Translated by William Whiston (1737). A few spellings have been changed.
See key to translations for an explanation of the format.
Whiston divided this book into 16 chapters, as follows:
Chapter 1. The war between Aristobulus and Hyrcanus about the kingdom; and how they made an agreement that Aristobulus should be king, and Hyrcanus live a private life; as also how Hyrcanus a little afterward was persuaded by Antipater to fly to Aretas.
Chapter 2. How Aretas and Hyrcanus made an expedition against Aristobulus and besieged Jerusalem; and how Scaurus the Roman general raised the siege. Concerning the death of Onias.
Chapter 3. How Aristobulus and Hyrcanus came to Pompeius in order to argue who ought to have the kingdom; and how upon the flight of Aristobulus to the fortress Alexandreium Pompeius led his army against him and ordered him to deliver up the fortresses whereof he was possessed.
Chapter 4. How Pompeius when the citizens of Jerusalem shut their gates against him besieged the city and took it by force; as also what other things he did in Judaea.
Chapter 5. How Scaurus made a league of mutual assistance with Aretas; and what Gabinius did in Judaea, after he had conquered Alexander, the son of Aristobulus.
Chapter 6. How Gabinius caught Aristobulus after he had fled from Rome, and sent him back to Rome again; and how the same Gabinius as he returned out of Egypt overcame Alexander and the Nabataeans in battle.
Chapter 7. How Crassus came into Judaea, and pillaged the temple; and then marched against the Parthians and perished, with his army. Also how Cassius obtained Syria, and put a stop to the Parthians and then went up to Judaea.
Chapter 8. The Jews become confederates with Caesar when he fought against Egypt. The glorious actions of Antipater, and his friendship with Caesar. The honours which the Jews received from the Romans and Athenians.
Chapter 9. How Antipater committed the care of Galilee to Herodes, and that of Jerusalem to Phasaelus; as also how Herodes upon the Jews' envy at Antipater was accused before Hyrcanus.
Chapter 10. The honours that were paid the Jews; and the leagues that were made by the Romans and other nations, with them.
Chapter 11. How Marcus succeeded Sextus when he had been slain by Bassus's treachery; and how, after the death of Caesar, Cassius came into Syria, and distressed Judaea; as also how Malichus slew Antipater and was himself slain by Herodes.
Chapter 12. Herodes ejects Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus out of Judaea, and gains the friendship of Antonius, who was now come into Syria, by sending him much money; on which account he would not admit of those that would have accused Herodes: and what it was that Antonius wrote to the Tyrians in behalf.
Chapter 13. How Antonius made Herodes and Phasaelus tetrarchs, after they had been accused to no purpose; and how the Parthians when they brought Antigonus into Judaea took Hyrcanus and Phasaelus captives. Herodes's flight; and what afflictions Hyrcanus and Phasaelus endured.
Chapter 14. How Herodes got away from the king of Arabia and made haste to go into Egypt and thence went away in haste also to Rome; and how, by promising a great deal of money to Antonius he obtained of the senate and of Caesar to be made king of the Jews.
Chapter 15. How Herodes sailed out of Italy to Judaea, and fought with Antigonus and what other things happened in Judaea about that time.
Chapter 16. How Herodes, when he had married Mariamne, took Jerusalem with the assistance of Sosius by force; and how the government of he Asamonaeans was put an end to.
← Book 13
[1.]  We have related the affairs of queen Alexandra, and her death, in the foregoing book and will now speak of what followed, and was connected with those histories; declaring, before we proceed, that we have nothing so much at heart as this, that we may omit no facts, either through ignorance or laziness;  G for we are upon the history and explication of such things as the greatest part are unacquainted withal, because of their distance from our times; and we aim to do it with a proper beauty of style, so far as that is derived from proper words harmonically disposed, and from such ornaments of speech also as may contribute to the pleasure of our readers,  that they may entertain the knowledge of what we write with some agreeable satisfaction and pleasure. But the principal scope that authors ought to aim at above all the rest, is to speak accurately, and to speak truly, for the satisfaction of those that are otherwise unacquainted with such transactions, and obliged to believe what these writers inform them of.
 G Hyrcanus then began his high priesthood on the third year of the hundred and seventy-seventh Olympiad, when Quintus Hortensius and Quintus Metellus, who was called Metellus of Crete, were consuls at Rome; when presently Aristobulus began to make war against him; and as it came to a battle with Hyrcanus at Jericho, many of his soldiers deserted him, and went over to his brother;  upon which Hyrcanus fled into the citadel, where Aristobulus's wife and children were imprisoned by their mother, as we have said already, and attacked and overcame those his adversaries that had fled thither, and lay within the walls of the temple.  G So when he had sent a message to his brother about agreeing the matters between them, he laid aside his enmity to him on these conditions, that Aristobulus should be king, that he should live without meddling with public affairs, and quietly enjoy the estate he had acquired.  When they had agreed upon these terms in the temple, and had confirmed the agreement with oaths, and the giving one an. other their right hands, and embracing one another in the sight of the whole multitude, they departed; the one, Aristobulus, to the palace; and Hyrcanus, as a private man, to the former house of Aristobulus.
 G But there was a certain friend of Hyrcanus, an Idumaean, called Antipater, who was very rich, and in his nature an active and a seditious man; who was at enmity with Aristobulus, and had differences with him on account of his good-will to Hyrcanus.  It is true that Nicolaus of Damascus says, that Antipater was of the stock of the principal Jews who came out of Babylon into Judaea; but that assertion of his was to gratify Herodes, who was his son, and who, by certain revolutions of fortune, came afterward to be king of the Jews, whose history we shall give you in its proper place hereafter.  G However, this Antipater was at first called Antipas, and that was his father's name also; of whom they relate this: That king Alexander and his wife made him general of all Idumaea, and that he made a league of friendship with those Arabians, and Gazites, and Ascalonites, that were of his own party, and had, by many and large presents, made them his fast friends.  But now this younger Antipater was suspicious of the power of Aristobulus, and was afraid of some mischief he might do him, because of his hatred to him; so he stirred up the most powerful of the Jews, and talked against him to them privately; and said that it was unjust to overlook the conduct of Aristobulus, who had got the government unrighteously, and ejected his brother out of it, who was the elder, and ought to retain what belonged to him by prerogative of his birth.  G And the same speeches he perpetually made to Hyrcanus; and told him that his own life would be in danger, unless he guarded himself, and got shut of Aristobulus; for he said that the friends of Aristobulus omitted no opportunity of advising him to kill him, as being then, and not before, sure to retain his principality.  Hyrcanus gave no credit to these words of his, as being of a gentle disposition, and one that did not easily admit of calumnies against other men. This temper of his not disposing him to meddle with public affairs, and want of spirit, occasioned him to appear to spectators to be degenerate and unmanly; while Aristobulus was of a contrary temper, an active man, and one of a great and generous soul.
 G Since therefore Antipater saw that Hyrcanus did not attend to what he said, he never ceased, day by day, to charge reigned crimes upon Aristobulus, and to calumniate him before him, as if he had a mind to kill him; and so, by urging him perpetually, he advised him, and persuaded him to fly to Aretas, the king of Arabia; and promised, that if he would comply with his advice, he would also himself assist him and go with him].  When Hyrcanus heard this, he said that it was for his advantage to fly away to Aretas. Now Arabia is a country that borders upon Judaea. However, Hyrcanus sent Antipater first to the king of Arabia, in order to receive assurances from him, that when he should come in the manner of a supplicant to him, he would not deliver him up to his enemies.  G So Antipater having received such assurances, returned to Hyrcanus to Jerusalem. A while afterward he took Hyrcanus, and stole out of the city by night, and went a great journey, and came and brought him to the city called Petra, where the palace of Aretas was;  and as he was a very familiar friend of that king, he persuaded him to bring back Hyrcanus into Judaea, and this persuasion he continued every day without any intermission. He also proposed to make him presents on that account. At length he prevailed with Aretas in his suit.  G Moreover, Hyrcanus promised him, that when he had been brought thither, and had received his kingdom, he would restore that country, and those twelve cities which his father Alexander had taken from the Arabians, which were these, Medaba, Naballo, Libias, Tharabasa, Agala, Athone, Zoara, Orone, Marissa, Rydda, Lussa, and Oryba.
[2.]  After these promises had been given to Aretas, he made an expedition against Aristobulus with an army of fifty thousand horse and foot, and beat him in the battle. And when after that victory many went over to Hyrcanus as deserters, Aristobulus was left desolate, and fled to Jerusalem;  G upon which the king of Arabia took all his army, and made an assault upon the temple, and besieged Aristobulus therein, the people still supporting Hyrcanus, and assisting him in the siege, while none but the priests continued with Aristobulus.  So Aretas united the forces of the Arabians and of the Jews together, and pressed on the siege vigorously. As this happened at the time when the feast of unleavened bread was celebrated, which we call the passover, the principal men among the Jews left the country, and fled into Egypt.  G Now there was one, whose name was Onias, a righteous man be was, and beloved of God, who, in a certain drought, had prayed to God to put an end to the intense heat, and whose prayers God had heard, and had sent them rain. This man had hid himself, because he saw that this sedition would last a great while. However, they brought him to the Jewish camp, and desired, that as by his prayers he had once put an end to the drought, so he would in like manner make imprecations on Aristobulus and those of his faction.  And when, upon his refusal, and the excuses that he made, he was still by the multitude compelled to speak, he stood up in the midst of them, and said,  G "O God, the King of the whole world! since those that stand now with me are thy people, and those that are besieged are also thy priests, I beseech thee, that thou wilt neither hearken to the prayers of those against these, nor bring to effect what these pray against those." Whereupon such wicked Jews as stood about him, as soon as he had made this prayer, stoned him to death.
 But God punished them immediately for this their barbarity, and took vengeance of them for the murder of Onias, in the manner following: While the priests and Aristobulus were besieged, it happened that the feast called the passover was come, at which it is our custom to offer a great number of sacrifices to God;  G but those that were with Aristobulus wanted sacrifices, and desired that their countrymen without would furnish them with such sacrifices, and assured them they should have as much money for them as they should desire; and when they required them to pay a thousand drachmae for each head of cattle, Aristobulus and the priests willingly undertook to pay for them accordingly, and those within let down the money over the walls, and gave it them.  But when the others had received it, they did not deliver the sacrifices, but arrived at that height of wickedness as to break the assurances they had given, and to be guilty of impiety towards God, by not furnishing those that wanted them with sacrifices.  G And when the priests found they had been cheated, and that the agreements they had made were violated, they prayed to God that he would avenge them on their countrymen. Nor did he delay that their punishment, but sent a strong and vehement storm of wind, that destroyed the fruits of the whole country, till a modius of wheat was then bought for eleven drachmae.
 In the mean time Pompeius sent Scaurus into Syria, while he was himself in Armenia, and making war with Tigranes; but when Scaurus was come to Damascus, and found that Lollius and Metellus had newly taken the city, he came himself hastily into Judaea.  G And when he was come thither, ambassadors came to him, both from Aristobulus and Hyrcanus, and both desired he would assist them. And when both of them promised to give him money, Aristobulus four hundred talents, and Hyrcanus no less, he accepted of Aristobulus's promise,  for he was rich, and had a great soul, and desired to obtain nothing but what was moderate; whereas the other was poor, and tenacious, and made incredible promises in hopes of greater advantages; for it was not the same thing to take a city that was exceeding strong and powerful, as it was to eject out of the country some fugitives, with a greater number of Nabataeans, who were no very warlike people.  G He therefore made an agreement with Aristobulus, for the reasons before mentioned, and took his money, and raised the siege, and ordered Aretas to depart, or else he should be declared an enemy to the Romans.  So Scaurus returned to Damascus again; and Aristobulus, with a great army, made war with Aretas and Hyrcanus, and fought them at a place called Papyron, and beat them in the battle, and slew about six thousand of the enemy, with whom fell Phalion also, the brother of Antipater.
[3.]  G A little afterward Pompeius came to Damascus, and marched over Coele Syria; at which time there came ambassadors to him from all Syria, and Egypt, and out of Judaea also, for Aristobulus had sent him a great present, which was a golden vine of the value of five hundred talents.  Now Strabo of Cappadocia mentions this present in these words: "There came also an embassy out of Egypt, and a crown of the value of four thousand pieces of gold; and out of Judaea there came another, whether you call it a vine or a garden; they call the thing Terpole, the Delight.  G However, we ourselves saw that present reposited at Rome, in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, with this inscription, 'The gift of Alexander, the king of the Jews.' It was valued at five hundred talents; and the report is, that Aristobulus, the governor of the Jews, sent it."
 In a little time afterward came ambassadors again to him, Antipater from Hyrcanus, and Nicodemus from Aristobulus; which last also accused such as had taken bribes; first Gabinius, and then Scaurus, - the one three hundred talents, and the other four hundred; by which procedure he made these two his enemies, besides those he had before.  G And when Pompeius had ordered those that had controversies one with another to come to him in the beginning of the spring, he brought his army out of their winter quarters, and marched into the country of Damascus; and as he went along he demolished the citadel that was at Apameia, which Antiochus Cyzicenus had built,  and took cognisance of the country of Ptolemaeus Mennaeus, a wicked man, and not less so than Dionysius of Tripoli, who had been beheaded, who was also his relation by marriage; yet did he buy off the punishment of his crimes for a thousand talents, with which money Pompeius paid the soldiers their wages.  G He also conquered the place called Lysias, of which Silas a Jew was tyrant. And when he had passed over the cities of Heliopolis and Chalcis, and got over the mountain which is on the limit of Coele Syria, he came from Pella to Damascus;  and there it was that he heard the causes of the Jews, and of their governors Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, who were at difference one with another, as also of the nation against them both, which did not desire to be under kingly' government, because the form of government they received from their forefathers was that of subjection to the priests of that God whom they worshipped; and [they complained], that though these two were the posterity of priests, yet did they seek to change the government of their nation to another form, in order to enslave them.  G Hyrcanus complained, that although he were the elder brother, he was deprived of the prerogative of his birth by Aristobulus, and that he had but a small part of the country under him, Aristobulus having taken away the rest from him by force.  He also accused him, that the incursions which had been made into their neighbours' countries, and the piracies that had been at sea, were owing to him; and that the nation would not have revolted, unless Aristobulus had been a man given to violence and disorder; and there were no fewer than a thousand Jews, of the best esteem among them, who confirmed this accusation; which confirmation was procured by Antipater.  G But Aristobulus alleged against him, that it was Hyrcanus's own temper, which was inactive, and on that account contemptible, which caused him to be deprived of the government; and that for himself, he was necessitated to take it upon him, for fear lest it should be transferred to others. And that as to his title [of king], it was no other than what his father had taken [before him].  He also called for witnesses of what he said some persons who were both young and insolent; whose purple garments, fine heads of hair, and other ornaments, were detested [by the court], and which they appeared in, not as though they were to plead their cause in a court of justice, but as if they were marching in a pompous procession.
 G When Pompeius had heard the causes of these two, and had condemned Aristobulus for his violent procedure, he then spoke civilly to them, and sent them away; and told them, that when he came again into their country, he would settle all their affairs, after he had first taken a view of the affairs of the Nabataeans. In the mean time, he ordered them to be quiet; and treated Aristobulus civilly, lest he should make the nation revolt, and hinder his return;  which yet Aristobulus did; for without expecting any further determination, which Pompeius had promised them, he went to the city Delius, and thence marched into Judaea.
 G At this behaviour Pompeius was angry; and taking with him that army which he was leading against the Nabataeans, and the auxiliaries that came from Damascus, and the other parts of Syria, with the other Roman legions which he had with him, he made an expedition against Aristobulus;  but as he passed by Pella and Scythopolis, he came to Corea, which is the first entrance into Judaea when one passes over the midland countries, where he came to a most beautiful fortress that was built on the top of a mountain called Alexandreium, whither Aristobulus had fled; and thence Pompeius sent his commands to him, that he should come to him.  G Accordingly, at the persuasions of many that he would not make war with the Romans, he came down; and when he had disputed with his brother about the right to the government, he went up again to the citadel, as Pompeius gave him leave to do;  and this he did two or three times, as flattering himself with the hopes of having the kingdom granted him; so that he still pretended he would obey Pompeius in whatsoever he commanded, although at the same time he retired to his fortress, that he might not depress himself too low, and that he might be prepared for a war, in case it should prove as he feared, that Pompeius would transfer the government to Hyrcanus.  G But when Pompeius enjoined Aristobulus to deliver up the fortresses he held, and to send an injunction to their governors under his own hand for that purpose, for they had been forbidden to deliver them up upon any other commands, he submitted indeed to do so; but still he retired in displeasure to Jerusalem, and made preparation for war.  A little after this, certain persons came out of Pontus, and informed Pompeius, as he was on the way, and conducting his army against Aristobulus, that Mithridates was dead, and was slain by his son Pharnaces.
[4.]  G Now when Pompeius had pitched his camp at Jericho, (where the palm tree grows, and that balsam which is an ointment of all the most precious, which upon any incision made in the wood with a sharp stone, distils out thence like a juice,) he marched in the morning to Jerusalem.  Hereupon Aristobulus repented of what he was doing, and came to Pompeius, had [promised to] give him money, and received him into Jerusalem, and desired that he would leave off the war, and do what he pleased peaceably. So Pompeius, upon his entreaty, forgave him, and sent Gabinius, and soldiers with him, to receive the money and the city: G yet was no part of this performed; but Gabinius came back, being both excluded out of the city, and receiving none of the money promised, because Aristobulus's soldiers would not permit the agreements to be executed.  At this Pompeius was very angry, and put Aristobulus into prison, and came himself to the city, which was strong on every side, excepting the north, which was not so well fortified, for there was a broad and deep ditch that encompassed the city and included within it the temple, which was itself encompassed about with a very strong stone wall.
 G Now there was a sedition of the men that were within the city, who did not agree what was to be done in their present circumstances, while some thought it best to deliver up the city to Pompeius; but Aristobulus's party exhorted them to shut the gates, because he was kept in prison. Now these prevented the others, and seized upon the temple, and cut off the bridge which reached from it to the city, and prepared themselves to abide a siege;  but the others admitted Pompeius's army in, and delivered up both the city and the king's palace to him. So Pompeius sent his lieutenant Piso with an army, and placed garrisons both in the city and in the palace, to secure them, and fortified the houses that joined to the temple, and all those which were more distant and without it.  G And in the first place, he offered terms of accommodation to those within; but when they would not comply with what was desired, he encompassed all the places thereabout with a wall, wherein Hyrcanus did gladly assist him on all occasions; but Pompeius pitched his camp within [the wall], on the north part of the temple, where it was most practicable;  but even on that side there were great towers, and a ditch had been dug, and a deep valley begirt it round about, for on the parts towards the city were precipices, and the bridge on which Pompeius had got in was broken down. However, a bank was raised, day by day, with a great deal of labour, while the Romans cut down materials for it from the places round about.  G And when this bank was sufficiently raised, and the ditch filled up, though but poorly, by reason of its immense depth, he brought his mechanical engines and battering-rams from Tyre, and placing them on the bank, he battered the temple with the stones that were thrown against it.  And had it not been our practice, from the days of our forefathers, to rest on the seventh day, this bank could never have been perfected, by reason of the opposition the Jews would have made; for though our law gives us leave then to defend ourselves against those that begin to fight with us and assault us, yet does it not permit us to meddle with our enemies while they do any thing else.
 G Which thing when the Romans understood, on those days which we call Sabbaths they threw nothing at the Jews, nor came to any pitched battle with them; but raised up their earthen banks, and brought their engines into such forwardness, that they might do execution the next day.  And any one may hence learn how very great piety we exercise towards God, and the observance of his laws, since the priests were not at all hindered from their sacred ministrations by their fear during this siege, but did still twice a-day, in the morning and about the ninth hour, offer their sacrifices on the altar; nor did they omit those sacrifices, if any melancholy accident happened by the stones that were thrown among them;  G for although the city was taken on the third month, on the day of the fast, upon the hundred and seventy-ninth Olympiad, when Caius Antonius and Marcus Tullius Cicero were consuls, and the enemy then fell upon them, and cut the throats of those that were in the temple;  yet could not those that offered the sacrifices be compelled to run away, neither by the fear they were in of their own lives, nor by the number that were already slain, as thinking it better to suffer whatever came upon them, at their very altars, than to omit any thing that their laws required of them.  G And that this is not a mere brag, or an encomium to manifest a degree of our piety that was false, but is the real truth, I appeal to those that have written of the acts of Pompeius; and, among them, to Strabo and Nicolaus [of Damascus]; and besides these two, Titus Livius, the writer of the Roman History, who will bear witness to this thing.
 But when the battering-engine was brought near, the greatest of the towers was shaken by it, and fell down, and broke down a part of the fortifications, so the enemy poured in apace; and Cornelius Faustus, the son of Sylla, with his soldiers, first of all ascended the wall, and next to him Furius the centurion, with those that followed on the other part, while Fabius, who was also a centurion, ascended it in the middle, with a great body of men after him.  G But now all was full of slaughter; some of the Jews being slain by the Romans, and some by one another; nay, some there were who threw themselves down the precipices, or put fire to their houses, and burnt them, as not able to bear the miseries they were under.  Of the Jews there fell twelve thousand, but of the Romans very few. Absalom, who was at once both uncle and father-in-law to Aristobulus, was taken captive; and no small enormities were committed about the temple itself, which, in former ages, had been inaccessible, and seen by none;  G for Pompeius went into it, and not a few of those that were with him also, and saw all that which it was unlawful for any other men to see but only for the high priests. There were in that temple the golden table, the holy candlestick, and the pouring vessels, and a great quantity of spices; and besides these there were among the treasures two thousand talents of sacred money: yet did Pompeius touch nothing of all this, on account of his regard to religion; and in this point also he acted in a manner that was worthy of his virtue.  The next day he gave order to those that had the charge of the temple to cleanse it, and to bring what offerings the law required to God; and restored the high priesthood to Hyrcanus, both because he had been useful to him in other respects, and because he hindered the Jews in the country from giving Aristobulus any assistance in his war against him. He also cut off those that had been the authors of that war; and bestowed proper rewards on Faustus, and those others that mounted the wall with such alacrity;  G and he made Jerusalem tributary to the Romans, and took away those cities of Coele Syria which the inhabitants of Judaea had subdued, and put them under the government of the Roman president, and confined the whole nation, which had elevated itself so high before, within its own bounds.  Moreover, he rebuilt Gadara, which had been demolished a little before, to gratify Demetrius of Gadara, who was his freedman, and restored the rest of the cities, Hippus, and Scythopolis, and Pella, and Dios, and Samaria, as also Marissa, and Azotus, and Jamneia, and Arethusa, to their own inhabitants:  G these were in the inland parts. Besides those that had been demolished, and also of the maritime cities, Gaza, and Joppa, and Dora, and Strato's Tower; which last Herodes rebuilt after a glorious manner, and adorned with havens and temples, and changed its name to Caesareia. All these Pompeius left in a state of freedom, and joined them to the province of Syria.
 Now the occasions of this misery which came upon Jerusalem were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, by raising a sedition one against the other; for now we lost our liberty, and became subject to the Romans, and were deprived of that country which we had gained by our arms from the Syrians, and were compelled to restore it to the Syrians.  G Moreover, the Romans exacted of us, in a little time, above ten thousand talents; and the royal authority, which was a dignity formerly bestowed on those that were high priests, by the right of their family, became the property of private men. But of these matters we shall treat in their proper places.  Now Pompeius committed Coele Syria, as far as the river Euphrates and Egypt, to Scaurus, with two Roman legions, and then went away to Cilicia, and made haste to Rome. He also carried bound along with him Aristobulus and his children; for he had two daughters, and as many sons; the one of which ran away, but the younger, Antigonus, was carried to Rome, together with his sisters.
[5.]  G Scaurus made now an expedition against Petra, in Arabia, and set on fire all the places round about it, because of the great difficulty of access to it. And as his army was pinched by famine, Antipater furnished him with corn out of Judaea, and with whatever else he wanted, and this at the command of Hyrcanus.  And when he was sent to Aretas, as an ambassador by Scaurus, because he had lived with him formerly, he persuaded Aretas to give Scaurus a sum of money, to prevent the burning of his country, and undertook to be his surety for three hundred talents. So Scaurus, upon these terms, ceased to make war any longer; which was done as much at Scaurus's desire, as at the desire of Aretas.
 G Some time after this, when Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, made an incursion into Judaea, Gabinius came from Rome into Syria, as commander of the Roman forces. He did many considerable actions; and particularly made war with Alexander, since Hyrcanus was not yet able to oppose his power, but was already attempting to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, which Pompeius had overthrown,  although the Romans which were there restrained him from that his design. However, Alexander went over all the country round about, and armed many of the Jews, and suddenly got together ten thousand armed footmen, and fifteen hundred horsemen, and fortified Alexandreium, a fortress near to Corea, and Machaerus, near the mountains of Arabia.  G Gabinius therefore came upon him, having sent Marcus Antonius, with other commanders, before. These armed such Romans as followed them; and, together with them, such Jews as were subject to them, whose leaders were Pitholaus and Malichus; and they took with them also their friends that were with Antipater, and met Alexander, while Gabinius himself followed with his legion.  Hereupon Alexander retired to the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, where they fell upon one another, and it came to a pitched battle, in which the Romans slew of their enemies about three thousand, and took a like number alive.
 G At which time Gabinius came to Alexandreium, and invited those that were in it to deliver it up on certain conditions, and promised that then their former offences should be forgiven. But as a great number of the enemy had pitched their camp before the fortress, whom the Romans attacked, Marcus Antonius fought bravely, and slew a great number, and seemed to come off with the greatest honour.  So Gabinius left part of his army there, in order to take the place, and he himself went into other parts of Judaea, and gave order to rebuild all the cities that he met with that had been demolished;  G at which time were rebuilt Samaria, Azotus, Scythopolis, Anthedon, Raphia, and Dora; Marissa also, and Gaza, and not a few others besides. And as the men acted according to Gabinius's command, it came to pass, that at this time these cities were securely inhabited, which had been desolate for a long time.
 When Gabinius had done thus in the country, he returned to Alexandreium; and when he urged on the siege of the place, Alexander sent an embassy to him, desiring that he would pardon his former offences; he also delivered up the fortresses, Hyrcania and Machaerus, and at last Alexandreium itself  G which fortresses Gabinius demolished. But when Alexander's mother, who was of the side of the Romans, as having her husband and other children at Rome, came to him, he granted her whatsoever she asked; and when he had settled matters with her, he brought Hyrcanus to Jerusalem, and committed the care of the temple to him.  And when he had ordained five councils, he distributed the nation into the same number of parts. So these councils governed the people; the first was at Jerusalem, the second at Gadara, the third at Amathus, the fourth at Jericho, and the fifth at Sepphoris in Galilee. So the Jews were now freed from monarchic authority, and were governed by an aristocracy.
[6.]  G Now Aristobulus ran away from Rome to Judaea, and set about the rebuilding of Alexandreium, which had been newly demolished. Hereupon Gabinius sent soldiers against him, add for their commanders Sisenna, and Antonius, and Servilius, in order to hinder him from getting possession of the country, and to take him again.  And indeed many of the Jews ran to Aristobulus, on account of his former glory, as also because they should be glad of an innovation. Now there was one Pitholaus, a lieutenant at Jerusalem, who deserted to him with a thousand men, although a great number of those that came to him were unarmed;  G and when Aristobulus had resolved to go to Machaerus, he dismissed those people, because they were unarmed; for they could not be useful to him in what actions he was going about; but he took with him eight thousand that were armed, and marched on;  and as the Romans fell upon them severely, the Jews fought valiantly, but were beaten in the battle; and when they had fought with alacrity, but were overborne by the enemy, they were put to flight; of whom were slain about five thousand, and the rest being dispersed, tried, as well as they were able, to save themselves.  G However, Aristobulus had with him still above a thousand, and with them he fled to Machaerus, and fortified the place; and though he had had ill success, he still had good hope of his affairs; but when he had struggled against the siege for two days' time, and had received many wounds, he was brought as a captive to Gabinius, with his son Antigonus, who also fled with him from Rome. And this was the fortune of Aristobulus, who was sent back again to Rome, and was there retained in bonds, having been both king and high priest for three years and six months; and was indeed an eminent person, and one of a great soul. However, the senate let his children go, upon Gabinius's writing to them that he had promised their mother so much when she delivered up the fortresses to him; and accordingly they then returned into Judaea.
 G Now when Gabinius was making an expedition against the Parthians, and had already passed over Euphrates, he changed his mind, and resolved to return into Egypt, in order to restore Ptolemaeus to his kingdom. This hath also been related elsewhere.  However, Antipater supplied his army, which he sent against Archelaus, with corn, and weapons, and money. He also made those Jews who were above Pelusium his friends and confederates, and had been the guardians of the passes that led into Egypt.  G But when he came back out of Egypt, he found Syria in disorder, with seditions and troubles; for Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, having seized on the government a second time by force, made many of the Jews revolt to him; and so he marched over the country with a great army, and slew all the Romans he could light upon, and proceeded to besiege the mountain called Gerizzim, whither they had retreated.
 But when Gabinius found Syria in such a state, he sent Antipater, who was a prudent man, to those that were seditious, to try whether he could cure them of their madness, and persuade them to return to a better mind;  G and when he came to them, he brought many of them to a sound mind, and induced them to do what they ought to do; but he could not restrain Alexander, for he had an army of thirty thousand Jews, and met Gabinius, and joining battle with him, was beaten, and lost ten thousand of his men about Mount Tabor.
 So Gabinius settled the affairs which belonged to the city Jerusalem, as was agreeable to Antipater's inclination, and went against the Nabataeans, and overcame them in battle. He also sent away in a friendly manner Mithridates and Orsanes, who were Parthian deserters, and came to him, though the report went abroad that they had run away from him.  G And when Gabinius had performed great and glorious actions, in his management of the affairs of war, he returned to Rome, and delivered the government to Crassus. Now Nicolaus of Damascus, and Strabo of Cappadocia, both describe the expeditions of Pompeius and Gabinius against the Jews, while neither of them say anything new which is not in the other.
[7.]  Now Crassus, as he was going upon his expedition against the Parthians, came into Judaea, and carried off the money that was in the temple, which Pompeius had left, being two thousand talents, and was disposed to spoil it of all the gold belonging to it, which was eight thousand talents.  G He also took a beam, which was made of solid beaten gold, of the weight of three hundred minae, each of which weighed two pounds and a half. It was the priest who was guardian of the sacred treasures, and whose name was Eleazar, that gave him this beam, not out of a wicked design, for he was a good and a righteous man;  but being entrusted with the custody of the veils belonging to the temple, which were of admirable beauty, and of very costly workmanship, and hung down from this beam, when lie saw that Crassus was busy in gathering money, and was in fear for the entire ornaments of the temple, he gave him this beam of gold as a ransom for the whole,  G but this not till he had given his oath that he would remove nothing else out of the temple, but be satisfied with this only, which he should give him, being worth many ten thousand [shekels]. Now this beam was contained in a wooden beam that was hollow, but was known to no others; but Eleazar alone knew it;  yet did Crassus take away this beam, upon the condition of touching nothing else that belonged to the temple, and then brake his oath, and carried away all the gold that was in the temple.
 G And let no one wonder that there was so much wealth in our temple, since all the Jews throughout the habitable earth, and those that worshipped God, nay, even those of Asia and Europe, sent their contributions to it, and this from very ancient times.  Nor is the largeness of these sums without its attestation; nor is that greatness owing to our vanity, as raising it without ground to so great a height; but there are many witnesses to it, and particularly Strabo of Cappadocia, who says thus:  G "Mithridates sent to Cos, and took the money which queen Cleopatra had deposited there, as also eight hundred talents belonging to the Jews."  Now we have no public money but only what appertains to God; and it is evident that the Asian Jews removed this money out of fear of Mithridates; for it is not probable that those of Judaea, who had a strong city and temple, should send their money to Cos; nor is it likely that the Jews who are inhabitants of Alexandria should do so neither, since they were ill no fear of Mithridates.  G And Strabo himself bears witness to the same thing in another place, that at the same time that Sylla passed over into Greece, in order to fight against Mithridates, he sent Lucullus to put an end to a sedition that our nation, of whom the habitable earth is full, had raised in Cyrene; where he speaks thus:  "There were four classes of men among those of Cyrene; that of citizens, that of husbandmen, the third of strangers, and the fourth of Jews. Now these Jews are already got into all cities; and it is hard to find a place in the habitable earth that hath not admitted this tribe of men, and is not possessed by them;  G and it hath come to pass that Egypt and Cyrene, as having the same governors, and a great number of other nations, imitate their way of living, and maintain great bodies of these Jews in a peculiar manner, and grow up to greater prosperity with them, and make use of the same laws with that nation also.  Accordingly, the Jews have places assigned them in Egypt, wherein they inhabit, besides what is peculiarly allotted to this nation at Alexandria, which is a large part of that city. There is also an ethnarch allowed them, who governs the nation, and distributes justice to them, and takes care of their contracts, and of the laws to them belonging, as if he were the ruler of a free republic.  G In Egypt, therefore, this nation is powerful, because the Jews were originally Egyptians, and because the land wherein they inhabit, since they went thence, is near to Egypt. They also removed into Cyrene, because that this land adjoined to the government of Egypt, as well as does Judaea, or rather was formerly under the same government." And this is what Strabo says.
 So when Crassus had settled all things as he himself pleased, he marched into Parthia, where both he himself and all his army perished, as hath been related elsewhere. But Cassius, as he fled from Rome to Syria, took possession of it, and was an impediment to the Parthians, who by reason of their victory over Crassus made incursions upon it.  G And as he came back to Tyre, he went up into Judaea also, and fell upon Tarichaeae, and presently took it, and carried about thirty thousand Jews captives; and slew Pitholaus, who succeeded Aristobulus in his seditious practices, and that by the persuasion of Antipater,  who proved to have great interest in him, and was at that time in great repute with the Idumaeans also: out of which nation he married a wife, who was the daughter of one of their eminent men, and her name was Cypros, by whom he had four sons, Phasaelus, and Herodes, who was afterwards made king, and Joseph, and Pheroras; and a daughter, named Salome.  G This Antipater cultivated also a friendship and mutual kindness with other potentates, but especially with the king of Arabia, to whom he committed his children, while he fought against Aristobulus. So Cassius removed his camp, and marched to Euphrates, to meet those that were coming to attack him, as hath been related by others.
 But some time afterward Caesar, when he had taken Rome, and after Pompeius and the senate were fled beyond the Ionian Sea, freed Aristobulus from his bonds, and resolved to send him into Syria, and delivered two legions to him, that he might set matters right, as being a potent man in that country.  G But Aristobulus had no enjoyment of what he hoped for from the power that was given him by Caesar; for those of Pompeius's party prevented it, and destroyed him by poison; and those of Caesar's party buried him. His dead body also lay, for a good while, embalmed in honey, till Antonius afterward sent it to Judaea, and caused him to be buried in the royal sepulchre.  But Scipio, upon Pompeius's sending to him to slay Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, because the young man was accused of what offences he had been guilty of at first against the Romans, cut off his head; and thus did he die at Antioch.  G But Ptolemaeus, the son of Mennaeus, who was the ruler of Chalcis, under Mount Libanus, took his brethren to him, and sent his son Philippion to Ascalon to Aristobulus's wife, and desired her to send back with him her son Antigonus, and her daughters; the one of which, whose name was Alexandra, Philippion fell in love with, and married her, though afterward his father Ptolemaeus slew him, and married Alexandra, and continued to take care of her brethren.
[8.]  Now after Pompeius was dead, and after that victory Caesar had gained over him, Antipater, who managed the Jewish affairs, became very useful to Caesar when he made war against Egypt, and that by the order of Hyrcanus;  G for when Mithridates of Pergamum was bringing his auxiliaries, and was not able to continue his march through Pelusium, but obliged to stay at Ascalon, Antipater came to him, conducting three thousand of the Jews, armed men. He had also taken care the principal men of the Arabians should come to his assistance;  and on his account it was that all the Syrians assisted him also, as not willing to appear behindhand in their alacrity for Caesar, viz. Jamblicus the ruler, and Ptolemaeus his son, and Tholomaeus the son of Sohemus, who dwelt at Mount Libanus, and almost all the cities.  G So Mithridates marched out of Syria, and came to Pelusium; and when its inhabitants would not admit him, he besieged the city. Now Antipater signalised himself here, and was the first who plucked down a part of the wall, and so opened a way to the rest, whereby they might enter the city, and by this means Pelusium was taken.  But it happened that the Egyptian Jews, who dwelt in the country called the place of Onias, would not let Antipater and Mithridates, with their soldiers, pass to Caesar; but Antipater persuaded them to come over with their party, because he was of the same people with them, and that chiefly by showing them the epistles of Hyrcanus the high priest, wherein he exhorted them to cultivate friendship with Caesar, and to supply his army with money, and all sorts of provisions which they wanted;  G and accordingly, when they saw Antipater and the high priest of the same sentiments, they did as they were desired. And when the Jews about Memphis heard that these Jews were come over to Caesar, they also invited Mithridates to come to them; so he came and received them also into his army.
 And when Mithridates had gone over all Delta, as the place is called, he came to a pitched battle with the enemy, near the place called the Jewish Camp. Now Mithridates had the right wing, and Antipater the left;  G and when it came to a fight, that wing where Mithridates was gave way, and was likely to suffer extremely, unless Antipater had come running to him with his own soldiers along the shore, when he had already beaten the enemy that opposed him; so he delivered Mithridates, and put those Egyptians who had been too hard for him to flight.  He also took their camp, and continued in the pursuit of them. He also recalled Mithridates, who had been worsted, and was retired a great way off; of whose soldiers eight hundred fell, but of Antipater's fifty.  G So Mithridates sent an account of this battle to Caesar, and openly declared that Antipater was the author of this victory, and of his own preservation, insomuch that Caesar commended Antipater then, and made use of him all the rest of that war in the most hazardous undertakings; he happened also to be wounded in one of those engagements
 However, when Caesar, after some time, had finished that war, and was sailed away for Syria, he honoured Antipater greatly, and confirmed Hyrcanus in the high priesthood; and bestowed on Antipater the privilege of a citizen of Rome, and a freedom from taxes every where;  G and it is reported by many, that Hyrcanus went along with Antipater in this expedition, and came himself into Egypt. And Strabo of Cappadocia bears witness to this, when he says thus, in the name of Asinius: "After Mithridates had invaded Egypt, and with him Hyrcanus the high priest of the Jews."  Nay, the same Strabo says thus again, in another place, in the name of Hypsicrates, that "Mithridates at first went out alone; but that Antipater, who had the care of the Jewish affairs, was called by him to Ascalon, and that he had got ready three thousand soldiers to go along with him, and encouraged other governors of the country to go along with him also; and that Hyrcanus the high priest was also present in this expedition." This is what Strabo says.
 G But Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, came at this time to Caesar, and lamented his father's fate; and complained, that it was by Antipater's means that Aristobulus was taken off by poison, and his brother was beheaded by Scipio, and desired that he would take pity of him who had been ejected out of that principality which was due to him. He also accused Hyrcanus and Antipater as governing the nation by violence, and offering injuries to himself.  Antipater was present, and made his defence as to the accusations that were laid against him. He demonstrated that Antigonus and his party were given to innovation, and were seditious persons. He also put Caesar in mind what difficult services he had undergone when he assisted him in his wars, and discoursed about what he was a witness of himself.  G He added, that Aristobulus was justly carried away to Rome, as one that was an enemy to the Romans, and could never be brought to be a friend to them, and that his brother had no more than he deserved from Scipio, as being seized in committing robberies; and that this punishment was not inflicted on him in a way of violence or injustice by him that did it.
 When Antipater had made this speech, Caesar appointed Hyrcanus to be high priest, and gave Antipater what principality he himself should choose, leaving the determination to himself; so he made him procurator of Judaea.  G He also gave Hyrcanus leave to raise up the walls of his own city, upon his asking that favour of him, for they had been demolished by Pompeius. And this grant he sent to the consuls to Rome, to be engraved in the capitol. The decree of the senate was this that follows:  "Lucius Valerius, son of Lucius, the praetor, referred this to the senate, upon the Ides of December, in the temple of Concord. There were present at the writing of this decree Lucius Coponius, the son of Lucius of the Colline tribe, and Papirius of the Quirine tribe,  G concerning the affairs which Alexander, the son of Jason, and Numenius, the son of Antiochus, and Alexander, the son of Dositheus, ambassadors of the Jews, good and worthy men, proposed, who came to renew that league of goodwill and friendship with the Romans which was in being before.  They also brought a shield of gold, as a mark of confederacy, valued at fifty thousand pieces of gold; and desired that letters might be given them, directed both to the free cities and to the kings, that their country and their havens might be at peace, and that no one among them might receive any injury.  G It therefore pleased [the senate] to make a league of friendship and good-will with them, and to bestow on them whatsoever they stood in need of, and to accept of the shield which was brought by them. This was done in the ninth year of Hyrcanus the high priest and ethnarch, in the month Panemus."  Hyrcanus also received honours from the people of Athens, as having been useful to them on many occasions. And when they wrote to him, they sent him this decree, as it here follows: "Under the prytaneia and priesthood of Dionysius, the son of Asclepiades, on the fifth day of the latter part of the month Panemus, this decree of the Athenians was given to their commanders,  G when Agathocles was archon, and Eucles, the son of Menander of Alimusia, was the scribe. In the month Munychion, on the eleventh day of the prytaneia, a council of the presidents was held in the theatre. Dorotheus the high priest, and the fellow presidents with him, put it to the vote of the people. Dionysius, the son of Dionysius, gave the sentence.  Since Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, continues to bear good-will to our people in general, and to every one of our citizens in particular, and treats them with all sorts of kindness; and when any of the Athenians come to him, either as ambassadors, or on any occasion of their own, he receives them in an obliging manner, and sees that they are conducted back in safety,  G of which we have had several former testimonies; it is now also decreed, at the report of Theodosius, the son of Theodorus, and upon his putting the people in mind of the virtue of this man, and that his purpose is to do us all the good that is in his power,  to honour him with a crown of gold, the usual reward according to the law, and to erect his statue in brass in the temple of Demus and of the Graces; and that this present of a crown shall be proclaimed publicly in the theatre, in the Dionysian shows, while the new tragedies are acting; and in the Panathenean, and Eleusinian, and Gymnastic shows also;  G and that the commanders shall take care, while he continues in his friendship, and preserves his good-will to us, to return all possible honour and favour to the man for his affection and generosity; that by this treatment it may appear how our people receive the good kindly, and repay them a suitable reward; and he may be induced to proceed in his affection towards us, by the honours we have already paid him.  That ambassadors be also chosen out of all the Athenians, who shall carry this decree to him, and desire him to accept of the honours we do him, and to endeavour always to be doing some good to our city." And this shall suffice us to have spoken as to the honours that were paid by the Romans and the people of Athens to Hyrcanus.
Following sections (156 - 323) →
Attalus' home page | 11.04.14 | Any comments?