ἐδόκει τέρας· ἀνοῖξαι γὰρ τὸν θεὸν αὐτοῖς τὴν τῶν ἀγαθῶν πύλην· οἱ λόγιοι δὲ λυομένην αὐτομάτως τοῦ ναοῦ τὴν ἀσφάλειαν ἐνενόουν, καὶ πολεμίοις 296δῶρον ἀνοίγεσθαι τὴν πύλην, δηλωτικόν τ᾿ ἐρημίας ἀπέφαινον ἐν αὑτοῖς τὸ σημεῖον. μετὰ δὲ τὴν ἑορτὴν οὐ πολλαῖς ἡμέραις ὕστερον, μιᾷ καὶ εἰκάδι 297Ἀρτεμισίου μηνός, φάσμα τι δαιμόνιον ὤφθη μεῖζον πίστεως· τερατεία δὲ ἂν ἔδοξεν οἶμαι τὸ ῥηθησόμενον, εἰ μὴ καὶ παρὰ τοῖς θεασαμένοις 298ἱστόρητο καὶ τὰ ἐπακολουθήσαντα πάθη τῶν σημείων ἦν ἄξια· πρὸ γὰρ ἡλίου δύσεως ὤφθη μετέωρα περὶ πᾶσαν τὴν χώραν ἅρματα καὶ 299φάλαγγες ἔνοπλοι διᾴττουσαι τῶν νεφῶν καὶ κυκλούμεναι τὰς πόλεις. κατὰ δὲ τὴν ἑορτήν, ἣ πεντηκοστὴ καλεῖται, νύκτωρ οἱ ἱερεῖς παρελθόντες εἰς τὸ ἔνδον ἱερόν, ὥσπερ αὐτοῖς ἔθος1 πρὸς τὰς λειτουργίας, πρῶτον μὲν κινήσεως ἔφασαν 300ἀντιλαβέσθαι καὶ κτύπου, μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα φωνῆς ἀθρόας “μεταβαίνομεν2 ἐντεῦθεν.” τὸ δὲ τούτων φοβερώτερον, Ἰησοῦς γάρ τις υἱὸς Ἀνανίου3 τῶν ἰδιωτῶν ἄγροικος, πρὸ τεσσάρων ἐτῶν τοῦ πολέμου τὰ μάλιστα τῆς πόλεως εἰρηνευομένης4 καὶ εὐθηνούσης, ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν ἑορτήν, ἐν ᾗ σκηνοποιεῖσθαι 301πάντας ἔθος τῷ θεῷ, κατὰ τὸ ἱερὸν ἐξαπίνης ἀναβοᾶν ἤρξατο “φωνὴ ἀπ᾿ ἀνατολῆς, φωνὴ ἀπὸ
omens, as they supposed that God had opened to them the gate of blessings; but the learned understood that the security of the temple was dissolving of its own accord and that the opening of the gate meant a present to the enemy, interpreting the portent in their own minds as indicative of coming desolation. Again, not many days after the festival, Celestial armies. on the twenty-first of the month Artemisium,a there appeared a miraculous phenomenon, passing belief. Indeed, what I am about to relate would, I imagine, have been deemed a fable, were it not for the narratives of eyewitnesses and for the subsequent calamities which deserved to be so signalized. For before sunset throughout all parts of the country chariots were seen in the air and armed battalions hurtling through the clouds and encompassing the cities.b Moreover, at the feast which is called Pentecost, The voice in the temple. the priests on entering the inner court of the temple by night, as their custom was in the discharge of their ministrations, reported that they were conscious, first of a commotion and a din, and after that of a voice as of a host, “We are departing hence.”c
But a further portent was even more alarming. The ominous cries of Jesus for four years before the war. Four years before the war, when the city was enjoying profound peace and prosperity, there came to the feast at which it is the custom of all Jews to erect tabernacles to God,d one Jesus, son of Ananias, a rude peasant, who, standing in the temple, suddenly began to cry out, “A voice from the east, a voice
- ac. May (“8 June,” Niese as above).
- bTac. ibid. “visae per caelum concurrere acies, rutilantia arma et subito nubium igne conlucere templum” (partly based on Virgil, Aen. viii. 528 f.).
- cTac. ibid. “apertae repente delubri fores et audita major humana vox, excedere deos; simul ingens motus excedentium.” This supports the reading, μεταβαίνομεν, in the text, rather than the variant, “let us depart hence.”
- dThe Feast of Tabernacles, Sukkoth, autumn of a.d. 62, as appears from § 308. Hostilities opened four years later with the defeat of Cestius in the autumn of a.d. 66.