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admit of them, they expected to perish with them, which came to pass accordiogly, 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, aod of the people that were in the city, when the useless multitude were destroyed, but those that were more potent rap 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 calanities, 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 fied 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 fee.
They then extended themselves a very great way along the banks of the river, and sustained the darts that were throws 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 stilkappear greater than it really was; and this because not only the whole country through which they fled was filled with slaughter, and Jordau could not be passed over hy reason of the dead bodies that were in it but because the lake Asphaltitis 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 had, fell violently upon the neighbouring 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.
CHAP VIII. How. Vespasian, upon hearing of some commotions in* Gall, made
haste to finish the Jewish war. A description of Jericho, and of the great plain ; with an account besides of the lake Asphaltitis.
$ 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; wbile therefore the winter was his hin. drance, [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 built many of the cities that had been laid waste; but at the begioning of the spring he took the greatest part of his army, and led it from Cæsarea to Autipatris, 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 peighbouring villages. And when he had laid waste all the places about the toparchy of Thampas, he passed on to Lydda, and Jampia, and whien both those cities had come over to him, he placed a great many of those that had come over to him, [from other places) as inhabit. ants therein, and then came to Emmaus, where he seized up on the passages which led thence to their metropolis, and fortified his camp, and leaving the fifth legion therein, hecame to the toparchy of Bethletephon. He then destroyed that place, and the neighbouring places by fire, and forti
* Gr. Galatia, and so every where.
fied 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 Capartobas, he slew above teu thousand of the people, and carried into captivity above a thousand, and drove away the rest of the niultitude, and placed no small part of bis own forces in them, who over-ran 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 Neapolis (or Shichem), but by the people of this 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, or which day Trajan, one of his commanders, joined him with the forces he brought out of Perea, all the places about 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, liangs over it, which extends itself to the land about Scythopolis porttiward, but as far as the country of Sodom, and the utmost limits of the lake Asphaltitis 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, which is the bounds of Petra, in Ara. bia. 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 mountaios, is called the Great Plain ; it reaches from the village Giopabries, as far as the lake Asphaltitis ; its length is two hundred and thirty furlongs, and its breadth an hundred and twenty, and it is divided in the midst by Jordan. It bath
• Whether this Somorrhon or Somorrha, ought not to be here written Gomorrha, as some MSS. in a manner have it, (for the place meant by Josephus seems to be near Segor or Zoar, at the very south of ihe Dead Sea, hard by which stood Sodom and Go. morrha,) cannot now be certainly determined, but seems by no means improbable.
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 burit up in summer time, and, by reason of the extraordinary heat, contains a very uówholesome 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 dot 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 Nun, 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 of 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 favour; 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 66 bring into the place a more temperate and fertile air, foe " the current, and would bestow upon the people of that as 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 be righteous.” To these prayers Elisha joined proper operations of his hands, after a skilful 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 afford 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 wa. ters 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 af. fords pourishment 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 ig taste and name; the better sort of them, when they are pres sed, 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, cyprus trees also, and those that bear myrobalanum; so that he who should pronounce this place to be divine, would not be mistake', wherein is such plenty of trees produced, as are very rare, and of the most 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 sowed comes up in such chusters: 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 themi spread, and the moisture making every one of them take a 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 Waters be drawn up before sun rising, and after that exposed to the air, it becomes exceedingly 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 Südea. This place is one bun. dred 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
* This excellent prayer of Elisha, is wanting in our copies, 2 Kings ii. 21, 22. though it be referred to also in the Apostolical Constitutions, B. vii. ch. Xxxvii. and the success of it is mentions ed in them all.