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[54] And these were the hard circumstances that the people of Gamala were in. But now Vespasian went about other work by the by, during this siege, and that was to subdue those that had seized upon Mount Tabor, a place that lies in the middle between the great plain and Scythopolis, whose top is elevated as high as thirty furlongs 1 and is hardly to be ascended on its north side; its top is a plain of twenty-six furlongs, and all encompassed with a wall. Now Josephus erected this so long a wall in forty days' time, and furnished it with other materials, and with water from below, for the inhabitants only made use of rain water. As therefore there was a great multitude of people gotten together upon this mountain, Vespasian sent Placidus with six hundred horsemen thither. Now, as it was impossible for him to ascend the mountain, he invited many of them to peace, by the offer of his right hand for their security, and of his intercession for them. Accordingly they came down, but with a treacherous design, as well as he had the like treacherous design upon them on the other side; for Placidus spoke mildly to them, as aiming to take them, when he got them into the plain; they also came down, as complying with his proposals, but it was in order to fall upon him when he was not aware of it: however, Placidus's stratagem was too hard for theirs; for when the Jews began to fight, he pretended to run away, and when they were in pursuit of the Romans, he enticed them a great way along the plain, and then made his horsemen turn back; whereupon he beat them, and slew a great number of them, and cut off the retreat of the rest of the multitude, and hindered their return. So they left Tabor, and fled to Jerusalem, while the people of the country came to terms with him, for their water failed them, and so they delivered up the mountain and themselves to Placidus.

1 These numbers in Josephus of thirty furlongs' ascent to the top of Mount Tabor, whether we estimate it by winding and gradual, or by the perpendicular altitude, and of twenty-six furlongs' circumference upon the top, as also fifteen furlongs for this ascent in Polybius, with Geminus's perpendicular altitude of almost fourteen furlongs, here noted by Dr. Hudson, do none of' them agree with the authentic testimony of Mr. Maundrell, an eye-witness, p. 112, who says he was not an hour in getting up to the top of this Mount Tabor, and that the area of the top is an oval of about two furlongs in length, and one in breadth. So I rather suppose Josephus wrote three furlongs for the ascent or altitude, instead of thirty; and six furlongs for the circumference at the top, instead of twenty-six,--since a mountain of only three furlongs perpendicular altitude may easily require near an hour's ascent, and the circumference of an oval of the foregoing quantity is near six furlongs. Nor certainly could such a vast circumference as twenty-six furlongs, or three miles and a quarter, at that height be encompassed with a wall, including a trench and other fortifications, (perhaps those still remaining, ibid.) in the small interval of forty days, as Josephus here says they were by himself.

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