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Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, Book 14

Sections 324 - 491

Translated by William Whiston (1737). A few spellings have been changed. See key to translations for an explanation of the format.


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[13.]   [324] G   When after this Antonius came into Syria, Cleopatra met him in Cilicia, and brought him to fall in love with her. And there came now also a hundred of the most potent of the Jews to accuse Herodes and those about him, and set the men of the greatest eloquence among them to speak. [325] But Messala contradicted them, on behalf of the young men, and all this in the presence of Hyrcanus, who was Herodes's father-in-law already. When Antonius had heard both sides at Daphne, he asked Hyrcanus who they were that governed the nation best. [326] G   He replied, Herodes and his friends. Hereupon Antonius, by reason of the old hospitable friendship he had made with his father [Antipater], at that time when he was with Gabinius, he made both Herodes and Phasaelus tetrarchs, and committed the public affairs of the Jews to them, and wrote letters to that purpose. He also bound fifteen of their adversaries, and was going to kill them, but that Herodes obtained their pardon.

[327] Yet did not these men continue quiet when they were come back, but a thousand of the Jews came to Tyre to meet him there, whither the report was that he would come. But Antonius was corrupted by the money which Herodes and his brother had given him; and so he gave order to the governor of the place to punish the Jewish ambassadors, who were for making innovations, and to settle the government upon Herodes; [328] G   but Herodes went out hastily to them, and Hyrcanus was with him, (for they stood upon the shore before the city,) and he charged them to go their ways, because great mischief would befall them if they went on with their accusation. [329] But they did not acquiesce; whereupon the Romans ran upon them with their daggers, and slew some, and wounded more of them, and the rest fled away and went home, and lay still in great consternation. And when the people made a clamour against Herodes, Antonius was so provoked at it, that he slew the prisoners.

[330] G   Now, in the second year, Pacorus, the king of Parthia's son, and Barzapharnes, a commander of the Parthians, possessed themselves of Syria. Ptolemaeus, the son of Mennaeus, also was now dead, and Lysanias his son took his government, and made a league of friendship with Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus; and in order to obtain it, made use of that commander, who had great interest in him. [331] Now Antigonus had promised to give the Parthians a thousand talents, and five hundred women, upon condition they would take the government away from Hyrcanus, and bestow it upon him, and withal kill Herodes. [332] G   And although he did not give them what he had promised, yet did the Parthians make an expedition into Judaea on that account, and carried Antigonus with them. Pacorus went along the maritime parts, but the commander Barzapharnes through the midland. [333] Now the Tyrians excluded Pacorus, but the Sidonians and those of Ptolemais received him. However, Pacorus sent a troop of horsemen into Judaea, to take a view of the state of the country, and to assist Antigonus; and sent also the king's butler, of the same name with himself. [334] G   So when the Jews that dwelt about Mount Carmel came to Antigonus, and were ready to march with him into Judaea, Antigonus hoped to get some part of the country by their assistance. The place is called Drymi; and when some others came and met them, the men privately fell upon Jerusalem; and when some more were come to them, they got together in great numbers, and came against the king's palace, and besieged it. [335] But as Phasaelus's and Herodes's party came to the other's assistance, and a battle happened between them in the market-place, the young men beat their enemies, and pursued them into the temple, and sent some armed men into the adjoining houses to keep them in, who yet being destitute of such as should support them, were burnt, and the houses with them, by the people who rose up against them. [336] G   But Herodes was revenged on these seditious adversaries of his a little afterward for this injury they had offered him, when he fought with them, and slew a great number of them.

[337] But while there were daily skirmishes, the enemy waited for the coming of the multitude out of the country to Pentecost, a feast of ours so called; [338] G   and when that day was come, many ten thousands of the people were gathered together about the temple, some in armour, and some without. Now those that came guarded both the temple and the city, excepting what belonged to the palace, which Herodes guarded with a few of his soldiers; [339] and Phasaelus had the charge of the wall, while Herodes, with a body of his men, sallied out upon the enemy, who lay in the suburbs, and fought courageously, and put many ten thousands to flight, some flying into the city, and some into the temple, and some into the outer fortifications, for some such fortifications there were in that place. Phasaelus came also to his assistance; [340] G   yet was Pacorus, the general of the Parthians, at the desire of Antigonus, admitted into the city, with a few of his horsemen, under pretence indeed as if he would still the sedition, but in reality to assist Antigonus in obtaining the government. [341] And when Phasaelus met him, and received him kindly, Pacorus persuaded him to go himself as ambassador to Barzapharnes, which was done fraudulently. Accordingly, Phasaelus, suspecting no harm, complied with his proposal, while Herodes did not give his consent to what was done, because of the perfidiousness of these barbarians, but desired Phasaelus rather to fight those that were come into the city.

[342] G   So both Hyrcanus and Phasaelus went on the embassy; but Pacorus left with Herodes two hundred horsemen, and ten men, who were called the freemen, and conducted the others on their journey; and when they were in Galilee, the governors of the cities there met them in their arms. [343] Barzapharnes also received them at the first with cheerfulness, and made them presents, though he afterward conspired against them; and Phasaelus, with his horsemen, were conducted to the sea-side. But when they heard that Antigonus had promised to give the Parthians a thousand talents, and five hundred women, to assist him against them, they soon had a suspicion of the barbarians. [344] G   Moreover, there was one who informed them that snares were laid for them by night, while a guard came about them secretly; and they had then been seized upon, had not they waited for the seizure of Herodes by the Parthians that were about Jerusalem, lest, upon the slaughter of Hyrcanus and Phasaelus, he should have an intimation of it, and escape out of their hands. And these were the circumstances they were now in; and they saw who they were that guarded them. [345] Some persons indeed would have persuaded Phasaelus to fly away immediately on horseback, and not stay any longer; and there was one Ophellius, who, above all the rest, was earnest with him to do so; for he had heard of this treachery from Saramalla, the richest of all the Syrians at that time, who also promised to provide him ships to carry him off; for the sea was just by them. [346] G   But he had no mind to desert Hyrcanus, nor bring his brother into danger; but he went to Barzapharnes, and told him he did not act justly when he made such a contrivance against them; for that if he wanted money, he would give him more than Antigonus; and besides, that it was a horrible thing to slay those that came to him upon the security of their oaths, and that when they had done them no injury. [347] But the barbarian swore to him that there was no truth in any of his suspicions, but that he was troubled with nothing but false proposals, and then went away to Pacorus.

[348] G   But as soon as he was gone away, some men came and bound Hyrcanus and Phasaelus, while Phasaelus greatly reproached the Parthians for their perjury. However, that butler who was sent against Herodes had it in command to get him without the walls of the city, and seize upon him; [349] but messengers had been sent by Phasaelus to inform Herodes of the perfidiousness of the Parthians. And when he knew that the enemy had seized upon them, he went to Pacorus, and to the most potent of the Parthians, as to the lord of the rest, [350] G   who, although they knew the whole matter, dissembled with him in a deceitful way; and said that he ought to go out with them before the walls, and meet those which were bringing him his letters, for that they were not taken by his adversaries, but were coming to give him an account of the good success Phasaelus had had. [351] Herodes did not give credit to what they said; for he had heard that his brother was seized upon by others also; and the daughter of Hyrcanus, whose daughter he had espoused, was his monitor also [not to credit them], which made him still more suspicious of the Parthians; for although other people did not give heed to her, yet did he believe her as a woman of very great wisdom.

[352] G   Now while the Parthians were in consultation what was fit to be done; for they did not think it proper to make an open attempt upon a person of his character; and while they put off the determination to the next day, Herodes was under great disturbance of mind, and rather inclining to believe the reports he heard about his brother and the Parthians, than to give heed to what was said on the other side, he determined, that when the evening came on, he would make use of it for his flight, and not make any longer delay, as if the dangers from the enemy were not yet certain. [353] He therefore removed with the armed men whom he had with him; and set his wives upon the beasts, as also his mother, and sister, and her whom he was about to marry, [Mariamne,] the daughter of Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, with her mother, the daughter of Hyrcanus, and his youngest brother, and all their servants, and the rest of the multitude that was with him, and without the enemy's knowldege pursued his way to Idumaea. [354] G   Nor could any enemy of his who then saw him in this case be so hardhearted, but would have commiserated his fortune, while the women drew along their infant children and left their own country, and their friends in prison, with tears in their eyes, and sad lamentations, and in expectation of nothing but what was of a melancholy nature.

[355] But for Herodes himself, he raised his mind above the miserable state he was in, and was of good courage in the midst of his misfortunes; and as he passed along, he bid them every one to be of good cheer, and not to give themselves up to sorrow, because that would hinder them in their flight, which was now the only hope of safety that they had. [356] G   Accordingly, they tried to bear with patience the calamity they were under, as he exhorted them to do; yet was he once almost going to kill himself, upon the overthrow of a wagon, and the danger his mother was then in of being killed; and this on two accounts, because of his great concern for her, and because he was afraid lest, by this delay, the enemy should overtake him in the pursuit: [357] but as he was drawing his sword, and going to kill himself therewith, those that were present restrained him, and being so many in number, were too hard for him; and told him that he ought not to desert them, and leave them a prey to their enemies, for that it was not the part of a brave man to free himself from the distresses he was in, and to overlook his friends that were in the same distresses also. [358] G   So he was compelled to let that horrid attempt alone, partly out of shame at what they said to him, and partly out of regard to the great number of those that would not permit him to do what he intended. So he encouraged his mother, and took all the care of her the time would allow, and proceeded on the way he proposed to go with the utmost haste, and that was to the fortress of Masada. And as he had many skirmishes with such of the Parthians as attacked him and pursued him, he was conqueror in them all.

[359] Nor indeed was he free from the Jews all along as he was in his flight; for by that time he was got sixty furlongs out of the city, and was upon the road, they fell upon him, and fought hand to hand with him, [360] G   whom he also put to flight, and overcame, not like one that was in distress and in necessity, but like one that was excellently prepared for war, and had what he wanted in great plenty. And in this very place where he overcame the Jews it was that he some time afterward build a most excellent palace, and a city round about it, and called it Herodeium. [361] And when he was come to Idumaea, at a place called Oresa, his brother Joseph met him, and he then held a council to take advice about all his affairs, and what was fit to be done in his circumstances, since he had a great multitude that followed him, besides his mercenary soldiers, and the place Masada, whither he proposed to fly, was too small to contain so great a multitude; [362] G   so he sent away the greater part of his company, being above nine thousand, and bid them go, some one way, and some another, and so save themselves in Idumaea, and gave them what would buy them provisions in their journey. But he took with him those that were the least encumbered, and were most intimate with him, and came to the fortress, and placed there his wives and his followers, being eight hundred in number, there being in the place a sufficient quantity of corn and water, and other necessaries, and went directly for Petra, in Arabia. [363] But when it was day, the Parthians plundered all Jerusalem, and the palace, and abstained from nothing but Hyrcanus's money, which was three hundred talents. [364] G   A great deal of Herodes's money escaped, and principally all that the man had been so provident as to send into Idumaea beforehand; nor indeed did what was in the city suffice the Parthians, but they went out into the country, and plundered it, and demolished the city Marissa.

[365] And thus was Antigonus brought back into Judaea by the king of the Parthians, and received Hyrcanus and Phasaelus for his prisoners; but he was greatly cast down because the women had escaped, whom he intended to have given the enemy, as having promised they should have them, with the money, for their reward: [366] G   but being afraid that Hyrcanus, who was under the guard of the Parthians, might have his kingdom restored to him by the multitude, he cut off his ears, and thereby took care that the high priesthood should never come to him any more, because he was maimed, while the law required that this dignity should belong to none but such as had all their members entire. [367] But now one cannot but here admire the fortitude of Phasaelus, who, perceiving that he was to be put to death, did not think death any terrible thing at all; but to die thus by the means of his enemy, this he thought a most pitiable and dishonourable thing; and therefore, since he had not his hands at liberty, but the bonds he was in prevented him from killing himself thereby, he dashed his head against a great stone, and thereby took away his own life, which he thought to be the best thing he could do in such a distress as he was in, and thereby put it out of the power of the enemy to bring him to any death he pleased. [368] G   It is also reported, that when he had made a great wound in his head, Antigonus sent physicians to cure it, and, by ordering them to infuse poison into the wound, killed him. [369] However, Phasaelus hearing, before he was quite dead, by a certain woman, that his brother Herodes had escaped the enemy, underwent his death cheerfully, since he now left behind him one who would revenge his death, and who was able to inflict punishment on his enemies.

[14.]   [370] G   As for Herodes, the great miseries he was in did not discourage him, but made him sharp in discovering surprising undertakings; for he went to Malchus, king of Arabia, whom he had formerly been very kind to, in order to receive somewhat by way of requital, now he was in more than ordinary want of it, and desired he would let him have some money, either by way of loan, or as his free gift, on account of the many benefits he had received from him; [371] for not knowing what was become of his brother, he was in haste to redeem him out of the hand of his enemies, as willing to give three hundred talents for the price of his redemption. He also took with him the son of Phasaelus, who was a child of but seven years of age, for this very reason, that he might be a hostage for the repayment of the money. [372] G   But there came messengers from Malchus to meet him, by whom he was desired to be gone, for that the Parthians had laid a charge upon him not to entertain Herodes. This was only a pretence which he made use of, that he might not be obliged to repay him what he owed him; and this he was further induced to by the principal men among the Arabians, that they might cheat him of what sums they had received from [his father] Antipater, and which he had committed to their fidelity. [373] He made answer, that he did not intend to be troublesome to them by his coning thither, but that he desired only to discourse with them about certain affairs that were to him of the greatest importance.

[374] G   Hereupon he resolved to go away, and did go very prudently the road to Egypt; and then it was that he lodged in a certain temple; for he had left a great many of his followers there. On the next day he came to Rhinocolura, and there it was that he heard what was befallen his brother. [375] Though Malchus soon repented of what he had done, and came running after Herodes; but with no manner of success, for he had got a very great way off, and made haste into the road to Pelusium; and when the stationary ships that lay there hindered him from sailing to Alexandria, he went to their captains, by whose assistance, and that out of much reverence of and great regard to him, he was conducted into the city [Alexandria], and was retained there by Cleopatra; [376] G   yet was she not able to prevail with him to stay there, because he was making haste to Rome, even though the weather was stormy, and he was informed that the affairs of Italy were very tumultuous, and in great disorder.

[377] So he set sail from thence to Pamphylia, and falling into a violent storm, he had much ado to escape to Rhodes, with the loss of the ship's burden; and there it was that two of his friends, Sappinus and Ptolemaeus, met with him; [378] G   and as he found that city very much damaged in the war against Cassius, though he were in necessity himself, he neglected not to do it a kindness, but did what he could to recover it to its former state. He also built there a three-decked ship, and set sail thence, with his friends, for Italy, and came to the port of Brundisium; [379] and when he was come from thence to Rome, he first related to Antonius what had befallen him in Judaea, and how Phasaelus his brother was seized on by the Parthians, and put to death by them, and how Hyrcanus was detained captive by them, and how they had made Antigonus king, who had promised them a sum of money, no less than a thousand talents, with five hundred women, who were to be of the principal families, and of the Jewish stock; and that he had carried off the women by night; and that, by undergoing a great many hardships, he had escaped the hands of his enemies; [380] G   as also, that his own relations were in danger of being besieged and taken, and that he had sailed through a storm, and contemned all these terrible dangers of it, in order to come, as soon as possible, to him, who was his hope and only succour at this time.

[381] This account made Antonius commiserate the change that had happened in Herodes's condition; and reasoning with himself that this was a common case among those that are placed in such great dignities, and that they are liable to the mutations that come from fortune, he was very ready to give him the assistance he desired, and this because he called to mind the friendship he had had with Antipater, [382] G   because Herodes offered him money to make him king, as he had formerly given it him to make him tetrarch, and chiefly because of his hatred to Antigonus; for he took him to be a seditious person, and an enemy to the Romans. [383] Caesar was also in favour of raising Herodes' dignity, and giving him his assistance in what he desired, on account of the toils of war which Antipater had undergone with his father in Egypt, and of the hospitality he had treated him withal, and the kindness he had always showed him, as also to gratify Antonius, who was very zealous for Herodes. [384] G   So a senate was convoked; and Messala first, and then Atratinus, introduced Herodes into it, and enlarged upon the benefits they had received from his father, and put them in mind of the good-will he had borne to the Romans. At the same time, they accused Antigonus, and declared him an enemy, not only because of his former opposition to them, but that he had now overlooked the Romans, and taken the government from the Parthians. [385] Upon this the senate was irritated; and Antonius informed them further, that it was for their advantage in the Parthian war that Herodes should be king. This seemed good to all the senators; and so they made a decree accordingly.

[386] G   And this was the principal instance of Antonius's affection for Herodes, that he not only procured him a kingdom which he did not expect, (for he did not come with an intention to ask the kingdom for himself, which he did not suppose the Romans would grant him, who used to bestow it on some of the royal family, [387] but intended to desire it for his wife's brother, who was grandson by his father to Aristobulus, and to Hyrcanus by his mother,) but that he procured it for him so suddenly, that he obtained what he did not expect, and departed out of Italy in so few days as seven in all. [388] G   This young man [the grandson] Herodes afterward took care to have slain, as we shall show in its proper place. But when the senate was dissolved, Antonius and Caesar went out of the senate house with Herodes between them, and with the consuls and other magistrates before them, in order to offer sacrifices, and to lay up their decrees in the capitol. [389] Antonius also feasted Herodes the first day of his reign. And thus did this man receive the kingdom, having obtained it on the hundred and eighty-fourth Olympiad, when Caius Domitius Calvinus was consul the second time, and Caius Asinius Pollio [the first time].

[390] G   All this while Antigonus besieged those that were in Masada, who had plenty of all other necessaries, but were only in want of water, insomuch that on this occasion Joseph, Herodes's brother, was contriving to run away from it, with two hundred of his dependents, to the Arabians; for he had heard that Malchus repented of the offences he had been guilty of with regard to Herodes; [391] but God, by sending rain in the night time, prevented his going away, for their cisterns were thereby filled, and he was under no necessity of running away on that account; but they were now of good courage, and the more so, because the sending that plenty of water which they had been in want of seemed a mark of Divine Providence; so they made a sally, and fought hand to hand with Antigonus's soldiers, (with some openly, with some privately,) and destroyed a great number of them. [392] G   At the same time Ventidius, the general of the Romans, was sent out of Syria, to drive the Parthians out of it, and marched after them into Judaea, in pretence indeed to succour Joseph; but in reality the whole affair was no more than a stratagem, in order to get money of Antigonus; so they pitched their camp very near to Jerusalem, and stripped Antigonus of a great deal of money, [393] and then he retired himself with the greater part of the army; but, that the wickedness he had been guilty of might be found out, he left Silo there, with a certain part of his soldiers, with whom also Antigonus cultivated an acquaintance, that he might cause him no disturbance, and was still in hopes that the Parthians would come again and defend him.

[15.]   [394] G   By this time Herodes had sailed out of Italy to Ptolemais, and had got together no small army, both of strangers and of his own countrymen, and marched through Galilee against Antigonus. Silo also, and Ventidius, came and assisted him, being persuaded by Dellius, who was sent by Antonius to assist in bringing back Herodes. [395] Now for Ventidius, he was employed in composing the disturbances that had been made in the cities by the means of the Parthians; and for Silo, he was in Judaea indeed, but corrupted by Antigonus. However, as Herodes went along his army increased every day, and all Galilee, with some small exception, joined him; [396] G   but as he was to those that were in Masada, (for he was obliged to endeavour to save those that were in that fortress now they were besieged, because they were his relations,) Joppa was a hindrance to him, for it was necessary for him to take that place first, it being a city at variance with him, that no strong hold might be left in his enemies' hands behind him when he should go to Jerusalem. [397] And when Silo made this a pretence for rising up from Jerusalem, and was thereupon pursued by the Jews, Herodes fell upon them with a small body of men, and both put the Jews to flight and saved Silo, when he was very poorly able to defend himself; but when Herodes had taken Joppa, he made haste to set free those of his family that were in Masada. [398] G   Now of the people of the country, some joined him because of the friendship they had had with his father, and some because of the splendid appearance he made, and others by way of requital for the benefits they had received from both of them; but the greatest number came to him in hopes of getting somewhat from him afterward, if he were once firmly settled in the kingdom.

[399] Herodes had now a strong army; and as he marched on, Antigonus laid snares and ambushes in the passes and places most proper for them; but in truth he thereby did little or no damage to the enemy. [400] G   So Herodes received those of his family out of Masada, and the fortress Oresa, and then went on for Jerusalem. The soldiery also that was with Silo accompanied him all along, as did many of the citizens, being afraid of his power; [401] and as soon as he had pitched his camp on the west side of the city, the soldiers that were set to guard that part shot their arrows and threw their darts at him; [402] G   and when some sallied out in a crowd, and came to fight hand to hand with the first ranks of Herodes's army, he gave orders that they should, in the first place, make proclamation about the wall, that he came for the good of the people, and for the preservation of the city, and not to bear any old grudge at even his most open enemies, but ready to forget the offences which his greatest adversaries had done him. [403] But Antigonus, by way of reply to what Herodes had caused to be proclaimed, and this before the Romans, and before Silo also, said that they would not do justly, if they gave the kingdom to Herodes, who was no more than a private man, and an Idumaean, i.e. a half Jew, whereas they ought to bestow it on one of the royal family, as their custom was; [404] G   for that in case they at present bear an ill-will to him, and had resolved to deprive him of the kingdom, as having received it from the Parthians, yet were there many others of his family that might by their law take it, and these such as had no way offended the Romans; and being of the sacerdotal family, it would be an unworthy thing to put them by. [405] Now while they said thus one to another, and fell to reproaching one another on both sides, Antigonus permitted his own men that were upon the wall to defend themselves, who using their bows, and showing great alacrity against their enemies, easily drove them away from the towers.

[406] G   And now it was that Silo discovered that he had taken bribes; for he set a good number of his soldiers to complain aloud of the want of provisions they were in, and to require money to buy them food; and that it was fit to let them go into places proper for winter quarters, since the places near the city were a desert, by reason that Antigonus's soldiers had carried all away; so he set the army upon removing, and endeavoured to march away; [407] but Herodes pressed Silo not to depart, and exhorted Silo's captains and soldiers not to desert him, when Caesar, and Antonius, and the senate had sent him thither, for that he would provide them plenty of all the things they wanted, and easily procure them a great abundance of what they required; [408] G   after which entreaty, he immediately went out into the country, and left not the least pretence to Silo for his departure; for he brought an unexpected quantity of provisions, and sent to those friends of his who inhabited about Samaria to bring down corn, and wine, and oil, and cattle, and all other provisions, to Jericho, that those might be no want of a supply for the soldiers for the time to come. [409] Antigonus was sensible of this, and sent presently over the country such as might restrain and lie in ambush for those that went out for provisions. So these men obeyed the orders of Antigonus, and got together a great number of armed men about Jericho, and sat upon the mountains, and watched those that brought the provisions. [410] G   However, Herodes was not idle in the mean time, for he took ten bands of soldiers, of whom five were of the Romans, and five of the Jews, with some mercenaries among them, and with some few horsemen, and came to Jericho; and as they found the city deserted, but that five hundred of them had settled themselves on the tops of the hills, with their wives and children, those he took and sent away; but the Romans fell upon the city, and plundered it, and found the houses full of all sorts of good things. [411] So the king left a garrison at Jericho, and came back again, and sent the Roman army to take their winter quarters in the countries that were come over to him, Judaea, and Galilee, and Samaria. [412] G   And so much did Antigonus gain of Silo for the bribes he gave him, that part of the army should be quartered at Lydda, in order to please Antonius. So the Romans laid their weapons aside, and lived in plenty of all things.

[413] But Herodes was not pleased with lying still, but sent out his brother Joseph against Idumaea with two thousand armed footmen, and four hundred horsemen, while he himself came to Samaria, and left his mother and his other relations there, for they were already gone out of Masada, and went into Galilee, to take certain places which were held by the garrisons of Antigonus; [414] G   and he passed on to Sepphoris, as God sent a snow, while Antigonus's garrisons withdrew themselves, and had great plenty of provisions. [415] He also went thence, and resolved to destroy those robbers that dwelt in the caves, and did much mischief in the country; so he sent a troop of horsemen, and three companies of armed footmen, against them. They were very near to a village called Arbela; [416] G   and on the fortieth day after, he came himself with his whole army: and as the enemy sallied out boldly upon him, the left wing of his army gave way; but he appearing with a body of men, put those to flight who were already conquerors, and recalled his men that ran away. [417] He also pressed upon his enemies, and pursued them as far as the river Jordan, though they ran away by different roads. So he brought over to him all Galilee, excepting those that dwelt in the caves, and distributed money to every one of his soldiers, giving them a hundred and fifty drachmae apiece, and much more to their captains, and sent them into winter quarters; [418] G   at which time Silo came to him, and his commanders with him, because Antigonus would not give them provisions any longer, for he supplied them for no more than one month; nay, he had sent to all the country about, and ordered them to carry off the provisions that were there, and retire to the mountains, that the Romans might have no provisions to live upon, and so might perish by famine. [419] But Herodes committed the care of that matter to Pheroras, his youngest brother, and ordered him to repair Alexandreium also. Accordingly, he quickly made the soldiers abound with great plenty of provisions, and rebuilt Alexandreium, which had been before desolate.

[420] G   About this time it was that Antonius continued some time at Athens, and that Ventidius, who was now in Syria, sent for Silo, and commanded him to assist Herodes, in the first place, to finish the present war, and then to send for their confederates for the war they were themselves engaged in; [421] but as for Herodes, he went in haste against the robbers that were in the caves, and sent Silo away to Ventidius, while he marched against them. [422] G   These caves were in mountains that were exceeding abrupt, and in their middle were no other than precipices, with certain entrances into the caves, and those caves were encompassed with sharp rocks, and in these did the robbers lie concealed, with all their families about them; [423] but the king caused certain chests to be made, in order to destroy them, and to be hung down, bound about with iron chains, by an engine, from the top of the mountain, it being not possible to get up to them, by reason of the sharp ascent of the mountains, nor to creep down to them from above. [424] G   Now these chests were filled with armed men, who had long hooks in their hands, by which they might pull out such as resisted them, and then tumble them down, and kill them by so doing; but the letting the chests down proved to be a matter of great danger, because of the vast depth they were to be let down, although they had their provisions in the chests themselves. [425] But when the chests were let down, and not one of those in the mouths of the caves durst come near them, but lay still out of fear, some of the armed men girt on their armour, and by both their hands took hold of the chain by which the chests were let down, and went into the mouths of the caves, because they fretted that such delay was made by the robbers not daring to come out of the caves; [426] G   and when they were at any of those mouths, they first killed many of those that were in the mouths with their darts, and afterwards pulled those to them that resisted them with their hooks, and tumbled them down the precipices, and afterwards went into the caves, and killed many more, and then went into their chests again, and lay still there; [427] but, upon this, terror seized the rest, when they heard the lamentations that were made, and they despaired of escaping. However, when the night came on, that put an end to the whole work; and as the king proclaimed pardon by a herald to such as delivered themselves up to him, many accepted of the offer. [428] G   The same method of assault was made use of the next day; and they went further, and got out in baskets to fight them, and fought them at their doors, and sent fire among them, and set their caves on fire, for there was a great deal of combustible matter within them. [429] Now there was one old man who was caught within one of these caves, with seven children and a wife; these prayed him to give them leave to go out, and yield themselves up to the enemy; but he stood at the cave's mouth, and always slew that child of his who went out, till he had destroyed them every one, and after that he slew his wife, and cast their dead bodies down the precipice, and himself after them, and so underwent death rather than slavery: [430] G   but before he did this, he greatly reproached Herodes with the meanness of his family, although he was then king. Herodes also saw what he was doing, and stretched out his hand, and offered him all manner of security for his life; by which means all these caves were at length subdued entirely.

[431] And when the king had set Ptolemaeus over these parts of the country as his general, he went to Samaria, with six hundred horsemen, and three thousand armed footmen, as intending to fight Antigonus. [432] G   But still this command of the army did not succeed well with Ptolemaeus, but those that had been troublesome to Galilee before attacked him, and slew him; and when they had done this, they fled among the lakes and places almost inaccessible laying waste and plundering whatsoever they could come at in those places. [433] But Herodes soon returned, and punished them for what they had done; for some of these rebels he slew, and others of them, who had fled to the strong holds he besieged, and both slew them, and demolished their strong holds. And when he had thus put an end to their rebellion, he laid a fine upon the cities of a hundred talents.

[434] G   In the mean time, Pacorus was fallen in a battle, and the Parthians were defeated, when Ventidius sent Machaeras to the assistance of Herodes, with two legions, and a thousand horsemen, while Antonius encouraged him to make haste. [435] But Machaeras, at the instigation of Antigonus, without the approbation of Herodes, as being corrupted by money, went about to take a view of his affairs; but Antigonus suspecting this intention of his coming, did not admit him into the city, but kept him at a distance, with throwing stones at him, and plainly showed what he himself meant. [436] G   But when Machaeras was sensible that Herodes had given him good advice, and that he had made a mistake himself in not hearkening to that advice, he retired to the city Emmaus; and what Jews he met with he slew them, whether they were enemies or friends, out of the rage he was in at what hardships he had undergone. [437] The king was provoked at this conduct of his, and went to Samaria, and resolved to go to Antonius about these affairs, and to inform him that he stood in no need of such helpers, who did him more mischief than they did his enemies; and that he was able of himself to beat Antigonus. [438] G   But Machaeras followed him, and desired that he would not go to Antonius; or if he was resolved to go, that he would join his brother Joseph with them, and let them fight against Antigonus. So he was reconciled to Machaeras, upon his earnest entreaties. Accordingly, he left Joseph there with his army, but charged him to run no hazards, nor to quarrel with Machaeras.

[439] But for his own part, he made haste to Antonius (who was then at the siege of Samosata, a place upon Euphrates) with his troops, both horsemen and footmen, to be auxiliaries to him. [440] G   And when he came to Antioch, and met there a great number of men got together that were very desirous to go to Antonius, but durst not venture to go, out of fear, because the barbarians fell upon men on the road, and slew many, so he encouraged them, and became their conductor upon the road. [441] Now when they were within two days' march of Samosata, the barbarians had laid an ambush there to disturb those that came to Antonius, and where the woods made the passes narrow, as they led to the plains, there they laid not a few of their horsemen, who were to lie still until those passengers were gone by into the wide place. [442] G   Now as soon as the first ranks were gone by, (for Herodes brought on the rear,) those that lay in ambush, who were about five hundred, fell upon them on the sudden, and when they had put the foremost to flight, the king came riding hard, with the forces that were about him, and immediately drove back the enemy; by which means he made the minds of his own men courageous, and emboldened them to go on, insomuch that those who ran away before now returned back, and the barbarians were slain on all sides. [443] The king also went on killing them, and recovered all the baggage, among which were a great number of beasts for burden, and of slaves, and proceeded on in his march; [444] G   and whereas there were a great number of those in the woods that attacked them, and were near the passage that led into the plain, he made a sally upon these also with a strong body of men, and put them to flight, and slew many of them, and thereby rendered the way safe for those that came after; and these called Herodes their saviour and protector.

[445] And when he was near to Samosata, Antonius sent out his army in all their proper habiliments to meet him, in order to pay Herodes this respect, and because of the assistance he had given him; for he had heard what attacks the barbarians had made upon him [in Judaea]. [446] G   He also was very glad to see him there, as having been made acquainted with the great actions he had performed upon the road. So he entertained him very kindly, and could not but admire his courage. Antonius also embraced him as soon as he saw him, and saluted him after a most affectionate manner, and gave him the upper hand, as having himself lately made him a king; [447] and in a little time Antiochus delivered up the fortress, and on that account this war was at an end; then Antonius committed the rest to Sosius, and gave him orders to assist Herodes, and went himself to Egypt. Accordingly, Sosius sent two legions before into Judaea to the assistance of Herodes, and he followed himself with the body of the army.

[448] G   Now Joseph was already slain in Judaea, in the manner following: He forgot what charge his brother Herodes had given him when he went to Antonius; and when he had pitched his camp among the mountains, for Machaeras had lent him five regiments, with these he went hastily to Jericho, in :order to reap the corn thereto belonging; [449] and as the Roman regiments were but newly raised, and were unskilful in war, for they were in great part collected out of Syria, he was attacked by the enemy, and caught in those places of difficulty, and was himself slain, as he was fighting bravely, and the whole army was lost, for there were six regiments slain. [450] G   So when Antigonus had got possession of the dead bodies, he cut off Joseph's head, although Pheroras his brother would have redeemed it at the price of fifty talents. After which defeat, the Galileans revolted from their commanders, and took those of Herodes's party, and drowned them in the lake, and a great part of Judaea was become seditious; but Machaeras fortified the place Gittha [in Samaria].

[451] At this time messengers came to Herodes, and informed him of what had been done; and when he was come to Daphne by Antioch, they told him of the ill fortune that had befallen his brother; which yet he expected, from certain visions that appeared to him in his dreams, which clearly foretold his brother's death. [452] G   So he hastened his march; and when he came to Mount Libanus, he received about eight hundred of the men of that place, having already with him also one Roman legion, and with these he came to Ptolemais. He also marched thence by night with his army, and proceeded along Galilee. [453] Here it was that the enemy met him, and fought him, and were beaten, and shut up in the same place of strength whence they had sallied out the day before. So he attacked the place in the morning; but by reason of a great storm that was then very violent, he was able to do nothing, but drew off his army into the neighbouring villages; yet as soon as the other legion that Antonius sent him was come to his assistance, those that were in garrison in the place were afraid, and deserted it in the night time. [454] G   Then did the king march hastily to Jericho, intending to avenge himself on the enemy for the slaughter of his brother; and when he had pitched his tents, he made a feast for the principal commanders; and after this collation was over, and he had dismissed his guests, he retired to his own chamber; [455] and here may one see what kindness God had for the king, for the upper part of the house fell down when nobody was in it, and so killed none, insomuch that all the people believed that Herodes was beloved of God, since he had escaped such a great and surprising danger.

[456] G   But the next day six thousand of the enemy came down from the tops of the mountains to fight the Romans, which greatly terrified them; and the soldiers that were in light armour came near, and pelted the king's guards that were come out with darts and stones, and one of them hit him on the side with a dart. [457] Antigonus also sent a commander against Samaria, whose name was Pappus, with some forces, being desirous to show the enemy how potent he was, and that he had men to spare in his war with them. He sat down to oppose Machaeras; but Herodes, when he had taken five cities, took such as were left in them, being about two thousand, and slew them, and burnt the cities themselves, and then returned to go against Pappus, [458] G   who was encamped at a village called Isanas; and there ran in to him many out of Jericho and Judaea, near to which places he was, and the enemy fell upon his men, so stout were they at this time, and joined battle with them, but he beat them in the fight; and in order to be revenged on them for the slaughter of his brother, he pursued them sharply, and killed them as they ran away; [459] and as the houses were full of armed men, and many of them ran as far as the tops of the houses, he got them under his power, and pulled down the roofs of the houses, and saw the lower rooms full of soldiers that were caught, and lay all on a heap; [460] G   so they threw stones down upon them as they lay piled one upon another, and thereby killed them; nor was there a more frightful spectacle in all the war than this, where beyond the walls an immense multitude of dead men lay heaped one upon another. [461] This action it was which chiefly brake the spirits of the enemy, who expected now what would come; for there appeared a mighty number of people that came from places far distant, that were now about the village, but then ran away; and had it not been for the depth of winter, which then restrained them, the king's army had presently gone to Jerusalem, as being very courageous at this good success, and the whole work had been done immediately; for Antigonus was already looking about how he might fly away and leave the city.

[462] G   At this time the king gave order that the soldiers should go to supper, for it was late at night, while he went into a chamber to use the bath, for he was very weary; and here it was that he was in the greatest danger, which yet, by God's providence, he escaped; [463] for as he was naked, and had but one servant that followed him, to be with him while he was bathing in an inner room, certain of the enemy, who were in their armour, and had fled thither, out of fear, were then in the place; and as he was bathing, the first of them came out with his naked sword drawn, and went out at the doors, and after him a second, and a third, armed in like manner, and were under such a consternation, that they did no hurt to the king, and thought themselves to have come off very well ill suffering no harm themselves in their getting out of the house. [464] G   However, on the next day, he cut off the head of Pappus, for he was already slain, and sent it to Pheroras, as a punishment of what their brother had suffered by his means, for he was the man that slew him with his own hand.

[465] When the rigor of winter was over, Herodes removed his army, and came near to Jerusalem, and pitched his camp hard by the city. Now this was the third year since he had been made king at Rome; [466] G   and as he removed his camp, and came near that part of the wall where it could be most easily assaulted, he pitched that camp before the temple, intending to make his attacks in the same manner as did Pompeius. So he encompassed the place with three bulwarks, and erected towers, and employed a great many hands about the work, and cut down the trees that were round about the city; [467] and when he had appointed proper persons to oversee the works, even while the army lay before the city, he himself went to Samaria, to complete his marriage, and to take to wife the daughter of Alexander, the son of Aristobulus; for he had betrothed her already, as I have before related.

[16.]   [468] G   After the wedding was over, came Sosius through Phoenicia, having sent out his army before him over the midland parts. He also, who was their commander, came himself, with a great number of horsemen and footmen. The king also came himself from Samaria, and brought with him no small army, besides that which was there before, for they were about thirty thousand; [469] and they all met together at the walls of Jerusalem, and encamped at the north wall of the city, being now an army of eleven legions, armed men on foot, and six thousand horsemen, with other auxiliaries out of Syria. The generals were two: Sosius, sent by Antonius to assist Herodes, and Herodes on his own account, in order to take the government from Antigonus, who was declared all enemy at Rome, and that he might himself be king, according to the decree of the Senate.

[470] G   Now the Jews that were enclosed within the walls of the city fought against Herodes with great alacrity and zeal (for the whole nation was gathered together); they also gave out many prophecies about the temple, and many things agreeable to the people, as if God would deliver them out of the dangers they were in; [471] they had also carried off what was out of the city, that they might not leave any thing to afford sustenance either for men or for beasts; and by private robberies they made the want of necessaries greater. [472] G   When Herodes understood this, he opposed ambushes in the fittest places against their private robberies, and he sent legions of armed men to bring its provisions, and that from remote places, so that in a little time they had great plenty of provisions. [473] Now the three bulwarks were easily erected, because so many hands were continually at work upon it; for it was summer time, and there was nothing to hinder them in raising their works, neither from the air nor from the workmen; so they brought their engines to bear, and shook the walls of the city, and tried all manner of ways to get its; [474] G   yet did not those within discover any fear, but they also contrived not a few engines to oppose their engines withal. They also sallied out, and burnt not only those engines that were not yet perfected, but those that were; and when they came hand to hand, their attempts were not less bold than those of the Romans, though they were behind them in skill. [475] They also erected new works when the former were ruined, and making mines underground, they met each other, and fought there; and making use of brutish courage rather than of prudent valour, they persisted in this war to the very last; and this they did while a mighty army lay round about them, and while they were distressed by famine and the want of necessaries, for this happened to be a Sabbatic year. [476] G   The first that scaled the walls were twenty chosen men, the next were Sosius's centurions; for the first wall was taken in forty days, and the second in fifteen more, when some of the cloisters that were about the temple were burnt, which Herodes gave out to have been burnt by Antigonus, in order to expose him to the hatred of the Jews. [477] And when the outer court of the temple and the lower city were taken, the Jews fled into the inner court of the temple, and into the upper city; but now fearing lest the Romans should hinder them from offering their daily sacrifices to God, they sent an embassy, and desired that they would only permit them to bring in beasts for sacrifices, which Herodes granted, hoping they were going to yield; [478] G   but when he saw that they did nothing of what he supposed, but bitterly opposed him, in order to preserve the kingdom to Antigonus, he made an assault upon the city, and took it by storm; [479] and now all parts were full of those that were slain, by the rage of the Romans at the long duration of the siege, and by the zeal of the Jews that were on Herodes's side, who were not willing to leave one of their adversaries alive; [480] G   so they were murdered continually in the narrow streets and in the houses by crowds, and as they were flying to the temple for shelter, and there was no pity taken of either infants or the aged, nor did they spare so much as the weaker sex; nay, although the king sent about, and besought them to spare the people, yet nobody restrained their hand from slaughter, but, as if they were a company of madmen, they fell upon persons of all ages, without distinction; [481] and then Antigonus, without regard to either his past or present circumstances, came down from the citadel, and fell down at the feet of Sosius, who took no pity of him, in the change of his fortune, but insulted him beyond measure, and called him Antigone [i.e. a woman, and not a man;] yet did he not treat him as if he were a woman, by letting him go at liberty, but put him into bonds, and kept him in close custody.

[482] G   And now Herodes having overcome his enemies, his care was to govern those foreigners who had been his assistants, for the crowd of strangers rushed to see the temple, and the sacred things in the temple; [483] but the king, thinking a victory to be a more severe affliction than a defeat, if any of those things which it was not lawful to see should be seen by them, used entreaties and threatenings, and even sometimes force itself, to restrain them. [484] G   He also prohibited the ravage that was made in the city, and many times asked Sosius whether the Romans would empty the city both of money and men, and leave him king of a desert; and told him that he esteemed the dominion over the whole habitable earth as by no means an equivalent satisfaction for such a murder of his citizens'; [485] and when he said that this plunder was justly to be permitted the soldiers for the siege they had undergone, he replied, that he would give every one their reward out of his own money; [486] G   and by this means be redeemed what remained of the city from destruction; and he performed what he had promised him, for he gave a noble present to every soldier, and a proportionate present to their commanders, but a most royal present to Sosius himself, till they all went away full of money.

[487] This destruction befell the city of Jerusalem when Marcus Agrippa and Caninius Gallus were consuls of Rome, on the hundred eighty and fifth Olympiad, on the third month, on the solemnity of the fast, as if a periodical revolution of calamities had returned since that which befell the Jews under Pompeius; [488] G   for the Jews were taken by him on the same day, and this was after twenty-seven years' time. So when Sosius had dedicated a crown of gold to God, he marched away from Jerusalem, and carried Antigonus with him in bonds to Antonius; [489] but Herodes was afraid lest Antigonus should be kept in prison [only] by Antonius, and that when he was carried to Rome by him, he might get his cause to be heard by the senate, and might demonstrate, as he was himself of the royal blood, and Herodes but a private man, that therefore it belonged to his sons however to have the kingdom, on account of the family they were of, [490] G   in case he had himself offended the Romans by what he had done. Out of Herodes's fear of this it was that he, by giving Antonius a great deal of money, endeavoured to persuade him to have Antigonus slain, which if it were once done, he should be free from that fear. And thus did the government of the Asamonaeans cease, a hundred twenty and six years after it was first set up. This family was a splendid and an illustrious one, both on account of the nobility of their stock, and of the dignity of the high priesthood, as also for the glorious actions their ancestors had performed for our nation; [491] but these men lost the government by their dissensions one with another, and it came to Herodes, the son of Antipater, who was of no more than a vulgar family, and of no eminent extraction, but one that was subject to other kings. And this is what history tells us was the end of the Asamonaean family.

Josephus: table of contents


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