Page images
PDF
EPUB

enemy by his ankle, as he was running away. The man was, however, of a robust body, and in his armour; so low did Pedanius bend himself downward from his horse, even as he was galloping away, and so great was the strength of his right hand and of the rest of his body, as also such skill had he in horsemanship. So this man seized upon that his prey as upon a precious treasure, and carried him as his captive to Cæsar: whereupon

Titus admired the man that had seized the other for his great strength, and ordered the man that was caught to be punished (with death] for his attempt against the Roman wall, but betook himself to the siege of the temple, and to pressing on the raising of the banks.

9. In the meantime the Jews were so distressed by the fights they had been in, as the war advanced higher and higher, and creeping up to the holy house itself, that they, as it were, cut off those limbs of their body which were infected, in order to prevent the distemper's spreading farther; for they set the northwest cloister, which was joined to the tower of Antonia, on fire, and after that brake off about twenty cubits of that cloister, and thereby made a beginning in burning the sanctuary: two days after which, or on the twenty-fourth day of the forenamed month [Panemus or Tamuz], the Romans set fire to the cloister that joined to the other, when the fire went fifteen cubits farther. The Jews, in like manner, cut off its roof; nor did they entirely leave off what they were about till the tower of Antonia was parted from the teniple, even when it was in their power to have stopped the fire ; nay, they lay still while the temple was first set on fire, and deemed this spreading of the fire to be for their own advantage. However, the armies were still fighting one against another about the temple, and the war was managed by continual sallies of particular parties against one another.

10. Now there was at this time a man among the Jews; low of stature he was, and of a despicable appearance; of no character either as to his family, or in other respects; his name was Jonathan. He went out at the high priest John's monument, and uttered many other insolent things to the Romans, and challenged the best of them all to a single combat. But many of those that stood there in the army huffed him, and many of them (as they might well be) were afraid of him. Some of them also reasoned thus, and that justly enough, that it was not fit to fight with a

man that desired to die: because those that utterly despaired of deliverance had, besides other passions, a violence of attacking men that could not be opposed, and had no regard to God himself: and that to hazard one's self with a person, whom, if you overcome, you do no great matter, and by whom it is hazardous that you may be taken prisoner, would be an instance not of manly courage, but of unmanly rashness. So there

being nobody that came out to accept the man's challenge, and the Jew cutting them with a great number of reproaches, as cowards (for he was a very haughty man in himself, and a great despiser of the Romans), one whose name was Pudens, of the body of horsemen, out of his abomination of the other's words, and of his impudence withal, and, perhaps, out of an inconsiderate arrogance, on account of the other's lowness of stature, ran out to him, and was too hard for him in other respects, but was betrayed by his ill fortune; for he fell down; and as he was down, Jonathan came running to him, and cut his throat; and then standing upon his dead body, he brandished his sword, bloody as it was, and shook his shield with his left hand, and made many acclamations to the Roman army, and insulted over the dead man, and jested upon the Romans; till at length one Priscus a centurion shot a dart at him, as he was leaping and playing the fool with himself, and thereby pierced him through; upon which a shout was set up both by the Jews and the Řomans, though on different accounts. So Jonathan grew giddy by the pain of his wounds, and fell down upon the body of his adversary, as a plain instance how suddenly vengeance may come upon men that have success in war without any just deserving the same.

CHAP. III. Concerning a Stratagem that was devised by the Jews, by which

they burnt many of the Romans; with another Description,

of the terrible Famine that was in the City. § 1. But now the seditious that were in the temple did every day openly endeavour to beat off the soldiers that were upon the banks; and on the twenty-seventh day of the forenamed month [Panemus or Tamuz] contrived such a stratagem as this:-They filled that part of the western cloister* which was between the beams and the roof under them with dry materials, as also with bitumen and pitch, and then retired from that place, as though they were tired with the pains they had taken; at which procedure of theirs many of the most inconsiderate among the Romans, who were carried away with violent passions, followed hard after them as they were retiring, and applied ladders to the cloister, and got up to it suddenly: but the more prudent part of them, when they understood this unaccountable retreat of the Jews, stood still where they were before. However, the cloister was full of those that were gone up the ladders; at which time the Jews set it all on fire ; and as the flame burst out every where on the sudden, the Romans that were out of the danger were

* Of the court of the Gentiles.

[merged small][ocr errors]

seized with a very great consternation, as were those that were in the midst of the danger in the utmost distress. So when they perceived themselves surrounded with the flames, some of them threw themselves down backwards into the city, and some among their enemies [in the temple); as did many leap down to their own men, and broke their limbs to pieces; but a great number of those that were going to take these violent methods were prevented by the fire, though some prevented the fire by their own swords. However, the fire was on the sudden carried so far as to surround those who would have otherwise perished. As for Cæsar himself, he could not, however, but commiserate those that thus perished, although they got up thither without any order for so doing, since there was no way of giving them any relief. Yet was this some comfort to those that were destroyed, that every body might see that person grieve for whose sake they came to their end; for he cried out openly to them, and leaped up, and exhorted those that were about him to do their utmost to relieve them. So every one of them died cheerfully, as carrying along with him these words, and this intention of Cæsar, as a sepulchral monument. Some there were, indeed, who retired into the wall of the cloister, which was broad, and were preserved out of the fire, but were then surrounded by the Jews; and although they made resistance against the Jews for a long time, yet were they wounded by them, and at length they all fell down dead.

2. At the last, a young man among them, whose name was Longus, became a decoration to this sad affair, and while every one of them that perished were worthy of a memorial, this man appeared to deserve it beyond all the rest. Now the Jews admired this man for his courage, and were farther desirous of having him slain; so they persuaded him to come down to them upon security given him for his life. But Cornelius his brother persuaded him on the contrary not to tarnish their own glory, nor that of the Roman army. He complied with this last advice, and lifting up his sword before both armies, he slew himself. Yet was there one Artorius among those surrounded with the fire who escaped by his subtility; for when he had with a loud voice called to him Lucius, one of his fellow soldiers that lay with him in the same teut, and said to him," I do leave thee heir of all I have, if thou wilt come and receive me.” Upon this he came running to receive him readily: Artorius then threw himself down upon him, and saved his own life, while he that received him was dashed so vehemently against the stone pavement by the other's weight, that he died immediately. This melancholy accident made the Romans sad for a while, but still it made them more upon their guard for the future, and was of advantage to them against the delusions of the Jews, by which

1

they were greatly damaged, through their unacquaintedness with the places and with the nature of the inhabitants. Now this cloister was burnt down as far as John's tower, which he built in the war he made against Simon, over the gates that led to the Xystus. The Jews also cut off the rest of that cloister from the temple, after they had destroyed those that got up to it. But the next day the Romans burnt down the northern cloister entirely as far as the east cloister, whose common angle joined to the valley that was called Cedron, and was built over it; on which account the depth was frightful. And this was the state of the temple at that time.

3. Now of those that perished by famine in the city the number was prodigious, and the miseries they underwent were unspeakable; for if so much as the shadow of any kind of food did any where appear, a war was commenced presently, and the dearest friends fell a fighting one with another about it, snatching from each other the most miserable supports of life. Nor would men believe that those who were dying had no food, but the robbers would search them when they were expiring, lest any one should have concealed food in their bosoms, and counterfeited dying: nay, these robbers gaped for want, and ran about stumbling and staggering along like mad dogs, and reeling against the doors of the houses like drunken men; they would also, in the great distress they were in, rush into the very same houses two or three times in one and the same day. Moreover, their hunger was so intolerable, that it obliged them to chew every thing, while they gathered such things as the most sordid animals would not touch, and endured to eat them; nor did they, at length, abstain from girdles and shoes, and the very leather which belonged to their shields they pulled off and gnawed: the very wisps of old hay became food to some, and some gathered up fibres, and sold a very small weight of them for four Attic [drachmæ]. But why do I describe the shameless impudence that the famine brought on men in their eating inanimate things? while I am going to relate a matter of fact, the like to which no history relates*, either among the Greeks or barbarians. It is horrible to speak of it, and incredible when heard. I had, indeed, willingly omitted this calamity of ours, that I might not seem to deliver what is so portentous to posterity, but that I have innumerable witnesses to it in my own age; and, besides,

* What Josephus observes here, that no parallel examples had been recorded before this time of such sieges, wherein mothers were forced by extremity of famine to eat their own children, as had been threatened to the Jews, in the law of Moses, apon obstinate disobedience, and more than once fulfilled (see my Boyle's Lectures, p. 210—214), is by Dr. Hudson supposed to have had two or three parallel examples in later ages. He might have had more examples, I suppose, of persons on shipboard, or in a desert island, casting lots for each other's bodies. But all this was only in cases where they knew of no possible

my country would have had little reason to thank me for suppressing the miseries that she underwent at this time.

4. There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan; her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezub, which signifies the House of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem, with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon, such I mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. This put the poor woman into a very great passion; and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she cast at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her; but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out of commiseration of her case, would take away her life; and if she found any food, she perceived her labours were for others, and not for herself; and it was now become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow, when also her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself; nor did she consult with any thing but with her passion and the necessity she was in. She then attempted a most unnatural thing, and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said,-“ Othou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee in this war,

this famine, and this sedition? As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are the seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a byword 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

Come on;

way to avoid death themselves but by killing and eating others. Whether such examples come up to the present case may be doubted. The Romans were not only willing but very desirous to grant those Jews in Jerusalem both their lives and their liberties, and to save both their city and their temple. But the zealots, the robbers, and the seditious, would hearken to no terms of submission. They voluntarily chose to reduce the citizens to that extremity, as to force mothers to this unnatural barbarity, which in all its circumstances has not, I still suppose, been hitherto paralleled among the rest of mankind.

« PreviousContinue »