صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

tempt of death, and the greater value which they set upon their pride of national liberty, than upon the preservation of their lives. Their avowed object was only to devise methods of distress and annoyance to the Romans, and provided this could be effected, they were alike indifferent to their own fate, or to that of their country. With respect to the Temple, they professed, that while they had the world to worship in, they cared not what became of this particular shrine. 1 Upon this, Titus advanced his works, resolving, if possible, to gain that by force, which could not be obtained, either by reasonable or persuasive means.

It was at this time that the band, entitled Macedonian,? joined the Roman army; it was composed of bold and daring characters, who valued themselves more upon their courage, than the exercise of that judgment which leads the warrior to victory; vain of their prowess, and ambitious of the applause of the army, they affected to under-rate the valour of the Romans, and to ascribe their disappointments to the want of more vigorous and effective operations: they rushed therefore suddenly upon the Jews, and though supported by the most obstinate determination to establish the character they professed, by this unexpected assault upon the enemy; yet in this instance the Jews proved themselves superior, and having routed the whole band, taught them, that to lay pretensions to

the

i Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The Temple of the Lord! The Temple of the Lord! The Temple of the Lord are these !-Jer. vii. 4.

2 They were not Macedonians but Syrians, subjects of Antiochus King of Commagena : their band was called sticos Maxedovwy only, because they were armed and disciplined like the old Phalanx.

the distinction of Macedonian troops, they must also ensure themselves of their good fortune.

The Romans began to execute their designs by raising four banks around the city, from which their engines might assault the works and fortifications exalted on the eminence above. Situated in the valley between Moriah and Bezetha, and under the commanding heights of Antonia and Sion, nothing could be attempted till mounds, and towers built upon them, were raised to an equal elevation. This was an undertaking so laborious and of so vast a magnitude, as if conceived, could hardly have been executed by any other than a Roman army. The wonder and consternation of the Jews in a few days appeared conspicuous, when they beheld these works rising with a rapidity scarcely credible. The first of these was erected directly in the front of the tower of Antonia, which John with much ingenuity by undermining, shortly rendered altogether useless; destroying at the same time, every soldier and engine stationed on its

height. height.' Two days afterwards Simon and his party, elated by John's success, sallied out to attack the others; their bravery on this occasion was carried to the utmost; they fought the enemy hand to hand, and burnt their works under hazards of the greatest danger. The Romans were now made to feel the resentment of an infuriated people, and were certainly in this instance, if not in any other, made sensible that the nation with which they were contending, although unable to boast of military knowledge and discipline; was neither deficient in spirit, or in the qualities essential to constitute a warlike character. Their conduct and unexampled courage were, in this juncture, directed with so much judgment, and by so prompt an address, that the Romans were effectually driven to their camp under circumstances of heavy dejection. Their indefatigable exertions were in so short a time rendered inefficient, that they began seriously to doubt, whether it were practicable to take the city, even with the assistance of every engine usually employed in war.

1. Titus at first disdained the idea of conquering by famine, what might more nobly be gained by the sword—“He prepared,” says Tacitus,“ to carry the

place by storm, to linger before it till famine compelled a surrender, appeared unworthy of the Roman name. Romani ad oppugnandum versi, neque enim dignum videbatur, famem Hostium opperiri.”—Hist. v. 11.

2. FOR THUS HATH THE LORD OF HOSTS SAID, HEW YE DOWN TREES, AND CAST A MOUNT AGAINST JERUSALEM; THIS IS THE CITY TO BE VISITED; SHE IS WHOLLY OPPRESSION IN THE MIDST OF HER.–Jer. vi. 6.

These mounds were begun on the 12th of May, and after unwearied application, were finished on the 29th of the same month. The first before Antonia, was raised by the fifth legion. The second was stationed thirty-five feet from the first, and raised by the twelfth legion. The third was at the Pool of Amygdalon, on the north, cast up by the tenth legion. The fourth at the High-Priesi’s Monument, raised by the fifteenth legion at the distance of fifty feet from the last,

Vide Bell. Jud. 5. xi. 4.

The Jews continued to use every effort to oppose the enemy, and not unfrequently with such success, as to cause the Romans visible discomfiture. Titus now for the first time betrayed apprehensions that his army would not be sufficient to execute his designs; a consideration leading him to despair of gaining the ultimate

object

1 In a similar manner a Rhodian engineer, by undermining the ground without the walls of the town, rendered ineffective a vast machine, called HELEPOLIS (city-taker) built upon a square base, each side of which was fifty cubits, in height one hundred, and moveable upon wheels of enormous strength; with which Demetrius assaulted the fortifications of Rhodes when be besieged it. For a particular description of this engine compare Diod, Siculus. I. xx. ch. 5. with Plut. in vitâ Demet,

object of contention: assembling therefore, a council of war, he consulted upon the measures to be adopted in the present emergency. Some of the commanders advised the whole army to be collected together, and to make one general attack upon the city: others, that the walls and ramparts should be repaired, to prevent the excursions of the enemy; and thus, by cutting off every supply, famine would prove more destructive than the sword. These and many other methods having been suggested, it was at length the determination of Titus, supported by the approbation of the whole council, to surround the city with a wall; which by being strietly guarded, would effectually cut off every communication: when at length the Jews finding themselves hemmed in on all sides, and convinced that they were in the power of the enemy, might be compelled to surrender, to preserve the city and themselves from inevitable ruin, He hastened, therefore, to execute this resolution; and having assigned to every soldier the part he was to perform, proceeded to mark the outlines of his projected circumvallation. This undertaking would have presented too many difficulties, and the prospect of too laborious an application to be attempted hastily, much less to be adopted so vigorously, by any army but that which had hitherto designed

and

i When the proposition was first made in this council to blockade the city, Titus objected to it, “ as being," says Tacitus," unworthy of the Roman

arms to resort to such an unwarlike expedient;" but as it now appeared to his mind that his army was insufficient to carry on the siege in the usual manner of attack, he acquiesced in the measure: we shall see, however, towards the close of this history, that the spirit of Titus could not brook delay, and that instead of starving out the besieged, he put them to the sword, thus remarkably fulfilling the prediction that“ THOSE DAYS SHOULD

BE SHORTENED;” in consequence of which, the whole siege lasted but six months.

66

and carried into effect, projects of as extensive, and, seemingly, of as astonishing a nature: but with that zeal and activity which had ever characterised the enterprises of this warlike people, this immense wall was completed in the space of three days.? Its circumference was nearly five English miles, having thirteen redoubts, rather less than a furlong in circuit each ; tending equally to its security and strength. These were all strongly garrisoned, and the whole circuit, from being completely guarded, became one impregnable barrier.

The

i This wall, says Josephus (5. xii. 2.), commenced at the Assyrian camp,' where the main body of the Roman army, was now stationed; and was carried to the lower parts of Cænopolis, from thence along the valley of Cedron to the Mount of Olives; then bending southward, took in the rock of Peristereon, and that hill adjoining, which is near to the valley reaching to Siloam; whence it bent again to the west, and went down to the valley of the Fountain, beyond which it went up from the Monument of Ananus, the High Priest, and took in that mountain on which Pompey had formerly pitched his camp. It returned then to the north side of the city, and was carried on as far as a village, called " The House of Erebinthi;” thence, taking in Herod's Monument, was joined on the east, at the camp of Titus, -See the plan of the city opposite the title page.

It was with a reference to this wall, that our Saviour cautioned his disciples to flee from Judea to the mountains, when they thus saw Jerusalem encompassed by es; for as soon as this circumvallation was completed, “ all hope of safety was cut off from the Jews, and all means of escaping

from the city were rendered impracticable."

This laborious undertaking occupied the whole army of Titus three days and nights; a rapidity inconceivable; particularly when we reflect that the wall, which in extent corresponds, in a remarkable manner with this, built by the army of the younger Scipio, when in the last Punic war he besieged Carthage; was effected by the incessant industry of more than double the numbers of Titus, in not less than twenty-four days. To this it may be said, that the Romans, in the former instance, were very little, if at all annoyed in their operations by the enemy: whereas in the latter, the utmost efforts were made, both to check their designs, and to render their labours ineffectual.

2 FOR THE DAYS SHALL COME UPON THEE, THAT THINE ENEMIES SHALL CÀST

[ocr errors]
« السابقةمتابعة »