The War of the Jews



By Flavious Josephus


Contact Truthnet

Truthnet: Christianity


Josephus: The War of the Jews

Book 1

Book 2

Book 3

Book 4

Book 5

Book 6

Book 7











1. AT the same time that Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes, had a
quarrel with the sixth Ptolemy about his right to the whole country of
Syria, a great sedition fell among the men of power in Judea, and they had
a contention about obtaining the government; while each of those that were
of dignity could not endure to be subject to their equals. However, Onias,
one of the high priests, got the better, and cast the sons of Tobias out of
the city; who fled to Antiochus, and besought him to make use of them for
his leaders, and to make an expedition into Judea. The king being thereto
disposed beforehand, complied with them, and came upon the Jews with a
great army, and took their city by force, and slew a great multitude of
those that favored Ptolemy, and sent out his soldiers to plunder them
without mercy. He also spoiled the temple, and put a stop to the constant
practice of offering a daily sacrifice of expiation for three years and six
months. But Onias, the high priest, fled to Ptolemy, and received a place
from him in the Nomus of Heliopolis, where he built a city resembling
Jerusalem, and a temple that was like its temple 1 concerning which we
shall speak more in its proper place hereafter.
2. Now Antiochus was not satisfied either with his unexpected taking the
city, or with its pillage, or with the great slaughter he had made there; but
being overcome with his violent passions, and remembering what he had
suffered during the siege, he compelled the Jews to dissolve the laws of
their country, and to keep their infants uncircumcised, and to sacrifice
swineís flesh upon the altar; against which they all opposed themselves,
and the most approved among them were put to death. Bacchides also,
who was sent to keep the fortresses, having these wicked commands,
joined to his own natural barbarity, indulged all sorts of the extremest
wickedness, and tormented the worthiest of the inhabitants, man by man,
and threatened their city every day with open destruction, till at length he
provoked the poor sufferers by the extremity of his wicked doings to
avenge themselves.
3. Accordingly Matthias, the son of Asamoneus, one of the priests who
lived in a village called Modin, armed himself, together with his own
family, which had five sons of his in it, and slew Bacchides with daggers;
and thereupon, out of the fear of the many garrisons [of the enemy], he
fled to the mountains; and so many of the people followed him, that he
was encouraged to come down from the mountains, and to give battle to
Antiochusís generals, when he beat them, and drove them out of Judea. So
he came to the government by this his success, and became the prince of
his own people by their own free consent, and then died, leaving the
government to Judas, his eldest son.
4. Now Judas, supposing that Antiochus would not lie still, gathered an
army out of his own countrymen, and was the first that made a league of
friendship with the Romans, and drove Epiphanes out of the country
when he had made a second expedition into it, and this by giving him a
great defeat there; and when he was warmed by this great success, he made
an assault upon the garrison that was in the city, for it had not been cut off
hitherto; so he ejected them out of the upper city, and drove the soldiers
into the lower, which part of the city was called the Citadel. He then got
the temple under his power, and cleansed the whole place, and walled it
round about, and made new vessels for sacred ministrations, and brought
them into the temple, because the former vessels had been profaned. He
also built another altar, and began to offer the sacrifices; and when the city
had already received its sacred constitution again, Antiochus died; whose
son Antiochus succeeded him in the kingdom, and in his hatred to the Jews
5. So this Antiochus got together fifty thousand footmen, and five
thousand horsemen, and fourscore elephants, and marched through Judea
into the mountainous parts. He then took Bethsura, which was a small
city; but at a place called Bethzacharis, where the passage was narrow,
Judas met him with his army. However, before the forces joined battle,
Judasís brother Eleazar, seeing the very highest of the elephants adorned
with a large tower, and with military trappings of gold to guard him, and
supposing that Antiochus himself was upon him, he ran a great way
before his own army, and cutting his way through the enemyís troops, he
got up to the elephant; yet could he not reach him who seemed to be the
king, by reason of his being so high; but still he ran his weapon into the
belly of the beast, and brought him down upon himself, and was crushed
to death, having done no more than attempted great things, and showed
that he preferred glory before life. Now he that governed the elephant was
but a private man; and had he proved to be Antiochus, Eleazar had
performed nothing more by this bold stroke than that it might appear he
chose to die, when he had the bare hope of thereby doing a glorious action;
nay, this disappointment proved an omen to his brother [Judas] how the
entire battle would end. It is true that the Jews fought it out bravely for a
long time, but the kingís forces, being superior in number, and having
fortune on their side, obtained the victory. And when a great many of his
men were slain, Judas took the rest with him, and fled to the toparchy of
Gophna. So Antiochus went to Jerusalem, and staid there but a few days,
for he wanted provisions, and so he went his way. He left indeed a
garrison behind him, such as he thought sufficient to keep the place, but
drew the rest of his army off, to take their winter-quarters in Syria.
6. Now, after the king was departed, Judas was not idle; for as many of his
own nation came to him, so did he gather those that had escaped out of the
battle together, and gave battle again to Antiochusís generals at a village
called Adasa; and being too hard for his enemies in the battle, and killing a
great number of them, he was at last himself slain also. Nor was it many
days afterward that his brother John had a plot laid against him by
Antiochusís party, and was slain by them.
1. WHEN Jonathan, who was Judasís brother, succeeded him, he behaved
himself with great circumspection in other respects, with relation to his
own people; and he corroborated his authority by preserving his
friendship with the Romans. He also made a league with Antiochus the
son. Yet was not all this sufficient for his security; for the tyrant Trypho,
who was guardian to Antiochusís son, laid a plot against him; and besides
that, endeavored to take off his friends, and caught Jonathan by a wile, as
he was going to Ptolemais to Antiochus, with a few persons in his
company, and put him in bonds, and then made an expedition against the
Jews; but when he was afterward driven away by Simon, who was
Jonathanís brother, and was enraged at his defeat, he put Jonathan to
2. However, Simon managed the public affairs after a courageous manner,
and took Gazara, and Joppa, and Jamnia, which were cities in his
neighborhood. He also got the garrison under, and demolished the citadel.
He was afterward an auxiliary to Antiochus, against Trypho, whom he
besieged in Dora, before he went on his expedition against the Medes; yet
could not he make the king ashamed of his ambition, though he had
assisted him in killing Trypho; for it was not long ere Antiochus sent
Cendebeus his general with an army to lay waste Judea, and to subdue
Simon; yet he, though he was now in years, conducted the war as if he
were a much younger man. He also sent his sons with a band of strong
men against Antiochus, while he took part of the army himself with him,
and fell upon him from another quarter. He also laid a great many men in
ambush in many places of the mountains, and was superior in all his
attacks upon them; and when he had been conqueror after so glorious a
manner, he was made high priest, and also freed the Jews from the
dominion of the Macedonians, after one hundred and seventy years of the
empire [of Seleucus].
3. This Simon also had a plot laid against him, and was slain at a feast by
his son-in-law Ptolemy, who put his wife and two sons into prison, and
sent some persons to kill John, who was also called Hyrcanus. 2 But when
the young man was informed of their coming beforehand, he made haste to
get to the city, as having a very great confidence in the people there, both
on account of the memory of the glorious actions of his father, and of the
hatred they could not but bear to the injustice of Ptolemy. Ptolemy also
made an attempt to get into the city by another gate; but was repelled by
the people, who had just then admitted of Hyrcanus; so he retired
presently to one of the fortresses that were about Jericho, which was
called Dagon. Now when Hyrcanus had received the high priesthood,
which his father had held before, and had offered sacrifice to God, he made
great haste to attack Ptolemy, that he might afford relief to his mother and
4. So he laid siege to the fortress, and was superior to Ptolemy in other
respects, but was overcome by him as to the just affection [he had for his
relations]; for when Ptolemy was distressed, he brought forth his mother,
and his brethren, and set them upon the wall, and beat them with rods in
every bodyís sight, and threatened, that unless he would go away
immediately, he would throw them down headlong; at which sight
Hyrcanusís commiseration and concern were too hard for his anger. But
his mother was not dismayed, neither at the stripes she received, nor at the
death with which she was threatened; but stretched out her hands, and
prayed her son not to be moved with the injuries that she suffered to spare
the wretch; since it was to her better to die by the means of Ptolemy, than
to live ever so long, provided he might be punished for the injuries he done
to their family. Now Johnís case was this: When he considered the courage
of his mother, and heard her entreaty, he set about his attacks; but when
he saw her beaten, and torn to pieces with the stripes, he grew feeble, and
was entirely overcome by his affections. And as the siege was delayed by
this means, the year of rest came on, upon which the Jews rest every
seventh year as they do on every seventh day. On this year, therefore,
Ptolemy was freed from being besieged, and slew the brethren of John,
with their mother, and fled to Zeno, who was also called Cotylas, who
was tyrant of Philadelphia.
5. And now Antiochus was so angry at what he had suffered from Simon,
that he made an expedition into Judea, and sat down before Jerusalem and
besieged Hyrcanus; but Hyrcanus opened the sepulcher of David, who
was the richest of all kings, and took thence about three thousand talents
in money, and induced Antiochus, by the promise of three thousand
talents, to raise the siege. Moreover, he was the first of the Jews that had
money enough, and began to hire foreign auxiliaries also.
6. However, at another time, when Antiochus was gone upon an
expedition against the Medes, and so gave Hyrcanus an opportunity of
being revenged upon him, he immediately made an attack upon the cities of
Syria, as thinking, what proved to be the case with them, that he should
find them empty of God troops. So he took Medaba and Samea, with the
towns in their neighborhood, as also Shechem, and Gerizzim; and besides
these, [he subdued] the nation of the Cutheans, who dwelt round about
that temple which was built in imitation of the temple at Jerusalem; he
also took a great many other cities of Idumea, with Adoreon and Marissa.
7. He also proceeded as far as Samaria, where is now the city Sebaste,
which was built by Herod the king, and encompassed it all round with a
wall, and set his sons, Aristobulus and Antigonus, over the siege; who
pushed it on so hard, that a famine so far prevailed within the city, that
they were forced to eat what never was esteemed food. They also invited
Antiochus, who was called Cyzicenus, to come to their assistance;
whereupon he got ready, and complied with their invitation, but was
beaten by Aristobulus and Antigonus; and indeed he was pursued as far as
Scythopolis by these brethren, and fled away from them. So they returned
back to Samaria, and shut the multitude again within the wall; and when
they had taken the city, they demolished it, and made slaves of its
inhabitants. And as they had still great success in their undertakings, they
did not suffer their zeal to cool, but marched with an army as far as
Scythopolis, and made an incursion upon it, and laid waste all the country
that lay within Mount Carmel.
8. But then these successes of John and of his sons made them be envied,
and occasioned a sedition in the country; and many there were who got
together, and would not be at rest till they brake out into open war, in
which war they were beaten. So John lived the rest of his life very
happily, and administered the government after a most extraordinary
manner, and this for thirty-three entire years together. He died, leaving five
sons behind him. He was certainly a very happy man, and afforded no
occasion to have any complaint made of fortune on his account. He it was
who alone had three of the most desirable things in the world, ó the
government of his nation, and the high priesthood, and the gift of
prophecy. For the Deity conversed with him, and he was not ignorant of
any thing that was to come afterward; insomuch that he foresaw and
foretold that his two eldest sons would not continue masters of the
government; and it will highly deserve our narration to describe their
catastrophe, and how far inferior these men were to their father in felicity.
1. FOR after the death of their father, the elder of them, Aristobulus,
changed the government into a kingdom, and was the first that put a
diadem upon his head, four hundred seventy and one years and three
months after our people came down into this country, when they were set
free from the Babylonian slavery. Now, of his brethren, he appeared to
have an affection for Antigonus, who was next to him, and made him his
equal; but for the rest, he bound them, and put them in prison. He also put
his mother in bonds, for her contesting the government with him; for John
had left her to be the governess of public affairs. He also proceeded to that
degree of barbarity as to cause her to be pined to death in prison.
2. But vengeance circumvented him in the affair of his brother Antigonus,
whom he loved, and whom he made his partner in the kingdom; for he slew
him by the means of the calumnies which ill men about the palace
contrived against him. At first, indeed, Aristobulus would not believe their
reports, partly out of the affection he had for his brother, and partly
because he thought that a great part of these tales were owing to the envy
of their relaters: however, as Antigonus came once in a splendid manner
from the army to that festival, wherein our ancient custom is to make
tabernacles for God, it happened, in those days, that Aristobulus was sick,
and that, at the conclusion of the feast, Antigonus came up to it, with his
armed men about him; and this when he was adorned in the finest manner
possible; and that, in a great measure, to pray to God on the behalf of his
brother. Now at this very time it was that these ill men came to the king,
and told him in what a pompous manner the armed men came, and with
what insolence Antigonus marched, and that such his insolence was too
great for a private person, and that accordingly he was come with a great
band of men to kill him; for that he could not endure this bare enjoyment
of royal honor, when it was in his power to take the kingdom himself.
3. Now Aristobulus, by degrees, and unwillingly, gave credit to these
accusations; and accordingly he took care not to discover his suspicion
openly, though he provided to be secure against any accidents; so he
placed the guards of his body in a certain dark subterranean passage; for he
lay sick in a place called formerly the Citadel, though afterwards its name
was changed to Antonia; and he gave orders that if Antigonus came
unarmed, they should let him alone; but if he came to him in his armor,
they should kill him. He also sent some to let him know beforehand that
he should come unarmed. But, upon this occasion, the queen very
cunningly contrived the matter with those that plotted his ruin, for she
persuaded those that were sent to conceal the kingís message; but to tell
Antigonus how his brother had heard he had got a very the suit of armor
made with fine martial ornaments, in Galilee; and because his present
sickness hindered him from coming and seeing all that finery, he very much
desired to see him now in his armor; because, said he, in a little time thou
art going away from me.
4. As soon as Antigonus heard this, the good temper of his brother not
allowing him to suspect any harm from him, he came along with his armor
on, to show it to his brother; but when he was going along that dark
passage which was called Stratoís Tower, he was slain by the body
guards, and became an eminent instance how calumny destroys all
good-will and natural affection, and how none of our good affections are
strong enough to resist envy perpetually.
5. And truly any one would be surprised at Judas upon this occasion. He
was of the sect of the Essens, and had never failed or deceived men in his
predictions before. Now this man saw Antigonus as he was passing along
by the temple, and cried out to his acquaintance, (they were not a few who
attended upon him as his scholars,) ďO strange!Ē said he, ďit is good for me
to die now, since truth is dead before me, and somewhat that I have
foretold hath proved false; for this Antigonus is this day alive, who ought
to hare died this day; and the place where he ought to be slain, according to
that fatal decree, was Stratoís Tower, which is at the distance of six
hundred furlongs from this place; and yet four hours of this day are over
already; which point of time renders the prediction impossible to be fill
filled.Ē And when the old man had said this, he was dejected in his mind,
and so continued. But in a little time news came that Antigonus was slain
in a subterraneous place, which was itself also called Stratoís Tower, by
the same name with that Cesarea which lay by the sea-side; and this
ambiguity it was which caused the prophetís disorder.
6. Hereupon Aristobulus repented of the great crime he had been guilty of,
and this gave occasion to the increase of his distemper. He also grew worse
and worse, and his soul was constantly disturbed at the thoughts of what
he had done, till his very bowels being torn to pieces by the intolerable
grief he was under, he threw up a great quantity of blood. And as one of
those servants that attended him carried out that blood, he, by some
supernatural providence, slipped and fell down in the very place where
Antigonus had been slain; and so he spilt some of the murdererís blood
upon the spots of the blood of him that had been murdered, which still
appeared. Hereupon a lamentable cry arose among the spectators, as if the
servant had spilled the blood on purpose in that place; and as the king
heard that cry, he inquired what was the cause of it; and while nobody
durst tell him, he pressed them so much the more to let him know what
was the matter; so at length, when he had threatened them, and forced
them to speak out, they told; whereupon he burst into tears, and groaned,
and said, ďSo I perceive I am not like to escape the all-seeing eye of God,
as to the great crimes I have committed; but the vengeance of the blood of
my kinsman pursues me hastily. O thou most impudent body! how long
wilt thou retain a soul that ought to die on account of that punishment it
ought to suffer for a mother and a brother slain! How long shall I myself
spend my blood drop by drop? let them take it all at once; and let their
ghosts no longer be disappointed by a few parcels of my bowels offered to
them.Ē As soon as he had said these words, he presently died, when he had
reigned no longer than a year.
1. AND now the kingís wife loosed the kingís brethren, and made
Alexander king, who appeared both elder in age, and more moderate in his
temper than the rest; who, when he came to the government, slew one of
his brethren, as affecting to govern himself; but had the other of them in
great esteem, as loving a quiet life, without meddling with public affairs.
2. Now it happened that there was a battle between him and Ptolemy,
who was called Lathyrus, who had taken the city Asochis. He indeed slew
a great many of his enemies, but the victory rather inclined to Ptolemy.
But when this Ptolemy was pursued by his mother Cleopatra, and retired
into Egypt, Alexander besieged Gadara, and took it; as also he did
Amathus, which was the strongest of all the fortresses that were about
Jordan, and therein were the most precious of all the possessions of
Theodorus, the son of Zeno. Whereupon Theodopus marched against him,
and took what belonged to himself as well as the kingís baggage, and slew
ten thousand of the Jews. However, Alexander recovered this blow, and
turned his force towards the maritime parts, and took Raphia and Gaza,
with Anthedon also, which was afterwards called Agrippias by king
3. But when he had made slaves of the citizens of all these cities, the
nation of the Jews made an insurrection against him at a festival; for at
those feasts seditions are generally begun; and it looked as if he should not
be able to escape the plot they had laid for him, had not his foreign
auxiliaries, the Pisidians and Cilicians, assisted him; for as to the Syrians,
he never admitted them among his mercenary troops, on account of their
innate enmity against the Jewish nation. And when he had slain more than
six thousand of the rebels, he made an incursion into Arabia; and when he
had taken that country, together with the Gileadires and Moabites, he
enjoined them to pay him tribute, and returned to Areathus; and as
Theodorus was surprised at his great success, he took the fortress, and
demolished it.
4. However, when he fought with Obodas, king of the Arabians, who had
laid an ambush for him near Golan, and a plot against him, he lost his
entire army, which was crowded together in a deep valley, and broken to
pieces by the multitude of camels. And when he had made his escape to
Jerusalem, he provoked the multitude, which hated him before, to make an
insurrection against him, and this on account of the greatness of the
calamity that he was under. However, he was then too hard for them; and,
in the several battles that were fought on both sides, he slew not fewer
than fifty thousand of the Jews in the interval of six years. Yet had he no
reason to rejoice in these victories, since he did but consume his own
kingdom; till at length he left off fighting, and endeavored to come to a
composition with them, by talking with his subjects. But this mutability
and irregularity of his conduct made them hate him still more. And when
he asked them why they so hated him, and what he should do in order to
appease them, they said, by killing himself; for that it would be then all
they could do to be reconciled to him, who had done such tragical things to
them, even when he was dead. At the same time they invited Demetrius,
who was called Eucerus, to assist them; and as he readily complied with
their requests, in hopes of great advantages, and came with his army, the
Jews joined with those their auxiliaries about Shechem.
5. Yet did Alexander meet both these forces with one thousand horsemen,
and eight thousand mercenaries that were on foot. He had also with him
that part of the Jews which favored him, to the number of ten thousand;
while the adverse party had three thousand horsemen, and fourteen
thousand footmen. Now, before they joined battle, the kings made
proclamation, and endeavored to draw off each otherís soldiers, and make
them revolt; while Demetrius hoped to induce Alexanderís mercenaries to
leave him, and Alexander hoped to induce the Jews that were with
Demetrius to leave him. But since neither the Jews would leave off their
rage, nor the Greeks prove unfaithful, they came to an engagement, and to
a close fight with their weapons. In which battle Demetrius was the
conqueror, although Alexanderís mercenaries showed the greatest exploits,
both in soul and body. Yet did the upshot of this battle prove different
from what was expected, as to both of them; for neither did those that
invited Demetrius to come to them continue firm to him, though he was
conqueror; and six thousand Jews, out of pity to the change of Alexanderís
condition, when he was fled to the mountains, came over to him. Yet could
not Demetrius bear this turn of affairs; but supposing that Alexander was
already become a match for him again, and that all the nation would [at
length] run to him, he left the country, and went his way.
6. However, the rest of the [Jewish] multitude did not lay aside their
quarrels with him, when the [foreign] auxiliaries were gone; but they had a
perpetual war with Alexander, until he had slain the greatest part of them,
and driven the rest into the city Berneselis; and when he had demolished
that city, he carried the captives to Jerusalem. Nay, his rage was grown so
extravagant, that his barbarity proceeded to the degree of impiety; for
when he had ordered eight hundred to be hung upon crosses in the midst of
the city, he had the throats of their wives and children cut before their
eyes; and these executions he saw as he was drinking and lying down with
his concubines. Upon which so deep a surprise seized on the people, that
eight thousand of his opposers fled away the very next night, out of all
Judea, whose flight was only terminated by Alexanderís death; so at last,
though not till late, and with great difficulty, he, by such actions, procured
quiet to his kingdom, and left off fighting any more.
7. Yet did that Antiochus, who was also called Dionysius, become an
origin of troubles again. This man was the brother of Demetrius, and the
last of the race of the Seleucidse. 3 Alexander was afraid of him, when he
was marching against the Arabians; so he cut a deep trench between
Antipatris, which was near the mountains, and the shores of Joppa; he
also erected a high wall before the trench, and built wooden towers, in
order to hinder any sudden approaches. But still he was not able to
exclude Antiochus, for he burnt the towers, and filled up the trenches, and
marched on with his army. And as he looked upon taking his revenge on
Alexander, for endeavoring to stop him, as a thing of less consequence, he
marched directly against the Arabians, whose king retired into such parts
of the country as were fittest for engaging the enemy, and then on the
sudden made his horse turn back, which were in number ten thousand, and
fell upon Antiochusís army while they were in disorder, and a terrible
battle ensued. Antiochusís troops, so long as he was alive, fought it out,
although a mighty slaughter was made among them by the Arabians; but
when he fell, for he was in the forefront, in the utmost danger, in rallying
his troops, they all gave ground, and the greatest part of his army were
destroyed, either in the action or the flight; and for the rest, who fled to
the village of Cana, it happened that they were all consumed by want of
necessaries, a few only excepted.
8. About this time it was that the people of Damascus, out of their hatred
to Ptolemy, the son of Menhens, invited Aretas [to take the government],
and made him king of Celesyria. This man also made an expedition against
Judea, and beat Alexander in battle; but afterwards retired by mutual
agreement. But Alexander, when he had taken Pella, marched to Gerasa
again, out of the covetous desire he had of Theodorusís possessions; and
when he had built a triple wall about the garrison, he took the place by
force. He also demolished Golan, and Seleucia, and what was called the
Valley of Antiochus; besides which, he took the strong fortress of Gamala,
and stripped Demetrius, who was governor therein, of what he had, on
account of the many crimes laid to his charge, and then returned into Judea,
after he had been three whole years in this expedition. And now he was
kindly received of the nation, because of the good success he had. So when
he was at rest from war, he fell into a distemper; for he was afflicted with a
quartan ague, and supposed that, by exercising himself again in martial
affairs, he should get rid of this distemper; but by making such expeditions
at unseasonable times, and forcing his body to undergo greater hardships
than it was able to bear, he brought himself to his end. He died, therefore,
in the midst of his troubles, after he had reigned seven and twenty years.
1. NOW Alexander left the kingdom to Alexandra his wife, and depended
upon it that the Jews would now very readily submit to her, because she
had been very averse to such cruelty as he had treated them with, and had
opposed his violation of their laws, and had thereby got the good-will of
the people. Nor was he mistaken as to his expectations; for this woman
kept the dominion, by the opinion that the people had of her piety; for
she chiefly studied the ancient customs of her country, and cast those men
out of the government that offended against their holy laws. And as she
had two sons by Alexander, she made Hyrcanus the elder high priest, on
account of his age, as also, besides that, on account of his inactive temper,
no way disposing him to disturb the public. But she retained the younger,
Aristobulus, with her as a private person, by reason of the warmth of his
2. And now the Pharisees joined themselves to her, to assist her in the
government. These are a certain sect of the Jews that appear more religious
than others, and seem to interpret the laws more accurately. low Alexandra
hearkened to them to an extraordinary degree, as being herself a woman of
great piety towards God. But these Pharisees artfully insinuated
themselves into her favor by little and little, and became themselves the
real administrators of the public affairs: they banished and reduced whom
they pleased; they bound and loosed [men] at their pleasure; 4 and, to say
all at once, they had the enjoyment of the royal authority, whilst the
expenses and the difficulties of it belonged to Alexandra. She was a
sagacious woman in the management of great affairs, and intent always
upon gathering soldiers together; so that she increased the army the one
half, and procured a great body of foreign troops, till her own nation
became not only very powerful at home, but terrible also to foreign
potentates, while she governed other people, and the Pharisees governed
3. Accordingly, they themselves slew Diogenes, a person of figure, and
one that had been a friend to Alexander; and accused him as having assisted
the king with his advice, for crucifying the eight hundred men [before
mentioned.] They also prevailed with Alexandra to put to death the rest of
those who had irritated him against them. Now she was so superstitious as
to comply with their desires, and accordingly they slew whom they
pleased themselves. But the principal of those that were in danger fled to
Aristobulus, who persuaded his mother to spare the men on account of
their dignity, but to expel them out of the city, unless she took them to be
innocent; so they were suffered to go unpunished, and were dispersed all
over the country. But when Alexandra sent out her army to Damascus,
under pretense that Ptolemy was always oppressing that city, she got
possession of it; nor did it make any considerable resistance. She also
prevailed with Tigranes, king of Armenia, who lay with his troops about
Ptolemais, and besieged Cleopatra, 5 by agreements and presents, to go
away. Accordingly, Tigranes soon arose from the siege, by reason of those
domestic tumults which happened upon Lucullusís expedition into
4. In the mean time, Alexandra fell sick, and Aristobulus, her younger son,
took hold of this opportunity, with his domestics, of which he had a great
many, who were all of them his friends, on account of the warmth of their
youth, and got possession of all the fortresses. He also used the sums of
money he found in them to get together a number of mercenary soldiers,
and made himself king; and besides this, upon Hyrcanusís complaint to his
mother, she compassionated his case, and put Aristobulusís wife and sons
under restraint in Antonia, which was a fortress that joined to the north
part of the temple. It was, as I have already said, of old called the Citadel;
but afterwards got the name of Antonia, when Antony was [Lord of the
East], just as the other cities, Sebaste and Agrippias, had their names
changed, and these given them from Sebastus and Agrippa. But Alexandra
died before she could punish Aristobulus for his disinheriting his brother,
after she had reigned nine years.
1. NOW Hyrcanus was heir to the kingdom, and to him did his mother
commit it before she died; but Aristobulus was superior to him in power
and magnanimity; and when there was a battle between them, to decide the
dispute about the kingdom, near Jericho, the greatest part deserted
Hyrcanus, and went over to Aristobulus; but Hyrcanus, with those of his
party who staid with him, fled to Antonia, and got into his power the
hostages that might he for his preservation (which were Aristobulusís
wife, with her children); but they came to an agreement before things
should come to extremities, that Aristobulus should be king, and Hyrcanus
should resign that up, but retain all the rest of his dignities, as being the
kingís brother. Hereupon they were reconciled to each other in the temple,
and embraced one another in a very kind manner, while the people stood
round about them; they also changed their houses, while Aristobulus went
to the royal palace, and Hyrcanus retired to the house of Aristobulus.
2. Now those other people which were at variance with Aristobulus were
afraid upon his unexpected obtaining the government; and especially this
concerned Antipater 6 whom Aristobulus hated of old. He was by birth an
Idumean, and one of the principal of that nation, on account of his
ancestors and riches, and other authority to him belonging: he also
persuaded Hyrcanus to fly to Aretas, the king of Arabia, and to lay claim
to the kingdom; as also he persuaded Aretas to receive Hyrcanus, and to
bring him back to his kingdom: he also cast great reproaches upon
Aristobulus, as to his morals, and gave great commendations to Hyrcanus,
and exhorted Aretas to receive him, and told him how becoming a filing it
would be for him, who ruled so great a kingdom, to afford his assistance to
such as are injured; alleging that Hyrcanus was treated unjustly, by being
deprived of that dominion which belonged to him by the prerogative of his
birth. And when he had predisposed them both to do what he would have
them, he took Hyrcanus by night, and ran away from the city, and,
continuing his flight with great swiftness, he escaped to the place called
Petra, which is the royal seat of the king of Arabia, where he put
Hyrcanus into Aretasís hand; and by discoursing much with him, and
gaining upon him with many presents, he prevailed with him to give him
an army that might restore him to his kingdom. This army consisted of
fifty thousand footmen and horsemen, against which Aristobulus was not
able to make resistance, but was deserted in his first onset, and was driven
to Jerusalem; he also had been taken at first by force, if Scaurus, the
Roman general, had not come and seasonably interposed himself, and
raised the siege. This Scaurus was sent into Syria from Armenia by
Pompey the Great, when he fought against Tigranes; so Scaurus came to
Damascus, which had been lately taken by Metellus and Lollius, and
caused them to leave the place; and, upon his hearing how the affairs of
Judea stood, he made haste thither as to a certain booty.
3. As soon, therefore, as he was come into the country, there came
ambassadors from both the brothers, each of them desiring his assistance;
but Aristobulusís three hundred talents had more weight with him than the
justice of the cause; which sum, when Scaurus had received, he sent a
herald to Hyrcanus and the Arabians, and threatened them with the
resentment of the Romans and of Pompey, unless they would raise the
siege. So Aretas was terrified, and retired out of Judea to Philadelphia, as
did Scaurus return to Damascus again; nor was Aristobulus satisfied with
escaping [out of his brotherís hands,] but gathered all his forces together,
and pursued his enemies, and fought them at a place called Papyron, and
slew about six thousand of them, and, together with them Antipaterís
brother Phalion.
4. When Hyrcanus and Antipater were thus deprived of their hopes from
the Arabians, they transferred the same to their adversaries; and because
Pompey had passed through Syria, and was come to Damascus, they fled
to him for assistance; and, without any bribes, they made the same
equitable pleas that they had used to Aretas, and besought him to hate the
violent behavior of Aristobulus, and to bestow the kingdom on him to
whom it justly belonged, both on account of his good character and on
account of his superiority in age. However, neither was Aristobulus
wanting to himself in this case, as relying on the bribes that Scaurus had
received: he was also there himself, and adorned himself after a manner the
most agreeable to royalty that he was able. But he soon thought it beneath
him to come in such a servile manner, and could not endure to serve his
own ends in a way so much more abject than he was used to; so he
departed from Diospolis.
5. At this his behavior Pompey had great indignation; Hyrcanus also and
his friends made great intercessions to Pompey; so he took not only his
Roman forces, but many of his Syrian auxiliaries, and marched against
Aristobulus. But when he had passed by Pella and Scythopolis, and was
come to Corea, where you enter into the country of Judea, when you go
up to it through the Mediterranean parts, he heard that Aristobulus was
fled to Alexandrium, which is a strong hold fortified with the utmost
magnificence, and situated upon a high mountain; and he sent to him, and
commanded him to come down. Now his inclination was to try his fortune
in a battle, since he was called in such an imperious manner, rather than to
comply with that call. However, he saw the multitude were in great fear,
and his friends exhorted him to consider what the power of the Romans
was, and how it was irresistible; so he complied with their advice, and
came down to Pompey; and when he had made a long apology for himself,
and for the justness of his cause in taking the government, he returned to
the fortress. And when his brother invited him again [to plead his cause],
he came down and spake about the justice of it, and then went away
without any hinderance from Pompey; so he was between hope and fear.
And when he came down, it was to prevail with Pompey to allow him the
government entirely; and when he went up to the citadel, it was that he
might not appear to debase himself too low. However, Pompey
commanded him to give up his fortified places, and forced him to write to
every one of their governors to yield them up; they having had this charge
given them, to obey no letters but what were of his own hand-writing.
Accordingly he did what he was ordered to do; but had still an indignation
at what was done, and retired to Jerusalem, and prepared to fight with
6. But Pompey did not give him time to make any preparations [for a
siege], but followed him at his heels; he was also obliged to make haste in
his attempt, by the death of Mithridates, of which he was informed about
Jericho. Now here is the most fruitful country of Judea, which bears a vast
number of palm trees 7 besides the balsam tree, whose sprouts they cut
with sharp stones, and at the incisions they gather the juice, which drops
down like tears. So Pompey pitched his camp in that place one night, and
then hasted away the next morning to Jerusalem; but Aristobulus was so
aftrighted at his approach, that he came and met him by way of
supplication. He also promised him money, and that he would deliver up
both himself and the city into his disposal, and thereby mitigated the anger
of Pompey. Yet did not he perform any of the conditions he had agreed to;
for Aristobulusís party would not so much as admit Gabinius into the
city, who was sent to receive the money that he had promised.

1. At this treatment Pompey was very angry, and took Aristobulus into
custody. And when he was come to the city, he looked about where he
might make his attack; for he saw the walls were so firm, that it would be
hard to overcome them; and that the valley before the walls was terrible;
and that the temple, which was within that valley, was itself encompassed
with a very strong wall, insomuch that if the city were taken, that temple
would be a second place of refuge for the enemy to retire to.
2. Now as be was long in deliberating about this matter, a sedition arose
among the people within the city; Aristobulusís party being willing to
fight, and to set their king at liberty, while the party of Hyrcanus were for
opening the gates to Pompey; and the dread people were in occasioned
these last to be a very numerous party, when they looked upon the
excellent order the Roman soldiers were in. So Aristobulusís party was
worsted, and retired into the temple, and cut off the communication
between the temple and the city, by breaking down the bridge that joined
them together, and prepared to make an opposition to the utmost; but as
the others had received the Romans into the city, and had delivered up the
palace to him, Pompey sent Piso, one of his great officers, into that palace
with an army, who distributed a garrison about the city, because he could
not persuade any one of those that had fled to the temple to come to terms
of accommodation; he then disposed all things that were round about them
so as might favor their attacks, as having Hyrcanusís party very ready to
afford them both counsel and assistance.
3. But Pompey himself filled up the ditch that was oil the north side of the
temple, and the entire valley also, the army itself being obliged to carry the
materials for that purpose. And indeed it was a hard thing to fill up that
valley, by reason of its immense depth, especially as the Jews used all the
means possible to repel them from their superior situation; nor had the
Romans succeeded in their endeavors, had not Pompey taken notice of the
seventh days, on which the Jews abstain from all sorts of work on a
religious account, and raised his bank, but restrained his soldiers from
fighting on those days; for the Jews only acted defensively on sabbath
days. But as soon as Pompey had filled up the valley, he erected high
towers upon the bank, and brought those engines which they had fetched
from Tyre near to the wall, and tried to batter it down; and the slingers of
stones beat off those that stood above them, and drove them away; but the
towers on this side of the city made very great resistance, and were indeed
extraordinary both for largeness and magnificence.
4. Now here it was that, upon the many hardships which the Romans
underwent, Pompey could not but admire not only at the other instances
of the Jewsí fortitude, but especially that they did not at all intermit their
religious services, even when they were encompassed with darts on all
sides; for, as if the city were in full peace, their daily sacrifices and
purifications, and every branch of their religious worship, was still
performed to God with the utmost exactness. Nor indeed when the temple
was actually taken, and they were every day slain about the altar, did they
leave off the instances of their Divine worship that were appointed by
their law; for it was in the third month of the siege before the Romans
could even with great difficulty overthrow one of the towers, and get into
the temple. Now he that first of all ventured to get over the wall, was
Faustus Cornelius the son of Sylla; and next after him were two
centurions, Furius and Fabius; and every one of these was followed by a
cohort of his own, who encompassed the Jews on all sides, and slew them,
some of them as they were running for shelter to the temple, and others as
they, for a while, fought in their own defense.
5. And now did many of the priests, even when they saw their enemies
assailing them with swords in their hands, without any disturbance, go on
with their Divine worship, and were slain while they were offering their
drink-offerings, and burning their incense, as preferring the duties about
their worship to God before their own preservation. The greatest part of
them were slain by their own countrymen, of the adverse faction, and an
innumerable multitude threw themselves down precipices; nay, some there
were who were so distracted among the insuperable difficulties they were
under, that they set fire to the buildings that were near to the wall, and
were burnt together with them. Now of the Jews were slain twelve
thousand; but of the Romans very few were slain, but a greater number
was wounded.
6. But there was nothing that affected the nation so much, in the calamities
they were then under, as that their holy place, which had been hitherto
seen by none, should be laid open to strangers; for Pompey, and those that
were about him, went into the temple itself 8 whither it was not lawful for
any to enter but the high priest, and saw what was reposited therein, the
candlestick with its lamps, and the table, and the pouring vessels, and the
censers, all made entirely of gold, as also a great quantity of spices heaped
together, with two thousand talents of sacred money. Yet did not he touch
that money, nor any thing else that was there reposited; but he
commanded the ministers about the temple, the very next day after he had
taken it, to cleanse it, and to perform their accustomed sacrifices.
Moreover, he made Hyrcanus high priest, as one that not only in other
respects had showed great alacrity, on his side, during the siege, but as he
had been the means of hindering the multitude that was in the country
from fighting for Aristobulus, which they were otherwise very ready to
have done; by which means he acted the part of a good general, and
reconciled the people to him more by benevolence than by terror. Now,
among the Captives, Aristobulusís father-in-law was taken, who was also
his uncle: so those that were the most guilty he punished with decollatlon;
but rewarded Faustus, and those with him that had fought so bravely, with
glorious presents, and laid a tribute upon the country, and upon Jerusalem
7. He also took away from the nation all those cities that they had
formerly taken, and that belonged to Celesyria, and made them subject to
him that was at that time appointed to be the Roman president there; and
reduced Judea within its proper bounds. He also rebuilt Gadara, 9 that had
been demolished by the Jews, in order to gratify one Demetrius, who was
of Gadara, and was one of his own freed-men. He also made other cities
free from their dominion, that lay in the midst of the country, such, I
mean, as they had not demolished before that time; Hippos, and
Scythopolis, as also Pella, and Samaria, and Marissa; and besides these
Ashdod, and Jamnia, and Arethusa; and in like manner dealt he with the
maritime cities, Gaza, and Joppa, and Dora, and that which was anciently
called Stratoís Tower, but was afterward rebuilt with the most magnificent
edifices, and had its name changed to Cesarea, by king Herod. All which he
restored to their own citizens, and put them under the province of Syria;
which province, together with Judea, and the countries as far as Egypt and
Euphrates, he committed to Scaurus as their governor, and gave him two
legions to support him; while he made all the haste he could himself to go
through Cilicia, in his way to Rome, having Aristobulus and his children
along with him as his captives. They were two daughters and two sons;
the one of which sons, Alexander, ran away as he was going; but the
younger, Antigonus, with his sisters, were carried to Rome.
1. IN the mean time, Scaurus made an expedition into Arabia, but was
stopped by the difficulty of the places about Petra. However, he laid
waste the country about Pella, though even there he was under great
hardship; for his army was afflicted with famine. In order to supply which
want, Hyrcanus afforded him some assistance, and sent him provisions by
the means of Antipater; whom also Scaurus sent to Aretas, as one well
acquainted with him, to induce him to pay him money to buy his peace.
The king of Arabia complied with the proposal, and gave him three
hundred talents; upon which Scaurus drew his army out of Arabia 10
2. But as for Alexander, that son of Aristobulus who ran away from
Pompey, in some time he got a considerable band of men together, and lay
heavy upon Hyrcanus, and overran Judea, and was likely to overturn him
quickly; and indeed he had come to Jerusalem, and had ventured to rebuild
its wall that was thrown down by Pompey, had not Gabinius, who was
sent as successor to Scaurus into Syria, showed his bravery, as in many
other points, so in making an expedition against Alexander; who, as he was
afraid that he would attack him, so he got together a large army, composed
of ten thousand armed footmen, and fifteen hundred horsemen. He also
built walls about proper places; Alexandrium, and Hyrcanium, and
Machorus, that lay upon the mountains of Arabia.
3. However, Gabinius sent before him Marcus Antonius, and followed
himself with his whole army; but for the select body of soldiers that were
about Antipater, and another body of Jews under the command of
Malichus and Pitholaus, these joined themselves to those captains that
were about Marcus Antonius, and met Alexander; to which body came
Oabinius with his main army soon afterward; and as Alexander was not
able to sustain the charge of the enemiesí forces, now they were joined, he
retired. But when he was come near to Jerusalem, he was forced to fight,
and lost six thousand men in the battle; three thousand of which fell down
dead, and three thousand were taken alive; so he fled with the remainder to
4. Now when Gabinius was come to Alexandrium, because he found a
great many there en-camped, he tried, by promising them pardon for their
former offenses, to induce them to come over to him before it came to a
fight; but when they would hearken to no terms of accommodation, he
slew a great number of them, and shut up a great number of them in the
citadel. Now Marcus Antonius, their leader, signalized himself in this
battle, who, as he always showed great courage, so did he never show it so
much as now; but Gabinius, leaving forces to take the citadel, went away
himself, and settled the cities that had not been demolished, and rebuilt
those that had been destroyed. Accordingly, upon his injunctions, the
following cities were restored: Scythopolis, and Samaria, and Anthedon,
and Apollonia, and Jamnia, and Raphia, and Mariassa, and Adoreus, and
Gamala, and Ashdod, and many others; while a great number of men
readily ran to each of them, and became their inhabitants.
5. When Gabinius had taken care of these cities, he returned to
Alexandrium, and pressed on the siege. So when Alexander despaired of
ever obtaining the government, he sent ambassadors to him, and prayed
him to forgive what he had offended him in, and gave up to him the
remaining fortresses, Hyrcanium and Macherus, as he put Alexandrium
into his hands afterwards; all which Gabinius demolished, at the
persuasion of Alexanderís mother, that they might not be receptacles of
men in a second war. She was now there in order to mollify Gabinius, out
of her concern for her relations that were captives at Rome, which were
her husband and her other children. After this Gabinius brought Hyrcanus
to Jerusalem, and committed the care of the temple to him; but ordained
the other political government to be by an aristocracy. He also parted the
whole nation into five conventions, assigning one portion to Jerusalem,
another to Gadara, that another should belong to Amathus, a fourth to
Jericho, and to the fifth division was allotted Sepphoris, a city of Galilee.
So the people were glad to be thus freed from monarchical government,
and were governed for the future by all aristocracy.
6. Yet did Aristobulus afford another foundation for new disturbances. He
fled away from Rome, and got together again many of the Jews that were
desirous of a change, such as had borne an affection to him of old; and
when he had taken Alexandrium in the first place, he attempted to build a
wall about it; but as soon as Gabinius had sent an army against him under
Siscuria, and Antonius, and Servilius, he was aware of it, and retreated to
Macherus. And as for the unprofitable multitude, he dismissed them, and
only marched on with those that were armed, being to the number of eight
thousand, among whom was Pitholaus, who had been the lieutenant at
Jerusalem, but deserted to Aristobulus with a thousand of his men; so the
Romans followed him, and when it came to a battle, Aristobulusís party
for a long time fought courageously; but at length they were overborne by
the Romans, and of them five thousand fell down dead, and about two
thousand fled to a certain little hill, but the thousand that remained with
Aristobulus brake through the Roman army, and marched together to
Macherus; and when the king had lodged the first night upon its ruins, he
was in hopes of raising another army, if the war would but cease a while;
accordingly, he fortified that strong hold, though it was done after a poor
manner. But the Romans falling upon him, he resisted, even beyond his
abilities, for two days, and then was taken, and brought a prisoner to
Gabinius, with Antigonus his son, who had fled away together with him
from Rome; and from Gabinius he was carried to Rome again. Wherefore
the senate put him under confinement, but returned his children back to
Judea, because Gabinius informed them by letters that he had promised
Aristobulusís mother to do so, for her delivering the fortresses up to him.
7. But now as Gabinius was marching to the war against the Parthians, he
was hindered by Ptolemy, whom, upon his return from Euphrates, he
brought back into Egypt, making use of Hyrcanus and Antipater to
provide every thing that was necessary for this expedition; for Antipater
furnished him with money, and weapons, and corn, and auxiliaries; he also
prevailed with the Jews that were there, and guarded the avenues at
Pelusium, to let them pass. But now, upon Gabiniusís absence, the other
part of Syria was in motion, and Alexander, the son of Aristobulus,
brought the Jews to revolt again. Accordingly, he got together a very great
army, and set about killing all the Romans that were in the country;
hereupon Gabinius was afraid, (for he was come back already out of
Egypt, and obliged to come back quickly by these tumults,) and sent
Antipater, who prevailed with some of the revolters to be quiet. However,
thirty thousand still continued with Alexander, who was himself eager to
fight also; accordingly, Gabinius went out to fight, when the Jews met
him; and as the battle was fought near Mount Tabor, ten thousand of them
were slain, and the rest of the multitude dispersed themselves, and fled
away. So Gabinius came to Jerusalem, and settled the government as
Antipater would have it; thence he marched, and fought and beat the
Nabateans: as for Mithridates and Orsanes, who fled out of Parthin, he
sent them away privately, but gave it out among the soldiers that they had
run away.
8. In the mean time, Crassus came as successor to Gabinius in Syria. He
took away all the rest of the gold belonging to the temple of Jerusalem, in
order to furnish himself for his expedition against the Parthians. He also
took away the two thousand talents which Pompey had not touched; but
when he had passed over Euphrates, he perished himself, and his army
with him; concerning which affairs this is not a proper time to speak [more
9. But now Cassius, after Crassus, put a stop to the Parthians, who were
marching in order to enter Syria. Cassius had fled into that province, and
when he had taken possession of the same, he made a hasty march into
Judea; and, upon his taking Taricheae, he carried thirty thousand Jews into
slavery. He also slew Pitholaus, who had supported the seditious
followers of Aristobulus; and it was Antipater who advised him so to do.
Now this Antipater married a wife of an eminent family among the
Arabisus, whose name was Cypros, and had four sons born to him by her,
Phasaelus and Herod, who was afterwards king, and, besides these, Joseph
and Pheroras; and he had a daughter whose name was Salome. Now as he
made himself friends among the men of power every where, by the kind
offices he did them, and the hospitable manner that he treated them; so did
he contract the greatest friendship with the king of Arabia, by marrying his
relation; insomuch that when he made war with Aristobulus, he sent and
intrusted his children with him. So when Cassius had forced Alexander to
come to terms and to be quiet, he returned to Euphrates, in order to
prevent the Parthians from repassing it; concerning which matter we shall
speak elsewhere. 11
1. NOW, upon the flight of Pompey and of the senate beyond the Ionian
Sea, Caesar got Rome and the empire under his power, and released
Aristobulus from his bonds. He also committed two legions to him, and
sent him in haste into Syria, as hoping that by his means he should easily
conquer that country, and the parts adjoining to Judea. But envy
prevented any effect of Aristobulusís alacrity, and the hopes of Caesar;
for he was taken off by poison given him by those of Pompeyís party;
and, for a long while, he had not so much as a burial vouchsafed him in his
own country; but his dead body lay [above ground], preserved in honey,
until it was sent to the Jews by Antony, in order to be buried in the royal
2. His son Alexander also was beheaded by Sci-pio at Antioch, and that by
the command of Pompey, and upon an accusation laid against him before
his tribunal, for the mischiefs he had done to the Romans. But Ptolemy,
the son of Menneus, who was then ruler of Chalcis, under Libanus, took
his brethren to him by sending his son Philippio for them to Ascalon, who
took Antigonus, as well as his sisters, away from Aristobulusís wife, and
brought them to his father; and falling in love with the younger daughter,
he married her, and was afterwards slain by his father on her account; for
Ptolemy himself, after he had slain his son, married her, whose name was
Alexandra; on the account of which marriage he took the greater care of her
brother and sister.
3. Now, after Pompey was dead, Antipater changed sides, and cultivated a
friendship with Caesar. And since Mithridates of Pergamus, with the
forces he led against Egypt, was excluded from the avenues about
Pelusium, and was forced to stay at Asealon, he persuaded the Arabians,
among whom he had lived, to assist him, and came himself to him, at the
head of three thousand armed men. He also encouraged the men of power
in Syria to come to his assistance, as also of the inhabitants of Libanus,
Ptolemy, and Jamblicus, and another Ptolemy; by which means the cities
of that country came readily into this war; insomuch that Mithridates
ventured now, in dependence upon the additional strength that he had
gotten by Antipater, to march forward to Pelusium; and when they
refused him a passage through it, he besieged the city; in the attack of
which place Antipater principally signalized himself, for he brought down
that part of the wall which was over against him, and leaped first of all
into the city, with the men that were about him.
4. Thus was Pelusium taken. But still, as they were marching on, those
Egyptian Jews that inhabited the country called the country of Onias
stopped them. Then did Antipater not only persuade them not to stop
them, but to afford provisions for their army; on which account even the
people about Memphis would not fight against them, but of their own
accord joined Mithridates. Whereupon he went round about Delta, and
fought the rest of the Egyptians at a place called the Jewsí Camp; nay,
when he was in danger in the battle with all his right wing, Antipater
wheeled about, and came along the bank of the river to him; for he had
beaten those that opposed him as he led the left wing. After which success
he fell upon those that pursued Mithridates, and slew a great many of
them, and pursued the remainder so far that he took their camp, while he
lost no more than fourscore of his own men; as Mithridates lost, during
the pursuit that was made after him, about eight hundred. He was also
himself saved unexpectedly, and became an unreproachable witness to
Caesar of the great actions of Antipater.
5. Whereupon Caesar encouraged Antipater to undertake other hazardous
enterprises for him, and that by giving him great commendations and hopes
of reward. In all which enterprises he readily exposed himself to many
dangers, and became a most courageous warrior; and had many wounds
almost all over his body, as demonstrations of his valor. And when Caesar
had settled the affairs of Egypt, and was returning into Syria again, he gave
him the privilege of a Roman citizen, and freedom from taxes, and rendered
him an object of admiration by the honors and marks of friendship he
bestowed upon him. On this account it was that he also confirmed
Hyrcanus in the high priesthood.
1. ABOUT this time it was that Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, came to
Caesar, and became, in a surprising manner, the occasion of Antipaterís
further advancement; for whereas he ought to have lamented that his father
appeared to have been poisoned on account of his quarrels with Pompey,
and to have complained of Scipioís barbarity towards his brother, and not
to mix any invidious passion when he was suing for mercy; besides those
things, he came before Caesar, and accused Hyrcanus and Antipater, how
they had driven him and his brethren entirely out of their native country,
and had acted in a great many instances unjustly and extravagantly with
relation to their nation; and that as to the assistance they had sent him into
Egypt, it was not done out of good-will to him, but out of the fear they
were in from former quarrels, and in order to gain pardon for their
friendship to [his enemy] Pompey.
2. Hereupon Antipater threw away his garments, and showed the
multitude of the wounds he had, and said, that as to his good-will to
Caesar, he had no occasion to say a word, because his body cried aloud,
though he said nothing himself; that he wondered at Antigonusís boldness,
while he was himself no other than the son of an enemy to the Romans,
and of a fugitive, and had it by inheritance from his father to be fond of
innovations and seditions, that he should undertake to accuse other men
before the Roman governor, and endeavor to gain some advantages to
himself, when he ought to be contented that he was suffered to live; for
that the reason of his desire of governing public affairs was not so much
because he was in want of it, but because, if he could once obtain the same,
he might stir up a sedition among the Jews, and use what he should gain
from the Romans to the disservice of those that gave it him.
3. When Caesar heard this, he declared Hyrcanus to be the most worthy of
the high priesthood, and gave leave to Antipater to choose what authority
he pleased; but he left the determination of such dignity to him that
bestowed the dignity upon him; so he was constituted procurator of all
Judea, and obtained leave, moreover, to rebuild 12 those walls of his
country that had been thrown down. These honorary grants Caesar sent
orders to have engraved in the Capitol, that they might stand there as
indications of his own justice, and of the virtue of Antipater.
4. But as soon as Antipater had conducted Caesar out of Syria he returned
to Judea, and the first thing he did was to rebuild that wall of his own
country [Jerusalem] which Pompey had overthrown, and then to go over
the country, and to quiet the tumults that were therein; where he partly
threatened, and partly advised, every one, and told them that in case they
would submit to Hyrcanus, they would live happily and peaceably, and
enjoy what they possessed, and that with universal peace and quietness;
but that in case they hearkened to such as had some frigid hopes by raising
new troubles to get themselves some gain, they should then find him to be
their Lord instead of their procurator; and find Hyrcanus to be a tyrant
instead of a king; and both the Romans and Caesar to be their enemies,
instead of rulers; for that they would not suffer him to be removed from
the government, whom they had made their governor. And, at the same
time that he said this, he settled the affairs of the country by himself,
because he saw that Hyrcanus was inactive, and not fit to manage the
affairs of the kingdom. So he constituted his eldest son, Phasaelus,
governor of Jerusalem, and of the parts about it; he also sent his next son,
Herod, who was very young, 13 with equal authority into Galilee.
5. Now Herod was an active man, and soon found proper materials for his
active spirit to work upon. As therefore he found that Hezekias, the head
of the robbers, ran over the neighboring parts of Syria with a great band of
men, he caught him and slew him, and many more of the robbers with him;
which exploit was chiefly grateful to the Syrians, insomuch that hymns
were sung in Herodís commendation, both in the villages and in the cities,
as having procured their quietness, and having preserved what they
possessed to them; on which occasion he became acquainted with Sextus
Caesar, a kinsman of the great Caesar, and president of Syria. A just
emulation of his glorious actions excited Phasaelus also to imitate him.
Accordingly, he procured the good-will of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, by
his own management of the city affairs, and did not abuse his power in
any disagreeable manner; whence it came to pass that the nation paid
Antipater the respects that were due only to a king, and the honors they
all yielded him were equal to the honors due to an absolute Lord; yet did
he not abate any part of that good-will or fidelity which he owed to
6. However, he found it impossible to escape envy in such his prosperity;
for the glory of these young men affected even Hyrcanus himself already
privately, though he said nothing of it to any body; but what he
principally was grieved at was the great actions of Herod, and that so
many messengers came one before another, and informed him of the great
reputation he got in all his undertakings. There were also many people in
the royal palace itself who inflamed his envy at him; those, I mean, who
were obstructed in their designs by the prudence either of the young men,
or of Antipater. These men said, that by committing the public affairs to
the management of Antipater and of his sons, he sat down with nothing
but the bare name of a king, without any of its authority; and they asked
him how long he would so far mistake himself, as to breed up kings against
his own interest; for that they did not now conceal their government of
affairs any longer, but were plainly lords of the nation, and had thrust him
out of his authority; that this was the case when Herod slew so many men
without his giving him any command to do it, either by word of mouth, or
by his letter, and this in contradiction to the law of the Jews; who
therefore, in case he be not a king, but a private man, still ought to come to
his trial, and answer it to him, and to the laws of his country, which do not
permit any one to be killed till he hath been condemned in judgment.
7. Now Hyrcanus was, by degrees, inflamed with these discourses, and at
length could bear no longer, but he summoned Herod to take his trial.
Accordingly, by his fatherís advice, and as soon as the affairs of Galilee
would give him leave, he came up to [Jerusalem], when he had first placed
garrisons in Galilee; however, he came with a sufficient body of soldiers,
so many indeed that he might not appear to have with him an army able to
overthrow Hyrcanusís government, nor yet so few as to expose him to the
insults of those that envied him. However, Sextus Caesar was in fear for
the young man, lest he should be taken by his enemies, and brought to
punishment; so he sent some to denounce expressly to Hyrcanus that he
should acquit Herod of the capital charge against him; who acquitted him
accordingly, as being otherwise inclined also so to do, for he loved Herod.
8. But Herod, supposing that he had escaped punishment without the
consent of the king, retired to Sextus, to Damascus, and got every thing
ready, in order not to obey him if he should summon him again;
whereupon those that were evil-disposed irritated Hyrcanus, and told him
that Herod was gone away in anger, and was prepared to make war upon
him; and as the king believed what they said, he knew not what to do,
since he saw his antagonist was stronger than he was himself. And now,
since Herod was made general of Coelesyria and Samaria by Sextus Caesar,
he was formidable, not only from the good-will which the nation bore him,
but by the power he himself had; insomuch that Hyrcanus fell into the
utmost degree of terror, and expected he would presently march against
him with his army.
9. Nor was he mistaken in the conjecture he made; for Herod got his army
together, out of the anger he bare him for his threatening him with the
accusation in a public court, and led it to Jerusalem, in order to throw
Hyrcanus down from his kingdom; and this he had soon done, unless his
father and brother had gone out together and broken the force of his fury,
and this by exhorting him to carry his revenge no further than to
threatening and affrighting, but to spare the king, under whom he had been
advanced to such a degree of power; and that he ought not to be so much
provoked at his being tried, as to forget to be thankful that he was
acquitted; nor so long to think upon what was of a melancholy nature, as
to be ungrateful for his deliverance; and if we ought to reckon that God is
the arbitrator of success in war, an unjust cause is of more disadvantage
than an army can be of advantage; and that therefore he ought not to be
entirely confident of success in a case where he is to fight against his king,
his supporter, and one that had often been his benefactor, and that had
never been severe to him, any otherwise than as he had hearkened to evil
counselors, and this no further than by bringing a shadow of injustice upon
him. So Herod was prevailed upon by these arguments, and supposed that
what he had already done was sufficient for his future hopes, and that he
had enough shown his power to the nation.
10. In the mean time, there was a disturbance among the Romans about
Apamia, and a civil war occasioned by the treacherous slaughter of Sextus
Caesar, by Cecilius Bassus, which he perpetrated out of his good-will to
Pompey; he also took the authority over his forces; but as the rest of
Caesarís commanders attacked Bassus with their whole army, in order to
punish him for the murder of Caesar, Antipater also sent them assistance
by his sons, both on account of him that was murdered, and on account of
that Caesar who was still alive, both of which were their friends; and as
this war grew to be of a considerable length, Marcus came out of Italy as
successor to Sextus.
1. THERE, was at this time a mighty war raised among the Romans upon
the sudden and treacherous slaughter of Caesar by Cassius and Brutus,
after he had held the government for three years and seven months. 14
Upon this murder there were very great agitations, and the great men were
mightily at difference one with another, and every one betook himself to
that party where they had the greatest hopes of their own, of advancing
themselves. Accordingly, Cassius came into Syria, in order to receive the
forces that were at Apamia, where he procured a reconciliation between
Bassus and Marcus, and the legions which were at difference with him; so
he raised the siege of Apamia, and took upon him the command of the
army, and went about exacting tribute of the cities, and demanding their
money to such a degree as they were not able to bear.
2. So he gave command that the Jews should bring in seven hundred
talents; whereupon Antipater, out of his dread of Cassiusís threats, parted
the raising of this sum among his sons, and among others of his
acquaintance, and to be done immediately; and among them he required one
Malichus, who was at enmity with him, to do his part also, which
necessity forced him to do. Now Herod, in the first place, mitigated the
passion of Cassius, by bringing his share out of Galilee, which was a
hundred talents, on which account he was in the highest favor with him;
and when he reproached the rest for being tardy, he was angry at the cities
themselves; so he made slaves of Gophna and Emmaus, and two others of
less note; nay, he proceeded as if he would kill Malichus, because he had
not made greater haste in exacting his tribute; but Antipater prevented the
ruin of this man, and of the other cities, and got into Cassiusís favor by
bringing in a hundred talents immediately. 15
3. However, when Cassius was gone Malichus forgot the kindness that
Antipater had done him, and laid frequent plots against him that had saved
him, as making haste to get him out of the way, who was an obstacle to his
wicked practices; but Antipater was so much afraid of the power and
cunning of the man, that he went beyond Jordan, in order to get an army to
guard himself against his treacherous designs; but when Malichus was
caught in his plot, he put upon Antipaterís sons by his impudence, for he
thoroughly deluded Phasaelus, who was the guardian of Jerusalem, and
Herod who was intrusted with the weapons of war, and this by a great
many excuses and oaths, and persuaded them to procure his reconciliation
to his father. Thus was he preserved again by Antipater, who dissuaded
Marcus, the then president of Syria, from his resolution of killing
Malichus, on account of his attempts for innovation.
4. Upon the war between Cassius and Brutus on one side, against the
younger Caesar [Augustus] and Antony on the other, Cassius and Marcus
got together an army out of Syria; and because Herod was likely to have a
great share in providing necessaries, they then made him procurator of all
Syria, and gave him an army of foot and horse. Cassius premised him also,
that after the war was over, he would make him king of Judea. But it so
happened that the power and hopes of his son became the cause of his
perdition; for as Malichus was afraid of this, he corrupted one of the
kingís cup-bearers with money to give a poisoned potion to Antipater; so
he became a sacrifice to Malichusís wickedness, and died at a feast. He
was a man in other respects active in the management of affairs, and one
that recovered the government to Hyrcanus, and preserved it in his hands.
5. However, Malichus, when lie was suspected ef poisoning Antipater,
and when the multitude was angry with him for it, denied it, and made the
people believe he was not guilty. He also prepared to make a greater
figure, and raised soldiers; for he did not suppose that Herod would be
quiet, who indeed came upon him with an army presently, in order to
revenge his fatherís death; but, upon hearing the advice of his brother
Phasaelus, not to punish him in an open manner, lest the multitude should
fall into a sedition, he admitted of Malichusís apology, and professed that
he cleared him of that suspicion; he also made a pompous funeral for his
6. So Herod went to Samaria, which was then in a tumult, and settled the
city in peace; after which at the [Pentecost] festival, he returned to
Jerusalem, having his armed men with him: hereupon Hyrcanus, at the
request of Malichus, who feared his reproach, forbade them to introduce
foreigners to mix themselves with the people of the country while they
were purifying themselves; but Herod despised the pretense, and him that
gave that command, and came in by night. Upon which Malithus came to
him, and bewailed Antipater; Herod also made him believe [he admitted of
his lamentations as real], although he had much ado to restrain his passion
at him; however, he did himself bewail the murder of his father in his
letters to Cassius, who, on other accounts, also hated Malichus. Cassius
sent him word back that he should avenge his fatherís death upon him, and
privately gave order to the tribunes that were under him, that they should
assist Herod in a righteous action he was about.
7. And because, upon the taking of Laodicea by Cassius, the men of power
were gotten together from all quarters, with presents and crowns in their
hands, Herod allotted this time for the punishment of Malichus. When
Malichus suspected that, and was at Tyre, he resolved to withdraw his
son privately from among the Tyrians, who was a hostage there, while he
got ready to fly away into Judea; the despair he was in of escaping excited
him to think of greater things; for he hoped that he should raise the nation
to a revolt from the Romans, while Cassius was busy about the war
against Antony, and that he should easily depose Hyrcanus, and get the
crown for himself.
8. But fate laughed at the hopes he had; for Herod foresaw what he was so
zealous about, and invited both Hyrcanus and him to supper; but calling
one of the principal servants that stood by him to him, he sent him out, as
though it were to get things ready for supper, but in reality to give notice
beforehand about the plot that was laid against him; accordingly they
called to mind what orders Cassius had given them, and went out of the
city with their swords in their hands upon the sea-shore, where they
encompassed Malichus round about, and killed him with many wounds.
Upon which Hyrcanus was immediately aftrighted, till he swooned away
and fell down at the surprise he was in; and it was with difficulty that he
was recovered, when he asked who it was that had killed Malichus. And
when one of the tribunes replied that it was done by the command of
Cassius,Ē Then,Ē said he, ďCassius hath saved both me and my country,
by cutting off one that was laying plots against them both.Ē Whether he
spake according to his own sentiments, or whether his fear was such that
he was obliged to commend the action by saying so, is uncertain; however,
by this method Herod inflicted punishment upon Malichus.
1. WHEN Cassius was gone out of Syria, another sedition arose at
Jerusalem, wherein Felix assaulted Phasaelus with an army, that he might
revenge the death of Malichus upon Herod, by falling upon his brother.
Now Herod happened then to be with Fabius, the governor of Damascus,
and as he was going to his brotherís assistance, he was detained by
sickness; in the mean time, Phasaelus was by himself too hard for Felix,
and reproached Hyrcanus on account of his ingratitude, both for what
assistance he had afforded Maliehus, and for overlooking Malichusís
brother, when he possessed himself of the fortresses; for he had gotten a
great many of them already, and among them the strongest of them all,
2. However, nothing could be sufficient for him against the force of Herod,
who, as soon as he was recovered, took the other fortresses again, and
drove him out of Masada in the posture of a supplicant; he also drove
away Marion, the tyrant of the Tyrians, out of Galilee, when he had
already possessed himself of three fortified places; but as to those Tyrians
whom he had caught, he preserved them all alive; nay, some of them he
gave presents to, and so sent them away, and thereby procured good-will
to himself from the city, and hatred to the tyrant. Marion had indeed
obtained that tyrannical power of Cassius, who set tyrants over all Syria
16 and out of hatred to Herod it was that he assisted Antigonus, the son of
Aristobulus, and principally on Fabiusís account, whom Antigonus had
made his assistant by money, and had him accordingly on his side when he
made his descent; but it was Ptolemy, the kinsman of Antigonus, that
supplied all that he wanted.
3. When Herod had fought against these in the avenues of Judea, he was
conqueror in the battle, and drove away Antigonus, and returned to
Jerusalem, beloved by every body for the glorious action he had done; for
those who did not before favor him did join themselves to him now,
because of his marriage into the family of Hyrcanus; for as he had formerly
married a wife out of his own country of no ignoble blood, who was called
Doris, of whom he begat Antipater; so did he now marry Mariamne, the
daughter of Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, and the granddaughter of
Hyrcanus, and was become thereby a relation of the king.
4. But when Caesar and Antony had slain Cassius near Philippi, and
Caesar was gone to Italy, and Antony to Asia, amongst the rest of the
cities which sent ambassadors to Antony unto Bithynia, the great men of
the Jews came also, and accused Phasaelus and Herod, that they kept the
government by force, and that Hyrcanus had no more than an honorable
name. Herod appeared ready to answer this accusation; and having made
Antony his friend by the large sums of money which he gave him, he
brought him to such a temper as not to hear the others speak against him;
and thus did they part at this time.
5. However, after this, there came a hundred of the principal men among
the Jews to Daphne by Antioch to Antony, who was already in love with
Cleopatra to the degree of slavery; these Jews put those men that were the
most potent, both in dignity and eloquence, foremost, and accused the
brethren. 17 But Messala opposed them, and defended the brethren, and
that while Hyrcanus stood by him, on account of his relation to them.
When Antony had heard both sides, he asked Hyrcanus which party was
the fittest to govern, who replied that Herod and his party were the fittest.
Antony was glad of that answer, for he had been formerly treated in an
hospitable and obliging manner by his father Antipater, when he marched
into Judea with Gabinius; so he constituted the brethren tetrarchs, and
committed to them the government of Judea.
6. But when the ambassadors had indignation at this procedure, Antony
took fifteen of them, and put them into custody, whom he was also going
to kill presently, and the rest he drove away with disgrace; on which
occasion a still greater tumult arose at Jerusalem; so they sent again a
thousand ambassadors to Tyre, where Antony now abode, as he was
marching to Jerusalem; upon these men who made a clamor he sent out the
governor of Tyre, and ordered him to punish all that he could catch of
them, and to settle those in the administration whom he had made
7. But before this Herod, and Hyrcanus went out upon the sea-shore, and
earnestly desired of these ambassadors that they would neither bring ruin
upon themselves, nor war upon their native country, by their rash
contentions; and when they grew still more outrageous, Antony sent out
armed men, and slew a great many, and wounded more of them; of whom
those that were slain were buried by Hyrcanus, as were the wounded put
under the care of physicians by him; yet would not those that had escaped
be quiet still, but put the affairs of the city into such disorder, and so
provoked Antony, that he slew those whom he had in bonds also.
1. Now two years afterward, when Barzapharnes, a governor among the
Parthians, and Paeorus, the kingís son, had possessed themselves of Syria,
and when Lysanias had already succeeded upon the death of his father
Ptolemy, the son of Menneus, in the government [of Chalcis], he prevailed
with the governor, by a promise of a thousand talents, and five hundred
women, to bring back Antigonus to his kingdom, and to turn Hyrcanus out
of it. Pacorus was by these means induced so to do, and marched along the
sea-coast, while he ordered Barzapharnes to fall upon the Jews as he went
along the Mediterranean part of the country; but of the maritime people,
the Tyrians would not receive Pacorus, although those of Ptolemais and
Sidon had received him; so he committed a troop of his horse to a certain
cup-bearer belonging to the royal family, of his own name [Pacorus], and
gave him orders to march into Judea, in order to learn the state of affairs
among their enemies, and to help Antigonus when he should want his
2. Now as these men were ravaging Carmel, many of the Jews ran together
to Antigonus, and showed themselves ready to make an incursion into the
country; so he sent them before into that place called Drymus, [the
woodland 18 ] to seize upon the place; whereupon a battle was fought
between them, and they drove the enemy away, and pursued them, and
ran after them as far as Jerusalem, and as their numbers increased, they
proceeded as far as the kingís palace; but as Hyrcanus and Phasaelus
received them with a strong body of men, there happened a battle in the
market-place, in which Herodís party beat the enemy, and shut them up in
the temple, and set sixty men in the houses adjoining as a guard to them.
But the people that were tumultuous against the brethren came in, and
burnt those men; while Herod, in his rage for killing them, attacked and
slew many of the people, till one party made incursions on the other by
turns, day by day, in the way of ambushes, and slaughters were made
continually among them.
3. Now when that festival which we call Pentecost was at hand, all the
places about the temple, and the whole city, was full of a multitude of
people that were come out of the country, and which were the greatest
part of them armed also, at which time Phasaelus guarded the wall, and
Herod, with a few, guarded the royal palace; and when he made an assault
upon his enemies, as they were out of their ranks, on the north quarter of
the city, he slew a very great number of them, and put them all to flight;
and some of them he shut up within the city, and others within the
outward rampart. In the mean time, Antigonus desired that Pacorus might
be admitted to be a reconciler between them; and Phasaelus was prevailed
upon to admit the Parthian into the city with five hundred horse, and to
treat him in an hospitable manner, who pretended that he came to quell the
tumult, but in reality he came to assist Antigonus; however, he laid a plot
for Phasaelus, and persuaded him to go as an ambassador to Barzapharnes,
in order to put an end to the war, although Herod was very earnest with
him to the contrary, and exhorted him to kill the plotter, but not expose
himself to the snares he had laid for him, because the barbarians are
naturally perfidious. However, Pacorus went out and took Hyrcanus with
him, that he might be the less suspected; he also 19 left some of the
horsemen, called the Freemen, with Herod, and conducted Phasaelus with
the rest.
4. But now, when they were come to Galilee, they found that the people
of that country had revolted, and were in arms, who came very cunningly
to their leader, and besought him to conceal his treacherous intentions by
an obliging behavior to them; accordingly, he at first made them presents;
and afterward, as they went away, laid ambushes for them; and when they
were come to one of the maritime cities called Ecdippon, they perceived
that a plot was laid for them; for they were there informed of the promise
of a thousand talents, and how Antigonus had devoted the greatest number
of the women that were there with them, among the five hundred, to the
Parthians; they also perceived that an ambush was always laid for them by
the barbarians in the night time; they had also been seized on before this,
unless they had waited for the seizure of Herod first at Jerusalem, because
if he were once informed of this treachery of theirs, he would take care of
himself; nor was this a mere report, but they saw the guards already not
far off them.
5. Nor would Phasaelus think of forsaking Hyrcanus and flying away,
although Ophellius earnestly persuaded him to it; for this man had learned
the whole scheme of the plot from Saramalla, the richest of all the Syrians.
But Phasaelus went up to the Parfilian governor, and reproached him to
his face for laying this treacherous plot against them, and chiefly because
he had done it for money; and he promised him that he would give him
more money for their preservation, than Antigonus had promised to give
for the kingdom. But the sly Parthian endeavored to remove all this
suspicion by apologies and by oaths, and then went [to the other]
Pacorus; immediately after which those Parthians who were left, and had it
in charge, seized upon Phasaelus and Hyrcanus, who could do no more
than curse their perfidiousness and their perjury.
6. In the mean time, the cup-bearer was sent [back], and laid a plot how to
seize upon Herod, by deluding him, and getting him out of the city, as he
was commanded to do. But Herod suspected the barbarians from the
beginning; and having then received intelligence that a messenger, who was
to bring him the letters that informed him of the treachery intended, had
fallen among the enemy, he would not go out of the city; though Pacorus
said very positively that he ought to go out, and meet the messengers that
brought the letters, for that the enemy had not taken them, and that the
contents of them were not accounts of any plots upon them, but of what
Phasaelus had done; yet had he heard from others that his brother was
seized; and Alexandra 20 the shrewdest woman in the world, Hyrcanusís
daughter, begged of him that he would not go out, nor trust himself to
those barbarians, who now were come to make an attempt upon him
7. Now as Pacorus and his friends were considering how they might bring
their plot to bear privately, because it was not possible to circumvent a
man of so great prudence by openly attacking him, Herod prevented them,
and went off with the persons that were the most nearly related to him by
night, and this without their enemies being apprized of it. But as soon as
the Parthians perceived it, they pursued after them; and as he gave orders
for his mother, and sister, and the young woman who was betrothed to
him, with her mother, and his youngest brother, to make the best of their
way, he himself, with his servants, took all the care they could to keep off
the barbarians; and when at every assault he had slain a great many of
them, he came to the strong hold of Masada.
8. Nay, he found by experience that the Jews fell more heavily upon him
than did the Parthians, and created him troubles perpetually, and this ever
since he was gotten sixty furlongs from the city; these sometimes brought
it to a sort of a regular battle. Now in the place where Herod beat them,
and killed a great number of them, there he afterward built a citadel, in
memory of the great actions he did there, and adorned it with the most
costly palaces, and erected very strong fortifications, and called it, from
his own name, Herodium. Now as they were in their flight, many joined
themselves to him every day; and at a place called Thressa of Idumea his
brother Joseph met him, and advised him to ease himself of a great number
of his followers, because Masada would not contain so great a multitude,
which were above nine thousand. Herod complied with this advice, and
sent away the most cumbersome part of his retinue, that they might go
into Idumea, and gave them provisions for their journey; but he got safe to
the fortress with his nearest relations, and retained with him only the
stoutest of his followers; and there it was that he left eight hundred of his
men as a guard for the women, and provisions sufficient for a siege; but he
made haste himself to Petra of Arabia.
9. As for the Parthians in Jerusalem, they betook themselves to
plundering, and fell upon the houses of those that were fled, and upon the
kingís palace, and spared nothing but Hyrcanusís money, which was not
above three hundred talents. They lighted on other menís money also, but
not so much as they hoped for; for Herod having a long while had a
suspicion of the perfidiousness of the barbarians, had taken care to have
what was most splendid among his treasures conveyed into Idumea, as
every one belonging to him had in like manner done also. But the Parthians
proceeded to that degree of injustice, as to fill all the country with war
without denouncing it, and to demolish the city Marissa, and not only to
set up Antigonus for king, but to deliver Phasaelus and Hyrcanus bound
into his. hands, in order to their being tormented by him. Antigonus
himself also bit off Hyrcanusís ears with his own teeth, as he fell down
upon his knees to him, that so he might never be able upon any mutation
of affairs to take the high priesthood again, for the high priests that
officiated were to be complete, and without blemish.
10. However, he failed in his purpose of abusing Phasaelus, by reason of
his courage; for though he neither had the command of his sword nor of his
hands, he prevented all abuses by dashing his head against a stone; so he
demonstrated himself to be Herodís own brother, and Hyrcanus a most
degenerate relation, and died with great bravery, and made the end of his
life agreeable to the actions of it. There is also another report about his
end, viz. that he recovered of that stroke, and that a surgeon, who was sent
by Antigonus to heal him, filled the wound with poisonous ingredients,
and so killed him; whichsoever of these deaths he came to, the beginning of
it was glorious. It is also reported that before he expired he was informed
by a certain poor woman how Herod had escaped out of their hands, and
that he said thereupon, ďI now die with comfort, since I leave behind me
one alive that will avenge me of mine enemies.Ē
11. This was the death of Phasaelus; but the Parthians, although they had
failed of the women they chiefly desired, yet did they put the government
of Jerusalem into the hands of Antigonus, and took away Hyrcanus, and
bound him, and carried him to Parthia.
1. NOW Herod did the more zealously pursue his journey into Arabia, as
making haste to get money of the king, while his brother was yet alive; by
which money alone it was that he hoped to prevail upon the covetous
temper of the barbarians to spare Phasaelus; for he reasoned thus with
himself,: ó that if the Arabian king was too forgetful of his fatherís
friendship with him, and was too covetous to make him a free gift, he
would however borrow of him as much as might redeem his brother, and
put into his hands, as a pledge, the son of him that was to be redeemed.
Accordingly he led his brotherís son along with him, who was of the age of
seven years. Now he was ready to give three hundred talents for his
brother, and intended to desire the intercession of the Tyrians, to get them
accepted; however, fate had been too quick for his diligence; and since
Phasaelus was dead, Herodís brotherly love was now in vain. Moreover,
he was not able to find any lasting friendship among the Arabians; for their
king, Malichus, sent to him immediately, and commanded him to return
back out of his country, and used the name of the Parthians as a pretense
for so doing, as though these had denounced to him by their ambassadors
to cast Herod out of Arabia; while in reality they had a mind to keep back
what they owed to Antipater, and not be obliged to make requitals to his
sons for the free gifts the father had made them. He also took the
impudent advice of those who, equally with himself, were willing to
deprive Herod of what Antipater had deposited among them; and these
men were the most potent of all whom he had in his kingdom.
2. So when Herod had found that the Arabians were his enemies, and this
for those very reasons whence he hoped they would have been the most
friendly, and had given them such an answer as his passion suggested, he
returned back, and went for Egypt. Now he lodged the first evening at one
of the temples of that country, in order to meet with those whom he left
behind; but on the next day word was brought him, as he was going to
Rhinocurura, that his brother was dead, and how he came by his death; and
when he had lamented him as much as his present circumstances could
bear, he soon laid aside such cares, and proceeded on his journey. But
now, after some time, the king of Arabia repented of what he had done,
and sent presently away messengers to call him back: Herod had
prevented them, and was come to Pelusium, where he could not obtain a
passage from those that lay with the fleet, so he besought their captains to
let him go by them; accordingly, out of the reverence they bore to the fame
and dignity of the man, they conducted him to Alexandria; and when he
came into the city, he was received by Cleopatra with great splendor, who
hoped he might be persuaded to be commander of her forces in the
expedition she was now about; but he rejected the queenís solicitations,
and being neither aftrighted at the height of that storm which. then
happened, nor at the tumults that were now in Italy, he sailed for Rome.
3. But as he was in peril about Pamphylia, and obliged to cast out the
greatest part of the shipís lading, he with difficulty got safe to Rhodes, a
place which had been grievously harassed in the war with Cassius. He was
there received by his friends, Ptolemy and Sappinius; and although he was
then in want of money, he fitted up a three-decked ship of very great
magnitude, wherein he and his friends sailed to Brundusium, 21 and went
thence to Rome with all speed; where he first of all went to Antony, on
account of the friendship his father had with him, and laid before him the
calamities of himself and his family; and that he had left his nearest
relations besieged in a fortress, and had sailed to him through a storm, to
make supplication to him for assistance.
4. Hereupon Antony was moved to compassion at the change that had
been made in Herodís affairs, and this both upon his calling to mind how
hospitably he had been treated by Antipater, but more especially on
account of Herodís own virtue; so he then resolved to get him made king of
the Jews, whom he had himself formerly made tetrarch. The contest also
that he had with Antigonus was another inducement, and that of no less
weight than the great regard he had for Herod; for he looked upon
Antigonus as a seditious person, and an enemy of the Romans; and as for
Caesar, Herod found him better prepared than Antony, as remembering
very fresh the wars he had gone through together with his father, the
hospitable treatment he had met with from him, and the entire good-will he
had showed to him; besides the activity which he saw in Herod himself. So
he called the senate together, wherein Messalas, and after him Atratinus,
produced Herod before them, and gave a full account of the merits of his
father, and his own good-will to the Romans. At the same time they
demonstrated that Antigonus was their enemy, not only because he soon
quarreled with them, but because he now overlooked the Romans, and took
the government by the means of the Parthians. These reasons greatly
moved the senate; at which juncture Antony came in, and told them that it
was for their advantage in the Parthian war that Herod should be king; so
they all gave their votes for it. And when the senate was separated,
Antony and Caesar went out, with Herod between them; while the consul
and the rest of the magistrates went before them, in order to offer
sacrifices, and to lay the decree in the Capitol. Antony also made a feast
for Herod on the first day of his reign.
1. NOW during this time Antigonus besieged those that were in Masada,
who had all other necessaries in sufficient quantity, but were in want of
water; on which account Joseph, Herodís brother, was disposed to run
away to the Arabians, with two hundred of his own friends, because he
had heard that Malichus repented of his offenses with regard to Herod;
and he had been so quick as to have been gone out of the fortress already,
unless, on that very night when he was going away, there had fallen a great
deal of rain, insomuch that his reservoirs were full of water, and so he was
under no necessity of running away. After which, therefore, they made an
irruption upon Antigonusís party, and slew a great many of them, some in
open battles, and some in private ambush; nor had they always success in
their attempts, for sometimes they were beaten, and ran away.
2. In the mean time Ventidius, the Roman general, was sent out of Syria, to
restrain the incursions of the Parthians; and after he had done that, he came
into Judea, in pretense indeed to assist Joseph and his party, but in reality
to get money of Antigonus;, and when he had pitched his camp very near
to Jerusalem, as soon as he had got money enough, he went away with the
greatest part of his forces; yet still did he leave Silo with some part of
them, lest if he had taken them all away, his taking of bribes might have
been too openly discovered. Now Antigonus hoped that the Parthians
would come again to his assistance, and therefore cultivated a good
understanding with Silo in the mean time, lest any interruption should be
given to his hopes.
3. Now by this time Herod had sailed out of Italy, and was come to
Ptolemais; and as soon as he had gotten together no small army of
foreigners, and of his own countrymen, he marched through Galilee against
Antigonus, wherein he was assisted by Ventidius and Silo, both whom
Dellius, 22 a person sent by Antony, persuaded to bring Herod [into his
kingdom]. Now Ventidius was at this time among the cities, and
composing the disturbances which had happened by means of the
Parthians, as was Silo in Judea corrupted by the bribes that Antigonus had
given him; yet was not Herod himself destitute of power, but the number
of his forces increased every day as he went along, and all Galilee, with
few exceptions, joined themselves to him. So he proposed to himself to set
about his most necessary enterprise, and that was Masada, in order to
deliver his relations from the siege they endured. But still Joppa stood in
his way, and hindered his going thither; for it was necessary to take that
city first, which was in the enemiesí hands, that when he should go to
Jerusalem, no fortress might be left in the enemiesí power behind him. Silo
also willingly joined him, as having now a plausible occasion of drawing
off his forces [from Jerusalem]; and when the Jews pursued him, and
pressed upon him, [in his retreat,] Herod made all excursion upon them
with a small body of his men, and soon put them to flight, and saved Silo
when he was in distress.
4. After this Herod took Joppa, and then made haste to Masada to free his
relations. Now, as he was marching, many came in to him, induced by their
friendship to his father, some by the reputation he had already gained
himself, and some in order to repay the benefits they had received from
them both; but still what engaged the greatest number on his side, was the
hopes from him when he should be established in his kingdom; so that he
had gotten together already an army hard to be conquered. But Antigonus
laid an ambush for him as he marched out, in which he did little or no harm
to his enemies. However, he easily recovered his relations again that were
in Masada, as well as the fortress Ressa, and then marched to Jerusalem,
where the soldiers that were with Silo joined themselves to his own, as did
many out of the city, from a dread of his power.
5. Now when he had pitched his camp on the west side of the city, the
guards that were there shot their arrows and threw their darts at them,
while others ran out in companies, and attacked those in the forefront; but
Herod commanded proclamation to be made at the wall, that he was come
for the good of the people and the preservation of the city, without any
design to be revenged on his open enemies, but to grant oblivion to them,
though they had been the most obstinate against him. Now the soldiers
that were for Antigonus made a contrary clamor, and did neither permit
any body to hear that proclamation, nor to change their party; so
Antigonus gave order to his forces to beat the enemy from the walls;
accordingly, they soon threw their darts at them from the towers, and put
them to flight.
6. And here it was that Silo discovered he had taken bribes; for he set
many of the soldiers to clamor about their want of necessaries, and to
require their pay, in order to buy themselves food, and to demand that he
would lead them into places convenient for their winter quarters; because
all the parts about the city were laid waste by the means of Antigonusís
army, which had taken all things away. By this he moved the army, and
attempted to get them off the siege; but Herod went to the captains that
were under Silo, and to a great many of the soldiers, and begged of them
not to leave him, who was sent thither by Caesar, and Antony, and the
senate; for that he would take care to have their wants supplied that very
day. After the making of which entreaty, he went hastily into the country,
and brought thither so great an abundance of necessaries, that he cut off all
Siloís pretenses; and in order to provide that for the following days they
should not want supplies, he sent to the people that were about Samaria
(which city had joined itself to him) to bring corn, and wine, and oil, and
cattle to Jericho. When Antigonus heard of this, be sent some of his party
with orders to hinder, and lay ambushes for these collectors of corn. This
command was obeyed, and a great multitude of armed men were gathered
together about Jericho, and lay upon the mountains, to watch those that
brought the provisions. Yet was Herod not idle, but took with him ten
cohorts, five of them were Romans, and five were Jewish cohorts, together
with some mercenary troops intermixed among them, and besides those a
few horsemen, and came to Jericho; and when he came, he found the city
deserted, but that there were five hundred men, with their wives and
children, who had taken possession of the tops of the mountains; these he
took, and dismissed them, while the Romans fell upon the rest of the city,
and plundered it, having found the houses full of all sorts of good things.
So the king left a garrison at Jericho, and came back, and sent the Roman
army into those cities which were come over to him, to take their winter
quarters there, viz. into Judea, [or Idumea,] and Galilee, and Samaria.
Antigonus also by bribes obtained of Silo to let a part of his army be
received at Lydda, as a compliment to Antonius.
1. SO the Romans lived in plenty of all things, and rested from war.
However, Herod did not lie at rest, but seized upon Idumea, and kept it,
with two thousand footmen, and four hundred horsemen; and this he did
by sending his brother Joseph thither, that no innovation might be made
by Antigonus. He also removed his mother, and all his relations, who had
been in Masada, to Samaria; and when he had settled them securely, he
marched to take the remaining parts of Galilee, and to drive away the
garrisons placed there by Antigonus.
2. But when Herod had reached Sepphoris, 23 in a very great snow, he took
the city without any difficulty; the guards that should have kept it flying
away before it was assaulted; where he gave an opportunity to his
followers that had been in distress to refresh themselves, there being in
that city a great abundance of necessaries. After which he hasted away to
the robbers that were in the caves, who overran a great part of the country,
and did as great mischief to its inhabitants as a war itself could have done.
Accordingly, he sent beforehand three cohorts of footmen, and one troop
of horsemen, to the village Arbela, and came himself forty days afterwards
24 with the rest of his forces Yet were not the enemy aftrighted at his
assault but met him in arms; for their skill was that of warriors, but their
boldness was the boldness of robbers: when therefore it came to a pitched
battle, they put to flight Herodís left wing with their right one; but Herod,
wheeling about on the sudden from his own right wing, came to their
assistance, and both made his own left wing return back from its flight, and
fell upon the pursuers, and cooled their courage, till they could not bear
the attempts that were made directly upon them, and so turned back and
ran away.
3. But Herod followed them, and slew them as he followed them, and
destroyed a great part of them, till those that remained were scattered
beyond the river [Jordan;] and Galilee was freed from the terrors they had
been under, excepting from those that remained, and lay concealed in
caves, which required longer time ere they could be conquered. In order to
which Herod, in the first place, distributed the fruits of their former labors
to the soldiers, and gave every one of them a hundred and fifty drachmae
of silver, and a great deal more to their commanders, and sent them into
their winter quarters. He also sent to his youngest brother Pheroas, to take
care of a good market for them, where they might buy themselves
provisions, and to build a wall about Alexandrium; who took care of both
those injunctions accordingly.
4. In the mean time Antony abode at Athens, while Ventidius called for
Silo and Herod to come to the war against the Parthians, but ordered them
first to settle the affairs of Judea; so Herod willingly dismissed Silo to go
to Ventidius, but he made an expedition himself against those that lay in
the caves. Now these caves were in the precipices of craggy mountains,
and could not be come at from any side, since they had only some winding
pathways, very narrow, by which they got up to them; but the rock that
lay on their front had beneath it valleys of a vast depth, and of an almost
perpendicular declivity; insomuch that the king was doubtful for a long
time what to do, by reason of a kind of impossibility there was of
attacking the place. Yet did he at length make use of a contrivance that was
subject to the utmost hazard; for he let down the most hardy of his men in
chests, and set them at the mouths of the dens. Now these men slew the
robbers and their families, and when they made resistance, they sent in fire
upon them [and burnt them]; and as Herod was desirous of saving some of
them, he had proclamation made, that they should come and deliver
themselves up to him; but not one of them came willingly to him; and of
those that were compelled to come, many preferred death to captivity.
And here a certain old man, the father of seven children, whose children,
together with their mother, desired him to give them leave to go out, upon
the assurance and right hand that was offered them, slew them after the
following manner: He ordered every one of them to go out, while he stood
himself at the caveís mouth, and slew that son of his perpetually who
went out. Herod was near enough to see this sight, and his bowels of
compassion were moved at it, and he stretched out his right hand to the
old man, and besought him to spare his children; yet did not he relent at all
upon what he said, but over and above reproached Herod on the lowness
of his descent, and slew his wife as well as his children; and when he had
thrown their dead bodies down the precipice, he at last threw himself
down after them.
5. By this means Herod subdued these caves, and the robbers that were in
them. He then left there a part of his army, as many as he thought
sufficient to prevent any sedition, and made Ptolemy their general, and
returned to Samaria; he led also with him three thousand armed footmen,
and six hundred horsemen, against Antigonus. Now here those that used to
raise tumults in Galilee, having liberty so to do upon his departure, fell
unexpectedly upon Ptolemy, the general of his forces, and slew him; they
also laid the country waste, and then retired to the bogs, and to places not
easily to be found. But when Herod was informed of this insurrection, he
came to the assistance of the country immediately, and destroyed a great
number of the seditions, and raised the sieges of all those fortresses they
had besieged; he also exacted the tribute of a hundred talents of his
enemies, as a penalty for the mutations they had made in the country.
6. By this time (the Parthians being already driven out of the country, and
Pacorus slain) Ventidius, by Antonyís command, sent a thousand
horsemen, and two legions, as auxiliaries to Herod, against Antigonus.
Now Antigonus besought Macheras, who was their general, by letter, to
come to his assistance, and made a great many mournful complaints about
Herodís violence, and about the injuries he did to the kingdom; and
promised to give him money for such his assistance; but he complied not
with his invitation to betray his trust, for he did not contemn him that sent
him, especially while Herod gave him more money [than the other
offered]. So he pretended friendship to Antigonus, but came as a spy to
discover his affairs; although he did not herein comply with Herod, who
dissuaded him from so doing. But Antigonus perceived what his intentions
were beforehand, and excluded him out of the city, and defended himself
against him as against an enemy, from the walls; till Macheras was
ashamed of what he had done, and retired to Emmaus to Herod; and as he
was in a rage at his disappointment, he slew all the Jews whom he met
with, without sparing those that were for Herod, but using them all as if
they were for Antigonus.
7. Hereupon Herod was very angry at him, and was going to fight against
Macheras as his enemy; but he restrained his indignation, and marched to
Antony to accuse Macheras of maladministration. But Macheras was
made sensible of his offenses, and followed after the king immediately, and
earnestly begged and obtained that he would be reconciled to him.
However, Herod did not desist from his resolution of going to Antony; but
when he heard that he was besieging Samosata 25 with a great army, which
is a strong city near to Euphrates, he made the greater haste; as observing
that this was a proper opportunity for showing at once his courage, and
for doing what would greatly oblige Antony. Indeed, when he came, he
soon made an end of that siege, and slew a great number of the barbarians,
and took from them a large prey; insomuch that Antony, who admired his
courage formerly, did now admire it still more. Accordingly, he heaped
many more honors upon him, and gave him more assured hopes that he
should gain his kingdom; and now king Antiochus was forced to deliver up
1. IN the mean time, Herodís affairs in Judea were in an ill state. He had
left his brother Joseph with full power, but had charged him to make no
attempts against Antigonus till his return; for that Macheras would not be
such an assistant as he could depend on, as it appeared by what he had
done already; but as soon as Joseph heard that his brother was at a very
great distance, he neglected the charge he had received, and marched
towards Jericho with five cohorts, which Macheras sent with him. This
movement was intended for seizing on the corn, as it was now in the midst
of summer; but when his enemies attacked him in the mountains, and in
places which were difficult to pass, he was both killed himself, as he was
very bravely fighting in the battle, and the entire Roman cohorts were
destroyed; for these cohorts were new-raised men, gathered out of Syria,
and here was no mixture of those called veteran soldiers among them, who
might have supported those that were unskillful in war.
2. This victory was not sufficient for Antigonus; but he proceeded to that
degree of rage, as to treat the dead body of Joseph barbarously; for when
he had got possession of the bodies of those that were slain, he cut off his
head, although his brother Pheroras would have given fifty talents as a
price of redemption for it. And now the affairs of Galilee were put in such
disorder after this victory of Antigonusís, that those of Antigonusís party
brought the principal men that were on Herodís side to the lake, and there
drowned them. There was a great change made also in Idumea, where
Macheras was building a wall about one of the fortresses, which was called
Gittha. But Herod had not yet been informed of these things; for after the
taking of Samosata, and when Antony had set Sosius over the affairs of
Syria, and had given him orders to assist Herod against Antigonus, he
departed into Egypt; but Sosius sent two legions before him into Judea to
assist Herod, and followed himself soon after with the rest of his army.
3. Now when Herod was at Daphne, by Antioch, he had some dreams
which clearly foreboded his brotherís death; and as he leaped out of his
bed in a disturbed manner, there came messengers that acquainted him with
that calamity. So when he had lamented this misfortune for a while, he put
off the main part of his mourning, and made haste to march against his
enemies; and when he had performed a march that was above his strength,
and was gone as far as Libanus, he got him eight hundred men of those that
lived near to that mountain as his assistants, and joined with them one
Roman legion, with which, before it was day, he made an irruption into
Galilee, and met his enemies, and drove them back to the place which they
had left. He also made an immediate and continual attack upon the
fortress. Yet was he forced by a most terrible storm to pitch his camp in
the neighboring villages before he could take it. But when, after a few
daysí time, the second legion, that came from Antony, joined themselves
to him, the enemy were aftrighted at his power, and left their fortifications
ill the night time.
4. After this he marched through Jericho, as making what haste he could to
be avenged on his brotherís murderers; where happened to him a
providential sign, out of which, when he had unexpectedly escaped, he had
the reputation of being very dear to God; for that evening there feasted
with him many of the principal men; and after that feast was over, and all
the guests were gone out, the house fell down immediately. And as he
judged this to be a common signal of what dangers he should undergo, and
how he should escape them in the war that he was going about, he, in the
morning, set forward with his army, when about six thousand of his
enemies came running down from the mountains, and began to fight with
those in his forefront; yet durst they not be so very bold as to engage the
Romans hand to hand, but threw stones and darts at them at a distance; by
which means they wounded a considerable number; in which action
Herodís own side was wounded with a dart.
5. Now as Antigonus had a mind to appear to exceed Herod, not only in
the courage, but in the number of his men, he sent Pappus, one of his
companions, with an army against Samaria, whose fortune it was to
oppose Macheras; but Herod overran the enemyís country, and
demolished five little cities, and destroyed two thousand men that were in
them, and burned their houses, and then returned to his camp; but his
head-quarters were at the village called Cana.
6. Now a great multitude of Jews resorted to him every day, both out of
Jericho and the other parts of the country. Some were moved so to do out
of their hatred to Antigonus, and some out of regard to the glorious actions
Herod had done; but others were led on by an unreasonable desire of
change; so he fell upon them immediately. As for Pappus and his party,
they were not terrified either at their number or at their zeal, but marched
out with great alacrity to fight them; and it came to a close fight. Now
other parts of their army made resistance for a while; but Herod, running
the utmost hazard, out of the rage he was in at the murder of his brother,
that he might be avenged on those that had been the authors of it, soon
beat those that opposed him; and after he had beaten them, he always
turned his force against those that stood to it still, and pursued them all; so
that a great slaughter was made, while some were forced back into that
village whence they came out; he also pressed hard upon the hindermost,
and slew a vast number of them; he also fell into the village with the
enemy, where every house was filled with armed men, and the upper
rooms were crowded above with soldiers for their defense; and when he
had beaten those that were on the outside, he pulled the houses to pieces,
and plucked out those that were within; upon many he had the roofs
shaken down, whereby they perished by heaps; and as for those that fled
out of the ruins, the soldiers received them with their swords in their
hands; and the multitude of those slain and lying on heaps was so great,
that the conquerors could not pass along the roads. Now the enemy could
not bear this blow, so that when the multitude of them which was gathered
together saw that those in the village were slain, they dispersed
themselves, and fled away; upon the confidence of which victory, Herod
had marched immediately to Jerusalem, unless he tad been hindered by the
depth of winterís [coming on]. This was the impediment that lay in the
way of this his entire glorious progress, and was what hindered Antigonus
from being now conquered, who was already disposed to forsake the city.
7. Now when at the evening Herod had already dismissed his friends to
refresh themselves after their fatigue, and when he was gone himself, while
he was still hot in his armor, like a common soldier, to bathe himself, and
had but one servant that attended him, and before he was gotten into the
bath, one of the enemies met him in the face with a sword in his hand, and
then a second, and then a third, and after that more of them; these were
men who had run away out of the battle into the bath in their armor, and
they had lain there for some time in, great terror, and in privacy; and when
they saw the king, they trembled for fear, and ran by him in a flight,
although he was naked, and endeavored to get off into the public road.
Now there was by chance nobody else at hand that might seize upon these
men; and for Herod, he was contented to have come to no harm himself, so
that they all got away in safety.
8. But on the next day Herod had Pappusís head cut off, who was the
general for Antigonus, and was slain in the battle, and sent it to his brother
Pheroras, by way of punishment for their slain brother; for he was the
man that slew Joseph. Now as winter was going off, Herod marched to
Jerusalem, and brought his army to the wall of it; this was the third year
since he had been made king at Rome; so he pitched his camp before the
temple, for on that side it might be besieged, and there it was that Pompey
took the city. So he parted the work among the army, and demolished the
suburbs, end raised three banks, and gave orders to have towers built upon
those banks, and left the most laborious of his acquaintance at the works.
But he went himself to Samaria, to take the daughter of Alexander, the son
of Aristobulus, to wife, who had been betrothed to him before, as we have
already said; and thus he accomplished this by the by, during the siege of
the city, for he had his enemies in great contempt already.
9. When he had thus married Mariamne, he came back to Jerusalem with a
greater army. Sosius also joined him with a large army, both of horsemen
and footmen, which he sent before him through the midland parts, while he
marched himself along Phoenicia; and when the whole army was gotten
together, which were eleven regiments of footmen, and six thousand
horsemen, besides the Syrian auxiliaries, which were no small part of the
army, they pitched their camp near to the north wall. Herodís dependence
was upon the decree of the senate, by which he was made king; and Sosius
relied upon Antony, who sent the army that was under him to Herodís
1. NOW the multitude of the Jews that were in the city were divided into
several factions; for the people that crowded about the temple, being the
weaker part of them, gave it out that, as the times were, he was the
happiest and most religious man who should die first. But as to the more
bold and hardy men, they got together in bodies, and fell a robbing others
after various manners, and these particularly plundered the places that
were about the city, and this because there was no food left either for the
horses or the men; yet some of the warlike men, who were used to fight
regularly, were appointed to defend the city during the siege, and these
drove those that raised the banks away from the wall; and these were
always inventing some engine or another to be a hinderance to the engines
of the enemy; nor had they so much success any way as in the mines
under ground.
2. Now as for the robberies which were committed, the king contrived that
ambushes should be so laid, that they might restrain their excursions; and
as for the want of provisions, he provided that they should be brought to
them from great distances. He was also too hard for the Jews, by the
Romansí skill in the art of war; although they were bold to the utmost
degree, now they durst not come to a plain battle with the Romans, which
was certain death; but through their mines under ground they would
appear in the midst of them on the sudden, and before they could batter
down one wall, they built them another in its stead; and to sum up all at
once, they did not show any want either of painstaking or of contrivances,
as having resolved to hold out to the very last. Indeed, though they had so
great an army lying round about them, they bore a siege of five months, till
some of Herodís chosen men ventured to get upon the wall, and fell into
the city, as did Sosiusís centurions after them; and now they first of all
seized upon what was about the temple; and upon the pouring in of the
army, there was slaughter of vast multitudes every where, by reason of the
rage the Romans were in at the length of this siege, and by reason that the
Jews who were about Herod earnestly endeavored that none of their
adversaries might remain; so they were cut to pieces by great multitudes,
as they were crowded together in narrow streets, and in houses, or were
running away to the temple; nor was there any mercy showed either to
infants, or to the aged, or to the weaker sex; insomuch that although the
king sent about and desired them to spare the people, nobody could be
persuaded to withhold their right hand from slaughter, but they slew
people of all ages, like madmen. Then it was that Antigonus, without any
regard to his former or to his present fortune, came down from the citadel,
and fell at Sosiusís feet, who without pitying him at all, upon the change
of his condition, laughed at him beyond measure, and called him Antigona.
26 Yet did he not treat him like a woman, or let him go free, but put him
into bonds, and kept him in custody.
3. But Herodís concern at present, now he had gotten his enemies under
his power, was to restrain the zeal of his foreign auxiliaries; for the
multitude of the strange people were very eager to see the temple, and
what was sacred in the holy house itself; but the king endeavored to
restrain them, partly by his exhortations, partly by his threatenings, nay,
partly by force, as thinking the victory worse than a defeat to him, if any
thing that ought not to be seen were seen by them. He also forbade, at the
same time, the spoiling of the city, asking Sosius in the most earnest
manner, whether the Romans, by thus emptying the city of money and
men, had a mind to leave him king of a desert, ó and told him that he
judged the dominion of the habitable earth too small a compensation for
the slaughter of so many citizens. And when Sosius said that it was but
just to allow the soldiers this plunder as a reward for what they suffered
during the siege, Herod made answer, that he would give every one of the
soldiers a reward out of his own money. So he purchased the deliverance
of his country, and performed his promises to them, and made presents
after a magnificent manner to each soldier, and proportionably to their
commanders, and with a most royal bounty to Sosius himself, whereby
nobody went away but in a wealthy condition. Hereupon Sosius dedicated
a crown of gold to God, and then went away from Jerusalem, leading
Antigonus away in bonds to Antony; then did the axe bring him to his end,
27 who still had a fond desire of life, and some frigid hopes of it to the last,
but by his cowardly behavior well deserved to die by it.
4. Hereupon king Herod distinguished the multitude that was in the city;
and for those that were of his side, he made them still more his friends by
the honors he conferred on them; but for those of Antigonusís party, he
slew them; and as his money ran low, he turned all the ornaments he had
into money, and sent it to Antony, and to those about him. Yet could he
not hereby purchase an exemption from all sufferings; for Antony was
now bewitched by his love to Cleopatra, and was entirely conquered by
her charms. Now Cleopatra had put to death all her kindred, till no one
near her in blood remained alive, and after that she fell a slaying those no
way related to her. So she calumniated the principal men among the
Syrians to Antony, and persuaded him to have them slain, that so she
might easily gain to be mistress of what they had; nay, she extended her
avaricious humor to the Jews and Arabians, and secretly labored to have
Herod and Malichus, the kings of both those nations, slain by his order.
5. Now is to these her injunctions to Antony, he complied in part; for
though he esteemed it too abominable a thing to kill such good and great
kings, yet was he thereby alienated from the friendship he had for them.
He also took away a great deal of their country; nay, even the plantation of
palm trees at Jericho, where also grows the balsam tree, and bestowed
them upon her; as also all the cities on this side the river Eleutherus, Tyre
and Sidon 28 excepted. And when she was become mistress of these, and
had conducted Antony in his expedition against the Parthians as far as
Euphrates, she came by Apamia and Damascus into Judea and there did
Herod pacify her indignation at him by large presents. He also hired of her
those places that had been torn away from his kingdom, at the yearly rent
of two hundred talents. He conducted her also as far as Pelusium, and paid
her all the respects possible. Now it was not long after this that Antony
was come back from Parthia, and led with him Artabazes, Tigranesís son,
captive, as a present for Cleopatra; for this Parthian was presently given
her, with his money, and all the prey that was taken with him.

1. NOW when the war about Actium was begun, Herod prepared to come
to the assistance of Antony, as being already freed from his troubles in
Judea, and having gained Hyrcania, which was a place that was held by
Antigonusís sister. However, he was cunningly hindered from partaking of
the hazards that Antony went through by Cleopatra; for since, as we have
already noted, she had laid a plot against the kings [of Judea and Arabia],
she prevailed with Antony to commit the war against the Arabians to
Herod; that so, if he got the better, she might become mistress of Arabia,
or, if he were worsted, of Judea; and that she might destroy one of those
kings by the other.
2. However, this contrivance tended to the advantage of Herod; for at the
very first he took hostages from the enemy, and got together a great body
of horse, and ordered them to march against them about Diespous; and he
conquered that army, although it fought resolutely against him. After
which defeat, the Arabians were in great motion, and assembled
themselves together at Kanatha, a city of Celesyria, in vast multitudes, and
waited for the Jews. And when Herod was come thither, he tried to
manage this war with particular prudence, and gave orders that they
should build a wall about their camp; yet did not the multitude comply
with those orders, but were so emboldened by their foregoing victory, that
they presently attacked the Arabians, and beat them at the first onset, and
then pursued them; yet were there snares laid for Herod in that pursuit;
while Athenio, who was one of Cleopatraís generals, and always an
antagonist to Herod, sent out of Kanatha the men of that country against
him; for, upon this fresh onset, the Arabians took courage, and returned
back, and both joined their numerous forces about stony places, that were
hard to be gone over, and there put Herodís men to the rout, and made a
great slaughter of them; but those that escaped out of the battle fled to
Ormiza, where the Arabians surrounded their camp, and took it, with all
the men in it.
3. In a little time after this calamity, Herod came to bring them succors;
but he came too late. Now the occasion of that blow was this, that the
officers would not obey orders; for had not the fight begun so suddenly,
Athenio had not found a proper season for the snares he laid for Herod:
however, he was even with the Arabians afterward, and overran their
country, and did them more harm than their single victory could
compensate. But as he was avenging himself on his enemies, there fell
upon him another providential calamity; for in the seventh 29 year of his
reign, when the war about Actium was at the height, at the beginning of the
spring, the earth was shaken, and destroyed an immense number of cattle,
with thirty thousand men; but the army received no harm, because it lay in
the open air. In the mean time, the fame of this earthquake elevated the
Arabians to greater courage, and this by augmenting it to a fabulous height,
as is constantly the case in melancholy accidents, and pretending that all
Judea was overthrown. Upon this supposal, therefore, that they should
easily get a land that was destitute of inhabitants into their power, they
first sacrificed those ambassadors who were come to them from the Jews,
and then marched into Judea immediately. Now the Jewish nation were
affrighted at this invasion, and quite dispirited at the greatness of their
calamities one after another; whom yet Herod got together, and endeavored
to encourage to defend themselves by the following speech which he made
to them:
4. ďThe present dread you are under seems to me to have seized upon you
very unreasonably. It is true, you might justly be dismayed at that
providential chastisement which hath befallen you; but to suffer
yourselves to be equally terrified at the invasion of men is unmanly. As
for myself, I am so far from being aftrighted at our enemies after this
earthquake, that I imagine that God hath thereby laid a bait for the
Arabians, that we may be avenged on them; for their present invasion
proceeds more from our accidental misfortunes, than that they have any
great dependence on their weapons, or their own fitness for action. Now
that hope which depends not on menís own power, but on othersí ill
success, is a very ticklish thing; for there is no certainty among men, either
in their bad or good fortunes; but we may easily observe that fortune is
mutable, and goes from one side to another; and this you may readily learn
from examples among yourselves; for when you were once victors in the
former fight, your enemies overcame you at last; and very likely it will
now happen so, that these who think themselves sure of beating you will
themselves be beaten. For when men are very confident, they are not upon
their guard, while fear teaches men to act with caution; insomuch that I
venture to prove from your very timorousness that you ought to take
courage; for when you were more bold than you ought to have been, and
than I would have had you, and marched on, Athenioís treachery took
place; but your present slowness and seeming dejection of mind is to me a
pledge and assurance of victory. And indeed it is proper beforehand to be
thus provident; but when we come to action, we ought to erect our minds,
and to make our enemies, be they ever so wicked, believe that neither any
human, no, nor any providential misfortune, can ever depress the courage
of Jews while they are alive; nor will any of them ever overlook an
Arabian, or suffer such a one to become Lord of his good things, whom he
has in a manner taken captive, and that many times also. And do not you
disturb yourselves at the quaking of inanimate creatures, nor do you
imagine that this earthquake is a sign of another calamity; for such
affections of the elements are according to the course of nature, nor does it
import any thing further to men, than what mischief it does immediately
of itself. Perhaps there may come some short sign beforehand in the case
of pestilences, and famines, and earthquakes; but these calamities
themselves have their force limited by themselves [without foreboding any
other calamity]. And indeed what greater mischief can the war, though it
should be a violent one, do to us than the earthquake hath done? Nay,
there is a signal of our enemiesí destruction visible, and that a very great
one also; and this is not a natural one, nor derived from the hand of
foreigners neither, but it is this, that they have barbarously murdered our
ambassadors, contrary to the common law of mankind; and they have
destroyed so many, as if they esteemed them sacrifices for God, in relation
to this war. But they will not avoid his great eye, nor his invincible right
hand; and we shall be revenged of them presently, in case we still retain
any of the courage of our forefathers, and rise up boldly to punish these
covenant-breakers. Let every one therefore go on and fight, not so much
for his wife or his children, or for the danger his country is in, as for these
ambassadors of ours; those dead ambassadors will conduct this war of
ours better than we ourselves who are alive. And if you will be ruled by
me, I will myself go before you into danger; for you know this well
enough, that your courage is irresistible, unless you hurt yourselves by
acting rashly. 30
5. When Herod had encouraged them by this speech, and he saw with
what alacrity they went, he offered sacrifice to God; and after that
sacrifice, he passed over the river Jordan with his army, and pitched his
camp about Philadelphia, near the enemy, and about a fortification that lay
between them. He then shot at them at a distance, and was desirous to
come to an engagement presently; for some of them had been sent
beforehand to seize upon that fortification: but the king sent some who
immediately beat them out of the fortification, while he himself went in
the forefront of the army, which he put in battle-array every day, and
invited the Arabians to fight. But as none of them came out of their camp,
for they were in a terrible fright, and their general, Elthemus, was not able
to say a word for fear, ó so Herod came upon them, and pulled their
fortification to pieces, by which means they were compelled to come out
to fight, which they did in disorder, and so that the horsemen and
foot-men were mixed together. They were indeed superior to the Jews in
number, but inferior in their alacrity, although they were obliged to expose
themselves to danger by their very despair of victory.
6. Now while they made opposition, they had not a great number slain;
but as soon as they turned their backs, a great many were trodden to
pieces by the Jews, and a great many by themselves, and so perished, till
five thousand were fallen down dead in their flight, while the rest of the
multitude prevented their immediate death, by crowding into the
fortification. Herod encompassed these around, and besieged them; and
while they were ready to be taken by their enemies in arms, they had
another additional distress upon them, which was thirst and want of water;
for the king was above hearkening to their ambassadors; and when they
offered five hundred talents, as the price of their redemption, he pressed
still harder upon them. And as they were burnt up by their thirst, they
came out and voluntarily delivered themselves up by multitudes to the
Jews, till in five daysí time four thousand of them were put into bonds;
and on the sixth day the multitude that were left despaired of saving
themselves, and came out to fight: with these Herod fought, and slew again
about seven thousand, insomuch that he punished Arabia so severely, and
so far extinguished the spirits of the men, that he was chosen by the nation
for their ruler.
1. BUT now Herod was under immediate concern about a most important
affair, on account of his friendship with Antony, who was already
overcome at Actium by Caesar; yet he was more afraid than hurt; for
Caesar did not think he had quite undone Antony, while Herod continued
his assistance to him. However, the king resolved to expose himself to
dangers: accordingly he sailed to Rhodes, where Caesar then abode, and
came to him without his diadem, and in the habit and appearance of a
private person, but in his behavior as a king. So he concealed nothing of
the truth, but spike thus before his face: ďO Caesar, as I was made king of
the Jews by Antony, so do I profess that I have used my royal authority
in the best manner, and entirely for his advantage; nor will I conceal this
further, that thou hadst certainly found me in arms, and an inseparable
companion of his, had not the Arabians hindered me. However, I sent him
as many auxiliaries as I was able, and many ten thousand [cori] of corn.
Nay, indeed, I did not desert my benefactor after the bow that was given
him at Actium; but I gave him the best advice I was able, when I was no
longer able to assist him in the war; and I told him that there was but one
way of recovering his affairs, and that was to kill Cleopatra; and I
promised him that, if she were once dead, I would afford him money and
walls for his security, with an army and myself to assist him in his war
against thee: but his affections for Cleopatra stopped his ears, as did God
himself also who hath bestowed the government on thee. I own myself
also to be overcome together with him; and with his last fortune I have laid
aside my diadem, and am come hither to thee, having my hopes of safety
in thy virtue; and I desire that thou wilt first consider how faithful a
friend, and not whose friend, I have been.Ē
2. Caesar replied to him thus: ďNay, thou shalt not only be in safety, but
thou shalt be a king; and that more firmly than thou wast before; for thou
art worthy to reign over a great many subjects, by reason of the fastness
of thy friendship; and do thou endeavor to be equally constant in thy
friendship to me, upon my good success, which is what I depend upon
from the generosity of thy disposition. However, Antony hath done well
in preferring Cleopatra to thee; for by this means we have gained thee by
her madness, and thus thou hast begun to be my friend before I began to be
thine; on which account Quintus Didius hath written to me that thou
sentest him assistance against the gladiators. I do therefore assure thee that
I will confirm the kingdom to thee by decree: I shall also endeavor to do
thee some further kindness hereafter, that thou mayst find no loss in the
want of Antony.Ē
3. When Caesar had spoken such obliging things to the king, and had put
the diadem again about his head, he proclaimed what he had bestowed on
him by a decree, in which he enlarged in the commendation of the man
after a magnificent manner. Whereupon Herod obliged him to be kind to
him by the presents he gave him, and he desired him to forgive Alexander,
one of Antonyís friends, who was become a supplicant to him. But
Caesarís anger against him prevailed, and he complained of the many and
very great offenses the man whom he petitioned for had been guilty of;
and by that means he rejected his petition. After this Caesar went for
Egypt through Syria, when Herod received him with royal and rich
entertainments; and then did he first of all ride along with Caesar, as he
was reviewing his army about Ptolemais, and feasted him with all his
friends, and then distributed among the rest of the army what was
necessary to feast them withal. He also made a plentiful provision of
water for them, when they were to march as far as Pelusium, through a dry
country, which he did also in like manner at their return thence; nor were
there any necessaries wanting to that army. It was therefore the opinion,
both of Caesar and of his soldiers, that Herodís kingdom was too small for
those generous presents he made them; for which reason, when Caesar was
come into Egypt, and Cleopatra and Antony were dead, he did not only
bestow other marks of honor upon him, but made an addition to his
kingdom, by giving him not only the country which had been taken from
him by Cleopatra, but besides that, Gadara, and Hippos, and Samaria; and
moreover, of the maritime cities, Gaza 31 and Anthedon, and Joppa, and
Stratoís Tower. He also made him a present of four hundred Galls
[Galatians] as a guard for his body, which they had been to Cleopatra
before. Nor did any thing so strongly induce Caesar to make these
presents as the generosity of him that received them.
4. Moreover, after the first games at Actium, he added to his kingdom both
the region called Trachonitis, and what lay in its neighborhood, Batanea,
and the country of Auranitis; and that on the following occasion:
Zenodorus, who had hired the house of Lysanias, had all along sent
robbers out of Trachonitis among the Damascenes; who thereupon had
recourse to Varro, the president of Syria, and desired of him that he would
represent the calamity they were in to Caesar. When Caesar was
acquainted with it, he sent back orders that this nest of robbers should be
destroyed. Varro therefore made an expedition against them, and cleared
the land of those men, and took it away from Zenodorus. Caesar did also
afterward bestow it on Herod, that it might not again become a receptacle
for those robbers that had come against Damascus. He also made him a
procurator of all Syria, and this on the tenth year afterward, when he came
again into that province; and this was so established, that the other
procurators could not do any thing in the administration without his
advice: but when Zenodorus was dead, Caesar bestowed on him all that
land which lay between Trachonitis and Galilee. Yet, what was still of
more consequence to Herod, he was beloved by Caesar next after Agrippa,
and by Agrippa next after Caesar; whence he arrived at a very great degree
of felicity. Yet did the greatness of his soul exceed it, and the main part of
his magnanimity was extended to the promotion of piety.
1. ACCORDINGLY, in the fifteenth year of his reign, Herod rebuilt the
temple, and encompassed a piece of land about it with a wall, which land
was twice as large as that before enclosed. The expenses he laid out upon
it were vastly large also, and the riches about it were unspeakable. A sign
of which you have in the great cloisters that were erected about the
temple, and the citadel which was on its north side. The cloisters he built
from the foundation, but the citadel 32 he repaired at a vast expense; nor
was it other than a royal palace, which he called Antonia, in honor of
Antony. He also built himself a palace in the Upper city, containing two
very large and most beautiful apartments; to which the holy house itself
could not be compared [in largeness]. The one apartment he named
Caesareum, and the other Agrippium, from his [two great] friends.
2. Yet did he not preserve their memory by particular buildings only, with
their names given them, but his generosity went as far as entire cities; for
when he had built a most beautiful wall round a country in Samaria,
twenty furlongs long, and had brought six thousand inhabitants into it, and
had allotted to it a most fruitful piece of land, and in the midst of this city,
thus built, had erected a very large temple to Caesar, and had laid round
about it a portion of sacred land of three furlongs and a half, he called the
city Sebaste, from Sebastus, or Augustus, and settled the affairs of the city
after a most regular manner.
3. And when Caesar had further bestowed upon him another additional
country, he built there also a temple of white marble, hard by the
fountains of Jordan: the place is called Panium, where is a top of a
mountain that is raised to an immense height, and at its side, beneath, or at
its bottom, a dark cave opens itself; within which there is a horrible
precipice, that descends abruptly to a vast depth; it contains a mighty
quantity of water, which is immovable; and when any body lets down any
thing to measure the depth of the earth beneath the water, no length of
cord is sufficient to reach it. Now the fountains of Jordan rise at the roots
of this cavity outwardly; and, as some think, this is the utmost origin of
Jordan: but we shall speak of that matter more accurately in our following
4. But the king erected other places at Jericho also, between the citadel
Cypros and the former palace, such as were better and more useful than
the former for travelers, and named them from the same friends of his. To
say all at once, there was not any place of his kingdom fit for the purpose
that was permitted to be without somewhat that was for Caesarís honor;
and when he had filled his own country with temples, he poured out the
like plentiful marks of his esteem into his province, and built many cities
which he called Cesareas.
5. And when he observed that there was a city by the sea-side that was
much decayed, (its name was Stratoís Tower,) but that the place, by the
happiness of its situation, was capable of great improvements from his
liberality, he rebuilt it all with white stone, and adorned it with several
most splendid palaces, wherein he especially demonstrated his
magnanimity; for the case was this, that all the sea-shore between Dora
and Joppa, in the middle, between which this city is situated, had no good
haven, insomuch that every one that sailed from Phoenicia for Egypt was
obliged to lie in the stormy sea, by reason of the south winds that
threatened them; which wind, if it blew but a little fresh, such vast waves
are raised, and dash upon the rocks, that upon their retreat the sea is in a
great ferment for a long way. But the king, by the expenses he was at, and
the liberal disposal of them, overcame nature, and built a haven larger than
was the Pyrecum 33 [at Athens]; and in the inner retirements of the water
he built other deep stations [for the ships also].
6. Now although the place where he built was greatly opposite to his
purposes, yet did he so fully struggle with that difficulty, that the
firmness of his building could not easily be conquered by the sea; and the
beauty and ornament of the works were such, as though he had not had
any difficulty in the operation; for when he had measured out as large a
space as we have before mentioned, he let down stones into twenty
fathom water, the greatest part of which were fifty feet in length, and nine
in depth, and ten in breadth, and some still larger. But when the haven was
filled up to that depth, he enlarged that wall which was thus already extant
above the sea, till it was two hundred feet wide; one hundred of which had
buildings before it, in order to break the force of the waves, whence it was
called Procumatia, or the first breaker of the waves; but the rest of the
space was under a stone wall that ran round it. On this wall were very
large towers, the principal and most beautiful of which was called
Drusium, from Drusus, who was son-in-law to Caesar.
7. There were also a great number of arches, where the mariners dwelt; and
all the places before them round about was a large valley, or walk, for a
quay [or landing-place] to those that came on shore; but the entrance was
on the north, because the north wind was there the most gentle of all the
winds. At the mouth of the haven were on each side three great Colossi,
supported by pillars, where those Colossi that are on your left hand as
you sail into the port are supported by a solid tower; but those on the
right hand are supported by two upright stones joined together, which
stones were larger than that tower which was on the other side of the
entrance. Now there were continual edifices joined to the haven, which
were also themselves of white stone; and to this haven did the narrow
streets of the city lead, and were built at equal distances one from another.
And over against the mouth of the haven, upon an elevation, there was a
temple for Caesar, which was excellent both in beauty and largeness; and
therein was a Colossus of Caesar, not less than that of Jupiter Olympius,
which it was made to resemble. The other Colossus of Rome was equal to
that of Juno at Argos. So he dedicated the city to the province, and the
haven to the sailors there; but the honor of the building he ascribed to
Caesar, 34 and named it Cesarea accordingly.
8. He also built the other edifices, the amphitheater, and theater, and
market-place, in a manner agreeable to that denomination; and appointed
games every fifth year, and called them, in like manner, Caesarís Games;
and he first himself proposed the largest prizes upon the hundred
ninety-second olympiad; in which not only the victors themselves, but
those that came next to them, and even those that came in the third place,
were partakers of his royal bounty. He also rebuilt Anthedon, a city that
lay on the coast, and had been demolished in the wars, and named it
Agrippeum. Moreover, he had so very great a kindness for his friend
Agrippa, that he had his name engraved upon that gate which he had
himself erected in the temple.
9. Herod was also a lover of his father, if any other person ever was so; for
he made a monument for his father, even that city which he built in the
finest plain that was in his kingdom, and which had rivers and trees in
abundance, and named it Antipatris. He also built a wall about a citadel
that lay above Jericho, and was a very strong and very fine building, and
dedicated it to his mother, and called it Cypros. Moreover, he dedicated a
tower that was at Jerusalem, and called it by the name of his brother
Phasaelus, whose structure, largeness, and magnificence we shall describe
hereafter. He also built another city in the valley that leads northward
from Jericho, and named it Phasaelis.
10. And as he transmitted to eternity his family and friends, so did he not
neglect a memorial for himself, but built a fortress upon a mountain
towards Arabia, and named it from himself, Herodium 35 and he called that
hill that was of the shape of a womanís breast, and was sixty furlongs
distant from Jerusalem, by the same name. He also bestowed much curious
art upon it, with great ambition, and built round towers all about the top
of it, and filled up the remaining space with the most costly palaces round
about, insomuch that not only the sight of the inner apartments was
splendid, but great wealth was laid out on the outward walls, and
partitions, and roofs also. Besides this, he brought a mighty quantity of
water from a great distance, and at vast charges, and raised an ascent to it
of two hundred steps of the whitest marble, for the hill was itself
moderately high, and entirely factitious. He also built other palaces about
the roots of the hill, sufficient to receive the furniture that was put into
them, with his friends also, insomuch that, on account of its containing all
necessaries, the fortress might seem to be a city, but, by the bounds it had,
a palace only.
11. And when he had built so much, he showed the greatness of his soul to
no small number of foreign cities. He built palaces for exercise at Tripoli,
and Damascus, and Ptolemais; he built a wall about Byblus, as also large
rooms, and cloisters, and temples, and market-places at Berytus and Tyre,
with theatres at Sidon and Damascus. He also built aqueducts for those
Laodiceans who lived by the sea-side; and for those of Ascalon he built
baths and costly fountains, as also cloisters round a court, that were
admirable both for their workmanship and largeness. Moreover, he
dedicated groves and meadows to some people; nay, not a few cities there
were who had lands of his donation, as if they were parts of his own
kingdom. He also bestowed annual revenues, and those for ever also, on
the settlements for exercises, and appointed for them, as well as for the
people of Cos, that such rewards should never be wanting. He also gave
corn to all such as wanted it, and conferred upon Rhodes large sums of
money for building ships; and this he did in many places, and frequently
also. And when Apolloís temple had been burnt down, he rebuilt it at his
own charges, after a better manner than it was before. What need I speak
of the presents he made to the Lycians and Samnians? or of his great
liberality through all Ionia? and that according to every bodyís wants of
them. And are not the Athenians, and Lacedemonians, and Nicopolitans,
and that Pergamus which is in Mysia, full of donations that Herod
presented them withal? And as for that large open place belonging to
Antioch in Syria, did not he pave it with polished marble, though it were
twenty furlongs long? and this when it was shunned by all men before,
because it was full of dirt and filthiness, when he besides adorned the same
place with a cloister of the same length.
12. It is true, a man may say, these were favors peculiar to those particular
places on which he bestowed his benefits; but then what favors he
bestowed on the Eleans was a donation not only in common to all Greece,
but to all the habitable earth, as far as the glory of the Olympic games
reached. For when he perceived that they were come to nothing, for want
of money, and that the only remains of ancient Greece were in a manner
gone, he not only became one of the combatants in that return of the
fifth-year games, which in his sailing to Rome he happened to be present
at, but he settled upon them revenues of money for perpetuity, insomuch
that his memorial as a combatant there can never fail. It would be an
infinite task if I should go over his payments of peopleís debts, or
tributes, for them, as he eased the people of Phasaelis, of Batanea, and of
the small cities about Cilicia, of those annual pensions they before paid.
However, the fear he was in much disturbed the greatness of his soul, lest
he should be exposed to envy, or seem to hunt after greater filings than he
ought, while he bestowed more liberal gifts upon these cities than did their
owners themselves.
13. Now Herod had a body suited to his soul, and was ever a most
excellent hunter, where he generally had good success, by the means of his
great skill in riding horses; for in one day he caught forty wild beasts: 36
that country breeds also bears, and the greatest part of it is replenished
with stags and wild asses. He was also such a warrior as could not be
withstood: many men, therefore, there are who have stood amazed at his
readiness in his exercises, when they saw him throw the javelin directly
forward, and shoot the arrow upon the mark. And then, besides these
performances of his depending on his own strength of mind and body,
fortune was also very favorable to him; for he seldom failed of success in
his wars; and when he failed, he was not himself the occasion of such
failings, but he either vas betrayed by some, or the rashness of his own
soldiers procured his defeat.
1. HOWEVER, fortune was avenged on Herod in his external great
successes, by raising him up domestical troubles; and he began to have
wild disorders in his family, on account of his wife, of whom he was so
very fond. For when he came to the government, he sent away her whom
he had before married when he was a private person, and who was born at
Jerusalem, whose name was Doris, and married Mariamne, the daughter of
Alexander, the son of Aristobulus; on whose account disturbances arose in
his family, and that in part very soon, but chiefly after his return from
Rome. For, first of all, he expelled Antipater the son of Doris, for the sake
of his sons by Mariamne, out of the city, and permitted him to come
thither at no other times than at the festivals. After this he slew his wifeís
grandfather, Hyrcanus, when he was returned out of Parthin to him, under
this pretense, that he suspected him of plotting against him. Now this
Hyrcanus had been carried captive to Barzapharnes, when he overran
Syria; but those of his own country beyond Euphrates were desirous he
would stay with them, and this out of the commiseration they had for his
condition; and had he complied with their desires, when they exhorted him
not to go over the river to lierod, he had not perished: but the marriage of
his granddaughter [to Herod] was his temptation; for as he relied upon
him, and was over-fond of his own country, he came back to it. Herodís
provocation was this, ó not that Hyrcanus made any attempt to gain the
kingdom, but that it was fitter for him to be their king than for Herod.
2. Now of the five children which Herod had by Mariamne, two of them
were daughters, and three were sons; and the youngest of these sons was
educated at Rome, and there died; but the two eldest he treated as those of
royal blood, on account of the nobility of their mother, and because they
were not born till he was king. But then what was stronger than all this
was the love that he bare to Mariamne, and which inflamed him every day
to a great degree, and so far conspired with the other motives, that he felt
no other troubles, on account of her he loved so entirely. But Mariamneís
hatred to him was not inferior to his love to her. She had indeed but too
just a cause of indignation from what he had done, while her boldness
proceeded from his affection to her; so she openly reproached him with
what he had done to her grandfather Hyrcanus, and to her brother
Aristobulus; for he had not spared this Aristobulus, though he were but a
child; for when he had given him the high priesthood at the age of
seventeen, he slew him quickly after he had conferred that dignity upon
him; but when Aristobulus had put on the holy vestments, and had
approached to the altar at a festival, the multitude, in great crowds, fell
into tears; whereupon the child was sent by night to Jericho, and was there
dipped by the Galls, at Herodís command, in a pool till he was drowned.
3. For these reasons Mariamne reproached Herod, and his sister and
mother, after a most contumelious manner, while he was dumb on account
of his affection for her; yet had the women great indignation at her, and
raised a calumny against her, that she was false to his bed; which thing
they thought most likely to move Herod to anger. They also contrived to
have many other circumstances believed, in order to make the thing more
credible, and accused her of having sent her picture into Egypt to Antony,
and that her lust was so extravagant, as to have thus showed herself,
though she was absent, to a man that ran mad after women, and to a man
that had it in his power to use violence to her. This charge fell like a
thunderbolt upon Herod, and put him into disorder; and that especially,
because his love to her occasioned him to be jealous, and because he
considered with himself that Cleopatra was a shrewd woman, and that on
her account Lysanias the king was taken off, as well as Malichus the
Arabian; for his fear did not only extend to the dissolving of his marriage,
but to the danger of his life.
4. When therefore he was about to take a journey abroad, he committed his
wife to Joseph, his sister Salomeís husband, as to one who would be
faithful to him, and bare him good-will on account of their kindred; he also
gave him a secret injunction, that if Antony slew him, he should slay her.
But Joseph, without any ill design, and only in order to demonstrate the
kingís love to his wife, how he could not bear to think of being separated
from her, even by death itself, discovered this grand secret to her; upon
which, when Herod was come back, and as they talked together, and he
confirmed his love to her by many oaths, and assured her that he had never
such an affection for any other woman as he had for her, ó ďYes,Ē says
she, ďthou didst, to be sure, demonstrate thy love to me by the injunctions
thou gavest Joseph, when thou commandedst him to kill me.Ē 37
5. When he heard that this grand secret was discovered, he was like a
distracted man, and said that Joseph would never have disclosed that
injunction of his, unless he had debauched her. His passion also made him
stark mad, and leaping out of his bed, he ran about the palace after a wild
manner; at which time his sister Salome took the opportunity also to blast
her reputation, and confirmed his suspicion about Joseph; whereupon, out
of his ungovernable jealousy and rage, he commanded both of them to be
slain immediately; but as soon as ever his passion was over, he repented of
what he had done, and as soon as his anger was worn off, his affections
were kindled again. And indeed the flame of his desires for her was so
ardent, that he could not think she was dead, but would appear, under his
disorders, to speak to her as if she were still alive, till he were better
instructed by time, when his grief and trouble, now she was dead,
appeared as great as his affection had been for her while she was living.
1. NOW Mariamneís sons were heirs to that hatred which had been borne
their mother; and when they considered the greatness of Herodís crime
towards her, they were suspicious of him as of an enemy of theirs; and
this first while they were educated at Rome, but still more when they were
returned to Judea. This temper of theirs increased upon them as they grew
up to be men; and when they were Come to an age fit for marriage, the one
of them married their aunt Salomeís daughter, which Salome had been the
accuser of their mother; the other married the daughter of Archclaus, king
of Cappadocia. And now they used boldness in speaking, as well as bore
hatred in their minds. Now those that calumniated them took a handle
from such their boldness, and certain of them spake now more plainly to
the king that there were treacherous designs laid against him by both his
sons; and he that was son-in-law to Archelaus, relying upon his
father-in-law, was preparing to fly away, in order to accuse Herod before
Caesar; and when Herodís head had been long enough filled with these
calumnies, he brought Antipater, whom he had by Doris, into favor again,
as a defense to him against his other sons, and began all the ways he
possibly could to prefer him before them.
2. But these sons were not able to bear this change in their affairs; but
when they saw him that was born of a mother of no family, the nobility of
their birth made them unable to contain their indignation; but whensoever
they were uneasy, they showed the anger they had at it. And as these sons
did day after day improve in that their anger, Antipater already exercised
all his own abilities, which were very great, in flattering his father, and in
contriving many sorts of calumnies against his brethren, while he told
some stories of them himself, and put it upon other proper persons to
raise other stories against them, till at length he entirely cut his brethren
off from all hopes of succeeding to the kingdom; for he was already
publicly put into his fatherís will as his successor. Accordingly, he was
sent with royal ornaments, and other marks of royalty, to Caesar,
excepting the diadem. He was also able in time to introduce his mother
again into Mariamneís bed. The two sorts of weapons he made use of
against his brethren were flattery and calumny, whereby he brought
matters privately to such a pass, that the king had thoughts of putting his
sons to death.
3. So the father drew Alexander as far as Rome, and. charged him with an
attempt of poisoning him before Caesar. Alexander could hardly speak for
lamentation; but having a judge that was more skillful than Antipater, and
more wise than Herod, he modestly avoided laying any imputation upon
his father, but with great strength of reason confuted the calumnies laid
against him; and when he had demonstrated the innocency of his brother,
who was in the like danger with himself, he at last bewailed the craftiness
of Antipater, and the disgrace they were under. He was enabled also to
justify himself, not only by a clear conscience, which he carried within
him, but by his eloquence; for he was a shrewd man in making speeches.
And upon his saying at last, that if his father objected this crime to them,
it was in his power to put them to death, he made all the audience weep;
and he brought Caesar to that pass, as to reject the accusations, and to
reconcile their father to them immediately. But the conditions of this
reconciliation were these, that they should in all things be obedient to their
father, and that he should have power to leave the kingdom to which of
them he pleased.
4. After this the king came back from Rome, and seemed to have forgiven
his sons upon these accusations; but still so that he was not without his
suspicions of them. They were followed by Antipater, who was the
fountain-head of those accusations; yet did not he openly discover his
hatred to them, as revering him that had reconciled them. But as Herod
sailed by Cilicia, he touched at Eleusa, 38 where Archclaus treated them in
the most obliging manner, and gave him thanks for the deliverance of his
son-in-law, and was much pleased at their reconciliation; and this the
more, because he had formerly written to his friends at Rome that they
should be assisting to Alexander at his trial. So he conducted Herod as far
as Zephyrium, and made him presents to the value of thirty talents.
5. Now when Herod was come to Jerusalem, he gathered the people
together, and presented to them his three sons, and gave them an
apologetic account of his absence, and thanked God greatly, and thanked
Caesar greatly also, for settling his house when it was under disturbances,
and had procured concord among his sons, which was of greater
consequence than the kingdom itself, óĒ and which I will render still more
firm; for Caesar hath put into my power to dispose of the government, and
to appoint my successor. Accordingly, in way of requital for his kindness,
and in order to provide for mine own advantage, I do declare that these
three sons of mine shall be kings. And, in the first place, I pray for the
approbation of God to what I am about; and, in the next place, I desire
your approbation also. The age of one of them, and the nobility of the
other two, shall procure them the succession. Nay, indeed, my kingdom is
so large that it may be sufficient for more kings. Now do you keep those in
their places whom Caesar hath joined, and their father hath appointed; and
do not you pay undue or unequal respects to them, but to every one
according to the prerogative of their births; for he that pays such respects
unduly, will thereby not make him that is honored beyond what his age
requires so joyful, as he will make him that is dishonored sorrowful. As for
the kindred and friends that are to converse with them, I will appoint them
to each of them, and will so constitute them, that they may be securities
for their concord; as well knowing that the ill tempers of those with whom
they converse will produce quarrels and contentions among them; but that
if these with whom they converse be of good tempers, they will preserve
their natural affections for one another. But still I desire that not these
only, but all the captains of my army, have for the present their hopes
placed on me alone; for I do not give away my kingdom to these my sons,
but give them royal honors only; whereby it will come to pass that they
will enjoy the sweet parts of government as rulers themselves, but that the
burden of administration will rest upon myself whether I will or not. And
let every one consider what age I am of, how I have conducted my life, and
what piety I have exercised; for my age is not so great that men may soon
expect the end of my life; nor have I indulged such a luxurious way of
living as cuts men off when they are young; and we have been so religious
towards God, that we [have reason to hope we] may arrive at a very great
age. But for such as cultivate a friendship with my sons, so as to aim at
my destruction, they shall be punished by me on their account. I am not
one who envy my own children, and therefore forbid men to pay them
great respect; but I know that such [extravagant] respects are the way to
make them insolent. And if every one that comes near them does but
revolve this in his mind, that if he prove a good man, he shall receive a
reward from me, but that if he prove seditious, his ill-intended
complaisance shall get him nothing from him to whom it is shown, I
suppose they will all be of my side, that is, of my sonsí side; for it will be
for their advantage that I reign, and that I be at concord with them. But do
you, O my good children, reflect upon the holiness of nature itself, by
whose means natural affection is preserved, even among wild beasts; in the
next place, reflect upon Caesar, who hath made this reconciliation among
us; and in the third place, reflect upon me, who entreat you to do what I
have power to command you, ó continue brethren. I give you royal
garments, and royal honors; and I pray to God to preserve what I have
determined, in case you be at concord one with another.Ē When the king
had thus spoken, and had saluted every one of his sons after an obliging
manner, he dismissed the multitude; some of which gave their assent to
what he had said, and wished it might take effect accordingly; but for those
who wished for a change of affairs, they pretended they did not so much
as hear what he said.
1. BUT now the quarrel that was between them still accompanied these
brethren when they parted, and the suspicions they had one of the other
grew worse. Alexander and Aristobulus were much grieved that the
privilege of the first-born was confirmed to Antipater; as was Antipater
very angry at his brethren that they were to succeed him. But then this
last being of a disposition that was mutable and politic, he knew how to
hold his tongue, and used a great deal of cunning, and thereby concealed
the hatred he bore to them; while the former, depending on the nobility of
their births, had every thing upon their tongues which was in their minds.
Many also there were who provoked them further, and many of their
[seeming] friends insinuated themselves into their acquaintance, to spy out
what they did. Now every thing that was said by Alexander was presently
brought to Antipater, and from Antipater it was brought to Herod with
additions. Nor could the young man say any thing in the simplicity of his
heart, without giving offense, but what he said was still turned to calumny
against him. And if he had been at any time a little free in his conversation,
great imputations were forged from the smallest occasions. Antipater also
was perpetually setting some to provoke him to speak, that the lies he
raised of him might seem to have some foundation of truth; and if, among
the many stories that were given out, but one of them could be proved
true, that was supposed to imply the rest to be true also. And as to
Antipaterís friends, they were all either naturally so cautious in speaking,
or had been so far bribed to conceal their thoughts, that nothing of these
grand secrets got abroad by their means. Nor should one be mistaken if he
called the life of Antipater a mystery of wickedness; for he either
corrupted Alexanderís acquaintance with money, or got into their favor by
flatteries; by which two means he gained all his designs, and brought them
to betray their master, and to steal away, and reveal what he either did or
said. Thus did he act a part very cunningly in all points, and wrought
himself a passage by his calumnies with the greatest shrewdness; while he
put on a face as if he were a kind brother to Alexander and Aristobulus,
but suborned other men to inform of what they did to Herod. And when
any thing was told against Alexander, he would come in, and pretend [to
be of his side], and would begin to contradict what was said; but would
afterward contrive matters so privately, that the king should have an
indignation at him. His general aim was this, ó to lay a plot, and to make
it believed that Alexander lay in wait to kill his father; for nothing afforded
so great a confirmation to these calumnies as did Antipaterís apologies for
2. By these methods Herod was inflamed, and as much as his natural
affection to the young men did every day diminish, so much did it increase
towards Antipater. The courtiers also inclined to the same conduct, some
of their own accord, and others by the kingís injunction, as particularly did
Ptolemy, the kingís dearest friend, as also the kingís brethren, and all his
children; for Antipater was all in all; and what was the bitterest part of all
to Alexander, Antipaterís mother was also all in all; she was one that gave
counsel against them, and was more harsh than a step-mother, and one that
hated the queenís sons more than is usual to hate sons-in-law. All men did
therefore already pay their respects to Antipater, in hopes of advantage;
and it was the kingís command which alienated every body [from the
brethren], he having given this charge to his most intimate friends, that
they should not come near, nor pay any regard, to Alexander, or to his
friends. Herod was also become terrible, not only to his domestics about
the court, but to his friends abroad; for Caesar had given such a privilege to
no other king as he had given to him, which was this, ó that he might
fetch back any one that fled from him, even out of a city that was not
under his own jurisdiction. Now the young men were not acquainted with
the calumnies raised against them; for which reason they could not guard
themselves against them, but fell under them; for their father did not make
any public complaints against either of them; though in a little time they
perceived how things were by his coldness to them, and by the great
uneasiness he showed upon any thing that troubled him. Antipater had
also made their uncle Pheroras to be their enemy, as well as their aunt
Salome, while he was always talking with her, as with a wife, and irritating
her against them. Moreover, Alexanderís wife, Glaphyra, augmented this
hatred against them, by deriving her nobility and genealogy [from great
persons], and pretending that she was a lady superior to all others in that
kingdom, as being derived by her fatherís side from Temenus, and by her
motherís side from Darius, the son of Hystaspes. She also frequently
reproached Herodís sister and wives with the ignobility of their descent;
and that they were every one chosen by him for their beauty, but not for
their family. Now those wives of his were not a few; it being of old
permitted to the Jews to marry many wives, 39 and this king delighting in
many; all which hated Alexander, on account of Glaphyraís boasting and
3. Nay, Aristobulus had raised a quarrel between himself and Salome, who
was his mother-in-law, besides the anger he had conceived at Glaphyraís
reproaches; for he perpetually upbraided his wife with the meanness of
her family, and complained, that as he had married a woman of a low
family, so had his brother Alexander married one of royal blood. At this
Salomeís daughter wept, and told it her with this addition, that Alexander
threatened the mothers of his other brethren, that when he should come to
the crown, he would make them weave with their maidens, and would
make those brothers of his country schoolmasters; and brake this jest
upon them, that they had been very carefully instructed, to fit them for
such an employment. Hereupon Salome could not contain her anger, but
told all to Herod; nor could her testimony be suspected, since it was
against her own son-in-law There was also another calumny that ran
abroad and inflamed the kingís mind; for he heard that these sons of his
were perpetually speaking of their mother, and, among their lamentations
for her, did not abstain from cursing him; and that when he made presents
of any of Mariamneís garments to his later wives, these threatened that in
a little time, instead of royal garments, they would clothe theft in no better
than hair-cloth.
4. Now upon these accounts, though Herod was somewhat afraid of the
young menís high spirit, yet did he not despair of reducing them to a
better mind; but before he went to Rome, whither he was now going by
sea, he called them to him, and partly threatened them a little, as a king;
but for the main, he admonished them as a father, and exhorted them to
love their brethren, and told them that he would pardon their former
offenses, if they would amend for the time to come. But they refuted the
calumnies that had been raised of them, and said they were false, and
alleged that their actions were sufficient for their vindication; and said
withal, that he himself ought to shut his ears against such tales, and not be
too easy in believing them, for that there would never be wanting those
that would tell lies to their disadvantage, as long as any would give ear to
5. When they had thus soon pacified him, as being their father, they got
clear of the present fear they were in. Yet did they see occasion for sorrow
in some time afterward; for they knew that Salome, as well as their uncle
Pheroras, were their enemies; who were both of them heavy and severe
persons, and especially Pheroras, who was a partner with Herod in all the
affairs of the kingdom, excepting his diadem. He had also a hundred talents
of his own revenue, and enjoyed the advantage of all the land beyond
Jordan, which he had received as a gift from his brother, who had asked of
Caesar to make him a tetrarch, as he was made accordingly. Herod had also
given him a wife out of the royal family, who was no other than his own
wifeís sister, and after her death had solemnly espoused to him his own
eldest daughter, with a dowry of three hundred talents; but Pheroras
refused to consummate this royal marriage, out of his affection to a
maidservant of his. Upon which account Herod was very angry, and gave
that daughter in marriage to a brotherís son of his, [Joseph,] who was slain
afterward by the Parthians; but in some time he laid aside his anger against
Pheroras, and pardoned him, as one not able to overcome his foolish
passion for the maid-servant.
6. Nay, Pheroras had been accused long before, while the queen
[Mariamne] was alive, as if he were in a plot to poison Herod; and there
came then so great a number of informers, that Herod himself, though he
was an exceeding lover of his brethren, was brought to believe what was
said, and to be afraid of it also. And when he had brought many of those
that were under suspicion to the torture, he came at last to Pherorasís own
friends; none of which did openly confess the crime, but they owned that
he had made preparation to take her whom he loved, and run away to the
Parthians. Costobarus also, the husband of Salome, to whom the king had
given her in marriage, after her former husband had been put to death for
adultery, was instrumental in bringing about this contrivance and flight of
his. Nor did Salome escape all calumny upon herself; for her brother
Pheroras accused her that she had made an agreement to marry Silleus, the
procurator of Obodas, king of Arabia, who was at bitter enmity with
Herod; but when she was convicted of this, and of all that Pheroras had
accused her of, she obtained her pardon. The king also pardoned Pheroras
himself the crimes he had been accused of.
7. But the storm of the whole family was removed to Alexander, and all of
it rested upon his head. There were three eunuchs who were in the highest
esteem with the king, as was plain by the offices they were in about him;
for one of them was appointed to be his butler, another of them got his
supper ready for him, and the third put him into bed, and lay down by
him. Now Alexander had prevailed with these men, by large gifts, to let
him use them after an obscene manner; which, when it was told to the
king, they were tortured, and found guilty, and presently confessed the
criminal conversation he had with them. They also discovered the
promises by which they were induced so to do, and how they were
deluded by Alexander, who had told them that they ought not to fix their
hopes upon Herod, an old man, and one so shameless as to color his hair,
unless they thought that would make him young again; but that they ought
to fix their attention to him who was to be his successor in the kingdom,
whether he would or not; and who in no long time would avenge himself
on his enemies, and make his friends happy and blessed, and themselves in
the first place; that the men of power did already pay respects to
Alexander privately, and that the captains of the soldiery, and the officers,
did secretly come to him.
8. These confessions did so terrify Herod, that he durst not immediately
publish them; but he sent spies abroad privately, by night and by day,
who should make a close inquiry after all that was done and said; and when
any were but suspected [of treason], he put them to death, insomuch that
the palace was full of horribly unjust proceedings; for every body forged
calumnies, as they were themselves in a state of enmity or hatred against
others; and many there were who abused the kingís bloody passion to the
disadvantage of those with whom they had quarrels, and lies were easily
believed, and punishments were inflicted sooner than the calumnies were
forged. He who had just then been accusing another was accused himself,
and was led away to execution together with him whom he had convicted;
for the danger the king was in of his life made examinations be very short.
He also proceeded to such a degree of bitterness, that he could not look on
any of those that were not accused with a pleasant countenance, but was
in the most barbarous disposition towards his own friends. Accordingly,
he forbade a great many of them to come to court, and to those whom he
had not power to punish actually he spake harshly. But for Antipater, he
insulted Alexander, now he was under his misfortunes, and got a stout
company of his kindred together, and raised all sorts of calumny against
him; and for the king, he was brought to such a degree of terror by those
prodigious slanders and contrivances, that he fancied he saw Alexander
coming to him with a drawn sword in his hand. So he caused him to be
seized upon immediately, and bound, and fell to examining his friends by
torture, many of whom died [under the torture], but would discover
nothing, nor say any thing against their consciences; but some of them,
being forced to speak falsely by the pains they endured, said that
Alexander, and his brother Aristobulus, plotted against him, and waited for
an opportunity to kill him as he was hunting, and then fly away to Rome.
These accusations though they were of an incredible nature, and only
framed upon the great distress they were in, were readily believed by the
king, who thought it some comfort to him, after he had bound his son, that
it might appear he had not done it unjustly.
1. NOW as to Alexander, since he perceived it impossible to persuade his
father [that he was innocent], he resolved to meet his calamities, how
severe soever they were; so he composed four books against his enemies,
and confessed that he had been in a plot; but declared withal that the
greatest part [of the courtiers] were in a plot with him, and chiefly
Pheroras and Salome; nay, that Salome once came and forced him to lie
with her in the night time, whether he would or no. These books were put
into Herodís hands, and made a great clamor against the men in power.
And now it was that Archelaus came hastily into Judea, as being affrighted
for his son-in-law and his daughter; and he came as a proper assistant, and
in a very prudent manner, and by a stratagem he obliged the king not to
execute what he had threatened; for when he was come to him, he cried
out, ďWhere in the world is this wretched son-in-law of mine? Where shall
I see the head of him which contrived to murder his father, which I will
tear to pieces with my own hands? I will do the same also to my daughter,
who hath such a fine husband; for although she be not a partner in the
plot, yet, by being the wife of such a creature, she is polluted. And I
cannot but admire at thy patience, against whom this plot is laid, if
Alexander be still alive; for as I came with what haste I could from
Cappadocia, I expected to find him put to death for his crimes long ago;
but still, in order to make an examination with thee about my daughter,
whom, out of regard to thee and by dignity, I had espoused to him in
marriage; but now we must take counsel about them both; and if thy
paternal affection be so great, that thou canst not punish thy son, who
hath plotted against thee, let us change our right hands, and let us succeed
one to the other in expressing our rage upon this occasion.Ē
2. When he had made this pompous declaration, he got Herod to remit of
his anger, though he were in disorder, who thereupon gave him the books
which Alexander had composed to be read by him; and as he came to every
head, he considered of it, together with Herod. So Archclaus took hence
the occasion for that stratagem which he made use of, and by degrees he
laid the blame on those men whose names were in these books, and
especially upon Pheroras; and when he saw that the king believed him [to
he in earnest], he said, ďWe must consider whether the young man be not
himself plotted against by such a number of wicked wretches, and not
thou plotted against by the young man; for I cannot see any occasion for
his falling into so horrid a crime, since he enjoys the advantages of royalty
already, and has the expectation of being one of thy successors; I mean
this, unless there were some persons that persuade him to it, and such
persons as make an ill use of the facility they know there is to persuade
young men; for by such persons, not only young men are sometimes
imposed upon, but old men also, and by them sometimes are the most
illustrious families and kingdoms overturned.Ē
3. Herod assented to what he had said, and, by degrees, abated of his anger
against Alexander, but was more angry at Pheroras; for the principal
subject of the four books was Pheroras; who perceiving that the kingís
inclinations changed on a sudden, and that Archelausís friendship could do
every thing with him, and that he had no honorable method of preserving
himself, he procured his safety by his impudence. So he left Alexander,
and had recourse to Archelaus, who told him that he did not see how he
could get him excused, now he was directly caught in so many crimes,
whereby it was evidently demonstrated that he had plotted against the
king, and had been the cause of those misfortunes which the young man
was now under, unless he would moreover leave off his cunning knavery,
and his denials of what he was charged withal, and confess the charge, and
implore pardon of his brother, who still had a kindness for him; but that if
he would do so, he would afford him all the assistance he was able.
4. With this advice Pheroras complied, and putting himself into such a
habit as might most move compassion, he came with black cloth upon his
body, and tears in his eyes, and threw himself down at Herodís feet, and
begged his pardon for what he had done, and confessed that he had acted
very wickedly, and was guilty of every thing that he had been accused of,
and lamented that disorder of his mind, and distraction which his love to a
woman, he said, had brought him to. So when Archelaus had brought
Pheroras to accuse and bear witness against himself, he then made an
excuse for him, and mitigated Herodís anger towards him, and this by
using certain domestical examples; for that when he had suffered much
greater mischiefs from a brother of his own, he prefered the obligations of
nature before the passion of revenge; because it is in kingdoms as it is in
gross bodies, where some member or other is ever swelled by the bodyís
weight, in which case it is not proper to cut off such member, but to heal it
by a gentle method of cure.
5. Upon Arehelausís saying this, and much more to the same purpose,
Herodís displeasure against Pheroras was mollified; yet did he persevere in
his own indignation against Alexander, and said he would have his daughter
divorced, and taken away from him, and this till he had brought Herod to
that pass, that, contrary to his former behavior to him, he petitioned
Archelaus for the young man, and that he would let his daughter continue
espoused to him: but Archelaus made him strongly believe that he would
permit her to be married to any one else, but not to Alexander, because he
looked upon it as a very valuable advantage, that the relation they had
contracted by that affinity, and the privileges that went along with it,
might be preserved. And when the king said that his son would take it for
a great favor to him, if he would not dissolve that marriage, especially
since they had already children between the young man and her, and since
that wife of his was so well beloved by him, and that as while she remains
his wife she would be a great preservative to him, and keep him from
offending, as he had formerly done; so if she should be once torn away
from him, she would be the cause of his falling into despair, because such
young menís attempts are best mollified when they are diverted from them
by settling their affections at home. So Arehelaus complied with what
Herod desired, but not without difficulty, and was both himself reconciled
to the young man, and reconciled his father to him also. However, he said
he must, by all means, be sent to Rome to discourse with Caesar, because
he had already written a full account to him of this whole matter.
6. Thus a period was put to Archelausís stratagem, whereby he delivered
his son-in-law out of the dangers he was in; but when these reconciliations
were over, they spent their time in feastings and agreeable entertainments.
And when Archelaus was going away, Herod made him a present of
seventy talents, with a golden throne set with precious stones, and some
eunuchs, and a concubine who was called Pannychis. He also paid due
honors to every one of his friends according to their dignity. In like manner
did all the kingís kindred, by his command, make glorious presents to
Archelaus; and so he was conducted on his way by Herod and his nobility
as far as Antioch.

1. NOW a little afterward there came into Judea a man that was much
superior to Arehelausís stratagems, who did not only overturn that
reconciliation that had been so wisely made with Alexander, but proved
the occasion of his ruin. He was a Lacedemonian, and his name was
Eurycles. He was so corrupt a man, that out of the desire of getting
money, he chose to live under a king, for Greece could not suffice his
luxury. He presented Herod with splendid gifts, as a bait which he laid in
order to compass his ends, and quickly received them back again manifold;
yet did he esteem bare gifts as nothing, unless he imbrued the kingdom in
blood by his purchases. Accordingly, he imposed upon the king by
flattering him, and by talking subtlely to him, as also by the lying
encomiums which he made upon him; for as he soon perceived Herodís
blind side, so he said and did every thing that might please him, and
thereby became one of his most intimate friends; for both the king and all
that were about him had a great regard for this Spartan, on account of his
country. 41
2. Now as soon as this fellow perceived the rotten parts of the family, and
what quarrels the brothers had one with another, and in what disposition
the father was towards each of them, he chose to take his lodging at the
first in the house of Antipater, but deluded Alexander with a pretense of
friendship to him, and falsely claimed to be an old acquaintance of
Archelaus; for which reason he was presently admitted into Alexanderís
familiarity as a faithful friend. He also soon recommended himself to his
brother Aristobulus. And when he had thus made trial of these several
persons, he imposed upon one of them by one method, and upon another
by another. But he was principally hired by Antipater, and so betrayed
Alexander, and this by reproaching Antipater, because, while he was the
eldest son he overlooked the intrigues of those who stood in the way of
his expectations; and by reproaching Alexander, because he who was born
of a queen, and was married to a kingís daughter, permitted one that was
born of a mean woman to lay claim to the succession, and this when he
had Archelaus to support him in the most complete manner. Nor was his
advice thought to be other than faithful by the young man, because of his
pretended friendship with Archelaus; on which account it was that
Alexander lamented to him Antipaterís behavior with regard to himself,
and this without concealing any thing from him; and how it was no wonder
if Herod, after he had killed their mother, should deprive them of her
kingdom. Upon this Eurycles pretended to commiserate his condition, and
to grieve with him. He also, by a bait that he laid for him, procured
Aristobulus to say the same things. Thus did he inveigle both the brothers
to make complaints of their father, and then went to Antipater, and carried
these grand secrets to him. He also added a fiction of his own, as if his
brothers had laid a plot against him, and were almost ready to come upon
him with their drawn swords. For this intelligence he received a great sum
of money, and on that account he commended Antipater before his father,
and at length undertook the work of bringing Alexander and Aristobulus to
their graves, and accused them before their father. So he came to Herod,
and told him that he would save his life, as a requital for the favors he had
received from him, and would preserve his light [of life] by way of
retribution for his kind entertainment; for that a sword had been long
whetted, and Alexanderís right hand had been long stretched out against
him; but that he had laid impediments in his way, prevented his speed, and
that by pretending to assist him in his design: how Alexander said that
Herod was not contented to reign in a kingdom that belonged to others,
and to make dilapidations in their motherís government after he had killed
her; but besides all this, that he introduced a spurious successor, and
proposed to give the kingdom of their ancestors to that pestilent fellow
Antipater: ó that he would now appease the ghosts of Hyrcanus and
Mariamne, by taking vengeance on him; for that it was not fit for him to
take the succession to the government from such a father without
bloodshed: that many things happen every day to provoke him so to do,
insomuch that he can say nothing at all, but it affords occasion for
calumny against him; for that if any mention be made of nobility of birth,
even in other cases, he is abused unjustly, while his father would say that
nobody, to be sure, is of noble birth but Alexander, and that his father was
inglorious for want of such nobility. If they be at any time hunting, and he
says nothing, he gives offense; and if he commends any body, they take it
in way of jest. That they always find their father unmercifully severe, and
have no natural affection for any of them but for Antipater; on which
accounts, if this plot does not take, he is very willing to die; but that in
case he kill his father, he hath sufficient opportunities for saving himself.
In the first place, he hath Archelaus his father-in-law to whom he can
easily fly; and in the next place, he hath Caesar, who had never known
Herodís character to this day; for that he shall not appear then before him
with that dread he used to do when his father was there to terrify him; and
that he will not then produce the accusations that concerned himself alone,
but would, in the first place, openly insist on the calamities of their nation,
and how they are taxed to death, and in what ways of luxury and wicked
practices that wealth is spent which was gotten by bloodshed; what sort
of persons they are that get our riches, and to whom those cities belong
upon whom he bestows his favors; that he would have inquiry made what
became of his grandfather [Hyrcanus], and his mother [Mariamne], and
would openly proclaim the gross wickedness that was in the kingdom; on
which accounts he should not be deemed a parricide.
3. When Eurycles had made this portentous speech, he greatly commended
Antipater, as the only child that had an affection for his father, and on that
account was an impediment to the otherís plot against him. Hereupon the
king, who had hardly repressed his anger upon the former accusations, was
exasperated to an incurable degree. At which time Antipater took another
occasion to send in other persons to his father to accuse his brethren, and
to tell him that they had privately discoursed with Jucundus and
Tyrannus, who had once been masters of the horse to the king, but for
some offenses had been put out of that honorable employment. Herod was
in a very great rage at these informations, and presently ordered those men
to be tortured; yet did not they confess any thing of what the king had
been informed; but a certain letter was produced, as written by Alexander
to the governor of a castle, to desire him to receive him and Aristobulus
into the castle when he had killed his father, and to give them weapons,
and what other assistance he could, upon that occasion. Alexander said
that this letter was a forgery of Diophantus. This Diophantus was the
kingís secretary, a bold man, and cunning in counterfeiting any oneís hand;
and after he had counterfeited a great number, he was at last put to death
for it. Herod did also order the governor of the castle to be tortured, but
got nothing out of him of what the accusations suggested.
4. However, although Herod found the proofs too weak, he gave order to
have his sons kept in custody; for till now they had been at liberty. He
also called that pest of his family, and forger of all this vile accusation,
Eurycles, his savior and benefactor, and gave him a reward of fifty talents.
Upon which he prevented any accurate accounts that could come of what
he had done, by going immediately into Cappadocia, and there he got
money of Archelaus, having the impudence to pretend that he had
reconciled Herod to Alexander. He thence passed over into Greece, and
used what he had thus wickedly gotten to the like wicked purposes.
Accordingly, he was twice accused before Caesar, that he had filled Achaia
with sedition, and had plundered its cities; and so he was sent into
banishment. And thus was he punished for what wicked actions he had
been guilty of about Aristobulus and Alexander.
5. But it will now be worth while to put Euaratus of Cos in opposition to
this Spartan; for as he was one of Alexanderís most intimate friends, and
came to him in his travels at the same time that Eurycles came; so the king
put the question to him, whether those things of which Alexander was
accused were true? He assured him upon oath that he had never heard any
such things from the young men; yet did this testimony avail nothing for
the clearing those miserable creatures; for Herod was only disposed and
most ready to hearken to what made against them, and every one was most
agreeable to him that would believe they were guilty, and showed their
indignation at them.
1. MOREOVER, Salome exasperated Herodís cruelty against his sons; for
Aristobulus was desirous to bring her, who was his mother-in-law and his
aunt, into the like dangers with themselves; so he sent to her to take care
of her own safety, and told her that the king was preparing to put her to
death, on account of the accusation that was laid against her, as if when
she formerly endeavored to marry herself to Sylleus the Arabian, she had
discovered the kingís grand secrets to him, who was the kingís enemy; and
this it was that came as the last storm, and entirely sunk the young men
when they were in great danger before. For Salome came running to the
king, and informed him of what admonition had been given her; whereupon
he could bear no longer, but commanded both the young men to be bound,
and kept the one asunder from the other. He also sent Volumnius, the
general of his army, to Caesar immediately, as also his friend Olympus
with him, who carried the informations in writing along with them. Now as
soon as they had sailed to Rome, and delivered the kingís letters to Caesar,
Caesar was mightily troubled at the case of the young men; yet did not he
think he ought to take the power from the father of condemning his sons;
so he wrote back to him, and appointed him to have the power over his
sons; but said withal, that he would do well to make an examination into
this matter of the plot against him in a public court, and to take for his
assessors his own kindred, and the governors of the province. And if those
sons be found guilty, to put them to death; but if they appear to have
thought of no more than flying away from him, that he should moderate
their punishment.
2. With these directions Herod complied, and came to Berytus, where
Caesar had ordered the court to be assembled, and got the judicature
together. The presidents sat first, as Caesarís letters had appointed, who
were Saturninus and Pedanius, and their lieutenants that were with them,
with whom was the procurator Volumnius also; next to them sat the kingís
kinsmen and friends, with Salome also, and Pheroras; after whom sat the
principal men of all Syria, excepting Archelaus; for Herod had a suspicion
of him, because he was Alexanderís father-in-law. Yet did not he produce
his sons in open court; and this was done very cunningly, for he knew well
enough that had they but appeared only, they would certainly have been
pitied; and if withal they had been suffered to speak, Alexander would
easily have answered what they were accused of; but they were in custody
at Platane, a village of the Sidontans.
3. So the king got up, and inveighed against his sons, as if they were
present; and as for that part of the accusation that they had plotted against
him, he urged it but faintly, because he was destitute of proofs; but he
insisted before the assessors on the reproaches, and jests, and injurious
carriage, and ten thousand the like offenses against him, which were
heavier than death itself; and when nobody contradicted him, he moved
them to pity his case, as though he had been condemned himself, now he
had gained a bitter victory against his sons. So he asked every oneís
sentence, which sentence was first of all given by Saturninus, and was this:
That he condemned the young men, but not to death; for that it was not fit
for him, who had three sons of his own now present, to give his vote for
the destruction of the sons of another. The two lieutenants also gave the
like vote; some others there were also who followed their example; but
Volumnius began to vote on the more melancholy side, and all those that
came after him condemned the young men to die, some out of flattery, and
some out of hatred to Herod; but none out of indignation at their crimes.
And now all Syria and Judea was in great expectation, and waited for the
last act of this tragedy; yet did nobody, suppose that Herod would be so
barbarous as to murder his children: however, he carried them away to
Tyre, and thence sailed to Cesarea, and deliberated with himself what sort
of death the young men should suffer.
4. Now there was a certain old soldier of the kingís, whose name was
Tero, who had a son that was very familiar with and a friend to Alexander,
and who himself particularly loved the young men. This soldier was in a
manner distracted, out of the excess of the indignation he had at what was
doing; and at first he cried out aloud, as he went about, that justice was
trampled under foot; that truth was perished, and nature confounded; and
that the life of man was full of iniquity, and every thing else that passion
could suggest to a man who spared not his own life; and at last he ventured
to go to the king, and said, ďTruly I think thou art a most miserable man,
when thou hearkenest to most wicked wretches, against those that ought
to be dearest to thee; since thou hast frequently resolved that Pheroras and
Salome should be put to death, and yet believest them against thy sons;
while these, by cutting off the succession of thine own sons, leave all
wholly to Antipater, and thereby choose to have thee such a king as may
be thoroughly in their own power. However, consider whether this death
of Antipaterís brethren will not make him hated by the soldiers; for there
is nobody but commiserates the young men; and of the captains, a great
many show their indignation at it openly.Ē Upon his saying this, he named
those that had such indignation; but the king ordered those men, with Tero
himself and his son, to be seized upon immediately.
5. At which time there was a certain barber, whose name was Trypho.
This man leaped out from among the people in a kind of madness, and
accused himself, and said, ďThis Tero endeavored to persuade me also to
cut thy throat with my razor, when I trimmed thee, and promised that
Alexander should give me large presents for so doing.Ē When Herod heard
this, he examined Tero, with his son and the barber, by the torture; but as
the others denied the accusation, and he said nothing further, Herod gave
order that Tero should be racked more severely; but his son, out of pity to
his father, promised to discover the whole to the king, if he would grant
[that his father should be no longer tortured]. When he had agreed to this,
he said that his father, at the persuasion of Alexander, had an intention to
kill him. Now some said this was forged, in order to free his father from
his torments; and some said it was true.
6. And now Herod accused the captains and Tero in an assembly of the
people, and brought the people together in a body against them; and
accordingly there were they put to death, together with [Trypho] the
barber; they were killed by the pieces of wood and the stones that were
thrown at them. He also sent his sons to Sebaste, a city not far from
Cesarea, and ordered them to be there strangled; and as what he had
ordered was executed immediately, so he commanded that their dead
bodies should be brought to the fortress Alexandrium, to be buried with
Alexander, their grandfather by the motherís side. And this was the end of
Alexander and Aristobulus.
1. BUT an intolerable hatred fell upon Antipater from the nation, though he
had now an indisputable title to the succession, because they all knew that
he was the person who contrived all the calumnies against his brethren.
However, he began to be in a terrible fear, as he saw the posterity of those
that had been slain growing up; for Alexander had two sons by Glaphyra,
Tigranes and Alexander; and Aristobulus had Herod, and Agrippa, and
Aristobulus, his sons, with Herodias and Mariamne, his daughters, and all
by Bernice, Salomeís daughter. As for Glaphyra, Herod, as soon as he had
killed Alexander, sent her back, together with her portion, to Cappadocia.
He married Bernice, Aristobulusís daughter, to Antipaterís uncle by his
mother, and it was Antipater who, in order to reconcile her to him, when
she had been at variance with him, contrived this match; he also got into
Pherorasís favor, and into the favor of Caesarís friends, by presents, and
other ways of obsequiousness, and sent no small sums of money to Rome;
Saturninus also, and his friends in Syria, were all well replenished with the
presents he made them; yet the more he gave, the more he was hated, as
not making these presents out of generosity, but spending his money out
of fear. Accordingly, it so fell out that the receivers bore him no more
good-will than before, but that those to whom he gave nothing were his
more bitter enemies. However, he bestowed his money every day more
and more profusely, on observing that, contrary to his expectations, the
king was taking care about the orphans, and discovering at the same time
his repentance for killing their fathers, by his commiseration of those that
sprang from them.
2. Accordingly, Herod got together his kindred and friends, and set before
them the children, and, with his eyes full of tears, said thus to them: ďIt
was an unlucky fate that took away from me these childrenís fathers,
which children are recommended to me by that natural commiseration
which their orphan condition requires; however, I will endeavor, though I
have been a most unfortunate father, to appear a better grandfather, and to
leave these children such curators after myself as are dearest to me. I
therefore betroth thy daughter, Pheroras, to the elder of these brethren, the
children of Alexander, that thou mayst be obliged to take care of them. I
also betroth to thy son, Antipater, the daughter of Aristobulus; be thou
therefore a father to that orphan; and my son Herod [Philip] shall have her
sister, whose grandfather, by the motherís side, was high priest. And let
every one that loves me be of my sentiments in these dispositions, which
none that hath an affection for me will abrogate. And I pray God that he
will join these children together in marriage, to the advantage of my
kingdom, and of my posterity; and may he look down with eyes more
serene upon them than he looked upon their fathers.Ē
3. While he spake these words he wept, and joined the childrenís fight
hands together; after which he embraced them every one after an
affectionate manner, and dismissed the assembly. Upon this, Antipater
was in great disorder immediately, and lamented publicly at what was
done; for he supposed that this dignity which was conferred on these
orphans was for his own destruction, even in his fatherís lifetime, and that
he should run another risk of losing the government, if Alexanderís sons
should have both Archelaus [a king], and Pheroras a tetrarch, to support
them. He also considered how he was himself hated by the nation, and
how they pitied these orphans; how great affection the Jews bare to those
brethren of his when they were alive, and how gladly they remembered
them now they had perished by his means. So he resolved by all the ways
possible to get these espousals dissolved.
4. Now he was afraid of going subtlely about this matter with his father,
who was hard to be pleased, and was presently moved upon the least
suspicion: so he ventured to go to him directly, and to beg of him before
his face not to deprive him of that dignity which he had been pleased to
bestow upon him; and that he might not have the bare name of a king,
while the power was in other persons; for that he should never be able to
keep the government, if Alexanderís son was to have both his grandfather
Archelaus and Pheroras for his curators; and he besought him earnestly,
since there were so many of the royal family alive, that he would change
those [intended] marriages. Now the king had nine wives, 42 and children
by seven of them; Antipater was himself born of Doris, and Herod Philip
of Mariamne, the high priestís daughter; Antipas also and Archelaus were
by Malthace, the Samaritan, as was his daughter Olympias, which his
brother Josephís 43 son had married. By Cleopatra of Jerusalem he had
Herod and Philip; and by Pallas, Phasaelus; he had also two daughters,
Roxana and Salome, the one by Phedra, and the other by Elpis; he had also
two wives that had no children, the one his first cousin, and the other his
niece; and besides these he had two daughters, the sisters of Alexander and
Aristobulus, by Mariamne. Since, therefore, the royal family was so
numerous, Antipater prayed him to change these intended marriages.
5. When the king perceived what disposition he was in towards these
orphans, he was angry at it, and a suspicion came into his mind as to those
sons whom he had put to death, whether that had not been brought about
by the false tales of Antipater; so that at that time he made Antipater a
long and a peevish answer, and bid him begone. Yet was he afterwards
prevailed upon cunningly by his flatteries, and changed the marriages; he
married Aristobulusís daughter to him, and his son to Pherorasís daughter.
6. Now one may learn, in this instance, how very much this flattering
Antipater could do, ó even what Salome in the like circumstances could
not do; for when she, who was his sister, and who, by the means of Julia,
Caesarís wife, earnestly desired leave to be married to Sylleus the Arabian,
Herod swore he would esteem her his bitter enemy, unless she would leave
off that project: he also caused her, against her own consent, to be married
to Alexas, a friend of his, and that one of her daughters should be married
to Alexasís son, and the other to Antipaterís uncle by the motherís side.
And for the daughters the king had by Mariamne, the one was married to
Antipater, his sisterís son, and the other to his brotherís son, Phasaelus.
1. NOW when Antipater had cut off the hopes of the orphans, and had
contracted such affinities as would be most for his own advantage, he
proceeded briskly, as having a certain expectation of the kingdom; and as
he had now assurance added to his wickedness, he became intolerable; for
not being able to avoid the hatred of all people, he built his security upon
the terror he struck into them. Pheroras also assisted him in his designs,
looking upon him as already fixed in the kingdom. There was also a
company of women in the court, which excited new disturbances; for
Pherorasís wife, together with her mother and sister, as also Antipaterís
mother, grew very impudent in the palace. She also was so insolent as to
affront the kingís two daughters, 44 on which account the king hated her to
a great degree; yet although these women were hated by him, they
domineered over others: there was only Salome who opposed their good
agreement, and informed the king of their meetings, as not being for the
advantage of his affairs. And when those women knew what calumnies she
had raised against them, and how much Herod was displeased, they left off
their public meetings, and friendly entertainments of one another; nay, on
the contrary, they pretended to quarrel one with another when the king
was within hearing. The like dissimulation did Antipater make use of; and
when matters were public, he opposed Pheroras; but still they had private
cabals and merry meetings in the night time; nor did the observation of
others do any more than confirm their mutual agreement. However, Salome
knew every thing they did, and told every thing to Herod.
2. But he was inflamed with anger at them, and chiefly at Pherorasís wife;
for Salome had principally accused her. So he got an assembly of his
friends and kindred together, and there accused this woman of many
things, and particularly of the affronts she had offered his daughters; and
that she had supplied the Pharisees with money, by way of rewards for
what they had done against him, and had procured his brother to become
his enemy, by giving him love potions. At length he turned his speech to
Pheroras, and told him that he would give him his choice of these two
things: Whether he would keep in with his brother, or with his wife? And
when Pheroras said that he would die rather than forsake his wife? Herod,
not knowing what to do further in that matter, turned his speech to
Antipater, and charged him to have no intercourse either with Pherorasís
wife, or with Pheroras himself, or with any one belonging to her. Now
though Antipater did not transgress that his injunction publicly, yet did he
in secret come to their night meetings; and because he was afraid that
Salome observed what he did, he procured, by the means of his Italian
friends, that he might go and live at Rome; for when they wrote that it was
proper for Antipater to be sent to Caesar for some time, Herod made no
delay, but sent him, and that with a splendid attendance, and a great deal
of money, and gave him his testament to carry with him, ó wherein
Antipater had the kingdom bequeathed to him, and wherein Herod was
named for Antipaterís successor; that Herod, I mean, who was the son of
Mariarmne, the high priestís daughter.
3. Sylleus also, the Arabian, sailed to Rome, without any regard to
Caesarís injunctions, and this in order to oppose Antipater with all his
might, as to that law-suit which Nicolaus had with him before. This
Sylleus had also a great contest with Aretas his own king; for he had slain
many others of Aretasís friends, and particularly Sohemus, the most
potent man in the city Petra. Moreover, he had prevailed with Phabatus,
who was Herodís steward, by giving him a great sum of money, to assist
him against Herod; but when Herod gave him more, he induced him to
leave Syllcus, and by this means he demanded of him all that Caesar had
required of him to pay. But when Sylleus paid nothing of what he was to
pay, and did also accuse Phabatus to Caesar, and said that he was not a
steward for Caesarís advantage, but for Herodís, Phabatus was angry at
him on that account, but was still in very great esteem with Herod, and
discovered Sylleusís grand secrets, and told the king that Sylleus had
corrupted Corinthus, one of the guards of his body, by bribing him, and of
whom he must therefore have a care. Accordingly, the king complied; for
this Corinthus, though he was brought up in Herodís kingdom, yet was he
by birth an Arabian; so the king ordered him to be taken up immediately,
and not only him, but two other Arabians, who were caught with him; the
one of them was Sylleusís friend, the other the head of a tribe. These last,
being put to the torture, confessed that they had prevailed with Corinthus,
for a large sum of money, to kill Herod; and when they had been further
examined before Saturninus, the president of Syria, they were sent to
4. However, Herod did not leave off importuning Pheroras, but proceeded
to force him to put away his wife; 45 yet could he not devise any way by
which he could bring the woman herself to punishment, although he had
many causes of hatred to her; till at length he was in such great uneasiness
at her, that he cast both her and his brother out of his kingdom. Pheroras
took this injury very patiently, and went away into his own tetrarchy,
[Perea beyond Jordan,] and sware that there should be but one end put to
his flight, and that should be Herodís death; and that he would never return
while he was alive. Nor indeed would he return when his brother was sick,
although he earnestly sent for him to come to him, because he had a mind
to leave some injunctions with him before he died; but Herod unexpectedly
recovered. A little afterward Pheroras himself fell sick, when Herod
showed great moderation; for he came to him, and pitied his case, and took
care of him; but his affection for him did him no good, for Pheroras died a
little afterward. Now though Herod had so great an affection for him to the
last day of his life, yet was a report spread abroad that he had killed him
by poison. However, he took care to have his dead body carried to
Jerusalem, and appointed a very great mourning to the whole nation for
him, and bestowed a most pompous funeral upon him. And this was the
end that one of Alexanderís and Aristobulusís murderers came to.
1. BUT now the punishment was transferred unto the original author,
Antipater, and took its rise from the death of Pheroras; for certain of his
freed-men came with a sad countenance to the king, and told him that his
brother had been destroyed by poison, and that his wife had brought him
somewhat that was prepared after an unusual manner, and that, upon his
eating it, he presently fell into his distemper; that Antipaterís mother and
sister, two days before, brought a woman out of Arabia that was skillful in
mixing such drugs, that she might prepare a love potion for Pheroras; and
that instead of a love potion, she had given him deadly poison; and that
this was done by the management of Sylleus, who was acquainted with
that woman.
2. The king was deeply affected with so many suspicions, and had the
maid-servants and some of the free women also tortured; one of which
cried out in her agonies, ďMay that God that governs the earth and the
heaven punish this author of all these our miseries, Antipaterís mother!Ē
The king took a handle from this confession, and proceeded to inquire
further into the truth of the matter. So this woman discovered the
friendship of Antipaterís mother to Pheroras, and Antipaterís women, as
also their secret meetings, and that Pheroras and Antipater had drunk with
them for a whole night together as they returned from the king, and would
not suffer any body, either man-servant or maidservant, to be there; while
one of the free women discovered the matter.
3. Upon this Herod tortured the maid-servants every on by themselves
separately, who all unanimously agreed in the foregoing discoveries, and
that accordingly by agreement they went away, Antipater to Rome, and
Pheroras to Perea; for that they oftentimes talked to one another thus:
That after Herod had slain Alexander and Aristobulus, he would fall upon
them, and upon their wives, because, after he Mariamne and her children
he would spare nobody; and that for this reason it was best to get as far
off the wild beast as they were able: ó and that Antipater oftentimes
lamented his own case before his mother, and said to her, that he had
already gray hairs upon his head, and that his father grew younger again
every day, and that perhaps death would overtake him before he should
begin to be a king in earnest; and that in case Herod should die, which yet
nobody knew when it would be, the enjoyment of the succession could
certainly be but for a little time; for that these heads of Hydra, the sons of
Alexander and Aristobulus, were growing up: that he was deprived by his
father of the hopes of being succeeded by his children, for that his
successor after his death was not to be any one of his own sons, but
Herod the son of Mariamne: that in this point Herod was plainly
distracted, to think that his testament should therein take place; for he
would take care that not one of his posterity should remain, because he
was of all fathers the greatest hater of his children. Yet does he hate his
brother still worse; whence it was that he a while ago gave himself a
hundred talents, that he should not have any intercourse with Pheroras.
And when Pheroras said, Wherein have we done him any harm? Antipater
replied, ďI wish he would but deprive us of all we have, and leave us naked
and alive only; but it is indeed impossible to escape this wild beast, who is
thus given to murder, who will not permit us to love any person openly,
although we be together privately; yet may we be so openly too, if we
have but the courage and the hands of men.Ē
4. These things were said by the women upon the torture; as also that
Pheroras resolved to fly with them to Perea. Now Herod gave credit to all
they said, on account of the affair of the hundred talents; for he had no
discourse with any body about them, but only with Antipater. So he
vented his anger first of all against Antipaterís mother, and took away
from her all the ornaments which he had given her, which cost a great
many talents, and cast her out of the palace a second time. He also took
care of Pherorasís women after their tortures, as being now reconciled to
them; but he was in great consternation himself, and inflamed upon every
suspicion, and had many innocent persons led to the torture, out of his
fear lest he should leave any guilty person untortured.
5. And now it was that he betook himself to examine Antipater of Samaria,
who was the steward of [his son] Antipater; and upon torturing him, he
learned that Antipater had sent for a potion of deadly poison for him out
of Egypt, by Antiphilus, a companion of his; that Theudio, the uncle of
Antipater, had it from him, and delivered it to Pheroras; for that Antipater
had charged him to take his father off while he was at Rome, and so free
him from the suspicion of doing it himself: that Pheroras also committed
this potion to his wife. Then did the king send for her, and bid her bring to
him what she had received immediately. So she came out of her house as if
she would bring it with her, but threw herself down from the top of the
house, in order to prevent any examination and torture from the king.
However, it came to pass, as it seems by the providence of God, when he
intended to bring Antipater to punishment, that she fell not upon her head,
but upon other parts of her body, and escaped. The king, when she was
brought to him, took care of her, (for she was at first quite senseless upon
her fall,) and asked her why she had thrown herself down; and gave her his
oath, that if she would speak the real truth, he would excuse her from
punishment; but that if she concealed any thing, he would have her body
torn to pieces by torments, and leave no part. of it to be buried.
6. Upon this the woman paused a little, and then said, ďWhy do I spare to
speak of these grand secrets, now Pheroras is dead? that would only tend
to save Antipater, who is all our destruction. Hear then, O king, and be
thou, and God himself, who cannot be deceived, witnesses to the truth of
what I am going to say. When thou didst sit weeping by Pheroras as he
was dying, then it was that he called me to him, and said, My dear wife, I
have been greatly mistaken as to the disposition of my brother towards
me, and have hated him that is so affectionate to me, and have contrived to
kill him who is in such disorder for me before I am dead. As for myself, I
receive the recompence of my impiety; but do thou bring what poison was
left with us by Antipater, and which thou keepest in order to destroy him,
and consume it immediately in the fire in my sight, that I may not be liable
to the avenger in the invisible world.Ē This I brought as he bid me, and
emptied the greatest part of it into the fire, but reserved a little of it for my
own use against uncertain futurity, and out of my fear of thee.Ē
7. When she had said this, she brought the box, which had a small quantity
of this potion in it: but the king let her alone, and transferred the tortures
to Antiphilusís mother and brother; who both confessed that Antiphilus
brought the box out of Egypt, and that they had received the potion from a
brother of his, who was a physician at Alexandria. Then did the ghosts of
Alexander and Aristobulus go round all the palace, and became the
inquisitors and discoverers of what could not otherwise have been found
out and brought such as were the freest from suspicion to be examined;
whereby it was discovered that Mariamne, the high priestís daughter, was
conscious of this plot; and her very brothers, when they were tortured,
declared it so to be. Whereupon the king avenged this insolent attempt of
the mother upon her son, and blotted Herod, whom he had by her, out of
his treament, who had been before named therein as successor to
1. AFTER these things were over, Bathyllus came under examination, in
order to convict Antipater, who proved the concluding attestation to
Antipaterís designs; for indeed he was no other than his freed-man. This
man came, and brought another deadly potion, the poison of asps, and the
juices of other serpents, that if the first potion did not do the business,
Pheroras and his wife might be armed with this also to destroy the king.
He brought also an addition to Antipaterís insolent attempt against his
father, which was the letters which he wrote against his brethren,
Archelaus and Philip, which were the kingís sons, and educated at Rome,
being yet youths, but of generous dispositions. Antipater set himself to
get rid of these as soon as he could, that they might not be prejudicial to
his hopes; and to that end he forged letters against them in the name of his
friends at Rome. Some of these he corrupted by bribes to write how they
grossly reproached their father, and did openly bewail Alexander and
Aristobulus, and were uneasy at their being recalled; for their father had
already sent for them, which was the very thing that troubled Antipater.
2. Nay, indeed, while Antipater was in Judea, and before he was upon his
journey to Rome, he gave money to have the like letters against them sent
from Rome, and then came to his father, who as yet had no suspicion of
him, and apologized for his brethren, and alleged on their behalf that some
of the things contained in those letters were false, and others of them were
only youthful errors. Yet at the same time that he expended a great deal of
his money, by making presents to such as wrote against his brethren, did
he aim to bring his accounts into confusion, by buying costly garments,
and carpets of various contextures, with silver and gold cups, and a great
many more curious things, that so, among the view great expenses laid out
upon such furniture, he might conceal the money he had used in hiring men
[to write the letters]; for he brought in an account of his expenses,
amounting to two hundred talents, his main pretense for which was file
law-suit he had been in with Sylleus. So while all his rogueries, even those
of a lesser sort also, were covered by his greater villainy, while all the
examinations by torture proclaimed his attempt to murder his father, and
the letters proclaimed his second attempt to murder his brethren; yet did
no one of those that came to Rome inform him of his misfortunes in Judea,
although seven months had intervened between his conviction and his
return, so great was the hatred which they all bore to him. And perhaps
they were the ghosts of those brethren of his that had been murdered that
stopped the mouths of those that intended to have told him. He then
wrote from Rome, and informed his [friends] that he would soon come to
them, and how he was dismissed with honor by Caesar.
3. Now the king, being desirous to get this plotter against him into his
hands, and being also afraid lest he should some way come to the
knowledge how his affairs stood, and be upon his guard, he dissembled his
anger in his epistle to him, as in other points he wrote kindly to him, and
desired him to make haste, because if he came quickly, he would then lay
aside the complaints he had against his mother; for Antipater was not
ignorant that his mother had been expelled out of the palace. However, he
had before received a letter, which contained an account of the death of
Pheroras, at Tarentum, 46 and made great lamentations at it; for which
some commended him, as being for his own uncle; though probably this
confusion arose on account of his having thereby failed in his plot [on his
fatherís life]; and his tears were more for the loss of him that was to have
been subservient therein, than for [an uncle] Pheroras: moreover, a sort of
fear came upon him as to his designs, lest the poison should have been
discovered. However, when he was in Cilicia, he received the
forementioned epistle from his father, and made great haste accordingly.
But when he had sailed to Celenderis, a suspicion came into his mind
relating to his motherís misfortunes; as if his soul foreboded some mischief
to itself. Those therefore of his friends which were the most considerate
advised him not rashly to go to his father, till he had learned what were the
occasions why his mother had been ejected, because they were afraid that
he might be involved in the calumnies that had been cast upon his mother:
but those that were less considerate, and had more regard to their own
desires of seeing their native country, than to Antipaterís safety,
persuaded him to make haste home, and not, by delaying his journey,
afford his father ground for an ill suspicion, and give a handle to those that
raised stories against him; for that in case any thing had been moved to his
disadvantage, it was owing to his absence, which durst not have been done
had he been present. And they said it was absurd to deprive himself of
certain happiness, for the sake of an uncertain suspicion, and not rather to
return to his father, and take the royal authority upon him, which was in a
state of fluctuation on his account only. Antipater complied with this last
advice, for Providence hurried him on [to his destruction]. So he passed
over the sea, and landed at Sebastus, the haven of Cesarea.
4. And here he found a perfect and unexpected solitude, while ever body
avoided him, and nobody durst come at him; for he was equally hated by
all men; and now that hatred had liberty to show itself, and the dread men
were in at the kingís anger made men keep from him; for the whole city [of
Jerusalem] was filled with the rumors about Antipater, and Antipater
himself was the only person who was ignorant of them; for as no man was
dismissed more magnificently when he began his voyage to Rome so was
no man now received back with greater ignominy. And indeed he began
already to suspect what misfortunes there were in Herodís family; yet did
he cunningly conceal his suspicion; and while he was inwardly ready to die
for fear, he put on a forced boldness of countenance. Nor could he now fly
any whither, nor had he any way of emerging out of the difficulties which
encompassed him; nor indeed had he even there any certain intelligence of
the affairs of the royal family, by reason of the threats the king had given
out: yet had he some small hopes of better tidings; for perhaps nothing
had been discovered; or if any discovery had been made, perhaps he
should be able to clear himself by impudence and artful tricks, which were
the only things he relied upon for his deliverance.
5. And with these hopes did he screen himself, till he came to the palace,
without any friends with him; for these were affronted, and shut out at the
first gate. Now Varus, the president of Syria, happened to be in the palace
[at this juncture]; so Antipater went in to his father, and, putting on a bold
face, he came near to salute him. But Herod Stretched out his hands, and
turned his head away from him, and cried out, ďEven this is an indication
of a parricide, to be desirous to get me into his arms, when he is under such
heinous accusations. God confound thee, thou vile wretch; do not thou
touch me, till thou hast cleared thyself of these crimes that are charged
upon thee. I appoint thee a court where thou art to be judged, and this
Varus, who is very seasonably here, to be thy judge; and get thou thy
defense ready against tomorrow, for I give thee so much time to prepare
suitable excuses for thyself.Ē And as Antipater was so confounded, that he
was able to make no answer to this charge, he went away; but his mother
and wife came to him, and told him of all the evidence they had gotten
against him. Hereupon he recollected himself, and considered what defense
he should make against the accusations.
1. NOW the day following the king assembled a court of his kinsmen and
friends, and called in Antipaterís friends also. Herod himself, with Varus,
were the presidents; and Herod called for all the witnesses, and ordered
them to be brought in; among whom some of the domestic servants of
Antipaterís mother were brought in also, who had but a little while before
been caught, as they were carrying the following letter from her to her son:
ďSince all those things have been already discovered to thy father, do not
thou come to him, unless thou canst procure some assistance from
Caesar.Ē When this and the other witnesses were introduced, Antipater
came in, and falling on his face before his fatherís feet, he said, ďFather, I
beseech thee, do not condemn me beforehand, but let thy ears be
unbiassed, and attend to my defense; for if thou wilt give me leave, I will
demonstrate that I am innocent.Ē
2. Hereupon Herod cried out to him to hold his peace, and spake thus to
Varus: ďI cannot but think that thou, Varus, and every other upright judge,
will determine that Antipater is a vile wretch. I am also afraid that thou
wilt abhor my ill fortune, and judge me also myself worthy of all sorts of
calamity for begetting such children; while yet I ought rather to be pitied,
who have been so affectionate a father to such wretched sons; for when I
had settled the kingdom on my former sons, even when they were young,
and when, besides the charges of their education at Rome, I had made them
the friends of Caesar, and made them envied by other kings, I found them
plotting against me. These have been put to death, and that, in great
measure, for the sake of Antipater; for as he was then young, and
appointed to be my successor, I took care chiefly to secure him from
danger: but this profligate wild beast, when he had been over and above
satiated with that patience which I showed him, he made use of that
abundance I had given him against myself; for I seemed to him to live too
long, and he was very uneasy at the old age I was arrived at; nor could he
stay any longer, but would be a king by parricide. And justly I am served
by him for bringing him back out of the country to court, when he was of
no esteem before, and for thrusting out those sons of mine that were born
of the queen, and for making him a successor to my dominions. I confess
to thee, O Varus, the great folly I was guilty for I provoked those sons of
mine to act against me, and cut off their just expectations for the sake of
Antipater; and indeed what kindness did I do them; that could equal what I
have done to Antipater? to I have, in a manner, yielded up my royal while
I am alive, and whom I have openly named for the successor to my
dominions in my testament, and given him a yearly revenue of his own of
fifty talents, and supplied him with money to an extravagant degree out of
my own revenue; andí when he was about to sail to Rome, I gave him
three talents, and recommended him, and him alone of all my children, to
Caesar, as his fatherís deliverer. Now what crimes were those other sons
of mine guilty of like these of Antipater? and what evidence was there
brought against them so strong as there is to demonstrate this son to have
plotted against me? Yet does this parricide presume to speak for himself,
and hopes to obscure the truth by his cunning tricks. Thou, O Varus, must
guard thyself against him; for I know the wild beast, and I foresee how
plausibly he will talk, and his counterfeit lamentation. This was he who
exhorted me to have a care of Alexander when he was alive, and not to
intrust my body with all men! This was he who came to my very bed, and
looked about lest any one should lay snares for me! This was he who took
care of my sleep, and secured me from fear of danger, who comforted me
under the trouble I was in upon the slaughter of my sons, and looked to
see what affection my surviving brethren bore me! This was my protector,
and the guardian of my body! And when I call to mind, O Varus, his
craftiness upon every occasion, and his art of dissembling, I can hardly
believe that I am still alive, and I wonder how I have escaped such a deep
plotter of mischief. However, since some fate or other makes my house
desolate, and perpetually raises up those that are dearest to me against me,
I will, with tears, lament my hard fortune, and privately groan under my
lonesome condition; yet am I resolved that no one who thirsts after my
blood shall escape punishment, although the evidence should extend itself
to all my sons.Ē
3. Upon Herodís saying this, he was interrupted by the confusion he was
in; but ordered Nicolaus, one of his friends, to produce the evidence
against Antipater. But in the mean time Antipater lifted up his head, (for
he lay on the ground before his fatherís feet,) and cried out aloud, ďThou,
O father, hast made my apology for me; for how can I be a parricide,
whom thou thyself confessest to have always had for thy guardian? Thou
callest my filial affection prodigious lies and hypocrisy! how then could it
be that I, who was so subtle in other matters, should here be so mad as not
to understand that it was not easy that he who committed so horrid a
crime should be concealed from men, but impossible that he should be
concealed from the Judge of heaven, who sees all things, and is present
every where? or did not I know what end my brethren came to, on whom
God inflicted so great a punishment for their evil designs against thee? And
indeed what was there that could possibly provoke me against thee? Could
the hope of being king do it? I was a king already. Could I suspect hatred
from thee? No. Was not I beloved by thee? And what other fear could I
have? Nay, by preserving thee safe, I was a terror to others. Did I want
money? No; for who was able to expend so much as myself? Indeed,
father, had I been the most execrable of all mankind, and had I had the soul
of the most cruel wild beast, must I not have been overcome with the
benefits thou hadst bestowed upon me? whom, as thou thyself sayest,
thou broughtest [into the palace]; whom thou didst prefer before so many
of thy sons; whom thou madest a king in thine own lifetime, and, by the
vast magnitude of the other advantages thou bestowedst on me, thou
madest me an object of envy. O miserable man! that thou shouldst undergo
this bitter absence, and thereby afford a great opportunity for envy to
arise against thee, and a long space for such as were laying designs against
thee! Yet was I absent, father, on thy affairs, that Sylleus might not treat
thee with contempt in thine old age. Rome is a witness to my filial
affection, and so is Caesar, the ruler of the habitable earth, who oftentimes
called me Philopater. 47 Take here the letters he hath sent thee, they are
more to be believed than the calumnies raised here; these letters are my
only apology; these I use as the demonstration of that natural affection I
have to thee. Remember that it was against my own choice that I sailed [to
Rome], as knowing the latent hatred that was in the kingdom against me. It
was thou, O father, however unwillingly, who hast been my ruin, by
forcing me to allow time for calumnies against me, and envy at me.
However, I am come hither, and am ready to hear the evidence there is
against me. If I be a parricide, I have passed by land and by sea, without
suffering any misfortune on either of them: but this method of trial is no
advantage to me; for it seems, O father, that I am already condemned, both
before God and before thee; and as I am already condemned, I beg that
thou wilt not believe the others that have been tortured, but let fire be
brought to torment me; let the racks march through my bowels; have no
regard to any lamentations that this polluted body can make; for if I be a
parricide, I ought not to die without torture.Ē Thus did Antipater cry out
with lamentation and weeping, and moved all the rest, and Varus in
particular, to commiserate his case. Herod was the only person whose
passion was too strong to permit him to weep, as knowing that the
testimonies against him were true.
4. And now it was that, at the kingís command, Nicolaus, when he had
premised a great deal about the craftiness of Antipater, and had prevented
the effects of their commiseration to him, afterwards brought in a bitter
and large accusation against him, ascribing all the wickedness that had been
in the kingdom to him, and especially the murder of his brethren; and
demonstrated that they had perished by the calumnies he had raised
against them. He also said that he had laid designs against them that were
still alive, as if they were laying plots for the succession; and (said he)
how can it be supposed that he who prepared poison for his father should
abstain from mischief as to his brethren? He then proceeded to convict him
of the attempt to poison Herod, and gave an account in order of the several
discoveries that had been made; and had great indignation as to the affair of
Pheroras, because Antipater had been for making him murder his brother,
and had corrupted those that were dearest to the king, and filled the whole
palace with wickedness; and when he had insisted on many other
accusations, and the proofs for them, he left off.
5. Then Varus bid Antipater make his defense; but he lay along in silence,
and said no more but this, ďGod is my witness that I am entirely
innocent.Ē So Varus asked for the potion, and gave it to be drunk by a
condemned malefactor, who was then in prison, who died upon the spot.
So Varus, when he had had a very private discourse with Herod, and had
written an account of this assembly to Caesar, went away, after a dayís
stay. The king also bound Antipater, and sent away to inform Caesar of
his misfortunes.
6. Now after this it was discovered that Antipater had laid a plot against
Salome also; for one of Antiphilusís domestic servants came, and brought
letters from Rome, from a maid-servant of Julia, [Caesarís wife,] whose
name was Acme. By her a message was sent to the king, that she had
found a letter written by Salome, among Juliaís papers, and had sent it to
him privately, out of her good-will to him. This letter of Salome contained
the most bitter reproaches of the king, and the highest accusations against
him. Antipater had forged this letter, and had corrupted Acme, and
persuaded her to send it to Herod. This was proved by her letter to
Antipater, for thus did this woman write to him: ďAs thou desirest, I have
written a letter to thy father, and have sent that letter, and am persuaded
that the king will not spare his sister when he reads it. Thou wilt do well
to remember what thou hast promised when all is accomplished.Ē
7. When this epistle was discovered, and what the epistle forged against
Salome contained, a suspicion came into the kingís mind, that perhaps the
letters against Alexander were also forged: he was moreover greatly
disturbed, and in a passion, because he had almost slain his sister on
Antipaterís account. He did no longer delay therefore to bring him to
punishment for all his crimes; yet when he was eagerly pursuing
Antipater, he was restrained by a severe distemper he fell into. However,
he sent all account to Caesar about Acme, and the contrivances against
Salome; he sent also for his testament, and altered it, and therein made
Antipas king, as taking no care of Archclaus and Philip, because Antipater
had blasted their reputations with him; but he bequeathed to Caesar,
besides other presents that he gave him, a thousand talents; as also to his
wife, and children, and friends, and freed-men about five hundred: he also
bequeathed to all others a great quantity of land, and of money, and
showed his respects to Salome his sister, by giving her most splendid gifts.
And this was what was contained in his testament, as it was now altered.
1. NOW Herodís distemper became more and more severe to him, and this
because these his disorders fell upon him in his old age, and when he was
in a melancholy condition; for he was already seventy years of age, and
had been brought by the calamities that happened to him about his
children, whereby he had no pleasure in life, even when he was in health;
the grief also that Antipater was still alive aggravated his disease, whom he
resolved to put to death now not at random, but as soon as he should be
well again, and resolved to have him slain [in a public manner].
2. There also now happened to him, among his other calamities, a certain
popular sedition. There were two men of learning in the city [Jerusalem,]
who were thought the most skillful in the laws of their country, and were
on that account had in very great esteem all over the nation; they were, the
one Judas, the son of Sepphoris, and the other Mattbias, the son of
Margalus. There was a great concourse of the young men to these men
when they expounded the laws, and there got together every day a kind of
an army of such as were growing up to be men. Now when these men were
informed that the king was wearing away with melancholy, and with a
distemper, they dropped words to their acquaintance, how it was now a
very proper time to defend the cause of God, and to pull down what had
been erected contrary to the laws of their country; for it was unlawful
there should be any such thing in the temple as images, or faces, or the like
representation of any animal whatsoever. Now the king had put up a
golden eagle over the great gate of the temple, which these learned men
exhorted them to cut down; and told them, that if there should any danger
arise, it was a glorious thing to die for the laws of their country; because
that the soul was immortal, and that an eternal enjoyment of happiness did
await such as died on that account; while the mean-spirited, and those that
were not wise enough to show a right love of their souls, preferred a death
by a disease, before that which is the result of a virtuous behavior.
3. At the same time that these men made this speech to their disciples, a
rumor was spread abroad that the king was dying, which made the young
men set about the work with greater boldness; they therefore let
themselves down from the top of the temple with thick cords, and this at
midday, and while a great number of people were in the temple, and cut
down that golden eagle with axes. This was presently told to the kingís
captain of the temple, who came running with a great body of soldiers, and
caught about forty of the young men, and brought them to the king. And
when he asked them, first of all, whether they had been so hardy as to cut
down the golden eagle, they confessed they had done so; and when he
asked them by whose command they had done it, they replied, at the
command of the law of their country; and when he further asked them how
they could be so joyful when they were to be put to death, they replied,
because they should enjoy greater happiness after they were dead. 48
4. At this the king was in such an extravagant passion, that he overcame
his disease [for the time,] and went out, and spake to the people; wherein
he made a terrible accusation against those men, as being guilty of sacrilege,
and as making greater attempts under pretense of their law, and he thought
they deserved to be punished as impious persons. Whereupon the people
were afraid lest a great number should be found guilty and desired that
when he had first punished those that put them upon this work, and then
those that were caught in it, he would leave off his anger as to the rest.
With this the king complied, though not without difficulty, and ordered
those that had let themselves down, together with their Rabbins, to be
burnt alive, but delivered the rest that were caught to the proper officers,
to be put to death by them.
5. After this, the distemper seized upon his whole body, and greatly
disordered all its parts with various symptoms; for there was a gentle
fever upon him, and an intolerable itching over all the surface of his body,
and continual pains in his colon, and dropsical turnouts about his feet, and
an inflammation of the abdomen, and a putrefaction of his privy member,
that produced worms. Besides which he had a difficulty of breathing upon
him, and could not breathe but when he sat upright, and had a convulsion
of all his members, insomuch that the diviners said those diseases were a
punishment upon him for what he had done to the Rabbins. Yet did he
struggle with his numerous disorders, and still had a desire to live, and
hoped for recovery, and considered of several methods of cure.
Accordingly, he went over Jordan, and made use of those hot baths at
Callirrhoe, which ran into the lake Asphaltitis, but are themselves sweet
enough to be drunk. And here the physicians thought proper to bathe his
whole body in warm oil, by letting it down into a large vessel full of oil;
whereupon his eyes failed him, and he came and went as if he was dying;
and as a tumult was then made by his servants, at their voice he revived
again. Yet did he after this despair of recovery, and gave orders that each
soldier should have fifty drachmae a-piece, and that his commanders and
friends should have great sums of money given them.
6. He then returned back and came to Jericho, in such a melancholy state
of body as almost threatened him with present death, when he proceeded
to attempt a horrid wickedness; for he got together the most illustrious
men of the whole Jewish nation, out of every village, into a place called the
Hippodrome, and there shut them in. He then called for his sister Salome,
and her husband Alexas, and made this speech to them: ďI know well
enough that the Jews will keep a festival upon my death however, it is in
my power to be mourned for on other accounts, and to have a splendid
funeral, if you will but be subservient to my commands. Do you but take
care to send soldiers to encompass these men that are now in custody, and
slay them immediately upon my death, and then all Judea, and every
family of them, will weep at it, whether they will or no.Ē
7. These were the commands he gave them; when there came letters from
his ambassadors at Rome, whereby information was given that Acme was
put to death at Caesarís command, and that Antipater was condemned to
die; however, they wrote withal, that if Herod had a mind rather to banish
him, Caesar permitted him so to do. So he for a little while revived, and
had a desire to live; but presently after he was overborne by his pains, and
was disordered by want of food, and by a convulsive cough, and
endeavored to prevent a natural, death; so he took an apple, and asked for
a knife for he used to pare apples and eat them; he then looked round
about to see that there was nobody to hinder him, and lift up his right
hand as if he would stab himself; but Achiabus, his first cousin, came
running to him, and held his hand, and hindered him from so doing; on
which occasion a very great lamentation was made in the palace, as if the
king were expiring. As soon as ever Antipater heard that, he took courage,
and with joy in his looks, besought his keepers, for a sum of money, to
loose him and let him go; but the principal keeper of the prison did not
only obstruct him in that his intention, but ran and told the king what his
design was; hereupon the king cried out louder than his distemper would
well bear, and immediately sent some of his guards and slew Antipater; he
also gave order to have him buried at Hyrcanium, and altered his testament
again, and therein made Archclaus, his eldest son, and the brother of
Antipas, his successor, and made Antipas tetrarch.
8. So Herod, having survived the slaughter of his son five days, died,
having reigned thirty-four years since he had caused Antigonus to be slain,
and obtained his kingdom; but thirty-seven years since he had been made
king by the Romans. Now as for his fortune, it was prosperous in all other
respects, if ever any other man could be so, since, from a private man, he
obtained the kingdom, and kept it so long, and left it to his own sons; but
still in his domestic affairs he was a most unfortunate man. Now, before
the soldiers knew of his death, Salome and her husband came out and
dismissed those that were in bonds, whom the king had commanded to be
slain, and told them that he had altered his mind, and would have every
one of them sent to their own homes. When these men were gone, Salome,
told the soldiers [the king was dead], and got them and the rest of the
multitude together to an assembly, in the amphitheater at Jericho, where
Ptolemy, who was intrusted by the king with his signet ring, came before
them, and spake of the happiness the king had attained, and comforted the
multitude, and read the epistle which had been left for the soldiers,
wherein he earnestly exhorted them to bear good-will to his successor; and
after he had read the epistle, he opened and read his testament, wherein
Philip was to inherit Trachonitis, and the neighboring countries, and
Antipas was to be tetrarch, as we said before, and Archelaus was made
king. He had also been commanded to carry Herodís ring to Caesar, and
the settlements he had made, sealed up, because Caesar was to be Lord of
all the settlements he had made, and was to confirm his testament; and he
ordered that the dispositions he had made were to be kept as they were in
his former testament.
9. So there was an acclamation made to Archelaus, to congratulate him
upon his advancement; and the soldiers, with the multitude, went round
about in troops, and promised him their good-will, and besides, prayed
God to bless his government. After this, they betook themselves to
prepare for the kingís funeral; and Archelaus omitted nothing of
magnificence therein, but brought out all the royal ornaments to augment
the pomp of the deceased. There was a bier all of gold, embroidered with
precious stones, and a purple bed of various contexture, with the dead
body upon it, covered with purple; and a diadem was put upon his head,
and a crown of gold above it, and a secptre in his right hand; and near to
the bier were Herodís sons, and a multitude of his kindred; next to which
came his guards, and the regiment of Thracians, the Germans. also and
Gauls, all accounted as if they were going to war; but the rest of the army
went foremost, armed, and following their captains and officers in a regular
manner; after whom five hundred of his domestic servants and freed-men
followed, with sweet spices in their hands: and the body was carried two
hundred furlongs, to Herodium, where he had given order to be buried. And
this shall suffice for the conclusion of the life of Herod.