« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
shouted forth the prạises of their generals, and were proceeding to the most flattering encomiums, when Vespasian commanded them to be silent. He then rose up, and covering the greatest part of his head with his garment, he made the accustomed prayers and vows, and Titus did the same. After which, Vespasian addressed the whole company, and dismissed the soldiers to a dinner, which he had provided for them at his own expense. The rest of the company went to the triumphal gate, so called because all the triumphant entries that were made passed through it; and, after refreshing themselves, they put on the costly robes which were worn on such occasions, and offered sacrifices to their gods.
The procession began from this place. An immense multitude of people flocked together to behold the conquerors as they passed, and many spectacles were exhibited on the occasion, which, for number, variety, and richness, cannot be fully described ; almost every thing that was rare or costly appearing in this triumph, as a testimony of the grandeur of the Roman empire.' Gold, silver, ivory, gems, and precious stones, curiously wrought in various devices, were to be seen in the utmost profusion. The captives that graced the triumph were dressed in a very elegant manner; but the richness and beauty of their garments could not conceal the sadness of their countenances, which might easily be seen under this costly veil. These were followed by a variety of exhibitions, representing the siege of Jerusalem, and the different transactions of the war. Next appeared the spoils that they had taken, among which those that were brought from the temple at Jerusalem were the most remarkable: particularly the golden table of shewbread, weighing many talents; the golden candlestick, exquisitely wrought of curious workmanship; and the volume of the law, covered with gold cloth, which was carried the last, as being the most venerable of all the trophies. Then followed several images of victory, all made of gold and ivory. Afterwards came Vespasian and Titus, accompanied by Domitian, who was mounted on an excellent horse, sumptuously caparisoned. They all went to the temple of Jupiter, where the procession closed. Simon, who was carried in triumph, with a rope about his neck, was then dragged into the market-place, where he was killed. As for John, the emperor sentenced him to perpetual imprisonment. Thus the vengeance of God followed these monsters-in iniquity.
We must now, my dear George, turn our eyes from this gaudy show, to the almost desolated country of Judea, where there yet remained some strong castles untaken.
Vespasian sent Lucius Bassus, as lieutenant-general, into Judea, who took the castle and garrison of Herodium by capitulation. Then gathering together all his troops, which were dispersed about the country, he marched to Macheron, à castle built on a high rock, and so strongly fortified both by nature and art, that, if not wholly impregnable, it must have given the Romans a great deal of trouble to take it, had not a circumstance occurred which induced the besieged to capitulate. A
young man, who was highly esteemed for his valour, having in one of his excursions against the enemy, imprudently ventured too far, was surprised
and taken prisoner. Bassus, as soon as he had got this youth in his power, caused him to be stripped and scourged in the view of the besieged; at the same time erecting a cross, as if he meant to crucify him before their eyes. His countrymen, moved with compassion at this shocking sight, sent to Bassus, that they would surrender the castle, provided they might have liberty to retire whither they pleased, and that the captive youth should be restored to them. These conditions being accepted, the Romans took possession of the castle, and the Jews went and joined some of their revolted brethren in the forest of Jardes; whither they were soon followed by Bassus, who attacked and totally defeated them; ordering his horsemen to surround the forest that none might escape, whilst his footmen cut down the wood. The Jews attempted, but in vain, to fight their way through; they were all, to the amount of three thousand, cut 10 pieces by the Romans.
Bassus dying soon after, Flavius Silva, who succeeded him, assembled all his forces to attack Massada, the only fortress now remaining in the hands of the Jews. It was extremely difficult of access, and commanded by a man of undaunted courage, named Eleazar; but the persevering resolution of the Romans overcame every obstacle. Having succeeded in destroying part of the wall, they were preparing for a general assault, when, to their inexpressible astonishment, they found no enemy to conquer.
You will probably suppose that the Jews had made their escape; but this was utterly impossible; the Romans having previously encompassed the castle with a strong wall, and placed guards at every avenue, to prevent supplies from being carried into it.
The besieged, at length, finding no way left of saving themselves, or the fortress, from falling into the hands of the enemy, formed the desperate resolution of destroying themselves, with their wives and children: to which they were excited by Eleazar, who strongly urged it upon them, in a long speech which he made on the occasion. They began the horrid business by slaying their wives and children, whom they tenderly embraced, and then put to death: after which, they set fire to their goods, and then elected ten men by lot to kill all the rest, and, lastly, one out of the surviving ten, to dispatch them and himself. This last, maintaining the same resolution, first searched to see if any were yet alive; but, finding none, he set fire to the palace, and then thrust his own sword through his body, and fell upon the heap of his friends. The number of slain was nine hundred and sixty, including the women and children. They perished with a firm belief that they had not left one to fall into the hands of the Romans; but two women and five children escaped, being concealed in a vault, as if, by the peculiar providence of God, to give a full relation of this horrid deed, that the memory of those who perpetrated it might be held in everlasting abhorrence, as murderers of the worst description.
On the next morning, the Romans made the assault, but were strangely surprised at the profound
silence which reigned, and could not conjecture the cause, as nothing was to be heard or seen on the part of the besieged. They then made a great shout. Upon this, the women came forth, and informed the Romans of all that had happened; which they could scarcely credit, till, passing on to the palace, they found every thing in the state which had been represented.
All Judea was now destroyed and laid waste by the Romans. But the wrath of God followed the Jews in other nations; particularly at Alexandria in Egypt, where some of the seditious having retired, began to sow the seeds of revolt, and to excite fresh insurrections. But their countrymen, who re. sided at the place, fearing the consequences that might ensue, very wisely interfered and delivered them up to the Romans, who put six hundred of
them to death. They maintained the same Year of our Lord obstinate spirit to the last; for even their
children would suffer the severest torments rather than acknowledge Cæsar for their lord. The emperor, being informed of their rebellious disposition, ordered the temple which Onias had built to be shut up, lest it should afford them a pretence of assembling themselves, and thus give them an opportunity of exciting some new sedition.
After this, there was a dreadful massacre of the Jews at Cyrene, occasioned by one Jonathan, a weaver, who insinuated himself into the favour of the lower class of people, persuading them to follow him into the wilderness, and he would shew them signs and wonders. But the better sort of Jews, being aware of his deceit, informed Catullus, the