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appalling horrors

Josephus describes the plight of Jews, fleeing from the besieged city of Jerusalem, who are suspected of possessing gold:

'In the Syrian camp one refugee was found picking gold coins out of his excreta. People in the city were swallowing coins, because they were all searched by the Jewish partisans before leaving, and there was a great deal of gold to be had. It was now fetching less than half the old price. But when the trick was discovered through this one man, the rumour ran round the camps that the refugees were arriving stuffed with gold. The Arab soldiers and the Syrians cut open the refugees and ransacked their bellies. To me this seems the most terrible calamity that happened to the Jews; in a single night nearly two thousand were ripped up.'

Josephus The Jewish War, translated G.A. Williamson, Penguin 1959,1970, pages 322-3

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