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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Preface to the ‘Jewish Wars’

By Josephus (37–100)

Translation of Robert Traill

THUS I shall relate in what manner Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes, after having carried Jerusalem by assault, and held it for three years and six months, was expelled the country by the sons of Asamonæus; then, how the descendants of these, quarreling among themselves for the crown, dragged into the controversy the Romans and Pompey; and how Herod, son of Antipater, with the aid of Sossius overthrew their dynasty; the revolt of the people, moreover, after the death of Herod, Augustus at the time ruling the Romans, and Quintilius Varus being president of the Province; the breaking out of the war in the twelfth year of Nero; the casualties which befell Cestius; and what places the Jews surprised at the commencement of hostilities.

My narrative will further include an account of their fortifying the neighboring towns; of Nero’s apprehensions for the empire, occasioned by the disasters of Cestius, and his consequent appointment of Vespasian to the conduct of the war; of the invasion of the Jewish territory by that general and the elder of his sons….

I shall next relate the death of Nero, the affairs of the Jews being now on the decline; and how Vespasian, then rapidly marching upon Jerusalem, was drawn off to assume the imperial throne…. I shall then advert to the second invasion of the country by Titus, on his breaking up from Egypt; state how and where he mustered his forces, and their amount.