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natural passion of love to themselves, and their families : because the reasoning they went upon appeared to them to be very just, even with regard to those that were dearest to them. For the husbands tenderly embraced their wives, and took their children into their arms, and gave the longest parting kisses to them, with tears. in their eyes. Yet at the same time did they complete what they had resolved on; as if they had been executed by the hands of strangers. And they had nothing else for their comfort, but the necessity they were in of doing this execution to avoid that prospect they had of the miseries they were to suffer from their enemies. Nor was there at length any one of these men found that scrupled to act their part in this terrible execution : but every one of them despatched his dearest relations.* Miserable men, indeed, were they! whose distress forced them to slay their own wives and children with their own hands, as the lightest of those evils that were before them. So they being not able to bear the grief they were under for what they had done any longer; and esteeming it an injury to those they had slain, to live even the shortest space of time after them, presently laid all they had upon a heap, and set fire to it. They then chose ten men by lot, out of them, to slay all the rest. Every one of which laid himself down by his wife and children on the ground, and threw his arins about them, and then offered their necks to the stroke of those who by lot executed that melancholy office. And when these ten had, without fear, slain them all, they made the same rule for casting lots for themselves; that he whose lot it was should first kill the other nine : and after all should kill himself. Accordingly, all these had courage sufficient to be no way behind one another in doing or suffering. So, for a conclusion, the nine offered their necks to the executioner; and he who was the last of all took a view of all the other dead bodies; lest perchance some or other among so many that were slain should want bis assistance to be quite despatched : and when
* Dreadful, indeed, must their situation have been to have reconciled them to such an action. But desperation produces the most unexpected catastrophes. Their destruction was completed by their own as well as by the sword of the enemy. B.
he perceived that they were all slain, he set fire to the palace, and with the great force of his hand ran his sword entirely through himself, and fell down dead near his own relations. So these people died with this intention, that they would leave not so much as one soul among them to be subject to the Romans. Yet was there an ancient woman, and another who was of kin to Eleazar, and superior to most women in prudence and learning, with five children, who had concealed themselves in caveros under ground; and bad carried water thither for their drink; and were hidden there when the rest were intent upon the slaughter of one another. Those others were nine hundred and sixty in number; the women and children being included in that computation. This calamitous slaughter was made on the fifteenth day of the month Xanibicus, or Nisan.*
Now the Romans expected that they should be fought in the · morning. Accordingly they put on their armour, and laid bridges
of planks upon their ladders from their banks, to make an assault on the fortress. But they saw wobody as an enemy, but a terrible solitude on every side, with a fire within the palace, as well as a perfect silence. So they were at a loss to guess at what had happened. At length they made a shout, as if it had been at a blow given by the battering ram, to try whether they could bring any one out that was within. The women heard this noise, and came out of their subterraneous cavern: and informed the Romans of what had been done : and the second of them clearly described all both what was said, and what was done ; and the manner of it. Yet did they not easily give attention to such a desperate undertaking, and did not believe it could be as they said. They also attempted to put the fire out, and quickly cutting themselves a way through it, they came within the palace, and so met with the multitude of the slain : but could take no pleasure in the fact, though it were done to their enemies. Nor could they do other than wonder at the courage of their resolution, and the immoveable contempt of death wi ich so great a number of them had shown when they perpetrated such an action.
* A. D. 73.
OF THE FLIGHT OF THE SICARII TO ALEXANDRIA; AND THE
DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE WHICH HAD FORMERLY BEEN BUILT BY ONIAS THE HIGH-PRIEST.
WHEN Masada was thus taken, the general left the garrison in the fortress to keep it : and he himself went away to Cæsarea. For there were now no enemies left in the country: but it was all overthrown by so long a war. Yet did this war afford disturbances and dangerous disorders even in places very remote from Judea. For still it happened that many Jews were slain at Alexandria, in Egypt. For as many of the Sicarii as were able to flee thither, out of the seditious wars in Judea, were not content to have saved themselves, but must needs undertake to make new disturbances; and persuaded many of those that entertained them 10 assert their liberty ; to esteem the Romans to be no better than themselves; and to look upon God as their only Lord and Master. But when part of the Jews of reputation opposed them, they slew some of them; and with the others they were very pressing in their exhortations, to revolt from the Romans. But when the principal men of the senate saw what madness they were come to, they thought it no longer safe for themselves to overlook them. So they got all the Jews together to an assembly, and accused the madness of the Sicarii; and demonstrated that they had been the authors of all the evils that had come upon them. They said also that “ These men now they have run away from Judea, having no sure hope of escaping, because as soon as ever they shall be known, they will be soon destroyed by the Romans; they come hither, and fill us full of those calamities which belong to them, while we have not been partakers with them in any of their sins.” Accordingly, they exhorted the multitude to beware lest they should be brought to destruction by their means; and to make an apology to the Romans for what had been done, by delivering these men up to them. Accordingly, on being thus apprised of the greatness of the danger they were in, they complied with what