Containing the Interval of 32 Years.
From the Death of Queen Alexandra to the Death of Antigonus.
The war between Aristobulus and Hyrcanus about the kingdom; and how they made an agreement, that Aristobulus should be King, and Hyrcanus live a private life; as also how Hyrcanus, a little afterward, was persuaded by Antipater to fly to Aretas.
1. We have related the affairs of Queen Alexandra, and her death, in the foregoing book, and will now speak of what followed, and was connected with those histories; declaring before we proceed, that we have nothing so much at heart as this, that we may omit no facts, (1) either through ignorance or laziness; for we are upon the history and explication of such things as the greatest part are unacquainted withal, because of their distance from our times; and we aim to do it with a proper beauty of style, so far as that is derived from proper words harmonically disposed, and from such ornaments of speech also as may contribute to the pleasure of our readers, that they may entertain the knowledge of what we write with some agreeable satisfaction and pleasure. But the principal scope that authors ought to aim at above all the rest, is to speak accurately, and to speak truly, for the satisfaction of those that are otherwise unacquainted with such transactions, and obliged to believe what these writers inform them of.
2. Hyrcanus then began his high priesthood on the third year of the hundred seventy-seventh olympiad, when Quintus Hortensius, and Quintus Metellus, who was called Metellus of Crete, were consuls at Rome: when presently Aristobulus began to make war against him; and as it came to a battle with Hyrcanus at Jericho, many of his soldiers deserted him, and went over to his brother; upon which Hyrcanus fled into the citadel, where Aristobulus’s wife and children were imprisoned by their mother, as we have said already, and attacked and overcame those his adversaries that had fled thither, and lay within the walls of the temple. So when he had sent a message to his brother about agreeing the matters between them, he laid aside his enmity to him on these conditions, that Aristobulus should be King; that he should live without intermeddling with public affairs, and quietly enjoy the estate he had acquired. When they had agreed upon these terms in the temple, and had confirmed the agreement with oaths, and the giving one another their right hands, and embracing one another, in the sight of the whole multitude, they departed, the one, Aristobulus, to the palace, and Hyrcanus, as a private man, to the former house of Aristobulus.
3. But there was a certain friend of Hyrcanus’s, an Idumean, called Antipater, who was very rich, and in his nature an active and a seditious man; who was at enmity with Aristobulus, and had differences with him on account of his good-will to Hyrcanus. It is true that Nicolaus of Damascus says, that Antipater was of the stock of the principal Jews who came out of Babylon into Judea; but that assertion of his was to gratify Herod, who was his son, and who, by certain revolutions of fortune, came afterward to be King of the Jews, whose history we shall give you in its proper place hereafter. However, this Antipater was at first called Antipas, (2) and that was his father’s name also; of whom they relate this, that King Alexander and his wife made him general of all Idumea, and that he made a league of friendship with those Arabians, and Gazites, and Ascalonites, that were of his own party, and had, by many and large presents, made them his fast friends. But now, this younger Antipater was suspicious of the power of Aristobulus, and was afraid of some mischief he might do him, because of his hatred to him, so he stirred up the most powerful of the Jews and talked against him to them privately; and said. That “it was unjust to overlook the conduct of Aristobulus, who had gotten the government unrighteously, and ejected his brother out of it, who was the elder, and ought to retain what belonged to him by prerogative of his birth.” And the same speeches he perpetually made to Hyrcanus; and told him, that his own life would be in danger, unless he guarded himself, and got shut of Aristobulus; for, he said, that the friends of Aristobulus omitted no opportunity of advising him to kill him, as being then, and not before, sure to retain his principality. Hyrcanus gave no credit to these words of his, as being of a gentle disposition, and one that did not easily admit of calumnies against other men. This temper of his not disposing him to meddle with public affairs, and want of spirit, occasioned him to appear to spectators to be degenerous and unmanly; while Aristobulus was of a contrary temper, an active man, and one of a great and generous soul.
4. Since therefore Antipater saw that Hyrcanus did not attend to what he said, he never ceased, day by day, to charge feigned crimes upon Aristobulus, and to calumniate him before him, as if he had a mind to kill him; and so, by urging him perpetually, he advised him and persuaded him to fly to Aretas, the King of Arabia; and promised, that if he would comply with his advice, he would also himself assist him [and go with him]. When Hyrcanus heard this, he said, that it was for his advantage to fly away to Aretas. Now Arabia is a country that borders upon Judea. However, Hyrcanus sent Antipater first to the King of Arabia, in order to receive assurances from him, that when he should come in the manner of a supplicant to him, he will not deliver him up to his enemies. So Antipater having received such assurances, returned to Hyrcanus to Jerusalem. A while afterward he took Hyrcanus, and stole out of the city by night, and went a great journey, and came and brought him to the city called Petra, where the palace of Aretas was: And as he was a very familiar friend of that King’s, he persuaded him to bring back Hyrcanus into Judea, and this persuasion he continued every day without any intermission. He also proposed to make him presents on that account. At length he prevailed with Aretas in his suit. Moreover, Hyrcanus promised him, that when he had been brought thither, and had received his kingdom, he would restore that country, and those twelve cities which his father Alexander had taken from the Arabians, which were these, Medaba, Naballo, Libias, Tharabasa, Agala, Athone, Zoar, Orone, Marissa, Rudda, Lussa, and Oruba.
How Aretas and Hyrcanus made an expedition against Aristobulus, and besieged Jerusalem; and how Scaurus, the Roman general, raised the siege. Concerning the death of Onias.
1. After these promises had been given to Aretas, he made an expedition against Aristobulus, with an army of fifty thousand horse and foot, and beat him in the battle. And when, after that victory, many went over to Hyrcanus, as deserters, Aristobulus was left desolate, and fled to Jerusalem; upon which the King of Arabia took all his army, and made an assault upon the temple, and besieged Aristobulus therein, the people still supporting Hyrcanus, and assisting him in the siege, while none but the priests continued with Aristobulus. So Aretas united the forces of the Arabians. and of the Jews together, and pressed on the siege vigorously. As this happened at the time when the feast of unleavened bread was celebrated, which we call the Passover, the principal men among the Jews left the country, and fled into Egypt. Now there was one, whose name was Onias, a righteous man be was, and beloved of God, who in a certain drought, had prayed to God to put an end to the intense heat, and whose prayers God had heard, and had sent them rain. This man had hid himself, because he saw that this sedition would last a great while. However, they brought him to the Jewish camp, and desired, that as by his prayers he had once put an end to the drought, so he would in like manner make imprecations on Aristobulus and those of his faction. And when, upon his refusal, and the excuses that he made, he was still by the multitude compelled to speak, he stood up in the midst of them, and said, “O God, the King of the whole world! since those that stand now with me are thy people, and those that are besieged are also thy priests, I beseech thee that thou wilt neither hearken to the prayers of those against these, nor bring to effect what these pray against those.” Whereupon such wicked Jews as stood about him, as soon as he had made this prayer, stoned him to death.
2. But God punished them immediately for this their barbarity, and took vengeance of them for the murder of Onias, in the manner following: While the priests and Aristobulus were besieged, it happened that the feast called the Passover was come, at which it is our custom to offer a great number of sacrifices to God; but those that were with Aristobulus wanted sacrifices, and desired that their countrymen without would furnish them with such sacrifices, and assured them they should have as much money for them as they should desire; and when they required them to pay a thousand drachmæ for each head of cattle, Aristobulus and the priests willingly undertook to pay for them accordingly, and those within let down the money over the walls, and gave it them. But when the others had received it, they did not deliver the sacrifices, but arrived at that height of wickedness as to break the assurances they had given, and to be guilty of impiety towards God, by not furnishing those that wanted them with sacrifices. And when the priests found they had been cheated, and that the agreements they had made were violated, they prayed to God that he would avenge them on their countrymen. Nor did he delay that their punishment, but sent a strong and vehement storm of wind, that destroyed the fruits of the whole country, till a modius of wheat was then bought for eleven drachmæ.
3. In the mean time Pompey sent Scaurus into Syria, while he was himself in Armenia, and making war with Tigranes: But when Scaurus was come to Damascus, and found that Lollius and Metellus had newly taken the city, he came himself hastily into Judea. And when he was come thither, embassadors came to him, both from Aristobulus and Hyrcanus, and both desired he would assist them. And when both of them promised to give him money, Aristobulus four hundred talents, and Hyrcanus no less, he accepted of Aristobulus’s promise, for he was rich, and had a great soul, and desired to obtain nothing but what was moderate; whereas the other was poor, and tenacious, and made incredible promises in hopes of greater advantages; for it was not the same thing to take a city that was exceeding strong and powerful, as it was to eject out of the country some fugitives, with a greater number of Nabateans, who were no very warlike people. He therefore made an agreement with Aristobulus, for the reasons before mentioned, and took his money, and raised the siege, and ordered Aretas to depart, or else he should be declared an enemy to the Romans. So Scaurus returned to Damascus again; and Aristobulus, with a great army, made war with Aretas and Hyrcanus, and fought them at a place called Papyron, and beat them in the battle, and slew about six thousand of the enemy; with whom fell Phalion also, the brother of Antipater.
How Aristobulus and Hyrcanus came to Pompey, in order to argue who ought to have the kingdom; and how, upon the flight of Aristobulus to the fortress Alexandrium, Pompey led his army against him, and ordered him to deliver up the fortresses whereof he was possessed.
1. A little afterward Pompey came to Damascus, and marched over Celesyria; at which time there came embassadors to him from all Syria, and Egypt, and out of Judea also, for Aristobulus had sent him a great present, which was a golden vine, of the value of five hundred talents. (3) Now Strabo of Cappadocia mentions this present in these words: “There came also an embassage out of Egypt, and a crown of the value of four thousand pieces of gold; and out of Judea there came another, whether you call it a vine or a garden; they call the thing Terpule, The delight. However, we ourselves saw that present reposited at Rome, in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, with this inscription, The gift of Alexander the King of the Jews. It was valued at five hundred talents; and the report is, that Aristobulus, the governor of the Jews, sent it.”
2. In a little time afterward came embassadors again to him, Antipater from Hyrcanus, and Nicodemus from Aristobulus; which last also accused such as had taken bribes, first Gabinius, and then Scaurus, the one three hundred talents, and the other four hundred; by which procedure he made these two his enemies, besides those he had before. And when Pompey had ordered those that had controversies one with another to come to him in the beginning of the spring, he brought his army out of their winter quarters, and marched into the country of Damascus; and as he went along he demolished the citadel that was at Apamia, which Antiochus Cyzicenus had built, and took cognisance of the country of Ptolemy Menneus, a wicked man, and not less so than Dionysius of Tripoli, who had been beheaded, who was also his relation by marriage; yet did he buy off the punishment of his crimes for a thousand talents, with which money Pompey paid the soldiers their wages. He also conquered the place called Lysias, of which Silas a Jew, was tyrant. And when he had passed over the cities of Heliopolis and Chalcis, and got over the mountain which is on the limit of Celesyria, he came from Pella to Damascus; and there it was that he heard the causes of the Jews, and of their governors Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, who were at difference one with another, as also of the nation against them both, which did not desire to be under kingly government, because the form of government they received from their forefathers was that of subjection to the priests of that god whom they worshipped; and [they complained], that though these two were the posterity of priests, yet did they seek to change the government of their nation to another form, in order to enslave them. Hyrcanus complained, that although he were the elder brother, he was deprived of the prerogative of his birth by Aristobulus, and that he had but a small part of the country under him, Aristobulus having taken away the rest from him by force. He also accused him, that the incursions which had been made into their neighbours countries, and the piracies that had been at sea, were owing to him; and that the nation would not have revolted, unless Aristobulus had been a man given to violence and disorder: and there were no fewer than a thousand Jews, of the best esteem among them, who confirmed this accusation; which confirmation was procured by Antipater. But Aristobulus alleged against him, that it was Hyrcanus’s own temper, which was inactive, and on that account contemptible, which caused him to be deprived of the government; and that for himself he was necessitated to take it upon him, for fear lest it should be transferred to others. And that as to his title [of King], it was no other than what his father had taken [before him]. He also called for witnesses of what he said, some persons who were both young and insolent: whose purple garments, fine heads of hair, and other ornaments, were detested [by the court], and which they appeared in, not as though they were to plead their cause in a court of justice, but as if they were marching in a pompous procession.
3. When Pompey had heard the causes of these two, and had condemned Aristobulus for his violent procedure, he then spake civilly to them, and sent them away; and told them, that when he came again into their country he would settle all their affairs, after he had first taken a view of the affairs of the Nabateans. In the mean time, he ordered them to be quiet; and treated Aristobulus civilly, lest he should make the nation revolt, and hinder his return: which yet Aristobulus did; for without expecting any farther determination, which Pompey had promised them, he went to the city Delius, and thence marched into Judea.
4. At this behaviour Pompey was angry; and taking with him that army which he was leading against the Nabateans, and the auxiliaries that came from Damascus, and the other parts of Syria, with the other Roman legions which he had with him, he made an expedition against Aristobulus: But as he passed by Pella, and Scythopolis, he came to Coreæ, which is the first entrance into Judea when one passes over the mid-land countries, where he came to a most beautiful fortress that was built on the top of a mountain called Alexandrium, whither Aristobulus had fled, and thence Pompey sent his commands to him, that he should come to him. Accordingly, at the persuasions of many, that he would not make war with the Romans, he came down: and when he had disputed with his brother about the right to the government, he went up again to the citadel, as Pompey gave him leave to do; and this he did two or three times, as flattering himself with the hopes of having the kingdom granted him; so that he still pretended he would obey Pompey in whatsoever he commanded, although at the same time he retired to his fortress, that he might not depress himself too low, and that he might be prepared for a war, in case it should prove as he feared, that Pompey would transfer the government to Hyrcanus. But when Pompey enjoined Aristobulus to deliver up the fortresses he held, and to send an injunction to their governors, under his own hand, for that purpose; for they had been forbidden to deliver them up upon any other commands, he submitted indeed to do so, but still he retired in displeasure to Jerusalem, and made preparation for war. A little after this, certain persons came out of Pontus, and informed Pompey, as he was on the way, and conducting his army against Aristobulus, that Mithridates was dead, and was slain by his son Pharnaces.
How Pompey, when the citizens of Jerusalem shut the gates against him, besieged the city, and took it by force; as also what other things he did in Judea.
1. Now when Pompey had pitched his camp at Jericho, (where the palm tree grows, and that balsam which is an ointment, (4) of all the most precious, which upon any incision made in the wood with a sharp stone, distills out thence like a juice), he marched in the morning to Jerusalem. Hereupon Aristobulus repented of what he was doing, and came to Pompey, and [promised to] give him money, and received him into Jerusalem, and desired that he would leave off the war, and do what he pleased peaceably. So Pompey, upon his intreaty, forgave him, and sent Gabinius and soldiers with him, to receive the money and the city: Yet was no part of this performed, but Gabinius came back, being both excluded out of the city, and receiving none of the money promised, because Aristobulus’s soldiers would not permit the agreements to be executed. At this Pompey was very angry, and put Aristobulus into prison, and came himself to the city, which was strong on every side, excepting the north, which was not so well fortified, for there was a broad and deep ditch that encompassed the city, (5) and included within it the temple, which was itself encompassed about with a very strong stone wall.
2. Now there was a sedition of the men that were within the city, who did not agree what was to be done in their present circumstances, while some thought it best to deliver up the city to Pompey; but Aristobulus’s party exhorted them to shut the gates, because he was kept in prison. Now these prevented the others, and seized upon the temple, and cut off the bridge which reached from it to the city, and prepared themselves to abide a siege; but the others admitted Pompey’s army in, and delivered up both the city and the King’s palace to him. So Pompey sent his lieutenant Piso with an army, and placed garrisons both in the city and in the palace, to secure them, and fortified the houses that joined to the temple; and all those which were more distant, and without it. And in the first place, he offered terms of accommodation to those within; but when they would not comply with what was desired, he encompassed all the places thereabout with a wall, wherein Hyrcanus did gladly assist him on all occasions, but Pompey pitched his camp within [the wall], on the north part of the temple, where it was most practicable; but even on that side there were great towers, and a ditch had been dug, and a deep valley begirt it round about, for on the parts towards the city were precipices, and the bridge on which Pompey had gotten in was broken down; however, a bank was raised day by day, with a great deal of labour, while the Romans cut down materials for it from the places round about: And when this bank was sufficiently raised, and the ditch filled up, though but poorly, by reason of its immense depth, he brought his mechanical engines, and battering rams from Tyre, and placing them on the bank, he battered the temple with the stones that were thrown against it. And had it not been our practice, from the days of our forefathers, to rest on the seventh day, this bank could never have been perfected, by reason of the opposition the Jews would have made; for though our law gives us leave then to defend ourselves against those that begin to fight with us, and assault us, yet does it not permit us to meddle with our enemies while they do any thing else.
3. Which thing when the Romans understood, on those days which we call Sabbaths, they threw nothing at the Jews, nor came to any pitched battle with them, but raised up their earthen banks, and brought their engines into such forwardness, that they might do execution the next days. And any one may hence learn, how very great piety we exercise towards God, and the observance of his laws, since the priests were not at all hindered from their sacred ministrations by their fear during this siege, but did still twice a day, in the morning, and about the ninth hour, offer their sacrifices on the altar: nor did they omit those sacrifices, if any melancholy accident happened, by the stones that were thrown among them; for although the city was taken on the third month, on the day of the fast, (6) upon the hundred seventy-ninth olympiad, when Caius Antonius and Marcus Tullius Cicero were consuls, and the enemy then fell upon them, and cut the throats of those that were in the temple, yet could not those that offered the sacrifices be compelled to run away, neither by the fear they were in of their own lives, nor by the number that were already slain, as thinking it better to suffer whatever came upon them, at their very altars, than to omit any thing that their laws required of them. And that this is not a mere brag, or an encomium to manifest a degree of our piety that was false, but is the real truth, I appeal to those that have written of the acts of Pompey; and, among them, to Strabo, and Nicolaus [of Damascus]; and besides these two Titus Livius, the writer of the Roman History, who will bear witness to this thing. (7)
4. But when the battering engine was brought near, the greatest of the towers was shaken by it, and fell down, and brake down a part of the fortifications, so the enemy poured in apace; and Cornelius Faustus, the son of Sylla, with his soldiers, first of all ascended the wall, and next to him Furius the centurion, with those that followed, on the other part, while Fabius, who was also a centurion, ascended it in the middle, with a great body of men after him. But now all was full of slaughter; some of the Jews being slain by the Romans, and some by one another; nay some there were who threw themselves down the precipices, or put fire to their houses, and burnt them, as not able to bear the miseries they were under. Of the Jews there fell twelve thousand, but of the Romans very few. Absalom, who was at once both uncle and father-in-law to Aristobulus, was taken captive. And no small enormities were committed about the temple itself, which, in former ages, had been inaccessible, and seen by none; for Pompey went into it, and not a few of those that were with him also, and saw all that which it was unlawful for any other men to see but only for the high priests. There were in that temple the golden table, the holy candlestick, and the pouring vessels, and a great quantity of spices; and besides these, there were among the treasures two thousand talents of sacred money: Yet did Pompey touch nothing of all this, (8) on account of his regard to religion; and in this point also he acted in a manner that was worthy of his virtue. The next day he gave order to those that had the charge of the temple to cleanse it, and to bring what offerings the law required to God; and restored the high priesthood to Hyrcanus, both because he had been useful to him in other respects, and because he hindered the Jews in the country from giving Aristobulus any assistance in his war against him. He also cut off those that had been the authors of that war; and bestowed proper rewards on Faustus, and those others that mounted the wall with such alacrity; and he made Jerusalem tributary to the Romans, and took away those cities of Celesyria which the inhabitants of Judea had subdued, and put them under the government of the Roman president, and confined the whole nation, which had elevated itself so high before, within its own bounds. Moreover, he rebuilt Gadara, (9) which had been demolished a little before, to gratify Demetrius of Gadara, who was his freed man, and restored the rest of the cities, Hippos, and Scythopolis, and Pella, and Dios, and Samaria, as also Marissa, and Ashdod, and Jamnia, and Arethusa, to their own inhabitants: these were in the inland parts. Besides those that had been demolished, and also of the maritime cities, Gaza and Joppa, and Dora, and Strato’s Tower; which last Herod rebuilt after a glorious manner, and adorned with havens, and temples, and changed its name to Cesarea. All these Pompey left in a state of freedom, and joined them to the province of Syria.
5. Now the occasions of this misery which came upon Jerusalem, were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, by raising a sedition one against the other; for now we lost our liberty, and became subject to the Romans, and were deprived of that country which we had gained by our arms from the Syrians, and were compelled to restore it to the Syrians. Moreover, the Romans exacted of us, in a little time, above ten thousand talents. And the royal authority, which was a dignity formerly bestowed on those that were high priests, by the right of their family, became the property of private men. But of these matters we shall treat in their proper places. Now Pompey committed Celesyria, as far as the river Euphrates and Egypt, to Scaurus, with two Roman legions, and then went away to Cilicia, and made haste to Rome. He also carried bound along with him Aristobulus and his children; for he had two daughters, and as many sons; the one of which ran away, but the younger, Antigonus, was carried to Rome, together with his sisters.
How Scaurus made a league of mutual assistance with Aretas: And what Gabinius did in Judea, after he had conquered Alexander, the son of Aristobulus.
1. Scaurus made now an expedition against Petrea, in Arabia, and set on fire all the places round about it, because of the great difficulty of access to it. And as his army was pinched by famine, Antipater furnished him with corn out of Judea, and with whatever else he wanted, and this at the command of Hyrcanus. And when he was sent to Aretas, as an ambassador by Scaurus, because he had lived with him formerly, he persuaded Aretas to give Scaurus a sum of money, to prevent the burning of his country; and undertook to be his surety for three hundred talents. So Scaurus, upon these terms, ceased to make war any longer: which was done as much at Scaurus’s desire, as at the desire of Aretas.
2. Some time after this, when Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, made an incursion into Judea, Gabinius came from Rome into Syria, as commander of the Roman forces. He did many considerable actions: and particularly made war with Alexander, since Hyrcanus was not yet able to oppose his power, but was already attempting to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, which Pompey had overthrown, although the Romans, which were there, restrained him from that his design. However, Alexander went over all the country round about, and armed many of the Jews, and suddenly got together ten thousand armed footmen, and fifteen hundred horsemen, and fortified Alexandrium, a fortress near to Coreœ and Macherus, near the mountains of Arabia. Gabinius therefore came upon him, having sent Marcus Antonius, with other commanders, before. These armed such Romans as followed them; and, together with them, such Jews as were subject to them, whose leaders were Pitholaus and Malichus; and they took with them also their friends that were with Antipater, and met Alexander, while Gabinius himself followed with his legion. Hereupon Alexander retired to the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, where they fell upon one another, and it came to a pitched battle, in which the Romans slew of their enemies about three thousand, and took a like number alive.
3. At which time Gabinius came to Alexandrium, and invited those that were in it to deliver it up on certain conditions, and promised that then their former offences should be forgiven: But as a great number of the enemy had pitched their camp before the fortress, whom the Romans attacked, Marcus Antonius fought bravely, and slew a great number, and seemed to come off with the greatest honour. So Gabinius left part of his army there, in order to take the place, and he himself went into other parts of Judea, and gave order to rebuild all the cities that he met with that had been demolished; at which time were rebuilt Samaria, Ashdod, Scythopolis, Anthedon, Raphia, and Dora; Marissa also, and Gaza, and not a few others besides. And as the men acted according to Gabinius’s command, it came to pass, that at this time these cities were securely inhabited, which had been desolate for a long time.
4. When Gabinius had done thus in the country, he returned to Alexandrium; and when he urged on the siege of the place Alexander sent an ambassage to him, desiring that he would pardon his former offences; he also delivered up the fortresses, Hyrcania, and Macherus; and at last Alexandrium itself, which fortresses Gabinius demolished. But when Alexander’s mother, who was of the side of the Romans, as having her husband and other children at Rome, came to him, he granted her whatsoever she asked; and when he had settled matters with her, he brought Hyrcanus to Jerusalem, and committed the care of the temple to him. And when he had ordained five councils, he distributed the nation into the same number of parts: So these councils governed the people; the first was at Jerusalem, the second at Gadara, the third at Amathus, the fourth at Jericho, and the fifth at Sepphoris, in Galilee. So the Jews were now freed from monarchic authority, and were governed by an aristocracy. (10)
How Gabinius caught Aristobulus after he had fled from Rome, and sent him back to Rome again; and now the same Gabinius, as he returned out of Egypt, overcame Alexander and the Nabateans in battle.
1. Now Aristobulus ran away from Rome to Judea, and set about the rebuilding of Alexandrium, which had been newly demolished: Hereupon Gabinius sent soldiers against him, and for their commanders Sisenna, and Antonius, and Servilius, in order to hinder him from getting possession of the country, and to take him again. And indeed many of the Jews ran to Aristobulus, on account of his former glory, as also because they should be glad of an innovation. Now, there was one Pitholaus, a lieutenant at Jerusalem, who deserted to him with a thousand men, although a great number of those that came to him were unarmed; and when Aristobulus had resolved to go to Macherus, he dismissed those people, because they were unarmed, for they could not be useful to him in what actions they were going about, but he took with him eight thousand that were armed, and marched on: and as the Romans fell upon them severely, the Jews fought valiantly, but were beaten in the battle; and when they had fought with alacrity, but were overborn by the enemy, they were put to flight; of whom were slain about five thousand, and the rest being dispersed, tried, as well as they were able, to save themselves. However, Aristobulus had with him still above a thousand, and with them he fled to Macherus, and fortified the place, and though he had had ill success, he still had good hope of his affairs: but when he had struggled against the siege for two days time, and had received many wounds, he was brought as a captive to Gabinius, with his son Antigonus, who also fled with him from Rome. And this was the fortune of Aristobulus, who was sent back again to Rome, and was there retained in bonds, having been both King and high priest for three years and six months; and was indeed an eminent person, and one of a great soul. However, the senate let his children go, upon Gabinius’s writing to them, that he had promised their mother so much when she delivered up the fortresses to him; and accordingly they then returned into Judea.
2. Now when Gabinius was making an expedition against the Parthians, and had already passed over Euphrates, he changed his mind, and resolved to return into Egypt, in order to restore Ptolemy to his kingdom. (11) This hath also been related elsewhere. However, Antipater supplied his army, which he sent against Archelaus, with corn, and weapons, and money. He also made those Jews, who were above Pelusium, his friends and confederates, and had been the guardians of the passes that led into Egypt. But when he came back out of Egypt, he found Syria in disorder with seditions and troubles; for Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, having seized on the government a second time by force, made many of the Jews revolt to him, and so he marched over the country with a great army, and slew all the Romans he could light upon, and proceeded to besiege the mountain called Gerizzim, whither they had retreated.
3. But when Gabinius found Syria in such a state, he sent Antipater, who was a prudent man, to those that were seditious, to try whether he could cure them of their madness, and persuade them to return to a better mind; and when he came to them, he brought many of them to a sound mind, and induced them to do what they ought to do, but he could not restrain Alexander, for he had an army of thirty thousand Jews, and met Gabinius, and joining battle with him was beaten, and lost ten thousand of his men about mount Tabor.
4. So Gabinius settled the affairs which belonged to the city Jerusalem as was agreeable to Antipater’s inclination, and went against the Nabateans, and overcame them in battle. He also sent away in a friendly manner Mithridates and Orsanes, who were Parthian deserters, and came to him, though the report went abroad that they had run away from him. And when Gabinius had performed great and glorious actions, in his management of the affairs of war, he returned to Rome, and delivered the government to Crassus. Now, Nicolaus of Damascus, and Strabo of Cappadocia, both describe the expeditions of Pompey and Gabinius against the Jews, while neither of them say any thing new which is not in the other.
How Crassus came into Judea, and pillaged the temple; and then marched against the Parthians, and perished, with his army. Also how Cassius obtained Syria; and put a stop to the Parthians, and then went up to Judea.
1. Now Crassus, as he was going upon his expedition against the Parthians, came into Judea, and carried off the money that was in the temple, which Pompey had left; being two thousand talents, and was disposed to spoil it of all the gold belonging to it, which was eight thousand talents. He also took a beam which was made of solid beaten gold, of the weight of three hundred minæ; each of which weighed two pounds and an half. It was the priest who was guardian of the sacred treasures, and whose name was Eleazar, that gave him this beam, not out of a wicked design, for he was a good and a righteous man: but being intrusted with the custody of the veils belonging to the temple, which were of admirable beauty, and of very costly workmanship, and hung down from this beam, when lie saw that Crassus was busy in gathering money, and was in fear for the entire ornaments of the temple, he gave him this beam of gold as a ransom for the whole, but this not till he had given his oath that he would remove nothing else out of the temple, but be satisfied with this only which he should give him, being worth many ten thousand [shekels]. Now this beam was contained in a wooden beam that was hollow, but was known to no others, but Eleazar alone knew it; yet did Crassus take away this beam, upon the condition of touching nothing else that belonged to the temple, and then brake his oath, and carried away all the gold that was in the temple.
2. And let no one wonder that there was so much wealth in our temple, since all the Jews throughout the habitable earth, and those that worshipped God, nay, even those of Asia and Europe, sent their contributions to it, and this from very ancient times: Nor is the largeness of these sums without its attestation; nor is that greatness owing to our vanity, as raising it without ground to so great an height: But there are many witnesses to it, and particularly Strabo of Cappadocia, who says thus: “Mithridates sent to Cos, and took the money which Queen Cleopatra had deposited there, as also eight hundred talents belonging to the Jews.” Now, we have no public money but only what appertains to God; and it is evident, that the Asian Jews removed this money out of fear of Mithridates, for it is not probable that those of Judea, who had a strong city and temple, should send their money to Cos; nor is it likely that the Jews, who are inhabitants of Alexandria, should do so neither, since they were in no fear of Mithridates. And Strabo himself bears witness to the same thing in another place, that at the same time that Sylla passed over into Greece, in order to fight against Mithridates, he sent Lucullus to put an end to a sedition that our nation, of whom the habitable earth is full, had raised in Cyrene; where he speaks thus: “There were four classes of men among those of Cyrene, that of citizens, that of husbandmen, the third of strangers, and the fourth of Jews. Now these Jews are already gotten into all cities, and it is hard to find a place in the habitable earth that hath not admitted this tribe of men, and is not possessed by it: And it hath come to pass that Egypt and Cyrene, as having the same governors, and a great number of other nations, imitate their way of living, and maintain great bodies of these Jews in a peculiar manner, and grow up to greater prosperity with them, and make use of the same laws with that nation also. Accordingly the Jews have places assigned them in Egypt wherein they inhabit, besides what is peculiarly allotted to this nation at Alexandria, which is a large part of that city. There is also an ethnarch allowed them, who governs the nation, and distributes justice to them, and takes care of their contracts, and of the laws to them belonging, as if he were the ruler of a free republic. In Egypt, therefore, this nation is powerful, because the Jews were originally Egyptians, and because the land wherein they inhabit, since they went thence, is near to Egypt. They also removed into Cyrene, because that this land adjoined to the government of Egypt, as well as does Judea, or rather was formerly under the same government.” And this is what Strabo says.
3. So when Crassus had settled all things as he himself pleased, he marched into Parthia, where both he himself, and all his army, perished, as hath been related elsewhere. But Cassius, as he fled from Rome to Syria, took possession of it, and was an impediment to the Parthians, who by reason of their victory over Crassus, made incursions upon it: And as he came back to Tyre, he went up into Judea also, and fell upon Taricheæ, and presently took it, and carried about thirty thousand Jews captives; and slew Pitholaus, who succeeded Aristobulus in his seditious practices, and that by the persuasion of Antipater, who proved to have great interest in him, and was at that time in great repute with the Idumeans also: Out of which nation he married a wife, who was the daughter of one of their eminent men, and her name was Cypros, (12) by whom he had four sons, Phasael, and Herod, who was afterwards made King, and Joseph, and Pheroras; and a daughter, named Salome. This Antipater cultivated also a friendship and mutual kindness with other potentates, but especially with the King of Arabia, to whom he committed his children, while he fought against Aristobulus. So Cassius removed his camp, and marched to Euphrates, to meet those that were coming to attack him, as hath been related by others.
4. But some time afterward Cæsar, when he had taken Rome, and after Pompey and the senate were fled beyond the Ionian Sea, freed Aristobulus from his bonds, and resolved to send him into Syria, and delivered two legions to him, that he might set matters right, as being a potent man in that country: But Aristobulus had no enjoyment of what he hoped for from the power that was given him by Cæsar, for those of Pompey’s party prevented it, and destroyed him by poison; and those of Cæsar’s party buried him. His dead body also lay for a good while embalmed in honey, till Antony afterward sent it to Judea, and caused him to be buried in the royal sepulchre. But Scipio, upon Pompey’s sending to him to slay Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, because the young man was accused of what offenses he had been guilty of at first against the Romans, cut off his head; and thus did he die at Antioch. But Ptolemy, the son of Menneus, who was the ruler of Chalcis, under mount Libanus, took his brethren to him, and sent his son Philippion to Askelon to Aristobulus’s wife, and desired her to send back with him her son Antigonus, and her daughters: The one of which, whose name was Alexandra, Philippion fell in love with, and married her, though afterward his father Ptolemy slew him, and married Alexandra, and continued to take care of her brethren.
The Jews become confederates with Cæsar when he fought against Egypt. the glorious actions of Antipater, and his friendship with Cæsar. The honours which the Jews received from the Romans and Athenians.
1. Now after Pompey was dead, and after that victory Cæsar had gained over him, Antipater, who managed the Jewish affairs, became very useful to Cæsar when he made war against Egypt, and that by the order of Hyrcanus; for when Mithridates of Pergamus was bringing his auxiliaries, and was not able to continue his march through Pelusium, but obliged to stay at Askelon, Antipater came to him, conducting three thousand of the Jews armed men: He had also taken care the principal men of the Arabians should come to his assistance; and on his account it was that all the Syrians assisted him also, as not willing to appear behind hand in their alacrity for Cæsar, viz. Jamblicus the ruler, and Ptolemy his son, and Tholomy, the son of Sohemus, who dwelt at mount Libanus, and almost all the cities. So Mithridates marched out of Syria, and came to Pelusium; and when its inhabitants would not admit him, he besieged the city. Now Antipater signalized himself here, and was the first who plucked down a part of the wall, and so opened a way to the rest, whereby they might enter the city, and by this means Pelusium was taken: But it happened that the Egyptian Jews, who dwelt in the country called Onion, would not let Antipater and Mithridates, with their soldiers, pass to Cæsar, but Antipater persuaded them to come over with their party, because he was of the same people with them, and that chiefly by shewing them the epistles of Hyrcanus the high priest, wherein he exhorted them to cultivate friendship with Cæsar, and to supply his army with money, and all sorts of provisions which they wanted: And accordingly when they saw Antipater and the high priest of the same sentiments, they did as they were desired. And when the Jews about Memphis heard that these Jews were come over to Cæsar, they also invited Mithridates to come to them: So he came and received them also into his army.
2. And when Mithridates had gone over all Delta, as the place is called, he came to a pitched battle with the enemy, near the place called The Jewish Camp. Now Mithridates had the right wing, and Antipater the left; and when it came to a fight, that wing where Mithridates was gave way, and was likely to suffer extremely, unless Antipater had come running to him with his own soldiers along the shore, when he had already beaten the enemy that opposed him: so he delivered Mithridates, and put those Egyptians who had been too hard for him to flight. He also took their camp, and continued in the pursuit of them. He also recalled Mithridates, who had been worsted, and was retired a great way off; of whose soldiers eight hundred fell, but of Antipater’s fifty. So Mithridates sent an account of this battle to Cæsar, and openly declared that Antipater was the author of this victory, and of his own preservation, insomuch that Cæsar commended Antipater then; and made use of him all the rest of that war in the most hazardous undertakings: he happened also to be wounded in one of those engagements
3. However, when Cæsar, after some time, had finished that war, and was sailed away for Syria, he honoured Antipater greatly, and confirmed Hyrcanus in the high priesthood; and bestowed on Antipater the privileges of a citizen of Rome, and a freedom from taxes every where; and it is reported by many, that Hyrcanus went along with Antipater in this expedition, and came himself into Egypt. And Strabo of Cappadocia bears witness to this, when he says thus, in the name of Asinius: “After Mithridates had invaded Egypt, and with him Hyrcanus the high priest of the Jews.” Nay, the same Strabo says thus again, in another place, in the name of Hypsicrates, That “Mithridates at first went out alone, but that Antipater, who had the care of the Jewish affairs, was called by him to Askelon, and that he had gotten ready three thousand soldiers to go along with him, and encouraged other governors of the country to go along with him also; and that Hyrcanus the high priest, was also present in this expedition.” This is what Strabo says.
4. But Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, came at this time to Cæsar, and “lamented his father’s fate; and complained that it was by Antipater’s means that Aristobulus was taken off by poison, and his brother was beheaded by Scipio, and desired that he would take pity of him, who had been ejected out of that principality which was due to him.” He also accused Hyrcanus and Antipater as governing the nation by violence, and offering injuries to himself. Antipater was present, and made his defence, as to the accusations that were laid against him. “He demonstrated that Antigonus and his party were given to innovation, and were seditious persons. He also put Cæsar in mind, what difficult services he had undergone when he assisted him in his wars, and discoursed about what he was a witness of himself. He added, that Aristobulus was justly carried away to Rome, as one that was an enemy to the Romans, and could never be brought to be a friend to them, and that his brother had no more than he deserved from Scipio, as being seized in committing robberies; and that this punishment was not inflicted on him in a way of violence or injustice by him that did it.”
5. When Antipater had made this speech, Cæsar appointed Hyrcauus to be high priest; and gave Antipater what principality he himself should choose, leaving the determination to himself: So he made him procurator of Judea. He also gave Hyrcanus leave to raise up the walls of his own city, upon his asking that favour of him, for they had been demolished by Pompey. And this grant he sent to the consuls to Rome, to be engraven in the capitol. The decree of the senate was this that follows: (13) “Lucius Valerius, the son of Lucius the pretor, referred this to the senate, upon the ides of December, in the temple of Concord. There were present at the writing of this decree Lucius Coponius, the son of Lucius of the Colline tribe, and Papirius of the Quirine tribe, concerning the affairs which Alexander the son of Jason, and Numenius the son of Antiochus, and Alexander the son of Dositheus, ambassadors of the Jews, good and worthy men, proposed, who came to renew that league of good-will and friendship with the Romans, which was in being before. They also brought a shield of gold, as a mark of confederacy, valued at fifty thousand pieces of gold; and desired that letters might be given them, directed both to the free cities, and to the kings, that their country and their havens might be at peace, and that no one among them might receive any injury. It therefore pleased [the senate] to make a league of friendship and good-will with them, and to bestow on them whatsoever they stood in need of, and to accept of the shield which was brought by them. This was done in the ninth year of Hyrcanus the high priest and ethnarch, in the month Panemus.” Hyreanus also received honours from the people of Athens, as having been useful to them on many occasions. And when they wrote to him, they sent him this decree, as it here follows: “Under the prutaneia and priesthood of Dionysius, the son of Esculapius, on the fifth day of the latter part of the month Panemus, this decree of the Athenians was given to their commanders, when Agathocles was archon, and Eucles, the son of Menander of Alimusia, was the scribe. In the month Munychion, on the eleventh day of the Prutaneia, a council of the presidents was held in the theatre. Dorotheus the high priest, and the fellow presidents with him, put it to the vote of the people. Dionysius, the son of Dionysius, gave the sentence: Since Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, continues to bear good-will to our people in general, and to every one of our citizens in particular, and treats them with all sorts of kindness; and when any of the Athenians come to him, either as ambassadors, or on any occasion of their own, he receives them in an obliging manner, and sees that they are conducted back in safety, of which we have had several former testimonies, it is now also decreed, at the report of Theodosius, the son of Theodorus, and upon his putting the people in mind of the virtue of this man, and that his purpose is to do us all the good that is in his power, to honour him with a crown of gold, the usual reward according to the law, and to erect his statue in brass in the temple of Demus, and of the graces; and that this present of a crown shall be proclaimed publicly in the theatre, in the Dionysian shews, while the new tragedies are acting; and in the Panathenean, and Eleusinian, and Gymnical shews also; and that the commanders shall take care, while he continues in his friendship, and preserves his good-will to us, to return all possible honour and favour to the man for his affection and generosity; that by this treatment it may appear how our people receive the good kindly, and repay them a suitable reward; and he may be induced to proceed in his affection towards us by the honours we have already paid him. That ambassadors be also chosen out of all the Athenians, who shall carry this decree to him, and desire him to accept of the honours we do him, and to endeavour always to be doing some good to our city.” And this shall suffice us to have spoken as to the honours that were paid by the Romans, and the people of Athens, to Hyrcanus.
How Antipater committed the care of Galilee to Herod, and that of Jerusalem to Phasaelus: as also, how Herod, upon the Jews envy at Antipater, was accused before Hyrcanus.
1. Now when Cæsar had settled the affairs of Syria, he sailed away: And as soon as Antipater had conducted Cæsar out of Syria, he returned to Judea. He then immediately raised up the wall which had been thrown down by Pompey; and, by coming thither, he pacified that tumult which had been in the country, and this by both threatening and advising them to be quiet: For that, “If they would be of Hyrcanus’s side, they would live happily and lead their lives without disturbance, in the enjoyment of their own possessions; but if they were addicted to the hopes of what might come by innovation, and aimed to get wealth thereby, they should have him a severe master, instead of a gentle governor, and Hyrcanus a tyrant, instead of a king, and the Romans, together with Cæsar, their bitter enemies instead of rulers, for that they would never bear him to be set aside whom they had appointed to govern.” And when Antipater had said this to them, he himself settled the affairs of this country.
2. And seeing that Hyrcanus was of a slow and slothful temper, he made Phasaelus, his eldest son, governor of Jerusalem, and of the places that were about it, but committed Galilee to Herod, his next son, who was then a very young man, for he was but fifteen years of age. (14) But that youth of his was no impediment to him; but as he was a youth of great mind, he presently met with an opportunity of signalizing his courage: for finding that there was one Hezekias, a captain of a band of robbers, who over-ran the neighbouring parts of Syria, with a great troop of them, he seized him, and slew him, as well as a great number of the other robbers that were with him; for which action he was greatly beloved by the Syrians; for when they were very desirous to have their country freed from this nest of robbers, he purged it of them: So they sung songs in his commendation in their villages and cities, as having procured them peace, and the secure enjoyment of their possessions; and on this account it was that he became known to Sextus Cæsar, who was a relation of the great Cæsar’s, and was now president of Syria. Now Phasaelus, Herod’s brother, was moved with emulation at his actions, and envied the fame he had thereby gotten, and became ambitious not to be behind hand with him in deserving it: So he made the inhabitants of Jerusalem bear him the greatest good-will, while he held the city himself, but did neither manage its affairs improperly, nor abuse his authority therein. This conduct procured from the nation to Antipater such respect as is due to kings, and such honours as he might partake of if he were an absolute lord of the country. Yet did not this splendor of his, as frequently happens, in the least diminish in him that kindness and fidelity which he owed to Hyrcanus.
3. But now the principal men among the Jews, when they saw Antipater and his sons to grow so much in the good-will the nation bare to them, and in the revenues which they received out of Judea, and out of Hyrcanus’s own wealth, they became ill disposed to him: for indeed Antipater had contracted a friendship with the Roman Emperors; and when he had prevailed with Hyrcanus to send them money, he took it to himself, and purloined the present intended, and sent it, as if it were his own, and not Hyrcanus’s gift to them. Hyrcanus heard of this his management, but took no care about it; nay, he rather was very glad of it: But the chief men of the Jews were therefore in fear, because they saw that Herod was a violent and bold man, and very desirous of acting tyrannically; so they came to Hyrcanus, and now accused Antipater openly, and said to him, “How long wilt thou be quiet under such actions as are now done? Or dost thou not see that Antipater and his sons have already seized upon the government? and that it is only the name of a king which is given thee? But do not thou suffer these things to be hidden from thee; nor do thou think to escape danger by being so careless of thyself and of thy kingdom; for Antipater and his sons are not now stewards of thine affairs: do not thou deceive thyself with such a notion, they are evidently absolute lords: for Herod, Antipater’s son, hath slain Hezekiah, and those that were with him, and hath thereby transgressed our law, which hath forbidden to slay any man, even though he were a wicked man, unless he had been first condemned to suffer death by the sanhedrim; (15) yet hath he been so insolent as to do this, and that without any authority from thee.”
4. Upon Hyrcanus’s hearing this, he complied with them. The mothers also of those that had been slain by Herod raised his indignation; for those women continued every day in the temple, persuading the King, and the people, that Herod might undergo a trial before the sanhedrim for what he had done. Hyrcanus was so moved by these complaints, that he summoned Herod to come to his trial, for what was charged upon him. Accordingly he came; but his father had persuaded him to come not like a private man, but with a guard, for the security of his person; and that when he had settled the affairs of Galilee in the best manner he could for his own advantage, he should come to his trial, but still with a body of men sufficient for his security on his journey, yet so that he should not come with so great a force as might look like terrifying Hyrcanus, but still such an one as might not expose him naked and unguarded [to his enemies]. However, Sextus Cæsar, president of Syria, wrote to Hyrcanus, and desired him to clear Herod, and dismiss him at his trial, and threatened him before hand, if he did not do it. Which epistle of his was the occasion of Hyrcanus’s delivering Herod from suffering any harm from the sanhedrim, for he loved him as his own son. But when Herod stood before the sanhedrim, with his body of men about him, he affrighted them all, and no one of his former accusers durst after that bring any charge against him, but there was a deep silence, and nobody knew what was to be done. When affairs stood thus, one whose name was Sameas, (16) a righteous man he was, and for that reason above all fear, who rose up, and said, “O you that are assessors with me, and O thou that art our King, I neither have ever myself known such a case, nor do I suppose that any one of you can name its parallel, that one who is called to take his trial by us ever stood in such a manner before us; but every one, whosoever he be, that comes to be tried by this sanhedrim, presents himself in a submissive manner, and like one that is in fear of himself, and that endeavours to move us to compassion, with his hair dishevelled, and in a black and mourning garment: but this admirable man Herod, who is accused of murder, and called to answer so heavy an accusation, stands here clothed in purple, and with the hair of his head finely trimmed, and with his armed men about him, that if we shall condemn him by our law, he may slay us, and by overbearing justice may himself escape death. Yet do not I make this complaint against Herod himself; he is to be sure more concerned for himself than for the laws; but my complaint is against yourselves, and your King, who give him a license so to do. However, take you notice, that God is great, and that this very man, whom you are going to absolve and dismiss, for the sake of Hyrcanus, will one day punish both you and your King himself also.” Nor did Sameas mistake in any part of this prediction: for when Herod had received the kingdom, he slew all the members of this sanhedrim, and Hyrcanus himself also, excepting Sameas, for he had a great honour for him on account of his righteousness, and because, when the city was afterward besieged by Herod and Sosius, he persuaded the people to admit Herod into it; and told them, That “for their sins they would not be able to escape his hands.” Which things will be related by us in their proper places.
5. But when Hyrcanus saw that the members of the sanhedrim were ready to pronounce the sentence of death upon Herod, he put off the trial to another day, and sent privately to Herod, and advised him to fly out of the city, for that by this means he might escape. So he retired to Damascus, as though he fled from the King: And when he had been with Sextus Cæsar, and had put his own affairs in a sure posture, he resolved to do thus, that in case he were again summoned before the sanhedrim to take his trial, he would not obey that summons. Hereupon the members of the sanhedrim had great indignation at this posture of affairs, and endeavoured to persuade Hyrcanus that all these things were against him. Which state of matters he was not ignorant of; but his temper was so unmanly, and so foolish, that he was able to do nothing at all. But when Sextus had made Herod general of the army of Celesyria, for he sold him that post for money, Hyrcanus was in fear lest Herod should make war upon him: nor was the effect of what he feared long in coming upon him, for Herod came, and brought an army along with him, to fight with Hyrcanus, as being angry at the trial he bad been summoned to undergo before the sanhedrim; but his father Antipater, and his brother [Phasaelus], met him, and hindered him from assaulting Jerusalem. They also pacified his vehement temper, and persuaded him to do no overt action, but only to affright them with threatenings, and to proceed no farther against one who had given him the dignity he had: they also desired him not only to be angry that he was summoned, and obliged to come to his trial, but to remember withal, how he was dismissed without condemnation, and how he ought to give Hyrcanus thanks for the same, and that he was not to regard only what was disagreeable to him, and be unthankful for his deliverance. So they desired him to consider, that since it is God that turns the scales of war, there is great uncertainty in the issue of battles, and that therefore he ought not to expect the victory, when he should fight with his King, and him that had supported him, and bestowed many benefits upon him, and had done no thing itself very severe to him; for that his accusation, which was derived from evil counsellors, and not from himself, had rather the suspicion of some severity, than any thing really severe in it. Herod was persuaded by these arguments, and believed that it was sufficient for his future hopes to have made a shew of his strength before the nation, and done no more to it: And in this state were the affairs of Judea at this time.
The honours that were paid the Jews; and the leagues that were made by the Romans, and other nations, with them.
1. Now when Cæsar was come to Rome, he was ready to sail into Africa to fight against Scipio and Cato, when Hyrcanus sent ambassadors to him, and by them desired that he would ratify that league of friendship and mutual alliance which was between them, And it seems to me to be necessary here to give an account of all the honours that the Romans and their emperors paid to our nation, and of the leagues of mutual assistance they have made with it, that all the rest of mankind may know what regard the Kings of Asia and Europe have had to us, and that they have been abundantly satisfied of our courage and fidelity; for, whereas many will not believe what hath been written about us by the Persians and Macedonians, because those writings are not every where to be met with, nor do lie in public places, but among us ourselves, and certain other barbarous nations, while there is no contradiction to be made against the decrees of the Romans, for they are laid up in the public places of the cities, and are extant still in the capitol, and engraven upon pillars of brass; nay, besides this, Julius Cæsar made a pillar of brass for the Jews at Alexandria, and declared publicly, that they were citizens of Alexandria. Out of these evidences will I demonstrate what I say; and will now set down the decrees made both by the senate, and by Julius Cæsar, which relate to Hyrcanus, and to our nation.
2. “Caius Julius Cæsar, imperator and high priest, and dictator the second time, to the magistrates, senate, and people of Sidon, sendeth greeting: If you be in health it is well. I also, and the army are well. I have sent you a copy of that decree, registered on the tables, which concerns Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, that it may be laid up among the public records; and I will that it be openly proposed in a table of brass, both in Greek, and in Latin. It is as follows: I Julius Cæsar, imperator the second time, and high priest, have made this decree, with the approbation of the senate: Whereas Hyrcanus the son of Alexander the Jew, hath demonstrated his fidelity and diligence about our affairs, and this both now and in former times, both in peace, and in war, as many of our generals have borne witness, and came to our assistance in the last Alexandrian war (17) with fifteen hundred soldiers; and when he was sent by me to Mithridates, shewed himself superior in valour to all the rest of that army: for these reasons I will, that Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, and his children, be ethnarchs of the Jews, and have the high priesthood of the Jews for ever, according to the customs of their forefathers, and that he and his sons be our confederates; and that besides this, every one of them be reckoned among our particular friends. I also ordain, that he and his children retain whatsoever privileges belong to the office of high priest, or whatsoever favours have been hitherto granted them. And if at any time hereafter there arise any questions about the Jewish customs, I will that he determine the same. And I think it not proper that they should be obliged to find us winter quarters, or that any money should be required of them.”
3. “The decrees of Caius Cæsar, consul, containing what hath been granted and determined, are as follows: That Hyrcanus and his children bear rule over the nation of the Jews, and have the profits of the places to them bequeathed; and that he, as himself the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, defend those that are injured. And that ambassadors be sent to Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, the high priest of the Jews, that may discourse with him about a league of friendship, and mutual assistance; and that a table of brass, containing the premises, be openly proposed in the capitol, and at Sidon, and Tyre, and Askelon, and in the temple, engraven in Roman and Greek letters: that this decree may also be communicated to the questors and pretors of the several cities, and to the friends of the Jews: and that the ambassadors may have presents made them, and that these decrees be sent every where.”
4. “Caius Cæsar, imperator, dictator, consul, hath granted, That out of regard to the honour and virtue and kindness of the man, and for the advantage of the senate, and of the people of Rome, Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, both he and his children, be high priests and priests of Jerusalem, and of the Jewish nation, by the same right, and according to the same laws, by which their progenitors have held the priesthood.”
5. “Caius Cæsar, consul the fifth time, hath decreed, That the Jews shall possess Jerusalem, and may encompass that city with walls; and that Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, retain it in the manner he himself pleases; and that the Jews be allowed to deduct out of their tribute every second year the land is let [in the sabbatic period], a corus of that tribute; and that the tribute they pay be not let to farm, nor that they pay always the same tribute.”
6. “Caius Cæsar, imperator the second time, hath ordained, That all the country of the Jews, excepting Joppa, do pay a tribute yearly for the city Jerusalem, excepting the seventh, which they call the Sabbatical year, because thereon they neither receive the fruits of their trees, nor do they sow their land; and that they pay their tribute in Sidon, on the second year [of that Sabbatical period], the fourth part of what was sown: And besides this, they are to pay the same tithes to Hyrcanus and his sons, which they paid to their forefathers. And that no one, neither president, nor lieutenant, nor ambassador, raise auxiliaries within the bounds of Judea; nor my soldiers exact money of them for winter quarters, or under any other pretence, but that they be free from all sorts of injuries: And that whatsoever they shall hereafter have, and are in possession of, or have bought, they shall retain them all. It is also our pleasure, that the city Joppa which the Jews had originally, when they made a league of friendship with the Romans, shall belong to them, as it formerly did; and that Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, and his sons, have as tribute of that city from those that occupy the land, for the country, and for what they export every year to Sidon, twenty thousand six hundred and seventy-five modii every year, the seventh year, which they call the Sabbatick year, excepted, whereon they neither plough, nor receive the product of their trees. It is also the pleasure of the senate, that as to the villages which are in the great plain, which Hyrcanus and his forefathers formerly possessed, Hyrcanus and the Jews have them, with the same privileges with which they formerly had them also; and that the same original ordinances remain still in force which concern the Jews, with regard to their high priests; and that they enjoy the same benefits which they have had formerly by the concession of the people, and of the senate; and let them enjoy the like privileges in Lydda. It is the pleasure also of the senate, that Hyrcanus the ethnarch, and the Jews, retain those places, countries, and villages, which belonged to the Kings of Syria and Phenicia, the confederates of the Romans, and which they had bestowed on them as their free gifts. It is also granted to Hyrcanus, and to his sons, and to the ambassadors by them sent to us, that in the fights between single gladiators, and in those with beasts, they shall sit among the senators to see those shews; and that when they desire an audience, they shall be introduced into the senate by the dictator, or by the general of the horse; and when they have introduced them, their answers shall be returned them in ten days at the farthest, after the decree of the senate is made about their affairs.”
7. “Caius Cæsar imperator, dictator the fourth time, and consul the fifth time, declared to be perpetual dictator, made this speech concerning the rights and privileges of Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews. Since those imperators (18) that have been in the provinces before me have borne witness to Hyrcanus, the high priest of the Jews, and to the Jews themselves, and this before the senate and people of Rome, when the people and senate returned their thanks to them, it is good that we now also remember the same, and provide that a requital be made to Hyrcanus, to the nation of the Jews, and to the sons of Hyrcanus, by the senate and people of Rome, and that suitably to what good will they have shewn us, and to the benefits they have bestowed upon us.”
8. Julius Caius pretor, [consul] of Rome, to the magistrates, senate, and people of the Parians, sendeth greeting: The Jews of Delos, and some other Jews that sojourn there, in the presence of your ambassadors, signified to us, that by a decree of yours, you forbid them to make use of the customs of their forefathers, and their way of sacred worship. Now it does not please me that such decrees should be made against our friends and confederates, whereby they are forbidden to live according to their own customs, or to bring in contributions for common suppers, and holy festivals, while they are not forbidden so to do even at Rome itself; for even Caius Cæsar, our imperator and consul, in that decree wherein he forbad the Bacchanal rioters to meet in the city, did yet permit these Jews, and these only, both to bring in their contributions, and to make their common suppers. Accordingly, when I forbid other Bacchanal rioters, I permit these Jews to gather themselves together, according to the customs and laws of their forefathers, and to persist therein. It will be therefore good for you, that if you have made any decree against these our friends and confederates, to abrogate the same, by reason of their virtue, and kind disposition towards us.”
9. Now after Caius was slain, when Marcus Antonius, and Publius Dolabella, were consuls, they both assembled the senate, and introduced Hyrcanus’s ambassadors into it, and discoursed of what they desired, and made a league of friendship with them. The senate also decreed to grant them all they desired. I add the decree itself, that those who read the present work, may have ready by them a demonstration of the truth of what we say. The decree was this:
10. “The decree of the senate, copied out of the treasury, from the public tables belonging to the questors, when Quintus Rutilius and Caius Cornelius were questors, and taken out of the second table of the first class, on the third day before the ides of April, in the temple of Concord. There were present at the writing of this decree, Lucius Calpurnius Piso of the Menenian tribe, Servius Papinius Potitus of the Lemonian tribe, Caius Caninius Rebilius of the Terentine tribe, Publius Tidetius, Lucius Apulinus, the son of Lucius, of the Sergian tribe, Flavius, the son of Lucius, of the Lemonian tribe, Publius Platius, the son of Publius, of the Papyrian tribe, Marcus Acilius, the son of Marcus, of the Mecian tribe, Lucius Erucius, the son of Lucius, of the Stellatine tribe, Marcus Quintus Plancillus, the son of Marcus, of the Pollian tribe, and Publius Serius. Publius Dolabella, and Marcus Antonius, the consuls, made this reference to the senate, that as to those things which, by the decree of the senate, Caius Cesar had adjudged about the Jews, and yet had not hitherto that decree been brought into the treasury, it is our will, as it is also the desire of Publius Dolabella, and Marcus Antonius, our consuls, to have these decrees put into the public tables, and brought to the city questors, that they may take care to have them put upon the double tables. This was done before the fifth of the Ides of February, in the temple of Concord. Now the ambassadors from Hyrcanus the high priest were these, Lysimachus the son of Pausanias, Alexander the son of Theodorus, Patroclus the son of Chereas, and Jonathan the son of Onias.”
11. Hyrcanus sent also one of these ambassadors to Dolabella, who was then the prefect of Asia, and desired him to dismiss the Jews from military services, and to preserve to them the customs of their forefathers, and to permit them to live according to them. And when Dolabella had received Hyrcanus’s letter, without any farther deliberation, he sent an epistle to all the Asiatics, and particularly to the city of the Ephesians, the metropolis of Asia, about the Jews; a copy of which epistle here follows:
12. “When Artermon was prytanis, on the first day of the month Leneon, Dolabella imperator, to the senate, and magistrates, and people of the Ephesians, sendeth greeting: Alexander the son of Theodorus, the ambassador of Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, appeared before me, to shew that his countrymen could not go into their armies, because they are not allowed to bear arms, or to travel on the Sabbath days, nor there to procure themselves those sorts of food which they have been used to eat from the times of their forefathers; I do therefore grant them a freedom from going into the army, as the former prefects have done, and permit them to use the customs of their forefathers, in assembling together for sacred and religious purposes, as their law requires, and for collecting oblations necessary for sacrifices: and my will is, that you write this to the several cities under your jurisdiction.”
13. And these were the concessions that Dolabella made to our nation, when Hyrcanus sent an embassage to him. But Lucius the consul’s decree ran thus: “I have at my tribunal set these Jews, who are citizens of Rome, and follow the Jewish religious rites, and yet live at Ephesus, free from going into the army, on account of the superstition they are under. This was done before the twelfth of the calends of October, when Lucius Lentulus, and Caius Marcellus, were consuls, in the presence of Titus Appius Balgus, the son of Titus, and lieutenant of the Horatian tribe, of Titus Tongius, the son of Titus, of the Crustamine tribe, of Quintus Resius, the son of Quintus, of Titus Pompeius Longinus, the son of Titus, of Caius Servilius, the son of Caius, of the Terentine tribe, of Bracchus the military tribune, of Publius Lucius Gallus, the son of Publius, of the Veturian tribe, of Caius Sentius, the son of Caius, of the Sabbatine tribe, of Titus Atilius Bulbus, the son of Titus, lieutenant and vice pretor, to the magistrates, senate, and people of the Ephesians, sendeth greeting: Lucius Lentulus the consul freed the Jews that are in Asia from going into the armies, at my intercession for them. And when I had made the same petition some time afterward to Phanius the imperator, and to Lucius Antonius the vice questor, I obtained that privilege of them also: and my will is, that you take care that no one give them any disturbance.”
14. The decree of the Delians. “The answer of the pretors, when Beotus was archon, on the twentieth day of the month Thargeleon, while Marcus Piso the lieutenant lived in our city, who was also appointed over the choice of the soldiers, he called us, and many other of the citizens, and gave order, that if there be here any Jews, who are Roman citizens, no one is to give them any disturbance about going into the army, because Cornelius Lentulus the consul freed the Jews from going into the army, on account of the superstition they are under; you are therefore obliged to submit to the pretor.” And the like decree was made by the Sardians about us also.
15. “Caius Phanius, the son of Caius, imperator and consul, to the magistrates of Cos, sendeth greeting: I would have you know that the ambassadors of the Jews have been with me, and desired they might have those decrees which the senate had made about them; which decrees are here subjoined. My will is, that you have a regard to, and take care of these men, according to the senate’s decree, that they may be safely conveyed home through your country.”
16. The declaration of Lucius Lentulus the consul: “I have dismissed those Jews who are Roman citizens, and who appear to me to have their religious rites, and to observe the laws of the Jews at Ephesus, on account of the superstition they are under. This act was done before the thirteenth of the calends of October.”
17. “Lucius Antonius, the son of Marcus, vice questor, and vice pretor, to the magistrates, senate, and people of the Sardians, sendeth greeting: Those Jews that are our fellow-citizens of Rome, came to me, and demonstrated that they had an assembly of their own, according to the laws of their forefathers, and this from the beginning, as also a place of their own, wherein they determined their suits and controversies with one another: Upon their petition therefore to me, that these might be lawful for them, I gave order that these their privileges be preserved, and they be permitted to do accordingly.”
18. The declaration of Marcus Publius, the son of Spurius, and of Marcus the son of Marcus, and of Lucius the son of Publius: “We went to the proconsul, and informed him of what Dositheus, the son of Cleopatrida of Alexandria, desired, that, if he thought good, he would dismiss those Jews who were Roman citizens, and were wont to observe the rites of the Jewish religion, on account of the superstition they were under. Accordingly he did dismiss them. This was done before the thirteenth of the kalends of October.”
19. “In the month Quntilis, when Lucius Lentulus and Caius Mercellus were consuls; and there were present Titus Appius Balbus, the son of Titus, lieutenant of the Horatian tribe, Titus Tongius of the Crustamine tribe, Quintus Resius the son of Quintus, Titus Pompeius the son of Titus, Cornelius Longinus, Caius Servilius Bracchus, the son of Caius, a military tribune, of the Terentine tribe, Publius Clusius Gallus, the son of Publius, of the Veturian tribe, Caius Teutius the son of Caius, a military tribune, of the Emilian tribe, Sextus Atilius Serranus, the son of Sextus, of the Esquiline tribe, Caius Pompeius the son of Caius, of the Sabbatine tribe, Titus Appius Menander, the son of Titus, Publius Servilius Strabo, the son of Publius, Lucius Paccius Capito, the son of Lucius, of the Colline tribe, Aulus Furius Tertius, the son of Aulus, and Appius Menas. In the presence of these it was that Lentulus pronounced this decree: I have before the tribunal dismissed those Jews that are Roman citizens, and are accustomed to observe the sacred rites of the Jews at Ephesus, on account of the superstition they are under.”
20. “The magistrates of the Laodiceans to Caius Rubilius, the son of Caius, the consul, sendeth greeting: Sopater, the ambassador of Hyrcanus, the high priest, hath delivered us an epistle from thee, whereby he lets us know, that certain ambassadors were come from Hyrcanus, the high priest of the Jews, and brought an epistle written concerning their nation, wherein they desire that the Jews may be allowed to observe their Sabbaths, and other sacred rites, according to the laws of their forefathers, and that they may be under no command, because they are our friends and confederates, and that nobody may injure them in our provinces. Now although the Trallians there present contradicted them, and were not pleased with these decrees, yet didst thou give order that they should be observed, and informedst us that thou hadst been desired to write this to us about them. We therefore, in obedience to the injunctions we have received from thee, have received the epistle which thou sentest us, and have laid it up by itself among our public records. And as to the other things about which thou didst send to us, we will take care that no complaint be made against us.”
21. “Publius Servilius, the son of Publius, of the Galban tribe, the proconsul, to the magistrates, senate, and people of the Mileslans, sendeth greeting: Prytanes the son of Hermes, a citizen of yours, came to me when I was at Tralles, and held a court there, and informed me that you used the Jews in a way different from my opinion, and forbade them to celebrate their Sabbaths, and to perform the sacred rites received from their forefathers, and to manage the fruits of the land, according to their ancient custom, and that he had himself been the promulger of your decree, according as your laws require: I would therefore have you know, that upon hearing the pleadings on both sides, I gave sentence that the Jews should not be prohibited to make use of their own customs.”
22. The decree of those of Pergamus. When Cratippus was prytanis, on the first day of the month Desius, the decree of the pretors was this: “Since the Romans, following the conduct of their ancestors, undertake dangers for the common safety of all mankind, and are ambitious to settle their confederates and friends in happiness, and in firm peace, and since the nation of the Jews, and their high priest Hyrcanus, sent as ambassadors to them, Strato, the son of Theodatus, and Apollonius, the son of Alexander, and Eneas, the son of Antipater, and Aristobulus, the son of Amyntas, and Sosipater, the son of Philip, worthy and good men, who gave a particular account of their affairs, the senate thereupon made a decree about what they had desired of them, that Antiochus the King, the son of Antiochus, should do no injury to the Jews, the confederates of the Romans; and that the fortresses, and the havens, and the country, and whatsoever else he had taken from them, should be restored to them; and that it may be lawful for them to export their goods out of their own havens; and that no king nor people may have leave to export any goods, either out of the country of Judea, or out of their havens, without paying customs, but only Ptolemy the King of Alexandria, because he is our confederate and friend: and that according to their desire the garrison that is in Joppa may be ejected. Now Lucius Pettius, one of our senators, a worthy and good man, gave order, that we should take care that these things should be done according to the senate’s decree; and that we should take care also, that their ambassadors might return home in safety. Accordingly we admitted Theodorus into our senate and assembly, and took the epistle out his hands, as well as the decree of the senate: And as he discoursed with great zeal about the Jews, and described Hyrcanus’s virtue and generosity, and how he was a benefactor to all men in common, and particularly to every body that comes to him, we laid up the epistle in our public records; and made a decree ourselves, that since we also are in confederacy with the Romans, we would do every thing we could for the Jews, according to the senate’s decree. Theodorus also, who brought the epistle, desired of our pretors, that they would send Hyrcanus a copy of that decree, as also ambassadors to signify to him the affection of our people to him, and to exhort them to preserve and augment their friendship for us, and be ready to bestow other benefits upon us, as justly expecting to receive proper requitals from us; and desiring them to remember, that our ancestors (19) were friendly to the Jews even in the days of Abraham, who was the father of all the Hebrews, as we have [also] found it set down in our public records.”
23. The decree of those of Halicarnassus. When Memnon the son of Orestidas by descent, but by adoption of Euonymus, was priest, on the * * * day of the month Aristerion, the decree of the people, upon the representation of Marcus Alexander, was this: “Since we have ever a great regard to piety towards God, and to holiness, and since we aim to follow the people of the Romans, who are the benefactors of all men, and what they have written to us about a league of friendship and mutual assistance between the Jews and our city, and that their sacred offices, and accustomed festivals and assemblies may be observed by them, we have decreed, that as many men and women of the Jews as are willing so to do, may celebrate their Sabbaths, and perform their holy offices, according to Jewish laws; and may make their proseuchæ at the sea side, according to the customs of their forefathers; and if any one, whether he be a magistrate or private person, hindereth them from so doing, he shall be liable to a fine, to be applied to the uses of the city.”
24. The decree of the Sardians. This decree was made by the senate and people, upon the representation of the pretors: “Whereas those Jews who are fellow citizens, and live with us in this city, have ever had great benefits heaped upon them by the people, and have come now into the senate, and desired of the people that, upon the restitution of their law, and their liberty, by the senate and people of Rome, they may assemble together according to their ancient legal custom, and that we will not bring any suit against them about it; and that a place may be given them where they may have their congregations, with their wives and children, and may offer, as did their forefathers, their prayers and sacrifices to God: now the senate and people have decreed to permit them to assemble together on the days formerly appointed, and to act according to their own laws; and that such a place be set apart for them by the pretors, for the building and inhabiting the same, as they shall esteem fit for that purpose: And that those that take care of the provision for the city, shall take care that such sorts of food, as they esteem fit for their eating, may be imported into the city.”
25. The decree of the Ephesians. When Menophilus was prytanis, on the first day of the month Artemisius, this decree was made by the people: “Nicanor the son of Euphemus, pronounced it, upon the representation of the pretors. Since the Jews that dwell in this city have petitioned Marcus Julius Pompeius, the son of Brutus, the pro-consul, that they might be allowed to observe their sabbaths, and to act in all things according to the customs of their forefathers, without impediment from any body, the pretor hath granted their petition. Accordingly, it was decreed by the senate and people, that, in this affair that concerned the Romans, no one of them should be hindered from keeping the Sabbath-day, nor be fined for so doing, but that they may be allowed to do all things according to their own laws.”
26. Now there are many such decrees of the senate and imperators of the Romans, (20) and those different from these before us, which have been made in favour of Hyrcanus, and of our nation; as also, there have been more decrees of the cities, and rescripts of the pretors, to such epistles as concerned our rights and privileges: and certainly such as are not ill-disposed to what we write, may believe that they are all to this purpose, and that by the specimens which we have inserted; for since we have produced evident marks that may still be seen, of the friendship we have had with the Romans, and demonstrated that those marks are engraven upon columns and tables of brass in the capitol, that are still in being, and preserved to this day, we have omitted to set them all down, as needless and disagreeable; for I cannot suppose any one so perverse as not to believe the friendship we have had with the Romans, while they have demonstrated the same by such a great number of their decrees relating to us; nor will they doubt of our fidelity as to the rest of those decrees, since we have shewed the same in those we have produced, And thus have we sufficiently explained that friendship and confederacy we at those times had with the Romans.
How Marcus (21) succeeded Sextus when he had been slain by Bassus’s treachery; and how, after the death of Cæsar, Cassius came into Syria, and distressed Judea; as also how Malichus slew Antipater, and was himself slain by Herod.
1. Now it so fell out, that about this very time the affairs of Syria were in great disorder, and this on the occasion following: Cecilius Bassus, one of Pompey’s party, laid a treacherous design against Sextus Cæsar, and slew him, and then took his army, and got the management of public affairs into his own hand; so there arose a great war about Apamia, while Cæsar’s generals came against him with an army of horsemen and footmen: to these Antipater also sent succours, and his sons with them, as calling to mind the kindnesses they had received from Cæsar, and on that account he thought it but just to require punishment for him, and to take vengeance on the man that had murdered him. And as the war was drawn out into a great length, Marcus came from Rome to take Sextus’s government upon him; but Caesar was slain by Cassius and Brutus in the senate-house, after he had retained the government three years and six months. This fact, however, is related elsewhere.
2. As the war that arose upon the death of Cæsar was now begun, and the principal men were all gone, some one way, and some another, to raise armies, Cassius came from Rome into Syria, in order to receive the [army that lay in the] camp at Apamia; and having raised the siege, he brought over both Bassus and Marcus to his party. He then went over the cities, and got together weapons and soldiers, and laid great taxes upon those cities; and he chiefly oppressed Judea, and exacted of it seven hundred talents: But Antipater when he saw the state to be in so great consternation and disorder, he divided the collection of that sum, and appointed his two sons to gather it; and so that part of it was to be exacted by Malichus, who was ill-disposed to him, and part by others. And because Herod did exact what is required of him from Galilee before others, he was in the greatest favour with Cassius; for he thought it a part of prudence to cultivate a friendship with the Romans, and to gain their good will at the expence of others; whereas the curators of the other cities, with their citizens, were sold for slaves; and Cassius reduced four cities into a state of slavery, the two most potent of which were Gophna and Emmaus; and, besides these, Lydda and Thamna. Nay, Cassius was so very angry at Malichus that he had killed him, (for he assaulted him), had not Hyrcanus, by the means of Antipater, sent him an hundred talents of his own, and thereby pacified his anger against him.
3. But after Cassius was gone out of Judea, Malichus laid snares for Antipater, as thinking that his death would be the preservation of Hyrcanus’s government: But his design was not unknown to Antipater, which when he perceived, he retired beyond Jordan, and got together an army, partly of Arabs, and partly of his own countrymen. However, Malichus being one of great cunning, denied that he had laid any snares for him, and made his defence with an oath, both to himself and his sons; and said, that while Phasaelus had a garrison in Jerusalem, and Herod had the weapons of war in his custody, he could never have a thought of any such thing. So Antipater, perceiving the distress that Malichus was in, was reconciled to him, and made an agreement with him: this was when Marcus was president of Syria; who yet perceiving that this Malichus was making a disturbance in Judea, proceeding so far that he had almost killed him, but still at the intercession of Antipater he saved him.
4. However, Antipater little thought, that by saving Malichus he had saved his own murderer; for, now Cassius and Marcus had got together an army, and intrusted the entire care of it with Herod, and made him general of the forces of Celesyria, and gave him a fleet of ships, and an army of horsemen and footmen; and promised him, that after the war was over, they would make him King of Judea, for a war was already begun between Antony and the younger Cæsar: But as Malichus was most afraid of Antipater, he took him out of the way; and by the offer of money persuaded the butler of Hyrcanus, with whom they were both to feast, to kill him by poison. This being done, and he having armed men with him, settled the affairs of the city. But when Antipater’s sons, Herod and Phasaelus, were acquainted with this conspiracy against their father, and had indignation at it, Malichus denied all, and utterly renounced any knowledge of the murder. And thus died Antipater, a man that had distinguished himself for piety, and justice, and love to his country. And whereas one of his sons, Herod, resolved immediately to revenge their father’s death, and was coming upon Malichus with an army for that purpose, the elder of his sons, Phasaelus, thought it best rather to get this man into their hands by policy, lest they should appear to begin a civil war in the country; so he accepted of Malichus’s defense for himself, and pretended to believe him that he had had no hand in the violent death of Antipater his father, but erected a fine monument for him. Herod also went to Samaria; and when he found them in great distress, he revived their spirits, and composed their differences.
5. However, a little after this, Herod, upon the approach of a festival, came with his soldiers into the city; whereupon Malichus was affrighted, and persuaded Hyrcanus not to permit him to come into the city. Hyrcanus complied; and, for a pretence of excluding him, alleged, that a rout of strangers ought not to be admitted when the multitude were purifying themselves. But Herod had little regard to the messengers that were sent to him, and entered the city in the night-time, and affrighted Malichus; yet did he remit nothing of his former dissimulation, but wept for Antipater, and bewailed him as a friend of his with a loud voice: But Herod and his friends thought it proper not openly to contradict Malichus’s hypocrisy, but to give him tokens of mutual friendship, in order to prevent his suspicion of them.
6. However, Herod sent to Cassius, and informed him of the murder of his father; who knowing what sort of man Malichus was as to his morals, sent him back word that he should revenge his father’s death; and also sent privately to the commanders of his army at Tyre, with orders to assist Herod in the execution of a very just design of his. Now when Cassius had taken Laodicea, they all went together to him, and carried him garlands, and money: And Herod thought that Malichus might be punished while he was there; but he was somewhat apprehensive of the thing, and designed to make some great attempt, and because his son was then an hostage at Tyre, he went to that city, and resolved to steal him away privately, and to march thence into Judea; and as Cassius was in haste to march against Antony, he thought to bring the country to revolt, and to procure the government for himself. But providence opposed his counsels; and Herod being a shrewd man, and perceiving what his intention was, he sent thither beforehand a servant, in appearance indeed to get a supper ready, for he had said before, that he would feast them all there, but in reality to the commanders of the army, whom he persuaded to go out against Malichus, with their daggers. So they went out, and met the man near the city, upon the sea shore and stabbed him. Whereupon Hyrcanus was so astonished at what had happened, that his speech failed him: And when, after some difficulty, he had recovered himself, he asked Herod, what the matter could be? and who it was that slew Malichus? and when he said, that it was done by the command of Cassius, he commended the action; for that Malichus was a very wicked man, and one that conspired against his own country. And this was the punishment that was inflicted on Malichus for what he wickedly did to Antipater.
7. But when Cassius was marched out of Syria, disturbances arose in Judea: for Felix, who was left at Jerusalem with an army, made a sudden attempt against Phasaelus, and the people themselves rose in arms; but Herod went to Fabius, the prefect of Damascus, and was desirous to run to his brother’s assistance, but was hindered by a distemper that seized upon him, till Phasaelus by himself had been too hard for Felix, and had shut him up in the tower, and there, on certain conditions, dismissed him. Phasaelus also complained of Hyrcanus, that although he had received a great many benefits from them, yet did he support their enemies; for Malichus’s brother had made many places to revolt, and kept garrisons in them, and particularly Massada, the strongest fortress of them all. In the mean time, Herod was recovered of his disease, and came and took from Felix all the places he had gotten; and, upon certain conditions, dismissed him also.
Herod ejects Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, out of Judea, and gains the friendship of Antony, who was now come into Syria, by sending him much money; on which account he would not admit of those that would have accused Herod: and what it was that Antony wrote to the Tyrians in behalf of the Jews.
1. Now (22) Ptolemy, the son of Menneus, brought back into Judea Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, who had already raised an army, and had, by money, made Fabius to be his friend, and this because he was of kin to him. Marion also gave him assistance. He had been left by Cassius to tyrannize over Tyre; for this Cussiris was a man that seized on Syria, and then kept it under, in the way of a tyrant. Marion also marched into Galilee, which lay in his neighbourhood, and took three of his fortresses, and put garrisons into them to keep them. But when Herod came, he took all from him; but the Tyrian garrison he dismissed in a very civil manner; nay, to some of the soldiers he made presents, out of the good-will he bare to that city. When he had dispatched these affairs, and was gone to meet Antigonus, he joined battle with him, and beat him, and drove him out of Judea presently, when he was just come into its borders. But when he was come to Jerusalem, Hyrcanus and the people put garlands about his head; for he had already contracted an affinity with the family of Hyrcanus, by having espoused a descendent of his, and for that reason Herod took the greater care of him, as being to marry the daughter of Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, and the grand-daughter of Hyrcanus, by which wife he became the father of three male, and two female children. He had also married before this another wife, out of a lower family of his own nation, whose name was Doris, by whom he had his eldest son Antipater.
2. Now Antonius and Cæsar had beaten Cassius near Philippi, as others have related; but after the victory, Cæsar went into Gaul, [Italy] and Antony marched for Asia, who, when he was arrived at Bithynia, he had ambassadors that met him from all parts. The principal men also of the Jews came thither, to accuse Phasaelus and Herod; and they said, that Hyrcanus had indeed the appearance of reigning, but that these men had all the power; but Antony paid great respect to Herod, who was come to him to make his defence against his accusers, on which account his adversaries could not so much as obtain an hearing: which favour Herod had gained of Antony by money. But still, when Antony was come to Ephesus, Hyrcanus the high priest, and our nation, sent an embassage to him, which carried a crown of gold with them, and desired that he would write to the governors of the provinces, to set those Jews free who had been carried captive by Cassius, and this without their having fought against him, and to restore them that country, which, in the days of Cassius, had been taken from them. Antony thought the Jews desires were just, and wrote immediately to Hyrcanus, and to the Jews. He also sent, at the same time, a decree to the Tyrians; the contents of which were to the same purpose.
3. “Marcus Antonius imperator, to Hyrcanus the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, sendeth greeting: If you be in health, it is well; I am also in health, with the army. Lysimachus the son of Pausanias, and Josephus the son of Menneus, and Alexander the son of Theodorus, your ambassadors, met me at Ephesus, and have renewed that ambassage, which they had formerly been upon at Rome, and have diligently acquitted themselves of the present ambassage, which thou and thy nation have intrusted to them, and have fully declared the good-will thou hast for us. I am therefore satisfied, both by your actions, and your words, that you are well disposed to us; and I understand that your conduct of life is constant and religious; so I reckon upon you as our own: But when those that were adversaries to you, and to the Roman people, and abstained neither from cities, nor temples, and did not observe the agreement they had confirmed by oath, it was not only on account of our contest with them, but on account of all mankind in common, that we have taken vengeance on those who have been the authors of great injustice towards men, and of great wickedness towards the gods; for the sake of which we suppose it was that the sun turned away his light from us, (23) as unwilling to view the horrid crime they were guilty of in the case of Cæsar. We have also overcome their conspiracies, which threatened the gods themselves, which Macedonia received, as it is a climate peculiarly proper for impious and insolent attempts; and we have overcome that confused rout of men, half mad with spite against us, which they got together at Philippi, in Macedonia, when they seized on the places that were proper for their purpose, and, as it were, walled them round with mountains to the very sea, and where the passage was open only through a single gate. This victory we gained, because the gods had condemned these men for their wicked enterprises. Now Brutus, when he had fled as far as Philippi, was shut up by us, and became a partaker of the same perdition with Cassius; and now these have received their punishment we suppose, that we may enjoy peace for the time to come, and that Asia may be at rest from war. We therefore make that peace which God hath given us common to our confederates also, insomuch, that the body of Asia is now recovered out of that distemper it was under by the means of our victory. I, therefore, bearing in mind both thee, and your nation, shall take care of what may be for your advantage. I have also sent epistles in writing to the several cities, that if any persons, whether free-men, or bond-men, have been sold under the spear by Caius Cassius, or his subordinate officers, they may be set free. And I will that you kindly make use of the favours which I and Dolabella have granted you. I also forbid the Tyrians to use any violence with you; and for what places of the Jews they now possess, I order them to restore them. I have withal accepted of the crown which thou sentest me.”
4. “Marcus Antonius imperator, to the magistrates, senate, and people of Tyre, sendeth greeting: The ambassadors of Hyrcanus, the high priest and ethnarch [of the Jews], appeared before me at Ephesus, and told me that you are in possession of part of their country, which you entered upon under the government of our adversaries. Since, therefore, we have undertaken a war for the obtaining the government, and have taken care to do what was agreeable to piety and justice, and have brought to punishment those that had neither any remembrance of the kindnesses they had received, nor have kept their oaths, I will that you be at peace with those that are our confederates; as also, that what you have taken by the means of our adversaries shall not be reckoned your own, but be returned to those from whom you took them; for none of them took their provinces or their armies by the gift of the senate, but they seized them by force, and bestowed them by violence upon such as became useful to them in their unjust proceedings. Since, therefore, those men have received the punishment due to them, we desire that our confederates may retain whatsoever it was that they formerly possessed without disturbance, and that you restore all the places which belong to Hyrcanus the ethnarch of the Jews, which you have had, though it were but one day before Caius Cassius began an unjustifiable war against us, and entered into our province: Nor do you use any force against him, in order to weaken him, that he may not be able to dispose of that which is his own; but if you have any contest with him about your respective rights, it shall be lawful for you to plead your cause when we come upon the places concerned, for we shall alike preserve the rights, and hear all the causes of our confederates.”
5. “Marcus Antonius imperator, to the magistrates, senate, and people of Tyre, sendeth greeting: I have sent you my decree, of which I will that ye take care that it be engraven on the public tables, in Roman and Greek letters, and that it stand engraven in the most illustrious places, that it may be read by all. Marcus Antonius imperator, one of the triumvirate over the public affairs, made this declaration: Since Caius Cassius, in this revolt he hath made, hath pillaged that province which belonged not to him, and was held by garrisons there encamped, while they were our confederates, and hath spoiled that nation of the Jews that was in friendship with the Roman people as in war; and since we have overcome his madness by arms, we now correct by our decrees and judicial determinations what he hath laid waste, that those things may be restored to our confederates. And as for what hath been sold of the Jewish possessions, whether they be bodies or possessions, let them be released, the bodies into that state of freedom they were originally in, and the possessions to their former owners. I also will, that he who shall not comply with this decree of mine, shall be punished for his disobedience; and if such an one be caught, I will take care that the offenders suffer condign punishment.”
6. The same thing did Antony write to the Sidonians, and the Antiochians, and the Aradians. We have produced these decrees, therefore, as marks for futurity of the truth of what we have said, that the Romans had a great concern about our nation.
How Antony made Herod and Phasaelus tetrarchs, after they had been accused to no purpose; and how the Parthians, when they brought Antigonus into Judea, took Hyrcanus and Phasaelus captives. Herod’s flight; and what afflictions Hyrcanus and Phasaelus endured.
1. When after this Antony came into Syria, Cleopatra met him in Cilicia, and brought him to fall in love with her. And there came now also an hundred of the most potent of the Jews to accuse Herod, and those about him, and set the men of the greatest eloquence among them to speak. But Messala contradicted them, on behalf of the young men, and all this in the presence of Hyrcanus, who was Herod’s father-in-law already. (24) When Antony had heard both sides at Daphne, he asked Hyrcanus, who they were that governed the nation best? He replied, Herod and his friends. Hereupon Antony, by reason of the old hospitable friendship he had made with his father [Antipater], at that time when he was with Gabinius, he made both Herod and Phasaelus tetrarchs, and committed the public affairs of the Jews to them, and wrote letters to that purpose. He also bound fifteen of their adversaries, and was going to kill them, but that Herod obtained their pardon.
2. Yet did not these men continue quiet when they were come back, but a thousand of the Jews came to Tyre to meet him there, whither the report was that he would come. But Antony was corrupted by the money which Herod and his brother had given him, and so he gave order to the governor of the place to punish the Jewish ambassadors, who were for making innovations, and to settle the government upon Herod: But Herod went out hastily to them, and Hyrcanus was with him, (for they stood upon the shore before the city), and he charged them to go their ways, because great mischief would befall them if they went on with their accusation. But they did not acquiesce: whereupon the Romans ran upon them with their daggers, and slew some, and wounded more of them, and the rest fled away, and went home, and lay still in great consternation: And when the people made a clamour against Herod, Antony was so provoked at it that he slew the prisoners.
3. Now, in the second year, Pacorus, the King of Parthia’s son, and Barzapharnes, a commander of the Parthians, possessed themselves of Syria. Ptolemy, the son of Menneus, also was now dead, and Lysanias his son took his government, and made a league of friendship with Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus; and in order to obtain it, made use of that commander, who had great interest in him. Now Antigonus had promised to give the Parthians a thousand talents, and five hundred women, upon condition they would take the government away from Hyrcanus, and bestow it upon him, and withal kill Herod. And although he did not give them what he had promised, yet did the Parthians make an expedition into Judea on that account, and carried Antigonus with them. Pacorus went along the maritime parts, but the commander Barzapharnes, through the midland. Now the Tyrians excluded Pacorus, but the Sidonians, and those of Ptolemais, received him. However, Pacorus sent a troop of horsemen into Judea, to take a view of the state of the country, and to assist Antigonus; and sent also the King’s butler, of the same name with himself. So when the Jews that dwelt about mount Carmel came to Antigonus, and were ready to march with him into Judea, Antigonus hoped to get some part of the country by their assistance. The place is called Drymi; and when some others came, and met them, the men privately fell upon Jerusalem; and when some more were come to them, they got together in great numbers, and came against the King’s palace, and besieged it. But as Phasaelus’s and Herod’s party came to the other’s assistance, and a battle happened between them in the market-place, the young men beat their enemies, and pursued them into the temple, and sent some armed men into the adjoining houses to keep them in, who yet being destitute of such as should support them, were burnt, and the houses with them, by the people who rose up against them. But Herod was revenged on these seditious adversaries of his a little afterward for this injury they had offered him, when he fought with them, and slew a great number of them.
4. But while there were daily skirmishes, the enemy waited for the coming of the multitude out of the country to Pentecost, a feast of ours so called: and when that day was come, many ten thousands of the people were gathered together about the temple, some in armour, and some without. Now those that came guarded both the temple and the city, excepting what belonged to the palace, which Herod guarded with a few of his soldiers; and Phasaelus had the charge of the wall, while Herod, with a body of his men, sallied out upon the enemy, who lay in the suburbs, and fought courageously, and put many ten thousands to flight, some flying into the city, and some into the temple, and some into the outer fortifications, for some such fortifications there were in that place. Phasaelus came also to his assistance; yet was Pacorus, the general of the Parthians, at the desire of Antigonus, admitted into the city, with a few of his horsemen, under pretence indeed as if he would still the sedition, but in reality to assist Antigonus in obtaining the government. And when Phasaelus met him, and received him kindly, Pacorus persuaded him to go himself as ambassador to Barzapharnes, which was done fraudulently. Accordingly, Phasaelus, suspecting no harm, complied with his proposal, while Herod did not give his consent to what was done, because of the perfidiousness of these Barbarians, but desired Phasaelus rather to fight those that were come into the city.
5. So both Hyrcanus and Phasaelus went on the embassage; but Pacorus left with Herod two hundred horsemen, and ten men, who were called The freemen; and conducted the others on their journey; and when they were in Galilee, the governors of the cities there met them in their arms. Barzapharnes also received them at the first with cheerfulness, and made them presents, though he afterward conspired against them; and Phasaelus, with his horsemen, were conducted to the sea side: But when they heard that Antigonus had promised to give the Parthians a thousand talents, and five hundred women, to assist him against them, they soon had a suspicion of the Barbarians. Moreover, there was one who informed them, that snares were laid for them by night, while a guard came about them secretly, and they had then been seized upon, had not they waited for the seizure of Herod by the Parthians, that were about Jerusalem, lest, upon the slaughter of Hyrcanus and Phasaelus, he should have an intimation of it, and escape out of their hands. And these were the circumstances they were now in; and they saw who they were that guarded them. Some persons indeed would have persuaded Phasaelus to fly away immediately on horseback, and not stay any longer; and there was one Ophellius who, above all the rest, was earnest with him to do so, for he had heard of this treachery from Saramalla, the richest of all the Syrians at that time, who also promised to provide him ships to carry him off; for the sea was just by them: But he had no mind to desert Hyrcanus, nor bring his brother into danger; but he went to Barzapharnes, and told him, he did not act justly when he made such a contrivance against them, for that if he wanted money, he would give him more than Antigonus; and besides, that it was a horrible thing to slay those that came to him upon the security of their oaths, and that when they had done them no injury. But the Barbarian swore to him, that there was no truth in any of his suspicions, but that he was troubled with nothing but false proposals, and then went away to Pacorus.
6. But as soon as he was gone away, some men came and bound Hyrcanus and Phasaelus, while Phasaelus greatly reproached the Parthians for their perjury. However, that butler who was sent against Herod had it in command to get him without the walls of the city, and seize upon him; but messengers had been sent by Phasaelus to inform Herod of the perfidiousness of the Parthians: And when he knew that the enemy had seized upon them, he went to Pacorus, and to the most potent of the Parthians, as to the lords of the rest, who, although they knew the whole matter, dissembled with him in a deceitful way; and said, That “he ought to go out with them before the walls, and meet those which were bringing him his letters, for that they were not taken by his adversaries, but were coming to give him an account of the good success Phasaelus had had.” Herod did not give credit to what they said; for he had heard that his brother was seized upon by others also: and the daughter of Hyrcanus, whose daughter he had espoused, was his monitor also [not to credit them], which made him still more suspicious of the Parthians; for although other people did not give heed to her, yet did he believe her, as a woman of very great wisdom.
7. Now while the Parthians were in consultation what was fit to be done; for they did not think it proper to make an open attempt upon a person of his character; and while they put off the determination to the next day, Herod was under great disturbance of mind, and rather inclining to believe the reports he heard about his brother and the Parthians, than to give heed to what was said on the other side, he determined, that when the evening came on, he would make use of it for his flight, and not make any longer delay, as if the dangers from the enemy were not yet certain. He therefore removed with the armed men whom he had with him; and set his wives upon the beasts, as also his mother, and sister, and her whom he was about to marry [Mariamne], the daughter of Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, with her mother, the daughter of Hyrcanus, and his youngest brother, and all their servants, and the rest of the multitude that was with him, and without the enemies privity pursued his way to Idumea: Nor could any enemy of his, who then saw him in this case, be so hard hearted, but would have commiserated his fortune, while the women drew along their infant children, and left their own country, and their friends in prison, with tears in their eyes, and sad lamentations, and in expectation of nothing but what was of a melancholy nature.
8. But for Herod himself, he raised his mind above the miserable state he was in, and was of good courage in the midst of his misfortunes; and, as he passed along, he bid them every one to be of good cheer, and not to give themselves up to sorrow, because that would hinder them in their flight, which was now the only hope of safety that they had. Accordingly, they tried to bear with patience the calamity they were under, as he exhorted them to do; yet was he once almost going to kill himself, upon the overthrow of a waggon, and the danger his mother was then in of being killed, and this on two accounts, because of his great concern for her, and because he was afraid lest, by this delay, the enemy should overtake him in the pursuit; but as he was drawing his sword, and going to kill himself therewith, those that were present restrained him, and being so many in number, were too hard for him; and told him, that he ought not to desert them, and leave them a prey to their enemies, for that it was not the part of a brave man to free himself from the distresses he was in, and to overlook his friends that were in the same distresses also. So he was compelled to let that horrid attempt alone, partly out of shame at what they said to him, and partly out of regard to the great number of those that would not permit him to do what he intended. So he encouraged his mother, and took all the care of her the time would allow, and proceeded on the way he proposed to go with the utmost haste, and that was to the fortress of Massada. And as he had many skirmishes with such of the Parthians as attacked him, and pursued him, he was conqueror in them all.
9. Nor indeed was he free from the Jews all along as he was in his flight; for by that time he was gotten sixty furlongs out of the city, and was upon the road, they fell upon him, and fought hand to hand with him, whom he also put to flight, and overcame, not like one that was in distress, and in necessity, but like one that was excellently prepared for war, and had what he wanted in great plenty. And in this very place where he overcame the Jews it was that he some time afterward build a most excellent palace, and a city round about it, and called it Herodium. And when he was come to Idumea, at a place called Thressa, his brother Joseph met him, and he then held a council to take advice about all his affairs, and what was fit to be done in his circumstances, since he had a great multitude that followed him, besides his mercenary soldiers, and the place Massada, whither he proposed to fly, was too small to contain so great a multitude; so he sent away the greater part of his company, being above nine thousand, and bid them go, some one way, and some another, and so save themselves in Idumea, and gave them what would buy them provisions in their journey; but he took with him those that were the least incumbered, and were most intimate with him, and came to the fortress, and placed there his wives, and his followers, being eight hundred in number, there being in the place a sufficient quantity of corn, and water, and other necessaries, and went directly for Petra, in Arabia. But when it was day, the Parthians plundered all Jerusalem, and the palace, and abstained from nothing but Hyrcanus’s money, which was three hundred talents. A great deal of Herod’s money escaped, and principally all that the man had been so provident as to send into Idumea before hand: nor indeed did what was in the city suffice the Parthians, but they went out into the country, and plundered it, and demolished the city Marissa.
10. And thus was Antigonus brought back into Judea, by the King of the Parthians, and received Hyrcanus and Phasaelus for his prisoners; but he was greatly cast down because the women had escaped, whom he intended to have given the enemy, as having promised they should have them, with the money, for their reward: But being afraid that Hyrcanus, who was under the guard of the Parthians, might have his kingdom restored to him by the multitude, he cut off his ears, and thereby took care that the high priesthood should never come to him any more, because he was maimed, while the law required that this dignity should belong to none but such as had all their members entire. (25) But now one cannot but here admire the fortitude of Phasaelus, who perceiving that he was to be put to death, did not think death any terrible thing at all, but to die thus by the means of his enemy, this he thought a most pitiable and dishonourable thing, and therefore, since he had not his hands at liberty, but the bonds he was in prevented him from killing himself thereby, he dashed his head against a great stone, and thereby took away his own life, which he thought to be the best thing he could do in such a distress as he was in, and thereby put it out of the power of the enemy to bring him to any death he pleased. It is also reported, that when he had made a great wound in his head, Antigonus sent physicians to him, in order to cure it, and by ordering them to infuse poison into the wound, killed him. However, Phasaelus hearing, before he was quite dead, by a certain woman, that his brother Herod had escaped the enemy, underwent his death cheerfully, since he now left behind him one who would revenge his death, and who was able to inflict punishment on his enemies.
How Herod got away from the King of Arabia, and made haste to go into Egypt, and thence went in haste also to Rome; and how, by promising a great deal of money to Antony, he obtained of the senate, and of Cæsar, to be made King of the Jews.
1. As for Herod, the great miseries he was in did not discourage him, but made him sharp in discovering surprising undertakings; for he went to Malchus, King of Arabia, whom he had formerly been very kind to, in order to receive somewhat by way of requital, now he was in more than ordinary want of it, and desired he would let him have some money, either by way of loan, or as his free gift, on account of the many benefits he had received from him, for not knowing what was become of his brother, he was in haste to redeem him out of the hand of his enemies, as willing to give three hundred talents for the price of his redemption. He also took with him the son of Phasaelus, who was a child of but seven years of age, for this very reason, that he might be an hostage for the repayment of the money: But there came messengers from Malchus to meet him, by whom he was desired to be gone, for that the Parthians had laid a charge upon him not to entertain Herod. This was only a pretence, which he made use of, that he might not be obliged to repay him what he owed him; and this he was farther induced to, by the principal men among the Arabians, that they might cheat him of what sums they had received from [his father] Antipater, and which he had committed to their fidelity. He made answer, that he did not intend to be troublesome to them by his coming thither, but that he desired only to discourse with them about certain affairs that were to him of the greatest importance.
2. Hereupon he resolved to go away, and did go very prudently the road to Egypt; and then it was that he lodged in a certain temple, for he had left a great many of his followers there. On the next day he came to Rhinocolura, and there it was that he heard what was befallen his brother. Though Malchus soon repented of what he had done, and came running after Herod, but with no manner of success, for he was gotten a very great way off, and made haste into the road to Pelusium: and when the stationary ships that lay there hindered him from sailing to Alexandria, he went to their captains, by whose assistance, and that out of much reverence of, and great regard to him, he was conducted into the city [Alexandria], and was retained there by Cleopatra; yet was she not able to prevail with him to stay there, because he was making haste to Rome, even though the weather was stormy, and he was informed that the affairs of Italy were very tumultuous, and in great disorder.
3. So he set sail from thence to Pamphylia, and falling into a violent storm, he had much ado to escape to Rhodes, with the loss of the ship’s burden; and there it was that two of his friends, Sappinas and Ptolemeus, met with him: and as he found that city very much damaged in the war against Cassius, though he were in necessity himself, he neglected not to do it a kindness, but did what he could to recover it to its former state. He also built there a three decked ship, and set sail thence, with his friends, for Italy, and came to the port of Brundusium: and when he was come from thence to Rome, he first related to Antony what had befallen him in Judea, and how Phasaelus his brother was seized on by the Parthians, and put to death by them, and how Hyrcanus was detained captive by them, and how they had made Antigonus king, who had promised them a sum of money, no less than a thousand talents, with five hundred women, who were to be of the principal families, and of the Jewish stock, and that he had carried off the women by night, and that, by undergoing a great many hardships, he had escaped the hands of his enemies; as also, that his own relations were in danger of being besieged and taken, and that he had sailed through a storm, and contemned all these terrible dangers of it, in order to come, as soon as possible, to him, who was his hope and only succour at this time.
4. This account made Antony commiserate the change that had happened in Herod’s condition; (26) and reasoning with himself, that this was a common case among those that are placed in such great dignities, and that they are liable to the mutations that come from fortune, he was very ready to give him the assistance he desired, and this because he called to mind the friendship he had had with Antipater, because Herod offered him money to make him King, as he had formerly given it him to make him tetrarch, and chiefly because of his hatred to Antigonus, for he took him to be a seditious person, and an enemy to the Romans. Cæsar was also the forwarder to raise Herod’s dignity, and to give him his assistance in what he desired, on account of the toils of war which he had himself undergone with Antipater his father in Egypt, and of the hospitality he had treated him withal, and the kindness he had always shewed him, as also to gratify Antony, who was very zealous for Herod. So a senate was convocated; and Messala first, and then Atratinus, introduced Herod into it, and enlarged upon the benefits they had received from his father, and put them in mind of the good will he had borne to the Romans. At the same time, they accused Antigonus, and declared him an enemy, not only because of his former opposition to them, but that he had now overlooked the Romans, and taken the government from the Parthians. Upon this the senate was irritated; and Antony informed them farther, that it was for their advantage in the Parthian war that Herod should be King. This seemed good to all the senators; and so they made a decree accordingly.
5. And this was the principal instance of Antony’s affection for Herod, that he not only procured him a kingdom which he did not expect, (for he did not come with an intention to ask the kingdom for himself, which he did not suppose the Romans would grant him, who used to bestow it on some of the royal family, but intended to desire it for his wife’s brother, who was grandson by his father to Aristobulus, and to Hyrcanus by his mother), but that he procured it for him so suddenly that he obtained what he did not expect, and departed out of Italy in so few days as seven in all. This young man [the grandson] Herod afterward took care to have slain, as we shall shew in its proper place. But when the senate was dissolved, Antony and Cæsar went out of the senate-house, with Herod between them, and with the consuls and other magistrates before them, in order to offer sacrifices, and to lay up their decrees in the capitol. Antony also feasted Herod the first day of his reign. And thus did this man receive the kingdom, having obtained it on the hundred and eighty-fourth olympiad, when Caius Domitius Calvinus was consul the second time, and Caius Asinius Pollio [the first time].
6. All this while Antigonus besieged those that were in Massada, who had plenty of all other necessaries, but were only in want of water, (27) insomuch, that on this occasion Joseph, Herod’s brother, was contriving to run away from it, with two hundred of his dependents, to the Arabians; for he had heard that Malchus repented of the offences he had been guilty of with regard to Herod; but God, by sending rain in the night time, prevented his going away, for their cisterns were thereby filled, and he was under no necessity of running away on that account; but they were now of good courage, and the more so, because the sending that plenty of water which they had been in want of, seemed a mark of divine providence; so they made a sally, and fought hand to hand with Antigonus’s soldiers, with some openly, with some privately, and destroyed a great number of them. At the same time, Ventidius, the general of the Romans, was sent out of Syria, to drive the Parthians out of it, and marched after them into Judea, in pretence indeed to succour Joseph; but in reality the whole affair was no more than a stratagem, in order to get money of Antigonus: So they pitched their camp very near to Jerusalem, and wiped Antigonus of a great deal of money, and then he retired himself with the greater part of the army; but that the wickedness he had been guilty of might not be found out, he left Silo there, with a certain part of his soldiers, with whom also Antigonus cultivated an acquaintance, that he might cause him no disturbance, and was still in hopes that the Parthians would come again and defend him.
How Herod sailed out of Italy to Judea, and fought with Antigonus; and what other things happened in Judea about that time.
1. By this time Herod had sailed out of Italy to Ptolemais, and had gotten together no small army, both of strangers and of his own countrymen, and marched through Galilee against Antignus. Silo also and Ventidius, came and assisted him, being persuaded by Dellius, who was sent by Antony to assist in bringing back Herod. Now for Ventidius, he was employed in composing the disturbances that had been made in the cities by the means of the Parthians; and for Silo, he was in Judea indeed, but corrupted by Antigonus. However as Herod went along, his army increased every day, and all Galilee, with some small exception, joined him: but as he was marching to those that were in Massada, for he was obliged to endeavour to save those that were in that fortress, now they were besieged, because they were his relations: Joppa was an hinderance to him, for it was necessary for him to take that place first, it being a city at variance with him, that no strong hold might be left in his enemies hands behind him when he should go to Jerusalem: And when Silo made this a pretence for rising up from Jerusalem, and was thereupon pursued by the Jews, Herod fell upon them with a small body of men, and both put the Jews to flight, and saved Silo, when he was very poorly able to defend himself; but when Herod had taken Joppa, he made haste to set free those of his family that were in Massada. Now, of the people of the country, some joined him because of the friendship they had had with his father, and some because of the splendid appearance he made, and others by way of requital for the benefits they had received from both of them, but the greatest number came to him in hopes of getting somewhat from him afterward, if he were once firmly settled in the kingdom.
2. Herod had now a strong army; and as he marched on, Antigonus laid snares and ambushes in the passes and places most proper for them, but in truth he thereby did little or no damage to the enemy: So Herod received those of his family out of Massada, and the fortress Ressa, and then went on for Jerusalem. The soldiery also that was with Silo accompanied him all along, as did many of the citizens, being afraid of his power: and as soon as he had pitched his camp on the west side of the city, the soldiers that were set to guard that part shot their arrows, and threw their darts at him; and when some sallied out in a crowd, and came to fight hand to hand with the first ranks of Herod’s army, he gave orders, that they should, in the first place, make proclamation about the wall, That “he came for the good of the people, and for the preservation of the city, and not to bear any old grudge at even his most open enemies, but ready to forget the offences which his greatest adversaries had done him.” But Antigonus, by way of reply to what Herod had caused to be proclaimed, and this before the Romans, and before Silo also, said, That “they would not do justly if they gave the kingdom to Herod, who was no more than a private man, and an Idumean, i. e. an half Jew, (28) whereas they ought to bestow it on one of the royal family, as their custom was; for, that in case they at present bear an ill-will to him, and had resolved to deprive him of the kingdom, as having received it from the Parthians, yet were there many others of his family that might by their law take it, and these such as had no way offended the Romans, and being of the sacerdotal family, it would be an unworthy thing to put them by.” Now, while they said thus, one to another, and fell to reproaching one another on both sides, Antigonus permitted his own men that were upon the wall to defend themselves, who using their bows, and shewing great alacrity against their enemies, easily drove them away from the towers.
3. And now it was that Silo discovered that he had taken bribes: for he set a good number of his soldiers to complain aloud of the want of provisions they were in, and to require money to buy them food, and that it was fit to let them go into places proper for winter quarters, since the places near the city were a desert, by reason that Antigonus’s soldiers had carried all away; so he set the army upon removing, and endeavoured to march away: But Herod pressed Silo not to depart; and exhorted Silo’s captains and soldiers not to desert him, when Cæsar and Antony, and the senate, had sent him thither, for that he would provide them plenty of all the things they wanted, and easily procure them a great abundance of what they required; after which entreaty he immediately went out into the country, and left not the least pretence to Silo for his departure, for he brought an unexpected quantity of provisions, and sent to those friends of his who inhabited about Samaria, to bring down corn, and wine, and oil, and cattle, and all other provisions, to Jericho, that those might be no want of a supply for the soldiers for the time to come. Antigonus was sensible of this, and sent presently over the country such as might restrain and lie in ambush for those that went out for provisions. So these men obeyed the orders of Antigonus, and got together a great number of armed men about Jericho, and sat upon the mountains, and watched those that brought the provisions. However, Herod was not idle in the mean time, for he took ten bands of soldiers, of whom five were of the Romans, and five of the Jews, with some mercenaries among them, and with some few horsemen, and came to Jericho; and as they found the city deserted, but that five hundred of them had settled themselves on the tops of the hills, with their wives and children, those he took, and sent away; but the Romans fell upon the city, and plundered it, and found the houses full of all sorts of good things. So the King left a garrison at Jericho, and came back again, and sent the Roman army to take their winter quarters in the countries that were come over to him, Judea and Galilee, and Samaria. And so much did Antigonus gain of Silo for the bribes he gave him, that part of the army should be quartered at Lidda, in order to please Antony. So the Romans laid their weapons aside, and lived in plenty of all things.
4. But Herod was not pleased with lying still, but sent out his brother Joseph against Idumea with two thousand armed footmen, and four hundred horsemen, while he himself came to Samaria, and left his mother and his other relations there, for they were already gone out of Massada, and went into Galilee, to take certain places which were held by the garrisons of Antigonus; and he passed on to Sepphoris, as God sent a snow, while Antigonus’s garrisons withdrew themselves, and had great plenty of provisions. He also went thence, and resolved to destroy those robbers that dwelt in the caves, and did much mischief in the country; so he sent a troop of horsemen, and three companies of armed footmen, against them. They were very near to a village called Arbela; and on the fortieth day after, he came himself, with his whole army: and as the enemy sallied out boldly upon him the left wing of his army gave way, but he appearing with a body of men, put those to flight who were already conquerors, and recalled his men that ran away. He also pressed upon his enemies, and pursued them as far as the river Jordan, though they ran away by different roads. So he brought over to him all Galilee, excepting those that dwelt in the caves, and distributed money to every one of his soldiers, giving them an hundred and fifty drachmæ apiece, and much more to their captains, and sent them into winter quarters; at which time Silo came to him, and his commanders with him, because Antigonus would not give them provisions any longer, for he supplied them for no more than one month; nay he had sent to all the country about, and ordered them to carry off the provisions that were there, and retire to the mountains, that the Romans might have no provisions to live upon, and so might perish by famine. But Herod committed the care of that matter to Pheroras, his youngest brother, and ordered him to repair Alexandrium also. Accordingly he quickly made the soldiers abound with great plenty of provisions, and rebuilt Alexandrium, which had been before desolate.
5. About this time it was that Antony continued some time at Athens, and that Ventidius, who was now in Syria, sent for Silo, and commanded him to assist Herod, in the first place, to finish the present war, and then to send for their confederates, for the war they were themselves engaged in; but as for Herod, he went in haste against the robbers that were in the caves, and sent Silo away to Ventidius, while he marched against them. These caves were in mountains that were exceeding abrupt, and in their middle were no other than precipices, with certain entrances into the caves, and those caves were encompassed with sharp rocks, and in these did the robbers lie concealed, with all their families about them; but the King caused certain chests to be made, in order to destroy them, and to be hung down, bound about with iron chains, by an engine, from the top of the mountain, it being not possible to get up to them, by reason of the sharp ascent of the mountains, nor to creep down to them from above. Now these chests were filled with armed men, who had long hooks in their hands, by which they might pull out such as resisted them, and then tumble them down, and kill them by so doing; but the letting the chests down proved to be a matter of great danger, because of the vast depth they were to be let down, although they had their provisions in the chests themselves: But when the chests were let down, and not one of those in the mouths of the caves durst come near them, but lay still out of fear, some of the armed men girt on their armour, and by both their hands took hold of the chain by which the chests were let down, and went into the mouths of the caves, because they fretted that such delay was made by the robbers not daring to come out of the caves; and when they were at any of those mouths, they first killed many of those that were in the mouths with their darts, and afterwards pulled those to them that resisted them with their hooks, and tumbled them down the precipices, and afterwards went into the caves, and killed many more, and then went into their chests again, and lay still there; but upon this, terror seized the rest, when they heard the lamentations that were made, and they despaired of escaping: However, when the night came on, that put an end to the whole work; and as the King proclaimed pardon by an herald to such as delivered themselves up to him, many accepted of the offer. The same method of assault was made use of the next day; and they went farther, and got out in baskets to fight them, and fought them at their doors, and sent fire among them, and set their caves on fire, for there was a great deal of combustible matter within them. Now there was one old man who was caught within one of these caves, with seven children and a wife; these prayed him to give them leave to go out, and yield themselves up to the enemy, but he stood at the cave’s mouth, and always slew that child of his who went out, till he had destroyed them every one, and after that he slew his wife, and cast their dead bodies down the precipice, and himself after them, and so underwent death rather than slavery: but before he did this, he greatly reproached Herod with the meanness of his family, although he was then King. Herod also saw what he was doing, and stretched out his hand, and offered him all manner of security for his life: By which means all these caves were at length subdued entirely.
6. And when the King had set Ptolemy over these parts of the country as his general, he went to Samaria, with six hundred horsemen, and three thousand armed footmen, as intending to fight Antigonus. But still this command of the army did not succeed well with Ptolemy, but those that had been troublesome to Galilee before attacked him, and slew him; and when they had done this, they fled among the lakes and places almost inaccessible, laying waste and plundering whatsoever they could come at in those places. But Herod soon returned, and punished them for what they had done; for some of these rebels he slew, and others of them, who had fled to the strong holds, he besieged, and both slew them, and demolished their strong holds. And when he had thus put an end to their rebellion, he laid a fine upon the cities of an hundred talents.
7. In the mean time Pacorus was fallen in a battle, and the Parthians were defeated, when Ventidius sent Macherus to the assistance of Herod, with two legions, and a thousand horsemen, while Antony encouraged him to make haste. But Macherus, at the instigation of Antigonus, without the approbation of Herod, as being corrupted by money, went about to take a view of his affairs; but Antigonus suspecting this intention of his coming, did not admit him into the city, but kept him at a distance, with slinging stones at him, and plainly shewed what he himself meant. But when Macherus was sensible that Herod had given him good advice, and that he had made a mistake himself in not hearkening to that advice, he retired to the city Emmaus; and what Jews he met with he slew them, whether they were enemies, or friends, out of the rage he was in at what hardships he had undergone. The King was provoked at this conduct of his, and went to Samaria, and resolved to go to Antony about these affairs, and to inform him that he stood in no need of such helpers who did him more mischief than they did his enemies, and that he was able of himself to beat Antigonus; but Macherus followed him, and desired that he would not go to Antony, or, if he was resolved to go, that he would join his brother Joseph with him, and let them fight against Antigonus. So he was reconciled to Macherus, upon his earnest entreaties. Accordingly he left Joseph there with his army, but charged him to run no hazards, nor to quarrel with Macherus.
8. But for his own part, he made haste to Antony (who was then at the siege of Samosata, a place upon Euphrates) with his troops, both horsemen and footmen, to be auxiliaries to him: And when he came to Antioch, and met there a great number of men gotten together that were very desirous to go to Antony, but durst not venture to go out of fear, because the Barbarians fell upon men on the road, and slew many, so he encouraged them, and became their conductor upon the road. Now when they were within two days march of Samosata, the Barbarians had laid an ambush there to disturb those that came to Antony, and where the woods made the passes narrow, as they led to the plains, there they laid not a few of their horsemen, who were to lie still until those passengers were gone by into the wide place. Now as soon as the first ranks were gone by, (for Herod brought on the rear), those that lay in ambush, who were about five hundred, fell upon them on the sudden, and when they had put the foremost to flight, the King came riding hard, with the forces that were about him, and immediately drove back the enemy; by which means he made the minds of his own men courageous, and emboldened them to go on, insomuch that those who ran away before, now returned back, and the Barbarians were slain on all sides. The King also went on killing them, and recovered all the baggage, among which were a great number of beasts for burden, and of slaves, and proceeded on in his march; and whereas there were a great number of those in the woods that attacked them, and were near the passage that led into the plain, he made a sally upon these also with a strong body of men, and put them to flight, and slew many of them, and thereby rendered the way safe for those that came after; and these called Herod their saviour and protector.
9. And when he was near to Samosata, Antony sent out his army in all their proper habiliments to meet him, in order to pay Herod this respect, and because of the assistance he had given him, for he had heard what attacks the Barbarians had made upon him [in Judea]. He also was very glad to see him there, as having been made acquainted with the great actions he had performed upon the road: So he entertained him very kindly, and could not but admire his courage. Antony also embraced him as soon as he saw him, and saluted him after a most affectionate manner, and gave him the upper hand, as having himself lately made him a king: and in a little time Antiochus delivered up the fortress, and on that account this war was at an end; then Antony committed the rest to Sosius, and gave him orders to assist Herod, and went himself to Egypt. Accordingly Sosius sent two legions before into Judea to the assistance of Herod, and he followed himself with the body of the army.
10. Now Joseph was already slain in Judea, in the manner following: He forgot what charge his brother Herod had given him when he went to Antony; and when he had pitched his camp among the mountains, for Macherus had lent him five regiments, with these he went hastily to Jericho, in order to reap the corn thereto belonging; and as the Roman regiments were but newly raised, and were unskilful in war, for they were in great part collected out of Syria, he was attacked by the enemy, and caught in those places of difficulty, and was himself slain, as he was fighting bravely, and the whole army was lost, for there were six regiments slain. So when Antigonus had got possession of the dead bodies, he cut off Joseph’s head, although Pheroras his brother would have redeemed it at the price of fifty talents. After which defeat, the Galileans revolted from their commanders, and took those of Herod’s party, and drowned them in the lake, and a great part of Judea was become seditious; but Macherus fortified the place Gitta [in Samaria].
11. At this time messengers came to Herod, and informed him of what had been done; and when he was come to Daphne by Antioch, they told him of the ill fortune that had befallen his brother; which yet he expected, from certain visions that appeared to him in his dreams, which clearly foreshewed his brother’s death. So he hastened his march; and when he came to mount Libanus, he received about eight hundred of the men of that place, having already with him also one Roman legion, and with these he came to Ptolemais. He also marched thence by night with his army, and proceeded along Galilee. Here it was that the enemy met him, and fought him, and were beaten, and shut up in the same place of strength whence they had sallied out the day before. So he attacked the place in the morning; but by reason of a great storm that was then very violent, he was able to do nothing, but drew off his army into the neighbouring villages; yet as soon as the other legion that Antony sent him was come to his assistance, those that were in garrison in the place were afraid, and deserted it in the night-time. Then did the King march hastily to Jericho, intending to avenge himself on the enemy for the slaughter of his brother; and when he had pitched his tents, he made a feast for the principal commanders; and after this collation was over, and he had dismissed his guests, he retired to his own chamber: and here may one see what kindness God had for the King, for the upper part of the house fell down when nobody was in it, and so killed none, insomuch that all the people believed that Herod was beloved of God, since he had escaped such a great and surprising danger.
12. But the next day six thousand of the enemy came down from the tops of the mountains to fight the Romans, which greatly terrified them; and the soldiers that were in light armour came near, and pelted the King’s guards that were come out with darts and stones, and one of them hit him on the side with a dart. Antigonus also sent a commander against Samaria, whose name was Pappus, with some forces, being desirous to shew the enemy how potent he was, and that he had men to spare in his war with them: He sat down to oppose Macherus; but Herod, when he had taken five cities, took such as were left in them, being about two thousand, and slew them, and burnt the cities themselves, and then returned to go against Pappus, who was encamped at a village called Isanas: and there ran in to him many out of Jericho and Judea, near to which places he was, and the enemy fell upon his men, so stout were they at this time, and joined battle with them, but he beat them in the fight; and in order to be revenged on them for the slaughter of his brother, he pursued them sharply, and killed them as they ran away; and as the houses were full of armed men, and many of them ran as far as the tops of the houses, (29) he got them under his power, and pulled down the roofs of the houses, and saw the lower rooms full of soldiers that were caught, and lay all on a heap; so they threw stones down upon them as they lay piled one upon another, and thereby killed them: nor was there a more frightful spectacle in all the war than this, where beyond the walls an immense multitude of dead men lay heaped one upon another. This action it was which chiefly brake the spirits of the enemy, who expected now what would come, for there appeared a mighty number of people that came from places far distant, that were now about the village, but then ran away; and had it not been for the depth of winter, which then restrained them, the King’s army had presently gone to Jerusalem, as being very courageous at this good success, and the whole work had been done immediately, for Antigonus was already looking about how he might fly away, and leave the city.
13. At this time the King gave order that the soldiers should go to supper, for it was late at night, while he went into a chamber to use the bath, for he was very weary: and here it was that he was in the greatest danger, which yet, by God’s providence, he escaped; for as he was naked, and had but one servant that followed him, to be with him while he was bathing in an inner room, certain of the enemy, who were in their armour, and had fled thither out of fear, were then in the place; and as he was bathing, the first of them came out with his naked sword drawn, and went out at the doors, and after him a second, and a third, armed in like manner, and were under such a consternation that they did no hurt to the King, and thought themselves to have come off very well in suffering no harm themselves in their getting out of the house. However, on the next day, he cut off the head of Pappus, for he was already slain, and sent it to Pheroras, as a punishment of what their brother had suffered by his means, for he was the man that slew him with his own hand.
14. When the rigour of winter was over, Herod removed his army, and came near to Jerusalem, and pitched his camp hard by the city. Now this was the third year since he had been made King at Rome; and as he removed his camp, and came near that part of the wall where it could be most easily assaulted, he pitched that camp before the temple, intending to make his attacks in the same manner as did Pompey, so he encompassed the place with three bulwarks, and erected towers, and employed a great many hands about the work, and cut down the trees that were round about the city; and when he had appointed proper persons to oversee the works, even while the army lay before the city, he himself went to Samaria to complete his marriage, and to take to wife the daughter of Alexander, the son of Aristobulus; for he had betrothed her already, as I have before related.
How Herod, when he had married Mariamne, took Jerusalem, with the assistance of Sosius, by force; and how the government of the Asamoneans was put an end to.
1. After the wedding was over, came Sosius through Phenicia, having sent out his army before him over the midland parts. He also, who was their commander, came himself, with a great number of horsemen and footmen. The King also came himself from Samaria, and brought with him no small army, besides that which was there before, for they were about thirty thousand; and they all met together at the walls of Jerusalem, and encamped at the north wall of the city, being now an army of eleven legions, armed men on foot, and six thousand horsemen, with other auxiliaries out of Syria. The generals were two, Sosius, sent by Antony to assist Herod, and Herod on his own account, in order to take the government from Antigonus, who was declared an enemy at Rome, and that he might himself be King, according to the decree of the senate.
2. Now the Jews that were inclosed within the walls of the city fought against Herod with great alacrity and zeal (for the whole nation was gathered together); they also gave out many prophecies about the temple, and many things agreeable to the people, as if God would deliver them out of the dangers they were in: They had also carried off what was out of the city, that they might not leave any thing to afford sustenance either for men, or for beasts; and by private robberies, they made the want of necessaries greater. When Herod understood this, he opposed ambushes in the fittest places against their private robberies, and he sent legions of armed men to bring in provisions, and that from remote places, so that in a little time they had great plenty of provisions. Now the three bulwarks were easily erected, because so many hands were continually at work upon it; for it was summer-time, and there was nothing to hinder them in raising their works, neither from the air, nor from the workmen: So they brought their engines to bear, and shook the walls of the city, and tried all manner of ways to get in; yet did not those within discover any fear, but they also contrived not a few engines to oppose their engines withal. They also sallied out, and burnt not only those engines that were not yet perfected, but those that were; and when they came hand to hand, their attempts were not less bold than those of the Romans, though they were behind them in skill. They also erected new works when the former were ruined, and making mines underground, they met each other, and fought there, and making use of brutish courage, rather than of prudent valour, they persisted in this war to the very last; and this they did while a mighty army lay round about them, and while they were distressed by famine, and the want of necessaries, for this happened to be a sabbatic year. The first that scaled the walls were twenty chosen men; the next were Sosius’s centurions; for the first wall was taken in forty days, and the second in fifteen more, when some of the cloisters that were about the temple were burnt; which Herod gave out to have been burnt by Antigonus, in order to expose him to the hatred of the Jews. And when the outer court of the temple, and the lower city, were taken, the Jews fled into the inner court of the temple, and into the upper city; but now fearing lest the Romans should hinder them from offering their daily sacrifices to God, they sent an embassage, and desired that they would only permit them to bring in beasts for sacrifices, which Herod granted, hoping they were going to yield: But when he saw that they did nothing of what he supposed, but bitterly opposed him, in order to preserve the kingdom to Antigonus, he made an assault upon the city, and took it by storm; and now all parts were full of those that were slain, by the rage of the Romans at the long duration of the siege, and by the zeal of the Jews that were on Herod’s side, who were not willing to leave one of their adversaries alive; so they were murdered continually in the narrow streets, and in the houses by crouds, and as they were flying to the temple for shelter, and there was no pity taken of either infants, or the aged, nor did they spare so much as the weaker sex; nay, although the King sent about, and besought them to spare the people, yet no body restrained their hand from slaughter, but, as if they were a company of madmen, they fell upon persons of all ages, without distinction; and then Antigonus, without regard to either his past or present circumstances, came down from the citadel, and fell down at the feet of Sosius, who took no pity of him, in the change of his fortune, but insulted him beyond measure, and called him Antigone [i. e. a woman, and not a man]; yet did he not treat him as if he were a woman, by letting him go at liberty, but put him into bonds, and kept him in close custody.
3. And now Herod having overcome his enemies, his care was to govern those foreigners who had been his assistants, for the croud of strangers rushed to see the temple, and the sacred things in the temple; but the King, thinking a victory to be a more severe affliction than a defeat, if any of those things which it was not lawful to see should be seen by them, used intreaties and threatenings, and even sometimes force itself, to restrain them. He also prohibited the ravage that was made in the city, and many times asked Sosius, whether the Romans would empty the city both of money and men, and leave him King of a desert? and told him, that he esteemed the dominion over the whole habitable earth as by no means an equivalent satisfaction for such a murder of his citizens: And when he said that this plunder was justly to be permitted the soldiers, for the siege they had undergone, he replied, that he would give every one their reward out of his own money, and by this means be redeemed what remained of the city from destruction, and he performed what he had promised him, for he gave a noble present to every soldier, and a proportionable present to their commanders, but a most royal present to Sosius himself, till they all went away full of money.
4. This destruction befel the city of Jerusalem when Marcus Agrippa and Caninius Gallus were consuls of Rome, (30) on the hundred eighty and fifth olympiad, on the third month, on the solemnity of the fast, as if a periodical revolution of calamities had returned, since that which befel the Jews under Pompey, for the Jews were taken by him on the same day, and this was after twenty-seven years time. So when Sosius had dedicated a crown of gold to God, he marched away from Jerusalem, and carried Antigonus with him in bonds to Antony; but Herod was afraid lest Antigonus should be kept in prison [only] by Antony, and that when he was carried to Rome by him, he might get his cause to be heard by the senate, and might demonstrate, as he was himself of the royal blood, and Herod but a private man, that therefore it belonged to his sons however to have the kingdom, on account of the family they were of, in case he had himself offended the Romans by what he had done. Out of Herod’s fear of this it was, that he, by giving Antony a great deal of money, endeavoured to persuade him to have Antigonus slain, which if it were once done, he should be free from that fear. And thus did the government of the Asamoneans cease, a hundred twenty and six years after it was first set up. This family was a splendid and an illustrious one, both on account of the nobility of their stock, and of the dignity of the high priesthood, as also for the glorious actions their ancestors had performed for our nation: but these men lost the government by their dissensions one with another, and it came to Herod, the son of Antipater, who was of no more than a vulgar family, and of no eminent extraction, but one that was subject to other kings: And this is what history tells us was the end of the Asamonean family.
(1) Reland takes notice here, very justly, how Josephus’s declaration, that it was his great concern not only to write an agreeable, an accurate, and a true history, but also distinctly not to omit any thing [of consequence], either through ignorance, or laziness, implies, that he could not, consistently with that resolution, omit the mention of [so famous a person as] Jesus Christ.
(2) That the famous Antipater’s, or Antipas’s father, was also Antipater or Antipas (which two may justly be esteemed one and the same name, the former with a Greek or Gentile, the latter with an Hebrew or Jewish termination), Josephus here assures us, though Eusebias indeed says it was Herod.
(3) This golden vine, or garden, seen by Strabo at Rome, has its inscription here, as if it were the gift of Alexander, the father of Aristobulus, and not of Aristobulus himself, to whom yet Josephus ascribes it; and in order to prove the truth of that part of his history, introduces this testimony of Strabo’s; so that the ordinary copies seem to be here either erroneous or defective, and the original reading seems to have been either Aristobulus, instead of Alexander, with one Greek copy, or else Aristobulus the son of Alexander, with the Latin copies; which last seems to me the most probable: For as to Archbishop Usher’s conjectures, that Alexander made it, and dedicated it to God in the temple, and that thence Aristobulus took it, and sent it to Pompey, they are both very improbable, and no way agreeable to Josephus, who would hardly have avoided the recording both these uncommon points of history, had he known any thing of them; nor would either the Jewish nation, or even Pompey himself, then have relished such a flagrant instance of sacrilege.
(4) These express testimonies of Josephus here, and Antiq. B. VIII. ch. 6. § 6, and B. XV. ch. 4. § 2, that the only balsam gardens, and the best palm-trees, were, at least in his days, near Jericho and Engaddi, about the north part of the Dead Sea, (whereabout also Alexander the Great saw the balsam drop), shew the mistake of those that understand Eusebius and Jerom, as if one of those gardens were at the south part of that sea, at Zoar or Segor, whereas they must either mean another Zoar or Segor, which was between Jericho and Engaddi, agreeably to Josephus, which yet they do not appear to do, or else, they directly contradict Josephus, and were therein greatly mistaken; I mean this, unless that balsam, and the best palm-trees, grew much more southward in Judea in the days of Eusebius and Jerom than they did in the days of Josephus.
(5) The particular depth and breadth of this ditch, whence the stones for the wall about the temple were probably taken, are omitted in our copies of Josephus, but set down by Strabo, B. XVI. p. 763; from whom we learn that this ditch was 60 feet deep, and 250 feet broad. However, its depth is, in the next section, said by Josephus to be immense, which exactly agrees to Strabo’s description, and which numbers in Strabo are a strong confirmation of the truth of Josephus’s description also.
(6) That is, on the 23rd of Sivan, the annual fast for the defection and idolatry of Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin; or possibly some other fast might fall into that month, before and in the days of Josephus.
(7) It deserves here to be noted, that this Pharisaical superstitious notion, that offensive fighting was unlawful to Jews, even under the utmost necessity, on the Sabbath day; of which we hear nothing before the times of the Maccabees, was the proper occasion of Jerusalem’s being taken by Pompey, Sosius, and by Titus, as appears from the places already quoted in the note on Antiq. B. XIII. ch. 8. § 1, which scrupulous superstition, as to the observation of such a rigorous rest upon the sabbath-day, our Saviour always opposed, when the Pharisaical Jews insisted on it, as is evident in many places in the New Testament, tho’ he still intimated how pernicious that superstition might prove to them in their flight from the Romans, Matthew 25:20.
(8) This is fully confirmed by the testimony of Cicero, who says, in his oration for Flaccus, That “Cneius Pompeius, when he was conqueror, and had taken Jerusalem, did not touch any thing belonging to that temple.”
(9) Of this destruction of Gadara here presupposed, and its restoration by Pompey, see the note on the War, B. I. ch. 7. § 7.
(10) Dean Prideaux well observes, “That notwithstanding the clamour against Gabinius at Rome, Josephus gives him a laudable character, as if he had acquitted himself with honour in the charge committed to him [in Judea]. See at the year 55.
(11) This history is best illustrated by Dr. Hudson out of Livy, who says, That “A. Gabinius the proconsul, restored Ptolemy to his kingdom of Egypt, and ejected Archelaus, whom they had set up for King”, &c. See Prid. at the years 64 and 65.
(12) Dr. Hudson observes, that the name of this wife of Antipater’s in Josephus was Cypras, as an Hebrew termination, but not Cypris, the Greek name for Venus, as some critics were ready to correct it.
(13) Take Dr. Hudson’s note upon this place, which I suppose to be the truth: “Here is some mistake in Josephus: for when he had promised us a decree for the restoration of Jerusalem, he brings in a decree of far greater antiquity, and that a league of friendship and union only. One may easily believe that Josephus gave order for one thing and his amanuensis performed another, by transposing decrees that concerned the Hyrcani, and as deluded by the sameness of their names; for that belongs to the first high priest of this name, [John Hyrcanus], which Josephus here ascribes to one that lived later [Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander Janneus]. However, the decree which he proposes to set down follows a little lower, in the collection of Raman decrees, that concerned the Jews, and is that dated when Cæsar was consul the fifth time.” See ch. 10. § 5.
(14) Those who will carefully observe the several occasional numbers and chronological characters in the life and death of this Herod, and of his children, hereafter noted, will see that twenty-five years, and not fifteen, must for certain have been here Josephus’s own number for the age of Herod, when he was made governor of Galilee. See [War, Book I,] ch. 23. § 5, and ch. 24. § 7, and particularly Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 8. § 1, where about 44 years afterwards Herod dies an old man at about 70.
(15) It is here worth our while to remark, that none could be put to death in Judea but by the approbation of the Jewish sanhedrim, there being an excellent provision in the law of Moses, that even in criminal causes, and particularly where life was concerned, an appeal should lie from the lesser councils of seven in the other cities, to the supreme council of seventy-one at Jerusalem. And this is exactly according to our Saviour’s words, when he says, It could not be that a prophet should perish out of Jerusalem, Luke 13:33.
(16) This account, as Reland observes, is confirmed by the Talmudists, who call this Sameas, Simeon the son of Shetach.
(17) That Hyrcanus was himself in Egypt, along with Antipater, at this time, to whom accordingly the bold and prudent actions of his deputy Antipater are here ascribed, as this decree of Julius Cæsar supposes, we are farther assured by the testimony of Strabo, already produced by Josephus, ch. 8. § 3.
(18) Dr. Hudson justly supposes, that these Roman imperators, or generals of armies, meant both here and § 2, who gave testimony to Hyrcanus’s and the Jews faithfulness and good will to the Romans before the senate and people of Rome, were principally Pompey, Scaurus, and Gabinius; of all whom Josephus had already given us the history, so far as the Jews were concerned with them.
(19) We have here a most remarkable and authentic attestation of the citizens of Pergamus, that Abraham was the father of all the Hebrews; that their own ancestors were, in the oldest times, the friends of those Hebrews; and that the public acts of their city, then extant, confirmed the same: which evidence is too strong to be evaded by our present ignorance of the particular occasion of such ancient friendship and alliance between those people. See the like full evidence of the kindred of the Lacedemonians and the Jews; and that became they were both of the posterity of Abraham, by a public epistle of those people to the Jews, preserved in the first book of the Maccabees, 12:19-23, and thence by Josephus, Antiq. B. XII. ch. 4 § 10, both which authentic records are highly valuable. It is also well worthy of observation, what Moses Choronensis, the principal Armenian historian, informs us of, p. 83, that Arsaces, who raised the Parthian empire, was of the seed of Abraham by Chetura; and that thereby was accomplished that prediction which said, Kings of nations shall proceed from thee, Genesis 17:6.
(20) If we compare Josephus’s promise in § 1 to produce all the public decrees of the Romans in favour of the Jews, with his excuse here for omitting many of them, we may observe, that when he came to transcribe all those decrees he had collected, he found them so numerous, that he thought he should too much tire his readers if he had attempted it, which he thought a sufficient apology for his omitting the rest of them; yet do those by him produced afford such a strong confirmation to his history, and give such great light to even the Roman antiquities themselves, that I believe the curious are not a little sorry for such his omissions.
(21) For Marcus, this president of Syria, sent as successor to Sextus Caesar, the Roman historians require us to read Marcus in Josephus, and this perpetually, both in these Antiquities, and in his History of the Wars, as the learned generally agree. [Not all the learned agree, nor do all the Roman historians require us to read thus: Casaubon suggests Μοῦρκος. Hudson leaves it Marcus but a note suggests his unease. Is this the same as Appian’s Statius Murcus? Nevertheless, the Josephus manuscripts have Marcus.]
(22) In this and the following chapters the reader will easily remark, how truly Gronovius observes, in his notes on the Roman decrees in favour of the Jews, that their rights and privileges were commonly purchased of the Romans with money. Many examples of this sort, both as to the Romans, and others in authority, will occur in our Josephus, both now and hereafter, and need not be taken particular notice of on the several occasions in these notes. Accordingly the chief captain confesses to St. Paul, that with a great sum he had obtained his freedom, Acts 22:28, as had St. Paul’s ancestors, very probably, purchased the like freedom for their family by money, as the same author justly concludes also.
(23) This clause plainly alludes to that well known but unusual and very long darkness of the sun, which happened upon the murder of Julius Cæsar by Brutus and Cassius; which is greatly taken notice of by Virgil, Pliny, and other Roman authors. See Virgil’s Georgics, Book I., just before the end [ll. 463-468]; and Pliny’s Nat. Hist. B. II. ch. 30.
(24) We may here take notice, that espousals alone were of old esteemed a sufficient foundation for affinity, Hyrcanus being here called father-in-law to Herod, because his grand-daughter Mariamne was betrothed to him, although the marriage was not completed till four years afterwards. See Matthew 1:16.
(25) This law of Moses, that the priests were to be without blemish, as to all the parts of their bodies, is in Leviticus 21:17-24.
(26) Concerning the chronology of Herod, and the time when he was first made King at Rome, and concerning the time when he began his second reign, without a rival, upon the conquest and slaughter of Antigonus, both principally derived from this and the two next chapters in Josephus, see the note on § 6, and ch. 15. § 10.
(27) This grievous want of water at Massada, till the place had like to have been taken by the Parthians, mentioned both here, and Of the War, B. I. ch. 15. § 1, is an indication that it was now summer time.
(28) This affirmation of Antigonus’s, spoken in the days of Herod, and in a manner to his face, that he was an Idumean, i.e. an half Jew, seems to me of much greater authority than that pretence of his favorite and flatterer Nicolaus of Damascus, that he derived his pedigree from Jews as far backward as the Babylonish captivity, ch. 1. § 3. Accordingly Josephus always esteems him an Idumean, though he says his father Antipater was of the same people with the Jews, ch. viii. § 1 and by birth a Jew, Antiq. B. XX. ch. 8. § 7, as indeed all such proselytes of justice as the Idumeans were in time esteemed the very same people with the Jews.
(29) It may be worth our observation here, that these soldiers of Herod’s could not have gotten upon the tops of these houses which were full of enemies, in order to pull up the upper floors, and destroy them beneath, but on ladders from the outside; which illustrates some texts in the New Testament, by which it appears that men used to ascend thither by ladders on the outsides. See Matt. 24:17; Mark 13:15; Luke 5:19, 17:31.
(30) Note here, that Josephus fully and frequently assures us, that there passed above three years between Herod’s first obtaining the kingdom at Rome, and his second obtaining it upon the taking of Jerusalem, and death of Antigonus. The present history of this interval twice mentions the army’s going into winter quarters, which perhaps belonged to two several winters, ch. 15. § 3, 4, and though Josephus says nothing how long they lay in those quarters, yet does he give such an account of the long and studied delays of Ventidius, Silo, and Macherus, who were to see Herod settled in his new kingdom, (but seem not to have had sufficient forces for that purpose, and were for certain all corrupted by Antigonus to make the longest delays possible) and gives us such particular accounts of the many great actions of Herod during the same interval, as fairly imply that interval, before Herod went to Samosata, to have been very considerable. However, what is wanting in Josephus, is fully supplied by Moses Chorenensis, the Armenian historian, in his history of that interval, B. II ch. 18, where he directly assures us, that Tigranes, then King of Armenia, and the principal manager of this Parthian war, reigned two years after Herod was made King at Rome, and yet Antony did not hear of his death, in that very neighbourhood, at Samosata, till he was come thither to besiege it: after which Herod brought him an army, which was 340 miles march, and through a difficult country full of enemies also, and joined with him in the siege of Samosata till that city was taken; then Herod and Sosius marched back with their large armies the same number of 340 miles, and when, in a little time, they sat down to besiege Jerusalem, they were not able to take it but by a siege of five months. All which put together, fully supplies what is wanting in Josephus, and secures the entire chronology of these times beyond contradiction.