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

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

Part 7 out of 12

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

7. So Vespasian encouraged his army by this speech; but for the
people of Gamala, it happened that they took courage for a little
while, upon such great and unaccountable success as they had had.
But when they considered with themselves that they had now no
hopes of any terms of accommodation, and reflecting upon it that
they could not get away, and that their provisions began already
to be short, they were exceedingly cast down, and their courage
failed them; yet did they not neglect what might be for their
preservation, so far as they were able, but the most courageous
among them guarded
those parts of the wall that were beaten down, while the more
infirm did the same to the rest of the wall that still remained
round the city. And as the Romans raised their
banks, and attempted to get into the city a second time, a
great many of them fled out of the city through impracticable
valleys, where no guards were placed, as also through
subterraneous caverns; while those that were afraid of being
caught, and for that reason staid in the city, perished for want
of food; for what food they had was brought together from all
quarters, and reserved for the fighting men.

8. And these were the hard circumstances that the people of
Gamala were in. But now Vespasian went about other work
by the by, during this siege, and that was to subdue those that
had seized upon Mount Tabor, a place that lies in the middle
between the great plain and Scythopolis, whose top is
elevated as high as thirty furlongs (2) and is hardly to be
ascended on its north side; its top is a plain of twenty-six
furlongs, and all encompassed with a wall. Now Josephus
erected this so long a wall in forty days' time, and furnished
it with other materials, and with water from below, for the
inhabitants only made use of rain water. As therefore there was a
great multitude of people gotten together upon this mountain,
Vespasian sent Placidus with six hundred
horsemen thither. Now, as it was impossible for him to
ascend the mountain, he invited many of them to peace, by the
offer of his right hand for their security, and of his
intercession for them. Accordingly they came down, but with a
treacherous design, as well as he had the like treacherous design
upon them on the other side; for Placidus spoke
mildly to them, as aiming to take them, when he got them into
the plain; they also came down, as complying with his proposals,
but it was in order to fall upon him when he was not aware of it:
however, Placidus's stratagem was too hard for theirs; for when
the Jews began to fight, he pretended to run away, and when they
were in pursuit of the Romans, he enticed them a great way along
the plain, and then made his horsemen turn back; whereupon he
beat them, and slew a
great number of them, and cut off the retreat of the rest of
the multitude, and hindered their return. So they left Tabor, and
fled to Jerusalem, while the people of the country came to terms
with him, for their water failed them, and so they delivered up
the mountain and themselves to Placidus.

9. But of the people of Gamala, those that were of the bolder
sort fled away and hid themselves, while the more infirm perished
by famine; but the men of war sustained the siege till the two
and twentieth day of the month Hyperberetmus, [Tisri,] when three
soldiers of the fifteenth legion, about the morning watch, got
under a high tower that was near them, and undermined it, without
making any noise; nor when they either came to it, which was in
the night time, nor when they were under it, did those that
guarded it perceive them. These soldiers then upon their coming
avoided making a noise, and when they had rolled away five of its
strongest stones, they went away hastily; whereupon the tower
fell down on a
sudden, with a very great noise, and its guard fell headlong
with it; so that those that kept guard at other places were under
such disturbance, that they ran away; the Romans also slew many
of those that ventured to oppose them, among
whom was Joseph, who was slain by a dart, as he was running
away over that part of the wall that was broken down: but as
those that were in the city were greatly aftrighted at the noise,
they ran hither and thither, and a great consternation fell upon
them, as though all the enemy had fallen in at once upon them.
Then it was that Chares, who was ill, and under the physician's
hands, gave up the ghost, the fear he was in greatly contributing
to make his distemper fatal to him. But the Romans so well
remembered their former ill success, that they did not enter the
city till the three and twentieth day of the forementioned month.

10. At which time Titus, who was now returned, out of the
indignation he had at the destruction the Romans had
undergone while he was absent, took two hundred chosen
horsemen and some footmen with him, and entered without
noise into the city. Now as the watch perceived that he was
coming, they made a noise, and betook themselves to their arms;
and as that his entrance was presently known to those that were
in the city, some of them caught hold of their children and their
wives, and drew them after them, and fled away to the citadel,
with lamentations and cries, while others of them went to meet
Titus, and were killed perpetually; but so many of them as were
hindered from running up to the
citadel, not knowing what in the world to do, fell among the
Roman guards, while the groans of those that were killed were
prodigiously great every where, and blood ran down
over all the lower parts of the city, from the upper. But then
Vespasian himself came to his assistance against those that had
fled to the citadel, and brought his whole army with him; now
this upper part of the city was every way rocky, and difficult of
ascent, and elevated to a vast altitude, and very full of people
on all sides, and encompassed with precipices, whereby the Jews
cut off those that came up to them, and did much mischief to
others by their darts, and the large stones which they rolled
down upon them, while they were
themselves so high that the enemy's darts could hardly reach
them. However, there arose such a Divine storm against them as
was instrumental to their destruction; this carried the Roman
darts upon them, and made those which they threw
return back, and drove them obliquely away from them; nor could
the Jews indeed stand upon their precipices, by reason of the
violence of the wind, having nothing that was stable to stand
upon, nor could they see those that were ascending up to them; so
the Romans got up and surrounded them, and
some they slew before they could defend themselves, and
others as they were delivering up themselves; and the
remembrance of those that were slain at their former
entrance into the city increased their rage against them now; a
great number also of those that were surrounded on every side,
and despaired of escaping, threw their children and their wives,
and themselves also, down the precipices, into the valley
beneath, which, near the citadel, had been dug hollow to a vast
depth; but so it happened, that the anger of the Romans appeared
not to be so extravagant as was the
madness of those that were now taken, while the Romans
slew but four thousand, whereas the number of those that had
thrown themselves down was found to be five thousand: nor did any
one escape except two women, who were the
daughters of Philip, and Philip himself was the son of a
certain eminent man called Jacimus, who had been general of king
Agrippa's army; and these did therefore escape, because they lay
concealed from the rage of the Romans when the
city was taken; for otherwise they spared not so much as the
infants, of which many were flung down by them from the
citadel. And thus was Gamala taken on the three and
twentieth day of the month Hyperberetens, [Tisri,] whereas the
city had first revolted on the four and twentieth day of the
month Gorpieus [Elul].

The Surrender Of Gischala; While John Flies Away From It To

1. Now no place of Galilee remained to be taken but the
small city of Gischala, whose multitude yet were desirous of
peace; for they were generally husbandmen, and always
applied themselves to cultivate the fruits of the earth.
However, there were a great number that belonged to a band of
robbers, that were already corrupted, and had crept in among
them, and some of the governing part of the citizens were sick of
the same distemper. It was John, the son of a certain man whose
name was Levi, that drew them into this rebellion, and encouraged
them in it. He was a cunning
knave, and of a temper that could put on various shapes; very
rash in expecting great things, and very sagacious in bringing
about what he hoped for. It was known to every body that he was
fond of war, in order to thrust himself into authority; and the
seditious part of the people of Gischala were under his
management, by whose means the populace, who seemed
ready to send ambassadors in order to a surrender, waited for
the coming of the Romans in battle-array. Vespasian sent against
them Titus, with a thousand horsemen, but withdrew the tenth
legion to Scythopolis, while he returned to Cesarea with the two
other legions, that he might allow them to
refresh themselves after their long and hard campaign,
thinking withal that the plenty which was in those cities would
improve their bodies and their spirits, against the difficulties
they were to go through afterwards; for he saw there would be
occasion for great pains about Jerusalem, which was not yet
taken, because it was the royal city, and the principal city of
the whole nation, and because those that had run away from the
war in other places got all together thither. It was also
naturally strong, and the walls that were built round it made him
not a little concerned about it. Moreover, he esteemed the men
that were in it to be so
courageous and bold, that even without the consideration of the
walls, it would be hard to subdue them; for which reason he took
care of and exercised his soldiers beforehand for the work, as
they do wrestlers before they begin their

2. Now Titus, as he rode ut to Gischala, found it would be easy
for him to take the city upon the first onset; but knew withal,
that if he took it by force, the multitude would be destroyed by
the soldiers without mercy. (Now he was already satiated with the
shedding of blood, and pitied the major part, who would then
perish, without distinction, together with the guilty.) So he was
rather desirous the city might be surrendered up to him on terms.
Accordingly, when he saw the wall full of those men that were of
the corrupted party, he said to them, That he could not but
wonder what it was they depended on, when they alone staid to
fight the
Romans, after every other city was taken by them, especially
when they have seen cities much better fortified than theirs is
overthrown by a single attack upon them; while as many as have
intrusted themselves to the security of the Romans' right hands,
which he now offers to them, without regarding their former
insolence, do enjoy their own possessions in safety; for that
while they had hopes of recovering their liberty, they might be
pardoned; but that their continuance still in their opposition,
when they saw that to be impossible, was inexcusable; for that if
they will not comply with such humane offers, and right hands for
security, they should have experience of such a war as would
spare nobody, and should soon be made sensible that their wall
would be but a trifle, when battered by the Roman machines; in
depending on
which they demonstrate themselves to be the only Galileans that
were no better than arrogant slaves and captives.

3. Now none of the populace durst not only make a reply, but
durst not so much as get upon the wall, for it was all taken up
by the robbers, who were also the guard at the gates, in order to
prevent any of the rest from going out, in order to propose terms
of submission, and from receiving any of the horsemen into the
city. But John returned Titus this answer: That for himself he
was content to hearken to his proposals, and that he would either
persuade or force those that refused them. Yet he said that Titus
ought to have such regard to the Jewish law, as to grant them
leave to celebrate that day, which was the seventh day of the
week, on which it was
unlawful not only to remove their arms, but even to treat of
peace also; and that even the Romans were not ignorant how the
period of the seventh day was among them a cessation from all
labors; and that he who should compel them to
transgress the law about that day would be equally guilty with
those that were compelled to transgress it: and that this delay
could be of no disadvantage to him; for why should any body think
of doing any thing in the night, unless it was to fly away? which
he might prevent by placing his camp round
about them; and that they should think it a great point
gained, if they might not be obliged to transgress the laws of
their country; and that it would be a right thing for him, who
designed to grant them peace, without their expectation of such a
favor, to preserve the laws of those they saved
inviolable. Thus did this man put a trick upon Titus, not so
much out of regard to the seventh day as to his own
preservation, for he was afraid lest he should be quite
deserted if the city should be taken, and had his hopes of life
in that night, and in his flight therein. Now this was the work
of God, who therefore preserved this John, that he might bring on
the destruction of Jerusalem; as also it was his work that Titus
was prevailed with by this pretense for a delay, and that he
pitched his camp further off the city at Cydessa. This Cydessa
was a strong Mediterranean village of the Tyrians, which always
hated and made war against the Jews; it had also a great number
of inhabitants, and was well fortified, which made it a proper
place for such as were enemies to the Jewish nation.

4. Now, in the night time, when John saw that there was no
Roman guard about the city, he seized the opportunity
directly, and, taking with him not only the armed men that
where about him, but a considerable number of those that had
little to do, together with their families, he fled to Jerusalem.
And indeed, though the man was making haste to get away, and was
tormented with fears of being a captive, or of losing his life,
yet did he prevail with himself to take out of the city along
with him a multitude of women and
children, as far as twenty furlongs; but there he left them as
he proceeded further on his journey, where those that were left
behind made sad lamentations; for the farther every one of them
was come from his own people, the nearer they
thought themselves to be to their enemies. They also
affrighted themselves with this thought, that those who would
carry them into captivity were just at hand, and still turned
themselves back at the mere noise they made themselves in this
their hasty flight, as if those from whom they fled were just
upon them. Many also of them missed their ways, and the
earnestness of such as aimed to outgo the rest threw down many of
them. And indeed there was a miserable
destruction made of the women and children; while some of them
took courage to call their husbands and kinsmen back, and to
beseech them, with the bitterest lamentations, to stay for them;
but John's exhortation, who cried out to them to save themselves,
and fly away, prevailed. He said also, that if the Romans should
seize upon those whom they left behind, they would be revenged on
them for it. So this multitude that run thus away was dispersed
abroad, according as each of them was able to run, one faster or
slower than another.
5. Now on the next day Titus came to the wall, to make the
agreement; whereupon the people opened their gates to him, and
came out to him, with their children and wives, and
made acclamations of joy to him, as to one that had been their
benefactor, and had delivered the city out of custody; they also
informed him of John's flight, and besought him to spare them,
and to come in, and bring the rest of those that were for
innovations to punishment. But Titus, not so much regarding the
supplications of the people, sent part of his horsemen to pursue
after John, but they could not overtake him, for he was gotten to
Jerusalem before; they also slew six thousand of the women and
children who went out with him, but returned back, and brought
with them almost three
thousand. However, Titus was greatly displeased that he had not
been able to bring this John, who had deluded him, to punishment;
yet he had captives enough, as well as the
corrupted part of the city, to satisfy his anger, when it
missed of John. So he entered the city in the midst of
acclamations of joy; and when he had given orders to the soldiers
to pull down a small part of the wall, as of a city taken in war,
he repressed those that had disturbed the city rather by
threatenings than by executions; for he thought that many would
accuse innocent persons, out of their own private
animosities and quarrels, if he should attempt to distinguish
those that were worthy of punishment from the rest; and that it
was better to let a guilty person alone in his fears, that to
destroy with him any one that did not deserve it; for that
probably such a one might be taught prudence, by the fear of the
punishment he had deserved, and have a shame upon him for his
former offenses, when he had been forgiven; but that the
punishment of such as have been once put to death could never be
retrieved. However, he placed a garrison in the city for its
security, by which means he should restrain those that were for
innovations, and should leave those that were
peaceably disposed in greater security. And thus was all
Galilee taken, but this not till after it had cost the Romans
much pains before it could be taken by them.


Concerning John Of Gischala. Concerning The Zealots And The
High Priest Ananus; As Also How The Jews Raise Seditions One
Against Another [In Jerusalem].

1. Now upon John's entry into Jerusalem, the whole body of the
people were in an uproar, and ten thousand of them
crowded about every one of the fugitives that were come to
them, and inquired of them what miseries had happened
abroad, when their breath was so short, and hot, and quick,
that of itself it declared the great distress they were in; yet
did they talk big under their misfortunes, and pretended to say
that they had not fled away from the Romans, but came thither in
order to fight them with less hazard; for that it would be an
unreasonable and a fruitless thing for them to expose themselves
to desperate hazards about Gischala, and such weak cities,
whereas they ought to lay up their weapons and their zeal, and
reserve it for their metropolis. But when they related to them
the taking of Gischala, and their decent departure, as they
pretended, from that place, many of the people understood it to
be no better than a flight; and
especially when the people were told of those that were made
captives, they were in great confusion, and guessed those things
to be plain indications that they should be taken also. But for
John, he was very little concerned for those whom he had left
behind him, but went about among all the people, and persuaded
them to go to war, by the hopes he gave
them. He affirmed that the affairs of the Romans were in a weak
condition, and extolled his own power. He also jested upon the
ignorance of the unskillful, as if those Romans, although they
should take to themselves wings, could never fly over the wall of
Jerusalem, who found such great
difficulties in taking the villages of Galilee, and had broken
their engines of war against their walls.

2. These harangues of John's corrupted a great part of the
young men, and puffed them up for the war; but as to the more
prudent part, and those in years, there was not a man of them but
foresaw what was coming, and made lamentation on that account, as
if the city was already undone; and in this confusion were the
people. But then it must be observed, that the multitude that
came out of the country were at discord before the Jerusalem
sedition began; for Titus went from Gischala to Cesates, and
Vespasian from Cesarea to Jamnia and Azotus, and took them both;
and when he had put
garrisons into them, he came back with a great number of the
people, who were come over to him, upon his giving them his right
hand for their preservation. There were besides
disorders and civil wars in every city; and all those that were
at quiet from the Romans turned their hands one against
another. There was also a bitter contest between those that
were fond of war, and those that were desirous for peace. At the
first this quarrelsome temper caught hold of private families,
who could not agree among themselves; after which those people
that were the dearest to one another brake
through all restraints with regard to each other, and every one
associated with those of his own opinion, and began
already to stand in opposition one to another; so that
seditions arose every where, while those that were for
innovations, and were desirous of war, by their youth and
boldness, were too hard for the aged and prudent men. And, in the
first place, all the people of every place betook themselves to
rapine; after which they got together in bodies, in order to rob
the people of the country, insomuch that for barbarity and
iniquity those of the same nation did no way differ from the
Romans; nay, it seemed to be a much lighter thing to be ruined by
the Romans than by themselves.

3. Now the Roman garrisons, which guarded the cities, partly
out of their uneasiness to take such trouble upon them, and
partly out of the hatred they bare to the Jewish nation, did
little or nothing towards relieving the miserable, till the
captains of these troops of robbers, being satiated with rapines
in the country, got all together from all parts, and became a
band of wickedness, and all together crept into Jerusalem, which
was now become a city without a governor, and, as the ancient
custom was, received without distinction all that belonged to
their nation; and these they then
received, because all men supposed that those who came so fast
into the city came out of kindness, and for their
assistance, although these very men, besides the seditions they
raised, were otherwise the direct cause of the city's destruction
also; for as they were an unprofitable and a useless multitude,
they spent those provisions beforehand which might otherwise have
been sufficient for the fighting men. Moreover, besides the
bringing on of the war, they were the occasions of sedition and
famine therein.

4. There were besides these other robbers that came out of the
country, and came into the city, and joining to them those that
were worse than themselves, omitted no kind of
barbarity; for they did not measure their courage by their
rapines and plunderings only, but preceded as far as
murdering men; and this not in the night time or privately, or
with regard to ordinary men, but did it openly in the day time,
and began with the most eminent persons in the city; for the
first man they meddled with was Antipas, one of the royal
lineage, and the most potent man in the whole city, insomuch that
the public treasures were committed to his care; him they took
and confined; as they did in the next place to Levias, a person
of great note, with Sophas, the son of Raguel, both which were of
royal lineage also. And besides these, they did the same to the
principal men of the country. This caused a terrible
consternation among the people, and everyone contented himself
with taking care of his own
safety, as they would do if the city had been taken in war.
5. But these were not satisfied with the bonds into which they
had put the men forementioned; nor did they think it safe for
them to keep them thus in custody long, since they were men very
powerful, and had numerous families of their own that were able
to avenge them. Nay, they thought the very people would perhaps
be so moved at these unjust proceedings, as to rise in a body
against them; it was therefore resolved to have them slain
accordingly, they sent one John, who was the most bloody-minded
of them all, to do that execution: this man was also called "the
son of Dorcas," (3) in the language of our country. Ten more men
went along with him into the
prison, with their swords drawn, and so they cut the throats of
those that were in custody there. The grand lying pretence these
men made for so flagrant an enormity was this, that these men had
had conferences with the Romans for a
surrender of Jerusalem to them; and so they said they had slain
only such as were traitors to their common liberty. Upon the
whole, they grew the more insolent upon this bold prank of
theirs, as though they had been the benefactors and saviors of
the city.

6. Now the people were come to that degree of meanness
and fear, and these robbers to that degree of madness, that
these last took upon them to appoint high priests. (4) So when
they had disannulled the succession, according to those families
out of which the high priests used to be made, they ordained
certain unknown and ignoble persons for that office, that they
might have their assistance in their wicked
undertakings; for such as obtained this highest of all honors,
without any desert, were forced to comply with those that
bestowed it on them. They also set the principal men at
variance one with another, by several sorts of contrivances and
tricks, and gained the opportunity of doing what they pleased, by
the mutual quarrels of those who might have
obstructed their measures; till at length, when they were
satiated with the unjust actions they had done towards men, they
transferred their contumelious behavior to God himself, and came
into the sanctuary with polluted feet.

7. And now the multitude were going to rise against them
already; for Ananus, the ancientest of the high priests,
persuaded them to it. He was a very prudent man, and had perhaps
saved the city if he could but have escaped the hands of those
that plotted against him. These men made the
temple of God a strong hold for them, and a place whither they
might resort, in order to avoid the troubles they feared from the
people; the sanctuary was now become a refuge,
and a shop of tyranny. They also mixed jesting among the
miseries they introduced, which was more intolerable than what
they did; for in order to try what surprise the people would be
under, and how far their own power extended, they undertook to
dispose of the high priesthood by casting lots for it, whereas,
as we have said already, it was to descend by succession in a
family. The pretense they made for this
strange attempt was an ancient practice, while they said that
of old it was determined by lot; but in truth, it was no better
than a dissolution of an undeniable law, and a cunning
contrivance to seize upon the government, derived from those
that presumed to appoint governors as they themselves

8. Hereupon they sent for one of the pontifical tribes, which
is called Eniachim, (5) and cast lots which of it should be the
high priest. By fortune the lot so fell as to demonstrate their
iniquity after the plainest manner, for it fell upon one whose
name was Phannias, the son of Samuel, of the village Aphtha. He
was a man not only unworthy of the high priesthood, but that did
not well know what the high priesthood was, such a mere rustic
was he ! yet did they hail this man, without his own consent, out
of the country, as if they were acting a play upon the stage, and
adorned him with a counterfeit thee; they also put upon him the
sacred garments, and upon every occasion instructed him what he
was to do. This horrid piece of wickedness was sport and pastime
with them, but
occasioned the other priests, who at a distance saw their law
made a jest of, to shed tears, and sorely lament the
dissolution of such a sacred dignity.

9. And now the people could no longer bear the insolence of
this procedure, but did all together run zealously, in order to
overthrow that tyranny; and indeed they were Gorion the son of
Josephus, and Symeon the son of Gamaliel, (6) who
encouraged them, by going up and down when they were
assembled together in crowds, and as they saw them alone, to
bear no longer, but to inflict punishment upon these pests and
plagues of their freedom, and to purge the temple of these bloody
polluters of it. The best esteemed also of the high priests,
Jesus the son of Gamalas, and Ananus the son of Ananus when they
were at their assemblies, bitterly
reproached the people for their sloth, and excited them
against the zealots; for that was the name they went by, as if
they were zealous in good undertakings, and were not rather
zealous in the worst actions, and extravagant in them beyond the
example of others.

10. And now, when the multitude were gotten together to an
assembly, and every one was in indignation at these men's seizing
upon the sanctuary, at their rapine and murders, but had not yet
begun their attacks upon them, (the reason of which was this,
that they imagined it to be a difficult thing to suppress these
zealots, as indeed the case was,) Ananus stood in the midst of
them, and casting his eyes frequently at the temple, and having a
flood of tears in his eyes, he said, "Certainly it had been good
for me to die before I had seen the house of God full of so many
abominations, or these
sacred places, that ought not to be trodden upon at random,
filled with the feet of these blood-shedding villains; yet do I,
who am clothed with the vestments of the high priesthood, and am
called by that most venerable name [of high priest], still live,
and am but too fond of living, and cannot endure to undergo a
death which would be the glory of my old age; and if I were the
only person concerned, and as it were in a desert, I would give
up my life, and that alone for God's sake; for to what purpose is
it to live among a people
insensible of their calamities, and where there is no notion
remaining of any remedy for the miseries that are upon
them? for when you are seized upon, you bear it! and when you
are beaten, you are silent! and when the people are
murdered, nobody dare so much as send out a groan openly! O
bitter tyranny that we are under! But why do I complain of the
tyrants? Was it not you, and your sufferance of them, that have
nourished them? Was it not you that overlooked those that first
of all got together, for they were then but a few, and by your
silence made them grow to be many; and by
conniving at them when they took arms, in effect armed them
against yourselves? You ought to have then prevented their first
attempts, when they fell a reproaching your relations; but by
neglecting that care in time, you have encouraged these wretches
to plunder men. When houses were pillaged, nobody said a word,
which was the occasion why they carried off the owners of those
houses; and when they were drawn through the midst of the city,
nobody came to their assistance. They then proceeded to put those
whom you have betrayed into
their hands into bonds. I do not say how many and of what
characters those men were whom they thus served; but
certainly they were such as were accused by none, and
condemned by none; and since nobody succored them when
they were put into bonds, the consequence was, that you saw the
same persons slain. We have seen this also; so that still the
best of the herd of brute animals, as it were, have been still
led to be sacrificed, when yet nobody said one word, or moved his
right hand for their preservation. Will you bear, therefore, will
you bear to see your sanctuary trampled on? and will you lay
steps for these profane wretches, upon which they may mount to
higher degrees of insolence? Will not you pluck them down from
their exaltation? for even by this time they had proceeded to
higher enormities, if they had been able to overthrow any thing
greater than the sanctuary. They have seized upon the strongest
place of the whole city; you may call it the temple, if you
please, though it be like a citadel or fortress. Now, while you
have tyranny in so great a degree walled in, and see your enemies
over your heads, to what purpose is it to take counsel? and what
have you to support your minds withal? Perhaps you wait for the
Romans, that they may protect our holy places: are our matters
then brought to that pass? and are we come to that degree of
misery, that our enemies themselves are expected to pity us? O
wretched creatures! will not you rise up and turn upon those that
strike you? which you may observe in wild beasts themselves, that
they will avenge themselves on those that strike them. Will you
not call to mind, every one of you, the calamities you yourselves
have suffered? nor lay before your eyes what afflictions you
yourselves have undergone? and will not such things sharpen your
souls to revenge? Is therefore that most honorable and most
natural of our passions utterly lost, I mean the desire of
liberty? Truly we are in love with slavery, and in love with
those that lord it over us, as if we had received that principle
of subjection from our ancestors; yet did they undergo many and
great wars for the sake of liberty, nor were they so far overcome
by the power of the Egyptians, or the Medes, but that still they
did what they thought fit, notwithstanding their commands to the
contrary. And what occasion is there now for a war with the
Romans? (I meddle not with determining whether it be an
advantageous and profitable war or not.) What pretense is there
for it? Is it not that we may enjoy our liberty? Besides, shall
we not bear the lords of the habitable earth to be lords over us,
and yet bear tyrants of our own country? Although I must say that
submission to foreigners may be borne, because fortune hath
already doomed us to it, while submission to wicked people of our
own nation is too unmanly, and brought upon us by our own
consent. However, since I have had
occasion to mention the Romans, I will not conceal a thing
that, as I am speaking, comes into my mind, and affects me
considerably; it is this, that though we should be taken by them,
(God forbid the event should be so!) yet can we
undergo nothing that will be harder to be borne than what these
men have already brought upon us. How then can we
avoid shedding of tears, when we see the Roman donations in our
temple, while we withal see those of our own nation taking our
spoils, and plundering our glorious metropolis, and slaughtering
our men, from which enormities those Romans themselves would have
abstained? to see those Romans never going beyond the bounds
allotted to profane persons, nor venturing to break in upon any
of our sacred customs; nay, having a horror on their minds when
they view at a distance those sacred walls; while some that have
been born in this very country, and brought up in our customs,
and called Jews, do walk about in the midst of the holy places,
at the very time when their hands are still warm with the
slaughter of their own countrymen. Besides, can any one be afraid
of a war abroad, and that with such as will have comparatively
much greater moderation than our own people have? For
truly, if we may suit our words to the things they represent,
it is probable one may hereafter find the Romans to be the
supporters of our laws, and those within ourselves the
subverters of them. And now I am persuaded that every one of
you here comes satisfied before I speak that these
overthrowers of our liberties deserve to be destroyed, and that
nobody can so much as devise a punishment that they have not
deserved by what they have done, and that you are all provoked
against them by those their wicked actions, whence you have
suffered so greatly. But perhaps many of you are aftrighted at
the multitude of those zealots, and at their audaciousness, as
well as at the advantage they have over us in their being higher
in place than we are; for these circumstances, as they have been
occasioned by your
negligence, so will they become still greater by being still
longer neglected; for their multitude is every day augmented, by
every ill man's running away to those that are like to
themselves, and their audaciousness is therefore inflamed,
because they meet with no obstruction to their designs. And for
their higher place, they will make use of it for engines also, if
we give them time to do so; but be assured of this, that if we go
up to fight them, they will be made tamer by their own
consciences, and what advantages they have in the height of their
situation they will lose by the opposition of their reason;
perhaps also God himself, who hath been
affronted by them, will make what they throw at us return
against themselves, and these impious wretches will be killed by
their own darts: let us but make our appearance before them, and
they will come to nothing. However, it is a right thing, if there
should be any danger in the attempt, to die before these holy
gates, and to spend our very lives, if not for the sake of our
children and wives, yet for God's sake, and for the sake of his
sanctuary. I will assist you both with my counsel and with my
hand; nor shall any sagacity of ours be wanting for your support;
nor shall you see that I will be sparing of my body neither."

11. By these motives Ananus encouraged the multitude to go
against the zealots, although he knew how difficult it would be
to disperse them, because of their multitude, and their youth,
and the courage of their souls; but chiefly because of their
consciousness of what they had done, since they would not yield,
as not so much as hoping for pardon at the last for those their
enormities. However, Ananus resolved to undergo whatever
sufferings might come upon him, rather than
overlook things, now they were in such great confusion. So the
multitude cried out to him, to lead them on against those whom he
had described in his exhortation to them, and every one of them
was most readily disposed to run any hazard
whatsoever on that account.

12. Now while Ananus was choosing out his men, and putting
those that were proper for his purpose in array for fighting, the
zealots got information of his undertaking, (for there were some
who went to them, and told them all that the
people were doing,) and were irritated at it, and leaping out
of the temple in crowds, and by parties, spared none whom they
met with. Upon this Ananus got the populace together on the
sudden, who were more numerous indeed than the
zealots, but inferior to them in arms, because they had not
been regularly put into array for fighting; but the alacrity that
every body showed supplied all their defects on both sides, the
citizens taking up so great a passion as was stronger than arms,
and deriving a degree of courage from the temple more forcible
than any multitude whatsoever; and indeed these citizens thought
it was not possible for them to dwell in the city, unless they
could cut off the robbers that were in it. The zealots also
thought that unless they prevailed, there would be no punishment
so bad but it would be inflicted on them. So their conflicts were
conducted by their passions; and at the first they only cast
stones at each other in the city, and before the temple, and
threw their javelins at a distance; but when either of them were
too hard for the other, they made use of their swords; and great
slaughter was made on both sides, and a great number were
wounded. As for the dead
bodies of the people, their relations carried them out to their
own houses; but when any of the zealots were wounded, he went up
into the temple, and defiled that sacred floor with his blood,
insomuch that one may say it was their blood alone that polluted
our sanctuary. Now in these conflicts the
robbers always sallied out of the temple, and were too hard for
their enemies; but the populace grew very angry, and became more
and more numerous, and reproached those that gave back, and those
behind would not afford room to those that were going off, but
forced them on again, till at length they made their whole body
to turn against their adversaries, and the robbers could no
longer oppose them, but were
forced gradually to retire into the temple; when Ananus and his
party fell into it at the same time together with them. (7) This
horribly affrighted the robbers, because it deprived them of the
first court; so they fled into the inner court
immediately, and shut the gates. Now Ananus did not think fit
to make any attack against the holy gates, although the other
threw their stones and darts at them from above. He also deemed
it unlawful to introduce the multitude into that court before
they were purified; he therefore chose out of them all by lot six
thousand armed men, and placed them as guards in the cloisters;
so there was a succession of such guards one after another, and
every one was forced to attend in his course; although many of
the chief of the city were dismissed by those that then took on
them the government, upon their hiring some of the poorer sort,
and sending them to keep the guard in their stead.

13. Now it was John who, as we told you, ran away from
Gischala, and was the occasion of all these being destroyed. He
was a man of great craft, and bore about him in his soul a strong
passion after tyranny, and at a distance was the adviser in these
actions; and indeed at this time he pretended to be of the
people's opinion, and went all about with Ananus
when he consulted the great men every day, and in the night
time also when he went round the watch; but he divulged
their secrets to the zealots, and every thing that the people
deliberated about was by his means known to their enemies, even
before it had been well agreed upon by themselves. And by way of
contrivance how he might not be brought into
suspicion, he cultivated the greatest friendship possible with
Ananus, and with the chief of the people; yet did this
overdoing of his turn against him, for he flattered them so
extravagantly, that he was but the more suspected; and his
constant attendance every where, even when he was not
invited to be present, made him strongly suspected of
betraying their secrets to the enemy; for they plainly
perceived that they understood all the resolutions taken
against them at their consultations. Nor was there any one whom
they had so much reason to suspect of that discovery as this
John; yet was it not easy to get quit of him, so potent was he
grown by his wicked practices. He was also supported by many of
those eminent men, who were to be consulted
upon all considerable affairs; it was therefore thought
reasonable to oblige him to give them assurance of his
good-will upon oath; accordingly John took such an oath readily,
that he would be on the people's side, and would not betray any
of their counsels or practices to their enemies, and would assist
them in overthrowing those that attacked them, and that both by
his hand and his advice. So Ananus and his party believed his
oath, and did now receive him to their
consultations without further suspicion; nay, so far did they
believe him, that they sent him as their ambassador into the
temple to the zealots, with proposals of accommodation; for they
were very desirous to avoid the pollution of the temple as much
as they possibly could, and that no one of their nation should be
slain therein.

14. But now this John, as if his oath had been made to the
zealots, and for confirmation of his good-will to them, and not
against them, went into the temple, and stood in the midst of
them, and spake as follows: That he had run many hazards o, their
accounts, and in order to let them know of every thing that was
secretly contrived against them by
Ananus and his party; but that both he and they should be cast
into the most imminent danger, unless some providential
assistance were afforded them; for that Ananus made no
longer delay, but had prevailed with the people to send
ambassadors to Vespasian, to invite him to come presently and
take the city; and that he had appointed a fast for the next day
against them, that they might obtain admission into the temple on
a religious account, or gain it by force, and fight with them
there; that he did not see how long they could either endure a
siege, or how they could fight against so many enemies. He added
further, that it was by the
providence of God he was himself sent as an ambassador to them
for an accommodation; for that Artanus did therefore offer them
such proposals, that he might come upon them
when they were unarmed; that they ought to choose one of these
two methods, either to intercede with those that
guarded them, to save their lives, or to provide some foreign
assistance for themselves; that if they fostered themselves with
the hopes of pardon, in case they were subdued, they had
forgotten what desperate things they had done, or could suppose,
that as soon as the actors repented, those that had suffered by
them must be presently reconciled to them; while those that have
done injuries, though they pretend to repent of them, are
frequently hated by the others for that sort of repentance; and
that the sufferers, when they get the power into their hands, are
usually still more severe upon the actors; that the friends and
kindred of those that had been destroyed would always be laying
plots against them; and that a large body of people were very
angry on account of their gross breaches of their laws, and
[illegal] judicatures, insomuch that although some part might
commiserate them, those would be quite overborne by the majority.


The Idumeans Being Sent For By The Zealots, Came Immediately To
Jerusalem; And When They Were Excluded Out Of The City, They Lay
All Night There. Jesus One Of The High Priests Makes A Speech To
Them; And Simon The Idumean Makes A Reply To It.

1. Now, by this crafty speech, John made the zealots afraid;
yet durst he not directly name what foreign assistance he meant,
but in a covert way only intimated at the Idumeans. But now, that
he might particularly irritate the leaders of the zealots, he
calumniated Ananus, that he was about a piece of barbarity, and
did in a special manner threaten them. These leaders were
Eleazar, the son of Simon, who seemed the
most plausible man of them all, both in considering what was
fit to be done, and in the execution of what he had
determined upon, and Zacharias, the son of Phalek; both of whom
derived their families from the priests. Now when
these two men had heard, not only the common threatenings which
belonged to them all, but those peculiarly leveled against
themselves; and besides, how Artanus and his party, in order to
secure their own dominion, had invited the
Romans to come to them, for that also was part of John's lie;
they hesitated a great while what they should do, considering the
shortness of the time by which they were straitened; because the
people were prepared to attack them very soon, and because the
suddenness of the plot laid against them had almost cut off all
their hopes of getting any foreign
assistance; for they might be under the height of their
afflictions before any of their confederates could be informed
of it. However, it was resolved to call in the Idumeans; so they
wrote a short letter to this effect: That Ananus had imposed on
the people, and was betraying their metropolis to the Romans;
that they themselves had revolted from the rest, and were in
custody in the temple, on account of the
preservation of their liberty; that there was but a small time
left wherein they might hope for their deliverance; and that
unless they would come immediately to their assistance, they
should themselves be soon in the power of Artanus, and the city
would be in the power of the Romans. They also charged the
messengers to tell many more circumstances to the rulers of the
Idumeans. Now there were two active men proposed
for the carrying this message, and such as were able to speak,
and to persuade them that things were in this posture, and, what
was a qualification still more necessary than the former, they
were very swift of foot; for they knew well enough that these
would immediately comply with their desires, as being ever a
tumultuous and disorderly nation, always on the watch upon every
motion, delighting in mutations; and upon your flattering them
ever so little, and petitioning them, they soon take their arms,
and put themselves into motion, and make haste to a battle, as if
it were to a feast. There was indeed occasion for quick despatch
in the carrying of this message, in which point the messengers
were no way defective. Both their names were Ananias; and they
soon came to the rulers of the Idumeans.

2. Now these rulers were greatly surprised at the contents of
the letter, and at what those that came with it further told
them; whereupon they ran about the nation like madmen,
and made proclamation that the people should come to war; so a
multitude was suddenly got together, sooner indeed than the time
appointed in the proclamation, and every body
caught up their arms, in order to maintain the liberty of their
metropolis; and twenty thousand of them were put into
battle-array, and came to Jerusalem, under four commanders,
John, and Jacob the son of Sosas; and besides these were Simon,
the son of Cathlas, and Phineas, the son of Clusothus.
3. Now this exit of the messengers was not known either to
Ananus or to the guards, but the approach of the Idumeans was
known to him; for as he knew of it before they came, he ordered
the gates to be shut against them, and that the walls should be
guarded. Yet did not he by any means think of
fighting against them, but, before they came to blows, to try
what persuasions would do. Accordingly, Jesus, the eldest of the
high priests next to Artanus, stood upon the tower that was over
against them, and said thus: "Many troubles indeed, and those of
various kinds, have fallen upon this city, yet in none of them
have I so much wondered at her fortune as
now, when you are come to assist wicked men, and this after a
manner very extraordinary; for I see that you are come to support
the vilest of men against us, and this with so great alacrity, as
you could hardly put on the like, in case our metropolis had
called you to her assistance against
barbarians. And if I had perceived that your army was
composed of men like unto those who invited them, I had
not deemed your attempt so absurd; for nothing does so
much cement the minds of men together as the alliance there is
between their manners. But now for these men who have invited
you, if you were to examine them one by one, every one of them
would be found to have deserved ten thousand deaths; for the very
rascality and offscouring of the whole country, who have spent in
debauchery their own substance, and, by way of trial beforehand,
have madly plundered the neighboring villages and cities, in the
upshot of all, have privately run together into this holy city.
They are robbers, who by their prodigious wickedness have
profaned this most sacred floor, and who are to be now seen
drinking themselves drunk in the sanctuary, and expending the
spoils of those whom they have slaughtered upon their unsatiable
bellies. As for the multitude that is with you, one may see them
decently adorned in their armor, as it would become them to be
had their metropolis called them to her assistance against
foreigners. What can a man call this procedure of yours but the
sport of fortune, when he sees a whole nation coming to protect a
sink of wicked wretches? I have for a good while been in doubt
what it could possibly be that should move you to do this so
suddenly; because certainly you would not take on your armor on
the behalf of robbers, and against a people of kin to you,
without some very great cause for your so doing. But we have an
item that the Romans are pretended, and that we are supposed to
be going to betray this city to them; for some of your men have
lately made a clamor about those matters, and have said they are
come to set their
metropolis free. Now we cannot but admire at these wretches in
their devising such a lie as this against us; for they knew there
was no other way to irritate against us men that were naturally
desirous of liberty, and on that account the best disposed to
fight against foreign enemies, but by framing a tale as if we
were going to betray that most desirable thing, liberty. But you
ought to consider what sort of people they are that raise this
calumny, and against what sort of people that calumny is raised,
and to gather the truth of things, not by fictitious speeches,
but out of the actions of both parties; for what occasion is
there for us to sell ourselves to the Romans, while it was in our
power not to have revolted from them at the first, or when we had
once revolted, to have returned under their dominion again, and
this while the
neighboring countries were not yet laid waste? whereas it is
not an easy thing to be reconciled to the Romans, if we were
desirous of it, now they have subdued Galilee, and are
thereby become proud and insolent; and to endeavor to
please them at the time when they are so near us, would
bring such a reproach upon us as were worse than death. As for
myself, indeed, I should have preferred peace with them before
death; but now we have once made war upon them,
and fought with them, I prefer death, with reputation, before
living in captivity under them. But further, whether do they
pretend that we, who are the rulers of the people, have sent thus
privately to the Romans, or hath it been done by the common
suffrages of the people? If it be ourselves only that have done
it, let them name those friends of ours that have been sent, as
our servants, to manage this treachery. Hath any one been caught
as he went out on this errand, or seized upon as he came back?
Are they in possession of our letters? How could we be concealed
from such a vast number of our fellow citizens, among whom we are
conversant every hour, while what is done privately in the
country is, it seems, known by the zealots, who are but few in
number, and under
confinement also, and are not able to come out of the temple
into the city. Is this the first time that they are become
sensible how they ought to be punished for their insolent
actions? For while these men were free from the fear they are now
under, there was no suspicion raised that any of us were
traitors. But if they lay this charge against the people, this
must have been done at a public consultation, and not one of the
people must have dissented from the rest of the assembly; in
which case the public fame of this matter would have come to you
sooner than any particular indication. But how could that be?
Must there not then have been
ambassadors sent to confirm the agreements? And let them tell
us who this ambassador was that was ordained for that purpose.
But this is no other than a pretense of such men as are loath to
die, and are laboring to escape those
punishments that hang over them; for if fate had determined
that this city was to be betrayed into its enemies' hands, no
other than these men that accuse us falsely could have the
impudence to do it, there being no wickedness wanting to complete
their impudent practices but this only, that they become
traitors. And now you Idumeans are come hither
already with your arms, it is your duty, in the first place, to
be assisting to your metropolis, and to join with us in cutting
off those tyrants that have infringed the rules of our regular
tribunals, that have trampled upon our laws, and made their
swords the arbitrators of right and wrong; for they have seized
upon men of great eminence, and under no accusation, as they
stood in the midst of the market-place, and tortured them with
putting them into bonds, and, without bearing to hear what they
had to say, or what supplications they made, they destroyed them.
You may, if you please, come into the city, though not in the way
of war, and take a view of the marks still remaining of what I
now say, and may see the houses that have been depopulated by
their rapacious hands, with those wives and families that are in
black, mourning for their slaughtered relations; as also you may
hear their groans and lamentations all the city over; for there
is nobody but hath tasted of the incursions of these profane
wretches, who have proceeded to that degree of madness, as not
only to have transferred their impudent robberies out of the
country, and the remote cities, into this city, the very face and
head of the whole nation, but out of the city into the temple
also; for that is now made their receptacle and refuge, and the
fountain-head whence their preparations are made against us.
And this place, which is adored by the habitable world, and
honored by such as only know it by report, as far as the ends of
the earth, is trampled upon by these wild beasts born among
ourselves. They now triumph in the desperate
condition they are already in, when they hear that one people
is going to fight against another people, and one city against
another city, and that your nation hath gotten an army
together against its own bowels. Instead of which procedure, it
were highly fit and reasonable, as I said before, for you to join
with us in cutting off these wretches, and in particular to be
revenged on them for putting this very cheat upon you; I mean,
for having the impudence to invite you to assist them, of whom
they ought to have stood in fear, as ready to punish them. But if
you have some regard to these men's invitation of you, yet may
you lay aside your arms, and come into the city under the notion
of our kindred, and take upon you a middle name between that of
auxiliaries and of enemies, and so become judges in this case.
However, consider what these men will gain by being called into
judgment before you, for such undeniable and such flagrant
crimes, who would not
vouchsafe to hear such as had no accusations laid against them
to speak a word for themselves. However, let them gain this
advantage by your coming. But still, if you will neither take our
part in that indignation we have at these men, nor judge between
us, the third thing I have to propose is this, that you let us
both alone, and neither insult upon our
calamities, nor abide with these plotters against their
metropolis; for though you should have ever so great a
suspicion that some of us have discoursed with the Romans, it
is in your power to watch the passages into the city; and in case
any thing that we have been accused of is brought to light, then
to come and defend your metropolis, and to inflict punishment on
those that are found guilty; for the enemy cannot prevent you who
are so near to the city. But if, after all, none of these
proposals seem acceptable and moderate, do not you wonder that
the gates are shut against you, while you bear your arms about

4. Thus spake Jesus; yet did not the multitude of the
Idumeans give any attention to what he said, but were in a
rage, because they did not meet with a ready entrance into the
city. The generals also had indignation at the offer of laying
down their arms, and looked upon it as equal to a captivity, to
throw them away at any man's injunction
whomsoever. But Simon, the son of Cathlas, one of their
commanders, with much ado quieted the tumult of his own
men, and stood so that the high priests might hear him, and
said as follows: "I can no longer wonder that the patrons of
liberty are under custody in the temple, since there are those
that shut the gates of our common city (8) to their own
nation, and at the same time are prepared to admit the
Romans into it; nay, perhaps are disposed to crown the gates
with garlands at their coming, while they speak to the
Idumeans from their own towers, and enjoin them to throw down
their arms which they have taken up for the
preservation of its liberty. And while they will not intrust
the guard of our metropolis to their kindred, profess to make
them judges of the differences that are among them; nay, while
they accuse some men of having slain others without a legal
trial, they do themselves condemn a whole nation after an
ignominious manner, and have now walled up that city
from their own nation, which used to be open to even all
foreigners that came to worship there. We have indeed come in
great haste to you, and to a war against our own
countrymen; and the reason why we have made such haste is this,
that we may preserve that freedom which you are so unhappy as to
betray. You have probably been guilty of the like crimes against
those whom you keep in custody, and
have, I suppose, collected together the like plausible
pretenses against them also that you make use of against us;
after which you have gotten the mastery of those within the
temple, and keep them in custody, while they are only taking care
of the public affairs. You have also shut the gates of the city
in general against nations that are the most nearly related to
you; and while you give such injurious commands to others, you
complain that you have been tyrannized over by them, and fix the
name of unjust governors upon such as are tyrannized over by
yourselves. Who can bear this your abuse of words, while they
have a regard to the contrariety of your actions, unless you mean
this, that those Idumeans do now exclude you out of your
metropolis, whom you exclude from the sacred offices of your own
country? One may
indeed justly complain of those that are besieged in the
temple, that when they had courage enough to punish those tyrants
whom you call eminent men, and free from any
accusations, because of their being your companions in
wickedness, they did not begin with you, and thereby cut off
beforehand the most dangerous parts of this treason. But if these
men have been more merciful than the public necessity required,
we that are Idumeans will preserve this house of God, and will
fight for our common country, and will oppose by war as well
those that attack them from abroad, as those that betray them
from within. Here will we abide before the walls in our armor,
until either the Romans grow weary in waiting for you, or you
become friends to liberty, and repent of what you have done
against it."

5. And now did the Idumeans make an acclamation to what
Simon had said; but Jesus went away sorrowful, as seeing that
the Idumeans were against all moderate counsels, and that the
city was besieged on both sides. Nor indeed were the minds of the
Idumeans at rest; for they were in a rage at the injury that had
been offered them by their exclusion out of the city; and when
they thought the zealots had been strong, but saw nothing of
theirs to support them, they were in doubt about the matter, and
many of them repented that they had come thither. But the shame
that would attend them in case they returned without doing any
thing at all, so far overcame that their repentance, that they
lay all night before the wall, though in a very bad encampment;
for there broke out a
prodigious storm in the night, with the utmost violence, and
very strong winds, with the largest showers of rain, with
continued lightnings, terrible thunderings, and amazing
concussions and bellowings of the earth, that was in an
earthquake. These things were a manifest indication that some
destruction was coming upon men, when the system of the world was
put into this disorder; and any one would guess that these
wonders foreshowed some grand calamities that were coming.

6. Now the opinion of the Idumeans and of the citizens was one
and the same. The Idumeans thought that God was angry at their
taking arms, and that they would not escape
punishment for their making war upon their metropolis.
Ananus and his party thought that they had conquered
without fighting, and that God acted as a general for them; but
truly they proved both ill conjectures at what was to come, and
made those events to be ominous to their enemies, while they were
themselves to undergo the ill effects of them; for the Idumeans
fenced one another by uniting their bodies into one band, and
thereby kept themselves warm, and
connecting their shields over their heads, were not so much
hurt by the rain. But the zealots were more deeply concerned for
the danger these men were in than they were for
themselves, and got together, and looked about them to see
whether they could devise any means of assisting them. The hotter
sort of them thought it best to force their guards with their
arms, and after that to fall into the midst of the city, and
publicly open the gates to those that came to their
assistance; as supposing the guards would be in disorder, and
give way at such an unexpected attempt of theirs, especially as
the greater part of them were unarmed and unskilled in the
affairs of war; and that besides the multitude of the citizens
would not be easily gathered together, but confined to their
houses by the storm: and that if there were any hazard in their
undertaking, it became them to suffer any thing whatsoever
themselves, rather than to overlook so great a multitude as were
miserably perishing on their account. But the more prudent part
of them disapproved of this forcible method, because they saw not
only the guards about them
very numerous, but the walls of the city itself carefully
watched, by reason of the Idumeans. They also supposed that
Ananus would be every where, and visit the guards every
hour; which indeed was done upon other nights, but was
omitted that night, not by reason of any slothfulness of
Ananus, but by the overbearing appointment of fate, that so both
he might himself perish, and the multitude of the guards might
perish with him; for truly, as the night was far gone, and the
storm very terrible, Ananus gave the guards in the cloisters
leave to go to sleep; while it came into the heads of the zealots
to make use of the saws belonging to the temple, and to cut the
bars of the gates to pieces. The noise of the wind, and that not
inferior sound of the thunder, did here also conspire with their
designs, that the noise of the saws was not heard by the others.

7. So they secretly went out of the temple to the wall of the
city, and made use of their saws, and opened that gate which was
over against the Idumeans. Now at first there came a fear upon
the Idumeans themselves, which disturbed them, as imagining that
Ananus and his party were coming to attack them, so that every
one of them had his right hand upon his sword, in order to defend
himself; but they soon came to know who they were that came to
them, and were entered
the city. And had the Idumeans then fallen upon the city,
nothing could have hindered them from destroying the
people every man of them, such was the rage they were in at
that time; but as they first of all made haste to get the zealots
out of custody, which those that brought them in earnestly
desired them to do, and not to overlook those for whose
sakes they were come, in the midst of their distresses, nor to
bring them into a still greater danger; for that when they had
once seized upon the guards, it would be easy for them to fall
upon the city; but that if the city were once alarmed, they would
not then be able to overcome those guards, because as soon as
they should perceive they were there, they would put themselves
in order to fight them, and would hinder their coming into the

The Cruelty Of The Idumeans When They Were Gotten Into The
Temple During The Storm; And Of The Zealots. Concerning The
Slaughter Of Ananus, And Jesus, And Zacharias; And How The
Idumeans Retired Home.

1. This advice pleased the Idumeans, and they ascended
through the city to the temple. The zealots were also in great
expectation of their coming, and earnestly waited for them. When
therefore these were entering, they also came boldly out of the
inner temple, and mixing themselves among the Idumeans, they
attacked the guards; and some of those that were upon the watch,
but were fallen asleep, they killed as they were asleep; but as
those that were now awakened made a cry, the whole multitude
arose, and in the amazement they were in caught hold of their
arms immediately, and betook themselves to their own defense; and
so long as they thought they were only the zealots who attacked
them, they went on boldly, as hoping to overpower them by their
numbers; but when they saw others pressing in upon them also,
perceived the Idumeans were got in; and the greatest part of
them laid aside their arms, together with their courage, and
betook themselves to lamentations. But some few of the
younger sort covered themselves with their armor, and
valiantly received the Idumeans, and for a while protected the
multitude of old men. Others, indeed, gave a signal to those that
were in the city of the calamities they were in; but when these
were also made sensible that the Idumeans were come in, none of
them durst come to their assistance, only they returned the
terrible echo of wailing, and lamented their misfortunes. A great
howling of the women was excited also, and every one of the
guards were in danger of being killed. The zealots also joined in
the shouts raised by the Idumeans; and the storm itself rendered
the cry more terrible; nor did the Idumeans spare any body; for
as they are naturally a most barbarous and bloody nation, and had
been distressed by the tempest, they made use of their weapons
against those that had shut the gates against them, and acted in
the same
manner as to those that supplicated for their lives, and to
those that fought them, insomuch that they ran through those with
their swords who desired them to remember the relation there was
between them, and begged of them to have regard to their common
temple. Now there was at present neither any place for flight,
nor any hope of preservation; but as they were driven one upon
another in heaps, so were they slain. Thus the greater part were
driven together by force, as there was now no place of
retirement, and the murderers were
upon them; and, having no other way, threw themselves down
headlong into the city; whereby, in my opinion, they
underwent a more miserable destruction than that which they
avoided, because that was a voluntary one. And now the
outer temple was all of it overflowed with blood; and that day,
as it came on, they saw eight thousand five hundred dead bodies

2. But the rage of the Idumeans was not satiated by these
slaughters; but they now betook themselves to the city, and
plundered every house, and slew every one they met; and for the
other multitude, they esteemed it needless to go on with killing
them, but they sought for the high priests, and the generality
went with the greatest zeal against them; and as soon as they
caught them they slew them, and then standing upon their dead
bodies, in way of jest, upbraided Ananus with his kindness to the
people, and Jesus with his speech made to them from the wall.
Nay, they proceeded to that
degree of impiety, as to cast away their dead bodies without
burial, although the Jews used to take so much care of the burial
of men, that they took down those that were
condemned and crucified, and buried them before the going down
of the sun. I should not mistake if I said that the death of
Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city, and that
from this very day may be dated the overthrow of her wall, and
the ruin of her affairs, whereon they saw their high priest, and
the procurer of their preservation, slain in the midst of their
city. He was on other accounts also a venerable, and a very just
man; and besides the grandeur of that nobility, and dignity, and
honor of which he was
possessed, he had been a lover of a kind of parity, even with
regard to the meanest of the people; he was a prodigious lover of
liberty, and an admirer of a democracy in
government; and did ever prefer the public welfare before his
own advantage, and preferred peace above all things; for he was
thoroughly sensible that the Romans were not to be
conquered. He also foresaw that of necessity a war would
follow, and that unless the Jews made up matters with them very
dexterously, they would be destroyed; to say all in a word, if
Ananus had survived, they had certainly compounded matters; for
he was a shrewd man in speaking and persuading the people, and
had already gotten the mastery of those that opposed his designs,
or were for the war. And the Jews had then put abundance of
delays in the way of the Romans, if they had had such a general
as he was. Jesus was also joined with him; and although he was
inferior to him upon the
comparison, he was superior to the rest; and I cannot but think
that it was because God had doomed this city to
destruction, as a polluted city, and was resolved to purge his
sanctuary by fire, that he cut off these their great defenders
and well-wishers, while those that a little before had worn the
sacred garments, and had presided over the public worship; and
had been esteemed venerable by those that dwelt on the whole
habitable earth when they came into our city, were cast out
naked, and seen to be the food of dogs and wild beasts. And I
cannot but imagine that virtue itself groaned at these men's
case, and lamented that she was here so terribly
conquered by wickedness. And this at last was the end of Ananus
and Jesus.

3. Now after these were slain, the zealots and the multitude of
the Idumeans fell upon the people as upon a flock of
profane animals, and cut their throats; and for the ordinary
sort, they were destroyed in what place soever they caught them.
But for the noblemen and the youth, they first caught them and
bound them, and shut them up in prison, and put off their
slaughter, in hopes that some of them would turn over to their
party; but not one of them would comply with their desires, but
all of them preferred death before being enrolled among such
wicked wretches as acted against their own country. But this
refusal of theirs brought upon them terrible torments; for they
were so scourged and tortured, that their bodies were not able to
sustain their torments, till at length, and with difficulty, they
had the favor to be slain. Those whom they caught in the day time
were slain in the night, and then their bodies were carried out
and thrown away, that there might be room for other prisoners;
and the terror that was upon the people was so great, that no one
had courage enough either to weep openly for the dead man that
was related to him, or to bury him; but those that were shut up
in their own houses could only shed tears in secret, and durst
not even groan without great caution, lest any of their enemies
should hear them; for if they did, those that mourned for others
soon underwent the same death with
those whom they mourned for. Only in the night time they would
take up a little dust, and throw it upon their bodies; and even
some that were the most ready to expose
themselves to danger would do it in the day time: and there
were twelve thousand of the better sort who perished in this

4. And now these zealots and Idumeans were quite weary of
barely killing men, so they had the impudence of setting up
fictitious tribunals and judicatures for that purpose; and as
they intended to have Zacharias (9) the son of Baruch, one of the
most eminent of the citizens, slain, so what
provoked them against him was, that hatred of wickedness and
love of liberty which were so eminent in him: he was also a rich
man, so that by taking him off, they did not only hope to seize
his effects, but also to get rid of a mall that had great power
to destroy them. So they called together, by a public
proclamation, seventy of the principal men of the populace, for a
show, as if they were real judges, while they had no proper
authority. Before these was Zacharias accused of a design to
betray their polity to the Romans, and having
traitorously sent to Vespasian for that purpose. Now there
appeared no proof or sign of what he was accused; but they
affirmed themselves that they were well persuaded that so it was,
and desired that such their affirmation might he taken for
sufficient evidence. Now when Zacharias clearly saw that there
was no way remaining for his escape from them, as
having been treacherously called before them, and then put in
prison, but not with any intention of a legal trial, he took
great liberty of speech in that despair of his life he was under.
Accordingly he stood up, and laughed at their
pretended accusation, and in a few words confuted the crimes
laid to his charge; after which he turned his speech to his
accusers, and went over distinctly all their transgressions of
the law, and made heavy lamentation upon the confusion
they had brought public affairs to: in the mean time, the
zealots grew tumultuous, and had much ado to abstain from drawing
their swords, although they designed to preserve the appearance
and show of judicature to the end. They were
also desirous, on other accounts, to try the judges, whether
they would be mindful of what was just at their own peril. Now
the seventy judges brought in their verdict that the person
accused was not guilty, as choosing rather to die themselves with
him, than to have his death laid at their doors; hereupon there
arose a great clamor of the zealots upon his acquittal, and they
all had indignation at the judges for not understanding that the
authority that was given them was but in jest. So two of the
boldest of them fell upon Zacharias in the middle of the temple,
and slew him; and as he fell down dead, they bantered him, and
said, "Thou hast also our verdict, and this will prove a more
sure acquittal to thee than the other." They also threw him down
from the
temple immediately into the valley beneath it. Moreover, they
struck the judges with the backs of their swords, by way of
abuse, and thrust them out of the court of the temple, and spared
their lives with no other design than that, when they were
dispersed among the people in the city, they might
become their messengers, to let them know they were no
better than slaves.

5. But by this time the Idumeans repented of their coming, and
were displeased at what had been done; and when they were
assembled together by one of the zealots, who had
come privately to them, he declared to them what a number of
wicked pranks they had themselves done in conjunction with those
that invited them, and gave a particular account of what
mischiefs had been done against their metropolis. He said that
they had taken arms, as though the high priests were betraying
their metropolis to the Romans, but had
found no indication of any such treachery; but that they had
succored those that had pretended to believe such a thing, while
they did themselves the works of war and tyranny, after an
insolent manner. It had been indeed their business to have
hindered them from such their proceedings at the first, but
seeing they had once been partners with them in shedding the
blood of their own countrymen, it was high time to put a stop to
such crimes, and not continue to afford any more assistance to
such as are subverting the laws of their
forefathers; for that if any had taken it ill that the gates
had been shut against them, and they had not been permitted to
come into the city, yet that those who had excluded them have
been punished, and Ananus is dead, and that almost all those
people had been destroyed in one night's time. That one may
perceive many of themselves now repenting for what they had done,
and might see the horrid barbarity of those that had invited
them, and that they had no regard to such as had saved them; that
they were so impudent as to perpetrate the vilest things, under
the eyes of those that had supported them, and that their wicked
actions would be laid to the charge of the Idumeans, and would be
so laid to their charge till somebody obstructs their
proceedings, or separates
himself from the same wicked action; that they therefore ought
to retire home, since the imputation of treason appears to be a
Calumny, and that there was no expectation of the coming of the
Romans at this time, and that the government of the city was
secured by such walls as cannot easily be thrown down; and, by
avoiding any further fellowship with these bad men, to make some
excuse for themselves, as to what they had been so far deluded,
as to have been partners with them hitherto.


How The Zealots When They Were Freed From The Idumeans, Slew A
Great Many More Of The Citizens; And How Vespasian Dissuaded The
Romans When They Were Very Earnest To March Against The Jews
From Proceeding In The War At That Time.

1. The Idumeans complied with these persuasions; and, in the
first place, they set those that were in the prisons at liberty,
being about two thousand of the populace, who thereupon
fled away immediately to Simon, one whom we shall speak of
presently. After which these Idumeans retired from
Jerusalem, and went home; which departure of theirs was a great
surprise to both parties; for the people, not knowing of their
repentance, pulled up their courage for a while, as eased of so
many of their enemies, while the zealots grew more insolent not
as deserted by their confederates, but as freed from such men as
might hinder their designs, and plat some stop to their
wickedness. Accordingly, they made no longer any delay, nor took
any deliberation in their enormous practices, but made use of the
shortest methods for all their executions and what they had once
resolved upon, they put in practice sooner than any one could
imagine. But their thirst was chiefly after the blood of valiant
men, and men of good families; the one sort of which they
destroyed out of envy, the other out of fear; for they thought
their whole security lay in leaving no potent men alive; on which
account they slew Gorion, a person eminent in dignity, and on
account of his family also; he was also for democracy, and of as
boldness and freedom of spirit as were any of the Jews
whosoever; the principal thing that ruined him, added to his
other advantages, was his free speaking. Nor did Niger of Peres
escape their hands; he had been a man of great valor in their war
with the Romans, but was now drawn through
the middle of the city, and, as he went, he frequently cried
out, and showed the scars of his wounds; and when he was drawn
out of the gates, and despaired of his preservation, he besought
them to grant him a burial; but as they had
threatened him beforehand not to grant him any spot of
earth for a grave, which he chiefly desired of them, so did
they slay him [without permitting him to be buried]. Now when
they were slaying him, he made this imprecation upon them, that
they might undergo both famine and pestilence in this war, and
besides all that, they might come to the mutual slaughter of one
another; all which imprecations God
confirmed against these impious men, and was what came
most justly upon them, when not long afterward. they tasted of
their own madness in their mutual seditions one against another.
So when this Niger was killed, their fears of being overturned
were diminished; and indeed there was no part of the people but
they found out some pretense to destroy
them; for some were therefore slain, because they had had
differences with some of them; and as to those that had not
opposed them in times of peace, they watched seasonable
opportunities to gain some accusation against them; and if any
one did not come near them at all, he was under their suspicion
as a proud man; if any one came with boldness, he was esteemed a
contemner of them; and if any one came as aiming to oblige them,
he was supposed to have some
treacherous plot against them; while the only punishment of
crimes, whether they were of the greatest or smallest sort, was
death. Nor could any one escape, unless he were very
inconsiderable, either on account of the meanness of his birth,
or on account of his fortune.

2. And now all the rest of the commanders of the Romans
deemed this sedition among their enemies to be of great
advantage to them, and were very earnest to march to the city,
and they urged Vespasian, as their lord and general in all cases,
to make haste, and said to him, that "the providence of God is on
our side, by setting our enemies at variance against one another;
that still the change in such cases may be sudden, and the Jews
may quickly be at one again, either because they may be tired out
with their civil miseries, or repent them of such doings." But
Vespasian replied, that they were greatly mistaken in what they
thought fit to be done, as those that, upon the theater, love to
make a show of their hands, and of their weapons, but do it at
their own hazard, without considering, what was for their
advantage, and for their security; for that if they now go and
attack the city immediately, they shall but occasion their
enemies to unite together, and shall convert their force, now it
is in its height, against themselves. But if they stay a while,
they shall have fewer enemies, because they will be consumed in
sedition: that God acts as a general of the Romans better than
he can do, and is giving the Jews up to them without any pains of
their own, and granting their army a victory without any danger;
that therefore it is their best way, while their enemies are
destroying each other with their own hands, and falling into the
greatest of misfortunes, which is that of sedition, to sit still
as spectators of the dangers they run into, rather than to fight
hand to hand with men that love
murdering, and are mad one against another. But if any one
imagines that the glory of victory, when it is gotten without
fighting, will be more insipid, let him know this much, that a
glorious success, quietly obtained, is more profitable than the
dangers of a battle; for we ought to esteem these that do what is
agreeable to temperance and prudence no less
glorious than those that have gained great reputation by their
actions in war: that he shall lead on his army with greater force
when their enemies are diminished, and his own army refreshed
after the continual labors they had undergone. However, that this
is not a proper time to propose to
ourselves the glory of victory; for that the Jews are not now
employed in making of armor or building of walls, nor indeed in
getting together auxiliaries, while the advantage will be on
their side who give them such opportunity of delay; but that the
Jews are vexed to pieces every day by their civil wars and
dissensions, and are under greater miseries than, if they were
once taken, could be inflicted on them by us. Whether
therefore any one hath regard to what is for our safety, he
ought to suffer these Jews to destroy one another; or whether he
hath regard to the greater glory of the action, we ought by no
means to meddle with those men, now they are afflicted with a
distemper at home; for should we now conquer them, it would be
said the conquest was not owing to our bravery, but to their
sedition." (10)

3. And now the commanders joined in their approbation of what
Vespasian had said, and it was soon discovered how
wise an opinion he had given. And indeed many there were of the
Jews that deserted every day, and fled away from the zealots,
although their flight was very difficult, since they had guarded
every passage out of the city, and slew every one that was caught
at them, as taking it for granted they were going over to the
Romans; yet did he who gave them money get clear off, while he
only that gave them none was voted a traitor. So the upshot was
this, that the rich purchased their flight by money, while none
but the poor were slain. Along all the roads also vast numbers of
dead bodies lay in heaps, and even many of those that were so
zealous in deserting at length chose rather to perish within the
city; for the hopes of burial made death in their own city appear
of the two less terrible to them. But these zealots came at last
to that degree of barbarity, as not to bestow a burial either on
those slain in the city, or on those that lay along the roads;
but as if they had made an agreement to cancel both the laws of
country and the laws of nature, and, at the same time that they
defiled men with their wicked actions, they would
pollute the Divinity itself also, they left the dead bodies to
putrefy under the sun; and the same punishment was allotted to
such as buried any as to those that deserted, which was no other
than death; while he that granted the favor of a grave to another
would presently stand in need of a grave himself. To say all in a
word, no other gentle passion was so entirely lost among them as
mercy; for what were the greatest objects of pity did most of all
irritate these wretches, and they transferred their rage from the
living to those that had been slain, and from the dead to the
living. Nay, the terror was so very great, that he who survived
called them that were first dead happy, as being at rest already;
as did those that were under torture in the prisons, declare,
that, upon this
comparison, those that lay unburied were the happiest. These
men, therefore, trampled upon all the laws of men, and
laughed at the laws of God; and for the oracles of the
prophets, they ridiculed them as the tricks of jugglers; yet
did these prophets foretell many things concerning [the rewards
of] virtue, and [punishments of] vice, which when these
zealots violated, they occasioned the fulfilling of those very
prophecies belonging to their own country; for there was a
certain ancient oracle of those men, that the city should then be
taken and the sanctuary burnt, by right of war, when a sedition
should invade the Jews, and their own hand should pollute the
temple of God. Now while these zealots did not [quite] disbelieve
these predictions, they made themselves the instruments of their


How John Tyrannized Over The Rest; And What Mischiefs The
Zealots Did At Masada. How Also Vespasian Took Gadara; And What
Actions Were Performed By Placidus.

1. By this time John was beginning to tyrannize, and thought it
beneath him to accept of barely the same honors that
others had; and joining to himself by degrees a party of the
wickedest of them all, he broke off from the rest of the faction.
This was brought about by his still disagreeing with the opinions
of others, and giving out injunctions of his own, in a very
imperious manner; so that it was evident he was setting up a
monarchical power. Now some submitted to him out of their fear of
him, and others out of their good-will to him; for he was a
shrewd man to entice men to him, both by deluding them and
putting cheats upon them. Nay, many
there were that thought they should be safer themselves, if the
causes of their past insolent actions should now be
reduced to one head, and not to a great many. His activity was
so great, and that both in action and in counsel, that he had not
a few guards about him; yet was there a great party of his
antagonists that left him; among whom envy at him weighed a great
deal, while they thought it a very heavy thing to be in
subjection to one that was formerly their equal. But the main
reason that moved men against him was the dread of monarchy, for
they could not hope easily to put an end to his power, if he had
once obtained it; and yet they knew that he would have this
pretense always against them, that they had opposed him when he
was first advanced; while every
one chose rather to suffer any thing whatsoever in war, than
that, when they had been in a voluntary slavery for some time,
they should afterward perish. So the sedition was
divided into two parts, and John reigned in opposition to his
adversaries over one of them: but for their leaders, they watched
one another, nor did they at all, or at least very little, meddle
with arms in their quarrels; but they fought earnestly against
the people, and contended one with another which of them should
bring home the greatest prey. But
because the city had to struggle with three of the greatest
misfortunes, war, and tyranny, and sedition, it appeared, upon
the comparison, that the war was the least troublesome to the
populace of them all. Accordingly, they ran away from their own
houses to foreigners, and obtained that preservation from the
Romans which they despaired to obtain among their own people.

2. And now a fourth misfortune arose, in order to bring our
nation to destruction. There was a fortress of very great
strength not far from Jerusalem, which had been built by our
ancient kings, both as a repository for their effects in the
hazards of war, and for the preservation of their bodies at the
same time. It was called Masada. Those that were called
Sicarii had taken possession of it formerly, but at this time
they overran the neighboring countries, aiming only to
procure to themselves necessaries; for the fear they were then
in prevented their further ravages. But when once they were
informed that the Roman army lay still, and that the Jews were
divided between sedition and tyranny, they boldly
undertook greater matters; and at the feast of unleavened
bread, which the Jews celebrate in memory of their
deliverance from the Egyptian bondage, when they were sent back
into the country of their forefathers, they came down by night,
without being discovered by those that could have prevented them,
and overran a certain small city called
Engaddi:--in which expedition they prevented those citizens
that could have stopped them, before they could arm
themselves, and fight them. They also dispersed them, and cast
them out of the city. As for such as could not run away, being
women and children, they slew of them above seven
hundred. Afterward, when they had carried every thing out of
their houses, and had seized upon all the fruits that were in a
flourishing condition, they brought them into Masada. And indeed
these men laid all the villages that were about the fortress
waste, and made the whole country desolate; while there came to
them every day, from all parts, not a few men as corrupt as
themselves. At that time all the other regions of Judea that had
hitherto been at rest were in motion, by
means of the robbers. Now as it is in a human body, if the
principal part be inflamed, all the members are subject to the
same distemper; so, by means of the sedition and disorder that
was in the metropolis,. had the wicked men that were in the
country opportunity to ravage the same. Accordingly, when every
one of them had plundered their own villages, they then retired
into the desert; yet were these men that now got together, and
joined in the conspiracy by parties, too small for an army, and
too many for a gang of thieves: and thus did they fall upon the
holy places (11) and the cities; yet did it now so happen that
they were sometimes very ill
treated by those upon whom they fell with such violence, and
were taken by them as men are taken in war: but still they
prevented any further punishment as do robbers, who, as
soon as their ravages [are discovered], run their way. Nor was
there now any part of Judea that was not in a miserable
condition, as well as its most eminent city also.

3. These things were told Vespasian by deserters; for
although the seditious watched all the passages out of the
city, and destroyed all, whosoever they were, that came
thither, yet were there some that had concealed themselves, and
when they had fled to the Romans, persuaded their
general to come to their city's assistance, and save the
remainder of the people; informing him withal, that it was upon
account of the people's good-will to the Romans that many of them
were already slain, and the survivors in danger of the same
treatment. Vespasian did indeed already pity the calamities these
men were in, and arose, in appearance, as though he was going to
besiege Jerusalem, but in reality to deliver them from a [worse]
siege they were already under. However, he was obliged first to
overthrow what remained elsewhere, and to leave nothing out of
Jerusalem behind him that might interrupt him in that siege.
Accordingly, he
marched against Gadara, the metropolis of Perea, which was a
place of strength, and entered that city on the fourth day of the
month Dystrus [Adar]; for the men of power had sent an embassage
to him, without the knowledge of the seditious, to treat about a
surrender; which they did out of the desire they had of peace,
and for saving their effects, because many of the citizens of
Gadara were rich men. This embassy the
opposite party knew nothing of, but discovered it as
Vespasian was approaching near the city. However, they
despaired of keeping possession of the city, as being inferior
in number to their enemies who were within the city, and seeing
the Romans very near to the city; so they resolved to fly, but
thought it dishonorable to do it without shedding some blood, and
revenging themselves on the authors of this surrender; so they
seized upon Dolesus, (a person not only the first in rank and
family in that city, but one that seemed the occasion of sending
such an embassy,) and slew him, and treated his dead body after a
barbarous manner, so very
violent was their anger at him, and then ran out of the city.
And as now the Roman army was just upon them, the people of
Gadara admitted Vespasian with joyful acclamations, and received
from him the security of his right hand, as also a garrison of
horsemen and footmen, to guard them against the excursions of the
runagates; for as to their wall, they had pulled it down before
the Romans desired them so to do,
that they might thereby give them assurance that they were
lovers of peace, and that, if they had a mind, they could not now
make war against them.

4. And now Vespasian sent Placidus against those that had fled
from Gadara, with five hundred horsemen, and three
thousand footmen, while he returned himself to Cesarea, with
the rest of the army. But as soon as these fugitives saw the
horsemen that pursued them just upon their backs, and
before they came to a close fight, they ran together to a
certain village, which was called Bethennabris, where finding a
great multitude of young men, and arming them, partly by their
own consent, partly by force, they rashly and suddenly assaulted
Placidus and the troops that were with him. These horsemen at the
first onset gave way a little, as contriving to entice them
further off the wall; and when they had drawn them into a place
fit for their purpose, they made their horse encompass them
round, and threw their darts at them. So the horsemen cut off the
flight of the fugitives, while the foot terribly destroyed those
that fought against them; for those Jews did no more than show
their courage, and then were
destroyed; for as they fell upon the Romans when they were
joined close together, and, as it were, walled about with their
entire armor, they were not able to find any place where the
darts could enter, nor were they any way able to break their
ranks, while they were themselves run through by the Roman darts,
and, like the wildest of wild beasts, rushed upon the point of
others' swords; so some of them were destroyed, as cut with their
enemies' swords upon their faces, and others were dispersed by
the horsemen.

5. Now Placidus's concern was to exclude them in their flight
from getting into the village; and causing his horse to march
continually on that side of them, he then turned short upon them,
and at the same time his men made use of their darts, and easily
took their aim at those that were the nearest to them, as they
made those that were further off turn back by the terror they
were in, till at last the most courageous of them brake through
those horsemen and fled to the wall of the village. And now those
that guarded the wall were in great doubt what to do; for they
could not bear the thoughts of excluding those that came from
Gadara, because of their own people that were among them; and
yet, if they should admit them, they expected to perish with
them, which came to pass accordingly; for as they were crowding
together at the wall, the Roman horsemen were just ready to fall
in with them. However, the guards prevented them, and shut the
gates, when Placidus made an assault upon them, and fighting
courageously till it was dark, he got possession of the wall, and
of the people that were in the city, when the useless multitude
were destroyed; but those that were more potent ran away, and the
soldiers plundered the houses, and set the village on fire. As
for those that ran out of the village, they stirred up such as
were in the country, and exaggerating their own calamities, and
telling them that the whole army of the Romans were upon them,
they put them into great fear on
every side; so they got in great numbers together, and fled to
Jericho, for they knew no other place that could afford them any
hope of escaping, it being a city that had a strong wall, and a
great multitude of inhabitants. But Placidus, relying much upon
his horsemen, and his former good success,
followed them, and slew all that he overtook, as far as
Jordan; and when he had driven the whole multitude to the
river-side, where they were stopped by the current, (for it had
been augmented lately by rains, and was not fordable,) he put his
soldiers in array over against them; so the necessity the others
were in provoked them to hazard a battle, because there was no
place whither they could flee. They then
extended themselves a very great way along the banks of the
river, and sustained the darts that were thrown at them, as well
as the attacks of the horsemen, who beat many of them, and pushed
them into the current. At which fight, hand to hand, fifteen
thousand of them were slain, while the number of those that were
unwillingly forced to leap into Jordan was prodigious. There were
besides two thousand and two
hundred taken prisoners. A mighty prey was taken also,
consisting of asses, and sheep, and camels, and oxen.

6. Now this destruction that fell upon the Jews, as it was not
inferior to any of the rest in itself, so did it still appear
greater than it really was; and this, because not only the whole
country through which they fled was filled with
slaughter, and Jordan could not be passed over, by reason of
the dead bodies that were in it, but because the lake
Asphaltiris was also full of dead bodies, that were carried
down into it by the river. And now Placidus, after this good
success that he had, fell violently upon the neighboring smaller
cities and villages; when he took Abila, and Julias, and
Bezemoth, and all those that lay as far as the lake
Asphaltitis, and put such of the deserters into each of them as
he thought proper. He then put his soldiers on board the ships,
and slew such as had fled to the lake, insomuch that all Perea
had either surrendered themselves, or were taken by the Romans,
as far as Macherus.


How Vespasian .Upon Hearing Of Some Commotions In Gall, (12)
Made Haste To Finish The Jewish War. A Description Of. Jericho,
And Of The Great Plain; With An Account Besides Of The Lake
1. In the mean time, an account came that there were
commotions in Gall, and that Vindex, together with the men of
power in that country, had revolted from Nero; which
affair is more accurately described elsewhere. This report,
thus related to Vespasian, excited him to go on briskly with the
war; for he foresaw already the civil wars which were coming upon
them, nay, that the very government was in
danger; and he thought, if he could first reduce the eastern
parts of the empire to peace, he should make the fears for Italy
the lighter; while therefore the winter was his
hinderance [from going into the field], he put garrisons into
the villages and smaller cities for their security; he put
decurions also into the villages, and centurions into the cities:
he besides this rebuilt many of the cities that had been laid
waste; but at the beginning of the spring he took the greatest
part of his army, and led it from Cesarea to Antipatris, where he
spent two days in settling the affairs of that city, and then, on
the third day, he marched on, laying waste and burning all the
neighboring villages. And when he had laid waste all the places
about the toparchy of Thamnas, he passed on to
Lydda and Jamnia; and when both these cities had come over to
him, he placed a great many of those that had come over to him
[from other places] as inhabitants therein, and then came to
Emmaus, where he seized upon the passage which
led thence to their metropolis, and fortified his camp, and
leaving the fifth legion therein, he came to the toparchy of
Bethletephon. He then destroyed that place, and the
neighboring places, by fire, and fortified, at proper places,
the strong holds all about Idumea; and when he had seized upon
two villages, which were in the very midst of Idumea, Betaris and
Caphartobas, he slew above ten thousand of the people, and
carried into captivity above a thousand, and drove away the rest
of the multitude, and placed no small part of his own forces in
them, who overran and laid waste the whole
mountainous country; while he, with the rest of his forces,
returned to Emmaus, whence he came down through the
country of Samaria, and hard by the city, by others called
Neapoils, (or Sichem,) but by the people of that country
Mabortha, to Corea, where he pitched his camp, on the
second day of the month Desius [Sivan]; and on the day
following he came to Jericho; on which day Trajan, one of his
commanders, joined him with the forces he brought out of Perea,
all the places beyond Jordan being subdued already.
2. Hereupon a great multitude prevented their approach, and
came out of Jericho, and fled to those mountainous parts that lay
over against Jerusalem, while that part which was left behind was
in a great measure destroyed; they also found the city desolate.
It is situated in a plain; but a naked and barren mountain, of a
very great length, hangs over it, which extends itself to the
land about Scythopolis northward, but as far as the country of
Sodom, and the utmost limits of the lake
Asphaltiris, southward. This mountain is all of it very uneven
and uninhabited, by reason of its barrenness: there is an
opposite mountain that is situated over against it, on the other
side of Jordan; this last begins at Julias, and the northern
quarters, and extends itself southward as far as Somorrhon, (13)
which is the bounds of Petra, in Arabia. In this ridge of
mountains there is one called the Iron
Mountain, that runs in length as far as Moab. Now the region
that lies in the middle between these ridges of mountains is
called the Great Plain; it reaches from the village Ginnabris, as
far as the lake Asphaltitis; its length is two hundred and thirty
furlongs, and its breadth a hundred and twenty, and it is divided
in the midst by Jordan. It hath two lakes in it, that of
Asphaltitis, and that of Tiberias, whose natures are
opposite to each other; for the former is salt and unfruitful,
but that of Tiberias is sweet and fruitful. This plain is much
burnt up in summer time, and, by reason of the extraordinary
heat, contains a very unwholesome air; it is all destitute of
water excepting the river Jordan, which water of Jordan is the
occasion why those plantations of palm trees that are near its
banks are more flourishing, and much more fruitful, as are those
that are remote from it not so flourishing, or fruitful.
3. Notwithstanding which, there is a fountain by Jericho, that
runs plentifully, and is very fit for watering the ground; it
arises near the old city, which Joshua, the son of Naue, the
general of the Hebrews, took the first of all the cities of the
land of Canaan, by right of war. The report is, that this
fountain, at the beginning, caused not only the blasting of the
earth and the trees, but of the children born of women, and that
it was entirely of a sickly and corruptive nature to all things
whatsoever; but that it was made gentle, and very wholesome and
fruitful, by the prophet Elisha. This prophet was familiar with
Elijah, and was his successor, who, when he once was the guest of
the people at Jericho, and the men of the place had treated him
very kindly, he both made them amends as well as the country, by
a lasting favor; for he went out of the city to this fountain,
and threw into the current an earthen vessel full of salt; after
which he stretched out his righteous hand unto heaven, and,
pouring out a mild drink-offering, he made this supplication,
That the current might be mollified, and that the veins of fresh
water might be opened; that God also would bring into the place a
temperate and fertile air for the current, and would bestow
upon the people of that country plenty of the fruits of the
earth, and a succession of children; and that this prolific water
might never fail them, while they continued to he
righteous. To these prayers Elisha (14) joined proper
operations of his hands, after a skillful manner, and changed
the fountain; and that water, which had been the occasion of
barrenness and famine before, from that time did supply a
numerous posterity, and afforded great abundance to the
country. Accordingly, the power of it is so great in watering
the ground, that if it do but once touch a country, it affords a
sweeter nourishment than other waters do, when they lie so long
upon them, till they are satiated with them. For which reason,
the advantage gained from other waters, when they flow in great
plenty, is but small, while that of this water is great when it
flows even in little quantities. Accordingly, it waters a larger
space of ground than any other waters do, and passes along a
plain of seventy furlongs long, and twenty broad; wherein it
affords nourishment to those most excellent gardens that are
thick set with trees. There are in it many sorts of palm trees
that are watered by it, different from each other in taste and
name; the better sort of them, when they are pressed, yield an
excellent kind of honey, not much
inferior in sweetness to other honey. This country withal
produces honey from bees; it also bears that balsam which is the
most precious of all the fruits in that place, cypress trees
also, and those that bear myrobalanum; so that he who
should pronounce this place to be divine would not be
mistaken, wherein is such plenty of trees produced as are very
rare, and of the must excellent sort. And indeed, if we speak of
those other fruits, it will not be easy to light on any climate
in the habitable earth that can well be compared to it, what is
here sown comes up in such clusters; the cause of which seems to
me to be the warmth of the air, and the fertility of the waters;
the warmth calling forth the sprouts, and making them spread, and
the moisture making every one of them take root firmly, and
supplying that virtue which it stands in need of in summer time.
Now this country is then so sadly burnt up, that nobody cares to
come at it; and if the water be drawn up before sun-rising, and
after that exposed to the air, it becomes exceeding cold, and
becomes of a
nature quite contrary to the ambient air; as in winter again it
becomes warm; and if you go into it, it appears very gentle. The
ambient air is here also of so good a temperature, that the
people of the country are clothed in linen-only, even when snow
covers the rest of Judea. This place is one
hundred and fifty furlongs from Jerusalem, and sixty from
Jordan. The country, as far as Jerusalem, is desert and stony;
but that as far as Jordan and the lake Asphaltitis lies lower
indeed, though it be equally desert and barren. But so much shall
suffice to have said about Jericho, and of the great happiness of
its situation.

4. The nature of the lake Asphaltitis is also worth describing.
It is, as I have said already, bitter and unfruitful. It is so
light [or thick] that it bears up the heaviest things that are
thrown into it; nor is it easy for any one to make things sink
therein to the bottom, if he had a mind so to do. Accordingly,
when Vespasian went to see it, he commanded that some who
could not swim should have their hands tied behind them, and be
thrown into the deep, when it so happened that they all swam as
if a wind had forced them upwards. Moreover, the change of the
color of this lake is wonderful, for it changes its appearance
thrice every day; and as the rays of the sun fall differently
upon it, the light is variously reflected. However, it casts up
black clods of bitumen in many parts of it; these swim at the top
of the water, and resemble both in shape and bigness headless
bulls; and when the laborers that belong to the lake come to it,
and catch hold of it as it hangs together, they draw it into
their ships; but when the ship is full, it is not easy to cut off
the rest, for it is so tenacious as to make the ship hang upon
its clods till they set it loose with the menstrual blood of
women, and with urine, to which
alone it yields. This bitumen is not only useful for the
caulking of ships, but for the cure of men's bodies;
accordingly, it is mixed in a great many medicines. The length
of this lake is five hundred and eighty furlongs, where it is
extended as far as Zoar in Arabia; and its breadth is a

Book of the day:
Facebook Google Reddit StumbleUpon Twitter Pinterest