Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 447 pages of information about Tacitus.

Early in this same year[460] Titus Caesar had been entrusted by his 1 father with the task of completing the reduction of Judaea.[461] While he and his father were both still private citizens, Titus had distinguished himself as a soldier, and his reputation for efficiency was steadily increasing, while the provinces and armies vied with one another in their enthusiasm for him.  Wishing to seem independent of his good fortune, he always showed dignity and energy in the field.  His affability called forth devotion.  He constantly helped in the trenches and could mingle with his soldiers on the march without compromising his dignity as general.  Three legions awaited him in Judaea, the Fifth, Tenth, and Fifteenth, all veterans from his father’s army.  These were reinforced by the Twelfth from Syria and by detachments of the Twenty-second and the Third,[462] brought over from Alexandria.  This force was accompanied by twenty auxiliary cohorts and eight regiments of auxiliary cavalry besides the Kings Agrippa and Sohaemus, King Antiochus’ irregulars,[463] a strong force of Arabs, who had a neighbourly hatred for the Jews, and a crowd of persons who had come from Rome and the rest of Italy, each tempted by the hope of securing the first place in the prince’s still unoccupied affections.  With this force Titus entered the enemy’s country at the head of his column, sending out scouts in all directions, and holding himself ready to fight.  He pitched his camp not far from Jerusalem.

Since I am coming now to describe the last days of this famous 2 city, it may not seem out of place to recount here its early history.  It is said that the Jews are refugees from Crete,[464] who settled on the confines of Libya at the time when Saturn was forcibly deposed by Jupiter.  The evidence for this is sought in the name.  Ida is a famous mountain in Crete inhabited by the Idaei,[465] whose name became lengthened into the foreign form Judaei.  Others say that in the reign of Isis the superfluous population of Egypt, under the leadership of Hierosolymus and Juda, discharged itself upon the neighbouring districts, while there are many who think the Jews an Ethiopian stock, driven to migrate by their fear and dislike of King Cepheus.[466] Another tradition makes them Assyrian refugees,[467] who, lacking lands of their own, occupied a district of Egypt, and later took to building cities of their own and tilling Hebrew territory and the frontier-land of Syria.  Yet another version assigns to the Jews an illustrious origin as the descendants of the Solymi—­a tribe famous in Homer[468]—­who founded the city and called it Hiero_solyma_ after their own name.[469]

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Tacitus: The Histories, Volumes I and II from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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