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

Part 6 out of 12

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indeed, as to that point, they were not mistaken about his
opinion; for he saw whither the affairs of the Jews would tend at
last, and was sensible that they had but one way of escaping, and
that was by repentance. However, although he expected that the
Romans would forgive him, yet did he chose to die many times
over, rather than to betray his country, and to dishonor that
supreme command of the army which had been intrusted with him, or
to live happily under those against whom he was sent to fight. He
determined, therefore, to give an exact account of affairs to the
principal men at Jerusalem by a letter, that he might not, by too
much aggrandizing the power of the enemy, make them too timorous;
nor, by relating that their power beneath the truth, might
encourage them to stand out when they were perhaps disposed to
repentance. He also sent them word, that if they thought of
coming to terms, they must suddenly write him an answer; or if
they resolved upon war, they must send him an army sufficient to
fight the Romans. Accordingly, he wrote these things, and sent
messengers immediately to carry his letter to Jerusalem.

3. Now Vespasian was very desirous of demolishing Jotapata, for
he had gotten intelligence that the greatest part of the enemy
had retired thither, and that it was, on other accounts, a place
of great security to them. Accordingly, he sent both foot-men and
horsemen to level the road, which was mountainous and rocky, not
without difficulty to be traveled over by footmen, but absolutely
impracticable for horsemen. Now these workmen accomplished what
they were about in four days' time, and opened a broad way for
the army. On the fifth day, which was the twenty-first of the
month Artemisius, (Jyar,) Josephus prevented him, and came from
Tiberias, and went into Jotapata, and raised the drooping spirits
of the Jews. And a certain deserter told this good news to
Vespasian, that Josephus had removed himself thither, which made
him make haste to the city, as supposing that with taking that he
should take all Judea, in case he could but withal get Josephus
under his power. So he took this news to be of the vastest
advantage to him, and believed it to be brought about by the
providence of God, that he who appeared to be the most prudent
man of all their enemies, had, of his own accord, shut himself up
in a place of sure custody. Accordingly, he sent Placidus with a
thousand horsemen, and Ebutius a decurion, a person that was of
eminency both in council and in action, to encompass the city
round, that Josephus might not escape away privately.

4. Vespasian also, the very next day, took his whole army and
followed them, and by marching till late in the evening, arrived
then at Jotapata; and bringing his army to the northern side of
the city, he pitched his camp on a certain small hill which was
seven furlongs from the city, and still greatly endeavored to be
well seen by the enemy, to put them into a consternation; which
was indeed so terrible to the Jews immediately, that no one of
them durst go out beyond the wall. Yet did the Romans put off the
attack at that time, because they had marched all the day,
although they placed a double row of battalions round the city,
with a third row beyond them round the whole, which consisted of
cavalry, in order to stop up every way for an exit; which thing
making the Jews despair of escaping, excited them to act more
boldly; for nothing makes men fight so desperately in war as

5. Now when the next day an assault was made by the Romans, the
Jews at first staid out of the walls and opposed them, and met
them, as having formed themselves a camp before the city walls.
But when Vespasian had set against them the archers and slingers,
and the whole multitude that could throw to a great distance, he
permitted them to go to work, while he himself, with the footmen,
got upon an acclivity, whence the city might easily be taken.
Josephus was then in fear for the city, and leaped out, and all
the Jewish multitude with him; these fell together upon the
Romans in great numbers, and drove them away from the wall, and
performed a great many glorious and bold actions. Yet did they
suffer as much as they made the enemy suffer; for as despair of
deliverance encouraged the Jews, so did a sense of shame equally
encourage the Romans. These last had skill as well as strength;
the other had only courage, which armed them, and made them fight
furiously. And when the fight had lasted all day, it was put an
end to by the coming on of the night. They had wounded a great
many of the Romans, and killed of them thirteen men; of the Jews'
side seventeen were slain, and six hundred wounded.

6. On the next day the Jews made another attack upon the Romans,
and went out of the walls and fought a much more desperate battle
with them titan before. For they were now become more courageous
than formerly, and that on account of the unexpected good
opposition they had made the day before, as they found the Romans
also to fight more desperately; for a sense of shame inflamed
these into a passion, as esteeming their failure of a sudden
victory to be a kind of defeat. Thus did the Romans try to make
an impression upon the Jews till the fifth day continually, while
the people of Jotapata made sallies out, and fought at the walls
most desperately; nor were the Jews affrighted at the strength of
the enemy, nor were the Romans discouraged at the difficulties
they met with in taking the city.

7. Now Jotapata is almost all of it built on a precipice, having
on all the other sides of it every way valleys immensely deep and
steep, insomuch that those who would look down would have their
sight fail them before it reaches to the bottom. It is only to be
come at on the north side, where the utmost part of the city is
built on the mountain, as it ends obliquely at a plain. This
mountain Josephus had encompassed with a wall when he fortified
the city, that its top might not be capable of being seized upon
by the enemies. The city is covered all round with other
mountains, and can no way be seen till a man comes just upon it.
And this was the strong situation of Jotapata.

8. Vespasian, therefore, in order to try how he might overcome
the natural strength of the place, as well as the bold defense of
the Jews, made a resolution to prosecute the siege with vigor. To
that end he called the commanders that were under him to a
council of war, and consulted with them which way the assault
might be managed to the best advantage. And when the resolution
was there taken to raise a bank against that part of the wall
which was practicable, he sent his whole army abroad to get the
materials together. So when they had cut down all the trees on
the mountains that adjoined to the city, and had gotten together
a vast heap of stones, besides the wood they had cut down, some
of them brought hurdles, in order to avoid the effects of the
darts that were shot from above them. These hurdles they spread
over their banks, under cover whereof they formed their bank, and
so were little or nothing hurt by the darts that were thrown upon
them from the wall, while others pulled the neighboring hillocks
to pieces, and perpetually brought earth to them; so that while
they were busy three sorts of ways, nobody was idle. However, the
Jews cast great stones from the walls upon the hurdles which
protected the men, with all sorts of darts also; and the noise of
what could not reach them was yet so terrible, that it was some
impediment to the workmen.

9. Vespasian then set the engines for throwing stones and darts
round about the city. The number of the engines was in all a
hundred and sixty, and bid them fall to work, and dislodge those
that were upon the wall. At the same time such engines as were
intended for that purpose threw at once lances upon them with a
great noise, and stones of the weight of a talent were thrown by
the engines that were prepared for that purpose, together with
fire, and a vast multitude of arrows, which made the wall so
dangerous, that the Jews durst not only not come upon it, but
durst not come to those parts within the walls which were reached
by the engines; for the multitude of the Arabian archers, as well
also as all those that threw darts and slung stones, fell to work
at the same time with the engines. Yet did not the otters lie
still, when they could not throw at the Romans from a higher
place; for they then made sallies out of the city, like private
robbers, by parties, and pulled away the hurdles that covered the
workmen, and killed them when they were thus naked; and when
those workmen gave way, these cast away the earth that composed
the bank, and burnt the wooden parts of it, together with the
hurdles, till at length Vespasian perceived that the intervals
there were between the works were of disadvantage to him; for
those spaces of ground afforded the Jews a place for assaulting
the Romans. So he united the hurdles, and at the same time joined
one part of the army to the other, which prevented the private
excursions of the Jews.

10. And when the bank was now raised, and brought nearer than
ever to the battlements that belonged to the walls, Josephus
thought it would be entirely wrong in him if he could make no
contrivances in opposition to theirs, and that might be for the
city's preservation; so he got together his workmen, and ordered
them to build the wall higher; and while they said that this was
impossible to be done while so many darts were thrown at them, he
invented this sort of cover for them: He bid them fix piles, and
expand before them the raw hides of oxen newly killed, that these
hides by yielding and hollowing themselves when the stones were
thrown at them might receive them, for that the other darts would
slide off them, and the fire that was thrown would be quenched by
the moisture that was in them. And these he set before the
workmen, and under them these workmen went on with their works in
safety, and raised the wall higher, and that both by day and by
night, fill it was twenty cubits high. He also built a good
number of towers upon the wall, and fitted it to strong
battlements. This greatly discouraged the Romans, who in their
own opinions were already gotten within the walls, while they
were now at once astonished at Josephus's contrivance, and at the
fortitude of the citizens that were in the city.

11. And now Vespasian was plainly irritated at the great subtlety
of this stratagem, and at the boldness of the citizens of
Jotapata; for taking heart again upon the building of this wall,
they made fresh sallies upon the Romans, and had every day
conflicts with them by parties, together with all such
contrivances, as robbers make use of, and with the plundering of
all that came to hand, as also with the setting fire to all the
other works; and this till Vespasian made his army leave off
fighting them, and resolved to lie round the city, and to starve
them into a surrender, as supposing that either they would be
forced to petition him for mercy by want of provisions, or if
they should have the courage to hold out till the last, they
should perish by famine: and he concluded he should conquer them
the more easily in fighting, if he gave them an interval, and
then fell upon them when they were weakened by famine; but still
he gave orders that they should guard against their coming out of
the city.

12. Now the besieged had plenty of corn within the city, and
indeed of all necessaries, but they wanted water, because there
was no fountain in the city, the people being there usually
satisfied with rain water; yet is it a rare thing in that country
to have rain in summer, and at this season, during the siege,
they were in great distress for some contrivance to satisfy their
thirst; and they were very sad at this time particularly, as if
they were already in want of water entirely, for Josephus seeing
that the city abounded with other necessaries, and that the men
were of good courage, and being desirous to protract the siege to
the Romans longer than they expected, ordered their drink to be
given them by measure; but this scanty distribution of water by
measure was deemed by them as a thing more hard upon them than
the want of it; and their not being able to drink as much as they
would made them more desirous of drinking than they otherwise had
been; nay, they were as much disheartened hereby as if they were
come to the last degree of thirst. Nor were the Romans
unacquainted with the state they were in, for when they stood
over against them, beyond the wall, they could see them running
together, and taking their water by measure, which made them
throw their javelins thither the place being within their reach,
and kill a great many of them.

13. Hereupon Vespasian hoped that their receptacles of water
would in no long time be emptied, and that they would be forced
to deliver up the city to him; but Josephus being minded to break
such his hope, gave command that they should wet a great many of
their clothes, and hang them out about the battlements, till the
entire wall was of a sudden all wet with the running down of the
water. At this sight the Romans were discouraged, and under
consternation, when they saw them able to throw away in sport so
much water, when they supposed them not to have enough to drink
themselves. This made the Roman general despair of taking the
city by their want of necessaries, and to betake himself again to
arms, and to try to force them to surrender, which was what the
Jews greatly desired; for as they despaired of either themselves
or their city being able to escape, they preferred a death in
battle before one by hunger and thirst.

14. However, Josephus contrived another stratagem besides the
foregoing, to get plenty of what they wanted. There was a certain
rough and uneven place that could hardly be ascended, and on that
account was not guarded by the soldiers; so Josephus sent out
certain persons along the western parts of the valley, and by
them sent letters to whom he pleased of the Jews that were out of
the city, and procured from them what necessaries soever they
wanted in the city in abundance; he enjoined them also to creep
generally along by the watch as they came into the city, and to
cover their backs with such sheep-skins as had their wool upon
them, that if any one should spy them out in the night time, they
might be believed to be dogs. This was done till the watch
perceived their contrivance, and encompassed that rough place
about themselves.

15. And now it was that Josephus perceived that the city could
not hold out long, and that his own life would be in doubt if he
continued in it; so he consulted how he and the most potent men
of the city might fly out of it. When the multitude understood
this, they came all round about him, and begged of him not to
overlook them while they entirely depended on him, and him alone;
for that there was still hope of the city's deliverance, if he
would stay with them, because every body would undertake any
pains with great cheerfulness on his account, and in that case
there would be some comfort for them also, though they should be
taken: that it became him neither to fly from his enemies, nor to
desert his friends, nor to leap out of that city, as out of a
ship that was sinking in a storm, into which he came when it was
quiet and in a calm; for that by going away he would be the cause
of drowning the city, because nobody would then venture to oppose
the enemy when he was once gone, upon whom they wholly confided.
16. Hereupon Josephus avoided letting them know that he was to go
away to provide for his own safety, but told them that he would
go out of the city for their sakes; for that if he staid with
them, he should be able to do them little good while they were in
a safe condition; and that if they were once taken, he should
only perish with them to no purpose; but that if he were once
gotten free from this siege, he should be able to bring them very
great relief; for that he would then immediately get the
Galileans together, out of the country, in great multitudes, and
draw the Romans off their city by another war. That he did not
see what advantge he could bring to them now, by staying among
them, but only provoke the Romans to besiege them more closely,
as esteeming it a most valuable thing to take him; but that if
they were once informed that he was fled out of the city, they
would greatly remit of their eagerness against it. Yet did not
this plea move the people, but inflamed them the more to hang
about him. Accordingly, both the children and the old men, and
the women with their infants, came mourning to him, and fell down
before him, and all of them caught hold of his feet, and held him
fast, and besought him, with great lamentations, that he would
take his share with them in their fortune; and I think they did
this, not that they envied his deliverance, but that they hoped
for their own; for they could not think they should suffer any
great misfortune, provided Josephus would but stay with them.

17. Now Josephus thought, that if he resolved to stay, it would
be ascribed to their entreaties; and if he resolved to go away by
force, he should be put into custody. His commiseration also of
the people under their lamentations had much broken that his
eagerness to leave them; so he resolved to stay, and arming
himself with the common despair of the citizens, he said to them,
"Now is the time to begin to fight in earnest, when there is no
hope of deliverance left. It is a brave thing to prefer glory
before life, and to set about some such noble undertaking as may
be remembered by late posterity." Having said this, he fell to
work immediately, and made a sally, and dispersed the enemies'
out-guards, and ran as far as the Roman camp itself, and pulled
the coverings of their tents to pieces, that were upon their
banks, and set fire to their works. And this was the manner in
which he never left off fighting, neither the next day, nor the
day after it, but went on with it for a considerable number of
both days and nights.

18. Upon this, Vespasian, when he saw the Romans distressed by
these sallies, (though they were ashamed to be made to run away
by the Jews; and when at any time they made the Jews run away,
their heavy armor would not let them pursue them far; while the
Jews, when they had performed any action, and before they could
be hurt themselves, still retired into the city,) ordered his
armed men to avoid their onset, and not fight it out with men
under desperation, while nothing is more courageous than despair;
but that their violence would be quenched when they saw they
failed of their purposes, as fire is quenched when it wants fuel;
and that it was proper for the Romans to gain their victories as
cheap as they could, since they are not forced to fight, but only
to enlarge their own dominions. So he repelled the Jews in great
measure by the Arabian archers, and the Syrian slingers, and by
those that threw stones at them, nor was there any intermission
of the great number of their offensive engines. Now the Jews
suffered greatly by these engines, without being able to escape
from them; and when these engines threw their stones or javelins
a great way, and the Jews were within their reach, they pressed
hard upon the Romans, and fought desperately, without sparing
either soul or body, one part succoring another by turns, when it
was tired down.

19. When, therefore, Vespasian looked upon himself as in a manner
besieged by these sallies of the Jews, and when his banks were
now not far from the walls, he determined to make use of his
battering ram. This battering ram is a vast beam of wood like the
mast of a ship, its forepart is armed with a thick piece of iron
at the head of it, which is so carved as to be like the head of a
ram, whence its name is taken. This ram is slung in the air by
ropes passing over its middle, and is hung like the balance in a
pair of scales from another beam, and braced by strong beams that
pass on both sides of it, in the nature of a cross. When this ram
is pulled backward by a great number of men with united force,
and then thrust forward by the same men, with a mighty noise, it
batters the walls with that iron part which is prominent. Nor is
there any tower so strong, or walls so broad, that can resist any
more than its first batteries, but all are forced to yield to it
at last. This was the experiment which the Roman general betook
himself to, when he was eagerly bent upon taking the city; but
found lying in the field so long to be to his disadvantage,
because the Jews would never let him be quiet. So these Romans
brought the several engines for galling an enemy nearer to the
walls, that they might reach such as were upon the wall, and
endeavored to frustrate their attempts; these threw stones and
javelins at them; in the like manner did the archers and slingers
come both together closer to the wall. This brought matters to
such a pass that none of the Jews durst mount the walls, and then
it was that the other Romans brought the battering ram that was
cased with hurdles all over, and in the tipper part was secured
by skins that covered it, and this both for the security of
themselves and of the engine. Now, at the very first stroke of
this engine, the wall was shaken, and a terrible clamor was
raised by the people within the city, as if they were already

20. And now, when Josephus saw this ram still battering the same
place, and that the wall would quickly be thrown down by it, he
resolved to elude for a while the force of the engine. With this
design he gave orders to fill sacks with chaff, and to hang them
down before that place where they saw the ram always battering,
that the stroke might be turned aside, or that the place might
feel less of the strokes by the yielding nature of the chaff.
This contrivance very much delayed the attempts of the Romans,
because, let them remove their engine to what part they pleased,
those that were above it removed their sacks, and placed them
over against the strokes it made, insomuch that the wall was no
way hurt, and this by diversion of the strokes, till the Romans
made an opposite contrivance of long poles, and by tying hooks at
their ends, cut off the sacks. Now when the battering ram thus
recovered its force, and the wall having been but newly built,
was giving way, Josephus and those about him had afterward
immediate recourse to fire, to defend themselves withal;
whereupon they took what materials soever they had that were but
dry, and made a sally three ways, and set fire to the machines,
and the hurdles, and the banks of the Romans themselves; nor did
the Romans well know how to come to their assistance, being at
once under a consternation at the Jews' boldness, and being
prevented by the flames from coming to their assistance; for the
materials being dry with the bitumen and pitch that were among
them, as was brimstone also, the fire caught hold of every thing
immediately, and what cost the Romans a great deal of pains was
in one hour consumed.

21. And here a certain Jew appeared worthy of our relation and
commendation; he was the son of Sameas, and was called Eleazar,
and was born at Saab, in Galilee. This man took up a stone of a
vast bigness, and threw it down from the wall upon the ram, and
this with so great a force, that it broke off the head of the
engine. He also leaped down, and took up the head of the ram from
the midst of them, and without any concern carried it to the top
of the wall, and this while he stood as a fit mark to he pelted
by all his enemies. Accordingly, he received the strokes upon his
naked body, and was wounded with five darts; nor did he mind any
of them while he went up to the top of the wall, where he stood
in the sight of them all, as an instance of the greatest
boldness; after which he drew himself on a heap with his wounds
upon him, and fell down together with the head of the ram. Next
to him, two brothers showed their courage; their names were Netir
and Philip, both of them of the village Ruma, and both of them
Galileans also; these men leaped upon the soldiers of the tenth
legion, and fell upon the Romans with such a noise and force as
to disorder their ranks, and to put to flight all upon whomsoever
they made their assaults.

22. After these men's performances, Josephus, and the rest of the
multitude with him, took a great deal of fire, and burnt both the
machines and their coverings, with the works belonging to the
fifth and to the tenth legion, which they put to flight; when
others followed them immediately, and buried those instruments
and all their materials under ground. However, about the evening,
the Romans erected the battering ram again, against that part of
the wall which had suffered before; where a certain Jew that
defended the city from the Romans hit Vespasian with a dart in
his foot, and wounded him a little, the distance being so great,
that no mighty impression could be made by the dart thrown so far
off. However, this caused the greatest disorder among the Romans;
for when those who stood near him saw his blood, they were
disturbed at it, and a report went abroad, through the whole
army, that the general was wounded, while the greatest part left
the siege, and came running together with surprise and fear to
the general; and before them all came Titus, out of the concern
he had for his father, insomuch that the multitude were in great
confusion, and this out of the regard they had for their general,
and by reason of the agony that the son was in. Yet did the
father soon put an end to the son's fear, and to the disorder the
army was under, for being superior to his pains, and endeavoring
soon to be seen by all that had been in a fright about him, he
excited them to fight the Jews more briskly; for now every body
was willing to expose himself to danger immediately, in order to
avenge their general; and then they encouraged one another with
loud voices, and ran hastily to the walls.

23. But still Josephus and those with him, although they fell
down dead one upon another by the darts and stones which the
engines threw upon them, yet did not they desert the wall, but
fell upon those who managed the ram, under the protection of the
hurdles, with fire, and iron weapons, and stones; and these could
do little or nothing, but fell themselves perpetually, while they
were seen by those whom they could not see, for the light of
their own flame shone about them, and made them a most visible
mark to the enemy, as they were in the day time, while the
engines could not be seen at a great distance, and so what was
thrown at them was hard to be avoided; for the force with which
these engines threw stones and darts made them hurt several at a
time, and the violent noise of the stones that were cast by the
engines was so great, that they carried away the pinnacles of the
wall, and broke off the corners of the towers; for no body of men
could be so strong as not to be overthrown to the last rank by
the largeness of the stones. And any one may learn the force of
the engines by what happened this very night; for as one of those
that stood round about Josephus was near the wall, his head was
carried away by such a stone, and his skull was flung as far as
three furlongs. In the day time also, a woman with child had her
belly so violently struck, as she was just come out of her house,
that the infant was carried to the distance of half a furlong, so
great was the force of that engine. The noise of the instruments
themselves was very terrible, the sound of the darts and stones
that were thrown by them was so also; of the same sort was that
noise the dead bodies made, when they were dashed against the
wall; and indeed dreadful was the clamor which these things
raised in the women within the city, which was echoed back at the
same time by the cries of such as were slain; while the whole
space of ground whereon they fought ran with blood, and the wall
might have been ascended over by the bodies of the dead
carcasses; the mountains also contributed to increase the noise
by their echoes; nor was there on that night any thing of terror
wanting that could either affect the hearing or the sight: yet
did a great part of those that fought so hard for Jotapata fall
manfully, as were a great part of them wounded. However, the
morning watch was come ere the wall yielded to the machines
employed against it, though it had been battered without
intermission. However, those within covered their bodies with
their armor, and raised works over against that part which was
thrown down, before those machines were laid by which the Romans
were to ascend into the city.

24. In the morning Vespasian got his army together, in order to
take the city [by storm], after a little recreation upon the hard
pains they had been at the night before; and as he was desirous
to draw off those that opposed him from the places where the wall
had been thrown down, he made the most courageous of the horsemen
get off their horses, and placed them in three ranks over against
those ruins of the wall, but covered with their armor on every
side, and with poles in their hands, that so these might begin
their ascent as soon as the instruments for such ascent were
laid; behind them he placed the flower of the footmen; but for
the rest of the horse, he ordered them to extend themselves over
against the wall, upon the whole hilly country, in order to
prevent any from escaping out of the city when it should be
taken; and behind these he placed the archers round about, and
commanded them to have their darts ready to shoot. The same
command he gave to the slingers, and to those that managed the
engines, and bid them to take up other ladders, and have them
ready to lay upon those parts of the wall which were yet
untouched, that the besieged might be engaged in trying to hinder
their ascent by them, and leave the guard of the parts that were
thrown down, while the rest of them should be overborne by the
darts cast at them, and might afford his men an entrance into the

25. But Josephus, understanding the meaning of Vespasian's
contrivance, set the old men, together with those that were tired
out, at the sound parts of the wall, as expecting no harm from
those quarters, but set the strongest of his men at the place
where the wall was broken down, and before them all six men by
themselves, among whom he took his share of the first and
greatest danger. He also gave orders, that when the legions made
a shout, they should stop their ears, that they might not be
affrighted at it, and that, to avoid the multitude of the enemy's
darts, they should bend down on their knees, and cover themselves
with their shields, and that they should retreat a little
backward for a while, till the archers should have emptied their
quivers; but that When the Romans should lay their instruments
for ascending the walls, they should leap out on the sudden, and
with their own instruments should meet the enemy, and that every
one should strive to do his best, in order not to defend his own
city, as if it were possible to be preserved, but in order to
revenge it, when it was already destroyed; and that they should
set before their eyes how their old men were to be slain, and
their children and wives were to be killed immediately by the
enemy; and that they would beforehand spend all their fury, on
account of the calamities just coming upon them, and pour it out
on the actors.

26. And thus did Josephus dispose of both his bodies of men; but
then for the useless part of the citizens, the women and
children, when they saw their city encompassed by a threefold
army, (for none of the usual guards that had been fighting before
were removed,) when they also saw, not only the walls thrown
down, but their enemies with swords in their hands, as also the
hilly country above them shining with their weapons, d the darts
in the hands of the Arabian archers, they made a final and
lamentable outcry of the destruction, as if the misery were not
only threatened, but actually come upon them already. But
Josephus ordered the women to be shut up in their houses, lest
they should render the warlike actions of the men too effeminate,
by making them commiserate their condition, and commanded them to
hold their peace, and threatened them if they did not, while he
came himself before the breach, where his allotment was; for all
those who brought ladders to the other places, he took no notice
of them, but earnestly waited for the shower of arrows that was

27. And now the trumpeters of the several Roman legions sounded
together, and the army made a terrible shout; and the darts, as
by order, flew so last, that they intercepted the light. However,
Josephus's men remembered the charges he had given them, they
stopped their ears at the sounds, and covered their bodies
against the darts; and as to the engines that were set ready to
go to work, the Jews ran out upon them, before those that should
have used them were gotten upon them. And now, on the ascending
of the soldiers, there was a great conflict, and many actions of
the hands and of the soul were exhibited; while the Jews did
earnestly endeavor, in the extreme danger they were in, not to
show less courage than those who, without being in danger, fought
so stoutly against them; nor did they leave struggling with the
Romans till they either fell down dead themselves, or killed
their antagonists. But the Jews grew weary with defending
themselves continually, and had not enough to come in their
places, and succor them; while, on the side of the Romans, fresh
men still succeeded those that were tired; and still new men soon
got upon the machines for ascent, in the room of those that were
thrust down; those encouraging one another, and joining side to
side with their shields, which were a protection to them, they
became a body of men not to be broken; and as this band thrust
away the Jews, as though they were themselves but one body, they
began already to get upon the wall.

28. Then did Josephus take necessity for his counselor in this
utmost distress, (which necessity is very sagacious in invention
when it is irritated by despair,) and gave orders to pour
scalding oil upon those whose shields protected them. Whereupon
they soon got it ready, being many that brought it, and what they
brought being a great quantity also, and poured it on all sides
upon the Romans, and threw down upon them their vessels as they
were still hissing from the heat of the fire: this so burnt the
Romans, that it dispersed that united band, who now tumbled clown
from the wall with horrid pains, for the oil did easily run down
the whole body from head to foot, under their entire armor, and
fed upon their flesh like flame itself, its fat and unctuous
nature rendering it soon heated and slowly cooled; and as the men
were cooped up in their head-pieces and breastplates, they could
no way get free from this burning oil; they could only leap and
roll about in their pains, as they fell down from the bridges
they had laid. And as they thus were beaten back, and retired to
their own party, who still pressed them forward, they were easily
wounded by those that were behind them.

29. However, in this ill success of the Romans, their courage did
not fail them, nor did the Jews want prudence to oppose them; for
the Romans, although they saw their own men thrown down, and in a
miserable condition, yet were they vehemently bent against those
that poured the oil upon them; while every one reproached the man
before him as a coward, and one that hindered him from exerting
himself; and while the Jews made use of another stratagem to
prevent their ascent, and poured boiling fenugreek upon the
boards, in order to make them slip and fall down; by which means
neither could those that were coming up, nor those that were
going down, stand on their feet; but some of them fell backward
upon the machines on which they ascended, and were trodden upon;
many of them fell down upon the bank they had raised, and when
they were fallen upon it were slain by the Jews; for when the
Romans could not keep their feet, the Jews being freed from
fighting hand to hand, had leisure to throw their darts at them.
So the general called off those soldiers in the evening that had
suffered so sorely, of whom the number of the slain was not a
few, while that of the wounded was still greater; but of the
people of Jotapata no more than six men were killed, although
more than three hundred were carried off wounded. This fight
happened on the twentieth day of the month Desius [Sivan].
30. Hereupon Vespasian comforted his army on occasion of what
happened, and as he found them angry indeed, but rather wanting
somewhat to do than any further exhortations, he gave orders to
raise the banks still higher, and to erect three towers, each
fifty feet high, and that they should cover them with plates of
iron on every side, that they might be both firm by their weight,
and not easily liable to be set on fire. These towers he set upon
the banks, and placed upon them such as could shoot darts and
arrows, with the lighter engines for throwing stones and darts
also; and besides these, he set upon them the stoutest men among
the slingers, who not being to be seen by reason of the height
they stood upon, and the battlements that protected them, might
throw their weapons at those that were upon the wall, and were
easily seen by them. Hereupon the Jews, not being easily able to
escape those darts that were thrown down upon their heads, nor to
avenge themselves on those whom they could not see, and
perceiving that the height of the towers was so great, that a
dart which they threw with their hand could hardly reach it, and
that the iron plates about them made it very hard to come at them
by fire, they ran away from the walls, and fled hastily out of
the city, and fell upon those that shot at them. And thus did the
people of Jotapata resist the Romans, while a great number of
them were every day killed, without their being able to retort
the evil upon their enemies; nor could they keep them out of the
city without danger to themselves.

31. About this time it was that Vespasian sent out Trajan against
a city called Japha, that lay near to Jotapata, and that desired
innovations, and was puffed up with the unexpected length of the
opposition of Jotapata. This Trajan was the commander of the
tenth legion, and to him Vespasian committed one thousand
horsemen, and two thousand footmen. When Trajan came to the city,
he found it hard to be taken, for besides the natural strength of
its situation, it was also secured by a double wall; but when he
saw the people of this city coming out of it, and ready to fight
him, he joined battle with them, and after a short resistance
which they made, he pursued after them; and as they fled to their
first wall, the Romans followed them so closely, that they fell
in together with them: but when the Jews were endeavoring to get
again within their second wall, their fellow citizens shut them
out, as being afraid that the Romans would force themselves in
with them. It was certainly God therefore who brought the Romans
to punish the Galileans, and did then expose the people of the
city every one of them manifestly to be destroyed by their bloody
enemies; for they fell upon the gates in great crowds, and
earnestly calling to those that kept them, and that by their
names also, yet had they their throats cut in the very midst of
their supplications; for the enemy shut the gates of the first
wall, and their own citizens shut the gates of the second, so
they were enclosed between two walls, and were slain in great
numbers together; many of them were run through by swords of
their own men, and many by their own swords, besides an immense
number that were slain by the Romans. Nor had they any courage to
revenge themselves; for there was added to the consternation they
were in from the enemy, their being betrayed by their own
friends, which quite broke their spirits; and at last they died,
cursing not the Romans, but their own citizens, till they were
all destroyed, being in number twelve thousand. So Trajan
gathered that the city was empty of people that could fight, and
although there should a few of them be therein, he supposed that
they would be too timorous to venture upon any opposition; so he
reserved the taking of the city to the general. Accordingly, he
sent messengers to Vespasian, and desired him to send his son
Titus to finish the victory he had gained. Vespasian hereupon
imagining there might be some pains still necessary, sent his son
with an army of five hundred horsemen, and one thousand footmen.
So he came quickly to the city, and put his army in order, and
set Trajan over the left wing, while he had the right himself,
and led them to the siege: and when the soldiers brought ladders
to be laid against the wall on every side, the Galileans opposed
them from above for a while; but soon afterward they left the
walls. Then did Titus's men leap into the city, and seized upon
it presently; but when those that were in it were gotten
together, there was a fierce battle between them; for the men of
power fell upon the Romans in the narrow streets, and the women
threw whatsoever came next to hand at them, and sustained a fight
with them for six hours' time; but when the fighting men were
spent, the rest of the multitude had their throats cut, partly in
the open air, and partly in their own houses, both young and old
together. So there were no males now remaining, besides infants,
which, with the women, were carried as slaves into captivity; so
that the number of the slain, both now in the city and at the
former fight, was fifteen thousand, and the captives were two
thousand one hundred and thirty. This calamity befell the
Galileans on the twenty-fifth day of the month Desius [Sivan.]
32. Nor did the Samaritans escape their share of misfortunes at
this time; for they assembled themselves together upon file
mountain called Gerizzim, which is with them a holy mountain, and
there they remained; which collection of theirs, as well as the
courageous minds they showed, could not but threaten somewhat of
war; nor were they rendered wiser by the miseries that had come
upon their neighboring cities. They also, notwithstanding the
great success the Romans had, marched on in an unreasonable
manner, depending on their own weakness, and were disposed for
any tumult upon its first appearance. Vespasian therefore thought
it best to prevent their motions, and to cut off the foundation
of their attempts. For although all Samaria had ever garrisons
settled among them, yet did the number of those that were come to
Mount Gerizzim, and their conspiracy together, give ground for
fear what they would be at; he therefore sent I thither Cerealis,
the commander of the fifth legion, with six hundred horsemen, and
three thousand footmen, who did not think it safe to go up to the
mountain, and give them battle, because many of the enemy were on
the higher part of the ground; so he encompassed all the lower
part of the mountain with his army, and watched them all that
day. Now it happened that the Samaritans, who were now destitute
of water, were inflamed with a violent heat, (for it was summer
time, and the multitude had not provided themselves with
necessaries,) insomuch that some of them died that very day with
heat, while others of them preferred slavery before such a death
as that was, and fled to the Romans; by whom Cerealis understood
that those which still staid there were very much broken by their
misfortunes. So he went up to the mountain, and having placed his
forces round about the enemy, he, in the first place, exhorted
them to take the security of his right hand, and come to terms
with him, and thereby save themselves; and assured them, that if
they would lay down their arms, he would secure them from any
harm; but when he could not prevail with them, he fell upon them
and slew them all, being in number eleven thousand and six
hundred. This was done on the twenty-seventh day of the month
Desius [Sivan]. And these were the calamities that befell the
Samaritans at this time.

33. But as the people of Jotapata still held out manfully, and
bore up tinder their miseries beyond all that could be hoped for,
on the forty-seventh day [of the siege] the banks cast up by the
Romans were become higher than the wall; on which day a certain
deserter went to Vespasian, and told him how few were left in the
city, and how weak they were, and that they had been so worn out
with perpetual watching, and as perpetual fighting, that they
could not now oppose any force that came against them, and that
they might he taken by stratagem, if any one would attack them;
for that about the last watch of the night, when they thought
they might have some rest from the hardships they were under, and
when a morning sleep used to come upon them, as they were
thoroughly weary, he said the watch used to fall asleep;
accordingly his advice was, that they should make their attack at
that hour. But Vespasian had a suspicion about this deserter, as
knowing how faithful the Jews were to one another, and how much
they despised any punishments that could be inflicted on them;
this last because one of the people of Jotapata had undergone all
sorts of torments, and though they made him pass through a fiery
trial of his enemies in his examination, yet would he inform them
nothing of the affairs within the city, and as he was crucified,
smiled at them. However, the probability there was in the
relation itself did partly confirm the truth of what the deserter
told them, and they thought he might probably speak truth.
However, Vespasian thought they should be no great sufferers if
the report was a sham; so he commanded them to keep the man in
custody, and prepared the army for taking the city.

34. According to which resolution they marched without noise, at
the hour that had been told them, to the wall; and it was Titus
himself that first got upon it, with one of his tribunes,
Domitius Sabinus, and had a few of the fifteenth legion along
with him. So they cut the throats of the watch, and entered the
city very quietly. After these came Cerealis the tribune, and
Placidus, and led on those that were tinder them. Now when the
citadel was taken, and the enemy were in the very midst of the
city, and when it was already day, yet was not the taking of the
city known by those that held it; for a great many of them were
fast asleep, and a great mist, which then by chance fell upon the
city, hindered those that got up from distinctly seeing the case
they were in, till the whole Roman army was gotten in, and they
were raised up only to find the miseries they were under; and as
they were slaying, they perceived the city was taken. And for the
Romans, they so well remembered what they had suffered during the
siege, that they spared none, nor pitied any, but drove the
people down the precipice from the citadel, and slew them as they
drove them down; at which time the difficulties of the place
hindered those that were still able to fight from defending
themselves; for as they were distressed in the narrow streets,
and could not keep their feet sure along the precipice, they were
overpowered with the crowd of those that came fighting them down
from the citadel. This provoked a great many, even of those
chosen men that were about Josephus, to kill themselves with
their own hands; for when they saw that they could kill none of
the Romans, they resolved to prevent being killed by the Romans,
and got together in great numbers in the utmost parts of the
city, and killed themselves.

35. However, such of the watch as at the first perceived they
were taken, and ran away as fast as they could, went up into one
of the towers on the north side of the city, and for a while
defended themselves there; but as they were encompassed with a
multitude of enemies, they tried to use their right hands when it
was too late, and at length they cheerfully offered their necks
to be cut off by those that stood over them. And the Romans might
have boasted that the conclusion of that siege was without blood
[on their side] if there had not been a centurion, Antonius, who
was slain at the taking of the city. His death was occasioned by
the following treachery; for there was one of those that were
fled into the caverns, which were a great number, who desired
that this Antonius would reach him his right hand for his
security, and would assure him that he would preserve him, and
give him his assistance in getting up out of the cavern;
accordingly, he incautiously reached him his right hand, when the
other man prevented him, and stabbed him under his loins with a
spear, and killed him immediately.

36. And on this day it was that the Romans slew all the multitude
that appeared openly; but on the following days they searched the
hiding-places, and fell upon those that were under ground, and in
the caverns, and went thus through every age, excepting the
infants and the women, and of these there were gathered together
as captives twelve hundred; and as for those that were slain at
the taking of the city, and in the former fights, they were
numbered to be forty thousand. So Vespasian gave order that the
city should be entirely demolished, and all the fortifications
burnt down. And thus was Jotapata taken, in the thirteenth year
of the reign of Nero, on the first day of the month Panemus


How Josephus Was Discovered By A Woman, And Was Willing To
Deliver Himself Up To The Romans; And What Discourse He Had With
His Own Men, When They Endeavored To Hinder Him; And What He Said
To Vespasian, When He Was Brought To Him; And After What Manner
Vespasian Used Him Afterward.

1. And now the Romans searched for Josephus, both out of the
hatred they bore him, and because their general was very desirous
to have him taken; for he reckoned that if he were once taken,
the greatest part of the war would be over. They then searched
among the dead, and looked into the most concealed recesses of
the city; but as the city was first taken, he was assisted by a
certain supernatural providence; for he withdrew himself from the
enemy when he was in the midst of them, and leaped into a certain
deep pit, whereto there adjoined a large den at one side of it,
which den could not be seen by those that were above ground; and
there he met with forty persons of eminency that had concealed
themselves, and with provisions enough to satisfy them for not a
few days. So in the day time he hid himself from the enemy, who
had seized upon all places, and in the night time he got up out
of the den and looked about for some way of escaping, and took
exact notice of the watch; but as all places were guarded every
where on his account, that there was no way of getting off
unseen, he went down again into the den. Thus he concealed
himself two days; but on the third day, when they had taken a
woman who had been with them, he was discovered. Whereupon
Vespasian sent immediately and zealously two tribunes, Paulinus
and Gallicanus, and ordered them to give Josephus their right
hands as a security for his life, and to exhort him to come up.

2. So they came and invited the man to come up, and gave him
assurances that his life should be preserved: but they did not
prevail with him; for he gathered suspicions from the probability
there was that one who had done so many things against the Romans
must suffer for it, though not from the mild temper of those that
invited him. However, he was afraid that he was invited to come
up in order to be punished, until Vespasian sent besides these a
third tribune, Nicanor, to him; he was one that was well known to
Josephus, and had been his familiar acquaintance in old time.
When he was come, he enlarged upon the natural mildness of the
Romans towards those they have once conquered; and told him that
he had behaved himself so valiantly, that the commanders rather
admired than hated him; that the general was very desirous to
have him brought to him, not in order to punish him, for that he
could do though he should not come voluntarily, but that he was
determined to preserve a man of his courage. He moreover added
this, that Vespasian, had he been resolved to impose upon him,
would not have sent to him a friend of his own, nor put the
fairest color upon the vilest action, by pretending friendship
and meaning perfidiousness; nor would he have himself acquiesced,
or come to him, had it been to deceive him.

3. Now as Josephus began to hesitate with himself about Nicanor's
proposal, the soldiery were so angry, that they ran hastily to
set fire to the den; but the tribune would not permit them so to
do, as being very desirous to take the man alive. And now, as
Nicanor lay hard at Josephus to comply, and he understood how the
multitude of the enemies threatened him, he called to mind the
dreams which he had dreamed in the night time, whereby God had
signified to him beforehand both the future calamities of the
Jews, and the events that concerned the Roman emperors. Now
Josephus was able to give shrewd conjectures about the
interpretation of such dreams as have been ambiguously delivered
by God. Moreover, he was not unacquainted with the prophecies
contained in the sacred books, as being a priest himself, and of
the posterity of priests: and just then was he in an ecstasy; and
setting before him the tremendous images of the dreams he had
lately had, he put up a secret prayer to God, and said, "Since it
pleaseth thee, who hast created the Jewish nation, to depress the
same, and since all their good fortune is gone over to the
Romans, and since thou hast made choice of this soul of mine to
foretell what is to come to pass hereafter, I willingly give them
my hands, and am content to live. And I protest openly that I do
not go over to the Romans as a deserter of the Jews, but as a
minister from thee."

4. When he had said this, he complied with Nicanor's invitation.
But when those Jews who had fled with him understood that he
yielded to those that invited him to come up, they came about him
in a body, and cried out, "Nay, indeed, now may the laws of our
forefathers, which God ordained himself, well groan to purpose;
that God we mean who hath created the souls of the Jews of such a
temper, that they despise death. O Josephus! art thou still fond
of life? and canst thou bear to see the light in a state of
slavery? How soon hast thou forgotten thyself! How many hast thou
persuaded to lose their lives for liberty! Thou hast therefore
had a false reputation for manhood, and a like false reputation
for wisdom, if thou canst hope for preservation from those
against whom thou hast fought so zealously, and art however
willing to be preserved by them, if they be in earnest. But
although the good fortune of the Romans hath made thee forget
thyself, we ought to take care that the glory of our forefathers
may not be tarnished. We will lend thee our right hand and a
sword; and if thou wilt die willingly, thou wilt die as general
of the Jews; but if unwillingly, thou wilt die as a traitor to
them." As soon as they said this, they began to thrust their
swords at him, and threatened they would kill him, if he thought
of yielding himself to the Romans.

5. Upon this Josephus was afraid of their attacking him, and yet
thought he should be a betrayer of the commands of God, if he
died before they were delivered. So he began to talk like a
philosopher to them in the distress he was then in, when he said
thus to them: "O my friends, why are we so earnest to kill
ourselves? and why do we set our soul and body, which are such
dear companions, at such variance? Can any one pretend that I am
not the man I was formerly? Nay, the Romans are sensible how that
matter stands well enough. It is a brave thin to die in war; but
so that it be according to the law of war, by the hand of
conquerors. If, therefore, I avoid death from the sword of the
Romans, I am truly worthy to be killed by my own sword, and my
own hand; but if they admit of mercy, and would spare their
enemy, how much more ought we to have mercy upon ourselves, and
to spare ourselves? For it is certainly a foolish thing to do
that to ourselves which we quarrel with them for doing to us. I
confess freely that it is a brave thing to die for liberty; but
still so that it be in war, and done by those who take that
liberty from us; but in the present case our enemies do neither
meet us in battle, nor do they kill us. Now he is equally a
coward who will not die when he is obliged to die, and he who
will die when he is not obliged so to do. What are we afraid of,
when we will not go up to the Romans? Is it death? If so, what we
are afraid of, when we but suspect our enemies will inflict it on
us, shall we inflict it on ourselves for certain? But it may be
said we must be slaves. And are we then in a clear state of
liberty at present? It may also be said that it is a manly act
for one to kill himself. No, certainly, but a most unmanly one;
as I should esteem that pilot to be an arrant coward, who, out of
fear of a storm, should sink his ship of his own accord. Now
self-murder is a crime most remote from the common nature of all
animals, and an instance of impiety against God our Creator; nor
indeed is there any animal that dies by its own contrivance, or
by its own means, for the desire of life is a law engraven in
them all; on which account we deem those that openly take it away
from us to be our enemies, and those that do it by treachery are
punished for so doing. And do not you think that God is very
angry when a man does injury to what he hath bestowed on him? For
from him it is that we have received our being, and we ought to
leave it to his disposal to take that being away from us. The
bodies of all men are indeed mortal, and are created out of
corruptible matter; but the soul is ever immortal, and is a
portion of the divinity that inhabits our bodies. Besides, if any
one destroys or abuses a depositum he hath received from a mere
man, he is esteemed a wicked and perfidious person; but then if
any one cast out of his body this Divine depositum, can we
imagine that he who is thereby affronted does not know of it?
Moreover, our law justly ordains that slaves which run away from
their master shall be punished, though the masters they run away
from may have been wicked masters to them. And shall we endeavor
to run away from God, who is the best of all masters, and not
guilty of impeity? Do not you know that those who depart out of
this life according to the law of nature, and pay that debt which
was received from God, when he that lent it us is pleased to
require it back again, enjoy eternal fame; that their houses and
their posterity are sure, that their souls are pure and obedient,
and obtain a most holy place in heaven, from whence, in the
revolutions of ages, they are again sent into pure bodies; while
the souls of those whose hands have acted madly against
themselves are received by the darkest place in Hades, and while
God, who is their Father, punishes those that offend against
either of them in their posterity? for which reason God hates
such doings, and the crime is punished by our most wise
legislator. Accordingly, our laws determine that the bodies of
such as kill themselves should be exposed till the sun be set,
without burial, although at the same time it be allowed by them
to be lawful to bury our enemies [sooner]. The laws of other
nations also enjoin such men's hands to be cut off when they are
dead, which had been made use of in destroying themselves when
alive, while they reckoned that as the body is alien from the
soul, so is the hand alien from the body. It is therefore, my
friends, a right thing to reason justly, and not add to the
calamities which men bring upon us impiety towards our Creator.
If we have a mind to preserve ourselves, let us do it; for to be
preserved by those our enemies, to whom we have given so many
demonstrations of our courage, is no way inglorious; but if we
have a mind to die, it is good to die by the hand of those that
have conquered us. For nay part, I will not run over to our
enemies' quarters, in order to be a traitor to myself; for
certainly I should then be much more foolish than those that
deserted to the enemy, since they did it in order to save
themselves, and I should do it for destruction, for my own
destruction. However, I heartily wish the Romans may prove
treacherous in this matter; for if, after their offer of their
right hand for security, I be slain by them, I shall die
cheerfully, and carry away with me the sense of their
perfidiousness, as a consolation greater than victory itself."
6. Now these and many the like motives did Josephus use to these
men to prevent their murdering themselves; but desperation had
shut their ears, as having long ago devoted themselves to die,
and they were irritated at Josephus. They then ran upon him with
their swords in their hands, one from one quarter, and another
from another, and called him a coward, and everyone of them
appeared openly as if he were ready to smite him; but he calling
to one of them by name, and looking like a general to another,
and taking a third by the hand, and making a fourth ashamed of
himself, by praying him to forbear, and being in this condition
distracted with various passions, (as he well might in the great
distress he was then in,) he kept off every one of their swords
from killing him, and was forced to do like such wild beasts as
are encompassed about on every side, who always turn themselves
against those that last touched them. Nay, some of their right
hands were debilitated by the reverence they bare to their
general in these his fatal calamities, and their swords dropped
out of their hands; and not a few of them there were, who, when
they aimed to smite him with their swords, they were not
thoroughly either willing or able to do it.

7. However, in this extreme distress, he was not destitute of his
usual sagacity; but trusting himself to the providence of God, he
put his life into hazard [in the manner following]: "And now,"
said he, "since it is resolved among you that you will die, come
on, let us commit our mutual deaths to determination by lot. He
whom the lot falls to first, let him be killed by him that hath
the second lot, and thus fortune shall make its progress through
us all; nor shall any of us perish by his own right hand, for it
would be unfair if, when the rest are gone, somebody should
repent and save himself." This proposal appeared to them to be
very just; and when he had prevailed with them to determine this
matter by lots, he drew one of the lots for himself also. He who
had the first lot laid his neck bare to him that had the next, as
supposing that the general would die among them immediately; for
they thought death, if Josephus might but die with them, was
sweeter than life; yet was he with another left to the last,
whether we must say it happened so by chance, or whether by the
providence of God. And as he was very desirous neither to be
condemned by the lot, nor, if he had been left to the last, to
imbrue his right hand in the blood of his countrymen, he
persuaded him to trust his fidelity to him, and to live as well
as himself.

8. Thus Josephus escaped in the war with the Romans, and in this
his own war with his friends, and was led by Nicanor to
Vespasian. But now all the Romans ran together to see him; and as
the multitude pressed one upon another about their general, there
was a tumult of a various kind; while some rejoiced that Josephus
was taken, and some threatened him, and some crowded to see him
very near; but those that were more remote cried out to have this
their enemy put to death, while those that were near called to
mind the actions he had done, and a deep concern appeared at the
change of his fortune. Nor were there any of the Roman
commanders, how much soever they had been enraged at him before,
but relented when they came to the sight of him. Above all the
rest, Titus's own valor, and Josephus's own patience under his
afflictions, made him pity him, as did also the commiseration of
his age, when he recalled to mind that but a little while ago he
was fighting, but lay now in the hands of his enemies, which made
him consider the power of fortune, and how quick is the turn of
affairs in war, and how no state of men is sure; for which reason
he then made a great many more to be of the same pitiful temper
with himself, and induced them to commiserate Josephus. He was
also of great weight in persuading his father to preserve him.
However, Vespasian gave strict orders that he should be kept with
great caution, as though he would in a very little time send him
to Nero. (5)

9. When Josephus heard him give those orders, he said that he had
somewhat in his mind that he would willingly say to himself
alone. When therefore they were all ordered to withdraw,
excepting Titus and two of their friends, he said, "Thou, O
Vespasian, thinkest no more than that thou hast taken Josephus
himself captive; but I come to thee as a messenger of greater
tidings; for had not I been sent by God to thee, I knew what was
the law of the Jews in this case? and how it becomes generals to
die. Dost thou send me to Nero? For why? Are Nero's successors
till they come to thee still alive? Thou, O Vespasian, art Caesar
and emperor, thou, and this thy son. Bind me now still faster,
and keep me for thyself, for thou, O Caesar, are not only lord
over me, but over the land and the sea, and all mankind; and
certainly I deserve to be kept in closer custody than I now am
in, in order to be punished, if I rashly affirm any thing of
God." When he had said this, Vespasian at present did not believe
him, but supposed that Josephus said this as a cunning trick, in
order to his own preservation; but in a little time he was
convinced, and believed what he said to be true, God himself
erecting his expectations, so as to think of obtaining the
empire, and by other signs fore-showing his advancement. He also
found Josephus to have spoken truth on other occasions; for one
of those friends that were present at that secret conference said
to Josephus, "I cannot but wonder how thou couldst not foretell
to the people of Jotapata that they should be taken, nor couldst
foretell this captivity which hath happened to thyself, unless
what thou now sayest be a vain thing, in order to avoid the rage
that is risen against thyself." To which Josephus replied, "I did
foretell to the people of Jotapata that they would be taken on
the forty-seventh day, and that I should be caught alive by the
Romans." Now when Vespasian had inquired of the captives
privately about these predictions, he found them to be true, and
then he began to believe those that concerned himself. Yet did he
not set Josephus at liberty from his hands, but bestowed on him
suits of clothes, and other precious gifts; he treated him also
in a very obliging manner, and continued so to do, Titus still
joining his interest ill the honors that were done him.


How Joppa Was Taken, And Tiberias Delivered Up.

1. Now Vespasian returned to Ptolemais on the fourth day of the
month Panemus, [Tamus] and from thence he came to Cesarea, which
lay by the sea-side. This was a very great city of Judea, and for
the greatest part inhabited by Greeks: the citizens here received
both the Roman army and its general, with all sorts of
acclamations and rejoicings, and this partly out of the good-will
they bore to the Romans, but principally out of the hatred they
bore to those that were conquered by them; on which account they
came clamoring against Josephus in crowds, and desired he might
be put to death. But Vespasian passed over this petition
concerning him, as offered by the injudicious multitude, with a
bare silence. Two of the legions also he placed at Cesarea, that
they might there take their winter-quarters, as perceiving the
city very fit for such a purpose; but he placed the tenth and the
fifth at Scythopolis, that he might not distress Cesarea with the
entire army. This place was warm even in winter, as it was
suffocating hot in the summer time, by reason of its situation in
a plain, and near to the sea [of Galilee].

2. In the mean time, there were gathered together as well such as
had seditiously got out from among their enemies, as those that
had escaped out of the demolished cities, which were in all a
great number, and repaired Joppa, which had been left desolate by
Cestius, that it might serve them for a place of refuge; and
because the adjoining region had been laid waste in the war, and
was not capable of supporting them, they determined to go off to
sea. They also built themselves a great many piratical ships, and
turned pirates upon the seas near to Syria, and Phoenicia, and
Egypt, and made those seas unnavigable to all men. Now as soon as
Vespasian knew of their conspiracy, he sent both footmen and
horsemen to Joppa, which was unguarded in the night time;
however, those that were in it perceived that they should be
attacked, and were afraid of it; yet did they not endeavor to
keep the Romans out, but fled to their ships, and lay at sea all
night, out of the reach of their darts.

3. Now Joppa is not naturally a haven, for it ends in a rough
shore, where all the rest of it is straight, but the two ends
bend towards each other, where there are deep precipices, and
great stones that jut out into the sea, and where the chains
wherewith Andromeda was bound have left their footsteps, which
attest to the antiquity of that fable. But the north wind opposes
and beats upon the shore, and dashes mighty waves against the
rocks which receive them, and renders the haven more dangerous
than the country they had deserted. Now as those people of Joppa
were floating about in this sea, in the morning there fell a
violent wind upon them; it is called by those that sail there
"the black north wind," and there dashed their ships one against
another, and dashed some of them against the rocks, and carried
many of them by force, while they strove against the opposite
waves, into the main sea; for the shore was so rocky, and had so
many of the enemy upon it, that they were afraid to come to land;
nay, the waves rose so very high, that they drowned them; nor was
there any place whither they could fly, nor any way to save
themselves; while they were thrust out of the sea, by the
violence of the wind, if they staid where they were, and out of
the city by the violence of the Romans. And much lamentation
there was when the ships were dashed against one another, and a
terrible noise when they were broken to pieces; and some of the
multitude that were in them were covered with waves, and so
perished, and a great many were embarrassed with shipwrecks. But
some of them thought that to die by their own swords was lighter
than by the sea, and so they killed themselves before they were
drowned; although the greatest part of them were carried by the
waves, and dashed to pieces against the abrupt parts of the
rocks, insomuch that the sea was bloody a long way, and the
maritime parts were full of dead bodies; for the Romans came upon
those that were carried to the shore, and destroyed them; and the
number of the bodies that were thus thrown out of the sea was
four thousand and two hundred. The Romans also took the city
without opposition, and utterly demolished it.

4. And thus was Joppa taken twice by the Romans in a little time;
but Vespasian, in order to prevent these pirates from coming
thither any more, erected a camp there, where the citadel of
Joppa had been, and left a body of horse in it, with a few
footmen, that these last might stay there and guard the camp, and
the horsemen might spoil the country that lay round it, and might
destroy the neighboring villages and smaller cities. So these
troops overran the country, as they were ordered to do, and every
day cut to pieces and laid desolate the whole region.

5. But now, when the fate of Jotapata was related at Jerusalem, a
great many at the first disbelieved it, on account of the
vastness of the calamity, and because they had no eye-witness to
attest the truth of what was related about it; for not one person
was saved to be a messenger of that news, but a fame was spread
abroad at random that the city was taken, as such fame usually
spreads bad news about. However, the truth was known by degrees,
from the places near Jotapata, and appeared to all to be too
true. Yet were there fictitious stories added to what was really
done; for it was reported that Josephus was slain at the taking
of the city, which piece of news filled Jerusalem full of sorrow.
In every house also, and among all to whom any of the slain were
allied, there was a lamentation for them; but the mourning for
the commander was a public one; and some mourned for those that
had lived with them, others for their kindred, others for their
friends, and others for their brethren, but all mourned for
Josephus; insomuch that the lamentation did not cease in the city
before the thirtieth day; and a great many hired mourners,(5)
with their pipes, who should begin the melancholy ditties for

6. But as the truth came out in time, it appeared how the affairs
of Jotapata really stood; yet was it found that the death of
Josephus was a fiction; and when they understood that he was
alive, and was among the Romans, and that the commanders treated
him at another rate than they treated captives, they were as
vehemently angry at him now as they had showed their good-will
before, when he appeared to have been dead. He was also abused by
some as having been a coward, and by others as a deserter; and
the city was full of indignation at him, and of reproaches cast
upon him; their rage was also aggravated by their afflictions,
and more inflamed by their ill success; and what usually becomes
an occasion of caution to wise men, I mean affliction, became a
spur to them to venture on further calamities, and the end of one
misery became still the beginning of another; they therefore
resolved to fall on the Romans the more vehemently, as resolving
to be revenged on him in revenging themselves on the Romans. And
this was the state of Jerusalem as to the troubles which now came
upon it.

7. But Vespasian, in order to see the kingdom of Agrippa, while
the king persuaded himself so to do, (partly in order to his
treating the general and his army in the best and most splendid
manner his private affairs would enable him to do, and partly
that he might, by their means, correct such things as were amiss
in his government,) he removed from that Cesarea which was by the
sea-side, and went to that which is called Cesarea Philippi (6)
and there he refreshed his army for twenty days, and was himself
feasted by king Agrippa, where he also returned public thanks to
God for the good success he had had in his undertakings. But as
soon as he was informed that Tiberias was fond of innovations,
and that Tarichere had revolted, both which cities were parts of
the kingdom of Agrippa, and was satisfied within himself that the
Jews were every where perverted [from their obedience to their
governors], he thought it seasonable to make an expedition
against these cities, and that for the sake of Agrippa, and in
order to bring his cities to reason. So he sent away his son
Titus to [the other] Cesarea, that he might bring the army that
lay there to Seythopous, which is the largest city of Decapolis,
and in the neighborhood of Tiberias, whither he came, and where
he waited for his son. He then came with three legions, and
pitched his camp thirty furlongs off Tiberias, at a certain
station easily seen by the innovators; it is named Sennabris. He
also sent Valerian, a decurion, with fifty horsemen, to speak
peaceably to those that were in the city, and to exhort them to
give him assurances of their fidelity; for he had heard that the
people were desirous of peace, but were obliged by some of the
seditious part to join with them, and so were forced to fight for
them. When Valerian had marched up to the place, and was near the
wall, he alighted off his horse, and made those that were with
him to do the same, that they might not be thought to come to
skirmish with them; but before they could come to a discourse one
with another, the most potent men among the seditious made a
sally upon them armed; their leader was one whose name was Jesus,
the son of Shaphat, the principal head of a band of robbers. Now
Valerian, neither thinking it safe to fight contrary to the
commands of the general, though he were secure of a victory, and
knowing that it was a very hazardous undertaking for a few to
fight with many, for those that were unprovided to fight those
that were ready, and being on other accounts surprised at this
unexpected onset of the Jews, he ran away on foot, as did five of
the rest in like manner, and left their horses behind them; which
horses Jesus led away into the city, and rejoiced as if they had
taken them in battle, and not by treachery.

8. Now the seniors of the people, and such as were of principal
authority among them, fearing what would be the issue of this
matter, fled to the camp of the Romans; they then took their king
along with them, and fell down before Vespasian, to supplicate
his favor, and besought him not to overlook them, nor to impute
the madness of a few to the whole city, to spare a people that
have been ever civil and obliging to the Romans; but to bring the
authors of this revolt to due punishment, who had hitherto so
watched them, that though they were zealous to give them the
security of their right hands of a long time, yet could they not
accomplish the same. With these supplications the general
complied, although he were very angry at the whole city about the
carrying off his horses, and this because he saw that Agrippa was
under a great concern for them. So when Vespasian and Agrippa had
accepted of their right hands by way of security, Jesus and his
party thought it not safe for them to continue at Tiberias, so
they ran away to Tarichete. The next day Vespasian sent Trajan
before with some horsemen to the citadel, to make trial of the
multitude, whether they were all disposed for peace; and as soon
as he knew that the people were of the same mind with the
petitioner, he took his army, and went to the city; upon which
the citizens opened to him their gates, and met him with
acclamations of joy, and called him their savior and benefactor.
But as the army was a great while in getting in at the gates,
they were so narrow, Vespasian commanded the south wall to be
broken down, and so made a broad passage for their entrance.
However, he charged them to abstain from rapine and injustice, in
order to gratify the king; and on his account spared the rest of
the wall, while the king undertook for them that they should
continue [faithful to the Romans] for the time to come. And thus
did he restore this city to a quiet state, after it had been
grievously afflicted by the sedition.


How Taricheae Was Taken. A Description Of The River Jordan, And
Of The Country Of Gennesareth.

1. And now Vespasian pitched his camp between this city and
Taricheae, but fortified his camp more strongly, as suspecting
that he should be forced to stay there, and have a long war; for
all the innovators had gotten together at Taricheae, as relying
upon the strength of the city, and on the lake that lay by it.
This lake is called by the people of the country the Lake of
Gennesareth. The city itself is situated like Tiberias, at the
bottom of a mountain, and on those sides which are not washed by
the sea, had been strongly fortified by Josephus, though not so
strongly as Tiberias; for the wall of Tiberias had been built at
the beginning of the Jews' revolt, when he had great plenty of
money, and great power, but Tarichese partook only the remains of
that liberality, Yet had they a great number of ships gotten
ready upon the lake, that, in case they were beaten at land, they
might retire to them; and they were so fitted up, that they might
undertake a Sea-fight also. But as the Romans were building a
wall about their camp, Jesu and his party were neither affrighted
at their number, nor at the good order they were in, but made a
sally upon them; and at the very first onset the builders of the
wall were dispersed; and these pulled what little they had before
built to pieces; but as soon as they saw the armed men getting
together, and before they had suffered any thing themselves, they
retired to their own men. But then the Romans pursued them, and
drove them into their ships, where they launched out as far as
might give them the opportunity of reaching the Romans with what
they threw at them, and then cast anchor, and brought their ships
close, as in a line of battle, and thence fought the enemy from
the sea, who were themselves at land. But Vespasian hearing that
a great multitude of them were gotten together in the plain that
was before the city, he thereupon sent his son, with six hundred
chosen horsemen, to disperse

2. But when Titus perceived that the enemy was very numerous, he
sent to his father, and informed him that he should want more
forces. But as he saw a great many of the horsemen eager to
fight, and that before any succors could come to them, and that
yet some of them were privately under a sort of consternation at
the multitude of the Jews, he stood in a place whence he might be
heard, and said to them, "My brave Romans! for it is right for me
to put you in mind of what nation you are, in the beginning of my
speech, that so you may not be ignorant who you are, and who they
are against whom we are going to fight. For as to us, Romans, no
part of the habitable earth hath been able to escape our hands
hitherto; but as for the Jews, that I may speak of them too,
though they have been already beaten, yet do they not give up the
cause; and a sad thing it would be for us to grow wealthy under
good success, when they bear up under their misfortunes. As to
the alacrity which you show publicly, I see it, and rejoice at
it; yet am I afraid lest the multitude of the enemy should bring
a concealed fright upon some of you: let such a one consider
again, who we are that are to fight, and who those are against
whom we are to fight. Now these Jews, though they be very bold
and great despisers of death, are but a disorderly body, and
unskillful in war, and may rather be called a rout than an army;
while I need say nothing of our skill and our good order; for
this is the reason why we Romans alone are exercised for war in
time of peace, that we may not think of number for number when we
come to fight with our enemies: for what advantage should we reap
by our continual sort of warfare, if we must still be equal in
number to such as have not been used to war. Consider further,
that you are to have a conflict with men in effect unarmed, while
you are well armed; with footmen, while you are horsemen; with
those that have no good general, while you have one; and as these
advantages make you in effect manifold more than you are, so do
their disadvantages mightily diminish their number. Now it is not
the multitude of men, though they be soldiers, that manages wars
with success, but it is their bravery that does it, though they
be but a few; for a few are easily set in battle-array, and can
easily assist one another, while over-numerous armies are more
hurt by themselves than by their enemies. It is boldness and
rashness, the effects of madness, that conduct the Jews. Those
passions indeed make a great figure when they succeed, but are
quite extinguished upon the least ill success; but we are led on
by courage, and obedience, and fortitude, which shows itself
indeed in our good fortune, but still does not for ever desert us
in our ill fortune. Nay, indeed, your fighting is to be on
greater motives than those of the Jews; for although they run the
hazard of war for liberty, and for their country, yet what can be
a greater motive to us than glory? and that. it may never be
said, that after we have got dominion of the habitable earth, the
Jews are able to confront us. We must also reflect upon this,
that there is no fear of our suffering any incurable disaster in
the present case; for those that are ready to assist us are many,
and at hand also; yet it is in our power to seize upon this
victory ourselves; and I think we ought to prevent the coming of
those my father is sending to us for our assistance, that our
success may be peculiar to ourselves, and of greater reputation
to us. And I cannot but think this an opportunity wherein my
father, and I, and you shall be all put to the trial, whether he
be worthy of his former glorious performances, whether I be his
son in reality, and whether you be really my soldiers; for it is
usual for my father to conquer; and for myself, I should not bear
the thoughts of returning to him if I were once taken by the
enemy. And how will you be able to avoid being ashamed, if you do
not show equal courage with your commander, when he goes before
you into danger? For you know very well that I shall go into the
danger first, and make the first attack upon the enemy. Do not
you therefore desert me, but persuade yourselves that God will be
assisting to my onset. Know this also before we begin, that we
shall now have better success than we should have, if we were to
fight at a distance."

3. As Titus was saying this, an extraordinary fury fell upon the
men; and as Trajan was already come before the fight began, with
four hundred horsemen, they were uneasy at it, because the
reputation of the victory would be diminished by being common to
so many. Vespasian had also sent both Antonius and Silo, with two
thousand archers, and had given it them in charge to seize upon
the mountain that was over against the city, and repel those that
were upon the wall; which archers did as they were commanded, and
prevented those that attempted to assist them that way; And now
Titus made his own horse march first against the enemy, as did
the others with a great noise after him, and extended themselves
upon the plain as wide as the enemy which confronted them; by
which means they appeared much more numerous than they really
were. Now the Jews, although they were surprised at their onset,
and at their good order, made resistance against their attacks
for a little while; but when they were pricked with their long
poles, and overborne by the violent noise of the horsemen, they
came to be trampled under their feet; many also of them were
slain on every side, which made them disperse themselves, and run
to the city, as fast as every one of them were able. So Titus
pressed upon the hindmost, and slew them; and of the rest, some
he fell upon as they stood on heaps, and some he prevented, and
met them in the mouth, and run them through; many also he leaped
upon as they fell one upon another, and trod them down, and cut
off all the retreat they had to the wall, and turned them back
into the plain, till at last they forced a passage by their
multitude, and got away, and ran into the city.

4. But now there fell out a terrible sedition among them within
the city; for the inhabitants themselves, who had possessions
there, and to whom the city belonged, were not disposed to fight
from the very beginning; and now the less so, because they had
been beaten; but the foreigners, which were very numerous, would
force them to fight so much the more, insomuch that there was a
clamor and a tumult among them, as all mutually angry one at
another. And when Titus heard this tumult, for he was not far
from the wall, he cried out," Fellow soldiers, now is the time;
and why do we make any delay, when God is giving up the Jews to
us? Take the victory which is given you: do not you hear what a
noise they make? Those that have escaped our hands are ill an
uproar against one another. We have the city if we make haste;
but besides haste, we must undergo some labor, and use some
courage; for no great thing uses to be accomplished without
danger: accordingly, we must not only prevent their uniting
again, which necessity will soon compel them to do, but we must
also prevent the coming of our own men to our assistance, that,
as few as we are, we may conquer so great a multitude, and may
ourselves alone take the city:"

5. As soon as ever Titus had said this, he leaped upon his horse,
and rode apace down to the lake; by which lake he marched, and
entered into the city the first of them all, as did the others
soon after him. Hereupon those that were upon the walls were
seized with a terror at the boldness of the attempt, nor durst
any one venture to fight with him, or to hinder him; so they left
guarding the city, and some of those that were about Jesus fled
over the country, while others of them ran down to the lake, and
met the enemy in the teeth, and some were slain as they were
getting up into the ships, but others of them as they attempted
to overtake those that were already gone aboard. There was also a
great slaughter made in the city, while those foreigners that had
not fled away already made opposition; but the natural
inhabitants were killed without fighting: for in hopes of Titus's
giving them his right hand for their security, and out of a
consciousness that they had not given any consent to the war,
they avoided fighting, till Titus had slain the authors of this
revolt, and then put a stop to any further slaughters, out of
commiseration of these inhabitants of the place. But for those
that had fled to the lake, upon seeing the city taken, they
sailed as far as they possibly could from the enemy.

6. Hereupon Titus sent one of his horsemen to his father, and let
him know the good news of what he had done; at which, as was
natural, he was very joyful, both on account of the courage and
glorious actions of his son; for he thought that now the greatest
part of the war was over. He then came thither himself, and set
men to guard the city, and gave them command to take care that
nobody got privately out of it, but to kill such as attempted so
to do. And on the next day he went down to the lake, and
commanded that vessels should be fitted up, in order to pursue
those that had escaped in the ships. These vessels were quickly
gotten ready accordingly, because there was great plenty of
materials, and a great number of artificers also.

7. Now this lake of Gennesareth is so called from the country
adjoining to it. Its breadth is forty furlongs, and its length
one hundred and forty; its waters are sweet, and very agreeable
for drinking, for they are finer than the thick waters of other
fens; the lake is also pure, and on every side ends directly at
the shores, and at the sand; it is also of a temperate nature
when you draw it up, and of a more gentle nature than river or
fountain water, and yet always cooler than one could expect in so
diffuse a place as this is. Now when this water is kept in the
open air, it is as cold as that snow which the country people are
accustomed to make by night in summer. There are several kinds of
fish in it, different both to the taste and the sight from those
elsewhere. It is divided into two parts by the river Jordan. Now
Panium is thought to be the fountain of Jordan, but in reality it
is carried thither after an occult manner from the place called
Phiala: this place lies as you go up to Trachonitis, and is a
hundred and twenty furlongs from Cesarea, and is not far out of
the road on the right hand; and indeed it hath its name of Phiala
[vial or bowl] very justly, from the roundness of its
circumference, as being round like a wheel; its water continues
always up to its edges, without either sinking or running over.
And as this origin of Jordan was formerly not known, it was
discovered so to be when Philip was tetrarch of Trachonitis; for
he had chaff thrown into Phiala, and it was found at Paninto,
where the ancients thought the fountain-head of the river was,
whither it had been therefore carried [by the waters]. As for
Panium itself, its natural beauty had been improved by the royal
liberality of Agrippa, and adorned at his expenses. Now Jordan's
visible stream arises from this cavern, and divides the marshes
and fens of the lake Semechonitis; when it hath run another
hundred and twenty furlongs, it first passes by the city Julias,
and then passes through the middle of the lake Gennesareth; after
which it runs a long way over a desert, and then makes its exit
into the lake Asphaltitis.

8. The country also that lies over against this lake hath the
same name of Gennesareth; its nature is wonderful as well as its
beauty; its soil is so fruitful that all sorts of trees can grow
upon it, and the inhabitants accordingly plant all sorts of trees
there; for the temper of the air is so well mixed, that it agrees
very well with those several sorts, particularly walnuts, which
require the coldest air, flourish there in vast plenty; there are
palm trees also, which grow best in hot air; fig trees also and
olives grow near them, which yet require an air that is more
temperate. One may call this place the ambition of nature, where
it forces those plants that are naturally enemies to one another
to agree together; it is a happy contention of the seasons, as if
every one of them laid claim to this country; for it not only
nourishes different sorts of autumnal fruit beyond men's
expectation, but preserves them a great while; it supplies men
with the principal fruits, with grapes and figs continually,
during ten months of the year (7) and the rest of the fruits as
they become ripe together through the whole year; for besides the
good temperature of the air, it is also watered from a most
fertile fountain. The people of the country call it Capharnaum.
Some have thought it to be a vein of the Nile, because it
produces the Coracin fish as well as that lake does which is near
to Alexandria. The length of this country extends itself along
the banks of this lake that bears the same name for thirty
furlongs, and is in breadth twenty, And this is the nature of
that place.

9. But now, when the vessels were gotten ready, Vespasian put
upon ship-board as many of his forces as he thought sufficient to
be too hard for those that were upon the lake, and set sail after
them. Now these which were driven into the lake could neither fly
to the land, where all was in their enemies' hand, and in war
against them; nor could they fight upon the level by sea, for
their ships were small and fitted only for piracy; they were too
weak to fight with Vespasian's vessels, and the mariners that
were in them were so few, that they were afraid to come near the
Romans, who attacked them in great numbers. However, as they
sailed round about the vessels, and sometimes as they came near
them, they threw stones at the Romans when they were a good way
off, or came closer and fought them; yet did they receive the
greatest harm themselves in both cases. As for the stones they
threw at the Romans, they only made a sound one after another,
for they threw them against such as were in their armor, while
the Roman darts could reach the Jews themselves; and when they
ventured to come near the Romans, they became sufferers
themselves before they could do any harm to the ether, and were
drowned, they and their ships together. As for those that
endeavored to come to an actual fight, the Romans ran many of
them through with their long poles. Sometimes the Romans leaped
into their ships, with swords in their hands, and slew them; but
when some of them met the vessels, the Romans caught them by the
middle, and destroyed at once their ships and themselves who were
taken in them. And for such as were drowning in the sea, if they
lifted their heads up above the water, they were either killed by
darts, or caught by the vessels; but if, in the desperate case
they were in, they attempted to swim to their enemies, the Romans
cut off either their heads or their hands; and indeed they were
destroyed after various manners every where, till the rest being
put to flight, were forced to get upon the land, while the
vessels encompassed them about [on the sea]: but as many of these
were repulsed when they were getting ashore, they were killed by
the darts upon the lake; and the Romans leaped out of their
vessels, and destroyed a great many more upon the land: one might
then see the lake all bloody, and full of dead bodies, for not
one of them escaped. And a terrible stink, and a very sad sight
there was on the following days over that country; for as for the
shores, they were full of shipwrecks, and of dead bodies all
swelled; and as the dead bodies were inflamed by the sun, and
putrefied, they corrupted the air, insomuch that the misery was
not only the object of commiseration to the Jews, but to those
that hated them, and had been the authors of that misery. This
was the upshot of the sea-fight. The number of the slain,
including those that were killed in the city before, was six
thousand and five hundred.

10. After this fight was over, Vespasian sat upon his tribunal at
Taricheae, in order to distinguish the foreigners from the old
inhabitants; for those foreigners appear to have begun the war.
So he deliberated with the other commanders, whether he ought to
save those old inhabitants or not. And when those commanders
alleged that the dismission of them would be to his own
disadvantage, because, when they were once set at liberty, they
would not be at rest, since they would be people destitute of
proper habitations, and would he able to compel such as they fled
to fight against us, Vespasian acknowledged that they did not
deserve to be saved, and that if they had leave given them to fly
away, they would make use of it against those that gave them that
leave. But still he considered with himself after what manner
they should be slain (8) for if he had them slain there, he
suspected the people of the country would thereby become his
enemies; for that to be sure they would never bear it, that so
many that had been supplicants to him should be killed; and to
offer violence to them, after he had given them assurances of
their lives, he could not himself bear to do it. However, his
friends were too hard for him, and pretended that nothing against
Jews could be any impiety, and that he ought to prefer what was
profitable before what was fit to be done, where both could not
be made consistent. So he gave them an ambiguous liberty to do as
they advised, and permitted the prisoners to go along no other
road than that which led to Tiberias only. So they readily
believed what they desired to be true, and went along securely,
with their effects, the way which was allowed them, while the
Romans seized upon all the road that led to Tiberias, that none
of them might go out of it, and shut them up in the city. Then
came Vespasian, and ordered them all to stand in the stadium, and
commanded them to kill the old men, together with the others that
were useless, which were in number a thousand and two hundred.
Out of the young men he chose six thousand of the strongest, and
sent them to Nero, to dig through the Isthmus, and sold the
remainder for slaves, being thirty thousand and four hundred,
besides such as he made a present of to Agrippa; for as to those
that belonged to his kingdom, he gave him leave to do what he
pleased with them; however, the king sold these also for slaves;
but for the rest of the multitude, who were Trachonites, and
Gaulanites, and of Hippos, and some of Gadara, the greatest part
of them were seditious persons and fugitives, who were of such
shameful characters, that they preferred war before peace. These
prisoners were taken on the eighth day of the month Gorpiaeus


(1) Take the confirmation of this in the words of Suetonius, here
produced by Dr. Hudson: "In the reign of Claudius," says he,
"Vespasian, for the sake of Narcissus, was sent as a lieutenant
of a legion into Germany. Thence he removed into Britain "
battles with the enemy." In Vesp. sect. 4. We may also here note
from Josephus, that Claudius the emperor, who triumphed for the
conquest of Britain, was enabled so to do by Vespasian's conduct
and bravery, and that he is here styled "the father of

(2) Spanheim and Reland both agree, that the two cities here
esteemed greater than Antioch, the metropolis of Syria, were Rome
and Alexandria; nor is there any occasion for doubt in so plain a

(3) This description of the exact symmetry and regularity of the
Roman army, and of the Roman encampments, with the sounding their
trumpets, etc. and order of war, described in this and the next
chapter, is so very like to the symmetry and regularity of the
people of Israel in the wilderness, (see Description of the
Temples, ch. 9.,) that one cannot well avoid the supposal, that
the one was the ultimate pattern of the other, and that the
tactics of the ancients were taken from the rules given by God to
Moses. And it is thought by some skillful in these matters, that
these accounts of Josephus, as to the Roman camp and armor, and
conduct in war, are preferable to those in the Roman authors

(4) I cannot but here observe an Eastern way of speaking,
frequent among them, but not usual among us, where the word
"only" or "alone" is not set down, but perhaps some way supplied
in the pronunciation. Thus Josephus here says, that those of
Jotapata slew seven of the Romans as they were marching off,
because the Romans' retreat was regular, their bodies were
covered over with their armor, and the Jews fought at some
distance; his meaning is clear, that these were the reasons why
they slew only, or no more than seven. I have met with many the
like examples in the Scriptures, in Josephus, etc.; but did not
note down the particular places. This observation ought to be
borne in mind upon many occasions.

(5) These public mourners, hired upon the supposed death of
Josephus, and the real death of many more, illustrate some
passages in the Bible, which suppose the same custom, as Matthew
11:17, where the reader may consult the notes of Grotius.

(6) Of this Cesarea Philippi (twice mentioned in our New
Testament, Matthew 16:13; Mark 8;27) there are coins still
extant, Spanheim here informs us.

(7) I do not know where to find the law of Moses here mentioned
by Josephus, and afterwards by Eleazar, 13. VII. ch. 8. sect. 7,
and almost implied in B. I. ch. 13. sect. 10, by Josephus's
commendation of Phasaelus for doing so; I mean, whereby Jewish
generals and people were obliged to kill themselves, rather than
go into slavery under heathens. I doubt this would have been no
better than "self-murder;" and I believe it was rather some vain
doctrine, or interpretation, of the rigid Pharisees, or Essens,
or Herodiaus, than a just consequence from any law of God
delivered by Moses.

(7) It may be worth our while to observe here, that near this
lake of Gennesareth grapes and figs hang on the trees ten months
of the year. We may observe also, that in Cyril of Jerusalem,
Cateehes. 18. sect. 3, which was delivered not long before
Easter, there were no fresh leaves of fig trees, nor bunches of
fresh grapes in Judea; so that when St. Mark says, ch. 11. ver.
13, that our Savior, soon after the same time of the year, came
and "found leaves" on a fig tree near Jerusalem, but "no figs,
because the time of" new "figs" ripening "was not yet," he says
very true; nor were they therefore other than old leaves which
our Savior saw, and old figs which he expected, and which even
with us commonly hang on the trees all winter long.

(8) This is the most cruel and barbarous action that Vespasian
ever did in this whole war, as he did it with great reluctance
also. It was done both after public assurance given of sparing
the prisoners' lives, and when all knew and confessed that these
prisoners were no way guilty of any sedition against the Romans.
Nor indeed did Titus now give his consent, so far as appears, nor
ever act of himself so barbarously; nay, soon after this, Titus
grew quite weary of shedding blood, and of punishing the innocent
with the guilty, and gave the people of Gischala leave to keep
the Jewish sabbath, B. IV. ch. 2. sect. 3, 5, in the midst of
their siege. Nor was Vespasian disposed to do what he did, till
his officers persuaded him, and that from two principal topics,
viz. that nothing could be unjust that was done against Jews; and
that when both cannot be consistent, advantage must prevail over
justice. Admirable court doctrines these!


Containing The Interval Of About One Year.

From The Siege Of Gamala To The Coming
Of Titus To Besiege Jerusalem.


The Siege And Taking Of Gamala.

1. Now all those Galileans who, after the taking of Jotapata,
had revolted from the Romans, did, upon the conquest of

Taricheae, deliver themselves up to them again. And the
Romans received all the fortresses and the cities, excepting
Gischala and those that had seized upon Mount Tabor; Gamala also,
which is a city ever against Tarichem, but on the other side of
the lake, conspired with them. This city lay Upon the borders of
Agrippa's kingdom, as also did Sogana and Scleucia. And these
were both parts of Gaulanitis; for Sogana was a part of that
called the Upper Gaulanitis, as was Gamala of the Lower; while
Selcucia was situated at the lake Semechouitis, which lake is
thirty furlongs in breadth, and sixty in length; its marshes
reach as far as the place Daphne, which in other respects is a
delicious place, and hath such fountains as supply water to what
is called Little Jordan, under the temple of the golden calf, (1)
where it is sent into Great Jordan. Now Agrippa had united Sogana
and Seleucia by leagues to himself, at the very beginning of the
revolt from the Romans; yet did not Gamala accede to them, but
relied upon the difficulty of the place, which was greater than
that of Jotapata, for it was situated upon a rough ridge of a
high mountain, with a kind of neck in the middle: where it begins
to ascend, it lengthens itself, and declines as much downward
before as behind, insomuch that it is like a camel in figure,
from whence it is so named, although the people of the
country do not pronounce it accurately. Both on the side and
the face there are abrupt parts divided from the rest, and ending
in vast deep valleys; yet are the parts behind, where they are
joined to the mountain, somewhat easier of ascent than the other;
but then the people belonging to the place have cut an oblique
ditch there, and made that hard to be ascended also. On its
acclivity, which is straight, houses are built, and those very
thick and close to one another. The city also hangs so strangely,
that it looks as if it would fall down upon itself, so sharp is
it at the top. It is exposed to the south, and its southern
mount, which reaches to an immense height, was in the nature of a
citadel to the city; and above that was a precipice, not walled
about, but extending itself to an immense depth. There was also a
spring of water within the wall, at the utmost limits of the

2. As this city was naturally hard to be taken, so had
Josephus, by building a wall about it, made it still stronger,
as also by ditches and mines under ground. The people that
were in it were made more bold by the nature of the place than
the people of Jotapata had been, but it had much fewer fighting
men in it; and they had such a confidence in the situation of the
place, that they thought the enemy could not be too many for
them; for the city had been filled with those that had fled to it
for safety, on account of its strength; on which account they had
been able to resist those whom
Agrippa sent to besiege it for seven months together.

3. But Vespasian removed from Emmaus, where he had last
pitched his camp before the city Tiberias, (now Emmaus, if it
be interpreted, may be rendered "a warm bath," for therein is a
spring of warm water, useful for healing,) and came to Gamala;
yet was its situation such that he was not able to encompass it
all round with soldiers to watch it; but where the places were
practicable, he set men to watch it, and seized upon the mountain
which was over it. And as the
legions, according to their usual custom, were fortifying their
camp upon that mountain, he began to cast up banks at the bottom,
at the part towards the east, where the highest tower of the
whole city was, and where the fifteenth legion pitched their
camp; while the fifth legion did duty over against the midst of
the city, and whilst the tenth legion filled up the ditches and
the valleys. Now at this time it was that as king Agrippa was
come nigh the walls, and was endeavoring to
speak to those that were on the walls about a surrender, he was
hit with a stone on his right elbow by one of the slingers; he
was then immediately surrounded with his own men. But the Romans
were excited to set about the siege, by their indignation on the
king's account, and by their fear on their own account, as
concluding that those men would omit no
kinds of barbarity against foreigners and enemies, who where so
enraged against one of their own nation, and one that advised
them to nothing but what was for their own

4. Now when the banks were finished, which was done on the
sudden, both by the multitude of hands, and by their being
accustomed to such work, they brought the machines; but
Chares and Joseph, who were the most potent men in the
city, set their armed men in order, though already in a fright,
because they did not suppose that the city could hold out long,
since they had not a sufficient quantity either of water, or of
other necessaries. However, these their leaders
encouraged them, and brought them out upon the wall, and for a
while indeed they drove away those that were bringing the
machines; but when those machines threw darts and
stones at them, they retired into the city; then did the Romans
bring battering rams to three several places, and made the wall
shake [and fall]. They then poured in over the parts of the wall
that were thrown down, with a mighty sound of trumpets and noise
of armor, and with a shout of the
soldiers, and brake in by force upon those that were in the
city; but these men fell upon the Romans for some time, at their
first entrance, and prevented their going any further, and with
great courage beat them back; and the Romans
were so overpowered by the greater multitude of the people, who
beat them on every side, that they were obliged to run into the
upper parts of the city. Whereupon the people
turned about, and fell upon their enemies, who had attacked
them, and thrust them down to the lower parts, and as they were
distressed by the narrowness and difficulty of the place, slew
them; and as these Romans could neither beat those
back that were above them, nor escape the force of their own
men that were forcing their way forward, they were
compelled to fly into their enemies' houses, which were low;
but these houses being thus full, of soldiers, whose weight they
could not bear, fell down suddenly; and when one house fell, it
shook down a great many of those that were under it, as did those
do to such as were under them. By this means a vast number of the
Romans perished; for they were so
terribly distressed, that although they saw the houses
subsiding, they were compelled to leap upon the tops of
them; so that a great many were ground to powder by these
ruins, and a great many of those that got from under them lost
some of their limbs, but still a greater number were suffocated
by the dust that arose from those ruins. The
people of Gamala supposed this to be an assistance afforded
them by God, and without regarding what damage they
suffered themselves, they pressed forward, and thrust the enemy
upon the tops of their houses; and when they
stumbled in the sharp and narrow streets, and were
perpetually falling down, they threw their stones or darts at
them, and slew them. Now the very ruins afforded them
stones enow; and for iron weapons, the dead men of the
enemies' side afforded them what they wanted; for drawing the
swords of those that were dead, they made use of them to despatch
such as were only half dead; nay, there were a great number who,
upon their falling down from the tops of the houses, stabbed
themselves, and died after that manner; nor indeed was it easy
for those that were beaten back to fly away; for they were so
unacquainted with the ways, and the dust was so thick, that they
wandered about without knowing one another, and fell down dead
among the crowd.

5. Those therefore that were able to find the ways out of the
city retired. But now Vespasian always staid among those that
were hard set; for he was deeply affected with seeing the ruins
of the city falling upon his army, and forgot to take care of his
own preservation. He went up gradually towards the highest parts
of the city before he was aware, and was left in the midst of
dangers, having only a very few with him; for even his son Titus
was not with him at that time, having been then sent into Syria
to Mucianus. However, he thought it not safe to fly, nor did he
esteem it a fit thing for him to do; but calling to mind the
actions he had done from his youth, and recollecting his courage,
as if he had been excited by a divine fury, he covered himself
and those that were with him with their shields, and formed a
testudo over both their bodies and their armor, and bore up
against the enemy's attacks, who came running down from the top
of the city; and without showing any dread at the multitude of
the men or of their darts, he endured all, until the enemy took
notice of that divine courage that was within him, and remitted
of their attacks; and when they pressed less zealously upon him,
he retired, though without showing his back to them till he was
gotten out of the walls of the city. Now a great number of the
Romans fell in this battle, among whom was Ebutius, the
decurion, a man who appeared not only in this engagement,
wherein he fell, but every where, and in former engagements, to
be of the truest courage, and one that had done very great
mischief to the Jews. But there was a centurion whose name was
Gallus, who, during this disorder, being encompassed about, he
and ten other soldiers privately crept into the house of a
certain person, where he heard them talking at supper, what the
people intended to do against the Romans, or about themselves
(for both the man himself and those with him
were Syrians). So he got up in the night time, and cut all
their throats, and escaped, together with his soldiers, to the

6. And now Vespasian comforted his army, which was much
dejected by reflecting on their ill success, and because they
had never before fallen into such a calamity, and besides this,
because they were greatly ashamed that they had left their
general alone in great dangers. As to what concerned himself, he
avoided to say any thing, that he might by no means seem to
complain of it; but he said that "we ought to bear manfully what
usually falls out in war, and this, by considering what the
nature of war is, and how it can never be that we must conquer
without bloodshed on our own side; for there stands about us that
fortune which is of its own nature mutable; that while they had
killed so many ten thousands of the Jews, they had now paid their
small share of the reckoning to fate; and as it is the part of
weak people to be too much puffed up with good success, so is it
the part of cowards to be too much aftrighted at that which is
ill; for the change from the one to the other is sudden on both
sides; and he is the best warrior who is of a sober mind under
misfortunes, that he may
continue in that temper, and cheerfully recover what had been
lost formerly; and as for what had now happened, it was neither
owing to their own effeminacy, nor to the valor of the Jews, but
the difficulty of the place was the occasion of their advantage,
and of our disappointment. Upon reflecting on which matter one
might blame your zeal as perfectly
ungovernable; for when the enemy had retired to their
highest fastnesses, you ought to have restrained yourselves,
and not, by presenting yourselves at the top of the city, to be
exposed to dangers; but upon your having obtained the lower parts
of the city, you ought to have provoked those that had retired
thither to a safe and settled battle; whereas, in rushing so
hastily upon victory, you took no care of your safety. But this
incautiousness in war, and this madness of zeal, is not a Roman
maxim. While we perform all that we attempt by skill and good
order, that procedure is the part of barbarians, and is what the
Jews chiefly support themselves by. We ought therefore to return
to our own virtue, and to be rather angry than any longer
dejected at this unlucky misfortune, and let every one seek for
his own consolation from his own hand; for by this means he will
avenge those that have been
destroyed, and punish those that have killed them. For
myself, I will endeavor, as I have now done, to go first before
you against your enemies in every engagement, and to be the last
that retires from it."

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