Page images
PDF
EPUB

that were thrust down, those encouraging one another, and joining side to side with their shields, which were a protection to them, they became a body of men not to be broken, and as this band thrust away the Jews, as though they were themselves but one body, they began already to get upon the wall.

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

29. However, in this ill success of the Romans, their courage did not fail them, nor did the Jews want prudence to oppose them; for the Romans, although they saw their own men thrown down, and in a mise. rable condition, yet were they vehemently bent against those that poured the oil upon them, while every one reproached the man before him as a coward, and one that hindered him from exerting himself; and while the Jews made use of another stratagem to prevent their ascent, and poured boiling fenug. reek upon the boards, in order to make them slip and fall down; by which means neither could those that were coming up, nor those that were going down, stand on their feet; but some of them fell backward, upon the machines upon which they ascended, and were trodden upon; many of them fell down upon the bank they had raised, and when they were fallen upon it, were slain by the Jews; for when the Romans could not keep their feet, the Jews being freed from fighting hand to hand, had leisure to throw their darts at them. So the general called off those soldiers in the evening that had suffered so sorely, of whom the number of the slain was not a few, while that of the wounded was still greater ; but of the people of Jotapata no more than six men were killed, although more than three hundred were carried off wounded. This fight happened on the twentieth day of the month Desius, [Sivan.]

30. Hereupon Vespasian comforted his army on occasion of what happened, and as he found them angry indeed, but rather wanting somewhat to do than any further exhortations, he gave orders to raise the banks still higher, and to erect three towers, each fifty feet high, and that they should cover them with plates of iron on every side, that they might be both firm by their weight, and not easily liable to be set on fire. These towers he set upon the banks, and placed upon them such as could shoot darts and arrows, with the lighter engines for throwing stones and darts also; and besides these, he set upon them the stoutest men among the slingers, who not being to be seen by reason of the height they stood upon, and the battlements that protected them, might throw their weapons at those that were upon the wall, and were easily seen by them. Hereupon the Jews, not being easily able to escape those darts that were thrown down upon their heads, nor to avenge themselves on those whom they could not see, and perceiving that the height of the towers was so great, that a dart which they threw with their hand could hardly reach it, and that the iron plates about them made it very hard to come at them by fire, they ran away from the walls, and fled hastily out of the city, and fell upon those that shot at them. And thus did the people of Jotapata resist the Romans, while a great number of them were every day killed, without their being able to retort the evil upon their enemies, nor could they keep them out of the city without danger to themselves.

31. About this time it was that Vespasian sent out Trajan against a city called Japha, that lay near to Jotapata, and that desired innovations, and was puffed up with the unexpected length of the opposition of Jotapata. This Trajan was the commander of the tenth legion, and to him Vespasian committed one thousand horsemen, and two thousand footmen. When Trajan came to the city, he found it hard to be taken, for besides the natural strength of its situation, it was also secured by a double wall; but when he saw the people of this city coming out of it, and ready to fight him, he joined battle with them, and after a short resistance which they made, he pursued after them; and as they fled to their first wall, the Romans followed them so closely that they fell in together with them: but when the Jews were endeavouring to get again within their second wall, their fellow.citizens shut them out, as being afraid that the Romans would force themselves in with them. It was certainly God, therefore, who brought the Romans to punish the Galileans, and did then expose the people of the city every one of them manifestly to be destroyed by their bloody enemies; for they fell upon the gates in great crowds; and earnestly calling to those that kept them, and that by their names also, yet had they their throats cut in the very midst of their supplications ; for the enemy shut the gates of the first wall, and their own citizens shut the gates of the second, so they were enclosed between two walls, and were slain in great numbers together; many of them were run through by swords of their own men, and many by their own swords, besides an immense number that were slain by the Romans. Nor had they any courage to revenge themselves; for there was added to the consternation they were in from the enemy, their being betraved by their own friends, which quite broke their spirits; and at last they died, cursing not the Romans, but their own citizens, till they were all destroyed, being in number twelve thousand. So Trajan gathered that the city was empty of people that could fight, and although there should a few of them be therein, he supposed that they would be too timorous to venture upon any opposition ; so he reserved the taking of the city to the general. Accordingly, he sent messengers to Vespasian, and desired him to send his son Titus to finish the victory he had gained. Vespasian, hereupon, imagining there might be some pains still necessary, sent his son with an army of five hundred horsemen, and one thousand footinen. So he came quickly to the city, and put his army in order, and set Trajan over the left wing, while he had the right himself, and led them to the siege: and when the soldiers brought ladders to be laid against the wall on every side, the Galileans opposed them from above for a while, but soon arterward they left the walls. Then did Titus's men leap into the city, and seized upon it presently; but when those that were in it were gotten together, there was a fierce battle between them; for the men of power fell upon the Romans in the narrow streets, and the women threw whatever came next to hand at them, and sustained a fight with them for six hours' time; but when the fighting men were spent, the rest of the multitude had their throats cut partly in the open air, and partly in their own houses, both young and old together. So there were no males now remaining besides the infants, who, with the women, were carried as slaves into captivity; so that the number of the slain both now in the city, and at the former fight, was fifteen thousand, and the captives were two thousand one hundred and thirty. This ca. lamity befell the Galileans on the twenty-fifth day of the month Desius, [Sivan.)

32. Nor did the Samaritans escape their share of misfortun's at this time; for they assembled together upon the mountain called Gerizzim, which is with them a holy mountain, and there they remained : which col. lection of theirs, as well as the courageous minds they showed, could not but threaten somewhat of war; nor were they rendered wiser hy the miseries that had come upon their neighbouring cities. They also, notwithstanding the great success the Romans had, marched on in an unreasonable manner, depending on their own strength, and were disposed for any tumult upon its first appearance. Vespasian therefore thought it best to prevent their motions, and to cut off the foundation of their attempts. For although all Samaria had ever garrisons settled among them, yet did the number of those that were to come to mount Gerizzim, and their conspiracy together, give ground to fear what they would be at: he therefore sent thither Cerealis, the commander of the fifth legion, with six hundred horsemen, and three thousand footmen, who did not think it safe to go up the mountain, and give them battle, because many of the enemy were on the higher part of the ground; so he encompassed all the lower part of the mountain with his army, and watched them all that day. Now it hap. pened that the Samaritans, who were now destitute of water, were inflamed with a violent heat (for it was summer time, and the multitude had not provided themselves with necessaries,) insomuch that some of them died that very day with heat, while others of them preferred slavery before such a death as that was, and fled to the Romans; by whom Cerealis understood, that those who still stayed there were very much broken by their misfortunes. So he went up the mountain, and having placed his forces round about the enemy, he, in the first place, exhorted them to take the security of his right hand, and come to terms with them, and thereby save themselves; and assured them that, if they would lay down their arms, he would secure them from any harm ; but when he could not prevail with them, he fell upon them and slew them all, being in number eleven thousand six hundred. This was done on the twenty-seventh day of the month Desius, [Sivan.) And these were the calamities that befell the Samaritans at this time.

33. But as the people of Jotapata still held out manfully, and bore up under their miseries bevond all that could be hoped for, on the fortyseventh day (of the siegel the banks cast up by the Romans were become higher than the wall ; on which day a certain deserter went to Vespasian, and told him how few were left in the city, and how weak they were, and that they had been so worn cut with perpetuai watching, and as perpetual

fighting, that they could not now oppose any force that came against them, and that they might be taken by stratagem, it any one would attack them; for that about the last watch of the night, when they thought they might have some rest from the hardships they were under, and when a morning sleep used to come upon them, as they were thoroughly wearr, he said the watch used to fall asleep; accordingly his advice was, that they should make their attack at that hour. But Vespasian had a sus. picion about this deserter, as knowing how faithful the Jews were to one another, and how much they despised any punishments that could be inflicted on them; this last, because one of the people of Jotapata had undergone all sorts of torments, and though they made him pass through a fiery trial of his enemies in his examination, yet would be inform them nothing of the affairs within the city, and as he was crucified, smiled at them. However, the probability there was in the relation itself, did partly confirm the truth of what the deserter told them, and they thought he might probably speak the truth. However, Ves. pasian thought they should be no great sufferers, if the report was a sham; so he commanded them to keep the man in custody, and prepared the army for taking the city.

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

35. However, such of the watch as at first perceived they were taken, and ran away as fast as they could, went up into one of the towers on the north side of the city, and for a while defended themselves there ; but as they were encompassed with a multitude of enemies, they tried to use their right hands when it was too late, and at length they cheerfully offered their necks to be cut off by those that stood over them. And the Romans might have boasted that the conclusion of that siege was without blood [on their side,] if there had not been a centurinn, Antonius, who was slain at the

taking of the city. His death was occasioned by the following treachery : for there was one of those that were fled into the caverns, which were a great number, who desired that this Antonius would reach him his right nand for his security, and would assure him that he would preserve him, and give him his assistance in getting up out of the cavern ; accordingly, he incautiously reached him out his right hand, when the other man prevented him, and stabbed him under his loins with a spear, and killed him immediately.

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

CHAP. VIII. How Josephus was discovered by a Woman, and was willing to deliver

himself up to the Romans; and what Discourse he had with his own Men, when they endeavoured to hinder him; and what he said to Vesi sian, when he was brought to him; and in what manner Vespasian used him afterward.

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

2. So they came and invited the man to come up, and gave him assu. rances that his life should be preserved: but they did not prevail with him ; for he gathered suspicions from the probability there was that one who had done so many things against the Romans must suffer for it, though

« PreviousContinue »