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TAKING OF JERUSALEM.-TREATMENT OF THE JEWS.-BEHAVIOUR
OF TITUS.-WORKS OF JOSEPHUS.
The victory of the Romans was not yet complete ; for John, at the head of his boldest men, had cut his way through the besiegers, and, escaping both fire and sword, rejoined Simon in the upper city ; but both these leaders were so dispirited by the destruction of the Temple, that they sought to make terms with Titus. He agreed to spare their lives if they would instantly surrender; but when they proudly asked to go free into the wilderness with their wives and children, the Cæsar declared that he would root out the whole people. On the seventh of September, the last wall was attacked, and the exhausted Jews were so little able to defend it, that, when a breach was made, they fled on all sides, whilst John and Simon, with many others, descended into the vaults and subterraneous passages that led to the lower city. Nothing but famine could have compelled these leaders to desert the strong towers where they might have resisted every assault; and when Titus entered and perceived the strength of the fortifications, he was surprised at the easy termination of this long and violent struggle. The legionaries spread through the city, burning and slaying as they went, till they were weary of their work and night put an end to it. In many houses they found nothing but heaps of putrid bodies ; for whole families had died of hunger. On the day following, orders were given not to kill any who made no resistance; and some of the tallest and finest of the rebels, or those best known among them, were saved to adorn the triumphal procession which Titus expected on his return to Rome. The rest were publicly executed, and the old and infirm were generally killed, as unsaleable.
During the siege, one million, one hundred thousand were killed, and ninety-seven thousand were made prisoners. Of the latter, all above the age of seventeen were sent to Egypt to work in the mines, or dispersed through the provinces to be exhibited as gladiators : the rest were sold as slaves. Twelve thousand of the prisoners died of hunger; some not being properly supplied, others absolutely refusing food.
John of Gischala and most of his companions were forced by famine to come out of the underground caverns; and the life of this rebel leader was spared on account of his extraordinary bravery, which in the opinion of the Romans counterbalanced the greatest crimes. Simon continued in concealment, as he had a store of provisions, and some miners and hewers of stone were with him by whose aid he hoped to dig his way out beyond the Roman entrenchment. When Titus left the city, he committed the charge of the ruins to one of his officers, Terentius or Turnus Rufus ; and he executed the work of destruction so faithfully that nothing remained of this great city but the three towers, Phasaelis, Mariamne, and Hippicus, which were considered worthy monuments of the victories of Titus, and a part of the western wall which was left as a defence of the Roman camp. Towards the end of October Simon's provisions failed ; and, despairing of any other mode of escape, he resolved to appear suddenly among the Roman soldiers, clothed in white with a purple robe, hoping to save his life by exciting their terror. The news of the capture of this extraordinary person was sent to Titus, and he desired to have him preserved for the day of his triumph.
Wherever the Cæsar went, his miserable captives were dragged after him. At Cæsarea more than two thousand perished as gladiators, or fighting with wild beasts in honour of Domitian's birthday; and Vespasian's birthday was kept at Berytus in a similar manner!'
During this war, Josephus reckons that 1,356,460 men were killed by the Romans, and 101,700 taken prisoners : but he only gives the number of prisoners from two places besides Jerusalem, and among the dead does not include the immense waste of life from massacre, famine, and disease. After the taking of Jerusalem, Josephus rose high in the favour of Titus ; and the conqueror promised to grant him any request he should make. He asked for the sacred books, and the lives of his brother and fifty friends. He obtained these favours and much more; for he was allowed to take nearly two hundred of his relatives and friends from among the multitudes shut up to be sold as slaves ; and a little time after Titus allowed him to take down from the crosses on which they were suffering with many others, three of his most intimate friends. Two of them expired; but the third survived, though he had been hanging on the cross for many hours.
After Titus had subdued the remaining rebels in Judea, he went to Alexandria, and there assisted at the foolish ceremony of installing the god Apis; that is, putting a new ox in the place of one that was just dead. On this occasion of public rejoicing he wore a diadem; and this, together with the honour put upon him in Judea, was the origin of a report sent to Rome that the Cæsar was about to usurp his father's authority. Upon hearing this, Titus immediately set off for the capital, to show that he had no such intention. He was warmly received there; and the splendour of the triumphal show, by which his victories and those of Vespasian were celebrated, could scarcely be exceeded.
In the midst of the most extraordinary exhibitions and a vast display of treasures, the eye of a Christian, familiar with the prophecies concerning the destruction of the city and Temple, would naturally rest upon the golden table, the seven-branched candlestick, and the book of the law, seen among the Jewish spoils with the long train of captives. Simon was scourged and publicly executed as soon as the procession reached the capitol; and thus ended that memorable day, which marked the low estate into which Judah had fallen, before the whole world. The ruins of the triumphal arch, called the arch of Titus, may still be seen at Rome; and the curious examiner can trace upon it the representation of the Jewish spoils, and even the procession of captives.
Coins struck at this period have also been discovered ; a mourning woman, sitting under a palm-tree, with a Roman soldier standing by, is the emblem of the captivity of Judea. The inscription is “ JUDEA CAPTA."
The land was sold by an imperial edict; and the money passed into the public treasury. Eight hundred veteran soldiers received a portion as the reward of their services, and were settled at Emmaus, seven and a half miles from Jerusalem. Vespasian also made some addition to the dominions of Agrippa, his faithful ally : but that king chiefly resided at Rome; and seemed, in his own prosperity and luxury, to forget the calamities of his country and people. His sister Berenice so much attracted the admiration and love of Titus, that the Romans were afraid he would make her his wife ; and it is probable they would never have consented to his succession to the empire, if he had not sacrificed his own wishes to their's by sending away the
royal Jewess. She returned to Rome after he became emperor, but never regained her place in his affections.
The war in Judea was followed by disturbances in Egypt, caused by some of the zealots who escaped thither and excited a revolt among the Alexandrian Jews : but the heads of the people soon delivered them up to the Roman governor as enemies to the public peace. Such was their spirit, however, that the most lingering torments would not induce the tenderest boy to own Cæsar as his lord. At the time of this tumult Vespasian ordered the temple in Egypt to be shut up; and it was destroyed shortly afterwards.
Josephus ended his life at Rome, and never lost the imperial favour. It was there he wrote the history of the Jewish war in the Syro-Chaldaic language, for the use of the Jews in the East; and afterwards translated it into Greek, for the information of the western Jews and the Romans. It is said, both Titus and Agrippa bore witness to the correctness of his accounts; and the former signed it with his own hand, and placed it in the public library.
Many years after, he wrote the history of the “ Antiquities of the Jews," to correct some false reports concerning his people and their religion. It is evident the works of Josephus were written with a view of pleasing his Roman friends; and he was disposed to exaggerate, in some cases, for his own honour or theirs; and in others, to make his nation appear greater, or their religion more agreeable to the minds of the Gentiles.
The remarkable passage in which he speaks of Christ has been supposed by some not to be genuine : but many are inclined to believe Josephus was constrained to give this testimony, though his own heart was unaffected by it. As it will not be generally known to the young reader, I shall conclude this chapter with the passage in question :-"About this time lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed we may call him a man ; for he performed wonderful things, and was an instructor of such as received the truth with pleasure. He made many converts both among the Jews and Greeks. This was the Christ. And when Pilate, on the accusation of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those who before entertained a respect for him continued to do so; for he appeared to them alive again on the third day : the divine prophets having declared these
and many other wonderful things concerning bim. And the sect of Christians, so named from him, subsists to this very time ”(written, A. D. 93).
| CHAP. XVII.
REIGN OF VESPASIAN.-TITUS, EMPEROR.-ERUPTION OF MOUNT
VESUVIUS.-AGRICOLA. —DEATH OF TITUS. At the close of the Jewish war, Vespasian built a temple to peace, in which he placed the book of the law and some of the spoils of Jerusalem ; and, as there was no war in any part of the empire, the temple of Janus was shut. Titus, as the acknowledged heir of the empire, was now associated with his father, and assisted him in the government. Vespasian was unwearied in his attempts to correct the abuses caused by the tyranny of his predecessors, and to restrain the general licentiousness. Pliny, the celebrated naturalist, who stood high in his favour, remarks, that “he was a man in whom power made no alteration, except in giving him the opportunity of doing good equal to his will.”
He seemed always to dislike rather than to court the flattering titles offered him by the senate and people : and when the king of Parthia, in one of his letters, styled himself the king of kings, the Roman emperor, in his answer, wrote simply, “ Flavius Vespasian.” After reigning ten years, beloved by his subjects, he was attacked by a sudden illness, which he felt would be fatal to him; and he exclaimed, in the spirit of a pagan, “ Methinks I am going to be a god !” As his end approached, he observed that an emperor ought to die standing; and making a great effort to raise himself upon his feet, he fell back and expired in the arms of his supporters, A. D. 79.
Titus, on his succession to the empire, imitated and exceeded his father in humanity and moderation; and even Christian writers have noticed his courtesy and readiness to do good. He dismissed all his vicious companions; and encouraged, as Vespasian had done, every man of learning or wisdom : and his generosity procured him such universal love, that he was called “ The delight of mankind.”
It was his rule not to send away any petitioner dissatisfied ;