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Antiquities of the Jews, Book 13.

From death of Judas Maccabeus to death of Queen Alexandra

1. Jonathan leads and with Simon's help carries on the war against Bacchides

2. Alexander Bala makes Jonathan high priest, despite Demetrius; Demetrius' death

3. Friendship of Onias with Ptolemy Philometor. Temple like Jerusalem's, in Egypt

4. Alexander reighs in Syria and honours Jonathan, so does Demetrius the younger

5. Tryphon wins Syria for Antiochus, son of Alexander. The envoys of Jonathan

6. Jonathan killed; his brother Simon, general and high priest. War on Tryphon

7. Simon is treacherously murdered by his son-in-law, Ptolemy

8. High priest Hyrcanus ejects Ptolemy; allies with Antiochus, after a war

9. Hyrcanus' expedition against Syria. He makes a pact with the Romans

10. Hyrcanus demolishes Samaria; changes from Sadducee to Pharisee

11. Aristobulus & his mother and brothers; kills Antigonus; his death

12. New king, Alexander, angers Ptolemy by double-dealing with Cleopatra

13. Alexander destroys Gaza and kills many Jews in rebellion

14. Progress & retreat of Demetrius. How many Jews Alexander killed

15. Antiochus and Aretas raid Judea. Alexander's final advice to Alexandra

16. Gaining the Pharisees' goodwill, Alexandra rules Judea for nine years


Chapter 1. [001-034]
Jonathan takes over the leadership. Continues war against Bacchides, with Simon's help

1.

001 In the previous volume we showed how the Jewish nation regained its freedom after being enslaved by the Macedonians, and how their general, Judas, died fighting on their behalf after undergoing many struggles and battles. 002 After his death, all the wicked who transgressed their ancestral ways sprang up again in Judea and troubled them on every side. 003 A famine that afflicted the country added to their wickedness, for many who were unable to endure the hardships both of hunger and their opponents, went over to the Macedonians. 004 Bacchides gathered the Jews who had apostatized from their old ancestral lifestyle and adopted the new ways, and handed over to them the government of the country. Then these laid hold of the friends of Judas and his partisans and gave them over to Bacchides, and after torturing and tormenting them at his pleasure, he finally put them to death. 005 When this plight of the Jews became worse than anything they had known since the return from Babylon, the remnants of Judas's companions, seeing the nation about to be so miserably destroyed, went to his brother Jonathan and asked him to care for his countrymen just like his brother, who had died for their freedom, and not to leave the nation leaderless, to perish like this. 006 When Jonathan declared that he was ready to die for them and was seen as no less than his brother, he was appointed general of the Jews.

2.

007 Hearing of this Bacchides was afraid that Jonathan might pose a problem for the king and the Macedonians, as Judas had done before him, so he sought a way to kill him by treachery. 008 But his intentions were not unknown to Jonathan and his brother Simon, and alerted to it, they quickly took all their companions and fled into the wilderness nearest to the city, and when they had come to the waters called lake Asphar, they stayed there. 009 Bacchides knew that they had left and were in that place, and hurried to attack them with all his forces and camping beyond the Jordan, he gathered his forces. 010 Knowing that Bacchides was marching on him, Jonathan sent his brother John, also known as Gaddis, to the Nabatean Arabs, to leave his baggage with them until after the battle with Bacchides, for they were his friends. 011 As John was going to the Nabateans, the sons of Ambri ambushed him from the city of Medaba and looted all that they had with them and killed John and all his companions. But they were well punished by John's brothers for what they did, as we shall soon relate.

3.

012 As Bacchides knew that Jonathan encamped among the lakes of the Jordan, he waited until the sabbath day and then attacked, not expecting him to fight on that day because of the law. 013 But he urged on his companions, saying that their lives were at stake as they were between the river and by their foes, with no way to escape, with enemies in front of them and the river at their back; and praying to God for victory, he tackled the enemy. 014 Many of them he destroyed, and when he saw Bacchides boldly coming at him, he stretched out his hand to strike him, but the other foresaw and avoided the stroke. Then Jonathan and his companions jumped into the river and swam over it and so escaped beyond the Jordan while the enemies did not cross the river, and Bacchides immediately returned to the citadel in Jerusalem, having lost about two thousand of his army. 015 Bacchides took and fortified many cities of Judea, and Jericho and Emmaus and Bethoron and Bethel and Timna and Pharatho and Tochoa and Gazara. 016 He built towers in each of these cities and surrounded them with strong, high walls, and put garrisons in them, who could sally out and harass the Jews. 017 He fortified especially the citadel in Jerusalem and took the sons of the chiefs of Judea as hostages and shut them in the citadel and secured it in that way.

4.

018 About that time someone came to Jonathan and his brother Simon to tell them that the sons of Ambri were celebrating a marriage and bringing the bride, the daughter of a famous man among the Arabs, from the city of Gabatha, and that the girl was to be conducted with pomp and great splendor. 019 Thinking this a good chance to avenge their brother's death and that they had enough forces to do it, Jonathan and Simon hurried to Medaba and hid in the mountains until their enemies arrived. 020 When they saw them conducting the virgin and her bridegroom and the usual large company of their friends at such a wedding, they rushed out from ambush and killed them all and took their ornaments and all the goods those people had and so returned. 021 This was the punishment they dealt to the sons of Ambri for their brother John, for the sons themselves died along with their friends and wives and children, numbering about four hundred.

5.

022 Simon and Jonathan returned to the lakes of the river and stayed there; but Bacchides had secured all Judea with his garrisons, and returned to the king, and then the affairs of the Jews were at peace for two years. 023 When the deserters and the wicked saw Jonathan and his companions living calmly in the country because of the peace, they sent to king Demetrius and roused him to send Bacchides to seize Jonathan, which they said could be done without easily in a single night, for if they attacked them unawares, they could kill them all. 024 So the king sent Bacchides and arriving in Judea he wrote to all his friends, both Jews and allies to bring Jonathan to him. 025 Despite all their efforts they were unable to capture Jonathan, for he knew of their traps and carefully guarded against them, and Bacchides was angry at the renegades for having misled him and the king, so he took and killed fifty of their ringofficers. 026 Then for fear of Bacchides, Jonathan with his brother and his companions retreated to Bethalaga, a village in the wilderness, and built towers in it and surrounded it with walls so it was safely guarded. 027 Hearing of this, Bacchides led his own army and some Jewish allies against Jonathan and attacked his fortifications and besieged him for many days. 028 And still, despite the zeal of the besiegers, he did not give in but fought back bravely. Then leaving his brother Simon in the city to fight Bacchides, he himself went out secretly into the country and gathered a large group of men of his own party and attacked Bacchides's camp at night and killed many of them; and his brother Simon knew of this attack, for he saw the enemies being killed. 029 So he too made sorties out at the enemy and burned the machines the Macedonians used for the siege and caused great slaughter among them. 030 When Bacchides saw himself surrounded by his enemies with some of them in front of him and some behind, he fell into despair and dejection of mind, shaken by the unexpected failure of this siege. 031 He vented his anger at this on those deserters who sent to the king for him, for having misled him, and wanted to finish this siege properly if he could and then to return home.

6.

032 When Jonathan learned of his intentions, he sent envoys to him about friendship and military alliance and a return of prisoners on both sides. 033 Bacchides thought this a decent way out of the situation and made a pact of friendship with Jonathan, where they swore to make no more war on each other; and returning the prisoners he took his men with him and returned to the king in Antioch, and after his departure, never came into Judea again. 034 Jonathan availed of the peace and went to live in the city of Machma, and there ruled the affairs of the people and punished the wicked and ungodly and so purged the nation of them.

Chapter 2. [035-061]
Alexander Bala appoints Jonathan high priest, though Demetrius also tries to have his ally. Demetrius' death

1.

035 In the hundred and sixtieth year, Alexander, the son of Antiochus Epiphanes, came up into Syria and took Ptolemais. The soldiers inside betrayed it to him in their disaffection from Demetrius for his contempt and surliness. 036 He had shut himself up in a palace with four towers which he had built for himself near Antioch, and admitted nobody, and was slothful and negligent about the public affairs, all of which brought on him the hatred of his subjects, as we have already reported elsewhere. 037 When Demetrius heard that Alexander was in Ptolemais, he took his whole army and led it against him, also sending envoys to Jonathan about a pact of alliance and friendship, for he decided to forestall Alexander in case the other should treat with him first and become his ally. 038 This he did for fear that Jonathan might remember how badly he had treated him before, and take sides against him. So he gave orders that Jonathan be let raise an army and have weapons made and receive back the Jewish hostages whom Bacchides had shut up in the citadel in Jerusalem. 039 When these concessions offered by Demetrius were told to Jonathan he came to Jerusalem and read the king's letter in the hearing of the people and of the garrison in the citadel. 040 When it was read, the rogues and fugitives in the citadel were alarmed by the king's permission to Jonathan to raise an army and to get back the hostages; and he restored all of them to their own parents. 041 In this way Jonathan came to live in Jerusalem, reviving the city and restoring the buildings as he pleased, for he ordered that the walls of the city be rebuilt with square stones, to be more secure from their enemies. 042 When those who held the strongholds in Judea saw this, they all left them and fled to Antioch, except those in the city of Bethsura and in the citadel of Jerusalem, for the greater part of these were rogue Jews and deserters, unwilling to surrender their strongholds.

2.

043 When Alexander learned of the promises Demetrius had made to Jonathan and of his courage and all he had done in the war against the Macedonians and the hardships he had endured from Demetrius and his general Bacchides, he told his friends that he could not at present find any braver ally in war than Jonathan, who deeply hated Demetrius for all he had suffered from him and the wrongs done by him. 044 "So if we decide to make him our friend against Demetrius, there is no better time than now to invite him into alliance." When he and his friends decided to send to Jonathan, he wrote him this letter: 045 "King Alexander to his brother Jonathan, greetings. We have already heard of your courage and your fidelity and so we send to you to make a pact of friendship and military alliance with you. We therefore appoint you this day as high priest of the Jews with the right to be called my friend. I have also sent you gifts of a purple robe and a golden crown and hope that as you are honoured by us, you will likewise respect us too."

3.

046 On receipt od this letter, Jonathan donned the priestly robe at the time of the feast of tents, four years after the death of his brother Judas, for since that time no high priest had been appointed, and he raised a large force and had much armour forged. 047 Demetrius was greatly saddened to hear of it and blamed himself for his slowness, for not forestalling Alexander and winning Jonathan's goodwill, but leaving the other time to do so. But he too wrote a letter to Jonathan and the people, as follows. 048 "King Demetrius to Jonathan and the Jewish nation, greetings. Since you have preserved your friendship with us and did not yield to temptation from our enemies to ally with them, I commend you for your fidelity and urge you to continue in the same spirit, for which you will be repaid and rewarded by us. 049 I will exempt you from most of the tributes and taxes that you formerly paid to my royal predecessors and myself, and I now set you free from the age-old tributes you have paid. Besides, I exempt you the salt tax and the crowns which you used to present to me and from this day on I relinquish my right to a third of your produce and the half of the fruits of your trees. 050 I also relinquish now and for all time to come the poll-tax due to me from the people of Judea and the three regions adjoining Judea, Samaria and Galilee and Perea. 051 I also intend to leave the city of Jerusalem out to its furthest boundaries holy and inviolable and free from the tithe and the taxes. I also cede my right to the citadel, and allow your high priest Jonathan to occupy it and place there a garrison that he considers faithful and loyal to himself, and guard it for us. 052 I set free all Jews who were prisoners and slaves in our kingdom and I order that the beasts of the Jews may not be commandeered and that their sabbaths and all their festivals and three days before each of them, be undisturbed.

053 Likewise I set free the Jewish inhabitants of my kingdom and order that no harm be done to them and permit any of them who wish to do so to join my army, up to the number of thirty thousand. Wherever they go, these Jewish soldiers shall have the same pay as my own army and some of them I will place in my garrisons and some in my own bodyguard and as officers in my court. 054 I also permit them to follow and keep their ancestral laws and I will that they have power over the three areas that are added to Judea, and it shall be in the power of the high priest to see that no Jew shall have any other temple to worship in except that in Jerusalem. 055 From my own revenues I grant you one hundred and fifty thousand yearly, towards the costs of the sacrifices, and if any of this money is left over shall be yours too. I also exempt you of the ten thousand drachmae which the kings used to receive from the temple, as they belong to the priests ministering in that temple. 056 Further, whoever takes refuge in the Jerusalem temple, or any place belonging to it, due to money owed to the king, or on any other account, let them be set free and let their goods be secure. 057 Further, I permit you to repair and rebuild your temple, all of it to be done at my expense, and you may build the walls of your city and raise high towers also at my expense. And if there be any fortress which it would benefit the land of the Jews to have strengthened, let it be done at my expense."

4.

058 These were the promises that Demetrius conceded to the Jews by this letter. But king Alexander raised a large army of mercenaries and men who deserted to him from Syria and marched against Demetrius. 059 In the battle, the left wing of Demetrius put their opponents to flight and after a long pursuit killed many of them and spoiled their camp, but the right wing, where Demetrius happened to be, was defeated. 060 All the rest fled but Demetrius fought bravely on and killed many of the enemy, but as he was following the others his horse carried him into a deep, impassable bog, and there, once his horse fell, he could not avoid being killed. 061 For when his enemies saw what had happened to him, they turned and surrounded Demetrius and all cast spears at him. Being now on foot, he fought bravely but finally received so many wounds that he could no longer fight, but fell. This is the end of Demetrius after he had ruled for eleven years, as we have said elsewhere.

Chapter 3. [062-079]
Friendship of Onias the high priest with Ptolemy hilometor.

Onias builds a temple like Jerusalem's, in Egypt

1.

062 But then the son of Onias the high priest, of the same name as his father, fled to king Ptolemy, surnamed Philometor, and now lived in Alexandria, as already said. When he saw how Judea was oppressed by the Macedonians and their kings, 063 wanting to win a name and eternal fame for himself he decided to send to king Ptolemy and queen Cleopatra, asking their permission to build a temple in Egypt like that in Jerusalem and to appoint levites and priests from their own race. 064 He wanted to do so, especially relying on the prophet Isaias, who had foretold more than six hundred years earlier that by all means there would be a temple built in Egypt to Almighty God by a Jewish man. Buoyed up by this prediction Onias wrote the following letter to Ptolemy and Cleopatra: 065 "Having by God's help done you many great services in in Coele-Syria and Phoenicia during the war, I finally came with the Jews to Heliopolis, the city of lions, and to other places of your nation. 066 There I found that most of your people have unsuitable sanctuaries and for this reason are hostile to each other, which affects the Egyptians because of the number of their temples and their differening opinions about worship. Now I have found a most suitable place in a stronghold that is named after the district of Bubastis, a place rich in many kinds of materials and abounding in sacred animals. 067 I beg ask you to allow me to purge this holy place, which belongs to nobody and is in disrepair, and build there a temple to Almighty God, modelled on the one in Jerusalem and of the same size, for the sake of yourself and your wife and children, that the Jews living in Egypt may have a place to come and meet together in mutual harmony with each other and be at your service. 068 For the prophet Isaias foretold that there would be an altar in Egypt to the Lord God, and he prophesied many other such things about this place."

2.

069 This was what Onias wrote to king Ptolemy. We can see his piety and that of his sister and wife Cleopatra, by the letter they wrote in reply, for they laid on the head of Onias the blame for the transgression of the law. 070 This was their reply: "King Ptolemy and queen Cleopatra to Onias, greetings. We have read your petition, asking to be granted permission to re-purify the broken-down temple in the City of Lions in Heliopolis, which is named after the district of Bubastis, but we are amazed that it pleases God to have a temple built in a place so unclean and so full of sacred animals. 071 But since you say that Isaias the prophet foretold this long ago, we give you leave to do it, if it can be done according to your law, so that we may not seem to offend God in any way in this matter."

3.

072 So Onias took the place and erected a temple and an altar to God, similar to that in Jerusalem, but smaller and poorer. I do not think I need here describe its dimensions or its vessels, which are already described in my seventh book of the Judaic Wars. 073 Then Onias found some like-minded Jews and priests and levites to worship God there. But we have said enough about this temple.

4.

074 The Alexandrian Jews and the Samaritans who worshipped in the temple that was built at Mount Garizim in the days of Alexander, now came into conflict with each other and disputed about their temples in Ptolemy's presence, the Jews saying that according to the Mosaic lAws, the temple was to be built in Jerusalem, and the Samaritans saying it was to be built at Garizim. 075 They asked the king in session with his friends to hear the debates about these matters and to punish the losers with death. Now Sabbeus and Theodosius managed the argument for the Samaritans and Andronicus, son of Messalamus, for the people of Jerusalem. 076 They swore on oath before God and the king to offer proofs according to the law, requesting Ptolemy to put to death anyone he found breaking these oaths. The king took many of his friends into the conference and sat to listen to the speakers. 077 The Jews in Alexandria were very anxious about the men who would argue in defence of the temple in Jerusalem and would be badly offended if anyone sullied the reputation of so ancient a temple, celebrated all over the world. 078 When Sabbeus and Theodosius allowed Andronicus to speak first, he set out to prove from the law and the successions of the high priests, each of the had received that dignity from his father and governed the temple, and how all the kings of Asia had honoured that temple with the splendid gifts they dedicated to it, while making no mention of the one in Garizim, as if it had never existed. 079 By this speech and other arguments, Andronicus persuaded the king to decide that the temple in Jerusalem was built according to the Mosaic laws, and to put Sabbeus and Theodosius to death. These things happened to the Jews in Alexandria in the days of Ptolemy Philometor.

Chapter 4. [080-130]
Alexander reigns in Syria and honours Jonathan. Honoured too, by Demetrius the younger

1.

080 When Demetrius was killed in battle as we have said above, Alexander took over the kingdom of Syria, and wrote to Ptolemy Philometor asking for his daughter in marriage, and saying it was only right for him to be related to one who had now inherited the realm of his ancestors, promoted to it by God's providence, after defeating Demetrius, and in other respects was not unworthy of being related to him. 081 Ptolemy gladly received this proposal of marriage, and wrote in reply, saluting him for winning the realm of his ancestors, and promising to give him his daughter in marriage, assuring him that he would come to meet him at Ptolemais, where he asked him to meet him, as he would lead her up to there from Egypt, and would hold the girl's marriage there. 082 After writing this, Ptolemy came quickly to Ptolemais brining with him his daughter Cleopatra and finding Alexander there before him, as he had requested, he gave him the girl in marriage and gave her a dowry of as much silver and gold as was fit for such a king.

2.

083 After the wedding, Alexander wrote to the high priest Jonathan with instructions to come to Ptolemais. When he came to the kings he gave them magnificent gifts and was honoured by them both. 084 Alexander also made him set aside his own garment and put on a purple garment and made him sit alongside him on the dais, and ordered his officers to go with him into the city centre and proclaim that no one was permitted to speak against him, or disturb him any way. 085 When the officers had done so, and those who hated Jonathan and were preparing to accuse him saw the honour shown to him by proclamation by order of the king, they ran away, fearful that they would come to some harm. And indeed king Alexander showed such favour to Jonathan that he set him up as the first of his friends.

3.

086 But then, on the hundred and sixty-fifth year, Demetrius, the son of Demetrius, came from Crete with many mercenaries paid for by Lasthenes, the Cretian, and sailed to Cilicia. 087 When he heard it, Alexander was thrown into anxiety and confusion and he hurried from Phoenicia to Antioch immediately, to secure it before Demetrius arrived. 088 As ruler of Coele-Syria he left Apollonius Taos, who came with a large force to Jamneia and sent to the high priest Jonathan declaring that it was not right that he alone should live peacefully, with independent authority and not be subject to the king, and that he was mocked by everybody for not yet making him subject to the king. 089 "So do not deceive yourself and sit quietly among your mountains thinking yourself strong, but if you trust in your strength, come down to the plain and let our armies come to judgment and the outcome of the battle will show which of us is bravest. 090 Note that the most valiant men of every city are in my army, the very ones who have always defeated your ancestors, but let us have the battle in a part of the country where we can fight with weapons and not with stones and there is nowhere for the defeated to escape."

4.

091 Jonathan was furious at this and selecting ten thousand of his soldiers quickly left Jerusalem with his brother Simon and came to Joppa and encamped outside the city, because the people of Joppa had shut their gates against him, for Apollonius had placed a garrison in the city. 092 As Jonathan prepared to besiege them they feared he would take them by force and so they opened the gates to him. But hearing that Joppa was taken by Jonathan, Apollonius took three thousand cavalry and eight thousand infantry and went to Azotus, and from there he travelled on silently and slowly. Reaching Joppa, he made as though to withdraw from the place and so drew Jonathan into the plain, confident of his cavalry and setting his hopes of victory mainly on them. 093 Jonathan sallied out and pursued Apollonius to Azotus, and as soon as Apollonius saw his enemy out in the plain, he turned around and gave him battle. 094 Apollonius had set a thousand cavalry in ambush in a valley, that they might be seen by their enemies when they turned around. Noting this, Jonathan showed no alarm but ordered his army into a solid formation and told them to attack the enemy on both sides and set them to face those who attacked them both from front and rear. 095 When the fight lasted until evening, he assigned part of his forces to his brother Simon with orders to attack the enemy, and instructed his own companions to cover themselves with their armour and face the missiles of the cavalry. 096 They did as ordered, so that the enemy's cavalry did them no harm although they threw all the spears they had, for the missiles did not reach their bodies, as they were caught by the united shields that were joined together, whose compactness easily overcame the force of the spears so that they flew by with no effect. 097 When the enemy grew tired of throwing at them from morning until late evening, Simon noted their weariness and attacked the phalanx before him, and with his soldiers showing great spirit he put the enemy to flight. 098 Seeing the infantry running away, the cavalry did no stay either, as they were weary having fought until evening and since any hope based on the infantry was gone, they fled in cowardice and confusion were separated and scattered all over the plain. 099 Jonathan pursued them as far as Azotus and killed many of them and forced the rest, in despair of escaping, to retreat to the temple of Dagon in Azotus. Then Jonathan took the city on the first onset and burned it and the villages round about it. 100 He did not spare even the temple of Dagon but burned it also and killed those who had fled to it. The enemy numbers that fell in the battle and were burned in the temple were eight thousand. 101 When Jonathan had defeated this large army, he moved on from Azotus to Askalon, and when he had encamped outside the city the people of Askalon came out to meet him with gifts and honoured him. He accepted their good intentions and returned to Jerusalem with a large amount of booty, which he had taken from the defeat of his enemies. 102 When Alexander heard that his general Apollonius had been defeated, he pretended to be glad and that it was contrary to his orders that he had fought against his friend and ally Jonathan; and he sent to Jonathan, praising his bravery and awarding him as a mark of honour a golden button, which it is customary to give to the king's relatives and assigning him Akkaron and its district as an inheritance.

5.

103 About this time king Ptolemy, surnamed Philometor, led an army by sea and land to Syria, to the help of his son-in-law, Alexander. 104 At Alexander's orders all the cities received him willingly and conducted him as far as Azotus, where they all loudly complained about the burning of the temple of Dagon, and accused Jonathan of ravaging it and destroying the adjoining country with fire and killing many people. 105 Ptolemy heard these accusations, but said nothing. Then Jonathan went as far as Joppa to meet Ptolemy and from him received gifts of glorious quality, with every of esteem and when he had conducted him as far as the river called Eleutherus, he returned again to Jerusalem.

6.

106 While Ptolemy was in Ptolemais, he had a very near escape from death, for Alexander, through his friend Ammanius, made a treacherous plot against his life. 107 When the plot was uncovered Ptolemy wrote to Alexander demanding that Ammanius be suitably punished, saying how he had plotted against him. When Alexander did not comply, he realised that the man himself was behind the plot and he was very angry at him. 108 Alexander had previously been on bad terms with the people of Antioch, for they had suffered much through Ammanius. But Ammanius was punished as he deserved, for he was killed ingloriously as a woman, while trying to hide in feminine dress, as we have elsewhere reported.

7.

109 Ptolemy blamed himself for leting his daughter marry Alexander and for his alliance with him against Demetrius. 110 So he dissolved his relationship with him and took his daughter from him and immediately sent to Demetrius about an alliance and friendship with him and promised him his daughter in marriage and to restore him to the kingdom of his fathers. Demetrius was well pleased with the envoys and accepted the alliance and the marriage with his daughter. 111 Ptolemy had another difficult task, to persuade the people of Antioch to welcome Demetrius, as they were averse to him due to the wrongs done them by his father Demetrius. 112 But as the people of Antioch hated Alexander on account of Ammanius, as we have said, they were easily persuaded to expel him from Antioch, and thrown out of Antioch, he came into Cilicia. 113 Ptolemy then came to Antioch and was made king by its inhabitants and the army, so that he had to wear two crowns, one of Asia and the other of Egypt. 114 Being of a good and a righteous nature and not eager for splendour and also being wise in looking to the future, he decided to avoid the envy of the Romans, so he called the people of Antioch to a meeting and persuaded them to receive Demetrius. 115 He assured them that he would forget what they had done to his father if they now did him this favour, and promised to be a good guide and monitor to him and that he would not allow him to attempt any foolish actions, while for his own part, he was content to rule the kingdom of Egypt. With these words he persuaded the people of Antioch to accept Demetrius.

8.

116 Alexander now hurried from Cilicia into Syria with a large army and ample supplies and burned the district of Antioch and pillaged it; whereupon Ptolemy and his son-in-law Demetrius brought their army against him, for he had given him his daughter in marriage, and beat Alexander and routed him so that he fled into Arabia. 117 During the battle Ptolemy' horse, hearing the noise of an elephant, reared up and threw him to the ground; and seeing it his enemies attacked him and gave him many wounds on the head and put him in danger of death, for when his bodyguards snatched him away he was so ill that for four days he was unable to think or to speak. 118 Zabeilos, an Arab prince, cut off Alexander's head and sent it to Ptolemy, who recovering from his wounds and returning to consciousness on the fifth day, gladly heard of Alexander's death and saw his head. 119 But soon after being filled with joy by the death of Alexander, he too departed this life. Now Alexander, who was surnamed Balas, ruled over Asia five years, as we have elsewhere reported.

9.

120 When Demetrius, who was surnamed Nicator, became king, he wickedly began to massacre Ptolemy's soldiers, forgetful of the pact of alliance between them, or that he was his son-in-law and kinsman, by Cleopatra's marriage to him, so the soldiers fled to Alexandria from his assault, but Demetrius got control of the elephants. 121 The the high priest Jonathan levied an army from all Judea and attacked and besieged the citadel in Jerusalem, which was held by a garrison of Macedonians and by some of the godless Jews who had deserted their ancestral customs. 122 Confident of the strength of the place, these at first made light of Jonathan's attempts to take it, but some of those rogues went out by night and reached Demetrius and told him about the siege of the citadel. 123 Furious at the news, he took his army and came from Antioch against Jonathan. When he reached Ptolemais, he wrote to him ordering him to come to him quickly to Ptolemais. 124 Without abandoning the siege, Jonathan took with him the elders of the people and the priests and brought gold and silver and clothing and many tokens of friendship and came to Demetrius and presented them to him. Having thereby pacified the king's anger he was honoured by him and received from him the confirmation of the high priesthood he had received from his royal predecessors. 125 When the fugitives accused him, Demetrius ignored them and asked him for only three hundred talents for the government of all Judea and the three toparchies of Samaria and Perea and Galilee, and gave him a letter confirming all those grants; whose contents were as follows: 126 "King Demetrius to Jonathan his brother and to the Jewish nation, greetings. We have sent you a copy of that letter which we have written to Lasthones our kinsman, that you may know its contents. 127 "King Demetrus to Lasthenes our father, greetings. In thanks for the loyalty of the Jewish nation in our regard I have decided to transfer to them, from Samaria to Judea, the three prefectures, Aphairema and Lydda and Ramathain, along with their dependencies. 128 and I exempt them from whatever my royal predecessors received from those who offered sacrifices in Jerusalem and the taxes on the fruits of the earth and of the trees and whatever else belongs to us; with the salt-pits and the crowns customarily presented to us, nor shall they be forced to pay any of those taxes from this time onward. Take care to have a copy of this letter made and given to Jonathan and prominently displayed in their holy temple." Such were the contents of this writing. 129 When Demetrius saw that there was peace everywhere and that there was no danger or fear of war, he disbanded most of his army and lessened their pay and only paid the foreigners who came with him from Crete and from the other islands. 130 This provoked the ill-will and hatred of the soldiers, to whom he gave nothing at this time, while the kings before him used also to pay them in time of peace, so as to have their goodwill and keep them ready to bear the ordeals of war, when the need arose.

Chapter 5. [131-186]
Tryphon wins Syria for Antiochus, son of Alexander. The envoys of Jonathan

1.

131 The ill-will of the soldiers towards Demetrius was noted by one of Alexander's generals, an Apamean by birth, named Diodotus who was surnamed Tryphon, who went to Malichus the Arabian, who had reared Alexander's son Antiochus, and told him how displeased the troops were with Demetrius and persuaded him to hand over Antiochus to him, for he would make him king and restore to him his father's kingdom. 132 At first he opposed this, distrusting him, but when Tryphon kept at it for a long time, he persuaded him to go with his project. This was the man's current state.

2.

133 But Jonathan the high priest, wanting to be rid of those in the citadel of Jerusalem and the Jewish fugitives and rogues as well and all the garrisons in the country, sent gifts and envoys to Demetrius imploring him to remove his soldiers from the strongholds of Judea. 134 He replied promising to grant him not only that but more, after the current war was over, and asking him to send some help now that his army had deserted him. So Jonathan chose three thousand of his soldiers and sent them to Demetrius.

3.

135 The people of Antioch hated Demetrius, both for the harm he himself had done them and their resentment towards his father Demetrius, who had greatly abused them, so they looked for an opportunity to attack him. 136 When they learned of the help coming to Demetrius from Jonathan and at the same time knowing that he would raise a large army unless they got there first and captured him, they immediately took their weapons and surrounded his palace like a siege and blocking all the exits sought to subdue their king. 137 When he saw that the people of Antioch had become his bitter enemies and were so up in arms, he attacked the Antiochians with his mercenary soldiers and the Jews sent by Jonathan, but was overpowered and defeated by them, for they were many thousands. 138 When the Jews saw the Antiochians winning, they went up to the roof of the palace and from there shot at them, and because of their height, they suffered no losses on their side. Fighting from above, they did great damage to the others and drove them from the adjoining houses. 139 These they immediately set on fire, and it spread over the whole city and as the houses were close together and were mainly of wood, it consumed it all. 140 So the Antiochians, unable to help themselves or to stop the fire, were put to flight, and as the Jews jumped from the top of one house to another and in that way pursued them, it was an odd pursuit. 141 When the king saw the Antiochians busy in saving their children and their wives and so no longer fighting, he attacked them in the narrow passages and fought and killed many of them, until finally they were forced to throw down their arms and to surrender to Demetrius. 142 So he pardoned their rash behaviour and put an end to the rebellion, and when he had given rewards to the Jews from the rich spoils he had taken and thanked them as the cause of his victory, he sent them away to Jerusalem to Jonathan, as a sign of their alliance.

143 Later he proved unfaithful to him and broke his promises and threatened to make war on him unless he paid all the tax the Jewish nation had paid to previous kings. This he would have done, if Tryphon had not hindered him and sidetracked his preparations against Jonathan into a concern for his own safety. 144 For now he returned from Arabia into Syria with the boy Antiochus, still only a youth, and put the crown on his head, and made war on Demetrius with the support of all the soldiers who had left Demetrius for not being paid, and overcame him in battle and took from him both his elephants and the city of Antioch.

4.

145 Defeated, Demetrius retreated to Cilicia. Then, sending envoys and a letter to Jonathan, young Antiochus made him his friend and ally and confirmed him in the high priesthood and granted him the four prefectures which had been added to Judea. 146 He also sent him vessels and cups of gold and a purple garment which he was entitled to wear, and presented him with a golden button and styled him one of his principal friends and appointed his brother Simon as general of the army from the Ladder of Tyre to Egypt. 147 Jonathan was so pleased with these grants made him by Antiochus, that he sent envoys to him and Tryphon declaring himself their friend and ally and promising to be his ally in the war against Demetrius, saying that he had made not properly returned the many marks of favour he had received from him in his time of need, but had repaid such good turns with further wrongs.

5.

148 As Antiochus allowed him raise a large force from Syria and Phoenicia to make war against Demetrius's generals; he went quickly to the various cities which received him splendidly, but gave him no soldiers. 149 When he reached Askalon and the Askalonites came out to meet him splendidly with gifts he urged them and all the cities of Coele-Syria to forsake Demetrius and join Antiochus, and help him to punish Demetrius for his offenses against them, and gave them many reasons in favour of this. 150 After persuading those cities into an alliance with Antiochus, he came to Gaza, to win them also to Antiochus' side, but he found the people of Gaza much more averse to him than expected, for they shut their gates against him, and though they had abandoned Demetrius, they had not resolved to join Antiochus. 151 This provoked Jonathan to besiege them and damage their district, and setting part of his army around Gaza itself, with the rest he overran their land and despoiled and burned it. When the people of Gaza saw their plight, with no help coming from Demetrius, troubles close at hand and assistance far away and uncertain to come, they thought it prudent to cease one alliance and to cultivate the other. 152 So they sent to Jonathan offering friendship and military alliance. Such is the temper of men, that until they experience hardships they do not know what is good for them, but after enduring evils they change their minds and choose what they should have done before suffering such harm. 153 He made a pact of friendship with them and took hostages and sent them to Jerusalem, while he himself overran the whole region, as far as Damascus.

6.

154 Then he heard that Demetrius's generals had come with a large army to the city of Cadesh, between the land of the Tyrians and Galilee, for they thought to draw him out of Syria in order to save Galilee and that he would not neglect the people of Galilee when war was made on them, 155 He went to meet them, leaving Simon in Judea, who raised from the country as great an army as he could and then set to besiege Bethsura, the strongest place in all Judea, held, as we have said, by a garrison belonging to Demetrius. 156 But as Simon was raising earthworks and bringing his machines of war against Bethsura and pressing on with the siege, the garrison feared that he would take the place by storm and they be put to the sword, so they sent to Simon requesting his sworn guarantee not to harm them but let them leave the place and go off to Demetrius. 157 He gave them his oath and expelled them from the city and put in it a garrison of his own.

7.

158 Jonathan moved from Galilee, from the waters known as Gennesar, where he had been camped, and came into the plain called Asor, without knowing that the enemy was there. 159 When therefore Demetrius's men knew a day in advance that Jonathan was coming against them, they set an ambush on the mountainside, while they themselves met him with an army in the plain. And when Jonathan saw them ready to engage him, he also prepared his own soldiers as best he could for the battle. 160 But when the Jews saw behind them the ambush set by Demetrius's generals, they feared being caught in the middle and killed so they quickly fled away. 161 Almost all of them abandoned Jonathan, but about fifty remained with him including Mattathias, son of Absalom and Judas, son of Chapseus, officers of the army. These marched boldly and desperately against the enemy and pushed them so hard that they alarmed them by their courage and brandishing their weapons put them to flight. 162 When Jonathan's soldiers who had retreated saw the enemy giving way, they turned from their flight and vigorously pursued them as far as Cadesh, where the enemy camp lay.

8.

163 After winning a glorious victory and killing two thousand of the enemy, Jonathan returned to Jerusalem, and seeing all of his affairs prospering as he hoped, by the providence of God, he sent envoys to the Romans, being eager to renew their nation's former friendship with them. 164 He told those envoys, that on their return they should go to the Spartans and remind them of the friendship and family ties between them. When the envoys came to Rome, they went into the Senate and said as the high priest Jonathan had directed, that they were sent to confirm their alliance. 165 The Senate confirmed what had been formerly decreed about their friendship with the Jews and gave them letters to take to all the kings of Asia and Europe and to the officers of the cities, to provide them with safe conduct to their homeland. On their return journey they went to Sparta and delivered to them the letter they had received from Jonathan, 166 Here is a copy of it: "Jonathan the high priest of the Jewish nation and the elders and community of the priests, to our brothers the Ephoroi and senate and people of the Spartans, greetings. If you are well and your public and private affairs flourish as you desire, it is our desire too. And we are also well. 167 When in times past a letter was brought by Demoteles to Onias, our then high priest, from Areus, who was your king, about the bond of kinship between us and you, a copy of which is attached, we received the letter joyfully and were well pleased with Demoteles and Areus, although we needed no such proof, since the sacred writings assured us of it. 168 Still, we do not think fit to begin to claim this bond with you lest we should seem too quick to assume the glory with which you now honour us. It is a long time since our bond with you has been renewed, and when on holy festival days, we offer sacrifices to God, we pray to him for your safety and victory. 169 For ourselves, though many wars have surrounded us through the greed of our neighbours, we did not want to trouble you or others related to us, but now that we have defeated our enemies and have occasion to send to Rome honoured men of our senate, Numenius the son of Antiochus and Antipater the son of Jason, we also gave them this letter to you, to renew our mutual friendship. 170 It would be fine if you yourselves were to write us an account of what you may need from us, as we are in all things disposed to act according to your wishes." The Spartans received the envoys kindly and made a decree of friendship and military alliance and sent it to them.

9.

171 Meanwhile there were three sects among the Jews, who had different opinions about human actions; the first was of the Pharisees, the second of the Sadducees and the third of the Essenes. 172 The Pharisees say that some actions, but not all, are the work of fate while some of them are in our own power and are not caused by fate. But the sect of the Essenes affirm that fate governs all things and that nothing befalls men except at its decree. 173 The Sadducees deny fate and say there is no such thing and that the events of human affairs are not at its disposal, but that all our actions are in our own power, so that we are ourselves the causes of what is good and receive what is evil from our own foolishness. But I have given a more detailed account of these opinions in the second book of the Judaic War.

10.

174 The generals of Demetrius being wanting to recover from their defeat, gathered a greater army than before and came against Jonathan, but hearing of their coming he went quickly to Hamathitis to meet them, intending not to give them time to come into Judea. 175 He encamped fifty furlongs' away from the enemy and sent out spies to view their enclosure and see how they were encamped. When his spies had given him full information and had taken some prisoners at night, who told him the enemy would soon attack him, with this advance knowledge he kept guard 176 and placed watchmen outside his camp and kept his forces armed all night, and rallied their spirits to be prepared to fight by night, if they had to, in case their enemy had a secret plan. 177 When Demetrius's officers were told that Jonathan knew what they intended, their plans went awry and they were alarmed to find that the enemy knew of their intentions. They had no other hopes of defeating them now that their traps had failed, for they did not think they could match Jonathan's army if they risked an open battle/ 178 They decided to flee, and retreated after lighting many fires so that when the enemy saw them they would think they were still there. When in the morning Jonathan came to fight them in their camp and found it deserted and saw that they had fled, he set off in pursuit. 179 He could not overtake them, however, for they had already crossed the river Eleutherus and were out of danger. Returning from there, he went into Arabia and fought against the Nabateans and drove away a large amount of their booty and took prisoners and came to Damascus and there sold off what he had taken. 180 About the same time his brother Simon went through all of Judea and Palestine, as far as Askalon and fortified the strongholds. When he had fortified them both with buildings and the garrisons placed within them, he came to Joppa, and after taking it brought a large garrison into it, for he heard that the people of Joppa were disposed to hand over the city to Demetrius's generals.

11.

181 When Simon and Jonathan had finished these matters, they returned to Jerusalem, where Jonathan gathered all the people together and took counsel to restore the walls of Jerusalem and to rebuild the wall surrounding the temple, which had been thrown down, and to strengthen the area around it with very high towers. 182 Besides he would build another wall in the middle of the city, to divide the public square from the garrison in the citadel and so deprive them of provisions. Moreover, he would make the fortresses out in the country much stronger and more defensible than they were before. 183 When this plan was approved by the people, Jonathan took care of the building relating to the city and sent Simon away to secure the fortresses in the country better than before. 184 But Demetrius crossed into Mesopotamia, wishing to retain that country as well as Babylon, 185 and after taking hold of the upper satrapies to lay the foundation for recovering his entire kingdom, for those Greeks and Macedonians who lived there often sent envoys to him promising to come to his side if he would come to them, and to help him in fighting Arsaces, the king of the Parthians. 186 Buoyed up by these hopes he hurried to them, so that once he had destroyed the Parthians and had an army of his own, he would make war on Tryphon and expel him from Syria. The local people eagerly received him and he raised forces with which he fought Arsaces; but he lost all his army and was himself taken alive, as we have elsewhere reported.

Chapter 6. [187-217]
On Jonathan's death, Simon becomes general and high priest. War against Tryphon

1.

187 Knowing what had happened to Demetrius, Tryphon no longer firmly sided with Antiochus, but plotted to kill him and take over his kingdom, but this plan was thwarted by his fear of Jonathan, who was a friend to Antiochus, so he decided to remove Jonathan first and then make his attempt on Antiochus. 188 Thinking to remove him by deceit and treachery, he came from Antioch to Bethsan, which the Greeks call Scythopolis, where thinking that he had come to fight him, Jonathan met him with forty thousand elite troops. 189 But when he saw Jonathan was ready to fight, he attempted to win him over by gifts and signs of friendship and ordered his officers to defer to him, seeking in this way to give assurance of his goodwill and banish all his suspicions, to make him careless and capture him unguarded. 190 He suggested that he disband the army, for there was no need to have it with him as there was no war and peace reigned, and just to keep a few men around him and accompany him to Ptolemais, where he would surrender the city to him and bring all the strongholds in the country to submit to him saying that this was why he had come.

2.

191 Having no suspicions about this and trusting that Tryphon's advice came from goodwill and in good faith, Jonathan dismissed his army except for three thousand of them, leaving two thousand in Galilee while with one thousand, he went personally with Tryphon into Ptolemais. 192 When the people of Ptolemais had shut their gates, as ordered by Tryphon, he took Jonathan alive but killed all who were with him, and sent soldiers to do away with the two thousand that were left in Galilee. 193 But hearing what had happened to Jonathan, these men forestalled the arrival of those sent by Tryphon, and took their weapons and fled from the country. When those sent against them saw that they were ready to fight for their lives, they did not trouble them but returned to Tryphon.

3.

194 When the people of Jerusalem heard of the capture of Jonathan and of the massacre of the soldiers who were with him, they deplored their sad fate, and all were anxiously inquiring about him. 195 They were greatly fearful and sad lest, deprived of Jonathan's courage and leadership, the nations around them who resented them but had previously stayed at peace on account of Jonathan might now rise up and make war on them, putting them in an extremely dangerous position. 196 What they suspected happened in fact, for when those nations heard of Jonathan's death they began a war against the Jews who were now without a ruler and Tryphon himself gathered an army intending to go up to Judea and make war on its inhabitants. 197 When Simon saw the people of Jerusalem terrified at the circumstances at this he wanted to speak to them and rouse their courage to oppose the attack of Tryphon, so calling the people together into the temple he began to exhort them: 198 "My countrymen, you are aware that my father, I myself and my brothers, have willingly risked our lives for the sake of your freedom. Inspired by such examples from within our family we have decided to risk death for our laws and our form of worship, and no terror shall be able to banish this resolve from our souls, or replace it with a love for life and scorn for glory. 199 You are not, therefore, without a leader willing to suffer and to do the greatest things for you, so follow me willingly wherever I lead you, for I am neither better than my brothers so that I should spare my own life, nor worse than they so that I would avoid or refuse what they thought the most honourable thing of all, I mean, to die for our laws and for the worship of God which is special to you. 200 I will therefore prove myself their brother, and I dare to expect that I shall avenge their blood upon our enemies and save you all with your wives and children from any insult from them, and with God's help, to preserve your temple from destruction. For I see that these nations hold you in contempt while you are leaderless and so are encouraged to assault you with war."

4.

201 By doing this Simon inspired the crowd, and as before their spirits had been downcast with fear, they were now raised to a better hope so that the whole mass of the people at once cried out for Simon to be their leader and govern them in place of his brothers Judas and Jonathan; and they promised to obey whatever commands he gave. 202 Immediately he gathered the military strength of the nation and hurried to rebuild the walls of the city and strengthened them with towers that were very high and strong, and sent a friend of his, Jonathan the son of Absalom, to Joppa with orders to expel the inhabitants from the city, for he feared they would surrender the city to Tryphon, but he himself stayed to guard Jerusalem.

5.

203 Tryphon then moved from Ptolemais with a large army and came into Judea, bringing Jonathan with him in chains, and Simon with his army met him at Addida, a city upon a hill overlooking the plains of Judea. 204 When Tryphon learned that the Jews had chosen Simon as their leader, he sent to him seeking to deceive and trick him, and saying that if he wanted to have his brother Jonathan released, he should send him a hundred talents of silver and two of Jonathan's sons as hostages, so that after his release he would not make Judea revolt from the king, and that he was kept in chains at present on account of money he had borrowed from the king not returned. 205 But Simon knew about Tryphon's craftiness and though he knew that if he gave him the money he would lose it and that Tryphon would not free his brother and would hand over Jonathan's sons to the enemy, yet because he feared calumny being raised among the people against him as the cause of his brother's death if he neither gave the money nor sent Jonathan's sons, he gathered his army and told them of Tryphon's offers, adding that the offers were a plot and a snare, 206 but that it was preferable to send the money and the sons, rather than risk the blame of not listening to Tryphon's offers and refusing to save his brother; so Simon sent Jonathan's sons, and the money. 207 When Tryphon received them however, he did not keep his promise or set Jonathan free, but took his army and went about all the region intending to go later to Jerusalem by way of Idumaea, and on the way arrived at the city of Ador in Idumea, while Simon and his army kept pace with him and regularly pitched camp opposite his.

6.

208 When the men in the citadel sent to Tryphon imploring him to hurry to them and send them provisions, he prepared his cavalry intending to be in Jerusalem that very night, but so much snow fell in the night that it covered the roads and made them impassable especially for the cavalry, which stopped him from coming to Jerusalem. 209 Tryphon therefore moved on from there and came into Coele-Syria and suddenly attacking Galaditis, he killed Jonathan there, and after giving orders for his burial, returned himself to Antioch. 210 Simon, however, sent some to the city of Baska to remove his brother's bones and buried them in their own city of Modin, and all the people greatly lamented him. 211 And Simon built a large monument of white, polished stone for his father and his brothers. He raised it to a great height so as to be visible a long way off and made porticoes around it and set up monolithic pillars, which were wonderful to see. He also built for his parents and his brothers seven pyramids, one for each, remarkable for size and beauty, which survive to this day. 212 We know that it was Simon who gave such care to the burial of Jonathan and the building of these monuments for his relatives. Now Jonathan died when he had been high priest and ruler of the nation for four years, and those were the circumstances of his death.

7.

213 But Simon, whom the populace had made their high priest, in the first year of his high priesthood set his people free from their slavery under the Macedonians so that they no longer had to pay tax to them. This liberty and freedom from taxation they obtained after a hundred and seventy years of Syrian rule, from the time that Seleucus, surnamed Nicator, began to rule over Syria. 214 The people's affection for Simon was so great, that in their contracts with each other and in their public records, they wrote, "in the first year of Simon the benefactor and ethnarch of the Jews;" for under him they were very happy and overcame the enemies that surrounded them. 215 Simon destroyed the city of Gazara and Joppa and Jamneia and besieged the citadel in Jerusalem and levelled it to the ground, to no longer provide a place of refuge for their enemies when they took it, to do them harm, as it had been hitherto. Having done this, he thought it the best and most useful plan to level the very mountain on which the citadel stood, so that the temple might be higher than it. 216 Calling a meeting of the population, he persuaded them to have it so demolished, reminding them of what they had suffered from its garrison and the Jewish renegades and what they might later suffer if any foreigner took the kingdom and garrisoned that same place. 217 This speech induced the people to agree as he urged them to do only what was for their own good, so they all set to work and levelled the mountain and worked day and night at without intermission., It took them three whole years before it was moved and brought entirely level with the rest of the city. Once the citadel and the mountain on which it had stood were demolished, the temple was now the highest building of all. And that is how things were done under Simon.

Chapter 7. [218-229]
Simon is treacherously murdered by his son-in-law, Ptolemy

1.

218 Shortly after Demetrius had been brought into captivity, his deputy Tryphon destroyed Alexander's son Antiochus, surnamed The God, after he had ruled for four years, though claiming that he had died under surgery. 219 He then sent his friends and those closest to him to the soldiers promising them a large amount of money if they made him king. He hinted to them that Demetrius was held prisoner by the Parthians, and that Demetrius's brother Atitiochus, if he came to be king, would do them great harm in revenge for their revolt. 220 Looking forward to the wealth they would get by giving the kingdom to Tryphon, they appointed him as ruler. But once he had gained control of things, Tryphon showed his wicked character, for while he was an ordinary citizen he cultivated the crowd and pretended to be very fair and so artfully drew them wherever he pleased, but once he ruled the kingdom, he set further deception aside and was the real Tryphon. 221 This behaviour gave his enemies the advantage, for the military hated him and rebelled from him to Cleopatra, the wife of Demetrius, who was then shut up in Seleucia with her children. 222 But as Antiochus, the brother of Demetrius, surnamed Soter, was not admitted by any of the cities due to Tryphon, Cleopatra sent to him inviting him to marry her and to take the kingdom. The reasons why she made this invitation were that her friends persuaded her to it and she was afraid for herself, in case some people in Seleucia might surrender the city to Tryphon.

2.

223 As Antiochus had arrived at Seleucia and his forces increased every day, he marched to fight Tryphon, and having defeated him in battle, expelled him from Upper Syria into Phoenicia and pursued him there and besieged him in Dora, the impregnable fortress to which he had fled. He also sent envoys to the Jewish high priest Simon, to discuss a friendly alliance. 224 He readily accepted the invitation and sent Antiochus a large sum of money and plentiful supplies for the besiegers of Dora, so that for a while he regarded him among his closest friends. But Tryphon escaped from Dora to Apamia, where he was taken by siege and put to death, after three years as king.

3.

225 In his greed and viciousness, Antiochus forgot the service that Simon had done him in his time of need and sent his friend Cendebeus with a force of soldiers to ravage Judea and seize Simon. 226 When Simon heard how Antiochus had broken his pact with him, he was provoked by this unjusice and despite his age went out at the head of his army like a younger man. 227 He sent his sons ahead with his best soldiers, and he himself with his army marched by another way and he set many of his men in ambush in the narrow valleys between the mountains. None of his initiatives failed, for in each of them had the upper hand over his enemies. So he lived the rest of his life in peace and even made an alliance with the Romans.

4.

228 He ruled the Jews for eight years in all, but met his end at a feast, by the treachery of his son-in-law Ptolemy, who also took his wife and two of his sons and kept them in chains, and sent some men to kill the third son, John, also named Hyrcanus. 229 However, the young man knew they were coming and avoided the danger from them by hurrying into the city, relying on the people's goodwill due to the benefits they had received from his father and because the crowd hated Ptolemy, and having welcomed Hyrcanus, when Ptolemy tried to enter the city by another gate, the people drove him away.

Chapter 8. [230-253]
Hyrcanus becomes high priest and ejects Ptolemy; allies with Antiochus, after a war.

1.

230 Ptolemy retreated to one of the fortresses above Jericho, called Dagon. But after assuming the high priesthood that had been his father's before Hyrcanus first offered sacrifice to propitiate God, and then marched against Ptolemy, and when he attacked the place, he had the upper hand on al other points but was only weakened by the pity he felt for his mother and brothers. 231 For Ptolemy brought them up on the wall and tortured them in the sight of all and threatened to throw them down headlong unless Hyrcanus abandoned the siege. Since he thought that the more relaxed he was about the siege and capturing the place, the more favour he showed to his loved ones by easing their pain, his zeal about it cooled. 232 But his mother stretched out her hands and begged him not to weaken on account of her but be more enraged and try to take the place soon to seize their enemy and avenge what he had done to his dear ones, since even painful death would be sweet to her if their enemy were punished for his crimes against them. 233 When his mother said this, Hyrcanus tried to take the fortress but when he saw her beaten and torn to pieces, his courage failed him and he could not help feeling what his mother suffered and was thereby defeated. 234 And as the siege was thereby lengthened the Jewish year of rest began, for the Jews observe this rest every seventh year, as they do every seventh day, 235 so that Ptolemy was thereby reprieved from the war, and killed the brothers and mother of Hyrcanus, and having done so fled to Zeno, surnamed Cotylas, who was then tyrant of the city of Philadelphia.

2.

236 Then Antiochus, irked by what he had suffered from Simon invaded Judea in the fourth year of his kingship and the first year of the reign of Hyrcanus, in the hundred and sixty-second Olympiad. 237 When he had plundered the land he shut up Hyrcanus in the city, which he surrounded with seven camps but at first did nothing because of the strength of the walls and the bravery of the besieged, although once they were in need of water, but later were saved by a heavy shower of rain which fell at the setting of the Pleiades. 238 But in the northern section of the wall, which happened to be fairly level, the king raised a hundred towers, three stories high into which he put troops of soldiers. 239 While making attacks every day, he cut a deep and wide double ditch to confine the inhabitants, but they managed to make frequent raids out, and anywhere that was unguarded, attacked the enemy and did them much harm, and once seen, retreated easily into the city. 240 Because Hyrcanus saw the unsuitability of having so many within the city, since the rations would be sooner used up by them and clearly such large numbers achieved nothing, he separated the useless expelled them from the city and kept only those who were in their prime and fit for war. 241 But Antiochus would not let those who were expelled go out and therefore they died pitifully, wandering miserably between the walls. But when the feast of tents was near those inside took pity on them and took them in again. 242 When Hyrcanus sent to Antiochus asking for a truce for seven days because of the festival, his religious piety caused him to grant it, and besides, he sent in a magnificent sacrifice, bulls with their horns gilded, with all sorts of sweet spices and cups of gold and silver. 243 The gatekeepers received the sacrifices as they were brought and led them to the temple, and meanwhile Antiochus held a feast for his army, quite differently from Antiochus Epiphanes, who, when he had taken the city, offered swine upon the altar and sprinkled the temple with the broth of their flesh, to violate the laws of the Jews and the religion of their ancestors, and for this reason our nation made total war with him and was never reconciled to him. 244 For his great zeal for religion, everyone referred to this Antiochus as "the Pious."

3.

245 Impressed by his fairness and learning of his devotion to the Deity, Hyrcanus sent envoys to him asking him to restore their ancestral constitution. So he rejected and did not heed the advice of those who wanted the nation utterly destroyed because of its lifestyle, which others found unsociable and, 246 convinced that all they did was done out of piety, he answered the envoys that if the besieged surrendered their arms and paid tax for Joppa and the other cities bordering upon Judea and admitted his garrison, he would no longer make war on them. 247 While with the rest, they would not acceptthe garrison, as they were not to associate with outsiders. Instead of the garrison, would give him hostages and five hundred talents of silver, three hundred of it immediately, plus the hostages. 248 When the king accepted, they handed them over, including Hyrcanus's brother; but still he broke down the crown [walls?]
of the city . With that, Antiochus ended the siege and departed.

4.

249 But Hyrcanus opened the burial vault of David, who surpassed all other kings in riches and took from it three thousand talents, and with them was the first of the Jews to maintain foreign troops. 250 He became a friend and military ally to Antiochus and admitted him to the city and furnished his army plentifully and with great generosity and marched with him in his campaign against the Parthians, of which Nicolaus of Damascus bears witness for us in his history as follows: 251 "When Antiochus set up a trophy at the river Lycus after conquering Indates, the general of the Parthians, he stayed there for two days at the desire of Hyrcanus the Jew, because of a traditional festival on which the Jews were not allowed them to travel." And in saying this he was not wrong, 252 for the feast we call Pentecost, was then the day following the Sabbath, and neither on the Sabbath or on the festival is it lawful for us to go on a journey. 253 When Antiochus fought Arsaces, the king of Parthia, he lost most of his army and lost his own life, and his brother Demetrius succeeded in the kingdom of Syria when Arsaces freed him from captivity at the time that Antiochus attacked Parthia, as has already been said in another context.

Chapter 9. [254-269]
Hyrcanus' expedition against Syria. He makes a pact with the Romans

1.

254 When Hyrcanus heard of the death of Antiochus, he immediately went out to war against the cities of Syria, hoping to find them short of fighting men able to defend them. 255 But he only captured Medaba after six months and after seriously weakening his army. Then he took Samoga and its neighbourhood and Sikima and Garizim and the Cuthean nation , 256 who lived near the temple built like the one in Jerusalem and which Alexander had allowed his general Sanballat to build for the sake of Manasses, the son-in-law of Jaddous the high priest, as we said earlier. This temple was now deserted two hundred years after it was built. 257 Hyrcanus also took Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumaea and subdued all the Idumaeans, and let them remain in that area, if they would circumcise their genitals and follow the laws of the Jews. 258 They were so attached to their ancestral land that they submitted to circumcision, and to following the rest of the Jewish lifestyle, and from then onwards they have continued as Jews.

2.

259 Now the high priest Hyrcanus wished to renew their pact of friendship with the Romans, and sent them a delegation. When the senate received their letter, they made the pact of friendship with him as follows: 260 "General Fannius, son of Marcus, assembled the senate eight days before the Ides of February, in the senate-house, in the presence of Lucius Mallius, son of Lucius the Menenian, and Gaius Sempronius, noble son of the Falernian Gaius, and the good and virtuous envoys Simon, son of Dositheus, Apollonius, son of Alexander, and Diodorus, son of Jason, sent by the Jewish people. 261 They spoke of the friendship and military alliance between them and the Romans and about other public affairs, asking for the restoration of Joppa and the harbours and Gadara and the fountain-heads and various other cities and districts of theirs, which Antiochus had taken from them in the war, contrary to the senate's decree, 262 and that the king's troops be not allowed to pass through their country and other areas subject to them, and that whatever has been done by Antiochus against the senate's decree during that war should be declared void, 263 and that envoys be sent to ensure that what Antiochus had taken from them be restored, and to assess the country that was ravaged in the war, and to grant them letters of protection to kings and free people, for their peaceful return home. 264 On these points a decree was made to renew their friendship and military alliance with these good men, sent by a good and a friendly people." 265 But about the requested letters, they replied that the senate would consult about them when their own affairs allowed, and that they would seek that no such harm be done to them in the future and that their praetor Fannius should give them money from the public treasury to pay for their journey home. 266 That is how Fannius dismissed the Jewish envoys and gave them money from the public treasury, and gave the senate's decree to those who were to conduct them and see to their safe return home.

3.

267 Such was the situation of Hyrcanus the high priest. And though king Demetrius wanted to make war on Hyrcanus, he had no occasion or place for it, since both the Syrians and the soldiers disliked him as an evil man. When he sent envoys to Ptolemy, surnamed Physcon, to send them one of the Seleucid family to take over the kingdom, 268 Ptolemy sent them Alexander, surnamed Zebina, with an army and in the battle Demetrius was defeated and fled to his wife Cleopatra, in Ptolemais, but when she did not receive him he went on to Tyre where he was caught, and after suffering much from his enemies, he died. 269 So Alexander took over the kingdom and made a pact with Hyrcanus the high priest. Later, when he fought against Antiochus, son of Demetrius, surnamed Grypus, he too was defeated in battle and killed.

Chapter 10. [270-300]
Hyrcanus demolishes Samaria. He changes sides, from Sadducee to Pharisee

1.

270 When Antiochus became king he was afraid to go to war on Judea because he heard that a brother of his (by the same mother) also called Antiochus, was raising an army against him from Cyzicum, 271 so he stayed at home, to be ready for the attack by his brother, who was nicknamed "Cyzicenus" as he was reared in that city. He was the son of Antiochus Soter, who had died in Parthia. He was the brother of Demetrius, the father of Grypus, for it that one and the same Cleopatra happened to marry both brothers, as we have said elsewhere. 272 When Antiochus Cyzicenus came into Syria, he went on warrring with his brother for many years, and all this while Hyrcanus lived in peace. 273 But after Antiochus died he rebelled from the Macedonians and no longer submitted to them, either as a subject or a friend, and still things prospered for him in the time of Alexander Zebina and especially under these brothers, since their war with each other allowed Hyrcanus to enjoy Judea in peace and to amass a large amount of money. 274 However, when Antiochus Cyzicenus plundered his land, he made his intentions clear, and when he saw Antiochus deprived of Egyptian allies and that both he and his brother were in a poor state in their struggles with each other, he scorned them both.

2.

275 So he marched against Samaria which was a very strong city; and we shall speak at a proper time about its present name, Sebaste, and its rebuilding by Herod. He attacked and besieged it with great effort, being very indignant at the wrongs which, in order to please the Syrian kings, the Samaritans had done to the people of Merissa, a Jewish colony in alliance with them. 276 So he made a ditch and a double wall, eighty furlongs long, around the city and put his sons Antigonus and Aristobulus in charge of the siege. This caused such hunger among the Samaritans that they were forced to eat what was formerly inedible and to call on Antiochus Cyzicenus for help. 277 He readily came to their assistance but was defeated by Aristobulus, and escaped, although pursued as far as Scythopolis by the two brothers. These returned to Samaria and again blockaded them within the wall, until they were forced to send a second time to Antiochus for help. 278 He got about six thousand men from Ptolemy Lathyrus, who sent them without his mother's consent, for she had then almost deposed him from ruling. With these Egyptians Antiochus at first overran and ravaged the district of Hyrcanus like a brigand, though he dared not meet him face to face in battle, as his army was insufficient for that purpose, so he hoped by so harassing his land to force Hyrcanus to raise the siege of Samaria. 279 In the process he fell into ambushes and lost many of his soldiers, so he went off to Tripoli and left Callimander and Epicrates to conduct the war against the Jews.

3.

280 But Callimander attacked the enemy too boldly and was put to flight and soon destroyed, and Epicrates was such a lover of money that he openly betrayed Scythopolis and other places near it to the Jews, yet could not make them lift the siege of Samaria. 281 When after a year's siege, Hyrcanus finally took the city, he did not leave it as it was but completely demolished it and brought streams to flood it and dug trenches to let the water run under it, removing the very signs that there had ever been such a city there. 282 Now a strange thing is told about this high priest Hyrcanus, how the Divinity came to talk with him. They say that on the very day when his sons fought Antiochus Cyzicenus, he was alone in the temple, offering incense as high priest, when a voice told him that his sons had just then defeated Antiochus. 283 This he publicly declared before all the people when he came from the temple, and it proved to be true. Such was the story of Hyrcanus.

4.

284 At this time, not only were the Jews prospering in Jerusalem and in Judea, but also those of them who were in Alexandria and Egypt and Cyprus. 285 Queen Cleopatra was at odds with her son Ptolemy, surnamed Lathyrus, and appointed as her generals Chelcias and Ananias, the sons of the Onias who, as we said earlier, built in the prefecture of Heliopolis a temple like the one in Jerusalem. 286 Cleopatra entrusted her army to these two and did nothing without their advice, as witnessed by Strabo of Cappadocia when he says: 287 "Most of those who came to Cyprus with us or were sent there later, immediately went over to Ptolemy. Only those who were called Onias's party, being Jews, continued faithful, because their countrymen Chelcias and Ananias were in high favour with the queen." That is what Strabo says.

5.

288 But the Jews envied Hyrcanus his prosperity, and those worst disposed to him were the Pharisees, who were one of the sects of the Jews as we have said. These have such power over the people, that when they say anything against the king or the high priest, they are readily believed. 289 Now Hyrcanus was a much beloved disciple of theirs, and once when he invited them to a feast and entertained them well and saw them in a good humour, he began to say to them how they knew he wanted to be a righteous man and to do all things to please God, for the Pharisees love wisdom. 290 He asked them to reproach him and correct him if they observed him offending in any point and leaving the right way. This made them profess that he was entirely virtuous, and he was well pleased with the praise. 291 But one of his guests named Eleazar, a bad-tempered man who delighted in unruly behaviour, said, "Since you desire to know the truth, if you wish to be righteous in earnest, set aside the high priesthood and be satisfied with ruling the people." 292 When he asked why he should set aside the high priesthood, the other answered, "We have heard from the old people that your mother was a prisoner during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes." This story was false and Hyrcanus was very angry with him, as were all the Pharisees.

6.

293 A man called Jonathan, of the Sadducee party, whose ideas are quite contrary to those of the Pharisees, was very friendly with Hyrcanus. He said that Eleazar's insult was the general view of all Pharisees and that this would be shown if he asked them what penalty he deserved for what he said. 294 So Hyrcanus asked them what penalty they thought he deserved. This would prove, if they wanted him properly punished for his blasphemy, that the insult did not have their approval. The Pharisees replied that he deserved beating and prison but that it did not seem right to punish insults with death, and even on other occasions the Pharisees tend not to be severe in punishments. 295 Hyrcanus was infuriated by this gentle sentence, and thought that the man had blasphemed him with their approval. It was this Jonathan who stirred him up and influenced him so much 296 that he got him to join the Sadducees and leave the Pharisee party and abolish the decrees they had imposed on the people, and to punish those who observed them. This was the source of the people's hatred for him and his sons, of which we shall later speak. 297 I now want to explain how the Pharisees have passed on to the people many traditional observances which are not written in the Mosaic lAws, and why the Sadducees reject them, saying that we should treat as obligatory those observances which are in the written word, but not to observe what derives from the tradition of our ancestors. 298 About these matters great disputes and differences have arisen, and while the Sadducees can persuade none but the rich and the people do not listen to them, the Pharisees have the people on their side. I have spoken in detail of these two sects and that of the Essenes, in my second book on Jewish matters.

7.

299 After Hyrcanus had put down this rebellion, he lived happily and ruled very well for thirty-one years and then died, leaving five sons behind him. God saw him as deserving three of the greatest privileges, the government of his nation, the dignity of the high priesthood and prophecy. 300 God was indeed with him, enabling him to know future events, and in particular, he foretold that his two eldest sons would not long continue to govern public affairs, and their unhappy fate is worth describing, that we may learn how much less well they did than their father.

Chapter 11. [301-319]
Aristobulus is cruel toward his mother and his brothers; kills Antigonus and dies in his turn.

1.

301 When their father Hyrcanus died, the eldest son Aristobulus, in order to change the government into a monarchy, which was his intention, first put a crown on his head, four hundred and eighty one years and three months after the people had been saved from the Babylonian slavery and had returned to their own country. 302 He loved his next brother Antigonus and treated him as his equal, but kept the others in chains. He also imprisoned his mother, whom Hyrcanus had left in charge of everything, and because she disputed the leadership with him he was so barbarous as to leave her in chains, to starve to death. 303 To this he added the death of his brother Antigonus whom at first he seemed to especially love and had shared the kingship with him, but then he was alienated from him through accusations which at first he did not believe, partly because of his love for him and partly since he considered that they arose from envy. 304 But once when Antigonus was returning from a campaign and the festival was near when they honour God by living in tents, Aristobulus happened to fall sick just when Antigonus, splendidly adorned and surrounded by his armed men, was going up to the temple to celebrate the feast and to pray especially for the recovery of his brother. 305 Some wicked people, wanting to provoke conflict between the brothers, used the pretext of the royal appearance of Antigonus and the great exploits he had done and going to the king they spitefully exaggerated his pompous display at the festival and 306 asserted that his actions were not like those of a private person, but were indications that he aspired to royal authority, and his bringing a strong troop meant he had come to kill him, thinking how easily he could reign alone rather than regard it as a favour to be granted some share in that dignity.

2.

307 Aristobulus was unwillingly persuaded by this, but took care that his brother had no suspicion of it, and while he lay sick in the tower called Antonia, to ensure his own safety he ordered his bodyguards to hide in a dark, underground place with orders to touch nobody if Antigonus came in to him unarmed, but if he came armed, to kill him. 308 Then he sent to Antigonus asking him to visit him unarmed, but the queen and her fellow plotters against Antigonus persuaded the messenger to tell him the opposite, how his brother had heard of the fine suit of armour he had gotten made himself and wished him to come to him armed, so as to get a look at it. 309 Suspecting no treachery, and confident of his brother's goodwill , Antigonus came in to Aristobulus dressed as usual in full armour, to show it to him, but when he reached the place called Strato's Tower, where the passageway happened to be completely unlit, the bodyguards killed him. 310 His death demonstrates that nothing can hold out against envy and calumny and that nothing ruins people's goodwill and natural feelings more surely than those passions. 311 One may also take this occasion to admire a man called Judas, of the sect of the Essenes, who in his predictions never failed to utter the truth. Seeing Antigonus passing by the temple, this man called out to his companions and friends who lived with him as his scholars in order to learn the art of foretelling the future, that it was now time for him to die, since he had spoken falsely about Antigonus, who was still alive. 312 Although he had foretold the man would die that very day at the place called Strato's Tower, he had just seen him pass by, but as the place where he foretold he would be murdered was six hundred furlongs away and most of the day was over, it seemed that his prediction was false. 313 As he was quietly saying this the news came that Antigonus had been killed in an underground place, which was also called Strato's Tower, a name shared with Caesarea on the Sea, which put the seer into some confusion.

3.

314 Immediately Aristobulus felt repentant for his fratricide, and was sick with it, and his crime worsened his mental state so that his innards were destroyed with intolerable pain and he vomited blood. Meanwhile one of his servants attending to him slipped and fell, due to a demon I suppose, and shed some blood at the very place where some spots of Antigonus's blood still remained where he had been killed. 315 When the onlookers shouted out as though the servant had purposely shed the blood on that place, Aristobulus heard it and enquired about the reason, and when they did not answer him was all the keener to know what it was, since it is natural to humans to suspect that anything so concealed must be very bad. 316 As he forced the truth out them by threats and by fear, the awareness of what he had done deranged his mind and caused him to shed floods of tears. With a deep groan he said, "I see that God will not ignore such an impious outrage as the murder of my kinsman, for the punishment is suddenly coming upon me. 317 How long, shameless body, will you cling to soul responsible for the shades of my brother and my mother? Why not give it up at once? Must I pour out my blood drop by drop to the ones I have slaughtered?" 318 With these words he died, after reigning for a year. He had been friendly towards the Greeks, and done much good for his country and made war on Iturea and added most of it to Judea and made the inhabitants, if they wished to continue living in the land, to be circumcised and live by the Jewish laws. 319 By nature he was a fair man and much overcome by shame, as Strabo bears witness when, with Timagenes as his source he says, "This was a fair man who did many services for the Jews, adding a country to them and winning for them part of the Iturean nation whom he bound to them by the bond of the circumcision of their genitals."

Chapter 12. [320-347]
The new king, Alexander, besieges Ptolemais. He earns Ptolemy's hatred by intrigue with Cleopatra

1.

320 When Aristobulus died, his wife Salina, surnamed Alexandra by the Greeks, set his brothers free, for as we have already said Aristobulus had kept them in chains, and appointed as king Alexander Janneus, who was both older and wiser. 321 This man had been hated by his father as soon as he was born and was never allowed into his father's sight until his death, and the cause of this hatred is said to be as follows: 322 As Hyrcanus gave his love mainly to the his two eldest sons, Antigonus and Aristobulus, he asked God who appeared to him in his sleep which of his sons would be his successor. When God showed him the other one's face [Alexander's], he was grieved that he was to inherit all his property and sent him to be brought up in Galilee But had not lied to Hyrcanus, 323 for after the death of Aristobulus, he did take over the kingdom, and did away with one of his brothers who aspired to the kingdom while honouring the other, who preferred to live an inactive life.

2.

324 When Alexander Janneus had settled the government as he judged best, he marched against Ptolemais, and having won the battle, confined the people within the city and laid siege to them. Of the maritime cities there remained to be taken only Ptolemais and Gaza, Strato's Tower and Dora, which were held by the tyrant Zoilus. 325 While Antiochus Philometor and his brother Antiochus, surnamed Cyzicenus, were warring with each other and destroying each other's forces, there was no help for the Ptolemaians from them. 326 When they were hard pressed by the siege, Zoilus, who held Strato's Tower and Dora and maintained a legion of soldiers, and, because of the kings were quarrelling with each other, became tyrant himself, came with a small force to help the Ptolemaians. 327 Neither of the kings showed them such favour that they could hope for any help from them; indeed they were both like wrestlers, who finding themselves exhausted but ashamed to yield, postpone the fight by inactivity and simply keep still. 328 The only remaining hope was from the kings of Egypt and Ptolemy Lathyrus, who now held Cyprus where he had gone when driven from power by his mother Cleopatra. The Ptolemaians sent this message to Ptolemy, asking him to come as an ally and save them from danger at the hands of Alexander. 329 Since the envoys gave him hopes that if he crossed over to Syria he would have the people of Gaza on the side of the Ptolemaians, and that Zoilus and the Sidonians and many others would help them, elated by this he hurried to get his fleet ready.

3.

330 Meanwhile the demagogue Demenetus who could get others to do his wishes, got the Ptolemaians to change their minds by saying that it was better to run the risk of subjection to the Jews than to welcome certain slavery by surrendering to a master, and besides, that not only would they face the present war but must expect a much much fiercer one from Egypt. 331 For Cleopatra would not ignore an army raised from the neighbourhood on behalf of Ptolemy, but would come upon them with a large army of her own, when she went to expel her son from Cyprus. And if his hopes failed, Ptolemy could still retreat to Cyprus, but they would be left in extreme danger. 332 Although he had heard of the Ptolemaians' change of heart, Ptolemy went on with his voyage and came to the place called Sycamine and where he disembarked his army. 333 His whole army, between cavalry and infantry, numbered about thirty thousand, with which he marched close to Ptolemais and encamped. When they would neither receive his envoys nor listen what they had to say, he was greatly worried.

4.

334 When Zoilus and the Gazaites came to him asking him to be their military ally, because their country had been ravaged by the Jews and Alexander, for fear of Ptolemy Alexander raised the siege, and after withdrawing his army to his own land, later used a ruse by secretly inviting Cleopatra to fight Ptolemy, while publicly seeking a pact of friendship and military alliance with him. 335 He promised him four hundred talents of silver in return for deposing Zoilus the tyrant and giving his country to the Jews and Ptolemy gladly entered into friendship with Alexander and subdued Zoilus. 336 Later when he heard how he had secretly written to his mother Cleopatra , he broke the agreement he had sealed under oath, and attacked him and besieged Ptolemais for not receiving him. However, leaving the siege in the care of his generals and part of his forces, he himself hurried off with the remainder to plunder Judea. 337 When Alexander learned of Ptolemy's intention, he too gathered about fifty thousand of his own countrymen, or some writers have said, eighty thousand, and went to meet Ptolemy with this force, but Ptolemy suddenly attacked Asochis, a city of Galilee and took it by force on the sabbath day, and took about ten thousand slaves and a large amount of other booty.

5.

338 He then tried to take Sepphoris, close to the one he had destroyed, and there lost many of his men, but went on to fight Alexander, who met him at the river Jordan, near a place called Asophos, not far from the Jordan, and pitched camp near to the enemy. 339 This time he had in the front rank eight thousand whom he called "hundred-fighters" with shields of brass. Those in the first rank of Ptolemy's soldiers also had brass-covered shields, but the rest of Ptolemy's soldiers were inferior to those of Alexander and therefore were more fearful of risks. 340 But the tactician Philostephanus put great heart into them and ordered them to cross the river, which was between their camps; and Alexander did not try to stop them, thinking that if the enemy had their backs to the river, he could capture them more easily as they could not flee from the battle. 341 At first the two sides matched each other both in deed and courage and there was great slaughter on both sides, but Alexander was having the better of it until Philostephanus cleverly brought up the allies to help those who were giving ground. 342 Since there were no allies to help the part of the Jews that were yielding they fled and those beside them did not help them, but fled along with them, while Ptolemy's soldiers acted quite otherwise. 343 They pursued and killed the Jews until finally the killers in pursuit had been chasing and killing for so long that their iron weapons were blunted and their hands were weary. 344 It was said that thirty thousand men were killed that day, though Timagenes says it was fifty thousand. Of the rest, some were taken prisoner and the others escaped home.

6.

345 After this victory, Ptolemy overran the land and when night came on, he stayed where he was in some villages of Judea that he found full of women and children, and ordered his soldiers to strangle and butcher them, and then throw them into boiling caldrons and use their limbs as sacrifices. 346 He gave this order so that any who fled from the battle and got home would think that their enemies were cannibals who ate human flesh and therefore be still more terrified of them. 347 Both Strabo and Nicholas affirm that they treated them in this waythat I have reported. Ptolemy then took Ptolemais by force, as we have clarified elsewhere.

Chapter 13. [348-376]
In league with Cleopatra, Alexander destroys Gaza. He kills many Jews who rebelled against him

1.

348 When Cleopatra saw how powerful her son had grown and how he had ravaged Judea easily and taken control of the city of Gaza, she decided no longer to ignore his activities when he was almost at her gates, since he would be eager to rule the Egyptians, 349 so immediately she set out against him by sea and land and appointed the Jews Chelkias and Ananias as generals of her whole army, while she sent most of her riches, her grandchildren and her testament, to the people of Cos. 350 Cleopatra also ordered her son Alexander to sail with a large fleet to Phoenicia, and when that country rebelled she went to Ptolemais, and because the Ptolemaians did not receive her, she besieged the city. 351 Ptolemy left Syria and hurried to Egypt, expecting to find it without an army and to capture it quickly, but he was unsuccessful in his hopes. Meanwhile Chelkias, one of Cleopatra's generals, happened to die in Coele-Syria, as he was in pursuit of Ptolemy.

2.

352 When Cleopatra heard of her son's attempt and that his Egyptian expedition had not succeeded according to his plans, she sent part of her army there and expelled him from that country, and on his return from Egypt he passed the winter in Gaza. 353 Meanwhile Cleopatra took the garrison in Ptolemais by siege, and the city too, and when Alexander came he brought her gifts and appropriate marks of respect, since under the threat of Ptolemy she was his only refuge. Some of her friends urged her to seize Alexander and to invade and occupy his country and not to sit still and let such a crowd of good Jews be subject to one man. 354 Ananias advised to the contrary, that it would be wrong to deprive an ally of his rightful authority, "especially one related to us; for I want you to know that any injustice you do to him will turn all of us Jews into your enemies." 355 Cleopatra took this advice of Ananias and did no harm to Alexander, but made a pact of alliance with him at Scythopolis, a city of Coele-Syria.

3.

356 When Alexander was freed from his fear of Ptolemy, he marched at once against Coelesyria and after a siege of ten months took Gadara. He also took Amathous, a major fortress of the people of the upper Jordan, where Theodore, son of Zeno, kept all that he valued most highly; but he attacked the Jews unexpectedly and killed ten thousand of them and captured Alexander's baggage. 357 Undismayed, Alexander marched against the maritime districts of Raphia and Anthedon, which king Herod later renamed Agrippias, and took even that by storm. 358 When Alexander saw that Ptolemy had retreated from Gaza to Cyprus and his mother Cleopatra had returned to Egypt, in his anger at the people of Gaza for inviting Ptolemy to help them he besieged their city and ravaged their country. 359 When Apollodotus, the general of the Gazaites, with two thousand foreigners and ten thousand of his own forces, attacked the camp of the Jews and while the night lasted the men of Gaza had the upper hand, since the enemy thought that it was Ptolemy attacking them, but when it was day and that impression was corrected and the Jews knew the actual truth, they returned and attacked the men of Gazaites and killed about a thousand of them. 360 But as the Gazaites held out and would not yield either from shortage of food or because of the numbers killed, for they would rather suffer any hardship than come under the power of their enemies, Aretas, the king of the Arabs, a notable personage at the time, encouraged them to go on with determination and promised to come to their aid. 361 Before he arrived Apollodotus was killed, for his brother Lysimachus who envied him for the great reputation he had gained among the citizens, killed him and assembling the troops, surrendered the city to Alexander. 362 After coming in he at first stayed peaceful but later set his army on the people of Gaza and let them punish them, so that they spread out in various directions to kill the Gazaites. These, however, were not cowardly but stood up to those who came to kill them and killed just as many of the Jews. 363 Some of them even, finding themselves isolated, burned their own houses so that the enemy might claim no spoils from them, and some with their own hands killed their children and their wives, having no other way to keep them from slavery. 364 As this attack came while they were in session, the senators, five hundred in all, fled to the temple of Apollo, but Alexander killed them and when he had utterly destroyed their city, he returned to Jerusalem, after a year besieging them.

4.

365 About this time Antiochus, who was surnamed Grypus, died in a plot instigated by Heracleon, after living forty-five years and ruling for twenty-nine. 366 His son Seleucus succeeded him as king and made war on his father's brother Antiochus, surnamed Antiochus Cyzicenus, and on defeating him took him prisoner and killed him. 367 Shortly afterwards the son of Cyzicenus, Antiochus, called the Pious, came to Aradus and after taking the crown made war on Seleucus and beat him and drove him completely out of Syria. 368 Taking flight to Cilicia, he came to Mopsous and again levied money upon them, but the populace of Mopsous were angry and burned down his palace and killed him along with his friends. 369 When Antiochus, son of Cyzicenus, was king of Syria, Antiochus, the brother of Seleucus, made war on him and was defeated and destroyed along with his army; and after him, his brother Philip assumed the crown and ruled over part of Syria. 370 Ptolemy Lathyrus sent for his fourth brother Demetrius, surnamed Eucerus, from Cnidus and made him king of Damascus. 371 Having fiercely opposed both these brothers, Antiochus died soon afterwards, for coming as an ally to Laodice, queen of Galaditis, in her war against the Parthians and fighting bravely, he fell. At that time Demetrius and Philip ruled Syria, as has been elsewhere reported.

5.

372 Alexander's own people rebelled against him, for as a festival was being celebrated, when he stood upon the altar about to sacrifice, the nation rose up at him and pelted him with lemons, for the Jewish law requires that at the feast of tents each should have branches of the palm and lemon trees, as we have elsewhere reported, and they mocked him as on born of slaves and so unworthy of the honour of offering sacrifice. 373 Enraged by this he killed about six thousand of them and built a wooden partition around the altar and extended the sanctuary as far as the partition, within which only the priests were allowed to enter, and thereby blocked the people from coming near him. 374 He also employed Pisidian and Cilician aliens but made war on the Syrians, and so made no use of them; and of the Arabs he defeated the Moabites and Galadites and made them pay tribute, and he crushed Amathous, while Theodore dared not fight with him. 375 But as he had gave battle to Obedas, king of the Arabs, he fell into an ambush among a herd of camels in a rugged place that was difficult to cross, and was driven down into a deep valley, near the village of Gadara in Gaulanitis and fled to Jerusalem, barely escaping with his life. 376 To his other misdeeds he added fighting his own nation for six years and killing no fewer than fifty thousand of the Jews. When he entreated them to set aside their ill-will to him, they hated him all the more for what had already happened, and when he asked them what they wannted they all shouted that he should kill himself. They also sent to Demetrius Akairos, asking him to come as their ally.

Chapter 14. [377-386]
Demetrius Akairos defeats Alexander, then retreats. The many Jews killed by Alexander

1.

377 Being invited, he came with an army and joining up with them encamped near the city of Sikima. Then Alexander, with his six thousand two hundred mercenaries and about twenty thousand Jews who thought as he did went out against Demetrius, who had three thousand cavalry and forty thousand infantry. 378 Both sides strove hard, Demetrius trying to win over the mercenaries who were Greeks, and Alexander trying to win over the Jews who were on the side of Demetrius. When neither could persuade the others, a battle was fought which Demetrius won, and despite proving their loyalty and courage all of Alexander's mercenaries died in it, as well as many of the soldiers of Demetrius.

2.

379 As Alexander fled to the mountains, six thousand of the Jews, sympathetic to the change in his fortune, joined up with him, and Demetrius grew afraid and retreated. But later the Jews turned on Alexander and after their defeat in the battles many were killed. 380 Having trapped the most powerful of them in the city of Baithomis, he besieged it and when he captured the city and had them in his power he brought them to Jerusalem and did to them one of the cruellest things. For as he was feasting in public with his concubines, he had about eight hundred of them crucified, and while they were still alive, had the throats of their children and wives cut before their eyes. 381 This was in revenge for the wrongs they had done, but the vengeance was inhuman even granted his exhaustion by his wars with them, for they had brought him to the most extreme danger both to his life and kingdom, as they not only fought against him themselves, but brought in foreigners for this purpose. 382 In the end they drove him to such extremes that he was forced to hand back to the king the districts of Arabia and land in Moab and Galaditis which he had subdued, to prevent their joining them in the war against him, and they had done ten thousand other things to insult and challenge him. 383 But all his actions won him no credit since among the Jews he was nicknamed "The Thracian," for his excessive savagery. Therefore the crowd of about eight thousand that had fought against him fled by night and continued as fugitives as long as Alexander lived, and now free from any further disturbance from them, he ruled the rest of his time in all tranquillity.

3.

384 When Demetrius left Judea he went to Berea and besieged his brother Philip with a force of ten thousand infantry and a thousand cavalry. However the tyrant of Berea, Strato, the ally of Philip, called in Azizos, the ruler of the Arabian tribes and Mithridates Sinakes, the ruler of the Parthians. 385 These, coming with numerous forces and besieging Demetrius in the fortress into which with their arrows they had driven him, by thirst forced his companions to surrender. So they took many spoils from the land and Demetrius himself, whom they sent to Mithridates, then the king of Parthia, but without any reward restored to the Antiocheans any from that city whom they had captured. 386 Now Mithridates, the king of Parthia, showed Demetrius great honour, until sickness ended the man's life. And immediately after the battle Philip went to Antioch and took it and ruled over Syria.

Chapter 15. [387-404]
Antiochus "Dionysus" and Aretas make raids on Judea. Alexander's advice to Alexandra, before his death

1.

387 Then Antiochus, surnamed Dionysus, Philip's brother, aspiring to rule came to Damascus and took power there. But as he was campaigning against the Arabs, his brother Philip heard of it and came to Damascus. 388 Milesius, who was in charge of the citadel, and the Damascene population surrendered the city to him, but when he disappointed him and granted none of what he had hoped for when welcoming him into the city, and claimed to have gained it through fear rather than by the favour of Milesius, and did not properly reward him, Philip lost popularity and was expelled from Damascus again. 389 Milesius caught him marching out into the Hippodrome and shut him within it and kept Damascus for Antiochus, who hearing about the Philip affair, returned from Arabia. He then immediately marched against Judea, with eight thousand armed infantry and eight hundred cavalry. 390 Fearful of his arrival, Alexander dug a deep ditch, beginning at Chabarzaba, which is now called Antipatris, to the sea of Joppa, on which only a part of his army could be brought against him. He also raised a wall and built wooden towers and intermediate redoubts, for one hundred and fifty furlongs in length and there expected the coming of Antiochus, 391 but the other soon burned them all and so enabled his army to pass into Arabia. At first the Arabian king retreated, but later suddenly appeared with ten thousand cavalry; and Antiochus faced them and fought desperately, and was on the verge of victory and helping part of his army in distress, when he was killed. When Antiochus fell his army fled to the village of Cana, where most of them died of hunger.

2.

392 After him Aretas ruled Coele-Syria, being called to the leadership by those who held Damascus, because of their hatred of Ptolemy Mennaeus. From there he also made an expedition against Judea and beat Alexander in battle, near a place called Adidas, but then made a treaty and retreated from Judea.

3.

393 Alexander marched against the city of Dios and took it, and then marched on Essa, where the best of Zeno's treasures happened to be and surrounded the place with three walls; and taking the city without a fight, he hastened on to Golan and Seleucia. 394 After taking these cities, he also captured the valley called The Valley of Antiochus, and the fortress of Gamala and indicted the ruler of those places, Demetrius, of many crimes and expelled him. After spending three years at war, he returned home, and the Jews received him joyfully for his success.

4.

395 At this time the Jews occupied the following cities that had belonged to the Syrians and Idumaeans and Phoenicians: On the coast, Strato's Tower, Apollonia, Joppa, Jamneia, Azotus, Gaza, Anthedon, Raphia and Rhinocoroura; 396 in the middle of the country towards Idumaea, Adora and Marissa; near the district of Samaria, Mount Carmel and Mount Itaburion, Scythopolis and Gadara, 397 of the district of Gaulonitis, Seleucia and Gabala; in the district of Moab, Hessebon, Medaba, Lemba, Oronaima, Gelithon, Zoar, the valley of the Cilicians and Pella, which they utterly destroyed when its inhabitants would not bear to exchange their customs for those of the Jews; and they held other major cities of Syria, which had been destroyed.

5.

398 Then king Alexander, although he was sick from hard drinking and had a regular fever, which affected him for three years, would not stop going out with his army until he was quite spent with fatigue and died not far from Ragaba, a fortress beyond the Jordan. 399 When his queen saw that he was about to die and there was no more hope of his surviving, she came to him weeping and beating her breast for the desolate condition she and her sons would be left in. She wailed, "To whom do you leave me and the children, who are without any support, when you know how much the nation hates you?" 400 He advised her with some suggestions so that she and the children could securely hold on to the kingdom . First, she should conceal his death from the soldiers until she had captured the place. 401 Then she should go in triumph, as for a victory, to Jerusalem and entrust some of her authority to the Pharisees, who would commend her for the honour she showed them and would reconcile the nation to her. He pointed out to her the great authority they had among the Jews, both harm anyone they hated and to benefit those to whom they were well disposed, 402 and that they are believed by the crowd especially when they say something harsh, even if it is only out of envy for it was through them that he had incurred the nation's displeasure when they insulted him. 403 "Therefore," he said, "when you go to Jerusalem, send for their officers and show them my body and appearing fully sincere, leave the choice to them, whether to demean my corpse by refusing it burial, because of what they suffered from me, or in their anger decide to dishonour my body in some other way. And promise them that you will do nothing in the kingdom without their advice . 404 If you only say this to them, I shall have from them the honour of a more glorious funeral than you could give me, and when it is in their power to abuse my corpse they will do it no harm at all and you will rule in safety." When he had advised his wife in this way, he died, after he had ruled for twenty-seven years and lived for forty nine.

Chapter 16. [405-433]
With the Pharisees' support, Alexandra rules Judea for nine years

1.

405 After taking the fortress, Alexandra acted as her husband had suggested and spoke to the Pharisees and put everything in their power, about his corpse and the kingdom, and so she pacified their rage at Alexander and won their goodwill and friendship. 406 They, going to the people and talking to them and explaining the acts of Alexander and saying that they had lost a righteous king, by their praise brought them to grieve and mourn for him, so that he had a funeral more splendid than any of the kings before him. 407 Alexander left behind him two sons, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, but entrusted the kingdom to Alexandra. Of these children, Hyrcanus was unfit for public affairs and preferred a quiet life, while the younger, Aristobulus, was active and courageous. The woman herself was loved by the people, as she seemed displeased by the sins her husband had committed.

2.

408 She made Hyrcanus high priest, since he was the elder, but even more because he was inactive and left everything to the Pharisees, to whom she told the people to be subject. She also restored the Pharisaic practices in line with ancestral tradition, which Hyrcanus her father-in-law had abrogated. 409 Although she held the title of regent, it was the Pharisees who had authority, for they brought people back from banishment and freed the prisoners, and, in a word, they were virtually masters. But the queen also took care of the kingdom and gathered a large body of mercenaries and so increased the size of her army that she was feared by the neighbouring tyrants and took hostages from them. 410 The whole country was at peace, except the Pharisees, who pestered the queen, asking her to kill those who had persuaded Alexander to slaughter the eight hundred. Then they cut the throat of one of them, Diogenes, and later did the same to several, one after another, 411 until the dignitaries came to the palace accompanied by Aristobulus, for he resented what was going on, and it was clear that, given the opportunity, he would not let his mother continue like this. These reminded the queen of the great risks they had run and all they had done to prove the their utter loyalty to their master, from whom they received the highest signs of favour. 412 They begged her not to utterly ruin their hopes, for if they escaped the danger of their public enemies, they could be killed at home by secret foes, like brute beasts, with no recourse. 413 They said that if their foes would call a halt with those they had already killed, they would accept what had been done, due to their natural love for their officers, but if they must expect the same in future, they asked her permission to leave. They could not bear to think of seeking a way to save themselves without her, but would rather die willingly outside the palace gate, if she would not forgive them. 414 What a shame it would be, for themselves and the queen, if through her neglect they were given over to her husband's enemies, since Aretas, the Arab king, and other monarchs would pay any price to get as allies such men, whose reputation was impressive, even before their voices were heard. 415 But if they could not obtain their second request and she had decided to prefer the Pharisees over them, they asked her to place them all in her fortresses, for if a wicked demon bore permanent spite against the house of Alexander, they were willing to bear their part and to live there privately.

3.

416 As they said this and called on Alexander's ghost to pity those already killed and those in danger of being so, all the bystanders broke into tears. But Aristobulus mainly revealed his sentiments and said many shameful things to his mother. 417 He said they had caused their own troubles, by letting a woman, mad with ambition, rule them, when she had sons in their prime, more fit for it. So, not knowing what she could do with any decency, Alexandra handed over the fortresses to them, except Hyrcania and Alexandreion and Machaerus, where her principal treasures were. 418 A little later, she sent her son Aristobulus with an army to Damascus against Ptolemy, surnamed Mennaeus, who was such a bad neighbour to the city, but having achieved nothing of note they went home.

4.

419 About this time news was brought that king Tigranes of Armenia with three hundred thousand soldiers had invaded Syria and was marching on Judea. This naturally terrified the queen and the nation, and as he was besieging Ptolemais, they sent him many valuable gifts and envoys. 420 The queen of Syria was Selene, also called Cleopatra, who had urged the population to keep Tigranes out, but now they begged and beseeched him not to pass a harsh sentence on their queen and nation. 041 He commended them for coming so far to pay their respects and raised their hopes. Shortly after Ptolemais was taken, news reached Tigranes that Lucullus, who had pursued Mithridates in vain as he had fled to Iberia, was devastating Armenia and besieging its cities, so hearing this, Tigranes went home.

5.

422 Afterwards, when the queen fell dangerously ill, Aristobulus resolved to try a coup. With just one servant he stole away secretly by night and went to the fortresses where his friends from his father's days had settled. 423 He had long been displeased at his mother's conduct, and now was even more afraid that, at her death, their whole clan would fall under the Pharisees, since his brother was clearly unable to succeed in the throne. 424 Nobody knew what he was doing except his wife, whom he left there with the family. He first went to Agaba where he was received by Galestes, one of the powerful men. 425 At daybreak, the queen had a feeling that Aristobulus had fled, but for some time she did not realise he had left in order to stage a coup; however, when a series of messengers arrived with the news that he had taken first one place and then another, and then all of them - for once one had begun they all submitted to his will - then the queen and the nation were in a major crisis. 426 They knew that soon Aristobulus would be able to firmly grasp the leadership. What they mainly feared was that he would punish them for the way they had mistreated his family, so they decided to put his wife and children in custody in the fortress overlooking the temple. 427 People came in large numbers to Aristobulus from all sides, so that he had a kind of royal court about him, and in little more than fifteen days he gained twenty-two strongholds, and could raise an army from Libanus and Trachonitis and the kings, for men are easily led by the majority and easily submit to them. Besides, by unepectedly helping him, both they and he would benefit if he won the kingship, for they would be the cause of his gaining it. 428 The Jewish elders and Hyrcanus went to the queen to ask how she felt about the state of things, for in holding so many strongholds Aristobulus was in effect master of most of the kingdom. As long as she was alive they could not decide by themselves, however ill she was, but the danger would be upon them soon. 429 She told them to do as they thought best, but that they had many things still on their side, a well-disposed nation, an army and money in the treasuries, but she herself had little concern for public affairs, now that her bodily strength was failing.

6.

430 Shortly after saying this she died, after a reign of nine years, at the age of seventy-three, a woman who showed none of the weakness of her sex. She was tenacious in her ambition to rule, and showed a pragmatic mind in her actions, where even men often fail to be wise enough to hold on to power. 431 She always valued the present over the future and preferred the power to rule above all things and for the sake of it had no regard for what was good or right. 432 But she brought the affairs of her family so low that the authority she had gained at the cost of so much risk and hardship was soon lost. For in her desire for what is not suitable to a woman and for sharing the views of those who hated her family, her leadership lacked the guidance of great men. 433 Her behaviour during her lifetime led to the palace being filled with trouble and strife after her death. Despite this she ruled peacefully and preserved the nation in tranquillity; and with that we end our story of queen Alexandra.

In the next book I will tell what became of her sons Aristobulus and Hyrcanus, after her death.