What Roman weapons, I pray you, were those by which the Jews at Cesarea were slain? On the contrary, when they were no way disposed to rebel, but were all the while keeping their seventh day festival, and did not so much as lift up their hands against the citizens of Cesarea, yet did those citizens run upon them in great crowds, and cut their throats, and the throats of their wives and children, and this without any regard to the Romans themselves, who never took us for their enemies till we revolted from them. But some may be ready to say, that truly the people of Cesarea had always a quarrel against those that lived among them, and that when an opportunity offered itself, they only satisfied the old rancor they had against them. What then shall we say to those of Scythopolis, who ventured to wage war with us on account of the Greeks? Nor did they do it by way of revenge upon the Romans, when they acted in concert with our countrymen. Wherefore you see how little our good-will and fidelity to them profiled us, while they were slain, they and their whole families, after the most inhuman manner, which was all the requital that was made them for the assistance they had afforded the others; for that very same destruction which they had prevented from falling upon the others did they suffer themselves from them, as if they had been ready to be the actors against them. It would be too long for me to speak at this time of every destruction brought upon us; for you cannot but know that there was not any one Syrian city which did not slay their Jewish inhabitants, and were not more bitter enemies to us than were the Romans themselves; nay, even those of Damascus, 1 when they were able to allege no tolerable pretense against us, filled their city with the most barbarous slaughters of our people, and cut the throats of eighteen thousand Jews, with their wives and children. And as to the multitude of those that were slain in Egypt, and that with torments also, we have been informed they were more than sixty thousand; those indeed being in a foreign country, and so naturally meeting with nothing to oppose against their enemies, were killed in the manner forementioned. As for all those of us who have waged war against the Romans in our own country, had we not sufficient reason to have sure hopes of victory? For we had arms, and walls, and fortresses so prepared as not to be easily taken, and courage not to be moved by any dangers in the cause of liberty, which encouraged us all to revolt from the Romans. But then these advantages sufficed us but for a short time, and only raised our hopes, while they really appeared to be the origin of our miseries; for all we had hath been taken from us, and all hath fallen under our enemies, as if these advantages were only to render their victory over us the more glorious, and were not disposed for the preservation of those by whom these preparations were made. And as for those that are already dead in the war, it is reasonable we should esteem them blessed, for they are dead in defending, and not in betraying their liberty; but as to the multitude of those that are now under the Romans, who would not pity their condition? and who would not make haste to die, before he would suffer the same miseries with them? Some of them have been put upon the rack, and tortured with fire and whippings, and so died. Some have been half devoured by wild beasts, and yet have been reserved alive to be devoured by them a second time, in order to afford laughter and sport to our enemies; and such of those as are 2alive still are to be looked on as the most miserable, who, being so desirous of death, could not come at it. And where is now that great city, the metropolis of the Jewish nation, which vas fortified by so many walls round about, which had so many fortresses and large towers to defend it, which could hardly contain the instruments prepared for the war, and which had so many ten thousands of men to fight for it? Where is this city that was believed to have God himself inhabiting therein? It is now demolished to the very foundations, and hath nothing but that monument of it preserved,
1Flavius Josephus, De Bello Judaico Libri VII: Machine Readable Text, ed. B. Niese (Medford, MA: Trustees of Tufts University, 2013), section: 7.361-7.376.
2Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews: Machine Readable Text, trans. William Whiston (Trustees of Tufts University, 2009), section: 7.361-7.376.
Josephus, De Bello Judaico Libri VII, in Flavii Iosephi opera, ed. Benedict Niese, vol. 6 (Berlin: Weidmann, 1885), section: 7.361-7.376.
Flavius Josephus, The Wars of the Jews, in The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus: The Celebrated Jewish Historian. Comprising the History and Antiquities of the Jews, with the Destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, and Dissertations Concerning Jesus Christ, John the Baptist, James the Just, and the Sacrifice of Isaac, Together with a Discourse on Hades, or Hell ; With His Autobiography, trans. William Whiston (Chicago: Donohue, Henneberry & Co., 1895), 498–707, section: 7.361-7.376.
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Bianca Gardner et al., “Josephus, The Jewish War 7.361-7.376.” In Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia, edited by Joseph L. Rife., edited by Joseph L. Rife. Caesarea City and Port Exploration Project,
Entry published March 30, 2020. https://caesarea-maritima.org/testimonia/39.
About this Entry
Entry Title:Josephus, The Jewish War 7.361-7.376
Authorial and Editorial Responsibility:
Joseph L. Rife, general editor, Vanderbilt University
Joseph L. Rife, editor, Caesarea Maritima: A Collection of Testimonia
Michelson, Daniel L. Schwartz, and William L. Potter, technical editors, “Josephus, The Jewish War 7.361-7.376”
Bianca Gardner and Joseph L. Rife, entry contributors, “Josephus, The Jewish War 7.361-7.376”