And now I am come to this part of my narration, I have a mind to say a few things to Justus, who hath himself written a history concerning these affairs, as also to others who profess to write history, but have little regard to truth, and are not afraid, either out of ill-will or good-will to some persons, to relate falsehoods. These men do like those who compose forged deeds and conveyances; and because they are not brought to the like punishment with them, they have no regard to truth. When, therefore, Justus undertook to write about these facts, and about the Jewish war, that he might appear to have been an industrious man, he falsified in what he related about me, and could not speak truth even about his own country; whence it is that, being belied by him, I am under a necessity to make my defense; and so I shall say what I have concealed till now. And let no one wonder that I have not told the world these things a great while ago. For although it be necessary for an historian to write the truth, yet is such a one not bound severely to animadvert on the wickedness of certain men; not out of any favor to them, but out of an author's own moderation. How then comes it to pass, O Justus! thou most sagacious of writers, (that I may address myself to him as if he were here present,) for so thou boastest of thyself, that I and the Galileans have been the authors of that sedition which thy country engaged in, both against the Romans and against the king [Agrippa, junior] For before ever I was appointed governor of Galilee by the community of Jerusalem, both thou and all the people of Tiberias had not only taken up arms, but had made war with Decapolis of Syria. Accordingly, thou hadst ordered their villages to be burnt, and a domestic servant of thine fell in the battle. Nor is it I only who say this; but so it is written in the Commentaries of Vespasian, the emperor; as also how the inhabitants of Decapolis came clamoring to Vespasian at Ptolemais, and desired that thou, who wast the author [of that war], mightest be brought to punishment. And thou hadst certainly been punished at the command of Vespasian, had not king Agrippa, who had power given him to have thee put to death, at the earnest entreaty of his sister Bernice, changed the punishment from death into a long imprisonment. Thy political administration of affairs afterward doth also clearly discover both thy other behavior in life, and that thou wast the occasion of thy country's revolt from the Romans; plain signs of which I shall produce presently. I have also a mind to say a few things to the rest of the people of Tiberias on thy account, and to demonstrate to those that light upon this history, that you bare no good-will, neither to the Romans, nor to the king. To be sure, the greatest cities of Galilee, O Justus! were Sepphoris, and thy country Tiberias. But Sepphoris, situated in the very midst of Galilee, and having many villages about it, and able with ease to have been bold and troublesome to the Romans, if they had so pleased, yet did it resolve to continue faithful to those their masters, and at the same time excluded me out of their city, and prohibited all their citizens from joining with the Jews in the war; and, that they might be out of danger from me, they, by a wile, got leave of me to fortify their city with walls: they also, of their own accord, admitted of a garrison of Roman legions, sent them by Cestlus Gallus, who was then president of Syria, and so had me in contempt, though I was then very powerful, and all were greatly afraid of me; and at the same time that the greatest of our cities, Jerusalem, was besieged, and that temple of ours, which belonged to us all, was in danger of falling under the enemy's power, they sent no assistance thither, as not willing to have it thought they would bear arms against the Romans. But as for thy country, O Justus: situated upon the lake of Gennesareth, and distance from Hippos thirty furlongs, from Gadara sixty, and from Scythopolis, which was under the king's jurisdiction, a hundred and twenty; when there was no Jewish city near, it might easily have preserved its fidelity [to the Romans,] if it had so pleased them to do, for the city and its people had plenty of weapons. But, as thou sayest, I was then the author [of their revolts]. And pray, O Justus! who was that author afterwards? For thou knowest that I was in the power of the Romans before Jerusalem was besieged, and before the same time Jotapata was taker by force, as well as many other fortresses, and a great many of the Galileans fell in the war. It was therefore then a proper time, when you were certainly freed from any fear on my account, to throw away your weapons, and to demonstrate to the king and to the Romans, that it was not of choice, but as forced by necessity, that you fell into the war against them; but you staid till Vespasian came himself as far as your walls, with his whole army; and then you did indeed lay aside your weapons out of fear, and your city had for certain been taken by force, unless Vespasian had complied with the king's supplication for you, and had excused your madness. It was not I, therefore, who was the author of this, but your own inclinations to war. Do not you remember how often I got you under my power, and yet put none of you to death? Nay, you once fell into a tumult one against another, and slew one hundred and eighty-five of your citizens, not on account of your good-will to the king and to the Romans, but on account of your own wickedness, and this while I was besieged by the Romans in Jotapata. Nay, indeed, were there not reckoned up two thousand of the people of Tiberias during the siege of Jerusalem, some of whom were slain, and the rest caught and carried captives? But thou wilt pretend that thou didst not engage in the war, since thou didst flee to the king. Yes, indeed, thou didst flee to him; but I say it was out of fear of me. Thou sayest, indeed, that it is I who am a wicked man. But then, for what reason was it that king Agrippa, who procured thee thy life when thou wast condemned to die by Vespian, and who bestowed so much riches upon thee, did twice afterward put thee in bonds, and as often obliged thee to run away from thy country, and, when he had once ordered thee to be put to death, he granted thee a pardon at the earnest desire of Bernice? And when (after so many of thy wicked pranks) he made thee his secretary, he caught thee falsifying his epistles, and drove thee away from his sight. But I shall not inquire accurately into these matters of scandal against thee. Yet cannot I but wonder at thy impudence, when thou hast the assurance to say, that thou hast better related these affairs [of the war] than have all the others that have written about them, whilst thou didst not know what was done in Galilee; for thou wast then at Berytus with the king; nor didst thou know how much the Romans suffered at the siege of Jotapata, or what miseries they brought upon us; nor couldst thou learn by inquiry what I did during that siege myself; for all those that might afford such information were quite destroyed in that siege. But perhaps thou wilt say, thou hast written of what was done against the people of Jerusalem exactly. But how should that be? for neither wast thou concerned in that war, nor hast thou read the commentaries of Caesar; of which we have evident proof, because thou hast contradicted those commentaries of Caesar in thy history. But if thou art so hardy as to affirm, that thou hast written that history better than all the rest, why didst thou not publish thy history while the emperors Vespasian and Titus, the generals in that war, as well as king Agrippa and his family, who were men very well skilled in the learning of the Greeks, were all alive? for thou hast had it written these twenty years, and then mightest thou have had the testimony of thy accuracy. But now when these men are no longer with us, and thou thinkest thou canst not be contradicted, thou venturest to publish it. But then I was not in like manner afraid of my own writing, but I offered my books to the emperors themselves, when the facts were almost under men's eyes; for I was conscious to myself, that I had observed the truth of the facts; and as I expected to have their attestation to them, so I was not deceived in such expectation. Moreover, I immediately presented my history to many other persons, some of whom were concerned in the war, as was king Agrippa and some of his kindred. Now the emperor Titus was so desirous that the knowledge of these affairs should be taken from these books alone, that he subscribed his own hand to them, and ordered that they should be published; and for king Agrippa, he wrote me sixty-two letters, and attested to the truth of what I had therein delivered; two of which letters I have here subjoined, and thou mayst thereby know their contents: - "King Agrippa to Josephus, however, when thou comest to me, I will inform thee of a great many things which thou dost not know." So when this history was perfected, Agrippa, neither by way of flattery, which was not agreeable to him, nor by way of irony, as thou wilt say, (for he was entirely a stranger to such an evil disposition of mind,) but he wrote this by way of attestation to what was true, as all that read histories may do. And so much shall be said concerning Justus (24) which I am obliged to add by way of digression.
(24) The character of this history of Justus of Tiberias, the rival of our Josephus, which is now lost, with its only remaining fragment, are given us by a very able critic, Photius, who read that history. It is in the 33rd code of his Bibliotheea, and runs thus: "I have read (says Photius) the chronology of Justus of Tiberias, whose title is this, [The Chronology of] the Kings of Judah which succeeded one another. This [Justus] came out of the city of Tiberias in Galilee. He begins his history from Moses, and ends it not till the death of Agrippa, the seventh [ruler] of the family of Herod, and the last king of the Jews; who took the government under Claudius, had it augmented under Nero, and still more augmented by Vespasian. He died in the third year of Trajan, where also his history ends. He is very concise in his language, and slightly passes over those affairs that were most necessary to be insisted on; and being under the Jewish prejudices, as indeed he was himself also a Jew by birth, he makes not the least mention of the appearance of Christ, or what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did. He was the son of a certain Jew, whose name was Pistus. He was a man, as he is described by Josephus, of a most profligate character; a slave both to money and to pleasures. In public affairs he was opposite to Josephus; and it is related, that he laid many plots against him; but that Josephus, though he had his enemy frequently under his power, did only reproach him in words, and so let him go without further punishment. He says also, that the history which this man wrote is, for the main, fabulous, and chiefly as to those parts where he describes the Roman war with the Jews, and the taking of Jerusalem."