Page images
PDF
EPUB

put to the trial, whether he be worthy of his former glorious performances, whether I be his son in reality, and whether you be really my soldiers : For it is usual for my father to conquer; and for myself I should not bear the thoughts of returning to him it I were once taken by the enemy. And how will you be able to avoid being alhamed, if you do not Thew equal courage with your commander, when he goes before you into danger ? For you know very well that I shall go into the danger first, and make the first attack upon the enemy. Do not you therefore delert me, but persuade your. selves that God will be assisting to my onlet. Know this also before we begin, that we shall now have better success than we should have, if we were to fight at a distance"

3. As Titus was saying this, an extraordinary fury fell upon the men ; and as Trajan was already come betore the fight began, with fourhundred horsemen, they were uneasy at it, because the reputation of the vi&ory would be diminithed by be. ing common to so many. Vespasian had allo sent both Antonius and Silo, with two thouland archers, and had given it them in charge to seize upon the mountain that was over against the city, and repel those that were upon the wall; which arch. ers did as they were commanded, and prevented those that at. tempted to assist them that way. And now Titus made his own horse march first against the enemy, as did the others with a great noise after him, and extend themselves upon the plain as wide as the enemy which confronted them, by which means they appeared much more numerous than they really were. Now the Jews, although they were surprised at iheir onset, and at their good order, made resistance against their attacks, for a little while ; but when they were pricked with their long poles, and overborne by the violent noise of the horsemen, they came to be trampled under their feet ; inany also of them were flain on every side, which made them disperse themselves and run to the city, as far as every one of them were able. So Titus pressed upon the hindmost, and New them ; and of the rest some he fell upon as they stood on heaps, and some he prevented, and met them in the mouth, and run them through; many also he leaped upon as they fell one upon an. other, and trod them down, and cut off all the retreat they had to the wall, and turned them back into the plain, till at lait they forced a passage by their multitude, and got away, and run into the city.

4. But now there fell out a terrible sedition among them within the city ; for the inhabitants themselves, who had pol. Sessions there, and to whom the city belonged, were not dispoled to fight from the very beginning ; and not the less to, because they had been beaten : But the foreigners, which were very numerous, would force them to fight to much the more, insomuch that there was a clamour and a tumult among them, as all mutually angry one at another. And when Titus heard

this tumult, for he was not far from the wall, he cried out, “ Fellow soldiers, now is the time ; and why do we make any delay, when God is giving up the Jews to us ? Take the vičtory which is given you : Do not you hear what a noise they make ? Thole that have escaped our hands are in an up. roar against one another. We have the city if we make haste: But besides hafte we muft undergo some labour, and use some courage; for no great thing, uses to be accomplished without danger; accordingly we must not only prevent their uniting again, which necessity will soon compel them to do, but we must also prevent the coming of their own men to our assist. ance, that as few as we are we may conquer so great a multitude, and may ourselves alone take the city.”

5. As soon as ever Titus had said this, he leaped upon his horse, and rode apace down to the lake; by which lake he marched, and entered into the city the first of them all, as did the others soon after him. Hereupon thole that were upon the walls were seized with a terror at the boldness of the ato tempt, nor durft any one venture to fight with him, or to hinder him ; so they left guarding the ciiy, and some of thole that were about Jesus fled over the country, while others of them ran down to the lake, and met the enemy in the teeth, and some were llain as they were getting up into the ships. but others of them, as they attempted to overtake those that were already gone aboard. There was also a great flaughter made in the city, while those foreigners that had not fled away already, made opposition ; but the natural inhabitants were killed without fighting : For in hopes of Titus's giving them his right hand for their security, and out of consciousness that they had not given any conlent to the war, they avoided fighting, till Titus had flain the authors of this revolt, and then put a stop to any farther daughters out of commiferation of these inhabitants of the place. But for thofe that had fled 10 the lake, upon seeing the city taken, they failed as far polli. bly they could from the enemy.

6. Hereupon Titus fent one of his horsemen to his father, and let him know the good news of what he had done : At which, as was natural, he was very joyful, both on account of the courage and glorious actions of his son ; for he thought now the greatest part of the war was over. He then came thither hinfell, and set men to guard the city, and gave them com. mand to take care that nobody got privately out of it, but to kill such as attempted fo to do. "And on the next day he went down to the lake, and commanded that vessels should be fitted up in order to pursue chose that had escaped in the ships. These veslels were quickly gotten ready accordingly, because there was great plenty of materials, and a great number of artificers allo.

7. Now this lake of Gennefareth is so called from the country'adjoining to it. Its breadth is forty furlongs, and its length

one hundred and forty ; its waters are sweet, and very agreea. ble for drinking, for they are finer than the thick waters of other fens; the lake is also pure, and on every fide ends directly at the shores, and at the sand ; it is also of a temperate nature when you draw it up, and of a more gentle nature than river or fountain water, and yet always cooler than one would expect in so diffuse a place as this is : Now when this water is kept in the open air, it is as cold as that snow which the country people are accustomed to make by night in summer. There are several kinds of fish in it, different both to the taste and the light from those elsewhere. It is divided into two parts by the river Jordan Now Panium is thought to be the fountain of Jordan, but in reality it is carried thither after an occult manner from the place called Phiala : This place lies as you go up to Trachonitis, and is an hundred and twenty furlongs from Cesarea, and is not far out of the road on the right hand ; and indeed it hath its name of Phiala (vial or bowl, very juftly, from the roundness of its circumference, as being round like a wheel ; its water continues always up to its edges, without either finking or running over. And as this origin of Jordan was formerly not known, it was discovered so to be when Pil. ip was tetrarch of Trachonitis ; for he had chaff thrown into Phiala, and it was found at Panium, where the ancients thought the fountain head of the river was, whither it had been there. fore carried [by the waters]. As for Panium itself, its natural beauty had been improved by the royal liberality of Agrippa, and adorned at his expences. Now Jordan's visible Atream arises from this cavern, and divides the marshes and fens of the lake Semehonitis ; when it hach run another hundred and iwen. ty furlongs, it first passes by the city Julias, and then passes through the middle of the lake Gennesareth ; after which it runs a long way over a desart, and then makes its exit into the lake Asphaltitis.

8. The country alfo that lies over against this lake hath the lame name of Gennefareth ; its nature is wonderful as well as its beauty ; its soil is so fruitful that all sorts of trees can grow upon it, and the inhabitants accordingly plant all forts of trees there ; for the temper of the air is so well mixed that it agrees very well with those several sorts, particularly walnuts, which require the coldest air, flourish there in vast plenty ; there are palm trees also, which grow best in hot air ; fig trees alio and olives grow near them, which yet require an air that is more temperare. One may call this place the ambition of nature, where it forces those plants that are naturally enemies to one another to agree together : It is a happy contention of the sea. fons, as if every one of them laid claim to this country ; for it not only nourishes different sorts of autumnal fruit beyond mens expectation, but preserves them a great while ; it fupplies men with the principal fruits, with grapes * and figs,

* It may be worth our while to observe here, that near this lake of Cennesaretle continually, during ten months of the year, and the rest of the fruits as they become ripe together through the whole year : For begides the good temperature of the air, it is also watered from a most fertile fountain. The people of the country called it Capharnaum ; Some have thought it to be a vein of the Nile, because it produces the Coracin fish as well as that lake does which is near to Alexandria. The length of this coun. try extends itself along the banks of this lake that bears the same name, for thirty furlongs, and is in breadth twenty. And this is the nature of that place.

9. But now, when the vessels were gotten ready, Velpasian put upon ship board as many of his forces as he thought suffi. cient to be too hard for those that were upon the lake, and let Sail after them. Now these which were driven into the lake, could neither fly to the land, where all was in their enemies hand, and in war against them; nor could they fight upon the level by sea, for their ships were small and fitted only for pira. cy; they were too weak to fight with Vespasian's vessels, and the mariners that were in them were so few, that they were afraid to come near the Romans, who attacked them in great numbers. However, as they failed round about the vessels, and sometimes as they came near them, they threw stones at the Romans when they were a good way off, or came closer and fought them : Yet did they receive the greatest harm them. selves in both cases. As for the stones they threw at the Ro. mans, they only made a sound one after another, for they threw them against such as were in their armour, while the Roman darts could reach the Jews themselves; and when they ven. tured to come near the Romans, they became sufferers them. selves before they could do any harm to the other, and were drowned, they and their thips, together. As for those that en. deavoured to come to an actual fight, the Romans ran many of them through with their long poles. Sometimes the Ro. mans leaped into their ships with swords in their hands, and lew them ; but when some of them met the vessels, the Ro. mans caught them by the middle, and destroyed at once their ships, and themselves who were taken in them. And for such as were drowning in the sea, if they lifted their heads up above the water, they were either killed by darts, or caught by the vessels; but it, in the desperate case they were in, they attempt. ed to swim to their enemies, the Romans cut off either their heads or their hands ; and indeed they were destroyed after va. rious manners every where, till the reft being put to flight, were forced to get upon the land, while the vessels encompasl. ed them about on the fea ]: But as many of these were repulfed when they were getting alhore, they were killed by the darts upon the lake ; and the Romans leaped out of their vel. dels, and destroyed a great many more upon the land : One might then see the lake all bloody, and full of dead bodies, for not one of them escaped. And a terrible stink, and a very sad fight there was on the following days over that country; for as for the shores, they were full of thipwrecks. and of dead bo. dies all 'welled ; and as the dead bodies were inflamed by the fun, and putrified, they corrupted the air insomuch that the misery was not only the object of commiseration to the Jews, but to those that hated them, and had been the authors of that mifery. This was the upshot of the sea fight. The number of the slain. including those that were killed in the city before, was fix thousand and five hundred.

grapes and figs hang on the trees ten months of the year. We may observe also, that in Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechef. xviü. 63. which was delivered not long before Lafter, there were no fresh leaves of fig-trees, nor bunches of fresh grapes in Judea ; so that when St. Mark says, ch. xi. ver. 13. that our Saviour, foon after the fams time of the year, came and “ found leaves" on a fig tree near Jerusalem, but “no figs, because the time of " new “figs" ripening * was not yet," he says very true ; nor were they there!ore other than old leaves which our Saviour faw, and old figs which be expected, and which even with us commonly hang on the trees all winter long.

10. After this fight was over, Velpasian sat upon his tribu. nal at Taricheæ, in order to distinguilh the foreigners from the old inhabitants; for those foreigners appeared to have begun the war. So he deliberated with the other commanders, whether he ought to save those old inhabitants or not. And when those commanders alleged that the dismission of them would be to his own diladvantage, because when they were once set at liberty, they would not be at rest, since they would be people destitute of proper habitations, and would be able to compel such as they fled to, to fight against us, Vespasian acknowledged that they did not deserve to be saved, and that if they had leave given them to fly away, they would make use of it against those that gave them that leave. But still he considered with himself, * after what manner they should be fain; for if he had them llain there, he suspected the people of the country would thereby become his enemies ; for that to be sure they would never bearit, that so many that had been supplicants to him should be killed, and to offer violence to them, after he had given them assurances of their lives, he could not himself bear to do it. However. his friends were too hard for him, and pretended that nothing against Jews could be any impiety, and that he ought to prefer what was profitable before what was fit to be done. where both could

• This is the moft cruel and barbarous action that Vespasian ever did in this whole war, as he did it with great reluctance also. It was done both after public assurance given of sparing the prisoners lives, and when all knew and confessed that these prisoners were no way guilty of any ledition againg the Romans. Nor indeed did Titus now give his consent, fo far as appears, nor ever act of himlelf lo barbarously; nay, soon after this Titus grew quite weary of Medding of blood, and of punishing the innocent with the guilty, and gave the people of Gischala leave to keep the Jewish Sabbath, B. IV. ch. ii $ 3, 5 in the midit of their Gege Nor was Volpa!ian disposed to do what he did, till his officers persuaded him, and that from two principal topics, viz. that nothing could be unjust thar was done against jews, and that when both cannot be confistent, advantage mult prevail over justice. Admirable court doctrines these!

« PreviousContinue »