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For The Temple by G. A. Henty

Preface.

In all history, there is no drama of more terrible interest than that which terminated with the total destruction of Jerusalem. Had the whole Jewish nation joined in the desperate resistance made, by a section of it, to the overwhelming strength of Rome, the world would have had no record of truer patriotism than that displayed, by this small people, in their resistance to the forces of the mistress of the world.

Unhappily, the reverse of this was the case. Except in the defense of Jotapata and Gamala, it can scarcely be said that the Jewish people, as a body, offered any serious resistance to the arms of Rome. The defenders of Jerusalem were a mere fraction of its population -- a fraction composed almost entirely of turbulent characters and robber bands, who fought with the fury of desperation; after having placed themselves beyond the pale of forgiveness, or mercy, by the deeds of unutterable cruelty with which they had desolated the city, before its siege by the Romans. They fought, it is true, with unflinching courage -- a courage never surpassed in history -- but it was the courage of despair; and its result was to bring destruction upon the whole population, as well as upon themselves.

Fortunately the narrative of Josephus, an eyewitness of the events which he describes, has come down to us; and it is the storehouse from which all subsequent histories of the events have been drawn. It is, no doubt, tinged throughout by his desire to stand well with his patrons, Vespasian and Titus; but there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of his descriptions. I have endeavored to present you with as vivid a picture as possible of the events of the war, without encumbering the story with details and, except as regards the exploits of John of Gamala, of whom Josephus says nothing, have strictly followed, in every particular, the narrative of the historian.

G. A. Henty.

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