Cabal Engine V 1002
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But Judas, seeing the strength of the enemy, retired to Jerusalem,and prepared to endure a siege. As for Antiochus, he sent part of his armyto Bethzur, to besiege it, and with the rest of his army he came againstJerusalem; but the inhabitants of Bethzur were terrified at his strength;and seeing that their provisions grew scarce, they delivered themselves upon the security of oaths that they should suffer no hard treatment from theking. And when Antiochus had thus taken the city, he did them no otherharm than sending them out naked. Fie also placed a garrison of his ownin the city; but as for the temple of Jerusalem, he lay at its siege a longtime, while they within bravely defended it; for what engines soever theking set against them, they set other engines again to oppose them. Butthen their provisions failed them; what fruits of the ground they had laidup were spent, and the land being not ploughed that year, continuedunsowed, because it was the seventh year, on which, by our laws, we areobliged to let it lie uncultivated. And withal, so many of the besiegedran away for want of necessaries, that but a few only were left in thetemple.
The Maccabæan family, which had showed itself so great in time of needand distress, degenerated in good fortune. Before his death John Hyrcanusbestowed the secular princely dignity upon his wife, while the high-priesthoodwent by right of inheritance to his eldest son Aristobulus. Hardlyhad the latter taken possession of his office, however, when he assumed thetitle of King, imprisoned his mother and let her starve to death. He alsokept three of his brothers in durance; the fourth, Antigonus, fell a victimof a court cabal before his very eyes. These deeds, however, awakened theconscience of the royal high priest, who was not without feeling, and so tormentedhim that he died the very next year. (108 B.C.)
Cestius died, of disease or grief, shortly after his defeat. Nero handedover the command to Vespasian, an experienced general, who had givenproof of his military capacity in Germania and Brittany. Vespasian proceededto Syria by way of Asia Minor, while his son Titus went to Alexandriato fetch two legions and lead them into Palestine. Agrippa and someother petty kings from the country round about, Antiochus of Commagene,Sohemus, and Malchus the Arab, brought auxiliary troops to Vespasian, andat the end of the winter of the year 67, an army of sixty thousand menmarched into Galilee. The government of that province had been committedby his fellow-countrymen to Josephus, the historian to whom we owe theaccount of the whole war; and though he was one of the peace party, hehad neglected no measures for putting the country in a state of defence.The defence, which he relates in detail, was heroic. The little city of Jotapataheld out with amazing resolution against arms and engines of war.Forty thousand men succumbed during the siege.c
Vespasian then set the engines for throwing stones and darts round aboutthe city; the number of the engines was in all a hundred and sixty; andbade them fall to work and dislodge those that were upon the wall. At thesame time such engines as were intended for that purpose, threw at once lancesupon them with great noise, and stones of the weight of a talent were thrownby the engines that were prepared for that purpose, together with fire, and avast multitude of arrows, which made the wall so dangerous, that the Jewsdurst not only not to come upon it, but durst not come to those parts withinthe walls which were reached by the engines; for the multitude of the Arabianarchers, as well also as all those that threw darts and slung stones, fell towork at the same time with the engines. Yet did not the others lie stillwhen they could not throw at the Romans from a higher place; for theythen made sallies out of the city like private robbers, by parties, and pulledaway the hurdles that covered the workmen, and killed them when they werethus naked; and when those workmen gave way, these cast away the earththat composed the bank, and burnt the wooden parts of it, together withthe hurdles, till at length Vespasian perceived that the intervals there werebetween the works were of disadvantage to him; for those spaces of groundafforded the Jews a place for assaulting the Romans. So he united the hurdles,and at the same time joined one part of the army to the other, whichprevented the private excursions of the Jews.
Upon this, Vespasian, when he saw the Romans distressed by thesesallies (although they were ashamed to be made to run away by the Jews;and when at any time they made the Jews run away, their heavy armourwould not let them pursue them far; while the Jews, when they had performedany action, and before they could be hurt themselves, still retiredinto the city), ordered his armed men to avoid their onset, and not tofight it out with men under desperation, while nothing is more courageousthan despair; but that their violence would be quenched when theysaw they failed of their purposes, as fire is quenched when it wants fuel;and that it was most proper for the Romans to gain their victories ascheap as they could, since they are not forced to fight, but only to enlargetheir own dominions. So he repelled the Jews in great measure by theArabian archers, and the Syrian slingers, and by those that threw stonesat them, nor was there any intermission of the great number of their offensiveengines. Now, the Jews suffered greatly by these engines, withoutbeing able to escape from them; and when these engines threw their stonesor javelins a great way, and the Jews were within their reach, they pressedhard upon the Romans, and fought desperately, without sparing either soulor body, one part succouring another by turns, when it was tired down.
When, therefore, Vespasian looked upon himself as in a manner besiegedby these sallies of the Jews, and when his banks were now not far from thewalls, he determined to make use of his battering-ram. Now, at the veryfirst stroke of this engine, the wall was shaken, and a terrible clamour wasraised by the people within the city, as if they were already taken.
And now, when Josephus saw this ram still battering the same place,and that the wall would quickly be thrown down by it, he resolved to eludefor a while the force of the engine. With this design he gave orders to fillsacks with chaff, and to hang them down before that place where they sawthe ram always battering, that the stroke might be turned aside, or that theplace might feel less of the strokes by the yielding nature of the chaff. Thiscontrivance very much delayed the attempts of the Romans, because, let themremove their engine to what part they pleased, those that were above itremoved their sacks, and placed them over against the strokes it made,insomuch that the wall was no way hurt, and this by diversion of the strokes,till the Romans made an opposite contrivance of long poles, and by tyinghooks at their ends, cut off the sacks.
And here a certain Jew appeared worthy of our relation and commendation;he was the son of Sameas, and was called Eleazar, and was born atSaab, in Galilee. This man took up a stone of vast bigness, and threw itdown from the wall upon the ram, and this with so great a force that it brokeoff the head of the engine. He also leaped down and took up the head ofthe ram from the midst of them, and without any concern, carried it to thetop of the wall, and this, while he stood as a fit mark to be pelted by all hisenemies. Accordingly, he received the strokes upon his naked body, andwas wounded with five darts; nor did he mind any of them while he wentup to the top of the wall, where he stood in sight of them all, as an instanceof the greatest boldness: after which he threw himself on a heap with hiswounds upon him, and fell down, together with the head of the ram. Nextto him, two brothers showed their courage; their names were Netir andPhilip, both of them of the village of Ruma, and both of them Galileansalso; these men leaped upon the soldiers of the tenth legion, and fell uponthe Romans with such a noise and force as to disorder their ranks, and putto flight all upon whomsoever they made their assaults.
But still Josephus and those with him, although they fell down dead oneupon another by the darts and stones which the engines threw upon them,yet did not they desert the wall, but fell upon those who managed the ram,under the protection of the hurdles, with fire, and iron weapons, and stones;and these could do little or nothing, but fell themselves perpetually, whilethey were seen by those whom they could not see, for the light of their ownflame shone about them, and made them a most visible mark to the enemy,as they were in the day-time, while the engines could not be seen at a greatdistance, and so what was thrown at them was hard to be avoided; for theforce with which these engines threw stones and darts made them hurtseveral at a time, and the violent force of the stones that were cast by theengines was so great, that they carried away the pinnacles of the wall, andbroke off the corners of the towers; for no body of men could be so strongas not to be overthrown to the last rank, by the largeness of the stones;and any one may learn the force of the engines by what happened this verynight; for as one of those that stood round about Josephus was near thewall, his head was carried away by such a stone, and his skull was flung asfar as three furlongs. In the day-time also, a woman with child had herbelly so violently struck, as she was just come out of her house, that theinfant was carried to the distance of half a furlong; so great was the forceof that engine.
Hereupon Vespasian comforted his army on occasion of what hadhappened, and as he found them angry indeed, but rather wanting somewhatto do than any further exhortations, he gave orders to raise the banksstill higher, and to erect three towers, each fifty feet high, and that theyshould cover them with plates of iron on every side, that they might be bothfirm by their weight, and not easily liable to be set on fire. These towershe set upon the banks, and placed upon them such as could shoot darts andarrows, with the lighter engines for throwing stones and darts also; andbesides these, he set upon them the stoutest men among the slingers, who notbeing to be seen by reason of the height they stood upon, and the battlementsthat protected them, might throw their weapons at those that were upon thewall, and were easily seen by them. Hereupon the Jews, not being easilyable to escape those darts that were thrown down upon their heads, nor toavenge themselves on those whom they could not see, and perceiving thatthe height of the towers was so great, that a dart which they threw withtheir hand could hardly reach it, and that the iron plates about them madeit very hard to come at them by fire, they ran away from the walls, and fledhastily out of the city, and fell upon those that shot at them. And thus didthe people of Jotapata resist the Romans, while a great number of them wereevery day killed, without their being able to retort the evil upon theirenemies; nor could they keep them out of the city without danger tothemselves. 2b1af7f3a8