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25 October 2021

John of Gischala during the Jewish uprising 69-70

John (יוחנן מגוש חלב‎ Yohanan mi-Gush Halav) after defying Vespasian’s forces in Galilee, took his followers to Jerusalem in CE 69 (Roman Date: AUC DCCCXXII; Hebrew Year 3830)

We read in Josephus, The Jewish War (William Whiston Translation, 1737), IV, 9, 10. Online.

“Now this Simon, who was without the wall, was a greater terror to the people than the Romans themselves: as were the zealots who were within it more heavy upon them than both of the other. And during this time did the mischievous contrivances and courage [of John] corrupt the body of the Galileans. For these Galileans had advanced this John, and made him very potent. Who made them suitable a requital, from the authority he had obtained by their means. For he permitted them to do all things that any of them desired to do. While their inclination to plunder was insatiable: as was their zeal in searching the houses of the rich. And for the murdering of the men, and abusing of the women, it was sport to them. They also devoured what spoils they had taken, together with their blood; and indulged themselves in feminine wantonness, without any disturbance, till they were satiated therewith.

While they decked their hair, and put on women’s garments, and were besmeared over with ointments: and that they might appear very comely, they had paints under their eyes; and imitated not only the ornaments, but also the lusts of women: and were guilty of such intolerable uncleanness, that they invented unlawful pleasures of that sort. And thus did they roll themselves up and down the city, as in a brothel house; and defiled it entirely with their impure actions. Nay while their faces looked like the faces of women, they killed with their right hands; and when their gait was effeminate, they presently attacked men, and became warriors: and drew their swords from under their finely dyed cloaks, and ran every body through whom they light upon.

However Simon waited for such as ran away from John: and was the more bloody of the two. And he who had escaped the tyrant within the wall, was destroyed by the other that lay before the gates. So that all attempts of flying and deserting to the Romans were cut off, as to those that had a mind so to do.”

John was finally captured by the Romans in CE 70. He was star attraction in Titus’ victory march in Rome, and presumably died in a Roman prison.

Neither EN.Wikipedia nor the Jewish Encyclopedia mention the transvesting.

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