Lucilius Bassus

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Lucilius Bassus was a Roman legatus appointed by Emperor Vespasian to the Iudaea Province in 71 AD. Assigned to finish off the last remnants of the Great Jewish Revolt in the province, he led the legion Legio X Fretensis, destroying the Jewish strongholds Herodium and Machaerus on their march to the siege of Masada. Once while his men besieged a certain place, a young man named Eleazer got himself into a bit of trouble. Eleazer had been in several "close calls," and being liked by others and full of self-confidence, Eleazer decided to "show out" in front of his comrades. He went outside the ramparts and had begun to converse with his friends inside the ramparts. A legionary, Rufus, sneaked up behind the haughty young fellow, and tackling from behind, mananaged to drag him Eleazar back to the Roman lines. At this point Bassus seemed to have wanted some humor; perhaps he only wanted to teach Eleazer a lesson. At any rate, General Bassus ordered his new prisoner stripped, tied to a stake in the full view of his Jewish comrades, and flogged. After the beating was over, Bassus then ordered a cross to be erected. Eleazer, who at this point realized he was not as brave as he thought himself, began to cry hysterically. The screams were so loud and unpleasant that defenders of the fortress made a compromise as this: if the Romans freed Eleazer, they would evacuate the fortress. It happened that way. After the war was over, Bassus fell ill and died on the way however, and was replaced by Lucius Flavius Silva in late 72 AD. Before his appointment to Iudaea, Bassus was prefect of the fleet stationed at Ravenna. He betrayed Vitellius by siding with Vespasian during the Year of the Four Emperors.

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