A SUCCESSFUL STRATAGEM
 WHILE the Romans were at work upon their fortifications they did not make any attacks;
and, left at rest, civil dissension soon broke out again among the Jews. It was now the
feast of the Passover, and Eleazar and his party opened the gates of the inner temple,
that any who wished might worship.
John made the festival a cloak for his wicked designs. He armed with concealed weapons a
number of his followers, and introduced them by stealth into the inner temple, with a
view of seizing upon it. Scarcely had they entered, when, throwing aside their garments,
they suddenly appeared in full armor. The worshippers feared a general massacre. Eleazar's
party, knowing the attack was made upon them, scattered and took refuge in the vaults of
the temple. The multitude cowered round the altar; some were slain out of mere wantonness
or from private hate, while a great many were trampled to death in the confusion.
Having glutted their vengeance upon those with whom they had no feud, the partisans of
John came to terms with their real enemies. Possessed of the inner temple and all its
stores, they could now bid defiance to Simon. Two factions thus were united; and now
but two parties, instead of three, divided the city.
Meanwhile, Titus cautiously advanced his approaches, and levelled the ground from Scopus
to the walls. Outside the walls were blooming gardens and orchards, which had
for-  merly delighted the Jews, but which were now swept away by the Roman soldiery, together with
fences and hedges, until the whole space was reduced to a level.
While this work was going on, the Jews concerted the following stratagem. A body of
insurgents issued out of one of the gates, as if they had been expelled from the city
by the advocates of peace, and stood cowering alongside of one another close to the
wall, as if in fear of attack from the Romans. A number of others stationed themselves
upon the wall and cried aloud for peace, calling upon the Romans for protection, and
promising to open their gates. Moreover, they assailed the portion of their own party
outside with stones, as if to drive them from the gate. The latter made feints of
attempting to force the entrance, and of petitioning those within, every now and then
rushing towards the Romans, and again retreating, as if in extreme agitation.
The Roman soldiers were taken in by this ruse, and, thinking that they had one party
in their power, and that the other would open the gates to them, they were about to
charge in a body, but were restrained by the wary Titus. For he had the day before,
through Josephus, invited the Jews to terms, but had found their demands exceeding
all reason. He therefore ordered the soldiers to remain in their position.
Some of them , however, who were stationed in front, had already snatched up their
arms, and run forward towards the gate. The Jews at first retired before them; but
when the soldiers were between the towers of the gate they turned upon them. Then
others sallied from the city and surrounded them, while those upon the wall hurled
down stones and missiles on their heads. After suffering great loss in killed and
wounded, the Romans at length retreated, and were pursued for quite a distance by
the Jews, who, when they did pause, stood and laughed at the Romans, heaping ridicule
upon them for having so easily become dupes, and, brandishing their shields, danced
and shouted for joy. The soldiers who
 had escaped were received with a reprimand from their officers, and with indignation
on the part of Titus, who addressed them sternly thus:
"The Jews, who have no leader but despair, do everything with the utmost coolness and
precaution, lay ambushes, and plot stratagems; while the Romans, to whom fortune has
always been a servant on account of their steady discipline, are become so rash and
disorderly as to venture into battle without command."
He then threatened to put into execution the military law which punished such a
breach of order with death. But the other troops came round him and petitioned
him for their fellow-soldiers, imploring him to pardon, in consideration of the
obedience of the many, the rashness of a few, and promising to redeem the disaster
by future regularity and discipline.
Moved by these entreaties, Titus pardoned the offenders, but commanded them to act
with more prudence for the future. He then began to think how he could best avenge
himself for this artifice of the Jews. The approach to the city was now complete,
and Titus ranged the flower of his troops opposite the northern and the western
wall, drawing them up, the infantry in front, the cavalry in the rear, and the
archers in the middle.
The sallies of the Jews were thus checked, and the beasts of burden with the
camp-followers came up to the camp in security. Titus himself encamped about a
quarter of a mile from the ramparts, near the tower called Psephinus. Another
division of the army was intrenched at about the same distance opposite the tower
called Hippicus, while the tenth legion still continued to occupy its position on
the Mount of Olives.