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8. When I had therefore received these instructions, I came into Galilee, and found the people of Sepphoris in no small agony about their country, by reason that the Galileans had resolved to plunder it, on account of the friendship they had with the Romans, and because they had given their right hand, and made a league with Cestius Gallus, the president of Syria. But I delivered them all out of the fear they were in, and persuaded the multitude to deal kindly with them, and permitted them to send to those that were their own hostages with Gessius to Dora, which is a city of Phoenicia, as often as they pleased; though I still found the inhabitants of Tiberias ready to take arms, and that on the occasion following: -
9. There were three factions in this city. The first was composed of men of worth and gravity; of these Julius Capellus was the head. Now he, as well as all his companions, Herod the son of Miarus, and Herod the son of Gamalus, and Compsus the son of Compsus; (for as to Compsus's brother Crispus, who had once been governor of the city under the great king [Agrippa] (8) he was beyond Jordan in his own possessions;) all these persons before named gave their advice, that the city should then continue in their allegiance to the Romans and to the king. But Pistus, who was guided by his son Justus, did not acquiesce in that resolution; otherwise he was himself naturally of a good and virtuous character. But the second faction was composed of the most ignoble persons, and was determined for war. But as for Justus, the son of Pistus, who was the head of the third faction, although he pretended to be doubtful about going to war, yet was he really desirous of innovation, as supposing that he should gain power to himself by the change of affairs. He therefore came into the midst of them, and endeavored to inform the multitude that "the city Tiberius had ever been a city of Galilee, and that in the days of Herod the tetrarch, who had built it, it had obtained the principal place, and that he had ordered that the city Sepphoris should be subordinate to the city Tiberias; that they had not lost this preeminence even under Agrippa the father, but had retained it until Felix was procurator of Judea. But he told them, that now they had been so unfortunate as to be made a present by Nero to Agrippa, junior; and that, upon Sepphoris's submission of itself to the Romans, that was become the capital city of Galilee, and that the royal library and the archives were now removed from them." When he had spoken these things, and a great many more, against king Agrippa, in order to provoke the people to a revolt, he added that "this was the time for them to take arms, and join with the Galileans as their confederates (whom they might command, and who would now willingly assist them, out of the hatred they bare to the people of Sepphoris; because they preserved their fidelity to the Romans), and to gather a great number of forces, in order to punish them." And as he said this, he exhorted the multitude, [to go to war;] for his abilities lay in making harangues to the people, and in being too hard in his speeches for such as opposed him, though they advised what was more to their advantage, and this by his craftiness and his fallacies, for he was not unskilful in the learning of the Greeks; and in dependence on that skill it was, that he undertook to write a history of these affairs, as aiming, by this way of haranguing, to disguise the truth. But as to this man, and how ill were his character and conduct of life, and how he and his brother were, in great measure, the authors of our destruction, I shall give the reader an account in the progress of my narration. So when Justus had, by his persuasions, prevailed with the citizens of Tiberias to take arms, nay, and had forced a great many so to do against their wills, he went out, and set the villages that belonged to Gadara and Hippos on fire; which villages were situated on the borders of Tiberias, and of the region of Scythopolis.
10. And this was the state Tiberias was now in. But as for Gischala, its affairs were thus: - When John, the son of Levi, saw some of the citizens much elevated upon their revolt from the Romans, he labored to restrain them, and entreated them that they would keep their allegiance to them. But he could not gain his purpose, although he did his endeavors to the utmost; for the neighboring people of Gadara, Gabara, and Sogana, wth the Tyrians, got together a great army, and fell upon Gischala, and took Gischala by force, and set it on fire; and when they had entirely demolished it, they returned home. Upon which John was so enraged, that he armed all his men, and joined battle with the people forementioned; and rebuilt Gischala after a manner better than before, and fortified it with walls for its future security.
11. But Gamala persevered in its allegiance to the Romans, for the reason following: - Philip, the son of Jacimus, who was their governor under king Agrippa, had been unexpectedly preserved when the royal palace at Jerusalem had been besieged; but, as he fled away, had fallen into another danger, and that was, of being killed by Manahem, and the robbers that were with him; but certain Babylonians, who were of his kindred, and were then in Jerusalem, hindered the robbers from executing their design. So Philip staid there four days, and fled away on the fifth, having disguised himself with fictitious hair, that he might not be discovered; and when he was come to one of the villages to him belonging, but one that was situated at the borders of the citadel of Gamala, he sent to some of those that were under him, and commanded them to come to him. But God himself hindered that his intention, and this for his own advantage also; for had it not so happened, he had certainly perished. For a fever having seized upon him immediately, he wrote to Agrippa and Bernice, and gave them to one of his freed-men to carry them to Varus, who at this time was procurator of the kingdom, which the king and his sister had intrusted him with, while they were gone to Berytus with an intention of meeting Gessius. When Varus had received these letters of Philip, and had learned that he was preserved, he was very uneasy at it, as supposing that he should appear useless to the king and his sister, now Philip was come. He therefore produced the carrier of the letters before the multitude, and accused him of forging the same; and said that he spake falsely when he related that Philip was at Jerusalem, fighting among the Jews against the Romans. So he slew him. And when this freed- man of Philip did not return again, Philip was doubtful what should be the occasion of his stay, and sent a second messenger with letters, that he might, upon his return, inform him what had befallen the other that had been sent before, and why he tarried so long. Varus accused this messenger also, when he came, of telling a falsehood, and slew him. For he was puffed up by the Syrians that were at Caesarea, and had great expectations; for they said that Agrippa would be slain by the Romans for the crimes which the Jews had committed, and that he should himself take the government, as derived from their kings; for Varus was, by the confession of all, of the royal family, as being a descendant of Sohemus, who had enjoyed a tetrarchy about Libanus; for which reason it was that he was puffed up, and kept the letters to himself. He contrived, also, that the king should not meet with those writings, by guarding all the passes, lest any one should escape, and inform the king what had been done. He moreover slew many of the Jews, in order to gratify the Syrians of Cesarea. He had a mind also to join with the Trachonites in Batanea, and to take up arms and make an assault upon the Babylonian Jews that were at Ecbatana; for that was the name they went by. He therefore called to him twelve of the Jews of Cesarea, of the best character, and ordered them to go to Ecbatana, and inform their countrymen who dwelt there, That Varus hath heard that "you intend to march against the king; but, not believing that report, he hath sent us to persuade you to lay down your arms, and that this compliance will be a sign that he did well not to give credit to those that raised the report concerning you." He also enjoined them to send seventy of their principal men to make a defense for them as to the accusation laid against them. So when the twelve messengers came to their countrymen at Ecbatana, and found that they had no designs of innovation at all, they persuaded them to send the seventy men also; who, not at all suspecting what would come, sent them accordingly. So these seventy went down to Caesarea, together with the twelve ambassadors; where Varus met them with the king's forces, and slew them all, together with the [twelve] (9) ambassadors, and made an expedition against the Jews of Ecbatana. But one there was of the seventy who escaped, and made haste to inform the Jews of their coming; upon which they took their arms, with their wives and children, and retired to the citadel at Gamala, leaving their own villages full of all sorts of good things, and having many ten thousands of cattle therein. When Philip was informed of these things, he also came to the citadel of Gamala; and when he was come, the multitude cried aloud, and desired him to resume the government, and to make an expedition against Varus, and the Syrians of Cesarea; for it was reported that they had slain the king. But Philip restrained their zeal, and put them in mind of the benefits the king had bestowed upon them; and told them how powerful the Romans were, and said it was not for their advantage to make war with them; and at length he prevailed with them. But now, when the king was acquainted with Varus's design, which was to cut off the Jews of Caesarea, being many ten thousands, with their wives and children, and all in one day, he called to him Equiculus Modius, and sent him to be Varus's successor, as we have elsewhere related. But still Philip kept possession of the citadel of Gamala, and of the country adjoining to it, which thereby continued in their allegiance to the Romans.