Josephus: Jewish War, Book 1

Sections 513 - 673


Translated by H.St.J. Thackeray (1927). The section numbers in the Greek text are shown in red; the traditional chapter numbers (as in Whiston's translation) are shown in green.  

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{26.}   [513] Not long after, however, there arrived in Judaea a man whose influence far outmatched the artifices of Archelaus, and who not only broke up the reconciliation which the latter had negotiated in the interest of Alexander, but also proved the cause of that prince's ruin. He was a Lacedaemonian, named Eurycles, whose accursed visit to the realm arose from a craving for money, when Greece could no longer meet his extravagant requirements. [514] G   He brought with him magnificent presents for Herod, as a bait to secure his quarry, and instantly found them returned with interest ; but he accounted a pure and simple gift as nothing, if he failed to make merchandise out of the realm at the price of blood. [515] So he proceeded to impose on the king by flattery, clever talk, and lying encomiums upon his merits. Quickly reading Herod's character and studying in all he said or did to please him, he was soon numbered among his principal friends ; indeed the king and the whole court were delighted to show special honour to this Spartan, out of regard for his country.   

[516] G   When he had learnt everything about the rottenness that was sapping the royal house, the quarrel between the brothers and their father's disposition towards each of them, Eurycles, although under a prior obligation to Antipater for the latter's hospitality, nevertheless feigned a friendship for Alexander, falsely claiming to be an old comrade of Archelaus. With this recommendation he was quickly received as a proved friend and was at once introduced by Alexander to his brother Aristobulus. [517] Exploiting in turn all the various personages, he insinuated himself into favour with each by a different method ; but he chiefly acted as a hireling of Antipater and a traitor to Alexander. To the former he represented how disgraceful it was that he, the eldest son, should overlook the intrigues of persons who had an eye upon his prospects ; to Alexander, that he, the son of one princess and husband of another, should suffer the son of a woman of no station to succeed to the throne, especially when he had in Archelaus such powerful support behind him. [518] G   The fiction of his being a friend of Archelaus made the young prince regard him as a counsellor to be trusted ; and so, without any reserve, Alexander poured out to him his grievances against Antipater, adding that it would not be surprising if Herod, after murdering their mother, should rob him and his brother of her kingdom. Thereupon Eurycles pretended to pity and condole with him. [519] He then inveigled Aristobulus into using similar language, and having implicated both brothers in complaints against their father, went off with these confidences to Antipater; with the addition of his own invention, that the brothers were plotting against him, watching their opportunity, and even then were almost upon him sword in hand. Richly rewarded for his intelligence, he proceeded to sing the praises of Antipater to his father. [520] G   Finally, having undertaken at a price to bring about the death of Aristobulus and Alexander, he came to lay his indictment of them before their parent.   

Visiting Herod, he declared that he came to bring him life in return for his benefactions to himself, the light of day in repayment for his hospitality. "For," he said, "a sword has long since been sharpened for your destruction and Alexander's right arm braced to wield it. It is I who have retarded the blow by pretending to assist him." [521] Alexander, he continued, had said that Herod, not content with reigning himself over an empire which belonged to others, not content, after murdering their mother, with squandering her realm, was now proceeding to foist in a bastard as his successor and to offer their grandfather's kingdom to that pest, Antipater. But he, Alexander (so Eurycles reported him), would avenge the spirits of Hyrcanus and Mariamme ; for it would ill become him to inherit the throne from such a father without bloodshed. [522] G   Then there were the constant daily provocations to which he was subjected, insomuch that he could not utter a single word which escaped calumny. Were allusion made to other persons' noble lineage, his father gratuitously insulted him by remarking, "Nobody is noble but Alexander here, who scorns his father for the baseness of his birth ! " On the hunting-field, were he silent, he gave offence ; did he express commendation, he was pronounced ironical to boot. [523] On all occasions, in fact, he found his father implacable, reserving all his affection for Antipater. He would, therefore, willingly die, if his enterprise miscarried. If, on the other hand, he struck the fatal blow, he had protectors to fall back upon ; first Archelaus, his father-in-law, to whom he could easily make his escape ; and then Caesar, who to that very day was ignorant of Herod's true character. [524] G   For he would not, as once before, stand before the emperor, overawed by his father's presence, nor would he confine his observations to his personal grievances. No ; he would first proclaim to the world the sufferings of his nation, bled to death by taxation, and then go on to describe the luxury and malpractices on which the motley obtained by its blood was lavished, the characters of the men who had grown rich at his and his brother's expense, and the motives which had led to the favouritism shown to particular cities. [525] There, too, he would bring up for inquiry the fate of his grandfather and his mother, and make public all the abominations of the realm. Under such conditions he could not be condemned as a parricide.   

[526] G   Having delivered this monstrous tirade against Alexander, Eurycles proceeded to extol Antipater to the skies, as the only son who had any filial affection, an affection which had so far enabled him to thwart the plot. The king, who had scarcely recovered his composure after previous shocks, burst into ungovernable fury. [527] Antipater, seizing this new opportunity, privily sent in others to accuse his brothers of holding clandestine interviews with Jucundus and Tyrannus, at one time commanders of the king's cavalry, but now, owing to some misdemeanours, degraded. This report brought Herod's indignation to a climax, and he instantly had the two men put to the torture. [528] G   They made no confession of the crimes imputed to them ; but a letter was produced, addressed by Alexander to the governor of Alexandrion, requesting him to admit him and his brother Aristobulus to that fortress after they had slain their father, and to grant them the use of the arms and the other resources of the place. [529] This letter Alexander declared to be the handiwork of Diophantus, a secretary of the king, an audacious fellow who had a clever knack of imitating any handwriting, and who, after numerous forgeries, was eventually put to death for a crime of that nature. Herod had the keeper of the fortress put to the torture, but from him too failed to elicit anything bearing on the alleged facts.   

[530] G   Notwithstanding the weakness of the obtainable evidence, Herod gave orders for a watch to be  kept on his sons, though still leaving them their liberty. As for Eurycles, the bane of his house and stage-manager of the whole abominable business, the king called him his saviour and benefactor, and presented him with fifty talents. That villain then, before the true story of the affair got abroad, made off to Cappadocia, where he extorted more money from Archelaus, having the impudence to assert that he had reconciled Herod to Alexander. [531] Thence he crossed to Greece, where he employed the proceeds of his crimes on equally criminal objects. Twice arraigned before Caesar for spreading sedition throughout Achaia and fleecing the cities of that province, he was condemned to exile. Thus did retribution overtake him for his betrayal of Alexander and Aristobulus.   

[532] G   As a contrast to the conduct of this Spartan may fitly be mentioned that of Euarestus of Cos.  The latter, who was one of Alexander's most intimate friends, paid a visit to Judaea at the same time as Eurycles, and on being questioned by the king upon the allegations made by his other guest, affirmed on oath that he had heard nothing of the kind from the young men. [533] His testimony, however, was of no avail to the unfortunate wretches ; for Herod had a ready ear only for slander, and all stood high in his favour who shared his credulity and his indignation.     

{27.}   [534] G   A further stimulus to Herod's cruelty to his sons was given by Salome. For Aristobulus, wishing to involve her, who was at once his mother-in-law and aunt, in the perils threatening himself, sent her a warning to look to her own safety, as the king was prepared to kill her on the charge previously brought against her : namely that, in her anxiety to marry the Arab Syllaeus, she had privately communicated to him the secrets of the king, whose enemy he was. [535] This was, as it were, the final hurricane which submerged the tempest-tossed youths. For Salome ran off to the king and reported the warning which she had received. Herod, his patience exhausted, put both his sons in irons and in separate confinement ; he then hastily dispatched Volumnius,  the military tribune, and Olympus, one of his friends, with all the information in writing, to Caesar. [536] G   Taking ship to Rome they delivered the king's dispatches to the emperor, who, while deeply distressed for the young men, did not think it right to deprive the father of his authority over his sons. [537] He replied accordingly, leaving Herod complete liberty of action, but adding a recommendation to him to hold an  inquiry into the plot before a joint council of his own relatives and the provincial governors ; then, if his sons were convicted, to put them to death, but if they had merely meditated flight, to be content with a milder penalty.   

[538] G   Acting on this advice, Herod repaired to  Berytus, the place appointed by Caesar, and there  assembled the court. In accordance with written instructions received from Caesar, the Roman officers presided, namely Saturninus and his legates, Pedanius and others ; with them was associated Volumnius the procurator. Next came the king's relatives and friends, including Salome and Pheroras, and after these all the aristocracy of Syria, with the exception af King Archelaus ; for, as Alexander's father-inlaw, he was regarded by Herod with distrust. [539] His sons were not produced by Herod in court - a very wise precaution, for he knew that their mere appearance would be sure to arouse compassion, while, if they were further permitted to speak, Alexander would have no difficulty in rebutting the charges. So they were detained in custody at Platana, a village in the territory of Sidon.  

[540] G   The king, on rising, nevertheless inveighed against them as though they had been present. His accusation of a plot was, for lack of proofs, weak ; but he dwelt on the affronts, mockeries, insults, and offences innumerable of which he had been the victim, and which, he declared to the court, were more cruel than death itself. After that, none contradicting him, he commiserated his hard fate that even in winning his case against his sons his triumph would be bitter and himself the loser, and then asked them all to express their opinions. [541] Saturninus first delivered his opinion, which was to condemn the young men, but not to death ; as the father of three children present in court, it would not be right for him, he said, to vote for the destruction of the children of another. His two legates voted in the same sense and their example was followed by some others. [542] G   Volumnius was the first to pronounce a pitiless sentence ; and all who followed him condemned the lads to death, some from flattery, others from hatred of Herod, none from indignation against the prisoners. [543] From that moment all Syria and Jewry were in suspense, anxiously awaiting the last act of the drama ; yet none supposed that Herod would carry his cruelty to the length of murdering his children. He, meanwhile, dragged his sons to Tyre, and, taking ship thence to Caesarea, pondered in his mind over the manner of their execution.   

[544] G   Now there was an old soldier in the king's army, named Tiro, whose son was on very intimate and friendly terms with Alexander, and who had a personal affection himself for the young princes. This man, in the excess of his indignation, lost his reason. At first he went about shouting that justice had been trampled under foot, truth was dead, the laws of nature confounded, the world full of iniquity, and whatever else his emotion suggested to one who was careless of his life. [545] At length he boldly presented himself to the king and thus addressed him : "Most god-forsaken of men, that is my opinion of you, you who to the injury of your nearest and dearest trust the word of the basest of scoundrels, if it be true that Pheroras and Salome, whom you have so often sentenced to death, have now made you believe their slanders upon your children. They are cutting off your legitimate heirs, leaving you none but Antipater, choosing him for king as the most manageable in their leading-strings. [546] G   But take care that the death of his brothers does not one day rouse against him the hatred of the army ; for there is not a man there who does not pity the lads, and many of the officers are freely expressing their indignation." He forthwith named these malcontents ; and they were promptly arrested by the king, together with Tiro and his son.   

[547] Thereupon, one of the court barbers, named Tryphon, possessed by some strange frenzy, rushed forward and turned informer against himself. "Me too," he cried, "this Tiro tried to induce to cut your throat with my razor when in attendance upon you, promising me a large reward from Alexander." [548] G   On hearing this, Herod put Tiro, his son and the barber under the torture, and when father and son denied all and the other would add nothing more, gave orders to rack Tiro still more severely. [549] The son, thereupon, moved with compassion, promised to tell the king everything if he would spare him his father. Herod granting his request, he stated that his father, at the instigation of Alexander, intended to kill him. This statement, according to some, was a fabrication to end his father's sufferings, while others maintained that it was true.   

[550] G   Herod summoned a public assembly, formally accused the officers concerned and Tiro, and enlisted  the aid of the populace to dispatch them ; they and the barber were beaten to death on the spot with cudgels and stones. [551] He then sent his sons to Sebaste, a town not far from Caesarea, and ordered them to be strangled. The order was promptly executed, and direction was given to convey the bodies to the fortress of Alexandrion, for burial there with Alexander, their maternal grandfather. Such was the end of Alexander and Aristobulus.   

{28.}   [552] G   Antipater, having now an indisputable claim to the succession, became an object of intolerable abhorrence to the nation ; for all knew that it was he who had contrived all the calumnies against his brothers. He was, moreover, haunted with grave alarm at the sight of the children of his victims growing to maturity. [553] For Alexander had by Glaphyra two sons, Tigranes and Alexander ; and by his marriage with Bernice, Salome's daughter, Aristobulus had three, Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus, besides two daughters, Herodias and Mariamme. After the execution of Alexander, Herod had sent back Glaphyra to Cappadocia with her dowry ; Bernice, the widow of Aristobulus, he gave in marriage to Antipater's maternal uncle, this match being arranged by Antipater in order to conciliate his enemy Salome. [554] G   Antipater further sought to ingratiate himself with Pheroras by presents and other attentions, and with Caesar's friends by sending considerable sums to Rome. Saturninus and all his staff in Syria were glutted with his gifts. Yet the more he gave, the more he was hated, as it was felt that his bounties were not the outcome of generosity but extorted from him by fear. [555] The result was that the recipients were no better disposed to him than before, while those whom he overlooked became more implacable enemies. The presents distributed, nevertheless, became daily more magnificent, when he saw the king, to the undoing of his own expectations, taking care of the orphans and showing his remorse for the murder of his sons by his compassion for their offspring.   

[556] G   For Herod, one day, assembled his relatives and friends, set the young children before them, and said, with tears in his eyes : "I have been bereaved by some evil genius of the sires of these infants, but pity for the orphans and nature alike commend them to my care. If I have been the most unfortunate of fathers, I will try at any rate to prove myself a more considerate grandfather and to leave their tutelage, after my death, to those most dear to me. [557] I affiance your daughter, Pheroras, to the elder of these brothers, Alexander's sons, in order that this alliance may make you his natural guardian. To your son, Antipater, I betroth the daughter of Aristobulus ; so may you become a father to this orphan girl. Her sister my own Herod shall take, for on his mother's side he is grandson of a high-priest. [558] G   Let then effect be given to my wishes, and let no friend of mine frustrate them. And I pray God to bless these unions, to the benefit of my realm and of my descendants, and to look with serener eyes upon these children here than those with which he beheld their fathers."   

[559] Having thus spoken he gave way to tears and joined the children's hands, and then fondly embracing one after the other dismissed the assembly. At that Antipater's blood ran cold and his chagrin was evident to all. For he imagined that the honour bestowed by his father on the orphans was his own ruin and that his claims to the throne would be again endangered, if Alexander's children were to have, in addition to the support of Archelaus, that of Pheroras, a tetrarch. [560] G   He reflected on the hatred which the nation bore him and their pity for the orphans, the enthusiasm which the Jews had shown for his brothers in their lifetime and their fond memory of them now that, in his interest, they were dead. He resolved accordingly at all costs to break off these betrothals.   

[561] Afraid of practising a ruse upon so harsh a father, whose suspicions were easily aroused, he boldly ventured into his presence and besought him outright not to deprive him of the honour which he had deigned to confer on him, nor to leave him the mere title of king while others enjoyed the power ; for he would never be master of affairs, should Alexander's son, with Archelaus as his grandfather, also have Pheroras as his father-in-law. [562] G   He therefore earnestly entreated him, as the palace contained a numerous family, to modify these matrimonial arrangements.   

The king, in fact, had nine wives and issue by seven of them. Antipater himself was son of Doris, Herod of Mariamme, the high-priest's daughter, Antipater and Archelaus were sons of Malthace, the Samaritan ; Olympias, a daughter by this last wife had married Joseph, the king's nephew. By Cleopatra, a native of Jerusalem, he had Herod and Philip ; by Pallas, Phasael. [563] He had besides other daughters, Roxane and Salome, one by Phaedra, the other by Elpis. Two of his wives, one a cousin, the other a niece, were childless. In addition there were two daughters by Mariamme, sisters of Alexander and Aristobulus. In view of this large family Antipater begged for an alteration in the projected marriages.   

[564] G   The king, on discovering Antipater's attitude to the orphans, was highly indignant, and the thought crossed his mind - might not his murdered sons also have been the victims of this man's slanders ? [565] He,  accordingly, at the moment replied in a long and angry speech, and dismissed Antipater from his presence. Subsequently, however, seduced by his flatteries, he made other arrangements, and gave the daughter of Aristobulus to Antipater himself, and the daughter of Pheroras to his son.   

  [566] G   How powerful was the effect of Antipater's adulation on this occasion may be gauged from Salome's ill success in a similar suit. For, although she was Herod's sister and had recourse to the intercession of the Empress Livia to plead with him for permission to marry the Arab Syllaeus, Herod swore that he would regard her as his bitterest enemy if she did not renounce this passion ; and, in the end, he married her, against her will, to one of his friends, named Alexas, and one of her daughters to the son of Alexas, the other to Antipater's maternal uncle. Of his daughters by Mariamme, one was given to Antipater, his sister's, the other to Phasael, his brother's son.   

{29.}   [567] Antipater, having cut off the orphans' expectations and arranged the marriages to his advantage, regarded his prospects as securely anchored, and, with assurance now added to villainy, became insufferable. For, unable to avert the hatred which he inspired in all, he sought security in intimidation. He was assisted by Pheroras, who looked on Antipater's claim to the throne as already assured. [568] G   There was, moreover, a gang of women at court who created new disturbances. The wife of Pheroras, in league with her mother and sister and the mother of Antipater, displayed constant effrontery in the palace, and even ventured to insult two young daughters of the king. She became, in consequence, the object of Herod's special aversion ; yet, notwithstanding the king's hatred, these women domineered over the rest. [569] The sole opponent of their league was Salome, who reported it to the king as a conclave not conducive to the interests of his realm. Informed of this denunciation and of Herod's wrath, they abandoned their public meetings and all signs of friendly recognition, and on the contrary pretended to quarrel with one another in the king's hearing ; Antipater joined in their dissimulation by taking offence, in public, at Pheroras. [570] G   But they continued to hold clandestine meetings and nocturnal carousals, and the knowledge that they were watched only bound them closer together. Salome, however, was ignorant of none of their proceedings and reported everything to Herod.   

[571] The king was furiously indignant, particularly at the wife of Pheroras, the principal object of Salome's charges. He, accordingly, assembled a wife. council of his friends and relations and accused the wretched woman of numerous misdeeds, among others of insulting his own daughters, of subsidising the Pharisees to oppose him, and of alienating his brother, after bewitching him with drugs. [572] G   In conclusion, he addressed Pheroras and told him that he must choose one or the other, either his brother or his wife. Pheroras replying that he would sooner part with his existence than with his wife, Herod, in perplexity, turned to Antipater and ordered him to have no further intercourse either with the wife of Pheroras, or with her husband, or with any of her set. Antipater, while not openly violating this injunction, continued secretly and at night to associate with them ; [573] but fearing the vigilance of Salome he contrived, with the help of friends in Italy, a visit to Rome. A letter arriving from them, suggesting that  Antipater ought to be sent before long to Caesar's court, Herod without a moment's delay sent him off with a brilliant retinue, a large sum of money and his will, in which Antipater was named as heir to the throne, and Herod, the king's son by Mariamme, the high-priest's daughter, as Antipater's successor.   

[574] G   Syllaeus the Arab also set sail for Rome ; he had disregarded Caesar's orders and went to maintain  against Antipater the case which he had previously pleaded against Nicolaus. There was also a grave matter at issue between him and his own sovereign, Aretas, for he had put to death a number of that prince's friends, including Soaemus, one of the most powerful personages in Petra. [575] By a large bribe he secured the services of Fabatus, Caesar's treasurer, whom he also employed to assist him against Herod. The latter, however, by even larger bribes, detached Fabatus from Syllaeus and endeavoured, through him, to exact from Syllaeus the penalty imposed by Caesar. But Syllaeus still refused to pay anything, and furthermore accused Fabatus to Caesar, asserting that the emperor's agent was acting not for his but for Herod's interests. [576] G   Indignant at this and still highly paid by Herod, Fabatus betrayed the secrets of Syllaeus, informing the king that he had by bribery corrupted Corinthus, one of his bodyguard, and warning him to be on his guard against this man. The king acted on this advice, knowing that this Corinthus, though brought up within his dominion, was an Arab by birth. [577] He straightway had him arrested and with him two other Arabs, whom he discovered in his company, one a friend of Syllaeus, the other the chief of a tribe. Being put to the torture, these men confessed that Corinthus had by large bribes induced them to kill Herod. They were, accordingly, after being further examined by Saturninus, the governor of Syria, sent up for trial to Rome.   

[578] G   Herod, meanwhile, never relaxed his efforts to compel Pheroras to divorce his wife. But, notwithstanding the abundant cause which he had for his hatred of the creature, he could devise no means of punishing her, until finally, in extreme indignation, he banished both her and his brother from the realm. [579] Pheroras, accepting this affront with equanimity, departed to his own tetrarchy, swearing that the only limit to his exile should be Herod's death, and that never, so long as his brother lived, would he return to him. Nor, in fact, would he revisit his brother, even during his illness, though urgently pressed to do so ; for Herod, believing that he was dying, desired to leave him certain instructions. [580] G   Herod, however, unexpectedly recovered, and not long after Pheroras himself fell sick ; Herod thereupon displayed greater humanity, for he went to him and affectionately tended him. But he could not cope with the malady, and a few days later Pheroras expired. [581] Notwithstanding the love which Herod had for his brother to his dying day, a report was spread that he had poisoned even him. Anyhow, he had the corpse conveyed to Jerusalem, gave orders for a solemn national mourning, and honoured him with the most imposing funeral. Such was the end to which came one of the murderers of Alexander and Aristobulus.   

{30.}   [582] G   But retribution was now, in turn, descending upon the real perpetrator of that crime, Antipater ; this retribution arose out of the death of Pheroras. For certain freedmen of the deceased came, in dejection, to the king and informed him that his brother had been carried off by poison ; his wife, they said, had served up to him some extraordinary concoction, after eating which he was immediately taken ill. [583] They added that, two days before, her mother and sister had brought from Arabia a woman who was an expert in drugs, to make up a love-potion for Pheroras ; but, instead of this, she had given him a deadly poison, at the instigation of Syllaeus, who knew her.   

[584] G   Beset with all sorts of suspicions, the king put the women-servants and some free-born ladies to the torture. One victim in her agonies exclaimed,  "May God who governs earth and heaven punish the author of our present miseries, Antipater's mother !" Clutching at this clue, the king pushed his search for the facts yet further. [585] The woman then revealed the intimacy of Antipater's mother with Pheroras and the ladies of his family, and their clandestine meetings ; she added that Pheroras and Antipater, on their return from the king, would pass the whole night drinking with those women, without allowing a single servant, male or female, to be present. This information was given by one of the ladies of rank.   

[586] G   Herod had each of the slave girls separately tortured. All their evidence agreed with that already stated ; they added that it was by a mutual arrangement that Antipater had withdrawn to Rome and Pheroras to Peraea ; for they were constantly saying to each other, "After Alexander and Aristobulus, we and our wives will be Herod's next victims. Having slain Mariamme and her offspring, he will spare none ; so it will be better to flee as far as possible from the ferocious beast." [587] Antipater, they continued, would often complain to his mother that he was already grey-headed, while his father grew younger every day ; he would perhaps be the first to die, before he began to be really king. Even supposing his father ever did die (and when would that be ?) his enjoyment of his heritage must be extremely short. [588] G   Then there were these hydra heads, the sons of Aristobulus and Alexander, shooting up. His father had robbed him of his hopes for his children, by nominating as the next heir to the throne not one of his own children, but Herod, the son of Mariamme. In that at least he betrayed his extreme senility, if he supposed that that part of his will would stand ; for he, Antipater, would take good care to leave none of the family alive. [589] Never had father so hated his children, yet Herod hated his brother far more ; only the other day he had given him (Antipater) a hundred talents to break off all intercourse with Pheroras. And when Pheroras remarked, "Why, what harm were we doing him ? " he had replied : "Would to heaven he would rob us of everything and leave us to live in nakedness. But it is impossible to escape so bloodthirsty a beast, who will not even allow us to show affection for anyone. Now we must meet in secret ; we shall be able to do so openly if ever we possess the courage and arms of men."   

[590] G   To these revelations the tortured women added that Pheroras had had designs of flying with them to Petra. Herod believed all these statements because of the detail of the hundred talents, which he had mentioned to none but Antipater. The first to feel the explosion of his wrath was Doris, Antipater's mother ; he stripped her of all the finery which he had bestowed on her and for the second time dismissed her from court. [591] With the ladies of Pheroras's household he made his peace and showed them special attentions after their tortures. But he was scared with fright and flared up at the least suspicion, and many innocent persons were haled by him to torture, for fear that a single culprit should escape him.   

[592] G   His attention was now directed to Antipater the Samaritan, agent to his son Antipater. From him, under torture, he learnt that Antipater had and procured from Egypt, through Antiphilus, one of his  companions, a deadly poison intended for the king ; that from Antiphilus it had passed into the hands of Theudion, Antipater's uncle, who had delivered it to Pheroras, since it was he whom Antipater had commissioned to kill Herod while he himself was at Rome and out of the way of suspicion ; and that Pheroras had entrusted the poison to his wife. [593] The king sent for her and ordered her instantly to produce what she had received. She went out, as though to fetch it, and then flung herself from the roof, in order to evade conviction and the king's rack. However, by the providence, it seems, of God, whose vengeance was pursuing Antipater, she fell not on her head, but on another part of her body, and was not killed. [594] G   She was carried to the king, who had restoratives applied, as she was stunned by the fall ; he then asked her why she had thrown herself from the roof, and swore that, if she told the truth, he would exempt her from all punishment, but, if she prevaricated, he would tear her body to pieces with tortures and leave not a limb for burial.   

[595] At this the woman hesitated an instant and then replied : "After all, why should I longer guard these secrets, now that Pheroras is dead ? Merely to save Antipater who has been the ruin of us all ? Listen to me, O king, and may God hear me too, a witness to the truth of my words who cannot be deceived ! [596] G   At the time when you were sitting weeping beside the dying Pheroras, he called me to him and said, 'Much have I been mistaken, my wife, in my brother's feelings towards me ; I hated him who loves me so tenderly ; I plotted to kill him who is so overwhelmed with grief for me even before my death. I am but receiving the reward of my impiety ; as for you, bring that poison which Antipater left us, and you are keeping for his destruction, and promptly destroy it under my eyes, lest I carry away with me an avenging demon even to the world below.' [597] So I brought it, as he bade me, and emptied of it into the fire beneath his eyes, but reserved a little for myself against the uncertainties of the future and my terror of you."  

[598] G   After this declaration she produced the box containing a mere scrap of the poison. The king then applied torture to the mother and brother of Antiphilus, who both confessed that Antiphilus had brought the box from Egypt and asserted that he had procured the drug from another brother, a doctor in Alexandria. [599] The ghosts of Alexander and Aristobulus a were indeed patrolling the palace from end to end, detecting and disclosing all the mysteries, and dragging to judgement persons who seemed farthest removed from suspicion. Thus, even Mariamme, the high-priest's daughter, was discovered to be privy to the plot ; for her brothers, when put upon the rack, denounced her. [600] G   The king's punishment for the mother's audacity fell upon her son : her Herod, whom he had appointed successor to Antipater, was struck out of the will.   

{31.}   [601] Corroborative evidence of Antipater's designs, the last link in the chain, was now furnished by Bathyllus, his freedman. This man arrived with another noxious drug, composed of the poison of asps and the secretions of other reptiles, in order that Pheroras and his wife might be armed with this against the king, should the first poison fail to take effect. [602] G   A further object of his visit, subsidiary to the audacious attempt on the father's life, was the conveyance of letters fabricated by Antipater to injure his brothers, Archelaus and Philip. These sons of the king, now growing lads and full of manly spirit, were receiving their education in Rome. [603] Anxious to rid himself of these scions springing up to dash his hopes, Antipater forged several letters to  their injury in the name of their friends in Rome, while he prevailed on others by bribery to write that the young princes were constantly railing at their father, publicly deploring the fate of Alexander and Aristobulus, and indignant at their own recall ; for their father was now summoning them back, and it was this fact which caused Antipater the greatest uneasiness.   

[604] G   Even before his departure abroad, Antipater, while still in Judaea, used to procure, at a price, the sending of such letters of abuse of his brothers written in Rome, and then, in order to avoid suspicion, would go to his father and make excuses for his brothers, urging that such and such statements were false, while other matters mentioned were mere youthful indiscretions. [605] Now, in Rome, having to pay immense sums to the writers of these letters against his brothers, his efforts were directed to confusing the evidence of such outlay. To this end he bought up costly apparel, embroidered carpets, cups of silver and gold, and many other precious objects, in order to conceal under the enormous total of these outgoings the wages paid for the other affair. His returns showed an expenditure of 200 talents, of which the greater part was put down to his suit with Syllaeus. [606] G   But now, though even all these petty knaveries were exposed with the larger crime, now when every fresh torture was loudly proclaiming him a parricide, when the letters were revealing him as once more a fratricide, none the less not one of the visitors to Rome told him of the turn of his fortunes in Judaea, although seven months elapsed between his conviction and his return ; so intense was the hatred which all bore him. [607] Perhaps, moreover, the lips of those who were minded to speak were sealed by the spirits of his murdered brothers. However that may be, he wrote from Rome to announce the good news of his early return and of the honours paid to him by Caesar in taking leave of him.   

[608] G   The king, impatient to lay hands on the conspirator and fearing that he might be forewarned  and on his guard, replied in an equally dissembling letter, couched in affectionate terms and bidding him hasten his return ; because, if he made speed, added Herod, he would be prepared to relinquish his complaints against his mother. For  Antipater was not ignorant of her dismissal from court. [609] He had previously received at Tarentum a letter announcing the death of Pheroras and had displayed the profoundest grief, for which some applauded him, attributing it to the loss of an uncle ; but his emotion, it seems, was due to the failure of the plot : he wept not for Pheroras but for his accomplice. He was, moreover, already alarmed at the thought of his past proceedings : had the poison been discovered ? [610] G   But now, when he received in Cilicia the above mentioned letter from his father, he instantly pressed on. However, as he was entering the harbour of Celenderis, the thought of his mother's disgrace came over him, and even without such prompting his soul had already a premonition of the future. [611] The more far-sighted of his friends advised him not to put himself into his father's clutches until he had clearly ascertained the reasons for his mother's dismissal, as they feared that his arrival might only serve to swell the charges against her. [612] G   But the less reflective, anxious rather to see their native country than to serve Antipater's interests, urged him to push on and not by procrastinating to afford his father ground for sinister suspicions and his traducers a handle for calumny. "Even supposing," they said, "any intrigue against you is now on foot, it is because of your absence ; none would have ventured on such a thing had you been there. It is absurd to let vague suspicions rob you of certain happiness, and not to run to your father's arms to receive the kingdom which is tottering on his unaided shoulders." [613] Antipater, under the impulse of his evil genius, followed their advice, and sailing across landed at the port of Sebastos, at Caesarea.   

[614] G   Here he found a solitude, unlooked for, profound, and ominous ; all avoided him, none ventured to approach him. For, equally hated though he had always been, this hatred was now at liberty to show itself. Moreover, fear of the king kept many aloof, for every city by now was full of the Antipater scandal, and the only person ignorant how he stood was Antipater himself. No man ever had a more brilliant escort than his when he sailed for Rome, none on return a more ignominious reception. [615] Divining now the disasters which had befallen at home, he still maintained a crafty dissimulation and, though dead with fright at the bottom of his heart, contrived to preserve an imposing exterior. [616] G   There was no longer any possibility of flight or retreat from the perils encompassing him. However, he had received no definite tidings of events at the palace - owing to the king's threats against informers - and he still cherished a ray of hope : perhaps nothing had been discovered, perhaps, even if anything had been discovered, he might mend matters by effrontery and guile, his sole means of salvation.   

[617] Armed, then, with these weapons he entered  the palace, without his friends, for they had been insolently stopped at the outer gate. At the time there was a visitor within - Varus, the governor of Syria. Antipater proceeded to his father's presence and, seeking courage in audacity, approached as though to kiss him. [618] G   Herod, with arms extended and head averted, cried out : "That too betrays the parricide : he would embrace me, with such accusations against him ! Perdition take thee, most impious wretch, and touch me not until you have cleared yourself of the charges. I offer you a tribunal and for judge this timely visitor, Varus. Go and prepare your defence for to-morrow ; I leave you that interval for your artifices." [619] Unable through consternation to utter a word in reply, Antipater withdrew, and his mother and his wife came to him and told him in detail of all the evidence against him. Then he collected himself and applied himself to preparing his defence.   

{32.}   [620] G   On the following day the king assembled a council of his relatives and friends, inviting Antipater's friends to attend as well. He himself presided, with Varus, and ordered all the informers to be produced. Among these were some domestics of Antipater's mother, recently arrested in the act of carrying a letter from her to her son in these terms : "As your father has discovered all, do not come near him, unless you have obtained support from Caesar." [621] When these witnesses had been brought in with the rest, Antipater entered and, falling prostrate at his father's feet, said : "I beseech you, father, do not condemn me in advance, but lend an unprejudiced ear to my defence ; for I shall, if you permit, establish my innocence."   

[622] G   Herod burst out upon him to be silent and then addressed Varus : "That you, Varus, and every honest judge will condemn Antipater as an abandoned criminal, I am fully persuaded. What I fear is that my fate may also appear hateful to you and that you may judge me deserving of every calamity for having begotten such sons. And yet you ought rather to pity me for having been the most devoted of fathers to such abominable wretches. [623] My late sons, whom when they were quite young I thought fit to destine for the throne, whom I not only expensively educated in Rome, but introduced to Caesar's friendship, and made an object of envy to other sovereigns, these I found to be conspirators. They have died, mainly to further Antipater's interests : he was young, he was the heir, and to secure him was the object which 1 had most at heart. [624] G   And now this foul monster, gorged with the benefits of my forbearance, has turned his bloated insolence upon me. He thought me too long-lived ; my old age oppressed him ; he could not endure the idea of becoming king by other means than parricide. Justly indeed has he served me for bringing him back, a castaway, from the country, ousting the sons whom a princess bore me and declaring him heir to the throne ! [625] I admit, Varus, my own infatuation. It was I who exasperated those sons against me by cutting off their just expectations in the interests of Antipater. When did I ever indulge them as I have this scoundrel ? To him in my own lifetime I well nigh resigned my power ; I nominated him in my will, in the public eye, heir to the throne ; I assigned him a private income of fifty talents, apart from hberal contributions from my personal revenues ; recently, when he set sail for Rome, I presented him with three hundred talents, and recommended him to Caesar, alone of all my children, as his father's preserver. [726] G   What crime did those others commit comparable to that of Antipater ? Or what proof was brought against them so convincing as that which establishes this traitor's guilt ?   

[627] "However, this parricide has presumed to open his mouth, hoping once more to smother the truth under his wiles. Varus, you must be on your guard. I know the creature and foresee the plausible pleading, the hypocritical lamentations, that are to follow. This is the man who, in former days, when Alexander was alive, advised me to beware of him and not to trust my life to all men's hands ; this is he who conducted me to my couch and looked round to see that no assassin was concealed ; this is he who dispensed my hours of slumber, ensured my freedom from care, consoled me in my sorrow for my victims, and sounded the feelings of his surviving brothers ; this is my buckler, my bodyguard ! [628] G   When I recall, Varus, his knavery and hypocrisy on each occasion, I can scarce believe I am alive and marvel how I escaped so deep a schemer. But since some evil genius is bent on desolating my house and raising up against me one after another those who are nearest to my heart, I may weep over my unjust destiny, I may groan in spirit over my forlorn state, but not one shall escape who thirsts for my blood, no, not though conviction should extend to all my children."   

[629] Here his emotion rendered further speech impossible, and he signalled to Nicolaus, one of his  friends, to state the evidence. But now Antipater, who still lay prostrate at his father's feet, raised his head and cried out : [630] G   "You, father, have made my defence yourself. For. how could I be a parricide, I who, as you admit, have ever served as your protector ? You call my filial piety imposture and hypocrisy. How could I, cunning in all else, have been so senseless as not to perceive that, while it was difficult to conceal from man the concoction of so atrocious a crime, it was impossible to hide it from the Judge in heaven, who sees all, who is present everywhere ? [631] Was I ignorant of my brothers' fate, whom God so relentlessly punished for their wicked designs upon you ? And then, what motive could have instigated me against you ? Aspiration to the throne ? But I reigned already ! Suspicion of your hatred ? But was I not beloved ? Had I other reason to fear you ? Nay, by preserving you I inspired fear in others. [632] G   Was it lack of money ? Who had more at his disposal than I ? Even had I been the most abandoned of men, with the heart of a ferocious beast, must I not have been reclaimed, father, by your benefactions ? For, as you have said yourself, you recalled me from exile, you gave me preference over such a number of sons, you proclaimed me king in your own lifetime, and by loading me with other favours made me the envy of all. [633] Ah me ! that fatal journey ! What an opportunity I gave to jealousy, what an ample period to those who were intriguing against me ! Yet it was for you, father, and to fight your battles that I took that journey, to prevent Syllaeus from treating your old age with contempt. Rome is witness to my filial piety and Caesar, the lord of the universe, who has often called me 'Philopator.' Take, father, these letters from him. These are more trustworthy than he calumnies against me here ; these are my sole vindication ; here are the proofs which I offer of my tender feelings for you. [634] G   Remember how reluctantly I embarked, knowing the lurking hostility to me within this realm. It was you, father, who involuntarily brought about my ruin, by compelling me to give my envious foes an opportunity for calumny. But here I am to meet my accusers ; here I am, the parricide, who has traversed sea and land, and nowhere been molested ! [635] But I do not ask for your love on the strength of the evidence so far given of my innocence ; for I stand condemned before God and before you, father. But, condemned though I am, I entreat you not to rely on admissions extracted by the torture of others. Let the fire be applied to me ! Let the instruments of torment course through my frame nor spare this polluted body ! For, if I am a parricide, I ought not to die without being put upon the rack."   

[636] G   These ejaculations, accompanied by moaning and tears, moved all to compassion, including Varus. Herod alone remained dry-eyed, furious and knowing that the evidence was true.   

[637] Thereupon Nicolaus, as ordered by the king, addressed the assembly. He began with a full exposure of Antipater's knavery, dissipating the commiseration which his speech had aroused. He then launched out into a severe indictment, attributing to him all the crimes which had been committed throughout the realm, and in particular the execution of his brothers, demonstrating that they owed their death to Antipater's calumnies. He added that he had further designs on the survivors as presumptive heirs to the throne ; "Would one who had prepared to poison his father have stopped short at his brothers ? " [638] G   Passing on to the evidence for the poisoning plot, he brought forward in succession all the information extracted ; being roused to indignation on the subject of Pheroras, at the idea of Antipater converting even him into a fratricide and, by corrupting the king's nearest of kin, infecting the whole palace with pollution. With many more observations, supported by proofs, Nicolaus concluded his speech.   

[639] Varus then called on Antipater for his defence. But he would say no more than "God is witness of my innocence" and remained prostrate and silent. The governor, thereupon, called for the poison and had it applied to a prisoner under sentence of death, and [640] G   who drank it and instantly expired. Then, after a private interview with Herod, Varus drafted his report of the meeting for Caesar, and a day later took his departure. The king had Antipater put in irons and dispatched messengers to the emperor to inform him of the catastrophe.   

[641] It was subsequently discovered that Antipater had also plotted against Salome. For a domestic of  Antiphilus arrived from Rome with letters from a maid-servant of Livia, named Acme ; she wrote to the king to say that she had found among Livia's papers some letters from Salome, which, as his well-wisher, she had privately transmitted to him. [642] G   These letters of Salome, containing the most cruel abuse of the king and the most scathing condemnation of his conduct, were forgeries of Antipater, who had bribed Acme to send them to Herod. [643] He was convicted by the letter which the woman addressed at the same time to him, in these terms : "As you desired, I have written to your father and forwarded those letters, and feel sure that, when he has read them, he will not spare his sister. Be good enough, when all is over, to remember what you promised."   

[644] G   When this letter was brought to light, with those concocted to injure Salome, a suspicion crossed the king's mind that perhaps the letters incriminating Alexander were also forgeries. He was, moreover, deeply distressed at the thought that he had almost killed his sister also, owing to Antipater's intrigues. He determined, therefore, to delay no longer to punish him for all his crimes. [645] But when proceeding to extreme measures against Antipater, he was arrested by a serious illness. He wrote, however, to Caesar on the subject of Acme and the fraud which had been practised on Salome ; [646] G   he also called for his will and modified it. He now named Antipas king, passing over his eldest sons, Archelaus and Philip, who had also been the objects of Antipater's calumnies. To Augustus he bequeathed, besides gifts in kind, one thousand talents ; to the empress, to the children, friends and freedmen of the emperor about five hundred ; to the other members of his own family he assigned large tracts of territory and considerable sums of money, honouring his sister Salome with the most magnificent presents of all. Such were the corrections which Herod made in his will.   

{33.}   [647] His illness steadily grew worse, aggravated as were the attacks of disease by age and despondency. For he was now nearly seventy years old, and his tragic experiences with his children had so broken his spirit, that even in good health he no longer enjoyed any of the pleasures of life. His malady was further increased by the thought that Antipater was still alive ; for he had determined that his execution should be no casual affair, but seriously undertaken on his recovery.   

[648] G   To his other troubles was now added an insurrection of the populace. There were in the capital two doctors { sophists } with a reputation as profound experts in the laws of their country, who consequently enjoyed the highest esteem of the whole nation ; their names were Judas, son of Sepphoraeus, and Matthias, son of Margalus. [649] Their lectures on the laws were attended by a large youthful audience, and day after day they drew together quite an army of men in their prime. Hearing now that the king was gradually sinking under despondency and disease, these doctors threw out hints to their friends that this was the fitting moment to avenge God's honour and to pull down those structures which had been erected in defiance of their fathers' laws. [650] G   It was, in fact, unlawful to place in the temple either images or busts or any representation whatsoever of a living creature ; notwithstanding this, the king had erected over the great gate a golden eagle. This it was which these doctors now exhorted their disciples to cut down, telling them that, even if the action proved hazardous, it was a noble deed to die for the law of one's country ; for the souls of those who came to such an end attained immortality and an eternally abiding sense of felicity ; it was only the ignoble, uninitiated in their philosophy, who clung in their ignorance to life and preferred death on a sick-bed to that of a hero.   

[651] While they were discoursing in this strain, a rumour spread that the king was dying ; the news caused the young men to throw themselves more boldly into the enterprise. At mid-day, accordingly, when numbers of people were perambulating the temple, they let themselves down from the roof by stout cords and began chopping off the golden eagle with hatchets. [652] G   The king's captain, to whom the matter was immediately reported, hastened to the scene with a considerable force, arrested about forty of the young men and conducted them to the king. [653] Herod first asked them whether they had dared to cut down the golden eagle ; they admitted it. "Who ordered you to do so ? " he continued.   "The law of our fathers."   "And why so exultant, when you will shortly be put to death ? "   "Because, after our death, we shall enjoy greater felicity."   

[654] G   These proceedings provoked the king to such fury that he forgot his disease and had himself carried to a public assembly, where at great length he denounced the men as sacrilegious persons who, under the pretext of zeal for the law, had some more ambitious aim in view, and demanded that they should be punished for impiety. [655] The people, apprehensive of wholesale prosecutions, besought him to confine the punishment to the instigators of the deed and to those who had been arrested in the perpetration of it, and to forgo his anger against the rest. The king grudgingly consented ; those who had let themselves down from the roof together with the doctors he had burnt alive ; the remainder of those arrested he handed over to his executioners.   

[656] G   From this time onwards Herod's malady began to spread to his whole body and his sufferings took a variety of forms. He had fever, though not a raging fever, an intolerable itching of the whole skin, continuous pains in the intestines, tumours in the feet as in dropsy, inflammation of the abdomen and gangrene of the privy parts, engendering worms, in addition to asthma, with great difficulty in breathing, and convulsions in all his limbs. His condition led diviners to pronounce his maladies a judgement on him for his treatment of the professors. [657] Yet, struggling as he was with such numerous sufferings, he clung to life, hoped for recovery, and devised one remedy after another. Thus he crossed the Jordan to take the warm baths at Callirrhoe, the waters of which descend into the Lake Asphaltitis and from their sweetness are also used for drink. There, the physicians deciding to raise the temperature of his whole body with hot oil, he was lowered into a bath full of that liquid, whereupon he fainted and turned up his eyes as though he were dead. [658] G   His attendants raising an uproar, their cries brought him to himself, but, now despairing of recovery, he gave orders to distribute fifty drachmas per head to the soldiers and considerable sums to their officers and to his friends.   

[659] He started on his return journey and reached Jericho in an atrabilious condition, in which, hurling  defiance as it were at death itself, he proceeded to devise an outrageous scheme. Having assembled the distinguished men from every village from one end of Judaea to the other, he ordered them to be locked into the hippodrome. [660] G   He then summoned his sister Salome and her husband Alexas and said ; "I know that the Jews will celebrate my death by a festival ; yet I can obtain a vicarious mourning and a magnificent funeral, if you consent to follow my instructions. You know these men here in custody ; the moment I expire have them surrounded by the soldiers and massacred ; so shall all Judaea and every household weep for me, whether they will or no."   

[661] At the moment when he was giving these instructions, he received letters from his ambassadors at Rome, informing him that Acme had been executed by Caesar's orders and Antipater condemned to death ; but, the letter continued, if his father were content with banishing him, he had Caesar's permission to do so. [662] G   At this news he for while recovered his spirits, but later, under the strain of lack of nourishment and a convulsive cough, overpowered by his tortures, he endeavoured to anticipate the hour of destiny. He took an apple and called for a knife, as it was his custom to cut up this fruit when eating it, and then, looking round to see that there was no one to prevent him, raised his hand to strike himself. However, his cousin Achiab rushed up and seizing his hand arrested the blow. [663] Instantly there arose loud lamentations throughout the palace, in the belief that the king had passed away. Antipater, quick to catch the sound, took heart again and, radiant with joy, besought his jailers, for a remuneration, to loose him and let him go. The head jailer, however, not only prevented this, but hastened to the king and reported his prisoner's design. [664] G   Herod, with a shout which might have seemed beyond a sick man's strength, instantly sent his guards and had Antipater executed. He ordered his body to be buried at Hyrcanium. After that he again amended his will, nominating Archelaus, his eldest son and brother of Antipas, heir to the throne, and Antipas tetrarch.   

[665] Herod survived the execution of his son but five days. He expired after a reign of thirty-four years, reckoning from the date when, after putting Antigonus to death, he assumed control of the state ; of thirty-seven years, from the date when he was proclaimed king by the Romans. In his life as a whole he was blessed, if ever man was, by fortune : a commoner, he mounted to a throne, retained it for all those years and bequeathed it to his own children ; in his family life, on the contrary, no man was more unfortunate. [666] G   Before the army had learnt of his decease, Salome left the palace with her husband and released the prisoners whom Herod had ordered to be put to death, telling them that the king had changed his mind and now dismissed them all to their homes. Not until after their departure did she and her husband announce the news to the soldiers, summoning them and the rest of the people to a public assembly in the amphitheatre at Jericho. [667] Here Ptolemaeus, to whom the king had entrusted his signet-ring, came forward, pronounced a benediction on the deceased king, delivered an exhortation to the people, and read a letter which Herod had left for the troops, in which he earnestly appealed to them to be loyal to his successor. [668] G   After this letter, he opened and read the codicils : under these Philip inherited Trachonitis and the neighbouring districts, Antipas, as we have already mentioned, was appointed tetrarch, and Archelaus king. [669] The last-named received a charge from Herod to carry his ring to Caesar, with the documents relating to the administration of the realm, under seal, because he had vested in Caesar the control of all his dispositions and the ratification of the will ; in the remaining particulars the directions of the previous will were to hold good.   

[670] G   Archelaus was instantly hailed with acclamations and congratulations ; and the troops advancing by companies, with the people, made promises of allegiance on their own part, and invoked upon him the blessing of God. The king's funeral next occupied attention. [671] Archelaus, omitting nothing that could contribute to its magnificence, brought forth all the royal ornaments to accompany the procession in honour of the deceased. The bier was of solid gold, studded with precious stones, and had a covering of purple, embroidered with various colours ; on this lay the body enveloped in a purple robe, a diadem encircling the head and surmounted by a crown of gold, the sceptre beside his right hand. [672] G   Around the bier were Herod's sons and a large group of his relations ; these were followed by the guards, the Thracian contingent, Germans and Gauls, all equipped as for war. [673] The remainder of the troops marched in front, armed and in orderly array, led by their commanders and subordinate officers ; behind these came five hundred of Herod's servants and freedmen, carrying spices. The body was thus conveyed for a distance of two hundred stades to Herodion, where, in accordance with the directions of the deceased, it was interred. So ended Herod's reign.  

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