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pagating a war, which he communicated in a letter to Costius, governor of Syria, in which he chargod the Jews with having revolted ; but that was so notorious a falsehood, that he himself was guilty of the very crimes which he imputed to the Jews The queen Berenice, and the chief people of Jerusalem, acted nobly on this occasion, inforniing Cestius of the real matter of fact, and acquajóting him with the mode in which Florus had governed. Cestius, having obtained this information, thought it prudent previously to send a man of credit and address to inquire into facts, and give him a faithful account of the success of his inquiries. The person fixed on was a tribune, named Politianus, who, meeting king Agrippa near Jamnia on his return from Alexandria, informed him who was his employer, whence he came, and his business. At this time many senators and persons of raok, and among them several high-priests, attended to pay their duty to the king. When the first respectful compliments were passed, they gave'a melancholy description of the condition to which the inhumanity of Florus had reduced the Jews. Agrippa was of their opinion ; but he thought it incompatible with his rank to increase the complaint; and therefore he artfully seemed to take part against the Jews, whose situation he nevertheless commisserated; but his wish was to moderate rather than inflame their passions, since the less they appeared to suffer, the less temptation would they have to seek revenge. He thought this conduct would be taken kindly by those who had most to lose, and consequently afford the greatest reason to wish for peace.
Agrippa and Politianus were met about sixty furlongs from Jerusalem by the people of that city, who conducted them thither with every mark of respect: in the interim, the women grievously lamented the loss of their murdered husbands ; and all tbe multitude, as infected by their sorrow, burst into tears and lamentatiuns. Some of them earnestly intreated Agrippa to compassionate their nation, and others intreated Politianus to go into the city and see wbat havoc had been there made by Florus. Hereupon they took him to the market-place, shewed him the houses in ruins, and the devastations that had been made. After this, through the interest of Agrippa, they prevailed on Politianus to go through the city as far as the pool of Siloah, attended by one servant only, whereby he might witoess the respect of the Jews paid to the Romans in authority ; but they said that the cruelties of Florus were insupportable.
Politianus having taken a view of the city, and indisputably convinced himself of the loyal disposition of the Jews, he assembled the people, and went up to the temple, where he made a speech, in which he highly commended their known fidelity to the Romans ; and then, having given them a variety of good counsel and advice respecting the preservation of public peace, he offered praise and thanksgiving to God in the plan and manner prescribed by law, and with all possible veneration for the rights of religion. This being done, he retired to Cestius.
No sooner was Politianus gone, than the people in general made their addresses to the king, and the high-priests soliciting permission to send ambassadors to Nero, to exhibit a complaint against Florus, urging as a reason for this request, that if they should remain supine, and not attempt to bring so violent an outrage to examination, and make the authors of it abide à severe trial, it would appear as if themselves were the criminals, and therefore durst not bring the affair to a judicial determi. Aation.
On the one hand, it was evident that a refusal of this liberty would be attended with danger to Agrippa ; and, on the other, he thought it would have the appearance of malice to permit, under the name of an embassy, such an immense multitude to attack their governor in an inveterate manner. Reflectiug on the courageous and martial disposition of the Romans, and of the danger of provoking the Jews to an insurrection, Agrippa summoned an assembly to meet in a large gallery ; and, having placed his sister Berenice in a chair of state in the Asmonean palace, which overlooked that gallery from the upper part of the town, (a bridge uniting the temple with the gallery) harangued the multitude in a pathetic speech, which tended to dissuade them from violent and seditious practices.
Agrippa and his sister Berenice were so affected, that they both wept ; and the vinlent passions of the multitude were abated; but they said one to another, that they bad no complaint against the Romans, they only resented the indignities offered them by Florus. In answer to this, Agrippa said, “ You have acted as the professed enemies of Rome would have done. You broke down the Antonian galleries, and refuse the tribute due to Cæsar. Your business, then, if you would prevent any further complaint of your conduct, is to rebuild the galleries, and pay the taxes ; for this is neither the fort nor tribunal of Florus." . The passions of the people now subsiding, they attended the king and Berenice to the temple, immediately began to rebuild the galleries, and dispatched officers and agents through the province to collect such duties as were yet unpaid. These duties amounting to forty talents, were immediately collected and paid.
The insurrection having now in a great degree subsided, Agrippa advised the people to a patient submission to Florus till another governor should be appointed by Cæsar. This again inflamed the passions of the people, who treated him with the most opprobrious language, and pelted him with stones till he was compelled to abandon the city. This contemptuous treatment had a very disagreeable effect on the mind of the king, who, finding the people ungovernable, dispatched several men of rank to Florus at Cæsarea, desiring he would choose collectors for the province among them ; and Agrippa departed when he had discharged his duty.
Many of the factious Jews about this time privately entered a Roman fortress called Massada, put the garrison to death, and introduced in the place of it one of their own. This may be considered as the first important warlike transaction in the rebellion of the Jews, and was regarded by the insurgents as a great acccssion to their strength, since Massada was remarkably strong both by nature and art, being built by Judas Maccabeus, , and having received several additional fortifications from Herod the Great.
About this same juncture, Eleazar, son of Ananias the high-priest, being a bold and enterprizing young man, and a military officer, urged a number of his friends among the priests to accept no sacrifices, unless from the Jewish people. As it was easily foreseen that such a resolution must greatly increase the Romans, a great number of the priests and Pharisees, and other persons of distinction, exerted their utmost influence to oppose the measure; and, finding that their endeavours were unsuccessful, dispatched deputies to Florus and Agrippa to vindicate their own conduct, and solicit that a sufficient force might be immediately sent to Jerusalem to put an end to the rebellion. This news was highly agreeable to Florus, whose disposition led him to infiame the war, how ruinous soever the consequence might be to himself or others. This was evidently evinced by his delay in giving an answer to the deputies, on purpose to afford the rebels an opportunity of augmenting their forces.
On the contrary, Agrippa consulted only the general welfare, being willing to do oll in his power to save both parties, the offenders and the offended; and, by this means, to secure Jerusalem in the possession of the Jews, and bind the Jews in subjection to the Romans. But as his own interest was likewise at stake in this general confusion of afiairs, be dispatched two thousand auxiliary horse, with Darius at their head,
and having Philip, the son of Joachim, also, for a general. The people sent on this Expedition were inhabitants of Auranitis, Trachonitis, and Batanea.
Thc high-pricsts, with the princes of the people, and those in general who were disposed for peace, recciyed these deputies into the upper town, the insurgents being already in possession of the lower town and the temple. A skirmish with darts and stones now commenced, and then the combatants on both sides made use of their bows and arrows, with which they galled each other incessantly; and occasionally they made sallies and excursions on each other, and frequently fought hand to havd. The insurgents made attacks in the most desperate manner ; but the royal forces appeared to have a superior knowledge of the military art. The principal operation they had in view was to compel the sacrilegious faction to abandon the temple ; while, ou the contrary, Eleazar and his adherents laboured with equal zeal to get the upper towa into their possession. The contest continued without intermission for seven days, in all which time, though there was great slaughter on both sides, not even the least shadow of advantage was obtained by cither.
At this period, a festival approached, which is named Xylophoria, and acquires that denomination from the custom of carrying wood to the temple to keep the fire throughout the year. Advantage was taken of this circumstance, to cxclude the insurgents from their worship ; but while a number of the Jews were engaged in this office, the Sicarii broke in upon these people, and improved the advantage thcy had gained to such a degree, that the royal troops, equally overcome by superior numbers and more determincd resolution, were obliged to abandon the upper town, of which im- . mediate possession was taken by the rebels. After this exploit, they broke into the house of Ananias the high-priest, and reduced to ashes the palaces of Agrippa aná Berenice. This being done, they resolved in the next place to set fire to the offices of record, and consume both them and all their contents, thinking that if they deprived the pcoplc of fortune of those papers which might prove their riches, they should bring over to their interest the whole body of debtors and beggars ; and, by that means, change the quarrel into a direct war between the rich and the poor, ander pretence of asserting the liberties of the people. In fact, the persons who had the care and security of the public records were so terrified, as to abandon their trust, each man seeking his own security in flight, on which both offices and records were burnt to ashes. This fatal stroke being given to the credit and safety of the city, the insurgents began to consider the prosecution of the war as the principal object worthy of their attention.
While things were in this unhappy state of confusion and disorder, the high-priests and many of the nobility were compelled to fly for their lives, and seek for safety · in vaults and other secret places ; while others got into the upper palace among the royal troops, bolting the door after them, and making the passage secure from assault : and of this number were Ananias the high-priest, his brother Hezekias, and the deputies who had been sent to Agrippa.
The victory being thus obtained, the insurgents seemed to be contented for that day with the mischief they had done, and paused awhile to reflect on what was past : but, on the following day, which was the fifteenth of the month Lous, they made an attack on the castle of Antonia, which resisted no longer than two days, and was then carried hy assault; on which the rebels burnt the castle, and put all the garrison to the sword. They now proceeded to the palace, in which the trnops of Agrippa had taken sanctuary : having divided their force into four bodies, they made an attempt to undermine the walls, while those within were under the necessity of remaining inactive, as their strength was insufficient for them to sally forth with bope of sticcer,
In the mean time, the assailants continued their operations, and several of them perished under the walls of the castle, among whom were some of the Sicarii. The operations were continued pight and day without intermission, tho assailants hoping to starve the besieged into a compliance : and the latter, by a constant and vigilant attendance to their defence, flattering themselves that the insurgents would be fatigued with the attack, and abandon the enterprize.
Among the rebels was a man named Manahem, the son of Judas of Galilee : he was a person of great cunniog, and an artful orator. He was the same person who formerly reflected on the Jews under Cyrenius for acknowledging themselves as subject to the Romans, and at the same time professing to worship only one God. Now Manahem had formed a design on the arsenal of Herod at Massada, on which be induced several men of quality to join him, and, taking them with him, he seized the place by force; and then, arming a number of low vagabond fellows, whom he found there, he took them with him as his guard, and, marching to Jerusalem, entered that city like a petty sovereign When he arrived there, be put himself at the head of the insurgents, and issued out his orders for besieging the palace in form.
The assailants were principally in want of machines ; for they found it impracticable to work at the foot of the wall while they were annoyed by an enemy directly over their heads. Hereupon they began to break the ground at a considerable distance from the castle ; and, having carried on a covered way to the foundation of one of the towers, they supported its weight as they worked by several props of timber. This being done, they retreated, having first set fire to the props, which, being consumed, the turret fell to the ground. Now the royal troops having been apprised of what was goiog forward, bad run up a wall behind the turret to support the rest of the building. The assailants had reckoned their work almost complete ; but when one of the towers only fell, the discovery of what had been done caused an astonishment and confusion among them that is not to be described, de
Notwithstanding the success of this counter scheme, the royalists who were in the palace sent a messenger to Manahem and the other chiefs of the opposition, requesting that they might have leave to depart; which request was immediately complied with, as far as it related to the king's people and others who were of the same religion, who accordingly departed without loss of time.
'The Romans who were left behind were quite dispirited by this circumstance ; for they found themselves upable to cope with the superior number of the enemy, thought it inconsistent with their character to submit to treat with rebels, and dreaded the hazard they should run when exposed to the mercy of men totally destitute of ali faith and honour. Reduced to this extremity, they abandoned the place as not being defensible, and retired with all expedition to the royal forts of Hippon, Phasael, and Mariamne. No sooner did the soldiers begin to quit the place, than the rebels under the command of Manahem broke in, murdered every person they could seize on, and stripped the places of all the valuable furniture, and concluded the outrage by setting fre to the camp.
On the next day, Ananias and his brother Hezekiah were found together in one of the vaults adjoining to the court, dragged forth and put to death. Manahem, whom we hove just mentioned as a factious leader, was, with many of his followers, soon after murdered by the partisans of Eleazer. The people, in the mean time, were, in general, extremely solicitous with these persons who had the direction of the faction not to act with any unnecessary severity towards the Romans, but rather to raise the siege, and permit them to depart; but the more this matter was urged on the one side, the more obstinately it was refused on the other. The Romuo general Metilius, and they who accompanied him, having exerted themselves to the utmost of their power for the defence of the place, and being now reduced to the greatest extremity, proposed terms of capitulation to Eleazer, and offered to deliver up the place, together with every thing contained in it, on the single condition that their lives might be spared.
These terms were too moderate to be rejected ; whereupon Goriah, the son of Nicodemus, Ananias, the son of Saddaca, and Judas, the son of Jonathas, wera fixed ou as cominissioners to ratify the treaty on oath, and give validity to the articles by signing and sealing. No sooner were the formalities ended, and the agreement properly ratified, than Metilius, fully confiding in the honour of his opponent, drew off his soldiers while they were under arms, equally without interruption and without suspicion of any; but no sooner, in conformity to the agreement that had been made, had the soldiers delivered up their swords and shields, than the troops of Eleazer broke in upon them, seized them, and most inhumanly murdered them ; the latter neither supplicating for their lives, nor making any resistance, only reflecting on their barbarous foes by the pronunciation of the words, oaths and articles. Metilius alone was mean enough to solicit his life, which was at length granted to his earnest prayers, on the condition of his solemnly promising to turn Jew, and submit to the ceremony of circumcision. The above-mentioned assassination of the Romans took place on the sabbath-day, which was deemed a great aggrayation of the crime, since on that day all labour whatsoever, even the most sacred, is totally forbidden to the Jews by their law.
The Roman power, however, was very little injured by this atrocious outrage, since the loss of the troops that were thus destroyed was inconsiderable, proportioned to the vast armies of which they were possessed ; but this circumstance was an evident prelude to the destruction of the Jews ; for an inevitable war was actually in view, and that founded on a good cause : the city, which had taken the principal share in the dispute, was so corrupted by perfidy and rebellion, that, admitting it might escape the vengeance of the Romans, it was not reasonable to suppose but that it must fall a sacrifice to divine justice. The face of affairs was now more mournful, melancholy, and desponding, than it had been at any former period : they who were innocent dreaded to share the fate of the guilty, and feared that they should be made answerable for the crimes they had not committed.
Divine Providence so directed affairs, that on the very day, and at the same hour of the above-recited massacre, there was a slaughter of the Jews at Cæsarea, in which above twenty thousand persons fell a sacrifice, not a single Jew in the town being left alive. With regard to the few who sought to escape by flight, Florus took care to have them apprehended, and sent them to the gallies in chains. The whole nation of the Jews became outrageous on occasion of this horrid slaughter; and, dividing themselves into distinct bodies, dispersed into different quarters. They first laid waste a number of villages of Syria, and then destroyed several of the adjacent cities, among which were Philadelphia, Gibonitis, Gerassa, Pella, and Scythopolis. This being done, they made their attacks on Gadara, Hippon, and Gaulanitis, proceeding from thence to Ptolemais, Gaba, and Cæsarea, and the Tyrian Cedasa, some of which places they bàrnt, and levelled others with the ground. In the next place, they attacked Sebasto and Askalon, which surrendered without opposition. When they had effectually reduced these places, and laid them in ruins, they destroyed Anthedon and Gaza ; and, continuing their rayages, laid waste a number of villages on the frontiers, putting to death as many of the inbabitants as they could get into their custody.
On the other hand, the Syrians wreaked their vengeance on all, the Jews they couldı