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cured to his father Claudius to have a triumph bestowed on him without any sweat or labour of his own.
3. So Nero esteemed these circumstances as favourable omens, and saw that Vespasian's age gave him sure experience and great skill, and that he had his sons as hostages for his fidelity to himself, and that the flourishing age they were in would make them fit instruments under their father's prudence. Perhaps also there was some interposition of providence, which was paving the way for Vespasian's being himself emperor afterwards. Upon the whole, he sent this man to take upon
him the command of the armies that were in Syria; but this not without great encomiums and flattering compellations, such as necessity required, and such as might mollify him into complaisance. So Vespasian sent his son Titus from Achaia, where he had been with Nero, to Alexandria, to bring back with him from thence the fifth and the tenth legions, while he himself, when he had passed over the Hellespont, came by land into Syria, where he gathered together the Roman forces, with a considerable number of auxiliaries from the kings in that neighbourhood.
CHAP. II. A great Slaughter of the Jews about Ascalon. Vespasian
comes to Ptolemais. $ 1. Now the Jews, after they had beaten Cestius, were so much elevated with their unexpected success, that they could not govern their zeal, but like people blown up into a flame by their good fortune, carried the war to remoter places. Accordingly, they presently got together a great multitude of all their most hardy soldiers, and marched away for Ascalon. This is an ancient city that is distant from Jerusalem five hundred and twenty furlongs, and was always an enemy to the Jews; on which account they determined to make their first effort against it, and to make their approaches to it as near as possible. This excursion was led on by three men, who were the chief of them all both for strength and sagacity. Niger called the Peraite, Silas of Babylon, and, besides them, John the Essene, Now Ascalon was strongly walled about, but had almost no assistance to be relied on [near them], for the garrison consisted of one cohort of footmen, and one troop of horsemen, whose captain was Antonius.
2. These Jews, therefore, out of their anger, marched faster
moved into Britain, and fought thirty battles with the enemy.” In Vesp. sect. 4. We may also here note from Josephus, that Claudius the emperor, who triumphed for the conquest of Britain, was enabled so to-do by Vespasian's conduct and bravery, and that he is here styled the father of Vespasian.
tban ordinary, and, as if they had come but a little way, approached very near the city, and were come even to it; but Antonius, who was not unapprized of the attack they were going to make upon the city, drew out his horsemen beforehand, and being neither daunted at the multitude nor at the courage of the enemy, received their first attacks with great bravery; and when they crowded to the very walls, he beat them off. Now the Jews were unskilful in war, but were to fight with those that were skilful therein; they were footmen to fight with horsemen; they were in disorder to fight those that were united together; they were poorly armed to fight those that were completely so; they were to fight more by their rage than by sober counsel, and were exposed to soldiers that were exactly obedient, and did every thing they were bidden upon the least intimation : So they were easily beaten; for as soon as ever their first ranks were once in disorder, they were put to flight by the enemy's cavalry; and those of them that came behind such as crowded to the wall fell
upon their own party's weapons, and became one another's enemies; and this so long till they all were forced to give way to the attacks of the horsemen, and were dispersed all over the plain; which plain was wide, and all fit for the horsemen; which circumstance was very commodious for the Romans, and occasioned the slaughter of the greatest number of the Jews; for such as ran away they could overrun them and make them turn back; and when they had brought them back after their flight, and driven them together, they ran them through, and slew a vast number of them, insomuch that others encompassed others of them, and drove them before them whithersoever they turned themselves, and slew them easily with their arrows; and the great number there were of the Jews seemed a solitude to themselves, by reason of the distress they were in, while the Romans had such good success with their small number, that they seemed to themselves to be the greater multitude. And as the former strove zealously under their misfortunes, out of the shame of a sudden flight, and hopes of the change in their success, so did the latter feel no weariness, by reason of their good fortune; insomuch that the fight lasted till the evening, till ten thousand men of the Jews' side lay dead, with two of their generals, John and Silas, and the greater part of the remainder were wounded, with Niger, their remaining general, who fled away together to a small city of Idumea called Sallis : some few also of the Romans were wounded in this battle.
3. Yet were not the spirits of the Jews broken by so great a calamity, but the losses they had sustained rather quickened their resolution for other attempts; for, overlooking the dead bodies which lay under their feet, they were enticed by their former glorious actions to venture on a second destruction; so
when they had lain still so little a while that their wounds were not yet thoroughly cured, they got together all their forces, and came with greater fury, and in much greater numbers, to Ascalon. But their former ill fortune followed them, as the consequence of their unskilfulness, and other deficiencies in war; for Antonius laid ambushes for them in the passages they were to go through, where they fell into snares unexpectedly, and where they were compassed about with horsemen, before they could form themselves into a regular body for fighting, and were above eight thousand of them slain : so all the rest of them ran away, and with them Niger, who still did a great many bold exploits in his flight. However, they were driven along together by the enemy, who pressed hard upon them, into a certain strong tower belonging to a village called Bezedel. However, Antonius and his party, that they might neither spend any considerable time about this tower, which was hard to be taken, nor suffer their commander, and the most courageous man of them all, to escape from them, they set the wall on fire; and as the tower was burning, the Romans went away rejoicing, as taking it for granted that Niger was destroyed; but he leaped out of the tower into a subterraneous cave, in the innermost part of it, and was preserved; and on the third day afterward he spake out of the ground to those that, with great lamentation, were searching for him, in order to give him a decent funeral : and when he was come out, he filled all the Jews with an unexpected joy, as though he were preserved by God's providence to be their commander for the time to come.
4. And now Vespasian took along with him his army from Antioch (which is the metropolis of Syria, and, without dispute, deserves the place of the third* city in the habitable earth that was under the Roman empire, both in magnitude and other marks of prosperity), where he found King Agrippa, with all his forces, waiting for his coming, and marched to Ptolemais. At this city also the inhabitants of Sepphoris of Galilee met him, who were for peace
with the Romans. These citizens had beforehand taken care of their own safety, and being sensible of the
power of the Romans, they had been with Cestius Gallus before Vespasian came, and had given their faith to him, and received the security of his right hand, and had received a Roman garrison; and at this time withal they received Vespasian, the Roman general, very kindly, and readily promised that they would assist him against their own countrymen. Now the general delivered them, at their desire, as many horsemen and foot· men as he thought sufficient to oppose the incursions of the
* Spanheim and Reland both agree, that the two cities here esteemed greater than Antioch, the metropolis of Syria, were Rome and Alexandria; nor is there any occasion for doubt in so plain a case.
Jews, if they should come against them. And, indeed, the danger of losing Sepphoris would be no small one, in this war that was now beginning, seeing it was the largest city of Galilee, and built in a place by nature very strong, and might be a security of the whole nation's [fidelity to the Romans].
CHAP. III. A Description of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea. g 1. Now Phoenicia and Syria encompass about the Galilees, which are two, and called the Upper Galilee and the Lower. They are bounded, towards the sun setting, with the borders of the territory belonging to Ptolemais, and by Carmel; which mountain had formerly belonged to the Galileans, but now belonged to the Tyrians, to which mountain adjoins Gaba, which is called the city of horsemen, because those horsemen that were dismissed by Herod the king dwelt therein: they are bounded on the south with Samaria and Scythopolis, as far as the river Jordan ; on the east with Hippene and Gadaris, and also with Gaulanitis and the borders of the kingdom of Agrippa; its northern parts are bounded by Tyre and the country of the Tyrians. As for that Galilee which is called the Lower, it extends in length from Tiberias to Zabulon, and of the maritime places Ptolemais is its neighbour; its breadth is from the village called Xaloth, which lies in the great plain, as far as Bersabe, from which beginning also is taken the breadth of the Upper Galilee, as far as the village Baca, which divides the land of the Tyrians from it; its length is also from Meloth to Thella, a village near to Jordan.
2. These two Galilees, of so great largeness, and encompassed with so many nations of foreigners, have been always able to make a strong resistance on all occasions of war; for the Galileans are inured to war from their infancy, and have been always very numerous; nor hath the country been ever destitute of men of courage, or wanted a numerous set of them: for their soil is universally rich and fruitful, and full of the plantations of trees of all sorts, insomuch that it invites the most slothful to take pains in its cultivation by its fruitfulness: accordingly, it is all cultivated by its inhabitants, and no part of it lies idle. Moreover, the cities lie here very thick, and the very many villages there are here are everywhere so full of people, by the richness of their soil, that the very least of them contained above fifteen thousand inhabitants.
3. In short, if any one will suppose that Galilee is inferior to Perea in magnitude, he will be obliged to prefer it before it in its strength ; for this is all capable of cultivation, and is every
where fruitful; but for Perea, which is, indeed, much larger in extent, the greater part of it is desert and rough, and much less disposed for the production of the milder kinds of fruits; yet hath it a moist soil [in other parts), and produces all kinds of fruits, and its plains are planted with trees of all sorts, while yet the olive tree; the vine, and the palm trees, are chiefly cultivated there. It is also sufficiently watered with torrents, which issue out of the mountains, and with springs that never fail to run, even when the torrents fail them, as they do in the dogdays. Now the length of Perea is from Macherus to Pella, and its breadth from Philadelphia to Jordan: its northern parts are bounded by Pella, as we have already said, as well as its western with Jordan; the land of Moab is its southern border, and its eastern limits reach to Arabia and Silbonitis, and besides to Philadelphene and Gerasa.
4. Now as to the country of Samaria, it lies between Judea and Galilee: it begins at a village that is in the great plain called Ginea, and ends at the Acrabbene toparchy, and is entirely of the same nature with Judea; for both countries are made up of hills and valleys, and are moist enough for agriculture, and are very fruitful. They have abundance of trees, and are full of autumnal fruit, both that which grows wild and that which is the effect of cultivation. They are not naturally watered by many rivers, but derive their chief moisture from rain-water, of which they have no want; and for those rivers which they have, all their waters are exceeding sweet: by reason also of the excellent grass they have, their cattle yield more milk than do those in other places; and, what is the greatest sign of excellency and of abundance, they each of them are very full of people.
5. In the limits of Samaria and Judea lies the village Anuath, which is also named Borceos. This is the northern boundary of Judea. The southern parts of Judea, if they be measured lengthways, are bounded by a village adjoining to the contines of Arabia; the Jews that dwell there call it Jordan. However, its breadth is extended from the river Jordan to Joppa. The city Jerusalem is situated in the very middle; on which account some have, with sagacity enough, called that city the navel of the country. Nor, indeed, is Judea destitute of such delights as come from the sea, since its maritime places extend as far as Ptolemais: it was parted into eleven portions, of which the royal city Jerusalem was the supreme, and presided over all the neighbouring country, as the head does over the body. As to the other cities that were inferior to it, they presided over their several toparchies ; Gophna was the second of those cities, and next to that Acrabatta : after them Thanna, and Lydda, and Emmaus, and Pella, and Idumea, and Engaddi, and Herodium, and Jericho; and after them came Jamnia and Joppa, as pre