Various portents had occurred at this time, but so sunk in 13 superstition are the Jews and so opposed to all religious practices that they think it wicked to avert the threatened evil by sacrifices or vows. Embattled armies were seen to meet in the sky with flashing arms, and the temple shone with sudden fire from heaven. The doors of the shrine suddenly opened, a supernatural voice was heard calling the gods out, and at once there began a mighty movement of departure. Few took alarm at all this. Most people held the belief that, according to the ancient priestly writings, this was the moment at which the East was fated to prevail: they would now start forth from Judaea and conquer the world. This enigmatic prophecy really applied to Vespasian and Titus. But men are blinded by their hopes. The Jews took to themselves the promised destiny, and even defeat could not convince them of the truth. The number of the besieged, men and women of every age, is stated to have reached six hundred thousand. There were arms for all who could carry them, and far more were ready to fight than would be expected from their total numbers. The women were as determined as the men: if they were forced to leave their homes they had more to fear in life than in death.
Such was the city and such the people with which Titus was faced. As the nature of the ground forbade a sudden assault, he determined to employ siege-works and penthouse shelters. The work was accordingly divided among the legions, and there was a truce to fighting until they had got ready every means of storming a town that had ever been devised by experience or inventive ingenuity.
 A.D. 70.
 See ii. 4; iv. 51.
 XXII Deiotariana and III Cyrenaica.
 Cp. ii. 4.
 There seems little to
recommend Tacitus’ theory of the
identity of the Idaei and Judaei, though it has been suggested
that the Cherethites of 2. Sam. viii. 18 and Ezek. xxv. 16 are
Cretans, migrated into the neighbourhood of the Philistines.
The Jewish Sabbath (Saturn’s day) seems also to have suggested
connexion with Saturn and Crete.
 Elsewhere the Idaei
figure as supernatural genii in
attendance on either Jupiter or Saturn.
 Ethiopian here means
Phoenician. Tradition made Cepheus,
the father of Andromeda, king of Joppa.
 From Damascus, said
Justin, where Abraham was one of
their kings, and Trogus Pompeius adds that the name of Abraham
was honourably remembered at Damascus. These are variants of
the Biblical migration of Abraham.
 Il. vi. 184; Od. v. 282.
 Another piece of fanciful
philology, based on a
misinterpretation of a Greek transliteration of the name
Jerusalem. The Solymi are traditionally placed in Lycia. Both
Juvenal and Martial use Solymus as equivalent to Judaeus.