From Vespasian's arrival, to the fall of Tarichea
001 When Nero was told of the disaster in Judea, privately he felt insecure and anxious, as was natural, but openly he swaggered and was furious. 002 He attributed the debacle rather to the officers' incompetence than to any bravery on the part of the enemy, and thought that the one who bore the burden of empire should scorn such setbacks and appear to have a soul superior to all things.
003 Yet the disturbance in his soul was evident as he pondered whom to send to deal with the upheaval in the East, and who could quell the rebellion of the Jews and prevent the disease from infecting the neighbouring nations. 004 The only one he found capable of taking on so difficult a war was Vespasian, a man of experience who had been involved in soldiering from his youth, and who had already pacified the west under Roman rule, when it was convulsed by the Germans. 005 By his military skill he had also won for them Britain, a place little known before, winning a triumph for his father, Claudius, without any effort on the latter's part.
006 Nero saw these as good omens feeling that Vespasian's age and experience made him reliable, and was even more confident on account of his sons, whose youth would make them fit agents to be guided by their father's prudence. Perhaps also there was an influence of Providence, 007 which was paving the way for Vespasian himself to later become emperor. This was the man he sent to command the armies in Syria, not without the greatest praise and flattery as was required the crisis, in order to persuade him into acceptance. 008 Vespasian sent his son Titus from Achaia, where he had been in Nero's company, to Alexandria, to bring back from there the fifth and tenth legions, while he himself, after crossing the Hellespont, marched overland into Syria, where he gathered the Roman forces and a large number of allies from the kings in that region.
009 After defeating Cestius, the Jews were so elated by their unexpected success that they could not restrain their impetuosity, but like people puffed up by their good fortune, carried the war further afield and soon gathered a large crowd of their hardiest men and marched on Ascalon. 010 This is an ancient city, five hundred and twenty furlongs from Jerusalem and was always hostile to the Jews, which is why despite its distance it seemed the place to make their first assault. 011 This mission was led by three men, their best both in strength and ability, Niger, called the Persite, Silas of Babylon and John the Essene. 012 Now Ascalon was strongly fortified, but was almost without defenders, having a garrison of just one cohort of infantry and a troop of cavalry, under the command of Antonius.
013 In their elation, the Jews marched faster than usual and, as though they had come just a little distance, rushed up very close to the city. 014 But Antonius was ready for their attack and had his cavalry drawn up in advance and fearing neither the enemy's numbers or daring, stoutly withstood their first attacks and beat them off when they rushed up to the very walls. 015 People unskilled in war fought people who were skilled in it and infantry against cavalry; a disorganised force against one that was united; men poorly armed, against well-armed men. The Jews, led more by rage than by sober counsel, were up against disciplined soldiers who at the slightest sign did exactly as they were told, so they were soon in trouble. 016 For as soon as their first ranks were shaken, they were turned round by the cavalry and those who came behind them crowding up to the wall met the weapons of their own side and they were their own enemies until they all had to yield to the cavalry attacks and were scattered across the wide plain, which suited the cavalry. 017 This suited the Romans and caused most of the Jewish losses, for they could outrun any who fled and turn them back and drive them together and run them through. So they killed them in large numbers, for others surrounded them and drove them before them wherever they turned, and easily shot them down. 018 The Jews, despite their numbers, felt deserted and inept, while the Romans, though few in numbers, had such success that they seemed the larger force. 019 One side, in their plight, battled hard to avoid the shame of fleeing too soon and hoping their fortunes would change, while the others were energised, buoyed up by success. So the fight went on until the evening, when ten thousand men of the Jews' side lay dead, including two of their generals, John and Silas. 020 Most of the rest were wounded, including their surviving general, Niger, who fled with them to a small city of Idumaea, called Chaallis. 021 A few of the Romans were also wounded in this battle.
022 Yet despite such a major disaster the spirits of the Jews were not broken, but their losses motivated them for other attempts. Ignoring the corpses under their feet, they were lured by their former success into a second destruction. 023 After resting for too short a while for their wounds to fully heal, they gathered their forces and atacked to Ascalon more furiously and in much greater numbers. 024 But the same lack of skill and other deficiencies in war led to the same result as before, 025 for Antony ambushed them in the passes they had to go through, where they fell into the trap and were surrounded by cavalry, before they could form a proper line, and upward of eight thousand of them were killed. All the rest fled including Niger, who even in his flight performed many bold exploits. But the enemy pressed hard on them and they were driven into a strong tower in a village called Bezedek. 026 Antony and his party, so as not to spend much time on this tower, which was hard to take, or let their commander and bravest man escape them, set fire to the wall. 027 As the tower was burning, the Romans left, happy to think that Niger was destroyed, but he saved his life by jumping from the tower into a cavity in its inmost recesses. Three days later his voice came from underground to his grieving friends who were searching for his body for burial. 028 His emergence filled all the Jews with joy, as though divine providence had preserved him for them as their future leader.
029 Vespasian mustered his forces in the capital of Syria, Antioch, which in size and other aspects is surely the third city in the world of the Roman empire. Along with king Agrippa, who was waiting for his arrival with all his forces, he marched on to Ptolemais. 030 In this city he was met by the people of Sepphoris of Galilee, the only ones in that area who were in favour of peace. 031 Caring for their own safety, and being well aware of the power of the Romans, even before Vespasian's arrival they swore allegiance to Cestius Gallus and got his promise of security and had received a Roman garrison. 032 Now they also warmly welcomed the general himself, and readily promised him their allegiance against their own countrymen. 033 At their request, the general gave them for their security enough cavalry and infantry to withstand any attacks the Jews might make against them. 034 In the coming war there was considerable danger of Sepphoris being taken, since, as the largest city of Galilee and very well fortified, it could serve as a garrison for the whole nation.
035 There are two Galilees, the Upper and the Lower, which are bordered by Phoenicia and Syria, and on the west they are bounded by the edges of Ptolemais and by Carmel, a mountain formerly owned by the Galileans, but now belonging to Tyre. 036 This mountain adjoins Gaba, called the City of Cavalry, because it was settled by the cavalry discharged by king Herod. 037 On the south they are bounded by Samaria and Scythopolis, as far as the river Jordan; on the east by Hippos and Gadaris and also by Gaulonitis and the boundary of Agrippa's kingdom. 038 Its northern parts reach as far as Tyre and the and the Tyrian territory. The Lower Galilee extends in width from Tiberias to Chabulon, not far from Ptolemais on the coast. 039 It extends from the village called Xaloth, which lies in the great plain, as far as Bersabe, at which point the Upper Galilee begins, extending to the village of Baca, on the border of the Tyrian territory. 040 In length it reaches from Meroth to Thella, a village near to the Jordan.
041 Though surrounded by so many foreign nations, these two territories have always been able to strongly resist every threat of war, 042 for the Galileans are from infancy hardened to war and have been always very numerous. The district has never been short of people or of courage, for their soil is ever rich and fruitful and produces trees of all sorts, so that it invites even the most slothful to take the trouble to work it. 043 All of it is cultivated by its inhabitants and no part lies fallow. Thanks to its fertility it is scattered with many towns and villages of which even the smallest contains over fifteen thousand inhabitants.
044 In short, though Galilee is smaller in size than Perea, it is a stronger economy, for it is all under cultivation and everywhere fruitful, while Perea, though much larger in extent, is mainly desert and rough and much less productive of the milder sorts of fruit. 045 It does, however, have some fertile and productive soil and its plains are planted with a variety of trees, mainly the olive, the vine and the palm. It gets its water supply from wadis coming down from the mountains and from never-failing springs that never fail to run, even when the wadis fail, as they do in the summer. 046 Perea stretches from Machaerus to Pella in length and in breadth from Philadelphia to the Jordan. 047 On the north it is bounded by Pella, as already said, and on west by the Jordan, on the south by the land of Moab and on the east by Arabia and Silonitis and Philadelphia and Gerasa.
048 The land of Samaria lies between Judea and Galilee. It begins at a village of Ginea in the great plain and ends at the Acrabatene district and its nature is the same as Judea. 049 Both regions are made up of hills and valleys and are fertile enough for agriculture and fruitful, with abundance of trees and fruit, both wild and cultivated, and there are no arid places as nature supplies plenty of rain-water. 050 All their running water is distinctively good, and by reason also of their excellent grass their livestock yield more milk than elsewhere, but the surest sign of excellence and prosperity is that both regions have abundant populations.
051 On the border between Samaria and Judea lies the village of Anuath Borceos, the northern boundary of Judea. The southern end of Judea, if measured lengthways, reaches a village on the border of Arabia, which the local Jews call it Yardan. In breadth it extends from the river Jordan to Joppa. 052 The city of Jerusalem is situated in the very middle, for this reason some have not unwisely called that city the navel of the country. 053 Judea is not lacking in the amenities of the sea, since its coastline extend as far as Ptolemais. 054 It consists of eleven districts, of which the royal city of Jerusalem was the capital and presided over all the neighbouring country, as the head does over the body. 055 Each of the other cities under it ruled their several toparchies; Gophna was the second of those cities and next was Acrabatta, then Thamna and Lydda and Emmaus and Pella and Idumaea and Engaddi and Herodium and Jericho. 056 After them came Jamnia and Joppa, presiding over their neighbourhoods, and then the region of Gamala and Gaulonitis and Batanea and Trachonitis, also parts of Agrippa's kingdom. 057 That kingdom begins at Mount Libanus and the fountains of the Jordan and it reaches across to the lake of Tiberias, and its length is from the village of Arpha as far as Julias. Its inhabitants are a mixture of Jews and Syrians. 058 So as briefly as possible have I described the land of the Jews and their neighbours.
059 The allies sent by Vespasian to help the people of Sepphoris, a thousand cavalry and six thousand infantry under the tribune Placidus, encamped in the great plain. They then divided into two groups, the infantry staying in the city to guard it, but the cavalry staying in the camp. 060 Both of them, by constant sorties dominated the adjoining country, and made it hard for Josephus and his men, looting outside the towns and intercepting any who ventured out. 061 Therefore Josephus made an attack on the city that he had lately surrounded with so strong a wall, hoping to take it before they abandoned the rest of the Galileans, for it would be hard for the Romans to retake it. But his hopes failed, finding it impossible either to take the place by force or to persuade the Sepphorites to surrender. 062 He even sharpened the conflict in the land and his attempt provoked the Romans to go on night and day pillaging the plain and stealing the livestock in the country, killing whoever showed fighting spirit and leading the weak into slavery. 063 All Galilee was filled with fire and blood and was spared no kind of misery or disaster. Their only refuge when they were pursued was to retreat to the cities whose walls had been built for them by Josephus.
064 Titus managed to sail from Achaia to Alexandria sooner than the winter season usually permitted, took command of the forces he was sent to bring, and by forced marches arrived soon in Ptolemais. 065 There he collected his father with the two legions, the fifth and the tenth, the foremost legions of all, and joined to them the fifteenth legion which was brought by him. 066 Eighteen cohorts followed these legions, along with five cohorts and one troop of cavalry from Caesarea, 067 and five other cavalry troops from Syria. Ten of these cohorts had a thousand infantry each, but the other thirteen cohorts had about six hundred infantry apiece, with a hundred and twenty cavalry. 068 There was also a good force of allies, gathered by kings Antiochus, Agrippa and Sohemus, each of them contributing one thousand marching archers and a thousand cavalry. Malchus the king of Arabia, also sent a thousand cavalry and five thousand infantry, most of them archers, 069 so that the whole army, cavalry and infantry, including the allies sent by the kings, amounted to sixty thousand. Along with these came vast numbers of servants, who because they had been trained in war along with the rest, ought not to be excluded from the fighting force, for just as they joined in their masters' activities in peacetime, they shared their dangers in war, so that they yielded only to them in skill or in strength.
070 One cannot but admire the forthought of the Romans, in providing a domestic staff who not only served in the common needs of life, but were also useful to them in the wars. 071 If one pays attention to the general order of their army, one realises that their winning such an empire owes more to their ability than to the mere gift of fortune. 072 They do not make first acquaintance with their weapons in time of war, nor do they begin training with their hands in an emergency having avoided doing so in times of peace. Rather, as if their weapons were part of them, they never take a break from training or wait until the crisis arises. 073 Their manoeuvres are not posponed until times of war and differ not at all from the real use of weapons, for every soldier exercises diligently every day, as if in a real war, which is why they bear the shock of battle so well. 074 No lack of coordination interferes with their usual regularity, nor are they stunned by fear or tired by labour, so that they always overcome those who have not an equal firmness. 075 It would be no mistake to call their exercises unbloody battles and their battles bloody exercises. 076 No enemy can easily surprise them by a sudden attack, for as soon as they march into an enemy land, they do not begin to fight until they have fortified their camp. 077 The defences they build are not poorly made, or uneven, nor do they all work at it together or at random. If the ground is uneven, it is first levelled, and their camp is measured out four-square. 078 Their army is followed by many carpenters, well-equipped for building.
079 The interior of the camp is set in rows of tents, but the exterior perimeter resembles a wall and is fitted with towers at equal distances. 080 Between the towers are set the machines for hurling arrows and spears and slinging stones, and all sorts of ballistic machines, ready for firing. 081 They build four gates, one at each side of the perimeter, high enough to allow access for the beasts of burden and wide enough for making sorties, if required. 082 They divide the interior of the camp conveniently into streets, placing the tents of the officers in the middle, with the general's tent in the very centre, like a temple. 083 The whole looks like a city suddenly sprung up, with its forum and handicraft centre, and benches for the officers, senior and junior, where any cases that arise are decided. 084 The perimeter wall and all that is within is built more quickly than one would think, due to the number and skill of the workers. If needed, a trench is also dug all round, four feet deep and just as wide.
085 Once dug in, they take their quarters by companies, with orderly calm. All their chores are managed with good order and security, and each company has its wood and corn and water brought as required. 086 The time for supper and breakfast is not just when each one pleases, but all eat together. Their times for sleeping and watching and rising are marked in advance by the sound of trumpets, and nothing is done without a command. 087 In the morning all the soldiers go to salute their centurions and the centurions to their tribunes, and with these all the higher officers go to the general of the whole army. 088 He gives them the watchword and other orders, to be passed by them to all under their command. This order is also visible when they go to fight when suddenly they turn around during a raid, as they return as soon as they are recalled.
089 When they are to leave camp, the trumpet sounds, and then nobody is idle, but at the first signal they take down their tents and all is made ready for departure. 090 Then the trumpets sound again, to order them to prepare to march. They quickly load their baggage on their mules and other beasts of burden and stand, as at the starting-line, ready for the off, and then too they set fire to their camp, as it will be easy to build another, and so that it may never be useful to the enemy. 091 The third trumpet sounds the departure, to stir those who for any reason are a little late, so that nobody is missing from his ranks. 092 Then the herald stands at the general's right hand and asks them three times, in their own tongue, if they are ready for war. Each time they loudly and cheerfully shout, "We are ready. " They do this almost before the question is asked, as though filled with a kind of martial fury and as they make this cry, they raise their right arms.
093 When they have left camp, they all march quietly and in good order, each one keeping rank as if going to war. The infantry are armed with breastplates and helmets and have swords on each side. 094 The blade on the left side is much longer than the other, and the one on the right being just a hand's length. 095 The elite infantry that are around the general have a lance and a short shield, but the rest of the foot soldiers have a spear and a long shield, besides a saw and a basket, a pick-axe and an axe, a leather thong and a hook, with provisions for three days, so that an infantryman is loaded nearly like a mule. 096 The cavalry have a long sword on their right sides, and a long pole to hand, and a shield beside them at an angle on one side of their horses, with three or more darts in their quiver, with broad points and no smaller than spears. They have also helmets and breastplates, like the infantry. 097 The armour of the elite troop around the general in no way differs from that of the other cavalry. Finally, the legion to lead the march is chosen by lot.
098 Such is the Romans' way for the march and encampment, and the various weapons they use. But when they are to fight, they leave nothing to chance or off-hand; it is always discussed first and then what has been decided is put into action. 099 Therefore they seldom make mistakes, and if they make an error at any time, they soon correct it. 100 They consider that any error they may commit after taking thought in advance is better than some rash success that is only due to hazard, since purely fortuitous benefits tempt people to be rash, while consultation, though it may sometimes fail, has the advantage of making people more careful. 101 Any profit arising from chance is not merited by the one who benefits from it, and it is a comfort in the case of an unexpected setback to have taken the best advice one could to prevent it.
102 By their military exercises they prepare not only the bodies of the soldiers but their souls, and fear is also used in their training. 103 Their laws inflict the death penalty not only for soldiers running away from battle but for desertion of duty, even in a lesser degree, and their generals are held even more in awe than their laws, for the rewards they bestow on the valiant prevent their penalties from being seen as savagery. 104 The readiness with which they obey their officers is an ornament in peacetime, but in war it makes the whole army like a single body, 105 so well coordinated are their ranks, so quick their wheeling about, so sharp their hearing of orders, so quick their sight of the ensigns and so nimble are their hands when they set to work. 106 The effect is that they can act quickly and bear suffering with patience, and are not known to have been defeated in battle, either by numbers, or ruses, or difficult locations, or even by bad luck; for their victories have been more assured than mere luck. 107 Therefore, where counsel always precedes action and where the plans are carried out by so active an army, what wonder that the boundaries of this empire are the Euphrates on the east, the ocean on the west, the most fertile regions of Libya on the south and the Danube and the Rhine on the north? One might well say that great though their possessions may be, the owners are greater still.
108 This account I have given the reader, not so much to commend the Romans as to comfort those conquered by them and to deter others from attempting to revolt. 109 This account of the Roman military may also be of use to interested readers who did not already know it. I return now from this digression.
110 Vespasian stayed some time in Ptolemais with his son Titus, putting his army in order, while Placidus was hunting through Galilee and killing many whom he caught, and these were the weaker of the Galileans who were worn out by their flight. 111 He noted how the warriors always fled to the cities whose walls had been built by Josephus and so he assaulted Jotapata, the strongest of them all, expecting to take it easily by a surprise attack and thereby to win great honour for himself among the officers by doing something so useful for their coming campaign, for if the strongest place were taken, the rest might surrender out of fear. 112 But he was greatly mistaken, for the men of Jotapata were alerted to his coming and came out from the city to wait for him and many of them, well ready for battle rushed unexpectedly on the Romans. Since they felt their country, their wives and their children to be in danger they were totally committed and quickly put the Romans to flight. 113 Many of them he wounded but only seven were killed, for the retreat was not made in any panic, and the blows only touched the surface of their bodies, covered in all parts by their armour, and because the lightly armed Jews hurled their weapons at them from a distance, rather than risking closer combat with men who were fully armed. 114 On the Jews three were killed and a few wounded. Eventually Placidus, finding himself unable to take the city by storm, went away.
115 But Vespasian was impatient to attack Galilee, so he set off from Ptolemais with his army in the usual Roman marching order. 116 He ordered his lightly armed allies and archers to go ahead, to prevent any unexpected raids by the enemy and to search out any suspicious woodlands that could hide an ambush. Next came the heavily-armed part of the Romans, both infantry, and cavalry. 117 Then came ten men from every century, carrying along their weapons and the tools needed to measure out a camp, 118 and after them the the roadbuilders, to make it straight and to level it wherever it was rough and hard to travel, and to cut down any woods impeding their route, to spare the army a wearisome march. 119 Behind these he set his own carriage and those of the other officers, with a large number of cavalry guarding them. 120 He himself rode next, with an elite corps of infantry and cavalry and spearmen, and next came the special cavalry of his legion, for every legion had its own hundred and twenty cavalry. 121 Next came the mules carrying the city-breakers and other war-machines. 122 Next came the officers of the cohorts and tribunes, each surrounded by picked troops. 123 Then came the ensigns surrounding the eagle, the king and strongest of all birds, the high-point of every Roman legion and which they see as a sign of dominion and an omen that they shall defeat all against whom they march. 124 These sacred ensigns are followed by the trumpeters, and then came the main army in their cohorts and battalions, six men abreast, usually followed by their centurion, who was in charge of good order. 125 The servants of each legion followed the infantry, leading the mules and other beasts of burden which carried the soldiers' baggage. 126 Behind all the legions came the crowd of mercenaries, and for security the rearguard came last, consisting of light and heavy infantry, and many cavalry.
127 Marching in this format with his army, Vespasian came to the borders of Galilee, where he encamped, refraining his soldiers in their eagerness for war. He displayed his army to cow the enemy and give them time to repent and change sides before the battle. At the same time he got everything ready to besiege their strongholds. 128 This sight of the general actually did bring many to regret their revolt and made them all afraid. 129 Those with Josephus who were camped at the town called Garis not far from Sepphoris, when they heard that the war had come near and that the Romans would soon be upon them, dispersed and fled, not only before fighting, but without even seeing the enemy. 130 Left with just a few men, Josephus could see that he had insufficient forces to engage the enemy, that the spirits of the Jews were low and that if possible most of them would willingly surrender. 131 Already he despaired of the success of the whole war and decided to get as far from danger as possible, so he took those who remained with him and fled to Tiberias.
132 Vespasian reached the city of Gadara and took it at the first assault, as it lacked any significant number of warriors. 133 Entering it he killed all the youth, as the Romans showed no pity with regard to age, driven by their hatred of the nation and the memory of what they had done in regard to Cestius. 134 He set fire not alone to the city itself, but to all the surrounding villas and small towns, some of which were deserted while from some he took the inhabitants as slaves into captivity.
135 The city to which Josephus chose to retreat for safety was greatly alarmed, for the people of Tiberias did not think he would have fled unless he entirely despaired of the outcome of the war. 136 In this they were not mistaken, for he saw where the affairs of the Jews were heading and knew that their only way out was through repentance. 137 But though aware that the Romans would grant him a pardon, he opted to die much rather than betray his country and dishonour the army command entrusted to him, in order to prosper under those against whom he was sent to fight. 138 So he decided to write to the leaders in Jerusalem an exact report of the situation, neither frightening them by exaggerating the power of the enemy, nor, by minimising it, encouraging them to stand fast if they were disposed to repentance. 139 If they thought of making peace, they must instantly write back to that effect, but if they decided on war, they must send him sufficient forces to fight the Romans. 140 Having written this, he sent messengers to bring his letter quickly to Jerusalem.
141 Vespasian was eager to put an end to Jotapata, for he had learned that most of the enemy had retreated there and that it was at any rate a place of great security to them. He sent infantry and cavalry to level the road, which was mountainous and rocky, difficult going for infantry and impossible for cavalry. 142 These workmen accomplished the task in four days and opened a highway for the army. On the fifth day, which was the twenty-first of the month Artemisius, Josephus came from Tiberias and got to Jotapata ahead of him and raised the drooping spirits of the Jews. 143 A deserter brought Vespasian the good news that Josephus had moved there, which made him hurry to the city, thinking that if he took it and also got Josephus into his hands, he would take all of Judea. 144 So he took this as good news and believed that divine providence that made the one who seemed the shrewdest of all their enemies to voluntarily enter a place of where he could be enclosed. He sent Placidus with a thousand cavalry and Ebutius the decurion, a splendid man of prudence and action, to surround the city and prevent Josephus from secretly escaping.
145 He followed them with his whole army the next day, and by marching until late in the evening, arrived at Jotapata. 146 Then bringing his army to the northern side of the city he encamped on a small hill seven furlongs from the city, wanting to be clearly seen by the enemy so as to make them afraid. 147 In fact he did frighten the Jews so that none of them dared go out beyond the wall. 148 Still, as they had marched all day the Romans postponed the attack but placed a double row of squadrons round the city, with a third row of cavalry outside, blocking all the exits. 149 The impossibility of escape firmed up the resolve of the Jews, for there is nothing that makes men fight so hard in war as sheer necessity.
150 When the attack came on the next day, the Jews at first stayed outside the city and resisted the Romans there, having camped in front of the walls. 151 But Vespasian ranged against them his archers and slingers and those who could throw the longest distance and set them to work while with the infantry he climbed a ramp from which the wall could easily be taken. Josephus was afraid for the city and made sorties out with the whole body of the Jews. 152 They attacked the Romans in large numbers and drove them away from the wall in many a brave and splendid deed. 153 Still they suffered as much as the enemy, for if despair of their lives gave courage to the Jews, so equally a sense of shame spurred the Romans, who had skill as well as strength, while the others were armed only with the courage which drove them on. 154 The fight lasted all day and only ended at nightfall, by which time they had wounded many of the Romans and killed thirteen of them; on the Jewish side, seventeen were killed and six hundred wounded.
155 The following day, the Jews again attacked the Romans, leaving the ramparts and fighting them even more doggedly, encouraged by their surprisingly strong showing of the day before. 156 But the Romans also fought more fiercely, driven by a sense of shame, seeing in their failure to win a quick victory a kind of defeat. 157 They went on trying to gain ground until the fifth day, while the people of Jotapata made sorties out and fought stubbornly from the ramparts, the Jews being undeterred by the strength of the enemy, and the Romans undaunted by the difficulties of taking the city.
158 Jotapata is built almost entirely on a precipice, very deep and steep gorges on all other sides and every direction, so that people looking downward could not quite see to the bottom. It can only be approached from the north, where the edge of the city is built on the mountain, where it ends at an angle to the plain. 159 This mountain Josephus had enclosed with a wall when he fortified the city, so that the ridge above could not be taken by an enemy. 160 The city is surrounded by other mountains and is quite invisible seen until one comes right upon it. Such was the strong situation of Jotapata.
161 To overcome the natural strength of the place and the bold defense of the Jews, Vespasian decided to vigorously besiege it. So he called his officers to a council of war, consulting them on the best plan of attack. 162 When it was resolved to raise a ramp against the most practicable part of the wall, he sent out his whole army to collect the materials, and they cut down all the trees on the mountains round the city, and then along with the wood they gathered a vast heap of stones. 163 A group of them built shelters, to avoid the spears that were hurled at them from above. These shelters they placed over their earthworks, and under cover of them they built their bank and so suffered little or no harm from the spears hurled at them from the wall. 164 Others pulled apart the neighbouring mounds and were constantly bringing earth to them, and in this threefold activity, nobody was idle. 165 From the ramparts the Jews threw great rocks and all sorts of missiles against the protective hurdles and even if they did not get through, their noise was so frightening that it held up the workmen.
166 Vespasian then placed round the city a hundred and sixty machines that shot stones and spears, and set them to work to dislodge the men on the wall. 167 In a single volley and with a loud noise the catapults hurled numerous lances, and the stone-launchers hurled rocks weighing up to a talent. Fiery torches and a hail of arrows also flew, making the ramparts so dangerous that not only did the Jews not dare to stand there, but even inside the walls they dared not stay within range of the machines. 168 Along with the spear- and stone-throwing machines were many Arab archers, as well as javelin-throwers and slingers. 169 But their opponents did not remain inactive, even when they could not fire against the Romans from above, for they made quick raids out from the city, brigand-fashion, to pull away the hurdles protecting the workmen and kill them when they were so unprotected, and when those workmen gave way, throwing down the earthen bank and burning its timber and the shelters. 170 Finally Vespasian saw that the gaps between the works were to his disadvantage, for those spaces left the Jews room to attack. So he gathered up the shelters and linked up the sections of the army, to block these raids by the Jews.
171 When the bank was raised and came nearer than ever to the top of the ramparts, Josephus thought of counter-plans to save the city. So he gathered his workmen and ordered them to build the wall higher. 172 When they said this could not be done while so many spears were being hurled at them, he devised a sort of cover for them. 173 He got them to fix piles and spread out in front of them the raw hides of freshly-killed oxen, so that when the stones were thrown at them the hides would receive them and yield a little in a hollow shape, from which the spears would slide off and the fire-balls be quenched by their moisture. 174 These he set in front of the workmen and under them they carried on their work in safety and raised the wall higher, by day and night, until it was twenty feet high. He also built several towers on the wall and fitted it with strong battlements. 175 This greatly discouraged the Romans, who had felt they were almost inside the ramparts, but were now baffled by Josephus's plan and by the fortitude of the citizens.
176 Vespasian was provoked by the subtlety of this ruse and the audacity of the Jotapatans, 177 who took new heart as the wall was built. They began again to raid the Romans and battled with them every day in groups, with all sorts of bandit tactics, looting whatever came to hand, and setting fire to the other works, 178 until Vespasian stopped his army from fighting and decided to lay siege to the city and starve them into surrender. 179 He thought to force them to plead for mercy when their provisions failed, or if they still dared to hold out, they would die of hunger. 180 Expecting to win the battle more easily if he left them a little while and then attacked them when they were weakened by hunger, he gave orders that the exits from the city be patrolled.
181 The besieged had plenty of corn within the city and indeed of all essentials, but were short of water, as it had no fountain. Usually the people there have enough rainwater for their needs, though in that region rain rarely falls in summer;182 but during the siege they were in dire straits due to thirst, as they were already very short of water. 183 Seeing that the city had plenty of other essentials and that the men were in good spirits and wanting to withstand the siege longer than the Romans expected, Josephus ordered that their drink be rationed, 184 but they found this scanty rationing of water even harder than the lack of it. Not being able to drink their fill made them keener than ever to drink. Nor were the Romans unaware of the state they were in, 185 for when they looked at them from beyond the wall, they saw them assembling for their ration of water and by hurling their javelins there they killed many of them.
186 Vespasian hoped that their cisterns would soon be empty and that they would be forced to surrender the city to him, 187 but wishing to frustrate this hope, Josephus ordered them to wet many of their clothes and hang them out about the battlements, until suddenly the entire wall was streaming down with water. 188 This sight dismayed and alarmed the Romans, when they saw them able to throw away in sport so much water, when they supposed them not to have enough to drink themselves. This made the Roman general despair of taking the city just by their lack of essentials and he again resorted to arms to try to force them to surrender, 189 which was just what the Jews desired. For as they despaired of saving their lives or their city, they preferred to die in battle rather than by hunger and thirst.
190 Josephus managed yet another ruse, to get plenty of what they needed. 191 Along a rough, jagged place so hard to ascend that it was not guarded by the soldiers he sent some men out along the western parts of the valley, with letters to chosen Jews who were outside and from them got plenty of what they needed in the city. 192 He told them to creep past the sentries as they returned to the city, covering their backs with hides in order to look like dogs; but eventually the sentries saw the ruse and blocked that gully.
193 Realising that the city could not hold out much longer and fearing for his own safety if he stayed, Josephus consulted with the influential people about a means of escape. When the people got wind of it, they surrounded him and implored him not to leave them as they depended on him alone. 194 They though there was still hope of saving the city if he stayed with them, as all would cheerfully make every effort for his sake and if they were taken, his presence would be some comfort to them. 195 They said he should neither flee from his enemies nor desert his friends, by rushing out from the city as from a ship caught in a storm, which was peaceful and calm when he had entered it. 196 His departure would be the city's ruin, since no one would dare oppose the enemy once the man they trusted had left.
197 Josephus refrained from any mention of his own safety, but said he was leaving the city for their sakes. 198 If he stayed, there was little he could do for them as long as they were safe, and if they were captured, he would only die with them in vain; but if he could get away from the siege, he could be of great help to them. 199 Then he would gather crowds of Galileans from the countryside and start another war-zone to draw off the Romans from their city. 200 He did not see any advantage in staying with them, as it only provoked the Romans to tighten the siege, in order to capture him, while if they heard he had fled from the city, they would ease their attack on it. 201 Unmoved by this, the crowd clung to him all the more. Youngsters and old men and women with their infants fell down mourning before him and took hold of his feet, 202 imploring him, with sobs, to share their fate with them, not, I think, begrudging him his safety, but hoping for their own. For they expected not to suffer any great misfortune, if only Josephus stayed with them.
203 He thought that if he stayed, it would be put down to their pleas, but if he tried to force his way out, he would be taken prisoner, and his eagerness to leave was banished by pity for their laments, so he decided to stay. 204 Arming himself with the common despair of the citizens, he said to them, "Now is the time to begin to fight in earnest, when there remains no hope of safety. It is a fine thing to set glory above life and leave behind some noble deed as a memory to posterity. " 205 Then he sallied out and scattered the enemies' outposts and raced to the Roman camp itself and pulled to pieces the coverings upon their earthworks and set fire to the siege-works. 206 On the morrow and the day following he never left off fighting and kept it up for many days and nights.
207 Vespasian saw the Romans troubled by these raids, though they were ashamed to be put to flight by the Jews, but whenever they turned around their heavy armour hampered them, while the Jews always retreated into the city before they could be harmed. 208 So he told his infantry to avoid their attack and not fight it out with men who were desperate, 209 for nothing is more fearless than despair. Their vigour would be quenched when their attacks came to nothing, as fire is quenched when it lacks fuel. 210 The Romans should win victory as cheaply as they could, since they were fighting not from need but to extend their empire. 211 So he repelled the Jews with the Arabian archers and the Syrian slingers and stone-throwers, and his artillery was constantly in action. 212 These machines cause great casualties as they threw their stones or javelins a long way, but once outside their reach, the Jews pressed on the Romans and fought hard, risking soul and body, and taking turns at helping any of their tired comrades.
213 Vespasian seeing himself pinned down by these Jewish raids, decided to use the battering ram, once his earthworks were not far from the walls. 214 The ram is a vast pole, like the mast of a ship, its front armed with a thick piece of iron, carved like a ram's head, from which it takes its name. 215 It is slung in the middle on ropes, to hang like the balance of a scales from another pole, braced on both sides by strong beams, in the form of a cross. 216 When it is pulled backward with united force by many men and then thrust forward with their combined force, it batters the walls with its iron front. 217 And there is no tower so strong, or walls so thick, that can resist more than its first battering, but all must finally yield to it. 218 This was the expedient used by the Roman general in his haste to take the city, as he found it useless trying to wait them out, since the Jews would never leave him in peace. 219 So they brought up the catapults and other machines for strafing the enemy, to stop those manning the wall from frustrating their attempts by throwing stones and javelins at them; similarly the archers and slingers came closer to the wall. 220 The effect of this was that none of the Jews dared mount the ramparts and then the other Romans brought the battering ram that was encased with hurdles with its upper part covered in skins to protect both the men and the machine. 221 At the first stroke of this machine, the wall was shaken and a terrible groan came from the people within the city, as if they were already taken.
222 When this ram kept battering the same place and Josephus saw that the wall would soon be thrown down by it, he figured how to dampen the force of the ram for a while. 223 He ordered them to fill sacks with chaff and hang them down in front of any place they saw the ram constantly battering, using the yielding nature of the chaff to lessen the impact of the strokes. 224 This much delayed the attempts of the Romans, for no matter where they moved their machine, those who were above it moved the sacks to that place, so that by dulling the strokes the wall was not damaged, 225 until the Romans responded by taking long poles with hooks at their ends, and cutting off the sacks. 226 By this the battering ram regained its force and the wall, being only newly built, was giving way, so Josephus and his men had recourse to fire as a defence. 227 They took whatever dry materials they had and made sorties out in three directions to set fire to the machines and the hurdles and the earthworks of the Romans. 228 These did not quite know how to help their comrades, being at once alarmed by the Jews' audacity and prevented by the flames from coming to protect them, for as the materials were dry and covered with tar and pitch and brimstone, the fire quickly caught hold of everything and work that had cost the Romans such mighty effort was burned in just one hour.
229 In this, one Jew deserves to be particularly reported and remembered, a man named Eleazar, the son of Sameas, born at Saab, in Galilee. 230 This man took up a stone of a vast size and threw it down from the wall upon the ram with such force that it broke off the head of the machine. Then he jumped down and grabbed the head of the ram from the middle of them and fearlessly brought it back up onto the wall, 231 all this while he was being pelted by the enemy and receiving the blows on his bare body, which was wounded by five missiles. 232 Heedless of them he returned up the wall, where he stood in the sight of all as an example of the greatest bravery; then he fell down from his wounds, upon the head of the ram. 233 After him, a courageous deed was done by two brothers named Netir and Philip, Galileans from the village of Ruma, who jumped on the soldiers of the tenth legion and attacked the Romans with such noise and force as to split their ranks and put to flight all whom they attacked.
234 After these, Josephus and the others with him brought fire and burned the machines and their coverings, along with the works of the fifth and the tenth legion which had been put to flight; but the others quickly buried their machines and other materials under ground. 235 Towards evening the Romans re-erected the battering ram against the part of the wall which had suffered before. 236 At that point one of the defenders struck Vespasian with an arrow in his foot and wounded him a little, but the distance was too great for the dart to make much impression; though it caused great alarm among the Romans. 237 Those near him were worried when they saw his blood, and word went round the whole army that the general was wounded, and many left off the siege and gathered round the general in shock and awe. 238 Out of concern for his father Titus came first of all and the others were distressed due to their esteem for their general and the anxiety of his son. But the father soon calmed the son's fear and the army's distress, 239 for rising above his pain and trying to be seen without delay by all who had been anxious about him, he roused them to fight the Jews more ardently. All were willing to risk danger to avenge their general, and they urged each other aloud and ran quickly to the ramparts.
240 The group with Josephus, though being thrown against each other by the spears and stones hurled by the machines, still did not desert the wall, but with fire and swords and stones attacked those wielding the ram under the protection of its hurdles. 241 Their efforts had little effect, however, and often they were knocked down, as they were seen by those whom they could not see, 242 for the light of their own flame lit them up and made them highly visible to the enemy, as though in daytime, while the machines could not be seen at a great distance and so what was thrown at them was hard to guard against. 243 The impetus with which these machines threw stones and spears let them hurl several at a time and the force of the stones hurled by the machines was such that they carried off the pinnacles of the wall and broke off the corners of the towers. 244 There is no group of men so strong that it would not be destroyed to the last rank by the force and size of its stones. 245 One can understand the power of the machines by what happened that very night, for as a man near Josephus was close to the wall, such a stone took his head off and his skull was flung a distance of three furlongs. 246 In the daytime a woman with child was so violently struck in the belly as she came out of her house, that the infant was thrown a distance of half a furlong, such was the force of the stone-hurler. 247 Even more fearsome than the noise of the machines was the whirring of the missiles they threw. 248 Then there was the sound of corpses falling down from the wall and the terrible cries of the women within the city echoing back the cries of people who were being killed. 249 The whole battle area ran with blood and the bodies of the dead formed a ramp up to the wall. 250 The mountains re-echoed those terrible sounds and nothing that could terrify either hearing or sight was missing that night. 251 The majority of those who fought so hard for Jotapata fell with honour, and most of them were wounded, as the wall, after being ceaselessly battered, finally yielded at the time of the morning watch. 252 Then the defenders covered the breach with their bodies and weapons before the Romans laid open the entries into the city.
253 In the morning Vespasian mustered his army to take the city, giving them little rest after their hard battle during the night. 254 Wanting to draw the defenders away from the places where the wall had been thrown down, he had the bravest of the cavalry dismount and placed them in three ranks opposite the ruins of the wall, covered on all sides with their armour and with poles in their hands, ready to begin their ascent as soon as the entry bridge was laid. 255 Behind them he placed the best of the infantry and had the rest of the cavalry spread out opposite the wall, along the ridge, to prevent anyone from escaping after the city was taken. 256 Next to them he set the archers with orders to be ready to fire, and also the slingers and those on the ballistic machines. 257 He got others to have ladders ready to set against the still intact parts of the wall, to occupy the besieged in trying to stop them climbing them, and keep them from guarding the parts that were thrown down, while the rest, under an overwhelming shower of missiles, would open the way into the city.
258 But Josephus saw the plan and placed the old men, along with people who were tired, at the intact parts of the wall, expecting no harm from those quarters, but set the strongest of his men at the place where the wall had been breached, with six men in the forefront, along with whom he took his share of the first and greatest danger. 259 He also ordered that when the legions raised their war-cry, they should block their ears, so as not to be frightened of it and that, to avoid the number of the enemy's spears, they should go down on their knees and cover themselves with their shields and retreat a little, until the archers had emptied their quivers. 260 Then, when the Romans set up their ladders for ascending the ramparts, they should leap out suddenly and turn the enemy's machines against them. Everyone should strive his hardest, not just to defend his city if it could be saved, but to avenge it in the event that it was to be destroyed. 261 They should keep in mind how their old men would be killed and their children and wives killed by the enemy, and let them spend all their fury now, against the perpetrators of the woes coming upon them.
262 So he disposed his two groups, but when the helpless part of the citizens, the women and children, saw their city surrounded by a triple ring of troops, since the Romans had removed none of the guards posted earlier, and saw that not only were the ramparts breached, but the enemy was coming with sword in hand, and the hill-country above them was shining with their weapons, and the spears in the hands of the Arabian archers, they wailed aloud as though the final destruction were not only imminent but had already come upon them. 263 Josephus had the women shut up in their houses in case they should soften the mens' warlike spirit out of pity for their condition and threatened them to be quiet, while he himself came to his allotted place before the breach, 264 where, disregarding the men bringing ladders to the other places, he tensely awaited the coming shower of missiles.
265 The trumpeters of all the legions sounded together and the army made a terrifying shout, and at the signal the arrows flew so fast that they blotted out the light. 266 Josephus's men remembered his instructions and stopped their ears at the sounds and covered their bodies from the missiles, 267 and ran out against the machines that were placed ready for action, before their wielders could mount them. 268 As the soldiers came up a mighty conflict ensued, with many gallant acts of body and soul were seen, as men in extreme danger tried to show no less courage than those who, from relative safety, fought so stoutly against them, 269 not ceasing struggle with the Romans until they either felled them or were killed. 270 But they grew tired of defending themselves constantly and had not enough to come and help them; while, on the Roman side, fresh forces replaced those who were tired, and new men ascended the machines to replace those who were thrust down, encouraging each other. Then, joining their shields together as a barrier, they became an invulnerable column and like a single body thrust the Jews aside and began to scale the wall.
271 In this extremity, Josephus took counsel from necessity, which is clever in invention when driven by despair, and ordered them to pour scalding oil upon those who were protected by their shields. 272 With many bringing it in large amounts, they soon got it ready and poured it from all sides upon the Romans and threw down on them the vessels still hissing from the heat of the fire. 273 This so burned the Romans, that it scattered that united band, who tumbled down from the wall in terrible pain, 274 for the oil easily ran down the whole body from head to foot, under their entire armour and fed upon their flesh like flame itself, its oily texture making it quick to heat and slow to cool. 275 Since the men were strapped in their helmets and breastplates, they had no way to escape from this burning oil, but could only leap and roll about in their agony, falling down from the bridges they had set up. As they were beaten back and retreated toward their own group, who were still pressing forward, they were easily wounded by those who came behind them.
276 Amid this crisis the Romans did not lack courage nor did the Jews lack prudence, for the former, seeing their men suffering and in a dire state, hotly pursued those who poured the oil upon them, each calling the man in front of him as a coward if he held up the charge. 277 The Jews used another ruse to hinder their progress and poured boiling vegetable matter upon the boards, to make them slip and fall, 278 so that neither those coming up nor those going down could stand upright, but some fell backward upon their climbing machines and were trodden upon and many fell down upon the earthworks, 279 and were killed by the Jews, for when the Romans could not keep their feet, the Jews, not having to fight hand to hand, were free to throw their spears at them. 280 So in the evening the general called off those soldiers who had been badly mauled, 281 of whom not a few had died and even more were wounded, while no more than six of the Jotapatans were killed, but more than three hundred were carried off wounded. 282 This battle happened on the twentieth day of the month Daesius.
283 Vespasian comforted his army after what happened but found them angry and eager to act rather than be harangued, 284 he ordered them to raise the ramparts still higher and to build three towers, each fifty feet high, covered on all sides with plates of iron, held firm by their weight and not easy to set on fire. 285 These he placed upon the earthworks, putting in them marksmen with spears and arrows, with the lighter stone- and spear-throwing machines, and with them the bravest of the slingers. 286 From high out of sight and behind their defences, they were to shoot at the men upon the battlements, whom they could easily see. 287 The defenders, unable to escape the missiles coming down upon their heads, or to get back at those whom they could not see, for the towers were so high that a spear thrown by hand could hardly reach them and the iron plates about them prevented attacking them by fire, soon left the ramparts and sallied out to attack them. 288 In this way the Jotapatans resisted the Romans, though every day many were killed without being able to inflict harm on the enemy or to keep them back from the city without danger to themselves.
289 About this time Vespasian sent Trajan, commander of the tenth legion, off with a thousand cavalry and two thousand infantry, against a city called Jaffa, near Jotapata, that was hot for revolt, buoyed up by the unexpectedly long resistance of Jotapata. 290 Reaching the city he found it hard to take, for besides the natural strength of its location, it was surrounded by a double wall, but when he saw the citizens coming out ready for battle, he fought them and pursued them, after they resisted a short while, 291 and as they fled within their first wall, the Romans followed so closely that they got in among them. 292 As they sought to get back behind their second wall, their fellow citizens shut them out, fearing that the enemy would pile in along with them. 293 God must have caused the Romans to punish the Galileans and caused the people of the city to be locked out by their own folk and killed by their bloody enemies. 294 For as they called on the gate-keepers by name, they still had their throats cut in the very midst of their request. 295 The enemy shut the gates of the outer wall and their own citizens shut the gates of the second, 296 so that, caught between two walls, they died in large numbers, many by the swords of their own men and many on their own swords, besides those who were killed by the Romans. They had no heart to defend themselves, for on top of the alarm caused by the enemy, their betrayal by their own friends quite broke their spirits. 297 Finally all twelve thousand of them were killed, cursing not the Romans, but their own people. 298 Trajan figured that the city was empty of fighting men and even if there were still a few of them, they would be too afraid to risk any opposing him, so reserving its capture for the general, he sent messengers to Vespasian, asking him to send his son Titus to complete the victory. 299 Thinking that some efforts would still be required, the latter sent his son with an army of five hundred cavalry and a thousand infantry. 300 He reached the city quickly and got his army into formation and set Trajan on the left wing, while he took the right himself and led them to the siege. 301 As the soldiers brought ladders to set against the wall on every side, the Galileans opposed them from above for a while but soon left the ramparts. 302 Then Titus's men jumped into the city and seized it, but those inside re-grouped and a fierce battle was fought between them. 303 The able-bodied attacked the Romans in the narrow streets and the women threw at them whatever came to hand304 and the opposition was kept up for six hours; but once the fighting men were finished the rest of the people had their throats cut, some in the open air and some in their own houses, young and old alike. No males survived, except infants, and they were taken into captivity as slaves along with the women. 305 The number of the fallen, both now in the city and at the preceding fighting, was fifteen thousand, and the captives were two thousand one hundred and thirty. 306 This befell the Galileans on the twenty-fifth day of the month Daesius.
307 Nor did the Samaritans escape their share of disaster at this time. They assembled on the mountain called Garizim, which they regard as holy, and remained there, and such an assembly, as well as showing courage, could not but be a threat of war. 308 They failed to learn from the woes that had come upon their neighbouring cities, and continued their madness in face of the Romans' success, confident despite their weakness, and ready to join in any revolt as soon as it began. 309 Vespasian thought it best to prevent them from acting and to cut off their revolt from the start. For though all Samaria always had garrisons stationed among them, still the number of those who had come to Mount Garizim caused some anxiety. 310 So he sent Cerealius there, in command of the fifth legion, with six hundred cavalry and three thousand infantry. 311 The latter did not think it safe to go up to the mountain and fight them there, as many of the enemy were on the higher ground, so he surrounded all the base of the mountain with his army and kept watch on them all that day. 312 Now the Samaritans were lacking in water and parched with the violent heat, for it was summer and the people had not laid in supplies, 313 so that some of them died of heat that very day, while others preferred slavery before such a death and fled to the Romans. 314 From them Cerealius learned that those still remaining there were shattered by their misfortunes, so he went up the mountain and having surrounded the enemy with his forces, at first urged them to accept his pledge of security and come to terms and thereby save themselves, assuring them of their lives if only they laid down their weapons. 315 When he could not persuade them, he attacked them and killed all eleven thousand, six hundred of them, on the twenty-seventh day of the month Daesius. Such was the disaster of the Samaritans at this time.
316 As the people of Jotapata still held out manfully and bore up beyond all expectation under their predicament, by the forty-seventh day the earthworks put up by the Romans were higher than the wall. 317 That day a deserter went to Vespasian and told him how few were left in the city and how weak they were, 318 worn out with continual vigilance and fighting, and unable to oppose any force assaulting them, and that they could he taken by a ruse. 319 If they were attacked about the last watch of the night, as they were resting from their woes and slumbering at dawn, the sentries would be asleep, so he advised an attack at that hour. 320 But he suspected this deserter, knowing how faithful the Jews were to each other and how they scorned the punishments they might suffer, 321 for another Jotapatan had endured all sorts of torments while being interrogated under torture, and had told them nothing about the situation inside the city and smiled at them even as he was crucified. 322 In all likelihood what the deserter said was right, so they thought he might be telling the truth; but Vespasian wished to avoid being damaged if it was false and told them to keep the man in custody as he prepared the army to take the city.
323 They marched silently to the wall, at the aforementioned hour, 324 and it was Titus himself who first got up on it, with one of his tribunes, Domitius Sabinus and a few of the fifteenth legion. 325 They cut the throats of the sentries and entered the city very quietly. After these came Cerealius the tribune and Placidus, leading their men. 326 When the citadel was taken and the enemy were in the very middle of the city at daybreak, the people were still unaware of their city's capture, 327 Many of them were fast asleep and a great fog, which happened to fall over the city, hindered the ones who were awake from seeing their predicament clearly. 328 They woke up after the whole army had entered, to find the extent of their disaster, and only as they were being killed did they see that the city had been taken. 329 Recalling all that they had suffered during the siege, the Romans spared nobody and showed no mercy, but drove the people down the precipice from the citadel, killing them as they went. 330 The difficulties of the place hindered those who were still able to fight from defending themselves, for they were blocked in the narrow streets and could not keep their footing along the precipice, and were crushed by the warring crowds streaming down from the citadel. 331 This drove many, even of the elite men around Josephus, to kill themselves with their own hands, for when they saw themselves unable to kill any of the Romans, and determined not to let themselves be killed by Roman hands, they gathered in the outskirts of the city and committed suicide.
332 Those of the sentries who first saw that capture was imminent fled as fast as they could, and going up into one of the towers on the northern side of the city defended themselves there for a while. Surrounded by a throng of enemies, they tried to use their weapons when it was too late and in the end willingly offered their necks to the blades of those who stood over them. 333 The Romans might even been able to boast that this siege ended without any bloodshed on their side, except for a centurion named Antonius who was killed by treachery. 334 For one of the many who fled to the caves asked Antonius to reach him his hand as a guarantee to spare him and help him to come out. 335 When, incautiously, he reached him his hand, the other quickly stabbed him with a spear in the groin, killing him instantly.
336 That day the Romans killed all the people they found, and on the following days they searched the hiding-places and attacked the people who were under ground and in the caves and treated people of all ages the same, except the infants and the women, 337 of whom twelve hundred were taken captive, while forty thousand were killed at the taking of the city and in the fighting leading up to it. 338 Vespasian ordered the city to be entirely demolished and all the fortifications burned down. 339 That is how Jotapata was taken, in the thirteenth year of the reign of Nero, on the first day of the month Panemus.
Chapter 08. [340-408]