Coin of TitusIn what follows, Josephus describes the horrible conditions the Jews faced in the city as the siege progressed. His own pro-Roman feelings and his deep disgust with the rebel factions comes out clearly in this passage.

(420) As Josephus was speaking thus with a loud voice, the revolutionaries would neither yield to what he said, nor did they deem it safe for them to change their conduct, but as for the people, they had a great inclination to desert to the Romans….

(422) For Titus let a great number of them go away into the country to wherever they pleased. They were so ready to desert in order to be freed from those miseries which they had endured in the city and yet not be enslaved by the Romans.

(423) However, John and Simon and their factions watched for these men’s escape more carefully than they did the coming in of the Romans, and, if anyone afforded the least shadow of suspicion of such an intention, his throat was cut immediately.

(424) But as for the well-to-do, it proved equally fatal to remain in the city or to attempt to get out of it, for every such person was put to death under the pretense that he was going to desert, but in reality the robbers murdered them for their property….

(427) There were many who sold what they had for one measure of wheat if they were of the richer sort, or of barley if they were poorer. Then they shut themselves up in the innermost rooms of their houses and ate the grain they had gotten. Some did it without grinding it, because of their extreme hunger, and others baked bread of it as necessity and fear dictated.

(428) A table was nowhere laid for a meal, but they snatched the bread out of the fire, half-baked, and ate it very hastily.

(429) It was now a miserable case and a sight that would justly bring tears into our eyes, how the more powerful had more than enough food while the weaker were lamenting (for lack of it). But the famine was too strong for all other passions, and it was destructive to nothing so much as to respect. For what was otherwise worthy of reverence was in this case despised.

(430) Children pulled the very morsels that their fathers were eating out of their mouths and, what was still more to be pitied, so did the mothers do to their infants. When those who were most dear were perishing in their arms, they were not ashamed to take from them the very last drops that might preserve their lives.

(431) While they ate in this manner, they were not able to conceal their actions, so the rebels everywhere came upon them immediately and snatched away from them what they had gotten from others.

(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, ran in and took pieces of what they were eating, almost up out of their very throats by force.

(433) The old men, holding their food tightly, were beaten, and if the women hid what they had within their hands, they were dragged by their hair to yield it up. 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 threw them down upon the floor.

(434) But they were still more barbarously cruel to those who had anticipated their coming and had actually swallowed down their expected spoil, as if they had been unjustly defrauded of their due….

(439) These were the afflictions which the lower classes suffered from these tyrants’ guards, but the men who were dignified and rich were brought before the tyrants themselves. Some of them were falsely accused of laying treacherous plots and so were executed; others were charged with designs of betraying the city to the Romans; but the easiest way of all was to suborn somebody to testify that someone had decided to desert to the enemy.

(440) He who was utterly despoiled of what he had by Simon was sent back again to John, just as from those who had been already plundered by John, Simon got what remained….

(446) So now Titus’ earthworks were progressing greatly, notwithstanding that his soldiers had been very much harassed from the wall. He then sent a party of horsemen and ordered that they should lay ambushes for those who went out into the valleys to gather food.

(447) Some of these were indeed fighting men who were not content with what they got by plunder, but the majority of them were poor people who were deterred from deserting by the concern for their own relatives.

(448) For they could not hope to escape together with their wives and children without the knowledge of the rebels. Nor could they think of leaving their relatives to be slain by the robbers….

(491) And now Titus consulted with his commanders what was to be done….

(499) …his opinion was that if they aimed at speed joined with security, they must build a wall around the whole city. This was, he thought, the only way to block every exit so that then the Jews would either entirely despair of saving the city, and so would surrender it to him, or be still more easily conquered when the famine had further weakened them….

(508) …Now outside this wall were erected thirteen places in which to keep garrisons, the circumference of which, taken together, amounted to ten furlongs. 27

(509) The whole was completed in three days so that what would naturally have required some months was done in so short an interval as to be incredible….

(512) So all hope of escaping was now cut off from the Jews, together with their freedom to go out of the city. Then the famine widened its progress and devoured the people by whole houses and families.

(513) The upper stories were full of women and children dying by famine, and the lanes of the city were full of the dead bodies of the aged. The children also and the young men wandered about the marketplaces like shadows, all swollen with the famine, and fell down dead wherever their misery seized them.

(514) As for burying them, those who were sick themselves were not able to do it, and those who were hearty and well were deterred from doing it by the great multitude of those dead bodies and by the uncertainty there was as to how soon they would die themselves….

(518) The rebels at first gave orders that the dead should be buried out of the public treasury, for they were not able to endure the stench of the dead bodies. But afterwards, when they could not do that, they had them cast down from the walls into the valleys below.

(519) However, when Titus, in making his rounds along those valleys, saw them full of dead bodies and the thick putrefaction running from them, he groaned. Spreading out his hands to heaven, he called God to witness that this was not his doing.

(520) Such was the sad case of the city itself. But the Romans were very joyful since none of the rebels could now make sallies out of the city because they were themselves disconsolate. The Romans, meanwhile, had a great supply of grain and other supplies from Syria and the neighboring provinces.

(521) Many of them would stand near the wall of the city and show the people what great quantities of provisions they had, and so make the enemy more aware of their famine by the great superabundance which they had themselves.

(522) However, when the rebels still showed no inclination of yielding, Titus, out of his commiseration for the people who remained and his earnest desire to rescue those who still survived, began to raise his earthworks again, although materials for them were hard to come by

(523) since all the trees that were around the city had already been cut down to make the earlier earthworks. Yet the soldiers brought with them other materials from the distance of ninety furlongs 28 and thereby raised earthworks in four sections, much larger than the previous works, though this was done only at the tower of Antonia. 29

(524) So Caesar (Titus) made his rounds through the legions and expedited the siege- works, and showed the robbers that they were now in his hands….

(548) Then some of the deserters, having no other way, leaped down from the wall immediately, while others went out of the city with stones, as if they would fight them, but they then fled to the Romans. There a worse fate accompanied them than what they had found within the city, and they met with a quicker dispatch from the great abundance they had among the Romans than they could have from the famine among the Jews.

(549) For when they first came to the Romans, they were puffed up by the famine and swollen like men afflicted with dropsy. Then they all of a sudden over-filled those bodies that were before empty, and so burst asunder, except only those who were skillful enough to restrain their appetites and by degrees took in their food into bodies unaccustomed to it.

(550) Yet another plague seized those who were thus preserved. For there was found among the Syrian deserters a certain person who was caught gathering pieces of gold out of his excrement. For the deserters used to swallow such pieces of gold, as we told you before, when they came out….

(551) When this contrivance was discovered in one instance, the report that the deserters came to them full of gold filled their several camps. So the multitude of the Arabs with the Syrians cut up those that came as supplicants and searched their bellies.

(552) Nor does it seem to me that any misery befell the Jews that was more terrible than this, since in one night’s time about two thousand of these deserters were thus dissected….

(562) But as for John, when he could no longer plunder the people, he had recourse to sacrilege. He melted down many of the sacred utensils which had been given to the temple as well as many of those vessels which were necessary for public worship—the cauldrons, the dishes, and the tables. Nor did he abstain from the pouring-vessels that were sent by Augustus and his wife.

(563) For the Roman emperors always had both honored and adorned this temple, whereas this man, who was a Jew, seized upon what were the donations of foreigners (564) and said to those who were with him that it was proper for them to use divine things while they were fighting for the Divinity without fear, and that those whose warfare is for the temple should live at the expense of the temple.

(565) Accordingly, he emptied the vessels of that sacred wine and oil which the priests kept to be poured on the burnt offerings and which lay in the inner court of the temple, and distributed it among the multitude, who, without hesitation, anointed themselves and drank of them….

27. 1 ¼ miles.

28. 11¼ miles.

29. A fortress north of the Temple Mount