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Ria Hill


1454. Vespasian also, the very next day, took his whole army and followed them, and by marching till late in the evening, arrived then at Jotapata; 146and bringing his army to the northern side of the city, he pitched his camp on a certain small hill which was seven furlongs from the city, and still greatly endeavored to be well seen by the enemy, to put them into a consternation; 147which was indeed so terrible to the Jews immediately, that no one of them durst go out beyond the wall. 148Yet did the Romans put off the attack at that time, because they had marched all the day, although they placed a double row of battalions round the city, with a third row beyond them round the whole, which consisted of cavalry, in order to stop up every way for an exit; 149which thing making the Jews despair of escaping, excited them to act more boldly; for nothing makes men fight so desperately in war as necessity.




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1618. Vespasian, therefore, in order to try how he might overcome the natural strength of the place, as well as the bold defense of the Jews, made a resolution to prosecute the siege with vigor. To that end he called the commanders that were under him to a council of war, and consulted with them which way the assault might be managed to the best advantage. 162And when the resolution was there taken to raise a bank against that part of the wall which was practicable, he sent his whole army abroad to get the materials together. So when they had cut down all the trees on the mountains that adjoined to the city, and had gotten together a vast heap of stones, 163besides the wood they had cut down, some of them brought hurdles, in order to avoid the effects of the darts that were shot from above them. These hurdles they spread over their banks, under cover whereof they formed their bank, and so were little or nothing hurt by the darts that were thrown upon them from the wall, 164while others pulled the neighboring hillocks to pieces, and perpetually brought earth to them; so that while they were busy three sorts of ways, nobody was idle. 165However, the Jews cast great stones from the walls upon the hurdles which protected the men, with all sorts of darts also; and the noise of what could not reach them was yet so terrible, that it was some impediment to the workmen.


25324. In the morning Vespasian got his army together, in order to take the city [by storm], after a little recreation upon the hard pains they had been at the night before; 254and as he was desirous to draw off those that opposed him from the places where the wall had been thrown down, he made the most courageous of the horsemen get off their horses, and placed them in three ranks over against those ruins of the wall, but covered with their armor on every side, and with poles in their hands, that so these might begin their ascent as soon as the instruments for such ascent were laid; 255behind them he placed the flower of the footmen; but for the rest of the horse, he ordered them to extend themselves over against the wall, upon the whole hilly country, in order to prevent any from escaping out of the city when it should be taken; 256and behind these he placed the archers round about, and commanded them to havetheir darts ready to shoot. The same command he gave to the slingers, and to those that managed the engines, 257and bid them to take up other ladders, and have them ready to lay upon those parts of the wall which were yet untouched, that the besieged might be engaged in trying to hinder their ascent by them, and leave the guard of the parts that were thrown down, while the rest of them should be overborne by the darts cast at them, and might afford his men an entrance into the city.


26226. And thus did Josephus dispose of both his bodies of men; but then for the useless part of the citizens, the women and children, when they saw their city encompassed by a threefold army (for none of the usual guards that had been fighting before were removed), when they also saw, not only the walls thrown down, but their enemies with swords in their hands, as also the hilly country above them shining with their weapons, and the darts in the hands of the Arabian archers, they made a final and lamentable outcry of the destruction, as if the misery were not only threatened, but actually come upon them already. 263But Josephus ordered the women to be shut up in their houses, lest they should render the warlike actions of the men too effeminate, by making them commiserate their condition, and commanded them to hold their peace, and threatened them if they did not, while he came himself before the breach, where his allotment was; 264for all those who brought ladders to the other places, he took no notice of them, but earnestly waited for the shower of arrows that was coming.


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