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rusalem ; and before a competent force, under the renowned Julius Severus, could arrive in Palestine, the false Messias had seized fifty of the strongest castles, and a great number of open towns.
The details of the sanguinary campaigns which followed are given by the vanquished Jews with more minuteness than probability. Severus, who had learned all the arts of desultory warfare when employed against the barbarians of Britain, used a similar policy on the banks of the Jordan ; choosing to cut off the supplies of the enemy, and attack their posts with overwhelming numbers, rather than encounter their furious fanaticism in a general engagement. Bither, a strong city, and defended by Barcochab in person, was the last to yield to the Romans. At length it was taken by storm, at the expense of much human life on either side; but as the leader of the rebellion was among the slain, the victors did not consider their success too dearly bought, as with the star whose light was extinguished in the carnage of Bither the hope of Israel fell to the earth. Dio Cassius relates, that during this war no fewer than 580,000 fell by the sword, besides those who perished by famine and disease. The whole of Judea was converted into a desert,-wolves and hyenas howled in the streets of the desolate cities,—and all the villages were consumed with fire.
It was after these events that Adrian, to annihilate for ever all hopes of the restoration of the Jewish kingdom, accomplished his plan of founding a new city on the waste places of Jerusalem, to be peopled by a colony of foreigners. This town, as we have elsewhere observed, was called Ælia Capi. tolina; the former epithet alluding to Ælius, the praenomen of the emperor,—the latter denoting that it was dedicated to Jupiter Capitolinus, the tutelar deity of Rome. An ediet was issued, interdicting every Jew from entering the new eity on pain of death, or even approaching so near it as to be able to contemplate its towers and the venerable heights on which it stood. The more effectually to keep them away, the image of a sow was placed over the gate which leads to Bethlehem. But the more peaceful Christians, meanwhile, were permitted to establish themselves within the walls ; and Ælia, it is well known, soon became the seat of a flourishing church and of a bishoprick.*
From this period, the history of the Holy Land is less connected with the Jews than with the policy of the different governments by which their country has been occupied. More attached to their ancient faith than when it was established at Jerusalem, we find them both in the East and West labouring with the most indefatigable zeal to revive its principles and extend its authority. Hence their celebrated schools at Babylon and Tiberias,-the source of all legislation, and the seat of judgment in all cases of doubtful opinion. Hence, too, those mixed titles, so long recognised in their tribes, the Patriarch of Tiberias and the Prince of the Captivity,-appointments which, during a long period, constituted a bond of union, partly spiritual and partly political, among all the descendants of Jacob. The numerous remains of that people, though still excluded from the precincts of Jerusalem, were nevertheless permitted to form and to maintain considerable esta
* History of the Jews, vol. iii. p. 124.
blishments both in Italy and in the provinces ; to acquire the freedom of Rome; to enjoy municipal honours; and to obtain, at the same time, an exemption from the burdensome and expensive offices of society. The moderation or the contempt of the Romans gave a legal sanction to the form of ecclesiastical police which was instituted by the vanquished sect. The Patriarch was empowered to appoint his subordinate ministers, to exercise a domestic jurisdiction, and to receive from his brethren an annual contribution. New synagogues were frequently erected in the principal cities of the empire; and the sabbaths, the fasts, and the festivals, which were either commanded by the Mosaic Law or en. joined by the traditions of the Rabbim, were celebrated in the most solemn and public manner. They were, in like manner, restored to the privilege of circumcising their children, on the easy condition that they should never confer on any foreign proselyte the distinguishing mark of the Hebrew race. Such gentle treatment insensibly assuaged the stern temper of the Jews. Awakened from their dream of prophecy and conquest, they assumed the behaviour of peaceable and industrious subjects. Their hatred of mankind, instead of flaming out in acts of blood and violence, evaporated in less dangerous gratifications. They embraced every opportunity of overreaching the idolaters in trade; and they pronounced secret and ambiguous imprecations against the haughty kingdom of Edom, the name under which they were pleased to denounce the Roman empire.*
* Decline and Fall, vol. i. p. 385.
· The glories which were shed upon Palestine by the munificent zeal of Constantine and his mother have already been repeatedly mentioned. The splendid buildings which arose in every part of the Holy Land announced the triumph of the new faith in the country where it had its origin; exciting at once the pride of the Christian, and the jealousy, resentment, and despair, of the Jew. The government of Constantius was not more favourable to the Children of Israel ; nor was it till the accession of Julian that they were encouraged to look for revenge upon their enemies, if not for protection to their despised countrymen. The edict to rebuild the Temple on Mount Moriah, and to establish once more at Jerusalem the worship enjoined by Moses, called forth their utmost exertions in behalf of a prince who at least abandoned a rival religion, destined, as they apprehended, to supplant their own more ancient ritual. · The issue of this attempt, to reinstate the ceremonies of the Jewish Law in the capital of Palestine, is known to every reader. The workmen employ. ed in digging the foundation of the new Temple were terrified by flames of fire darting forth from the ground, and accompanied with the most frightful explosions. No inducement could prevail on them to persevere in labours which appeared to excite the anger of Heaven. The enterprise was relinquished, as at once hopeless and impious; and there is no doubt that, whatever additions may have been made to the circumstances by ignorance and a too easy belief, the views of Julian were frustrated by the occurrence of some very extraordinary event, which still finds a place even in Roman history. The sceptic may smile when he reads in the pages of a Christian Father, that flakes of fire which assumed the form of a cross settled on the dresses of the ar. tisans and spectators; that a horseman was seen careering amid the flames; and that, when the affrighted labourers fled to a neighbouring church, its doors, fastened by some preternatural force within, refused to admit them into the sacred building. In such details the imagination is consulted more than the reason; and it cannot be denied that certain authors, who wrote long after the reign of Julian, have admitted traditionary anecdotes into the narrative of a grave event. It is deserving of notice, however, that the mark of the Cross, said to have been impressed upon the bystanders, is not the most incredible of the circumstances recorded. Many instances have been known of persons touched by the electric fluid, whose bodies exhibited similar traces of its operation,--straight lines cutting one another at right angles,—and hence that part of the description which appears the least entitled to belief, will be found to be strictly within the limits of nature.*
The policy of the emperors continued to depress the Jews in Palestine, while it granted to them the enjoyment of considerable privileges in all the other provinces, where their presence and peculiar views were less hazardous to the public peace. During the same period the Christian church possessed the countenance of the civil power, and gradually ex.
• The reader who wishes to examine the evidence for the mi. raculous nature of the interruption sustained by the agents of Julian, will find an ample discussion in the pages of Basnage, Lardner, Warburton, Gibbon, and of the Author of the History of the Jews.