But when I was in the twenty-sixth year of my age, it happened that I took a voyage to Rome, and this on the occasion which I shall now describe. At the time when Felix was procurator of Judea there were certain priests of my acquaintance, and very excellent persons they were, whom on a small and trifling occasion he had put into bonds, and sent to Rome to plead their cause before Caesar. These I was desirous to procure deliverance for, and that especially because I was informed that they were not unmindful of piety towards God, even under their afflictions, but supported themselves with figs and nuts. (4) Accordingly I came to Rome, though it were through a great number of hazards by sea; for as our ship was drowned in the Adriatic Sea, we that were in it, being about six hundred in number, (5) swam for our lives all the night; when, upon the first appearance of the day, and upon our sight of a ship of Cyrene, I and some others, eighty in all, by God's providence, prevented the rest, and were taken up into the other ship. And when I had thus escaped, and was come to Dieearchia, which the Italians call Puteoli, I became acquainted with Aliturius, an actor of plays, and much beloved by Nero, but a Jew by birth; and through his interest became known to Poppea, Caesar's wife, and took care, as soon as possible, to entreat her to procure that the priests might be set at liberty. And when, besides this favor, I had obtained many presents from Poppea, I returned home again.
(4) We may note here, that religious men among the Jews, or at least those that were priests, were sometimes ascetics also, and, like Daniel and his companions in Babylon, Daniel 1:8-16, ate no flesh, but figs and nuts, etc. only. This was like the, or austere diet of the Christian ascetics in Passion-week. Constitut. V. 18.
(5) It has been thought the number of Paul and his companions on ship-board, Acts 27:38, which are 276 in our copies, are too many; whereas we find here, that Josephus and his companions, a very few years after the other, were about 600.