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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin

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M.Besant E.Walter
Jerusalem, the city of Herod and Saladin
page 33



Fortress, without which the Lower Town could not he taken. Jt was determined to begin the assault with the northwestern part of the wall, that part of it where the valley turns in a north-westerly direction and leaves a level space between the wall and its own course. The engines used by the Eomans were those always employed in the conduct of a siege—the ballistae, the towers, and the battering rams. Then banks were constructed, on each of which was a tower and a ram. In the construction of these last all the trees round Jerusalem were cut down. Nor have they ever been replanted, and a thousand years later on the siege of the city by the Crusaders, only inferior in horror to that of Titus, nearly miscarried for want of timber to construct the towers of assault. As soon as the banks were sufficiently advanced the battering rams were mounted and the assault commenced. The Jews, terrified by the thunder of the rams against the city, annoyed, too, by the stones which came into the city from the ballista?, joined their forces and tried a sortie from a secret gate near Hippicus. Their object was to destroy the machines by fire ; and in this they well-nigh succeeded, fighting with a desperation and courage which no Eoman troops had ever before experienced. Titus himself was in the conflict ; he killed twelve Jews with his own hands ; but the Eomans would have given way had it not been for the reinforcement of some Alexandrian troops who came up at the right moment and drove back the Jews. On the fifteenth day of the siege the biggest battering ram, "Nikon," the Conqueror, effected a breach in the outer wall. The Jews, panic-stricken, forgot their wonted courage and took refuge within the second wall. Titus became therefore master of Bezetha, in the New Town ; forming about a third of the city. As nothing is said about the population of this, which was probably only a suburb and never actually filled with


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