Page images
PDF
EPUB

famine also will destroy us even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews. As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and ate the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. Upon this the seditious came in presently, and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her, that they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied, that " she had saved a very fine portion of it for them ;” and withal uncovered what was left of her son. Hereupon they were seized with a horror and amazement of mind, and stood astonished at the sight, when she said to them, “This is mine own son, and what hath been done was mine own doing. Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself. Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be preserved for me also.” After which those men went out trembling, being never so much affrighted at anything as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while every body laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheard-of action had been done by themselves. So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die, and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries.

5. This sad instance was quickly told to the Romans, some of whom could not believe it, and others pitied the distress which the Jews were under : but there were many of them who were hereby induced to a more bitter hatred than ordinary against our nation. But for Cæsar, he excused himself before God as to this matter, and said, that “ he had proposed peace and liberty to the Jews, as well as an oblivion of all their former insolent practices; but that they, instead of concord, had chosen sedition; instead of peace, war; and before satiety and abundance, a famine. That they had begun with their own hands to burn down that temple, which we have preserved hitherto ; and that therefore they deserved to eat such food as this was. That, therefore, this horrid action of eating an own child ought to be covered with the overthrow of their very country itself, and men ought not to leave such a city upon the habitable earth, to be seen by the sun, wherein mothers are thus fed, although such food be fitter for the fathers than for the mothers to eat of, since it is they that continue still in a state of war against us, after they have undergone such miseries as these.” And at the same time that he said this, he reflected on the desperate condition these men must be in, nor could lie expect that such men could be recovered to sobriety of mind, after they had endured those very sufferings, for the avoiding whereof it only was probable they might have repented.

CHAP. IV. When the Banks were completed, and the Battering-rams brought, and could

do nothing, Titus gave orders to set fire to the Gates of the Temple; in no long time after which, the holy House itself was burnt down, even against

his consent. $ 1. And now two of the legions had completed their banks on the eighth day of the month Lous, [Ab.] Whereupon Titus gave orders that the battering-rams should be brought, and set over the western edifice of the inner temple ; for before these were brought, the firmest of all the other engines had battered the wall for six days together without ceasing, without making any impression upon it; but the vast largeness and strong connexion of the stones was superior to that engine, and to the other battering rams also. Other Romans did indeed undermine the foundations of the northern gate, and after a world of pains removed the outermost stones, yet was the gate still upheld by the inner stones, and stood still unhurt; till the workmen, despairing of all such attempts by engines and crows, brought their ladders to the cloisters. Now the Jews did not interrupt them in so doing; but when they were gotten up, they fell upon them, and fought with them ; some of them they thrust down, and threw them backwards headlong; others of them they met, and slew; thev also beat many of those that went down the ladder again, and slew them with their swords before they could bring their shields to protect them; nay, some of the ladders they threw down from above when they were full of armed men ; a great slaughter was made of the Jews also at the same time, while those that bare the ensigns fought hard for them, as deeming it a terrible thing, and that would tend to their great shame, if they permitted them to be stolen away. Yet did the Jews at length get possession of these engines, and destroy those that had gone up the ladders, while the rest were so intimidated by what those suffered who were slain, that they retired : although none of the Romans died without having done good service before his death. Of the seditious, those that had fought bravely in the former battle, did the like now, as besides them did Eleazar, the brother's son of Simon the tyrant. But when Titus perceived that his endeavours to spare a foreign temple turned to the damage of his soldiers, and made them be killed, he gave orders to set the gates on fire.

2. In the mean time there deserted to bim Ananus, who came from Emmaus, the most bloody of all Simon's guards, and Archelaus, the son of Magadatus, they hoping to be still forgiven, because they left the Jews at a time when they were the conquerors. Titus objected this to these men, as a cunning trick of theirs ; and as he had been informed of their other barbarities towards the Jews, he was going in all haste to have them buth slain. He told them, that “ they were only driven to this desertion because of the utmost distress they were in, and did not come away of their own good disposition; and that those did not deserve to be preserved, by w'om their own city was already set on fire, out of which they now hurried themselves away. However, the security he had promised deserters overcame his resentments, and he dismissed them accordingly, though he did not give them the same privileges that he had afforded to others. And now the soldiers had already put fire to the gates, and the silver that was over them quickly carried the flames to the wood that was within

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

it, whence it spread itself all on the sudden, and caught hold of the cloisters. Upon the Jews seeing this fire all about them, their spirits sunk together with their bodies, and they were under such astonishment, that not one of them made any haste, either to defend himself or to quench the fire, but they stood as mute spectators of it only. However, they did not su grieve at the loss of what was now burning, as to grow wiser thereby for the time to come; but as though the holy house itself had been on fire already, they whetted their passions against the Romans. This fire prevailed during that day and the next also; for the soldiers were not able to burn all the cloisters that were round about together at one time, but only by pieces.

3. But then, on the next day, Titus commanded part of his army to quench the fire, and to make a road for the more easy marching up of the legions, while he himself gathered the commanders together. Of those there were assembled the sixth principal persons, Tiberius Alexander, the commander [under the general] of the whole army, with Sextus Cerealis, the commander of the fifth legion, and Larcius Lepidus, the commander of the tenth legion, and Titus Frigius, the commander of the fifteenth legion ; there was also with them Eternius, the leader of the two legions that came from Alexandria, and Marcus Antonius Julianus, procurator of Judea ; after these came together also the rest of the procurators and tribunes. Titus proposed to these, that they should give him their advice what should be done about the holy house Now some of these thought, “it would be the best way to act according to the rules of war [and demolish it] because the Jews would never leave off rebelling while that house was standing, at which house it was that they used to get all together.” Others of them were of opinion, that “in case the Jews would leare it, and none of them would lay their arms up in it, he might save it ; but that in case they got upon it, and fought any more, he might burn it; because it must then be looked upon not as a holy house, but as a citadel, and that the impiety of burning it would then belong to those that forced this to be done, and not to them.” But 'Titus said, that “ although the Jews should get upon that holy house, and fight us thence, vet ought we not to revenge ourselves on things that are inanimate, instead of the men themselves; and that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work as that was, because this would be a mischief to the Romans themselves, as it would be an ornament to their government while it continued.” So Fronto, and Alexander, and Cerealis, grew bold upon that declaration, and agreed to the opinion of Titus. Then was this assembly dissolved, when Titus had given orders to the commanders that the rest of their forces should lie still, but that they should make use of such as were most courageous in this attack. So he commanded that the chosen men that were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire.

4. Now it is true, that on this day the Jews were so weary, and under such consternation, that they refrained from any attacks. But on the next day they gathered their whole force together, and ran upon those that guarded the outward court of the temple very holdly, through the east-gate, and this about the second hour of the day. These guards received that their attack with great bravery, and by covering themselves with their shields before, as if it were with a wall, they drew their squadron close together vet it was evident that they could not abide there very long, but would be VOL. II.

2 G

« PreviousContinue »