been
put upon his head, and he had been drawn into a proper place in
the forum, and had withal been tormented by those that drew him
along; and the law of the Romans required that malefactors
condemned to die should be slain there. Accordingly, when it was
related that there was an end of him, and all the people had set
up a shout for joy, they then began to offer those sacrifices
which they had consecrated, in the prayers used in such
solemnities; which when they had finished, they went away to the
palace. And as for some of the spectators, the emperors
entertained them at their own feast; and for all the rest there
were noble preparations made for feasting at home; for this was a
festival day to the city of Rome, as celebrated for the victory
obtained by their army over their enemies, for the end that was
now put to their civil miseries, and for the commencement of
their hopes of future prosperity and happiness.

7. After these triumphs were over, and after the affairs of the
Romans were settled on the surest foundations, Vespasian resolved
to build a temple to Peace, which was finished in so short a
time, and in so glorious a manner, as was beyond all human
expectation and opinion: for he having now by Providence a vast
quantity of wealth, besides what he had formerly gained in his
other exploits, he had this temple adorned with pictures and
statues; for in this temple were collected and deposited all such
rarities as men aforetime used to wander all over the habitable
world to see, when they had a desire to see one of them after
another; he also laid up therein those golden vessels and
instruments that were taken out of the Jewish temple, as ensigns
of his glory. But still he gave order that they should lay up
their Law, and the purple veils of the holy place, in the royal
palace itself, and keep them there.


Concerning Macherus, And How Lucilius Bassus Took That
Citadel, And Other Places.

1. Now Lucilius Bassus was sent as legate into Judea, and there
he received the army from Cerealis Vitellianus, and took that
citadel which was in Herodium, together with the garrison that
was in it; after which he got together all the soldiery that was
there, (which was a large body, but dispersed into several
parties,) with the tenth legion, and resolved to make war upon
Macherus; for it was highly necessary that this citadel should be
demolished, lest it might be a means of drawing away many into a
rebellion, by reason of its strength; for the nature of the place
was very capable of affording the surest hopes of safety to
those that possessed it, as well as delay and fear to those that
should attack it; for what was walled in was itself a very rocky
hill, elevated to a very great height; which circumstance alone
made it very hard to he subdued. It was also so contrived by
nature, that it could not be easily ascended; for it is, as it
were, ditched about with such valleys on all sides, and to such a
depth, that the eye cannot reach their bottoms, and such as are
not easily to be passed over, and even such as it is impossible
to fill up with earth. For that valley which cuts it on the west
extends to threescore furlongs, and did not end till it came to
the lake Asphaltitis; on the same side it was also that Macherus
had the tallest top of its hill elevated above the rest. But then
for the valleys that lay on the north and south sides, although
they be not so large as that already described, yet it is in like
manner an impracticable thing to think of getting over them; and
for the valley that lies on the east side, its depth is found to
be no less than a hundred cubits. It extends as far as a mountain
that lies over against Macherus, with which it is bounded.

2. Now when Alexander [Janneus], the king of the Jews, observed
the nature of this place, he was the first who built a citadel
here, which afterwards was demolished by Gabinius, when he made
war against Aristobulus. But when Herod came to be king, he
thought the place to be worthy of the utmost regard, and of being
built upon in the firmest manner, and this especially because it
lay so near to Arabia; for it is seated in a convenient place on
that account, and hath a prospect toward that country; he
therefore surrounded a large space of ground with walls
and towers, and built a city there, out of which city there was a
way that led up to the very citadel itself on the top of the
mountain; nay, more than this, he built a wall round that top of
the hill, and erected towers at the corners, of a hundred and
sixty cubits high; in the middle of which place he built a
palace, after a magnificent manner, wherein were large and
beautiful edifices. He also made a great many reservoirs for the
reception of water, that there might be plenty of it ready for
all uses, and those in the properest places that were afforded
him there. Thus did he, as it were, contend with the nature of
the place, that he might exceed its natural strength and security
(which yet itself rendered it hard to be taken) by those
fortifications which were made by the hands of men. Moreover, he
put a large quantity of darts and other machines of war into it,
and contrived to get every thing thither that might any way
contribute to its inhabitants' security, under the longest siege

3. Now within this place there grew a sort of rue (10) that
deserves our wonder on account of its largeness, for it was no
way inferior to any fig tree whatsoever, either in height or in
thickness; and the report is, that it had lasted ever since the
times of Herod, and would probably have lasted much longer, had
it not been cut down by those Jews who took possession of the
place afterward. But still in that valley which encompasses the
city on the north side there is a certain place called Baaras,
which produces a root of the same name with itself (11) its color
is like to that of flame, and towards the evenings it sends out a
certain ray like lightning. It is not easily taken by such as
would do it, but recedes from their hands, nor will yield itself
to be taken quietly, until either the urine of a woman, or her
menstrual blood, be poured upon it; nay, even then it is certain
death to those that touch it, unless any one take and hang the
root itself down from his hand, and so carry it away. It may also
be taken another way, without danger, which is this: they dig a
trench quite round about it, till the hidden part of the root be
very small, they then tie a dog to it, and when the dog tries
hard to follow him that tied him, this root is easily plucked up,
but the dog dies immediately, as if it were instead of the man
that would take the plant away; nor after this need any one be
afraid of taking it into their hands. Yet, after all this pains
in getting, it is only valuable on account of one virtue it hath,
that if it be only brought to sick persons, it quickly drives
away those called demons, which are no other than the spirits of
the wicked, that enter into men that are alive and kill them,
unless they can obtain some help against them. Here are also
fountains of hot
water, that flow out of this place, which have a very different
taste one from the other; for some of them are bitter, and others
of them are plainly sweet. Here are also many eruptions of cold
waters, and this not only in the places that lie lower, and have
their fountains near one another, but, what is still more
wonderful, here is to be seen a certain cave hard by, whose
cavity is not deep, but it is covered over by a rock that is
prominent; above this rock there stand up two [hills or] breasts,
as it were, but a little distant one from another, the one of
which sends out a fountain that is very cold, and the other sends
out one that is very hot; which waters, when they are mingled
together, compose a most pleasant bath; they are medicinal indeed
for other maladies, but especially good for strengthening the
nerves. This place has in it also mines of sulfur and alum.

4. Now when Bassus had taken a full view of this place, he
resolved to besiege it, by filling up the valley that lay on the
east side; so he fell hard to work, and took great pains to raise
his banks as soon as possible, and by that means to render the
siege easy. As for the Jews that were caught in this place, they
separated themselves from the strangers that were with them, and
they forced those strangers, as an otherwise useless multitude,
to stay in the lower part of the city, and undergo the principal
dangers, while they themselves seized on the upper citadel, and
held it, and this both on account of its strength, and to provide
for their own safety. They also supposed they might obtain their
pardon, in case they should [at last] surrender the citadel.
However, they were willing to make trial, in the first place,
whether the hopes they had of avoiding a siege would come to any
thing; with which intention they made sallies every day, and
fought with those that met them; in which conflicts they were
many of them slain, as they therein slew many of the Romans. But
still it was the opportunities that presented themselves which
chiefly gained both sides their victories; these were gained by
the Jews, when they fell upon the Romans as they were off their
guard; but by the Romans, when, upon the others' sallies against
their banks, they foresaw their coming, and were upon their lard
when they received them. But the conclusion of this siege did not
depend upon these bickerings; but a certain surprising accident,
relating to what was done in this siege, forced the Jews to
surrender the citadel. There was a certain young man among the
besieged, of great boldness, and very active of his hand, his
name was Eleazar; he greatly signalized himself in those sallies,
and encouraged the Jews to go out in great numbers, in order to
hinder the raising of the banks, and did the Romans a vast deal
of mischief when they came to fighting; he so managed matters,
that those who sallied out made their attacks
easily, and returned back without danger, and this by still
bringing up the rear himself. Now it happened that, on a certain
time, when the fight was over, and both sides were parted, and
retired home, he, in way of contempt of the enemy, and thinking
that none of them would begin the fight again at that time, staid
without the gates, and talked with those that were upon the wall,
and his mind was wholly intent upon what they said. Now a certain
person belonging to the Roman camp, whose lame was Rufus, by
birth an Egyptian, ran upon him suddenly, when nobody expected
such a thing, and carried him off, with his armor itself; while,
in the mean time, those that saw it from the wall were under such
an amazement, that Rufus prevented their assistance, and carried
Eleazar to the Roman camp. So the general of the Romans ordered
that he should be taken up naked, set before the city to be seen,
and sorely whipped before their eyes. Upon this sad accident that
befell the young man, the Jews were terribly confounded, and the
city, with one voice, sorely lamented him, and the mourning
proved greater than could well be supposed upon the calamity of a
single person. When Bassus perceived that, he began to think of
using a stratagem against the enemy, and was desirous to
aggravate their grief, in order to prevail with them to surrender
the city for the preservation of that man. Nor did he fail of his
hope; for he commanded them to set up a cross, as if he were just
going to hang Eleazar upon it immediately; the sight of this
occasioned a sore grief among those that were in the citadel, and
they groaned vehemently, and cried out that they could not bear
to see him thus destroyed. Whereupon Eleazar besought them not to
disregard him, now he was going to suffer a
most miserable death, and exhorted them to save themselves, by
yielding to the Roman power and good fortune, since all other
people were now conquered by them. These men were greatly moved
with what he said, there being also many within the city that
interceded for him, because he was of an eminent and very
numerous family; so they now yielded to their passion of
commiseration, contrary to their usual custom. Accordingly, they
sent out immediately certain messengers, and treated with the
Romans, in order to a surrender of the citadel to them, and
desired that they might be permitted to go away, and take Eleazar
along with them. Then did the Romans and their general accept of
these terms; while the multitude of strangers that were in the
lower part of the city, hearing of the agreement that was made by
the Jews for themselves alone, were resolved to fly away
privately in the night time; but as soon as they had opened their
gates, those that had come to terms with Bassus told him of it;
whether it were that they envied the others' deliverance, or
whether it were done out of fear, lest an occasion should be
taken against them upon their escape, is uncertain. The most
courageous, therefore, of those men that went out prevented the
enemy, and got away, and fled for it; but for those men that were
caught within they

5. When Bassus had settled these affairs, he marched hastily to
the forest of Jarden, as it is called; for he had heard that a
great many of those that had fled from Jerusalem and Macherus
formerly were there gotten together. When he was therefore come
to the place, and understood that the former news was no mistake,
he, in the first place, surrounded the whole place with his
horsemen, that such of the Jews as had boldness enough to try to
break through might have no way possible for escaping, by reason
of the situation of these horsemen; and for the footmen, he
ordered them to cut down the trees that were in the wood whither
they were fled. So the Jews were under a necessity of performing
some glorious exploit, and of greatly exposing themselves in a
battle, since they might perhaps thereby escape. So they made a
general attack, and with a great shout fell upon those that
surrounded them, who received them with great courage; and so
while the one side fought desperately, and the others would not
yield, the fight was prolonged on that account. But the event of
the battle did not answer the expectation of the assailants; for
so it happened, that no more than twelve fell on the Roman side,
with a few that were wounded; but not one of the Jews escaped out
of this battle, but they were all killed, being in the whole not
fewer in number than three thousand, together with Judas, the son
of Jairus, their general, concerning whom we have before spoken,
that he had been a captain of a certain band at the siege of
Jerusalem, and by going down into a certain vault under ground,
had privately made his escape.

6. About the same time it was that Caesar sent a letter to
Bassus, and to Liberius Maximus, who was the procurator [of
Judea], and gave order that all Judea should be exposed to sale
(12) for he did not found any city there, but reserved the
country for himself. However, he assigned a place for eight
hundred men only, whom he had dismissed from his army, which he
gave them for their habitation; it is called Emmaus, (13) and is
distant from Jerusalem threescore furlongs. He also laid a
tribute upon the Jews wheresoever they were, and enjoined every
one of them to bring two drachmae every year into the Capitol, as
they used to pay the same to the temple at Jerusalem. And this
was the state of the Jewish affairs at this time.


Concerning The Calamity That Befell Antiochus, King Of
Commagene. As Also Concerning The Alans And What
Great Mischiefs They Did To The Medes And Armenians.

1. And now, in the fourth year of the reign of Vespasian, it came
to pass that Antiochus, the king of Commagene, with all his
family, fell into very great calamities. The occasion was this:
Cesennius Petus, who was president of Syria at this time, whether
it were done out of regard to truth, or whether out of hatred to
Antiochus, (for which was the real motive was never thoroughly
discovered,) sent an epistle to Caesar, and therein told him that
Antiochus, with his son Epiphanes, had resolved to rebel against
the Romans, and had made a league with the king of Parthia to
that purpose; that it was therefore fit to prevent them, lest
they prevent us, and begin such a war as may cause a general
disturbance in the Roman empire. Now Caesar was disposed to take
some care about the matter, since this discovery was made; for
the neighborhood of the kingdoms made this affair worthy of
greater regard; for Samoseta, the capital of Commagene, lies upon
Euphrates, and upon any such design could afford an easy passage
over it to the Parthians, and could also afford them a secure
reception. Petus was accordingly believed, and had authority
given him of doing what he should think proper in the case; so he
set about it without delay, and fell upon Commagene before
Antiochus and his people had the least expectation of his coming:
he had with him the tenth legion, as also some cohorts and troops
of horsemen. These kings also came to his assistance:
Aristobulus, king of the country called Chalcidene, and Sohemus,
who was called king of Emesa. Nor was there any opposition made
to his forces when they entered the kingdom; for no one of that
country would so much as lift up his hand against them. When
heard this unexpected news, he could not think in the least of
making war with the Romans, but determined to leave his whole
kingdom in the state wherein it now was, and to retire privately,
with his wife and children, as thinking thereby to demonstrate
himself to the Romans to be innocent as to the accusation laid
against him. So he went away from that city as far as a hundred
and twenty furlongs, into a plain, and there pitched his tents.

2. Petus then sent some of his men to seize upon Samosate, and by
their means took possession of that city, while he went himself
to attack Antiochus with the rest of his army. However, the king
was not prevailed upon by the distress he was in to do any thing
in the way of war against the Romans, but bemoaned his own hard
fate, and endured with patience what he was not able to prevent.
But his sons, who were young, and unexperienced in war, but of
strong bodies, were not easily induced to bear this calamity
without fighting. Epiphanes, therefore, and Callinicus, betook
themselves to military force; and as the battle was a sore one,
and lasted all the day long, they showed their own valor in a
remarkable manner, and nothing but the approach of night put a
period thereto, and that without any diminution of their forces;
yet would not Antiochus, upon this conclusion of the fight,
continue there by any means, but took his wife and his daughters,
and fled away with them to Cilicia, and by so doing quite
discouraged the minds of his own soldiers. Accordingly, they
revolted, and went over to the Romans, out of the despair they
were in of his keeping the kingdom; and his case was looked upon
by all as quite desperate. It was therefore necessary that
Epiphanes and his soldiers should get clear of their enemies
before they became entirely destitute of any confederates; nor
were there any more than ten horsemen with him, who passed with
him over Euphrates, whence they went undisturbed to Vologeses,
the king of Parthie, where they were not disregarded as
fugitives, but had the same respect paid them as if they had
retained their ancient prosperity.

3. Now when Antiochus was come to Tarsus in Cilicia, Petus
ordered a centurion to go to him, and send him in bonds to Rome.
However, Vespasian could not endure to have a king brought to him
in that manner, but thought it fit rather to have a regard to the
ancient friendship that had been between them, than to preserve
an inexorable anger upon pretense of this war. Accordingly, he
gave orders that they should take off his bonds, while he was
still upon the road, and that he should not come to Rome, but
should now go and live at Lacedemon; he also gave him large
revenues, that he might not only live in plenty, but like a king
also. When Epiphanes, who before was in great fear for his
father, was informed of this, their minds were freed from that
great and almost incurable concern they had been under. He also
hoped that Caesar would be reconciled to them, upon the
intercession of Vologeses; for although he lived in plenty, he
knew not how to bear living out of the Roman empire. So Caesar
gave him leave, after an obliging manner, and he came to Rome;
and as his father came quickly to him from Lacedemon, he had all
sorts of respect paid him there, and there he remained.

4. Now there was a nation of the Alans, which we have formerly
mentioned some where as being Scythians and inhabiting at the
lake Meotis. This nation about this time laid a design of falling
upon Media, and the parts beyond it, in order to plunder them;
with which intention they treated with the king of Hyrcania; for
he was master of that passage which king Alexander [the Great]
shut up with iron gates. This king gave them leave to come
through them; so they came in great multitudes, and fell upon the
Medes unexpectedly, and plundered their country, which they found
full of people, and replenished with abundance of cattle, while
nobody durst make any resistance against them; for Paeorus, the
king of the country, had fled away for fear into places where
they could not easily come at him, and had yielded up every thing
he had to them, and had only saved his wife and his concubines
from them, and that with difficulty also, after they had been
made captives, by giving them a hundred talents for their ransom.
These Alans therefore plundered the country without opposition,
and with great ease, and proceeded as far as Armenia, laying all
waste before them. Now Tiridates was king of that country, who
met them, and fought them, but had like to have been taken alive
in the battle; for a certain man threw a net over him from a
great distance, and had soon drawn him to him, unless he had
immediately cut the cord with his sword, and ran away, and
prevented it. So the Alans, being still more provoked by this
sight, laid waste the country, and drove a great multitude of the
men, and a great quantity of the other prey they had gotten out
of both kingdoms, along with them, and then retreated back to
their own country.


Concerning Masada And Those Sicarii Who Kept It; And
How Silva Betook Himself To Form The Siege Of That
Citadel. Eleazar's Speeches To The Besieged.

1. When Bassus was dead in Judea, Flavius Silva succeeded him as
procurator there; who, when he saw that all the rest of the
country was subdued in this war, and that there was but one only
strong hold that was still in rebellion, he got all his army
together that lay in different places, and made an expedition
against it. This fortress was called Masada. It was one Eleazar,
a potent man, and the commander of these Sicarii, that had seized
upon it. He was a descendant from that Judas who had persuaded
abundance of the Jews, as we have formerly related, not to submit
to the taxation when Cyrenius was sent into Judea to make one;
for then it was that the Sicarii got together against those that
were willing to submit to the Romans, and treated them in all
respects as if they had been their enemies, both by plundering
them of what they had, by driving away their cattle, and by
setting fire to their houses; for they said that they differed
not at all from foreigners, by betraying, in so cowardly a
manner, that freedom which Jews thought worthy to be contended
for to the utmost, and by owning that they preferred slavery
under the Romans before such a contention. Now this was in
reality no better than a pretense and a cloak for the barbarity
which was made use of by them, and to color over their own
avarice, which they afterwards made evident by their own actions;
for those that were partners with them in their rebellion joined
also with them in the war against the Romans, and went further
lengths with them in their impudent undertakings against them;
and when they were again convicted of dissembling in such their
pretenses, they still more abused those that justly reproached
them for their wickedness. And indeed that was a time most
fertile in all manner of wicked practices, insomuch that no kind
of evil deeds were then left undone; nor could any one so much as
devise any bad thing that was new, so deeply were they all
infected, and strove with one another in their single capacity,
and in their communities, who should run the greatest lengths in
impiety towards God, and in unjust actions towards their
neighbors; the men of power oppressing the multitude, and the
multitude earnestly laboring to destroy the men of power. The one
part were
desirous of tyrannizing over others, and the rest of offering
violence to others, and of plundering such as were richer than
themselves. They were the Sicarii who first began these
transgressions, and first became barbarous towards those allied
to them, and left no words of reproach unsaid, and no works of
perdition untried, in order to destroy those whom their
contrivances affected. Yet did John demonstrate by his actions
that these Sicarii were more moderate than he was himself, for he
not only slew all such as gave him good counsel to do what was
right, but treated them worst of all, as the most bitter enemies
that he had among all the Citizens; nay, he filled his entire
country with ten thousand instances of wickedness, such as a man
who was already hardened sufficiently in his impiety towards God
would naturally do; for the food was unlawful that was set upon
his table, and he rejected those purifications that the law of
his country had ordained; so that it was no longer a wonder if
he, who was so mad in his impiety towards God, did not observe
any rules of gentleness and common affection towards men. Again,
therefore, what mischief was there which Simon the son of Gioras
did not do? or what kind of abuses did he abstain from as to
those very free-men who had set him up for a tyrant? What
friendship or kindred were there that did not make him more bold
in his daily murders? for they looked upon the doing of mischief
to strangers only as a work beneath their courage, but thought
their barbarity towards their nearest relations would be a
glorious demonstration thereof. The Idumeans also strove with
these men who should be guilty of the greatest madness! for they
[all], vile wretches as they were, cut the throats of the high
priests, that so no part of a religious regard to God. might be
preserved; they thence proceeded to destroy utterly the least
remains of a political government, and introduced the most
complete scene of iniquity in all instances that were
practicable; under which scene that sort of people that were
called zealots grew up, and who indeed corresponded to the name;
for they imitated every wicked work; nor, if their memory
suggested any evil thing that had formerly been done, did they
avoid zealously to pursue the same; and although they gave
themselves that name from their zeal for what was good, yet did
it agree to them only by way of irony, on account of those they
had unjustly treated by their wild and brutish disposition, or as
thinking the greatest mischiefs to be the greatest good.
Accordingly, they all met with such ends as God deservedly
brought upon them in way of punishment; for all such miseries
have been sent upon them as man's nature is capable of
undergoing, till the utmost period of their lives, and till death
came upon them in various ways of torment; yet might one say
justly that they suffered less than they had done, because it was
impossible they could be punished according to their deserving.
But to make a lamentation according to the deserts of those who
fell under these men's barbarity, this is not a proper place for
it; - I therefore now return again to the remaining part of the
present narration.

2. For now it was that the Roman general came, and led his army
against Eleazar and those Sicarii who held the fortress Masada
together with him; and for the whole country adjoining, he
presently gained it, and put garrisons into the most proper
places of it; he also built a wall quite round the entire
fortress, that none of the besieged might easily escape; he also
set his men to guard the several parts of it; he also pitched his
camp in such an agreeable place as he had chosen for the siege,
and at which place the rock belonging to the fortress did make
the nearest approach to the neighboring mountain, which yet was a
place of difficulty for getting plenty of provisions; for it was
not only food that was to be brought from a great distance [to
the army], and this with a great deal of pain to those Jews who
were appointed for that purpose, but water was
also to be brought to the camp, because the place afforded no
fountain that was near it. When therefore Silva had ordered these
affairs beforehand, he fell to besieging the place; which siege
was likely to stand in need of a great deal of skill and pains,
by reason of the strength of the fortress, the nature of which I
will now describe.

3. There was a rock, not small in circumference, and very high.
It was encompassed with valleys of such vast depth downward, that
the eye could not reach their bottoms; they were abrupt, and such
as no animal could walk upon, excepting at two places of the
rock, where it subsides, in order to afford a passage for ascent,
though not without difficulty. Now, of the ways that lead to it,
one is that from the lake Asphaltiris, towards the sun-rising,
and another on the west, where the ascent is easier: the one of
these ways is called the Serpent, as resembling that animal in
its narrowness and its perpetual windings; for it is broken off
at the prominent precipices of the rock, and returns frequently
into itself, and lengthening again by little and little, hath
much ado to proceed forward; and he that would walk along it must
first go on one leg, and then on the other; there is also nothing
but destruction, in case your feet slip; for on each side there
is a vastly deep chasm and precipice, sufficient to quell the
courage of every body by the terror it infuses into the mind.
When, therefore, a man hath gone along this way for thirty
furlongs, the rest is the top of the hill - not ending at a small
point, but is no other than a plain upon the highest part of the
mountain. Upon this top of the hill, Jonathan the high priest
first of all built a fortress, and called it Masada: after which
the rebuilding of this place employed the care of king Herod to a
great degree; he also built a wall round about the entire top of
the hill, seven furlongs long; it was composed of white stone;
its height was twelve, and its breadth eight cubits; there were
also erected upon that wall thirty-eight towers, each of them
fifty cubits high; out of which you might pass into lesser
edifices, which were built on the inside, round the entire wall;
for the king reserved the top of the hill, which was of a fat
soil, and better mould than any valley for agriculture, that such
as committed themselves to this fortress for their preservation
might not even there be quite destitute of food, in case they
should ever be in want of it from abroad. Moreover, he built a
palace therein at the western ascent; it was within and beneath
the walls of the citadel, but inclined to its north side. Now the
wall of this palace was very high and strong, and had at its four
corners towers sixty cubits high. The furniture also of the
edifices, and of the cloisters, and of the baths, was of great
variety, and very costly; and these buildings were supported by
pillars of single stones on every side; the walls and also the
floors of the edifices were paved with stones of several colors.
He also had cut many and great pits, as reservoirs for water, out
of the rocks, at every one of the places that were inhabited,
both above and round about the palace, and before the wall; and
by this contrivance he endeavored to have water for several uses,
as if there had been fountains there. Here was also a road digged
from the palace, and leading to the very top of the mountain,
which yet could not be seen by such as were without [the walls];
nor indeed could enemies easily make use of the plain roads; for
the road on the east side, as we have already taken notice, could
not be walked upon, by reason of its nature; and for the western
road, he built a large tower at its narrowest place, at no less a
distance from the top of the hill than a thousand cubits; which
tower could not possibly be passed by, nor could it be easily
taken; nor indeed could those that walked along it without any
fear (such was its contrivance) easily get to the end of it; and
after such a manner was this citadel fortified, both by nature
and by the hands of men, in order to frustrate the attacks of

4. As for the furniture that was within this fortress, it was
still more wonderful on account of its splendor and long
continuance; for here was laid up corn in large quantities, and
such as would subsist men for a long time; here was also wine and
oil in abundance, with all kinds of pulse and dates heaped up
together; all which Eleazar found there, when he and his Sicarii
got possession of the fortress by treachery. These fruits were
also fresh and full ripe, and no way inferior to such fruits
newly laid in, although they were little short of a hundred years
(14) from the laying in these provisions [by Herod], till the
place was taken by the Romans; nay, indeed, when the Romans got
possession ofthose fruits that were left, they found them not
corrupted all that while; nor should we be mistaken, if we
supposed that the air was here the cause of their enduring so
long; this fortress being so high, and so free from the mixture
of all terrain and muddy particles of matter. There was also
found here a large quantity of all sorts of weapons of war, which
had been treasured up by that king, and were sufficient for ten
thousand men; there was east iron, and brass, and tin, which show
that he had taken much pains to have all things here ready for
the greatest occasions; for the report goes how Herod thus
prepared this fortress on his own account, as a refuge against
two kinds of danger; the one for fear of the multitude of the
Jews, lest they should depose him, and restore their former kings
to the government; the other danger was greater and more
terrible, which arose from Cleopatra queen of Egypt, who did not
conceal her intentions, but spoke often to Antony, and desired
him to cut off Herod, and entreated him to bestow the kingdom of
Judea upon her. And certainly it is a great wonder that Antony
did never comply with her commands in this point, as he was so
miserably enslaved to his passion for her; nor should any one
have been surprised if she had been gratified in such her
request. So the fear of these dangers made Herod rebuild Masada,
and thereby leave it for the finishing stroke of the Romans in
this Jewish war.

5. Since therefore the Roman commander Silva had now built a wall
on the outside, round about this whole place, as we have said
already, and had thereby made a most accurate provision to
prevent any one of the besieged running away, he undertook the
siege itself, though he found but one single place that would
admit of the banks he was to raise; for behind that tower which
secured the road that led to the palace, and to the top of the
hill from the west; there was a certain eminency of the rock,
very broad and very prominent, but three hundred cubits beneath
the highest part of Masada; it was called the White Promontory.
Accordingly, he got upon that part of the rock, and ordered the
army to bring earth; and when they fell to that work with
alacrity, and abundance of them together, the bank was raised,
and became solid for two hundred cubits in height. Yet was not
this bank thought sufficiently high for the use of the engines
that were to be set upon it; but still another elevated work of
great stones compacted together was raised upon that bank; this
was fifty cubits, both in breadth and height. The other machines
that were now got ready were like to those that had been first
devised by Vespasian, and afterwards by Titus, for sieges. There
was also a tower made of the height of sixty cubits, and all over
plated with iron, out of which the Romans threw darts and stones
from the engines, and soon made those that fought from the walls
of the place to retire, and would not let them lift up their
heads above the works. At the same time Silva ordered that great
battering ram which he had made to be brought thither, and to be
set against the wall, and to make frequent batteries against it,
which with some difficulty broke down a part of the wall, and
quite overthrew it. However, the Sicarii made haste, and
presently built another wall within that, which should not be
liable to the same misfortune from the machines with the other;
it was made soft and yielding, and so was capable of avoiding the
terrible blows that affected the other. It was framed after the
following manner: They laid together great beams of wood
lengthways, one close to the end of another, and the same way in
which they were cut: there were two of these rows parallel to one
another, and laid at such a distance from each other as the
breadth of the wall required, and earth was put into the space
between those rows. Now, that the earth might not fall away upon
the elevation of this bank to a greater height, they further laid
other beams over cross them, and thereby bound those beams
together that lay lengthways. This work of theirs was like a real
edifice; and when the machines were applied, the blows were
weakened by its yielding; and as the materials by such concussion
were shaken closer together, the pile by that means became firmer
than before. When Silva saw this, he thought it best to endeavor
the taking of this wall by setting fire to it; so he gave order
that the soldiers should throw a great number of burning torches
upon it: accordingly, as it was chiefly made of wood, it soon
took fire; and when it was once set on fire, its hollowness made
that fire spread to a mighty flame. Now, at the very beginning of
this fire, a north wind that then blew proved terrible to the
Romans; for by bringing the flame downward, it drove it upon
them, and they were almost in despair of success, as fearing
their machines would be burnt: but after this, on a sudden the
wind changed into the south, as if it were done by Divine
Providence, and blew strongly the contrary way, and carried the
flame, and drove it against the wall, which was now on fire
through its entire thickness. So the Romans, having now
assistance from God, returned to their camp with joy, and
resolved to attack their enemies the very next day; on which
occasion they set their watch more carefully that night, lest any
of the Jews should run away from them without being discovered.

6. However, neither did Eleazar once think of flying away, nor
would he permit any one else to do so; but when he saw their wall
burned down by the fire, and could devise no other way of
escaping, or room for their further courage, and setting before
their eyes what the Romans would do to them, their children, and
their wives, if they got them into their power, he consulted
about having them all slain. Now as he judged this to be the best
thing they could do in their present circumstances, he gathered
the most courageous of his companions together, and encouraged
them to take that course by a speech (15) which he made to them
in the manner following: "Since we, long ago, my generous
friends, resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any
other than to God himself, who alone is the true and just Lord of
mankind, the time is now come that obliges us to make that
resolution true in practice. And let us not at this time bring a
reproach upon ourselves for self-contradiction, while we formerly
would not undergo slavery, though it were then without danger,
but must now, together with slavery, choose such punishments also
as are intolerable; I mean this, upon the supposition that the
Romans once reduce us under their power while we are alive. We
were the very first that revolted from them, and we are the last
that fight against them; and I cannot but esteem it as a favor
that God hath granted us, that it is still in our power to die
bravely, and in a state of freedom, which hath not been the case
of others, who were conquered unexpectedly. It is very plain that
we shall be taken within a day's time; but it is still an
eligible thing to die after a glorious manner, together with our
dearest friends. This is what our enemies themselves cannot by
any means hinder, although they be very desirous to take us
alive. Nor can we propose to ourselves any more to fight them,
and beat them. It had been proper indeed for us to have
conjectured at the purpose of God much sooner, and at the very
first, when we were so desirous of defending our liberty, and
when we received such sore treatment from one another, and worse
treatment from our enemies, and to have been sensible that the
same God, who had of old taken the Jewish nation into his favor,
had now condemned them to destruction; for had he either
continued favorable, or been but in a lesser degree displeased
with us, he had not overlooked the destruction of so many men, or
delivered his most holy city to be burnt and demolished by our
enemies. To be sure we weakly hoped to have
preserved ourselves, and ourselves alone, still in a state of
freedom, as if we had been guilty of no sins ourselves against
God, nor been partners with those of others; we also taught other
men to preserve their liberty. Wherefore, consider how God hath
convinced us that our hopes were in vain, by bringing such
distress upon us in the desperate state we are now in, and which
is beyond all our expectations; for the nature of this fortress
which was in itself unconquerable, hath not proved a means of our
deliverance; and even while we have still great abundance of
food, and a great quantity of arms, and other necessaries more
than we want, we are openly deprived by God himself of all hope
of deliverance; for that fire which was driven upon our enemies
did not of its own accord turn back upon the wall which we had
built; this was the effect of God's anger against us for our
manifold sins, which we have been guilty of in a most insolent
and extravagant manner with regard to our own countrymen; the
punishments of which let us not receive from the Romans, but from
God himself, as executed by our own hands; for these will be more
moderate than the other. Let our wives die before they are
abused, and our children before they have tasted of slavery; and
after we have slain them, let us bestow that glorious benefit
upon one another mutually, and preserve ourselves in freedom, as
an excellent funeral monument for us. But first let us destroy
our money and the fortress by fire; for I am well assured that
this will be a great grief to the Romans, that they shall not be
able to seize upon our bodies, and shall fall of our wealth also;
and let us spare nothing but our provisions; for they will be a
testimonial when we are dead that we were not subdued for want of
necessaries, but that, according to our original resolution, we
have preferred death before slavery."

7. This was Eleazar's speech to them. Yet did not the opinions of
all the auditors acquiesce therein; but although some of them
were very zealous to put his advice in practice, and were in a
manner filled with pleasure at it, and thought death to be a good
thing, yet had those that were most effeminate a commiseration
for their wives and families; and when these men were especially
moved by the prospect of their own certain death, they looked
wistfully at one another, and by the tears that were in their
eyes declared their dissent from his opinion. When Eleazar saw
these people in such fear, and that their souls were dejected at
so prodigious a proposal, he was afraid lest perhaps these
effeminate persons should, by their lamentations and tears,
enfeeble those that heard what he had said courageously; so he
did not leave off exhorting them, but stirred up himself, and
recollecting proper arguments for raising their courage, he
undertook to speak more briskly and fully to them, and that
concerning the immortality of the soul. So he made a lamentable
groan, and fixing his eyes intently on those that wept, he spake
thus: "Truly, I was greatly mistaken when I thought to be
assisting to brave men who struggled hard for their liberty, and
to such as were resolved either to live with honor, or else to
die; but I find that you are such people as are no better than
others, either in virtue or in courage, and are afraid of dying,
though you be delivered thereby from the greatest miseries, while
you ought to make no delay in this matter, nor to await any one
to give you good advice; for the laws of our country, and of God
himself, have from ancient times, and as soon as ever we could
use our reason, continually taught us, and our forefathers have
corroborated the same doctrine by their actions, and by their
bravery of mind, that it is life that is a calamity to men, and
not death; for this last affords our souls their liberty, and
sends them by a removal into their own place of purity, where
they are to be insensible of all sorts of misery; for while souls
are tied clown to a mortal body, they are partakers of its
miseries; and really, to speak the truth, they are themselves
dead; for the union of what is divine to what is mortal is
disagreeable. It is true, the power of the soul is great, even
when it is imprisoned in a mortal body; for by moving it after a
way that is invisible, it makes the body a sensible instrument,
and causes it to advance further in its actions than mortal
nature could otherwise do. However, when it is freed from that
weight which draws it down to the earth and is connected with it,
it obtains its own proper place, and does then become a partaker
of that blessed power, and those abilities, which are then every
way incapable of being hindered in their operations. It continues
invisible, indeed, to the eyes of men, as does God himself; for
certainly it is not itself seen while it is in the body; for it
is there after an invisible manner, and when it is freed from it,
it is still not seen. It is this soul which hath one nature, and
that an incorruptible one also; but yet it is the cause of the
change that is made in the body; for whatsoever it be which the
soul touches, that lives and flourishes; and from whatsoever it
is removed, that withers away and dies; such a degree is there in
it of immortality. Let me produce the state of sleep as a most
evident demonstration of the truth of what I say; wherein souls,
when the body does not distract them, have the sweetest rest
depending on themselves, and conversing with God, by their
alliance to him; they then go every where, and foretell many
futurities beforehand. And why are we afraid of death, while we
are pleased with the rest that we have in sleep? And how absurd a
thing is it to pursue after liberty while we are alive, and yet
to envy it to ourselves where it will be eternal! We, therefore,
who have been brought up in a discipline of our own, ought to
become an example to others of our readiness to die. Yet, if we
do stand in need of foreigners to support us in this matter, let
us regard those Indians who profess the exercise of philosophy;
for these good men do but unwillingly undergo the time of life,
and look upon it as a necessary servitude, and make haste to let
their souls loose from their bodies; nay, when no misfortune
presses them to it, nor drives them upon it, these have such a
desire of a life of immortality, that they tell other men
beforehand that they are about to depart; and nobody hinders
them, but every one thinks them happy men, and gives them letters
to be carried to their familiar friends [that are dead], so
firmly and certainly do they believe that souls converse with one
another [in the other world]. So when these men have heard all
such commands that were to be given them, they deliver their body
to the fire; and, in order to their getting their soul a
separation from the body in the greatest purity, they die in the
midst of hymns of commendations made to them; for their dearest
friends conduct them to their death more readily than do any of
the rest of mankind conduct their fellow-citizens when they are
going a very long journey, who at the same time weep on their own
account, but look upon the others as happy persons, as so soon to
be made partakers of the immortal order of beings. Are not we,
therefore, ashamed to have lower notions than the Indians? and by
our own cowardice to lay a base reproach upon the laws of our
country, which are so much desired and imitated by all mankind?
But put the case that we had been brought up under another
persuasion, and taught that life is the greatest good which men
are capable of, and that death is a calamity; however, the
circumstances we are now in ought to he an inducement to us to
bear such calamity courageously, since it is by the will of God,
and by necessity, that we are to die; for it now appears that God
hath made such a decree against the whole Jewish nation, that we
are to be deprived of this life which [he knew] we would not make
a due use of. For do not you ascribe the occasion of our present
condition to yourselves, nor think the Romans are the true
occasion that this war we have had with them is become so
destructive to us all: these things have not come to pass by
their power, but a more powerful cause hath intervened, and made
us afford them an occasion of their appearing to be conquerors
over us. What Roman weapons, I pray you, were those by which the
Jews at Cesarea were slain? On the contrary, when they were no
way disposed to rebel, but were all the while keeping their
seventh day festival, and did not so much as lift up their hands
against the citizens of Cesarea, yet did those citizens run upon
them in great crowds, and cut their throats, and the throats of
their wives and children, and this without any regard to the

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