« السابقةمتابعة »
great part of their baggage; but at length they arrived at Gabaoh, where they had encamped on a former occasion.
Cestius was now greatly distressed how to act; and, during two days, employed his thoughts on his next operation. On the third day, he found that the Jews were so greatly increased in numbers, that the whole face of the country was covered with them. He was now sensible that danger, as well as hindrance of time, had arisen from his delay; and that as his enemies still increased in number, more danger would arise from a further delay. Hereupon he issued orders that the army should be eased of all their incumbrances, that they might march with the greater expedition he likewise directed that all the mules, asses, and other beasts of burden, should be killed, except only as many as might be necessary to carry such weapons and machines as would, probably, be hereafter wanted; and this was done likewise from motives of policy, to prevent their coming into possession of the enemy, and being employed to his disadvantage. This was the situation of the army during its approach towards Bethoron, Cestius marching at their head. While the troops continued in the open country, they did not receive the last interruption from the Jews; but as they advanced into hollow ways and defiles, the enemy charged them in frout and rear, to separate Bome divisions of them from the rest of the army, and force them further into the valley; and, in the interim, the Jews discharged shot on the heads of the Romans from the rocks and crags. While the infantry were thus distressed, and in doubt how they should act, the situation of the cavalry was still more deplorable; for it was impossible for them to advance against the Jews in the mountains, or secure themselves in the vallies nor could the order of the troops be maintained amidst such a shower of arrows as descended on them. Many perished by falling from precipices, and by other accidents; in fact, they were in such a distressful situation, that they could neither fight nor fly. Reduced to this shocking extremity, the Romans gave vent to their passion by tears, groans, and lamentations; while, on the other hand, the Jews made the rocks and vallies resound with their transports of joy, triumph, and exaltatiou. In fact, such was the situation of affairs, that if day-light had continued some time longer, the whole army of Cestius must have been cut to pieces; but the Romans with difficulty crept to Bethoron under cover of the night, all the passes near which place were immediately secured by the Jews, to prevent the retreat of their adver
Cestius finding in what a disagreeable manner he was surrounded, and that it would be impossible to retreat within sight of the enemy, devised a scheme to favour his escape. Having stationed near four hundred of his most gallant troops on the tops of the houses, he ordered that they should act the part of centinels, calling as loud as they were able to the watches and guards, as if the army was still in its encampment. While this plan was going forward, Cestius collected his troops, and, during the night, marched to the distance of about thirty furlongs. In the morning, when the Jews came to find that the place had been deserted by the main body of the army during the night, they were so enraged that they immediately attacked the four hundred Romans who had acted as centinels, slew every one of them, and then instantly marched in pursuit of Cestius; but his troops having obtained a whole night's march on them, and proceeding with the utmost rapidity on the following day, it was not possible to overtake them. Such were the hurry and confusion in which the Romans had fled, that they dropt in the road all their slings, machines, and other instruments for battery and attack: and these being seized by the pursuers, they afterwards made use of them against the Romans. The Jews pursued their enemies as far as Antipatris: but finding it in vain to continue the chace, they carefully preserved the engines, stripped the dead, collected
all the booty they could, and then returned towards Jerusalem, singing songs of triumph for so important a victory obtained with a loss perfectly inconsiderable. In this contest, there fell of the Romans and their auxiliaries three hundred and eighty cavalry, and four thousand infantry.
When the news of the defeat of Cestius had reached Damascus, the Syrians determined to provide for their safety by the massacre of their Jewish neighbours, whom they cut in pieces, to the amount of ten thousand, almost without opposition.
The more moderate Jews abandoned Jerusalem, and the Christians in a body are said to have retreated to Pella. Such of their countrymen as were determined upou resistance, held a meeting in the temple, in which they appointed the officers for carrying on the war. Joseph the son of Gorion, and Ananus the high-priest, were constituted governors in civil affairs, having a charge to superintend the city, and especially take care of the fortifications. Jesus, the son of Sapphas, one of the highpriests, and Eleazer, the son of the new high-priest, were sent into Idumea; Joseph, the son of Simon, was made commander of Jericho; Manasses went beyond the river Jordan; and John the Essene was dispatched to Thamna. The government of Gophnitis and Acrabatene was given to John, the son of Ananias; and the two Galilees to Josephus, the son of Matthias, to whom likewise submitted the government of Gamala, the strongest place in the country.
Each of these governors discharged his trust with pleasure, and managed with great prudence. With regard to Josephus, as soon as he arrived in Galilee, he sought to ingratiate himself into the affections of the people, as an interest which would amply atone for any trivial errors they might fall into. He also reflected, that the admitting persons of rank to a share in the government was a ready way to make them his friends; and that the most effectual method of obliging the people at large would be the employing such of the natives as were popular in all public business. The method Josephus took was as follows: he selected a council of seventy from among the oldest and wisest men of the nation. To this council he deputed the government of Galilee, restraining them in a few particulars only. These seventy judges were distributed seven in each city, and empowered to hear and determine all common affairs, agreeably to a plan which was prescribed to them: but the determining in capital cases and matters of great consequence, Josephus reserved for himself.
The council of seventy thus disposed of, and domestic affairs regulated, Josephus began to consider how most effectually to secure himself from foreign attacks. He had no doubt but that the Romans would make irruptions into Galilee, and therefore immediately caused walls to be built round the defensible cities, viz. Jotapata, Bersabee, Selamis, Pereccho, Japha and Sigoh, Tarichæa and Tiberias, and also the mountain called Itabyr. In the lower Galilee, he fortified the caves near the lake of Genezareth in the upper Galilee, Petra of the Achabarians, Seph, Jaminth, and Mero; with Seleucir, Soganes, and Gamala, in Gaulanitis. But the Sepphorites, who were a rich people, and naturally of a martial turn, were permitted to build their own walls. Gischala was walled in by Josephus' command, by John, the son of Levi. All the rest of the castles were fortified by Josephus' immediate aid and direction.
Having obtained upwards of one hundred thousand men in Galilee, he supplied them with arms which he had collected in various places. He next reflected on the amazing power of the Romans, and what it was that contributed to render those people so invincible; and he was of opinion that it was owing to their strict discipline and regular obedience. As it was not in his power at present to discipline his people ns he wished, he determined to secure their obedience in the best manner he could;
and, for this purpose, he thought the Roman method of multiplying officers would be effectual, dividing and subdividing officers of command beneath each other. And this method he adopted. He appointed officers over tens, hundreds, and thousands, all of them still subject to the superior commands of others. He caused his forces to be instructed to understand signals; to know the points of war by the sound of the trumpet, distinguishing an alarm, a charge, or a retreat, by the different sounds; to comprehend the mode of fighting and the form of battle; the method of attack and retreat; and how to second the distressed, and relieve those that might be fatigued. He instructed them in the virtues of fortitude, to sustain mental or bodily distress, admonishing them to shew themselves equally proof against trouble and danger. He made use of the Roman discipline in all his warlike instructions, as what might produce an equal force of authority and example. He told his soldiers, that if their wish was to obtain his good opinion of their obedience in time of war, it would become them previously to decline every act of unlawful violence; to avoid all fraud, pilfering, and robbery; that they should be strictly just in their dealings with every one, and not think that what arose from the defraud of another could produce any advantage to themselves. "Is it possible," said he, "for a war against the rights of conscience to prosper, when it is evident that both God and man must be our professed enemies?" In this manner did Josephus continue to admonish and instruct his people, till he had formed an army agreeable to his own wish. He was now at the head of sixty thousand infantry, two hundred and fifty cavalry, and six hundred select men for his body guard, exclusive of four thousand five hundred mercenaries, on whom he placed the utmost reliance. The expence of these men to the country was not considerable; for all of them, except the mercenaries, were supported by cities. These cities, while one half of the men were engaged in the wars, employed the other half to provide necessaries for their associates; so that the men were mutual assistants to each other, as those who were in arms served to protect those who provided for
The emperor, on receiving intelligence of the defeat of Cestius in Judea, was thrown into the most terrible consternation; but he dissembled his alarm, ostentatiously asserting that it was to the misconduct of his general, and not to their own valour, that the Jes were indebted for victory; for he imagined that it would be derogatory to the sovereign state of the Roman empire, and to his superiority to other princes, to betray a concern at the common occurrences of life. During this contention between his fear and his pride, he industriously sought for a man qualified to assume the important task of chastising the revolted Jews, preserving the cast in tranquillity, and the allegiance of several other nations who had manifested a disposition to free themselves from the power of the Romans. Upon mature deliberation, Nero at length judged Vespasian to be the only man possessed of abilities adequate to the important enterprize. Vespasian was now arrived at an advanced age, and, from his early years, he had been engaged in a continued succession of military exploits. The empire was indebted to him for the establishment of a peace in the west, where the Germans had revolted; and he completed the conquest over Britain, attributing to the emperor the glory of triumphing over that country, which had not before been entirely subdued. The years and experience of Vespasian, and his approved courage and fidelity; his having sons for hostages of his loyalty, who, being in the vigour of youth, might execute their father's commands; and his appearing to be favoured by the providence of the Almighty; determined the emperor to appoint him to the command of his army in Syria. Immediately upon receiving the commission from Nero, who accompanied it with the strongest professions of friendship, he commanded his son Titus to lead;
the fifth and the tenth legions into Alexandria, and he himself departed from Achaia; and, crossing the Hellespont, proceeded by land into Syria, where he assembled all the Roman forces, and the auxiliaries which the princes adjacent to that province had supplied.
On his arrival at Antioch, the metropolis of Syria, he found king Agrippa attended by his troops, waiting to receive him. Hence he proceeded to Ptolemais, where the people of Sepphoris, a city in Galilee, had assembled on occasion of his expected arrival. These were a well-disposed people and, being conscious of the great power of the Romans, and desirous of making provision for their own safety, they acknowledged Cestius Gallus as their governor previous to the arrival of Vespasian, binding themselves to act in perfect obedience to his commands, even against their own countrymen, and at the same time declaring their allegiance to the state of Rome. They received a garrison from Cestius Gallus, and solicited Vespasiau to grant them a number of cavalry and infantry sufficient for their defence, in case of being attacked by the Jews with this request he readily complied; for Sepphoris being the most extensive and the strongest city of Galilee, he judged it expedient to keep so important a place in a proper state of defence.
From Ptolemais he dispatched Placidus with an army of six thousand foot and one thousand horse, for the security of the city of Sepphoris within, and near which they encamped; and, by their frequent excursions, greatly incommoded Josephus and his friends. Josephus, to put a stop to these evils, determined to lay siege to Sepphoris, but soon became convinced that such a design was impracticable. Placidus now ravaged the country with greater fury than ever, putting all such of the inhabitants as resisted to the sword, and reducing the rest to slavery. He then made a fruitless attempt on Jotapata, the siege of which he was obliged to relinquish, though with small loss.
In the mean time, Titus repaired to Vespasian, his father, at Ptolemais, with much greater expedition than it was supposed a winter march would permit; and he there joined the fifteenth, the fifth, and the tenth legions, which were esteemed to be the best disciplined and most courageous of the Roman troops. These were followed by eighteen companies, besides five companies and a troop of horse from Cæsarea, and a troop of Syrian cavalry. Ten of these cohorts were composed of a thousand men each, and the rest of six hundred and thirteen foot, and a hundred and twenty horse; and the army was strengthened by auxiliaries supplied by neighbouring princes: Antiochus, Agrippa, and Sohemus, furnished each two thousand infantry and one thousand cavalry; Malichus, king of Arabia, sent five thousand foot, most of whom were provided with bows and arrows, and one thousand horse. The army amounted to sixty thousand horse and foot, exclusive of the train of baggage, and a great number of domestics, most of whom, having been trained to the practice of war, were but little inferior to their masters in courage and dexterity.
Having formed the resolution of making an incursion into Galilee, Vespasian issued marching orders to his troops, according to the military discipline of the Romans, and departed from Ptolemais. The auxiliary forces being more lightly armed than the rest of the troops, were ordered to march first, in order to reconnoitre the woods and other places where it was supposed ambushes were stationed, and prevent surprises from the enemy: they were followed by a party of infantry and cavalry; to which succeeded a detachment formed of ten men from each company: next came pioneers to level and make good the ways, cut down trees, and remove other obstructions and then followed the general's baggage, and that of his principal officers, under the convoy of a strong company of horse: after these Vespasian marched,
attended by a chosen body of cavalry and infantry, a number of men provided with lances, and a hundred and twenty of his own men selected from the same number of squadrons of horse the next in course were the engineers, with their various implements and machines of assault; and they were followed by the tribunes and other officers, escorted by a select body of troops: the imperial eagle, preceding the rest of the Roman ensigns, came next; the figure of the eagle was considered as an omen of success in war, and as an emblem intimating that as the eagle was the sovereign of all other birds, so were the Romans superior to the rest of mankind: the ensigns of the Romans, which were deemed sacred, were followed by the performers on martial instruments of music, to whom succeeded the body of the army, drawn up six in front, the officers attending to keep the men in rank and file, and preserve a regular discipline in every other respect: the domestics belonging to the several legions marched with the infantry, and it was their business to take the necessary care that the baggage was safely conveyed; and the procession was closed by artizans, purveyors, and other mercenaries, who were escorted by a company of infantry and cavalry.
Having marched in the above order to the frontiers of Galilee, Vespasian there encamped his army he might have advanced farther, but his design was to inspire the enemy with terror by the formidable appearance of his army; and, by affording time for their passions to operate, to render them less capable of resistance before proceeding to an encounter; and, in the mean time, he caused every necessary preparation to be made for a siege. Vespasian was not deceived in this conjecture; for the news of his approach threw the Jews into the most terrible consternation; and Josephus' followers, who were encamped in the neighbourhood of Sepphoris, deserted their leader, even before the enemy came in sight. Being thus abandoned, and finding that the spirits of the Jews were entirely depressed, that the majority of the people had already joined the enemy, and that the rest seemed inclinable to their example, he declined all thoughts of prosecuting the war, and retreated to Tiberias, accompanied by a few of his people who still maintained their fidelity.
Vespasian attacked Gadara; and as that city did not contain a sufficient number of inhabitants to make a successful defence, he with little difficulty subdued it on the first assault. The enmity they entertained against the Jews, and a principle of revenge for the defeat of Cestius, induced the Romans to put the inhabitants of the town promiscuously to the sword; and, not satisfied with setting fire to the conquered city, they burnt and utterly laid waste the neighbouring small towns and villages, and subjected the inhabitants to slavery,
Vespasian determined that his next expedition should be against Jotapata, which was the strongest city in Galilee, and the place to which the Jews had fled in vast numbers for refuge. He first, however, dispatched a select party of horse and foot, attended with pioneers, to cross the mountains, and form a passage, the road being at that time wholly impassable for horse, and extremely difficult for foot. This work was completed in the space of four days, so that the whole army was able to proceed without inconvenience. The next day being the twenty-first of the month Artemisius, Josephus escaped from Tiberias, and threw himself into Jotapata; a circumstance which much encouraged the garrison, while it stimulated the Romans to make the more vigorous attack, as they hoped, by taking the general, to reduce to submission all the Galilean revolters.
On the next day Vespasian began his march, and arrived in the afternoon to Jotapata. He established his camp on a bill about seven furlongs to the north of the city, intending to alarm the enemy by the formidable appearance of his army. The inhabitants were so terrified that they kept within their walls, while the Romans were too fatigued to,