Book II - Chapters 19-22
WHAT CESTIUS DID AGAINST THE JEWS; AND HOW, UPON HIS BESIEGING JERUSALEM, HE RETREATED FROM THE CITY WITHOUT ANY JUST OCCASION IN THE WORLD. AS ALSO WHAT SEVERE CALAMITIES HE UNDER WENT FROM THE JEWS IN HIS RETREAT.
1. AND now Gallus, seeing nothing more that looked towards an innovation in Galilee, returned with his army to Cesarea: but Cestius removed with his whole army, and marched to Antipatris; and when he was informed that there was a great body of Jewish forces gotten together in a certain tower called Aphek, he sent a party before to fight them; but this party dispersed the Jews by affrighting them before it came to a battle: so they came, and finding their camp deserted, they burnt it, as well as the villages that lay about it. But when Cestius had marched from Antipatris to Lydda, he found the city empty of its men, for the whole multitude (28) were gone up to Jerusalem to the feast of tabernacles; yet did he destroy fifty of those that showed themselves, and burnt the city, and so marched forwards; and ascending by Betboron, he pitched his camp at a certain place called Gabao, fifty furlongs distant from Jerusalem.
2. But as for the Jews, when they saw the war approaching to their metropolis, they left the feast, and betook themselves to their arms; and taking courage greatly from their multitude, went in a sudden and disorderly manner to the fight, with a great noise, and without any consideration had of the rest of the seventh day, although the Sabbath (29) was the day to which they had the greatest regard; but that rage which made them forget the religious observation [of the sabbath] made them too hard for their enemies in the fight: with such violence therefore did they fall upon the Romans, as to break into their ranks, and to march through the midst of them, making a great slaughter as they went, insomuch that unless the horsemen, and such part of the footmen as were not yet tired in the action, had wheeled round, and succored that part of the army which was not yet broken, Cestius, with his whole army, had been in danger: however, five hundred and fifteen of the Romans were slain, of which number four hundred were footmen, and the rest horsemen, while the Jews lost only twenty-two, of whom the most valiant were the kinsmen of Monobazus, king of Adiabene, and their names were Monobazus and Kenedeus; and next to them were Niger of Perea, and Silas of Babylon, who had deserted from king Agrippa to the Jews; for he had formerly served in his army. When the front of the Jewish army had been cut off, the Jews retired into the city; but still Simon, the son of Giora, fell upon the backs of the Romans, as they were ascending up Bethoron, and put the hindmost of the army into disorder, and carried off many of the beasts that carded the weapons of war, and led Shem into the city. But as Cestius tarried there three days, the Jews seized upon the elevated parts of the city, and set watches at the entrances into the city, and appeared openly resolved not to rest when once the Romans should begin to march.
3. And now when Agrippa observed that even the affairs of the Romans were likely to be in danger, while such an immense multitude of their enemies had seized upon the mountains round about, he determined to try what the Jews would agree to by words, as thinking that he should either persuade them all to desist from fighting, or, however, that he should cause the sober part of them to separate themselves from the opposite party. So he sent Borceus and Phebus, the persons of his party that were the best known to them, and promised them that Cestius should give them his right hand, to secure them of the Romans' entire forgiveness of what they had done amiss, if they would throw away their arms, and come over to them; but the seditious, fearing lest the whole multitude, in hopes of security to themselves, should go over to Agrippa, resolved immediately to fall upon and kill the ambassadors; accordingly they slew Phebus before he said a word, but Borceus was only wounded, and so prevented his fate by flying away. And when the people were very angry at this, they had the seditious beaten with stones and clubs, and drove them before them into the city.
4. But now Cestius, observing that the disturbances that were begun among the Jews afforded him a proper opportunity to attack them, took his whole army along with him, and put the Jews to flight, and pursued them to Jerusalem. He then pitched his camp upon the elevation called Scopus, [or watch-tower,] which was distant seven furlongs from the city; yet did not he assault them in three days' time, out of expectation that those within might perhaps yield a little; and in the mean time he sent out a great many of his soldiers into neighboring villages, to seize upon their corn. And on the fourth day, which was the thirtieth of the month Hyperbereteus, [Tisri,] when he had put his army in array, he brought it into the city. Now for the people, they were kept under by the seditious; but the seditious themselves were greatly affrighted at the good order of the Romans, and retired from the suburbs, and retreated into the inner part of the city, and into the temple. But when Cestius was come into the city, he set the part called Bezetha, which is called Cenopolis, [or the new city,] on fire; as he did also to the timber market; after which he came into the upper city, and pitched his camp over against the royal palace; and had he but at this very time attempted to get within the walls by force, he had won the city presently, and the war had been put an end to at once; but Tyrannius Priseus, the muster-master of the army, and a great number of the officers of the horse, had been corrupted by Florus, and diverted him from that his attempt; and that was the occasion that this war lasted so very long, and thereby the Jews were involved in such incurable calamities.
5. In the mean time, many of the principal men of the city were persuaded by Ananus, the son of Jonathan, and invited Cestius into the city, and were about to open the gates for him; but he overlooked this offer, partly out of his anger at the Jews, and partly because he did not thoroughly believe they were in earnest; whence it was that he delayed the matter so long, that the seditious perceived the treachery, and threw Ananus and those of his party down from the wall, and, pelting them with stones, drove them into their houses; but they stood themselves at proper distances in the towers, and threw their darts at those that were getting over the wall. Thus did the Romans make their attack against the wall for five days, but to no purpose. But on the next day Cestius took a great many of his choicest men, and with them the archers, and attempted to break into the temple at the northern quarter of it; but the Jews beat them off from the cloisters, and repulsed them several times when they were gotten near to the wall, till at length the multitude of the darts cut them off, and made them retire; but the first rank of the Romans rested their shields upon the wall, and so did those that were behind them, and the like did those that were still more backward, and guarded themselves with what they call Testudo, [the back of] a tortoise, upon which the darts that were thrown fell, and slided off without doing them any harm; so the soldiers undermined the wall, without being themselves hurt, and got all things ready for setting fire to the gate of the temple.
6. And now it was that a horrible fear seized upon the seditious, insomuch that many of them ran out of the city, as though it were to be taken immediately; but the people upon this took courage, and where the wicked part of the city gave ground, thither did they come, in order to set open the gates, and to admit Cestius (30) as their benefactor, who, had he but continued the siege a little longer, had certainly taken the city; but it was, I suppose, owing to the aversion God had already at the city and the sanctuary, that he was hindered from putting an end to the war that very day.
7. It then happened that Cestius was not conscious either how the besieged despaired of success, nor how courageous the people were for him; and so he recalled his soldiers from the place, and by despairing of any expectation of taking it, without having received any disgrace, he retired from the city, without any reason in the world. But when the robbers perceived this unexpected retreat of his, they resumed their courage, and ran after the hinder parts of his army, and destroyed a considerable number of both their horsemen and footmen; and now Cestius lay all night at the camp which was at Scopus; and as he went off farther next day, he thereby invited the enemy to follow him, who still fell upon the hindmost, and destroyed them; they also fell upon the flank on each side of the army, and threw darts upon them obliquely, nor durst those that were hindmost turn back upon those who wounded them behind, as imagining that the multitude of those that pursued them was immense; nor did they venture to drive away those that pressed upon them on each side, because they were heavy with their arms, and were afraid of breaking their ranks to pieces, and because they saw the Jews were light, and ready for making incursions upon them. And this was the reason why the Romans suffered greatly, without being able to revenge themselves upon their enemies; so they were galled all the way, and their ranks were put into disorder, and those that were thus put out of their ranks were slain; among whom were Priscus, the commander of the sixth legion, and Longinus, the tribune, and Emilius Secundus, the commander of a troop of horsemen. So it was not without difficulty that they got to Gabao, their former camp, and that not without the loss of a great part of their baggage. There it was that Cestius staid two days, and was in great distress to know what he should do in these circumstances; but when on the third day he saw a still much greater number of enemies, and all the parts round about him full of Jews, he understood that his delay was to his own detriment, and that if he staid any longer there, he should have still more enemies upon him.
8. That therefore he might fly the faster, he gave orders to cast away what might hinder his army's march; so they killed the mules and other creatures, excepting those that carried their darts and machines, which they retained for their own use, and this principally because they were afraid lest the Jews should seize upon them. He then made his army march on as far as Bethoron. Now the Jews did not so much press upon them when they were in large open places; but when they were penned up in their descent through narrow passages, then did some of them get before, and hindered them from getting out of them; and others of them thrust the hinder-most down into the lower places; and the whole multitude extended themselves over against the neck of the passage, and covered the Roman army with their darts. In which circumstances, as the footmen knew not how to defend themselves, so the danger pressed the horsemen still more, for they were so pelted, that they could not march along the road in their ranks, and the ascents were so high, that the cavalry were not able to march against the enemy; the precipices also and valleys into which they frequently fell, and tumbled down, were such on each side of them, that there was neither place for their flight, nor any contrivance could be thought of for their defense; till the distress they were at last in was so great, that they betook themselves to lamentations, and to such mournful cries as men use in the utmost despair: the joyful acclamations of the Jews also, as they encouraged one another, echoed the sounds back again, these last composing a noise of those that at once rejoiced and were in a rage. Indeed, things were come to such a pass, that the Jews had almost taken Cestius's entire army prisoners, had not the night come on, when the Romans fled to Bethoron, and the Jews seized upon all the places round about them, and watched for their coming out [in the morning].
9. And then it was that Cestius, despairing of obtaining room for a public march, contrived how he might best run away; and when he had selected four hundred of the most courageous of his soldiers, he placed them at the strongest of their fortifications, and gave order, that when they went up to the morning guard, they should erect their ensigns, that the Jews might be made to believe that the entire army was there still, while he himself took the rest of his forces with him, and marched, without any noise, thirty furlongs. But when the Jews perceived, in the morning, that the camp was empty, they ran upon those four hundred who had deluded them, and immediately threw their darts at them, and slew them; and then pursued after Cestius. But he had already made use of a great part of the night in his flight, and still marched quicker when it was day; insomuch that the soldiers, through the astonishment and fear they were in, left behind them their engines for sieges, and for throwing of stones, and a great part of the instruments of war. So the Jews went on pursuing the Romans as far as Antipatris; after which, seeing they could not overtake them, they came back, and took the engines, and spoiled the dead bodies, and gathered the prey together which the Romans had left behind them, and came back running and singing to their metropolis; while they had themselves lost a few only, but had slain of the Romans five thousand and three hundred footmen, and three hundred and eighty horsemen. This defeat happened on the eighth day of the month Dius, [Marchesvan,] in the twelfth year of the reign of Nero.
CESTIUS SENDS AMBASSADORS TO NERO. THE PEOPLE OF DAMASCUS SLAY THOSE JEWS THAT LIVED WITH THEM. THE PEOPLE OF JERUSALEM AFTER THEY HAD [LEFT OFF] PURSUING CESTIUS, RETURN TO THE CITY AND GET THINGS READY FOR ITS DEFENSE AND MAKE A GREAT MANY GENERALS FOR, THEIR ARMIES AND PARTICULARLY JOSEPHUS THE WRITER OF THESE BOOKS. SOME ACCOUNT OF HIS ADMINISTRATION.
1. AFTER this calamity had befallen Cestius, many of the most eminent of the Jews swam away from the city, as from a ship when it was going to sink; Costobarus, therefore, and Saul, who were brethren, together with Philip, the son of Jacimus, who was the commander of king Agrippa's forces, ran away from the city, and went to Cestius. But then how Antipas, who had been besieged with them in the king's palace, but would not fly away with them, was afterward slain by the seditious, we shall relate hereafter. However, Cestius sent Saul and his friends, at their own desire, to Achaia, to Nero, to inform him of the great distress they were in, and to lay the blame of their kindling the war upon Florus, as hoping to alleviate his own danger, by provoking his indignation against Florus.
2. In the mean time, the people of Damascus, when they were informed of the destruction of the Romans, set about the slaughter of those Jews that were among them; and as they had them already cooped up together in the place of public exercises, which they had done out of the suspicion they had of them, they thought they should meet with no difficulty in the attempt; yet did they distrust their own wives, which were almost all of them addicted to the Jewish religion; on which account it was that their greatest concern was, how they might conceal these things from them; so they came upon the Jews, and cut their throats, as being in a narrow place, in number ten thousand, and all of them unarmed, and this in one hour's time, without any body to disturb them.
3. But as to those who had pursued after Cestius, when they were returned back to Jerusalem, they overbore some of those that favored the Romans by violence, and some them persuaded [by en-treaties] to join with them, and got together in great numbers in the temple, and appointed a great many generals for the war. Joseph also, the son of Gorion, (31) and Ananus the high priest, were chosen as governors of all affairs within the city, and with a particular charge to repair the walls of the city; for they did not ordain Eleazar the son of Simon to that office, although he had gotten into his possession the prey they had taken from the Romans, and the money they had taken from Cestius, together with a great part of the public treasures, because they saw he was of a tyrannical temper, and that his followers were, in their behavior, like guards about him. However, the want they were in of Eleazar's money, and the subtle tricks used by him, brought all so about, that the people were circumvented, and submitted themselves to his authority in all public affairs.
4. They also chose other generals for Idumea; Jesus, the son of Sapphias, one of the high priests; and Eleazar, the son of Ananias, the high priest; they also enjoined Niger, the then governor of Idumea, (32) who was of a family that belonged to Perea, beyond Jordan, and was thence called the Peraite, that he should be obedient to those fore-named commanders. Nor did they neglect the care of other parts of the country; but Joseph the son of Simon was sent as general to Jericho, as was Manasseh to Perea, and John, the Esscue, to the toparchy of Thamna; Lydda was also added to his portion, and Joppa, and Emmaus. But John, the son of Matthias, was made governor of the toparchies of Gophnitica and Acrabattene; as was Josephus, the son of Matthias, of both the Galilees. Gamala also, which was the strongest city in those parts, was put under his command.
5. So every one of the other commanders administered the affairs of his portion with that alacrity and prudence they were masters of; but as to Josephus, when he came into Galilee, his first care was to gain the good-will of the people of that country, as sensible that he should thereby have in general good success, although he should fail in other points. And being conscious to himself that if he communicated part of his power to the great men, he should make them his fast friends; and that he should gain the same favor from the multitude, if he executed his commands by persons of their own country, and with whom they were well acquainted; he chose out seventy of the most prudent men, and those elders in age, and appointed them to be rulers of all Galilee, as he chose seven judges in every city to hear the lesser quarrels; for as to the greater causes, and those wherein life and death were concerned, he enjoined they should be brought to him and the seventy (33) elders.
6. Josephus also, when he had settled these rules for determining causes by the law, with regard to the people's dealings one with another, betook himself to make provisions for their safety against external violence; and as he knew the Romans would fall upon Galilee, he built walls in proper places about Jotapata, and Bersabee, and Selamis; and besides these, about Caphareccho, and Japha, and Sigo, and what they call Mount Tabor, and Tarichee, and Tiberias. Moreover, he built walls about the caves near the lake of Gennesar, which places lay in the Lower Galilee; the same he did to the places of Upper Galilee, as well as to the rock called the Rock of the Achabari, and to Seph, and Jamnith, and Meroth; and in Gaulonitis he fortified Seleucia, and Sogane, and Gamala; but as to those of Sepphoris, they were the only people to whom he gave leave to build their own walls, and this because he perceived they were rich and wealthy, and ready to go to war, without standing in need of any injunctions for that purpose. The case was the same with Gischala, which had a wall built about it by John the son of Levi himself, but with the consent of Josephus; but for the building of the rest of the fortresses, he labored together with all the other builders, and was present to give all the necessary orders for that purpose. He also got together an army out of Galilee, of more than a hundred thousand young men, all of which he armed with the old weapons which he had collected together and prepared for them.
7. And when he had considered that the Roman power became invincible, chiefly by their readiness in obeying orders, and the constant exercise of their arms, he despaired of teaching these his men the use of their arms, which was to be obtained by experience; but observing that their readiness in obeying orders was owing to the multitude of their officers, he made his partitions in his army more after the Roman manner, and appointed a great many subalterns. He also distributed the soldiers into various classes, whom he put under captains of tens, and captains of hundreds, and then under captains of thousands; and besides these, he had commanders of larger bodies of men. He also taught them to give the signals one to another, and to call and recall the soldiers by the trumpets, how to expand the wings of an army, and make them wheel about; and when one wing hath had success, to turn again and assist those that were hard set, and to join in the defense of what had most suffered. He also continually instructed them ill what concerned the courage of the soul, and the hardiness of the body; and, above all, he exercised them for war, by declaring to them distinctly the good order of the Romans, and that they were to fight with men who, both by the strength of their bodies and courage of their souls, had conquered in a manner the whole habitable earth. He told them that he should make trial of the good order they would observe in war, even before it came to any battle, in case they would abstain from the crimes they used to indulge themselves in, such as theft, and robbery, and rapine, and from defrauding their own countrymen, and never to esteem the harm done to those that were so near of kin to them to be any advantage to themselves; for that wars are then managed the best when the warriors preserve a good conscience; but that such as are ill men in private life will not only have those for enemies which attack them, but God himself also for their antagonist.
8. And thus did he continue to admonish them. Now he chose for the war such an army as was sufficient, i.e. sixty thousand footmen, and two hundred and fifty horsemen; (34) and besides these, on which he put the greatest trust, there were about four thousand five hundred mercenaries; he had also six hundred men as guards of his body. Now the cities easily maintained the rest of his army, excepting the mercenaries, for every one of the cities enumerated above sent out half their men to the army, and retained the other half at home, in order to get provisions for them; insomuch that the one part went to the war, and the other part to their work, and so those that sent out their corn were paid for it by those that were in arms, by that security which they enjoyed from them.
CONCERNING JOHN OF GICHALA. JOSEPHUS USES STRATAGEMS AGAINST THE PLOTS JOHN LAID AGAINST HIM AND RECOVERS CERTAIN CITIES WHICH HAD REVOLTED FROM HIM.
1. NOW as Josephus was thus engaged in the administration of the affairs of Galilee, there arose a treacherous person, a man of Gischala, the son of Levi, "whose name was John. His character was that of a very cunning and very knavish person, beyond the ordinary rate of the other men of eminence there, and for wicked practices he had not his fellow any where. Poor he was at first, and for a long time his wants were a hinderance to him in his wicked designs. He was a ready liar, and yet very sharp in gaining credit to his fictions: he thought it a point of virtue to delude people, and would delude even such as were the dearest to him. He was a hypocritical pretender to humanity, but where he had hopes of gain, he spared not the shedding of blood: his desires were ever carried to great things, and he encouraged his hopes from those mean wicked tricks which he was the author of. He had a peculiar knack at thieving; but in some time he got certain companions in his impudent practices; at first they were but few, but as he proceeded on in his evil course, they became still more and more numerous. He took care that none of his partners should be easily caught in their rogueries, but chose such out of the rest as had the strongest constitutions of body, and the greatest courage of soul, together with great skill in martial affairs; as he got together a band of four hundred men, who came principally out of the country of Tyre, and were vagabonds that had run away from its villages; and by the means of these he laid waste all Galilee, and irritated a considerable number, who were in great expectation of a war then suddenly to arise among them.
2. However, John's want of money had hitherto restrained him in his ambition after command, and in his attempts to advance himself. But when he saw that Josephus was highly pleased with the activity of his temper, he persuaded him, in the first place, to intrust him with the repairing of the walls of his native city, [Gischala,] in which work he got a great deal of money from the rich citizens. He after that contrived a very shrewd trick, and pretending that the Jews who dwelt in Syria were obliged to make use of oil that was made by others than those of their own nation, he desired leave of Josephus to send oil to their borders; so he bought four amphorae with such Tyrian money as was of the value of four Attic drachmae, and sold every half-amphora at the same price. And as Galilee was very fruitful in oil, and was peculiarly so at that time, by sending away great quantities, and having the sole privilege so to do, he gathered an immense sum of money together, which money he immediately used to the disadvantage of him who gave him that privilege; and, as he supposed, that if he could once overthrow Josephus, he should himself obtain the government of Galilee; so he gave orders to the robbers that were under his command to be more zealous in their thievish expeditions, that by the rise of many that desired innovations in the country, he might either catch their general in his snares, as he came to the country's assistance, and then kill him; or if he should overlook the robbers, he might accuse him for his negligence to the people of the country. He also spread abroad a report far and near that Josephus was delivering up the administration of affairs to the Romans; and many such plots did he lay, in order to ruin him.
3. Now at the same time that certain young men of the village Dabaritta, who kept guard in the Great Plain laid snares for Ptolemy, who was Agrippa's and Bernice's steward, and took from him all that he had with him; among which things there were a great many costly garments, and no small number of silver cups, and six hundred pieces of gold; yet were they not able to conceal what they had stolen, but brought it all to Josephus, to Tarichee. Hereupon he blamed them for the violence they had offered to the king and queen, and deposited what they brought to him with Eneas, the most potent man of Taricheae, with an intention of sending the things back to the owners at a proper time; which act of Josephus brought him into the greatest danger; for those that had stolen the things had an indignation at him, both because they gained no share of it for themselves, and because they perceived beforehand what was Josephus's intention, and that he would freely deliver up what had cost them so much pains to the king and queen. These ran away by night to their several villages, and declared to all men that Josephus was going to betray them: they also raised great disorders in all the neighboring cities, insomuch that in the morning a hundred thousand armed men came running together; which multitude was crowded together in the hippodrome at Taricheae, and made a very peevish clamor against him; while some cried out, that they should depose the traitor; and others, that they should burn him. Now John irritated a great many, as did also one Jesus, the son of Sapphias, who was then governor of Tiberias. Then it was that Josephus's friends, and the guards of his body, were so affrighted at this violent assault of the multitude, that they all fled away but four; and as he was asleep, they awaked him, as the people were going to set fire to the house. And although those four that remained with him persuaded him to run away, he was neither surprised at his being himself deserted, nor at the great multitude that came against him, but leaped out to them with his clothes rent, and ashes sprinkled on his head, with his hands behind him, and his sword hanging at his neck. At this sight his friends, especially those of Tarichae, commiserated his condition; but those that came out of the country, and those in their neighborhood, to whom his government seemed burdensome, reproached him, and bid him produce the money which belonged to them all immediately, and to confess the agreement he had made to betray them; for they imagined, from the habit in which he appeared, that he would deny nothing of what they suspected concerning him, and that it was in order to obtain pardon that he had put himself entirely into so pitiable a posture. But this humble appearance was only designed as preparatory to a stratagem of his, who thereby contrived to set those that were so angry at him at variance one with another about the things they were angry at. However, he promised he would confess all: hereupon he was permitted to speak, when he said," I did neither intend to send this money back to Agrippa, nor to gain it myself; for I did never esteem one that was your enemy to be my friend, nor did I look upon what would tend to your disadvantage to be my advantage. But, O you people of Tariehete, I saw that your city stood in more need than others of fortifications for your security, and that it wanted money in order for the building it a wall. I was also afraid lest the people of Tiberias and other cities should lay a plot to seize upon these spoils, and therefore it was that I intended to retain this money privately, that I might encompass you with a wall. But if this does not please you, I will produce what was brought me, and leave it to you to plunder it; but if I have conducted myself so well as to please you, you may if you please punish your benefactor."
4. Hereupon the people of Taricheae loudly commended him; but those of Tiberias, with the rest of the company, gave him hard names, and threatened what they would do to him; so both sides left off quarrelling with Josephus, and fell on quarrelling with one another. So he grew bold upon the dependence he had on his friends, which were the people of Taricheae, and about forty thousand in number, and spake more freely to the whole multitude, and reproached them greatly for their rashness; and told them, that with this money he would build walls about Taricheae, and would put the other cities in a state of security also; for that they should not want money, if they would but agree for whose benefit it was to be procured, and would not suffer themselves to be irritated against him who procured it for them.
5. Hereupon the rest of the multitude that had been deluded retired; but yet so that they went away angry, and two thousand of them made an assault upon him in their armor; and as he was already gone to his own house, they stood without and threatened him. On which occasion Josephus again used a second stratagem to escape them; for he got upon the top of his house, and with his right hand desired them to be silent, and said to them, "I cannot tell what you would have, nor can hear what you say, for the confused noise you make;" but he said that he would comply with all their demands, in case they would but send some of their number in to him that might talk with him about it. And when the principal of them, with their leaders, heard this, they came into the house. He then drew them to the most retired part of the house, and shut the door of that hall where he put them, and then had them whipped till every one of their inward parts appeared naked. In the mean time the multitude stood round the house, and supposed that he had a long discourse with those that were gone in about what they claimed of him. He had then the doors set open immediately, and sent the men out all bloody, which so terribly aftrighted those that had before threatened him, that they threw away their arms and ran away.
6. But as for John, his envy grew greater [upon this escape of Josephus], and he framed a new plot against him; he pretended to be sick, and by a letter desired that Josephus would give him leave to use the hot baths that were at Tiberias, for the recovery of his health. Hereupon Josephus, who hitherto suspected nothing of John's plots against him, wrote to the governors of the city, that they would provide a lodging and necessaries for John; which favors, when he had made use of, in two days' time he did what he came about; some he corrupted with delusive frauds, and others with money, and so persuaded them to revolt from Josephus. This Silas, who was appointed guardian of the city by Josephus, wrote to him immediately, and informed him of the plot against him; which epistle when Josephus had received, he marched with great diligence all night, and came early in the morning to Tiberias; at which time the rest of the multitude met him. But John, who suspected that his coming was not for his advantage, sent however one of his friends, and pretended that he was sick, and that being confined to his bed, he could not come to pay him his respects. But as soon as Josephus had got the people of Tiberias together in the stadium, and tried to discourse with them about the letters that he had received, John privately sent some armed men, and gave them orders to slay him. But when the people saw that the armed men were about to draw their swords, they cried out; at which cry Josephus turned himself about, and when he saw that the swords were just at his throat, he marched away in great haste to the sea-shore, and left off that speech which he was going to make to the people, upon an elevation of six cubits high. He then seized on a ship which lay in the haven, and leaped into it, with two of his guards, and fled away into the midst of the lake.
7. But now the soldiers he had with him took up their arms immediately, and marched against the plotters; but Josephus was afraid lest a civil war should be raised by the envy of a few men, and bring the city to ruin; so he sent some of his party to tell them, that they should do no more than provide for their own safety; that they should not kill any body, nor accuse any for the occasion they had afforded [of disorder]. Accordingly, these men obeyed his orders, and were quiet; but the people of the neighboring country, when they were informed of this plot, and of the plotter, they got together in great multitudes to oppose John. But he prevented their attempt, and fled away to Gischala, his native city, while the Galileans came running out of their several cities to Josephus; and as they were now become many ten thousands of armed men, they cried out, that they were come against John the common plotter against their interest, and would at the same time burn him, and that city which had received him. Hereupon Josephus told them that he took their good-will to him kindly, but still he restrained their fury, and intended to subdue his enemies by prudent conduct, rather than by slaying them; so he excepted those of every city which had joined in this revolt with John, by name, who had readily been shown him by these that came from every city, and caused public proclamation to be made, that he would seize upon the effects of those that did not forsake John within five days' time, and would burn both their houses and their families with fire. Whereupon three thousand of John's party left him immediately, who came to Josephus, and threw their arms down at his feet. John then betook himself, together with his two thousand Syrian runagates, from open attempts, to more secret ways of treachery. Accordingly, he privately sent messengers to Jerusalem, to accuse Josephus, as having to great power, and to let them know that he would soon come as a tyrant to their metropolis, unless they prevented him. This accusation the people were aware of beforehand, but had no regard to it. However, some of the grandees, out of envy, and some of the rulers also, sent money to John privately, that he might be able to get together mercenary soldiers, in order to fight Josephus; they also made a decree of themselves, and this for recalling him from his government, yet did they not think that decree sufficient; so they sent withal two thousand five hundred armed men, and four persons of the highest rank amongst them; Joazar the son of Nomicus, and Ananias the son of Sadduk, as also Simon and Judas the sons of Jonathan, all very able men in speaking, that these persons might withdraw the good-will of the people from Josephus. These had it in charge, that if he would voluntarily come away, they should permit him to [come and] give an account of his conduct; but if he obstinately insisted upon continuing in his government, they should treat him as an enemy. Now Josephus's friends had sent him word that an army was coming against him, but they gave him no notice beforehand what the reason of their coming was, that being only known among some secret councils of his enemies; and by this means it was that four cities revolted from him immediately, Sepphoris, and Gamala, and Gischala, and Tiberias. Yet did he recover these cities without war; and when he had routed those four commanders by stratagems, and had taken the most potent of their warriors, he sent them to Jerusalem; and the people [of Galilee] had great indignation at them, and were in a zealous disposition to slay, not only these forces, but those that sent them also, had not these forces prevented it by running away.
8. Now John was detained afterward within the walls of Gischala, by the fear he was in of Josephus; but within a few days Tiberias revolted again, the people within it inviting king Agrippa [to return to the exercise of his authority there]. And when he did not come at the time appointed, and when a few Roman horsemen appeared that day, they expelled Josephus out of the city. Now this revolt of theirs was presently known at Taricheae; and as Josephus had sent out all the soldiers that were with him to gather corn, he knew not how either to march out alone against the revolters, or to stay where he was, because he was afraid the king's soldiers might prevent him if he tarried, and might get into the city; for he did not intend to do any thing on the next day, because it was the sabbath day, and would hinder his proceeding. So he contrived to circumvent the revolters by a stratagem; and in the first place he ordered the gates of Taricheae to be shut, that nobody might go out and inform [those of Tiberias], for whom it was intended, what stratagem he was about; he then got together all the ships that were upon the lake, which were found to be two hundred and thirty, and in each of them he put no more than four mariners. So he sailed to Tiberias with haste, and kept at such a distance from the city, that it was not easy for the people to see the vessels, and ordered that the empty vessels should float up and down there, while himself, who had but seven of his guards with him, and those unarmed also, went so near as to be seen; but when his adversaries, who were still reproaching him, saw him from the walls, they were so astonished that they supposed all the ships were full of armed men, and threw down their arms, and by signals of intercession they besought him to spare the city.
9. Upon this Josephus threatened them terribly, and reproached them, that when they were the first that took up arms against the Romans, they should spend their force beforehand in civil dissensions, and do what their enemies desired above all things; and that besides they should endeavor so hastily to seize upon him, who took care of their safety, and had not been ashamed to shut the gates of their city against him that built their walls; that, however, he would admit of any intercessors from them that might make some excuse for them, and with whom he would make such agreements as might be for the city's security. Hereupon ten of the most potent men of Tiberias came down to him presently; and when he had taken them into one of his vessels, he ordered them to be carried a great way off from the city. He then commanded that fifty others of their senate, such as were men of the greatest eminence, should come to him, that they also might give him some security on their behalf. After which, under one new pretense or another, he called forth others, one after another, to make the leagues between them. He then gave order to the masters of those vessels which he had thus filled to sail away immediately for Taricheae, and to confine those men in the prison there; till at length he took all their senate, consisting of six hundred persons, and about two thousand of the populace, and carried them away to Taricheae. (35)
10. And when the rest of the people cried out, that it was one Clitus that was the chief author of this revolt, they desired him to spend his anger upon him [only]; but Josephus, whose intention it was to slay nobody, commanded one Levius, belonging to his guards, to go out of the vessel, in order to cut off both Clitus's hands; yet was Levius afraid to go out by himself alone to such a large body of enemies, and refused to go. Now Clitus saw that Josephus was in a great passion in the ship, and ready to leap out of it, in order to execute the punishment himself; he begged therefore from the shore, that he would leave him one of his hands; which Josephus agreed to, upon condition that he would himself cutoff the other hand; accordingly he drew his sword, and with his right hand cut off his left, so great was the fear he was in of Josephus himself. And thus he took the people of Tiberias prisoners, and recovered the city again with empty ships and seven of his guard. Moreover, a few days afterward he retook Gischala, which had revolted with the people of Sepphoris, and gave his soldiers leave to plunder it; yet did he get all the plunder together, and restored it to the inhabitants; and the like he did to the inhabitants of Sepphoris and Tiberias. For when he had subdued those cities, he had a mind, by letting them be plundered, to give them some good instruction, while at the same time he regained their good-will by restoring them their money again.
THE JEWS MAKE ALL READY FOR THE WAR; AND SIMON, THE SON OF GIORAS, FALLS TO PLUNDERING.
1. AND thus were the disturbances of Galilee quieted, when, upon their ceasing to prosecute their civil dissensions, they betook themselves to make preparations for the war with the Romans. Now in Jerusalem the high priest Artanus, and do as many of the men of power as were not in the interest of the Romans, both repaired the walls, and made a great many warlike instruments, insomuch that in all parts of the city darts and all sorts of armor were upon the anvil. Although the multitude of the young men were engaged in exercises, without any regularity, and all places were full of tumultuous doings; yet the moderate sort were exceedingly sad; and a great many there were who, out of the prospect they had of the calamities that were coming upon them, made great lamentations. There were also such omens observed as were understood to be forerunners of evils by such as loved peace, but were by those that kindled the war interpreted so as to suit their own inclinations; and the very state of the city, even before the Romans came against it, was that of a place doomed to destruction. However, Ananus's concern was this, to lay aside, for a while, the preparations for the war, and to persuade the seditious to consult their own interest, and to restrain the madness of those that had the name of zealots; but their violence was too hard for him; and what end he came to we shall relate hereafter.
2. But as for the Acrabbene toparchy, Simon, the son of Gioras, got a great number of those that were fond of innovations together, and betook himself to ravage the country; nor did he only harass the rich men's houses, but tormented their bodies, and appeared openly and beforehand to affect tyranny in his government. And when an army was sent against him by Artanus, and the other rulers, he and his band retired to the robbers that were at Masada, and staid there, and plundered the country of Idumea with them, till both Ananus and his other adversaries were slain; and until the rulers of that country were so afflicted with the multitude of those that were slain, and with the continual ravage of what they had, that they raised an army, and put garrisons into the villages, to secure them from those insults. And in this state were the affairs of Judea at that time.