Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
<<Joseph. BJ 4.556 Joseph. BJ 4.588 (Greek) >>Joseph. BJ 4.605


And thus did Simon get possession of Jerusalem, in the third year of the war, in the month Xanthicus [Nisan]; whereupon John, with his multitude of zealots, as being both prohibited from coming out of the temple, and having lost their power in the city, (for Simon and his party had plundered them of what they had,) were in despair of deliverance. Simon also made an assault upon the temple, with the assistance of the people, while the others stood upon the cloisters and the battlements, and defended themselves from their assaults. However, a considerable number of Simon's party fell, and many were carried off wounded; for the zealots threw their darts easily from a superior place, and seldom failed of hitting their enemies; but having the advantage of situation, and having withal erected four very large towers aforehand, that their darts might come from higher places, one at the north-east corner of the court, one above the Xystus, the third at another corner over against the lower city, and the last was erected above the top of the Pastophoria, where one of the priests stood of course, and gave a signal beforehand, with a trumpet note at the beginning of every seventh day, in the evening twilight, as also at the evening when that day was finished, as giving notice to the people when they were to leave off work, and when they were to go to work again. These men also set their engines to cast darts and stones withal, upon those towers, with their archers and slingers. And now Simon made his assault upon the temple more faintly, by reason that the greatest part of his men grew weary of that work; yet did he not leave off his opposition, because his army was superior to the others, although the darts which were thrown by the engines were carried a great way, and slew many of those that fought for him.


NOW about this very time it was that heavy calamities came about Rome on all sides; for Vitellius was come from Germany with his soldiery, and drew along with him a great multitude of other men besides. And when the spaces allotted for soldiers could not contain them, he made all Rome itself his camp, and filled all the houses with his armed men; which men, when they saw the riches of Rome with those eyes which had never seen such riches before, and found themselves shone round about on all sides with silver and gold, they had much ado to contain their covetous desires, and were ready to betake themselves to plunder, and to the slaughter of such as should stand in their way. And this was the state of affairs in Italy at that time.


But when Vespasian had overthrown all the places that were near to Jerusalem, he returned to Cesarea, and heard of the troubles that were at Rome, and that Vitellius was emperor. This produced indignation in him, although he well knew how to be governed as well as to govern, and could not, with any satisfaction, own him for his lord who acted so madly, and seized upon the government as if it were absolutely destitute of a governor. And as this sorrow of his was violent, he was not able to support the torments he was under, nor to apply himself further in other wars, when his native country was laid waste; but then, as much as his passion excited him to avenge his country, so much was he restrained by the consideration of his distance therefrom; because fortune might prevent him, and do a world of mischief before he could himself sail over the sea to Italy, especially as it was still the winter season; so he restrained his anger, how vehement soever it was at this time.


But now his commanders and soldiers met in several companies, and consulted openly about changing the public affairs; - and, out of their indignation, cried out, how "at Rome there are soldiers that live delicately, and when they have not ventured so much as to hear the fame of war, they ordain whom they please for our governors, and in hopes of gain make them emperors; while you, who have gone through so many labors, and are grown into years under your helmets, give leave to others to use such a power, when yet you have among yourselves one more worthy to rule than any whom they have set up. Now what juster opportunity shall they ever have of requiting their generals, if they do not make use of this that is now before them? while there is so much juster reasons for Vespasian's being emperor than for Vitellius; as they are themselves more deserving than those that made the other emperors; for that they have undergone as great wars as have the troops that come from Germany; nor are they inferior in war to those that have brought that tyrant to Rome, nor have they undergone smaller labors than they; for that neither will the Roman senate, nor people, bear such a lascivious emperor as Vitellius, if he be compared with their chaste Vespasian; nor will they endure a most barbarous tyrant, instead of a good governor, nor choose one that hath no child note to preside over them, instead of him that is a father; because the advancement of men's own children to dignities is certainly the greatest security kings can have for themselves. Whether, therefore, we estimate the capacity of governing from the skill of a person in years, we ought to have Vespasian, - or whether from the strength of a young man, we ought to have Titus; for by this means we shall have the advantage of both their ages, for that they will afford strength to those that shall be made emperors, they having already three legions, besides other auxiliaries from the neighboring kings, and will have further all the armies in the east to support them, as also those in Europe, so they as they are out of the distance and dread of Vitellius, besides such auxiliaries as they may have in Italy itself; that is, Vespasian's brother, note and his other son [Domitian]; the one of whom will bring in a great many of those young men that are of dignity, while the other is intrusted with the government of the city, which office of his will be no small means of Vespasian's obtaining the government. Upon the whole, the case may be such, that if we ourselves make further delays, the senate may choose an emperor, whom the soldiers, who are the saviors of the empire, will have in contempt."

Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
<<Joseph. BJ 4.556 Joseph. BJ 4.588 (Greek) >>Joseph. BJ 4.605

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