Chapter 01. [001-083]
Siege and capture of Gamala. Vespasian's military prudence and good order.
001 All those Galileans who had continued in revolt against the Romans after the taking of Jotapata, surrendered to them after the defeat of Tarichea. The Romans took all the fortresses and cities, except Gischala and the group occupying Mount Itaburion.
002 Gamala too, a city opposite Tarichea on the other side of the lake, held out against them. This city was part of Agrippa's kingdom, as were Sogana and Seleucia. They were parts of Gaulanitis, for Sogana belonged to the upper, and Gamala to the lower Gaulan.
003 Seleucia was beside lake Semechonitis, which is thirty furlongs wide and sixty long. Its marshes reach as far as Daphne, a delightful place with springs that supply water to what is called Little Jordan, under the temple of the golden calf, where it goes on into the main river.
004 Sogana and Seleucia had, at the very beginning of the revolt, united with Agrippa, but Gamala did not join them, trusting in the natural difficulty of its location, which was even greater than that of Jotapata.
005 It was on the rough ridge of a high mountain, with a kind of high neck in the middle, then extending downward in both directions, so that it is shaped like a camel, from which it takes its name, although the local people do not pronounce it correctly.
006 Both on the side and to the front there are inaccessible clefts ending in deep valleys, though the rear portion, where it is joined to the mountain, is rather easier to ascend, and there the inhabitants have cut a trench to make it harder to enter.
007 On the side of the mountain, houses are built very close to each other, and the city is so extremely steep that it looks ready to collapse upon itself.
008 It faced south and its southern heights served as a citadel to the city, and above it was an unwalled precipice giving onto the deepest ravine. There was also a spring of water within the wall, at the edge of the city.
009 Though nature itself had made this city hard to capture, Josephus had fortified it further, building a wall around it and by mines and trenches.
010 The inhabitants were even more confident in the nature of their site than were those of Jotapata, though it had much fewer fighting men, and they felt so sure of their location that they would take no more. The city was full of refugees, due to its strength, and so for seven months they had been able to resist the force sent by Agrippa to besiege it.
011 Vespasian moved from near Tiberias, where he had been camped at Ammathus (the name means a "warm bath," for it contains a healing hot-water spring,) and came to Gamala.
012 Its situation made it impossible to completely surround it with soldiers, but where the terrain allowed, he set men to guard it and captured the mountain overlooking it.
013 While the legions were fortifying their camp upon the heights in their usual way, he set to building earthworks at the bottom. The fifteenth legion built them the eastern side, below the highest tower of the city, and the fifth legion worked opposite the middle of the city, and the tenth legion was filling up the trenches and ravines.
014 At this stage king Agrippa approached the ramparts and was trying to speak to the defenders about a surrender, he was struck on the right elbow by a stone from one of the slingers.
015 At once he was surrounded by his troops, but the Romans were roused to set about the siege by anger on the king's behalf and by concern for their own safety.
016 They figured that those who would savagely attack a fellow-countryman for advising them for their own good would stop at no extreme of savagery against foreign enemies.
017 The earthworks were soon completed, due to the many hands accustomed to such work, and they brought the machines into position.
018 Then the leaders of the city, Chares and Joseph, paraded their troops, who were already afraid that the city could not hold out for long, due to lack of water and other essentials.
019 But their officers encouraged them and brought them out on the wall and for a while they kept at bay those who were bringing up the machines, but when the catapults and stone-launchers fired at them, they retreated into the city.
020 Then the Romans used battering rams at three several places and penetrated the wall and poured in through the breaches with trumpet-blasts and the clash of armour and battle-cries and attacked the city's defenders.
021 These resisted them for some time at their first entrance, blocking them going any further and bravely beating back the Romans.
022 Soon, overpowered by numbers attacking them on every side, they had to flee to the upper parts of the city, where, rounding on the enemy, they thrust them down the slopes and, while they were hampered by the narrowness and difficulty of the place, killed them.
023 The besiegers, unable to beat back those who were above them, or to evade the pressure of their own men forcing their way upward, had to take refuge on the low roofs of their enemies' houses.
024 But these were so overloaded that they suddenly collapsed, and when one house fell, it brought down many of those beneath it, as did these to those that were lower down.
025 In this way very many of the Romans died. Although they saw the houses collapsing, they had no alternative but to leap on their roofs, so that many were buried in the ruins and many of those who got out from under them lost some of their limbs, but more suffocated from the dust.
026 The people of Gamala thought God was helping them and pressed forward and, without regard to their own safety, forced the enemy to the rooftops and killed them with stones or spears as they stumbled in the sharp and narrow streets.
027 The very ruins gave them stones enough, and the enemy dead provided enough iron weapons, for they used the swords of the fallen to despatch the people who were not quite dead.
028 Many indeed, jumping down from the tops of collapsing houses, died in the fall.
029 Even those who turned back found it hard to escape, since they were so unfamiliar with the streets and the dust was so thick that they could not recognise each other and were killed in that way.
030 Those who could find the exits barely managed to retreat from the city.
031 Vespasian always stayed among those in difficulties, for he was deeply grieved to see the ruins of the city falling upon his army and forgot to look after his own safety. He went up gradually towards the highest parts of the city before he was aware and was left in a dangerous situation, with only a very few companions.
032 Even his son Titus was not with him at that time, having been sent into Syria to Mucianus.
033 However, he thought it neither safe nor honourable to take flight, but calling to mind the actions he had done from his youth and collecting his courage, as if moved by a divine fury he covered himself and his men with their shields and forming a shell over their bodies and their armour 034 he held back the enemy attacks, when they ran down from the top of the city. Showing no fear of their number or their spears, he endured all, until the enemy observed the divine courage in him and ceased their attacks.
035 Then when they pressed less hotly upon him, he retreated, without turning his back to them until he had left behind the ramparts of the city.
036 Many of the Romans fell in this battle, among them Ebutius, the decurion, who had done great harm to the Jews, and whose courage was seen not only in this battle where he fell, but in many earlier ones.
037 A centurion named Gallus, when they were surrounded during this action, along with ten other soldiers secretly crept into somebody's house.
038 There he heard them say at supper what they meant to do against the Romans, or to his own people, for he himself and his companions were Syrians. So he got up in the night time and cut all their throats and escaped, with his soldiers, to the Romans.
039 Vespasian consoled his army, who were downcast at this setback, having never before suffered such a disaster and feeling very ashamed to have left their general alone in such danger.
040 About himself he said nothing, so as not to seem to complain about it, but he said, "We should bear manfully what happens to all, knowing the nature of war and how we cannot triumph without some bloodshed, amid the changes of fortune.
041 While we have killed many thousands of the Jews, we have paid our own small share of the reckoning to fate.
042 Just as weak people are too puffed up by success, so is it typical of cowards to be too fearful when things go wrong, since the change from the one to the other is sudden on both sides. The best warrior is he who keeps a sober mind under troubles, and who continues in that temper to cheerfully recover what was formerly lost.
043 What happened just now was neither due to our weakness or to the bravery of the Jews, but to the difficulty of the place, which helped them and thwarted us.
044 Reflecting on it, one might blame your zeal as unbridled, for when the enemy had retreated to their highest citadel, you should have refrained from showing yourselves at the top of the city, exposed to danger. Instead, once you took the lower parts of the city, you should have goaded those who had retreated up there to a safer, pitched battle. But rushing so quickly for a victory, you took no care of your safety.
045 A reckless spirit and mad zeal in war is not the Roman way, for we do all our efforts by skill and good order. Behaviour like that is the part of barbarians and is what the Jews mainly rely on.
046 We ought then to return to our own strengths and from now on draw anger rather than dejection from this unlucky mishap.
047 Let each man draw courage from the work of his own hand, for by this he will avenge those who were killed and punish those who killed them.
048 For myself, I will try, as I have now done, to go ahead of you against your enemies in every attack and to be the last to retreat from it."
049 By this speech Vespasian encouraged his army, while the people of Gamala took courage for a little while from the great and unaccountable success they had achieved.
050 Then, realising that they had now no hope of surrendering on terms and reflecting that they could not escape and with their provisions already growing short, they were dejected and their courage failed them.
051 Still they did not neglect what might help them survive, so far as they could, and the bravest among them guarded those parts of the wall that were knocked down, while the more infirm did the same on the rest of the wall that still remained round the city.
052 As the Romans raised their earthworks and started to invade a second time, many fled from the city through tortuous valleys, where no guards were placed, and through subterranean caves.
053 Those who were afraid of being caught and for that reason stayed in the city, died for lack of food, for whatever food they had anywhere was brought together and reserved for the fighting men.
054 While the people of Gamala held out in these dire straits, Vespasian went about other work during this siege, to subdue those who had captured Mount Itaburion, a place half way between the great plain and Scythopolis.
055 Its top is thirty furlongs high and it can hardly be ascended on the north side. On top is a plateau of twenty-six furlongs, all surrounded with a wall.
056 Josephus had built this long wall in forty days and furnished it with other materials and with water from below, for the inhabitants used only rain water.
057 As a multitude had assembled upon this mountain, Vespasian sent Placidus there with six hundred cavalry.
058 Unable to ascend the mountain, he invited the crowd to make peace, offering his guarantee for their security and promising to speak on their behalf.
059 So they came down, but with another plan in mind. Placidus spoke to them mildly, intending to capture them once he got them into the plain. They came down, as if accepting his proposals, though intending to attack him unawares.
060 But Placidus's ploy defeated theirs, for when the Jews started the battle he pretended to take flight and enticed them far into the plain in pursuit, and then made his cavalry turn around and routed them, killing many blocking the retreat of the rest of the others.
061 So they left Itaburion and fled to Jerusalem, while the people of the district surrendered to him when their water ran short, and so they handed over the mountain and themselves to Placidus.
062 The more enterprising people in Gamala fled and hid themselves, while the weaker died of hunger.
063 Their warriors withstood the siege until the twenty second day of the month Hyperberetus, when about the morning watch three soldiers of the fifteenth legion got beneath a high tower near them and secretly undermined it.
064 Undetected by the sentries either at their approach, for it was night, or when they reached it, the soldiers noiselessly rolled away five of its strongest stones and hurried off.
065 Suddenly the tower fell down with a loud noise and its sentries fell headlong with it and the sentries at other places fled in alarm.
066 The Romans killed many of those who ventured to oppose them, and a spear-thrower killed Joseph, as he was escaping over a broken part of the wall.
067 The townspeople were so alarmed by the noise that they ran quaking hither and thither, as though all the enemy had broken in at once.
068 At that point, Chares, a sick man under the doctor's care, gave up the ghost, his death brought on by fear.
069 But the Romans so well remembered their former setback that they did not enter the city until the twenty-third day of the month.
070 Titus, who had returned, furious at the losses the Romans had suffered in his absence, took two hundred chosen cavalry and some infantry with him and quietly entered the city.
071 The sentries saw him coming, and shouted and took up arms, and as his entrance was soon known to those inside the city, some took their children and their wives and fled with them weeping and crying to the citadel, while others faced up to Titus and were killed.
072 Any who were unable to escape to the citadel, at a loss what to do, fell to the Roman guards, while the groans of the dying were loudly heard everywhere and blood ran down all the slopes of the city.
073 Then Vespasian came with his whole army to help him against those who had fled to the citadel.
074 This upper part of the city was strewn with rocks and hard to ascend and towered to a vast height, surrounded by sheer drops.
075 The Jews within with their spears and by rolling down large stones on them did much harm to those who were coming up, while they themselves were so high up that the enemy missiles could hardly reach them.
076 But to seal their destruction a demonic storm blew up in their faces which drove the Roman missiles up to them and blew back at them and deflected their own.
077 So violent was the wind that the Jews could not stand upon their parapets, having no firm foothold, nor could they see their attackers.
078 Thus the Romans got up and surrounded them and killed some as they resisted and others as they were surrendering, and the memory of those who died in the first assault whetted their rage against them all.
079 Surrounded on every side and despairing of escape, many threw their children, their wives and themselves down the precipices, into the valley beneath the citadel, which had been hollowed to a great depth.
080 In the event, this made the rage of the Romans appeared milder than the frenzy of those who took their own lives, for the Romans killed only four thousand, while those who threw themselves down were numbered at over five thousand.
081 Nobody escaped except two women, daughters of Philip who was himself the son of an eminent man called Jacimus, a general of king Agrippa's army.
082 They escaped because when the city was taken they lay concealed from the rage of the Romans, for otherwise they spared not even the infants, of many of whom they flung down from the citadel.
083 So was Gamala taken on the twenty third day of the month Hyperberetus, whereas the city had first rebelled on the twenty fourth day of the month Gorpieus.
Chapter 02. [084-120]
Surrender of Gischala to the Romans. John tricks Titus and escapes to Jerusalem
084 No place in Galilee remained untaken except the small city of Gischala, whose people were eager for peace. They were generally farmers, devoted to cultivating the fruits of the earth, but many vile brigands had crept in among them, and some of the citizens were infected with the ailment.
085 They were drawn and urged into this rebellion by John, the son of Levi, a cunning knave of variable temperament, rash in projecting great things but adept at achieving his ambitions, known by all as fond of war to win authority 086 The rebels among the Gischalans joined him, so that the people, who seemed ready to send envoys to arrange a surrender, now waited for the coming of the Romans in battle-array.
087 Vespasian sent Titus against them with a thousand cavalry, but withdrew the tenth legion to Scythopolis.
088 He himself returned to Caesarea with the two other legions to let them rest after their long and hard campaign and let the comforts in those cities prepare them in body and spirit for the struggles to be faced later.
089 He foresaw much difficulty in taking Jerusalem, as it was the royal city, the capital of the whole nation, and because the refugees from the war in other places had flocked there.
090 Its location was naturally strong and the ramparts built around it gave him not a little anxiety, and he reckoned its resolute and courageous defenders would be hard to subdue, even apart from the walls.
091 So he carefully prepared his soldiers like athletes for a contest.
092 As he rode towards Gischala, Titus found it would be easy to capture the city at the first attack, but also knew that if he took it by force, the people would be killed without mercy by the soldiers. He was already sated with bloodshed, pitying the majority who would die indiscriminately along with the guilty, and would prefer the city to be surrendered to him on terms.
093 When he saw the wall packed with the corrupt rebels, he told them he wondered what hope they had, staying to fight the Romans on their own, 094 seeing they had captured every other city, and that cities better fortified than theirs had been destroyed by a single attack, while those who trusted in the Romans' guarantee, which he now offered to them despite their former insolence, could safely keep their property.
095 The hope of recovering freedome was pardonable, but to continue in an impossible opposition was not.
096 If they would not accept such a humane offer and guarantee of safety, they would get a taste of pitiless armour and find that their wall was only a trifle in face of the Roman machines. If they depended on it they would be the only Galileans to show the arrogance of prisoners.
097 None of the people dared to reply, or even to ascend the wall, for it was all taken up by the brigands, who were also on guard at the gates, to prevent any of the others from going out and offering terms of surrender or letting any of the cavalry into the city.
098 John said that for himself he was content to hear his proposals and that he would persuade or force any who rejected them, 099 but that Titus should respect the Jewish law and let them celebrate the seventh day of the week, when it was unlawful not only to remove their armour, but even to treat of peace.
100 Even the Romans were aware how among them the seventh day involved resting from all work, and that whoever tried to make them break the sabbath law would be as guilty as those forced to transgress it.
101 The delay could do him no harm, for why would one plan anything for that night, unless to escape, which he could prevent by camping around them.
102 But it would be a great favour not to make them transgress their ancestral laws, and it would be right for him, who so surprisingly was offering them peace, to preserve the laws of those he was sparing.
103 In this way he tricked Titus, not so much for the sake of the sabbath as for his own safety, fearing to be abandoned if the city were taken and seeing his only hope of survival in escaping that night.
104 This was God's doing, who spared this John to be the cause of Jerusalem's destruction, and that by this appeal Titus was persuaded to delay and encamp at Cydessa, further from the city.
105 This was a strong village of the Tyrians, on the Mediterranean, which had always hated and made war against the Galileans, a well fortified place of large population, which made it a suitable place for the enemies of our nation.
106 During the night, when John saw that there was no Roman guard around the city, he seized the opportunity and fled to Jerusalem, taking with him not only his own warriors but a large number of those who had little to do, and their families.
107 Athough he was hurrying to escape and in fear of captivity or of losing his life, for the first twenty furlongs he brought along with him a crowd of women and children, but as he proceeded on his journey he left them.
108 Those he left behind lamented, for the farther each of them had come from his own people, the nearer they felt they were to the enemy, and terrified at the thought that their captors were near at hand they kept turning round at the noise they themselves made in their flight, as if those from whom they fled were already upon them.
109 Many lost their way and the bustling of those trying to pass knocked others down.
110 This caused terrible losses among the women and children, some of them dared to call out to their husbands and relatives with bitter cries to wait for them; 111 but John's shouted exhortation to save themselves and escape, prevailed. He said that if the Romans captured those who fell behind, they would take revenge on them, so this fleeing crowd scattered, as each was able, according to their strength and speed.
112 At daybreak Titus came to the wall, to make the agreement.
113 The people opened the gates and came out to him, with their children and wives, shouting joyfully to him as their benefactor who had saved the city from bondage.
114 They told him of John's flight and implored him to spare them and to come in and punish the rest of the rebels. Without regard to the prayers of the people, he sent part of his cavalry to pursue John, but they could not overtake him, for he reached Jerusalem before them.
115 They killed six thousand of the women and children who went out with him, but returned and brought with them almost three thousand.
116 Titus was annoyed that he was unable to punish John immediately for tricking him, but he had captives and victims enough to satisfy his anger; so he entered the city amid of shouts of acclaim.
117 Then he ordered the soldiers to pull down a portion of the wall as a sign of capture, and curbed the disturbers of the city by threats rather than by executions, 118 knowing that if he tried to distinguish the guilty from the rest, many innocent people would be accused due to domestic rows and quarrels, and that it was better to let a guilty man alone with his fears, that to kill with him one who did not deserve it.
119 Such a man, if forgiven, might even learn wisdom from his fear of punishment and be ashamed of his past offenses, while people once put to death could never be brought back.
120 However, he secured the city with a garrison, to restrain the rebels and provide greater security for the people who were peaceably disposed. So all of Galilee was taken, at the cost of great effort to the Romans, training them for their assault on Jerusalem.
Chapter 03. [121-223]
Zealot John fools High Priest Ananus. Jews fight it out, in Jerusalem
121 When John arrived [in Jerusalem,]
the whole population was stirred up and each of the fugitives who had fled with him was thronged by thousands to ask about events outside.
122 Their hot and laboured breathing of itself showed their distress, but despite their troubles they talked big, claiming not to have fled to escape the Romans, but to have come in order to fight them from a safer base.
123 It would be foolish and fruitless to run such risks about Gischala and weaker cities, when they should keep their weapons and their zeal for their metropolis.
124 But when they told them of the taking of Gischala and their fighting retreat, as they pretended, from that place, many understood it to have been a flight.
125 This was especially so when the people heard about those who were captured, and they were greatly shaken by the thought that the signs all clearly pointed to their own capture too.
126 John himself, without a blush about those he had left behind, went round among the various groups persuading them to fight, raising their hopes by saying that the Romans were in a poor state and talking up their own strength.
127 He ridiculed the ignorance of the inexperienced and said that the Romans, even if they had wings, could not get over Jerusalem's wall, if they found it so hard to take the Galilean villages and had splintered their war machines against their walls.
128 With such speeches John corrupted many of the young men and puffed them up for the war, but all of the more prudent and the elders foresaw what was coming and grieved about it, as if the city was already ruined.
129 The people were in utter confusion, but we should note that even before the rebellion began in Jerusalem, it had already taken hold in the rest of the country.
130 For when Titus went from Gischala to Cesates, Vespasian moved from Caesarea to Jamnia and Azotus and took them both, garrisoned them and returned along with many who had surrendered to him under treaty.
131 Disorder and civil strife raged in every town, and whenever the Romans gave them a breathing space they turned against each other, in a bitter contest between those who wanted war and those who wanted peace.
132 This rivalry began in the homes, with people who had been in harmony now falling out, and those who had been the dearest of friends severing all connection with each other, and ranging themselves into groups, each associating only with those of his own opinion.
133 Factions arose everywhere, with those who were for change and eager for war winning out, by their youth and audacity, over the older and more prudent.
134 From the start, each group took to looting its neighbours. Then they gathered in bands, to rob the people of the district, so that those of the same nation did no less savagery and harm than the Romans, and some saw it as much better to be taken by the Romans than by one of their own nation.
135 The garrisons of the cities, partly from reluctance to risk harm to themselves and partly out of hatred for the nation, did little or nothing to protect those who were oppressed, but finally the arch-brigand and their troops, sated with looting in the country, joined forces and as one single villainous gang slipped into Jerusalem.
136 It had become a city without a ruler and by ancient custom it unquestioningly welcomed all of their nation, and so they welcomed these, with everyone thinking that those who now poured into the city did so as allies to help it.
137 But it was this which, apart from the revolt itself, turned out to be the direct cause of the city's destruction. This idle and useless crowd quickly used up the provisions that might otherwise have provided for the city's defenders. So, besides stirring up the war, they also caused rebellion and famine during it.
138 More brigands came in from the country to the city to join forces with those inside, who were even worse, and now they refrained from no kind of savagery.
139 Their measure of courage was not just thievery and looting but they proceeded to murder, and not just ordinary citizens, or secretly by night, but publicly in daylight, beginning with the foremost citizens.
140 The first was Antipas, who was of royal blood and the most powerful man in the city, in charge of the public treasury; they took him and put in prison.
141 They did the same to Levias, a person of great note, and Sophas, son of Raguel, both of them of royal lineage too, and they did likewise with the country's leading citizens.
142 Panic now seized the people as though the city had been captured in war, and each thought of nothing but his own safety.
143 The brigands were not satisfied just to have their captives in chains, not thinking it safe to keep them long in custody.
144 Such powerful men would have large families to avenge them, and anyway they feared that even the people might rise against them, stirred by these crimes.
145 So they decided to execute them, and sent their most adept assassin to carry it out. This man was John, in our native language nicknamed "the son of Dorcas." Ten others went with him to the prison with swords drawn, and cut the throats of the prisoners.
146 Their lying excuse for this flagrant crime was that the victims had parleyed with the Romans about surrendering Jerusalem, so they claimed they were killed as traitors to the liberty of all. They even boasted of this daring deed, as making them the benefactors and saviours of the city.
147 The people were in such craven fear and these brigands had reached such a state of madness, that the latter took it on themselves to appoint high priests.
148 Cancelling the succession of the families from which the high priests used to be drawn, they appointed unknown commoners to that office, to have them as allies in their wicked doings.
149 Those who with no merit gained this highest of all honours were forced to serve those who bestowed it on them.
150 They also set the leaders at variance with each other by various devices and ruses, and so were able to do what they pleased, due to the in-fighting of those who might have reined them in, until finally, sated with their misbehaviour towards men, they turned their misdeeds towards the Deity and came with polluted feet into the sanctuary.
151 The populace was ready to rise against them, roused by Ananus, the oldest of the high priests. He was a very prudent man and might perhaps have saved the city if only he could have escaped the hands of those scheming against him. These men made the temple of God their stronghold and place of refuge, to avoid the troubles they feared from the people, so the sanctuary had now become a den and centre of tyranny.
152 They also mixed irony with their injuries, which was even more intolerable than their actions.
153 To test the people's subjection and to show their own power, they decided to cast lots for assigning the high priesthood, which, as already said, was meant to descend by succession within a family.
154 To justify it they claimed an ancient precedent for deciding by lot, but in truth it undermined a firm law and was a ruse to seize authority, by presuming to appoint officers just as they pleased.
155 After this they sent for one of the priestly tribes, called Eniachin, and cast lots for a high priest. By chance the lot fell so as to most plainly prove their abuse, for it chose a man called Phannias, son of Samuel, of the village of Aphtha, a man not only unworthy of the high priesthood, but who did not rightly know what the high priesthood was! 156 Without his consent they hauled this man from the country and dressed him as if for a role upon the stage, putting on him the sacred vestments and telling him everything he was to do.
157 This terrible impiety was a joke and a game for them, but it made the other priests, who had to stand aside and see their law made fun of, to weep and groan at the ruin of that sacred dignity.
158 Unable to bear the insolence of this any longer the people were united in wanting to destroy that tyranny.
159 In this they were encouraged by Gorion, son of Josephus, and Symeon, son of Gamaliel, who went among them whether in groups or individually, urging them to bear it no longer, but to punish these blights on their freedom and cleanse the temple of its bloody polluters.
160 The best esteemed of the high priests, Jesus the son of Gamalas and Ananus the son of Ananus, also bitterly reprimanded the people at their assemblies, for their sloth, and roused them against the Zealots.
161 This was the name they went by, as though they were zealous for good works and not rather zealous for the worst actions and unparallelled in doing them!
162 As the people had gathered to a meeting and every one was raging at these men's seizing the sanctuary, their looting and their murders, but had not yet begun to attack them, for they rightly though it would be difficult to suppress these Zealots, Ananus stood up and addressed the, with many a glance at the temple and with his eyes full of tears.
163 "How I wish I had died before seeing the house of God so polluted, or these sacred places, that ought not to be walke in at random, trodden by the feet of these bloodstained villains.
164 But in fact I, who wore the vestments of the high priesthood and was called by that most venerable name, am still alive and am all too fond of life and cannot bear the martyr's death which would be the glory of my old age. If the only person concerneded were myself, and I lived as it were in a desert, I would gladly give up my life for God's sake.
165 Why should one go on living among a people unaware of their wrongs and with no idea of a remedy for their ills? For when you are captured, you bear it! When you are beaten, you are silent! When people are murdered, nobody dares even to utter a groan! 166 What a bitter tyranny we bear! But why complain of the tyrants? Was it not you and your patience with them, that nourished them? 167 Was it not you who ignored them when they first gathered, just a few of them, and by your silence let them grow into many, and by letting them take arms, in effect armed them against yourselves? 168 You should have nipped them in the bud when started harming your relatives, but by neglecting that at the time, you encouraged these wretches to plunder people. When houses were robbed, nobody said a word, which was why they killed the owners of those houses, and as they were dragged through the middle of the city, nobody came to their help.
169 They proceeded to put in chains those whom you betrayed into their hands. I cannot say how many they treated like this, or what they had done, but that they were people accused by none and condemned by none, and nobody helped them when they were put in chains.
170 The result was that they were killed, like the best animals of a herd being taken away for sacrifice, with nobody saying one word, or raising a hand to save them.
171 Go on then, let your sanctuary be trampled! Since you have built the steps for these profane wretches to climb, let them mount to the highest level of all! They would have gone even higher, if it were possible to destroy anything greater than the Temple.
172 What they have captured is the strongest place in the whole city. Call it a temple if you wish, but now it is like a citadel or fortress. Now that you have such tyranny walled in and see your enemies above you, what plans have you and who do you think will to support you? 173 Do you expect the Romans to rescue our holy places? Has the city come to this and have matters come so low that our enemies are expected to pity us? 174 Most pitiable of men, will you not rise and turn on those who strike you? Look at the wild beasts how they take revenge on those who strike them. Will you not remember, all of you, what you have suffered, and keep it before your eyes? Will such things not sharpen your souls to revenge? 175 Have you lost the most honourable and natural of our passions, the desire for freedom? We seem to love slavery and those who lord it over us, as if we had inherited from our ancestors a spirit of submission.
176 Yet they endured many great wars for the sake of liberty, and were never so overcome by the power of the Egyptians, or the Medes, but that still they did what they thought right, despite all efforts to stop them.
177 But why speak of our ancestors? We are now at war with the Romans, and I will not speak of whether it is expedient or not, but what is its purpose? 178 Is it to win our freedom? But can we refuse to have the lords of the world rule over us and still bear with tyrants of our own country? 179 Submission to foreigners might somehow be borne, as fortune has already doomed us to it, but submission to criminals of our own nation is cowardice and comes by our own consent.
180 Now that I have mentioned the Romans, I will not conceal a thought that, even as I speak, affects me deeply. If we are taken by them, (which God forbid!) it will hardly be worse than what these others have already done to us.
181 How can we avoid tears, looking at the Roman donations in our temple, while we also see men of our own nation despoiling it and looting our glorious city and slaughtering our folk, crimes from which even the Romans would refrain? 182 We see those Romans never going beyond the bounds allowed to outsiders, nor venturing to break any of our sacred customs, indeed showing reverence when they view those sacred walls at a distance, 183 while some who were born in this country and brought up in our customs and call themselves Jews, walk in the holy places, with their hands still warm with the murder of their own countrymen.
184 After that should we be afraid of a war with a people more measured in judgment than our own? For to put matters plainly, the Romans are likely to turn out to support our laws while some of our own have subverted them.
185 I feel sure that everyone here knows already that these destroyers of our freedom should be killed and that there is hardly a penalty they have not deserved for what they have done and that all of you are angry at their actions, which have caused you such suffering.
186 But perhaps some of you fear their number and their audacity, plus the advantage of their location.
187 These factors, caused by your neglect, will grow still greater if further ignored. Their numbers are growing every day, for every rascal takes refuge with those like himself.
188 Their audacity grows as they meet with no obstacle to their plans, and they will avail of their higher location for war-machines too, if we give them time to do so.
189 But be assured that if we go up against them, their own consciences will humble them and the benefit of their situation will be offset by the conflict in their mind.
190 Perhaps too, the divinity they have insulted will make what they throw at us return on themselves and these blasphemers will be killed by their own spears. Let us just make an appearance and they will come to nothing.
191 At any rate, if there is danger in the attempt, it is good to die before these holy gates and to give our lives, if not for the sake of our children and wives, at least for the sake of God and his sanctuary.
192 I will help you with advice and in action, and no prudence of ours will be witheld from you, and you will see that I will spare myself."
193 Ananus incited the people against the Zealots in this way, though he knew how difficult it would be to scatter them, with their numbers and their youth and their spirit of courage, but mainly because of what they had already done, since they would not yield, having no hope of eventual pardon for their crimes.
194 But he was resolved to suffer whatever might come to him, rather than neglect matters, now that they were in such turmoil.
195 So the people called on him to lead them up against those about whom he had spoken, each of them ready to be the first into danger.
196 While Ananus was choosing his men and putting into battle order those he had chosen, the Zealots got wind of it, for some went and told them all that the people were doing. Angry at hearing it, they rushed in droves from the temple and spared none whom they met.
197 Ananus quickly rallied his citizens but while they outnumbered the Zealots, they had fewer weapons, and were untrained for war.
198 Zeal supplied for what was lacking on both sides. The citizens were driven by a passion stronger than weapons and from the temple drew a courage more forcible than numbers.
199 They thought it impossible to live in the city unless the brigands were got rid of, while the Zealots thought that unless they prevailed, the most fearful punishments would be inflicted on them.
200 So there was a heated conflict, beginning with throwing stones at each other in the city and outside the temple; then they threw their javelins from a distance, but when this was decisive for neither side, they drew their swords, and there was slaughter on both sides and many were wounded.
201 If any of the citizens was killed, their relatives brought the bodies home, but when a Zealot was wounded, he went back to the temple and defiled that sacred floor with his blood; so one may say it was their blood alone, which polluted our sanctuary.
202 In these conflicts the brigands kept sallying out from the temple, while the enraged citizens, now grown more numerous, chided those who gave way and those behind would not give room to those who were in flight, but forced them on again, until finally they turned their whole force against their opponents.
203 Now the brigands could no longer stand up to the pressure, but were gradually forced back into the temple, with Ananus and his party rushing in with them.
204 The opponents were dismayed to lose the outer court, and quickly fled to the inner court, shuttin its gates.
205 Ananus did not want to attack the holy gates, although the others threw stones and spears at them from above. He also deemed it unlawful to bring in the unpurified throng, 206 so six thousand warriors were chosen by lot from them all, and plosted to guard the porticoes.
207 These were to act as sentries in rotation, and every one had to take guard duty in his turn; but the officers allowed many persons of rank to pay some of the poorer folk to stand watch in their place.
208 John who, as we said, fled from Gischala, caused all these be killed. He was a man of great craft, with a great lust for tyranny, who for a long time had conspired to take charge of things.
209 At this time he claimed to share the people's view and went around every day with Ananus when he consulted the officers and in the night-time when he went round the sentries. But he told their secrets to the Zealots and every plan of the citizens was known to the enemy, even before it was decided.
210 To avoid suspicion, he courted favour to extremes, with Ananus and the citizen leaders.
211 However this turned against him, for his unbounded flattery roused their suspicion, and his constant uninvited presence everywhere made him strongly suspect of being a traitor.
212 Clearly the enemy knew all the plans and there was nobody more likely to have betrayed them than John.
213 It was not easy to be rid of a man who had grown so powerful by his wickedness, as he had the support of many of the the general assembly, so they obliged him to assure them on oath of his goodwill.
214 John willingly took this oath that he was the people's side and would not betray any of their plans or actions, but would help both in act and by advice, against the enemy.
215 The Ananus party believed his oath and welcomed him at their meetings without further suspicion, even to the extent of sending him as their envoy to the Zealots in the temple, with proposals for a truce. They wanted as much as possible to avoid polluting the temple and that none of their nation should be killed within it.
216 But as if his allegiance were sworn to the Zealots and not against them, he went into the temple and stood up and declared that he had taken many risks for them, to let them know all that was secretly planned against them by Ananus and his party; 217 but now both he and they were in grave danger, unless they were helped by some supernatural force.
218 "Ananus has waited no longer but has persuaded the people to send envoys to Vespasian, inviting him to come soon and take the city. He has decreed a purification for tomorrow to gain entrance to the temple on a ceremonial pretext, or else they will force their way in and fight you hand to hand.
219 It is not clear how long you can hold out here, or keep up against so many enemies." He added that it was by God's providence he had been sent to them to resolve the issue, because Ananus was only making the offer in order to catch them unarmed.
220 To save their lives they must choose either to ask for mercy from those now penning them in, or find help from elsewhere.
221 If they held any hopes of pardon as prisoners, they must have forgotten the atrocities they had comitted, or imagined that the moment they repented their actions, those who had suffered from them would be reconciled with them.
222 The repentance of people who have done harm, is often hated all the more by those who have suffered, and once they get the power into their hands, they are very severe on those who caused it.
223 The friends and relatives of the people they had killed would always be plotting against them, and many were furious about to their destruction of the laws and tribunals, so that even if some pitied them, they would be shouted down by the majority.
Chapter 04. [224-304]
The Idumaeans are kept out of Jerusalem. Their Zealot allies admit them to the city
224 By this crafty speech, John made them afraid, without daring to directly name what outside help he meant, but covertly hinting at at the Idumaeans. To particularly irritate the officers of the Zealots, he claimed that Ananus was about a piece of savagery which in a special way threatened them.
225 These officers were Eleazar, son of Simon, who of them all made the most plausible impression, both in planning what should be done and carrying the decisions into effect, and Zacharias, son of Amphicalleus, both of them of priestly stock.
226 These two heard about not only the general threats affecting them all, but the particular charges against themselves, and how Ananus and his party, in order to secure their own power, had invited the Romans to come to them, for that also was part of John's lie. For a long time they hesitated about what to do, considering the shortness of the time available to them, 227 for the people were ready to attack them and the sudden plot against them had almost entirely preccluded them from getting any help from outside, and they might be overwhelmed before any of their allies heard of it.
228 So they decided to call in the Idumaeans, and wrote them this short letter: That Ananus had imposed on the people and was betraying their city to the Romans; that they themselves had rebelled from the rest and were now trapped in the temple, for standing up for liberty; 229 that there was little time left if they were to be saved; and that unless they immediately came to their rescue, they would soon be in the power of Ananus and the city be in the power of the Romans. They also instructed the messengers to tell many more details to the Idumaean officers.
230 Two active men were proposed to bring this message, good speakers who could persuade them of the reality of the situation, and even more essentially, who were very swift of foot.
231 They knew well enough that the Idumaeans would do their bidding without delay, being a rebellious and quarrelsome nation delighting in revolt and alert to every upheaval, and if you flatter them a little and then ask them, they quickly take up arms and hurry to battle as if to a feast.
232 This message needed to be delivered quickly, and the messengers (both called Ananias) did not fail in this, for they soon reached the Idumaean officers.
233 These were amazed at the contents of the letter and at what its bearers further told them; therefore they ran round the nation like madmen and proclaimed that the people should mobilise for war.
234 A crowd quickly gathered, even sooner than was proclamed, and everyone took up arms to fight for the freedom of their capital.
235 Twenty thousand of them joined up and came to Jerusalem, under four officers, John and Jacob the son of Sosas, Simon, son of Cathlas, and Phineas, son of Clusothus.
236 The messengers' exit was unknown either to Ananus or the guards, but the approach of the Idumaeans was known to him and knowing of it in advance, he ordered the gates to be shut against them and that the ramparts should be defended.
237 Still he by no means thought of fighting against them, but rather, without coming to blows, to see what could be done by persuasion.
238 Therefore Jesus, the eldest of the high priests next to Ananus, stood in the tower facing them and said, "Many troubles of various kinds have befallen this city, yet never have I been so perplexed at her fortune as now, when you have come to help wrongdoers in this extraordinary way.
239 For I see you coming to support the vilest of men against us, with more zeal than you could show if our city had called for your help against barbarians.
240 If I felt your army consisted of people like those who invited them, your action would not seem so absurd, for nothing so unites the minds of men as the sharing of action. But if you examined one by one these men who have invited you, all of them would be found worthy of death many times over.
241 They are the very rabble and dregs of our land, who squandered their own property, then went on to madly loot their neighbouring villages and cities, and finally have streamed into this holy city.
242 They are brigands, who have profaned this sacred space by terrible deeds and may even now be seen getting drunk in the sanctuary and filling their unsatiable bellies with the spoils of those they have killed.
243 By contrast one sees your people decently decked in their armour, as though their metropolis had called them to her help against foreigners. What can a man call this action of yours but a freak of fortune, seeing a whole nation coming to protect such villains? 244 I have long wondered what could possibly have moved you to do this so suddenly. Surely you would not take to arms on behalf of brigands and against a people related to you, without some great reason.
245 We have heard the rumour that the Romans expect us to betray this city to them, for lately some of your men have made this claim and claimed they came to set their metropolis free. Now we must admire the wretches for inventing such a lie against us.
246 There was no better way to rouse against us men who by nature are lovers of freedom and very willing to fight against foreign enemies than to claim that we were about to betray that most precious thing, liberty.
247 But consider the sort of people making this calumny and the sort of people against whom that calumny is made. Find out the truth of things, not from fictional words, but from the actions of both parties! 248 For why would we sell ourselves to the Romans, while we could have avoided rebelling from them in the first place, or when we had once rebelled, could have returned under their rule again before the neighbouring districts were destroyed? 249 Even if we wanted to, it is not easy to be reconciled with the Romans, now that they are proud and confident after subduing Galilee. Even to try to appease them now when they are nearly upon us, would shame us in a way worse than death.
250 For myself, I should prefer peace with them rather than death, but now that we have gone to war with them and fought them, I prefer death with honour rather than life in slavery under them.
251 But do they claim that we, the leaders of the people, have sent to the Romans in secret, or that it was done by the common votes of the people? 252 If it is only ourselves who did it, let them name those friends of ours who were sent in our name to manage this treachery. Has anyone been caught going out on this errand, or captured as he returned? Are they in possession of our letters? 253 How could we be concealed from such a number of our fellow citizens, with whom we are always in contact, while what is done secretly is, it seems, known by the Zealots, who are but few in number and blocked in, unable to come from the temple into the city.
254 Is it that they now realise the punishment they deserve for their insolent actions? For while they were without fear, they raised no suspicion that any of us were traitors.
255 But if they blame the people for this it must have been done at a public consultation and none of the people must have dissented from the rest of the assembly. In that case public notice of this matter would have come to you sooner than any individual allegation.
256 But how could that be? Must there not have been envoys sent to confirm the agreements? Who was appointed for that purpose? Let them say! 257 But this is no more than a pretext made by die-hards who are trying to escape the punishment hanging over them. For if fate had decided that this city was to be betrayed into its enemies' hands, the very ones to have the impudence to do it are those who accuse us falsely, since the only thing needed to complete their catalogue of crimes is treason.
258 Now that you Idumaeans have come here with your arms, it is your first duty to come to the aid of your capital city and join us in destroying the tyrants who have broken the rules of our proper courts, trampled upon our laws and made their swords the arbitrators of right and wrong.
259 Without impeachment they have snatched men of eminence from the open forum, dishonoured them by putting them in chains, and killed them without listening to any plea or petition.
260 You may, if you wish, come into the city, though not by right of war and see the marks still remaining of what I now say and see the houses that were emptied by their greedy hands, with those wives and families dressed in black, mourning for their slaughtered relatives, and hear their groans and laments all over the city, for there is none who has not suffered from the raids of these profaners.
261 They have gone so crazy as to bring their brigandage not only from the country and outlying parts into this city, the very face and head of the whole nation, but from the city into the temple.
262 For that is now made their receptacle and refuge and the fountain-head whence their preparations are made against us. This place, which is adored by the habitable world and honoured by those who only know it by report, as far as the ends of the earth, is trampled upon by these wild beasts born among ourselves.
263 In their desperate situation, they resort to setting district against district and city against city and bringing nation to war with its own vital organs.
264 Instead of which procedure, it were highly fit and reasonable, as I said before, for you to join with us in rooting out these wretches and particularly to take revenge on them for deceiving you in this way, daring to invite you as allies, when they should have feared you as their executioners.
265 But if you still have some regard for their appeal, you may lay aside your weapons and come into the city as our kinsmen and take on a middle role between allies and enemies and so become judges in this case.
266 Consider the advantage they will gain by being called to judgment before you for their undeniable and flagrant crimes, men who granted no hearing to those against whom no accusations had been made; let them have this grace by your coming.
267 But if you will neither share our anger at these men, nor judge between us, my third proposal is that you leave us both alone and neither increase our troubles, nor side with these conspirators against their city.
268 Even if you suspect some of us of parleying with the Romans, you can guard the entrances to the city, and if anything we have been accused of comes to light, then come and defend your city and inflict punishment on the guilty, for being near to the city, the enemy cannot stop you.
269 But if none of these proposals seems acceptable and fair, do not wonder that the gates are shut against you, while you are bearing arms."
270 So spoke Jesus, but most of the Idumaeans paid no heed to what he said. They were enraged at not being readily admitted, and their generals chafed at laying down their weapons, seeing it as an imprisonment to set them aside at any man's orders.
271 But Simon, son of Caathas, one of their leaders, quietened the shouting of his men with some difficulty and standing where the high priests could hear him, said, 272 "I am no longer surprised that the promoters of liberty are under guard in the temple, since some who are willing to admit the Romans now shut against their own nation the gates of our common city.
273 Perhaps for the Romans they would crown the gates with garlands, while speaking to the Idumaeans from their towers, demanding that we throw down the arms we have taken up to guard its liberty.
274 While they will not let our metropolis be guarded by their kinsmen, they profess to make them judges of their differences, and while accusing some men of having killed others without a legal trial, they themselves shamefully condemn a whole nation.
275 Now they have walled up that city from their own nation, which used to be open even to all foreigners who came to worship there.
276 Did we come in such haste to you to make war on our own countrymen? No, it was to preserve your freedom for you! 277 You have probably been guilty of similar crimes against those whom you keep in custody and have, I guess, gathered similar plausible pretenses against them as you use against us. Then you overpowered those inside the temple and keep them locked in, simply for caring for the public good.
278 You have also shut the gates of the city in general against people most closely related to you, and while you insult others with such commands, you complain that they tyrannize over you and call those over whom you tyrannize "unjust leaders." 279 Who can bear your abuse of words, while they see them contradicted by your actions? Do you mean that the Idumaeans are excluding you from your capital, rather than you excluding us from the sacred shrine of our own country? 280 One may justly blame now besieged in the temple, that when they had the courage to punish those tyrants (whom you call "eminent and free of all guilt," since they are your companions in wickedness,) they did not begin with you and thereby cut off in advance the most vital parts of this treason.
281 But if these men were more merciful than the public good required, we Idumaeans will defend this house of God and fight for our common country and fight against attackers from abroad and traitors from within.
282 Here outside the walls we will stay in our armour, until either the Romans grow tired in waiting for you, or you embrace liberty and repent of what you have done against it."
283 The Idumaeans cheered this speech and Jesus went away disheartened, seeing that the Idumaeans were against all moderate counsels and that the city was embattled from two sides.
284 Nor were the minds of the Idumaeans at rest. They were enraged at the wrong done to them by being excluded from the city, and having thought the Zealots to be strong, yet seeing no support from them, they were perplexed and many of them regretted having come.
285 But the shame of returning home without doing anything, overcame this regret so that they stayed all night before the wall, though very badly camped.
286 A mighty storm broke out in the night, with gale-force winds, a downpour of rain and continuous thunder and lightning, and a terrible rumbling of earthquake.
287 These things clearly indicated that destruction was coming upon men, when the fabric of the world was in such disorder, symptoms of some great calamity.
288 The opinion of the Idumaeans and of the citizens was one and the same. The Idumaeans thought that God was angry at them for taking up arms and that they would not go unpunished for making war upon their metropolis, while Ananus and his party thought that they had won without fighting and that God was leading their side.
289 However both proved to be bad guesses of what was to come, by seeing those events to be omens against the enemy, while it was themselves who would suffer the bad effects of them.
290 The Idumaeans huddled together to keep warm and linking their shields over their heads, were not much harmed by the rain.
291 On the other hand the Zealots were more deeply concerned for the danger these men were in than they were for themselves and looked around for some means to help them.
292 The more fiery of them thought it best to overcome the sentries and rush into the city and publicly open the gates to those who had come to their help.
293 They reckoned the guards would be confused and give way at such an unexpected attack, as most of them were unarmed and unskilled in battle, and that besides the citizens could not easily gather in force when they were confined at home by the storm.
294 Even if it was a risky venture, they ought to face it rather than to neglect so many who were shamefully dying on their account.
295 The more prudent of them disapproved of this forcible method, seeing the numerous sentries and the ramparts of the city itself carefully watched because of the Idumaeans.
296 They also thought Ananus would be everywhere and visiting the sentries every hour, 297 as he had done on other nights. But that night it was omitted, not because of slothfulness on the part of Ananus, but by the overbearing force of fate, dooming himself and most of the sentries to die.
298 Far into the night at the height of the storm, she made Ananus allow the guards in the porticoes to go to sleep and put it into the heads of the Zealots to use the saws belonging to the temple and to cut asunder the bars of the gates.
299 The noise of the wind and the equally loud sound of the thunder helped their plans, for the noise of the saws was not heard by the others.
300 Stealing from the temple to the wall of the city they used their saws and opened the gate nearest to the Idumaeans.
301 The Idumaeans were at first afraid that Ananus and his party were coming to attack them, so each of them had his right hand upon his sword to defend himself, but they soon recognized their visitors and entered the city.
302 If the Idumaeans had then attacked the city, there was nothing to stop them from killing the whole population, such was their rage at that time, but as they first hurried to release the Zealots, urged by those who brought them not to overlook those for whose sakes they had come, despite all hardship, and not bring them into further danger.
303 Once they had captured the guards, it would be easy for them to attack the city, while if the city were once alarmed, they would not be able to overcome those guards, 304 because when they noticed them there, they would get ready to fight them and stop them coming up.
Chapter 05. [305-352]
The Idumaeans' harshness in the Temple. They slaughter the priests, and return home
305 This advice pleased the Idumaeans and they ascended through the city to the temple. The Zealots keenly looked forward to their coming and as they were entering, came boldly out from the inner temple.
306 Mixing with the Idumaeans they attacked the sentries, some of whom they killed in their sleep; but as those who were aroused shouted out, the whole populace got up and in their panic took up arms to defend themselves.
307 As long as they thought it was only the Zealots on the attack they faced them boldly, hoping to overpower them by sheer numbers, but then seeing others coming at them they realised that the Idumaeans had got in, 308 and then most of them laid down their arms and their courage and started groaning. But a few of the younger men formed a circle and for a while valiantly resisted the Idumaeans, to protect the older population.
309 The shouting told the other citizens of their difficulty, but when these also learned of the invasion by the Idumaeans, no one dared come to their help, but merely joined in the shouts and laments at their plight. A great howling arose from the women and all the sentries were in danger of being killed.
310 The Zealots joined in the shouts of the Idumaeans, and the storm rendered the noise more terrible. The Idumaeans spared nobody, for as they are by nature a cruel and bloody nation and were stirred up by the storm, they turned their weapons on those who had shut the gates against them.
311 Treating in the same way those who begged for their lives and those who fought against them, they put to the sword even those who spoke of their relationship with them and implored them to remember their common temple.
312 There was no place for flight, no hope of safety, but they were slaughtered in heaps, driven upon each other. Many were forced together, as there was nowhere to hide and the murderers were upon them, and, having no way out, threw themselves down headlong, which, in my opinion, was a worse end than the one they avoided, being voluntary.
313 The outer temple overflowed with blood, and as that day wore on it contained eight thousand five hundred corpses.
314 But the rage of the Idumaeans was not yet sated, for they now took to the city and looted each house and killed everyone they met.
315 Then when they felt it needless to go on killing the population, they sought out the high priests and went against them in particular.
316 As soon as they caught them they killed them, and as they stood upon their corpses jokingly rebuked Ananus for his kindness to the people and Jesus for the speech he had made to them from the wall.
317 They were so impious as to leave their corpses without burial, though the Jews took such care of burials that they even took down those who were condemned and crucified and buried them before sundown.
318 I would not be wrong in saying that the death of Ananus was the beginning of the destruction of the city and in dating the destruction of her wall and her total ruin from the day which saw their high priest, the guarantor of their safety, killed in the heart of the city.
319 For the rest, he was a good and holy man, and despite the grandeur of the noble dignity and honour he possessed, he had shown a sense of equality, even with regard to the lowest of the people. He was a great lover of liberty and an admirer of a democracy, 320 always preferring the public good over his own advantage and loving peace above all things, knowing well that the Romans could not be defeated. He also foresaw that a war would surely follow and that the Jews would be destroyed unless they quickly made peace with them.
321 In a word, if Ananus had survived, they would surely have found agreement, for he was an effective speaker, good at persuading the people and had already gotten the better of the war-mongers opposed to him. With a general like him the Jews would have held up the Romans a long time.
322 Jesus was on his side and although not his equal, stood well above the rest.
323 I cannot help thinking that God had doomed the city to destruction as polluted and had determined to purge his sanctuary by fire, when he cut off their great defenders and supporters.
324 Those who a little earlier had worn the sacred vestments and presided at worship for all mankind, held in veneration by visitors to our city from all over the world, were thrown out naked, to become the food of dogs and wild beasts.
325 Virtue groaned at what happened to these men and grieved at being so vanquished by wickedness. This was how Ananus and Jesus met their end.
326 After this the Zealots and all the Idumaeans attacked the people like a flock of beasts and cut their throats.
327 Common folk were killed where they were caught, but the noblemen and youth were first caught and chained and shut up in prison, with their slaughter postponed in hopes that some would convert to the rebel party.
328 But they disregarded them, all preferring to die rather than enlist with wicked wretches against their own country.
329 Their refusal cost them terrible pain, for they were scourged and tortured until, with their bodies broken with suffering, it was finally a favour to be killed by the sword.
330 Those who were caught in the daytime were killed in the night and then their bodies were carried out and thrown away to make room for other prisoners.
331 The people's terror was so great that no one dared to weep openly for a dead relative, or to bury him, but those who were shut up in their own houses could only shed tears in secret and hardly dared to weep in case any of their foes heard it.
332 If they did, those who mourned for others soon suffered the same as those they mourned for. Only at night could they take some clay and throw it over the corpses, though some risked doing it in the daytime.
333 Up to twelve thousand of the upper class died in this manner.
334 These grew tired of simply killing people, so they had the gall to set up tribunals and courts.
335 They intended to do away with Zacharias the son of Baruch, one of the foremost citizens, provoked by his well-known hatred of evil and love of liberty. He was a rich man, so that by killing him they hoped to seize his assets, but also to be rid of a man who had such power to destroy them.
336 So by a proclamation they gathered seventy of the leading people for a show-trial, as if they were real judges, though without authority. Zacharias was accused before them of intending to betray their cause to the Romans and having treacherously sent to Vespasian for that purpose.
337 No proof or sign of the accusation was produced but they said they believed it was so and wanted their statement taken as sufficient evidence.
338 When Zacharias clearly saw that there was no way to escape them, having been wrongfully arrested and imprisoned with no intention of a legal trial, he drew great liberty of speech from his despair for his life. Up he stood and mocked their so-called accusation and briefly refuted the crimes charged against him.
339 Then he turned on his accusers and clearly listed all their breaches of the law and bitterly rebuked the turmoil they had caused in public life.
340 The Zealots grew restless and barely refrained from drawing their swords, although they sought to retain the appearance of legality to the end, wanting to see if the judges would defend justice at their own peril.
341 The seventy found the accused not guilty, choosing to die along with him rather than bear the guilt of his death.
342 The Zealots complained bitterly at his acquittal and were angry at the judges for not seeing that the authority given to them was only in jest.
343 Two of the boldest of them attacked Zacharias in the middle of the temple and killed him and as he fell down dead, joked that, "You have our verdict which will free you more certainly than the other," and instantly threw him down from the temple into the valley below.
344 They struck the judges abusively with the flat of their swords, and expelled them from the court of the temple, but spared their lives so that they could go out among the people in the city and let them know they were no better than slaves.
345 By this time the Idumaeans were sorry they had come and were displeased at what had been done.
346 One of the Zealots came to them privately and in their assembly spoke of their many misdeeds in league with those who invited them, listing in detail the harm done to their metropolis.
347 He said they had taken up arms as though the high priests were betraying their city to the Romans, but had found no proof of any such treachery, while the hypocritical accusers carried on with works of war and tyranny.
348 From the start they should have hindered them from this, but even if up to now they had joined them in shedding the blood of their countrymen, it was high time to put a stop to such crimes and no longer continue to help those who subverted the ancestral laws.
349 If any of them were still angry at the gates being shut against them and for being blocked from coming into the city, those who had excluded them were already punished and Ananus was dead and almost all those people had been destroyed in one single night.
350 One could now see many of them repenting for what they had done as they noted the savagery of those who had invited them, and now showed no regard for those who had saved them.
351 They were not ashamed to do the vilest things under the eyes of those who had supported them, thinking their mischief would be blamed on the Idumaeans, and would keep doing so until someone put a stop to it and disavowed these crimes.
352 They should retire home, therefore, since the charge of treason was false and there was no prospect of the Romans arriving at this time and the government of the city was secured by walls not easily thrown down. They could make some excuse for themselves by having no further contact with these villains, and show that up to now they had been tricked into joining with them.
Chapter 06. [353-388]
The Zealots kill many more of the citizens. Vespasian calms his Romans troops
353 The Idumaeans granted this, and first freed the prisoners, about two thousand in all, who immediately fled to Simon, about whom we shall soon speak, and then left Jerusalem and went home.
354 Their departure came as a surprise to both parties, for the people, not knowing of their repentance, raised their spirits for a while, as though finished with so many of the enemy, 355 while the Zealots grew more expansive as though not deserted by allies, but freed from people who could hinder their plans and put a brake on their wickedness.
356 They delayed no longer and took no further thought about their misdeeds, but got to work sharply and carried out their decisions more quickly than expected.
357 But they target especially the blood of valiant men and people of good families, killing the former out of envy and the latter out of fear, seeing their whole security dependent on leaving no strong men alive.
358 For this reason they killed Gorion, a person eminent in dignity and family connections, who favoured democracy and was as bold and free of spirit as any Jew alive, but despite his advantages, speaking too freely brought about his ruin.
359 They also did away with Niger of Peres who had shown great bravery in the war with the Romans, but was now drawn through the middle of the city, often shouting as he went and showing the scars of his wounds.
360 As he was drawn outside the gates and no more hope of survival, he implored them to grant him burial, but they had threatened him in advance not to grant him any spot of earth for a grave.
361 As they were killing him, he cursed them that they would suffer famine and plague in this war and end up killing each other.
362 All these God brought on these impious men in what so justly happened them, when soon after they tasted their own madness in rebelling against each other.
363 When this Niger was killed, their fears of being sidelined eased, and no part of the people was safe from some pretext for being destroyed.
364 Some were killed for some past differences with them. Those who had not opposed them in time of peace were watched, for some excuse. If one did not approach them at all, he was suspected of being too proud; if he came with confidence, he was deemed to scorn them, and if he tried to please them, he was supposed to be plotting treachery against them.
365 The sole punishment of crimes, whether major or minor, was death. Nobody could escape this dilemma, except the poorest by birth or fortune.
366 All the rest of the Roman officers reckoned this rebellion among the enemy to be of great advantage to them and were keen to march on the city, urging their superior in all things, Vespasian, to hurry because, the said, "the providence of God is on our side, by setting our enemies at odds with each other.
367 But this lapse may be short-lived and the Jews may quickly be re-united, either growing tired of civil strife or repenting of it." 368 Vespasian said they were greatly mistaken about what should be done, like theatrical people gesturing with their hands and weapons, but doing so at their own risk, without thought for security.
369 If they went now and attacked the city it would only cause the enemy to unite and turn their force, now at its height, against the Romans, whereas if they waited, the enemy would be fewer, worn out by strife.
370 God, he said, was leading the Romans better than he himself could do and handing the Jews over to them without any effort on their part, giving their army a victory without danger.
371 So while their enemies were destroying each other by hand and stoking their own woes by disunity, their best course was to stand back as spectators out of danger rather than fight it out with men who love killing and are mad at each other.
372 If anyone thought that the glory of victory would be insipid without a fight, he should learn that one gained by self-control is more fruitful.
373 We should admire those who act with self-control and prudence no less than those who distinguish themselves in action, and he would lead his army more forcefully when their enemies were fewer and his own army refreshed after the continual toil they had endured.
374 However, this was no time for aiming at a glorious victory, 375 since the Jews were not now engaged in making armour or building the ramparts, or in gathering allies, and it was well to leave the Jews alone while they spent their time in civil wars and strife, more stricken than they could be even if they were captured.
376 If one thought about security, he should leave them to destroy each other. Even if he cared about the greater glory of action, it was still wrong to attack them amid their domestic sickness, for to defeat them now would not be credited to the Romans but to their own disunity.
377 The officers agreed with what Vespasian had said, and it soon emerged how wise was his strategic opinion, for every day many of the Jews deserted and fled from the Zealots.
378 Their flight was very difficult, as these had guarded every exit from the city and killed anyone caught in them, as traitors to the Romans.
379 However, anyone who gave them money could escape, and only those who gave them none were called traitors, so that the rich could buy their way out, and only the poor were killed.
380 Along all the roads the corpses lay in heaps and even many of those who were keen to desert finally chose rather to die within the city, for the prospect of burial made death in their own city appear less terrible to them.
381 But in their barbarity [the Zealots]
granted burial neither to those killed in the city nor those who lay along the roads.
382 As if wishing to cancel their ancestral laws and those of nature, and to defile men with their evil, and pollute the Deity itself, they left the corpses to rot under the sun.
383 The same death penalty was given to people who buried others as for desertion, and whoever granted a grave to another soon needed a grave himself.
384 In a word, no noble emotion was so entirely lost among them as mercy. The most pitiful sights angered these wretches the most and they transferred their rage from the living to the dead, and from the dead to the living.
385 The terror grew so great that a survivor regarded as happy those who pre-deceased him, for they were already at rest, and prisoners under torture thought the unburied were luckier than they.
386 So they trampled the laws of men and mocked the laws of God, and derided the oracles of the prophets as the delusions of charlatans.
387 These had foretold many things about virtue and vice, and by violating them, the Zealots brought their nation's prophecies to fulfilment.
388 An ancient oracle said that the city would be taken and the sanctuary burned in war, when sedition came upon them and their own hands polluted the temple of God. While not disbelieving these predictions, the Zealots became the instruments to accomplish them.
Chapter 07. [389-439]
Tyranny of John of Gischala. Misdeeds of the Zealots at Masada. Vespasian takes Gadara
389 By this time John the tyrant thought it unworthy to accept merely the same honours as others and little by little gathering a party of the worst of them, broke off from the rest of the coalition.
390 He was always in conflict with the decisions of the others and giving instructions of his own, very imperiously, so it was clear that he was aiming at monarchy.
391 Some submitted to him out of fear and others out of goodwill, for he was expert in drawing people to him by fraudelent words, and many thought they would be safer if the blame for their past misdeeds came under one heading rather than many.
392 He was most active both in deed and ideas, and had not a few bodyguards, 393 but many opponents deserted him out of envy and unable to bear being subject to one who was formerly their equal, but mainly because of their dread of monarchy.
394 For there was no prospect of easily ending his power once he gained it, and they knew that he would always hold their initial opposition against them. Each of them would rather suffer in war than be put to death after spending some time in voluntary slavery.
395 So the rebellion divided into two parts, with John ruling one of them like a king.
396 The leaders kept a wary eye on each other, though they rarely used weapons in their squabbles, but they were very hard on the people and rivalled each other as to who would take the most loot.
397 Since the city had to struggle with three of the worst evils, war, tyranny and rebellion, by comparison it seemed that the actual war troubled the people the least of them all, for they fled from their homes to foreigners and received from the Romans the security they had no hope of among their own people.
398 A fourth evil arose, to bring our nation to destruction.
399 There was a mighty fortress not far from Jerusalem, which had been built by our ancient kings, for the safe-keeping of their property and of their persons in time of war, and it was called Masada.
400 Those called the Sicarii had already seized it and now they ravaged the area round about for provisions, though they did not risk any further raids.
401 But once they were told that the Roman army was resting and that the Jews were divided between rebellion and tyranny, they undertook more ambitious ventures.
402 At the feast of unleavened bread, which the Jews celebrate in memory of their salvation from slavery to the Egyptians, they returned to the district of their ancestors, coming at night, unnoticed by those who could have blocked them, and overran a small city called Engaddi.
403 Before the citizens could take up arms and fight them, they scattered and expelled them from the city and killed more than seven hundred of the women and children who could not escape.
404 Taking everything from their houses and all the fruit that was in good condition, they brought it to Masada.
405 Then they ravaged all the villages around the fortress and left the whole country desolate, but every day others as corrupt as themselves came from all parts to join them.
406 At that time all the other regions of Judea which up to now had been at peace were roused by the brigands. As in a human body, when the principal part is feverish, all the members suffer with it, 407 so the rebellion and disorder in the metropolis gave the wicked in the countryside the chance to ravage it too and when all had looted their own villages, they retreated to the desert.
408 These who now gathered and joined in the conspiracy, too small to be an army and too many to be a gang of thieves, attacked temples and cities, 409 abusing their captives like prisoners of war. But it was difficult to get back at them, for, like true brigands they usually escaped after ravaging a place, and they destroyed every part of Judea, including its capital city.
410 These things were told to Vespasian by deserters, for although the rebels watched all the exits from the city and killed whoever tried to get out, some managed to hide and after fleeing to the Romans, asked their general to come to help their city and save the remnant of the people, 411 telling him how many had already died because of favouring the Romans and that the survivors were in danger.
412 He felt pity for these people's troubles and though seeming to besiege Jerusalem, it was really to deliver them from the siege they were enduring already.
413 But first he had to destroy the remants of revolt elsewhere and outside of Jerusalem to leave nothing behind him to interfere with that siege. He marched against Gadara, the strong metropolis of Perea, and entered that city on the fourth day of the month Dystrus.
414 Its the influential people had sent him envoys without the knowledge of the rebels, to discuss surrender; which they did out of their desire for peace and to save their property, because many rich people lived in Gadara.
415 The opponents knew nothing of this embassy, but discovered it as Vespasian was approaching, and they despaired of keeping the city, being fewer than the enemy within it. Seeing the Romans not far from the city, they resolved to escape but thought it dishonourable to do so without shedding some blood and revenging themselves on those who caused this crisis.
416 So they captured Dolesus, a man of first rank and class in the city and the probable originator of the embassy, and killed him, violating his corpse, so violent was their anger at him and then fled from the city.
417 Since the Roman army arrived just then, the people of Gadara welcomed Vespasian with joyful acclamations and received from him his promise of security, and a garrison of cavalry and infantry, to guard them against the excursions of the renegades.
418 They pulled down their wall before the Romans asked them to do so, as a sign that they were lovers of peace and that they could no longer make war against them, even if they wished.
419 Vespasian sent Placidus against those who had fled from Gadara, with five hundred cavalry and three thousand infantry, and returned to Caesarea with the rest of the army.
420 But as soon as the fugitives saw the pursuing cavalry just behind them, before engaging them they rushed into a village called Bethennabris.
421 There they found a large crowd of young men and armed them, some by their own consent and some by force, and dashed out to attack the troops of Placidus.
422 At the first onset these gave way a little, wishing to entice them further from the wall, and when they had lured them to a place suited to their purpose, 423 they surrounded them with their horses and threw their spears at them. So the cavalry cut off the fugitives' flight, while the infantry wrought havoc, 424 and the Jews had barely time to show their courage before being killed, for under attack the Romans were joined close together, and as it were, walled in with their entire armour, so they could find no entry for their spears and no way to break their ranks, 425 while they were themselves run through by Roman spears, and, like wild beasts, rushed upon the point of others' swords, so that some of them were killed, run through the mouth by their enemies' swords, and others were scattered by the cavalry.
426 Placidus took care to debar them from fleeing back into the village, 427 and causing his cavalry to stay on that side he then turned on them and his men used their spears and easily took aim at those nearest to them, as they made those further away turn back in fear, until finally the bravest of them broke through those cavalry and fled to the wall.
428 The guards of the wall were in great doubt what to do. They could not bear to lock out those who came from Gadara, because of their own people who were among them, but if they admitted them, they expected to die with them.
429 This happened accordingly, for as they crowded together at the wall, the Roman cavalry was ready to rush in with them. The guards forestalled them and shut the gates, when Placidus made an attack upon them and fighting bravely until it was dark, he captured the wall and the people who were in the city.
430 The useless throng was killed, but the strongest fled away, and the soldiers looted the houses and set the village on fire.
431 The fugitives from the village stirred up those out in the country and by exaggerating their disaster and telling them that the whole Roman army was upon them, they stirred up terror on every side, so they large numbers fled to Jericho, 432 knowing no other place where they could hope to escape, as the city had strong battlements and many inhabitants.
433 But Placidus, relying on his cavalry and his previous success, pursued them to the Jordan, killing all that he overtook, and drove the whole crowd as far as the river, where they were stopped by the current, for it had been increased lately by rains and was not fordable, and linked up his soldiers opposite them.
434 Necessity made them risk a battle since there was no place to escape, so they spread out along the banks of the river and faced both the spears and the attacks of the cavalry, who struck many of them and pushed them into the current.
435 In this hand to hand fighting, fifteen thousand of them were killed, while many were forced to leap into the Jordan.
436 Two thousand, two hundred were taken prisoners and many donkeys and sheep and camels and oxen were also taken.
437 This was the worst destruction to befall the Jews, and seemed even greater because not only was the whole country through which they fled filled with bloodshed and the Jordan could not be crossed because of the corpses in it, but lake Asphaltitis was full of corpses, that were carried down into it by the river.
438 After his success Placidus attacked the neighbouring smaller cities and villages, and took Abila and Julias and Bezemoth and all places as far as lake Asphaltitis, putting into each of them any deserters he chose.
439 He then put his soldiers on board ship and killed those who had fled to the lake, so that all of Perea either surrendered or was taken by the Romans, as far as Machaerus.
Chapter 08. [440-485]
Upheavals in Gaul, Vespasian hastens to end the Jewish War. Description of Jericho and Dead Sea (Lake Asphaltitis)
440 In the meantime, news arrived about a revolt in Gaul and that Vindex, along with the influential people in that country, had rebelled from Nero, an affair that is described elsewhere in more detail.
441 The news prompted Vespasian to proceed vigorously with the war, for he foresaw the civil wars that were coming and the danger to the whole empire, and that if he could quickly pacify the east, it would lessen the insecurity in Italy.
442 While held back by the winter he secured the villages and smaller cities with garrisons, headed by decurions in the villages and by centurions in the cities; and he rebuilt many of the cities that had been ruined.
443 In the beginning of spring he led most of his army from Caesarea to Antipatris, where he spent two days in settling the affairs of the city and then, on the third day, he marched on, laying waste and burning everything in the vicinity.
444 When he had ravaged the area around Thamnas, he passed on to Lydda and Jamnia, and as both these cities had come over to him, he placed there many of those who had joined his side and then came to Emmaus.
445 He captured the pass leading to their metropolis and fortified his camp and leaving the fifth legion there, he came to the district of Bethletephon.
446 He then destroyed that place and the neighbourhood by fire, and fortified the better-placed strongholds around Idumaea.
447 Then after capturing two villages in the heart of Idumaea, Betaris and Caphartobas, he killed over ten thousand and took more than a thousand into slavery 448 and drove out the rest of the people and placed there a good part of his forces, who overran and ravaged all the mountain country.
449 He returned with the rest of his forces to Emmaus, and from there came down through the district of Samaria, near the city of Neapolis (called Mabortha by the local people,) as far as Corea, where he camped on the second day of the month Daesius.
450 The following day he came to Jericho, where Trajan, one of his officers, joined him with the forces he brought from Perea, as all the places beyond the Jordan were already subdued.
451 After this, a large crowd left Jericho in fear as they approached, and fled to the mountains near Jerusalem, and most of what was left behind was destroyed, 452 so they found the city desolate. It is situated in a plain, but is overhung by a very long, barren mountain, 453 extending northward to the area near Scythopolis, and southward as far as the district of Sodom and the shores of lake Asphaltitis. All this mountain terrain is very uneven and uninhabited, because of its barrenness.
454 Across from it is another mountain area on the far side of the Jordan. This range begins at Julias in the north and extends southward as far as Somorrhon, bordering on Petra in Arabia. In it is the so-called Iron Mountain, that runs as far as Moab.
455 Between these ridges is what is called the Great Plain, from the village of Ginnabris as far as lake Asphaltitis.
456 It is two hundred and thirty furlongs long and a hundred and twenty wide and it is divided by the river Jordan. It has two lakes, Asphaltitis and Tiberias, of quite opposite natures, for whereas the former is salty and barren, Tiberias is sweet and fruitful.
457 This plain is parched in summer, and the air is fetid from the excessive heat.
458 It is entirely waterless except for the river Jordan, near whose banks the palms are more flourishing and fruitful, while those farther off are less so.
459 There is a fountain near Jericho that runs plentifully for irrigation. It rises near the old city, which the Hebrew general Joshua, son of Naue, took as first of all the cities of the land of Canaan.
460 They say that at first this fountain used to harm the earth and the trees, and also the children born of women, and that it was entirely sickly and corrupting to all things, but that it was made good and wholesome and fruitful by the prophet Elisha, who knew Elijah and was his successor.
461 Once when he was the guest of the people of Jericho and the inhabitants had treated him most cordially, he gave both them and the district a lasting gift as a reward.
462 Going out from the city to this fountain, he threw into the stream a pot full of salt; then he stretched out his holy hands to heaven, and, pouring out a sweet drink offering, prayed that the current be cured and fresher channels be opened, 463 and that God would send to the place a temperate, fertile airflow and give the local people plenty of the fruits of the earth and children to succeed them, and for this fine water never to fail, as long as they continued righteous.
464 To these prayers Elisha added expert hand movements and changed the fountain, so that the water which before had caused barrenness and famine now gave the district fecundity and plenty.
465 Such is its power to irrigate that if it just touches the land, it nourishes more than waters that remain until they saturate the land.
466 Other waters bring limited benefit, even when present in abundance, while this small source brings a rich return.
467 It irrigates more ground than all the rest, serving a plain seventy furlongs long and twenty broad, nourishing excellent gardens dense with trees.
468 Many sorts of date palms are watered by it, distinct from each other in taste and name. When pressed, the better sort yield an excellent kind of honey, not much less sweet than the real thing.
469 The area also produces honey from bees, and juicy balsam, the most precious of all the local fruits. It has cypress too and myrobalanum, so that it would not be wrong to call this place divine, for its riches of rare and choice plants.
470 For other fruits, it is not easy to find in the whole world a climate to compare with it, since what is sown here fruits so abundantly.
471 The reason, I think, is the warmth of the air and the quality of the waters, for the heat germinates the plants and vitalises them and the moisture lets each firmly take root and supplies its force in the summer, a time when the region is so parched that nobody cares to come to it.
472 If the water is drawn before sunrise and then exposed to the air, it seems very chill in contrast to its surroundings. In winter it warms up again, and feels very mild to those who enter it.
473 The temperature here is so mild, that the locals dress in linen, even when snow covers the rest of Judea.
474 This place is one hundred and fifty furlongs from Jerusalem and sixty from the Jordan. The landscape as far as Jerusalem is desert and stony, and while it is lower towards the Jordan and lake Asphaltitis, it is equally desert and barren.
475 But enough has been said about Jericho and the great amenity of its situation.
476 It also worth describing the nature of lake Asphaltitis, which, as I have said, is bitter and unfruitful, and is so buoyant that it floats the heaviest things thrown into it, so that is it hard to make anything sink to the bottom in it.
477 When Vespasian went to see it, he gave orders for some who could not swim to have their hands tied behind them and be thrown into the depths, and they all floated on the surface as if borne upward by a current of air.
478 The changing colours of this lake are wonderful too, for its appearance changes three times daily, according as the rays of the sun fall differently upon it.
479 In many places black clods of asphalt come up and float on the surface, resembling headless bulls both in shape and size.
480 The workers on the lake come and catch hold of the asphalt as it hangs together, and drag it into the boats, but once the boats are full it is not easy to cut off the remainder, for it is so sticky it clings in clods to the ship until they loosen it with the menstrual blood of women and with urine, the only things to which it yields.
481 This asphalt is not only useful for caulking ships, but for curing human bodies, and is mixed into many medicines.
482 This lake is five hundred and eighty furlongs long, as far as Zoar in Arabia, and a hundred and fifty wide.
483 It adjoins the district of Sodom, a prosperous area of old, both for the fruits it bore and the riches of its cities; but now all burned up.
484 They say it was burned by lightning, for the sins of its citizens, and that remnants of that divine fire and traces of the five cities can still be seen, as well as ashes in the shape of fruits. These fruits have a colour as though they were edible, but they dissolve into smoke and ashes if you pluck them with your hands.
485 Such visible signs support the myths told about this land of Sodom.
Chapter 09. [486-584]
On Nero's death, Vespasian changes plan. Simon of Gerasa enters Jerusalem
486 While fortifying all the places round about Jerusalem Vespasian erected citadels at Jericho and Adidas, putting garrisons in both places, manned partly by his own Romans and partly by his allied troops.
487 He also sent Lucius Annius to Gerasa with a detachment of cavalry and a strong force of infantry.
488 Taking the city at the first onset, he killed a thousand of the young men who had not already escaped, but took their families captive and let his soldiers to rob their property, and then he set fire to the houses and went off to the adjoining villages.
489 The top people got away but the weaker were killed and what remained went up in flames.
490 As the war had now swept through all the mountain country and across the whole plain those in Jerusalem had no freedom to leave the city, and any who wished to desert were watched by the Zealots, and as to those who were not yet pro-Romans were hemmed in by the army surrounding the city on all sides.
491 When Vespasian returned to Caesarea and was preparing to march on Jerusalem itself with all his forces, he was told that Nero had ended his life, after reigning for thirteen years and eight days.
492 The actual story is that he abused his governance and left matters in the hands of his villainous freedmen, Nymphidius and Tigellinus, 493 and that they conspired against him and he was deserted by all his guards and fled with four of his most trusted freedmen, and killed himself in the suburbs, and that those who caused his death were brought to justice a short time later.
494 Then the war in Gaul ended, and Galba was nominated emperor and returned from Spain to Rome, but then he was accused by the soldiers as a weakling and killed by treachery in the heart of the Roman Forum and Otho was made emperor.
495 The story continues with his campaign against the generals of Vitellius and his subsequent destruction; and then the upheavals under Vitellius and the fighting around the capitol, and how Antonius Primus and Mucianus killed Vitellius and his German legions and thereby put an end to that civil war.
496 I shall not describe these events in detail, since they have been described by many Greek and Roman authors and are well known to all. But for the sake of linking matters together and that my history may not be incoherent, I had to mention them all, succinctly.
497 So Vespasian first put off his campaign against Jerusalem and waited to see who would rule the empire after Nero.
498 When he heard that Galba had become emperor, he undertook nothing until he too should write to him about the war, but sent his son Titus to greet him and to receive his orders concerning the Jews. For the same reason king Agrippa sailed to Galba along with Titus, 499 but as their long ships were sailing along the coasts of Achaia, as it was winter time, they heard that Galba had been killed after seven months and seven days, and that Otho had taken over affairs after him.
500 Agrippa resolved to continue on to Rome, fearing nothing from the change in the government, 501 but Titus, by divine impulse, sailed back from Greece to Syria and hurried to Caesarea, to his father.
502 They were both in suspense about the general situation, as the Roman empire seemed to be reeling, and put their campaign against the Jews on hold, thinking it the wrong time to be attacking foreigners when they had such concerns about their own country.
503 Another war arose in Jerusalem, due to a young man, Simon, son of Giora, born in Gerasa, not as cunning as John who had already captured the city, but his superior in strength and courage.
504 Driven out by the high priest Ananus from the district of Acrabattene, which he had once held, he went to the brigands who had captured Masada.
505 At first they were suspicious of him and only let him come into the lower part of the fortress, with the women he brought with him, while they lived in its upper part.
506 However, his approach was similar to theirs and as he seemed trustworthy he went out with them ravaging the country around Masada.
507 But he could not persuade them to anything more, for being used to the citadel as their hiding-place, they were afraid to go far from it.
508 Wanting to rule and aspiring to greatness, when he heard of the death of Ananus he went into the hills to proclaim liberty for slaves and prizes for those already free, and gathered bad men together from all quarters.
509 As he now had a strong force, he overran the villages in the hills and when still more and more flocked to him, he ventured down into the lowlands.
510 Now that he had become feared by the cities, many people of influence were corrupted by him, so that his army no longer consisted of slaves and brigands, but many of the people obeyed him as their king.
511 He then overran the Acrabattene district and as far as Greater Idumaea, and built a wall at a village called Nain and used it as a fortress for his own party, 512 and at the valley called Paran, he enlarged many of the caves and many others he found ready for use; these he used to store his treasures and his plunder, 513 and laid up there the fruits of his looting. Many of his gang members lived in them, and he made no secret that he was exercising his men and preparing to attack Jerusalem.
514 Then the Zealots, fearing his attack and wanting to forestall one that was getting ready to oppose them, went out in arms against him. Simon met and fought them, and killed many of them and drove the rest ahead of him into the city, 515 but he dared not trust his forces to attack the ramparts, and decided to subdue Idumaea first, so as he now had twenty thousand warriors, he marched to the borders of their country.
516 The Idumaean leaders quickly mustered about twenty-five thousand of the most warlike of their people, leaving the rest to guard their district against the raids of the Sicarii from Masada, and faced Simon at their borders, 517 where they fought him and continued the battle all that day, and it is uncertain who won or lost; but he went back to Nain, and the Idumaeans returned home.
518 Not long afterwards Simon stormed back into their country with a larger force when he encamped at a village called Thecoe and sent Eleazar, one of his companions, to the garrison at Herodium to persuade them to surrender the fortress to him.
519 The guards welcomed this man until they heard what he came for, but attacked him with drawn swords when he talked of the surrender; then he found he had nowhere to escape and threw himself down from the wall into the valley below.
520 He died on the spot, but the Idumaeans, already fearful of Simon's power, thought it wiser to survey the enemy's army before risking a battle with them.
521 One of their officers, named Jacob, offered his services for this purpose, intending to betray them.
522 He hurried from the village of Alurus, where the Idumaean army had gathered and came to Simon 523 and from the start agreed to betray his country to him, accepting his oath that he should always have a position of honour, and promising to would help him in subduing all Idumaea.
524 Therefore he was cordially feasted by Simon and inflated with great promises, and when he returned to his own men, he first lied about Simon's army, making it many times larger than it really was.
525 Then by degrees he talked the leaders and the whole crowd into welcoming Simon and surrendering their freedom to him without a fight.
526 In the meantime he sent messengers to invite Simon, promising him to scatter the Idumaeans, which he duly did.
527 For as soon as their army approached, he jumped upon his horse and fled, along with people he had bribed, 528 which terrified the whole crowd, and without fighting a battle they broke ranks and everyone went home.
529 So Simon made a surprising march into Idumaea without bloodshed and attacked the unsuspecting city of Hebron and took it; where he took a load of spoils and stole of a large amount of fruit.
530 The people of the district say that the city is older, not only than any in the country, but than Memphis in Egypt and that its age is reckoned at two thousand, three hundred years.
531 They say it was where Abram, the ancestor of the Jews, lived after he had moved from Mesopotamia, and that his descendants went from there down to Egypt, 532 and that his memorial is still to be seen in that small city, most elegantly made of excellent marble.
533 They also show, six furlongs outside the city, a large turpentine tree which is said to have been there from the creation until now.
534 Simon went through all Idumaea ravaging the countryside as well as the cities and villages. Along with his fully-armed soldiers, he had forty thousand followers, and had not enough provisions for them all.
535 Besides this need he was of a cruel temper and was resentful of this nation, which led to the depopulation of Idumaea, 536 for as one may see woods completely stripped of their leaves by locusts, so Simon's army left nothing behind but a desert.
537 Some places they burned and some they demolished and either trampled or ate whatever grew in the country, and by their marching they made the cultivated ground harder and more unusable than what was barren. In short, they left no sign that the places they ravaged had ever existed.
538 This roused the Zealots anew, and though they feared to fight him in open battle, they lay in ambush in the passes and seized Simon's wife, with a large number of her attendants.
539 Then they returned to the city rejoicing as if they had taken Simon himself captive and expecting him to lay down his arms and beg them for his wife.
540 But instead of pity he felt very angry at them for seizing her and coming to the wall of Jerusalem like a wounded wild beast that cannot catch those who wounded it, he vented his anger on everyone he met.
541 In his fierce rage he took all the unarmed and old people who were coming outside the gates to gather herbs or sticks, and in a single night tortured and killed them, and was almost ready to devour their dead bodies.
542 He also cut off the hands of many and sent them into the city to stun his enemies and make the people dissociate themselves from those who had laid hands on her.
543 He told them to say that Simon swore by the God of the universe, who sees all things, that unless they returned his wife, he would break down their wall and punish all the citizens in this way, sparing no age-group and making no distinction between the guilty and the innocent.
544 These threats so frightened not only the people but even the Zealots that they sent his wife back to him; and then he calmed down a little and left off his ceaseless slaughter.
545 But now rebellion and civil war prevailed, not only over Judea, but in Italy.
546 For Galba was killed in the middle of the Roman Forum and Otho was made emperor and fought against Vitellius, who also aspired to rule, since the legions in Germany had chosen him.
547 In the battle at Betriacum, in Gaul, against Vitellius's generals, Valens and Cecinna, Otho gained the upper hand on the first day, but on the second day the troops of Vitellius won the victory, 548 and after much slaughter, when he learned of this defeat at Brixia, Otho killed himself, after governing for three months and two days.
549 His army went over to Vitellius's generals and he himself went down with his army to Rome.
550 Meanwhile, on the fifth day of the month Daesius, Vespasian moved from Caesarea and marched against those places of Judea which had not yet been subdued.
551 He went up to the hill country and took the two areas known as Gophna and Acrabattene, as well as Bethel and Ephraim, two small cities, and after putting garrisons in them, rode on to Jerusalem, killing and capturing many on the way.
552 Cerealius, one of his officers, took a body of cavalry and infantry and ravaged the area called Upper Idumaea and attacked Caphethra, wrongly called a "small city," taking it at the first onset, and burned it down. He also attacked and besieged Carabis.
553 This had a very strong wall, and though he expected to be delayed a long time, those inside suddenly opened their gates and came to beg pardon and surrendered to him.
554 When had settled these matters, Cerealius went to Hebron, another very ancient city, which as I have said is in a mountainous area not far from Jerusalem. When he had forced his way in, he killed all who were left there, young and old, and burned the city.
555 By now, with everywhere captured apart from Herodium, Masada and Machaerus, which were held by the brigands, the Romans' main objective was Jerusalem.
556 When Simon had freed his wife from the Zealots, he turned on the rest of Idumaea and drove the nation before him on all sides, forcing many of them to retreat to Jerusalem.
557 He pursued them to the city and surrounded its walls, and killed any workmen he captured coming in from the country.
558 Outside of their wall, Simon frightened the people more than the Romans; and inside it, the Zealots oppressed them more than either of them, and of that group, none were so devious and bold as the Galileans.
559 These had brought John to power and once he had gained authority through them, he repaid them by letting them do whatever they wanted.
560 They were insatiable in their lust for looting and rifling the houses of the rich, and made a pastime of murdering men and raping women.
561 Amid destruction and bloodshed they drank their fill and carried on disgracefully, decking their hair and wearing women's clothing and anointing themselves and painting under their eyes.
562 They imitated not only the adornments of women but their lusts too, going to extremes of erotic impurity and mincing round the city as though in a brothel and completely defiling it with their lewd activities.
563 Made up to look like women, they killed with their right hands, and though tottering in their walk, they were quick to attack, drawing their swords from under their dyed cloaks to stab each one they met.
564 Simon lay in wait for any who fled from John and was even more murderous, so that whoever escaped from the tyrant inside the wall was slain by the other outside the gates, 565 So even if one wished to flee and desert to the Romans, all ways to do so were blocked.
566 Yet John's forces rebelled against him and all the Idumaeans broke off from the tyrant and tried to kill him, envying his power and hating his savagery.
567 They rounded up and killed many of the Zealots and drove the rest before them into the royal palace built by Grapte, 568 a relative of Izates, the king of Adiabene, where, with help from the Idumaeans, they drove out the Zealots into the temple, and set to looting John's money.
569 For he was living in that palace and had stored there the spoils of his tyranny.
570 Meanwhile the crowd of Zealots scattered around the city thronged into the temple to those who had fled there and John prepared to lead them against the people and the Idumaeans.
571 These, being better soldiers, were less afraid of their disorganised attack, if they came from the temple during the night to try to kill them and set the city on fire.
572 They took counsel with the high priests about ways to guard against their attack.
573 But God distorted their judgement, so that the remedy they planned was worse than the disease. In order to kill John, they decided to admit Simon, thereby appealing for a second tyrant to be brought into the city.
574 Acting on this advice they sent the high priest, Matthias, to invite Simon in, the man they had so much feared. People who had fled from the Zealots in Jerusalem joined in this request to him, wishing to save their houses and property.
575 Arrogantly, he granted them his lordly protection and came into the city to save it from the Zealots, and the people joyfully greeted him as their saviour and protector.
576 But once he arrived with his army, he imposed his own authority and regarded those who had called him in as no less his enemies than those he was called to oppose
577 That is how Simon won possession of Jerusalem, in the third year of the war, in the month Xanthicus. Once Simon and his party had looted them and stopped them from leaving the temple, and having lost power in the city, John and his gang of Zealots despaired of survival.
578 With the help of the people, Simon then attacked the temple, while the others stood upon the porticoes and the battlements and defended against their attacks.
579 But Simon's party had many casualties and many were carried off wounded, for the Zealots could easily throw their spears from above and seldom failed to hit the enemy.
580 They had the better location and in order to launch their missiles from above, had in advance built four large towers, 581 one at the north-east corner of the court, one above the Xystus and a third at the other corner opposite the lower city.
582 The last one was on top of the Pastophoria, where one of the priests used to stand and blow the trumpet in the evening at the start of every sabbath, and again at evening when that day was over, to let the people know when to stop work and when they should resume it again.
583 On those towers they set their machines to thrown spears and stones, along with archers and slingers.
584 Simon then eased off his attack on the temple, as most of his men lost heart; but he held his position, although the spears thrown by the machines carried a long way and killed many of his fighters.
Chapter 10. [585-629]
Vespasian acclaimed emperor by his soldiers. He releases (prophetic) Josephus from slavery
585 About this time disasters fell on Rome from all sides.
586 Vitellius came from Germany with his soldiers and brought with him a great many others too. When the spaces assigned for soldiers could not contain them, he encamped in the whole of Rome and filled the houses with his armed men.
587 These, seeing the unimagined riches of Rome and dazzled on all sides by silver and gold, could barely restrain their greedy desire and were ready to plunder and kill anyone who stood in their way. This was how things stood in Italy.
588 Vespasian, after destroying the area near Jerusalem, returned to Caesarea where he heard of the troubles in Rome and that Vitellius was emperor.
589 This roused his anger, and though he knew how to be ruled as well as to rule, he was unwilling to serve under one who had acted so rashly and seized the state as if it were absolutely without a ruler.
590 His anguish grew unbearable, and he could no longer devote himself to foreign wars, while his native place was being ravaged.
591 Though impelled to avenge his country, he was equally aware of how far away he was, and how fate might block him and do a world of harm before he could sail back to Italy, especially as it was still the winter season; and that is how he checked his anger at this time.
592 But his officers and soldiers met in groups and openly discussed the coup d'etat, shouting angrily that, "in Rome there are soldiers living in luxury and though they have never even heard of war, they appoint whom they please as our officers and make them emperors in the hope of profit.
593 You, though, who have endured such toil and have grown grey beneath your helmets, let others wield such power, while having among yourselves one more worthy to rule than they." 594 What better chance would they ever have of rewarding his goodwill to them, if they did not take the one now offered? Vespasian was as much more worthy to be emperor than Vitellius as his men were better than those who had elected that fellow! 595 For they had fought wars as great as the troops coming from Germany, and their arms were the equal of those who had brought that tyrant to Rome.
596 Anyway, there was no need for a contest about it. The senate or the Roman people would not prefer the excesses of Vitellius to the sobriety of their Vespasian, or a cruel tyrant instead of a good ruler, or a childless man over a father, because the greatest security is in kings who have their own children to succeed them.
597 If sovereignty calls for the skill of an older person, we should have Vespasian, if for the strength of a young man, we should have Titus, and so we shall combine the advantage of both their ages.
598 Another reason to choose them is that they have three legions, plus other allies from the neighbouring kings and will also be supported by the armies in the east plus those in Europe that are beyond the range and fear of Vitellius, and any allies they have in Italy itself through Vespasian's brother, and his other son.
599 The latter will bring in many young men of the upper class, while the other is governor of the city, which will be a significant help to Vespasian in winning the empire.
600 But if we delay, the assembly may choose as emperor the very one despised by the veteran soldiers."
601 This was discussed by the soldiers in their several companies. Then getting together and supporting each other, they proclaimed Vespasian emperor, and urged him to save the endangered state.
602 For a long time he had been concerned about the good of the state, yet though his actions proved him worthy of it, he did not think to aim at being emperor, preferring the safety of a private life to the dangers inherent in such splendour.
603 But as he refused it the officers insisted all the more and the soldiers crowded in with drawn swords, threatening to kill him if he refused to live worthily.
604 After telling them at length why he did not desire the empire, failing to persuade them, he finally yielded to them.
605 So, urged by Mucianus and the other officers to become emperor, and by the rest of the army, who shouted that they wanted to be led against all opposition, he aimed first to win power in Alexandria, knowing that Egypt was the key to winning the entire government, because of its corn supply.
606 If he could control this, he could dethrone Vitellius, for his support would disappear if the Roman populace lacked food; and he wished to add the two legions in Alexandria to those he already had.
607 He planned to have that district as a bulwark against the uncertainty of fate, since Egypt is hard to enter by land and has no good sea harbours.
608 To the west it has the dry deserts of Libya, and on the south Siene which divides it from Ethiopia, as well as the impassable cataracts of the Nile, and on the east the Red Sea as far as Coptus.
609 Protecting it on the north towards Syria is the so-called Egyptian Sea, which has no harbours for ships.
610 So is Egypt protected on every side. Its length from Pelusium to Siene is two thousand furlongs and the voyage from Plinthine to Pelusium is three thousand six hundred furlongs.
611 The Nile is navigable as far as the city called Elephantine, since the above-named cataracts prevent ships from going any farther.
612 Even the harbour of Alexandria is not easily accessed by ships, even in peace-time, for its entrance is narrow and full of underwater rocks that lie under the water, which prevent one from sailing straight in.
613 In the left channel there are man-made barriers, while on its right side just before the entrance looms the island of Pharos, with its great tower, shining out its glow to any who sail within three hundred furlongs of it, that at night ships may cast anchor far out, to avoid navigational difficulties.
614 Around this island stand great artificial piers, against which breaks the crashing sea and its waves, rendering the navigation troublesome since the entrance through so narrow a passage.
615 But the harbour within is a very safe one and is thirty furlongs long. Into it is brought all that the country needs for its prosperity, and from it the country's surplus goods are shipped off everywhere in the world.
616 Vespasian rightly wanted to gain control of this place in order to get a firm grip on the whole empire, so he immediately sent to Tiberius Alexander, then ruler of Egypt and of Alexandria, telling him of the army's wishes and how, being forced to assume the burden of empire, he wanted his help and support.
617 After reading this letter aloud, Alexander soon got the legions and the people to swear fidelity to Vespasian and they agreed willingly, already knowing the value of the man, as he had soldiered in their neighbourhood.
618 Entrusted with helping in the leadership bid, he got everything ready for Vespasian's arrival, and the rumour very quickly spread that he was emperor over the east, and every city celebrated the news and had sacrifices offered on account of it.
619 The legions in Mysia and Pannonia too, who shortly before had been troubled by the nerve of Vitellius, were very glad to swear fidelity to Vespasian as emperor.
620 He then moved from Caesarea to Berytus, where many envoys came to him from Syria and the other provinces, bringing crowns from every city and with them the good wishes of the people.
621 Mucianus, the governor of the province came too, with news of the people's enthusiasm and how every city had sworn loyalty to him.
622 With fortune everywhere going his way and most of the government already in his hands, Vespasian considered that he had not come to rule without divine Providence, but that some righteous fate had put the empire into his hands.
623 Calling to mind other signs, for many many things in various places had foretold that he would rule, he also recalled the words of Josephus, when during Nero's lifetime he dared to foretell that he would be emperor.
624 It horrified him to think that he had this man still in chains, so he called for Mucianus and his other officers and friends, and first of all he told them about him and what a fight he had given them at Jotapata.
625 Then he told of his predictions, at first disregarded as fictions prompted by fear, but with time proven to be divine.
626 "It is shameful" he said, "that this man, who predicted my coming to the empire and has ministered a divine message to me should still be kept as a captive in chains." So he called to have Josephus set free.
627 Seeing how Vespasian rewarded the foreigner, the officers felt sure of glorious things for themselves, but Titus who was present said to his father, 628 "Father, by right Josephus should be set free from shame as well as from his irons. Let his chains be cut to pieces instead of merely being removed, so it will be as if he had never been in chains." For that is customary for those who have been wrongly imprisoned.
629 The other agreed so a man entered and cut the chain to pieces. Josephus received this reward for his predictions and was in future esteemed as one who knew about coming events.
Chapter 11. [630-663]
Vitellius dies and Vespasian hurries to Rome. Titus his son returns to Jerusalem
630 When Vespasian had replied to the envoys and had justly distributed the ruling offices as each one deserved, he came to Antioch.
631 Then considering which direction to take, he opted to head for Rome rather than Alexandria, which was his already while affairs in Rome were troubled by Vitellius.
632 He sent Mucianus to Italy with a large army of cavalry and infantry; but Mucianus was afraid of going by sea, as it was the middle of winter and so led his army on foot through Cappadocia and Phrygia.
633 Meanwhile Antonius Primus took the third of the legions in Mysia, for he was in charge of that province, and hurried to oppose Vitellius.
634 Against him Vitellius sent a large army under Cecinna, in whom he had great confidence because of his victory over Otho, and he quickly marched from Rome and caught up with Antonius about Cremona in Gaul, a city on the borders of Italy.
635 But seeing how numerous and well equipped the enemy were, he dared not fight and thinking it dangerous to retreat, he considered changing sides.
636 Assembling his centurions and tribunes he persuaded them to go over to Antonius by disparaging the deeds of Vitellius and extolling the power of Vespasian.
637 The former, he said, merely had the name of ruler, while the other had the real power, and it was better for them to win favour by forestalling the inevitable, and as they were likely to be defeated in battle, they should avoid the danger by prudence.
638 Vespasian could subdue all the rest without their help, while even with it Vitellius could not even retain what he already had.
639 With many words to this effect, Cecinna persuaded him to desert to Antonius with his army.
640 But that night the soldiers had a change of heart and feared that Vitellius who sent them might win out, so drawing their swords they rushed to kill Cecinna and would have done so if the tribunes had not knelt down to implore them against it.
641 So they did not kill him, but chained him as a traitor, to send him to Vitellius. When Primus heard this, he instantly roused his men and led them armed against the rebels.
642 These formed a battle-line and resisted for a while, but were quickly defeated and fled towards Cremona; but Primus took his cavalry and cut off their entry, surrounding and them outside the city and killing many of them. Then with the others he attacked the city and let his soldiers plunder it.
643 Many foreign merchants and local people lost their lives and with them Vitellius's whole army of thirty thousand, two hundred, while of his men from Mysia Antonius lost only the four thousand, five hundred.
644 Cecinna was released and sent to Vespasian to tell him the good news. On his arrival he was welcomed and hid the shame of his treachery under the unexpected honours he received from Vespasian.
645 At the news that Antonius was approaching, Sabinus took courage in Rome and assembled the soldiers of the night watch captured the Capitol during the night.
646 The following day many distinguished men came to join him, including his brother's son, Domitian, whose support was vital to their hopes of gaining power.
647 Vitellius cared little about Primus, but was enraged at those who had rebelled along with Sabinus, and since in his natural savagery he thirsted for noble blood, he let loose on the Capitol the force that had stayed with him.
648 Many a bold deed was done by this side and by those who held the temple, but finally the soldiers who came from Germany, by their sheer numbers, took possession of the hill 649 Providentially Domitian escaped along with many other eminent Romans, while the rest of the people were cut to pieces and Sabinus himself was brought to Vitellius and killed. Then the soldiers stole votive offerings from the temple and set it on fire.
650 One day later Antonius rode in with his forces, to be confronted in three different parts of the city by the army of Vitellius, all of whom were killed.
651 Vitellius came drunk out from the palace, sated by a luxurious meal at the table of one who has no more hope, 652 and was dragged through the crowd and heaped with all sorts of abuse, before being beheaded in the middle of Rome. His rule had lasted eight months and five days and if he had survived much longer, I think the empire would not have been sufficient for his lust.
653 The others who were killed numbered more than fifty thousand.
654 This battle was fought on the third day of the month Apellaeus, and next day Mucianus came with his army into the city and told Antonius' men to stop the killing, for they were still searching the houses and had killed many of Vitellius's soldiers and civilians whom in their rage they reckoned to be on his side. Bringing Domitian out to them he commended him to the people as leader, until his father should come in person, 655 and the people, set free from their fears, joyfully shouted for Vespasian as emperor and celebrated his confirmation and the destruction of Vitellius.
656 As Vespasian came to Alexandria, the good news came from Rome and envoys came from all his own part of the world to congratulate him, and though it was the largest city after Rome, it was too small for the throng that arrived.
657 The whole empire was now secure and once the state was saved beyond the expectation of the Romans, Vespasian turned his thoughts to the remaining task in Judea.
658 He was in a hurry to go to Rome, as winter was now almost over, so he soon set matters in order in Alexandria, and sent his son Titus with a picked force to destroy Jerusalem.
659 The latter went on foot as far as Nicopolis, twenty furlongs from Alexandria and then embarked with his on long ships and sailed up the Nile along the Mendesian area, to the city of Tumuis.
660 There he disembarked and journeyed on, lodging one night at a small city called Tanis, making a second stop at the city of Hercules and a third at Pelusium.
661 He refreshed his army there for two days and on the third crossed the river-mouths at Pelusium, and went one stage across the desert to the temple of the Casian Zeus, where he camped, and on the following day at Ostracine. This halting place had no water, but the local people use water brought from other places.
662 After this he rested at Rhinocolura and from there proceeded to Raphia, a city at the beginning of Syria, which was his fourth halt.
663 For his fifth halt he camped at Gaza, and from there to Ascalon and on to Jamnia, then to Joppa and then to Caesarea, planning to assemble all his other forces there.