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  • JOSEPHUS' WRITINGS - LIFE OF FLAVIUS - 6
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    32. But as for the inhabitants of the city of Tiberias, they wrote to the king, and desired him to send them forces sufficient to be a guard to their country; for that they were desirous to come over to him: this was what they wrote to him. But when I came to them, they desired me to build their walls, as I had promised them to do; for they had heard that the walls of Tarichess were already built. I agreed to their proposal accordingly; and when I had made preparation for the entire building, I gave order to the architects to go to work; but on the third day, when I was gone to Tarichess, which was thirty furlongs distant from Tiberias, it so fell out, that some Roman horsemen were discovered on their march, not far from the city, which made it to be supposed that the forces were come from the king; upon which they shouted, and lifted up their voices in commendations of the king, and in reproaches against me. Hereupon one came running to me, and told me what their dispositions were, and that they had resolved to revolt from me: upon hearing which news I was very much alarmed; for I had already sent away my armed men from Tarichess, to their own homes, because the next day was our sabbath; for I would not have the people of Tarichess disturbed [on that day] by a multitude of soldiers; and indeed, whenever I sojourned at that city, I never took any particular care for a guard about my own body, because I had had frequent instances of the fidelity its inhabitants bore to me. I had now about me no more than seven armed men, besides some friends, and was doubtful what to do; for to send to recall my own forces I did not think proper, because the present day was almost over; and had those forces been with me, I could not take up arms on the next day, because our laws forbade us so to do, even though our necessity should be very great; and if I should permit the people of Tarichess, and the strangers with them, to guard the city, I saw that they would not be sufficient for that purpose, and I perceived that I should be obliged to delay my assistance a great while; for I thought with myself that the forces that came from the king would prevent me, and that I should be driven out of the city. I considered, therefore, how to get clear of these forces by a stratagem; so I immediately placed those my friends of Tarichee, on whom I could best confide, at the gates, to watch those very carefully who went out at those gates: I also called to me the heads of families, and bade every one of them to seize upon a ship (14) to go on board it, and to take a master with them, and follow him to the city of Tiberias. I also myself went on board one of those ships, with my friends, and the seven armed men already mentioned, and sailed for Tiberias.

    33. But now, when the people of Tiberias perceived that there were no forces come from the king, and yet saw the whole lake full of ships, they were in fear what would become of their city, and were greatly terrified, as supposing that the ships were full of men on board; so they then changed their minds, and threw down their weapons, and met me with their wives and children, and made acclamations to me with great commendations; for they imagined that I did not know their former inclinations [to have been against me]; so they persuaded me to spare the city. But when I was come near enough, I gave order to the masters of the ships to cast anchor a good way off the land, that the people of Tiberias might not perceive that the ships had no men on board; but I went nearer to the people in one of the ships, and rebuked them for their folly, ,and that they were so fickle as, without any just occasion in the world, to revolt from their fidelity to me. However, assured them that I would entirely forgive them for the time to come, if they would send ten of the ringleaders of the multitude to me; and when they complied readily with this proposal, and sent me the men forementioned, I put them on board a ship, and sent them away to Tarichese; and ordered them to be kept in prison.

    34. And by this stratagem it was that I gradually got all the senate of Tiberias into my power, and sent them to the city forementioned, with many of the principal men among the populace, and those not fewer in number than the other. But when the multitude saw into what great miseries they had brought themselves, they desired me to punish the author of this sedition: his name was Clitus, a young man, bold and rash in his undertakings. Now, since I thought it not agreeable to piety to put one of my own people to death, and yet found it necessary to punish him, I ordered Levi, one of my own guards, to go to him, and cut off one of Clitus's hands; but as he that was ordered to do this, was afraid to go out of the ship alone, among 'so great a multitude, I was not willing that the timorousness of the soldier should appear to the people of Tiberias. So I called to Clitus himself and said to him," Since thou deservest to lose both thine hands for thy ingratitude to me, be thou thine own executioner, lest, if thou refusest so to be, thou undergo a worse punishment." And when he earnestly begged of me to spare him one of his hands, it was with difficulty that I granted it. So, in order to prevent the loss of both his hands, he willingly took his sword, and cut off his own left hand; and this put an end to the sedition.

    35. Now the men of Tiberias, after I was gone to Taricheae, perceived what stratagem I had used against them, and they admired how I had put an end to their foolish sedition, without shedding of blood. But now, when I had sent for some of those multitudes of the people of Tiberias out of prison, among whom were Justus and his father Pistus, I made them to sup with me; and during our supper time I said to them, that I knew the power of the Romans was superior to all others, but did not say so [publicly] because of the robbers. So I advised them to do as I did, and to wait for a proper opportunity, and not to be uneasy at my being their commander; for that they could not expect to have another who would use the like moderation that I had done. I also put Justus in mind how the Galileans had cut off his brother's hands before ever I came to Jerusalem, upon an accusation laid against him, as if he had been a rogue, and had forged some letters; as also how the people of Gamala, in a sedition they raised against the Babylonians, after the departure of Philip, slew Chares, who was a kinsman of Philip, and with how they had wisely punished Jesus, his brother Justuses sister's husband [with death]. When I had said this to them during supper time, I in the morning ordered Justus, and all the rest that were in prison, to be loosed out of it, and sent away.

    36. But before this, it happened that Philip, the son of Jacimus, went out of the citadel of Gamala upon the following occasion: When Philip had been informed that Varus was put out of his government by king Agrippa, and that Equieulus Modius, a man that was of old his friend and companion, was come to succeed him, he wrote to him, and related what turns of fortune he had had, and desired him to forward the letters he sent to the king and queen. Now, when Modius had received these letters, he was exceedingly glad, and sent the letters to the king and queen, who were then about Berytus. But when king Agrippa knew that the story about Philip was false, (for it had been given out, that the Jews had begun a war with the Romans, and that this Philip had been their commander in that war,) he sent some horsemen to conduct Philip to him; and when he was come, he saluted him very obligingly, and showed him to the Roman commanders, and told them that this was the man of whom the report had gone about as if he had revolted from the Romans. He also bid him to take some horsemen with him, and to go quickly to the citadel of Gamala, and to bring out thence all his domestics, and to restore the Babylonians to Batanea again. He also gave it him in charge to take all possible care that none of his subjects should be guilty of making any innovation. Accordingly, upon these directions from the king, he made haste to do what he was commanded.

    37. Now there was one Joseph, the son of a female physician, who excited a great many young men to join with him. He also insolently addressed himself to the principal persons at Gamala, and persuaded them to revolt from the king; and take up arms, and gave them hopes that they should, by his means, recover their liberty. And some they forced into the service, and those that would not acquiesce in what they had resolved on, they slew. They also slew Chares, and with him Jesus, one of his kinsmen, and a brother of Justus of Tiberias, as we have already said. Those of Gamala also wrote to me, desiring me to send them an armed force, and workmen to raise up the walls of their city; nor did I reject either of their requests. The region of Gaulanitis did also revolt from the king, as far as the village Solyma. I also built a wall about Seleucia and Soganni, which are villages naturally of ver great strength. Moreover, I, in like manner, walled several villages of Upper Galilee, though they were very rocky of themselves. Their names are Jamnia, and Meroth, and Achabare. I also fortified, in the Lower Galilee, the cities Tarichee, Tiberias, Sepphoris, and the villages, the cave of Arbela, Bersobe, Selamin, Jotapata, Capharecho, and Sigo, and Japha, and Mount Tabor. (15) I also laid up a great quantity of corn in these places, and arms with, that might be for their security afterward.

    38. But the hatred that John, the son of Levi, bore to me, grew now more violent, while he could not bear my prosperity with patience. So he proposed to himself, by all means possible, to make away with me; and built the walls of Gischala, which was the place of his nativity. He then sent his brother Simon, and Jonathan, the son of Sisenna, and about a hundred armed men, to Jerusalem, to Simon, the son of Gamaliel, (16) in order to persuade him to induce the commonalty of Jerusalem to take from me the government over the Galileans, and to give their suffrages for conferring that authority upon him. This Simon was of the city of Jerusalem, and of a very noble family of the sect of the Pharisees, which are supposed to excel others in the accurate knowledge of the laws of their country. He was a man of great wisdom and reason, and capable of restoring public affairs by his prudence, when they were in an ill posture. He was also an old friend and companion of John; but at that time he had a difference with me. When therefore he had received such an exhortation, he persuaded the high priests, Ananus, and Jesus the son of Gamala, and some others of the same seditious faction, to cut me down, now I was growing so great, and not to overlook me while I was aggrandizing myself to the height of glory; and he said that it would be for the advantage of the Galileans, if I were deprived of my government there. Ananus also, and his friends, desired them to make no delay about the matter, lest I should get the knowledge of what was doing too soon, and should come and make an assault upon the city with a great army. This was the counsel of Simon; but Artanus the high priest demonstrated to them that this was not an easy thing to be done, because many of the high priests and of the rulers of the people bore witness that I had acted like an excellent general, and that it was the work of ill men to accuse one against whom they had nothing to say.

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