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The War of the Jews, Book 6


Horrors before the fall of Jerusalem

(For Greek text with English translation, click here)

01. Desperation in the city; the Romans attack the Antonia tower

02. Josephus calls for surrender. Legions surround the Temple

03. Ploy of the Jews burns many Romans. Worse famine in the city

04. Romans burn the Temple Gates. Titus fails to save the Sanctuary

05. The Jews see their Temple burning. Signs preceding its destruction

06. Roman ensigns in the Temple. Titus' speech to the Jews

07. Many rebels are killed. Burning and looting of the upper city

08. Titus gains possession of the whole city

09. Reprisals within the city. The captives and the fallen; survivors

10. The second Desolation of Jerusalem. A summary of its tragic history

Chapter 01. [001-092]
Desperation in the city. Titus' Speech, on Military Glory


001 The crisis in Jerusalem grew worse every day and the rebels, already feeling the famine just as much as the people, were further angered by their reverses. 002 The piles of carcasses were horrible to see and produced a terrible stench, and were an impediment to the fighters going out of the city against the enemy, as after so many murders those going out to battle had to tread upon the corpses on their way out. 003 But as they marched over them they did not pity those dead or reckon that this insult to them would bring bad luck to themselves, 004 since already their hands were red with the blood of their fellow Jews. Going out to war the foreigners in that way even mocked the Deity, who was slow to punish them, for now their war had no hope of victory and, savagely, they gloried in having no hope of survival. 005 The Romans, despite great difficulty in gathering the materials, raised their earthworks in twenty one days, after cutting down all trees in the area around the city and for ninety furlongs round about, as I have said. 006 The countryside was a sad sight, for what had formerly been adorned with trees and gardens became a complete desolation, with every tree cut down. 007 Any stranger who had seen Judea before, and the city's beautiful suburbs and now saw it as a desert, must lament and mourn at such a great change. 008 For the war erased all signs of beauty, and if one who had previously known it now came he would not recognise the place and even if within the city, he would ask where it was.


009 When the earthworks were complete they caused fear both to the Romans and to the Jews, 010 the latter expecting the city to be taken unless they could burn them down, and the Romans fearing their own destruction if that should happen. 011 For there was a great scarcity of materials and their physical strength was failing from the toil and their spirits from so many setbacks. 012 The desolation around the city affected the Romans more than the citizens themselves, for they found the Jewish fighters not at all softened by their hardships, 013 and their own hopes of success dwindling and their earthworks being thwarted by the ruses of the enemy, their machines by the firmness of their wall, and their hand-to-hand fighting by the audacity of their attack; and especially, at seeing the the Jews coping with the rebellion, their famine and the war itself. 014 They began to think that the latters' violence was invincible and that their zeal could not be crushed by their setbacks. What could they not bear if they won a victory, seeing how even their troubles gave them extra courage? Thoughts such as these made the Romans keep an even closer guard on their earthworks.


015 John's party within the Antonia took precautions in case the wall were breached, so they set to work before bringing the battering rams to bear. 016 Still they did not achieve their aim, for having gone out with their torches, they returned discouraged without getting near the earthworks. 017 This was above all because they did not act together, but went out in separately in little groups, and slowly and nervously, not in the real Jewish way. They lacked the special mark to our nation, audacity and vigour in rushing all together, and persevering even if at first they don't succeed. 018 Now they went out despondently and found the Romans ready and braver than usual, 019 guarding their earthworks with their bodies and armour so fully meshed that they left no room for the fire to get among them, each ready to die rather than desert his post. 020 Besides their fear of failure if the earthworks were burned, the soldiers would be disgraced if their courage overcome by guile, their armour by fervour, their skill by numbers, and Romans by Jews. 021 To the Romans advantage, their siege-machines could reach those coming out of the city and each one who fell impeded the one after him and the danger of advancing softened them up. 022 Even those who got through the missiles were scared by the good order and closeness of the enemies' ranks before they got near enough to fight while others were jabbed by the spears and turned back. In the end, blaming each other for cowardice, they retreated without achieving anything. This attack was upon the new moon of the month Panemus. 023 When the Jews retreated, the Romans brought up their machines, though being pelted with stones from the Antonia tower and attacked by fire and sword and missiles of all sorts, which the Jews were forced to use. 024 Although depending greatly on their wall and scorning the Roman machines, they still tried to stop the Romans from advancing them. 025 They, on the contrary, struggled to bring them up, reckoning that the Jews were keen to avoid them making any impression on the Antonia tower, with its weakened wall and rotten foundations. 026 When it did not yield on being struck, the Romans continued to brave the wounds of the enemy missiles, not yielding to the dangers from above, until finally they brought their rams to bear. 027 For underneath and showered with stones, and holding their shields over their bodies, some of them with their hands and crowbars dug under its foundations and with great effort dislodged four of its stones. 028 Night put an end to the struggle on both sides, but the wall had been so shaken by the battering rams where John had earlier undermined their earthworks by guile, that during it the ground gave way and the wall suddenly collapsed.


029 This surprise affected the minds of the two sides differently. 030 One would expect the Jews to be discouraged, since they did not expect this fall of their wall and had not provided for it, but they still took courage that the Antonia was still standing. 031 Also, the Romans' unexpected joy at the collapse soon dampened when they saw the other wall that John's group had built inside it. 032 But this seemed easier to attack than the former, and easier to reach through the broken-down parts of the former wall. This wall also appeared to be much weaker than the Antonia tower and as it had been erected so hastily they thought they could soon destroy it. Still no one dared to go up to it, because the first to do so would surely be killed.


033 Titus, knowing that the ardour of combattants is stirred by hopes and words and that urging and promises often make men to forgetful of risks, to the point of sometimes despising death itself, gathered his bravest men and tried to stir them by these ways. 034 "Fellow soldiers," he said, "to urge men to do something not dangerous, is no honour to those who are urged, nor to him who makes the exhortation. 035 So I think such urging should only to be used when things are dangerous and yet need free volunteers. 036 I grant you how difficult it will be to scale this wall, but let me stress that men who desire to be famous for their bravery must take on hard struggles, that it is noble to die with glory, and that the nobility of those who lead the way will not go unrewarded. 037 Let my first motive for you what some would probably think a disincentive, namely the constancy and patience of these Jews in their adversity. 038 How shameful it would be for Romans and my soldiers, who in peacetime have been trained for war and are used to victory in battle, to be outdone by Jews, either in action or in mind, especially when victory is near and God himself works with us. 039 Our losses were due to the madness of the Jews, while they have suffered from your bravery and from God being on our side. 040 Their factions, famine and siege, and their walls falling without our machines, what can they be but proofs of the wrath of God towards them and his help to us? 041 Therefore you must not either lose to your inferiors or betray your divine helper. which is gave you. 042 Surely it would be unworthy if, while the Jews despise death - though it would be little shame to them to be defeated, since they have long learned to be slaves to others, but still they make raids on us, not from any hope of victory but merely to show their courage - 043 you, the masters of land or sea -- for whom not to win is a disgrace -- should never once assault our enemies, 044 but sit here waiting for the famine and fortune do your work, even though you are so well armed and with some small risk, could settle everything! 045 Once we scale this tower of Antonia, we have the city, for if there is any further need to fight those inside, which is unlikely since from that summit we can fall on them before they can draw breath, we are close to a quick and total victory. 046 For the moment I refrain from lauding the immortality of warriors killed in the frenzy of battle, but let me pity on the other hand those whose death comes by sickness in time of peace, since their souls are condemned to the tomb, along with their bodies. 047 For what good man does not know that souls set free from the flesh by the sword in battle are received by the purest heaven and placed among the stars, to shine as good spirits and gallant heroes for their posterity? 048 On the other hand, souls that linger in sick bodies, no matter how pure they be of this world's stains or defilements, are quenched by subterranean night and pass to deepest oblivion, which takes away their bodily life and all memory of them. 049 But if of necessity all men must die, and the sword is a better instrument for it than any disease, is it not ignoble if we refuse to surrender for the public good what we must surrender to fate? 050 I have been assuming that the men who first try to scale this wall must be killed in the attempt. But men of true courage have a chance of surviving even the greatest perils. 051 First, the ruined part of the wall can easily be scaled, and then the new-built wall will be easy to break down, for if many of you venture upon the task and mutually support and help each other, your bravery will soon break the spirit of the enemy. 052 This exploit may even be accomplished without bloodshed. For although they will probably try to stop you getting up, they won't be able to hold you back any longer once even a few of you have secretly forced your way in. 053 The man who first mounts the wall, well, I would blush if I did not make him envied by others, for his awards! If he survives, he shall be the leader of others who are now his equals, but if he dies, the greatest tributes will follow him to the grave."


054 After Titus had spoken, most were fearful at so great a danger, but one soldier among the cohorts, Sabinus, a Syrian by birth, showed uncommon fortitude, both in action and in mind. 055 To look at him beforehand and judge from his physical appearance, one would think him unfit for soldiering, for his colour was black, his flesh was lean and shrunken, but this small frame was much too narrow for the force of the heroic soul living within it. 056 He was the first to stand up and say, "I give myself to you, Caesar, willingly! 057 I will be first to scale the wall and I pray that my strength and resolve may bring you good fortune. But if some nemesis brings me down, know that my fate was not unexpected, and that I freely choose death for your sake." 058 With these words, he put his shield over his head with his left hand and drew his sword with his right, and up he went to the wall, about the sixth hour of the day. 059 Only eleven others followed him, resolved to imitate his bravery, but he was the main man and went ahead of them all, driven by a divine fury. 060 The sentries shot at them from the wall, throwing countless missiles from every side, and rolled large stones upon them, which killed some of the eleven. 061 Sabinus himself faced up to the shower of missiles and did not let up on the force of his attack until he reached the top of the wall and scattered the enemy. 062 The Jews were put to flight, astonished at his great strength and bravery and imagining that a larger number of them had gotten up the wall. 063 Here one cannot help complaining of how fortune envies virtue and blocks the completion of glorious deeds. 064 For when this man had just gained his purpose, he stumbled on a large stone and fell down headlong with a loud crash. When the Jews turned back and saw him to be alone and fallen they attacked him from every side. 065 Getting up on one knee he covered himself with his shield and at first managed to defend himself and wounded many who approached him. 066 Soon however, his arm collapsed under the number of his wounds and finally, buried under a hail of missiles, he gave up the ghost. His bravery deserved a better fate, but he fell in the achievement of his goal. 067 The three others who reached the top were dashed to pieces with stones; the remaining eight were pulled down, wounded, and carried back to the camp. These things happened on the third day of the month Panemus.


068 Two days later twenty of the outpost guards on the ramparts got together and along with the standard- bearer of the fifth legion and two others of a troop of cavalry and trumpeter went noiselessly through the ruins, about the ninth hour of the night, to the Antonia tower. After killing the sleeping sentries, they took the ramparts and ordered the trumpeter to sound his trumpet. 069 The rest of the garrison suddenly got up and ran away, without seeing how many had gotten in, for panic and the sound of the trumpet made them imagine that the enemy had come up in force. 070 When Caesar heard the signal, he immediately ordered his soldiers to arm up and rushed there first with his officers and his elite troops. 071 As the Jews were escaping to the temple, these went down into that mine which John had dug under the Roman earthworks. 072 The rebels of both sides of the Jewish army, John's and Simon's, bravely spared no effort in trying to hold them at bay, 073 for they foresaw that the end was near if once the Romans got into the temple, just as the others saw it as the prelude to conquest. 074 So a fierce battle was fought at the entrance, with the Romans forcing their way in to take the temple and the Jews trying to drive them back to the Antonia tower. 075 Spears and missiles were useless on both sides but all drew their swords and fought it out hand to hand, and in the crush they fought at random, crowding on each other and hemmed in by the confines of the place, and with a tremendous volume of confused shouting. 076 Great slaughter took place on both sides, with the combatants treading upon the bodies and the armour of the slain. 077 On whichever side the battle inclined, the winners urged each other on while the losers cried aloud. There was no room for flight or pursuit, with barely room to turn and only disorderly shiftings of position. 078 Those in front had to kill or be killed, having no way of escape, for on both sides those coming from behind forced those ahead to go on, with no space between the armies. 079 Finally the Jews' violent zeal overcame the Romans' skill and the line began to sag, for the fight had lasted from the ninth hour of the night until the seventh hour of the day. 080 As the Jews crowded forward, motivated by the danger to the temple, only a portion of the Roman army was there, since the legions on which their soldiers depended had not reached them. So they thought it sufficient for the present just to hold the Antonia tower.


081 But a man of great reputation called Julian, a centurion from Bithynia, whom I had seen earlier in that war, now showed his warlike skill, physical strength, and courage of soul. 082 Seeing the Romans giving ground and putting up a poor resistance, for he stood in the Antonia tower alongside Titus, this man jumped out and on his own put the victorious Jews to flight, making them retire to the corner of the inner court of the temple; from him they fled in droves, seeing his strength and force as superhuman. 083 He rushed through them, scattering and killing those he caught. No sight seemed so admirable to Caesar, or more terrible to others than this. 084 But he too was pursued by fate, which no mortal man can escape. 085 Wearing shoes studded with sharp nails like every other soldier, as he ran along the pavement he slipped and crashed down with a loud noise, causing who were running away to turn back on him. 086 The Romans in the Antonia tower shouted in concern for the man, but the Jews crowded round him and struck at him from all sides with spears and swords. 087 With his shield he parried many a stroke of these weapons and often tried to rise but was thrown down again by the crowd striking at him and even while lying there he stabbed many with his sword. 088 With all his vital parts protected by the helmet and breastplate, and drawing in his neck, it was not easy to finish him off, but finally when his limbs were severed and nobody dared come to protect him, he yielded to his fate. 089 Caesar was deeply moved by the courage of this man, especially as he was killed in the sight of so many. He wished personally to go to his aid but the location would not allow him, while any who could have done so feared to try. 090 Thus Julian after struggling a long time with death and had leaving few of those who killed him go unharmed, was finally and with difficulty dispatched, leaving a great name behind him, not only among the Romans and Caesar, but among his enemies too. 091 The Jews seized his corpse and routed the Romans again, boxing them up in the Antonia tower. 092 On their side, the toughest in this battle were Alexas and Gyphtheus of John's party and of Simon's party, Malachias and Judas, son of Merto and James, son of Sosas, the commander of the Idumaeans, and of the Zealots, two brothers, Simon and Judas, sons of Jairus.

Chapter 02. [093-176]
Josephus calls in vain, for a surrender. The Legions surround the Temple


093 Titus ordered his soldiers to dig up the foundations of the Antonia tower and make an easy entry for his whole army to come up. 094 He sent Josephus out, when he learned how on that day, the seventeenth of Panemus, what was called "the Daily Sacrifice" had been omitted since there was nobody to offer it and that the people were disheartened by this, 095 with a message to John, the same as before, that if he had a mad desire to fight he could come out to battle with as many as he pleased, without involving the city or the temple in his own downfall, and no longer offend God by defiling the temple. He could also, with any of the Jews he chose, resume the sacrifices which had been interrupted. 096 Standing up where he could be heard, not only by John but by many more, Josephus relayed Caesar's message in Hebrew, 097 earnestly appealing to them to spare their city and to prevent the fire which was already licking at the temple and to render to God his due sacrifices. 098 The people heard these words in sadness and silence, but the tyrant showered Josephus with insults and curses, adding that he did feared the city would be captured since it belonged to God. 099 Josephus called aloud, "How pure you have kept this city for God, and how undefiled the temple! You have done no wrong to your ally, and he still receives his due sacrifices! 100 Vile wretch, if anyone cut off your daily rations, you would think him your enemy, yet you hope for God's support in this war after putting an end to his age-old worship! 101 Do you want to blame the Romans, who even now show concern for our laws and almost insist on having still offered to God the sacrifices which you interrupted? 102 Who would not groan and regret the incredible change in this city? It is foreigners and enemies who now correct the impiety you have caused, while you, a Jew educated in our laws, respect them less than they. 103 Still, John, it is no shame to repent our misdeeds, even at the last moment, and save the city, following the good example of Jechoniah, the king of the Jews. 104 Way back then, while at war with the king of Babylon, he left this city of his own accord before it was taken and with his family went into voluntary captivity, rathen than see the sanctuary fought over by the enemy and see the house of God set on fire. 105 For this reason he is held in sacred regard by all Jews, and his memory flows on immortal and fresh to our descendants through all ages. 106 This is an excellent example, John, in such a time of crisis and I warrant that the Romans will still grant you pardon. 107 Note that it is as your countryman and a Jew that I give you this advice and promise. Do not forget who I am who say this, and where I come from. Never as long as I live shall I be so slavish as to abandon my people, or forget our ancestral heritage. 108 You reject me again, roaring and abusing me, though I deserve worse for courting disaster by making you this kind invitation, and trying to save by force those whom God has condemned. 109 Who is unaware of the writings of the ancient prophets, and of the oracle now to be fulfilled on this wretched city? For it was to be taken when someone starts the slaughter of his own countrymen! 110 Are not the city and the temple full of your corpses? It is God then, God himself, who is going to purge by fire and root out by means of the Romans this city, so polluted by you."


111 With sighs and tears Josephus spoke these words, his voice choked with sobs, 112 so that even the Romans pitied his plight and wondered at his resolve. But John and his companions were exasperated with the Romans and longed to get their hands on him. 113 Still his speech influenced many of the better sort, some of whom were so afraid of the rebel guards that they stayed put, though they knew that they and the city were doomed, while others watched for a chance to escape and fled to the Romans. 114 Among them were the high priests Joseph and Jesus, and three of high priestly stock, sons of the Ishmael who was beheaded in Cyrene, and four sons of Matthias, and one son of the other Matthias, who escaped after his father's death, who with three of his sons was killed by Simon the son of Gioras, as I already said. Along with the high priests, many of the other nobles went over to the Romans. 115 Caesar received these men kindly, and knowing they would not willingly live by the customs of other nations, sent them to Gophna, there to remain for the present, and told them that after the war he would restore their property to each of them. 116 They retired gladly to the small city assigned to them, fearing no danger. But as they did not reappear, the rebels claimed that these deserters had been killed by the Romans, to deter the rest from trying to escape. 117 This ploy succeeded again, and others were deterred from deserting for fear of a similar fate.


118 Titus later recalled the men from Gophna and ordered them to go around the wall with Josephus and show themselves to the people, which got many to flee to the Romans. 119 As a group and standing before the Roman lines, with groaning and tears begged the rebels above all to open the city to the Romans and so save their homeland; 120 but if they refused that, at least for all to leave the temple and so save the sanctuary, since the Romans would dare to burn the sanctuary only in case of extreme necessity. 121 The rebels heckled them more and more, and while loudly and bitterly rebuking them as deserters, placed their machines for throwing spears and javelins and stones above the sacred gates, so that all the space around the temple was like a graveyard and the sanctuary itself a fortress. 122 In these holy, inviolable places they rushed about with weapons, their hands still warm with the blood of their own people, commiting such crimes that the same anger that Jews would naturally feel towards Romans who treated them in that way, the Romans now felt towards the Jews, for defiling their own sanctuary. 123 Of the soldiers there was none who did not look with a sacred, reverential horror upon the sanctuary and wish the brigands to repent before their disaster became final.


124 Titus was very grieved with the situation and rebuked John's group, "You wretches, did you not build this balustrade in front of your sanctuary? 125 Did you not place slabs at regular intervals, inscribed in Greek and in our tongue, that no foreigner should go beyond that wall. 126 Did we not permit you to kill anyone, even a Roman, who went beyond it? And now, you ruffians, what are you doing there but trampling on corpses? Why are you polluting the temple with foreign and local blood? 127 Let the gods of my country and any god who ever watched over this place, though now I doubt if any do, and my own army and the Jews with me, and yourselves too, witness that it is not I who make you defile this place. 128 If you will just change this battleground for another, no Roman will come near your sanctuary or do it any harm, for I will save your temple, even if you don't care."


129 As Josephus passed on these words of Caesar, the brigands and their tyrant took his exhortations as coming more from fear than goodwill and scorned them. 130 So on seeing these men showing neither pity for themselves nor concern for the temple, Titus reluctantly resumed the war. 131 Unable to bring up his whole force as the place was so narrow, he chose thirty soldiers from every hundred and put a thousand under each tribune and with Cerealius as their supreme commander, gave orders to attack the sentries about the ninth hour of the night. 132 As he was armed and ready to go down with them, his friends prevented him, because of the extreme risk and his officers's advice. 133 They said that rather than coming down and risking his own person in the vanguard he would contribute more by sitting above in the Antonia tower, assigning rewards to soldiers for their part in the struggle, since all would fight well, with Caesar looking at them. 134 Caesar took this advice and said it was to be able to judge their courage, so that no valiant soldier might go unrecognised and miss his reward, and no coward go unpunished. As the one to dispense punishments and rewards to them, he wished to see for himself all that was done. 135 So he sent them to the task at the said hour, and went himself to an elevated place in the Antonia tower from which he could see the action, and there waited impatiently to see how it turned out.


136 Those who were sent did not find the temple sentries asleep as they hoped, but with a great shout they immediately assulted them, and when the others inside heard the sentries shouting, they ran out in droves. 137 The Romans repulsed the first wave of the attack, and many in the rear attacked their own troops confusing their own side with the enemy, 138 for the shouting on both sides made them unable to recognise each other's voices, and as it was night they could hardly see each other, and some were so blinded by passion and fear as to hardly care whom they struck. 139 This ignorance affected the Romans less than the Jews, because they interlocked their shields and made more united attacks than the others, and each remembered the watchword. 140 The Jews were always scattered, attacking and retreating at random, and often mistaking each other for enemies, thinking that their own men coming back in the dark were Romans and so attacking them. 141 More were wounded by their own side than by the enemy, until at daybreak the truth of things became visible and they re-formed in distinct groups to hurl their spears and defend themselves in good order. 142 Neither side would yield or give up. The Romans, under the eye of Titus, rivalled each other as to who should fight the hardest, individually and by regiments, each one aware that if he fought bravely this day would begin his promotion. 143 What mainly urged the Jews to act bravely was their fear for themselves and for the temple, plus the presence of their tyrant, who prompted some and beat and threatened others. 144 This fight was for the most part in one place, where the soldiers went on and returned in a short time and suddenly, for there was no large area for either flight or pursuit. 145 But still there was a regular roar from the Romans in the Antonia tower, loudly calling to their own men to press on when they were winning and to hold firm when they were retreating. 146 It was like a theatre of war, where nothing escaped the eyes of Titus and the people round him. 147 Finally this battle that started at the ninth hour of the night, ended about the fifth hour of the day just where it began, with neither side having clearly won and leaving victory in the balance. 148 While many of the Romans distinguished themselves, on the Jewish side the heroes were: Judas the son of Merto and Simon the son of Josas, of Simon's party; the Idumaeans, James, son of Sosas and Simon, son of Cathlas, of John's party; Gyphtheus and Alexas; and Simon, son of Jairus, of the Zealot party.


149 Meanwhile the rest of the Roman army had in the space of seven days flattened the foundations of the Antonia tower and had made an easy and broad access to the temple. 150 Then the legions came near the first court, and began to raise embankments, one opposite the north-west corner of the inner temple, another at the northern hall between the two gates, 151 and two more, one at the western portico of the outer temple; the other against its northern portico. However, these works advanced only with great toil and difficulty as the materials had to be brought from a hundred furlongs away. 152 A further problem was in planning, so that their superior power would not expose them to the traps laid for them by the Jews, whose despair of escaping made them even more daring. 153 For example, some of their cavalry, when they went out to gather wood or hay, left their horses free to graze while they were foraging, but the Jews dashed out in groups and seized them. 154 After several instance of this, Caesar reckoned that the horse-stealing was due more to his own men's carelessness than to the daring of the Jews, and applied greater severity to make the rest take care of their horses. 155 He ordered the execution of one of the men who had lost his horse, and by fear made the others more careful of theirs. 156 No longer did they leave them free to graze, but went about their duties as if physically joined to them. The rest continued the attack on the temple and raising earthworks against it.


157 The day after the ascent [of the legions]
, since looting yielded nothing and they were faint with hunger many of the rebels joined in an attack on the Roman sentries on the Mount of Olives about the eleventh hour of the day, thinking that the attack would be unexpected and that as they would be attending to their bodies at that time they would easily be defeated. 158 But the Romans were soon alerted to their attack and gathering quickly from the nearby guard-posts, stopped them from forcing their way over or through the perimeter wall. 159 A sharp fight ensued, with many noble deeds performed on both sides, with the Romans showing their courage and warrior skill, and the Jews their fearless aggression and untamed fury. 160 One side was urged on by shame and the other by necessity, for it seemed shameful to the Romans to let the Jews escape, now they were caught in a kind of net, while the Jews' only hope of safety lay in breaking through the perimeter. 161 One cavalryman named Pedanius, when the Jews had been repulsed and forced down into the ravine, spurred his horse along their flank and caught up a fleeing enemy, a robust young man and fully armoured, grasping him by his ankle. 162 So low did Pedanius bend from his galloping horse, and such was his strength of arm and body, and so skilled was he in horsemanship, 163 that he seized his prey like an heirloom and brought him captive to Caesar. Titus admired the great strength of the man who had seized the other and had the captive punished for his attempt against the Roman wall. Then he pressed on with besieging the temple and raising the earthworks.


164 Meanwhile the Jews were so stressed by the fighting as the war crept ever higher up towards the temple that they, as it were, cut off the infected limbs, in order to prevent the ailment from spreading. 165 They set fire to the north-west portico adjoining the Antonia tower, and then broke off about twenty feet of that portico, thereby with their own hands starting to burn the Temple. 166 Two days later, on the twenty-fourth day of that month, the Romans set fire to the next portico, when the fire went fifteen feet farther, and the Jews hacked away its roof, not giving up until the Antonia tower was cut off from the temple. 167 Even when they could have stopped the fire, they did nothing while the temple was first set on fire and measured the scene entirely by what suited their purpose. 168 Around the temple the clashes continued and the war proceeded by constant small sallies of one side against each other.


169 About this time one of the Jews called Jonathan, low of stature, of despicable appearance, and undistinguished by birth or in any other way went out to the tomb of John the high priest and volubly insulting the Romans, challenged the best of them to a single combat. 170 Many in the opposing army scorned him but some were rightly afraid of him, on the basis that it was not wise to fight with a man who wanted to die. 171 People in utter despair had, besides other passions, an untamable violence in attack and had no regard to God himself, and to risk oneself against someone whom it is no great achievement to defeat and by whom you run the risk of being taken prisoner, would show not manliness, but rashness. 172 For quite a while nobody went out to accept the man's challenge and the Jew - an insolent type who scorned the Romans - went on calling them cowards, but then a cavalryman called Pudens, tired of the other's words and bravado, and perhaps foolishly scorning his puny size, ran out at him 173 and was getting the better of the encounter but then had the bad luck of falling down, and as he was down, Jonathan ran at him and cut his throat. 174 Then, standing upon his corpse, he brandished his bloody sword, and shook his shield with his left hand, shouting loudly at the army, exulting over the dead man and mocking the Roman onlookers, 175 until finally a centurion called Priscus shot him with an arrow as he was leaping and playing the fool, which brought a shout from the Jews and the Romans, though for different reasons. 176 Jonathan swooned at the pain of his wounds and fell across the body of his opponent - a clear instance of how in war, for no apparent reason, a reverse can follow a success.

Chapter 03. [177-219]
Jewish trap burns many Roman soldiers; Desperation and Famine in the City


177 The rebels in the temple tried every day to beat off the soldiers upon the ramparts and sprang this trap on the twenty-seventh day of that month. 178 They filled with dry materials and asphalt and pitch the part of the western portico between the beams and the roof, and then retreated as though weary of their efforts. 179 Many of the more thoughtless Romans, spurred by passion, closely pursued them as they retreated and put ladders against the portico and climbed on top of it, but the more prudent of the troops, wondered at this strange retreat of the Jews and stayed put. 180 The colonnade was full of the men who had ascended the ladders, and then the Jews set all of it on fire, and as the flames suddenly burst out everywhere, the Romans outside of danger were shocked, while those caught in it were totally helpless. 181 When they saw themselves surrounded by the flames, some of them jumped down backwards toward the city and some jumped in among the enemy. Many who jumped towards their own men in hope of safety broke their bones, but most of them were caught by the fire and some killed themselves by their own swords, rather than be burned, 182 though the fire suddenly engulfed men who otherwise would have died in some other way. Caesar was distressed by these deaths, even though they had gone up there without his orders, 183 but he had no way to save them, though it was some comfort to those who were dying that they did so in view of the one for whose sake they died, for he called out to them and sprang up and urged the people round him all they could to bring them relief. 184 So each man died willingly, carrying with him Caesar's words and wishes as an epitaph. 185 Some who retreated to the thick wall of the portico were saved from the fire, but were then surrounded by the Jews, and although resisting for a long time, they were wounded and finally they all fell.


186 Towards the end, one young man among them named Longus adorned this sad affair, and of all who died he seems most worthy of remembrance. 187 The Jews admired his courage and even those keenest to be rid of him tried to persuade him to come down, promising him his life. But his brother Cornelius advised against it, not to tarnish his glory or that of the Roman army. Persuaded by this he raised his sword in the sight of both armies and killed himself. 188 Another of those surrounded by the fire, Artorius, escaped by his wits, for in a loud voice he called on Lucius, a colleague with whom he shared a tent and said, "I will bequeath you all I have, if you will come and catch me." 189 The man ran to catch him and Artorius jumped down on him, saving his own life, while the one who broke his fall was dashed against the pavement by his weight, and died instantly. 190 This misfortune made the Romans sad for a while, but it put them more upon their guard in future and protected them against the wiles of the Jews, which greatly hampered them through their unfamiliarity with the place and the nature of the citizens. 191 This portico was burned down as far as John's tower, which he built in his war against Simon over the gates that led to the Xystus. The Jews cut off the rest of that portico from the temple, after killing those who had climbed up on it. 192 But next day the Romans burned down the entire northern portico, as far as the east wing, whose shared corner overlooked the valley called Cedron, a frightful depth below. Such was the state of the temple at that time.


193 A huge number died throughout the city by famine amid unspeakable suffering. 194 If even a hint of any kind of food appeared anywhere, war broke out and the dearest friends would fight about it, snatching from each other the slightest means of sustaining life. 195 Unwilling to believe that the dying had no food, the brigands would search them even as they expired in case they had food hidden on their persons and were just faking death. 196 They were gaping with want and went about staggering like mad dogs and reeling against doors like drunks, and in their plight, rushed into the same houses two or three times in the same day. 197 Their hunger was so dire that it made them chew everything, so they gathered what the meanest animals would not touch and made themselves eat them, and in the end they did not baulk even at belts and shoes, and pulled off and gnawed the leather of their shields. 198 Some ate wisps of old hay while others gathered fibres and sold a very small weight of them for four Atticae. 199 But why describe the awfulness of the famine causing them to eat dead things when I am going to relate a fact unparalleled among Greeks or Barbarians, something horrible to speak of it and incredible when heard? 200 I would willingly omit this horror, not to pass on to our descendants something so dreadful, except that there are so many witnesses to it, and besides, my country would hardly thank me for suppressing the hardships endured at this time.


201 On the far side of the Jordan lived a woman named Mary, whose father was Eleazar, from the village of Bethezob, which means the house of Hyssop, distinguished by her family and wealth. With the rest of the people she had fled to Jerusalem and was besieged with them there at this time. 202 The woman's other property, that she had brought with her from Perea and moved to the city, had already been taken. Whatever she had saved and any food she had arranged to keep, had been taken by the guards, who came every day to her house for that purpose. 203 This made the poor woman furious and she frequently cursed them for their thieving. 204 But though provoked to anger at her, none of them would kill her, even out of pity for her plight, and if she found any food, her labours were for others and not for herself, and it had become impossible for her any way to find any more food, while hunger pierced through her bowels and marrow. Her rage flared up beyond the hunger itself and she thought of nothing but her anger and her need, that drove her to an unnatural deed. 205 Snatching up her son, a child sucking at her breast, she said, "Poor infant, why should I save you amid this war and famine and sedition? 206 Under the Romans, if we live we must be slaves, but even before that the famine will destroy us; but the seditious are worst of all. 207 Come then, be my food and and avenging fury to these rebels and a tale to fill out for the world what is lacking in the disaster of the Jews." 208 With these words she killed her son and roasted him and ate half of him and kept the other half hidden. 209 The rebels soon came in soon and smelling the scent of this terrible food, threatened to cut her throat if she did not show them what she had prepared. She replied that she had saved a portion of it for them, and then showed the remnants of the child. 210 As they were seized with horror and amazement and gaped at the sight, she said to them, "This is my own son and it was my own doing! Come, eat of this food, for I have eaten of it myself! 211 Do not be gentler than a woman or more merciful than a mother, but if you are so devout and reject my sacrifice, as I have eaten the first half, let me keep the rest." 212 They went out trembling and horrified and yet had difficulty leaving the rest of that food to the mother. The whole city was soon shocked by this horror and each one trembled at it, as if it had been done by himself. 213 So those suffering of hunger wished to die and those already dead were deemed happy, not having lived to hear or see such woes.


214 Soon this sad example was also told to the Romans, some of whom could not believe it while others were moved to pity, but it roused many of them to a fiercer hatred of our nation. 215 Caesar excused himself before God about this matter, saying that he had offered peace and liberty to the Jews, and an amnesty for all their former offences, 216 but that they had chosen revolt over harmony, war over peace, and famine instead of food in plenty. "With their own hands they began to burn down the temple which we have spared up to now, and therefore they deserve to eat such food. 217 This awful act of eating her own child merits the destruction of their whole country, that men ought not to let any city in the world see the sun, where mothers are so fed. 218 But it is the fathers rather than the mothers who should eat such food, since it is they who remain in arms against us, despite woes such as these." 219 As he said this, he reflected on how desperate they must be, and he did not expect such men to return to a sober mind after such sufferings, when they could have avoided them by repenting.

Chapter 04. [220-270]
The Romans burn the Temple Gates. Against Titus' wishes, the Sanctuary is burned


220 Two of the legions had completed their earthworks on the eighth of the month Lous, when Titus ordered the battering rams to be brought to the western part of the outer temple. 221 Before these came, the strongest of the other rams had battered the wall ceaselessly for six days, without making a dent in it, for the size and inlay of the stones was too strong. 222 Others undermined the foundations of the northern gate and had with great exertions removed the stones in front, yet the gate still stood, upheld by the inner stones until, despairing of knocking it with rams and crowbars, they brought their ladders to the porticoes. 223 The Jews did not hurry to stop them but attacked and fought them as they climbed up, thrusting some of them down backwards headlong and killing others of them face to face. 224 They also killed many with their swords as they stepped off the ladders, before they could protect themselves with their shields, and threw down some of the ladders when they were full of warriors. 225 But at the same time not a few Jews were killed, since the standard-bearers fought hard to keep their standards, deeming it a shameful disaster to let them be taken away. 226 Finally the Jews took the standards and killed those who had gone up the ladders, while the rest were so horrified by the fate of the fallen that they retreated. 227 None of the Romans died without fighting, and those of the rebels who had fought bravely in previous battles did so again now, including Eleazar, the nephew of Simon the tyrant. 228 But when Titus saw that his efforts to spare a foreign temple only led to his soldiers being wounded and killed, he ordered them to set the gates on fire.


229 Meanwhile Ananus from Emmaus, the most bloody of Simon's bodyguards and Archelaus, son of Magadatus, deserted to him, hoping for a pardon as they left the Jews at a time when they were winning. 230 Titus rejected this as a cunning trick, and as he had heard of their other savagery to the Jews, he was going to have them quickly killed. He said they had not come of their own free choice, and were only driven to desert by necessity, and that men who fled after setting their city on fire did not deserve to be spared. 231 But the guarantee he had promised to deserters overcame his resentments and so he dismissed them, but without the same privileges that he had given to others. 232 The soldiers had already set fire to the gates and when their silver overlay melted the flames quickly caught hold of the wood beneath, and spread from there to the porticoes. 233 When the Jews saw this fire all round them, they sagged in body and spirit and felt so shocked that none of them rushed either to defend himself or to quench the fire, but they just stood as mute onlookers. 234 However, their grief at this destruction made them no wiser in future, but the thought of the sanctuary itself being already on fire only heated their wrath against the Romans. 235 This fire continued to gain ground all that day and the next, for they could only set the porticoes alight bit by bit, and were unable to burn it all at once.


236 On the following day Titus ordered part of his army to quench the fire and to make a road for the easier entry of the legions, while he himself met with the officers. 237 The six chief commanders present were: Tiberius Alexander, head of the whole force, Sextus Cerealius, head of the fifth legion, Larcius Lepidus, head of the tenth, and Titus Frigius, head of the fifteenth. 238 With them was Fronto Haterius, head of the two legions from Alexandria, and Marcus Antonius Julianus, the procurator of Judea, and all the rest of the procurators and tribunes. 239 Asked what should be done about the sanctuary, some thought they should act by the rules of war, since the Jews would never stop rebelling while that house still stood, as their rallying point. 240 Others advised that if the Jews would leave it and none of them stored arms there, it should be spared, but that if they got up on it and fought on, it should be burned, since it is no longer a sanctuary but a fortress, and the impiety would fall on those who made this necessary rather than on them. 241 But Titus said that even if the Jews got up on the sanctuary and fought from there, he wished to spare those lifeless things from the flames, rather than the men themselves. It was the Romans who would lost by burning such a building, for while it stood it would adorn their rule. 242 Fronto and Alexander and Cerealius supported this view. 243 He concluded the meeting and told the officers to allow a rest-period to most of their forces, to invigorate them for the fray, but ordered that some elite troops from the legions should make their way through the ruins and quench the fire.


244 All that day the Jews were so tired and alarmed that it sapped their energy, but the next day they regathered their forces and about the second hour made a bold attack on those guarding the eastern gate of the outer temple court. 245 These held out with great bravery and kept their line by covering themselves in front with their shields as though with a wall, though clearly they could not hold out very long against the number and fury of their attackers. 246 Watching from the Antonia tower, Caesar saw that the line about to break and sent some elite cavalry to support them. 247 The Jews could not stand up to this onset and the fall of their front ranks put many others to flight. 248 Yet whenever the Romans eased off, the Jews returned and fought them, retreating again when they wheeled about, until about the fifth hour of the day they gave up and barricaded themselves in the inner part of the temple.


249 Titus went back into the Antonia tower, having decided to storm the temple with his whole army the next day at dawn, and to surround the sanctuary. 250 God had long since doomed it to the fire, and now, in the turning of the ages, that fatal day had come, on the tenth of the month Lous, the very day it was burned long ago by the king of Babylon. 251 These flames however arose from and were caused by the inhabitants themselves, for after Titus withdrew the rebels stayed quiet for a while but then attacked the Romans again. The defenders of the sanctuary clashed with those who were fighting the fire in the inner temple, but the Romans put the Jews to flight and went as far as the sanctuary itself. 252 Meanwhile one of the soldiers, without waiting for orders and heedless of such a terrible deed, but urged on by a divine fury, snatched something from the blaze and, hoisted up by a colleague, set fire to a golden window giving on to the chambers near the sanctuary, on the north side. 253 As the flames went upward, the Jews cried out at the disaster and ran together to prevent it, risking their lives and stopping at nothing to prevent the ruin of that temple for whose sake they had fought so long.


254 Titus was resting in his tent after the last battle, when someone ran to tell him of this fire; and he got up just as he was and ran to the sanctuary, to stop the fire. 255 Behind came all his officers and the various legions in a hub-bub, with the usual noise and confusion when such a large army is on the move. 256 Caesar called loudly to his fighters and signalled to them with his hand, telling them to quench the fire. But distracted with battle and fury, with their ears already dulled by a louder sound they did not hear his shout nor heed his hand-signal. 257 Neither pleas nor threats could restrain the violence of the unrushing legions but all were governed by rage. As they crowded into the temple, many were trampled by each other, and others stumbled blindly among the ruins of the hot and smoking porticoes, and shared in the fate of their vanquished foes. 258 Reaching the temple, they seemed not to hear Caesar's orders to the contrary, but urged those in front to add to the fire. 259 The rebels were unable to do anything and death and carnage were everywhere. Most of the citizens were weak and unarmed and had their throats cut wherever they were caught, and round about the altar lay heaps of corpses, and the steps of the sanctuary ran with their blood, as the bodies killed up above slid down on top of them.


260 Unable to restrain the fury of his passionate troops and with the fire taking control, Caesar went with his officers into the sanctuary of the temple, and saw it and its contents, which far exceeded what others had reported and was not inferior to the fame it enjoyed among our people. 261 Then, as the flames had nowhere penetrated to its core but were burning the rooms around the sanctuary, Titus, thinking that the building itself could he saved, hurried to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire. 262 He ordered Liberalius, a centurion of the spearmen, to beat with clubs any soldier who refused to obey. 263 But their passions overcame their regard for Caesar and their fear of the officer's command, and their hatred of the Jews and lust for battle won the day. 264 Also, the hope of loot urged many on, believing that the rooms inside were full of money, seeing that everything round about it was made of gold. 265 Besides, before Caesar ran out to restrain the soldiers, someone already in the place went ahead in the dark and threw fire against the hinges of the gate. 266 The flame immediately burst out from within the sanctuary itself, and then the officers, including Caesar, retreated, and there was nobody to forbid those outside adding to the blaze. So the sanctuary was burned down, without Caesar's approval.


267 Much as we must mourn the loss of such a work, the most marvellous building ever seen or heard about, for its unique structure and size and for its richness of detail and its glorious reputation for sanctity, one can find solace in the idea that fate, avoidable by living creatures or by works and places, decreed it so. 268 One must also marvel at the precision of the timing, for, as I said before, it happened on the same month and day when the sanctuary was formerly burned by the Babylonians. 269 From its first foundation by king Solomon until its destruction, in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, it lasted one thousand one hundred and thirty years, seven months and fifteen days. 270 From its second building, under Haggai, in the second year of king Cyrus until its destruction under Vespasian, were six hundred and thirty-nine years and forty-five days.

Chapter 05. [271-315]
The Jews' distress at the burning of the Temple. Portents that preceded the destruction of Jerusalem


271 While the sanctuary was burning, all that came to hand was looted and thousands of captives were killed. No pity was shown for youth or respect for age, but children and old men and laity and priests were all alike killed, so that this war engulfed and destroyed all sorts of people, whether begged or fought for their lives. 272 The flame carried a long way and echoed with the groans of the fallen, and as the hill was high and the temple buildings were large, it seemed the whole city was on fire. Nothing louder or more terrible than this noise is imaginable, 273 mingling the shouting from the Roman legions and the cries of the rebels, now surrounded by fire and sword. Those who were left above were forced back onto the enemy and wailed in panic at their lot, 274 and the people in the city joined their cries with those up the hill and many who were wasted and silenced by hunger broke out again into groans and shouts on seeing the sanctuary on fire, until Perea and the mountains round about returned the echo, increasing its volume. 275 Even more terrible was the disaster itself, for the hill on which the temple stood seemed boiling hot, as though shot through with fire and the bloodshed spread wider than the fire and there seemed more of the slain than of the killers. 276 The ground could not be seen, for all the corpses lying on it, and the soldiers marched over heaps of bodies, in pursuit of the fugitives. 277 Many of the brigands were forced out and could barely get to the outer court and from there into the city, while the rest of the people fled to the portico of the outer court. 278 Some of the priests pulled up from the sanctuary the spikes set into it, with their bases made of lead, to shoot at the Romans; 279 but as this achieved nothing and the fire was bursting upon them, they retreated to the wall that was eight feet broad and stayed there. 280 Two of their prominent members, Meirus the son of Belgas and Joseph the son of Daleus, who might have saved themselves by going over to the Romans, or have bravely shared the fate of the others, threw themselves into the fire and were burned along with the temple.


281 The Romans, judging it useless to spare anything near the sanctuary, burned all those places, and the remains of the porticoes and the gates, except two, on the east side and on the south, both of which they burned later. 282 They also burned down the treasury rooms which held a huge amount of money and many garments and other precious things, for in a word, it was there that all the riches of the Jews were deposited, while the wealthy had built themselves chambers there. 283 The soldiers came to the remaining porticoes in the outer temple, where the women and children had fled along with about six thousand of the people. 284 Before Caesar had decided the fate of these or given the officerss any orders about them, the soldiers in their fury set that portico on fire, so that some were killed by throwing themselves down headlong and some were burned within the porticoes, and nobody escaped alive. 285 The cause of this destruction was a false prophet, who had that day proclaimed publicly in the city that God wanted them to ascend to the temple, where they would receive signs of salvation. 286 Many false prophets were bribed by the tyrants to mislead the people, telling them to expect salvation from God to keep them from deserting, and by such hopes to raise them above fear and anxiety. 287 In adversity one easily accepts such promises, and when through such a seducer one believes he will be saved from present hardships, the sufferer is filled with hope.


288 In this way the poor people were led by these deceivers, who lied about God while not seeing or believing the clear signs which foretold their coming ruin. Infatuated, without eyes to see or minds to ponder, they ignored what God was telling them. 289 A star like a sword had stood above the city for a whole year, and a comet too. 290 Also, before the revolt and the troubles preceding the war, when the people flocked to the feast of Azymes, on the eighth day of the month Xanthicus, at the ninth hour of the night, such a great light shone round the altar and the sanctuary, that it appeared to be bright daylight, and lasted for half an hour. 291 The ignorant thought this light was a good sign but the sacred scribes judged it a portent of the events coming soon after. 292 At the same festival, a heifer being led to sacrifice by the high priest brought forth a lamb in the middle of the temple. 293 The bronze eastern gate of the inner temple, so heavy that it was hard for twenty men to shut it, and which rested upon a foundation clad in iron, with bolts fastened deep into its base formed of one single stone, was seen to open of its own accord about the sixth hour of the night. 294 The temple guards came running to the captain of the temple and told him of it and when he came there he had difficulty in shutting the gate again. 295 To the crowd this also appeared to be a favourable prodigy, as though God were opening to them the gateway of good things. But the wise knew that the safety of their temple had fled away and that the gate opened to let in the enemy, a clear advance sign of the desolation coming upon them. 296 A few days after the festival, on the twenty first day of the month Artemisius, a mighty and incredible thing appeared. 297 I guess the account would seem a fable, if it were not reported by eye-witnesses and if the events that followed it were not so important as to merit such signs. 298 Just before sunset, chariots and troops of soldiers in armour were seen running about among the clouds, encircling the cities. 299 Moreover, at the feast we call Pentecost, as the priests were going into the inner sanctuary at night to perform their traditional rites, it is said that they felt a quake and a mighty rumbling and heard a sound as of a large crowd, saying, "Let us move from here." 300 And, something even more terrifying, a man called Jesus ben Ananus, a peasant farmer, four years before the war began and at a time when the city was enjoying peace and prosperity, came to the feast when it is our custom for everyone to make tents to God in the temple, 301 and suddenly began to cry aloud, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the sanctuary, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, a voice against this whole people!" This was his cry, going around through all the lanes of the city day and night. 302 Some of the prominent people were so angry at this dire cry that they seized the man and beat him severely, yet he said nothing in his own defence or against those who chastised him, but repeated the crying out the same words as before. 303 Then our officers, thinking, as it turned out, that this was some kind of divine fury in the man, brought him to the Roman procurator, 304 where he was whipped until his bones were laid bare. And still he made no prayer for himself, and shed no tears, but in the most pitiable tones called out at every stroke of the whip, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" 305 When Albinus, who was then in charge, asked him who he was and where he came from and why he said such words, he made no reply, but did not cease his sad refrain, until Albinus took him for a madman and released him. 306 All the while until the war began, this man did not go near any of the citizens, and was unseen by them while he spoke, but every day he uttered these words of lament, as though under a vow, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" 307 He spoke no evil to those who beat him every day, nor good to those who gave him food, but this was his reply to all, and it was no less than a sad prediction of what was to come. 308 His cry was loudest at the festivals, and he repeated this refrain for seven years and five months, without growing hoarse or tiring of it, until the very time that he saw his prophecy fulfilled in earnest during our siege. 309 Then it ceased, for as he was going around upon the wall, crying out with all his force, "Woe, woe to the city, and to the people and to the sanctuary!" just as he finally added, "Woe, woe to myself also!" a stone came from one of the machines and struck him and killed him and he gave up his life with the same ominous words.


310 Considering these things, one will find that God takes care of people and foretells to our race by all possible means what is for their safety, but that men die from evils that they madly and freely bring upon themselves. 311 For the Jews, by demolishing the Antonia tower, had made their temple four-square, although it was written in their sacred oracles that their city and their temple would be captured once their temple became four-square. 312 But what most inspired them to undertake this war was an ambiguous oracle also found in their sacred writings, that someone from their country would become ruler of the world about that time. 313 The Jews took this prediction as applying to themselves and many of the wise men were wrong in their estimate of it, for it denoted the rule of Vespasian, who was in Judea when appointed as emperor. 314 But it is not possible for men to avoid fate, even if they see it in advance. 315 For they interpreted some of the signs according to their own taste and some they utterly despised, until their madness was shown by the capture of their city and by their own destruction.

Chapter 06. [316-357]
Roman ensigns brought into the Temple. Titus' speech to the Jews and their rash reply


316 When the rebels fled into the city and the sanctuary and all the buildings round about it were burned, the Romans brought their ensigns to the temple and set them opposite its eastern gate, where they sacrificed to them and with loud shouts of joy acclaimed Titus as emperor. 317 Through looting, all the soldiers amassed such huge amounts that in Syria a pound weight of gold was sold for half its former value. 318 Among the priests who still held out on the wall of the sanctuary, there was a boy who, parched with thirst, admitted his thirst to the Roman guards and implored them to spare his life. 319 Out of pity for his age his distress they gave him their guarantee so he came down and drank some water and filled the vessel he was carrying and then fled back up to his comrades. 320 When none of the guards could catch him, they rebuked him for breaking his word, but he replied that he had not broken the agreement, for it was not guaranteed that he would stay with them, but only to come down and take some water; both of which he had done, and so he reckoned he had kept his word. 321 Those whom the lad had tricked admired his cunning, for one so young. On the fifth day the priests who were weak with hunger came down and begged for their lives when they were brought to Titus by the guards, 322 but he said that for them the time of pardon was past once the place for which he should spare them had been destroyed, and that priests should be destroyed along with the temple; so he ordered them put to death.


323 The followers of the tyrants, totally defeated in the war and surrounded on all sides with no way of escape, asked for a conference with Titus. 324 Out of his kindly nature and wanting to save the city from destruction and advised by his friends that the brigands had come to see reason, he took up position on the western side of the outer temple, 325 as there were gates on that side above the Xystus and a bridge connecting the upper city to the temple. 326 This lay between the tyrants and Caesar, while crowds stood on each side; those of the Jewish nation around Simon and John, hoping for pardon, and the Romans around Caesar, eager to hear their petition. 327 Titus bade his soldiers to curb their rage and not use their weapons. Then placing an interpreter between them, he addressed them first as a sign that he was the conqueror: 328 "Now sirs, I hope you have had your fill of your country's woes, who did not give proper heed to our power or your own weakness, but by your rashness have inadvisedly and madly caused the destruction of your people, your city and your temple. 329 You never ceased rebelling since Pompey first conquered you and have since then openly made war on the Romans. 330 Did you rely on your numbers? Well, a small fraction of the Roman army was strong enough for you! Did you trust in allies? But what nations, even outside our dominion, would side with the Jews before the Romans? 331 Did you rely on your bodily strength? But you know that even the Germans are slaves to us. On on the strength of your walls? But what greater defence is there than the wall of the ocean which surrounds the Britons, and yet they surrender to Roman arms. 332 Do you excel us in courage of soul and the strategy of your officers? Don't you know that the Carthaginians were beaten? 333 It must have been the kindness of us Romans that roused you against us, when first we allowed you go on occupying this land and then granted you kings of your own nation, 334 and let you go on observing your ancestral laws and to live as you please, whether on your own or among others. 335 Most of all, we allowed you to collect the tax which is paid to God and any other gifts dedicated to him, not checking or hindering those who brought them, until you became richer than ourselves, and prepared to use our own money against us. 336 After all these benefits, you turned your surplus against your donors, and, like merciless snakes, spat out poison at those who petted you. 337 Perhaps you scorned Nero's inactivity, and at that time remained still, like broken or dislocated limbs waiting for time to heal them, and then your ailment was worse than ever, reaching out with boundless, indecent ambition. 338 My father came into this country, not to punish you for what you had done under Cestius, but to admonish you, 339 for if he had come to destroy your nation, he would have gone directly to the root and destroyed this city immediately; whereas he went and despoiled Galilee and its neighbourhood, to give you time for repentance. 340 You took this sign of mercy for weakness and let your daring thrive on our mildness. 341 When Nero had left this life, you acted like scoundrels, daring to avail of our civil strife and using the time when I and my father were absent in Egypt to prepare for this war, and were not ashamed to trouble us even as emperors, though you had experienced our clemency as generals. 342 But when the empire came to us and all others were at peace and foreign nations were sending envoys to congratulate us, you Jews were again at war with us. 343 You sent envoys to your people beyond the Euphrates to join in your revolt; you built new walls; rebellions arose, with opposing tyrants and civil war among you, as befits a people so perverse. 344 Unwillingly I came to this city, sent by my father, with a sad duty to perform, but when I heard the people were ready for peace, I was glad of it. 345 Before beginning this war I urged you to desist; I spared you even after you had fought so long against me; I gave my guarantee to deserters and kept my promise to refugees; I had mercy on many prisoners, while torturing the instigators of war. Reluctantly I brought my war-machines against your walls. I always restrained the blood-lust of my soldiers, and after every victory I urged you to peace, as though I had lost. 346 When I got close to your temple I again left aside the laws of war and urged you to spare your own sanctuary and save your temple for yourselves, offering you safe conduct to leave it, and would have let you fight in another place if you had wished. 347 But you wretches, who ignored all offers and with your own hands have burned the temple, do you now call me to talk with you? Why can you wish to save, compared with what has been destroyed? What safety do you deserve after your temple is gone? 348 But still you remain armed and even in this extremity cannot even pretend to beg. What are you relying on, you wretches? 349 Are your people not dead and your temple gone and your city not in my power? Are your lives not in my hands? Do you still think it glorious and brave to fight to the death? 350 But I will not copy your madness. If you lay down your arms and surrender to me, I grant you your lives, like a mild master of a household. What is incurable shall be punished and the rest I will keep for my own use."


351 They replied that they could not accept his offer as they had sworn never to do so, but they asked leave to pass through the encirclement with their wives and children and go into the desert and leave the city to him. 352 Titus was furious that although already captured, they sought to make terms with him as if they had won; so he had it proclaimed that they could no longer desert to him, nor hope for other guarantees, for he would spare nobody. 353 With his whole force he would fight them, and let them save themselves as best they could, since from now on all would follow the laws of war. So he told the soldiers to burn and loot the city. 354 That day they did nothing, but next day they set fire to the Archives, the Acra, the council chamber and the place called Ophlas. 355 Then the fire reached the palace of queen Helena in the middle of Acra and the narrow lanes also were burned down, and the houses full of the corpses of those who had died by famine.


356 On the same day the sons and brothers of king Izates, along with many other top people, gathered and begged Caesar to give them safe passage. Despite his anger at all the rest, he did not lay aside his old fairness, but received these men. 357 He kept them all in custody, but chained the king's sons and relatives and led them with him to Rome, as hostages for their country's fidelity to the Romans.

Chapter 07. [358-373]
Many of the rebels are slaughtered. Burning and looting of the upper city


358 The rebels rushed into the royal palace, where on account of its security many had stored their property and drove the Romans out of it and killed all the people crowded within it, about eight thousand four hundred of them, and robbed the money. 359 They captured two of the Romans alive, a horseman and a trooper and immediately cut the trooper's throat and had him dragged through the city, as if through his single body to take revenge on all Romans. 360 The horseman, however, claimed to have something to say about their safety and was brought to Simon; but when he got there he had nothing to say, so he was handed over to Ardalas, one of his officers, to be executed. 361 He tied his hands behind him and blindfolded him and brought him out in sight of the Romans, to behead him. But while the Jew was drawing his sword, the man ran across to the Romans. 362 Seeing his escape from the enemy, Titus could not think of putting him to death, but judging him unfit to be a Roman soldier after being taken alive by the enemy, he deprived him of his weapons and expelled him from the legion, which was worse than death, to a man with a sense of shame.


363 Next day, the Romans drove the brigands from the lower city and set fire to everything as far as Siloam, happy to destroy the city. But they missed out on plunder, as the rebels had cleared out everything and retreated to the upper city. 364 These were still unrepentant of any wrongs, and rather boasted as if they had done right, and even as they saw the city on fire, with cheerful faces they said that they looked forward to the end. So as the population had been murdered and the temple burnt and the city in flames, nothing was being left for the enemy. 365 Even in this extremity, Josephus did not tire of imploring them to spare the remnants of the city. He said much about their savagery and impiety and advised them how to save their lives, though all he got for this was mockery. 366 Though they could not bear to surrender because of their oath, and were no longer able to fight the Romans, being caged as in a prison, they were so used to killing that they could not keep their hands still; so they scattered at the edges of the city and lay in ambush among its ruins, to catch any who attempted to desert. 367 The many who were caught were all killed, not having the force to escape them due to lack of food, and their corpses were thrown to the dogs. 368 Any other sort of death was preferable to that by hunger, so although despairing of mercy, the Jews still fled to the Romans or fell voluntarily to the murdering rebels. 369 Nowhere in the city was without corpses, for it was full of those who died either of the famine or the sedition.


370 The last hope of the tyrants and their brigands lay in the caves under ground. If they could take refuge there they did not expect to be sought out, planning to come out again and make their escape after the whole city was destroyed and the Romans had left. 371 This was a mere dream, for they could not hide either from God or from the Romans. 372 So they put their trust in these subterranean places and set more places on fire than did the Romans, and mercilessy killed and pillaged whoever fled from their burning houses into these trenches, and if anyone's food was found it was robbed and swallowed along with their blood. 373 They were still fighting each other about loot, and I think that, if they had not been captured, their savagery would have made them eat even the corpses themselves.

Chapter 08. [374-408]
Titus gains possession of the whole city


374 When Caesar saw that the upper city was so steep that it could not be taken without earthworks, he set his forces to this work on the twentieth day of the month Lous. 375 Bringing up the materials was difficult, since as I have said, all the trees within a hundred furlongs of the city had been cut down for the previous earthworks. 376 Those of the four legions were built to the west of the city, opposite the royal palace, 377 while the main group of allies and others made theirs at the Xystus, reaching as far as the bridge and Simon's tower, which he had built as a defence in his war against John.


378 About this time the officers of the Idumaeans met secretly to consider a surrender and sent five men to Titus and seek his guarantee. 379 Expecting the tyrants to yield if deprived of the Idumaeans, on whom much of the fighting depended, he agreed after some delay and promised them their lives and sent the five men back. 380 But as they prepared to leave Simon noticed it and swiftly killed the five men who had gone to Titus and threw their officers into prison, of whom the foremost was Jacob, son of Sosas. 381 Once their officers were taken the rest of the Idumaeans did not know what to do, and he had them watched and had the walls more closely guarded. 382 Yet the guards could not resist the force of the deserters, for while many of them were killed, an even larger number escaped. 383 They were all received by the Romans, since Titus grew milder about his earlier order to kill them and his men grew tired of killing them and hoped for some gain by sparing them. 384 They left only the citizens and sold the rest with their wives and children at a very low price, for there were many for sale and the buyers were few. 385 Despite an earlier proclamation that nobody could desert on his own, but must bring out their families with them, he did accept some like that. But he placed people in charge to judge which of them deserved punishment. 386 An immense number were sold, but Caesar spared more than forty thousand of the people and let them go where each one pleased.


387 At this time one of the priests, Jesus, the son of Thebuthis, got Caesar's oath that he would be spared if he handed over to him some of the treasures deposited in the temple. 388 He came out and handed over two candlesticks from the wall of the temple, like those in the temple itself, with tables and cisterns and vessels, all made of gold and very heavy. 389 He also handed over the veils and the high priestly vestments, with the precious stones and many other liturgical vessels. 390 Phineas, the treasurer of the temple, was also taken and showed Titus the coats and belts of the priests, with a large store of purple and scarlet kept there for repairing the veil, and cinnamon and cassia, with a large amount of other sweet spices, which were mixed together and offered every day as incense to God. 391 A great many other treasures were also handed over by him and many a sacred ornament; in return for which the man, though taken in war, received the same pardon allowed to those who had voluntarily deserted.


392 The earthworks were completed in eighteen days, on the seventh day of the month Gorpieus, when the Romans brought up their machines. Despairing of holding the city, some of the rebels retreated from the wall to the citadel while others went down under the earth. 393 Many continued to resist those bringing up the catapults, but the Romans defeated them by their numbers and strength, and especially by their high spirits against a dejected enemy. 394 When part of the wall was battered down and some towers yielded to the rams, the opponents fled and the tyrants were even more scared than was proper, 395 for even before the enemy got through the breach they were stunned and got ready to escape. These men, who had up to now been so insolent and arrogant in their wicked practices, were now seen so humbled and trembling, that the change in the scoundrels was pitiful. 396 They rushed on the wall surrounding them, to force their way through the guards and get away. 397 But then they saw how those who had formerly been faithful had left, for each had fled wherever he could, and were told that the western wall was entirely destroyed and others said the Romans had broken through and were looking out for them nearby. 398 Others said in fear that they could see the enemy from the towers, and fell on their faces lamenting their madness, and their nerves were so overcome that they could not run away. 399 Here one may learn the power of God against the unholy and the good fortune of the Romans, for these tyrants now gave up their security and of their own accord came down from the towers, from which they could have not been taken by force, nor indeed by any way other than famine. 400 So the Romans, after all their efforts against the weaker walls, took by good fortune what they never could have taken with their machines, for three of these towers were impregnable to their machines as we have earlier described.


401 Now they abandoned these towers, or rather were expelled from them by God, and fled to that valley below Siloam, where they recovered for a while from their panic and rushed against the barrier on that side, 402 but as they were too subdued to attack it with sufficient force, for their strength was sapped by fear and hardship, they were repulsed by the guards and scattered and went down into the mines. 403 Now the Romans held the walls and placed their ensigns upon the towers and noisily and joyfully celebrated their victory, finding the end of this war much easier than its beginning. Having taken the last wall without bloodshed, they could hardly believe it, and were perplexed at seeing no more opponents. 404 Then they poured through the lanes of the city with swords drawn, killing any whom they overtook outside and setting fire to the houses with all who took refuge in them. 405 As they were looting, when they came into the houses they often found in them entire families dead and the upper rooms full of those who had died of famine, and being horrified by the sight, left without touching anything. 406 But this pity for the dead did not extent to those who were still alive, for they ran through everyone they met and choked the lanes with their corpses and made the whole city run with blood, so that the fire in many of the houses was quenched with blood. 407 Though the killing ceased towards evening, the fire spread during the night, and the eighth day of the month Gorpieus saw Jerusalem in flames, 408 a city that had endured as many woes during this siege as it had enjoyed prosperity from its foundation, which made it seem so enviable. The city did not deserve such calamities, except that it produced such a generation as brought it to destruction.

Chapter 09. [409-434]
The number of the fallen and the captured. Escapees, including Simon and John


409 On his arrival at the city, Titus had admired its strength but in particular those strong towers which the tyrants in their frenzy had relinquished. 410 Noting their solid height and the size of their individual blocks and the exactness of their joints, and how great was their breadth and how extensive their length, he said 411 "God was surely on our side in this war and it was God who brought down the Jews from these forts, for what could human hands or machines do to knock these mighty towers?" 412 He said many such things to his friends at the time, and set free those left in prison by the tyrants. 413 Later, after entirely demolishing the rest of the city and destroying its walls, he left these towers as a monument to fortune, which had enabled him to take what otherwise could not be taken.


414 Since his soldiers were already tired of killing and there appeared to be large numbers still alive, Caesar ordered them to kill none but those who were in arms opposing them, but to take the rest alive. 415 But above their orders they killed the aged and the infirm, but drove together into the temple those in the prime of life who might be useful to them, imprisoning them within the walls of the court of the women. 416 Over these Caesar set one of his freedmen, and his friend Fronto, to decide the fate of each one according to his merits. 417 This man killed all the rebels and brigands, who informed on each other, but chose the tallest and finest of the youth, reserving them for the triumph. 418 The rest of the people who were over seventeen years old were put them in chains and sent to work in Egypt; and Titus sent many as gifts to the provinces, to be killed by the sword and by wild beasts in their theatres, but those aged under seventeen years were sold as slaves. 419 While Fronto was carrying out this selection, eleven thousand starved to death, some getting no food because of the hatred of their captors, others refusing it when it was offered, and anyway there was not enough corn to feed so many.


420 During this whole war a total of ninety-seven thousand prisoners were taken and eleven hundred thousand died during the siege. 421 Most of them were fellow Jews but not from the locality, who had come up from all parts of the country to the feast of unleavened bread and were abruptly shut in by the war, which caused such overcrowding from the start that plague arose among them and a little later a famine, which killed even more quickly. 422 That the city could hold so many is shown by the census taken under Cestius, for wanting to describe the city's strength to Nero who despised that nation, urged the high priests to try to count the number of their people. 423 They did this at the feast called Pascha, when they offer their sacrifices from the ninth hour until the eleventh, with no less than ten people sharing in each sacrifice, as it is not lawful for them to feast alone by themselves, and often there are twenty in a group. 424 The number of sacrifices was found to be two hundred and fifty-six thousand five hundred. 425 Allowing for no more than ten sharing together, this amounts to two million, seven hundred thousand, two hundred purified persons, 426 for those with leprosy, or gonorrhea, or women in their monthly periods, or the otherwise polluted, cannot lawfully partake of this sacrifice, 427 nor any foreigners either, who come here to worship, since many in the crowd come from abroad.


428 The entire nation was fated to be shut up as if in prison and the war encircled the city when it was full of people. 429 The numbers slain there exceeded any previous destruction by either human or supernatural force. For of those present, the Romans killed some and took some as prisoners and then made a search for those still under the ground, and those they found they killed. 430 There they also found more than two thousand dead, some of them by suicide and some killed by each other, but mainly killed by hunger. 431 The horrible stench of the corpses forced some who found them to leave immediately, but others, greedy for gain, went and trod upon the heaped-up corpses, 432 for a large amount of treasure was found in these passages and the loot drew them to find a way of getting it. Many prisoners were now released who had been jailed by the tyrants, who kept up their savagery to the end. 433 Yet God gave them both their proper punishment, for when John and his brothers ran short of food in these caves, he begged the Romans for the protection he had often proudly rejected before, though Simon fought on until he was forced to surrender, as we shall tell. 434 His death was thus reserved for the triumph, while John was condemned to life imprisonment. The Romans set fire to the edges of the city and entirely demolished its walls.

Chapter 10. [435-442]
The second devastation of Jerusalem. Aftermath: summary of its tragic history


435 That is how Jerusalem was taken, in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, on the eighth of the month Gorpeius. It had been taken five times before, though this was its second time to be devastated. 436 Shishak, the king of Egypt had captured the city, and later Antiochus, then Pompey, then Sosius and Herod, but all had spared it 437 Before them the king of Babylon had conquered and devastated it, one thousand four hundred and sixty-eight years and six months after it was built. 438 Its founder was a Canaanite chief called in our own tongue the Righteous King, for such he was. He was the first to worship God there and first built a temple and gave the city which was formerly called Salem, the name "Jerusalem." 439 David, the king of the Jews, expelled the Canaanites and settled his own people there, and four hundred and seventy-seven years and six months later, it was demolished by the Babylonians. 440 From king David, the first of the Jews to reign there, to this destruction under Titus, were one thousand one hundred and seventy-nine years, 441 but from its first building until this final destruction were two thousand one hundred and seventy-seven years. 442 But neither its great antiquity, its vast riches, its nation spread over all the world, or the great glory of its worship, sufficed to spare it from destruction. So ended the siege of Jerusalem.