Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
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Now Sabinus was aftrighted, both at their multitude, and at their courage, and sent messengers to Varus continually, and besought him to come to his succor quickly; for that if he delayed, his legion would be cut to pieces. As for Sabinus himself, he got up to the highest tower of the fortress, which was called Phasaelus; it is of the same name with Herod's brother, who was destroyed by the Parthians; and then he made signs to the soldiers of that legion to attack the enemy; for his astonishment was so great, that he durst not go down to his own men. Hereupon the soldiers were prevailed upon, and leaped out into the temple, and fought a terrible battle with the Jews; in which, while there were none over their heads to distress them, they were too hard for them, by their skill, and the others' want of skill, in war; but when once many of the Jews had gotten up to the top of the cloisters, and threw their darts downwards, upon the heads of the Romans, there were a great many of them destroyed. Nor was it easy to avenge themselves upon those that threw their weapons from on high, nor was it more easy for them to sustain those who came to fight them hand to hand.


Since therefore the Romans were sorely afflicted by both these circumstances, they set fire to the cloisters, which were works to be admired, both on account of their magnitude and costliness. Whereupon those that were above them were presently encompassed with the flame, and many of them perished therein; as many of them also were destroyed by the enemy, who came suddenly upon them; some of them also threw themselves down from the walls backward, and some there were who, from the desperate condition they were in, prevented the fire, by killing themselves with their own swords; but so many of them as crept out from the walls, and came upon the Romans, were easily mastere by them, by reason of the astonishment they were under; until at last some of the Jews being destroyed, and others dispersed by the terror they were in, the soldiers fell upon the treasure of God, which w now deserted, and plundered about four hundred talents, Of which sum Sabinus got together all that was not carried away by the soldiers.


However, this destruction of the works [about the temple], and of the men, occasioned a much greater number, and those of a more warlike sort, to get together, to oppose the Romans. These encompassed the palace round, and threatened to deploy all that were in it, unless they went their ways quickly; for they promised that Sabinus should come to no harm, if he would go out with his legion. There were also a great many of the king's party who deserted the Romans, and assisted the Jews; yet did the most warlike body of them all, who were three thousand of the men of Sebaste, go over to the Romans. Rufus also, and Gratus, their captains, did the same, (Gratus having the foot of the king's party under him, and Rufus the horse,) each of whom, even without the forces under them, were of great weight, on account of their strength and wisdom, which turn the scales in war. Now the Jews in the siege, and tried to break down walls of the fortress, and cried out to Sabinus and his party, that they should go their ways, and not prove a hinderance to them, now they hoped, after a long time, to recover that ancient liberty which their forefathers had enjoyed. Sabinus indeed was well contented to get out of the danger he was in, but he distrusted the assurances the Jews gave him, and suspected such gentle treatment was but a bait laid as a snare for them: this consideration, together with the hopes he had of succor from Varus, made him bear the siege still longer.


AT this time there were great disturbances in the country, and that in many places; and the opportunity that now offered itself induced a great many to set up for kings. And indeed in Idumea two thousand of Herod's veteran soldiers got together, and armed and fought against those of the king's party; against whom Achiabus, the king's first cousin, fought, and that out of some of the places that were the most strongly fortified; but so as to avoid a direct conflict with them in the plains. In Sepphoris also, a city of Galilee, there was one Judas (the son of that arch-robber Hezekias, who formerly overran the country, and had been subdued by king Herod); this man got no small multitude together, and brake open the place where the royal armor was laid up, and armed those about him, and attacked those that were so earnest to gain the dominion.


In Perea also, Simon, one of the servants to the king, relying upon the handsome appearance and tallness of his body, put a diadem upon his own head also; he also went about with a company of robbers that he had gotten together, and burnt down the royal palace that was at Jericho, and many other costly edifices besides, and procured himself very easily spoils by rapine, as snatching them out of the fire. And he had soon burnt down all the fine edifices, if Gratus, the captain of the foot of the king's party, had not taken the Trachonite archers, and the most warlike of Sebaste, and met the man. His footmen were slain in the battle in abundance; Gratus also cut to pieces Simon himself, as he was flying along a strait valley, when he gave him an oblique stroke upon his neck, as he ran away, and brake it. The royal palaces that were near Jordan at Betharamptha were also burnt down by some other of the seditious that came out of Perea.

Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
<<Joseph. BJ 2.33 Joseph. BJ 2.51 (Greek) >>Joseph. BJ 2.72

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