Monday, August 16, 2010

Which 'Josephus' is Closer to the Original? Pseudo-Hegesippus Book 3 Chapter 15 or Bellum Judaicum Book 3 Chapter 7?

We now follow with the next section in our side by side comparison of the material in Pseudo-Hegesippus and Jewish War. 

Pseudo-Hegesippus reads:

Also at Iotapata an attack was made at early dawn on the forty eighth day, although up to now fatigued from much labor of the previous day they were resting. Titus first of all having entered with Sabinus provided a way for the rest. The higher places in the narrow passages of the streets having been seized everywhere, and unaware as yet of the attack made they were slain. Some in their beds, some awakened, some on watch but lax from fasting and sleep, paid the penalty. Up to now however the power of the evil ones was concealed from the entire city. But when the army having entered bellowed with a military yell, to a man almost they rose up against the mood of approaching death. And if any attempted to gain the higher places they were driven back and killed, and for those to whom a wish of avenging was able to be at hand, the crowding took away the possibility of vengeance, and if any were preparing to resist they were sheltered from the fight by others rushing in before them. Others much wearied by the fight dropped their hands and offered themselves to a wounding, so that by death they would be snatched away from the deadly spectacle of their misfortunes. Deceived by the carelessness of those dying the centurion Antonius asked by a certain one who had taken refuge in caves, that he should give him his right hand a pledge of pardon and safety, heedless of treachery immediately extended it and, woe to the wretched too confident of triumph, but that one strikes him off guard with a javelin and immediately transfixes him, lest the victory be complete for the Romans. That very day all whosoever who were found were killed, on the following days however even from cellars and other underground holes they were brought out or killed on the spot small children and women excepted. Forty thousands were killed through all the days, in the number who were seized two hundred thousand were led into servitude. The city was destroyed and burned up by fire and every redoubt in the thirteenth year of the reign of Nero. [Pseudo-Hegesippus 3.15]

The parallel passage in Jewish War reads:

But as the people of Jotapata still held out manfully, and bore up tinder their miseries beyond all that could be hoped for, on the forty-seventh day [of the siege] the banks cast up by the Romans were become higher than the wall; on which day a certain deserter went to Vespasian, and told him how few were left in the city, and how weak they were, and that they had been so worn out with perpetual watching, and as perpetual fighting, that they could not now oppose any force that came against them, and that they might he taken by stratagem, if any one would attack them; for that about the last watch of the night, when they thought they might have some rest from the hardships they were under, and when a morning sleep used to come upon them, as they were thoroughly weary, he said the watch used to fall asleep; accordingly his advice was, that they should make their attack at that hour. But Vespasian had a suspicion about this deserter, as knowing how faithful the Jews were to one another, and how much they despised any punishments that could be inflicted on them; this last because one of the people of Jotapata had undergone all sorts of torments, and though they made him pass through a fiery trial of his enemies in his examination, yet would he inform them nothing of the affairs within the city, and as he was crucified, smiled at them. However, the probability there was in the relation itself did partly confirm the truth of what the deserter told them, and they thought he might probably speak truth. However, Vespasian thought they should be no great sufferers if the report was a sham; so he commanded them to keep the man in custody, and prepared the army for taking the city.

According to which resolution they marched without noise, at the hour that had been told them, to the wall;and it was Titus himself that first got upon it, with one of his tribunes, Domitius Sabinus, and had a few of the fifteenth legion along with him. So they cut the throats of the watch, and entered the city very quietly. After these came Cerealis the tribune, and Placidus, and led on those that were tinder them. Now when the citadel was taken, and the enemy were in the very midst of the city, and when it was already day, yet was not the taking of the city known by those that held it; for a great many of them were fast asleep, and a great mist, which then by chance fell upon the city, hindered those that got up from distinctly seeing the case they were in, till the whole Roman army was gotten in, and they were raised up only to find the miseries they were under; and as they were slaying, they perceived the city was taken. And for the Romans, they so well remembered what they had suffered during the siege, that they spared none, nor pitied any, but drove the people down the precipice from the citadel, and slew them as they drove them down; at which time the difficulties of the place hindered those that were still able to fight from defending themselves; for as they were distressed in the narrow streets, and could not keep their feet sure along the precipice, they were overpowered with the crowd of those that came fighting them down from the citadel. This provoked a great many, even of those chosen men that were about Josephus, to kill themselves with their own hands; for when they saw that they could kill none of the Romans, they resolved to prevent being killed by the Romans, and got together in great numbers in the utmost parts of the city, and killed themselves.

However, such of the watch as at the first perceived they were taken, and ran away as fast as they could, went up into one of the towers on the north side of the city, and for a while defended themselves there; but as they were encompassed with a multitude of enemies, they tried to use their right hands when it was too late, and at length they cheerfully offered their necks to be cut off by those that stood over them. And the Romans might have boasted that the conclusion of that siege was without blood [on their side] if there had not been a centurion, Antonius, who was slain at the taking of the city. His death was occasioned by the following treachery; for there was one of those that were fled into the caverns, which were a great number, who desired that this Antonius would reach him his right hand for his security, and would assure him that he would preserve him, and give him his assistance in getting up out of the cavern; accordingly, he incautiously reached him his right hand, when the other man prevented him, and stabbed him under his loins with a spear, and killed him immediately.

And on this day it was that the Romans slew all the multitude that appeared openly; but on the following days they searched the hiding-places, and fell upon those that were under ground, and in the caverns, and went thus through every age, excepting the infants and the women, and of these there were gathered together as captives twelve hundred; and as for those that were slain at the taking of the city, and in the former fights, they were numbered to be forty thousand. So Vespasian gave order that the city should be entirely demolished, and all the fortifications burnt down. And thus was Jotapata taken, in the thirteenth year of the reign of Nero,
 on the first day of the month Panemus (Tamuz).
 [Jewish War 3.7.34 - 36]

Compare the different numbers used - attack commenced on the forty eighth day (Hegesippus) or forty eighth day (Josephus) of the siege as well as the number of captives - Hegesippus 200,000; Jewish War 1,200(!)

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