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Great Jewish Revolt: Siege And Destruction Of Jerusalem
Author: Josephus

Part I.

A.D. 70

Introduction

From A.D. 66 events of great moment occurred in Palestine. The Jews
were in the throes of revolt against the Roman Government. At the same time
the chief factions of the revolutionary party were constantly fighting each
other. One of these factions was led by the famous John of Gischala, another
by Simon bar Gioras, and a third by Eleazar. These factions of a party which
- since the reduction of Judea to a Roman province soon after the death of
Herod - had resisted the oppression of the procurators, were now stirred to
revolt by the exactions of the procurator Gessius Florus. The revolutionary
party, called the Zealots, gained power, and there were many outbreaks in
Jerusalem. The counsel of the more prudent spirits was disregarded. At last
Roman blood was shed. The nobility and priesthood played into the hands of
the Zealots by applying to Florus to put down the revolt. Florus marched
against Jerusalem and was badly beaten by the Zealots.

Open war henceforth existed. Josephus, a Jew of the lineage of Aaron,
trained according to the best discipline of his race, and who had also been
well received at Rome, was placed by his countrymen in command of the
province of Galilee. Afterward, as a historian, he described the events of
the war.

Vespasian, who was then Rome's greatest general, soon came at the head
of sixty thousand Roman soldiers. He attacked Galilee. Josephus, with such
followers as he could gather, took position on an almost inaccessible hill in
Jotapata, which the Romans for five days stormed in vain, then besieged its
brave defenders, afterward repeatedly assaulted; and finally, during the
night following the forty-seventh day of the siege, Titus, serving under his
father, Vespasian, gained possession of the place. Josephus, with forty of
the principal citizens, hid in a cave, but their refuge was discovered
through treachery.

Vespasian was anxious to take Josephus alive. He sent the tribune
Nicanor, who had been his friend, to the Jewish leader to induce him with
fair promises to surrender. Josephus was about to give himself up, but was
prevented by his companions. "We will care for the honor of our country,"
they said. At the same time they offered a sword and "a hand that shall use
it against thee." Josephus then proposed that they should all die together,
but by the hands of one another, instead of suicide. Lots were cast. He who
drew the first offered his neck to him who stood next and so forward.
Finally, through marvellous fortune, Josephus and one other alone were left,
and here the slaughter ended. The two survivors surrendered to the Romans.
Loud cries for the death of Josephus arose, but he was spared by the
intercession of Titus. The fall of Jotapata led to the subjugation of
Galilee.

When captured, Josephus made to Vespasian the prophecy: "Thou shalt be
emperor - thou and thy son after thee," a prediction soon to be fulfilled,
for in A.D. 69 Vespasian was proclaimed emperor, and the next year went to
Rome, leaving Titus to carry on the war and subdue Jerusalem. Vespasian
himself, it is recorded, released Josephus," cutting off his chains," thus
relieving him from all stain of dishonor.

"The capture of Jerusalem by Titus in this campaign," says Hosmer, "is
one of the most memorable events in the history of mankind. It caused the
expulsion of an entire race from its home. The Roman valor, skill, and
persistence were never more conspicuously displayed. No more desperate
resistance was ever opposed to the eagle-emblemed mistress of the ancient
world. There is no event of ancient history the details of which are more
minutely known. The circumstances in all their appalling features are given
to us by the eye-witness, Josephus, so that we know them as vividly as we do
the events of the career of Grant."

Great Jewish Revolt: Seige And Destruction Of Jerusalem

The legions had orders to encamp at the distance of six furlongs from
Jerusalem, at the mount called the Mount of Olives, which lies over against
the city on the east side, and is parted from it by a deep valley, interposed
between them, which is named Cedron.

Now, when hitherto the several parties in the city had been dashing one
against another perpetually, this foreign war, now suddenly come upon them
after a violent manner, put the first stop to their contentions one against
another; and as the seditious now saw with astonishment the Romans pitching
three several camps, they began to think of an awkward sort of concord, and
said one to another: "What do we here, and what do we mean, when we suffer
three fortified walls to be built to coop us in, that we shall not be able to
breathe freely? while the enemy is securely building a kind of city in
opposition to us, and while we sit still within our own walls and become
spectators only of what they are doing, with our hands idle, and our armor
laid by, as if they were about somewhat that was for our good and advantage.
We are, it seems (so did they cry out), only courageous against ourselves,
while the Romans are likely to gain the city without bloodshed by our
sedition." Thus did they encourage one another when they were gotten
together and took their armor immediately and ran out upon the Tenth legion
and fell upon the Romans with great eagerness, and with a prodigious shout,
as they were fortifying their camp. These Romans were caught in different
parties, and this in order to perform their several works, and on that
account had in great measure laid aside their arms, for they thought the Jews
would not have ventured to make a sally upon them; and had they been disposed
so to do, they supposed their sedition would have distracted them. So they
were put into disorder unexpectedly; when some of them left their works they
were about and immediately marched off, while many ran to their arms, but
were smitten and slain before they could turn back upon the enemy. The Jews
became still more and more in number, as encouraged by the good success of
those that first made the attack; and while they had such good fortune, they
seemed both to themselves and to the enemy to be many more than they really
were.

The disorderly way of their fighting at first put the Romans also to a
stand, who had been constantly used to fight skilfully in good order, and
with keeping their ranks and obeying the orders that were given them, for
which reason the Romans were caught unexpectedly and were obliged to give way
to the assaults that were made upon them. Now, when these Romans were
overtaken and turned back upon the Jews, they put a stop to their career; yet
when they did not take care enough of themselves through the vehemency of
their pursuit, they were wounded by them; but as still more and more Jews
sallied out of the city, the Romans were at length brought into confusion,
and put to flight, and ran away from their camp. Nay, things looked as
though the entire legion would have been in danger, unless Titus had been
informed of the case they were in, and had sent them succors immediately. So
he reproached them for their cowardice and brought those back that were
running away, and fell himself upon the Jews on their flank, with those
select troops that were with him, and slew a considerable number, and wounded
more of them, and put them all to flight, and made them run away hastily down
the valley. Now as these Jews suffered greatly in the declivity of the
valley, so when they were gotten over it they turned about and stood over
against the Romans, having the valley between them, and there fought with
them. Thus did they continue the fight till noon; but when it was already a
little after noon, Titus set those that came to the assistance of the Romans
with him, and those that belonged to the cohorts, to prevent the Jews from
making any more sallies, and then sent the rest of the legion to the upper
part of the mountain, to fortify their camp.

This march of the Romans seemed to the Jews to be a flight; and as the
watchman who was placed upon the wall gave a signal by shaking his garment,
there came out a fresh multitude of Jews, and that with such mighty violence
that one might compare it to the running of the most terrible wild beasts.
To say the truth, none of those that opposed them could sustain the fury with
which they made their attacks; but, as if they had been cast out of an
engine, they brake the enemies' ranks to pieces, who were put to flight, and
ran away to the mountain; none but Titus himself, and a few others with him,
being left in the midst of the acclivity. Now these others, who were his
friends, despised the danger they were in and were ashamed to leave their
general, earnestly exhorting him to give way to these Jews that are fond of
dying, and not to run into such dangers before those that ought to stay
before him; to consider what his fortune was, and not, by supplying the place
of a common soldier, to venture to turn back upon the enemy so suddenly; and
this because he was general in the war, and lord of the habitable earth, on
whose preservation the public affairs do all depend.

These persuasions Titus seemed not so much as to hear, but opposed those
that ran upon him, and smote them on the face; and when he had forced them to
go back, he slew them: he also fell upon great numbers as they marched down
the hill, and thrust them forward; while those men were so amazed at his
courage and his strength that they could not fly directly to the city, but
declined from him on both sides, and pressed after those that fled up the
hill; yet did he still fall upon their flank, and put a stop to their fury.
In the mean time a disorder and a terror fell again upon those that were
fortifying their camp at the top of the hill, upon their seeing those
beneath them running away; insomuch that the whole legion was dispersed while
they thought that the sallies of the Jews upon them were plainly
insupportable, and that Titus was himself put to flight, because they took it
for granted that, if he had stayed, the rest would never have fled for it.
Thus were they encompassed on every side by a kind of panic fear, and some
dispersed themselves one way, and some another, till certain of them saw
their general in the very midst of an action, and being under great concern
for him, they loudly proclaimed the danger he was in to the entire legion;
and now shame made them turn back, and they reproached one another that they
did worse than run away, by deserting Caesar. So they used their utmost
force against the Jews, and declining from the straight declivity, they drove
them on heaps into the bottom of the valley. Then did the Jews turn about
and fight them; but as they were themselves retiring, and now, because the
Romans had the advantage of the ground and were above the Jews, they drove
them all into the valley.

As now the war abroad ceased for a while, the sedition within was
revived; and on the feast of unleavened bread, which was now come, it being
the fourteenth day of the month Xanthicus [Nisan], when it is believed the
Jews were first freed from the Egyptians, Eleazar and his party opened the
gates of this [inmost court of the] Temple, and admitted such of the people
as were desirous to worship God into it. But John made use of this festival
as a cloak for his treacherous designs, and armed the most inconsiderable of
his own party, the greater part of whom were not purified, with weapons
concealed under their garments, and sent them with great zeal into the
Temple, in order to seize upon it, which armed men, when they were gotten in,
threw their garments away, and presently appeared in their armor. Upon which
there was a very great disorder and disturbance about the holy house, while
the people, who had no concern in the sedition, supposed that this assault
was made against all without distinction, as the Zealots thought it was made
against themselves only. So these left off guarding the gates any longer and
leaped down from their battlements before they came to an engagement, and
fled away into the subterranean caverns of the Temple, while the people that
stood trembling at the altar and about the holy house were rolled on heaps
together and trampled upon, and were beaten both with wooden and with iron
weapons without mercy. Such also as had differences with others slew many
persons that were quiet, out of their own private enmity and hatred, as if
they were opposite to the seditious; and all those that had formerly offended
any of these plotters were now known, and were now led away to the slaughter,
and when they had done abundance of horrid mischief to the guiltless they
granted a truce to the guilty and let those go off that came out of the
caverns. These followers of John also did now seize upon this inner temple,
and upon all the warlike engines therein, and then ventured to oppose Simon.
And thus that sedition, which had been divided into three factions, was now
reduced to two.

But Titus, intending to pitch his camp nearer to the city than Scopus,
placed as many of his choice horsemen and footmen as he thought sufficient
opposite to the Jews to prevent their sallying out upon them, while he gave
orders for the whole army to level the distance as far as the wall of the
city. So they threw down all the hedges and walls which the inhabitants had
made about their gardens and groves of trees, and cut down all the fruit
trees that lay between them and the wall of the city, and filled up all the
hollow places and the chasms, and demolished the rocky precipices with iron
instruments; and thereby made all the place level from Scopus to Herod's
monuments, which adjoined to the pool called the Serpent's Pool.

Now at this very time the Jews contrived the following stratagem against
the Romans. The bolder sort of the seditious went out at the towers, called
the Women's Towers, as if they had been ejected out of the city by those who
were for peace, and rambled about as if they were afraid of being assaulted
by the Romans, and were in fear of one another, while those that stood upon
the wall and seemed to be of the people's side cried out aloud for peace, and
entreated they might have security for their lives given them, and called for
the Romans, promising to open the gates to them; and as they cried out after
that manner they threw stones at their own people, as though they would drive
them away from the gates. These also pretended that they were excluded by
force, and that they petitioned those that were within to let them in; and
rushing upon the Romans perpetually, with violence, they then came back, and
seemed to be in great disorder. Now the Roman soldiers thought this cunning
stratagem of theirs was to be believed real, and thinking they had the one
party under their power, and could punish them as they pleased, and hoping
that the other party would open their gates to them, set to the execution of
their designs accordingly.

But for Titus himself, he had this surprising conduct of the Jews in
suspicion, for whereas he had invited them to come to terms of accommodation,
by Josephus, but one day before, he could then receive no civil answer from
them; so he ordered the soldiers to stay where they were. However, some of
them that were set in the front of the works prevented him, and catching up
their arms ran to the gates; whereupon those that seemed to have been ejected
at the first retired; but as soon as the soldiers were gotten between the
towers on each side of the gate the Jews ran out and encompassed them round,
and fell upon them behind, while that multitude which stood upon the wall
threw a heap of stones and darts of all kinds at them, insomuch that they
slew a considerable number, and wounded many more, for it was not easy for
the Romans to escape, by reason those behind them pressed them forward;
besides which, the shame they were under for being mistaken, and the fear
they were in of their commanders, engaged them to persevere in their mistake;
wherefore they fought with their spears a great while, and received many
blows from the Jews, though indeed they gave them as many blows again, and at
last repelled those that had encompassed them about, while the Jews pursued
them as they retired, and followed them, and threw darts at them as far as
the monuments of Queen Helena.

Now the warlike men that were in the city, and the multitude of the
seditious that were with Simon, were ten thousand, besides the Idumeans.
Those ten thousand had fifty commanders, over whom this Simon was supreme.
The Idumeans that paid him homage were five thousand, and had eight
commanders, among whom those of greatest fame were Jacob, the son of Sosas,
and Simon, the son of Cathlas. John, who had seized upon the Temple, had six
thousand armed men under twenty commanders; the Zealots also that had come
over to him and left off their opposition were two thousand four hundred, and
had the same commander that they had formerly, Eleazar, together with Simon,
the son of Arinus. Now, while these factions fought one against another, the
people were their prey on both sides, and that part of the people who would
not join with them in their wicked practices were plundered by both factions.

Simon held the upper city and the great wall as far as Cedron, and as
much of the old wall as bent from Siloam to the east, and which went down to
the palace of Monobazus, who was king of the Adiabeni, beyond Euphrates; he
also held that fountain and the Acra, which was no other than the lower city;
he also held all that reached to the palace of Queen Helena, the mother of
Monobazus. But John held the Temple and the parts thereto adjoining, for a
great way, as also Ophla, and the valley called "the Valley of Cedron"; and
when the parts that were interposed between their possessions were burned by
them, they left a space wherein they might fight with each other, for this
internal sedition did not cease even when the Romans were encamped near their
very walls. But although they had grown wiser at the first onset the Romans
made upon them, this lasted but awhile, for they returned to their former
madness, and separated one from another, and fought it out and did everything
that the besiegers could desire them to do, for they never suffered anything
that was worse from the Romans than they made each other suffer; nor was
there any misery endured by the city, after these men's actions, that could
be esteemed new. But it was most of all unhappy before it was overthrown,
while those that took it did it a greater kindness; for I venture to affirm
that the sedition destroyed the city, and the Romans destroyed the sedition,
which it was a much harder thing to do than to destroy the walls; so that we
may justly ascribe our misfortunes to our own people, and the just vengeance
taken on them to the Romans; as to which matter let everyone determine by the
actions on both sides.

Now when affairs within the city were in this posture, Titus went round
the city on the outside with some chosen horsemen and looked about for a
proper place where he might make an impression upon the walls; but as he was
in doubt where he could possibly make an attack on any side - for the place
was no way accessible where the valleys were, and on the other side the first
wall appeared too strong to be shaken by the engines - he thereupon thought
it best to make his assault upon the monument of John, the high-priest, for
there it was that the first fortification was lower, and the second was not
joined to it, the builders neglecting to build strong where the new city was
not much inhabited. Here also was an easy passage to the third wall, through
which he thought to take the upper city and, through the tower of Antonia,
the Temple itself. But at this time, as he was going round about the city,
one of his friends, whose name was Nicanor, was wounded with a dart on his
left shoulder, as he approached, together with Josephus, too near the wall,
and attempted to discourse to those that were upon the wall about terms of
peace, for he was a person known by them.

On this account it was that Caesar, as soon as he knew their vehemence,
that they would not bear even such as approached them to persuade them to
what tended to their own preservation, was provoked to press on the siege.
He also, at the same time, gave his soldiers leave to set the suburbs on
fire, and ordered that they should bring timber together, and raise banks
against the city. And when he had parted his army into three parts, in order
to set about those works, he placed those that shot darts, and the archers in
the midst of the banks that were then raising, before whom he placed those
engines that threw javelins and darts and stones, that he might prevent the
enemy from sallying out upon their works and might hinder those that were
upon the wall from being able to obstruct them. So the trees were now cut
down immediately and the suburbs left naked. But now while the timber was
being carried to raise the banks, and the whole army was earnestly engaged in
their works, the Jews were not, however, quiet. And it happened that the
people of Jerusalem, who had been hitherto plundered and murdered, were now
of good courage, and supposed they should have a breathing time, while the
others were very busy in opposing their enemies without the city, and that
they should now be avenged on those that had been the authors of their
miseries, in case the Romans did but get the victory.

However, John stayed behind, out of his fear of Simon, even while his
own men were earnest in making a sally upon their enemies without. Yet did
not Simon lie still, for he lay near the place of the siege; he brought his
engines of war and disposed of them at due distances upon the wall, both
those which they took from Cestius formerly, and those which they got when
they seized the garrison that lay in the tower Antonia. But though they had
these engines in their possession, they had so little skill in using them
that they were in great measure useless to them; but a few there were who had
been taught by deserters how to use them, which they did use, though after an
awkward manner. So they cast stones and arrows at those that were making the
banks; they also ran out upon them by companies and fought with them.

Now those that were at work covered themselves with hurdles spread over
their banks, and their engines were opposed to them when they made their
excursions. The engines, that all the legions had ready prepared for them,
were admirably contrived; but still more extraordinary ones belonged to the
Tenth legion: those that threw darts and those that threw stones were more
forcible and larger than the rest, by which they not only repelled the
excursions of the Jews, but drove those away that were upon the walls also.
Now the stones that were cast were of the weight of a talent, and were
carried two furlongs and farther. The blow they gave was no way to be
sustained, not only by those that stood first in the way, but by those that
were beyond them for a great space.

As for the Jews, they at first watched the coming of the stone, for it
was of a white color, and could therefore not only be perceived by the great
noise it made, but could be seen also before it came, by its brightness.
Accordingly, the watchmen that sat upon the towers gave them notice when the
engine was let go, and the stone came from it, and cried out aloud, in their
own country language, "The son cometh!" so those that were in its way stood
off, and threw themselves down upon the ground; by which means, and by their
thus guarding themselves, the stone fell down and did them no harm. But the
Romans contrived how to prevent that, by blacking the stone, who then could
aim at them with success when the stone was not discerned beforehand as it
had been till then; and so they destroyed many of them at one blow. Yet did
not the Jews, under all this distress, permit the Romans to raise their banks
in quiet, but they shrewdly and boldly exerted themselves, and repelled them
both by night and by day.

And now, upon the finishing the Roman works, the workmen measured the
distance there was from the wall, and this by lead and a line which they
threw to it from their banks, for they could not measure it any other wise,
because the Jews would shoot at them, if they came to measure it themselves.
And when they found that the engines could reach the wall they brought them
thither. Then did Titus set his engines, at proper distances, so much nearer
to the wall that the Jews might not be able to repel them, and gave orders
they should go to work; and when, thereupon, a prodigious noise echoed round
about from three places, and that on a sudden there was a great noise made by
the citizens that were within the city, and no less a terror fell upon the
seditious themselves. Whereupon both sorts, seeing the common danger they
were in, contrived to make a like defence. So those of different factions
cried out one to another that they acted entirely as in concert with their
enemies, whereas they ought, however, notwithstanding God did not grant them
a lasting concord in their present circumstances, to lay aside their enmities
one against another and to unite together against the Romans. Accordingly,
Simon gave those that came from the Temple leave, by proclamation, to go upon
the wall; John also himself, though he could not believe Simon was in
earnest, gave them the same leave.

So on both sides they laid aside their hatred and their peculiar
quarrels, and formed themselves into one body. They then ran round the
walls, and having a vast number of torches with them threw them at the
machines, and shot darts perpetually upon those that impelled those engines
which battered the wall - nay, the bolder sort leaped out by troops upon the
hurdles that covered the machines, and pulled them to pieces, and fell upon
those that belonged to them, and beat them, not so much by any skill they
had, as principally by the boldness of their attacks.

However, Titus himself still sent assistance to those that were the
hardest beset, and placed both horsemen and archers on the several sides of
the engines, and thereby beat off those that brought the fire to them. He
also thereby repelled those that shot stones or darts from the towers, and
then set the engines to work in good earnest; yet did not the wall yield to
these blows, excepting where the battering ram of the Fifteenth legion moved
the corner of a tower, while the wall itself continued unhurt, for the wall
was not presently in the same danger with the tower, which was extant far
above it; nor could the fall of that part of the tower easily break down any
part of the wall itself together with it.

And now the Jews intermitted their sallies for a while, but when they
observed the Romans dispersed all abroad at their works, and in their several
camps - for they thought the Jews had retired out of weariness and fear -
they all at once made a sally at the tower Hippicus, through an obscure gate,
and at the same time brought fire to burn the works, and went boldly up to
the Romans, and to their very fortifications themselves, where, at the cry
they made, those that were near them came presently to their assistance, and
those farther off came running after them. And here the boldness of the Jews
was too hard for the good order of the Romans, and as they beat those whom
they first fell upon, so they pressed upon those that were now gotten
together. So this fight about the machines was very hot, while the one side
tried hard to set them on fire, and the other side to prevent it. On both
sides there was a confused cry made, and many of those in the forefront of
the battle were slain.

However, the Jews were now too hard for the Romans by the furious
assaults they made like madmen, and the fire caught hold of the works, and
both all those works, and the engines themselves, had been in danger of being
burned, had not many of those select soldiers that came from Alexandria
opposed themselves to prevent it, and had they not behaved themselves with
greater courage than they themselves supposed they could have done, for they
outdid those in this fight that had greater reputation than themselves. This
was the state of things till Caesar took the stoutest of his horsemen and
attacked the enemy, while he himself slew twelve of those that were in the
forefront of the Jews, which death of these men, when the rest of the
multitude saw, they gave way, and he pursued them, and drove them all into
the city, and saved the works from the fire. Now it happened at this fight
that a certain Jew was taken alive who, by Titus' order, was crucified before
the wall, to see whether the rest of them would be affrighted and abate of
their obstinacy. But after the Jews were retired, John, ^1 who was commander
of the Idumeans, and was talking to a certain soldier of his acquaintance
before the wall, was wounded by a dart shot at him by an Arabian, and died
immediately, leaving the greatest lamentation to the Jews, and sorrow to the
seditious, for he was a man of great eminence, both for his actions and his
conduct also.

[Footnote 1: Not to be confounded with John of Gischala, leader of one of the
three factions.]

Now, on the next night, a surprising disturbance fell upon the Romans;
for whereas Titus had given orders for the erection of three towers of fifty
cubits high, that, by setting men upon them at every bank, he might from
thence drive those away who were upon the wall, it so happened that one of
these towers fell down about midnight, and as its fall made a very great
noise, fear fell upon the army, and they, supposing that the enemy was coming
to attack them, ran all to their arms. Whereupon a disturbance and a tumult
arose among the legions, and as nobody could tell what had happened, they
went on after a disconsolate manner; and seeing no enemy appear, they were
afraid one of another, and every one demanded of his neighbor the watchword
with great earnestness as though the Jews had invaded their camp. And now
were they like people under a panic fear, until Titus was informed of what
had happened, and gave orders that all should be acquainted with it; and
then, though with some difficulty, they got clear of the disturbance they had
been under.

Now these towers were very troublesome to the Jews, who otherwise
opposed the Romans very courageously, for they shot at them out of their
lighter engines from those towers, as they did also by those that threw
darts, and the archers, and those that flung stones. For neither could the
Jews reach those that were over them, by reason of their height; and it was
not practicable to take them, nor to overturn them, they were so heavy, nor
to set them on fire, because they were covered with plates of iron. So they
retired out of the reach of the darts, and did no longer endeavor to hinder
the impression of their rams, which, by continually beating upon the wall,
did gradually prevail against it; so that the wall already gave way to the
Nico, for by that name did the Jews themselves call the greatest of their
engines, because it conquered all things. And now they were for a long while
grown weary of fighting and of keeping guards, and were retired to lodge in
the night-time at a distance from the wall. It was on other accounts also
thought by them to be superfluous to guard the wall, there being besides that
two other fortifications still remaining, and they being slothful, and their
counsels having been ill-concerted on all occasions; so a great many grew
lazy and retired. Then the Romans mounted the breach, where Nico had made
one, and all the Jews left the guarding that wall and retreated to the second
wall; so those that had gotten over that wall opened the gates and received
all the army within it. And thus did the Romans get possession of this first
wall, on the fifteenth day of the siege, which was the seventh day of the
month Artemisius (Jyar), when they demolished a great part of it, as well as
they did of the northern parts of the city, which had been demolished also by
Cestius formerly.

And now Titus pitched his camp within the city, at that place which was
called "the Camp of the Assyrians," having seized upon all that lay as far as
Cedron, but took care to be out of the reach of the Jews' darts. He then
presently began his attacks, upon which the Jews divided themselves into
several bodies, and courageously defended that wall, while John ^1 and his
faction did it from the tower of Antonia, and from the northern cloister of
the Temple, and fought the Romans before the monuments of King Alexander; and
Simon's army also took for their share the spot of ground that was near
John's monument, ^2 and fortified it as far as to that gate where water was
brought in to the tower Hippicus. However, the Jews made violent sallies,
and that frequently also, and in bodies together out of the gates, and
there fought the Romans; and when they were pursued all together to the wall,
they were beaten in those fights, as wanting the skill of the Romans. But
when they fought them from the walls they were too hard for them; the Romans
being encouraged by their power, joined to their skill, as were the Jews by
their boldness, which was nourished by the fear they were in, and that
hardiness which is natural to our nation under calamities; they were also
encouraged still by the hope of deliverance, as were the Romans by their
hopes of subduing them in a little time.

[Footnote 1: John of Gischala.]

[Footnote 2: Probably that of John Hyrcanus I, a Maccabaean, prince of
Judea, B.C. 135-105.]

Nor did either side grow weary; but attacks and fightings upon the wall,
and perpetual sallies out in bodies, were there all the day long; nor were
there any sort of warlike engagements that were not then put in use. And the
night itself had much ado to part them, when they began to fight in the
morning - nay, the night itself was passed without sleep on both sides, and
was more uneasy than the day to them, while the one was afraid lest the wall
should be taken, and the other lest the Jews should make sallies upon their
camps; both sides also lay in their armor during the night-time, and thereby
were ready at the first appearance of light to go to the battle. Now among
the Jews the ambition was who should undergo the first dangers, and thereby
gratify their commanders. Above all, they had a great veneration and dread
of Simon; and to that degree was he regarded by every one of those that were
under him, that at his command they were very ready to kill themselves with
their own hands.
 


 

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