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eight months and twenty days, died, and left Nero to be his successor in the empire, whom he had adopted by his wife Agrippina's delusions, in order to be his successor, although he had a son of his own, whose name was Bris lamnicus, by Messalina his former wife, and a daughter whose name ws Oc. lavia, whom he had married to Nero; he had also another daughter by Petina, whose name was Antonia.
Nero adds four cities to Agrippa's Kingdom ; but the other parts of Judea were under Felix. The disturbances which were raised by the Sicarii, the Magi. cians, and an Egyptian false Prophet. The Jews and Syrians have a
Contest at Cæsarea. § 1. Now as to the many things in which Nero acted like a madman, out of the extravagant degree of the felicity and riches which he enjoyed, and by that means used his good fortune to the injury of others; and after what manner he slew his brother, and wife, and mother, from whom his barbarity spread itself to others that were most nearly related to him ; and how, at last, he was so distracted, that he became an actor in the scenes, and upon the theatre, I omit to say any more about them, because there are writers enough upon those subjects everywhere ; but I shall turn myself to those actions of his time in which the lews were concerned.
2. Nero, therefore, bestowed the kingdoms of the Lesser Armenia upon Aris Lobulus, Herod's* son, and he added to Agrippa's kingdom four cities, with the toparchies to them belonging ; I mean Abila, and that Julias which is in Perea, Tarichea also, and Tiberias of Galilee ; but over the rest of Judea he made Felix procurator. This Felix took Eleazar the arch-robber, and many that were with him, alive, when they had ravaged the country for twenty years together, and sent them to Rome : but as to the number of the robbers whom he caused to be crucified, and of those who were caught among them, and whom he brought to punishment, they were a multitude not to be enumerated.
3. When the country was purged of these, there sprang up another sort of robbers in Jerusalem, which were called Sicarii, who slew men in the daytime, and in the midst of the city : this they did chiefly at the festivals, when they mingled themselves among the multitude, and concealed daggers under their gar. ments, with which they stabbed those that were their enemies; and when any fell down dead, the murderers became a part of those that had indignation against them, by which means they appeared persons of such reputation, that they could by no means be discovered. The first man who was slain by them was Jonathan the high priest, after whose death many were slain every day, while the fear men were in of being so served was more afflicting than the calamity itself, and' while every body expected death every hour, as men do in war, so men were obliged to look before them, and to take notice of their enemies at a great dis tance; nor, if their friends were coming to them, durst they trust them any onger ; but, in the midst of their suspicions and guarding of themselves, they were slain. Such was the celebrity of the plotters against them, and so cunning was their contrivance.
4. There was also another body of wicked men gotten together, not so impure in their actions, but more wicked in their intentions, which Iaid waste the happy state of the city no less than did these murderers. These were such men as de ceived and deluded the people under pretence of divine inspiration, but were for procuring innovations and changes of the government; and these prevailed with
se. Herod, king of Chalcis.
the multitude to act like madmen, and went before them into the wilderness as pretending that God would there show them the signals of liberty. But Felix thought this procedure was to be the beginning of a revolt ; so he sent some horse. men and footmen, both armed, who destroyed a great number of them.
5. But there was an Egyptian false prophet that did the Jews more mischief than the former; for he was a cheat, and pretended to be a prophet also, and got together thirty thousand men that were deluded by him: these he led round about from the wilderness to the mount which was called the Mount of Olives and was ready to break into Jerusalem by force from that place; and if he could but once conquer the Roman garrison, and the people, he intended to domineer over them by the assistance of those guards of his that were to break into the city with him. But Felix prevented his attempt, and met him with his Roman soldiers, while all the people assisted him in his attack upon them, insomuch that, when it came to a battle, the Egyptians ran away, with a few others, whilst the greatest part of those that were with him were either destroyed or taken alive; but the rest of the multitude were dispersed every one to their own homes, and there concealed themselves.
6. Now when these were quieted, it happened, as it does in a diseased body, that another part was subject to an inflammation ; for a company of deceivers and robbers got together, and persuaded the Jews to revolt, and exhorted them to assert their liberty, inflicting death on those that continued in obedience to the Roman government, and saying, that such as willingly chose slavery, ought to be forced from such their desired inclinations ; for they parted themselves into different bodies, and lay in wait up and down the country, and plundered the houses of the great men, and slew the men themselves, and set the villages on fire ; and this till all Judea was filled with the effects of their madness. And thus thu flame was every day more and more blown up, till it came to a direct war.
7. There was also another disturbance at Cæsarea, those Jews who were mixed with the Syrians that lived there raising a tumult against them. The Jews pro. tended that the city was theirs, and said that he who built it was a Jew, meaning King Herod. The Syrians confessed also, that its builder was a Jew, but they still said, however, that the city was a Grecian city; for that he who set up sta. tues and temples in it could not design it for Jews : on which account boob par. ties had a contest with one another ; and this contest increased so much, that it came at last to arms, and the bolder sort of them marched out to fight; for the elders of the Jews were not able to put a stop to their own people that were disposed to be tumultuous, and the Greeks thought it a shame for them to be overcome by the Jews. Now these Jews exceeded the others in riches and strength of body ; but the Grecian part had the advantage of assistance from the soldiery: for the greatest part of the Roman garrison was raised out of Syria, and, being thus related to the Syrian part, they were ready to assist it. However, the gover. nors of the city were concerned to keep all quiet, and whenever they caught those that were most for fighting on either side, they punished them with stripes and bonds. Yet did not the sufferings of those that were caught affright the remainder, or make them desist; but they were still more and more exaspe. rated, and deeper engaged in the sedition. And as Felix came once into the market-place, and commanded the Jews, when they had beaten the Syrians, to their ways,
and threatened them if they would not, and they would not obey him, he sent his soldiers out upon them, and slew a great many of them, upon which it fell out that what they had was plundered. And as the sedition still continued, he chose out the most eminent men on both sides, as ambassadors to Nero, to argue about their several privileges.
Festus succeeds Felix, who is succeeded by Albinus, as he is by Florus ; who, by
the Barbarity of his Government, forces the Jews into the War. § 1. Now it was that Festus succeeded Felix, as procurator, and made it his basiness to correct those that made disturbances in the country. So he caught the greatest part of the robbers, and destroyed a great many of them. But then Albinus who succeeded Festus did not execute his office as the other had done ; nor was there any sort of wickedness that could be named but he had a hand in it. Accordingly, he did not only, in his political capacity, steal and plunder every one's substance, nor did he only burden the whole nation with taxes, but he permitted the relations of such as were in prison for robbery, and had been laid there either by the senate of every city, or by the former procurators, to redeem them for money ; and nobody remained in the prisons as a malefactor, but he who gave him nothing. At this time it was that the enterprises of the seditious at Jerusalem were very formidable : the principal men among them pur. chasing leave of Albinus to go on with their seditious practices; while that part of the people who delighted in disturbances joined themselves to such as had fel. lowship with Albinus ; and every one of these wicked wretches was encompassed with his own band of robbers, while he himself like an arch-robber or a tyrant, made a figure among his company, and abused his authority over those about him, in order to plunder those that lived quietly: the effect of which was this, that those who lost their goods were forced to hold their peace, when they had reason to show great indignation at what they had suffered; but those who had escaped were forced to flatter him that deserved to be punished, out of the fear they were in of suffering equally with the others. Upon the whole, nobody durst speak their minds, but tyranny was generally tolerated; and at this time were hose seeds sown which brought the city to destruction.
2. And although such was the character of Albinus, yet did Gessius Florus,* who succeeded him, demonstrate him to have been a most excellent person, upon the comparison ; for the former did the greatest part of his rogueries in private, and with a sort of dissimulation ; but Gessius did his unjust actions to the harm of the nation after a pompous manner: and, as though he had been sent as an execu. tioner to punish .condemned malefactors, he omitted no sort of rapine or of vexation; where the case was really pitiable, he was most barbarous, and in things of the greatest turpitude he was most impudent. Nor could any one outdo him in disguising the truth, nor could any one contrive more subtle ways of deceit than he did. He, indeed, thought it but a petty offence to get money out of single persons; so he spoiled whole cities, and ruined entire bodies of men at once, and did almost publicly proclaim it all the country over, that they had liberty given them to turn robbers, upon this condition, that he might go shares with them in the spoils they got. Accordingly, this his greediness of gain was the occasion that entire toparchies were brought to desolation, and a great many of the people left their own country, and fled into foreign provinces.
3. And truly while Cestius Gallus was resident of the province of Syria, no body durst do so much as send an embassage to him against Florus; but when he was come to Jerusalem, upon the approach of the feast of unleavened bread,
* Not long after this beginning of Florus, the wickedest of all the Roman procurators of Judea, and the inmediate occasion of the Jewish war, at the 12th year of Nero, and the 17th of Agrippa, or A. D. 66, the history in the twenty books of Josephus's Antiquities ends; although Josephus did not finish these books till the 13th of Domitian, or A. D. 93, twenty-seven years afterward; as he did not finish their Appendix, containing an account of his own life, till Agrippa was dead, which happened in the Sd year of Trajan, or A. D. 100, as I have several times observed before
the people came about him not fewer in number than three millions :* these be. sought him to commiserate the calamities of their nation, and cried out upon Florus as the bane of their country. But as he was present, and stood by Ces tius, he laughed at their words. However, Cestius, when he had quieted the mul titude, and had assured them that he would take care that Florius should here. after treat them in a more gentle manner, returned to Antioch: Florus als con. ducted him as far as Cæsarea, and deluded him, though he had at that very time the purpose of showing his anger at the nation, and procuring a war upon them, by which means alone it was that he supposed he might conceal his enormities; for he expected that, if the peace continued, he should have the Jews for his ac. cusers before Cæsar; but that if he could procure them to make a revolt, he should divert their laying lesser crimes to his charge, by a misery that was 80 much greater; he, therefore, did every day augment their calamities, in order to induce them to a rebellion.
4. Now at this time it happened that the Grecians at Cæsarea had been too hard for the Jews, and had obtained of Nero the government of the city, and had brought the judicial determination: at the same time began the war, in the twelfth year of the reign of Nero, and the seventeenth of the reign of Agrippa, in the month Artemisius (Jyar.] Now the occasion of this war was by no means proportionable to those heavy calamities which it brought upon us: for the Jews that dwelt at Cæsarea had a synagogue near a place, whose owner was a certain Cæsarean Greek: the Jews had endeavoured frequently to have purchased the possession of the place, and had offered many times its value for its price; but as the owner overlooked their offers, so did he raise other buildings upon the place, in way of affront to them, and made working shops of them, and left them but a narrow passage, and such as was very troublesome for them to go along to their synagogue. Whereupon the warmer part of the Jewish youth went hastily to the workmen, and forbade them to build there; but as Florus would not per mit them to use force, the great men of the Jews, with John the publican, being in the utmost distress what to do, persuaded Florus, with the offer of eight talents, to hinder the work. He then, being intent upon nothing but getting money, promised he would do for them all they desired of him, and then went away from Cæsarea to Sebaste, and left the sedition to take its full course, as if he had sold a license to the Jews to fight it out.
5. Now on the next day, which was the seventh day of the week, when the Jews were crowding apace to their synagogue, a certain man of Cæsarea, of a seditious temper, got an earthen vessel, and set it with the bottom upward, at the entrance of that synagogue, and sacrificed birds.† This thing provoked the Jews to an incurable degree, because their laws were affronted, and the place was pol. luted: whereupon the sober and moderate part of the Jews thought it proper to have recourse to their governors again, while the seditious part, and such as were in the fervour of their youth, were vehemently inflamed to fight. The seditious also among the [Gentiles of] Cæsarea stood ready for the same purpose; for they had, by agreement, sent the man to sacrifice beforehand (as ready to support him;) so that it soon came to blows. Hereupon Jucundus, the master of the horse, who was ordered to prevent the fight, came thither, and took away the earthen vessel, and endeavoured to put a stop to the sedition ; but when he was overcome by the violence of the people of Cæsarea, the Jews caught up their
# Here we may note, that 3,900,000 of the Jews were present at the passover, A. D. 65, which con firms what Josephus elsewhere inforins us of, that at a passover a little later, they counted 256,500 pas chal lambs, which at twelve to each lamb, which is no immoderate caloulation, come to 3,073,000. Ses B. vi. ch. ix. sect. 3.
+ Take here Dr. Hudson's very pertinent note :- By this action," says he, “ the killing of a bird over an earthen vessel, the Jews were exposed as a leprous people ; for that was to be done by then law in the cleansing of a leper. (Levit. ch. xiv.) It is also known that the Gentiles reproached the Jewi as subject to the leprosy, and believed that they were driven out of Egypt on that account. This theme eminent person Mr. Reland suggested to me."
dooks of the law, and retired to Narbata, which was a place to them belonging, distant from Cæsarea sixty furlongs. But John, and twelve of the principal men with him, went to Florus to Sebaste, and made a lamentable complaint of their case, and besought him to help them; and, with all possible decency, put him in mind of the eight talents they had given him; but he had the men seized upon, and put in prison, and accused them for carrying the books of the law out of Cæsarea.
6. Moreover, as to the citizens of Jerusalem, although they took this matter very ill, yet did they restrain their passion : but Florus acted herein as if he had been hired, and blew up the war into a flame, and sent some to take seventeen talents out of the sacred treasure, and pretended that Cæsar wanted them. At this the people were in confusion immediately, and ran together to the temple, with prodigious clamours, and called upon Cæsar by name, and besought him to free them from the tyranny of Florus. Some also of the seditious cried out upon Florus, and cast the greatest reproaches upon him, and carried a basket about, and begged some spills of money for him, as for one that was destitute of posses sions, and in a miserable condition. Yet was he not made ashamed hereby of his love of money, but was more enraged, and provoked to get still more ; and instead of coming to Cæsarea, as he ought to have done, and quenching the flame of war which was beginning thence, and so taking away the occasion of any disturbances, on which account it was that he had received a reward [of eight talents,] he marched hastily with an army of horsemen and footmen against Jeru. salem, that he might gain his will by the arms of the Romans, and might by his terror and by his threatenings bring the city into subjection.
7. But the people were desirous of making Florus ashamed of his attempt, and met his soldiers with acclamations, and put themselves in order to receive him very submissively. But he sent Capito, a centurion, beforehand, with fifty sol. diers, to bid them go back, and not now make a show of receiving him in an obliging manner, whom they had so foully reproached before ; and said, that it was incumbent on them, in case they had generous souls and were free speakers, to jest upon him to his face, and appear to be lovers of liberty, not only in words but with their weapons also. With this message was the multitude amazed, and upon the coming of Capito's horsemen into the midst of them, they were dispersed be fore they could salute Florus, or manifest their submissive behaviour to him. Ao cordingly, they retired to their own houses, and spent that night in fear and con fusion of face.
8. Now at this time Florus took up his quarters at the palace; and on the next day he had his tribunal set before it, and sat upon it, when the high priests, and the men of power, and those of the greatest eminence in the city, came all before that tribunal ; upon which Florus commanded them to deliver up to him those that had reproached him, and told them, that they should themselves partake of the vengeance to them belonging, if they did not produce the criminals; but these demonstrated that the people were peaceably disposed, and they begged forgiveness for those that had spoken amiss ; for that it was no wonder at all that in so great a multitude there should be some more daring than they ought to be, and by reason of their younger age foolish also ; and that it was impossible to distinguish those that offended from the rest, while every one was sorry for what he had done, and denied it out of fear of what would follow: that he ought, how. ever, to provide for the peace of the nation, and to take such counsels as might preserve the city for the Romans, and rather, for the sake of a great number of innocent people, to forgive a few that were guilty, than for the sake of a few of the wicked, to put so large and good a body of men into disorder.
9. Florus was more provoked at this, and called out aloud to the soldiers # plunder taat which was called the Upper Market-place, and to slay such as they met with. So the soldiers, taking this exhortation of their commander in a sense agreeable to their desire of gain, did not only plunder the place they were sent