Containing the Interval of 32 Years.
From the banishment of Archelaus to the departure of the Jews from Babylon.
How Cyrenius was sent by Cæsar to make a taxation of Syria and Judea; and how Coponius was sent to be procurator of Judea: concerning Judas of Galilee, and concerning the sects that were among the Jews.
1. Now Cyrenius, a Roman senator, and one who had gone through other magistracies, and had passed through them till he had been consul, and one who, on other accounts, was of great dignity, came at this time into Syria, with a few others, being sent by Cæsar to he a judge of that nation, and to take an account of their substance: Coponius also, a man of the equestrian order, was sent together with him, to have the supreme power over the Jews. Moreover, Cyrenius came himself into Judea, which was now added to the province of Syria, to take an account of their substance, and to dispose of Archelaus’s money; but the Jews, although at the beginning they took the report of a taxation heinously, yet did they leave off any farther opposition to it, by the persuasion of Joazar, who was the son of Boethus, and high priest; so, they being over-persuaded by Joazar’s words, gave an account of their estates, without any dispute about it. Yet was there one Judas, a Gaulonite, (1) of a city whose name was Gamala, who, taking with him Saddouk, (2) a Pharisee, became zealous to draw them to a revolt, who both said, that this taxation was no better than an introduction to slavery, and exhorted the nation to assert their liberty; as if they could procure them happiness and security for what they possessed, and an assured enjoyment of a still greater good, which was that of the honour and glory they would thereby acquire for magnanimity. They also said, that God would not otherwise be assisting to them, than upon their joining with one another in such counsels as might be successful, and for their own advantage; and this especially, if they would set about great exploits, and not grow weary in executing the same; so men received what they said with pleasure, and this bold attempt proceeded to a great height. All sorts of misfortunes also sprang from these men, and the nation was infected with this doctrine to an incredible degree; one violent war came upon us after another, and we lost our friends which used to alleviate our pains; there were also very great robberies and murder of our principal men. This was done in pretence indeed for the public welfare, but in reality, from the hopes of gain to themselves; whence arose seditions, and from them murders of men, which sometimes fell on those of their own people, (by the madness of these men towards one another, while their desire was, that none of the adverse party might be left), and sometimes on their enemies; a famine also coming upon us, reduced us to the last degree of despair, as did also the taking and demolishing of cities: nay, the sedition at last increased so high, that the very temple of God was burnt down by their enemies fire. Such were the consequences of this, that the customs of our fathers were altered, and such a change was made, as added a mighty weight toward bringing all to destruction, which these men occasioned by their thus conspiring together; for Judas and Sadducus, who excited a fourth philosophic sect among us, and had a great many followers therein, filled our civil government with tumults at present, and laid the foundations of our future miseries by this system of philosophy, which we were before unacquainted withal; concerning which I will discourse a little, and this the rather, because the infection which spread thence among the younger sort, who were zealous for it, brought the public to destruction.
2. The Jews had, for a great while, had three sects of philosophy peculiar to themselves, the sect of the Essens, and the sect of the Sadducees, and the third sort of opinions, was that of those called Pharisees; of which sects, although I have already spoken in the second book of the Jewish War, yet will I a little touch upon them now.
3. Now for the Pharisees, they live meanly, and despise delicacies in diet; and they follow the contract of reason; and what that prescribes to them as good for them, they do; and they think they ought earnestly to strive to observe reason’s dictates for practice. They also pay a respect to such as are in years; nor are they so bold as to contradict them in any thing which they have introduced; and, when they determine that all things are done by fate, they do not take away the freedom from men of acting as they think fit; since their notion is, that it hath pleased God to make a temperament, whereby what he wills is done, but so that the will of man can act virtuously or viciously. They also believe, that souls have an immortal vigour in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again: on account of which doctrines they are able greatly to persuade the body of the people: and whatsoever they do about divine worship, prayers, and sacrifices, they perform them according to their direction; insomuch that the cities give great attestations to them on account of their entire virtuous conduct, both in the actions of their lives, and their discourses also.
4. But the doctrine of the Sadducees is this, That souls die with the bodies; nor do they regard the observation of any thing besides what the law enjoins them; for they think it an instance of virtue to dispute with those teachers of philosophy whom they frequent; but this doctrine is received but by a few, yet by those still of the greatest dignity. But they are able to do almost nothing of themselves; for when they become magistrates, as they are unwillingly and by force sometimes obliged to be, they addict themselves to the notions of the Pharisees, because the multitude would not otherwise bear them.
5. The doctrine of the Essens is this, That all things are best ascribed to God. They teach the immortality of souls, and esteem that the rewards of righteousness, are to be earnestly striven for; and when they send (3) what they have dedicated to God into the temple, they do not offer sacrifices because they have more pure lustrations of their own; on which account they are excluded from the common court of the temple, but offer their sacrifices themselves; yet is their course of life better than that of other men; and they entirely addict themselves to husbandry. It also deserves our admiration, how much they exceed all other men that addict themselves to virtue, and this in righteousness; and indeed to such a degree, that as it hath never appeared among any other men, neither Greeks nor barbarians, no not for a little time, so hath it endured a long while among them. This is demonstrated by that institution of theirs, which will not suffer any thing to hinder them from having all things in common; so that a rich man enjoys no more of his own wealth than he who hath nothing at all. There are about four thousand men that live in this way; and neither marry wives, nor are desirous to keep servants; as thinking the latter tempts men to be unjust, and the former gives the handle to domestic quarrels; but, as they live by themselves, they minister one to another. They also appoint certain stewards to receive the incomes of their revenues, and of the fruits of the ground; such as are good men, and priests, who are to get their corn and their food ready for them. They none of them differ from others of the Essens in their way of living, but do the most resemble those Dacæ, who are called Polistæ (4) [dwellers in cities].
6. But of the fourth sect of Jewish philosophy, Judas the Galilean was the author. These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say, that God is to be their only ruler and lord. They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends; nor can any such fear make them call any man lord. And, since this immoveable resolution of theirs is well known to a great many, I shall speak no farther about that matter; nor am I afraid that any thing I have said of them should be disbelieved, but rather fear that what I have said is beneath the resolution they shew when they undergo pain. And it was in Gessius Florus’s time that the nation began to grow mad with this distemper, who was our procurator, and who occasioned the Jews to go wild with it by the abuse of his authority, and to make them revolt from the Romans. And these are the sects of Jewish philosophy.
How Herod and Philip built several cities in honour of Cæsar. Concerning the succession of priests and procurators; as also what befel Phraates and the Parthians.
1. When Cyrenius had now disposed of Archelaus’s money, and when the taxings were come to a conclusion, which were made in the thirty-seventh year of Cæsar’s victory over Antony at Actium, he deprived Joazar of the high priesthood, which dignity had been conferred on him by the multitude, and he appointed Ananus, the son of Seth, to be high priest; while Herod and Philip had each of them received their own tetrarchy, and settled the affairs thereof. Herod also built a wall about Sepphoris (which is the security of all Galilee), and made it the metropolis of the country. He also built a wall round Betharamphtha, which was itself a city also, and called it Julias, from the name of the emperor’s wife. When Philip also had built Paneas, a city at the fountains of Jordan, he named it Cesarea. He also advanced the village Bethsaida, situate at the lake of Gennesareth, unto the dignity of a city, both by the number of inhabitants it contained, and its other grandeur, and called it by the name of Julias, the same name with Cæsar’s daughter.
2. As Coponius, who we told you was sent along with Cyrenius, was exercising his office of procurator, and governing Judea, the following accidents happened. As the Jews were celebrating the feast of unleavened bread, which we call the Passover, it was customary for the priests to open the temple gates just after midnight. When therefore those gates were first opened, some of the Samaritans came privately into Jerusalem, and threw about dead men’s bodies in the cloisters; on which account the Jews afterward excluded them out of the temple, which they had not used to do at such festivals; and on other accounts also they watched the temple more carefully than they had formerly done. A little after which accident Coponius returned to Rome, and Marcus Ambivius came to be his successor in that government; under whom Salome, the sister of King Herod, died, and left to Julia [Cæsar’s wife], Jamnia, all its toparchy, and Phasaelis in the plain, and Archelais, where is a great plantation of palm trees, and their fruit is excellent in its kind. After him came Annius Rufus, under whom died Cæsar, the second emperor of the Romans, the duration of whose reign was fifty-seven years, besides six months and two days (of which time Antonius ruled together with him fourteen years; but the duration of his life was seventy-seven years); upon whose death Tiberius Nero, his wife Julia’s son, succeeded. He was now the third emperor; and he sent Valerius Gratus to be procurator of Judea, and to succeed Annius Rufus. This man deprived Ananus of the high priesthood, and appointed Ismael, the son of Phabi, to be high priest. He also deprived him in a little time, and ordained Eleazar, the son of Ananus, who had been high priest before, to be high priest; which office, when he had held for a year, Gratus deprived him of it, and gave the high priesthood to Simon, the son of Camithus; and when he had possessed that dignity no longer than a year, Joseph Caiaphas was made his successor. When Gratus had done these things, he went back to Rome, after he had tarried in Judea eleven years, when Pontius Pilate came as his successor.
3. And now Herod the tetrarch, who was in great favour with Tiberius, built a city of the same name with him, and called it Tiberias. He built it in the best part of Galilee, at the lake of Gennesareth. There are warm baths, at a little distance from it, in a village named Emmaus. Strangers came and inhabited this city; a great number of the inhabitants were Galileans also; and many were necessitated by Herod to come thither out of the country belonging to him, and were by force compelled to be its inhabitants; some of them were persons of condition. He also admitted poor people, those such as were collected from all parts, to dwell in it. Nay some of them were not quite free-men, and these he was a benefactor to, and made them free in great numbers; but obliged them not to forsake the city, by building them very good houses at his own expences, and by giving them land also; for he was sensible, that to make this place an habitation was to transgress the Jewish ancient laws, because many sepulchres were to be here taken away, in order to make room for the city Tiberias; (5) whereas our laws pronounce, that such inhabitants are unclean for seven days. (6)
4. About this time died Phraates, king of the Parthians, by the treachery of Phraataces his son, upon the occasion following. When Phraates had had legitimate sons of his own, he had also an Italian maid servant, whose name was Thermusa, who had been formerly sent to him by Julius Cæsar, among other presents. He first made her his concubine; but he being a great admirer of her beauty, in process of time having a son by her, whose name was Phraataces, he made her his legitimate wife, and had a great respect for her. Now, she was able to persuade him to do any thing that she said, and was earnest in procuring the government of Parthia for her son; but still she saw that her endeavours would not succeed, unless she could contrive how to remove Phraates’s legitimate sons [out of the kingdom]; so she persuaded him to send those his sons, as pledges of his fidelity, to Rome; and they were sent to Rome accordingly, because it was not easy for him to contradict her commands. Now while Phraataces was alone brought up in order to succeed in the government, he thought it very tedious to expect that government by his father’s donation [as his successor]; he therefore formed a treacherous design against his father by his mother’s assistance, with whom, as the report went, he had criminal conversation also. So he was hated for both these vices, while his subjects esteemed this [wicked] love of his mother to be no way inferior to his parricide; and he was by them in a sedition expelled out of the country, before he grew too great, and died. But as the best sort of Parthians agreed together, that it was impossible they should be governed without a king, while also it was their constant practice to choose one of the family of Arsaces, (nor did their law allow of any others; and they thought this kingdom had been sufficiently injured already by the marriage with an Italian concubine, and by her issue), they sent ambassadors, and called Orodes [to take the crown]; for the multitude would not otherwise have borne them; and though he was accused of very great cruelty, and was of an intractable temper, and prone to wrath, yet still he was one of the family of Arsaces. However, they made a conspiracy against him, and slew him, and that, as some say, at a festival, and among their sacrifices; (for it is the universal custom there to carry their swords with them); but, as the more general report is, they slew him when they had drawn him out a-hunting. So they sent ambassadors to Rome, and desired they would send one of those that were there as pledges, to be their king. Accordingly Vonones was preferred before the rest, and sent to them (for he seemed capable of such great fortune, which two of the greatest kingdoms under the sun now offered him, his own and a foreign one). However the barbarians soon changed their minds, they being naturally of a mutable disposition, upon the supposal, that this man was not worthy to be their governor; for they could not think of obeying the commands of one that had been a slave, (for so they called those that had been hostages), nor could they bear the ignominy of that name; and this was the more intolerable, because then the Parthians must have such a king set over them, not by right of war, but in time of peace. So they presently invited Artabanus, king of Media, to be their king, he being also of the race of Arsaces. Artabanus complied with the offer that was made him, and came to them with an army. So Vonones met him; and at first the multitude of the Parthians stood on this side, and he put his army in array; but Artabanus was beaten, and fled to the mountains of Media. Yet did he a little after gather a great army together, and fought with Vonones, and beat him: whereupon Vonones fled away on horseback, with a few of his attendants about him, to Seleucia [upon Tigris]. So when Artabanus had slain a great number, and this after he had gotten the victory by reason of the very great dismay the barbarians were in, he retired to Ctesiphon with a great number of his people; and so he now reigned over the Parthians. But Vonones fled away to Armenia; and as soon as he came thither, he had an inclination to have the government of the country given him, and sent ambassadors to Rome [for that purpose]. But because Tiberius refused it him, and because he wanted courage, and because the Parthian king threatened him, and sent ambassadors to him to denounce war against him if he proceeded, and because he had no way to take to regain any other kingdom, (for the people of authority among the Armenians about Niphates joined themselves to Artabanus), he delivered up himself to Silanus, the president of Syria, who, out of regard to his education at Rome, kept him in Syria, while Artabanus gave Armenia to Orodes, one of his own sons.
5. At this time died Antiochus, the king of Commagene; whereupon the multitude contended with the nobility, and both sent ambassadors [to Rome]; for the men of power were desirous, that their form of government might be changed into that of a [Roman] province; as were the multitude desirous to be under kings, as their fathers had been. So the senate made a decree, that Germanicus should be sent to settle the affairs of the east, fortune hereby taking a proper opportunity for depriving him of his life; for when he had been in the east, and settled all affairs there, his life was taken away by the poison, which Piso gave him, as hath been related elsewhere. (7)
Sedition of the Jews against Pontius Pilate. Concerning Christ; and what befel Paulina, and the Jews at Rome.
1. But now Pilate, the procurator of Judea, removed the army from Cesarea to Jerusalem, to take their winter quarters there, in order to abolish the Jewish laws. So he introduced Cæsar’s effigies, which were upon the ensigns, and brought them into the city; whereas our law forbids us the very making of images; on which account the former procurators were wont to make their entry into the city with such ensigns as had not those ornaments. Pilate was the first who brought those images to Jerusalem, and set them up there; which was done without the knowledge of the people, because it was done in the night time; but as soon as they knew it, they came in multitudes to Cesarea, and interceded with Pilate many days, that he would remove the images; and when he would not grant their requests, because this would tend to the injury of Cæsar, while yet they persevered in their request, on the sixth day he ordered his soldiers to have their weapons privately, while he came and sat upon his judgment seat; which seat was so prepared in the open place of the city, that it concealed the army that lay ready to oppress them; and, when the Jews petitioned him again, he gave a signal to the soldiers to encompass them round, and threatened that their punishment should be no less than immediate death, unless they would leave off disturbing him, and go their ways home. But they threw themselves upon the ground, and laid their necks bare, and said they would take their death very willingly, rather than the wisdom of their laws should be transgressed; upon which Pilate was deeply affected with their firm resolution to keep their laws inviolable, and presently commanded the images to be carried back from Jerusalem to Cesarea.
2. But Pilate undertook to bring a current of water to Jerusalem, and did it with the sacred money, and derived the origin of the stream from the distance of two hundred furlongs. However, the Jews (8) were not pleased with what had been done about this water; and many ten thousands of the people got together, and made a clamour against him, and insisted that he should leave off that design. Some of them also used reproaches, and abused the man, as crowds of such people usually do. So he habited a great number of his soldiers in their habit, who carried daggers under their garments, and sent them to a place where they might surround them. So he bid the Jews himself go away; but, they boldly casting reproaches upon him, he gave the soldiers that signal which had been beforehand agreed on; who laid upon them much greater blows than Pilate had commanded them, and equally punished those that were tumultuous, and those that were not; nor did they spare them in the least: and since the people were unarmed, and were caught by men prepared for what they were about, there were a great number of them slain by this means, and others of them ran away wounded. And thus an end was put to this sedition.
3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; (10) as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.
4. About the same time also another sad calamity put the Jews into disorder, and certain shameful practices happened about the temple of Isis that was at Rome. I will now first take notice of the wicked attempt about the temple of Isis, and will then give an account of the Jewish affairs. There was at Rome a woman whose name was Paulina; one who, on account of the dignity of her ancestors, and by the regular conduct of a virtuous life, had a great reputation: she was also very rich; and although she was of a beautiful countenance, and in that flower of her age wherein women are the most gay, yet did she lead a life of great modesty. She was married to Saturninus, one that was every way answerable to her in an excellent character. Decius Mundus fell in love with this woman, who was a man very high in the equestrian order; and as she was of too great dignity to be caught by presents, and had already rejected them, though they had been sent in great abundance, he was still more inflamed with love to her, insomuch that he promised to give her two hundred thousand Attic drachmæ for one night’s lodging; and when this would not prevail upon her, and he was not able to bear this misfortune in his amours, he thought it the best way to famish himself to death for want of food, on account of Paulina’s sad refusal; and he determined with himself to die after such a manner, and he went on with his purpose accordingly. Now Mundus had a freed-woman, who had been made free by his father, whose name was Ide, one skilful in all sorts of mischief. This woman was very much grieved at the young man’s resolution to kill himself, (for he did not conceal his intentions to destroy himself from others), and came to him, and encouraged him by her discourse, and made him to hope by some promises she gave him, that he might obtain a night’s lodging with Paulina; and when he joyfully hearkened to her entreaty, she said, she wanted no more than fifty thousand drachmæ for the entrapping of the woman. So when she had encouraged the young man, and gotten as much money as she required, she did not take the same methods as had been taken before, because she perceived that the woman was by no means to be tempted by money; but, as she knew that she was very much given to the worship of the goddess Isis, she devised the following stratagem: she went to some of Isis’s priests, and upon the strongest assurances [of concealment], she persuaded them by words, but chiefly by the offer of money, of 25,000 drachmæ in hand, and as much more when the thing had taken effect; and told them the passion of the young man, and persuaded them to use all means possible to beguile the woman. So they were drawn in to promise so to do, by that large sum of gold they were to have. Accordingly the oldest of them went immediately to Paulina, and, upon his admittance, he desired to speak with her by herself. When that was granted him, he told her, that “he was sent by the god Anubis, who was fallen in love with her, and enjoined her to come to him.” Upon this she took the message very kindly, and valued herself greatly upon this condescension of Anubis, and told her husband, that she had a message sent her, and was to sup and lie with Anubis; so he agreed to her acceptance of the offer, as fully satisfied with the chastity of his wife. Accordingly she went to the temple, and after she had supped there, and it was the hour to go to sleep, the priest shut the doors of the temple, when, in the holy part of it, the lights were also put out. Then did Mundus leap out, (for he was hidden therein), and did not fail of enjoying her, who was at his service all the night long, as supposing he was the god: and when he was gone away, which was before those priests who knew nothing of this stratagem were stirring, Paulina came early to her husband, and told him how the god Anubis had appeared to her. Among her friends also she declared how great a value she put upon this favour, who partly disbelieved the thing, when they reflected on its nature, and partly were amazed at it, as having no pretence for not believing it, when they considered the modesty and the dignity of the person. But now, on the third day after what had been done, Mundus met Paulina, and said, “Nay Paulina, thou hast saved me 200,000 drachmæ, which sum thou mightest have added to thy own family; yet hast thou not failed to be at my service in the manner I invited thee. As for the reproaches thou hast laid upon Mundus, I value not the business of names; but I rejoice in the pleasure I reaped by what I did, while I took to myself the name of Anubis.” When he had said this, he went his way. But now she began to come to the sense of the grossness of what she had done, and rent her garments, and told her husband of the horrid nature of this wicked contrivance, and prayed him not to neglect to assist her in this case. So he discovered the fact to the emperor; whereupon Tiberius inquired into the matter thoroughly, by examining the priests about it, and ordered them to be crucified, as well as Ide, who was the occasion of their perdition, and who had contrived the whole matter, which was so injurious to the woman. He also demolished the temple of Isis, and gave order that her statue should be thrown into the river Tiber; while he only banished Mundus, but did no more to him, because he supposed, that what crime he had committed was done out of the passion of love. And these were the circumstances which concerned the temple of Isis, and the injuries occasioned by her priests. I now return to the relation of what happened about this time to the Jews at Rome, as I formerly told you I would.
5. There was a man who was a Jew, but had been driven away from his own country by an accusation laid against him for transgressing their laws, and by the fear he was under of punishment for the same; but in all respects a wicked man. He, then living at Rome, professed to instruct men in the wisdom of the laws of Moses. He procured also three other men, entirely of the same character with himself, to be his partners. These men persuaded Fulvia, a woman of great dignity, and one that had embraced the Jewish religion, to send purple and gold to the temple at Jerusalem, and when they had gotten them, they employed them for their own uses, and spent the money themselves; on which account it was that they at first required it of her. Whereupon Tiberius, who had been informed of the thing by Saturninus, the husband of Fulvia, who desired inquiry might be made about it, ordered all the Jews to be banished out of Rome: at which time the consuls listed 4000 men out of them, and sent them to the island Sardinia; but punished a greater number of them, who were unwilling to become soldiers, on account of keeping the laws of their forefathers. (11) Thus were these Jews banished out of the city by the wickedness of four men.
How the Samaritans made a tumult, and Pilate destroyed many of them: how Pilate was accused, and what things were done by Vitellius relating to the Jews and the Parthians.
1. But the nation of the Samaritans did not escape without tumults. The man who excited them to it was one who thought lying a thing of little consequence, and who contrived every thing so that the multitude might be pleased; so he bid them to get together upon mount Gerizzim, which is by them looked upon as the most holy of all mountains, and assured them, that when they were come thither, he would shew them those sacred vessels which were laid under that place, because Moses put them there. (12) So they came thither armed, and thought the discourse of the man probable; and as they abode at a certain village, which was called Tirathaba, they got the rest together to them, and desired to go up the mountain in a great multitude together; but Pilate prevented their going up, by seizing upon the roads with a great band of horsemen and footmen, who fell upon those that were gotten together in the village; and when it came to an action, some of them they slew, and others of them they put to flight, and took a great many alive, the principal of which, and also the most potent of those that fled away, Pilate ordered to be slain.
2. But when this tumult was appeased, the Samaritan senate sent an embassy to Vitellius, a man that had been consul, and who was now president of Syria, and accused Pilate of the murder of those that were killed, for that they did not go to Tirathaba in order to revolt from the Romans, but to escape the violence of Pilate. So Vitellius sent Marcellus, a friend of his, to take care of the affairs of Judea, and ordered Pilate to go to Rome, to answer before the emperor to the accusations of the Jews. So Pilate, when he had tarried ten years in Judea, made haste to Rome, and this in obedience to the orders of Vitellius, which he durst not contradict; but before he could get to Rome, Tiberius was dead.
3. But Vitellius came into Judea, and went up to Jerusalem; it was at the time of that festival which is called the Passover. Vitellius was there magnificently received, and released the inhabitants of Jerusalem from all the taxes upon the fruits that were bought and sold, and gave them leave to have the care of the high priest’s vestments, with all their ornaments, and to have them under the custody of the priests in the temple, which power they used to have formerly, although at this time they were laid up in the tower of Antonia, the citadel so called, and that on the occasion following: There was one of the [high] priests, named Hyrcanus; and as there were many of that name, he was the first of them; this man built a tower near the temple, and when he had so done, he generally dwelt in it, and had these vestments with him, because it was lawful for him alone to put them on, and he had them there reposited when he went down into the city, and took his ordinary garments; the same things were continued to be done by his sons, and by their sons after them. But when Herod came to be king he rebuilt this tower, which was very conveniently situated, in a magnificent manner; and because he was a friend to Antonius, he called it by the name of Antonia. And as he found these vestments lying there, he retained them in the same place, as believing, that while he had them in his custody, the people would make no innovations against him. The like to what Herod did was done by his son Archelaus, who was made king after him; after whom the Romans, when they entered on the government, took possession of these vestments of the high priest, and had them reposited in a stone-chamber, under the seal of the priests, and of the keepers of the temple, the captain of the guard lighting a lamp there every day; and seven days before a festival (13) they were delivered to them by the captain of the guard, when the high priest, having purified them, and made use of them, laid them up again in the same chamber where they had been laid up before, and this the very next day after the feast was over. This was the practice at the three yearly festivals, and on the fast day: but Vitellius put those garments into our own power, as in the days of our forefathers, and ordered the captain of the guard not to trouble himself to inquire where they were laid, or when they were to be used; and this he did as an act of kindness, to oblige the nation to him. Besides which, he also deprived Joseph, who was also called Caiaphas, of the high priesthood, and appointed Jonathan, the son of Ananus, the former high priest, to succeed him. After which, he took his journey back to Antioch.
4. Moreover, Tiberius sent a letter to Vitellius, and commanded him to make a league of friendship with Artabanus, the king of Parthia; for while he was his enemy he terrified him, because he had taken Armenia away from him, lest he should proceed farther, and told him he should no otherwise trust him than upon his giving him hostages, and especially his son Artabanus. Upon Tiberius’s writing thus to Vitellius, by the offer of great presents of money, he persuaded both the king of Iberia, and the king of Albania, to make no delay, but to fight against Artabanus; and although they would not do it themselves, yet did they give the Scythians a passage through their country, and opened the Caspian gates to them, and brought them upon Artabanus. So Armenia was again taken from the Parthians, and the country of Parthia was filled with war, and the principal of their men were slain and all things were in disorder among them: the king’s son, also himself fell in these wars, together with many ten thousands of his army. Vitellius had also sent such great sums of money to Artabanus’s father’s kinsmen and friends, that he had almost procured him to be slain by the means of those bribes which they had taken. And when Artabanus perceived that the plot laid against him was not to be avoided, because it was laid by the principal men, and those a great many in number, and that it would certainly take effect; when he had estimated the number of those that were truly faithful to him, as also of those who were already corrupted, but were deceitful in the kindness they professed to him, and were likely upon trial, to go over to his enemies, he made his escape to the upper provinces, where he afterward raised a great army out of the Dabæ and Sacæ, and fought with his enemies, and retained his principality.
5. When Tiberius had heard of these things, he desired to have a league of friendship made between him and Artabanus; and when, upon this invitation, he received the proposal kindly, Artabanus and Vitellius went to Euphrates, and as a bridge was laid over the river, they each of them came with their guards about them, and met one another on the midst of the bridge. And when they had agreed upon the terms of peace, Herod the tetrarch erected a rich tent on the midst of the passage, and made them a feast there. Artabanus also, not long afterward, sent his son Darius, as an hostage, with many presents, among which there was a man seven cubits tall, a Jew he was by birth, and his name was Eleazar, who for his tallness was called a giant. After which Vitellius went to Antioch, and Artabanus to Babylon; but Herod [the tetrarch] being desirous to give Cæsar the first information that they had obtained hostages, sent posts with letters, wherein he had accurately described all the particulars, and had left nothing for the consular Vitellius to inform him of. But when Vitellius’s letters were sent, and Cæsar had let him know that he was acquainted with the affairs already, because Herod had given him an account of them before, Vitellius was very much troubled at it; and supposing that he had been thereby a greater sufferer than he really was, he kept up a secret anger upon this occasion, till he could be revenged on him, which he was after Caius had taken the government.
6. About this time it was that Philip, Herod’s brother, departed this life, in the twentieth year of the reign of Tiberius, (14) after he had been tetrarch of Trachonitis and Gaulanitis, and of the nation of the Bataneans also, thirty-seven years. He had shewed himself a person of moderation and quietness in the conduct of his life and government; he constantly lived in that country which was subject to him; (15) he used to make his progress with a few chosen friends; his tribunal also, on which he sat in judgment, followed him in his progress; and when any one met him who wanted his assistance, he made no delay, but had his tribunal set down immediately, wheresoever he happened to be, and sat down upon it, and heard his complaint: he there ordered the guilty that were convicted to be punished, and absolved those that had been accused unjustly. He died at Julias; and when he was carried to that monument which he had already erected for himself beforehand, he was buried with great pomp. His principality Tiberius took, for he left no sons behind him, and added it to the province of Syria, but gave order that the tributes which arose from it should be collected, and laid up in his tetrachy.
Herod the tetrarch makes war with Aretas, the king of Arabia, and is beaten by him; as also concerning the death of John the Baptist: how Vitellius went up to Jerusalem together with some account of Agrippa, and of the posterity of Herod the Great.
1. About this time Aretas, the king of Arabia Petrea, and Herod, had a quarrel on the account following: Herod the tetrarch had married the daughter of Aretas, and had lived with her a great while, but when he was once at Rome, he lodged with Herod, (16) who was his brother indeed, but not by the same mother; for this Herod was the son of the high priest Simon’s daughter. However, he fell in love with Herodias, this last Herod’s wife, who was the daughter of Aristobulus their brother, and the sister of Agrippa the Great; this man ventured to talk to her about a marriage between them; which address when she admitted, an agreement was made for her to change her habitation, and come to him as soon as he should return from Rome: one article of this marriage also was this, that he should divorce Aretas’s daughter. So Antipas, when he had made this agreement, sailed to Rome; but when he had done there the business he went about, and was returned again, his wife having discovered the agreement he had made with Herodias, and having learned it before he had notice of her knowledge of the whole design, she desired him to send her to Macherus, which is a place in the borders of the dominions of Aretas and Herod, without informing him of any of her intentions. Accordingly Herod sent her thither, as thinking his wife had not perceived any thing: now she had sent a good while before to Macherus, which was subject to her father, and so all things necessary for her journey were made ready for her by the general of Aretas’s army; and by that means she soon came into Arabia, under the conduct of the several generals, who carried her from one to another successively; and she soon came to her father, and told him of Herod’s intentions. So Aretas made this the first occasion of his enmity between him and Herod, who had also some quarrel with him about their limits at the country of Gamalitis. So they raised armies on both sides, and prepared for war, and sent their generals to fight instead of themselves; and when they had joined battle all Herod’s army was destroyed by the treachery of some fugitives, who, though they were of the tetrarchy of Philip, joined with Aretas’s army. So Herod wrote about these affairs to Tiberius, who being very angry at the attempt made by Aretas, wrote to Vitellius to make war upon him, and either to take him alive, and bring him to him in bonds, or to kill him, and send him his head. This was the charge that Tiberius gave to the president of Syria.
2. Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist, for Herod slew him, who was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness towards one another, and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism; for that the washing [with water] would be acceptable to him, if they made use of it, not in order to the putting away [or the remission] of some sins [only], but for the purification of the body; supposing still that the soul was thoroughly purified beforehand by righteousness. Now when [many] others came in crowds about him, for they were very greatly moved [or pleased] by hearing his words, Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise), thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion, that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God’s displeasure to him.
3. So Vitellius prepared to make war with Aretas, having with him two legions of armed men; he also took with him all those of light armature, and of the horsemen which belonged to them, and were drawn out of those kingdoms which were under the Romans, and made haste for Petra, and came to Ptolemais. But as he was marching very busily, and leading his army through Judea, the principal men met him, and desired that he would not thus march through their land: for that the laws of their country would not permit them to overlook those images which were brought into it, of which there were a great many in their ensigns; so he was persuaded by what they said, and changed that resolution of his, which he had before taken in this matter. Whereupon he ordered the army to march along the great plain, while he himself, with Herod the tetrarch and his friends, went up to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice to God, an ancient festival of the Jews being then just approaching; and when he had been there, and been honourably entertained by the multitude of the Jews, he made a stay there for three days, within which time he deprived Jonathan of the high priesthood, and gave it to his brother Theophilus. But when, on the fourth day, letters came to him, which informed him of the death of Tiberius, he obliged the multitude to take an oath of fidelity to Caius; he also recalled his army, and made them every one go home, and take their winter quarters there, since, upon the devolution of the empire upon Caius, he had not the like authority of making this war which he had before. It was also reported, that when Aretas heard of the coming of Vitellius to fight him, he said, upon his consulting the diviners, that it was impossible that this army of Vitellius’s could enter Petra; for that one of the rulers would die, either he that gave orders for the war, or he that was marching at the other’s desire, in order to be subservient to his will, or else he against whom this army was prepared. So Vitellius truly retired to Antioch; but Agrippa, the son of Aristobulus, went up to Rome a year before the death of Tiberius, in order to treat of some affairs with the emperor, if he might be permitted so to do. I have now a mind to describe Herod and his family, how it fared with them, partly because it is suitable to this history to speak of that matter, and partly because this thing is a demonstration of the interposition of Providence, how a multitude of children is of no advantage, no more than any other strength that mankind set their hearts upon, besides those acts of piety which are done towards God; for it happened that, within the revolution of an hundred years, the posterity of Herod, which were a great many in number, were, excepting a few, utterly destroyed. (17) One may well apply this for the instruction of mankind, and learn thence how unhappy they were: it will also shew us the history of Agrippa, who, as he was a person most worthy of admiration, so was he from a private man beyond all the expectation of those that knew him, advanced to great power and authority. I have said something of them formerly, but I shall now also speak accurately about them.
4. Herod the Great had two daughters by Mariamne, the [grand] daughter of Hyrcanus; the one was Salampsio, who was married to Phasaelus her first cousin, who was himself the son of Phasaelus, Herod’s brother, her father making the match; the other was Cypros who was herself married also to her first cousin Antipater, the son of Salome, Herod’s sister. Phasaelus had five children by Salampsio, Antipater, Herod, and Alexander, and two daughters, Alexandra, and Cypros; which last Agrippa, the son of Aristobulus, married; and Timius of Cyprus married Alexandra; he was a man of note, but had by her no children. Agrippa had by Cypros two sons, and three daughters, which daughters were named Bernice, Mariarmne, and Drusilla; but the names of the sons were Agrippa and Drusus, of which Drusus died before he came to the years of puberty; but their father Agrippa was brought up with his other brethren, Herod and Aristobulus, for these were also the sons of the son of Herod the Great, by Bernice; but Bernice was the daughter of Costobarus and of Salome, who was Herod’s sister. Aristobulus left these infants, when he was slain by his father, together with his brother Alexander, as we have already related. But when they were arrived at years of puberty, this Herod, the brother of Agrippa, married Mariamne, the daughter of Olympias, who was the daughter of Herod the king, and of Joseph, the son of Joseph who was brother to Herod the king, and had by her a son, Aristobulus; but Aristobulus, the third brother of Agrippa, married Jotape, the daughter of Sampsigeramus, king of Emesa; (18) they had a daughter who was deaf, whose name also was Jotape; and these hitherto were the children of the male line. But Herodias, their sister, was married to Herod [Philip], the son of Herod the Great, who was born of Mariamne, the daughter of Simon the high priest, who had a daughter, Salome; after whose birth Herodias took upon her to confound the laws of our country, and divorced herself from her husband while he was alive, and was married to Herod [Antipas], her husband’s brother by the father’s side; he was tetrarch of Galilee; but her daughter Salome was married to Philip, the son of Herod, and tetrarch of Trachonitis, and as he died childless, Aristobulus, the son of Herod, the brother of Agrippa, married her; they had three sons, Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus, and this was the posterity of Phasaelus and Salampsio. But the daughter of Antipater by Cypros, was Cypros, whom Alexas Selcias, the son of Alexas, married; they had a daughter, Cypros; but Herod and Alexander, who, as we told you, were the brothers of Antipater, died childless. As to Alexander, the son of Herod the king, who was slain by his father, he had two sons, Alexander and Tigranes, by the daughter of Archelaus, king of Cappadocia; Tigranes, who was king of Armenia, was accused at Rome, and died childless; Alexander had a son of the same name with his brother Tigranes, and was sent to take possession of the kingdom of Armenia by Nero: he had a son, Alexander, who married Jotape, (19) the daughter of Antiochus, the king of Commagena; Vespasian made him king of an island in Cilicia. But these descendants of Alexander, soon after their birth, deserted the Jewish religion, and went over to that of the Greeks; but for the rest of the daughters of Herod the king, it happened that they died childless. And as these descendants of Herod, whom we have enumerated, were in being at the same time that Agrippa the Great took the kingdom, and I have now given an account of them, it now remains that I relate the several hard fortunes which befel Agrippa, and how he got clear of them, and was advanced to the greatest height of dignity and power.
Of the navigation of King Agrippa to Rome, to Tiberius Cæsar; and how, upon his being accused by his own freed-man, he was bound; how also he was set at liberty by Caius, after Tiberius’s death, and was made king of the tetrarchy of Philip.
1. A little before the death of Herod the king, Agrippa lived at Rome, and was generally brought up and conversed with Drusus, the emperor Tiberius’s son, and contracted a friendship with Antonia, the wife of Drusus the Great, who had his mother Bernice in great esteem, and was very desirous of advancing her son. Now as Agrippa was by nature magnanimous and generous in the presents he made, while his mother was alive, this inclination of his mind did not appear, that he might be able to avoid her anger for such his extravagance; but when Bernice was dead, and he was left to his own conduct, he spent a great deal extravagantly in his daily way of living, and a great deal in the immoderate presents he made, and those chiefly among Cæsar’s freed-men, in order to gain their assistance, insomuch that he was in a little time reduced to poverty, and could not live at Rome any longer. Tiberius also forbade the friends of his deceased son to come into his sight, because on seeing them he should be put in mind of his son, and his grief would thereby be revived.
2. For these reasons he went away from Rome, and sailed to Judea, but in evil circumstances, being dejected with the loss of that money which he once had, and because he had not wherewithal to pay his creditors, who were many in number, and such as gave him no room for escaping them. Whereupon he knew not what to do; so, for shame of his present condition, he retired to a certain tower at Malatha, in Idumea, and had thoughts of killing himself; but his wife Cypros perceived his intentions, and tried all sorts of methods to divert him from his taking such a course: so she sent a letter to his sister Herodias, who was now the wife of Herod the tetrarch, and let her know Agrippa’s present design, and what necessity it was which drove him thereto, and desired her, as a kinswoman of his, to give him her help, and to engage her husband to do the same, since she saw how she alleviated these her husband’s troubles all she could, although she had not the like wealth to do it withal. So they sent for him, and allotted him Tiberias for his habitation, and appointed him some income of money for his maintenance, and made him a magistrate of that city, by way of honour to him. Yet did not Herod long continue in that resolution of supporting him, though even that support was not sufficient for him; for as once they were at a feast at Tyre, and in their cups, and reproaches were cast upon one another, Agrippa thought that was not to be borne, while Herod hit him in the teeth with his poverty, and with his owing his necessary food to him. So he went to Flaccus, one that had been consul, and had been a very great friend to him at Rome formerly, and was now president of Syria.
3. Hereupon Flaccus received him kindly, and he lived with him. Flaccus had also with him there Aristobulus, who was indeed Agrippa’s brother, but was at variance with him; yet did not their enmity to one another hinder the friendship of Flaccus to them both, but still they were honourably treated by him. However, Aristobulus did not abate of his ill will to Agrippa, till at length he brought him into ill terms with Flaccus; the occasion of bringing on which estrangement was this: The Damascenes were at difference with the Sidonians about their limits, and when Flaccus was about to hear the cause between them, they understood that Agrippa had a mighty influence upon him; so they desired that he would be of their side, and for that favour promised him a great deal of money; so he was zealous in assisting the Damascenes as far as he was able. Now Aristobulus had gotten intelligence of this promise of money to him, and accused him to Flaccus of the same; and when, upon a thorough examination of the matter, it appeared plainly so to be, he rejected Agrippa out of the number of his friends. So he was reduced to the utmost necessity, and came to Ptolemais; and, because he knew not where else to get a livelihood, he thought to sail to Italy; but as he was restrained from so doing by want of money, he desired Marsyas, who was his freed-man, to find some method for procuring him so much as he wanted for that purpose, by borrowing such a sum of some person or other. So Marsyas desired of Peter, who was the freed-man of Bernice, Agrippa’s mother, and by the right of her testament was bequeathed to Antonia, to lend so much upon Agrippa’s own bond and security: but he accused Agrippa of having defrauded him of certain sums of money, and so obliged Marsyas, when he made the bond of 20,000 Attic drachmæ, to accept of 2500 drachmæ (20) less than what he desired, which the other allowed of, because he could not help it. Upon the receipt of this money, Agrippa came to Anthedon, and took shipping, and was going to set sail; but Herennius Capito, who was the procurator of Jamnia, sent a band of soldiers to demand of him 300,000 drachmæ of silver, which were by him owing to Cæsar’s treasury while he was at Rome, and so forced him to stay. He then pretended that he would do as he bid him; but when night came on, he cut his cables, and went off, and sailed to Alexandria, where he desired Alexander the alabarch (21) to lend him 200,000 drachmæ; but he said he would not lend it to him, but would not refuse it to Cypros, as greatly astonished at her affection to her husband, and at the other instances of her virtue; so she undertook to repay it. Accordingly Alexander paid them five talents at Alexandria, and promised to pay them the rest of that sum at Dicearchia [Puteoli]; and this he did out of the fear he was in that Agrippa would soon spend it. So this Cypros set her husband free, and dismissed him to go on with his navigation to Italy, while she and her children departed for Judea.
4. And now Agrippa was come to Puteoli, whence he wrote a letter to Tiberius Cæsar who then lived at Capreæ, and told him that he was come so far in order to wait on him, and to pay him a visit; and desired that he would give him leave to come over to Capreæ: so Tiberius made no difficulty, but wrote to him in an obliging way in other respects, and withal told him, he was glad of his safe return, and desired him to come to Capreæ: and, when he was come, he did not fail to treat him as kindly as he had promised him in his letter to do. But the next day came a letter to Cæsar from Herennius Capito, to inform him, that Agrippa had borrowed 300,000 drachmæ, and not paid it at the time appointed; but when it was demanded of him, he ran away, like a fugitive, out of the places under his government, and put it out of his power to get the money of him. When Cæsar had read this letter, he was much troubled at it, and gave order that Agrippa should be excluded from his presence, until he had paid that debt: upon which he was no way daunted at Cæsar’s anger, but entreated Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius, who was afterward Cæsar himself, to lend him those 300,000 drachmæ, that he might not be deprived of Tiberius’s friendship; so, out of regard to the memory of Bernice his mother, (for those two women were very familiar with one another), and out of regard to his and Claudius’s education together, she lent him the money; and, upon the payment of this debt, there was nothing to hinder Tiberius’s friendship to him. After this, Tiberius Cæsar recommended to him his grandson, (22) and ordered, that he should always accompany him when he went abroad. But, upon Agrippa’s kind reception by Antonia, he betook him to pay his respects to Caius, who was her grandson, and in very high reputation by reason of the good-will they bare his father. (23) Now there was one Thallus, a freed-man of Cæsar, of whom he borrowed a million of drachmæ, and thence repaid Antonia the debt he owed her; and, by sending the overplus in paying his court to Caius, became a person of great authority with him.
5. Now, as the friendship which Agrippa had for Caius was come to a great height, there happened some words to pass between them, as they once were in a chariot together, concerning Tiberius; Agrippa praying [to God] (for they two sat by themselves), that “Tiberius might soon go off the stage, and leave the government to Caius, who was in every respect more worthy of it.” Now Eutychus, who was Agrippa’s freed-man, and drove his chariot, heard these words, and at that time said nothing of them; but when Agrippa accused him of stealing some garments of his, (which was certainly true), he ran away from him; but when he was caught, and brought before Piso, who was governor of the city, and the man was asked, why he ran away? he replied, that he had somewhat to say to Cæsar, that tended to his security and preservation: so Piso bound him, and sent him to Capreæ. But Tiberius, according to his usual custom, kept him still in bonds, being a delayer of affairs, if there ever was any other king or tyrant that was so; for he did not admit ambassadors quickly, and no successors were despatched away to governors or procurators of the provinces, that had been formerly sent, unless they were dead; whence it was, that he was so negligent in hearing the causes of prisoners; insomuch, that when he was asked by his friends, what was the reason of his delay in such cases? he said, That “he delayed to hear ambassadors, lest, upon their quick dismission, other ambassadors should be appointed, and return upon him; and so he should bring trouble upon himself in their public reception and dismission: that he permitted those governors, who had been sent once to their government [to stay there a long while], out of regard to the subjects that were under them; for that all governors are naturally disposed to get as much as they can, and that those who are not to fix there, but to stay a short time, and that at an uncertainty when they shall be turned out, do the more severely hurry themselves on to fleece the people; but that if their government be long continued to them, they are at last satiated with the spoils, as having gotten a vast deal, and so become at length less sharp in their pillaging; but that, if successors are sent quickly, the poor subjects, who are exposed to them as a prey, will not be able to bear the new ones, while they shall not have the same time allowed them wherein their predecessors had filled themselves, and so grew more unconcerned about getting more; and this because they are removed before they have had time [for their oppressions]. He gave them an example to shew his meaning: A great number of flies came about the sore places of a man that had been wounded; upon which one of the standers-by pitied the man’s misfortune, and, thinking he was not able to drive those flies away himself, was going to drive them away for him; but he prayed him to let them alone: the other, by way of reply, asked him the reason of such a preposterous proceeding, in preventing relief from his present misery; to which he answered,If thou drivest these flies away, thou wilt hurt me worse; for, as these are already full of my blood, they do not crowd about me, nor pain me so much as before, but are somewhat more remiss, while the fresh ones that come almost famished, and find me quite tired down already, will be my destruction. For this cause, therefore, it is that I am myself careful not to send such new governors perpetually to those my subjects, who are already sufficiently harassed by many oppressions, as may, like these flies, farther distress them; and so, besides their natural desire of gain, may have this additional incitement to it, that they expect to be suddenly deprived of that pleasure which they take in it.” And, as a farther attestation to what I say of the dilatory nature of Tiberius, I appeal to this his practice itself; for, although he was emperor twenty-two years, he sent in all but two procurators to govern the nation of the Jews, Gratus, and his successor in the government, Pilate. Nor was he in one way of acting with respect to the Jews, and in another with respect to the rest of his subjects. He farther informed them, that, even in the hearing of the causes of prisoners, he made such delays, “because immediate death to those that must be condemned to die, would be an alleviation of their present miseries, while those wicked wretches have not deserved any such favour; but I do it, that, by being harassed with the present calamity, they may undergo greater misery.”
6. On this account it was, that Eutychus could not obtain a bearing, but was kept still in prison. However, some time afterward, Tiberius came from Capreæ to Tusculanum, which is about an hundred furlongs from Rome. Agrippa then desired of Antonia that she would procure a hearing for Eutychus, let the matter whereof he accused him prove what it would. Now Antonia was greatly esteemed by Tiberius on all accounts, from the dignity of her relation to him, who had been his brother Drusus’s wife, and from her eminent chastity; (24) for though she were still a young woman, she continued in her widowhood, and refused all other matches, although Augustus had enjoined her to be married to some body else; yet did she all along preserve her reputation free from reproach. She had also been the greatest benefactress to Tiberius, when there was a very dangerous plot laid against him by Sejanus, a man who had been her husband’s friend, and who had the greatest authority, because he was general of the army, and when many members of the senate, and many of the freed-men joined with him, and the soldiery was corrupted, and the plot was come to a great height. Now Sejanus had certainly gained his point, had not Antonia’s boldness been more wisely conducted than Sejanus’s malice; for, when she had discovered his designs against Tiberius, she wrote him an exact account of the whole, and gave the letter to Pallas, the most faithful of her servants, and sent him to Capreæ to Tiberius, who, when he understood it, slew Sejanus and his confederates; so that Tiberius, who had her in great esteem before, now looked upon her with still greater respect, and depended upon her in all things. So, when Tiberius was desired by this Antonia to examine Eutychus, he answered, “If indeed Eutychus hath falsely accused Agrippa in what he hath said of him, he hath had sufficient punishment by what I have done to him already; but if, upon examination, the accusation appears to be true, let Agrippa have a care, lest, out of desire of punishing his freed-man, he do not rather bring a punishment upon himself.” Now when Antonia told Agrippa of this, he was still much more pressing that the matter might be examined into; so Antonia, upon Agrippa’s lying hard at her continually to beg this favour, took the following opportunity: as Tiberius lay once at his ease upon his sedan, and was carried about and Caius her grandson and Agrippa were before him after dinner, she walked by the sedan, and desired him to call Eutychus, and have him examined; to which he replied, “O Antonia, the gods are my witnesses, that I am induced to do what I am going to do, not by my own inclination, but because I am forced to it by thy prayers.” When he had said this, he ordered Macro, who succeeded Sejanus, to bring Eutychus to him; accordingly, without any delay, he was brought. Then Tiberius asked him, what he had to say against a man who had given him his liberty? Upon which he said, “O my lord, this Caius, and Agrippa with him, were once riding in a chariot, when I sat at their feet, and, among other discourses that passed, Agrippa said to Caius, O that the day would once come, when this old fellow will die, and name thee for the governor of the habitable earth! for then this Tiberius, his grandson, would be no hindrance, but would be taken off by thee, and that earth would be happy, and I happy also.” Now Tiberius took these to be truly Agrippa’s words, and bearing a grudge withal at Agrippa, because, when he had commanded him to pay his respects to Tiberius, his grandson, and the son of Drusus, Agrippa had not paid him that respect, but had disobeyed his commands, and transferred all his regard to Caius; he said to Macro, “Bind this man.” But Macro, not distinctly knowing which of them it was whom he bid him bind, and not expecting that he would have any such thing done to Agrippa, he forbore, and came to ask more distinctly what it was that he said? But, when Cæsar had gone round the hippodrome, he found Agrippa standing: “For certain, said he, Macro, this is the man I meant to have bound:” and when he still asked, “Which of these is to be bound?” he said, “Agrippa.” Upon which Agrippa betook himself to make supplication for himself, putting him in mind of his son, with whom he was brought up, and of Tiberius [his grandson] whom he had educated: but all to no purpose; for they led him about bound even in his purple garments. It was also very hot weather, and they had but little wine to their meal; so that he was very thirsty: he was also in a sort of agony, and took this treatment of him heinously: as he therefore saw one of Caius’s slaves, whose name was Thaumastus, carrying some water in a vessel, he desired that he would let him drink; so the servant gave him some water to drink, and he drank heartily, and said, “O thou boy, this service of thine to me will be for thy advantage; for, if I once get clear of these my bonds, I will soon procure thee thy freedom of Caius, who has not been wanting to minister to me now I am in bonds, in the same manner as when I was in my former state and dignity.” Nor did he deceive him in what he promised him, but made him amends for what he had now done; for when afterward Agrippa was come to the kingdom, he took particular care of Thaumastus, and got him his liberty from Caius, and made him the steward over his own estate; and when he died, he left him to Agrippa his son, and to Bernice his daughter, to minister to them in the same capacity. The man also grew old in that honourable post, and therein died. But all this happened a good while later.
7. Now Agrippa stood in his bonds before the royal palace, and leaned on a certain tree for grief, with many others who were in bonds also; and as a certain bird sat upon the tree on which Agrippa leaned, the Romans call this bird bubo [an owl], one of those that were bound, a German by nation, saw him, and asked a soldier, what that man in purple was? and when he was informed that his name was Agrippa, and that he was by nation a Jew, and one of the principal men of that nation, he asked leave of the soldier to whom he was bound, (25) to let him come nearer to him to speak with him; for that he had a mind to inquire of him about some things relating to his country; which liberty when he had obtained, and as he stood near him, he said thus to him by an interpreter, That “this sudden change of thy condition, O young man, is grievous to thee, as bringing on thee a manifold and very great adversity; nor wilt thou believe me, when I foretel how thou wilt get clear of this misery which thou art now under, and how divine Providence will provide for thee. Know therefore, (and I appeal to my own country gods, as well as to the gods of this place, who have awarded these bonds to us), that all I am going to say about thy concerns shall neither be said for favour nor bribery, nor out of an endeavour to make thee cheerful without cause; for such predictions, when they come to fail, make the grief at last, and in earnest, more bitter than if the party had never heard of any such thing. However, though I run the hazard of my own self, I think it fit to declare to thee the prediction of the gods. It cannot be that thou shouldst long continue in these bonds; but thou wilt soon be delivered from them, and wilt be promoted to the highest dignity and power, and thou wilt be envied by all those who now pity thy hard fortune; and thou wilt be happy till thy death, and wilt leave thine happiness to the children whom thou shalt have. But do thou remember, when thou seest this bird again, that thou wilt then live but five days longer. This event will be brought to pass by that God who hath sent this bird hither to be a sign unto thee. And I cannot but think it unjust to conceal from thee what I foreknow concerning thee, that, by thy knowing beforehand what happiness is coming upon thee, thou mayst not regard thy present misfortunes. But, when this happiness shall actually befal thee, do not forget what misery I am in myself, but endeavour to deliver me.” So, when the German had said this, he made Agrippa laugh at him as much as he afterwards appeared worthy of admiration. But now Antonia took Agrippa’s misfortune to heart: however, to speak to Tiberius on his behalf she took to be a very difficult thing, and indeed quite impracticable, as to any hope of success: yet did she procure of Macro, that the soldiers that kept him should be of a gentle nature, and that the centurion who was over them, and was to diet with him, should be of the same disposition, and that he might have leave to bathe himself every day, and that his freed-men and friends might come to him, and that other things that tended to ease him might be indulged him. So his friend Silas came in to him, and two of his freed-men, Marsyas and Stechus, brought him such sorts of food as he was fond of, and indeed took great care of him: they also brought him garments, under pretence of selling them, and, when night came on, they laid them under him; and the soldiers assisted them, as Macro had given them order to do beforehand. And this was Agrippa’s condition for six months time, and in this case were his affairs.
8. But for Tiberius, upon his return to Capreæ, he fell sick. At first his distemper was but gentle; but, as that distemper increased upon him, he had small or no hopes of recovery. Hereupon he bid Euodus, who was that freed-man whom he most of all respected, to bring the children (26) to him; for that he wanted to talk to them before he died. Now he had at present no sons of his own alive; for Drusus, who was his only son, was dead; but Drusus’s son Tiberius was still living, whose additional name was Gemellus: there was also living Caius, the son of Germanicus, who was the son (27) of his brother [Drusus]. He was now grown up, and had a liberal education, and was well improved by it, and was in esteem and favour with the people on account of the excellent character of his father Germanicus, who had attained the highest honour among the multitude by the firmness of his virtuous behaviour, by the easiness and agreeableness of his conversing with the multitude, and because the dignity he was in did not hinder his familiarity with them all, as if they were his equals; by which behaviour he was not only greatly esteemed by the people and the senate, but by every one of those nations that were subject to the Romans; some of which were affected, when they came to him, with the gracefulness of their reception by him, and others were affected in the same manner by the report of the others that had been with him: and upon his death there was a lamentation made by all men; not such an one as was to be made in way of flattery to their rulers, while they did but counterfeit sorrow, but such as was real; while every body grieved at his death, as if they had lost one that was near to them. And truly such had been his easy conversation with men, that it turned greatly to the advantage of his son among all; and, among others, the soldiery were so peculiarly affected to him, that they reckoned it an eligible thing, if need were, to die themselves, if he might but attain to the government.
9. But when Tiberius had given order to Euodus to bring the children to him the next day in the morning, he prayed to his country-gods to shew him a manifest signal which of those children should come to the government; being very desirous to leave it to his son’s son, but still depending upon what God should foreshew concerning them, more than upon his own opinion and inclination; so he made this to be the omen, that the government should be left to him who should come to him first the next day. When he had thus resolved within himself, he sent to his grandson’s tutor, and ordered him to bring the child to him early in the morning, as supposing that God would permit him to be made emperor. But God proved opposite to his designation; for while Tiberius was thus contriving matters, and as soon as it was at all day, he bid Euodus to call in that child which should be there ready. So he went out, and found Caius before the door; for Tiberius was not yet come, but staid waiting for his breakfast; for Euodus knew nothing of what his lord intended; so he said to Caius, “Thy father calls thee,” and then brought him in. As soon as Tiberius saw Caius, and not before, he reflected on the power of God, and how the ability of bestowing the government on whom he would was entirely taken from him; and thence he was not able to establish what he had intended. So he greatly lamented, that this power of establishing what he had before contrived was taken from him, and that his grandson Tiberius was not only to lose the Roman empire by his fatality, but his own safety also, because his preservation would now depend upon such as would be more potent than himself, who would think it a thing not to be borne, that a kinsman should live with them, and so his relation would not be able to protect him; but he would be feared and hated by him who had the supreme authority, partly on account of his being next to the empire, and partly on account of his perpetually contriving to get the government, both in order to preserve himself, and to be at the head of affairs also. Now Tiberius had been very much given to astrology, (28) and the calculation of nativities, and had spent his life in the esteem of what predictions had proved true, more than those whose profession it was. Accordingly, when he once saw Galba coming in to him, he said to his most intimate friends, That “there came in a man that would one day have the dignity of the Roman empire.” So that this Tiberius was more addicted to all such sorts of diviners than any other of the Roman emperors, because he had found them to have told him truth in his own affairs. And indeed he was now in great distress upon this accident that had befallen him, and was very much grieved at the destruction of his son’s son, which he foresaw, and complained of himself, that he should have made use of such a method of divination before hand, while it was in his power to have died without grief by this knowledge of futurity; whereas he was now tormented by his foreknowledge of the misfortune of such as were dearest to him, and must die under that torment. Now, although he was disordered at this unexpected revolution of the government to those for whom he did not intend it, he spake thus to Caius, though unwillingly and against his own inclination; “O child! although Tiberius be nearer related to me than thou art, I, by my own determination, and the conspiring suffrage of the gods, do give, and put into thy hand, the Roman empire; and I desire thee never to be unmindful, when thou comest to it, either of my kindness to thee, who set thee in so high a dignity, or of thy relation to Tiberius. But as thou knowest that I am, together with and after the gods, the procurer of so great happiness to thee, so I desire that thou wilt make me a return for my readiness to assist thee, and wilt take care of Tiberius, because of his near relation to thee. Besides which thou art to know, that, while Tiberius is alive, he will be a security to thee, both as to empire, and as to thy own preservation; but, if he die, that will be but a prelude to thy own misfortunes; for to be alone, under the weight of such vast affairs, is very dangerous; nor will the gods suffer those actions, which are unjustly done, contrary to that law which directs men to act otherwise, to go off unpunished.” This was the speech which Tiberius made, which did not persuade Caius to act accordingly, although he promised so to do; but, when he was settled in the government, he took off this Tiberius, as was predicted by the other Tiberius; as he was also himself in no long time afterward slain by a secret plot laid against him.
10. So when Tiberius had at this time appointed Caius to be his successor, he outlived but a few days, and then died, after he had held the government twenty-two years, five months, and three days: now Caius was the fourth emperor. But when the Romans understood that Tiberius was dead, they rejoiced at the good news, but had not courage to believe it: not because they were unwilling it should be true, for they would have given huge sums of money that it might be so, but because they were afraid, that if they had shewed their joy when the news proved false, their joy should be openly known, and they should be accused for it, and be thereby undone. For this Tiberius had brought a vast number of miseries on the best families of the Romans, since he was easily inflamed with passion in all cases, and was of such a temper as rendered his anger irrevocable, till he had executed the same, although he had taken an hatred against men without reason: for he was by nature fierce in all the sentences he gave, and made death the penalty for the lightest offenses; insomuch that when the Romans heard the rumour about his death gladly, they were restrained from the enjoyment of that pleasure by the dread of such miseries as they foresaw would follow, if their hopes proved ill-grounded. Now Marsyas, Agrippa’s freed-man, as soon as he heard of Tiberius’s death, came running to tell Agrippa the news; and finding him going out to the bath, he gave him a nod, and said, in the Hebrew tongue, “The lion (29) is dead:” who understanding his meaning, and being ovejoyed at the news, “Nay, said he, but all sorts of thanks and happiness attend thee for this news of thine; only I wish that what thou sayest may prove true.” Now the centurion, who was set to keep Agrippa, when he saw with what haste Marsyas came, and what joy Agrippa had from what he said, he had a suspicion that his words implied some great innovation of affairs, and he asked them about what was said. They at first diverted the discourse: but upon his farther pressing, Agrippa, without more ado, told him, for he was already become his friend; so he joined with him in that pleasure which this news occasioned, because it would be fortunate to Agrippa, and made him a supper. But as they were feasting, and the cups went about, there came one who said, That “Tiberius was still alive, and would return to the city in a few days.” At which news the centurion was exceedingly troubled, because he had done what might cost him his life, to have treated so joyfully a prisoner, and this upon the news of the death of Cæsar; so he thrust Agrippa from the couch whereon he lay, and said, “Dost thou think to cheat me by a lie about the emperor without punishment? And shalt not thou pay for this thy malicious report at the price of thine head!” When he had so said, he ordered Agrippa to be bound again, (for he had loosed him before), and kept a severer guard over him than formerly, and in this evil condition was Agrippa that night; but the next day the rumour increased in the city, and confirmed the news that Tiberius was certainly dead; insomuch that men durst now openly and freely talk about it; nay some offered sacrifices on that account. Several letters also came from Caius, one of them to the senate, which informed them of the death of Tiberius, and of his own entrance on the government; another to Piso, the governor of the city, which told him the same thing. He also gave order that Agrippa should be removed out of the camp, and go to that house where he lived before he was put in prison; so that he was now out of fear as to his own affairs; for although he were still in custody, yet it was now with ease to his own affairs. Now as soon as Caius was come to Rome, and had brought Tiberius’s dead body with him, and had made a sumptuous funeral for him, according to the laws of his country, he was much disposed to set Agrippa at liberty that very day, but Antonia hindered him; not out of any ill-will to the prisoner, but out of regard to decency in Caius, lest that should make men believe that he received the death of Tiberius with pleasure, when he loosed one whom he had bound, immediately. However, there did not many days pass ere he sent for him to his house, and had him shaved, and made him change his raiment, after which he put a diadem upon his head, and appointed him to be king of the tetrarchy of Philip. He also gave him the tetrarchy of Lysanias, (30) and changed his iron chain for a golden one of equal weight. He also sent Marullus to be procurator of Judea.
11. Now in the second year of the reign of Caius Cæsar, Agrippa desired leave to be given him to sail home, and settle the affairs of his government, and he promised to return again, when he had put the rest in order, as it ought to be put. So, upon the emperor’s permission, he came into his own country, and appeared to them all unexpectedly as a king, and thereby demonstrated to the men that saw him the power of fortune, when they compared his former poverty with his present happy affluence; so some called him a happy man, and others could not well believe that things were so much changed with him for the better.
How Herod the tetrarch was banished.
1. But Herodias, Agrippa’s sister, who now lived as wife to that Herod who was tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, took this authority of her brother in an envious manner, particularly when she saw that he had a greater dignity bestowed on him than her husband had; since when he ran away, it was because he was not able to pay his debts; and now he was come back, he was in a way of dignity and of great good fortune. She was therefore grieved, and much displeased at so great a mutation of his affairs, and chiefly when she saw him marching among the multitude with the usual ensigns of royal authority, she was not able to conceal how miserable she was, by reason of the envy she had towards him; but she excited her husband, and desired him that he would sail to Rome to court honours equal to his: for she said, That “she could not bear to live any longer, while Agrippa, the son of that Aristobulus who was condemned to die by his father, one that came to her husband in such extreme poverty, that the necessaries of life were forced to be entirely supplied him day by day; and when he fled away from his creditors by sea, he now returned a king; while he was himself the son of a king, and while the near relation he bare to royal authority called upon him to gain the like dignity, he sat still, and was contented with a privater life. But then, Herod, although thou wast formerly not concerned to be in a lower condition than thy father, from whom thou wast derived, had been; yet do thou now seek after the dignity which thy kinsman hath attained to; and do not thou bear this contempt, that a man who admired thy riches, should he in greater honour than thyself, nor suffer his poverty to shew itself able to purchase greater things than our abundance, nor do thou esteem it other than a shameful thing to be inferior to one who, the other day, lived upon thy charity. But let us go to Rome, and let us spare no pains nor expences, either of silver or gold, since they cannot be kept for any better use, than for the obtaining of a kingdom.”
2. But for Herod, he opposed her request at this time, out of the love of ease, and having a suspicion of the trouble he should have at Rome; so he tried to instruct her better. But the more she saw him draw back, the more she pressed him to it, and desired him to leave no stone unturned in order to be king: and at last she left not off till she engaged him, whether he would or not, to be of her sentiments, because he could no otherwise avoid her importunity. So he got all things ready, after as sumptuous a manner as he was able, and spared for nothing, and went up to Rome, and took Herodias along with him. But Agrippa, when he was made sensible of their intentions and preparations, he also prepared to go thither; and as soon as he heard they set sail, he sent Fortunatus, one of his freed-men, to Rome, to carry presents to the emperor, and letters against Herod, and to give Caius a particular account of those matters, if he should have any opportunity. This man followed Herod so quick, and had so prosperous a voyage, and came so little after Herod, that while Herod was with Caius he came himself, and delivered his letters; for they both sailed to Dicearchia, and found Caius at Baiæ, which is itself a little city of Campania, at the distance of about five furlongs from Dicearchia. There are in that place royal palaces, with sumptuous apartments, every emperor still endeavouring to out-do his predecessors magnificence: the place also affords warm baths, that spring out of the ground of their own accord, which are of advantage for the recovery of the health of those that make use of them, and besides they minister to men’s luxury also. Now Caius saluted Herod, for he first met with him, and then looked upon the letters which Agrippa had sent him, and which were written in order to accuse Herod; wherein he accused him, that he had been in confederacy with Sejanus, against Tiberius’s government, and that he was now confederate with Artabanus, the king of Parthia, in opposition to the government of Caius; as a demonstration of which he alleged, that he had armour sufficient for seventy thousand men ready in his armoury. Caius was moved at this information, and asked Herod whether what was said about the armour was true; and when he confessed there was such armour there, for he could not deny the same, the truth of it being notorious, Caius took that to be a sufficient proof of the accusation, that he intended to revolt. So he took away from him his tetrarchy, and gave it, by way of addition, to Agrippa’s kingdom: he also gave Herod’s money to Agrippa, and, by way of punishment, awarded him a perpetual banishment, and appointed Lyons, a city of Gaul, to be his place of habitation. But when he was informed that Herodias was Agrippa’s sister, he made her a present of what money was her own, and told her, “That it was her brother who prevented her being put under the same calamity with her husband.” But she made this reply: “Thou, indeed, O emperor, actest after a magnificent manner, and as becomes thyself in what thou offerest me; but the kindness which I have for my husband hinders me from partaking of the favour of thy gift; for it is not just that I, who have been made a partner in his prosperity, should forsake him in his misfortunes.” Hereupon Caius was angry at her, and sent her with Herod into banishment, and gave her estate to Agrippa. And thus did God punish Herodias for her envy at her brother, and Herod also for giving ear to the vain discourses of a woman. Now Caius managed public affairs with very great magnanimity, during the first and second year of his reign, and behaved himself with such moderation, that he gained the good-will of the Romans themselves, and of his other subjects. But in process of time he went beyond the bounds of human nature, in his conceit of himself, and, by reason of the vastness of his dominions, made himself a god, and took upon himself to act in all things to the reproach of the Deity itself.
Concerning the ambassageof the Jews to Caius; and how Caius sent Petronius into Syria to make war against the Jews, unless they would receive his statue. (31)
1. There was now a tumult arisen at Alexandria, between the Jewish inhabitants, and the Greeks; and three ambassadors were chosen out of each party that were at variance, who came to Caius. (32) Now one of these ambassadors from the people of Alexandria was Apion, who uttered many blasphemies against the Jews; and, among other things that he said, he charged them with neglecting the honours that belonged to Cæsar; for that while all who were subject to the Roman empire built altars and temples to Caius, and in other regards universally received him as they received the gods, these Jews alone thought it a dishonourable thing for them to erect statues in honour of him, as well as to swear by his name. Many of these severe things were said by Apion, by which he hoped to provoke Caius to anger at the Jews, as he was likely to be; but Philo, the principal of the Jewish ambassage, a man eminent on all accounts, brother to Alexander the alabarch, (33) and one not unskilful in philosophy, was ready to betake himself to make his defence against those accusations; but Caius prohibited him, and bid him begone: he was also in such a rage, that it openly appeared he was about to do them some very great mischief. So Philo, being thus affronted, went out, and said to those Jews who were about him, That “they should be of good courage, since Caius’s words indeed shewed anger at them, but in reality had already set God against himself.”
2. Hereupon Caius, taking it very heinously that he should be thus despised by the Jews alone, sent Petronius to be president of Syria, and successor in the government to Vitellius, and gave him order to make an invasion into Judea, with a great body of troops; and if they would admit of his statue willingly, to erect it in the temple of God; but if they were obstinate, to conquer them by war, and then to do it. Accordingly Petronius took the government of Syria, and made haste to obey Cæsar’s epistle. He got together as great a number of auxiliaries as he possibly could, and took with him two legions of the Roman army, and came to Ptolemais, and there wintered, as intending to set about the war in the spring. He also wrote word to Caius what he had resolved to do, who commended him for his alacrity, and ordered him to go on, and to make war with them, in case they would not obey his commands. But there came many ten thousands of the Jews to Petronius, to Ptolemais, to offer their petitions to him, That “he would not compel them to transgress and violate the law of their forefathers: but if (said they) thou art entirely resolved to bring this statue, and erect it, do thou first kill us, and then do what thou hast resolved on; for while we are alive, we cannot permit such things as are forbidden us to be done by the authority of our legislator, and by our forefathers determination that such prohibitions are instances of virtue.” But Petronius was angry at them, and said, “If indeed I were myself emperor, and were at liberty to follow my own inclination, and then had designed to act thus, these your words would be justly spoken to me; but now Cæsar hath sent to me, I am under the necessity of being subservient to his decrees, because a disobedience to them will bring upon me inevitable destruction.” Then the Jews replied, “Since therefore thou art so disposed, O Petronius, that thou wilt not disobey Caius’s epistles, neither will we transgress the commands of our law; and as we depend upon the excellency of our laws, and by the labors of our ancestors, have continued hitherto without suffering them to be transgressed, we dare not by any means suffer ourselves to be so timorous as to transgress those laws out of the fear of death, which God hath determined are for our advantage; and if we fall into misfortunes, we will bear them, in order to preserve our laws, as knowing, that those who expose themselves to dangers, have good hope of escaping them; because God will stand on our side, when out of regard to him we undergo afflictions, and sustain the uncertain turns of fortune. But if we should submit to thee, we should be greatly reproached for our cowardice, as thereby shewing ourselves ready to transgress our law; and we should incur the great anger of God also, who, even thyself being judge, is superior to Caius.”
3. When Petronius saw by their words that their determination was hard to be removed, and that without a war, he should not be able to be subservient to Caius in the dedication of his statue, and that there must be a great deal of blood shed, he took his friends, and the servants that were about him, and hasted to Tiberias as wanting to know in what posture the affairs of the Jews were; and many ten thousands of the Jews met Petronius again, when he was come to Tiberias. These thought they must run a mighty hazard if they should have a war with the Romans, but judged that the transgression of the law was of much greater consequence, and made supplication to him, that he would by no means reduce them to such distresses, nor defile their city with the dedication of the statue. Then Petronius said to them, “Will you then make war with Cæsar, without considering his great preparations for war, and your own weakness?” They replied, “We will not by any means make war with him; but still we will die before we see our laws transgressed.” So they threw themselves down upon their faces, and stretched out their throats, and said they were ready to be slain; and this they did for forty days together, and in the mean time left off the tilling of their ground, and that while the season of the year required them to sow it. (34) Thus they continued firm in their resolution, and proposed to themselves to die willingly, rather than to see the dedication of the statue.
4. When matters were in this state, Aristobulus, king Agrippa’s brother, and Heleias the Great, and the other principal men of that family with them, went in unto Petronius, and besought him, That “since he saw the resolution of the multitude, he would not make any alteration, and thereby drive them to despair; but would write to Caius, that the Jews had an insuperable aversion to the reception of the statue, and how they continued with him, and left off the tillage off their ground: that they were not willing to go to war with him, because they were not able to do it, but were ready to die with pleasure, rather than suffer their laws to be transgressed: and how, upon the lands continuing unsown, robberies would grow up, on the inability they would be under of paying their tributes; and that perhaps Caius might be thereby moved to pity, and not order any barbarous action to be done to them, nor think of destroying the nation: that if he continues inflexible in his former opinion to bring a war upon them, he may then set about it himself.” And thus did Aristobulus, and the rest with him, supplicate Petronius. So Petronius, (35) partly on account of the pressing instances which Aristobulus and the rest with him made, and because of the great consequence of what they desired, and the earnestness wherewith they made their supplication; partly on account of the firmness of the opposition made by the Jews, which he saw, while he thought it an horrible thing for him to be such a slave to the madness of Caius, as to slay so many ten thousand men, only because of their religious disposition towards God, and after that to pass his life in expectation of punishment; Petronius, I say, thought it much better to send to Caius, and to let him know how intolerable it was to him to bear the anger he might have against him for not serving him sooner, in obedience to his epistle, for that perhaps he might persuade him; and that if his mad resolution continued, he might then begin the war against them; nay, that in case he should turn his hatred against himself, it was fit for virtuous persons even to die for the sake of such vast multitudes of men. Accordingly he determined to hearken to the petitioners in this matter.
5. He then called the Jews together to Tiberias, who came, many ten thousands in number; he also placed that army he now had with him opposite to them; but did not discover his own meaning, but the commands of the emperor, and told them, That “his wrath would without delay be executed on such as had the courage to disobey what he had commanded, and this immediately; and that it was fit for him, who had obtained so great a dignity by his grant, not to contradict him in any thing: yet,” said he, “I do not think it just to have such a regard to my own safety and honour, as to refuse to sacrifice them for your preservation, who are so many in number, and endeavour to preserve the regard that is due to your law, which, as it hath come down to you from your forefathers, so do you esteem it worthy of your utmost contention to preserve it: nor, with the supreme assistance and power of God, will I be so hardy as to suffer your temple to fall into contempt by the means of the imperial authority. I will therefore send to Caius, and let him know what your resolutions are, and will assist your suit as far as I am able, that you may not be exposed to suffer on account of the honest designs you have proposed to yourselves; and may God be your assistant, for his authority is beyond all the contrivance and power of men; and may he procure you the preservation of your ancient laws, and may not he be deprived, though without your consent, of his accustomed honours. But if Caius be irritated and turn the violence of his rage upon me, I will rather undergo all that danger and that affliction that may come either on my body or my soul, than see so many of you to perish, while you are acting in so excellent a manner. Do you, therefore, every one of you, go your way about your own occupations, and fall to the cultivation of your ground; I will myself send to Rome, and will not refuse to serve you in all things, both by myself and by my friends.”
6. When Petronius had said this, and had dismissed the assembly of the Jews, he desired the principal of them to take care of their husbandry, and to speak kindly to the people, and encourage them to have good hope of their affairs. Thus did he readily bring the multitude to be cheerful again. And now did God shew his presence (36) to Petronius, and signify to him, that he would afford him his assistance in his whole design; for he had no sooner finished the speech that he made to the Jews, but God sent down great showers of rain, contrary to human expectation; for that day was a clear day, and gave no sign, by the appearance of the sky, of any rain; nay the whole year had been subject to a great drought, and made men despair of any water from above, even when at any time they saw the heavens over-cast with clouds; insomuch that when such a great quantity of rain came, and that in an unusual manner, and without any other expectation of it, the Jews hoped that Petronius would by no means fail in his petition for them. But as to Petronius, he was mightily surprised when he perceived that God evidently took care of the Jews, and gave very plain signs of his appearance, and this to such a degree, that those that were in earnest much inclined to the contrary, had no power left to contradict it. This was also among those other particulars which he wrote to Caius, which all tended to dissuade him, and by all means to entreat him not to make so many ten thousands of these men go distracted; whom if he should slay, (for without war they would by no means suffer the laws of their worship to be set aside), he would lose the revenue they paid him, and would be publicly cursed by them for all future ages. Moreover, that God, who was their governor, had shewed his power most evidently on their account, and that such a power of his as left no room for doubt about it. And this was the business that Petronius was now engaged in.
7. But King Agrippa, who now lived at Rome, was more and more in the favour of Caius; and when he had once made him a supper, and was careful to exceed all others both in expences, and in such preparations as might contribute most to his pleasure; nay, it was so far from the ability of others, that Caius himself could never equal, much less exceed it, (such care had he taken beforehand to exceed all men, and particularly to make all agreeable to Cæsar); hereupon Caius admired his understanding and magnificence, that he should force himself to do all to please him, even beyond such expences as he could bear, and was desirous not to be behind Agrippa in that generosity, which he exerted in order to please him. So Caius, when he had drank wine plentifully, and was merrier than ordinary, said thus during the feast, when Agrippa had drunk to him: “I knew before now how great a respect thou hast had for me, and how great kindness thou hast shewed me, though with those hazards to thyself, which thou underwentest under Tiberius on that account; nor hast thou omitted any thing to shew thy good-will towards us, even beyond thy ability; whence it would be a base thing for me to be conquered by thy affection. I am therefore desirous to make thee amends for every thing, in which I have been formerly deficient, for all that I have bestowed on thee, that may be called my gifts, is but little. Every thing that may contribute to thy happiness shall be at thy service, and that cheerfully, and so far as my ability will reach.” (37) And this was what Caius said to Agrippa, thinking be would ask for some large country, or the revenues of certain cities. But although he had prepared beforehand what he would ask, yet had he not discovered his intentions, but made this answer to Caius immediately: That “it was not out of any expectation of gain that he formerly paid his respects to him, contrary to the commands of Tiberius, nor did he now do any thing relating to him out of regard to his own advantage, and in order to receive any thing from him; that the gifts he had already bestowed upon him were great, and beyond the hopes of even a craving man; for although they may be beneath thy power, [who art the donor], yet are they greater than my inclination and dignity, who am the receiver.” And as Caius was astonished at Agrippa’s inclinations, and still the more pressed him to make his request for somewhat which he might gratify him with, Agrippa replied, “Since thou, O my lord, declarest such is thy readiness to grant, that I am worthy of thy gifts, I will ask nothing relating to my own felicity; for what thou hast already bestowed on me has made me excel therein; but I desire somewhat which may make thee glorious for piety, and render the Divinity assistant to thy designs, and may be for an honour to me among those that inquire about it, as shewing that I never once fail of obtaining what I desire of thee; for my petition is this, that thou wilt no longer think of the dedication of that statue which thou hast ordered to be set up in the Jewish temple by Petronius.”
8. And thus did Agrippa venture to cast the die upon this occasion, so great was the affair in his opinion, and in reality though he knew how dangerous a thing it was so to speak; for had not Caius approved of it, it had tended to no less than the loss of his life. So Caius, who was mightily taken with Agrippa’s obliging behaviour, and on other accounts thinking it a dishonourable thing to be guilty of falsehood before so many witnesses, in points wherein he had with such alacrity forced Agrippa to become a petitioner, and that it would look as if he had already repented of what he had said, and because he greatly admired Agrippa’s virtue, in not desiring him at all to augment his own dominions either with larger revenues, or other authority, but took care of the public tranquillity, of the laws, and of the Divinity itself, he granted him what he had requested. He also wrote thus to Petronius, “commending him for his assembling his army, and then consulting him about these affairs. If therefore,” said he, “thou hast already erected my statue, let it stand: but, if thou hast not yet dedicated it, do not trouble thyself farther about it, but dismiss thy army, and go back, and take care of those affairs which I sent thee about at first; for I have now no occasion for the erection of that statue. This I have granted as a favour to Agrippa, a man whom I honour so very greatly, that I am not able to contradict what he would have, or what he desired me to do for him.” And this was what Caius wrote to Petronius, which was before he received his letter, informing him that the Jews were very ready to revolt about the statue, and that they seemed resolved to threaten war against the Romans, and nothing else. When therefore Caius was much displeased that any attempt should be made against his government, as he was a slave to base and vicious actions on all occasions, and had no regard to what was virtuous and honourable, and against whomsoever he resolved to shew his anger, and that for any cause whatsoever, he suffered not himself to be restrained by any admonition, but thought the indulging his anger to be a real pleasure, he wrote thus to Petronius: “Seeing thou esteemest the presents made thee by the Jews to be of greater value than my commands, and art grown insolent enough to be subservient to their pleasure, I charge thee to become thy own judge, and to consider what thou art to do, now thou art under my displeasure; for I will make thee an example to the present, and to all future ages, that they may not dare to contradict the commands of their emperor.”
9. This was the epistle which Caius wrote to Petronius, but Petronius did not receive it while Caius was alive, that ship which carried it sailing so slow, that other letters came to Petronius before this, by which he understood that Caius was dead; for God would not forget the dangers Petronius had undertaken on account of the Jews, and of his own honour. But when he had taken Caius away, out of his indignation of what he had so insolently attempted in assuming to himself divine worship, both Rome and all that dominion conspired with Petronius, especially those that were of the senatorian order, to give Caius his due reward, because he had been unmercifully severe to them; for he died not long after he had written to Petronius that epistle which threatened him with death. But as for the occasion of his death, and the nature of the plot against him, I shall relate them in the progress of this narration. Now that epistle, which informed Petronius of Caius’s death, came first, and a little afterward came that which commanded him to kill himself with his own hands. Whereupon he rejoiced at this coincidence as to the death of Caius, and admired God’s providence, who without the least delay, and immediately, gave him a reward for the regard he had to the temple, and the assistance he afforded the Jews for avoiding the dangers they were in. And by this means Petronius escaped that danger of death, which he could not foresee.
What befel the Jews that were in Babylon, on occasion of Asineus and Anileus, two brethren.
1. A very sad calamity now befel the Jews that were in Mesopotamia, and especially those that dwelt in Babylonia. Inferior it was to none of the calamities which had gone before, and came together with a great slaughter of them, and that greater than any upon record before; concerning all which I shall speak accurately, and shall explain the occasions whence these miseries came upon them. There was a city in Babylonia, called Neerda; not only a very populous one, but one that had a good and a large territory about it, and, besides its other advantages, full of men also. It was besides not easily to be assaulted by enemies, from the river Euphrates’s encompassing it all round, and from the walls that were built about it. There was also the city Nisibis, situate on the same current of the river. For which reason the Jews, depending on the natural strength of these places, deposited in them that half shekel which every one, by the custom of our country, offers unto God, as well as they did other things devoted to him, for they made use of these cities as a treasury, whence, at a proper time, they were transmitted to Jerusalem; and many ten thousand men undertook the carriage of those donations, out of fear of the ravages of the Parthians, to whom the Babylonians were then subject. Now there were two men, Asineus and Anileus, of the city Neerda by birth, and brethren to one another. They were destitute of a father, and their mother put them to learn the art of weaving curtains, it not being esteemed a disgrace among them for men to be weavers of cloth. Now he that taught them that art, and was set over them, complained that they came too late to their work, and punished them with stripes; but they took this just punishment as an affront, and carried off all the weapons which were kept in that house, which were not a few, and went into a certain place where was a partition of the rivers, and was a place naturally very fit for the feeding of cattle, and for preserving such fruits as were usually laid up against winter. The poorest sort of the young men also resorted to them, whom they armed with the weapons they had gotten, and became their captains; and nothing hindered them from being their leaders into mischief; for as soon as they were become invincible, and had built them a citadel, they sent to such as fed cattle, and ordered them to pay them so much tribute out of them as might be sufficient for their maintenance, proposing also that they would be their friends, if they would submit to them, and that they would defend them from all their other enemies on every side, but that they would kill the cattle of those that refused to obey them. So they hearkened to their proposals, (for they could do nothing else), and sent them as many sheep as were required of them; whereby their forces grew greater, and they became lords over all they pleased, because they marched suddenly, and did them a mischief; insomuch that every body who had to do with them, chose to pay them respect, and they became formidable to such as came to assault them, till the report about them came to the ears of the king of Parthia himself.
2. But when the governor of Babylonia understood this, and had a mind to put a stop to them, before they grew greater, and before greater mischiefs should arise from them, he got together as great an army as he could, both of Parthians and Babylonians, and marched against them, thinking to attack them and destroy them before any one should carry them the news that he had got an army together. He then encamped at a lake, and lay still; but on the next day (it was the Sabbath, which is among the Jews a day of rest from all sorts of work) he supposed that the enemy would not dare to fight him thereon, but that he should take them, and carry them away prisoners, without fighting. He therefore proceeded gradually, and thought to fall upon them on the sudden. Now Asineus was sitting with the rest, and their weapons lay by them; upon which he said, “Sirs, I hear a neighing of horses; not of such as are feeding, but such as have men on their backs; I also hear such a noise of their bridles, that I am afraid that some enemies are coming upon us to encompass us round. However, let somebody go to look about, and make report of what reality there is in the present state of things; (38) and may what I have said prove a false alarm.” And, when he had said this, some of them went out to spy out what was the matter, and they came again immediately, and said to him, That “neither hast thou been mistaken in telling us what our enemies were doing, nor will those enemies permit us to be injurious to people any longer. We are caught by their intrigues like brute-beasts, and there is a large body of cavalry marching upon us, while we are destitute of hands to defend ourselves withal, because we are restrained from doing it by the prohibition of our law, which obliges us to rest [on this day].” But Asineus did not by any means agree with the opinion of his spy as to what was to be done, but thought it more agreeable to the law to pluck up their spirits in this necessity they were fallen into, and break their law by avenging themselves, although they should die in the action, than, by doing nothing, to please their enemies in submitting to be slain by them. Accordingly he took up his weapons, and infused courage into those that were with him to act as courageously as himself. So they fell upon their enemies, and slew a great many of them, because they despised them and came as to a certain victory, and put the rest to flight.
3. But when the news of this fight came to the king of Parthia, he was surprised at the boldness of these brethren, and was desirous to see them, and speak with them. He therefore sent the most trusty of all his guards to say thus to them, “That king Artabanus, although he hath been unjustly treated by you, who have made an attempt against his government, yet hath he more regard to your courageous behaviour, than to the anger he bears to you, and hath sent me to give you his right-hand, (39) and security; and he permits you to come to him safely, and without any violence upon the road, and he wants to have you address yourselves to him as his friends, without meaning any guile or deceit to you. He also promises to make you presents, and to pay you those respects which will make an addition of his power to your courage, and thereby be of advantage to you.” Yet did Asineus himself put off his journey thither, but sent his brother Anileus with all such presents as he could procure. So he went, and was admitted to the king’s presence; and when Artabanus saw Anileus coming alone, he inquired into the reason why Asineus avoided to come along with him; and when he understood that he was afraid, and staid by the lake, he took an oath by the gods of his country, that he would do them no harm, if they came to him upon the assurances he gave them, and gave him his right-hand. This is of the greatest force there with all these barbarians, and affords a firm security to those who converse with them; for none of them will deceive you, when once they have given you their right-hands, nor will any one doubt of their fidelity, when that is once given, even though they were before suspected of injustice. When Artabanus had done this, he sent away Anileus to persuade his brother to come to him. Now this the king did, because he wanted to curb his own governors of provinces by the courage of these Jewish brethren, lest they should make a league with them; for they were ready for a revolt, and were disposed to rebel, had they been sent on an expedition against them. He was also afraid, lest, when he was engaged in a war in order to subdue those governors of provinces that had revolted, the party of Asineus, and those in Babylonia, should be augmented, and either make war upon him, when they should hear of that revolt, or, if they should be disappointed in that case, they would not fail of doing farther mischief to him.
4. When the king had these intentions, he sent away Anileus, and Anileus prevailed on his brother [to come to the king], when he had related to him the king’s good-will, and the oath that he had taken. Accordingly they made haste to go to Artabanus, who received them when they were come with pleasure, and admired Asineus’s courage in the actions he had done, and this because he was a little man to see to, and at first sight appeared contemptible also, and such as one might deem a person of no value at all. He also said to his friends, how, upon the comparison, he shewed his soul to be, in all respects, superior to his body; and when, as they were drinking together, he once shewed Asineus to Abdagases, one of the generals of his army, and told him his name, and described the great courage he was of in war, and Abdagases had desired leave to kill him, and thereby to inflict on him a punishment for those injuries he had done to the Parthian government, the king replied, “I will never give thee leave to kill a man who hath depended on my faith, especially not after I have sent him my right-hand, and endeavoured to gain his belief by oaths made by the gods. But, if thou beest a truly warlike man, thou standest not in need of my perjury. Go thou then, and avenge the Parthian government; attack this man, when he is returned back, and conquer him by the forces that are under thy command, without my privity.” Hereupon the king called for Asineus, and said to him, “It is time for thee, O thou young man, to return home, and not to provoke the indignation of my generals in this place any farther, lest they attempt to murder thee, and that without my approbation. I commit to thee the country of Babylonia in trust, that it may, by thy care, be preserved free from robbers, and from other mischiefs. I have kept my faith inviolable to thee, and that not in trifling affairs, but in those that concerned thy safety, and do therefore deserve thou shouldst be kind to me.” When he had said this, and given Asineus some presents, he sent him away immediately; who, when he was come home, built fortresses, and became great in a little time, and managed things with such courage and success, as no other person, that had no higher a beginning, ever did before him. Those Parthian governors also, who were sent that way, paid him great respect; and the honour that was paid him by the Babylonians seemed to them too small, and beneath his deserts, although he were in no small dignity and power there: nay indeed, all the affairs of Mesopotamia depended upon him, and he more and more flourished in this happy condition of his for fifteen years.
5. But as their affairs were in so flourishing a state, there sprang up a calamity among them on the following occasion. When once they had deviated from that course of virtue whereby they had gained so great power, they affronted and transgressed the laws of their forefathers, and fell under the dominion of their lusts and pleasures. A certain Parthian, who came as general of an army into those parts, had a wife following him, who had a vast reputation for other accomplishments, and particularly was admired above all other women for her beauty: Anileus, the brother of Asineus, either heard of that her beauty from others, or perhaps saw her himself also, and so became at once her lover and her enemy; partly because he could not hope to enjoy this woman but by obtaining power over her as a captive, and partly because he thought he could not conquer his inclinations for her: as soon, therefore, as her husband had been declared an enemy to them, and was fallen in the battle, the widow of the deceased was married to this her lover. However, this woman did not come into their house without producing great misfortunes both to Anileus himself, and to Asineus also; but brought great mischiefs upon them, on the occasion following. Since she was led away captive, upon the death of her husband, she concealed the images of those gods which were their country gods, common to her husband and to herself: now it was the custom of that country (40) for all to have the idols they worship in their own houses, and to carry them along with them when they go into a foreign land; agreeably to which custom of theirs she carried her idols with her. Now at first she performed her worship to them privately, but when she was become Anileus’s married wife, she worshipped them in her accustomed manner, and with the same appointed ceremonies which she used in her former husband’s days; upon which their most esteemed friends blamed him at first, that he did not act after the manner of the Hebrews, nor perform what was agreeable to their laws, in marrying a foreign wife, and one that transgressed the accurate appointments of their sacrifices and religious ceremonies: that he ought to consider, lest by allowing himself in many pleasures of the body, he might lose his principality, on account of the beauty of a wife, and that high authority which, by God’s blessing, he had arrived at. But when they prevailed not at all upon him, he slew one of them for whom he had the greatest respect, because of the liberty he took with him; who, when he was dying, out of regard to the laws, imprecated a punishment upon his murderer Anileus, and upon Asineus also, and that all their companions might come to a like end from their enemies; upon the two first as the principal actors of this wickedness, and upon the rest as those that would not assist him when he suffered in the defence of their laws. Now these latter were sorely grieved, yet did they tolerate these doings, because they remembered that they had arrived at their present happy state by no other means than their fortitude. But when they also heard of the worship of those gods whom the Parthians adore, they thought the injury that Anileus offered to their laws was to be borne no longer; and a greater number of them came to Asineus, and loudly complained of Anileus, and told him, That it had been well that he had of himself seen what was advantageous to them; but that however it was now high time to correct what had been done amiss, before the crime that had been committed proved the ruin of himself, and all the rest of them. They added, that the marriage of this woman was made without their consent, and without a regard to their old laws; and that the worship which this woman paid [to her gods] was a reproach to the God whom they worshipped. Now Asineus was sensible of his brother’s offence, that it had been already the cause of great mischiefs, and would be so for the time to come; yet did he tolerate the same from the good-will he had to so near a relation, and forgiving it to him, on account that his brother was quite over-borne by his wicked inclinations. But as more and more still came about him every day, and the clamours about it became greater, he at length spake to Anileus about these clamours, reproving him for his former actions, and desiring him for the future to leave them off, and send the woman back to her relations. But nothing was gained by these reproofs; for as the woman perceived what a tumult was made among the people on her account, and was afraid for Anileus, lest he should come to any harm for his love to her, she infused poison into Asineus’s food, and thereby took him off, and was now secure of prevailing, when her lover was to be judge of what should be done about her.
6. So Anileus took the government upon himself alone, and led his army against the villages of Mithridates, who was a man of principal authority in Parthia, and had married king Artabanus’s daughter; he also plundered them, and among that prey was found much money, and many slaves, as also a great number of sheep, and many other things which, when gained, make men’s condition happy. Now when Mithridates, who was there at this time, heard that his villages were taken, he was very much displeased to find that Anileus had first begun to injure him, and to affront him in his present dignity, when he had not offered any injury to him before-hand; and he got together the greatest body of horsemen he was able, and those out of that number which were of an age fit for war, and came to fight Anileus; and when he was arrived at a certain village of his own, he lay still there, as intending to fight him on the day following, because it was the sabbath, the day on which the Jews rest. And when Anileus was informed of this by a Syrian stranger of another village, who not only gave him an exact account of other circumstances, but told him where Mithridates would have a feast, he took his supper at a proper time, and marched by night, with an intent of falling upon the Parthians while they were unaprrized what they should do; so he fell upon them about the fourth watch of the night, and some of them he slew while they were asleep, and others he put to flight, and took Mithridates alive, and set him naked upon an ass, (41) which, among the Parthians, is esteemed the greatest reproach possible. And when he had brought him into a wood, with such a resolution, and his friends desired him to kill Mithridates, he soon told them his own mind to the contrary, and said that it was not right to kill a man who was of one of the principal families among the Parthians, and greatly honoured with matching into the royal family; that so far as they had hitherto gone was tolerable; for although they had injured Mithridates, yet if they preserved his life, this benefit would be remembered by him to the advantage of those that gave it him; but that if be were once put to death, the king would not be at rest till he had made a great slaughter of the Jews that dwelt at Babylon; “to whose safety we ought to have a regard, both on account of our relation to them, and because, if any misfortune befal us, we have no other place to retire to, since he hath gotten the flower of their youth under him.” By this thought, and this speech of his made in council, he persuaded them to act accordingly; so Mithridates was let go. But when he was got away, his wife reproached him, that although he was son-in-law to the king, he neglected to avenge himself on those that had injured him, while he took no care about it, but was contented to have been made a captive by the Jews, and to have escaped them; and she bid him, “either to go back, like a man of courage, or else she sware by the gods of their royal family, that she would certainly dissolve her marriage with him.” Upon which, partly because he could not bear the daily trouble of her taunts, and partly because he was afraid of her insolence, lest she should in earnest dissolve her marriage, he unwillingly, and against his inclinations, got together again as great an army as he could, and marched along with them, as himself thinking it a thing not to be borne any longer, that he, a Parthian, should owe his preservation to the Jews, when they had been too hard for him in the war.
7. But as soon as Anileus understood that Mithridates was marching with a great army against him, he thought it too ignominious a thing to tarry about the lakes, and not to take the first opportunity of meeting his enemies, and he hoped to have the same success, and to beat their enemies as they did before; as also he ventured boldly upon the like attempts. Accordingly he led out his army, and a great many more joined themselves to that army, in order to betake themselves to plunder the people, and in order to terrify the enemy again by their numbers. But when they had marched ninety furlongs, while the road had been through dry [and sandy] places, and about the midst of the day, they were become very thirsty; and Mithridates appeared, and fell upon them, as they were in distress for want of water, on which account, and on account of the time of the day, they were not able to bear their weapons. So Anileus and his men were put to an ignominious rout, while men in despair were to attack those that were fresh and in good plight; so a great slaughter was made, and many ten thousand men fell. Now Anileus, and all that stood firm about him, ran away, as fast as they were able, into a wood, and afforded Mithridates the pleasure of having gained a great victory over them. But there now came in to Anileus a conflux of bad men, who regarded their own lives very little, if they might but gain some present ease, insomuch that they, by thus coming to him, compensated the multitude of those that perished in the fight. Yet were not these men like to those that fell, because they were rash, and unexercised in war; however, with these he came upon the villages of the Babylonians, and a mighty devastation of all things was made there by the injuries that Anileus did them. So the Babylonians, and those that had already been in the war, sent to Neerda to the Jews there, and demanded Anileus. But although they did not agree to their demands, (for if they had been willing to deliver him up, it was not in their power so to do); yet did they desire to make peace with them. To which the other replied, that they also wanted to settle conditions of peace with them, and sent men, together with the Babylonians, who discoursed with Anileus about them. But the Babylonians, upon taking a view of his situation, and having learned where Anileus and his men lay, fell secretly upon them as they were drunk, and fallen asleep, and slew all that they caught of them, without any fear, and killed Anileus himself also.
8. The Babylonians were now freed from Anileus’s heavy incursions, which had been a great restraint to the effects of that hatred they bore to the Jews; for they were almost always at variance, by reason of the contrariety of their laws; and which party soever grew boldest before the other, they assaulted the other: and at this time in particular it was, that upon the ruin of Anileus’s party, the Babylonians attacked the Jews, which made those Jews so vehemently to resent the injuries they received from the Babylonians, that being neither able to fight them, nor bearing to live with them, they went to Seleucia, the principal city of those parts, which was built by Seleucus Nicator. It was inhabited by many of the Macedonians, but by more of the Grecians; not a few of the Syrians also dwelt there; and thither did the Jews fly, and lived there five years without any misfortunes. But on the sixth year, a pestilence came upon these at Babylon, which occasioned new removals of men’s habitations out of that city; and because they came to Seleucia, it happened that a still heavier calamity came upon them on that account, which I am going to relate immediately.
9. Now the way of living of the people of Seleucia, which were Greeks and Syrians, was commonly quarrelsome, and full of discords, though the Greeks were too hard for the Syrians. When therefore the Jews were come thither, and dwelt among them, there arose a sedition, and the Syrians were too hard for the other, by the assistance of the Jews, who are men that despise dangers, and very ready to fight upon any occasion. Now when the Greeks had the worst in this sedition, and saw that they had but one way of recovering their former authority, and that was, if they could prevent the agreement between the Jews and the Syrians, they every one discoursed with such of the Syrians as were formerly their acquaintance, and promised they would be at peace and friendship with them. Accordingly they gladly agreed so to do; and when this was done by the principal men of both nations, they soon agreed to a reconciliation; and when they were so agreed, they both knew that the great design of such their union would be their common hatred to the Jews. Accordingly they fell upon them, and slew about fifty thousand of them; nay the Jews were all destroyed, excepting a few who escaped, either by the compassion which their friends or neighbours afforded them, in order to let them fly away. These retired to Ctesiphon, a Grecian city, and situate near to Seleucia, where the king [of Parthia] lives in winter every year, and where the greatest part of his riches are reposited; but the Jews had here no certain settlement, those of Seleucia having little concern for the king’s honour. Now the whole nation of the Jews were in fear both of the Babylonians, and of the Seleucians, because all the Syrians that live in those places agreed with the Seleucians in the war against the Jews; so the most of them gathered themselves together, and went to Neerda, and Nisibis, and obtained security there by the strength of those cities; besides which their inhabitants, who were a great many, were all warlike men. And this was the state of the Jews at this time in Babylonia.
(1) Since St. Luke once, Acts 5:37, and Josephus four several times, once here, § 6; and B. XX. chap. 5. § 2, Of the War, B. II. chap. 8. § 1 and chap. 17. § 8, calls this Judas, who was the pestilent author of that seditious doctrine and temper which brought the Jewish nation to utter destruction, a Galilean, but here (§ 1) Josephus calls him a Gaulonite, of the city of Gamala. It is a great question where this Judas was born, whether in Galilee on the west side, or in Gaulonitis on the east side of the river Jordan; while, in the place just now cited out of the Antiquities, B. XX. chap. 5. § 2, he is not only called a Galilean, but it is added to his story, as I have signified in the books that go before these, as if he had still called him a Galilean in those Antiquities before, as well as in that particular place, as Dean Aldrich observes, Of the War, B. II. chap. 8. § 1. Nor can one well imagine why he should here call him a Gaulonite, when in the 6th section following here, as well as twice Of the War, he still calls him a Galilean. As for the city of Gamala, whence this Judas was derived, it determines nothing, since there were two of that name, the one in Gaulonitis, the other in Galilee. See Reland on the city or town of that name.
(2) It seems not very improbable to me, that this Sadduc, the Pharisee, was the very same man of whom the Rabbins speak, as the unhappy but undesigning occasion of the impiety or infidelity of the Sadducees; nor perhaps had the men this name of Sadducees till this very time, though they were a distinct sect long before. See the note on B. XIII. chap. 10. § 5 and Dean Prideaux, as there quoted; nor do we, that I know of, find the least footsteps of such impiety or infidelity of these Sadducees before this time, the Recognitions assuring us, that they began about the days of John the Baptist, B. 1. chap. 54.
(3) It seems by what Josephus says here, and Philo himself elsewhere, Op. p. 679, that these Essens did not use to go to the Jewish festivals at Jerusalem, or to offer sacrifices there, which may be one great occasion why they are never mentioned in the ordinary books of the New Testament; though in the Apostolical Constitutions they are mentioned, as those that observed the customs of their forefathers and that without any such ill character laid upon them, as is there laid upon the other sects among that people.
(4) Who these Πολισταὶ in Josephus, or Κτίσται in Strabo [VII.3.3], among the Pythagoric Dacæ were, it is not easy to determine. Scaliger offers no improbable conjecture, that some of these Dacæ lived alone, like monks, in tents or caves, but that others of them lived together in built cities, and thence were called by such names as implied the same.
(5) We may here take notice, as well as in the parallel parts of the books Of the War, B. II. chap. 9. § 1, that after the death of Herod the Great, and the succession of Archelaus, Josephus is very brief in his accounts of Judea, till near his own time. I suppose the reason is, that after the large history of Nicolaus of Damascus, including the life of Herod, and probably the succession and first actions of his sons, he had but few good histories of those times before him.
(6) Num. 19:11-14.
(7) This citation is now wanting.
(8) These Jews, as they are here called, whose blood Pilate shed on this occasion, may very well be those very Galilean Jews whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices, Luke 13:1, 2; these tumults being usually excited at some of the Jews great festivals, when they slew abundance of sacrifices, and the Galileans being commonly much more busy in such tumults than those of Judea and Jerusalem, as we learn from the history of Archelaus, Antiq. B. XVII. chap. 9. § 3 and chap. 10. § 2, 9; though indeed Josephus’s present copies say not one word of those eighteen upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, which the 4th verse of the same 13th chapter of St. Luke informs us of. But since our gospel teaches us, Luke 23:6, 7, that when Pilate heard of Galilee, he asked whether Jesus were a Galilean? And as soon as he knew that he belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod. And ver. 12, The same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together; for before they had been at enmity between themselves. Take the very probable key of this matter in the words of the learned Noldius de Herod. p. 249. “The cause of the enmity between Herod and Pilate, says he, seems to have been this; that Pilate had intermeddled with the tetrarch’s jurisdiction, and had slain some of his Galilean subjects, Luke 13:1; and, as he was willing to correct that error, he sent Christ to Herod at this time.”
(9) A.D. 33, Apr. 3.
(10) Apr. 5.
(11) Of the banishment of these 4000 Jews into Sardinia by Tiberius, see Suetonius in Tiber. § 36. But as for Mr. Reland’s note here, which supposes that Jews could not, consistently with their laws, be soldiers, it is contradicted by one branch of the history before us, and contrary to innumerable instances of their fighting and proving excellent soldiers in war; and, indeed, many of the best of them, and even under heathen kings themselves, did so, those, I mean, who allowed them their rest on the sabbath day, and other solemn festivals, and let them live according to their own laws, as Alexander the Great, and the Ptolemies of Egypt did. It is true they could not always obtain those privileges, and then they got excused as well as they could, or sometimes absolutely refused to fight, which seems to have been the case here, as to the major part of the Jews now banished, but nothing more. See several of the Roman decrees in their favour as to such matters, B. XIV. chap. 10.
(12) Since Moses never came himself beyond Jordan, nor particularly to mount Gerizzim, and since these Samaritans have a tradition among them, related here by Dr. Hudson, from Reland, who was very skilful in Jewish and Samaritan learning, that in the days of Uzzi or Ozzi the high priest, 1 Chron. 6:6, the ark, and other sacred vessels were, by God’s command, laid up or hidden in mount Gerizzim, it is highly probable that this was the foolish foundation the present Samaritans went upon, in the sedition here described, and that we should read here, Ὤζιως instead of Μαϋσέως, in the text of Josephus. [See 2 Macc. 2:4, and 1 Chron. 6:14.]
(13) This mention of the high priest’s sacred garments received seven days before a festival, and purified in those days against a festival, as having been polluted by being in the custody of heathens, in Josephus, agrees well with the traditions of the Talmudists, as Reland here observes. Nor is there any question but the three feasts here mentioned, were the Passover, Pentecost, and Feast of Tabernacles; and the Fast, so called by way of distinction, as Acts 27:9, was the great day of expiation.
(14) This calculation, from all Josephus’s Greek copies, is exactly right; for since Herod died about September, in the fourth year before the Christian æra, and Tiberius began, as is well known, Aug. 19, A.D. 14, it is evident that the 37th year of Philip, reckoned from his father’s death, was the twentieth of Tiberius, or near the end of A.D. 33 (the very year of our Saviour’s death also), or however in the beginning of the next year, A.D. 34. This Philip the tetrarch seems to have been the best of all the posterity of Herod, for his love of peace, and his love of justice.
(15)An excellent example this.
(16) This Herod seems to have had the additional name of Philip, as Antipas was named Herod Antipas, and as Antipas and Antipater seem to be in a manner the very same name, yet were the names of two sons of Herod the Great; so might Philip the tetrarch, and this Herod-Philip be two different sons of the same father, all which Grotius observes on Matthew 14:3. Nor was it, as I with Grotius and others of the learned, Philip the tetrarch, but this Herod-Philip, whose wife Herod the tetrarch had married, and that in her first husband’s life-time, and when her first husband had issue by her; for which adulterous and incestuous marriage John the Baptist justly reproved Herod the tetrarch, and for which reproof Salome, the daughter of Herodias, by her first husband Herod-Philip, who was still alive, occasioned him to be unjustly beheaded.
(17) Whether this sudden extinction of almost the entire lineage of Herod the Great, which was very numerous, as we are both here and in the next section informed, was not in part as a punishment for the gross incests they were frequently guilty of in marrying their own nephews and nieces, well deserves to be considered. See Levit. 18:6,7; 21:10. And Noldius, De Herod., No. 269, 270.
(18) There are coins still extant of this Emessa, as Spanheim informs us.
(19) Spanheim also informs us of a coin still extant of this Jotape, daughter of the king of Commageus.
(29) Spanheim observes, that we have here an instance of the Attic quantity of use-money, which was the eighth part of the original sum, or 12½ per cent.; for such is the proportion of 2,500 to 20,000.
(21) The governor of the Jews there. [The Greek ἀλαβάρχης is of unknown origin, though I have my own ideas about it.]
(22) Tiberius junior.
(24) This high commendation of Antonia for marrying but once, given here, and supported elsewhere, Antiq. B. XVII. chap. 13. § 4, and this notwithstanding the strongest temptations, shews how honourable single marriages were both among the Jews and Romans, in the days of Josephus and of the apostles, and takes away much of that surprise which the modern Protestants have at those laws of the apostles, where no widows, but those who had been the wives of one husband only, are taken into the church list; and no bishops, priests, or deacons are allowed to marry more than once, without leaving off to officiate as clergymen any longer. See Luke 2:36; 1 Tim. 5:11,12, 3:2,12; Tit. 1:6; Constitut. Apost. B. II. § 1, 2; B. VI. § 17; Can. B. XVII; Grot. in Luc. ii:36 & Respons. ad Consult. Cassand. p. 44; and Cotelet. in Constitut. B. VI. § 17. And note, that Tertullian owns this law, against second marriages of the clergy, had been once at least executed in his time, and heavily complains elsewhere, that the breach thereof had not been always punished by the catholics, as it ought to have been. Jerome, speaking of the ill reputation of marrying twice, says, That no such person could be chosen into the clergy in his days; which Augustine testifies also; and for Epiphanius, rather earlier he is clear and full to the same purpose, and says, that law obtained over the whole catholic church in his days; as the places in the forecited authors inform us.
(25) Dr. Hudson here takes notice, out of Seneca, Epistle V. [here; no local links on that site, sorry; though he doesn't say it was a custom of Tiberius, but just that it was done, presumably by everyone] that this was the custom of Tiberius, to couple the prisoner, and the soldier that guarded him, together in the same chain.
(26) Tiberius his own grandson, and Caius his brother Drusus’s grandson.
(27) So I correct Josephus’s copy, which calls Germanicus his brother, who was his brother’s son.
(28) This is a known thing among the Roman historians and poets, that Tiberius was greatly given to astrology and divination.
(29) This name of a lion is often given to tyrants, especially by the Jews, such Agrippa, and probably his freed-man Marsyas, in effect were, Ezek. 19:1-9; Esth. 14:13, 2 Tim. 4:17. They are also sometimes compared to, or represented by wild beasts, of which the lion is the principal, Dan. 7:3-8; Apoc. 13:1-2.
(30) Although Caius now promised to give Agrippa the tetrarchy of Lysanias, yet was it not actually conferred upon him till the reign of Claudius, as we learn, Antiq. B. XIX, chap. 5. § 1.
(31) This is a most remarkable chapter, as containing such instances of the interposition of providence, as have been always very rare among the other idolatrous nations, but of old very many among the posterity of Abraham, the worshippers of the true God; nor do these seem much inferior to those in the Old Testament, which are the more remarkable, because, among all their other follies and vices, the Jews were not at this time idolaters; and the deliverances here mentioned were done in order to prevent their relapse into that idolatry.
(32) Josephus here assures us, that the ambassadors from Alexandria to Caius were on each part no more than three in number, for the Jews, and for the Gentiles, which are but six in all; whereas Philo, who was the principal ambassador from the Jews, as Josephus here confesses, (as was Apion for the Gentiles), says, the Jews ambassadors were themselves no fewer than five, towards the end of his legation to Caius; which, if there be no mistake in the copies, must be supposed the truth; nor, in that case, would Josephus have contradicted so authentic a witness, had he seen that account of Philo’s, which that he ever did does not appear.
(33) This Alexander, the alabarch, or governor of the Jews at Alexandria, and brother to Philo, is supposed by Bp. Pearson, in Act. Apost. page 41, 42, to be the same with that Alexander who is mentioned by St. Luke, as of the kindred of the high-priests, Acts 4:6.
(34) What Josephus here, and § 6, relates as done by the Jews before seed-time, is in Philo, not far off the time when the corn was ripe, who, as Le Clerc notes, differ here one from the other. This is another indication, that Josephus, when he wrote this account, had not seen Philo’s Legat. ad Caium,, otherwise he would hardly have herein differed from him.
(35) This Publius Petronius was after this still president of Syria under Claudius, and, at the desire of Agrippa, published a severe decree against the inhabitants of Dora, who, in a sort of imitation of Caius, had set op a statue of Claudius in a Jewish synagogue there. This decree is extant, B. XIX. chap. 6. § 3, and greatly confirms the present accounts of Josephus, as do the other decrees of Claudius relating to the like Jewish affairs, B. XIX. chap. 5. § 2, 3, to which I refer the inquisitive reader.
(36) Josephus here uses the solemn New Testament words, παρουσία, and ἐπιφάνεια, the presence, and appearance of God, for the extraordinary manifestation of his power and providence to Petronius, by sending rain in a time of distress, immediately upon the resolution he had taken to preserve the temple unpolluted, at the hazard of his own life, without any other miraculous appearance at all in that case; which well deserves to be taken notice of here, and greatly illustrates several texts both in the Old and New Testament.
(37) This behaviour of Caius to Agrippa, is very like that of Herod Antipas, his uncle, to Herodias, Agrippa’s sister, about John the Baptist, Matt. 14:6-11.
(38) Ἐνεστηκότων is here, and in very many other places of Josephus, immediately at hand, and is to be so expounded 2 Thess. 2:2 when some falsely pretended, that St. Paul had said either by word of mouth, or by an epistle, or by both, that the day of Christ (ἐνέστηκε) was immediately at hand; for still St. Paul did then plainly think that day not very many years future.
(39) The joining of the right-hands was esteemed among the Persians [and Parthians], in particular, a most inviolable obligation to fidelity, as Dr. Hudson here observes, and refers to the commentary on Justin, B. XI. chap. 15., for its confirmation. We often meet with the like use of it in Josephus.
(40) This custom of the Mesopotamians to carry their household gods along with them wherever they travelled, is as old as the days of Jacob, when Rachel his wife did the same, Gen. 31:19, 30-35; nor is it to pass here unobserved, what great miseries came on these Jews, because they suffered one of their leaders to marry an idolatrous wife, contrary to the law of Moses. Of which matter see the note on B. XIX. chap. 5. § 3.
(41) This custom in Syria and Mesopotamia of setting men upon an ass, by way of disgrace, is still kept up at Damascus in Syria; where, in order to shew their despite against the Christians, the Turks will not suffer them to hire horses, but asses only, when they go abroad to see the country, as Mr. Maundrell assures us, p. 128.