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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 58



favour. He is said to have been one hundred and twenty years of age when Barcochebas appeared. Probably he was at least well advanced in years. The adherence of Akiba to the rebel leader was doubtless the main cause of the hold which he obtained over his countrymen, for the authority of Akiba was greater than that of any other living Jew. Other pretenders had obtained followers, but not among the doctors learned in the law, not among such Babbis as Akiba. When the mischief was done and, by the influence of Akiba, Barcochebas found himself at the head of two hundred thousand warriors, mad with religious zeal, Turnus Bufus, the new governor, seized and imprisoned the aged rabbi.* He was brought out to trial. In the midst of the questioning Akiba remembered that it was the time for prayer, and with his usual calmness, in the presence of his judges, disregarding and heedless of their questions, he proceeded with his devotions. He was condemned to be flayed with iron hooks. No one knows the origin and previous history of Barcochebas, nor how the insurrection first began. AH kinds of legends were related of his prowess and personal strength. He was so strong that he would catch the stones thrown from the catapults with his feet, and hurl them back upon the enemy with force equal to that of the machines which cast them ; he could breathe flames ; he would, at first, admit into his ranks only those men who, to show their courage, endured to have a finger cut off, but was dissuaded from this, and ordered instead, and as a • proof of strength, that no one should join his ranks who could not himself tear up a cedar of Lebanon with his own hands. The first policy of the Jews was to hide their strength, for the insurrection was long in being prepared. They knew, and they alone, all the secrets of the caves, subterranean passages, and hidden communications with which their city and whole country were honeycombed. They * Other accounts 'say that he was taken prisoner in the taking of Jerusalem.


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