Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
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Moreover, as to the citizens of Jerusalem, although they took this matter very ill, yet did they restrain their passion; but Florus acted herein as if he had been hired, and blew up the war into a flame, and sent some to take seventeen talents out of the sacred treasure, and pretended that Caesar wanted them. At this the people were in confusion immediately, and ran together to the temple, with prodigious clamors, and called upon Caesar by name, and besought him to free them from the tyranny of Florus. Some also of the seditious cried out upon Florus, and cast the greatest reproaches upon him, and carried a basket about, and begged some spills of money for him, as for one that was destitute of possessions, and in a miserable condition. Yet was not he made ashamed hereby of his love of money, but was more enraged, and provoked to get still more; and instead of coming to Cesarea, as he ought to have done, and quenching the flame of war, which was beginning thence, and so taking away the occasion of any disturbances, on which account it was that he had received a reward [of eight talents], he marched hastily with an army of horsemen and footmen against Jerusalem, that he might gain his will by the arms of the Romans, and might, by his terror, and by his threatenings, bring the city into subjection.


But the people were desirous of making Florus ashamed of his attempt, and met his soldiers with acclamations, and put themselves in order to receive him very submissively. But he sent Capito, a centurion, beforehand, with fifty soldiers, to bid them go back, and not now make a show of receiving him in an obliging manner, whom they had so foully reproached before; and said that it was incumbent on them, in case they had generous souls, and were free speakers, to jest upon him to his face, and appear to be lovers of liberty, not only in words, but with their weapons also. With this message was the multitude amazed; and upon the coming of Capito's horsemen into the midst of them, they were dispersed before they could salute Florus, or manifest their submissive behavior to him. Accordingly, they retired to their own houses, and spent that night in fear and confusion of face.


Now at this time Florus took up his quarters at the palace; and on the next day he had his tribunal set before it, and sat upon it, when the high priests, and the men of power, and those of the greatest eminence in the city, came all before that tribunal; upon which Florus commanded them to deliver up to him those that had reproached him, and told them that they should themselves partake of the vengeance to them belonging, if they did not produce the criminals; but these demonstrated that the people were peaceably disposed, and they begged forgiveness for those that had spoken amiss; for that it was no wonder at all that in so great a multitude there should be some more daring than they ought to be, and, by reason of their younger age, foolish also; and that it was impossible to distinguish those that offended from the rest, while every one was sorry for what he had done, and denied it out of fear of what would follow: that he ought, however, to provide for the peace of the nation, and to take such counsels as might preserve the city for the Romans, and rather for the sake of a great number of innocent people to forgive a few that were guilty, than for the sake of a few of the wicked to put so large and good a body of men into disorder.


Florus was more provoked at this, and called out aloud to the soldiers to plunder that which was called the Upper Market-place, and to slay such as they met with. So the soldiers, taking this exhortation of their commander in a sense agreeable to their desire of gain, did not only plunder the place they were sent to, but forcing themselves into every house, they slew its inhabitants; so the citizens fled along the narrow lanes, and the soldiers slew those that they caught, and no method of plunder was omitted; they also caught many of the quiet people, and brought them before Florus, whom he first chastised with stripes, and then crucified. Accordingly, the whole number of those that were destroyed that day, with their wives and children, (for they did not spare even the infants themselves,) was about three thousand and six hundred. And what made this calamity the heavier was this new method of Roman barbarity; for Florus ventured then to do what no one had done before, that is, to have men of the equestrian order whipped note and nailed to the cross before his tribunal; who, although they were by birth Jews, yet were they of Roman dignity notwithstanding.


ABOUT this very time king Agrippa was going to Alexandria, to congratulate Alexander upon his having obtained the government of Egypt from Nero; but as his sister Bernice was come to Jerusalem, and saw the wicked practices of the soldiers, she was sorely affected at it, and frequently sent the masters of her horse and her guards to Florus, and begged of him to leave off these slaughters; but he would not comply with her request, nor have any regard either to the multitude of those already slain, or to the nobility of her that interceded, but only to the advantage he should make by this plundering; nay, this violence of the soldiers brake out to such a degree of madness, that it spent itself on the queen herself; for they did not only torment and destroy those whom they had caught under her very eyes, but indeed had killed herself also, unless she had prevented them by flying to the palace, and had staid there all night with her guards, which she had about her for fear of an insult from the soldiers. Now she dwelt then at Jerusalem, in order to perform a vow note which she had made to God; for it is usual with those that had been either afflicted with a distemper, or with any other distresses, to make vows; and for thirty days before they are to offer their sacrifices, to abstain from wine, and to shave the hair of their head. Which things Bernice was now performing, and stood barefoot before Florus's tribunal, and besought him [to spare the Jews]. Yet could she neither have any reverence paid to her, nor could she escape without some danger of being slain herself.

Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
<<Joseph. BJ 2.284 Joseph. BJ 2.301 (Greek) >>Joseph. BJ 2.321

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