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find in country places, whom they put to the sword, and extended the perseution against the inhabitants of the several cities. This was done, not only from motives of policy, in the weakening of a determined enemy, but from those of revenge on an antient animosity. At this time, the condition of Syria was far more deplorable than language can describe; since, in fact, there were in every city two armies, nor was any safety to be expected for the one but in the destruction of the other. The whole day was spent in spilling of blood; and, on the advance of the night, the fears of the parties were worse than the reality. The Syrians asserted that they meant only to destroy the Jews; but there being a number of people whom they only suspected to be of the Jewish faith, they knew not how to act with regard to them: they were afraid to leave them unpunished, lest they should be Jews, and yet thought that the destroying them on surmise only would have the appearance of cruelty.
At this period, many persons who had been heretofore distinguished by their benevolence became of savage disposition from the mere lust of gain; for those they killed they plundered, and the booty was allowed them as a reward of their courage, that man being accounted most valiant who obtained most pillage; for, in this case, the terms victory and robbery were confounded. It was a dreadful spectacle to behold the streets filled with the bodies of men, women, and children, who had been murdered, stript and left, not only unburied, but uncovered. But still more melancholy events were to take place.
To this period the Jews had only made war on strangers; but when they approached the confines of Scythopolis, they found the Jews themselves of that district to be their enemies, so much had the latter preferred the consideration of their own interest to that of their country, the Jews of Scythopolis having actually combined with the inhabitants of that place against their own countrymen. But the Scythopolitans were sus picious of the good faith of their new allies, who had entered into the agreement with an eagerness for which they could not account. They reflected what might be the consequence if these people should unite against them with the other Jews, surprize the town by night, and then assert that what they had done arose from the necessity of their situation, or was in revenge of their own sufferings. On this occasion, the citizens proposed to the Jews of their confederacy, that if they were willing to give a proof of their integrity and love of justice towards strangers, they would for the present withdraw with their families into a grove adjacent to the town. The Jews complied with this requisition, and every thing remained in peace at Scythopolis during the two following days; but on the third night, intelligence being received of the defenceless situation of the Jews, that some of them were asleep, others in careless postures, and all of them off their guard, the people of Scythopolis attacked them unawares, destroyed them all to the number of thirteen thousand, and departed, having first seized every thing of value in the camp.
The example of the massacre at Scythopolis had spirited up the people in several other places, where also the Jews were massacred. In Askalon two thousand five hundred fell a sacrifice; in Ptolemais two thousand; and many of them were put to death at Tyre, where likewise several were imprisoned. All those who were most active at Hippon and Gadara were destroyed, and the rest thrown into prison. In other towns where they were either dreaded or hated they were treated with similar severity; but the Jewish inhabitants of Antioch, Sidon, and Apamia, remained in the peaceable enjoyment of their lives and liberties. It is doubtful whether this lenity arose from a belief that they were too weak to be dreaded, or from a generous view to spare a body of people who did not appear to harbour any sinister design against the state; but, in fact, this latter idea seems to have the best foundation. Those Jews who chose to
remain with the Gerasenes were permitted so to do, and those who declined staying were safely conducted to the borders of the country.
In the interim, the possession of the castle of Cypross on the frontiers of Jericho was obtained by the rebels, who destroyed the place after first putting the garrison tɔ the sword. About the same period, the Romans of Macheras were treated with by another large body of the Jews, for the surrender of their garrison; and they accordingly agreed to the terms on which it should be given up, thinking it was better to yield it by capitulation, than to be driven out of it by force.
Cestius, remarking the antipathy in which the Jews were every where held, took advantage of this circumstance to prosecute the war with vigour. On this occasion, be assembled his troops, and marched towards Ptolemais, taking with him the whole twelfth legion which he commanded at Antioch, two thousand select men from the other legions, and four divisions of horse, exclusive of the royal auxiliaries; and these last consisted of two thousand horse and three thousand foot, belonging to Antiochus, all armed with bows and arrows; one thousand horse and three thousand foot of the troops of king Agrippa; and a body of king Sohemus' troops, consisting of four thousand men, about a third of which were horse and the rest foot, and the greater number of them archers. As Cestius continued his march towards Ptolemais, the country people flocked to him as he passed. It is not to be supposed these soldiers were equal in skill to his own; but their antipathy to the Jews, and their zeal in the cause, amply compensated for what they wanted in judgment and expe
Cestius was assisted by Agrippa both with soldiers and instructions; and, being thus provided, the general proceeded with part of his army towards Zebulon, (otherwise called Andron) the most defensible city of Galilee, and by which Judea is divided from Ptolemais. On his arrival at the place, he found that it was amply stored with provisions of all kinds, but not a single person was visible in the town, all the inhabitants having fled to the mountains, on which he gave his soldiers permission to plunder the city. The general was astonished at the beauty and elegance of the buildings, which bore a great resemblance to those of Tyre, Sidon, and Berytus; yet, notwithstanding his amazement, he caused them to be burned and levelled with the ground. This being done, he proceeded to ravage the adjacent country, laying waste wherever When he had made all possible depredations, and burnt the adjacent villages, he left them in that situation, and then returned to Ptolemais. On this occasion, the Syrians were so intent on the obtaining of plunder, that they could not prevail on themselves to retire in time; but many of them remained behind: and, on the retreat of Cestius, the Jews, taking courage, fell on these plunderers and destroyed near two thousand of them.
Cestius proceeded from Ptolemais to Cæsarea, whence he dispatched a division of his army to Joppa, with directions, that if they could get an easy possession of the place, they should preserve it; but if they found that the inhabitants made preparation to defend it, in that case, they should wait for the arrival of the rest of the army. However, the Romans attacked the place both by land and sea, and became masters of it with very little difficulty; for the inhabitants were so far from being able to resist the attack, that they had not even an opportunity of making their escape; but all of them, men, women, and children, masters and servants, were indiscriminately put to the sword; the number of the persons slain being reckoned at eight thousand four hundred, and the city was plundered and reduced to ashes. A body of Roman horse made similar destruction in the toparchy of Narbatane, not far from Cæsarea, where
they ravaged the country, killed great numbers of the inhabitants, took possession of their effects, and burnt their cities to the ground.
The twelfth legion was now sent into Galilee by Cestius, under the command of Cæsarnius Gallus, and as many other troops were sent in their aid as were deemed sufficient for the reduction of that province. The strongest city in this country was Sepphoris, the gates of which were immediately opened to the commander, and the other towns copied the example of Sepphoris. The insurgents and disaffected people retired to the mountain of Asamon, which crosses Galilee, and is directly opposite to Sepphoris. While they were thus situated, Gallus approached; but as long as they were able to maintain the higher ground, they were more than a match for the Romans, about two hundred of whom they killed in the attack; but at length the Romans making a compass, so as to act on equal terms, the opposite party was soon put to the rout; since the men, being ill-armed, were unable to withstand the assault, and the fugitives were soon cut to pieces by the horse. Some few of them saved their lives by hiding in crags of the rocks, but above two thousand of them were slain on this occasion.
By this time, Gallus being convinced that there was no further necessity for his attendance in Galilee, retired with his troops to Cæsarea; and Cestius departed with his army to Antipatris, where, when he arrived, he was informed that a great number of Jews had got into the tower of Aphec, whither he sent a number of his troops to Fout them. The Jews, finding themselves totally unable to sustain the shock, abandoned the place to the Romans, who first stripped it of every thing of value, then set fire to all the villages in its neighbourhood, and departed as soon as they were destroyed.
From Antipatris, Cestius proceeded to Lydda, where he found no more than fifty men, all the rest of them having gone to Jerusalem on occasion of the feast of tabernacles. These fifty Cestius caused to be destroyed, set fire to the town, and proceeded by the way of Bethoron to a place named Gabaoh, about fifty furlongs from Jerusalem, where he encamped.
Convinced of the excessive dangers of the war, the Jews abandoned their former scruples with regard to their sacred days, and applied themselves strictly to their arms. Imagining that their force was now sufficient to cope with the Romans, they made a desperate sally on the sabbath-day, and with a furious uproar attacked their enemies. The rage which, on this occasion, inflamed them, so as to induce them to forget their duty, was advantageous to them in the execution of the projected enterprize; for, on the first charge, they put the front of the Romans into great disorder, and penetrated so far into the main body of the army, that if a body of foot had not yet remained entirely unbroken, and a party of horse arrived to their relief in this critical juncture, it is probable that Cestius and all must have been cut to pieces. On this occasion, four hundred of the Roman cavalry were slain, and a hundred and fifteen of the infantry, while of the Jews there fell no more on the spot than twenty-two men. Those who were most eminently distinguished in this action were Monobasus and Cenedæus, two relations of Monobasus, king of the Adiabenians; and the valour of these chieftains was well seconded by Niger of Perca, and Silas the Babylonian, the last of whom had gone over to take part with the Jews, after having been formerly in the service of king Agrippa.
The main body of the Jews now retreating in good order, went back into the city, and, in the mean time, the Romans retiring towards Bethoron, they were followed by Gloras, the son of Simon, who destroyed several of them, and siezed a number of
carriages and a quantity of baggage, which he found in the course of his pursuit, and which he conveyed to Jerusalem. Cestius remained in the field three days after this action, during all which time a party of the Jews was stationed on the adjacent hills to watch his movements; and, it is probable, that the Jews would have attacked the Romans if they had offered to depart during that period.
Agrippa, observing that the Jews made their appearance in amazing numbers on the hills, and on every elevated situation in the neighbourhood, did not think that even the Romans themselves were safe within the reach of an enemy so powerful; wherefore he came to a resolution to try if fair words might not obtain him some advantage, flattering himself that the opposing parties might be reasoned into a better opinion of each other than they at present held; or, at least, that if he should not be able to bring them to terms of perfect friendship, he might abate something of their enmity by promoting a change of opinion on either side.
Impressed with these sentiments, Agrippa dispatched two of his friends and officers, named Borcæus and Phoebus, men of unsullied honour and reputation, to offer his opponents a league of alliance with the Romans, and full pardon and indemnity for all that was past, on the single condition that they should henceforth entertain new sentiments, and immediately lay down their arms.
This proposal was no sooner made, than the leaders of the opposition, apprehensive that the people in general might entertain thoughts of going over to the party of Agrippa, in hopes of the promised pardon, resolved on the immediate destruction of the ambassadors. Phoebus they killed without permitting him to say a word in his justification; but Borcæus made his escape after being wounded. The atrocious wickedness of this action so incensed the multitude, that they pursued the offenders with clubs and stones, and in this manner they drove them into the town.
In consequence of this disturbance, Agrippa was furnished with the fairest opportunity imaginable of making his attack on the faction; and hereupon he advanced towards them with his whole army, attacked and routed them, and pursued them even to the walls of Jerusalem. This being done, he retired to a place named Scopus, at the distance of about seven furlongs from the city, where he pitched his camp, and remained three days and nights without attempting to make any attack upon the city, flattering himself with the expectation that the people would be induced to change their sentiments. In this interim, he did nothing but send into the adjacent country for a supply of corn and other necessaries.
On the following day, which was the thirtieth of the month Hyperberetæus, Cestius advanced with his whole army in a regular manner to the borders of the city, where the people in general were so terrified by the faction, that they were afraid to take any step of consequence; while the principal promoters of the sedition were so alarmed by the conduct and discipline of the Romans on their march, that they retired from the extremities of the city, and took refuge in the temple. Cestius proceeded by the way of Bezetha; and, as he passed forwards, burnt Conopolis, and a place which was denominated the wood-market. Hence he advanced to the upper town, and pitched his camp at a small distance from the palace. If at this critical juncture he had made a vigorous attack, he might with the greatest ease have made himself master of the place, and put a period to the war; but he was diverted from this purpose by the nediation of two generals, named Tyrannus and Priscus, and several other officers, with the prevailing argument of some of Florus's money: and this unhappy proceeding was the occasion of the present misfortunes of the Jews, and the source of many of their future calamities.
When affairs were in this situation, Ananus, the son of Jonathas, and several other
men of distinction among the Jews, called aloud to Cestius, making an offer to open the gates to him; but either through diffidence or fear, he was so long in considering whether he should comply with the offer, that the intention was discovered, and the people compelled Ananus and his companion to retreat from the walls of the city, and retire to their houses for protection. After this, the Jews, with a view to defend the walls of the city, repaired to the different turrets; and, for five successive days, defended them against all the efforts of the Romans, though they urged the attack with the utmost impetuosity. Cestius, on the sixth day, made an assault on the north side of the temple with a select force chosen from his troops and bowmen; but he was received with such a violent shower of shot and stones from the porch and galleries, that the Romans were not only repeatedly compelled to retire from the severity of the charge, but finally obliged to abandon the enterprize. Having been thus repulsed, the Romans had, at length, recourse to the following singular invention. Those in front placing their bucklers against the wall, and covering their heads and shoulders with them; they who stood next closed their bucklers to the former, till the whole body was covered, and made the appearance of a tortoise; the bucklers being thus conjoined, were proof against all the darts and arrows of the enemy; so that the Roinans could now sap and undermine the walls without being exposed to danger; and the first thing they now did was to attempt setting fire to the gates of the temple. This circumstance amazed and terrified the faction to such a degree, that they considered themselves as ruined; and many of them absolutely abandoned the town, nor were the honest party less elevated with joy than the rebels depressed by despair. The people now demanded that the gates might be opened to Cestius, whom they considered in the light of a friend and preserver. Matters having proceeded thus far, the general had nothing more to have done but to have maintained the siege for a very little time longer, and the town must have submitted; but the providence of God would not permit a war which had been undertaken with so little provocation to end in such a manner; for Cestius, without considering the good disposition of the people in general in the town, or reflecting on the despair into which the rebels were thrown, as if he had been infatuated, drew off his men all at once; and, contrary to all common sense and reason, abandoned the siege at the time when his prospects were better than they had been at any former period. The revolters were so much encouraged by this unexpected departure of Cestius, that they attacked him in the rear, and destroyed a number both of his cavalry and infantry. On the first night he took up his residence in a camp which he had fortified at a place named Scopus; and, on the following day, he continued his march, but was closely pursued by the enemy, who annoyed him as he went, and destroyed a considerable number of his troops. A trench, with pallisadoes on both sides of the way, having been thrown up by the Romans, the Jews annoyed them exceedingly with their darts and arrows during their march across the passage, while the Romans did not offer to revenge this insult, nor even to look back in the face of their enemies. This was partly in consideration of their being unable to secure their flanks, as their numbers were very considerable, and partly in the apprehension that the order of their march might be broken, as they were themselves burthened with very heavy arms, and those of the Jews were remarkably light, so that they were enabled to make excursions and surprises without any difficulty. On the whole, this was a very disastrous attack to the Romans, and not attended with any loss on the part of the Jews. In fact, the roads were covered with dead and wounded bodies in this retreat. Great numbers of the common soldiers were slain; and, among those of superior rank, were Priscus, commander of the sixth legion; a tribune named Longinus ; and Emilius Jucundus, a distinguished officer of horse. The Romans likewise lost