Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
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And thus did Vespasian march with his army, and came to the bounds of Galileo, where he pitched his camp and restrained his soldiers, who were eager for war; he also showed his army to the enemy, in order to affright them, and to afford them a season for repentance, to see whether they would change their minds before it came to a battle, and at the same time he got things ready for besieging their strong minds. And indeed this sight of the general brought many to repent of their revolt, and put them all into a consternation; for those that were in Josephus's camp, which was at the city called Garis, not far from Sepphoris, when they heard that the war was come near them, and that the Romans would suddenly fight them hand to hand, dispersed themselves and fled, not only before they came to a battle, but before the enemy ever came in sight, while Josephus and a few others were left behind; and as he saw that he had not an army sufficient to engage the enemy, that the spirits of the Jews were sunk, and that the greater part would willingly come to terms, if they might be credited, he already despaired of the success of the whole war, and determined to get as far as he possibly could out of danger; so he took those that staid along with him, and fled to Tiberias.


SO Vespasian marched to the city Gadara, and took it upon the first onset, because he found it destitute of any considerable number of men grown up and fit for war. He came then into it, and slew all the youth, the Romans having no mercy on any age whatsoever; and this was done out of the hatred they bore the nation, and because of the iniquity they had been guilty of in the affair of Cestius. He also set fire not only to the city itself, but to all the villas and small cities that were round about it; some of them were quite destitute of inhabitants, and out of some of them he carried the inhabitants as slaves into captivity.


As to Josephus, his retiring to that city which he chose as the most fit for his security, put it into great fear; for the people of Tiberias did not imagine that he would have run away, unless he had entirely despaired of the success of the war. And indeed, as to that point, they were not mistaken about his opinion; for he saw whither the affairs of the Jews would tend at last, and was sensible that they had but one way of escaping, and that was by repentance. However, although he expected that the Romans would forgive him, yet did he chose to die many times over, rather than to betray his country, and to dishonor that supreme command of the army which had been intrusted with him, or to live happily under those against whom he was sent to fight. He determined, therefore, to give an exact account of affairs to the principal men at Jerusalem by a letter, that he might not, by too much aggrandizing the power of the enemy, make them too timorous; nor, by relating that their power beneath the truth, might encourage them to stand out when they were perhaps disposed to repentance. He also sent them word, that if they thought of coming to terms, they must suddenly write him an answer; or if they resolved upon war, they must send him an army sufficient to fight the Romans. Accordingly, he wrote these things, and sent messengers immediately to carry his letter to Jerusalem.


Now Vespasian was very desirous of demolishing Jotapata, for he had gotten intelligence that the greatest part of the enemy had retired thither, and that it was, on other accounts, a place of great security to them. Accordingly, he sent both foot-men and horsemen to level the road, which was mountainous and rocky, not without difficulty to be traveled over by footmen, but absolutely impracticable for horsemen. Now these workmen accomplished what they were about in four days' time, and opened a broad way for the army. On the fifth day, which was the twenty-first of the month Artemisius, (Jyar,) Josephus prevented him, and came from Tiberias, and went into Jotapata, and raised the drooping spirits of the Jews. And a certain deserter told this good news to Vespasian, that Josephus had removed himself thither, which made him make haste to the city, as supposing that with taking that he should take all Judea, in case he could but withal get Josephus under his power. So he took this news to be of the vastest advantage to him, and believed it to be brought about by the providence of God, that he who appeared to be the most prudent man of all their enemies, had, of his own accord, shut himself up in a place of sure custody. Accordingly, he sent Placidus with a thousand horsemen, and Ebutius a decurion, a person that was of eminency both in council and in action, to encompass the city round, that Josephus might not escape away privately.


Vespasian also, the very next day, took his whole army and followed them, and by marching till late in the evening, arrived then at Jotapata; and bringing his army to the northern side of the city, he pitched his camp on a certain small hill which was seven furlongs from the city, and still greatly endeavored to be well seen by the enemy, to put them into a consternation; which was indeed so terrible to the Jews immediately, that no one of them durst go out beyond the wall. Yet did the Romans put off the attack at that time, because they had marched all the day, although they placed a double row of battalions round the city, with a third row beyond them round the whole, which consisted of cavalry, in order to stop up every way for an exit; which thing making the Jews despair of escaping, excited them to act more boldly; for nothing makes men fight so desperately in war as necessity.

Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
<<Joseph. BJ 3.108 Joseph. BJ 3.135 (Greek) >>Joseph. BJ 3.158

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