« PreviousContinue »
Josephus had sent out all the soldiers that were with him to gather corn, he knew not how either to march out alone against the revolters, or to stay where he was : because he was afraid the king's soldiers might prevent him if he carried, and might get into the city. For he did not intend to do any thing on the next day, because it was the sabbath, and would hinder his proceeding. So he contrived to circumvent the revolters by a stratagem. And in the first place be ordered the gates of Taricheæ to be shut, that nobody might go out, and inform those of Tiberias, for whom it was intended, what stratagem he was about. He then got together all the ships that were upon the lake, which were found to be two hundred and thirty : and in each of them he put no more than four mariners. So he sailed to Tiberias with baste, and kept at such a distance from the city, that it was not easy for the people to see the vessels: and ordered that the empty vessels should float up and down there ; while himself, who had but seven of his guards with him, and those unarmed also, went so near as to be seen. But when his adversaries, who were still reproaching him, saw him from the walls, they were so astonished that they supposed all the ships were full of armed men, and threw down their arms; and by siguals of intercession they besought him to spare the city.
Upon this Josephus threatened them terribly; and reproached them, that when they were the first that took up arms against the Romans, they should spend their force beforehand in civil dissensions; and do what their enemies desired above all things; and that besides they should endeavour so hastily to seize upon him who took care of their safety; and had not been ashamed to shut the gates of their city against him that built their walls: that, however, he would admit of any intercessors that might make some excuse for them : and with whom he would make such agreement as might be for the city's security. Hereupon ten of the most potent men of Tiberias came down to him presently. And when he had taken them into one of his vessels, he ordered them to be carried a great way off from the city. He then commanded that fifty others of their senate, such as were men of the greatest eminence, should come to him; that they also might give him some security on their behalf. After which, under new preten
ces, he called forth others, one after another, to make the leagues between them. He then gave order to the masters of those vessels which he had thus filled, to sail away immediately for Taricheæ ; and to confine those men in the prison there. Till at length he took all their senate, consisting of six hundred persons; and about two thousand of the populace; and carried them away to Taricheæ.
And when the rest of the people cried out, that it was one Clitus that was the chief author of this revolt; they desired him to spend his anger upon him only. But Josephus, whose intention it was to slay nobody, commanded one Levius, belonging to his guards, to go out of the vessel in order to cut off both Clitus's hands. Yet was Levius afraid to go out by himself alone, to such a large body of enemies, and refused. Now Clitus saw that Josephus was in a great passion in the ship, and ready to leap out of it, in order to execute the punishment himself. He begged, therefore, from the shore, that he would leave him one of his hands, which Josephus agreed to; upon condition that he would himself cut off the other hand. Accordingly he drew his sword, and with his right hand cut off his left.* So great was the fear he was in of Josephus. And thus he took the people of Tiberias prisoners ; and recovered the city again twith empty ships, and seven of his guard. Moreover, a few days afterward he retook Gischala ; which bad revolted with the people of Sepphoris ; and gave his soldiers leave to plunder it. Yet did he get all the plunder together, and restored it to the inhabitants : and the like he did to the inhabitants of Sepphoris, and Tiberias. For when he had subdued those cities, he had a mind, by letting them be plundered, to give them some good instruction ; while at the same time he regained their good will by restoring them their money again.
* Such hard aml cruel conditions, did victors, flushed with success, and armed with power, compel the vanquished to submit to. It appears hence how dearly many purchase a wretchedly protracted mortal existence. B.
+ I cannot but think this stratagem of Josephus's, which is related both here and in his Life, to be one of the finest that ever was invented and executed by any war. rior whomsoever.
THE JEWS MAKE READY FOR THE WAR; AND SIMON THE SON
OF GIORAS BEGINS PLUNDERING,
THUS were the disturbances of Galilee quieted : and the people, upon their ceasing to prosecute their civil dissensions, betook themselves to make preparations for a war with the Romans. Now in Jerusalem the high-priest Ananus, and as many of the men of power as were not in the interest of the Romans, both repaired the walls, and made a great many warlike instruments. Insomuch that, in all parts of the city, darts, and all sorts of armour were upon the anvil. Although the multitude of the young men were engaged in exercises without any regularity; and all places were full of tumultuous doings. But the moderate sort were exceeding sad: and a great many there were who, out of the prospect they had of the calamities that were coming upon them, made great lamentations. There were also such omens observed as were understood to be forerunners of evils, by such as loved peace : but were by those that kindled the war interpreted so as to suit their own inclinations. And the very state of the city, even before the Romans came against it, was that of a place doomed to destruction. However, Ananus's concern was to lay aside, for a while, the preparations for the war, and to persuade the seditious to consult their own interest; and to restrain the madness of those that had the name of zealots. . But their violence was too hard for him. And what end he came to we shall relate *hereafter.
But as for the fAcrabbene toparchy, Simon, the son of Gioras, got a great number of those that were fond of innovations together; and betook himself to ravage the country. Nor did he only harass the rich men's houses, but tormented their bodies, and appeared openly to affect tyranny in his government. And when an army was sent against him by Ananus, and the other rulers, he and his retired to the robbers that were at Masada; and stayed there,
and plundered the country of Idumea with them; till both Ananus, and his other adversaries were slain ; and until the rulers of that country were so afflicted with the multitude of those that were slain, and with the continual ravage of what they had, that they raised an army, and put garrisons into the villages, to secure them from those insults. And in this state were the affairs of Judea at that time.
Containing an Interval of about One Year. . FROM VESPASIAN'S COMING TO SUBDUE THE JEWS, TO THE
TAKING OF GAMALA.
VESPASIAN IS SENT INTO SYRIA BY NERO ; IN ORDER TO MAKE WAR.
AGAINST THE JEWS.
WHEN Nero was informed of the Romans'ill success in Judea, a concealed consternation and terror, as is usual in such cases, fell upon him. Although he openly looked very big, and was very angry; and said, that what had happened was rather owing to the negligence of the commander, than to any valour of the enemy. And as he thought it fit for him, who bare the burden of the whole empire, to despise such misfortunes ; he now pretended so to do : and to have a soul superior to all such sad accidents.Yet did the disturbance that was in his soul plainly appear by the solicitude he was in how to recover bis affairs again.
And as he was deliberating to whom he should commit the care of the East, now it was in so great a commotion : and who might be best able to punish the Jews for their rebellion, and might prevent the same distemper from seizing upon the neighbouring nations also; he found no one but Vespasian equal to the task : and able to undergo the great burden of so mighty a war. Seeing he was grown an old man already in the camp; and from his youth had been exercised in warlike exploits. He was also a man that