Aidoia

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Στάσεως δ’ ἐμπεσούσης τῇ τῶν Ἱεροσολυμιτῶν πόλει Κουμανοῦ τὰ κατὰ τὴν Ἰουδαίαν πράγματα διοικοῦντος ἐφθάρησαν ὑπὸ ταύτης πολλοὶ τῶν Ἰουδαίων. καὶ πρότερον ἀφηγήσομαι τὴν αἰτίαν, δι’ ἣν ταῦτα συνέβη· τῆς πάσχα προσαγορευομένης ἑορτῆς ἐνστάσης, καθ’ ἣν ἔθος ἐστὶν ἡμῖν ἄζυμα προσφέρεσθαι, πολλοῦ καὶ πανταχόθεν πλήθους συναχθέντος ἐπὶ τὴν ἑορτὴν δείσας ὁ Κουμανός, μὴ νεώτερόν τι παρὰ τούτων προσπέσῃ, κελεύει τῶν στρατιωτῶν μίαν τάξιν ἀναλαβοῦσαν τὰ ὅπλα ἐπὶ τῶν τοῦ ἱεροῦ στοῶν ἑστάναι καταστελοῦντας τὸν νεωτερισμόν, εἰ ἄρα τις γένοιτο. τοῦτο δὲ καὶ οἱ πρὸ αὐτοῦ τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἐπιτροπεύσαντες ἐν ταῖς ἑορταῖς ἔπραττον. τετάρτῃ δὲ ἡμέρᾳ τῆς ἑορτῆς στρατιώτης τις ἀνακαλύψας ἐπεδείκνυε τῷ πλήθει τὰ αἰδοῖα, καὶ πρὸς τοῦτο θεασαμένων ὀργὴ καὶ θυμὸς ἦν οὐχ ἑαυτοὺς ὑβρίσθαι λεγόντων, ἀλλὰ τὸν θεὸν ἠσεβῆσθαι· τινὲς δὲ τῶν θρασυτέρων τὸν Κουμανὸν ἐβλασφήμουν ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ τὸν στρατιώτην καθεῖσθαι λέγοντες. Κουμανὸς δ’ ἀκούσας καὶ αὐτὸς οὐ μετρίως ἐρεθίζεται πρὸς τὰς βλασφημίας, παρῄνει μέντοι παύσασθαι νεωτέρων ἐπιθυμοῦντας πραγμάτων μηδὲ στάσεις ἐξάπτειν ἐν ἑορτῇ. μὴ πείθων δέ, μᾶλλον γὰρ ἐπέκειντο βλασφημοῦντες, κελεύει τὸ στράτευμα πᾶν τὰς πανοπλίας ἀναλαβὸν ἥκειν εἰς τὴν Ἀντωνίαν, φρούριον δ’ ἦν τοῦτο, καθάπερ καὶ πρότερον εἴπομεν, ἐπικείμενον τῷ ἱερῷ. παραγενομένους δὲ τοὺς στρατιώτας θεασάμενον τὸ πλῆθος καὶ φοβηθὲν φεύγειν ὥρμησεν, τῶν δ’ ἐξόδων στενῶν οὐσῶν διώκεσθαι νομίζοντες ὑπὸ τῶν πολεμίων καὶ συνωθούμενοι κατὰ τὴν φυγὴν πολλοὺς ἀλλήλοις ἐν τοῖς στενοῖς θλιβόμενοι διέφθειρον. δύο γοῦν μυριάδες ἐξηριθμήθησαν τῶν κατὰ τὴν στάσιν ἐκείνην φθαρέντων. πένθος δ’ ἦν τὸ λοιπὸν ἀντὶ τῆς ἑορτῆς, καὶ πάντες ἐκλαθόμενοι τῶν εὐχῶν καὶ τῶν θυσιῶν ἐπὶ θρήνους καὶ κλαυθμοὺς ἐτράποντο. τοιαῦτα μὲν ἑνὸς ἀσέλγεια στρατιώτου παθήματα γενέσθαι παρεσκεύασεν.
(Josephus, Ant. Iud. 20.105-112)

While Cumanus was in charge of Jewish affairs, a great riot took place in the city of Jerusalem, in which many Jews died. I shall first explain how this arose. When the feast we call the Passover was near, when it is our custom to use unleavened bread, a large crowd gathered from all parts to the festival, and Cumanus was afraid that a revolt might occur, so he stationed one regiment of the army, fully armed, at the temple porticoes, to curb any signs of rebellion, that might arise. This was what the former procurators of Judea did at such festivals. But on the fourth day of the feast, a soldier exposed himself and flaunted his genitals at the people, which filled the onlookers with fury and rage and they shouted that this impious action was an insult not just to them, but to God himself. Some of them blasphemed Cumanus and said that the soldier had just done his bidding. When Cumanus heard this, he was enraged by the blasphemies on him, but urged them to give up such seditious behaviour and not to start a riot at the festival. As he could not get them to be quiet and they went on insulting him, he ordered the whole army to come in their armour to Antonia, which as we have said, was a fortress overlooking the temple. When the people saw the soldiers there, they were frightened and quickly fled, but as the exits were narrow and they thought the enemy was following them, they crowded together in their flight and many were pressed to death in those narrow passages. No fewer than twenty thousand died in this riot, so that instead of a festival, they had a day of mourning, and they all forgot their prayers and sacrifices and turned to lamenting and tears. The obscene action of one individual soldier brought this terrible disaster upon them. (tr. Patrick Rogers)

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