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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database



7235
Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 5.440-5.441


nanAnd he who was utterly despoiled of what he had by Simon was sent back again to John, as of those who had been already plundered by John, Simon got what remained; insomuch that they drank the blood of the populace to one another, and divided the dead bodies of the poor creatures between them;


καὶ τοῦ μὲν κρατεῖν στάσις ἦν ἐν ἀμφοτέροις, τῶν δ' ἀσεβημάτων ὁμόνοια: καὶ γὰρ ὁ μὴ μεταδοὺς ἐκ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων κακῶν θατέρῳ μονοτρόπως ἐδόκει πονηρός, καὶ ὁ μὴ μεταλαβὼν ὡς ἀγαθοῦ τινος ἤλγει τὸν νοσφισμὸν τῆς ὠμότητος.o that although, on account of their ambition after dominion, they contended with each other, yet did they very well agree in their wicked practices; for he that did not communicate what he had got by the miseries of others to the other tyrant seemed to be too little guilty, and in one respect only; and he that did not partake of what was so communicated to him grieved at this, as at the loss of what was a valuable thing, that he had no share in such barbarity.


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1. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 2.426-2.429, 5.430, 5.432-5.433, 5.441, 6.201-6.218 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

2.426. insomuch that the king’s soldiers were overpowered by their multitude and boldness; and so they gave way, and were driven out of the upper city by force. The others then set fire to the house of Aias the high priest, and to the palaces of Agrippa and Bernice; 2.427. after which they carried the fire to the place where the archives were reposited, and made haste to burn the contracts belonging to their creditors, and thereby to dissolve their obligations for paying their debts; and this was done in order to gain the multitude of those who had been debtors, and that they might persuade the poorer sort to join in their insurrection with safety against the more wealthy; so the keepers of the records fled away, and the rest set fire to them. 2.428. And when they had thus burnt down the nerves of the city, they fell upon their enemies; at which time some of the men of power, and of the high priests, went into the vaults under ground, and concealed themselves 2.429. while others fled with the king’s soldiers to the upper palace, and shut the gates immediately; among whom were Aias the high priest, and the ambassadors that had been sent to Agrippa. And now the seditious were contented with the victory they had gotten, and the buildings they had burnt down, and proceeded no further. 5.432. for when they saw any house shut up, this was to them a signal that the people within had gotten some food; whereupon they broke open the doors, and ran in, and took pieces of what they were eating almost up out of their very throats, and this by force: 5.433. the old men, who held their food fast, were beaten; and if the women hid what they had within their hands, their hair was torn for so doing; nor was there any commiseration shown either to the aged or to infants, but they lifted up children from the ground as they hung upon the morsels they had gotten, and shook them down upon the floor. 5.441. o that although, on account of their ambition after dominion, they contended with each other, yet did they very well agree in their wicked practices; for he that did not communicate what he had got by the miseries of others to the other tyrant seemed to be too little guilty, and in one respect only; and he that did not partake of what was so communicated to him grieved at this, as at the loss of what was a valuable thing, that he had no share in such barbarity. 6.201. 4. There was a certain woman that dwelt beyond Jordan, her name was Mary; her father was Eleazar, of the village Bethezub, which signifies the house of Hyssop. She was eminent for her family and her wealth, and had fled away to Jerusalem with the rest of the multitude, and was with them besieged therein at this time. 6.202. The other effects of this woman had been already seized upon, such I mean as she had brought with her out of Perea, and removed to the city. What she had treasured up besides, as also what food she had contrived to save, had been also carried off by the rapacious guards, who came every day running into her house for that purpose. 6.203. This put the poor woman into a very great passion, and by the frequent reproaches and imprecations she cast at these rapacious villains, she had provoked them to anger against her; 6.204. but none of them, either out of the indignation she had raised against herself, or out ofcommiseration of her case, would take away her life; and if she found any food, she perceived her labors were for others, and not for herself; and it was now become impossible for her anyway to find any more food, while the famine pierced through her very bowels and marrow, when also her passion was fired to a degree beyond the famine itself; nor did she consult with anything but with her passion and the necessity she was in. She then attempted a most unnatural thing; 6.205. and snatching up her son, who was a child sucking at her breast, she said, “O thou miserable infant! for whom shall I preserve thee in this war, this famine, and this sedition? 6.206. As to the war with the Romans, if they preserve our lives, we must be slaves. This famine also will destroy us, even before that slavery comes upon us. Yet are these seditious rogues more terrible than both the other. 6.207. Come on; be thou my food, and be thou a fury to these seditious varlets, and a by-word to the world, which is all that is now wanting to complete the calamities of us Jews.” 6.208. As soon as she had said this, she slew her son, and then roasted him, and ate the one half of him, and kept the other half by her concealed. 6.209. Upon this the seditious came in presently, and smelling the horrid scent of this food, they threatened her, that they would cut her throat immediately if she did not show them what food she had gotten ready. She replied that she had saved a very fine portion of it for them, and withal uncovered what was left of her son. 6.211. Do not you pretend to be either more tender than a woman, or more compassionate than a mother; but if you be so scrupulous, and do abominate this my sacrifice, as I have eaten the one half, let the rest be reserved for me also.” 6.212. After which those men went out trembling, being never so much affrighted at anything as they were at this, and with some difficulty they left the rest of that meat to the mother. Upon which the whole city was full of this horrid action immediately; and while everybody laid this miserable case before their own eyes, they trembled, as if this unheardof action had been done by themselves. 6.213. So those that were thus distressed by the famine were very desirous to die, and those already dead were esteemed happy, because they had not lived long enough either to hear or to see such miseries. 6.214. 5. This sad instance was quickly told to the Romans, some of whom could not believe it, and others pitied the distress which the Jews were under; but there were many of them who were hereby induced to a more bitter hatred than ordinary against our nation. 6.215. But for Caesar, he excused himself before God as to this matter, and said that he had proposed peace and liberty to the Jews, as well as an oblivion of all their former insolent practices; but that they, instead of concord, had chosen sedition; instead of peace, war; and before satiety and abundance, a famine. 6.216. That they had begun with their own hands to burn down that temple which we have preserved hitherto; and that therefore they deserved to eat such food as this was. 6.217. That, however, this horrid action of eating one’s own child ought to be covered with the overthrow of their very country itself, and men ought not to leave such a city upon the habitable earth to be seen by the sun, wherein mothers are thus fed 6.218. although such food be fitter for the fathers than for the mothers to eat of, since it is they that continue still in a state of war against us, after they have undergone such miseries as these.


Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
beast Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 235
burnt house Keddie, Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins (2019) 45
children Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 235
compassionate Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 235
daughters Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 235
death, abel, of Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 235
flesh Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 235
jerusalem, as a consumer city Keddie, Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins (2019) 45
jerusalem, elites Keddie, Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins (2019) 45
jerusalem, upper city Keddie, Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins (2019) 45
jerusalem, urban development Keddie, Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins (2019) 45
jerusalem Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 235
peace Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 235
pilgrimage Keddie, Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins (2019) 45
priestly elites, at the jerusalem temple Keddie, Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins (2019) 45
sacrifice Levison, The Greek Life of Adam and Eve (2023) 235
temple mount, jerusalem temple Keddie, Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins (2019) 45
torah Keddie, Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins (2019) 45
urban development, of jerusalem' Keddie, Class and Power in Roman Palestine: The Socioeconomic Setting of Judaism and Christian Origins (2019) 45