« PreviousContinue »
well acquainted with all such places; and if any provisions were carried in by stealth, the siege would thereby be longer delayed. He also owned, that he was afraid that the
his success: for, though-it be true, that length of time will perfect every thing, yet that, to do what -ffe do in a little time, is still necessary to the gaining reputation. That, therefore, his opinion was, that if they aimed at quickness, joined with security, they must build a wall round about the whole city, which was, he thought, the only way to prevent the Jews from coining out any way, and that then they would either entirely despair of saving the city, and so would surrender it up to him, or be still the more easily conquered, when the famine had farther weakened them. For that, besides this wall, he would not lie entirely at rest afterward, but would take care then to have banks raised again, when those that would oppose them were become weaker. But that, if any one should think such a work to be too great, and not to be finished without such difficulty, he ought to consider, that it is not fit for Romans to undertake any small work; and that none but God himself could with ease Accomplish any great thing whatsoever.
2. These arguments prevailed with the commanders. So Titus gave orders that the army should be distributed to their several shares of this work; and indeed there now came upon the soldiers a certain divine fury, so that they did not only part the whole wall that was to be built among them, nor did only one legion strive with another, but the lesser divisions of the army did the same; insomuch that each soldier was ambitious to please his decurion, each decurion his centurion, each centurion his tribune and the ambition of the tribunes was to please their superior commanders; while Caesar himself took notice of, and rewarded the like contention in those commanders; for he went round about the works many times every day, and took a view of what was done,'Titus began the wall from the camp to the Assyrians, where his own camp was pitched, and drew it down to the lower parts of Cenopolis; thence it went along the valley of Cedron to the mount of Olives; it then bent towards the south, and encompassed the mountain as far as the rock called Peristereon, and that other hill which lies next it, and is over the valley which reaches to Siloam; whence it bended again to the west, and went dottu to the valley of the fountain, beyond which it went up again at the monument of Ananus the high-priest, and encompassing that mountain where Pompey had-formerly pitched his camp, it returned back to the north side of the city, and was carried on as far as a certain village called the House of the Erebinthi; after which it encompassed Herod's monument, and there, on the east, was joined to Titus's own camp, where it began. Now, the length of this wall was forty furlongs, one only abated. Now, at this wall without were erected thirteen places to keep garrison in, whose circumferences put together amounted to ten furlongs; the whole was completed in three days: so that what would naturally have required some months, was done in so short an interval as is incredible. When Titus had therefore encompassed the city with this wall, and put garrisons into proper places, he went round the wall at the first watch of the night, and observed how the guard was kept; the second watch he allotted to Alexander; the commanders of legions took the third watch. They also cast lots among themselves who should be upon the watch in the night time, and who should go all night long round the spaces that were interposed between the garrisons.
3. So all hope of escaping was now cut off from the Jews, together with their liberty of going out of the city. Then did the famine widen its progress, and devoured the people by whole houses and families; the upper rooms were full of women and children that were dying by famine, and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged; the children also, and the young men wandered about the market-places like shadows, all swelled with the famine, and fell down dead, wheresoever their misery seized them. As for burying the n, those that were sick themselves were not able to do it, and those that were hearty and well, were deterred from doing it by the great multitude of those dead bodies, and by the uncertainty there was howsoon they should die themselves; for many died as they were burying others, and many went to their coffins before that fatal hour was come. Nor was there any lamentations made under these calamities, nor were heard any mournful complaints ; but the famine confounded all natural passions: for those who were just going to die looked upon those that were gone to their rest before them with dry eyes and open mouths. A deep silence also, and a kind of deadly night had seized upon the city; while yet the robbers were still more terrible than these miseries were themselves; for they break open those houses which were no other than graves of dead bodies, and plundered them of what they had, and carrying off the coverings of their bodies, went out laughing, and tried the points of their swords in their dead bodies; and in order to prove what metal they were made of they thrust some of those through that still lay alive upon the ground; but for those that entreated them to lend them their right hand and their sword to dispatch them, they were too proud to grant their request, and left them to be consumed by the famine. Now, every one of these died with their eyes fixed upon the temple, and left the seditious alive bebind them. Now the seditious at first gave orders that the dead should be buried out of the public treasury, as not enduring the stench of their dead bodies. But afterwards, when they could not do that, they had them cast down from the walls into the valleys beneath.
4. However, when Titus in going his rounds along those valleys, saw them full of dead bodies, and the thick putrefaction running about them, he gave a groan, and spreading out his hands to heaven, called God to witness, that this was not his doing; and such was the sad case of the city itself. But the Romans were very joyful, since none of the seditious could now make sallies out of the city, because they themselves were disconsolate, and the famine already touched them also. These Romans besides had great plenty of corn, and other necessaries out of Syria and out of the neighbouring provinces; many of which would stand near to the wall of the city, and shew the people what great quantities of provisions they had, and so make the enemy more sensible of their famine, by the great plenty, even to satiety, which they had themselves. However, when the seditious still shewed no inclinations of yielding, Titus, out of his commiseration of the people that remained, and out of his earnest desire of rescuing what was still left out of these miseries, began to raise the baoks again, although materials for them were hard to be come at; for all the trees that were about the city had been already cut down for the making of the former banks. Yet did the soldiers bring with them other materials from the
distance of ninety furlongs, and thereby raised banks iu four parts, much greater than the former, though this was done only at the tower of Antonia. So Caesar went his rounds through the legions, and hastened on the works, and shewed the robbers that they were now in his hands. But these men, and these only, were incapable of repenting of the wickedness they had been guilty of, and separating their souls from their bodies, they used them both as if they belonged to other folks, and not to themselves. For no gentle affection could touch their souls, nor could any pain affect their bodies, since they could still tear the dead bodies of the people as dogs do, and fill the prisons with those that were sick.
The great slaughters and sacrilege that were in Jerusalem.
§ 1. Accordingly, Simon would not suffer Matthias, by whose means he got possession of the city, to go off without torment. This Matthias was the son of Boethus, and was one of the high-priests, one that had been very faithful to the people, and in great esteem with them; he, when the multitude were distressed by the zealots, among whom John was numbered, persuaded the people to admit this Simon to come in to assist them, while he had made no terms with him, nor expected any thing that was evil from him. But when Simon was come in, and had gotten the city under his power, he esteemed him that had advised them to admit him as his enemy equally with the rest, as looking upon that advice as a piece of his simplicity only; so he had him then brought before him, and condemned to die for being on the side of the Romans, without giving him leave to make his defence. He condemned also his three sons to die with him; for as to the fourth, he prevented him by running away to Titus before. And, when he begged for this, that he might be slain before his sons, and that as a favour, on account that he had procured the gates of the city to be opened to him, he gave order that he should be slain the last of them all; so he was not slain till he had seen his sons slain before his eyes, and that by being produced over against the Romans; for such a charge had Simon
given to Ananus the son of Bamadus, who was the most barbarous of all his guards. He also jested upon him, and told him, that he might now see whether those to whom he intended to go over, would send him any succours or not: but still he forbade their dead bodies should be buried. After the slaughter of these, a certain priest, Ananias, the son of Masambalus a person of eminency, as also Aristeus, the scribe of the Sanhedrim, and born at Emmaus, and with them fifteen men of figure among the people were slain. They also kept Josephus's father in prison, and made public proclamation, that no citizen whosoever should either speak to him himself or go into his company among others for fear he should betray them. They also slew such as joined in lamenting these men, without any farther examination.
2. Now when Judas the son of Judas, who was one of Simon's under-officers, and a person intrusted by him to keep one of the towers, saw this procedure of Simon, he called together ten of those under him, that were most faithful to him, (perhaps this was done partly out of pity to those that had so barbarously been put to death, but principally in order to provide for his own safety), and spake thus to them: "How long shall we bear these mise"ries? or what hopes have we of deliverance by thus con"tinuing faithful to such wicked wretches? Is not the fa"mine already come against us? Are not the Romans in a "manner gotten within the city 1 Is uot Simon become un"faithful to his benefactors ? and is there not vep.ron to fear "he will very soon bring us to the like punishment, while "the security the Romans offer us is sure? Come on, let u us surrender up this wall, and save ourselves and the ci"ty. Nor will Simon be very much hurt, if, now he des"pairs of deliverance, he be brought to justice a little "sooner than he thinks on." Now these men were prevailupon by those arguments; so he sent the rest of those that were under him some one way and some another, that no discovery might be made of what they had resolved upon. Accordingly he called to the Romans, from the tower about the third hour; but they, some of them out of pride despised what he said, and others of them did not believe him to be in earnest, though tke greatest number delayed the matter, as believing they should get possession of the city in a little time without any hazard. But when Titus was just