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much shall suffice to have said about Jericho, and of the great happiness of its situation.
4. The vature of the lake Asphaltitis is also worth describing. It is, as I have said already, bitter and upfruitful. It is so light (or thick] that it bears up the lreaviest things that are thrown into it; nor is it easy for any one to make things sink therein to the bottom, if he had a mind so to do. Accordingly, when Vespasian went to see it, he commanded that some who could pot swim, should have their hands tied behind them, and be thrown into the deep, when it so hap: pened, that they all swain, as if a wind had forced them upwards. Moreover, the change of the colour of this lake is wonderful, for it changes its appearance thrice every day; and as the rays of the sun fall differeotly upon it, the light is variously reflected. However, it casts up black clods of bitumen, in many parts of it; these swim at the top of the water, and resemble both in shape and bigness headless bulls; and when the labourers that belong to the lake come to it, and catch hold of it, as it hangs together, they draw it into their ships; but when the ship is full it is not easy to cut. off the rest, for it is so tenacious as to make the ship hang upon its clods, till they set it loose with the menstrual blood of women, and with urine, to which alone it yields. This bitumen is not only useful for the caulking of ships, but for tlie cure of men's bodies: accordingly it is mixed in a great many medicines. The length of this lake is five hundred and eighty furlongs, where it is extended as far as Zoar in Arabia, and its breadth is an hundred and fifty. The coun. try of Sodom * borders upon it. It was of old a most happy land, both for the fruits it bore and the riches of its cities, although it be now all burnt up. It is related how, for
the impiety of its inhabitants, it ras burot by lightning; in - consequence of which there are still the remainders of that divine fire, and the traces (or shadows] of the five cities are still to be seen, as well as the ashes growing in their fruits, which fruits have a colour as if they were fit to be eaten, but if you pluck them with your hands they dissolve into smoke and ashes. And thus what is related of this land of Sodom hath these marks of credibility, which our very sight allords us.
See the note on B. v. ch. ziii. 6. rol, vi
CHAP IX. That Vespasian after he had taken Gadara, made preparation for
the siege of Jerusalem. But that upon his hearing of the death of Nero, he changed his intentions. As also concerning Simon of Gerasa.
$). And now Vespasian had fortified all the places round about Jerusalem, and erected citadels at Jericho and Adida, and placed garrisons in them both, partly out of his own Romans, and partly out of the body of his auxiliaries. He also sent Lucius Annius to Gerasa, and delivered to him a body of horsenien, and a considerable number of footmen. So when he had taken the city, which he did at the first opset, he slew a thousand of those young men who had not prevented him by flying away; but he took their families captive, and permitted his soidiers to plunder them of their effects; after which he set fire to their houses, and went away to the adjoining villages, while the men of power fled away, and the weaker part were destroyed, and what was remaining was all burnt down. And now the war having gone through all the mountainous country, and all the plain country also, those that were at Jerusalem were deprived of the liberty of going out of the city : for as to such as had a mind to desert, they were watched by the zealots; and to such as were rot yet on the side of the Romans, their army kept them in, by encompassing the city round about on all sides.
2. Now as Vespasian was returned to Cæsarea, and was getting ready with all his army to march directly to Jerusalem, he was informed that Nero was dead, after he had reigned thirteen years and eight days; but as to any narra. tion after what manner he abused liis power in the government, and committed the management of affairs to those vile wretches Nymphidius and Tigellinus, his unworthy freed. men; and how he had a plot laid against him by them, and was deserted by all bis guards, and ran away with four of his most trusty freed men, and slew himself in the suburbs of Rome; and how those that occasioned his death, in no long time, brought themselves to punishment; how also the war in Gall ended; and how * Galba was made emperor, and returned out of Spain to Rome; and how he was accu
• Of these Roman affairs and tumults under Galba, O.ho, and Vitellius, here only touched upon by Josephus, see. Tacitus, Sue.
sed by the soldiers as a pusillapimous person, and slain by treachery in the middle of the market place at Rome, and Otho was made exuperor; with his expedition against the commanders of Vitellius, and his destruction thereupon; and besides what troubles there were under Vitellius, and the fight that was about the Capitol; as also hov Antonius Pri. mus and Mucianus slew Vitellius and his German legions, and thereby put an end to that civil war; I have omitted to give an exact account of them because they are well knowo by all, and they are described by a great number of Greek and Roman authors: yet for the sake of the connexion of matters, and that my history may not be incoherent, I have just touched upon every thing briefly. Wherefore Vespasian put off at first his expedition against Jerusalem, and stood waiting whether the empire would be transferred after the death of Nero. Moreover, when he heard that Galba was made emperor, he attempted nothing, till he also should send him some directions about the war; however he sent his soo Titus to him, to salute him; and to receive his com mands about the Jews. Upon the very same errand did king Agrippa sail along with Titus to Galba : but as they were sailing in their long ships by the coasts of Achaia, for it was winter time, they heard that Galba was slain, before they could get to him, after he had reigned seven months and as many days. After whom Otho took the government, and undertook the management of public affairs. So Agrippa resolved to go on to Rome, without any terror on account of the change in the government; but Titus, by a divine impulse, sailed back from Greece to Syria and came in great haste to Cæsarea to his father. And now they were both in suspense about the public affairs, the Roman empire being then in a fluctuating condition, and did not go on with their expedition against the Jews; but thought that to make any attack upon foreigners was now upseasonable, on account of the solicitude they were in for their own country.
2. And now there arose another war at Jerusalem. There was a son of Giora, one Simon, by birth of Gerasa, a young man, not so cnpning indeed as John Tof Gischala] who had already seized upon the city, but superior in strength of body tonius, and Dio more largely. However, we may observe with Ote lias; that Josephus writes the name of the second of them not Oto to, with many others, but Otho, with the coins. See also the sotein ch. si.
and courage : on which account, when he had been driven away from that Acrabattene toparchy which he once bad, by Ananus the bigh-priest, he came to those robbers who had seized upon Masada. At the first they suspected him, and only permitted bim to come with the women he brought with him, into the lower part of the fortress, while they dwelt in the upper part of it themselves. However his manders so well agreed with theirs, and he seemed so trusty a man, that he went out with them, and ravaged and destroyed the country with them about Masada ; yet when he persuaded them to undertake greater things, he could not prevail with them so to do; for as they were accustoined to dwell in that citadel, they were afraid of going far from that which was their hiding place : but he affecting to tyranpize, and being fond of greatoess, when be had heard of the death of Anapus he left them, and went into the mountainous part of the country. So he proclaimed liberty to those in slavery, and a reward to those already free, and got together a set of wicked men from all quarters.
4. And as he had now a strong body of men about him, he over ran the villages that lay in the mountaipous country, and when there were still more and more that came to him, ke ventured to go down into the lower parts of the country, and since he was now become formidable to the cities, many of the men of power were corrupted by him; so that his ar. my was no longer composed of slaves and robbers, but a great many of the populace were obedient to him as to their king. He theu over-rap the Acrabatene toparchy and the places that reached as far as the great Idumea ; for he built a wall at a certain village called Nain, and made use of that as a fortress of his own party's security ; and at the valley called Pharan he enlarged many of the caves, and many others he found ready for his purpose; these he made use of as repositories for his treasures, and receptacles for his prey, and therein he laid up the fruits that he had got by rapine ; and many of his partisans had their dwelling in them, and he made no secret of it that he was exercising his med before. hand, and making preperations for the assault of Jerusalem,
5. Whereupon the zealots, out of the dread they were in of his attacking them, and being williog to prevent one that was growing up to oppose them, went out against him with their weapons. Simon met them, and joining battle with them, slew a considerable pumber of them, and drove
the rest before him into the city, but durst not trust so much upon his forces, as to make an assault upon the walls ; but he resolved first to subdue Idumea, and, as he had now twenty thousaud armed men, he marched to the borders of their country. Herenpon the rulers of the Idumeans got together on the sudden the most warlike part of their people, about twenty-five thousand in number, and permitted the rest to be a guard to their own country, by reason of the incursions that were made by the Sicarii that were at Masada. Thus they they received Simon at their borders, where they fought him, and continued the battle all that day, and the dispute lay whether they had conquered him, or been conquered by him. So he went back to Nain, as did the Idumeans return home. Nor was it long ere Simon came violently again upon their country; when he pitched his camp at a certain village called Thecoe, and sent Eleazer, one of his companions to those that kept garrison at Herodium, and in order to persuade them to surrender that fortress to bim. The garrison received this map readily, while they knew nothing of what he came about, but as soon as he talked of the surrender of the place, they fell upon him with their drawn swords, till he found that he had no place for flight, when he threw himself down from the wall into the valley beneath : so he died immediately : but the Idumeans, who were already much afraid of Simon's power, thought it fit to take a view of the enemy's army before they hazarded a bat tle with them."
6. Now there was one of their commanders named Jacob, who offered to serve them readily upon that occasion, but had it iu his mind to betray them. He went therefore from the village Alurus, wherein the army of the Idumeans were gotten together, and came to Simon, and at the very first he agreed to betray his country to him, and took assurances upon oath from him that he should always have him in esteem, and then promised him that he would assist him in subduing all Idumea under him; upon which account he was feasted after an obliging maoner by Simon, and elevated by his mighty promises : and when he was returned to his own men he at first belied the army of Simon, and said it was manifold more in number than it was; after which he dextrously persuaded the commanders, and by degrees the whole multitude, to receive Simon, and to surrender the whole governors up to him, without fighting. And as bio