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This webpage reproduces the essay
In Flaccum

by
Philo

as published in Vol. IV
of The Works of Philo Judaeus
translated from the Greek by C. D. Yonge, B.A.
London: Henry G. Bohn, 1855

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
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please let me know!

Philo Judaeus

Vol. IV
p61
A Treatise
Against Flaccus

I 1 Flaccus Avillius succeeded Sejanus in his hatred of and hostile designs against the Jewish nation. He was not, indeed, able to injure the whole people by open and direct means as he had been, inasmuch as he had less power for such a purpose, but he inflicted the most intolerable evils on all who came within his reach.

Moreover, though in appearance he only attacked a portion of the nation, in point of fact he directed his aims against all whom he could find anywhere, proceeding more by art than by force; for those men who, though of tyrannical natures and dispositions, have not strength enough to accomplish their designs openly, seek to compass them by manoeuvres.

2 This Flaccus being chosen by Tiberius Caesar as one of his intimate companions, after the death of Severus, who had been lieutenant-governor in Egypt, was appointed viceroy of Alexandria and the country round about, being a man who at the beginning, as far as appearance went, had given innumerable instances of his excellence, for he was a man of prudence and diligence, and great acuteness of perception, very energetic in executing what he had determined on, very eloquent as a speaker, and skilful too at discerning what was suppressed as p62well as at understanding what was said. 3 Accordingly in a short time he became perfectly acquainted with the affairs of Egypt, and they are of a very various and diversified character, so that they are not easily comprehended even by those who from their earliest infancy have made them their study.

The scribes were a superfluous body when he had made such advances towards the knowledge of all things, whether important or trivial, by his extended experience, that he not only surpassed them, but from his great accuracy was qualified instead of a pupil to become the instructor of those who had hitherto been the teachers of all other persons. 4 However, all those things in which he displayed an admirable system and great wisdom concerning the accounts and the general arrangement of the revenues of the land, though they were serious matters and of the last importance, were nevertheless not such as gave any proofs of a soul fit for the task of governing; but those things which exhibited a more brilliant and royal disposition he also displayed with great freedom. For instance, he bore himself with considerable dignity, and pride and pomp are advantageous things for a ruler; and he decided all suits of importance in conjunction with the magistrates, he pulled down the overproud, he forbade promiscuous mobs of men from all quarters to assemble together, and prohibited all associations and meetings which were continually feasting together under pretence of sacrifices, making a drunken mockery of public business, treating with great vigour and severity all who resisted his commands.

5 Then when he had filled the whole city and country with his wise legislation, he proceeded in turn to regulate the military affairs of the land, issuing commands, arranging matters, training the troops of every kind, infantry, cavalry, and light-armed, teaching the commanders not to deprive the soldiers of their pay, and so drive them to acts of piracy and rapine, and teaching each individual soldier not to proceed to any actions unauthorised by his military service, remembering that he was appointed with the especial object of preserving peace.

II 6 Perhaps some one may say here: "Do you then, my good man, you who have determined to accuse this man, bring no accusation whatever against him, but on the contrary, weave long panegyrics in his honour? Are you not doting and mad?"

"I am not mad, my friend, nor am I a downright fool, so as p63to be unable to see the consequences or connexion of things. 7 I praise Flaccus, not because it is right to praise an enemy, but in order to make his wickedness more conspicuous; for pardon is given to a man who does wrong from ignorance of what is right; but he who does wrong knowingly has no excuse, being already condemned by the tribunal of his own conscience."

III 8 For having received a government which was intended to last six years, for the first five years, while Tiberius Caesar was alive, he both preserved peace and also governed the country generally with such vigour and energy that he was superior to all the governors who had gone before him. 9 But in the last year, after Tiberius was dead, and when Caius had succeeded him as emperor, he began to relax in and to be indifferent about everything, whether it was that he was overwhelmed with most heavy grief because of Tiberius (for it was evident to everyone that he grieved exceedingly as if for a near relation, both by his continued depression of spirits and his incessant weeping, pouring forth tears without end as if from an inexhaustible fountain), or whether it was because he was disaffected to his successor, because he preferred devoting himself to the party of the real rather than to that of the adopted children, or whether it was because he had been one of those who had joined in the conspiracy against the mother of Caius, having joined against her at the time when the accusations were brought against her, on account of which she was put to death, and having escaped through fear of the consequence of proceeding against him.

10 However, for a time he still paid some attention to the affairs of the state, not wholly abandoning the administration of his government; but when he heard that the grandson of Tiberius and his partner in the government had been put to death at the command of Caius, he was smitten with intolerable anguish, and threw himself on the ground, and lay there speechless, being utterly deprived of his senses, for indeed his mind had long since been enervated by grief.

11 For as long as that child lived he did not despair of some sparks still remaining of his own safety, but now that he was dead, he considered that all his own hopes had likewise died with him, even if a slight breeze of assistance might still be left, such as his friendship with Macro, who had unbounded p64influence with Caius in his authority; and who, as it is said, had very greatly contributed to his obtaining the supreme power, and in a still higher degree to his personal safety, 12 since Tiberius had frequently thought of putting Caius out of the way, as a wicked man and one who was in no respects calculated by nature for the exercise of authority, being influenced also partly by his apprehensions for his grandson; for he feared lest, when he himself was dead, his death too would be added to the funerals of his family.

But Macro had constantly bade him discard these apprehensions from his mind, and had praised Caius, as a man of a simple, and honest, and sociable character; and as one who was very much attached to his cousin, so that he would willingly yield the supreme authority to him alone, and the first rank in everything. 13 And Tiberius, being deceived by all these representations, without being aware of what he was doing, left behind him a most irreconcileable enemy, to himself, and his grandson, and his whole family, and to Macro, who was his chief adviser and comforter, and to all mankind; 14 for when Macro saw that Caius was forsaking the way of virtue and yielding to his unbridled passions, following them wherever they led him and against whatever objects they led him, he admonished and reproved him, looking upon him as the same Caius who, while Tiberius was alive, was mild-tempered and docile; but to his misery he suffered most terrible punishment for his exceeding good-will, being put to death with his wife, and children, and all his family, as a grievous and troublesome object to his new sovereign. 15 For whenever he saw him at a distance coming towards him, he used to speak in this manner to those who were with him: "Let us not smile; let us look sad: here comes the censor and monitor; the all-wise man, he who is beginning now to be the schoolmaster of a full-grown man, and of an emperor, after time itself has separated him from and discarded the tutors of his earliest infancy."

IV 16 When, therefore, Flaccus learnt that he too was put to death, he utterly abandoned all other hope for the future, and was no longer able to apply himself to public affairs as he had done before, being enervated and wholly broken down in spirit. 17 But when a magistrate begins to despair of his power of exerting authority, it follows inevitably, that his subjects p65must quickly become disobedient, especially those who are naturally, at every trivial or common occurrence, inclined to show insubordination, and, among people of such a disposition, the Egyptian nation is pre-eminent, being constantly in the habit of exciting great seditions from very small sparks.

18 And being placed in a situation of great and perplexing difficulty he began to rage, and simultaneously, with the change of his disposition for the worse, he also altered everything which had existed before, beginning with his nearest friends and his most habitual customs; for he began to suspect and to drive from him those who were well affected to him, and who were most sincerely his friends, and he reconciled himself to those who were originally his declared enemies, and he used them as advisers under all circumstances; 19 but they, for they persisted in their ill-will, being reconciled with him only in words and in appearance, but in their actions and in their hearts they bore him incurable enmity, and though only pretending a genuine friendship towards him, like actors in a theatre, they drew him over wholly to their side; and so the governor became a subject, and the subjects became the governor, advancing the most unprofitable opinions, and immediately confirming and insisting upon them; 20 for they became executors of all the plans which they had devised, treating him like a mute person on the stage, as one who was only, by way of making up the show, inscribed with the title of authority, being themselves a lot of Dionysiuses, demagogues, and of Lampos, a pack of cavillers and word-splitters; and of Isidoruses, sowers of sedition, busy-bodies, devisers of evil, troublers of the state; for this is the name which has, at last, been given to them.

21 All these men, having devised a most grievous design against the Jews, proceeded to put it in execution, and coming privately to Flaccus said to him, 22 "All your hope from the child of Tiberius Nero has now perished, and that which was your second best prospect, your companion Macro, is gone too, and you have no chance of favour with the emperor, therefore we must find another advocate, by whom Caius may be made propitious to us, 23 and that advocate is the city of Alexandria, which all the family of Augustus has honoured from the very beginning, and our present master above all the rest; and it will be a sufficient mediator in our behalf, if it can obtain one p66boon from you, and you cannot confer a greater benefit upon it than by abandoning and denouncing all the Jews."

24 Now though upon this he ought to have rejected and driven away the speakers as workers of revolution and common enemies, he agrees on the contrary to what they say, and at first he made his designs against the Jews less evident, only abstaining from listening to causes brought before his tribunal with impartiality and equity, and inclining more to one side than to the other, and not allowing to both sides an equal freedom of speech; but whenever any Jew came before him he showed his aversion to him, and departed from his habitual affability in their case; but afterwards he exhibited his hostility to them in a more conspicuous manner.

V 25 Moreover, some occurrences of the following description increased that folly and insolence of his which was derived from instruction rather than from nature. Caius Caesar gave Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the king, the third part of his paternal inheritance as a sovereignty, which Philip the tetrarch, who was his uncle on his father's side, had previously enjoyed. 26 And when he was about to set out to take possession of his kingdom, Caius advised him to avoid the voyage from Brundusium to Syria, which was a long and troublesome one, and rather to take the shorter one by Alexandria, and to wait for the periodical winds; for he said that the merchant vessels which set forth from that harbour were fast sailers, and that the pilots were most experienced men, who guided their ships like skilful coachmen guide their horses, keeping them straight in the proper course. And he took his advice, looking upon him both as his master and also as a giver of good counsel.

27 Accordingly, going down to Dicaearchia, and seeing some Alexandrian vessels in the harbour, looking all ready and fit to put to sea, he embarked with his followers, and had a fair voyage, and so a few days afterwards he arrived at his journey's end, unforeseen and unexpected, having commanded the captains of his vessels (for he came in sight of Pharos about twilight in the evening) to furl their sails, and to keep a short distance out of sight in the open sea, until it became late in the evening and dark, and then at night he entered the port, that when he disembarked he might find all the citizens buried in sleep, and so, without any one seeing him, he might arrive at the house of the man who was to be his entertainer. 28 With p67so much modesty then did this man arrive, wishing if it were possible to enter without being perceived by any one in the city.

For he had not come to see Alexandria, since he had sojourned in it before, when he was preparing to take his voyage to Rome to see Tiberius, but he desired at this time to take the quickest road, so as to arrive at his destination with the smallest possible delay. 29 But the men of Alexandria being ready to burst with envy and ill-will (for the Egyptian disposition is by nature a most jealous and envious one and inclined to look on the good fortune of others as adversity to itself), and being at the same time filled with an ancient and what I may in a manner call an innate enmity towards the Jews, were indignant at any one's becoming a king of the Jews, no less than if each individual among them had been deprived of an ancestral kingdom of his own inheritance.

30 And then again his friends and companions came and stirred up the miserable Flaccus, inviting, and exciting, and stimulating him to feel the same envy with themselves; saying, "The arrival of this man to take upon him his government is equivalent to a deposition of yourself. He is invested with a greater dignity of honour and glory than you. He attracts all eyes towards himself when they see the array of sentinels and bodyguards around him adorned with silvered and gilded arms. 31 For ought he to have come into the presence of another governor, when it was in his power to have sailed over the sea, and so to have arrived in safety at his own government? For, indeed, if Caius did advise or rather command him to do so, he ought rather with earnest solicitations to have deprecated any visit to this country, in order that the real governor of it might not be brought into disrepute and appear to have his authority lessened by being apparently disregarded."

32 When he heard this he was more indignant than before, and in public indeed he pretended to be his companion and his friend, because of his fear of the man who directed his course, but secretly he bore him much ill-will, and told every one how he hated him, and abused him behind his back, and insulted him indirectly, since he did not dare to do so openly; 33 for he encouraged the idle and lazy mob of the city (and the mob of Alexandria is one accustomed to great license of speech, and p68one which delights above measure in calumny and evil-speaking), to abuse the king, either beginning to revile him in his own person, or else exhorting and exciting others to do so by the agency of persons who were accustomed to serve him in business of this kind. 34 And they, having had the cue given them, spent all their days reviling the king in the public schools, and stringing together all sorts of gibes to turn him into ridicule.

And at times they employed poets who compose farces, and managers of puppet shows, displaying their natural aptitude for every kind of disgraceful employment, though they were very slow at learning anything that was creditable, but very acute, and quick, and ready at learning anything of an opposite nature. 35 For why did he not show his indignation, why did he not commit them to prison, why did he not chastise them for their insolent and disloyal evil speaking? And even if he had not been a king but only one of the household of Caesar, ought he not to have had some privileges and especial honours? The fact is that all these circumstances are an undeniable evidence that Flaccus was a participator in all this abuse; for he who might have punished it with the most extreme severity, and entirely checked it, and who yet took no steps to restrain it, was clearly convicted of having permitted and encouraged it; but whenever an ungoverned multitude begins a course of evil doing it never desists, but proceeds from one wickedness to another, continually doing some monstrous thing.

VI 36 There was a certain madman named Carabbas, afflicted not with a wild, savage, and dangerous madness (for that comes on in fits without being expected either by the patient or by bystanders), but with an intermittent and more gentle kind; this man spent all this days and nights naked in the roads, minding neither cold nor heat, the sport of idle children and wanton youths; 37 and they, driving the poor wretch as far as the public gymnasium, and setting him up there on high that he might be seen by everybody, flattened out a leaf of papyrus and put it on his head instead of a diadem, and clothed the rest of his body with a common door mat instead of a cloak and instead of a sceptre they put in his hand a small stick of the native papyrus which they found lying by the way side and gave to him; 38 and when, like actors in theatrical spectacles, he p69had received all the insignia of royal authority, and had been dressed and adorned like a king, the young men bearing sticks on their shoulders stood on each side of him instead of spear-bearers, in imitation of the bodyguards of the king, and then others came up, some as if to salute him, and others making as though they wished to plead their causes before him, and others pretending to wish to consult with him about the affairs of the state.

39 Then from the multitude of those who were standing around there arose a wonderful shout of men calling out Maris; and this is the name by which it is said that they call the kings among the Syrians; for they knew that Agrippa was by birth a Syrian, and also that he was possessed of a great district of Syria of which he was the sovereign; 40 when Flaccus heard, or rather when he saw this, he would have done right if he had apprehended the maniac and put him in prison, that he might not give to those who reviled him any opportunity or excuse for insulting their superiors, and if he had chastised those who dressed him up for having dared both openly and disguisedly, both with words and actions, to insult a king and a friend of Caesar, and one who had been honoured by the Roman senate with imperial authority; but he not only did not punish them, but he did not think fit even to check them, but gave complete license and impunity to all those who designed ill, and who were disposed to show their enmity and spite to the king, pretending not to see what he did see, and not to hear what he did hear.

41 And when the multitude perceived this, I do not mean the ordinary and well-regulated population of the city, but the mob which, out of its restlessness and love of an unquiet and disorderly life, was always filling every place with tumult and confusion, and who, because of their habitual idleness and laziness, were full of treachery and revolutionary plans, they, flocking to the theatre the first thing in the morning, having already purchased Flaccus for a miserable price, which he with his mad desire for glory and with his slavish disposition, condescended to take to the injury not only of himself, but also of the safety of the commonwealth, all cried out, as if at a signal given, to erect images in the synagogues, 42 proposing a most novel and unprecedented violation of the law.

And though they knew this (for they are very shrewd in p70their wickedness), they adopted a deep design, putting forth the name of Caesar as a screen, to whom it would be impiety to attribute the deeds of the guilty; 43 what then did the governor of the country do? Knowing that the city had two classes of inhabitants, our own nation and the people of the country, and that the whole of Egypt was inhabited in the same manner, and that Jews who inhabited Alexandria and the rest of the country from the Catabathmos on the side of Libya to the boundaries of Ethiopia were not less than a million of men; and that the attempts which were being made were directed against the whole nation, and that it was a most mischievous thing to distress the ancient hereditary customs of the land; he, disregarding all these considerations, permitted the mob to proceed with the erection of the statues, though he might have given them a vast number of admonitory precepts instead of any such permission, either commanding them as their governor, or advising them as their friend.

VII 44 But he, for he was eagerly co‑operating in all that was being done amiss, thought fit to use his superior power to face the seditious tumult with fresh additions of evil, and as far as it depended on him, one may almost say that he filled the whole of the inhabited world with civil wars; 45 for it was sufficiently evident that the report about the destruction of the synagogues, which took its rise in Alexandria would be immediately spread over all the districts of Egypt, and would extend from that country to the east and to the oriental nations, and from the borders of the land in the other direction, and from the Mareotic district which is the frontier of Libya, towards the setting of the sun and the western nations. For no one country can contain the whole Jewish nation, by reason of its populousness; 46 on which account they frequent all the most prosperous and fertile countries of Europe and Asia, whether islands or continents, looking indeed upon the holy city as their metropolis in which is erected the sacred temple of the most high God, but accounting those regions which have been occupied by their fathers, and grandfathers, and great grandfathers, and still more remote ancestors, in which they have been born and brought up, as their country; and there are even some regions to which they came the very moment that they were originally settled, sending a colony of their people to do a pleasure to the founders of the colony.

p71 47 And there was reason to fear lest all the populace in every country, taking what was done in Egypt as a model and as an excuse, might insult those Jews who were their fellow citizens, by introducing new regulations with respect to their synagogues and their national customs; 48 but the Jews, for they were not inclined to remain quiet under everything, although naturally entirely disposed towards peace, not only because contests for natural customs do among all men appear more important than those which are only for the sake of life, but also because they alone of all the people under the sun, if they were deprived of their houses of prayer, would at the same time be deprived of all means of showing their piety towards their benefactors, which they would have looked upon as worse than ten thousand deaths, inasmuch as if their synagogues were destroyed they would no longer have any sacred places in which they could declare their gratitude, might have reasonably said to those who opposed them: 49 You, without being aware of it, are taking away honour from your lords instead of conferring any on them. Our houses of prayer are manifestly incitements to all the Jews in every part of the habitable world to display their piety and loyalty towards the house of Augustus; and if they are destroyed from among us, what other place, or what other manner of showing that honour, will be left to us? 50 For if we were to neglect the opportunity of adhering to our national customs when it is afforded to us, we should deserve to meet with the severest punishment, as not giving any proper or adequate return for the benefits which we have received; but if, while it is in our power to do so, we, in conformity with our own laws which Augustus himself is in the habit of confirming, obey in everything, then I do not see what great, or even what small offence can be laid to our charge; unless any one were to impute to us that we do not transgress the laws of deliberate purpose, and that we do not intentionally take care to depart from our national customs, which practices, even if they at first attack others, do often in the end visit those who are guilty of them.

51 But Flaccus, saying nothing that he ought to have said, and everything which he ought not to have said, has sinned against us in this manner; but those men whom he has studied to gratify, what has been their design? Have they had the feelings of men wishing to do honour to Caesar? Was there then a scarcity of temples in the city, the greatest and most important p72parts of which are all allotted to one or other of the gods, in which they might have erected any statues they pleased? 52 We have been describing the evidence of hostile and unfriendly men, who seek to injure us with such artifice, that even when injuring us they may not appear to have been acting iniquitously, and yet that we who are injured by them cannot resist with safety to ourselves; for, my good men, it does not contribute to the honour of the emperor to abrogate the laws, to disturb the national customs of a people, to insult those who live in the same country, and to teach those who dwell in other cities to disregard unanimity and tranquillity.

VIII 53 Since, therefore, the attempt which was being made to violate the law appeared to him to be prospering, while he was destroying the synagogues, and not leaving even their name, he proceeded onwards to another exploit, namely, the utter destruction of our constitution, that when all those things to which alone our life was anchored were cut away, namely, our national customs and our lawful political rights and social privileges, we might be exposed to the very extremity of calamity, without having any stay left to which we could cling for safety, 54 for a few days afterwards he issued a notice in which he called us all foreigners and aliens, without giving us an opportunity of being heard in our own defence, but condemning us without a trial; and what command can be more full of tyranny than this?

He himself being everything — accuser, enemy, witness, judge, and executioner, added then to the two former appellations a third also, allowing any one who was inclined to proceed to exterminate the Jews as prisoners of war. 55 So when the people had received this license, what did they do? There are five districts in the city, named after the first five letters of the written alphabet, of these two are called the quarters of the Jews, because the chief portion of the Jews lives in them. There are also a few scattered Jews, but only a very few, living in some of the other districts. What then did they do? They drove the Jews entirely out of four quarters, and crammed them all into a very small portion of one; 56 and by reason of their numbers they were dispersed over the sea-shore, and desert places, and among the tombs, being deprived of all their property; while the populace, overrunning their desolate houses, turned to plunder, and divided the booty among themselves p73as if they had obtained it in war. And as no one hindered them, they broke open even the workshops of the Jews, which were all shut up because of their mourning for Drusilla,1 and carried off all that they found there, and bore it openly through the middle of the market-place as if they had only been making use of their own property.

57 And the cessation of business to which they were compelled to submit was even a worse evil than the plunder to which they were exposed, as the consequence was that those who had lent money lost what they had lent, and as no one was permitted, neither farmer, nor captain of a ship, nor merchant, nor artisan, to employ himself in his usual manner, so that poverty was brought on them from two sides at once, both from rapine, as when license was thus given to plunder them they were stripped of everything in one day, and also from the circumstance of their no longer being able to earn money by their customary occupations.

IX 58 And though these were evils sufficiently intolerable, yet nevertheless they appear actually trifling when compared with those which were subsequently inflicted on them, for poverty indeed is a bitter evil, especially when it is caused by the machinations of one's enemies, still it is less than insult and personal ill treatment even of the slightest character. 59 But now the evils which were heaped upon our people were so excessive and inordinate, that if a person were desirous to use appropriate language, he would never call them insults or assaults, but, as it appears to me, he would actually be wholly at a loss for suitable expressions, on account of the enormity of the cruelties now newly invented against them, so that if the treatment which men experience from enemies who have subdued them in war, however implacable they may be by nature, were to be compared with that to which the Jews were subjected, it would appear most merciful. 60 Enemies, indeed, plunder their conquered foes of their money, and lead away multitudes in captivity, having incurred the same risk of losing all that they had if they themselves had been defeated. Not but that in all such cases there are very many persons for whom their relations and friends put down a ransom, and who are thus emancipated from captivity, inasmuch as though their p74enemies could not be worked upon by compassion, they could by love of money.

But what is the use of going on in this way, some one will say, for as long as men escape from danger it signifies but little in what way their preservation is brought to pass? 61 Moreover, it has often happened that enemies have granted to those who have fallen in battle the honour of funeral rites, those who were gentle and humane burying them at their own expense, and those who have carried on their enmity even against the dead giving up their bodies to their friends under a truce, in order that they might not be deprived of the last honour of all, the customary ceremonies of sepulture.

62 This, then, is the conduct of enemies in time of war; let us now see what was done by those who a little while before had been friends in time of peace.

For after plundering them of everything, and driving them from their homes, and expelling them by main force from most of the quarters of the city, our people, as if they were blockaded and hemmed in by a circle of besieging enemies, being oppressed by a terrible scarcity and want of necessary things, and seeing their wives and their children dying before their eyes by an unnatural famine 63 (for every other place was full of prosperity and abundance, as the river had irrigated the corn lands plentifully with its inundations, and as all the champaign country, which is devoted to the purposes of bearing wheat, was this year supplying a most abundant over-crop of corn with very unusual fertility), 64 being no longer able to support their want, some, though they had never been used to do so before, came to the houses of their friends and relations to beg them to contribute such food as was absolutely necessary as a charity; others, who from their high and free-born spirit could not endure the condition of beggars, as being a slavish state unbecoming the dignity of a freeman, came down into the market with no other object than, miserable men that they were, to buy food for their families and for themselves.

65 And then, being immediately seized by those who had excited the seditious multitude against them, they were treacherously put to death, and then were dragged along and trampled under foot by the whole city, and completely destroyed, without the least portion of them being left which could possibly receive burial; 66 and in this way their enemies, who in their savage p75madness had become transformed into the nature of wild beasts, slew them and thousands of others with all kinds of agony and tortures, and newly invented cruelties, for wherever they met with or caught sight of a Jew, they stoned him, or beat him with sticks, not at once delivering their blows upon mortal parts, lest they should die speedily, and so speedily escape from the sufferings which it was their design to inflict upon them.

67 Some persons even, going still great and greater lengths in the iniquity and license of their barbarity, disdained all blunter weapons, and took up the most efficacious arms of all, fire and iron, and slew many with the sword, and destroyed not a few with flames. 68 And the most merciless of all their persecutors in some instances burnt whole families, husbands with their wives, and infant children with their parents, in the middle of the city, sparing neither age nor youth, nor the innocent helplessness of infants. And when they had a scarcity of fuel, they collected faggots of green wood, and slew them by the smoke rather than by fire, contriving a still more miserable and protracted death for those unhappy people, so that their bodies lay about promiscuously in every direction half burnt, a grievous and most miserable sight.

69 And if some of those who were employed in the collection of sticks were too slow, they took their own furniture, of which they had plundered them, to burn their persons, robbing them of their most costly articles, and burning with them things of the greatest use and value, which they used as fuel instead of ordinary timber. 70 Many men too, who were alive, they bound by one foot, fastening them round the ankle, and thus they dragged them along and bruised them, leaping on them, designing to inflict the most barbarous of deaths upon them, 71 and then when they were dead they raged no less against them with interminable hostility, and inflicted still heavier insults on their persons, dragging them, I had almost said, though all the alleys and lanes of the city, until the corpse, being lacerated in all its skin, and flesh, and muscles from the inequality and roughness of the ground, all the previously united portions of his composition being torn asunder and separated from one another, was actually torn to pieces.

72 And those who did these things, mimicked the sufferers, like people employed in the representation of theatrical farces; p76but the relations and friends of those who were the real victims, merely because they sympathized with the misery of their relations, were led away to prison, were scourged, were tortured, and after all the ill treatment which their living bodies could endure, found the cross the end of all, and the punishment from which they could not escape.

X 73 But after Flaccus had broken through every right, and trampled upon every principle of justice, and had left no portion of the Jews free from the extreme severity of his designing malice, in the boundlessness of his wickedness he contrived a monstrous and unprecedented attack upon them, being ever an inventor of new acts of iniquity, 74 for he arrested thirty-eight members of our council of elders, which our saviour and benefactor, Augustus, elected to manage the affairs of the Jewish nation after the death of the king of our own nation, having sent written commands to that effect to Manius Maximus when he was about to take upon himself for the second time the government of Egypt and of the country, he arrested them, I say, in their own houses, and commanded them to be thrown into prison, and arranged a splendid procession to send through the middle of the market-place a body of old men prisoners, with their hands bound, some with thongs and others with iron chains, whom he led in this plight into the theatre, a most miserable spectacle, and one wholly unsuited to the times. 75 And then he commanded them all to stand in front of their enemies, who were sitting down, to make their disgrace the more conspicuous, and ordered them all to be stripped of their clothes and scourged with stripes, in a way that only the most wicked of malefactors are usually treated, and they were flogged with such severity that some of them the moment they were carried out died of their wounds, while others were rendered so ill for a long time that their recovery was despaired of.

76 And the enormity of this cruelty is proved by many other circumstances, and it will be further proved most evidently and undeniably by the circumstance which I am about to mention. Three of the members of this council of elders, Euodius, and Trypho, and Audro, had been stripped of all their property, being plundered of everything that was in their houses at one onset, and he was well aware that they had been exposed to this treatment, for it had been related to him when p77he had in the first instance sent for our rulers, under pretence of wishing to promote a reconciliation between them and the rest of the city; 77 but nevertheless, though he well knew that they had been deprived of all their property, he scourged them in the very sight of those who had plundered them, that thus they might endure the twofold misery of poverty and personal ill treatment, and that their persecutors might reap the double pleasure of enjoying riches which did in no respect belong to them, and also of feasting their eyes to satiety on the disgrace of those whom they had plundered.

78 Now, though I desire to mention a circumstance which took place at that time, I am in doubt whether to do so or not, lest if it should be looked upon as unimportant, it may appear to take off from the enormity of these great iniquities; but even if it is unimportant in itself, it is nevertheless an indication of no trifling wickedness of disposition. There are different kinds of scourges used in the city, distinguished with reference to the deserts or crimes of those who are about to be scourged. Accordingly, it is usual for the Egyptians of the country themselves to be scourged with a different kind of scourge, and by a different class of executioners, but for the Alexandrians in the city to be scourged with rods by the Alexandrian lictors, 79 and this custom had been preserved, in the case also of our own people, by all the predecessors of Flaccus, and by Flaccus himself in the earlier periods of his government; for it is possible, it really is possible, even in ignominy, to find some slight circumstance of honour, and even in ill treatment to find something which is, to some extent, a relaxation, when any one allows the nature of things to be examined into by itself, and to be confined to its own indispensable requirements, without adding from his own ingenuity any additional cruelty or treachery, to separate and take from it all that is mingled with it of a milder character.

80 How then can it be looked upon as anything but most infamous, that when Alexandrian Jews, of the lowest rank, had always been previously beaten with the rods, suited to freemen and citizens, if ever they were convicted of having done anything worthy of stripes, yet now the very rulers of the nation, the council of the elders, who derived their very titles from the honour in which they were held and the offices which they filled, should, in this respect, be treated with more indignity p78than their own servants, like the lowest of the Egyptian rustics, even when found guilty of the very worst of crimes? 81 I omit to mention, that even if they had committed the most countless iniquities, nevertheless the governor ought, out of respect for the season, to have delayed their punishment; for with all rulers, who govern any state on constitutional principles, and who do not seek to acquire a character for audacity, but who do really honour their benefactors, it is the custom to punish no one, even of those who have been lawfully condemned, until the famous festival and assembly, in honour of the birth-day of the illustrious emperor, has passed. 82 But he committed this violation of the laws at the very season of this festival, and punished men who had done no wrong; though certainly, if he ever determined to punish them, he ought to have done so at a subsequent time; but he hastened, and would admit of no delay, by reason of his eagerness to please the multitude who was opposed to them, thinking that in this way he should be able, more easily, to gain them over to the objects which he had in view.

83 I have known instances before now of men who had been crucified when this festival and holiday was at hand, being taken down and given up to their relations, in order to receive the honours of sepulture, and to enjoy such observances as are due to the dead; for it used to be considered, that even the dead ought to derive some enjoyment from the natal festival of a good emperor, and also that the sacred character of the festival ought to be regarded. 84 But this man did not order men who had already perished on crosses to be taken down, but he commanded living men to be crucified, men to whom the very time itself gave, if not entire forgiveness, still, at all events, a brief and temporary respite from punishment; and he did this after they had been beaten by scourgings in the middle of the theatre; and after he had tortured them with fire and sword; 85 and the spectacle of their sufferings was divided; for the first part of the exhibition lasted from the morning to the third or fourth hour, in which the Jews were scourged, were hung up, were tortured on the wheel, were condemned, and were dragged to execution through the middle of the orchestra; and after this beautiful exhibition came the dancers, and the buffoons, and the flute-players, and all the other diversions of the theatrical contests.

p79 XI 86 And why do I dwell on these things? for a second mode of barbarity was afterwards devised against us, because the governor wished to excite the whole multitude of the army against us, in accordance with the contrivance of some foreign informer. Now the information which was laid against the nation was, that the Jews had entire suits of armour in their houses; therefore, having sent for a centurion, in whom he placed the greatest confidence, by name Castor, he ordered him to take with him the boldest soldier of his own band, to go with haste, and, without saying a word to any one, to enter the houses of the Jews, and to search them, and see whether there was any store of arms laid up in them; 87 and he ran with great speed to perform the commands which had been given him. But they, having no suspicion of his intentions, stood at first speechless with astonishment, their wives and their children clinging to them, and shedding abundance of tears, because of their fear of being carried into captivity, for they were in continual expectation of that, looking upon it as all that was wanting to complete their total misery. 88 But when they heard from some of those who were sent to make the search an inquiry as to where they had laid up their arms, they breathed awhile, and opening all their secret recesses displayed everything which they had, 89 being partly delighted and partly grieving; delighted at the opportunity of repelling the false accusation which was thus brought against them by its own character, but indignant, in the first place, because calumnies of such a nature, when concocted and urged against them by their enemies, were believed beforehand; and, secondly, because their wives, who were shut up, and who did not actually come forth out of their inner chambers, and their virgins, who were kept in the strictest privacy, shunning the eyes of men, even of those who were their nearest relations, out of modesty, were now alarmed by being displayed to the public gaze, not only of persons who were no relations to them, but even of common soldiers.

90 Nevertheless, though a most rigorous examination took place, how great a quantity of defensive and offensive armour do you think was found? Helmets, and breast-plates, and shields, and daggers, and javelins, and weapons of every description, were brought out and piled up in heaps; and also how great a variety of missile weapons, javelins, slings, bows, and darts? p80Absolutely not a single thing of the kind; scarcely even knives sufficient for the daily use of the cooks to prepare and dress the food. 91 From which circumstance, the simplicity of their daily manner of life was plainly seen: as they made no pretence to magnificence or delicate luxury; the nature of which things is to engender satiety, and satiety is apt to engender insolence, which is the beginning of all evils.

92 And indeed it was not a long time before that, that the arms had been taken away from the Egyptians throughout the whole country by a man of the name of Bassus, to whom Flaccus had committed this employment. But at that time one might have beheld a great fleet of ships sailing down and anchoring in the harbours afforded by the mouths of the river, full of arms of every possible description, and numerous beasts of burden loaded with bags made of skins sewn together and hanging like panniers on each side so as to balance better, and also almost all the waggons belonging to the camp filled with weapons of every sort, which were brought in rows so as to be all seen at once, and arranged together in order. And the distance between the harbour and the armoury in the king's palace in which the arms were commanded to be deposited was about ten stadia; 93 it was then very proper to investigate the houses of the men who had amassed such quantities of arms; for as they had often actually revolted, they were naturally liable to be suspected of designing revolutionary measures, and it was quite fitting that, in imitation of the sacred games, those who had superintended the collection of the arms should keep a new triennial festival in Egypt, in order that they might not again be collected without any one being aware of it, or else that at all events only a few might be collected instead of a great number, from the people not having time enough to assemble any great number.

94 But why were we to be exposed to any treatment of the sort? For when were we ever suspected of any tendency to revolt? And when did we bear any other than a most peaceful character among all men? And the habits in which we daily and habitually indulge, are they not irreproachable, tending to the lawful tranquillity and stability of the state? In fact, if the Jews had had arms in their houses, would they have submitted to be stripped of above four hundred dwellings, out of which they were turned and forcibly expelled by those who plundered p81them of all their properties? Why then was not this search made in the houses of those people who had arms, if not of their own private property, at all events such as they had carried off from others?

95 The truth is, as I have said already, the whole business was a deliberate contrivance designed by the cruelty of Flaccus and of the multitude, in which even women were included; for they were dragged away as captives, not only in the market-place, but even in the middle of the theatre, and dragged upon the stage on any false accusation that might be brought against them with the most painful and intolerable insults; 96 and then, when it was found that they were of another race, they were dismissed; for they apprehended many women as Jewesses who were not so, from want of making any careful or accurate investigation. And if they appeared to belong to our nation, then those who, instead of spectators, became tyrants and masters, laid cruel commands on them, bringing them swine's flesh, and enjoining them to eat it. Accordingly, all who were wrought on by fear of punishment to eat it were released without suffering any ill treatment; but those who were more obstinate were given up to the tormentors to suffer intolerable tortures, which is the clearest of all possible proofs that they had committed no offence whatever beyond what I have mentioned.

XII 97 But it was not out of his own head alone, but also because of the commands and in consequence of the situation of the emperor that he sought and devised means to injure and oppress us; for after we had decreed by our votes and carried out by our actions all the honours to the emperor Caius, which were either within our power or allowable by our laws, we brought the decree to him, entreating him that, as it was not permitted to us to send an embassy ourselves to bear it to the emperor, he would vouchsafe to forward it himself. 98 And, after he had read all the articles contained in the decree, and having often nodded his head in token of his approbation of them, smiling, and being very much delighted, or else pretending to be pleased, he said: "I approve of you very greatly in all things, for your piety and loyalty, and I will forward it as you request, or else I myself will act the part of your ambassador, that Caius may be aware of your gratitude. 99 And I myself will bear witness in your favour to all that I know of the p82orderly disposition and obedient character of your nation, without exaggerating anything; for truth is the most sufficient of all panegyrics."

100 At these promises we were greatly delighted, and we gave him thanks, hoping that the decree would be thoroughly read and appreciated by Caius. And indeed it was natural enough, since all the things that are promptly and carefully sent by the lieutenant-governors are read and examined without delay by you; 101 but Flaccus, wholly neglecting all our hopes, and all his own words, and all his own promises, retained the decree, in order that you, above all the men under the sun, might be looked upon as enemies to the emperor.

Was not this the conduct of one who had been vigilant afar off, and who had long been contriving his design against us, and who was not now yielding to some momentary impulse, and attacking us on a sudden without any previous contrivance with unreasonable impetuosity, being led away by some fresh motive? 102 But God, as it seems, he who has a care for all human affairs, scattered his flattering speeches cunningly devised to mislead the emperor, and baffled the counsels of his lawless disposition and the manoeuvres which he was employing, taking pity on us, and very soon he brought matters into such a train that Flaccus was disappointed of his hopes.

103 For when Agrippa, the king, came into the country, we set before him all the designs which Flaccus had entertained against us; and he set himself to rectify the business, and, having promised to forward the decree to the emperor, he taking it, as we hear, did send it, accompanied with a defence relating to the time at which it was passed, showing that it was not lately only that we had learnt to venerate the family of our benefactors, but that we had from the very first beginning shown our zeal towards them, though we had been deprived of the opportunity of making any seasonable demonstration of it by the insolence of our governor. 104 And after these events justice, the constant champion and ally of those who are injured, and the punisher of everything impious, whether it be action or man, began to labour to work his overthrow. For at first they endured the most unexampled insults and miseries, such as had never happened under any other of our governors, ever since the house of Augustus first acquired the dominion over earth and sea; 105 for some men of those who, in the time of p83Tiberius, and of Caesar his father, had the government, seeking to convert their governorship and viceroyalty into a sovereignty and tyranny, filled all the country with intolerable evils, with corruption, and rapine, and condemnation of persons who had done no wrong, and with banishment and exile of such innocent men, and with the slaughter of the nobles without a trial; and then, after the appointed period of their government had expired, when they returned to Rome, the emperors exacted of them an account and relation of all that they had done, especially if by chance the cities which they had been oppressing sent any embassy to complain; 106 for then the emperors, behaving like impartial judges, listening both to the accusers and to the defendant on equal terms, not thinking it right to pre-judge and pre-condemn anyone before his trial, decided without being influenced either by enmity or favour, but according to the nature of truth, and pronouncing such a judgment as seemed to be just. 107 But in the case of Flaccus, that justice which hates iniquity did not wait till the term of his government had expired, but went forward to meet him before the usual time, being indignant at the immoderate extravagance of his lawless iniquity.

XIII 108 And the manner in which he was cut short in his tyranny was as follows. He imagined that Caius was already made favourable to him in respect of those matters, about which suspicion was sought to be raised against him, partly by his letters which were full of flattery, and partly by the harangues which he was continually addressing to the people, in which he courted the emperor by stringing together flattering sentences and long series of cunningly imagined panegyrics, and partly too because he was very highly thought of by the greater part of the city. 109 But he was deceiving himself without knowing it; for the hopes of wicked men are unstable, as they guess what is more favourable to them while they suffer what is quite contrary to it, as in fact they deserve.

For Bassus, the centurion, was sent from Italy by the appointment of Caius with the company of soldiers which he commanded. 110 And having embarked on board one of the fastest sailing vessels, he arrived in a few days at the harbour of Alexandria, off the island of Pharos, about evening; and he ordered the captain of the ship to keep out in the open sea till p84sunset, intending to enter the city unexpectedly, in order that Flaccus might not be aware of his coming beforehand, and so be led to adopt any violent measures, and render the service which he was commanded to perform fruitless.

111 And when the evening came, the ship entered the harbour, and Bassus, disembarking with his own soldiers, advanced, neither recognizing nor being recognized by any one; and on his road finding a soldier who was one of the quaternions of the guard, he ordered him to show him the house of his captain; for he wished to communicate his secret errand to him, that, if he required additional force, he might have an assistant ready.

112 And when he heard that he was supping at some persons' house in company with Flaccus, he did not relax in his speed, but hastened onward to the dwelling of his entertainer; for the man with whom they were feasting was Stephanion, one of the freedmen of Tiberius Caesar; and withdrawing to a short distance, he sends forward one of his own followers to reconnoitre, disguising him like a servant in order that no one might notice him or perceive what was going forward. So he, entering in to the banqueting-room, as if he were the servant of one of the guests, examined everything accurately, and then returned and gave information to Bassus. 113 And he, when he had learnt the unguarded condition of the entrances, and the small number of the people who were with Flaccus (for he was attended by not more than ten or fifteen slaves to wait upon him), gave the signal to his soldiers whom he had with him, and hastened forward, and entered suddenly into the supper-room, he and the soldiers with him, who stood by with their swords girded on, and surrounded Flaccus before he was aware of it, for at the moment of their entrance he was drinking health with some one, and making merry with those who were present.

114 But when Bassus had made his way into the midst, the moment that he saw him he became dumb with amazement and consternation, and wishing to rise up he saw the guards all round him, and then he perceived his fate, even before he heard what Caius wanted with him, and what commands had been given to those who had come, and what he was about to endure, for the mind of man is very prompt at perceiving at once all those particulars which take a long time to happen, and at hearing them all together. 115 Accordingly, every one of p85those who were of this supper party rose up, being through fear unnerved, and shuddering lest some punishment might be affixed to the mere fact of having been supping with the culprit, for it was not safe to flee, nor indeed was it possible to do so, since all the entrances were already occupied. So Flaccus was led away by the soldiers at the command of Bassus, this being the manner in which he returned from the banquet, for it was fitting that justice should begin to visit him at a feast, because he had deprived the houses of innumerable innocent men of all festivity.

XIV 116 This was the unexampled misfortune which befell Flaccus in the country of which he was governor, being taken prisoner like an enemy on account of the Jews, as it appears to me, whom he had determined to destroy utterly in his desire for glory. And a manifest proof of this is to be found in the time of his arrest, for it was the general festival of the Jews at the time of the autumnal equinox, during which it is the custom of the Jews to live in tents; 117 but none of the usual customs at this festival were carried out at all, since all the rulers of the people were still oppressed by irremediable and intolerable injuries and insults, and since the common people looked upon the miseries of their chiefs as the common calamity of the whole nation, and were also depressed beyond measure at the individual afflictions to which they were each of them separately exposed, 118 for griefs are redoubled when they happen at the times of festival, when those who are afflicted are unable to keep the feast, both by reason of the deprivation of their mirthful cheerfulness, which a general assembly requires, and also from the presence of sorrow by which they were now overcome, without being able to find any remedy for such terrible disasters.

119 And while they were yielding to excessive sorrow, and feeling overwhelmed by most severe anguish, and they were all collected in their houses at the approach of night, some persons came in to inform them of the apprehension of the governor which had then taken place. And they thought that this was to try them, and was not the truth, and were grieved all the more from thinking themselves mobbed, and that a snare was thus laid for them; 120 but when a tumult arose through the city, and the guards of the night began to run about to and fro, and when some of the cavalry were heard to be galloping with the p86utmost speed and with all energy to the camp and from the camp, some of them, being excited by the strangeness of the event, went forth from their houses to inquire what had happened, for it was plain that something strange had occurred. 121 And when they heard of the arrest that had taken place, and that Flaccus was now within the toils, stretching up their hands to heaven, they sang a hymn, and began a song of praise to God, who presides over all the affairs of men, saying, "We are not delighted, O Master, at the punishment of our enemy, being taught by the sacred laws to submit to all the vicissitudes of human life, but we justly give thanks to thee, who hast had mercy and compassion upon us, and who hast thus relieved our continual and incessant oppressions."

122 And when they had spent the whole night in hymns and songs, they poured out through the gates at the earliest dawn, and hastened to the nearest point of the shore, for they had been deprived of their usual places for prayer, and standing in a clear and open space, they cried out, 123 "O most mighty King of all mortal and immortal beings, we have come to offer thanks unto thee, to invoke earth and sea, and the air and the heaven, and all the parts of the universe, and the whole world in which alone we dwell, being driven out by men and robbed of everything else in the world, and being deprived of our city, and of all the buildings both private and public within the city, and being made houseless and homeless by the treachery of our governor, the only men in the world who are so treated. 124 You suggest to us favourable hopes of the setting straight of what is left to us, beginning to consent to our prayers, inasmuch as you have on a sudden thrown down the common enemy of our nation, the author and cause of all our calamities, exulting in pride, and trusting that he would gain credit by such means, before he was removed to a distance from us, in order that those who were evilly afflicted might not feel their joy impaired by learning it only by report, but you have chastised him while he was so near, almost as we may say before the eyes of those whom he oppressed, in order to give us a more distinct perception of the end which has fallen upon him in a short time beyond our hopes."

XV 125 And besides what I have spoken of there is also a third thing, which appears to me to have taken place by the interposition of divine providence; for after he had set sail at the p87beginning of winter, for it was rightly ordained that he should have his fill of the dangers of the sea, inasmuch as he had filled all the elements of the universe with his impieties, after suffering innumerable hardships he with difficulty got safely to Italy, and the moment that he had arrived there he was pursued by accusations which were brought against him, and which were brought before two of his greatest enemies, Isidorus and Lampo, 126 who a little while before were in the position of subjects to him, calling him their master, and benefactor, and saviour, and names of that sort, but who now were his adversaries, and that too displaying a power not only equal to but far superior to his own, not merely from the confidence which men feel in the justice of their cause, but, what was a matter of great moment, because they saw that the Judge of all human affairs was his irreconcileable enemy, being about now to take upon himself the form of a judge from a prudent determination not to appear to condemn any one beforehand unheard, and not to act the part of an enemy, who before hearing either accusation or defence, has already condemned the defendant in his mind, and has sentenced him to the most severe punishments. 127 But nothing is so terrible as for men who have been the more powerful to be accused by their inferiors, and for those who have been rulers to be impeached by their former subjects, which is as if masters were being prosecuted by their natural or purchased slaves.

XVI 128 And yet even this in my opinion was a lighter evil when compared with another which was greater still; for it was not people who were merely in the simple rank of subjects who now, discarding that position and conspiring together, on a sudden attacked him with their accusations; but those who did so were men who during the chief part of the time that he had had the government of the country had been in a position of the greatest enmity and hatred to him, Lampo having been under a prosecution for impiety against Tiberius Caesar, and having been almost worn out by the matter which had been thus impending over his head for two years; 129 for the judge who had a grudge against him caused all sorts of delays and every possible protraction of the cause on various pretexts, wishing even if he escaped from the accusation, at all events to keep the terror of the future as uncertain hanging over his head for the longest possible period, so as to make his life more p88miserable even than death. 130 And then again when he seemed to have come off victorious, saying that he was insulted and injured in his property (for he was compelled to become a gymnasiarch), either by being economical and illiberal in his expenses, pretending that he had not sufficient wealth for such unlimited expenditure, or perhaps really not having enough; but before he came to the trial, making a parade of being very rich, but when he did come to the proof then appearing not to be a man of exceeding wealth, having acquired nearly all the riches which he had by unjust actions.

131 For standing by the rulers when they gave judgment, he took notes of all that took place on the trial as if he were a clerk; and then he designedly passed over or omitted such and such points, and interpolated other things which were not said. And at times, too, he made alterations, changing and altering, and perverting matters, and turning things up-side down, aiming to get money by every syllable, or, I might rather say, by every letter, like a hunter after musty records, 132 whom the whole people with one accord did often with great felicity and propriety of expression call a pen-murderer, as slaying numbers of persons by the things which he wrote, and rendering the living more miserable than even the dead, as, though they might have got the victory and been in comfort, they were subjected to miserable defeat and poverty, their enemies having bought victory, and triumph, and wealth, of a man who sold and made his market of the properties of others.

133 For it was impossible for rulers who had the charge of so vast a country entrusted to them, when affairs of every sort, both private and public, were coming in upon them fresh every day, to remember everything which they had heard, especially as they had not only to fill the part of judges, but also to take accounts of all the revenues and taxes, the investigation into which occupied the greater portion of the year. 134 And the man to whom it was entrusted to take charge of that most important of all deposits, namely, justice, and of those most holy sentiments which had been delivered and urged before them, caused forgetfulness to the judges, registering those who ought to have had sentence in their favour as defeated, and those who ought to have been defeated as victorious, after the receipt of his accursed pay, or, to speak more properly, wages of iniquity.

p89 XVII 135 Such, then, was the character of Lampo, who was now one of the accusers of Flaccus.

And Isidorus was in no respect inferior to him in wickedness, being a man of the populace, a low demagogue, one who had continually studied to throw everything into disorder and confusion, an enemy to all peace and stability, very clever at exciting seditions and tumults which had no existence before, and at inflaming and exaggerating such as were already excited, taking care always to keep about him a disorderly and promiscuous mob of all the refuse of the people, ready for every kind of atrocity, which he had divided into regular sections as so many companies of soldiers.

136 There are a vast number of parties in the city whose association is founded in no one good principle, but who are united by wine, and drunkenness, and revelry, and the offspring of those indulgencies, insolence; and their meetings are called synods and couches by the natives. 137 In all these parties or the greater number of them Isidorus is said to have borne the bell, the leader of the feast, the chief of the supper, the disturber of the city. Then, whenever it was determined to do some mischief, at one signal they all went forth in a body, and did and said whatever they were told. 138 And on one occasion, being indignant with Flaccus because, after he had appeared originally to be a person of some weight with him, he afterwards was no longer courted in an equal degree, having hired a gang of fellows from the training schools and men accustomed to vociferate loudly, who well their outcries as if in regular market to those who are inclined to buy them, he ordered them all to assemble at the gymnasium; 139 and they, having filled it, began to heap accusations on Flaccus without any particular grounds, inventing all kinds of monstrous accusations and all sorts of falsehoods in ridiculous language, stringing long sentences together, so that not only was Flaccus himself alarmed but all the others who were there at this unexpected attack, and especially, as it may be conjectured, from the idea that there must certainly have been some one behind the scenes whom they were studying to gratify, since they themselves had suffered no evil, and since they were well aware that the rest of the city had not been ill-treated by him.

140 Then, after they had deliberated awhile, they determined to p90apprehend certain persons of them and to inquire into the cause of this indiscriminate and sudden rage and madness. And the men who were arrested, without being put to the torture, confessed the truth and added proofs to their words by what had been done, detailing the pay which had been already given and that which, in accordance with his promises, was subsequently to be paid, and the men who were appointed to distribute it as the leaders of the sedition, and the place where it was to break out, and the time when the giving of the bribes was to take place.

141 And when every one, as was very natural, was indignant at this, and when the city was mightily offended, that the folly of some individuals should attach to it so as to dim its reputation, Flaccus determined to send for some of the most honourable men of the people, and, on the next day to bring forward before them those who had distributed the bribes, that he might investigate the truth about Isidorus, and also that he might make a defence of his own system of government, and prove that he had been unjustly calumniated; and when they heard the proclamation there came not only the magistrates but also the whole city, except that portion which was about to be convicted of having been the agents of corruption or the corrupted.

And they who had been employed in this honourable service, being raised up on the platform, 142 that they might be elevated and conspicuous and be recognised by all men, accused Isidorus as having been the cause of all the tumults and of the accusations which had been brought against Flaccus, and as having given money and bribes to no small number of them by himself. "Since else," said they, "where could we have got such great abundance? 143 We are poor men, and are scarcely able to provide our daily expenses for absolute necessaries: and what evil did we ever suffer from the governor, so as to be forced to bear him ill will? Nay, but it is he who was the cause of all these things, the author of them all, he who is always envious of those who are in prosperity, and an adversary of all stability and wholesome law."

And when those who were present came to the knowledge of these things, 144 for what was thus said was a very evident proof and evidence of the intentions of the person accused, p91they all raised an outcry, some calling out that he should be degraded, others that he should be banished, others that he should be put to death, and these last were the most numerous; and the others changed their tone and joined them, so that at last they all cried out, with one accord and with one voice, to slay the common pest of the land, the man to whom it was owing that, ever since he had arrived in the country and taken any part in public affairs, no part of the city or of the common interests had ever been left in a sound or healthy condition; 145 and he, indeed, being convicted by his conscience, fled away in-doors, fearing lest he should be seized; but Flaccus did nothing against him, thinking that now that he had voluntarily removed himself, everything in the city would soon be free from sedition and contention.

XVIII 146 I have related these events at some length, not for the sake of keeping old injuries in remembrance, but because I admire that power who presides over all freemen's affairs, namely, justice, seeing that those men who were so generally hostile to Flaccus, those by whom of all men he was most hated, were the men who now brought their accusations against him, to fill up the measure of his grief, for it is not so bitter merely to be accused as to be accused by one's confessed enemies; 147 but this man was not merely accused, though a governor, by his subjects, and that by men who had always been his enemies, when he had only a short time before been the lord of the life of every individual among them, but he was also apprehended by force, being thus subjected to a twofold evil, namely, to be defeated and ridiculed by exulting enemies, which is worse than death to all right-minded and sensible people.

148 And then see what an abundance of disasters came upon him, for he was immediately stripped of all his possessions, both of those which he inherited from his parents and of all that he had acquired himself, having been a man who took especial delight in luxury and ornament; for he was not like some rich men, to whom wealth is an inactive material, but he was continually acquiring things of every useful kind in all imaginable abundance; cups, garments, couches, miniatures, and everything else which was any ornament to a house; 149 and besides that, he collected a vast number of servants, carefully selected for their excellencies and accomplishments, and p92with reference to their beauty, and health, and vigour of body, and to their unerring skill in all kinds of necessary and useful service; for every one of them was excellent in that employment to which he was appointed, so that he was looked upon as either the most excellent of all servants in that place, or, at all events, as inferior to no one.

150 And there is a very clear proof of this in the fact that, though there were a vast number of properties confiscated and sold for the public benefit, which belonged to persons who had been condemned, that of Flaccus alone was assigned to the emperor, with perhaps one or two more, in order that the law which had been established with respect to persons convicted of such crimes as his might not be violated.

151 And after he had been deprived of all his property, he was condemned to banishment, and was exiled from the whole continent, and that is the greatest and most excellent portion of the inhabited world, and from every island that has any character for fertility or richness; for he was commanded to be sent into that most miserable of all the islands in the Aegaean Sea,2 called Gyara, and he would have been left there if he had not availed himself of the intercession of Lepidus, by whose means he obtained leave to exchange Gyara for Andros, which was very near it. 152 Then he was sent back again on the road from Rome to Brundusium, a journey which he had taken a few years before, at the time when he was appointed governor of Egypt and the adjacent country of Libya, in order that the cities which had then seen him exulting and behaving with great insolence in the hour of his prosperity, might now again behold him full of dishonour. 153 And thus he being now become a conspicuous mark by reason of this total change of fortune, was overwhelmed with more bitter grief, his calamities being constantly rekindled and inflamed by the addition of fresh miseries, which, like relapses in sickness, compel the recollection of all former disasters to return, which up to that time appeared to be buried in obscurity.

XIX 154 And after he had crossed the Ionian Gulf he sailed up the sea which leads to Corinth, being a spectacle to all p93the cities in Peloponnesus which lie on the coast, when they heard of his sudden reverse of fortune; for when he disembarked from the vessel all the evil disposed men who bore him ill will ran up to see him, and others also came to sympathize with him — men who are accustomed to learn moderation from the misfortunes of others. 155 And at Lechaeum, crossing over the isthmus into the opposite gulf, and having arrived at Cenchreae, the dockyard of the Corinthians, he was compelled by the guards, who would not permit him the slightest respite, to embark immediately on board a small transport and to set sail, and as a foul wind was blowing with great violence, after great sufferings he with difficulty arrived safe at the Piraeus.

156 And when the storm had ceased, having coasted along Attica as far as the promontory of Sunium,3 he passed by all the islands in order, namely, Helena, and Ceanus, and Cythnos, and all the rest which lie in a regular row one after another, until at last he came to the point of his ultimate destination, the island of Andros, 157 which the miserable man beholding afar off poured forth abundance of tears down his cheeks, as if from a regular fountain, and beating his breast, and lamenting most bitterly, he said, "Men, ye who are my guards and attendants in this my journey, I now receive in exchange for the glorious Italy this beautiful country of Andros, which is an unfortunate island for me. 158 I, Flaccus, who was born, and brought up, and educated in Rome, the heaven of the world, and who have been the schoolfellow and companion of the granddaughters of Augustus, and who was afterwards selected by Tiberius Caesar as one of his most intimate friends, and who have had entrusted to me for six years the greatest of all his possessions, namely, Egypt. 159 What a change is this! In the middle of the day, as if an eclipse had come upon me, night has overshadowed my life. What shall I say of this little islet? Shall I call it my place of banishment, or my new country, or harbour and refuge of misery? A tomb would be the most proper name for it; for I, miserable that I am, am now in a manner conducted to my grave, attending my own funeral, for either I shall destroy my miserable life through my sorrow, or if I am able to cling to life among my miseries, I shall in that case find a distant death, which will be felt all the time of my life."

160 These, then, were the lamentations which he poured forth, p94and when the vessel came near the harbour he landed, stooping down to the very ground like men heavily oppressed, being weighed down by his calamities as if the heaviest of burdens was placed upon his neck, without being able to look up, or else not daring to do so because of the people whom he might meet, and of those who came out to see him and who stood on each side of the road. 161 And those men who had conducted him hither, bringing the populace of the Andrians, exhibited him to them all, making them all witnesses of the arrival of the exile in their island.

162 And they, when they had discharged their office, departed; and then the misery of Flaccus was renewed, as he no longer beheld any sight to which he was accustomed, but only saw sad misery presented to him by the most conspicuous evidence, while he looked around upon what to him was perfect desolation, in the middle of which he was placed; so that it seemed to him that a violent execution in his native land would have been a lighter evil, or rather, by comparison with his present circumstances, a most desirable good; and he gave himself up to such violence of grief, that he was in no respect different from a maniac, and leaped about, and ran to and fro, and clapped his hands, and smote his thighs, and threw himself upon the ground, and kept continually crying out, 163 "I am Flaccus! who but a little while ago was the governor of the mighty city, of the populous city of Alexandria! the governor of that most fertile of all countries, Egypt! I am he on whom all those myriads of inhabitants turned their eyes! who had countless forces of infantry, and cavalry, and ships, formidable, not merely by their number, but consisting of all the most eminent and illustrious of all my subjects! I am he who was every day accompanied when I went out by countless companies of clients! 164 But now, was not all this a vision rather than reality? and was I asleep, and was this prosperity which I then beheld a dream — phantoms marching through empty space, fictions of the soul, which perhaps registered non-existent things as though they had a being? Doubtless, I have been deceived. 165 These things were but a shadow and no real things, imitations of reality and not a real truth, which makes falsehood evident; for as after we have awakened we find none of those things which appeared to us in our dreams, but all such things have fled in a body and disappeared, so too, p95all that brilliant prosperity which I formerly enjoyed has now been extinguished in the briefest moment of time."

XX 166 With such discourses as these, he was continually being cast down, and in a manner, as I may say, prostrated; and avoiding all places where he might be likely to meet with many persons on account of the shame which clung to him, he never went down to the harbour, nor could he endure to visit the market-place, but shut himself up in his house, where he kept himself close, never venturing to go beyond the outer court. 167 But sometimes indeed, in the deepest twilight of the dawn, when every one else was still in bed, so that he could be seen by no one whatever, he would go forth out of the city and spend the entire day in the desolate part of the island, turning away if any one seemed likely to meet him; and being torn as to his soul with the memorials of his misfortunes which he saw about him in his house, and being devoured with anguish, he went back home in the darkness of the night, praying, by reason of his immoderate and never-ending misery, that the evening would become morning, dreading the darkness and the strange appearances which represented themselves to him when he went to sleep, and again in the morning he prayed that it might be evening;4 for the darkness which surrounded him was opposed to everything light or cheerful.

168 And a few months afterwards, having purchased a small piece of land, he spent a great deal of his time there living by himself, and bewailing and weeping over his fate. 169 It is said too, that often at midnight he became possessed like those who celebrate the rites of the Corybantes, and at such times he would go forth out of his farm-house and raise his eyes to heaven and to the stars, and beholding all the beauty really existing in the world, he would cry out, 170 "O King of gods and men! you are not, then, indifferent to the Jewish nation, nor are the assertions which they relate with respect to your providence false; but those men who say that that people has not you for their champion and defender, are far from a correct p96opinion. And I am an evident proof of this; for all the frantic designs which I conceived against the Jews, I now suffer myself. 171 I consented when they were stripped of their possessions, giving immunity to those who were plundering them; and on this account I have myself been deprived of all my paternal and maternal inheritance, and of all that I have ever acquired by gift or favour, and of everything else that ever became mine in any other manner. 172 In times past I reproached them with ignominy as being foreigners, though they were in truth sojourners in the land entitled to full privileges, in order to give pleasure to their enemies who were a promiscuous and disorderly multitude, by whom I, miserable man that I was, was flattered and deceived; and for this I have been myself branded with infamy, and have been driven as an exile from the whole of the habitable world, and am shut up in this place. 173 Again, I led some of them into the theatre, and commanded them to be shamelessly and unjustly insulted in the sight of their greatest enemies; and therefore I justly have been myself led not into a theatre or into one city, but into many cities, to endure the utmost extremity of insult, being ill-treated in my miserable soul instead of my body; for I was led in procession through the whole of Italy as far as Brundusium, and through all Peloponnesus as far as Corinth, and through Attica, and all the islands as far as Andros, which is this prison of mine; 174 and I am thoroughly assured that even this is not the limit of my misfortunes, but that others are still in store for me, to fill up the measures as a requital for all the evils which I have done. I put many persons to death, and when some of them were put to death by others, I did not chastise their murderers. Some were stoned; some were burnt alive; others were dragged through the middle of the market-place till the whole of their bodies were torn to pieces. 175 And for all this I know now that retribution awaits me, and that the avengers are already standing as it were at the goal, and are pressing close to me, eager to slay me, and every day, or I may rather say, every hour, I die before my time, enduring many deaths instead of one, the last of All."5

p97 176 And he was continually giving way to dread and to apprehension, and shaking with fear in every limb and every portion of his body, and his whole soul was trembling with terror and quivering with palpitation and agitation, as if nothing in the world could possibly be a comfort to the man now that he was deprived of all favourable hopes; 177 no good omen ever appeared to him, everything bore a hostile appearance, every report was ill-omened, his waking was painful, his sleep fearful, his solitude resembling that of wild beasts, nevertheless the solitude of his herds was what was most pleasant to him, any dwelling in the city was his greatest affliction; his safe reproach was a solitary abiding in the fields, a dangerous, and painful, and unseemly way of life; every one who approached him, however justly, was an object of suspicion to him. 178 "This man," he would say, "who is coming quickly hither, is planning something against me, he does not look as if he were hastening for any other object, but he is pursuing me; this pleasant looking man is laying a snare for me; this free-spoken man is despising me; this man is giving me meat and drink as they feed cattle before killing them. 179 How long shall I, hardhearted that I am, bear up against such terrible calamities? I well know that I am afraid of death, since out of cruelty the Deity will not punish me violently, to cut short my miserable life, in order to load me to excess with irremediable miseries, which he treasures up against me, to do a pleasure to those whom I treacherously put to death."

XXI 180 While repeating these things over and over again and writhing with his agony, he awaited the end of his destiny, and his uninterrupted sorrow agitated, and disturbed, and overturned his soul. But Caius, being a man of an inhuman nature and insatiable in his revenge, did not, as some persons do, let go those who had been once punished, but raged against them without end, and was continually contriving some new and terrible suffering for them; and, above all men, he hated Flaccus to such a degree, that he suspected all who bore the same name, from his detestation of the very appellation; 181 and he often repented that he had condemned him to banishment and not to death, and though he had a great respect for Lepidus who had interceded for him, he blamed him, so that he was kept in a state of great alarm from fear of punishment p98impending over him, for he feared lest, as was very likely, he, because he had been the cause of another person having been visited by a lighter punishment, might himself have a more severe one inflicted upon him.

182 Therefore, as no one any longer ventured to say a word by way of deprecating the anger of the emperor, he gave loose to his fury, which was now implacable and unrestrained, and which, though it ought to have been mitigated by time, was rather increased by it, just as recurring diseases are in the body when a relapse takes place, for all such relapses are more grievous than the original attacks.

183 They say that on one occasion Caius, being awake at night, began to turn his mind to the magistrates and officers who were in banishment, and who in name indeed were looked upon as unfortunate, but who in reality had now thus acquired a life free from trouble, and truly tranquil and free. 184 And he gave a new name to this banishment, calling it an emigration, "For," said he, "it is only a kind of emigration the banishment of these men, inasmuch as they have all the necessaries of life in abundance, and are able to live in tranquillity, and stability, and peace. But it is an absurdity for them to be living in luxury, enjoying peace, and indulging in all the pleasures of a philosophical life."

185 Then he commanded the most eminent of these men, and those who were of the highest rank and reputation, to be put to death, giving a regular list of their names, at the head of which list was Flaccus. And when the men arrived at Andros, who had been commanded to put him to death, Flaccus happened, just at that moment, to be coming from his farm into the city, and they, on their way up from the port, met him, 186 and while yet at a distance they perceived and recognised one another; at which he, perceiving in a moment the object for which they were come (for every man's soul is very prophetic, especially of such as are in misfortune), turning out of the road, fled and ran away over the rough ground, forgetting, perhaps, that Andros was an island and not the continent. And what is the use of speed in an island which the sea washes all round? for one of two things must of necessity happen, either that if the fugitive advances further he must be carried into the sea, or else arrested when he has reached the farthest boundary. 187 Therefore, in a comparison of evils, destruction p99by land must be preferable to destruction by sea, since nature has made the land more closely akin to man, and to all terrestrial animals, not only while they are alive, but even after they are dead, in order that the same element may receive both their primary generation and their last dissolution.

188 The officers therefore pursued him without stopping to take breath and arrested him; and then immediately some of them dug a ditch, and the others dragged him on by force in spite of all his resistance and crying out and struggling, by which means his whole body was wounded like that of beasts that are despatched with a number of wounds; 189 for he, turning round them and clinging to his executioners, who were hindered in their aims which they took at him with their swords, and who thus struck him with oblique blows, was the cause of his own sufferings being more severe; for he was in consequence mutilated and cut about the hands, and feet, and head, and breast, and sides, so that he was mangled like a victim, and thus he fell, justice righteously inflicting on his own body wounds equal in number to the murders of the Jews whom he had unlawfully put to death.

190 And the whole place flowed with blood which was shed from his numerous veins, which were cut in every part of his body, and which poured forth blood as from a fountain. And when the corpse was dragged into the trench which had been dug, the greater part of the limbs separated from the body, the sinews by which the whole of the body is kept together being all cut through.

191 Such was the end of Flaccus, who suffered thus, being made the most manifest evidence that the nation of the Jews is not left destitute of the providential assistance of God.


The Editor's Notes:

1 She was the sister of the emperor, and at her death her brother ordered that divine honours should be paid to her.

2 This was a common place of banishment for criminals, Juvenal says —

Aude aliquid brevibus Gyaris, et carcere dignum

Si vis esse aliquis. I.72

3 Now Cape Colonna.

4 This is evidently taken from Deuteronomy xxviii.66, "And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life: in the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! and at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see."

5 This is like the passage in Shakespeare —

Cowards die many times before their deaths;

The brave men only taste of death but once.


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