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The Wars Of The Jews
     

The Wars Of The Jews

by Flavius Josephus
 

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PREFACE

1. [1] Whereas the war which the Jews made with the Romans hath been the
greatest of all those, not only that have been in our times, but, in a
manner, of those that ever were heard of; both of those wherein cities
have fought against cities, or nations against nations; while some men
who were not concerned in the affairs themselves

Overview

PREFACE

1. [1] Whereas the war which the Jews made with the Romans hath been the
greatest of all those, not only that have been in our times, but, in a
manner, of those that ever were heard of; both of those wherein cities
have fought against cities, or nations against nations; while some men
who were not concerned in the affairs themselves have gotten together
vain and contradictory stories by hearsay, and have written them down
after a sophistical manner; and while those that were there present
have given false accounts of things, and this either out of a humor of
flattery to the Romans, or of hatred towards the Jews; and while their
writings contain sometimes accusations, and sometimes encomiums, but no
where the accurate truth of the facts; I have proposed to myself,
for the sake of such as live under the government of the Romans, to
translate those books into the Greek tongue, which I formerly composed
in the language of our country, and sent to the Upper Barbarians; [2]
Joseph, the son of Matthias, by birth a Hebrew, a priest also, and one
who at first fought against the Romans myself, and was forced to be
present at what was done afterwards, [am the author of this work].

2. Now at the time when this great concussion of affairs happened, the
affairs of the Romans were themselves in great disorder. Those Jews also
who were for innovations, then arose when the times were disturbed; they
were also in a flourishing condition for strength and riches, insomuch
that the affairs of the East were then exceeding tumultuous, while some
hoped for gain, and others were afraid of loss in such troubles; for the
Jews hoped that all of their nation which were beyond Euphrates would
have raised an insurrection together with them. The Gauls also, in the
neighborhood of the Romans, were in motion, and the Geltin were
not quiet; but all was in disorder after the death of Nero. And the
opportunity now offered induced many to aim at the royal power; and the
soldiery affected change, out of the hopes of getting money. I thought
it therefore an absurd thing to see the truth falsified in affairs of
such great consequence, and to take no notice of it; but to suffer those
Greeks and Romans that were not in the wars to be ignorant of these
things, and to read either flatteries or fictions, while the Parthians,
and the Babylonians, and the remotest Arabians, and those of our nation
beyond Euphrates, with the Adiabeni, by my means, knew accurately both
whence the war begun, what miseries it brought upon us, and after what
manner it ended.

3. It is true, these writers have the confidence to call their accounts
histories; wherein yet they seem to me to fail of their own purpose,
as well as to relate nothing that is sound. For they have a mind to
demonstrate the greatness of the Romans, while they still diminish and
lessen the actions of the Jews, as not discerning how it cannot be that
those must appear to be great who have only conquered those that were
little. Nor are they ashamed to overlook the length of the war, the
multitude of the Roman forces who so greatly suffered in it, or the
might of the commanders, whose great labors about Jerusalem will be
deemed inglorious, if what they achieved be reckoned but a small matter.

4. However, I will not go to the other extreme, out of opposition to
those men who extol the Romans nor will I determine to raise the actions
of my countrymen too high; but I will prosecute the actions of both
parties with accuracy. Yet shall I suit my language to the passions I am
under, as to the affairs I describe, and must be allowed to indulge some
lamentations upon the miseries undergone by my own country. For that it
was a seditious temper of our own that destroyed it, and that they were
the tyrants among the Jews who brought the Roman power upon us, who
unwillingly attacked us, and occasioned the burning of our holy temple,
Titus Caesar, who destroyed it, is himself a witness, who, daring the
entire war, pitied the people who were kept under by the seditious, and
did often voluntarily delay the taking of the city, and allowed time to
the siege, in order to let the authors have opportunity for repentance.
But if any one makes an unjust accusation against us, when we speak so
passionately about the tyrants, or the robbers, or sorely bewail the
misfortunes of our country, let him indulge my affections herein, though
it be contrary to the rules for writing history; because it had so
come to pass, that our city Jerusalem had arrived at a higher degree of
felicity than any other city under the Roman government, and yet at last
fell into the sorest of calamities again.

Product Details

BN ID:
2940015884128
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
10/25/2012
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
547 KB

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