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The Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus

Part 17 out of 26

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the multitude was made too evident; and they more rashly
proclaimed the happiness they had received from his family than
was fit under a monarchy to have done. Upon all this, Herod
resolved to complete what he had intended against the young man.
When therefore the festival was over, and he was feasting at
Jericho (6) with Alexandra, who entertained them there, he was
then very pleasant with the young man, and drew him into a lonely
place, and at the same time played with him in a juvenile and
ludicrous manner. Now the nature of that place was hotter than
ordinary; so they went out in a body, and of a sudden, and in a
vein of madness; and as they stood by the fish-ponds, of which
there were large ones about the house, they went to cool
themselves [by bathing], because it was in the midst of a hot
day. At first they were only spectators of Herod's servants and
acquaintance as they were swimming; but after a while, the young
man, at the instigation of Herod, went into the water among them,
while such of Herod's acquaintance, as he had appointed to do it,
dipped him as he was swimming, and plunged him under water, in
the dark of the evening, as if it had been done in sport only;
nor did they desist till he was entirely suffocated. And thus was
Aristobulus murdered, having lived no more in all than eighteen
years, (7) and kept the high priesthood one year only; which high
priesthood Ananelus now recovered again.

4. When this sad accident was told the women, their joy was soon
changed to lamentation, at the sight of the dead body that lay
before them, and their sorrow was immoderate. The city also [of
Jerusalem], upon the spreading of this news, were in very great
grief, every family looking on this calamity as if it had not
belonged to another, but that one of themselves was slain. But
Alexandra was more deeply affected, upon her knowledge that he
had been destroyed [on purpose]. Her sorrow was greater than that
of others, by her knowing how the murder was committed; but she
was under the necessity of bearing up under it, out of her
prospect of a greater mischief that might otherwise follow; and
she oftentimes came to an inclination to kill herself with her
own hand, but still she restrained herself, in hopes she might
live long enough to revenge the unjust murder thus privately
committed; nay, she further resolved to endeavor to live longer,
and to give no occasion to think she suspected that her son was
slain on purpose, and supposed that she might thereby be in a
capacity of revenging it at a proper opportunity. Thus did she
restrain herself, that she might not be noted for entertaining
any such suspicion. However, Herod endeavored that none abroad
should believe that the child's death was caused by any design of
his; and for this purpose he did not only use the ordinary signs
of sorrow, but fell into tears also, and exhibited a real
confusion of soul; and perhaps his affections were overcome on
this occasion, when he saw the child's countenance so young and
so beautiful, although his death was supposed to tend to his own
security. So far at least this grief served as to make some
apology for him; and as for his funeral, that he took care should
be very magnificent, by making great preparation for a sepulcher
to lay his body in, and providing a great quantity of spices, and
burying many ornaments together with him, till the very women,
who were in such deep sorrow, were astonished at it, and received
in this way some consolation.

5. However, no such things could overcome Alexandra's grief; but
the remembrance of this miserable case made her sorrow, both deep
and obstinate. Accordingly, she wrote an account of this
treacherous scene to Cleopatra, and how her son was murdered; but
Cleopatra, as she had formerly been desirous to give her what
satisfaction she could, and commiserating Alexandra's
misfortunes, made the case her own, and would not let Antony be
quiet, but excited him to punish the child's murder; for that it
was an unworthy thing that Herod, who had been by him made king
of a kingdom that no way belonged to him, should be guilty of
such horrid crimes against those that were of the royal blood in
reality. Antony was persuaded by these arguments; and when he
came to Laodicea, he sent and commanded Herod to come and make
his defense, as to what he had done to Aristobulus, for that such
a treacherous design was not well done, if he had any hand in it.
Herod was now in fear, both of the accusation, and of Cleopatra's
ill-will to him, which was such that she was ever endeavoring to
make Antony hate him. He therefore determined to obey his
summons, for he had no possible way to avoid it. So he left his
uncle Joseph procurator for his government, and for the public
affairs, and gave him a private charge, that if Antony should
kill him, he also should kill Mariamne immediately; for that he
had a tender affection for this his wife, and was afraid of the
injury that should be offered him, if, after his death, she, for
her beauty, should be engaged to some other man: but his
intimation was nothing but this at the bottom, that Antony had
fallen in love with her, when he had formerly heard somewhat of
her beauty. So when Herod had given Joseph this charge, and had
indeed no sure hopes of escaping with his life, he went away to

6. But as Joseph was administering the public affairs of the
kingdom, and for that reason was very frequently with Mariamne,
both because his business required it, and because of the
respects he ought to pay to the queen, he frequently let himself
into discourses about Herod's kindness, and great affection
towards her; and when the women, especially Alexandra, used to
turn his discourses into feminine raillery, Joseph was so
over-desirous to demonstrate the kings inclinations, that he
proceeded so far as to mention the charge he had received, and
thence drew his demonstration, that Herod was not able to live
without her; and that if he should come to any ill end, he could
not endure a separation from her, even after he was dead. Thus
spake Joseph. But the women, as was natural, did not take this to
be an instance of Herod's strong affection for them, but of his
severe usage of them, that they could not escape destruction, nor
a tyrannical death, even when he was dead himself. And this
saying [of Joseph] was a foundation for the women's severe
suspicions about him afterwards.

7. At this time a report went about the city Jerusalem among
Herod's enemies, that Antony had tortured Herod, and put him to
death. This report, as is natural, disturbed those that were
about the palace, but chiefly the women; upon which Alexandra
endeavored to persuade Joseph to go out of the palace, and fly
away with them to the ensigns of the Roman legion, which then lay
encamped about the city, as a guard to the kingdom, under the
command of Julius; for that by this means, if any disturbance
should happen about the palace, they should be in greater
security, as having the Romans favorable to them; and that
besides, they hoped to obtain the highest authority, if Antony
did but once see Mariamne, by whose means they should recover the
kingdom, and want nothing which was reasonable for them to hope
for, because of their royal extraction.

8. But as they were in the midst of these deliberations, letters
were brought from Herod about all his affairs, and proved
contrary to the report, and of what they before expected; for
when he was come to Antony, he soon recovered his interest with
him, by the presents he made him, which he had brought with him
from Jerusalem; and he soon induced him, upon discoursing with
him, to leave off his indignation at him, so that Cleopatra's
persuasions had less force than the arguments and presents he
brought to regain his friendship; for Antony said that it was not
good to require an account of a king, as to the affairs of his
government, for at this rate he could be no king at all, but that
those who had given him that authority ought to permit him to
make use of it. He also said the same things to Cleopatra, that
it would be best for her not busily to meddle with the acts of
the king's government. Herod wrote an account of these things,
and enlarged upon the other honors which he had received from
Antony; how he sat by him at his hearing causes, and took his
diet with him every day, and that he enjoyed those favors from
him, notwithstanding the reproaches that Cleopatra so severely
laid against him, who having a great desire of his country, and
earnestly entreating Antony that the kingdom might be given to
her, labored with her utmost diligence to have him out of the
way; but that he still found Antony just to him, and had no
longer any apprehensions of hard treatment from him; and that he
was soon upon his return, with a firmer additional assurance of
his favor to him, in his reigning and managing public affairs;
and that there was no longer any hope for Cleopatra's covetous
temper, since Antony had given her Celesyria instead of what she
had desired; by which means he had at once pacified her, and got
clear of the entreaties which she made him to have Judea bestowed
upon her.

9. When these letters were brought, the women left off their
attempt for flying to the Romans, which they thought of while
Herod was supposed to be dead; yet was not that purpose of theirs
a secret; but when the king had conducted Antony on his way
against the Partnians, he returned to Judea, when both his sister
Salome and his mother informed him of Alexandra's intentions.
Salome also added somewhat further against Joseph, though it was
no more than a calumny, that he had often had criminal
conversation with Mariamne. The reason of her saying so was this,
that she for a long time bare her ill-will; for when they had
differences with one another, Mariamne took great freedoms, and
reproached the rest for the meanness of their birth. But Herod,
whose affection to Mariamne was always very warm, was presently
disturbed at this, and could not bear the torments of jealousy,
but was still restrained from doing any rash thing to her by the
love he had for her; yet did his vehement affection and jealousy
together make him ask Mariamne by herself about this matter of
Joseph; but she denied it upon her oath, and said all that an
innocent woman could possibly say in her own defense; so that by
little and little the king was prevailed upon to drop the
suspicion, and left off his anger at her; and being overcome with
his passion for his wife, he made an apology to her for having
seemed to believe what he had heard about her, and returned her a
great many acknowledgments of her modest behavior, and professed
the extraordinary affection and kindness he had for her, till at
last, as is usual between lovers, they both fell into tears, and
embraced one another with a most tender affection. But as the
king gave more and more assurances of his belief of her fidelity,
and endeavored to draw her to a like confidence in him, Marianme
said, Yet was not that command thou gavest, that if any harm came
to thee from Antony, I, who had been no occasion of it, should
perish with thee, a sign of thy love to me?" When these words
were fallen from her, the king was shocked at them, and presently
let her go out of his arms, and cried out, and tore his hair with
his own hands, and said, that "now he had an evident
demonstration that Joseph had had criminal conversation with his
wife; for that he would never have uttered what he had told him
alone by himself, unless there had been such a great familiarity
and firm confidence between them. And while he was in this
passion he had like to have killed his wife; but being still
overborne by his love to her, he restrained this his passion,
though not without a lasting grief and disquietness of mind.
However, he gave order to slay Joseph, without permitting him to
come into his sight; and as for Alexandra, he bound her, and kept
her in custody, as the cause of all this mischief.


How Cleopatra, When She Had Gotten From Antony Some Parts Of
Judea And Arabia Came Into Judea; And How Herod Gave Her Many
Presents And Conducted Her On Her Way Back To Egypt.

1. Now at this time the affairs of Syria were in confusion by
Cleopatra's constant persuasions to Antony to make an attempt
upon every body's dominions; for she persuaded him to take those
dominions away from their several princes, and bestow them upon
her; and she had a mighty influence upon him, by reason of his
being enslaved to her by his affections. She was also by nature
very covetous, and stuck at no wickedness. She had already
poisoned her brother, because she knew that he was to be king of
Egypt, and this when he was but fifteen years old; and she got
her sister Arsinoe to be slain, by the means of Antony, when she
was a supplicant at Diana's temple at Ephesus; for if there were
but any hopes of getting money, she would violate both temples
and sepulchers. Nor was there any holy place that was esteemed
the most inviolable, from which she would not fetch the ornaments
it had in it; nor any place so profane, but was to suffer the
most flagitious treatment possible from her, if it could but
contribute somewhat to the covetous humor of this wicked
creature: yet did not all this suffice so extravagant a woman,
who was a slave to her lusts, but she still imagined that she
wanted every thing she could think of, and did her utmost to gain
it; for which reason she hurried Antony on perpetually to deprive
others of their dominions, and give them to her. And as she went
over Syria with him, she contrived to get it into her possession;
so he slew Lysanias, the son of Ptolemy, accusing him of his
bringing the Parthians upon those countries. She also petitioned
Antony to give her Judea and Arabia; and, in order thereto,
desired him to take these countries away from their present
governors. As for Antony, he was so entirely overcome by this
woman, that one would not think her conversation only could do
it, but that he was some way or other bewitched to do whatsoever
she would have him; yet did the grossest parts of her injustice
make him so ashamed, that he would not always hearken to her to
do those flagrant enormities she would have persuaded him to.
That therefore he might not totally deny her, nor, by doing every
thing which she enjoined him, appear openly to be an ill man, he
took some parts of each of those countries away from their former
governors, and gave them to her. Thus he gave her the cities that
were within the river Eleutherus, as far as Egypt, excepting Tyre
and Sidon, which he knew to have been free cities from their
ancestors, although she pressed him very often to bestow those on
her also.

2. When Cleopatra had obtained thus much, and had accompanied
Antony in his expedition to Armenia as far as Euphrates, she
returned back, and came to Apamia and Damascus, and passed on to
Judea, where Herod met her, and farmed of her parts of Arabia,
and those revenues that came to her from the region about
Jericho. This country bears that balsam, which is the most
precious drug that is there, and grows there alone. The place
bears also palm trees, both many in number, and those excellent
in their kind. When she was there, and was very often with Herod,
she endeavored to have criminal conversation with the king; nor
did she affect secrecy in the indulgence of such sort of
pleasures; and perhaps she had in some measure a passion of love
to him; or rather, what is most probable, she laid a treacherous
snare for him, by aiming to obtain such adulterous conversation
from him: however, upon the whole, she seemed overcome with love
to him. Now Herod had a great while borne no good-will to
Cleopatra, as knowing that she was a woman irksome to all; and at
that time he thought her particularly worthy of his hatred, if
this attempt proceeded out of lust; he had also thought of
preventing her intrigues, by putting her to death, if such were
her endeavors. However, he refused to comply with her proposals,
and called a counsel of his friends to consult with them whether
he should not kill her, now he had her in his power; for that he
should thereby deliver all those from a multitude of evils to
whom she was already become irksome, and was expected to be still
so for the time to come; and that this very thing would be much
for the advantage of Antony himself, since she would certainly
not be faithful to him, in case any such season or necessity
should come upon him as that he should stand in need of her
fidelity. But when he thought to follow this advice, his friends
would not let him; and told him that, in the first place, it was
not right to attempt so great a thing, and run himself thereby
into the utmost danger; and they laid hard at him, and begged of
him to undertake nothing rashly, for that Antony would never bear
it, no, not though any one should evidently lay before his eyes
that it was for his own advantage; and that the appearance of
depriving him of her conversation, by this violent and
treacherous method, would probably set his affections more on a
flame than before. Nor did it appear that he could offer any
thing of tolerable weight in his defense, this attempt being
against such a woman as was of the highest dignity of any of her
sex at that time in the world; and as to any advantage to be
expected from such an undertaking, if any such could be supposed
in this case, it would appear to deserve condemnation, on account
of the insolence he must take upon him in doing it: which
considerations made it very plain that in so doing he would find
his government filled with mischief, both great and lasting, both
to himself and his posterity, whereas it was still in his power
to reject that wickedness she would persuade him to, and to come
off honorably at the same time. So by thus affrighting Herod, and
representing to him the hazard he must, in all probability, run
by this undertaking, they restrained him from it. So he treated
Cleopatra kindly, and made her presents, and conducted her on her
way to Egypt.

3. But Antony subdued Armenia, and sent Artabazes, the son of
Tigranes, in bonds, with his children and procurators, to Egypt,
and made a present of them, and of all the royal ornaments which
he had taken out of that kingdom, to Cleopatra. And Artaxias, the
eldest of his sons, who had escaped at that time, took the
kingdom of Armenia; who yet was ejected by Archclaus and Nero
Caesar, when they restored Tigranes, his younger brother, to that
kingdom; but this happened a good while afterward.

4. But then, as to the tributes which Herod was to pay Cleopatra
for that country which Antony had given her, he acted fairly with
her, as deeming it not safe for him to afford any cause for
Cleopatra to hate him. As for the king of Arabia, whose tribute
Herod had undertaken to pay her, for some time indeed he paid him
as much as came to two hundred talents; but he afterwards became
very niggardly and slow in his payments, and could hardly be
brought to pay some parts of it, and was not willing to pay even
them without some deductions.


How Herod Made War With The King Of Arabia, And After They Had
Fought Many Battles, At Length Conquered Him, And Was Chosen By
The Arabs To Be Governor Of That Nation; As Also Concerning A
Great Earthquake.

1. Hereupon Herod held himself ready to go against the king of
Arabia, because of his ingratitude to him, and because, after
all, he would do nothing that was just to him, although Herod
made the Roman war an occasion of delaying his own; for the
battle at Actium was now expected, which fell into the hundred
eighty and seventh olympiad, where Caesar and Antony were to
fight for the supreme power of the world; but Herod having
enjoyed a country that was very fruitful, and that now for a long
time, and having received great taxes, and raised great armies
therewith, got together a body of men, and carefully furnished
them with all necessaries, and designed them as auxiliaries for
Antony. But Antony said he had no want of his assistance; but he
commanded him to punish the king of Arabia; for he had heard both
from him, and from Cleopatra, how perfidious he was; for this was
what Cleopatra desired, who thought it for her own advantage that
these two kings should do one another as great mischief as
possible. Upon this message from Antony, Herod returned back, but
kept his army with him, in order to invade Arabia immediately. So
when his army of horsemen and footmen was ready, he marched to
Diospolis, whither the Arabians came also to meet them, for they
were not unapprized of this war that was coming upon them; and
after a great battle had been fought, the Jews had the victory.
But afterward there were gotten together another numerous army of
the Arabians, at Cana, which is a place of Celesyria. Herod was
informed of this beforehand; so he came marching against them
with the greatest part of the forces he had; and when he was come
near to Cana, he resolved to encamp himself; and he cast up a
bulwark, that he might take a proper season for attacking the
enemy; but as he was giving those orders, the multitude of the
Jews cried out that he should make no delay, but lead them
against the Arabians. They went with great spirit, as believing
they were in very good order; and those especially were so that
had been in the former battle, and had been conquerors, and had
not permitted their enemies so much as to come to a close fight
with them. And when they were so tumultuous, and showed such
great alacrity, the king resolved to make use of that zeal the
multitude then exhibited; and when he had assured them he would
not be behindhand with them in courage, he led them on, and stood
before them all in his armor, all the regiments following him in
their several ranks: whereupon a consternation fell upon the
Arabians; for when they perceived that the Jews were not to be
conquered, and were full of spirit, the greater part of them ran
away, and avoided fighting; and they had been quite destroyed,
had not Anthony fallen upon the Jews, and distressed them; for
this man was Cleopatra's general over the soldiers she had there,
and was at enmity with Herod, and very wistfully looked on to see
what the event of the battle would be. He had also resolved, that
in case the Arabians did any thing that was brave and successful,
he would lie still; but in case they were beaten, as it really
happened, he would attack the Jews with those forces he had of
his own, and with those that the country had gotten together for
him. So he fell upon the Jews unexpectedly, when they were
fatigued, and thought they had already vanquished the enemy, and
made a great slaughter of them; for as the Jews had spent their
courage upon their known enemies, and were about to enjoy
themselves in quietness after their victory, they were easily
beaten by these that attacked them afresh, and in particular
received a great loss in places where the horses could not be of
service, and which were very stony, and where those that attacked
them were better acquainted with the places than themselves. And
when the Jews had suffered this loss, the Arabians raised their
spirits after their defeat, and returning back again, slew those
that were already put to flight; and indeed all sorts of
slaughter were now frequent, and of those that escaped, a few
only returned into the camp. So king Herod, when he despaired of
the battle, rode up to them to bring them assistance; yet did he
not come time enough to do them any service, though he labored
hard to do it; but the Jewish camp was taken; so that the
Arabians had unexpectedly a most glorious success, having gained
that victory which of themselves they were no way likely to have
gained, and slaying a great part of the enemy's army: whence
afterward Herod could only act like a private robber, and make
excursions upon many parts of Arabia, and distress them by sudden
incursions, while he encamped among the mountains, and avoided by
any means to come to a pitched battle; yet did he greatly harass
the enemy by his assiduity, and the hard labor he took in this
matter. He also took great care of his own forces, and used all
the means he could to restore his affairs to their old state.

2. At this time it was that the fight happened at Actium, between
Octavius Caesar and Antony, in the seventh year of the reign of
Herod (8) and then it was also that there was an earthquake in
Judea, such a one as had not happened at any other time, and
which earthquake brought a great destruction upon the cattle in
that country. About ten thousand men also perished by the fall of
houses; but the army, which lodged in the field, received no
damage by this sad accident. When the Arabians were informed of
this, and when those that hated the Jews, and pleased themselves
with aggravating the reports, told them of it, they raised their
spirits, as if their enemy's country was quite overthrown, and
the men were utterly destroyed, and thought there now remained
nothing that could oppose them. Accordingly, they took the Jewish
ambassadors, who came to them after all this had happened, to
make peace with them, and slew them, and came with great alacrity
against their army; but the Jews durst not withstand them, and
were so cast down by the calamities they were under, that they
took no care of their affairs, but gave up themselves to despair;
for they had no hope that they should be upon a level again with
them in battles, nor obtain any assistance elsewhere, while their
affairs at home were in such great distress also. When matters
were in this condition, the king persuaded the commanders by his
words, and tried to raise their spirits, which were quite sunk;
and first he endeavored to encourage and embolden some of the
better sort beforehand, and then ventured to make a speech to the
multitude, which he had before avoided to do, lest he should find
them uneasy thereat, because of the misfortunes which had
happened; so he made a consolatory speech to the multitude, in
the manner following:

3. "You are not unacquainted, my fellow soldiers, that we have
had, not long since, many accidents that have put a stop to what
we are about, and it is probable that even those that are most
distinguished above others for their courage can hardly keep up
their spirits in such circumstances; but since we cannot avoid
fighting, and nothing that hath happened is of such a nature but
it may by ourselves be recovered into a good state, and this by
one brave action only well performed, I have proposed to myself
both to give you some encouragement, and, at the same time, some
information; both which parts of my design will tend to this
point; that you may still continue in your own proper fortitude.
I will then, in the first place, demonstrate to you that this war
is a just one on our side, and that on this account it is a war
of necessity, and occasioned by the injustice of our adversaries;
for if you be once satisfied of this, it will be a real cause of
alacrity to you; after which I will further demonstrate, that the
misfortunes we are under are of no great consequence, and that we
have the greatest reason to hope for victory. I shall begin with
the first, and appeal to yourselves as witnesses to what I shall
say. You are not ignorant certainly of the wickedness of the
Arabians, which is to that degree as to appear incredible to all
other men, and to include somewhat that shows the grossest
barbarity and ignorance of God. The chief things wherein they
have affronted us have arisen from covetousness and envy; and
they have attacked us in an insidious manner, and on the sudden.
And what occasion is there for me to mention many instances of
such their procedure? When they were in danger of losing their
own government of themselves, and of being slaves to Cleopatra,
what others were they that freed them from that fear? for it was
the friendship. I had with Antony, and the kind disposition he
was in towards us, that hath been the occasion that even these
Arabians have not been utterly undone, Antony being unwilling to
undertake any thing which might be suspected by us of unkindness:
but when he had a mind to bestow some parts of each of our
dominions on Cleopatra, I also managed that matter so, that by
giving him presents of my own, I might obtain a security to both
nations, while I undertook myself to answer for the money, and
gave him two hundred talents, and became surety for those two
hundred more which were imposed upon the land that was subject to
this tribute; and this they have defrauded us of, although it was
not reasonable that Jews should pay tribute to any man living, or
allow part of their land to be taxable; but although that was to
be, yet ought we not to pay tribute for these Arabians, whom we
have ourselves preserved; nor is it fit that they, who have
professed (and that with great integrity and sense of our
kindness) that it is by our means that they keep their
principality, should injure us, and deprive us of what is our
due, and this while we have been still not their enemies, but
their friends. And whereas observation of covenants takes place
among the bitterest enemies, but among friends is absolutely
necessary, this is not observed among these men, who think gain
to be the best of all things, let it be by any means whatsoever,
and that injustice is no harm, if they may but get money by it:
is it therefore a question with you, whether the unjust are to be
punished or not? when God himself hath declared his mind that so
it ought to be, and hath commanded that we ever should hate
injuries and injustice, which is not only just, but necessary, in
wars between several nations; for these Arabians have done what
both the Greeks and barbarians own to be an instance of the
grossest wickedness, with regard to our ambassadors, which they
have beheaded, while the Greeks declare that such ambassadors are
sacred and inviolable. (9) And for ourselves, we have learned
from God the most excellent of our doctrines, and the most holy
part of our law, by angels or ambassadors; for this name brings
God to the knowledge of mankind, and is sufficient to reconcile
enemies one to another. What wickedness then can be greater than
the slaughter of ambassadors, who come to treat about doing what
is right? And when such have been their actions, how is it
possible they can either live securely in common life, or be
successful in war? In my opinion, this is impossible; but perhaps
some will say, that what is holy, and what is righteous, is
indeed on our side, but that the Arabians are either more
courageous or more numerous than we are. Now, as to this, in the
first place, it is not fit for us to say so, for with whom is
what is righteous, with them is God himself; now where God is,
there is both multitude and courage. But to examine our own
circumstances a little, we were conquerors in the first battle;
and when we fought again, they were not able to oppose us, but
ran away, and could not endure our attacks or our courage; but
when we had conquered them, then came Athenion, and made war
against us without declaring it; and pray, is this an instance of
their manhood? or is it not a second instance of their wickedness
and treachery? Why are we therefore of less courage, on account
of that which ought to inspire us with stronger hopes? and why
are we terrified at these, who, when they fight upon the level,
are continually beaten, and when they seem to be conquerors, they
gain it by wickedness? and if we suppose that any one should deem
them to be men of real courage, will not he be excited by that
very consideration to do his utmost against them? for true valor
is not shown by fighting against weak persons, but in being able
to overcome the most hardy. But then if the distresses we are
ourselves under, and the miseries that have come by the
earthquake, hath aftrighted any one, let him consider, in the
first place, that this very thing will deceive the Arabians, by
their supposal that what hath befallen us is greater than it
really is. Moreover, it is not right that the same thing that
emboldens them should discourage us; for these men, you see, do
not derive their alacrity from any advantageous virtue of their
own, but from their hope, as to us, that we are quite cast down
by our misfortunes; but when we boldly march against them, we
shall soon pull down their insolent conceit of themselves, and
shall gain this by attacking them, that they will not be so
insolent when we come to the battle; for our distresses are not
so great, nor is what hath happened all indication of the anger
of God against us, as some imagine; for such things are
accidental, and adversities that come in the usual course of
things; and if we allow that this was done by the will of God, we
must allow that it is now over by his will also, and that he is
satisfied with what hath already happened; for had he been
willing to afflict us still more thereby, he had not changed his
mind so soon. And as for the war we are engaged in, he hath
himself demonstrated that he is willing it should go on, and that
he knows it to be a just war; for while some of the people in the
country have perished, all you who were in arms have suffered
nothing, but are all preserved alive; whereby God makes it plain
to us, that if you had universally, with your children and wives,
been in the army, it had come to pass that you had not undergone
any thing that would have much hurt you. Consider these things,
and, what is more than all the rest, that you have God at all
times for your Protector; and prosecute these men with a just
bravery, who, in point of friendship, are unjust, in their
battles perfidious, towards ambassadors impious, and always
inferior to you in valor."

4. When the Jews heard this speech, they were much raised in
their minds, and more disposed to fight than before. So Herod,
when he had offered the sacrifices appointed by the law (10) made
haste, and took them, and led them against the Arabians; and in
order to that passed over Jordan, and pitched his camp near to
that of the enemy. He also thought fit to seize upon a certain
castle that lay in the midst of them, as hoping it would be for
his advantage, and would the sooner produce a battle; and that if
there were occasion for delay, he should by it have his camp
fortified; and as the Arabians had the same intentions upon that
place, a contest arose about it; at first they were but
skirmishes, after which there came more soldiers, and it proved a
sort of fight, and some fell on both sides, till those of the
Arabian side were beaten and retreated. This was no small
encouragement to the Jews immediately; and when Herod observed
that the enemy's army was disposed to any thing rather than to
come to an engagement, he ventured boldly to attempt the bulwark
itself, and to pull it to pieces, and so to get nearer to their
camp, in order to fight them; for when they were forced out of
their trenches, they went out in disorder, and had not the least
alacrity, or hope of victory; yet did they fight hand to hand,
because they were more in number than the Jews, and because they
were in such a disposition of war that they were under a
necessity of coming on boldly; so they came to a terrible battle,
while not a few fell on each side. However, at length the
Arabians fled; and so great a slaughter was made upon their being
routed, that they were not only killed by their enemies, but
became the authors of their own deaths also, and were trodden
down by the multitude, and the great current of people in
disorder, and were destroyed by their own armor; so five thousand
men lay dead upon the spot, while the rest of the multitude soon
ran within the bulwark for safety, but had no firm hope of
safety, by reason of their want of necessaries, and especially of
water. The Jews pursued them, but could not get in with them, but
sat round about the bulwark, and watched any assistance that
would get in to them, and prevented any there, that had a mind to
it, from running away.

5. When the Arabians were in these circumstances, they sent
ambassadors to Herod, in the first place, to propose terms of
accommodation, and after that to offer him, so pressing was their
thirst upon them, to undergo whatsoever he pleased, if he would
free them from their present distress; but he would admit of no
ambassadors, of no price of redemption, nor of any other moderate
terms whatever, being very desirous to revenge those unjust
actions which they had been guilty of towards his nation. So they
were necessitated by other motives, and particularly by their
thirst, to come out, and deliver themselves up to him, to be
carried away captives; and in five days' time the number of four
thousand were taken prisoners, while all the rest resolved to
make a sally upon their enemies, and to fight it out with them,
choosing rather, if so it must be, to die therein, than to perish
gradually and ingloriously. When they had taken this resolution,
they came out of their trenches, but could no way sustain the
fight, being too much disabled, both in mind and body, and having
not room to exert themselves, and thought it an advantage to be
killed, and a misery to survive; so at the first onset there fell
about seven thousand of them, after which stroke they let all the
courage they had put on before fall, and stood amazed at Herod's
warlike spirit under his own calamities; so for the future they
yielded, and made him ruler of their nation; whereupon he was
greatly elevated at so seasonable a success, and returned home,
taking great authority upon him, on account of so bold and
glorious an expedition as he had made.

How Herod Slew Hyrcanus And Then Hasted Away To Caesar, And
Obtained The Kingdom From Him Also; And How A Little Time
Afterward, He Entertained Caesar In A Most Honorable Manner.

1. Herod's other affairs were now very prosperous, and he was not
to be easily assaulted on any side. Yet did there come upon him a
danger that would hazard his entire dominions, after Antony had
been beaten at the battle of Actium by Caesar [Octarian]; for at
that time both Herod's enemies and friends despaired of his
affairs, for it was not probable that he would remain without
punishment, who had showed so much friendship for Antony. So it
happened that his friends despaired, and had no hopes of his
escape; but for his enemies, they all outwardly appeared to be
troubled at his case, but were privately very glad of it, as
hoping to obtain a change for the better. As for Herod himself he
saw that there was no one of royal dignity left but Hyrcanus, and
therefore he thought it would be for his advantage not to suffer
him to be an obstacle in his way any longer; for that in case he
himself survived, and escaped the danger he was in, he thought it
the safest way to put it out of the power of such a man to make
any attempt against him, at such junctures of affairs, as was
more worthy of the kingdom than himself; and in case he should be
slain by Caesar, his envy prompted him to desire to slay him that
would otherwise be king after him.

2. While Herod had these things in his mind, there was a certain
occasion afforded him: for Hyrcanus was of so mild a temper, both
then and at other times, that he desired not to meddle with
public affairs, nor to concern himself with innovations, but left
all to fortune, and contented himself with what that afforded
him: but Alexandra [his daughter] was a lover of strife, and was
exceeding desirous of a change of the government, and spake to
her father not to bear for ever Herod's injurious treatment of
their family, but to anticipate their future hopes, as he safely
might; and desired him to write about these matters to Malchus,
who was then governor of Arabia, to receive them, and to secure
them [from Herod], for that if they went away, and Herod's
affairs proved to be as it was likely they would be, by reason of
Caesar's enmity to him, they should then be the only persons that
could take the government; and this, both on account of the royal
family they were of, and on account of the good disposition of:
the multitude to them. While she used these persuasions, Hyrcanus
put off her suit; but as she showed that she was a woman, and a
contentious woman too, and would not desist either night or day,
but would always be speaking to him about these matters, and
about Herod's treacherous designs, she at last prevailed with him
to intrust Dositheus, one of his friends, with a letter, wherein
his resolution was declared; and he desired the Arabian governor
to send to him some horsemen, who should receive him, and conduct
him to the lake Asphaltites, which is from the bounds of
Jerusalem three hundred furlongs: and he did therefore trust
Dositheus with this letter, because he was a careful attendant on
him, and on Alexandra, and had no small occasions to bear
ill-will to Herod; for he was a kinsman of one Joseph, whom he
had slain, and a brother of those that were formerly slain at
Tyre by Antony: yet could not these motives induce Dositheus to
serve Hyrcanus in this affair; for, preferring the hopes he had
from the present king to those he had from him, he gave Herod the
letter. So he took his kindness in good part, and bid him besides
do what he had already done, that is, go on in serving him, by
rolling up the epistle and sealing it again, and delivering it to
Malchus, and then to bring back his letter in answer to it; for
it would be much better if he could know Malchus's intentions
also. And when Dositheus was very ready to serve him in this
point also, the Arabian governor returned back for answer, that
he would receive Hyrcanus, and all that should come with him, and
even all the Jews that were of his party; that he would,
moreover, send forces sufficient to secure them in their journey;
and that he should be in no want of any thing he should desire.
Now as soon as Herod had received this letter, he immediately
sent for Hyrcanus, and questioned him about the league he had
made with Malchus; and when he denied it, he showed his letter to
the Sanhedrim, and put the man to death immediately.

3. And this account we give the reader, as it is contained in the
commentaries of king Herod: but other historians do not agree
with them, for they suppose that Herod did not find, but rather
make, this an occasion for thus putting him to death, and that by
treacherously laying a snare for him; for thus do they write:
That Herod and he were once at a treat, and that Herod had given
no occasion to suspect [that he was displeased at him], but put
this question to Hyrcanus, Whether he had received any letters
from Malchus? and when he answered that he had received letters,
but those of salutation only; and when he asked further, whether
he had not received any presents from him? and when he had
replied that he had received no more than four horses to ride on,
which Malchus had sent him; they pretended that Herod charged
these upon him as the crimes of bribery and treason, and gave
order that he should be led away and slain. And in order to
demonstrate that he had been guilty of no offense, when he was
thus brought to his end, they alleged how mild his temper had
been, and that even in his youth he had never given any
demonstration of boldness or rashness, and that the case was the
same when he came to be king, but that he even then committed the
management of the greatest part of public affairs to Antipater;
and that he was now above fourscore years old, and knew that
Herod's government was in a secure state. He also came over
Euphrates, and left those who greatly honored him beyond that
river, though he were to be entirely under Herod's government;
and that it was a most incredible thing that he should enterprise
any thing by way of innovation, and not at all agreeable to his
temper, but that this was a plot of Herod's contrivance.

4. And this was the fate of Hyrcanus; and thus did he end his
life, after he had endured various and manifold turns of fortune
in his lifetime. For he was made high priest of the Jewish nation
in the beginning of his mother Alexandra's reign, who held the
government nine years; and when, after his mother's death, he
took the kingdom himself, and held it three months, he lost it,
by the means of his brother Aristobulus. He was then restored by
Pompey, and received all sorts of honor from him, and enjoyed
them forty years; but when he was again deprived by Antigonus,
and was maimed in his body, he was made a captive by the
Parthians, and thence returned home again after some time, on
account of the hopes that Herod had given him; none of which came
to pass according to his expectation, but he still conflicted
with many misfortunes through the whole course of his life; and,
what was the heaviest calamity of all, as we have related
already, he came to an end which was undeserved by him. His
character appeared to be that of a man of a mild and moderate
disposition, and suffered the administration of affairs to be
generally done by others under him. He was averse to much
meddling with the public, nor had shrewdness enough to govern a
kingdom. And both Antipater and Herod came to their greatness by
reason of his mildness; and at last he met with such an end from
them as was not agreeable either to justice or piety.

5. Now Herod, as soon as he had put Hyrcanus out of the way, made
haste to Caesar; and because he could not have any hopes of
kindness from him, on account of the friendship he had for
Antony, he had a suspicion of Alexandra, lest she should take
this opportunity to bring the multitude to a revolt, and
introduce a sedition into the affairs of the kingdom; so he
committed the care of every thing to his brother Pheroras, and
placed his mother Cypros, and his sister [Salome], and the whole
family at Masada, and gave him a charge, that if he should hear
any sad news about him, he should take care of the government.
But as to Mariamne his wife, because of the misunderstanding
between her and his sister, and his sister's mother, which made
it impossible for them to live together, he placed her at
Alexandrium, with Alexandra her mother, and left his treasurer
Joseph and Sohemus of Iturea to take care of that fortress. These
two had been very faithful to him from the beginning, and were
now left as a guard to the women. They also had it in charge,
that if they should hear any mischief had befallen him, they
should kill them both, and, as far as they were able, to preserve
the kingdom for his sons, and for his brother Pheroras.

6. When he had given them this charge, he made haste to Rhodes,
to meet Caesar; and when he had sailed to that city, he took off
his diadem, but remitted nothing else of his usual dignity. And
when, upon his meeting him, he desired that he would let him
speak to him, he therein exhibited a much more noble specimen of
a great soul; for he did not betake himself to supplications, as
men usually do upon such occasions, nor offered him any petition,
as if he were an offender; but, after an undaunted manner, gave
an account of what he had done; for he spake thus to Caesar: That
he had the greatest friendship for Antony, and did every thing he
could that he might attain the government; that he was not indeed
in the army with him, because the Arabians had diverted him; but
that he had sent him both money and corn, which was but too
little in comparison of what he ought to have done for him; "for
if a man owns himself to be another's friend, and knows him to be
a benefactor, he is obliged to hazard every thing, to use every
faculty of his soul, every member of his body, and all the wealth
he hath, for him, in which I confess I have been too deficient.
However, I am conscious to myself, that so far I have done right,
that I have not deserted him upon his defeat at Actium; nor upon
the evident change of his fortune have I transferred my hopes
from him to another, but have preserved myself, though not as a
valuable fellow soldier, yet certainly as a faithful counselor,
to Antony, when I demonstrated to him that the only way that he
had to save himself, and not to lose all his authority, was to
slay Cleopatra; for when she was once dead, there would be room
for him to retain his authority, and rather to bring thee to make
a composition with him, than to continue at enmity any longer.
None of which advises would he attend to, but preferred his own
rash resolution before them, which have happened unprofitably for
him, but profitably for thee. Now, therefore, in case thou
determinest about me, and my alacrity in serving Antony,
according to thy anger at him, I own there is no room for me to
deny what I have done, nor will I be ashamed to own, and that
publicly too, that I had a great kindness for him. But if thou
wilt put him out of the case, and only examine how I behave
myself to my benefactors in general, and what sort of friend I
am, thou wilt find by experience that we shall do and be the same
to thyself, for it is but changing the names, and the firmness of
friendship that we shall bear to thee will not be disapproved by

7. By this speech, and by his behavior, which showed Caesar the
frankness of his mind, he greatly gained upon him, who was
himself of a generous and magnificent temper, insomuch that those
very actions, which were the foundation of the accusation against
him, procured him Caesar's good-will. Accordingly, he restored
him his diadem again; and encouraged him to exhibit himself as
great a friend to himself as he had been to Antony, and then had
him in great esteem. Moreover, he added this, that Quintus Didius
had written to him that Herod had very readily assisted him in
the affair of the gladiators. So when he had obtained such a kind
reception, and had, beyond all his hopes, procured his crown to
be more entirely and firmly settled upon him than ever by
Caesar's donation, as well as by that decree of the Romans, which
Caesar took care to procure for his greater security, he
conducted Caesar on his way to Egypt, and made presents, even
beyond his ability, to both him and his friends, and in general
behaved himself with great magnanimity. He also desired that
Caesar would not put to death one Alexander, who had been a
companion of Antony; but Caesar had sworn to put him to death,
and so he could not obtain that his petition. And now he returned
to Judea again with greater honor and assurance than ever, and
affrighted those that had expectations to the contrary, as still
acquiring from his very dangers greater splendor than before, by
the favor of God to him. So he prepared for the reception of
Caesar, as he was going out of Syria to invade Egypt; and when he
came, he entertained him at Ptolemais with all royal
magnificence. He also bestowed presents on the army, and brought
them provisions in abundance. He also proved to be one of
Caesar's most cordial friends, and put the army in array, and
rode along with Caesar, and had a hundred and fifty men, well
appointed in all respects, after a rich and sumptuous manner, for
the better reception of him and his friends. He also provided
them with what they should want, as they passed over the dry
desert, insomuch that they lacked neither wine nor water, which
last the soldiers stood in the greatest need of; and besides, he
presented Caesar with eight hundred talents, and procured to
himself the good-will of them all, because he was assisting to
them in a much greater and more splendid degree than the kingdom
he had obtained could afford; by which means he more and more
demonstrated to Caesar the firmness of his friendship, and his
readiness to assist him; and what was of the greatest advantage
to him was this, that his liberality came at a seasonable time
also. And when they returned again out of Egypt, his assistances
were no way inferior to the good offices he had formerly done


How Herod Slew Sohemus And Mariamne And Afterward Alexandra And
Costobarus, And His Most Intimate Friends, And At Last The Sons
Of Babbas Also.

1. However, when he came into his kingdom again, he found his
house all in disorder, and his wife Mariamne and her mother
Alexandra very uneasy; for as they supposed (what was easy to be
supposed) that they were not put into that fortress [Alexandrium]
for the security of their persons, but as into a garrison for
their imprisonment, and that they had no power over any thing,
either of others or of their own affairs, they were very uneasy;
and Mariamne supposing that the king's love to her was but
hypocritical, and rather pretended (as advantageous to himself)
than real, she looked upon it as fallacious. She also was grieved
that he would not allow her any hopes of surviving him, if he
should come to any harm himself. She also recollected what
commands he had formerly given to Joseph, insomuch that she
endeavored to please her keepers, and especially Sohemus, as well
apprized how all was in his power. And at the first Sohemus was
faithful to Herod, and neglected none of the things he had given
him in charge; but when the women, by kind words and liberal
presents, had gained his affections over to them, he was by
degrees overcome, and at length discovered to them all the king's
injunctions, and this on that account principally, that he did
not so much as hope he would come back with the same authority he
had before; so that he thought he should both escape any danger
from him, mid supposed that he did hereby much gratify the women,
who were likely not to be overlooked in the settling of the
government; nay, that they would be able to make him abundant
recompense, since they must either reign themselves, or be very
near to him that should reign. He had a further ground of hope
also, that though Herod should have all the success he could wish
for, and should return again, he could not contradict his wife in
what she desired, for he knew that the king's fondness for his
wife was inexpressible. These were the motives that drew Sohemus
to discover what injunctions had been given him. So Mariamne was
greatly displeased to hear that there was no end of the dangers
she was under from Herod, and was greatly uneasy at it, and
wished that he might obtain no favors [from Caesar], and esteemed
it almost an insupportable task to live with him any longer; and
this she afterward openly declared, without concealing her

2. And now Herod sailed home with joy, at the unexpected good
success he had had; and went first of all, as was proper, to this
his wife, and told her, and her only, the good news, as
preferring her before the rest, on account of his fondness for
her, and the intimacy there had been between them, and saluted
her; but so it happened, that as he told her of the good success
he had had, she was so far from rejoicing at it, that she rather
was sorry for it; nor was she able to conceal her resentments,
but, depending on her dignity, and the nobility of her birth, in
return for his salutations, she gave a groan, and declared
evidently that she rather grieved than rejoiced at his success,
and this till Herod was disturbed at her, as affording him, not
only marks of her suspicion, but evident signs of her
dissatisfaction. This much troubled him, to see that this
surprising hatred of his wife to him was not concealed, but open;
and he took this so ill, and yet was so unable to bear it, on
account of the fondness he had for her, that he could not
continue long in any one mind, but sometimes was angry at her,
and sometimes reconciled himself to her; but by always changing
one passion for another, he was still in great uncertainty, and
thus was he entangled between hatred and love, and was frequently
disposed to inflict punishment on her for her insolence towards
him; but being deeply in love with her in his soul, he was not
able to get quit of this woman. In short, as he would gladly have
her punished, so was he afraid lest, ere he were aware, he
should, by putting her to death, bring a heavier punishment upon
himself at the same time.

3. When Herod's sister and mother perceived that he was in this
temper with regard to Mariamne they thought they had now got an
excellent opportunity to exercise their hatred against her and
provoked Herod to wrath by telling him, such long stories and
calumnies about her, as might at once excite his hatred and his
jealousy. Now, though he willingly enough heard their words, yet
had not he courage enough to do any thing to her as if he
believed them; but still he became worse and worse disposed to
her, and these ill passions were more and more inflamed on both
sides, while she did not hide her disposition towards him, and he
turned his love to her into wrath against her. But when he was
just going to put this matter past all remedy, he heard the news
that Caesar was the victor in the war, and that Antony and
Cleopatra were both dead, and that he had conquered Egypt;
whereupon he made haste to go to meet Caesar, and left the
affairs of his family in their present state. However, Mariamne
recommended Sohemus to him, as he was setting out on his journey,
and professed that she owed him thanks for the care he had taken
of her, and asked of the king for him a place in the government;
upon which an honorable employment was bestowed upon him
accordingly. Now when Herod was come into Egypt, he was
introduced to Caesar with great freedom, as already a friend of
his, and received very great favors from him; for he made him a
present of those four hundred Galatians who had been Cleopatra's
guards, and restored that country to him again, which, by her
means, had been taken away from him. He also added to his kingdom
Gadara, Hippos, and Samaria; and, besides those, the maritime
cities, Gaza, and Anthedon, and Joppa, and Strato's Tower.

4. Upon these new acquisitions, he grew more magnificent, and
conducted Caesar as far as Antioch; but upon his return, as much
as his prosperity was augmented by the foreign additions that had
been made him, so much the greater were the distresses that came
upon him in his own family, and chiefly in the affair of his
wife, wherein he formerly appeared to have been most of all
fortunate; for the affection he had for Mariamne was no way
inferior to the affections of such as are on that account
celebrated in history, and this very justly. As for her, she was
in other respects a chaste woman, and faithful to him; yet had
she somewhat of a woman rough by nature, and treated her husband
imperiously enough, because she saw he was so fond of her as to
be enslaved to her. She did not also consider seasonably with
herself that she lived under a monarchy, and that she was at
another's disposal, and accordingly would behave herself after a
saucy manner to him, which yet he usually put off in a jesting
way, and bore with moderation and good temper. She would also
expose his mother and his sister openly, on account of the
meanness of their birth, and would speak unkindly of them,
insomuch that there was before this a disagreement and
unpardonable hatred among the women, and it was now come to
greater reproaches of one another than formerly, which suspicions
increased, and lasted a whole year after Herod returned from
Caesar. However, these misfortunes, which had been kept under
some decency for a great while, burst out all at once upon such
an occasion as was now offered; for as the king was one day about
noon lain down on his bed to rest him, he called for Mariamne,
out of the great affection he had always for her. She came in
accordingly, but would not lie down by him; and when he was very
desirous of her company, she showed her contempt of him; and
added, by way of reproach, that he had caused her father and her
brother to be slain. (11) And when he took this injury very
unkindly, and was ready to use violence to her, in a precipitate
manner, the king's sister Salome, observing that he was more than
ordinarily disturbed, sent in to the king his cup-bearer, who had
been prepared long beforehand for such a design, and bid him tell
the king how Mariamne had persuaded him to give his assistance in
preparing a love potion for him; and if he appeared to be greatly
concerned, and to ask what that love potion was, to tell him that
she had the potion, and that he was desired only to give it him;
but that in case he did not appear to be much concerned at this
potion, to let the thing drop; and that if he did so, no harm
should thereby come to him. When she had given him these
instructions, she sent him in at this time to make such a speech.
So he went in, after a composed manner, to gain credit to what he
should say, and yet somewhat hastily, and said that Mariamne had
given him presents, and persuaded him to give him a love potion.
And when this moved the king, he said that this love potion was a
composition that she had given him, whose effects he did not
know, which was the reason of his resolving to give him this
information, as the safest course he could take, both for himself
and for the king. When Herod heard what he said, and was in an
ill disposition before, his indignation grew more violent; and he
ordered that eunuch of Mariamne, who was most faithful to her, to
be brought to torture about this potion, as well knowing it was
not possible that any thing small or great could be done without
him. And when the man was under the utmost agonies, he could say
nothing concerning the thing he was tortured about, but so far he
knew, that Mariamne's hatred against him was occasioned by
somewhat that Sohemus had said to her. Now as he was saying this,
Herod cried out aloud, and said that Sohemus, who had been at all
other times most faithful to him, and to his government, would
not have betrayed what injunctions he had given him, unless he
had had a nearer conversation than ordinary with Mariamne. So he
gave order that Sohemus should be seized on and slain
immediately; but he allowed his wife to take her trial; and got
together those that were most faithful to him, and laid an
elaborate accusation against her for this love potion and
composition, which had been charged upon her by way of calumny
only. However, he kept no temper in what he said, and was in too
great a passion for judging well about this matter. Accordingly,
when the court was at length satisfied that he was so resolved,
they passed the sentence of death upon her; but when the sentence
was passed upon her, this temper was suggested by himself, and by
some others of the court, that she should not be thus hastily put
to death, but be laid in prison in one of the fortresses
belonging to the kingdom: but Salome and her party labored hard
to have the woman put to death; and they prevailed with the king
to do so, and advised this out of caution, lest the multitude
should be tumultuous if she were suffered to live; and thus was
Mariamne led to execution.

5. When Alexandra observed how things went, and that there were
small hopes that she herself should escape the like treatment
from Herod, she changed her behavior to quite the reverse of what
might have been expected from her former boldness, and this after
a very indecent manner; for out of her desire to show how
entirely ignorant she was of the crimes laid against Mariamne,
she leaped out of her place, and reproached her daughter in the
hearing of all the people; and cried out that she had been an ill
woman, and ungrateful to her husband, and that her punishment
came justly upon her for such her insolent behavior, for that she
had not made proper returns to him who had been their common
benefactor. And when she had for some time acted after this
hypocritical manner, and been so outrageous as to tear her hair,
this indecent and dissembling behavior, as was to be expected,
was greatly condemned by the rest of the spectators, as it was
principally by the poor woman who was to suffer; for at the first
she gave her not a word, nor was discomposed at her peevishness,
and only looked at her, yet did she out of a greatness of soul
discover her concern for her mother's offense, and especially for
her exposing herself in a manner so unbecoming her; but as for
herself, she went to her death with an unshaken firmness of mind,
and without changing the color of her face, and thereby evidently
discovered the nobility of her descent to the spectators, even in
the last moments of her life.

6. And thus died Mariamne, a woman of an excellent character,
both for chastity and greatness of soul; but she wanted
moderation, and had too much of contention in her nature; yet had
she all that can be said in the beauty of her body, and her
majestic appearance in conversation; and thence arose the
greatest part of the occasions why she did not prove so agreeable
to the king, nor live so pleasantly with him, as she might
otherwise have done; for while she was most indulgently used by
the king, out of his fondness for her, and did not expect that he
could do any hard thing to her, she took too unbounded a liberty.
Moreover, that which most afflicted her was, what he had done to
her relations, and she ventured to speak of all they had suffered
by him, and at last greatly provoked both the king's mother and
sister, till they became enemies to her; and even he himself also
did the same, on whom alone she depended for her expectations of
escaping the last of punishments.

7. But when she was once dead, the king's affections for her were
kindled in a more outrageous manner than before, whose old
passion for her we have already described; for his love to her
was not of a calm nature, nor such as we usually meet with among
other husbands; for at its commencement it was of an enthusiastic
kind, nor was it by their long cohabitation and free conversation
together brought under his power to manage; but at this time his
love to Mariamne seemed to seize him in such a peculiar manner,
as looked like Divine vengeance upon him for the taking away her
life; for he would frequently call for her, and frequently lament
for her in a most indecent manner. Moreover, he bethought him of
every thing he could make use of to divert his mind from thinking
of her, and contrived feasts and assemblies for that purpose, but
nothing would suffice; he therefore laid aside the administration
of public affairs, and was so far conquered by his passion, that
he would order his servants to call for Mariamne, as if she were
still alive, and could still hear them. And when he was in this
way, there arose a pestilential disease, and carried off the
greatest part of the multitude, and of his best and most esteemed
friends, and made all men suspect that this was brought upon them
by the anger of God, for the injustice that had been done to
Mariamne. This circumstance affected the king still more, till at
length he forced himself to go into desert places, and there,
under pretense of going a hunting, bitterly afflicted himself;
yet had he not borne his grief there many days before he fell
into a most dangerous distemper himself: he had an inflammation
upon him, and a pain in the hinder part of his head, joined with
madness; and for the remedies that were used, they did him no
good at all, but proved contrary to his case, and so at length
brought him to despair. All the physicians also that were about
him, partly because the medicines they brought for his recovery
could not at all conquer the disease, and partly because his diet
could be no other than what his disease inclined him to, desired
him to eat whatever he had a mind to, and so left the small hopes
they had of his recovery in the power of that diet, and committed
him to fortune. And thus did his distemper go on, while he was at
Samaria, now called Sebaste.

8. Now Alexandra abode at this time at Jerusalem; and being
informed what condition Herod was in, she endeavored to get
possession of the fortified places that were about the city,
which were two, the one belonging to the city itself, the other
belonging to the temple; and those that could get them into their
hands had the whole nation under their power, for without the
command of them it was not possible to offer their sacrifices;
and to think of leaving on those sacrifices is to every Jew
plainly impossible, who are still more ready to lose their lives
than to leave off that Divine worship which they have been wont
to pay unto God. Alexandra, therefore, discoursed with those that
had the keeping of these strong holds, that it was proper for
them to deliver the same to her, and to Herod's sons, lest, upon
his death, any other person should seize upon the government; and
that upon his recovery none could keep them more safely for him
than those of his own family. These words were not by them at all
taken in good part; and as they had been in former times faithful
[to Herod], they resolved to continue so more than ever, both
because they hated Alexandra, and because they thought it a sort
of impiety to despair of Herod's recovery while he was yet alive,
for they had been his old friends; and one of them, whose name
was Achiabus, was his cousin-german. They sent messengers
therefore to acquaint him with Alexandra's design; so he made no
longer delay, but gave orders to have her slain; yet was it still
with difficulty, and after he had endured great pain, that he got
clear of his distemper. He was still sorely afflicted, both in
mind and body, and made very uneasy, and readier than ever upon
all occasions to inflict punishment upon those that fell under
his hand. He also slew the most intimate of his friends,
Costobarus, and Lysimachus, and Cadias, who was also called
Antipater; as also Dositheus, and that upon the following

9. Costobarus was an Idumean by birth, and one of principal
dignity among them, and one whose ancestors had been priests to
the Koze, whom the Idumeans had [formerly] esteemed as a god; but
after Hyrcanus had made a change in their political government,
and made them receive the Jewish customs and law, Herod made
Costobarus governor of Idumea and Gaza, and gave him his sister
Salome to wife; and this was upon the slaughter of [his uncle]
Joseph, who had that government before, as we have related
already. When Costobarus had gotten to be so highly advanced, it
pleased him and was more than he hoped for, and he was more and
more puffed up by his good success, and in a little while he
exceeded all bounds, and did not think fit to obey what Herod, as
their ruler, commanded him, or that the Idumeans should make use
of the Jewish customs, or be subject to them. He therefore sent
to Cleopatra, and informed her that the Idumeans had been always
under his progenitors, and that for the same reason it was but
just that she should desire that country for him of Antony, for
that he was ready to transfer his friendship to her; and this he
did, not because he was better pleased to be under Cleopatra's
government, but because he thought that, upon the diminution of
Herod's power, it would not be difficult for him to obtain
himself the entire government over the Idumeans, and somewhat
more also; for he raised his hopes still higher, as having no
small pretenses, both by his birth and by these riches which he
had gotten by his constant attention to filthy lucre; and
accordingly it was not a small matter that he aimed at. So
Cleopatra desired this country of Antony, but failed of her
purpose. An account of this was brought to Herod, who was
thereupon ready to kill Costobarus; yet, upon the entreaties of
his sister and mother, he forgave him, and vouchsafed to pardon
him entirely; though he still had a suspicion of him afterward
for this his attempt.

10. But some time afterward, when Salome happened to quarrel with
Costobarus, she sent him a bill of divorce (12) and dissolved her
marriage with him, though this was not according to the Jewish
laws; for with us it is lawful for a husband to do so; but a
wife; if she departs from her husband, cannot of herself be
married to another, unless her former husband put her away.
However, Salome chose to follow not the law of her country, but
the law of her authority, and so renounced her wedlock; and told
her brother Herod, that she left her husband out of her good-will
to him, because she perceived that he, with Antipater, and
Lysimachus, and Dositheus, were raising a sedition against him;
as an evidence whereof, she alleged the case of the sons of
Babas, that they had been by him preserved alive already for the
interval of twelve years; which proved to be true. But when Herod
thus unexpectedly heard of it, he was greatly surprised at it,
and was the more surprised, because the relation appeared
incredible to him. As for the fact relating to these sons of
Babas, Herod had formerly taken great pains to bring them to
punishment, as being enemies to his government; but they were now
forgotten by him, on account of the length of time [since he had
ordered them to be slain]. Now the cause of his ill-will and
hatred to them arose hence, that while Antigonus was king, Herod,
with his army, besieged the city of Jerusalem, where the distress
and miseries which the besieged endured were so pressing, that
the greater number of them invited Herod into the city, and
already placed their hopes on him. Now the sons of Babas were of
great dignity, and had power among the multitude, and were
faithful to Antigonus, and were always raising calumnies against
Herod, and encouraged the people to preserve the government to
that royal family which held it by inheritance. So these men
acted thus politically, and, as they thought, for their own
advantage; but when the city was taken, and Herod had gotten the
government into his hands, and Costobarus was appointed to hinder
men from passing out at the gates, and to guard the city, that
those citizens that were guilty, and of the party opposite to the
king, might not get out of it, Costobarus, being sensible that
the sons of Babas were had in respect and honor by the whole
multitude, and supposing that their preservation might be of
great advantage to him in the changes of government afterward, he
set them by themselves, and concealed them in his own farms; and
when the thing was suspected, he assured Herod upon oath that he
really knew nothing of that matter, and so overcame the
suspicions that lay upon him; nay, after that, when the king had
publicly proposed a reward for the discovery, and had put in
practice all sorts of methods for searching out this matter, he
would not confess it; but being persuaded that when he had at
first denied it, if the men were found, he should not escape
unpunished, he was forced to keep them secret, not only out of
his good-will to them, but out of a necessary regard to his own
preservation also. But when the king knew the thing, by his
sister's information, he sent men to the places where he had the
intimation they were concealed, and ordered both them, and those
that were accused as guilty with them, to be slain, insomuch that
there were now none at all left of the kindred of Hyrcanus, and
the kingdom was entirely in Herod's own power, and there was
nobody remaining of such dignity as could put a stop to what he
did against the Jewish laws.


How Ten Men Of The Citizens [Of Jerusalem] Made A Conspiracy
Against Herod, For The Foreign Practices He Had Introduced, Which
Was A Transgression Of The Laws Of Their Country. Concerning The
Building Of Sebaste And Cesarea, And Other Edifices Of Herod.

1. On this account it was that Herod revolted from the laws of
his country, and corrupted their ancient constitution, by the
introduction of foreign practices, which constitution yet ought
to have been preserved inviolable; by which means we became
guilty of great wickedness afterward, while those religious
observances which used to lead the multitude to piety were now
neglected; for, in the first place, he appointed solemn games to
be celebrated every fifth year, in honor of Caesar, and built a
theater at Jerusalem, as also a very great amphitheater in the
plain. Both of them were indeed costly works, but opposite to the
Jewish customs; for we have had no such shows delivered down to
us as fit to be used or exhibited by us; yet did he celebrate
these games every five years, in the most solemn and splendid
manner. He also made proclamation to the neighboring countries,
and called men together out of every nation. The wrestlers also,
and the rest of those that strove for the prizes in such games,
were invited out of every land, both by the hopes of the rewards
there to be bestowed, and by the glory of victory to be there
gained. So the principal persons that were the most eminent in
these sorts of exercises were gotten together, for there were
very great rewards for victory proposed, not only to those that
performed their exercises naked, but to those that played the
musicians also, and were called Thymelici; and he spared no pains
to induce all persons, the most famous for such exercises, to
come to this contest for victory. He also proposed no small
rewards to those who ran for the prizes in chariot races, when
they were drawn by two, or three, or four pair of horses. He also
imitated every thing, though never so costly or magnificent, in
other nations, out of an ambition that he might give most public
demonstration of his grandeur. Inscriptions also of the great
actions of Caesar, and trophies of those nations which he had
conquered in his wars, and all made of the purest gold and
silver, encompassed the theater itself; nor was there any thing
that could be subservient to his design, whether it were precious
garments, or precious stones set in order, which was not also
exposed to sight in these games. He had also made a great
preparation of wild beasts, and of lions themselves in great
abundance, and of such other beasts as were either of uncommon
strength, or of such a sort as were rarely seen. These were
prepared either to fight with one another, or that men who were
condemned to death were to fight with them. And truly foreigners
were greatly surprised and delighted at the vastness of the
expenses here exhibited, and at the great dangers that were here
seen; but to natural Jews, this was no better than a dissolution
of those customs for which they had so great a veneration. (13)
It appeared also no better than an instance of barefaced impiety,
to throw men to wild beasts, for the affording delight to the
spectators; and it appeared an instance of no less impiety, to
change their own laws for such foreign exercises: but, above all
the rest, the trophies gave most distaste to the Jews; for as
they imagined them to be images, included within the armor that
hung round about them, they were sorely displeased at them,
because it was not the custom of their country to pay honors to
such images.

2. Nor was Herod unacquainted with the disturbance they were
under; and as he thought it unseasonable to use violence with
them, so he spake to some of them by way of consolation, and in
order to free them from that superstitious fear they were under;
yet could not he satisfy them, but they cried out with one
accord, out of their great uneasiness at the offenses they
thought he had been guilty of, that although they should think of
bearing all the rest yet would they never bear images of men in
their city, meaning the trophies, because this was disagreeable
to the laws of their country. Now when Herod saw them in such a
disorder, and that they would not easily change their resolution
unless they received satisfaction in this point, he called to him
the most eminent men among them, and brought them upon the
theater, and showed them the trophies, and asked them what sort
of things they took these trophies to be; and when they cried out
that they were the images of men, he gave order that they should
be stripped of these outward ornaments which were about them, and
showed them the naked pieces of wood; which pieces of wood, now
without any ornament, became matter of great sport and laughter
to them, because they had before always had the ornaments of
images themselves in derision.

3. When therefore Herod had thus got clear of the multitude, and
had dissipated the vehemency of passion under which they had
been, the greatest part of the people were disposed to change
their conduct, and not to be displeased at him any longer; but
still some of them continued in their displeasure against him,
for his introduction of new customs, and esteemed the violation
of the laws of their country as likely to be the origin of very
great mischiefs to them, so that they deemed it an instance of
piety rather to hazard themselves [to be put to death], than to
seem as if they took no notice of Herod, who, upon the change he
had made in their government, introduced such customs, and that
in a violent manner, which they had never been used to before, as
indeed in pretense a king, but in reality one that showed himself
an enemy to their whole nation; on which account ten men that
were citizens [of Jerusalem] conspired together against him, and
sware to one another to undergo any dangers in the attempt, and
took daggers with them under their garments [for the purpose of
killing Herod]. Now there was a certain blind man among those
conspirators who had thus sworn to one another, on account of the
indignation he had against what he heard to have been done; he
was not indeed able to afford the rest any assistance in the
undertaking, but was ready to undergo any suffering with them, if
so be they should come to any harm, insomuch that he became a
very great encourager of the rest of the undertakers.

4. When they had taken this resolution, and that by common
consent, they went into the theater, hoping that, in the first
place, Herod himself could not escape them, as they should fall
upon him so unexpectedly; and supposing, however, that if they
missed him, they should kill a great many of those that were
about him; and this resolution they took, though they should die
for it, in order to suggest to the king what injuries he had done
to the multitude. These conspirators, therefore, standing thus
prepared beforehand, went about their design with great alacrity;
but there was one of those spies of Herod, that were appointed
for such purposes, to fish out and inform him of any conspiracies
that should be made against him, who found out the whole affair,
and told the king of it, as he was about to go into the theater.
So when he reflected on the hatred which he knew the greatest
part of the people bore him, and on the disturbances that arose
upon every occasion, he thought this plot against him not to be
improbable. Accordingly, he retired into his palace, and called
those that were accused of this conspiracy before him by their
several names; and as, upon the guards falling upon them, they
were caught in the very fact, and knew they could not escape,
they prepared themselves for their ends with all the decency they
could, and so as not at all to recede from their resolute
behavior, for they showed no shame for what they were about, nor
denied it; but when they were seized, they showed their daggers,
and professed that the conspiracy they had sworn to was a holy
and pious action; that what they intended to do was not for gain,
or out of any indulgence to their passions, but principally for
those common customs of their country, which all the Jews were
obliged to observe, or to die for them. This was what these men
said, out of their undaunted courage in this conspiracy. So they
were led away to execution by the king's guards that stood about
them, and patiently underwent all the torments inflicted on them
till they died. Nor was it long before that spy who had
discovered them was seized on by some of the people, out of the
hatred they bore to him; and was not only slain by them, but
pulled to pieces, limb from limb, and given to the dogs. This
execution was seen by many of the citizens, yet would not one of
them discover the doers of it, till upon Herod's making a strict
scrutiny after them, by bitter and severe tortures, certain women
that were tortured confessed what they had seen done; the authors
of which fact were so terribly punished by the king, that their
entire families were destroyed for this their rash attempt; yet
did not the obstinacy of the people, and that undaunted constancy
they showed in the defense of their laws, make Herod any easier
to them, but he still strengthened himself after a more secure
manner, and resolved to encompass the multitude every way, lest
such innovations should end in an open rebellion.

5. Since, therefore, he had now the city fortified by the palace
in which he lived, and by the temple which had a strong fortress
by it, called Antonia, and was rebuilt by himself, he contrived
to make Samaria a fortress for himself also against all the
people, and called it Sebaste, supposing that this place would be
a strong hold against the country, not inferior to the former. So
he fortified that place, which was a day's journey distant from
Jerusalem, and which would be useful to him in common, to keep
both the country and the city in awe. He also built another
fortress for the whole nation; it was of old called Strato's
Tower, but was by him named Cesarea. Moreover, he chose out some
select horsemen, and placed them ill the great plain; and built
[for them] a place in Galilee, called Gaba with Hesebonitis, in
Perea. And these were the places which he particularly built,
while he always was inventing somewhat further for his own
security, and encompassing the whole nation with guards, that
they might by no means get from under his power, nor fall into
tumults, which they did continually upon any small commotion; and
that if they did make any commotions, he might know of it, while
some of his spies might be upon them from the neighborhood, and
might both be able to know what they were attempting, and to
prevent it. And when he went about building the wall of Samaria,
he contrived to bring thither many of those that had been
assisting to him in his wars, and many of the people in that
neighborhood also, whom he made fellow citizens with the rest.
This he did out of an ambitious desire of building a temple, and
out of a desire to make the city more eminent than it had been
before; but principally because he contrived that it might at
once be for his own security, and a monument of his magnificence.
He also changed its name, and called it Sebaste. Moreover, he
parted the adjoining country, which was excellent in its kind,
among the inhabitants of Samaria, that they might be in a happy
condition, upon their first coming to inhabit. Besides all which,
he encompassed the city with a wall of great strength, and made
use of the acclivity of the place for making its fortifications
stronger; nor was the compass of the place made now so small as
it had been before, but was such as rendered it not inferior to
the most famous cities; for it was twenty furlongs in
circumference. Now within, and about the middle of it, he built a
sacred place, of a furlong and a half [in circuit], and adorned
it with all sorts of decorations, and therein erected a temple,
which was illustrious on account of both its largeness and
beauty. And as to the several parts of the city, he adorned them
with decorations of all sorts also; and as to what was necessary
to provide for his own security, he made the walls very strong
for that purpose, and made it for the greatest part a citadel;
and as to the elegance of the building, it was taken care of
also, that he might leave monuments of the fineness of his taste,
and of his beneficence, to future ages.


Concerning The Famine That Happened In Judea And Syria; And How
Herod, After He Had Married Another Wife, Rebuilt Cesarea, And
Other Grecian Cities.

1. Now on this very year, which was the thirteenth year of the
reign of Herod, very great calamities came upon the country;
whether they were derived from the anger of God, or whether this
misery returns again naturally in certain periods of time (14)
for, in the first place, there were perpetual droughts, and for
that reason the ground was barren, and did not bring forth the
same quantity of fruits that it used to produce; and after this
barrenness of the soil, that change of food which the want of
corn occasioned produced distempers in the bodies of men, and a
pestilential disease prevailed, one misery following upon the
back of another; and these circumstances, that they were
destitute both of methods of cure and of food, made the
pestilential distemper, which began after a violent manner, the
more lasting. The destruction of men also after such a manner
deprived those that surived of all their courage, because they
had no way to provide remedies sufficient for the distresses they
were in. When therefore the fruits of that year were spoiled, and
whatsoever they had laid up beforehand was spent, there was no
foundation of hope for relief remaining, but the misery, contrary
to what they expected still increased upon them; and this not
only on that year, while they had nothing for themselves left [at
the end of it], but what seed they had sown perished also, by
reason of the ground not yielding its fruits on the second year.
(15) This distress they were in made them also, out of necessity,
to eat many things that did not use to be eaten; nor was the king
himself free from this distress any more than other men, as being
deprived of that tribute he used to have from the fruits of the
ground, and having already expended what money he had, in his
liberality to those whose cities he had built; nor had he any
people that were worthy of his assistance, since this miserable
state of things had procured him the hatred of his subjects: for
it is a constant rule, that misfortunes are still laid to the
account of those that govern.

2. In these circumstances he considered with himself how to
procure some seasonable help; but this was a hard thing to be
done, while their neighbors had no food to sell them; and their
money also was gone, had it been possible to purchase a little
food at a great price. However, he thought it his best way, by
all means, not to leave off his endeavors to assist his people;
so he cut off the rich furniture that was in his palace, both of
silver and gold, insomuch that he did not spare the finest
vessels he had, or those that were made with the most elaborate
skill of the artificers, but sent the money to Petronius, who had
been made prefect of Egypt by Caesar; and as not a few had
already fled to him under their necessities, and as he was
particularly a friend to Herod, and desirous to have his subjects
preserved, he gave leave to them in the first place to export
corn, and assisted them every way, both in purchasing and
exporting the same; so that he was the principal, if not the only
person, who afforded them what help they had. And Herod taking
care the people should understand that this help came from
himself, did thereby not only remove the ill opinion of those
that formerly hated him, but gave them the greatest demonstration
possible of his good-will to them, and care of them; for, in the
first place, as for those who were able to provide their own
food, he distributed to them their proportion of corn in the
exactest manner; but for those many that were not able, either by
reason of their old age, or any other infirmity, to provide food
for themselves, he made this provision for them, the bakers
should make their bread ready for them. He also took care that
they might not be hurt by the dangers of winter, since they were
in great want of clothing also, by reason of the utter
destruction and consumption of their sheep and goats, till they
had no wool to make use of, nor any thing else to cover
themselves withal. And when he had procured these things for his
own subjects, he went further, in order to provide necessaries
for their neighbors, and gave seed to the Syrians, which thing
turned greatly to his own advantage also, this charitable
assistance being afforded most seasonably to their fruitful soil,
so that every one had now a plentiful provision of food. Upon the
whole, when the harvest of the land was approaching, he sent no
fewer than fifty thousand men, whom he had sustained, into the
country; by which means he both repaired the afflicted condition
of his own kingdom with great generosity and diligence, and
lightened the afflictions of his neighbors, who were under the
same calamities; for there was nobody who had been in want that
was left destitute of a suitable assistance by him; nay, further,
there were neither any people, nor any cities, nor any private
men, who were to make provision for the multitudes, and on that
account were in want of support, and had recourse to him, but
received what they stood in need of, insomuch that it appeared,
upon a computation, that the number of cori of wheat, of ten
attic medimni apiece, that were given to foreigners, amounted to
ten thousand, and the number that was given in his own kingdom
was about fourscore thousand. Now it happened that this care of
his, and this seasonable benefaction, had such influence on the
Jews, and was so cried up among other nations, as to wipe off
that old hatred which his violation of some of their customs,
during his reign, had procured him among all the nation, and that
this liberality of his assistance in this their greatest
necessity was full satisfaction for all that he had done of that
nature, as it also procured him great fame among foreigners; and
it looked as if these calamities that afflicted his land, to a
degree plainly incredible, came in order to raise his glory, and
to be to his great advantage; for the greatness of his liberality
in these distresses, which he now demonstrated beyond all
expectation, did so change the disposition of the multitude
towards him, that they were ready to suppose he had been from the
beginning not such a one as they had found him to be by
experience, but such a one as the care he had taken of them in
supplying their necessities proved him now to be.

3. About this time it was that he sent five hundred chosen men
out of the guards of his body as auxiliaries to Caesar, whom
Aelius Gallus (16) led to the Red Sea, and who were of great
service to him there. When therefore his affairs were thus
improved, and were again in a flourishing condition, he built
himself a palace in the upper city, raising the rooms to a very
great height, and adorning them with the most costly furniture of
gold, and marble scats, and beds; and these were so large that
they could contain very many companies of men. These apartments
were also of distinct magnitudes, and had particular names given
them; for one apartment was called Caesar's, another Agrippa's.
He also fell in love again, and married another wife, not
suffering his reason to hinder him from living as he pleased. The
occasion of this his marriage was as follows: There was one
Simon, a citizen of Jerusalem, the son of one Boethus, a citizen
of Alexandria, and a priest of great note there; this man had a
daughter, who was esteemed the most beautiful woman of that time;
and when the people of Jerusalem began to speak much in her
commendation, it happened that Herod was much affected with what
was said of her; and when he saw the damsel, he was smitten with
her beauty, yet did he entirely reject the thoughts of using his
authority to abuse her, as believing, what was the truth, that by
so doing he should be stigmatized for violence and tyranny; so he
thought it best to take the damsel to wife. And while Simon was
of a dignity too inferior to be allied to him, but still too
considerable to be despised, he governed his inclinations after
the most prudent manner, by augmenting the dignity of the family,
and making them more honorable; so he immediately deprived Jesus,
the son of Phabet, of the high priesthood, and conferred that
dignity on Simon, and so joined in affinity with him [by marrying
his daughter].

4. When this wedding was over, he built another citadel in that
place where he had conquered file Jews when he was driven out of
his government, and Antigonus enjoyed it. This citadel is distant
from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. It was strong by
nature, and fit for such a building. It is a sort of a moderate
hill, raised to a further height by the hand of man, till it was
of the shape of a woman's breast. It is encompassed with circular
towers, and hath a strait ascent up to it, which ascent is
composed of steps of polished stones, in number two hundred.
Within it are royal and very rich apartments, of a structure that
provided both for security and for beauty. About the bottom there
are habitations of such a structure as are well worth seeing,
both on other accounts, and also on account of the water which is
brought thither from a great way off, and at vast expenses, for
the place itself is destitute of water. The plain that is about
this citadel is full of edifices, not inferior to any city in
largeness, and having the hill above it in the nature of a

5. And now, when all Herod's designs had succeeded according to
his hopes, he had not the least suspicion that any troubles could
arise in his kingdom, because he kept his people obedient, as
well by the fear they stood in of him, for he was implacable in
the infliction of his punishments, as by the provident care he
had showed towards them, after the most magnanimous manner, when
they were under their distresses. But still he took care to have
external security for his government as a fortress against his
subjects; for the orations he made to the cities were very fine,
and full of kindness; and he cultivated a seasonable good
understanding with their governors, and bestowed presents on
every one of them, inducing them thereby to be more friendly to
him, and using his magnificent disposition so as his kingdom
might be the better secured to him, and this till all his affairs
were every way more and more augmented. But then this magnificent
temper of his, and that submissive behavior and liberality which
he exercised towards Caesar, and the most powerful men of Rome,
obliged him to transgress the customs of his nation, and to set
aside many of their laws, and by building cities after an
extravagant manner, and erecting temples, - not in Judea indeed,
for that would not have been borne, it being forbidden for us to
pay any honor to images, or representations of animals, after the
manner of the Greeks; but still he did thus in the country
[properly] out of our bounds, and in the cities thereof (17) The
apology which he made to the Jews for these things was this: That
all was done, not out of his own inclinations, but by the
commands and injunctions of others, in order to please Caesar and
the Romans, as though he had not the Jewish customs so much in
his eye as he had the honor of those Romans, while yet he had
himself entirely in view all the while, and indeed was very
ambitious to leave great monuments of his government to
posterity; whence it was that he was so zealous in building such
fine cities, and spent such vast sums of money upon them.

6. Now upon his observation of a place near the sea, which was
very proper for containing a city, and was before called Strato's
Tower, he set about getting a plan for a magnificent city there,
and erected many edifices with great diligence all over it, and
this of white stone. He also adorned it with most sumptuous
palaces and large edifices for containing the people; and what
was the greatest and most laborious work of all, he adorned it
with a haven, that was always free from the waves of the sea. Its
largeness was not less than the Pyrmum [at Athens], and had
towards the city a double station for the ships. It was of
excellent workmanship; and this was the more remarkable for its
being built in a place that of itself was not suitable to such
noble structures, but was to be brought to perfection by
materials from other places, and at very great expenses. This
city is situate in Phoenicia, in the passage by sea to Egypt,
between Joppa and Dora, which are lesser maritime cities, and not
fit for havens, on account of the impetuous south winds that beat
upon them, which rolling the sands that come from the sea against
the shores, do not admit of ships lying in their station; but the
merchants are generally there forced to ride at their anchors in
the sea itself. So Herod endeavored to rectify this
inconvenience, and laid out such a compass towards the land as
might be sufficient for a haven, wherein the great ships might
lie in safety; and this he effected by letting down vast stones
of above fifty feet in length, not less than eighteen in breadth,
and nine in depth, into twenty fathom deep; and as some were
lesser, so were others bigger than those dimensions. This mole
which he built by the sea-side was two hundred feet wide, the
half of which was opposed to the current of the waves, so as to
keep off those waves which were to break upon them, and so was
called Procymatia, or the first breaker of the waves; but the
other half had upon it a wall, with several towers, the largest
of which was named Drusus, and was a work of very great
excellence, and had its name from Drusus, the son-in-law of
Caesar, who died young. There were also a great number of arches
where the mariners dwelt. There was also before them a quay, [or
landing place,] which ran round the entire haven, and was a most
agreeable walk to such as had a mind to that exercise; but the
entrance or mouth of the port was made on the north quarter, on
which side was the stillest of the winds of all in this place:
and the basis of the whole circuit on the left hand, as you enter
the port, supported a round turret, which was made very strong,
in order to resist the greatest waves; while on the right hand,
as you enter, stood two vast stones, and those each of them
larger than the turret, which were over against them; these stood
upright, and were joined together. Now there were edifices all
along the circular haven, made of the politest stone, with a
certain elevation, whereon was erected a temple, that was seen a
great way off by those that were sailing for that haven, and had
in it two statues, the one of Rome, the other of Caesar. The city
itself was called Cesarea, which was also itself built of fine
materials, and was of a fine structure; nay, the very
subterranean vaults and cellars had no less of architecture
bestowed on them than had the buildings above ground. Some of
these vaults carried things at even distances to the haven and to
the sea; but one of them ran obliquely, and bound all the rest
together, that both the rain and the filth of the citizens were
together carried off with ease, and the sea itself, upon the flux
of the tide from without, came into the city, and washed it all
clean. Herod also built therein a theater of stone; and on the
south quarter, behind the port, an amphitheater also, capable of
holding a vast number of men, and conveniently situated for a
prospect to the sea. So this city was thus finished in twelve
years; (18) during which time the king did not fail to go on both
with the work, and to pay the charges that were necessary.


How Herod Sent His Sons To Rome; How Also He Was Accused By
Zenodorus And The Gadarens, But Was Cleared Of What They Accused
Him Of And Withal Gained To Himself The Good-Will Of Caesar.
Concerning The Pharisees, The Essens And Manahem.

1. When Herod was engaged in such matters, and when he had
already re-edified Sebaste, [Samaria,] he resolved to send his
sons Alexander and Aristobulus to Rome, to enjoy the company of
Caesar; who, when they came thither, lodged at the house of
Pollio, (19) who was very fond of Herod's friendship; and they
had leave to lodge in Caesar's own palace, for he received these
sons of Herod with all humanity, and gave Herod leave to give
his, kingdom to which of his sons he pleased; and besides all
this, he bestowed on him Trachon, and Batanea, and Auranitis,
which he gave him on the occasion following: One Zenodorus (20)
had hired what was called the house of Lysanias, who, as he was
not satisfied with its revenues, became a partner with the
robbers that inhabited the Trachonites, and so procured himself a
larger income; for the inhabitants of those places lived in a mad
way, and pillaged the country of the Damascenes, while Zenodorus
did not restrain them, but partook of the prey they acquired. Now
as the neighboring people were hereby great. sufferers, they
complained to Varro, who was then president [of Syria], and
entreated him to write to Caesar about this injustice of
Zenodorus. When these matters were laid before Caesar, he wrote
back to Varro to destroy those nests of robbers, and to give the
land to Herod, that so by his care the neighboring countries
might be no longer disturbed with these doings of the
Trachonites; for it was not an easy firing to restrain them,
since this way of robbery had been their usual practice, and they
had no other way to get their living, because they had neither
any city of their own, nor lands in their possession, but only
some receptacles and dens in the earth, and there they and their
cattle lived in common together. However, they had made
contrivances to get pools of water, and laid up corn in granaries
for themselves, and were able to make great resistance, by
issuing out on the sudden against any that attacked them; for the
entrances of their caves were narrow, in which but one could come
in at a time, and the places within incredibly large, and made
very wide but the ground over their habitations was not very
high, but rather on a plain, while the rocks are altogether hard
and difficult to be entered upon, unless any one gets into the
plain road by the guidance of another, for these roads are not
straight, but have several revolutions. But when these men are
hindered from their wicked preying upon their neighbors, their
custom is to prey one upon another, insomuch that no sort of
injustice comes amiss to them. But when Herod had received this
grant from Caesar, and was come into this country, he procured
skillful guides, and put a stop to their wicked robberies, and
procured peace and quietness to the neighboring people.

2. Hereupon Zenodorus was grieved, in the first place, because
his principality was taken away from him; and still more so,
because he envied Herod, who had gotten it; So he went up to Rome
to accuse him, but returned back again without success. Now
Agrippa was [about this time] sent to succeed Caesar in the
government of the countries beyond the Ionian Sea, upon whom
Herod lighted when he was wintering about Mitylene, for he had
been his particular friend and companion, and then returned into
Judea again. However, some of the Gadarens came to Agrippa, and
accused Herod, whom he sent back bound to the king without giving
them the hearing. But still the Arabians, who of old bare
ill-will to Herod's government, were nettled, and at that time
attempted to raise a sedition in his dominions, and, as they
thought, upon a more justifiable occasion; for Zenodorus,
despairing already of success as to his own affairs, prevented
[his enemies], by selling to those Arabians a part of his
principality, called Auranitis, for the value of fifty talents;
but as this was included in the donations of Caesar, they
contested the point with Herod, as unjustly deprived of what they
had bought. Sometimes they did this by making incursions upon
him, and sometimes by attempting force against him, and sometimes
by going to law with him. Moreover, they persuaded the poorer
soldiers to help them, and were troublesome to him, out of a
constant hope that they should reduce the people to raise a
sedition; in which designs those that are in the most miserable
circumstances of life are still the most earnest; and although
Herod had been a great while apprized of these attempts, yet did
not he indulge any severity to them, but by rational methods
aimed to mitigate things, as not willing to give any handle for

3. Now when Herod had already reigned seventeen years, Caesar
came into Syria; at which time the greatest part of the
inhabitants of Gadara clamored against Herod, as one that was
heavy in his injunctions, and tyrannical. These reproaches they
mainly ventured upon by the encouragement of Zenodorus, who took
his oath that he would never leave Herod till he had procured
that they should be severed from Herod's kingdom, and joined to
Caesar's province. The Gadarens were induced hereby, and made no
small cry against him, and that the more boldly, because those
that had been delivered up by Agrippa were not punished by Herod,
who let them go, and did them no harm; for indeed he was the
principal man in the world who appeared almost inexorable in
punishing crimes in his own family, but very generous in
remitting the offenses that were committed elsewhere. And while
they accused Herod of injuries, and plunderings, and subversions
of temples, he stood unconcerned, and was ready to make his
defense. However, Caesar gave him his right hand, and remitted
nothing of his kindness to him, upon this disturbance by the
multitude; and indeed these things were alleged the first day,
but the hearing proceeded no further; for as the Gadarens saw the
inclination of Caesar and of his assessors, and expected, as they
had reason to do, that they should be delivered up to the king,
some of them, out of a dread of the torments they might undergo,
cut their own throats in the night time, and some of them threw
themselves down precipices, and others of them cast themselves
into the river, and destroyed themselves of their own accord;
which accidents seemed a sufficient condemnation of the rashness
and crimes they had been guilty of; whereupon Caesar made no
longer delay, but cleared Herod from the crimes he was accused
of. Another happy accident there was, which was a further great
advantage to Herod at this time; for Zenodorus's belly burst, and
a great quantity of blood issued from him in his sickness, and he
thereby departed this life at Antioch in Syria; so Caesar
bestowed his country, which was no small one, upon Herod; it lay
between Trachon and Galilee, and contained Ulatha, and Paneas,
and the country round about. He also made him one of the
procurators of Syria, and commanded that they should do every
thing with his approbation; and, in short, he arrived at that
pitch of felicity, that whereas there were but two men that
governed the vast Roman empire, first Caesar, and then Agrippa,
who was his principal favorite, Caesar preferred no one to Herod
besides Agrippa, and Agrippa made no one his greater friend than
Herod besides Caesar. And when he had acquired such freedom, he
begged of Caesar a tetrarchy (21) for his brother Pheroras, while
he did himself bestow upon him a revenue of a hundred talents out
of his own kingdom, that in case he came to any harm himself, his
brother might be in safety, and that his sons might not have
dominion over him. So when he had conducted Caesar to the sea,
and was returned home, he built him a most beautiful temple, of
the whitest stone, in Zenodorus's country, near the place called
Panlure. This is a very fine cave in a mountain, under which
there is a great cavity in the earth, and the cavern is abrupt,
and prodigiously deep, and frill of a still water; over it hangs
a vast mountain; and under the caverns arise the springs of the
river Jordan. Herod adorned this place, which was already a very
remarkable one, still further by the erection of this temple,
which he dedicated to Caesar.

4. At which time Herod released to his subjects the third part of
their taxes, under pretense indeed of relieving them, after the
dearth they had had; but the main reason was, to recover their
good-will, which he now wanted; for they were uneasy at him,
because of the innovations he had introduced in their practices,
of the dissolution of their religion, and of the disuse of their
own customs; and the people every where talked against him, like
those that were still more provoked and disturbed at his
procedure; against which discontents he greatly guarded himself,
and took away the opportunities they might have to disturb him,
and enjoined them to be always at work; nor did he permit the
citizens either to meet together, or to walk or eat together, but
watched every thing they did, and when any were caught, they were
severely punished; and many there were who were brought to the
citadel Hyrcania, both openly and secretly, and were there put to
death; and there were spies set every where, both in the city and
in the roads, who watched those that met together; nay, it is
reported that he did not himself neglect this part of caution,
but that he would oftentimes himself take the habit of a private
man, and mix among the multitude, in the night time, and make
trial what opinion they had of his government: and as for those
that could no way be reduced to acquiesce under his scheme of
government, he prosecuted them all manner of ways; but for the
rest of the multitude, he required that they should be obliged to
take an oath of fidelity to him, and at the same time compelled
them to swear that they would bear him good-will, and continue
certainly so to do, in his management of the government; and
indeed a great part of them, either to please him, or out of fear
of him, yielded to what he required of them; but for such as were
of a more open and generous disposition, and had indignation at
the force he used to them, he by one means or other made away,
with them. He endeavored also to persuade Pollio the Pharisee,
and Satneas, and the greatest part of their scholars, to take the
oath; but these would neither submit so to do, nor were they
punished together with the rest, out of the reverence he bore to
Pollio. The Essens also, as we call a sect of ours, were excused
from this imposition. These men live the same kind of life as do
those whom the Greeks call Pythagoreans, concerning whom I shall
discourse more fully elsewhere. However, it is but fit to set
down here the reasons wherefore Herod had these Essens in such
honor, and thought higher of them than their mortal nature
required; nor will this account be unsuitable to the nature of
this history, as it will show the opinion men had of these

5. Now there was one of these Essens, whose name was Manahem, who
had this testimony, that he not only conducted his life after an
excellent manner, but had the foreknowledge of future events
given him by God also. This man once saw Herod when he was a
child, and going to school, and saluted him as king of the Jews;
but he, thinking that either he did not know him, or that he was
in jest, put him in mind that he was but a private man; but
Manahem smiled to himself, and clapped him on his backside with
his hand, and said," However that be, thou wilt be king, and wilt
begin thy reign happily, for God finds thee worthy of it. And do
thou remember the blows that Manahem hath given thee, as being a
signal of the change of thy fortune. And truly this will be the
best reasoning for thee, that thou love justice [towards men],
and piety towards God, and clemency towards thy citizens; yet do
I know how thy whole conduct will be, that thou wilt not be such
a one, for thou wilt excel all men in happiness, and obtain an
everlasting reputation, but wilt forget piety and righteousness;
and these crimes will not be concealed from God, at the
conclusion of thy life, when thou wilt find that he will be
mindful of them, and punish time for them." Now at that time
Herod did not at all attend to what Manahem said, as having no
hopes of such advancement; but a little afterward, when he was so
fortunate as to be advanced to the dignity of king, and was in
the height of his dominion, he sent for Manahem, and asked him
how long he should reign. Manahem did not tell him the full
length of his reign; wherefore, upon that silence of his, he
asked him further, whether he should reign ten years or not? He
replied, "Yes, twenty, nay, thirty years;" but did not assign the
just determinate limit of his reign. Herod was satisfied with
these replies, and gave Manahem his hand, and dismissed him; and
from that time he continued to honor all the Essens. We have
thought it proper to relate these facts to our readers, how
strange soever they be, and to declare what hath happened among
us, because many of these Essens have, by their excellent virtue,
been thought worthy of this knowledge of Divine revelations.


How Herod Rebuilt The Temple And Raised It Higher And Made It
More Magnificent Than It Was Before; As Also Concerning That
Tower Which He Called Antonia.

1. And now Herod, in the eighteenth year of his reign, and after
the acts already mentioned, undertook a very great work, that is,
to build of himself the temple of God, (22) and make it larger in
compass, and to raise it to a most magnificent altitude, as
esteeming it to be the most glorious of all his actions, as it
really was, to bring it to perfection; and that this would be
sufficient for an everlasting memorial of him; but as he knew the
multitude were not ready nor willing to assist him in so vast a
design, he thought to prepare them first by making a speech to
them, and then set about the work itself; so he called them
together, and spake thus to them: "I think I need not speak to
you, my countrymen, about such other works as I have done since I
came to the kingdom, although I may say they have been performed
in such a manner as to bring more security to you than glory to
myself; for I have neither been negligent in the most difficult
times about what tended to ease your necessities, nor have the
buildings. I have made been so proper to preserve me as
yourselves from injuries; and I imagine that, with God's
assistance, I have advanced the nation of the Jews to a degree of
happiness which they never had before; and for the particular
edifices belonging to your own country, and your own cities, as
also to those cities that we have lately acquired, which we have
erected and greatly adorned, and thereby augmented the dignity of
your nation, it seems to me a needless task to enumerate them to
you, since you well know them yourselves; but as to that
undertaking which I have a mind to set about at present, and
which will be a work of the greatest piety and excellence that
can possibly be undertaken by us, I will now declare it to you.
Our fathers, indeed, when they were returned from Babylon, built
this temple to God Almighty, yet does it want sixty cubits of its
largeness in altitude; for so much did that first temple which
Solomon built exceed this temple; nor let any one condemn our
fathers for their negligence or want of piety herein, for it was
not their fault that the temple was no higher; for they were
Cyrus, and Darius the son of Hystaspes, who determined the
measures for its rebuilding; and it hath been by reason of the
subjection of those fathers of ours to them and to their
posterity, and after them to the Macedonians, that they had not
the opportunity to follow the original model of this pious
edifice, nor could raise it to its ancient altitude; but since I
am now, by God's will, your governor, and I have had peace a long
time, and have gained great riches and large revenues, and, what
is the principal filing of all, I am at amity with and well
regarded by the Romans, who, if I may so say, are the rulers of
the whole world, I will do my endeavor to correct that
imperfection, which hath arisen from the necessity of our
affairs, and the slavery we have been under formerly, and to make
a thankful return, after the most pious manner, to God, for what
blessings I have received from him, by giving me this kingdom,
and that by rendering his temple as complete as I am able."

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