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and how, at last, he was so distracted, that he became an actor in the scenes, and upon the theatre, I omit to say any more about them, because there are writers enough upon those subjects every where; but I shall turu myself to those actions of his time in which the Jews were concerned.
2. Nero therefore bestowed the kingdom of the Lesser · Armenia upon Aristobulus,* Herod's son, and he added to
Agrippa's kingdom four cities, with the toparchies to them belonging; I mean Abila, and that Julias which is in Perea, Tarichea also, and Tiberias of Galilee; but over the rest of Judea he made Felix procurator. This Felix took Ele. azar the arch robber, and many that were with him alive, when they had ravaged the country for twenty years together, and sent them to Rome: but as to the number of robbers whom he caused to be crucified, and of those who were caught among them, and whom he brought to punishment, they were a multituda not to be enumerated.
3. When the country was purged of these, there sprang up another sort of robbers in Jerusalem, which were called Sicarji, who slew men in the day-time, in the midst of the city; this they did chiefly at the festivals, when they mingled themselves among the multitude, and concealed daggers under their garments, with which they stabbed those that were their enemies; and when any fell down dead, the murderers became a part of those that had indignation against them, by which means they appeared persons of such reputation, that they could by no means be discovered. The first man who was slain by them was Jonathan the high-priest, after whose death many were slain every day, while the fear men were in of being so served was more afflicting than the calamity itself, and while every body expected death every hour, as men do in war, so men were obliged to look before them, and to take notice of their enemies at a great distance ; nor, if their friends were coming to them, durst they trust them any longer; but, in the midst of their suspicions and guarding of themselves, they were slain. Such was the celerity of the plotters against them, and so cunning was their contrivance.
4. There was also another body of wicked men gotten together, not so impure in their actions, but more wicked in their intentions, which laid waste the happy state of the city no less than did these murderers. These were such med as
* i. e. Herod king of Chalcis. Vol. VI.
deceived and deluded the people under pretence of divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes in the government; ard these prevailed with the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness, as pretending that God would there shew them the signals of liberty. But Felix thought this procedure was to be the be. ginning of a revolt ; so he sent some horsemen and footmea, both armed, who destroyed a great number of them.
5. But there was an Egyptian false prophet that did the Jews more mischief than the former ; for he was a cheat, and pretended to be a prophet also, and got together thirty thousand men that were deluded by him : these he led round about from the wilderness to the mount which was called the Mount of Olives, and was ready to break into Jerusalem by force from that place; and if he could but once conquer the Romar garrison, and the people, he intended to domineer over them by the assistance of those guards of his that were to break into the city with him. But Felix prevented his attempt, and met hin with his Roman soldiers, while all the people assisted him in his attack upon them, insomuch that, when it came to a battle, the Egyptians ran away, with a few others, while the greatest part of those that were with him were either destroyed or taken alive; but the rest of the multitude were dispersed every one to their owa homes, and there concealed themselves.
6. Now when these were quieted, it happened, as it does in a diseased body, that another part was subject to an inflammation; for a company of deceivers and robbers got to. gether, and persuaded the Jews to revolt, and exhorted them to assert their liberty, inflicting death on those that continued in obedience to the Roman government, and saying, that such as willingly cliose slavery, ought to be forced from such their desired inclinations; for they parted themselves into different bodies, and lay in wait up and down the country, and plundered the houses of the great men, and slew the men themselves, and set the villages on fire; and this till all Ju. dea was filled with the effects of their madness. And thus the flame was every day more and more blown up, till it came to a direct war.
7. There was also another disturbance at Cæsarea, those Jews who were mixed with the Syrians, that lived there raising a tumult against them. The Jews pretended that the city was theirs, and said that he who built it was a Jew, meaning king Herod. The Syrians confessed also, that its builder was a Jew, but they still said, however, that the city was a Grecian city ; for that he who set up statues and temples in it could not design it for Jews. On which account both parties had a contest with one another; and this contest increased so much, that it came at last to arms, and the bolder sort of them marched out to fight; for the elders of the Jews were not able to put a stop to their own people that were disposed to be tumultuous, and the Greeks thought it a shame for them to be overcome by the Jews. Now these Jews exceed the others in riches and strength of body; but the Grecian part had the advantage of assistance from the soldiery ; for the greatest part of the Roman garrison was raised out of Syria, and being thus related to the Syrian part, they were ready to assist it. However, the governors of the city were concerned to keep all quiet, and whenever they caught those that were most for fighting on either side, they punished them with stripes and bands. Yet did not the sufferings of those that were caught affright the remainder, or make them desist; but they were still more and more exasperated, and deep engaged in the sedition. And as Felix came once into the market-place, and commanded the Jews, when they had beaten the Syrians, to go their ways, and threatened them if they would not, and they would not obey him, he sent his soldiers out upon them, and slew a great many of them, upon which it fell out that what they had was plundered. Add as the sedition still continued, he chose out the most eminent men on both sides, as ambassadors to Nero, to argue about their several privileges.
CHAP. XIV. Festus succeeds Felix, who is succeeded by Albinus, as he is by Flo.
rus; who, by the barbarity of his government, forces the Jews in. to the war.
8). Now it was that Festus succeeded Felix, as procurator, and made his business to correct those that made disturbances in the country. So he caught the greatest part of the robbers, and destroyed a great many of them. But then Albinus who succeeded Festus, did not execute his office as the other had done ; nor was there any sort of wickedness that could be named but he had an hand in it. Accordingly, he did not only, in his political capacity, steal and plunder every one's substance, nor did he only burden the whole na
tion with taxes, but he permitted the relations of such as were in prison for robbery, and had been laid there, either by the senate of every city, or by the fornier procurators, to redeem them for money; and nobody remained in the prisons, as a malefactor, but he who gave him nothing. At this time it was that the enterprises of the seditious at Jerusalem was very formidable; the principal men among them purchasing leave of Albinus to go on with their seditious practices; while that part of the people who delighted in disturbances joined theniselves to such as had fellowship with Albinus ; and every one of these wicked wretches was encompassed with his own band of robbers, wbile he himself, like an arch robber, or a tyrant, made a figure among his company, and abused his authority over those about him, in order to plunder those that lived quietly. The effect of which was this, that those who lost their goods were forced to hold their peace, when they had reason to shev great indignation at what they had suffered ; but those who had escaped were forced to flatter him that deserved to be punished, out of the fear they were in of suffering equally with the others. Upon the whole, nobody durst speak their minds, but tyranny was generally tolerated ; and at this time were those seeds SOwn which brought the city to destruction.
2. And although such was the character of Albinus, yet did Gessius *Florus, who succeeded hin, demonstrate him to have been a most excellent person, upon the comparison ; for the former did the greatest part of his rogueries in private, and with a sort of dissimulation; but Gessius did his upjust actions to the harm of the nation after a pompous manner: and as though he had been sent as an executioner to punishi condemned malefactors, he omitted no sort of rapine, or of vexation; where the case was really pitiable, he was most barbarous, and in things of the greatest turpitude he was most impudent. Norcould anyone outdo him in disguising the truth, nor could any one contrive more subtile ways of deceit than he
* Not long after this beginning of Florus, the wickedest of all the Roman procurators of Judea, and the immediate occasion of the Jewish war, at the 12th of Nero, and the 17th, of Agrippa, or s. D. 66. the history in the twenty books of Josephus' Antiquities ends; although Josephus did not finish these books till the 13th of Domitian, or A. D. 93, twenty-seven years afterward: as he dici not finish their Appendix, containing an account of his own life, till Agrippa was dead, which happened in the 3d year of Trajan, ur A. D. 100, as I have several times observed before
did. He indeed thought it but a petty offence to get money out of single persons; so he spoiled whole cities, and ruined entire bodies of men at once, and did almost publicly proclaim it all the country over, that they had liberty given them to turp robbers, upon this condition, that he might go shares with them in the spoils they got. Accordingly this his greediness of gain was the occasiou that entire toparchies were brought to desolation, and a great many of the people left their own country, and fled into foreign provinces.
3. And truly while Cestius Gallus was president of the province of Syria, nobody durst do so much as send an embassage to him against Florus; but when he was come to Jerusalem, upon the approach of the feast of unleavened bread, the people came about him not fewer in number than three * millions : these besought him to commiserate the calami. ties of their nation, and cried out upon Florus as the bane of their country. But as he was present, and stood by Ces. tius, he laughed at their words. However, Cestius, when he had quieted the multitude, and had assured them that he would take care that Florus should hereafter treat them in a more gentle mapper, returned to Antioch: Florus also conducted bim as far as Cæsarea, and deluded him, though he had at that very time the purpose of shewing his anger at the pation, and procuring a war upon them, by which means alone it was that he supposed he might conceal his enormities; for he expected that, if the peace continued, he should have the Jews for his accusers before Cæsar; but that if he could procure them to make a revolt, he should divert their laying lesser crimes to his charge, by a misery that was so much greater : be therefore did every day augment their calami. ties, in order to induce them to a rebellion.
4. Now at this time it happened that the Grecians at Cæsarea had been too hard for the Jews, and had obtained of Nero the government of the city, and had brought the judicial determination : at the same time began the war in the twelfth year of the reign of Nero, and the seventeenth of the reign of Agrippa in the month of Artemisias-Jyar.) Now the occasion of this war was by no means proportionable to those
* Here we may note, that 3,000,000 of the Jews were present at the passover, A. D. 65, which confirms what Josephus elsewhere informs us of, that at a passover a little later, they counted 256,500 paschal lambs, which at twelve to each lamb, which is no immode. rate calculation, come to 3,078,000. See B. vi. ch.9.$3.