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CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF ABOUT ONE MONTH.
[From the great extremity to which the Jews were reduced, to
the taking of Jerusalem by Titus.]
That the miseries of the Jews still grew worse : and how the Romans
made an assault upon the tower of Antonia.
§ 1. Thus did the miseries of Jerusalem grow worse and worse every day, and the seditious were still more irritated by the calamities they were under, even while the famine preyed upon themselves after it had preyed upon the people. And, indeed, the multitude of carcases that lay in heaps one upon another, was an horrible sight, and produced a pestilential stench, which was an hindrance to those that would make sallies out of the city, and fight the enemy: but, as those were to go in battle array, who had been already used to ten thousand murders, and must tread upon those dead bodies as they marched along, so they were pot terrified, nor did they pity men as they marched over them; nor did they deem this affront offered to the deceased to be any ill omen to themselves : but, as they had their right hands already polluted with the murders of their own countrymen, and in that condition ran out to fight with foreigners, they seem to me to have cast a reproach upon God himself, as if he were too slow in punishing them : for the war was not now gone on with, as if they had any hope of victory; for they gloried after a brutish manner in that despair of deliverance they were already in. And now the Romans, although they were greatly distressed in getting together their materials, raised their banks in one and twenty days, after they had cut down all the trees that were in the country that adjoined to the city, and that for ninety furlongs round about as I have already related. And truly, the very view itself of the country was a melanchqa ly thing ; for those places which were before adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become a desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down ; nor could any foreigner, that had formerly seen Judea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change ; for the war had laid all the signs of beauty quite waste; nor, if any one that had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again; but though he were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it notwithstanding.
2. And now the banks were finished, they afforded a foundation of fear both to the Romans and to the Jews; for the Jews expected that the city would be taken, unless they could burn those banks, as did the Romans expect that, if they were once burnt down, they should never be able to take it; for there was a mighty scarcity of materials and the bodies of the soldiers began to fail with such hard labours as did their souls faint with so many instances of ill success ; nay, the very calamities themselves that were in the city proved a greater discouragement to the Romans than to those within the city; for they found the fighting men of the Jews to be not at all molli ed among such their sore afflictions, while they had themselves perpetually less and less hopes of success, and their banks were forced to yield to the stratagems of the enemy, their engines to the firmness of their wall, and their closest fights to the boldness of their attack: apd, what was their greatest discouragement of all they found the Jews' courageous souls to be superior to the multitude of the miseries they were under by their sedition, their famine, and the war itself; insomuch, that they were ready to imagine, that the violence of their attacks was invincible, and that the alacrity they shewed could not be discouraged by their calamities; for what would not those be able to bear if they should be fortuneate, who turned their very misfortunes to the improvement of their valour? These considerations made the Roy mans to keep a stronger guard about their banks than they formerly had done.
3. But now John and his party took care for securing themselves afterward even in case this wall should be thrown down, and fell to their work before the battering rams were brought against them. Yet did they not compass
what they endeavoured to do, but as they were gone out with their torches, they came back under great discours, agement before they came near to the banks : and the reas sons were these ; that in the first place their conduct did not seem to be unanimous, but they went out in distinct parties, and at distinct intervals, and after a slow manner, and timorously, and, to say all in one word, without a Jewish courage; for they were now defective in what is peculiar to our nation that is, in boldness, in violence of assault, and in running upon the enemy altogether, and in persevering in what they go about, though they do not at first succeed in it; but now they went out in a more languid manner than usual, and at the same time found the Romans set in array, and more courageous than ordinary, and that they guarded their banks both with their bodies and their entire armour, and this to such a degree on all sides, that they left no room for the fire to get among them, and that every one of their souls were in such good courage that they would sooner die than desert their ranks ; for besides their notion that all their hopes were cut off, in case these their works were once burnt, the soldiers were greatly ashamed that subtility should be quite too hard for courage, madness for armour, multitude for skill, and Jews for Romans. The Romans had now also another advantage, in that their engines for sieges co-operated with them in throwing darts and stones as far as the Jews, when they were coming out of the city; whereby the man that fell became an impediment to him that was next him, as did the danger of going farher make them less zealous in their attempts; and for those that had run under the darts, some of them were terrified by the good order and closeness of the enemies' ranks before they came to a close fight, and others were pricked with their spears, and turned back again: at length they reproached one another for their cowardice, and retired without doing any thing. This attack was made upon the first day of the month Panemus, [Tamuz.] So when the Jews were retreated, the Romans brought their engines, although they had all the while stones thrown at them from the tower of Antonia, and were assaulted by fire and sword, and by all sorts of darts which necessity afforded the Jews to make use of ; for although these had great dependence on their own wall, and a contempt of the Roman engines, yet did they endeavour to hinder the Romans from bringing them. Now these Romans struggled hard on the contrary, to bring them, as deeming that this zeal of the Jews was in order to avoid any impression to be made on the tower of Antonia, because its wall was but weak, and its foundations rotten. However, that tower did not yield to the blows given it from the engines; yet did the Romans bear the impressions made by the enemies' darts, which were perpetually cast at them, and did not give way to any of those dangers that came upon them from above, and so they brought their engines to bear. But then as they were beneath the other, and were sadly wounded by the stones thrown down upon them, some of them threw their shields over their bodies, and partly with their hands, and partly with their bodies, and partly with crows, they undermined its foundations, and with great pains they removed four of its stones. Then night came upon both sides, and put an end to this struggle for the present : however, that night the wall was so shaken by the battering rams in that place where John had used his stratagem before, and had undermined their banks, that the ground then gave way, and the wall fell down suddeply.
4. When this accident had unexpectedly happened, the winds of both parties were variously affected : for though one would expect that the Jews would be discouraged, be'cause this fall of their wall was unexpected by them, and they had made no provision in that case, yet did they pull up their courage, because the tower of Antonia itself was still standing ; as was the unexpected joy of the Romans at this fall of the wall soon quenched by the sight they had of another wall, which John and his party had built within it. However, the attack of this second wall appeared to be easier than that of the former, because it seemed a thing of greater facility to get up to it through the parts of the former wall that were now thrown down. This new wall appeared also to be much weaker than the tower of Antonia, and accordingly the Romans imagined that it had been erected so much on the sudden, that they should soon overthrow it; yet did not any body venture now to go up to this wall ; for that such as first ventured to do so must certainly be killed.
5. And now Titus, upon consideration that the alacrity of soldiers in war is chiefly excited by hopes and by good words, and that exhortations and promises do frequently
make men to forget the hazards they run, nay, and sometimes to despise death itself, got together the most courageous part of his army, and tried what he could do with his men by these methods. “O fellow soldiers,” said he, “ to s make an exhortation to men to do what hath no peril in it, “is, on that very account, inglorious to such to 'whom " that exhortation is made; and indeed so it is in him that " makes the exhortation, an argument of his own cowardice “ also. I therefore think that such exhortations ought then “ only to be made use of when affairs are in a dangerous " condition, and yet are worthy of being attempted by eve“ ry one themselves : accordingly, I am fully of the same " opinion with you, that it is a difficult task to go up this “ wall; but that it is proper for those that desire reputa« tion for their valour to struggle with difficulties in such “ cases will then appear, when I have particularly shewed, " that it is a brave thing to die with glory, and that the “ courage here necessary shall not go unrewarded in those " that first begin the attempt. And, let my first argument “ to move you to it be taken from what probably some “ would think reasonable to dissuade you, I mean the con“ stancy and patience of these Jews, even under their ill ** successes ; for it is unbecoming you, who are Romans and “ my soldiers, who have in peace been taught how to make 56 wars, and who have also been used to conquer in those “ wars, to be inferior to Jews either in action of the hand, “ or in courage of the soul, and this especially when you " are at the conclusion of your victory, and are assisted “by God himself; for, as to our misfortunes, they have s been owing to the madness of the Jews, while their suf“ ferings have been, owing to your valour, and to the assistans ces God hath afforded you; for, as to the seditions they “ have been in, and the famine they are under, and the siege “they now endure, and the fall of their walls without our " engines, what can they all be but demonstration of God's anger against them, and of his assistance afforded
us! It will not therefore be proper for you either to shew " yourselves inferior to those to whom you are really supe“rior, or to betray that divine assistance which is afforded “ you. And indeed, how can it be esteemed otherwise “ than a base and unworthy thing, that, while the Jews, “ who need not be much ashamed if they be deserted, be*ó cause they have long learned to be slaves to others, do yet