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Antiquities of the Jews, Book 15.

Herod, from the death of Antigonus to completion of the Temple

1. Herod kills Antigonus' friends and sacks the city. Antigonus executed

2. Hyrcanus returns to Herod. Alexandra vs new high priest Ananelus

3. Aristobulus high priest, murdered; Herod's apology. Mariamne and Joseph

4. Cleopatra comes to Judea, to be flattered and bribed by Herod

5. Herod's war and conquest of Arabia; the great earthquake

6. Herod kills Hyrcanus; is confirmed as king by Octavian Caesar

7. Murders by Herod: Mariamne, Alexandra, various friends and the sons of Babbas

8. Herod hated, for introducing foreign customs. He builds Sebaste and Caesarea

9. Famine in Judea and Syria. Herod marries again; builds Greek-style cities

10. Herod retains Caesar's goodwill. Description of Pharisees and Essenes

11. Herod magnificently rebuilds the Temple; builds the Antonia tower


Chapter 1. [001-010]]]]
Herod plunders Jerusalem. Antony beheads Antigonus

1.

001 How Sosius and Herod took Jerusalem by force, and how they took Antigonus prisoner, we have reported in the previous book. We will now go with the narrative. 002 Since Herod had now the government of all Judea in his hands, he promoted the private citizens within the city who belonged to his party, and daily punished and penalised those who had chosen the opposite side. 003 Pollio the Pharisee and Sameas his disciple were honoured by him above all others, for when Jerusalem was besieged, they advised the citizens to receive Herod, for which they were well repaid. 004 This Pollio, at the time when Herod was once being tried for his life mockingly foretold to Hyrcanus and the other judges, how this Herod, whom they had spared, would later come back at them all, and this took place in its time, as God fulfilled the words he had spoken.

2.

005 Meanwhile, now that he had taken Jerusalem, he took away all the royal ornaments and despoiled the wealthy of what they had acquired, and after collecting a large amount of silver and gold, he gave it all to Antony and the friends in his circle. 006 He also killed forty-five of the officers of Antigonus's party and set guards at the gates of the city, that nothing might be brought out along with the dead. They also searched the corpses and any silver or gold or valuables they found, was brought to the king. 007 This was not the last of the troubles he caused, partly due to the greed of the ruler who needed still more and partly because of the Sabbatical year, still in progress, which left the country still uncultivated, since we are forbidden to sow our land in that year. 008 When Antony had taken Antigonus prisoner, he decided to keep him for his triumph, but when he heard how the nation was still rebellious and in their hatred for Herod, still favoured Antigonus, he decided to behead him in Antioch, for in no other way could the Jews be pacified. 009 Strabo of Cappadocia supports me in this, when he says: "Antony had Antigonus the Jew brought to Antioch and beheaded there. I believe he was the first Roman to behead a king, thinking there was no other way to change the mind of the Jews to receive Herod, whom he had set in his place, for even tortures could not force them to acknowledge him as king. 010 With their great fondness for their former king, he felt that this disgrace would diminish his memory and also lessen their hatred of Herod." Such is Strabo's account.

Chapter 2. [011-038]]]]
Hyrcanus, freed by the Parthians, returns to Herod. Alexandra angered by new high priest, Ananelus

1.

011 When the high priest Hyrcanus, who had been a prisoner among the Parthians, heard that Herod had taken over the kingdom he came to Herod after he was set free from his imprisonment in this way. 012 The Parthian generals Barzapharnes and Pacorus captured the former high priest and later king, Hyrcanus, along with Herod's brother Phasael, and took them away to Parthia. 013 But Phasael, unable to bear the shame of being in chains, and thinking that death with glory was better than merely clinging to life, took his own life, as I have already said.

2.

014 When Hyrcanus was brought into Parthia king Phraates treated him more fairly, being already aware of what an illustrious family he came from, and so he set him free from his chains and gave him a residence in Babylon, where there was a large numbers of Jews. 015 These honoured Hyrcanus as their high priest and king, as did the whole Jewish nation as far as the Euphrates, which was gratifying to him. 016 But when told that Herod had taken over the kingdom he took new hope, as he had remained fond of him and expected Herod to remember his past favours, for saving him when during his trial when he stood in peril of execution and rescuing him from the impending punishment. He used to talk of this matter with the Jews who came eagerly to see him. 017 They tried to get him to stay on with them, reminding him of the services and honours they showed him which were no less than the honour shown to their high priests or kings, and further, that he could not enjoy such honour at home due to the physical deformity he had suffered under Antigonus, and that kings do not repay people for favours they received as commoners, as their change of fortune understandably changes their outlook too.

3.

018 Although they argued this with him for his own good, Hyrcanus still wanted to leave, and Herod also wrote urging him to request Phraates and the Jews in that place not to begrudge him the kingship which he would share and that now was his best time for repaying him for supporting and saving him, if Hyrcanus would come to receive it. 019 As he wrote this to Hyrcanus, he also sent an envoy, Saramallas, with many gifts to Phraates, and politely asking him not to prevent him showing this gratitude towards his benefactor. 020 This however was not the true motive, but because he had unjustifiably come to power and was reasonably afraid that things might change, he was eager to have Hyrcanus in his power or even to dispose of him entirely, which he did later.

4.

021 And so, with the permission of the king of Parthia and the help of the Jews who provided him with money, he went and was welcomed with every respect and given the first place at assemblies and banquets, and was thereby deceived. Herod called him his father and tried by all possible means to avert any suspicion that he was plotting against him. 022 He also did other things to secure his rule, for which trouble arose in his own family, for, wary of appointing any prominent person as God's high priest he sent for an obscure priest from Babylon, named Ananelus and bestowed the high priesthood upon him.

5.

023 But Alexandra was immediately incensed at this. She was the daughter of Hyrcanus and wife of Alexander the son of king Aristobulus, and had borne Alexander an extremely handsome son called Aristobulus, and a and a celebrated beauty, Herod's wife Mariamne. 024 She was badly shaken by this indignity to her son, that the dignity of the high priesthood should be conferred on someone else during his lifetime. So she wrote to Cleopatra, using a musician to carry her letters, to get her to intercede with Antony to gain the high priesthood for her son.

6.

025 While Antony delayed in granting this request, his friend Dellius came to Judea on some business, and when he saw Aristobulus, he admired the boy's height and beauty and not less the king's wife Mariamne, and was unstinting in his praises of Alexandra, as the mother of most beautiful children. 026 When she came to talk with him, he persuaded her to get pictures drawn of them both and to send them to Antony, for when he saw them, he would deny her nothing she might ask. 027 Elated by these words Alexandra sent the pictures to Antony. Dellius also talked extravagantly and said that these children seemed not to come from mere mortals but from some god or other, although his plan in doing so was to stir the lust of Antony. 028 He indeed was ashamed to send for the girl, as she was Herod's wife and also so as not to have it reported to Cleopatra; but he sent, as decently as he could, for the young man, adding "unless this seems too much to ask." 029 When this letter was brought to Herod, he did not think it safe to send so handsome a lad as Aristobulus, in the prime of his life, for he was sixteen years of age and of such a noble family, and particularly not to Antony, who was then the most powerful of the Romans, who was ready to submit him to eroticism for he publicly indulged without measure in all the pleasures his power allowed him. 030 So he wrote back to him, that all would be up in arms and uproar if the lad even left the country, as the Jews were full of hopes for change and revolution under another king.

7.

031 Having made these excuses to Antony, he knew he could not entirely dishonour the child or Alexandra, but when his wife Mariamne vehemently urged him to restore the high priesthood to her brother he judged it best to do so, for once held that dignity, he could not leave the country. However he assembled his friends and accused Alexandra of many things, 032 of secretly conspiring against the kingdom and trying through Cleopatra to have him deposed as ruler and getting Antony to give control of affairs to this youth in his place. 033 In this she was acting unjustly, he said, since she would at the same time deprive her daughter of her present dignity and bring uproar into the kingdom, for which he had worked so hard and which he had won at such great risk. 034 Still, while not forgetting the ugly things she had done, he would not cease doing right and even now would give the high priesthood to the young man, since he had appointed Ananelus earlier simply because Aristobulus was still so young a child. 035 He did not say this without forethought but with the utmost subtlety, in order to deceive the women and those friends whom he had taken into consultation, so that Alexandra, overjoyed at this unexpected promise after her fearful suspicions, burst out in tears and apologised to him. 036 She said she had cared about the disgrace regarding the priesthood but had no desire to have him made king and would not accept it even if it were offered, and was now satisfied with the dignity offered, while Herod continued to hold power and thereby provided the security that came to all of her family from his special ability in ruling. 037 She was now won over by his goodness and welcomed the honour given to her son and would in future be fully obedient and apologised if her lineage and the freedom which she thought it permitted had made her speak rashly or inappropriately. 038 When they had spoken to each other in this way they reached agreement and all suspicions seemed to vanish.

Chapter 3. [039-087]]]]
Herod makes Aristobulus high priest, then has him murdered.Mariamne and Joseph

1.

039 King Herod immediately removed the high priesthood from Ananelus, who as we said earlier was not native born but one of the Jews that had been deported beyond the Euphrates, for many thousands of the people had been deported to the area around Babylonia. 040 That was where Ananelus came from, a man of high-priestly stock and from of old a close friend of Herod, who when he came to the kingship conferred this honour on him, and now removed it again, to calm the troubles in his family, an unlawful thing since one should not deposed from the honour after taking it up. 041 Antiochus Epiphanes was the first to break that law by deposing Joshua and making his brother Onias high priest in place of him; Aristobulus was the second, by removing his brother Hyrcanus, and Herod was the third, by transferring the rule to the youth Aristobulus.

2.

042 Herod seemed to have pacified his family, but remained suspicious as is normal after a reconciliation. He thought that as Alexandra had already attempted something she might lead a revolt if she found a good moment to do so. 043 So he ordered her to stay within the palace and not meddle with matters of authority and her guards took care that nothing she did in her everyday life was hidden from him. 044 Little by little all this wore her down, and she began to hate Herod, for as she was chock full of womanly pride she was furious at this suspicious watch kept on her, wishing rather to undergo anything whatsoever than be deprived of her freedom of speech, and, under the fiction of a guard of honour, to live in a state of slavery and terror. 045 So she sent to Cleopatra, complaint repeatedly of her circumstances and imploring her to help her in any way she could. So she advised her to take her son with her and hurry away to her in Egypt. 046 This advice was accepted and she planned it as follows. She had two coffins made as if to transport two corpses, and put herself into one and her son into the other, and ordered those of her servants who were in the know to take them away by night. Their route was to be from there to the coast, where a ship was ready to take them to Egypt. 047 When Aesop, one of her servants, happened to meet Sabbion, one of her friends, he spoke to him of the affair thinking he was already aware of it. When Sabion, who had formerly been hostile to Herod and been regarded as one of the plotters who gave the poison to Antipater, heard it he told the king of Alexandra's scheme expecting that telling him would change his hatred for him to goodwill. 048 He let her proceed with her project and caught her in the act and then pardoned her offense. Although he had a great wish to do so, he dared not punish her severely, for he knew that Cleopatra would not endure it, due to her hatred of him, so he let it appear that it was his magnanimity and fairness that made him pardon them. 049 Still he was determined one way or another to be rid of the youth but thought the act would be better concealed if he did not do it soon after what had lately occurred.

3.

050 At the approach of Tabernacles, a festival much observed among us, he waited until the days when both he and the rest of the people made merry had passed; but the envy which arose in him at this time caused him to carry out his plan all the sooner. 051 For when this youth Aristobulus, now in the seventeenth year of his age, went up to the altar adorned as high priest to offer the sacrifices required by the law, and when in performing the sacred offices he appeared very handsome and taller than average for his age and his face seemed full of the noble birth from which he came, 052 a wave of affection towards him appeared among the people, with the memory of the deeds of his grandfather Aristobulus fresh in their minds, and their feelings for him made them unable to conceal their preference for him. They were both glad and emotional, and mixed their joyful acclamations with good wishes, until the people's love for him was all too evident, and they proclaimed the prosperity they had received from his family more than was fitting under a king. 053 All this spurred Herod to carry out his intentions against the youth, and when the festival ended and he was feasting at Jericho with Alexandra, who entertained them there, he was very pleasant to the young man and took him aside for a drink and conversed with him in a youthful and playful manner. 054 As the place was extremely hot, they soon went out in a group in light-hearted mood, and as they were beside the large bathing pools around the courtyard they went to cool themselves from the midday heat. 055 At first they just looked on at the young household servants and friends but after a while, prompted by Herod, the young man joined them in the water and then, while as he was swimming those of the friends assigned to it dipped him under in the dark waters as if doing so only in sport and did not let up until he drowned. 056 That is how Aristobulus was killed, after living for eighteen years in all, and holding the high priesthood for just one year, an office now restored to Ananelus]]
4. 057 When the tragedy was told to the women, their joy instantly changed and their grieving lamentation was boundless on seeing his corpse lying there. There was great grief in the city too when the news spread, with every family mourning his fate as if it had happened to them. 058 Alexandra was the most grief-stricken at his demise, all the more so from knowing how it had been committed, but she was forced to bear up under it, as the lesser evil. 059 Though often tempted to put an end to her own life she refrained in hopes of living long enough to revenge the and premeditated murder, and so went on with her life, giving no reason to suspect that she knew how her son had been deliberately killed, and hoping to be able to avenge it when the opportunity arose. 060 So she resolutely kept her suspicions hidden. Herod sought to ensure that nobody would link the boy's death to him and not only went into mourning, but wept and appeared deeply distressed, and perhaps he really did feel that way, looking at the lad's young and beautiful face, even though the death had been to secure his own position and his concern was clearly to shield himself from blame. 061 He arranged a magnificent funeral, making great preparations for the burial vault and providing a large quantity of spices and burying many ornaments along with him, so that even in their deep sorrow the women were impressed and in some way consoled by it.

5.

062 However, none of this could ease Alexandra's sorrow, but the memory of the tragedy made her grief both deep and obstinate, and she wrote to Cleopatra about Herod's treachery and of how he had done away with her son. 063 She, who pitied the misfortunes of Alexandra and had in the past done all she could to help her, made the case her own. Enraged by the boy's murder, she Antony no peace about it, since it was not right that Herod, whom he had helped to make king of a kingdom that in no way belonged to him, should commit such terrible crimes against those who really were of the royal line. 064 Antony was persuaded by this and when he came to Laodicea he sent orders for Herod to come and answer for what he had done to Aristobulus, since if he had any hand in in such a plot, he had done a great wrong. 065 Frightened by the charge and by the ill-will of Cleopatra, who was always speaking evil of him to Antony, he decided to obey, as he had no way to avoid the summons. So he left his uncle Joseph to take care of the kingdom and all his affairs, with private instructions that if he suffered at the hands of Antony Mariamne should immediately be killed too. 066 For he loved his wife with passion and feared the affront to himself if, after his death, she should start afresh with some other man, on account of her beauty. 067 The basis for his anxiety was that Antony had fallen in love with her as soon as he had gotten some word about her beauty. When Herod had given these instructions, and with no certainty that he would escape with his life, he went off to Antony.

6.

068 While Joseph was administering the affairs of the kingdom and was therefore constantly in contact with Mariamne, for practical reasons and to pay his respects to the queen, he frequently spoke about Herod's fondness and affection for her. 069 But when the women, and especially Alexandra, mocked his words in a feminine way, Joseph was so keen to prove the kings affection that he explained the order he had been given, as proof that Herod could not live without her, and could not bear to be parted from her, even by death, if his life was taken. 070 Those were Joseph's words; but the women naturally did not take this as proof of Herod's affection but of his severity, that even when he died they could not escape destruction and tyrannical death. What had been said made them suspicious of him in future.

7.

071 Meanwhile a rumour went around among Herod's enemies in Jerusalem that Antony had tortured and executed him and this report naturally shook the people around the palace, but the women above all. 072 Alexandra tried to persuade Joseph to leave the palace and escape with them to the ensigns of the Roman legion, which was then encamped around the city, as a guard to the kingdom, under the command of Julius??. 073 For, she said, if any rioting were to take near the palace, they would be more secure by having the Romans on their side and besides, there was every hope, if Antony just saw Mariamne, that through him they could regain the kingdom and then lack for nothing, which was a feasible prospect in view of their royal blood.

8.

074 But as they were considering this, letters were brought from Herod about all his affairs and quite contrary to what had been said earlier. 075 For when he came to Antony, he said, he soon regained favour with him through the gifts he had brought with him from Jerusalem, and after some conversation he soon got him to set aside his anger, so that Cleopatra's persuasions had less force than the arguments and gifts he had brought to regain his friendship. 076 Antony had said that it was not good to hold a king to account about what was done to secure his power, for then he would not be king at all. Rather, those who had given him that authority should let him exercise it. At the same time he told Cleopatra that it would be best for her not to meddle with the government matters. 077 Herod wrote of these things and stressed the other honours he had received from Antony; how he sat beside him in the hearing of cases and dined with him every day and that he enjoyed those favours from him, despite Cleopatra's charges against him, as she wanted his country and implored Antony to add the kingdom to her own, and tried by every means to get rid of him. 078 But he had always found Antony fair to him and no longer feared any harm from him, and soon after his return received a further assurance of his favour, regarding his rule and government. 079 He need no longer fear Cleopatra's greed either, since Antony had given her Coele-Syria instead of what she had asked, thereby pacifying her and putting an end to her pleas to get Judea.

9.

080 Once these letters had arrived the women left off their attempt to flee to the Romans, which they had planned while they supposed he had died. Their intention was not kept a secret, however, for after conducting Antony on his way against the Parthians the king returned to Judea and his sister Salome and his mother soon told him their views about Alexandra. 081 Salome added a calumny against Joseph, that he had often been with Mariamne. She said this because for a long time she had resented the fact that in their disputes Mariamne took the high ground and would mock the others for their lowly birth. 082 Herod, whose affection for Mariamne was always very warm, was instantly troubled by this and could not bear the torments of jealousy, but was restrained from doing anything rash by his love for her. Still his passion and jealousy together made him ask Mariamne secretly about this matter of Joseph. 083 She denied it on her oath and said in her own defense all that an innocent woman could possibly say, so that little by little the king was persuaded to drop his suspicion and calm his anger at her. Overcome with his affection for his wife, he apologised to her for seeming to believe the rumours about her and freely acknowledged the graciousness of her behaviour. 084 He declared his love and affection for her, until finally, as is usual between lovers, they both began to weep and embraced each other with most tender affection. 085 But as the king went on assuring her of his trust in her fidelity and tried to elicit from her a similar trust in him, Mariamne said, "Was it a sign of your love for me when you ordered that if Antony harmed you, I too should die, for no reason?" 086 When she let slip these words, the king was shocked and dropped her from his arms and shouted and tore at his hair, saying that now he had clear proof of Joseph's criminal intercourse with his wife. 087 For unless there had been such intimacy and trust between them he would never have revealed what he had to him in confidence. In this fit of passion he could have killed his wife, but still mastered by his love for her he restrained his passion, though not without lingering grief and inner conflict. But he ordered them to kill Joseph, without letting him come into his sight, and he took Alexandra and kept her in custody, as the reason for all of this harm.

Chapter 4. [088-107]]]]
Cleopatra comes to Judea, and is flattered and bribed by Herod

1.

088 By this stage affairs in Syria were in confusion due to Cleopatra's frequent requests that Antony take a hand in all her schemes, for she urged him to take the realms of each of the rulers and grant them to her, and her influence was strong because of his passion for her. 089 Greedy and lawless by nature, she had already poisoned her fifteen-years-old brother, whom she feared would become king, and had her sister Arsinoe killed by Antony, as she was praying at Diana's temple at Ephesus. 090 For the sake of money, or even the hope of it, she would violate both temples and tombs and there was no holy place however sacred, that she would not rob of its ornaments, or nowhere so profane but she would treat in the roughest way if it could contribute any profit to her unjust greed. 091 But even all this was not enough for a woman so extravagant and enslaved by her desires, for she was always eager for whatever came into her mind and did her utmost to get it, and for this reason kept nagging Antony to take the dominions of others and give them to her, so that as she crossed Syria with him, she sought to possess it herself. 092 She had Lysanias, the son of Ptolemy, killed, after accusing him of bringing the Parthians into action there, and she asked Antony to grant her Judea and Arabia, wanting him to take them lands from their kings. 093 Antony was so entirely subject to her that it seemed unlikely to be by the woman's conversation alone, but by drugs or some other way that he listened to whatever she wanted. Still, her grossest injustices so embarrassed him that he would not always agree to her most flagrant enormities. 094 In order not to refuse her outright, and still not publicly appear an evildoer by doing her wrongful bidding, he took portions of each of those countries and gave them to her. 095 So he gave her the cities that were on her side of the river Eleutherus as far as Egypt, except Tyre and Sidon which he knew to have been free cities from of old, although she often cajoled him about them too.

2.

096 After gaining these and accompanying Antony on his expedition to Armenia as far as the Euphrates, Cleopatra turned back and came to Apamia and Damascus and on to Judea, where Herod met her and rented from her the parts of Arabia given to her and the revenues from the region about Jericho. That land grows the precious balsam, which grows only there, along with many excellent date palms. 097 Being in the area and often in Herod's company, she sought to have intercourse with the king and made no secret that she enjoyed the pleasure of that activity, and perhaps to some extent she fell in love with him though more likely she was trying to trap him and bring him into disrepute, even though in general she seems to have been ruled by her feelings. 098 Already Herod felt no love for Cleopatra, knowing her as a supreme nuisance and now she seemed to particularly deserve his hatred, even if her move was one of lust. ??plotting in this way... put to death.. ?? So he brushed her offer aside and called his friends to advise him on whether to kill her, now that she was in his power. 099 This could spare many a misfortune to those whom she now burdened and would still in the future, and he thought it would also be of advantage to Antony, since she would not be faithful to him, if the occasion should ever arise when he would need her. 100 His friends dissuaded him from this idea saying above all that he should not embark on so major a thing which would put him in such obvious danger and they urged him to do nothing about this rash idea. 101 Antony would never tolerate it, even if one could clearly show him that it was to his advantage, for to deprive him of her company in such a brusque and secretive way would probably warm his love for her. Neither could he offer anything substantial in his own defense, when pitting himself against the most famous woman in the world at that time. Whatever advantage, if any, he could hope for from such a deed should be discarded because of the risk he would run by doing it. 102 From all this it was clear that if he did so he would do great and lasting harm both to his position as ruler and to his descendants, whereas he could still reject the evil she wished him to do, and end the matter honourably. 103 By making him afraid and showing the risk he would run if he attempted it, they restrained him from it. So he treated Cleopatra politely and gave her gifts and conducted her on her way to Egypt.

3.

104 Meanwhile Antony subdued Armenia and sent the son of Tigranes, Artabazes with his children and satraps in chains to Egypt as a gift to Cleopatra, along with all the valuables of that kingdom which he had taken. 105 The eldest of that prisoner's children, Artaxias, escaped at that time and took over the kingdom of Armenia, but he was still expelled by Archelaus and Nero Caesar when they restored his younger brother, Tigranes, to the kingdom, which happened a good while later.

4.

106 Herod duly paid the taxes he owed to Cleopatra for the land Antony had granted her, reckoning it unsafe for him to present her with any cause to hate him. 107 The Arab [king]]
whose tax Herod had undertaken to pay her, paid him the two hundred talents for a while, but later became vicious and slow to pay, hardly willing to pay even part of it and refusing to pay even without some bribe.

Chapter 5. [108-160]]]]
Herod's war and conquest of Arabia.His courage in the face of misfortunes

1.

108 Herod got ready to make war on him for his ingratitude and because in the end he had done him wrong, but delayed doing so on account of the Roman war. 109 Just now a battle was expected at Actium, which took place in the hundred and eighty seventh Olympiad, when Caesar and Antony would contest for the supreme power; and Herod whose land had for a long time had fruitful harvests and who had thereby raised large revenues and resources, gathered an allied force for Antony and equipped them with care. 110 Then Antony said he had no need of his help, but sent him off to punish the king of Arabia, after hearing from him and from Cleopatra about the man's disloyalty. For this was Cleopatra's own wish, thinking it would be to her advantage if these two kings inflicted damage on each other. 111 When he got Antony's message Herod turned aside but kept his army together to immediately invade Arabia. When his cavalry and infantry were ready, he marched to Diospolis, where the Arabs came to meet them, for they were not unaware of his war plans, and a great battle was fought, which the Jews won. 112 Later however, another large army of Arabs gathered at Cana, a place in Coele-Syria, and, forewarned of it, Herod marched against them with most of his forces. As he approached he decided to camp at a good place, and fortified it as a vantage point from which to launch his attack. 113 While he was arranging this, a crowd of the Jews shouted that he should lead them against the Arabs without delay. They were driven by the belief that they were in fine order, and especially as they had been victorious in the earlier battle, when their enemies had not even got close enough to fight them hand to hand. 114 As they were so fierce and showed such zeal for battle, the king resolved to avail of the people's ardour and after assuring them he would not be outdone by them in courage, he led the way in his armour, with all of them following in their assigned regiments. 115 A panic seized the Arabs at seeing the Jews looking so invincible, and most of them fled to avoid the battle. Indeed they would have been destroyed, if Athenius had not attacked Herod and the Jews. 116 This man was general of Cleopatra's forces there and was Herod's foe, watching carefully to see what would be the outcome of the battle. His plan was to remain inactive if the Arabs performed very well, but if, as it turned out, they were defeated, to attack the Jews with his own forces and the local forces that had joined him. 117 So he made an unexpected attack with great slaughter, when they were tired and thought they had already beaten the enemy, for as the Jews had expended their force upon their known enemies and were enjoying their victory in unguarded mood, they were easily beaten by these who attacked them afresh and they suffered badly in rocky places unsuitable for their horses and where their attackers were familiar with the terrain. 118 After this reverse, the defeated Arabs took new heart and turned round to slaughter those who fled before them. Many were killed, and of those who escaped only a few returned to the camp. 119 King Herod, despairing of the battle, rode up to their help but though he tried hard he was not in time to be of much service. The Jewish camp was taken and the Arabs had an unusually lucky success, gaining a victory which had been beyond their grasp and killing most of the opposing army. 120 In the aftermath, Herod resorted to brigandage and raided many parts of Arabia, harassing them by sudden attacks. Camping in the mountains he avoided ever coming to a pitched battle, but harassed the enemy by his incessant activity, taking care of his own forces and trying in every way to restore his affairs to their former state.

2.

121 Meanwhile the battle took place at Actium, between Octavius Caesar and Antony, in the seventh year of Herod's reign. In that year too there was an earthquake in Judea, worse than at any other time, which caused huge destruction to the livestock in the land. 122 About thirty thousand people died as houses fell upon them, but the army, camped in the open, was unharmed by this calamity. 123 When the Arabs learned about it, for anti-Jewish people who enjoyed aggravating the rumours told them of it, their spirits soared, as if their enemy's land was crushed and the people destroyed. They thought there was now nothing left to oppose them, 124 so they took and killed the Jewish envoys who had come to them after all this to make peace with them, and full of confidence attacked their army. 125 The Jews did not dare to withstand them, being too downcast by their troubles to take proper care, and yielded to despair, with no hope of ever equalling them again in battle, or of getting help elsewhere while they were so badly off at home. 126 In this state of affairs the king addressed the officers and tried to raise their spirits, which were very low. He tried first to stir up and embolden some of the better sort and then ventured to make a speech to the people, which he had previously avoided doing for fear they would be unwilling to listen, after all that had happened. So he urged the people as follows.

3.

127 "Men, you are all aware that this past while our plans have met many obstacles, and probably even the bravest can hardly keep up their spirits in such circumstances. 128 But since we cannot avoid fighting and nothing that has happened is so bad that we cannot set things right by one well-done action, I want to encourage you and to tell you something to help you hold onto your usual courage. 129 Firstly, I will show that ours is a just war forced upon us by the insolence of our opponents, for once you grasp this, it will strengthen your resolve. Then I will show that our present troubles are not so dire and that we have every reason to hope for victory. 130 I shall begin with the first and you can testify to what I say. You surely know of the lawlessness of the Arabs, who are faithless to all other men, as is to be expected from a barbarous race, ignorant of God. Their conflict with us is mainly due to greed and envy, and they attacked us from hiding, in our time of confusion. 131 Need I say much about this? When they were in danger of losing their autonomy and being enslaved by Cleopatra, who was it but ourselves that set them free from that fear? For it was my friendship with Antony and his good disposition towards us that saved these Arabs from ruination, since he was careful not to do anything to which we might take exception. 132 When he wished to bestow parts of each of our kingdoms on Cleopatra, I managed, by giving him gifts of my own, to obtain security for both us, and went guarantor for the money while giving him two hundred talents and promised two hundred more to her revenue, of which they have defrauded us. 133 If it is not right for Jews to pay tax to anybody, or to let part of their land be taxed, even if this should happen, we surely ought not pay the tax for those whom we have saved; nor is it right for the Arabs, who have us to thank for helping them keep their autonomy, to wrong us by witholding what is our due, when we were not enemies but friends to them. 134 Whereas a pledge is kept even between the greatest enemies, it is essential that it be kept between friends; but among these people they are not kept, for they value profit above all things, and see no harm in injustice if they can only make profit by it. 135 Are you still asking whether the unjust should be punished or not, when God himself wills it, and urges us always to hate insolence and injustice, even if it leads to a just but necessary war? 136 These Arab have done to our envoys what both the Greeks and barbarians declare to be the grossest crime, for they beheaded them, though the Greeks say that envoys are sacred and inviolable. It was through messengers that we ourselves learned from God the best of our doctrines and the holiest of our laws, and they bring God to the knowledge of mankind and can reconcile enemies one to another. 137 What crime then can be worse than to kill envoys, coming to discuss a fair solution? And after doing such a thing, how can they live a secure life or be successful in war? I feel it is impossible! 138 Maybe some might object that while godliness and justice are on our side, the Arabs are more courageous or more numerous. But it is wrong for you to say so in the first place, for God is with those who are on the side of justice, and where God is, both numbers and courage will not be lacking. 139 Just look at our own situation: we won the first battle, and when we fought again they could not stand up to us, but fled, unable to resist our assault and our courage. We had beaten them when Athenion came and made undeclared war against us. 140 Was this an act of courage on their part, or not just a second crime and treachery? Why are we downhearted then, in a situation which should spur us to stronger hopes? Why are we terrified of people, who are always defeated in an honest fight, and whose only victories are gained by treachery? 141 But even if one were to reckon them as men of real courage, would this not spur us to greater efforts against them? For true bravery is not shown by fighting weaker men but in being able to overcome the stronger. 142 Now if anyone has become fearful by our hardships and the effects of the earthquake, let him first consider that this will lead the Arabs astray into thinking that what has happened to us is greater than it really is. 143 Then too, what emboldens them should not discourage us, for their audacity is not based on any merit of their own, but on their belief that we are worn down by our troubles. But if we march against them, we shall soon pull down their high conceit and they will not be so bold when it comes to battle. 144 Our woes are not so great, nor do they prove, as some imagine, that God is angry with us, for such things are natural events and misfortunes. Even if we think that they happened by God's will, now by his will they are clearly over, and enough has happened, for if he wished to afflict us still more, he would not have already changed his mind. 145 He has actually indicated that he wants us to continue with the just war we are engaged in, for while some people in the country have died, none of the army has suffered anything, but are all were spared. By this God makes plain to us, that if our whole people, including children and wives, had taken the field with us, none might have suffered irreparable harm. 146 Think on these things, and above all that you have God for your Protector always, and with due bravery pursue those who betray their friendship, are treacherous in battle, sacreligious towards envoys and always inferior to you in bravery."

4.

147 Hearing all this, the Jews were in better spirits and more disposed for the fight. Herod sacrificed according to the law and hurried to lead them against the Arabs, crossing the Jordan and pitching camp near that of the enemy. 148 He decided to seize a stronghold in the territory in between, hoping it would be an advantage and would sooner lead to a battle, and that if there were any delay, it would add to the strength of his camp. 149 Since the Arabs had a similar plan, the place was contested, at first simply by skirmishes, but then more soldiers came on both sides, and they fought until the Arabs were defeated and retreated. 150 This was immediately a significant boost to the Jews, and as he noted that the enemy forces wanted anything rather than an open battle, he ventured a bold attack on their defences, hoping to pull them down so as to get nearer to their camp and fight them. When they were forced out in this way, they advanced in disorder with no eagerness or hope of victory. 151 Still they fought hand to hand, because of their greater numbers, and their necessity made them reckless; the fighting was very stubborn and not a few fell on both sides, but in the end the Arabs fled. 152 As they fell back there was a slaughter, for not only were they killed by their enemies, but they also harmed each other and were trodden down by the crowd in a great disorderly rush, and were impeded by their own armour, so that five thousand of them met their death. 153 The rest of the crowd fled for safety inside the fortress, but it provided no security, because of lack of essentials and especially of water. 154 The Jews pursued them, but could not get in among them, so they besieged the stronghold and prevented any help from getting in to them and stopped anyone from escaping.

5.

155 In this situation the Arabs sent envoys to Herod, firstly, to propose an agreement and then, so driven by thirst, to submit to any condition, just to be freed from their present distress. 156 But being determined to revenge their unjust actions against his people, he would accept no envoys and no ransom price, nor any other moderate terms. So they were forced especially by their thirst to come out and surrender to him, to be bound in chains. 157 After four thousand were taken prisoner within five days, all the rest resolved to come out and fight their enemies, preferring to risk disaster than to die gradually and ingloriously. 158 With this in mind they came out from their defences, but could not keep up the fight, being so depleted in mind and body and with no chance of victory. They thought it better to be killed and a misery to survive, so at the first battle about seven thousand of them fell. 159 After this blow all their earlier courage failed and they were impressed by Herod's warlike spirit despite his own reverses, so thereafter they yielded and made him ruler of their nation. 160 He was very proud of such a timely success and returned home with great prestige after his courageous exploit.

Chapter 6. [161-201]]]]
Herod kills Hyrcanus and is confirmed as king of Judea by Augustus Caesar, whom he royally entertains

1.

161 All else was now prospering for Herod and there was no easy way to attack him on any side. But a danger still loomed that could put his entire kingship at risk, when Antony was defeated by Caesar at the battle of Actium. 162 At that time both his enemies and his friends thought Herod was finished, since he was unlikely to remain unpunished after showing such friendship to Antony. 163 His friends utterly despaired of his survival, while all his enemies outwardly appeared to be anxious on his behalf, but were secretly delighted, hoping for a change for the better. 164 Herod himself knew that there was no one of royal dignity left apart from Hyrcanus, and reckoned it would be to his advantage, in case he himself survived his present danger, not to leave him any longer as an obstacle in his way, but to forestall this man, more worthy of the kingship than himself, from making any move against him. At any rate, if he himself was going to be killed by Caesar, envy prompted him to kill the man who otherwise would be king after him.

2.

165 While he thought over these things a good chance presented itself. Hyrcanus was so mild mannered, both then and at other times, that he did not involve himself in public affairs nor seek to change things, but left everything to fate and was satisfied with whatever it brought. 166 But Alexandra loved conflict and wanted change, so she urged her father not to forever put up with the wrong Herod had done their family, but to work for their hopes as he could safely do, 167 and write to Malichus, who was then ruler of Arabia, to receive him and keep them in security. For if they went away, and Herod's affairs turned out as now seemed likely because of Caesar's hostility to him, they would be the only ones who could be called upon to rule, due to their royal background and the people's goodwill towards them. 168 Despite her persuasions, Hyrcanus ignored her at first. But with her combative, womanly nature she would not let up, night or day, always going on about these matters and Herod's treacherous intent. Finally she persuaded him to send Dositheus, one of his friends, with a letter declaring his resolve, and asking the Arab to send him some cavalry to take and lead him to lake Asphaltitis, which is three hundred furlongs from the borders of Jerusalem. 169 He entrusted this letter to Dositheus who had faithfully served him and Alexandra and had good reason to hate Herod, who had killed a relative of his named Joseph, and a brother of his had earlier been killed by Antony, in Tyre. 170 But not even these could keep Dositheus faithful in serving Hyrcanus, for, preferring his chances from the actual king, he handed over the letter to Herod. 171 The king took this as a sign of loyalty and urged him to serve him further by rolling up and sealing the letter again and delivering it to Malichus and then bringing back the letter from him, for it would be a significant advantage to know what that man intended. 172 As Dositheus promptly served him in this way too, the Arab wrote back that he would receive Hyrcanus and all his men, including all the Jews who were on his side. He would send a force to guard them on their journey, and supply everything he needed. 173 When Herod received this letter, he immediately sent for Hyrcanus and questioned him about his agreement with Malichus, and when he denied it, he showed his letter to the Sanhedrin and had the man put to death.

3.

174 We give this account as it is found in the annals of king Herod. Others do not accept it, believing that Herod did not find, but rather invented, this excuse for putting Hyrcanus to death, and laid a trap for him. 175 According to their account, they were once at a banquet and without any basis, Herod asked Hyrcanus if he had received any letters from Malichus. When he replied that he had, but letters of greeting only, 176 he asked him further if he had not received a gift from him. He replied that he had received no more than four riding horses that he had sent him. They say that Herod took these as proof of bribery and treason and had him taken away and killed. 177 To prove that he had committed no offense for which he should have been executed, they allege his gentleness and how even in his youth he had given no signs of insolence or rashness and that it was the same when he came to be king, for at that time he left the management of most things to Antipater. 178 Now that he was more than eighty years old he knew that Herod's government was secure. He had come back across the Euphrates, leaving beyond the river those who greatly honoured him, and putting himself entirely in Herod's hands, so it was very unlikely and not at all in character for him to risk anything by way of revolt, so that the whole thing was a plot of Herod's.

4.

179 This was how Hyrcanus was destined to meet his end, after suffering many different turns of fortune in his lifetime. At the very start of the reign of his mother Alexandra, he was made high priest of the Jewish nation an honour he held for nine years. 180 When, after his mother's death, he took on the kingship himself, after three months he lost it to his brother Aristobulus. He was then restored by Pompey to all his honours and enjoyed them for forty years. 181 But he was again deposed by Antigonus and maimed in body, and was imprisoned by the Parthians. After some time returned home from there due to the hopes held out to him by Herod. But nothing turned out as planned, and he was endured many troubles throughout his life. Worst of all, as we have said, he came to an unworthy end. 182 He was of a mild and gentle character, who generally left the state to be administered by others under him, being reluctant to mix with the public, and without the shrewdness to govern a kingdom. Both Antipater and Herod were promoted because of his mildness, and his treatment by them in the end was neither right nor reverential.

5.

183 Having disposed of Hyrcanus, Herod hurried to Caesar, but not expecting to find favour with him after his friendship with Antony, he suspected that Alexandra would take her chance to get the people to rebel and embroil the kingdom in a revolt. 184 So he entrusted the care of everything to his brother Pheroras and placed his mother Cypros and his sister and the whole family at Masada and told him to take charge if any bad news about himself should arrive. 185 But he placed his wife Mariamne at Alexandreion, with Alexandra her mother, because of the quarrel between her and his sister and the sister's mother, which made it impossible for them to live together. In charge of the fortress he left his treasurer, Joseph, and Soemus of Iturea who were most faithful to him from the beginning and were now left as bodyguard to the women. 186 They had instructions to kill both of them, if they heard that any harm had happened to him, and, as far as they could, to preserve the kingdom for his sons and for his brother Pheroras.

6.

187 Leaving these instructions, he hurried to Rhodes to meet Caesar. After sailing into that city he left off his crown, but neglected nothing else of his usual splendour. When at their meeting he asked permission to speak to him, he showed a noble example of his courage by not launching into petitions as people usually do on such occasions. 188 He did not ask for anything, as if he were an offender, but boldly gave an account of his actions. 189 He told Caesar that he had been great friends with Antony and had done everything he could to help him gain the leadership; if he had not with him in the battle, it was because the Arabs had sidetracked him, but that he had sent him money and corn, 190 and even this was less than what he wished to do for him. "For if a man calls himself a friend and regards the other as a benefactor, he is obliged to risk everything, and use every faculty of his soul, every limb of his body and all his wealth on his behalf, in which I confess mine was not enough. But I know that I did the right thing in not deserting him on his defeat at Actium; 191 nor did I shift my loyalty from him to another, after the evident change of his fortunes, but remained to Antony, if not a valuable military colleague, at least a faithful counsellor. I told him that his only way to save himself and not lose all his authority, was to kill Cleopatra. 192 Once she was dead, he could have retained his authority and brought you to make peace with him, rather than continue any longer at enmity. He listened to none of this advice, preferring his own rashness which turned out badly for him, but good for you. 193 So if you judge me and my zeal in serving Antony in the light of your anger at him, I cannot deny what I have done, nor am I be ashamed to publicly admit the great fondness I had for him. But if you forget him and consider my behaviour towards my benefactors and what sort of friend I am, you will find that I will do and be the same to you. It will be just a changing of names, and you will have no cause to doubt the firmness of my friendship towards you."

7.

194 By this speech and his demeanour, which showed his freedom of spirit, he greatly impressed Caesar, who was himself generous and noble, so that the very actions for which had been accused gained him the other's goodwill. 195 He restored to him his crown, and urged him to prove himself no less a friend to him than to Antony, and showed him every sign of esteem, adding how Quintus Didius had written to him how Herod had most willingly taken his side in the matter about the gladiators. 196 After being so well received and, beyond all his hopes, getting his crown confirmed more firmly than ever by Caesar's grant, and by the Roman decree which Caesar issued for his greater security, he conducted Caesar on his way to Egypt, giving to both him and his friends gifts beyond his means, and in general acting with great generosity. 197 He petitioned against the execution of Alexander, one of Antony's companions, but Caesar had proscribed the man under oath, and so could not grant that request. 198 Returning to Judea with more honour and assurance, he struck fear into those who had expected the contrary, having greater glory than ever due the dangers he had survived and God's favour to him, and prepared to welcome Caesar on his way from Syria to invade Egypt. 199 On Caesar's arrival he entertained him with royal splendour at Ptolemais, giving gifts to his army and bringing them loads of provisions. He also showed himself very well disposed and put the army on parade and rode with him and had a hundred and fifty apartments, comfortably and richly equipped, to welcome him and his friends. 200 He also provided for their needs in crossing the desert, so that they lacked neither wine nor water, which the soldiers chiefly required. Besides, he presented Caesar with eight hundred talents and won the goodwill of them all, for helping them so much more lavishly than the kingdom he had obtained could afford. 201 Increasingly he was trusted for his friendship and readiness to help him, and especially since his generosity came at the right time. On their return from Egypt, his services were no less than he had formerly shown them.

Chapter 7. [202-266]]]]
Murders by Herod: Mariamne, Alexandra, various friends and the sons of Babbas

1.

202 However, when he returned to his kingdom he found that his house was in turmoil and his wife Mariamne and her mother Alexandra very distressed. 203 They judged, quite reasonably, that they had not been placed in that place for their own safety but imprisoned in a fortress, with no power over others or over themselves, and took it very badly. 204 Mariamne reckoned that the king's love for her was a pretence intended for his own use, rather than real. She was also upset that he would not leave her any hopes of surviving him, if he himself came to any harm, remembering the orders he had given to Joseph. Now fully aware of her situation, she tried to cultivate favour with her custodians, and especially Soemus. 205 At first Soemus faithfully observed all of Herod's instructions, but when by words and gifts the women had made him more malleable to them, he gradually gave in and finally revealed to them all of the king's commands, mainly because he [Herod]]?? could hardly hope to hold the same authority in the future. 206 So it seemed there was little danger from him, while he could greatly gratify the women, who were unlikely to be ignored in the settling of the leadership, and would then be able to richly reward him, since they would either be co-regents themselves, or be very close to whoever was king. 207 He had a further ground of hope that even if Herod had all the success he could wish for and returned again, he could not reject the desires of his wife, for he knew that the king was inexpressibly fond of Mariamne. 208 These were what persuaded Soemus to reveal his orders, and Mariamne was distressed to hear that she stood in limitless danger from Herod. She hoped that he would get none of what he wanted and regarded it as insupportable to live with him any longer, which she declared later, without concealing her resentment.

2.

209 But he sailed home brimming with unexpected success and went first, ??apparently, to his wife to tell her the good news privately, giving her priority because of his fondness and intimacy with her. 210 But when he told her of his good fortune, far from rejoicing she was rather grieved by it, nor could she conceal her feelings, but relying on her dignity and the nobility of her birth, in reply to his greetings she groaned and made clear that she was more sorry than glad at his success, until Herod was not merely uneasy but visibly shaken. 211 It troubled him to see that his wife's surprising hatred of him was unconcealed, and he took this hard and yet was so unable to cope with it, due to his passion for her, that he could not stay long in the same mood, being at one time angry at her and at another reconciled to her, and was very confused, shifting from one mood to the other. 212 Thus caught between hatred and love he often felt like punishing her for her insolence, but being captivated by her in his soul, he could not set this woman aside. In short, though he would gladly have her punished, he feared that putting her to death might unwittingly cause a greater punishment to himself.

3.

213 When his sister and mother saw how he stood regarding Mariamne, they thought they now had an excellent opportunity to vent their hatred for her and provoked Herod's fury by telling him long stories and calumnies about her, calculated to arouse his hatred and jealousy. 214 Although he willingly listened to them he dared no do anything to her on the strength of what they said, but he became ever more hostile to her and his anger more inflamed. Nor did she hide her feelings as his love for her turned into anger. 215 Just before doing anything drastic, the news came that Caesar had won the war and that with Antony and Cleopatra both dead he had become master of Egypt, so he hurried to go and meet Caesar, setting aside his family affairs. 216 As he was setting out, Mariamne recommended Soemus to him, saying that she owed him thanks for the care he had taken of her and asking the king for a local governorship for him, so he gained that honour. 217 When Herod reached Caesar in Egypt, he spoke to him with great freedom as an old friend much honoured by him. As a gift Caesar gave him the four hundred Galatians who had been Cleopatra's bodyguards and restored to him the land which had been taken from him on her account, and added to his kingdom Gadara, Hippos and Samaria, plus the maritime cities of Gaza and Anthedon and Joppa and Strato's Tower.

4.

218 Glowing with these new acquisitions he conducted Caesar as far as Antioch, but in contrast to his prospering through the additional territories, on his return there was further trouble in his own family. This was mainly in the matter of his wife, where at first he had seemed so fortunate, for his love for Mariamne was no less than those which are rightly celebrated in history. 219 She was indeed a chaste woman and faithful to him, but had some feminine sharpness in her nature and treated imperiously the man who was infatuated by his passion for her. Heedless of being subject to the king and of being under another's power, she often behaved impertinently to him, and this he usually took in a jesting spirit, equably and with good temper. 220 For she publicly mocked his mother and his sister for their lowly origins and spoke unkindly of them, so that there was already a hard, unyielding hatred between the women and now they began to accuse her all the more. 221 Suspicion continued to grow for a whole year after Herod's return from Caesar, and after being kept for a long time under a semblance of decency until on a particular occasion they suddently burst into the open. 222 One day about noon when the king was lying down for siesta, he called for Mariamne, with his usual affection for her. She came in, but though he was eager for her to lie down with him she would not do so, and instead expressed her contempt for him, adding the jibe that he had caused the death of her father and her brother. 223 When he took this insult badly and was about to strike her, the king's sister Salome, seeing him so troubled, sent in the royal cup-bearer, who had been prepared long in advance for such a moment, and had him tell the king how Mariamne had persuaded him to help her prepare a potion for the king. 224 Then, if he seemed worried and asked what it was he should say that she had poured the drug and had only asked him to give it to him. If however he did not seem troubled about this potion, to say nothing, in which case no harm would come to him. With these instructions, she sent him in to talk to him. 225 Obediently and quickly he went in and said that Mariamne had given him gifts to persuade him to give him a potion. When asked what this potion was he said it was a concoction she had given him, whose effects he did not know, and so he had decided to tell him about it, as the safest course for himself and for the king. 226 When he heard this Herod was in a bad mood already but he was now further incenced and he had the eunuch, who was very faithful to Mariamne, tortured about this potion, knowing that nothing great or small could be done without him knowing. 227 Even under such pressure the man could say nothing about the matter for which he was being tortured but that as far as he knew, his wife's hatred for him came from something that Soemus had told her. 228 As he said this, Herod shouted aloud that Soemus, who otherwise had always been most faithful to him and to his rule, would not have betrayed his orders, unless he had gone too far in intimacy with Mariamne. 229 So he immediately gave orders for Soemus to be arrested and killed, but let his wife go for trial. Assembling his closest retinue he accused her in detail about the alleged drugs and potions. Then he spoke without restraint and was too angry for proper judgement, and when those present saw his condition they condemned her to death. 230 But after sentence was passed, both he and some others present felt that she should not be executed in haste, but should be kept in prison in one of the fortresses of the kingdom. 231 On the other side, Salome and her party worked hard to have the woman executed, and persuaded the king to do so by warning him that the people might rebel if she were left alive, and so Mariamne was led to her death.

5.

232 When Alexandra saw the situation and what little hope she had of escaping similar treatment from Herod, she quite indecently changed her behaviour to the reverse of her former boldness. 233 Wanting to show how totally unaware she was of the alleged crimes, she jumped up and rebuked her daughter in everyone's hearing for being wicked and displeasing to her husband, and said that she was being justly punished for her insolence, for not showing proper gratitude to the man who was everyone's benefactor. 234 After saying hypocritical, ugly things like that and going so far as to tear her hair, she was despised by others for her indecent pretence, but most clearly by the condemned woman herself. 235 Seeming untroubled by her abusive words she said not a word at first, but only looked at her, seeming disgusted at her offense and especially for speaking out so unworthily. 236 Then she went off to her death with an unshaken mind and with the colour of her face unchanged, showing her nobility to the onlookers even in her last moments of life.

6.

237 And so she died, an excellent woman both for her chastity and magnanimity. Although lacking in prudence and of too quarrelsome a nature, she had all that could be desired in physical beauty and majesty of demeanour. 238 Yet these proved the reasons why she did not agree with the king or live pleasantly with him. For while he lovingly paid attention to her and never wished to treat her harshly in anything, she took unmeasured liberties when speaking to him. 239 What troubled her most was the matter of her relatives and she dared to speak of all they had suffered from him; and finally she provoked hatred from the king's mother and sister, and from himself too, on whom alone she depended to escape an unpleasant end.

7.

240 When she died, the king's feelings for her, that old passion that we have already described, flamed up hotter than ever. His love for her was not of the usual, apathetic kind but was ardent from the start, and the familiarity of their life together never quenched it, but it was always growing greater. 241 Now more than ever his love for Mariamne seemed to seize him like a nemesis for destroying her; as he often called her name and wailed unbecomingly about her. He tried all he could to turn his mind elsewhere and arranged feasts and parties for that purpose, to no avail. 242 It caused him to neglect the administration and he was so subject to his passion that he would order his servants to call for Mariamne, as though she were still alive and could still hear them. 243 When he was in this mood there came an infectious illness that claimed the lives of many of the people and even of his dearest friends and all suspected that this had been brought upon them as a punishment for his crime against Mariamne. 244 The king grew still worse until finally under the pretext of hunting he went off to remote places, where he bitterly chided himself and not many days had passed before he grew dangerously ill. 245 He had an inflamation and a pain in the back of his head and felt he was going mad, and the remedies they tried did him no good but made him worse and drove him to despair. 246 Since the medicines his doctors brought him did nothing to cure his illness, and in his weakness the king could eat nothing but what he was forced to, eventually those around him told him to eat whatever he wished and so left to his diet the little hopes they had of his recovery, entrusting him to fortune. Such was the progress of his illness, while he was in Samaria, which is now called Sebaste.

8.

247 At that time Alexandra was living in Jerusalem and, on hearing of Herod's condition, tried to seize control of the city's fortresses. 248 These were two, one for the city itself and the other for the temple. Whoever held them in had control of the whole nation, for without them it was impossible to offer their sacrifices, and abandoning those is unthinkable to every Jew, as they are prepared to lose their lives rather than abandon the rituals which they are accustomed to offer to God. 249 Alexandra told those in charge of these defenses to hand them over to her and Herod's sons in case anyone else should seize the leadership at his death, and even if he recovered nobody could more safely hold them for him than his own family. 250 Unimpressed by these rreasons they decided to stick more than ever to their earlier loyalty, for they hated Alexandra and thought it indecent to despair of Herod's recovery while he was still alive, since they had been his old friends, and one of them, Achiabus, was the king's nephew. 251 Immediately they sent messengers to tell Alexandra's plan to the king , so he waited no longer and ordered her death, though it was only with difficulty and much pain that he was rid of his own illness. He was still suffering in mind and body and readier than ever to punish any who for any reason fell under his wrath. 252 He even killed the closest of his friends, Costobarus and Lysimachus and Cadias, also called Antipater, and Dositheus, for reasons we shall now relate.

9.

253 Costobarus was by birth an Idumaean and a leader highly regarded among them, whose ancestors had been priests to the Koze, whom the Idumaeans regard as a god. 254 But Hyrcanus had changed their system, imposing Jewish customs and law upon them , and when Herod took over the kingdom he made Costobarus ruler of Idumaea and Gaza and gave him his sister Salome in marriage, after doing away with her former husband Joseph, as we have said. 255 Pleased to be promoted beyond his expectations, Costobarus was puffed up by his success and pushed on by little stages until he refused to obey Herod as ruler, or have the Idumaeans subjected to Jewish ways. 256 He sent to Cleopatra to say how the Idumaeans had always been subject to her ancestors and asking her to request that country from Antony, promising to transfer his allegiance to her. 257 He did this, not because he preferred to be under Cleopatra's rule, but thinking that, as Herod's power diminished, it would be easier for himself to become ruler of the Idumaean nation and perhaps achieve even more. His hopes were high, due to his birth and the wealth he had amassed by his constant attention to money, and so he was aiming high. 258 Cleopatra did ask Antony for this region, but to no avail, and when it was reported to Herod, he was ready to kill Costobarus, but forgave him at the request of his sister and mother, though he never ceased to view him with suspicion on account of this attempt.

10.

259 Some time later when Salome happened to quarrel with Costobarus she sent him a bill of divorce and dissolved her marriage to him, contrary to Jewish law, for with us only the man may do so, but if a wife leaves her husband, she cannot be remarried unless her former husband sets her aside. 260 Salome chose to follow not the law of her own people but renounced her marriage on her own authority and told her brother Herod that she was leaving her husband for his sake, knowing how he planned a revolt against him along with Antipater, Lysimachus and Dositheus. As evidence she alleged that he had kept alive the sons of Sabbas these past twelve years. 261 This proved to be true although the king was amazed and shaken to hear it and it seemed incredible to him. He had formerly been a pains to execute these sons of Sabbas as enemies of his rule, but with the passage of time they had slipped from his memory. 262 The reason for his enmity and hatred towards them was that when Antigonus was king, Herod and his army had besieged Jerusalem, where the distress of the besieged was so desperate that the majority invited Herod into the city and already placed their hopes on him. 263 The children of Sabbas held rank and power among the people and stayed faithful to Antigonus and were always telling lies against Herod and encouraged the people to keep the leadership within the royal family, which held it by inheritance. These men had acted politically in this way, and, as they thought, for their own advantage. 264 But when the city was taken and Herod was in control, Costobarus was appointed to guard the city and stop anyone from leaving by the gates to prevent guilty citizens who had opposed the king from escaping, knowing that the sons of Sabbas were held in respect and honour by all and thinking that if he saved them it could benefit him in any future change of government, he singled them out and hid them in his own farms. 265 When this was suspected, he assured Herod on oath that he knew nothing about it and so turned his suspicion aside. Later on, when the king publicly offered a reward for finding them and tried by every means to clarify the matter, he would not admit it, convinced that having denied it at the start, he would be punished if the men were found. Therefore he was forced to keep them secret, not only for their sake but for his own. 266 But when this was reported to king by his sister, he sent men to the places where he heard they were hiding, with orders that they be killed as well as those accused along with them. As a result no relatives of Hyrcanus remained, and the kingdom was fully in Herod's power since there was no prominent person who could put a stop to his transgressions.

Chapter 8. [267-298]]]]
Plot against Herod, for introducing foreign customs.He builds Sebaste and Caesarea

1.

267 This was how Herod abandoned the ancestral laws and by foreign practices corrupted their ancient lifestyle which should have been kept inviolable. As a result much harm befell us later, when the devotions that used to lead the people to piety were neglected. 268 In the first place, he established athletic games to be celebrated every fifth year in honour of Caesar, and built a theatre in Jerusalem, and a huge amphitheatre in the plain. Both of them were ornate works, but contrary to Jewish custom, for our tradition does not include the exhibiting of shows like that. 269 Every five years he celebrated these games most solemnly and splendidly, sending out proclamations round about and calling together people from every nation. The athletes and the rest of the contestants were invited from every land by the hope of winning the prizes and by the glory of victory, and the influential people assembled for the competitions. 270 Large prizes were offered for victory, not only to the naked athletes, but also to those who played music and were called Thymelici. He sought to induce all who were most famous to come to the contest. 271 Further, he offered considerable prizes for the chariot-races drawn by four or two horses, imitating whatever was costly or magnificent in other nations, in his ambition to give the most public proof of his grandeur. 272 Inscriptions of the great actions of Caesar and trophies from the nations he had conquered in his wars, all made of the purest gold and silver, surrounded the theatre itself. 273 Anything that could serve his purpose, be it sumptuous clothing or vessels of precious stones, was also on display during these games. He had many wild beasts including lions and other beasts of unusual strength, or of a kind rarely seen. 274 These were set either to fight each other, or with men condemned to die, and visitors were amazed at the expense and delighted by the dangerous spectacle, while to the natives it a glaring destruction of the customs they so revered. 275 It seemed grossly wrong to throw people to wild beasts for the delight of others, and impious to exchange their own laws for such foreign customs. 276 But the trophies were worst of all, since they regarded them as images surrounded by armour that hung round about them, and were hugely enraged by them, for it was not their tradition to pay honour to such images.

2.

277 Herod was not unaware that they were outraged, and thinking it untimely to use force on them, he addressed some of them with familiarity, seeking to free them from their superstitious fear. Still he could not pacify them, but in displeasure they roared out with one voice against him, that although they could endure all the rest they would never allow images of men in their city, meaning the trophies, because this was contrary to their ancestral laws. 278 When Herod saw them so stirred up and that they would not easily move them unless they were satisfied in this point, he called their officers into the theatre and showed them the trophies and asked them what they took them to be. 279 When they cried out that they were the images of men, he ordered them stripped of their outward trappings and showed them the bare pieces of wood. Once the trophies were stripped they became a matter of fun to them, but they were confused since previously they had mocked the ornaments as a concealment for graven images.

3.

280 When Herod had mollified the crowd in this way and cooled the heat of their passion, most of the people were ready to change their view and complain no more about him, 281 but some stayed angry with him, for introducing new customs. They regarded the violation of their ancestral laws as the start of great evils and so reckoned it a pious duty to risk their lives rather than let Herod change their mode of government and force on them customs they had never known before, for while claiming to be king, he showed himself an enemy to their whole nation. 282 Therefore ten of the citizens conspired together against him and swore to each other to risk any dangers in the attempt and took daggers with them under their cloaks. 283 Among them was a blind man who had joined the conspirators in his rage at what he heard had been done. Though unable to help the others in the deed, he was ready to undergo any suffering with them, if they came to any harm, and so was a great boost to the others.

4.

284 When they had decided this by common consent they went to the theatre, hoping that Herod could not escape them if they attacked him unexpectedly, and that even if they missed him, they would kill many of his followers. They resolved on this at the risk of their lives, to show up the wrongs the king had done to the people, and having planned it they were eager to carry it through. 285 But one of the spies sent by Herod to investigate and inform him of anything of the kind found out the whole affair and told the king of it, as he was about to go into the theatre. 286 Knowing how most of the people hated him and seeing the disturbances that arose on every occasion, he thought the story not improbable, so he retreated to his palace and called to him by name those who were accused of this conspiracy. 287 When the guards attacked them they were caught and knew they could not escape, so they prepared to die as decently as they could, without flinching. 288 They showed no regret and did not deny it, but when they were seized, showed their daggers and claimed that the conspiracy to which they had sworn was a holy and righteous action, not meant for gain or to indulge their passions, but for the communal customs, which all Jews must observe or be willing to die for. 289 This was what they said, openly defending the conspiracy, and they were led away to execution surrounded by the king's guards, and patiently endured all the torments inflicted on them until they died. Before long the spy who had revealed them was captured by some who hated him, and was not only killed but pulled to pieces and thrown to the dogs. 290 This was seen by many of the citizens, but nobody would reveal who did it until, after Herod held a sharp and severe enquiry and some women confessed under torture what they had seen done. The doers of this deed were so punished that their entire families were destroyed for their rashness. 291 But the people's obstinacy and their unshaken constancy in defending their laws did not make Herod any more lenient to them, but he continued to guard himself more securely and decided to hem the people in on all sides in case such disorders should grow into open rebellion.

5.

292 Since he now had the city fortified by the palace where he lived and the temple with its strong fortress called Antonia beside it, which he had rebuilt, he arranged to make Samaria a fortress for himself also against all the people and called it Sebaste. 293 He reckoned that this place too, which was a day's journey from Jerusalem, would secure him against the country, no less than the former, so he fortified it too, to keep both the country and the city in check. He also built another fortress for the whole nation at a place formerly called Strato's Tower, but was named by him Caesarea. 294 Moreover, he took some elite cavalry and stationed them in the great plain, and built a place in Galilee, called Gaba and Hesebonitis in Perea. 295 These places he built for his own security for he was always thinking of this issue and surrounding the whole nation with guards, to prevent them escaping from under his power, or raising riots, which they continually did on the smallest pretext, to keep them from starting any upheaval unknown to him, and so that his spies in the area would find it out and prevent it. 296 When he was busy with building the wall of Samaria, he arranged to bring there many of the allies in his wars and many of the local people too, to whom he granted citizenship. He did this from an ambitious desire to build a temple and make the city more prominent than it was before, but mainly for his own security and to leave a memorial of his magnificence. He changed its name and called it Sebaste, and divided up the adjoining country, which was excellent in its kind, among the people of Samaria, that they could prosper when they came to live there. 297 Besides, he surrounded the city with a strong wall and used the slope of the place to strengthen its fortifications. The extent of the place was greater than before, so as to make it not inferior to the most famous cities, twenty stadia in circumference. 298 In the middle of it he built a sacred precinct measuring a furlong and a half and adorned with decorations of all sorts and in it built a temple renowned for size and beauty. He adorned the various parts of the city also, and for his own security he made the walls very strong and made most of it a citadel, and took care that the building was elegant, to leave to future ages monuments to his fine taste and benevolence.

Chapter 9. [299-341]]]]
Famine in Judea and Syria.Herod builds Greek-style cities

1.

299 That year, the thirteenth of Herod's reign, great misfortune came upon the country either from the wrath of God, or possibly such things recur naturally, at intervals. 300 First there were continual droughts and for that reason the ground was barren and did not bring forth its usual extent of fruits. After this barrenness of the soil, the change of food caused by the lack of corn produced illnesses in the bodies of men and disease prevailed, one misery following upon another. 301 The fact that they were without healing and food made the illness, which began violently, the more lasting; and the loss of people in such a manner robbed those who surived of all courage, for they had no remedy for their plight. 302 So when the fruits of that year were spoiled and all they had laid up in advance was spent, there was no hope of relief, but the hardship still increased upon them contrary to their expectations, and this not only on that year, while they had nothing left, and the seed they had sown also rotted, since the land did not bear fruit on the second year. 303 The famine made them eat many things they were not accustomed to eat and the king himself was no more exempt from this need than other men, lacking the tax he used to have from the fruits of the earth and having already spent the money he had, in his generosity to the whose cities he had built. 304 Anyway he had no people deserving of his help, since this miserable plight had gained him the hatred of his subjects. For troubles are always blamed on those who are in charge.

2.

305 In the situation he pondered how to get some help in time, but this was hard to do since their neighbours had no food to sell them, and their money was spent, even if it were possible to buy a little food at a high price. 306 Still he thought it best not to neglect to help them by all means, so he cut away the silver and gold from the rich furnishings in his palace, not sparing the finest vessels he had or those made with the artisans' elaborate skill. 307 He sent the money to Petronius, whom Caesar had made prefect of Egypt, and since quite a few had already fled to him in their necessity and as he was a particular friend to Herod and eager to save his subjects, he let them export corn and helped them in every way to buy and export it, so that he was their main, if not their only source of help. 308 Herod took care that this help was known to come through him, and thereby not only removed their former hatred for him, but gave them the greatest possible proof of his goodwill and care for them. 309 First of all he measured their ration of corn very precisely to those who could provide for their own food, but for the many who could not provide for themselves, because of age or infirmity, he arranged that bakers should bake their bread for them. 310 He also made provision against the dangers of winter, since they were in great need of clothing on account of the utter ruin of their sheep and goats, so that they had no wool or other material to use to cover themselves. 311 When he had provided these for his own subjects, he went further to provide essentials for their neighbours. He gave seed to the Syrians, which resulted to his own advantage, for when this help was seasonably given to their fruitful soil, all now had a plentiful supply of food. 312 Finally, as the harvest time approached, he sent into the country no fewer than fifty thousand men, whom he had sustained, and in this way he both repaired the damage to his own kingdom with great generosity and diligence and eased the problems of his neighbours, who were in the same need. 313 Nobody in want was left without suitable help, and no populace, or city or individual in need of support who had recourse to him to provide for them, failed to receive what they needed. 314 It is estimated that the number of cori of wheat, valued at ten Attic medimni apiece, that were given to foreigners, amounted to ten thousand and the amount given in his own kingdom was about eighty thousand. 315 His providence and timely intervention had such influence on the Jews and was so publicised among other nations, that the old hatred he had earned by violating some of their customs and the royal succession was wiped out among all the nation, and the generosity of his help in their terrible necessity had made full satisfaction for it. 316 He also gained great fame among foreigners, so it looked as if the troubles that had so afflicted his land were sent only to heighten his glory and to serve his advantage. His greatness of spirit in that plight, which he had shown beyond all expectation, changed many people's view of him, so that they were ready to think that from the start he had not been as their experience seemed to show, but the man whose care in supplying their needs he now proved to be.

3.

317 About this time he sent five hundred elite troops from his bodyguard as allies to Caesar, whom Aelius Gallus led to the Red Sea and who were of great service to him there. 318 When his affairs had so improved and were again flourishing, he built himself a palace in the upper city, with two very high apartments adorned with expensive golden furniture and marble seats and beds, large enough to hold whole groups of men. These were named after Caesar and Agrippa. 319 He fell in love again and married another wife, not allowing reason to hinder him from living as he pleased. The cause of his marriage was as follows. 320 A man of Jerusalem called Simon the son of Boethus of Alexandria, was a priest of great note and had a daughter, who was regarded as the most beautiful woman of the time. 321 Since the people of Jerusalem began to speak much in praise of her, Herod was moved by the report and when he saw the girl, he was struck with her beauty, but entirely rejected the idea of using his authority to abuse her, believing, as was the truth, that if he did so he would be blamed for violence and tyranny, so he thought it best to take the girl as his wife. 322 Since Simon was oftoo lowly a dignity to be allied to him, but still too great to be scorned, he reasonably achieved his inclinations by raising the dignity of the family and making them more honourable, so he immediately deposed Joshua son of Phabet from the high priesthood and gave that dignity to Simon and so joined in alliance with him.

4.

323 When this wedding was over, he built a citadel in that place where he had conquered the Jews when he was driven from the kingship and Antigonus held it. 324 This citadel is about sixty furlongs from Jerusalem in a naturally strong place suited to such a building, on a medium-sized hill, raised up higher by man's handiwork, until shaped like a woman's breast. It is surrounded with circular towers and has a narrow ascent to it, composed of steps of polished stones, two hundred in number. Within are very rich royal apartments, that provide both for security and beauty. 325 About the bottom of the hill there are dwellings of a structure well worth seeing, among other things for the water which is brought there from a long way off at a great cost, for the place itself has no water. The plain around this citadel is full of buildings, no less than a city in size and with the hill above it like a castle.

5.

326 When all his plans had succeeded according to his hopes, he had no suspicion that any troubles could arise in his kingdom, for he kept his people obedient both by fear, for he was implacable in punishing, and because of his provident, magnanimous care for them, in their time of. 327 But he still took care to secure his rule and defend himself against his subjects, for his speeches in the [non-Jewish]]
cities were very fine and full of goodwill, and he cultivated their officers by lavishing gifts on each of them, courting their friendship and using his generosity to secure his grip on the kingdom, until all his concerns were flourishing in every way. 328 But his munificence and the submission and generosity he showed to Caesar and the men of power, caused him to overstep the customs of his nation and ignore many of their laws, as he built cities and temples of of ambition. 329 These were not in Judea, for that would not have been borne, as we are forbidden to pay honour to images or representations of animals in the style of the Greeks, but outside our boundaries in the surrounding territories. 330 To the Jews he explained that this was that it was done not of his own will, but at the command of others, to please Caesar and the Romans, as though he gave less honour to Jewish customs than to those of those Romans. The truth was that it was all for himself for he was keen to leave to posterity great monuments of his realm, and that is why he was so eager to build such fine cities and spent such vast sums upon them.

6.

331 Noticing near the sea a site very suited for a city, a place previously called Strato's Tower, he set about planning a magnificent city and diligently built it up with many buildings in white stone. He furnished it with sumptuous palaces and large buildings for gatherings of the people. 332 Then, greatest and most laborious work of all, he adorned it with a harbour, that was always free from the waves of the sea. Its size was not less than the Pyraeus and had towards the city a double station for the ships. It was of excellent workmanship, all the more remarkable for its being built in a place that of itself was not suitable to such noble structures, but was fitted out with materials from other places, at great expense. 333 This city is situated in Phoenicia, on the sea-route to Egypt, between Joppa and Dora, smaller coastal cities not suitable for harbours, due to the strong south winds beating upon them, which roll the sands of the sea against the shores, and do not allow for docking, and merchants there are generally forced to ride at anchor, out to sea. 334 To rectify this lacuna in the landscape, he laid out a large circular harbour where large ships could safely anchor. This he achieved by letting down vast stones more than fifty feet long, no less than eighteen feet wide and nine feet deep, into twenty fathoms deep, though some were less and some were larger than that. 335 This mole which he built along the sea was two hundred feet wide, with half of it facing to the surge of the waves, so as to take the burnt of the waves breaking upon it, and it was called Breakwater. 336 The other half had on it a wall with several towers, the largest of which was named Drusus and was a work of great excellence, named after Drusus, the son-in-law of Caesar, who died young. 337 There were also many arches where the sailors lived, and in front of them a quay which ran round the entire harbour and was a most agreeable walk for anyone so inclined. The entrance or mouth of the port was on the north side, which was the least windy of all in this place. 338 The foundations of the whole harbour wall on the left side entering the port, supported a round turret, strongly built to resist the mightiest waves; while on the right hand were two huge stones, each larger than the turret, which was across from them; these stood upright and linked together. 339 There were buildings all along the circular harbour, made of highly polished stone, an a platform in the middle on which was built a temple, visible in the distance by those who were sailing for that harbour. In it were two statues, one of Rome, the other of Caesar, and the city itself was called Caesarea, and was well built of fine materials. 340 Even the subterranean vaults and cellars were planned no less than the buildings above ground. Some of these led at equal distances to the harbour and to the sea, but one of them ran at an angle and connected all the others, so that it easily carried away both the rainwater and the citizens sewage, since the sea flowed from outside into the city and washed it all clean. 341 He also made there a stone-built theatre, and to the south behind the port, an amphitheatre also, capable of holding a large crowd of people and well situated with a view of the sea. So this city was completed in twelve years; during which time the king did not fail to proceed with the work and to pay the necessary expenses.

Chapter 10. [342-379]]]]
Herod retains Caesar's goodwill.Description of Pharisees and Essenes

1.

342 When Herod was engaged in these matters and had already rebuilt Sebaste, he decided to send his sons Alexander and Aristobulus to Rome, to meet with Caesar. 343 When they arrived there, they lodged at the house of Pollio, who treasured Herod's friendship, and then they were allowed lodgings in Caesar's own palace, for he received these sons of Herod with goodwill and allowed Herod to leave his kingdom to whichever of his sons he wished. Besides, he gave him Trachonits and Batanea and Auranitis, for the following reason. 344 Zenodorus had rented what was called the house of Lysanias. This man, dissatisfied with its revenues, supported with the brigands who lived in Trachonitis and so gained himself a larger income, for the people of those places lived in a madly and pillaged the district of Damascus, while Zenodorus did not restrain them, but shared in what they robbed. 345 Since the neighbouring people sufferered greatly from this, they complained to the governor, Varro, imploring him to write to Caesar about the crimes of Zenodorus. When this was laid before Caesar, he wrote back to Varro to destroy those nests of brigands and to give the land to Herod, that under his care the neighbourhood might be no longer troubled by these doings of the Trachonites. 346 For it was no easy thing to restrain them, since a life of robbery had been their usual practice and they had no other way to earn their living, as they owned neither city or lands, but only some caves and dens in the earth where they and their livestock lived all together. But they had arranged for some cisterns of water and had corn in granaries and could offer stiff resistance, by suddenly coming out from their hiding places. 347 The entrances of their caves were narrow, and only one at a time could enter and the spaces inside were incredibly large and very wide though the ground over their dwellings was not very high, and rather flat, but the rocky entrances are very difficult to find, unless one gets there by the guidance of another, for the roads are not straight, but wind many times. 348 When these are hindered from wickedly preying on their neighbours, their custom is to prey on each other, so that no sort of wrong is foreign to them. When Herod had received his grant from Caesar and came into this area, he got skilled guides and put a stop to their wickedness and won peace and calm for the neighbouring people.

2.

349 Zenodorus was grieved at this, first, because his leadership was taken from him, and still more because he envied Herod, who had acquired it. So he went to Rome to accuse him, but returned without success. 350 Now Agrippa was sent to succeed Caesar in ruling the countries beyond the Ionian Sea. Herod met him when he was wintering near Mitylene, for he was his particular friend and companion, and then returned to Judea again. 351 Then some of the Gadarenes came to Agrippa and accused Herod, but he sent them back in chains to the king without giving them the hearing. But still the Arabs, who of old bore ill-will to Herod's rule, were nettled and attempted to raise a rebellion against him, as they thought, for a more justified cause. 352 Zenodorus, who already despaired of succeeding in his own affairs, had sold to those Arabs a part of his area, called Auranitis, for fifty talents, and as this was included in the donation of Caesar, they contested it with Herod, as if he unjustly deprived them of what they had bought. Often they did this by making raids upon him and often by attempting force against him and at other times by going to law with him. 353 They persuaded the poorer soldiers to help them and caused him trouble, always hoping for a rebellion. In things like this poorest people are always to the fore, and though Herod had long known of these attempts, he did not treat them with severity, but aimed to calm things by reason, unwilling to cause any disturbance.

3.

354 When he had ruled for seventeen years, Caesar came into Syria. By then most of the people of Gadara complained that Herod was a heavy-handed tyrant. 355 They dared to make these insults, encouraged by Zenodorus, who swore that he would never stop trying until he got them detached from Herod's kingdom and joined to Caesar's province. 356 Persuaded by this the Gadarenes made a major outcry against him, all the more boldly because those whom Agrippa had handed over were not punished by Herod, who let them go unharmed. He had the reputation of being inflexible in punishing crimes within his own family, but very generous in forgiving offenses committed elsewhere. 357 And while they accused Herod of wrongs and of looting and subverting temples, he stood there calmly and was about to make his defense, but Caesar took his hand and in no way changed his esteem for him on account of the people's agitation. 358 These things were said on the first day, but the hearing proceeded no further, for noting the mood of Caesar and of the meeting the Gadarenes expected, with reason, to be handed over to the king, some of them, dreading the tortures they might undergo, cut their throats that night and some jumped down from a height and others committed suicide by jumping into the river. 359 This seemed to condemn their rashness and crimes, so Caesar did not hesitate to clear Herod from the crimes of which he was accused. Something else happened at this time to Herod's great advantage, for Zenodorus's belly burst and in his sickness lost a large amount of blood and departed this life in Antioch in Syria. 360 Caesar then bestowed his country, which was a significant one, upon Herod; it lay between Trachonitis and Galilee and contained Ulatha and Paneas and the country round about. He also made him one of the procurators of Syria and ordered that they should do everything with his approval. 361 In short, he arrived at such a level of posperity that though there were just two men ruling the vast Roman empire, first Caesar and then Agrippa, who was his principal favourite, Caesar preferred no one to Herod but Agrippa and Agrippa had no closer friend than Herod but Caesar. 362 After gaining this confidence, he begged of Caesar a tetrarchy for his brother Pheroras, and he himself gave him a revenue of a hundred talents from his own kingdom, so that if he came to any harm himself, his brother would be in safe and his sons would not have power over him. 363 When he had conducted Caesar to the sea and returned home, he built for him a most beautiful temple, of white stone, in land of Zenodorus, near the place called Panium. 364 This is a lovely cave in a mountainside, under which is a great cavity and the cave is steep and tremendously deep and full of still water. Above it is a huge mountain, and under the cave are the sources of the river Jordan. This place, which was already remarkable, he adorned still further by building a temple dedicated to Caesar.

4.

365 Then Herod reduced by a third the taxes of those in his kingdom, under pretext of relieving their poverty, but mainly to regain their goodwill. By now they disliked him, because of the changes he had made to their tradition, his neglect of their religion and customs, and everywhere the people spoke against him, outraged and provoked by his behaviour. 366 He was on guard against such critics, forestalling any chance of them disturbing him by having them always at work, and he did not allow the citizens to meet in groups, or to walk or eat together, but watched all that they did and when any were caught, they were severely punished. Many were brought to the citadel of Hyrcania, both openly and secretly, to be executed, and spies were everywhere, both in the city and on the roads, to keep an eye on any who assembled. 367 It is even reported that he himself did not neglect this task, but often dressed up like a private citizen at night and mixed among the people to sound out their opinion of his rule. 368 Any who in no way could be forced to submit to his rule were prosecuted in various ways, and he required the rest of the people to take an oath of loyalty to him and made them swear an oath of their goodwill and to continue under him as their leader. 369 In fact most people, whether to please him or for fear of him, submitted to his demands, while in one way or another he did away with those of a more generous temper who objected to the compulsion he used on them. 370 He even tried to persuade Pollio the Pharisee and Sameas and most of their scholars to take the oath, but though they would not submit to it they were not punished along with the others, on account of his esteem for Pollio. 371 The Essenes too, as we call a sect of ours, were excused from this obligation. This group live the same kind of life as those called Pythagoreans among the Greeks, and I shall discuss them more fully elsewhere. 372 But I should give here the reasons why he honoured these Essenes so much and esteemed them more highly than other mortals. Such an aside is not unsuited to the nature of this history, as it will show the opinion people had of these Essenes.

5.

373 One of these Essenes named Manahem not only led an excellent life, but it is said that God gave him knowledge of future events. This man once saw Herod as a child going to school, and called him king of the Jews. 374 Thinking that either he did not know him, or was joking, the boy reminded him that he was just a commoner, but Manahem smiled quietly and gave him a slap on the behind and said, "But you will be king and the beginning of your reign will be happy, for God has found you worthy. But remember how Manahem has struck you, as a sign that your fortune will change. 375 Now here is your best policy: to love justice, piety towards God and mercy to the citizens. But knowing your whole future career, you will not always live up to this. 376 Though you will prosper like nobody else and win everlasting fame, you will forget piety and righteousness, and at the end of your life your crimes will not be hidden from God, who will recall them and punish you for them." 377 At the time Herod paid no attention to him, having no hopes of such promotion, but later, when he had the good fortune to rise to royal dignity and was in the height of his reign, he sent for Manahem and asked him how long he would reign. 378 Manahem did not speak at all, so as he was silent he asked him again if he would reign for even ten years. He answered, "Yes, twenty, or even thirty years" but would not say the exact limit set to it. Herod was satisfied with these replies and shook Manahem's hand and dismissed him, and from then on he continued to honour the Essenes. 379 We thought it right to tell our readers these facts, however strange, and to state what happened among us, for on account their great virtue many of these Essenes have been gifted with the knowledge of divine things.

Chapter 11. [380-425]]]]
Herod magnificently rebuilds the Temple, and builds the Antonia tower

1.

380 In the eighteenth year of his reign and after the actions already mentioned, Herod undertook a great work, to build the temple of God, and make it larger in size and raise it to a magnificent height, thinking it the most glorious of all his actions, as indeed it really was, and that to complete it would make him forever remembered. 381 Since he knew that the people were not ready or willing to help him in so vast a plan, he sought to prepare them first with words before setting about the work itself. So he called them together and said: 382 "I hardly need to tell you, my countrymen, about the other works I have done since I came to power, although I may say they were done more for your security for than my own glory. 383 I have not neglected what was for your good in the most difficult times, nor were the building I have not aimed at my own security rather than yours. I dare say that, with God's help, I have brought the Jewish nation to a level of prosperity they never enjoyed before. 384 It seems needless to tell you of the buildings in our own country and in the cities we have lately acquired, which we have built up and adorned, thereby adding to the dignity of our nation, as you know them well yourselves. Let me rather speak of the work I now want to undertake, the most pious and excellent we could possibly achieve. 385 Our fathers, after their return from Babylon, built this temple to God Almighty, but its height is sixty feet less than the first temple built by Solomon. 386 Nobody should condemn our fathers for laziness or lack of piety in this, for it was not their fault that the temple was no higher, for it was Cyrus and Darius the son of Hystaspes who decided the dimensions for its rebuilding, and since our fathers were subject to them and their descendants and after them to the Macedonians, they lacked the chance to restore this holy building to its original form and size. 387 But since by God's will I am now your ruler and we have had a long period of peace with abundant wealth and large revenues, and above all, since the Romans, who, so to speak, are masters of everything, are friendly disposed towards me, I will try to set right what was lacking due to the scarcity and slavery of former times, in devout thanksgiving to God for giving me this kingdom."

2.

388 Herod said this and what he said astonished the crowd as something unexpected, but as it seemed unrealisable it did not enthuse but rather depressed them. They feared he would pull down the whole structure and then be unable to carry out his rebuilding plans, a danger all the greater since the size of the project made it hard to achieve. 389 While they were in this mood the king encouraged them by saying he would not pull down their temple until everything was ready for building it up again. This he promised them in advance, and it was no lie. 390 He got ready a thousand waggons to carry the stones and chose ten thousand of the most skilled workmen and bought a thousand vestments for as many priests and had some trained as stone-cutters and others as carpenters and then began to build, but not until everything had been well prepared.

3.

391 He removed the old foundations and laid others and on them built the temple, a hundred feet long and twenty additional feet high, which subsided as the foundations settled, and this was the part we resolved to build again in the days of Nero. 392 The temple was built of large white stones, each twenty-five feet long and eight feet high and about twelve wide. 393 The whole structure, and the royal portico, was much lower on each side and the middle much higher, so that they were visible for many furlongs by those living in the country, but mainly by those living across from them or approaching them. 394 The temple had entrance doors topped by lintels as high as the temple itself, adorned with embroidered veils, interwoven with flowers of purple and designs of pillars. 395 Under the cornice stretched out a golden vine, with its branches hanging down, whose size and workmanship amazed the viewers by the costly materials of which it was made. 396 He surrounded the entire temple with large porticoes, having them in due proportion to it, spending so much more than his predecessors that no one else seemed to have adorned the temple. There was a large wall supporting both porticoes, the most mighty work that people ever heard of. 397 The hill was a rocky slope gradually rising towards the eastern parts of the city, until it reached its summit. 398 This was the topmost part which, by divine revelation, Solomon first surrounded with a wall of fine workmanship. Below, in the part surrounded by a deep valley, he laid rocks side by side, fastening them together with lead, always enclosing more within it as it grew taller, 399 so that the size and height of the square building were immense and the huge stones in front were plainly visible on the outside, while their inner sides were fastened with iron to hold them immovable for all time. 400 When this work reached the top of the hill, he joined the whole outer surface into one and filled up the hollow places near the wall and smoothly levelled its upper surface. The perimeter wall of this hill measured four furlongs, each side being a furlong. 401 Within this wall at its highest part ran another stone wall, with a double portico on the east side, the full length of the wall, facing the doors of the temple. 402 This had been adorned by many former kings, and round about the entire temple were fixed the spoils taken from barbarians; all of them dedicated by Herod, including those he had taken from the Arabs.

4.

403 On the north side was built a citadel, with squared and exceptionally solid walls, built by the kings of the Hasmonean family, who were high priests before Herod. They called it the Tower, and in it was deposited the high priestly vestment, which the high priest only wore when he was to offer sacrifice. 404 King Herod kept the vestment in that place, and after his death it was under the power of the Romans, until the time of Tiberius Caesar. 405 In his reign the governor of Syria, Vitellius, on a visit to Jerusalem got a splendid reception from the people and wanted to give them something in return for their goodwill towards him, so they asked to have this holy vestment back in their own power, and he wrote about it to Tiberius Caesar, who allowed it. So the priestly vestment remained in the custody of the Jews until the death of king Agrippa. 406 After that the governor of Syria, Cassius Longinus, and Cuspius Fadus, procurator of Judea, ordered the Jews to return the vestment to the Antonia tower, to be under the Romans as before. 407 The Jews sent envoys to Claudius Caesar to petition him about it. When they arrived, king Agrippa, junior, who was then in Rome, asked for and obtained from the emperor charge over it, and he ordered Vitellius, then commander in Syria, to give it to them. 408 Up to then it was kept under the seal of the high priest and the treasurers, and on the day before a festival, the treasurers went to the Roman officer of the temple guards and checked their own seal and received the vestment. Again, after the festival, they would bring it back to the same place and showing the corresponding seal to the officer of the temple guards, re-deposit it there. 409 That this was the state of affairs is shown by the misfortunes that happened to us later. But when Herod was king of the Jews he fortified the tower more firmly than before, in order to secure and guard the temple, and to gratify Antony, who was his friend and the leading Roman, he named it the Antonia Tower.

5.

410 In the western side of the temple court there were four gates; the first led to the king's palace via a passage over the intervening valley. Two more led to the suburbs, and the last led to the other side of the city, where the road descended by many steps down into the valley and from there back up again. The city lay opposite the temple as in a theatre and was surrounded with a deep valley along its entire south side. 411 The fourth face of the temple, to the south, had gates in the middle, and the triple royal portico, stretching from the east valley to that on the west, the furthest it could possibly reach. 412 This structure is more noteworthy than any other under the sun, for the valley was so deep that its bottom was invisible looking down into it from above, and the added elevation of the portico made it higher still. If one looked down from the top of the battlements, with these combined altitudes, he would be light-headed, and his vision could not penetrate such a measureless depth. 413 The pillars stood in four parallel rows along the length of the portico, for the fourth row was embedded in the stone wall. Each pillar was so thick that three men with outstretched arms could barely encircle it, and was twenty-seven feet long, with a double spiral at its base. 414 There were a hundred and sixty-two pillars in all. Their capitals were carved in the Corinthian style and were remarkable for of the grandeur of the whole effect. 415 These four rows of pillars incorporated three aisles; two of which were parallel and had the same form; each of them was thirty feet wide, a furlong long and fifty feet high. The middle aisle of the portico was half as wide again as the others and its height was twice that of the side aisles. 416 The ceilings were adorned with carvings in wood, representing many sorts of figures, with the middle one being much higher than the others. Its front wall was adorned with beams resting on pillars that were interwoven into it and was all made of polished stone, so that its splendour was incredible to those who had not seen it, and truly amazing to those who had. 417 Such was the outer enclosure. Enclosed by it and close by, was the second, reached by a few steps. This was surrounded by a stone wall as a partition, with an inscription, forbidding any foreigner to go in under pain of death. 418 On its southern and northern sides this inner enclosure had three gates equidistant from each other, but facing the sunrise there was one large gate, through which the purified could come in, with their wives. 419 Further in than that no women were allowed, and still further in there was a third temple area, which none but the priests could enter. The actual temple was within this, in front of which stood the altar on which we offer our sacrifices and holocausts to God. 420 None of these three spaces was entered by king Herod, for they were forbidden to him, not being a priest. But he was involved in building the porticoes and the outer enclosures and these were built in eight years.

6.

421 The actual temple was built by the priests in a year and six months; then all the people were filled with joy, and prompt to give thanks, first of all to God, and then for the zeal shown by the king, and they feasted and celebrated this rebuilding. 422 The king sacrificed three hundred oxen to God, as did the others, each according to his ability, and it countless sacrifices were offered, more than we can properly estimate. 423 Coinciding with this celebration for the temple was the day of the king's inauguration, which by ancient custom he kept as a festival and as it now coincided with the other, it was a very glorious festivity indeed.

7.

424 A secret passage was built for the king, from the Antonia to inside the temple area, at the eastern gate, over which he had built himself a tower, to provide him with a subterranean access to the temple, for security against any revolt the people might make against their kings. 425 It is also reported that while the temple was being built in the daytime it never rained, but the showers fell at night so that the work was not held up. This is what our fathers passed this on to us; nor is it incredible, if one pays heed to how God manifests himself. And that is how the temple was rebuilt.