Saturday, June 07, 2014

Nero Makes an End of the Revolt (War 7.1.1-3 and 7.2.1)

Nero Makes an End of the Revolt (War 7.1.1-3 and 7.2.1)

The writer makes out that the whole population of Jerusalem was wiped out by Vespasian's forces and that the entire city of Jerusalem was destroyed.  This was not the case. In reality the revolt by the priests against the Romans was of short duration.   The priests numbered approximately 30000 in total throughout Judea.  The fortresses, including Machaerus, Qumran and Masada which had been occupied by the priests, were stormed by Nero's forces.  The Romans were then let into the city by the prophets, and they then proceeded to kill the priests.  Many of the priests probably fled.  There was pressure from the soldiery to destroy the temple, the source of the dispute between priests and prophets. Nero insisted that the temple should be left standing, to show the world what the temple was at its core.  It was a place where the Spirit of God had been worshipped since the time of Judas Maccabeus at the altar of incense and it was going to stay that way.  God was to be worshipped in the Spirit.  Josephus's text has it that the temple was destroyed and three towers left standing. This did occur five or six years later when Vespasian seized power and set fire to the temple after he had recovered all the gold from within it. 

Nero left the tenth legion and other troops to guard the city.  This was a city which Titus had supposedly destroyed along with its inhabitants so  "that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited."  This was pure propaganda. Nero's real intention was to prevent those priests who escaped from returning to persecute the prophets. A number of priests including Josephus were put in prison.  The temple was to be guarded by the prophets and the Roman troops left behind.. There followed five or six years of peace, called by the scholars the years of the revolt. Marriages were arranged and land was bought and sold during that time, as Martin Goodman says, very strangely for a historian.  

When he had thanked his troops Nero, left with the twelfth legion for Greece where he took part in the Isthmian games. As he travelled through Greece he celebrated his victory over the priests with his Greek hosts by granting them freedom.  An inscription found in Greece recorded what Nero said: "Other leaders have liberated cities, only Nero a province".       


1.NOW as soon as the army had no more [people] {priests} to slay 

[or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done],

[Caesar] {Nero} gave orders that they should [now demolish the entire city and] {leave the} temple {standing}

[, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side.]

[This wall] {The temple} was spared, in order to

[afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as were the towers also spared, in order to]

demonstrate to posterity what kind of [city] {temple} it was,

[and how well fortified, which the Roman valour had subdued;
but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations;a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.]

2. But [Caesar] {Nero} resolved to leave [there, as] a guard, the tenth legion, with certain troops of horsemen, and companies of footmen. So, having ENTIRELY COMPLETED THIS WAR, he was desirous to commend his whole army, on account of the great exploits they had performed, and to bestow proper rewards on such as had signalized themselves therein. He had therefore a great tribunal made for him in the midst of [the place where he had formerly encamped, and stood upon it] {Masada} with his principal commanders about him, and spake so as to be heard by the whole army in the manner following:

That he returned them abundance of thanks for their good-will which they had showed to him: he commended them for that ready obedience they had exhibited in this whole war, which obedience had appeared in the many and great dangers which they had courageously undergone; as also for that courage they had shown, and had thereby augmented of themselves their country's power, and had made it evident to all men, that neither the multitude of their enemies, nor the strength of their places, [nor the largeness of their cities,] nor the rash boldness and brutish rage of their antagonists, were sufficient at any time to get clear of the Roman valour, although some of them may have fortune in many respects on their side.

He said further, that it was but reasonable for them to put an end to this [war, now it had lasted so long] {revolt}, 

[for that they had nothing better to wish for when they entered into it; and that this happened more favourably for them, and more for their glory, that all the Romans had willingly accepted of those for their governors, and the curators of their dominions, whom they had chosen for them, and had sent into their own country for that purpose, which still continued under the management of those whom they had pitched on, and were thankful to them for pitching upon them.]

that accordingly, although he did both admire and tenderly regard them all, because he knew that every one of them had gone as cheerfully about their work as their abilities and opportunities would give them leave; yet, he said, that he would immediately bestow rewards and dignities on those that had fought the most bravely, and with greater force, and had signalized their conduct in the most glorious manner, and had made his army more famous by their noble exploits; and that no one who had been willing to take more pains than another should miss of a just retribution for the same; for that he had been exceeding careful about this matter, and that the more, because he had much rather reward the virtues of his fellow soldiers than punish such as had offended.

3. Hereupon [Titus] {Nero} ordered those whose business it was to read the list of all that had performed great exploits in this war, whom he called to him by their names, and commended them before the company, and rejoiced in them in the same manner as a man would have rejoiced in his own exploits.

[He also put on their heads crowns of gold, and golden ornaments about their necks, and gave them long spears of gold,. and ensigns that were made of silver, and removed every one of them to a higher rank; and besides this, he plentifully distributed among them, out of the spoils, and the other prey they had taken, silver, and gold, and garments. So when they had all these honours bestowed on them, according to his own appointment made to every one, and he had wished all sorts of happiness to the whole army, he came down, among the great acclamations which were made to him, and then betook himself to offer thank-offerings to the gods, and at once sacrificed a vast number of oxen, that stood ready at the altars, and distributed them among the army to feast on.]

And when he had staid three days among the principal commanders, and so long feasted with them, he sent away the rest of his army to the several places where they would be every one best situated; but permitted the tenth legion to stay, as a guard at Jerusalem

[, and did not send them away beyond Euphrates, where they had been before.  And as he remembered that the twelfth legion had given way to the Jews under Cestius their general, he expelled them out of all Syria, for they had lain formerly at Raphanea, and sent them away to a place called Meletine, near Euphrates, which is in the limits of Armenia and Cappadocia;]

he also thought fit that [two of] the {twelfth} legion[s] should stay with him till he should go to [Egypt] {Greece}. He then went down with his army to that Caesarea which lay by the sea-side

[, and there laid up the rest of his spoils in great quantities, and gave order that the captives should he kept there; for the winter season hindered him then from sailing into Italy].



1.NOW [at the same time that Titus Caesar lay at the siege of Jerusalem], did [Vespasian] {Nero} go on board [a merchantship] {his ship} and sailed from [Alexandria] {Caesarea} to Rhodes; [whence he sailed away, in ships with three rows of oars;] and as he touched at several cities that lay in his road, he was joyfully received by them all, and so passed over from Ionia into Greece;