Josephus: Jewish Antiquities, Book 14

Sections 1 - 155


Translated by R. Marcus (1943). The section numbers in the Greek text are shown in red; the traditional chapter numbers (as in Whiston's translation) are shown in green.  

 See key to translations for an explanation of the format. Click on the G symbols to go to the Greek text of each section.  


← Book 13  

{1.}   [1] Having related the history of Queen Alexandra and her death in the preceding book, we shall now speak of the events that followed immediately thereafter, keeping in mind one thing above all else, which is not to omit anything whether through ignorance or fault of memory. [2] G   For while the relation and recording of events that are unknown to most people because of their antiquity require charm of exposition, such as is imparted by the choice of words and their proper arrangement and by whatever else contributes elegance to the narrative, [3] in order that readers may receive such information with a certain degree of gratification and pleasure, nevertheless what historians should make their chief aim is to be accurate and hold everything else of less importance than speaking a the truth to those who must rely upon them in matters of which they themselves have no knowledge.  

[4] G   Now when Hyrcanus assumed royal power, in the third year of the hundred and seventy-seventh Olympiad, the Roman consuls being Quintus Hortensius and Quintus Metellus, the same who was thereby surnamed Creticus, { 69 B.C. } Aristobulus promptly declared war on him, and in the battle which he fought near Jericho many of the soldiers of Hyrcanus deserted to his brother. [5] Upon this he fled to the citadel, where Aristobulus' wife and children had been confined by his mother, as we have said before { 13.426 }. And those of the opposite faction who had taken refuge in the precincts of the temple he attacked and seized. [6] G   And after proposing to his brother that they come to an agreement, he ended hostilities on the terms that Aristobulus should be king, while he himself should live without taking part in public affairs, and be undisturbed in the enjoyment of the possessions that he then had. [7] This pact they made under the auspices of the temple, and after confirming their agreement by oaths and pledges and embracing one another in the sight of all the people, they withdrew, Aristobulus to the palace, and Hyrcanus, as one who was now a private citizen, to the house of Aristobulus.   

[8] G   But there was a certain friend of Hyrcanus, an Idumaean called Antipater, who, having a large fortune and being by nature a man of action and a trouble-maker, was unfriendly to Aristobulus and quarrelled with him because of his friendliness toward Hyrcanus. [9] Nicolas of Damascus, to be sure, says that his family belonged to the leading Jews who came to Judaea from Babylon. But he says this in order to please Antipater's son Herod, who became king of the Jews by a certain turn of fortune, as we shall relate in the proper place. [10] G   This Antipater, it seems, was first called Antipas, which was also the name of his father, whom King Alexander and his wife appointed governor of the whole of Idumaea, and they say that he made friends of the neighbouring Arabs and Gazaeans and Ascalonites, and completely won them over by many large gifts. [11] Now the younger Antipater looked jealously on Aristobulus' power, and fearing that he might suffer harm because of his hatred for him, he stirred up the powerful a Jews against him in secret conversations, saying that it was wrong to ignore the fact that Aristobulus wrongly held royal power and had driven his brother from the throne although he was the elder, and now occupied it though it belonged to the other by right of seniority. [12] G   These were the arguments he unceasingly continued to address to Hyrcanus, adding that he was in danger of losing his life unless he insured his safety by taking himself out of his way. For Aristobulus' friends, he said, were losing no opportunity of advising him to do away with Hyrcanus, as he would then hold power securely. [13] But Hyrcanus gave no credence to these words, for he was naturally a decent man and because of his kindliness did not readily listen to slander. But his ineffectualness and weakness of will made him seem ignoble and unmanly to those who observed him. Aristobulus, however, was of the opposite nature, being a man of action and alert spirit.   

[14] G   And so when Antipater saw that Hyrcanus was paying no attention to what he said, he did not let a day go by without bringing false charges against Aristobulus before him, and slandering him by saying that he wished to kill Hyrcanus ; and by dint of constant pressure he persuaded him to take his advice and flee to Aretas, the Arab king, promising that if he followed his advice, he too would be his ally. [15] When Hyrcanus heard that this would be to his advantage, he was ready to flee to Aretas, for Arabia borders on Judaea. However, he first sent Antipater to the Arab king to receive sworn assurances that if he came to him as a suppliant, Aretas would not deliver him up to his enemies. [16] G   When Antipater had received these sworn assurances, he returned to Hyrcanus at Jerusalem ; and not long afterward he slipped out of the city by night, taking Hyrcanus with him, and after travelling a great distance, brought him to the city called Petra, where the palace of Aretas was. [17] Being a very good friend of the king, he urged him to bring Hyrcanus back to Judaea ; and as he did this every day without intermission and offered him gifts in addition, he finally persuaded Aretas. [18] G   Moreover Hyrcanus also promised him that if he were restored and received his throne, he would return to him the territory and the twelve cities which his father Alexander had taken from the Arabs. These were Medaba, Libba, Dabaloth, Arabatha, Agalla, Athone, Zoara, Oronain, Gobolis, Arydda, Alusa and Orybda.   

{2.} G     [19] Because of these promises which were made to him, Aretas marched against Aristobulus with an army of fifty thousand horsemen and foot-soldiers as well, and defeated him in battle. After his victory many deserted to Hyrcanus, and Aristobulus, being left alone, fled to Jerusalem. [20] G   Thereupon the Arab king took his whole army and attacked the temple, where he besieged Aristobulus ; and the citizens, joining Hyrcanus' side, assisted him in the siege, while only the priests remained loyal to Aristobulus. [21] And so Aretas placed the camps of the Arabs and Jews next to one another, and pressed the siege vigorously. But as this action took place at the time of observing the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which we call Phaska, the Jews of best repute left the country and fled to Egypt. [22] G   Now there was a certain Onias, who, being a righteous man and dear to God, had once in a rainless period prayed to God to end the drought, and God had heard his prayer and sent rain : this man hid himself when he saw that the civil war continued to rage, but he was taken to the camp of the Jews and was asked to place a curse on Aristobulus and his fellow-rebels, just as he had, by his prayers, put an end to the rainless period. [23] But when in spite of his refusals and excuses he was forced to speak by the mob, he stood up in their midst and said, [24] G   "O God, king of the universe, since these men standing beside me are Thy people, and those who are besieged are Thy priests, I beseech Thee not to hearken to them against these men nor to bring to pass what these men ask Thee to do to those others." And when he had prayed in this manner the villains among the Jews who stood round him stoned him to death.   

[25] But God straightway punished them for this savagery, and exacted satisfaction for the murder of Onias in the following manner. While the priests and Aristobulus were being besieged, there happened to come round the festival called Phaska, at which it is our custom to offer numerous sacrifices to God. a [26] G   But as Aristobulus and those with him lacked victims, they asked their countrymen to furnish them with these, and take as much money for the victims as they wished. And when these others demanded that they pay a thousand drachmas for each animal they wished to get, Aristobulus and the priests willingly accepted this price and gave them the money, which they let down from the walls by a rope. [27] Their countrymen, however, after receiving the money did not deliver the victims, but went to such lengths of villainy that they violated their pledges and acted impiously toward God by not furnishing the sacrificial victims to those who were in need of them. [28] G   But the priests, on suffering this breach of faith, prayed to God to exact satisfaction on their behalf from their countrymen : and He did not delay their punishment, but sent a mighty and violent wind to destroy the crops of the entire country, so that people at that time had to pay eleven drachmas for a modius of wheat.   

[29] Meanwhile Pompey sent Scaurus also to Syria, as he himself was in Armenia, still making war on Tigranes. And when Scaurus came to Damascus, he found that Lollius and Metellus had just taken the city, and so he hurried on to Judaea. [30] G   On his arrival envoys came to him from both Aristobulus and Hyrcanus, each of whom asked him to come to his aid. Aristobulus offered to give him four hundred talents ; and though Hyrcanus promised him no less a sum, he accepted the offer of Aristobulus, [31] for he was both wealthy and generous and asked for more moderate terms, whereas Hyrcanus was poor and niggardly and held out untrustworthy promises for greater concessions. Nor was it as easy to take by force a city which was among the most strongly fortified and powerful, as to drive out some fugitives together with the host of Nabataeans, who were not well fitted for warfare. [32] G   And so he took Aristobulus' side for the reasons mentioned above, and accepting the money, put an end to the siege by commanding Aretas to withdraw or else be declared an enemy of the Romans. [33] Then Scaurus again withdrew to Damascus, while Aristobulus with a large force marched against Aretas and Hyrcanus, and on engaging them at a place called Papyron, defeated them in battle and killed some six thousand of the enemy, among the fallen being Phallion, the brother of Antipater.   

{3.}   [34] G   When Pompey not long afterward came to Damascus and was advancing into Coele-Syria, there came to him envoys from all of Syria and Egypt and Judaea. Aristobulus, for example, sent him a fine gift, which was a golden vine worth five hundred talents. [35] This gift is also mentioned by Strabo of Cappadocia in the following words. "There also came from Egypt an embassy and a crown worth four thousand pieces of gold, and from Judaea either a vine or garden; terpole {delight} is what they called this work of art. [36] G   Moreover we ourselves have examined this gift, which has been set up in the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus at Rome, and has an inscription reading, From Alexander, the king of the Jews. It was valued at five hundred talents. And it is said to have been sent by Aristobulus, the ruler of the Jews."   

[37] And not long afterward envoys again came to him, Antipater on behalf of Hyrcanus, and Nicodemus on behalf of Aristobulus: the latter, indeed, also accused Gabinius and Scaurus of taking money from him, Gabinius first getting three hundred talents, and Scaurus later four hundred talents ; and so Aristobulus made these men his enemies in addition to the others he had. [38] G   Pompey thereupon told the disputants to come to him, and at the beginning of spring, took his force from their winter quarters, and set out for the region of Damascus. And on the way he demolished the citadel at Apamea, which Antiochus Cyzicenus had built, [39] and he also devastated the territory of Ptolemaeus, the son of Mennaeus, a worthless fellow, no less than was Dionysius of Tripolis, a relative of his by marriage, who was beheaded : but Ptolemaeus escaped punishment for his sins by paying a thousand talents, with which Pompey paid the wages of his soldiers. [40] G   He also destroyed the fortress of Lysias, of which the Jew Silas was lord. And passing the cities of Heliopolis and Chalcis, he crossed the mountain that divides the region called Coele-Syria from the rest of Syria, and came to Damascus. [41] Here he heard the case of the Jews and their leaders, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, who were quarrelling with one another, while the nation was against them both and asked not to be ruled by a king, saying that it was the custom of their country to obey the priests of the God who was venerated by them, but that these two, who were descended from the priests, were seeking to change their form of government in order that they might become a nation of slaves. [42] G   As for Hyrcanus, he charged that though he was the elder brother, he had been deprived of his rights as first-born by Aristobulus, and that he had but a small part of the country under his rule, while Aristobulus had the rest, which he had taken by force. [43] He also denounced him as the one who had instigated the raids against neighbouring peoples and the acts of piracy at sea, and added that the nation would not have rebelled against him if he had not been a man given to violence and disorder. In making these accusations he was supported by more than a thousand of the most reputable Jews, whom Antipater had provided for that purpose. [44] G   Aristobulus, on the other hand, blamed Hyrcanus' fall from power on his own character, which was ineffectual and therefore invited contempt ; as for himself, he said that he had of necessity taken over the royal power for fear that it might pass into the hands of others, and that his title was exactly the same as that of his father Alexander. [45] He then called, as witnesses to these statements, some young swaggerers, who offensively displayed their purple robes, long hair, metal ornaments and other finery, which they wore as if they were marching in a festive procession instead of pleading their cause.   

[46] G   When Pompey had heard these claims, he condemned Aristobulus for his violence, but then he told them to keep the peace ; at the same time he treated Aristobulus with deference for fear that he might incite the country to rebellion and block his passage through it. [47] This, however, was, as it happened, the very thing which Aristobulus did, for without waiting for any of the things to be done of which Pompey had spoken to him, he came to the city of Dium, and from there set out for Judaea.   

[48] G   But Pompey, who was angered by this action, took the army that he had prepared against the Nabataeans, and the auxiliaries from Damascus and the rest of Syria, as well as the Roman legions already at his disposal, and marched against Aristobulus. [49] After passing through Pella and Scythopolis, he came to Coreae, which is the beginning of Judaea as one goes through the interior, and from there sent to Aristobulus, who had taken refuge in Alexandreion, a very beautiful stronghold situated on the top of a mountain, and commanded him to come to him. [50] G   Thereupon Aristobulus, whom many of his men urged not to make war on the Romans, came down and after arguing with his brother about his right to the throne, again went up to citadel with Pompey's consent : [51] and this he did two or three times, for on the one hand he cherished the hope a that he would obtain the kingdom from Pompey, and so feigned obedience to everything he commanded, and on the other hand, he retired to the stronghold in order not to weaken his force and to prepare for himself supplies for making war, as he feared that Pompey might transfer the royal power to Hyrcanus. [52] G   Pompey, however, commanded him to deliver up his strongholds and give the orders therefor to his garrison commanders in his own handwriting - for they had been forbidden to accept orders in any other form, and so he obeyed, but retired resentfully to Jerusalem and set about preparing for war. [53] And not long afterward Pompey led his army against him ; and on the way there came to him messengers from Pontus, who informed him of the death of Mithridates at the hands of his son Pharnaces.   

{4.} G     [54] G   He then encamped near Jericho, where they cultivate the palm tree and opobalsamum, that most excellent of ointments, which, when the shrubs are cut with a sharp stone, oozes out like sap, and at dawn set out for Jerusalem. [55] And Aristobulus, thinking better of his plan, came to Pompey and promising to give him money and admit him into Jerusalem, begged him to stop the war and do as he liked peaceably. On his making this request Pompey pardoned him and sent Gabinius and some soldiers to get the money and take over the city. [56] G   None of these promises was carried out, however, and Gabinius returned after being shut out of the city and failing to receive the money ; for Aristobulus' soldiers had not permitted the agreement to be carried out. And [57] Pompey, being seized with anger at this, placed Aristobulus under arrest, and himself went to the city, which was strongly fortified on all sides except on the north, where it was weak. For it is surrounded by a broad and deep ravine which takes in the temple, and this is very strongly protected by an encircling wall of stone.   

[58] G   But among the men within the city there was dissension, for they were not of one mind concerning their situation ; to some it seemed best to deliver the city to Pompey, while those who sympathised with Aristobulus urged that they shut Pompey out and make war on him because he held Aristobulus prisoner. It was this party that made the first move and occupied the temple, and cutting the bridge that stretches from it to the city, prepared themselves for a siege. [59] But those of the other faction admitted Pompey's army and handed over to him the city and the palace. Pompey thereupon sent his legate Piso with an army to guard the city and the palace, and fortified the houses adjoining the temple and the places round the temple outside. [60] G   His first step was to offer conciliatory terms to those within, but as they would not listen to his proposals, he fortified the surrounding places with walls, with Hyrcanus willingly assisting him in all ways. And at dawn Pompey pitched his camp on the north side of the temple, where it was open to attack. [61] But even here stood great towers, and a trench had been dug, and the temple was surrounded by a deep ravine ; for there was a steep slope on the side toward the city after the bridge was destroyed, and at this spot Pompey by great labour day by day had caused earthworks to be raised, for which the Romans cut down the timber round about. [62] G   And when these were high enough, though the trench was filled up with difficulty because of its immense depth, he moved up and set in place the siege engines and instruments of war that had been brought from Tyre, and began to batter the temple with his catapults. [63] But if it were not our national custom to rest on the Sabbath day, the earthworks would not have been finished, because the Jews would have prevented this ; for the Law permits us to defend ourselves against those who begin a battle and strike us, but it does not allow us to fight against an enemy that does anything else.   

[64] G   Of this fact the Romans were well aware, and on those days which we call the Sabbath, they did not shoot at the Jews or meet them in hand to hand combat, but instead they raised earthworks and towers, and brought up their siege-engines in order that these might be put to work the following day. [65] And one may get an idea of the extreme piety which we show toward God and of our strict observance of the laws from the fact that during the siege the priests were not hindered from performing any of the sacred ceremonies through fear, but twice a day, in the morning and at the ninth hour, they performed the sacred ceremonies at the altar, and did not omit any of the sacrifices even when some difficulty arose because of the attacks. [66] G   And indeed when the city was taken, in the third month, on the Fast Day, in the hundred and seventy-ninth Olympiad, in the consulship of Gaius Antonius and Marcus Tullius Cicero { 63 B.C. }, and the enemy rushed in and were slaughtering the Jews in the temple, [67] those who were busied with the sacrifices none the less continued to perform the sacred ceremonies ; nor were they compelled, either by fear for their lives or by the great number of those already slain, to run away, but thought it better to endure whatever they might have to suffer there beside the altars than to neglect any of the ordinances. [68] G   And that this is not merely a story to set forth the praises of a fictitious piety, but the truth, is attested by all those who have narrated the exploits of Pompey, among them Strabo and Nicolas and, in addition, Titus Livius, the author of a History of Rome.    

[69] Now when the siege-engine was brought up, the largest of the towers was shaken and fell, a breach through which the enemy poured in ; first among them was Cornelius Faustus, the son of Sulla, who with his soldiers mounted the wall, and after him the centurion Furius, with those who followed him, on the other side, and between them Fabius, another centurion, with a strong and compact body of men. [70] G   And there was slaughter everywhere. For some of the Jews were slain by the Romans, and others by their fellows ; and there were some who hurled themselves down the precipices, and setting fire to their houses, burned themselves within them, for they could not bear to accept their fate. [71] And so of the Jews there fell some twelve thousand, but of the Romans only a very few. One of those taken captive was Absalom, the uncle and at the same time father-in-law of Aristobulus. And not light was the sin committed against the sanctuary, which before that time had never been entered or seen. [72] G   For Pompey and not a few of his men went into it and saw what it was unlawful for any but the high priests to see. But though the golden table was there and the sacred lamp-stand and the libation vessels and a great quantity of spices, and beside these, in the treasury, the sacred moneys amounting to two thousand talents, he touched none of these a because of piety, and in this respect also he acted in a manner worthy of his virtuous character. [73] And on the morrow he instructed the temple servants to cleanse the temple and to offer the customary sacrifice to God, and he restored the high priesthood to Hyrcanus because in various ways he had been useful to him and particularly because he had prevented the Jews throughout the country from fighting on Aristobulus' side ; and those responsible for the war he executed by beheading. He also bestowed on Faustus and the others who had mounted the wall with alacrity fitting rewards for their bravery. [74] G   And he made Jerusalem tributary to the Romans, and took from its inhabitants the cities of Coele-Syria which they had formerly subdued, and placed them under his own governor and the entire nation, which before had raised itself so high, he confined within its own borders. [75] He also rebuilt Gadara, which had been demolished a little while before, to please Demetrius the Gadarene, his freedman ; and the other cities, Hippos, Scythopolis, Pella, Dium, Samaria, as well as Marisa, Azotus, Jamneia and Arethusa, he restored to their own inhabitants. [76] G   And not only these cities in the interior, in addition to those that had been demolished, but also the coast cities of Gaza, Joppa, Dora and Straton's Tower - this last city, which Herod re-founded magnificently and adorned with harbours and temples, was later renamed Caesarea - all these Pompey set free and annexed them to the province.   

[77] For this misfortune which befell Jerusalem Hyrcanus and Aristobulus were responsible, because of their dissension. For we lost our freedom and became subject to the Romans, and the territory which we had gained by our arms and taken from the Syrians we were compelled to give back to them, [78] G   and in addition the Romans exacted of us in a short space of time more than ten thousand talents ; and the royal power which had formerly been bestowed on those who were high priests by birth became the privilege of commoners. But of this we shall speak in the proper place. [79] Now Pompey gave over to Scaurus Coele-Syria and the rest of Syria as far as the Euphrates river and Egypt, and two Roman legions, and then went off to Cilicia, making haste to reach Rome. And with him he took Aristobulus in chains, together with his family ; for he had two daughters and as many sons; but one or them, Alexander, got away, while the younger son, Antigonus, was carried off to Rome together with his sisters.   

{5.}   [80] G   Scaurus then marched against Petra in Arabia, and because it was difficult of access, ravaged the country round about it, but as his army suffered from hunger, Antipater, at the command of Hyrcanus, furnished him with grain from Judaea and whatever other provisions he needed. [81] And when Antipater was sent by Scaurus as an envoy to Aretas because of their friendly relations, he persuaded him to pay a sum of money to save his country from being ravaged, and himself became surety for three hundred talents. And on these terms Scaurus ended the war, being no less eager to have this come about than was Aretas.   

[82] G   But some time later, while Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, was overrunning Judaea, Gabinius came to Syria from Rome as governor, and after achieving many other things worthy of note, also marched against Alexander; for Hyrcanus was no longer able to hold out against the strength of Alexander, who was actually attempting to raise again the wall of Jerusalem which Pompey had destroyed. [83] But this he was stopped from doing by the Romans there. He then went round the country and armed many of the Jews, and soon collected ten thousand heavy-armed soldiers and fifteen hundred horse, and fortified the strongholds of Alexandreion near Coreae and Machaerus near the mountains of Arabia. [84] G   Gabinius therefore went out against him, sending ahead Mark Antony with some other officers. These armed the Romans who accompanied them, and beside them the Jews who were submissive, led by Peitholaus and Malichus, and taking along Antipater's guard also, went to meet Alexander. Gabinius himself followed them with his main body. [85] Alexander therefore retired to the neighbourhood of Jerusalem, where the two forces fell upon each other and a battle took place, in which the Romans killed about three thousand of the enemy, and captured as many alive.    

[86] G   Meanwhile Gabinius came to Alexandreion and invited those within to cease hostilities, agreeing pardon them for their past offences. But as many of the enemy were encamped before the stronghold, the Romans set upon them : and Mark Antony, who fought with distinction and killed many men, was voted the prize for bravery. [87] Finally Gabinius left a part of his army there until the fortress should be taken by siege, and himself went through the rest of Judaea, and whenever he came upon a ruined city, he gave directions for it to be rebuilt. [88] G   And so there were rebuilt Samaria, Azotus, Scythopolis, Anthedon, Raphia, Adora, Marisa, Gaza and not a few others. And as the people obeyed Gabinius' orders, these cities, which had long been desolate, could now be safely inhabited.  

[89] Having taken these measures throughout the country, Gabinius returned to Alexandreion, and as he pressed the siege strongly, Alexander sent envoys to him, asking pardon for his offences and giving up the strongholds of Hyrcania and Machaerus, and afterwards Alexandreion as well. [90] G   And so Gabinius demolished them. For Alexander's mother, who was on the side of the Romans, since her husband and her other children were held at Rome, came to him with the request that he do this, and he granted it ; and after settling matters with her, he brought Hyrcanus to Jerusalem, to have charge of the temple. [91] He  also set up five councils {synhedria}, and divided the nation into as many districts ; these centres of government were : first, Jerusalem, next, Gadara, third, Amathus, fourth, Jericho, and fifth, Sepphoris in Galilee. And so the people were removed from monarchic rule and lived under an aristocracy.    

{6.} G     [92] G   But Aristobulus escaped from Rome to Judaea, and proposed to rebuild Alexandreion, which had just been demolished, whereupon Gabinius sent against him a body of soldiers led by Sisenna, Antony and Servilius to prevent him from occupying the place and to arrest him. [93] For many of the Jews had flocked to Aristobulus, both on account of his former glory and especially because they always welcomed revolutionary movements. Among others a certain Peitholaus, who was legate at Jerusalem, deserted to him with a thousand men. Many of those who joined him, however, were unarmed. [94] G   But Aristobulus. who had decided to retire to Machaerus, dismissed these men, who were without equipment - for they were of no use to him in action, - and taking the men who were armed, amounting to some eight thousand, marched away. [95] And as the Romans fell upon them valiantly, they were defeated in battle ; for though the Jews fought manfully and eagerly, the enemy were too strong for them, and they were put to flight. Some five thousand of them were slain, while the rest were scattered and tried to save themselves as best they could. [96] G   Aristobulus, however, escaped to Machaerus with more than a thousand men, and fortified the place, and though he was faring badly, none the less he was still of good hope. But after withstanding a siege of two days and receiving many wounds, he was taken prisoner and brought to Gabinius together with his son Antigonus, who had, by the way, fled from Rome with him. [97] And having met with such ill fortune, Aristobulus was sent to Rome a second time ; and there he was kept in chains, after being king and high priest three years and six months ; he was, moreover, a man of distinction and magnanimity. His children, however, were released by the Senate because Gabinius wrote that he had promised their mother this when she surrendered the strongholds. And so they returned to Judaea.   

[98] G   Now while Gabinius was on an expedition against the Parthians and had already crossed the Euphrates, he changed his mind and returned to Egypt to restore Ptolemy to his kingdom. But these events have been related elsewhere. [99] On this campaign, moreover, Gabinius, in accordance with Hyrcanus' instructions to him, was supplied with grain, arms and money by Antipater, who also won over the Jews above Pelusium to his side and made them his allies to act as guards of the entrances to Egypt. [100] G   But when Gabinius returned from Egypt, he found Syria a prey to uprisings and disorder ; for Aristobulus' son Alexander had later come into power a second time and had forced many of the Jews to revolt, and was marching over the country with a large army and killing all the Romans he met, and was closely besieging those who had taken refuge on Mount Gerizim, as it is called.   

[101] On finding Syria in this condition, Gabinius sent Antipater, who was a man of good sense, to the unruly elements, to see whether he could put a stop to their mad behaviour and persuade them to return to a more reasonable frame of mind. [102] G   And so he came and brought many of them to their senses and induced them to do their duty ; but he could not restrain Alexander, who with an army of thirty thousand Jews went to meet Gabinius, and was defeated in an engagement near Mount Tabor, in which ten thousand of his men fell.   

[103] Gabinius then settled affairs at Jerusalem in accordance with the wishes of Antipater, and marched against the Nabataeans, whom he overcame in battle ; and he also sent on their way Mithridates and Orsanes, fugitives from the Parthians, who had come to him, though the story was that they escaped from him. [104] G   And so, having performed great and brilliant deeds during his term as governor, Gabinius sailed for Rome, handing over his province to Crassus. Now the expeditions of Pompey and Gabinius against the Jews have been written about by Nicolas of Damascus and Strabo of Cappadocia, neither of whom differs in any respect from the other.   

{7.}   [105] Crassus, intending to march against the Parthians, came to Judaea and earned off the money in the temple, amounting to two thousand talents, which Pompey had left, and was prepared to strip the sanctuary of all its gold, which amounted to eight thousand talents. [106] G   He also took a bar of solid beaten gold, weighing three hundred minae ; the mina with us is equal to two and a half pounds. This bar was given to him by the guardian of the money, a priest named Eleazar, not because of rascality - for he was a good and upright man, - [107] but because, being entrusted with the keeping of the curtains of the sanctuary, which were of admirable beauty and costly workmanship, and hung from this bar, he saw Crassus intent on gathering up the gold, and had fears for the whole ornamentation of the sanctuary ; and so he gave him the bar of gold as a ransom for all the rest, [108] G   receiving his sworn assurance that he would not remove anything else from the sanctuary but would be content merely with what was to be given him by the priest - a present worth many tens of thousands (of drachmas). Now this bar was in a hollow wooden bar, a fact which was unknown to all others, and which Eleazar alone knew. [109] Crassus, however, although he took this bar with the understanding that he would not touch anything else in the temple, violated his oath and carried off all the gold in the sanctuary.   

[110] G   But no one need wonder that there was so much wealth in our temple, for all the Jews throughout the habitable world, and those who worshipped God, a even those from Asia and Europe, had been contributing to it for a very long time. [111] And there is no lack of witnesses to the great amount of the sums mentioned, nor have they been raised to so great a figure through boast fulness or exaggeration on our part, but there are many historians who bear us out, in particular Strabo of Cappadocia, who writes as follows. [112] G   " Mithridates sent to Cos and took the money which Queen Cleopatra had deposited there, and eight hundred talents of the Jews." [113] Now there is no public money among us except that which is God's, and it is therefore evident that this money was transferred to Cos by the Jews of Asia because of their fear of Mithridates. For it is not likely that those in Judaea, who possessed a fortified city and the temple, would have sent money to Cos, nor is it probable that the Jews living in Alexandria would have done this either, since they had no fear of Mithridates. [114] G   And this same Strabo in another passage testifies that at the time when Sulla crossed over to Greece to make war on Mithridates, and sent Lucullus to put down the revolt of our nation in Cyrene, the habitable world was filled with Jews, for he writes as follows. [115] "There were four classes in the state of Cyrene ; the first consisted of citizens, the second of farmers, the third of resident aliens { metics}, and the fourth of Jews. This people has already made its way into every city, and it is not easy to find any place in the habitable world which has not received this nation and in which it has not made its power felt. [116] G   And it has come about that Cyrene, which had the same rulers as Egypt, has imitated it in many respects, particularly in notably encouraging and aiding the expansion of the organised groups of Jews, which observe the national Jewish laws. [117] In Egypt, for example, territory has been set apart for a Jewish settlement, and in Alexandria a great part of the city has been allocated to this nation. And an ethnarch of their own has been installed, who governs the people and adjudicates suits and supervises contracts and ordinances, just as if he were the head of a sovereign state. [118] G   And so this nation has flourished in Egypt because the Jews were originally Egyptians and because those who left that country made their homes nearby ; and they migrated to Cyrene because this country bordered on the kingdom of Egypt, as did Judaea - or rather, it formerly belonged to that kingdom." These are Strabo's own words.   

[119] Now when Crassus had arranged everything the way he wished, he set out for Parthia and perished together with his entire army, as has been related elsewhere. Cassius, however, fled to Syria and took possession of it, thus standing in the way of the Parthians who were making incursions into the country as a result of their victory over Crassus. [120] G   Later he came to Tyre, and then went up to Judaea. Here he fell upon Tarichaeae, which he quickly took, and made slaves of some thirty thousand men. He also killed Peitholaus, who had continued the revolt led by Aristobulus ; [121] and this he did at the instigation of Antipater, who at that time had great influence with him, and was then held in the greatest esteem by the Idumaeans also, from among whom he took a wife of a distinguished Arab family, named Cypros ; and by her he had four sons, Phasael, Herod, who later became king, Joseph and Pheroras, and a daughter, Salome. [122] G   This Antipater had formed relations of friendship and hospitality with other princes, especially with the king of the Arabs, the same to whom he had entrusted his children when making war on Aristobulus. And so Cassius removed his camp and hastened to the Euphrates, to meet the enemy who were coming against him from that direction, as has been related by others.   

[123] Some time later, when Caesar became master of Rome after  Pompey and the Senate had fled across the Ionian sea, he released Aristobulus from prison, and having decided to send him to Syria, put two legions at his disposal in order that he might win support in that country, now that he had the means to do so. [124] G   Aristobulus, however, could not enjoy the fulfilment of the hopes which he had of the power given him by Caesar, for the partisans of Pompey got to him first and made an end of him by poison ; and he was buried by those who favoured Caesar's cause, his corpse lying preserved in honey for a long while, until Antony finally sent it back to Judaea and had it placed in the royal sepulchres. [125] And Scipio, whom Pompey had instructed to kill Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, charged the youth with his original offences against the Romans, and executed him by beheading. In this manner he died at Antioch. [126] G   But his brother and sisters were taken by Ptolemaeus, the son of Mennaeus, who was prince of Chalcis at the foot of Mount Lebanon. And he sent his son, Philippion, to Ascalon to Aristobulus' wife, telling her to send back with him her son Antigonus and her daughters, one of whom, Alexandra, Philippion fell in love with and married. But afterwards his father Ptolemaeus put him to death and married Alexandra, and continued to look after her brother and sister.   

{8.} G     [127] When Caesar, after his victory over Pompey and the latter's death, was fighting in Egypt, Antipater, the governor of the Jews, under orders from Hyrcanus proved himself useful to Caesar in many ways. [128] G   For when Mithridates of Pergamum, who was bringing an auxiliary force, was unable to make his way through Pelusium and was delayed at Ascalon, Antipater arrived with three thousand heavy-armed Jewish soldiers, and also managed to get the chiefs of Arabia to come to his aid ; [129] and it was owing to him that all the rulers of Syria furnished aid, not wishing to be outdone in their zeal for Caesar; among these were the prince Jamblichus and Ptolemaeus, the son of Soemus, who lived on Mount Lebanon, and almost all the cities. [130] G   Mithridates then left Syria and came to Pelusium, and as its inhabitants would not admit him, besieged the city. Foremost in bravery was Antipater, who was the first to pull down part of the wall, and so opened a way for the others to pour into the city. This was how he took Pelusium. [131] But when Mithridates and Antipater with their men were on their way to Caesar, the Jews who inhabited the Land of Onias, as it was called, prevented them from doing so. Antipater, however, persuaded them too to side with his party on the ground of their common nationality, especially when he showed them a letter from the high priest Hyrcanus, in which he urged them to be friendly to Caesar and receive his army hospitably and furnish it with all things necessary. [132] G   And so, when they saw that Antipater and the high priest had the same wish, they complied. And when those in the neighbourhood of Memphis heard that these Jews had joined Caesar's side, they too invited Mithridates to come to them. Accordingly he came and took them into his army as well.   

[133] And when he had passed round the region called the Delta, he engaged the enemy at the Camp of the Jews, as it is called. Mithridates commanded the right wing, and Antipater the left. [134] G   And when they met in battle, Mithridates' wing gave way and would have been in danger of suffering a very grave disaster, if Antipater, who had already defeated the enemy (opposite him), had not come running with his own soldiers along the bank of the river and rescued him, at the same time putting to flight the Egyptians who had defeated Mithridates. [135] And continuing in pursuit, he also seized their camp, and brought back Mithridates, who had been separated far from him in the rout. Of the latter's men some eight hundred fell, while Antipater lost only fifty. [136] G   Mithridates thereupon wrote an account of this to Caesar, declaring that Antipater had been responsible for their victory and also for their safety ; and as a result of this, Caesar commended Antipater on that occasion, and, what is more, made use of him for the most dangerous tasks throughout the entire war. The natural result was that Antipater was wounded in some of the battles.   

[137] Moreover, when Caesar in the course of time concluded the war and sailed to Syria, he honoured him greatly ; while confirming Hyrcanus in the high-priesthood, he gave Antipater Roman citizenship and exemption from taxation everywhere. [138] G   It is said by many writers that Hyrcanus took part in this campaign and came to Egypt. And this statement of mine is attested by Strabo of Cappadocia, who writes as follows, on the authority of Asinius. "After Mithridates, Hyrcanus, the high priest of the Jews, also invaded Egypt." [139] And again this same Strabo in another passage writes as follows, on the authority of Hypsicrates. "Mithridates went out alone, but Antipater, the procurator of Judaea, was called to Ascalon by him and provided him with an additional three thousand soldiers, and won over the other princes ; and the high priest Hyrcanus also took part in the campaign." These are Strabo's own words.    

[140] G   But at that time Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, also came to Caesar and bewailed the sad fate of his father, saying that it was on Caesar's account that Aristobulus and his brother had died, the one having been put out of the way by poison, and the other executed by beheading at the hands of Scipio ; and he begged Caesar to take pity on him for having been driven from his realm ; and in this connexion he accused Hyrcanus and Antipater of governing the people by violence and having acted lawlessly toward him. [141] But Antipater, who was present, defended himself on these points of the accusation which he saw had been brought against him, and declared that Antigonus and his fellows were revolutionaries and fomenters of sedition ; at the same time he recalled how he had laboured on behalf of the Romans and assisted them in their plans of war, speaking of things to which his own person testified ; [142] G   with justice, he added, had Aristobulus been deported to Rome, for he had always been hostile to the Romans and never well-disposed toward them. As for the brother of Antigonus who had been punished for brigandage by Scipio, he had met the fate he deserved, and if he had suffered this punishment it was not because of any violence or injustice on the part of him who had inflicted it.   

[143] After Antipater had made this speech, Caesar appointed Hyrcanus high priest, and gave Antipater power to rule in whatever form he preferred. And as the latter left the decision to him, he appointed him procurator of Judaea. [144] G   He also permitted Hyrcanus, who had asked this favour of him, to rebuild the walls of his native city, for they had been lying in ruins ever since Pompey demolished them. And he sent instructions to the consuls at Rome to record these grants in the Capitol. And the decree enacted by the Senate was as follows. [145] "Lucius Valerius, son of Lucius, the praetor, consulted with the Senate on the Ides of December in the Temple of Concord. And at the writing of the decree there were present Lucius Coponius, son of Lucius, of the Colline tribe, and Papirius of the Quirine tribe. [146] G   Whereas Alexander, son of Jason, Numenius, son of Antiochus, and Alexander, son of Dorotheus, envoys of the Jews and worthy men and allies, have discussed the matter of renewing the relation of goodwill and friendship which they formerly maintained with the Romans, [147] and have brought as a token of the alliance a golden shield worth fifty thousand gold pieces, and have asked that letters be given them to the autonomous cities and kings in order that their country and ports may be secure and suffer no harm, [148] G   it has been decreed to form a relation of goodwill and friendship with them and to provide them with all the things which they have requested, and to accept the shield which they have brought." This took place in the ninth year of Hyrcanus the high priest and ethnarch, in the month Panemus. [149] Among the Athenian people also Hyrcanus obtained honours, for he had been of great service to them. And they wrote and sent him a resolution, of which the contents were as follows. "In the presidency and priesthood of Dionysius, son of Asclepiades, on the fifth day before the end of the month of Panemus, a decree of the Athenians was delivered to the magistrates. [150] G   In the archonship of Agathocles, when Eucles, son of Xenander, of the Aithalidean deme, was scribe, on the eleventh of the month of Munychion, on the eleventh day of the prytany, a meeting of the presiding officers {proedroi} being held in the theatre, Dorotheus of the Erchian deme and his fellow presiding officers supervised the voting when the people passed the motion of Dionysius, son of Dionysius, as follows. [151] Inasmuch as Hyrcanus, son of Alexander, the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, has continued to show goodwill to our people as a whole and to every individual citizen, and to manifest the greatest zeal on their behalf, and when any Athenians come to him either on an embassy or on a private matter, he receives them in a friendly manner and sends them on their way with precautions for their safe return, [152] G   as has been previously attested, it has therefore now been decreed on the motion of Theodotus, son of Diodorus, of the Sunian deme, who reminded the people of the virtues of this man and of his readiness to do us whatever good he can, [153] to honour this man with a golden crown as the reward of merit fixed by law, and to set up his statue in bronze in the precincts of the temple of Demos and the Graces, and to announce the award of the crown in the theatre at the Dionysia when the new tragedies are performed, and at the Panathenaean and Eleusinian festivals and at the gymnastic games ; [154] G   and that the magistrates shall take care that, so long as he continues to maintain his goodwill toward us, everything which we can devise shall be done to show honour and gratitude to this man for his zeal and generosity, in order that by these measures our people may show that it approves of good men and holds them worthy of a fitting reward, and may rival those already honoured in the zeal shown toward us ; [155] and that envoys shall be chosen from among all the Athenians to convey this resolution to him and request him to accept these honours and to endeavour at all times to do good to our city." What we have here set down concerning the honours paid to Hyrcanus by the Romans and the people of Athens seems sufficient.   

Following sections (156 - 323) →


Attalus' home page   |   07.12.20   |   Any comments?