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dom which Jews thought worthy to be contended for to the utmost, and, by owning that they preferred slavery under the Romans before such a contention. Now this was in reality no better than a pretence, and a cloak for the barbarity which was made use of by them, and to colour over their own avarice, which they afterward made manifest by their own action ; for those that were partners with them in their rebellion, joined also with them in the war against the Roinans, and went farther lengths with them in their impudent undertakings against them; and when they were again convicted of dissembling in such their pretences, they still more abused those that justly reproached them for their wickedness. And indeed that was a time most fertile in all manner of wicked practices, insomuch that no kind of evil deeds were then left undone ; nor conld any one so much as devise any bad thing that was new, so deeply were they all infected, and strove with one another in their single capacity, and in their communities, who should run the greatest lengths in impiety towards God, and in unjust actions towards their neighbours, the men of power oppressing the multitude, and the multitude earnestly labouring to destroy the men of power. The one part were desirous of tyrannizing over others, and the rest of offering violence to others and of plundering such as were richer than themselves. They were the Sicarii who first began these transgressions, and first became barbarous towards those allied to them, and left no words of reproach unsaid, and no works of perdition untried, in order to destroy those whom their contrivances affected. Yet did John demonstrate by his actions, that these Sicarii were more moderate than he was himself ; for he not only slew all such as gave him good counsel to do what was right, but treated them worst of all, as the most bitter enemies that he had among all the citizens; nay, he filled his entire country with ten thousand instances of wickedness, such as a man, who was already hardened sufficiently in his impiety towards God, would naturally do : for the food was unlawful that was set upon his table, and he rejected those purifications that the law of his country had ordained; so that it was no longer a wonder if he, who was so mad in his impiety towards God, did not observe any rules of gentleness and common affection towards men. Again, therefore, what mischief was there which Simon the son of Gioras, did
pot do? or what kind of abuses did he abstain from, as to those very free men who had set him up for a tyrant? What friendship or kindred were there that did not make him more bold in his daily murders ? for they looked upon the doing of mischief to strangers only, as a work beneath their courage, but thought their barbarity towards their nearest relations would be a glorious demonstration thereof. The Idumeans also strove with these men, which should be guilty of the greatest madness ; for they [all], vile wretches as they were, cut the throats of the high-priests, that so no part of the religious regard to God might be preserved: they thence proceeded to destroy utterly the least remains of a political government, and introduced the most complete scene of iniquity in all instances that were practicable; under which scene, that sort of people that were called Zealots grew up, and who indeed corresponded to the name ; for they imitated every wicked work; nor, if their memory suggested any evil thing that had formerly been done, did they avoid zealousy to pursue the same; and although they gave themselves that name from their zeal for what was good, yet did it agree to them only by way of irony, on account of those they had unjustly treated by their wild and brutish disposition, or as thinking the greatest mischiefs to be the greatest good, Accordingly, they all met with such ends as God deservedly brought upon them in way of punishment; for all such miseries have been sent upon them as man's nature is capable of undergoing, till the utmost period of their lives, and till death came upon them in various ways of torment; yet might one say justly that they suffered less than they had done, because it was impossible they could be punished according to their deserving. But, to make a lamentation according to the deserts of those who fell under these *men's barbarity, this is not a proper place for it: I, therefore, now return again to the remaining part of the present narration.
2. For now it was, that the Roman general came, and led his army against Eleazar, and those Sicarii who held the fortress of Masada together with him; and for the whole country adjoining, he presently gained it, and put garrisons into the most proper places of it: he also built a wall quite round the entire fortres, that none of the besieged might easily escape: he also set his men to guard the sevet
al parts of: he also pitched his camp in such an agreeable place as he had chosen for the siege, and at which place the rock, belonging to the fortress, did make the nearest approach to the neiglbouring mountain, which yet was a place of difficulty for getting plenty of provisions: for, it was not only food that was to be brought from a great dist. ance (to the army], and this was a great deal of pain to those Jews who were appointed for that purpose, but water was also to be brought to the camp, because the place afforded no fountain that was near it. When, therefore, Silva had or. dered these affairs beforehand, he fell to besieging the place; which siege was likely to stand in need of a great deal of skill and pains, by reason of the strength of the fortress, the nature of which I will now describe.
3. There was a rock, not small in circumference, and very high. It was encompassed with vallies of such vast depth downward, that the eye could not reach their bottoms: they were abrupt, and such as no animal could walk upon, excepting at two places of the rock, where it subsides, in order to afford a passage for ascent, though not without difficulty. Now, of the ways that lead to it, one is, that from the lake Asphaltitis, towards the sun-rising, and another on the west, where the ascent is easier: the one of these ways is called the Serpent, as resembling that animal in its narrowness and its perpetual windings; for it is broken off at the prominent precipices of the rock, and returns frequently into itself, and lengthening again by little and little, hath much ado to proceed forward ; and he that would walk along it first must go on one leg and then on the other ; there is also nothing but destruction in case your feet slip ; for on each side there is a vastly deep chasm and precipice, sufficient to quell the courage of every body by the terror it infuses into the mind. When, there. fore, a man hath gone along this way for thirty furlongs, the rest is the top of the hill not ending at a small point, but is no other than a plain upon the highest part of the mountain. Upon this top of the hill Jonathan the high-priest first of all built a fortress, and called it Masada ; after which the rebuilding of this place employed the care of kind Herod to a great degree: he also built a wall round about the entire top of the hill, seven furlongs long : it was composed of white stone, its height was twelve, and its breadth eight cubits; there were also erected upon
this wall thirty-eight towers, each of them fifty cubits high ả, out of which you might pass into lesser edifices, which were built on the inside round the entire wall; for the king reserved the top of the hill, which was of a fat soil, and bet. ter mould than any valley, for agriculture, that such as coinmitted themselves to this fortress for their preservation might not even there be quite destitute of food in case they should ever be in want of it from abroad. Moreover, he built a palace therein, at the western ascent: it was within and beneath the walls of the citadel, but inclined to its north side. Now the wall of this palace was very high and ströng, and had at its four corners towers sixty cubits high. The furniture also of the edifices, and of the cloisters, and of the baths, was of great variety, and very costly ; and these buildings were supported by pillars of single stones on every side ; the walls also and the floors of the edisces were paved with stones of several colours. He also had eut many and great pits, as reservoirs for water, out of the rocks, at every one of the places that were inhabited both above and round about the palace, and before the wall ; and by this contrivance he endeavoured to have water for several uses, as if there had been fountains there. Here was also a road digged from the palace, and leading to the very top of the mountain, which yet could not be seen by such as were without the wall.] ; nor indeed could enemies easily make use of the plain roads ; for the road on the east side, as we have already taken notice, could not be walked upon by reason of its nature ; and for the wes. tern road, he built a large tower at its narrowest place at no less distance from the top of the hill than a thousand cubits ; which tower could not possibly be passed by ; por could it easily be taken ; nor indeed could those that walked along it, without any fear, such was its contrivance, casily get to the end of it: and after such a manner was this citadel fortified both by nature and by the hands of men, in order to frustrate the attacks of enemies.
4. As for the furniture that was within this fortress, it was still more wonderful on account of its splendour and long continuance : for here was laid up corn in laige quantities, and such as would subsist men for a long time: here was also wine and oil in abundance, with all kinds of pulse and dates heaped up together : all which Eleazar found there, when he and his Sicarii got possession of the fortress by
treachery. These fruits were also fresh and full ripe, no way inferior to such fruits newly laid in, althyugh they were little short of an hundred years * from the laying in these provisions [by Herods, till the place was taken by the Romans ; nay, indeed, when the Romans got possession of those fruits that were left, they found them not corrupted all that while; nor should we be mistaken if we suppost d, that the air was here the cause of their enduring so long, this fortress being so high, and so free from the mixture of all terrene and muddy particles of matter. There was also found here a large quantity of all sorts of weapons of war,which had been treasured up by that king, and were susficient for ten thousand men : there was cast iron, and brass, and tin, which shew, that he had taken much pains to have all things here ready for the greatest occasions : for the report goes, how Herod thus prepared this fortress on his own account, as a refuge against two kinds of danger; the one, for fear of the multitude of the Jews, lest they should dispose him, and restore their former kings to the government : the other danger was greater and more terrible, which arose from Cleopatra, queen of Egypt, who did not conceal her intentions, but spoke often to Antony, and desired him to cut off Herod, and entreated him to bestow the kingdom of Judea upon her. And certainly it is a great wonder, that Antony did never comply with her commands in this point, as he was so miserably enslaved to his passion for her , nor should any one have been surprised if she had been gratified in such her request. So the fear of these dangers made Herod rebuild Massada, and thereby leave it for the finishing stroke of the Romans in this Jewish war.
5. Since, therefore, the Roman commander Silva had now built a wall on the outside, round about this whole place, as we have said already, and had thereby made a most accurate provision to prevent any of the besieged running away, he undertook the siege itself, though he found but one single place that would admit of the banks he was to raise : for, behind that tower which secured the road that led to the palace, and to the top of the hill, from the west, there was a certain eminency of the rock, very broad and very prominent, but three hundred cubits beneath the high
* Pliny and others confirm this strange paradox, that provisions laid up against sieges will continue good an hundred years, as Spanheim notes upen this place.