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The Seventeenth of Tammuz

The Seventeenth of Tammuz

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Titus saw that the Jews were now weakened by hunger. He had his soldiers cut down all the trees in a thirteen-mile swath around Jerusalem in order to build a new rampart for their assault, and they began dragging their battering rams up again. By the end of the month of Sivan, the Romans were once again battering the Antonia fortress, and this time the Jewish fighters did not have strength to resist. In the beginning of Tammuz, the Romans gained the Antonia fortress. Those who had been defending the fortress now retreated behind the high walls of the Temple complex itself.

As days passed and Titus saw that the fighters in the Temple complex were still holding out, he decided to raze the fortress and attack the Temple complex directly. On the 17th of Tammuz, the wall of the Temple complex was breached.

Knowing the dire situation in the Jewish camp, Titus sent his spokesman, Josephus, to convince the Jews to surrender. The Jewish warriors turned deaf ears to his words and ejected him contemptuously from their presence. The battle now raged in the Temple area.

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Shmuel June 28, 2013

Who caused the breach? According to some British historians, quoting Roman documents (I don’t know if that was Josephus), the Jews caused the breach, but inadvertently.
In ancient times, a very strategic weapon, used by the Romans, was a siege tower. It was about 75 ft high, weighed several tons, arrow shielded (except for narrow openings for the Romans to shoot from) and transported on wheels. The Romans would climb to the top, which gave them the vantage point of fighting from an above position (ancient air force?). They brought this contraption next to the wall.
Nevertheless, for every ingenious method the enemy came up with to vanquish the Jews, the Jews came up with a clever way to foil the enemy. In fact, the Romans were respectful of this – “they fought valiantly.”
So, the Jews dug a tunnel under the walls, leading under the tower. They set it on fire, bringing it down. But, unfortunately, the Jewish successes was not to last any much longer. The Romans decided no more to engage the Jews in direct battle. They quickly built a makeshift wall around the city, thus cutting off supplies. This took its toll as starvation, disease and other misery set in. Eventually, that part of the wall, hovering over the tunnel, gave in, resulting in the breach. Of course, the Romans took advantage, and ran through there. Reply