Page:Works Translated by William Whiston.djvu/16

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LIFE OF FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS.

bathed himself in cold water frequently, both by night and by day, in order to preserve his chastity, I imitated him in those things, and continued with him three years.[1] So when I had accomplished my desires, I returned back to the city, being now nineteen years old, and began to conduct myself according to the rules of the sect of the Pharisees, which is akin to the sect of the Stoics, as the Greeks call them.

3. But, when I was in the twenty-sixth Voyage to Rome. year of my age, it happened that I took a voyage to Rome; and this on the occasion which I shall now describe. At the time when Felix was procurator of Judea, there were certain priests of my acquaintance, and very excellent persons they were, whom on a small and trifling occasion he had put into bonds, and sent to Rome to plead their cause before Cæsar. These I was desirous to procure deliverance for; and that especially because I was informed that they were not unmindful of piety towards God, even under their afflictions; but supported themselves with figs and nuts.[2] Accordingly I came to Rome, though it were through a great number of hazards, by sea; for, as our ship was drowned in the Adriatic Sea, we that were in it, being about six hundred in number, swam for our lives all the night;[3] when, upon the first appearance of the day, and upon our sight of a ship of Cyrene, I and some others, eighty in all, by God's providence, prevented the rest, and were taken up into the other ship; and when I had thus escaped, and was come to Dicearchia, which the Italians call Puteoli, I became acquainted with Aliturius, an actor of plays, and much beloved by Nero, but a Jew by birth; through his interest became known to Poppea, Cæsar's wife; and took care, as soon as possible, to entreat her to procure that the priests might be set at liberty; and when, besides this favour, I had obtained many presents from Poppea, I returned home again.

4. And now I perceived innovations were already begun, and that there were a great many very much elevated, in hopes of a revolt from the Romans. I therefore endeavoured to put a Signs of Jewish Revolt. stop to these tumultuous persons, and persuaded them to change their minds; and laid before their eyes against whom it was that they were going to fight, and told them that they were inferior to the Romans, not only in martial skill but also in good fortune; and desired them not rashly, and after the most foolish manner, to bring on the dangers of the most terrible mischiefs upon their country, upon their families, and upon themselves. And this I said with vehement exhortation, because I foresaw that the end of such a war would be most unfortunate to us. But I could not persuade them; for the madness of desperate men was quite too hard for me.

5. I was then afraid, lest, by inculcating these things so often, I should incur their hatred and their suspicions, as if I were of our enemies' party, and should run into the danger of being seized by them and slain, since they were already The Outbreak. possessed of Antonia, which was the citadel; so I retired from the inner court of the temple; yet did I go out of the temple again, after Manahem and the principal of the band of robbers were put to death, when I abode among the high priests and the chief of the Pharisees; but no small fear seized upon us when we saw the people in arms, while we ourselves knew not what we should do, and were not able to restrain their seditions. However, as the danger was directly upon us, we pretended that we were of the same opinion with them; but only advised them to be quiet for the present, and to let the enemy go away, still hoping that Gessius [Florus] would not be long ere he came, and that with great forces, and so put an end to these seditious proceedings.

6. But, upon his coming and lighting, he was beaten, and a great many of those that were with him fell; and this disgrace which Gessius [with Cestius] received became the calamity of Sufferings of the Jews. our whole nation; for those that were fond of the war were so far elevated with this success, that they had hopes of finally conquering the Romans. Of which war another occasion was ministered; which was this:—Those that dwelt in the neighbouring cities of Syria seized upon such Jews as dwelt among them, with their wives and children, and slew them, when they had not the least occasion of complaint against them; for they did neither attempt any innovation or revolt from the Romans, nor had they given any
  1. When Josephus here says that from sixteen to nineteen, or for three years, he made trial of the three Jewish sects, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essens, and yet says presently in all our copies, that he stayed besides with one particular ascetick called Banus, παρ ὰντω, with him, and this still before he was nineteen, there is little room left for his trial of three other sects. I suppose, therefore, that for παρ ὰντω, with him, the old reading might be ωαρ ὰντοις, with them; which is a very small emendation, and takes away the difficulty before us. Nor is Dr. Hudson's conjecture hinted at by Mr. Hall in his preface to the doctor's edition of Josephus at all improbable, that this Banus, by this his description, might well be a follower of John the Baptist, and that from him Josephus might easily imbibe such notions as afterwards prepared him to have a favourable opinion about Jesus Christ himself, who was attested to by John the Baptist.
  2. We may note here, that religious men among the Jews, or at least those that were priests, were sometimes asceticks also, and, like Daniel and his companions in Babylon, Dan. i. 8-16, ate no flesh, but figs and nuts, &c., only. This was like the ξεροφαγια, or austere diets of the Christian asceticks in Passion Week.—Constitut. V. 18.
  3. It has been thought the number of Paul and his companions on ship-board (Acts xxvii. 38), which are 276 in our copies, are too many; whereas we find here, that Josephus and his companions, a very few years after the other; were about 600.