Hegesippus, translated from Latin into English (2005). Book 4
[Translated by Wade Blocker, firstname.lastname@example.org]
BOOK IV BEGINS HERE.
I. The Taricheans having been eliminated, for the most part the Romans were able to gain control of the Galilaean cities and territory, save only that the city Gamala of an obstinate people of the Gaulanitidian region relying upon (its) inaccessible location maintained (its) arrogance. For it is situated on a mountain. Circumscribed on the right and left sides by rugged cliffs, it is constrained to the summit, in front it is cut off by a deep opening, in the after part it is somewhat extended, from that side also, a narrow path and a difficult approach meandering to the city, you would judge the route similar to a tail; from the highest point a neck extending a great distance displays a fortress as if a head and lifts to a high [p. 239] altitude, narrow from the beginning and like a curved bottom with steep turnings and buried to a great depth, thence as if raising up in the middle a certain tendon of the neck, for the rest rugged and without a path. Whence very many from previous times think (it) to have been named Camela, because it offers the shape of a camel, but the name of Gamala to have stuck to the city from the incorrect usage of the inhabitants. Indeed if you look at the buildings jammed together, you would adjudge the city to be suspended and would especially consider its northern parts to hang suspended, turned back a little southerly. Josephus added fortifications to this city also, relying upon which and the number of the multitude coming together there they made sport through seven months of the siege of King Agrippa. For this city and Sotanis and Seleucia were parts of his kingdom, Seleucia next to that very pleasant forest Daphnes famous throughout Syria, filled with cypress trees, gushing with springs by which it pours in certain nutriments with milky abundance into the meandering river of this region, which they designate the Lesser Jordan. However this state and upper Sotanis and the portion of Gaulanitidis below Gamala, from where with dissonant enthusiasm the former chose the Roman partnership, the latter revolted so obstinately that when the king wished to address them too close to the walls he was wounded by the missile of a sling. Incensed by whose injury the Romans applied themselves to the siege more strongly, and it was conflicted promptly by both sides, by the Jews also, who had treated with violence their own king while he was persuading useful actions, who assessing themselves to be without any forgiveness if they were conquered were fighting with all their strength. Agrippa [p. 240] for the reason that he had been struck on the right elbow by a rock went out from the fighting, the Romans broke into the city. The enemy gave way to the missiles, the wall to the battering rams. For those who fought the war machines were not at all able to resist longer, and the wall shattered by three battering rams furnished an accessible route to the besiegers into the besieged. But that thing the impatience of haste brought an extraordinary slaughter upon the victors. For when they poured themselves into the dwellings, while they are searching through or hastening to go plundering, the critical falling to weight of houses, with crumbling foundations brought on catastrophe and the nearest and whatever was in proximity was dashed to destruction. Many Romans involved with these collapses met death in victory. Most pushing themselves forward were overwhelmed by falling dwellings, others half-dead with mangled body barely dug out, dust killed most. Pressed together in tight spaces they were killed, also women and weak old men and those of the younger who had fled were thrown down beneath stones from above. Darkness poured in upon everything took away sight confused the mind. Want of knowledge did not find a way out. And so barely withdrawing themselves from the danger they withdrew from the city. Vespasian meanwhile while pressing upon the enemy in the middle of the city had withdrawn and in the midst of a surrounded force of the enemy he spurred on the fight. For indeed it was totally unfitting for a man to offer his back to the enemy nor did he think it safe. He had directed his son Titus against Syria. He aroused the consciousness of their famous bravery and collecting themselves into their arms with shields joined together with the few whom he had at hand undaunted he stood as if weighing against whom he should launch himself. Whose attack the fearful Jews [p. 241] began to stand against with less strength and each fearing for himself to weaken their battle line. Thus Vespasian against the enemy gradually made progress resembling fighters more than advancers. At that place fell the decurion Butius proven previously in many battles and against the Jews a famous man of experience and great bravery. A centurion also with ten other Syrians accomplished an outstanding and memorable deed. For in the same confusion when he perceived the Romans to be hard pressed he took them 1 into a hiding place of a certain home and there when the Jews were conferring among themselves while dining what they were contriving against the Romans, in the dead of night he killed them all and brought himself with his soldiers back to the Roman army.
II. Vespasian however when he noticed the army to be sorrowful because of the loss of so many men and especially because of the shame of having deserted their leader, because they had left him alone in the city of the enemy, with greatest kindness he consoled them saying: "if the occurrence of my peril is a matter of shame for you, I did not proceed to war in order to shun dangers but to grasp them; but truly so many of ours killed is not at all to be astonished at; for when is there any victory without blood? battles have their consequences. If proved valor is accustomed to excel in war, it is however usual that something be allowed to chance. But it is the part of a prudent man in adverse times to correct a fault, in prosperous times to exercise moderation; on the contrary however (persons) of a certain unskilled and ignorant temperament anticipate a successful outcome always as if the contest were not against men, the superstitious however at any setback despair of the main goal, when at some brief moments all the things that are being carried out in a war suddenly go awry. And so he is the most outstanding who in adverse circumstances sensibly [p. 242] deals with events and supplants (his) superior and to recover and correct himself seeks out his own failings. And truly he who is too reckless often falls (a victim) to his impulses and while he rushes in heedless diffuse in his attack he falls prostrate. But if this frequently happens when (there is) valor alone, how much more frequently in war when engaged armies of a different type are fighting, and there is neither one plan nor a common purpose, an unfavorable ground of difficult roughness, uneven in difficult condition for fighting, many against few, when even the multitude is a hindrance to itself, and few in the many are not frustrated. But these often burst forth in a moment, which come not from merit but happen from chance. Whence there is nothing which ought to trouble you, (my) fellow-soldiers, because the adverse circumstances (arose) not through any weakness of your hand and not through the bravery of the Jews, but the difficulty of the places was an impediment for us to victory, for them an opportunity for delay. Nor is there anything which it is possible to blame, unless the unadvised and confused attack. For when you followed them to the upper parts of the city and rushed blindly into their homes, you involved yourselves in dangers. Whose hospitality you come into, you take upon yourselves (their) dangers. You were holding the city, who forced you to go inside it? The enemy had to descend to you, you had not to fight unrestrainedly for victory unmindful of life and safety. Therefore ease your minds and about your worth take not only comfort, but what is more important take justification. You will have me certainly leading the way to battle. Be prepared in mind, Dangers make you more brave not more cowardly. It is easy to make good a mistake, if worth recollects itself."
III. With these words he kindled the courage of the soldiers, who repairing the wall the most part withdrew themselves [p. 243] from the siege through the broken openings. For already a lack of food was at hand, and the broken walls were thought about to yield to the siege machines, furthermore there was but one (water) well within the city and that was very close to the walls. Which thing put them in great fear and they slipped away in great numbers. Those who truly thought (the fight) should be continued fought obstinately. In the meantime the Romans undermining the highest tower overthrew it with great force, by which misfortune the city was greatly alarmed, all were disturbed and fearing the ruin of the entire city. From which Chares sick in body, making sounds of great terror breathless from fright accomplished (his) death. The Romans however having broken the city open refrained from entry, until Titus having returned and aroused by the smart of his father's danger rushed into the city with a few and inflicted a great slaughter on the Jews. However those who were in the higher elevations rolling rocks prohibited the Romans from access, they hurled darts violently, and shot arrows. By the Jews rocks pushed forward were easily rolled down, missiles came through, arrows came down not without danger to those whom they struck. Missiles thrown by the Romans against the higher elevations of the mountain were ineffective, the attempt was ineffectual and dangerous to themselves, when suddenly a storm of wind arose and bent back the arrows of the Jews, repelled their darts; and indeed carried those against the enemy which the Roman army was hurling. Thus oppressed by the restraints of their own elements and the commotions of the winds in the final sacking of the captured city all whosoever who were discovered there perished. We learned four thousands however to have been killed by the Romans, five thousands to have perished at a precipice, grace to have been granted to no age.
IV. Thus far Gischala alone from the parts of Galilaea had not turned the enemy against itself, since contented [p. 244] with their fruits the more peaceful natures of its inhabitants seeing that (they were) a rural people manifested nothing bellicose, but by the communion of many, who employed their life in brigandage, even the inclinations of the milder (persons) were corrupted by wicked practices. There was besides a man, Levis Iohannes by name, a native, a plague of (his) people, second to none of the cunning in craft, knowing no equal in depravity, to whom a disposition of doing harm never lacked, sometime however a want of means of exercising iniquity was an impediment--which however I shall define not at all plainly I know whether poverty made him or hindered him, cunning in fraud, skilled in deceiving, trained to seek trust through lies and to ally credulity to concord, who thinks deceit is a virtue and would consider (it) tasteful to cheat those dearest (to him), ready to conspire impetuous to daring vigorous in performing, a trouble maker in leisure a deserter in danger, arrogant of good looks accustomed to brigandage, which when he was unable to conform to he joined however for the sake of obtaining control. Therefore a restless disposition, ready boldness supported him rather than deliberation, and wealth for uniting a band of profligates. Hence Vespasian discovered the people of the mentioned city with his faction to be roused up to war, in order that he should not fatigue the whole army he directed (his) son Titus with one thousand horsemen accompanied by whom he should draw near the city. But when he saw the walls crowded with people, he said himself to be astonished because they followed their example to make war, from whose destruction they ought to have come to their senses. Be it so however that the first trials have something of a presumption, what did the destruction of the hope of everyone show? [p. 245] The hopes of liberty were certainly pardonable in the beginning, however perseverance is not attainable by entreaty in extreme and hopeless circumstances. For those who are not influenced by an example of human kindness, by diligent warning of words, against them not words but arms are necessary. Having confidence in walls as if they would protect anyone against the valor of the Romans. Whatever else those shut in are able to bring forward, are not the besiegers able to stretch out (before it) except that the foolhardy are in captivity? No one had the opportunity to speak. The predatory band had seized the entire circuit of the walls. Iohannes was on guard lest anyone should invite the Romans in a friendly parley. And so he himself snatched away a report of a conversation, saying freely that he himself had undertaken the management of common concerns and had not neglected making use of a trial, if perhaps he was persuaded of its usefulness, or was satisfied with those things which brought forward, but he was prohibited by the law of his country, since there remained a day of the sacred week, to treat of conditions of peace, because forbidden that he should move the arms, thus even it was not allowed to take measures about peace on holidays. For indeed (it is) sacrilege for those forced to address the task at least with words, and not unpunished those who did the forcing. Himself to ask the indulgence of one day, a postponement so small as not to be in any way an impediment. Nor indeed with the enemy surrounding them was flight possible for those shut in. Conditions of peace to be offered him? such an equable option that fear was absent, him to be urged in the meantime that it was not necessary for considerations of peace for those for whom it was a moral obligation to that the law of the country be prevaricated. Such a generous offering of peace was arrived at that he who beyond hope freely offered peace, lest anyone should make a test, reserved his own laws for any about to attempt escape. Considering these things binding without treachery Titus sounded acceptance and recalled from the walls those whom he had brought with him. Thus Johannes having obtained the opportunity of fleeing departed in the dead of night with most of his forces. [p. 246] The women besides followed him departing. But the farther the men progressed the more women and children were left behind and abandoned by their men the frightened women regarded the road. And when already they lost their own men from sight, they thought the enemy to be at hand, trembling at every sound, if anyone should run, the miserable women were turned back, themselves to be sought, fearing to be thrown into chains, as if those whom they feared were already present. Titus in accordance with the convention, the sun already pouring down, hastened to the city with the army. The gates are opened, The people come out with exultation and receive the Romans with joy and eagerness, rejoicing the pestilential man to have gone away. Him to have fled during the night, the opportunity of free judgment to have been given to themselves, themselves to pray pardon that his fleeing not be a crime upon themselves, whom they were not able to hold without their own destruction. He satisfied with the delaying of punishment and the swiftness of accomplishing the task forthwith sent a great many to seize Johannes, if by chance they could overtake him. He having entered the city content to manage disturbers of the peace more by threats than by punishment pardoned everyone, so that no one aroused by hatred or domestic tasks should lead the blameless into ill-will and should strike with the fierceness of a severe crime, since it is much more tolerable to leave to the conscience of a fearful participant that which is uncertain than to condemn an innocent. For often fear corrects the guilty, punishment however of the innocent is without any remedy of correction. And so Johannes was not found by those whom Titus had sent, but the children and women who were following him were discovered. Up to two thousand almost were killed, three thousand however of infirm age and sex, when satiety of killing was achieved, were sentenced to servitude. He assigned a military guard to the state. [p. 247] And so all of Galilaea was brought into Roman power. For even the mountain Tabyrius, whose altitude is thirty stadia 2, the very highest point of the level country lies at thirty three stadia, from scarcity of water deserted by some, pardon having been sought surrendered to the Romans by others, although by the valor also and diligence of Placidus, to whom this task had been committed by Vespasian, the entire crowd of refugees, he followed while going away and by cunning earnestly urged them to retrace their steps, surrounded in the middle of the plain lost their place of refuge, found death.
V. Up to this point it has been permissible to wander about, while we occupy our pen with the contagion of the sacred temple founded by our ancestors and of the sacred law and with those fleeing around other cities. But already it is time that we take up those things that were done at Jerusalem relying not upon memory, but so that we do not seem to have denied the administration of the law of our fatherland, or of the pain of our ancient culture. There will be perhaps in these a shadow not truth, but however the shadow points out the track of the truth. For the shadow has the features of the picture, it does not have the brightness, nor is it carried out to perfection, but it portrays the future to those observing carefully. And thus the less the image charms, the more it attracts thanks. Whence it was decided by a witness of things to destroy the old things, to found new things so that they should follow the truth who did not follow the phantoms of faithlessness through difficulties.
VI. Fleeing as we said above, from the districts of Galilaea Johannes took himself to the city of Jerusalem and as if a certain plague infected the minds of a great many, who [p. 248] the leaders of outrages from diverse regions had assembled there as if in a cesspool. For this was in fact for that city the cause of its great destruction, that the incorrigible brought about with their villainies, that most came together there, in which place they believed they would be safer or more arrogantly could pile up their outrages, they were considered to put aside their faith. And so they were received everywhere as if they came from devoted love of the temple to defend it. This was the foremost stroke of misfortune. From this was suppressed the mildness of the few by the haughtiness of the many, from this it progressed into slaughter, since a stranger is less forbearing, from this it was plotted that the solemnities of the law should be be disregarded, the sacerdotal offices should be diverted from the good people to the wicked, because it was not known by men unacquainted not only with religious education but even with knowledge of the law what was sacred. At first were overcome the men of royal stock who were resisting, by which the rest yielded from fear, then were killed, and that the crime should be concealed, those whom they killed without trial assassins having been sent into the prison, they fabricated the same to have been killed for the invented crime of treachery. And so all were terrified by fear. For which powerful men and the blameless Antipas, Levias, and Foras were easily crushed, and already did not dare to resist. From this it progressed to the point that undistinguished and unfit men replaced the leaders of the priests and for whom no reason for meriting the honor was advanced, they contrary to their worth having obtained the priesthood were suborned to every crime in the judgement of those considering the matter. But when the priestly men and especially Ananus senior to the rest, lest through esteem should be granted a prerogative of the highest name, they demand the foremost of the priests be created by a drawing of lots, in which [p. 249] it is considered that the outcome of the drawing is entrusted not to favor but to a divine judgment. In truth they pretended an ancient usage by which it was the custom that those being placed in the first rank of the priesthood were selected by lot, evidently however they worked out a loosening of the law. For when the law of priestly succession selected men for the drawing, they for the sake of appearance alone from the priestly tribe set up one present Eniachim by name and ordered it done by lot. Then a certain Phanis was selected by lot, a village man the son of Samuel, to whom not only was no succession supported by leaders of the priests, but to whom there was not even any knowledge of priestly duty, for the reason that he was at leisure in the country and thus what the foremost of the priests was he did not know. Finally a false character if placed upon him drawn from his fields and resisting as if in a play. He puts on also the holy garments, at the right time he is taught what it is necessary for him to do. And therefore by the outcome of the lot was exposed the wickedness of the seditious, that the carrying out of the great sacerdotal duties was entrusted to an ignorant and rustic person. To them the mockery of the ancient solemnity was a joke, to the priests a grief, who weeping bewailed the mockery of the law by corrupt men. Relying however upon the power itself of devotion and the indignation of good men they collect themselves together and make an attack upon the troublemakers. But the latter although they distrusted their cause and numbers, fleeing to the temple as if into a refuge like a certain fort for themselves they prepared to drive back the multitude of people rushing in. But first placed before the doors of the temple and in the forecourt itself they fought against the people. If anybody was wounded he sought the interior of the temple, pouring out his blood there at interior doors and [p. 250] wounded wiping off his bloody features on the pavement. Wounds and entrails of an open wound were stuffed with those garments which it was not permitted to them to touch. There was fighting within the city, fighting between citizens, fighting before the temple. Not only this but fearing the brigands, since they were insistently urged by the people, they took themselves back into the temple itself and closed there the doors of the temple. Which having been set in the way Ananus was recalled, who lest he should be seen to carry fighting into the temple and to break down the temple doors which had been consecrated by the devoutness of their ancestors, he turned back the attack of the common people and stationed six thousand men in the porticos, who in attendance armed with weapons pretended a careful guarding. Gradually however he softened the passion so that he considered peace with this aim especially that he not defile the temple with the blood of the citizens, that he should persuade also that a legation a negotiator of peace should be sent so that the intestine war would be put aside. Johannes is associated to accompany the legation a man of doubtful faith and inflamed by the desire to achieve power. An oath is sought, he did not decline lest he be exposed to a charge of perjury if he should have refused. In order to deceive he pretended that he favored the common people. What else? He continues, he sends ahead a few things about peace, he hides more for an incitement of war saying in the name of peace that war was involved, that treachery was hidden, that Ananus had prepared to surrender the city to the Romans by which the practices of the ancients would be abolished, the precepts of the law annulled, collecting everything from all directions and expressing envy against the leader of the priests of those things he himself was intending. Shrewdly even he stirred up those whom he knew of those who had been imprisoned to be chiefs and leaders of a faction with dread of a prepared death, claiming that especially for them Ananus had planned death, he himself had come to expose the deceit, by quickly seeking help [p. 251] before the punishment should be demanded of them. What more? In the midst of peace he kindles the war. The are selected who would crave the Idumaeans to battle, a fickle race, restless, arrogant, quick to dissension, rejoicing in the changing of things, heedless of danger, rushing into a fight. And so diverting their course they come without delay, twenty thousand men are assembled, as is natural attentive to no cultivation of the lands but prepared for brigandage. It was not possible to conceal from Ananus the arrival of the Idumaeans. Immediately he ordered the gates to be closed lest they should make entrance with disorder, but if it were possible to be done that they should learn the truth, that they should renounce war.
VII. And so the leaders of the priests ascending the wall spoke to the Idumaeans from a tower, it to be a great wonder to them, that so quickly ensnared in a net of lies they were pursuing with arms causes with which they had not yet become acquainted, when it was proper for them first to be arbitrators of affairs rather than fighters of wars and for the future to learn the merits rather than take up arms, and arms against men of their own race, their own culture, their own solemnities. Upon none was more of injury inflicted than upon the Idumaeans, who were aroused into an association of such loathsome scoundrels. For what other was demanded from them except horrible crime against the citizens, sacrilege against the temple? It is not wont for different inclinations among themselves and different ways to come together. In fact the similarity of customs makes a fellowship of inclinations and and it binds to itself kindred inclinations. The most worthless men, who support themselves by brigandage, took to themselves that they should invite the Idumaeans to be associates to them, so greatly abhorring the proposal of those by whom they were asked, that they wage war against their country, you truly [p. 252] they implored to come as if to defend a foreign city. We who are not criminal have nothing in common with robbers, who are sober have nothing in common with drunkards. Would that that drunkenness was from wine and not from rage. Who when they addict themselves to disgraceful acts, by overthrowing proper successions, they steal the property of others and things evilly acquired they carelessly destroy, they throw away the worst. There is no limit to their thievery, because there are no bounds to their luxurious consumption. When they have filled themselves with wine and sated their drunkenness, they throw up the excessive drinking of affairs of state, and make themselves drunk again with our blood and mock the sacred religious duties, which have always been for us a reason for veneration and reverence. Drive off the parricidal assemblies and abandon sacrilegious ventures, forsake the assemblages of brigands. You have been summoned to a society of wickedness: you have come to the assistance of native land. We see a distinguished people whom it is fitting to come to ask in a public assembly that to the most outstanding city of the Jews, which is considered the mother-city of the entire race, it should be of assistance against the enemy. But if we fail in our aim, while we hope for peace and do not wish to quickly tire you, we who offered peace to the arousers of war, you however, who have come as if by divine judgment, take counsel avoiding both extremes and display judges of both sides. Inquire from whence arose the beginnings of the disorder, who sounded the trumpet call to a peaceful city, who poured out the blood of the most outstanding citizens, by what authorities was punishment exacted from uncondemned persons, who were a ruination to us before the Romans. Against the former we resolved on war and at the present time we suffer them as enemies. [p. 253] Whose friendship with the Romans is therefore an object of suspicion, those who championed the Romans or those who rejected the Romans? This is certainly more important to us than the strifes of the Romans. From the former we died on behalf of freedom, by the latter we are murdered as if for a crime. Crimes of treason against the innocent are pretended and after death calumnies are fabricated, although judicial judgment is accustomed to precede punishment, not punishment the judicial judgment. For what profits it the dead man to be absolved when already nothing is withheld of the judgment? For however we admit a lottery of this sort, that after death an inquiry is made about innocence and we also gladly conduct the case of our and the dead persons' innocence before you who are armed in the presence of the established adversaries. Thus no evidence is supplied the calumniators, so that they have also a more difficult case before you who so quickly believed them. For a good judge grieves that he was deceived with lies and is more disturbed by the deceiving than by having been courted, that he had been rashly urged to believe falsehoods he thought must be avenged. But let us therefore reserve the complete consideration for ourselves and collect the truth not from a putting together of disputations, but from an ordering of tasks. First of all why we might surrender our country to the Romans, whom we were able not to provoke, and perhaps it was necessary to be done, that we should not incite the conquerors of every people. But this is already not an item of deliberation of the present factions. It was a task of previous times to choose the path we should follow, now it is necessary to die in behalf of freedom. For it is best to die for one's country. It would have beat before the war to prefer peace to death, but because war is upon us, many of our brothers already captured, others killed, grief from those dead lamentations from those bound up, a voluntary death is more to elected than a life of servitude. Notwithstanding there is available to those about to die because of false charges the effacing of the infamy of the charge of treason. In your presence, the Idumaeans, we plead the cause: [p. 254] let them be brought forth, let the witnessing expounders be summoned into the midst of the witnesses. If they hold witnesses, let them be brought forth, if they do not hold witnesses, what complaints do they make and what empty suspicions do they bring as charges, which they themselves have composed for themselves. They ought not to make charges which they are not able to prove. But because they do not dare to make accusations they wish to spread accusations about among the multitude and thus they spring forth to war lest they be called into judgment. For in war there is a content of madness, in peace there is an examination of truth. Behold! we are first at hand, we of our own accord offer ourselves for punishment, if indeed an accuser comes forth. Or if ill-will is whirled about in the people's presence, diligently inquire what was the purpose in a public meeting. Is it not that troops drawn up are being prepared for war, so that every one may aid his country in behalf of freedom. Surely against the bandits themselves what had been considered except that peace should be concluded. The anguish of every individual had provoked the displeasure of the people, the blood of innocents, the lamentations of women, the duplicity about the laws of our fathers, made the groans of all men resound, because each feared similar things for himself. The sacerdotal offices were conferred upon the most unfit. They began to be sought by voice, they struck the people with stones, they killed with weapons. The publish anguish blazed out, they made a place of refuge for themselves in the temple of the bandits. And so a place of peace inspiring awe even for the tribes and the seat of sanctity was made the place of assembly of plunderers, and that place to which from all parts of the land it was flocked together for the honoring of a festal celebration, there are now certain stables of wild beasts flowing with human blood. It is permitted to you, or the armed men, to inquire after these things, without the stipulation of war however. There was generally a judicial investigation in the midst of arms and compassion set aside the instruments of war, the judgment of fairness held in check the war-trumpets. You are able to transform these weapons to the defence of the city, which you took up for its subversion. For it is permitted to enter without weapons, to hear and investigate everything. If you should discover anything negligent against the enemy, consider it treachery. But if [p. 255] you wish to present neither defenders nor witnesses, why do you wonder if the gates are not opened to armed men? They are not closed against kinsmen but against weapons. Put aside war and the gates will open.'
VIII. When the priests and most particularly Iesus who was older than the rest, less important than Ananus however, who was engaged in second place, had said these things to the Idumaeans who were most indignant because they had been straightway received by the city, Simon one of the leaders of the Idumaeans (spoke thusly): 'It is not in the least,' he said, ' to be wondered at if they rage against citizens and hold them shut up who have closed the gates to an allied tribe and do not allow their colleagues and comrades to enter, who speak to us from the wall and drive us back from the walls as if enemies, whom they consider friends. Who may doubt that they prepare to admit the Romans and perhaps to wreathe the gates while they are entering? What is the greater injury? Certainly that city is accustomed to be open to all men for the reason of reverence of the way of life, to us alone as if enemies is it shut off, we alone are rejected, we alone are driven off. They pretend to seek our judgment whom they consider worthy not even of the threshold of the city. Those things are hidden which they have done against them, we are the witnesses and judges of our hurt. We have noticed what those shut in are enduring, when we are ordered to put down our arms, and it is believable what their decision is anticipated to be, whose credibility is mistrusted? Let us hasten therefore to rescue those who are shut up, for whom the temple has been made a prison, lest they should be held up to the arrival of the Roman army and given up as captives to Vespasian. Let us take away the siege from the temple, let us drive away the offensive guards who allow no one to go out even for purging their bowels. If anyone wishes to carry in food for those shut up, it is prevented, if anyone wishes to go out, he is snatched away to death. The practice of religion has been made a crime.' [p. 256]
IX. Hearing these things Jesus retired considering himself to be resisting to no purpose with the will of god opposed, and indeed hostile forces were resounding within and without, and the state was being attacked from two sides. The Idumaeans were complaining because they were shut out, those located in the temple were plotting how they should be joined with the Idumaeans. Fear tormented the latter that the Idumaeans might go away before the accomplishment (of their purpose), the shame the intention of withdrawing tortured the former. And already almost distrust had arisen when suddenly at night there arises a terrible windstorm, a black tempest. The winds howl, the sky begins to tremble, the violence of the heavy rains pours forth strongly, there are dreadful flashes of lightning, monstrous thunderings, such rumblings of the earth that the world is thought to be dissolving. Who would think that this would more injure those located within the city than those existing outside the city, since the first were protected by roofed structures, the latter were exposed to the pouring rains? But the fear of injury frightened more than the injury itself. Finally those who had no refuge of roofed structures covered themselves with shields remaining on duty and not dispersing. Those about their homes and those who scattered gave opportunity that the gates should be opened by those who were within the temple. The opinions of the people were wavering and diverse. Some thought that the great offended god had moved the storms against the Idumaeans because they had come armed against their fellows. Ananus and the more profound abilities of the elders conjectured that the Idumaeans by the insult of themselves were more aroused to the destruction of their allies. Finally more disturbed than other nights Ananus that night remissly not from fatigue of the body but more from despair of the mind yielded to the circumstances flowing against him and the storms fighting for his and the world's destruction, he thought that the watches need not be looked to, as if he gave permission to disperse wherever and to whomever there was the desire. Having gotten which opportunity those who had taken refuge in the temple rising up cut the bars of the city gates. The din of the heavens worked with them so that [p. 257] the sound of the saws was not heard and the noise of those going out. Next coming to the wall they opened the gate near the crowds of Idumaeans. It would have been the last day for the entire people if they had not thought to go straightway to the temple before a place of concealment in the city. But because those who were being held shut in within the temple fearing for themselves and, the entrance of the Idumaeans having been recognized, fearing that an attack of the surrounding people might be made against themselves, that those about to die might demand vengeance, they asked that they themselves be taken away first for execution, then afterwards themselves and kindred men having been set free that they be sent forth among the people, to turn aside to those who had sent delegates asking assistance of safety, as soon as the price of the unexpected breakin should be paid to its originators chiefly by this service. For when things proceeded in accordance with their wish, all having poured forth from the temple like from a certain fortress in an extended battle line, they killed in every street whomsoever they met with, some sleeping, some terrified. Nothing availed prayers, nothing tears, nothing the insignia of public office, tokens of no merits, all were indiscriminately slain. Finally seeing the monstrous bestiality in these follow-ups, because none were spared, they themselves ensnared themselves, by a more wretched means as it seems to me, than if they had been killed by an enemy, because the suicide will be ascribed to cruelty, the knot of the hideous noose is given even to the upright. But what is the place for deliberation, when the fear of executions was so great, when each feared not death but torture before death, to which death would be a remedy. Blood overflowed everywhere and especially around the temple, because there were collected those who were guarding those shut in. Finally there were found that day of the killed eight thousand five hundred men. Afterwards turning against the city they killed in this way like a certain herd of cattle whatever men they [p. 258] encountered in their path. It was a lamentable sight for war to be waged within the city that was previously reverenced by all, for ruin to be brought upon the poor and feeble. Indeed the young and stronger were shut into prison, who were considered suitable for the faction, but with great courage the majority preferred to undergo every suffering rather than associate themselves with the morally lost. Nor was there any limit or sense of decency, so raged the madness of the monstrousness. Later when these (things) were seen to be madness, with the progress of time they began to pretend to themselves reasons for those slain, that they had brought the guilty to justice, not that justice was sought for, but that cruelty was aroused.
X. There was in the community of citizens Zacharias, who hated the wicked and would not mingle with the infamous, rich in property, whose abundance they thought would be effectual in disuniting his party or a rich booty for themselves. This they thought to acquire by a charge of betrayal. But he untouched by knowledge of this began to help himself with boldness, so that he not only countered the charges, but added those guilty of the greatest outrages. The matter was heard before seventy men. They set everyone free, because nothing was brought forward that was pertinent to the crime. But yet the former bursting in throw matters into disorder and drive away the judges not only with injury but with peril, so that by their example others in the future would beware to take steadfastness in making judgments if their will was opposed. On the contrary however lest anyone should be discharged, they themselves the executors of their wraths killed without judgment those whom they pleased. Gorgon a man pleasing and amiable was slain. Also Niger Peraites, who among the defenders of Iudaea had been chosen for watching over great matters, a fighting man, so that he even [p. 259] exhibited as signs of valor the scars of wounds, was seized for death and when he saw himself being led outside the city, he began to beg not for life but for burial. But he received a response of not even his so pitiable petition in accordance with mercifulness. False accusations were contrived: if anyone ransomed himself, he was innocent, whoever did not offer money was killed as if guilty.
XI. While these things are being done in Jerusalem, Vespasian in the meantime was subduing other parts of the tribe of Judaea. It came to him what civil discord there was in Jerusalem, what slaughter they inflicted upon themselves in domestic battles, what sufferings of citizens was exacted by citizens. Many urged that he should hasten there, lest anything from the Roman triumph and of his glory should be detracted. But he a moderate and prudent man did not think that suitable which was judged so by the opinion of the crowd but thought to conduct matters by the higher consideration of the primary goal, he began to remind these things to those persuading that the state was not , who provoke the Romans. But if anyone claims anything of our glory to be detracted, let him learn that a solution with tranquility is always benefited by battles but generally even arms having been laid down praise is obtained and any debt of the country is dissolved. 'Of what interest is it how an enemy is overcome by our or his arms, unless that he is overcome by own arms without Roman unpopularity. For indeed they are not able to complain about us when they themselves have wounded themselves. At the same time they have promoted a true war against us they show, at the same time they do not spare themselves. This vindication to be seen from heaven, that they are inflicted with madness always regarded as superior to a battle with danger. Finally our Maximus conquered Hannibal more by delaying than by fighting. Although the Scipios subjugated Africa, however the victory of the wars was in common with many, to Maximus alone is given that he restored the Roman fortunes by delaying. It is more important [p. 260] to have preserved the Roman empire than to have enlarged it. Let us compare however the merits of the virtues. Indeed the thoughts of wisdom are not of less value in war itself than the marks of bravery. Let them perish therefore of their own arms, nothing is taken away from praise and much is added to our victory. They do not know theirs to be saved whom we spare. But what if we shall begin to threaten, perhaps they will come to their senses among themselves and will return to favor? -- which I do not fear, but I bring forward against your opinion -- but if the civil discord continues, let themselves be seen to have subdued themselves, the Roman army to have done nothing, our hands to have been idle, victory to have been obtained not by our valor but by the hostile slaughter between themselves? And so this more prudent counsel that in our absence they should rage to the point of destruction for themselves, let no one think them to have been engaged more by ours than by their own factions. Therefore we will approach better, when a victor shall be left who shall accede to our triumph. Certainly let those come to us who are fleeing their own, let them find among us the safety for themselves whom their own plague shall have harassed.'
XII. Nor did his opinion fail Vespasian, for those who were able for a price to ransom themselves that they should be let go fled to the Romans. Every street of the roads was filled with those fleeing, every path. The rich were set free, and the poor, to whom money was lacking for ransoming, were killed, . Many even outside the city greatly feared ambushes and high-way robbery and especially those without resources to whom attendants were lacking. And so equal danger was offered to them outdoors and at home, both places dangerous, to most therefore with the hope of burial in their country death among their own was considered most tolerable. [p. 261]
XIII. When the fear of the people, from the great destruction spread among all, made everything subject to the faction, Johannes not content to exercise power in common with the leaders of the faction, began to aspire to despotic rule, and was offended by an equal. Therefore he destroyed the resolutions of the others, nothing except what was pleasing to him had approval, and he gradually joined followers to himself, whom he a master wished to deceive by guile and fraud, to put under obligation with money, to frighten with power, with which practices he had joined many to himself. Again there were not lacking those who from a dangerous eagerness had refused servitude, although especially accustomed to tyranny, were unable to endure servitude. And so there contended in one city three sorts of destructive calamities, tyranny, war, civil discord, of which each had destroyed not one but many cities. Of the three however war was the mildest and a just enemy seemed more tolerable than tyranny or faction. A fourth type added to these, of assassins who seeing the city seized by tyrannical commotions or the disturbances of civil disorder laid waste the entire vicinity, they carried off everything, women and boys who were not able to endure the labor of the journey from the infirmity of either sex or age they gave to death. And so to the number seven hundred were killed. Grain was collected in fortresses. They invaded fields, cities, temples, they carried off booty, an opportunity of killings was not let pass, with the appearance of an army on the march more exercised highway-robbery than had the experience of highway-robbery. The violence of robbery aggravated the war without forgiveness accorded surrender or gentleness in taking a thing in hand. [p. 262]
XIV. And so Vespasian was begged that he should come to (their) assistance, because of which (their) destruction was feared. He hastened to Gadara, where very many rich persons, who because of their paternal estates more and more feared the traps and assaults of the brigands and therefore secretly sent to Vespasian that he should come to them, by whom the state should be rescued from the brigands. The Roman army was at hand, seeing which the Gadarensians had a desire of fleeing, but by what route that would be without death for them they did not discover, so that the faction would not rise up against them departing and kill them all. Naturally conscious of his delegation, that Vespasian had been invited by a delegation of Gadarensians did not escape the attention of the chief of the city Dolesus by name. Capturing whom they killed, and having avenged their injury and left the city they took themselves into hiding and better protection. Gadara is surrendered to the Romans and Vespasian is received with great applause. He immediately ordered Placidus to pursue those who had fled. He himself returned to Caesarea.
XV. Placidus five hundred cavalry having been sent ahead followed those fleeing and drove them into a village which was nearest, in which grown up males of picked young men were discovered to have assumed the audacity to rise up against the Romans. Which thing was the greatest disaster for them, because surrounded by cavalry and shut off from the village they were cut to pieces without hindrance, while others crowded together were withdrawing they were slaughtered before the thresholds of the gates. The mass piled up with bodies of the slain was level with the height of the walls. The Romans pierced some with arrows, they wounded others with various missiles, finally [p. 263] they captured the stronghold and there all except those to whom there was an opportunity to escape were killed. Others fleeing heightened the great reputation of Roman strength by their remarks, their bodies bigger than those seen of men, no assurance to anyone of resisting against the invincible. From which place terrified everyone fled immediately, not only from the vicinity and neighboring places but even the city of Jericho, which on account of the number of its inhabitant multitude encouraged the hope of the rest, was abandoned. Placidus with events occurring to his satisfaction pursued them also with cavalry, some crowded together, others dispersed he laid low all the way to the river Jordan. He also found the greatest number at the bank of the river, the crossing hindered, because then by chance the heralded river had been enlarged by rains or swollen up by melted snows. But they when they saw the Romans to be at hand, prepare themselves and crowd together at the edge of the river. The aid of flight having been shut off, the remedy is turned back into their hands and an attack having been made the many throw themselves against the fewer horsemen. They with the known art and ancient custom of warfare riding in between begin to scatter the formations of the enemy, to break apart masses, to press upon the weary, to follow those giving way. Thus some by the weapons of the enemy, others by their own, because crowded together and thrown back upon themselves they run into one bunch, they are killed. Some tumble down into the river, who are a ruin to themselves, and others entangled with one another were submerged. Yet most thinking that they are able to get across gave themselves to the river, whom when they had progressed a short distance the force of the whirlpools swallowed up or the power of the river carried away. And if any by the exercise of swimming had moved forward upon the waters and by floating or floating under [p. 264] had sustained themselves, or hindered by the branches of trees which are carried off by the river or buffeted by the trunks themselves they deposited their soul in the river. Often even untrained in swimming, when he had grabbed a swimmer, he held on, in order that he himself should escape as well, and tired the one held in the arms, until both immersed each was the death of the other. And if anyone by chance running with a favorable river was thought to be about to escape, he was stitched up with arrows and suddenly on his back the oars of his arms stopping he perished. And there were even those who not knowing how to swim, while they seek a death devoid of pain, voluntarily throw themselves into the river from a high protuberance of the banks, others entering onto the sandy river-bank their foot-prints having been swallowed up sank down. Still the majority vexed by the slipperiness of the smooth rocks or by the shallow places and hesitating on the unstable ground of the stream were overwhelmed by those following. Thirteen thousands were cut to pieces with swords, however an innumerable multitude was annihilated by the river, a huge booty was acquired from the flocks of sheep and herds of camels and asses and cattle. Granted that the butchery of men was very great, it was estimated to be more, because not only was the entire region filled with human bodies, since dispersed and wandering about they were killed in whatever places they were seized, truly even the Jordan itself blocked up with the bodies of the dead was not able to follow its proper course, the Dead Sea also from the blood and viscera of the dead changed the appearance of its nature, into which everything whatever that the Jordan had attracted was carried. Finally on that day ninety two thousands and two hundreds of Judeans were estimated to have perished by only five hundred horsemen and three thousands of foot soldiers. Having progressed also to the farther places Placidus restored to the Roman Empire Abila and Iuliadis and Bethesmon and all [p. 265] the villages of this very place up to the Dead Sea. He placed soldiers also in boats, by whom all who had fled into the celebrated lake 3 were killed.
XVI. And thus both these and everything all the way to Maecheruntis was regained. Vespasian however was waiting for the time of the battle by which the chief city of the whole of Judaea would be attacked. In the midst of this to him occupied with the things entrusted to him news of an uprising from regions of Gaul found its way, that certain powerful men of the Roman military service had revolted from Nero. Which having become known, wishing to mitigate internal wars and the danger to the interests of the entire Roman empire, the disorder of the wars in the East having been reduced, alarmed by news of following events, in order to check or restrain all of Italy, as soon as the rigors of winter were moderated by the beginning of spring, with the greater part of the army he moved away from Caesarea. The state called by the name of Antipater received him. Proceeding from that place he burned villages, killed those whom he had found hostile, and he especially ravaged whatever neighbors to the Idumaeans he came upon, because an unquiet race of men would be a friend to wars rather than to peace and tranquillity. Seizing too two villages Legarim and Caphartoris of Idumaea and their inhabitants he overthrew them with great slaughter. Indeed more than ten thousands of men having been killed, he carried off a thousand captives, he drove out the remaining population, in order that he should station there a band of his own, because the mountainous places of this region were disturbed by brigandage. He himself with the army fell upon Amathun again, which takes the name from the hot waters, [p. 266] because the steam of the waters is said to be called Amathus in the speech of Syria. It is therefore called Thermae in Greek because it has hot springs within its walls. Next through Samaria near to Neapolis he hastened to Jericho, where Trajan driving a great band from those located beyond the Jordan at Perea, conquered peoples of the region, who had come back into Roman control, met him. And so at the news of the arriving Roman army, most from the city of Jericho, because they thought it unsafe, took themselves into the mountains of the region of Jerusalem. The entire crowd of those remaining was destroyed. For it was not difficult for the city to be captured quickly, which was not supported by natural defences and had been abandoned and deserted by its scattering inhabitants. The city was established on a plain, which a wide mountain bare of vegetation overhung. For it stretched out northwards all the way to the region of the city of Scythopolis, and was considered extended from the southern part all the way to the Sodomitana region and the Asphaltius boundaries. Moreover a diseased and barren soil and therefore deserted by inhabitants, because it was without any benefit to farmers because of its natural sterility. Opposite to this above the Jordan (is) a mountain whose beginning arises from Iuliade and northern parts. It stretches forth to the south all the way to Arabian Sebarus which is neighboring to Petra, where indeed the mountain by the usage of the ancients is called Ferreus. A plain lies between these two mountains, which an account of its size, which stretches out into a great space, the inhabitants by ancient usage called Magnus. Whose length is two hundred thirty stadia, [p. 267] its width one hundred twenty, its beginning from the village Genuabaris, its end all the way to the Dead Sea. The Jordan intersects it in the middle of the plain, not only inoffensive but also annexed with thanks for the green banks from the flooding of the river and from the succeeding Asphaltio and the Tiberiadis 4 of a single source, and each lake of a separate quality. For the taste of the water of one is salt and its use unproductive, of the Tiberiadis sweet and fruitful. Truly in the days of summer an immoderate emanation boils up through the extent of the plain, whence from the increasing fault of excessive dryness and the dry earth the bad air brings about deplorable sicknesses for the inhabitants. For all things are dry except for the borders of the river. Finally at great distances even the fruit of trees grows worse, indeed the supply is more abundant and the fruit of palm trees more copious, that is produced above the banks of the river Jordan, another is far more meager.
XVII. There is near the city of Jericho an overflowing spring and indeed more than enough for drinking, plentiful for irrigation, which the Hebrew Jesus strong of hand, of the Nave stock, first wrested from the tribe of Chananaeans. It in the beginning was considered too contaminated, too unproductive for producing things, not healthy enough to be used for drinking. And so the prophet Heliseus, and likewise (his) disciple Heliae, in no way an unworthy successor to such a great teacher, was asked that he should leave recompense of his hospitality which he had come to see in places and that he should mitigate the corruption of the waters, he gave a cure, just as the ancient book of Kings clearly teaches, ordering a clay vessel with [p. 268] salt to be brought to him. Receiving which he threw the salt into the spring and said: I have healed these waters and there will not be dying in them nor barrenness from them. And the waters were healed according to the word it says of Heliseus the prophet. And so from that infusion of salt which had been blessed the waters were regulated and the banks of the spring opened, the movements of the waters made holy, in order that the gushing spring should pour forth sweeter drinks of its water courses and all the bitterness of the waters should become sweet, the earth should give more copious fruit, that a fertile succession also of generating offspring should furnish an abundant supply of progeny nor should the generative water fail him whom divine grace had breathed upon with the benedictions of such a great prophet for his faithful studies of the righteous. The reverberation of the divine declaration transformed the nature of the waters and immediately drove out the barrenness, it poured in fruitfulness. The begettings of men there began to increase, (and) the fruits of the lands, and the moisture hitherto dry and bitter and wont to destroy the crops and twist awry with disagreeableness the mouths of those drinking to pour in fertility to the soil, sweetness to those drinking, so that if it briefly touches fields of crops, it does more good than if it shall have flooded in for a longer period. It is indeed a new favor, that the increase is more overflowing, where the use is less, and where any use has been greater, there less fruit is, and there it irrigates more than the other springs, because indeed even its small use gives an abundant harvest. Finally the plain lies around it standing open seventy stadia in length [p. 269] twenty in width. In it you may discern an extraordinary beauty of gardens, various species of palm trees, and such a great sweetness of the dates, that you would consider honey to flow forth not at all inferior to others. Likewise there are in that place superior broods of bees, not to be wondered at where breathing in from different blossoms the parks pour out pleasant scents. In that place the juice of the balsam-tree is produced, which therefore we indicate with the addition, that the farmers cut into the branches through the bark in which the balsam is produced and through these cavities the fluid gradually trickling down collects itself. The cavity in the Greek language is called "ope." They say that in this place cyprum and mirobalanum are produced and other things of this type, which are not at all found in other places. Water and the rest of the springs. In summer it is cool, in winter moderately warm; The air is softer and in midwinter the inhabitants make use of linen clothing.
XVIII. Now let us look at the nature of the Dead Sea. Fot it is better in descriptions of ancient places to occupy the pen with the marvel of the remaining elements rather than the dissensions of the Jews, if indeed the latter provoke the mind with outrage, the former soothe the mind while they are reviewed and recall the knowledge of ancient history. To us however, who have a more uncultivated nature, it is a matter of the heart to seek the tracks of our fathers coming out of Egypt all the way into the land of recovery, so that [p. 270] if by chance ours should come into the hands of anyone, let him go over not our (tracks), but retrace (our) fathers'. For indeed it is more pleasant to abide among the dwellings of our elders and to review in memory the sayings and deeds of the ancients and to cling to their graces. But already let us express either the nature or the property of the waters, so that our pen also not be thrown off in that lake, from which all things whatever the opinion is (if) immersed leap back, you would think living, and however violently thrown in are immediately ejected. The water itself is bitter and sterile, receiving nothing of living origins, and finally it supports neither fish nor birds accustomed to waters and happy with the practice of submerging. They report a lighted oil lamp to float, without any alteration the light having been extinguished to be immersed, and by whatever stratagem it is submerged, it is difficult for whatever may be living to remain submerged at a depth. Lastly they say Vespasian to have ordered persons ignorant of swimming to be cast into the deep with bound hands and all of them to have floated on the spot as if raised by a certain spirit of the wind and thrust back by a great force to have rebounded to a higher place. The majority have thought many fabulous things about this lake, which for us without experience to give out the truth of the thing has not at all been (our) intention. It has not suited to claim as true that the color of the water changes three times per day and glistens differently in the beams of the sun, since the water of the lake itself is darker than other waters and as if offering a resemblance to brown. Certainly if it is resplendent in the rays of the sun, nothing new and as if for a miracle must be brought forward, since this is common to all waters. [p. 271] It is certain that lumps of bitumen are scattered on the waters with a black fluid, which approaching with boats they for whom this is a duty collect. Bitumen is said to adhere to itself, so that it is not at all cut with iron tools or other sharpened forms of metal. It yields truly to the blood of women, by which monthly flows are said to be eased. By whose touch or urine, as they allege by whom it has been the practice of making tests, it is reported to be broken into pieces. Furthermore it is said to be useful for the caulking of ships and healthful added to medicines for the bodies of men. The length of this lake stretches out five hundred eighty stadia all the way to Zoaros of Arabia, the width in stadia one hundred fifty all the way to the neighborhood of the Sodomites, who once inhabited a very fertile region abounding in crops, and distinguished also by the most splendid cities. Now however these places are deserted and consumed by fire. For when god had conferred all things upon them of his kindness, fields fruitful of produce, and lands planted with vineyards and also trees abounding in fruit, ungrateful and not holding before their eyes the power of the great god as if he does not discern everything, does not see all shameful things, and there is nothing which can be hidden from him or escape him, thus they began to mix and defile everything with the shameful acts of their excesses, by which they drew down divine displeasure. And for the punishment of their sins from heaven came down fire which consumed that region. And so five cities were burned, some traces of which and their appearance is seen in the ashes. [p. 272] The lands burned, the waters burn, in which the remnants of the fire from heaven are recognized and to this time there remain there fruits green in appearance, a cluster formed of grapes so that they produce in those seeing them the desire of eating. If you should pluck them, they fall apart and are loosened into ash and send forth smoke as is they are still burning. This on account of the well known punishment of the wicked people of the Sodomitan territory it is not necessary to pass over in silence. From these things that have been discussed it is not possible for a recompense to the righteous to be doubted.
XIX. And accordingly Vespasian with the distributed reserves of the Roman army or of allies refilled the fortresses nearest the city of Jerusalem and the defenses of the cities, so that they should understand everything against them which they should consider before conspiracies among themselves for waging war against the Romans. Nevertheless Lucius Annius having been sent to Gerasa he captured the city by a stratagem. For he killed one thousand young people, who having been prevented, flight was taken away. Very many captives were taken away and the estates of everyone were invaded by the soldiers by the order of the leader, and the belongings which were found were destroyed, plunderings were carried out with license. They laid waste all the hilly regions and the flat areas, by which the city Jerusalem is surrounded he burned everywhere in the war. Nor were the inhabitants of Jerusalem freed from the perception of their dangers, by which all ways out were shut off lest anyone should be removed from peril by flight. Within (was) civil war, from without all was shut off, there was neither the choice of remaining nor the possibility of fleeing. And if anyone hoped for pardon from the Romans by going over to them he was prevented from going out by his own (people). [p. 273]
XX. Vespasian returned to the city Caesarea, so that having collected all his forces he might undertake from there the investment of the city of Jerusalem. A messenger arrived (who reported) Nero had been slain the thirteenth year of his reign having been passed by, when already of the following year he had spent the eighth day 5, deserving of that punishment, who not only had violated faith with sacrilege, dutiful conduct with parricide, virtue with incest, but also the sovereignty itself of the Roman Empire, whose duties and and tasks he had entrusted to the most wicked of freedmen. For since he himself kept faith with no one, he suspected everybody and thus thought himself especially trusted by the most worthless Nymfidius and Gemellinus, whom low in condition he had made servile. But even they sometimes shuddered at the example of his cruelty, and because he had killed those most dear to him, reckoning it was necessary to be on guard against him, they wished to prevent what they feared. And therefore a conspiracy having been made with others they forsook the parricide. For who was he considered about to spare who had not spared his (own) mother? Deserted therefore by all his own he fled out of the city with his four freedmen. And when he saw himself to be pressed by imminent conspirators and a hostile crowd, he withdrew secretly to the country near Rome torn asunder and torn apart by thorns while he feared to be seen by anyone lest he be given up. Then when he understood himself to be encircled, lest grievous punishments should be exacted, he prepared a certain contrivance for himself of wood and placed it with his own hands by which he should kill himself, and turning to his freedmen he said "what an artist dies." Thus the most repulsive parricide suffered a departure from life that fitted his merits, that he who had killed his mother and his (relatives) nor spared himself, truly a good engineer of his own death, who contrived that he should so perish, that his death should be free from indignities. [p. 274]
XXI. The report of the dead Nero had arrived in the manner of human nature, for which it is sufficient, when it will have received the desired (news), not to search for the remainder, but immediately to spread abroad into the public the incomplete (news) which will have pleased. And not much later however it became known that Galba was at the head of the Roman Empire. Hence it was the intention of Vespasian to inquire the opinion of the new leader about the war of the Jews and he sent his son Titus and the king Agrippa. Titus returned from Achaia, it having been learned that Galba in the seventh month and day of taking power was put aside and paid the penalty for the notable in the heart of the city, that is in the Roman forum, and Otho took possession of favorable circumstances and the imperial succession. Agrippa hastened to Rome, in order to establish favor with the new leader. Regard for paternal devotion seemed better to Titus than for imperial power, because if he should press on without his father's advice he thought it would not be pleasing to the ruler himself. Certainly the death seasonably informed him to return with the news to his father uncertain of where they tended. For finally Vespasian anxious about the entire Roman empire and the condition of his country suspended the war and withheld his attack, what was going on Judaea being considered of less importance compared to concern for the entire situation and to a dutiful solicitude for his country.
XXII. But Judaea was not keeping holiday, which was waging a more serious war within itself than against external enemies. For since the faction of Johannis was intolerable, there arose in addition Simon indeed inferior by the depravity of his behavior but relying more upon the beauty of his body for daring every crime and upon brigandage, accustomed to the practice and trial of outrageous deeds. He was [p. 275] a Gerasan citizen, a strong youth, whom Ananus the leader of the priests had beaten down because of feigned stories of debauchery and had forced him driven from that place where he was dwelling to go away into other regions. But he for whom there was no place among the peaceful and gentle betook himself to a consortium of robbers. By them also in the beginning he was mistrusted, lest he should deceive them by partisanship, afterwards he easily ingratiated himself in by the mingling of customs. He plundered with them those places which were adjoining to fortifications because they did not venture to seek further places, but as if hiding in pits they lay in wait for passersby without any going abroad as if satisfied with domestic robbery. Simon unrestrained of mind was not long able to tolerate that and in a short time sought for himself a band of many promising liberty to slaves, plunder to free persons, recompense for those reduced to poverty, license to plunder for the many collecting together, daring to assault fortifications, to seize the peoples of cities, he was terrible to all. A place of refuge for himself in a village, which had the name Aiacis, he prepared walls. And already surrounded by twenty thousand armed men he was proceeding, when suddenly the inhabitants of Jerusalem fearing his daily advances and judging that these would be against them if they should come to maturity longer judged they must be cut down and in a sudden excursion armed men attacked Simon. Nor was he incautious and unprepared open to an ambush but he received those coming on and put most to flight, others routed in the battle he forced to retreat into the city.
XXIII. Engaging with the Idumaeans also on equal terms he fell back and as if conquered because he had not won, he was vexed. When there should again be a coming together, considering it more favorable to try trickery he found a voluntary abettor of deceit. For when it was understood [p. 276] what he was striving for, Jacob one of the leaders of the Idumaeans, cunning and clever at tasks of this sort, came secretly to Simon and offered the betrayal of his country, that he would give good faith that he would encompass all the Idumaeans, the price asked for a future association, which would be the most powerful and the most faithful to him, he promises the surrender of all. With a social feast allied thanks and great promises of Simon the bargain was confirmed on both sides. When Jacob returned to his own people he began at first to boast to a few the exploring the strengths of the opponents to have gone forward, to have seen a strong band, men expert in war, a great multitude and invincible in war. He gradually implanted speech of this sort to the leaders, finally to spread it out to all, Simon himself to be vigorous in full measure, who had organized his army in a regal manner, had maintained the ranks, had apportioned the numbers, had appointed suitable leaders. It was necessary that the Idumaeans take counsel with themselves that they should experience such a man as a friend rather than as an enemy. Certainly if in a conference they should see him superior, they should withdraw without danger, they should beware of battle. When he learned that the sentiment of most was inclined to his opinion, Simon having been instructed that he should go forth into battle line, confident of the future routing of the Idumaeans, he did not disperse, here like a leader in battle and as if prepared for fighting, when a testing battle with the light armed troops, before it came to close quarters, his horse having been turned around he gave himself to flight. His men did the same. Thus he turned back and scattered all the forces and surrendered victory to Simon without the contest of battle. He having become master of such a great people by the triumph, was made more arrogant [p. 277] toward the rest. Chebron an ancient city, crowded with people, rich in treasure, he captured before it was expected and found in it much booty, he ravaged very rich crops. It is reported to be the most ancient community not only of the cities of Palestine, but even of all that were established in Egypt by the ancients, even Memphis, which is considered the most ancient, most judge to be later. There have been those even who have said father Abraham to have dwelled in it, afterwards having departed from Mesopotamia he traveled to Egypt, his sons to have there a tomb beautifully constructed of marble and with the most elegant workmanship, at the seventh stadium from the city. A large terebinthus tree is asserted to have been there from the constitution of the world, now however whether it remains to this time is uncertain to us. Proceeding from there he laid waste territories, stormed cities, collected peoples. Accompanied by forty thousand armed men he made desolate everything at whatever place he had approached even as if a friend or ally. For what place would suffice for the food of so many? Every place was trampled down by the footsteps alone of the foot soldiers in the manner of a pavement, in which he had stationed such a great number of fighters. Not only was whatever was a crop carried away, as if consumed by certain locusts, but even later the the beaten down earth was denying crops. It terrified Johannis that the power of Simon was increasing and the partners of the entire faction were shaking. They wished him destroyed but did not dare to provoke him to war. Once more they prepared an ambush and blocking the routes they seize and carry off his wife with all the feminine retinue and a few [p. 278] attendants of the men. They boasted as if they had achieved an important victory and, as if they were holding Simon himself captive, they thought that he would humble himself before them. But he unyielding, fierce, would meet with them from love for no one, he held nothing dear or sacred, he was angered as if by an injury received rather than by a dear one snatched away, and much more furious he tortured with severe pains those whom he discovered. He cut off the hands from many whom he sent to the enemy with maimed bodies, so that they would make known his cruelty, would would insinuate to threaten that he would throw down the walls, raze the city, unless his wife were restored to him immediately, likewise he would cut off the hands and cut out the viscera from everyone who lived within the city, unless they should have agreed without delay. And so terrified they send his wife straight to him, by which his anger having been softened he gave some little opportunity of reposing, that he would not press the siege.
XXIV. Not only had Galba been killed, but even Othon had been killed, the leaders of Vitellius having come to an agreement, whom the army in Gaul had chosen as emperor. And indeed in the first battle Othon seemed superior. The battle having been resumed after a day Othon discovered that victory had fallen to Valentius and Caecina associates of Vitellius, also most of his men had been killed, located at Brixia he saved himself by a voluntary death with the jest, that he had been master for only three months and two days. And so the Victor with that army, which remained from both sides, hastened to Rome. [p. 279]
XXV. Vespasian at that time set out from the city Caesarea. He laid waste Iudaea, he finished off the neighboring hill country and fortified places. He killed those resisting, he bestowed the grace of safety to those beseeching it, he routed his adversaries, he stationed his men. Cerealis also a leader of the Roman army overran everything with the cavalry, he killed some, he subjugated others, he collected a multitude of captives. He burned out everything around Jerusalem, lest there be any refuge for the Jews. Thus every way out for the Jews was cut off before a siege. But they not only did not take counsel with themselves, they even fought among themselves in domestic strife, Johannes a tyrant on the inside, Simon the enemy outside the walls, who issuing forth for a short time, his wife having been recovered, ravaged Idumaea and returned even stronger and surrounded the walls of the city Jerusalem on every side with armed men. Johannes positioned on the inside drove his men to the fight with unfavorable auspices, the judgment of crimes having been given. They seethed with eagerness for plunder, desires of base deeds, profusions of riotous living, odors of perfumes. They crimped their hair with curling irons, painted their eyes with antimony. donned women's clothing. Not only the clothing of women but even women's effeminacy was striven for, and the passions of unlawful pleasures. Men exercised the role of women, made womanish sounds, destroyed their sex by the weakness of their body, let grow their hair, whitened their face, smoothed their cheeks with pumice, plucked their little beard, and in this effeminacy exercised an intolerable savagery of cruelty. Finally they were advancing with irregular steps and suddenly fighters for a short while, covering hidden swords with purple cloaks, when [p. 280] they had suddenly bared them, whomever they met with they tore open. Anyone who had escaped Simon was killed by Johannes if he took himself into the city, anyone who had fled Johannes and was captured by Simon was killed before the walls. There was great dissension. The Idumaeans were seeking to end the tyranny of Johannes, they envied his power and hated his cruelty. They come together against the abettors of the tyranny, they divert them, they follow all the way to the royal court, which he had put together with the nearest family of king Adiabenus, the defenders having been driven out they rush in and they seize the temple, plundering the booty of the tyranny, since Johannes had established the hiding place of their treasures there. Great fear had arisen, that during the night the Idumaeans entering the city from the temple might kill the people with their arms, might destroy the city by burning. Terrified by which fear, by the judgment of the council, while they were unable to bear one tyrant, they admitted another. And Johannes had stolen into the tyranny by deceit: he having been asked, that he should grant the remedy of safety, brought in the domineering despot to the citizens of the city. Mathias the foremost of the priests was sent that he might beseech his entry. But he satisfied to be in power haughtily assented and as if he were vexed yielded to the canvassing for office, so that he could pour himself into the city with all his troops. They opened the gates to his troops so that they could bring in even worse, while they cursed the interior. And so Simon in accordance with the decision having entered showed himself equally an enemy to all, so that he took vengeance with a common hatred upon all, upon those who had summoned (him) and those against whom his aid had been requested: Johannes was impelled by his delusions, the state vacillated. There was a contest between Johannes and Simon who should most injure his own followers. [p. 281]
XXVI. The rumor grew strong of civil wars in the Roman army: disclosed by the death of Galba and Otho and the ascendency of Vitellius, who more worthless than his predecessors had sunk down as if refuse. Men of the old military service began to gather with him and to tolerate indignantly that the praetorian legions at Rome should take so much upon themselves that although they had already become unaccustomed to experience the dangers of wars, although they did not know the names of the peoples who set war in motion, nevertheless they themselves decreed the leader in wars and decided that the choosing of the ruler of the Roman state was in their hands. Thence as an example of this sort the soldiers stationed in Gaul sought that they should give the supreme command to Vitellius without consulting the senate and the Roman people. Themselves in the meantime to be considered as hired servants, who obeyed foreign masters, the first into dangers, the last to be honored, they were waging war at such a time with triumphal celebrations increasing daily and were receiving masters from (their) inferiors, and them not even suitable but the most sluggish who were devoted to their appetites and shameful practices. They should go forward in the face of obstacles and the insult should be removed. They had an active man Vespasian whom it was fitting to be chosen ruler by all, mature of an age for taking counsel, stronger than his juniors for fighting. It should be hastened quickly, lest he should be chosen first by others, and those with whom he had grown up triumphing in military service should be objects of contempt. When would be a more opportune time, in which a recompense fitting for his accomplishments should be rewarded? Vitellius an abyss of personal causes of shame, not I should say of rulers. This the senate was not about to tolerate longer, not the Roman people, that the disgrace of drunkards should remain longer at the summit of the empire, to support whom the Roman state does not suffice. For who should suffer a tyrant to reign, when he has in the army a ruler worthy [p. 282] of the Roman empire? Which crew in truth threw itself into debauchery and devoted itself to vice, at the time when the incentive of war is the slothfulness of the state's ruler and on the contrary the stability of peace in the enemy is bravery, in the ruler of the state is moderation. Who does not admire in Vespasian up until now a private citizen the glory of power and the supremacy of the Roman empire? For whom so great a number of military men are at hand and the strongest band of the entire Roman army? What should we expect, that support for us is owed to anothers bravery because he is ruler and we give place to others because he is in command of our power? Certainly if we are unwilling to honor, we should not detract, nor should we make this injury, that he should be repudiated in our judgment as if unfit for the supreme command, for which Vitellius was considered fit. Finally since his brother and his son Domitian are in Italy, it must certainly be feared, lest anyone who ought to have long since been an embellishment to his family should be a danger, or if they as we believe should begin to urge an absolute ruler, to this deceit let it be that the brother and son had rebelled, and we should begin to see him responsible, whom we are unwilling to see as supreme commander. These with them the soldiers crying aloud address Vespasian, they ask that he take over the control of the Roman empire. He truly refused and said himself to be not fit, a supreme ruler to have been already put in place, a civil war should be avoided. They were quick to insist, he was most persevering in resisting. Finally armed men stood around him who was still resisting threatening death with swords, who pointed out a crime to themselves to remain and a grave danger, if he should refuse. And so he conceded to those pressing him rather than taking upon himself voluntarily that which others are accustomed to campaign for. The soldiers urged him, the leaders persuaded, that he should assume the administration before the honor. He hastened in to Egypt, for he knew the greatest forces of the Roman state to be there. From which place a supply of food was furnished, reserves for himself sought, if he should have conquered, resistance to Vitellius, if he [p. 283] thought the war would drag out longer. For there were two ranks of military men there, which he hastened to join to himself, so that the city very large and surrounded by many defences of nature should remain in his power rather than in another's, useful enough for either outcome of the war. And for that reason a few things should be said about the location of the places and above all about the metropolitan city itself.
XXVII. Alexander founded the city of Alexandria to which the name of the great leader was given because of his great merits. It lies between Egypt and the sea as if closed off, a city without a harbor, as is most of Egypt, and difficult to approach from other places since it lies in the more distant parts of Asia. In the west Egypt itself borders upon the deserts of Libya, Soenen and the unnavigable cataracts of the Nile river divide its southern and upper regions from the Ethiopians, in the east the Red Sea is flung back all the way to Coptos, which most distant place opens a passable route for sailors from the farthest lands to the Indians. Hedged in on one side therefore by the boiling hot burning sun, from India and from the Egyptian sea, it leans upon one only northern wall of land which leads into Syria. The rest is shut off on every side and protected with the help of nature. However the defence of the northern region (is) separated and accessible by a certain twin entrance, by which foreign forces are conveyed to it through the Egyptian sea or a freer use is extended to the lands. The land extends to a boundless measure. For between Soenen and Pelusium (there is) an immense distance of two thousand stadia, if [p. 284] belief is given to assertions, and from Plinthinis all the way to Pelusium likewise three thousand six hundred stadia. A region unaccustomed to heavy rains but not however lacking in showers, upon which the overflowings of the Nile poured out water freely. The Nile is both things to it, the copiousness of the heavens and the fertility of the earth. It regulates the cultivated lands, it enriches the soil, to the benefit alike af sailors and farmers. The first sail upon it, the latter plant crops, they sail around the estates in boats, they farm: sowing without a plow, travelling without a carriage. You may see it divided by the river and as if elevated by a certain wall of boats. Dwelling places are spread over all the lands, which they overflow with the Nile. For it is navigable all the way to the city that they name Elephantus. The cataracts which we have mentioned do not allow a boat to proceed further, not by the falling away of a whirlpool but by the headlong falling down of the entire river and a certain tumbling down of the waters. The harbor of the city as most accesses to maritime places is difficult to approach and far more difficult than the rest, as if in the form of the human body, in the head itself and the harbor rather spacious, in the throat more narrow, by which one undertakes the passage of the sea and ships, by which certain aids of breathing are furnished to the port. If anyone shall have passed out the narrow neck and mouth of the port, the remaining shape of the body so to speak, the spreading out of the sea is extended far and wide. In the right side of the port there is a small island, on it is a tall tower, which the Greeks and Romans [p. 285] commonly have called Pharus from the use of the thing itself, because it may be seen from afar by sailors so that, before they come near the port, especially at night time they may learn that land is near them by the indication of flames, so that they deceived by darkness do not come upon rocks or are not able to discover the passage of the entrance. And so there are attendants there, by whom firebrands having been tossed in and other piles of wood the fire is burned as an indication of land and as a marker of the entrance of the port, showing the strait to anyone entering, the power of the waves, the winding of the entrance, so that the thin keels should not strike the jagged rocks and during the entrance itself strike against reefs hidden among the waves. And so it is necessary that the direct course be altered for a short time, lest dashed against hidden rocks a ship should run into danger there, where an escape from dangers is expected. For the approach into the port is more difficult, because on the right side it is contracted by brick, on the left by rocks, by which the left side of the port is obstructed. Also around the island heaped up piles of great size are thrown down, lest by the continual pounding of the surging sea the foundations of the island should give way and be loosened by the age-old assault. Whence it happens from the waves dashing themselves against part of the island and returning in the opposite direction between the jagged rocks and heaped together moles, the middle of the channel is always restless and entering becomes dangerous for boats because of the rough passage. The breadth of the port is thirty stadia, a safe harbor, great tranquility regardless of the weather, because having brought to mind the narrowness of the mouth and the interposition of the island it repels from itself the waves of the sea [p. 286] and inside it becomes a very safe port by a certain compensation of the dangerous ingress, because by the same narrowness of the mouth of the port the basin of the entire port is protected and removed from the effects of storms, it is calmed by the breaking of the waves by which the ingress is made rough. Not undeserved is either the protection or the size of a port of this sort, since it is necessary to bring together into it those things which contribute to the profit of the entire world. For indeed innumerable peoples of the same places seek the commerce of the entire world for the benefit of themselves, and a region, rich in crops and other rewards of the earth or businesses, overflowing entirely with grain nourish and furnish the world with necessary commodities.
XXVIII. Things with regard to himself in Alexandria and the desires of all who dealt with military matters about his supreme authority having been settled, relieved of anxiety about conspirators he hastens the going back of his absence into Syria, Tiberius Alexander having agreed to his orders, who was then presiding over Egypt, that he should join the allegiance of his army, which was then in the upper regions, to himself 6, he himself also would further the interests of the Roman empire to the extent he could with the forces which had been assigned to him. Tiberius circulated a letter to the provincial administrators and the soldiers, and this was received by all with joy, faithfulness was promised, approval was poured forth. Caesarea received Vespasian, after that Beritus, legations of these cities assembling with the greatest delight. There I, Josephus, who had been ordered chained, was set free. Titus approached the commander that the chains should be broken rather than unfastened, because if they were broken it would be as if he had not been fettered. His father agreed. He ordered an ax to be brought, the chains to be broken [p. 287] so that the Jews should notice that pardon would also not be denied to them, if they should turn around and ask for peace; he was saving him at once because of a not unfriendly judgment, since decisions on all matters had been referred to him.
XXIX. He arrived at Antioch. There a discussion having been held, from which it was thought necessary to transfer into Italy, because he considered everything safe in Egypt or at Alexandria, a decision for speed. And therefore he sends Mucianus with a great part of the cavalry and the foot soldiers, so that he should precede the arrival in Italy of the supreme commander. He called back by the fear of a long voyage directed his march through Cappadocia and Phrygia. He also ordered Antonius the commander of the third military rank who was in Moesia to pour himself against the unprepared Italy, before the forces of Vitellius should move themselves. For Vitellius as if drunk with wine and sunk in sleep, thinking it was a matter of a social feast be managed, not of empire, placed in such great affairs was sleeping. And finally scarcely at last aroused by the news of the arriving Antonius he directs Caecina with part of the army and he entrusts the greatest of his danger to the judgment of another relying on the forces of Caecina, which had routed the troops of Otho. He near the city of the inhabitants of Cremona meets the advancing Antonius, he examines everything, he learns a very strong band from different directions to be at hand, active in wars, experienced in victories, himself on the other hand not of equal strength nor equal in number to be able to fight against those much stronger. The centurions having been called together he urges (them) to desist from fighting, because they were inferior in number and the renown of the commander was greater. It is sufficient in war that the reputation of a leader be strong to those engaging in great matters. Vespasian shone forth in the sections of Gaul and the British victories, Vespasian girded about with his eastern glories [p. 288] the great renown of his brilliant name. Vitellius nothing else except disorderly from wine and at social feasts always vomiting yesterday's sumptuous food awaiting nothing other than that when he should come up with the enemy full of drink he should perish without any sense of pain. From the former the spirits of the soldiers were enhanced by the fame of such a great commander, from the last they were thrown down by his scandals and foulnesses. They took counsel lest they should lose (their) good repute from the previous battle. They had vanquished Otho an equal to Vitellius, opposed to him now was the task, who had encompassed the entire world with his victories. The necessity must be anticipated with grace that they should rather choose Vespasian as a fellow citizen than try him as an enemy. It is wretched in a civil war even to conquer: how much more wretched to be conquered, that you are considered the enemy of your people. To the victor his fatherland remains, to the conquered it disappears, or, if it remains, there will remain the odium of a crime, that we appear to the citizens to have waged war in behalf of a tyrant. For he who is overcome is at the moment not a fellow citizen but is a tyrant. How do we bring together the hurts of the troops? Once let it be sufficient for the evil one to have conquered, that he shames whom we have conquered. We reckoned to be either temperate for the empire or aroused up by the weight of things to repudiate uninterrupted sleep. Why expect anything further? Our dangers are unwelcome to all fellow soldiers, our judgments blamed and and condemned by all peoples because of the outrages of the selected person. However deliberately it may be, yet he who was the victor has been repudiated. It was deliberated certainly prior to the outcome of the war and thus it was fought. If dangers have prevented, you will deliberate to no purpose, where the deliberation shall be acceptable, you may properly begin. What was a matter of the concerned leader, all things having been investigated for him, it was evident that the army of Vespasian was the stronger. His loyalty to Vitellius had long been proved. When he took for granted the outcome of the war, the following victory, when he distrusted, it was manifest what was about to be. Nor truly was his own death a matter of dread to him but the peril of the Roman army and, what grieves the men more, the loss at once of a part of their fame, [p. 289] that they should be seen conquered who are accustomed to conquer. It certainly had to be guarded against by him that it should be judged a matter not of bravery, but to have been a consequence because he had conquered in a preceding battle, (that it should be judged) a matter of cowardice because he had afterwards been beaten.
XXX. By these and talks of this kind he led the soldiers to his opinion, that they should go forward with him to Antonius. And so as volunteers they surrender themselves to him. But as the fickleness of the military crowd most particularly holds itself, many were pricked during the night in their beds by repentence of the deserted Vitellius, lest if he should be superior, no possibility of pardon for them would remain, who had abandoned their proper commander. And so arising they began to confer first with whomever they met in the way. then with everyone, how they would atone for their fault. Their swords having been unsheathed they threw themselves upon Caecina wishing to go avenge their injury. But the centurions and commanders 7 intervening, having considered that indeed it must be moderated from his death, they prepared however to send him bound to Vitellius. Which having been learned Antonius set in motion those he had brought with with him, and with them under arms he rushed in upon the rebels. But they, the column turned different directions having been seen, prepared themselves for battle. But daring to resist only a short time, when they turned themselves that they might flee to Cremona, Antonius ran to meet them with cavalry, and prevented the approach of all, lest those fleeing together should be received, and killed them shut up before the city. A great multitude was killed there, he followed the rest into the city itself and killed them. Everything having been plundered, many traders from other places arriving, many inhabitants for the sake of booty were killed while protecting their property. Thirty thousand were killed and two hundred men who were present from the army of Vitellius. Also Primus, for this even was a surname to Antonius, lost four thousand five hundred of the Mesiacian soldiers, because [p. 290] from despair of safety and wishing to avenge themselves the Vitellian troops when they saw themselves surrounded yielded a by no means bloodless victory to the Antonian troops. Set free from his chains Caecina is sent to Vespasian by Antonius and there he was relieved of the stain of betrayal not only by freedom of anxiety about his safety but even by the payment of rewards.
XXXI. Elated by the news of which victory Sabinus, wishing himself to prepare a commendation for himself in the eyes of the commander, if he should precede the arriving Antonius, either by the destruction or expulsion of Vitellius, if Vitellius should resist, if Antonius should come to help, who now and again was heard to be at hand, he assembled soldiers to himself, a band from those ranks, who stationed at Rome attended to the duties of keeping order. Indeed during the night he occupies the Capitol. Many of the nobles flock to him in the course of the day, among whom even was Domitian, the son of the brother of Vespasian, who feared that the Vitellian revenge might be diverted against himself as a nephew of Vespasian. Between the two Vitellius attacks the nearer, less worried by the more distant -- for the nearer dangers frighten more -- and angered he sends the Germans against the Capitol, who very violent from the monstrous size of the race, at the same time stronger in numbers, surrounded the martial band of Sabinus. Almost all were killed. Domitian however with most of the nobles, while the Germans are pressing against the heights of the Capitol and are driven back with the help of the position and by Sabinus and his associates, found an opportunity of fleeing, and by chance to the injury of the state was himself saved to be in future a tyrant. Vitellius puts Sabinus to death by torture, all the gifts that had been offered to the Capitol are plundered and the temple is burned. [P. 291]
XXXII. After a day Antonius arrives, he comes in from different directions, a triple encounter having taken place around the walls of the city all the Vitellians are put to flight and killed. Meanwhile Vitellius was feasting lest being about to die he should miss a meal, and like those overflowing as they are accustomed to be at the last, he kept stuffing himself with the viands of his last table, he stupified himself with numerous goblets of wine, that he should lose consciousness of either future abuse or peril. He is plucked from a banquet, dragged through the throng, reviled as one about to die, injuries are applied that being drunk he did not feel. He is killed in the middle of the city pouring out wine and blood simultaneously, belching forth the wine drunk. Who if he had lived longer, would have consumed in daily living the wealth of the Roman empire in the expenses of his extravagances and the cost of his tables. In the end he ruled eight months and five days and already Rome had fallen short of his gluttony. Others of the killed were reckoned above fifty thousand.
XXXIII. Moreover on the following day Mucianus and Antonius having entered together with the army barely imposed an end to the killing upon the raging soldiers, that because they were hunting down the Vitellians who had presumed to establish the supreme authority of the empire and aroused by such a great provocation they were searching the homes of private citizens so that when they had discovered among the people some hiding from fear, they killed them as Vitellians, before an inquiry had disclosed the truth, so that too often the fury of the victors preceded a questioning. And because Vespasian was not present Mucianus put Domitian in charge of public affairs on account of the interregnum, lest any fault should lack appropriate handling. Not yet however had eagerness for shameful acts poured itself completely into Domitian. He was to this point clumsy in his moral faults and a beginner in crime as in authority. Vespasian had been held back by stormy weather and so the sea having been cut off by the winds he returns to Alexandria with his son. There the news of the victory and the good-will of the Roman people toward him having been made known [P. 292] he decided his departure should be hastened lest in his absence any change should be effected, nor however did he leave the war of Judaea unlooked after, which he thought should be entrusted to his son as a partner in their tasks and his successor, so that he himself should not be lacking to the Romans, nor Vespasian to the Jews, whom his son would represent. Selected the performer of his father's triumph Titus is directed with a select troop. The foot soldiers go forth, they seek Nicopolis. That city is twenty three stadia from Alexandria. From there the soldiers having been embarked on a fleet of bigger ships he travels on the Nile to the city of Thmui. Going forth from there he lingered in the city which has the name Thanis. The second stay for the travelers is the city Heracles, the third Pelusium. Two days of a stationary camp having been spent thanks to Pelusium making a journey through the desert he arrived all the way to the temple of Casus Jupiter. A stay Ostracine followed it, lacking sources of water, however by industry the inhabitants prepared a relief for themselves, they put in place a channel of waters. The Rinocorians received the advancing army not without a welcome refreshment. The city Raphiul presented itself, which city is the beginning of Syria for those traveling out of Egypt. It was come to Gaza -- that was the fifth city for those coming -- thence into Ascalona, then into Jamnia, from which it is crossed into Iopen, Caesarea is arrived at, where it was necessary to stay a short time, also to collect a troop of soldiers who were as yet in winter quarters. And already the severity of the winter was abating.
THIS IS THE END OF BOOK IV.
1. Translator's note: them, i.e., his own men.
2. Translator's note: one stadium is approximately 606 English feet.
3. Translator's note: i.e., into the Dead Sea.
4. Translator's note: both lakes in the region, actually the Asphaltio is now called the Dead Sea.
5. Translator's note: an error in the text, this should read "the eighth month".
6. Translator's note: i.e., to Vespasian.
7. Translator's note: centurion, nominally commander of a hundred; chiliarches, nominally commander of a thousand.
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