The Life of Flavius Josephus, 407–430

Flavius Josephus  translated by William Whiston

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The Arrival of Vespasian

40774. It was not now long before Vespasian came to Tyre, and king Agrippa with him; but the Tyrians began to speak reproachfully of the king, and called him an enemy to the Romans; for they said that Philip, the general of his army, had betrayed the royal palace and the Roman forces that were in Jerusalem, and that it was done by his command. 408When Vespasian heard of this report, he rebuked the Tyrians for abusing a man who was both a king and a friend to the Romans; but he exhorted the king to send Philip to Rome, to answer for what he had done before Nero. 409But when Philip was sent thither, he did not come into the sight of Nero, for he found him very near death, on account of the troubles that then happened, and a civil war; and so he returned to the king. 410But when Vespasian was come to Ptolemais, the chief men of Decapolis of Syria made a clamor against Justus of Tiberias, because he had set their villages on fire; so Vespasian delivered him to the king, to be put to death by those under the king’s jurisdiction; yet did the king only put him into bonds, and concealed what he had done from Vespasian, as I have before related. 411But the people of Sepphoris met Vespasian, and saluted him, and had forces sent him, with Placidus their commander; he also went up with them, as I also followed them, till Vespasian came into Galilee. 412As to which coming of his, and after what manner it was ordered, and how he fought his first battle with me near the village Taricheae, and how from thence they went to Jotapata, and how I was taken alive and bound, and how I was afterward loosed, with all that was done by me in the Jewish war, and during the siege of Jerusalem, I have accurately related them in the books concerning the War of the Jews. 413However, it will, I think, be fit for me to add now an account of those actions of my life which I have not related in that book of the Jewish war.

Josephus in the Hands of the Romans

41475. For when the siege of Jotapata was over, and I was among the Romans, I was kept with much care, by means of the great respect that Vespasian showed me. Moreover, at his command, I married a virgin, who was from among the captives of that country; 415yet did she not live with me long, but was divorced, upon my being freed from my bonds, and my going to Alexandria. However, I married another wife at Alexandria, 416and was thence sent, together with Titus, to the siege of Jerusalem, and was frequently in danger of being put to death,—while both the Jews were very desirous to get me under their power, in order to have me punished; and the Romans also, whenever they were beaten, supposed that it was occasioned by my treachery, and made continual clamors to the emperors and desired that they would bring me to punishment as a traitor to them: 417but Titus Caesar was well acquainted with the uncertain fortune of war, and returned no answer to the soldiers’ vehement solicitations against me. Moreover, when the city Jerusalem was taken by force, Titus Caesar persuaded me frequently to take whatsoever I would of the ruins of my country, and said that he gave me leave so to do; 418but when my country was destroyed, I thought nothing else to be of any value which I could take and keep as a comfort under my calamities; so I made this request to Titus, that my family might have their liberty; I had also the holy books by Titus’s concession: 419nor was it long after, that I asked of him the life of my brother, and of fifty friends with him; and was not denied. When I also went once to the temple, by the permission of Titus, where there were a great multitude of captive women and children, I got all those that I remembered, as among my own friends and acquaintances, to be set free, being in number about one hundred and ninety: and so I delivered them, without their paying any price of redemption, and restored them to their former fortune; 420and when I was sent by Titus Caesar with Cerealius, and a thousand horsemen, to a certain village called Thecoa, in order to know whether it were a place fit for a camp, as I came back, I saw many captives crucified; and remembered three of them as my former acquaintance. I was very sorry at this in my mind, and went with tears in my eyes to Titus, and told him of them; 421so he immediately commanded them to be taken down, and to have the greatest care taken of them, in order to their recovery; yet two of them died under the physician’s hands, while the third recovered.

42276. But when Titus had composed the troubles in Judea, and conjectured that the lands which I had in Judea would bring me no profit, because a garrison to guard the country was afterwards to pitch there, he gave me another country in the plain; and, when he was going away to Rome, he made choice of me to sail along with him, and paid me great respect; 423and when we were come to Rome, I had great care taken of me by Vespasian; for he gave me an apartment in his own house, which he lived in before he came to the empire. He also honored me with the privilege of a Roman citizen, and gave me an annual pension; and continued to respect me to the end of his life, without any abatement of his kindness to me; which very thing made me envied, and brought me into danger; 424for a certain Jew, whose name was Jonathan, who had raised a tumult in Cyrene, and had persuaded two thousand men of that country to join with him, was the occasion of their ruin; but when he was bound by the governor of that country, and sent to the emperor, he told him that I had sent him both weapons and money. 425However, he could not conceal his being a liar from Vespasian, who condemned him to die; according to which sentence he was put to death. Nay, after that, when those that envied my good fortune did frequently bring accusations against me, by God’s providence I escaped them all. I also received from Vespasian no small quantity of land, as a free gift, in Judea; 426about which time I divorced my wife also, as not pleased with her behavior, though not till she had been the mother of three children; two of whom are dead, and one, whom I named Hyrcanus, is alive. 427After this I married a wife who had lived at Crete, but a Jewess by birth: a woman she was of eminent parents, and such as were the most illustrious in all the country, and whose character was beyond that of most other women, as her future life did demonstrate. By her I had two sons; the elder’s name was Justus, and the next Simonides, who was also named Agrippa: 428and these were the circumstances of my domestic affairs. However, the kindness of the emperor to me continued still the same; for when Vespasian was dead, Titus, who succeeded him in the government, kept up the same respect for me which I had from his father; and when I had frequent accusations laid against me, he would not believe them 429and Domitian, who succeeded, still augmented his respects to me; for he punished those Jews that were my accusers; and gave command that a servant of mine, who was a eunuch, and my accuser, should be punished. He also made that country I had in Judea tax free, which is a mark of the greatest honor to him who hath it; nay, Domitia, the wife of Caesar, continued to do me kindnesses: 430And this is the account of the actions of my whole life; and let others judge of my character by them as they please; but to thee, O Epaphroditus, thou most excellent of men! do I dedicate all this treatise of our Antiquities; and so, for the present, I here conclude the whole.

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