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Antiquities of the Jews - Book 16
CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF TWELVE YEARS.
FROM THE FINISHING OF THE TEMPLE BY HEROD TO THE DEATH OF ALEXANDER AND ARISTOBULUS.
Chapter 1. A Law Of Herod's About, Thieves, Salome And Pheroras Calumniate Alexander And Aristobulus, Upon Their Return From Rome For Whom Yet Herod Provides Wives
Chapter 2. How Herod Twice Sailed To Agrippa; And How Upon The Complaint In Ionia Against The Greeks Agrippa Confirmed The Laws To Them
Chapter 3. How Great Disturbances Arose In Herods Family On His Preferring Antipater His Eldest Son Before The Rest, Till Alexander Took That Injury Very Heinously
Chapter 4. How During Antipater's Abode At Rome, Herod Brought Alexander And Aristobulus Before Caesar And Accused Them Alexander's Defense Of Himself Before Caesar And Reconciliation To His Father
Chapter 5. How Herod Celebrated The Games That Were To Return Every Fifth Year Upon The Building Of Cesarea; And How He Built And Adorned Many Other Places After A Magnificent Manner; And Did Many Other Actions Gloriously
Chapter 6. An Embassage In Cyrene And Asia To Caesar, Concerning The Complaints They Had To Make Against The Greeks; With Copies Of The Epistles Which Caesar And Agrippa Wrote To The Cities For Them
Chapter 7. How, Upon Herod's Going Down Into David's Sepulcher, The Sedition In His Family Greatly Increased
Chapter 8. How Herod Took Up Alexander And Bound Him; Whom Yet Archelaus King Of Cappadocia Reconciled To His Father Herod Again
Chapter 9. Concerning The Revolt Of The Trachonites; How Sylleus Accused Herod Before Caesar; And How Herod, When Caesar Was Angry At Him, Resolved To Send Nicolaus To Rome
Chapter 10. How Eurycles Falsely Accused Herod's Sons; And How Their Father Bound Them, And Wrote To Caesar About Them Of Sylleus And How He Was Accused By Nicolaus
Chapter 11. How Herod, By Permission From Caesar Accused His Sons Before
A LAW OF HEROD'S ABOUT, THIEVES.
SALOME AND PHERORAS CALUMNIATE ALEXANDER AND ARISTOBULUS, UPON THEIR RETURN FROM ROME FOR WHOM YET HEROD PROVIDES WIVES.
1. AS king Herod was very zealous in the administration of his entire government, and desirous to put a stop to particular acts of injustice which were done by criminals about the city and country, he made a law, no way like our original laws, and which he enacted of himself, to expose house-breakers to be ejected out of his kingdom; which punishment was not only grievous to be borne by the offenders, but contained in it a dissolution of the customs of our forefathers; for this slavery to foreigners, and such as did not live after the manner of Jews, and this necessity that they were under to do whatsoever such men should command, was an offense against our religious settlement, rather than a punishment to such as were found to have offended, such a punishment being avoided in our original laws; for those laws ordain, that the thief shall restore fourfold; and that if he have not so much, he shall be sold indeed, but not to foreigners, nor so that he be under perpetual slavery, for he must have been released after six years.
But this law, thus enacted, in order to introduce a severe and illegal punishment, seemed to be a piece of insolence of Herod, when he did not act as a king, but as a tyrant, and thus contemptuously, and without any regard to his subjects, did he venture to introduce such a punishment.
Now this penalty, thus brought into practice, was like Herod's other actions, and became a part of his accusation, and an occasion of the hatred he lay under.
2. Now at this time it was that he sailed to Italy, as very desirous to meet with Caesar, and to see his sons who lived at Rome; and Caesar was not only very obliging to him in other respects, but delivered him his sons again, that he might take them home with him, as having already completed themselves in the sciences; but as soon as the young men were come from Italy, the multitude were very desirous to see them, and they became conspicuous among them all, as adorned with great blessings of fortune, and having the countenances of persons of royal dignity.
So they soon appeared to be the objects of envy to Salome, the king's sister, and to such as had raised calumnies against Mariamne; for they were suspicious, that when these came to the government, they should be punished for the wickedness they had been guilty of against their mother; so they made this very fear of theirs a motive to raise calumnies against them also.
They gave it out that they were not pleased with their father's company, because he had put their mother to death, as if it were not agreeable to piety to appear to converse with their mother's murderer.
Now, by carrying these stories; that had indeed a true foundation [in the fact], but were only built on probabilities as to the present accusation, they were able to do them mischief, and to make Herod take away that kindness from his sons which he had before borne to them; for they did not say these things to him openly, but scattered abroad such words, among the rest of the multitude; from which words, when carried to Herod, he was induced [at last] to hate them, and which natural affection itself, even in length of time, was not able to overcome; yet was the king at that time in a condition to prefer the natural affection of a father before all the suspicions and calumnies his sons lay under. So he respected them as he ought to do, and married them to wives, now they were of an age suitable thereto.
To Aristobulus he gave for a wife Bernice, Salome's daughter; and to Alexander, Glaphyra, the daughter of Archelaus, king of Cappadocia.
HOW HEROD TWICE SAILED TO AGRIPPA; AND HOW UPON THE COMPLAINT IN IONIA AGAINST THE GREEKS AGRIPPA CONFIRMED THE LAWS TO THEM.
1. WHEN Herod had despatched these affairs, and he understood that Marcus Agrippa had sailed again out of Italy into Asia, he made haste to him, and besought him to come to him into his kingdom, and to partake of what he might justly expect from one that had been his guest, and was his friend. This request he greatly pressed, and to it Agrippa agreed, and came into Judea; whereupon Herod omitted nothing that might please him.
He entertained him in his new-built cities, and showed him the edifices he had built, and provided all sorts of the best and most costly dainties for him and his friends, and that at Sebaste and Cesarea, about that port that he had built, and at the fortresses which he had erected at great expenses, Alexandrium, and Herodium, and Hyrcania.
He also conducted him to the city Jerusalem, where all the people met him in their festival garments, and received him with acclamations.
Agrippa also offered a hecatomb of sacrifices to God; and feasted the people, without omitting any of the greatest dainties that could be gotten.
He also took so much pleasure there, that he abode many days with them, and would willingly have staid longer, but that the season of the year made him make haste away; for as winter was coming on, he thought it not safe to go to sea later, and yet he was of necessity to return again to Ionia.
2. So Agrippa went away, when Herod had bestowed on him, and on the principal of those that were with him, many presents; but king Herod, when he had passed the winter in his own dominions, made haste to get to him again in the spring, when he knew he designed to go to a campaign at the Bosptiorus.
So when he had sailed by Rhodes and by Cos, he touched at Lesbos, as thinking he should have overtaken Agrippa there; but he was taken short here by a north wind, which hindered his ship from going to the shore; so he continued many days at Chius, and there he kindly treated a great many that came to him, and obliged them by giving them royal gifts.
And when he saw that the portico of the city was fallen down, which as it was overthrown in the Mithridatic war, and was very large and fine building, so was it not so easy to rebuild that as it was the rest, yet did he furnish a sum not only large enough for that purpose, but what was more than sufficient to finish the building; and ordered them not to overlook that portico, but to rebuild it quickly, that so the city might recover its proper ornaments. And when the high winds were laid, he sailed to Mytilene, and thence to Byzantium; and when he heard that Agrippa was sailed beyond the Cyanean rocks, he made all the haste possible to overtake him, and came up with him about Sinope, in Pontus.
He was seen sailing by the ship-men most unexpectedly, but appeared to their great joy; and many friendly salutations there were between them, insomuch that Agrippa thought he had received the greatest marks of the king's kindness and humanity towards him possible, since the king had come so long a voyage, and at a very proper season, for his assistance, and had left the government of his own dominions, and thought it more worth his while to come to him.
Accordingly, Herod was all in all to Agrippa, in the management of the war, and a great assistant in civil affairs, and in giving him counsel as to particular matters.
He was also a pleasant companion for him when he relaxed himself, and a joint partaker with him in all things; ill troubles because of his kindness, and in prosperity because of the respect Agrippa had for him.
Now as soon as those affairs of Pontus were finished, for whose sake Agrippa was sent thither, they did not think fit to return by sea, but passed through Paphlagonia and Cappadocia; they then traveled thence over great Phrygia, and came to Ephesus, and then they sailed from Ephesus to Samos.
And indeed the king bestowed a great many benefits on every city that he came to, according as they stood in need of them; for as for those that wanted either money or kind treatment, he was not wanting to them; but he supplied the former himself out of his own expenses: he also became an intercessor with Agrippa for all such as sought after his favor, and he brought things so about, that the petitioners failed in none of their suits to him, Agrippa being himself of a good disposition, and of great generosity, and ready to grant all such requests as might be advantageous to the petitioners, provided they were not to the detriment of others.
The inclination of the king was of great weight also, and still excited Agrippa, who was himself ready to do good; for he made a reconciliation between the people of Ilium, at whom he was angry, and paid what money the people of Chius owed Caesar's procurators, and discharged them of their tributes; and helped all others, according as their several necessities required.
3. But now, when Agrippa and Herod were in Ionia, a great multitude of Jews, who dwelt in their cities, came to them, and laying hold of the opportunity and the liberty now given them, laid before them the injuries which they suffered, while they were not permitted to use their own laws, but were compelled to prosecute their law-suits, by the ill usage of the judges, upon their holy days, and were deprived of the money they used to lay up at Jerusalem, and were forced into the army, and upon such other offices as obliged them to spend their sacred money; from which burdens they always used to be freed by the Romans, who had still permitted them to live according to their own laws.
When this clamor was made, the king desired of Agrippa that he would hear their cause, and assigned Nicolaus, one of his friends, to plead for those their privileges.
Accordingly, when Agrippa had called the principal of the Romans, and such of the kings and rulers as were there, to be his assessors, Nicolaus stood up, and pleaded for the Jews, as follows: "It is of necessity incumbent on such as are in distress to have recourse to those that have it in their power to free them from those injuries they lie under; and for those that now are complainants, they approach you with great assurance; for as they have formerly often obtained your favor, so far as they have even wished to have it, they now only entreat that you, who have been the donors, will take care that those favors you have already granted them may not be taken away from them.
We have received these favors from you, who alone have power to grant them, but have them taken from us by such as are no greater than ourselves, and by such as we know are as much subjects as we are; and certainly, if we have been vouchsafed great favors, it is to our commendation who have obtained them, as having been found deserving of such great favors; and if those favors be but small ones, it would be barbarous for the donors not to confirm them to us.
And for those that are the hinderance of the Jews, and use them reproachfully, it is evident that they affront both the receivers, while they will not allow those to be worthy men to whom their excellent rulers themselves have borne their testimony, and the donors, while they desire those favors already granted may be abrogated.
Now if any one should ask these Gentiles themselves, which of the two things they would choose to part with, their lives, or the customs of their forefathers, their solemnities, their sacrifices, their festivals, which they celebrated in honor of those they suppose to be gods? I know very well that they would choose to suffer any thing whatsoever rather than a dissolution of any of the customs of their forefathers; for a great many of them have rather chosen to go to war on that account, as very solicitous not to transgress in those matters.
And indeed we take an estimate of that happiness which all mankind do now enjoy by your means from this very thing, that we are allowed every one to worship as our own institutions require, and yet to live [in peace]; and although they would not be thus treated themselves, yet do they endeavor to compel others to comply with them, as if it were not as great an instance of impiety profanely to dissolve the religious solemnities of any others, as to be negligent in the observation of their own towards their gods.
And let us now consider the one of these practices. Is there any people, or city, or community of men, to whom your government and the Roman power does not appear to be the greatest blessing '.
Is there any one that can desire to make void the favors they have granted? No one is certainly so mad; for there are no men but such as have been partakers of their favors, both public and private; and indeed those that take away what you have granted, can have no assurance but every one of their own grants made them by you may be taken from them also; which grants of yours can yet never be sufficiently valued; for if they consider the old governments under kings, together with your present government, besides the great number of benefits which this government hath bestowed on them, in order to their happiness, this is instead of all the rest, that they appear to be no longer in a state of slavery, but of freedom.
Now the privileges we desire, even when we are in the best circumstances, are not such as deserve to be envied, for we are indeed in a prosperous state by your means, but this is only in common with others; and it is no more than this which we desire, to preserve our religion without any prohibition; which as it appears not in itself a privilege to be envied us, so it is for the advantage of those that grant it to us; for if the Divinity delights in being honored, it must delight in those that permit them to be honored.
And there are none of our customs which are inhuman, but all tending to piety, and devoted to the preservation of justice; nor do we conceal those injunctions of ours by which we govern our lives, they being memorials of piety, and of a friendly conversation among men.
And the seventh day we set apart from labor; it is dedicated to the learning of our customs and laws, (1) we thinking it proper to reflect on them, as well as on any [good] thing else, in order to our avoiding of sin.
If any one therefore examine into our observances, he will find they are good in themselves, and that they are ancient also, though some think otherwise, insomuch that those who have received them cannot easily be brought to depart from them, out of that honor they pay to the length of time they have religiously enjoyed them and observed them.
Now our adversaries take these our privileges away in the way of injustice; they violently seize upon that money of ours which is owed to God, and called sacred money, and this openly, after a sacrilegious manner; and they impose tributes upon us, and bring us before tribunals on holy days, and then require other like debts of us, not because the contracts require it, and for their own advantage, but because they would put an affront on our religion, of which they are conscious as well as we, and have indulged themselves in an unjust, and to them involuntary, hatred; for your government over all is one, tending to the establishing of benevolence, and abolishing of ill-will among such as are disposed to it.
This is therefore what we implore from thee, most excellent Agrippa, that we may not be ill-treated; that we may not be abused; that we may not be hindered from making use of our own customs, nor be despoiled of our goods, nor be forced by these men to do what we ourselves force nobody to do; for these privileges of ours are not only according to justice, but have formerly been granted us by you.
And we are able to read to you many decrees of the senate, and the tables that contain them, which are still extant in the capitol, concerning these things, which it is evident were granted after you had experience of our fidelity towards you, which ought to be valued, though no such fidelity had been; for you have hitherto preserved what people were in possession of, not to us only, but almost to all men, and have added greater advantages than they could have hoped for, and thereby your government is become a great advantage to them.
And if any one were able to enumerate the prosperity you have conferred on every nation, which they possess by your means, he could never put an end to his discourse; but that we may demonstrate that we are not unworthy of all those advantages we have obtained, it will be sufficient for us, to say nothing of other things, but to speak freely of this king who now governs us, and is now one of thy assessors; and indeed in what instance of good-will, as to your house, hath he been deficient? What mark of fidelity to it hath he omitted? What token of honor hath he not devised? What occasion for his assistance of you hath he not regarded at the very first? What hindereth; therefore, but that your kindnesses may be as numerous as his so great benefits to you have been? It may also perhaps be fit not here to pass over in silence the valor of his father Antipater, who, when Caesar made an expedition into Egypt, assisted him with two thousand armed men, and proved inferior to none, neither in the battles on land, nor in the management of the navy; and what need I say any thing of how great weight those soldiers were at that juncture? or how many and how great presents they were vouchsafed by Caesar? And truly I ought before now to have mentioned the epistles which Caesar wrote to the senate; and how Antipater had honors, and the freedom of the city of Rome, bestowed upon him; for these are demonstrations both that we have received these favors by our own deserts, and do on that account petition thee for thy confirmation of them, from whom we had reason to hope for them, though they had not been given us before, both out of regard to our king's disposition towards you, and your disposition towards him.
And further, we have been informed by those Jews that were there with what kindness thou camest into our country, and how thou offeredst the most perfect sacrifices to God, and honoredst him with remarkable vows, and how thou gavest the people a feast, and acceptedst of their own hospitable presents to thee.
We ought to esteem all these kind entertainments made both by our nation and to our city, to a man who is the ruler and manager of so much of the public affairs, as indications of that friendship which thou hast returned to the Jewish nation, and which hath been procured them by the family of Herod.
So we put thee in mind of these things in the presence of the king, now sitting by thee, and make our request for no more but this, that what you have given us yourselves you will not see taken away by others from us."
4. When Nicolaus had made this speech, there was no opposition made to it by the Greeks, for this was not an inquiry made, as in a court of justice, but an intercession to prevent violence to be offered to the Jews any longer; nor did the Greeks make any defense of themselves, or deny what it was supposed they had done.
Their pretense was no more than this, that while the Jews inhabited in their country, they were entirely unjust to them [in not joining in their worship] but they demonstrated their generosity in this, that though they worshipped according to their institutions, they did nothing that ought to grieve them.
So when Agrippa perceived that they had been oppressed by violence, he made this answer: That, on account of Herod's good-will and friendship, he was ready to grant the Jews whatsoever they should ask him, and that their requests seemed to him in themselves just; and that if they requested any thing further, he should not scruple to grant it them, provided they were no way to the detriment of the Roman government; but that while their request was no more than this, that what privileges they had already given them might not be abrogated, he confirmed this to them, that they might continue in the observation of their own customs, without any one offering them the least injury.
And when he had said thus, he dissolved the assembly; upon which Herod stood up and saluted him, and gave him thanks for the kind disposition he showed to them.
Agrippa also took this in a very obliging manner, and saluted him again, and embraced him in his arms; after which he went away from Lesbos; but the king determined to sail from Samos to his own country; and when he had taken his leave of Agrippa, he pursued his voyage, and landed at Cesarea in a few days' time, as having favorable winds; from whence he went to Jerusalem, and there gathered all the people together to an assembly, not a few being there out of the country also.
So he came to them, and gave them a particular account of all his journey, and of the affairs of all the Jews in Asia, how by his means they would live without injurious treatment for the time to come.
He also told them of the entire good fortune he had met with and how he had administered the government, and had not neglected any thing which was for their advantage; and as he was very joyful, he now remitted to them the fourth part of their taxes for the last year.
Accordingly, they were so pleased with his favor and speech to them, that they went their ways with great gladness, and wished the king all manner of happiness.
HOW GREAT DISTURBANCES AROSE IN HERODS FAMILY ON HIS PREFERRING ANTIPATER HIS ELDEST SON BEFORE THE REST, TILL ALEXANDER TOOK THAT INJURY VERY HEINOUSLY.
1. BUT now the affairs in Herod's family were in more and more disorder, and became more severe upon him, by the hatred of Salome to the young men [Alexander and Aristobulus], which descended as it were by inheritance [from their mother Mariamne]; and as she had fully succeeded against their mother, so she proceeded to that degree of madness and insolence, as to endeavor that none of her posterity might be left alive, who might have it in their power to revenge her death.
The young men had also somewhat of a bold and uneasy disposition towards their father occasioned by the remembrance of what their mother had unjustly suffered, and by their own affectation of dominion.
The old grudge was also renewed; and they east reproaches on Salome and Pheroras, who requited the young men with malicious designs, and actually laid treacherous snares for them.
Now as for this hatred, it was equal on both sides, but the manner of exerting that hatred was different; for as for the young men, they were rash, reproaching and affronting the others openly, and were inexperienced enough to think it the most generous to declare their minds in that undaunted manner; but the others did not take that method, but made use of calumnies after a subtle and a spiteful manner, still provoking the young men, and imagining that their boldness might in time turn to the offering violence to their father; for inasmuch as they were not ashamed of the pretended crimes of their mother, nor thought she suffered justly, these supposed that might at length exceed all bounds, and induce them to think they ought to be avenged on their father, though it were by despatching him with their own hands.
At length it came to this, that the whole city was full of their discourses, and, as is usual in such contests, the unskilfulness of the young men was pitied; but the contrivance of Salome was too hard for them, and what imputations she laid upon them came to be believed, by means of their own conduct; for they who were so deeply affected with the death of their mother, that while they said both she and themselves were in a miserable case, they vehemently complained of her pitiable end, which indeed was truly such, and said that they were themselves in a pitiable case also, because they were forced to live with those that had been her murderers, and to be partakers with them.
2. These disorders increased greatly, and the king's absence abroad had afforded a fit opportunity for that increase; but as soon as Herod was returned, and had made the forementioned speech to the multitude, Pheroras and Salome let fill words immediately as if he were in great danger, and as if the young men openly threatened that they would not spare him any longer, but revenge their mother's death upon him.
They also added another circumstance, that their hopes were fixed on Archclaus, the king of Cappadocia, that they should be able by his means to come to Caesar, and accuse their father.
Upon hearing such things, Herod was immediately disturbed; and indeed was the more astonished, because the same things were related to him by some others also.
He then called to mind his former calamity, and considered that the disorders in his family had hindered him from enjoying any comfort from those that were dearest to him or from his wife whom he loved so well; and suspecting that his future troubles would soon be heavier and greater than those that were past, he was in great confusion of mind; for Divine Providence had in reality conferred upon him a great many outward advantages for his happiness, even beyond his hopes; but the troubles he had at home were such as he never expected to have met with, and rendered him unfortunate; nay, both sorts came upon him to such a degree as no one could imagine, and made it a doubtful question, whether, upon the comparison of both, he ought to have exchanged so great a success of outward good things for so great misfortunes at home, or whether he ought not to have chosen to avoid the calamities relating to his family, though he had, for a compensation, never been possessed of the admired grandeur of a kingdom.
3. As he was thus disturbed and afflicted, in order to depress these young men, he brought to court another of his sons, that was born to him when he was a private man; his name was Antipater; yet did he not then indulge him as he did afterwards, when he was quite overcome by him, and let him do every thing as he pleased, but rather with a design of depressing the insolence of the sons of Marianme, and managing this elevation of his so, that it might be for a warning to them; for this bold behavior of theirs [he thought] would not be so great, if they were once persuaded that the succession to the kingdom did not appertain to them alone, or must of necessity come to them.
So he introduced Antipater as their antagonist, and imagined that he made a good provision for discouraging their pride, and that after this was done to the young men, there might be a proper season for expecting these to be of a better disposition; but the event proved otherwise than he intended, for the young men thought he did them a very great injury; and as Antipater was a shrewd man, when he had once obtained this degree of freedom, and began to expect greater things than he had before hoped for, he had but one single design in his head, and that was to distress his brethren, and not at all to yield to them the pre-eminence, but to keep close to his father, who was already alienated from them by the calumnies he had heard about them, and ready to be wrought upon in any way his zeal against them should advise him to pursue, that he might be continually more and more severe against them.
Accordingly, all the reports that were spread abroad came from him, while he avoided himself the suspicion as if those discoveries proceeded from him; but he rather chose to make use of those persons for his assistants that were unsuspected, and such as might be believed to speak truth by reason of the good-will they bore to the king; and indeed there were already not a few who cultivated a friendship with Antipater, in hopes of gaining somewhat by him, and these were the men who most of all persuaded Herod, because they appeared to speak thus out of their good-will to him: and with these joint accusations, which from various foundations supported one another's veracity, the young men themselves afforded further occasions to Antipater also; for they were observed to shed tears often, on account of the injury that was offered them, and had their mother in their mouths; and among their friends they ventured to reproach their father, as not acting justly by them; all which things were with an evil intention reserved in memory by Antipater against a proper opportunity; and when they were told to Herod, with aggravations, increased the disorder so much, that it brought a great tumult into the family; for while the king was very angry at imputations that were laid upon the sons of Mariamne, and was desirous to humble them, he still increased the honor that he had bestowed on Antipater, and was at last so overcome by his persuasions, that he brought his mother to court also.
He also wrote frequently to Caesar in favor of him, and more earnestly recommended him to his care particularly.
And when Agrippa was returning to Rome, after he had finished his ten years' government in Asia.
(2) Herod sailed from Judea; and when he met with him, he had none with him but Antipater, whom he delivered to Agrippa, that he might take him along with him, together with many presents, that so he might become Caesar's friend, insomuch that things already looked as if he had all his father's favor, and that the young men were already entirely rejected from any hopes of the kingdom.
HOW DURING ANTIPATER'S ABODE AT ROME, HEROD BROUGHT ALEXANDER AND ARISTOBULUS BEFORE CAESAR AND ACCUSED THEM.
ALEXANDER'S DEFENSE OF HIMSELF BEFORE CAESAR AND RECONCILIATION TO HIS FATHER.
1. AND now what happened during Antipater's absence augmented the honor to which he had been promoted, and his apparent eminence above his brethren; for he had made a great figure in Rome, because Herod had sent recommendations of him to all his friends there; only he was grieved that he was not at home, nor had proper opportunities of perpetually calumniating his brethren; and his chief fear was, lest his father should alter his mind, and entertain a more favorable opinion of the sons of Mariamne; and as he had this in his mind, he did not desist from his purpose, but continually sent from Rome any such stories as he hoped might grieve and irritate his father against his brethren, under pretense indeed of a deep concern for his preservation, but in truth such as his malicious mind dictated, in order to purchase a greater hope of the succession, which yet was already great in itself: and thus he did till he had excited such a degree of anger in Herod, that he was already become very ill-disposed towards the young men; but still while he delayed to exercise so violent a disgust against them, and that he might not either be too remiss or too rash, and so offend, he thought it best to sail to Rome, and there accuse his sons before Caesar, and not indulge himself in any such crime as might be heinous enough to be suspected of impiety.
But as he was going up to Rome, it happened that he made such haste as to meet with Caesar at the city Aquilei (3) so when he came to the speech of Caesar, he asked for a time for hearing this great cause, wherein he thought himself very miserable, and presented his sons there, and accused them of their mad actions, and of their attempts against him: That they were enemies to him; and by all the means they were able, did their endeavors to show their hatred to their own father, and would take away his life, and so obtain his kingdom, after the most barbarous manner: that he had power from Caesar to dispose of it, not by necessity, but by choice, to him who shall exercise the greatest piety towards him; while these my sons are not so desirous of ruling, as they are, upon a disappointment thereof, to expose their own life, if so be they may but deprive their father of his life; so wild and polluted is their mind by time become, out of their hatred to him: that whereas he had a long time borne this his misfortune, he was now compelled to lay it before Caesar, and to pollute his ears with such language, while he himself wants to know what severity they have ever suffered from him, or what hardships he hath ever laid upon them to make them complain of him; and how they can think it just that he should not be lord of that kingdom which he in a long time, and with great danger, had gained, and not allow him to keep it and dispose of it to him who should deserve best; and this, with other advantages, he proposes as a reward for the piety of such a one as will hereafter imitate the care he hath taken of it, and that such a one may gain so great a requital as that is: and that it is an impious thing for them to pretend to meddle with it beforehand; for he who hath ever the kingdom in his view, at the same time reckons upon procuring the death of his father, because otherwise he cannot come at the government: that as for himself, he had hitherto given them all that he was able, and what was agreeable to such as are subject to the royal authority, and the sons of a king; what ornaments they wanted, with servants and delicate fare, and had married them into the most illustrious families, the one [Aristobulus] to his sister's daughter, but Alexander to the daughter of king Archelaus; and, what was the greatest favor of all, when their crimes were so very bad, and he had authority to punish them, yet had he not made use of it against them, but had brought them before Caesar, their common benefactor, and had not used the severity which, either as a father who had been impiously abused, or as a king who had been assaulted treacherously, he might have done, but made them stand upon a level with him in judgment: that, however, it was necessary that all this should not be passed over without punishment, nor himself live in the greatest fears; nay, that it was not for their own advantage to see the light of the sun after what they have done, although they should escape at this time, since they had done the vilest things, and would certainly suffer the greatest punishments that ever were known among mankind.
2. These were the accusations which Herod laid with great vehemency against his sons before Caesar.
Now the young men, both while he was speaking, and chiefly at his concluding, wept, and were in confusion.
Now as to themselves, they knew in their own conscience they were innocent; but because they were accused by their father, they were sensible, as the truth was, that it was hard for them to make their apology, since though they were at liberty to speak their minds freely as the occasion required, and might with force and earnestness refute the accusation, yet was it not now decent so to do.
There was therefore a difficulty how they should be able to speak; and tears, and at length a deep groan, followed, while they were afraid, that if they said nothing, they should seem to be in this difficulty from a consciousness of guilt, - nor had they any defense ready, by reason of their youth, and the disorder they were under; yet was not Caesar unapprized, when he looked upon them in the confusion they were in, that their delay to make their defense did not arise from any consciousness of great enormities, but from their unskilfulness and modesty.
They were also commiserated by those that were there in particular; and they moved their father's affections in earnest till he had much ado to conceal them.
3. But when they saw there was a kind disposition arisen both in him and in Caesar, and that every one of the rest did either shed tears, or at least did all grieve with them, the one of them, whose name was Alexander, called to his father, and attempted to answer his accusation, and said, "O father, the benevolence thou hast showed to us is evident, even in this very judicial procedure, for hadst thou had any pernicious intentions about us, thou hadst not produced us here before the common savior of all, for it was in thy power, both as a king and as a father, to punish the guilty; but by thus bringing us to Rome, and making Caesar himself a witness to what is done, thou intimatest that thou intendest to save us; for no one that hath a design to slay a man will bring him to the temples, and to the altars; yet are our circumstances still worse, for we cannot endure to live ourselves any longer, if it be believed that we have injured such a father; nay, perhaps it would be worse for us to live with this suspicion upon us, that we have injured him, than to die without such guilt.
And if our open defense may be taken to be true, we shall be happy, both in pacifying thee, and in escaping the danger we are in; but if this calumny so prevails, it is more than enough for us that we have seen the sun this day; which why should we see, if this suspicion be fixed upon us? Now it is easy to say of young men, that they desire to reign; and to say further, that this evil proceeds from the case of our unhappy mother.
This is abundantly sufficient to produce our present misfortune out of the former; but consider well, whether such an accusation does not suit all such young men, and may not be said of them all promiscuously; for nothing can hinder him that reigns, if he have children, and their mother be dead, but the father may have a suspicion upon all his sons, as intending some treachery to him; but a suspicion is not sufficient to prove such an impious practice.
Now let any man say, whether we have actually and insolently attempted any such thing, whereby actions otherwise incredible use to be made credible? Can any body prove that poison hath been prepared? or prove a conspiracy of our equals, or the corruption of servants, or letters written against thee? though indeed there are none of those things but have sometimes been pretended by way of calumny, when they were never done; for a royal family that is at variance with itself is a terrible thing; and that which thou callest a reward of piety often becomes, among very wicked men, such a foundation of hope, as makes them leave no sort of mischief untried.
Nor does any one lay any wicked practices to our charge; but as to calumnies by hearsay, how can he put an end to them, who will not hear what we have to say? Have we talked with too great freedom? Yes; but not against thee, for that would be unjust, but against those that never conceal any thing that is spoken to them.
Hath either of us lamented our mother? Yes; but not because she is dead, but because she was evil spoken of by those that had no reason so to do.
Are we desirous of that dominion which we know our father is possessed of? For what reason can we do so? If we already have royal honors, as we have, should not we labor in vain? And if we have them not, yet are not we in hopes of them? Or supposing that we had killed thee, could we expect to obtain thy kingdom? while neither the earth would let us tread upon it, nor the sea let us sail upon it, after such an action as that; nay, the religion of all your subjects, and the piety of the whole nation, would have prohibited parricides from assuming the government, and from entering into that most holy temple which was built by thee (4) But suppose we had made light of other dangers, can any murderer go off unpunished while Caesar is alive? We are thy sons, and not so impious or so thoughtless as that comes to, though perhaps more unfortunate than is convenient for thee.
But in case thou neither findest any causes of complaint, nor any treacherous designs, what sufficient evidence hast thou to make such a wickedness of ours credible? Our mother is dead indeed, but then what befell her might be an instruction to us to caution, and not an incitement to wickedness.
We are willing to make a larger apology for ourselves; but actions never done do not admit of discourse.
Nay, we will make this agreement with thee, and that before Caesar, the lord of all, who is now a mediator between us, If thou, O father, canst bring thyself, by the evidence of truth, to have a mind free from suspicion concerning us let us live, though even then we shall live in an unhappy way, for to be accused of great acts of wickedness, though falsely, is a terrible thing; but if thou hast any fear remaining, continue thou on in thy pious life, we will give this reason for our own conduct; our life is not so desirable to us as to desire to have it, if it tend to the harm of our father who gave it us."
4. When Alexander had thus spoken, Caesar, who did not before believe so gross a calumny, was still more moved by it, and looked intently upon Herod, and perceived he was a little confounded: the persons there present were under an anxiety about the young men, and the fame that was spread abroad made the king hated, for the very incredibility of the calumny, and the commiseration of the flower of youth, the beauty of body, which were in the young men, pleaded for assistance, and the more so on this account, that Alexander had made their defense with dexterity and prudence; nay, they did not themselves any longer continue in their former countenances, which had been bedewed with tears, and cast downwards to the ground, but now there arose in them hope of the best; and the king himself appeared not to have had foundation enough to build such an accusation upon, he having no real evidence wherewith to correct them.
Indeed he wanted some apology for making the accusation; but Caesar, after some delay, said, that although the young men were thoroughly innocent of that for which they were calumniated, yet had they been so far to blame, that they had not demeaned themselves towards their father so as to prevent that suspicion which was spread abroad concerning them.
He also exhorted Herod to lay all such suspicions aside, and to be reconciled to his sons; for that it was not just to give any credit to such reports concerning his own children; and that this repentance on both sides might still heal those breaches that had happened between them, and might improve that their good-will to one another, whereby those on both sides, excusing the rashness of their suspicions, might resolve to bear a greater degree of affection towards each other than they had before.
After Caesar had given them this admonition, he beckoned to the young men.
When therefore they were disposed to fall down to make intercession to their father, he took them up, and embraced them, as they were in tears, and took each of them distinctly in his arms, till not one of those that were present, whether free-man or slave, but was deeply affected with what they saw.
5. Then did they return thanks to Caesar, and went away together; and with them went Antipater, with an hypocritical pretense that he rejoiced at this reconciliation.
And in the last days they were with Caesar, Herod made him a present of three hundred talents, as he was then exhibiting shows and largesses to the people of Rome; and Caesar made him a present of half the revenue of the copper mines in Cyprus, and committed the care of the other half to him, and honored him with other gifts and incomes; and as to his own kingdom, he left it in his own power to appoint which of his sons he pleased for his successor, or to distribute it in parts to every one, that the dignity might thereby come to them all.
And when Herod was disposed to make such a settlement immediately, Caesar said he would not give him leave to deprive himself, while he was alive, of the power over his kingdom, or over his sons.
6. After this, Herod returned to Judea again.
But during his absence no small part of his dominion about Trachon had revolted, whom yet the commanders he left there had vanquished, and compelled to a submission again.
Now as Herod was sailing with his sons, and was come over against Cilicia, to [the island] Eleusa, which hath now changed its name for Sebaste, he met with Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, who received him kindly, as rejoicing that he was reconciled to his sons, and that the accusation against Alexander, who had married his daughter, was at an end.
They also made one another such presents as it became kings to make, From thence Herod came to Judea and to the temple, where he made a speech to the people concerning what had been done in this his journey.
He also discoursed to them about Caesar's kindness to him, and about as many of the particulars he had done as he thought it for his advantage other people should be acquainted with. At last he turned his speech to the admonition of his sons; and exhorted those that lived at court, and the multitude, to concord; and informed them that his sons were to reign after him; Antipater first, and then Alexander and Aristobulus, the sons of Mariamne: but he desired that at present they should all have regard to himself, and esteem him king and lord of all, since he was not yet hindered by old age, but was in that period of life when he must be the most skillful in governing; and that he was not deficient in other arts of management that might enable him to govern the kingdom well, and to rule over his children also.
He further told the rulers under him, and the soldiery, that in case they would look upon him alone, their life would be led in a peaceable manner, and they would make one another happy.
And when he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.
Which speech was acceptable to the greatest part of the audience, but not so to them all; for the contention among his sons, and the hopes he had given them, occasioned thoughts and desires of innovations among them.
HOW HEROD CELEBRATED THE GAMES THAT WERE TO RETURN EVERY FIFTH YEAR UPON THE BUILDING OF CESAREA; AND HOW HE BUILT AND ADORNED MANY OTHER PLACES AFTER A MAGNIFICENT MANNER; AND DID MANY OTHER ACTIONS GLORIOUSLY
1. ABOUT this time it was that Cesarea Sebaste, which he had built, was finished.
The entire building being accomplished: in the tenth year, the solemnity of it fell into the twenty-eighth year of Herod's reign, and into the hundred and ninety-second olympiad.
There was accordingly a great festival and most sumptuous preparations made presently, in order to its dedication; for he had appointed a contention in music, and games to be performed naked.
He had also gotten ready a great number of those that fight single combats, and of beasts for the like purpose; horse races also, and the most chargeable of such sports and shows as used to be exhibited at Rome, and in other places.
He consecrated this combat to Caesar, and ordered it to be celebrated every fifth year.
He also sent all sorts of ornaments for it out of his own furniture, that it might want nothing to make it decent; nay, Julia, Caesar's wife, sent a great part of her most valuable furniture [from Rome], insomuch that he had no want of any thing. The sum of them all was estimated at five hundred talents.
Now when a great multitude was come to that city to see the shows, as well as the ambassadors whom other people sent, on account of the benefits they had received from Herod, he entertained them all in the public inns, and at public tables, and with perpetual feasts; this solemnity having in the day time the diversions of the fights, and in the night time such merry meetings as cost vast sums of money, and publicly demonstrated the generosity of his soul; for in all his undertakings he was ambitious to exhibit what exceeded whatsoever had been done before of the same kind.
And it is related that Caesar and Agrippa often said, that the dominions of Herod were too little for the greatness of his soul; for that he deserved to have both all the kingdom of Syria, and that of Egypt also.
2. After this solemnity and these festivals were over, Herod erected another city in the plain called Capharsaba, where he chose out a fit place, both for plenty of water and goodness of soil, and proper for the production of what was there planted, where a river encompassed the city itself, and a grove of the best trees for magnitude was round about it: this he named Antipatris, from his father Antipater.
He also built upon another spot of ground above Jericho, of the same name with his mother, a place of great security and very pleasant for habitation, and called it Cypros.
He also dedicated the finest monuments to his brother Phasaelus, on account of the great natural affection there had been between them, by erecting a tower in the city itself, not less than the tower of Pharos, which he named Phasaelus, which was at once a part of the strong defenses of the city, and a memorial for him that was deceased, because it bare his name.
He also built a city of the same name in the valley of Jericho, as you go from it northward, whereby he rendered the neighboring country more fruitful by the cultivation its inhabitants introduced; and this also he called Phasaelus.
3. But as for his other benefits, it is impossible to reckon them up, those which he bestowed on cities, both in Syria and in Greece, and in all the places he came to in his voyages; for he seems to have conferred, and that after a most plentiful manner, what would minister to many necessities, and the building of public works, and gave them the money that was necessary to such works as wanted it, to support them upon the failure of their other revenues: but what was the greatest and most illustrious of all his works, he erected Apollo's temple at Rhodes, at his own expenses, and gave them a great number of talents of silver for the repair of their fleet.
He also built the greatest part of the public edifices for the inhabitants of Nicopolis, at Actium; (6) and for the Antiochinus, the inhabitants of the principal city of Syria, where a broad street cuts through the place lengthways, he built cloisters along it on both sides, and laid the open road with polished stone, and was of very great advantage to the inhabitants.
And as to the olympic games, which were in a very low condition, by reason of the failure of their revenues, he recovered their reputation, and appointed revenues for heir maintenance, and made that solemn meeting more venerable, as to the sacrifices and other ornaments; and by reason of this vast liberality, he was generally declared in their inscriptions to be one of the perpetual managers of those games.
4. Now some there are who stand amazed at the diversity of Herod's nature and purposes; for when we have respect to his magnificence, and the benefits which he bestowed on all mankind, there is no possibility for even those that had the least respect for him to deny, or not openly to confess, that he had a nature vastly beneficent; but when any one looks upon the punishments he inflicted, and the injuries he did, not only to his subjects, but to his nearest relations, and takes notice of his severe and unrelenting disposition there, he will be forced to allow that he was brutish, and a stranger to all humanity; insomuch that these men suppose his nature to be different, and sometimes at contradiction with itself; but I am myself of another opinion, and imagine that the occasion of both these sort of actions was one and the same; for being a man ambitious of honor, and quite overcome by that passion, he was induced to be magnificent, wherever there appeared any hopes of a future memorial, or of reputation at present; and as his expenses were beyond his abilities, he was necessitated to be harsh to his subjects; for the persons on whom he expended his money were so many, that they made him a very bad procurer of it; and because he was conscious that he was hated by those under him, for the injuries he did them, he thought it not an easy thing to amend his offenses, for that it was inconvenient for his revenue; he therefore strove on the other side to make their ill-will an occasion of his gains.
As to his own court, therefore, if any one was not very obsequious to him in his language, and would not confess himself to be his slave, or but seemed to think of any innovation in his government, he was not able to contain himself, but prosecuted his very kindred and friends, and punished them as if they were enemies and this wickedness he undertook out of a desire that he might be himself alone honored.
Now for this, my assertion about that passion of his, we have the greatest evidence, by what he did to honor Caesar and Agrippa, and his other friends; for with what honors he paid his respects to them who were his superiors, the same did he desire to be paid to himself; and what he thought the most excellent present he could make another, he discovered an inclination to have the like presented to himself.
But now the Jewish nation is by their law a stranger to all such things, and accustomed to prefer righteousness to glory; for which reason that nation was not agreeable to him, because it was out of their power to flatter the king's ambition with statues or temples, or any other such performances; And this seems to me to have been at once the occasion of Herod's crimes as to his own courtiers and counselors, and of his benefactions as to foreigners and those that had no relation to him.
AN EMBASSAGE IN CYRENE AND ASIA TO CAESAR, CONCERNING THE COMPLAINTS THEY HAD TO MAKE AGAINST THE GREEKS; WITH COPIES OF THE EPISTLES WHICH CAESAR AND AGRIPPA WROTE TO THE CITIES FOR THEM.
1. Now the cities ill-treated the Jews in Asia, and all those also of the same nation which lived ill Libya, which joins to Cyrene, while the former kings had given them equal privileges with the other citizens; but the Greeks affronted them at this time, and that so far as to take away their sacred money, and to do them mischief on other particular occasions. When therefore they were thus afflicted, and found no end of their barbarous treatment they met with among the Greeks, they sent ambassadors to Caesar on those accounts, who gave them the same privileges as they had before, and sent letters to the same purpose to the governors of the provinces, copies of which I subjoin here, as testimonials of the ancient favorable disposition the Roman emperors had towards us.
2. "Caesar Augustus, high priest and tribune of the people, ordains thus: Since the nation of the Jews hath been found grateful to the Roman people, not only at this time, but in time past also, and chiefly Hyrcanus the high priest, under my father (7) Caesar the emperor, it seemed good to me and my counselors, according to the sentence and oath of the people of Rome, that the Jews have liberty to make use of their own customs, according to the law of their forefathers, as they made use of them under Hyrcanus the high priest of the Almighty God; and that their sacred money be not touched, but be sent to Jerusalem, and that it be committed to the care of the receivers at Jerusalem; and that they be not obliged to go before any judge on the sabbath day, nor on the day of the preparation to it, after the ninth hour.
(8) But if any one be caught stealing their holy books, or their sacred money, whether it be out of the synagogue or public school, he shall be deemed a sacrilegious person, and his goods shall be brought into the public treasury of the Romans.
And I give order that the testimonial which they have given me, on account of my regard to that piety which I exercise toward all mankind, and out of regard to Caius Marcus Censorinus, together with the present decree, be proposed in that most eminent place which hath been consecrated to me by the community of Asia at Ancyra.
And if any one transgress any part of what is above decreed, he shall be severely punished." This was inscribed upon a pillar in the temple of Caesar.
3. "Caesar to Norbanus Flaccus, sendeth greeting.
Let those Jews, how many soever they be, who have been used, according to their ancient custom, to send their sacred money to Jerusalem, do the same freely." These were the decrees of Caesar.
4. Agrippa also did himself write after the manner following, on behalf of the Jews: "Agrippa, to the magistrates, senate, and people of the Ephesians, sendeth greeting.
I will that the care and custody of the sacred money that is carried to the temple at Jerusalem be left to the Jews of Asia, to do with it according to their ancient custom; and that such as steal that sacred money of the Jews, and fly to a sanctuary, shall be taken thence and delivered to the Jews, by the same law that sacrilegious persons are taken thence.
I have also written to Sylvanus the praetor, that no one compel the Jews to come before a judge on the sabbath day."
5. "Marcus Agrippa to the magistrates, senate, and people of Cyrene, sendeth greeting.
The Jews of Cyrene have interceded with me for the performance of what Augustus sent orders about to Flavius, the then praetor of Libya, and to the other procurators of that province, that the sacred money may be sent to Jerusalem freely, as hath been their custom from their forefathers, they complaining that they are abused by certain informers, and under pretense of taxes which were not due, are hindered from sending them, which I command to be restored without any diminution or disturbance given to them.
And if any of that sacred money in the cities be taken from their proper receivers, I further enjoin, that the same be exactly returned to the Jews in that place."
6. "Caius Norbanus Flaccus, proconsul, to the magistrates of the Sardians, sendeth greeting.
Caesar hath written to me, and commanded me not to forbid the Jews, how many soever they be, from assembling together according to the custom of their forefathers, nor from sending their money to Jerusalem.
I have therefore written to you, that you may know that both Caesar and I would have you act accordingly."
7. Nor did Julius Antonius, the proconsul, write otherwise.
"To the magistrates, senate, and people of the Ephesians, sendeth greeting. As I was dispensing justice at Ephesus, on the Ides of February, the Jews that dwell in Asia demonstrated to me that Augustus and Agrippa had permitted them to use their own laws and customs, and to offer those their first-fruits, which every one of them freely offers to the Deity on account of piety, and to carry them in a company together to Jerusalem without disturbance. They also petitioned me that I also would confirm what had been granted by Augustus and Agrippa by my own sanction.
I would therefore have you take notice, that according to the will of Augustus and Agrippa, I permit them to use and do according to the customs of their forefathers without disturbance."
8. I have been obliged to set down these decree because the present history of our own acts will go generally among the Greeks; and I have hereby demonstrated to them that we have formerly been in great esteem, and have not been prohibited by those governors we were under from keeping any of the laws of our forefathers; nay, that we have been supported by them, while we followed our own religion, and the worship we paid to God; and I frequently make mention of these decrees, in order to reconcile other people to us, and to take away the causes of that hatred which unreasonable men bear to us.
As for our customs (9) there is no nation which always makes use of the same, and in every city almost we meet with them different from one another; but natural justice is most agreeable to the advantage of all men equally, both Greeks and barbarians, to which our laws have the greatest regard, and thereby render us, if we abide in them after a pure manner, benevolent and friendly to all men; on which account we have reason to expect the like return from others, and to inform them that they ought not to esteem difference of positive institutions a sufficient cause of alienation, but [join with us in] the pursuit of virtue and probity, for this belongs to all men in common, and of itself alone is sufficient for the preservation of human life.
I now return to the thread of my history.
HOW, UPON HEROD'S GOING DOWN INTO DAVID'S SEPULCHER, THE SEDITION IN HIS FAMILY GREATLY INCREASED.
1. AS for Herod, he had spent vast sums about the cities, both without and within his own kingdom; and as he had before heard that Hyrcanus, who had been king before him, had opened David's sepulcher, and taken out of it three thousand talents of silver, and that there was a much greater number left behind, and indeed enough to suffice all his wants, he had a great while an intention to make the attempt; and at this time he opened that sepulcher by night, and went into it, and endeavored that it should not be at all known in the city, but took only his most faithful friends with him.
As for any money, he found none, as Hyrcanus had done, but that furniture of gold, and those precious goods that were laid up there; all which he took away.
However, he had a great desire to make a more diligent search, and to go farther in, even as far as the very bodies of David and Solomon; where two of his guards were slain, by a flame that burst out upon those that went in, as the report was.
So he was terribly aftrighted, and went out, and built a propitiatory monument of that fright he had been in; and this of white stone, at the mouth of the sepulcher, and that at great expense also.
And even Nicolaus (10) his historiographer makes mention of this monument built by Herod, though he does not mention his going down into the sepulcher, as knowing that action to be of ill repute; and many other things he treats of in the same manner in his book; for he wrote in Herod's lifetime, and under his reign, and so as to please him, and as a servant to him, touching upon nothing but what tended to his glory, and openly excusing many of his notorious crimes, and very diligently concealing them.
And as he was desirous to put handsome colors on the death of Mariamne and her sons, which were barbarous actions in the king, he tells falsehoods about the incontinence of Mariamne, and the treacherous designs of his sons upon him; and thus he proceeded in his whole work, making a pompous encomium upon what just actions he had done, but earnestly apologizing for his unjust ones.
Indeed, a man, as I said, may have a great deal to say by way of excuse for Nicolaus; for he did not so properly write this as a history for others, as somewhat that might be subservient to the king himself.
As for ourselves, who come of a family nearly allied to the Asamonean kings, and on that account have an honorable place, which is the priesthood, we think it indecent to say any thing that is false about them, and accordingly we have described their actions after an unblemished and upright manner.
And although we reverence many of Herod's posterity, who still reign, yet do we pay a greater regard to truth than to them, and this though it sometimes happens that we incur their displeasure by so doing.
2. And indeed Herod's troubles in his family seemed to be augmented by reason of this attempt he made upon David's sepulcher; whether Divine vengeance increased the calamities he lay under, in order to render them incurable, or whether fortune made an assault upon him, in those cases wherein the seasonableness of the cause made it strongly believed that the calamities came upon him for his impiety; for the tumult was like a civil war in his palace, and their hatred towards one another was like that where each one strove to exceed another in calumnies.
However, Antipater used stratagems perpetually against his brethren, and that very cunningly; while abroad he loaded them with accusations, but still took upon him frequently to apologize for them, that this apparent benevolence to them might make him be believed, and forward his attempts against them; by which means he, after various manners, circumvented his father, who believed all that he did was for his preservation.
Herod also recommended Ptolemy, who was a great director of the affairs of his kingdom, to Antipater; and consulted with his mother about the public affairs also.
And indeed these were all in all, and did what they pleased, and made the king angry against any other persons, as they thought it might be to their own advantage; but still the sons of Marianme were in a worse and worse condition perpetually; and while they were thrust out, and set in a more dishonorable rank, who yet by birth were the most noble, they could not bear the dishonor.
And for the women, Glaphyra, Alexander's wife, the daughter of Archclaus, hated Salome, both because of her love to her husband, and because Glaphyra seemed to behave herself somewhat insolently towards Salome's daughter, who was the wife of Aristobulus, which equality of hers to herself Glaphyra took very impatiently.
3. Now, besides this second contention that had fallen among them, neither did the king's brother Pheroras keep himself out of trouble, but had a particular foundation for suspicion and hatred; for he was overcome with the charms of his wife, to such a degree of madness, that he despised the king's daughter, to whom he had been betrothed, and wholly bent his mind to the other, who had been but a servant.
Herod also was grieved by the dishonor that was done him, because he had bestowed many favors upon him, and had advanced him to that height of power that he was almost a partner with him in the kingdom, and saw that he had not made him a due return for his labors, and esteemed himself unhappy on that account.
So upon Pheroras's unworthy refusal, he gave the damsel to Phasaelus's son; but after some time, when he thought the heat of his brother's affections was over, he blamed him for his former conduct, and desired him to take his second daughter, whose name was Cypros.
Ptolemy also advised him to leave off affronting his brother, and to forsake her whom he had loved, for that it was a base thing to be so enamored of a servant, as to deprive himself of the king's good-will to him, and become an occasion of his trouble, and make himself hated by him.
Pheroras knew that this advice would be for his own advantage, particularly because he had been accused before, and forgiven; so he put his wife away, although he already had a son by her, and engaged to the king that he would take his second daughter, and agreed that the thirtieth day after should be the day of marriage; and sware he would have no further conversation with her whom he had put away; but when the thirty days were over, he was such a slave to his affections, that he no longer performed any thing he had promised, but continued still with his former wife.
This occasioned Herod to grieve openly, and made him angry, while the king dropped one word or other against Pheroras perpetually; and many made the king's anger an opportunity for raising calumnies against him.
Nor had the king any longer a single quiet day or hour, but occasions of one fresh quarrel or another arose among his relations, and those that were dearest to him; for Salome was of a harsh temper, and ill-natured to Mariamne's sons; nor would she suffer her own daughter, who was the wife of Aristobulus, one of those young men, to bear a good-will to her husband, but persuaded her to tell her if he said any thing to her in private, and when any misunderstandings happened, as is common, she raised a great many suspicions out of it; by which means she learned all their concerns, and made the damsel ill-natured to the young man.
And in order to gratify her mother, she often said that the young men used to mention Mariamne when they were by themselves; and that they hated their father, and were continually threatening, that if they had once got the kingdom, they would make Herod's sons by his other wives country schoolmasters, for that the present education which was given them, and their diligence in learning, fitted them for such an employment. And as for the women, whenever they saw them adorned with their mother's clothes, they threatened, that instead of their present gaudy apparel, they should be clothed in sackcloth, and confined so closely that they should not see the light of the sun.
These stories were presently carried by Salome to the king, who was troubled to hear them, and endeavored to make up matters; but these suspicions afflicted him, and becoming more and more uneasy, he believed every body against every body.
However, upon his rebuking his sons, and hearing the defense they made for themselves, he was easier for a while, though a little afterwards much worse accidents came upon him.
4. For Pheroras came to Alexander, the husband of Glaphyra, who was the daughter of Archelaus, as we have already told you, and said that he had heard from Salome that Herod has enamored on Glaphyra, and that his passion for her was incurable.
When Alexander heard that, he was all on fire, from his youth and jealousy; and he interpreted the instances of Herod's obliging behavior to her, which were very frequent, for the worse, which came from those suspicions he had on account of that word which fell from Pheroras; nor could he conceal his grief at the thing, but informed him what word: Pheroras had said.
Upon which Herod was in a greater disorder than ever; and not bearing such a false calumny, which was to his shame, was much disturbed at it; and often did he lament the wickedness of his domestics, and how good he had been to them, and how ill requitals they had made him.
So he sent for Pheroras, and reproached him, and said, "Thou vilest of all men! art thou come to that unmeasurable and extravagant degree of ingratitude, as not only to suppose such things of me, but to speak of them? I now indeed perceive what thy intentions are.
It is not thy only aim to reproach me, when thou usest such words to my son, but thereby to persuade him to plot against me, and get me destroyed by poison.
And who is there, if he had not a good genius at his elbow, as hath my son, but would not bear such a suspicion of his father, but would revenge himself upon him? Dost thou suppose that thou hast only dropped a word for him to think of, and not rather hast put a sword into his hand to slay his father? And what dost thou mean, when thou really hatest both him and his brother, to pretend kindness to them, only in order to raise a reproach against me, and talk of such things as no one but such an impious wretch as thou art could either devise in their mind, or declare in their words? Begone, thou art such a plague to thy benefactor and thy brother, and may that evil conscience of thine go along with thee; while I still overcome my relations by kindness, and am so far from avenging myself of them, as they deserve, that I bestow greater benefits upon them than they are worthy of."
5. Thus did the king speak.
Whereupon Pheroras, who was caught in the very act of his villainy, said that "it was Salome who was the framer of this plot, and that the words came from her." But as soon as she heard that, for she was at hand, she cried out, like one that would be believed, that no such thing ever came out of her mouth; that they all earnestly endeavored to make the king hate her, and to make her away, because of the good-will she bore to Herod, and because she was always foreseeing the dangers that were coming upon him, and that at present there were more plots against him than usual; for while she was the only person who persuaded her brother to put away the wife he now had, and to take the king's daughter, it was no wonder if she were hated by him.
As she said this, and often tore her hair, and often beat her breast, her countenance made her denial to be believed; but the peverseness of her manners declared at the same time her dissimulation in these proceedings; but Pheroras was caught between them, and had nothing plausible to offer in his own defense, while he confessed that he had said what was charged upon him, but was not believed when he said he had heard it from Salome; so the confusion among them was increased, and their quarrelsome words one to another.
At last the king, out of his hatred to his brother and sister, sent them both away; and when he had commended the moderation of his son, and that he had himself told him of the report, he went in the evening to refresh himself.
After such a contest as this had fallen out among them, Salome's reputation suffered greatly, since she was supposed to have first raised the calumny; and the king's wives were grieved at her, as knowing she was a very ill-natured woman, and would sometimes be a friend, and sometimes an enemy, at different seasons: so they perpetually said one thing or another against her; and somewhat that now fell out made them the bolder in speaking against her.
6. There was one Obodas, king of Arabia, an inactive and slothful man in his nature; but Sylleus managed most of his affairs for him.
He was a shrewd man, although he was but young, and was handsome withal.
This Sylleus, upon some occasion coining to Herod, and supping with him, saw Salome, and set his heart upon her; and understanding that she was a widow, he discoursed with her.
Now because Salome was at this time less in favor with her brother, she looked upon Sylleus with some passion, and was very earnest to be married to him; and on the days following there appeared many, and those very great, indications of their agreement together.
Now the women carried this news to the king, and laughed at the indecency of it; whereupon Herod inquired about it further of Pheroras, and desired him to observe them at supper, how their behavior was one toward another; who told him, that by the signals which came from their heads and their eyes, they both were evidently in love.
After this, Sylleus the Arabian being suspected, went away, but came again in two or three months afterwards, as it were on that very design, and spake to Herod about it, and desired that Salome might be given him to wife; for that his affinity might not be disadvantageous to his affairs, by a union with Arabia, the government of which country was already in effect under his power, and more evidently would be his hereafter.
Accordingly, when Herod discoursed with his sister about it, and asked her whether she were disposed to this match, she immediately agreed to it.
But when Sylleus was desired to come over to the Jewish religion, and then he should marry her, and that it was impossible to do it on any other terms, he could not bear that proposal, and went his way; for he said, that if he should do so, he should be stoned by the Arabs.
Then did Pheroras reproach Salome for her incontinency, as did the women much more; and said that Sylleus had debauched her.
As for that damsel which the king had betrothed to his brother Pheroras, but he had not taken her, as I have before related, because he was enamored on his former wife, Salome desired of Herod she might be given to her son by Costobarus; which match he was very willing to, but was dissuaded from it by Pheroras, who pleaded that this young man would not be kind to her, since his father had been slain by him, and that it was more just that his son, who was to be his successor in the tetrarchy, should have her.
So he begged his pardon, and persuaded him to do so.
Accordingly the damsel, upon this change of her espousals, was disposal of to this young man, the son of Pheroras, the king giving for her portion a hundred talents.
HOW HEROD TOOK UP ALEXANDER AND BOUND HIM; WHOM YET ARCHELAUS KING OF CAPPADOCIA RECONCILED TO HIS FATHER HEROD AGAIN.
1. BUT still the affairs of Herod's family were no better, but perpetually more troublesome.
Now this accident happened, which arose from no decent occasion, but proceeded so far as to bring great difficulties upon him. There were certain eunuchs which the king had, and on account of their beauty was very fond of them; and the care of bringing him drink was intrusted to one of them; of bringing him his supper, to another; and of putting him to bed, to the third, who also managed the principal affairs of the government; and there was one told the king that these eunuchs were corrupted by Alexander the king's son with great sums of money.
And when they were asked whether Alexander had had criminal conversation with them, they confessed it, but said they knew of no further mischief of his against his father; but when they were more severely tortured, and were in the utmost extremity, and the tormentors, out of compliance with Antipater, stretched the rack to the very utmost, they said that Alexander bare great ill-will and innate hatred to his father; and that he told them that Herod despaired to live much longer; and that, in order to cover his great age, he colored his hair black, and endeavored to conceal what would discover how old he was; but that if he would apply himself to him, when he should attain the kingdom, which, in spite of his father, could come to no one else, he should quickly have the first place in that kingdom under him, for that he was now ready to take the kingdom, not only as his birth-right, but by the preparations he had made for obtaining it, because a great many of the rulers, and a great many of his friends, were of his side, and those no ill men neither, ready both to do and to suffer whatsoever should come on that account.
2. When Herod heard this confession, he was all over anger and fear, some parts seeming to him reproachful, and some made him suspicious of dangers that attended him, insomuch that on both accounts he was provoked, and bitterly afraid lest some more heavy plot was laid against him than he should be then able to escape from; whereupon he did not now make an open search, but sent about spies to watch such as he suspected, for he was now overrun with suspicion and hatred against all about him; and indulging abundance of those suspicions, in order to his preservation, he continued to suspect those that were guiltless; nor did he set any bounds to himself, but supposing that those who staid with him had the most power to hurt him, they were to him very frightful; and for those that did not use to come to him, it seemed enough to name them [to make them suspected], and he thought himself safer when they were destroyed.
And at last his domestics were come to that pass, that being no way secure of escaping themselves, they fell to accusing one another, and imagining that he who first accused another was most likely to save himself; yet when any had overthrown others, they were hated; and they were thought to suffer justly who unjustly accused others, and they only thereby prevented their own accusation; nay, they now executed their own private enmities by this means, and when they were caught, they were punished in the same way.
Thus these men contrived to make use of this opportunity as an instrument and a snare against their enemies; yet when they tried it, were themselves caught also in the same snare which they laid for others: and the king soon repented of what he had done, because he had no clear evidence of the guilt of those whom he had slain; and yet what was still more severe in him, he did not make use of his repentance, in order to leave off doing the like again, but in order to inflict the same punishment upon their accusers.
3. And in this state of disorder were the affairs of the palace; and he had already told many of his friends directly that they ought not to appear before him, her come into the palace; and the reason of this injunction was, that [when they were there], he had less freedom of acting, or a greater restraint on himself on their account; for at this time it was that he expelled Andromachus and Gamellus, men who had of old been his friends, and been very useful to him in the affairs of his kingdom, and been of advantage to his family, by their embassages and counsels; and had been tutors to his sons, and had in a manner the first degree of freedom with him.
He expelled Andromachus, because his son Demetrius was a companion to Alexander; and Gamellus, because he knew that he wished him well, which arose from his having been with him in his youth, when he was at school, and absent at Rome.
These he expelled out of his palace, and was willing enough to have done worse by them; but that he might not seem to take such liberty against men of so great reputation, he contented himself with depriving them of their dignity, and of their power to hinder his wicked proceedings.
4. Now it was Antipater who was the cause of all this; who when he knew what a mad and licentious way of acting his father was in, and had been a great while one of his counselors, he hurried him on, and then thought he should bring him to do somewhat to purpose, when every one that could oppose him was taken away.
When therefore Andromachus and his friends were driven away, and had no discourse nor freedom with the king any longer, the king, in the first place, examined by torture all whom he thought to be faithful to Alexander, Whether they knew of any of his attempts against him; but these died without having any thing to say to that matter, which made the king more zealous [after discoveries], when he could not find out what evil proceedings he suspected them of.
As for Antipater, he was very sagacious to raise a calumny against those that were really innocent, as if their denial was only their constancy and fidelity [to Alexander], and thereupon provoked Herod to discover by the torture of great numbers what attempts were still concealed.
Now there was a certain person among the many that were tortured, who said that he knew that the young man had often said, that when he was commended as a tall man in his body, and a skillful marksman, and that in his other commendable exercises he exceeded all men, these qualifications given him by nature, though good in themselves, were not advantageous to him, because his father was grieved at them, and envied him for them; and that when he walked along with his father, he endeavored to depress and shorten himself, that he might not appear too tall; and that when he shot at any thing as he was hunting, when his father was by, he missed his mark on purpose, for he knew how ambitious his father was of being superior in such exercises.
So when the man was tormented about this saying, and had ease given his body after it, he added, that he had his brother Aristobulus for his assistance, and contrived to lie in wait for their father, as they were hunting, and kill him; and when they had done so to fly to Rome, and desire to have the kingdom given them. There were also letters of the young man found, written to his brother, wherein he complained that his father did not act justly in giving Antipater a country, whose [yearly] revenues amounted to two hundred talents.
Upon these confessions Herod presently thought he had somewhat to depend on, in his own opinion, as to his suspicion about his sons; so he took up Alexander and bound him: yet did he still continue to be uneasy, and was not quite satisfied of the truth of what he had heard; and when he came to recollect himself, he found that they had only made juvenile complaints and contentions, and that it was an incredible thing, that when his son should have slain him, he should openly go to Rome [to beg the kingdom]; so he was desirous to have some surer mark of his son's wickedness, and was very solicitous about it, that he might not appear to have condemned him to be put in prison too rashly; so he tortured the principal of Alexander's friends, and put not a few of them to death, without getting any of the things out of them which he suspected.
And while Herod was very busy about this matter, and the palace was full of terror and trouble, one of the younger sort, when he was in the utmost agony, confessed that Alexander had sent to his friends at Rome, and desired that he might be quickly invited thither by Caesar, and that he could discover a plot against him; that Mithridates, the king of Parthia, was joined in friendship with his father against the Romans, and that he had a poisonous potion ready prepared at Askelori.
5. To these accusations Herod gave credit, and enjoyed hereby, in his miserable case, some sort of consolation, in excuse of his rashness, as fiattering himself with finding things in so bad a condition; but as for the poisonous potion, which he labored to find, he could find none.
As for Alexander, he was very desirous to aggravate the vast misfortunes he was under, so he pretended not to deny the accusations, but punished the rashness of his father with a greater crime of his own; and perhaps he was willing to make his father ashamed of his easy belief of such calumnies: he aimed especially, if he could gain belief to his story, to plague him and his whole kingdom; for he wrote four letters, and sent them to him, that he did not need to torture any more persons, for he had plotted against him; and that he had for his partners Pheroras and the most faithful of his friends; and that Salome came in to him by night, and that she lay with him whether he would or not; and that all men were come to be of one mind, to make away with him as soon as they could, and so get clear of the continual fear they were in from him.
Among these were accused Ptolemy and Sapinnius, who were the most faithful friends to the king.
And what more can be said, but that those who before were the most intimate friends, were become wild beasts to one another, as if a certain madness had fallen upon them, while there was no room for defense or refutation, in order to the discovery of the truth, but all were at random doomed to destruction; so that some lamented those that were in prison, some those that were put to death, and others lamented that they were in expectation of the same miseries; and a melancholy solitude rendered the kingdom deformed, and quite the reverse to that happy state it was formerly in.
Herod's own life also was entirely disturbed; and because he could trust nobody, he was sorely punished by the expectation of further misery; for he often fancied in his imagination that his son had fallen upon him, or stood by him with a sword in his hand; and thus was his mind night and day intent upon this thing, and revolved it over and over, no otherwise than if he were under a distraction.
And this was the sad condition Herod was now in.
6. But when Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, heard of the state that Herod was in, and being in great distress about his daughter, and the young man [her husband], and grieving with Herod, as with a man that was his friend, on account of so great a disturbance as he was under, he came [to Jerusalem] on purpose to compose their differences; and when he found Herod in such a temper, he thought it wholly unseasonable to reprove him, or to pretend that he had done any thing rashly, for that he should thereby naturally bring him to dispute the point with him, and by still more and more apologizing for himself to be the more irritated: he went, therefore, another way to work, in order to correct the former misfortunes, and appeared angry at the young man, and said that Herod had been so very mild a man, that he had not acted a rash part at all.
He also said he would dissolve his daughter's marriage with Alexander, nor could in justice spare his own daughter, if she were conscious of any thing, and did not inform Herod of it.
When Archelaus appeared to be of this temper, and otherwise than Herod expected or imagined, and, for the main, took Herod's part, and was angry on his account, the king abated of his harshness, and took occasion from his appearing to have acted justly hitherto, to come by degrees to put on the affection of a father, and was on both sides to be pitied; for when some persons refuted the calumnies that were laid on the young man, he was thrown into a passion; but when Archclaus joined in the accusation, he was dissolved into tears and sorrow after an affectionate manner.
Accordingly, he desired that he would not dissolve his son's marriage, and became not so angry as before for his offenses.
So when Archclaus had brought him to a more moderate temper, he transferred the calumnies upon his friends; and said it must be owing to them that so young a man, and one unacquainted with malice, was corrupted; and he supposed that there was more reason to suspect the brother than the soft.
Upon which Herod was very much displeased at Pheroras, who indeed now had no one that could make a reconciliation between him and his brother.
So when he saw that Archclaus had the greatest power with Herod, he betook himself to him in the habit of a mourner, and like one that had all the signs upon him of an undone man.
Upon this Archclaus did not overlook the intercession he made to him, nor yet did he undertake to change the king's disposition towards him immediately; and he said that it was better for him to come himself to the king, and confess himself the occasion of all; that this would make the king's anger not to be extravagant towards him, and that then he would be present to assist him.
When he had persuaded him to this, he gained his point with both of them; and the calumnies raised against the young man were, beyond all expectation, wiped off.
And Archclaus, as soon as he had made the reconciliation, went then away to Cappadocia, having proved at this juncture of time the most acceptable person to Herod in the world; on which account he gave him the richest presents, as tokens of his respects to him; and being on other occasions magnanimous, he esteemed him one of his dearest friends.
He also made an agreement with him that he would go to Rome, because he had written to Caesar about these affairs; so they went together as far as Antioch, and there Herod made a reconciliation between Archclaus and Titus, the president of Syria, who had been greatly at variance, and so returned back to Judea.
CONCERNING THE REVOLT OF THE TRACHONITES; HOW SYLLEUS ACCUSED HEROD BEFORE CAESAR; AND HOW HEROD, WHEN CAESAR WAS ANGRY AT HIM, RESOLVED TO SEND NICOLAUS TO ROME.
1. WHEN Herod had been at Rome, and was come back again, a war arose between him and the Arabians, on the occasion following: The inhabitants of Trachonitis, after Caesar had taken the country away from Zenodorus, and added it to Herod, had not now power to rob, but were forced to plough the land, and to live quietly, which was a thing they did not like; and when they did take that pains, the ground did not produce much fruit for them.
However, at the first the king would not permit them to rob, and so they abstained from that unjust way of living upon their neighbors, which procured Herod a great reputation for his care.
But when he was sailing to Rome, it was at that time when he went to accuse his son Alexander, and to commit Antipater to Caesar's protection, the Trachonites spread a report as if he were dead, and revolted from his dominion, and betook themselves again to their accustomed way of robbing their neighbors; at which time the king's commanders subdued them during his absence; but about forty of the principal robbers, being terrified by those that had been taken, left the country, and retired into Arabia, Sylleus entertaining them, after he had missed of marrying Salome, and gave them a place of strength, in which they dwelt.
So they overran not only Judea, but all Celesyria also, and carried off the prey, while Sylleus afforded them places of protection and quietness during their wicked practices.
But when Herod came back from Rome, he perceived that his dominions had greatly suffered by them; and since he could not reach the robbers themselves, because of the secure retreat they had in that country, and which the Arabian government afforded them, and yet being very uneasy at the injuries they had done him, he went all over Trachonitis, and slew their relations; whereupon these robbers were more angry than before, it being a law among them to be avenged on the murderers of their relations by all possible means; so they continued to tear and rend every thing under Herod's dominion with impunity.
Then did he discourse about these robberies to Saturninus and Volumnius, and required that they should be punished; upon which occasion they still the more confirmed themselves in their robberies, and became more numerous, and made very great disturbances, laying waste the countries and villages that belonged to Herod's kingdom, and killing those men whom they caught, till these unjust proceedings came to be like a real war, for the robbers were now become about a thousand; - at which Herod was sore displeased, and required the robbers, as well as the money which he had lent Obodas, by Sylleus, which was sixty talents, and since the time of payment was now past, he desired to have it paid him; but Sylleus, who had laid Obodas aside, and managed all by himself, denied that the robbers were in Arabia, and put off the payment of the money; about which there was a hearing before Saturninus and Volumnius, who were then the presidents of Syria.
(11) At last he, by their means, agreed, that within thirty days' time Herod should be paid his money, and that each of them should deliver up the other's subjects reciprocally.
Now, as to Herod, there was not one of the other's subjects found in his kingdom, either as doing any injustice, or on any other account, but it was proved that the Arabians had the robbers amongst them.
2. When this day appointed for payment of the money was past, without Sylleus's performing any part of his agreement, and he was gone to Rome, Herod demanded the payment of the money, and that the robbers that were in Arabia should be delivered up; and, by the permission of Saturninus and Volumnius, executed the judgment himself upon those that were refractory. He took an army that he had, and let it into Arabia, and in three days' time marched seven mansions; and when he came to the garrison wherein the robbers were, he made an assault upon them, and took them all, and demolished the place, which was called Raepta, but did no harm to any others.
But as the Arabians came to their assistance, under Naceb their captain, there ensued a battle, wherein a few of Herod's soldiers, and Naceb, the captain of the Arabians, and about twenty of his soldiers, fell, while the rest betook themselves to flight.
So when he had brought these to punishment, he placed three thousand Idumeans in Trachonitis, and thereby restrained the robbers that were there.
He also sent an account to the captains that were about Phoenicia, and demonstrated that he had done nothing but what he ought to do, in punishing the refractory Arabians, which, upon an exact inquiry, they found to be no more than what was true.
3. However, messengers were hasted away to Sylleus to Rome, and informed him what had been done, and, as is usual, aggravated every thing.
Now Sylleus had already insinuated himself into the knowledge of Caesar, and was then about the palace; and as soon as he heard of these things, he changed his habit into black, and went in, and told Caesar that Arabia was afflicted with war, and that all his kingdom was in great confusion, upon Herod's laying it waste with his army; and he said, with tears in his eyes, that two thousand five hundred of the principal men among the Arabians had been destroyed, and that their captain Nacebus, his familiar friend and kinsman, was slain; and that the riches that were at Raepta were carried off; and that Obodas was despised, whose infirm state of body rendered him unfit for war; on which account neither he, nor the Arabian army, were present. When Sylleus said so, and added invidiously, that he would not himself have come out of the country, unless he had believed that Caesar would have provided that they should all have peace one with another, and that, had he been there, he would have taken care that the war should not have been to Herod's advantage; Caesar was provoked when this was said, and asked no more than this one question, both of Herod's friends that were there, and of his own friends, who were come from Syria, Whether Herod had led an army thither? And when they were forced to confess so much, Caesar, without staying to hear for what reason he did it, and how it was done, grew very angry, and wrote to Herod sharply.
The sum of his epistle was this, that whereas of old he had used him as his friend, he should now use him as his subject.
Sylleus also wrote an account of this to the Arabians, who were so elevated with it, that they neither delivered up the robbers that had fled to them, nor paid the money that was due; they retained those pastures also which they had hired, and kept them without paying their rent, and all this because the king of the Jews was now in a low condition, by reason of Caesar's anger at him.
Those of Trachonitis also made use of this opportunity, and rose up against the Idumean garrison, and followed the same way of robbing with the Arabians, who had pillaged their country, and were more rigid in their unjust proceedings, not only in order to get by it, but by way of revenge also.
4. Now Herod was forced to bear all this, that confidence of his being quite gone with which Caesar's favor used to inspire him; for Caesar would not admit so much as an embassage from him to 'make an apology for him; and when they came again, he sent them away without success.
So he was cast into sadness and fear; and Sylleus's circumstances grieved him exceedingly, who was now believed by Caesar, and was present at Rome, nay, sometimes aspiring higher.
Now it came to pass that Obodas was dead; and Aeneas, whose name was afterward changed to Aretas, (12) took the government, for Sylleus endeavored by calumnies to get him turned out of his principality, that he might himself take it; with which design he gave much money to the courtiers, and promised much money to Caesar, who indeed was angry that Aretas had not sent to him first before he took the kingdom; yet did Aeneas send an epistle and presents to Caesar, and a golden crown, of the weight of many talents.
Now that epistle accused Sylleus as having been a wicked servant, and having killed Obodas by poison; and that while he was alive, he had governed him as he pleased; and had also debauched the wives of the Arabians; and had borrowed money, in order to obtain the dominion for himself: yet did not Caesar give heed to these accusations, but sent his ambassadors back, without receiving any of his presents.
But in the mean time the affairs of Judea and Arabia became worse and worse, partly because of the anarchy they were under, and partly because, as bad as they were, nobody had power to govern them; for of the two kings, the one was not yet confirmed in his kingdom, and so had not authority sufficient to restrain the evil-doers; and as for Herod, Caesar was immediately angry at him for having avenged himself, and so he was compelled to bear all the injuries that were offered him.
At length, when he saw no end of the mischief which surrounded him, he resolved to send ambassadors to Rome again, to see whether his friends had prevailed to mitigate Caesar, and to address themselves to Caesar himself; and the ambassador he sent thither was Nicolans of Damascus.
HOW EURYCLES FALSELY ACCUSED HEROD'S SONS; AND HOW THEIR FATHER BOUND THEM, AND WROTE TO CAESAR ABOUT THEM.
OF SYLLEUS AND HOW HE WAS ACCUSED BY NICOLAUS.
1. THE disorders about Herod's family and children about this time grew much worse; for it now appeared certain, nor was it unforeseen before-hand, that fortune threatened the greatest and most insupportable misfortunes possible to his kingdom.
Its progress and augmentation at this time arose on the occasion following: One Eurycles, a Lacedemonian, (a person of note there, but a man of a perverse mind, and so cunning in his ways of voluptuousness and flattery, as to indulge both, and yet seem to indulge neither of them,) came in his travels to Herod, and made him presents, but so that he received more presents from him.
He also took such proper seasons for insinuating himself into his friendship, that he became one of the most intimate of the king's friends.
He had his lodging in Antipater's house; but he had not only access, but free conversation, with Alexander, as pretending to him that he was in great favor with Archclaus, the king of Cappadocia; whence he pretended much respect to Glaphyra, and in an occult manner cultivated a friendship with them all; but always attending to what was said and done, that he might be furnished with calumnies to please them all.
In short, he behaved himself so to every body in his conversation, as to appear to be his particular friend, and he made others believe that his being any where was for that person's advantage.
So he won upon Alexander, who was but young; and persuaded him that he might open his grievances to him with assurance and with nobody else.
So he declared his grief to him, how his father was alienated from him.
He related to him also the affairs of his mother, and of Antipater; that he had driven them from their proper dignity, and had the power over every thing himself; that no part of this was tolerable, since his father was already come to hate them; and he added, that he would neither admit them to his table, nor to his conversation.
Such were the complaints, as was but natural, of Alexander about the things that troubled him; and these discourses Eurycles carried to Antipater, and told him he did not inform him of this on his own account, but that being overcome by his kindness, the great importance of the thing obliged him to do it; and he warned him to have a care of Alexander, for that what he said was spoken with vehemency, and that, in consequence of what he said, he would certainly kill him with his own hand.
Whereupon Antipater, thinking him to be his friend by this advice, gave him presents upon all occasions, and at length persuaded him to inform Herod of what he had heard.
So when he related to the king Alexander's ill temper, as discovered by the words he had heard him speak, he was easily believed by him; and he thereby brought the king to that pass, turning him about by his words, and irritating him, till he increased his hatred to him and made him implacable, which he showed at that very time, for he immediately gave Eurycles a present of fifty talents; who, when he had gotten them, went to Archclaus, king of Cappadocia, and commended Alexander before him, and told him that he had been many ways of advantage to him, in making a reconciliation between him and his father.
So he got money from him also, and went away, before his pernicious practices were found out; but when Eurycles was returned to Lacedemon, he did not leave off doing mischief; and so, for his many acts of injustice, he was banished from his own country.
2. But as for the king of the Jews, he was not now in the temper he was in formerly towards Alexander and Aristobulus, when he had been content with the hearing their calumnies when others told him of them; but he was now come to that pass as to hate them himself, and to urge men to speak against them, though they did not do it of themselves.
He also observed all that was said, and put questions, and gave ear to every one that would but speak, if they could but say any thing against them, till at length he heard that Euaratus of Cos was a conspirator with Alexander; which thing to Herod was the most agreeable and sweetest news imaginable.
3. But still a greater misfortune came upon the young men; while the calumnies against them were continually increased, and, as a man may say, one would think it was every one's endeavor to lay some grievous thing to their charge, which might appear to be for the king's preservation. There were two guards of Herod's body, who were in great esteem for their strength and tallness, Jucundus and Tyrannus; these men had been cast off by Herod, who was displeased at them; these now used to ride along with Alexander, and for their skill in their exercises were in great esteem with him, and had some gold and other gifts bestowed on them.
Now the king having an immediate suspicion of those men, had them tortured, who endured the torture courageously for a long time; but at last confessed that Alexander would have persuaded them to kill Herod, when he was in pursuit of the wild beasts, that it might be said he fell from his horse, and was run through with his own spear, for that he had once such a misfortune formerly. They also showed where there was money hidden in the stable under ground; and these convicted the king's chief hunter, that he had given the young men the royal hunting spears and weapons to Alexander's dependents, at Alexander's command.
4. After these, the commander of the garrison of Alexandrium was caught and tortured; for he was accused to have promised to receive the young men into his fortress, and to supply them with that money of the king's which was laid up in that fortress, yet did not he acknowledge any thing of it himself; but his son came ill, and said it was so, and delivered up the writing, which, so far as could be guessed, was in Alexander's hand. Its contents were these: "When we have finished, by God's help, all that we have proposed to do, we will come to you; but do your endeavors, as you have promised, to receive us into your fortress." After this writing was produced, Herod had no doubt about the treacherous designs of his sons against him.
But Alexander said that Diophantus the scribe had imitated his hand, and that the paper was maliciously drawn up by Antipater; for Diophantus appeared to be very cunning in such practices; and as he was afterward convicted of forging other papers, he was put to death for it.
5. So the king produced those that had been tortured before the multitude at Jericho, in order to have them accuse the young men, which accusers many of the people stoned to death; and when they were going to kill Alexander and Aristobulus likewise, the king would not permit them to do so, but restrained the multitude, by the means of Ptolemy and Pheroras.
However, the young men were put under a guard, and kept in custody, that nobody might come at them; and all that they did or said was watched, and the reproach and fear they were in was little or nothing different from those of condemned criminals: and one of them, who was Aristobulus, was so deeply affected, that he brought Salome, who was his aunt, and his mother-in-law, to lament with him for his calamities, and to hate him who had suffered things to come to that pass; when he said to her, "Art thou not in danger of destruction also, while the report goes that thou hadst disclosed beforehand all our affairs to Syllcus, when thou wast in hopes of being married to him?" But she immediately carried these words to her brother. Upon this he was out of patience, and gave command to bind him; and enjoined them both, now they were kept separate one from the other, to write down the ill things they had done against their father, and bring the writings to him, So when this was enjoined them, they wrote this, that they had laid no treacherous designs, nor made any preparations against their father, but that they had intended to fly away; and that by the distress they were in, their lives being now uncertain and tedious to them.
6. About this time there came an ambassador out of Cappadocia from Archelaus, whose name was Melas; he was one of the principal rulers under him.
So Herod, being desirous to show Archelaus's ill-will to him, called for Alexander, as he was in his bonds, and asked him again concerning his fight, whether and how they had resolved to retire Alexander replied, To Archclaus, who had promised to send them away to Rome; but that they had no wicked nor mischievous designs against their father, and that nothing of that nature which their adversaries had charged upon them was true; and that their desire was, that he might have examined Tyrannus and Jucundus more strictly, but that they had been suddenly slain by the means of Antipater, who put his own friends among the multitude [for that purpose].
7. When this was said, Herod commanded that both Alexander and Melas should be carried to Glaphyra, Archelaus's daughter, and that she should be asked, whether she did not know somewhat of Alexander's treacherous designs against Herod? Now as soon as they were come to her, and she saw Alexander in bonds, she beat her head, and in a great consternation gave a deep and moving groan.
The young man also fell into tears.
This was so miserable a spectacle to those present, that, for a great while, they were not able to say or to do any thing; but at length Ptolemy, who was ordered to bring Alexander, bid him say whether his wife was conscious of his actions. He replied, "How is it possible that she, whom I love better than my own soul, and by whom I have had children, should not know what I do?" Upon which she cried out that she knew of no wicked designs of his; but that yet, if her accusing herself falsely would tend to his preservation, she would confess it all.
Alexander replied, "There is no such wickedness as those (who ought the least of all so to do) suspect, which either I have imagined, or thou knowest of, but this only, that we had resolved to retire to Archelaus, and from thence to Rome." Which she also confessed. Upon which Herod, supposing that Archelaus's ill-will to him was fully proved, sent a letter by Olympus and Volumnius; and bid them, as they sailed by, to touch at Eleusa of Cilicia, and give Archelaus the letter.
And that when they had ex-postulated with him, that he had a hand in his son's treacherous design against him, they should from thence sail to Rome; and that, in case they found Nicolaus had gained any ground, and that Caesar was no longer displeased at him, he should give him his letters, and the proofs which he had ready to show against the young men.
As to Archelaus, he made his defense for himself, that he had promised to receive the young men, because it was both for their own and their father's advantage so to do, lest some too severe procedure should be gone upon in that anger and disorder they were in on occasion of the present suspicions; but that still he had not promised to send them to Caesar; and that he had not promised any thing else to the young men that could show any ill-will to him.
8. When these ambassadors were come to Rome, they had a fit opportunity of delivering their letters to Caesar, because they found him reconciled to Herod; for the circumstances of Nicolaus's embassage had been as follows: As soon as he was come to Rome, and was about the court, he did not first of all set about what he was come for only, but he thought fit also to accuse Sylleus.
Now the Arabians, even before he came to talk with them, were quarrelling one with another; and some of them left Sylleus's party, and joining themselves to Nicolaus, informed him of all the wicked things that had been done; and produced to him evident demonstrations of the slaughter of a great number of Obodas's friends by Sylleus; for when these men left Sylleus, they had carried off with them those letters whereby they could convict him.
When Nicolaus saw such an opportunity afforded him, he made use of it, in order to gain his own point afterward, and endeavored immediately to make a reconciliation between Caesar and Herod; for he was fully satisfied, that if he should desire to make a defense for Herod directly, he should not be allowed that liberty; but that if he desired to accuse Sylleus, there would an occasion present itself of speaking on Herod's behalf.
So when the cause was ready for a hearing, and the day was appointed, Nicolaus, while Aretas's ambassadors were present, accused Sylleus, and said that he imputed to him the destruction of the king [Obodas], and of many others of the Arabians; that he had borrowed money for no good design; and he proved that he had been guilty of adultery, not only with the Arabian, but Reinan women also.
he added, that above all the rest he had alienated Caesar from Herod, and that all that he had said about the actions of Herod were falsities.
When Nicolaus was come to this topic, Caesar stopped him from going on, and desired him only to speak to this affair of Herod, and to show that he had not led an army into Arabia, nor slain two thousand five hundred men there, nor taken prisoners, nor pillaged the country. To which Nicolaus made this answer: "I shall principally demonstrate, that either nothing at all, or but a very little, of those imputations are true, of which thou hast been informed; for had they been true, thou mightest justly have been still more angry at Herod." At this strange assertion Caesar was very attentive; and Nicolaus said that there was a debt due to Herod of five hundred talents, and a bond, wherein it was written, that if the time appointed be lapsed, it should be lawful to make a seizure out of any part of his country.
"As for the pretended army," he said, "it was no army, but a party sent out to require the just payment of the money; that this was not sent immediately, nor so soon as the bond allowed, but that Sylleus had frequently come before Saturninus and Volumnius, the presidents of Syria; and that at last he had sworn at Berytus, by thy fortune, (13) that he would certainly pay the money within thirty days, and deliver up the fugitives that were under his dominion.
And that when Sylleus had performed nothing of this, Herod came again before the presidents; and upon their permission to make a seizure for his money, he, with difficulty, went out of his country with a party of soldiers for that purpose.
And this is all the war which these men so tragically describe; and this is the affair of the expedition into Arabia.
And how can this be called a war, when thy presidents permitted it, the covenants allowed it, and it was not executed till thy name, O Caesar, as well as that of the other gods, had been profaned? And now I must speak in order about the captives.
There were robbers that dwelt in Trachonitis; at first their number was no more than forty, but they became more afterwards, and they escaped the punishment Herod would have inflicted on them, by making Arabia their refuge.
Sylleus received them, and supported them with food, that they might be mischievous to all mankind, and gave them a country to inhabit, and himself received the gains they made by robbery; yet did he promise that he would deliver up these men, and that by the same oaths and same time that he sware and fixed for payment of his debt: nor can he by any means show that any other persons have at this time been taken out of Arabia besides these, and indeed not all these neither, but only so many as could not conceal themselves.
And thus does the calumny of the captives, which hath been so odiously represented, appear to be no better than a fiction and a lie, made on purpose to provoke thy indignation; for I venture to affirm that when the forces of the Arabians came upon us, and one or two of Herod's party fell, he then only defended himself, and there fell Nacebus their general, and in all about twenty-five others, and no more; whence Sylleus, by multiplying every single soldier to a hundred, he reckons the slain to have been two thousand five hundred."
9. This provoked Caesar more than ever.
So he turned to Sylleus full of rage, and asked him how many of the Arabians were slain.
Hereupon he hesitated, and said he had been imposed upon.
The covenants also were read about the money he had borrowed, and the letters of the presidents of Syria, and the complaints of the several cities, so many as had been injured by the robbers.
The conclusion was this, that Sylleus was condemned to die, and that Caesar was reconciled to Herod, and owned his repentance for what severe things he had written to him, occasioned by calumny, insomuch that he told Sylleus, that he had compelled him, by his lying account of things, to be guilty of ingratitude against a man that was his friend.
At the last all came to this, Sylleus was sent away to answer Herod's suit, and to repay the debt that he owed, and after that to be punished [with death]. But still Caesar was offended with Aretas, that he had taken upon himself the government, without his consent first obtained, for he had determined to bestow Arabia upon Herod; but that the letters he had sent hindered him from so doing; for Olympus and Volumnius, perceiving that Caesar was now become favorable to Herod, thought fit immediately to deliver him the letters they were commanded by Herod to give him concerning his sons.
When Caesar had read them, he thought it would not be proper to add another government to him, now he was old, and in an ill state with relation to his sons, so he admitted Aretas's ambassadors; and after he had just reproved him for his rashness, in not tarrying till he received the kingdom from him, he accepted of his presents, and confirmed him in his government.
HOW HEROD, BY PERMISSION FROM CAESAR ACCUSED HIS SONS BEFORE AN ASSEMBLY OF JUDGES AT BERYTUS ; AND WHAT TERO SUFFERED FOR USING A BOUNDLESS AND MILITARY LIBERTY OF SPEECH.
CONCERNING ALSO THE DEATH OF THE YOUNG MEN AND THEIR BURIAL AT ALEXANDRIUM.
1. SO Caesar was now reconciled to Herod, and wrote thus to him: That he was grieved for him on account of his sons; and that in case they had been guilty of any profane and insolent crimes against him, it would behoove him to punish them as parricides, for which he gave him power accordingly; but if they had only contrived to fly away, he would have him give them an admonition, and not proceed to extremity with them.
He also advised him to get an assembly together, and to appoint some place near Berytus, (14) which is a city belonging to the Romans, and to take the presidents of Syria, and Archelaus king of Cappadocia, and as many more as he thought to be illustrious for their friendship to him, and the dignities they were in, and determine what should be done by their approbation.
These were the directions that Caesar gave him.
Accordingly Herod, when the letter was brought to him, was immediately very glad of Caesar's reconciliation to him, and very glad also that he had a complete authority given him over his sons.
And it strangely came about, that whereas before, in his adversity, though he had indeed showed himself severe, yet had he not been very rash nor hasty in procuring the destruction of his sons; he now, in his prosperity, took advantage of this change for the better, and the freedom he now had, to exercise his hatred against them after an unheard of manner; he therefore sent and called as many as he thought fit to this assembly, excepting Archclaus; for as for him, he either hated him, so that he would not invite him, or he thought he would be an obstacle to his designs.
2. When the presidents, and the rest that belonged to the cities, were come to Berytus, he kept his sons in a certain village belonging to Sidon, called Platana, but near to this city, that if they were called, he might produce them, for he did not think fit to bring them before the assembly: and when there were one hundred and fifty assessors present, Herod came by himself alone, and accused his sons, and that in such a way as if it were not a melancholy accusation, and not made but out of necessity, and upon the misfortunes he was under; indeed, in such a way as was very indecent for a father to accuse his sons, for he was very vehement and disordered when he came to the demonstration of the crime they were accused of, and gave the greatest signs of passion and barbarity: nor would he suffer the assessors to consider of the weight of the evidence, but asserted them to be true by his own authority, after a manner most indecent in a father against his sons, and read himself what they themselves had written, wherein there was no confession of any plots or contrivances against him, but only how they had contrived to fly away, and containing withal certain reproaches against him, on account of the ill-will he bare them; and when he came to those reproaches, he cried out most of all, and exaggerated what they said, as if they had confessed the design against him, and took his oath that he had rather lose his life than hear such reproachful words.
At last he said that he had sufficient authority, both by nature and by Caesar's grant to him, [to do what he thought fit].
He also added an allegation of a law of their country, which enjoined this: That if parents laid their hands on the head of him that was accused, the standers by were obliged to cast stones at him, and thereby to slay him; which though he were ready to do in his own country and kingdom, yet did he wait for their determination; and yet they came thither not so much as judges, to condemn them for such manifest designs against him, whereby he had almost perished by his sons' means, but as persons that had an opportunity of showing their detestation of such practices, and declaring how unworthy a thing it must be in any, even the most remote, to pass over such treacherous designs [without punishment].
3. When the king had said this, and the young men had not been produced to make any defense for themselves, the assessors perceived there was no room for equity and reconciliation, so they confirmed his authority.
And in the first place, Saturninus, a person that had been consul, and one of great dignity, pronounced his sentence, but with great moderation and trouble; and said that he condemned Herod's sons, but did not think they should be put to death.
He had sons of his own, and to put one's son to death is a greater misfortune than any other that could befall him by their means.
After him Saturninus's sons, for he had three sons that followed him, and were his legates, pronounced the same sentence with their father. On the contrary, Volumnius's sentence was to inflict death on such as had been so impiously undutiful to their father; and the greatest part of the rest said the same, insomuch that the conclusion seemed to be, that the young men were condemned to die.
Immediately after this Herod came away from thence, and took his sons to Tyre, where Nicolaus met him in his voyage from Rome; of whom he inquired, after he had related to him what had passed at Berytus, what his sentiments were about his sons, and what his friends at Rome thought of that matter.
His answer was, "That what they had determined to do to thee was impious, and that thou oughtest to keep them in prison; and if thou thinkest any thing further necessary, thou mayst indeed so punish them, that thou mayst not appear to indulge thy anger more than to govern thyself by judgment; but if thou inclinest to the milder side, thou mayst absolve them, lest perhaps thy misfortunes be rendered incurable; and this is the opinion of the greatest part of thy friends at Rome also." Whereupon Herod was silent, and in great thoughtfulness, and bid Nicolaus sail along with him.
4. Now as they came to Cesarea, every body was there talking of Herod's sons, and the kingdom was in suspense, and the people in great expectation of what would become of them; for a terrible fear seized upon all men, lest the ancient disorders of the family should come to a sad conclusion, and they were in great trouble about their sufferings; nor was it without danger to say any rash thing about this matter, nor even to hear another saying it, but men's pity was forced to be shut up in themselves, which rendered the excess of their sorrow very irksome, but very silent yet was there an old soldier of Herod's, whose name was Tero, who had a son of the same age with Alexander, and his friend, who was so very free as openly to speak out what others silently thought about that matter; and was forced to cry out often among the multitude, and said, in the most unguarded manner, that truth was perished, and justice taken away from men, while lies and ill-will prevailed, and brought such a mist before public affairs, that the offenders were not able to see the greatest mischiefs that can befall men.
And as he was so bold, he seemed not to have kept himself out of danger, by speaking so freely; but the reasonableness of what he said moved men to regard him as having behaved himself with great manhood, and this at a proper time also, for which reason every one heard what he said with pleasure; and although they first took care of their own safety by keeping silent themselves, yet did they kindly receive the great freedom he took; for the expectation they were in of so great an affliction, put a force upon them to speak of Tero whatsoever they pleased.
5. This man had thrust himself into the king's presence with the greatest freedom, and desired to speak with him by himself alone, which the king permitted him to do, where he said this: "Since I am not able, O king, to bear up under so great a concern as I am under, I have preferred the use of this bold liberty that I now take, which may be for thy advantage, if thou mind to get any profit by it, before my own safety.
Whither is thy understanding gone, and left thy soul empty? Whither is that extraordinary sagacity of thine gone whereby thou hast performed so many and such glorious-actions? Whence comes this solitude, and desertion of thy friends and relations? Of which I cannot but determine that they are neither thy friends nor relations, while they overlook such horrid wickedness in thy once happy kingdom.
Dost not thou perceive what is doing? Wilt thou slay these two young men, born of thy queen, who are accomplished with every virtue in the highest degree, and leave thyself destitute in thy old age, but exposed to one son, who hath very ill managed the hopes thou hast given him,' and to relations, whose death thou hast so often resolved on thyself? Dost not thou take notice, that the very silence of the multitude at once sees the crime, and abhors the fact? The whole army and the officers have commiseration on the poor unhappy youths, and hatred to those that are the actors in this matter." These words the king heard, and for some time with good temper.
But what can one say? When Tero plainly touched upon the bad behavior and perfidiousness of his domestics, he was moved at it; but Tero went on further, and by degrees used an unbounded military freedom of speech, nor was he so well disciplined as to accommodate himself to the time.
So Herod was greatly disturbed, and seeming to be rather reproached by this speech, than to be hearing what was for his advantage, while he learned thereby that both the soldiers abhorred the thing he was about, and the officers had indignation at it, he gave order that all whom Tero had named, and Tero himself, should be bound and kept in prison.
6. When this was over, one Trypho, who was the king's barber, took the opportunity, and came and told the king, that Tero would often have persuaded him, when he trimmed him with a razor, to cut his throat, for that by this means he should be among the chief of Alexander's friends, and receive great rewards from him.
When he had said this, the king gave order that Tero, and his son, and the barber should be tortured, which was done accordingly; but while Tero bore up himself, his son seeing his father already in a sad case, and had no hope of deliverance, and perceiving what would be the consequence of his terrible sufferings, said, that if the king would free him and his father from these torments for what he should say, he would tell the truth.
And when the king had given his word to do so, he said that there was an agreement made, that Tero should lay violent hands on the king, because it was easy for him to come when he was alone; and that if, when he had done the thing, he should suffer death for it, as was not unlikely, it would be an act of generosity done in favor of Alexander. This was what Tero's son said, and thereby freed his father from the distress he was in; but uncertain it is whether he had been thus forced to speak what was true, or whether it were a contrivance of his, in order to procure his own and his father's deliverance from their miseries.
7. As for Herod, if he had before any doubt about the slaughter of his sons, there was now no longer any room left in his soul for it; but he had banished away whatsoever might afford him the least suggestion of reasoning better about this matter, so he already made haste to bring his purpose to a conclusion.
He also brought out three hundred of the officers that were under an accusation, as also Tero and his son, and the barber that accused them before an assembly, and brought an accusation against them all; whom the multitude stoned with whatsoever came to hand, and thereby slew them.
Alexander also and Aristobulus were brought to Sebaste, by their father's command, and there strangled; but their dead bodies were in the night time carried to Alexandraum, where their uncle by the mother's side, and the greatest part of their ancestors, had been deposited.
8. (15) And now perhaps it may not seem unreasonable to some, that such an inveterate hatred might increase so much [on both sides], as to proceed further, and overcome nature; but it may justly deserve consideration, whether it be to be laid to the charge of the young men, that they gave such an occasion to their father's anger, and led him to do what he did, and by going on long in the same way put things past remedy, and brought him to use them so unmercifully; or whether it be to be laid to the father's charge, that he was so hard-hearted, and so very tender in the desire of government, and of other things that would tend to his glory, that tae would take no one into a partnership with him, that so whatsoever he would have done himself might continue immovable; or, indeed, whether fortune have not greater power than all prudent reasonings; whence we are persuaded that human actions are thereby determined beforehand by an inevitable necessity, and we call her Fate, because there is nothing which is not done by her; wherefore I suppose it will be sufficient to compare this notion with that other, which attribute somewhat to ourselves, and renders men not unaccountable for the different conducts of their lives, which notion is no other than the philosophical determination of our ancient law.
Accordingly, of the two other causes of this sad event, any body may lay the blame on the young men, who acted by youthful vanity, and pride of their royal birth, that they should bear to hear the calumnies that were raised against their father, while certainly they were not equitable judges of the actions of his life, but ill-natured in suspecting, and intemperate in speaking of it, and on both accounts easily caught by those that observed them, and revealed them to gain favor; yet cannot their father be thought worthy excuse, as to that horrid impiety which he was guilty of about them, while he ventured, without any certain evidence of their treacherous designs against him, and without any proofs that they had made preparations for such attempt, to kill his own sons, who were of very comely bodies, and the great darlings of other men, and no way deficient in their conduct, whether it were in hunting, or in warlike exercises, or in speaking upon occasional topics of discourse; for in all these they were skillful, and especially Alexander, who was the eldest; for certainly it had been sufficient, even though he had condemned them, to have kept them alive in bonds, or to let them live at a distance from his dominions in banishment, while he was surrounded by the Roman forces, which were a strong security to him, whose help would prevent his suffering any thing by a sudden onset, or by open force; but for him to kill them on the sudden, in order to gratify a passion that governed him, was a demonstration of insufferable impiety.
He also was guilty of so great a crime in his older age; nor will the delays that he made, and the length of time in which the thing was done, plead at all for his excuse; for when a man is on a sudden amazed, and in commotion of mind, and then commits a wicked action, although this be a heavy crime, yet is it a thing that frequently happens; but to do it upon deliberation, and after frequent attempts, and as frequent puttings-off, to undertake it at last, and accomplish it, was the action of a murderous mind, and such as was not easily moved from that which is evil.
And this temper he showed in what he did afterward, when he did not spare those that seemed to be the best beloved of his friends that were left, wherein, though the justice of the punishment caused those that perished to be the less pitied, yet was the barbarity of the man here equal, in that he did not abstain from their slaughter also.
But of those persons we shall have occasion to discourse more hereafter.
(1) We may here observe the ancient practice of the Jews, of dedicating the sabbath day, not to idleness, but to the learning their sacred rites and religious customs, and to the meditation on the law of Moses; the like to which we meet with elsewhere in Josephus also against Apion, B. I. sect. 22.
(2) This interval of ten years for the duration of Marcus Agrippa's government in Asia seems to be true, and agreeable to the Roman history. See Usher's Annals at A.M. 3392.
(3) Although Herod met Augustus at Aquilei, yet was this accusation of his sons deferred till they came to Rome, as sect. 3 assures us, and as we are particularly informed in the History of the War, B. I. ch. 23. sect. 3; though what he here says belonged distinctly to Alexander, the elder brother, I mean his being brought to Rome, is here justly extended to both the brothers, and that not only in our copies, but in that of Zonaras also; nor is there reason to doubt but they were both at this solemn hearing by Augustus, although the defense was made by Alexander alone, who was the eldest brother, and one that could speak very well.
(4) Since some prejudiced men have indulged a wild suspicion, as we have supposed already, Antiq. B. XV. ch. 11. sect. 7, that Josephus's history of Herod's rebuilding the temple is no better than a fable, it may not be amiss to take notice of this occasional clause in the speech of Alexander before his father Herod, in his and his brother's vindication, which mentions the temple as known by every body to have been built by Herod.
(5) See John 2:20. See also another speech of Herod's own to the young men that pulled down his golden eagle from the front of the temple, where he takes notice how the building of the temple cost him a vast sum; and that the Asamoneans, in those one hundred and twenty-five years they held the government, were not able to perform so great a work, to the honor of God, as this was, Antiq. B. XVII. ch. 6. sect. 3.
(6) Dr. Hudson here gives us the words of Suetonius concerning this Nicopolis, when Augustus rebuilt it: "And that the memory of the victory at Actium might be celebrated the more afterward, he built Nicopolis at Actium, and appointed public shows to be there exhibited every fifth year." In August, sect. 18.
(7) Augustus here calls Julius Caesar his father, though by birth he was only his uncle, on account of his adoption by him. See the same Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 14. sect. 4.
(8) This is authentic evidence that the Jews, in the days of Augustus, began to prepare for the celebration of the sabbath at the ninth hour on Friday, as the tradition of the elders did, it seems, then require of them.
(9) The remaining part of this chapter is remarkable, as justly distinguishing natural justice, religion, and morality, from positive institutions in all countries, and evidently preferring the former before the latter, as did the true prophets of God always under the Old Testament, and Christ and his New; whence Josephus seems to have been at this time nearer Christianity than were the Scribes and Pharisees of his age; who, as we know from the New Testament, were entirely of a different opinion and practice.
(10) It is here worth our observation, how careful Josephus was as to the discovery of truth in Herod's history, since he would not follow Nicolaus of Damascus himself, so great an historian, where there was great reason to suspect that he flattered Herod; which impartiality in history Josephus here solemnly pro fesses, and of which impartiality he has given more demonstrations than almost any historian whomsoever; but as to Herod's taking great wealth out of David's sepulcher, though I cannot prove it, yet do I strongly suspect it from this very history.
(11) These joint presidents of Syria, Saturninus and Volumnius, were not perhaps of equal authority, but the latter like a procurator under the former, as the very learned Noris and Pagi, and with them Dr. Hudson, determine.
(12) This Aretas was now become so established a name for the kings of Arabia, [at Petra and Damascus,] that when the crown came to this Aeneas, he changed his name to Aretas, as Havercamp here justly observes. See Antiq. B. XIII. ch. 15. sect, 2.
(13) This oath, by the fortune of Caesar, was put to Polycarp, a bishop of Smyrna, by the Roman governor, to try whether he were a Christian, as they were then esteemed who refused to swear that oath. Martyr. Polycarp, sect. 9.
(14) What Josephus relates Augustus to have here said, that Berytus was a city belonging to the Romans, is confirmed by Spanheim's notes here: "It was," says he, "a colony placed there by Augustus. Whence Ulpian, De Gens. bel. L. T. XV. The colony of Berytus was rendered famous by the benefits of Caesar; and thence it is that, among the coins of Augustus, we meet with some having this inscription: The happy colony of Augustus at Berytua"
(15) The reader is here to note, that this eighth section is entirely wanting in the old Latin version, as Spanheim truly observes; nor is there any other reason for it, I suppose, than the great difficulty of an exact translation.
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