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William Shepard

Titus Rewards and Dismisses His Army

When the beautiful city of Jerusalem had been destroyed, there were left standing only the three high towers as monuments of the Roman victory, and a part of the western wall, which was left as a defence for the Roman camp. For Titus left the tenth legion, with some cavalry and infantry, to keep guard over the ruins of the city. But before he went he called his army together, that he might praise them for their bravery and confer rewards upon those who had particularly distinguished themselves. And so a high tribunal was erected in the middle of the former encampment, and upon this Titus took his stand with his principal officers. He thanked the army for the good will they had shown to him, and praised them for their prompt obedience and courage. He then caused a list to be read of those who had performed any splendid feat during the war. Calling them by name, he applauded them as they came forward, placed crowns of gold upon their heads, and presented them with golden neck-chains, long golden lances, and silver ensigns. He also gave them shares out of the spoils which had been taken,—silver and gold, and vestments, and other booty.

When each had been rewarded according to his deserts, he wished every happiness to his army in general, and stepped down, amid loud applause, from the tribunal. He then sacrificed a great number of oxen in thanksgiving for his success, and gave the carcasses to the troops for a banquet.

For three days Titus joined in festivities with his officers, and then dismissed his army. The tenth legion, however, he left to guard Jerusalem, and because the twelfth legion had formerly been defeated under Cestius, he banished it from Syria altogether, and sent it to a country called Meletene. Two legions he thought proper to keep with him until his arrival in Egypt. With them he first went to Cæsarea upon the sea-coast, and here he directed his prisoners to be kept in custody, for, the winter having set in, he was prevented from sailing immediately for Italy.

Titus proceeded from Cæsarea upon the coast to Cæsarea Philippi, as it was called, and here he remained for some time. Many of the prisoners were killed, during his stay, in gladiatorial shows. Some were thrown to wild beasts, while others were compelled to fight with one another in combats. It was here that Titus heard of the capture of Simon, the son of Gioras, which was effected in the following manner:

While the Romans were laying waste the upper city, Simon, with a body of his most faithful followers, and a party of miners, had leaped down in a cave, taking with him enough provisions to last for several days. The party advanced until they had reached the end of the cave, and then they attempted to dig their way out beyond the walls and escape. But the work went on very slowly, and the provisions gave out.

Simon then gave up all hope of making his escape in this manner. He dressed himself in white robes, threw a cloak of purple over his shoulders, and, walking to the mouth of the cave, suddenly appeared amid the ruins of the temple. Some soldiers who were lounging about were at first very much frightened at seeing him, and stood and gazed at him in awe. At length they came nearer to him, and, forming a circle about him, they asked him who he was. This Simon refused to tell them, but bade them to go and call their general.

Upon this the soldiers ran quickly to Terentius Rufus, who had been left in command, and to him Simon told his story and surrendered himself. Rufus put him in chains, and wrote to Titus to inform him of Simon's capture. On the return of Titus to Cæsarea upon the coast, Simon was sent to him in chains, and was kept to appear in the triumph which Titus was preparing to celebrate in Rome.