The Siege of Jerusalem (70 AD) – The Great Jewish Revolt [FULL DOCUMENTARY]

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The entire documentary on the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. This massive battle is one of the most stunning of all antiquity. On display were impressive siege works and feats of bravery on both the Roman and Jewish sides as they fought mercilessly over every inch of Jerusalem. Fighting would even make its way up the the inner sanctums of the Temple Mount and witness the destruction of the Second Temple.

Literary Sources:
“The Jewish Revolt” by Si Sheppard
“The Forts of Judaea” by Samuel Rocca
“Legions of Rome” by Stephen Dando-Collins
“Uniforms of the Roman World” by Kevin Kiley

Game Engine:
Total War: Rome II

Game Mods:
Devide et Impera
Legions of Rome

“Funeral” – Centurion Soundtrack
“We are Prey” – Centurion Soundtrack
“On the Run” – Centurion Soundtrack
“The Ninth Ride Out” – Centurion Soundtrack
“Hiems” – Total War: Rome II
“Tales of Old” – Total War: Rome II
“War and Peace” – Total War: Rome II


the siege of Jerusalem was a massive military endeavor the likes of which had not been seen since the fall of Carthage two centuries earlier starting in April of 70 AD and lasting nearly five months the battle would be a brutal no-holds-barred brawl fought over every inch of the city at stake was the success of the great revolt in Judea and the survival of the Jewish people Roman involvement in Judea first began in 63 BC when Pompey the great was drawn into a Jewish civil war and eventually seized Jerusalem however the region saw much turbulence during the final years of the Republic and was taken over by the Parthians before legions returned to install the puppet King Herod eventually a series of procurator's oversaw Judea but these largely lacked the competency or military power to impose order Roman Authority was highly dependent on local elites who themselves often lacked the confidence or respect of the Jewish people on top of this the population of Judea was divided across lines of class ethnic and religious divisions as a result the region was highly unstable revolutions seemed perpetually around the corner and May of 66 AD rioting amongst the people was met by the heavy-handed overreaction of the Roman procurator florus who only further incensed the situation by plundering Southwest Jerusalem and killing 3,600 people as the situation escalated reinforcements soon arrived from Caesarea only to be driven out by a rebellion that now spread to the entire region Jerusalem was taken by Jewish rebels while Roman strongholds were limited in Judea and Perea Roman efforts to combat the uprising were led by Vespasian and his son Titus under orders from the Emperor Nero the campaign season of 67 ad Savas fasion advance south from antioch and focuses efforts on subduing galilee field battles were virtually unheard of given the huge advantage the Romans held and most of the fighting was concentrated around fortifications this resulted in particularly brutal treatment of any populations which did not submit Rome often acted particularly strict to make a point during the 68 ad offensive in Judea for instance cities downstream of the Roman army learned of their approach not by messengers but by the arrival of bodies floating down the Jordan River the campaign ground to a halt with the news of Nero's death the Anarchy that followed was known as the year of four Emperor's and included a bid for power by the station on July 1st 69 AD by the summer of 70 AD he had come out the victor and set sail for Rome to claim his prize Titus was left in command of the Judean campaign with instructions to put an end to the Jewish uprising this of course meant the long-delayed assault on Jerusalem home to the rebel leaders and the heart of the resistance Titus began the Jerusalem campaign in the spring of 70 AD his army of four legions was assembled in Alexandria and marched north to Caesarea along the shoreline supporting his force were 23 cohorts of auxiliary infantry 8 ally of cavalry and numerous attachments of local troops provided by the region's client rulers historical records seemed to claim that this force numbered around 60,000 men these estimates imply that the Corps legionary troops made up around 35% of the army the auxilary troops about 32% and the remaining local forces about 33% such a high proportion of local troops does raise some doubts on the accuracy of our sources however we may speculate that local rulers were eager to donate men to the war effort in a political bid to secure Rome's goodwill amidst a blade revolt the Roman commanders themselves may also have been eager to have additional troops at their side while the local forces were surely not as reliable as the crack legionaries they could take on many responsibilities of the army and thus free up the elite troops to do what they did best this would be especially important in the upcoming siege of a city as large and well fortified as Jerusalem the Roman forces approached Jerusalem and separate marching columns due to the security and supply constraints of the Judean hill country Titus led of the 12th and 15th legions by the most direct road while the 5th Macedon acha approach via Emmaus and the 10th fort Ensis approached via Jericho on April 23rd the lead units of the 12th and 15th legions arrived on the hills to the north of the city that night the 5th Macedon akka arrived and by morning the rest of the army entered the battlefield before them lay the great city with gleaming temples and stout battlements the city of Jerusalem is surrounded on three sides by steep ravines to the east lies the Kidron Valley to the west the Gihon Valley and sweeping around the south is a hinnom valley a series of hills surround the area including the famed Mount of Olives to the east ancient Jerusalem itself was built atop several key topographic features a city incorporated two Spurs of land with the Terrapin Valley in-between atop the eastern Spurs to the Temple Mount and the Antonio fortress the heights of the Western spur were occupied by the elites who had built the upper City during the Ashmolean and Herodian periods in the middle of these two areas sprawled the more ancient and crowded lower City which held most of the population both the upper and lower cities were enclosed by a wall which was anchored on the flank by the massive fortifications around the Temple Mount inevitably the population outgrew its bounds and the second city was developed north of the first wall this exposed position was soon surrounded by a second wall which ran from the Antonia in the east to the get off gate in the West by the 1st century AD yet another suburb had sprung up to the north known as the new city once again expansion necessitated fortifications and in 41 ad herod agrippa commissioned the construction of the third wall this was an ambitious project with massive stone blocks meant to enclose a large area it seems that the scale of the defensive works raise some suspicion amongst the room who forced their client King to abandon the project before its completion over the course of the Jewish revolt however the people of Jerusalem managed to put the finishing touches on their third layer of battlements by the time the legions arrived outside Jerusalem the walls had been raised an additional nine meters in a series of square towers were built projecting outwards the combination of tough terrain and stout walls made for a formidable three layered defensive Network additionally the maze of narrow streets between the fortifications could be easily blockaded while numerous underground water and sewage passages meant that defenders could emerge from any direction for a surprise attack on intruders bunkered within this massive fortified city was a garrison of approximately 20,000 Jewish troops however these were not professional forces rather they were a motley assortment of militiamen refugees and zealots this composition is a reflection of the thoroughly fractured nature of the Jewish resistance since the outbreak of the revolt an effective centralized government had failed to take form and the resistance suffered from a chronic failure to synergize its various factions Jerusalem had been divided along party lines and was tearing itself apart in bloody political infighting right up until the arrival of Roman forces the principled leaders were summoned GRS who lay claim to the upper city and John of gajala who was based out of the Temple Mount Simon led the larger of the two forces which included 10,000 men under 50 officers and 6,000 allied domains under 8 commanders these troops garrison the first wall from the Kidron all the way to the palace of the Kings on the other side of the city John had an armed following of around 6,000 men under 20 officers and was joined by eliazar with his 2,400 sallets these forces held the Temple Mount along with the surrounding neighborhoods including the offal and the tear open Valley traditional Jewish fighters were lightly armed and armored they fought at range with slings bows and javelins before closing in with biers swords and clubs while agile and determined they often said no chance in a straight-up engagement against Roman forces especially heavy cavalry however the Jews in Jerusalem were much better prepared than was typical they had been amassing equipment from Jewish workshops Herodian armories arms dealers deserters and defeated enemies a substantial amount of gear had been gathered from the defeated Romans at Beth Haram including an array of artillery pieces in addition the confused mess of siege warfare would negate many of the advantages a Roman force would enjoy in a field battle lastly it must be said that the morale of the defenders was strengthened by the inevitable survival instincts that took hold when a city resolved to fight or die while considering the Army's is important we would do well to remember that sieges are battles of attrition as such it is necessary to ask about the food and water supplies fresh water at least was not of immediate concern owing to the presence of numerous cisterns around the city as well as several massive pools which trapped terrain water food on the other hand was in short supply during the infighting that preceded the siege many of the grain stores had been raided or destroyed by opposing parties in addition the already huge population of Jerusalem had swelled to dangerous levels in recent weeks with the arrival of pilgrims celebrating Passover the noncom been populous far outnumber the armed offenders and imposed severe limitations on the length supplies could last once the Romans closed in on Jerusalem the countdown began the Roman army had undergone a long march to reach Jerusalem Titus recognized that his men were exhausted and ordered that they construct preliminary camps out of range of the city the 12th and 15th legions who had arrived from the Northeast began to set up a kilometer away atop Mount Scopus with another camp planned for the fifth Macedon akka 550 meters further back as the legions moved into place Titus rode ahead to personally survey the defenses on the morning of April 23rd he set off was six hundred horsemen following the road that led to the main gate of the third wall however the terrain was uneven and cluttered with gardens olive groves hedges fences walls and stone structures which had been knocked down by the defenders in other words he walked into a maze of obstacles all of a sudden Jewish forces burst out of the gate and swarmed the Roman column cutting it in half cavalry men in the rear bolted out into the open country they had come from meanwhile Titus and his escorts were left behind the general had neglected to wear his helmet or breastplate for the expedition but nonetheless drew his sword and led a charge to break out according to Josephus he quote diverted those perpetually with this sword that came on his side overturned many of those that directly met him and made his horse ride over those that were overthrown and Pope the encounter was a close call but ultimately the Romans were able to cut their way through though they lost several men and left many injured Titus was likely shaken by the event and eager to get the siege underway he ordered the 10th for tensest to move even closer and began constructing entrenchments atop the Mount of Olives however the Jews were emboldened by their near success and decided to follow up with a massive assault sorties poured out of the eastern and southern gateways their sights set on the working legionaries fighter streamed across the Kidron Valley and descended upon the half built camp of the 10th pratensis the Romans were caught completely off guard Jewish troops started cutting down their disorganized opponents while more Mintz rushed out from the city to complete the route Titus attacked the flank with his bodyguard which was enough to force the mob back down the ravine the 10th for tensest resumed work only to come under a second assault from Jews who had been steadily bringing in more and more men this ferocious attack overwhelmed the Roman force on the low ground many of the soldiers fled for the heights while Titus and a band of troops attempted to hold the lining soon after the Legionaries regrouped and counter-charge down the hill driving the jews back once more and the ensuing lull the camp fortifications were finally completed this secured the roman ford position but left everyone with a reminder that the strength of the jewish defense had been dangerously underestimated in response titus now took precautions against further counter-attacks he posted cavalry division's to deflect attacks and ordered that the ground between the roman camps and the walls be cleared of all obstructions this meant cutting down trees flattening hedges filling in ditches and destroying Rock projections this had the dual purpose of removing any cover for Jewish sorties as well as preparing the ground for siege works the Roman army had effectively rolled up its sleeves it was time to get to work Titus recognized the hardship of attacking from the east where the ravines were steepest as a result he decided to focus on the western flank of the third wall the 10th pratensis was left to hold the Mount of Olives while the three remaining legions were redeployed the 5th masa Danka built a camp 400 meters west of the western gate while the 12th and 15th legions established themselves opposite the finest our artillery positions were now deployed with their sights set on the city under their covering fire each Legion began constructing an earth and timber ramp up to the third wall Jewish projectiles rained down from above an attack party slowed construction at all times of night and day however the concentrated might of the three legions with artillery support proved too much the attackers completed their ramps and soon were slowly rolling battering rams into place the thudding of the rams signaled progress for the romance but also served as a rallying cry for the defenders militia units from around the city swarmed to place to Pelt the crews and their guards with missiles from above while raiding parties attacked the engines on foot from posture and doors [Applause] brave defenders fought their way up to the Rams protective sheds and were poised to destroy the equipment before Titus led a cavalry attack to drive them off [Applause] before ramming was resumed Roman engineers built three siege towers which were too heavy to be overturned and which were also fire proved these were then rolled into place to provide clothes fire support for construction and clear the area of defenders on the fifteenth day of the siege the Rams broke through the third wall the Jews yielded the outer city to the Romans and withdrew to the second wall Titus was eager to keep the momentum rolling and established a camp in the heart of the new city tearing down many structures in the process the Rams were now brought into position once again and targeted the central tower gate within four days a breach was formed the Legionaries formed up and advanced through the narrow gap however they were met with an eerie silence as the troops advanced cautiously through the seemingly deserted streets there were all of a sudden attacked from all directions the trap was now sprung and Jews began unleashing varieties of missiles into the dense infantry clusters at the same time hit-and-run parties attacked any exposed troops but strayed too far from the main body in shock the Romans attempted to retreat back through the breach but found that it was so narrow that only a few men could get through at a time this choke point was a prime target for the bowmen and slingers of the defenders Roman Archer units were brought up to provide covering fire and eased up enough pressure to allow for withdrawal at the same time however the Jewish force was mobilized to surge ahead as the Roman tide receded they rushed back onto the walls unloading continual barrage azan to the attackers meanwhile sorties with large blocks of Jews pressed the Romans back while the breach was mended Josephus recalls that the fighting raged all day long and into the night action around the tower gate continued and by the fourth day the legions once again broke through this time Titus ordered that the entire northern stretch of the second wall be torn down and the surrounding towers be manned by Roman forces the Jews now pulled back to the first wall this was part of a deliberate plan to carry out a fighting retreat against the Romans conserving Jewish strength while maximizing their damage the commanders were finally in a position to make a stand now that the defensive line had a much smaller surface area than at the start of the siege this meant that the outnumbered Jews could far more readily concentrate forces and rebuff attacks at this point overall command of the defense had been granted to Simon who held the first wall along the northern side up to the Royal Palace Jon's Galileans and zealots held the Temple Mount and the Antonio fortress on the eastern edge of the line the legions advanced into the second city ted has dispatched the 10th and 15th legions to raise ramps to the west where the 2nd and 1st walls met to the east he had the fifth and twelfth Legion start construction against the Antonio fortress they did so under incessant sorties and missile attacks historians tell us that the Jewish forces at this point would have been able to bring to bear 300 bolt throwers and 40 stone throwers from the rebel armory this firepower was considerable and must have forced the Romans to build their own protective countermeasures on the 29th of May after 17 days of intense labour and non-stop harassment the Romans completed their attack paths up to the eastern and western flanks battering rams siege towers and numerous cohorts were brought up for an all-out assault however unbeknownst to the Romans the Jewish forces had been hard at work themselves they had secretly conducted sapping operations with a tunnel traveling under the first wall right up to the siege ramps against the antonio the excavations were supported by pit props which the jews set alight as the fire took its course the ground gave way in a huge chasm opened up engulfing the ramps and their siege engines fires which were temporarily smothered erupted once more as the bitumen reignited and burned what remained of the equipment the Romans had once again fatally underestimated the defenders and were reaping the consequences to the West Simon Sally out at night to attack the siege works in his sector of the battlefield the brave rebels beat back resistance and fought their way to the ramps setting their sheds alight the fire's alarmed the Legionaries who saw their hard work going up in smoke and rushed in to try and pull the Rams out of harm's way they were met by Jewish reinforcements streaming out from posture and gates and a pitch battle ensued a deadly tug-of-war followed over the Rams with the rebels finally managing to complete their destruction the demoralized Romans pulled back sensing an opportunity the Jewish forces swarmed out of the city in pursuit driving the legions all the way back to their camp the retreat was stabilized when once again Titus rode to the rescue with his cavalry fierce fighting ensued but the rebels were finally pushed back to the first wall the Roman siege lines were in shambles virtually all of their Rams and ramps were smoldering ruined by morning and the morale of the legions must have been in a similar state it was approaching the hottest part of the year now water was running low and building material was becoming increasingly hard to come by nonetheless Titus launched an ambitious plan to restore the spirit and security of the men his plan called for the construction of an eight kilometre wall of circumvallate forts to do this he leveraged the proud nature of the troops by having the legions and cohorts challenge one another for the honour of being the first to complete their allotted portion of the wall relatively safe from Jewish attacks the Legionaries were free to reforge their unit cohesion through competitive labour the result was a stunning success within three days the entire structure was completed morale amongst the Romans was restored all the Jews were left with the stunning sign that the Roman war machine wasn't backing down if anything things had just shifted into high gear with the completion of the wall of circumvallate the noose around Jerusalem was finally pulled tight previously citizens had been able to slip out at night to collect supplies from the countryside but now this proved impossible any rebels caught outside the walls were crucified as a terrifying example of Rome's wrath while even those who defected willingly were often gutted by troops who believed their stomachs would be filled with precious items ingested for concealment inside the food situation rapidly deteriorated the defenders were reduced to eating pets and boiling hay disturbing reports also mentioned instances of infantile cannibalism taking place now in the tenth week of the siege Titus ordered all forces to concentrate their assault on the antonio fortress the full-scale assault began with the mobilisation of archers and artillery to suppress the walls while two battering rams moved into position and men armed with crowbars took aim at the foundation blocks of the towers despite great efforts made the first day the Romans were forced to withdraw for the night without making any noticeable gains unbeknownst to both sides however the heavy activity in the area took a toll on the structural stability of the fortress the mine which had previously brought down the Roman siege ramps had also undermined the antonio a heavy rain combined with the pressure of the men and the machinery at work provided the straw that broke the camel's back in the dead of night the northern wall of the fortress collapse at first light the Romans positioned themselves for a direct assault through the breach once again however the Jews were one step ahead and had already constructed another secondary wall on the other side unwilling to give up the nighttime gift Titus asked for volunteers to tackle the fortifications head-on a handful of brave men volunteered no doubt encouraged by the promise of rich reward this gang took heavy fire as they ran up to the barricade but managed to scramble over the top the attackers proved too few and with no reinforcements on the way were inevitably slaughtered the failure of this mission in full sight of the Roman army sapped their will to fight a tentative stalemate ensued two days later in the early morning 24 enterprising Romans including a standard bearer from the 5th Macedon akka and a trumpeter decided to attack on their own initiative the men silently climbed the ruins of the Antonia fortress and slit the throats of the centuries with the barricade now secured the trumpeter sounded a signal this blast within the walls threw the Jews into a panic as they jolted awake from their sleep imagining that the entire Roman army was upon them they fled to the Temple Mount meanwhile the Roman command was equally confused but knew something had to be done Titus along with his officers collected picked men from the units and immediately sent them towards the sound of the trumpet when the Jews realized that the Romans were not hot on their heels cooler heads prevailed and they rallied militias streamed at the courtyard as it soon became apparent that the real Roman forces would now certainly be on their way if they gained a foothold in the sanctuary all was lost both sides realized that this was the case and plunged into the darkness towards the passages linking the antonio to the Temple Mount brutal fighting occurred in the close-quarter confines that dragged on for nearly ten hours in the end the fury of the Jews fed by constant reinforcements prevailed over the Romans who sounded the retreat thus ending the first battle of the temple Titus ordered the men to raise the Antonio on his side of the battle lines and within a week was ready to renew the attack 7,200 legionaries picked from 30 of the best troops from each century were mustered at night on July 17th these men silently shuffled towards the ruins of the Antonio for a surprise attack Jewish centuries however picked up on the advance and sounded the alarm in some areas roman forces were able to cut their way past the previous week's high-water mark however in the obscurity of the night chaos reigned this was made even worse by the fact that the rebels had equipped themselves with captured roman gear to the point that many legionaries and jewish units ended up bumping into and fighting friendly forces the combat was so confused that it proved virtually impossible to capitalize on any gains either side made when the Sun eventually began to rise some degree of order was finally restored Josephus reports that both sides now separated and drew up into ragged battle lines at the edges of the sanctuaries northern edge missiles began to fly and a savage pitched battle developed Titus attempted to orchestrate an organized attack but the tight confines again rendered this futile by midday it became apparent that no gains would be made and the second battle of the temple was called off clearly it would be impossible to punch a hole through the Jewish bottleneck Titus thus resolved to broaden the scale of the attack in the peak of the summer heat he ordered four more ramps to be built against the northwestern corner of the temple mount in response the Jews massed their missiles at the walls and sent forth continuous waves of skirmishers and sorties to harass the work crews nonetheless the legions steadily made progress with the works nearing completion the defenders tore down the northwestern corner of the temple colonnade severing connection between the defensive parapets and the remaining elements of the antonio this effectively removed a key Avenue the Romans were hoping he used as an attack route at the same time a major sally was attempted against the roman wall of circumvallate at the mount of olives though unsuccessful this assault once again attested to the boldness of the defenders a cornered beast was certainly a force to be reckoned with on the 27th of july roman work parties building a ramp against the broken end of the western colonnade spotted an opportunity it appeared that jewish activity on the other fronts had caused a withdrawal of defensive forces in the area the legions rushed forward with ladders for an immediate assault by escalade hundreds of troops now swarmed onto the undefended walls with many more following behind them however the Jewish retreat had been a trap in the previous days they had secretly filled the rafters with dry wood and bitumen which they now set alight the entire sector of the wall burst into flames with the Roman assault troops caught in the inferno this occurred inside of both armies and provided a tremendous morale boost to the defenders the Romans proved wary of another escalate assault and instead tried to breach the walls with rams and picks for days they worked around the clock in relays to undermine the defensive fortifications they did so under a continuous bombardment of missiles and harassment eventually several huge blocks were pried loose but the thick construction of the Temple Mount defied all attempts at destruction Titus must have been unimaginably frustrated desperate for results he ordered another storming of the walls the results were predictably bloody Roman troops climbing the ladders were dangerously exposed many found themselves toppled and their attempts to scale the walls while others finally managed to reach the top under continual artillery and Archer covering fire only to be left isolated those that did make it up were vastly outnumbered and slaughtered Roman centurions resorted to throwing legionary Eagles onto the walls in a bid to motivate the proud soldiers to retrieve them however even this desperate measure proved fruitless and only resulted in the death of even more bullheaded attackers the increasingly costly assault was abandoned rather than abandon all hope Titus made preparations for yet another attack on the temple in the beginning of August the objective would be to finally push through the bottleneck at the antonio and move out onto the open spaces of the courtyard where the legions would gain the necessary space to fight effectively archers and artillery were massed in and around the ruins of the Antonio these began to target the defender is holding out at the north end of the temple complex once they had cleared Roman troops burnt out and tore down the entire northern colonnade this would allow the attackers to deploy along the entire width of the plaza well at the same time stripping away a crucial Jewish defensive position while the northern battlements were now destroyed sight lines were opened up onto the other flanking Battlement positions the defenders stationed here found themselves dangerously exposed and were forced to pull back the Jewish line of defense was reformed and now cut across the center of the Temple Mount with the temple itself serving as a central bastion it is around this time that the gravest of ill omens took place this spiritual crisis involved the daily sacrifice of lamb to Yahweh like clockwork the priests had upheld the holy Rite of time it omits the bloodshed and starvation of the siege but on the 5th of August the last of the sacrificial lambs ran out now at the height of the siege with the Romans advancing the Jews lost their connection to god the stage was now set for a fight over the very heart of Jerusalem the Temple Mount the left end of the ragged Jewish line was stationed the western gate with access to the upper City the right flank was anchored on the opposite side of the colonnade at Solomon's portico the center of the line ran through the temple and its inner Court the Romans held the north the Jews that south both sides were prepared for a fateful duel within the enormous gladiatorial arena that was the Temple Mount complex in the centre of the battlefield was the linchpin of the Jewish defenses the Inner Temple just like the Temple Mount the temple was surrounded by a wall with wide fighting platforms atop a series of perimeter colonnades the eastern half of the compound was known as a court of women this was then connected to the western half by another wall and the Corinthian gate on the other side lay the court of the Israelites and beyond that the court of the priests at the very end by the holy of Holy's a 45 metre tall white marble edifice adorned with enormous golden gates and topped by golden points this was said to be the very house of God and which only the high priests entered on the day of atonement in fact the entire Inner Temple was normally off-limits to all but a select few extraordinary circumstances however call for extraordinary measures and the holy space is today were packed with defenders despite being exhausted and on the verge of starvation the Jews attacked at dawn on August 9th troops burst out of the eastern gate and rushed the Roman lines in force the surprised lesions reeled from the punch but managed to hold their ground once more Titus had his cavalry mount up and charged across the open ground the small group of horses crash into the Jewish mob sending shockwaves through the mass of men however the attack failed to dissuade the rebels and a third battle of the temple began this engagement was characterized by a confused series of attacks and counter-attacks along the eastern end of the sanctuary Jewish defenders offered supporting fire from atop the nearby temple rooftops while their Roman counterparts did the same from their own rear lines the fighting raged on for several hours before subsiding into an uneasy stalemate the following day August 10th the Jews again launched an attack on the Romans holding the outer court initiating the fourth battle of the temple the engagement was similarly hard-fought but the crush of a Roman counter-attack managed to drive the defenders right up to the temple walls itself here Jews atop the walls dislodged stones and threw down an assortment of projectiles on to the Romans however in a closed press below a pair of legionaries were seized by impulse one grabbed a piece of flaming debris while the other hoisted him up against the north side of the temple from this elevation he lobbed the burning timber through a low golden door into the sanctuary chambers in the summer heat the highly flammable timbers and textiles to clay thick black smoke billowed into the air as fire spread rapidly to the stunned amazement of both sides the fire rapidly spiraled out of control threatening to consume the countless sacred texts and treasures within the temple the Jews were left paralyzed between choosing to fight the flames or the Romans the legion seized on the initiative and plunged forward without orders they battered down the eastern gates and penetrated the inner Court of the temple in this moment at the climax of a grueling three-month siege the attackers gave way to their beasts shield nature soldiers broke free from their officers controlled only by a toxic psychological state of repressed rage and frustration pity was the first casualty soon followed by a butchery of all those who did not flee the hellscape the young the old the helpless all were put to the sword this bloodlust would only be matched in intensity by greed Roman soldiers plunged into the flaming complex intent on making off with treasures inside the frenzy reached a fever pitch where Roman troops are being trampled to death by their comrades the rival of Titus seemed to have little effect on the state of the men this was often a natural occurrence in the final stages of a siege when even the ablest of commanders could do nothing to restrain the wild passions of soldiers eventually the delirium subsided when the temple was picked clean both men in flames chants of Imperator Imperator Imperator greeted Titus as he ordered the sacrifice of an ox a sheep and a pig at the eastern gate of the temple with this move he consummated the domination of the Roman gods over that of the Jews though the Temple Mount had fallen Jewish resistance in the rest of Jerusalem had not Simon's militia and those who had escaped the smoldering ruins of the temple regrouped atop the entrenched positions in the upper City and Herod's palace from here they faced off against the legions across the Tara Payne Valley a parlay was held atop a bridge linking the two sides the Jewish commanders simon and john attempted to bargain for their free passage out of jerusalem titus however was emboldened by his recent victory and demanded no less than an unconditional surrender when talks broke down the legions were unleashed on the lower city in a demonstration of force for two days they hacked their way through tight alleys and rooftops cutting down rebels and non-combatants a lake fires were also set to clear on any survivors from the lower districts the flames the tremendous damage to life and property they also engulfed vast quantities of dead bodies in various stages of decay filling the air with a horrid stench all that remained now was the last stronghold of Herod's Palace this fortress was dominated by strong walls and a ring of towers ranging from 25 to 40 metres tall in addition the buildings of the upper city blocked a clear line of approach while numerous underground passages could allow the Jews to carry out effective sorties against incoming siege works the Romans had faced significant trouble against similar defenses already and were not eager to try it once more instead the attackers opted to mount their assault from the West flanking from outside the walls of Jerusalem all four legions now mass in the Hinnom Valley and began construction of a final set of seat ramps allied and auxilary troops within Jerusalem also set to work on their own platforms against the upper city located the fire duct the gymnasium and Simon's tower resources and manpower the Romans were extremely sparse this delayed construction to a degree but the projects were inevitably completed by the end of two and a half weeks on September 7th the Romans were able to bring up the remaining Rams and begin battering down the walls the Jewish forces at this point were so weakened that for the first time they did not leave sorties out against the siege equipment defenders attempted to offer resistance from the top two walls but were easily swept aside by mass fire of Roman projectiles sections of the western wall began to crumble legionaries punched their way through the breaches against the defensive force that was quickly to see narrating it seems that the reality of a final defeat swept in with the Roman troops and captured the battlements more quickly than any sort could the high towers of the hipa cos of fossil and Miriam were all abandoned as survivors either gave in to the inevitable or went to ground the Jewish leaders along with groups of dedicated fighters ran in all directions desperately seeking to find a way through the Roman lines many were caught by Roman Street patrols while others resorted to crawling through sewers or even attempted to tunnel their way out of the city in the end both Simon and John were captured alive they along with seven hundred other young men would be sent to Rome to be put on full display for the eventual triumph of Titus all remaining males of the age of 17 and above were shackled and sentenced to death either in the mines of Egypt or in the gladiatorial arenas around the Empire the women and children were taken to the slave markets all told we have no accurate figures for how many lives were extinguished or enslaved as a result of the sacking of Jerusalem Josephus would have us believe that over 1.1 million were killed while Tacitus offers a more plausible 600,000 these numbers both seem wildly inflated but maybe an indication of the carnage that took place when Titus resolved on destroying a highly populated city filled with refugees and pilgrims we have only to look at the modern sieges like Stalingrad to imagine the horrors which befell the numerous non-combatants trapped within the walls back in Rome and Pervis fasion was busy preparing the stage for the honorable return of his son the victory at Jerusalem warranted a triumph it would be used as a centerpiece for the legitimization of Flavian dynasty when the time came Titus would parade down the streets of Rome atop a chariot at the head of a procession glorifying the conquests in the east soldiers and captives marched down the streets in full regalia alongside floats depicting dramatic scenes from the campaign vast amounts of treasure were also on display including the great seven-branch menorah the crowning moment of the festivities involved a flame and ritual strangulation of Simon Joris who had served as the overall commander of the Jewish forces during the siege while the revolt may have been symbolically crushed Jewish resistance would burn on until the final room and suppression of Masada in 73 ad though this would bring about the conclusion of the first Jewish revolt there would be several more to follow each with increasing levels of devastation the siege of Jerusalem stands out as one of the most brutal examples of classical era total war since the fall of Carthage 200 years earlier humans did this hundreds of thousands of babies cradled by mothers grew up through millions of unique experiences only to find themselves all at Jerusalem each of their stories worthy of its own novel unraveled one way or another over these three months and have through the great filter of history been reduced to a reference in this very sentence I don't think URI or our species has the capacity to truly understand this in the end perhaps all we can do is take the time to pause and reflect as we do this we can in a way commune with our ancestors who did the same at Carthage for instance it is said that Skippy Oh Millie Ana's weeping Lea looked over the flames which engulfed the city imagining that one day such flames would be seen over Rome itself at Jerusalem we can imagine that titus was also seized by similar thoughts today I am sure we can also bar heads humbly and reflect upon the destruction we reap across the world which may one day return to our own homes