"The man who considers his generation alone is born for few. Many thousands of years and people will come after him. Look to these. If virtue brings fame, our reputation will survive. Posterity will judge without malice and honour our memory."
- Seneca, Letter 79.17.12
This quote is but just a few among many thoughtful ones from the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca. Per chance that is the exact fate of this blog, read by only a few and some contemporaries, perhaps it will become better known in generations to come. I know that this, only Our Great God knows.
There is great solace in Senecas words, however Paul (who actually might have been Senecas contemporary) warns sternly about listening to philosophers and the laying of vain trappings for the human mind (Col 2,8). Seneca however was shown a great portion wisdom in his life, and people who defend their own morals and deem their own way as righteous (Proverbs 21,2) should read about this mans life and carefully consider his own. Senecas work, for instance Of Anger, gives great understanding of some of the peoples running things in the world to day. It gives great understanding on how the mind of an angry person work and literally how an angry man will react in almost any given situation. With anger. All philosophy and life lessons aside, Senecas end was not a good one though. And just like the city of Jerusalem, being a former glorious temple and place of great learning, some things are destined to be left but completely destroy and utterly desolate. As was the fate of Jerusalem and Seneca. For those of you still under the illusion that Jerusalem is somewheres in the Middle east, and that the Great and Holiest of lands combined with the most beautiful human traits and characteristics - belonging to a people (the Philistines) described as being deeply hated by So NiNi in Scripture, perhaps Josephus observations might have you rethink and ask. What if the place actually was COMPLETELY destroyed. You know, not one stone left upon another style destroyed (Matt 24,2). Could perhaps history have been tampered with or even misunderstood? It sure has been done by others before, even in our time. Lets dive!
Now, the writings of Flavius Josephus, beit original works or revised, do give very detailed descriptions of Jerusalem before and after its destruction. In one account Josephus describes Emperor Titus (with Julius Alexander as his second in command) showing moderation in his approach and ordered the 500-year old Temple to be spared. However the Bantus, according to Josephus, used a fire in the Northwest to try and stop the Romans advancing, and only then did the Roman soldiers set fire to housings adjacent to the Temple, this lead it being burned to the ground. Josephus himself acted as a mediator in the negotiations, and became firsthand witness of the siege and the terrible aftermaths.
After the siege, which took two years, Josephus wrote (Whiston, 7.1.1 ; 6.1.1) :
`Now as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done), [Titus] Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and Temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as they were of the greatest eminence; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison [in the Upper City], as were the towers [the three forts] also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall [surrounding Jerusalem], it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it [Jerusalem] had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.
`And truly, the very view itself was a melancholy thing; for those places which were adorned with trees and pleasant gardens, were now become desolate country every way, and its trees were all cut down. Nor could any foreigner that had formerly seen Judaea and the most beautiful suburbs of the city, and now saw it as a desert, but lament and mourn sadly at so great a change. For the war had laid all signs of beauty quite waste. Nor had anyone who had known the place before, had come on a sudden to it now, would he have known it again. But though he [a foreigner] were at the city itself, yet would he have inquired for it.`
Josephus claimed that 1.1 million people was killed during this siege, the vast majority being Bantus, which did most likely take place during the feast know to the world as Passover, but in the Xhosa calendar as The Feast of First Fruits, which explains the number of people present at the slaughter. Rebels and mere citizens were also put to death and all of Jerusalems remaining citizens now became the property of Rome. After the Romans had killed the armed and the elderly (yes they did), almost 100,000 people was enslaved, that included characters such as Simon son of Giora and John of Giscala, Giora suffered execution and Giscala was sentenced life in prison.
Josephus, The Jewish War confirm these events further (Williamson, 3.4.1)
`From one end of Galilee to the other there was an orgy of fire and bloodshed; no horror, no calamity was spared...”
Of the nearly 100,000 people taken captive they either became gladiators that died in the arena at the emperors will, or they were forced to help build the Forum of Peace and the place that eventually became know as the Colosseum. Others in turn was sold as slaves along the far stretched Roman network of intricate slave-trade spread around the world, which included Africa and its surrounding Islands. Rome were, just like Egypt, Babylon and Greece, worldwide dominant empires.
The map on the left is a Greek rendering of the world, the Greeks borrow much of their culture from again from Egypt. And you can see from the map (Herodotus) that the southern parts of Africa (Aethiopia) had already been mapped back then, there was of cities all along the coastlines, with vast interior treasures and minerals (ivory or gold), they were much sought after, just like today, and was exported to distant harbours. Now, modern historians hiss and fringe very much so at the things they do not understand or agree particularly with, but also at Josephus death toll number, because, well it simply doesn't add up. And people aren't that stupid as to know that around the time in question there wasn't enough people living in Palestine as to defend those numbers. Which makes sense, because they're looking in the wrong the wrong place. Titus and his company of soldiers returned to Rome and paraded through the streets showing items only before having been seen by the high priests of So NiNis temple, The Menorah and the Table of the Bread of Gods Presence (Showbread). An event memorialised by the arch of Titus, symbolising the diaspora of the Bantus around the different parts of the world.
Philostratus wrote that Titus did not accept a victory as such, but felt as if he was only an instrument of divine wrath, indeed, the Emperor was, in a great line of conquerors of the great harlot city Jerusalem, a pawn used to fulfil Scripture. Take historical sources such as these into consideration, along with countless verses of Scripture, even in the New Testament, that tells us again and again of Jerusalems imminent destruction. Now, what do you think?
"But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near."