Chapter 01. [001-046]
Warring Factions in Jerusalem; and the misery they caused the city
001 Titus, as we have said, went through the desert from Egypt to Syria and arrived in Caesarea to organise his forces there before beginning the war.
002 While he was helping his father in Alexandria, organising the leadership newly given them by God, the rebels in Jerusalem revived and then split into three factions, each fighting the others, the kind of split between criminals which may be seen as well deserved.
003 We have already explained in detail the Zealots' attack on the people, which was the beginning of the city's ruin, and how it arose and how much harm it caused.
004 The new development could be seen as a revolt born of another revolt and was like a maddened wild beast which, for lack of food from outside, began eating its own flesh.
005 Eleazar, son of Simon, who first set the Zealots apart and brought them into the temple, was now furious at the outrages John was daily committing on the people as he proceeded with his murders. He could not bear the younger man as tyrant; 006 and wanted himself as absolute ruler, so he seceded, aided by the potentates Judes the son of Chelicas and Simon the son of Ezron, and with them the distinguished man, Hezekiah, son of Chobar.
007 Each of them had many Zealot followers and they captured the inner sanctuary and placed their weapons over the sacred gates, on the facade of the temple.
008 Their food supply was secure, for the provisions for the temple were abundant and they had no scruple at using them, but were anxious because of their small numbers, so mainly they stayed put.
009 Although John had more men than they had, his location was inferior to theirs, since his enemies were higher up and could not be attacked without losses. Still, in his rage he could not stay idle
010 and though he suffered more from Eleazar's men than he could harm them, he would not stop his attacks. Therefore, by their constantly hurling spears at each other the whole temple was defiled with murder.
011 Simon, son of Gioras, whom the people in their dilemma had invited to come to their help, gained power over the upper city and most of the lower, and intensified his attacks on John's group, as they were also being attacked from above.
012 While he attacked them from below, the others attacked them from above. Fighting on two sides, John both suffered and caused great losses, for as Eleazar's side had the height advantage over him, he had a similar advantage over Simon.
013 With hand-thrown missiles he could repel any attacks from below but had to use engines to fend off the spear-throwers from the temple above him.
014 He had quick-firers and catapults and stone-throwers with which he not only defended himself against the enemy but killed many of the priests during their sacred duties.
015 These, while too frenzied for piety, still allowed in those who wished to offer sacrifices, looking suspiciously at their own people and carefully searching strangers, many of whom, even if allowed with difficulty to enter the temple, died in the violence of the rebellion.
016 Missiles hurled by the machines flew with such force over the buildings that they reached the altar and the sanctuary, falling on priests and worshippers alike.
017 Many who had come there from the ends of the earth to offer sacrifice at this famous place revered by all mankind, were struck dead alongside their own sacrifices and spattered with their blood the altar revered by all Greeks and Barbarians.
018 The corpses of strangers and locals, priests and laity, lay side by side, and the blood of the many dead formed a lake within the divine precincts.
019 Ah, poor city, what harm as great as this did you suffer from the Romans, who came to purify you from your civil strife! No longer a place fit for God to dwell, you could not continue to exist but became a tomb full of the bodies of your own people and, by this civil war, made a graveyard of the temple itself. May you mend your ways, and perhaps appease the wrath of God who has brought you low! 020 But by the rules of history, I must refrain from such pathos, since this is not the time to mourn our own people, but to narrate history; so I return to the subsequent process of the revolt.
021 The factions in the city were threefold: Eleazar's group, having laid hold of the sacred first-fruits, attacked John in a drunken state. John's men looted the people and fought against Simon, who to oppose the rebels drew his stores from the city.
022 Attacked on both sides, John turned his men around and from the porticoes hurled spears at those coming up against him from the city, while confronting with his machines the attackers from the temple.
023 If at any time those up above him relaxed, which often happened when they were drunk or tired, he came out in force against Simon's party, 024 and wherever in the city he could reach, he set fire to the houses, which were full of corn and all other provisions. Simon did the same, attacking the city when the other drew back, as though doing so purposely to help the Romans, destroying what the city had stored up for the siege and so cutting off the roots of their own power.
025 Thus all areas around the temple were burned down and deserted, becoming for both sides a battle-ground and most of the corn was burned, enough to withstand a siege of many years.
026 Eventually they were captured because of hunger, and would not have been so if they had not prepared the setting for it in this way.
027 As these factions battled all round the city, the citizens in between were hacked to pieces like a large carcass.
028 Old people and women were so confused by these internal woes that they prayed for the Romans and an invasion from outside to free them from the evils within.
029 The decent folk were shocked and fearful, with no chance for a council or a change and no hope of peace or of flight for those who wished to leave.
030 Everywhere was guarded and the brigand leaders, though divided on all else, treated as their common foes any who wanted peace with the Romans, or were likely to desert, united only in killing those most worthy of survival.
031 The noise of the fighters was incessant by day and night, but worse were the laments of those who mourned.
032 There was ceaseless wailing, for one disaster followed another. Some were so shocked that their wails were muted, forced by fear to conceal their inner feelings, tormented, but not daring to open their lips even to groan.
033 The living were uncared for even by their own and nobody bothered to bury the dead, since everyone despaired of survival, and those who were not in revolt had no great desire, expecting to be killed very soon.
034 The rebels fought each other, trampling on corpses as they lay in heaps and grew even fiercer, enraged by those corpses under their feet.
035 They were always plotting destruction and once resolved on a thing, carried it out without mercy, regardless of violence and savagery.
036 John even took materials from the temple to build his machines of war, for the people and the priests had earlier decided to support the temple and had raised the sanctuary twenty feet higher. King Agrippa had brought from Lebanon, at great expense and effort, timber beams remarkable in length and size, 037 but when the war interrupted the work, John had them cut up and used to build towers, finding them long enough to reach those who were fighting from the temple above him.
038 He had them brought and set up behind the inner court opposite the western exits, the only place they could be set since the other sides of that court were blocked by the steps.
039 By these impieties he hoped to defeat his enemies, but God thwarted his efforts by bringing the Romans upon him before he had completed any of his towers.
040 For Titus, after marshalling part of his forces and telling the rest to meet him in Jerusalem, marched from Caesarea.
041 He had with him the three legions that had accompanied his father while he ravaged Judea, and the twelfth legion which had earlier been defeated with Cestius; and as it was otherwise renowned for bravery, it was all the keener on revenge, recalling how it had suffered.
042 Of these legions he told the fifth to meet him by going through Emmaus and the tenth to go up by Jericho. He himself also moved with the rest, including the allies who arrived from the kings, more numerous than before, and a large helping force from Syria.
043 The men chosen from the four legions and sent to Italy with Mucianus were replaced from the soldiers coming from Egypt with Titus, 044 two thousand picked men from the Alexandrian armies, and three thousand from those guarding the Euphrates.
045 With him was Tiberius Alexander, a friend valued for his goodwill towards him and his prudence, and former ruler of Alexandria.
046 He was now placed in command of the legions, he who had first encouraged Vespasian to take over as emperor and faithfully supported him when the outcome was uncertain and now served by his advice, and was most useful during this war, both by his age and experience.
Chapter 02. [047-097]
The Romans march to Jerusalem. Titus heroically rallies his troops
047 As Titus marched on the enemy territory, the kings' forces went ahead, with all the allies. Next went the road-makers and the men to measure out the camp, then the commander's baggage and then the fully armed soldiers. He came next with another elite body, and then the pikemen and then the cavalry of that legion.
048 All these preceded the machines, after which came the tribunes and the officers of the cohorts, with their elite, and then, surrounding the eagle, the ensigns with the trumpeters preceding the standards. Next came the main army column, every rank six deep.
049 The servants attached to each legion came next, preceded by their baggage, and finally the mercenaries protected by a rear-guard.
050 Leading this force in splendour in the Roman style he marched through Samaria to Gophna, a city already taken by his father and now garrisoned by Roman soldiers.
051 After lodging there one night, he proceeded in the morning and after a day's march encamped at what is called "the Valley of Thorns" by the local Jews, near a village called Gabaoth-Saul, which means "the Hill of Saul," about thirty furlongs from Jerusalem.
052 From there he went with six hundred elite cavalry to view the city and its strength and note the mettle of the Jews, whether as soon as they saw him they would be frightened and submit.
053 For he had been told, and it really was true, that the people longed for peace but had fallen under the power of the rebels and the brigands, and being too weak to resist them, remained passive.
054 As long as he rode along the straight road leading to the wall of the city, nobody appeared out from the gates.
055 But when he left that road and his cavalry descended at an angle towards the Psephinus tower, huge numbers of Jews sallied out at the so-called "Women's Towers," through the gate facing queen Helena's tomb and cut through his cavalry.
056 Directly facing those who were still galloping down the road, they stopped them from joining those who had gone down and cut off Titus along with a few others.
057 He could not go forward, for the ground in front of the wall was all dug up with trenches for gardens and crossed with walls and hedges, 058 and he also saw that due to the number of the enemy in between it was impossible to return to his own men, many of whom did not realise their king's danger, thinking that he had turned with them and was also in retreat.
059 He saw that his safety must come entirely from his own courage and turned his horse and calling aloud to those around him to follow he dashed into the midst of the enemy, to force his way through to his own men.
060 This makes it clear that both the success of wars and the dangers to kings, are under the providence of God, 061 for despite the number of spears thrown at Titus, when he was wearing neither helmet nor breastplate, (for, as I said, he went out not to fight, but to view the city,) none of them touched his body, but whizzed harmlessly by as if missing him on purpose.
062 With his sword he scattered any who came from the side and flattened many who came at him from the front, riding his horse over the fallen.
063 The enemy shouted at the audacity of Caesar and urged each other to rush him, but when he turned they fled from him in droves.
064 His colleages in danger kept close to him, though shot at from the rear and from the sides. Each saw his only hope of escape in staying with Titus and not letting him be surrounded.
065 Two of his men fell a little way behind, one of whom was surrounded and speared, together with his horse, while the other dismounted and was killed and they took his horse. But Titus and the rest escaped and came safe to the camp.
066 This success of their first attack raised the Jews' spirits and gave them ill-founded hope, as this turn of fortune encouraged them for the future.
067 When the legion from Emmaus joined him after dark, Caesar moved from there at daybreak and came to a place called Scopus. From there the city was already visible and the full size of the temple was clear. This place, to the north of the city and connected to it, was a plateau appropriately named "Scopus." 068 Here, seven furlongs from the city, Titus ordered the setting up of a combined camp for two legions, and another for the fifth legion three furlongs back, reckoning that, tired after their night march, they deserved some protection while they dug in.
069 As they were beginning to build, the tenth legion arrived, coming via Jericho, where an armed division had been posted to guard the pass into the city already taken by Vespasian.
070 They had orders to encamp a distance of six furlongs from Jerusalem, at the so-called Mount of Olives, over on the east side of the city and separated from it by a deep valley, named Cedron.
071 The constant mutual conflicts that up to now had gone on within the city now ceased when this war now suddenly upon them from outside.
072 As the rebels were shocked to see the Romans making three separate encampments, they formed an awkward alliance asking each other to explain 073 why they sat there and let themselves be cooped in by three walls, like mere spectators of a disaster behind their own walls, with idle hands and armour set aside while the enemy put up a rival city.
074 "Are we courageous only against each other," they shouted "and by our internal strife let the Romans take the city without shedding a drop of blood?" Encouraging each other in this way, they joined forces 075 and instantly seized their weapons and rushed out at the tenth legion across the ravine and, with loud shouting, attacked the enemy as they were fortifying their camp.
076 These were out working in groups, and had mostly set aside their arms, thinking the Jews either would not dare come out against them, or that their internal divisions would prevent them from doing so.
077 So they were surprised and thrown into disorder and some abandoned the works and instantly retreated, while many rushed to arms, but were struck and killed before they could round on the enemy.
078 Heartened by the success of the first attackers, the Jews grew in numbers, and while fortune favoured them they seemed to themselves and to the enemy to be more numerous than they really were.
079 At first their disorderly fighting style troubled the Romans who were used to methodical fighting, keeping ranks and obeying orders, so that these attacks caught them by surprise.
080 Whenever they were overtaken and turned around, they could check the onrushing Jews, but when in the heat of pursuit they did not defend themselves, they were wounded by them, and as still more joined in the sorties, they were finally put to fight and fled from their camp.
081 The entire legion seemed in danger until Titus was told of it and came quickly to their help, censured their cowardice and rallied those who were in flight.
082 Attacking the Jews from the side with his elite troops, he killed a large number and wounded even more and drove them all in headlong flight down the valley.
083 They suffered greatly during the descent, but when they had gotten across they turned round and fought the Romans across the intervening valley.
084 The fight continued until noon, but in the early afternoon Titus set those who had come to the rescue with him and others of the cohorts, to prevent the Jews from making any more raids. Then he sent the rest of the legion back to the building work, up on the ridge.
085 To the Jews this seemed like a flight, and as the watchman upon the wall gave the signal by shaking a garment, a fresh crowd surged out with such force that it resembled a charge of savage beasts.
086 In truth, none of those drawn up against them could sustain their attack which, as if shot from an engine, broke the enemy ranks to pieces and drove them in flight up the mountain.
087 Only Titus himself and a few others were left, half way up the slope. Despite the danger, these friends were ashamed to abandon their general, 088 but all earnestly urged him to back off from these Jews who courted death and not to risk such dangers for those who must stay to protect him. He ought to consider the destiny assigned him and not take the place of a common soldier, for as master of the war and of the world, on whose safety all depended he ought not take such risks.
089 He seemed not to hear this advice but faced up to his pursuers, striking them head-on and killing them by main force; then falling on a dense group, he thrust them down the hill.
090 Though terrified by his courage and strength, instead of fleeing back to the city they went past him on both sides to continue after those who were fleeing upward; but he attacked their flank and checked their impetus.
091 Confusion and terror again filled those on the ridge who were fortifying the camp, seeing those beneath them running away.
092 The whole legion scattered, thinking they could not repel the Jewish assault and that Titus himself had been put to flight, assuming that if he had stayed the others would not have fled.
093 A kind of panic seized them and were scattering in all directions until some saw their general in the very centre of the action, and in great anxiety for him, shouted out the danger to the entire legion.
094 Shame now made them turn back and they blamed each other, since deserting Caesar was worse than running away. So they strained their utmost against the Jews and pressed down the slope towards the valley.
095 These fought back, step by step, but as they were retreating the Romans had the higher ground and drove them all into the ravine.
096 Titus still pressed on those in his vicinity and sent the legion back to fortify their camp while he and his earlier companions kept the enemy in check.
097 Without adding anything from flattery, or witholding anything from envy, but speaking the plain truth, I may say that Caesar twice saved that entire legion when it was in danger and enabled them to fortify their camp in safety.
Chapter 03. [098-135]
The Jews set traps for the Romans. Titus warns his soldiers against rashness
098 As the war outside ceased for a while, the factionalism inside intensified.
099 When it came to the feast of unleavened bread, on the fourteenth day of the month Xanthicus, when it seems the Jews were first freed from the Egyptians, Eleazar's group opened the gates to let in the people who wanted to worship God.
100 But John used this festival as a mask for treachery and sent in the least recognisable of his party, most of them unpurified, with weapons concealed under their clothes in order to seize the temple. When they got in, they threw aside their clothing and soon appeared in their armour.
101 There was a huge, noisy commotion in the sanctuary, with the people who had no part in the revolt thinking this attack was on them all, indiscriminately, while the Zealots saw it as against themselves alone.
102 So they stopped guarding the gates and rather than fight jumped down from their positions and fled to the temple cellars, while the people trembling at the altar and around the sanctuary were herded together, trampled and mercilessy beaten with staves and iron bars.
103 Many peaceful people were killed by whoever felt enmity or personal grudge against them, as if they belonged to the opposite party, and anyone who had formerly offended any of the conspirators were called Zealots and led to the slaughter.
104 After doing terrible harm to the innocent they granted a truce to the guilty and let them go as they came out of the cellars. They seized the interior of the temple and all the provisions in it, and then turned against Simon.
105 So the revolt which had been split into three factions was now down to two.
106 Titus, intending to camp nearer to the city than Scopus, placed a sufficient number of his elite cavalry and infantry facing the Jews, to keep them in, and ordered the whole army to level the terrain as far as the wall of the city.
107 So they knocked down all the hedges and partitions the inhabitants had made about their gardens and groves and cut down all the fruit trees between them and the wall of the city and filled up the hollows and gullies.
108 With iron tools they demolished rocky outcrops and levelled the place, from Scopus to Herod's tomb, beside what was called the Pool of Snakes.
109 Meanwhile the Jews set the following trap for the Romans.
110 The boldest of the rebels emerged from the so-called Towers of the Women, as if the peace-loving party had expelled them from the city and stayed close together as though afraid of attack by the Romans.
111 The men on the wall who seemed to belong to the people's party called for peace and begged for protection, loudly promising to open the gates for the Romans. While shouting this they threw stones, as though to drive away their own people from the gates.
112 These pretended to have been forced out and seemed to be asking those inside to let them in, sometimes rushing towards the Romans and then returning as if in great disorder.
113 The soldiers believed in the ruse and, thinking they had one party in their hands ready for execution, got into action, hoping that the other party would open the gates to them.
114 But Titus was suspicious of this odd behaviour, since only the day before he had, through Josephus, invited them to come to parley, but got no civil answer; so he told the soldiers to stay where they were.
115 But without waiting, some of them who were set in charge of the works, grabbed their weapons ran to the gates.
116 At this, the men who seemed to have been expelled at first drew back, but when they got to between the towers of the gate, the others ran out to surround them attacking them from the rear, 117 while the crowd upon the wall threw stones and missiles of all kinds at them, killing many and wounding many more.
118 There was no easy way of escape, since those in the rear pressed them forward and their shame at their blunder and fear of their officers made them persevere in the error.
119 For a long while they fought with their spears and received many blows from the Jews, though giving back just as many. Finally they broke loose from those around them, and retreated to the tomb of queen Helena, followed by the Jews, throwing things at them.
120 Vulgarly these exulted in their good luck and mocked the Romans for falling for the trick, and brandished their shields and jumping and shouting for joy, 121 The soldiers were greeted with threats by their officers and with anger by Caesar who said, "These Jews, who are led only by their madness, still act with care and prudence, plotting and laying ambushes, and fortune favours them for their obedience and for keeping faith with each other.
122 The Romans, however, whom fortune usually favours for their good order and for obeying their leaders, now suffer losses through their contrary behaviour. Unable to refrain from action, they were caught, and what is more shameful still, they went to battle leaderless, in the presence of Caesar." 123 He went on, "Well may the laws of war groan, as will my father when he is told of this wound inflicted on us, 124 since in his years at war he never made such a mistake. Our rules of war punish with death the slightest breach good order, but here we have seen a whole army run into disorder.
125 These rash men shall soon learn that among the Romans even a victory wins no glory, except under orders." 126 While expounding this to the officers, he seemed about to apply the law to all concerned, so they were in despair, expecting to be put to death on the spot, and justly.
127 But the legions surrounded Titus on behalf of their fellow soldiers, asking pardon the rashness of a few, that all the rest might improve. They promised on their behalf to make amends for their fault by behaving better in the future.
128 Caesar yielded both to their pleas and for expediency's sake. For though prepared to punish individual lapses by execution, large groups should be only punished with words.
129 So he pardoned the soldiers, but strongly warned them to act more wisely in future, and he considered how to repay the Jews for their trap.
130 As the space between the Romans and the wall was levelled in four days, he wanted to bring the baggage and the rest of his followers safely to the camp, so he set his strongest forces facing the wall to the north west of the city and arranged his troops seven deep, 131 with the infantry in front and the cavalry behind them, in triple ranks, with the archers in the middle in seven ranks; 132 and as this array prevented the Jews from sallying out, the pack-animals of the three legions and the people could proceed without fear.
133 Titus was about two furlongs from the wall, at that part of it where the corner was and opposite the tower called Psephinus, at which tower the northern part of the wall bent and turned westward, 134 and the rest of the army set its defences at the tower called Hippicus, also two furlongs from the city.
135 The tenth legion, however, stayed in place on the Mount of Olives.
Chapter 04. [136-183]
Description of Jerusalem, before its destruction
136 The city was fortified with three walls, except where it was encircled by impassable valleys, when it had only one wall. It was built on two facing hills, with a valley between them where the rows of houses on each side end.
137 Of these hills, that containing the upper city is much higher and its ridge is straighter. For its strength it was called the citadel by king David, the father of Solomon who first built this temple, but by us it is called the "Upper Forum." The other, called the "Acra," where the lower city is built, is shaped like a crescent moon.
138 Opposite there was a third hill, lower down than Acra and formerly divided from it by a wide valley.
139 But during the reign of the Hasmoneans, they filled that valley with earth, wishing to join the temple with the city. They removed part of the height of Acra to lower it so that the temple might be above it.
140 This "Valley of the Cheesemakers," as it was called was the one we have already said divided the hill of the upper city from that of the lower, and reached as far as Siloam, the name of a fountain of abundant sweet water.
141 On the outer sides, these hills are surrounded by deep valleys and because of the precipices on both sides, they are quite impregnable.
142 Of these three walls, the oldest one, because of the valleys and the hill above on which it was built, was almost impregnable.
143 Besides its great advantage of location, it was also very strongly built, since David and Solomon and the succeeding kings went about this work ambitiously.
144 Starting on the north, at the tower called "Hippicus," it extended to the so-called "Xistus," and then, enclosing the sanhedrin, ended at the west portico of the temple.
145 In the other direction, westward, starting at the same place it extended to a place called "Bethso," to the gate of the Essenes, and then went southward, with its corner above the fountain of Siloam, and bending towards the east at Solomon's pool extends as far as a place called "Ophlas" where it joined the eastern portico of the temple.
146 The second wall started from the gate called "Gennath," part of the first wall and encircled the northern quarter of the city reaching only as far as the Antonia.
147 The third wall started at the Hippicus tower, from where it stretched toward the northern sector and the Psephinus tower, and then as far as opposite the tomb of Helena, queen of Adiabene, the daughter of king Izates; it then extended past the burial caves of the kings and bending again at the corner tower, at the so-called Fuller's Tomb, and joining the old wall at the valley called Cedron.
148 It was Agrippa who surrounded with this wall the extensions to the city which had been totally unprotected. For as the numbers grew, little by little the city crept beyond its old limits.
149 The growing population inhabited the area to the north of the temple and joined it to the city, and this fourth hill to be inhabited is called "Bezatha," opposite the Antonia tower, and divided from it by a deep valley.
150 This was purposely dug to prevent the base of the Antonia tower from touching the hill which would have made it easier to take, and cancel out the advantage of its height; 151 and the depth of the ditch added to the elevation of the towers. This new-built part of the city was called in our language "Bezatha," which translated into Greek is "the New City." 152 Since it needed protection, the father of the present king, also called Agrippa, began the wall we mentioned, but had only dug its foundations when he stopped building for fear of Claudius Caesar, who suspected that so strong a wall was intended to prepare for a revolt.
153 If that wall had been finished in the way it was begun the city could never have been taken. It was made of stones twenty feet long and ten feet broad, not easy to undermine by iron tools, or to shake by any machines.
154 The wall was ten feet wide and it would probably have been higher than that, if the ambition of the man who began it had not been thwarted.
155 With great effort, the Jews later built it up to twenty feet high, with battlements of two feet and turrets of three feet above that, so that its full height added up to twenty-five feet.
156 It was surmounted by towers twenty feet wide and twenty high, square and solid, as was the wall itself, the neatness of whose joints and the beauty of whose stones was no less those of the temple.
157 Above the towers' solid height, twenty feet up, were magnificent dwellings and over them many upper rooms and cisterns to receive rain-water, with wide steps ascending to them.
158 The third wall had ninety of these towers with a space of two hundred feet between each pair; the middle wall had forty towers and the old wall had sixty.
159 The whole circumference of the city was thirty-three furlongs. All of the third wall was amazing, and the tower Psephinus reared above it at the north-west corner, where Titus put his own camp.
160 Being seventy feet high it had a view as far as Arabia to the East, as well as westward to where the Hebrew territory ended at the sea.
161 Its shape was octagonal and opposite it was the tower Hippicus and two others had been built nearby into the old wall by king Herod. For size, beauty and strength these surpassed all others in the world, 162 for apart from his magnanimous nature and his generosity towards the city in other respects he built these exceptionally well to gratify his private feelings and named and dedicated them to the memory of the three people dearest to him, his brother, his friend and his wife, he had killed, out of erotic passion, as we have said, while the other two he had lost in war, valiantly fighting.
163 Hippicus, named after his friend, was square; its length and breadth were each twenty-five feet and its height thirty and it had no empty space within.
164 Over this solid building, made of large stones bonded together, was a reservoir twenty feet deep, 165 and above it was a house of two stories, twenty-five feet high and divided into several parts, and above these were two-foot battlements and round turrets three feet high, so that together the combined height amounted to eighty feet.
166 The second tower, named after his brother Phasael, was as broad as it was long, forty feet in each, over which was its solid height of forty feet.
167 Then over this was a ten-foot-high collonade, protected by parapets and bulwarks.
168 Built over that collonade was another tower, divided into magnificent rooms and a bathing-place, so that nothing was missing to make this tower seem like a royal palace, 169 andts top storey was crowned all over with battlements and turrets.
169 Its entire height was about ninety feet, in appearance resembling the Pharos tower, whose flame is seen by people sailing into Alexandria, though its size was much larger. This was now designated as the dwelling for the tyrant, Simon.
170 The third tower, named after queen Mariamne, was solid to a height of twenty feet, being equally twenty feet in breadth and length.
171 Its upper living quarters were finer and more varied than the other towers, for the king thought it best to adorn the one named after his wife more than those named after men, which were built more strongly than the one named after his wife; and its entire height was fifty feet.
172 Such were the dimensions but due to their location they appeared much taller.
173 The ancient wall where they were set was the crest of a high hill and stood up another thirty feet, on top of which the towers seemed much higher.
174 They were built of wonderfully large stones, not of ordinary small stones, such as a man could carry, but of white marble, cut from the rock, 175 each twenty feet long and ten feet wide and five feet deep. They were so exactly joined to each other that each tower looked like a single huge block of stone, later cut by the hand of the artisans into its present shape and angles, so invisible were their connecting joints.
176 Inside the wall, near these towers on the north side, the king had an adjoining palace which is beyond all description.
177 In luxury and furnishings second to none, it was entirely walled around to a height of thirty feet and adorned with towers at equal distances and with large halls and bed-chambers that could could sleep a hundred guests apiece.
178 In them was an inexpressible variety of stones, many of them of the rarest kind. Their roofs, too, were admirable both for the length of the beams and the splendor of their decoration.
179 The many apartments were adorned with countless designs and all were fully furnished, mostly with objects of silver and gold.
180 There were also many circular arcades, leading into each other, with different columns in each, all open to the air and there was greenery everywhere.
181 Several groves of trees were lined with long walks, and deep canals and cisterns, with bronze statues here and there, that poured out streams of water; and round the streams were many dovecots of tame doves.
182 But it is impossible to completely describe the royal palace, whose very memory torments one about the riches that were burned up in the fire kindled by the brigands; 183 for these were not burned by the Romans, but by conspirators from within, as we have said, at the start of their revolt. That fire began at the Antonia tower and went on to the palaces and spread even to the roofs of the three towers.
Chapter 05. [184-247]
Glowing description of the Jerusalem Temple and its artistic treasures
184 This temple, as I have said, was built upon a strong hill, and originally, the plateau at the top could barely hold the sanctuary and the altar, as the ground around it was like a precipice.
185 But once the builder of the temple, king Solomon, walled it up on the east side, a portico was added on the levelled ground, but the other parts of the temple were empty. In later ages new ramparts were added, and the hilltop was widened and levelled.
186 Then they broke down the wall on the north side and took in what later became the entire temple area.
187 After building retaining walls on three sides of the hill from the ground up and achieving a work beyond all hopes, a task that took ages and cost all of their sacred treasury, as well as by the tributes offered to God from the whole world, they surrounded the upper courts with porticoes, and enclosed the lower court.
188 The deepest of the foundations went down three hundred feet and in some places more, but the full depth of the foundations was not visible, for they brought earth and filled up the ravines, wanting level the narrow streets of the town.
189 Stone blocks forty feet long were used in the building, for plenty of money was spent and the people's generosity led to great works being undertaken, so that by perseverance, a seemingly impossible task was in time achieved.
190 The works built upon them were worthy of these foundations. For all the porticoes were two rows high and pillars twenty-five feet high supported the porticoes, each pillar a monolith of pure white marble, and the roofs were of carved cedar.
191 Their natural gleaming splendour and harmonious finish made them remarkable to see, and the outside was unadorned by any paintings or sculptures.
192 The porticoes were thirty feet wide, while their entire circumference measured six furlongs, including the Antonia tower, and the open parts of the courtyard were laid with many-coloured stone.
193 Proceeding to the second court of the temple, there was a stone partition all round, three feet high and of most elegant construction.
194 On it stood pillars, at regular intervals, declaring the law of purity, some in Greek and some in Roman letters, that no foreigner should go within the Holy Place, for that second part of the temple was called "the Holy Place." 195 It was reached by fourteen steps from the first court and was quadrangular, enclosed by its own special wall.
196 The height of its buildings, forty feet on the outside, was hidden by the steps, while on the inside it was only twenty-five feet high; and since it was built opposite a higher part of the hill, its steps were not all visible from within, being partly covered by the hill.
197 Beyond these thirteen steps there was a flat terrace of ten feet wide.
198 From this another flight of five steps led to the gates, eight in all, four each on the north and south sides. Also there had to be two on the east, for since on that side there was a section for the women, as their special place for worship, a second gate needed for them, which opened opposite the first gate.
199 On the other sides here was one southern and one northern gate, which gave entry to the court of the women, for the women were not allowed to pass through the other gates, and when they went through their own gate they could not go beyond their wall. This place was equally open to all Jewish women whether local or foreign.
200 The western part of this court had no gate and the wall on that side was entire. Between the gates the porticoes reached inward from the wall in front of the treasury, supported by very fine, large pillars. These were in single porticoes, but no way inferior to those of the lower court, except for their size.
201 Nine of these gates were covered over with gold and silver on every side, as were the door-jambs and lintels, and one gate just outside the temple, was of Corinthian brass and far finer than the ones only overlaid with silver and gold.
202 Each gate had two doors, each thirty feet high and fifteen wide.
203 Just inside the entrances they had large areass with rooms on each side built like turrets, thirty feet square and more than forty feet high and the two pillars supporting them were twelve feet in circumference.
204 The other gates were equal to each other in size, but the one beyond the Corinthian gate, opening from the Women's Portion on the east towards the gate of the sanctuary, was much larger, 205 for its height was fifty feet, and its doors were forty feet, and it was more richly adorned, with costly and thick plates of silver and gold; these nine gates had been plated by Alexander, the father of Tiberius.
206 Leading up from the Women's Portion to this greater gate were fifteen steps, shallower than the five steps at the other gates.
207 The ascent to the central sanctuary, the most sacred part of the temple, was by twelve steps. Its height and its breadth were equal, a hundred feet each, though it was forty feet narrower to the back, since "shoulders" jutted out twenty feet on either side in front.
208 Its first gate was seventy feet high and twenty-five wide, but this gate had no doors, for it represented the visibile sky that can nowhere be shut out. Its front was covered in gold and through it the first, larger part of the house could be seen from outside, with the parts round the inner gate seeming to the beholder to shimmer with gold.
209 As the entire house within was divided into two parts, only the first part of it was fully open to our view, ninety feet high and fifty long and twenty broad.
210 The gate at this end of the first part of the house was, as we have said, covered all over with gold, as was the whole wall around it, and above it were golden vines, from which hung clusters of grapes as tall as a man.
211 As this house was divided into two parts, the inner part was lower than the outer facade and had golden doors fifty-five feet high and sixteen wide.
212 Before these doors there was a veil of the same size, a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with blue and fine linen, scarlet and purple and marvellous in texture. This mix of colours had mystic meaning, as an image of the whole universe.
213 Scarlet signified fire, fine flax the earth, blue the sky and purple the sea. In two cases the link was based on their colours, but for the fine flax and purple it was based on their origin, one coming from the earth and the other from the sea.
214 The curtain was embroidered with everything in the heavens except the zodiac.
215 On entering, one was first struck by the ground-floor of the temple. This was sixty feet high and the same wide though it was only twenty feet deep.
216 That sixty feet of width was again sub-divided, of which the first part (forty feet) had in it three things admired and famed in all mankind, the candlestick, the table and the altar of incense.
217 The seven lamps, for such were the branches rising from the candlestick, meant the seven planets, and the twelve loaves upon the table meant the circle of the zodiac and the year.
218 The altar of incense, by its thirteen kinds of sweet-smelling spices drawn from the sea, meant that all things whether in the empty or inhabited world are from God and for God.
219 The inmost part of the temple was twenty feet in each direction and was separated from the outer part by a veil, and in it there was nothing at all. It was inaccessible and inviolable and not to be seen by any, and was called the Holy of Holies.
220 Round the sides of the lower part of the temple were many small interconnected buildings, three stories high, with access on each side from the gate of the temple.
221 The upper part of the sanctuary, being narrower and forty feet higher than the lower parts, had no such structures, and its total height, including the sixty feet from the floor, amounted to a hundred feet.
222 The front facade lacked nothing that could impress the mind or eye, for it was entirely covered with heavy gold plates, and at sunrise reflected back a fiery splendor that made onlookers avert their eyes as from the very rays of the sun.
223 To strangers coming towards it from a distance, his temple looked like a mountain covered with snow, as the parts of it that were not gilded were very white.
224 On its top were spikes with sharp points, to prevent its being polluted by birds sitting upon it. Some of its stones were forty-five feet long, five high and six wide.
225 Before the sanctuary stood the altar, fifteen feet high and fifty feet in both length and breadth, built in a square, with corners like horns, and approached from the south by a shallow ascent. It was formed without any iron tool, and no iron touched it at any time.
226 There was also a low wall, about a foot high, graceful and made of fine stones, surrounding the sanctuary and the altar, to separate the people outside from the priests.
227 People with gonorrhea or leprosy were excluded from the city. Women were excluded from the temple during their periods, and even after they were purified could not go beyond the barrier mentioned earlier. Men not fully pure could not come into the inner court, which even priests could not enter until they were purified.
228 Any of priestly stock who could not minister because of a defect could come inside the partition along with those with no defect, and could share the portions due to their birth, but must wear ordinary dress, for the officiant alone wore the sacred vestments.
229 The unblemished priests went up to the altar clothed in fine linen, religiously abstaining from alcohol for fear of transgressing in the liturgy.
230 The high priest went with them, not always but on sabbaths and new moons and national festivals, which we celebrate every year.
231 He officiated wearing trousers covering his thighs and loins and wore an inner garment of linen, along with a seamless, fringed outer garment of blue, reaching to the feet. Hanging from the fringes were were golden bells, mixed with pomegranates; the bells signified thunder and the pomegranates lightning.
232 The girdle fastening the garment to the breast was embroidered with five rows of various colours, of gold and purple and scarlet, and of fine linen and blue, the same colours with which the veils of the temple were embroidered, as we said.
233 Similar embroidery was on the ephod, but with a greater amount of gold. Its shape was like a breastplate and on it were two golden buttons like small shields, joining the ephod to the garment, and in them were two large and very fine sardonyxes, inscribed with the names of the nation's tribes.
234 On the other side hung twelve stones, three to a row one way and four in the other: sardius, topaz and emerald; carbuncle, jasper and sapphire; agate, amethyst and liguron; onyx, beryl and chrysolite, and on each of them was inscribed one of the aforesaid names.
235 A mitre of fine linen surrounded his head, tied by a blue ribbon, and round it another golden crown, inscribed with the sacred letters, all four of them.
236 The high priest did not wear these at other times, but a simpler attire. He only did so when entering the most sacred part of the temple, which he did only once in a year, on the day by custom all of us keep a fast to God.
237 So much about the city and the temple, but later we shall speak more about its customs and laws, for there are many things about it which we have not yet mentioned.
238 The Antonia tower was situated at the corner of two porticoes of the temple court, the west and the north. It was built on a rock fifty feet high, on the edge of a great precipice and was the work of king Herod, where he showed his innate genius.
239 Firstly the rock itself was covered from the ground up with smooth stone, both for ornament and that anyone trying either to get up or to go down could not get a foothold.
240 Next, before coming to the tower itself, was a wall three feet high, within which was built the whole of the Antonia tower to a height of forty feet.
241 The inner area was like a palace in size and form, divided into various rooms and other uses, like courts and baths and a broad area for troops, so that with all conveniences it seemed a city, but by its magnificence resembled a palace.
242 Since the entire structure was that of a tower, it contained four other distinct towers at its four corners, three of which the others were fifty feet high but the one on the southeast corner was seventy feet high, commanding a view of the whole temple.
243 On the corner where it joined to the two porticoes of the temple, it had passages to them both, through which the sentries went in and out.
244 A Roman legion was always based there, and armed men stood round the porticoes during the festivals to keep watch on the people and prevent any revolt.
245 For the temple guarded the city, and the Antonia tower the temple, and within the tower were the guardians of all three. Herod's palace had its own fortress in the upper city, 246 but the Bezatha hill was divided from the Antonia tower, as we have said, and as the hill where the Antonia tower stood was the highest of all it adjoined the new city and was the only place blocking the view of the temple on the north.
247 Enough at present about the city and its ramparts for I propose to describe it more fully elsewhere.
Chapter 06. [248-290]
The tyranny of Simon and John. Titus tightens the siege
248 The combatants in the city, apart from the Idumaeans were, first, Simon's ten thousand rebels who had fifty officers and he was leader of them all.
249 With him were five thousand Idumaeans with ten chiefs, among whom the best known were Jacob, son of Sosas and Simon, son of Cathlas.
250 John, who had seized the temple, had six thousand warriors, under twenty officers, plus the two thousand, four hundred Zealots who had ceased their opposition and come over to him, with the same leaders as before, Eleazar and Simon the son of Arinus.
251 While as we said, these fought each other, the ordinary folk were prey to both and any people who would not join in their crimes were plundered by both sides.
252 Simon held the upper city and the great wall as far as the Cedron and the part of the old wall stretching east from Siloam and down to the palace of Monobazus, who was king of the Adiabeni, beyond the Euphrates.
253 He also held the fountain and the Acra, or lower city, and all as far as the palace of queen Helena, the mother of Monobazus.
254 John held the temple and the areas adjoining it for a long way, and Ophla and the so-called Valley of Cedron. When the areas in between were burned, it left a space for fighting each other, 255 since this strife within did not cease even with the Romans encamped just outside the walls. For a short while they had learned prudence from the first attack of the Romans, but again split up and fought it out and did all that the besiegers could wish.
256 From the Romans they fared no worse than what they did to each other, after which nothing of what the city endured could be considered new, as its worst misery came before its ruin, while those who captured it brought it some relief.
257 Let me say the rebellion destroyed the city and the Romans destroyed the rebellion, which was tougher than the walls, so that our troubles came from our own people and justice from the Romans. But concerning this let every one judge, based on the facts.
258 While this was going on inside the city, Titus went around on the outside with some elite cavalry, looking for a suitable place to make an assault on the walls.
259 He was at a loss, since it was unapproachable along the valleys and on the other side the first wall seemed too strong to be shaken by the machines, but thought it best to make the assault near the tomb of the high priest, John.
260 There the first part of the wall was lower and the second was not joined to it, as the builders neglecting to build it strong as there were not many living in the new city. Here too, there was easy access to the third wall, through which he planned to take the upper city, and, through the Antonia tower, the temple itself.
261 About then, as he was going around, Nicanor, one of his friends, got an arrow in his left shoulder, while approaching too near the wall along with Josephus, trying to talk of peace with the men on the wall to whom he was known.
262 From this Caesar saw their rage, how they would not refrain from people who approached to talk about saving their lives, and was provoked to press on the siege and let his legions set fire to the suburbs, and told them to gather material and raise earthworks.
263 Dividing his army into three parts for this task, he placed in the centre of the earthworks spearmen and archers and in front of them the quick-firers and catapults and stone-throwing machines to prevent sorties by the enemy upon their works and stop the men on the wall from impeding them.
264 So the trees were now cut down and the suburbs left bare. But while the timber was brought to raise the earthworks and the whole army was hard at work, the Jews were not idle.
265 The populace which had been subject to looting and murder now took heart and expected to have a breathing space while the others were busy with their outside foes and that if the Romans were victorious they could see revenge taken on those who had caused all this.
266 While his men were making an attack on the enemy outside, John stayed behind, fearful of Simon.
267 Being near the place of the siege, Simon did not remain inactive but brought his machines of war and placed them at intervals along the wall, both those taken from Cestius and those seized when they took the garrison in the Antonia.
268 But through their lack of skill they were of little use to him. A few had been taught by deserters how to use them, and did so awkwardly, hurling stones and arrows at those who were making the earthworks. They also ran out at them in groups and struggled with them.
269 The men at the works were protected by hurdles from the missiles and by their shooters from those who sallied out. The artillery of all the legions was admirable but especially that of the tenth legion, whose spear- and stone-throwing machines were stronger and larger than the rest, by which they repelled the raiding parties and also those who were on the ramparts.
270 The stones they hurled weighed a talent and flew two furlongs or more, striking through not only whoever stood first in the way, but people a long distance beyond them.
271 At first the Jews could look out for the stone's arrival, for it was white in colour and was signalled in advance not only by its loud noise but by its brightness.
272 The watchmen in the towers could warn when the machine was sprung firing the stone, calling out in their own tongue, "Son Coming," so those who were in its way stood aside and lay on the ground, by which precaution the stone would fall harmlessly.
273 But the Romans countered by blacking it out, and then had more success, as the stone was no longer noticed in advance, and so killed many with one shot.
274 Still, under all their wounds, they did not let the Romans raise their earthworks in peace, but used ingenuity and bravery to block them by night and day.
275 When the works were completed, the builders measured the distance from the wall, by lead and line, which they threw to it from their earthworks, the only way possible, as they were being shot at from above, and finding that the rams could reach the wall, they brought them there.
276 Then Titus set his artillery nearer, that the Jews might not be able to repel the rams from the wall, and gave the order to strike.
277 Suddenly a mighty battering noise echoed from three places and a shout came from within the city and the rebels too were fearful; and in their common danger both parties planned a united defense.
278 The different factions called out to each other that they had done everything to help the enemy, but even if God did not grant them lasting harmony, they should now set aside all rivalry and unite against the Romans. Simon publicly gave permission to those in the temple to go upon the wall and, though mistrustful, John also allowed it.
279 So laying aside their hatred and quarrels they became one body, and rushing around the walls they threw many torches at the machines and shot at the men driving the rams that continually battered at the wall, 280 The braver spirits jumped out in troops upon the hurdles covering the machines, pulling them to bits and attacking the operatives, beating them less by skill than by audacity.
281 Titus sent help to those who were hardest pressed and put cavalry and archers on all sides of the machines, beating back those who tried to set them on fire, and anyone shooting from the towers and kept the rams at work.
282 Still the wall did not yield to these blows, except where the ram of the fifteenth legion shook the corner of a tower, 283 but the wall itself continued unharmed, for it was not endangered by the tower, which was above it and the fall of that part of the tower could not easily break any of the perimeter.
284 They ceased their raids for a while, but when they noticed the Romans spread out at their works and in their camps, thinking that the Jews had retreated from weariness and fear, they made a sudden sally at the Hippicus tower, through a hidden gate, bringing fire to burn the works and rushed boldly at the Romans, right up to their entrenchments.
285 These raised a shout and those who were near them came quickly and those farther off dashed up too, but here the daring of the Jews overcame the good order of the Romans, and they beat those whom they first attacked and pressed on against the gathering reserves.
286 There was a fierce battle around the machines, with one side trying to set them on fire and the others trying to prevent it, both shouting unintelligibly and many men in the front line being killed.
287 The fury of the Jews now won out and the works caught fire and they and the machines would have been burned, except that the many elite soldiers from Alexandria prevented it, acting more bravely than they themselves would have believed and in this battle surpassing men of greater repute than themselves, until Caesar his strongest cavalry and charged the enemy.
288 He himself killed twelve men in the front ranks and seeing the death of these men, the rest of the crowd gave way and he drove them all into the city and saved the works from the fire.
289 During this fight a Jew was taken alive, whom Titus ordered to be crucified in sight of the wall, to alarm the rest of them.
290 After the retreat, while talking outside the wall to a soldier he knew, John, the commander of the Idumaeans, was wounded by an arrow shot at him by an Arabian and died instantly. This caused great lament to the Jews and sorrow to the rebels, for he was an admirable man of action and of intelligence.
Chapter 07. [291-330]
The Romans offers terms of surrender. Titus is fooled by the ruse of Castor the Jew
291 On the next night, an astonishing thing happened to the Romans.
292 Titus had ordered three fifty-foot-high towers to be built, from which his men could shoot from the earthworks and drive away the men from the wall.
293 But one of these towers fell down about midnight, with a tremendous noise and the army was alarmed its fall, thinking that the enemy was coming to attack them, and all jumped to arms.
294 The fear and dismay of the legions grew as nobody could tell what had happened, and they were bewildered at seeing no enemy appear.
295 Feeling afraid of each other, every one demanded the watchword from his neighbour, as though the Jews had invaded their camp; and the stayed in a panic until Titus was told of it and ordered them to tell everyone about the occurrence, and then, though with some difficulty, they quelled the alarm.
296 These towers harrassed the Jews, who otherwise held out very bravely. From them they pelted them with their lighter machines, and with spears and by the archers and stone-throwers.
297 The towers were too high for the Jews to reach and so heavy that it was impossible to capture or overturn them, nor could they set them on fire, being plated with iron.
298 So they retreated beyond reach of the spears and no longer tried to stop their battering-rams, which pounding continually gradually took their toll.
299 Finally the wall yielded to Victor, which is how the Jews themselves called the greatest of the machines, since it won out every time. They had long grown tired of fighting and keeping watch and retreated for the night at a distance from the city wall.
300 Anyway they thought it superfluous to guard that wall, since there were two others still standing, and many grew soft and retreated.
301 Then the Romans entered the breach made by Victor and all ceased guarding that wall and fled to the second wall, so those who had broken through opened the gates and let in the rest of the army.
302 That is how the Romans took this first wall, on the fifteenth day of the siege, the seventh day of the month Artemisius, and they demolished most of it, as well as of the northern parts of the city, previously destroyed by Cestius.
303 Titus encamped within the city, at the place called "the Camp of the Assyrians," having captured everything between it and the Cedron, and soon began his attacks, careful to stay out of reach of the Jewish spears.
304 The Jews divided into several groups and bravely defended their wall, while John and his faction did so from the Antonia tower and from the northern portico of the temple and fought the Romans in front of king Alexander's tomb. Simon's army also took the area near the tomb of John the high priest and defended it as far as the gate where water was brought in to the Hippicus tower.
305 Often they would rush violently out the gates and fight outside, and though in these skirmishes they were driven back to the wall, unequal to the Romans in skill, they had the upper hand when fighting from the ramparts.
306 The others took heart from their strength and experience, and the Jews from their daring, fed by their fear and their characteristic toughness in calamity. Their hope was to survive, while the Romans hoped to subdue them soon.
307 Neither side gave up, but spent all the day in attacks and battles at the wall, and perpetual skirmishing, with no sort of warfare left untried.
308 Even night hardly separated them, for the fight began at dawn, and was sleepless on both sides and worse for them than the day. One side feared the wall would be taken and the other that the Jews would burst out on their camps, and both were armed all night, ready to go to battle at first light.
309 The Jews rivalled each other in facing dangers in order to impress their officers. They revered and dreaded Simon above all, and regarded him so highly that his subjects were ready at his command even to kill themselves with their own hands.
310 What kept the Romans' courage high was being used to victory and unused to defeat, their constant wars and perpetual exercises and the size of their empire, but above all Titus, always and everywhere present with them all.
311 It was shameful to hang back with Caesar present, fighting as bravely as themselves, who could reward their bravery, for all wanted to have their courage seen by Caesar, so that many of them showed more zeal than their strength warranted.
312 A large group of Jews stood in array before the wall, and while both parties were throwing their spears at each other, Longinus, of the equestrian order, sprang from the Roman army into the very midst of the Jews, who scattered under his attack, and killing two of their best men.
313 Faicng them he struck one of them in the mouth and killed the other with the same spear he plucked from his body, with which he ran this man through as he ran to escape him. Having done this, he quickly ran back to his own side from the midst of the enemy.
314 As he was distinguished for his bravery, there were many others eager to win a similar reputation.
315 The Jews cared little for what they suffered from the Romans and were only eager to do them harm, and death itself seemed minor to them, if at the same time they could kill one of the enemy.
316 But, wanting to keep his soldiers from harm as well as to win victory, Titus told them that reckless violence was madness, while true courage must go with forethought, and so ordered them to prove their manliness without taking excessive risks.
317 He now brought the battering ram to the middle tower in the northern wall, where a wily Jew named Castor lay in ambush with ten others, the rest having fled in face of the archers.
318 These lay still for a time under their shields, as though in great fear, but when the tower shook, they got up and Castor stretched out his hand in petition and called in pleading tones to Caesar, begging for mercy.
319 Titus candidly thought he was serious and hoping that for a change of heart in the Jews, halted the battering ram, stopped the archers from shooting at the petitioners and bade Castor to say what he wanted.
320 When he said he would come down under a pledge, Titus approved his prudence and would like if they all did likewise, and was ready to give similar immunity to the city.
321 Five of the ten acted out pretended to beg for mercy, while the rest shouted that they would never serve the Romans but would die as free men.
322 During this argument, the attack was delayed a long time, and Castor sent word to Simon to take his time deciding what to do, as he would go on fooling the Roman leader a little longer, meanwhile pretending to be urging those who were obstinate to accept the guaranteed immunity.
323 But they looked angry and waved their drawn swords, striking themselves on the chest and falling down as if killed.
324 Titus and his companions were amazed at the men's courage, and as they were unable to see exactly what was being done, they admired their fortitude and pitied their lot.
325 During this, an archer shot Castor on the nose. He quickly pulled out the arrow and showed it to Titus complaining that it was unfair, so Caesar rebuked the archer and wished to send Josephus, who was with him, to shake Castor's hand.
326 But he refused to go, since these pretended petitioners meant no good, and also restrained those of his friends who wanted to go to him; though a man named Eneas, a deserter, said that he would go.
327 Castor called out that someone should come to take the money he had with him, which made Eneas run to him more eagerly, unguarded in front.
328 Then Castor took up a big stone and threw it at him, missing him, for he swerved, but wounding another soldier who was going forward.
329 When Caesar saw that it was a ruse, he saw how dangerous mercy is in war for there is less room for such ruses under a more severe regime. So in his anger at the deceit he set the battering-ram to work more strongly than before.
330 Then Castor and his companions set fire to the tower as it began to give way and jumped through the flame into a vault hidden beneath it, which made the Romans think them very courageous men, to throw themselves into the fire.
Chapter 08. [331-347]
After a brief reverse, the Romans re-take the second wall
331 Caesar took this wall on the fifth day after the first, putting the Jews to flight. Then, with a thousand warriors and his own elite troops he entered the new city at the market for wool, braziers and clothing, where the narrow streets led obliquely to the wall.
332 So if he had instantly breached more of the wall, or had come in and ravaged the rest according to the laws of war, I think his victory would have involved no losses.
333 But he hoped to shame the Jews by not doing more harm than necessary, and did not make a wider breach to make for a safe retreat, not expecting them to plot against one their benefactor.
334 As he entered, he did not let his soldiers kill any they caught, or set fire to their houses, even allowing the rebels, if they wished, to fight without harming the people and promising that property would be restored, for he wanted to save the city for himself and the temple for the sake of the city.
335 The people had long been ready to follow his proposals, but the fighting men thought mildness a mark of weakness and suspected that Titus only made these proposals being unable to take the rest of the city.
336 They also threatened the people with death, if any of them said a word about surrender and cut the throats of those who talked of peace and then attacked those Romans that had come within the wall, either in the narrow streets or from their houses, and made a sally out from the wall, at the upper gates.
337 The guards on the wall were so afraid that they jumped down from the towers and made for their camp.
338 There was a shout from those inside, surrounded by the enemy, and from those outside, fearing for those who were left behind. The Jews kept growing in numbers and by their knowledge of the laneways had a big advantage over the Romans, so they wounded many of them and drove them from the city.
339 These held out as best they could for they could not all exit together through the narrow gap in the wall, and all who had gone in would probably have been cut to pieces if Titus had not helped them out.
340 He stationed the archers at the upper ends of the laneways and stood in the thick of the throng and with his spears put a stop to the enemy, and alongside him was Domitius Sabinus, a good man who showed his mettle in this battle.
341 Continually shooting arrows, Caesar held the Jews at bay until all his soldiers had retreated.
342 So the Romans were driven out, after taking the second wall, and the morale of the fighters in the city was raised. After this success they thought the Romans would no longer dare to enter the city, or even if they did, that they themselves would not be beaten.
343 For God had blinded their minds on account of their lawlessness they had committed. They could not see how much greater strength the Romans had than those they had expelled, or the famine creeping upon them.
344 Up to now they had been able to dine at the expense of the public and drink the life-blood of the city, but good people had long been in poverty and many had died for lack of food.
345 In fact, the rebels felt these people's destruction as a relief for themselves, wanting none to survive except those who were against peace with the Romans and resolved in their opposition to them, and so were pleased when people who disagreed with this perished, as though relieved of a burden.
346 Such were their feelings towards those inside, while they sought to block the Romans who were seeking a way back in, blocking with their own bodies the part of the wall that had been knocked down. For three days they put up a staunch defence but on the fourth they could not sustain the brave assaults of Titus and were forced to flee back to where they had been.
347 He re-took that wall and totally demolished it, and after putting a garrison into the towers in the south of the city, began planning his assault on the third wall.
Chapter 09. [348-419]
Titus eases, then tightens the Siege. Josephus and the offer of a Truce
348 He decided to relax the siege for a while, to give the rebels a time to consider and to see the removal of their second wall would make them more compliant, or whether they were worried by the fear of famine, since the spoils of their looting would not last them for long, so this pause was used to achieve his own plans.
349 At the appointed time to pay the soldiers he got the officers to put the army in battle-array and then pay each soldier in full view of the enemy.
350 So the soldiers, according to custom, took out their armour from the cases in which it was kept and marched in full armour, with the cavalry leading their horses in their fine trappings.
351 The space in front of the city was visible from a distance, gleaming with silver and gold, a sight very gratifying to their side, and frightening to the enemy.
352 A throng of onlookers stood on the old wall and at the north side of the temple and one could see the houses packed with onlookers and the whole city was full of them.
353 The hardiest of the Jews felt panic when they saw the whole enemy army, with the quality of their arms and the good order of their men.
354 I cannot help thinking that at that sight the rebels would have had a change of heart, if their crimes had not been so dire that they despaired of pardon from the Romans.
355 However, since they believed death with torture must be their lot if they did not continue defending the city, they thought it better to die in war. Fate also ruled that the innocent had to die with the guilty and the city must be destroyed along with the rebels.
356 The Romans spent four days in distributing the wages to the various legions. But on the fifth day, when no signs of peace appeared to come from the Jews, Titus divided his legions and began to raise earthworks, both at the Antonia tower and at John's tomb. His plan was to seize the upper city by way of that tomb and the temple by way of the Antonia tower, 357 for if the temple were not taken, even to hold the rest of city would be dangerous, and so in each of these places he had earthworks raised, each legion raising one.
358 The Idumaeans and Simon's comrades in arms raids that hindered the work at John's tomb, and John's party and the Zealots did the same to those working at the Antonia tower.
359 These Jews now had the better of the Romans, not only in direct fighting, because they were higher up, but because they had now learned to use their own machines, and daily use of them gradually improved their skill. They had three hundred spear-launchers and forty rock-launchers, by which they made it harder for the Romans to raise their earthworks.
360 Titus, knowing that the salvation or destruction of the city would determine his success, proceeded strongly with the siege, but also had the Jews urged to repentance, giving good advice while he worked at the siege.
361 Knowing that advice is often more effective than arms, he urged them to surrender the city, now that it was almost taken, and thereby save themselves. He sent Josephus to speak to them in their own language, thinking they might yield to the advice of one from their own nation.
362 Josephus went round about the wall trying to find a place out of reach of their spears and yet within earshot, constantly urging them to save themselves, their country and their temple and not, in this situation, to be more careless of them than foreigners.
363 Even the Romans, not directly related to those things, reverenced their sacred rites and places, though these belonged to the enemy, and had until now avoided meddling with them, while those who were brought up in them, and, if they are saved, will be the people to benefit from them, hurry to have them destroyed.
364 Had they not seen their strongest walls demolished and that the one wall still remaining was weaker than those already taken? They must know the Roman power is invincible and that they formerly had been subject to them.
365 And even admitted that it is right to fight for liberty, it should have been done at an earlier stage, but once people have been under Roman rule and submitted to them for so many long years, to try later on to shake off that yoke was the way to wretched death, not a way to show love of liberty.
366 Besides, men may well chafe at the dishonour of having to serve ignoble masters, but need not do so to those who have everything under their rule. For what part of the world has escaped the Romans, unless it be those that are useless for extreme heat, or for extreme cold? 367 It was clear on all sides that Fortune had gone over to them, and God, having passed the dominion around the nations, has now settled in Italy. Moreover, it is a fixed law, among brute beasts as well as among men, to yield to those who are stronger, and to be ruled by those who have defeated the rest in war.
368 This was why their ancestors, though greater than them in soul and body and also better resourced, submitted to the Romans, which they would not have endured, had they not known that God was with them.
369 And now, how could they hold out against them, when most of their city was already taken? Were not those inside it worse off than if they were taken, though their walls are still standing? 370 The Romans are aware of the hunger in the city, by which the people are already dying and their fighting men will soon die too.
371 And even if the Romans gave up the siege and did not attack the city with sword in hand, the war within was increasing every hour, unless they could defeat the famine, or could put an end to their hunger.
372 He added that before their plight became fatal they should change course and take salutary advice while they had the chance. The Romans would let bygones be bygones, unless they persisted in their rebellion to the end, for they were naturally restrained in victory and preferred what was best over what passion dictated.
373 What would they gain by emptying the city of inhabitants, or leaving the country a desert? Therefore Caesar now offered them his pledge for their security, but if he took the city by storm, he would spare none of them after rejecting his offers in their hour of need.
374 The ramparts already captured must tell them that the third wall would soon be taken too. And even if their forts proved too strong to assault, the famine was on the Romans side, against them.
375 While Josephus was giving this advice to the Jews, many of them mocked him from the wall and insulted him and some threw spears at him. Then, unable to persuade them by such plainly good advice, he appealed to the history of their own nation and called aloud, 376 "Miserable wretches, so forgetful of your true allies, that you think to fight the Romans with weapons and your own hands! When did we ever defeat another nation by such means? 377 When did God, Creator of the Jewish people, not avenge them when they were wronged? Will not you look back and consider how it is that you fight so violently and what a Supporter you have treated so profanely? Don't you remember the wonderful things done for your ancestors and this holy place, and how he subdued great enemies under you? 378 I tremble to declare the works of God to ears unworthy to hear them. but listen that you may learn that your war is not just with the Romans, but with God.
379 In ancient times the king of Egypt, Nechao, surnamed Pharaoh, came with a mighty army of soldiers and seized queen Sarah, the mother of our nation.
380 What then did her husband, our ancestor Abraham, do? Did he defend himself in arms against this insulter, having under him three hundred and eighteen officers and many more forces under each of them? No! without God's help he reckoned them as nothing, and just spread out his hands towards this holy place, which you have now polluted and got this invincible ally on his side.
381 Was not our queen sent back to her husband, undefiled, the next evening, as the Egyptian left, revering this place which you have defiled by shedding on it the blood of your countrymen, trembling at the visions he saw in the night and lavishing silver and gold on the Hebrews, as a people beloved by God.
382 Shall I mention how our fathers came into Egypt, and were tyrannised by foreign kings for four hundred years and might have defended themselves with weapons and struggle, yet did nothing but entrust themselves to God! 383 Who does not know how Egypt was infested by all sorts of beasts and consumed by all sorts of ailments, how their land became fruitless, how the Nile's water failed, how the ten plagues of Egypt followed each other, which lead to our fathers being sent away under escort, with no bloodshed and in safety, because God led them as his devotees? 384 When the Syrians pillaged our sacred ark, was not Palestine groaning and their idol Dagon and the entire nation that had carried it away, 385 afflicted in their private parts and excreting their bowels along with their food, until the hands that stole it were obliged to restore it, and appease God's holy anger with the sound of cymbals and timbrels and other oblations.
386 It was God who then led our fathers because without recourse to fighting or weapons, they left him to be the judge in the matter.
387 When the king of Assyria, Sennacherim, brought all Asia with him and surrounded this city with his army, was he defeated by human hands? 388 Were their hands not empty of weapons but raised in prayer, when the angel of God destroyed that mighty army in a single night, and rising the next day the Assyrian king found a hundred eighty five thousand corpses and with the remnant of his army, fled from the unarmed Hebrews, who did not pursue them? 389 You also know of our slavery in Babylon, where the people were exiled for seventy years and never agitated for freedom until Cyrus granted it, in gratitude to God, for through him they were sent back, to re-establish the worship of their great Ally.
390 In a word, on no occasion did our fathers succeed through weapons, or failed to succeed when without them they entrusted their cause to God. By staying at home they were victorious, as their Judge wished, but in fighting they were always defeated.
391 For example, when the king of Babylon besieged this city and our king Zedekiah opposed him, contrary to the prophecies of Jeremiah, he was taken prisoner and saw the city and the temple demolished. Yet how much more prudent was that king than your present leaders, and the people he then led than you at this time! 392 for when Jeremiah called out how God turn aside from them for their lawlessness and that they would be captured unless they handed over their city, neither the king nor the people put him to death.
393 But now, apart from the harm you have done inside which I cannot adequately describe, you hurl abuse and spears at me, for urging you to save yourselves, enraged at being remminded of your sins and unable to bear any mention of your frequent crimes.
394 Another example: when Antiochus, called Epiphanes, who was guilty of many outrages against God, blockaded this city and our ancestors met him in arms, they were slaughtered in the battle, the city was looted by our enemies and our sanctuary was desolated for three years and six months. What more need I say? 395 Who has marshalled the Romans against this nation? Was it not the impiety of the inhabitants? What caused us to be enslaved? 396 Was it not the factionalism of our ancestors, when the madness and rivalries of Aristobulus and Hyrcanus brought Pompey upon this city and when God put under the Romans those who were unworthy of their freedom? 397 Although they had not sinned as you have against our sanctuary and our laws, and had much greater advantages in the war than you have, they had to surrender after a siege of three months.
398 Don't we know how Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, ended up, during whose reign God again caused this people to be taken because of their sins, when Herod, the son of Antipater, brought Sosius upon them and Sosius brought on them the Roman army, and they were surrounded and besieged for six months, until, to punish their sins, they were taken and the city was looted by the enemy? 399 So it seems that arms were never meant for our nation, but we are always handed over to be fought against and captured.
400 I guess that whoever lives in this holy place should entrust everything to God and scorning all human help, call on the Judge above.
401 But what have you done that our Legislator's advised? And which of the things he condemned have you not done? How much more impious are you than those he condemns! 402 You have not avoided even the most secret of sins - thefts and treachery and adultery. You rival each other in looting and murders and invent new forms of evil. Even the temple has a cess-pool and God's house is polluted by the hands of people, though reverenced at a distance by the Romans, who ceded many of their own customs in deference to our law.
403 After all this, do you expect support from the One you have so outraged? Yes, you have a right to beg and call upon his help, so pure are your hands! 404 Was it such hands your king lifted up in prayer to God against the king of Assyria, when he destroyed that large army in a single night? Are the Romans as wicked as the king of Assyria, that you may hope to be similarly protected from them? 405 Did not that king take money from our king on condition not to destroy the city and yet, contrary to his oath, come and burn the temple? But the Romans require no more than the customary tax that our fathers paid to their fathers! 406 Once they get that, they will neither destroy this city, nor touch our sacred shrine, and besides will grant that your descendants be free, your possessions secure and your holy laws intact.
407 It is madness to expect God to be as kindly to the wicked as the just, since he knows how to take vengeance, for he broke the power of the Assyrians on the very first night they encamped.
408 If he judged our nation worthy of freedom, or the Romans of punishment, he would have instantly punished the Romans, as he did the Assyrians, when Pompey began to molest our nation, or after him when Sosius came against us, or when Vespasian ravaged Galilee, or finally, when Titus approached this city.
409 However, Magnus and Sosius not only suffered nothing, but took the city by force; Vespasian went from the war against you to receive the empire; and the springs that had almost dried up under your rule, run more plentifully since the arrival of Titus.
410 You know that Siloam, and all the other springs outside the city, yielded so little that water was sold by measure, whereas now they provide your enemies with so much water, not only for themselves and their livestock to drink, but even to water their gardens.
411 You experienced that same miracle of old, when the aforesaid king of Babylon made war on us and took the city and burned the temple, though I believe the people of that age were not as impious as you.
412 So I reckon that God has fled from his sanctuary and is on the side of those with whom you fight.
413 If a good man will leave an impure house and abhor those within it, do you think that in your evildoing God will stay with you, who sees all secret things and hears what is most private? 414 Among you, what crime is kept secret or concealed? What is there that is not open to your very enemies? For you pompously display your lawlessness and rival each other in wickedness, and vaunt your injustice, as if it were virtue.
415 But there is still way of a safety if you wish, and God is soon reconciled to those who confess and repent.
416 Iron hearts as you are, thrown down your arms and pity your land on the verge of ruin; come back, and realise the beauty of what you are going to betray, what a city and temple and the gifts of so many nations! 417 Who would wish to set the fire? Who would want these things to exist no more? What is more worthy of being preserved, you blockheads, worse than senseless stone! 418 If you see these things with undiscerning eyes, have pity on your families and set before your eyes your children and wives and parents, who will be consumed bit by bit by famine or war.
419 I know that my mother and wife and my noble, indeed once eminent, family are caught up in this danger - and perhaps you think that is why I give you this advice. If so, then kill them and take my own blood as your reward, for I am prepared to die if my death would bring you to your senses."
Chapter 10. [420-445]
Many try in vain to desert to the Romans, driven by famine and its terrible consequences
420 Josephus loudly appealed to them in tears, but the rebels neither yielded nor thought it safe to change tack while the people were inclined to give in.
421 Some sold their property at a paltry price and others the most precious things they had saved, or swallowed gold objects, to avoid the brigands finding them, so that when they fled to the Romans, they would have whatever they needed.
422 For Titus let many escape wherever they wanted into the country, and they were mainly drawn to desert to escape their hardships and yet not be enslaved by the Romans.
423 But John and Simon's groups blocked the exit of these even more than the entrance of the Romans, and if anyone showed any sign of intending to do this, he immediately had his throat cut.
424 The wealthy were doomed whether they stayed or not, for they were put to death both for intending to desert and for their property. The rebels' rage grew with their hunger, and both these horrors flamed hotter each day.
425 As no food was for sale, they hurried to search the houses, and where any was found, people were tortured for denying it, and even worse where none was found, thinking it had been well concealed.
426 Their clue to whether they had any or not was in the physical state of these poor folk, for if they were well, it seemed they had no lack of food, but if they were shrivelled, they passed by, not bothering to kill those who would soon die anyway, from want.
427 Many sold all they had for a single basket-full: of wheat, if they were richer, or of barley, if they were poorer. Then they barricaded themselves within their houses and ate the corn they had got. Some did so without grinding it, because of the extremity of their need, while others baked it, as necessity or fear dictated.
428 Nowhere was a table laid but they snatched the bread from the fire, half-baked and ate it quickly.
429 It was a pitiful sight to make one weep, how their food was divided, as the stronger had more than enough and the weaker were in need. Hunger overcame all other passions and it destroys nothing so soon as shame, for what was otherwise reverenced was now despised.
430 Wives pulled from the mouths of their husbands the food they were eating, and children from their parents, and more pitiful still, so did mothers do to their infants. When their most beloved were dying in their arms, they did not scruple to take away the drops that might save their lives.
431 Even eating in this way could not be done in secret, for everywhere the rebels came and snatched away their prey.
432 When they saw any house shut up, it was a sign that the people inside had some food; so they quickly broke the doors down and ran in and all but forced them to regurgitate what they were eating.
433 Old men, who held on to their food were beaten, and if women hid in their hands what they had, their hair was pulled for doing so. No pity was shown either to the aged or to infants, but they lifted up children as they clung to the morsels they had and shook them down on the floor.
434 But they were still more brutal to those who blocked their entrance and had swallowed down what they meant to seize, as if this unjustly robbed them of their due.
435 They invented terrible methods of torture to find where food was kept, including forcibly stopping the passages of the wretches or driving sharp stakes up their anus, so that people had to bear what it is terrible even to mention, to make them confess that he had a single loaf of bread, or to uncover a concealed handful of barley-meal.
436 This was done even when the torturers were not themselves hungry, for it would have been less cruel if they were forced to it by necessity; rather it was done to vent their madness and to furnish provisions for themselves for the following days.
437 They also went to meet those who slipped out from the city by night, as far as the Roman lines, to gather plants and herbs that grew wild. When these thought they had got clear of the enemy, they snatched from them what they had brought back.
438 Often they implored them, calling upon the name of God, to give them back part of what they had foraged at such risk. Not a crumb would they give them and they had to be satisfied with being only robbed and not also killed.
439 That is how the lowly people suffered from these guards, but dignitaries who were rich were brought personally to the tyrants. Some were falsely accused of treachery and so were killed, and others accused of planning to betray the city to the Romans, and easiest way of all was to bribe someone to say that they intended to desert to the enemy.
440 A man stripped by Simon of what he had was sent on to John, and Simon got the remnants of those already robbed by John, so that they "drank the blood" of the people and divided between them the bodies of the poor.
441 Though they were rivals in their lust for power, they were at one in their outrages. Whichever of them did not share with the other what he had acquired at people's expense was only blamed for not giving him his share in the savagery, as though robbing the other of some good thing.
442 We cannot go into every instance of the harm done by these men, but in a word, no other city from the beginning of the world ever had to endure such horrors, nor has any age ever bred a generation so fruitful in wickedness as this.
443 In the end they scorned even the Hebrew nation, in order to seem less impious in the eyes of others, showint themselves the slaves, and the bastard scum of our nation.
444 It was they who destroyed the city and made the Romans register such an unhappy victory, and they all but hastened the delayed fire into the temple.
445 When, from the upper city, they saw it burning, they were untroubled and shed no tears, while even the Romans felt emotion about it. Of these facts we shall later speak more fully in the proper place.
Chapter 11. [446-490]
Escapees are crucified before the ramparts of the city. The Jews tear down the siege-bank
446 So now Titus's earthworks had progressed a lot, though his troops had been much harassed from the wall. He sent a party of cavalry with orders to lie in wait for any who went out into the valleys to gather food.
447 Some of these were fighting men, not content with what they got by looting, but most were poor people, deterred from deserting by their concern for their relatives.
448 They could not hope to escape with their wives and children, without the rebels knowing, or leave these relatives to be killed by the brigands on their account, 449 but the severity of the famine made them risk going out, so nothing remained but that escaping the brigands, they were taken by the enemy. In face of capture they had to defend themselves and after fighting they thought it too late to beg for mercy. So they were whipped and tortured in many ways before dying, crucified before the wall of the city.
450 Their suffering caused Titus to pity them, as they caught up to five hundred every day, and sometimes more, but he did not think it safe to set free those forcibly captured, and he saw that guarding so many prisoners would occupy many of his men. But mainly he hoped the Jews might perhaps yield at the sight of it, fearful of being similarly treated themselves.
451 So the soldiers, in their anger and hate for the Jews, nailed to the cross any they caught, in various ways, and joked that there was not enough space for the crosses and not enough crosses for the bodies.
452 But so far were the rebels from repenting at this sad sight, that, on the contrary, they made the rest of the people believe otherwise.
453 They brought the relatives of those who had deserted up on the wall, with others who wanted to go over upon the guarantee offered them and showed them what was suffered by those who fled to the Romans, and told them that those who were caught had gone as supplicants to them and were not taken as prisoners.
454 This sight kept within the city many who had been eager to desert until the truth was known; and still some fled to certain execution, considering death from the enemy to be an relief, compared with that from famine.
455 So Titus had the hands of many who were caught cut off, so as not to be thought deserters and might be credited due to the disaster they felt and sent them in to John and Simon, 456 bidding them to finally give up and not force him to destroy the city, for even in this extreme they would reap the benefits of repentance, and save their lives and their city and their unique temple.
457 He went around about the earthworks that were built and hurried them on, to show that his words would soon be followed by action.
458 In reply, they called insults from the walls at Caesar and his father and shouted that they despised death and preferred it to slavery and would do as much harm to the Romans as they could while they were still breathing and that they cared no longer for their country since it was, as he said, to be destroyed, and that the world itself was a better place for God than this temple, soon to be destroyed.
459 But it would be saved by Him who dwelt there, whom they still had as their ally in this war, so they laughed at all his threats, which would fail, because the end of the whole matter depended upon God alone. These shouts were mixed with mighty words of mockery.
460 Meanwhile, Antiochus Epiphanes arrived in the city, him a large retinue of warriors and the so-called Macedonian troop, all of the same age, tall and just out of adolescence, armed and trained in the Macedonian style, from which they took the name, though many of them were unworthy of that nation.
461 In fact, the king of Commagene had flourished under Roman rule more than other kings, until his condition changed, and as an old man, he declared that we ought to call no man happy before he is dead.
462 His son of his, who arrived there before his father's demise, expressed his surprise that the Romans so slow to assault the wall. He was a warrior fond of risks and was also so strong that his daring seldom failed.
463 Titus smiled and said he would share the pains of an attack with him, so Antiochus went as he was and assaulted the wall with his Macedonians.
464 His strength and skill were so great, that he guarded himself from Jewish spears but shot his spears at them, and yet most of his young men were severely mauled, as the promise about their courage made them keep on fighting.
465 Finally the retreated, many of them wounded, and then they saw that true Macedonians, in orde to win, must have the good fortune of Alexander.
466 The Romans began to raise their earthworks on the twelfth day of the month Artemisius, and with difficulty finished them on the twenty-ninth day of the same month, after working hard for seventeen days.
467 Now four great earthworks had been raised, one of them at the Antonia tower, made by the fifth legion, just opposite the pool called Struthius, and another by the twelfth legion, about twenty feet from the other.
468 The works of the tenth legion, far from these, were on the north side, at the pool called Amygdalon, and that of the fifteenth legion was about thirty feet from it, beside the high priest's tomb.
469 When the machines were brought, John had undermined from inside the space opposite the Antonia tower, as far as the earthworks, supporting the ground over the mine with crossbeams so that it was unstable; then he brought in pitch and asphalt and set the fabric on fire.
470 As the beams under the earthworks burned, the ditch suddenly collapsed and the earthworks shook and fell into the ditch with a mighty noise.
471 Thick smoke and dust arose, choking the fire in the fall, but as the collapsed fabric was consumed, flames flared out.
472 The sudden episode panicked the Romans and the shrewd plan dismayed them, and their hopes were cooled by the fact that it happened at a time when they thought they had already won. They felt it would be waste of effort to put out the fire, since even if it were extinguished, the earthworks were already ruined.
473 Two days later, Simon and his party tried to destroy the other earthworks, for the Romans had brought their machines to bear there and were already shaking the wall.
474 Tephtheus from Garsis, a city of Galilee and Megassarus, one of the king's soldiers and a servant of Mariamne, with a man from Adiabene, the son of Nabateus, named Chagiras because of his unfortunate lameness, snatched up torches and ran at the machines.
475 During this war no men ever sallied out from the city more audaciously than they, or caused more fear.
476 They ran out not as if to enemies but to friends, without fear or hesitation, not letting up until they had dashed through the enemy and set their machines on fire, 477 and though threatened by spears and swords from every side, they did not flinch from danger until the fire had caught hold of the machines.
478 Once the flame went up, the Romans came running from their camp to save their machines, but from the wall the Jews hindered their reinforcements and fought those who tried to quench the fire, with no regard to their own safety.
479 The others pulled the machines from the flames, while the hurdles covering them were burning, but through the flame the Jews took hold of the battering rams and held them fast, although the iron upon them was sizzling, and the fire spread from the machines to the earthworks, blocking those who came to defend them.
480 All the while the Romans were surrounded by the flames, and despairing of saving their works they retreated to their camp.
481 The Jewish side grew in number when those inside came to their help, and emboldened by their success, their assaults were almost irresistible, so that proceeding as far as the enemy fortifications they fought with their guards.
482 A rank of soldiers was stationed before the camp, succeeding each other in shifts, and the strict Roman law said that whoever left his post for whatever reason must die.
483 So that troop of soldiers stood firm, preferring to die bravely fighting than as a punishment for cowardice, and in these men's need many of the others who had fled returned out of shame.
484 When they had set the machines against the wall, they stopped any others from coming out of the city, as they had no body-armour, as the Jews now fought hand to hand with any they encountered, attacking their spearpoints unprotected, and fighting them hand to hand.
485 They now had the better of the Romans, not so much by fact as in fearlessness, and it was more to their audacity that Romans gave way than to any sense of being harmed by them.
486 Titus had come from the Antonia tower, where he went to look out for a site for other earthworks and severely reprimanded the soldiers for leaving their own earthworks in danger after taking the ramparts of the enemy, looking like men besieged while the Jews, who were already almost prisoners, were let sally out against them; and went with his elite troops round the side of the enemy to attack their flank.
487 Then the Jews, who had earlier been assaulted from the front, turned towards him and continued the fight. The armies were now mingled and the rising dust prevented them from seeing each other and the noise stopped them from hearing, so that neither side could distinguish friend from foe.
488 The Jews were unyielding, not so much from strength as from despair of survival; and neither would the Romans yield, because of their feeling for glory and reputation in war, and because Caesar himself went into the danger ahead of them.
489 I think that in their rage the Romans would finally have captured the entire army of the Jews, had they not forestalled them by retreating into the city.
490 But seeing their earthworks demolished, the Romans were dispirited at losing in a single hour what had cost them such work to erect. Many of them even despaired of taking the city with only their usual war-machines.
Chapter 12. [491-526]
Titus encircles the city with a wall, and people begin to die of famine
491 Titus consulted his officers and those of hottest temper thought he should bring the whole army against the city and storm the wall, 492 since up to now only a part of their army had been fighting the Jews, but if the entire army came at once, they could not withstand their attack, but would succumb to their missiles.
493 Of those favouring a more cautious approach, some wanted more earthworks and others advised to leave those alone, but just to wait outside the city and stop the Jews from coming out and bringing in provisions, and let famine deal with the enemy, without directly fighting them.
494 Despair, they said, was unconquerable, for those who want to die by the sword, when a more terrible end is in store for them.
495 While not thinking it right for such a large army to stay entirely idle, he did not think it right to fight people who would destroy each other.
496 He pointed out how hard it would be, for lack of materials, to build more earthworks and harder still to prevent the Jews from getting out since it was not easy for the army to surround the whole city because of its size and the difficulty of the locale.
497 It would also be dangerous, as the Jews might make raids out from the city; for although they were guarding the known exits, the latter in their distress would find secret exits, knowing the place so well, and if provisions were secretly brought in, the siege would last the longer.
498 Yet he feared that delay would lessen their glory, for even if time perfects everything, speed was needed to gain renown.
499 So if they aimed at speed along with security, he thought they should build a barrier around the whole city; which was the only way to prevent the Jews from coming out at all. As a result, they would either despair of saving the city and so surrender it or be more easily conquered when weakened by the famine.
500 Anyway, he would not remain inactive, but would have earthworks raised again, once the opponents were weaker.
501 If anyone felt such a work was too great or difficult, let him reflect that Romans should not do things by half and that none but God himself could accomplish any great thing without difficulty.
502 This persuaded the officers, so he divided the work between various sections of the army, and a superhuman fury came upon the soldiers so that when they divided up the building of the barrier, there was competition not only between the legions, but between the smaller squadrons.
503 Each soldier aimed to please his decurion, each decurion his centurion, each centurion his tribune and the ambition of the tribunes was to please their superior officers, while Caesar himself observed and rewarded similar rivalry among the officers, for he went round about the works many times a day, keeping an eye on what was being done.
504 Starting at the camp of the Assyrians, where his own camp was pitched the barrier went down to the lower parts of the New City, and from there along the valley of Cedron, to the Mount of Olives.
505 Then it bent towards the south and surrounded the mountain as far as the rock called Peristereon and the other hill next to it, above the valley which reaches to Siloam, from which it bent again to the west, down to the valley of the Fountain.
506 After this it ascended at the tomb of Ananus the high priest and took in the mountain where Pompey had formerly encamped, from which it proceeded to the north of the city 507 and was continued as far as a village called the House of the Erebinthi, and then went around Herod's tomb and there, on the east, joined up with Titus's camp, where it began.
508 The length of this barrier was forty furlongs, minus one. Outside this barrier were built thirteen garrison posts, whose circumferences added up to ten furlongs.
509 All of this was completed in three days, so that what would naturally have required some months was done in an incredibly short period.
510 When he had surrounded the city with this barrier and set the garrisons be went round the barrier at the first watch of the night to see how the watch was kept; the second watch he assigned to Alexander and the legion officers took the third watch.
511 They also cast lots to determine who should be on sentry duty at night to patrol the spaces in between the garrisons.
512 When all escape routes for the Jews were sealed off, and their freedom to leave the city was at an end, famine took hold and devoured the people by entire houses and families.
513 The rooftops were full of women and children dying of hunger and the lanes of the city were full of the corpses of old people, and children and youths wandered like shadows about the market-places, swollen with hunger and falling down dead wherever doom overtook them.
514 Those who were sick were unable to bury anybody, and those who were fit and well were deterred from doing so by the sheer number of corpses and their uncertainty about how soon they would die themselves, for many died while burying others and went into their graves before their appointed hour had come.
515 No laments or complaints were made amid this disaster, for hunger calmed all passion, and people who were about to die looked with dry-eyed and gaping at those who had ended before them. Deep silence and a night of death gripped the city, but the brigands were even worse than before.
516 They broke into houses which were hardly more than tombs and looted them of everything, and went out laughing, carrying off their clothing, and testing their sword-points on the corpses. To prove themselves they thrust through some who lay on the ground, still alive, 517 but scorned the requests of those who begged a helping hand to end their life with the sword leaving them to die of hunger. All died with their eyes fixed on the temple, leaving the rebels alive behind them.
518 Unable to endure the stench of the corpses, the rebels first had the dead to be buried out of the public treasury, but later, when this was impossible, had them thrown down from the ramparts into the valleys beneath.
519 When on his rounds Titus saw the valleys full of corpses with putrefaction running from them, he groaned and raised his hands to heaven, calling on God to witness that this wretched state of the city was not his doing.
520 But with the city in that state the Romans were relieved that none of the rebels could sally out, being in the grip of despondency and hunger, while the troops had plenty of corn and other essentials from Syria and the neighbouring provinces.
521 Many of them would stand near the wall of the city, showing the people how much provisions they had and by their abundance make the enemy more aware of their hunger.
522 But as the rebels still showed no sign of yielding, Titus, out of pity for the remnants of the people and wishing to rescue the survivors from their woes, began to raise his earthworks again, although materials for them were scarce, 523 since all the trees around the city had been already cut down for the earlier ones. The soldiers brought other materials from ninety furlongs off and raised earthworks in four sections, larger than before, but only at the Antonia tower.
524 Caesar went his rounds through the legions and hurried on the work, showing the brigands that they were now in his hands.
525 But they were unable to repent of their wrongs and isolating their souls from their bodies, treated both as belonging to someone else.
526 No gentle feeling touched their souls, nor did pain affect their bodies, and like dogs they still tore the corpses of the people and filled the prisons with the sick.
Chapter 13. [527-572]
Inter-Jewish slaughter in Jerusalem. Josephus is stoned, but not killed
527 Simon would not allow Matthias, through whom he had gained possession of the city, to be executed without torture. This Matthias, son of Boethus and of high-priestly stock, was highly trusted and esteemed by the people.
528 When the crowd were being harassed by the Zealots, including John, he had persuaded them to let Simon come in to help them, without settling conditions and expecting no harm from him.
529 But when Simon entered and had the city in his power, he treated the one who had advised them to admit him as his enemy like the rest, regarding that advice as mere foolishness.
530 He had him summoned and condemned him to die for being on the side of the Romans, without letting him make any defense, and condemned three of his sons to die with him, the fourth having had the foresight earlier to escape to Titus. Though he begged to be killed before his sons, as a favour for having had the gates of the city opened to him, he ordered him killed last of them all.
531 Therefore he was kept until he had seen his sons killed before his eyes, in full view of the Romans, for that was the command Simon had given to Ananus, son of Bamadus, the most cruel of all his guards. He also jested upon him saying that he could see now whether those to whom he intended to desert would send him any help, and he forbade their corpses to be buried.
532 After these murders, they also killed a distinguished priest named Ananias, son of Masambalus, and Aristens from Emmaus, the scribe of the Sanhedrin, and with them fifteen men of note among the people.
533 They also kept Josephus's father in prison and issued a proclamation forbidding any in the city to hold meetings or gatherings, for fear of treason, and killed without further examination whoever met to protest.
534 When Jude, son of Judas, one of Simon's officers in charge of one of the towers, saw this, he called together ten of his most loyal subordinates, partly, perhaps, from pity for those who had been so cruelly put to death, but mainly to provide for his own safety.
535 To these he said: "How long shall we bear these woes? What ar our chances if we keep loyal to such a wretch? 536 Are we not already in famine and with the Romans half into the city? Was Simon not treacherous to his benefactors? Must we not fear that he will soon treat us in the same way, whereas the guarantee the Romans offer us is sure? Come on, let us surrender this wall and save both ourselves and the city.
537 It will be little harm to Simon, with no chance of survival anyway, to be brought to justice sooner than expected." 538 The ten agreed to this, so in the morning he sent the rest of his subordinates off in all directions, that nobody would know of their plan, and about the third hour he called to the Romans from the tower.
539 Some of them scorned him, while distrusted him, though most held off in the belief that they would soon capture the city without any risk.
540 But when Titus approached the wall with his troops, Simon learned of the offer before he arrived and seized the tower before it could be surrendered and took the men and executed them within sight of the Romans, and threw their mangled corpses over the wall.
541 Meanwhile, going round the city, for he had not ceased imploring them [to surrender]
, Josephus was wounded on the head by a stone and fell down senseless. Some Jews rushed at his body and would have dragged him into the city, if Caesar had not immediately sent men to protect him.
542 While these were fighting, Josephus was carried off, barely aware of what was happening, while the rebels shouted with joy, thinking they had killed the man they wanted rid of.
543 As this was reported in the city the rest of the people were downcast at the thought that the man who encouraged them to desert really was dead.
544 Hearing in prison that her son was dead, Josephus's mother told her warders that she had known it since Jotapata and that even while he was alive she had not got much joy from him.
545 But in private she lamented to her maids that this was all the good she got for bringing into the world such an extraordinary child, to be unable even to bury the son whom she had expected to bury her.
546 In fact, this rumour did not long give grief to his mother or solace to the brigands, for Josephus quickly recovered from his wound and came and shouted that they would be punished soon for wounding him. He again urged the people to accept his guarantee; 547 and the sight of him heartened the people and stupefied the rebels.
548 Then some deserters, having no other exit, quickly jumped down from the wall while others of them brought stones out of the city, as if to fight, but then fled to the Romans. But they met a worse fate than what they had left, and died sooner from the over-abundance they found among the Romans than they would have from the famine among the Jews.
549 For they arrived swollen by hunger, like in a dropsy, and then suddenly overfilled those bodies that had been empty and so burst asunder, apart from those wise enough to check their appetites and to take in food by degrees into their emaciated bodies.
550 But the survivors suffered another blow, when a Syrian deserter was caught collecting pieces of gold from the excrement from the Jews' bellies, for the deserters used to swallow such pieces of gold, as we said, when they came out and the rebels searched them for these, for the city had so much gold that a coin was now sold for twelve Attics that would previously sell for twenty-five.
551 When an example of this came the light, rumour ran round the camps that the deserters were coming to them full of gold, so that many Arab and Syrians gutted the supplicants to search their bellies.
552 I think no calamity of the Jews exceeded this, for about two thousand deserters were carved up in one night.
553 When Titus became aware of this outrage, he felt like having the perpetrators surrounded by his cavalry and shot dead, and would have done so if they were not so many, even more than the number of those they had killed.
554 He did however, gather the officers of his allied troops and of the Roman legions, for he had heard that some of his own soldiers were also guilty in it, and spoke furiously to each of them.
555 Had any of his own soldiers done such things as this for the sake of uncertain gain, disregarding their own weapons, which are made of silver and gold? 556 He chided the Arabs and Syrians for indulging their appetites in a foreign war and then get the Romans to join in their murderous savagery and hatred for the Jews, since this infamy seemed to have spread to some of his own soldiers.
557 He threatened to put to death any of them who dared to do so again and directed the legions to search for those who were suspected and bring them to him.
558 But it seems that greed overcomes all penalties and the desire for profit is natural to humans and none of our passions is as daring as avarice.
559 While in other matters passion can be reined in and subdued to fear, in this case it was God who had condemned the whole nation and turned every avenue of safety to their destruction.
560 What was forbidden by Caesar's threats was secretly risked against the deserters and these barbarians kept going out unseen, to meet the fugitives. Looking about to see that no Roman was watching, they still cut them open and dragged this polluted money out of their bowels.
561 Though it was found in just a few, the mere hope of it cause many to lose their lives, and this barbarity drove many would-be deserters back to the city.
562 When John could no longer plunder the people, he turned to sacrilege and melted down many of the sacred vessels donated to the temple, and many items needed by those who ministered to holy things, the caldrons, the dishes and the tables, not even sparing the pouring vessels sent by Augustus and his wife.
563 For the Roman emperors always honoured and adorned this temple, while this man, a Jew, seized the donations of foreigners 564 and told his companions not to fear to use divine vessels while fighting for the Divinity, since those who soldier for the temple should live off it.
565 Therefore from the inner court of the temple he took the sacred wine and oil which the priests kept for pouring on the burned-offerings, and distributed it among the people, who each used more than a hin of it for anointing and drinking.
566 I really must say what I feel about this, for even if the Romans had delayed in coming against these criminals, I think the city would have been destroyed either by the ground opening up and swallowing them, or by being flooded by water, or by thunder such as destroyed the area around Sodom, for it had brought forth a more godless generation of men than those who suffered those punishments, and it was by their madness that all the people came to be killed.
567 But why focus on individual disasters, since Manneus, son of Lazarus, escaped to Titus at that time and reported how through the one gate where he had charge, no less than a hundred and fifteen thousand eight hundred and eighty corpses had been carried out between the fourteenth of Xanthieus, when the Romans encamped near the city and the first day of the month Panemus.
568 These were the bodies of the poor, and though this man was not actually in command of that gate, he was appointed to pay the public stipend for carrying out the bodies and so had to count them, while others were buried by their relatives; though all the burial they got was to be thrown outside the city.
569 After him many prominent citizens escaped to Titus and told him that no less than six hundred thousand corpses of the poor had been thrown out at the gates, and nobody could tell the number of the rest.
570 They added that when they could no longer carry out the corpses of the poor, they laid them in heaps in the larger houses and closed them up.
571 A measure of wheat was being sold for a talent, and later, when it was impossible to gather herbs, as the city was all surrounded, some were driven to such distress that they searched the sewers and old dunghills of livestock and ate the dung they found there, and what previously they could not even look at they now used for food.
572 When the Romans merely heard all this, they had pity on their plight, but the rebels, who also saw it, did not repent but let the same plight come upon themselves, blinded by the fate which was now coming upon the city and upon themselves.