Their position- the roof being the highest one in the locality- commanded the house-tops eastward as far as the huge irregular Tower of Antonia, which has been already mentioned as a citadel for the garrison and military head-quarters for the governor. The street, not more than ten feet wide, was spanned here and there by bridges, open and covered, which, like the roofs along the way, were beginning to be occupied by men, women, and children, called out by the music. The word is used, though it is hardly fitting; what the people heard when they came forth was rather an uproar of trumpets and the shriller litui so delightful to the soldiers.
The array after a while came into view of the two upon the house of the Hurs. First, a vanguard of the light-armed- mostly slingers and bowmen- marching with wide intervals between their ranks and files; next a body of heavy-armed infantry, bearing large shields, and hastae longae, or spears identical with those used in the duels between Ilium; then the musicians; and then an officer riding alone, but followed closely by a guard of cavalry; after them again, a column of infantry also heavy-armed, which, moving in close order, crowded the street from wall to wall, and appeared to be without end.
The brawny limbs of the men; the cadenced motion from right to left of the shields; the sparkle of scales, buckles, and breast-plates and helms, all perfectly burnished; the plumes nodding above the tall crests; the sway of ensigns and iron-shod spears; the bold, confident step, exactly timed and measured; the demeanour, so grave, yet so watchful; the machine-like unity of the whole moving mass- made an impression upon Judah, but as something felt rather than seen. Two objects fixed his attention- the eagle of the legion first- a gilded effigy perched on a tall shaft, with wings outspread until they met above its head. He knew that, when brought from its chamber in the Tower, it had been received with divine honours.
The officer riding alone in the midst of the column was the other attraction. His head was bare; otherwise he was in full armour. At his left hip he wore a short sword; in his hand, however, he carried a truncheon, which looked like a roll of white paper. He sat upon a purple cloth instead of a saddle, and that, and a bridle with a forestall of gold and reins of yellow silk broadly fringed at the lower edge, completed the housings of the horse.
While the man was yet in the distance, Judah observed that his presence was sufficient to throw the people looking at him into angry excitement. They would lean over the parapets or stand boldly out, and shake their fists at him; they followed him with loud cries, and spit at him as he passed under the bridges; the women even flung their sandals, sometimes with such good effect as to hit him. When he was nearer, the yells became distinguishable- “Robber, tyrant, dog of a Roman! Away with Ishmael! Give us back our Hannas!”