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elevated to a great height : which circumstance alone made it very hard to be subdued. It was also so contrived by nature, that it could not be easily ascended. For it is, as it were, ditched about with such valleys on all sides, and to such a depth, that the eye cannot reach their bottoms; and such as are not easily to be passed over; and even such as it is impossible to fill up with earth. For that valley which cuts it on the west, extends to sixty furlongs, and did not end till it came to the lake Asphaltites. On the same side it was also, that Macherus had the tallest top of its bill elevated above the rest. But then for the valleys that lay on the north and south sides, although they be not so large as that already described, yet is it in like manner an impracticable thing to think of getting over them. And for the valley that lies on the east, its depth is not less than a hundred cubits. It extends as far as a mountain that lies over against Macherus, with which it is bounded.
Now when Alexander Janneus, the king of the Jews, observed the nature of this place, he was the first who built a citadel here: which afterward was demolished by *Gabinius, when he made war against Aristobulus. But when Herod came to be king, he thought the place to be worthy of the utmost regard, and of being built up in the firmest manner; and this especially, because it lay so near to Arabia. For it is seated in a convenient place on that account; and hath a prospect toward that country. He therefore surrounded a large space of ground with walls, and towers; and built a city there. Out of which city there was a way that led up to the citadel itself, on the top of the mountain. Nay, more than this, he built a wall round that top of the hill; and erected towers at the corners, of a hundred and sixty cubits high. In the middle of which place he built a palace, after a magnificent manner: wherein were large and beautiful edifices. He also made a great many reservoirs, for the reception of water; that there might be plenty of it ready for all uses ; and those in the properest places. Thus did he, as it were, contend with the nature of the place, that he might exceed its natural strength and security by those fortifications which were made by the hands of men. Moreover,
he put a large quantity of darts, and other machines of war, into it: and contrived to get every thing thither that might any way contribute to the security of its inhabitants, under the longest siege possible.
Now within this palace there grew a sort of *rue, that deserves our notice on account of its largeness. For it was no way inferior to any fig-tree, either in height or thickness. And the report is, that it had lasted ever since the times of Herod : and would probably have lasted much longer had it not been cut down by those Jews, who took possession of the place afterward. But still in that valley, which encompasses the city on the north side, there is a certain place called Baaras; which produces a troot of the same name with itself. Its colour is like that of flame; and, towards the evening, it sends out a certain ray like lightning. It is not easily taken by such as would do it, but recedes from their hands. Nay, it is certain death to those that touch it, unless any one take and hang the root itself down from his hand, and so carry it away. The usual mode of taking it is this. They dig a trench quite round about it, till the bidden part of the root be very small. They then tie a dog to it, and when the dog tries hard to follow him that tied him, this root is easily plucked up; but the dog dies immediately : as if it were instead of the man that would take the plant away. Nor after this need any one be afraid of taking it into their hands. Yet after all this pains in getting, it is only valuable on account of one virtue it hath, that, if it be only brought to the sick persons, it quickly drives away those called demons, which are no other than the spirits of the wicked, that enter into men that are alive, and kill them ; unless they can obtain some help against them. Here are also fountains of hot water, that flow out of this place, which have a very differ
→ Spanheim observes here, that in Græcia Major and Sicily they had rue prodigiously great, and durable ; like this rue at Macherus.
† This strange account of the place and root Baaras, seems to have been taken from the magicians; and the root to have been made use of in the days of Josephus in that superstitious way of casting out demons, supposed, by him, to have been derived from king Solomon. Of which we have already seen he had a great opinion, Antiq. VIII. 2. We also may hence learn the true notion Josephus had of demons and demoniacs ; exactly like that of the Jews and Christians in the New Testament, and the first four centuries See Antiquities. VI. 8. XI. 2:
ent taste one from the other : for some of them are bitter, and others sweet. Here are also many eruptions of cold waters : and this not only in the places that lie lower, and have their fountains near one another; but, what is still more wonderful, here is to be seen a certain cave hard by, whose cavity is not deep; but it is covered over by a rock that is prominent : above this rock there stand up two hills or breasts, as it were, but a little distant one from another : the one of which sends out a fountain that is very cold, and the other sends out one that is very hot. These waters, when they are mingled together, compose a most pleasant bath : they are medicinal indeed for other maladies; but especially good for strengthening the nerves. This place has in it also mines of sulphur, and alum.
Now wben Bassus had taken a full view of this place, he resolved to besiege it, by filling up the valley that lay on the east side : so he fell to work, and took great pains to raise bis banks as soon as possible; and by that means to render the siege easy. As for the Jews that were caught in the place, they separated themselves from the strangers that were with them; and they forced those strangers, as an otherwise useless multitude, to stay in the lower part of the city, and undergo the principal dangers. While they themselves seized on the upp r citadel, and held it; and this both on account of its strength, and to provide for their own safety. They also supposed they might obtain their pardon, in case they should at last surrender the citadel. However, they were willing to make trial in the first place, whether the hopes they had of avoiding a siege would come to any thing : with which intention they made sallies every day, and fought with those that met them. To these conflicts there were many of them slain; as they therein slew many of the Romans : but still it was the opportunities that presented themselves, which cbiefly gained both sides their victories. These were gained by the Jews, when they fell upon the Romans as they were off their guard ; but by the Romans when upon the others' sallies against their banks, they foresaw their coming, and were upon their guard when they received them. But the conclusion of this siege did not depend upon these bickerings. But a certain surprising accident, relating to what was done in this siege, forced the Jews to surrender the citadel. There was a certain young nian among the besieged, of great boldness, and very active of his band. His name was Eleazar. He greatly signalized himself in those sallies, and encouraged the Jews to go out in great numbers, in order to binder the raising of the banks : and did the Romans a vast deal of mischief, when they came to fighting. He so managed matters, that those who sallied out, made their attacks easily, and returned back without danger; and this by still bringing up the rear himself. Now it happened that on a certain time, when the fight was over, and both sides were parted, and retired home, he, in way of contempt of the enemy, and thinking that none of them would begin the fight again at that time, staid without the gates, and talked with those that were upon the wall. And his mind was wholly intent upon what they said. Now a certain person, belonging to the Roman camp, whose name was Rufus, by birth an Egyptian, ran upon him unexpectedly, and carried him off, with his armour, while those that saw it from the wall were under such an amazement, that Rufus prevented their assistance, and carried Eleazar to the Roman camp. So the general of the Romans ordered, that he should be taken up naked, set before the city to be seen, and severely whipped before their eyes. Upon this sad accident that befell the young man, the Jews were terriby confounded; and the city, with one voice, sorely lamented him: and the mourning proved greater than could well be supposed upon the calamity of a single person. When Bassus perceived that, he began to think of using a stratagem against the enemy: and was desirous to aggravate their gries, in order to prevail with them to surrender the city, for the preservation of that man. Accordingly be commanded them to set up a cross, as if he were going to hang Eleazar upon it inmediately. The sight of this occasioned a sore grief among those that were in the citadel : and they groaned vehemently; and cried out, that they could not bear to see him thus destroyed. Whereupon Eleazar besought them not to disregard him, for he was going to suffer a most miserable death; and exhorted them to save themselves by yielding to the Roman power, aud good fortune : since all other people were now conquered by them. These men were greatly moved with what he said : there being also many within the city that interceded for him, because he was of an eminent and very numerous family. So they yielded to their passion of commiseration, contrary to their usual custom Accordingly they sent out certain messengers, and treated with the Romans, in order to a surrender of the citadel, and desired that they might be permitted to go away, and take Eleazar along with them. Then did the Romans, and their general, accept of these terms. While thai multitude of strangers that were in the lower part of the city, hearing of the agreement that was made by the Jews for themselves aloue, resolved to flee away privately in the night-time. But as soon as they had opened their gates, those that had come to terms with Bassus told him of it: whether it were that they envied the others' deliverance; or whether it were done out of fear, lest an occasion should be taken against them upon their escape, is uncertain. The most courageous, therefore, of those men that went out prevented the enemy, and got away. But for those men that were caught within, they were slain, to the number of one thousand seven hundred, as were the women and the children made slaves. But as Bassus thought he must perform the covenant he had made with those that had surrendered the citadel, he let them go, and restored Eleazar to them.
When Bassus had settled these affairs, he marched hastily to the forest of Jarden, as it is called. For he had heard that a great many of those that bad fled from Jerusalem and Macherus formerly were there gotten together. When he was therefore come to the place, and understood that the former news was no mistake; he surrounded the whole place with his cavalry: that such of the Jews as had boldness enough to try to break through, might have no way possible for escaping, by reason of the situation of these horsemen. And for the footmen, he ordered them to cut down the trees that were in the wood whither they were fled. So the Jews were under a necessity of performing some glorious exploit, and of greatly exposing themselves in a batile ; since they might perhaps thereby escape. So they made a general attack: and with a great shout fell upon those that surrounded them. These, however, received them with great courage ; and while the one side fought desperately, and the others would not yield, the fight was prolonged on that account. But the event of the battle did not answer the expectation of the assailants. For it happened,