Flavius Josephus

Flavius Josephus

My family is no ignoble one,
tracing its pedigree far back to priestly ancestors.
With us a connection to the priesthood is the hallmark of an illustrious line.

Authors Statement:

For many years I associated the name Flavius Josephus synonymously to traitor, treason or a collaborationist. I delighted in reading about the mock trials, for instance the one that was held in 1937 by a group of law students in Antwerp that found him guilty of treason. And in 1941 in the midst of the second world war there was a group of young resistance fighters who were strong supporters of Zionism reacting as French and Jewish patriots accused Joesphus of "collaboration".

Early in the last decade of the twentieth century I read a chapter pertaining to Josephus in Michael Grant, "Readings in the Classical Historians". After finishing the article I realized that all I knew about this subject was heresay and reading short articles written by authors no doubt has neither the capability to think for themselves nor the ambition to properly research.

With a judicious and fair attitude toward Josephus I began a long journey in research in the subjects life and behavior. His lineage is of priestly and royal decent, His attitude was always professional, a continuous desire to learn, a highly intelligent individual, patriotic, a love for God and Country, a deep sense of responsibility, a healthy desire to live and he definitely detested and abhored the idea of suicide; thought it was a cowardly act. He was governor-general of Galilee and a General who commanded the forces at Jatapata. I have found no shame nor crimianal acts in Flavius Josephus behavior for he certainly was a man of wisdom. Those other Jews who were of the rank and file of the common man full of ignorance, selfishness, self ambition who murdered the elite "those of good standing and with responsible positions", imposing thier ruthless and barbaric acts on thier fellow man, they are the people who should be judged and despised.

Titus Flavius Josephus:

Birth and Pedigree:
Titus Flavius Josephus is a hybrid name. He assumed this name after he went to Rome and was adopted and made a Roman citizen by Vespasian. He was born in Jerusalem the year 3797 of the Worlds creation, corresponding to Year one of the reign of Caligula and 37 C.E. His name at birth was Joseph ben Matthias (Mattitiahu in Hebrew). His father is from the priestly upper class of Jerusalem, tribe of Levi (first priestly class). His mother was related to the former royal family of the Hasmonacans (Maccabees).

Josephus Boyhood:
Josephus in his youth had been brought up along with his brother, which implies they were close to each other in age. Josephus made great progress in his education, gaining a reputation for an excellent memory and understanding.

We can be sure of the kind of education he received, for it would have been a purely religious one based on the Torah. Indeed, the Sacred Books were believed to contain all the knowledge a man needed to live in the world. In it, would find a code for his cultural, moral, social, and political behavior, as well as an account of the world and the earlier generations of mankind, all of which he was taught to impute to one single omnipresent God.

Although the apostle Paul distinguished between faith and law the better to contrast them, Jews of his day, like Josephus, found both in the Torah: for them, the law was truly "the form of knowledge and of the truth" (Romans 2:20), and faith was the true piety that inspired the practice of the moral virtues taught by the law. For that reason the Jews regarded profane sciences promulgated by the Greeks as mere frivolous pastimes compared to sacred knowledge. A second-century rabbi renowned for his mathmatical and astronomical knowledge was to write that such sciences were mere "appetizers" or "condiments" to whet the appetite for the sacred sciences on which men should base their lives.

This virtual lack of interest in the exact and natural sciences was of course duly noted by certain Egyptian Greeks or hellenized Egyptians of the early first century, who began to evidnce virulent antijudaism: they accused the Jews of being "the most witless of al barbarian" (by which they meant "non-Greeks") and of being the only people to "have contributed no useful invention to civilisation". To which apologists of Judaism like Philo of Alexandria (and, Later, Josephus himself) could reply that their religion was a philosophy in and of itself, one quite different from Greek philosophy, which was elitist by nature, for Judaism addressed itself to everone, even the very young. "The result then, of our thorough grounding in the laws from the first dawn of intelligence is that we have them, as it were, engraven on our souls.

We have little knowledge of the comtemporary educational system in Judea. We do know that no separation was made between family, synagogue, and school. Education in the home afforded training in religious practice from early childhood on, even before such practice could be justified by study. "Again, the Law does not allow the birth of our children to be made occasions for festivity and an excuse for drinking to excess. It enjoins sobriety in their up bringing from the very first. It order that they shall be taught to read, and shall learn both the laws and the deeds of their forefathers, in order that they may imitate the latter, and, being grounded in the former, may neither transgress not have any excuse for being ignorant of them.

The father's role in his son's education was primordial: "What is a father's duty to his son?" asked some rabbinical texts, which went on to answer: "To teach him the Torah." As soon as a child had been weaned he was expected to participate in feast days and in the various other religious rites that punctuate Jewish life. His studies began as soon as he learned to speak; First, his father was to teach him the Sh'ma, the statement of divine oneness set out in the Book of Deuteronomy, the same formula given by Christ as the first commandments: "Hear O Israel, the Lord is God, the Lord is one. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul and with all thy strength." Next came the teaching of the Torah, combined with instruction in the sacred language, "Hebrew".

The father's role was even more crucial in that prior to the period in which we are interested the notion of primary school does not seem to have existed. According to the Talmud, the founder of the first school system for children was the same man to whom Josephus refers as his "intimate friend," Jesus (Joshua) son of Gamal, and the man who reported to Matthias the plot against his son when the latter was serving as a General in Galilee! The Talmud justifies Josephus' great esteem for him.

The child Josephus was taught by his father , with the assistance of a tutor.

Each stage of Jewish schooling relied heavily on memory. This faculty, which is the principal one upon which Josephus prided himself, was always highly developed in Eeastern cultures, and even today it plays a highly important role in traditional Jewish teaching. Memory also played an important part in the transmission of a correct text of the Bible, since the documents of the time were written without vowels---which are, in fact, a fairly recent addition: the system prevelent today came into existence sometime after the eighth century C.E. A text consisting soley of consonants can often be open to plural readings unless backed by a well-established oral tradition. The child's first teacher would instruct him in the traditional readings by having him repeat the text aloud, a further aid to memorization. Thus a student, particulary a gifted one, would fairly quickly learn by heart the five books of the Pentateuch (the Torah), which were the foundation of all his studies: "But should anyone of our nation be questioned about the laws, he would repeat them all more readily than his own name" Joseph proudly writes.

Sabbath and feast-day readings in the syngogue also played a part in etching the divine Word on the mind. As its Greek name (synagoge) impies (it corresponds to the Hebrew bet-knesset), the synagogue was primarily a meeting place. There, where men were often grouped by profession or corporation, public, reading of the scred text took place on the weekly day of rest. "Every week men would assemble to listen to the Law and to obtain a thorough and accurate knowledge of it". No one was to be allowed to be ignorant of the religious patrimony that was to govern his life. Philo of Alexandria gives the following background for these sabbath readings: "The Lawgiver [Moses] decreed that the Jews should be taught the ancestral laws; he ordered them to come together on the seventh day and listen to the reading of the laws so that no one would be ignorant of them".

Indeed, from this period on, Sabbath readings have combined a passage of the Pentateuch or Torah with a passage from the Prophets: "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the Prophet Isaiah".

In those days bibical Hebrew was not understood by everyone. Spoken Hebrew was strongly influenced by Aramaic, and Aramaic was gaining ground, even in Judea. Greek was the dominant language in other Eastern Mediterranean communities------Alexandria, Antoch, and Ephesus, as well as in Corinth and the other towns in which Paul preached. To ensure that all the faithful including women and children, would be able to understand what was being read, each synagogue employed a a meturgeman who could recite the biblical text in a language accessible to the local population, making a kind of paraphrase sprinkled with exegesis. These relied heavily on a solid familiarity with the sacred texts, as can be seen from those of the apostle Paul (Act 13:15. et seq.)

According to Philo, the sermon based on scripture was intended principally for moral edification: "On the seventh day, thousands of schools were at work in each town for the teaching of inteligence, moderation, courage, justice, and the other virtues. Those attending them sat in orderly rows, calmly lending their total attention to catch every delectable word, whilst one of the teachers stood before them dispensing the noblest and most worthy lessons to assist them in confronting all the situations of life".

The synagogue to which the boy accompanied his father supplemented the teaching he received during the week. From earliest childhood on, everything was referred to the Torah. Thus was the verse of the sh'ma put into practice: "Thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house. . . ." It was a form of education that created an unbreakable bond with ancestral tradition: "There should be nothing astonishing in our facing death on behalf of our laws with a courage which no other nation can equal".

There is nothing to indicate that children who, like Josephus, were members of the priestly caste received any special instruction. Rather, it appears that a type of teaching originally intended for a social elite had been extended to include the people as a whole. This would explain why Leviticus was the first biblical book to which children were exposed. The priests gave priority to the sacerdotal code from which they derived their powers. Study of the written law contained in the Torah was followed by study of the remainder of the Bible and the unwritten or oral law, which was in those days limited to Mishnah. A second-century rabbi was to describe the earliest stages of life as follows: "At five years of age, the Bible, at ten the Mishnah, at thirteen the Commandments". The Mishnah,is the underpinnings of the Talmud. Its present-day version was compiled around the year 200 by Rabbi Judah, known as the "Prince" and spiritual leader of the nation, on the basis of earlier traditions passed down orally from generation to generation. Although not yet codified in Josephus' time, he probably benefited from the teaching of this oral tradition, which entailed the use of reason as well as memory.

Josephus Young Adulthood:

The age of thirteen is an important landmark in the life of a Jewish boy: childhood is behind him and he is entering puberty; he is therefore expected to respect the divine commandments and is admitted to adult society. If knowledgeable enough, he is; respected as an equal. Joseph was treated like a master "While still a mere boy, about fourteen years old, he won universal applause for his love of letters, insomuch that the chief priests and the leading men of the city used constantly to come to him for precise information on some particular in Jewish ordinances.

One cannot help being struck by the Gospel parrallel: "And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the Temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers" (Luke 2:46-47) However, Jesus was only twelve and was questioning the doctors; Joseph, at fourteen, had already become an adult and was being questioned as a doctor. Excessive vanity? Yet the two accounts have one point in common: in that ancient Eastern culture in which the respect owed to age was considered a religious duty, there was also room for admiring even the very young whose intelligence made them stand out. Far from being counseled to keep silent to the presence of their elders they were encourage to give older heads the benefit of their young minds and the freshness of their adolescent thinking.

Josephus' vanity appears much less flagrant if one consider the priesthood of his day. For the high priesthood was no longer synonymous with knowledge. During the Hamonean era (104-76 B.C.E.) the two functions, royal and priestly, had for a time been linked. When he had assumed power; Herod had not claimed the title of high priest, for which his birth, indeed, disqualified him, but had entrusted the position to Aristobulus, the brother of his wife, Mariamne, the daughter of Hyrcanus II. Popular favor quickly shifted to the young, hansome Aristobulus, who was descended from the legitimate kings, and Herod soon fell prey to jealous. One day the youth, who was barely eighteen, was found drowned in the palace pool in Jericho, and the people were quick to accuse the King of a murder that was to be but the first in a long series. Intrique and muddy politics pertaining to the appointment of priest hood prevailed for many years.

Upon Herods death, his brother, Herod of Chalcis, was empowered by the emperor Claudius to select the high priests. On the eve of the war against the Romans (66 C.E.), this power was in the hands of Agrippa II, son of Agrippa I, who no longer reigned over all Judea, as had his father, but rather over a disparate group of territories located in the northern part of the country. Around the year 60 the high priesthood had become totally decadent: the four families from which the high priests had been recruited since 37 B.C.E. wars ranged against each other, familial factions engaged in stone--throwing battles, the clique in power controled the tithe wrung from the other priests, and Roman support had to be paid for in silver. The high priesthood changed hands with increasing frequency: there were as many as twenty eight high priests in 107 years, whereas there had been only ninety three since the time of Aaron (thirteen century B.C.E.) and under the Hasmoneans, only eight in the course of 115 years.

Josephus' gloomy picture of the last years of the high priesthood is borne out by later rabbanical sources, which do not conceal their contempt for all these obviously illegitimate high priests. The Talmud preserveres the memory of posts that were bought and paid for changing hands yearly (Babylonian Talmud, yoma 18a, Yebamot 61a) and anathematises the unworthy: "For they are high priests, their sons are treasurers, their sons-in-law administrators and their servants beat the people with rods" (Psalms 57a). Only Joshua ben Gamals escapes condemnation. Josephus, who shared this opinion, also made an exception for the high priest Ananias, victim of the Zealots during the siege.

Thus, increasingly corrupt, the priestly milieu also began to decline into ignorance. This pobably esplains why the Mishnah (Horayor III,) tells us that an educated bastard should be given precedence over an ignorant high priest. Consideration is even given to the case of a high priest's being unable to read or explicate scripture: should such an unfortunate event come to pass, another is to be authorized to do so in his stead (Mishnah, Yoma I, 6).

Since the early part of the first century, the country had been experiencing endemic unrest, the only period of calm having occurred during the short reign of King Agrippa I. In 46 Josephus had not yet reached his tenth birthday, Rome selected a procurator of Judea an apostate Alexandrian Jew. Tieberius Alexander, who had abjured the faith of his fathers for the sake of his career. He was the son of an eminent Jew, Alexander Lysimachus, a man of wealth, wealthy enough to have lent money to the mother of the emperor Claudius as well as to the young and prodigal Agrippa I and noble enough to have married one of his sons, Marcus, to the famous Bernice, daughter of the King of Judea (she would marry two more times before here fateful meeting with Titus). Immediately after his appointment as procurator, Tiberus Alexander ordered the crucifixions of Jacob and Simon, the sons of certain Judah the Galilean, who. in reaction against the population census ordered by Rome, had begun as early as the year 6 to propagate subversive slogans proclaiming that the only master was the Lord.

Josphus was an eyewitness to a terrible riot that occurred during the procuatorship of Cumanus, Tiberius Alexander's successor, which resulted in a bloodbath in Jerusalem. The disturbance broke out during Passover, a feast that always attracted thousand of pilgrims to the Holy City. One of the Roman soldiers assigned to maintain order in the Temple precincts made a provocative gesture. The excited mob began to shout insults at the procurator. The troops intervened. The terrified populace fled into the narrow alley way, where many---twenty thousand, according to Josphus were trampled to death. A short time later, Cumanus. a corrupt taker of bribes, sided with the Samartians in a conflict between them and the Jews. The goverenor of Syria, who was hearing the appeal, condemned to death four Jews accused of inciting an uprising against Rome and dispatched the high priest Ananias and his subordinate, Ananus to the emperor Claudius in chains. Claudius ultimately found for the jewish side, but never before had a high priest been subjected to such degrading treatment. Just as Josephus' childhood was drawing to an end, another high priest named Jonathan, who had been so bold as to remonstrate with the procurator Felix, was murdered by an agent of the latter, who managed to cover up his part in the affair. Because of the actions of those whom Josephus calls "brigands" or "hired assassins" about whom more later insecurity was rife throughout the land.

Such was the atmosphere in which Josephus lived in Jerusalem under the reign of Claudius, years in which his principal --- indeed, only ---- goal was to gain knowledge.

As he entered adolescence, the young Josephus began to consider seriously the chooice he would soon have to make among the three religious trends then prevalent in Judea: the Pharisee, the Sadducee, and the Essene. When he lists the three religious movements within Judaism, which he does so for (at least) three reasons: the Pharisees were the largest of the groups, they had the widest followling among the people, and Josephus was to conclude his own spiritual quest by joining them.

Nothing he writes about them corresponds to the cliche that has been handed down to us in the Christian Gospels; however a careful reading of those books would reveal that they are always referring to the "wicked" Pharisee, an example of the kind of caricature to which any religious practice can lead when second rate individuals empty it of its original significance.

As mentioned above Josephus, at the age of nineteen (56 C.E.) chose the Pharasic path, it was clearly Judaism's most vigorous branch. The Sadducees, by contrast, were losing strength. Fundamentally conservative on both the social and doctrinal levels, they recruited their followers from among the priestly aristocracy and rejected any belief not explicitly dictated by Holy Writ. Thus, the Sadducees denied the immortality of the soul and, perforce, resurrection. Their argument, quite obviously slant to cast ridicule on Pharisaic belief, is reported in the Gospels: If, under Levirate law, a woman marry seven brothers in succession, of which will she be the wife on the Day of Resurrection? When Saul of Tarsus, known as Paul, was summoned to appear before the Sanhedrin , he was easily able create an uproar by stating: "Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question" (Acts 23:6), thereby bringing all the Pharisees over to his side, who concluded: "We find no evil in this man".

Josephus notes the Sadducees upheld man's total freedom, probably on the basis of this particularly explicit passage in Deuteronomy: "See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil" (Deuteronomy 30:15). There were other pros and cons concerning the Sadducees but the principal reproach Josephus leveled against them would seem to have been their social comportment, which was obviously dictate by their caste prejudices: this would seem sufficient grounds for explaining their limited influence: "The Sadducees, on the contrary are even among themselves, rather boorish in their behavior, and in their intercourse with their peers are as rude as to aliens".

However, the Essene temptation is revelatory of the youthful desire for purity felt by this man whose later career would be far more pragmatic than idealistic.

This impression is confirmed by the next step in Josephus, spiritual journey. Having closely inspected the three religious tendencies that have been mentioned, he then went into the wilderness to join the hermit Bannus, whose teachings he was to follow from his sixteenth to his nineteenth year. Essene asceticism paled before that of this man whose life Josephus shared: "For raiment, Bannus had only such clothing as trees provided, feeding on such things that grew of themselves, and using frequent ablutions of cold water, by day and night, for purity's sake".

During his withdrawal into the wilderness, Josephus probably knew a period of spirtual uplift. Once the mystical, flight of adolescence were over, however, his life seems to have been centered more on personal concerns in the here and now than on spiritual things in some far-off hereafter.

Thus, Josephus' experience in the wilderness was gained not as part of a large group led by the exhortations of a politico-religious leader weth messianic pretensions but in austere and solitary withdrawal. His time in the desert in no was incompatible with his ultimate choice, which was to be the doctrine of the Pharisee: "With him [Bannus] I lived for three years and, having accomplished my purpose, returned to the city. Being now in my nineteenth year I began to govern my life by the rules of the Pharisees".

Pharisaism taught a dual doctrine of salvation. The fourth philosophy, which was an outgrowth of variant of Pharisaism, elected emphasize collective salvation. It entailed a doctrine of individual salvation that held that the soul of the just would enjoy future life. In order to enter into the "world to come" so often mentioned in subsequent rabbinical sources (without any specifics about the contents of such a notion), one must take the path of virtue.

Josephus Matured Aduthood Forward:

Recorded history offers no knowledge of the seven years between the end of Josephus' stay in the wilderness with the hermit Bannus and his mission to Rome in his twenty-seventh year.

It is possible that Josephus returned home to be married."Eighteen years is the age of the nuptial canopy," says the rabbinical text on the stages of life (the same text quoted earlier on education). A young man who followed such counsel would thereby avoid debauchery and fulfill the biblical duty to procreate.

The hypothesis offered above is not tatally without foundation. In a passage in the War (JW V, 419) Josephus makes passing reference to the fact that his "wife." along with his own family, was held prisoner in besieged Jerusalem. This cannot be the wife (a captive woman from Caesarea) given him by Vespasian in 69, a wife reported to have died a few months later, nor can it be one of the other women he was later to marry. Josephus must therefore have been married prior to the war to a girl of his own social milieu who had been chosen for him according to criteria of which he wholly approved: a high-born virgin whose lineage would have been spotless.

Because of the blank years separating these two episodes in his autobiograph----his reentry into Jerusalem from the wilderness and his journey to Rome---it is not known whether he ever practiced a profession. As a member of the priestly caste he would have been---at least theoretically free from want, since under Biblical law all members of the priestly caste received the tithe. In these very same years, however, it is common knowledge that certain poor priests did live in precarious circumstances: Josphus angrily reports that some even died of hunger (JA XX, 181) because they were deprieved of their tithe, their only source of income, by other, reprehensible priests unworthy of the name. Josephus, however was not among the poor. His family was not only noble, it was extremely wealthy. In the last lines of his autobiography he informs us that the family owned considerable land in the vicinity of Jerusalem. Evidently they must have lived on their income.

Josephus mission to Rome was in 64. he was twenty-six years of age and he was accompanied there by certain other priest that he was acquainted, "men of distinction".

How proud the young Josephus must have been on his return from Rome around the year of 65. At an age at which, it was unusual (in antiquity as well as in our own day) to be named and ambassador, he had been chosen to undertake a politico-humanitarian mission to the capital of the Empire. After a dangerous journey he had immediately managed to contact the right people through his diplomatic skills he had been brought into contact with the empress Poppaea and had obtained even more than he had thought to ask ("large gifts" us akk ge sdatss, without being more precise). He returned at once to Jerusalem accompanied by two released priest, men older than himself and whom he vererate; had not fed throughout their captivity on nothing but figs and nuts to avoid coming into contact with any impure food? So Josephus quite rightly looked forward to being greeted as a hero, if not by the general pupulace at least by members of his own class, whose opinion meant the most to him. He must have dreamed of becomming the Romans' privileged spokesman in Judea, someone who would smooth out the inevitablle probems when they arose and perhaps manage to ameriorate the life of his compatriots living under Roman domination.

It was a domination he did not expect to end soon. His trip must have opened his eyes and convinced him of Rome's might and/or power. The words of the prophets were still valid of course, and the era of the Messiah would surely follow upon that of this world. Verily, as the prophet Daniel had foretold, a stone would smite the image with its golden head, silver breast and arms, belly of brass and legs of iron, but this last Empire seemed more solidly installed than the others, "through its iron nature, which, he said. is harder than that of gold or silver or bronze.

Josephus had obviously been as dazzled as any young man from the provinces by his visit to the larest city of the known world. Rabbis less well disposed toward Rome than he have handed down to future generations impressions to which the Talmud has given the hue of legend: the sounds of the capital could be heard from a hundred and twenty miles away; its buildings were of unheard of height; it had countless baths and markets; and its store houses contained enough food to feed the entire world. Yes, Jerusalem did have a universally admired Temple, magnificent palaces, impregnable walls, but Josephus returning to his native city could not have helped but notice its smallness, its crowded conditions without necessarily losing his affection for it thereby just as he must have been struck by the smallness of Judea, which had not been any more able to escape Rome's appetite than had its neighbors.

Nor could one's pride at being the possessor of a religion vastly superior to the vulgar paganism of the dominators remain completely unshaken. If the idolaters had been allowed to gain sway over the entire world, it must have been done in accordance with some divine plan: who makes and unmakes empires, if not the Lord? Thus, the empire would endure as long as God willed it should always bearing in mind the fact that its power was but ephemeral and illusory and the turn of Israel, as the most just of nations, would come or at some future day. The Jewish doctrine, which is contained in a great deal of later rabbinical literature, was surely being developed at the time and must have attracted Josephus.

But still, it was a doctrine that called for patience and that posited a possible modus vivendi. It is likely that this was Josephus' inner conviction upon his return from Rome. During his absence, however, new local confrontations had occurred, and in the year 65, war was at the gates.

When Josephus returned from his mission in the year 65, he was certainly not a partisan of a confrontation with Rome. Had he not benefited from the support of the imperial court? Had he not been impressed by the number of his coreligionist resident in the world's capital? Yet, in but a few months, he was to find himself not only caught up in the war against Rome but entrusted with a heavy responsibility, the command over all of Galilee and the region of Golan.

Josephus found revolutionary movements already on foot and wide spread elation at the prospect of revolt from Rome. He accordingly endeavored to repress these promoters of sedition, and to bring them over to a different frame of mind. He urged them to picture to themselves the nation on which they were about to make war on, and to remember that they were inferior to the Romans, not only in military skill, but in good fortune. And he warned them not recklessly and with such utter madness to expose their country, their families, and themselves to the direst perils. With such words he earnestly and insistently sought to dissuade them from their purpose, foreseeing that the end of the war would be most disastrous for Isreal. But Josephus efforts were unavailing. The madness of these deperate men was far too strong for the wisdom of Josephus.

That is the analysis of a true political mind. Like King Agrippa, Josephus knew what Rome's power really was; he hd recently seen it with his own eyes in the capital. Thus, while loathing Florus as much as did his compatriots, he tried to do all that he could to avoid a confrontation whose outcome would be disastrous. " There may be some who imagine that the war will be fought under special terms, and that the Romans, when victorious, will treat this nation with consideration; on the contrary, to make this nation an example of the rest of the nations, they will burn the Holy City to the ground and exterminate our race. Even the survivors will find not place of refuge, since all the peoples of the earth either have, or dread the thought of having, the Romans for their masters," he has Agrippa say.

The machine of war had been set in motion, and it was already too late for anyone to stop it. In quick succession the moderate leaders learned that a group of Sicarii had driven the Romans out of Herod's fortress at Masada and retaken it and that a handful of young priests had decided to stop the practice, dating from the time of Augustus, of offering sacrifices in the Temple "at imperial expense" in honor of the emperor. Obviously, Rome could not let such challenges go unpunished.

And there were plenty of purely human causes for the war that broke out in the year 66; there were the hotheads created by the "fourth philosophy", there were the taxes levied by the latest procurators, there was Nero's unfair arbitration of the Judeo-Pagan confrontatioon, there was the insults to the emperor and his chosen officials.

"Some Author's thinks that Josephus belief in Fate somehow is confusing him with his belief in piety and therefore makes historical analysis essentially nugatory. For instance his Jewish piety led him to confuse Fate with the divine will, to view it as a kind of Providence. In reetrospect, he was to reach the conclusion that the war had actually been ordained by God, that the Lord had permitted it. How could an event of such scope, an event that was to engulf and destroy His earthly capital, have occured without His consent?" I do believe this Act of God was ordained. Only God knows when. If you remember when He was hanging on the Cross he told the people not to weep for him, that there was a day comming soon when all would weep and gnash their teeth for devastation would overcome them. Remember the people rejected His Son and offended His Divine Majesty. You will find this reference in the New Testament while Christ was hanging on the Cross Just before he died. If you will study this portion of Theology and history in depth you will learn that even the apostles were jealous of one another and fighting amongst themselves for some earthly title, or some royal position to serve Him, and He advised them from time to time that his kingdom was not of this earth but of Heaven; not until after his death did the apostles realize just who Christ was. The Zealots and other Jewish organization tried to force him to become their King to lead them against Rome. However Josephus like many of the Jewish people did not accept him as the Christ.

There had been no lack of celestial warnings prior to the tragedy. But humans in their folly had been blind to them, had not known how to interpret them, and the catastrophe had been inevitable. Thus, as as a good disciple of the Phaisees, Josephus sought to reconcile divine providence and human freedom. Once the tragedy was over, he was to recall all those signs that had so clealy predicted it. In the sky over Jeruslem had appeared a comet shaped like a sword that had shone for a whole year; in the Passover season preceding the outbreak of hostilities the Altar had been surrounded by an intense light for a half hour, a cow had given birth to a lamb within the Temple itself, and the Eastern Gate, which twenty men had difficulty closing, had opened of itself at the sixth hour of the night; shortly after the feast men had seen a heavenly battle in the setting sun.

Although the more optimistic might have been able to interpret such ambiguous signs favorably, there were two that were not equivocal at all: As the priests were entering the Temple courtyard to hold their service during the feast of Shavuot ( the Pentecost), they heard a great disturbnce and voices crying Let us leave this place." It was the sound of the Shekhina (the Immanent Radiance of the Divine Presence) abandoning its home and leaving it vulnerable and unprotected. Reortf of this omen traveled as far as Rome, where at the end of the century Tacitus was to mention it with malicious delight, expressing his suprise that "that nation, as inimical to other relious as it was superstitious," had not seen fit to conjure away the bad luck "by vows or expiatory victims".

Even more terrifying in Josephus' memory were the lamentations of an innocent----Jesus son of Ananias---who, four years before the war, i.e., before there had been anything to fear, had shouted out in the Temple in the midst of the Feast of Tabernacles, "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds; a voice against Jerusalem and the sanctuary, a voice against the bridegroom and the bride, a voice against all the people". To any Jew, those words contained a clear echo of Jeremiah's awful prophecy: Then I will cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride; for the land shall be desolate" (Jermiah, 7:34).

The poor innocent, a pitiful prophet of doom, had roamed day and night through the streets of the city, crying out. Josephus mentions him as a familiar sight, and he must himself have often encountered this poor simpleton, known to all, treated roughly by some and with charity by others. It is perhaps to such a character that we owe the emergence in the Talmud of a new notion: Now that there were no longer any Prophets in Israel, the gift of prophecy had passed to the simple minded and to children. Although flogged to the bare bone by the Romans, Jesus son of Ananias still persisted in crying out the only thing he knew: "Woe to Jerusalem Then, in the midst of festive days, did his cry ring out. Josephus viewed as proof that God himself was speaking through his oracle the fact that for seven years and five months he continued his wail, his voice never flagging nor his strength exhausted". In the year 70, during the siege of Jerusalem, the same innocent was back wandering about the ruined ramparts and lamenting, "Woe once more to the city and to the people and to the Temple" And at the moment he cried out his last word: "And woe to me also! he was struck down by a stone hurled from the ballista killed on the spot.

The voice of reason told Josephus, fresh from Rome, that in political terms the war was madness. The voice of the oracles---if, indeed, he really listened to them as he tried to make posterity believe----told him that it was an even greater folly, but around him things continued to go on as though God were warning of disaster and giving fools free rein.

This to explain why, in the midst of the bellicose excitement he could feel mounting on all sides. Josphus opted for a far from glorious way out: I now feared that my incessant reiteration of this warning would bring me into odium and the suspicion of siding with the enemy, and that I should run the risk of being arrested by them and put to death. I therefore sought asylum in the inner court of the Temple: the fortress of Antonia being already in their hands".

Fatal Success: In the meantime, the partisans of peace at any price were attempting to counteract the underground maneuverings of the revolutionaries. The found an ally in King Agrippa II, who promptly dispatched troops to Jerusalem. Once there, they occupied the Upper City, where the palace-fortress built by Herod was located. During the week preceding the Feast of the Xylophora in the year 66 the opened battle against the insurgents who were occupying the Lower City and the Temple, where some young priests had launched the insurrection.

The feast day saw victory for the insurgents, who, in an attempt to win popular favor, set fire to the archives containing the records of indebtedness. On the following day they succeeded in investing the Antonia Fortress, to the north of the Temple, which was held by a Roman garrison. This was the moment Josephus chose to take refuge in the Inner Temple. What he purports to have been merely an act of prudence can be interpreted as a rallying to the side of the war party, which was headquartered in the Temple at the time Josephus' subsequent connexion with the war is probably due this misunderstanding.

The civil war reached into the very sanctuary of the Timple itself. A certain Menahem (a descendant of Judah the Galilean), whe was already in contol of the fortress at Masada, had come to give the Jerusalem insurgents a hand. However, Menahem had also committed the first murder in this merciless struggle by having the hight priest Ananias and his brother, Ezechias, who had rallied the royal troops, put to death. The priest Eleazar, the actual leader of the uprising, grew increasingly impatient at the attempts that were being made to replace him. Menahem even went so far as to ascend to the Temple dressed in royal robes, symbolizing his desire for power. He and his followers were caught in a torrent of stones thrown by Eleazar's partisans. A few managed to escape the city and make their way back to Masada, but some, including Menahem himself, were executed.

From inside the Temple, where he had taken refuge, Josephus could now foresee the fratricidal dimensions of a war he had never wanted.

The early military successes of the insurgents created an intoxication that was to lead to catastrophe. In a few short days a handful of hotheads, who had armed themselves with whatever they could lay their hands on, had managed to force the capitulation of the royal troops, followed by those of the Roman garrison, who were massacred. Two months later, Cestius Gallus, governor of Syria, who had finally been alerted, marched on Jerusalem; he suffered a number of reverses en route and finally, despairing of being able to retake the city as easily as he had hoped, he beat a retreat and let his army be cut to pieces. It was a brilliant victory for the Jewish combatants, who had suffered very few losses while accounting for nearly six thousand dead among the Roman ranks and amassing an enormous booty of redoubtable and fearful engines of war.

The clear sightedness upon which Josephus prides himself, all the while deploring this lamentable victory, is very like an optical illusin after the fact, one of which he himself may have been the first victim. In fact, his position at the heart of events is far from clear. It even appears that he may have purposely acted in an ambiguous manner in order to avoid falling victim to one of the two camps.

Rejoining the Pharisee notables after Menahem,s execution, he was no less embarrassed than they at the decision now facing them. To go against the insurgents was to invite execution; the most one could hope was to calm their militant ardor and wait for which seemed inevitable. Looking back on the events, Josephus states that he and his friends were counting on Cestius' victory to restore order: We had hopes that ere long Cestus would come up with a large army and quell the revolution".

Thus, far from feeling proud of his people's victory over an enemy who was technologically far superior, Josephus bemoans the illusion of power the victory had instilled in the insurgents; in the normal course of events, Cestius should have won and the war been over in the first months of the uprising. November of the year 66. The insane notion that the insurgent movement might actually have a chance of success had caused the fighting to drag on for more than three years, at the price of incalculable misery. Josephus eventually came to believe that these early military successes, which had been almost unbelievable given the balance of forces involved, were evidence of the hand of God meting out punishment to his impious people: "But God, I suppose, because those miscreants, had already turned away even from His sanctuary and ordained that the day should not see the end of the war". Perhaps, in reference to prophecy and what is written in the new Testament, His Divine Majesty was indeed angry at the Jews.

Following Cestius' disastrus defeat, "many distinguished Jews abandoned the city with all haste". Those Josphus cites by name were overt paaaaartisans of King Agrippa. As for Josephus, he had elected to remain in Jerusalem even though it was obvious that the war was going to go on with even greater ferocity. Perhaps, in spite of what he says, he had begun to believe that Rome could indeed be defeated, or perhaps he had merely given in to the prevailing exultand mood: "Those who were bent on war were therby still more elated and, having once defeated the Romans, hoped to continue victorious to the end". How can any student or author draw a view point such as listed above on Josephus. Josephus has proven himself as a professional, highly religious, that is his loyalty to his God and Country. No man of patriotism will desert his country when needed regardless of the difference in political views. He will stand like a rock and serve whatever capacity his country calls him to serve.

Josephus admits that "those bent on war" were extremely persuasive:"The Jews who had pursued Cestius, on their return to Jerusalem, partly by force, partly by persuasion, brought over to their side such pro-Romans as still remained. Many professors and students of history really thinks that Josephus, who clearly had not wanted war in the beginning, kept his profound misgivings and apprehensions to himself for a time and apparently allowed himself to be won over by the contagious high spirits of his compatriots. How else, they say explain his aceptance of the command of Galilee, a key region, when it was offered to him by the rebels. If Josephus was made up of the same weakness as his accusers, his judges and those who evaluates him than I would agree. But I will refer you agan to his profile. Josephus did no less than any other patriot or citizen by accepting the responsibility in which he was commissioned. Don't foget responsibilities are awesome.

Josephus' duties were at once administrative, judicial, and military, evidence that the people had entrusted him with the power hitherto exercised by the Roman perfect. Clearly, then, his mission was hostile to Rome; this is understandable without mention of it. When will professors and authors learn to report the news and historical facts as they are and not bore their reader with commentaries.

Up until the present, we have dealt only with the situation in Jerusalem. The state of the rest of the country and surounding regions was no less disturbing. Since the establishment of Roman dominion the old rivalries between Jews and pagans had grown sharper in all the cities with mixed populations, from Alexandria to Damascus, and including the coastal cities attached to the province of Syria and those in Cisjordan. Upon learning of the events that had taken place in Jerusalem, the pagans in many of these cities drew the conclusion that Rome now regarded ther Jewish fellow citizens as veritable outlaws and that there was thus very little to stop them from massacring them. Caesarea, where intercommand conflict had become especially bitter, managed to rid itself of its Jews "in less than an hour".

In Alexandria a confrontation between Jews and Greeks had degenerated into a bloody riot, and Tiberius Alexander, the then Perfect of Egypt, had fifty thousand of his former coreligionist massacred by the Army. In Damascus, 10,500 unarmed Jewish males assembled in a gymnasium were massacred unbeknowst to their wives, most of whom were converts. Elsewhere, the Jews destroyed the pagan cities, but as Scythopolis (Beth-Shan) those who had not hesitated to take up arms against their coreligionists who were laying siege to the city were later to be slaughtered by the pagans they had been assisting. Thus, Galilee was surrounded with hostile cities that had rid themselves of their Jewish inhabitants by the end of the summer or autumn of 66. And to the east of the Lake of Tiberias lay the lands of King Agrippa II, who was still loyal to the Romans.

On his way from Antioch----the seat of the government of Suria---to Jerusalem, where he had hoped to crush the uprising, Cestius Gallus had secured Galille. Sepphoris, the capital of the Jewish----populated region, had hailed the arrivdal of his troops, while Rome's enemies had taken to the hills. When Josephus arrived, the city was to all appearances a pro--Roman enclave in a region rife with insurrection. Three parties were faced off against each other in Tieberias, one of which was openly favorable to Rome.

The indications are that Josphus had been entrusted by the faction in power in Jerusalem to raise the territory as a whole against Rome. The region was divided geographically into two parts. Lower and Upper Galilee, to which was added the impregnable fortress of Gamala in the Golan. According to Josephus' second and more enigmatic account of his mission, he was to persuade "the brigands"---that is, those who had gone into hiding---to "lay down their arms" and use them solely against important members of the population or "to ensure peace in Galilee". More probably, Josephus had been entrusted with bringing under his command all the disparate groups that had sprung up spontaneously. Nor does this aspect of his mission contradict the other. Indeed, he had first to establish his authority over an area in which anarchy was fast gaining a foothoild, and this was all the more urgent in that Galilee, which abutted directly onto the Roman province of Syria, would in all likelihood be the first to be attacked.

In carrying out his unifying mission Josephus was to rely on persuasion rather than force: indeed this was an immutable part of his Character. Agan it appears that many authors, and students possesses a limited amount of intelligence and vision; For instance in describing the unifying mission of Josephus they further write, "Above all, he tells us, he tried to win the affection of the Galileans, and his account of how he went about it is not entirely devoid of vanity".

Josephus was aware that he was a newcomer to the region and fearful of not being accepted owing to his youth, "he was only twenty-nine years of age" he decided to concentrate on the local notables, win them over to his side, and then, with their help, persuade the rest of the population to follow. He began by appointing a council of seventy Galileans selected from among a group of mature men known for their good judgment. This council, a kind of local Sanhedrin over which he himself presided (thereby making up the total seventy-one members required under Jewish law), exercised administrative and judiciary functions. All important matters, including criminal proceedings, were brought before it. Josephus took particular care to maintain friendly relations with the members of this council so as to control the rest of the region through them.

Above all, Josephus strove to organise the territoy's defenses---indeed, such was his primary task. He fortified the cities and larger towns. He supervised this work personally, both assisting in and directing the operations. He also saw to laying in supplies of corn and arms "for their future security". In all Galilee he managed to raise an army of one hundred thousand young men. The region was a fertile and densely populated one---the smallest town had at least fifteen thousand inhabitants--and its men were famous for their strength and their bravery in combat. However, Josephus was not unaware that in one area the Roman army was unmatchable: its organisation. Knowing the enemy he was to face, he tried to organis his army "as much like the Roman as possible." He set up a complex military hierarchy, taught his troops the elements of military tactics, and tried to instill them with a rigorous discipline.

Where had Josephus learned the art of war? On this he is silent. True, in those days any young, healthy man was a potential soldier, just as any nobleman was expected to be a leader of troops. To a large extent Josephus owed his post to his social status, but he may also have owed it to the knowledge he had gained by observing the workings of the Roman army, a knowledge he could have displayed to others in Jerusalem prior to assuming his command. Indeed, he gives a precise and lucid description of this army that is equaled only by the one provided by the Greeks historian Polybius, who, writing a century before Josephus, was also attempting to understand the inner workings of the power that had conquered his homeland.

Thus Josephus mustered a considerable army (60,000 foot soldiers and 350 cavalrymen, plus 4,500 merecenaries and 600 personal bodyguards) without having to disorganize the cities, in which a part of the able-bodied population was made responsible for supplying food to all, civilian and military.

If Josephus actually behaved as he say he did, why then did so many suspicions about him begin to spring up at this time? Was it really only because, at barely thirty years of age, "it is hard, especially in a position of high authority, to escape the calumnies of envy"? Think also in the terms of others who desires such a position to use for their own personal ambition.

Josephus' duties were at once administrative, judicial, and military, evidence that the people had entrusted him with the power hitherto exercised by the Roman perfect. Clearly, then, his mission was hostile to Rome; this is understandable without mention of it. When will professors and authors learn to report the news and historical facts as they are and not bore their reader with commentaries.

Up until the present, we have dealt only with the situation in Jerusalem. The state of the rest of the country and surounding regions was no less disturbing. Since the establishment of Roman dominion the oldl rivalries between Jews and pagans had grown sharper in all the cities with mixed populations, from Alexandria to Damascus, and including the coastal cities attached to the province of Syria and those in Cisjordan. Upon learning of the events that had taken place in Jerusalem, the pagans in many of these cities drew the conclusion that Rome now regarded ther Jewish fellow citizens as veritable outlaws and that there was thus very little to stop them from massacring them. Caesarea, where intercommand conflict had become especially bitter, managed to rid itself of its Jews "in less than an hour".

In Alexandria a confrontation between Jews and Greeks had degenerated into a bloody riot, and Tiberius Alexander, the then Perfect of Egypt, had fifty thousand of his former coreligionist massacred by the Army. In Damascus, 10,500 unarmed Jewish males assembled in a gymnasium were massacred unbeknowst to their wives, most of whom were converts. Elsewhere, the Jews destroyed the pagan cities, but as Scythopolis (Beth-Shan) those who had not hesitated to take up arms against their coreligionists who were laying siege to the city were later to be slaughtered by the pagans they had been assisting. Thus, Galilee was surrounded with hostile cities that had rid themselves of their Jewish inhabitants by the end of the summer or autumn of 66. And to the east of the Lake of Tiberias lay the lands of King Agrippa II, who was still loyal to the Romans.

On his way from Antioch----the seat of the government of Suria---to Jerusalem, where he had hoped to crush the uprising, Cestius Gallus had secured Galille. Sepphoris, the capital of the Jewish----populated region, had hailed the arrivdal of his troops, while Rome's enemies had taken to the hills. When Josepkhus arrived, the city was to all appearances a pro--Roman enclave in a region rife with insurrection. Three parties were faced off against each other in Tieberias, one of which was openly favorable to Rome.

The indications are that Josphus had been entrusted by the faction in power in Jerusalem to raise the territory as a whole against Roime. The region was divided geographically into two parts. Lower and Upper Galilee, to which was added the impregnable fortress of Gamala in the Golan. According to Josephus' second and more enigmatic account of his mission, he was to persuade "the brigands"---that is, those who had gone into hiding---to "lay down their arms" and use them solely against important members of the population or "to ensure peace in Galilee". More probably, Josephus had benn entrusted with bringing under his command all the disparate groups that had sprung up spontaneously. Nor does this aspect of his mission contradict the other. Indeed, he had first to establish his authority over an area in which anarchy was fast gaining a foothold, and this was all the more urgent in that Galilee, which abutted directly onto the Roman province of Syria, would in all likelihood be the first to be attacked.

In carrying out his unifying mission Josephus was to rely on peresuasion rather than force: indeed this was an immutable part of his Character. Agan it appears that many authors, and students possesses a limited amount of intelligence and vision; For instance in describing the unifying mission of Josephus they further write, "Above all, he tells us, he tried to win the affection of the Galileans, and his account of how he went about it is not entirely devoid of vanity".

Josephus was aware that he was a newcomer to the region and fearful of not being accepted owing to his youth, "he was only twenty-nine years of age" he decided to concentrate on the local notables, win them over to his side, and then, with their help, persuade the rest of the population to follow. He began by appointing a council of seventy Galileans selected from among a group of mature men known for their good judgment. This council, a kind of local Sanhedrin over which he himself presided (thereby making up the total seventy-one members required under Jewish law), exercised administrative and judiciary functions. All important matters, including criminal proceedings, were brought before it. Josephus took particular care to maintain friendly relations with the members of this council so as to control the rest of the region through them.

Above all, Josephus strove to organise the territoy's defenses---indeed, such was his primary task. He fortified the cities and larger towns. He supervised this work personally, both assisting in and directing the operations. He also saw to laying in supplies of corn and arms "for their future security". In all Galilee he managed to raise an army of one hundred thousand young men. The region was a fertile and densely populated one---the smallest town had at least fifteen thousand inhabitants--and its men were famous for their strength and their bravery in combat. However, Josephus was not unaware that in one area the Roman army was unmatchable: its organisation. Knowing the enemy he was to face, he tried to organis his army "as mudh like the Roman as possible." He set up a complex military hierarchy, taught his troops the elements of military tactics, and tried to instill them with a rigorous discipline.

Where had Josephus learned the art of war? On this he is silent. True, in those days any young, healthy man was a potential soldier, just as any nobleman was expected to be a leader of troops. To a large extent Josephus owed his post to his social status, but he may also have owed it to the knowledge he had gained by observing the workings of the Roman army, a knowledge he could have displayed to others in Jerusalem prior to assuming his command. Indeed, he gives a precise and lucid description of this army that is equaled only by the one provided by the Greeks historian Polybius, who, writing a century before Josephus, was also attempting to understand the inner workings of the power that had conquered his homeland.

Thus Josephus mustered a considerable army (60,000 foot soldiers and 350 cavalrymen, plus 4,500 merecenaries and 600 personal bodyguards) without having to disorganize the cities, in whidh a part of the able-bodied population was made responsible for supplying food to all, civilian and military.

If Josephus actually behaved as he say he did, why then did so many suspicions about him begin to spring up at this time? Was it really only because, at barely thirty years of age, "it is hard, especially in a position of high authority, to escape the calumnies of envy"? Think also in the terms of others who desires such a position to use for their own personal ambition.

Agan I will quote some authors and students of this proud, patriotic and a man with a sense of responsibilty for his country. Evidently most of these writers, professors do not have a keen sense to evaluate a man of a statue of Josephus. "Proud of his name, his title, and his status as Jerusalem's representative in that agricultural province, Josephus expected to rally all of Galilee to his side. But in defense of what cause? Throughout this period, he describes himself as the Romans' adversary, but did he ever really seriously plan to go against them? Once away from the fanatical atmosphere of Jerusalem, which had caused him to be given his command, did he perhaps begin to have doubts? In any event, he did not behave as expected, and he quickly began to arouse suspicions".

As he relays them to us, the orders received from Jerusalem could not have been more imprecise: "They advised me to remain at my post and take precautions for Galilee, retaining my colleagues, if willing to stay". Many writters and students would think and write, AS FOLLOWS: "Given the cirumstances, it is difficult to understand why his first move turned out to be that of a religious fanatic: he set out to raze the palace of the tetarch Herod on the pretext that it contained "representations of living things," forbididden by the Jewish law. To do this, he seeems to have needed the authorizations of the Council in Tiberias, and he made every effort to persuade its members that the operation was necessary". While the pro-Roman party, which favored the Herodian family, was reticent, the anti-Roman faction quickly fell in with Josephus' plan and, after having pillaged the palace, set fire to the structure. Josephus, furious at this precipitate act, quickly took steps to lay hands on the booty, which he discreetly turned over to the pro-Roman notables with the intention, he tells us, of returning it later to King Agrippa II, the legal owner of the pillaged goods. "Was his fury due only to moral scruples?" To evaluate a cirucumstance, an event or human being, such as the above, one must study and be familiar with subjects background and behavior. There are too many conventional thinking people whose capabilities are limited opposed to a person who is more of the Genuis Class or a socialite who observes an individual as the individual reveals self in performance and behavior. In Joaephus case he recognized himself as being superior to most in background, wisdom and knowledge, and perhaps dedicated more to the God they worshipped than most, giving him a more pure mind, or more of God's Grace. Jospehus recognized responsibility as awsome and sacred, where most men of conventional thinkers wear it as a badge of merit to enhance their ego. Had not Josephus been commissioned on a diplomatic mission to Rome to free Jewish hostages. His tour took him all the way to Nero's Wife, Poppaea for him to successfully conclude this muission. During his travels, did he not observe the might of Rome and study their war machine. After this observation did he not submit a report of his findings or evaluation to the proper authorities and made recommendation concerning the folly of war with Rome at this time.

There is a similar account of another incident that occurred shortly afterward. Some young men from Dabaritta had ambushed the wife of a cetain Ptolemy, one of Agrippa II's lieutenants. Proud of their exploit against the opposing party, they brought the booty to the governor-general as a prize of war, expecting to receive some reward in return. They were dumbfounded when Josephus preached morality to them (Jewish law forbad plunder, even of one's enemies) and refused to give them even the smallest part of the booty, maintaining that the money must go to reinforce the ramparts in Jereusalem. Even Josephus, however, admits that such was not the case, for the fruits of their kidnapping were secretely handed over to notables who were close friends of King Agrippa II. Although the secret of the exchange was well guarded, word began to spread through the villages around Tiberias that the young governor sent from Jerusalem was a traitor. In both these instances, then, although purportedly inspired by religious scruples, Josephus was really acting in the interest of King Agrippa II, who was still allied with Rome.

A breach was created between Josphus and a well known figure in the region, John of Gischala, who was to become Josephus implacable enemy. John of Gischala who would liked to have replaced Josephus so that he could use his power and resources for his own personal gain started the rumors of Josephus being a traitor. For instance John had wanted to take control of the imperial corn stored in the region in order to sell it and use the money to rebuild the walls of his city, so he said. Faced witfh Josephus' firm refusal, he applied to the two priest from Jerusalem, who had accompanied him, obtained their agreement by bribing them and acted couter to the insrtructions of Josephus....who, at one against twko, was obliged to give in. But what did the governor-general of Galilee want with this corn? "As the authority entrusted to me by the Jerusalem authorities extended to that district, I intended to reserve the corn either for the Romans or for my own use". Some writers and scholors writes or advocatee; "was this an admission of treason?" They continue to write, It is not that simple. In that early organisation period Josephus was obviously not eager to enter into conflict with the Roman army; the confiscation of the inmperial corn gave the governor of Syria a pretext for intervening in Galilee.The formulation 'reserve the corn for the Romans'is suspicious", but we must not forget that Josephus, who was writing about the event thirty years later in Rome, may have had some reason for altering the motive of his actions after the fact".

Aware of the enemity that John bore him, Josephus was nevertheless obliged to provide him with the means to fights by agreeing to go along with what he describes as a "base" dealing. Oil cost ten times less in Gischala, a region of olive trees, than it did in Caesarea Phillippi. Since in those days the Jews refused to use the pagan's oil of unctions, which was deemed impure, the Jews of Caesarea Phillippi ordered some from John, who was making a considerable profit thereby, to Josephus' immense chagrin. On the surface there was nothing wrong with the transaction, but years later Josephus was still enraged by it. If he allowed it to concur, he writes, it was "for fear of being stoned by the mob if I witheld it". In fact, it was easy for John to rouse the people against a leader they already suspected of treason.

Although he maintains that he was constantly being assured of the people's favor, there were several occasions on which Josephus nearly perished because of the Galileans. After the Dabaritta affair, the perpetrators, furious at Josephus' reaction, had gone around the countryside rousing the populace against the "traitor." Encouraged by John, not only the poulace, but the anti-Roman party in Tiberias, which was led by the city's archon, Jesus son of Saphias. Overnight, the coalition managed to assemble a hundred thousand armed men in the city of Taricheae, where Josphus was residing.

While Josephus slept, his personal bodyguards and soldiers were summoned to the hippodrome where, in the absence of the accused, a kind of impromptu trial for treason was being held. Jesus son of Saphias was the most assiduous prosecutor. Brandishing a scroll of the Torah, he invoked the interests of the fatherland and respect for the faith. The popular verdict was unanimous; death to the traitor! The only disagreement were on the method of execution: should Josephus be stoned or burned alive? The second solution was probably the one preferred (at least by the most fanatical led by Jesus), for Josephus was awakened at dawn to find that his house had been set afire. Although Simon, his faithful bodyguard urged him to kill himself (the only death worthy of a general), he instead gave a striking demonstration of his principal quality, the key to his survival thoughout all this tumultuous period, namely, an extraordinary presence of mind.

Determined to stake everything on one throw, Josphus dressed himself as a penitent (black roves, according to one version;torn clothing, head strewn with ashes, according to another) Wearing a sword hung round his neck, khe took and indirect route to the place of trial, the hippodrome, where his unexpected appearance created a sensation. Prostrating himself, weeping, he showed all the signs of immense contrition. Some were immediatellky moved; hoping to turn the ficle crowd in his favor, Josephus then askekd to speak: Yes, he had sequestered the precious articles stolen by the young men from Dabaritta, but he had never intended to return them to their rightful owner; no, he had set them aside to pay for the building of a rampart at Taricheae: "If this does not meet your approval, I am prepared to produce what was brought to me and leave you to plunder it; if, on the contrary, I have consulted your best interest, do not punish your benefactor".

The tense silence that had accompanied his speech was followed by a wild uproar. Josephus had won: the grateful people of Taricheaae had come over to his side; the crowd was now divided. In order to win over the rest of the Galileans, their governor-genereal promised that they too would havc new ramparts. Sensing that he was regaining the advantage, Josephus even went so far as to reproach the crowd, which an instant before had been calling for his death, for being so precipitate. He then persuaded the people to disperse and return to their homes. A few diehards (six hundred or two thousand, according to the version) remained unconvinced and returned to surround his house.

Quoting certain writers and students: "Once again Josephus gave proof of his prime quality---let us give it the same name he does, with no hint of pejorative: guile or cunning. Throughout antiquity (we need only think of Ulysses), cunning is synonymous with intelligence--thus Josephus' preopensity to brag about his cleverness". (I despise the jackass class attempting to evaluate or associate with the thourghbred class, Don't you)? Barricaded in his house, he addressed the besiegers from the roof: they wanted to recover the booty? Then let them send someone in to get it "The most enterprising of them" was delegated to do so, but a while later he was returned to his friends in pitiable condition: he had been flogged to the bone and sent back with one of his own severed hands hung around his neck. The mob, cowed, withdrew.

The quarrel with John soon turned into open war. Assured of the support of Gischala, his birthplace, John attempted to raise Tiberias, Galilee's largest city against Josephus: of the three parties vying for power in Tiberias, two were already hostile to the young governor sent from Jerusalem. Ignoring the anti-Roman party led by Jesus son of Saphias, Josephus in his writings attacks the leader of the second party, Justus son of Pistos, with unparalleled violence, maintaining that by pretending to be hesitant about entering into the conflict, he had been hoping to take advantage of the situation to seize power for himself. To make things worse, Justus (as we shall see) was later to commit the crime of writing his own history of the war, one that did not completely agree with Josephus' version. (That work, like so many objectivity), has disappeared, and its loss is most unfortunate for the objectivity of our data). "I DOUBT IT"!! Consider Justus background and behavior pattern.

John who had not so far come out openly against Josephus, now asked for (and easil obtained) permission to go to Tiberias to take the waters, and in two days there he fomented his plans. As soon as he had been informed of John's activities by his own representative in the city, Josephus set out for Tiberias by forced march. As Josephus prepared to address the populace in the stadium, John's henchmen surged toward him. Warned by the shouts of the crowd, Josephus on this occasion owed his life to his own physical prowess; from the knoll on which he was standing he jumped down onto the bank of the lake below, leaped into a boat, and managed to escape with two of his bodyguards.

Josephus, now fully aware of John's enmity toward him, sets out to undermine his adversary's credibility with the Galileans. He lauched what amounted to a negative publicity campaign against John and using both persuasion and intimidation, won many over to his side. He even resorted to denunciation: he demanded a list of John's supporters in every city and demanded that those whose names appeared on it either defect to him or have their property confiscated and their houses burned to the ground.

Galilee was now very close to civil war.

The inevitable has arrived in full force: A commission of Inquiry into the behavior, and competence of Josephus, the governor-general. Joh, bereft of his troops, decided to apeal directly to Jerusalem. Convinced that the governor-general was not faithfullly performing the mission for which he had been appointed, John dispatched to Jerusalem a delegatin led by his own brother, Simon, with instructions to make a full report. Josephus maintains that he was accused of being amitious and aspireing to play a tyrant's role; here, by suggesting a patently absurd grievance, he may be trying to conceal the real complaint made against him,i.e., treason. (WHY HIDE THE COMPLAINT WHEN ONE WILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT IN COURT...How can educated people be so absurd...Mabe not so much education as it is the academic enviroment that one exist in, one can learn to be ignorant as well as educated).

John's envoy made an immediate splash in Jerusalem. Instead of addressing the military leaders of the revolt he sought out a univerally respected spiritual authority, the Phariseee Simon son of Gamaliel, who was also a friend. Simon, whom we know through the Talmud, was the son of that Gamaliel whom we know as the teacher of Saul of Tarsus, the apostle Paul (Acts 22:3). Although he was certainly not on his side in this affair, Josephus expresses great respect for Simon and pays a tribute to his intelligence, a proof of the unquestioned prestige he enjoyed.

Persuaded by John's report, Simon son of Gamaliel took steps to have Josephus recalled by the high priest Anan, who, with Joseph son of Gorion, wielded supreme power. He did not have an easy time of it: Josephus could rely on wide support in priestly circles and among the important Pharisees. When in the end Anan finally agreed to dismiss him. Josephus tells us, it was because he had been bribed to do so by John's brother.

Fearful, nevertheless, of the hostile reaction of Josephus' followers, the high priest appointed a delegation of four men, two of whom were from priestly families, to look into the activities of the governor-general of Galilee and to ask for his resignation or, if he resisted, to kill him on the spot. . .all in the greatest secrecy. However, the high priest Joshua son of Gamala, who was one of Josphus' oldest friends, was close enough to the seat of power to be informed of everything. He warned Matthias, Josephus' father, who wrote to his son posthaste.

The messenger arrived before the delegation that had been sent. The latter, led by the Pharissee Jonathan, was escorted by six hundred soldiers and a suite of three hunred, not counting the small band accompanying John's brother, and additional hundred armed men. By now, the Commission of Inquiry had begun to take on the apearance of a military espeditition: it also had a considerable budget, allocated to it out of public moneys-----forty thousand pieces of silver.

Josephus' first reaction was to reurn at once to Jerusalelm to justify his actions, leaving behind the problems that were besetting him on all sides. Events, however, were to take a very different turn: three years were to pass before Josephus would see his native city again, from the camp of its Roman besiegers, and the next time he would enter it he would enter a city in ruins, a city where he knew more of the dead than the living.

What kept Josephus in Galilee? It was popular pressure, Hordes of men, women, and children came from throughout the land to beseech him to remain, not out of fondness for him peresonally, but for fear that they would be left without protection: the people believed in himk!

The other reason was based on a dream, or vision. In fact the dream was an inspiration or the grace of God communicating with him through thought waves commanding him to remain; "Remember that thou must even battle with the Romans". His critics will magnify this experience and give many explanations mostly Josephus insomnia. His mission was to protect Galilee against the Romans. Of course he had not managed to do so yet, but he still had a while before the commission from Jerusalem would arrive. When it did,it had to find him deeply engaged in action.

The very next day Josephus assembled five thousand men (including three thousand foot soldiers) and marched on Ptolemais (Acre). (His critics would ask: " What was he trying to provoke? At least the semblance of a confrontation with the Romans, which he had hitherto so carefully avoided".

The port city of Ptolemais was a Hellenistic city populated by pagans and situated in land under Roman control. The governor of Syria had sent a certain Placidus to ptolemais with two cohorts of infantry and a squadron of cavalry. The city was to serve as a base for attacking the Jewish lands in the interior. Ptolemais was already protected by a trench moat against possible incursions, even thou there had never been any sign of such so far. Josephus set upcamp a few miles from the city near Chabulon, but he took care not to make his intentions too clear so as not to provoke any enemy response. In fact, his sudden bellicose posturing was less for the benefit of the Romans than for the imminenst Commission of Inquiry. He was well aware that the Commission would summon him to come to meet it (which, indeed, it did)and sensed a trap. Folloing the age-old Hebrew proberb, "Where wine enters,secrets emerge," he managed to get the Commission's envoy drunk and induce him to talk, and upon hearing his words he realized that his supicious were only too-well founded. Were he to proceed alone to the meeting with Jonathan and his colleagues, he would be seized: if he went with troops, he would be viewed as guilty of high treason. He had, however, a pretext already prepared for disobeying the summons, and he promptly wrote the Commission: "I am here at Chabulon, keeping watch on Placidus, who is meditating an incursion up contry into Galilee".

Much irritated, Jonathan and his friends continued to press Josephus: they summoned him to appearin Gabara within three days, unescorted. instead of obeying this second order, he set out with three thousand men for the fortress at Jotapata and sent back a firm message: "If you seriously desire me to come to you, there are two hundred and four cities and villages in Galilee. I will come to whichever of these you may select, Gabara and Gischala excepted: the latter being John's native place and the former in league and alliance with him".

The commision, seeing that its real intentions had been unmasked now broke off the correspondence. At John's urging, its members prepared to raise the whole of Galilee against its governor-geneeral.Josephus who was alerted to these plans by a deserter, was to be proclaimed a public enemy. Other missives were intercepted that called upon the towns of Galilee to arm themselves against him.

Taking the initiative, Josephus then began to incite Galilee to rise against the foe. He recruited reinforcements in the villages and proceeded to Gabara surrounded by a large troop of loyal followers. Carefully by passing the castle where the Commission of Inquiry was awaiting his visit, he only made a pretence of sleeping in camp with his troops. His adversaries attempted to seize this opportunity to rally his troops against him. But Josephus had been keeping a weather eye open, and his unexpected reappearance thwarted the maneuver and allowed him to provide another illustration of one of his prime qualities: eloquence. He had a wondereful ability to sway a crowd: producing the letters he had intercepted, he aroused his audience to great indignation by reading out their contents. In demanding that the Commission of Inquiry proceed according to the rule of law and allow him to call witnesses on his behalf, he was only calling for simple justice: by gaining the applause of the listening Galileans, he was showing the Commission how dangerous it would be to lay hands on such a popular man. Next, he magnanimously protected his adversaries from the aroused mob and offered them a pardon, which they grudgingly accepted

The least one can say of Josephus on this occasion is that he could well have seized the occasion to wreak vengeance on his foes and that, by mastering his resentment, he avoided civil war. Calming the crowd after having roused it to a frenzy, he led the mob off to another village and prepared to proceed via diplomacy rather than arms. He selected a hundred notables of respectable age and sent them to plead his cause at Jerusalem and to demand the withdrawal of the Commission of Inquiry. There is, however, one disturbing element to save time, the delegation was instructed to proceed through Aamaria, where Josephus had friends to protect it. Now,Samaria was totally under Roman control: the Commission of Inquiry had probably avoided the region, since it had taken several days to get from Jerusalem to Galilee. Josephus' delegation, however, made the trip in the other direction in only three days. Who were these friends entrusted with protecting its security when it crossed Samaria? Another highly suspect detail. (This not my question or analysis).

The Commission of Inquiry, for its part, while pretending friendship, did lay down its arms. Its members, supported by two leaders of local parties, Jesus son of Saphias and Justus son of Pistos, began to try to turn the people of Tiberias against Josephus, taking advantage of the Sabbath when all the faithful were assembled in the synagogue. Warned by his spies, Josephus arrive in Tiberias at dawn the following day, foiling his adveersaries' ruse and catching them in the act. He found them publicly accusing him of spending his time carousing and doing nothing to protecrt Galilee against the imminent Roman attacks. With his usual presence of mind, Josephus once again succeeded in putting his enemies in a bad light: the Romans were attacking the borders at four points; to stop them, he was prepared to entrust the command of a division to Jonathan and his three colleagues on the Commission, while he himself would command a fifth: "It becomes brave men (I urged) to give not merely advice but practical assistance by assuming the lead in an emergency".

Having been thus brought up short, Josephus' foes resorted to trickery. One of the members of the Commission proposed that the young Ananias be proclaimed general on the following day. Everyone was to assemble in one place, unarmed, to beseech divine assistance. Suspecting a plot, Josephus went to the synagogue the next day wearing a breastplate and sword beneath his cloak and accompanied by two faithful bodyguards who were also armed with concealed daggers. In the event, of his party only he and his two guards were allowed to enter the precincts. The archon Jesus son of Saphias then attempted to pick a quarrel with Josephus over the booty seized at Dabaritta. Sensing the growing impatience of the assemby, which had no notion of the real purpose of the meeting. Jonathan finally revealed his true intentions. On this occasion Jesephus owed his life to his forethought in bringing armed body guards.

Fleeing his other enemy, John, who was now on the march in his pursuit, Josephus fled by boat to Taricheae, where he awaited the return of the delegation he had sent to Jeerusalelm. Its arrival brought the fulfilllment of all his hopes: his mandate over Galilee was confirmed, and the Commmission of Inquiry was recalled to Jerusalem. Josephus rejoiced and quickly disseminated the decision that had been brought from the capital. At John's instigation, his adveraries, much chagrined, tried one last maneuver. Of the four members of the Commission, two were to remain in Tiberias, where they were in control of the city, and two other, Jonathan and Ananias, would return to plead their cause in Jerusalem. Josephus managed to intercept them at the southern border of Galilee and take them prisoner. He tricked a third member of the Commisssion, capturing him in Tibereias itself, and rapidly took over that city after threatening a siege. He does not tell us the number of victims, but this time there had actually been a beginning of civil armed conflict.

Thus, after a dramatic strugle Josephus had finally managed to rid himself of the Commission of Inquiry once and for all. With the four culprits in chains and at his mercy, he then made the noble gesture of freeing them and dispatching them back to Jerusalem under guard. Confirmed in his post, he would henceforth have a free hand in Galilee, and to prove that he can indeed perform his mission with which he had been entrusted.

The Roman's Are Comming

Up until the spring of the year 67 Josephus had been engaged mainly in dealing with the civil disorders in the turbulent region over which he had been appointed governor-general. The Romans took care to remain out of sight, lurking as it were in the shadows to gather the fruits of the disunity rife in their enemy's camp. As a matter of fact, however, such cynical patience was not in the Roman character. Their apparent passivity was due solely to the distance that separated them from the supreme fount of all decisions, their emperor. As soon as Rome had selected its champion on the ground, in the pereson of Vespaian, Josephus found himself plunged into a fateful battle in which, unable to win, he was forced to practice the only art available to him: the art of survival.

Tge monstrous portrait Latin historians have left us of Nero can make us forget that he sometimes acted as a true emperor of Rome. The news of Cestius' defeat in Judea had plunged him into a state of deep and lasting depression. The empire's majesty had been flouted by a handful of Eastern barbarians. A check must quickly be put to their pretensions if Rome intended to continue to reign over the world and Nero over Rome. And indeed, Nero's time was growing short, for he was to be assassinated a few months later. However, there can be no doubt that in entrusting the command of the Judean ampaign to Vespasian he had ensured the emperors survival. In his later awareness of the decisive importance of Nero's selection of Vespasian, Josephus was to write that in his choice Nero must have been inspired by God.

Now fifty-seven years of age, Vespasian was a general who had gone gray in the Job. During the reign of Claudius he had distinguished himself in campaigns against the Germans and the Bretons. The empire owed to him its expansion beyond the confines of the European continent to southern Britain. When the imperial favor fell upon him, he was accompaning Nero on a voyage to Achaia in Greece. His appointment which was dictated by necessity, pulled him back from the brink of disgrace. The Bard-Emperor had noticed that Vespasian had a habit of napping through his recitals, when he couldn't manage to avoid attending them altogether. To punish him, he had been banished from the court and forbidden to attend public ceremonies. Vespasian was keeping out of sight, expecting the worst, when he suddenly found himself pulled out of retirement. Nero considered the situation in Judea serious enough to merit the dispatch of his most experienced generaL He also knew that Vespasian had a valuable assistant in Titus, one of his sons. He therefore invested Vespasian with the command with all the good feelings a despot can display when forced to call upon his last resource. Nor was Nero stingy when it came to suppling his general with the wherewithal for his task, putting three Legions at Vespasian's disposal.

As soon as Vespasian had received his command at Nero's hand, his considerable organisational gifts came into play. Titus was dispatched to Alexandria by sea, whence he was to bring the XVth Legion up to the field of operations. Vespasian himself crossed the Hellespont and marched by land on Antioch, the capital of the province of Syria and seat of its governor, the third city of the empire after Rome and Alexandria. At the head of two legions, the Vth and the Xth, he effected a rendevous in Antioch with the troops of King Agrippa II, who had come to pledge his allegiance, and then descended toward Ptolemais (today Acre), in Tyre, on the western border of Galilee. The Roman camp continued to grow: squads of cavalry arrived from Caesarea and Syria, and in addition to Agrippa, the other kings of the region---Antiochus of Commagene, Soaemus of Emesa (Homs, Syria), and the Arab Malchus, all eager to please Rome, sent elite troops of archers and knights, making and effective total of sixty thousand men, not counting sevants. To this must be added considerable advantages on the groumd. the main one being the support of the city of Sepphoris, in the heart of Galilee.

Sepphorism, in the beginning overtly favorable to the Romans and later somewhat shakily supportive of Josephus, could not have helped by be impressed by the arrival of such a leader at the head of such a host. The city was already the headquarters of a Roman garrison. Now it offered its sevice to Vespasian, in return requesting troops to ensure its security, a request that was quickly granted. Thus, immediately upon his arrival, and without having met any resistance, Vespasian found himself being offered the largest city of Galilee and one of its strongest fortresses, protected both by its natural site and by its ramparts.

Even before Vespasian's apearance, however, Sepphoris had become the center of all the harassment operations against Josephus' troops. It had harbored six thousand foot soldiers within its walls, and a thousand horsemen were camped outside it on the plain. Incursions led by the tribune Placidus had kept Josephus on continual alert: if his troops attemped to make a sortie they were repulsed, and if they remained quietly inside some town its approaches were laid waste. When Josephus had finally attempted to retake Sepphoris by force, he found it " so strongly fortified as to render it practicallky impregnable even to the Romans".

Placidus ravaged the countryside of Galilee with fire and sword, like some outlaw chief. He reduced peasant families to slavery and massacred any battle-weary stragglers he happened to encounter, but he was brought up short when he attempted take the best defended fortress: Jotapata. There, he experienced a defeat at Josephus' mocking hand, grotesque foretaste of the awful combat of leaders in which Josephus himself would later confront Vespasian.

Vespasian delayed his arrival only to ensure his eventual success. With Titus' assistance he organised his forces in Ptolemais and drew up his plan of campaign.. When he finally gave the signal to march, the deployment was a superb one wholly in keeping with the fame of Roman arms. In the vanguard were the units furnished by his kingly allies----light infantry and archers---which acted as scouts; next came the heavily armed Roman troop, which were followed by the corps of engineers and a cavalry detachment to protect the impedimenta. Vespasian rode at the head of the elite troops of foot soldieers, cavalryman, and lancers. There followed the legionary cavalry (with a hundred and twenty horsemen per legion), war machines transported by mule, officers escorted by elite soldiery, and, finally, pereceding the bulk of the army marching in columns of six and commanded by centurions, came the insignia of all the legions grouped around the eagle, the symbol of the empire, and accompanied by trumpeters. The end of the procession was brought up by military servants in charge of the beasts of burden laden with military equipment, mercenaries, and a rear guard of foot soldiers and horsemen.

Thus accoutred, Vespasian left Ptolemais and crossed the entire region to set up camp on the border of Galilee, confident of the psychological effect that such a vast deployment of forces would surely have on his enemy.

DEMORALISATION

The sight of the Roman army and news of its exploits had stimulated the imagination of Josephus. Orders, training, discipline, equipment ---- everything about it was impressive. It was an army in which each man knew his role and his place, an army that followed a rigorous training schedule when not engaged in actual fighting. Each soldier was equipped with a weapon proper to his corps, each had a helment and breastplate. The fighting units were accompaned by a corps of engineers that could have down a forests and flatten hills in the twinkle of a little star. The war machine that were transported with the troops or constructed on the spot---scorpions, catapults, ballistas, battering rams, assault towers were awesome. The Roman soldiers, notwithstanding all this technological superiority, never engaged in battle lightly; reflection always preceded action and rash actions were severely reproved. Josephus in observing this picture of the Roman might had these complimentary words or phrase: "No wonder that the empire has extended its boundaries on the east to the Euphrates, on the west to the ocean, on the south to the most fertile tracts of Libya, on the north to the Danube and the Rhine. One might say without exaggeration that, great as are their possessions, the people that won them are greater still".

Josephus after evaluating his enemy and recognising their might and capability, he turned his thoughts to the condition and Capabilities of his own troops. Josephus had tried to organise his own troops in the Roman manner, but lack of time had made that impossible. How can a national temperament be altered overnight? How can passion be disciplined, ardor channeled, obedience instilled? One might as well try to tame a raging storm at sea or demesticate the wild zebra. Whereas the Jews believed above all in courage and daring which they have in access----the Romans had discovered one of great moving forces of our moderen societies: rationalisation. Their entire military organisation was wholly rational. That of the Jews was quite the opposite: indeed, it could even have been said that they had no organisation at all. Once in a while an act of senseless bravery or some flaw in the enemy's tacticts might vouchsafe them a victory, but could not be maintained.

Josephus was to become increasingly aware of this as the war approached. He had been kept informd of events in the south following the deceptive and all--too--easy victory over Cestius. In the ensuing eyphoria an expedition against Ascalon led by three outstanding Jewish generals had come to a sorry end, with two of them--Silas the Babylonian and John the Essene--slaughtered. The third, Niger the Perean, after a valiant struggle, had managed to survive only by hiding in a cave. Yet the Jews had been superior in number and had demonstrated an unparalled determination. The news of this defeat inspired Josephus to make a brilliant evaluation;

It was a case of an ill equipped and untrained army against a veteran army,infantry against cavalry, ragged order agains serried ranks, men casually armed against fully equipped regulars, on the one side men whose actions were directed by passion rather than policy, on the other disciplined troops acting upon the least signal from their commander". Thus, the professional army prevailed over the citizen army. While continuing to do battle with pro-Roman Sepphoris, therefore, Josephus could not help thinking that the city, with a perfect appreciation of the balance of forces, had chosen the better side.

Now, Vespasian's impressivie progress created an intense concern for Josephus. He, who ruled over a divided population, at the head of an improvised army whose numbers were in constant flux, what chance did he have against sixty thousand men led by a great conqueror? The approach of the Roman army gave him much to ponder, especially since the majority of his own troops assembed at Garis, near Seppphoris, had fled at the news, "not only before any engagement, but before they had even seen their foes”. Had he not himself once brought low the most hotheaded among the Galileans who had rallied around his mortal enemy, John? Now he had nothing but timid and indecisive men, men remained with Josephus in Garis would most likely have welcomed capitulation, but their general was the prisoner of his role

Vespasian's conduct in the field left no room for illusions. He was determined to make the Jews pay dearly for the disaster they had inflicted on Cestius. The towsn of Gabara was put to the torch, along with all the ssurrounding village, and the population was slaughtered or reduced to slavery.

While this was happening Josephus, eager to avoid waging a losing battle, withdrew to Tiberias, in the interior of Galilee.Inside the city, where dissent had been rife since the beginning of hostilities, Josephus as was his habit made a fair estimate of the situation. "Many students, Authors, and professors accuses Josephus of losing hope and being a coward by his flight to Tibesrias. If you remember in the very beginning he advised against declaring war against Rome; giving valid reasons. Nevertheless he was out voted but as a patriotic and religous citizen of Iseral he humbly accepted the assignment and the responsibilities that were assigned him". Only a short time before, Josephus had been accused of treason in that very town. Thus, notwithstanding his present difficulties, he took pains to avoid a further accusation by obtaining Jerusalem's sanction. Each sentence in the report he sent off posthaste to the leaders in the capital is carefully weighed. To display terror when confronted with the enemy's strength would have been undignified: a show of overconfidence would have had an effect opposite to the one intended,namely, a cessation of hostilities.

Josephus thus elected to transfer to his superiors court by forcing them to face up to their responsibilities. He was merely a disciplined executant; if higher powers decided to treat with the enemy, he would be glad to go along; if the struggle was to continue, then let them send him real reinforcements. He was well aware that after the unfortnate incident at Ascalon, and given the fact that Jerusalem would have to prepare for a siege sooner or later, it was highly doubtful that any such reinforcements would be sent. In drafting his letter, Josephus was disclaiming in advance all responsibility for an enevitable setback while hoping that his hints would be acted on and that he would receive an order to lay down his arms rather than expose himself to a crushing defeat. Did such an order ever come? No one knows.

Josephus was soon to be forced to act, not by orders from higher echelon but beccuse of Vespasian's actions on the grouund. Once he had protected his rear, Vespasian's had imperturbably proceeded to move eastward and was now preparing to deal with the fortress at Jotapata. He managed to flatten the rocky terrain surrounding the city and facilitate access for his troops in only four days. Next, he set up camp north on a highly visible rise where he would clearly be seen by all. By so clearly broadcasting his intentions he was almost compelling the region's governor-general to come in person to defend the threatened fortress, and (according to the person most interested in the matter) he was greatly pleased to learn that the man reputed to be his cleverest enemy was indeed about to fall into the trap. Josephus, whose morale could not have beeen lower, was forced to set off posthaste for Jotapata to raise the morale of its beleagued population.

THE SIEGE OF JOTAPATA

Jotapata was one of those impregable fortresses the Romans always seemed good at taking. Built on a peak and protected by a ring of surrounding hills, the city also had natural defenses in the form of deep ravines that surrounded it on every side but the north, where it could be reached by sloping ground. Josephus had also fortfied the fortress' ramparts at the beginning of his mandate in Galilee.

After Vespasian had disposed his forces, the inhabitantw of Jatapata found themselves encircled by a double line of infantrymen backed by a line of cavalry. On the northern slope some seven stadia distant (a stadiun equaled around six hundred feet) they could see drawn up a glittering and seemingly coutless host. The city's defenders reacted with the energy born of despair. A preliminary counterattacks continued for five days. Vespasian, now realising that the task would be harder than he had expected, then decided to throw up immense siege works. He began by building an embankment of the northern, most vulnerable, side of the city.

At this point in time Josephus probably observed for the first time the workings of a corps of military engineers of a quality unheard of in the Jewish army. The mountains in the vicinity were soon cleared of trees and a huge pile of stones assembled: protected by palisades, the Roman soldiers threw up a vast earthwork, working at quick cadence and passing all the necessay materials along to each other in brigades. When the Jews attempted to impede the work by launching various projectiles from the walls, Vespasian countered with his war machines: catapults hurled javelins, and ballistas launched stones weighing as much as a talent (approximately fifty-eight pounds), which made whistling sounds before landing and leveling the crenelated battlements, often bringing down several men at a time. Attempting to describe the power of the ballistas. during the siege, one of its stones decapitated a man and carried his head nearly three stadia away, and that a pregnant woman had her child torn from her womb and thrown a half stadia's distance. Nor were the javelinists, the troops armed with slings, or the Arabian archers idle. The besieged stopped heavy fire and instead sent out raiding parties to try to destroy the earthworks and set fire to the palisades. Nevertheless, the works continued to rise to the north.

Josephus came up with increasingly clever stratagems, affirming his reputation as the “most intelligent man among the enemies."There was only one way to parry the inexorable rise of the Romans earthwrks: the town ramparts would have to be raised. The procedure was a dangerous one, given the enemy's ballistas; to protect the laborers Josephus came up with a new idea; he stretched the hides of freshly slaughtered cattle over the palisades behind which the men were workings. The taut, dampened surface caused the stones to bounce off, deflected javelins and extinguished flaming arrows.

The besieged were beset by another enemy; THIRST! The city had sufficient foodstuffs, but its water reserves were nearly exausted and the season being in the month of July was not a propitiouss one for abundant rainfall. The rationing Josephus imposed on the population only added to the general anxiety. The besiegers had located the place where the water was distributed, and its quickly became a prime target. Josephus, who had learned to his cost the importance of good morale among his troops, now turned to psychological warfare, something at which Vespasian too was fairly practiced. Josephus staged an astonishingly daring bluff to deceive the enemy; under the eyes of the stupefied Roman, wet cloths were hung out over the ramparts and the water was allowed to trickle down the sunbaked walls of the city as it sweltered beneath the sun amid the bare hills of the parched Galilean countryside. Tired of waiting for the city's susrrender, which now began to seem even more uncertain, Veapasian held his fire which was a welcome relief to the besieged, who had no illusions about their fate and prefereed to die in battle rather than perish from thirst

Josephus' innate cleverness, inspired by the desperate situation in which he found himself, enabled him to come up with other ingenious ideas. Noting that the ravine to the west of the city was improperly guarded, he sent messengers and men to bring in supplies from that direction. To deceive the Roman sentries, the men draped themselves with animal skins and went on all fours. The Roman sentries became wise to the deception and the ravine was better guarded henceforth.

Since the situation at Jotapata was hopeless, Josephus contemplated the idea of appointing a deputy commander to replace him temporarily while he went to secure reinforcements. The Situation waa very grave. He explained to to appalled inhabitants that his presence in the city was no longer of any use but that if he were to go he could collect additional troops and open another front against the Romans, there by lightening the siege. However, when he heard the unrestrained supplications of the crowd, women with babies, old men, children, all weeping at his feet, his compassionate nature inspired him to change plans and give into their pleas. With a heroic and professional posture as was inate in him, he begain to encourage bravery, courage, and the will to oppose the enemy until death, exclaiming: "Now is the time to begin the combat, when all hope of deliverance is past. Fine it is to sacrifice life for renown and by some glorious exploits to ensure in falling the memory of posterity". His immediate action was to destroy, by burning what he could of the Roman earthworks.

The final stage of the siege now began, for the Romans' earthen platform continued to rise in spite of the Jew' ceaseless efforts to destroy it. Vespasian had been holding in reserve a war machine that Josephus was to describe with a certain awe even years later: the battering ram. A huge metal head cast to res emble that of a ram was attached to the end of a thick beam of wood, which was worked by a number of men, and no rampart was long able to withstand its repeated blows.

Had Josephus not been present, the besieged would probably have been frozen with terror when the awful machine began its work. Apart from their inability to countenance the flight of a leader in time of peril, they were also well aware of why they were so eager to retain his presence: Josephus could always be counted on to come up with something unexpected to keep their minds off their imminent death. This time, he got them to fill sacks with straw and lower them over the walls to the spot where the battering ram was at work so as to cushion its blows. The sight of the besiegers' mortification at finding their most formidable war machine thus rendered harmless must have been the last pleasures afforded the inhabitants of Jotapata. The Parry inspired another thrust, and the Romans produced long scythes with which they cut the ropes that were holding the sacks in place.

The regalvanised Jewish fighters responded with individual acts of heroism, which Josephus dutifully reported to posterity. Three of them are given posthumous citations: Eleazer son of Samaeus of Sabah, in Galilee, for having cracked the head of a battering ram by throwing a huge stone from the ramparts, descending to the base of the wall to retrieve it and then, although pierced with five arrows, climbing back up with his prize before being cut down; Netiras and Philippus, two brothers from the village of Rumah, for having single-handedly manage make a breach in the ranks of the Xth Legion.

A few other anonymous heroes, brandishing torches, continued to throw themselves against the Roman war machines and platforms, which the troops attempted to protect by covering them with dirt. One o them, taken prisoner by the enemy, withstood all kinds of torture and died crucified, a smile on his lip, without having uttered a word about the real state of affairs within the city.

History is filled with episodes that enable us to imagine how differently things could have turned out. "The Roman general was strck by an arrow, but only in the foot. Vespasian quickly quelled the dismay caused by the sight of his blood, and the siege went on.

Josephus' description of the night before the final assault takes on an epic tone. On the ramparts the besieged fought with fire against the war machines that were drawing ever closer; at night, they became easy targets for the attackers. Stones cast by the ballistas swept their ranks, bodies began to pile up, and over the dull thudding sounds of falling bodies could be heard the screams of the women. "The echo from the mountains around added to the horrible din; in short nothing can terrify ear or eye was wanting on that dreadful night.

At dawn, a section of the ramparts had given way and the defenders filled the breach with their bodies. The triple belt of troops surrounding the city had not yet moved: weapons glittered in the distance. At the foot of the breaches the elite legionnaires, wearing breastplates and with lowered lances, were backed by a cordon of cavary. Behind them were stationed archers and slingmen, read to fire. On the flank where the ramparts still held, assault ladders had already been moved into place. Seeing this awful sight, the women and children emitted the poignant cries that always seem to accompany great catastrophes. Josephus had them shut away so as not to exacerbate the tension already rampant within the fortress. He tells us that he had then decided to offer his own person and had betaken himself, not to that part of the ramparts being defended by "the fatigued and older men," but directly to where the breach had been made, accompanied by the youngest and most vigorous defenders, drawn by a lot, whom he had formed into groups of six, and "among whom he himself drew for his place to bear the brunt of the battle" (JW III, 258)

The ensuing hand-to-hand dobat was merciless. The defenders had nothing left to defend but were wreaking vengeance for their lost cause, for the slashed throats of the elderly, for the murder or enslavement of their women and children. Their bravery was fruitless against the strength of the opponent; while their numbers were steadilly dcreasing, the Romans kept bringing up fresh relief troops. Josephus came up with one final expedient. There was an abundance of olive oil, a local product, and Josephus had boiling oil poured down on the besiegers. Nor were his subordinates totally devoid of ideas; they poured fenugreek over the footbridges on the lower levels and fired down upon the Romans as they slipped and staggered across.

It took ten more days for Vespasian to invest a city he had believed already conquered. He was forced to raise the embankment he had contructed and build three siege towers, iron-clad to resist fire. These loomed over the besieged, who now had no way of avoiding the missiles being hurled down upon them. Weakened by days of constant battle and pickett duty, the defenderes saw their numbers dwindle day by day. Vespasian learned of all this from a deserter (the only deserter of the entire siege), who had a hard time convincing him of his vercitky. However, his intelligence turned out to be correct, and the attack was ordered for the last watch, when the defenders would be most exhausted. The scene of slaughter that brought the siege of Jotapata to an end is like a preview of the final days of Jerusalem, which Josephus was to witness exactly three years later. The Romans rampaged and massacred through all the towers, alleyways, hiding places, and basements of the city, sparing only women and small children, who were allowed to live only to be enslaved.

The death toll of the siege amounted to forty thousand Galileans. The city was then razed at Vespasin's orders, and the memory of Jotapata was lost for centuries.

Jotapata fell on the day the new moon of Panemos in the thirteenth year of Nero's reign, July 20. 67C.E. Josephus surrendered to the Romans after about with his own country men. His country men wanted to commit suicide, Josephus a man of responsibility and inspiration for God and Country considered such an act horrified and cowardly. Josephus in surrendering conducting himself with professional and spirtual dignity continued serving God and Mankind.

During the next three years devastation and horror reignes over Iseral. The leaders of that time being of the subterranean class of humanity took over after killing the elete. By indulging in power struggle they created famine thus causing canabalism, caused civil wars and was most brutal to thier people. After a thorough research on the subject, what matter of student or you if you can't contrast Josephus with those brutes. The war with the Romans was unwise in its entirety.


Back to Index Great Commanders