« PreviousContinue »
3. When they have thus secured themselves, they live together by companies, with quietness and decency, as are all their other affairs managed with good ordei and security. Each company hath also their wood, and their corn, and iheit water brought them, when they stand in need of them ; for they neither sup noi dine as they please themselves singly, but altogether. Their times also for sleeping, and watching, and rising, are notified beforehand by the sound of trumpets, nor is any thing done without such a signal: and in the morning the soldiery go every on to their centurions, and these centurions to their tribunes, to salute them; with whom all the superior officers go to the general of the whole army, who then gives them of course the watchword, and other orders, to be by them carried to all that are under their command; which is also observed wher, they go to fight, and thereby they turn themselves about on the sudden, wher. there is occasion for making sallies, as they come back when they are recalled in crowds also.
4. Now when they are to go out of their camp, the trumpet gives a sound, at which time nobody lies still, but at the first intimation they take down their tents, and all is made ready for their going out; then do the trumpets sound again, to order them to get ready for the march; then do they lay their baggage sud. denly upon their mules and other beasts of burden, and stand, as at the place of starting, ready to inarch; when also they set fire to their camp; and this they, do because it will be easy for them to erect another camp, and that it may not ever be of use to their enemies. Then do the trumpets give a sound the third wme, that they are to go out, in order to excite those that, on any account, are a att! tardy, that so no one may be out of his rank when the army marches. Then does he crier stand at the general's right hand, and ask them thrice in their own ongue, whether they be now ready to go out to war cı not ? To which they reply as often, with a loud and cheerful voice, saying, “We are ready.” And this they do almost before che question is asked them: they do this as filled with a kind of martial ury, and at the same time that they so cry out, they lift up their right hands also.
5. When, after this, they are gone out of their camp, they all march without noise, and in a decent manner, and every one keeps his own rank, as if they sere going to war. The footmen are armed with breast.plates and head-pieces, ind have swords on each side ; but the sword which is on their left side is much longer than the other; for that on the right side is not longer than a span. Those footmen also that are choseu out from the rest to be about the general himself have a lance and a buckler; but the rest of the foot soldiers have a spear and a long buckler, besides a saw and a basket, a pickax” and an axe, a thong of leather and a hook, with provisions for three days so that a footman hath no great need of a mule to carry his burdens. The horsemen have a long sword on their right sides, and a long pole in their hand; a shield also lies by them ob. lique!y on one side of their horses, with three or more darts that are borne in their quiver, having broad points, and not smaller than spears. They have also head-pieces and breast-plates, in like inanner as have all the footmen. And for those that are chosen to be about the general, their armour no way differs from that of the horsemen belonging to other troops; and he always leads the legions forth to whom the lot assigns that emplı y ment.
6. This is the manner of the marching and resting of the Romans, as also these are the several sorts of weapons they use. But when they are to fight they leave nothing without forecast, nor to be done off-hand, but counsel is ever first taken before any work is begun, and what hath been there resolved upon is put into execution presently : for which reason they seldom commit any errors, and if they have been mistaken at any time, they easily correct those mistakes. They also esteem any errors they commit upon taking counsel beforehand to be better than such rash success as is owing to fortune only: because such a fortuitou advantage tempts them to be inconsiderate, while consultation, though it may sometimes fail of success, hath this good in it, that it makes men more careful hereafter; but for the advantages that arise from chance, they are not owing to him that gains them, und as to what melancholy accidents happen unexpectedly
, there is this comfort in them, that they had however taken the best consultation: they could to prevent them.
7. Now they so manage their preparatory exercises of their weapons, that not the bodies of the soldiers only, but their souls may also become stronger : they are moreover hardened for war by fear; for their laws inflict capital punishments, not only for soldiers running away from their ranks, but for slothfulness and inactivity, though it be but in a lesser degree ; as are their generals more severe than their laws : for they prevent any imputation of cruelty towards those under condemnation, by the great rewards they bestow on the valiant soldiers; and the readiness of obeying their commanders is so great, that it is very orna. mental in peace; but when they come to a battle, the whole army is but one body, so well coupled together are their ranks, so sudden are their turning about, so sharp their hearing as to what orders are given them, so quick their sight of the ensigns, and so nimble are their hands when they set to work : whereby it comes to pass, that what they do is done quickly, and what they suf. fer they bear with the greatest patience. Nor can we find any examples where they have been conquered in battle, when they came to a close fight, either by the multitude of the enemies, or by their stratagems, or by the difficulties in the places they were in, no nor by fortune neither; for their victories have been surer to them than fortune could have granted them. In a case, therefore, where counsel still goes before action, and where, after taking the best advice, that advice is followed by so active an army, what wonder is it that Euphrates on the east, the ocean on the west, the most fertile regions of Libya on the south, and the Danube and Rhine on the north, are the limits of this empire? One migh well say, that the Roman possessions are not inferior to the Romans themselves
8. This account I have given the reader, not so much with the intention of commending the Romans, as of comforting those that have been conquered by them, and for the deterring others from attempting innovations under their go vernment. This discourse of the Roman military conduct may also perhaps be of use to such of the curious as a re ignorant of it, and yet have a mind to know it. I return now from this digression.
Placidus attempts to take Jotapata, and is beaten off. Vespasian marches
into Galilee. A 1. And now Vespasian with his son Titus, bad tarried some time at Ptolemais and had put his army in order. But when Placidus, who had overrun Galilee, and had besides slain a number of those whom he had caught (which were only the weaker part of the Galileans, and such as were of timorous souls,) saw thal the warriors ran always to those cities whose walls had been built by Josephus, he marched furiously against Jotapata, which was of them all the strongest
, as supposing he should easily take it by a sudden surprise, and that he should thereby obtain great honour to himself among the commanders, and bring a great advan
. tage to them in their future campaign; because, if this strongest place of them all were once taken, the rest would be so afrighted as to surrender themselves. But he was mightily mistaken in his undertaking; for the men of Jotapata were apprized of his coming to attack them, and came out of the city, and expected him there. So they fought the Romans briskly when they least expected il be. ing both many in number, and prepared for fighting, and of great alacrity, as ek teeming their country, their wives, and their children to be in danger, and easily
put the Romans to flight, and wounded many of them, and slew seven* of them, because their retreat was not made in a disorderly manner; because the strokes only touched the surface of their bodies, which were covered with their armour in all parts, and because the Jews did rather throw their weapons upon them from a great distance, than venture to come hand to hand with them, and had only hght armour on while the others were completely armed. However, three men of the Jews' side were slain, and a few wounded; so Placidus, finding himself inable to assault the city, ran away.
2. But as Vespasian had a great mind to fall upon Galilee, he marched out » Ptolemais, having put his army into that order wherein the Romans used to march. He ordered those auxiliaries which were lightly armed and the archers to march first, that they might prevent any sudden insults from the enemy, and might search out the woods that looked suspiciously, and were capable of ambus. cades. Next to these followed that part of the Romans which was completely armed, both footmen and horsemen. Next to these followed ten out of every hundred, carrying along with them their arms, and what was necessary to mea. sure out a camp withal; and after them such as were to make the road even and straight, and if it were anywhere rough and hard to be passed over, to plain it, and to cut down the woods that hindered their march, that the army might not be in distress or tired with their march. Behind these he set such carriages of the army as belonged both to himself and to the other commanders, with a consider.' able number of their horsemen for their security. After these he marched him. self, having with him a select body of footmen, and horsemen, and pikemen. After these came the peculiar cavalry of his own legion ; for there were a hundred and twenty horsemen that peculiarly belonged to every legion. Next to these came the mules that carried the engines for sieges, and the other warlike machines of that nature. After these came the commanders of the cohorts and tribunes, having about them soldiers chosen out of the rest. Then came the ensigns encompassing the eagle, which is at the head of every Roman legion, the king and the strong. est of all birds, which seems to them a signal of dominion, and an omen that they shall conquer all against whom they march: these sacred ensigns are followed by the trumpeters. Then came the main army in their squadrons and battalions, with six men in depth, which were followed at last by a centurion, who, accord. ing to custom, observed the rest. As for the servants of every legion, they all followed the footmen, and led the baggage of the soldiers, which was borne by the mules and other beasts of burden. But behind all the legions came the whole multitude of the mercenaries; and those that brought up the rear came last of all for the security of the whole army, being both footmen, and those in their armour also
, with a great number of horsemen. 3. And thus did Vespasian march with his army, and came to the bounds of Galilee, where he pitched his camp, and restrained his soldiers, who were eager for war: he also showed his army to the enemy, in order to affright them, and to afford them a season for repentance, to see whether they would change their minds before it came to a battle, and at the same time he got things ready for be. sieging their strong holds. And, indeed, this sight of the general brought many to repent of the revolt, and put them all into a consternation : for those that wera in Josephus's camp, which was at the city called Garis, not far from Sepphoris, when they heard that the war was come near them, and that the Romans would suddenly fight them hand to hand, dispersed themselves, and fled not only before
came to a battle, but before the enemy ever came in sight, while Josephus * I cannot but here observe an eastern way of speaking, frequent among them, but not usual among es, where the word only or alone is not set down, but, perhaps, someway supplied by the pronunciatiou. Thus Josephus here says, that those of Jotapata slew seven of the Romans, as they were marching off ; because the Romans retreat was regular, their
bodies were covered over with their armour, and the Jews lought at some distance: his meaning is clear, that these were the reasons why they slew only, or no Biore than seven. I have met with many the like examples in the scripture, in Josephus, &c. but did nor note down the particular places. This observation ought to be borne in mind upon many occasions.
and a few others were left behind ; and as he saw that he had not an army suffi. cient to engage the enemy, that the spirits of the Jews were sunk, and that the greater part would willingly come to terms, if they might be credited, he already despaired of the success of the whole war, and determined to get as far as he possibly could out of danger; so he took those that stayed along with him, and fled to Tiberias.
Vespasian, when he had taken the City Gadara, marches to Jotapata. After a long
Siege, the City is belrayed by a Deserter, and taken by Vespasian. $ 1. So Vespasian marched to the city Gadara, and took it upon the first onset, because he found it destitute of any considerable number of men grown up and fit for war. He then came into it, and slew all the youth, the Romans having no mercy on any age whatsoever; and this was done out of the hatred they bore the nation, and because of the iniquity they had been guilty of in the affair of Cestius. He also set fire not only to the city itself, but to all the villas and small cities that were round about it; some of which were quite destitute of inhabitants, and ou of some of them he carried the inhabitants as slaves into captivity.
2. As to Josephus, his retiring into that city which he chose as the most fit for his security, put it into great fear; for the people of Tiberias did not imagine that he would have run away, unless he had entirely despaired of the success of the war. And, indeed, as to that point, they were not mistaken about his opinion; for he saw whither the affairs of the Jews would tend at last, and was sensible that they had but one way of escaping, and that was by repentance. However, although he expected that the Romans would forgive him, yet did he choose to die many times over rather than to betray his country, and to dishonour that supreme command of the army which had been intrusted with him, or to live hap. pily under those against whom he was sent to fight. He determined, therefore to give an exact account of affairs to the principal men at Jerusalem by a letter that he might not by too much aggrandizing the power of the enemy make them too timorous, nor by relating that their power beneath the truth might encourage them to stand out, when they were, perhaps, disposed to repentance. He also sent them word, that if they thought of coming to terms, they must suddenly write him an answer; or if they resolved upon war, they must send him an army suffi. cient to fight the Romans. Accordingly, he wrote these things, and sent messen. gers immediately
his letter to Jerusalem. 3. Now Vespasian was very desirous of demolishing Jotapata, for he had gotten intelligence that the greatest part of the enemy had retired thither, and that it was, on other accounts, a place of great security to them. Accordingly, he sent botin footmen and horsemen to level the road, which was mountainous and rocky, not without difficulty to be travelled over by footmen, but absolutely impracticable for horsemen. Now these workmen accomplished what they were about in four days time, and opened a broad way for the army. On the fifth day, which was the twenty-first of the month Artemisius (Jyar,] Josephus prevented him, and came from Tiberias, and went into Jotapata, and raised the drooping spirits of the Jews. And a certain deserter told this good news to Vespasian, that Josephus had removed himself thither, which made him make haste to the city, as supposing that with taking that he should take all Judea, in case he could but withal get Josephus under his power. So he took this news to be of the vastest ad. vantage to him, and believed it to be brought about by the providence of God, that he who appeared to be the most prudent man of all their enemies, had of his own accord shut himself up in a place of sure custody. Accordingly, he sent Placidus with a thousand horsemen, and Ebutius a decurion a person that was
of eminency both in counsel and in action, to encompass the city round, that Josephus might not escape away privately.
4. Vespasian also, the very next day, took his whole army and followed them, and by marching till late in the evening, arrived then at Jotapata ; and bringing his army to the northern side of the city, he pitched his camp on a certain small hili which was seven surlongs from the city, and still greatly endeavoured to be well seen by the enemy, to put them into a consternation ; which was, indeed, so terrible to the Jews immediately, that no one of them durst go out beyond the wall. Yet did the Romans put off the attack at that time, because they had marched all the day although they placed a double row of battalions round the city, with a third row bé. yond them round the whole, which consisted of cavalry, in order to stop up every way for an exit ; which thing making the Jews despair of escaping, excited them to acı inore boldly; for nothing makes men fight so desperately in war as necessity.
5. Now when the next day an assault was made by the Romans, the Jews at tirst stayed out of the walls, and opposed them, and met them, as having formed themselves a camp before the city walls. But when Vespasian had set against them the archers and slingers, and the whole multitude that could throw to a great distance, he permitted them to go to work, while he himself with the footmen gc upon an acclivity, whence the city might easily be taken. Josephus was then 11 fear for the city, and leaped out, and all the Jewish multitude with himn : these fell together upon the Romans in great numbers, and drove them away from the wall, and performed a great many glorious and bold actions. Yet did they suffer as much as they made the enemy suffer; for as despair of deliverance encouraged the Jews, so did a sense of shame equally encourage the Romans. These last had skill as well as strength ; the other had only courage, which armed them and made them fight furiously. And when the fight had lasted all day, it was put an end to by the coming on of the night. They had wounded a great many of the Romans, and killed them thirteen men; of the Jews' side seventeen were slain, and six hundred wounded.
6. On the next day the Jews made another attack upon the Romans and went out of the walls, and fought a much more desperate battle with them than before: for they were now become more courageous than formerly, and that on account of tba expeeted good opposition they had made the day before; as they found the Romans also to fight more desperately; for a sense of shame inflamed these into a passion, as esteeming their failure of a sudden victory to be a kind of de. feat. Thus did the Romans try to make an impression upon the Jews, till the fifth day continually, while the people of Jotapata made sallies out, and fought at the walls most desperately; nor were the Jews affrighted at the strength of the enemy, nor were the Romans discouraged at the difficulties they met with in taking the city.
7. Now Jotapata is almost all of it built on a precipice, having on all the other sides of it every way valleys immensely deep and steep, insomuch that those who would look down, would have their sight fail them before it reaches to the bottom. It is only to be come at on the north side, where the utmost part of the city is built on the mountain, as it ends obliquely at a plain. This mountain Josephus had encompassed with a wall when he fortified the city, that its top might not be capable of being seized upon by the enemies. The city is covered all round with other mountains, and can no way be seen till a man comes just upon it. And this was the strong situation of Jotapata.
8. Vespasian, therefore, in order to try how he might overthrow the natural strength of the place, as well as the bold defence of the Jews, made a resolution to prosecute the siege with vigour. To that end he called the commanders that were urder him to a council of war, and consulted with them which way the as sault inight be managed to the best advantage. And when the resolution was there taken to raise a bank against that part of the wall which was practicable, be sent juis whole ariay abroad to get the materials together. So when they bad