Monday, August 16, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 3 Chapter 11or Bellum Judaicum Book 3 Chapter 7?

And then we continue again with the next section in Hegesippus immediately following the last citation:

Depressed by that Vespasian again was stirred up to attacking the city, he assembles the entire army, he shakes the wall with siege engines, the battering ram pounds (it). The appearance gave it the name from this that the head of a strong and knotty tree trunk is covered with iron in like manner as the forehead of a ram is covered, which covered over with plates of metal swells up and sticks out. From its middle it appears as if a horn of solid iron. Its size in the manner of the mast of a ship, which not a gale of winds, not the billowings of the sails can bend. This suspended by ropes to a high and strong support from the joining of many trees is driven against the wall by a strong band of men, then pulled back and in the fashion of a pair of scales held up by a halter, it is applied with greater force, so that the side of the wall fatigued from the frequent blows would yield an opening hollowed in the breach, by which a way would open to the Romans into the interior of the city. At the first blow therefore the wall is shaken and trembles violently. A cry of fear immediately of all those trembling just as if the city had been taken, lest the struck wall should crack open. But Josephus ordered sacks filled with chaff to be sent out in that place, against which the battering ram would be launched by the Romans, so that each blow of the battering ram frustrated by the loose folds of the sacks would be softened. For hard bodies struck against hard bodies do harm, against softer they do not avail. In short hard bodies yield to softer bodies more easily than softer to hard. For although rocks are dissolved by the application of water, the falling of a rock is not any injury of waters, but masses thrown into narrow straits water retains it uses, but rocks among waves knows not how to retain theirs. Also the falling of marble does not break up sand and marble is broken up by the falling of sand. Indeed however the Romans brought things with which they nullified the inventions of the Jews, pruning hooks attached to long poles, with which they cut open the lowered sacks, by which emptied of chaff they were were not able to weaken the blow of the battering ram. And so the shock of the siege machine having been restored when the Jews saw themselves to be hard pressed, one of them Eleazarus raising a rock of huge size from the wall above the battering ram struck with such great force that it broke off the head of the siege engine. Jumping also into the midst of the enemy he seized it and fearlessly carried it onto the wall in the sight if his adversaries and open to wounding. Finally he is transfixed by five darts but not all turned back to his wounds he concentrated upon how he might overwhelm the enemy by the fall of the rock. And therefore he ascended the wall and conqueror of his pain he stood clearly visible of great boldness and threw himself and the rock upon the battering ram and fell with it, overcome indeed by death but the victor over the siege engine, since in himself a single person departed his country, in the smashing of the siege engine however he preserved the entire city from destruction. Netiras and Philippus threw themselves into the middle of the troop so that they should rout those whom they were attacking. Josephus fire having been thrown down so that he should burn all the seige engines in a brief time consumed most, but those consumed were repaired.[Hegesippus 3.11]

While Jewish War reads:

Upon this, Vespasian, when he saw the Romans distressed by these sallies, (though they were ashamed to be made to run away by the Jews; and when at any time they made the Jews run away, their heavy armor would not let them pursue them far; while the Jews, when they had performed any action, and before they could be hurt themselves, still retired into the city,) ordered his armed men to avoid their onset, and not fight it out with men under desperation, while nothing is more courageous than despair; but that their violence would be quenched when they saw they failed of their purposes, as fire is quenched when it wants fuel; and that it was proper for the Romans to gain their victories as cheap as they could, since they are not forced to fight, but only to enlarge their own dominions. So he repelled the Jews in great measure by the Arabian archers, and the Syrian slingers, and by those that threw stones at them, nor was there any intermission of the great number of their offensive engines. Now the Jews suffered greatly by these engines, without being able to escape from them; and when these engines threw their stones or javelins a great way, and the Jews were within their reach, they pressed hard upon the Romans, and fought desperately, without sparing either soul or body, one part succoring another by turns, when it was tired down.

When, therefore, Vespasian looked upon himself as in a manner besieged by these sallies of the Jews, and when his banks were now not far from the walls, he determined to make use of his battering ram. This battering ram is a vast beam of wood like the mast of a ship, its forepart is armed with a thick piece of iron at the head of it, which is so carved as to be like the head of a ram, whence its name is taken. This ram is slung in the air by ropes passing over its middle, and is hung like the balance in a pair of scales from another beam, and braced by strong beams that pass on both sides of it, in the nature of a cross. When this ram is pulled backward by a great number of men with united force, and then thrust forward by the same men, with a mighty noise, it batters the walls with that iron part which is prominent. Nor is there any tower so strong, or walls so broad, that can resist any more than its first batteries, but all are forced to yield to it at last. This was the experiment which the Roman general betook himself to, when he was eagerly bent upon taking the city; but found lying in the field so long to be to his disadvantage, because the Jews would never let him be quiet. So these Romans brought the several engines for galling an enemy nearer to the walls, that they might reach such as were upon the wall, and endeavored to frustrate their attempts; these threw stones and javelins at them; in the like manner did the archers and slingers come both together closer to the wall. This brought matters to such a pass that none of the Jews durst mount the walls, and then it was that the other Romans brought the battering ram that was cased with hurdles all over, and in the tipper part was secured by skins that covered it, and this both for the security of themselves and of the engine. Now, at the very first stroke of this engine, the wall was shaken, and a terrible clamor was raised by the people within the city, as if they were already taken.

And now, when Josephus saw this ram still battering the same place, and that the wall would quickly be thrown down by it, he resolved to elude for a while the force of the engine. With this design he gave orders to fill sacks with chaff, and to hang them down before that place where they saw the ram always battering, that the stroke might be turned aside, or that the place might feel less of the strokes by the yielding nature of the chaff. This contrivance very much delayed the attempts of the Romans, because, let them remove their engine to what part they pleased, those that were above it removed their sacks, and placed them over against the strokes it made, insomuch that the wall was no way hurt, and this by diversion of the strokes, till the Romans made an opposite contrivance of long poles, and by tying hooks at their ends, cut off the sacks. Now when the battering ram thus recovered its force, and the wall having been but newly built, was giving way, Josephus and those about him had afterward immediate recourse to fire, to defend themselves withal; whereupon they took what materials soever they had that were but dry, and made a sally three ways, and set fire to the machines, and the hurdles, and the banks of the Romans themselves; nor did the Romans well know how to come to their assistance, being at once under a consternation at the Jews' boldness, and being prevented by the flames from coming to their assistance; for the materials being dry with the bitumen and pitch that were among them, as was brimstone also, the fire caught hold of every thing immediately, and what cost the Romans a great deal of pains was in one hour consumed.

And here a certain Jew appeared worthy of our relation and commendation; he was the son of Sameas, and was called Eleazar, and was born at Saab, in Galilee. This man took up a stone of a vast bigness, and threw it down from the wall upon the ram, and this with so great a force, that it broke off the head of the engine. He also leaped down, and took up the head of the ram from the midst of them, and without any concern carried it to the top of the wall, and this while he stood as a fit mark to he pelted by all his enemies. Accordingly, he received the strokes upon his naked body, and was wounded with five darts; nor did he mind any of them while he went up to the top of the wall, where he stood in the sight of them all, as an instance of the greatest boldness; after which he drew himself on a heap with his wounds upon him, and fell down together with the head of the ram. Next to him, two brothers showed their courage; their names were Netir and Philip, both of them of the village Ruma, and both of them Galileans also; these men leaped upon the soldiers of the tenth legion, and fell upon the Romans with such a noise and force as to disorder their ranks, and to put to flight all upon whomsoever they made their assaults.
 [Jewish War 3.8.18 - 21]

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