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four ramparts of greater magnitude than the former were erected at the fortress Antonia. Titus carried on this business with great assiduity, and the besieged being now at his mercy, he plainly binted to them that he knew their situation. Still, however, they shewed no concern for what had happened : they seemed to have no regard for themselves or each other. Those who were decaying with sickness they confined in prisons, and tore the dead in pieces as dogs would have done.
The ungrateful return which Matthias received from Simon, for procuring him to be admitted into the city, was, that he first caused him to be tortured, and then put to death. The story of the event is as follows : Matthias was the son of a priest named Boethus, whom the people held in as high esteem as.any man of his function. The zealots having treated the Jews with very unwarrantable severity, and John baving joined the former, Matthias recommended that Simon might be called in to their assistance, but took no previous precaution, nor made any condition with regard to his conduct. Such was the ingratitude of Simon, that as soon as he had become master of the city, he treated Matthias as one of his worst enemies, and the advice the latter had given for opening the ports was attributed to mere thoughtlessness and simplicity. On this ridiculous pretence he was brought to a trial, and charged with holding a correspondence with the Romans; and, without any kind of proof, sentence of death was passed on Matthias and three of his sons, but without permitting them to urge a single argument in their defence ; but a fourth son had made his escape to the Romans. The venerable old man made it his earnest request, and the only favour he asked in return for his admitting Simon into the town, that he himself might first suffer ; but even this poor favour was denied by Simon, who gave orders that Matthias should be executed the last, with the cruel resolution of prolonging the terin of his sufferings. The issue of this borrid affair was, that the good old Matthias was put to death on the bodies of his sons, and within view of the Romans, agreeable to an order which Simon gave to Ananus, the son of Barnadus ; which Ananus was distinguished from all the dependents of Simon by the extreme cruelty of his disposition. Simon, however, was not contented with the simple execution of this barbarous sentence; but in the moment that Ananus was preparing to give the fatal stroke, he said to Matthias, with an air of the most insolent derision, “You had intended to have deserted to the Romans, let them now afford you assistance if it be in their power.” When the execution was over, the barbarity was carried still farther; for Simon gave express orders that the bodies should be denied the rites of sepulture.
About the same tinie, several other distinguished personages were put to death, the father of Josephus imprisoned, and himself wounded by a stone. At this juncture, a number of the inhabitants went off to the Romans. Some of them deserted them under pretence of pursuing the enemy with stones ; while others made their escape by leaping over the walls. But while they sought to avoid the distresses which prevailed within the city, they met with greater calamities without ; for they contracted surfeits in the camp still more bastily destructive than the famine from which they had fled : for after long fasting, and being infected with a dropsical complaint, they durst not venture to eat freely for fear of bursting. But the most melancholy part of the history remains yet to be recounted.
Among the Syrians, a fugitive Jew was discovered while he was searching for gold, which he had swallowed, and which had passed through his body. At the period above mentioned, there was a very great scarcity of gold in the town, and twelve attics were as valuable as twenty-five had been in former times; and the faction had searched all the people in the strictest maoner. On the above-mentioned discovery, it was immediately reported through the camp that the Jews who had deserted had swallowed all the
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gold. Hereupon the Arabians and Syrians seized on the deserters, and cut open tlie bodies of two thousand of them in one night. This Josephus deems to have been the most inhuman butchery that ever was perpetrated on the Jews.
The horrid inhumanity of this action gave so much offence to Titus, that he would uvdoubtedly have ordered his cavalry to destroy every one of the offenders with darts, if their number had not been more considerable than that of those they had murdered : but as this was the case, he summoned together his officers, as well the Ronians as the auxiliaries ; and finding that some of his own people had been concerned in this inhuman butchery, he delivered bis sentiments on the occasion in the following manuer . In the first place, addressing himself to the Romans, he said, “I am astonished that any soldier of mine should be guilty of an action soʻunmanly, in order to possess himself of so uncertain an advantage, without blusbing at the meaniness to which he had been induced by his avarice." Then, turning to his auxiliaries, he exclaimed, think it reasonable that the insolencies offered, and the inhumanities perpetrated by the Syrians and Arabians in a foreign war, in which they act without controul, ought to be imputed to the Romans ? and that the crimes of one party ought to be laid to the charge of the other?”
Titus, so far from excusing his own people, was transported to the highest degree of 'rage at their conduct, and threatened immediate death to any man who should be guilty of similar acts of barbarity for the future. At the same time, he gave orders to his legions to make a strict search after every person who should be suspected, and declared that he bimself would sit in judgment on his trial. The love of money, however, will combat every danger. The cruel are covetous by nature, and avarice is the most insatiable of all our appetites and inclinations. In some cases, it may happen that a reasonable and upright conduct may be the consequence of fear ; but when people are lost to all sense of moral honesty, their destruction may arise from the very efforts made to save them Whai Titus probibited publicly with such severity, was repeatedly practised in secret on the deserters from the Jews. Their mode only of proceeding was varied : for when any of the deserters were taken, the custom of the murderers was first to be assured that they were not within view of any of the Romans, and then to rip up the bodies of the Jews in search of treasure, though they were seldom successful in the finding money sought after by these infamous means. However, the shocking practice had such an effect on the Jews, that they now no longer deserted to the Romans, being apprehensive of the fatal consequences that would
John having obtained all he could by plunder, then, proceeded to sacrilege, seizing and appropriating to his own use several cups, dishes, tables, and other necessary vessels appropriated to divine service, which had been presented as gifts, or offered as oblations, not excepting even the pieces dedicated to the lonour of the temple by Augustus and the empress. The Roman emperors had ever entertained a great esteem and veneration for the temple, though at this time it was profaned by a Jew, who stripped it of the presents bestowed on it by strangers, and encouraged his companions to make free with every thing that was sacred, saying, “ It was but reasonable that those should live by the temple who had fought for it.” In pursuance of these sentiments, he made uo scruple of distributing among his people the holy wine and oil, which had been reserved for sacrifices in the interior part of the temple : and as John was free of his distribur tions, the people were equally free of receiving them, drinking and anointing without ceremony.
The Romans were put to great difficulty in procuring the necessary materials for completiog their works ; but they cut down all the woods within the circuit of pinety
furlongs of the city, and finislied their platforms in the space of twenty-one days. A most dismal alteration took place in tliis delightful part of Judea, which abounded in curious gardens, plantations, and houses of pleasure : not a building or tree was now to be seen, but the marks of devastation and ruin occupied the whole prospect. Se great. was the difference between the present and the former state of Jerusalem, that eren strangers could not refrain from tears on the comparison. So terrible was the devastation and havoc of the war, that people in the heart of the city might reasonably have enquired wbere Jerusalem, that place so peculiarly favoured by heaven, was situated.
The Romans having raised the mounts, the Jews became greatly alarmed; for matters were now arrived to such an extremnity, that they were conscious they must inevitably surrender the city if their endeavours to destroy the Roinan works proved ineffectual : on the other hand, the Romans were exceedingly apprehensive lest the attempts of their adversaries should prevail; for the wood of the adjacent parts of the country being wholly exhausted, and the men greatly barassed by incessant and hard duty, if the mounts were destroyed, and all hopes of success must end, since there appeared no possibility of constructing other works.
Notwithstanding the enmity subsisting between the parties, the Romans were more concerned on account of the miseries of the Jews than they were themselves. In despite of all the difficulties and dangers they had undergone, and the prospect of what they had still to encounter, the Jews preserved their spirits and resolution. The disadvantage they had sustained in several combats, the inefficacy of their engives against a wall of such surprizing strength, and the disappointment of divers stratagems by the superior policy of the enemy, proved highly discouraging to the Romans. They reflected that they had to contend with people who, notwithstanding the disadvantages of intestine divisions, the miseries of famine, and the horrors of a foreign war, suffered no abatement of fortitude and courage ; but, on the contrary, appeared to derive additional vigour from the difficulties in which they were engaged ; and they exclaimed, “ Were these people favoured by fortune, to what great undertakings would they not be equal, since, in despite of the great disadvantages under which they at present labour, they conduct themselves with such surprizing courage and address !" The Romans now doubled the number of their guards, and took such other precautions as occasion required.
Before the rams were mounted, no measures that were likely to prove effectual were omitted by John and his adherents, who guarded the castle of Antonia to prevent a breach being made in the walls. They made a sally with a view of setting fire to the mounts; but they went out in small parties, and they did not act with that courage and unanimity which was usual to the Jews. Their measures were not well concerted, nor were they carried into execution with the necessary spirit, to which may be attributed the failure of their design. The Romans became unusually vigilant, and lest their works should be set on fire, they planted a strict guard upon tbe bulwarks, and adopted such other precautionary measures as were necessary for preventing any disadvantages being taken by the enemy. Rather than submit to the irreparable injury of relinquishing their advantageous station, they unanimously resolved to die in defending the mounts. They considered that the honour of the Roman name would incur indelible disgrace if they suffered their courage and discipline to be baffled by the headstrong impetuosity of a desperate and outrageous multitude; and to submit to the power of the Jews, was a circumstance that they could not reflect upon with any tolerable degree of patience. The Romans were prepared with darts to encounter the enemy as they advanced : and such of the foremost as were slain or wounded, obstructed the progress and damped ine courage of their companions. They who pressed forward were astonished and deterred upon observing the exact regularity of the Roman discipline ; others were alarmed at the great numbers of the enemy; and they who were wounded availed themselves of the first opportunities that offered for effecting an escape. In short, all the Jews retired, each man endeavouring to preserve himself from censure by attributing the common calamity to the misconduct of his companions.
The Jews having retreated on the first day of the month Panemus, the Romans advanced their rams in order to batter the walls of the castle of Antonia. To prevent the approach of the engines, the Jews had recourse to their swords, fire, stones, and such other means as were likely to prove effectual; and they defended themselves with singular resolution : they greatly depended ou the walls being sufficiently strong to resist the force of the machines ; but still they exerted every possible effort to prevent their being advanced and placed in a manner proper for action.
Hence the assailants concluded that the great activity of the Jews proceeded from a consciousness of Antonia being in danger. For a considerable time the battery was continued without effect; but despairing of being able to effect a breach by means of their engines, the Romans applied themselves to mining, carefully guarding themselves with their bucklers from the stones, lances, and other weapons discharged from above. With immense labour, they at length loosened four stones of the foundation. The night now arrived, and both parties retired to repose. In the mean time, that part of the wall which John had undermined, with a view of destroying the former works, suddenly gave way. This unexpected event had a contrary effect upon the contending parties. The Jews, who, by a proper attention, might have prevented the accident, were but little concerned when it arrived ; for they deemed the place to be still sufficiently secure. The Romans were greatly rejoiced at a circumstance so favourable to their views as the falling of the wall; but their transports abated, upon observing a wall which John had constructed within the circuit of that wherein the breach appeared. They still, however, entertained hopes of conquering the place ; for the ruins of the outward wall greatly facilitated access to the other, which was not yet sufficiently settled and hard to make any considerable resistance to the force of the battering-rams. The assailants judged that instant death would inevitably be the fate of those who should attempt to scale the walls ; and therefore all thoughts of that exploit were declined, unless by one Sabinus, who lost his life in the attempt.
Two days being elapsed, twenty of the guards of the platforms, the ensign of the fifth, two cavaliers, and a trumpet assembled ; and in the dead of the night these people silently advanced over the ruins of the wall to Antonia. They marched without meeting the least obstruction; and finding the advanced guard oppressed asleep, they cut their throats ; and having gained possession of the wall, the trumpeter sounded his instrument, which aroused the rest of the guard, who were thrown into so great a consternation, that they instantly sled, being ignorant that only a small number of the enemy had entered the place, but strongly possessed of the opinion that they were exceedingly numerous.
Upon receiving intimation of the state of affairs at the fort, 'Titus put himself at the head of his most resolute troops, and immediately marched thither over the ruins already mentioned. So astonished were the Jews at the sudden and unexpected attack, that some fled for safety to the interior temple, and others to the mine that John had formed with a view of destroying the Roman works. The factions under the command of John and Simon were convinced that every prospect of success must end if the enemy obtained possessiou of the temple ; and hereupon a desperate engagement
ensued before the doors of the sacred building ; one party fighting for the preservation of life, and the other for the honour of conquest. Neither party could use lauces or darts with effect; for they were so closely engaged, that the sword was the only weapon on which the issue of the battle was to depend. Jews and Romans were promiscuously crowded together, and neither order or discipline was observed ; but the utmost confusion prevailed. The outeries were so loud and various, that, notwithstanding the difference of language, there was no possibility of distinguishing from which party they respectively proceeded. A very considerable slavghter was made on each side, and the ground was encumbered with the bodies and weapons of the slain and wounded. The spot where the battle took place would not admit of a retreat or a pursuit ; but when either party obtained an advantage, they pressed forward with shouts of triumph, while the other retired, exclaiming against the severity and injustice of fortune.
The rear of each army was 80 violently 'pressed forward, that the soldiers. in front were wholly unable to retreat ; and therefore they had no alternative but either to destroy their adversaries or surrender their own lives. The encounter was maintained for the space of ten hours, being commenced at the expiration of the ninth hour of the night, and not concluded till the end of the seventh on the following morning. The determined rage of the Jews, however, proved too powerful for the discipline and bravery of the Romans ; and that this was the case, proved a happy circumstance for the former, whose last advantage being at stake, had they been vanquished in this action, utter destruction to them must inevitably have been the consequence. The Romans judged that they had reason to be satisfied with the advantage they had acquired, in gaining possession of the fort Antonia : for they bad performed the exploit with only a part of the army, the legions on whom the greatest dependence was placed not being yet arrived.
Haring determined to break up the foundations of fort Antonia, and form a level passage for the more convenient march of his army, Titus, before he proceeded to that extremity, commissioned Josephus to bring back the Jews to the exercise of their
His arguments were lost in the majority of his hearers ; but prevailed with divers of those people who composed the faction, and heartily disposed them to revolt: to the Romans : but, notwithstanding they deemed it impossible that the city should escape ruin, a dread of the guards, which many of them entertained, prevented a compliance with their inclinations : others seized the opportunity of escaping to the Romans ; and in the number of these were Joseph and Jesus, the high-priests; the three sons of Ismael, who was beheaded at Cyrene ; four sons of Matthias ; and one son of apother Matthias, who escaped to the Romans after Simon, the son of Gorias, had put his father and three brothers to death, as we have already related ; and, exclusive of the above, a considerable number of other persons of rank revolted to the enemy. They experienced a most gracious and generous reception from Titus, who, conceiving that it would prove both inconvenient and disagreeable to reside among people whose laws, customs, and manners, so materially differed from those under which they bad been used to live, ordered them to Gophne, promising to grant them considerable possessions when the war should be concluded ; and the fugitives expressed the warmest sentiments of gratitude for the. liberal treatment they had received from the: Roman general.
When the factiou observed that the fugitives were no longer to be seen from the city, they circulated a rumour that the Romans had put them to death. For soine time, this stratagem had the desired effect, by deterring other Jews from following the example of the deserters : but being apprised of the design with which the report bad been propagated, Titus recalled the deserters from Gophne, and ordered them, tu