John Fleetwood.

The life of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ : containing a full and accurate history, from His taking upon Himself our nature, to His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension : together with the lives, transactions, and sufferings, of His Holy evangelists, apostles, and other primitive martyrs, t online

. (page 66 of 68)
Online LibraryJohn FleetwoodThe life of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ : containing a full and accurate history, from His taking upon Himself our nature, to His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension : together with the lives, transactions, and sufferings, of His Holy evangelists, apostles, and other primitive martyrs, t → online text (page 66 of 68)
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much time on other erections of inferior strength. By this pro-
vidential turn of affairs, the Romans became masters of three im-
pregnable forts, which they could never have acquired in any
other manner ; for the three towers were absolutely proof against
battery of every kind.

No sooner had Simon and John, influenced by the impulse of
a judicial' frenzy, abandoned the towers above mentioned, than
they hurried away to the vale of Siloah, where they reposed
themselves- for a short time after the fatigue they had undergone,
Having refreshed theniselves, and recalled their scattered ideas,
tbey assaulted the new wall at the above mentioned place ; but
their efforts were so feeble, that they wfere easily repulsed by the
guards ; for their misery, despair, and fatigue, had so -reduced
them, that they had no strength remaining, and were glad to
creep away with Jheir adherents, and conceal themselves in
vaults and caverns. ^

The walls being now in possession of the Romans, they hoisted
their colors on the towers, and exulted with the most cheerful
acclamations at the happy conclusion of a war which promised
so little in the comi!nencement : for they were compelled to believe
that the war was at length ended, unless they had been disposed
to discredit the evidence of their own senses.

By this time the soldiers had spread themselves into every part
of thecity; ranging through the streets with drawn swords, and
sacrificing to their rage every one they saw without distinction,
They set fire to the houses and burnt them and all their contents
to the ground. In many houses into which they entered in search
of plunder, they found every person of the families dead, and
the house in a manner filled with the bodies of those who had


perished through hunger : wherefore, shocked at such a sjghS,
they frequently returned without seizing their intended booty.
Yet,' notwithstanding this apparent respect they showed to the
deceased, they gave no proofs of their humanity to the living ;
for they put every man to the sword wlio fell in their way, till
at length the bodies of the dead filled up all the alleys and nar-
row passes, while their blood flowed to such a degree as to run
down tl>e channels of the city in streams. Towards night they
gave over the practice, but renewed their depredations by means
of fire.

The conflagration of the city of Jerusalem ended on the eighth
day of the month Gorpiaeus. Jerusalem was a city that must
undoubtedly have been the envy of the universe in all the pros-
perity that attended it from its original foundation, had it borne
any proportion to the misfortunes and calamities which befell it
ill] the course of the siege above mentioned ; and what aggrava-
ted these judgments was, that her own sons proved her destruc-
tion, and that she had nursed a race of vipers to prey on the
body of the pai-ent.

Titus employed himself in taking a-survey of the ruins of this
disthigiiished city: while admiring the works and fortifications,
and particular!}' the fortress which .the usurpers, in the extrava-
gance of their folly, had abandoned — while he was contemplating
the situation, dimensions, and elevation of the "towers, with the
elegance of the structures, the curiosity of the design and work-
manship, and the masterly execution of the whole, he expressed
himself in the following manner : " If our military operations had
jjot-beeu aided by the immediate interposition of heaven, it would
have been impossible that we should ever have possessed our-
selves of these fortresses. In a word, it was God who fougl
for and aided us against the Jews ; for a deed has been accom
plished, which the hands of men or the force of engines couk
never have elfected."

Titus having delivered himself to this eflfeet, and said much
more to the same purpose, his next business was to restore to
liberty all those prisoners whom the oppressors had left in the
towers. This being done, and the razing and demolition of the
city completed, these towers alone excepted, he gave orders for
sparing them as a memorial of his good fortune and success ; for
unless they had been abandoned, this success could never have

By this time the soldiers were perfectly fatigued with the work
of slaughter, notwithstanding much appeared yet to be done.
However, Titus commanded his men to desist so fer as to the
sparing all who should not be found in arms, or ofer to make re-
sistance : yet, notwithstanding these directions, the soldiers ej&-
ceeded their orders, and put to death the siek atd the n^d

msTOttV OP THE JEWS. 691

without pity or remorse. They who appeared to,be in full health,
and fit for service, were imprisoned in the temple, and in that
quarter heretofore destined to the use of women. Fronto, one of
the freed men and friend of Titus* was deputed to inquire into
the cases of the prisoners, and to treat them according to their
deserts. The abandoned, the seditious, and those who mutually*
charged each other with crimes, were put to death without mercy:
but Titus preserved the young and healthy, particularly those of
a comely appearance, to grace his triumph on his entry into
Rome. Ail those who remained after this selection, and were-
above seventeen years of age, were sent in chains into Egypt to
be employed as slaves ; and those who were under seventeen
exposed to sale, some only excepted, who were sent into the
various provinces of the empire to be engaged as gladiators in the
several theatres.

In the interim, no less than eleven thousand of the prisoners,
who were under the care of Fonto, were starved to death ;
partly owing to their obstinacy in the refusal of provisions, and
partly to the severity of their overseers, who neglected to sup-
ply them in a proper manner : but one great cause which aggra-
vated this calamity, was the want of sufficient provisions for such
an immense number.

Thus ended the important and melancholy siege ; and the
Roman soldiers having no living object on which to wreak their
further vengeance, (for if they had, that vengeance would have
been continued,) Titus gave orders that they should reduce the
city and temple to a level with the ground, and not to leave-
any building standing, except the thi-ee distinguished towers,
so often mentioned, which bore the names of Hippocos, Phasael,
and Mariamne ; and a part of the wall to the westwar^i^ of the
city, on which he intended to erect a garrison. The towers
were ordered to remain as an evidence to future times of the
skill and power of the Romans in becoming possessed of them.
This order was executed with the utmost strictness, and the rest
of the city totally demolished and razed even to the ground ;
so that it scarcely appeared to have been the residence of
human creatures. Thus the factious multitude, whose seditions
had created aJl the misfortunes, were reduced ; and thus, like-
wise, was reduced the most distinguished city on the face of the

About this period, Simon, the son of Giaras, was made a
prisoner, in consequence of the following singular circumstance;
When Jerusalem was so closely besieged that Simon was com-
pelled to take refqge'in the upper town, and when the Romans
had actually got into the city, he was almost distracted to know
how to dispose of himself ; and at length he adopted the follow-
ihg plan. Having sent for a number of stone-cutters, mineFs.

592 msTORY OF the jews.

smiths, and persons well skilled in iron works ; and having pro-
vided a great number of tools and materials proper for their pur-
pose, and provisions for a considerable time, they descended all
together into a dark and private vault. In this place, they worked
their way as Jar as they were able ; but, finding the passage too
narrow to answer their intentions, they began to dig and mine,
with a view to open a passage through which they might effect
their escape ; but though they managed their provisions in the
most frugal manner possible, they fell short before they had made
any considerable progress in their work, by which means the
whole plan failed. Reduced to the utmost necessity, Simon had
recourse to a singular device to terrify the Romans. In pur-
suance of this plan, he dressed himself in a white garment, which
was buckled round him, over which was thrown a purple cloak.
Thus habited, he ascended from the ground, under the ruins of
the late temple, to the astonishment of the soldiers, "and others
who beheld the apparition. As he advanced towards them, the
soldiers assumed sufficient courage to demand his name and busi-
ness ; but Simon refused to answer their questions, and demand-
ed to speak with the captain of the guard. Hereupon, they
immediately sent to Terentius Rufus, who at that time had the
command : and he soon discovered who Simon was, ordered him
to be immediately put in chains, and then rglated all the particu-
lars of the affair to Titus.

Simon was presented toTitus bound in chains : whereupon he
gave orders that he should be detained' a prisoner to grace his
triumphant entry into Rome^ . Some short time after his arrival
he appointed a day for the celebration of. the nativity of his
brother Domitian, vvith the utmost grandeur and magnificence :
on this occasion, a great number of conflemned persons were
sacrificed to the splendor of the ceremony s for of those who were
destroyed by beasts, by fire, or in combats with each other, it
was calculated that not less than two thousand five hundred
perished ; yet, such was the inveteracy of the Romans against
the Jews, that they thought even this number too small.

Some time after this, Titus went to Berytus, a city of Phoe-
nicia, and one of the Roman colonies. In this place he continued
some time, and there celebrated the anniversary of the birth of
his father Vespasian, even with a greater degree of pomp and
splendor than he had done that of ms brother, both with respect
to the articles of expense, and the public shows exhibited.

From Bertytus, Titus proceeded to Antioch, where he rejected
some frivolous accusations vfhich were brought by the citizens
against the Jews. Thence he continued his journey to Egypt,
and embarked at Alexandria for Rome, having previously to his
embarkation despatched the two legions that attended him to their
fbriner stations, that is, the fifth was sent to Mysia, and the tenth


to Hungary. Simon and John, with seven hundred of the most
comely of the prisoners, were ordered to be sent into Italy, that
they might dignify the triumph of Titus on his entry into Rome.

Titus had a most favorable and agreeable voyage, and was re-
ceived with as much honor and respect as his father had been
before him : and exclusive of this general respect from the people,
Vespasian went out in person to meet and congratulate him ; a
circumstance highly grateful to the public, who now beheld the
father and his two sons meeting together in circumstances of the
most auspicious nature.

In a short time after this, the senate passed a decree for two
separate triumphs, the one in honor of the father, the other in
that of the son ; but notwithstanding this determination, Vespa-
sian and Titus resolved that the solemnity to their mutual honor
should be jointly celebrated. When the day was fixed on which
it was to take place, there was hardly a single person in the city
who did not attend as a spectator ; so that when the whole mul-
titude was assembled together, there was scarcely room enough
left for the ■ emperor and his son to pass. Befbre the break ot
day, the soldiers marched to the palace gates, near the temple ot
Isis, in regular order, preceded by their officers, to wait the
arrival of the princes, who had lodged the preceding night in the
temple above mentioned.

Soon after the dawn of the morning, Vespasian and Titas
came forward, being clothed in purple robes, according to the
custom of their country, and having on their heads crowns of
laurel. They proceeded to the Oetavian walks, at which place
the senate, nobility, and knights of Rome, waited for their arrival.
Before the portal there was erected a tribunal, on which they as-
cended, and reposed themselves on seats of ivory, which had
been placed there on the occasion ; and being thus situated,
orations were made in their praise, while the surrounding multi-
tudes testified their joy by the loudest acclamations. On this
occasion the princes wore no arms ; and while the orators were
rapidly declaiming their praise, Vespasian made a signal for
silence, which being strictly obeyed by every person present, he
stood up ; and having thrown his robe over a part of his head^
he offered up certain prayers, agreeably to the custom on such
occasions ; and in this, Titus followed his example. This being
done, Vespasian addressed the company in a concise speech, and
then dismissed the military people to regale themselves at his ex^
pense. In the next place, Vespasian and Titus proceeded to the
triumphal gate, which received its name on account of the grand
procession passing that way. Here they took some refreshment ;
and, being then arrayed in their triumphal habiliments, they of-
fered up sacrifices at the gate, and then proceeded in great pomp

75 -:i


and solemnity through the midst of the crowd, that aJl the people
might be gratified by a sight of them.

It is impossible for language to convey any adequate idea of
the splendor and magnificence of this public exhibition, whether
the expense and contrivance of it, or the novelty of its ornaments
be considered. On this occasion all tlie most valuable ■curiosi-
ties which the Roman nation had been collecting through a Jong
succession of ages, were combined to furnish the splendid triumph
of one day, and displaiyed as a monument of tiie national
grandeur. So great a number of curious performances in gM, sil-
ver and ivory, equally valuable for their cost and their adjaoirable
contexture, were now exhibited to the public view, that they
seemed rather a confusion than a regular display of riches.^-j
There likewise appeared such an amazing variety of public gar-
Enents and Baibylonian embroideries, together with jewels and
etter stones of great value, which were disposed into the forma,
of crowns, and other devices, that what used to be accounted cu-
rious, was now no longer deemed so. Images of the gods of the
Romans were carried in procession, which were extraordinary
for their size and constructure ; and besides these, there were re-
semblances of various sorts of living creartures, wlrich were
dressed so as to answer their clKiracters.

A great number of people dressed in doth of gold and purple^
carried these pageants through the streets ; and they who were
more imnnediately appointed to attend the pompous train, were*
habited in garments ol a singularly splendid appearance. Even
&e very prisoners that ma^e a part of the train, were dressed
with unusual decency,^ to hide the misery of their condition, and
conceal the marks of slavery that appeared in their countenances ?
but in all the procession^ no^ng was so exteaordiaary as the car-
rying of the machines, many ot them were three or ibm- stories
in height, so that it is astonishing how the hearers could support
them. The expenge of these was proportioned to the contrivance
of them ; for the furniture and hanging were embroidered with
gold, ivory, and other things of Mgh value.

In the procession were likewise the most hvely and picturesque
fepcesentections of war and all its attending circumstances. In
eaie place was to be seen the appearance of a fruitful country
lotaUy laid waste ; in another the destruction of armies ; smne
being killed, some flyingr and others taken prisoners : there were
the resemblance of walls levelled with the ground, forts destroy-
ed, fortified cities entered through breaches, towns taken by sur-
prise, and streets streaming with blood, while the vanquished
were iimplorii^ for mercy. Houses appeared to be falling onthe
heads of, their ownersj while temples were apparently jn flames,
sind rivers wound their course thfough the conflagrations, instead
©f supplying water to man and beast, and refreshing, the fields
and meadows with their streams. Nor was this any other than


aiiiadmirabie representation of the suffering Jews, so finely con-
trived by the ingenuity of art, that to those who were acquainted
with the fate of Jerusalem, it might seem to be a well told story of
the destruction of that celebrated city.

On each of the pageants was a representation of the manner
in which some town or city was taken, with a figure of the
governor of the place. To these succeeded a view of the ship-
ping, and then were exhibited the spoils that were taken in va-
rious places, of which the most considerable were the golden table
and the golden candlestick, which were found in the temple at
Jerusalem. The first of these weighed several talents, and the
latter was never applied to the use for which it had been de-
signed. This candlestick consisted of a large foot, from which
there ascended a sort of pillar, and from that pillar, as from the
body of a tree, there arose seven branches, the top of each branqh
resembling a lamp ; and the number was seven in reference to
the esteem in which the seventh day is held by the Jews. The
next, and indeed the last trophy exhibited of t'he conquest which
the Romans had made, was the code of Jewish laws, which was
followed by figures of ivory and gold, intended as an emblemat-
ical i-epresentation of victory ; and the procession was closed by
Vespasian, Titus and Domitian, all mounted on fine horses,
elegantly caparisoned, and appearing with a dignity becoming
their high rank ; and in this splendid manner, they proceeded- to
gether to the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, and thus put an end
to the procession.

When they had arrived at the temple, they remained there for
a short time in conformity to an ancient custom, which rendered
it necessary that they should stay in that place till they received
advice of the death of the general who had commanded the' army
of the eiiemy. The general on the present occasion was Simon
Giaras, (who had been led in triumph through the streets,) round
whose neck a rope being fixed, he was drawn through the mar-
ket-place, those who drew him putting him to death, agreeably
to the laws and usages of the Romans in the case of notorious
offenders. Intelligence being brought that Simon was dead, the
very air was rent with the shouts and acclamations of the mulr

The people then offered up vows and sacrifices ; and this sol-
emn business being discharged, Vespasian and his sons retur^aed
to the palace, where they gave a most magnificent entertainment
on the occasion. Indeed, the whole. city exhibited one general
scene of joy and festivity, and public thanks were every where
offered for the final victory which had now been obtained over
their enemies ; a victory which seemed to promise a lasting tranr

uillity, while it redounded to the immortal honor of tne heroes
Miio had acquired it^


As soon as the triumphs were ended, and the peace of the em-
t)ire was secured, Vespasian caused a temple to be erected and
iedicated to peace. This edifice was remarkable for its richness
and elegance, and still more so for the short space of time in
which it was constructed. It was adorned with a great abundance
of curious pieces of painting and sculpture, which had been col-
lected at an immense expense : and it was, on the whole, so
magnificent and elegant a building, that persons came from all
parts of the world to obtain a sight of it. The golden table and
the candlestick, as articles of inestimable value, Vespasian caus-
ed to be placed in this temple. With regard to the code of Jew-
ish laws and the purple vestments of the sanctuary, they were
deposited with the utmost care in the royal palace.

The emperor having granted a commission to Lucilius Bassus,
appointed him to be lieutenant-general of Judea, he thereupon
succeeded Cerealis Petilianus in the command of the army, and
soon rendered himself master of the castle of Heroiiian by treaty.
This being done, he collected his troops which were stationed in
different parts of the country, proposing, by the assistance of the
tenth legion to reduce Machaeras, as a work of indispensable
necessity, since that place was so remarkably strong, that it was
a kind of incitement to acts of rebellion ; and its situation was
such as to inspire those in possession of it with fresh courage,
though on the other hand, it was calctilated to repress the ardor
of an assailant.

Machseras is situated on a mountain of immense height, and
is of so strong a nature, that it is rendered almost impregnable.
It is likewise, in a manner, inaccessible ; for nature has surround-
ed it with valleys that are almost impassable, and cannot be filled
up. These valleys are of such a depth as not to be surveyed
from the mountain without horror. The mountain stretches sixty
furlongs to the west, and approaches almost close to the lake As-
phaltites, and the castle commands a very extensive view of the
district on that side.

To the north and south the vallies are very extensive, and ap-
pear to be equally well calculated for the defence of the place.
On the east,'the depth of the valley is not less than a hundre(l
cubits ; and opposite to Machseras is a mountain to which thii
valley extends. This place was originally fortified by Alexander,
king of the Jews, who built a castle on it : but this castle wai
afterwards destroyed by Gabinius, when he made war on Aristo
bulus : but Herod the Great, thinking this mountain well worthy
of his attention, particularly in case of any dispute witJi the Ara-
bians, who were remarkably well situated to annoy him, he
caused a strong wall, fortified with turrets, to be built round itj
and erected a handsome city, in which he placed a colony of in-
habitants ; and from the city he made a passage up to the castle


Round the castle, at the top, he built another wall, at the
angles of which were turrets sixty cubits in height ; and, in the
midst of the inclosure he caused a large and elegant palace to be
erected, which was supplied with water from a variety of cisterns ;
so that the situation and convenience of this place seemed to have
arisen from a happy conjunction of nature and art, each contri-
buting in a liberal manner to its improvement. Herod, likewise,
deposited in the castle an immense store of military arms, engines,
arrows, &;c. ; and stocked it with a great quantity and variety of
provisions ; so that there could be little danger of the garrison
being reduced either by famine or force.

When Bassus had taken a careful survey of Machseras, he
came to a determination to beseige the place : and, for this pur-
pose, he intended to have filled up the valley to the eastward of
the town, and to make his approach from that quarter. His first
proceeding was to throw up a mound opposite the castle with all
possible expedition, as the readiest way to insure his success.
The Jews who were natives of the city, now divided themselves
from those who were strangers, whom they dismissed as persons
who were unworthy a connexion with them, and sent them into
the lower town to sustain the first shock, themselves taking, pos-
session of the castle, which, from its strength, they thought
would be the most defensible, and a place from which, in ease of
necessity, it was probable they might make the best terms with
the Romans. In the mean time they exerted their utmost indus-
try to repel the attacks of the besiegers. There was not a day
passed in which the Jews did not sally forth in a determined
manner, when violent skirmishes ensued, and both parties lost a
considerable number of men. The advantage lay sometimes on
one side and sometimes on the other ; the Jews being successful
when they attacked the Romans by surprise, and the latter being
the victors whes^Jiey were properly advised of the advance of
the enemy, and had time to prepare for their reception. But it
appeared evident that the siege was not to end in this manner,
since a most singular accident reduced the Jews to the disagreea-
ple necessity of surrendering the castle.

In Machseras there was a young man of a spirit remarkably
bold, daring and enterprising. His name was Eieazar, and
he exerted himself in a very extraordinary manner, both by
advice and example,, to check the progress of the Ronians,

Online LibraryJohn FleetwoodThe life of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ : containing a full and accurate history, from His taking upon Himself our nature, to His crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension : together with the lives, transactions, and sufferings, of His Holy evangelists, apostles, and other primitive martyrs, t → online text (page 66 of 68)