The temple resembled a citadel, and had its own walls, which were more
laboriously constructed than the others. Even the colonnades with which it
was surrounded formed an admirable outwork. It contained an inexhaustible
spring; there were subterranean excavations in the hill, and tanks and
cisterns for holding rain water. The founders of the state had foreseen that
frequent wars would result from the singularity of its customs, and so had
made every provision against the most protracted siege. After the capture of
their city by Pompey, experience and apprehension taught them much. Availing
themselves of the sordid policy of the Claudian era to purchase the right of
fortification, they raised in time of peace such walls as were suited for
war. Their num-
bers were increased by a vast rabble
collected from the overthrow of the other cities. All the most obstinate
rebels had escaped into the place, and perpetual seditions were the
consequence. There were three generals, and as many armies. Simon held the
outer and larger circuit of walls. John, also called Bargioras, occupied the
middle city. Eleazar had fortified the temple. John and Simon were strong in
numbers and equipment, Eleazar in position. There were continual skirmishes,
surprises, and incendiary fires, and a vast quantity of corn was burnt.
Before long John sent some emissaries, who, under pretence of sacrificing,
slaughtered Eleazar and his partisans, and gained possession of the temple.
The city was thus divided between two factions, till, as the Romans
approached, war with the foreigner brought about a reconciliation.