Difference between revisions of "Harmony of the Gospel (Conservative Version) longer form Chapters 50-56"

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:"drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." This is not an image of pleasurable intoxication, of an unrestrained delight in killing the righteous as entertainment, although that is not an unreasonable interpretation, but rather an image of divine condemnation to irrevocable destruction for an unrestricted indulgence in violence and corrupt wickedness as found in the Old Testament:<br> [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+51%3A17&version=RSVCE Isaiah 51:17], [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+51%3A21-23&version=RSVCE 21-23]; <br>[https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+25%3A15-29&version=RSVCE Jeremiah 25:15-29]; <br>[https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+23%3A31-35&version=RSVCE Ezekiel 23:31-35]; <br>[https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Habakkuk+2%3A15-17&version=RSVCE Habakkuk 2:15-17]; <br>[https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Zechariah+12&version=RSVCE Zechariah 12]
:"drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." This is not an image of pleasurable intoxication, of an unrestrained delight in killing the righteous as entertainment, although that is not an unreasonable interpretation, but rather an image of divine condemnation to irrevocable destruction for an unrestricted indulgence in violence and corrupt wickedness as found in the Old Testament:<br> [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+51%3A17&version=RSVCE Isaiah 51:17], [https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Isaiah+51%3A21-23&version=RSVCE 21-23]; <br>[https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+25%3A15-29&version=RSVCE Jeremiah 25:15-29]; <br>[https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ezekiel+23%3A31-35&version=RSVCE Ezekiel 23:31-35]; <br>[https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Habakkuk+2%3A15-17&version=RSVCE Habakkuk 2:15-17]; <br>[https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Zechariah+12&version=RSVCE Zechariah 12]

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Chapter 50 Historical texts

In the autumn of the year A.D. 66, Nero undertook a long visit to Greece which would keep him away from Rome for fifteen months, and during his absence he entrusted the consulate to one of his freedmen.

Flavius Vespasian, the proconsul of Africa, accompanied Nero to Greece. On this trip Nero engaged in new displays of his artistic prowess, and he walked about garbed as an ascetic, barefoot and with flowing hair. His enthusiasm for Greek culture also prompted him to free a number of Greek cities in honor of their glorious past.

While attending Nero in Achaia, Vespasian was indiscreet enough to fall asleep at the emperor’s artistic performance, but this did not prevent his appointment by Nero in February of A.D. 67 to the command against the Jewish rebellion in Judea, the cause of two disastrous Roman defeats in the previous year. When Nero learned what had happened to his forces in Judea, he sent Vespasian to assume command in Syria and subdue the Jewish rebels. For such an appointment Vespasian was regarded as a safe man; a highly competent general, but of the obscure Flavii family; one whose humble origins made it almost inconceivable, as long as Nero was alive, that he would challenge Nero’s government if he should win victories. This appointment was most exceptional, because Judea had never before been garrisoned by even one legionary army, and Vespasian was now given three legions with a large force of auxiliary troops. Vespasian immediately sent his son Titus to bring up the legion Legio quinta decima Apollinaris, Apollo's Fifteenth Legion, from Alexandria, while he proceeded to Syria and collected from neighboring rulers the Roman forces and auxiliary troops stationed there. Thus, Titus, after service in Britain and Germany, himself commanded a legion under his father, Vespasian, in Judea in 67.

Vespasian then conducted two successful campaigns, in 67 and 68, winning almost all of Judea except Jerusalem. A distinguished Jewish prisoner of Vespasian's, Josephus by name, a general in Judea and governor before his capture, insisted that he would soon be released by the very man who had now put him in fetters, who would then be emperor.

Vespasian had married one Flavia Domitilla, who bore his sons Titus and Domitian and a daughter, Flavia Domitilla. But both his wife and daughter died before he became emperor. He then returned to an earlier mistress, called Caenis, who had been a freedwoman of Antonia, sister-in-law to the emperor Tiberius. From his earliest years his son Domitian was consistently discourteous, of a forward, presumptuous disposition, and extravagant both in his words and actions. During the reign of Nero, when Caenis, his father’s concubine, on her return from Istria, offered him a kiss, as she had been accustomed to do, he imperiously presented her his hand to kiss. Again, later, being indignant that Vespasian's brother’s son-in-law should be waited on by servants dressed in white, he exclaimed,

"Too many princes are not good."
ouk agathon polykoiraniae.

His son Titus was himself the beneficiary of considerable intelligence and talent, endowments carefully cultivated at every step of his career, from his early education to his command of a legion under his father. He gradually became virtually a partner with his father in his career, supporting him by any means he found useful, and among other skills revealed his talent as a forger. To underscore the consequences of rebellion against his father by the punishments inflicted on Jewish prisoners, he revealed an approving sympathy for policies of brutality and humiliation, most evident in the way in which Jews were thrown to wild beasts or forced to fight each other in shows for public entertainment.

In February of A.D. 68, Nero returned to Rome, and in the four months that followed, his delirious pretensions as both an artist and a religious worshiper aroused the enmity not only of the Senate and those patricians who had been dispossessed by him but also of the Italian middle class, who had conservative moral views and furnished most of the officers of the army. Even the common soldiers of the legions were scandalized to see the descendant of Caesar, Emperor Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known as Nero, publicly perform on stage the parts not only of ancient Greek heroes but of far lower characters. Gaius Julius Vindex, the Praetorian governor of the province of Lugdunensis in Gaul, was to say, “I have seen him on stage, playing pregnant women and slaves about to be executed.”

Then, after almost fourteen years of abusive misrule, the earth rid herself of Nero.

The tumultuous period began in March of A.D. 68 with a revolt against the unpopular taxation policies of the already unpopular Nero. The first move was by the Gauls under the legate who first rebelled against him, Julius Vindex, the governor of Lugdunensis in Gaul. Nero heard of the Gallic revolt on the anniversary of his mother's murder. At the news of revolts brewing throughout the empire Nero only laughed and indulged in further megalomaniacal displays instead of taking action. He is reported to have said, “I have only to appear and sing to have peace once more in Gaul.”

Roman Governor Servius Sulpicius Galba joined in the revolt. Galba, who had been appointed in A.D. 60 as governor of Nearer Spain in the neighboring province of Tarraconensis and had served in that post for eight years, was holding assizes at Carthago Nova, New Carthage, when news reached him of the revolt in the Gallic provinces. It came in the form of an appeal for help sent by the governor of Aquitania in Gaul, which was followed by another invitation from Julius Vindex, the governor of Lugdunensis (perhaps prompted by Galba), asking whether he would take the lead in rescuing humanity from Nero and head a rebellion against him. Believing that the emperor Nero was planning his assassination, Galba accepted the suggested invitation without much delay, but with some measure of both hope and fear.

General Galba, taking his place on the tribunal, in a most stirring and impassioned speech deplored the present state of the empire. He was at once hailed as imperator, and he accepted the honor, announcing that he represented the Senate and People of Rome.

He ordered the courts closed and began raising legions and auxiliary troops from the native population to increase his existing command, which was one legion, two squadrons of cavalry, and three infantry cohorts. Next he chose the most distinguished and intelligent provincials to serve in a kind of senate, to which matters of importance could be referred whenever necessary. He also picked certain young equites, Roman knights instead of ordinary troops, to guard his sleeping quarters, and although these ranked as volunteer infantrymen they still wore the gold rings proper to their condition as knights. He then recruited an additional new legion in Spain, the Legio septima Gemina, the Twins' Seventh Legion, and built up a large following in many other regions of the empire; even though in May of 68 Vindex himself was defeated in a battle with the Rhine armies of Upper Germany engaging in operations under Lucius Verginius Rufus against Vindex and the Gauls, and the war in Gaul ended.

Then Vindex called upon everyone in the provinces to unite energetically in the common cause of rebellion, and Marcus Salvius Otho joined the rebellion against Nero. Otho, formerly the husband of Poppaea, had been sent from Rome in A.D. 58 to govern the province of Lusitania, and for ten years he had ruled this province with integrity. Then, in 68, Otho also joined the rebellion against Nero led by Galba, governor of the neighboring province of Tarraconensis, and he promised the Praetorians a bribe from Galba for supporting his claim to the throne.

At about this time a ring of ancient design was discovered in the fortifications of the city that Galba had chosen as his headquarters, the engraved gem representing Nike, Victory, raising a trophy. Soon afterward an Alexandrian ship drifted into Dertosa, now Tortosa, loaded with arms, but neither helmsman, crew nor passengers were found aboard her; and this left no doubt in any of their minds that this must be a just and righteous war, favored by the gods. A more prudent man would have asked why a ship so heavily armed had no surviving helmsman, crew or passengers aboard to guide her. Recall the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said to Peter,

"All who take the sword shall perish by the sword."

No living soul was aboard.

Meanwhile, on the fifth day of the month Daesius, which is the third Jewish lunar month Sivan, the time of the wheat harvest and Pentecost, in May and June, Vespasian removed his forces from Caesarea and marched against those places in Judea which had not yet been overthrown. So he went up to the mountainous country, and took all the places, except Herodium and Masada, and Machaerus, which were in the possession of the robbers, so that Jerusalem was now the Romans' present aim. All of Galilee was conquered by Vespasian's forces together with Agrippa's armies despite the resistance of the Jewish rebel forces.

The details of calamities from assaults by the sword and other means, which had overwhelmed the whole nation, the extreme miseries to which the inhabitants of Judea were particularly subjected, the vast numbers of men, women and children who perished by the sword, famine, and innumerable other forms of death can be essentially condensed and summarized by any competent historian from a multitude of ancient sources describing what took place at that time.

Meanwhile, the rebellion of the provincial governor Julius Vindex at Lyon in Gaul, and Servius Sulpicius Galba in Spain, and others on the eastern frontier had spread—the revolt had spread and the legions had made Galba emperor. When news arrived in Rome of the revolt also of Galba and the Spanish provinces, Nero fainted. He had meanwhile become so universally loathed that no abusive insult could be found by the people that was bad enough for him.

A plot was laid against Nero by Caius Nymphidius Sabinus and Ofonius Tigellinus, who proved to be his two most untrustworthy freedmen. Nymphidius Sabinus, the Praetorian prefect, encouraged the imperial palace guard to desert Nero for a large reward. The Praetorian Guard abandoned him, and he was quietly deserted by all his guards. His freedmen left to embark on the ships he kept in readiness at Ostia, the port of Rome.

When a dispatch brought news that other armies had also revolted, Nero hesitated, and then, shocked at finding that his bodyguard had deserted him, he fled Rome. Faced with the disloyalty of his army, the Praetorian Guard, and the Senate, he was obliged to flee the city, and ran away with four of his most trusty freedmen. Finally, he was declared a public enemy by the Senate. The Senate condemned Nero to die a slave’s death: on a cross and under the whip.

Meanwhile, on the advice of Phaon, an imperial freedman, he fled to Phaon's own suburban villa. There, a letter arrived from the Senate declaring Nero a public enemy, and saying that he would be punished in ancient style. He then learned that "ancient style" meant that the executioners would strip their victim naked, push or wedge his head into a forked wooden restraint, and then flog him to death with sticks. He made his companions promise, whatever happened, to not let his head be cut off, but have him buried in one piece. When horses approached, Nero's last words were said to be, "What an artist dies in me!"

Then, with the help of an eager slave, his secretary Epaphroditus, he stabbed himself in the throat, and committed suicide, and slew himself in the suburbs of Rome. He died with his eyes bulging from their sockets.

Meanwhile, Galba's rebellion had nearly collapsed, suddenly, without the least warning. News had not yet arrived that Nero was dead. As he approached the station where one of his cavalry troops was quartered, the men felt some measure of shame for their defection from their emperor and thought to turn against Galba. Galba kept them at their posts only by a great effort.

Again, he was nearly murdered on his way to the baths. He had to pass down a narrow corridor lined by a company of slaves presented to him by one of Nero's freedmen, obviously with some treachery in view. But while they plucked up their courage by urging one another not to "miss this opportunity", one of his staff took the trouble to ask, "What 'opportunity' is this?".

Later they confessed under torture.

Galba's political embarrassments were increased by the death of Vindex, a blow so heavy that it almost turned him to despair and suicide. But messengers arrived from Rome with the news that Nero too was dead, and that the citizens had all sworn obedience to himself.

Nero had been Emperor of Rome from A.D. 54 to eight June of 68. His request to be buried in one piece was granted. His body was laid on his funeral pyre dressed in gold-embroidered white robes. The funeral cost two hundred thousand sesterces. His old nurses Ecloge and Alexandria, helped Acte, his mistress, carry the remains to the Pincian Hill, which is visible from the Campus Martius. His coffin was of white porphyry and stood in the Domitian family tomb, overshadowed by an altar of Luna marble.

The pagan writer Apollonius of Tyana, a contemporary of Nero, specifically styled Nero a "beast". He is quoted by the biographer Philostratus as saying:

"In my travels, which have been wider than ever man yet accomplished, I have seen many, many wild beasts of Arabia and India; but this beast, that is commonly called a Tyrant, I know not how many heads it has, nor if it be crooked of claw, and armed with horrible fangs."
"And of wild beasts you cannot say that they were ever known to eat their own mother, but Nero has gorged himself on this diet."

According to Suetonius, he had stabbed himself in the throat with a dagger. But according to another version recounted by Tacitus, and regarded by most historians as almost certainly fiction, after fleeing Rome he reached the Greek islands.

After the Emperor Nero was assassinated, a period of struggle erupted, with multiple claimants to the throne vying for the emperorship. To his subjects in general, Nero had been a tyrant, and the revolt his misrule provoked sparked a series of civil wars that for a time threatened the survival of the Roman Empire and caused widespread misery.

Following the emperor Nero’s death in June of 68, while Galba was engaged in seizing the throne, Titus, the son of Vespasian, was energetic in promoting his father’s candidacy for the imperial crown.

Nero's death in 68 marked the end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty, which had ruled since the beginning of the empire under Julius Caesar. With his death the line of Caesars became extinct, so Galba dropped the title of governor and assumed that of Caesar. The legate of Spain, his legions had declared him the emperor, and he returned out of Spain to Rome. Accompanied by Otho, Galba marched on Rome to install himself as emperor. The Praetorian Guard and Senate soon recognized him as well, and he was proclaimed emperor by the Senate. Galba took power and became Emperor of Rome at age seventy-one or seventy-three in A.D. 68, which is 821 A.U.C. by the Roman calendar.

Meanwhile, all of Galilee was conquered by Vespasian's forces together with Agrippa's armies. Now when Vespasian had returned to Caesarea, and was preparing with all his army to march directly on Jerusalem, he heard of Nero's death. He was informed that Nero was dead after he had reigned thirteen years and eight days. On news of Nero’s death in June of 68 Vespasian stopped fighting against the Jews, and halted, waiting to hear who would be emperor.

This pause was unexpected, and it was accompanied by the fact that at this moment, with his son Titus as intermediary, Vespasian settled certain differences he had had with the neighboring governor of Syria, Gaius Licinius Mucianus. On learning that Galba had acceded to the throne, Vespasian seems to have claimed that further operations against the Jews required a directive from the new emperor, Galba.

This chapter is the fifth part of a nine-part summary of the intervening years between the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul under Nero and the writing of the New Testament works of the Epistle of Jude, the Book of Revelation and the Letters of John the Apostle. Sources are linked below.

Historians and Bible scholars disagree on the precise dates of the intervening years. But in general they do agree that the entire historical period extends from about A.D. 67 through 90.
The summary of the intervening years continues in the next four chapters Fifty-one through Fifty-four. The concluding chapters Fifty-five and Fifty-six of this Harmony of the Gospel contain the First Letter of Clement and the Letter of Jude, and the Book of Revelation and the Letters of John.
Note to the reader:
The text of this chapter is a redaction of the informative sources listed and linked below, rearranged, chronologically sequenced, collated, condensed, combined and adapted, while seeking to preserve much of their expressive language, and in some instances updating and improving both their translations and the written copy. This accounts for the several apparent repetitions, parallel constructions and duplications in the text, which have been kept to a minimum as far as possible without loss of information.
Compare the method proposed by the Documentary Hypothesis.
An attempt has been made here to simplify the wordy, complex, convoluted, often reiterative, turgid literary styles of Josephus and Tacitus.
Translations from the original languages of any of the scriptures, of the whole Bible itself, and of the works of ancient writers, and parallel and even identical phraseology and wording of legitimate translations and paraphrases in English, both formal and dynamic, are not regarded by legitimate scholars as mutual plagiarisms and violations of copyright restrictions by either the various writers of these source materials among themselves, or by the contributor of this Harmony of the Gospel (Conservative Version).
(For example, the translation of the works of Josephus by William Makepeace Thackeray is not held to be a plagiarized version of the translation of the same works by William Whiston, and the publisher of Whiston's translation is not petitioned for permission by the publisher of Thackeray's translation. Moreover, neither of these translators and neither of these publishers apparently attempted to seek permission from the original author and publisher, Josephus.)
The historical text presented here likewise represents neither plagiarism nor violation of copyright.
The reader is invited to access the linked sources below, to observe how the authors of both the representations of the original historical material, and their often copyrighted historical summary accounts of what happened, in many instances closely parallel each other, sometimes identically, without their authors apparently seeking permission of other copyright owners, and without their being charged with plagiarism or violation of copyright for what they have written. The same right they have to freely express without permission what occurred in history, and what contemporaries of the times thought about the events, is likewise asserted here.

Text Matthew 26:52b

Twelve Caesars: Nero 40–49
Antiquities 20.11.1 [20:257-258]
Wars 2.20.1–4.9.2 [2:556–4:493]
Ecclesiastical History Book II, chapter 24 through Book III, chapter 5

Twelve Caesars: Galba 12–23
Antiquities 18.6.9 [216]
Wars 4.9.2 [492–499]
Ecclesiastical History Book III, chapter 5

Twelve Caesars: Otho 4–11
Wars 4.9.2–4.9.9 [494–548]
Ecclesiastical History Book III, chapter 5:1

Twelve Caesars: Vitellius 9–18
Wars 4.9.9–4.11.4 [549–652]

Twelve Caesars: Vespasian 5–7
Wars 4.11.4–4.11.5 [653–658]
Ecclesiastical History Book III, chapters 5–11

World English Bible text
Greek original text
Latin Vulgate text
NRSV text
Scofield Reference Bible (1917 Edition)
Conservative Bible text
multiple versions of any verse
multiple commentaries any passage
interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English
Bible maps (click initial letter of place name)
Bible Encyclopedias: Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature (studylight.org)
Catholic Encyclopedia Catholic Online (catholic.org)
Hebrew Calendar Converter See exact equivalents of Gregorian Calendar dates.

—in Gregorian Calendar click the cursor in the day, month, or year fields, to highlight selection,
then use [Backspace ←] and [←] [→] right and left arrow keys in the day and year fields,
and [Backspace ←] and [ ↑ ] [ ↓ ] up and down arrow keys in the month field,
then click on [Calculate].

Table of Old Testament quotes in the New Testament, in English translation, Joel Kalvesmaki 2013 (kalvesmaki.com)

List of 300 Septuagint Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, by Steve Rudd 2017 (bible.ca)

Table of LXX quotes and allusions in the New Testament

Church History (Eusebius): The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine (newadvent.org)

The Works of Flavius Josephus William Whiston, Translator, 1737 (sacred-texts.com)

Suetonius: Twelve Caesars: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquilus; To which are added His Lives of the Grammarians, Rhetoricians, and Poets. The Translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D., Revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq., A.M. (Gutenberg.org)

Tacitus: The Annals, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Tacitus: The Histories, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb (A.D. 69 through 70)

Sextus Aurelius Victor: Epitome De Caesaribus (roman-emperors.org)

Eutropius: Breviarium - Eutropius's Abridgement of Roman History (tertullian.org)

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome (penelope.uchicago.edu)

Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)
See Biblical Canon and Apocrypha.

See these Conservapedia articles:

Nero, Galba, Vespasian,
Year of the four Emperors.

See also the following resources:

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome of Book LXIV
The Twelve Caesars: Nero
The Annals: Books XIV, XV,XVI
Nero, Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Nero (roman-emperors.org)
The Twelve Caesars: Galba
The Histories: Book I (January - March, A.D. 69)
Galba: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Galba (roman-emperors.org)
The Twelve Caesars: Vespasian
The Histories: Book IV (January - November, A.D. 70)
Vespasian: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Vespasian (roman-emperors.org)
Rome and Parthia at War, by Invictus (allempires.com)
Wars Book III (sacred-texts.com)
Wars Book IV (sacred-texts.com)
Church History (Book III) (newadvent.org)

"garbed as an ascetic"

—that is, "Dressed like someone who leads a very austere and self-denying life, someone who is rigidly abstinent."
Nero was a supreme hypocrite.
See 2 Timothy 3:2-5
and commentary on verse 3:5
In Hinduism many yogis practice severe asceticism.
In Buddhism, Prince Siddhartha Gautama (c. 563-483 B.C.) sought spiritual enlightenment by joining himself to a band of Hindu renunciants and practicing the most severe forms of self-denial of bodily needs. He found the practice of extreme self-mortification futile, harmful and unnecessary, and he proposed instead simplicity and moderation of life, renouncing all self-centered, grasping expectations and motivations of wealth, status, pleasure, domination, self-preservation.
The philosophy of Stoicism recommended moderation and self-control of the passions as a means of achieving the peak expression of human dignity and freedom from sorrow.
In Judaism the nazirite could choose as a vow of devotion to God a period of asceticism. See Numbers 6:1-20; see also Isaiah 20, Jeremiah 16:1-13 and Ezekiel 4 for examples of renunciation as a call for moral and spiritual conversion. God himself through Isaiah denounced the practice of self-denial without corresponding moral virtues of humility and compassion, Isaiah 58. The Sabbath was also a form of periodically renouncing worldly preoccupations with work, daily activities and duties, and obsessive dedication to personal projects of temporal, material concern alone, for the purpose of re-orienting the mind and heart toward God. The Book of Ecclesiastes is a profound reflection on the emptiness of expecting fulfillment from the world.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 (KJV).
In the early church, an ascetic was one who renounced social life and comfort for solitude, self-mortification, and religious devotion; a hermit; recluse; the motive being to join with Christ in self-sacrifice to offer prayerful reparation for sin and as a prophetic witness to call for rejection of materialismMatthew 16:24-25; Matthew 19:27-29; Mark 10:28-30; Acts 4:32-35; Romans 8:12-13; 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Colossians 1:24; James 1:26-27.
St. Paul cautions against imitating the devotees of the pagan mystery religions who were relying on the practice of self-denial as a way to gain self-mastery and to seek God,
Colossians 2:23 (context Colossians 2:8-23).
See articles:

"the cause of two disastrous Roman defeats in the previous year"

See Wars, Book 2.18.8–2.19.9 [2:494-555]
access Wars Book II Chapter 18
access Wars Book II Chapter 19

"the Legio quinta decima Apollinaris the Fifteenth Legion from Alexandria"

Legio XV Apollinaris - Apollo's Fifteenth Legion
See List of Roman legions - Wikipedia

"Vespasian then conducted two successful campaigns, in 67 and 68, winning almost all of Judea except Jerusalem. "

See Wars, Book 3.1.1–4.9.1 [3:1-4:490]
access Wars Book III Chapter 1
access Wars Book III Chapter 2
access Wars Book III Chapter 3
access Wars Book III Chapter 4.

"A distinguished Jewish prisoner of Vespasian's, Josephus by name..."

See Wars, Book 3, Chapter 8, § 9 (3.8.9 [400-404])

"Galba, who had been appointed in A.D. 60 as governor of Nearer Spain ... was holding assizes at Carthago Nova"

Originally, an assize (singular) was a session of a legislative or judicial body. The plural form assizes, in England, referred to one of the regular court sessions held in each county for the trial of civil and criminal cases by jury, and also generally denoted the time and place of such sessions. (From The Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary 1966.)
In this context, Galba the Roman governor of the province of Tarraconensis was presiding as the chief judge of court when news of the Gallic revolt came.

"Vindex himself was defeated in a battle with the Rhine armies of Upper Germany engaging in operations under Lucius Verginius Rufus against Vindex and the Gauls"

See the following articles:

"He was at once hailed as imperator"—emperor.

Imperator is Latin for "commander, emperor"; a title of honor for a victorious Roman General, it is also the official designation of the Roman emperors, abbreviated "Imp.".
imp—In light of the immoral, destructive and murderous behavior of the emperors as related by the Roman historians Cassius Dio and Tacitus, and the biographer Suetonius in Da Vitae Caesarium, it is an interesting and accidental coincidence that the English word "imp" denotes "an evil spirit; a young, small, or minor demon; a mischievous or unruly child" —from The Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary 1966. See also Gang, Thug, Extortion, Oppression, Organized crime, Dictator, Antichrist, Satan, Possession—imp.

"All of Galilee was conquered by Vespasian's forces together with Agrippa's armies despite the resistance of the Jewish rebel forces."

Wars 3.1.1–4.9.2 [3:1–4:497]

"Caius Nymphidius Sabinus and Ofonius Tigellinus"

See the following:

"with the help of an eager slave, his secretary Epaphroditus"

A certain Epaphroditus is mentioned by Paul in one of his "Prison Letters" written from Rome. See Philippians 2:25; 4:15. The closing salutation 4:25 states, "All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household." It is uncertain, and not impossible, that this man was also the same slave Epaphroditus who was secretary to Nero in the palace. We do not know. (Recall that Joanna, one of the women who provided for Jesus and those with him during his ministry, was the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward Luke 8:1-3.)
See the following intriguing article:

"and slew himself in the suburbs of Rome"

On 8 or 9 June A.D. 68. See Year of the four Emperors.

Apollonius of Tyana

see the following:

"I know not how many heads it has, nor if it be crooked of claw, and armed with horrible fangs"

Apollonius of Tyana.
This quote is from the following sources:

"821 A.U.C."

Latin abbreviation of anno urbis conditae: "in the year of the founded city" : in the year that Rome was founded. —Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
This A.U.C. is an abbreviation related to a Latin phrase meaning "from the founding of the City (Rome)", Ab urbe condita, traditionally dated to 753 B.C..
Add 753 to the normal Gregorian date to derive the Roman date A.U.C. (the designating abbreviation is always placed after the number of the date: for example, the year A.D. 2001 converts to 2754 A.U.C.). Thus A.D. 68 is 821 A.U.C., and A.D. 1 is 754 A.U.C..

"Vespasian settled certain differences he had had with the neighboring governor of Syria, Gaius Licinius Mucianus."

Wars 4.9.2;
Suetonius, Twelve Caesars, Vespasian 4
See Britannica article Gaius Licinius Mucianus (Britannica.com)

[The Conservative Bible translation does not include the history of events in the Roman Empire and in the church during the years A.D. 63 through 90 as related in the works of Josephus, Suetonius, Tacitus, Cassius Dio, Hegesippus and Eusebius because their writings are not included among the books of the New Testament. See Biblical Canon.]

[The events of A.D. 66 through 68 are not included in the Conservative Bible New Testament.]


Chapter 51 Historical texts

Stories of Galba's cruelty and greed preceded him, and he confirmed this reputation on his entry into Rome. He now wore a commander's cloak, with a dagger hanging from his neck, and did not put on a toga again before he had accounted first for the men who were plotting further trouble: the Praetorian prefect Nymphidius Sabinus in Rome; Fonteius Capito, who commanded in Germany; and Lucius Clodius Macer, who commanded in Africa. He decimated soldiers who protested his reassigning them to demeaning duty below their privileged rank, he disbanded and dismissed the cohort of Germans who had served as bodyguards for the Caesars with consistent loyalty, and in 68 he appointed Aulus Vitellius imperial governor of Lower Germany. However, Galba's position was never stable, as other men also claimed the throne almost immediately and the legions did not all swear their allegiance, and he quickly lost the support of the Senate and the armed forces.

He outraged all classes at Rome. Galba had a tablet set up in the forecourt of his house tracing his ancestry back to Jupiter on the male side, and to Pasiphae, Minos's wife, on the female side. In every way he disappointed and insulted those who labored to please him, usually by expressions of burdened disgust in response to their efforts, and he rewarded outstanding performers who delighted him by handing them gratuities of only a few coins of minor value. It was rumored that when presented with an especially lavish dinner prepared at great expense after hours of labor with utmost care in his honor, he rewarded the efforts of his imperial chef and his staff of attendants with a groan. To the treasurer who had scrupulously labored over an exacting professional abstract of detailed treasury accounts he presented to him as his reward a bowl of beans. When the renowned flautist Canus delighted him with a virtuoso performance on the flute, Galba pressed on him the sum of five denarii. To his subjects in general, Nero had been a tyrant, but now the Roman populace and the Praetorian Guard came to regret that they had lost such a liberal patron. He sentenced men of all ranks to death without trial on the scantiest evidence, and annulled all of Nero's lavish awards for excellence or favor, letting the beneficiaries keep no more than a tenth part, enlisting the help of fifty equites to ensure that his order was obeyed. When the people demanded punishment for the vilest of all Nero's assistants, Tigellinus and the eunuch Halotus, Galba gave Halotus a lucrative procuratorship, and published an imperial edict charging the people with unjust hostility toward Tigellinus.

In the eyes of some historians he brought about his own downfall by taking ethical principle over political expediency. Although his advisers were allegedly corrupt, his administration has been characterized by some historians as priggishly upright. Galba’s attempt to cut back Nero’s extravagant spending was unpopular, as was his execution of troops recruited by Nero as well as those of several opponents, including Lucius Clodius Macer, commander in Africa, whose revolt against Nero from Africa had cut off Rome’s grain supply. Though the officers of the army had promised a larger bonus than usual to the soldiers who had pledged their swords to Galba before his arrival in the city, he would not honor this commitment. When he arrived in Rome and found out about the agreement, he refused on principle to pay the soldiers who had helped him attain the throne, believing that soldiers should serve because they are soldiers. He announced, "It is my custom to levy troops, not to buy them."

This infuriated troops everywhere. He was accused by the soldiers of being a pusillanimous person. He earned particular resentment from the Praetorians by refusing to pay the bribe Otho had promised to them in Galba's name for supporting his claim to the throne, and by his dismissal of a number of them suspected of being in Nymphidius's pay.

Those infamous freedmen, Nymphidius and Tigellinus who had occasioned Nero's death, in no long time were themselves brought to punishment. Galba’s refusal to pay the Praetorians the promised donative led to the assassination of his ally Nymphidius. He ordered Tigellinus to commit suicide, who, knowing he could not escape death, then chose to slit his own throat with a razor.

Galba rewarded the parts of Gaul that had supported Vindex, and thus outraged the legions of Upper Germany, Germania Superior, who had defeated Vindex. The troops in Germany were not friendly to Galba, and Aulus Vitellius, whom Galba had appointed as governor of Lower Germany, Germania Inferior, won them over with generosity. It was also at this time that the Batavian general Julius Civilis in the Rhineland began to sow the seeds of the Batavian Rebellion, for independence from Roman domination. Camps in Upper Germany claimed they had not been rewarded with a bounty for their share in the operations under Verginius Rufus in May of A.D. 68 against Vindex and the Gauls, which put an end to the rebellion. These were the first troops bold enough to withhold their allegiance, taking their oath only in the name of the Senate. They sent a messenger to the Praetorians, requesting them to choose someone who deserved the approval of the whole army.

On one January A.D. 69, the legions of Upper Germany refused the customary vote of allegiance to Galba. On the same day, the legions of Lower Germany refused to swear allegiance and obedience to Galba, and on the next day, two January 69, Vitellius's men proclaimed him emperor. The armies of Upper Germany, the legions, then joined with the legions of Lower Germany in proclaiming Aulus Vitellius emperor, as well as most of the governors of Spain, Gaul, and Britain, who soon gave him their support as well, and they acclaimed Vitellius as emperor. He then led his troops into Italy.

Historians refer to A.D. 69 as a politically unstable period in the Roman Empire during which four different emperors came to power in the space of a single year, the year of the four emperors. Eight legions of the Rhine on three January had already hailed Aulus Vitellius as emperor and Vitellius was marching to Rome. However, before Vitellius could seize power, a young noble named Marcus Salvius Otho bribed the Praetorian Guard to kill Galba.

On ten January, Galba, not grasping the situation but thinking that the unrest of the Praetorians was due to uncertainty over the succession, responded by bringing into the Praetorian camp a handsome young man whom he highly esteemed, and had singled out from a group of his courtiers, Piso Frugi Licinianus, and appointed him perpetual heir to his name and property, calling him "my son". It was to win Senatorial support that Galba had chosen as his heir this Lucius Calpurnius Piso Frugi Licinianus, a scion of a noble Roman family, instead of Otho, who had been his loyal ally. However, in announcing Piso to the Praetorians as his heir, he never said the word "bounty" or "bonus", thus giving General Marcus Salvius Otho an excellent opportunity to mount his coup d'etat five days later.

Galba's adoption of Piso came as a shock to Otho, who had hoped to secure this good fortune himself. He had hoped to be designated Galba’s successor, but when Galba disappointed him by adopting Lucius Piso Licinianus in January of 69, Otho turned on the emperor. After Galba failed to name him his heir, disappointment, resentment and a massive accumulation of debts now prompted him to revolt, and he prepared to seize power, with the help of the Praetorian Guard. He organized a conspiracy among the Praetorian Guard, and won over the Praetorians with the promise of a donative. The one million sesterces just paid him for a stewardship by one of the emperor's slaves served to finance the undertaking.

He first confided in five of his personal guards, and each of these obtained the cooperation of two others as fellow conspirators. Each of them was paid ten thousand sesterces with the promised addition of fifty thousand more. But while these fifteen recruited a number of assistants, Otho also counted on mass support as soon as he raised the standard of revolt. The Praetorian Guard then shifted their support to Otho.

His first plan was to occupy the Praetorian camp immediately after Piso's adoption and to capture Galba during dinner at the palace. But he abandoned this because the same cohort happened to be on guard duty as when Gaius Caligula had been assassinated, and again when Nero had been abandoned by them and left to his fate; he felt reluctant to deal their reputation for loyalty a further blow. Unfavorable omens and the warnings of his astrologer Seleucus delayed matters another five days. However, on the morning of the sixth day, Otho posted his fellow conspirators in the Forum at the Golden Milestone near the temple of Saturn while he entered the palace to greet Galba, who kissed him as usual, and attended his sacrifice. The haruspices had finished their report on the omens of the victim, when a freedman arrived with the message "The architects are here".

This was the agreed signal. Otho excused himself to the emperor, saying that he had arranged to view a house that was for sale, then slipped out of the palace by a back door and hurried to the rendezvous. Another account makes him plead a chill and leave his excuses with the emperor's attendants, in case anyone should miss him. Whichever account is true, when he had excused himself to Galba, he departed in the kind of closed sedan chair normally used by women and headed for the camp, accompanied by his supporters, but when the pace of the bearers slackened from fatigue he jumped out and began to run. When he paused to lace a shoe, his companions hoisted him on their shoulders and acclaimed him emperor. The street crowds joined the procession as eagerly as if they were sworn accomplices, and Otho reached his headquarters to the sound of hurrahs and the flash of drawn swords. Otho was acclaimed emperor on fifteen January A.D. 69.

Avoiding all rhetorical appeals, he told the troops merely that he would welcome whatever powers they might give him but claim no others. He then had Galba murdered.

Otho dispatched a troop of cavalry to murder both Galba and Piso. Some reported that, just before his death, Galba had shouted out, "What is all this, comrades? I am yours; you are mine!"

He even went so far as to promise to pay the troops the bounty Otho had promised them. The Praetorians then murdered him beside the Curtian Lake, in the middle of the marketplace at Rome, and left him lying just as he fell—thus Galba was slain by treachery in the Roman Forum. A private soldier decaptitated the body and brought the head to Otho, who handed it to a crowd of servants and camp boys, and they stuck it on a spear and carried it around scornfully. After murdering Galba the Praetorians also murdered Piso in the Roman Forum on the same day, fifteen January. Galba had ruled for only a few months, from eight June 68 through the first two weeks of January A.D. 69. In the end, the head and trunk of the body were removed to the tomb in Galba's private gardens beside the Via Aurelia.

The historian Tacitus famously wrote of Galba, “It was everyone’s opinion that he was capable of ruling the empire, had he never ruled.”

The assassination was accomplished on fifteen January and the Senate proclaimed Otho emperor the same day.

Toward evening Otho delivered a brief speech to the Senate, claiming to have been picked up in the street and compelled to accept the imperial power, but also promising to respect the people's sovereign will. From there he proceeded to the palace, where he received false and excessively insincere congratulations and flattery from all present, making no protest even when the crowd called him "Nero". Suetonius records that Otho added the name Nero as his surname to some of his first certificates and letters to provincial governors, but no other historically documented evidence supports Otho's use of the name Nero; according to historians his official title as emperor seems instead to have been Imperator Marcus Otho Caesar Augustus. He did restore to their places some of Nero's busts and statues and reinstated some of his procurators and freedmen. In addition, his first act as emperor was to make a grant of fifty million sesterces for the completion of the Golden House.

Otho is said to have been haunted that night by Galba's ghost in a terrible nightmare; the servants who ran in when he screamed for help found him lying on the bedroom floor. After this he did everything in his power to placate the ghost, but the next day, while he was taking the auspices, that superstitious practice of observing the flights of birds and movements of nature as omens or signs of augury, a storm suddenly sprang up and forcibly caused him a bad fall, which made him mutter repeatedly, "Plying long flutes is hardly my trade", a Greek proverb about those who find themselves doing something for which they were not suited. His reign was in fact short-lived, as his support in Rome was not matched throughout the empire.

About this time, before the news of Galba's assassination had arrived in Judea, Vespasian did eventually decide to accept Galba, whose noble descent, given the standards of the day, would have been daunting to a man of Vespasian’s position in society. He therefore remained quiet, and he sent his son Titus to congratulate Galba, and to receive his orders and commands regarding the Jews, and Agrippa embarked with him.

King Agrippa sailed along with Titus on the very same errand to Galba. But as they were sailing in their long ships by the coast of Achaia, and before they could get to him, for it was wintertime, they heard that Galba had been slain, after he had reigned seven months and as many days, and that after him Otho took the government, and undertook the management of public affairs. The news of Galba’s murder, on fifteen January A.D. 69, reached Titus on the way at Corinth. So Agrippa resolved to go on to Rome without any terror on account of the change in the government; but Titus, by a divine impulse, sailed back from Greece to Syria, and he came in great haste and returned to Caesarea, to his father, to participate in more weighty discussions between Vespasian and Mucianus.

And now they were both in suspense about the public affairs, the Roman empire being then in a fluctuating condition, and did not go on with their expedition against the Jews, but thought that to make any attack upon foreigners was now unreasonable, on the account of the anxiety they were in for their own country.

A civil war in Italy was now inevitable; but the main contenders, Otho and Vitellius, were both men whom Vespasian could reasonably hope to challenge. Following the emperor Nero’s death in June of 68, Titus was energetic in promoting his father’s candidacy for the imperial crown. The emperor Galba had been murdered, and Otho had succeeded, but Vitellius was chosen emperor by the legions of Germany.

Before Galba’s death the legions in Germany had already declared for Aulus Vitellius, and he was already marching on Rome to take power. As soon as news reached Germany of Galba's murder, eight legions of the Rhine on three January had already hailed him as emperor. Vitellius, whose troops were already moving toward Italy, put his affairs in order and split the army into two divisions, one of whom stayed with him. He sent the other against Otho.

Meanwhile, when Otho heard that the armies in Germany had taken an oath of loyalty to Vitellius, he persuaded the Senate to send a deputation urging them to keep quiet and not be troublesome, since an emperor had already been appointed. But he also wrote Vitellius a personal letter: an invitation to become his father-in-law and share the empire with him. Otho offered to share power with the advancing governor; Vitellius, however, rebuffed the offer. He had already sent troops forward to march on Rome under their generals, and war was inevitable.

Then, one night, in Rome, when Otho gave orders for a naval expedition to be sent to Gaul, the Praetorians gave such unequivocal proof of their faithfulness to Otho as almost involved a massacre of the Senate. Acting quickly in response to Vitellius's advance, Otho had ordered a naval expedition to Narbonensis, a region in southern Gaul. A detachment of sailors was ordered to fetch some arms from the Praetorian camp and take them aboard their vessels. They were carrying out their instructions at dusk when the Praetorians, alerted by this sudden activity, and suspecting treachery on the part of the Senate, rushed to the palace in a leaderless mob and demanded that every senator should die. Having driven away or murdered the tribunes who tried to stop them, they burst into the banqueting hall, dripping with blood, and shouted, "Where is the emperor?"

But as soon as they saw him busy with his meal their fury abated, and for the moment they stopped their killing.

Acting with speed and determination, Otho, having sent a naval expedition to Narbonensis, a region in southern Gaul, summoned the Danube legions, and himself marched out on fourteen March with his expedition against the commanders of Vitellius. He set out on his campaign very energetically, but according to the Roman Suetonius, haste prevented him from paying sufficient attention to the omens. He says the sacred shields used by the Salii in their procession had not yet been returned to the Temple of Mars, traditionally a bad sign, and this was the very day in March when the worshippers of Cybele the so-called mother of the gods began their annual lamentation over the death of her consort Attis, a dying and rising vegetation god. And besides, the auspices were most unfavorable: at a sacrifice offered to Father Dis, the Roman god of the underworld, the victim's intestines had a healthy look, which according to tradition was exactly what they should not have had. Otho's departure was, moreover, delayed by a flooding of the Tiber, and at the twentieth milestone he found the road blocked by the ruins of a collapsed building.

But such circumstances cannot indicate what will follow, nor do they reveal what to do or what to avoid, neither do they offer options to choose from, for they appear significant only afterward, when superstitious persons assign interpretations to them. They are not the oracles of the gods. Remember the abandoned ship full of weapons.

And about this time, in Judea, while Vespasian waited, there arose another war at Jerusalem. Simon, son of Giora, came to the robbers who had seized Masada, the sicarii, and persuaded them to trust him. He went out with them, and together they ravaged and destroyed the country about Masada. But he could not persuade them to do even more, and go farther from their hiding-place in that citadel. So seeking to be great, and a tyrant, he went into the mountain region and gathered a set of wicked men from all quarters, proclaimed liberty to slaves, and rewards for all those already free.

With a strong body of men, he overran the villages of the mountains, gained more followers, went into the lower regions of the countryside, and became more formidable; and he corrupted many powerful men, so that, having an army of more than robbers and slaves, much of the populace obeyed him as their king. He built a wall at Nain, making it a fortress, and enlarged the caves in the valley of Paran to store all of their stolen treasures; and many of his partisans dwelt in them.

The Zealots, dreading his growing power to oppose them, came out against him with weapons. Simon met them and killed a considerable number, driving the rest before him into a city. He chose not to assault the wall of the city, but to subdue Idumea instead with twenty thousand men. The rulers gathered about twenty-five thousand warlike men, leaving the rest to guard their country because of the incursions of sicarii out of Masada, and they met Simon at their border. But it was an inconclusive engagement. He went back to Nain, and they withdrew.

Simon increased his power by treachery against those who resisted him and marched suddenly into Idumea, captured Hebron, and gained much plunder. He ravaged the cities and villages and laid waste the whole country to provision his force of forty thousand men. Being barbarous, and angry with the whole country, he greatly depopulated that nation, his army leaving behind it as it advanced only a desert, so desolate that it looked like it had never been cultivated.

Simon's successes agitated the Zealots in Jerusalem, who laid ambushes in the passes because they were afraid of open battle with him; and they seized his wife. He then advanced on the wall of Jerusalem without mercy, in anger killing all he met. All who came out to gather wood, the unarmed and the old, he tortured and destroyed. He was so furiously enraged that he was ready to taste the flesh of their dead bodies. He cut off the hands of many others and sent them back into the city to shock them, threatening by God to tear down the wall and kill everyone there if they did not return his wife to him. Both the people and the Zealots themselves were so terrified that they sent her back to him, and only then did he temper his rage and stop his unending bloodshed.

Now Simon, as soon as he had recovered his wife, returned to Idumea and drove that nation before him, compelling a great number of them to retreat to Jerusalem. He himself also followed these Idumeans to the city, and again encompassed the wall all around. And whenever he came upon any laborers that were coming there out of the country, he slew them.

Inside Jerusalem, John of Gischala, whom the Galileans had supported and advanced as their head, had become a bloody tyrant himself, with his cutthroat army insatiably indulging every possible vice and treating the whole city as a brothel for its lust. In addition, John had erected four very large towers, that their arrows might come from higher places. The army of the Idumeans raised a sedition against John and separated themselves from this tyrant, and attempted to destroy him. This was out of envy of his power and hatred of his cruelty. So they got together, and slew many of the Zealots led by Eleazar son of Simon, and drove the rest of them into the royal palace built by Grapte, a relative of Izates, the king of Adiabene. The Idumeans fell in with them and drove the Zealots out of there and into the Temple, and took to plundering John's effects; for he himself was there, and there he had laid up the spoils he had acquired by his tyranny. In the meantime the multitude of Zealots dispersed over the city ran together to the Temple to join those who had fled there, and John prepared to bring them down against the people and the Idumeans, who, being better soldiers than they, were not so much afraid of being attacked by them as at their madness, lest they should quietly sally forth out of the Temple and mingle with them, and not only destroy them, but also set the city on fire. So they assembled, and the high priests with them, and they discussed how they should prevent their assault.

They devised a remedy to free themselves that was worse than the disease itself. In order to overthrow John and the Zealots, they were determined to admit Simon, earnestly desiring the introduction of a second tyrant into the city. They completely agreed on this resolution, and sent Matthias, the high priest, to beg Simon, he whom they had so often feared, to come in to them. Those who had fled from the Zealots in Jerusalem also joined in this request to him, hoping to preserve their houses and their effects. In an arrogant manner, he accordingly said that he would grant them his lordly protection, and he came into the city to deliver it from the Zealots. The people also made joyful acclamations to him as their savior and their preserver. But when he had come in with his army, he took care to secure his own authority, and looked on those who invited him as no less his enemies than those against whom the invitation had been intended, against John of Gischala and the Zealots of Eleazar son of Simon.

And thus did Simon son of Giora get possession of Jerusalem in the third year of the war, A.D. 69, in the month Xanthicus, which is the first Jewish lunar month Nisan, in March and April. With that, John, and the multitude of Zealots, being prohibited from coming out of the Temple, and having lost power in the city, despaired of deliverance, for Simon and his party had plundered them of what they had. Simon also made an assault on the Temple, with the assistance of the people, while the others stood on the porticoes and the battlements, and defended themselves from their assaults. However, a considerable number of Simon's party fell, and many were carried off wounded; for the Zealots easily shot arrows from a higher position and seldom failed to hit their enemies. For they had the advantage of situation, having erected the four very large towers beforehand, that their arrows might come from higher places, one at the northeast corner of the court, one above the Xystus, the third at another corner over against the lower city, and the last was erected above the top of the Pastophoria, where one of the priests normally stood to give a signal beforehand with a trumpet, as at the beginning of every seventh day in the evening twilight, and at evening when the day was finished, alerting the people when they were to leave off work on Friday evening just before sunset and when they were to go to work again on Saturday evening just after sunset; for many Jews impiously regarded the imposition of the Sabbath as a disruption of their work, impatiently resuming their labors the moment the sun was gone. These men also set their engines to shoot arrows, and to sling stones also, onto those towers, with their archers and slingers. But now Simon made a weaker assault on the Temple, because the majority of his men grew weary of that work. Yet he did not cease his opposition, because his army was superior to the others, although the arrows which were powered by the engines traveled a great distance, and slew many of those who fought for him.

But now sedition and civil war prevailed, not only over Judea, but in Italy also. Galba had been slain in the midst of the Roman marketplace, then Otho was made emperor, and he fought against Vitellius, who was also set up as emperor; for the legions in Germany had chosen him. When Nero and Galba were both dead and Vitellius was disputing the rule with Otho, Vespasian began to remember his imperial ambitions, which had been prompted by omens.

In Italy, although substantial forces joined Otho from Illyricum, by early April the Vitellian forces were far stronger. However, with Vitellius's forces badly lacking supplies and having little room for maneuver, Otho could have maintained the defensive, yet he rashly staked his fortunes on an immediate victory. Experienced advisers counseled delay, but Otho insisted on action. Otho so deeply abhorred the thought of civil war that he would not have even begun moving against Galba if he had not been confident of a bloodless victory. He made Brixellium his headquarters, and kept himself clear of the fighting. This town is also called Brixia, the Latin name of Brescia, Italy. Although his army had won three lesser engagements, in the Alps, at Placentia, and at a place called Castor's, they were seduced into a decisive defeat near Bedriacum. There had been talk of an armistice, but Otho's troops, preparing to fraternize with the enemy while peace was discussed, now found themselves suddenly committed by him to battle, and the two sides met in the inconclusive Battle of Bedriacum in Gaul. For when Otho gave battle to Fabius Valens and Aulus Cecinna Alienus, who were Vitellius's generals, at Bedriacum, in Gaul, Otho gained the advantage on the first day; but on the second day Vitellius's soldiers had the victory, and after much slaughter, his army was defeated at Bedriacum, about twenty-two miles east of Cremona, Italy.

The First Battle of Bedriacum, between the troops of Otho and the troops of Vitellius, took place on nineteen April, and Otho's forces were defeated. When news of the defeat came to Brixellium, many of Otho's troops urged him to fight on, pointing out that more troops were on the way. For fresh troops stood in reserve for a counteroffensive, and reinforcements came streaming down from Dalmatia, Pannonia and Noesia. Moreover, his defeated army were anxious to redeem their reputation, even without such assistance. When he heard of this defeat at his headquarters in Brixia, Otho immediately decided on suicide. It is more probable that his conscience prevented him from continuing to hazard lives and treasure in a bid for sovereignty than that his men had become demoralized and unreliable.

After embracing his brother, his nephew, and his Friends, he dismissed them with orders to consider their own safety. Then he retired and wrote two letters: one of consolation to his sister, and one of apology to Nero's widow, Statilia Messalina, whom he had meant to marry, at the same time begging her to bury him and preserve his memory. He next burned all his private correspondence to avoid incriminating anyone if it fell into Vitellius's hands, and distributed among his household staff whatever money he happened to have on hand.

Deciding to add one extra night to his life, he went to bed, but left his door open for several hours, in case anyone wished to speak with him. After drinking a glass of cold water and testing the points of two daggers, he put one of them under his pillow, closed the door, and slept soundly.

He awoke at dawn. Otho then promptly stabbed himself in the left side and committed suicide. His attendants heard him groan and rushed in. At first he could not decide whether to conceal or reveal the wound, and this delay proved fatal.

Thus, the First Battle of Bedriacum, between the troops of Otho and the troops of Vitellius, resulted in Otho's self-destruction afterward. Otho slew himself after he had managed public affairs three months and two days. His age was thirty-seven. Several soldiers visited the deathbed, where they kissed his hands and feet, praising him as the bravest man they had ever known and the best emperor imaginable. Afterward, they themselves committed suicide close to his funeral pyre. Thus many who had hated him while he was alive loved him for the way he died. He was even commonly believed to have killed Galba with the object not so much of becoming emperor as of restoring the free Republic. They buried him at once, as he had ordered them to do. Otho had reigned for ninety days, only a footnote in the historical record of the ranks of Roman Emperors.

After Nero had held the government about thirteen years, Galba and Otho had reigned a total of about a year and six months. Each had reigned only an hour.

The news of the victory at Bedriacum and of Otho's suicide reached Vitellius before he had left Gaul. Thus he deposed Otho only by default, through suicide, after a three-month reign, on nineteen April A.D. 69. Vitellius assumed power that same day, the third man to be emperor that year.

At once Vitellius disbanded and dismissed all Praetorian cohorts in Rome by a comprehensive decree, accusing them of a disgraceful lapse in discipline: they must surrender their arms to the tribunes. He gave further orders for the arrest and punishment of one hundred and twenty Praetorians known to have demanded a bounty from Otho for services rendered him in regard to Galba's assassination. In the eyes of the Romans these irreproachably correct acts raised the hope that Vitellius would make an admirable emperor, but the rest of his behavior instead was in keeping with the character he had shown in the past, and fell far short of the dignity of the imperial office, for he proved incapable of supporting the weight of power won for him by his legates.

It is beyond dispute that all authority comes from God. And those authorities that exist are instituted by God, and those who have been entrusted with authority over the people he will judge with greater strictness. And every one to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more. Do not seek to be a judge over men, if you have not the strength to uproot wickedness and corruption and the moral integrity to resist it. Vitellius proved incapable of supporting the weight of power won for him by his legates.

Otho's army came over to Vitellius's generals, and he came himself down to Rome with his army. Thus Vitellius marched in triumph to Rome. Under the influence of the genius of the emperor, he began by having himself carried through the main streets of the cities on his route to Rome wearing triumphal dress. He crossed rivers in elaborately decorated barges wreathed in garlands; and he always kept a lavish supply of delicacies within reach of his hand. He ignored discipline, and joked about the outrages and excesses committed by his men. Not content with being wined and dined everywhere at public expense, they amused themselves by freeing slaves at random and then whipping, wounding and murdering whoever tried to restrain them. When he reached one of the recent battlefields, where the stench of unburied corpses caused some unpleasant physical reactions and distressing passions of horror, Vitellius cheered his companions with the brazen remark, "Only one thing smells sweeter to me than a dead enemy, and that is a dead fellow citizen".

This was his tribute to all those Roman citizens who died in battle on both sides. Those who heard him understood that the sweetest thing to him was the death of his own supporters.

Now, it was about this very time that heavy calamities came on Rome from all sides. News came to Vespasian in Judea that Otho’s forces were defeated, conquered by the troops of Vitellius, and soon after the battle, on sixteen April, Otho had committed suicide; and after defeating Otho, Vitellius had been acclaimed Roman Emperor in April 822 A.U.C., on sixteen April in A.D. 69.

The chronology of Vespasian’s actions cannot be precisely determined from the sources at hand. What is certain is that at the latest after Otho’s defeat and suicide on sixteen April 69, Vespasian had begun to collect support. But Vespasian made no move, although his adherents were impatient to press his claims, before he was suddenly stirred to action by the unexpected and fortunate support of a distant group of soldiers whom he did not even know: two thousand men belonging to the three legions of Moesia that had been sent to reinforce Otho. They had marched forward as far as Aquileia, despite the news of Otho's defeat and suicide which reached them on the way, and had there taken advantage of the unsettled times to plunder at pleasure. And pausing at last to consider what the reckoning might be on their return, they hit on the idea of setting up their own emperor. The troops in Spain had appointed Galba; the Praetorians, Otho; the troops in Germany, Vitellius. So they went through the whole list of provincial governors, rejecting each name in turn for one reason or another before finally choosing Vespasian, on the strong recommendation of some men of the Legio tertia Augusta, Third Augustus Legion men, who had been sent to Moesia from Syria just prior to Nero's death, and, having chosen him, marking all their standards with his name. Though they were temporarily recalled to duty at this point and did no more in the matter, the news of their decision soon became known.

Tiberius Alexander, the prefect in Egypt, consequently made his legions take the oath to Vespasian, on the Kalends of July, the first day of the month, later celebrated as Vespasian's accession day. On one July 69, probably as a result of a contrived plot, the two Egyptian legions proclaimed him emperor, followed a few days later by the legions of Syria and Judea.

But now Vespasian's commanders and soldiers met in several companies, and discussed openly about changing the public affairs. With indignation, they cried out how soldiers living in ease at Rome who have never tasted battle ordain whomever they please as governors of the army, and in hope of gain for themselves make them emperors, while those who have served long in armor in the field are leaving to them this power. They said that there is more good reason for Vespasian to be emperor than for Vitellius; and those troops who have undergone wars and labors as great as those troops from Germany are not inferior to those who brought that tyrant to Rome and are far more deserving. They reasoned that since the Senate and people of Rome would not bear such a barbarous, lascivious and childless tyrant emperor as Vitellius to preside over them when compared with the good governorship of Vespasian who is both chaste and a father, and that the greatest security kings have for themselves is the advancement of their own children to great dignities; and estimating Vespasian's ability from years of governing, and the strength of a young man in his own son Titus, both of them able to support with strength anyone made emperor, each having three legions besides auxiliaries from neighboring kings, together with the support of all the armies in the East and those in Europe far from the dread of Vitellius, as well as those in Italy under Vespasian's brother, Flavius Sabinus, and his son Domitian entrusted with government of the city; and the fact that delay may allow the Senate to choose an emperor whom the soldiers, who are saviors of the empire, would hold in contempt—having gathered together in a great body, and mutually encouraging each other, they declared Vespasian emperor, and exhorted him to save the government which was now in danger.

His men thought that Vespasian, a great and popular leader, was the very antithesis of the childless wretch Vitellius, for Vespasian had two sons to succeed him, Titus and Domitian, and an older brother, Titus Flavius Sabinus who was the prefect of the city, in charge of the city of Rome. Accordingly, his troops proclaimed Vespasian emperor, and urged him to save the endangered empire. Vespasian, however, declined, but his officers pressed him. When he was reluctant to accept the danger of being emperor compared to the safety of a private life, his troops gathered around him, threatening him with death if he refused. The soldiers drew their swords, and threatened to kill him if he would not live as emperor. And failing to convince them with additional arguments, Vespasian finally yielded; unable to persuade them, he yielded to their salute. Vespasian, who had distinguished himself and become illustrious in the campaigns against the Jews, was then proclaimed sovereign while still in Judea, receiving the title of emperor from the armies there. Then, having been hailed as imperator by the armies on one July 69, 822 A.U.C., Vespasian was proclaimed emperor, and on eleven July the army in Judea swore allegiance to Vespasian in person. He was fifty-eight years old.

Three things helped him greatly: first, the copy of a letter, which some think may be forged, in which Otho begged him most earnestly to save Rome and take vengeance on Vitellius; second, a persistent rumor that Vitellius had planned, after his victory, to restation the legions, transferring those in Gemany to the East, a much softer option, with less opportunity for glory; and lastly, the support of Gaius Licinius Mucianus, then commanding in Syria, who for a long time had not even tried to conceal his jealousy of Vespasian, a jealousy which he now reluctantly renounced, mostly due to the diplomacy of Titus, and promised to lend him the whole Syrian army and the support of Vologaesus, king of the Parthians, who promised him forty thousand archers. Licinius Mucianus, legate of Syria, whom Titus reconciled with Vespasian, considered that one of Vespasian’s greatest assets was to have so promising a son and heir. Vespasian then became the founder of the Flavian dynasty after the civil wars that followed Nero’s death in 68.

When Vespasian was hailed as emperor on one July 69, the troops in the Balkan provinces recognized him and advanced to invade Italy under Marcus Antonius Primus. The unanimous response in other parts of the empire can hardly have been unplanned. Despite Vespasian’s later claim that his public proclamation was a response to the misgovernment of Vitellius, Vitellius only reached Rome in mid-July that year.

Vitellius had come from Germany with his forces, and drawn along with him a great multitude of other men besides. At last, amid fanfares of trumpets, Vitellius entered Rome, wearing a commander's cloak and a sword, surrounded by standards and banners; his staff wore military cloaks, and his soldiers carried drawn swords. His entrance into Rome took the form of a superficial triumph, in the eyes of the people a grossly offensive way to mark a victory over fellow citizens: he had not crushed an invading army of barbarian forces from the outside bent on destroying Rome.

Vitellius was recognized by the Senate. And paying less and less attention to all laws, human or divine, that is, the Natural Law, he next assumed the office of Pontifex Maximus by defiantly choosing to do so on eighteen July, the four hundred fifty-eighth anniversary of the Allia defeat of Rome. According to tradition, it was on that day in 390 B.C., 364 A.U.C., that the Romans were defeated by the Gauls in a battle at the Allia river, a defeat that paved the way for the Gallic sack of Rome. After the capture of the city at that time a large amount in gold was paid to the Gauls to ransom the city, bankrupting the people. This anniversary was always superstitiously observed by the Romans as a day of ill omen. On the same occasion he announced his appointments for the next ten years ahead, and elected himself consul for life. Then he dispelled any doubt as to what model he would follow in managing the commonwealth by making commemorative sacrificial offerings to Nero in the middle of the Campus Martius, amid a crowd of public priests. He sacrificed to Nero as to a god, and replaced the Praetorian Guard with his troops from Germany. He did nothing to win over Otho’s troops or those from other parts of the empire. But when the spaces allotted for soldiers could not hold them, he made all Rome itself his camp. He converted Rome into a camp for his army, and filled all the houses with armed men, and his troops plundered the citizenry. Those men, when they saw the riches of Rome with eyes that had never seen such riches before, and found that gold and silver shone on all sides, they were most reluctant to exercise that military discipline necessary to contain their covetous desires, and they were eager for plunder and ready to slaughter any who stood in their way. And this was the state of affairs in Italy at that time. This was how his reign began. Omens are not needed to know how it ends.

Vitellius's own ruling vices were gluttony and cruelty. He banqueted three and often four times a day, namely morning, noon, afternoon and evening, the last meal being mainly a drinking bout; and he survived the ordeal well enough by vomiting frequently. Even worse, he used to invite himself out to private banquets at all hours, and these never cost his hosts less than four hundred thousand sesterces each.

His cruelty was such that he would kill or torture anyone at all on the slightest pretext, not excluding noblemen who had been his fellow students or friends, whom he lured to court by promises of the highest advancement. One of them, afflicted with a fever, asked for a glass of cold water; Vitellius brought it with his own hands, but added poison; and then he watched him die. When one of his many former creditors who had always demanded prompt payment came to pay a courtesy call, Vitellius sent him off to be executed, but a moment later countermanded the order, explaining that he merely wanted to give himself a treat by having the man killed before his eyes. When two sons of this man came to plead for their father's life, he had all three executed.

About this time, Vitellius received news that legions in Egypt had rejected his claim to power and sworn allegiance to a rival emperor, Titus Flavius Vespasianus, the governor of Judea and a successful and popular general, who had sent troops under Antonius Primus to march on Rome and install him on the throne.

In the meantime, besides what troubles there were under Vitellius, after Nero's suicide in 68 there was also a widespread belief, especially in the eastern provinces, that he was not dead and somehow would return. According to Suetonius, Nero had stabbed himself in the throat with a dagger the previous year. But according to another version recounted by Tacitus, and regarded by most historians as almost certainly fiction, after fleeing Rome he had reached the Greek islands. At least three Nero imposters emerged after his death leading rebellions.

The first imposter, who sang and played the cithara or lyre and whose face was similar to that of the dead emperor, appeared in 69 during the reign of Vitellius. After persuading some to recognize him, he was captured and executed. The governor of Cythnos recognized him in the guise of a red-haired prophet and leader of the poor, had him arrested, and executed the sentence that had been passed by the Senate, death according to the ancient form, scourging with rods and crucifixion.

But there were disturbing rumors that Nero was still alive, his deadly wound was healed, and that he would return to Rome to claim his throne. For about the same time Greece and Asia were greatly alarmed by a false report that Nero was about to reappear, so that many pretended that he was alive and even believed it; and this rumor persisted for centuries. This belief that the beast Nero has revived came to be known as the Nero Redivivus Legend.

When Vespasian heard of the troubles that were at Rome, that Vitellius had converted Rome into a camp for his army, and his troops plundered the citizenry, Vespasian was furious at this news, and his army even more so. This produced patriotic indignation in him, and although he well knew how to be governed, as well as to govern, he could not with any satisfaction own as his lord one who acted so madly, and had seized the government as if it were absolutely destitute of a governor. His grief was so great that he was not able to bear the torment he was under and continue to apply himself further in other wars when his native country was laid waste. But as much as his passion pressed him to avenge his country, to the same degree he was restrained by consideration of his distance from it, also because he superstitiously thought the fickle goddess of Fortune might precede him, and do a world of mischief before he himself could sail over the sea to Italy, especially as it was still the winter season, so he restrained his anger, however vehement it was, at this time.

Gaius Licinius Mucianus, the legate of Syria, and other commanders sided with Vespasian. With the support of Mucianus and the other commanders, and the rest of the army, Vespasian sent the news to Tiberius Alexander, governor of Egypt, and desired to have him as confederate and supporter. He readily agreed, and obliged the legions and the multitude to take the oath of fidelity to Vespasian. The governor of Egypt, Tiberius Alexander, immediately declared for Vespasian, as did the legions there and in Moesia and Pannonia. The legions in Mysia, which is also called Moesia, and Pannonia, in an uproar over the insolent rebellion of Vitellius, were delighted to take the oath of fidelity to Vespasian.

In December, the eighth month of Vitellius's reign, the Moesian and Pannonian legions repudiated him and swore allegiance to Vespasian. News spread rapidly. Those in Syria and Judea followed suit and took their oaths in person. And now, when Vespasian had given answers to the envoys, and had justly assigned the places of power according to what everyone deserved, he came to Antioch, and consulting about which way he had best take, he preferred to go to Rome, rather than march to Alexandria, because he saw that Alexandria was already sure to him, but that affairs at Rome were in disorder because of Vitellius.

To ensure his base he had fought a brief campaign against the Jews in midsummer, and took all the places, except Herodium and Masada, and Machaerus, which were in the possession of the robbers, so that Jerusalem had become the Romans' aim. But now he sent Mucianus with an expeditionary force to the coastal port city of Dyrrhachium, which is Durazzo in Albania, where a fleet was instructed to meet him. So he sent Mucianus to Italy, and committed a considerable army both of horsemen and footmen to him. Yet Mucianus was afraid of going by sea, because of the approach of winter, so he led his army on foot through Cappadocia and Phrygia.

Meanwhile, Vitellius, to keep the goodwill of his remaining troops, embarked on a course of limitless public and private generosity. He opened a recruiting campaign in Rome and promised volunteers immediate discharge after victory, with the full rights and privileges of regular service.

In the meantime, while Mucianus was on the march, Marcus Antonius Primus took the Legio tertia Augusta, the Third Augustus Legion of the legions that were in Moesia, for he was president of that province, and made haste, in order to fight Vitellius. Licinius Mucianus, having been sent by Vespasian to Italy with an army, was now joined by Antonius Primus from Moesia and his Third Legion, and Mucianus invaded Italy with Antonius.

When the forces supporting Vespasian converged on Rome, Vitellius sent Aulus Cecinna off with a great army, having enormous confidence in him, because he had beaten Otho. He sent against them the troops who had fought at Bedriacum, under their original officers, and put his brother in command of a fleet manned by recruits and gladiators.

Cecinna marched out of Rome in great haste, and found Antonius around Cremona in Gaul, a city near the borders of Italy; but when he saw that the enemy there were numerous and in good order, he dared not fight them. Since he thought a retreat dangerous, he began to think of surrendering his army to Antonius. Accordingly, he assembled the centurions and tribunes under his command, and persuaded them to go over to Antonius by minimizing the reputation of Vitellius and exaggerating the power of Vespasian. He also told them, that with the one there was no more than the bare name of dominion, but with the other the power of it; and that it was better for them to avoid necessity, and gain favor; and, as long as they were likely to be overcome in battle, to avoid the danger beforehand and go over to Antonius willingly; and that Vespasian was able by himself to subdue what had not yet surrendered, without their assistance, while Vitellius could not preserve what he already had even with it.

Cecinna said this, and much more to the same point, and persuaded them to agree with him; and both he and his army deserted Vitellius. But that very same night the soldiers repented, and a fear seized them that perhaps Vitellius who had sent them would get the better. So, drawing their swords, they assaulted Cecinna, in order to kill him; and they would have done it, if the tribunes had not fallen on their knees, and begged them not to do it. So the soldiers did not kill him, but put him in chains, as a traitor, and were about to send him to Vitellius. But when Antonius Primus heard of this, he immediately roused his men, and made them put on their armor, and led them against those who had revolted, who put themselves in battle order, and for a while put up resistance, but Primus overcame them; they were soon beaten, and fled to Cremona.

But now within a day's time Antonius Primus came with his army, and met Vitellius and his army there. Then Primus took his cavalry, cut off his entrance into the city, and surrounded and destroyed a great multitude of them before it. He descended into the city together with the rest, and gave his soldiers leave to plunder it. And it was here that many foreigners who were merchants, as well as many of the people of that country, perished, and among them Vitellius's whole army, thirty thousand two hundred men, while Antonius lost no more than four thousand five hundred of those who came with him from Moesia, also called Mysia. Thus, Vespasian's followers defeated the forces of Vitellius. Having had a battle in three separate places, they were all destroyed.

After Vitellius’s troops were thus defeated in the Second battle of Bedriacum in October of 69, Antonius Primus then released Cecinna, and sent him to Vespasian to tell him the good news. So he came, and was received by him; and was able to cover the scandal of his treachery to Vitellius by the unexpected honors he received from Vespasian.

And now, in Rome, with the news that Antonius Primus was approaching, Vespasian’s brother, Titus Flavius Sabinus, the city prefect, took courage, assembled those cohorts of soldiers who kept watch by night, and in the nighttime seized the Capitol complex. As the day advanced, many men of character came over to him as Flavian supporters, together with his brother's son, Titus Flavius Domitian, eighteen years old, whose encouragement was of very great weight in deciding the government. During his father’s uprising against Vitellius in A.D. 69, Domitian was in fact in Rome.

Now, Vitellius was not too concerned about Primus, but was very angry with those who had revolted with Flavius Sabinus. So out of his own barbaric nature, and thirsting after noble blood, he sent out that part of the army which came along with him, to fight against the Capitol hill complex. Many bold actions were done on his side, and on the side of those who held the temple of Jupiter. But at last, the soldiers of Vitellius from Germany, being too numerous for the others, took possession of the hill, where Domitian, with many other principal Romans, providentially made their escape. Domitian remained unharmed, while the rest of the multitude were entirely cut to pieces, and Sabinus himself was brought to Vitellius. Sabinus persuaded Vitellius to abdicate. Realizing that he was being beaten or betrayed on every side, he approached Sabinus, and asked, "What is my abdication worth?"

Sabinus offered him his life and a fee of one hundred million sesterces.

Later, from the palace steps, Vitellius announced his decision to the assembled soldiers, explaining that the imperial power had, after all, been forced upon him. When an uproar of protest greeted this speech, he put things off. But the next day, on eighteen December A.D. 69, he went in mourning to the Rostra and tearfully read it out again from a scroll. Once more the soldiers and the crowds shouted "Stand fast!" and outdid one another in their expressions of loyalty. Vitellius attempted to resign as emperor but was overruled by his followers and the Praetorian Guard. When the city prefect of Rome and elder brother of Vespasian, Flavius Sabinus, thus attempted to seize power, during the confusion about Vitellius's alleged abdication Domitian was with his uncle Sabinus. Suddenly taking heart, Vitellius with his followers and the Praetorian Guard drove the unsuspecting Sabinus and the Flavian supporters into the Capitol. The Roman mob joined with Vitellius’s troops to chase Sabinus to the Capitoline Hill, and Sabinus was slain, executed by Vitellius. But Domitian had concealed himself in the temple in the caretaker's quarters. The soldiers also plundered the ornaments of the temple, the temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, and set it on fire, and burned the Flavian supporters—burned them alive! The temple of Jupiter was burned to the ground during the rioting.

Vitellius watched the play of the flames and his victims' struggles while banqueting in the mansion which had belonged to Tiberius. He was soon overcome by remorse and, blaming someone else for the murder, he called an assembly and forced all present to bear witness that peace was now his sole objective. Then, drawing his dagger, he tried in turn to make the consul, the other magistrates and the remaining senators accept it. When all refused, he went to lay it up in the temple of the goddess Concord. However, they called him back by shouting, "No, you yourself are Concord!"

So back he came, saying, "Very well, I will keep the dagger and adopt the divine name you have graciously awarded me." (Concord with dagger and sword.)

Vitellius also made the Senate send envoys, accompanied by the Vestal Virgins, to arrange an armistice or at least to gain time for deliberation. But on the following day, while he was waiting for a response, a scout arrived with news that enemy detachments were close at hand. Now Domitian had remained all night in the temple caretaker's quarters, and at sunrise he disguised himself as a devotee of Isis and took refuge among the priests of that somewhat disreputable and rather questionable order. Soon he managed to escape with a friend across the Tiber river, to the house of the mother of one of his fellow students. She hid him so cleverly that she outwitted the men of Vitellius who had tracked him there, and searched the place from the foundation to the roof.

Primus had arrived one day too late to save Sabinus. The fighting now moved to Rome. Vespasian’s army, under Primus’s leadership, attacked and entered Rome on twenty December with street to street battles and a fire that engulfed the city. Rome burned. And two days later, after street fighting in Rome, and the fight that was about the Capitol, Vespasian's troops easily defeated the Vitellian legions who had treated the whole city as their camp and a brothel for their lust. The others that were slain numbered above fifty thousand. This battle was fought on the third day of the month Apelleus, which is the ninth Jewish lunar month Casleu, in November and December. The advance guard entered Rome without opposition and at once began searching. Vitellius furtively hurried to his father's house on the Aventine Hill, having planned an escape into Campania. But a rumor of peace enticed him back to the palace, which he found deserted. He hid with a money belt full of gold in the doorkeeper's quarters.

On the next day Mucianus came into the city with his army, and ordered Antonius and his men to leave off killing; for they were still searching the houses, and had killed many of Vitellius's soldiers and many of the populace, supposing them to be of his party, their rage preventing them from making any accurate distinction between them and others; they were drunk with blood.

In the palace, they forcefully brought Vitellius out from hiding in the doorkeeper's quarters, and not recognizing him, asked if he knew where they could find the emperor. Although he lied, he was soon identified. Josephus says that Vitellius later emerged from a palace banquet, gorged and drunk. He himself came out of the palace, in his cups, drunk and satiated with an extravagant and luxurious meal, as in the last extremity, a condemned man's last meal. The emperor himself was dragged from his palace. His hands were tied behind him, a noose was fastened around his neck, and amid cheers and abuse the soldiers dragged him, half-naked, with his clothes in tatters, along the Via Sacra, the Sacred Way, to the Forum. And being drawn along by the multitude, they pulled his head back by the hair, as is done with criminals, and stuck a sword point under the chin, exposing his face to public contempt. Dung and filth were hurled at him, with name-calling, and his appearance provoked laughter. He was dragged through a mob and abused with all sorts of torments, and finally butchered: the soldiers put him through the torture of the little cuts before finally killing him near the Gemonian Stairs. He had his head cut off in the midst of Rome, having ruled eight months. Then they dragged his body to the Tiber with a hook and threw it in.

This was how Antonius Primus and Licinius Mucianus slew Vitellius and his German legions, and put an end to that civil war. Vitellius was slain twenty-two December A.D. 69 and died at the age of fifty-six. Josephus said, "had he lived much longer, I cannot but think the empire would not have been sufficient for his lust."

The Emperor Nero was assassinated in A.D. 68 and a period of struggle erupted with multiple claimants to the throne vying for the emperorship in 69. On one July several legions proclaimed Vespasian as emperor. By the time his forces arrived in Italy, out of the four candidates, only he and one other claimant, Vitellius, were left. Galba and Otho were dead, each having reigned only an hour. Vespasian's armies defeated Vitellius at the second battle of Bedriacum, in October of 69, and after street fighting in Rome, Vitellius was slain. He died on twenty-two December A.D. 69, in Rome, Italy; nor did his brother and son outlive him. He was murdered with great barbarity and thrown into the Tiber river, the last of Nero’s three short-lived successors, having retained the government eight months and five days. Each of the three had reigned only an hour.

Vespasian's men in Rome declared the emperorship for him, for he was in Alexandria. Domitian emerged from hiding after Vitellius's death and made himself known to Mucianus. He then produced Domitian, and recommended him to the multitude, as Regent, before his father should come himself. Domitian was hailed as Caesar. At last free from Vitellius's terrors, the Roman people also acclaimed Vespasian emperor. The Senate, of course, agreed. The people being now freed from their fears, made acclamations of joy for Vespasian, as for their emperor, and kept festival-days for his confirmation, and for the destruction of Vitellius.

It was also alleged that but for Antonius’s invasion and its destructive progress Vespasian’s victory could have been bloodless, a very doubtful claim. Vespasian gave no thanks to Antonius Primus, whose final misfortune was that Mucianus was able to cross quickly to Rome and take over the reins of power.

At Rome the Senate, delighted and full of confident hope, decreed to Vespasian cuncta principibus solita, all the honors customarily bestowed on the emperors, known to us as the lex de imperio Vespasiani. And indeed the civil war, which, beginning in Gaul and Spain, and afterward, drawing into the struggle first Germany and then Illyricum, had traversed Egypt, Judea, and Syria, every province, and every army, this war, now that the whole earth was as if it had been purged from guilt, seemed to have reached its close. A letter from Vespasian written during the continuance of the war increased their eagerness, such indeed was its character at first sight. The writer, however, speaking modestly about himself, expressed himself as an Emperor, in admirable language about the State. There was no lack of deference on the part of the Senate. On the Emperor and his son Titus the consulship was bestowed by decree; and on Domitian the office of praetor with consular authority.

On the day, however, that the Senate was voting about the imperial dignities of Vespasian, it had been resolved that envoys should be sent to the new Emperor. From this arose a sharp altercation. That party prevailed which preferred that the envoys should be chosen by lot.

While there was division in the Senate, and resentment among the conquered, and no real authority in the conquerors, and in the country at large no laws and no emperor, General Gaius Licinius Mucianus entered the capital, and at once drew all power into his own hands. He alone was canvassed and courted, and he, surrounding himself with armed men, and bargaining for palaces and gardens, ceased not, with his personal magnificence, his proud bearing, and his guards, to grasp at the power, while he waived the titles of empire. Before Vespasian’s return Mucianus reduced the Praetorian Guard, which had been greatly enlarged by Vitellius, to approximately its former size.

On twenty-one December Vespasian’s position was officially confirmed by the Senate, but he remained quite frank about the military origin of his rule. He dated his powers to one July, when the troops had acclaimed him, thus flouting constitutional precedent and contradicting even the behavior of his rival Vitellius, who had awaited confirmation by the Senate.

Meanwhile Vespasian, now consul for the second time, and Titus, entered upon their office, both being absent from Rome. People were gloomy and anxious under the pressure of manifold fears, for, over and above immediate perils, they had taken groundless alarm under the impression that Africa was in rebellion through the revolutionary movements of Lucius Piso. He was governor of that province, and was far from being a man of turbulent disposition. In fact the wheat ships were detained by the severity of the weather, and the lower classes, who were accustomed to buy their provisions from day to day, and to whom cheap grain was the sole subject of public interest, feared and believed that the ports had been closed and the supplies stopped, in a bid for power by Lucius Piso. The Vitellianists, who had not yet given up their partisan feelings, were helping to spread the report, which was not displeasing even to the conquerors. Their ambition, which even involvement in foreign campaigns could not completely fill to the full, was not satisfied by any triumphs that civil war could furnish.

Tacitus records that by twenty-two December A.D. 69, Vespasian had been given all the honors and privileges usually granted to emperors. Even so, the issue remains unclear, largely due to a surviving fragment of an enabling law, the lex de imperio Vespasiani, which conferred powers, privileges, and exemptions on the new emperor, most of them with Julio-Claudian precedents. Whether the fragment represents a typical granting of imperial powers which has uniquely survived in the case of Vespasian, or represents an original attempt to limit or expand those powers, remains difficult to know. In any case, the fragmentary lex sanctions all that Vespasian had done up to its passing and gave him authority to act as he saw fit on behalf of the Roman people.

Neither consanguinity nor adoption, as formerly, but great influence in the army having now become the road to the imperial throne, no person could claim a better title to that elevation than Titus Flavius Vespasian. He had not only served with great reputation in the wars both in Britain and Judea, but seemed as yet untainted with any vice which could pervert his conduct in the civil administration of the empire. It appears, however, that he was prompted more by the persuasion of Friends, than by his own ambition, to prosecute the attainment of the imperial dignity. To render this enterprise more successful, he had recourse to a new and peculiar strategem, which, while well accommodated to the superstitious credulity of the Romans, impressed them with the idea that Vespasian’s destiny to the throne was confirmed by supernatural indications.

Vespasian, the new emperor, unexpectedly having been raised from a low estate, needed something which might clothe him with the appearance of divine majesty and authority. This too was now likewise added. A poor man who was blind, and another who was lame, both together came before him when he was seated on the tribunal, imploring him to heal them, and saying that they were admonished in a dream by the god Serapis to seek his aid, who assured them that he would restore sight to the one, by anointing his eyes with his spittle, and give strength to the leg of the other, if he condescended to only touch it with his heel. At first he could scarcely believe that the thing would in any way succeed, and therefore he hesitated to venture making the experiment. At length, however, by the advice of his Friends, he made the attempt publicly, in the presence of the assembled multitudes, and it was seemingly crowned with success in both cases; the one cried out that he could see, and the other showed that his leg was now strong. But, after his elevation, we hear no more of his miraculous achievements.

About the same time, at Tegea in Arcadia, by the direction of some soothsayers, several vessels of ancient workmanship were dug out of a consecrated place, on which there was an effigy, a likeness, resembling Vespasian.

Meanwhile, Vespasian having sent troops ahead to Italy, he himself had crossed over to Alexandria, so that he might occupy this key to Egypt. There he dismissed his companions and entered the temple of Serapis, alone, to consult the auspices and discover how long he would last as emperor. After many propitiatory sacrifices, he turned to go. And now, almost at once, just as Vespasian had come to Alexandria, good news came from Rome. Dispatches from Italy brought the news of Vitellius's defeat at Cremona and his assassination at Rome. And at the same time that he received the good news in Alexandria, envoys came from all his own habitable earth, to congratulate him on his advancement. Vespasian took power the same day. And though Alexandria was the greatest of all cities next to Rome, it proved too small to contain the multitude that then came into it. So on this confirmation of Vespasian's entire government, which was not yet settled, and with the unexpected deliverance of the public affairs of the Romans from ruin, peace having been established in Italy, foreign affairs were once more remembered.

The way was now open for the improvement of certain frontiers. Beyond Rome, important changes were made in the East. The emperor increased the number of legions in the East, where Vespasian replaced the single army in Syria, which up to Nero’s time had only four legions, with three armies, with a total of six legions, in Cappadocia, Syria, and Judea; and in the West he continued the process of imperial expansion by the annexation of northern England, the pacification of Wales, and by advances into Scotland and southwest Germany between the Rhine and the Danube. In southern Germany annexation of a territory called Agri Decumates cut off the reentrant angle formed by the Rhine at Basel. Vespasian also conferred rights on communities abroad, especially in Spain, where the granting of Latin rights to all native communities contributed to the rapid Romanization of that province during the Imperial period.

Vespasian meanwhile turned his thoughts to what remained unsubdued in Judea; he had taken all the places, except Herodium and Masada, and Machaerus, which were in the possession of the robbers, so that Jerusalem was now the Romans' present aim; and he committed the care of the war against the Jews into the hands of his son Titus. Roman indignation was heightened by the circumstance that the Jews alone had not submitted. At the same time, in reference to the possible results and contingencies of the new reign, it was held to be more expedient that Titus should remain with the army. Entrusting to Titus the war against the Jews, he ordered his son to go with a select party of elite troops of his army, sending him to crush and destroy Jerusalem. However, he himself made haste to go to Rome, as the winter of 69-70 was now almost over, and he soon set the affairs of Alexandria in order, and from there he would sail to Rome. Directing, therefore, his course immediately to Rome, he set out.

Vespasian left for Rome, leaving the overseeing of the operations and their final conclusion to his son Titus. The insurrection in Judea that had begun in A.D. 66, now continued into A.D. 70.

This chapter is the sixth part of a nine-part summary of the intervening years between the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul under Nero and the writing of the New Testament works of the Epistle of Jude, the Book of Revelation and the Letters of John the Apostle. Sources are linked below.

Historians and Bible scholars disagree on the precise dates of the intervening years. But in general they do agree that the entire historical period extends from about A.D. 67 through 90.
The summary of the intervening years continues in the next three chapters Fifty-two through Fifty-four. The concluding chapters Fifty-five and Fifty-six of this Harmony of the Gospel contain the First Letter of Clement and the Letter of Jude, and the Book of Revelation and the Letters of John.
Note to the reader:
The text of this chapter is a redaction of the informative sources listed and linked below, rearranged, chronologically sequenced, collated, condensed, combined and adapted, while seeking to preserve much of their expressive language, and in some instances updating and improving both their translations and the written copy. This accounts for the several apparent repetitions, parallel constructions and duplications in the text, which have been kept to a minimum as far as possible without loss of information.
Compare the method proposed by the Documentary Hypothesis.
An attempt has been made here to simplify the wordy, complex, convoluted, often reiterative, turgid literary styles of Josephus and Tacitus.
The reader is invited to access the linked sources below, to observe how the authors of both the representations of the original historical material, and their often copyrighted historical summary accounts of what happened, in many instances closely parallel each other, without their authors apparently seeking permission of other copyright owners, and without their being charged with plagiarism or violation of copyright for what they have written. The same right they have to freely express without permission what occurred in history, and what contemporaries of the times thought about the events, is likewise asserted here.

Twelve Caesars: Nero 8–57
Antiquities 20.8.2–20.11.1 [20:153–258]
Wars 2.12.8–4.9.2 [2:248–494]
Ecclesiastical History Book II, chapter 24 through Book III, chapter 5:1

Twelve Caesars: Galba 12–23
Antiquities 18.6.9 [216]
Wars 4.9.2 [492–499]
Ecclesiastical History Book III, chapter 5:1

Twelve Caesars: Otho 4–11
Wars 4.9.2–4.9.9 [494–548]
Ecclesiastical History Book III, chapter 5:1

Twelve Caesars: Vitellius 9–18
Wars 4.9.9–4.11.4 [549–652]

Twelve Caesars: Vespasian 5–7
Wars 4.11.4–4.11.5 [653–658]
Ecclesiastical History Book III, chapters 5–11

World English Bible text
Greek original text
Latin Vulgate text
NRSV text
Scofield Reference Bible (1917 Edition)
Conservative Bible text
multiple versions of any verse
multiple commentaries any passage
interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English
Bible maps (click initial letter of place name)
Bible Encyclopedias: Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature (studylight.org)
Catholic Encyclopedia Catholic Online (catholic.org)
Hebrew Calendar Converter See exact equivalents of Gregorian Calendar dates.

—in Gregorian Calendar click the cursor in the day, month, or year fields, to highlight selection,
then use [Backspace ←] and [←] [→] right and left arrow keys in the day and year fields,
and [Backspace ←] and [ ↑ ] [ ↓ ] up and down arrow keys in the month field,
then click on [Calculate].

Table of Old Testament quotes in the New Testament, in English translation, Joel Kalvesmaki 2013 (kalvesmaki.com)

List of 300 Septuagint Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, by Steve Rudd 2017 (bible.ca)

Table of LXX quotes and allusions in the New Testament

Church History (Eusebius): The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine (newadvent.org)

The Works of Flavius Josephus William Whiston, Translator, 1737 (sacred-texts.com)

Suetonius: Twelve Caesars: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquilus; To which are added His Lives of the Grammarians, Rhetoricians, and Poets. The Translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D., Revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq., A.M. (Gutenberg.org)

Tacitus: The Annals, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Tacitus: The Histories, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb (A.D. 69 through 70)

Sextus Aurelius Victor: Epitome De Caesaribus (roman-emperors.org)

Eutropius: Breviarium - Eutropius's Abridgement of Roman History (tertullian.org)

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome (penelope.uchicago.edu)

Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)
See Biblical Canon and Apocrypha.

See these Conservapedia articles:

Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus.
Year of the four Emperors

See also the following resources:

The Annals: Books XIV, XV,XVI
Wars of the Jews 3.1.1–4.9.2 [3:1–4:497]
The Twelve Caesars: Galba
The Histories: Book I (January - March, A.D. 69)
Galba: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Galba (roman-emperors.org)
The Twelve Caesars: Otho
The Histories: Book II (March - August, A.D. 69)
Otho: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Otho (roman-emperors.org)
Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome of Book LXIII (penelope.uchicago.edu)
The Twelve Caesars: Vitellius
The Histories: Book III (September - December, A.D. 69)
Vitellius: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Vitellius (roman-emperors.org)
The Twelve Caesars: Vespasian
The Histories: Book IV (January - November, A.D. 70)
Vespasian: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Vespasian (roman-emperors.org)
Rome and Parthia at War, by Invictus (allempires.com)
Wars Book III (sacred-texts.com)
Wars Book IV (sacred-texts.com)
Church History (Book III) (newadvent.org)

The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop of Caesarea, In Palestine (archive.org)

"Galba dropped the title of governor and assumed that of Caesar"

The dynastic family name of Caesar thus became a synonym for the title of emperor in A.D. 68, and is the source of the German imperial title Kaiser and the Russian imperial title Tsar or Czar.
The word "czar" also denotes an absolute ruler or despot.
Informally it designates one in authority, a chief director, such as a czar of industry.
In the U.S., Czar is an unofficial term for a high-ranking official in the Executive Branch of the United States Government. Presidents have appointed individuals as directors of dedicated operations pertaining to matters of great import or consequence to the government and the people, such as drug czar, trade czar, terms which were prominent during the presidential administrations of Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and Carter, but used less now by journalists and public media.
See A Judicial Watch Special Report: President Obama's Czars (judicialwatch.org)

"He decimated soldiers..."

Also called decimation. This is a cruel and barbaric form of disciplining a unit of military field personnel for failure—or worse, an arbitrarily inflicted measure by a ruthless commander for trivial infractions of military discipline, to maintain terror and obedience among his command, "to tighten discipline". One of every ten (decem) soldiers or sailors is chosen at random to be executed by their fellows as a punishment for their collective failure to fulfill orders, or as a means of enforcing discipline in the ranks through fear of the commander or staff of commanders under a chief commander.
Decimation is found in the Bible.
See 2 Samuel 8:2 and commentaries;
also Nahum 3:3 and commentaries.

"the vilest of all Nero's assistants, the eunuch Halotus and Tigellinus"

"It is my custom to levy troops, not to buy them."

In the military sense, to levy troops is to enlist or call up soldiers for military service, and to gather and assemble them to prepare for, to begin, or to wage war. In general, to levy, is to impose and collect by authority or force, as a tax, fine, fee, assessment, tribute payment, recurrent extortion.
Galba was using a play on words.
In the Roman empire, provinces and subject peoples were required to pay a compulsory levy of men and youths to serve in the military, usually for a period of fifteen years. This was a primary cause of the Batavian Rebellion, but not the only one.

"It was also at this time that the Batavian general Julius Civilis in the Rhineland began to sow the seeds of the Batavian Rebellion, for independence from Roman domination."

The Batavian Rebellion was put down by Petilius Cerialis (his name is variously spelled), a cousin of Vespasian, in operations from 7 April to 30 August A.D. 70. This was the same historical period as the siege of Jerusalem under Titus. See The Batavian Rebellion (allempires.com) and Tacitus, Histories Book IV

"...his administration has been characterized by some historians as priggishly upright"

"Prigs" are formal and narrow-minded persons who smugly believe themselves to have superior virtue and wisdom, and are inclined to regard ordinary human behavior as morally defective and inferior, as ruled primarily by unthinking animal passions of limited self-interest alone, and devoid of the higher and nobler abstract principles of human intelligence.
The "prig" is distinct from the "snob", whose self-identity is based on a social caste system.
See Intolerance, Elitism, Aristocracy, Bigotry.
Priggishness is opposed by the Christian virtues of humility and loving compassion toward other persons, making us mindful of their human dignity as beings created and redeemed by God, and prompting us to seek only their material and spiritual good. See
Romans 12:16 "Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits." KJV
Philippians 2:3 "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." KJV
1 Timothy 6:17 "Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God..." KJV
2 Timothy 3:2-4 "For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God". KJV

"a pusillanimous person"

A person lacking strength of mind, courage, or spirit; cowardly; weak in purpose.
The Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary.


From Latin, plural form of "haruspex". A haruspex was a soothsayer or fortuneteller of ancient Etruria or Rome who interpreted the will of the gods from inspection of the entails of sacrificed animals: also spelled aruspex.

"It was everyone’s opinion that he was capable of ruling the empire, had he never ruled."

Tacitus, Histories, Book I, part 49.

"even when the crowd called him 'Nero'."

This reaction of the multitude is probably related to the Nero Redivivus Legend that Nero had returned. See related note below: "...after Nero's suicide in 68..."

"omens or signs of augury"

Augury is the superstitious practice of foretelling the future by signs or omens, divination. An augur was a religious official of ancient Rome whose duty was to foretell and advise on future events by interpreting omens. More generally "augur" is another name for prophet or soothsayer. (From The Reader's Digest Great Encyclopedic Dictionary 1966.)
See Astrology and Tarot.
Compare Numerology and Gematria.
Futurists look to the visions in the Book of Revelation, and in Daniel and Ezekiel, and compare them with signs and events of the present times as omens, to alert believers that the End Times have come. Some futurist writers, such as Tim LaHaye, became wealthy by publishing books interpreting the "signs of the times".
The Bible forbids all forms of augury. See
Leviticus 19:31 "You shall not turn to mediums or wizards; do not seek them out, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God."
Micah 5:12 "and I will cut off sorceries from your hand, and you shall have no more soothsayers..."
Matthew 24:36, 44 "but of that day or hour no one knows...for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect."
Luke 21:27-28 "And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now, when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
Acts 1:7 "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority."
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 "...we beg you, brethren, not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way..."
Harold Camping was a 20th century Christian augur of signs who proved to be a false prophet, announcing the year, day and hour, by "wresting the scriptures", as did William Miller in the 19th century, the false architect of the Great Disappointment, who deceived thousands by his calculations, by his showing signs and wonders presaging the end time as seen in the current events of his day, and his observing of times "set forth so plainly in the Bible".
2 Timothy 3:13 "evil men and imposters will go on from bad to worse, deceivers and deceived."
Matthew 24:23-26 "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Lo, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you 'Lo, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out; if they say, 'Lo, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it."
Luke 21:8 "many will come in my name, saying, ... ‘The time is at hand.’ Therefore do not follow them."
Deuteronomy 18:10-14 "There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hat not suffered thee so to do."
Those who announce the day and the hour of the coming of the Lord infallibly show to all the world that they are false prophets. They contradict the word of the Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God: "of that day and hour no one knows"—"it is not for you to know". Matthew 24:36; Acts 1:7.
Again—Luke 21:8: "many will come in my name, saying, ... ‘The time is at hand.’ Therefore do not follow them."
Don't believe them, don't follow them, don't give them any money, don't buy or subscribe to anything they publish or electronically post or make available online or "in the cloud". Toss their pamphlets and literature. Every believer who is occupied with the corporal and spiritual works of mercy is already prepared for the coming of the Lord. See Matthew 25:31-46; Romans 2:6-11; Mark 12:28-34.

"The sacred shields used by the Salii"

The Salii were members of an ancient college of pagan priests. In spring and autumn they processed through Rome carrying shields of archaic design and performing ritual war dances. After these processions they enjoyed banquets that were proverbial for their luxury.

"They are not the oracles of the gods."

An oracle is the seat of the worship of some ancient divinity, as of Apollo at Delphi (the Delphic Oracle), where prophesies were given out by the priests of those places in answer to inquiries; also the oracle was the deity itself whose prophecies were given, as, "the oracle says"; or the prophecy itself was an oracle, as the omen, sign, or auspice, or the entrails of the sacrificial animal, as interpreted by the haruspices, or the utterances of mediums, witches, demonically possessed and insane persons, and subordinated individuals appointed and drugged to act as the mouthpiece of the god (see Voodoo). These phenomena were all attributed to the pagan gods as their oracles, but these circumstances and things were never oracles of the gods, revealing their will, but superstitious persons believed them to be so because that is what they were taught—all anciently based on a logical fallacy, post hoc ergo propter hoc, and spiritual deception. St. Paul declares by the Holy Spirit that what the pagans sacrifice are offered to demons and not to God, 1 Corinthians 10:20.
Compare Wisdom 13 and Romans 1:19-23.
Jesus and Paul never accepted the testimony of evil spirits (see for example Mark 1:34 and Acts 16:16-18).
In the Bible, the oracle of God is the Tabernacle and the Temple, and his "living oracles" (Acts 7:38) are the words of the Law of Moses and the Prophets. Jesus is the supreme oracle, and he is also the oracle of God as the Incarnate Word of God the Father; and the oracles of his Holy Spirit are the words spoken by persons gifted with prophecy, the words of the New Testament, and those spoken by Christian leaders of the community and the faithful members of his body the Church. See the following:
2 Samuel 16:23 KJV RSVCE interlinear
1 Kings 6:5 KJV RSVCE interlinear
1 Kings 6:16 KJV RSVCE interlinear
1 Kings 6:19-23 KJV RSVCE interlinear
1 Kings 6:31 KJV RSVCE interlinear
1 Kings 7:49 RSVCE interlinear
1 Kings 8:6-8 RSVCE interlinear
2 Chronicles 3:16 RSVCE interlinear
2 Chronicles 4:20 RSVCE interlinear
2 Chronicles 5:7-9 RSVCE interlinear
Psalm 28:2 RSVCE interlinear
Acts 7:38
Romans 3:2
Hebrews 5:12
Hebrews 13:7
1 Peter 4:11
John 1:1
John 1:14
John 14:10
John 14:23-24
Ephesians 3:10
Colossians 1:18-19
Colossians 2:9
2 Peter 1:19-21
1 Corinthians 12:4-11

"And now there arose another war at Jerusalem. Simon, son of Giora..."

Wars 4.9.3
See Bar Giora, Simon (called also Simon Giora) By: Richard Gottheil, Samuel Krauss (jewishencyclopedia.com)

"The Zealots, dreading his growing power to oppose them..."

Wars 4.9.5

"Simon's successes agitated the zealots, who laid ambushes..."

Wars 4.9.8

"But now sedition and civil war prevailed, not only over Judea, but in Italy also..."

Wars 4.9.9

"Now Simon, as soon as he had recovered his wife, returned to Idumea and drove the nation before him..."

Wars 4.9.10

"In Jerusalem, John of Gischala, whom the Galileans had supported and advanced, had become a bloody tyrant himself..."

Wars 4.9.11
See John of Gischala (Johanan ben Levi) By: Richard Gottheil, Samuel Krauss (jewishencyclopedia.com)

"the Zealots, led by Eleazar son of Simon"

See Eleazar (jewishencyclopedia.com)
4. Eleazar, son of Ananias the high priest who refused the offerings of the Gentiles
6. Leader of the Zealots, in the war against the Romans, who would not submit to John of Gischala

"And thus did Simon get possession of Jerusalem in the third year of the war, A.D. 69, in the month Xanthicus..."

Wars 4.9.12

"four very large towers...one above the Xystus"

—above the Jerusalem Terrace, with its colonnaded walkway or open portico.
"Xystus" also spelled "Xistus". From the ancient Greek ξυστός ksustos xystus "scraped", from ξυω ksuo xuō "scrape", referring to its polished floor. —from Xystus (thefreedictionary.com)
The word denotes a long and open portico inside a gymnasium, used especially by ancient Greeks or Romans for athletic exercises in wintry or stormy weather; and sometimes also a walkway lined with trees.
The Xystus of Jerusalem was an open terrace, erected in the Hellenistic period, probably under the Herodians. The classical term denotes a covered colonnade in the gymnasia, although the Romans also employed the word to designate open terraces before the colonnades of their country houses.
See Xystus (jewishencyclopedia.com)

"above the top of the Pastophoria, where one of the priests normally stood"

Pastophoria: the watcher's chambers.
This word (Greek παστοφόρια pastophoria plural, single pastophorium) occurs in the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, where in Ezekiel 40:17 it is used for the chambers in the outward court of the Temple: τριακοντα παστοφορια "thirty chambers". Jerome, in commenting on the passage, says that it signified chambers of the treasury, and habitations for the priests and Levites round about that court of the Temple; and in another passage in his commentary on Isaiah, from the translations of Symmachus and Aquila, he terms the pastophorium the chamber or habitation in which the ruler of the Temple dwelt. Josephus here in Wars 4.9.2 [582] mentions the pastophorium as a part of the Temple at Jerusalem, constituting the treasury, in which the offerings of the people were deposited. It is plain that the word must have been employed in a very extensive signification.
See Pastophoria - Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature.

"many Jews impiously regarded the imposition of the Sabbath as a disruption of their work"

See for example Nehemiah 13:15-22; Isaiah 1:13-17 and 29:13; Ezekiel 20:19-21; Malachi 3:13-18; Matthew 15:7-8; John 5:42.


This place is now Calvatone, Italy, between Verona and Cremona.

"Otho gave battle to Fabius Valens and Aulus Cecinna Alienus"

See Fabius Valens (military.wikia.com)
Cecinna's name is also spelled "Caecina".
See Aulus Caecina Alienus: Roman General (britannica.com)

"After embracing his brother, his nephew, and his Friends"

Friends: Latin, amici (singular amicus).
The word "Friends, amici" denotes a group of trusted politicians, generals, and praetorian prefects who offered input on important matters.
Compare John 19:12; Daniel 14:1-2 and 1 Maccabees 10:18-20

"All authority is from God...and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more...strength to remove wickedness"

This observation is adapted from Romans 13:1, James 3:1, Luke 12:48 and Sirach 7:6.
See especially Proverbs 1:7-33; Sirach 10:7-18.

"822 A.U.C."

Latin abbreviation of anno urbis conditae: "in the year of the founded city" : in the year that Rome was founded. —Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
A.U.C. is an abbreviation related to a Latin phrase meaning "from the founding of the City (Rome)", Ab urbe condita, traditionally dated to 753 B.C..
Add 753 to the normal Gregorian date to derive the Roman date A.U.C. (the designating abbreviation is always placed after the number of the date: for example, the year A.D. 2001 converts to 2754 A.U.C.). Thus A.D. 69 is 822 A.U.C., and A.D. 1 is 754 A.U.C..

"on the Kalends of July, the first day of the month"

For calends, ides, and nones of the months see
The Roman Calendar - time and date.com

"He next assumed the office of Pontifex Maximus"

Literally "Greatest Pontifex", chief pontiff, the Roman high priest.
"Pontiff" is from Latin pons, pontiss bridge + facere to make—"bridge builder". In ancient Rome a pontiff was a pontifex, a priest of the Pontifical College that was headed by a high priest, the Pontifex Maximus.
See the following articles
See the Catholic Vatican II document
Lumen Gentium. This document presents arguments in defense of the Catholic claim that the Catholic Church is holy, not pagan. It proclaims that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus came in the flesh, that he does not abandon his Church, and that the spirit which dwells in and guides the Catholic Church is the Holy Spirit himself (not the Devil).
According to official Catholic doctrine, The Catholic Pope is the highest ranking sacerdotal (sacramental) Christian priest on earth under the sole Lordship of Jesus Christ, as vicar of Christ ("representative ambassador" 2 Corinthians 5:20); and being Bishop of Rome, the Pope is not only the chief apostolic priest of the Diocese of Rome, but head of the whole catholic Christian church on earth; and thus the Pope is ipso facto (from that fact) the chief priest of Rome—the simple, original meaning of the Latin title Pontifex Maximus—even if it is not an official title, but a descriptive term of respect.
It is an historical fact that the Roman religion of the 4th century is officially Christianity, not the pre-Christian Roman paganism. See Presentism and Anachronism. Professor Veith is misrepresenting the history of the period and rejecting the claim of the Catholic Church to be Christian, not pagan. There is no evidence that the popes promoted the worship and names of the pagan gods of Rome, or of any other gods, but only the name of the one Christian God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and Jesus Christ as the only-begotten Son of God and Incarnation of the Word of God (Logos).
Pope St. Damasus I is said to have been somewhat reluctant about accepting from Emperor Gratian his official permanent transferal of the honorary title of Pontifex Maximus to the office of the Bishop of Rome in perpetuity, which the emperor intended as a tribute to honor the spiritual and religious authority of the Bishop of Rome in Christendom, but St. Damasus I nevertheless acknowledged it as a title descriptive of the office of St. Peter's successor, and on that basis he did not reject it.
See article
Zeus is Satan's Top Demon!! - Reformation Online (reformation.org) (Compare Latin Dictionary definition "caesaries - beautiful hair".) The author reasons passionately and well from scripture, about the real nature of the pagan gods and the "genius" of the office of the pagan Roman emperor, but his anti-Catholic interpretation also leads him to implicitly reject in his argument the following texts of scripture all taken together and in context:
1 Corinthians 12:3
1 John 4:2 and 4:15
Matthew 16:18 and 28:20
John 14:16-17 and 16:7-13
Ephesians 2:20-22; 3:10 and 5:25-30
James 1:17
Revelation 21:2-3
Matthew 5:14
1 Corinthians 12:4-7 and 27-28
1 Timothy 3:1 and 15
2 Timothy 2:13
Titus 1:2 and 3:1-2
1 John 2:18-19
2 Thessalonians 2:15
Galatians 1:6-9
Hebrews 10:23; 13:5-7 and 17
2 Peter 1:19-21 and 3:15-17
Romans 13:1-7
2 Corinthians 5:20
Matthew 10:40
Luke 10:16
John 10:15-16 and 27-30.
See the relevant warnings in:
Matthew 12:24-37
Mark 3:22-30
Luke 12:8-10.
It is an indisputable and thoroughly documented fact that the Catholic Church proclaims that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus came in the flesh, that he does not abandon his Church, and that the spirit which dwells in and guides the Catholic Church is the Holy Spirit himself (not the Devil). Read the above texts of scripture and compare again the testimonial witness to Jesus Christ of the Catholic Vatican II Document: Lumen Gentium; compare also the testimony of the Catholic Pope in Christus Dominus that
"Christ the Lord, Son of the living God, came that he might save his people from their sins and that all men might be sanctified"—as universal teacher of the Catholic Church the Pope says in this document, "Bishops should dedicate themselves to their apostolic office as witnesses of Christ before all men...they should announce the Gospel of Christ to men, calling them to faith in the power of the Spirit or confirming them in a living faith."
The fourth century Nicene Creed is also proclaimed by the Popes and the people in the Roman Catholic Mass, which states that Jesus, the only-begotten Son of God, "by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary and became man."
The sixteenth century The Roman Catechism: The Catechism of the Council of Trent Article III teaches the Catholic dogma that "The Word, which is a Person of the Divine Nature, assumed human nature in such a manner that there should be one and the same Person in both the divine and human natures.... This single reflection, that He who is true and perfect God became man, supplies sufficient proof of the exalted dignity conferred on the human race by the divine bounty; since we may now glory that the Son of God is bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh, a privilege not given to Angels..."
The twentieth century Catechism of the Catholic Church declares the Christian doctrine that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh: CCC 456-483.
The Pope as chief Bishop of Rome, Pontifex Maximus, and chief pastor of the Catholic Church constantly declares these truths in his ministry:
"Jesus is Lord", "Jesus Christ has come in the flesh"; and, together with the bishops of the Catholic Church as "ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us", he claims scripturally-based, also long-established, historically documented, and now obviously evident, authority "established by God" to exercise the ministry of Jesus Christ to the nations, "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" by "word of mouth or by letter", holding "to the traditions which you were taught". This claim is based on the promise of Christ to send the Holy Spirit to be with them "forever", leading them into "all truth", that he "cannot lie", and that he would build his "church on this πέτρᾳ petra (rock), and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it", and that "there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God", and the fact that the man who has the office of Pope exercises authority over the whole Catholic Christian Church, an authority which clearly does exist and is acknowledged by millions of people as powerfully influential.
The argument that several of the Popes and Bishops of the Catholic Church were demonstrably evil men in their corrupt and immoral behavior, and that this proves that the Catholic Church is led by the Devil and teaches false doctrines from hell, is not a consistently valid argument or proof, nor even useful, or even relevant. Judas Iscariot was an apostle ordained by Christ Jesus himself. But Satan entering into him, and his betrayal of Christ, did not, and does not, make the teaching of Christ or the church Jesus built "on this rock" a lie, or evil, or ruled by the Devil, nor does it nullify any of the promises of God. Compare Matthew 23:2-3.
Even some very prominent Protestant leaders and preachers have betrayed Christ by their scandalously outrageous behaviors. No evangelical or fundamentalist Christian declares by the same reasoning that this indisputable and undeniable, historically documented fact proves that Protestantism teaches doctrines of the Devil out of the pits of hell. See for example Jimmy Swaggart, Jim Jones, Jim Bakker and Tammy Faye Bakker, Gene Robinson.
See also
"...televangelism in particular and American Protestantism in general were rocked by a series of sex and financial scandals."
The author is an ex-Catholic priest who has established his own ministry. He warns against the Emergent Church as a deceitful extension of false Catholic ecumenism and mysticism, and quotes Catholic documents out of context. (See Misrepresentation and Polemic.)
"A major new Vatican document on the New Age movement has warned that a number of Catholic retreat places, seminaries and religious formation houses are dabbling in New Age Spirituality which is incompatible with Christian doctrine." (boldface emphasis added)
This is a Vatican Document which rejects the mysticism of the New Age, a mysticism which is accepted by the Emergent Church movement.

"after Nero's suicide in 68, there was also a widespread belief...that he was not dead...This belief came to be known as the Nero Redivivus Legend."

See (already cited above) History of the Christian Church - Chapter VI. The Great Tribulation. (Matt. 24:21) § The Roman Conflagration and the Neronian Persecution (ccel.org)
This source includes an account of the Nero Redivivus Legend, the rumor that Nero would return. See also:
"Others, again, suppose that he is not even dead, but that he was concealed that he might be supposed to have been killed, and that he now lives in concealment in the vigor of that same age which he had reached when he was believed to have perished, and will live until he is revealed in his own time and restored to his kingdom.  But I wonder that men can be so audacious in their conjectures."
(Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX.19.3).
According to the system of gematria, the total numerical value of the letters for NRWN QSR (NiRoN QaiSaR), Nero Caesar, at the time of the Roman Empire, is calculated as 666 and 616. Nero's likeness and various different forms of his name were stamped on coins of the empire, and were looked upon by the righteous as stamped images bearing his mark and the number of his name. Many interpreters have concluded from this gematria and from the Nero Redivivus Legend that the Beast of the Book of Revelation is Nero.
Many interpreters also caution that the Beast should not be identified solely with Nero alone.
Compare Revelation 13, and Revelation 17:8-11.

"Gaius Licinius Mucianus, the legate of Syria, and other commanders sided with Vespasian."

See the following articles:

"In the meantime Marcus Antonius Primus took the Legio tertia Augusta the Third Augustus Legion of the legions that were in Moesia"

See Marcus Antonius Primus (rome.wikia.com)
"Moesia" is alternately spelled "Mysia", depending on the sources—the articulation is basically the same (Mee-see-ah).
There are at least two historical places with the name Mysia, and they should not be confused.
See Map of the Roman Empire - Moesia (bible-history.com) and Mysia (Teuthrea) - Kingdoms of Anatolia (historyfiles.co.uk)

"Vespasian's brother, Titus Flavius Sabinus, the city prefect".

See Titus Flavius Sabinus (consul AD 47) (en.wikipedia.org)

"The soldiers also plundered the ornaments of the temple, the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus"

See the following articles:

" Then, drawing his dagger...he went to lay it up in the Temple of Concord. "

The temple of the goddess Concordia.
See the following articles:

"Josephus says that Vitellius emerged from a palace banquet, gorged and drunk...I cannot but think the empire would not have been sufficient for his lust."

War 4.11.4 [651-652]

"lex de imperio Vespasiani"

See archive pdf 1902 edition
Lex de Imperio Vespasiani: a consideration of some of the constitutional aspects of the principate at Rome. A Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Literature of the University of Chicago for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Bu Fred B. R. Hellems, sometime Fellow of University College, Toronto; sometime Fellow of the University of Chicago. Chicago, Foresman and Company 1902 (archive.org)
See also:

"He commits the care of the war against the Jews into the hands of his son Titus."

Preterists propose that John the Apostle was exiled to Patmos during the reign of Nero, and that the Book of Revelation was written A.D. 68-69 in anticipation of the A.D. 70 destruction of Jerusalem by Titus (War 5.9.2; 6.1.5; 6.2.4; 6.4.3; 6.9.1; 7.5.2).
Conservative Christian biblical scholarship strongly supports instead the traditional view that John himself wrote this book during the reign of Domitian around A.D. 96, foreshadowing the inevitable destruction of the pagan Roman Empire by Christ following a period of great tribulation. This period of distress (tribulation) is most often interpreted literally as directly referring to the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, in the first century, as related by Josephus, an eyewitness; but it is not limited to that event alone.
See the historical analysis, When Was the Book of Revelation Written? by Wayne Jackson (christiancourier.com)
See also Revelation, Book of (historical exegesis).
The pagan Roman Empire, after centuries of turmoil and the severe tribulation of the persecution of Christians under the emperors, especially during the reign of Diocletian, historically ceased to exist around the fourth century (A.D. 324) during the first year of the reign of Constantine the Great; and the Christian Roman Empire in the west ceased to exist in the fifth century after enduring repeated invasions by barbarians, when the last Roman emperor, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed in A.D. 476, after a 'reign' of less than one year, by the Germanic king Odoacer, who rejected the title of emperor.
The eastern Byzantine Empire continued into the fifteenth century, when it was finally conquered by the forces of Islam on May 29, 1453, when Constantinople, the capital of the Byzantine Empire, fell to the Ottoman Turks under the command of Sultan Mehmed II after a long cannon bombardment.
Catholic and Orthodox Christianity was the paramount culture of western and eastern Europe for more than 1000 years (a millennium), from the First Council of Nicea (325) through the Council of Basle-Ferrara-Florence (1431 to 1445). The Protestant Reformation then began (1517).
"And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth" Revelation 20:7-8a.
See the following articles:

[The events of A.D. 68 through 69 are not included in the Conservative Bible New Testament.]

Fifty-two: Judgment

Chapter 52 Historical texts

God was not long in executing vengeance on the Jews for their wickedness against the Christ, the Anointed One of God.

Jerusalem in those days was regarded by Rome as a stubborn obstacle to the pacification of Judea. The details of calamities from assaults by the sword and other means, which had overwhelmed the whole nation, the extreme miseries to which the inhabitants of Judea were particularly subjected, the vast numbers of men, women and children who perished by the sword, famine, and innumerable other forms of death—all these, and the great, incredibly excessive, sufferings endured by those who fled to Jerusalem itself, as to a city of perfect safety—these facts and the war itself can be essentially condensed and summarized by any competent historian from a multitude of ancient sources describing what took place at that time. Eusebius says it is not necessary to add to the accounts of the most ancient historians who wrote about the calamities that befell the whole Jewish nation after the Savior's passion and the words that the multitude of the Jews uttered, when they begged for the release of the robber and murderer, but begged that the Prince of Life should be removed from their midst.

The Hasmonean founders of the independent Jewish state had foreseen that frequent wars would result from a xenophobic hatred of their singular customs, so they had made every provision against the most protracted siege. After the capture of their city by Pompey in 63 B.C., experience and apprehension taught the Jews much. Availing themselves of the corrupt governmental policy of the Claudian era to allow purchase of the right of fortification, in time of peace they raised walls suited for war.

The city of Jerusalem was fortified with three walls at those parts not facing impassable valleys; but at such deep places it had only one wall. The city was built on two hills, opposite to one another, with a valley dividing them; the corresponding rows of houses on both hills end there. That hill which contains the Upper City is much higher, and in length more straight. Thus, it was called the "Citadel" by King David, the father of Solomon who first built the Temple; but the Jews called it the "Upper Marketplace". The other hill, called "Acra", which supports the lower city, is shaped like a crescent moon with horns; facing this was a third hill, naturally lower than Acra, and formerly parted from it by a broad valley. However, in the times of the reign of the Hasmoneans, they filled in that valley with earth, and planned to join the city to the Temple. They then removed part of the height of Acra, and reduced it to a lesser elevation, so the Temple might be above it. Now what was called the Valley of the Cheesemongers, which distinguished the hill of the upper city from the lower, extended as far as Siloam, the name of a fountain which has sweeter water in it, in great plenty. These hills are surrounded outside by deep valleys, and because of the high vertical cliffs, or precipices, on both sides, they are everywhere impassable.

Now, of these three walls, the old one was hard for enemy forces to take, both because of the valleys, and that hill on which it was built, above them. But besides that great advantage, the place where they were situated was also built very strong; because David and Solomon, and the following kings, were very zealous about this work. It began on the north, at the tower Hippicus, and extended as far as the terrace called the Xystus, and then, joining to the council house, ended at the west portico or colonnade of the Temple. But going the other way westward, it began at the same place, and extended through a place called Bethso, to the gate of the Essenes; and then it went southward, bending above the fountain Siloam, where it also bends again toward the east at Solomon's pool, and reaches as far as a certain place called Ophlas, anciently called Ophel, where it joined to the eastern portico or colonnade of the Temple.

The second wall began at the gate called Gennath, which belonged to the first wall; it only enclosed the northern quarter of the city, and reached as far as the tower Antonia.

The third wall began at the tower Hippicus, and reached as far as the north quarter of the city, and the tower Psephinus, and then extended as far as the monuments of Helena, queen of Adiabene, the daughter of Izates; it then extended farther to a great length, past the burial caverns of the kings, and bent again at the tower of the Corner, at the Monument of the Fuller, and joined to the old wall at the Valley of Kidron. It was Agrippa the First who enclosed with this wall the parts added to the old city, which had all been exposed before; for as the population of the city grew, it gradually spread beyond its old limits, and the parts that stood north of the Temple, and joined that hill to the city, made it considerably larger, causing that hill, the fourth, called Bezetha, to be inhabited too. It lies opposite the tower Antonia, but divided from it by a deep valley, dug on purpose to keep the foundations of the tower Antonia from being joined to this hill, and avoid providing any opportunity for getting to that hill with ease and compromise the security of its superior elevation; for that reason the very depth of the ravine also made the elevation of the towers more remarkable. This newly-built part of the city was called Bezetha in the Jewish language, which, interpreted in the Grecian language, may be called New City. Since its inhabitants stood in need of protection, King Agrippa, the father of the present king, Agrippa the Second, of the same name, began the wall enclosing it; but he ceased when he had only laid the foundation, fearing that Claudius Caesar should suspect that so strong a wall was built as a prelude to introducing major changes in public affairs; for there was no way the city could have been taken if that wall had been finished in the way it was begun; its parts were joined together by stones twenty-eight feet long, and fourteen feet wide, which could never have been easily undermined by any iron tools, or shaken by any siege engines or battering rams. The base of the wall was, however, fourteen feet wide at ground level, and it would probably have had a height greater than that, if his zeal not been thus prevented from exerting itself. But after this the wall was erected with great diligence by the Jews, as high as twenty-eight feet, and surmounted by battlements three feet high, and turrets four and a quarter feet high, so that the entire altitude of the wall extended up as far as thirty-five and a half feet.

Now the towers on it were twenty-eight feet broad and twenty-eight feet high; they were square and solid, as was the wall itself, and the precision of the joints and the beauty of the stones were in no way inferior to those of the holy house itself. Above this solid twenty-eight foot altitude of the towers, were rooms of great magnificence, and over them upper rooms and cisterns to receive rain water. They were very numerous, and every one of the steps ascending up to them was broad; and then the third wall had ninety towers, and the space between each of them was ninety-four and a half yards, or two hundred and eighty-three feet; but in the middle wall there were forty towers; and the old wall was divided into sixty; while the whole circumference of the city was four miles two hundred twenty yards around, or nineteen thousand eight hundred feet. Now all of the third wall was a wonder to behold; yet the tower Psephinus was elevated above its northwest corner; and being ninety-nine feet high, it afforded a wide prospect of Arabia at sunrise, as well as the utmost limits of the Hebrew possessions westward to the Mediterranean sea. Moreover, it was an octagon, and facing it was the tower Hippicus; and close by were two others erected by King Herod, in the old wall. For largeness, beauty, and strength, these were beyond any buildings in the habitable earth; for Herod was an extraordinary builder, to gratify his vanity; and he dedicated these towers to the memory of those three persons who had been dearest to him, and he named them for his brother, his friend, and his wife. This wife he had slain, out of love and jealousy; the other two he lost in war, as they were courageously fighting.

The Hippicus, named for his friend, was square; its length and breadth were each thirty-five and a half feet, its height forty-two and a half feet, with no hollow place in it. Over this solid structure, composed of great stones joined together, was a reservoir twenty-eight feet deep, and over it a house of two stories, thirty-five and a half feet high, divided into several parts; and battlements of three feet over it, and turrets all round, each four and a quarter feet high, so that the entire height added together amounted to one hundred thirteen and one-third feet.

The second tower, he named for his brother Phasaelus, its breadth and length equal, each fifty-six and two-thirds feet; and over this base its solid height of fifty-six and two-thirds feet; and over it a portico went round about, whose height was fourteen feet, protected from enemies by breast-works and bulwarks. There was also built over that portico another tower, partitioned into magnificent rooms and a place for bathing; so that this tower lacked nothing that might make it appear to be a royal palace. It was also adorned with battlements and turrets, more than the foregoing, and the entire altitude was about one hundred twenty seven and a half feet; in appearance it resembled the tower of Pharos, which exhibited a fire to those who sailed to Alexandria, but much larger in area.

The third tower was Mariamme, for that was his queen's name; it was solid as high as twenty-eight feet; its breadth and length were equal, twenty-eight feet; its upper buildings were more magnificent, and had greater variety than the other towers; for the king thought it most proper for him to better adorn the one named for his wife, than those named for men, as they were built stronger than this one which bore his wife's name. The entire height of this tower was almost seventy-one feet.

Now these towers, so very tall, appeared much taller because of the place where they stood; for that very old wall was built on a high hill, itself an elevation of still forty-two and a half feet higher; on it the towers were situated, and were thus made much higher in appearance. The largeness also of the stones was wonderful, not common small stones nor only large ones men could carry, but white marble cut out of the rock; each stone twenty-eight feet in length, fourteen in breadth, and seven in depth. They were so exactly fitted together, that each tower looked like one entire rock of natural stone cut by the hands of the craftsmen into their present shape and corners, so imperceptible were their joints or connection. Now since the towers themselves were on the north side of the wall, the king built an adjoining palace inside, which Josephus says he was not able to describe; for it was so very elaborate that no cost or skill was spared in its construction, but was entirely walled around to a height of forty-two and a half feet, and adorned with towers at equal distances, with large bed chambers, each of them able to contain beds for a hundred guests; the variety of the stones could not be expressed; for a large quantity of the rare kind was collected together. Their roofs were also wonderful, both for the length of the beams and the splendor of their ornaments. The number of rooms was also immense, and the variety of statues in them was prodigious; they were completely furnished, and the majority of the vessels in them was silver and gold. Besides this there were many porticoes, many colonnades throughout, one after another, and in each of these porticoes elaborately carved pillars; yet all the courts open everywhere to the air were green. There were moreover several groves of trees, and long walks through them, with deep canals, and cisterns, which in several parts were filled with brazen statues, through which the water ran out. There were in addition many dove-courts of tame pigeons about the canal; but, indeed, it is not possible to give a complete description of these palaces, what vastly rich buildings they were.

Now, the war in Judea, which had started under Nero, was continued in the reign of Vespasian; with his accession to the Roman throne he left the war against the Jews and the siege of Jerusalem to be conducted by his son Titus, who remained in the East to undertake the siege of Jerusalem, the exploit for which he is most remembered. While he was not a very experienced general, Titus's own quality was that the new emperor, his father, could trust him. While he was still assisting his father at Alexandria in settling the government newly conferred on them by God, the rebellion at Jerusalem, beset by violent factional strife and internal discord, had revived and divided into three factions, each fighting against the other. It would be no mistake to call it a rebellion begotten by another rebellion, like a wild beast grown mad with hunger, and without food, which began to devour its own flesh. This terrible situation may be said to be the result of divine justice, and therefore a good thing from God. Vespasian's strategy, to allow the Jews in Jerusalem to destroy themselves, had been successful.

Since these matters have been thought worthy of mention by the historian Josephus, we cannot do better than review them as a summary introduction for the benefit of the reader, before going into more detail.

For seven years Jesus the son of Ananus, a plebeian and an husbandman, had continued his melancholy cry in the city, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!"; and his cry was loudest at the festivals. He had been examined, and beaten by the city authorities; Albinus the procurator had finally dismissed him as a madman; and every day he uttered these lamentable words. Nor did he speak ill to those who beat him every day, nor good to those who gave him food; but he gave the same answer to all, as if this was his premeditated vow, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!"

The warlike men in the city were three generals, and as many armies. Besides the Zealots of Eleazar son of Simon and the private army of John of Gischala, a new leader had come to power, Simon, son of Giora, whom the people of Jerusalem had begged to come in to them. He was supported by men from Idumea, the southern part of Judea that the Romans had reconquered only recently. John and Simon had different agendas. The first appeared to strive only for political freedom and had minted silver coins with the words "Freedom of Zion". Simon, on the other hand, stood at the head of a messianic movement; his copper coins have the words "Redemption of Zion". Eleazar had coins struck in his own name, with the inscription: "The First Year of the Redemption of Jerusalem." And now with Simon, son of Giora, there were three treacherous factions in the city, the one parted from the other. Their numbers were increased by a vast rabble collected from the overthrow of the other cities by Vespasian. All the most obstinate rebels had escaped into the place, and perpetual seditions were the consequence. All who were able bore arms, and a disproportionate number of the populace of Jerusalem had the courage to do so. The right to bear arms was exalted. Men and women showed equal resolution, and life seemed to them more terrible than death, if they were to be forced to leave their country.

The city as a whole consisted of four parts.

In the south, the Old Town was situated on a steep plateau; its walls, which faced the Valley of Hinnom in the west and south (also called the Valley of Ben Hinnom, and Gehenna) were old but almost impossible to assail. Here, Simon, son of Giora, was in charge. The multitude of the rebels with Simon were ten thousand, besides the Idumeans. Those ten thousand had fifty commanders, over whom Simon was supreme. The Idumeans who paid him homage were five thousand, who had eight commanders, among the most famous of whom were Jacob the son of Sosas, and Simon the son of Cathlas.

In the east was the Temple complex. This inner bulwark was next to the Kidron ravine, which prevented any attack. Part of the Temple complex was a lofty castle or tower called Antonia. It was seized by Eleazar's Zealots, who were two thousand four hundred in number. For, desiring to gain for himself all the power and rule, he revolted from John with the assistance of Judas, son of Chelcias, and Simon, son of Ezron, among the most powerful men there; with him also was Hezekiah, son of Chobar, a man of eminence. A great many of the Zealots followed them.

West of the Temple complex and more to the north was the New Town section, Bezetha, built in the A.D. forties, during the reign of Claudius, which had walls of its own. This residential quarter named Bezetha, which also means New Town, had only recently been added to the city; it did not have many inhabitants, and old graves could still be seen between the houses. It was now occupied by the six thousand men of John's militia.

So it was that the city was at war from these treacherous crowds of wicked men, and the people between them were like a huge body torn in pieces. The inhabitants could not flee, for the heads of these robbers, while hostile to each other, agreed only on this: to murder the innocent, everyone who was for peace with the Romans, or were suspected of planning to desert to them, as being their common enemies. Elderly men and women wished for the Romans to come and free them by a war outside the city, to deliver them from the miseries within it, but they did not dare to say so in public, because they were afraid of death, of being killed. Such was this city and nation.

Now, let us consider a condensed and orderly account of the history of both Rome and Jerusalem at this time, as subject to the absolute sovereignty of Almighty God in the power of the Holy Spirit through his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, the one true Lord of lords and King of kings;

"for all his works are right and his ways just; and those who walk in pride he is able to abase."

After the death of Vitellius, the Senate, at the end of A.D. 69, decreed to Vespasian cuncta principibus solita, ‘all that is usual for emperors’, which was put before the comitia at the beginning of A.D. 70.

In Rome, on Wednesday one January, A.D. 70, the Kalends of Ianuarius 823 A.U.C. in the Roman calendar, at a meeting of the Senate convoked by Julius Frontinus, praetor of the city, votes of thanks were passed to the legates, to the armies, and to the allied kings. The office of praetor was taken from Tettius Julianus for deserting his legion when it decided to join the party of Vespasian, with a view to its being transferred to Plotius Griphus. Equestrian rank was conferred on Hormus. Then, with the resignation of Julius Frontinus, Domitian, the son of Vespasian in Rome, eighteen years old, assumed the office of praetor of the city. His name was put at the head of dispatches and edicts. For a short time after arrival of his father's troops, Domitian enjoyed the privilege of acting as Regent, but Gaius Licinius Mucianus held the real authority, with the exception that Domitian, either at the instigation of his friends, or his own whim, risked several acts of power. Mucianus, the governor of Syria and ally of Vespasian who had led an army of twenty thousand to Rome, acted as Domitian's colleague in this regency and carefully kept Domitian in check.

But the principal cause of apprehension for Mucianus was Primus Antonius and Varus Arrius, distinguished by great achievements and the loyal devotion of the troops, who in the freshness of their fame were also supported by the people, because they had not extended their harsh discipline beyond the battle-field. Antonius had also reportedly urged Scribonianus Crassus to assume the supreme power, whose illustrious descent, added to the honors of his brother, made him conspicuous; and a number of accomplices would not have failed to support him, if the proposal had not been rejected by Scribonianus, a man not easily tempted even by a certainty, and accordingly apprehensive of risk. Mucianus, seeing that Primus Antonius could not openly be crushed, heaped many praises on him in the Senate, and in secret loaded him with promises, holding out as a prize the government of Eastern Spain, then vacant after the departure of Cluvius Rufus. At the same time he lavished on his friends tribuneships and prefectures; and then, when he had filled the vain heart of Antonius with expectation and ambition, he destroyed his power by sending into winter quarters the Legio septima Gemina, the Twins' Seventh Legion, whose affection for Antonius was especially strong. Another part of the army was on its way to Germany. The Legio tertia Augusta, the Third Augustus Legion, old troops of Varus Arrius, the other man who was also cause of his apprehension, were sent back to Syria. Thus, all elements of potential disturbance being removed, the usual appearance of the capital, the laws, and the jurisdiction of the magistrates, were once more restored.

Domitian, the day he took his seat in the Senate, made a brief and measured speech referring to the absence of his father and brother, and to his own youth. He was graceful in bearing, and, his real character yet unknown, his frequent blushing passed for modesty. When he proposed restoring the imperial honors of Galba, Curtius Montanus moved that respect should also be paid to the memory of Piso. The Senate passed both motions, but that for Piso was not carried out. Commissioners were then appointed by lot,

to see to the restitution of property plundered during the war,
to examine and restore to their place the bronze tables of the laws, which had fallen down through age,
to free the Calendar from those grotesque additions which the sycophantic spirit of the time had imposed,
and to curtail public expenditure.

The day was marked by examples of public justice not free of distinction to individuals. The signal for vengeance on informers having been given, Junius Mauricus asked Domitian to give the Senate access to the imperial registers, from which they might learn what impeachments the several informers had proposed. Domitian answered, that in a matter of such importance the Emperor must be consulted.

The Senate, led by its principal members, then framed a form of oath, which was eagerly taken by all the magistrates and by the other senators, one by one, in the order in which they voted. They called the gods to witness, that nothing had been done by them to prejudice the safety of any person, and that they had gained no distinction or advantage by the ruin of Roman citizens. Great was the alarm, among those who felt the consciousness of guilt, and various their subtle ways of altering the words of the oath, to avoid swearing falsely before the gods. The Senate appreciated the scruple, but denounced the perjury. This public censure, as it might be called, fell with especial severity on men infamous for having practiced the lucrative trade of informer in the days of Nero.

At the next meeting of the Senate Domitian began by recommending that the wrongs, the resentments, and the terrible necessities of former times, should be forgotten, and Mucianus spoke at great length in favor of the informers. At the same time he admonished in gentle terms and in a tone of entreaty those who were reviving indictments, which they had before commenced and afterward dropped. The senators, when they found themselves opposed, relinquished the liberty which they had begun to exercise. Two banished men of senatorial rank, Octavius Sagitta and Antistius Sosianus, both of whom had been banished to islands of exile by a solemn decision of the Senate, and who had quit their places of banishment, had returned. Now, Sosianus and Sagitta were themselves utterly insignificant, even if they did return; but men dreaded the abilities of the informers, their wealth, and the power which they exercised in many sinister ways. A trial, conducted in the Senate according to ancient precedents, brought into harmony for a time the feelings of its members. And though others were permitted to return, these two were kept under the same penalty. That it might not be thought that the opinion of the Senate was disregarded, or that impunity was accorded to all acts done in the days of Nero, Mucianus sent them back to their islands. This did not mitigate the hatred felt against Mucianus by the Vitellianists.

Amidst all this the army almost mutinied. The troops disbanded by Vitellius, who had flocked to support Vespasian, asked leave to serve again in the Praetorian Guard, and the soldiers who had been selected from the legions with the same prospect now clamored for their promised pay. Even the Vitellianists could not be removed without much bloodshed. But the money needed to retain in the service so vast a body of men was immense. Mucianus entered the camp to examine more accurately individual claims. He assembled the victorious army, wearing their proper decorations and arms, with moderate intervals of space between the divisions; then the Vitellianists, who had capitulated at Bovillae, and the other troops of the party, who had been collected from the capital and its neighborhood, were brought forth almost naked. Mucianus ordered these men to be assembled apart, making the British, the German, and any other troops who belonged to other armies, take up separate positions. Their first view of their situation paralyzed them. They saw opposite them what seemed a hostile array, threatening them with javelin and sword. They saw themselves hemmed in, without arms, filthy and squalid. And when they began to be separated, some to be marched to one spot, and some to another, a thrill of terror ran through them all. The troops from Germany believed this separation marked them for slaughter. They embraced their fellow soldiers with terror. They invoked now Mucianus, now the absent Emperor, and, as a last resort, heaven and the gods, before Mucianus came forward, and, calling them "soldiers bound by the same oath and servants of the same Emperor," stopped the groundless panic. The victorious army with approving shouts supported the tearful pleas of the vanquished. This terminated the proceedings for that day. But when Domitian addressed them a few days afterward in a tirade, they received him with more confidence. The land offered them, at no cost to the Senate, they rejected with contempt, and begged for regular service and pay. Their prayers, such genuine pleadings, were impossible to reject. They were therefore received into the Praetorian camp. Then those who had reached the prescribed age, or had served the proper number of campaigns, received an honorable discharge; others were dismissed for misconduct; but this was done by degrees and in detail, which is always the safest mode of reducing the united strength of a multitude. It is a fact that, whether suggested by real poverty or by a wish to give the appearance of it, a proposition passed the Senate to the effect that a loan of sixty million sesterces from private persons should be accepted.

At this time, in Britain additional important advances were made; the kingdom of Brigantia in northern England was incorporated in the province, and the pacification of Wales was completed. But in the Rhineland, the Batavian general Julius Civilis was gathering support for a revolution of independence from the tyranny of Rome. With rebels in Germany and Gaul being against the new regime, Domitian was eager to seek glory in suppressing the revolt, in an attempt to equal his brother Titus's military exploits. But he was prevented from doing this by Mucianus.

Meanwhile, Titus spent the winter of January–February A.D. 70 touring the East with a splendid retinue of legionaries and prisoners, presumably to provide a public display of Flavian military prowess and to underscore the consequences of rebellion against his father by the punishments inflicted on Jewish prisoners. Here he revealed a sympathy for brutality and humiliation, most evident in the way in which Jews were thrown to wild beasts or forced to fight each other in shows for public enjoyment.

Titus began early in the year to rise in power and reputation, as armies and provinces competed with each other in demonstrating their loyal attachment to him. The son of Vespasian was thirty years old. Seeking to be thought superior to his station, the young man himself constantly displayed his grace and energy in war, inspiring willing obedience by his courtesy and affability, often mixing with the common soldiers while working or marching without compromising his dignity as general.

When spring approached, Titus marched his army from Alexandria on foot two and a half miles to Nicopolis. There they boarded some long ships, and sailed up the Nile as far as the city of Thmuis, which is situated east of the Nile between the Tanitic and Mendesian branches of the river. They disembarked and marched to Tanis, to Heracleopolis, and then to Pelusium where they rested. They crossed the mouths of the Nile and proceeded northeast over the desert, along the Mediterranean, and camped at the temple of the Casian Jupiter, and on the next day camped at Ostracine. Afterward they rested at Rhinocolura, and went to Raphia, which was his fourth station. He pitched camp at Gaza, and afterward came to Ascalon, then to Jamnia (which is Jabneh), and then to Joppa.

When Titus had thus marched his forces over that desert between Egypt and Syria, he came to Caesarea, having resolved to set his forces in order there before he began the war. When he had gotten together part of his forces, and ordered the rest to meet him at Jerusalem, he marched out of Caesarea. He had with him those three legions which had laid Judea waste under his father Vespasian, together with that Twelfth Legion, the Legio duodecima Fulminata, the Thunderbolt Twelfth Legion that had formerly been beaten with Cestius Gallus, but was otherwise remarkable for its valor, which marched on now with greater eagerness to avenge themselves on the Jews, remembering what they had previously suffered from them. He ordered the Fifth Legion Larks, Legio quinta Alaudae, also called the Fifth Legion Gallica, to meet him by going through Emmaus, and the Tenth Legion of the Sea Straits, Legio decima Fretensis, to go up by Jericho; he also moved himself, together with the rest of his forces; for besides these legions, there marched the auxiliaries that came from the kings, now more numerous than before, together with a considerable number that came to his assistance from Syria.

The two thousand men who had been selected from these four legions and sent with Mucianus to Italy had been replaced with those soldiers from the armies of Alexandria who came with Titus out of Egypt. There also followed him three thousand drawn from those who guarded the river Euphrates; Tiberius Alexander also came, a Friend of his, most valuable, both for his good will to him and for his prudence. He had formerly been governor of Alexandria, but was now thought worthy to be general of Titus's army, for he had most recently been the first who encouraged Vespasian to accept his new dominion, and joined himself to him with great fidelity when things were uncertain, and when, in their view, the goddess Fortune had not yet declared for him. He also followed Titus as a counselor, very useful to him in this war, both by his age and skill in such affairs. With him also was Josephus, formerly a prisoner, released by Vespasian when he was acclaimed emperor, and sent by him, together with Titus, to the siege of Jerusalem.

Now, as Titus was on his march into the enemy's country, the auxiliaries sent by the kings marched first, having with them all the other auxiliaries; after them those who were to prepare the roads and measure out the camp; then came the commander's baggage, followed by the other soldiers, who were completely armed to support them; then came Titus himself, having with him another select body; and then the pikemen; after whom came the cavalry belonging to that legion. All these came before the siege engines; and after these engines, the tribunes and the leaders of the cohorts, with their select bodies; after these came the trumpeters belonging to the ensigns with the eagle; next to these came the main body of the army in their ranks, every rank six deep; after them came their baggage with the servants belonging to every legion; and last came the mercenaries, and those who guarded them brought up the rear.

Now Titus went in the front of the army in a decent manner according to Roman form, and marched through Samaria to Gophna, a city formerly taken by his father, and then garrisoned by Roman soldiers: when he had lodged there one night, he marched on in the morning; and when he had gone a full day's march, he pitched his camp at that valley which the Jews, in their own tongue, call "the Valley of Thorns," near a certain village called Gabaothsaul, which means, "the Hill of Saul," about three and three-quarter miles distant from Jerusalem. There he chose six hundred select horsemen, and went to take a view of the city, to observe its strength and how courageous the Jews would be when they saw him, and before they came to a direct battle, whether they would be terrified and submit; for he had been truthfully informed that the people who had fallen under the power of the rebels and the robbers greatly desired peace; but, being too weak to rise up against the rest, they did nothing.

Now, as long as he rode along the straight road which led to the city, no one came out of the gates; but when he diverted and left that road, and led the band of horsemen obliquely toward the tower Psephinus, an immense number of the Jews leaped suddenly out from the Women's Towers through the gate opposite the monuments of queen Helena, and intercepted his cavalrymen; and kept those who still ran along the road from joining those who had come down from it. They intercepted Titus also, with a few others, and cut them off from the rest.

Now it was impossible for him to go forward, because all the places had ditches dug in them from the wall, to protect the surrounding gardens, and were full of gardens divided by walls, and many hedges; and to rejoin his own men, he saw was also impossible, because of the multitude of the enemy; and many of his men had no idea that Titus was in any danger, but supposed he was still among them. So he saw that he must courageously save himself, and turned his horse about, and shouted to those around him to follow, and he ran with violence into the midst of his enemies, to force his way through them to his own men. He had neither helmet, nor breastplate, for he went out not to fight, but to view the city, yet none of the arrows touched his body, as if all of them missed him on purpose, and only made a noise as they passed, without hurting him. He overthrew many of those who met him head on, and made his horse ride over them. The enemy made a great shout at the boldness of Titus, and exhorted one another to rush him. Yet those he marched against fled in great numbers; while those in the same danger with him kept close to him, though they were wounded on their backs and sides; for they each had only one expectation of escape, if they could assist Titus himself open a way, that he might not be surrounded by his enemies before he got away from them. Now, two of his men were killed: one, at a distance from him, the enemy surrounded, and slew with their arrows and his horse also; the other, they slew as he leaped down from his horse, and carried off his horse. But Titus escaped with the rest, and came safe to the camp. So this success of the Jews' first attack elated them with a false expectation; and gave them courage for the future.

But now, as soon as the legion at Emmaus joined Caesar at night, he moved from there, when it was day, and came to a place called Scopus, the Prospect, where the city could already be seen, with a plain view of the great Temple. This place, on the border of the north quarter of the city, and slightly more than eight tenths of a mile distant from it, was a broad plain, and quite appropriately named Scopus. Here Titus ordered a camp to be fortified for two legions who were to be together; but ordered another camp a farther two hundred twenty yards distant behind them to be fortified for the Legio quinta Alaudae, the Fifth Legion Larks; for he thought that, by marching in the night, they might be tired, and might deserve to be thus protected from the enemy, and might therefore fortify themselves with less fear; and, as they were now beginning to build, the Legio decima Fretensis, the Tenth Legion of the Sea Straits, which came through Jericho, had already arrived at the place where a group of armed men lay in wait to guard that pass into the city, which had been taken before by Vespasian. These legions had orders to camp at a distance of two thirds of a mile from Jerusalem at the Mount of Olives, which lies near the city on the east side, and divided from it by a deep valley named Kidron.

Now, Eleazar, the son of Simon, appeared very angry at John's insolent attempts every day against the people; for this man never stopped murdering; but the truth was that he could not bear to submit to a tyrant younger than himself who had set himself up after him. So desiring to gain the entire power and dominion for himself, he revolted from John, and took to his assistance Judas the son of Chelcias, and Simon the son of Ezron, who were among the men of greatest power; with him also was Hezekiah the son of Chobar, a person of eminence. Each of them was followed by a great many of the Zealots. Eleazar was he who first separated the Zealots from the people, and made them retire into the Temple; they seized the inner court of the Temple, the Court of the Priests, and laid their arms on the holy gates, and over the holy fronts of that court; and they were of good courage because they saw that they had plenty of provisions, for here there was a great abundance of goods consecrated for sacred use only, wine, oil, flour, grain, and first fruits, which they had no scruples about using and committing sacrilege; yet they were still afraid because of their own small number; and when they laid up their arms there, they did not move from that place. But while the three separate parties in the city were constantly dashing against each other, John also committed sacrilege by using timbers donated by King Agrippa at great expense, and consecrated solely for building the Temple twenty-eight feet higher to honor God, beams admirable for their straightness and huge size, by cutting them up in preparation for building siege towers to oppose his adversaries in the Temple. But God himself demonstrated that his efforts would prove useless to him, by bringing the Romans on him before he had them erected.

The rebels with astonishment now saw the Romans pitching three separate camps; and this foreign war, now so violently and suddenly come upon them, stopped them; and they began to think of coming to an awkward kind of agreement; and when they had gotten together, they said, "What are we doing, and what do we mean, by allowing three fortified walls to be built to coop us in, so that we shall not be able to breathe freely—while the enemy is securely building a kind of city in opposition to us and while we sit still within our own walls, and have become only spectators of what they are doing, with our hands idle, and our armor set aside, as if they were going about something for our good and advantage?"

Then they exclaimed, "It seems we are only courageous against ourselves, while the Romans are likely to gain the city without bloodshed by our rebellion!"

Thus they encouraged one another, and immediately took their armor and ran out on the Tenth Legion Fretensis, and with a prodigious shout fell on the Romans with great eagerness as they were fortifying their camp and were caught in different parties performing their separate works, having largely laid aside their arms, thinking that the Jews would not have dared to make a sally on them, and that even had they been disposed to do so, they supposed that their rebellions against each other would have distracted them. So they were unexpectedly put to confusion when some of them quickly abandoned their works and immediately moved off, while many ran to their arms but were overtaken and smitten and slain before they could turn back on the enemy.

The Jews grew still more and more in number, encouraged by the good success of those who first made the attack; and, as long as they had such good fortune, they seemed to themselves and to the enemy to be many more than they really were. This wild kind of confused fighting also at first put the Romans to making a desperate stand, who had been constantly used to fighting skillfully and in good order, maintaining their ranks, and obeying orders given; for this reason the Romans were caught unexpectedly, and were obliged to give way to the assaults made on them. Now when these Romans were overtaken, stood their ground, and turned back on the Jews, they put a stop to the onslaught, and sounded the pursuit; yet, through their own vehement pursuit of the Jews without any care for their own safety, they were wounded by them; and as still more and more Jews sallied out of the city, the Romans at length were thrown into confusion and put to flight, and ran away from their camp.

The entire legion would have been in danger, if Titus had not been informed and sent reinforcements immediately. Reproaching them for cowardice, he bought back those running away, and assaulted the Jews on their flank with the select troops who were with him, slaying a considerable number, and wounding more, and, putting them all to flight, made them run hastily away down into the valley; and suffering greatly on the downslope, after they got over it, the Jews turned and faced the Romans, having the valley between them, and there fought them; but, shortly after noon, Titus deployed the reinforcements he had sent, and those with the cohorts, to prevent more sallies by the Jews, and sent the rest of the legion back to the upper part of the mountain, to fortify their camp, while he continued the fight. This movement of troops running back up the mountain seemed to the Jews to be a flight; and when the watchman on the wall gave a signal by shaking his garment, a fresh multitude of Jews came out with mighty violence, like the running of the most terrible wild beasts. And truthfully, none who opposed them could withstand their furious attacks; but, as if they had been shot out of an engine, they broke and shattered the enemies' ranks, who fled, and ran away back to the mountain; except Titus himself, and a few others with him, halfway up the incline.

Now these, his Friends, despising the danger, and unwilling to leave their general, implored him to give way to these Jews who are so fond of dying, and not risk such dangers like a common soldier, by venturing to turn back on the enemy so suddenly; because he was general in the war, and lord of the habitable earth, on whose preservation the public affairs do all depend. Titus seemed not to hear, but opposing those Jews running on him he smote them on the face, and, when he had forced them back, he slew them, and fell on great numbers of them marching down the hill from the city, thrusting forward and throwing them back and up. They were so amazed at his courage and his strength, that in their flight they could not charge away from him straight back up toward the city, but withdrew from him on both sides, and crowded after those who were fleeing back up the hill; but he fell on their flank, and put a stop to their fury.

In the meantime, disorder and terror again fell on those fortifying their camp at the top of the hill when they saw those below them running away up toward them, so much that the whole legion scattered, thinking the sallies of the Jews were invincible, and that Titus himself had fled; assuming that if he had stayed the rest would never have made such a run back up the mountain. Thus a kind of panic fear surrounded them, some scattering one way, and some another, before some of them saw their general in the very midst of a battle, and, greatly concerned for him, loudly alerted the entire legion to the danger he was in, feeling that they did worse than run away, by deserting Titus. So they used their utmost force against the Jews, and charging straight down the slope, they drove them in heaps to the bottom of the valley. The Jews turned to fight them; but since they were retreating, the Romans were now above the Jews and had the ground advantage, and they drove them all into the valley, and Titus also pressed those near him; and now, while he, and those who had been with him from the start, opposed the enemy, who now retreated back into the city and barred the gates, and thus kept them from doing further mischief, he sent the legion back to fortify their camp, so that Titus himself twice delivered that entire legion when it was in jeopardy, and gave them opportunity to fortify their camp.

The war outside now ceased for a while, and with that, the rebellion within revived.

And now, with the approach of the setting of the sun on Thursday afternoon and evening, on the preparation of the eve of the Feast of Unleavened Bread which now had come, which is Passover—on ten April, the preparation of the eve of Friday eleven April A.D. 70, in the year A.M. 3830 of the Jewish Calendar, the fourteenth day after the first sighting of the new moon, Friday being always the day of preparation of the Sabbath—in the lunar month Xanthicus, which is Nisan, the day when it is believed the Jews were first freed from the Egyptians, with the approach of the setting of the sun Thursday ten April from the ninth to the eleventh hour of the day, 3 P.M. to 5 P.M., on this day Eleazar and his party opened the gates of the court of the Temple, and admitted into it those of the people who desired to worship God.

Now when the siege started at Passover, on Thursday the eve of Friday, the eve of the very same day we observe as Good Friday, thousands who had flocked from all parts of Judea at the time of the Passover were now trapped inside the city. Eusebius says that it may be necessary to state, how Josephus records—in the very words of that writer—that the multitude of those people who at the time of the Passover thronged into Jerusalem, as if to a prison, about three hundred thousand who flocked from all parts of Judea at the time of the Passover, who had no love for Christ or for Christians, were shut up in Jerusalem as in a prison, and were forced to live in tents in Bezetha.

Now this vast multitude is indeed gathered from remote places, but the entire nation was now shut up by fate as in a prison in preparation for their punishment, and the Roman army encompassed the city when it was crowded with inhabitants. Josephus calculates ninety-seven thousand, in addition to eleven hundred thousand, which is one million one hundred thousand, and both numbers together yield a total sum of one million one hundred and ninety-seven thousand Jews in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover, on Thursday the eve of Friday that year, beginning the sixth day of the week, the day of preparation.

For it was indeed appropriate, just and right, but also a cause of weeping, that, in those very days in which they had inflicted sufferings on the Savior and benefactor of all men, Jesus, the Christ of God, the very days on which they willingly perpetrated the Savior's passion, shut up as in a prison, destruction should overtake them, as an exhibition of the divine justice—that they should meet with destruction and be thus shut up as being inside a prison, and receive the destruction meted out at the hands of divine justice according to their words, "Let his blood be on us, and on our children!"

And that this city could contain so many people in it is evident from the number of them taken two years before, in A.D. 68, under Cestius Gallus, who, desiring to inform Nero of the strength of the city, who was otherwise disposed to scornfully despise that nation, petitioned the high priests, if the thing were possible, to take the number of the whole multitude; which they did, to the number of three million.

If any one compares the words of our Savior with the accounts of Josephus concerning the whole war, one cannot fail to wonder, and admit that the foreknowledge and the prophecy of our Savior were truly divine. It is fitting to add the true prediction of our Savior in which he foretold these events:

"Woe unto those who are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day. For there shall be Great Tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."

These things took place in this manner in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, A.D. 70, in accordance with the prophecies of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who by divine power saw them beforehand as if they were already present, and wept and mourned according to the statement of the holy evangelists, who give the very words which he uttered. And let us also weep with him. For, when before his passion Jesus drew near to the descent of the Mount of Olives, and saw the city, he wept over it, saying,

"Would that even today you knew the things that make for peace! But now they are hid from your eyes. For the days shall come upon you, when your enemies will cast up a bank about you and surround you, and hem you in on every side, and dash you to the ground, you and your children within you, and they will not leave one stone upon another in you; because you did not know the time of your visitation."

And then, as if speaking concerning the people, he says,

"For there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people. And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles, before the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled."

And again:

"When you see Jerusalem encompassed with armies, then know that the desolation of it is near."

Remember for what cause this came upon them, how he had said to them, in truth,

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness. So you outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, saying, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' Thus you witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of innocent Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all this will come upon this generation.
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to you! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is forsaken and desolate."

And he said to his disciples,

"Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down."

Recall also these words that he said,

"Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord GOD, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity and does the same abominable things that the wicked man does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds which he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, he shall die."

Now, Eleazar and his party, who had seized the inner court of the Temple with a great many of the Zealots who followed them and laid their weapons on the holy gates and over the holy fronts of that inner court, opened the gates of the outer court of the Temple, and admitted into it those of the people who desired to worship God during the preparation of the Passover before the setting of the sun on Thursday ten April that year. But John of Gischala, using this festival as a cloak for his own treacherous purposes, armed with concealed weapons the least conspicuous members of his own party, most of whom were not purified, but unclean, and sent them with great zeal into the Temple to seize it; and once they were in, they threw off their outer garments, revealing their armor, thus causing a very great disorder and disturbance about the holy house; and while the people who had no part in the rebellion supposed the attack was against all without distinction, the Zealots thought it was against themselves only. So they quickly stopped guarding the gates, and leaped down from their battlements before they could be engaged in combat, and fled into the subterranean caverns of the Temple; while the people trembling at the altar and about the holy house were pressed together, and trampled, and beaten mercilessly with both wooden and iron weapons by these who were supposed to be fellow Jews. Those attackers having disputes with others slew many unresisting persons out of personal enmity and hatred, as if they opposed the rebels; and all who had formerly offended any of these plotters were identified and led away to be slaughtered; and then, after horribly brutalizing the innocent, they granted a truce to the guilty who returned from the caverns, letting them go. These followers of John also now seized this inner Temple and all the warlike engines there, and together with Eleazar's Zealots they challenged Simon; and the Abomination of Desolation now stood in the Temple of God, as will now be shown. And thus that rebellion, which had been divided into three factions, was now two.

But Titus, intending to pitch his camp nearer to the city than Scopus, positioned opposite the Jews as many of his choice cavalry and infantry as he thought sufficient to prevent sallies from the city, while he ordered the whole army to level the distance to the wall. Its walls were high and a series of high towers sixty feet high dominated the position, but for the Romans there would be one advantage: there was no valley in front of them. It was the logical place to attack Jerusalem. So they threw down all the hedges and walls the inhabitants had made about their gardens and groves of trees, and cut down all the fruit trees between them and the wall of the city, and filled up all the hollow places and the chasms, the ravines, and demolished the rocky cliff faces, the precipices, with iron instruments; and thereby prepared the way and made all the place a level desolation from Scopus to Herod's monument, which adjoined the Serpent's Pool.

This was done in four days; and desiring to bring safely to the camp the baggage of the army with the rest of the multitude that followed him, he set the strongest part of his army opposite the wall on the north quarter of the city, against the western part of it, and made his army seven ranks deep, with the infantry in front and the horsemen behind, each of these in three ranks, while the single rank of archers stood in the midst between them, making seven ranks. And now, as sallies by the Jews were checked by so great a body of men, both the beasts that bore the burdens and belonged to the three legions, and the rest of the multitude, as they marched were secure. But Titus himself was only a quarter mile from the wall, four hundred and forty feet, at the part with the Corner, near the tower Psephinus, where the north circuit of the wall bent and extended itself toward the west; but the other part of the army fortified themselves at the tower Hippicus, and was also at the same distance, four hundred and forty feet, a quarter mile away from the city. However, the Legio decima Fretensis, the Tenth Legion remained in its place on the Mount of Olives, a distance of two thirds of a mile from Jerusalem.

Now the multitude of the rebels with Simon, son of Giora, were ten thousand, besides the Idumeans. Those ten thousand had fifty commanders, over whom Simon was supreme. The tower Phasaelus was now converted by them to a house, where Simon exercised his tyrannical authority. The Idumeans who paid him homage were five thousand, and had eight commanders.

John of Gischala, who had seized the Temple, had six thousand armed men, under twenty commanders; the Zealots also who had come to him and ceased their opposition were two thousand four hundred and had the same commander they had formerly, Eleazar, son of Simon, together with Simon the son of Arinus. These now under John, together with him opposed the tyrant Simon, son of Giora.

Now, while these two factions fought one against another, both sides continued to prey on the people; and those of the people who would not join them in their wicked practices, were plundered by both factions. Simon held the upper city, and the great wall as far as Kidron, and all of the old wall that bent from Siloam to the east, and went down to the palace of Monobazus, king of the Adiabeni, beyond Euphrates; he also held that fountain, Siloam, and the Acra, which was the lower city, and all that reached to the palace of queen Helena, the mother of Monobazus: but John held the Temple and the parts adjoining it for a great way, also Ophlas, and the Valley of Kidron; and when the areas between their possessions were burnt by them, a desolate space was left in which they might fight each other; for this internal rebellion did not cease even when the Romans were camped near their very walls. But although they had grown wiser at the first Roman onset, this lasted only a while; for they resumed their previous madness, separated, and fought against each other with all their strength, and did everything the besiegers could desire; for during the whole period of the entire siege they never suffered from the Romans anything that was worse than what they made each other suffer, nor was there any misery endured by the city resulting from these men's actions that was new, but it was most of all unhappy just before it was overthrown.

Remember the words that the multitude of the Jews uttered, when they begged for the release of the robber and murderer, but begged that the Prince of Life should be taken out of their midst, "Not this man, but Barabbas. Give us Barabbas!". Barabbas was a robber who had committed murder in rebellion at that time. And now they were dominated by these robbers and murderers, who despised repentance and mercy in rebellion.

While this was the condition of the city inside, Titus went round the city outside with some chosen horsemen, and looked for a proper place to batter the walls: for the place was inaccessible from the valleys, and on the other side the first wall appeared too strong to be shaken by the engines, but being in doubt as to where he could possibly make an attack on any side, he then thought the best assault position was at the monument of John Hyrcanus the high priest, where the first fortification was lower, and the second was not joined to it, the builders having neglected to build the wall strong where the new city was sparsely inhabited; here also was an easy passage to the third wall, through which he thought to take the upper city, and, through the tower of Antonia, the Temple itself.

But as he was going round about the city, Nicanor, one of his Friends, was wounded with an arrow on his left shoulder as he approached too near the wall with Josephus and attempted to discuss terms of peace with those on the wall; for he was known to them. But when Titus saw their vehement rejection of anyone who approached to negotiate their protection, he was provoked to press the siege. At the same time he gave his soldiers leave to fire the suburbs, and ordered timber brought to raise earthwork embankments against the city; and when he had separated his army into three parts to begin those works, he placed the archers and those who threw javelin-darts among the embankments being raised; and he placed in front of them those engines that threw javelins, and arrows and stones, to prevent the enemy from sallying out against the works, and to hinder those on the wall from obstructing them. So the trees were cut down immediately, and the suburbs left nakedly exposed. But now while the whole army was earnestly engaged in carrying the timber to raise the embankments, the rebellious Jews were not idle; and it happened that while these were very busy opposing their enemies outside the city, the people of Jerusalem, who all the while had been plundered and murdered by them, were now encouraged, thinking they would have a respite, and that now, if the Romans got the victory, they would be avenged on the authors of their miseries.

However, John, fearing Simon, held back, even while his own men were eager to sally outside against their enemies. But Simon, in contrast, was not inactive, for he lay near the place of the siege; he brought his engines of war, and deployed them at intervals on the wall, both those they had previously taken from Cestius Gallus in the uprising, and those they had gotten after seizing the garrison in the tower of Antonia. But they were so unskilled that these engines were largely useless to them; but a few former deserters to the Romans, who afterward had returned from their ranks and joined themselves to the rebels, had been taught how to use them, which they did, though awkwardly. So they hurled stones and arrows at those making the embankments; they also ran out on them by companies, and fought with them.

Now those Romans at work covered themselves with hurdles spread over their embankments, and their engines opposed the Jews when they made their excursions. These engines, prepared for all the legions, were admirably constructed; but still more extraordinary ones belonged to the Legio decima Fretensis, the Tenth Legion: those that threw arrows, and those that threw stones, were more forcible and larger than the rest, with which they not only repelled the excursions of the Jews, but also drove away those on the walls. Now, the stones were the weight of a talent, seventy-five to eighty-five pounds, and were hurled a distance of about a quarter mile and farther. The blow could not be withstood, not only by those who first stood in the way, but by those who were beyond them for a great space. The Jews, at first, were alerted to the coming of the stone before it came, not only by its bright, white color, but also by the great noise it made when the engine was let go and the stone came flying from it; then the watchmen sitting on the towers shouted in their own country language, "THE SON COMES!": so those in its way stood off and threw themselves on the ground; and the stone fell down and did them no harm. But the Romans then managed to blacken the stone so it would not be so easily seen, and then aimed with success; and so they destroyed many with one blow. These dropped on them as hailstones from heaven, and the judgment of God like a plague. And now Jesus the son of Ananus, a plebeian and an husbandman, for seven years and five months had continued his melancholy cry, "Woe, woe to Jerusalem!" and his cry was loudest at the festivals, up to the very moment he saw his prediction fulfilled in earnest in the siege, when it ceased; for as he was going round upon the wall, he cried out with his utmost force, "Woe, woe, to the city again, and to the people, and to the holy house!" and as he was uttering these very same predictions—and just as he added at the last, "Woe, woe, to myself also!"—there came a stone out of one of the engines and smote him, and killed him immediately; and he gave up the ghost. And the stones continued to drop on them. Yet, with all this distress from the stones, the Jews did not permit the Romans to quietly raise their embankments, but shrewdly and boldly exerted themselves, and repelled them by night and day.

And now, on finishing the Roman works, the workmen measured the distance from the wall by lead and a line, which they threw to it from their embankments; for they could not otherwise measure it themselves, because the Jews would shoot at them; and when they found that the engines could reach the wall, they brought them there. Then Titus set his engines at proper distances, so near to the wall that the Jews might not be able to repel them, and gave orders to go to work; and when a deafening noise echoed round about from three locations and a sudden great noise of outcry was made by the citizens in the city, and no less a terror fell on the two factions of the rebels themselves, both of them, seeing the common danger they were in, managed to agree on defense.

So the warring factions inside cried out to each other that they were aiding their enemies, and instead, to lay aside their enmities, and unite against the Romans, in spite of the fact that God did not grant them lasting concord in their present situation. In agreement, Simon, by proclamation, gave leave to those who came out of the Temple, to go up on the wall; and John too gave them the same leave, though he could not believe Simon was in earnest. So both sides laid aside their hatred and their separate quarrels, and formed themselves into one body; they then ran round the walls, and, having a vast number of torches, threw them at the machines, and showered arrows constantly on those who pushed those machines which battered the wall; the bolder sort leaped out by troops on the hurdles covering the machines, and pulled them to pieces, and fell on those soldiers, and beat them, not so much by any skill, as by the boldness of their attacks. However, Titus himself sent reinforcements to those hardest beset by the enemy, placing horsemen and archers on all sides of the engines, who beat back those who shot stones or arrows from the towers, and then set the engines to work with greater force; yet the wall did not yield to these blows, except where the battering-ram of the Legio quinta decima Apollinaris, Apollo's Fifteenth Legion moved the corner of a tower, while the wall itself remained intact and unharmed above it; nor could the fall of that part of the tower easily break down any part of the wall itself together with it.

And now the Jews paused in their sallies for a while; but when they saw the Romans dispersed at their works and in their separate camps, who thought the Jews had withdrawn for weariness and fear, they suddenly made a sally out through an unseen gate at the tower Hippicus, at the same time bringing fire to burn the works, and boldly went up to the Romans at the very fortifications themselves: and here the boldness of the Jews was too much for the discipline of the Romans. This fight about the machines was very hot, while the one side tried hard to set them on fire, and the other side to prevent it; both sides were shouting, and many in the forefront of battle were slain. However, the furious assaults of the Jews like madmen were now too much for the Romans; and the fire catching hold of the works, all those endangered works and the engines themselves would have been burned, had not many select soldiers from Alexandria stood against them to prevent it, with greater courage than they themselves supposed they had, outdoing in this fight those of greater reputation before them. Titus then took the stoutest of his cavalry and attacked the enemy, himself slaying twelve of those at the forefront of the Jews; then the rest of the multitude on seeing this, gave way, and he pursued them, driving them all into the city, and he saved the works from the fire.

By Titus's orders a certain Jew taken alive was crucified before the wall, to see if the rest would be frightened, and relax their obstinacy. But after the Jews had retired, John, who was commander of the Idumeans—not John of Gischala, the tyrant and leader of the Zealots—this John, a man of great eminence, both for his actions and his conduct, who was commander of the Idumeans, was talking to a soldier of his acquaintance before the wall, when he was wounded by an arrow shot at him by an Arabian, and died immediately, leaving the greatest lamentation to the Jews, and sorrow to the rebels.

Now, Titus had ordered the erection of three towers over seventy feet high, so that, by setting men on them at every embankment, from there he might drive away those on the wall; but on the next night, about midnight, it happened that one of these towers fell down, making a very great noise, and fear fell on the army; and they, supposing the enemy was coming to attack, all ran to their arms. And with that, a very great disturbance and a tumult arose among the legions; and as nobody knew what had happened, and seeing no enemy appear, they were afraid of one another; and with great earnestness everyone demanded of his fellows the password of the watch, as though the Jews had invaded their camp. And now they were like people under a panic fear, before Titus was informed of what had happened, and ordered that all should be made aware of it; and only then, and with some difficulty, was the disturbance cleared up.

Now, these towers were very troublesome to the Jews; and it was not practicable to take them, nor to overturn them, they were so heavy, nor to set them on fire, because they were covered with plates of iron. So they retired out of the reach of the Roman arrows, and no longer tried to prevent the impact of the rams, which, by continually beating upon the wall, gradually prevailed against it; so that the wall was already giving way to the Nico, which means "Victor", for that was the name the Jews themselves called the greatest of the Roman engines, because it conquered all things; and at last a breach was being opened in the wall. Now, the Jews had long grown weary of fighting and keeping guard; and being careless, a great many had grown lazy and retired that night to lodge at a distance inside the outer wall; and for other reasons they had also thought it was superfluous to guard the wall, two other fortifications still remaining inside: this delusion was a judgment from God. It was then that the Romans mounted the breach that Nico had made, and all the Jews guarding that wall quickly abandoned their posts and retreated to the second wall, and those Romans who had gotten over that wall opened the gates and received all the army inside. And thus the Romans got possession of this first wall, on Sunday four May A.D. 70, the fifteenth day of the siege, on the seventh day of the month Artemisius, which is Iyyar, when they demolished a great part of it, as well as the northern parts of the city, which had also formerly been demolished by Cestius.

And now Titus pitched his camp inside the city, but out of the reach of the Jews' arrows, at that place called "the Camp of the Assyrians", having seized all that lay as far as the Kidron. When he began his attacks on the second wall, the Jews divided themselves into several bodies, and courageously defended that wall; John and his faction from the tower of Antonia, and from the northern portico of the Temple, and they fought the Romans before the monument of King Alexander Jannaeus; Simon's army also took for their share the spot of ground near John's monument, and fortified it as far as that gate through which an aqueduct brought water in to the tower Hippicus. However, the Jews frequently made violent sallies in bodies together out of the gates, and there fought the Romans; and whenever they were pursued to the wall, they were beaten, lacking the skill of the Romans; but when they fought them from the walls, they were too hard for them; the Romans being encouraged by their power joined to their skill, the Jews by their boldness nourished by their fear and that hardiness natural to them under calamities; the Jews were also encouraged still by the expectation of deliverance, as were the Romans by expectations of subduing them in a short time. Neither side grew weary; but all day long there were attacks and fights on the wall, and constant sallies out in bodies, nor was there any sort of combat that was not then used. And the night itself did not part them; no, the night itself passed without sleep on both sides, and was more uneasy to them than the day; both sides lay in their armor during the nighttime, being ready at the first appearance of light to go to battle, when they began to fight in the morning, while the one feared the wall should be taken, and the other that the Jews should make sallies on their camps.

Now, among the rebel Jews their ambition was to risk the foremost dangers, and thus please their commanders. Above all, they had a great veneration and dread of Simon, regarded by every one under him to such a degree that, at his command they were very ready to kill themselves with their own hands.

What made the Romans so courageous, was their usual custom of conquering and being undefeated, their constant wars and continual combat exercises, and the grandeur of their dominion; and now their chief encouragement, Titus himself, everywhere present with them all; for it appeared a terrible thing to grow weary while Titus was there, who fought bravely as well as they did, and was himself an immediate eyewitness of those who behaved valiantly, and he who was to reward them also. At present it was an esteemed advantage for anyone's valor to be known by Titus; and on this account many of them displayed a more eager willingness than strength to match it, and there were many who were ambitious to gain reputation.

And now the Jews were unconcerned by what they themselves suffered from the Romans, and cared only about what damage they could do them; and death itself seemed a small matter to them, if only at the same time they could kill any one of their enemies. But Titus took care to secure his own soldiers from harm, as well as to have them overcome their enemies. He also said that reckless violence was madness; and that the only true courage was that joined with good military conduct. He therefore commanded his men to take care, when they fought their enemies, that they received no harm from them at the same time, and they would show themselves to be truly valiant men.

And now Titus brought one of his engines to the middle tower of the north part of the wall, and because of his anger at the deceit and obstinacy of the Jews he caused the engine to be worked more strongly than before; and he took this second wall there on the fifth day after taking the first; and when the Jews had fled from him, he entered with a thousand armed men, and those of his choice troops, at a place where the wool merchants, the braziers, and the cloth market were, and where the angled narrow lanes indirectly led to the wall. And now, Titus did not immediately demolish a larger part of the wall, nor, on coming in, did he lay waste what was left according to the law of war.

When he came in, he did not permit his soldiers to kill any of those they caught, nor to set fire to their houses; for he greatly desired to preserve the city for his own sake, and the Temple for the sake of the city; and now, out of the expectation he had that he could make the Jews ashamed of their obstinacy by not being willing to afflict them more than he needed, when he was able to do so, he did not widen the breach of the second wall to make a safer retreat as occasion demanded; for he did not think they would lay snares for him who did them such a kindness; no, he immediately gave leave to the rebels, if they chose, to fight without any harm to the people in any area they might designate, away from the populace, and promised to restore the people's effects to them.

Now the people for a long time had been ready to comply with his proposals; but to the rebel fighting men, this humanity seemed a mark of weakness; and they imagined he only made these proposals because he was not able to take the rest of the city. They also threatened death to the people, if any one of them should say a word about a surrender. Moreover, they immediately cut the throats of those who talked of a truce. And now, in answer, they instantly attacked those Romans who had come inside the wall. Some of them they met in the narrow streets, and some they fought against from their houses, while they made a sudden sally out at the upper gates, and assaulted any Romans found beyond the wall, so that those Romans who guarded the wall were finally so frightened, that they leaped down from their towers, and retreated into their separate camps: and a great shouting noise was made by the Romans inside, surrounded on every side by their enemies; and by those Romans outside, in fear for those left in the city. Thus the Jews grew increasingly more numerous, and had a great advantage over them, by their full knowledge of those narrow lanes; and they wounded a great many of them. These Romans were now forced to resist as best they could, as the Jews fell on them and drove them out of the city; for they were not able to get out in great numbers through the breach in the wall, it was so narrow. It is probable that all of them would have been cut to pieces, if Titus had not sent help and ordered the archers to stand at the upper ends of these narrow lanes; and he himself stood facing the greatest multitude of his enemies, and with his arrows he put a stop to them, to hinder them from coming on his men, before all his soldiers had finally retreated out of the city.

And thus the Romans were driven out, after they had held the second wall. Consequently, the fighting men in the city were elated, and began to think the Romans would never dare to come into the city any more; and that, if they themselves remained in it, they would never again be conquered; but God had blinded their minds for the guilt of their transgressions, nor would they see how much greater forces the Romans had than those who had now been expelled, no more than they discerned how a famine was creeping upon them; for so far they had fed themselves on the public miseries, and drunk the blood of the city. But now for a long time poverty had seized the better part of it, and a great many had already died for want of necessities; although the rebels actually supposed the destruction of the people benefited themselves; for they wanted none saved except those who were against a peace with the Romans and were resolved to live in opposition to them; and they were pleased when the multitude of those with a contrary opinion were consumed, as if they had been freed from a heavy burden; this was their attitude toward those in the city, while they covered themselves with their armor and thwarted the Romans when they were trying to get into the city again, by making a wall of their own bodies against that part of the wall that was cast down. Thus they valiantly defended themselves for three days.

But on the fourth day they could not resist the vehement assaults of Titus, but were compelled by force to flee where they had fled before; so he quietly took possession of that second wall again and demolished it entirely: and when he had put a garrison into the towers on the south parts of the city, he considered how he might assault the third wall.

Titus now resolved to relax the siege a little while, to afford the rebels time to consider; and to see if the demolishing of their second wall would not make them a little more compliant; or if they were not somewhat afraid of a famine, because the spoils they had gotten by violence would not be enough for them for long; so he used this time to form his plans. Since the appointed time had come when he must distribute the maintenance pay to the soldiers, he ordered the commanders to assemble the army in battle array, in the face of the enemy, and then give every one of the soldiers their pay. So the soldiers, according to custom, each opened their cases of arms, and paraded with their breastplates on; and the cavalry led their horses in fine trappings. Then the places before the city shone very splendidly for a great way; nor was there anything so pleasing to Titus's own men, or so terrible to the enemy as that sight; for the whole old wall and the north side of the Temple were full of spectators, and the houses full of onlookers; nor was there any part of the city not covered with their multitudes; no, such terror seized the hardiest of the Jews themselves when they saw all the army in the same place, together with the fineness of their arms and the good order of their men, that the rebels would have changed their minds at that sight, if the crimes they had committed against the people had not been so horrible that they despaired of forgiveness from the Romans; but believing death by torture must be their punishment if they did not go on in defense of the city, they thought it much better to die in war. Their fate so dominated them that the innocent were to perish with the guilty, and the city was to be destroyed with the rebels in it.

The Romans spent four days distributing the maintenance pay to each of the legions; but on the fifth day, with no signs of peace from the Jews, Titus divided his legions, and began to raise embankments, both at the tower of Antonia and at John's monument. His plans were now to take the upper city at that monument and the Temple at the tower of Antonia; for if the Temple were not taken it would be dangerous to hold the city itself; so at each of these places he raised his embankments, each legion raising one. But the Idumeans, and those in arms with Simon, made sallies on those working at John's monument, putting some halt to them; while John's party, and the multitude of Zealots with them, did the same to those before the tower of Antonia. These Jews were now too hard for the Romans, not only in direct fighting, because they stood on higher ground, but because they had now learned to use their own engines; for constant use day after day by degrees had improved their skill; for they had three hundred engines for javelins and arrows, and forty for stones, with which they made it more tiresome for the Romans to raise their embankments, and slowed their work; but then Titus, knowing the city would be either saved or destroyed for himself, did not fail to also urge the Jews to repent; so he mixed good counsel with his siege works; and being aware that exhortations are frequently more effectual than arms, he urged them to surrender the city, already practically taken, and save themselves; and he sent Josephus to speak to them in their own language; for he imagined they might yield to persuasion by one of their own.

So Josephus went round the wall, and tried to find a place out of range of their arrows, yet within hearing, and implored them, in many words, to spare themselves, to spare their country and their Temple, and not to be more hardhearted in these circumstances than foreigners themselves. Their own forefathers, men far superior to themselves, had yielded, because they knew that God was with the Romans, and now they cannot fight both famine and the siege of conquest. While Josephus was making this exhortation to the Jews, many of them ridiculed him from the wall, and many reproached him; some shot arrows at him; but when he could not persuade them by open good advice, he had recourse to their own history, reminding them of Pharaoh and the ten plagues, and the Philistines, and Sennacherib, and the king of Babylon, and Antiochus Epiphanes, and Aristobulus and John Hyrcanus, and of Antigonus, Herod and Sossius; that those who inhabit this holy place ought to commit the disposition of all things to God; and after these things he cried out aloud, "As for you, what have you done of those things recommended by our Legislator! And what have you not done of those things he has condemned! How much more impious you are than those who were so quickly taken! You have not avoided so much as those sins usually done in secret; I mean thefts, and treacherous plots against men, and adulteries. You are quarreling about violence and murders, and invent strange ways of wickedness. No, the Temple itself has become the waste receptacle of all, and this divine place is polluted by the hands of those of our own country; a place nevertheless reverenced by the Romans when it was at a distance from them, when they have permitted many of their own customs to give place to our Law. And, after all this, do you expect Him whom you have so impiously abused to be your supporter? To be sure then you have a right to be petitioners, and to call on Him to assist you, so pure are your hands!"

He then reminded them of the king of Babylon, who took the city and burned the Temple, and said, "Yet I believe the Jews of that age were not so impious as you are. Thus, I cannot but suppose that God has fled out of his sanctuary, and stands on the side of those against whom you fight. Now, even a man, even if only a good man, will flee from an impure house, and hate those in it; and you persuade yourselves that God will abide with you in your iniquities, who sees all secret things, and hears what is kept most private! Now, what crime is there, I pray you, that is so much as kept secret among you, or is concealed by you! No, what is there that is not open to your very enemies! For you grandly display your transgressions, and fight with one another; and you make a public show of your injustice, as if it were virtue! However, there is a place for your supervised probation, if you are willing to accept it, and God is easily reconciled to those who confess their faults, and repent them. O hardhearted wretches that you are, throw down all your arms, and take pity on your country already going to ruin; turn from your wicked ways, and have regard for the excellency of that city you are going to betray, and to that excellent Temple with the donations of so many countries in it. Who could bear to be the first to set that Temple on fire! Who could be willing that these things should be no more! And what can deserve more to be preserved! O senseless creatures, more stupid than the stones themselves! And if you cannot look at these things with discerning eyes, yet however, have pity on your families, and set before every one of your eyes your children, and wives, and parents, who will be gradually consumed either by famine or by war."

And he said he was willing to die if only they would return to a sound mind after his death.

As Josephus was speaking thus with a loud voice, the rebels would neither yield to what he said, not did they deem it safe for them to change their behavior; but the people had a great inclination to desert to the Romans; accordingly, some of them sold what they had, even their most precious treasures which they had stored away securely, for very little, and swallowed down pieces of gold, that they might not be found out by the robbers; and when they had escaped to the Romans, they went to stool, and had the means to provide plentifully for themselves; for Titus let a great number of them go away into the country, wherever they pleased; and the main reasons why they were so ready to desert were, that now they should be freed from those miseries they had endured in that city, and yet should not be in slavery to the Romans. However, John and Simon, with their factions, more carefully watched these men's going out than they did the coming in of the Romans; and, if any one afforded even the least shadow of suspicion of such an intention, his throat was cut immediately.

Remember the words of Jesus, how he had said,

"When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its Desolation has come near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it; for these are the days of vengeance, to fulfill all that is written."

He also says to those who honor him,

"You shall not avenge yourselves. Vengeance is mine; I will repay."

Now, Eusebius in his history says that he passes over the particular calamities that befell the Jews from the sword and other means used against them, and deems it only enough to add the calamities they endured from the famine, so that readers of his history might know in some measure that the divine vengeance did not long delay to visit them for their iniquity against the Christ of God. Let us, then, go through the tragedy of events which then occurred.

The richer classes, whether they stayed in the city or attempted to get out of it, were equally destroyed in both cases; for they were put to death on the pretext that they were going to desert, that the robbers might get what they had. The madness of the rebels also increased together with their hunger from the famine; both of those miseries every day inflamed them more and more; for wherever grain was seen, the robbers came running, and they searched private houses; and if they found any persons with food, they tortured them, because they denied they had any; and if they found none, they tormented them worse, supposing they had more carefully concealed it. If the bodies of these miserable wretches were in good condition, they supposed they were in no need of food at all; but if they were wasted away, they walked off without searching any further; nor did they think it proper to kill them, seeing they would very soon die of themselves for want of food. Many sold what they had for one measure of wheat, if they were richer, but of barley, if they were poorer. Then they shut themselves up in the inmost rooms of their houses, and ate the grain they had gotten; some without grinding it, because of the extremity of want they were in, and others baked it as bread, as both necessity and fear dictated; no table was set for a meal, but they snatched the bread out of the fire, half-baked, and very quickly ate it.

It was a miserable case, that the more powerful had more than enough food, and the weaker were lamenting for lack of it. But the famine overcame all other considerations, and of all things it is most destructive of modest decency and human respect; for what was worthy of reverence was despised; children pulled the very morsels their fathers were eating out of their very mouths, and so the mothers did to their infants; and when those most dear to them were perishing under their hands, they were not ashamed to take from them the very last drops that might have preserved their lives; and even while they ate this way, they were not concealed; but the rebels everywhere came on them immediately, and snatched away from them what they had gotten from others; for when they saw any house shut up, this was a sign to them that the people inside had gotten some food, and they broke open the doors, and ran in and took what they were eating, almost up out of their very throats, by force; old men who gripped their food tightly were beaten; and if women hid in their hands what they had, their hair was torn for this; no respect was shown either to the aged or to infants, but they lifted up children who clung to the morsels they had gotten, and dashed them down on the floor; but they were still more barbarously cruel to those who had prevented their coming in and had actually dared to swallow down what they were going to seize, as if they had been unjustly defrauded of their rights. They also invented terrible methods of torment to discover where any food was: they stopped up the private parts of the miserable wretches, and drove sharp stakes up their anuses!, and a man was forced to endure what is terrible even to hear, to make him confess that he had only one loaf of bread, or that he might uncover a handful of concealed barley meal; and these tormentors were not themselves hungry; for it would perhaps have been less barbarous if necessity had compelled them; but this was done as a way of keeping in practice by exercising their madness, and to prepare provisions for themselves for the following days. These men also confronted those coming back inside, who had crept out of the city by night, as far as the Roman guards, to gather some plants and herbs that grew wild; and when they had gotten clear of the enemy, these men then snatched from them what they had brought back, even while they implored them, frequently by calling on the tremendous name of God, to give them back some part of what they had brought back, even though these men would not give them the least crumb; and they were told to content themselves with the fact that they were only robbed, and not also killed at the same time.

These were the afflictions which the lower classes suffered from these tyrants' guards; but men who were dignitaries, counsellors, magistrates, scholars and Teachers of the law, nobles and rich, were carried before the tyrants themselves; some were falsely accused of treacherous plots, and so were destroyed; others were charged with conspiring to betray the city to the Romans: but the quickest and most available way of all was to bribe someone to affirm that they had resolved to desert to the enemy; and he who was utterly despoiled of what he had by Simon, was sent back again to John, and from those who had already been plundered by John, Simon got what remained, to such an extent that they drank the blood of the populace to one another, and divided the dead bodies of the poor creatures between them as their feast; and though they fought each other, on account of their ambition for dominion, yet they very well agreed in their wicked practices; for he who did not inform the other tyrant of what he had gotten by the miseries of others, only seemed, in this respect, to be far less guilty; and he who did not partake of what was gotten by the other tyrant, when he was informed of what he had got, grieved, as if at the loss of a valuable thing, that he had had no hand in such barbarity. It is therefore impossible to go distinctly over every instance of these men's iniquity.

Now the work on Titus's embankments had progressed a great way, in spite of the fact that his soldiers had been very much harassed from the wall. He then sent a party of cavalry, and ordered them to set ambushes for those Jews who went out to the valleys to gather food. Some of these Jews were indeed rebel fighting men, who were not content with what they got from the people by force; but the majority of them were poor people, who were deterred from deserting by concern for their relatives inside; for they could not expect to escape together with their wives and children without the knowledge of the rebels; nor could they think of leaving relatives to be slain by the robbers on their account: no, the severity of the famine made them bold in going out; so, when they were concealed from the robbers, nothing remained but being taken by the enemy; and when they were about to be taken, they were forced to defend themselves, out of fear of being punished, thinking it was too late to make any supplications for mercy after they had fought the Romans; so they were first whipped, and then tormented with all sorts of tortures before they died, and then they were crucified before the wall of the city. So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught to the crosses, one one way and another another, for amusement, when their number was so great that they lacked both room for the crosses, and crosses for the bodies. This miserable procedure made Titus greatly pity them, while every day they caught five hundred Jews; no, some days they caught more; yet it did not appear safe for him to let those taken by force go their way; and to set a guard over so many, he saw, would make those who guarded them useless to him. The main reason he did not forbid that cruelty was that he expected the Jews might perhaps yield at the sight, out of the fear that they themselves might afterward be liable to the same cruel treatment, if they did not make supplication as deserters.

But the rebels were so far from repenting at this sad sight, that, on the contrary, they made the rest of the multitude believe otherwise, for they brought the relatives of those who had deserted up on the wall, with those of the populace who were very eager to go over to the Romans on the security Titus offered them, and showed them what miseries those who fled to the Romans endured; and told them that those who were caught were supplicants surrendering, and not those taken as prisoners. This sight kept within the city many who were so eager to desert, before the truth was known; yet some of them ran away immediately, expecting certain punishment, esteeming death from their enemies a more tolerable departure, compared with that by famine.

So Titus commanded that the hands of many of those caught should be cut off, that they might not be thought deserters, and might be believed on account of their calamity, and sent them in to John and Simon, with this exhortation, that they should now at length desist, and not force him to destroy the city, and they would have the advantages of repentance, even in their utmost distress; and that they would preserve their own lives, and so fine a city of their own, and that which was their peculiar Temple. He then went round about the embankments that were cast up, and hurried them, to show that his words should shortly be followed by his deeds.

In answer, the rebels cast insults on Titus himself, and on his father also, and cried out with a loud voice, that they despised death, and did well in preferring it before slavery; that they would do all the damage to the Romans they could while they had breath in them; as for their own city, since he said they were to be destroyed, they had no concern about it; and that the world itself was a better temple to God than this; and that this Temple would yet be preserved by Him who dwelt there, Whom they still had as their assistant in this war, and therefore they laugh at all his threats, which would come to nothing; because the conclusion of the whole depended on God alone. These words were mixed with insults, and with them they made a mighty clamoring noise.

The Romans began to raise their embankments on Friday nine May A.D. 70, on the Day of Preparation, the twelfth day of the month Artemisius, which is Iyyar, and they labored hard continually for seventeen days to finish them by the twenty-ninth day of the same month Iyyar, on the Sabbath, that is, on Saturday twenty-six May A.D. 70; and four great embankments were raised, one at the tower of Antonia, raised by the Legio quinta Alaudae, the Fifth Legion Gallica, opposite the middle of the pool Struthius; another by the Legio duodecima Fulminata, the Thunderbolt Twelfth Legion, about nine and a half yards from the other; but that of the Legio decima Fretensis, the Tenth Legion Fretensis was a great way off, on the north quarter, at the pool Amygdalon, and that of the Legio quinta decima Apollinaris, Apollo's Fifteenth Legion about fourteen yards from it, at the high priest's monument. And now, the engines were brought.

But John from within had made his own preparation and undermined the space near the tower of Antonia, as far as the embankments themselves, at the same time supporting the ground over this mine with beams laid across one another as he worked, so the Roman works stood on an uncertain foundation. Then he ordered materials daubed all over with pitch and bitumen brought in, and set on fire; and as the cross beams supporting the embankments burned, the tunnel suddenly collapsed, and the embankments shook and fell into the ditch with a deafening noise. Now at first a very thick smoke and dust arose, as the fire was choked by the falling embankment; but as the buried materials were gradually consumed, suddenly a plain fire broke out, which dismayed the Romans, and the shrewdness of the strategy discouraged them; and this accident, coming at a time when they thought they had already achieved their purpose, cooled their expectations for the time to come, and they thought the effort to extinguish the fire would be pointless, since the embankments were swallowed up and useless to them.

Two days after this, on Saturday thirty-one May, the Sabbath, the fifth day of the month Daesius, which is Sivan, Simon and his party made an attempt to destroy the other embankments, on the north quarter and at the high priest's monument, for the Romans had brought their engines to bear there, and already began to make the wall shake. And here, Tephtheus, from Garsis in Galilee, and Megassarus, descended from some of Queen Mariamme's servants, and with them Chagiras son of Nabateus, from Adiabene, snatched some torches and without fear or delay, and acting as if they were friends of the Romans, ran suddenly on the engines and set their machines on fire; and despite javelins and arrows, and assaults on all sides with swords, they did not withdraw from danger before the fire had caught hold; but when the Romans came running from their camp to save their engines, the Jews hindered them from the wall, and fought those who tried to quench the fire without any regard for their own physical danger. So the Romans pulled the engines out of the fire while the hurdles covering them were on fire; but the Jews caught hold of the battering-rams through the flame itself, and held them fast, although the iron on them was red hot; and now the fire spread from the engines to the embankments, and prevented those who came to defend them, while the Romans were surrounded with the flame; and, despairing of saving their works from it, they retreated to their camp.

Then the numbers of these attacking Jews were increased by those in the city who came to their assistance; and being very bold with their success, their violent assaults were almost unbearable, and they proceeded as far as the fortifications of the enemy's camp, and fought the guards. Now since the law of the Romans was to punish with death whoever abandoned his post for any reason whatsoever, that body of soldiers stood firm, preferring to die fighting to being put to death for negligence or desertion; then, many of the others, not guards, who had run away, seeing their desperate fight, out of shame turned back again; and setting their engines against the wall, they kept more of the multitude from coming out of the city; for the Jews now fought hand to hand with all they met, without regard for their own personal safety, and fell against the points of their enemy's spears, and attacked them bodies against bodies; for by these courageous assaults they were now too difficult for the Romans; and the Romans gave way more to their boldness than to the sense of the harm they had received from them.

And now Titus came from the tower of Antonia where he had gone to look for a place to raise other embankments, and severely reprimanded the soldiers for allowing their own walls to be in danger, like men besieged, when they had taken the walls of their enemies, while the Jews, already in a sort of prison, were allowed to sally out against them. Then with some chosen troops he went round the enemy, and fell on their flank himself; so the Jews, who had been frontally assaulted, wheeled about, and continued the fight. The armies also were now mixed together, and the blinding dust and the deafening noise so hindered them, that neither side could tell enemy from friend. However, the Jews did not flinch, not so much from real strength, as from desperation. The Romans also would not yield, because they esteemed glory, and their reputation in war, and because Titus himself went into danger in the forefront of the battle; and the Romans were so angry that they would probably have taken the whole multitude of Jews had they not retreated into the city. But now, seeing that the embankments were demolished, these Romans were deeply downcast at the loss of all their long efforts, and in only one hour's time; and many despaired of taking the city with only their usual engines of war.

Titus now consulted with his commanders about what was to be done; and he heard each of their arguments. However, when they had spoken, Titus, in response to each of them, said first, that he did not think it fit for so great an army to lie entirely idle, and yet it was in vain to fight those who would eventually destroy each other; he also showed how impractical it was to cast up any more embankments, lacking materials; and to guard against the Jews' coming out was still more impractical; also, to invest the whole city with his army was not very easy, because of its extent and difficult position, and otherwise dangerous, from the sallies the Jews might make out of the city; for though they might guard the known passages out of the place, yet, when the Jews found themselves under the greatest distress, they would use those secret passages out that they knew well; and if any provisions were carried in by stealth, the siege would be delayed so much the longer. So one by one he answered each of their proposals.

He also admitted that he feared the length of time spent would diminish the glory of his success; for though it is true that time perfects every thing, yet, to do what we do in a little time, is still necessary to gain reputation: therefore his opinion was, that if they aimed for quickness with security, they must build a wall around the whole city; which he thought was the only way to prevent the Jews from coming out by any way, and then they would either entirely despair of saving the city, and surrender it to him, or be more easily conquered when the famine had further weakened them; for besides this wall, he would not rest with that, but take care to have embankments raised again when those who would oppose them had become weaker: but if anyone thinks such a work too great to be finished without much difficulty, he ought to consider that it is not fitting for Romans to undertake any small work, and that none but God himself could accomplish any great thing with ease. But this he said not of himself, for he was neither Jew nor Christian, but as a pagan Gentile he spoke the truth with his lips, giving glory to the one true God.

These arguments prevailed with the commanders. So Titus ordered that the army should be assigned to distributions of this work; and now a kind of divine fury came on the soldiers, so that what would naturally have required some months, was done in so incredibly short an interval that the whole was completed in three days, on Tuesday, three June A.D. 70. Now the length of this wall was five miles, less an eighth of a mile, eight thousand five hundred eighty yards, twenty-five thousand seven hundred forty feet. When Titus had encircled the city with this wall and posted the garrisons, he himself went round the wall at the first night watch, and observed how the guard was kept; the second watch he allotted to Alexander; the commanders of the legions took the third watch. They also cast lots among themselves who should be on watch in the night, and who should go all night long making the rounds of the spaces between the garrisons. So now all expectation of escape was cut off from the Jews, along with their liberty to go out of the city.

About this same time in Europe an alarming revolt in the Rhineland, for independence and freedom from forced conscription, was led by the Batavian general Julius Civilis. The revolt of Civilis was particularly problematic to the Romans, since it threatened the loss of an important and wealthy province, which would have weakened the Rhine frontier; unchecked, it could have renewed troubles in other regions of the empire, particularly Judea. On the moonless night of Saturday seven June A.D. 70, after two years of marshalling forces in preparation to fight, Civilis launched a surprise attack on the Romans gathered at Trier. There now followed three months of bloody struggle.

The prosecution of the war in Britain, which had been suspended for some years, was now resumed by Vespasian, who was on his way to Rome; and he sent there his cousin Petilius Cerialis, who by his bravery extended the limits of the Roman province. Cerialis was very familiar with local rebellions. Ten years prior, he had served in Britannia under Governor Paulinus against the rebel Queen Boudica, and had probably served with Civilis while he was stationed there as well.

In Jerusalem, all expectation of escape was now cut off from the Jews, along with their liberty to go out of the city. Then the famine widened its progress, devouring whole houses and families; upper rooms were full of women and children dying; and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged; children also and young men wandered about the marketplaces like shadows, all swollen with famine, and fell down dead wherever their misery finally seized them. Those who were sick themselves were not able to bury them; and those who were hearty and well were deterred from it by the great multitude of dead bodies, and their uncertainty about how soon they themselves should die, for many died as they were burying others, and many in anticipation went to their coffins before the fatal hour came! The famine choked all natural passions; under these calamities no lamentation was made, nor any mournful sounds; for those who were just going to die, looked with dry eyes and open mouths on those who had gone to their rest before them. A deep silence, a kind of deadly night, had also seized the city; while the robbers were yet still more terrible than these miseries; for they broke open houses which were nothing more than graves of dead bodies, and plundered what they had; and carrying off the covering of the bodies, they left laughing, and tested the points of their swords on these dead bodies; to prove their mettle, they thrust through some of those who were still alive and lying on the ground, who had been clinging to life; but those who implored them to lend their right hand, and their sword to dispatch them, they proudly refused, and left them to be consumed by the famine; and every one of these died with their eyes fixed on the Temple, leaving the rebels alive behind them.

Now at first the rebels ordered that the dead should be buried, paid for out of the public treasury, because of the stench. But afterward, when they could not do that, they had them thrown from the walls into the valleys below. However, when Titus, in making his rounds along those valleys, saw them full of dead bodies, and the thick putrefaction oozing all about them, he gave a groan; and spreading out his hands to heaven, called God to witness that this was not his doing: and this was the sad case of the city itself.

But the Romans were very joyful, since none of the rebels could now make sallies out of the city, and were themselves without any consolation; and the famine already touched them as well. The Romans, besides, had huge supplies of grain and other necessities from Syria and the neighboring provinces; many would stand near the wall of the city, and show the people what great quantities of provisions they had, and make the enemy more keenly aware of their famine by the great plenty, even to the fullness of their bellies to satisfaction, which they had themselves.

However, when the rebels still showed no inclination of yielding, Titus, from his sympathy for the people who remained, and his earnest desire of rescuing from these miseries what was still left, began to raise his embankments again, although materials for them were hard to come by; for all the trees about the city had already been cut down for making the former embankments. Yet the soldiers brought with them other materials from a distance of three and three-quarter miles, and raised embankments in four parts, much greater than the former, though this was done only at the tower of Antonia. So Titus made his rounds through the legions, and hurried the works, and showed the robbers that they were now in his hands.

But these men, and these only, were incapable of repenting of the wickedness they had been guilty of, since they could still tear the dead bodies of the people as dogs do, and fill the prisons with those who were sick. So Simon would not permit Matthias, by whose help he had gotten possession of the city, to depart without torment. This Matthias was the son of Boethus, and one of the high priests, who had been very faithful to the people, and held in great esteem; so he had him brought before him, and condemned him to die for being on the side of the Romans, without giving him leave to make his defense. He condemned also his three sons to die with him: for the fourth had already anticipated him by running away to Titus before. And when Matthias begged that he might be slain before his sons, as a favor, for having arranged for the gates of the city to be opened to him, Simon ordered that he should be slain last: he charged Ananus, the son of Bamadus, and the most barbarous of all his guards, that he was not to be slain before he had seen his sons slain before his eyes, and facing the Romans. As a personal joke he also told him that he might now see if those to whom he intended to defect would send him any helpers or not; but he still forbade their dead bodies be buried. After slaughtering these, he also slew Ananias, a priest, the son of Masambulus, a person of eminency, also Aristeus, the scribe of the Sanhedrin, born at Emmaus, and with them fifteen men of prominence among the people. They also slew any who joined in lamenting these men, without any further examination.

Now when Judas, the son of Judas, one of Simon's commanding officers entrusted by him to keep one of the towers, saw this, he called together ten of those under him, and most faithful to him, and spoke to them, "How long shall we bear these miseries; or, what expectation have we of deliverance by continuing to be faithful to such wicked wretches? Has not the famine already come against us? Are not the Romans in a way already in the city? Has not Simon become treacherous to his benefactors? And, is there no reason to fear he will very soon bring us to a similar punishment, while the security the Romans offer us is sure? Come, let us surrender this wall, and save ourselves and the city. Nor will Simon be very much harmed, if, now that he despairs of deliverance, he is brought to justice a little sooner than he thinks."

Now these ten were persuaded by these arguments; so he sent off the rest of those who were under him, some one way and some another, so no discovery might be made of what they had resolved. So about 9 A.M., the third hour of the day, he called to the Romans from the tower; but they did not believe him, and delayed the matter, believing they should get possession of the city in a little time, without any hazard: but Simon was made aware of the matter, and as Titus was just coming with his armed men, Simon took the tower into his own custody, before it was surrendered, and seized these men, and put them to death in the sight of the Romans themselves; and when he had mangled their dead bodies, he threw them down before the wall.

In the meantime, as Josephus was going round the city, he was wounded in the head by a stone thrown at him, and fell down; the Jews immediately made a sally, and he would have been hurried away into the city if Titus had not immediately sent men to protect him; and, as they were fighting, Josephus was taken up, but heard little. So the rebels supposed they had now slain the one man they most desired to kill, and made a great noise of rejoicing.

However, Josephus soon recovered, and came out, and shouted that it would not be long before they should be punished for the wound they had given him. He also made a fresh exhortation to the people to come out, on the security that would be given them. This sight of Josephus greatly encouraged the people, on whose account alone they could dare to desert to the Romans, but brought a paralyzing fear on the rebels. Some of the deserters, having no other way, immediately leaped down from the wall, while others went out of the city with stones, as if they would fight them; but at once they fled away to the Romans: but here a worse fate accompanied them; for when they first came to the Romans, puffed up by the famine, and swelled like men in a dropsy, they all quickly overfilled those empty bodies, swallowing so much they burst, except those who knew enough to restrain their appetites, and, by degrees, took food into bodies unaccustomed to it.

Yet another plague seized those thus preserved; for one of the Syrian deserters was caught gathering pieces of gold out of the Jews' excrements; for the deserters used to swallow pieces of gold, before they came out, because the rebels searched them all for these; for there was a great quantity of gold in the city, so much that what sold for twenty-five Attic drams was now sold in the Roman camp for twelve; but when this trick was discovered in one instance, the rumor filled their camps that the deserters came to them full of gold. So the multitude of auxiliary troops, Arabians, with the Syrians, descendants of Ishmael and the Greeks, ripped up those who came as supplicants, and searched their bellies. Josephus says that it seemed to him that no misery befell the Jews more terrible than this, since in one night's time about two thousand of these deserters were thus dissected.

When Titus knew of this wicked practice, he would have surrounded those guilty of it with his cavalry, and shot them dead, had they not been so very many; and those liable to punishment would have been far more than those they had slain. However, he called together the commanders of the auxiliary troops he had with him, as well as the commanders of the Roman legions; for some of his own soldiers had also been guilty, as he had been informed; and with great indignation against both he threatened that he would put such men to death, if any of them were discovered to be so insolent again; moreover, he charged the legions to search for anyone suspected of this, and bring them to him; but it appeared that, for all their dread of punishment, the love of money was too much for them; but in reality it was God who had condemned the whole nation, and turned every course that was taken for their preservation to their destruction.

Therefore, this Abomination, which was forbidden by Titus under such a threat, was privately dared; and these barbarians would still go out, and meet those who deserted before anyone saw them; and looking about to see that no Roman spied them, they dissected them, and pulled this polluted money out of their bowels, which was found only in a few of them, while a great many were destroyed by the bare expectation of gain, which made many who were deserting go back again into the city.

Now, when John could no longer plunder the people, he resorted to sacrilege, and melted down many of the sacred utensils given to the Temple; also many vessels necessary for the ministers of holy things, the caldrons, dishes and tables; no, he did not even abstain from those pouring-vessels sent them by Augustus and his wife; for the Roman emperors had ever honored and adorned this Temple; while this man, a circumsized Jew, seized the donations of foreigners; and said to those with him that it was proper to use divine things without fear while they were fighting for the Divinity, and that those whose warfare is for the Temple should live off the Temple, and for this reason he emptied the vessels of sacred wine and oil, which the priests kept for pouring on burnt offerings, and reclined as lord in the inner court of the Temple and distributed it among the multitude, each of whom, in their anointing themselves and drinking, used more than a gallon of them: Josephus supposes that had the Romans delayed any longer in coming against these villains, the city would either have been swallowed up by earthquake, or swept away by a massive deluge, or else destroyed by the same kind of thunder that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrha and devastated all the soil of the whole country around, for it had brought forth a generation of men much more atheistic than those who suffered such punishments; for it was by their madness that all the people came to be destroyed.

Manneus, the son of Lazarus, also ran away to Titus as a deserter at this very time, and told him that there had been carried out through the gate entrusted to his care no fewer than a hundred and fifteen thousand eight hundred and eighty dead bodies, in the seventy-seven day interval between the fourteenth day of the month Xanthicus, which is Nisan, the same day of Passover when the Romans pitched their camp by the city, and the first day of the month Panemus, which is Tammuz—between Friday eleven April A.D. 70, and Thursday twenty-six June A.D. 70—which is an average of one thousand five hundred and five bodies every day through that one gate alone. This was itself an enormous multitude; and though this man himself had not been appointed officer of that gate, yet he was appointed to pay the public stipend for carrying these bodies out, and was obliged by necessity to number them, while the rest were buried by their relations, though their entire burial was only to take them away, and throw them out of the city.

After him, there also ran away to Titus many of the eminent citizens, who told him the entire number of the poor who were dead; that no fewer than six hundred thousand were thrown out at the gates, though the number of the rest still could not be determined; and they told him further, that when they were no longer able to carry out the dead bodies of the poor, they laid their corpses in heaps in very large houses, and shut them up there; also that a medimnus of wheat, one and a half bushels, was sold for a talent; and when, a while afterward, it was not possible to gather herbs, because the city was all walled around, some persons were driven to the terrible distress of searching the common sewers and old dung hills of cattle, and to eat the dung they found; and what they once could not endure to look at they now used for food.

As soon as the Romans heard all this, they pitied them; while the rebels, who also saw it, did not repent, but allowed the same distress to come on themselves, blinded by that fate which was already coming on the city, and on themselves also.

The miseries of Jerusalem grew worse and worse every day, and the rebels were still more irritated under these calamities, even while the famine preyed on them, after it had preyed on the people. The multitude of carcasses lying in heaps one after another, was a horrible sight, and produced a pestilential stench, which hindered those who would make sallies out of the city and fight the enemy; but since those who were already used to ten thousand murders were to go in battle-array, and must necessarily tread on those dead bodies as they marched, they were not terrified, nor did they pity men as they marched over them; nor did they believe this affront offered to the deceased was a bad sign; but as their right hands were already polluted with the murders of their own countrymen, and they ran out in that condition to fight with foreigners, they did not go on with the war as if they had any expectation of victory, but they took a fierce animal glory in their despair of deliverance. And now the Romans, although suffering greatly in getting their materials together, after cutting down all the trees in the country for eleven and a quarter miles around the city, raised their embankments in twenty-one days. The most beautiful suburbs of the city, places once adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now a Desolation everywhere; for the war had utterly laid waste every sign of beauty; and if anyone who knew the place before, had suddenly come to it now, he would not have recognized it; but even though he was at the city itself, he still would have inquired about it.

And now that the embankments were finished, they were also grounds for fear, to both the Romans and the Jews; for the Jews expected that the city would be taken, unless they could burn those banks, as the Romans expected that, if these were once burned down, they should never be able to take it; for there was a mighty scarcity of materials, and the bodies of the soldiers began to fail them with such hard labors, as also their souls fainted with so many episodes of failure. These considerations made the Romans keep a stronger guard about their banks than they had formerly done.

But now John and his party inside the tower of Antonia took steps for their own security, in case this wall should be thrown down, and went to work before the battering-rams were brought against them. Yet they did not clearly plan their attempts, but when they went out with their torches, they came back greatly discouraged, even before they got near the embankments; they were not coordinated, but went out in small bands, at separate intervals, and cautiously, without Jewish courage; defective in boldness, in violence of assault, in running together on the enemy, and in persevering, even when they do not at first succeed.

However, they now went out to attack, but with less motivation than usual, and as they began this their assault, at the same time they found the Romans battle-ready, and more courageous than ordinary, and that they guarded their banks both with their bodies and their entire armor, to such a degree on all sides, that they left no room for the fire to get among them, and that every one of their souls was in such good courage, that they would sooner die than desert their ranks; for besides the notion that all their expectations were cut off if their works were burned, the soldiers were greatly ashamed that, in this war, cunning should overcome courage, madness armor, multitude skill, and Jews Romans. As they came out of the city, the Romans now also had the advantage that their siege engines cooperated in throwing arrows and stones as far as the attacking Jews; so that each fallen man was an immediate obstacle to the next man, and the danger of going any farther dampened the zeal of their attempt; and some of those who had run under the arrows were terrified by the good close order of the enemy's ranks before they ever came to a close fight, and others being pricked with their spears, turned back; and finally, reproaching themselves for cowardice, they retreated without doing anything. This futile attack was made on Thursday twenty-six June A.D. 70, the first day of the month Panemus, which is Tammuz.

So, when the Jews had retreated the Romans brought their engines, all the while stones were thrown at them from the tower Antonia, and they were being assaulted by fire and sword, and all sorts of arrows, which necessity demanded the Jews use; yet these Romans struggled hard to bring them, deeming this zeal of the Jews was to prevent any impacts on the Antonia, because its wall was weak, and its foundations rotten. However, that tower did not yield to blows from the engines; but the Romans bore the blows of the enemy's arrows, which constantly came on them from above, and the stones, and did not themselves yield to any of those dangers, and so they brought their engines to bear; but then, some in desperation threw their shields over their bodies together, and partly with their hands, partly with their bodies, and partly with crowbars, they undermined its foundations, and with great pains removed four of its stones. Then night came, and put an end to this struggle for the moment; however, that night the wall was so shaken by the battering-rams where John had earlier undermined their embankments, that the ground gave way, and the wall fell down suddenly.

This unexpected accident affected both parties, in unexpected ways; for though one might expect the Jews would be discouraged, having made no provision for it, they took courage, because the tower Antonia was still standing; and the unexpected joy of the Romans at the fall of the wall was quickly quenched by the sight of another wall, which John and his party had built inside it. However, this one seemed easier to get up to through the broken sections of the former wall that was now thrown down. This new wall appeared also to be much weaker than the tower of Antonia, so that the Romans imagined it had been erected so quickly that they should soon be able to overthrow it; yet no one dared now to go up to this wall; for whoever first attempted it would most certainly be killed.

And now Titus, on considering that the eagerness of soldiers in war is chiefly excited by expectations of success and by good words, and that exhortation and promises frequently make men forget the hazards they run, and sometimes even to despise death itself, he assembled the most courageous part of his army, and tried to do what he could with his men, by several methods of persuasion; he cited as happy the estate of those who die bravely in war, and contrasted as ignoble the state of those who die by sickness in their beds; and then he said, "As for that person who first mounts the wall, I should blush for shame if I did not make him to be envied by others, by those rewards I would bestow on him. If such an one escape with his life, he shall have the command of others, who are now only his equals; although it be true too, that the greatest rewards will accrue to those who die in the attempt."

At this speech of Titus, the rest of the multitude were frightened at so great a danger. But there was one named Sabinus, who was the first who rose, who said he would voluntarily choose death for him. He was slender and black, and did not appear to be a powerful warrior; yet with zealous passion he insisted that he would make the assault. Then he, and no more than eleven others, marched up to the wall just about twelve noon, the sixth hour of the day, excited by a divine fury. Those who guarded the wall shot at them, and also rolled very large stones on them, which overcame some of those eleven with him. And though Sabinus was overwhelmed, yet he did not give up the violence of his attack before he had gotten up on top of the wall and put the enemy to flight. The Jews were astonished at his great strength, and imagining that more of them had gotten upon the wall than really had, they were put to flight. But then Sabinus stumbled over a large stone, and fell headlong on it with a very great noise. At this the Jews turned around, and when they saw he was alone, they shot arrows at him from every side as he got up on his knee and covered himself with his shield, and he wounded many who came to him, and at length he was covered with arrows before he gave up the ghost. The Jews dashed three of his partners to pieces with stones, and slew them as they reached the top of the wall; the other eight, being wounded, were pulled down and carried back to the camp. These things were done on the Sabbath, Saturday twenty-eight June A.D. 70, the third day of the month Panemus, which is Tammuz.

Now two days afterward, after sunset Sunday, beginning Monday thirty June, twelve of those men who were front guards keeping watch on the embankments got together, and called to them the standard-bearer of the Legio quinta Alaudae, the Fifth Legion Larks, and two others of a troop of cavalry, and one trumpeter: about 3 A.M., the ninth hour of the night, these went without noise through the ruins, to the tower of Antonia; and when they had cut the throats of the first guards of the place as they were asleep, they got possession of the wall, and ordered the trumpeter to sound his trumpet. At that sound, the rest of the guards jumped up and ran away before anyone could see how many had gotten up; for from the fear they were in, and the sound of the trumpet, they imagined a great number of the enemy had gotten up.

But as soon as Titus heard the signal he ordered the army to put on their armor immediately, and came there with his commanders, and ascended first of all, and the chosen men with him. And as the Jews fled to the Temple, they fell into that mine John had dug under the Roman embankments.

"The pit they had dug for others, they fell into themselves."

Then the rebels of both bodies of the Jewish army, the one belonging to John, and the other belonging to Simon, drove them away with the highest degree of force and alacrity, esteeming themselves entirely ruined if the Romans once got into the Temple; the Romans seeing the same thing as the beginning of their complete conquest. So a terrible battle was fought at the entrance of the Temple, while the Romans were forcing their way in order to get possession of that Temple, and the Jews were driving them back to the tower of Antonia; the arrows on both sides were useless in this battle, as well as the spears, and both sides drew swords and fought with all their strength hand to hand at random, mixed with one another and confounded in that narrow place; while the noise they made was a confusing din, because it was so very loud. Great slaughter was now made on both sides, and the combatants trod on the bodies and armor of those who were dead, dashing them to pieces; but those in the first ranks were under the necessity of killing or being killed, without any way of escaping; for those who came from behind forced those before them to go on, on both sides, without leaving any space between the armies. At length the Jews' violent zeal was too hard for the Romans' skill, and the battle had already turned entirely that way; for the fight had lasted ten hours, from 3 A.M., the ninth hour of the night, to 1 P.M., the seventh hour of the day, Monday, while the Jews came in crowds, motivated by the danger the Temple was in; the Romans having no more here than a part of their army; for those legions on which the soldiers depended had not come up. So the Romans thought it was enough at present to take possession of the tower of Antonia.

And now Titus ordered those of his soldiers with him to dig down and overthrow the foundations of that tower, and make ready also a broad, easy avenue for his army to come up; while twelve days later, on the Sabbath, Saturday twelve July A.D. 70, the seventeenth day of Panemus, which is Tammuz, Titus was informed that, on that very day, that which is called the daily sacrifice had not been offered to God, for lack of men to offer it, and that the people were grievously troubled by this; he himself had Josephus brought to him, and commanded him to say the same things to John that he had said before, that he might come out with as many of his men as he pleased, to fight, without danger of destroying either his city or Temple; but that he desired that he not defile the Temple, nor by fighting there offend against God. Josephus stood where he might be heard, not only by John, but by many more, and then declared what Titus had charged him to say, in the common language of the Jews in Judea, earnestly praying them to spare their own city, and to prevent that fire now so ready to seize the Temple, and to resume again the offering of their usual sacrifices to God. When he had spoken, and had rebuked John for his sacrileges and murders, and again promised that the Romans shall still forgive him, he said, with groans, and tears in his eyes, "Are not both the city and the entire Temple now full of the dead bodies of your countrymen? It is God therefore, it is God himself who is bringing on this fire, to purge that city and Temple by means of the Romans, and is going to pluck up this city, which is full of pollutions."

As Josephus spoke these words, his discourse influenced a great many of the upper class; but truly some of them were so afraid of the guards sent by the rebels, that they waited where they were, satisfied that both they and the city were already doomed to destruction. Some, watching for any opportunity to get quietly away, fled to the Romans. And then a great many fled to the Romans. These men also got together before the Romans in a great number, and calling out implored the rebels, with groans, and tears in their eyes, to receive the Romans entirely into the city, and again save their place of residence; but, if they would not agree, that they would at least depart out of the Temple, and save the holy house for their own use; for the Romans would not dare to set the sanctuary on fire, except under the most pressing necessity.

Yet the rebels still more and more contradicted them; and while they cast loud and bitter reproaches on these deserters, they also set their engines for throwing arrows, javelins and stones, on the sacred gates of the inner Temple, at effective intervals, so that all the space round about and within the outer court of the Temple, the Court of the Gentiles, might be compared to a burying ground, so great was the number of the dead bodies there; just as the holy house itself might be compared to a citadel or fortress stronghold. So, these men in their armor rushed over holy places that were otherwise unapproachable, while their hands were still warm with the blood of their own people, which they had shed; no, they proceeded to such great transgressions, that the very same outrage the Jews would naturally have had against Romans for such transgressions, the Romans now had against Jews, for their gross impiety with regard to their own Jewish religious customs. Indeed, there was not one of the Roman soldiers who did not look with sacred horror on the holy house, and adored it, and wished that the robbers would repent before their miseries became incurable.

Titus, now deeply affected, rebuked John and his party for polluting the holy house with the blood of both foreigners and Jews; and he said, "Why do you trample upon dead bodies in this Temple? And why do you pollute this holy house with the blood of both foreigners and Jews themselves? I appeal to the gods of my own country, and to every god that ever had regard for this place, for I do not suppose it to be regarded by any of them now; I also appeal to my own army, and to those Jews who are now with me, and even to you yourselves, that I do not force you to defile this your sanctuary; and if only you will change the place where you will fight, no Roman shall either come near your sanctuary, or offer any affront to it; no, I will endeavor to preserve for you your holy house, whether you will or not."

But when Titus saw that these men, both the robbers and the tyrant, were neither to be moved by compassion toward themselves, nor had any concern that the holy house be spared, he proceeded, unwillingly, to go on again with the war against them. He could not bring all his army against them, the place was so narrow; but choosing thirty soldiers of the most valiant out of every hundred, and committing a thousand to each tribune, and making Sextus Cerealis their commander-in-chief, he gave orders to attack the guard of the Temple about 3 A.M., the ninth hour of that night, which is anciently the hour of the power of darkness; but now, in his armor, and preparing to go, the commanders, because of the greatness of the danger, suggested that he would do more by sitting above in the tower of Antonia, as a dispenser of rewards to soldiers who distinguished themselves in the fight, than by coming down and hazarding his own person in their front; for they would all fight stoutly while Titus looked on. Titus complied, and said that the only reason he did so was that he might be able to judge their courageous actions, and that no valiant soldier might be unnoticed and miss his reward; and no cowardly soldier might go unpunished; but that he himself, who was to be the dispenser of punishments and rewards to them, might be an eyewitness, and be able to give evidence of all that was done. So he sent the soldiers about their work at the designated hour, while he went out himself to a higher place in the tower of Antonia, where he might see what was done, and there waited with impatience to see the event.

However, the soldiers sent did not find the Temple guards asleep, as they expected; but were immediately obliged to fight with them hand to hand, as they rushed with violence on them with a great shout. Now, as soon as the rest of them in the Temple heard that shout of the watch, they ran out in troops on them. The Romans competed with each other over who should fight the most strenuously, both individual men and entire regiments, as being under the eye of Titus; and everyone concluded that this day would begin his promotion if he fought bravely. The great encouragements the Jews had to act vigorously were fear for themselves and for the Temple, and the presence of their tyrant, who exhorted some, and beat and threatened others to act courageously. Now, it so happened that this fight, which began at 3 A.M., the ninth hour of the night, was at length not over before it passed the fifth hour of the day, 11 A.M.; so that it appeared this fight was for the most part a stationary one; and that, in the same place where the battle began, neither party could say that they had made the other to retire.

In the meantime, the rest of the Roman army, in seven days' time, had overthrown some foundations of the tower Antonia, and had made a ready, broad way to the Temple. Then the legions came near the first court, the Court of the Gentiles, and began to raise their embankments; but not without great pains and difficulty, and particularly by being obliged to bring their materials from the distance of twelve and a half miles: one near the northwest corner of the inner Temple, the Court of Israel; another at the northern edifice between the two gates; another one at the western portico of the outer court of the Temple; and the other against its northern portico.

In the meantime, the Jews were so distressed by the battles, and the war now creeping closer to the holy house, that they cut off those limbs of the body which they deemed to be infected, to keep the disease from spreading farther; for it was they who set on fire the northwest portico, which was joined to the tower of Antonia, and after that broke off about nine and a half yards of that portico, and thus it was they who made a beginning in burning the sanctuary; and then, two days after that, on Saturday nineteen July A.D. 70, the Sabbath, the twenty-fourth day of the same month Panemus or Tammuz, the Romans set fire to the portico that joined to the other, when the fire went seven yards farther. The Jews, in like manner, cut off its roof, nor did they entirely stop what they were doing before the tower of Antonia was parted from the Temple, even when it was in their power to have stopped the fire; no, they lay still while the Temple was first set on fire, and deemed this spreading of the fire to be for their own advantage. However, the armies were still fighting one against another about the Temple; and the war was fought by continual sallies of single units one against another.

But now every day the rebels in the Temple openly strove to beat off the soldiers on the embankments, and three days later, on Tuesday twenty-two July A.D. 70, the twenty-seventh day of the same month Panemus, or Tammuz, they filled that part of the western portico between the beams, and the Court of the Gentiles, and the roof under them, with dry materials, and with bitumen and pitch, and then retreated from that place as though they were tired with the pains they had taken; at this, many of the most impulsive and reckless Romans, carried away with violent passions, and uttering loud whoops and yells, followed hard after them as they were retreating, and applied ladders to the portico, and suddenly got up to it; but the more prudent soldiers, when they grasped this unaccountable retreat of the Jews, stood where they were. However, the portico was full of those who had gone up the ladders when the Jews set it all on fire: and as the flames suddenly burst out everywhere, the Romans who were not in danger were panic-stricken, as those in the midst of the danger were in utmost distress when they perceived themselves surrounded with flames; some threw themselves down backwards into the city, and some down among their enemies in the Temple; many leaped down to their own men, breaking their legs and shattering the bones of their limbs; but a great number who were going to take these violent methods, were prevented from doing so by the fire; though some anticipated the fire by using their own swords on themselves. However, the fire was suddenly carried so far that it surrounded those who would have chosen to perish otherwise. Titus himself could only pity those who thus perished, even though, by gross insubordination, they had got up there without orders, and without permission of their commanders, since there was no way of giving them any relief. For he cried out openly to them, and leaped up, and exhorted those who were about him to do their utmost to relieve them; yet this was some comfort to those who were destroyed, that everyone might see that person grieve for whose sake they came to their end. So every one of them died cheerfully, carrying with him these words and this intention of Titus as a memorial monument. Some had retreated into the wall of the portico, which was broad, and were saved from the fire, but then were surrounded by the Jews; and although they resisted them for a long time, they were wounded by them, and at length all fell down dead. After the Jews had destroyed those that got up to it, they also cut off the rest of that portico from the Temple. Now this portico was burned down as far as the tower that John had built in the war he had made against Simon, over the gates that led to the Xystus. But the next day the Romans burned down the northern portico entirely, as far as the east portico, whose common angle was built over the Kidron valley, and joined to it; on this account the depth was frightful. And this was the state of the Temple at that time.

Now the number of those who perished by famine in the city was immense, and their miseries were unspeakable; for if even the shadow of a suggestion of any food appeared anywhere, a war began; the dearest friends fell to fighting one another, snatching from each other the most miserable supports of life. Nor would anyone believe that the dying had no food; but the robbers searched them as they were expiring, in case they had food concealed in their garments, and were only pretending to be dying: no, these robbers gaped with open mouths for want, and ran around stumbling and staggering like mad dogs, and reeling against the doors of the houses like drunken men; in their great desperation they rushed into the very same houses two or three times in one and the same day. Moreover, their hunger was so intolerable, that it forced them to chew everything, gathering and eating things that the most filthy animals would not touch; nor did they abstain from girdles and shoes, even gnawing the very leather they pulled off their shields: wisps of old hay became food for some; and some gathered up fibers, and sold a very small weight of them for four Attic drachmas.

And now I am going to relate a matter of fact, incredible, yet attested by multiple eyewitnesses, and horrible to hear.

A certain aristocratic woman named Mary, of the village Bethezub, eminent for her family and her wealth, who had fled away into Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, was besieged there at this time. Pierced with famine, and outraged against the robbers, who took everything she had, and always seizing every piece of food she got, and did not kill her even when she violently reproached them, decided to avenge herself on them; she spoke tenderly to her son, a child sucking at her breast, and then she slew him, and roasted him, and ate half of him, and kept the other half by her, concealed. The rebels presently came in, and smelling the aroma of roasted meat, they threatened to cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had prepared. She replied that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them; and then uncovered what was left of her son. They were seized with horror and astonishment, and stood dumbfounded; then she said to them, "This is my own son; and what has been done was my own doing! Come, eat of this food; for I have eaten of it myself! Do not pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you are so scrupulous, and abominate this my sacrifice, since I have eaten half, let the rest be reserved for me also."

After this, those men left trembling, being never so frightened at anything as this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. The whole city was immediately filled with the news of this horrible act; and while each laid before their own eyes this miserable case, they trembled, as if this unheard-of act had been done by themselves. So those thus distressed by the famine desired very much to die; and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough to hear or see such miseries.

This sad instance was quickly told to the Romans; some of them could not believe it, and others pitied the distress the Jews were under; but this induced in many of them a hatred more than ordinary against the Jews; but Titus excused himself before God in this matter, and said that he had proposed peace and liberty to the Jews, as well as an oblivion of all their former insolent practices; but they, instead of concord had chosen sedition; instead of peace, war; and before satiety and abundance, a famine; that they had begun with their own hands to burn down that Temple, and therefore they deserved to eat such food as this; and said, "Men ought not to leave such a city upon the habitable earth to be seen by the sun, since it is they who still continue in a state of war against us, after they have undergone such miseries as these."

As he said this he reflected on the desperate condition these men must be in; nor could he expect that such men could be brought to a sober mind, after they had endured those very sufferings, when in order to avoid them it was only probable that they might have repented; for they had voluntarily chosen to reduce their citizens to that extremity of desolation.

And now two of the legions had completed their embankments on Friday one August A.D. 70, the Day of Preparation, the eighth day of the month Lous or Loos, which is Av or Ab. So Titus ordered that the battering-rams should be brought and set against the western edifice of the inner Temple; for the firmest of all the other engines had already battered the wall for six days straight without making any impression on it; the vast size and strong connection of the stones had proved superior to the engine, and to the other battering-rams also. The workmen, despairing of all such attempts by engines and crowbars, and consumed with frustration, then brought their ladders to the porticoes. But when they had gotten up, the Jews fell on them and fought them, and at length got possession of these engines, and destroyed those who had gone up the ladders, while the rest were so intimidated by what those slain had suffered, that they retreated. When Titus perceived that his efforts to spare a foreign temple had resulted in the harm and killing of his soldiers, he gave orders to set the gates on fire.

And now the soldiers fired the gates, and the silver over them quickly carried the flames to the wood inside, and then it spread itself all of a sudden, and caught hold of the porticoes. This was Friday, the sixth day of the week, the Day of Preparation; the sun was going down, and the Sabbath was about to begin. The Jews, on seeing this fire all about them, their spirits together with their bodies sank, and they were so astonished, that they stood paralyzed as mute spectators only, watching the fire, without defending themselves or attempting to quench the flames. They did not grieve at the loss, but instead, as if the holy house itself were already on fire, they sharpened their passions against the Romans. This fire prevailed during that day and the next also, Friday and Saturday; for the soldiers were not able to burn together all the porticoes at one time, but only by sections.

The next day, Saturday two August, the Sabbath, on the ninth day of the month Lous or Loos, which is Av or Ab, Titus commanded part of his army to quench the fire, and to make a road for the easy marching up of the legions, while he himself gathered the commanders together; the principal six were: Tiberius Alexander, commander of the whole army; Sextus Cerealis the commander of the Legio quinta Alaudae, the Fifth Legion Larks; Larcius Lepidus, the commander of the Legio decima Fretensis, the Tenth Legion of the Sea Straits; Titus Frigius the commander of the Legio quinta decima Apollinaris, the Fifteenth Legion of Apollo; Eternius, leader of the two legions from Alexandria; and Marcus Antonius Julianus, procurator of Judea; and after these came all the rest of the procurators and tribunes, and Fronto, one of his Friends. Titus said that he was not in any case for burning down so vast a work, because this would harm the Romans themselves, and while it continued it would be an ornament to their government. Three of his generals boldly agreed with him: Fronto, Alexander, and Cerealis. When Titus had given orders to the commanders that the rest of their forces should lie still, but that they should make use of those who were most courageous in this attack, then this assembly was dissolved. So he commanded that those chosen men who were taken out of the cohorts should make their way through the ruins, and quench the fire.

Now it is true, that on this day, the Sabbath, the Jews were so weary, and so completely dismayed, that they refrained from any attacks; but on the next day, the first day of the week, Sunday three August, the tenth day of the month Av, they gathered their whole force together, and very boldly ran on those Romans who guarded the outer court of the Temple, through the east gate, and this about 7 A.M., the second hour of the day. These guards met the Jews' attack with great bravery, and by covering themselves with their shields in front, like a wall, they drew their squadrons together, closing ranks; yet it was obvious that they could not stand very long, but would be crushed by the multitude of those who sallied out on them in the heat of their passion. However, Titus seeing from the tower of Antonia that this squadron was likely to give way, he sent some chosen cavalry to support them, and the Jews found themselves not able to withstand their assault; and with the slaughter of those in the forefront, many of the rest were put to flight; but as the Romans went off after them, the Jews turned back on them and fought them; and as those Romans came back on them, the Jews retreated again, up to about 11 A.M., the fifth hour of the day, when they were overcome, and shut themselves up in the inner court of the Temple.

Now a great number of false prophets were bribed by the tyrants then to impose on the people, who solemnly announced that they should wait for deliverance from God: this was to keep them from deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such expectations. For a false prophet had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get up upon the Temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance.

So Titus retired to the tower Antonia, and resolved to storm the Temple the next day, early in the morning, with his whole army, and to encamp round about the holy house, and afterward to capture the rest of the city. Much of the upper and lower city still remained to be taken, the last wall of Jerusalem, all of the houses, the great towers of Herod, the hidden places underground, the caverns, and the tyrants. But God had long ago with certainty doomed the Temple to the fire, and now that fatal day had already come; it was still Sunday three August A.D. 70, the tenth day of the month Lous or Loos, which is Av or Ab, the same day on which it was formerly burned by the king of Babylon, although these flames now took their rise from the Jews themselves, as their cause; for when Titus retired, the rebels lay still for a little while, and then attacked the Romans again, when those who guarded the holy house fought with those who quenched the fire burning in the inner court of the Temple; but these Romans put the Jews to flight, and proceeded as far as the holy house itself; and one of the soldiers, without waiting for any orders, and without any concern or dread for so great an undertaking, and being hurried on by a certain divine fury, snatched some of the materials that were on fire, and being lifted by another soldier, he set fire to a golden window, through which there was a passage to the rooms that were round about the holy house on the north side.

As the flames shot upward the Jews made a great clamor, and ran together to prevent it, not sparing their lives or allowing anything to restrain their force, since that holy house was perishing, for whose sake they kept such a guard about it.

Someone came running to Titus and told him of this fire as he was resting himself in his tent after the last battle; he rose in great haste and ran as he was to the holy house, to put a stop to the fire; all his commanders followed after him, and after them the several legions in great astonishment; so a great clamor and tumult naturally arose, from the disordered moving of so great an army. Then Titus, with a loud voice called to the soldiers who were fighting, and gave a signal to them with his right hand, and ordered them to quench the fire; but they did not hear what he said, though he spoke so loud, for their ears were already deafened by the greater noise, which drowned out his words with sound; neither did they pay any attention to the signal he made with his hand, as some of them were still distracted with fighting, and others with passion; but as they were crowding into the Temple together, many were trampled, while a great number fell among the ruins of the porticoes which were still hot and smoking, and were destroyed in the same miserable way as those they had conquered: and when they neared the holy house, they acted as if they did not so much as hear Titus's orders to the contrary, but encouraged those before them to "set it on fire! set it on fire!" fully in accord with the words of the Seventy-fourth Psalm. As for the rebels, they were already in too great distress to assist in quenching the fire; they were everywhere slain, and everywhere beaten; and a great part of the people, weak and without arms, had their throats cut wherever they were caught. Now round about the altar lay dead bodies heaped one upon another; and the steps going up to the whole wide paved space about it ran with a great quantity of their blood, where the dead bodies slain above on the altar fell down.

And now, since Titus was unable in any way to restrain the enthusiastic fury of the soldiers, and the fire progressed more and more, he went into the holy place of the Temple and stood in the holy place with his commanders, and saw it, with what was in it, which he found to be far superior to what the accounts of foreigners reported, and not inferior to what the Jews themselves boasted of and believed about it; but as the flame had not yet reached its inward parts, but was still consuming the rooms about the holy house, and Titus supposing that the house itself might yet in fact be saved, he came back out in haste and endeavored to persuade the soldiers to quench the fire, and ordered Liberius the centurion, and one of the spearmen about him, to beat the soldiers who were obstinate with their staffs, and restrain them; yet their passions overwhelmed any regard they had for Titus and the dread they had of him who forbade them, as did their hatred of the Jews and a certain vehement inclination to fight them. Moreover, the expectation of plunder induced many to go on, with the assumption that all the places within were full of money, seeing that everything about the Temple was made of gold; and besides, one of those who went into the place with him, went ahead of Titus when he ran so hastily back out to restrain the soldiers, and threw the fire on the oiled hinges of the gate in the dark; and immediately the flame burst forth from within the holy house itself, as soon as the commanders retired, and Titus with them; and no one any longer forbade those outside to set fire to it; and so the holy house burned down, leaving only the stones of the walls standing upright (stone does not burn).

So by Sunday three August A.D. 70, the tenth day of the month Lous, which is Av, the outer Temple court had been reached and, in the ensuing attack, while the holy house was on fire, everything was plundered, the cords, the cloths, the curtains, drapes and tapestries, the veil, and all captives butchered; ten thousand of those caught were slain without pity for age, or reverence for dignity; but children and old men, profane persons and priests, were all slain alike; so that this war made the rounds bringing all kinds of men to destruction, those who made supplication for their lives and those who defended themselves by fighting. The Temple was burned to the ground, the wood, the paneling, the silver and the gold, leaving only the stones of the walls and the form of its structure standing upright. The flame carried a long way, and made an echo, together with the groans of those slain; and because this hill was high, and the works at the Temple were very great, one would have thought the whole city was on fire. Nothing seemed greater or more terrible than this noise: a simultaneous combination of the shout of the Roman legions marching all together, and the sad clamor of the rebels now surrounded with fire and sword. The people also left above were beaten back on the enemy, under great dread, and made sad moans at their calamity; the multitude also in the city joined this outcry with those on the hill; and besides, many of those worn away by the famine, their mouths almost closed, when they saw the fire of the holy house, exerted their utmost strength, and broke into groans and outcries again: Perea, as well as the surrounding mountains also returned the echo, and augmented the force of the entire noise. Yet the misery itself was more terrible than this confusion; one would have thought the hill itself, on which the Temple stood, was seething hot, every part of it full of fire; that the quantity of blood was greater than the fire; and those slain more in number than those who slew them; for the ground could not be seen for all the dead bodies that lay on it; but the soldiers went over heaps of these bodies, as they forcibly ran down those who fled from them. And it was only now that the multitude of the robbers was expelled from the inner court of the Temple by the Romans, and with much commotion got into the outer court, and from there into the city, while the remainder of the populace fled into the portico of that outer court. Yet two priests eminent among them, Meirus the son of Belgas, and Joseph the son of Daleus, who might have saved themselves by deserting to the Romans, or might have borne up with courage and taken their fortune with the others, threw themselves into the fire, and were burned together with the holy house.

And now the Romans, judging it in vain to spare whatever was round about the holy house, burned all those places, the remains of the porticoes, and the gates, except the one on the east side, and the other on the south; which they burned afterward. They also burned down the treasury chambers, after plundering them, in which were deposited an immense quantity of money, an immense number of garments, and other precious goods, and there that all the riches of the Jews were piled together, while the rich had built there vaults for themselves to contain such furnishings. The soldiers also came to the rest of the porticoes in the outer court of the Temple, where the women and children, and a great mixed multitude of the people had fled, in number about six thousand. But before Titus had made any determination about these people, or given the commanders any orders about them, the soldiers in their rage set the porticoes on fire; and some were destroyed by throwing themselves down headlong, and some were burned in those porticoes themselves. Not one of them escaped with his life. For a false prophet had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get up upon the Temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. A great number of false prophets were bribed by the tyrants then to impose on the people, who solemnly announced that they should wait for deliverance from God: this was to keep them from deserting, and that they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such expectations.

Thus the miserable people who had rejected their own true Prophet, Christ, though he had done so many signs before them, were readily persuaded by these deceivers, who had misrepresented God himself; while they did not heed those evident signs that had preceded the war, which had so plainly foretold their future desolation; but these men willfully misinterpreted some of these signs according to their own pleasure; and some of them they utterly despised, before their madness was made so plainly and undeniably evident, both by the taking of their city, and their own destruction. God sent on them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness might be condemned. But what most incited them in undertaking this war, was an ambiguous oracle, which was also found in their sacred writings, how, about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth:

"Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession."

The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves in particular, and many of their wise men deceived themselves in their determination of its meaning. Josephus says,

"Now, this oracle certainly denoted the government of Vespasian, who was appointed governor in Judea."

But he was mistaken, as Eusebius says,

"This prediction, he supposed, was fulfilled in Vespasian. He, however, did not obtain the sovereignty over the whole world, but only over the Romans. More justly, therefore, would it be referred to Christ, by whom it was said by the Father, 'Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.' Regarding whom, indeed, at this very time, 'the sound of the holy Apostles went throughout all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world'."

Josephus says

"the rebels in Jerusalem of themselves did everything the besiegers could desire; for they never suffered from the Romans anything that was worse than they made each other suffer, nor was there any misery endured by the city resulting from these men's actions that was new, but it was most of all unhappy before it was overthrown, while those who took it did it a greater kindness; for I venture to affirm that the rebellion destroyed the city, and the Romans destroyed the rebellion, which was a much harder thing to do than to destroy the walls; so that we may justly ascribe our misfortunes to our own people and the just vengeance taken on them to the Romans; as to this matter let every one determine by the actions on both sides."

Now although anyone would be right in lamenting the destruction of such a work as this Temple, yet its fate had already been decreed, because they did not acknowledge the time of their visitation; for it was the same month and day in which the holy house was formerly burnt by the Babylonians.

"The Lord did not choose the nation for the sake of the holy place, but the place for the sake of the nation. Therefore the place itself shared in the judgment that befell the whole nation."
"They refused to hearken, and turned a stubborn shoulder, and stopped their ears that they might not hear. They made their hearts like adamant lest they should hear the law and the words which the LORD of hosts had sent by his Spirit through the former prophets. Therefore great wrath came from the LORD of hosts. 'As I called, and they would not hear, so they called, and I would not hear', says the LORD of hosts, 'and I scattered them with a whirlwind among all the nations which they had not known.' Thus the land they left was desolate, so that no one went to and fro, and the pleasant land was made desolate."

Now the number of years of this Temple, from its first foundation, laid by king Solomon, to its destruction in A.D. 70, the second year of the reign of Vespasian, are reckoned to be one thousand one hundred and thirty years and seven months and fifteen days, which is from 960 B.C. to A.D. 70; and from the second building of it by Haggai and Zechariah in the days of Zerubbabel in the second year of Cyrus the king, to its destruction under Vespasian, there were six hundred and thirty-nine years and forty-five days, which is from 570 B.C. to A.D. 70.

And now all the soldiers had such vast quantities of spoils gotten by plunder from the treasury chambers of the Temple, in which were deposited an immense quantity of money, an immense number of garments, and other precious goods, and there that all the riches of the Jews were piled together, while the rich had built there vaults for themselves to contain such furnishings, such vast quantities of spoils gotten by plunder that in Syria a pound weight of gold was sold for half its former value.

On the fifth day afterward, the priests starving with the famine came down, and when they were brought to Titus by the guards, they begged for their lives; but he replied, that the time of pardon was over for them; that this very holy house, on whose sole account they could rightly expect to be preserved, was destroyed; and that it was appropriate that the priests of the house should perish with the house. So he ordered them to be put to death.

And now, with the flight of the rebels out of the Temple area into the city, and the burning of the holy house itself, and of all the buildings round about it, the Romans brought their ensigns to the Temple, and set them by its eastern gate; and there they made Titus imperator. So great was the joy and attachment of the soldiers, that, in their congratulations, Titus was hailed as imperator by his troops; they unanimously saluted him by the title of Emperor with the greatest acclamations of joy; and there, in a final desecration of the Temple, sacrifice was made to the Roman standards in the Temple court. Finally, the Abomination of Desolation, according to the prophetic declaration, stood in the very Temple of God. In the end the Abomination of Desolation, declared by the prophets, was set up in the very Temple of God, so celebrated of old, when it was utterly destroyed by fire.

But this was not yet the end of the matter. Much of the upper and lower city still remained to be taken, the last wall of Jerusalem, all of the houses, the great towers of Herod, the hidden places underground, the caverns, and the tyrants. When the tyrants themselves, Simon and John, and those who were with them, found that they were encompassed and virtually walled round on every side without any method of escape, they desired to negotiate a treaty with Titus by word of mouth. Titus then came and placed himself on the western side of the outer court of the Temple, where there were gates above the Xystus, and a bridge connecting the upper city to the Temple which lay between Titus and the tyrants, and separated them and the multitude on either side, the uncircumsized Romans about Titus, and those of the Jewish nation about Simon and John; and he addressed the tyrants in a detailed discourse regarding their rejection of every one of his proposals, one by one; and he finished, saying, "And now, vile wretches, do you desire to negotiate a treaty with me by word of mouth? to what purpose is it that you would save such an holy house as this was, which is now destroyed? What preservation can you now desire after the destruction of your Temple? Yet you stand, still at this very time, in your armor; nor can you bring yourselves so much as to pretend to be supplicants, even in this your most utmost extremity! O miserable creatures! What is it you depend on? Are not your people dead? Is not your holy house gone? Is not your city in my power? And are not your own very lives in my hands? And do you still deem it a part of valor to die? However, I will not imitate your madness. If you throw down your arms, and deliver up your bodies to me, I grant you your lives; and I will act like a mild master of a family; what cannot be healed shall be punished, and the rest I will preserve for my own use."

To this offer they replied that they could not accept it, because they had sworn never to do so; but desired leave to go through the wall that had been made about them, with their wives and children; they would go into the desert, and leave the city to him.

At this Titus had great indignation; that, when they were like men taken captive, they should pretend to make their own terms with him as if they were the conquerors! So he ordered this proclamation to be made: they should no longer come out to him as deserters, nor expect any further security; for henceforth he would spare no one, but fight them with his whole army; and that they must save themselves as well as they could: for he would henceforth treat them according to the laws of war.

So he issued orders to the soldiers to burn and plunder the city; who did nothing that day; but on the next day they set fire to the depository of the archives, to Acra, to the council house, and to the place called Ophlas; and the fire proceeded as far as the palace of queen Helena, in the middle of Acra: the lanes also were burned down, as were those houses full of the dead bodies of those destroyed by famine. And now the rebels rushed into the royal palace, where many of them had put their effects, because it was so strong, and drove the Romans away from it. They also slew all the people who had crowded into it, in number about eight thousand four hundred, and plundered them of what they had.

The next day the Romans drove the robbers out of the lower city, and set all on fire as far as Siloam. These soldiers were indeed glad to see the city destroyed, but missed the plunder, because the rebels had carried off all their effects and retreated into the upper city; for they were not yet at all repentant, but insolent, as if they had done well; for as they saw the city on fire, they put on joyful faces and appeared cheerful; as they said, in expectation of death to end their miseries. Since the people were now slain, the holy house burned down, and the city on fire, there was nothing left for the enemy to do. Surrendering themselves was unthinkable, because of the oath they had taken, and they were not strong enough to fight any longer with the Romans on the square, being surrounded on all sides, like prisoners already; yet they were so used to killing people that they dispersed themselves outside the city, and lay in ambush among its ruins, to catch those who attempted to desert to the Romans; so, many deserters were caught, for they were too weak from lack of food to flee; and all were slain; and their dead bodies were thrown to the dogs.

Now every sort of death was thought more tolerable than the famine, so that, though the Jews now despaired of mercy, yet they would fly to the Romans, and also of their own accord themselves, willingly, would even fall among the murderous rebels. There was not any place in the city not entirely covered with dead bodies and full of the dead bodies of those who had been killed, who had perished either by the famine or the rebellion.

So now the last expectation which supported the tyrants, and that crew of robbers with them, lay in the caves and caverns underground; once they could fly there, they did not expect to be searched for, but were planning, that after the whole city was destroyed, and the Romans had gone away, they might come out again, and escape from them. This was no better than a dream; for they were not able to lie hidden from either God or the Romans. However, relying on these underground coverts, they set more places on fire than the Romans; and they killed without mercy those who fled into ditches when their houses were set on fire, and pillaged them also; and if they discovered anyone with food, they seized it and swallowed it down, along with their blood; no, they had now come to fighting one another about their plunder; and Josephus says he could only think that, if their destruction had not prevented it, their barbarity would have made them taste even the dead bodies themselves.

Now, when Titus perceived that the approach to the upper city was so steep that it could not possibly be taken without raising embankments against it, he divided the work among his army on Wednesday thirteen August A.D. 70, the twentieth day of the month Lous, which is Av. The four legions erected theirs on the west side of the city near the royal palace; the auxiliaries and the rest of the multitude with them erected theirs at the Xystus, reaching to the bridge and the tower of Simon which he had built as a citadel in his war against John.

At the same time the commanders of the Idumeans got together privately, and took counsel about surrendering themselves to the Romans; and sent five men to Titus, praying him to give them his right hand for their security. After some reluctance and delay, he gave them security for their lives, and sent the five men back; but as these Idumeans were preparing to march out, Simon perceived it, and immediately slew the five men who had gone to Titus, and put their commanders in prison; he had the Idumeans watched, and secured the walls with a more numerous garrison. Yet that garrison could not resist those who were deserting; for though a great number of them were slain, yet more escaped. These were all received by the Romans, because Titus himself failed to enforce his previous orders to kill them, and because even the soldiers grew weary of killing them, and because they expected to get some money by sparing them; for they left only the populace of Jerusalem, and sold the rest of the multitude, with their wives and children, every one of them at a very low price, because the number of those sold was so very immense, and the buyers very few; but of the populace more than forty thousand were saved, whom Titus let go, every one of them wherever he pleased.

It was at this time that one of the priests named Jesus, the son of Thebuthus, on being given security that he should be spared on the condition that he should deliver to Titus some of the precious things deposited in the lower vaults of the Temple, came out of it, and delivered from the wall a great many treasures, and not a few sacred ornaments of the Temple; two candlesticks like those in the holy house, with tables and cisterns, and vials, all made of solid gold, and heavy; veils and garments, with the precious stones, and a great number of other precious vessels for their sacred rites; the coats and girdings of the priests, with a great quantity of purple and scarlet stored for the veil; also a great deal of cinnamon and cassia, with a great quantity of other sweet spices, which used to be mixed and compounded together and offered as incense to God every day; all this, delivered to Titus, obtained from him for this man the same pardon he had allowed to those who had deserted of their own accord.

And now at Jerusalem the embankments were finished in eighteen days' time on Saturday thirty August A.D. 70, the Sabbath.

It was at this time also, on Saturday thirty August A.D. 70, in the Rhineland, after three months of bloody struggle, that the Batavian Revolt had finally been put down by forces under Petilius Cerialis, and the Batavian general Civilis was defeated. The Batavians were forced to rebuild their capital in a less defensible position, and a full Roman legion was stationed near the new Batavian capital at a newly built Roman fort just outside the capital, to guard against any further resistance. The Batavians were forced to give men and arms to the Roman Empire henceforth without interruption, as a levy, but no tribute or taxes was ever collected from them.

In Judea, on the same Saturday thirty August A.D. 70, the seventh day of the month Gorpieus, which is Elul, on the Sabbath, the Romans brought their machines against the last wall of Jerusalem; but for the rebels, some of them, despairing of saving the city, retired from the wall to the citadel; others went down into the subterranean vaults, though a great many of them still defended themselves against those who brought the engines for the battery; yet the Romans overcame them by their number and strength; and, principally, by going about their work cheerfully, while the Jews had become quite weak and dejected.

Now, as soon as a part of the wall was battered down, and some of the towers yielded to the impact of the battering-rams, those opposing them fled away, and such a terror, much greater than the occasion demanded, fell on the tyrants, that, before the enemy got over the breach, they were quite stunned, and were immediately for flying away; these men, so insolent and arrogant in their wicked practices before, were cast down and trembling; and such was the change made in those vile persons that they ran with great violence on the wall that encompassed them, intending to force away those who guarded it, and break through and get away; but when they saw that those who had formerly been faithful to them had gone away and fled wherever the great distress they were in persuaded them to flee, and those who came running before the rest told them that the western wall was entirely demolished, while others said the Romans had gotten in, and others that they were near, and looking for them, and now seeing only what was dictated by their fear and imagination, they fell on their faces, and greatly lamented their own mad conduct; and their nerves were so terribly unstrung, that they could not move or flee; and here one may chiefly reflect on the power God exercised on these wicked wretches, and on the good fortune of the Romans; for these tyrants now completely deprived themselves of the security they had in their own power; they roused themselves, and quickly came down from those very towers of their own accord, or rather, they were ejected out of them by God himself. So they now left these towers of themselves, towers in which they could never have been taken by force, nor by any other way than by famine, and fled immediately to that valley within the city under Siloam, where for a while they recovered from the dread they were in; and then ran violently against that part of the wall which lay on that side; but as their courage was too much depressed to make their attacks with sufficient force, and their power was now broken with fear and affliction, they were repulsed by the Roman guards; and dispersing themselves at distances from each other, they went down into the subterranean caverns. And thus the Romans, when they had taken such great pains against weaker walls, got by good fortune what they could never have gotten by their engines; for three of the towers were too strong for all mechanical engines whatever.

So the Romans, having now become masters of the walls, placed their ensigns upon the towers with joyful shouts for the victory they had gained, having found the end of this war much lighter than its beginning; for when they had gotten up on the last wall, without shedding any blood, they could hardly believe to be true what they found; but seeing no one to oppose them, they were uncertain what this unusual solitude meant. But when they went in numbers into the lanes of the city, with their swords drawn, they mercilessly slew those they overtook, and set fire to the houses where the Jews had fled, and burned every soul in them, and laid waste a great many of the rest; and when they had come to the houses to plunder them, they found whole families of dead men, and the upper rooms full of the dead corpses of those who had died by the famine, and then they stood in mute horror, and went out without touching anything. But although they had pity for these, who were not combatants, yet they had none for those still alive, but every one they met they ran through with the sword, and blocked the very lanes with their dead bodies, and made the whole city run down with blood, to such a degree that the flames in many of the houses were quenched with their blood. And though the slayers stopped at evening, yet it happened that the fire greatly prevailed in the night; and as all was burning, the dawn of that day came, that day of Sunday thirty-one August A.D. 70, the eighth day of the month Gorpieus, which is Elul; that day came upon Jerusalem, a city that had been liable to so many miseries during the siege, by producing such a generation of men who were the several occasions of its overthrow.

Of these men, Josephus says,

"It is impossible to go distinctly over every instance of these men's iniquity, so justly punished by divine justice. I shall therefore speak my mind here at once briefly: — No other city ever suffered such miseries, nor did any age from the beginning of the world ever breed a generation more fruitful in wickedness than this one. Finally, bringing the Hebrew nation into contempt, that they themselves might appear less impious compared to strangers, they said that they were the slaves, the scum, and the spurious and abortive offspring of the nation—which was true!—while they overthrew the city themselves, and forced the Romans to gain a melancholy reputation, whether they would or no, by acting gloriously against them, and almost drew that fire on the Temple, which they seemed to think came too slowly; indeed, when they saw the Temple burning from the upper city, they were neither troubled, nor did they shed any tears on account of it, yet these passions were discovered among the Romans themselves."

Now, when Titus had come into this upper city, he admired not only other places of strength in it, but in particular those strong towers which the tyrants, in their mad conduct, had relinquished; for when he saw their solid height, and the largeness of their individual stones, and their exact joints, also how great their breadth, and extensive their length, he expressed himself this way: "We have certainly had God as our assistant in this war, and it was no other than God who ejected the Jews out of these fortifications; for what could the hands of men, or any machines, do toward overthrowing these towers!"

At that time, he gave many such discourses to his Friends. To conclude, when he entirely demolished the rest of the city, and overthrew its wall, he left these towers as a monument of his good fortune, which had so tested his auxiliaries, and enabled him to take what could not otherwise have been taken by him; he also released those who had been bound and left in the prisons by the tyrants.

And now, since his soldiers were already quite tired with killing men, and yet there appeared to be a vast multitude remaining, still alive, Titus gave orders that they should kill none but those in arms who opposed them, but should take the rest alive. But, along with those they had orders to slay they slew the aged and the infirm; but those in their flourishing age, who might be useful, they drove together into the Temple, and shut them up within the wall of the Court of the Women; over which Titus set one of his freed men, and also Fronto, one of his own Friends, who was to determine everyone's fate, according to their merits. So this Fronto slew all who had been rebels and robbers, who now betrayed and accused each other with harsh impeachments; but from the young men he chose the tallest and most beautiful, and reserved them for the triumph; the rest of the multitude over seventeen years of age, he put in bonds, and sent them to hard labor in the Egyptian mines. Titus also sent a great number into the provinces as a present, to be destroyed in the arena, by the sword and by wild beasts; but those under seventeen were sold as slaves, and the number of these alone was ninety thousand. Eleven thousand perished for want of food while Fronto was determining their fate; some without tasting any food, through the hatred their guards bore them; and others would not take any food when it was given. The multitude not imprisoned was also so very great, that they lacked even enough grain for their sustenance.

Now the number of those carried off captive during this whole war was estimated by Josephus at ninety-seven thousand; the number of those who perished during the whole siege was also eleven hundred thousand, that is, one million one hundred thousand, the greater part not belonging to the city itself but indeed of the same nation with the citizens of Jerusalem; for they had come up from all the country to the feast of Unleavened Bread, and were suddenly shut up by an army, which, from the start, caused such overcrowding among them that a destructive pestilence came upon them, and soon afterward a famine so severe that it destroyed them even more suddenly; so that the multitude of those who perished there exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought on the world; for, to speak only of what was publicly known, the Romans slew some of them, some they carried off captive, and others they searched for underground, and when they found where they were, they broke up the ground and slew all they met. There were also over two thousand persons found dead there, slain partly by their own hands, and partly by one another, but mainly destroyed by the famine; but the stench of the dead bodies was so offensive to some, that they were forced to get away immediately, while others were so greedy of gain, that they would go in among the dead bodies lying in heaps, and tread on them; for a great deal of treasure was found in these caverns, and the expectation of gain made every way of getting it seem legitimate. Many also of those imprisoned by the two tyrants were now brought out; for they had continued their barbarous cruelty to the very end; yet God avenged himself on both of them, in ways wholly agreeable to justice. John, together with his brethren, desperately needing food in these caverns, now begged the Romans to give him their right hand for his security, which he had so often proudly rejected; but Simon struggled even harder with the distress that he was in, before he was forced finally to surrender himself: he was reserved for the triumph, and then was to be slain; and John was condemned to perpetual imprisonment, alive.

And thus was Jerusalem taken, in the second year of the reign of Vespasian, on Sunday thirty-one August A.D. 70, the eighth day of the month Gorpieus, which is Elul. Having taken over the crushing of the Judean revolt for his father Vespasian, who left and became Emperor, it was Titus who defeated the Jews and destroyed their Temple.

According to Tacitus Titus took the Temple, slaying seven of its defenders with the same number of arrows; and, according to Suetonius, Titus being left to finish the reduction of Judea, in the final assault of Jerusalem, managed to kill twelve of the garrison with successive arrows, and the city was captured on his daughter’s birthday.

And now, as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because none remained to be objects of their fury, for they would not have spared any, had any other such work remained to be done, Titus gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple, for it still stood, the stones remaining upright, but they should leave standing the three most imposing towers, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamme, and that section of the wall enclosing the city on the west side. This western wall was spared to afford a camp for those who were to be placed in garrison; the towers were also spared, to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which Roman valor had subdued. There was not left of the Temple one stone upon another, that was not thrown down; and all of that ancient threshing floor was swept clean and left Desolate, where the chaff was blown away; and only the western wall of the outer foundation, which Herod had built to cover the face of the cliff below and outside of the Temple area, remained, and it remains to this day. When Titus finally gave them permission to sack and burn the city, he was merely giving his official approbation to what was going to happen anyway. And now, the Romans set fire to the most outlying extremities of the city, burned them down, and entirely demolished its walls; all the rest of the wall was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those who razed it to the foundation, that nothing was left to make those who came there believe it had ever been inhabited.

After the destruction of the city, Titus paraded his army, arrayed in military trappings and splendor, decorating and promoting and rewarding with booty those who had distinguished themselves, and thanking his soldiers in general for their courage and obedience, as he chose to call their conduct during the campaign, thereby consoling and encouraging them, and thus inspiring and securing their continued loyalty.

Jerusalem was finally demolished. After an obstinate defense by the Jews, that city, so much celebrated in the sacred writings, and the glorious Temple itself, the admiration of the world, was reduced to ashes; contrary to the will of Titus, who had exerted his utmost efforts to extinguish the flames. The word spoken by John the prophet was fulfilled which he spoke, saying,

"He will thoroughly purge his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire!"

This was the end to which Jerusalem came, because of the madness of those who were for innovation in public affairs; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and mighty fame among all mankind. Upon her came all the righteous blood shed since the foundation of the world.

This all happened in accordance with the prophesies of Christ, who foresaw them by divine power, as if already present, and wept over them. Josephus says that the period from King David, who was the first of the Jews who reigned there, to this destruction under Titus, was one thousand one hundred and seventy-nine years, beginning 1109 B.C.; but from its first building as Jebus to this last destruction, was two thousand one hundred and seventy seven years, from 2107 B.C. to A.D. 70; yet neither its great antiquity, nor its vast riches, nor the spread of its nation over all the habitable earth, nor the greatness of the venerations paid to it on a religious account, were sufficient to save it from being destroyed. And thus ended the siege of Jerusalem.

This was indeed a great tribulation, a horrible distress, and there are many who say therefore that the Great Tribulation is past. But this Tribulation fell upon the Jews in Judea in Jerusalem for their sins, not on the whole face of the earth. These were only birth pains. Let no one deceive you in any way. The Lord himself has told us that the time of great Tribulation, that Day, like the siege of Jerusalem will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

"Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcome with debauchery, and drunkenness, and cares of this life and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap; for thus it shall come upon all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that shall happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.
"What I say to you I say to all: Watch.
"Those eighteen on whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, do you think that they were sinners more than all men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, No: but, unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish."

Titus's use of traditional Roman military tactics—defense walls, towers, catapults, and battering rams—in overtaking the city demonstrated that he was a capable, but not innovative, military leader. He was also greatly aided by the competence of Tiberius Alexander, his military advisor and former governor of Egypt, who was distinguished for his wisdom and loyalty. Titus had sometimes displayed a reckless interference, especially in the early stages of the siege, but these flaws were more due to inexperience than to military incompetence. However, he also displayed remarkable energy in the field and the ability to inspire deep loyalty in his troops. As a result, Jerusalem was efficiently, if not brutally, overcome, and the large-scale campaign in Judea entrusted to Titus was effectively won, culminating in the capture and final destruction of Jerusalem in September of that year.

Indiscretion also played a part in his activities, particularly in his dalliance with Berenice. In Jerusalem, he had an affair with Berenice of Cilicia, the daughter of King Herod Agrippa the First, the thrice-married sister of Marcus Julius Herod Agrippa the Second, an Eastern monarch with a strong allegiance to Rome. Powerful, wealthy, and experienced in Eastern affairs, Berenice was a formidable match for Titus. Yet, as Cleopatra's relationship with Marc Antony had earlier shown, involvement with an Eastern queen represented a threat to Roman stability that could not be tolerated. The Romans had memories of Cleopatra, and marriage to an Eastern queen was repugnant to public opinion. Marriage remained an impossibility.

Soon afterward Titus prepared to return to Rome, leaving to his successors the final operations after the campaign to root out remaining enemy forces or installations in Judea; and, on his quitting the province, with Titus there was cause for alarm when his victorious troops in Palestine, after his victory in Judea, urged him to take them with him to Italy; the soldiers would have detained him, earnestly begging him, and not without threats, either to stay, or take them all with him. There seems to have been some talk of the successful general revolting against his father; and it was suspected that they acted on his prompting. This occurrence gave rise to the suspicion that he was considering some sort of challenge to his father Vespasian, of his being engaged in a design to rebel, and claim for himself the government of the East; and the suspicion increased, when, on his way to Alexandria, he wore a diadem at the consecration of the ox Apis at Memphis; and, though he did it only in compliance with an ancient religious custom of that country, yet there were some who put a bad interpretation on it; but he returned alone.

Making, therefore, what haste he could into Italy, he arrived first at Rhegium, and sailing from there in a merchant ship to Puteoli, he went to Rome with all possible speed.

Reading time approximately 3 hours.
(shorter than a football game or soccer match, or a brief novel or stage play)

This chapter is the seventh part of a nine-part summary of the intervening years between the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul under Nero and the writing of the New Testament works of the Epistle of Jude, the Book of Revelation and the Letters of John the Apostle. Sources are linked below.

Historians and Bible scholars disagree on the precise dates of the intervening years. But in general they do agree that the entire historical period extends from about A.D. 67 through 90.
The summary of the intervening years continues in the next two chapters Fifty-three through Fifty-four. The concluding chapters Fifty-five and Fifty-six of this Harmony of the Gospel contain the First Letter of Clement and the Letter of Jude, and the Book of Revelation and the Letters of John.
Note to the reader:
The text of this chapter is a redaction of the informative sources listed and linked below, rearranged, chronologically sequenced, collated, condensed, combined and adapted, while seeking to preserve much of their expressive language, and in some instances updating and improving both their translations and the written copy. Parallel constructions and duplications in the text have been kept to a minimum as far as possible without loss of information.

Ecclesiastical History III, chapters 5–8
Wars 4.11.5–7.11.5 [Book 4:659–663; Books 5 and 6; Book 7:1 [1-4] ]
Twelve Caesars: Titus 8–11

The Twelve Caesars: Divus Vespasian
The Histories: Book IV (January - November, A.D. 70)
Vespasian: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Vespasian (roman-emperors.org)

The Twelve Caesars: Divus Titus
The Histories: Book V (A.D. 70)
Titus: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Titus (roman-emperors.org)

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome of Book LXIV (penelope.uchicago.edu)

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome of Book LXV (penelope.uchicago.edu)

War, Book 4 (biblestudytools.com)
War, Book 5 (biblestudytools.com)
War, Book 6 (biblestudytools.com)
War, Book 7 (biblestudytools.com)

World English Bible text
Greek original text
Latin Vulgate text
NRSV text
Scofield Reference Bible (1917 Edition)
Conservative Bible text
multiple versions of any verse
multiple commentaries any passage
interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English
Bible maps (click initial letter of place name)
Bible Encyclopedias: Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature (studylight.org)
Catholic Encyclopedia Catholic Online (catholic.org)
Hebrew Calendar Converter See exact equivalents of Gregorian Calendar dates.

—in Gregorian Calendar click the cursor in the day, month, or year fields, to highlight selection,
then use [Backspace ←] and [←] [→] right and left arrow keys in the day and year fields,
and [Backspace ←] and [ ↑ ] [ ↓ ] up and down arrow keys in the month field,
then click on [Calculate].

Table of Old Testament quotes in the New Testament, in English translation, Joel Kalvesmaki 2013 (kalvesmaki.com)

List of 300 Septuagint Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, by Steve Rudd 2017 (bible.ca)

Table of LXX quotes and allusions in the New Testament

Church History (Eusebius): The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine (newadvent.org)

The Works of Flavius Josephus William Whiston, Translator, 1737 (sacred-texts.com)

Suetonius: Twelve Caesars: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquilus; To which are added His Lives of the Grammarians, Rhetoricians, and Poets. The Translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D., Revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq., A.M. (Gutenberg.org)

Tacitus: The Annals, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Tacitus: The Histories, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb (A.D. 69 through 70)

Sextus Aurelius Victor: Epitome De Caesaribus (roman-emperors.org)

Eutropius: Breviarium - Eutropius's Abridgement of Roman History (tertullian.org)

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome (penelope.uchicago.edu)

Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)
See Biblical Canon and Apocrypha.

See these Conservapedia articles:
Vespasian, Titus, Domitian.

See the following resources:

Titus' Siege of Jerusalem (70 CE) (livius.org)

First Jewish-Roman War: Siege of Jerusalem, J. E. Lendon, associate professor of history at the University of Virginia. (historynet.com)

Josephus: The Essential Writings A Condensation of Jewish Antiquities and The Jewish War, Translated and Edited by Paul L. Maier, © 1988, Kregel Publications, a division of Kregel, Inc. P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
Eusebius—The Church History: A New Translation with Commentary, Copyright © 1999 by Paul Maier, Published by Kregel Publications, a division of Kregel Inc., P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501

"xenophobic hatred"

From Greek ξένος, xenos stranger, and φόβος, phobos fear.
This is a hatred rooted in an unreasoning fear or rejection of what is unfamiliar and strange, of anything perceived as unnatural, even unhealthy, and as threatening the stability, even the life, the very existence, of any ethnic group, people, race and nation, a stability which they regard and take for granted as the established order of society and of nature itself. See xenophobia.

"The city of Jerusalem was fortified with three walls".

From Wars Book 5, Chapter 5.
Material in The Wars of the Jews, Book 5, Chapters 5 and 6, the descriptions of the city and of the temple provided by Josephus, has been rearranged and placed in this Harmony according to a more chronological and historical sequence, as descriptions of them before they were burned and destroyed, rather than as the historian himself arranged and presented them, as retrospective reflections on what had been lost.

See Images of the model of Jerusalem at the Jerusalem Hotel
See Map of the Siege of Jerusalem

"Xystus" also Xistus.

From the ancient Greek ξυστός ksustos xystus "scraped", from ξυω ksuo xuō "scrape", referring to its polished floor. —from Xystus (thefreedictionary.com)
The word denotes a long and open portico or cloister inside a gymnasium, used especially by ancient Greeks or Romans for athletic exercises in wintry or stormy weather; and sometimes also a walkway lined with trees.
The Xystus of Jerusalem was an open terrace, erected in the Hellenistic period, probably under the Herodians. The classical term denotes a covered colonnade in the gymnasia, although the Romans also employed the word to designate open terraces before the colonnades of their country houses.
See Xystus (jewishencyclopedia.com)

"a certain place called Ophlas"

Grecized form of "Ophel".
See Ophel and Hulda Gates (biblewalks.com), includes photos, maps and archaeological information.
See 2 Chronicles 27:3; 33:14; Nehemiah 3:26-27; 11:21
The Book of Nehemiah, chapter 3, gives an account of the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem by the Jews, after they had returned from the Babylonian exile, with the names of all the gates. Nehemiah 3 RSVCE

"stones twenty-eight feet long, and fourteen feet wide"

—literally, "twenty cubits long, and ten cubits broad" Whiston translation.
Throughout this version the cubit (abbrev. cu.) is taken to be seventeen inches, approximately a foot and a half, a length as measured from the tip of the bent elbow to the tip of the middle finger of the average five foot tall Middle Eastern first century male.
20 cu. = 17" × 20" = 340" ÷ 12 = 28.3333...ft., roughly twenty-eight feet
10 cu. = 17" × 10" = 170" ÷ 12 = 14.16666...ft., about fourteen feet
2 cu. = 34" ÷ 12 = 2.83333...ft., about three feet
3 cu. = 51" ÷ 12 = 4.25 ft., or four and a quarter feet
25 cu. = 425" ÷ 12 = 35.416666...ft, about thirty-five and a half feet
200 cu. = 3400" ÷ 12 = 283.3333...ft., "the spaces between them two hundred eighty-three feet and four inches"
70 cu. = 1190" ÷ 12 = 99.16666...ft, almost exactly ninety-nine feet and one and a quarter inches, or more simply about "ninety-nine feet high" ("for being seventy cubits high, it afforded a prospect of Arabia...").

"the whole circumference of the city was four miles two hundred twenty yards around, or nineteen thousand eight hundred feet"

—literally, "the whole compass of the city was thirty-three furlongs" Whiston translation.
Throughout this version the furlong in Whiston's translation of Josephus is taken to be six hundred and sixty feet, one eighth of a mile. One mile is 5280 feet, or 1760 yards, or 8 furlongs.
See Convert furlongs to miles (convertunits.com)


A generic term for any strongly built structure representing governmental or regional authority.
This term was anciently used to denote a castle, fortress or palace with defensible walls. It did not necessarily indicate tall structures like the Washington Monument or the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center.
Modern examples of the ancient meaning of tower are the Pentagon, the Kremlin, and Saint Peter's Basilica.

"the appearance of it resembled the tower of Pharos"

The Lighthouse of Pharos at Alexandria in antiquity was one of the classical Seven Wonders of the World.

"brazen statues"

Brass statuary. These may have been made of actual brass, not bronze.
According to many biblical scholars the English KJV Bible word "brass" probably indicates bronze, or copper, especially in references to brazen (brass) objects in events predating 500 B.C. and the time of Ezra.
However, in Whiston, et al, translations of the description of the city of Jerusalem by Josephus in Wars 5.4.4 [181], the mention of brazen statues rather than bronze statues may in fact be historically accurate.
See the following:
Brass or Bronze? Is the word "brass" an error in the King James Bible? by Another King James Bible Believer (brandplucked.webs.com)
Brass - Easton's Bible Dictionary - Smith's Bible Dictionary (biblestudytools.com)
It is not impossible that brazen / brass statues were in the palaces of A.D. 1st century Jerusalem. Greek and Roman documents suggest that the intentional production of alloys similar to modern brass, using copper and a zinc oxide-rich ore known as calamine, began around the 1st century B.C..
The History of Brass—From Coins to Modern Ammunition. by Terence Bell

"for all his works are right and his ways just; and those who walk in pride he is able to abase."

Daniel 4:37b.
A citation of the words of the humbled tyrant Nebuchadnezzar, after God had stricken him with madness for his arrogant pride.
Compare Sirach 10:12-19 in light of the accounts of the siege and destruction of Jerusalem in Josephus and Eusebius.


Latin abbreviation of anno urbis conditae: "in the year of the founded city" : in the year that Rome was founded. —Merriam-Webster Dictionary.
This A.U.C. is an abbreviation related to a Latin phrase meaning "from the founding of the City (Rome)", Ab urbe condita, traditionally dated to 753 B.C..
Add 753 to the normal Gregorian date to derive the Roman date A.U.C. (the designating abbreviation is always placed after the number of the date: for example, the year A.D. 2001 converts to 2754 A.U.C.). Thus A.D. 70 is 823 A.U.C., and A.D. 1 is 754 A.U.C..

"praetor of the city"

Praetor, Latin, from præir, to go before; foremost, the first (-ranking citizen). A city magistrate of ancient Rome, having charge of the administration of justice; also spelled pretor.

"Gaius Licinius Mucianus"

See the following articles:

"the legates"

(plural legates; singular, legate)
In ancient Rome, a legate was:
a An advisor or deputy of a general or commander in chief.
b Under the empire, a governor of a province.
Generally, a legate is an official envoy, usually acting as a diplomatic representative of a government; most particularly, in ecclesiastical usage, the legate is an ecclesiastic, either priest or bishop, appointed as an official representative of the Pope, a papal legate.


Charges leveled against high public officials.
This refers to accusations, either true or false, made against individuals with influence or power for the purpose of ruining them, such as impeachment proceedings against a judge or governor, or head of state like the president of the United States. Guilty persons who denounce each other when apprehended and confronted with evidence, either real or manufactured, of their cooperation or conspiracy in wrongdoing are said to impeach each other, usually to avoid condemnation or as a means of seeking reduction in their punishment ("to make a deal"), also sometimes to increase the charges against others—each blames the other.
See Genesis 3:12.

"When he proposed restoring the imperial honors to Galba..."

The imperial cult.
See Imperial cult: Roman religion (bbc.co.uk).
Compare Wisdom 14:12-21

"sycophantic spirit of the times"

Sycophant denotes a servile flatterer; a parasite.
The phrase here denotes a social period when offering insincere and exaggerated praise was expected, as a customary way of advancing and maintaining one's own position in the government and in society, and, at its most debased, as a necessary means of avoiding execution.
The Roman calendar had become bloated and encumbered with frequent observances and titles of empty adulation in honor of the emperors and their favorites, of their hobbies and interests (gardening, hunting, minor astrological phenomena, obscure pagan deities and minor spirits, invented secular and religious holidays, numbered anniversaries, fifth, tenth, twentieth, hundredth, etc.), celebrating their favorite athletes, politicians, generals, heroes, singers, poets, playwrights, writers, philosophers, architects, past and present military victories, of countless other things, and of dead persons who were to be publicly honored as gods, including parents, wives, sons, daughters, and dead pets.

"Jesus, son of Ananus, a plebeian and an husbandman"

Wars 6.5.3 [300-307]
A plebeian was one of the common people, especially of ancient Rome, "one of the Roman mob"; from Latin plebeius, from plebs "the common people".
In the U.S. military academies at West Point and Annapolis, a plebe (from pleb) is a member of the lowest class.
The archaic meaning of an husbandman is one who tills the soil; a farmer.
In this Harmony of the Gospel, this Jesus, son of Ananus, whom Eusebius calls Jesus, son of Ananias, is first mentioned in Chapter Forty-seven according to the chronology of events.

"He showed a sympathy for brutality and humiliation"

A tolerant enjoyment of the games in the arena as entertainment.
Titus had no sympathy for the victims in the arena.
A cultural or individual sympathy for violence gradually leads to a legitimated indulgence in violence, an unsanctioned use of force toward achieving an individual end.
See James 1:14-15.

"With him also was Josephus, formerly a prisoner, released by Vespasian when he was acclaimed emperor, and sent by him, together with Titus, to the siege of Jerusalem. "

See The Works of Flavius Josephus: The Life of Flavius Josephus, 75, William Whiston, translator.

"a place called Scopus"

From the Greek σκοπος, skopos.
This word means "broad view, lookout, watch(-point), or prospect".

"Eleazar, the son of Simon, appeared very angry at John's insolent attempts every day against the people...he who first separated the Zealots from the people, and made them retire into the temple"

Wars 5.1.2 [5]
See Eleazar (jewishencyclopedia.com)
4. Son of Ananias the high priest who refused the offerings of the Gentiles
6. Leader of the Zealots, in the war against the Romans, who would not submit to John of Gischala

"Titus ordered a camp to be fortified"

He ordered defensive fortifications be erected. Wars 5.2.3 [68]
Fortifications are defensive works. Field fortifications were frequently trenches surmounted by protective barriers, either natural or constructed, or were constructed protective barriers only, set up for defense against attack; to "fortify" is to provide with defensive works, to strengthen against attack. See the following sources:

"thinking that the Jews would not have dared to make a sally on them"

Wars 5.2.4 [76]
A sally is a rushing forth, as of troops against besiegers, from Latin salire, to leap.

"And now, with the approach of the setting of the sun on Thursday evening, on the preparation of the Feast of Unleavened Bread which now had come"

The "first day of Unleavened Bread" had arrived.
The period of preparation for the Passover, when the lambs were slain in the temple, was from midafternoon to an hour before sunset, during the period of the approaching setting of the sun: 3 P.M. to 5 P.M.. This preparation time was regarded as an integral part of the day to come at sunset, which allowed the work of preparation to be done without violation of the ritual prohibition of work on the holy day. No work was done after the setting of the sun with the beginning of the Pasch, not even the opening of the doors of the temple. It was during the preparation period before the going down of the sun that Simon opened the doors of the temple. The Passover of A.D. 70 was on Friday that year, beginning sunset Thursday through to sunset Friday.
See Matthew 26:17-20 and commentaries on Matthew 26:17.
From the account in Josephus, Wars 5.3.1 [99-103], it appears that the assassins sent by John of Gischala into the temple after Simon had opened the doors to admit those who desired to worship God (bringing their lambs for sacrifice), killed the worshipers trembling at the altar, and all the Zealots they could apprehend before they could escape into the subterranean caverns of the temple, at the time of the ritual killing of the lambs for the Passover, "mingling their blood with their sacrifices" (see Luke 13:1).

"on Friday eleven April A.D. 70, in the year A.M. 3830 of the Jewish Calendar"

"A.M." is an abbreviation of the Latin anno mundi, "the year of the world".
See Date of creation.
The Hebrew year 3830 corresponds to the Gregorian Calendar reckoning of anno domini 70, the "year of the Lord" 70, which is A.D. 70.
Thus, A.M. 3830 - 70 = A.M. 3760 = 1 B.C.
and A.M. 3761 = A.D. 1.
(A.D. 2001 = A.M. 5761 and A.D. 2033 = A.M. 5793.)
See Hebrew Calendar Converter

"in the lunar month Xanthicus, which is Nisan"

Wars 5.3.1 [99]
Josephus cites the names of the months of the Ancient Macedonian lunar calendar, with the corresponding names of the Hebrew lunar calendar (see correspondence of months of various ancient calendars (theos-sphragis.info):
Intercalary months are not listed here.

"Now when the siege started...about three hundred thousand who flocked from all parts of Judea"

—Eusebius, citing the words of Josephus, Ecclesiastical History Book III, Chapter 5.
Various sources listed above, with links, give differing totals of the number of pilgrims who had come to Jerusalem for the Passover, apart from the number of the residents: half a million, six hundred thousand, three hundred thousand (Livius, Lendon, Maier, et al).
Compare Wars 6.9.3 and 2.14.3 "three million".

"Josephus calculates ... a total sum of one million, one hundred and ninety-seven thousand Jews in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover."

Wars 6.9.3 [420]
Josephus gives the figures of 97,000 and "eleven hundred thousand" (1100 × 1000 = 1,100,000) at the end of his account of the siege of Jerusalem.
"Now the number of those that were carried captive during this whole war was collected to be ninety-seven thousand; as was the number of those that perished during the whole siege eleven hundred thousand, the greater part of whom were indeed of the same nation [with the citizens of Jerusalem], but not belonging to the city itself".
The majority of these were fellow Jews, pilgrims, but not registered residents of Jerusalem.
These figures representing the number of Jews in Jerusalem at the time of Passover are presented chronologically in this Harmony at the beginning of the siege, when the city was surrounded by the armies of Titus, and they were all shut in.

"that in those very days in which they had inflicted sufferings upon the Savior and benefactor of all men, the Christ of God"

—Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History III, 5.
The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine, Translated by C.F.Cruse, 1874, George Bell and Sons, page 76.
The Passover of A.D. 70 fell on Friday, the same day of the week on which Jesus was crucified. The date of the Passover is reckoned according to the Jewish lunar calendar, 14 days after the sighting of the new moon, so that it does not always occur on the same annual date of the civil calendar or the same day of the week every year. From this fact the year and the days of the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus can be deduced as A.D. 33, Friday 1 April, Sunday 3 April, and Thursday 13 May.
The dates, and days of the week, of the first day of Unleavened Bread, the day of Passover, which correspond to the Gregorian Calendar years from A.D. 30 through 70, are as follows:
3 April 30 Wednesday
24 March 31 Monday
12 April 32 Monday
1 April 33 Friday †
26 March 34 Monday
9 April 35 Monday
28 March 36 Friday †
18 March 37 Wednesday
5 April 38 Monday
25 March 39 Friday †
13 April 40 Friday †
1 April 41 Monday
22 March 42 Saturday
10 April 43 Friday †
30 March 44 Wednesday
18 March 45 Saturday
6 April 46 Friday †
27 March 47 Wednesday
13 April 48 Monday
3 April 49 Saturday
23 March 50 Wednesday
12 April 51 Wednesday
1 April 52 Monday
21 March 53 Friday †
8 April 54 Wednesday
29 March 55 Monday
14 March 56 Friday †
4 April 57 Wednesday
25 March 58 Monday
14 April 59 Monday
2 April 60 Friday †
21 March 61 Monday
10 April 62 Monday
30 March 63 Friday †
19 March 64 Wednesday
6 April 65 Monday
26 March 66 Friday
15 April 67 Friday †
2 April 68 Monday
23 March 69 Saturday
11 April 70 Friday †

"For there shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be."

This passage, as quoted by Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History III, 7, is taken from Matthew 24:21 and is seen by him in the context of Matthew 24:15-21; compare Mark 13:19 in the context of Mark 13:14-19.
See Josephus, Wars 6.9.4 "Accordingly the multitude of those that therein perished exceeded all the destructions that either men or God ever brought upon the world."
According to the combined historical accounts of both Josephus (Wars 6.6.1 [316]) and Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History III, 5), the "Abomination of Desolation" was set up in the temple at that time. Both historians refer directly to the ensigns or standards of the Roman legions which were set up and worshiped at the eastern gate of the temple, after it was burned, and it was primarily burned by the Jews themselves under John of Gischala. Wars 6.2.9; 6.3.1; 6.4.2; 6.4.5 See Daniel 12:11.
John of Gischala has been proposed as the abomination of desolation, as the one man who, by setting himself up as a tyrant, and standing within the temple of Jerusalem and defiling it with outrageous sacrileges and bloodshed, perfectly fulfilled every identifying criterion set forth in the Bible except one, proclaiming himself to be God—the one man who, together with Simon son of Giora, filled the temple and the city with hundreds of thousands of rotting corpses piled up, dead from both avoidable famine and their own massive torturing, executing and slaughtering of Jews and foreigners who wished to surrender to the Romans—one million one hundred thousand dead.
Compare Wars 2.21.1-2; 4.2.1–4.3.2; 4.7.1; 5.9.3-4; 5.13.6; 6.1.1; 6.2.1; 6.6.2; 6.9.3 [420].
See Chapter Nine - The Abomination of Desolation, Lloyd Dale, The Last Days Revisited (lloyddale.com)
The texts in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 both refer to the "abomination of desolation", but only Matthew designates "the holy place", Mark says only indirectly, "where it ought not". According to Exodus 26:33-34 the holy place is separate from the most holy place (more commonly called "the holy of holies"). Jesus does not appear to be referring to the most holy place in his warning about the abomination of desolation, where the ark of the covenant was kept. (See also Exodus 26:34; 28:29, 35; 28:43; 31:11; 35:19; 38:24; 39:1; 39:41; Leviticus 6:16, 26-27, 30; 7:6; 10:13, 17-18; 14:13; 16:2-3, 16-17, 20, 23-24, 27, 33; 24:9; Numbers 18:10; 28:7; 1 Kings 6:16; 7:50; 8:6-10; 1 Chronicles 6:49; 23:32; 2 Chronicles 4:22; 5:7, 11; 29:5-7; 35:5; Ezra 9:8; Psalms 24:3; 28:2; 46:4; 68:17; Isaiah 57:15; Ezekiel 21:2; 41:4; 42:14; 44:13; 45:3; Acts 6:13; Hebrews 9:12, 24-25; compare Hebrews 12:18-24.
Cestius Gallus and the Roman army have been proposed as the abomination of desolation in the Holy Land (as the "holy place"). See
The Abomination of Desolation (Matthew 24:15-20) (Preached by David B. Curtis) (ecclesia.org)
David B. Curtis cites Chrysostom, Augustine, C. H. Spurgeon, and many other well-known theologians and Bible commentators from the 4th century to the present as a demonstration of the preterist view that the Great Tribulation, and the Abomination foretold by Daniel the prophet, were fully realized in the first century.
If Matthew 24:21 does in fact directly apply to the devastating siege and destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70 as Eusebius declares in his Church History, and only applies to that catastrophe—that it was unequalled in the history of the world, and absolutely will not be equaled or ever surpassed for all time to come —
then the Great Tribulation which many are now expecting to occur, just before the Second Coming of Christ in the future, cannot, and never will be, as intense, or as devastating in its totality, as the tribulation of A.D. 70: —as it is written: "not since the beginning of the world...no, nor ever shall be [again]".
Many theologians and scripture scholars over the centuries have shared and promoted this interpretation, that the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 was itself the Great Tribulation foretold by Christ, who also spoke of what was to happen "immediately after the tribulation of those days" (Matthew 24:22-31; Mark 13:20-28) signs which have recurred multiple times in history to the present day. The words, "And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven" are understood as referring to the missionary effort, "angels" being literally "messengers" of the Gospel (αγγλος agglos, anglos "angel" = "messenger"). Thus, according to this interpretation of the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 as the fulfillment of the Great Tribulation foretold by Christ—also after the occurrence of any number of subsequent and lesser periods of intense tribulation that may come or will come before the Parousia—the Gospel is preached to "all nations" to gather God's elect, and all that remains to be fulfilled is the Second Coming of Christ in glory, the Resurrection of the dead, and the Final Judgment.
See multiple translations of Matthew 24:21 and multiple commentaries on Matthew 24:21.
See also Revelation, Book of (historical exegesis): Vesuvius, and the Christian condemnation of sin. A great tribulation is sure to come, but according to this interpretation it will not be like the one in A.D. 70 which destroyed the temple and the city of Jerusalem. Compare Acts 14:22 and commentaries on Acts 14:22.
Conservative Christian Evangelicals and Fundamentalists repudiate such an interpretation, and reject it entirely as a false and misleading teaching designed to entrap believers into complacency and carelessness about the salvation of their souls (see Matthew 24:42; Mark 13:37), and see it as an example of how "in latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1 KJV; see Luke 21:34-36; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10; and 2 Peter 3).
See End Times and Great Apostasy.
The Catholic Church teaches that a final great tribulation will precede the Parousia. Catholic theologians do not specify, however, that it will be either greater or lesser than the tribulation of A.D. 70.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) 675 says:
"Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12"
See CCC 675, 676, 677 — see full text:
Catechism of the Catholic Church: Article 7 "FROM THENCE HE WILL COME AGAIN TO JUDGE THE LIVING AND THE DEAD" (paragraphs 668-677).
Compare the devastation of Jerusalem and the temple in the first century with the much larger 20th century devastation of cities, synagogues, churches, and the Holocaust of World War II. Seen in this context, the unequivocal statement of Eusebius in Book III, chapter 5, that "the Abomination of Desolation, according to the prophetic declaration, stood in the very temple of God", is taken as an accurate characterization of a single manifestation of a more pervasive and persistent, constantly recurring evil, "a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh", not limited to a single episode in the first century, but "the Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment" (CCC 675-676).
Hence, on this basis, what Eusebius stated is true: the Roman standards were the Abomination of Desolation: "finally, the abomination of desolation, according to the prophetic declaration, stood in the very temple of God" (boldface emphasis added)—Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book III, chapter 5. The temple had been burned, but had not yet been demolished, since stone does not burn; see Wars 6.6.1 and 7.1.1 which states that the Romans brought their ensigns to the temple and "set them over against its eastern gate"—compare Matthew 24:15.
Eusebius, by saying "in" the temple, represents the ensigns as set up inside the temple facing the eastern gate, as being inside "opposite the eastern gate", "over against the eastern gate", and displayed facing outward toward the people and the ruined city of Jerusalem from within the temple itself.
But this was not the end. "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken..." Matthew 24:29.
Compare 1 John 2:18 and commentaries regarding the coming of the Antichrist, already present in the first century, and still to come. Thus, what happened in the past, has happened many times, can happen even now, and will happen in the future. Compare Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot and Osama Bin Laden. Every one of them, and every leader like them, has brought and will bring devastation, death and desolation. But none of these has stood in the temple of God.
According to this interpretation, the same abomination of desolation has manifested itself in Egypt under the Pharaohs, the Babylonian exile under Nebuchadnezzar II and his sons, the Maccabean period under Antiochus Epiphanes, and the first century siege and destruction of Jerusalem; in the persecutions of Christians by the god-emperor Domitian, Julian the Apostate, and others; in the conquests and devastations of Attila the Hun, the Vikings, Muhammad, and Genghis Khan; the persecutions and wars of religion provoked by the Protestant Reformation, the horror of the Guillotine during the Reign of Terror under Maximilien de Robespierre 1793-94; and in the twentieth century's Holocaust, Militant atheism, Abortion, Euthanasia, the Culture of death, and the war against western civilization by the terrorists of Wahhabism.
Eusebius says, "finally, the abomination of desolation, according to the prophetic declaration, stood in the very temple of God" (Ecclesiastical History, III, 5 boldface emphasis added.)
Some interpreters, against the assertion of the Christian historian Eusebius that the ensigns or standards of the Roman legions were brought into the precincts of the burned out temple of Jerusalem, and set up inside its eastern gate, instead hold that they were set up outside its eastern gate, and therefore the ensigns or standards of the Roman legions as a sign of the abomination of desolation were not set up in the Temple, and therefore, the true abomination of desolation has never yet been set up in the holy place, but it will be, soon.
The literalist expectation of Evangelical Fundamentalism holds that the temple in Jerusalem must first be rebuilt on the original site, where now stands Islam's Dome of the Rock, and then the Great Apostasy will occur and the Antichrist will take over and sit within the holy of holies within it as the Abomination of Desolation and shewing himself to be God (see 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and 4.
The literalist expectation holds that Jesus absolutely cannot come again before the Temple in Jerusalem has been completely rebuilt by descendants of Aaron the high priest and Levites on the original site of the Temple Mount and consecrated for worship according to the ordinances of the law of Moses in the Torah (Third Temple).
See article Does The Temple Need To Be Rebuilt? (amazingfacts.org)
The Protestant Reformers of the 16th century instead saw the Church as the temple of God, and the Popes as the Abomination of Desolation standing in the holy place (the Catholic Church).
If the Catholic Church was not, and is not, and never has been, the holy temple of God, but from its beginning was and is the Harlot of Babylon, as Protestant Christian Evangelicals and Fundamentalists proclaim, "a dwelling place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit" (Revelation 18:2-3)—
then the Popes could not be, and cannot be, and never were, standing in the holy place, but in an unholy place, not the holy temple of God.
If the Catholic Church was, and is, the body of Christ, the holy temple of God, and the Holy Spirit and Jesus himself have always been with the Church since the time of the apostles guiding "into all truth" (John 16:13) "forever" (John 14:16) through the leaders of the Church (Hebrews 13:17; Romans 13:1-7; 1 John 4:6; Luke 10:16), and the "gates of hell shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18 KJV)—
then it remains "the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Timothy 3:15), and therefore the Abomination of Desolation and the "man of sin" cannot, and never was, nor ever shall, be set up in its holy place (Ephesians 2:20-22; 5:25-27; 2 Timothy 2:13-14; article Apostolic succession). Compare Hebrews 12:18-24
Therefore (according to this particular reasoning) the only possibility remaining is the holy place in the temple of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, in which stood Titus (later, as emperor, declared a god after his death), and within which was set up the idolatrous images of the ensigns of the Roman legions for pagan worship by the devastating Roman forces, the temple which was afterward demolished so that not one stone was left standing upon another, and the entire site of that ancient threshing floor had been totally cleared (2 Samuel 2:18-24; Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17).
See the following:
Martin Luther: The Reformation View of Roman Catholicism (apprising.org)
End Times Deceptions: Pope Quotes Reveal They Are The Son Of Perdition (christianitybeliefs.org)
See also refutations of this view:
The Path of Truth: False Teacher - Martin Luther: Unleashing the Man of Sin (thepathoftruth.com)
Have Popes Really Claimed to be God? (geoffhorton.com) the author says "no", by demonstrating the argument that the Popes have been falsely misquoted and misrepresented.
The Plain Truth About Protestantism: The Errors of Protestantism (protestanterrors.com)
Note: Conservapedia cannot tell the reader what to believe. Every attempt has been made here to present in a balanced encyclopedic form all of the relevant information together with a representative spectrum of variant interpretations and their logical conclusions based on comparisons with scripture. Contradictions and consistencies of reasoning are not always self-evident, and historically there has never been a universal consensus on the meaning of every text of the Bible. The reader is invited to assess the above points of view and logical conclusions on their own merit, and to have recourse to authoritative and reliable sources of historical exegesis, and to reliable sources of verified authoritative interpretation according to authentic Christian doctrinal teaching authority.

"Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!...there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down."

Matthew 23:25-38; 24:2b
This is an additional citation, oddly omitted by Eusebius, setting forth in context the whole cause of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, in which Jesus Christ himself declares the bloodguilt of the whole nation of the Jews, the cause for which he wept.
See multiple commentaries on Matthew 23:35 and Matthew 27:25.

"Recall also these words that he said, 'Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked...' "

Ezekiel 18:23-24

"Now those at work covered themselves with hurdles spread over their embankments."

Wars 5.6.3 [269].
Hurdles here in the context of military action denote light, portable barriers designed to present an obstruction or shielding difficult to penetrate or remove, to prevent enemy access to siege engines and equipment.
Hurdles are usually moveable frameworks constructed of interwoven branches or sticks (with leaves), similar to heavy camouflage coverings set over tanks and artillery in the field; or temporary fencing or pens for animals, such as the large encircling thorn-brush barriers used by nomadic Middle Eastern shepherds as sheepfolds, as needed during migration over ranges of pasture land.
Paul L. Maier renders the word "hurdles" as "wicker-work screens" (Josephus: The Essential Writings, 1988, p. 340).

"Now, the stones were the weight of a talent, seventy-five to eighty-five pounds"

Wars 5.6.3
Some translations render talent as "hundred-weight" or "hundred pounds".
Compare Revelation 16:21 and commentaries with Wars 5.9.3-4; 5.10.1-5; 5.13.4-6.
See also Revelation, Book of (historical exegesis).


Wars 5.6.3 [272].
Both Greek and Latin text editions of Wars of the Jews from antiquity have this reading.
"Ha-eben" in Hebrew is "the stone", and "Ha-ben" is "the son". However, Josephus did not issue a Hebrew edition of this work, and both Greek and Latin manuscripts agree in the reading "the son comes".
There has been wide linguistic and theological scholarly speculation about the significance of these words in the text, including Jewish mockery of the public prophetic warnings of Christ about the coming judgment on Jerusalem, and unintended but ironically truthful prophetic utterances prompted by God and constantly repeated by the defenders on the wall (compare John 11:49-52 and Isaiah 62:6).
Josephus here, as a witness to the siege of Jerusalem, only reports what the defenders shouted, without offering any explanation of what they meant.
The shout may simply have been an example of Semitic word play, paronomasia, used by the defiant defenders of Jerusalem much in the same way that modern military personnel joke ironically about "incoming mail" as artillery fire and their references to "the Big Boy" as especially intimidating armor, and to particular pieces of large ordnance, or to firearms such as the .357 Magnum.
Paul L. Meier renders the text as, "SONNY'S COMING!" (Josephus: The Essential Writings p. 340).
Compare the parable Jesus spoke about how the king sent his son (as a form of intimidation) to the rebellious land tenants who killed his servants, saying, "They will respect my son." (Matthew 21:37). Thus the cultural reference may simply be the same as a phrase commonly used today among cheating and misbehaving employees in the offices, factories, fields and mines of a very rich and powerful man, when his most trusted chief overseer, his own son, comes unannounced for an inspection, "Watch out! Here comes the son!"
However, the simplest interpretation is most likely: that the "e" in "eben"—STONE—was not audible to the witness of the event, because of the noise and the distance to the wall, so that the defenders on the wall were shouting in Hebrew,
"ha-[e]BEN COMES"—
"ha-'_'BEN COMES"—
therefore "THE SON COMES!"—"ha-BEN COMES".
Josephus reported what he heard, and much has been made of it.

"reminded them...Antiochus Epiphanes, and Aristobulus and John Hyrcanus, and of Antigonus, Herod and Sossius"

Wars 5.9.4 [394-398]
Josephus is referring to the events related in the First and Second Books of Maccabees, and in his works The Antiquities of the Jews, Books 13, 14 and 18, and The Wars of the Jews, Books 1 and 2.

"our Legislator"

Wars 5.9.4 [401]
The Lawgiver, Moses. See Torah.

"they had fed themselves on the public miseries, and drunk the blood of the city."

Wars 5.10.4 [440].
"Drinking their blood and devouring their flesh" is a Semitic expression for abusive tyranny and oppression. This metaphor does not express a blessing or a reward for devoted service to the people, but applies only to those who do evil, who crush the people, and ruin lives.
This metaphor used by Josephus is also found in the Bible. Compare Psalm 14:4; Psalm 27:2; Proverbs 29:10; Isaiah 9:18-20; 49:26; Micah 3:3; Revelation 16:6.
Bible readers who believe that Jesus was speaking only metaphorically, spiritually, or poetically, about eating his flesh and drinking his blood are thus faced with a contradiction: to figuratively, symbolically, metaphorically eat his flesh and drink his blood, to have eternal life and abide in him, would mean that one must revile Jesus, and do evil deeds, and be wicked toward him, to have eternal life and abide in him!
Jesus said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is food in fact, and my blood is drink in fact. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not that which the fathers ate, and died; he who eats this bread will live forever." John 6:52-58 (see the KJV translation of John 6:52-58: "eateth my flesh").
Strong's Concordance entry EATETH for John 6, verses 54, 56, 57, 58 is keyed to Strong's number 5176 τρώγω, trõgõ, to gnaw or chew, verb, present participle. This Greek word had and has no figurative, or metaphorical meaning. Greek linguists responding to the controversy raised over its usage in the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John point out that there are no examples in extant Greek writings 500 B.C. through A.D. 1000, in either koine or ancient classical secular literature, in which this word has ever been used as a symbolic metaphor or figure of speech. Significantly, those Evangelical Christian apologists who in their articles and biblical commentaries on John 6:52-56 assert that trõgõ was often used as an ordinary metaphorical figure of speech at the time of Jesus cite no examples of Greek writing in which it appears as a symbolic metaphor.
John 6:52-58 is one of the biblical texts cited by Catholic, Orthodox, and some major Protestant churches regarding the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
See Real presence and Transubstantiation;
also Epistles of Ignatius: Quotations from Ignatius supporting transubstantiation A.D. 80-110.
Compare Hebrews 10:26-29 and 1 Corinthians 11:27; 10:16.
The following articles demonstrate the linguistic argument:
Ulrich Zwingli (On True and False Religion 1525) utterly rejected the Orthodox and Catholic belief in transubstantiation and the real presence, and insisted that Jesus was speaking metaphorically of having faith in him for salvation, being spiritually nourished by his grace alone, and that communion in the form of bread and wine is symbolic only. He was denounced by the Catholic Church as an heretic and was opposed by Martin Luther.
In full accord with the Zwinglian theology of the eucharist ("Zwinglianism"), many Protestant Churches firmly deny that Jesus was speaking literally when he said "He who eateth my flesh...".
Compare treatment of the Greek word τρώγων in multiple Bible commentaries on the following verses:
John 6:52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58.
Greek linguists claim there is no justification for the Protestant assertion that the word τρώγων is a symbolical figure of speech or a metaphorical term.
The word τρώγων is not aorist, but a present participle (see Interlinear Bible:
John 6:54,
John 6:56,
John 6:57,
John 6:58).
Those who falsely say it is aorist are either ignorant of Greek or are lying—they are misleading the reader and are not to be trusted (Jeremiah 8:8-9).
References for the Greek word τρώγωtrõgõ
  • # 5176 trogo: . . . through the idea of a crunching sound; to gnaw or chew” (Dictionary of the Greek Testament, By James Strong S.T.D. LL.D., p. 73)
  • trogo to nibble, to munch, to eat audibly, to crunch” (The Linguistic Key To The Greek New Testament by Fritz Reienecker, 1981,Vol. 1, p. 234)
  • trogo: . . . Originally "I Munch, I eat Audibly” (A Pocket Lexicon To The Greek New Testament, by Alexander Souter M.A., 1946, p.265)
  • trogo: . . A hole formed by gnawing, a mouse's hole” (An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon, by Liddell and Scott, Oxford, impression of 1991, p. 822)
  • trogo: to gnaw, crunch, chew raw vegetables or fruits (as nuts, almonds)... in other writers of animals feeding;” (New Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon to the New Testament, By Joseph Henry Thayer D.D, 1979, p. 631)
The following article is helpful in understanding the meaning of some of the Greek linguistic terms used in various New Testament biblical commentaries:
Brief Definitions of Greek Grammatical Terms (freebiblecommentary.org)

"You shall not avenge yourselves. Vengeance is mine; I will repay."

See the following:
Romans 12:19
Hebrews 10:30-31
Leviticus 19:17-18
Deuteronomy 7:9-10 and 32:35-36
Matthew 5:38-48 and 6:14-15
Revelation 22:11.
Compare Isaiah 10 and 2 Thessalonians 1:6-10.

"Many sold what they had for one measure of wheat...of barley"

Wars 5.10.2 [427]
One measure of grain equals one dry quart, or four cups full.

"About the same time an alarming revolt in the Rhineland was broken by Vespasian’s cousin Petilius Cerialis."

See The Batavian Rebellion (allempires.com)
The particular events of the putting down of the Batavian Rebellion of Civilis in Germany in A.D. 70 from 7 June to 30 August under the Roman general Cerialis were concurrent with the siege of Jerusalem by Titus. See also
The Histories: Book IV (January - November, A.D. 70)
Quintus Petillius Cerialis (livius.org)
Who Was Petilius Cerialis? Nancy Jardine (randombitsoffascination.com)
Quintus Petillius Cerialis (revolvy.com)
Imperial General: The Remarkable Career of Petilius Cerealis (abebooks.com)

"Remember the words of Jesus, how he had said..."

Luke 21:20-22.
This text has been inserted in the appropriate place in the text as a demonstration that even when Titus had surrounded the city with armies, and was besieging it, the inhabitants were still able to depart for a time, and that those who did so escaped with their lives. Thus, it was not impossible, as some have imagined, for those inside the city to be able to obey the commandment of the Lord to depart when they saw Jerusalem surrounded by armies. Compare Jeremiah 38:2-3

"a medimnus of wheat was sold for a talent"

Wars 5.13.7 [571].
A medimnus equals one and a half bushels.
See Medimnus definition by Merriam-Webster
A talent of money equals 3000 shekels, or 60 minas, 76.5 lbs. of precious metal, either silver or gold (Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary 2003, "Coins" p. 315; "Weights and Measures" p. 1666).
The Bible mentions both talents of silver and talents of gold. 1 Kings 20:39; 2 Kings 5:22; 23:33; 1 Chronicles 26:2; 2 Chronicles 36:3.
Compare the famine text of 2 Kings 6:25.

"So the rebels supposed they had now slain the one man they most desired to kill"

Wars 5.13.3 [542]
Josephus, a Jewish general, and former prisoner of the Romans, who now supported them against the rebellious tyrants, was regarded by many Jews as the worst kind of turncoat traitor.
See The Life Of Flavius Josephus, from The Works of Flavius Josephus: Autobiography William Whiston, Translator, 1737 (sacred-texts.com)
Also Wars 2.20.3 through 3.8.8.

"gold in the city...so much that what sold for twenty-five Attic drams was now sold in the Roman camp for twelve"

Wars 5.13.4 [550]
The dram, alternative British spelling "drachm", is the Greek Attic drachma. See

"Arabians, with the Syrians, descendants of Ishmael and the Greeks"

Wars 5.13.4 [551]
These were motivated by more than greed for gold, but also by ancient religious and racial hatred of the Jews.
See Genesis 16; Genesis 25:19-34; Genesis 27; 2 Kings 17; Ezra 4; Nehemiah 4; Esther 3; Ezekiel 35; Obadiah; 1 Maccabees 1; Luke 9:53; John 4:9

"in reality it was God who had condemned the whole nation, and turned every course that was taken for their preservation to their destruction."

Wars 5.13.5 [559]
Deuteronomy 28:15-68;
Haggai 1;
the Book of Malachi.

"twelve of those men who were front guards keeping watch on the embankments"

Wars 6.1.7 [68].
Both Whiston and Thackeray translate "twelve".
Paul L. Maier says "twenty" men. "Two days later, twenty of the guards..." Josephus: The Essential Writings p. 353 (top of the page).

"The pit they had dug for others, they fell into themselves."

Psalm 57:6 adapted.
Compare Matthew 15:14.

"he gave orders to attack the guard of the Temple about 3 A.M., the ninth hour of the night, the hour of the power of darkness"

Wars 6.2.5 [131]
(The following note is taken from footnote #292 of the article Literalist Bible chronology.)
Jesus was arrested at the "hour of darkness" Luke 22:53 (3 A.M.)
The hour of darkness is about 3 A.M. according to the ancient traditions of many cultures, the hour when most people die at night, when physiological human vitality temporarily ebbs, and when hostile military forces favor launching a sudden night attack.
See five distinct points of view sharing similar common ground on the time of the hour of darkness:
Titus had a practical military intuitive understanding of human physiology when the posted night watch guard of the enemy is least alert and most vulnerable. Also 3 A.M. was the traditional beginning of the fourth watch of the night, with the changing of the watch, when they would be most distracted. Both would have a tendency to mild drowsiness, one having just woke up, the other looking forward to sleep. (Woe to the guard whose relief came and found him asleep!) The Romans "did not find the guards asleep" as they had (hoped and) expected.

"carried away with violent passions, and uttering loud whoops and yells"

"loud whoops and yells" is chosen here as a more vivid, more colloquial, more colorful, and more dynamic modern adapted rendering of the phrase in the ordinary expression, "driven by ready passion, and uttering loud shouts and cries".

"Perea, as well as the surrounding mountains also returned the echo"

Wars 6.5.1 [274].
In New Testament times Perea was the territory east of the Jordan River, "beyond the Jordan" (peran tou Iordanou: Greek peran, beyond), with Galilee forming the Tetrarchy of Herod Antipas, about 25 miles from Jerusalem.
On rare occasions, when atmospheric conditions permit, sounds from Jerusalem can be heard on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea.
However, William Whiston, 1736, in his note regarding Perea in Wars 6.5.1, expresses doubt that the region of Perea returned echoes of the tremendous combined sound of the roar of the burning of the temple, the cries of the people, and the shouts of the victorious legions. (The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged in One Volume, New Updated Edition, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., 1987, p. 741.)
See Perea (biblicaltraining.org)
See Map of New Testament Israel showing Perea (bible-history.com)

"an ambiguous oracle, which was also found in their sacred writings, how, about that time, one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth."

Wars 6.6.4 [312]
This "ambiguous oracle" was not only an oracle outside of the sacred scriptures of the Tanakh, the Jewish Bible, but parallel to (and most probably based on) the text of Psalm 2:8, which Eusebius quotes, Book III, chapter 8, at the end of that chapter.

"'They refused to hearken, and turned a stubborn shoulder"

Zechariah 7:11-14.
A reminder of why the Lord destroyed Jerusalem and the temple, as applicable in the first century as it was in 587 B.C.
The LORD has four punishments that he brings on nations that oppose him:
See Jeremiah 15:2-3; 16:4; 21:9; 27:8, 13; 32:24; 38:2-3; 43:10-11;
Ezekiel 14:21; 38:21-22;
Revelation 6:2-8.
15 Verses about God's Activity Among the Nations (bible.knowing-jesus.com)

"in a final desecration of the Temple, sacrifice was made to the Roman standards.... Finally, the abomination of desolation ... stood in the very temple of God."

Wars 6.6.1 [316]; Ecclesiastical History III, 5).
According to scholars such as Siwart Haverkamp (1684-1742) and Tertullian (A.D. 160 - 225), almost the entire religion of the Roman camp consisted of worshipping the ensigns, in swearing by the ensigns, and in preferring the ensigns before all the other gods
—see also Havercamp - Apologeticus (1718) Tertullian.
The Roman Legion ensigns or standards were regarded as more than magical totems, similar to minor gods, or patron deities, or idols.
See the following link:

"underground coverts"

Wars 6.7.3 [372]
Whiston translation: "underground subterfuges". These were subterranean concealments, hiding places, hideouts; not the same as catacombs or underground tombs, such as the hiding places of the early Christians where they gathered for worship during periods of Roman state persecution. The word "crypt" is from Greek κρύπτέ krupté hidden, a chamber or vault, especially one beneath a church, used as a place of burial.

"and sold the rest of the multitude, with their wives and children, and every one of them at a very low price" Wars 6.8.2 [384]—
—"he put them into bonds, and sent them to the Egyptian mines." Wars 6.9.2 [418]

See Deuteronomy 28:68; Ezekiel 19:4; Hosea 8:13.
Moses and the prophets warned the Jews that if they became obstinate in their idolatry and wickedness, they would be sold, and sent again into Egypt, for their punishment.

"and reserved them for the triumph"

Wars 6.9.2 [417]
The Roman triumph was a spectacular victory celebration parade held in the city of Rome for a military commander who had won an important victory on the battlefield, which included spoils of war, representative numbers of captives, slaves, and captured and defeated leaders (many of them executed afterward).
The triumph of Vespasian and his son Titus in A.D. 70 for their victory in Judea was notable for its ostentatious display of the riches from the temple at Jerusalem.
See Roman Triumph (ancient.eu)

"but those under seventeen were sold as slaves, and the number of these alone was ninety thousand"

Wars 6.9.2 [418] (EH III, 7)
This figure of "ninety thousand" is found in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History Book III, Chapter 7. "Those under seventeen were carried away to be sold as slaves. Of these alone, there were upwards of ninety thousand." C. F. Cruse, p. 82 The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine London, George Bell and Sons, 1874.

"all of that ancient threshing floor was swept clean and left desolate, where the chaff was blown away"

Compare Matthew 3:12.
A threshing floor in general is a wide flat area open to the sky, usually in a windy location, where workers at harvest time winnow the grain by drawing threshing-sledges over the gathered sheaves, which have been spread out, which breaks the stalks, loosening the ears of grain, and then with winnowing baskets or winnowing forks toss the separated ears of grain into the air, allowing the wind to blow away the lighter chaff as the grains of wheat fall to the ground or into the basket. The chaff is gathered up and burned, while the grain is stored away.
The temple of God first built by Solomon was erected on the site of the threshing floor where David had first built an altar to the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings (2 Samuel 24:25). After the plague the LORD had inflicted on Israel for the sin that David had committed in numbering the people, the prophet Gad came to David and told him to build an altar to the LORD on the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite (2 Samuel 24:18), also called Ornan the Jebusite (1 Chronicles 21:18). After David had purchased the threshing floor from Araunah/Ornan—and the oxen also for an additional fifty shekels of silver—he dedicated it by vow to the LORD as the future site of the one holy temple of the living God (1 Chronicles 28:11-19). Now, in accordance with the Law of Moses, so that this site so wholly dedicated as a sacrifice to the LORD might not be burned and destroyed by being demolished, as a total offering to God, but redeemed intact to be dedicated to the worship of the LORD (see Leviticus 27:28-29 and commentaries), the priests evidently assessed the monetary equivalent of the religious and spiritual value of the site dedicated to so lofty and sacred a purpose above the value of all other material offerings that could be made out of all the possessions of the Israelites, and more particularly out of the possessions of him whom God had made king over all his people Israel and had prospered (see (Leviticus 27:16-25), and had pronounced its value at six hundred shekels of gold by weight (1 Chronicles 21:25). Having now purchased the site at its full value as ground to be dedicated entirely to the LORD, he gave what had now cost him such an enormously adjusted sum, representing its full worth as holy real estate, entirely to the LORD ("I will not offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God which cost me nothing" 2 Samuel 24:24; 1 Chronicles 21:4-25). David paid out six hundred shekels of gold for the threshing floor, and fifty shekels of silver for the oxen. If this is not a proper reading of the text, and this is not what actually happened, then a contradiction exists in the Bible.
Those textual critics who see a contradiction between the texts of 2 Samuel and 1 Chronicles regarding the purchase of the threshing floor have not taken all facts into account. There is no actual contradiction in the inspired text, for God cannot contradict himself, nor is the value stated in 1 Chronicles necessarily an exaggeration based on an unrealistic symbolic or poetic expression solely designed to impress the reader with the importance of the site, but it may be simply instead an actual statement of fact. Honest textual critics who believe in the veracity of the sacred text in accordance with the literal sense of scripture are careful to point out that biblical researchers, scholars and readers should not be ready to say "I don't believe that!" before considering all of the available textual and historical evidence, and the fact that the Bible represents a culture, even a form of spirituality, very different from their own. What the Bible states as a fact is not in fact "absolutely impossible" or "highly improbable" simply because some cannot or will not accept it. The reader should always be ready to ask, "What is the factual basis for their assertion?" and "What is their motivation for making such assertions?" See Historical-critical method (Higher criticism).
After the temple was built by Solomon, the area of this threshing floor was expanded by constructing a wider platform around the temple, supported at the outer edges by layers of foundation stones. Herod, who rebuilt the second temple erected by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah after the return of the Jews from exile, had further expanded the whole area of the temple complex and erected magnificent stone foundations around the outer area of the temple mount, using stones cut into blocks so huge they are even today called Herodian stones. The Western Wall had never been part of the temple itself. The whole of the temple area atop the temple mount, Mount Moriah, was the threshing floor of the Lord.

"Upon her came all the righteous blood shed since the foundation of the world."

Compare Matthew 23:34-36; Luke 11:49-51.

"but from its first building as Jebus to this last destruction.... And thus ended the siege of Jerusalem."

Wars 6.9.10. [441-442] See 1 Chronicles 11:4-5.
"Jebus" The original name of Jerusalem, before David took it. Compare Judges 19:10.
See the following for textual content of Wars Book 4, chapter 10, through Book 7, chapter 1:
Access Wars Book IV Chapter 10
access Wars Book IV Chapter 11
access Wars Book V
access Wars Book VI
access Wars Book VII Chapter 1.

"Marcus Julius Herod Agrippa the Second

Son of Agrippa I.
See Agrippa II (jewishvirtuallibrary.org)

"consecration of the ox Apis at Memphis"

An Egyptian god of the harvest.
See Apis (ancientegyptonline.co.uk)

The events of A.D. 70 are not included in the Conservative Bible New Testament.


Chapter 53 Historical texts
Bible text

After the conquest of Jerusalem, tradition says that the Apostles and disciples of the Lord who were still alive gathered from everywhere together with those who were relatives of the Lord according to the flesh, for many of them were still alive. They all discussed together who ought to succeed James; and they unanimously decided that Symeon, son of the Clopas mentioned in the Gospels, was worthy of the episcopal throne in Jerusalem; and by the blessing of the Lord, through the laying on of their hands, he was made Episcopos. It is said that he was a first cousin of the Savior, for the historian Hegesippus relates that Symeon's father Clopas was the brother of Joseph the husband of Mary, the mother of the Lord.

In Rome Domitian was acting as Regent for his father Vespasian. During his father's uprising against Vitellius in A.D. 69, he was in Rome, but he remained unharmed, though he was in the fighting there. And when his uncle Titus Flavius Sabinus, elder brother of Vespasian and city prefect of Rome, attempted to seize power from Vitellius on eighteen December A.D. 69, he was with Sabinus; and when Vitellius decided not to abdicate when his soldiers all cried out for him to stand fast, he went through the fighting on the Capitol complex. He managed to escape, but Sabinus was executed. Then, following the arrival of twenty thousand of his father's troops led by Gaius Licinius Mucianus, the governor of Syria and ally of Vespasian, and after the execution of Vitellius, Domitian enjoyed the privilege of acting as Regent for a short time, beginning one January A.D. 70. The older Mucianus acted as Domitian's junior colleague in this regency.

From his earliest years Domitian was consistently discourteous, of a forward, presumptuous disposition, and extravagant both in his words and actions. Even before Vespasian was acclaimed imperator, during the reign of Nero, when Caenis, his father’s concubine, on her return from Istria, offered him a kiss, as she had been accustomed to do, he imperiously presented her his hand to kiss. Again, later, being indignant that Vespasian's brother’s son-in-law should be waited on by servants dressed in white, he exclaimed,

"Too many princes are not good."
ouk agathon polykoiraniae.

On first succeeding to power, and calling to mind the verse of Virgil,

“Ere impious man, restrain’d from blood in vain,
Began to feast on flesh of bullocks slain—”
Impia quam caesis gens est epulata juvencis,

Domitian felt such an abhorrence for the shedding of blood that he planned to publish a proclamation, “to forbid the sacrifice of oxen,” before his father’s arrival in Rome. But the older Mucianus, acting as his colleague in this regency, carefully kept Domitian in check.

General Gaius Licinius Mucianus, after the victory over Vitellius, had drawn all power into his own hands. He alone was canvassed and courted, and he, surrounding himself with armed men, and bargaining for palaces and gardens, ceased not, with his magnificence, his proud bearing, and his guards, to grasp at the power, while he waived the titles of empire. Before Vespasian’s return, Mucianus reduced the Praetorian Guard, greatly enlarged by Vitellius, to approximately its former size; and the legions on the frontiers were regrouped to remove from dangerous positions those who had fought for Vitellius.

While Domitian enjoyed the privilege of acting as Regent, Mucianus held the real authority, with the exception that Domitian, either at the instigation of his friends, or his own whim, risked several acts of power. In an attempt to equal his brother Titus's military exploits, Domitian was eager to seek glory in suppressing the revolt of rebels against the new regime in Germany and Gaul. But he was prevented by Mucianus. The general lawlessness with which he exploited his position as the emperor's son clearly showed what might be expected of him later.

In late summer, about the end of September, early October A.D. 70, Vespasian returned to Rome from Alexandria.

Suetonius considered Vespasian to be the "savior that would come out of Judea," setting forth his opinion in writing,

"An ancient superstition was current in the east that out of Judaea would come the rulers of the world. This prediction, as it later proved, referred to the Roman emperors, but the Jews, who read it as referring to themselves, rebelled."

Thus, even the Romans acknowledged the Jewish belief of the time that a savior would arise from Judea.

Josephus also thought this was fulfilled in Vespasian; that this and other mysterious prophecies had pointed to Vespasian and Titus; but the common people of the Jews, in those days, blinded as usual by ambition, had interpreted these mighty destinies as referring to themselves, and they could not be brought to believe the truth even by disasters foretold to them by the true Christ who had divine knowledge of the judgment which fell on them. For Vespasian did not rule the whole world, but only that part of it subject to the Romans. With better right it could be applied to Christ, the Anointed, to whom the Father said,

"Ask of me, and I will give you the heathen for your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for your possession."

And it was at that very time, indeed, that the voice of his holy apostles went throughout all the earth, and their words to the end of the world.

Vespasian himself clearly felt the need to legitimize his new reign with vigor. He accumulated acclamations and salutations from his armies, and he allowed Titus to share them with him. He carefully and zealously publicized the number of divine omens that predicted and portended his accession to the throne, and he built up the titles surrounding his name.

Suetonius relates that when Vespasian was made emperor, he remembered the following omens:

An ancient oak tree, sacred to Mars, growing on the Flavian estate near Rome, put out a shoot on each of the three occasions when his mother gave birth, and these clearly had a bearing on the child's future. The first slim shoot withered quickly, and the eldest child, a girl, died within the year. The second shoot was long and healthy, promising good luck, but the third seemed more like a tree than a branch. Sabinus, the father, also is said to have been greatly impressed by an inspection of a sacrificial animal's entrails and to have congratulated his mother on having a grandson who would become emperor. She roared with laughter and said, "Imagine your going soft in the head before your old mother does!"

Later, during Vespasian's aedileship, the emperor Gaius Caligula, furious because Vespasian had not kept the streets clean as was his duty, ordered some soldiers to load him with mud; they obeyed by stuffing into the fold of his senatorial toga as much as it could hold, an omen interpreted to mean that one day the soil of Italy would be neglected and trampled on as the result of civil war, but that Vespasian would protect it and take it to his bosom.

Then the incident in which a stray dog picked up a human hand at the crossroads, brought it into the room where Vespasian was breakfasting, and dropped it under the table; a hand, manus, signifying to the Romans the power that a husband has over a wife or a father over his children and slaves, as also the expression manus dei means the "hand of God", and the representation of a hand on the Roman standard signifies the imperium, the right to command, and authority to use the force of the state to enforce its laws.

On another occasion an ox shook off its plow-yoke, burst into Vespasian's dining room, scattered the servants, and then, as if suddenly exhausted, fell at his feet and lowered its neck.

He also found a cypress tree lying uprooted on his grandmother's farm, even though there had been no storm to account for it; yet the next day it had taken root again and was greener and stronger than ever.

In Achaia, Vespasian dreamed he and his family would begin to prosper from the moment Nero lost a tooth, and on the following day, while he was in the imperial quarters, a doctor entered and showed him one of Nero's teeth which he had just extracted.

In Judea, Vespasian had consulted the pagan god of Carmel and was given a promise by the augurs that he would never be disappointed in what he planned or desired, however lofty his ambitions. Also, a distinguished Jewish prisoner of Vespasian's, Josephus by name, insisted that he would soon be released by the very man who had now put him in fetters and who would then be emperor.

Reports of additional omens also came from Rome: Nero had seemingly been warned in a dream shortly before his death to take the sacred chariot of Jupiter Optimus Maximus from the Capitol to the Circus, calling at Vespasian's house as he went. Soon after this, while Galba was on his way to the elections which gave him a second consulship, there was a report that a statue of Julius Caesar turned of its own accord to face east; and at Bedriacum, when the battle was about to begin, two eagles fought in full view of both armies, but a third appeared from the rising sun and drove off the victor.

And in Egypt, after entering the temple of Serapis alone to consult the auspices and discover how long he would last as emperor, and after offering many sacrifices, on turning to leave, Vespasian saw his freedman Basilides, whose name means king, and for a long time nearly crippled from rheumatism and moreover still far away from him, approaching and extending to him the customary branches, garlands and bread which were symbols of kingship in Hellenistic Egypt, and almost at once dispatches from Italy brought the news of the defeat of Vitellius at Cremona and his assassination at Rome; and still rather bewildered in his new role of emperor, though he felt a certain lack of authority and what might be called the divine spark, yet both these attributes, the authority and the feeling of divinity, were seemingly granted him. As he sat on the tribunal, two laborers, one blind, the other lame, approached together, begging to be healed. He was informed that the god Serapis had promised them in a dream that if Vespasian would graciously consent to merely spit on the blind man's eyes and touch the lame man's leg with his heel, both would be made well. Vespasian had so little faith in his curative powers that he showed great reluctance in doing as he was asked, but his Friends persuaded him to try them, and, moreover, in the presence of a large audience; and the charm apparently worked. At the same time, certain soothsayers said that they had felt inspired to excavate a sacred site at Tegea in Arcadia, where a hoard of very ancient vases was discovered, all painted with a striking effigy, or likeness, of Vespasian.

Vespasian in December also received by law a number of powers for which his Julio-Claudian predecessors had not sought explicit Senate approval but had implicitly assumed and exercised anyway. Whether similar grants by law had been made to Galba, Otho, and Vitellius before him or were to be made to Vespasian’s successors is not now known; but a fragment of the empowering law survives, the Lex de Imperio Vespasiani, and it includes a provision that can be said to confer on him a naked autocracy, complete sovereignty: by law of the Senate he was now answerable to no one on earth.

Returning now to Rome, under these auspicious omens, and with a great reputation, at every opportunity he henceforth accumulated imperial salutations and multiple consulships.

Upon his arrival in Rome, Vespasian faced the daunting task of restoring a city and a government ravaged by the recent civil wars.

Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, was the only man who presumed to salute him on his return from Syria by his common name Vespasian, and, when he came to be praetor, omitted any mark of honor to him, or even any honorable mention of him in his edicts, yet Vespasian was not angry, and allowed him great leniency. Helvidius and his friends had already expressed general misgivings about Vespasian’s government in the early months of 70. With Helvidius Priscus may be associated a group accused of posing as stoic philosophers who were later expelled from Italy for voicing their public opinions of opposition.

Vespasian had some difficulty with his sons at the beginning of his reign.

First, Domitian had been overbearing and irresponsible in the months before his father’s return.

With his son Titus, there was apparent cause for alarm when his troops, after his victory in Judea, asked him to take them to Italy; but he returned alone, and without Berenice. Making what haste he could into Italy, Titus arrived first at Rhegium, and sailing from there in a merchant ship to Puteoli, he went to Rome with all possible speed. But eventually he returned alone. Presenting himself unexpectedly to his father, he said, by way of contradicting the strange reports that had been raised concerning him, “I am come, father, I am come.”

Titus thus returned to Rome; and he triumphed jointly with Vespasian.

A man of great promise and reputation, Vespasian, on the occasion of his own return in Rome, now celebrated the whole of the Judean campaign with a triumph over the Jews; Vespasian, Titus and their soldiers in Rome celebrated, participating in a lavish joint triumph. Domitian also participated, riding a white horse behind his father and brother, who were gloriously arrayed in the imperial chariot ahead of him. They paraded through the streets of their capital in a beautiful procession, which culminated in the punishment of the Jewish leaders: Simon son of Giora was executed and John of Gischala was sentenced to life imprisonment. The sacred vessels, the Table on which the bread of God's Presence, the Showbread, had been put, the Menorah, the curtain which separated the holy of holies from the holy place, and all the other objects that no one except the high priest, descended from Aaron, of the tribe of Levi, son of Israel, was allowed to see, were carried through the Roman streets.

Vespasian was so little fond of external and superficially added adornments, that, on the day of his triumph, being quite fatigued with the length and tediousness of the procession, he could not resist saying that it served him right, for having in his old age been so silly as to desire a triumph; as if it had either been expected by himself or more rightly was due his ancestors. Nor would he for a long time accept the tribunician authority, or the title of pater patriae, Father of his Country. And in regard to the custom of searching those who came to salute him, he had already dropped it even in the time of the civil war.

During the four years of war against the Jews, the Romans had taken ninety-seven thousand prisoners. Thousands of them were forced to become gladiators and were killed in the arena, fighting wild animals or fellow gladiators. Some, who were known as criminals, were burned alive. Others were employed at Seleucia, where they were forced to dig a tunnel. But most of these prisoners were brought to Rome, where they were forced afterward to build the Forum of Peace, a park in the heart of Rome, and the Colosseum, the Flavian Amphitheatre. The Menorah and the Table of the Showbread were exhibited in the temple of Concord.

The boundless riches from the treasury of the Jerusalem Temple were used to strike coins with the words IUDAEA CAPTA, which is, Judaea captive. The basic design elements of the coins struck in Rome or in its Empire are a palm tree and a seated figure of a female as an allegorical representative of Judea in an attitude of mourning, sometimes also represented as dominated by a powerfully erected, standing figure of a Roman male wearing imperial armor. Any Roman would be reminded of the victory of their emperor. The Jews were forced to pay an additional tax, a poll-tax, or head tax, called fiscus Judaicus. Hegesippus also reports that after the conquest of Jerusalem, Vespasian ordered a search be made for all descendants of David so that no member of the royal house should be left among the Jews, which resulted in another great persecution of the Jews, and of Christians who were assumed to be a sect of the Jews.

Now, when Vespasian arrived in Rome to rule it was made abundantly clear and evident to everyone that Titus was to be the imperial heir. Although Titus was not allowed an independent triumph, the joint celebration was deliberate, as Vespasian wished to waste no time in establishing an heir-apparent to the throne.

Now, Titus had no son. Hence, if he still failed to produce or adopt an heir, the throne would eventually fall to Domitian. But while Titus was meticulously groomed to be emperor, Domitian was never granted any position of authority nor allowed to win any military glory for himself. It appears he was not deemed fit by his father to hold power.

Because Domitian had been overbearing and irresponsible in the months before his father’s return, he was kept firmly in a junior position during the remaining years. Domitian, therefore, dedicated himself to poetry and the arts instead, though it is thought he harbored much resentment at his treatment, firmly persuaded in his own mind that Vespasian and Titus had denied him what rightfully should have been his rightful place as the imperial colleague over his elder brother. From that time Titus constantly acted as a colleague with his father, and, indeed, as Regent of the empire.

More important to Vespasian than any legal enactment, however, was the recognition of his extralegal authority, auctoritas, and the prestige of what many powerful aristocratic Roman families regarded as his upstart house, a house suddenly risen from a humble position to one of importance, and in consequence persistently seen by the aristocracy, even if not actually presumptuous, as being insufferably arrogant in tone or conduct. He actively promoted the principle of dynastic succession, insisting that the emperorship would fall to his sons; for, he was so supremely confident in his own horoscope, and those of his family, that he dared to declare to the Senate that his sons would succeed him or no one would, and thus, throughout his reign he was insistent that his sons would succeed him, one after the other, Titus having no male issue to succeed him. Vespasian also deified his dead daughter Flavia Domitilla with the title of divinity, Augusta. Long before he became emperor, after an earlier mistress called Caenis, who had been a freedwoman of Antonia, sister-in-law to the emperor Tiberius, he had married one Flavia Domitilla, who bore him Titus and Domitian and a daughter of the same name, Flavia Domitilla. But both his wife and daughter, Vespasian's wife and daughter, had died before he became emperor. And after he attained to empire, during the latter part of his reign, an earlier mistress of Vespasian, his favorite, called Caenis, also died; but all during his reign he kept several mistresses.

At every opportunity he accumulated imperial salutations and multiple consulships. After enjoying a triumph for victories over the Jews, Vespasian added during his reign eight more consulships to his former one, the one he had already earned. His first consulship had been in A.D. 51; on becoming emperor, he again held the consulate in A.D. 70 and thereafter, for brief periods on each occasion, every year of his reign except two, A.D. 73 and 78, a total of eight; and he gave frequent consulates to his two sons, Titus and Domitian; and he made it his principal concern, during the whole of his government, first to restore order in the state, which had been almost ruined, and was in a tottering condition, and then to improve it; throughout his reign making it his principal business to shore up the foundations of the commonwealth, which were in a state of collapse, and then to embellish it artistically with public works and buildings of admirable beauty intended to impress on the people and foreign visitors the idea that Rome and her empire embodied the very essence of power, glory and wealth, and the excellence of moral, spiritual, cultural and civic virtues, the highest ideals and aspirations of mankind.

It was in the same spirit of stabilization that Vespasian turned to military affairs; and he also re-established discipline in the army.

The first task was to restore discipline to the armies after the events of 68 and 69. The troops, whose discipline had become slack either from the exultation of victory or the humiliation of defeat, had been indulging in all sorts of wild excesses; the soldiers, one part of them emboldened by victory, and the other smarting with the disgrace of their defeat, had abandoned themselves to every kind of licentiousness and insolent behavior. He therefore disbanded many of Vitellius’s soldiers, discharging and dismissing large numbers of them; and he punished others; and he was so far from granting any extraordinary favors to the sharers of his success, to his own troops, that he was slow or late in paying them the gratuities due to them by law, even the victory bonus to which they were entitled.

He missed no opportunity of tightening discipline:

That he might not let slip any opportunity of reforming the discipline of the army, by way of making an example, when a young man luxuriously reeking of too much perfume came to him to return thanks for having appointed him to command a squadron of cavalry, he turned away his head in disgust, and crushed him with this sharp reprimand, “I had rather that you had smelled of garlic,” and cancelled the order, revoking his commission, saying, "I should not have minded so much if it had been garlic."

Another example:

When the men belonging to the fleet marine brigade, whose detachments were constantly on the march and travelled by turns of rotation between Ostia or Puteoli and Rome, petitioned for an addition to their pay by applying for a special shoe allowance under the name of shoe-money, Vespasian not only turned down the application, but, thinking it would serve little purpose to send them away without a reply, ordered them for the future to march and run barefoot, and so they did, and this has been their practice ever since.

His pagan contemporaries say that Vespasian was extremely covetous by nature, that his one serious failing was avarice, and the only thing deserving blame in his character was his love of money. On the other hand, some of them are of the opinion that he was urged to his rapacious policies by genuine necessity, and the extreme poverty of the state treasury, which he publicly noted in his addresses at the beginning of his reign. Although many particulars are missing, the Roman sources portray him as a ruler conscientiously committed to the methodical renewal of both city and empire.

While in Egypt he had been concerned with raising money; and his exorbitant taxations and extortions, coupled with sales of imperial estates to speculators, caused great discontent among the Egyptians. He announced that about three times the revenue of the empire was needed to restore the state, and both before and after his return he promoted his financial program.

His fiscal reforms and consolidation of the empire generated political stability and a vast Roman building program. During his reign he increased, and sometimes doubled, provincial taxation and revoked immunities granted to various Greek-speaking provinces and cities. He reclaimed public land in Italy from squatters and instituted various new taxes, including diverting into Rome’s treasury the tax paid by Jews of the Diaspora to the Temple at Jerusalem. While such measures were essential after the deficit incurred by Nero and the devastations of the civil wars, contemporary sources continued to charge Vespasian with avarice, a blood-sucking tyrant who devoured their substance. The measures he imposed are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious. But such a charge is irrelevant to any emperor in the year 823 A.U.C., A.D. 70.

As for Rome itself, above all he resolved to rebuild the Capitol complex, burned in December of A.D. 69 by Vitellius, for Rome had become unsightly, since many buildings had burned or collapsed. Because the ruins of houses which had been burned down long before were a great eyesore to the city, the emperor encouraged rebuilding on abandoned lots; he gave leave, to any one who would, to take possession of the vacant ground and build upon it, if the original owners failed to come forward, and the proprietors should hesitate to perform the work themselves. He personally inaugurated the restoration of the burned Capitol by being the first to put his hand to clearing the ground of the rubbish, and removed some of it by collecting the first basketful of rubble and carrying it on his own shoulder.

He restored the Capitol, and likewise began erecting several new buildings: a temple to Divus Claudius, the "deified Claudius", on the Caelian Hill, begun by Agrippina but almost entirely demolished by Nero, a project designed to identify Vespasian as a legitimate heir to the Julio-Claudians, while distancing himself from Nero; he was able to build his Forum and the temple of Concord near the Forum, and to begin construction on the magnificent Flavian Amphitheatre in the center of the city, on finding that Augustus had projected such a work, located on the site of the lake over the foundations of Nero's Golden House. After a colossal statue of Nero had been moved into it, it was called the Colosseum; and it was under Vespasian that construction on the Roman Colosseum was begun.

He likewise also undertook to replace and restore the three thousand bronze tablets which had been destroyed in the fire which consumed the Capitol, hunting high and low for copies of the inscriptions engraved on them. Those curious and ancient, beautifully phrased records contained the decrees of the Senate, from almost the first ancient building of the city, senatorial decrees as well as the acts of the people, plebis scita senatus consulta, which dealt with such matters as alliances, treaties and the privileges granted to individual persons, dating back almost to the foundation of Rome, traditionally 1 A.U.C., 753 B.C..

Claiming that he needed forty thousand million sesterces, forty billion, about three times the revenue of the empire, for these projects, and for others aimed at continuing the government and putting the state on more secure footing, Vespasian is also said to have revoked various imperial immunities, manipulated the supply of certain commodities to inflate their price, and increased provincial taxation. Not satisfied with reviving the duty-taxes which had been repealed in the time of Galba, he levied new and heavier taxes, increased the tribute of the provinces, and doubled that of some of them, and he likewise openly trafficked and engaged in business dealings which would have disgraced even a private citizen, buying great quantities of goods for the purpose of retailing them again at an inflated profit. As Suetonius claims, this is most likely true, because in financial matters Vespasian always put revenues to the best possible advantage, regardless of their source, and applied to the best purposes what he procured by bad means. However, the sum raised by Vespasian for public funds cannot be determined.

He made no scruple about extorting fees from candidates for public office, selling the great offices of the state, or selling pardons to persons under prosecution, whether they were innocent or guilty, and he is said to have deliberately advanced his greediest procurators to higher offices in which they could satisfactorily fatten their purses before he came down hard on them for extortion after they had acquired great wealth. He used them to oppressively soak up money like sponges, because it was his practice, according to the saying, to wet them when dry, only to squeeze them dry later when wet. The money went into the treasury, ostensibly to be used for state expenditures. Moreover, rumbles of internal dissension could be heard in the provinces too, and free cities, as well as certain of the subject kingdoms in alliance with Rome, were all in a disturbed state. He revoked the privilege of self-governance from Achaia, Lycia, Rhodes, Byzantium and Samos and deprived them of their liberties; and he reduced them to the form of provinces; the kingdoms of Thrace, also, and Cilicia, as well as Commagene, which before that time had been under the government of kings, he reduced to provincial status. He stationed legions as garrisons in Cappadocia on account of the frequent barbarian raids, and appointed a governor of consular rank, instead of a mere eques, a Roman knight.

Vespasian is said to have behaved most generously to all classes. We find the princeps offering financial interventions of support to senators not possessing the property qualifications of their rank, securing impoverished men of consular rank an annual pension of five hundred thousand sesterces; also rebuilding at government expense on a grander scale than before the many cities throughout the empire which had been burned or destroyed by earthquakes; and he entertained company constantly at his table, and put on lavish state dinners, often in great state and very sumptuously, to promote and assist the food trades.

In other matters the emperor displayed similar concern, proving himself a devoted patron of the arts and sciences by granting for the first time state salaries to teachers of Latin and Greek rhetoric. He granted to the Latin and Greek professors of rhetoric the yearly stipend of a hundred thousand sesterces each out of the state treasury. He also secured the financial freedom of superior poets and artists, and gave a noble gratuity to the restorer of the Coan of Venus, and to another artist who repaired the Colossus. He rewarded very handsomely, for his invention, someone who offered to convey some immense columns into the Capitol at a small expense by an ingeniously simple mechanical contrivance, but would not accept the service, saying, “Suffer me to find maintenance for the poor people.”

To enhance Roman economic and social life even further, he encouraged theatrical productions by building a new stage for the Theatre of Marcellus. In the games celebrated when the stage-scenery of the Theatre of Marcellus was repaired, he restored the old musical entertainments. He gave Apollinaris, the tragedian, four hundred thousand sesterces, and to Terpinus and Diodorus, the harpers, two hundred thousand; to some a hundred thousand; and the least amount he gave to any of the performers was forty thousand, besides many golden crowns. As in the Saturnalia he made presents to the men, which they were to carry away with them, so he did to the women on the Kalends of March; even so, he could not wipe off the odius reputation of his former stinginess. The Alexandrians constantly called him Cybiosactes; a name given to one of their most corrupt kings who was insatiably avaricious.

By his encouragement of science, he displayed a liberality without precedent under all the preceding emperors, since the time of Augustus. Pliny the Elder was now at the height of his reputation, for he was also a government minister in great favor with Vespasian; and it is probably owing to his advice that the emperor showed himself so much the patron of literary men. A writer mentioned frequently by Pliny, and who lived during this reign, was the general Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, a Roman eques, who treated the history and geography of the eastern countries, the same who had dominated the regency of Domitian before the arrival of Vespasian in Rome. Juvenal, who had begun his Satires several years before, continued to vehemently condemn the flagrant vices of the times, lust and luxury, rooted in the pervasive licentiousness which had so long prevailed.

Vespasian restored the weakened and depleted ranks of the senatorial and equestrian orders, the senators and the knights, which had been greatly reduced by the havoc made among them at different times by frequent murders and fallen into disgrace because of persistent apathy, and reformed them by reviewing their memberships and replacing undesirables with the most eligible Italian and provincial candidates available. Having expelled the most unworthy, he chose in their places the most honorable persons in Italy and the provinces. And when some heated remarks passed between a senator and a Roman eques, to let it be known that these two orders, the senatorial and the equestrian, differed not so much in privileges as in dignity, he declared publicly that senators ought not to be treated with grossly offensive abuse at any time, unless they were the aggressors, and then it was fair and lawful to return it.

He reduced the enormous backlog of pending court cases at Rome. The business of the courts had overwhelmingly accumulated, partly from old lawsuits still undecided, because of interruptions in the course of justice during the recent civil wars, and partly from the increase of new suits arising from the disorders of the times. He therefore chose qualified commissioners by lot for a board of commissioners, to provide for restitution in the settlement of war-compensation claims for what had been seized by violence during the war; and others, he empowered with extraordinary jurisdiction, to make emergency decisions in cases belonging to the centumviri, the centumviral court, The Hundred Men, or more simply, the Hundred, thus greatly reducing the caseload to as small a number as possible, otherwise, the lives of the litigants could scarcely allow sufficient time for their disposition, and they would have been dead before they were summoned to appear.

He showed good-natured tolerance of offensiveness that could do no harm, but with opponents he considered dangerous or irreconcilable, he could be ruthless. Yet he felt little inclination to execute anyone whom he feared or suspected. He never rejoiced at the death of any man; no, he would shed tears, and sigh, at the just punishment of the guilty, grieving that they had chosen to do wrong. Suetonius's researches showed him that it was scarcely found that so much as one innocent party ever suffered punishment during Vespasian's reign, except without his knowledge or while he was absent from Rome, by deliberate defiance of his wishes, contrary to his inclination, or when he was imposed upon by misinforming him about the facts in the case.

A man of strict military discipline and simple tastes, Vespasian proved to be a conscientious and generally tolerant administrator. More importantly, following the upheavals of A.D. 68-69, his reign was welcome for its general tranquility and restoration of peace. The policies of his reign, though sensible, reveal no great imagination, compared with those of later emperors such as Trajan or Hadrian. Yet it was justly believed by his contemporaries that Vespasian had prevented the dissolution of the empire by putting an end to civil war, and that it was fitting that the Latin word pax, “civil peace”, should be a principle motif on his coinage. In Vespasian Rome found a leader who made no great breaks with tradition, yet his ability to rebuild the empire and especially his willingness to expand the composition of the governing class helped to establish a positive working model for those afterward who have been called the Five Good Emperors of the second century. Tacitus, too, offers a generally favorable assessment, citing Vespasian as the first man to improve after becoming emperor.

He enjoyed a good state of health, though he used no other means to preserve it than repeated friction, as much as he could bear, on his neck and other parts of his body, in the ball-court attached to the baths, besides fasting one day in every month. He was physically broad and strong-limbed, and his features suggested a man in the act of straining himself, which is reflected in the rugged and uncompromising features of his portrait busts. When the emperor desired one of the city wits to say something droll about himself, the man facetiously answered, “I will, when you have finished relieving your bowels.”

He cultivated a bluff and even coarse manner, characteristic of the humble origins he liked to recall. This was popular, as also were his great capacity for hard work and the simplicity of his daily life, which was taken as a model by the contemporary aristocracy.

He was astute and ambitious, vigilant, active, and persevering, and he was untiring in the management of public affairs. From the beginning of his reign, he built up a powerful party quickly, and many of his initial appointments were dictated by nepotism or the desire to reward past services. After he became emperor, he used to rise in the winter very early, often before daybreak. Having read over his letters, and the briefs of all the departments of the government offices, he admitted his Friends; and while they were paying him their compliments, he would put on his own shoes, and dress himself with his own hands. Then, after dispatching the business brought before him, he rode out, and afterward retired to relax, reclining on his couch with one of his mistresses, for he kept several of them after the death of Caenis. Coming out of his private apartments, he went to the bath, and then entered the dining-room. He never seemed more good-humored and indulgent than at that time, and his attendants always seized that opportunity to ask a favor.

Vespasian was nearly always good-natured, making frequent jokes; in fact Roman contemporaries thought he was a man of considerable wit, although it often took a low and vulgar form, and he would sometimes use indecent language, like that addressed by crude, athletic youths to young girls about to be married. Yet there are some things related of him that Romans thought not lacking in cleverly inventive pleasantry. Once, being reminded by Mestrius Florus, that plaustra was a more proper expression than plostra, the next day he greeted him by the name of Flaurus instead of Florus. A certain lady pretending to be desperately in love with him, prevailed on him to admit her to his bed; and after he had gratified her desires, he gave her four hundred thousand sesterces. When his steward desired to know how he would have the sum entered in his accounts, he replied, “For Vespasian’s being seduced.”

He endured with great patience the freedom used by his Friends, the satirical allusions of advocates, and the petulance of philosophers. He was little disposed to keep up the memory of affronts or quarrels, nor did he harbor any resentment on account of them, but he showed good-natured tolerance of harmless offensiveness. Licinius Mucianus, who had been guilty of notorious acts of lewdness, who had managed Domitian's regency, whom Pliny admired as a writer, and who, presuming on Vespasian's great services, treated him very rudely, he reprimanded only in private; and when complaining of his conduct to a common friend of theirs, Vespasian concluded with these words, “However, I also am a man.”

Salvius Liberalis, in pleading the cause of a rich man under prosecution, on presuming to say, “What is it to Caesar, if Hipparchus possesses a hundred millions of sesterces?” he commended him for it.

When Demetrius, the Cynic philosopher, who had been sentenced to banishment, met him on the road, and refused to rise up or salute him, no, even snarling at him with offensively abusive language, he only said, "good dog", calling him a cur.

In other affairs, from the beginning to the end of his government, he conducted himself with great moderation and clemency. He was so far from concealing the obscurity of his ancestry, that he frequently made mention of it himself. According to Suetonius, he was born in the hamlet of Falacrina, just beyond Reate, near where he used to spend his summers at a retreat on his country estates. When some affected to trace his pedigree to the founders of Reate, and a companion of Hercules, whose monument is still to be seen on the Salarian road, he laughed at them for it.

He arranged a very splendid marriage for the daughter of his enemy Vitellius, and gave her, besides, a suitable fortune and a carriage outfitted with horses, attendants and equipment.

In the time of Nero, in great consternation after he was forbidden access to the court, and asking those about him what he should do, or where he should go, one of those whose office it was to introduce people to the emperor, on thrusting him out, bid him go to Morbonia, to "Plagueville". But when this same person came afterward to beg his pardon, he only vented his resentment by using nearly the same words to him.

He was so far from being influenced by suspicion or fear to seek the destruction of anyone, that, when his Friends advised him to beware of Metius Pomposianus, because it was commonly believed, on his horoscope being cast, that he was destined by fate to the empire, instead of doing away with him as a potential threat, he made him consul, thus promising for himself the security that now Pomposianus was deeply in debt to him, out of the gratitude he owed him for the benefit thus conferred.

By this time the Apostle Bartholomew had carried the Gospel through the most barbarous countries of the East, penetrating into the remoter Indies, baptizing neophytes and casting out demons. According to local tradition, the Gospel of Saint Matthew was taken to India by Saint Bartholomew. A copy of it was found in India by Saint Pantænus in the third century. Saint John Chrysostom said the Apostle also preached in Asia Minor and, with Saint Philip, and suffered there for the faith, but not mortally. Saint Bartholomew's last mission was in Greater Armenia. There, in a place obstinately addicted to the worship of idols, about A.D. 71, he was crowned with a glorious martyrdom, condemned by the governor of Albanopolis to be crucified. The tradition that he was flayed alive as a part of his crucifixion, without any contradiction might very well have been the form of his death. This double punishment was in use not only in Egypt, but also among the Persians.

By A.D. 71, finally, the lengthy unrest in Gaul was forcibly put down. This sedition which had begun with Vindex in the last days of Nero's reign, and, more recently, had resurged with the attempted grassroots Gallic secession under Julius Civilis, commander of the Batavian auxiliaries, was successfully quelled under Vespasian's generals, Licinius Mucianus and Petilius Cerealis, his cousin.

Meanwhile, Vespasian chiefly reacted with witticisms on the subject of his own shameful means of raising money, in order to wipe off the odium of it by some joke, and turn it into a ridiculous subject.

When one of his ministers, much in his favor, requested a stewardship for some person, under the pretense that he was his brother, he deferred granting his petition, in the meantime sending for the candidate; and having squeezed out of him as much money as he had previously agreed to give to his friend at court, he appointed him immediately to the office. When the minister soon afterward renewed his petition, Vespasian said, “You must find another brother; for the one you adopted is in truth mine.”

Once, during a journey, suspecting that his mule-driver had alighted to shoe his mules only in order to arrange an opportunity for allowing a person they met, who was engaged in a lawsuit, to speak to him, he asked him how much he got for shoeing his mules, and insisted on having a share of the profit.

When his son Titus blamed him for even laying a tax on stale urine, commonly used for bleaching cloth because of its ammonia, he held to his nose a piece of the money he received in the first instalment, and asked him if it stunk. And when he replied, "no", he said, “And yet it is derived from urine.”

This whim of imposing a tax on urine, if true, is not impressive evidence of either his talents as a financier, or the resources of the Roman empire.

When some deputies came to inform him that a large statue, which would cost a vast sum, was ordered to be erected for him at public expense, he told them to pay down immediately, holding out the hollow of his hand, and saying, "Here is a base, ready for the statue."

These are but examples of his wit in the face of public criticism of a policy of graft to restore the state treasury, build monumental public works, and support the upper class elite, senators, teachers, writers and artists, at the expense of the provinces, the cities and the people, sucking them dry and eating up their income.

His son Titus was himself the beneficiary of considerable intelligence and talent, endowments carefully cultivated at every step of his career, from his early education to his role under his father's principate. Titus also received tribunician power.

Tradition records that Titus was skilled as a forger. Taking on the care and inspection of all offices, he dictated letters, wrote proclamations in his father’s name, and solemnly delivered his speeches in the Senate in place of the quaestor, the magistrate in charge of the public treasury and expenditure.

Titus became virtually a partner in Vespasian’s rule, not only accumulating consulates and imperatorial salutations with his father but also, in being given command of the Praetorian Guard as prefect, was made Commander of the Praetorian Guard.

In A.D. 72, Titus was appointed Praetorian prefect with responsibility for the army at Rome, a particularly important and lucrative post since military loyalty was indispensable to the success of the new regime. It seems clear that not only did Vespasian need a trusted colleague in this post but also one who would not hesitate to do his work for him by using unsavory methods of intimidation as his enforcer. He quickly assumed command of the Pretorian Guards, although no one but a Roman knight had ever been their prefect before; and being in charge of them we learn from Suetonius that he was "somewhat arrogant and tyrannical", that he conducted himself with great haughtiness and violence; and, without scruple or delay, he got rid of all those suspicious characters whom he had most reason to suspect, after sending his emissaries unannounced into the theaters and camp, to demand, as if by the general consent of every loyal person there, and in their name, as though tried by popular pressure and not by trial, that the suspected persons should be delivered up to immediate punishment; and they were executed. By these acts, although Titus, son of the emperor, provided for his own future security, yet for the present he incurred the hatred of the people so much, that there was hardly anyone who ever came to the rule of empire with a more odious character, or more universally disliked, than Titus.

A certain amount of ill-repute can be expected for Vespasian's Roman enforcer, but apart from the account of these acts, as related by the historian Suetonius, only a single instance of justice of this kind survives, making any further evaluation of Titus's role difficult for the historian who with prejudice distrusts singular historical accounts by unimpeachably reputable sources not corroborated or duplicated by other sources as verification.

Besides his cruelty, Titus was suspected of giving way to habits of luxury, as he often prolonged his revels up to midnight with the most riotous revelers of his acquaintances. He was suspected of lewdness, because of the swarms of catamites and eunuchs about him and his well-known attachment to queen Berenice, who reportedly received from him a promise of marriage.

On the other hand, Titus is also portrayed during these years as a capable and diligent administrator who attended Senate meetings, requested advice, and generally mixed well with all parties. Yet the sources appear to offer no indication that he was ever considered a "co-ruler" with Vespasian.

After the dispersion of the Apostles during the persecution which arose after the martyrdom of Saint Stephen in Jerusalem, it is an established historical fact that Saint Thomas went to India, where he labored for the spread of the Gospel and the salvation of souls. The Roman Breviary states that he preached in Ethiopia and Abyssinia, as well as in Persia and Media. In Meliapour, which is also called Mylapore, before he died, he erected a very large cross. At the foot of this cross was a rock where Saint Thomas, while praying fervently, suffered his martyrdom by a blow from the lance of a pagan priest and died at Meliapour. Thomas the Apostle was killed by a spear in Mylapore, Madras, India in A.D. 72. This happened, according to the Roman Breviary, at Calamine, which is in fact Meliapour, for in the language of the people the word Calurmine means "on the rock (mina)". The name was given the site in memory of the Apostle's martyrdom. The descendants of his disciples in India are called Thomas Christians.

Vespasian, having been consul for the first time in A.D. 51, on becoming emperor again held the consulate in A.D. 70 and thereafter, for brief periods on each occasion, every year of his reign except two, A.D. 73 and 78, a total of eight consulships; and he gave frequent consulates to his two sons, Titus and Domitian; he also likewise in A.D. 73 assumed the censorship, the office of censor, head of the census and supervisor of public manners and morals. It was in 73 that Vespasian and Titus became censors; and he was his father’s colleague in the censorship of 73 and in several consulships afterward.

Vespasian made it his principal concern, during the whole of his government, first to restore order in the state, and then to improve it; throughout his reign making it his principal business to stabilize the foundations of the commonwealth, and then to embellish it artistically with public works and buildings of admirable beauty intended to impress on the people and foreign visitors the idea that Rome and her empire embodied the very essence of power, glory and wealth, and the excellence of moral, spiritual, cultural and civic virtues, the highest ideals and aspirations of mankind. However, the Romans in general and the imperial court did not share these ideals and aspirations, as Paul noted in his Letter to the Romans, written to the Christian Assembly there.

The corrupted manners of the Romans had now grown to an enormous height of depravity, through the unbounded license of the times; and, to the honor of Vespasian, he discovered great zeal in his endeavors as censor to effect a national reformation of morals. He induced the Senate to enact specific measures to counteract the debauched and reckless style of living then in fashion. He obtained a decree of the Senate that any woman, who formed a union with the slave of another person, should also lose her freedom and be treated as a bondwoman herself, a slave; and that usurers should not be allowed to undertake legal proceedings for recovery of money loaned to youths while they lived with their father’s family, not even after their fathers were dead.

Although little is known about the details of their censorship, in the office of censor there are some suggestive indications that they probably carried out extensive reorganization of the provincial communities, including some of the taxation reforms. They bestowed Latin rights on all Spain, throughout the whole Iberian Peninsula, which meant that all city magistrates obtained Roman citizenship, bringing profit to the imperial treasury as a result; and there is no doubt that Roman citizenship was granted liberally elsewhere. In addition they recruited to the Roman Senate many new members, provincial as well as Italian; and this too brought in more profit.

With the Senate, Vespasian succeeded in maintaining friendly relations, despite the discords of the early months, and the open hostility of Senator Hevidius Priscus and his supporters. To the historian Tacitus, Vespasian was “the only emperor who had changed for the better.”

In the spring of A.D. 73, the final drama involving the Jews in Judea as related by Josephus reached its climax at the fortress of Masada, situated on a steep fourteen-hundred-foot prominence and besieged by the Legio decima Fretensis, the Tenth Legion of the Sea Straits, and several thousand auxiliaries under the command of Lucius Flavius Silva, the governor of Judea. This was the last phase of the so-called "mopping up" operation to root out remaining enemy forces or installations in Judea, after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. Silva ordered the Tenth Legion Fretensis to build camps around the fortress, and to add siege walls. Over a period of months, in a massive engineering feat, the Romans built an enormous ramp to the walls of the fortress and winched up their siege engines. The end came in April, on the fifteenth day of the month Xanthicus, which is Nisan, on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, the day after the feast of the Passover, when more than nine hundred of Masada’s defenders chose suicide over inevitable defeat; all but two women and five children. The women, having hidden themselves and the children from the defenders of Masada, and from the Romans, in their underground cavern heard the noise of the great shout of the Romans suddenly exulting over the capture of that fortress; and they came out, and informed them what had been done, as it was done; and the second woman clearly described all of what had been said by the defenders and what was done, and the manner in which it had been done.

The Romans did not believe them, before they opened the palace, and there they saw the bodies of the dead, in room after room, slain by the dagger of the assassins in the hands of their own defenders. Miserable men indeed were they, whose distress and defiance chose for them in violation of Moses to slay their own wives and children with their own hands, as the better choice among the many evils that they saw before them; for they despaired of the mercy of God, utterly unmindful of their guilt in rejecting him, and despised with insolence and contempt the security offered by Silva, if only they would submit and save their lives; neither did Eleazar ben Jair the commander of the sicarii and the robbers once think of fleeing away, nor would he permit anyone else to do so. God himself in righteous judgment of the sins of that people withdrew his mercy and no longer restrained their insolence, that all generations might see the guilt of that whole generation in rejecting him. This Eleazar ben Jair, after setting before their eyes an imagination of what he said the Romans would do to them, their children, and their wives, if they got them in their power, it was he who took counsel about having them all murdered. And they chose by lot ten men, and these ten murdered all of the others; and then they chose by lot one among themselves, and the one murdered the nine, and finally the last one murdered himself. It was the day after Passover, in the year A.M. 3833, on the Sabbath, which is Saturday, eight April, A.D. 73, when they inflicted on themselves, and by their own hand, the judgment of heaven, through a defiant act of blasphemous sacrilege against the holiness of God. And the Romans took no pleasure in the fact, that here their enemies were dead. And God is just in his judgments, and righteous altogether. And this was the end of that war. The whole conflict is set forth by Josephus in the seven books of The Wars of the Jews, and abbreviated by Eusebius in chapters five through twelve of the third book of his Church History; and is only briefly mentioned by the Romans Suetonius, Tacitus and Cassius Dio.

About this same time, or shortly thereafter, the second book of Esdras called fourth Ezra was also written, that portion now called the third through the fourteenth chapters, in response to the destruction of Jerusalem and the burning of the Temple, declaring the guilt of the nation for its sins against God:

The Second Book of Esdras, also called Fourth Ezra

Although Vespasian had in various ways avoided making Titus his own equal, over the two years A.D. 73 and 74 the son became the military arm of the new principate and is described by Suetonius as particeps atque etiam tutor imperii, “sharer and even protector of the empire”. As his father's enforcer of state security he incurred unpopularity, worsened by his involvement with Berenice.

Berenice, sister of the Syrian king Herod Agrippa the Second, at the height of her powers now visited Rome in A.D. 75 with her brother Agrippa and openly lived with Titus for a time in the palace, and hoped to become his wife. Yet, marriage remained an impossibility. An eastern queen represented a threat to Roman stability that could not be tolerated by the Senate and the people of Rome. Titus reluctantly had to dismiss her. Tradition records that Titus was feared as the next Nero, a perception that may have developed from his association with Berenice, allegations of his heavy-handedness as Praetorian prefect, and tales of sexual debauchery. With respect to his natural disposition, and moral behavior, the expectations entertained by the public were not flattering. He was excessively addicted to luxury; he had revealed a strong inclination to cruelty, and a sympathy for brutality and humiliation in his enjoyment of the games in the arena; and he lived in the habitual practice of lewdness, as unnatural as it was unrestrained. He was supposed, besides, to have a grasping and greedy disposition; for it is certain, in causes which came before his father, that he used to offer his interest for sale, and take bribes. In short, people publicly expressed an unfavorable opinion of him, and said he would prove to be another Nero.

In A.D. 75, Sarmatian tribes overran Parthia’s northern borders, deposing the local Parthian nobles. Internal havoc continued to take its toll. It is therefore accurate to describe Parthia as a state in decline. Although the Romans themselves had also overextended and faced problems of their own, the declining stability in Parthia left it vulnerable.

There were occasional political problems in Rome as well:

Titus having no male issue, Vespasian throughout his reign was insistent that his sons would succeed him, one after the other, first Titus, then Domitian; and it was probably over hereditary succession that he quarreled with certain inflexibly idealistic senators such as Helvidius Priscus. An advocate of senatorial independence and a critic of the Flavian regime from the start, Helvidius and his friends had already expressed general misgivings about Vespasian’s government in the early months of A.D. 70; yet Vespasian was not angry, and was lenient toward him. But now Helvidius proceeded to bitterly stand against him and condemn with the most offensively abusive and demeaning language, as a commander would reprimand an outrageously insubordinate and undisciplined officer of questionable loyalty and foul moral character. Feeling himself thus debased to the level of a common foot-soldier by Priscus's insufferable rudeness, Vespasian, outraged, banished him to exile.

Though Vespasian had indeed banished Helvidius Priscus in 75, afterward, about A.D. 76, he ordered him to be put to death; yet he would gladly have saved him notwithstanding, and accordingly gave order that messengers be dispatched to fetch back the executioners, and would have saved him, had he not been deceived at that moment by a false account brought to him, that Priscus had already perished, and cancelled the order to the messengers; and he was executed.

In Britain important advances were made; the kingdom of Brigantia in northern England had been incorporated in the province, the pacification of Wales had been completed, and in A.D. 78 General Gnaeus Julius Agricola began the seven years’ governorship that was to lead Roman arms into the Scottish Highlands.

In 78 Vespasian executed Eprius Marcellus, one of his earliest and most efficient supporters, accused of a conspiracy that may have been directed at Titus’s association with the Jewish princess Berenice; and being offered the opportunity, Eprius committed suicide.

All are agreed that he had such confidence in the astrological calculations based on his own horoscope and that of his sons, that, after several conspiracies against him, he told the Senate that either his sons would succeed him, or no one. It is said that he once saw in a dream a balance in the middle of the porch of the Palatine house exactly poised; in one pan of it stood Claudius and Nero, in the other, himself and his sons Titus and Domitian. He had no one to interpret.

In 79 Titus suppressed a conspiracy, doubtless concerned with the succession. Aulus Alienus Caecina, formerly general under Vitellius, a man of consular rank, was condemned by Titus for conspiracy; for Titus had discovered a private document in the handwriting of Caecina, containing an account of a plot hatched among the soldiers; he invited him to supper, and, on his departure, immediately after he had gone out of the room, ordered that he be stabbed. Indeed, he was provoked to this act by his perception of an imminent danger. Caecina was executed in A.D. 79.

Vespasian was nearly always good-natured, making frequent jokes; by Roman standards he was a man of considerable wit. Not even when he was under immediate apprehension and peril of death could he resist joking. For when, among other marvels portending his death, the doors of the mausoleum of the Caesars suddenly flew open, and a blazing star called a hairy star appeared in the heavens, one of these prodigies, he said, concerned Julia Calvina, who was of the family of Augustus, open to everyone; and the other, the king of the Parthians, who wore his hair long. And during his ninth and last consulship Vespasian visited Campania; and being seized, while in Campania, with a slight indisposition, and bothered by slight attacks of fever when his distemper first seized him, he said, “I suppose I shall soon be a god.”

He hurried back to Rome. Immediately returning to the city, he soon afterward went on to Cutiliae, and his estates in the country, to his summer retreat near Reate, where he constantly used to spend the summer, where now he made things worse. Here, though his disorder much increased, and he injured his bowels by too free use of the cold waters, by bathing and swimming in cold water and irritating his stomach, yet he carried on with his imperial duties as usual; he nevertheless attended to the dispatch of business, and even received a deputation at his bedside, and gave audience to ambassadors in bed, before he had a sudden episode of diarrhea.

At last, being suddenly taken ill by a violent bout of diarrhea, to such a degree that he was ready to faint, and in fact almost fainted, he cried out, “An emperor ought to die standing upright.”

He struggled to rise, muttering that an emperor ought to die at least on his feet; in endeavoring to rise, in his last illness he said, “Vae, puto deus fio”, which is, “Oh dear, I think I’m becoming a god”; and collapsed in the arms of attendants who went to his rescue. The occasion is said to have inspired his deathbed quip: "Dear me! I must be turning into a god." His deathbed joke was, "Oh my, I must be turning into a god!" And thus, after contracting a brief illness, he died in the hands of those who were helping him up.

Many say this was twenty-three June, A.D. 79, when he had lived sixty-nine years, seven months and seven days; others say it was the eighth of the Kalends of July, which is the twenty-fourth of June, being sixty-nine years, one month, and seven days old; and after his death he was immediately accorded deification.

In contrast to his immediate imperial predecessors, Vespasian died peacefully, at Aquae Cutiliae near his birthplace in Sabine country; and, when Vespasian died, on his death his son Titus promptly and peacefully succeeded him to the rule as emperor.

The ancient historians who lived through the period such as Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus and Pliny the Elder speak well of Vespasian while condemning the emperors that came before him. Eusebius says of Vespasian's policy regarding Christians that Vespasian had attempted nothing to our prejudice during his reign. Yet Vespasian had ordered a search be made for all descendants of David so that no member of the royal house should be left among the Jews, which resulted in another great persecution of the Jews, and of Christians who were assumed to be a sect of the Jews. His biographer Suetonius claims that throughout Vespasian’s reign his firm policy was first to restore stability to the tottering state, and then to adorn it. But, despite his buildings and his generosity to needy friends, he probably bequeathed a substantial surplus of public money to his successors. And he left the treasury with a surplus, and the common people as poor as they had been before.

Vespasian, Roman emperor, died on twenty-three or twenty-four June A.D. 79. When Vespasian had reigned for about ten years, emperor from A.D. 70 to 79, his son Titus succeeded him as emperor; and it was after Vespasian's death that Titus assumed full imperial powers.

At Vespasian's funeral, Favo, the principal mimic, impersonating him, and imitating, as actors do, both his manner of speaking and his gestures, asked aloud of the procurators how much his funeral and the procession would cost. And being answered, “ten millions of sesterces,” he cried out to give him only a hundred thousand sesterces, and that they might throw his body into the Tiber, if they would. But in fact, public deification did follow his death, as did his interment in the Mausoleum of Augustus alongside the Julio-Claudians.

Titus, in full Titus Vespasianus Augustus, his original name being Titus Flavius Vespasianus, like his father, was born thirty December A.D. 39, the conqueror of Jerusalem in 70, and Roman emperor from 79 to 81. He triumphed with his father, bore jointly with him the office of censor beginning in 73, and was, besides, his colleague. Consequently, Titus shared in virtually every honor with the emperor during the A.D. seventies, before Vespasian died, including the tribunicial power; not only in the tribunician authority, having the full authority of a Roman tribune, but also in seven consulships, seven joint-consulships, and a share of the office of censor.

When Titus eventually acceded to the throne in A.D. 79 nothing changed for Domitian. He was granted honors, but nothing else. Relations between the two brothers were most obviously cool and it is largely believed that Titus shared his deceased father's opinion that Domitian was not fit for office.

Domitian was insatiable in his lusts, calling frequent commerce with women, as if it was a sort of exercise, klinopalaen, bed-wrestling; and it was reported that he plucked the hair from his concubines, and swam about in company with the lowest prostitutes. His brother’s daughter Flavia Julia was offered him in marriage when she was a virgin; but being at that time enamored of Domitia, he obstinately refused her. Yet not long afterward, when she was given to another, he was ready enough to debauch her, and that even while Titus was living.

Titus Flavius Vespasian the younger, having his father's name, was the first prince who succeeded to the empire by hereditary right; and, after his return from Judea, having constantly acted as colleague with his father in the administration, he seemed to be as well qualified by experience as he was by ability for conducting the affairs of the empire. Before becoming emperor, tradition records that Titus was feared as the next Nero, a perception that may have developed from his association with Berenice, his alleged heavy-handedness as Praetorian prefect, and tales of sexual debauchery. But now, with a degree of virtuous resolution without prior example in history, he no sooner took into his hands the entire reins of government than he renounced every vicious immoral attachment. This turned out in the end to his advantage, and enhanced his praises to the highest pitch when he was found to possess no vicious propensities, but, on the contrary, the noblest virtues. Instead of wallowing in luxury, as before, he became a model of temperance; instead of cruelty, he displayed the strongest proofs of humanity and benevolence; and in place of lewdness, he exhibited a transition to the most unblemished chastity and virtue. In a word, the Romans had never known so sudden and great a change in the character of any mortal; and he had the peculiar glory to receive the appellation, the name and title of, “the darling and delight of mankind.”

The suddenness of his transformation raises immediate suspicions in the hearts of cynical people, yet it is difficult to know whether the historical tradition is suspect or if Titus was in fact adept at exchanging one persona for another. Once in office, however, both emperor and his reign were portrayed in universally positive terms. It is true that the ancient sources tend to heroicize Titus, yet based on all of the available evidence, his reign must be considered a positive one.

Under a prince of such a disposition, the government of the empire could only be conducted with the strictest regard for public welfare. Titus after becoming ruler committed no act of murder or of amorous passion; but showed himself upright, though plotted against; and self-controlled, though Berenice came to Rome again. He now dismissed her a second time, with mutual regret, upon his accession to the throne; he immediately sent Berenice away from the city, much against both their inclinations. This may have been because he had really undergone a change; for, to wield power as assistants to another is a very different thing for men from exercising independent authority themselves. In the former case, they are careless about the good name of the sovereignty and in their greed misuse the authority it gives them, thus doing many things that make their power the object of envy and slander; but actual monarchs, not false, knowing that everything depends on them, have an eye to good reputation also. It was undoubtedly this realization that caused Titus to say to someone whose society he had previously affected: "It is not the same thing to request a favor of another as to decide a case yourself, nor the same to ask something of another as to give it to someone yourself."

He pursued the course of the Vespasian reform, begun in the previous reign, with the most ardent application; he capably continued the work of his father in establishing the Flavian dynasty and he maintained a high degree of economic and administrative competence in Italy and beyond. In so doing, he firmly established the role of the emperor as a dedicated, paternalistic autocrat, a model for rule that would serve Trajan and his successors well.

Titus was responsible for many architectural achievements during his tenure, including the Colosseum and plans for the Arch of Titus. It is clear that Titus sought to present the Flavians as the legitimate successors of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Proof came through the issuing of a series of restoration coins of previous emperors, the most popular being Augustus and Claudius.

In money matters he was frugal and made no unnecessary expenditures, yet he did not punish anyone for following a different course. He violated no private right; and if ever a mortal man refrained from injustice, he did; no, he would not accept the allowable and customary gifts and contributions. Yet, in outstanding generosity, he was inferior to none of the princes before him. In the eyes of his pagan contemporaries his entertainments were of a kind more pleasing and enjoyable rather than extravagant orgies; and he surrounded himself with such excellent Friends, that the succeeding princes adopted them as most serviceable to themselves and the state. He was outstandingly good-looking, cultivated, and affable; Suetonius called him “the darling of the human race.”

He was so far from treating with any extraordinary kindness some of his old eunuchs who had been revelers with him, even though they were such accomplished dancers that they exercised an overwhelming power on the stage, gaining names of fame for themselves, that he would not so much as witness their accomplished performances in the crowded theatre.

His relations with his brother Domitian were bad, but in other ways his short rule was unexpectedly popular in Rome. Though Domitian was continually plotting against him, almost openly stirring up the armies to rebellion, and scheming to get away, yet Titus could not endure to put him to death, or to banish him from his presence; nor did he treat him with less respect than before. But from his first accession to the empire, he constantly declared him his partner and colleague in it, and that he should be his successor; begging of him sometimes in private, with tears in his eyes, to return the affection he had for him.

He appeared to be by nature extremely benevolent. He issued an edict confirming all gifts that had been bestowed upon any persons by the former emperors, thus saving them the trouble of petitioning him individually about the matter; for whereas all the preceding emperors after Tiberius, according to the example he had set for them, would not admit grants made by former princes to be valid, unless they each, one-by-one, individually received the reigning emperor's personal authorization, he instead confirmed them all by one general edict, without waiting for any applications respecting them. Of all who petitioned for any favor, he sent none away without hope. And when his ministers explained to him that he promised more than he could perform, he replied, “No one ought to go away downcast from an audience with his prince.”

Once at supper, reflecting that he had done nothing for anyone that day, he broke into that most memorable and admirable saying: “My friends, I have lost a day.”

In particular, he treated the people on all occasions with so much courtesy, that, on presenting a show of gladiators, he declared that he would conduct it not according to his own whim, but that of the spectators; and he did so, accordingly. He denied them nothing, and quite frankly encouraged them to ask what they pleased in the games. Supporting the cause of the Thracian team among the gladiators, he frequently joined in the popular demonstrations in their favor, but without compromising his dignity or doing anything wrong.

Having declared that he accepted the office of Pontifex Maximus, Chief Priest of Rome, for the purpose of preserving his hands undefiled, he faithfully adhered to his promise. For from that moment he was neither directly nor indirectly concerned in the death of any person, though he was sometimes justifiably irritated. He swore that he would perish himself, rather than be the cause of the destruction of any man. When two men of Patrician rank were convicted of aspiring to the empire, he only advised them to desist, saying that the sovereign power was determined by fate, and he promised them that if there was anything else that they desired of him, he would grant it. He also immediately sent messengers to the mother of one of them, who was at a great distance, and in deep anxiety about her son, to assure her of his safety. No, he not only invited them to dine with him, but the next day, at a show of gladiators, he purposely placed them close by him; and handed to them the weapons of the combatants to hold for his inspection. It is said likewise, that having had their nativities cast, their horoscopes, he assured them that a great calamity was impending, for both of them, but from another hand, and not from his.

During his reign Titus put no senator to death, nor was anyone else in fact ever slain by him during his rule. He himself never entertained cases based on the charge of maiestas nor allowed others to do so; for he declared: "It is impossible for me to be insulted or abused in any way. For I do nothing that deserves censure, and I do not care what is reported falsely. As for the emperors who are dead and gone, they will avenge themselves in case anyone does them a wrong, if they are in very truth demigods and possess any power."

He also instituted various other measures designed to render men's lives more secure and free from trouble, and he banished the informers from the City.

Among the calamities of the times, were the crowds of informers and their agents; a tribe of unscrupulous evildoers who had greatly increased under the license of former reigns. He frequently ordered these treacherous betrayers to be scourged or beaten with rods in the Forum, and then, after he had compelled them to pass through the Amphitheatre as a public spectacle, commanded them to be sold as slaves, or else banished to some rocky islands. And to discourage such practices for the future, among other things he prohibited legal actions to be successively brought over and over again under different laws for the same cause, or inquiry into the status of deceased persons after a certain number of years.

In his reign also a second false Nero appeared, who was an Asiatic named Terentius Maximus. He resembled Nero both in appearance and in voice, for he too sang to the accompaniment of the lyre. He gained a few followers in Asia, and in his eastward advance to the Euphrates River gathered a far greater number, and finally sought refuge with Artabanus the Second, the Parthian leader, who, because of his anger against Titus, not only received him but began making preparations to restore him to Rome.

Meanwhile, war had again broken out in Britain, and General Julius Agricola overran the whole of the enemy's territory there. He was the first of the Romans we know to have discovered the fact that Britain is surrounded by water. It seems some soldiers, after rebelling, and slaying the centurions and a military tribune, took refuge in boats, and putting out to sea sailed round the western portion of the country as the wind and the waves happened to carry them; and since they approached again from the opposite direction, without realizing where they were, they put in again at the camps on the first side. After they were seized, Agricola immediately sent others to attempt the voyage around Britain, and learned from them, too, that it was an island. As a result, Titus received the title of Imperator for the fifteenth time, and Agricola received triumphal honors from Titus in Rome.

During the first beginning of the reign of this emperor some dreadful accidents happened, among them the first eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the memory of men. Vesuvius stands opposite Neapolis near the sea. Ancient writers, before this time, spoke of Vesuvius as being covered with orchards and vineyards, the middle of which was dry and barren.

This is what befell. In the seventy-ninth year of the Christian era, 832 A.U.C., in Campania, remarkable and frightful occurrences took place; for a great fire suddenly flared up at the very end of the summer. Once Vesuvius was equally high at all points, and the fire rose from the center of it. Thick columns of smoke appeared, resembling what Tacitus plainly describes as numbers of huge men, quite surpassing any human stature—such creatures, in fact, as the Giants are depicted to have been—now on the mountain, now in the surrounding country, and again in the cities, wandering over the earth day and night and also swiftly gliding through the air. After this, terrible droughts and sudden and violent earthquakes occurred, so that the whole plain round about heaved and the peaks thrust suddenly up into the air.

There were frequent rumblings, some of them subterranean, that resembled thunder, and some on the surface, that sounded like bellowings; the sea also joined in the roar and the sky re-echoed it. Then suddenly, twenty-four August A.D. 79, a thunderous crash was heard, as if the mountains were tumbling in ruins; and first, huge stones were hurled aloft, rising as high as the very summits and falling down from heaven upon men, then came a great quantity of fire and endless smoke, so that all the air was darkened and the sun was entirely hidden, as if eclipsed, turning day into night and light into darkness. Some thought the Giants were rising again in revolt, for many of their forms were perceptible in the smoke at this time and, moreover, a sound like trumpeting horns was heard, while others believed the whole universe was dissolving into chaos or fire. Therefore they fled, some from the houses into the streets, others from outside into the houses, now from the sea to the land, and now from the land to the sea; for in their terror they thought any place where they were not was safer than where they were.

The eruption was accompanied by an earthquake, which destroyed several cities of Campania. Furthermore, it buried two entire cities, in particular Pompeii and Herculaneum, the former place while its populace was seated for safety in the theatre, while the lava, pouring down the mountain in torrents, in various directions overwhelmed the surrounding plains.

Among those to whom this dreadful eruption proved fatal was Pliny, the celebrated naturalist, whose curiosity to examine the phenomenon led him so far inside the outer edges of the danger, that, after doing so, he was suddenly overcome and could not escape.

While this was going on, an inconceivable quantity of ashes was blown out, which covered both sea and land and filled all the air. It caused much injury, of various kinds, at random, to men and farms and cattle, and in particular it destroyed all fish and birds. The burning ashes were carried not only over the neighboring country, but the actual amount of dust, all told, was so great that some of it reached as far as the shores of Africa and Egypt and Syria, and it also reached Rome, filling the air overhead and darkening the sun, and occasioning much fear there too, which lasted for several days, since the people did not know and could not imagine what had happened, but also, like those who were more close at hand, and witnessed the eruption, believed that the whole world was being turned upside down, that the sun was disappearing into the earth and the earth was being lifted to the sky. Now, these ashes at the time did the Romans no great harm, but later, they brought on them a terrible plague.

Tacitus relates that Mount Vesuvius has inexhaustible fountains of fire, for here alone have the fires broken out, whereas all the outlying areas of the mountain even now remain untouched by fire. Consequently, since the outside is never burned, while the central part is constantly growing brittle and being reduced to ashes, the peaks surrounding the center to this day still retain their original height, but the whole section that is on fire, having been consumed, in the course of time has settled and become concave; thus the entire mountain resembles a hunting arena—if we can compare great things to small. Its outlying heights support both trees and vines in abundance, but the crater is left abandoned entirely to the fire and sends up smoke by day and a flame by night; in fact, it gives the impression that quantities of incense of all kinds are being burned in it because of the smoke that rises. Now this goes on all the time, sometimes to a greater, and sometimes to a lesser extent; but the mountain often throws up ashes whenever there is an extensive settling in the interior, and discharges stones whenever it is ruptured by a violent venting of gas. It also rumbles and roars because its vents are not all grouped together but are narrow and concealed.

Such is Vesuvius, and he says these phenomena usually occur there every year. But all the other occurrences that have taken place there in the course of time, however notable they may have seemed to those who on each occasion observed them, because they were unusual, nevertheless would be regarded as trivial in comparison with what happened at this time, even if all had been combined into one. This is according to the account of Tacitus.

However, while Titus was absent from Rome and in Campania attending to the catastrophe that had befallen that region, which has ever since been celebrated for its volcano, in the following year, A.D. 80, a second conflagration, above ground, spread over very large sections of Rome; a devastating fire again destroyed large sections of the city, which continued during three days and three nights. Rome burned. It consumed the temple of Serapis, the temple of Isis, the Saepta, the temple of Neptune, the Baths of Agrippa, the Pantheon, the Diribitorium, the theatre of Balbus, the stage building of Pompey's theatre, the Octavian buildings together with their books, and the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, all of these with their surrounding temples; besides a terrible pestilence, a plague, such as was scarcely ever known before. Hence the disaster seemed to be not of human but of divine origin; for anyone can estimate, from the list of buildings, how many others must have been destroyed. Men were in anguish and cursed the God of heaven for their pains and sores, and did not repent of their deeds; nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.

Amid these many great disasters, Titus not only showed the concern which might be expected from a prince but even the affection of a father, for his people; the one while comforting them by his proclamations, and the other while relieving them to the utmost of his power. In response to the eruption of Vesuvius the previous year in A.D. 79, Titus spent large sums to relieve distress in that area; he chose by lot, from among the men of consular rank, commissioners for repairing the losses in Campania. He accordingly sent two ex-consuls to them to supervise the restoration of the region, and bestowed on the inhabitants not only general gifts of money, but also the property of those who had lost their lives and left no heirs. The estates of those who had perished by the eruption of Vesuvius, and had left no heirs, he applied to the repair of the ruined cities. As for himself, with regard to the public buildings destroyed by fire in the City, he declared that nobody should be a loser but himself, saying, "I am ruined."

Accordingly, he applied all the ornaments of his palaces to the decoration of the temples and purposes of public utility, and appointed several men of the equestrian order to superintend the work. Likewise, the imperial purse contributed heavily to rebuilding Rome. He accepted nothing from any private citizen or city or king, although many kept offering and promising him large sums; but he restored all the damaged regions from funds already on hand. Thus, for the relief of the people during the plague, he employed, in the way of sacrifice and medicine, all means available to him, both human and divine.

As a result of these actions, Titus earned a reputation for generosity and geniality. Even so, his keen financial intelligence must not be under-estimated, for he left the treasury with a surplus, as he had found it, and dealt promptly and efficiently with costly natural disasters. The A.D. third-century Greek historian, Cassius Dio, offered perhaps the most accurate and concise judgment of Titus's economic policy: "In money matters, Titus was frugal and made no unnecessary expenditure."

In other areas, the brevity of Titus's reign has obscured discernment of any major emphases or trends in policy. As far as can be discerned from the limited evidence, senior officials and amici were well chosen, and his legislative activity tended to focus on popular social measures, with the army as a particular beneficiary in the areas of land ownership, marriage, and testamentary freedom to leave an inheritance to any beneficiary. In the provinces, Titus continued his father's policies by strengthening roads and forts in the East and along the Danube.

In the same year, A.D. 80, Titus also set out to establish an imperial cult in honor of Vespasian. The temple, in which this cult was housed, the first imperial cult that was not connected with the Julio-Claudians, was begun by Titus; but it was not completed by him.

He also sought legitimacy through various economic measures, which he enthusiastically funded. His success was won largely by lavish expenditure, some of it through purely personal and very substantial generous giving but also by allocating some of the public bounty, such as the assistance to Campania after Vesuvius erupted in 79 and the rebuilding of Rome after the fire in 80. Vast amounts of capital were poured into extensive building projects in Rome, especially the Flavian Amphitheatre. He also pressed forward the speedy construction of new imperial warm baths to the south-east of the Amphitheatre and close to it, and began work on the celebrated Arch of Titus, a memorial to his Jewish victories, next to the Jewish quarter. Large sums were directed to Italy and the provinces as well, especially for road building.

In A.D. 81, when he finally completed the construction of the Flavian Amphitheatre, popularly known as the Colosseum, in celebration of additions made to the structure, he opened it with ceremonies lasting more than a hundred days. Having dedicated his Amphitheatre, Titus entertained the people with most magnificent spectacles, providing a grand one hundred day festival, with sea fights staged on an artificial lake, infantry battles in which men died, wild beast hunts, and similar activities. There, too, on the first day there was a gladiatorial exhibition and wild-beast hunt, the lake in front of the images having first been covered over with a platform of planks and wooden stands erected around it. On the second day there was a horse-race, and on the third day a naval battle between three thousand men, followed by an infantry battle. The names the combatants used were the "Athenians" and the "Syracusans". The "Athenians" conquered the "Syracusans", made a landing on the islet and assaulted and captured a wall that had been constructed around the monument. These were the spectacles that were offered, and they continued for a hundred days; but Titus also furnished some things that were of practical use to the people. He would throw down into the theatre from aloft little wooden balls variously inscribed, one designating some article of food, another clothing, another a silver vessel or perhaps a gold one, or again horses, pack-animals, cattle or slaves. Those who seized them were to carry them to the dispensers of the bounty, from whom they would receive the article named. He likewise exhibited a naval fight in the old Naumachia, the name of an arena built to be flooded, besides a combat of gladiators; and in one day brought into the theatre five thousand wild beasts of all kinds to be killed in sport. To omit no opportunity of acquiring popularity, he himself sometimes made use of the baths he had erected, without excluding the common people.

Most of what he did was not characterized by anything noteworthy, but in dedicating the hunting-theatre and the baths that bear his name he produced many remarkable spectacles. There was a battle between cranes and also between four elephants; animals both tame and wild were slain to the number of nine thousand; and women (not those of any prominence, however) took part in killing them. (It has been said that pagan Rome, because of the games, finally exterminated many species of rare wild animals in Europe, the Middle East, and north Africa.) As for the men, several fought in single combat and several groups contended together both in infantry and naval battles. For Titus suddenly filled this same theatre with water and brought in horses and bulls and some other domesticated animals that had been taught to behave in the liquid element just as on land. He also brought in people on ships, who engaged in a sea-fight there, impersonating the Corcyreans and Corinthians, killing each other in combat, for sport; and others gave a similar exhibition outside the city in the grove of Gaius and Lucius, a place which Augustus had once excavated for this very purpose.

After he had finished these exhibitions of violence and death, and had wept so bitterly on the last day that all the people saw him, he performed no other deed of importance; but the next day, in the consulship of Flavius and Pollio, after the dedication of the buildings mentioned, amid all these favorable circumstances, he was cut off by an untimely death; the Roman Suetonius says his death was more to the loss of mankind than himself. At the close of the public spectacles, he wept bitterly in the presence of the people, and then retired into the Sabine country, rather melancholy because a sacrificial animal victim had made its escape while he was sacrificing, and loud thunder had been heard while the atmosphere was serene.

While he and his brother were on the way, travelling outside Rome, at the first resting-place on the road, he was seized with a fever; and being carried forward in a litter, they said that he drew back the curtains, and looked up to heaven, complaining heavily that his life was taken from him, though he had done nothing to deserve it, for there was no action of his that he had occasion to repent of, except one. What that was, he neither disclosed himself, nor is it easy for us to guess. Mystery surrounded the last minutes before Titus’s death. But Domitian was not even to wait for his brother to die. Whether or not he had a hand in Titus’s death, Domitian did not wait for his brother to die. As Titus lay dying, he quickly returned to Rome and hastened to the Praetorian camp to be proclaimed emperor—so certain was he that his brother would be dead!—and there he had himself proclaimed emperor by the soldiers, and he was hailed as emperor.

Titus died on thirteen September, or fourteen September, A.D. 81, amid rumors that Domitian had poisoned him. But others insist that it is more likely he died of natural causes, from illness.

As soon as the news of his death was published, all the people mourned for him as for the loss of some near relative. On news of Titus's death, the Senate assembled in haste, before they could be summoned by proclamation, and locking the doors of their Senate house at first, but afterward opening them, they gave Titus such thanks, and heaped upon him such praises, now that he was dead, as they had never done while he was alive and present among them; the Senate chose first to honor the dead emperor before elevating his brother, an early indication perhaps of Domitian's future troubles with the aristocracy. His ascension to the throne came on the following day, 14 September A.D. 81, 834 A.U.C.. With Titus dead, he was confirmed emperor by the Senate. At any rate, after waiting an extra day, Domitian received Imperium, the title Augustus, and tribunician power along with the office of Pontifex Maximus and the title pater patriae, Father of his Country.

Later, rumors circulated that Domitian may have had a hand in his brother’s death, possibly by poison. Gossip also ran rampant that the new emperor had at one point even plotted to overthrow his brother and take the throne for himself.

Suetonius records that Titus died on his way to the Sabine country of his ancestors, and that he passed away at the same watering-place that had been the scene of his father's death, in the same villa where his father had died before him, on the Ides of September, the 13th of September; Titus died in September, A.D. 81 after only twenty-six months in office, having ruled two years, two months, and twenty days after he had succeeded his father; and in the one-and-fortieth year of his age. Titus Flavius Vespasianus, born in A.D. 39, was Roman Emperor from A.D. 79 to 81, and, had he lived for a longer time, it is probable that his authority and example would have produced the most beneficial effects upon the manners of the Romans.

The common report is that he was put out of the way by his brother, for Domitian had previously plotted against him; but some writers state that he died a natural death. A competing tradition persistently implicated his brother, Domitian, as having had a hand in the emperor's demise. His sudden death at age forty-one was supposedly hastened by Domitian, who became his successor as emperor, but the evidence is highly contradictory and any wrongdoing is difficult to prove, from the available evidence. The tradition is that, while he was still breathing and possibly had a chance of recovery, Domitian, in order to hasten his end, placed him in a chest packed with a quantity of snow, pretending that the disease required, perhaps, that a chill be administered, to break the fever. At any rate, he rode off to Rome while Titus was still alive, entered the camp, and received the title and authority of emperor, after giving the soldiers all that his brother had given them. Titus, as he expired, said: "I have made but one mistake."

There is some disagreement on the meaning of Titus’s last words: “I have made but one mistake.” What this was he did not make clear, and no one else recognized it with certainty. Some have conjectured one thing and some another. Some imagine that he alluded to the connection which he had formerly had with his brother’s wife. Suetonius himself wrote that he

“gazed up at the sky, and complained bitterly that life was being undeservedly taken from him, since a single sin lay on his conscience.”

He added,

“this enigmatic remark has been taken as referring to incest with Domitian’s wife, Domitia; she herself solemnly denied the allegation.”

Suetonius did not believe this was the case because if she had had an affair, she would have boasted about it. The prevailing view agrees with those who say that he referred to his taking his brother's wife, Domitia. But Domitia solemnly denied it on oath; which she would never have done, had there been any truth in the report; no, she would certainly have gloried in it, as she was forward enough to boast of all her scandalous intrigues. Some others, those not overly fond of the new emperor, took a more negative view of these words, that Titus meant he should have killed Domitian when he had the chance; and say that what he meant as his mistake was that he had not killed Domitian when he found him openly plotting against him, but had chosen rather to suffer that fate himself at his rival's hands, and had surrendered the empire of the Romans to a man like Domitian, whose character will now be made clear.

Domitian himself delivered the funeral eulogy and had Titus deified.

Cassius Dio suggested that Titus's reputation was enhanced by his early death. Again, his satisfactory record may also have been due to the fact that he survived his accession but a very short time, that is, short for a ruler, for he was thus given no opportunity for wrongdoing. For he lived afterward only two years, two months and twenty days, in addition to the thirty-nine years, five months and twenty-five days he had already lived at that time. In this respect, indeed, he is regarded as having equalled in reputation the long reign of Augustus, since it is maintained that Augustus would never have been loved had he lived a shorter time, nor Titus had he lived longer. For Augustus, though at the outset he showed himself rather harsh because of the wars and the factional strife, was later able, in the course of time, to achieve a brilliant reputation for his kindly deeds; Titus, on the other hand, ruled with mildness and died at the height of his glory, whereas, if he had lived a long time, it might have been shown that he owes his present fame more to good fortune than to merit, but we do not know. According to his contemporaries, he was found to possess no vicious propensities as emperor, but, on the contrary, the noblest virtues. There are too many who would prefer that he had failed in his resolve to be a good example to the people, and relapsed, so that his reputation for a good reign might be damaged, and his integrity not be a reproach to their own lack of moral and spiritual principle. It is beyond dispute that whatever good men do comes from almighty God, as does their ability to change their behavior to natural moral virtue.

Meanwhile, the holy Apostles of our Savior were scattered across the whole world. They traveled into every land, Teaching their message in the power of Christ, who had told them,

"Go and make disciples of all nations in my name",

as written in the close of the Gospel According to Matthew. Thomas, according to tradition, was allotted Parthia, Andrew Scythia, and John Asia, where he stayed up to his death at Ephesus.

After the martyrdoms of Peter and then Paul, Linus, a Roman, was the first who received the episcopate at Rome, the first to be appointed Episcopos of Rome, whom Paul mentions in his second epistle from Rome to Timothy, in the salutation at the close of the epistle, saying,

"Eubulus and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, salute thee."

But the rest of the Apostles, who were harassed in innumerable ways with an intent to destroy them, and driven from the land of Judea, had gone forth to preach the gospel to all nations, relying on the aid of Christ, when he said,

"Go you, Teach all nations in my name."

The whole body, however, of the Assembly at Jerusalem, having been commanded twelve years before by a divine revelation, given to men of approved piety there before the war, had removed from the city, and dwelt at a certain town eastward in Perea beyond the Jordan, called Pella. Those who believed in Christ at that time, having removed here from Jerusalem, as if holy men had entirely abandoned the royal city itself and the whole land of Judea, as Lot had removed from Sodom, the divine justice finally overtook them, the Jews, for their crimes against Christ and his Apostles, during the second year of the reign of Vespasian, totally destroying the whole generation of these evil-doers from the earth, leaving their descendants to mourn. Remember the words of our Lord, how he said,

"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust."
"But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you."
"Every plant which my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a pit."

And recall the words of the Apostle Paul,

"Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God; for it is written,
'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord'.
'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.'
"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

And now Titus was dead, and eleven years and fourteen days had passed since the destruction of the Temple and the city of Jerusalem.

Domitian was emperor.

This chapter is the eighth part of a nine-part summary of the intervening years between the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul under Nero and the writing of the New Testament works of the Epistle of Jude, the Book of Revelation and the Letters of John the Apostle. Sources are linked below.

Historians and Bible scholars disagree on the precise dates of the intervening years. But in general they do agree that the entire historical period extends from about A.D. 67 through 90.
The summary of the intervening years continues in the next chapter Fifty-four. The concluding chapters Fifty-five and Fifty-six of this Harmony of the Gospel contain the First Letter of Clement and the Letter of Jude, and the Book of Revelation and the Letters of John.
Note to the reader:
The text of this chapter is a redaction of the informative sources listed and linked below, rearranged, chronologically sequenced, collated, condensed, combined and adapted, while seeking to preserve much of their expressive language, and in some instances updating and improving both their translations and the written copy. Parallel constructions and duplications in the text have been kept to a minimum as far as possible without loss of information.

Ecclesiastical History III, chapters 12–13
Wars 7.5.3-7 [Book 7 [118-162]
Twelve Caesars: Vespasian 5–25
Twelve Caesars: Titus 5–11
Twelve Caesars: Domitian 1–2

The Twelve Caesars: Divus Vespasian
The Histories: Book IV (January - November, A.D. 70)
Vespasian: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Vespasian (roman-emperors.org)

The Twelve Caesars: Divus Titus
The Histories: Book V (A.D. 70)
Titus: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Titus (roman-emperors.org)

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome of Book LXIV (penelope.uchicago.edu)

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome of Book LXV (penelope.uchicago.edu)

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome of Book LXVI (penelope.uchicago.edu)

War, Book 7 (biblestudytools.com)

Eccesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus, Book III, chapters 11, 12 and 13
Christian Classics Ethereal Library (ccel.org)

Chapter 11 Simeon ruled the Church of Jerusalem after James
Chapter 12 Vespasian commands the descendants of David be sought
Chapter 13 Anencletus, the second Bishop of Rome
Chapter 14 Avilus, the second Bishop of Alexandria

World English Bible text
Greek original text
Latin Vulgate text
NRSV text
Scofield Reference Bible (1917 Edition)
Conservative Bible text
multiple versions of any verse
multiple commentaries any passage
interlinear Bible: Hebrew, Greek, English
Bible maps (click initial letter of place name)
Bible Encyclopedias: Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature (studylight.org)
Catholic Encyclopedia Catholic Online (catholic.org)
Hebrew Calendar Converter See exact equivalents of Gregorian Calendar dates.

—in Gregorian Calendar click the cursor in the day, month, or year fields, to highlight selection,
then use [Backspace ←] and [←] [→] right and left arrow keys in the day and year fields,
and [Backspace ←] and [ ↑ ] [ ↓ ] up and down arrow keys in the month field,
then click on [Calculate].

Table of Old Testament quotes in the New Testament, in English translation, Joel Kalvesmaki 2013 (kalvesmaki.com)

List of 300 Septuagint Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, by Steve Rudd 2017 (bible.ca)

Table of LXX quotes and allusions in the New Testament

Church History (Eusebius): The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine (newadvent.org)

The Works of Flavius Josephus William Whiston, Translator, 1737 (sacred-texts.com)

Suetonius: Twelve Caesars: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquilus; To which are added His Lives of the Grammarians, Rhetoricians, and Poets. The Translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D., Revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq., A.M. (Gutenberg.org)

Tacitus: The Annals, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Tacitus: The Histories, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb (A.D. 69 through 70)

Sextus Aurelius Victor: Epitome De Caesaribus (roman-emperors.org)

Eutropius: Breviarium - Eutropius's Abridgement of Roman History (tertullian.org)

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome (penelope.uchicago.edu)

Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)
See Biblical Canon and Apocrypha.

See these Conservapedia articles:

Vespasian, Titus, Domitian

See the following resources:

Josephus: The Essential Writings A Condensation of Jewish Antiquities and The Jewish War, Translated and Edited by Paul L. Maier, © 1988, Kregel Publications, a division of Kregel, Inc. P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501
Eusebius—The Church History: A New Translation with Commentary, Copyright © 1999 by Paul Maier, Published by Kregel Publications, a division of Kregel Inc., P.O. Box 2607, Grand Rapids, MI 49501

"relatives of the Lord according to the flesh"

See Romans 1:3

"They all discussed together who ought to succeed James...Symeon, son of the Clopas mentioned in the Gospels"

Eccesiastical History, Book III, Chapter 11. Simeon ruled the Church of Jerusalem after James

"through the laying on of their hands"

that is, the hands of the Apostles and Episcopes (bishops).
See Acts 6:6; 13:3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22; Hebrews 6:2; also Apostolic succession.
The relatives of the Lord according to the flesh probably joined in by also afterward laying their hands on him, to indicate their approval and prayerful support. And while there is no indication one way or the other that they actually did or did not do so, and no evidence in the sources that they did, the supposition is not an unreasonable one.
The Catholic Church teaches that the ordinary faithful who have received Baptismal priesthood, as anointed prophets, priests and kings, but who have not received the sacrament of Holy Orders, have no authority to ordain priests and consecrate bishops; and that only validly consecrated bishops, with the approval of the Pope, can consecrate a man who is a validly ordained priest and approved candidate for elevation and consecration as a bishop and successor of the apostles.
The requirement of approval by the Pope is rejected as unnecessary by many Eastern churches, and also by disobedient and schismatic Catholic bishops and priests. For example: those Old Catholics who rejected the dogma of papal infallibility as defined by Vatican I, and applied to the bishops of the semi-autonomous Church of Utrecht for priestly ordination and episcopal consecration, and received their approval, and the sacraments, according to the Augustinian theory of Holy Orders which states that because of the indelible character of a consecration, a validly consecrated bishop permanently retains Episcopal powers notwithstanding any schisms or excommunications; and the followers of schismatic bishop Marcel Lefebvre, who rejected the reforms of Vatican II, and with the cooperation of other dissidents consecrated bishops and priests for his separatist movement, the "Lefebrvites" of the Society of St. Pius X.
Before them, John and Charles Wesley similarly saw need finally to ordain ministers of the Gospel without seeking authorized approval from the leaders of the Anglican Church; and before them, the leaders of the Protestant Reformation elected to ordain their own ministers of the Gospel, missionaries, preachers, teachers, pastors, presbyters, priests and bishops, depending on their various theological, philosophical, and denominational points of view.
Compare Matthew 18:17; Acts 15:6; Acts 15:24; Romans 13:1; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 2 Timothy 2:2; Hebrews 13:17;
also 3 John 9; 1 John 2:19
See Sedevacantism.


an early Christian historian. See the following:

"son of the Clopas mentioned in the Gospels"

See John 19:25; Luke 24:18

"Gaius Licinius Mucianus, the governor of Syria and ally of Vespasian"

See Britannica article Gaius Licinius Mucianus (britannica.com)

"In late summer, about the end of September, early October A.D. 70"

This sentence is redacted from two modern sources, and adapted:
"Upon his arrival in Rome in late summer, A.D. 70".
—Vespasian (roman-emperors.org)
"About October 70 Vespasian returned to Rome from Alexandria."
—Vespasian: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
The phrase, "about the end of September", has been added here to bridge the apparent discrepancy. This is according to the usual temperature and weather conditions of Italy in late September, early October, as hot and warm, exactly like summer, instead of according to the date of the autumnal equinox officially ending summer and beginning autumn in the modern Gregorian Calendar (conditions similar to the summer-like Labor Day Weekend in the U.S. which feels more like a warm, sometimes hot, summer weekend, than a cooler autumn weekend). The cooler temperature and climate characteristic of autumn begins to be noticed in Rome normally during the last week of October, and much later in the month, or beginning early in November.

"Suetonius considered Vespasian to be the "savior that would come out of Judea"

Suetonius set forth his opinion in De Vitae Caesarium (The Twelve Caesars), Vespasian 4.

"the voice of his holy Apostles went throughout all the earth, and their words to the end of the world"

Ecclesiastical History III, 8.
Eusebius adapts Psalm 19:4 as cited by Paul in Romans 10:18 as a prophesy of the missionary work of the apostles.

"He carefully and zealously publicized the number of divine omens"

Anything the Romans superstitiously regarded as an omen or sign from their gods was deemed by them to be divine, or more accurately, as having a supernatural cause of some kind.
The origin of all so-called omens, which the pagans characterize as divine signs, from then to now is from human imaginings and speculative guessing, groping about in the darkness of ignorance, without knowledge of the divinely revealed truth of reality from God the Father through Jesus Christ by his Holy Spirit in the Church:
Ephesians 3:10;
1 Timothy 3:15;
Colossians 2:2-3, 18-19;
Hebrews 13:17;
2 Thessalonians 2:15;
2 Peter 1:19-20; 3:17;
1 Corinthians 12:7-8, 27-28;
1 John 2:18-27;
2 Corinthians 2:17;
2 Peter 3:16-17;
Galatians 1:8-9.
1 Maccabees 3:48;
2 Maccabees 8:18;
2 Maccabees 10:28;
2 Maccabees 15:7-9.

"An ancient oak tree, sacred to Mars"

See the following articles:
Compare Mithras, a Persian deity commonly worshiped by Roman soldiers:
Some researchers have argued that Christianity, especially Orthodoxy and Catholicism, are adapted versions of pagan Mithraism promoted by the Roman emperor Constantine in the 4th century. See The two babylons and Great Apostasy; also Syncretism.
See also:

"Later, during Vespasian's aedileship"

—the office of magistrate.
An aedile was a magistrate of ancient Rome who had charge of public lands, buildings, public spectacles, etc.; also spelled edile; from Latin aedilis, from aedes building.

"given a promise by the augurs"

—pagan diviners, fortune-tellers.
The augur was a religious official of ancient Rome whose duty was to foretell and advise on future events by interpreting omens. Augury is a form of divination.

"a distinguished Jewish prisoner of Vespasian's, Josephus by name, insisted that he would soon be released by the very man who had now put him in fetters and who would then be emperor."

Josephus himself relates this event in Wars 3.8.9 [399-408].
Readers of Josephus occasionally come across passages such as this in which Josephus offers what he sees as evidence that he is personally favored by God with the gift of prophecy.

"the chariot of Jupiter Optimus Maximus"

A symbol of Roman rule under the aegis (protection, patronage) of Jupiter the king of the Roman gods.


a Greco-Egyptian fertility deity
See the following sources:

"Returning now to Rome, under these auspicious omens"

favorable omens, signs.
The Romans and the Greeks had an entirely superstitious view of reality.
See Auspices: Auspices definition: Augury (English.my-definitions.com)
See also Superstition.
Vespasian probably had these omens interpreted officially (after the fact) by augurs, as a means of supporting the legitimacy of his election as emperor of Rome, and as particular evidences to the people that he had been chosen by the gods.
This is a form of what many Christians also unwittingly practice in choosing to see particular occurrences in their lives as signs from God—such as finding a rose or a coin, or unexpectedly seeing, hearing, feeling something in nature, such as prickling of the skin, a light-headed feeling, a sudden breeze, aromas, odors, smells, birdsong, formations of rocks or patterns of woodgrain, cloud formations, or visual disturbances in the eye or visual cortex of the brain ("floaters", spots, flashes of color, temporary blind spots), weirdly odd dreams, or accidentally opening the Bible to an unexpected passage that seems to speak to their current circumstance—coincidences which they interpret as signs of direction or support or approval or warning from God.
There is a form of superstitious divination called "bibliomancy" which uses the deliberately random opening of a book, especially the Bible, for the purpose of instantly finding a passage of counsel or guidance, as a way of getting God to speak directly to the reader, instead of praying for guidance, seeking good advice, and using common sense, the gift of human intelligence.
See the following links:
The Catholic Church forbids as a sin against God the seeking of omens, and the superstitious use of the Bible and of authorized and approved devotional practices: "Superstition in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2110); see especially CCC Paragraph 2115.
"Worship becomes indebitus cultus when incongruous, meaningless, improper elements are added to the proper and approved performance" [of approved forms of prayer or worship]
—Catholic Encyclopedia Online: "Superstition" (see entire article Superstition (catholic.org).)
The term "indebitus cultus" is Latin, literally translated as "undue culture"; illicit custom, deviant or improper practice or observance; unauthorized, forbidden, a practice perverting the good—to "pervert" is to turn to an improper use or purpose; to misapply.
Perverting or frustrating the original purpose or function of what is good is an essential characteristic of sin. A "pervert" is someone who deliberately misuses and abuses the good things and the bodily powers that God in his wisdom created both for his glory and the honor, benefit and health of the human race.
See Wisdom 1:12-2:24; Romans 1:18-2:11; Sirach 10:19; 34:1-13; 39:26-27.
Determining the future by means of augury or taking omens as a guide to making decisions and taking any important action, or refraining, is forbidden by God in the Bible.
See Leviticus 19:26, 31; 20:6; Isaiah 8:19; 19:3; Micah 5:12; Acts 16:16 and 18.
Compare Numbers 24:1
Some Christians even use the promise of Jesus in Matthew 18:19 as a form of magic (unrecognized)—that is, as a means to automatically compel God to do their bidding—an abuse of scripture which James addresses in James 4:3.
Acts 19:13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20.
Some sects and denominations of Christianity, for example, the Jehovah's Witnesses and Churches of Christ, zealously condemn other Christian churches and denominations for what they clearly see as scripturally condemned attempts to keep the Law of Moses, and as the demonically instituted pagan superstition of "observing times" in their celebrations of Christmas, Easter, Reformation Sunday, Independence Day (4th of July) and other yearly anniversaries (Leviticus 19:26; Galatians 4:10; Galatians 5:4; 1 Timothy 4:1). The prescribed Jewish observances of the solemn feasts of the Lord, "months and days", according to the Law of Moses (Numbers 28-29; Deuteronomy 16:1-16) are not part of any Christian liturgical calendar. The pagan practice of "observing times", both then and now, had and has to do instead with the practice of determining the most auspicious and inauspicious times for doing or not doing anything important, either by observing omens or by consulting a horoscope or by other means of divination. See, for example, the Book of Esther in which Haman seeks the advice of pagan priests by their casting of lots to determine the most propitious day and month for exterminating the Jews (Esther 3:7).
See the excellent treatment on this topic in
Topical Bible: Divination (biblehub.com);
also Catholic Encyclopedia: Divination (newadvent.org)
and Jewish Encyclopedia: Divination (jewishencyclopedia.com).
See also St. Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologiae: Question 95. Superstition in divinations (newadvent.org)

"but a fragment of the empowering law survives, the Lex de Imperio Vespasiani, and it includes a provision that can be said to confer on him a naked autocracy"

See archive pdf 1902 edition:
Lex de Imperio Vespasiani: a consideration of some of the constitutional aspects of the principate at Rome. A Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of Arts and Literature of the University of Chicago for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Bu Fred B. R. Hellems, sometime Fellow of University College, Toronto; sometime Fellow of the University of Chicago. Chicago, Foresman and Company 1902 (archive.org)
See also:

"The measures he imposed are consistent with his characterization in the sources as both obdurate and avaricious."

Obduracy is the primary character flaw in people who are stubborn and unyielding, unmoved by persuasion, pity, or tender feelings; stubbornly resistant to moral influence; persistently impenitent of any genuine mistakes they have made or offenses, even outrages, they have committed. See Narcissism and Pride, also Sociopath. Compare Repentance and Humility.

"Helvidius Priscus, an advocate of senatorial independence...when he came to be praetor, omitted any mark of honor to him,"

Praetor, Latin, from praeire to go before. A city magistrate of ancient Rome, having charge of the administration of justice.

"now celebrated the whole of the Judean campaign with a triumph over the Jews"

A spectacular grand parade. In Roman antiquity, a triumph was the religious pageant of the entry of a victorious Roman general, consul, dictator, or praetor into Rome. Patriotic Roman celebrations in antiquity were expressions of pagan Roman religion.
Secular U.S. parallels in the 20th century were the parades honoring elected presidents, military leaders, astronauts, and occasionally Olympic athletes.
See Images of the looting of the Temple of Jerusalem.

"tribunician authority, the full authority of a Roman tribune"

A Roman official.
In Roman history, a tribune was a magistrate chosen by the plebeians, the common lower class, to protect them from patrician oppression (the rich).
See Britannica article Tribune: Roman Official (britannica.com)

"coins with the words IUDAEA CAPTA, which is Judaea captive"

Some of these Judaea Capta coins are extremely degrading. See articles:

"dominated by a powerfully erected, standing figure"

This "erected" instead of "erect" is not a grammatical error, but is according to the pagan image of a Roman male figure on some of the coins humiliating the female image representing Judea.

"Hegesippus also reports that after the conquest of Jerusalem, Vespasian ordered a search be made for all descendants of David"

Eccesiastical History, Book III, Chapter 12 Vespasian commands the descendants of David be sought


Latin, (commanding) authority.
Moral and social impact, what we call a "commanding presence", which is more than mere celebrity.
Involving more persuasion than good advice, but slightly less compelling than official commands, decrees, laws or military orders, auctoritas represented a powerful moral, social, cultural, even spiritual influence that was consequential, admirable prestige and endurable fame, and therefore difficult to dismiss or ignore. In ancient Rome, it referred to the general level of prestige a person had in Roman society, and, as a consequence, the power to influence others, especially because of one's commanding manner or recognized expertise and knowledge about something, with ability to rally support around one's will. It could be either benevolent or malevolent. Auctoritas was not merely political, but had a mysteriously awe-inspiring quality that could actually be felt, the "power of command" of heroic Roman figures. There were influential women in Roman society too who had auctoritas. For example, the wives, sisters, and mothers of the Julio-Claudians had immense influence on society, the masses, and the political machine.
See the following sources:

"Vespasian also deified his dead daughter Flavia Domitilla."

Her Apotheosis.
See end paragraph of Britannica article Vespasian
Vespasian declared Flavia Domitilla to be divine, a goddess, and authorized her cult of worship.
See also Catholic Encyclopedia article apotheosis (newadvent.org)
Compare Wisdom 14:15-21 RSVCE.

"title of divinity, Augusta"

the feminine form of "Augustus".
The meaning of Augustus carried with it ideas of superhuman status, from the Latin ‘augere‘ meaning ‘to increase’, connected also with ‘augurium‘ and the religious connotations of augury, and elevated the "august one" beyond mortal limits.
Compare Tertullian - Apology: Chapter XXXIV. Augustus, the founder of the empire, would not even have the title Lord… (biblehub.com)

"a temple to Divus Claudius, the deified Claudius, on the Caelian Hill"

See Imperial cult: Roman religion (bbc.co.uk). See also Deification and Wisdom 14:12-21.
The Caelian Hill is one of the famous Seven hills of Rome.
The Vatican Hill where St. Peter's Basilica is located was not one of the seven hills on which sat the city of Rome. It never was. See Revelation 17:9

"forty thousand million sesterces, forty billion"

An appalling sum.
The amount stated, "40,000 million" is according to Suetonius, Twelve Caesars, Vespasian XVI:
The calculated numerical amount is
40,000 × 1,000,000 = 40,000,000,000 !
The worded numerical figure in the U.S. is "forty billion"; in the U.K. "forty thousand million"; also sometimes expressed as "forty milliard".
Previously in British English (but not American English), the word "billion" referred exclusively to a million millions (1,000,000 × 1,000,000 = 1,000,000,000,000—in the U.S. "one trillion"). However, this is no longer as common, and the word "billion" has been more recently used in the 20th and 21st centuries internationally to commonly mean one thousand million (1,000 × 1,000,000 = 1,000,000,000—in the U.S. one billion).
The alternative term "one thousand million" is mainly used in the U.K.. The worded figure, as opposed to the numerical figure (one thousand million/1,000,000,000) is used in the U.K. to differentiate between "one thousand million" and "one billion".
The lesser used term milliard can also be used to refer to 1,000,000,000 (U.S. "billion"); while "milliard" is seldom used in English, variations on this name often appear in other languages.
One million sesterces equals 250,000 days' wages at one denarius/day, or 833.4 years' wages for one seasonal worker at 300 days/yr. (250,000/300 days = 833.4 yrs.), or 8.33 years' total payroll for 100 seasonal workers. This is roughly equivalent to one year's payroll for 800 unskilled laborers.
(Multiply hourly wage times 48 hours per week times 42 weeks per year for one migrant worker times 800. HW × 48 × 42 × 800.)
Multiply these figures by 40,000.
(40,000 × 1,000,000 = 40,000,000,000 ÷ 250,000 days' wages per million sesterces = 16,000 yrs. wages for one seasonal worker, or 8 years' wages for 2,000 paid seasonal workers at 300 days/yr.)
This does not include numbers of unpaid slaves who would also be assigned to work detail in the cities.)
See article Roman Money Sondra's guide to Roman Money - Harvard (sites.fas.harvard.edu)

"and applied to the best purposes what he procured by bad means"

—in other words, "The end justifies the means."
This reflects the personal policy of Vespasian's governing philosophy. He wished to repair, restore and improve Rome and the Empire, and did whatever he deemed necessary, good or bad, to achieve that end.
This proverbial saying expresses the essential character of the corrupt and evil philosophies of both Pragmatism and Utilitarianism—"Whatever works!" (see commentaries on Romans 3:7 and 3:8).
Some individuals, especially career criminals, and unscrupulous, self-serving government officials will even do what is objectively good, solely in order to achieve an end that is objectively evil. See Relativism.
Practitioners of magic and sorcery in Paganism and the New Age Movement distinguish between three kinds of workings:
black magic, purely evil methods, for evil purposes (immoral),
gray magic, good and bad methods, for any purpose (amoral), and
white magic, purely good methods, for good purposes (moral).
Many of them are guided by their own consciences, according to what they themselves see as right or wrong. (See commentaries on Judges 21:25.)
Many of them follow the precept (in 16th century English)
"An it harm none, do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law".
In contrast to this is the dictum,
"Do what thou wilt, shall be the whole of the law"
(see especially Thelema.)
In either case, the individual, seduced by this appeal to personal pride (self-sufficiency) as a core principle of personal existence, and motivated by a misguided religious impulse as spiritual justification, makes himself or herself the final authority, in effect, their own god; many of them actually do much good in society, because they feel it is right; but they are not completely submitted to the one true God who is, and to the revelation of the fundamental, external reality of objective truth through Jesus Christ our Lord and his body, the Christian church, the pillar and foundation of the truth
1 Timothy 3:15;
Ephesians 3:10;
Colossians 1:18;
Hebrews 13:7;
Hebrews 13:17.
See Acts 19:19.
See also Catechism of the Catholic Church, (CCC) 1786-1794.

"restorer of the Coan of Venus"

Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Vespasian 18.
According to the translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D., revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq., A.M., the Coan of Venus was the chef-d’oeuvre of Apelles, a native of the island of Cos, in the Archipelago, who flourished in the time of Alexander the Great. See Apelles - the greatest painter of antiquity, by John J. Popovic, from Pliny the Elder and other fonts
According to the translation by Robert Graves, revised with an introduction and notes by J. B. Rives, (Penguin Classics 1957, 2007, Vespasian, 18, p. 284), the phrase reads,
"refashioned the Venus of Cos".
The Venus of Cos was a sculpture of Venus copied from one of two sculptures of Aphrodite originally made by Praxiteles, in honor of feminine sensual beauty, on the islands of Cos and Cnidus.
Read the following scriptures before reading the articles below:
Song of Solomon 4;
Proverbs 7; 9:13-18;
Ezekiel 23;
Matthew 5:27-30;
Romans 1:22-27;
and commentaries on
Jude 4, 7, 23;
and Hebrews 13:4
See articles:

"Licinius Mucianus, governor of Syria, a Roman eques, who treated the history and geography of the eastern countries."

This Roman knight is the same General Gaius Licinius Mucianus, the legate and governor of Syria who managed the regency of Domitian and dominated Rome after the death of Vitellius, while Vespasian was yet absent and on his way to Rome. A clever writer and historian, he made a collection of the speeches and letters of the Romans of the older republican period, probably including a corpus of proceedings of the senate (res gesta senatus), and was the author of a work, chiefly dealing with the natural history and geography of the East, which is often quoted by Pliny as an authority, especially for fabulous statements.
See Mucianus (revolvy.com)

"he admitted his Friends"

his special Advisors.
The office or special position of Friend (of the ruler) is analogous to the office of "specially appointed presidential Advisor", as distinct from Member of the Cabinet, or Leader of the House or Senate.
See Friend of the King Holman Bible Dictionary (studylight.org)
2 Samuel 15:32-37; 16:15-19
1 Kings 4:5
Daniel 14:1-2
1 Maccabees 10:18-20
John 15:14-15
John 19:12
James 2:23
Wisdom makes Friends of God, and Prophets:
Wisdom 7:27-28; 8:4
(context Wisdom 7:7–9:18)
Proverbs 8
Acts 1:14
John 2:5
John 19:27
Revelation 12:1
Daniel 12:3

"Metius Pomposianus...was destined by fate to the empire"

that is, destined by fate to be emperor.
The ancient expressions, "come to empire", and, "he came to the empire", are equivalent to saying, "become Emperor," and, "he became ruler of the empire (as Imperator, emperor)".
It is worth noting that Metius Pomposianus was never emperor.
Astrologers and their horoscopes are notoriously unreliable. They take three approaches: descriptive, prescriptive, predictive:
describing the subject's character;
recommending what should be done and what should be avoided, day by day, year by year, over a lifetime;
and predicting the unavoidable destinies of individuals, peoples and nations.
Several studies have completely debunked astrology:
Jeane Dixon, the famous U.S. psychic and astrologer, who advised presidents and famous celebrities, was completely discredited after her false prognostications about the presidency and international events never occurred:

"the historian who with prejudice distrusts singular historical accounts not corroborated or duplicated by other sources as verification"

The presence of a persistent prejudice against accepting elements of historical narrative not multiply attested by others is readily evident.
Ancient historians, whose accounts of particular matters have been consistently verified as factually accurate and altogether trustworthy, by the finding of parallel accounts of the same particular matters in the works of other ancient historians, are nevertheless, on the demanding principle of multiple verification, held to be untrustworthy when they relate particular matters found only in their works alone, and not found related elsewhere.
The highly significant fact that other writers of their times do not raise questions about the accuracy of their historical narratives appears, on the contrary, to validate the integrity of the whole of their works by their silences. Where no dissenting voice is raised, and several elements of the historical narrative of the writer have been consistently verified by other historical writers of their time, the evidence is in favor of accepting as reliable those elements of the writing not found elsewhere.
The fact that "A certain amount of ill-repute can be expected for Vespasian's enforcer, but apart from the account of these acts, only a single instance of justice of this kind survives", does not in fact make "any further evaluation of Titus's role difficult", for there is an abundance of narrative about his character and deeds in other ancient sources which supports the narrative of Suetonius regarding his behavior toward suspected members of the Praetorian guard.
No contemporary writer of the times charges Suetonius with falsehood, inflation, gross exaggeration or distortion of facts. Tacitus, Cassius Dio, Josephus and Eusebius do not contradict each other, they do not contradict Suetonius, and they do not defame each other as liars. This supports the integrity and veracity of their historical narratives, and this supports Suetonius' assertions regarding Titus, making "evaluation of Titus's role", on the contrary, relatively simple, as well as providing grounds for accepting as reliable the historical assessment presented by Suetonius.
This common prejudice among liberal historians, on the principle of demanding a priori multiple independent verification, especially by insisting on first seeking independent verifying support in the works of non-Christian pagan authors hostile to the claims of Christ, as if the pagan writer is more trustworthy than the Christian, is responsible for the prevalence of negative, unfavorable evaluations of the Gospel accounts of Jesus, his words, and his miracles, as "highly improbable literary inventions" of the church "without any factual basis in reality", simply because no pagan historian outside of Christianity independently verifies them. Christianity is dismissed as grounded in fiction, and Christians are implicitly represented as dupes or as ignorant and credulous fools, because the multiple documentations of the historical eyewitness accounts in the Gospels (Luke 1:2) are dismissed as fabrications lacking independent verification. But this is not a case of only one single document being questioned, and of only one single first century writer's personal point of view. Each of the four Gospels is a separate historical narrative independently attested and verified by the corroborating multiple testimonies of each of the other three, supported by the book of the Acts of the Apostles, and the tradition of Christianity, each of them written independently by their authors, based on their researches of the background testimony of the eyewitnesses, and preserved and copied as truthful documents of historical fact.
See Historical-critical method (Higher criticism).
See also Historicity of Jesus.
Compare Literary Traditions: Ten Reasons the Gospels are Works of Fiction (threeskeptics.blogspot.com)

"By this time the Apostle Bartholomew had carried the Gospel through the most barbarous countries of the East"

"When his son Titus blamed him for even laying a tax on urine, commonly used for bleaching cloth..."

"one who would not hesitate to do his work for him by using methods of intimidation as his enforcer."

Vespasian authorized Titus to use measures consistent with dictatorships, totalitarian regimes, and police states.
Compare Christian persecution.


from Latin Catamitus, a Latin altered form of Greek Ganamēdēs Ganymede.
The term springs from the name in Greek mythology of the beautiful young boy who was made cupbearer of the gods on Mount Olympus.
Catamites are young boys used as tools for prostitution (sodomy). The KJV translates them as "effeminate". St. Paul mentions them in 1 Corinthians 6:9.
The Greek word Paul uses is μαλακoί malakōi (plural); see multiple versions of 1 Corinthians 6:9—Strong's number 3120 (singular, μαλακoς malakōs): soft, i.e. fine; figuratively a catamite:—effeminate, soft.
The NAB translates the word as "boy prostitutes"; NRSV as "sodomites"; REB as "sexual perverts" (see parallel translations).
Robert Graves in his translation of The Twelve Caesars, Titus 7, renders the plural form of the term as "boy toys".
"Eunuchs", also mentioned, are castrated males, usually surgically mutilated before the onset of puberty, many of whom in Roman times frequently dressed as women.
Male devotees of the mother goddess Cybele, in their insane zeal to be completely identified with their goddess, frequently had themselves totally castrated, and their external genitals entirely removed, so that they might physically resemble women. See Transgender and Transsexual.

"After the dispersion of the Apostles during the persecution which arose after the martyrdom of Saint Stephen in Jerusalem, it is an established historical fact that Saint Thomas went to India"

"Lucius Flavius Silva, governor of Judea"


"the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, the day after the observance of the LORD's Passover"

Leviticus 23:5-6, Mark 14:1.
The fourteenth day of the month Nisan was the LORD's Passover (Leviticus 23:5), and the fifteenth day of the month immediately following was the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, which is seven days (Leviticus 23:6). By the first century both together were commonly called the days of Unleavened Bread (Mark 14:1; Luke 22:1; Matthew 26:2).
Here, the distinction between the two is reiterated in accordance with the law of Moses.

"Eleazar ben Jair"

See Eleazar ben Jair Encyclopedia Judaica, Thomson Gale (encyclopedia.com)


also called Zealots.
The sicarii were so-called because of the daggers, sicae (singular, sica), they carried hidden on their persons under their clothing, ready to kill their enemies whenever they had opportunity. They are thought to be an extremist subgroup of the Zealot party.
In Latin, "sicarius" is a common term for an assassin.
See the following articles:
See Matthew 10:4 and Luke 6:15
"Simon the Canaanean"
"Simon the Zealot"
"Simon zealotes"
See also multiple commentaries on Matthew 10:4.

"And God is just in his judgments, and righteous altogether."

See Psalm 19:9; Revelation 16:6-7.

"About this same time, or shortly thereafter, the second book of Esdras called fourth Ezra was also written, that portion now called the third through the fourteenth chapters"

The text of 2 Esdras 3–14 was written sometime during the last decades of the first century by a Jewish author in response to the destruction of Jerusalem. It stands as an example of the kind of Apocalyptic writing that was current during the last centuries B.C. and the first and second centuries of the Christian Era.
Textual scholars using the most reliable research techniques of the Historical-critical method (Higher criticism) have determined with a high degree of certainty that during the middle of the second century, 2 Esdras chapters 1–2 and 15–16 were added by Christian writers, and the whole was then represented as a prophesy of the coming of Christ and the founding of the Christian Church by God.
Second Esdras, Fourth Ezra, was never part of the Septuagint Old Testament of the Greek Bible of the ancient apostolic church, and is not included in the Greek Bible of the Orthodox Church, which does include all of the books acknowledged by the Catholic Church together with Third Maccabees and Psalm 151, and in an appendix the book of Fourth Maccabees. It was included by Jerome in the fourth century in the text of the Latin Vulgate Bible as Fourth Esdras, the books of Ezra and Nehemiah being titled First and Second Esdras, and what is usually known today as First Esdras titled Third Esdras. Second Esdras (Fourth Ezra) was also included in the Apocrypha of Luther's German Bible and the Apocrypha of the King James Bible. It has never been listed by the Catholic Church as included among the sacred inspired canonical scriptures, but was included in an appendix to the Old Testament of the Clementine Edition of the Vulgate as 4 Esdras, together with the "Prayer of Manasses King of Juda, when he was held captive in Babylon" and 1 Esdras called "3 Esdras" (followed by "4 Esdras"), "lest they be lost altogether"; and it does not appear in the authorized Douay-Rheims Bible currently published by Saint Benedict Press.
2 Esdras is usually included in ecumenical editions of the Bible, such as:
The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha: New Revised Standard Version
ISBN 13: 9780195289558
The Complete Parallel Bible with the Apocryphal/deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version, Revised English Bible, New American Bible, New Jerusalem Bible (Oxford) ISBN 13: 9780195283181
See the following articles and resources:

"the kingdom of Brigantia in northern England had been incorporated in the province"

See Brigantes Nation: The Kingdom of Venutius – Brigantia – AD 69 (brigantesnation.com)

"In A.D. 75, Sarmatian tribes overran Parthia’s northern borders"

"Many say this was twenty-three June, A.D. 79, when he had lived sixty-nine years, seven months and seven days; others say on the eighth of the Kalends of July, which is the 24th of June, being sixty-nine years, one month, and seven days old."

Historical writers disagree on the exact date of Vespasian's death and the exact length of his life. See for example the following sources:
  • "...upon the eighth of the calends of July [24th June], being sixty-nine years, one month, and seven days old."— Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Vespasian 24, translated by Alexander Thomson, M.D. 1796, Revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq. A.M. (boldface emphasis added).
    —"the eighth of the calends" of any month means "beginning with a count of seven days before the first day of the next month", the calends of the month (in this case 1 July) being the eighth day of the count:
    1 July - 7 = 24 June. The twenty-fourth of June through the first of July, inclusive, is eight days:
24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 1.
  • " This was 23 June, when he had lived sixty-nine years, seven months, and seven days."— Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Vespasian 24, translated by Robert Graves, 1965 (boldface emphasis added). Robert Graves reckons the "eighth of the calends of July" as eight days before the first day of July, the calends of July being the ninth day, which, according to the above reckoning, makes the 23rd of June the nones of the calends of July (1 July being the ninth day).
23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 1.
"others say it was the eighth of the Kalends of July, which is the twenty-fourth of June".
This does not seem very important, but such details may indicate to other historians something about the degree of accuracy of the knowledge of the writer. (See, for example, The Two Babylons.)

"The ancient historians who lived through the period such as Tacitus, Suetonius, Josephus and Pliny the Elder speak well of Vespasian while condemning the emperors that came before him."

Source: "Otho, Vitellius, and the Propaganda of Vespasian", The Classical Journal (1965), p. 267-269.

"cases based on the charge of maiestas"

crimes against majestic dignity.
Maiestas, literally, ‘greatness’, was used as an abbreviation for the crime of maiestas minūta populī Rōmānī, ‘the diminution of the majesty of the Roman people’, first made a law in 58 B.C., which could be deployed against any form of treason, revolt, or failure in public duty. Over a period of 120 years, convicted persons were increasingly liable to the death penalty with no opportunity given to retire into exile; eventually their property was also confiscated for the imperial tax (fiscus) and their names were obliterated from public record. No one could be sure of escaping even these last two consequences by committing suicide, since even the dead could be prosecuted. Many of those convicted were guilty of something, but it usually fell short of an attempt to subvert the state. Charges of maiestas were frequently made on apparently trivial grounds or as a complement to other charges, especially extortion and adultery. Titus virtually abolished the charge, because he himself never entertained cases based on the charge of maiestas nor allowed others to do so.
See Oxford Reference: maiestas (oxfordreference.com)

"As for the emperors who are dead and gone, they will avenge themselves in case anyone does them a wrong, if they are in very truth demigods and possess any power"

"demigods", literally, "half-gods", inferior deities.
In pagan antiquity, the demigods were human beings thought to have the attributes of a god, possessing supernatural powers and abilities, "giants in the earth"; a demigod was a lesser, or inferior deity, a hero or heroine, either good or evil, who, because of unusual ability, strength, intelligence, and accomplishment, beyond what might be expected of ordinary people, was necessarily supposed to be the offspring of the sexual union of a god or goddess and a mortal man or woman, as a way of explaining their extraordinary exploits and achievements and fame.
The Pharaohs and god-kings of antiquity were believed to be demigods; the "deified" emperors of Rome were said to have attained godlike power over the empire after their deaths, and were therefore considered to be demigods. What Titus said of his father Vespasian demonstrates his doubts about the Roman religious cult of the deified emperors, and is similar to what Joash the father of Gideon said to the men of his town, when they discovered that someone had demolished the altar of Baal: "If he is a god, let him contend for himself" Judges 6:28-31.
See Genesis 6:4. Some commentators interpret the "sons of God (or sons of the gods, elohim)" as angels who "kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation" and are now "reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day" (Jude 6 KJV and commentaries). They see in these texts evidence of pagan mythology and polytheism in the Bible.
However, against this interpretation, the Bible consistently calls the human descendants of Shem, of Abraham and of Isaac and Jacob—all of those entrusted with the revelation and worship of the one true God—"sons of God", as distinct from the pagan peoples, the "sons of men", who did not know and follow him. Thus, instead of them being spirit-beings lacking physical genetic material who had carnal relations with human women, these "sons of God" were those descendants of Adam and Shem who departed from the path of righteousness, broke faith and violated God's covenant by having illicit relations with pagan women "the daughters of men (pagans)" who worshiped other (nonexistent) gods: "they took to wife such of them as they chose" Genesis 6:2.
See 1 Kings 11:1-10;
Ezra 9:1-2;
2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
The grammatical structure of Genesis 6:4 shows that the "giants in the earth in those days", also translated as "Nephilim", were the "mighty men that were of old, the men of renown." The King James translators are responsible for rendering this passage with inserted italic words and arranged in such a way that it makes these giants seem to be the direct result of the union of the sons of God with the daughters of men; and this is the only verse in the entire Bible that (to some interpreters) appears to teach that angels (bodiless spirits, without genetic material) can have, or did have, sexual relations with (the physical bodies of) human women (angels "who neither marry nor are given in marriage" Matthew 22:30).
(See the sequence of elements in the Hebrew interlinear text of Genesis 6:4 - remember to read it from right to left ).
Mormon theology, in contrast, teaches that the sons of God are children, offspring, born of the sexual union of a physical flesh and blood God the Father with his physical flesh and blood wife, the Heavenly Mother. Mother in Heaven - Encyclopedia of Mormonism, author Elaine Anderson Cannon (eom.byu.edu).
See Mormons In Transition: Heavenly Mother: Origin of the Mormon Doctrine of a Mother in Heaven, By Robert M. Bowman Jr. (mit.irr.org)Robert Bowman examines in depth, discusses and refutes Mormon teaching on the Heavenly Mother, as being rooted in an erroneous conception of the nature of God, indirectly drawn from a distorted reading of kabbalistic mysticism.
See also
Compare commentaries on Jude 6, which does not mention angels having intercourse with women, and the doctrine of angels in the Book of Enoch 12:4, which does—angels, spirits, defiling themselves with women.
Grammatically, according to the Hebrew text, the giants mentioned in Genesis 6:2 are not the children, the directly resulting offspring, of unions formed when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men and they bore children to them, but they were the dominant rulers and powerful men on earth, political giants, "mighty men of old, men of renown", who ruled as powerful regional overlords at the time when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and also afterward, at the time when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men: (compare the following texts of two English translations of Genesis 6:4, revised in complete accordance with the grammar of the Hebrew text:)
(RSV) "The Nephilim were on the earth in those days. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them."
(KJV) "There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same [giants] became mighty men which were of old, men of renown."
Again, according to the grammatical context:
"The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward" (after the flood).
"There were giants in the earth in those days, and also after that" (after those days, after the flood).
Compare Genesis 1:26; Psalm 82:6-7; Malachi 2:10; Matthew 5:9; 22:30; Mark 12:25; Luke 3:38; John 1:12; 8:38, 41, 44; Romans 8:9, Romans 8:14, Romans 8:16, Romans 8:19; Galatians 4:6; Philippians 2:15; 1 Corinthians 2:15; 2 Corinthians 6:14, 18; 1 John 3:1 and 2
See the following articles:

"adept at exchanging one persona for another"

changing his image.
In psychology, a persona (Latin, actor's mask, character) is the outer personality assumed by an individual for purposes of concealment, defense, deception, or adaptation to his environment. Either sincerely or insincerely, the person "plays the role" assigned, by fate or by choice.
The sources appear to suggest that Titus deliberately chose a virtuous persona out of respect for the powerful office or genius of emperor of Rome, as a role model for the people and for his administration.
The Roman cult of reverence, if not actual worship, of the living emperor was more directed toward acknowledgement of the power of the ruling spirit of the office of emperor, the genius of the emperor residing in the man chosen by the gods or by God as ruler of the empire, a kind of superhuman, divine power or living spirit of authority that was assumed to possess him from the moment that he was acclaimed Imperator (compare Romans 13:1 and 1 Peter 2:13).
In ancient mythology, a genius was a supernatural being appointed to guide a person throughout life; a guardian spirit; a demon (also spelled daemon). They are not the same as the guardian angels, for according to St. Paul the genius of the emperor and all of the gods of Rome were "devils" or "demons", 1 Corinthians 10:20 and commentaries.
See The Gods of the Gentiles, John David Clark, Sr. (isaiah58.com) the author reasons well about the pagan gods as demons, but he implicitly rejects 1 Corinthians 12:3 and 1 John 4:1-6, 15.
Compare the warning in Matthew 12:24-37 and commentary on Matthew 12:32; also Isaiah 5:20-21.
See the Catholic Vatican II document Lumen Gentium. This document represents a defense of the Catholic claim that the Catholic Church is holy, not pagan. It also fulfills all of the Biblical criteria, listed in the Bible texts immediately above, which identify the Catholic spirit represented in the document as being from God.
(The reader can also examine and compare any of the official Orthodox and Catholic documents readily available in print and online to see what they actually testify about Jesus Christ the Son of God.)
In Moslem mythology a genius was a jinni or genie, (plural jinn), a spirit-being with intellect and will, either good or bad; and, according to the Qur'an, evil desert jinn were converted by hearing the preaching of the prophet Muhammad and converted other jinn.
Surah al-Jinn Chapter 72, verses 1 and 2 (al-islam.org)
The word "genius" comes from the Latin term for tutelary spirit. (See tutelary (thefreedictionary.com)) The genius loci were the spirits of place or location (singular genius locus). The genius of the emperor was the animating and ruling spirit of the Roman empire, influencing, even possessing the Roman emperors.
See the following:
See also
Were the Pagan Gods Actually Demons? The Scriptural View and Why It Matters, Msgr. Charles Pope (blog.adw.org)
Compare Daniel 10:12–11:1 and commentaries on 10:13 and 10:20.
In the first century, sacrifice offered to the genius of the emperor was sacrifice offered to a demon.
See "Swear by the Genius of our Lord the Emperor": False Worship and Persecution of Christians (nobts.edu)

"It is true that the ancient sources tend to heroicize Titus"

"The suddenness of his transformation raises immediate suspicions": Modern historical writers are reluctant to accept the testimony of the Roman sources that Titus actually changed his personal moral code of conduct. This is perhaps understandable given the immoral behavior of emperors who preceded him, such as Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero, Galba, Otho and Vitellius, and modern examples of presidents with reputations for immorality and criminal violations of the public trust such as John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. However, the same Roman sources that vilified Vitellius and other emperors for their excesses, and likewise faulted Titus for his cruel and immoral conduct during Vespasian's reign, offer glowing praise of his personal moral character after he became emperor, and this after his death, so no one can say these writers praise him with fawning sycophantic adulation out of fear of being killed for saying otherwise.
The modern atheistic and egalitarian envy of genuine greatness or admirable public moral rectitude impels many persons in the public media to attempt to slander and libel anyone who displays virtue or is in an enviable position of power. (See Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: egalitarianism (plato.stanford.edu).) It is a form of hatred of the good and of moral-ethical leadership (auctoritas). They want no heroes or leaders of admirable character, and outwardly act as if they do not believe such people could possibly be what they seem to be and have tasked themselves with the mission of unmasking them as frauds who have betrayed the public trust. See Hypocrites. Many of them who despise and ridicule Christianity and the Ten Commandments as repressively intolerant bigotry, virtually hold public figures and governmental officials to a standard of essentially Judeo-Christian moral behavior and condemn them when they are charged with violations of it, calling for their removal. This is not because they admire virtue, but because they despise it and are disgusted by it, and because the very sight of genuine virtue is a hardship for them. (See Wisdom 2:12-24 "through the envy of the devil death entered the world.")
The Bible teaches, "there is none good, no not one" (Romans 3:10-18), "all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23), and "the whole world lies in wickedness" (1 John 5:19). The Bible also testifies that men and women have done good, can do good, and will be rewarded for doing good (John 5:29; Romans 12:16-21; Galatians 6:10; 1 John 3:7-18; Matthew 25:31-46). The Bible testifies that even those without the law of Moses show that the law of God is written in their hearts, and that they have consciences which accuse or excuse them (Romans 2:14-16; Sirach 15:15-17).
Compare Deuteronomy 30:19 and Ezekiel 18:26-28. See Hebrews 6:4-6 and multiple translations of Hebrews 6:6, also commentaries on Hebrews 6:6. See John 15:4-6 and multiple translations of John 15:4, multiple translations of John 15:6, also commentaries on John 15:4, commentaries on John 15:6.
Moreover, according to the Bible the saved are those whose names are written in the Book of Life, and those saved whose names are written there can sin so that their names are blotted out of the Book of life. Names never written in the Book of Life cannot be blotted out of it, since it is impossible to blot out what was never there. See Exodus 32:32-33; Deuteronomy 29:18-20; Matthew 7:24-27; 24:9-13, 44-51; Luke 10:19-20; 19:12-26; Acts 1:17-20; 1 Corinthians 9:25-27; Philippians 4:3; 2 Peter 3:17; Jude 6; Revelation 2:5, 10, 25-26; 3:2-5, 15-12; 13:8; 17:7-8.
Critics of the doctrine of eternal security ("once saved, always saved") claim that these verses present devastating evidence supporting a counter-argument which demolishes that particular teaching of Calvinism.
According to all of these scriptures the wicked can freely choose to do good, and the righteous can freely choose to do evil; the lost can be saved, and the saved can be lost; and it is impossible to restore persons to what they never had and possessed, but only to what they previously did have and possess.
It is not impossible that Titus was not only able to freely and completely change his moral behavior when he became emperor, but actually did so, as his contemporaries attest.
See article Ex-criminals Who Completely Turned Their Lives Around (businessinsider.com)
See the following:
Once Saved Always Saved - Fact or Fiction? (preparingforeternity.com)
See GOD'S SALVATION: LAW AND GRACE Catechism of the Catholic Church 1949-2051 (catholicdoors.com)
Rebuttal to Arguments Against Eternal Security, by Jamie Hardy (gospeloutreach.net)
Calvinism Refuted: "Perseverance of the Saints" (or "eternal security" or "once saved always saved") (bible.ca)
The Fallacy of Predestination: The Oops of Calvinism (jerryedmon.com)

"another Nero imposter appeared"

After Nero's suicide in 68, there was a widespread belief, especially in the eastern provinces, that he was not dead and somehow would return. This belief came to be known as the Nero Redivivus Legend.
At least three Nero imposters emerged leading rebellions. The first appeared in A.D. 69 during the reign of Vitellius, and was executed by the governor of Cythnos according to the sentence passed on Nero by the Senate.
Sometime during the reign of Titus (79–81), another impostor appeared in Asia and sang to the accompaniment of the lyre and looked like Nero but he, too, was killed (Cassius Dio, Roman History LXVI.19).
The legend of Nero's return lasted for hundreds of years after Nero's death. Augustine of Hippo wrote of the legend as a popular belief in 422
"Others, again, suppose that he is not even dead, but that he was concealed that he might be supposed to have been killed, and that he now lives in concealment in the vigor of that same age which he had reached when he was believed to have perished, and will live until he is revealed in his own time and restored to his kingdom. But I wonder that men can be so audacious in their conjectures."
—(Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX.19.3).

"Meanwhile war had again broken out in Britain"

A.D. 79–81.
Cerealis, Agricola and the Conquest of Northern Britain, David Shotter


7 August A.D. 79.
See following articles:

"first, huge stones were hurled aloft, rising as high as the very summits"

Isaiah 30:30 and commentaries;
Revelation 16:21 and commentaries.
Revelation, Book of (historical exegesis): Vesuvius, and the Christian condemnation of sin
Josephus, Wars 5.6.3 (270-273) (biblestudytools.com)

"moreover, a sound like trumpeting horns was heard"

This sound, as modern witnesses to a plinian eruption can attest, is more like the sounding of trumpets of rams horns, like the sounding of the Jewish shofar, than the sounding of brass instruments. The orchestral tuba, sounding a long tone either vibrato or plain in the upper register, makes a similar sound.
See Exodus 19:12-19; 20:18; Leviticus 25:9; Numbers 10:1-10; Revelation 8:6-13; 11:15.
Audio Visual:
An Amazing Shofar Ram's Horn Service (bing.com/videos)
Scary Volcano Eruption Sound 11 hours - You Tube (bing.com/videos) click off the Ad
Audio Visual: Vesuvius erupting
Remarkable footage of Mount Vesuvius erupting - 1929 (bing.com/videos)
August 24, 79 AD, Pompeii - Eruption of Mt. Vesuvius (snort.com/video)

"As far as can be discerned from the limited evidence, senior officials and amici were well chosen"

Latin, amici "Friends" (singular amicus).
The word "amici" denotes those appointed personal Advisors—trusted politicians, generals, and praetorian prefects—who offered input on important matters.
Compare John 19:12.

"(It has been said that pagan Rome, because of the games, finally exterminated many species of rare wild animals in Europe, the Middle East, and north Africa.)"

See the following article:
"Beast-Hunts" in Roman Amphitheatres: The Impact of the Venationes on Animal Populations in the Ancient World, Elliot Kidd, Honors College

"received imperium"

that is, title to absolute power or authority; supreme command.
The word is Latin, meaning rule, authority.
In law, imperium is the right to command; authority to use the power of the state to enforce its laws; in ancient Rome, imperium was conferred on the emperor "by the authority of the Senate and the people of Rome."
(Imperium Roman law (britannica.com))

"Later, rumors circulated ... Suetonius records ... The common report is ..."

These three paragraphs are set after the confirmation of Domitian to reproduce for the reader an impression of the atmosphere generated by the continued rumors circulating after he was confirmed by the Senate and had begun to reign, following the immediate rumors that first spread when Titus's death was initially reported.
A similar technique of reiteration for effect was used earlier in this Harmony of the Gospel with the two accounts of the beheading of John the Baptist: first the event as it happened, then the retelling of it to Jesus by the disciples of John after they had buried his body (Mark 6:17-30; Matthew 14:3-13).

"totally destroying the whole generation of these evil-doers from the earth"

—Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Book III, Chapter 5.
Since the "whole generation of these evil-doers" has been totally destroyed from the earth, according to the testimony of the Christian historian Eusebius, then those who came afterward cannot be held guilty of the blood of Christ. They who came afterward are no more guilty than anyone else of all the descendants of Adam, "For all have sinned"—St. Paul, Romans 3:23.
Compare Matthew 27:25 and Luke 23:34.
See also WHO CRUCIFIED CHRIST? (cbn.com)
To this day the Jews mourn the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. World War II and the Holocaust included more than the Jews alone, and was a judgment on the whole world for its sins against God.
"Shame not a repentant sinner. Remember, we are all guilty." See Sirach 8:5
"We all are guilty": compare 1 Kings 8:46; 2 Chronicles 6:36; Job 25:4; Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:9 and 3:10; 5:12; 1 John 1:8.

"Remember the words of our Lord, how he said...Recall the words of Paul..."

See the following texts:

[The events of A.D. 70 through 81 are not included in the Conservative Bible New Testament.]


Chapter 54 Historical texts

Titus Flavius Domitianus, the emperor of Rome and persecutor of the Church, plainly known as Domitian, was born twenty-four October A.D. 51, the younger son of Vespasian and the younger brother and successor of the Emperor Titus. Domitian was twenty-nine years old when he took over the emperorship on the death of his brother, and he reigned as Roman Emperor from A.D. 81 to 96. After he became emperor, he had the assurance to boast in the Senate that he himself had bestowed the empire on his father and brother, and they had restored it to him. His first act was to enact Titus's deification, no doubt reluctantly. In fact Domitian claimed that Vespasian and Titus had both denied him what should have rightfully been his rightful place as imperial colleague. He may have held a grudge against his brother and his father, but he understood that his own interests were best served by further celebrating the Flavian house. Construction of the temple begun by Titus in A.D. 80 to house the imperial cult of his father Vespasian was continued by Domitian.

Early in his reign, Domitian proved to be an able administrator and did not ignore the welfare of the people. Before his accession to the imperial authority, and for some time afterward, he scarcely ever gave the least grounds for being suspected of covetousness or avarice; but, on the contrary, he often provided practical proofs, not only of his justice, but his liberality.

He rebuilt many noble edifices which had been destroyed by fire, and among them the Capitol, which had been burned down a second time, in 80; but all the inscriptions were in his own name, without the least mention of the original founders.

Before the Flavians came to power, much of Rome needed rebuilding, mostly due to fire, decay, and the failure of previous emperors to do anything about it. The great fire of A.D. 64, the civil wars of A.D. 68-69, and another devastating fire in A.D. 80 had left Rome badly in need of repair. Domitian restored the gutted ruins of many public buildings, including the Capitol which had burned in A.D. 80; he responded by erecting, restoring, or completing some fifty structures, including the restored temple of Jupiter on the Capitol. He likewise erected a new temple to Jupiter the Guardian, Jupiter Custos, in the Capitol, and a Forum, now called the Forum of Nerva, as also the temple of the Flavian family, a new stadium, and an odeum for rhetoric, a concert hall for musicians and poets, and a naumachia, a place designed to be flooded for mock sea battles; the sides of the Circus Maximus, which had been burned down, were rebuilt out of the stone dug from it.

For himself, because he did not like the old imperial palace, he built a magnificent new Flavian Palace on the Palatine Hill for official functions, and to the south he constructed the Domus Augustana where he held numerous banquets and receptions. Domitian also built several monuments in honor of Titus and finally completed the temple of Vespasian and Titus, changing the name of the structure to include his brother's name and setting up his cult statue in the temple itself. In front of one of Rome's Jewish quarters an arch was erected to honor Titus. Another arch was built on the Forum Romanum, where it can still be seen. His building program, ambitious and spectacular, was hardly matched by any other emperor.

He was tall in stature, his face modest, and very ruddy; he had large eyes, but was near-sighted; naturally graceful in his person, particularly in his youth, except that his toes were bent somewhat inward. He was so aware of how much the modesty of his countenance commended him to others, that he once made this boast to the Senate, “So far, you have approved of both my disposition and my countenance.”

His baldness so much annoyed him, that he considered it an affront to himself if any other person was reproached with being bald, either in jest or in earnest; though in a small tract he published, addressed to a friend, “Concerning the Preservation of the Hair,” he uses for their mutual consolation the following words:

"Seest thou my graceful mien, my stately form?
Ouch oraas oios kago kalos te megas te;
"and yet the fate of my hair awaits me; however, I bear with courage this loss of my hair while I am still young. Remember that nothing is more fascinating than beauty, but nothing is shorter in duration.”

He so shrank from suffering any kind of fatigue, that he scarcely ever walked through the city on foot. In his military expeditions and on a march, he seldom rode horseback, but was generally carried in a litter. He had no inclination for personal military training exercises with arms, but he was very expert in the use of the bow. Many have often seen him kill a hundred wild animals, of various kinds, at his Alban retreat, and shoot his arrows into their heads with such dexterity, that he could, in two shots, plant them like a pair of horns, in each. He would sometimes aim his arrows at the hand of a boy, standing at a distance, as a mark, arm outstretched, fingers spread wide, with such precision that they all passed between the boy’s fingers, without hurting him.

In the beginning of his reign, he gave up the study of the liberal sciences, though he took care to restore, at great expense, the libraries which had been burned down, collecting manuscripts from all parts of the empire, and sending scribes to Alexandria, either to copy or correct them. Yet he never took the trouble of reading history or poetry, or of employing his pen even for his own private purposes. He studied nothing but the Commentaries and Acts of Tiberius Caesar. His letters, speeches, and edicts, were all drawn up for him by others, yet he could converse with elegance, and sometimes expressed himself in memorable sentiments.

He once said, “I could wish that I was only as handsome as Metius fancies himself to be.”

And regarding the head of someone whose hair was partly reddish, and partly grey, he said that it was “snow sprinkled with mead.”

He remarked that the lot of princes was very miserable, “for no one believed them when they discovered a conspiracy, before they were murdered.”

In the beginning of his reign, he used to spend an hour by himself every day in private; and during that time he did nothing else but catch flies, and stick them through the body with a sharp pin. When someone inquired whether anyone was with the emperor, Vibius Crispus significantly answered, “Not so much as a fly.”

When he had leisure, he amused himself with dice in the morning, even on days that were not festivals. He went to the bath early, and then ate an enormous midday dinner, consuming so much that he seldom ate more at the evening meal than a Matian apple, with a draft of wine in a small flask. He gave frequent and splendid entertainments, but they were soon over, for he never prolonged them after sunset, and indulged in no revelry afterward. For, during the entire evening before bed-time, he did nothing else but walk by himself in private.

Soon after his advancement to the empire, and during his second consulship, he had a son by his wife Domitia Longina. It is enough to say that Domitian had had affairs with several married women. Domitia had been married to a senator, Aelius Lamia, but he was persuaded to divorce her; no, rather, she had divorced him so she could marry Domitian. He lost his son in the second year after becoming emperor, A.D. 82; and Domitian put away his wife Domitia by divorce, for being desperately in love with Paris, the actor, under suspicion of having committed adultery with him. He planned to put her to death, a common practice at the time, but the people began persistently requesting him to take her back to himself; he temporarily left his wife to live with his niece Flavia Julia, the daughter of his brother Titus; but a short time afterward, being unable to bear the separation, he took Domitia back to himself again, under the pretense of finally complying with the people’s persistently urgent requests to do so; and whom, the year following, A.D. 83, he honored with the title of Augusta, a title of divinity. And on taking his wife again, after the divorce, he declared by proclamation that he had recalled her to his pulvinar: among other meanings, besides a couch and a marriage bed, the pulvinar is a cushioned seat reserved for the visit of a god.

By those around him, at least early in his reign, he was viewed as being generous, possessing self-restraint, considerate of all of his friends, and conscientious when dispensing justice.

In Rome however, things were different. In legislation he was severe. In A.D. 83 Domitian displayed that terrifying pedantic adherence to the very letter of the law which should make him so feared by the people of Rome; and as censor he incurred critical censure for attempting to curb vices from which he himself was not immune.

As emperor, Domitian was to become one of Rome's foremost personal managers of every aspect and detail of Roman life and culture, especially concerning the economy. Shortly after taking office, he raised the silver content of the denarius by about twelve percent, to the level earlier established by Augustus.

On another front, Domitian sought to promote grain production by calling for empire-wide limitations on viticulture, the growing of grapes for wine. On the occasion of a great abundance of wine, accompanied by a scarcity of grain, and supposing that the tillage of the ground was neglected for the sake of attending too much to the cultivation of vineyards, he published a proclamation forbidding the planting of any new vines in Italy, and ordering the vines in the provinces to be cut down, nowhere permitting more than one half of them to remain. But he did not persist in the execution of this project. This edict ordaining destruction of half the provincial vineyards was typical: it was designed to encourage the growing of grain and to limit the importing of wine into Italy, while, at the same time, no increased production was permitted; but Domitian was unable to carry the matter through. Pliny the Younger’s letters to Trajan afterward show that Domitian’s administrative decisions were not usually revoked, but this edict met with immediate opposition and was never implemented.

Before his accession to the imperial authority, and during some time afterward, Domitian seldom ever provided the least grounds for being suspected of covetousness or avarice. To all about him he was generous, even profusely so, and he recommended nothing more earnestly than to avoid doing anything harsh. He would not accept the property left to him by those who had children. He also cancelled a provision for a legacy bequeathed by the will of Ruscus Caepio, who had ordered his heir to make a present of a sum of money every year to each of the newly elected senators on their first assembly. He established forms of statutes of limitation. He exonerated all those who more than five years before had been under prosecution from the treasury, suits still pending; and he would not permit lawsuits to be renewed, unless done within a year, with the additional condition that the prosecutor should be banished if he could not make good his case. He pardoned the secretaries of the quaestors for what was past, for having engaged in trade according to custom, contrary to the Clodian law restricting the private business dealings of the scribes of quaestors. The portions of commandeered land left unassigned after it was divided among the veteran soldiers, he granted to the ancient possessors, as belonging to them by prescription. He put a stop to false prosecutions by informers in the treasury against property owners for the purpose of unjustly seizing their estates, by severely punishing the prosecutors. And much notice was taken of this saying of his: “A prince who does not punish informers, encourages them.”

But now Domitian was determined to equal the military achievements of his predecessors. While the military abilities of Vespasian and Titus were genuine, those of Domitian were not. Partly as an attempt to correct this political weakness, Domitian frequently became involved in his own military exploits outside of Rome. He wanted to be known as a conqueror. Although, unlike Vespasian and Titus, he was not a military man, he considered himself one, and constantly sent messages to the generals in the field with advice and recommendations. He personally undertook several expeditions, some from choice, utterly unprovoked and unnecessary, and some from genuine necessity, because of threats to the empire from enemies foreign and domestic.

In the same year A.D. 83 he completed the conquest of the Agri Decumates in the reentrant angle of the Rhine, the lands beyond the upper Rhine and upper Danube, which his father Vespasian had begun. Having no personal experience himself and hoping to claim some credibility with the army, he embarked on a victorious campaign to Germania to engage the Catti in A.D. 83. This campaign against the Chatti was unprovoked, and he was bitterly aware of the ridicule that greeted his sham triumph over Germany. He also claimed a triumph in A.D. 83 for subduing the Catti in Gaul, but that conquest was illusory. Tacitus derided Domitian's victory against the Chatti as a "mock triumph". More campaigns against the Catti followed in western Germany, from A.D. 83 through 85. Moving against tribes like the Chatti, he drove the empire's frontier to the rivers Lahn and Main, building border fortifications called limes in Germany. The greatest threat, however, remained on the Danube, from the Dacians under King Decebalus.

Meanwhile, despite the results of his shallow military achievements, shortly after his initial victories over the Catti, in A.D. 84 he raised the pay of the army from three hundred to four hundred gold sesterces, a fact that would naturally make him popular with the soldiery. He earned the respect of the army when he became the first emperor since Augustus to give them a raise, although by that time a pay raise had perhaps become very well necessary, as over time inflation had reduced the soldiers' effective income.

Domitian's brother Titus had an only child, a daughter by his second marriage, Flavia Julia; and she had married Flavius Sabinus, who was her cousin, and Domitian's cousin. In A.D. 84, Domitian put to death Flavius Sabinus, one of his own cousins, simply because, on his being chosen to that office at the consular election, the herald, in proclaiming his consulship, had called him imperator instead of consul: by a blunder, the public crier had proclaimed him to the people not consul, but emperor. The execution of his cousin Flavius Sabinus on this frivolous pretext as being immediate evidence of a subversive plot against him was an isolated event, not part of a general pattern of executions; and his widow Flavia Julia was afterward seen publicly as Domitian's mistress; after Sabinus's death in A.D. 84 she lived openly as mistress of her uncle Domitian. But after she had lost both her father and her husband, he loved her most passionately, and openly; so much that she was with child by him. And he was the occasion of her death, by forcing her to procure a miscarriage, an abortion, killing both the mother and the child.

According to the tradition of the Christian Assembly, the holy Evangelist and Apostle Saint Luke, after the repose of the body of his teacher Saint Paul, spread the Gospel of Christ in Italy, Dalmatia, Gaul, and especially, Macedonia, in which he had labored before for several years. He also evangelized Achaia, which borders on Macedonia. Then, when he was already quite elderly, the Apostle Luke undertook a journey to Egypt. And having first passed through all of Libya, he arrived in Egypt, and there he labored greatly and endured many afflictions for the sake of the holy name of Jesus, and in the Thebaid of Egypt he converted many to Christ. In the city of Alexandria, he ordained a certain Abilius as episcopos to succeed Annas, who had been ordained by the Evangelist Mark, and had faithfully carried out his ministry for twenty-two years.

Then, returning to Greece, he again set up Christian assemblies there, primarily in Boetia, ordained priests and deacons, and healed those sick of body and soul. Like the Apostle Paul, his friend and mentor, Saint Luke fought the good fight, finished his course and kept the Apostolic Faith to the end. At the age of seventy-four or eighty-four, about the year 84, it is said that he died a martyr’s death in Achaia, hanged and crucified on an olive tree instead of a cross. His precious body which had been a temple of the Holy Spirit of truth was buried in Thebes, the principal city of Boetia.

Meanwhile, Cnaeus Julius Agricola, seven years the governor of Britain, was successfully campaigning against the Picts. He had already won some victories in various parts of Britain and now advanced into northern Scotland where at Mons Graupius he gained a significant victory over the Picts in battle. Then in A.D. 85 Agricola was suddenly recalled from Britain; the emperor recalled Agricola, a victorious general in Britain, because he became too popular, with the people, the army, the Senate, and the Praetorians, making it conceivable that the undefeated general would eventually challenge Domitian’s government if he should continue to win outstanding victories. The possibility that he was virtually on the brink of actually achieving the final conquest of Britain as the crowning achievement of his military career has been the subject of much speculation, and we will never know; it is certain that recalling Agricola from Britain made the possibility that he would be the one to achieve the final conquest of Britain impossible. It appears that Domitian, so eager to prove himself a great conqueror, was in fact jealous of Agricola's success.

In his book On Britain and Germany Agricola's son-in-law Tacitus recounts the tenuous relationship between Agricola and Domitian. The general’s victories in Britain put the emperor in a precarious position as he was torn between pride and jealousy, torn between keeping up appearances to the public with pride in a Roman victory, and jealousy because of his own failure as a commander. He tells us that Agricola was received by Domitian with the smile on his face that so often masked a secret disquiet; that he was bitterly aware of the ridicule that had greeted his own sham triumph over Germany. On returning to Rome, the general was offered the governorship of Syria, but he refused. And now, the Roman general Cnaeus Julius Agricola, in spite of his having received triumphal honors from Titus, for the rest of his life lived not only in disgrace but in actual want, because the deeds which he had wrought were thought by Domitian too great for a mere general, but belonged only by right to an emperor, to one who was favored by the gods. The circumstances surrounding the recall of Agricola and the popular suspicions that this had been done only because of jealousy, only further fueled Domitian's hunger for military glory. This time he turned his attention to the kingdom of Dacia.

The Dacians under their king Decebalus had crossed the Danube onto the northern frontier in raids in which they even killed the governor of Moesia, Oppius Sabinus, a man of consular rank. On hearing of the death of Oppius Sabinus, Domitian sent the first of two expeditions against the Dacians. The emperor visited Moesia in A.D. 85 shortly after Sabinus had been killed by the invaders. Domitian led his troops to the Danube region, but to Cornelius Fuscus, prefect of the Pretorian cohorts, he entrusted the conduct of that war. Cornelius Fuscus eagerly sought some means of trying to avenge Sabinus's death. At first these armies suffered another defeat at the hands of the Dacians. However, the Dacians were eventually driven back, and Domitian returned to Rome soon after, leaving his armies to fight. Fuscus successfully drove the Dacians back across the border in mid-85, prompting Domitian to return to Rome and celebrate an elaborate triumph.

As emperor, Domitian was hated by the aristocracy. His reach extended well beyond the economy. Two years before, in A.D. 83 Domitian had begun to display that terrifying adherence to the very letter of the law which should make him so feared by the people of Rome. In spite of his private vices, and his own personal lack of moral values, he now set himself up as a reformer of morals and religion. Late in A.D. 85, in a move to increase his power over the Senate, Domitian proclaimed himself censor perpetuus, "perpetual censor"; he made himself censor for life, which granted him near unlimited power over the assembly, with a general supervision of conduct and morals. The move was without precedent and, although largely symbolic, it nevertheless revealed Domitian's obsessive interest in all aspects of Roman life. Domitian's administration is judged by some historians to have been sound and efficient, though at times his policy was deemed to be excessively pedantic; for example, he insisted on spectators at public games being properly dressed in togas.

But Domitian was more and more being understood as a tyrant, who did not even refrain from having senators who opposed his policies assassinated. But his strict enforcement of the law also brought its benefits. Corruption among city officials and within the law courts was reduced. In the administration of justice he was diligent and assiduous; and he frequently sat in the Forum as a natural course, to cancel those judgments of the court of the Centumviri, The Hundred Men, which had been procured through favor, or interest. He occasionally cautioned the judges of the court of recovery to beware of being too ready to admit claims for freedom brought before them. He set a mark of infamy on the records of judges convicted of taking bribes, as well as on the records of their legal advisors. He likewise incited the tribunes of the people to prosecute a corrupt aedile for extortion and to desire the Senate to appoint judges for his trial. He likewise took such effectual care in punishing magistrates of the city, and governors of provinces, guilty of misconduct in public office, that they never were at any other time more moderate or more just; for the general standard of justice rose to such an unprecedented level of unrelenting strictness, that Suetonius emphatically points out since his reign how many of these provincial governors and magistrates have been charged with judicial corruption, and crimes of various kinds.

Having taken on himself the reformation of public conduct, he restrained the presumptuous abuse by the common populace of sitting indiscriminately with the knights in the amphitheatre in disregard of their dignity and authority. He suppressed scandalous libels, published to defame persons of rank, of either sex, and inflicted on their authors a mark of infamy on their personal records. He expelled a man of quaestorian rank from the Senate, for compromising the dignity of his position by practicing mimicry and dancing. He barred infamous women of bad character from the use of litters, and the right of receiving legacies, or inheriting estates. He struck from the list of judges a Roman knight for taking again to himself his wife, whom he had divorced and prosecuted for adultery.

Seeking to impose his intuitive sense of morals, he attempted to raise the standards of public morality by forbidding male castration. He prohibited the castration of males; and reduced the price of the eunuchs who were still left in the hands of the dealers in slaves, and, admonishing homosexual senators, he penalized senators who practiced homosexuality. He condemned several men of the senatorian and equestrian orders, on the basis of Scantinian law, charging them with maiestas, "the degradation of the majesty of the Roman people"; also censuring the Vestal Virgins for, among other indiscretions, incest.

During his reign three Vestal Virgins, convicted of immoral behavior, were put to death for maiestas. It is true that these stringent rules and punishments had once been observed by Roman society. But "times had changed"; that dishonestly indirect expression which avoids blaming the people directly for their own insolent behavior, making them, instead, misled, innocent dupes and victims of a faceless, impersonal, pervasively immoral cultural climate; and quite simply it means that moral standards once admired and praised by the people as standards of Roman virtue were no longer popular but generally held in contempt; and the public now tended to see punishments of the Vestals for immoral acts of incest as mere acts of cruelty; due to the flagrant vices of the times, lust and luxury, rooted in the pervasive licentiousness which had so long prevailed; which his father Vespasian as imperial censor had zealously attempted to correct in his campaign to effect a wholesome national reformation of morals. The lewdness of the Vestal Virgins, which had been overlooked by his father and brother, he punished severely, but in different ways: offences committed before his reign, with death, and those since its commencement, according to ancient custom. For to the two sisters called Ocellatae, he gave liberty to choose the mode of death which they preferred, and banished their paramours; but Cornelia, the president of the Vestals, was acquitted of a charge of incontinence, which is unrestrained sexual behavior.

And to preserve pure and undefiled reverence due the gods, he ordered the soldiers to demolish a tomb, which one of his freedmen had erected for his son out of stones designated for the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, and to sink in the sea all the bones and relics buried in it.

But he did not long persevere in this course of Roman clemency and justice, for he soon more readily fell into cruelty than into avarice. It seems certain that his own increasing cruelty and ostentation were the chief grounds of his unpopularity, rather than any military or administrative incompetence.

Domitian’s financial difficulties are a much disputed question. Shortly after taking office, he had raised the silver content of the denarius by about twelve percent, only to devaluate it now in A.D. 85, when the imperial income must have proved insufficient to meet military and public expenses. But the finances of the empire were further organized to the point that imperial expenditure could at last be reasonably forecast. The economy, therefore, offered a ready outlet for Domitian's autocratic tendencies. Always worried about state finances, he at times displayed near neurotic meanness.

His building program had been heavy: Rome received a new Forum, later called Forum Nervae, and many other works. Then there were the expenses of Domitian’s new house on the Palatine Hill and his vast villa on the Alban Mount. Meanwhile, the increased army pay was a recurrent cost. With the augmentation of pay lately granted to the troops, and having exhausted the imperial treasury by the expense of his buildings and public spectacles, he made an attempt at reducing the size of the army, in order to lessen military costs. But after reflecting that this measure would expose him to the assaults of the barbarians, while it would not be enough to extricate him from his financial embarrassments, he had recourse to plundering his subjects by every form of extortion. Confiscations and the rigorous collection of taxes soon became necessary. Cruelty came earlier in his reign than greed, but eventually he regularly confiscated the property of his victims. The estates of the living and the dead were confiscated and held on the grounds of any accusation, by anyone who preferred to do so. The unsupported allegation of any one person, relative to a word or action construed to refer to the dignity of the emperor, was also sufficient. Inheritances, to which he had not the slightest claim, were confiscated, if there was found so much as one person to say that he had heard from the deceased when living that he had made the emperor his heir.

He was able to maintain to the end of his reign the debased currency standard of A.D. 85, which was still higher than the standard under Vespasian. There were failures, but he also left the treasury with a surplus, perhaps the best proof of a financially sound administration, built on the ruinous injustice of a corrupt policy of extortion of confiscated estates and inherited fortunes. Probably only his confiscations averted state bankruptcy in the last years of his reign. And under his rule Rome itself became yet more cosmopolitan.

Beyond Rome, Domitian taxed provincials rigorously and was not afraid to impose his will on officials of every rank. Consistent with his concern for the details of administration, he also made essential changes in the organization of several provinces and established the office of Curator to investigate financial mismanagement in the cities. Other evidence points to a concern with civic improvements of all kinds, from road building in Asia Minor, Sardinia and near the Danube to building and defensive improvements in North Africa.

According to Eusebius, in the fourth year of Domitian, A.D. 85, Annianus, who was the first Episcopos of Alexandria, died, after having filled that office for twenty-two years, during the imperial reigns of Nero, Galba, Otho, Vitellius, Vespasian, Titus and Domitian. He was succeeded by Avilius, who was the second Episcopos of that city.

There had been two years of campaigns against the Catti in western Germany from A.D. 83 to 85. After several battles with these Chatti and the Daci, Domitian had celebrated a double triumph in 85. In the First Dacian War, initial success against the aggressors of Decebalus by Domitian's Praetorian prefect, Cornelius Fuscus, allowed the emperor to celebrate his second triumph at Rome in A.D. 86.

However, Cornelius Fuscus was killed trying to avenge the death of Oppius Sabinus from Dacian raiders the previous year. Early in 86, Fuscus embarked on an expedition into Dacia. As Fuscus's men marched into Dacia, the forces of Decebalus attacked from all sides, and Fuscus attempted to rally his men, but was unsuccessful; which resulted in the complete destruction of the Fifth Legion Alaudae, near Tapae; Fuscus was killed, and the Legio quinta Alaudae was completely destroyed; and the battle standard of the Praetorian Guard was lost. To the Roman Praetorians, the lost of that standard was more devastating than the destruction of an entire legion. They grieved more over its loss than over the loss of their men. It was a tall stick or pole, a long rod, decorated and worshiped by them, and it did nothing either good or bad; it took no revenge on those who had seized it, and it could not save itself when it was lost. The Praetorian cohorts would be restored, and another standard made for their worship, but the Fifth Alaudae was never reformed.

An ardent supporter of traditional Roman religion, Domitian also closely identified himself with Minerva and Jupiter, publicly linking Jupiter to his regime through the Ludi Capitolini, the Capitoline Games, which he began in A.D. 86. Domitian liked the Games, in particular, chariot races, even adding two new teams of drivers to them, Golden and Purple. Held every four years in the early summer, the Games consisted of chariot races, athletics and gymnastics, and music, oratory and poetry. Contestants came from many nations, and no expense was spared; the emperor himself awarded the prizes. In the same manner, Domitian offered frequent and elaborate public shows, always with an emphasis on the innovative: in fact he loved public entertainments of any kind, especially those involving women combatants and dwarves. He frequently entertained the people with the most magnificent and costly shows, not only in the Colosseum, but in the Circus; where, besides the usual races with chariots drawn by two or four horses harnessed side by side, he exhibited a mock military engagement between both horse and foot, and a sea-battle in the Colosseum, with deaths on both sides. The basement of the Colosseum built by his father was flooded and used for a naval battle. To the four former teams in the Circensian games, he added two new ones, the Gold and the Scarlet. The people were also entertained with the chase of wild beasts. There were wild beast hunts and the combat of gladiatorial contests held even at night by torchlight. Nor did only men fight in these spectacles, but women too; and there were competitions to the death between infantry and cavalry.

He constantly attended the Questorian Games, the games given by the quaestors, those in charge of the public treasury and expenditures, games which for some time had been discontinued, but were revived by him; and on those occasions, he always gave the people the liberty of demanding two pairs of gladiators out of his own school of gladiators, who appeared last in the program dressed in elegant court livery. Whenever he attended the shows of gladiators, a little boy dressed in scarlet, with a grotesquely small head, stood at his feet, with whom he used to talk very much, and sometimes with great seriousness. We have been assured that he was overheard asking this boy if he knew why in his latest appointment he had made Metius Rufus governor of Egypt.

Making a vast new lake near the Tiber, and building seats round it, he presented the people with naval battles, performed by fleets almost as numerous as those usually employed in real engagements. And he witnessed them himself during a very heavy rain. He likewise celebrated the Secular games, fixing their numerical dating not from the year in which they had first been exhibited by Claudius, as, for example, the twenty-fifth, twenty-sixth, twenty-seventh Secular games, and so on, but from the time of Augustus’s first celebration of them forty years before, numbering the same ones instead as, for example, the sixty-fifth, sixty-seventh, sixty-eighth Secular games, and so on. In these, on the day of the Circensian sports, in order to have a hundred races performed, he reduced each course of laps from seven rounds to five.

He even likewise founded and instituted, in honor of Jupiter Capitolinus, a solemn contest in music to be performed every five years, besides horse-racing and gymnastic exhibitions, with more prizes than were later allowed in the reign of Trajan: a festival of music, horsemanship, and gymnastics, to be held every five years. There was also a public performance in elocution, rhetoric both Greek and Latin; and besides the musicians who sung to the harp, there were others who played pieces in concert, solos without vocal accompaniment.

Young girls also ran races in the Stadium, at which he presided wearing his imperial buskins, dressed in a purple robe made according to the Grecian fashion, and on his head a golden crown bearing the effigies, or figures, of Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva; with the flamen of Jupiter, and the college of priests sitting by his side in the same dress, except that their crowns also had his own image on them. He also celebrated on the Alban Mount every year the Quinquatrus, the festival of Minerva, for which he had appointed a college of priests, and out of it was chosen by lot persons to preside as their president, whose chief duty was to entertain the people with extraordinary hunts of wild beasts, and stage-plays, besides sponsoring contests for prizes in oratory and poetry.

He made many novel changes in common practices. He prohibited actors from acting in the public theater, but permitted them to practice their art in privately owned houses of wealthy patrons. Three times he bestowed on the people a bountiful largess of three hundred sesterces for each man; and, at a public show of gladiators, a very plentiful feast. He abolished the imperial custom of Sportula, the little baskets of food once distributed to the spectators of the games at state expense, and revived instead the old practice of regular banquets. At the festival of the Seven hills of Rome, he distributed large covered baskets of prepared foods, big hampers of provisions, to the senatorian and equestrian orders, and smaller baskets to the common people, prompting and encouraging them to eat by setting the example for them with his first taste, the inaugural bite. The day after, he scattered among the people a variety of cakes and other delicacies to be scrambled for, food showered down on the public from ropes stretched across the top of the Colosseum; and when most of them fell on and around the seats of the common crowd, he ordered five hundred tokens to be thrown into each row of the benches of the senatorian and equestrian orders. Thus the emperor sought to underscore not only Rome's importance but also his own and that of the Flavian regime. However, while both Domitian and the public enjoyed these entertainments, their cost would eventually take a heavy toll on his and the empire’s finances. On the other hand, there were notable successes resulting from the policies of his administration. It might be fairer to criticize him for an entirely different matter: undue paternalism.

For a period of time during his administration, there was a strange mix of virtue and vice; his vices were balanced by his virtues; but, as we may reasonably suppose concerning his character, his virtues themselves at last degenerated into vices, he being inclined to avarice from a persistent lack of funds to avoid bankruptcy and establish a financially sound administration with a surplus balance in the state treasury, and to cruelty through constant fear of assassination by ambitious men who had no fear of destabilizing the government at the risk of civil wars, and his own overwhelming, obsessive dread of death, his own mortality. Like the rest of mankind, he, through fear of death, was subject to lifelong bondage to him who has the power of death, that is, the devil.

He had long entertained a suspicion of the year and day when he should die, and even of the very hour and manner of his death; all of which he had learned from the Chaldeans, professional astrologers from Babylon, when he was a very young man. His father Vespasian once at supper laughed at him for refusing to eat some mushrooms, saying that, if he already knew his fate, then he would be more afraid of the sword. Being, therefore, in perpetual apprehension and anxiety, he was keenly alive to the slightest suspicions, to such a degree that he is thought to have withdrawn the edict ordering the destruction of the vines chiefly because the copies of it which were dispersed had the following lines written on them:

Kaen me phagaes epi rizanomos epi kartophoraeso,
Osson epispeisai Kaisari thuomeno.
"Gnaw thou my root, yet shall my juice suffice
To pour on Caesar’s head in sacrifice."

It was from the same principle of fear that he refused a new honor, devised and offered him by the Senate, though he was greedy for all such compliments. It was that, as often as he held the consulship, Roman knights, chosen by lot, should walk before him, clad in the Trabea, the purple-striped toga, with lances in their hands, among his lictors and his apparitors, the lictors being guards who carried the fasces as symbol of their office and attended chief magistrates, and the apparitors being civil court officials. As the time of the danger which he apprehended drew near, he became daily more and more disturbed in mind; so that he even lined the walls of the porticos in which he used to walk, and the gallery where he took his daily walks, with the stone called Phengites, moonstone, highly polished, so that by the reflection he could see every object behind him. His paranoia led him to take extreme measures such as employing informers, as did Nero before him. As a means to obtain information on possible plots or rebels, he ordered interrogators to cut off the hands, or scorch the genitals, of prisoners, piercing them with fire.

He complained that the lot of princes was very miserable, “for no one believed them when they discovered a conspiracy, before they were murdered.”

However, plots against the emperor did exist. In September of A.D. 87 several senators who were tools in a conspiracy were executed. The Senate was almost stripped entirely of its power, and his paranoia led to the execution of both senators and imperial officers for the most trivial of offences on the charge of maiestas. Out of jealousy, he had Sullustius Lucullus, governor of Britannia, executed for naming a new type of lance after himself, the lucullan, instead of naming it in honor of Domitian. But there are hints of more general trouble about A.D. 87.

His military and foreign policy was not uniformly successful. Domitian was the first emperor since Claudius to campaign in person. Both in Britain and in Germany advances were made by the Romans early in the reign, and the construction of the Rhine-Danube limes, the “fortified line”, owes more to Domitian than to any other emperor. In Britain, similar propaganda of news of advances made masked the withdrawal of Roman forces from the northern borders to positions farther south, a clear sign of Domitian's rejection of expansionist warfare in the province. But consolidation in Scotland was halted by serious wars on the Danube, where Domitian never achieved an entirely satisfactory settlement and, worse still, lost two legions and many other troops. Difficulties with the Dacians which began in 86 continued three more years, from the midst of the current year A.D. 87 into A.D. 91. This was naturally held against Domitian at Rome, though admitted even by Tacitus to be due to the slackness or rashness of his commanders. It did not affect his popularity with the army, however, whose pay he had wisely raised by one-third in A.D. 84, from three hundred to four hundred sesterces.

The real issue was his own constitutional and ceremonial position. He continued his father’s policy of holding frequent consulates; he was consul ordinarius every year from 82 to 88; but in any of them he scarcely had more than the title; for he never continued in office as consul beyond the Kalends of May, one May, about four and a half months, and for the most part only in the beginning of the year, to the Ides of January, thirteen January, about two weeks. He had become censor for life two years before, in 85, with consequent control over senatorial membership and general behavior; he wore triumphal dress in the Senate; and he presided, wearing Greek dress and a golden crown, over four yearly games based on the Greek model of the Olympic Games, the Olympics, with his fellow judges wearing crowns bearing his own effigy among effigies of the gods.

He was not a little pleased too, at hearing the acclamations of the people in the Colosseum on a day of festival, “All happiness to our lord and lady.”

But when, during the celebration of the Capitoline trial of skill, the whole concourse of people entreated him with one voice to restore Palfurius Sura to his place in the Senate, from which he had long been expelled, having then carried away the prize of eloquence from all the orators who had contended for it, Domitian did not condescend to give them any answer, but only commanded silence to be proclaimed by the voice of the crier.

With equal arrogance, when he dictated the form of a letter to be used by his procurators, he began it thus: “Our lord and god commands this and this”; and showing all the signs of someone drunk with power, he preferred to be addressed as "dominus et deus", "master and god". From this it became a rule that no one should style him otherwise either in writing or speaking. The emperor saw himself as an absolute ruler and took pride in being called master and god: “dominus et deus.” According to Suetonius, a grave source of offense was his insistence on being addressed as dominus et deus, “master and god”. He was the first of the emperors to deify himself during his lifetime by assuming the title of "Lord and God". The temple begun by Titus in A.D. 80 to house the imperial cult of his father Vespasian, and completed by Domitian sometime during the fifteen years of his reign, was known near the end of his reign as the temple of Vespasian and Domitian. Roman temples dedicated to the imperial cult of each of the emperors were built after their deaths, when they were declared deified. Thus, Domitian now had a temple of worship to his father and to himself as a god while he lived.

In A.D. 88, twenty years after Nero's death, during the reign of Domitian, there was a third Nero pretender. He was supported by the Parthians, who only reluctantly gave him up, and the matter almost came to war. And for hundreds of years after Nero's death the Nero Redivivus Legend of Nero's survival and return still persisted.

Domitian soon returned to the Danube, where the Roman army won another decisive victory; Roman forces, under the newly appointed governor of Upper Moesia, Tettius Julianus, defeated the Dacians at Tapae in the Second Dacian War, most likely in A.D. 88. The time Domitian spent with the soldiers on the Danube only further increased his popularity with the army.

But matters remained far from settled. The crisis came on one January, A.D. 89, with the revolt of Lucius Antonius Saturninus, governor of Germania Superior, Upper Germany, who mutinied at Mainz. Saturninus was proclaimed emperor by two legions in Upper Germany. Much of Saturninus's cause for rebellion was the increasing oppression of homosexuals by the emperor. Saturninus being a homosexual himself, he rebelled against the oppressor. But Lappius Maximus, the commander of Germania Inferior, Lower Germany, remained loyal. The rebellion was suppressed by the Lower German army. At the following Battle of Castellum, Saturninus was killed and this brief rebellion was at an end. Thus, Domitian quelled the civil war, begun by Lucius Antonius, governor of Upper Germany, without being obliged to be personally present at it, and with remarkable good fortune. For, at the very moment of joining battle, the Rhine suddenly thawing, the troops of the barbarians ready to join Antonius were prevented from crossing the river. Before the messengers who brought the news of it arrived, he had notice of this victory by some portents, presages, omens, intuitions and signs. For on the very day the battle was fought, a splendid eagle spread its wings round his statue at Rome, making most joyful cries. And shortly after, a rumor became common that Antonius was slain; no, many positively affirmed that they saw his head brought to the city. The revolt was promptly suppressed, and the mutiny by Lucius Antonius Saturninus, governor of Upper Germany, in A.D. 89 was stamped out. Lappius Maximus purposely destroyed Saturninus's files in the hope of preventing a massacre of his supporters. But Domitian wanted vengeance, and the rebel leaders were punished. On the emperor's arrival Saturninus's officers were brutally and mercilessly executed.

But later a number of executions followed, and the law of majestas, treason against majesty, was employed freely against senators. Domitian suspected, most likely with good reason, that Saturninus had hardly acted on his own. Powerful allies in the Senate of Rome more than likely had been his secret supporters. And so in Rome now the vicious treason trials returned, seeking to purge the Senate of conspirators.

However, later that same year, A.D. 89, after this interlude on the Rhine, Domitian's attention was soon drawn back to the Danube. The Germanic Marcomanni and Quadi and the Sarmatian Jazyges were causing trouble.

After Cornelius Fuscus was killed at Tapae trying to avenge the A.D. 85 death of Oppius Sabinus, and the Fifth Legion Alaudae was completely destroyed, in A.D. 86, Domitian sent his second expedition against the Dacians; the first one was in 85, after the killing of Oppius Sabinus by the Dacian invaders; and now, four years later, in 89, the second expedition, on the death of Cornelius Fuscus, prefect of the Pretorian cohorts, to whom he had entrusted the conduct of that war. Domitian was forced reluctantly to conclude a truce with King Decebalus, offering Decebalus a settlement to avoid conflicts on two fronts while Domitian attacked the Marcomanni and Quadi. A treaty was agreed with the Dacians who were more than happy to accept peace. Difficulties with the Dacians were settled by making King Decebalus a client ruler. Then Domitian moved against the troublesome barbarians. In this First Pannonian War, Domitian attacked the Suebian Marcomanni and Quadi and defeated them. He also finally defeated the Chatti in Gaul. Domitian had earlier claimed a triumph in A.D. 83 for subduing the Catti in Gaul, but that conquest was illusory, and the whole campaign against them had been ridiculed as unnecessary. Final victory over them did not really come before now, with their defeat in A.D. 89.

After such victorious campaigns against the Germans, Domitian would often wear the costume of a victorious general in public, and also at times when he visited the Senate.

After several battles with the Chatti and Daci, he celebrated a double triumph. Afterward, he awarded himself the title of Germanicus, a cognomen, for his “success.” He even renamed two of the months after himself. After his two triumphs, when he assumed the cognomen of Germanicus, he called the months of September and October, Germanicus and Domitian, after his own names, because he commenced his reign in the one, and was born in the other: September becomes Germanicus, and October Domitianus.

He conferred some of the greatest offices on his freedmen and soldiers. He forbade two legions to be quartered in the same camp, and amounts of more than a thousand sesterces to be deposited by any soldier with the standards, because it was rumored that Lucius Antonius had been encouraged in his late project by the large sum deposited in the military chest by the two legions which he had in the same winter-quarters. He then made an addition to the soldiers’ pay, of three gold pieces a year, from four to seven.

Domitian's autocratic tendencies meant that the real seat of power during his reign resided with his court. The features typically associated with later courts, a small band of favored courtiers, a keen interest in the bizarre and the unusual, wrestlers, jesters, and dwarves, and a highly mannered, if somewhat artificial atmosphere, characterized Domitian's palace too, whether at Rome or at his Alban villa, some twelve and a half miles outside of the capital. Courtiers included family members and freedmen, as well as Friends, amici—a group of politicians, generals, and Praetorian prefects who offered input on important matters. Reliance on amici was not new, yet the arrangement underscored Domitian's mistrust of the aristocracy, most notably the Senate, whose role in government suffered as Domitian deliberately concentrated power in the hands of few senators while expanding the duties of the equestrian class. Domitian's mistake was that he made no attempt to mask his feelings about the Senate. Inclined neither by nature nor by conviction to include the body in his emperorship, he treated this body no differently than any other. Senatorial grievances were not without basis: at least eleven senators of consular rank were executed and many others exiled, offering ample attestation of the emperor's contempt for the body and its membership.

In A.D. 90, after censuring the Vestal Virgins for, among other indiscretions, incest, one was even buried alive; her lover was also executed. Cornelia, the president of the Vestals, who had formerly been acquitted upon a charge of incontinence, being a long time afterward again prosecuted and now condemned, he ordered to be buried alive; the head of the Vestal Virgins was walled up alive in an underground cell, after being convicted of the charge of immoral behavior, while her alleged lovers were beaten to death; her gallants were condemned to be whipped to death with rods in the Comitium, excepting only a man of Praetorian rank, to whom he granted the favor of banishment, because he confessed the fact while the case was doubtful and it was not yet proved against him, though the witnesses had been put to the torture.

Suetonius claimed in De Vitae Caesarium, The Lives of the Caesars, The Twelve Caesars, that Domitian was not evil to begin with; however, he believed that greed and fear of assassination made him extremely cruel. Historian Cassius Dio in his Roman History says the emperor was both bold and quick to anger. He was extremely vain and very self-conscious of being bald. By all accounts Domitian appears to have been a thoroughly nasty, ill-natured, disagreeable, mean and spiteful person, rarely polite, insolent, arrogant and cruel. By the end of his reign he was disfigured by baldness, corpulence, and the slenderness of his legs, which had lost much muscle tone from a long illness, like a pear standing on two sticks. He was treacherous as well as secretive, feeling no affection for anyone, except a few women. His paranoia had even extended to his wife, Domitia Longina. He had accused her of adultery, early in his reign, and planned to put her to death, a common practice for the time. Some accounts claimed she deserved it. Domitia had been married to a senator, Aelius Lamia, but he was convinced by her to divorce her so she could marry Domitian. Domitian had afterward temporarily left his wife to live with his niece Julia, Titus’s daughter by his second marriage, before he was finally convinced by others to return to his wife.

In Judea Domitian stepped up the policy introduced by his father to track down and execute Jews claiming descent from their ancient king, David. But if this policy under Vespasian had been introduced to eliminate any potential leaders of rebellions, with Domitian it was pure religious oppression. Even among leading Romans in Rome itself this religious tyranny found victims. Domitian's ever greater religious zealotry was a sign of the emperor's increasing tyranny. The Senate by then was treated with open contempt by him. In all likelihood, much of this was due to the malign influence of the genius of the emperor working on him, as it had worked on those before him. Whatever pagans sacrifice to the genius of the emperor they offer to a demon and not to God. A tree is known by its fruit.

At this time Christians used the Greek translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint, which was written and read by Jews, as the Greek language generally replaced Hebrew and Aramaic as the language of the people. In response to the rise of the Christian sect and the destruction of the Temple in A.D. 70, Jewish rabbis at the school of Jamnia in A.D. 90 now discussed rejecting the Septuagint in favor of selected Hebrew language scriptural texts, omitting certain books such as Baruch, Judith, the four books of Maccabees, Sirach, and Tobit, some of these originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic or both, books which were relatively recent Jewish contributions of the third through the first centuries before Christ, which had become part of Jewish culture; and they simultaneously excluded as condemned and false the writings of those they call "heretics", the minim, including Christians, also called nosrim, nozrim, "Nazarenes", and cursed Christians in a synagogue service "benediction" against them and others. Palestinian texts of the Eighteen Benedictions from the Cairo Genizah present a text of the benediction which identifies the minim:

"For the apostates may there be no hope unless they return to Your Torah. As for the nosrim and the minim, may they perish immediately. Speedily may they be erased from the Book of Life, and may they not be registered among the righteous. Blessed are You, O Lord, Who subdues the wicked."

While other specimens of the Palestinian liturgy show slight variation, the nosrim, usually translated as “Christians”, and minim are included in the best texts of this benediction. The fact remains that the nosrim were included with apostates and heretics and the wicked in the Genizah documents. Christians participating in synagogue services were unable to recite this benediction with the rest of the Jewish assembly lest they curse themselves.

Domitian, already considered by many in the government to be a difficult man and a poor ruler with questionable morals, also now in his reign enacted the first heavy persecution of Christians since Nero. Indeed, Domitian, having exercised his cruelty against many, and unjustly slain no small number of noble and illustrious men at Rome, and having, without cause, punished vast numbers of honorable men with exile and the confiscation of their property, at length established himself as the successor of Nero, in his hatred and hostility to God. He was the second that raised a persecution against us, although his father Vespasian had attempted nothing to our prejudice, as having no such evil plans. Hegesippus reports that after the conquest of Jerusalem, Vespasian ordered a search be made for all descendants of David so that no member of the royal house should be left among the Jews, which resulted in another great persecution of the Jews, and of Christians who were assumed to be a sect of the Jews. This policy under Vespasian had been introduced to eliminate any potential leaders of rebellions, but with Domitian it was pure religious oppression. As his reign progressed and the pressures of ruling mounted, Domitian's paranoia seized and dominated him. In order to pay for his extravagances he tightened the Jewish tax enacted by his father and seized the fortunes of senators and wealthy Romans. When the Acts of Nero's reign were reversed after his death, an exception was made regarding the persecution of the Christians, and they continued to be persecuted. The Jewish revolt brought on them fresh unpopularity, and the subsequent destruction of the Holy City deprived them of the last shreds of protection afforded them by being confused with the Jews. Hence Domitian in his attack on the aristocratic party found little difficulty in condemning those who were Christians. To observe Jewish practices was no longer lawful; to reject the national religion, without being able to plead the excuse of being a Jew, was atheism, because they do not worship or offer any sacrifice to any of the gods and goddesses of Rome. On one count or the other, as Jews or as atheists, the Christians were liable to punishment. Among the more famous Christian martyrs in this Second Persecution were Domitian's cousin, Flavius Clemens, the consul, and Marcus Acilius Glabrio who had also been consul. Flavia Domitilla, the wife of Flavius Clemens, was banished to Pandateria. Pontia and Pandateria, now called Ponza and Ventotene, in Imperial Rome were places of exile, where emperors sent family members who annoyed them, or political enemies. But the persecution was not confined to such noble victims. We read of many others who suffered death or the loss of their goods.

Some scholars, dismissing many reliable contemporary historical sources attesting the Domitian persecutions, claim that it is less easy from these sources to gauge Domitian's attitude toward Christians and Jews specifically, asserting that reliable evidence for their persecution is difficult to find; that some Christians may have been among those banished or executed from time to time during the A.D. nineties, but that the documented testimony which these scholars are willing to accept as verifiable falls short of confirming any organized program of persecution under Domitian's reign. They acknowledge that there is clear evidence that Jews were made to feel uneasy under Domitian, who scrupulously collected the Jewish tax and harassed Jewish tax dodgers during much of his rule, taxes which had been imposed by emperors since Vespasian for allowing them to practice their own faith, the fiscus iudaicus. And besides the exactions from others, this poll-tax on the Jews was in fact now levied with extreme rigor, both on those who lived according to the manner of Jews in the city, without publicly professing themselves to be such, and on those who, by concealing their origin, avoided paying the tribute imposed on that people. Many Christians were also tracked down and forced to pay the tax, based on the widespread Roman belief that they were Jews pretending to be something else. But Domitian was especially rigorous in exacting taxes from the Jews. Suetonius remembers, when he was a youth, that he was present when an old man, ninety years of age, had his person exposed to view in a very crowded court, in order that the procurator might, on inspection, satisfy himself whether he was circumcised and therefore whether he was required to pay the fiscus Judaicus. Some scholars claim that, as with Christians, such policies did not amount to persecution. In their view, this policy does help to explain the Jewish fears of expulsion present in the contemporary sources, but in their view it does not amount to persecution. Scholars who dismiss contemporary Roman and Christian sources offering evidence of persecution, claim that, "on balance, the tradition of Domitian as persecutor has been greatly overstated, yet given his autocratic tendencies and devotion to Roman pagan religion, it is easy to see how such stories could have evolved and multiplied." So easily do they wave off eyewitness testimonies of rigorous persecution. This is a form of libel, itself a form of persecution. Such views represent Christians as unjust defamers of the Roman Emperor Domitian. His own Roman contemporaries do not themselves give Domitian such a tolerant judgment as these scholars—and they were eyewitnesses and historians from the beginning of his reign.

Meanwhile, the treason trials had already cost the lives of twelve former consuls. Ever more senators were falling victim to allegations of treason against the genius of the emperor. Members of Domitian's own family were not safe from accusation by the emperor.

Death was staring us in the face.

See virtual 3D tour of Rome -
Rome Reborn 2.2: A Tour of Ancient Rome in 320 CE - on Vimeo - Bernard Frischer

This chapter is the ninth part of a nine-part summary of the intervening years between the martyrdoms of Peter and Paul under Nero and the writing of the New Testament works of the Epistle of Jude, the Book of Revelation and the Letters of John the Apostle. Sources are linked below.

Historians and Bible scholars disagree on the precise dates of the intervening years. But in general they do agree that the entire historical period extends from about A.D. 67 through 90.
The concluding chapters Fifty-five and Fifty-six of this Harmony of the Gospel contain the First Letter of Clement and the Letter of Jude, and the Book of Revelation and the Letters of John.
Note to the reader:
The text of this chapter is a redaction of the informative sources listed and linked below, rearranged, chronologically sequenced, collated, condensed, combined and adapted, while seeking to preserve much of their expressive language, and in some instances updating and improving both their translations and the written copy. Parallel constructions and duplications in the text have been kept to a minimum as far as possible without loss of information.

Ecclesiastical History III, chapters 13–14, 17
The Twelve Caesars: Domitian 2–13, 18-22
Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome of Book LXVII,2

See the following resources:

Eccesiastical History of Eusebius Pamphilus, Book III, chapters 13, 14 and 17
Christian Classics Ethereal Library (ccel.org)

Chapter 13 Anencletus, the second Bishop of Rome
Chapter 14 Avilus, the second Bishop of Alexandria
Chapter 17 The Persecution of the Christians under Domitian

The Twelve Caesars: Titus Flavius Domitianus
Domitian: Roman Emperor (britannica.com)
Domitian (roman-emperors.org)
Domitian (ancient.eu)
Domitian (livius.org)
Domitian (en.wikipedia.org)
Domitian (newadvent.org)

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome of Book LXVII,2 (penelope.uchicago.edu)

See Conservapedia article Domitian

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Bible Encyclopedias: Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature (studylight.org)
Catholic Encyclopedia Catholic Online (catholic.org)
Hebrew Calendar Converter See exact equivalents of Gregorian Calendar dates.

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then use [Backspace ←] and [←] [→] right and left arrow keys in the day and year fields,
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Table of Old Testament quotes in the New Testament, in English translation, Joel Kalvesmaki 2013 (kalvesmaki.com)

List of 300 Septuagint Old Testament quotations in the New Testament, by Steve Rudd 2017 (bible.ca)

Table of LXX quotes and allusions in the New Testament

Church History (Eusebius): The Ecclesiastical History Of Eusebius Pamphilus: Bishop Of Caesarea, In Palestine (newadvent.org)

The Works of Flavius Josephus William Whiston, Translator, 1737 (sacred-texts.com)

Suetonius: Twelve Caesars: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars by C. Suetonius Tranquilus; To which are added His Lives of the Grammarians, Rhetoricians, and Poets. The Translation of Alexander Thomson, M.D., Revised and corrected by T. Forester, Esq., A.M. (Gutenberg.org)

Tacitus: The Annals, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb
Tacitus: The Histories, Written 109 A.C.E. Translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb (A.D. 69 through 70)

Sextus Aurelius Victor: Epitome De Caesaribus (roman-emperors.org)

Eutropius: Breviarium - Eutropius's Abridgement of Roman History (tertullian.org)

Cassius Dio: Roman History Epitome (penelope.uchicago.edu)

Early Christian Writings A.D. 30 through 380 (earlychristianwritings.com)
See Biblical Canon and Apocrypha.

"known as emperor of Rome and persecutor of the Church"

See Catholic Encyclopedia article: Domitian (newadvent.org)
See also note below (near the bottom of this marginal column)— "the tradition of Domitian as persecutor has been greatly overstated"

"he had the assurance to boast in the Senate that he himself had bestowed the empire on his father and brother, and they had restored it to him."

Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Domitian 13.
Make no mistake: Domitian is claiming that he himself is the genius of the emperor incarnate.
Again: The word "genius" comes from the Latin term for tutelary spirit: the genius loci were the spirits of place or location (singular genius locus).
In ancient mythology, a genius was a supernatural being appointed to guide a person throughout life; a guardian spirit; a demon (also spelled daemon). They are not the same as the guardian angels (Matthew 18:10), for according to St. Paul the genius of the emperor and all of the gods of Rome were "devils" or "demons", 1 Corinthians 10:20 and commentaries.
In Moslem mythology a genius was a jinni or genie, (plural jinn), a spirit-being with intellect and will, either good or bad; and, according to the Qur'an, evil desert jinn were converted by hearing the preaching of the prophet Muhammad and converted other jinn.
Surah al-Jinn Chapter 72, verses 1 and 2 (al-islam.org)
In the tale of Al'a-ed'Din and the Wonderful Lamp from the anthology of grossly immoral tales told by Shah'rezad in The Thousand and One Nights (so immoral that uncensored, unedited translations of the work have been and still are banned in several countries throughout the civilized world as a destructively harmful influence on the morals of youth), the jinni of the ring and the jinni of the lamp are good jinn.
Today astonishingly brilliant and talented men and women and youth of more than extraordinary human abilities, skills and intelligence are said to be "geniuses", a use of the term which has its ancient roots in the belief that such persons have been endowed with superhuman gifts originating in a superior realm above the human:
geniuses in the fields of athletics, philosophy, education, science, business, drama, poetry, calligraphy, the arts, engineering, mining, metallurgy, stone working, architecture, interior and clothing design, politics, government, administration, leadership, command authority, war, military strategy, diplomacy, rhetoric, arbitration, peace, agriculture, animal husbandry, culinary arts, medicine, and religion.
Compare Exodus 31:1-11; 1 Corinthians 12:4-28; James 1:16-17; 3:13-17.
The Roman cult of reverence for the living emperor was directed more toward acknowledgement of the power of the ruling spirit of the office of emperor, the genius of the emperor residing in the man chosen by the gods or by God as ruler of the empire, a kind of superhuman, divine power or living spirit of authority that was assumed to possess him from the moment that he was acclaimed Imperator (compare Romans 13:1 and 1 Peter 2:13). The genius of the emperor was essentially a pagan god, the animating and ruling spirit of the Roman empire, influencing, even possessing the Roman emperors. In the first century, sacrifice offered to the genius of the emperor was sacrifice offered to a demon.
Here, the boasting of Domitian that he himself had bestowed the empire on his father and his brother, and that they had returned it to him, is an implicit claim to be himself the genius of the emperor in person, a god incarnate.
See Avatar.
In the Indian Bhagavad-Gita Prince Krishna claims that he is the god Vishnu, and he imposes a vision on Prince Arjun'a to convince him.
Compare Luke 4:6-7 "And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine."
It is not impossible that dictators such as Ramesses II the Great, Sennacherib, Manasseh king of Judah, the Chinese Emperor Xin Xi Huang Te, Herod the Great, Caligula, Domitian, Diocletian, Genghis Khan, Ivan the Terrible, Maximilien Robespierre, Rasputin, Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, and Osama Bin Laden had, in some manner, made such a deal with the devil for power and empire. Their reigns were evidence of this, being marked by violence, bloodshed, oppression of the poor, excessive taxation, extortion, seizures of property, secret police, arbitrary imprisonments and executions, terror, dominated by an elite class of self-indulgent, wealthy, immoral, depraved individuals appointed to positions of power, whose followers were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil, covetousness, malice, envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, slanderers, backbiters, haters of God, spiteful, arrogant, inventors of new kinds of evil, lacking understanding, without natural affections, implacable, inhuman, merciless and unforgiving.
Were the Pagan Gods Actually Demons? The Scriptural View and Why It Matters, Msgr. Charles Pope (blog.adw.org)
Compare Daniel 10:12–11:1 and commentaries on 10:13 and 10:20.
See "Swear by the Genius of our Lord the Emperor": False Worship and Persecution of Christians (nobts.edu)

"to house the imperial cult of his father..."

See Roman religion Gallery: Imperial cult (bbc.co.uk)
See also Wisdom 14:12-21.

"In front of one of Rome's Jewish quarters an arch was erected to honor Titus. Another arch was built on the Forum Romanum, where it can still be seen." See:

"Yet he never took the trouble of reading history or poetry..."

This is not a contradiction.
The preceding chapter Fifty-three states "Domitian, therefore, dedicated himself to poetry and the arts instead"; a studying of history is not mentioned, and there is no indication that he took the trouble to read any history. At that time he dedicated himself to poetry and the arts; however, he later neglected the art of poetry (see Suetonius, Domitian 2). Apparently, during the reigns of Vespasian and Titus, Domitian did not dedicate himself to the works of others, but only to his own poetry and artistic expressions, as did the emperor Nero.

"and an odeum for rhetoric"

A speakers' hall.
See Definition of odeum - Merriam-Webster Dictionary (merriam-webster.com)

"as handsome as Metius fancies himself"

Either Metius Pomposianus, the man whose horoscope showed that he was destined to be emperor, or Metius Rufus whom Domitian made governor of Egypt. (Spellings according to Suetonius and Dio, English trans.)
Marcus Mettius Pomposianus was the senator elevated to the consulate by the emperor Vespasian, notwithstanding his claim of royal blood. Domitian, less tolerant of potential rivals, banished him, and subsequently had him put to death.
  • Suetonius, "The Life of Vespasian", 14, "The Life of Domitian", 10, 20.
  • Cassius Dio, LXVII, 12.
  • Aurelius Victor, Epitome de Caesaribus, 9.
  • Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology, vol. II, p. 1072 ("Mettius Pomposianus").
Marcus Mettius Rufus was governor of Roman Egypt A.D. 89-92 during the reign of Domitian.
Marcus Junius Rufus was appointed governor of Roman Egypt by Domitian two years before his death (c. 94-96).

"Vibius Crispus, answered 'Not even a fly.'"

Suetonius, Domitian 3:1
Vibius Crispus, one of Domitian's Friends, is mentioned by Dio Cassius as one of the "foremost men" entertained frequently at the table of former Emperor Vitellius in Rome.
Cassius Dio: Epitome of Book LXIV, 2.3.
They engaged in competitions of gluttony so gross that when Cripus fell ill and was absent for a time, he returned and quipped that if he had not been sick he would have died (of overeating).
Tacitus: The Histories: Book II paragraph 10
Vibius Crispus's rank among men of distinction was solely due to his wealth, power, and shrewd ability, and not as a man of worth. He was a member of the prosecution of men who had been paid informers in the days of Nero, and when he demanded a certain party be charged and condemned, men remembered that Cripus himself had profited from the same profession; hence they disliked him more than the harsh penalty he demanded the Senate should inflict on the guilty.
Tacitus: The Histories: Book IV paragraphs 42-43
Africanus, among others infamous for their practice as informers, who did not dare confess his own guilt, and could not deny it, when Vibius Crispus pressed him with questions as a prosecutor during his examination, and was complicating the charge which he could not refute, turned on Crispus, shifting the blame from himself by associating another with his own guilt.
When Regulus was selflessly defended by his brother, the defense of him who destroyed others, ruining innocent boys, old men with illustrious names, noble ladies, while placing the entire blame on Nero and the other informers and declaring the whole Senate might be destroyed by one word, provoked a senator to sarcastically urge the body to preserve such ready men, that every generation might have its teacher, and that the young might imitate Regulus, just as the old imitate Marcellus and Vibius Crispus. For even failed villainy has imitators: but what happens if it flourishes and becomes strong?
See additional referent sources listed in the Wikipedia article: Lucius Junius Quintus Vibius Crispus (en.wikipedia.org)

"he seldom ate more at the evening meal than a Matian apple"

The earliest mention of Matian apples is in the oldest apple recipe on record, for Diced Pork and Matian Apples, from the treatise De Re Coquinaria (“On Cookery”), dating from the third century (the 200's), a recipe attributed to a gourmand named Caelius Apicius, who lived two centuries before its publication, that is, very early first century, or before, about the time of the birth of Christ. See Apicius - Wikipedia; also History and Folklore - US Apple Association (usapple.org).
Apples are mentioned in the Douay-Rheims and King James Bibles (but not in Genesis 3 —the Forbidden fruit was not an apple ! ):
Deuteronomy 32:10;
Psalm 16:8 / 17:8;
Proverbs 7:2;
Canticle of Canticles / Song of Solomon
—2:3-5; 5:1 (Douay-Rheims); 7:8; 8:5;
Lamentations 2:18;
Joel 1:12;
Zechariah 2:8.
The "apple of the eye" is (a) the pupil of the eye (b) something precious.

"and whom, the year following, he honored with the title of Augusta, a title of divinity""

The feminine form of "Augustus".
(Again:) The meaning of Augustus carried with it ideas of superhuman status, from the Latin ‘augere‘ meaning ‘to increase’, connected also with ‘augurium‘ and the religious connotations of augury, and elevated the "august one" beyond mortal limits.
Compare (again) Tertullian - Apology: Chapter XXXIV. Augustus, the founder of the empire, would not even have the title Lord… (biblehub.com)

"he had recalled her to his pulvinar."

Latin term
Robert Graves renders the phrase as "a recall to my divine bed" (Domitian 13)—The Twelve Caesars, Penguin Classics

"Domitian displayed that terrifying pedantic adherence to the very letter of the law..."

See Pedant (dictionary.com);
also Pedantic (literarydevices.net),
and Pedantry (freethesaurus.com).
See article Why do pedants pedant? David Steele (theguardian.com)
Compare the dictionary definition of prig (dictionary.com)
and encyclopedic article Prig (en.wikipedia.org).

"vices from which he himself was not immune."

This the logical fallacy of special pleading, because he was emperor, and he was the censor, and he was therefore not subject to laws meant for the common people and the Senate. "I'm your father. Do as I say, don't do as I do." See Matthew 23:2-3; 1 Peter 2:13-17; Romans 13:1-10; Exodus 20:12; James 3:1.
An analogy in the world of sports can be seen in the fact that head coaches of sports teams like football do not play in the games or show by their personal example that they are the best player, but they in their role as coach and teacher critique and guide the players so as to improve their performances and win games. As long as their teams win, no one calls the coach a hypocrite, who determines the play on the field from the sidelines.

"contrary to the Clodian law"

Leges Clodiae ("Clodian Laws") were a series of laws (plebiscites) passed by the Plebeian Council of the Roman Republic under the tribune Publius Clodius Pulcher in 58 B.C.
See Notes and Discussion: The Lex Clodia de censoria notione W. Jeffrey Tatum (journals.uchicago.edu)

"he completed the conquest of the Agri Decumates"

See map of Agri Decumates (upload.wikipedia.org) and Agri Decumates, ancient region, Germany (britannica.com/place)

"in the reentrant angle of the Rhine"

See Roman colonization of the Main valley and Odenwald (raybishophistory.co.uk). The reentrant angle was a geo-politically defined wedge-shaped tract of land that lay between the Rhine where it flowed north through Germania superior and the upper reaches of the Danube that flowed east and bounded Rhestia/Raetia, the territory of the Romansch or Raetians. It was the western end of the continental Rhine-Danube frontier.
See the following:

"he embarked on a victorious campaign to Germania"

The Roman province of Germany.
See Germania: Germania Inferior - Germania Superior (unrv.com)

"to engage the Catti in A.D. 83. This campaign against the Chatti was unprovoked"

Catti and Chatti: (both phonetically, kǎt-tē - Chatti, hard "ch" as in "christening" and "character"). Two variant spellings of the name of this people appear in the sources. Both forms are used here in the text, alternately and interchangeably.

"He also claimed a triumph in A.D. 83 for subduing the Catti in Gaul"

The Roman province of Gaul (Gallia)
See Gallia (unrv.com)

"The greatest threat, however, remained on the Danube, from the Dacians under Decebalus."

See Domitian's Dacian War (military.wikia.com)
See also Trajan's Dacian Wars (en.wikipedia.org)

"the holy Evangelist and Apostle Saint Luke, after the repose of the body of his teacher Saint Paul, spread the Gospel of Christ"

"Cnaeus Julius Agricola"

Also spelled Gnaeus.

"the Dacians under their king Decebalus had crossed the Danube onto the northern frontier in raids in which they even killed the governor of Moesia"

A Roman province; the Greeks called it "Mysia".
See Moesia, ancient province, Europe (britannica.com)
See also Mysia (perseus.tufts.edu). The Greeks called Moesia "Mysia" (Μυσία) and the inhabitants Mysians (Μυσοί), and sometimes European Mysia (Μυσία ή έν Εύρώπη), to distinguish it from Mysia in Asia [Minor] (the Mysia referenced in the Bible: Acts 16:7-8 κατα τήν Μυσίαν, over against Mysia: see commentary on Acts 16:7).

"To Cornelius Fuscus, prefect of the pretorian cohorts, he entrusted the conduct of that war."

"In spite of his private vices, and his own personal lack of moral values, he now set himself up as a reformer of morals and religion."

See Special pleading, Hypocrites and Christian In Name Only.
Compare Romans 13:1-7; Matthew 23:1-4; 1 Peter 2:13-17; Hebrews 13:7 and 13:17.
Compare the folk-saying: "Don't do as I do, do as I say" —(I'm your mother / father / pastor / doctor / teacher / dean / employer / instructor / higher-ranking officer / police-chief / warden / administrator / mayor / CEO / governor / president / dictator / crime lord / chief terrorist / group leader / bully ("your worst nightmare") / captor).

"The lewdness of the Vestal Virgins, which had been overlooked by his father and brother, he punished severely"

The Vestal Virgins were the only female priestesses in Roman religion.
See Vestal Virgin (newworldencyclopedia.org)
See also Virginity and Chastity; Vow, Celibacy, Monk, Nun, Priest.

"Domitian's administration is judged by some historians to have been sound and efficient"

For example:
Domitian (roman-emperors.org) "...he also left the treasury with a surplus, perhaps the best proof of a financially sound administration...As many of his economic, provincial, and military policies reveal, he was efficient and practical in much that he undertook." John Donahue, College of William and Mary.
Domitian (ancient.eu) "Domitian proved to be an able administrator and did not ignore the welfare of the people...viewed as being generous, possessing self-restraint, considerate of all his friends, and conscientious when dispensing justice." Donald L. Wassen.
It would be unjust to omit that these historians also fully acknowledge Domitian's abusive tyranny, his oppressive paranoia, his delusions of godhood, his persecutions and his murders, in varying degrees, while they praise his administrative skill in the face of immoral public opposition and entrenched political corruption.

"Scantinian law"

Lex Scantinia
A Roman law that was created to penalize any male citizen of high status for taking a willing role in passive sexual behavior, as a prostitute or sodomite. See the following:

"the public now tended to see punishments of the Vestals for immoral acts of incest as mere acts of cruelty"

Compare multiple commentaries on
Romans 1:32 in the context of 1:29-32
also James 1:14.
Wisdom 1:12
2 Maccabees 4:17 and 6:13-16
Romans 13:3-4.

"rooted in the pervasive licentiousness which had so long prevailed"

Matthew 7:15-27
Romans chapter 6
1 John 3:4-18
James 1:16–2:26
John 15:1-10
See also
commentaries on Ezekiel 18:24
commentaries on Matthew 7:21
commentaries on Matthew 12:33
commentaries on Matthew 25:29
commentaries on Revelation 22:12
See Corporal and spiritual works of mercy.

"and his vast villa on Alban Mount"

Also known as Monte Cavo.
See article Monte Cavo (en.wikipedia)

"According to Eusebius, in the fourth year of Domitian, A.D. 85, Annianus, who was the first Episcopos of Alexandria, died"

Eccesiastical History, Book III, Chapter 14
Avilus, the second Bishop of Alexandria

"it took no revenge on those who had seized it, and it could not save itself when it was lost."

See the ridicule of idolatry in
The Letter of Jeremiah: Baruch 6
See also
Isaiah 45:20-25,
Hosea 4:12 multiple versions,
—and Psalm 115:3-8
Compare 1 Samuel 4:1–7:2 and 2 Samuel 6:1-14.
Some Christian denominations warn that saluting the Flag of the United States of America and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is an act of idolatry—the formal term is vexillolatry, "worship of the flag".
So is honor and reverence for the Christian Cross. See "Vexilla Regis - Royal Banners".
Monuments, statues and memorials erected to the war dead and victims of violence are also condemned by them as pagan idols having Babylonian, Greek and Roman origins in pagan religious worship practices that no true Christian should ever honor with flowers, tokens of respect, speeches and visits, or attendance, or even acknowledge, and warn that those who do so will surely be condemned to hell by a righteous God for their vile idolatry and hypocrisy in violation of the First and Second Commandments (Last Judgment).
See the following articles:
See also these articles on human duty:

"at which he presided wearing his imperial buskins"

Buskins are high shoes or half boots reaching to the knee, and strapped or laced to the ankle, also worn by Greek and Roman actors in tragedies; also called cothurnus.

"Domitian liked the Games, in particular, chariot races, even adding two new teams of drivers to them, Golden and Purple."

Roman Games, Chariot Races & Spectacle (ancient.eu)
The Games provided escapism, and a form of cultural affirmation and release, according to the Greek theory of emotional catharsis through theatre. See the following:
Christians avoided the Games because of their violence, cruelty, bloodshed, and their dedication to the honor of the Roman gods. See
Habakkuk 1:13 especially 1 Peter 4:3-5 and James 1:14-15
See article Violent Acts Teach Violence, by Marco Antonio Regil - Huffpost (huffingtonpost.com)

"To the four former teams in the Circensian games, he added two new ones"

The Circensian games were the games of contest, racing and combat in the Roman Circus. The Circus Maximus was the great Circus Arena in Rome.
Circus Maximus - Ancient History Encyclopedia (ancient.eu)

"flamen of Jupiter"

priests of Jupiter.
The word "flamen" (Latin, plural "flamens or flamines"), in ancient Rome, denotes a priest serving one particular deity.
See Flamen (britannica.com)


a gift; a present; a prize; hence, an alms; a largess.
The Roman sportula was usually a small basket containing food. It was part of the meaning of "bread and circuses" provided to the people by the emperors and rulers of the Roman Empire. See the following:

"the fasces"

from Latin fascis "bundle".
In ancient Rome, a bundle of rods enclosing an ax, with the blade projecting, carried by lictors before magistrates as a symbol of power; lictors being officers of the court.

"It might be fairer to criticize him for an entirely different matter: undue paternalism."

See Paternalism - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (plato.stanford.edu)

"he even lined the walls of the porticos in which he used to walk, and the gallery where he took his daily walks, with the stone called Phengites, moonstone, highly-polished"

"Like the rest of mankind, he, through fear of death, was subject to lifelong bondage to him who has the power of death, that is, the devil."

Adapted from Hebrews 2:14-15. See commentaries on Hebrews 2:15.

"He was the first of the emperors to deify himself during his lifetime by assuming the title of 'Lord and God'"

See "Swear by the Genius of our Lord the Emperor": False Worship and Persecution of Christians (nobts.edu)
Because of the Roman belief that emperors became immortal gods after death, Domitian may have thought that by declaring himself a god during life by his own authority as emperor, through the power of the genius of the emperor, he would not have to die to be a god, and thus by imperial decree he would simply bypass death, thereby making himself immortal.

"another Nero imposter appeared"

After Nero's suicide in 68, there was a widespread belief, especially in the eastern provinces, that he was not dead and somehow would return. This belief came to be known as the Nero Redivivus Legend.
At least three Nero imposters emerged leading rebellions. Twenty years after Nero's death, during the reign of Domitian, there was a third Nero pretender. He was supported by the Parthians, who only reluctantly gave him up and the matter almost came to war(Suetonius, The Lives of Twelve Caears, Life of Nero 57).
The legend of Nero's return lasted for hundreds of years after Nero's death. Augustine of Hippo wrote of the legend as a popular belief in 422 (repeated here for the reader's convenience)
"Others, again, suppose that he is not even dead, but that he was concealed that he might be supposed to have been killed, and that he now lives in concealment in the vigor of that same age which he had reached when he was believed to have perished, and will live until he is revealed in his own time and restored to his kingdom.  But I wonder that men can be so audacious in their conjectures."
—(Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX.19.3).

"First Dacian War...Second Dacian War"

The sources vary in designating the name and number of the Dacian wars, those under Domitian, the first and the second, and those under Trajan, the first and the second.
See (again) Domitian's Dacian War (military.wikia.com)
See also (again) Trajan's Dacian Wars (en.wikipedia.org)

"In the First Pannonian War, Domitian attacked the Suebian Marcomanni and Quadi and defeated them."

See Rebellion and Pannonia (unrv.com)
See also Map of the Roman Empire - Pannonia (bible-history.com)

"Courtiers included family members and freedmen, as well as Friends, amici"

Latin, plural amici (singular amicus).
The word "amici" denotes a group of trusted politicians, generals, and praetorian prefects who offered input on important matters. Compare John 19:12.
See also
2 Samuel 15:32-37; 16:15-19
1 Kings 4:5
Daniel 14:1-2
1 Maccabees 10:18-20
John 15:14-15
James 2:23

"some of these were originally written in Hebrew or Aramaic or both"

"some of these originally written in Hebrew and/or Aramaic". Discoveries of Hebrew and Aramaic manucripts of Tobit, ben Sira (Sirach, or Ecclesiasticus), Epistle of Jeremiah in the caves at Qumran near the Dead Sea, the "Dead Sea Scrolls", demonstrate that a Hebrew or Aramaic origin of a text included in the Greek translation of the Jewish scriptures in the Septuagint accepted by Christians was not the sole criterion for inclusion or exclusion in the Hebrew canon, but included consideration of evidence of content which supported Christian doctrine. Linguistic evidence shows that other Septuagint books which were excluded by rabbinical authority after A.D. 90 certainly had an original Hebrew or Aramaic text. See

"Palestinian texts of the Eighteen Benedictions from the Cairo Genizah"

The New Yorker: Page-Turner. March 1, 2013 Treasures in the Wall, by Emily Greenhouse (newyorker.com)
Jewish Virtual Library: Modern Jewish History: The Cairo Genizah, by Alden Oreck

"The fact remains that the nosrim were included with apostates and heretics and the wicked in the Genizah documents."

Professor Lawrence H. Schiffman: The Benediction Against the Minim (lawrenceschiffman.com)
The Jewish “Council” of Jamnia and Its Impact on the Old Testament Canon and New Testament Studies, Tim Gordon October 20, 2007 (academia.edu/6811953).
Martin Luther and the leaders of the Reformation cite as authoritative and determinative the canon of the Hebrew Bible as defined by rabbinical authorities who excluded and condemned as false the entire New Testament scriptures and Jesus as the Messiah. Luther rejected the seven books of the Old Testament, citing the Palestinian Canon as his authority. Clearly his reasons were doctrinal. However, his decision poses serious difficulties. What authority from God would Jews have in the Christian era to determine which books of the Old Testament were or were not divinely inspired? In 1529, Luther proposed adoption of the 39-book canon of rabbinic Judaism as the Old Testament canon of the Christian Bible. He justified his decision to exclude seven books from the Old Testament canon of 46 books by an appeal to precedent, citing Jerome who, around A.D. 400 had expressed concerns also voiced by his rabbinical sources that these books in Greek had no Hebrew counterparts. Research into the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran has discovered Hebrew copies of some of the disputed books, which makes their rejection on this ground unsupportable. Luther's principal reason for opposing these Old Testament books seems to be that they contain textual support for doctrines he had rejected, such as praying for the dead (2 Maccabees 12:42-45) because "unto them were committed the oracles of God." (see Romans 3:2).
See Luther and the Canon of the Bible, by Jim Seghers
The Canon of the Bible
Wednesday, July 20, 2011. Can Protestants Rely Upon the "Council of Jamnia" for Their Bible?
This is an historical fact. But if the Jews have been so entrusted with the word of God that they had therefore been given the divine authority to determine the canon of sacred scripture, as Luther and the Reformation Protestants maintain, then the whole New Testament is excluded from the canon of the holy Bible because it does not meet established rabbinical criteria for what is sacred inspired scripture.
The Eastern Christian churches continued to use the Greek Septuagint from the 1st century to this day. The Western Church of Catholicism commissioned a Latin translation from Saint Jerome in the early 5th century which came to be known as the Vulgate. It remains the official Roman Catholic (Latin Rite) Bible, and as a translation of the Hebrew is an important witness to earlier readings of the pre-Masoretic Hebrew text.Exploring the Origins of the Bible (Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology): Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective Craig A. Evans, Emanuel Tov, Baker Academic, Oct 1, 2008. 272 pages (Google eBook)
Gideon Kotzé (University of Stellenbosch) SHORT NOTES ON THE VALUE OF THE SEPTUAGINT AND VULGATE FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF LAMENTATIONS 1:1 Journal of Northwest Semitic Languages 36/1 (2010), pp.77-93 75.

"an exception was made as to the persecution of the Christians"

See Tertullian, To the Nations, Book I, Chapter VII (tertullian.org)

"Flavia Domitilla, the wife of Flavius Clemens, was banished to Pandateria,"

The island of Ventotene.
See Ponza: Island of History and Mystery (christine-whittemore.net) "Ponza and Ventotene (then called Pontia and Pandateria) were, in Imperial Rome, places of exile, where emperors sent family members who annoyed them, or political enemies."
Ventotene - Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org)

"Suetonius remembers, when he was a youth, that he was present, when an old man..."

See Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars, Domitian 12 (gutenberg.org)

"on balance, the tradition of Domitian as persecutor has been greatly overstated"

This position is clearly stated and presented in the following paper:
Contrast the following articles:
No Christian historian from the second century to the present claims that Domitian persecuted only Christians. Christian historians present the undeniable historical fact that catholic Christian believers were persecuted under him as a result of their religious belief in only one God.
Honest and reliable professional secular historians also affirm the Domitian persecution, but they do not misrepresent Christian writers as claiming that Domitian specifically singled out only Christianity and Christians, and no other group, for unique persecution as Nero did during his reign. Only those writers of history with an anti-Christian bias make such a charge, some of them by interpreting Christian writers' omission of mention of other groups persecuted by him, primarily the Jews, as a denial that Domitian also persecuted others, thus distorting historical fact, and implicitly suggesting that Christian apologists and historians are guilty of falsifying or distorting the facts of history and consequently that all Christian claims about the history of Christianity are consistently based on a persistent pattern of falsehoods and outright lies, which lies at the root of their superstitious religion from its very beginning. (Matthew 28:8-15; Acts 25:14-22; 28:22)
"The emperor was the head of the state. If the head was ill, the whole state was ill. This was one of the reasons why Christians had been persecuted when they refused to sacrifice to the emperor. With this act they attacked the whole system of the Roman state organization."
Failure to worship Domitian as Lord and God guaranteed persecution, and is evidence that Domitian persecuted Christians for their religion.
Emperor Trajan's reply to Pliny the Younger regarding Christians does not address the issue of persecution during the reign of Domitian, and is therefore irrelevant. Critics who cite Trajan's policy as evidence that there was no systematic empire-wide persecution of Christians under Domitian are misdirecting their readers.
In U.S. history, for example, the papers of Andrew Johnson's administration show no evidence of a civil war during his term in office, because that conflict occurred during the previous administration of Abraham Lincoln. No one believes that there was no civil war in the United States just because Johnson's records do not show evidence of that war during his term in office.

"We read of many others who suffered death or the loss of their goods"

See Dio Cassius, Roman History, Book LXVII, 11.3.

" Such views represent Christians as unjust defamers of the Roman Emperor, Domitian. "

See article Alternative Facts: Domitian's Persecution of Christians: Was Roman emperor Domitian really the great persecutor of Christians? Mark Wilson, Bible History Daily (biblicalarchaeology.org) Mark Wilson discusses the book by secular historian Brian W. Jones, The Emperor Domitian (New York: Routledge, 1992) in which Jones asserts a lack of verifiable evidence that there ever was a persecution of Christians by Domitian, and that such a claim has utterly no historical foundation, but is rather a defamatory fiction. Wilson heartily recommends the book to Christians who still believe that Domitian persecuted Christians.
Text online: The Emperor Domitian, Brian W. Jones, Rutledge - London and New York (scribd.com)
Bryn Mawr Classical Review 03.06.10 Alain M. Gowing, Washington University (bmcr.byrnmawr.edu) A thoroughly balanced and penetrating analytical review of Jones' book, The Emperor Domitian, which demonstrates that the author Brian W. Jones has an agenda of his own, and is not being entirely honest with his readers, or with the available historical material, which he represents as unreliable, hostile, slanted and dishonest with regard to Domitian, but does not prove to be so.
Reviewer: "But the 'inevitable hostility' of writers such as Pliny, Tacitus, or Suetonius is assumed rather than proven in this book."

"Death was staring us in the face"

Esther 13:18b adapted and applied to the Second Persecution.
Compare the following seven versions of this same Bible verse:
DR "because they saw certain death hanging over their heads." Esther XIII, 18b
KJV Apocrypha "because their death was before their eyes." Esther XIII, 18b
NRSV "for their death was before their eyes." Addition C 13:18b
REB "for death stared them in the face." Esther 13:18b
NAB "for death was staring them in the face." Esther C:11b
NJB "since death was staring them in the face." Esther 17i b
RSVCE "for their death was before their eyes." Esther 13:18b
The ever-present danger of martyrdom c. A.D. 90-96 in the last years of the reign of Domitian was as real as the impending threat of death in the days of Haman and Mordecai and Esther, and the active policy of persecution to death in the days of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and his successors and the Maccabees.
(Esther 3:5–16:24; 1 Maccabees 1:20–9:51 and 9:52–13:42; 2 Maccabees 5:1–15:37.)

[The events of A.D. 81 through 90 are not included in the Conservative Bible New Testament.]


Chapter 55 Historical texts
Bible text

In A.D. 92, according to tradition, Antipas of Pergamum, a personal disciple of the Apostle John, was roasted to death in a brazen or copper bull during the persecutions of Emperor Domitian. The Hieromartyr Antipas, the priest-martyr Antipas, had been made Episcopos of the Christian Assembly of Pergamum by John during the reign of Nero. His witness to the Lord Jesus Christ by word and deed and miracles of healing began turning the people of Pergamum from offering sacrificial worship to idols that can neither see, nor hear, nor move, nor breathe. The pagan priests complained vehemently that he was misleading the people by causing them to commit apostasy from their faith in their ancestral gods by his personal example of moral and spiritual virtue, the firmness of his faith in his God, and his constant preaching about Jesus the Anointed One. When they demanded that he stop, he refused. He would not submit to their demand to stop preaching Christ and offer sacrifice to the idols. They became enraged and dragged him to the temple of Artemis, and there they threw him into a glowing, red-hot copper or brazen metal bull where they normally put their sacrifices to the idols to cast demons out of their own people. He loudly prayed God to receive his soul and strengthen the faith of the Christians, and begged God to forgive those who were inflicting on him this torment. He then departed as peacefully as if he fell asleep. It is said that he died during the persecutions under Nero or Domitian sometime after A.D. 68, most probably about the year 92.

The same year A.D. 92, the Sarmatians crossed the Danube and attacked the Roman frontier in an act of war; and this war continued to rage even after the emperor Domitian’s death. That against the Catti in A.D. 83 had been unprovoked, but this against the Sarmatians was necessary. The entire Twenty-first Legion, Legio vigesima prima rapax, the Rapacious Twenty-First Legion of the Imperial Roman army, with its commander, was cut off; and in a campaign lasting about eight months in 92, it was finally destroyed. Beyond this fact few other details are available. Being thus compelled to return again to the Danube, Domitian fought the combined forces of the Suebi and the Sarmatians with some measure of success in the Second Pannonian War.

By January, A.D. 93, Domitian was back in Rome, not to accept a full triumph but the lesser ovatio, a sign perhaps that the business along the Danube was still unfinished. Previously, after several battles with the Catti and Daci, he had celebrated a double triumph; but for his successes against the Sarmatians, walking in a grand public procession, on foot, he only bore the laurel crown to Jupiter Capitolinus. In fact, during the final years of Domitian's reign, the buildup of forces on the middle Danube and the appointment and transfer of key senior officials over the next three years suggest that a third Pannonian campaign may have been underway, again directed against the Suebi and Sarmatians. Even so, there is no certain documented historical testimony showing evidence of actual conflicts with them which extends beyond A.D. 97 into the reign of emperor Nerva.

The years A.D. 93 to 96 are regarded by contemporary historians of the time as a period of terror unsurpassed up to then.

After the A.D. 89 revolt of the homosexual general Lucius Antonius Saturninus four years before, Domitian in 93 organized against all the wealthy and noble families a series of bloodthirsty proscriptions, which are formal public condemnations, interdictions, and banishments into exile. He seldom gave an audience to persons held in custody, unless in private, and alone, and he himself holding their chains in his hand. To convince his domestic servants that the life of a master was not to be attempted on any pretext, however plausible, he condemned to death Epaphroditus his secretary, because it was believed that he had assisted Nero, in his extremity, to kill himself.

So eager was Domitian to prove himself a great conqueror, that it also appears that he was in fact still jealous of the military successes and reputation of the forcibly retired general Cnaeus Julius Agricola. At the age of fifty-four, in spite of his having received triumphal honors from Titus, Agricola was finally murdered by Domitian for no other reason than this, that the deeds which he had done were regarded by him as too great for a mere general, but were more worthy of an emperor. Agricola's death in A.D. 93 is rumored to have been the work of Domitian, by having him poisoned. His death at the young age of fifty-four, again, put Domitian in a difficult position. As Tacitus tells us, “Domitian made a decent show of genuine sorrow; he was relieved of the need to hate, and he could always hide satisfaction more convincingly than fear.”

Domitian erected so many magnificent gates and arches, surmounted by representations of chariots drawn by four horses abreast, and other triumphal ornaments, in different quarters of the city, that a wit inscribed on one of the arches the Greek word Axkei, “Enough!” He permitted no statues to be erected for him in the Capitol building, unless they were of gold and silver, and of a certain weight.

He filled the office of consul seventeen times, which no one had ever done before him; the seven middle occasions of his consulship he filled in a series of seven successive years; but in these he scarcely had more than the title before he relinquished it; for he never continued in that office beyond the Kalends of May, one May (about four and a half months), and for the most part only to the Ides of January, thirteen January (about two weeks).

In the twelfth year of this same reign, in A.D. 93, after Anencletus had been Episcopos of Rome twelve years, he was succeeded by Clement, whom the apostle Paul, in his letter to the Philippians, shows had been his fellow laborer, in these words:

"With Clement and the rest of my fellow laborers, whose names are in the book of life."

About this same time rumor reached Clement, the Episcopos of the Assembly in Rome, and also those who have no connection with Christianity, that one or two persons were engaging in rebellion against the Presbyters of the Assembly in Corinth, so that the name of the Lord was being blasphemed. Saint Clement's Epistle to the Corinthians was written about this time; Eusebius states that there is one extant letter of Clement, acknowledged by all as genuine, of considerable length and of great merit which he wrote in the name of the Assembly at Rome to the Assembly at Corinth. Here, while it speaks of the terrible trials of the Christians, it does not offer such denunciations of the persecutors as are found among the accounts of their contemporary Roman writers, Pliny, Tacitus, Suetonius and Cassius Dio regarding Nero, Claudius and Domitian. The Roman Christian Assembly continued loyal to the empire, and sent up its prayers to God that He would direct the rulers and magistrates in the exercise of the power committed to their hands.

He wrote the following encyclical epistle:

The Assembly of God which currently dwells at Rome, to the Assembly of God which is currently dwelling at Corinth, to those who are called and sanctified by the will of God, through our Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you, and peace, from Almighty God through Jesus Christ, be greatly increased.
Due, dear brothers, to the sudden, and successive, calamitous events which have happened to Ourselves, We feel that We have been rather tardy in turning Our attention to the points about which you consulted Us; and especially to that shameful and detestable rebellion, utterly abhorrent to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-confident persons have sparked to such a frenzied pitch, that your venerable and illustrious name, so worthy of being universally loved, has suffered grievous injury. For who has ever dwelt for even a short time among you, who did not find your faith to be as productive of virtue as it was firmly established? Who did not admire the sobriety and moderation of your godliness in Christ? Who did not proclaim the magnificence of your habitual hospitality? And who did not rejoice over your perfect and well-grounded knowledge? For you did all things without respect of persons, and walked in the commandments of God, obedient to those who had the rule over you, and giving all fitting honor to the Presbyters among you. You urged young men to be sober and seriously minded, you instructed your wives to do all things with a blameless and admirably pure conscience, loving their husbands as duty demands; and you Taught them that, living according to the standard of obedience, they should becomingly manage their household affairs, and marked in every respect by discretion.
Moreover, you were all distinguished by humility, and in no respect were you puffed up with pride, but you inspired obedience rather than extorted it, and were more willing to give than to receive. Content with the provision God had made for you, and carefully attending to His words, you were inwardly filled with His doctrine, and His sufferings were before your eyes. Thus a profound and abundant peace was given to all of you, and you had an insatiable desire to do good, while a full outpouring of the Holy Spirit was over you all. Full of holy intentions, and with true earnestness of mind and a godly confidence, you stretched out your hands to God Almighty, begging Him to be merciful to you if you had been guilty of any involuntary offense. Day and night you were anxious for the whole brotherhood, desiring that the number of God's elect might be saved with mercy and a good conscience. You were sincere and uncorrupted, and unmindful of injuries between one another. Every kind of division and schism was abominable in your sight. You mourned over the transgressions of your neighbors: their deficiencies you regarded as your own. You never resented any act of kindness, being ready for every good work. Adorned with a thoroughly virtuous and religious life, you did all things in the awe of God. The commandments and ordinances of the Lord were written on the tablets of your hearts.
Every kind of honor and happiness was bestowed on you. And then was fulfilled that which is written,
My beloved ate and drank, and increased and became fat, and kicked.
Out of that flowed rivalry and envy, strife and rebellion, persecution and disorder, war and captivity. So the worthless rose up against the honored, those of no reputation against those who were renowned, the foolish against the wise, the young against those advanced in years. For this reason righteousness and peace have now departed far from you, since every one abandons the fear of God, and has become blind in His Faith, neither walks in the ordinances He established, nor acts the admirable role of a Christian, but walks according to his own wicked lusts, resuming the custom of that unrighteous and ungodly envy through which death itself entered into the world.
For thus it is written:
And it happened that after certain days, Cain brought from the fruits of the earth a sacrifice to God; and Abel also brought from the firstlings of his sheep, and from the fattest of them. And God respected Abel and his offerings, but Cain and his sacrifices He did not regard. And Cain was deeply grieved, and his face fell. And God said to Cain, Why are you grieved, and why has your face fallen? If you offer rightly, but do not divide rightly, have you not sinned? Be at peace: your offering returns to yourself, and you shall again possess it.
And Cain said to his brother Abel, Let us go into the field. And it happened, while they were in the field, that Cain rose up against his brother Abel, and killed him.
You see, brothers, how envy and jealousy led to the murder of a brother. Through envy also, our father Jacob fled from the face of his brother Esau. Envy made Joseph persecuted to death, and become a slave. Envy compelled Moses to flee from the face of Pharaoh king of Egypt, when he heard these words from his fellow-countryman,
"Who made you a judge or ruler over us? Will you kill me, as you killed the Egyptian yesterday?"
On account of envy, Aaron and Miriam had to make their dwelling outside the camp. Envy brought Dathan and Abiram alive down into Hades, through the rebellion which they stirred up against God's servant Moses. Through envy, David not only endured the hatred of foreigners, but was also persecuted by Saul king of Israel.
But not to dwell upon ancient examples, let us come to the most recent spiritual heroes. Let us take the noble examples provided us in our own generation. Through envy and jealousy the greatest and most righteous pillars of the Assembly have been persecuted and put to death. Let us set before our eyes the illustrious Apostles. Peter, through unrighteous envy, endured not one or two, but numerous labors; and when he had at length suffered martyrdom, he departed to the place of glory due him. Owing to envy, Paul also obtained the reward of patient endurance, after being seven times thrown into captivity, compelled to flee, and stoned. After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having Taught righteousness to the whole world, and gone to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects of Rome. Thus was he removed from the world, and went into the holy place, having proved himself to be a striking example of patience.
To these men who spent their lives in the practice of holiness, there is added a great multitude of the elect, who, because of envy having endured many indignities and tortures, have provided us with a most excellent example. Through envy, those women, the Danaids and Dircæ, being persecuted, after they had suffered terrible and unspeakable torments, finished the course of their faith with steadfastness, and though weak in body, received a noble reward. Envy has alienated wives from their husbands, and changed the saying of our father Adam,
"This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh."
Envy and strife have overthrown great cities, and uprooted mighty nations.
These things, beloved, We write to you, not merely to admonish you about your duty, but also to remind Ourselves. For We are struggling on the same arena, and the same conflict is assigned to both of us. Wherefore let us give up vain and fruitless cares, and approach to the glorious and venerable rule of our holy calling. Let us tend to what is good, pleasing, and acceptable in the sight of Him who formed us. Let us look steadfastly to the blood of Christ, and see how precious is that blood to God which, having been shed for our salvation, has set the grace of repentance before the whole world. Let us turn to every age that has passed, and learn that from generation to generation the Lord has granted a place of repentance to all those willing to be converted to Him. Noah preached repentance, and as many as listened to him were saved. Jonah proclaimed destruction to the Ninevites; but they, repenting of their sins, propitiated God by prayer, and obtained salvation, although they were aliens to the covenant of God.
The ministers of the grace of God, by the Holy Spirit, have spoken of repentance; and the Lord of all things has himself declared with an oath regarding it,
As I live, says the Lord, I desire not the death of the sinner, but rather his repentance;
adding, moreover, this gracious declaration,
Repent, O house of Israel, of your iniquity. Say to the children of my people, Though your sins reach from earth to heaven, and though they be redder than scarlet, and blacker than sack-cloth, yet if you turn to me with your whole heart, and say, Father! I will listen to you, as to a holy people.
And in another place He speaks thus:
Wash you, and become clean; put away the wickedness of your souls from before my eyes; cease from your evil ways, and learn to do well; seek out judgment, deliver the oppressed, judge the fatherless, and see that justice is done to the widow; and come, and let us reason together.
He declares,
Though your sins be like crimson, I will make them white as snow; though they be like scarlet, I will whiten them like wool. And if you are willing and obey me, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse, and will not hearken unto me, the sword shall devour you, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken these things.
Desiring, therefore, that all His beloved should be partakers of repentance, He has, by His almighty will, established these declarations.
For this reason, let us submit to obedience to His excellent and glorious will; and imploring His mercy and loving-kindness, while we forsake all fruitless labors and strife, and envy, which leads to death, let us turn and have recourse to His compassions. Let us steadfastly contemplate those who have perfectly served his excellent glory. Let us take as an example Enoch, who, being found righteous in obedience, was translated, and death was never known to have happened to him. Noah, being found faithful, preached regeneration to the world through his ministry; and by him the Lord saved the animals which, with one agreement, entered the ark. Abraham, called the Friend, was found faithful, since he gave obedience to the words of God. He, in the exercise of obedience, went out from his own country, and from his kindred, and from his father's house, in order that, by forsaking a small territory, and a weak family, and an insignificant house, he might inherit the promises of God. For God said to him,
Get you out of your country, and away from your kindred, and from your father's house, to the land which I shall show you. And I will make you a great nation, and will bless you, and make your name great, and you shall be blessed. And I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you; and in you shall all the families of the earth be blessed.
And again, when he separated from Lot, God said to him,
Lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are now, north, and south, and east, and west; for all the land you see, to you I will give it, and to your offspring for ever. And I will make your offspring like the dust particles of the earth, so that if a man can number the dust particles of the earth, then shall your seed also be numbered.
And again the Scripture says,
God brought Abram out, and spoke to him, "Look up now to heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them; so shall your seed be." And Abram believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.
On account of his faith and hospitality, a son was given him in his old age; and in the exercise of obedience, he offered him as a sacrifice to God on one of the mountains which He showed him.
On account of his hospitality and godliness, Lot was saved out of Sodom when all the country round about was punished by means of fire and brimstone, the Lord thus making it evident that He does not forsake those who hope in Him, but gives up those who abandon Him to punishment and torture. For Lot's wife, who left with him, being of a different mind from him, and not continuing in agreement with him regarding the command which had been given them, was made an example of, so that she became a pillar of salt to this day. This was done so that all might know that those who are of a double mind, and who distrust the power of God, bring down judgment on themselves and become a sign to all succeeding generations.
On account of her faith and hospitality, Rahab the harlot was saved. For when spies were sent by Joshua, the son of Nun, to Jericho, the king of the country discovered that they had come to spy out their land, and sent men to seize them, in order that, when taken, they might be put to death. But the hospitable Rahab receiving them, concealed them on the roof of her house under some stalks of flax. And when the men sent by the king arrived and said,
There came men to you who are to spy out our land; bring them out, for so the king commands,
she answered them,
The two men whom you seek came to me, but quickly left again and are gone,
thus not revealing the spies to them. Then she said to the men,
I know with assurance that the Lord your God has given you this city, for the fear and dread of you have fallen on its inhabitants. Therefore when you have taken it, keep me and the house of my father in safety. And they said to her, It shall be as you have said to us. Therefore, as soon as you know that we have come, you are to gather all your family under your roof, and they shall be safe, but all who are found outside your dwelling shall die.
Moreover, they gave her a sign to this effect, that she should hang outside her house a scarlet cord. And thus they made it evident that redemption should flow through the blood of the Lord to all those who believe and hope in God. You see, beloved, that there was not only faith, but prophecy, in this woman.
Therefore, brothers, let us be humble minded, discarding all haughtiness, and pride, and foolishness, and angry feelings; and let us act according to what is written (for the Holy Spirit says,
Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, neither let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glories glory in the Lord,
in diligently seeking Him, and doing judgment and righteousness), being especially mindful of the words of the Lord Jesus which He said in Teaching us meekness and long-suffering. For this He said:
Be merciful, that you may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven you; as you do, so shall it be done to you; as you judge, so shall you be judged; as you are kind, so shall kindness be shown to you; with what measure you dispense, with the same shall it be measured to you.
By this precept and by these rules let us establish ourselves, so that we act with all humility in obedience to His holy words. For the holy word says,
On whom shall I look, except him who is meek and peaceable, and who trembles at my words?
It is therefore right and holy, men and brothers, to rather obey God than to follow those who, through pride and rebellion, have become the leaders of a detestable rivalry. For we shall incur no slight injury, but rather great danger, if we rashly yield ourselves to the inclinations of men who aim at exciting strife and commotions, so as to draw us away from what is good. Let us be kind one to another after the pattern of the tender mercy and benign nature of our Creator. For it is written,
The kind-hearted shall inhabit the land, and the guiltless shall be left on it, but transgressors shall be destroyed from off the face of it.
And again the Scripture says,
I saw the ungodly highly exalted, and lifted up like the cedars of Lebanon: I passed by, and, behold, he was not there; and I diligently sought his place, and could not find it. Preserve innocence, and look on equity: for there shall be something remaining for the peaceable man.
Let us therefore, hold to those who cultivate peace with godliness, and not to those who hypocritically profess to desire it. For the Scripture says in a certain place,
This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
And again:
They bless with their mouth, but curse with their heart.
And again it says,
They loved Him with their mouth, and lied to Him with their tongue; but their heart was not right with Him, neither were they faithful in keeping His covenant. Let deceitful lips become silent, and let the Lord destroy all lying lips, and the boastful tongue of those who have said, Let us exalt our tongue: our lips are our own; who is lord over us? For the oppression of the poor, and for the sighing of the needy, will I now arise, says the Lord: I will place him in safety; I will deal confidently with him.
For Christ is from those who are humble-minded, and not from those who exalt themselves over His flock. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Sceptre of the majesty of God, did not come in the pomp of pride or arrogance, although He might have done so, but in a lowly condition, as the Holy Spirit had declared regarding Him. For He says,
Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? We have declared our message in His presence: He is, as it were, a child, and like a root in thirsty ground; He has no form nor glory, yes, we saw Him, and He had no form nor comeliness; but His form was without eminence, yes, deficient in comparison with the ordinary form of men. He is a man exposed to stripes and suffering, and acquainted with the endurance of grief: for His face was turned away; He was despised, and not esteemed. He bears our iniquities, and is in sorrow for our sakes; yet we supposed that on His own account He was exposed to labor, and stripes, and affliction. But He was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we were healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; every man has wandered in his own way; and the Lord has delivered Him up for our sins, while He in the midst of His sufferings opens not His mouth. He was brought as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before her shearer is dumb, so He opens not His mouth. In His humiliation His judgment was taken away; who shall declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth. For the transgressions of my people was He brought down to death. And I will give the wicked for His sepulchre, and the rich for His death, because He did no iniquity, neither was deceit found in His mouth. And the Lord is pleased to purify him by stripes. If you make an offering for sin, your soul shall see a long-lived offspring. And the Lord is pleased to relieve Him of the affliction of His soul, to show Him light, and to form Him with understanding, to justify the Just One who ministers well to many; and He Himself shall carry their sins. On this account He shall inherit many, and shall divide the spoil of the strong; because His soul was delivered to death, and He was reckoned among the transgressors, and He bore the sins of many, and for their sins was He delivered.
And again He says,
I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised by the people. All that see me have derided me; they have spoken with their lips; they have wagged their head, saying, He hoped in God, let Him deliver Him, let Him save Him, since He delights in Him.
You see, beloved, the example which has been given us; for if the Lord thus humbled Himself, how should we act, who have, through Him, come under the yoke of His grace?
Let us be imitators also of those who in goat-skins and sheep-skins went about proclaiming the coming of Christ; I mean Elijah, Elisha, and Ezekiel among the prophets, with those others to whom a similar testimony is given in Scripture. Abraham was specially honored, and was called the Friend of God; yet he, with complete sincerity respecting the glory of God, humbly declared,
I am only dust and ashes.
Moreover, it is thus written of Job,
Job was a righteous man, and blameless, truthful, God-fearing, and one who kept himself from all evil.
But bringing an accusation against himself, he said,
No man is free from defilement, even if his life is only one day.
Moses was called faithful in all God's house; and through him as his instrument, God punished Egypt with plagues and tortures. Yet he, though thus greatly honored, did not adopt lofty speech, but said, when the divine revealing word came to him out of the bush,
Who am I, that You send me? I am a man of feeble voice and slow tongue.
And again he said,
I am only like the smoke of a pot.
But what shall we say concerning David, to whom such testimony was given, and of whom God said,
"I have found a man after my own heart, David the son of Jesse; and in everlasting mercy have I anointed him"?
Yet this same man says to God,
Have mercy on me, O Lord, according to Your great mercy; and according to the multitude of Your compassions, blot out my transgression. Wash me still more from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my iniquity, and my sin is ever before me. Against You only have I sinned, and done that which is evil in Your sight; that You may be justified in Your sayings, and may overcome when You are judged. For, behold, I was conceived in transgressions, and in sins did my mother conceive me. For, behold, You have loved truth; the secret and hidden things of wisdom have You shown me. You shall sprinkle me with hyssop, and I shall be cleansed; You shall wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. You shall make me to hear joy and gladness; my bones, which have been humbled, shall exult. Turn away Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from Your presence, and take not Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and establish me by Your governing Spirit. I will teach transgressors Your ways, and the ungodly shall be converted unto You. Deliver me from blood-guiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation: my tongue shall exult in Your righteousness. O Lord, You shall open my mouth, and my lips shall show forth Your praise. For if You had desired sacrifice, I would have given it; You will not delight in burnt-offerings. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a bruised spirit; a broken and a contrite heart God will not despise.
Thus the humility and godly submission of such great and illustrious men have rendered not only us, but also all the generations before us, better; even as many as have received His revealed words in fear and truth. Wherefore, having so many great and glorious examples set before us, let us turn again to the practice of that peace which from the beginning was the target set before us; and let us look steadfastly to the Father and Creator of the universe, and hold to His mighty and surpassingly great gifts and benefactions of peace. Let us contemplate Him with our understanding, and look with the eyes of our soul to His long-suffering will. Let us reflect on how free from the wrath He is toward all His creation.
The heavens, revolving under His government, are subject to Him in peace. Day and night run the course appointed by Him, in no wise hindering each other. The sun and moon, with the companies of the stars, roll on in harmony according to His command, within their prescribed limits, and without any deviation. The fruitful earth, according to His will, brings forth food in abundance, at the proper seasons, for man and beast and all the living beings on it, never hesitating, nor changing any of the ordinances which He has fixed. The unsearchable places of the deeps, and the indescribable arrangements of the lower world, are restrained by the same laws. The vast unmeasurable sea, gathered together by His working into various basins, never passes beyond the bounds placed around it, but does as He has commanded. For He said,
Thus far shall you come, and your waves shall be broken within you.
The ocean, impassable to man and the worlds beyond it, are regulated by the same decrees of the Lord. The seasons of spring, summer, autumn, and winter, peacefully give place to one another. The winds in their several quarters fulfill, at the proper time, their service without hindrance. The ever-flowing fountains, formed both for enjoyment and health, provide without fail their breasts for the life of men. The very smallest of living beings meet together in peace and concord. All these the great Creator and Lord of all has appointed to exist in peace and harmony; while He does good to all, but most abundantly to us who have
fled for refuge to His compassions through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom be glory and majesty for ever and ever. Amen.
Take heed, beloved, lest His many kindnesses lead to the condemnation of us all. For it must be thus, unless we walk worthy of Him and with one mind do those things which are good and well-pleasing in His sight. For the Scripture says in a certain place,
The Spirit of the Lord is a candle searching the secret parts of the belly.
Let us reflect how near He is, and realize that none of the thoughts or reasonings in which we engage are hidden from Him. It is therefore right, that we should not abandon the post which His will has assigned us. Let us rather offend those men who are foolish, and inconsiderate, and lifted up, and who glory in the pride of their speech, than offend God. Let us reverence the Lord Jesus Christ, whose blood was given for us; let us esteem those who have the rule over us; let us honor the elderly among us; let us train up the young men in the fear of God; let us direct our wives to that which is good. Let them exhibit the lovely habit of purity in all their conduct; let them show outwardly the sincere disposition of meekness; let them make evident the command they have of their tongue, by their manner of speaking; let them display their love, not by preferring one over another, but by showing equal affection to all who piously fear God. Let your children receive true Christian training; let them learn how greatly availing humility is with God—how much the spirit of pure affection can prevail with Him—how excellent and great His fear is, and how it saves all those who conduct themselves in it with a pure mind. For He is a Searcher of the thoughts and desires of the heart: His breath is in us; and when He pleases, He will take it away.
Now the faith which is in Christ confirms all these admonitions. For He Himself by the Holy Spirit thus addresses us:
Come, you children, hearken to me; I will teach you the fear of the Lord. What man is he who desires life, and loves to see good days? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking deceit. Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it. The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. The Righteous cried, and the Lord heard him, and delivered him out of all his troubles. Many are the stripes appointed for the wicked; but mercy shall encircle those who hope in the Lord.
The all-merciful and beneficent Father has profound depths of compassion toward those who fear Him, and kindly and lovingly bestows His favors on those who come to Him with a simple mind. For this reason let us not be double-minded; neither let our soul be lifted up on account of His exceedingly great and glorious gifts. Far from us be that which is written,
Wretched are those who are of a double mind, and of a doubting heart; who say, These things we have heard even in the times of our fathers; but, behold, we have grown old, and none of them has happened to us;
You foolish ones! compare yourselves to a tree; take for instance the vine. First of all, it sheds its leaves, then it buds, next it puts forth leaves, and then it flowers; after that comes the sour grape, and then follows the ripened fruit. You perceive how in a little time the fruit of a tree comes to maturity. Of a truth, soon and suddenly shall His will be accomplished, as the Scripture also bears witness, saying,
Speedily will He come, and will not tarry; and, The Lord shall suddenly come to His Temple, even the Holy One, for whom you look.
Let us consider, beloved, how the Lord continually proves to us that there shall be a future resurrection, of which He has made the Lord Jesus Christ the first-fruits by raising Him from the dead. Let us contemplate, beloved, the resurrection which is at all times taking place. Day and night declare to us a resurrection. The night sinks to sleep, and the day arises; the day again departs, and the night comes on. Let us behold the fruits of the earth, how the sowing of grain takes place. The sower goes forth, and throws it on the ground, and the seed being thus scattered, though dry and naked when it fell on the earth, is gradually dissolved. Then out of its dissolution the mighty power of the providence of the Lord raises it up again, and from one seed many arise and bring forth fruit.
Let us consider that wonderful sign of the resurrection which takes place in eastern lands, that is, in Arabia and the countries round about. There is a certain bird which is called a phœnix. This is the only one of its kind, and lives five hundred years. And when the time of its dissolution draws near that it must die, it builds itself a nest of frankincense, and myrrh, and other spices, into which, when the time is fulfilled, it enters and dies. But as the flesh decays a certain kind of worm is produced, which, being nourished by the juices of the dead bird, brings forth feathers. Then, when it has gained strength, it takes up that nest in which are the bones of its parent, and bearing these it passes from the land of Arabia into Egypt, to the city called Heliopolis. And flying in open day in the sight of all men, it places them on the altar of the sun, and having done this, quickly goes back to its former abode. The priests then inspect the chronicles of the dates, and find that it has returned exactly when the five hundredth year was completed.
Do we then think it is any great and wonderful thing for the Maker of all things to raise up again those who have piously served Him in the assurance of a good faith, when even by a bird He shows us the strength of His ability to fulfil His promise? For the Scripture says in a certain place,
You shall raise me up, and I shall confess unto You; and again, I laid me down, and slept; I awoke, because You are with me;
and again, Job says,
You shall raise up this flesh of mine, which has suffered all these things.
Having then this hope, let our souls be bound to Him who is Faithful in His Promises, and Just in His Judgments. He who has commanded us not to lie, shall Himself much more not lie; for nothing is impossible with God, except to lie. Let His Faith therefore be stirred up again within us, and let us consider that all things are near with Him. By the word of His might He established all things, and by His word He can overthrow them. Who shall say to Him, What have you done? Or, Who shall resist the power of His strength? When, and just as He pleases, He will do all things, and none of the things determined by Him shall pass away. All things are open before Him, and nothing can be hidden from His counsel.
The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handy-work. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. And there are no words or speeches of which the voices are not heard.
Since then all things are seen and heard by God, let us fear Him, and forsake those wicked works which proceed from evil desires; so that, through His mercy, we may be protected from the judgments to come. For where can any of us flee from His mighty hand? Or what world will receive any of those who run away from Him? For the Scripture says in a certain place,
Where shall I go, and where shall I be hidden from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; if I go away even to the uttermost parts of the earth, there is Your right hand; if I make my bed in the abyss, there is Your Spirit.
Where, then, shall anyone go, or where shall he escape from Him who comprehends all things?
Let us then draw near to Him with holiness of spirit, lifting up pure and undefiled hands unto Him, loving our gracious and merciful Father, who has made us partakers in the blessings of His elect. For thus it is written,
When the Most High divided the nations, when He scattered the sons of Adam, He fixed the bounds of the nations according to the number of the Messengers of God. His people Jacob became the portion of the Lord, and Israel the lot of His inheritance.
And in another place the Scripture says,
Behold, the Lord takes to Himself a nation out of the midst of the nations, as a man takes the first-fruits of his threshing-floor; and from that nation shall come forth the Most Holy.
Seeing, therefore, that we are the portion of the Holy One, let us do all those things which pertain to holiness, avoiding all evil-speaking, all abominable and impure embraces, together with all drunkenness, seeking for change, all abominable lusts, detestable adultery, and execrable pride. For
God (says the Scripture) resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Let us hold, then, to those to whom grace has been given by God. Let us clothe ourselves with concord and humility, ever practicing self-control, standing far off from all whispering and evil-speaking, being justified by our works, and not our words. For the Scripture says,
He that speaks much, shall also hear much in answer. And does he that is ready in speech count himself righteous? Blessed is he who is born of woman, who lives but a short time: be not given to much speaking. Let our praise be in God, and not of ourselves; for God hates those who commend themselves.
Let testimony to our good deeds be given by others, as it was in the case of our righteous forefathers. Boldness, and arrogance, and audacity belong to those who are accursed of God; but moderation, humility, and meekness to those who are blessed by Him.
Let us hold then to His blessing, and consider what are the means of possessing it. Let us think over the things which have taken place from the beginning. For what reason was our father Abraham blessed? Was it not because he worked righteousness and truth through faith? Isaac, with perfect confidence, as if knowing what was to happen, cheerfully gave himself as a sacrifice. Jacob, by reason of his brother, went forth with humility from his own land, and came to Laban and served him; and there was given to him the sceptre of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Whoever will candidly consider each particular, will recognise the greatness of the gifts which were given by him. For from him have sprung the priests and all the Levites who minister at the altar of God. From him also was descended our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. From him arose kings, princes, and rulers of the race of Judah. Nor are his other tribes in small glory, since God had promised,
Your offspring shall be as the stars of heaven.
All these were therefore highly honored, and made great, not for their own sake, or for their own works, or for the righteousness which they wrought, but through the operation of His will. And we, too, being called by His will in Christ Jesus, are not justified by ourselves, nor by our own wisdom, or understanding, or godliness, or works which we have wrought in holiness of heart; but by that Faith through which, from the beginning, Almighty God has justified all men; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
What shall we do, then, brethren? Shall we become slothful in well-doing, and cease from the practice of love? God forbid that any such course should be followed by us! But rather let us hasten with all energy and readiness of mind to perform every good work. For the Creator and Lord of all Himself rejoices in His works. For by His infinitely great power He established the heavens, and by His incomprehensible wisdom He adorned them. He also divided the earth from the water which surrounds it, and fixed it upon the immovable foundation of His own will. The animals also which are upon it He commanded by His own word into existence. So likewise, when He had formed the sea, and the living creatures which are in it, He enclosed them within their proper bounds by His own power. Above all, with His holy and undefiled hands He formed man, the most excellent of His creatures, and truly great through the understanding given him—the express likeness of His own image. For thus says God:
Let us make man in our image, and after our likeness. So God made man; male and female He created them.
Having thus finished all these things,
He approved them, and blessed them, and said, Increase and multiply.
We see, then, how all righteous men have been adorned with good works, and how the Lord Himself, adorning Himself with His works, rejoiced. Having therefore such an example, let us without delay readily concent to His will, and let us work the work of righteousness with our whole strength.
The good servant receives the bread of his labor with confidence; the lazy and slothful cannot look his employer in the face. It is requisite, therefore, that we be prompt in the practice of well-doing; for from Him are all things. And thus He forewarns us:
Behold, the Lord comes, and His reward is before His face, to render to every man according to his work.
He exhorts us, therefore, with our whole heart to attend to this, that we be not lazy or slothful in any good work. Let our boasting and our confidence be in Him. Let us submit ourselves to His will. Let us consider the whole multitude of His angels, how they stand ever ready to minister to His will. For the Scripture says,
Ten thousand times ten thousand stood around Him, and thousands of thousands ministered unto Him, and cried, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Sabaoth; the whole creation is full of His glory.
And let us therefore, conscientiously gathering together in harmony, call out to Him earnestly, as with one mouth, that we may be made partakers of His great and glorious promises. For the Scripture says,
Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which He has prepared for them that wait for Him.
How blessed and wonderful, beloved, are the gifts of God! Life in immortality, splendor in righteousness, truth in perfect confidence, faith in assurance, self-control in holiness! And all these fall under the recognition of our individual understandings now; what then shall be those things which are prepared for those who wait for Him? The Creator and Father of all worlds, the Most Holy, alone knows their amount and their beauty. Let us therefore earnestly strive to be found among the number of those who wait for Him, in order that we may share in His promised gifts. But how, beloved, shall this be done? Only if our understanding is fixed by faith toward God; only if we earnestly seek the things which are pleasing and acceptable to Him; only if we do the things which are in harmony with His blameless will; and only if we follow the way of truth, casting away from us all unrighteousness and iniquity, along with all covetousness, strife, evil practices, deceit, whispering, and evil-speaking, all hatred of God, pride and haughtiness, vain glory and ambition. For those who do such things are hateful to God; and not only they who do them, but also those who take pleasure in those who do them. For the Scripture says,
But to the sinner God said, For what reason do you declare my statutes, and take my covenant into your mouth, seeing you hate instruction, and cast my words behind you? When you saw a thief, you agreed with him, and took your part with adulterers. Your mouth has abounded with wickedness, and your tongue contrived deceit. You sit, and speak against your brother; you slander your own mother's son. These things you have done, and I kept silence; you thought, wicked one, that I would be like yourself. But I will reprove you, and set yourself before you. Consider now these things, you who forget God, lest He tear you in pieces, like a lion, and there be none to deliver. The sacrifice of praise will glorify me, and there is a road by which I will show him the salvation of God.
This is the road, beloved, on which we find our Savior, even Jesus Christ, the High Priest of all our offerings, the defender and helper of our infirmity. By Him we look up to the heights of heaven. By Him we behold, as in a reflecting glass, His immaculate and most excellent visage. By Him are the eyes of our hearts opened. By Him our foolish and darkened understanding blossoms up new toward His marvellous light. By Him the Lord has willed that we should taste immortal knowledge, who, being the brightness of His majesty, is, by so much, greater than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For it is thus written,
Who makes His Messengers spirits, and His Ministers a flame of fire. But concerning His Son the Lord spoke thus: You are my Son, today have I begotten You. Ask of me, and I will give You the heathen for Your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Your possession. And again He says to Him, Sit at my right hand, up to the day I make Your enemies Your footstool.
But who are His enemies? All the wicked, and those who set themselves to oppose the will of God.
Let us then, men and brothers, with all energy act the part of soldiers, in accordance with His holy commandments. Let us consider those who serve under our generals, with what order, obedience, and submissiveness they perform the things that are commanded them. All are not prefects, nor commanders of a thousand, nor of a hundred, nor of fifty, nor the like, but each one in his own rank performs the things commanded by the king and the generals. The great cannot subsist without the small, nor the small without the great. There is a kind of mixture in all things, and from this arises mutual advantage. Let us take our body for an example. The head is nothing without the feet, and the feet are nothing without the head; yes, the very smallest members of our body are necessary and useful to the whole body. But all work harmoniously together, and are under one common rule for the preservation of the whole body.
Let our whole body, then, be preserved in Christ Jesus; and let every one be subject to his neighbor, according to the special gift bestowed upon him. Let the strong not despise the weak, and let the weak show respect to the strong. Let the rich man provide for the wants of the poor; and let the poor man bless God, because He has given him one by whom his need may be supplied. Let the wise man display his wisdom, not by mere words, but through good deeds. Let the humble not give testimony to himself, but leave witness to be given about him by another. Let him who is pure in the flesh not grow proud about it and boast, knowing that it was another who bestowed on him the gift of continence. Let us consider, then, brethren, of what matter we were made—who and what manner of beings we came into the world, as it were out of a sepulchre, and from utter darkness. He who made us and fashioned us, having prepared His bountiful gifts for us before we were born, introduced us into His world. Since, therefore, we receive all these things from Him, we ought for everything to give Him thanks; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Foolish and inconsiderate men, who have neither wisdom nor instruction, mock and deride us, being eager to exalt themselves in their own conceits. For what can a mortal man do, or what strength is there in one made out of the dust? For it is written,
There was no shape before my eyes, only I heard a sound, and a voice saying, What then? Shall a man be pure before the Lord? Or shall such an one be counted blameless in his deeds, seeing He does not confide in His servants, and has charged even His angels with perversity? The heaven is not clean in His sight: how much less they that dwell in houses of clay, of which also we ourselves were made! He smote them as a moth; and from morning even to evening they endure not. Because they could furnish no assistance to themselves, they perished. He breathed upon them, and they died, because they had no wisdom. But call now, if any one will answer you, or if you will look to any of the holy angels; for wrath destroys the foolish man, and envy kills him that is in error. I have seen the foolish taking root, but their habitation was presently consumed. Let their sons be far from safety; let them be despised before the gates of those less than themselves, and there shall be none to deliver. For what was prepared for them, the righteous shall eat; and they shall not be delivered from evil.
These things therefore being obvious to us, and since we look into the depths of the divine knowledge, it is best for us to do all things in their proper order which the Lord has commanded us to perform at stated times. He has decreed offerings to be presented and service to be performed to Him, and this not thoughtlessly or irregularly, but at the appointed times and hours. Where and by whom He desires these things to be done, He Himself has fixed by His own supreme will, in order that all things, being piously done according to His good pleasure, may be acceptable unto Him. Those, therefore, who present their offerings at the appointed times, are accepted and blessed; for since they follow the laws of the Lord, they sin not. For his own peculiar services are assigned to the high priest, and their own proper place is prescribed to the priests, and their own special ministrations designated to the Levites. The layman is bound by the laws that pertain to laymen. Let every one of you, brethren, give thanks to God in his own order, living in all good conscience, with becoming gravity, and not going beyond the rule of the ministry prescribed to him.
Not in every place, brethren, are the daily sacrifices offered, or the peace-offerings, or the sin-offerings and the trespass-offerings, but in Jerusalem only. And even there they are not offered in any place, but only at the altar before the Temple, that which is offered being first carefully examined by the high priest and the ministers already mentioned. Those, therefore, who do anything beyond that which is agreeable to His will, are punished with death.
You see, brethren, that the greater the knowledge that has been entrusted to us, the greater also is the danger to which we are exposed. The Apostles have preached the Gospel to us from the Lord Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ has done so from God. Christ therefore was sent forth by God, and the Apostles by Christ. Both these appointments, then, were made in an orderly way, according to the will of God. Having therefore received their orders, and being fully assured by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, and established in the word of God, with full assurance of the Holy Ghost, they went forth proclaiming that the kingdom of God was at hand. And thus preaching through countries and cities, they appointed the first fruits of their labors, having first proved them by the Spirit, to be Episcopes and Deacons of those who should afterward believe. Nor was this any new thing, since indeed many ages before it was written concerning Episcopes and Deacons. For thus says the Scripture in a certain place,
I will appoint their episcopes in righteousness, and their deacons in faith.
And what marvel is it if those in Christ who were entrusted with such a duty by God, appointed those Ministers before mentioned, when the blessed Moses also, a faithful servant in all his house, noted down in the sacred books all the injunctions which were given him, and when the other prophets also followed him, bearing witness with one consent to the ordinances which he had appointed? For, when rivalry arose concerning the priesthood, and the tribes were contending among themselves as to which of them should be adorned with that glorious title, he commanded the twelve princes of the tribes to bring him their rods, each one being inscribed with the name of the tribe. And he took them and bound them together, and sealed them with the rings of the princes of the tribes, and laid them up in the tabernacle of witness on the table of God. And having shut the doors of the tabernacle, he sealed the keys, as he had done the rods, and said to them,
"Men and brethren, the tribe whose rod shall blossom has God chosen to fulfil the office of the priesthood, and to minister unto Him."
And when the morning had come, he assembled all Israel, six hundred thousand men, and showed the seals to the princes of the tribes, and opened the tabernacle of witness, and brought forth the rods. And the rod of Aaron was found not only to have blossomed, but to bear fruit upon it. What do you think, beloved? Did Moses not know beforehand that this would happen? Undoubtedly he knew; but he acted thus, that there might be no rebellion in Israel, and that the name of the true and only God might be glorified; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Our Apostles also knew, through our Lord Jesus Christ, that there would be strife on account of the office of the Episcopate. For this reason, therefore, since they had obtained a perfect foreknowledge of this, they appointed those ministers already mentioned, and afterward gave instructions, that when these should fall asleep, other approved men should succeed them in their ministry. We are of opinion, therefore, that those appointed by them, or afterward by other eminent men, with the consent of the whole Church, and who have blamelessly served the flock of Christ, in a humble, peaceable, and disinterested spirit, and have for a long time possessed the good opinion of all, cannot be justly dismissed from the ministry. For our sin will not be small, if we expel from the Episcopate those who have blamelessly and holily fulfilled its duties. Blessed are those Presbyters who, having finished their course before now, have obtained a fruitful and perfect departure from this world; for they have no fear lest any one deprive them of the place now appointed them. But we see that you have removed some men of excellent behavior from the ministry which they fulfilled blamelessly and with honor.
You are fond of contention, brothers, and full of zeal about things which do not pertain to salvation. Look carefully into the Scriptures, which are the true utterances of the Holy Spirit. Observe that nothing of an unjust or counterfeit character is written in them. There you will not find that the righteous were cast off by men who themselves were holy. The righteous were indeed persecuted, but only by the wicked. They were cast into prison, but only by the unholy; they were stoned, but only by transgressors; they were slain, but only by the accursed, and those who had conceived an unrighteous envy against them. Exposed to such sufferings, they endured them gloriously. For what shall we say, brothers? Was Daniel cast into the den of lions by those who feared God? Were Ananias, and Azarias, and Michael shut up in a furnace of fire by those who observed the great and glorious worship of the Most High? Far from us be such a thought! Who, then, were those who did such things? The hateful, and those full of all wickedness, were roused to such a pitch of fury that they inflicted torture on those who served God with a holy and blameless purpose of heart, not knowing that the Most High is the Defender and Protector of all who with a pure conscience venerate His all-excellent name; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. But they who with confidence endured these things are now heirs of glory and honor, and have been exalted and made illustrious by God in their memorial for ever and ever. Amen.
It is therefore right, brothers, that we should follow such examples; since it is written,
Hold to the holy, for those that hold to them shall themselves be made holy.
And again, in another place, the Scripture says,
With a harmless man you shall prove yourself harmless, and with an elect man you shall be elect, and with a perverse man you shall show yourself perverse.
Therefore, let us hold to the innocent and righteous, since these are the elect of God. Why are there strifes, and commotions, and divisions, and schisms, and wars among you? Have we all not one God and one Christ? Is there not one Spirit of grace poured out upon us? And have we not one calling in Christ? Why do we divide and tear in pieces the members of Christ, and raise up strife against our own body, and have reached such a height of madness as to forget that we are members of one another? Remember the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, how He said,
Woe to that man by whom offenses come! It would be better for him that he had never been born, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my elect. Yes, it would be better for him that a millstone should be hung about his neck, and he should be sunk in the depths of the sea, than that he should cast a stumbling-block before one of my little ones.
Your division has overthrown the faith of many, has discouraged many, has given rise to doubt in many, and has caused grief to us all. And still your rebellion continues.
Read the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul. What did he write to you at the time when the Gospel first began to be preached? Truly, under the inspiration of the Spirit, he wrote to you concerning himself, and Cephas, and Apollos, because even then parties had been formed among you. But that inclination for one above another brought less guilt on you, since you then showed your differences of partiality toward Apostles, already of high reputation, and toward a man whom they had approved. But now consider who they are who have perverted you, and lessened the renown of your far-famed brotherly love. It is disgraceful, beloved, yes, highly disgraceful, and unworthy of your Christian profession, that such a thing should be heard of, that the most steadfast and ancient Assembly of the Corinthians should, on account of one or two persons, engage in mutiny against its Presbyters. And this rumor has reached not only Us, but also those who are unconnected with Us; so that, through your infatuation, the name of the Lord is blasphemed, while danger is also brought upon yourselves.
Therefore, let us with all haste put an end to this state of things; and let us fall down before the Lord, and beg Him with tears, that He would mercifully be reconciled to us, and restore us to our former appropriate and holy practice of brotherly love. For such conduct is the gate of righteousness, which is set open for the attainment of life, as it is written,
Open to me the gates of righteousness; I will go in by them, and will praise the Lord: this is the gate of the Lord: the righteous shall enter in by it.
Therefore, although many gates have been set open, yet this gate of righteousness is that gate in Christ by which all those are blessed who have entered in and have directed their path in holiness and righteousness, doing all things without disorder. Let a man be faithful: let him be powerful in the utterance of knowledge; let him be wise in judging of words; let him be pure in all his deeds; yet the more he seems to be superior to others in these respects, the more humble-minded he ought to be, and seek the common good of all, and not merely his own advantage.
Let him who has love in Christ keep the commandments of Christ. Who can describe the blessed bond of the love of God? What man is able to tell the excellence of its beauty, as it ought to be told? The height to which love exalts is unspeakable. Love unites us to God. Love covers a multitude of sins. Love bears all things, is long-suffering in all things. There is nothing base, nothing arrogant in love. Love permits no schisms: love gives rise to no rebellions: love does all things in harmony. By love all the elect of God have been made perfect; without love nothing is well-pleasing to God. In love the Lord has taken us to Himself. On account of the love He bore us, Jesus Christ our Lord gave His blood for us by the will of God; His flesh for our flesh, and His soul for our souls.
You see, beloved, how great and wonderful a thing is love, and that there is no describing its perfection. Who is fit to be found in it, except those whom God has guaranteed to render so? Let us pray, therefore, and implore His mercy, that we may live blamelessly in love, free from all human preferences for one above another. All the generations from Adam even to this day have passed away; but those who, through the grace of God, have been made perfect in love, now possess a place among the godly, and shall be made evident at the revelation of the kingdom of Christ. For it is written,
Enter into your secret chambers for a little time, to the day my wrath and fury pass away; and I will remember a favorable day, and will raise you up out of your graves.
Blessed are we, beloved, if we keep the commandments of God in the harmony of love; so that through love our sins may be forgiven us. For it is written,
Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not impute to him, and in whose mouth there is no guile.
This blessedness comes on those who have been chosen by God through Jesus Christ our Lord; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
Let us therefore beg forgiveness for all those transgressions which we have committed through any suggestion of the adversary. And these who have been the leaders of mutiny and disagreement ought to have respect for the common confident expectation. For those who live in fear and love would rather that they themselves should be involved in suffering than their neighbors. And they prefer to bear blame themselves, rather than permit that the concord should suffer which has been well and piously handed down to us. For it is better that a man should acknowledge his transgressions than that he should harden his heart, as the hearts of those were hardened who stirred up rebellion against Moses the servant of God, and whose condemnation was made apparent to all. For they went down alive into Hades, and death swallowed them up. Pharaoh with his army and all the princes of Egypt, and the chariots with their riders, were sunk in the depths of the Red Sea, and perished, for no other reason than that their foolish hearts were hardened, after so many signs and wonders had been worked in the land of Egypt by Moses the servant of God.
The Lord, brothers, stands in need of nothing; and He desires nothing of any one except that confession be made to Him. For, says the elect David,
I will confess unto the Lord; and that will please Him more than a young bullock that has horns and hoofs. Let the poor see it, and be glad.
And again he says,
Offer to God the sacrifice of praise, and pay your vows to the Most High. And call on me in the day of your trouble: I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. For the sacrifice of God is a broken spirit.
You understand, beloved, you understand well the sacred Scriptures, and you have looked very seriously into the revealed words of God. Call these things to your remembrance then. When Moses went up into the mount, and remained there, with fasting and humiliation, forty days and forty nights, the Lord said unto him,
Moses, Moses, go down quickly from here; for your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt have committed iniquity. They have speedily departed from the way in which I commanded them to walk, and have made to themselves molten images.
And the Lord said unto him,
I have spoken to you once and again, saying, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiff-necked people: let me destroy them, and blot out their name from under heaven; and I will make you a great and wonderful nation, and one much more numerous than this. But Moses said, Far be it from You, Lord: pardon the sin of this people; else blot me also out of the book of the living.
O marvellous love! O insuperable perfection! The servant speaks freely to his Lord, and asks forgiveness for the people, or begs that he himself might perish along with them.
Who then among you is noble-minded? Who is compassionate? Who is full of love? Let him declare, "If on my account rebellion and disagreement and schisms have arisen, I will depart, I will go away wherever you desire, and I will do whatever the majority commands; only let the flock of Christ live on terms of peace with the Presbyters set over it." He who acts thus shall procure for himself great glory in the Lord; and every place will welcome him. For
the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof.
These things they who live a godly life never to be repented of, have both done and will always do.
To bring forward some examples from among the heathen: Many kings and princes, in times of pestilence, when they had been instructed by a pagan oracle, have given themselves up to die, in order that by their own blood they might deliver their fellow citizens from destruction. Many have gone forth from their own cities, so that rebellion might be brought to an end within them. We know many among ourselves who have given themselves up to chains, in order that they might ransom others. Many, too, have surrendered themselves to slavery, so that with the price they received for themselves, they might provide food for others. Many women also, being strengthened by the grace of God, have performed numerous manly exploits. The blessed Judith, when her city was besieged, asked permission of the elders to go forth into the camp of the strangers; and exposing herself to danger, she went out for the love which she bore for her country and people then being besieged; and the Lord delivered Holofernes into the hands of a woman. Esther also, being perfect in faith, exposed herself to no less danger, in order to deliver the twelve tribes of Israel from impending destruction. For with fasting and humiliation she entreated the everlasting God, who sees all things; and He, perceiving the humility of her spirit, delivered the people for whose sake she had confronted danger.
Let us then pray also for those who have fallen into any sin, that meekness and humility may be given to them, so that they may submit, not to Us, but to the will of God. For in this way they shall secure a fruitful and perfect remembrance from Us, with sympathy for them, both in Our prayers to God, and Our mention of them to the saints. Let us receive correction, beloved, on account of which no one should feel displeased. Those exhortations by which we admonish one another are both good in themselves, and highly profitable, for they tend to unite us to the will of God. For thus says the holy Word:
The Lord has severely chastened me, yet has not given me over to death. For whom the Lord loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives. The righteous (says it) shall chasten me in mercy, and reprove me; but let not the oil of sinners make fat my head.
And again he says,
Blessed is the man whom the Lord reproves, and reject not the warning of the Almighty. For He causes sorrow, and again restores to gladness; He wounds, and His hands make whole. He shall deliver you in six troubles, yes, in the seventh no evil shall touch you. In famine He shall rescue you from death, and in war He shall free you from the power of the sword. From the scourge of the tongue He will hide you, and you shall not fear when evil comes. You shall laugh at the unrighteous and the wicked, and shall not be afraid of the beasts of the field. For the wild beasts shall be at peace with you: then shall you know that your house shall be in peace, and the place of your dwelling shall not fail. You shall know also that your offspring shall be great, and your children like the grass of the field. And you shall come to the grave like ripened grain which is reaped in season, or like a heap of the threshing-floor gathered together at the proper time.
You see, beloved, that protection is afforded to those who are chastized by the Lord; for since God is good, He corrects us, that we may be admonished by His holy chastisement.
You therefore, who laid the foundation of this mutiny, submit yourselves to the Presbyters, and receive correction so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts. Learn to be subject, laying aside the proud and arrogant self-confidence of your tongue. For it is better for you that you should occupy a humble but honorable place in the flock of Christ, than, being highly exalted, that you should be cast out from the hope of His people. For thus speaks all-virtuous Wisdom:
Behold, I will bring forth to you the words of my Spirit, and I will teach you my speech. Since I called, and you did not hear; I presented my words, and you regarded not, but set at naught my counsels, and yielded not at my reproofs; therefore I too will laugh at your destruction; yes, I will rejoice when ruin comes upon you, and when sudden confusion overtakes you, when defeat presents itself like a tempest, or when tribulation and oppression fall upon you. For it shall happen, that when you call on me, I will not hear you; the wicked shall seek me, and they shall not find me. For they hated wisdom, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; nor would they listen to my counsels, but despised my reproofs. For this reason they shall eat the fruits of their own way, and they shall be filled with their own ungodliness. For, in punishment for the wrongs which they inflicted on babies, they shall be slain, and inquiry will be death to the ungodly; but he who hears me shall rest in hope and be undisturbed by the fear of any evil.
Therefore, let us flee from the warning threats pronounced by Wisdom on the disobedient, and give submission to His all-holy and glorious name, that we may place our trust in the most hallowed name of His majesty. Accept Our counsel, and you shall be without regret. For, as God lives, and as the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost live—both the faith and hope of the elect—he who in lowliness of mind, with instant gentleness and without regret, has observed the ordinances and appointments given by God—the same shall obtain a place and name among the number of those who are being saved through Jesus Christ, through whom is glory to Him for ever and ever. Amen.
If, however, any shall disobey the words spoken by Him through Us, let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and serious danger; but We shall be innocent of this sin, and, instant in prayer and supplication, shall desire that the Creator of all preserve unbroken the computed number of His elect in the whole world through His beloved Son Jesus Christ, through whom He called us from darkness to light, from ignorance to knowledge of the glory of His name:
Our hope resting on Your name which is primal cause of every creature—having opened the eyes of Our heart to the knowledge of You, who alone rests highest among the highest, holy among the holy, who lays low the insolence of the haughty, who destroys the calculations of the heathen, who sets the low on high and brings low the exalted; who makes rich and makes poor, who kills and makes to live, the only Benefactor of spirits and God of all flesh, who beholds the depths, the eye-witness of human works, the help of those in danger, the Savior of those in despair, the Creator and Guardian of every spirit, who multiplies nations on earth, and from all made choice of those who love You through Jesus Christ, Your beloved Son, through whom You instructed, sanctify, honor Us. We would have You, Lord, to prove our help and succor. Those of us in affliction save, on the lowly take pity; the fallen raise; on those in need arise; the sick heal; the wandering ones of Your people turn back; fill the hungry; redeem those of us in chains; raise up those who are weak; comfort the faint-hearted; let all the nations know that You are God alone and Jesus Christ Your Son, and
we are Your people and the sheep of Your pasture.
You made to appear the enduring fabric of the world by the works of Your hand; You, Lord, created the earth on which we dwell—You, who are faithful in all generations, just in judgments, wonderful in strength and majesty, with wisdom creating and with understanding fixing the things which were made, who are good among those who are being saved and faithful among them whose trust is in You; O merciful and Compassionate One, forgive us our iniquities and offenses and transgressions and trespasses. Count not every sin of Your servants and handmaids, but You will purify us with the purification of Your truth; and direct our steps that we may walk in holiness of heart and do what is good and well-pleasing in Your sight and in the sight of our rulers. Yes, Lord, make Your face to shine on us for good in peace, that we may be shielded by Your mighty hand and delivered from every sin by Your uplifted arm, and deliver us from those who hate us wrongfully. Give concord and peace to us and all who dwell on the earth, even as You gave to our fathers, when they called on You in faith and truth, submissive as we are to Your almighty and all-excellent Name.
To our rulers and governors on the earth—to them You, Lord, gave the power of the kingdom by Your glorious and ineffable might, to the end that we may know the glory and honor given to them by You and be subject to them, in nothing resisting Your will; to them, Lord, give health, peace, concord, stability, so that they may exercise the authority given to them without offense. For You, O heavenly Lord and King eternal, give to the sons of men glory and honor and power over the things that are on the earth; do, Lord, direct their counsel according to that which is good and well-pleasing in Your sight, that, devoutly, in peace and meekness exercising the power given them by You, they may find You favorable. O You, who alone has power to do these things and more abundant good with us, we praise You through the High Priest and Guardian of our souls Jesus Christ, through whom be glory and majesty to You both now and from generation to generation and for evermore. Amen.
Concerning the things pertaining to our religious practice which are most profitable for a life of goodness to those who would pursue a godly and righteous course, We have written to you, men and brothers, at sufficient length. For concerning faith and repentance and true love and continence and soberness and patience, We have touched on every passage, putting you in mind that you ought in righteousness and truth and long-suffering to be well-pleasing to Almighty God with holiness, being of one mind—not remembering evil—in love and peace with instant gentleness, even as our fathers also forementioned found favor by the humility of their thoughts toward the Father and God and Creator and all mankind. And We put you in mind of these things with the greater pleasure, since We were well assured that We were writing to men who were faithful and of highest repute and had peered into the revealed words of the instruction of God.
It is right, therefore, to approach examples so good and so many, and bend the neck and fulfil the part of obedience, in order that, undisturbed by vain rebellion, we may attain to the goal set before us in truth wholly free from blame. Joy and gladness will you give Us, if you become obedient to the words written by Us and through the Holy Spirit root out the lawless wrath of your jealousy according to the intercession which We have made for peace and unity in this letter. We have sent men faithful and discreet, whose behavior from youth to old age has been blameless among us—the same shall be witnesses between you and Us. This We have done, that you may know that Our whole concern has been and is that you may be speedily at peace.
May God, who sees all things, and who is the Ruler of all spirits and the Lord of all flesh—who chose our Lord Jesus Christ and us through Him to be a peculiar people—grant to every soul that calls upon His glorious and holy name, faith, fear, peace, patience, long-suffering, self-control, purity, and sobriety, to the well-pleasing of His name, through our High Priest and Protector, Jesus Christ, by whom be to Him glory, and majesty, and power, and honor, both now and for evermore. Amen.
Speedily send back to Us in peace and with joy these Our Messengers to you: Claudius Ephebus and Valerius Bito, with Fortunatus; that they may the sooner announce to Us the peace and harmony We so earnestly desire and long for among you, and that We may the more quickly rejoice over the good order re-established among you.
The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you, and with all everywhere who are the called of God through Him, by whom be to Him glory, honor, power, majesty, and eternal dominion, from everlasting to everlasting. Amen.

This letter of Clement to the Corinthians was publicly read for the common benefit in most of the assemblies. At the time of Clement a rebellion against the authority of the Presbyters did take place at Corinth as abundantly attested by Hegesippus. Many held it to be inspired sacred scripture worthy of being included in the collection of scriptures we now call the Bible.

About the same period, during the same reign of Domitian, Jude the Apostle wrote the following letter of warning addressed to all believers:

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to those who are called, sanctified by God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ: Mercy to you and peace and love be multiplied.
Beloved, while I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I was constrained to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For there are certain men who crept in secretly, even those who were long ago written about for this condemnation: ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into indecency, and denying our only Master, God, and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Now I desire to remind you, though you already know this, that the Lord, having saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. Angels who did not keep their first domain, but deserted their own dwelling place, he has kept in everlasting bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them, having, in the same way as these, given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are shown as an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire. Yet in the same way, these also in their dreaming defile the flesh, despise authority, and slander celestial beings. But Michael, the archangel, when contending with the devil and arguing about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him an abusive condemnation, but said,
“May the Lord rebuke you!”
But these speak evil of whatever things they do not know. They are destroyed in these things that they understand naturally, like the creatures without reason. Woe to them! For they went in the way of Cain, and ran riotously in the error of Balaam for hire, and perished in Korah’s rebellion. These are hidden rocky reefs in your love feasts when they feast with you, shepherds who without fear feed themselves; clouds without water, carried along by winds; autumn leaves without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; wild waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever. About these also Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying,
“Behold, the Lord came with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their works of ungodliness which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the hard things which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.”
These are murmurers and complainers, walking according to their lusts (and their mouth speaks proud things), showing respect of persons to gain advantage.
But you, beloved, remember the words which have been spoken before by the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you that
“In the last time there will be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts.”
These are they who cause divisions, and are sensual, not having the Spirit. But you, beloved, keep building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. On some have compassion, making a distinction, and some save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh.
Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory in great joy, to God our Savior, who alone is wise, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen.

Reading time about one hour and thirty minutes.

Ecclesiastical History III, chapter 13–14
Twelve Caesars: Domitian 13
Ecclesiastical History III, chapters 15–18
1 Clement (to the Corinthians)


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