By Lydia Hoyt Farmer
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THE DOOM OF THE HOLY CITY.
CHRIST AND CAESAR.
LYDIA HOYT FARMER,
Author Of "a Knight Of Faith," "a Moral Inheritance,"
"a Short History Of The French Revolution," "the
Lifb Of La Fayette," " Famous Rulers And
Queens," "a Story Book Of Science,"
"the Prince Of The Flaming
ANSON D. F. RANDOLPH AND COMPANY,
182 Fifth Avenue.
By Anson D. F. Randolph And Co.
John Wilson And Son, Cambridge, U.S.A.
BY SPECIAL PERMISSION,
RIGHT HONORABLE WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE.
HISTORY, from Creation to Calvary, but more dearly still
from Calvary down the centuries, points with unerring finger to One
effulgent Character, He who came to give eternal life to perishing men,
walked the streets of Jerusalem eighteen centuries ago, as actual an
historical fact as that Nero sat on the throne of the Caesars, or that you
and I tread the earth today. To endeavor to make more realistic the setting
of that Wondrous and Divine Life, by painting in words the picture of that
era in the world''s history, is the aim of the author of this volume; with
the hope that the marvellous mission of the God Man may appear with greater
vividness to some soul, and that the Sun of Righteousness may blaze forth as
the Shining Centre of fast, present, and future history.
Jerusalem the Beautiful. The Strange Prophet. The Gar-
den of Gethsemane. The Holy of Holies 1
Miriam, Jessica, and Aziel. The Temple Courts. The Hall
of Hewn Stones. The Dove Bazaar 9
The Pool of Siloam. The House on Zion's Hill. The Feast
of Tabernacles 21
Rambles in Rome in the First Century. Aziel visits Rome.
Aziel and Placidus amidst the Temples of the Imperial
City. The Roman Forum 38
The Ghetto. The Palatine Palaces of the Caesars. Nero's
Golden House. Nero in the Theatre Pompeius ... 8
The Roman Games. The Pantheon. The Campus Martius.
The Mamertine Prison 81
Famous Villas on the Quirinal, Esquiline, and Pincian Hills.
Virgilia and Myrtilla 98
The Thermae Agrippas. The Suicide of Petronius. The
Roman Senator. Shocking Spectacles in Nero's Circus
The Villa on the Cselian Hill. The Catacombs of Rome.
A Picture of the Social Life of Rome 137
The Roman Christians. A Moonlight Sail on the Tiber . . 162
Aziel returns to Jerusalem. Aziel, Miriam, and Jessica in
the House of Ananus. Florus and Queen Berenice.
The Zealots 172
Cestius marches against Jerusalem. Woe to Jerusalem!
Wherefore should the Temple be destroyed ? Vespasian
appointed Commander of the Roman Forces 191
Places made Sacred by the Holy Footsteps of the Christ des-
ecrated by the Tramp of Pagan Armies. The Banquet
in King Agrippa's Palace. A Description of the Roman
Army. Josephus and the Siege of Jotapata 226
Council-of-War in the Tent of Vespasian. Wily Stratagems
of the Besieged Jews. Jotapata taken, and Josephus
imprisoned. Battle on the Sea of Galilee 244
The Fall of Nero. Vespasian declared Emperor, and Titus
intrusted with the Completion of the Jewish War. Titus
advances towards Jerusalem. Scene in the House on Zion's
Hill. The Assembly of the People in the Xystus. The
Zealots send for Aid to the Idumaeans 262
The Terrible Tempest, and the Death of Ananus, the High
Priest.Jessica in the Robber's Cave. Riots among
the Zealots. Titus before the Walls of Jerusalem . . 277
Heart-rending Scenes in the Holy City. The Sicarii attack
the Worshippers in the Temple 296
Famine and Bloodshed. The Sisters' Sacrifice. Jessica's
Terrible Adventure 306
Titus Captures the Outer Wall. Aziel arms in Defence
of the Temple. Jessica in her Watch-Tower. A
Gorgeous Spectacle 312
Josephus expostulates with the Rebellious Jews. Shocking
Titus captures the Tower of Antonia. Jessica and Miriam
View the Conflicts from their Roof-Terrace .... 328
The Fall of the Temple. The Capture and Destruction of
The Triumph of Vespasian and Titus in Rome.Jessica in
the Arena of the Roman Amphitheatre 342
Daughters of Rome and Jerusalem 356
Queen Berenice and Placidus 368
Miriam and Aziel. Placidus and Jessica. Scene in the
Coliseum. The Brazen Bull 375
THE DOOM OF THE HOLY CITY.
CHRIST AND CAESAR
JERUSALEM THE BEAUTIFUL. THE STRANGE PROPHET.
THE GARDEN OP GETHSEMANE. THE HOLY OF HOLIES.
It was the first of October, in the year of our Lord 64; and of the cities
of the East, Jerusalem the Beautiful excelled them all in splendor. Herod
the Great had adorned it with costly edifices, spacious forums, theatres,
and gymnasiums, while graceful colonnades testified to his lavish
expenditure. But the crowning achievement of his life was the rebuilding of
the glorious Temple on Mount Moriab, and which was of such noble proportions
that all the fanes of Rome might have been placed within its imposing
courts. On this October morning Herod's Temple stood upon the hill, a poem
in marble, a symphony in architectural design and coloring.
Another writerl has sketched the Temple with such vividness that we will let
him paint the word-picture.
" There it stood, covering nineteen acres, and ten thousand workmen had been
forty-six years in building it. Blaze of magnificence! Bewildering range of
porticos, and ten gateways, and double arches, and Corinthian capitals
1 Rev. T. De Witt Talmage, D.D.
chiselled into lilies and acanthus; masonry bevelled and grooved into such
delicate forms that it seemed to tremble in the light; cloisters with two
rows of Corinthian columns, royal arches, marble steps pure as though made
out of the frozen snow; carving that seemed like a panel of the door of
heaven let down and set in; the fafade of the building on shoulders at each
end lifting the glory higher and higher, and walls wherein gold put out the
silver, and the carbuncle put out the gold, and the jasper put out the
carbuncle, until in the changing light they would all seem to come back
again into a chorus of harmonious color. The Temple ! The Temple! Doxologies
in stone! Anthems soaring in rafters of Lebanon cedar! From side to side and
from foundation to gilded pinnacle, the frozen prayer of. all ages !"
Behind the Sanctuary stood the massive Tower of Antonia, a gigantic
fortress, situated on the northwest corner of the Temple, erected upon a
huge rock forty cubits high.
On Zion's Hill was the gorgeous palace of Herod the Great, its white marble
walls glistening in the morning sunlight like a huge bank of snow, towered
and turreted, forming outlines of grace and beauty, while green groves and
gardens surrounding the royal residence gave the needed touch of nature,
which always enhances art. But towers and triple walls, and gleaming palaces
on Zion's crest, and turreted fortresses, and spacious forums, and smiling
hills, villa-dotted, and purple-mantled with the glowing fruit of myriad
vineyards, all -paled before the dazzling Temple crowning Moriah's brow,
whose roofs of gold, studded with golden spikes, lifted towards the blue,
flashed back the sunbeam's light in shining splendor and caught the eye of
the pilgrim, and riveted his gaze from whatever side he might approach this
imposing city, of which it was written in the Talmuds,
" He who has not seen Jerusalem has never seen a beautiful city."
And now above the noise of city streets, and busy throngs, and stamping
beasts, and lowing of sacrificial kine, and bellowing of imprisoned bullocks
soon to be slaughtered by priestly hands, and cooing of the caged doves, and
bleating of unblemished lambs brought for temple offerings ; above the hum
of city traffic and the buzz of gathering, gossiping groups of pilgrims,
rings out a voice upon the morning air, which startles the ears of men and
beasts and birds, as its mournful clarion tones swell and resound, causing
the listeners to mutely question with startled glances the meaning of this
strange and foreboding omen.
"Woe, woe to Jerusalem! Woe to the city and to the people, and to the Holy
House! A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four
winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the Holy House! A voice against the
bridegrooms and the brides; and a voice against this whole people! Woe, woe
"What means the cry of that bird of ill-omen?" asked a burly Levite,
elbowing his way towards the Temple through the pressing crowd. " Was
Jerusalem ever more prosperous since the hated Romans placed their yoke upon
our sacred necks?"
"Hist, man," retorted a bystander. "Be not so rash with thy forward tongue.
Perchance some evil doth portend. Hast thou not seen the star in the form of
a sword, of which men whisper?"
" And dost thou not mark the comet that has not ceased to burn for a whole
year? " asked another.
"Enough of stars and comets, ye fools," rejoined the Levite. "Have not stars
shone before, and comets blazed? and the earth still remains, and the Jews
continue to be the mighty people of God, in spite of Roman eagles and Roman
yokes, and the Nazarene besides, who claimed to be the King of the Jews? But
that cross on Golgotha was the only throne He ever knew."
"Perhaps not, thou prating Levite!" said a Roman soldier, then passing.
"That Nazarene, though dead, as you claim, seems still to have much power;
for even in Caesar's household He has been called the Divine Son of God. I
know not what it means, for I have to do with war, not religions; but I have
met the followers of the Nazarene in all climes, and neither Roman legions,
nor racks of torture, nor burning stakes, can force them to deny their
"Peradventure thou art also a believer?" sneered the Levite. " And who art
thou that pretendest to know more than a holy Jew of that episode on
"My father was the Roman centurion at that cross," replied the soldier,
"Ah! doubtless that weak fellow who was so frightened at the darkness
occasioned by the eclipse that his terror made him believe the crucified
malefactor was' the Son of God,' as rumor has it. Well, over thirty years
have passed, and the Temple still stands, and will continue, in spite of the
dead Nazarene's declaration that it should be destroyed."
"Beware, Levite!" rejoined the Roman. "Strange things have happened, as the
Nazarene did foretell, and stranger yet will happen, if I mistake not
certain signs in the Imperial City."
" I care not for thy Rome, nor Roman legions!" cried the Levite. "The Jews
will yet be masters of the world."
"It might not be good for thy bodily safety, should such seditious words
come to the ear of mighty Caesar," rejoined the Roman soldier, Placidus, as
he turned from the Levite, who continued his way towards the Temple, where
the people were gathering, and around which they were erecting their booths
of branches ; for this October morning was to usher in the memorable Day of
Atonement, which preceded the Feast of Tabernacles.
As the early morning sun gilded the crest of the Mount of Olives, a solitary
pedestrian had emerged from the shade of the olive groves, and began the
descent of the declivity. His clothing was made of the skins of wild beasts;
his long, gray hair and white beard were unkempt; his face was haggard, and
his eyes were cast upon the ground in meditation; he carried in his right
hand a staff, and in his left a scroll; his sandals were coarse and worn.
Where the mantle of skin was parted in front, there was revealed an under
garment of sackcloth. The appearance of the wayfarer denoted extreme sorrow.
Now and again, as his lifted head was turned towards Jerusalem, his eyes
were eloquent with a hopeless grief, an overwhelming woe, his soul shrouded
in deep despair. But no selfish sorrow was apparent. He cast no ashes upon
his head, nor rent his garments in sign of personal bereavement. His glance,
when not cast upon the ground, was riveted upon the Holy City, towards which
he was slowly approaching; and as he murmured, "Woe to Jerusalem! Woe to the
Holy City!" in tones so hopelessly mournful, even the birds, twittering in
the branches of the olive-trees, ceased for a moment their morning carol,
seemingly hushed to silence by such an unusual wail of human woe.
As the wayfarer passed out of the Garden of Gethsemane, and continued his
course through the Valley of Jehoshaphat, great crowds of people were
already entering the gates of the city, on their way to the Temple.
The prophet was still separated from the throng as he slowly walked through
the Vale of the Tombs. Pausing at the Tomb of Absalom, the prophet opened
his scroll, and attentively perused it for a few moments. Then he murmured
" It is written! It is fulfilled! Woe to Jerusalem! Woe also to me! for I
stood in my youth beside that Holy Cross, and mocked with the passers-by,
crying, 'If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross!' and even as
I jeered, the Dying One opened his marvellous eyes and looked upon me; and
straightway my soul was thrilled with horror, as though a sword had pierced
my heart; and I knew He was the Holy One of God. I have searched the
Scriptures, and in Him the prophecies are fulfilled. It is laid upon me to
cry, Woe to Jerusalem! Woe to the Holy House! for they shall utterly be
destroyed; for they cast out the Son of the Most High God!"
Closing the scroll, the prophet continued his walk. Passing by the Tomb of
Zechariah, he paused by the Tomb of Saint James, and, resting beneath the
portico, supported by slender pillars, he once again gazed long and
mournfully upon the city of Jerusalem, exclaiming,
"Woe to the city and to the people! Jerusalem shall be left desolate!
Graves! graves! naught but graves!"
Again he resumed his walk, and passing through the Vale of Tombs, at length
reached the gates of the city, and for a time was lost in the moving crowds
Passing in and out of this centre of eastern trade and commerce, were
caravans of camels, laden with ivory, cinnamon, rich spices, gorgeous
Oriental fabrics, and various articles of traffic from other eastern
countries. Other caravans were slowly approaching the city from the
direction of Jericho, that "City of Palms," which Herod the Great had
restored to much of its former magnificence, in the erection of
fortifications and royal palaces; for though the palace of Herod had been
partially destroyed by fire, it had been rebuilt by Archelaus. And on this
October morning the highway to Jericho was gay with frequent groups of
pedestrians; bands of Roman soldiers; camels with their loads of balsam, for
which the country of Jericho was famed, and multitudes of Jews going up to
Jerusalem, bearing branches of olive, palm, pine, willow, and myrtle trees ;
for the Israelites were commanded to dwell in booths, or tents, during the
seven days of the Feast of Tabernacles.
And again that bodeful cry rang out upon the air, " Woe to Jerusalem! Woe to
the Holy House!"
"What means that, father?" asked a young Jewish maiden of one of the chief
priests, called Ananus, as he passed through the Court of the Gentiles into
the Temple, preparatory to entering upon his solemn duties on this memorable
day of sacred observances.
"I know not, Miriam, my daughter," answered the father. " Perchance it is
the voice of some lunatic from the mountains. Fear not! It means naught to
the mighty Jewish nation."
And Ananus ascended the steps leading from the Court of the Gentiles into
the Court of the Women, and having passed through the Beautiful Gate, which
divided the two enclosures, he proceeded through the Nicanor's Gate, which
was of Corinthian brass, all the rest of the gates of the Temple being of
wood covered with plates of gold and silver, and then entered the Court of
Israel, or Court of the Jewish Men.
Through this court, now thronged with worshippers, the High Priest passed
into the Court of the Priests, and having entered into one of the priests'
cloisters, he there bathed, according to ceremonial law, and fully dressed
himself in the holy white linen garments, appointed for the sacred
ceremonies of this memorable Day of Atonement, which occurred on the 10th
Tishri, when the High Priest alone, of all the days of the year, should
enter the Holy of Holies.
The entrance to the Holy Place was through a twoleaved gate covered with
plates of gold, over which was twined a colossal golden vine, of which the
clusters of grapes were formed of precious stones, rubies, emeralds, the
topaz, amethysts, and others of various hues and brilliancy; for each year
the Jews added grapes or golden leaves to this wondrous vine, until it had
become a marvel of the world.
And when the shining gates were opened, the High Priest lifted a gorgeous
curtain of Babylonian tapestry, of blue, scarlet, yellow, and purple,
embroidered with the symbols of the constellations of the heavens, the
colors also being of significant meaning, the scarlet signifying fire; the
fine flax, the earth; the blue, the air; and the purple, the sea.
Within this Holy Place stood the Altar of Incense, before the sacred Veil,
which concealed the Holy of Holies. Here also was the Golden Candlestick,
sevenbranched, where in Solomon's Temple had stood seven golden
candlesticks. And here, too, was the Table of Showbread, of solid gold,
together with the other golden tables upon which were placed the golden
vessels used in the services of the Temple.
MIRIAM, JESSICA, AND AZIEL. THE TEMPLE COURTS.
THE HALL OF HEWN STONES. THE DOVE BAZAAR.
Miriam, the daughter of Ananus, one of the chief priests, together with her
younger sister, Jessica, attended by their faithful nurse, Rachel, who was
the constant guardian of the two motherless maidens, formed a group a little
apart ivom the crowds thronging the Court of the Gentiles.
Miriam was a typical daughter of the Jews, beautiful as Rebecca, graceful
and stately as Queen Esther, brave as the Miriam of old, for whom she had
been named, faithful as Hannah, the mother of Samuel, filial as Ruth, and as
devout as Eunice, the mother of Timothy.
A transparent white scarf partly draped her head, crowned with its raven
locks, for the Jewish maidens might display their wealth of braided or
curled tresses. On her low, broad brow fell the golden coins which formed a
part of a Jewish maiden's dower ; while the same precious coins were
garlanded across her swelling bust, modestly hidden by folds of scarlet
crape, held in place by a richly embroidered linen girdle, from which fell
in graceful folds the silken skirt of her pale blue tunic, which was
partially concealed by a mantle of Persian design.
Her white throat was clasped by a necklace of rare pearls, caught by an
emerald of priceless value. As the eldest daughter of a rich and powerful
priest, her attire was becomingly costly; while her younger sister, a maiden
of some twelve summers, was clothed simply in garments of white, with a
girdle and mantle of dark blue.
Old Rachel wore a cloak of brown, which so shrouded her figure that naught
else was visible of her costume, save the white cotton turban wound round
her head, and forming a sort of veil as it hung upon each side of her face.
This article of dress was known among the ancient Hebrews as the wimple.
The feet of Miriam and Jessica, partly visible beneath the tunic, were
encased in shoes of soft leather, adorned with little bells. This
foot-covering was worn only by the higher classes of the Jews. Rachel wore
the customary sandal, with a sole of wood, and straps of leather made from
the skin of the camel.
As Miriam and Jessica, accompanied by Rachel, were about to enter the Court
of the Women,(the "Azarath Nashim " of the Temple), beyond which no woman
must penetrate into the more sacred precincts of the Sanctuary, a youth
At this moment, once more that doleful cry rang through the air, " Woe! woe
to Jerusalem! " and the voice was near, even at hand; and Miriam beheld with
affright the old prophet, who had now reached the Temple, where his bodeful
lamentation had arrested the attention of the crowds around him.
Just as Aziel, the Jewish youth, accosted Miriam and her sister, the prophet
had been seized by the bystanders, who were proceeding to bind him, to lead
him before the Sanhedrin, which would shortly assemble in the "Lishcath Hag-gazith,"
or Hall of Hewn Stones.
" What means this terrible curse, Aziel?" asked Miriam, not yet wholly
recovered from the fright occasioned by the unusual cry, but evincing her
relief at the sight of this young friend by a smile of welcome; disclosing
her pleasure by the tell-tale blushes deepening the rich tint of her cheeks,
while the shadows lightened in her large dark eyes.
"I know not, Miriam. But I think not, with yonder crowd, that the man is a
disturber; for I feel a dim presentiment that he is rather a prophet sent to
warn this nation," answered the Jewish youth, after he had gracefully
uttered the Jewish " Shalom" of the Talmuds, ("Peace be with thee!")
Aziel was related to the family of Joseph of Arimathaea, and was a
descendant of a long line of pious Israelites. Like Absalom, he was of that
rare type of Jew appearing now and again in Jewish chronicles; for Aziel was
fair of countenance, with brown locks glinting to gold in the sunlight, and
eyes of violet blue, the symbol of truth.
He wore the Hebrew "Chatuk," or tunic of linen, which fitted the figure, and
came down to the feet. His " Talith," or robe, was of purple silk, girdled
with a broad band of linen embroidered in divers colors; while his golden
locks, perfumed with the costly ointment of spikenard, which among the Jews
was not a sign of effeminacy, but rather of rigorous attention to the laws
of purification, fell beneath the white linen "Sudar," or turban, and hung
upon his broad shoulders in luxuriant curls.
The Jew did not, like the Roman, display his muscular strength and physical
proportions by the short, sleeveless tunic; but, nevertheless, Aziel's manly
beauty of form and fine contour of limb and shoulder were not wholly
concealed by the flowing robe, or long tunic, for the girdle held the mantle
in graceful and convenient folds, so as not to interfere with his free gait
and manly proportions.
He indulged in no extravagance of dress, though the materials were handsome
and costly, as became his rank; but his youth was betokened by the
ornamental stick, or cane, with its carved pomegranate upon the top, rather
than the plainer staff carried by the older and more sedate Jews.
A signet ring, upon a finger of his right hand, bore the seal of his
illustrious family; while his purple mantle was bordered at the four corners
with the fringed "Cicsith," as commanded in the law.
At a signal from the prefect of the Temple, Aziel entered with Miriam,
Jessica, and Rachel, through the Beautiful Gate, into the Court of the
Women, and they proceeded to deposit their Temple offerings in the
receptacles provided for them. Thirteen gates led into this court from the
Chel, or open space which separated the Court of the Women from the Court of
the Gentiles. Before each one of these gates stood chests, called in the
Talmuds "Shophraroth" (rams' horns, or trumpets), because of their narrow
necks. Each chest was for a different object, indicated by an inscription in
the Hebrew tongue.
Miriam and her sister deposited their offerings in the chest holding the
money for turtle doves, while Aziel put a handful of silver shekels into the
first chest, and a golden coin into the fourth and sixth boxes; and with a
parting salutation to Miriam, he passed beyond, through the Gate of
Corinthian Brass, into the " Azarath Yisrael," or Court of the Israelites.
From this court were visible the solemn services performed by the priests in
the inner "Azarath Cohanim," or Court of the Priests,and into which none
else might enter.
And now the ringing of the little golden bells which bordered the robe of
the High Priest became audible, as he came back from the priests' cloister,
where he had laid aside the white linen garments in which he had performed
the special duties of the Day of Atonement, and resumed his customary
The solemn services of the Day of Atonement having been completed, the
people returned to their respective homes, preparatory to erecting the
booths of the branches of willow, palm, myrtle, olive, and pine, in which
they were to dwell during the coming Feast of Tabernacles, on the 15th
And now let us follow the strange prophet, whose name was Joshua, into the
Hall of Hewn Stones, whither he had been led as a disturber of the peace, to
answer his accusers before the bar of justice, presided over by the
distinguished and powerful assemblage of learned Rabbis and priests
composing the -Sanhedrin.
There were three places in the Temple where it was lawful to sit for
discussion. The first was at the Gate of Susa; the second, at the Gate of
the Court of the Gentiles; and the third, in the first half of the Hall of
As for forty years before the destruction of Jerusalem, according to the
Talmuds, the Sanhedrin had ceased to meet in the part of the Hall of Hewn
Stones included in the Court of Israel, we must follow the prophet into that
portion of the Basilica reached through the Chel. Around the Hall, upon a
raised platform, sat the seventy-one members of the Sanhedrin, in a half
circle. The Nasi, or President of this body, the Supreme Court of the Jews,
had been in past times chosen on account of his eminence and wisdom; but the
office became, at length, an honor to be bought by the most wealthy. Often
it was held by the High Priest. The "Father of the House of Judgment," or
Vice-President of the Sanhedrin, sat at the right hand of the President.
Into this august assembly the strange prophet had been brought by his
"Why dost thou disturb the peace of the city?" asked the President, who, in
this instance, was also the High Priest of Jerusalem.
But the prophet was deaf to all questions and to all accusations, repeating
only his weird and bodeful lamentations,
"Woe to the Holy City, and to the Holy House! A voice from the east, a voice
from the west, a voice from the four winds! Woe! woe to Jerusalem!" Neither
would he give any account of himself.
"What thinkest thou, Ananus?" inquired the High Priest, of the Father of the
House of Judgment, which place of honor was held by the father of Miriam.
"It may be he is some lunatic from the mountains," responded Ananus;
"nevertheless, it were doubtless better to insure his silence by scourge or
punishment, lest his doleful cry raise a riot in the city."
"That is wise counsel," answered the High Priest; "in these troublous times
it were good to keep such brawlers well muzzled."
Whereupon, the Sanhedrin condemned the prophet to be scourged. But when he
was laid hold upon, and taken to the place of scourging, the prophet uttered
not one word of supplication for himself, insomuch that the soldiers
marvelled, and he ceased not to cry as before.
As the prophet Joshua could not be restrained by the punishments inflicted
upon him by the Sanhedrin, the rulers of the people led him before Albinus.
Festus was dead, and Albinus was procurator in his place. Herod the Great
was dead, and his kingdom had been allotted by Augustus to Archelaus, Herod
Antipas, and Philippus. The fall of Archelaus left the throne of Judea and
Samaria without a direct claimant, and the Emperor attached it to the Roman
dominions. The general administration of the country was through the
proconsul of Syria, but the provinces were more directly governed by an
imperial procurator, who then dwelt at Caesarea Philippi.
Both Augustus and Tiberius respected the peculiar prejudices of the Jews.
When Pontius Pilatus entered Jerusalem with the Roman standards flying, upon
which the image of the Emperor was displayed, which the Jews considered a
national insult, as they were forbidden by their law to make any images,
thereupon they made complaints, and Tiberius commanded Pilate to withdraw
the offending images.
The Emperor Caligula, however, demanded of the Jews that they should allow
his statue to be set up in Jerusalem, which decree had already been carried
out in other cities of the Empire.
This command of the Emperor was sent to a certain Publius, prefect of Syria;
but as soon as the Jews were informed of it, they assembled at the town of
Tiberias, whither they had been convened by Publius, and when he endeavored
to enforce the decree of the Emperor, the multitude of the Jews cried out,
"We will die rather than our law should be broken!"
"Will ye, then, war with Caesar?" said Publius, to which one of the chief
among the Jews replied,
"For Caesar and the Roman people twice a day do we sacrifice, but if he
erects these images, he must first destroy the whole Jewish nation; and we
now present ourselves, our wives and children, ready for the slaughter."
This heroic stand of the Jews in defence of their religious laws so moved
Publius that he dismissed the assembly. But Caligula, incensed that the
Jewish nation should thus defy his authority, gave directions that a
colossal statue should be made of himself, and that it be placed in the Holy
of Holies, in the Temple at Jerusalem, having inscribed upon it his own
name, with the title of Jupiter.
The report of this atrocious sacrilege was received at Jerusalem with wild
manifestations of astonishment and horror. But the speedy assassination of
the tyrant prevented the consummation of this infamous deed.
While Judea and Samaria were thus annexed to the Roman province, Galilee and
the outlying regions of Peraea and Ituraea were suffered to remain under
their native rulers; and the dominions of Herod the Great became once more
united under a single sceptre.
At this time Nero had been for ten years emperor. In 52 A. D. , the Emperor
Claudius appointed Herod Agrippa II., the son of Herod Agrippa I. and Cypros,
a grandniece of Herod the Great.. to the tetrarchies formerly held by
Philip, the son of Herod the Great, with the title of king. Nero afterwards
enlarged the dominions of Agrippa by the addition of several cities, and
Agrippa erected costly buildings both at Jerusalem and Berytus.
Agrippa had also added an apartment to the old Asmonean Palace, which stood
on the eastern brow of the Upper City, and commanded a full view of the
interior of the Courts of the Temple. As the Jews saw this desecration of
the Sanctuary (for it was a law of the Rabbis that none should build his
house high enough to overlook the Temple), they built a wall on the west
side of the inner quadrangle. This wall not only intercepted the palace of
Agrippa, but also the view from the outer cloisters, in which the Roman
guard was stationed during the festivals. Thereupon both Festus, who was
then procurator, and King Agrippa complained to Nero. The Jews pleaded that,
once built, it was a part of the Temple, and it would be sacrilegious to
remove it. Nero admitted their plea, but retained as hostages the High
Priest and treasurer, who had headed the deputation to Rome.
Such is a brief outline of some of the political events preceding the time
of our story.
Albinus being now procurator, the prophet was brought into his presence.
"Who art thou, and whence didst thou come, and why sayest thou these
things?" asked Albinus.
But the prophet Joshua answered him not a word, but ceased not to make
lamentation over the city.
The governor then caused him to be scourged, even to the laying bare of his
bones; but the prophet used neither entreaties nor tears.
At length, Albinus, judging the man to be mad, let him depart. So Joshua,
the strange prophet, returned to the mountains; but, as we shall see, this
was not the last heard of his direful cry.
This time being the Feast of Tabernacles, preparations continued in
Jerusalem for the observance of all its sacred ceremonies. The services of
the Day of Atonement, which preceded the Feast of Tabernacles, being over,
the people gathered in the Xystus, which was the Forum, or Pnyx, of the city
of Jerusalem. The Xystus was in the valley called the Valley of the
Cheesemongers, or the Tyropceon. This valley separated the Upper City on
Mount Zion from the Temple on Mount Moriah, on the one hand, and from the
Lower City on Mount Acra, on the other. Zion of the Holy Hill was usually
spoken of as including the Temple Hill.
Jerusalem, as we all know, was built on four hills, Zion, Moriah, Acra,
and Bezetlia. At the time of Christ, Bezetha was still without the walls,
although the slopes were dotted with many buildings, and Calvary lay between
Mount Zion and Bezetha. At the time of our story, Bezetha had been enclosed
by what was called the third wall. On Zion, in the Higher, or Upper, City,
rose the palace of the king. On Moriah was the Temple. Zion was the old
city, the city of David; and, in the time of Christ, included the whole of
the southern part of Jerusalem.
In the TyropO3on, or valley between these hills, was the Xystus, and Council
Hall, while above was a bridge uniting the Temple Hill to the Upper City.
From Temple Hill a magnificent view of the city of Jerusalem could be
obtained, the Upper City lying to the left, and the Lower City to the
right; while in front was the Tyropceon Valley, with the great square of the
Xystus crowded with the various nationalities that flocked to Jerusalem, for
trade, pleasure, or on sacred pilgrimages.
As we have lingered on Temple Hill while the crowds were hurrying down to
the Xystus, intent on their various occupations, we notice again the group
we have already described. The Jewish maiden, Miriam, and her sister
Jessica, accompanied by old Rachel, at this moment emerged from the outer
courts of the Temple.
"You remember, Rachel," remarked Miriam, "that we must go to the Dove
Bazaar, on the Mount of Olives, to procure our Temple offerings for
to-morrow. Let us proceed thither before the shadows fall. I have here in my
girdle pieces of silver which will suffice for their purchase."
"Peradventure Aziel of Arimathaea will not be loath to
lend us his company over the bridge," rejoined Rachel, as she perceived the
youth approaching, and was not averse to her young charges having so gallant
a protector as they passed beyond the walls of the city.
As Aziel was an old friend, his family having been acknowledged by the
family of the fair Jewess as intimate friends for generations, he was
privileged to approach and salute the maidens.
"Thou goest not home, Miriam?" inquired Aziel, as he joined the group.
"Not yet," replied Miriam; "I must go to the Dove Bazaar beyond the Kedron."
"Let me go with thee thither," said Aziel, stepping by the side of the girl,
whose soft, black eyes, needing no help of "Kohl" to add lustre to their
radiance, were only partially concealed by the white gauze veil half
shrouding their loveliness. Meanwhile, Jessica and Rachel followed a few
They did not descend into the Valley of Jehoshaphat, containing the tombs,
where we first beheld the prophet Joshua, but crossed the Kedron by a bridge
connecting the Temple with the Mount of Olives. Along this road the priests
of the Temple had opened various shops, or bazaars, the income of which
belonged to the powerful family of Annas, the Sadducean. The most noted of
all these shops was a bazaar erected under two magnificent cedar-trees,
frequented by clouds of doves-. This was the Dove Bazaar, and, according to
the Talmuds, these birds sufficed to supply the pigeons for sacrifice for
Peradventure, under these very cedar-trees, Mary, the mother of Jesus,
purchased the doves which she offered in the Temple after the birth of the
It was but a few minutes' walk outside the walls of Jerusalem to the Valley
of the Kedron, and by the bridge from Temple Hill the distance was even
As the long ceremonies in the Temple had occupied much of the day, the sun
was nearing its setting, as the party, having purchased the doves, which
Rachel carried in two small basket-like cages, again turned their steps
towards the city.
"As the sun is not yet down, and the city gates will still be open, let us
return by the valley," said Aziel to Miriam, desiring to prolong his
conversation with the maiden, whom he evidently admired. It had been
rumored, also, that Ananus, the father of Miriam, would ere this have
proposed the betrothal of these two young friends, for the approval of the
Sanhedrin, of which body he was "The Father of the House of Judgment," but
that Aziel was reputed to be a Christian, while Ananus still held to the
faith of his fathers, being a strict Sadducee.
THE POOL OF SILOAM. THE HOUSE-ON ZION'S HILL. THE
FEAST OF TABERNACLES.
As the home of Miriam, she being the daughter of one of high rank, was in
the Upper City on Mount Zion, in descending the Mount of Olives they did not
pass through the Garden of Gethsemane, but entered by the Gate of the
Fountain, near the beginning of the saddle-shaped projection of the Temple
Hill, supposed to be the Ophel of the Bible.
As Aziel and Miriam, together with Jessica and Rachel, approached Siloam,
the setting sun flooded Mount Moriah with gorgeous rays, bathing the white
marble colonnades of the Temple with ruby light, touching its roof of gold
with a blaze of glory so resplendent as to recall to the mind of the devout
Jew the wonderful descriptions of the awesome effulgence of the marvellous
Shecliinah, which no longer manifested its transcendent glory in the Holy of
The Pool of Siloam was not then the ruin it now is; then, groves and gardens
flourished around it. In the gardens bloomed the rose of Sharon and the lily
of the valley, while the useful rue bordered the garden walls. Here and
there in the grass near this sacred Siloam might have been seen the gorgeous
scarlet lily of the east, the Lilium Chalcedonicum, while the purple lily of
Palestine swayed gracefully in the evening breeze. It is supposed that one
of these beautiful flowers was referred to by Christ as the lily of the
field, with which "Not even Solomon in all his glory" could be compared, for
in his magnificent robes "he was not arrayed like one of these."
The Pool of Siloam was a favorite resort of the Jews. Its shady groves of
willows, clustering vines, and sacred waters, together with the view of the
king's luxuriant gardens, where the grape-vines were trained upon the trunks
of the fig-trees, giving force to the emblem of domestic happiness, as
represented by "dwelling under one's own vine and fig-tree," rendered the
spot delightful; where oaks lent their grateful shade from the noonday sun,
while, in the gardens near, the pistachio-trees, for which Palestine was
famous, furnished their harvest of spicy nuts.
There, too, the myrtle flourished. Not the humble vine we know, but a
stately shrub, with green, shining leaves, and snow-white flowers bordered
with purple, emitting a fragrance more exquisite than that of the rose. The
date palms waved their feathery plumage, and in the paradise of the king's
gardens, the apricot, quince, and citron trees abounded, while orange groves
perfumed the air with the delicious fragrance of their snowy blossoms. The
pale, gray-green leaves of the olive-trees formed a fitting background to
the brighter tints of the fig-trees, while the crimson flowers of the low
pomegranates rose little higher than the white blossoms of the tree-myrtle.
Over the garden wall wild roses clambered; lilies clustered near the
fountain; the blue-eyed flower of the flax mingled with the star-shaped
blossom of the star of Bethlehem on the hillsides and in the valleys; while
the many mustard-trees or shrubs furnished seeds for the linnets,
goldfinches, sparrows, starlings, blackbirds, songthrushes, corn-buntings,
pipits, and green finches, which abounded in Palestine. The solitary blue
thrush, eschewing the society of its own species, flitted here and there in
pairs, but shunned the noisy chatterers on the mustardtrees.
Were these the birds referred to by the Psalmist as "the sparrow that
sitteth alone upon the house-top"? Solomon's fleet had brought peacocks to
Jerusalem, and these gorgeous birds paraded in stately grandeur through the
various walks of the king's gardens.
At this October season, not all these various blossoms were in bloom, but
were numerous enough to fascinate the gaze, and slacken the footsteps of the
wayfarer as he entered a vale of loveliness, ere he continued his walk up
the hillsides leading to the Higher City.
Aziel and Miriam had seated themselves upon the upper step of the stairway
leading down to the Pool of Siloam, while Jessica and Rachel stooped to
gather clusters of the stars of Bethlehem, Jessica attracted by the
loveliness of the white blossoms, but prudent Rachel gathering the bulbous
roots of the plant, which were sometimes used for food.
Aziel and Miriam had been speaking of the strange cry of Joshua, the
prophet; and Aziel said,
" I have been watching for some time the signs of the times; peradventure
some ominous event portends. This last terrible conflagration in Rome has
raised grave rumors regarding the Emperor Nero, and reports have confirmed
the stories regarding Caesar's iniquitous burning of the Christians, whom he
accused of having set fire to the city, to conceal his own connivance in the
plot of wholesale destruction, which he thought necessary in order to obtain
sufficient space for erecting his contemplated gorgeous structures."
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WHAT OTHERS HAVE
"The Critic" (1896)
"Religious Novels have no
prescriptive right to be dull and commonplace. We sometimes suspect that the
authors of pious tales take for granted the indulgence of a pious public.
The subject of the history of Jerusalem from a period shortly antecedent to
the time of Christ up to the destruction of that
city by the Romans has been a favorite theme for the religiousstory
writers. It Would be difficult to imagine any new method of treating that
period. "The Doom of the
Holy City: Christ and Caesar," by
Lydia Hoyt Farmer, is a story of the sort to
which we have adverted, and it is not as bad as the worst of its class that
we have seen. The English is decent and the plot is fairly managed in
conformity to what we have learned of the historical events of the period.
The scene of the story is laid, of course, in Jerusalem, but now and then we
are taken to Rome, and there our author's knowledge of Roman antiquities is
used to ornament her pages. We advise this book for a Sunday-school or
parish library. (A. D. F. Randolph & Co.)" (The Critic, Vol. 25)
About the Author
FARMER, Lydia (Hoyt), journalist aud author, was born in Cleveland, O.,
daughter of James M. and Mary Ella (Beebe) Hoyt. Her grandfather, Alexander
M. Beebe, LL.D. of New York city, was a fellow-student with Washington
Irving and Martin Van Buren, in the law-office of Judge Ogden Hoffman. Her
maternal great-grandfather was Dr. Ogilvie, for fifty years rector of
Trinity parish in New York city. She was educated in Cleveland, at private
and public schools, where she early evinced strong talent in music, art and
literature, and became an accomplished linguist. Since 1884 she has engaged
in writing, beginning by contributing prose and verse to the leading
newspapers and popular magazines. In 1896 she was appointed to the editorial
staff of the "Boston Ideas," to write weekly criticisms under the heading "
Flashes from Literature." She has also contributed reviews to the "Arena."
She has published: " A Story Book of Science " (1886); " Boys' Book of
Famous Rulers " (1886); "Girls' Book of Famous Queens" (1887); "The Prince
of the Flaming Star" (1857); " The Life of Lafayette " (1888); " A Short
History of the French Revolution " (1889); "A Knight of Faith" (1889); "A
Moral Inheritance" (1890); "What America Owes to Women "(1893); " Aunt
Belindy's Points of View" (1894); "The Doom of the Holy City "(1895), and
"The Nero of the Nineteenth Century." "The Doom of the Holy City "was by
permission dedicated to W. E. Gladstone, who had written a letter in
commendation of her former work, "A Knight of Faith." "Aunt Belindy's
Points" was described in the "Bookman"as "marked by shrewd wit, keen
observation and broad characterization," and a critic in "Current
Literature" wrote: "In Lydia Hoyt Farmer's popular little book of typical
sketches, humorous philosophy, fashionable faux pat and quaint logic form
the setting for a pleasing love-story, interwoven with mauy bright bits of
amusing dialect and social fads, which give constant change of scene, and
afford artistic shadings and picturesque portraiture." The Boston "Journal
of Education" said: "The works ot Lydia Hoyt Farmer improve steadily, which
is rarely true with writers who do so much and along such varied lines." She
is the wife of Elihu Jerome Farmer, of Cleveland, O., aud has two sous and a