Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, Book 15

Sections 299 - 424

Adapted from the translation by W. Whiston. The section numbers in the Greek text are shown in red; the traditional chapter numbers are shown in green.  

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{9.}   [299] Now in this very year, which was the thirteenth year of the reign of Herod, very great calamities came upon the country; whether they were derived from the anger of God, or whether this misery returns again naturally in certain periods of time for, [300] G   in the first place, there were perpetual droughts, and for that reason the ground was barren, and did not bring forth the same quantity of fruits that it used to produce; and after this barrenness of the soil, that change of food which the lack of corn occasioned produced illnesses in the bodies of men, and a pestilential disease prevailed, one misery following upon the back of another; [301] and these circumstances, that they were destitute both of methods of cure and of food, made the pestilential illness, which began after a violent manner, the more lasting. The destruction of men also in such a manner deprived those that survived of all their courage, because they had no way to provide remedies sufficient for the distresses they were in. [302] G   When therefore the crop of that year was ruined, and whatsoever they had laid up beforehand was used up, there was no foundation of hope for relief remaining, but the misery, contrary to what they expected still increased upon them; and this not only in that year, while they had nothing for themselves left [at the end of it], but what seed they had sown perished also, by reason of the ground not yielding its fruits in the second year. [303] This distress they were in made them also, out of necessity, to eat many things that were not normally eaten; nor was the king himself free from this distress any more than other men, because he was deprived of that tribute he used to have from the fruits of the ground, and had already expended what money he had, in his liberality to those whose cities he had built; [304] G   nor had he any people that were worthy of his assistance, since this miserable state of things had procured him the hatred of his subjects: for it is a constant rule, that misfortunes are still laid to the account of those that govern.  

[305] In these circumstances he pondered how to procure some timely.. help; but this was a hard thing to be done, while their neighbours had no food to sell them; and their money also was gone, if it had been possible to purchase a little food at a great price. [306] G   However, he thought it his best course, by all means, not to leave off his endeavours to assist his people; so he cut up the rich ornaments that were in his palace, both of silver and gold, insomuch that he did not spare the finest vessels he had, or those that were made with the most elaborate skill of the artificers, [307] but sent the money to Petronius, who had been made prefect of Egypt by Caesar; and as not a few had already fled to him under their necessities, and as he was particularly a friend to Herod, and desirous to have his subjects preserved, he gave leave to them in the first place to export corn, and assisted them every way, both in purchasing and exporting the same; so that he was the principal, if not the only person, who afforded them what help they had. [308] G   And Herod taking care the people should understand that this help came from himself, did thereby not only remove the ill opinion of those that formerly hated him, but gave them the greatest demonstration possible of his goodwill to them, and care of them; [309] for, in the first place, as for those who were able to make their own food, he distributed to them their proportion of corn in the exactest manner; but for those many that were not able, either by reason of their old age, or any other infirmity, to provide food for themselves, he made this provision for them, that the bakers should make their bread ready for them. [310] G   He also took care that they might not be hurt by the dangers of winter, since they were in great lack of clothing also, by reason of the utter destruction and consumption of their sheep and goats, till they had no wool to make use of, nor anything else to cover themselves with. [311] And when he had procured these things for his own subjects, he went further, in order to provide necessities for their neighbours, and gave seed to the Syrians, which thing turned greatly to his own advantage also, this charitable assistance being applied most opportunely to their fruitful soil, so that everyone had now a plentiful provision of food. [312] G   Upon the whole, when the harvest of the land was approaching, he sent no fewer than fifty thousand men, whom he had sustained, into the country; by which means he both repaired the afflicted condition of his own kingdom with great generosity and diligence, and lightened the afflictions of his neighbours, who were under the same calamities; [313] for there was nobody who had been in want that was left destitute of  suitable assistance by him; nay, further, there were neither any people, nor any cities, nor any private men, who were to make provision for the multitudes, and on that account were in need of support, and had recourse to him, but received what they stood in need of, [314] G   insomuch that it appeared, in sum, that the number of kors of wheat, of ten Attic medimni apiece, that were given to foreigners, amounted to ten thousand, and the number that was given in his own kingdom was about eighty thousand. [315] Now it happened that this care of his, and this timely benefaction, had such influence on the Jews, and was so praised among other nations, as to wipe off that old hatred which his violation of some of their customs, during his reign, had procured him among all the nation, and that this liberality of his assistance in this their greatest necessity was full satisfaction for all that he had done of that nature, [316] G   as it also procured him great fame among foreigners; and it looked as if these calamities that afflicted his land, to a degree plainly incredible, came in order to raise his glory, and to be to his great advantage; for the greatness of his liberality in these distresses, which he now demonstrated beyond all expectation, did so change the disposition of the multitude towards him, that they were ready to suppose he had been from the beginning not such a one as they had found him to be by experience, but such a one as the care he had taken of them in supplying their necessities proved him now to be.  

[317] About this time it was that he sent five hundred chosen men out of his bodyguards as auxiliaries to Caesar; Aelius Gallus led them to the Red Sea, and they were of great service to him there. [318] G   When therefore his affairs were thus improved, and were again in a flourishing condition, he built himself a palace in the upper city, raising the rooms to a very great height, and adorning them with the most costly furniture of gold, and marble seats, and beds; and these were so large that they could contain very many companies of men. These apartments were also of different sizes, and had particular names given them; for one apartment was called Caesar's, another Agrippa's. [319] He also fell in love again, and married another wife, not allowing his reason to hinder him from living as he pleased. The occasion of this his marriage was as follows: [320] G   There was one Simon, a citizen of Jerusalem, the son of one Boethus, a citizen of Alexandria, and a priest of great note there; this man had a daughter, who was esteemed the most beautiful woman of that time; [321] and when the people of Jerusalem began to speak much in her commendation, it happened that Herod was much affected with what was said of her; and when he saw the girl, he was smitten with her beauty, yet he entirely rejected the thought of using his authority to abuse her, because he believed, what was the truth, that by so doing he would be denounced for violence and tyranny; so he thought it best to take the girl as his wife. [322] G   And while Simon was of a dignity too inferior to be related to him, but still too considerable to be despised, he governed his inclinations after the most prudent manner, by increasing the dignity of this family, and making them more honourable; so he immediately deprived Jesus, the son of Phabes, of the high priesthood, and conferred that dignity on Simon, and so joined in kinship with him [by marrying his daughter].  

[323] When this wedding was over, he built another citadel in that place [ Herodeium ] where he had conquered the Jews when he was driven out of his government, and Antigonus obtained it. [324] G   This citadel is distant from Jerusalem about sixty stades. It was strong by nature, and fit for such a building. It is a sort of a moderate hill, raised to a further height by the hand of man, till it was of the shape of a woman's breast. It is surrounded by circular towers, and has a steep ascent up to it; this ascent is composed of steps of polished stones, in number two hundred. Within it are royal and very rich apartments, of a structure that provided both for security and for beauty. [325] Around the bottom there are pleasure grounds of such a design as to be well worth seeing, both on other accounts, and also on account of the water which is brought thither from a great way off, and at vast expenses, for the place itself is destitute of water. The plain that is about this citadel is full of buildings, not inferior to any city in size, and has the hill above it in the nature of a citadel.  

[326] G   And now, when all Herod's designs had succeeded according to his hopes, he had not the least suspicion that any troubles could arise in his kingdom, because he kept his people obedient, as well by the fear they stood in of him, for he was implacable in the infliction of his punishments, as also by the provident care he had showed towards them, after the most magnanimous manner, when they were in distress. [327] But still he took care to have external security for his government as a fortress against his subjects; for the speeches he made to the cities were very fine, and full of kindness; and he cultivated an appropriate good understanding with their rulers, and bestowed presents on every one of them, inducing them thereby to be more friendly to him; and he used his magnificent disposition so that his kingdom might be the better secured to him, and this till all his affairs were in every way more and more prosperous. [328] G   But then this magnificent spirit of his, and that submissive behaviour and liberality which he exercised towards Caesar, and the most powerful men of Rome, obliged him to transgress the customs of his nation, and to set aside many of their laws, and by building cities after an extravagant manner, and erecting temples - [329] not in Judaea indeed, for that would not have been endured, it being forbidden for us to pay any honour to images, or representations of animals, after the manner of the Greeks -  but still he did thus in the country [properly] outside our borders, and in the cities thereof. [330] G   The defence which he made to the Jews for these things was this: That all was done, not out of his own inclinations, but by the commands and injunctions of others, in order to please Caesar and the Romans, as though he had not the Jewish customs so much in mind as he had the honour of those Romans; while yet he had himself entirely in view all the while, and indeed was very ambitious to leave great monuments of his government to posterity; this was why he was so zealous in building such fine cities, and spent such vast sums of money upon them.

[331] Now upon his observation of a place near the sea, which was very suitable for containing a city, and was before called Strato's Tower, he set about getting a plan for a magnificent city there, and erected many buildings with great diligence all over it, and this of white stone. He also adorned it with most sumptuous palaces and large buildings for containing the people; [332] G   and what was the greatest and most laborious work of all, he adorned it with a harbour, that was always free from the waves of the sea. Its size was not less than the Piraeus [at Athens], and had towards the city a double station for the ships. It was of excellent workmanship; and this was the more remarkable for its being built in a place that of itself was not suitable to such noble structures, but had to be brought to perfection by materials from other places, and at very great expense. [333] This city is situated in Phoenicia, on the passage by sea to Egypt, between Joppa and Dora, which are lesser maritime cities, and not fit for harbours, on account of the impetuous south winds that beat upon them, which roll the sands that come from the sea against the shores, and do not allow ships to lie in their station; but the merchants there are generally forced to ride at anchor in the sea itself. [334] G   So Herod endeavoured to rectify this inconvenience, and laid out a circle enclosing such a space as might be sufficient for a harbour, wherein the great ships might lie in safety; and this he effected by letting down vast stones of above fifty feet in length, not less than eighteen in breadth, and nine in depth, into twenty fathoms deep; and as some were lesser, so were others bigger than those dimensions. [335] This mole which he built by the sea-side was two hundred feet wide, the half of which was opposed to the current of the waves, so as to keep off those waves which were to break upon them, and so was called a breakwater; [336] G   but the other half had upon it a wall, with several towers, the largest of which was named Drusus, and was a work of very great excellence, and had its name from Drusus, the son-in-law of Caesar, who died young. [337] There were also a great number of arches where the mariners dwelt. There was also before them a quay, [or landing place,] which ran round the entire harbour, and was a most agreeable walk for such as had a mind to take that exercise; but the entrance or mouth of the port was made on the north quarter, on which side was the stillest of all the winds of in this place: [338] G   and the foundation of the whole circuit on the left hand, as you enter the port, supported a round turret, which was made very strong, in order to resist the greatest waves; while on the right hand, as you enter, stood two vast stones, and those each of them larger than the turret, which were over against them; these stood upright, and were joined together. [339] Now there were buildings in a circle all around the harbour, made of the most polished stone, with a certain hill, on which was erected a temple, that could be seen a great way off by those who were sailing towards that harbour, and had in it two statues, the one of Rome, the other of Caesar. The city itself was called Caesarea, which was also itself built of fine materials, and was of a fine structure; [340] G   nay, the very subterranean vaults and cellars had no less of architecture bestowed on them than had the buildings above ground. Some of these vaults carried things at equal distances to the harbour and to the sea; but one of them ran obliquely, and bound all the rest together, so that both the rain and the filth of the citizens were together carried off with ease, and the sea itself, upon the flux of the tide from without, came into the city, and washed it all clean. [341] Herod also built therein a theatre of stone; and on the south quarter, behind the port, an amphitheatre also, capable of holding a vast number of men, and conveniently situated for a view to the sea. So this city was thus finished in twelve years; during which time the king did not fail both to go on with the work, and to pay the charges that were necessary.  

{10.}   [342] G   When Herod was engaged in such matters, and when he had already rebuilt Sebaste [ Samaria, ] he resolved to send his sons  Alexander and Aristobulus to Rome, to enjoy the company of Caesar; [343] when they arrived there, they lodged at the house of Pollio, who was very fond of Herod's friendship; and they had leave to lodge in Caesar's own palace, for he received these sons of Herod with all kindness, and gave Herod leave to give his kingdom to whichever of his sons he pleased; and besides all this, he bestowed on him Trachonitis, and Batanaea, and Auranitis, which he gave him for the following cause: [344] G   One Zenodorus had hired what was called the domain of Lysanias, but, as he was not satisfied with its revenues, he became a partner with the robbers who inhabited Trachonitis, and so procured himself a larger income; for the inhabitants of those places lived in a wild way, and pillaged the country of the Damascenes, while Zenodorus did not restrain them, but shared in the booty they acquired. [345] Now as the neighbouring people suffered greatly from this, they complained to Varro, who was then governor [of Syria], and entreated him to write to Caesar about this injustice of Zenodorus. When these matters were laid before Caesar, he wrote back to Varro to destroy those nests of robbers, and to give the land to Herod, so that by his care the neighbouring countries might be no longer be disturbed by the inhabitants of Trachonitis; [346] G   for it was not an easy thing to restrain them, since this way of robbery had been their usual practice, and they had no other way to get their living, because they had neither any city of their own, nor lands in their possession, but only some shelters and dens in the earth, and there they and their cattle lived in common together. However, they had made contrivances to get pools of water, and laid up corn in granaries for themselves, and were able to make great resistance, by issuing out suddenly against any that attacked them; [347] for the entrances of their caves were narrow, in which but one could come in at a time, and the places within incredibly large, and made very wide but the ground over their habitations was not very high, but rather on a plain, while the rocks are altogether hard and difficult to be entered upon, unless anyone gets into the plain road by the guidance of another, for these roads are not straight, but have several windings. [348] G   But when these men are hindered from their wicked preying upon their neighbours, their custom is to prey one upon another, insomuch that no sort of injustice comes amiss to them. But when Herod had received this grant from Caesar, and had come into this country, he procured skilful guides, and put a stop to their wicked robberies, and procured peace and tranquillity for the neighbouring people.  

[349] Hereupon Zenodorus was grieved, in the first place, because his realm was taken away from him; and still more so, because he envied Herod, who had acquired it. So he went up to Rome to accuse him, but returned back again without success. [350] G   Now Agrippa was [about this time] sent as Caesar's deputy in the government of the countries beyond the Ionian Sea. Herod met him when he was wintering about Mitylene, for he had been his particular friend and companion; and then he returned into Judaea again. [351] Some of the Gadarenes came to Agrippa, and accused Herod; but he sent them back bound to the king without giving them a hearing. But still the Arabians, who of old bore ill-will towards Herod's government, were aroused, and at that time attempted to raise a sedition in his dominions, and, as they thought, for a more justifiable reason; [352] G   for Zenodorus, despairing already of success as to his own affairs, hastened to sell to those Arabians a part of his realm, called Auranitis, for the price  of fifty talents; but as this was included in the donations of Caesar, they contested the point with Herod, as they had been unjustly deprived of what they had bought. Sometimes they did this by making incursions upon him, and sometimes by attempting force against him, and sometimes by going to law with him. [353] Moreover, they persuaded the poorer soldiers to help them, and were troublesome to him, out of a constant hope that they should induce the people to raise a sedition, in which designs those who are in the most miserable circumstances of life are still the most earnest; and although Herod had been informed of these attempts a great while before, yet did not he inflict any severity on them, but by rational methods aimed to mitigate things, because he did not want to give any occasion for tumults.  

[354] G   Now when Herod had already reigned seventeen years, Caesar came into Syria; at which time the greatest part of the inhabitants of Gadara clamoured against Herod, saying that was heavy in his injunctions, and tyrannical. [355] These reproaches they mainly ventured upon by the encouragement of Zenodorus, who took an oath that he would never give up till he had procured that they should be removed from Herod's kingdom, and joined to Caesar's province. [356] G   The Gadarenes were persuaded by this, and made no small cry against him, and that the more boldly, because those who had been delivered up by Agrippa were not punished by Herod, who let them go, and did them no harm; for indeed he was the principal man in the world who appeared almost inexorable in punishing crimes in his own family, but very generous in remitting the offences that were committed elsewhere. [357] And while they accused Herod of injuries, and plunderings, and subversions of temples, he stood unconcerned, and was ready to make his defence. However, Caesar gave him his right hand, and remitted nothing of his kindness to him, upon this disturbance by the multitude; [358] G   and indeed these things were alleged on the first day, but the hearing proceeded no further; for as the Gadarenes saw the inclination of Caesar and of his assessors, and expected, as they had reason to do, that they would be delivered up to the king, some of them, out of a dread of the torments they might undergo, cut their own throats in the night time, and some of them threw themselves down precipices, and others of them cast themselves into the river, and killed themselves of their own accord. [359] These calamities seemed a sufficient condemnation of the rashness and crimes they had been guilty of; whereupon Caesar made no longer delay, but cleared Herod from the crimes he was accused of. Another fortunate accident there was, which was a further great advantage to Herod at this time; for Zenodorus's belly burst, and a great quantity of blood issued from him in his sickness, and he thereby departed this life at Antioch in Syria; [360] G   so Caesar bestowed his country, which was no small one, upon Herod; it lay between Trachonitis and Galilee, and contained Ulatha, and Paneas, and the country round about. He also associated him with the procurators of Syria, and commanded that they should do everything with his agreement; [361] and, in short, Herod arrived at that pitch of felicity, that whereas there were but two men that governed the vast Roman empire, first Caesar, and then Agrippa, who was his principal favourite, Caesar preferred no-one to Herod besides Agrippa, and Agrippa made no-one his greater friend than Herod except Caesar. [362] G   And when he had acquired such freedom, he begged of Caesar a tetrarchy for his brother Pheroras, while he himself bestowed upon him a revenue of a hundred talents out of his own kingdom, so that in case he came to any harm himself, his brother might be in safety, and that his sons might not have dominion over him. [363] So when he had conducted Caesar to the sea, and had returned home, he built for him a most beautiful temple, of the whitest stone, in Zenodorus's territory, near the place called Paneium. [364] G   This is a very fine cave in a mountain, under which there is a great cavity in the earth, and the cavern slopes abruptly to a prodigiously depth, and it is full of still water; over it hangs a vast mountain; and under the caverns arise the springs of the river Jordan. Herod adorned this place, which was already a very remarkable one, still further by the erection of this temple, which he dedicated to Caesar.  

[365] At this time Herod released his subjects from a third part of their taxes, under pretence indeed of relieving them, after the dearth they had suffered; but the main reason was, to recover their goodwill, which he now lacked; for they were uneasy at him, because of the innovations he had introduced in their practices, of the dissolution of their religion, and of the disuse of their own customs; and the people everywhere talked against him, like those who were still more provoked and disturbed at his conduct; [366] G   against which discontents he greatly guarded himself, and took away the opportunities they might have to disturb him, and urged them to be always at work; nor did he permit the citizens either to meet together, or to walk or eat together, but watched everything they did, and when any were caught, they were severely punished; and there were many who were brought to the citadel Hyrcania, both openly and secretly, and were there put to death; and there were spies set everywhere, both in the city and in the roads, who watched those who met together; [367] nay, it is reported that he did not himself neglect this part of caution, but that he would often himself take the clothes of a private man, and mix among the multitude in the night time, and find out what opinion they had of his government: [368] G   and as for those who could no way be induced to acquiesce under his form of government, he persecuted them in all manner of ways; but for the rest of the multitude, he required that they should be obliged to take an oath of fidelity to him, and at the same time he compelled them to swear that they would bear him goodwill, and continue certainly to do so, in his management of the government; [369] and indeed a great part of them, either to please him, or out of fear of him, yielded to what he required of them; but for such as were of a more open and spirited disposition, and were indignant at the force he used against them, he by one means or other made away with them. [370] G   He endeavoured also to persuade Pollion the Pharisee, and Sameas, and the greatest part of their disciples, to take the oath; but they would neither submit so to do, nor were they punished together with the rest, out of the reverence he bore for Pollion. [371] The Essenes also, as we call a sect of ours, were excused from this imposition. These men live the same kind of life as do those whom the Greeks call Pythagoreans, concerning whom I shall discourse more fully elsewhere. [372] G   However, it is fitting to set down here the reasons why Herod held these Essenes in such honour, and thought higher of them than their mortal nature required; nor will this account be unsuitable to the nature of this history, as it will show the opinion men had of these Essenes.  

[373] Now there was one of these Essenes, whose name was Manahem, who had this reputation, that he not only conducted his life after an excellent manner, but also had foreknowledge of future events given him by God. This man once saw Herod when he was a child, and going to school, and saluted him as king of the Jews; [374] G   but he, thinking that either he did not know him, or that he spoke in jest, reminded him that he was but a private man; but Manahem smiled to himself, and clapped him on his backside with his hand, and said, "However that be, you will be king, and will begin your reign happily, for God finds you worthy of it. And remember the blows that Manahem has given you, as being an indication of the change of your fortune. [375] And truly this will be the best reasoning for you, that you love justice [towards men], and piety towards God, and clemency towards your citizens; yet do I know how your whole conduct will be, that you will not be such a one, [376] G   for you will excel all men in happiness, and obtain an everlasting reputation, but will forget piety and righteousness; and these crimes will not be concealed from God, at the conclusion of your life, when you will find that he will be mindful of them, and will punish you for them." [377] Now at that time Herod paid no attention to what Manahem said, because he had no hopes of such advancement; but a little afterwards, when he was so fortunate as to be advanced to the dignity of king, and was at the height of his dominion, he sent for Manahem, and asked him how long he should reign. [378] G   Manahem did not tell him the full length of his reign; wherefore, upon that silence of his, he asked him further, whether he should reign ten years or not? He replied, "Yes, twenty, nay, thirty years;" but did not assign the exact limit of his reign. Herod was satisfied with these replies, and gave Manahem his hand, and dismissed him; and from that time he continued to honour all the Essenes. [379] We have thought it proper to relate these facts to our readers, however strange they may be, and to declare what has happened among us, because many of these Essenes have, by their excellent virtue, been thought worthy of this knowledge of divine revelations.  

{11.}   [380] G   And now Herod, in the eighteenth year of his reign, and after the acts already mentioned, undertook a very great work, that is, to build of himself the temple of God, and make it larger in extent, and to raise it to a most magnificent height; he thought that it would be the most glorious of all his actions, as it really was, to bring it to perfection; and that this would be sufficient as an everlasting memorial of him; [381] but as he knew the multitude were not ready nor willing to assist him in so vast a design, he decided to prepare them first by making a speech to them, and then set about the work itself; so he called them together, and spoke thus to them: [382] G   "I think I need not speak to you, my countrymen, about such other works as I have done since I came to the kingdom, although I may say they have been performed in such a manner as to bring more security to you than glory to myself; [383] for I have neither been negligent in the most difficult times about what tended to meet your needs, nor have the buildings I have made been so suited to preserve me as yourselves from injuries; and I imagine that, with God's assistance, I have advanced the nation of the Jews to a degree of happiness which they never had before; [384] G   and for the particular edifices belonging to your own country, and your own cities, as also to those cities that we have lately acquired, which we have erected and greatly adorned, and thereby augmented the dignity of your nation, it seems to me a needless task to enumerate them to you, since you well know them yourselves; but as to that undertaking which I have a mind to set about at present, and which will be a work of the greatest piety and excellence that can possibly be undertaken by us, I will now declare it to you. [385] Our fathers, indeed, when they had returned from Babylon, built this temple to God Almighty, yet it lacks sixty cubits of its size in altitude; for so much did that first temple which Solomon built exceed this temple; [386] G   nor let anyone condemn our fathers for their negligence or lack of piety in this matter, for it was not their fault that the temple was no higher; for it was Cyrus, and Darius the son of Hystaspes, who determined the measures for its rebuilding; and it was by reason of the subjection of of our ancestors to them and to their successors, and after them to the Macedonians, that they had not the opportunity to follow the original model of this pious structure, nor could raise it to its ancient height; [387] but since I am now, by God's will, your ruler, and I have had peace a long time, and have gained great riches and large revenues, and, what is the principal thing of all, I am in friendship with and well regarded by the Romans, who, if I may so say, are the rulers of the whole world, I will do my utmost to correct that imperfection, which has arisen from the necessity of our affairs, and the slavery we have been under formerly, and to make a thankful return, after the most pious manner, to God, for the blessings I have received from him, by giving me this kingdom, and that by rendering his temple as complete as I am able."  

[388] G   And this was the speech which Herod made to them; but still this speech frightened many of the people, as being unexpected by them; and because it seemed incredible, it did not encourage them, but disturbed them, for they were afraid that he would pull down the whole edifice, and not be able to bring his intentions to perfection for its rebuilding; and this danger appeared to them to be very great, and the vastness of the undertaking to be such as could hardly be accomplished. [389] But while they were in this disposition, the king encouraged them, and told them he would not pull down their temple till all things were got ready for building it up entirely again. And as he promised them this beforehand, so he did not break his word with them, [390] G   but got ready a thousand wagons, that were to bring stones for the building, and chose out ten thousand of the most skilful workmen, and bought a thousand sacerdotal garments for as many of the priests, and had some of them taught the arts of stone-cutters, and others of carpenters, and then began to build; but this not till every thing was well prepared for the work.  

[391] So Herod took away the old foundations, and laid others, and erected the temple upon them, being in length a hundred cubits, and in height twenty additional cubits, which [twenty], upon the sinking of their foundations fell down; and this part it was that we resolved to raise again in the days of Nero. [392] G   Now the temple was built of stones that were white and strong, and each of their length was twenty-five cubits, their height was eight, and their breadth about twelve; [393] and the whole structure, as also the structure of the royal portico, was lower on each side, but the middle was much higher, so that it was visible to those who dwelt in the country for a great many stades, but chiefly to such as lived opposite it, and those who approached to it. [394] G   The temple had doors also at the entrance, and lintels over them, of the same height as the temple itself. They were adorned with embroidered curtains, with their flowers of purple, and pillars interwoven; [395] and over these, but under the cornice, was spread out a golden vine, with its branches hanging down from a great height, the size and fine workmanship of which was an amazing sight to spectators, to see what vast materials there were, and with what great skill the workmanship was done. [396] G   He also surrounded the entire temple with very large porticoes, contriving them to be in due proportion to it; and he laid out larger sums of money upon them than had been done before him, till it seemed that no one else had so greatly adorned the temple as he had done. There was a large wall to both the porticoes, which wall was itself the most prodigious work that was ever heard of by man. [397] The hill was a rocky ascent, that sloped up by degrees towards the east part of the city, till it came to a summit. [398] G   This was the hill which Solomon, who was the first of our kings, by divine revelation, encompassed with a wall above at the top, an excellent work. He also built a wall below, beginning at the bottom, which was surrounded by a deep valley; and at the south side he laid rocks together, and bound them one to another with lead, and enclosed some of the inner area, [399] till it proceeded to a great height, and till both the size of the square edifice and its altitude were immense, and till the vastness of the stones in the front was plainly visible on the outside, yet so that the inward parts were fastened together with iron, and kept the joints immovable for all future times. [400] G   When this work [for the foundation] was done in this manner, and joined together to the hill itself as far as the very top of it, he levelled it all into one upper surface, and filled in the hollow places around the wall, and made it all smooth and even on the upper surface. This hill was walled all round, and in circuit four stades, [the distance of] each side containing in length a stade: [401] but within this wall, and on the very top of all, there ran another wall of stone also, having, on the east ridge, a double portico, of the same length as the wall; and within it was the temple itself. This portico looked towards the gates of the temple; and it had been adorned by many kings in former times; [402] G   and round about the entire temple were fixed the spoils taken from barbarous nations; all these had been dedicated to the temple by Herod, with the addition of those he had taken from the Arabians.  

[403] Now on the north side [of the temple] was built a citadel, whose walls were square, and strong, and of extraordinary firmness. This citadel was built by the kings of the Asamonaean family, who were also high priests before Herod, and they called it the baris, in which were deposited the vestments of the high priest, which the high priest only put on at the time when he was to offer sacrifice. [404] G   These vestments king Herod kept in that place; and after his death they were under the power of the Romans, until the time of Tiberius Caesar; [405] under whose reign Vitellius, the governor of Syria, when he once came to Jerusalem, and had been most magnificently received by the multitude, decided to make them some requital for the kindness they had shown him; so, upon their petition to have those holy vestments in their own power, he wrote about them to Tiberius Caesar, who granted his request: and this power over the sacerdotal vestments continued with the Jews till the death of king Agrippa; [406] G   but after that, Cassius Longinus, who was governor of Syria, and Cuspius Fadus, who was procurator of Judaea, ordered the Jews to deposit those vestments in the tower of Antonia, [407] because the Romans ought to have them in their power, as they formerly had. However, the Jews sent ambassadors to Claudius Caesar, to intercede with him for them; when they arrived, king Agrippa the younger, being then at Rome, asked for and obtained the power over them from the emperor, who commanded Vitellius, who was then commander in Syria, to comply. [408] G   Before that time they were kept under the seal of the high priest, and of the treasurers of the temple; these treasurers, the day before a festival, went up to the Roman captain of the temple guards, and viewed their own seal, and received the vestments; and again, when the festival was over, they brought it to the same place, and showed the captain of the temple guards their seal, which corresponded with his seal, and deposited them there. [409] And that these things were so, the afflictions that happened to us afterwards [about them] are sufficient evidence. But as for the tower itself, when Herod the king of the Jews had fortified it more firmly than before, in order to secure and guard the temple, he gratified Antonius, who was his friend and also the ruler of the Romans, and then gave it the name of the Tower of Antonia.  

[410] G   Now in the western part of the enclosure of the temple there were four gates; the first led to the king's palace, and went through a passage over the intermediate valley; two more led to the suburbs of the city; and the last led to the other part of  city, where the road descended down into the valley by a great number of steps, and thence up the hill again; for the city lay opposite the temple in the manner of a theatre, and was surrounded by a deep valley along the entire south quarter; [411] but the fourth side of the temple, which faced southwards, had indeed itself gates in its middle, as also it had the royal portico, with three walks, which reached in length from the east valley unto that on the west, for it was impossible it should reach any further: [412] G   and this portico deserves to be mentioned more than any other under the sun; for while the valley was very deep, and its bottom could not be seen, if you looked from above into the depth, this further vastly high elevation of the portico stood upon that height, insomuch that if any one looked down from the top of the battlements, or down both those altitudes, he would be giddy, while his sight could not reach to such an immense depth. [413] This portico had pillars that stood in four rows opposite each other all along, for the fourth row was interwoven into the wall, which [also was built of stone]; and the thickness of each pillar was such, that three men might, with their arms extended and their hands touching, envelop it around, while its height was twenty-seven feet, with a double spiral at its base; [414] G   and the number of all the pillars [in that court] was a hundred and sixty-two. Their capitals were made with sculptures after the Corinthian order, and caused amazement [to the spectators], by reason of the grandeur of the whole. [415] These four rows of pillars provided three passageways for walking in the middle of this portico; two of these walks were made parallel to each other, and were contrived after the same manner; the breadth of each of them was thirty feet, the length was a stade, and the height fifty feet; but the breadth of the middle part of the portico was one and a half times the size of the others, and the height was double, for it was much higher than those on each side; [416] G   and the ceilings were adorned with deep sculptures in wood, representing many sorts of figures. The middle was much higher than the rest, and the wall of the front was adorned with beams, resting upon pillars, that were interwoven into it, and that front was all of polished stone, insomuch that its fineness, to such as had not seen it, was incredible, and to such as had seen it, was greatly amazing. [417] Such was the first enclosure. Within it, and not far distant, was the second [court], to be entered by going up a few steps: this was surrounded by a stone wall as a partition, with an inscription, which forbade any foreigner to enter under pain of death. [418] G   Now this inner enclosure had on its southern and northern sides three gates [equally] distant one from another; but on the eastern side, towards the rising sun, there was one large gate, through those who were pure came in, together with their wives; [419] but the court further inward from that gate could not be entered by women; and still more inward there was a third [court of the] temple, into which it was not lawful for any but the priests alone to enter. The temple itself was within this; and before that temple was the altar, upon which we offer our sacrifices and burnt-offerings to God. [420] G   Into none of these three [courts] did king Herod enter, for he was forbidden, because he was not a priest. However, he took care of the porticoes and the outer enclosures, and these he built in eight years.  

[421] But the temple itself was built by the priests in a year and six months; upon which all the people were full of joy; and immediately they returned thanks, in the first place, to God; and in the next place, for the alacrity the king had showed. They feasted and celebrated this rebuilding of the temple: [422] G   and as for the king, he sacrificed three hundred oxen to God, while everyone else [sacrificed] according to his ability; the number of these sacrifices is not possible to set down, for we cannot truly estimate it; [423] for at the same time as this celebration for the work about the temple occurred also the day of the king's inauguration, which he customarily kept as a festival; it now coincided with the other, and this  coincidence of them both made the festival most illustrious.  

[424] G   There was also an secret underground passage built for the king; it led from Antonia to the inner temple, at its eastern gate; over which he also erected for himself a tower, so that he might have the opportunity of a subterraneous ascent to [the tower], in order to guard against any sedition which might be made by the people against their kings. [425] It is also reported, that during the time that the temple was being built, it did not rain in the daytime, but that the showers fell in the nights, so that the work was not hindered. And this [fact] our fathers have handed down to us; nor is it incredible, if anyone has regard to the manifestations of God. In this way the work of the rebuilding of the temple was performed.  

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