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Antiquities of the Jews, Book 16.

Herod, up to the execution of Aristobulus and Alexander

1. Herod against thievery. Mariamne's sons are accused, yet Herod assigns them wives

2. Herod meets Marcus Agrippa, and maintains Roman favour. Agrippa's judgment

3. Intrigues in Herod's family, from preferring Antipater over the rest of his sons.

4. Before Augustus, Herod accuses two of his sons of disloyalty. Alexander's defence

5. Completion of Caesarea-Sebaste. Magnificent Herodian building projects

6. Asian and Libyan Jews appeal to Rome, and get the imperial support

7. Herod robs the tomb of David, to fund building projects. Family rebellion increases

8. Herod imprisons his son Alexander, but is again reconciled through Archelaus

9. Trachonitis revolts. Accused before Caesar, Herod sends Nicolaus to Rome

10. Further accusations of Herod's sons, by the Spartan, Eurycles

11. Formal trial and execution of Herod's sons, Aristobulus and Alexander


Chapter 1. [001-011]
Herod's law against thieves. Mariamne's sons are accused

1.

001 The king was busily administering his entire realm and keen to put a stop to the injustice of criminals around the city and country. He made a law apart from our original laws, condemning house-breakers to exile from his kingdom, a punishment that was not only very severe upon the offenders, but was alien to the customs of our ancestors. 002 To put them into slavery to foreigners who did not live by Jewish customs, so they had to obey the commands of such people, was an offense against our religious tradition, rather than just a penalty for wrongdoing. 003 Such a penalty was avoided in our original laws, which require the thief to restore fourfold, and if he does not have the amount, he must be sold, but not to foreigners, nor so as to be in perpetual slavery, for he must be released after six years. 004 But this severe and illegal punishment seemed a kind of insolence. To introduce such a penalty rashly and without regard to his subjects, was the act of a tyrant and not of a king. 005 Like Herod's other actions, this penalty he brought in became a part of his guilt and aroused hatred against him.

2.

006 Meanwhile he sailed to Italy, eager to meet with Caesar and to see his sons who lived in Rome, and Caesar was not only very pleasant to him in other respects, but returned his sons to take home with him, having completed their studies. 007 As soon as the young men had come from Italy, the people wanted to see them and they became celebritiess among all, enhanced with great blessings of fortune and having the features of persons of royal dignity. 008 Soon they were envied by Salome, the king's sister and those who had spread lies against Mariamne, suspecting that once these came to rule, they themselves would be punished for the harm they had done to their mother. 009 This fear became a motive to spread allegations about them, so they alleged that the youths abhorred their father's company, since he had put their mother to death, and it would be an impiety to converse with their mother's murderer. 010 By spreading such stories, which indeed were based on fact but were only surmises at the time, they could do them harm and turn Herod away from his previous favour towards his sons. They did not say these things to him directly, but spread such rumours among the rest of the people. When such words came back to Herod, he was induced to hate them, something which his affection in the long term could not overcome. 011 For the present, the king could let his natural paternal affection over-rule the suspicions and allegations heaped upon his sons. So he showed them due respect and married them to wives as soon as they were of the right age for it. To Aristobulus he gave in marriage Berenice, Salome's daughter, and to Alexander, Glaphyra, the daughter of Archelaus, king of Cappadocia.

Chapter 2. [012-065]
Herod sails to meet Agrippa, and maintain Roman favour. Agrippa avenges the Ionians against the Greeks

1.

012 After dealing with these matters and learning that Marcus Agrippa had sailed again from Italy to Asia, he hurried to him and wished him to come to visit his kingdom and enjoy what was due to him by his friend and former guest . 013 Under strong persuasion he agreed and came to Judea, and Herod spared no efforts to please him in his newly founded cities and showing him his building works and entertaining him and his friends with all the best and finest sorts of foods, both in Sebaste and around the port he had built at Caesarea, and in the fortresses of Alexandreion and Herodium and Hyrcania, which he had refurbished at huge expense. 014 He brought him also to the city of Jerusalem, where all the people met him in festive clothing and welcomed him with acclamations. Agrippa offered a hecatomb sacrifice to God, and gave a feast for the population, who were no fewer than in the greatest of cities. 015 He enjoyed his stay with them for many days and would willingly have stayed longer but for the time of year, since at the approach of winter he thought it unsafe to postpone his unavoidable return voyage to Ionia.

2.

016 So when Herod had honoured him and the main people with him with many gifts, he sailed away but in the springtime king Herod, after wintering in his own dominions, hurried to him again, knowing he was planning a campaign to the Bosphorus. 017 After sailing past Rhodes and Cos, he touched at Lesbos, thinking to catch up with Agrippa there, but a north wind prevented his ships from landing. 018 Instead he stayed for many days at Chios where he kindly treated many who came to him and captivated them with royal gifts. He noticed how the portico of the city, destroyed in the Mithridatic war, had fallen down and because of its size and beauty was not easy to rebuild. 019 He provided enough money to do so and more than sufficient to complete the building, and ordered them not to ignore the portico but to quickly rebuild it, so that the city might regain its proper appearance. 020 When the high winds ceased, he sailed to Mytilene and from there to Byzantium, and on hearing that Agrippa had sailed beyond the Cyanean rocks, he hurried on with all speed. 021 When he caught up with him near Sinope in Pontus, the sailors were surprised and pleased to see him, and many friendly greetings were exchanged, so that Agrippa thought it the greatest possible sign of the king's favour and goodwill towards him that he had made so long a voyage to come to his help, setting his needs above his own concerns and even above the administration of his own realm. 022 Herod meant everything to him in this campaign and was a great help in civil affairs and in advising him on particular matters. He was also a pleasant companion in times of relaxation and shared with him every way, loyal in time of trouble and respectful amid his pleasures. 023 When Agrippa's mission in Pontus was accomplished, they decided not to return by sea, but passed through Paphlagonia and Cappadocia and from there journeyed across great Phrygia as far as Ephesus and then they sailed from Ephesus to Samos. 024 The king bestowed many benefits on every city he came to, according to their need. Whether they needed money or an intercessor he was not found wanting: the former he supplied from his own revenues and whenever anyone sought a favour he interceded with Agrippa so effectively that none of the petitioners were refused. 025 The latter was well disposed and most generous and ready to grant any requests that were useful to the petitioners and not to the detriment of others. The king's influence was strong in moving him to good deeds, although Agrippa himself was also quick enough to do so on his own. 026 He managed to reconcile him with the people of Ilium, and paid the money owed to Caesar's agents by the people of Chios and eased their taxes, and helped all others according to their requests.

3.

027 Then when they were in Ionia, a large crowd of Jews living in those cities came to them and taking advantage of the freedom of speech now afforded them, set out the wrongs they suffered in not being let follow their own laws and having to go to court on their holy days because of the malice of the magistrates. 028 They told of how the money they used to set aside for Jerusalem was taken from them and how they were forced into the army and to take part in ceremonies that made them spend their sacred money, whereas the Romans had freed them of such burdens and had always let them live by their own laws. 029 After this complaint the king asked Agrippa to hear their cause and assigned one of his friends, Nicolaus, to plead on behalf of their rights. 030 When Agrippa had called as assessors the leading Romans and any kings and officers who were present, Nicolaus stood up and spoke on behalf of the Jews, as follows:

4.

031 "Great Agrippa, all people in need must have recourse to those with the power to set them free from whatever oppresses them, and so the suppliants approach you with assurance, 032 Just as they have obtained your favour in the past as often as they sought it, now they only ask that you, the donors, will ensure that what you have granted may not be taken from them, favours which you alone have power to grant but have been taken away by people no greater than ourselves, who are subjects like ourselves. 033 If we have been granted great favours, it is to our credit to have been deemed worthy of them, and if the favours were only minor it would be shameful for the donors not to renew them. 034 It is clear that those who are thwarting and mistreating the Jews are wronging both our people, by not accepting as good those whom their leaders have honoured in this way, and the donors themselves, by seeking to undermine favours already granted. 035 If one should ask them which of two things they would choose to abandon, their lives or their ancestral customs, solemnities, sacrifices and the festivals they celebrate in honour of those they deem to be gods, I know full well they would choose to suffer everything rather than do away with any of their heritage. 036 Indeed, many of them have rather chosen to go to war in defence of them, rather than transgress them. A sign of the wellbeing which all of mankind now enjoys on account of you is that we are each allowed to worship and live as required by our own heritage. 037 But though they do not wish to be so treated themselves, they try to make subject others, as if it were not as impious to set aside the religious practice of others as to neglect to show fidelity towards one's own gods. 038 Furthermore, is there any people or city or human community to whom your rule and patronage and Roman power does not appear as the greatest of blessings? Would anyone seek to minimise the benefits it has brought? 039 No one, not even a madman! Nobody is ruled out from sharing in these blessings, both public and private, and any who deny what you have granted cannot be sure that all you have given them may be taken from them. 040 These favours you have brought cannot be prized highly enough, for if they compare the ancient kingdoms to your present rule, besides the many aspects of prosperity this government has brought, the main thing is that they no longer live as slaves, but as free people. 041 What we seek, even if we seem to be doing very well, need not be envied, for if we are flourishing on account of you it is shared by others. All we want is to guard our religious heritage without hindrance, a privilege for which we should not be envied, as it benefits those who allow it. 042 If the Divinity is pleased to be honoured, He must be pleased with those who allow this honour. None of our customs are inhuman, but all of them tend to piety and tend to preserve justice. 043 We do not conceal the teachings by which we rule our lives, as they are the basics of piety and friendly human interaction. The seventh day we set apart for the learning of our customs and law, considering that there is no better form of study by which to avoid sin. 044 If one examines our ways he will find they are good in themselves and ancient too, despite what some may think, so that those who have received and observed them cannot be easily brought to abandon what they have honoured for so long. 045 It is these that our opponents spitefully take from us when they destroy the money we set aside for God and publicly scorn his temple by imposing taxes on us and on our holy days making us come to court and do other practical business, not because our legal obligations require it but to spite our religion, whose rules they know as well as we, all because of an unjustified and arbitrary hatred. 046 On the contrary, your government over all is consistent in promoting people's disposition towards goodwill and curbing their malice. 047 So what we beg, great Agrippa, is not to let us be ill-treated or abused, or prevented from following our own customs, not to be robbed of our property or be oppressed by these people whom we do not oppress, for our claims are not only just but were granted to us earlier by you. 048 About them we can read you many decrees of the senate, recorded on the tablets in the Capitol, which clearly were granted as a result of our loyalty to you, although you should concede them even if we done nothing to please you. 049 For you have guarded not alone our property but that of almost all others, so that your empire has brought benefits beyond all their hopes, and if one were to try to list all the advantages each of them has received through you the list would never come to an end. 050 Still, that we may show ourselves worthy of all the benefits granted to us, suffice it to speak of this king who now governs us and is one of your assessors. 051 Where has he shown any lack of goodwill towards your house? What sign of loyalty has he not given to it? What proof of honour has he not devised? In what crisis has he not shown foresight on your behalf? So then, what prevents your favour from equalling his great favours to you?

052 Probably we should not fail to mention the bravery of his father Antipater, who, when Caesar invaded Egypt, helped him with two thousand warriors and was second to none in his efforts, both in the battles on land and in those by sea. 053 Need we mention how important their contribution was at that juncture, or of how many fine each of them received from Caesar? And I should recall the letters Caesar wrote to the senate, and the public honours and citizenship conferred upon Antipater. 054 Such things suffice to prove that we received these favours by our own merits, and therefore we ask you to confirm them, confident that even if not already granted to us you would grant them, due to our king's suport for you and yours for him. 055 We have been told by the Jews who were present how benevolently you came to our land and offered the most perfect sacrifices to God and honoured him with remarkable vows and how you gave a feast for the people and accepted their hospitality to you. 056 We reckon all these things done by our nation and city for a man who rules and manages so much of the administration to be signs of the friendship between you and the Jewish nation, won for us by the hospitality of Herod's family. 057 Reminding you of these matters in the presence of the king sitting beside you, we ask no more than this: Do not look on while others rob us of what you yourselves have given us."

5.

058 When Nicolaus had made this speech, no counter-argument was made to it by the Greeks, for this was not a legal trial but a petition against the violence being done to them. 059 The others made no defense nor did they at all deny what they were doing, only stating that they did them all sorts of wrong simply by living in their country. The [Jews]
replied that they too belonged there and that they harmed nobody by honouring their own customs. 060 When Agrippa saw that they had been subjected to violence he replied that on account of Herod's goodwill and friendship, he was ready to grant the Jews whatever they asked and that what they wanted seemed justified, and that if they requested anything else he would not hesitate to grant it provided it was not harmful to Roman rule. Since they had asked only that their already existing rights not be set aside, he confirmed that they could continue observing their customs undisturbed. 061 After saying this, he dissolved the assembly, and Herod stood up and embraced him and thanked him for his kindness towards him. Agrippa also accepted this most affably and similarly put his arms around him. 062 Then he left for Lesbos, but the king decided to sail from Samos to his own country, and after taking leave of Agrippa voyaged with favourable winds and landed in Caesarea not many days later. From there he went to Jerusalem and gathered a full assembly of the people and many from the country were there too. 063 He came and explained all about his journey and gave them a detailed report of how due to him the Jews in Asia would live undisturbed in future. 064 He gave them a summary of his good fortune and of his administration of power and how he neglecting nothing that would benefit them, and then in a joyful mood he deducted for them a quarter of their taxes for the last year. 065 They were so pleased with his speech and with this favour that they went away happily, full of good wishes towards the king.

Chapter 3. [066-086]
Salome plots against Mariamne's sons. Herod prefers Antipater over them; they are enraged

1.

066 The disharmony in his household grew ever worse due to Salome's hatred of the youths, which as it were came to them by inheritance. As she had succeeded fully against their mother, she progressed to such madness and malice that she wanted none of that woman's descendants to be left alive and in a position to avenge her death. 067 Furthermore, those [two]
youths had a rather reckless hostility towards their father, based on the memory of the injustice their mother had suffered and on their own desire to rule. 068 The situation now grew worse than before and they said harsh things against Salome and Pheroras, who in revenge felt malicious towards the young men and was busily plotting against them. 069 The hatred was equal on both sides, but they differed in their way of expressing that hatred. The young men were rash, publicly insulting and confronting the others, and were so inexperienced as to think it nobler to declare their minds quite openly, but the others more effectively opted for spiteful allegations, forever goading the youths in the anticipation that their boldness would eventually lead them to violence. 070 For as they were not ashamed of their mother's faults and did not believe that her execution was just, one could expect them to finally go overboard and in revenge even kill him with their own hands. 071 At last the whole city was full of rumours like these, and naturally in such a conflict the naivety of the young men was pitied. Salome's plan, however, prevailed and her lies against them came to be believed because of their own conduct. 072 They were so grieved by their mother's death that when both she and they were badly spoken of, they complained that she had been pitiably treated, which indeed was true, and that they were also to be pitied for being forced to live close to her murderers and to be civil with them.

2.

073 These grounds of dissension greatly increased during the king's absence and when Herod returned and had addressed the crowd as we have said, Pheroras and Salome immediately prompted the rumour that he was in great danger and that the youths were publicly threatening to no longer postpone taking revenge for their mother's death. 074 To this they added that their hopes were fixed on Archelaus, the king of Cappadocia, with whose help they would go to Caesar and accuse their father. 075 Hearing such things, Herod was immediately troubled, all the more so when the same things were reported to him by others. He called to mind his earlier plight and considered that the disorders within his family were preventing him from enjoying any comfort from those dearest to him or from his wife whom he loved so well. Suspecting too that his troubles in future would soon be weightier and greater than those of the past, he was confused in mind, 076 for some daemon had truly conferred upon him many outward advantages even beyond his hopes, but his domestic troubles were beyond the normal and rendered him unfortunate. Indeed both of these affected him to such an unimaginable degree that comparing them it is hard to say 077 whether he would have exchanged his great success in outward things for such misfortunes at home, or whether he ought not choose to avoid his domestic troubles even if he must never experience his remarkably successful kingship.

3.

078 In this troubled and unhappy state, in order to quell these youths he brought to court another of his sons who was born to him before he came to power, the one called Antipater. At first he did not indulge him as he did later, when he was quite dominated by him and let him do as he pleased. 079 Now however, wanting to quell the insolence of the sons of Mariamne he elevated his other son as a warning to them. Their bold behaviour would calm down once they were persuaded that the succession to the kingdom did not automatically belong to them alone. 080 So he introduced Antipater as their rival, thinking this would succeed and that once the pride of the youths was checked they would be easier for him to manage. 081 But it did not turn out as planned, for the boys felt that his action was unjust and provocative to them, and as Antipater was shrewd in his ways, when he got this level of freedom and began to have previously unhoped-for prospects, the only thought in his head was how to harm his brothers. To stop them from gaining pre-eminence he would keep close to his father, already alienated from them by allegation and apt to become much more severe on them if stirred by any further means he could plot. 082 Not every rumour spreading around came from him as he avoided being suspected of starting them by using collaborators who were above suspicion and would be believed to be speaking out because of their goodwill towards the king. 083 Already there were not a few cultivating his friendship on account of his prospects and it was mainly they who persuaded Herod, seeming to say such things out of goodwill. On top of these accusations, all the more credible for coming from various sides, the youths furnished further chances to attack them. 084 For they were often seen in tears for the cruel dishonour done to them and talking about their mother, and among their friends they blamed their father for treating them unjustly. All such things were maliciously stored up by Antipater for the right occasion and when they were told to Herod, and elaborated upon, they heightened the tension and brought great discord into the family. 085 The king was very angry about these allegations and wishing to humble Mariamne's sons he continued to show more honour to Antipater, and finally was so won over by him that he back brought his mother and often wrote to Caesar in his favour, commending him to his particular care. 086 When Agrippa was returning to Rome after administering Asia for ten years, Herod sailed from Judea, and when they met the only one to accompany him was Antipater, whom he gave over to Agrippa to bring with him, along with many gifts, to become a friend of Caesar. Now he seemed to have all in his hands and that the youths were excluded from any prospect of the kingdom.

Chapter 4. [087-135]
Before Augustus, Herod accuses Mariamne's sons of sisloyalty. Alexander's defence, and reconciliation with his father

1.

087 During his absence the status and preeminence of Antipater grew, for he became a celebrity in Rome, where Herod had written to all his friends about him. 088 But it irked him not to be at home with a constant opportunity to calumniate his brothers, and his main fear was that left on his own his father might change his mind and come to view the sons of Mariamne more favourably. 089 With this in mind, he did not relent in his endeavour but kept sending from Rome stories that he hoped would irritate and anger his father against the brothers, under pretext of a deep concern for him but in fact prompted by his malicious nature and to strengthen his hopes, which were already strong. 090 Eventually Herod was roused to great anger and resentment towards the youths; yet he delayed giving vent to this violent feeling. So in order neither to be too lax nor to give offence by acting too rashly, he thought it best to sail to Rome and there accuse his sons before Caesar, so as not to commit a crime so grievous that he could be accused of impiety. 091 As he hurried towards Rome to meet Caesar, he happened to meet him at the city of Aquileia and when they had a chance to speak he asked him to hear this great case where he thought himself most unfortunate, and had his sons present, whom he accused of their rash actions and of their plotting 092 and how hostile they were to him in every way and hated their own father enough to take his life and brutally take over the kingdom, which he had received from Caesar with power to dispose of it not by force but by his free choice, to the one who remained most loyal to him. 093 But even stronger than their desire to rule is their willingness to risk their lives if it is witheld from them, if only they could kill their own father, so wild and degenerate has hatred made their minds. Having borne this misfortune for a long time, he was now compelled to lay it before Caesar and to pollute his ears with such matters. 094 But what harshness had they ever suffered from him, or what reason for complaint did he give them? How could they think it right to remove him from the kingdom which he had gained over so long a time and at such peril, and not let him hold it and hand it on to whoever deserved it best? 095 He proposed to give this and other favours in return for the loyalty of the son who would show most care for his father, and that would be the great reward for the chosen one. 096 clearly it was impious for them to try to determine this, for anyone who is always thinking about becoming king is also reckoning upon his father's death, since otherwise he cannot take over the leadership. 097 For his part, he had up to now not failed to give them all that was due to the sons of a king but still subject to his royal authority. They did not lack ornaments or servants or comfort, and he had married them into the most illustrious families, one of them to his sister's daughter, and Alexander to the daughter of king Archelaus. 098 The greatest sign of his favour was that even in this crisis he did not use his authority to execute them, as a father wrongly treated or as a king plotted against might do, but instead had brought them for judgment as equals before Caesar, their mutual benefactor. 099 He begged that they not be left completely unpunished, nor that he go on living in such great fear. After what they had planned they did not deserve to go on seeing the light of the sun, even should they escape this time, for they had done the vilest things known to mankind and deserved to be punished.

2.

100 Herod accused his sons vehemently in this way before Caesar, and the young men wept with emotion as he was speaking. Particularly as Herod ended, though conscious of their innocence of any such filial impiety they rightly felt it hard to make their defence. 101 After the accusations made by their father, although they were free to speak their minds as freely as needed to forcibly and earnestly refute the accusations, it did not now seem quite decent to do so. 102 Therefore, uncertain of how they should reply, his speech was followed by their tears and deep sighing. They feared that if they said nothing it might seem to be an acknowledgement of guilt, but they had no defense ready, because of their youth and the confusion they felt. 103 Looking at them, Caesar was not unaware that their delay in offering their defense did not come from a guilty conscience, but from shyness and lack of experience. They were also pitied by the people present, and even their father's feelings were genuinely moved.

3.

104 When they saw some goodwill both in him and in Caesar and that some of the others were shedding tears, and all felt pity for them, one of them, Alexander, tried to answer his accusation, and calling to his father he said, 105 "Father, your goodwill to us is clear, even in this trial, for if you had intended any severity towards us, you would not have led us here before the common saviour of all. 106 It was in your power, both as a king and as a father, to punish the guilty, so that bringing us to Rome and making this man a witness suggests that you intend to spare us, for no one who intends to kill somebody will bring him to the temples and to the altars. 107 Our situation is now even worse, for we cannot bear to live any longer if we be thought to have wronged such a father. To live under the suspicion of having wronged you would be worse for us than to die without such guilt. 108 If our frank defense is accepted as true, we shall be happy, both for persuading you and escaping the danger we are in, but if the allegation prevails, it is more than enough for us to have seen the sun this day. For why should we see it, if this suspicion against us be true? 109 Now it is easy to say that young men desire to reign, and to add that this resentment proceeds from the case of our unfortunate mother, which easily could lead to our present misfortune. 110 But consider whether this charge does not apply to everyone equally. What is to stop a king who has children whose mother is dead, from suspecting all his sons of plotting against their father? But mere suspicion is not sufficient to prove such a impiety. 111 Let any man prove that we have dared any such thing, and make the incredible seem credible! Can anyone prove that poison was prepared, or that we conspired with our peers, or the corrupted servants, or wrote letters against you? 112 No such things exist but they have been invented by way of allegation. Now a kingdom divided within itself is a disaster, and among scoundrela what you call a reward for loyalty often prompts such hopes as to get them to leave no sort of malice untried. 113 No one directly accuses us of such wicked practices but how can we put an end to to allegations by hearsay, if you will not listen to us? Have we talked too freely? Yes, but not against you, for that would be unjust, but against those who never conceal anything that is spoken to them. 114 Did either of us mourn our mother? Yes, but not for her death, but that bad things were said of her which she did not deserve. Do we want the kingship which we know is held by our father? Why should we? If we already have royal honours, it would be senseless to still seek them. If we don't have them, shuld we not still hope for them? 115 If we laid hands on you, how could we expect to win your kingship, for after such a deed we could not walk the earth or sail the sea? The piety and loyalty of the whole nation would stop patricides from taking over, or entering the holy temple built by you. 116 But even setting aside other dangers, can any murderer go unpunished while Caesar lives? We your sons are not so disloyal or thoughtless, though perhaps more unfortunate than is good for you. 117 But if you find no true complaint or treachery, what proper evidence have you to make such a wickedness on our part credible? Our mother is dead, but her fate might as well lead us to caution as incite us to wickedness. 118 We are willing to defend ourselves further, but actions never done cannot be discussed. We could reach agreement with you before Caesar, the lord of all, who is now mediating between us, 119 if you, father, by the evidence of truth can bring yourself to free your mind from suspecting us and let us live. Even then we are unfortunate, since it is a terrible thing to be falsely accused of such wickedness. 120 But if you still have any fear of us, let you continue with your devout existence, for our life is not so precious to us as to want to keep it, if it seems to threaten injustice to our father who gave it to us."

4.

121 When Alexander had said this, Caesar, who even before had not believed so gross an accusation, was still more moved and glancing constantly at Herod saw him look a little depressed. The others present were anxious on behalf of the young men and the rumours going around the hall made the king quite loathed. 122 The incredibility of the accusation plus sympathy for the the young men's bloom of youth and physical beauty worked on their behalf, all the more so since Alexander had made their defense so skillfully and wisely. No longer did they look as before, weeping and with their eyes on the floor, 123 for now they began to hope for better things, and while the king seemed to have persuaded himself about the accusation, he now needed to apologise for it, having no solid proof. 124 After a pause, Caesar said that, although the young men were fully innocent of the charge against them, yet they they shared some blame in that they had not been docile enough towards their father to prevent such a report about them. 125 He urged Herod to set aside all his suspicions and be reconciled to his sons, as it was not right to believe such things of one's own children. Mutual repentance could still heal the breaches that had arisen between them and enliven their goodwill, so that both sides would apologise for their rash suspicions and resolve to show more concern for each other than before. 126 After this admonition he beckoned to the young men, who were disposed to fall down and beg for pardon; and when their father raised them up, still in tears, and embraced them one by one, nobody present, whether free-man or slave, remained unmoved.

5.

127 After thanking Caesar they went off together, and the hypocritical Antipater went with them, pretending to be glad at the reconciliation. 128 In their final days with Caesar, who was then providing shows and handouts for the Roman populace, Herod made him a gift of three hundred talents and Caesar granted him half the revenue of the Cypriot copper mines and entrusted him with managing the other half and honoured him with hospitality and lodging. 129 Further, he left him the right to appoint whichever of his sons he pleased to succeed to his kingdom, or to distribute it among them in parts so that each of them could share in that dignity. When he wanted to do it there and then, he would not let him give up control over his kingdom or his sons during his lifetime .

6.

130 After this he returned to Judea, but in his absence a large part of his realm around Trachonitis had rebelled, but the officers he had left behind had defeated them and brought them back into submission. 131 Now as Herod was sailing with his sons and arrived near Cilicia, to Elaiousa, whose name has now changed to Sebaste, he met with Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, who received him kindly, delighted that he was reconciled to his sons and that Alexander, to whom his daughter was married, was cleared of all charges, and they exchanged the usual gifts among kings. 132 From there Herod came to Judea and to the temple, where he made a speech to the people about what had been achieved during his journey. He also spoke to them about Caesar's favour to him and about as many of his activities as he thought it useful for others to know. 133 Finally he turned to admonishing his sons, and urging the courtiers and the people to harmony, and telling them that his sons were to be kings after him, Antipater first and then the sons of Mariamne, Alexander and Aristobulus. 134 But for the present he wanted all to look to himself as king and lord of everything, since he was not yet weakened by old age but rather in his prime at ruling, and not lacking the ability to govern the kingdom or rule over his children. He assured the officers and soldiers that if they heeded him alone, their life would be peaceful and every chance of happiness would be provided on all sides. 135 With that he dismissed the assembly. Most of the audience, but not all of them, welcomed his speech, since thoughts and desires of revolt sprang from the struggle between his sons and the hopes he had given them.

Chapter 5. [136-159]
Herodian games, to celebrate the completion of Caesarea-Sebaste. His magnificent building projects

1.

136 About this time Caesarea Sebaste, which he had been building, was completed in ten years, which had it ready by the twenty-eighth year of Herod's reign and the hundred and ninety-second Olympiad. 137 Immediately a great and sumptuous festival was prepared for its dedication, for which he arranged musical competition and gymnastic games, complete with a whole troop of gladiators and wild beasts, horse races and the very elaborate kind of shows that are customary in Rome and some other places. 138 He planned for its celebration every fifth year and dedicated these first games to Caesar, who from his own stores sent all sorts of equipment for the occasion, to add to its splendour. 139 Caesar's wife, Julia, sent much of her most valuable furnishings, so that the whole value of the equipment was estimated at no less than five hundred talents. 140 A large crowd gathered in the city to see the games, as well as the envoys sent by various groups on account of his benefactions to them, Herod entertained them all with lodgings and meals and continuous feasting, so that the festival offered by day the enjoyment of the games and by night merry-making on a lavish scale, costing huge sums of money and demonstrating his magnanimity. 141 In all his undertakings he was ambitious to surpass whatever had been done before, and they say that Caesar and Agrippa often noted that Herod's realm was too small for the greatness of his soul, and that he deserved to rule the whole of Syria and Egypt as his kingdom.

2.

142 After this festival and the feasting were over, Herod built another city in the plain called Capharsaba, where he chose a piece of excellent, fruitful and well-watered land, with a river flowing close to the city and a grove of fine tall trees surrounding it. 143 This he named Antipatris, after his father Antipater; and on another site above Jericho he built a very secure and pleasant place to live, and named it after his mother, Cypros. 144 He dedicated a monument of the finest kind to his brother Phasael, too, whom he had held in the great affection, by raising a tower in the city itself, not smaller than the tower of Pharos, which he named Phasael, both to form part of the strong defenses of the city and as a memorial to the dead man after whom it was named. 145 He also built a city of that name in the valley as you go north from Jericho, whose cultivation by its inhabitants made the neighbouring country more fruitful. This too he called Phasael.

3.

146 It is impossible to calculate all his other benefactions, done for cities in Syria and Greece and in all the places he called at in his travels. He seems to have generously funded many public functions and building projects and provided the necessary money in cases where works were languishing for lack of funds. 147 Among his greatest and most famous of his works was building the Pythian temple at Rhodes at his own expense, and providing many of talents of silver for ship-building. He also built most of the public buildings for the people of Nicopolis, founded by Caesar at Actium. 148 For the Antiocheans, the people of the principal city of Syria, where a broad street cuts lengthways through it, he built porticoes along both sides of it and paved the uncovered part of the street with polished stone, to the great pleasure and benefit of the inhabitants. 149 He also restored the honour of the Olympic Games, which had fallen into decline for lack of money, and assigned a revenue for their upkeep and for sacrifices and other things to hallow the festival. For this generosity, an inscription by the Elians calls him the perpetual patron of the games.

4.

150 The diversity of his nature and decisions has struck others as amazing. When we think of his munificence and the benefits he conferred on all mankind, not even those who respected him the least could possibly deny, or fail to acknowledge, that by nature he had vast inclination to do good. 151 On the other hand, when one looks at the penalties he inflicted and the wrongs he did, not only to his subjects, but to his nearest relatives and notes his severe and unrelenting disposition there, one must also acknowledge that he was brutish and alien to all moderation. 152 From this they conclude that he was inconsistent and in contradiction with himself, but I see him in another way and think the cause of both kinds of action was one and the same. 153 As one with a strong passion for fame, he was led to magnanimity wherever there seemed any hopes of being remembered in the future or famous in the present. 154 Then as his expenses were beyond his means, he was driven to be harsh on his subjects, for those on whom he spent his money were so many that they made him harmful to those from whom he procured it. 155 In turn, being conscious of the hatred of his subjects for the wrongs he did to them, he saw no easy means of mending his ways, for that would lessen his revenue, so he strove on the contrary to turn their ill-will into a source of profit. 156 Within his own court, if anyone's speech was not subservient and did not profess himself a slave, or seemed to think of any change in his regime, he could not contain himself, but treated even his relatives and friends as enemies and executed them, a sin stemming from his desire to be the sole centre of all honour. 157 My evidence of this being his main passion is what he did to honour Caesar and Agrippa and his other friends, for he wanted the self-same honours that he paid his respects to them as his superiors to be also paid to himself , and whatever was the most excellent gift he could make to another, he seemed to want given to him also. 158 The Jewish nation is by their law a stranger to all such things and accustomed to prefer righteousness to glory, and for this reason was not in favour with him, because they could not flatter the king's ambition with statues or temples, or such paraphernalia. 159 This seems to me to have caused both Herod's crimes against his own household and counsellors and his benefactions to foreigners and people unrelated to him.

Chapter 6. [160-178]
Some Jews appeal to Rome. They are supported by Caesar and Agrippa

1.

160 The cities ill-treated the Jews in Asia as well as those who were oppressed in Libya near Cyrene. While earlier kings had given them equal rights as citizens, the Greeks now persecuted them to the point of stealing their temple money and harming them in other ways. 161 In this affliction and seeing no end of their cruel treatment by the Greeks, they sent envoys to Caesar about it. He restored their former privileges and sent letters to that effect to the officers of the provinces, copies of which I subjoin here, as proof of the favourable disposition the Roman emperors formerly had towards us.

2.

162 "Caesar Augustus, high priest and tribune of the people, declares: Since the Jewish nation has found favour with the Roman people, not only at this time but also in time past, and Hyrcanus the high priest in particular, under my father Caesar the emperor, 163 it seems good to me and my council, by the oath and decree of the people of Rome, that the Jews have freedom to follow their own customs, according to their ancestral law, as they did under Hyrcanus the high priest of the Almighty God, and that their temple money be untouched and be sent to Jerusalem and given to the care of the receivers in Jerusalem, and that they not be obliged to go before any judge on the sabbath day, nor on the eve of it, after the ninth hour. 164 If anyone is caught stealing their holy books or their temple money, from the synagogue or school, he shall be reckoned as sacrilegious and his goods shall be confiscated to the public treasury of the Romans. 165 I will that their testimonial to me, about the piety I show toward all mankind and about Gaius Marcus Censorinus, along with this present decree, be set in the prominent place dedicated to me by the community of Asia at Ancyra. If anyone transgress any part of the above decree, he shall be severely punished." This was inscribed on a pillar in the temple of Caesar.

3.

166"Caesar to Norbanus Flaccus, greetings. Let the Jews, however many they are, whose ancient practice it was to send their sacred money to Jerusalem, be free to do so." These were the decrees of Caesar.

4.

167 Agrippa also wrote as follows, on behalf of the Jews: "Agrippa, to the officers, council and people of the Ephesians, greetings. I will that the care and custody of the sacred money to be brought to the temple in Jerusalem be left with the Jews of Asia, according to their custom. 168 Any who steal the sacred books of the Jews and flee to a sanctuary, shall be taken from there and handed over to the Jews, just as sacrilegious persons are removed. I have also written to Sylvanus the praetor, that none shall compel a Jew to come before a judge on the sabbath."

5.

169 "Marcus Agrippa to the officers, council and people of Cyrene, greetings. The Jews of Cyrene have asked me to effect what Augustus has written about to Flavius, then praetor of Libya, and the other procurators of that province, that the temple money may be freely sent to Jerusalem, as is their custom. 170 They complain to me of being abused by certain sycophants and being prevented from sending them under pretext of taxes which were not owed. I order that they be restored without any disturbance to them, and if that sacred money in any of the cities was taken, I order those in charge to restore it exactly to the Jews in that place."

6.

171 "Gaius Norbanus Flaccus, proconsul, to the officers of the Sardians, greetings. Caesar has written to me and ordered me not to forbid the Jews, however many they be, from assembling according to their ancestral custom, nor from sending their money to Jerusalem. I have written to you that you may know that both Caesar and I want you to act accordingly."

7.

172 No less was what Julius Antony, the proconsul, wrote: "To the officers, council and people of the Ephesians, greetings. As I was holding court at Ephesus, on the Ides of February, the Jews living in Asia proved to me that Augustus and Agrippa had let them follow their own laws and customs and offer their first-fruits, which each freely dedicates out of piety to the Deity and send them up under escort, unimpeded. 173 They also asked me that I also would confirm what had been granted by Augustus and Agrippa by my own sanction. Note therefore that according to the will of Augustus and Agrippa, I permit them to use and follow their ancestral customs, without impediment."

8.

174 I am obliged to set down these decree because the history of our recent actions will be generally known among the Greeks, and I have hereby shown them that we were formerly in high esteem and were not prohibited by our governors from keeping our ancestral customs, and that we were supported by them in following our own religion and the worship we paid to God. 175 I often mention these decrees in order to reconcile other people to us and remove the causes of that hatred which unreasonable men bear to us. 176 There is no other nation that always follows the same customs, for in almost every city we find differing practices. Now natural justice is most in found in what is equally favourable to all people, both Greeks and barbarians, 177 and our laws have the greatest regard to this and render us benevolent and friendly to all, if we keep them properly. 178 Therefore we should expect a similar response from others and we declare to them they ought not to regard otherness as a reason for alienation, but should look rather to good standards of behaviour, which is the duty of us all and it alone is what preserves human society. I now return to the main line of my narrative.

Chapter 7. [179-228]
Herod's historian conceals his robbery of David's tomb. Dissension increases in Herod's family

1.

179 Herod had spent vast sums on projects outside as well as inside his kingdom, and when he heard how Hyrcanus, the king before him, had opened David's burial vault and taken three thousand talents of silver from it but that there was still much more there, enough to suffice all his needs, he had long intended to lay hands upon it. 180 One night he opened the burial vault and went into it taking care to be unseen from the city, and bringing with him only his most trusted friends. 181 He did not, like Hyrcanus, find any money, but took all the golden furniture and precious things that were stored there. Then he wanted to make a fuller search and go farther in, to where the bodies of David and Solomon lay. 182 They say that two of his bodyguard were killed there, by a flame bursting out on them as they entered. So he left in terror and in his fear built a splendid and expensive memorial of white stone at the mouth of the burial vault. 183 His historiographer, Nicolaus, mentions this structure but not that he went down to it, knowing that the act was improper, and he treats of many other things in the same way in his writings. 184 He wrote during Herod's lifetime and under his reign, to please and serve him, and described nothing except what tended to his good name, clearly excusing many of his notorious crimes or very carefully concealing them. 185 As he wished to portray in a good light the death of Mariamne and her sons, which were cruel acts of the king, he invents her unchastity and the treachery of the young men. So he went on in his whole work, lavishing praise on the king's good actions and carefully defending his crimes. 186 As I said, one could say much to excuse this, for he did not write history for others, but was acting in service of the king. 187 But we, who come from a family linked to the Hasmonean kings and therefore having the honour of the priesthood, think it improper to make up stories about them and have described their actions honestly and justly. Although we respect many of Herod's descendants still reigning, we honour the truth even more, even if we sometimes incur their displeasure by doing so.

2.

188 Herod's troubles in his family seemed to increase because of his violating the burial vault; whether God's wrath increased his troubles and rendered them insoluble, or whether fortune deserted him just at the time where the circumstances made it seem that his troubles came as a penalty for his impiety. 189 Conflict raged like civil war in the palace and their hatred for each other came to look like a contest in allegation. 190 Antipater was always very cunning in his plots against his brothers, for while he heaped accusations on them from afar, he often gave the impression of defending them, in order to be trusted for his apparent goodwill to them. In this way he used various ruses to deceive his father, who believed he was doing everything for his safety. 191 He commended Ptolemy, the chief adminstrator of his kingdom, as a friend to Antipater, and consulted his mother on public affairs. These had full rein and did what they pleased and roused the king to anger at outsiders, when they thought it helped their own cause. 192 The status of the sons of Mariamne continually worsened, and they who were noblest by birth were downgraded to a less honoured rank which they found hard to bear. 193 Among the women, there was hatred between Alexander's wife, Glaphyra, the daughter of Archelaus, and Salome, because of her pact with her husband and because Glaphyra was insolent towards Salome's daughter, the wife of Aristobulus, whose equal status Glaphyra could not bear.

3.

194 Apart from this second quarrel, the king's brother Pheroras still did not keep out of trouble, but caused further suspicion and hatred. He had fallen in love with one of his slave-girls, who held him so besotted that he scorned the king's daughter, to whom he was betrothed and gave his heart to the slave-girl. 195 Herod felt dishonoured by this as he had favoured his brother in many ways and let him share the kingship with him, and was unhappy to see him not playing his proper part. 196 As Pheroras did not take the girl he gave her to Phasael's son, but after some time, thinking his brother's passion had cooled, he reproached him for his previous conduct and asked him to take his second girl, named Cypros. 197 Ptolemy also told Pheroras he should stop bringing disgrace to his brother and abandon his affair, since it is ignoble to belong to a slave and so lose the king's goodwill and cause trouble to him and bring hatred on himself. 198 Knowing that this advice was for his own good, as he had earlier been accused and forgiven, he did put her away, even though he already had a son by her, and he promised the king to marry his second daughter and agreed to be wed in thirty days, and swore to have no further contact with the one he had set aside. 199 But when the thirty days had passed, he was such a slave to his feelings that he did not keep his promise, but continued with his first woman. 200 This caused Herod to be publicly sad and angry, so that he was always saying one thing or other against him, and many took opportunity from the king's anger to tell lies against Pheroras. Not a day or hour passed but Herod met some new quarrel or other among his relatives and those dearest to him. 201 Salome had a harsh temper and was malicious to Mariamne's sons. She kept her own daughter, the wife of one of those young men, Aristobulus, from loving her husband, persuading her to tell her all that he said to her in private and when friction arose, as it often does, she raised many faults about it. 202 In this way she learned all about them and caused the girl to dislike the young man. 203 To gratify her, the girl told her mother that when they were alone they often spoke of Mariamne, and that they hated their father and often threatened that if they came to rule, they would make village schoolmasters of Herod's sons by his other wives, as their education and their diligence in study fitted them for that work. 204 Also, if ever they saw the women wearing their mother's finery, they threatened that instead of their present things, they would be clothed in sackcloth and kept where they would never see the sun. 205 These tales were soon brought back by Salome to the king, who hated to hear them and tried to resolve things; but the suspicions made him worse and he came to believe everyone against everyone else. After rebuking his sons and hearing their response, he was easier for a while, though soon afterwards much worse things happened to him.

4.

206 Pheroras came to Alexander, the husband of Glaphyra, who was the daughter of Archelaus as already said, and told him that he heard Salome say that Herod was hopelessly in love with Glaphyra. 207 The youth flared up with youthful jealousy and saw a bad meaning in Herod's frequent signs of courtesy to the girl, his suspicions aroused by what he had heard. 208 He could not hide his distress but went to his father in tears and told him what Pheroras had said. This shameful and malicious accusation upset Herod and he took it badly. 209 He often complained about the malice of his household and how good he had been to them and how little thanks he got for it. So he sent for Pheroras and rebuked him and said, 210 "You wretch, do you think I don't see your plan? Not only do you think such vile things of me but you even say them to the boy! Was it your plan to get rid of me by such poison? And who is there except my son, without a good spirit at his elbow, who would not take revenge on his father, on such a suspicion? 211 Do you think you only put a word in his mind? Rather was it not a sword in his hand to kill his father? You who hate both him and his brother, why do you pretend to care for them, just to say against me such things as only an impious wretch like you could think or declare? 212 Begone, you abomination to your benefactor and brother, and take your bad conscience with you! For I have heaped favour on my relatives and instead of taking due revenge on them, I give them more good than they deserve."

5.

213 So said the king. Pheroras, caught in the act of his villainy, said that Salome had framed this plot and that the words came from her. 214 As soon as she heard this, for she was nearby, she shouted out convincingly that nothing of the kind ever came from her lips; that all were trying to make the king hate her, because in her love for Herod she was always foreseeing the dangers to him. 215 Now there were more plots than ever. And since it was only she who advised her brother to put away his former wife and marry the king's daughter, it was no wonder she was hated by him. 216 As she said this, often tearing her hair and beating her breast, her face made her denial credible, but the malice of her character marked her as deceitful in these matters. 217 Pheroras was caught in the middle and had really nothing he could say for himself. He admitted saying the thing, but was not believed about hearing it from her, so the confusion of their stories only increased. 218 At last the king, who hated both his brother and sister, sent both of them away, and after praising his son for his balance and for reporting it to him, he went in the evening to rest his body. 219 Salome's reputation suffered a lot from this conflict since she was thought to have begun the allegation. The king's wives were angry with her, knowing her to be such an ill-natured woman, who at various times would be a friend or an enemy, so they were always telling Herod one thing or other against her, and something now happened that made them speak out the more.

6.

220 Obodas, king of Arabia, was by nature inactive and slothful, and Syllaeus, a shrewd and handsome young man, handled most things for him. 221 When this Syllaeus once came to dine with Herod, he saw Salome and set his heart on her, and spoke to her, knowing she was a widow. 222 Since by this time Salome was out of favour with her brother, she looked with some feeling at the youth and was keen to marry him, and during supper they showed many signs of mutual attraction. 223 The women told it to the king and laughed at its impropriety so Herod asked Pheroras about it and told him to watch how they acted toward each other at supper. He reported that it was clear from their faces and their eyes, that they were both in love. 224 After this the Arab went away under suspicion, but came again in two or three months for the same purpose, and spoke to Herod about it and asked for Salome as his wife. Such a union with Arabia might not be a disadvantage, as the country was effectively in his hands already and would later be more obviously his. 225 When Herod spoke of it to his sister and asked if she was prepared to marry the man, she quickly agreed. But when Syllaeus was asked to join the Jewish religion in order to marry her, as it could not happen on any other terms, he did not accept it and left, saying that if he did so he would be stoned by the Arabs. 226 Pheroras then rebuked Salome for her passion, and the women went further and said she had defiled herself with the Arab. 227 Now the girl the king had betrothed to his brother and whom Pheroras had not married, as already reported, because of his love for his former wife, was, at Salome's request, to be given to her son by Costobarus. 228 Herod agreed to this match but was dissuaded by Pheroras, who said the young man would not be kind to her, because of his father's murder and that it would be better if his son, who was to be his successor in the tetrarchy, could have her. So asking his pardon, he got him to do so. By this change of her espousals, the girl was given to this young man, the son of Pheroras, and the king gave her a dowry of a hundred talents.

Chapter 8. [229-270]
Herod imprisons his son Alexander. They are reconciled through Archelaus, king of Cappadocia.

1.

229 But still the affairs of his family were no better but grew more troubled and then a shameful thing happened, which brought him into even more difficulties. 230 The king had eunuchs of whom he was very fond on account of their beauty, and one of them he entrusted with bringing him his drink, another with bringing his supper, and the third with putting him to bed. This one also managed the major items of his regime. 231 Someone told the king that these eunuchs had been bribed by his son Alexander with a large sum of money. When they were asked if Alexander had had intimacy and intercourse with them, they confessed it, but said they knew of no further harm he had done to his father 232 Under more severe tortured and racked to the limits at Antipater's request, they told of the great ill-will and hatred that Alexander bore his father 233 and that he had indicated to them Herod could not hope to live much longer and that he blackened his hair to hide the effect of his age, but that if they supported him now, they would soon get prime places in the kingdom whenever he gained it, for in spite of his father it would come to no one else. 234 The kingship belonged to him not only by birth-right but by planning, for he was ready to seize it and many of the king's officers and friends were on his side, ready to do and to endure anything to achieve it.

2.

235 When Herod heard this confession, he was full of anger and fear, as it seemed a great affront to him and made him think himself in danger and both things together provoked in him a bitter fear that the plot against him was stronger than he could guard against. 236 Meanwhile he did not make a public investigation, but sent around spies to watch anybody he suspected, for being full of anxiety and hatred to all around him and much concerned for his own safety, he continued suspecting the guiltless. 237 There was no limit to it, for thinking that those closest to him had the most power to harm him, he feared them the most and those who did not normally visit him had only to be named and it immediately seemed safer to him to have them destroyed. 238 Finally those around him reached the point that being so unsure of saving their own lives, they began accusing each other, thinking that whoever was first to accuse his neighbour was most likely to save himself. But anyone who caused the death of others was hated, and whoever accused others unjustly was considered deserving to suffer and only hurried his own accusation. 239 People now pursued their private vendettas, and were similarly punished whenever they were caught. Some saw this as an opportunity to entrap their enemies, but when they tried it, were caught in the same trap they set for the others. 240 The king soon had a change of heart because he had no clear evidence of the guilt of the people he had killed. But sadly he did not learn from his repentance to avoid doing it again, but went on to inflict similar punishment upon their accusers.

3.

241 Such disorder ruled in the palace, and he had already told many of his friends not to enter his sight or even come to the palace, and his reason for this prohibition was that they inhibited his freedom of action and put some restraint upon him. 242 For instance, he expelled Andromachus and Gemellus, who had formerly been his friends and were very useful to him in the affairs of his kingdom and had helped his family as envoys and counsellors, and had been tutors to his sons and had the greatest freedom with him. 243 One of them he expelled because his son Demetrius was a companion to Alexander, and the other, Gemellus, because he knew of his liking for Alexander, having been with him at school and in Rome. These he expelled and would have done worse to them, but in order not to seem to take such liberty against men so well reputed, he contented himself with depriving them of their dignity and their power to hold him back from sinning..

4.

244 Antipater was behind all this, for knowing his father's lack of restraint, and having long been one of his advisers, he urged him on, believing he could accomplish something effective once all who could oppose him were out of the way. 245 When Andromachus and his friends had been excluded from conversing freely with the king, he first examined under torture all whom he judged faithful to Alexander, to see if they knew of any plot against him, but they died having nothing to say of it. 246 His inability to prove his suspicions only spurred him on and Antipater shrewdly alleged that the denials of those who were really innocent only showed their obstinate fidelity, and thereby spurred him further to find out the hidden aspects of the plot, by torturing many more. 247 One of the many who were tortured alleged how the young man had often said, when he was praised for being tall in stature and a fine marksman and how he excelled others in virtue, that the good traits with which he was endowed by nature were rather doing him harm, since they only provoked his father to envy him. 248 He said that when he walked around with his father, he tried to hunch and lower himself, so as not be seen to be taller, and that when he shot at anything while hunting, if his father was near, he would purposely miss, knowing how his father took pride in excelling at such things. 249 When tortured about this and then given some ease, the man added how the brother, Aristobulus, had planned to help him by ambushing their father out hunting and killing him, and fleeing to Rome after the deed, to ask for the kingdom. 250 Letters of the young man to his brother were also found, where he complained that his father was not acting justly in assigning a country to Antipater, that yielded a revenue of two hundred talents. 251 With these Herod immediately thought he had firm ground for his suspicions about his sons, so he put Alexander in chains. But though he did not cease being rigourous he was not quite satisfied of the truth of what he had heard, and after pondering it, found that they had only made juvenile complaints and objections, and further, it was not credible that his son would kill him and afterwards go publicly to Rome. 252 He wanted a surer proof of his son's crime and was anxious not to seem to have put him in chains too rashly, so he proceeded to torture Alexander's main friends and put not a few of them to death, but without them saying any of the things he expected. 253 While he was most intent on this matter and terror and upheaval racked the palace, one of the younger men, in direst agony, confessed that Alexander had sent to his friends in Rome asking to have himself quickly invited there by Caesar so that he could reveal a plot against him, namely that his father had opted for a friendship with Mithridates, the king of Parthia, against the Romans and that he had a poison ready prepared for him at Askelon.

5.

254 Herod believed this and as it offered him some excuse for his urgency, he seemed pleased to find things in such dire straits. But the poison was not found, despite all his efforts. 255 Alexander, out of obstinacy, seemed to want to make his troubles worse and did not bother to deny the accusations, but punished his father's rashness with a greater fault of his own. Perhaps he wanted to make him ashamed for too readily believing in the allegations, so he aimed to snub both him and his whole kingdom, if he could gain credence for his story. 256 He wrote a work in four volumes and sent it off, saying there was no need to torture any more people, for there was a plot against him, involving Pheroras and the most faithful of his friends, and that Salome had come to him by night and lain with him against his will, 257 and that all people were agreed to do away with him as soon as they could and so get away from their continual fear under him. Among those he accused were Ptolemy and Sapinnius, who were the king's most faithful friends. 258 In the upshot, those who had previously been closest friends now savaged each other, and there was no room for defense or refutation or finding the truth, since all were doomed at random. Some grieved at being imprisoned, some at being put to death and others that such things were in store for them, so that silence and darkness made the kingdom ugly, so different from its former happy state. 259 Herod's own life was utterly troubled, and as he could trust nobody, he was deeply troubled by the prospect of further misery, and he often imagined that his son was attacking him, or stood beside him with a sword in his hand. 260 Night and day his mind revolved around this matter and he was obsessed with this mania as if he were mad, such was his condition at the time.

6.

261 When Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, heard of the goings-on in Herod's court he was anxious about his daughter and her young man until, sympathetic with his friend's suffering amid such stress, he came to help resolve the affair. 262 Seeing how things were he thought it untimely to reproach him or charge him with acting rashly, because this would make him argue the point with him and by again having to defend himself he would become the more irritated. 263 So in order to correct the unfortunate situation, he set about it another way. Seeming to be angry at the young man, he declared that Herod had not acted at all rashly but had in fact been very mild. He said also that if his own daughter had been aware of anything and did not inform Herod of it, he would not spare her but would dissolve her marriage with Alexander. 264 As he seemed to be in this mood, quite other than what Herod had expected and in the main, sided with him and was angry on his behalf, the king's harshness abated and he took the opportunity, now that he seemed to have acted justly up to this, of gradually taking a paternal stance. 265 He was to be pitied in two ways, for when some people refuted the allegations against the young man it roused him to anger, but when Archelaus joined in the accusation, he emotionally dissolved into tears and sorrow, and even asked him not to dissolve the marriage and was less angry than before at the young man's offenses. 266 After Archelaus had made him more lenient, he turned his accusations onto his friends, saying that it was their fault that so young a man and one unused to malice, was corrupted, and he suspected his brother more than the rest. 267 As Herod was now very angry at him, Pheroras, who had nobody to act as his reconciler, noted how much power Archelaus had with Herod, so he went to him in a mourning robe, with all the signs of a ruined man. 268 Archelaus did not ignore his petition but did not immediately undertake to change the king's disposition towards him. He said that it was better for him to go to him in person, and confess himself the cause of it all; this would help to allay the wrathfulness and then he would be present to help him. 269 After he was persuaded about this, both sides were satisfied. Beyond all expectation the allegations against the young man were set aside and Archelaus also reconciled Pheroras with the king. Then he went off to Cappadocia, and as at this juncture he had been the most acceptable person of all to Herod, he gave him lavish gifts as tokens of his respect and cordially regarded him as one of his dearest friends. 270 They had also agreed that he [Herod]
should go to Rome, since someone had written to Caesar about these matters, and he accompanied him as far as Antioch. There Herod reconciled Archelaus with Titius, the ruler of Syria, who had been hostile to him because of some dispute, and then returned to Judea.

Chapter 9. [271-299]
Trachonitis revolts against Herod's rule. Accused before Caesar, he sends an advocate to Rome

1.

271 When Herod had gone to Rome and had returned, a war arose between him and the Arabs, as follows: After Caesar had taken their land from Zenodorus and given it to Herod, the people of Trachonitis were no longer able to rob, but were forced to till the land and to live at peace. 272 This was not what they wished and even though they laboured, their land was not very fruitful. At first the king curbed the robbers and stopped them from living unjustly off their neighbours, which gained Herod a great reputation for effectiveness. 273 But when he was sailing to Rome, at the time when he went to accuse his son Alexander and entrust Antipater to the care of Caesar, the Trachonites spread a rumour that he was dead and rebelled from his rule and went back to robbing the neighbouring districts as before. 274 During the king's absence his officers kept them subdued and about forty of the principal brigands, terrified by the capture of the others, left the country and went to Arabia. 275 Syllaeus, who was disappointed at not marrying Salome, made them welcome and gave them a stronghold in which to live. So they overran and plundered not only Judea but all of Coele-Syria too, while Syllaeus gave them places of refuge from which to make their raids in safety. 276 Returning from Rome, Herod saw how much his people had suffered from them, but since he could not reach the brigands because of the protection they had from the rulers of Arabia, he was so indignant at their crimes that he went all around Trachonitis slaughtering their relatives. 277 This drove these brigands to a fury, as their law demanded vengeance by all possible means against anyone who murdered their relatives, so they continued with impunity to harass and steal everything in Herod's realm, so that he spoke about these robbers to Saturninus and Volumnius, demanding that they be handed over to him for punishment. 278 But they robbed all the more and grew in numbers and revolt was in the air as they plundered the towns and villages of Herod's kingdom, killing their captives, until their ravaging came to be like a real war, for their numbers had grown to about a thousand. 279 Incensed by this, Herod demanded that Obodas hand over the brigands, as well as the sixty talents which he had lent him through Syllaeus, since the time for its repayment was now overdue. 280 But Syllaeus, who had set aside Obodas and now managed everything himself, denied that the brigands were in Arabia and postponed repayment of the money; about which there was a hearing before Saturninus and Volumnius, who were then the officers of Syria. 281 Through their intervention he finally agreed that Herod would be paid his money within thirty days and that they would reciprocally hand over [any refugees]
from each other's kingdoms. None of the other's subjects were found in Herod's kingdom, either held for crime or for any other reason, whereas it was proven that the Arabs had the brigands amongst them.

2.

282 When this day appointed for payment of the money passed without Syllaeus's fulfilling either part of his agreement, and he had gone to Rome, Herod acted to ensure the repayment of the money and the capture of the brigands who were in the other land. 283 With the permission of Saturninus and Volumnius, he acted against those defaulters, took his army into Arabia and reached the brigands' stronghold after covering seven days march in three days. There he attacked them and took them all and demolished the place, which was called Raepta, without harming any others. 284 But as the Arabs came to their help, under their general, Nakeb, a battle ensued where a few of Herod's soldiers and Nakeb, the general of the Arabs and about twenty of his soldiers, fell, while the rest took to flight. 285 When he had punished these he placed three thousand Idumaeans in Trachonitis and thereby put a restraint on the brigands who were there. He also sent a report to the leaders around Phoenicia, saying that he had done nothing but his duty in punishing the refractory Arabs, which on investigation they found to be no more than the truth.

3.

286 However, messengers were hurried away to Syllaeus in Rome to report the events to him and, as usual, they exaggerated everything. 287 Now he had already managed to get acquainted with Caesar and was then attending the court, so as soon as he heard of these events he changed into black clothing and went in and told Caesar that Arabia was embroiled in war and all his kingdom was in turmoil, for Herod had laid it waste with his army. 288 With tears in his eyes, he told how two thousand five hundred leading Arabs had been destroyed and their general Nakebus, his associate and kinsman, was also killed, and the wealth at Raepta had been pillaged and Obodas scorned because his physical infirmity made him unfit for war, which was the reason why neither he nor the Arabian army, had been present. 289 As Syllaeus said this he maliciously added that he would not have come from his land in person if he had not trusted that Caesar would ensure that all would syat at peace with each other and that, had he been there, he would have ensured that the war would not have gone in Herod's favour. Enraged by this, Caesar asked just this one question, both of Herod's friends there present and of his own friends who had come from Syria: had Herod led his army abroad? 290 When they were forced to admit it, without staying to hear why he did it and how it was done, Caesar was still more annoyed and wrote sharply to Herod that whereas he used formerly to regard him as a friend, he would now treat him as a subject. 291 Syllaeus also wrote an account of this to the Arabs, who were so elated by it that they neither handed over the brigands who had fled to them nor paid the money that was overdue. They also held on to the pastures which they had rented without paying their rent, all because the king of the Jews had been humbled due to Caesar's anger at him. 292 The people of Trachonitis also took this opportunity to rise against their Idumaean garrison and adopted the same sort of robbery as the Arabs who had pillaged their country, but were even fiercer in their lawlessness, not only for profit, but for revenge.

4.

293 Herod had to bear the loss of all the confidence with which he used to be inspired by Caesar's favour, and was dispirited that Caesar would not even admit a delegation from him to make his excuses, and sent them away unheard even when they went a second time. 294 This depressed and alarmed him, and he was grieved that Syllaeus was now a trusted presence in Rome, with further aspirations, for Obodas was now dead, and Aeneas, whose name later changed to Aretas, had taken on the leadership of the Arabs. 295 For by allegations he was seeking to get this man expelled from his rule , to gain it for himself, giving large sums to the courtiers and promising much to Caesar, who was angry with Aretas for not sending to him first before taking over as king. 296 But Herod too sent a letter and gifts to Caesar and a golden crown, of the weight of many talents. The letter accused Syllaeus of being an unfaithful servant and killing Obodas by poison, and that in his lifetime he had ruled him as he pleased, and of debauching the wives of the Arabs, and borrowing money to win the realm for himself. 297 Yet Caesar did not heed these accusations but rejected his envoys without receiving any of his gifts. Meanwhile affairs in Judea and Arabia grew ever worse, partly due to anarchy and partly because, in their dire state, nobody could govern them. 298 Of the two kings, one was not yet confirmed in power and so had not the authority to restrain the evil-doers, and as Herod had incurred Caesar's anger by taking revenge too soon, he had to bear all the crimes committed against him. 299 Seeing no end to the troubles surrounding him, he again decided to send envoys to Rome, to see whether his friends could mollify Caesar and also to contact the man directly. The envoy he sent was Nicolaus of Damascus.

Chapter 10. [300-355]
Further accusations of Herod's sons, by the Spartan, Eurycles.

1.

300 At that time the disorders around Herod's family and children grew much worse, as it now seemed certain that fortune threatened his kingdom with the worst and most dire of human sorrows. The matter that developed on this occasion was as follows. 301 A Spartan named Eurycles, a man of note there but a perverse character and so cunning that he could indulge in both luxury and flattery without seeming to do either, came in his travels to Herod and gave him gifts, but in such a way that he received even more gifts from him. He also availed of his chances to ingratiate himself to him so that he became one of the king's closest friends. 302 His lodging was in Antipater's house, but he also had access and familiarity with Alexander, telling him that he was on close terms with Archelaus, the king of Cappadocia. 303 Thus he pretended to have respect for Glaphyra and secretly cultivated friendship with them all, but always paying close attention to what was said and done, so as to be supplied with allegations to please all of them. 304 In short, in his conversation he behaved himself to everyone so as to seem to be his particular friend while giving him to believe that wherever he was, it was for the other's advantage. This man won over the young Alexander, persuading him that he could reveal his grievances to him in confidence, but to nobody else. 305 So he revealed to him how upset he was that his father was alienated from him. He also told him all about his mother and about how Antipater had driven them from their proper dignity and already held power over everything, and that all this was intolerable, for his father's hatred was such that he could not bear to speak with them at parties or other gatherings. 306 Such were his natural feelings about what troubled him, and Eurycles carried these words to Antipater saying that he he was doing this not for his own sake but moved by kindness and obliged by the importance of the matter, and he warned him to watch out for Alexander, since his words were spoken with passion and that they were of a kind that could lead to murder. 307 Antipater, thinking this to be friendly advice, lavished gifts on him on many occasions and finally persuaded him to inform Herod of what he had heard. 308 When he plausibly reported Alexander's bad feeling to the king , as revealed by the words he had heard him say, his words got the king so worked up and angry that his hatred towards the lad became implacable. 309 He showed this at the time, for immediately he gave Eurycles a gift of fifty talents. When the man received them he went to Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, praising Alexander to him and telling him how much he had done for him, to ensure his reconciliation with his father. 310 Having received money from him too, he left before his deviousness was found out, but even when Eurycles had returned to Sparta he did not give up his mischief, and so was banished from his own country for his many acts of injustice.

2.

311 The king of the Jews was no longer as well disposed towards Alexander and Aristobulus as formerly, when he had simply listened to stories against them; now he hated them and urged others to speak against them, even against their inclination. 312 He noted all that was said and asked questions and listened to whatever anyone wished to say against them, until finally he heard that Euaratus of Cos had conspired with Alexander, news which Herod received with the greatest of pleasure.

3.

313 Further misfortune befell the young men while the allegations against them were continually increasing, and, so to speak, it seemed that everyone wanted to charge them with some grievous fault, ostensibly for the king's safety. 314 Herod had two bodyguards who were esteemed for their strength and size, Jucundus and Tyrannus. These had been cast off by the king, who was displeased at them and now used to ride along with Alexander who esteemed them for their skill in gymnastics and gave them gold and other gifts. 315 Immediately suspecting these men, the king had them tortured. For a long time they held out but finally they confessed that Alexander tried to persuade them to kill Herod, when he was hunting wild beasts, so that he could be said to have fallen from his horse and been pierced by his own spear, a thing that had befallen him once before. 316 They also showed where money was hidden under ground in the stable and they stated that the king's hunt-master had given them the royal hunting spears and weapons to Alexander's dependents, at his command.

4.

317 After this the commander of the garrison of Alexandreion was caught and tortured, accused of promising to welcome the young men into his protection and to supply them money from the king's treasury, deposited in that fortress. 318 The man himself did not admit any of this, but his son came and affirmed that it was so and handed over writings which seemed to be in Alexander's hand, which said: "When with God's help, we complete all our plans, we will come to you; then try, as you promised, to receive us into the fortress." 319 After this writing was produced, Herod had no doubt that his sons had plotted against him. But Alexander said that Diophantus the scribe had imitated his hand and that the document had been maliciously composed by Antipater, for Diophantus seemed skilled in such practices, and was later convicted of forging other papers, for which he was put to death.

5.

320 So the king produced before the people in Jericho the men who had been tortured, to have them accuse the young men, after which the mob stoned the accusers to death, 321 and would have likewise killed Alexander and Aristobulus, but the king would not let them, restraining the mob with the help of Ptolemy and Pheroras. Instead they were put under such close custody that nobody could come to them, and everything they did or said was watched and their disgrace and fear differed little from that of men who were condemned. 322 One of them, Aristobulus, felt so oppressed that he expected his aunt and Salome his mother-in-law to be sorry for his troubles and to hate the man who had caused all this. He asked her, "Are you not in danger too, since it is rumoured that when you were hoping to marry Syllaeus you told him all that was happening here?" 323 She quickly passed on these words to her brother, which riled him so that he had him chained, and ordered both of them, separated from each other, to list the wrongs they had done to their father, for the writings to be sent to Caesar. 324 At this order, they wrote that they had no plot or project against their father, but had simply planned to escape, since in their predicament their life was unsafe and harsh.

6.

325 About this time an envoy named Melas came from Archelaus in Cappadocia, one of his chief men. Wanting to prove the hostility of Archelaus towards him, Herod brought Alexander to him in chains and asked him again about his flight, and how they had planned to escape. 326 Alexander replied that Archelaus had promised to send them away to Rome, but that they had no wicked plans against their father and that none of the things their opponents accused them of was true. 327 They did wish that Tyrannus and his friends were alive to be examined more fully, but these had been summarily killed since Antipater had placed some of his men among the crowd.

7.

328 When this was said, Herod ordered that both Alexander and Melas should be brought to Archelaus's daughter Glaphyra, to enquire if she knew anything about the plot against Herod. 329 When they reached her and she saw Alexander in chains, she struck her head and in a panic gave a deep and pitiful groan. The young man too began to weep and for all present it was so miserable a spectacle that for a long time they were unable to say or to do anything. 330 Finally Ptolemy, who was told to bring Alexander, ordered him to say if his wife knew what he was doing. He answered, "How could she not, she whom I love better than my own soul and by whom I have had my children?" 331 At this she cried out that she knew of no scheming of his, but that if by accusing herself falsely she could help to save him, she would confess anything at all. Alexander answered, "I have neither committed nor thought of the unholy crimes suspected by those who least of all ought to do so, except that we had resolved to go back to Archelaus and from there to Rome." 332 When she too confessed this, Herod reckoned that Archelaus's hostility to him was fully proven and handed a letter to Olympus and Volumnius, with instructions to call at Eleusa in Cilicia as they sailed past and deliver it to Archelaus, and only after accusing him of being party to his son's plot against him should they sail on from there to Rome. 333 If they found that Nicolaus had made any headway and that Caesar was no longer displeased at him, they should hand over the letters and the proofs he had ready against the young men. 334 But Archelaus said in his own defence that he had promised to welcome the young men, as this would benefit both them and their father, to keep them from doing anything rash in their anger arising from his suspicions. He had not, however, promised to send them to Caesar, nor promised the young men anything else, to cause any ill-will against him.

8.

335 When these envoys arrived in Rome, they had a chance to deliver their letters to Caesar, as they found him reconciled to Herod, for Nicolaus's mission had gone as follows. 336 When he came to Rome and was in the court circles, he did not at first go directly about his mandate, but he thought fit also to accuse Syllaeus, for even before he met with them, the Arabs were quarrelling with each other. 337 Some of them changed sides and joined Nicolaus, telling him of all the evil that had been done, and making clear to him that many of Obodas's friends had been slaughtered, for when these men left Syllaeus, they took with them letters by which they could convict him. 338 Nicolaus saw this as a chance to be later used to his advantage, and immediately tried to reconcile Caesar to Herod, knowing that if he tried to defend the king directly he would not be allowed do so, but that if he asked to bring a charge against Syllaeus, he would get the chance to speak on behalf of Herod. 339 When the two sides agreed and the day was appointed, Nicolaus indicted Syllaeus in the presence of the envoys from Aretas, accusing him of the death of the king and of many other Arabs, 340 of borrowing money for no good motive, and of committing adultery, not only with Arabian women, but with Romans too. He added that above all else he had alienated Caesar from Herod and had given a falsified account of his actions. 341 When Nicolaus raised this topic, Caesar stopped him and asked him to speak specifically on this matter about Herod and to prove that he had not led an army into Arabia, or killed two thousand five hundred men there, or taken prisoners, or pillaged the country. 342 To this Nicolaus replied, "I shall clearly show that either nothing or very little of what was told to you really happened, for if they had, you could in fairness have been still more angry at Herod." 343 This strange assertion made Caesar very attentive, and Nicolaus said that a debt of five hundred talents was owed to Herod and a bond in which it was written that if the time appointed should expire, he was entitled to recover the loan from any part of the country. The so-called army, he said, was no army, but an attempt to demand the just payment of the money. 344 Neither had this demand been sent immediately, or as soon as the bond allowed, for Syllaeus had often come before the governors of Syria, Saturninus and Volumnius, and finally he had sworn at Berytus, by your fortune, to certainly pay the money within thirty days and hand over the fugitives from Herod's dominion who had taken refuge with him. 345 But when Syllaeus had fulfilled none of this, Herod came again before the governors and with their permission reluctantly left his country with some soldiers to recover his money. 346 This was the "war" and expedition so tragically described by these men. But how can it be called a war, when it was permitted by your governors, allowed by the agreement, and not begun until your name, O Caesar, as well as that of the other gods, had been profaned? 347 At this point I must explain about the prisoners. There were brigands who lived in Trachonitis; at first was no more than forty in number though they became more numerous later and they escaped from Herod's punishment by taking refuge in Arabia. Syllaeus received them and let them become a scourge to all mankind by giving them food and a place to live; and he shared in the profits of their robbery. 348 Then he promised to hand over these men with the same oaths and at same time as he solemnly swore to repay his debt. but he cannot at all prove that aoart from these any others have at this time been removed from Arabia, and not even all of these, but only those who could not hide themselves. 349 The vile allegation of the prisoners seems to be just a fiction told in order to provoke your anger. 350 I dare say that when the forces of the Arabs attacked us and one or two of Herod's party fell, only then did he defend himself, and only Nacebus their general and about twenty-five others in all, died. And so, if Syllaeus reckons those who were killed at two thousand five hundred it is by multiplying every single soldier to a hundred."

9.

351 More than ever provoked by this, Caesar turned angrily to Syllaeus and asked him how many of the Arabs were killed, but he hesitated and said he had been mistaken. The deeds about the money he had borrowed were also read, and the letters of the officers of Syria and the complaints of the various cities that had been harmed by the brigands. 352 The upshot was that Syllaeus was condemned to die and that Caesar was reconciled to Herod and expressed regret for the severe way he had written to him, on account of the allegation, and he told Syllaeus that by his false version of things he had made him guilty of ingratitude towards a man who was his friend. 353 The final result was that Syllaeus was sent off to answer Herod's charge and to repay the debt he owed and then to be executed. But Caesar was still offended with Aretas for taking power without first obtaining his consent, for he had decided to bestow Arabia upon Herod, except that the letters he had sent stopped him from doing so. 354 The reason was that Olympus and Volumnius, noting how favourable Caesar had become to Herod, had immediately decided to give him the letters Herod had ordered them to deliver about his sons. 355 When Caesar had read them, he thought it would not be right to give him another kingdom, now he was old and in a bad relationship with his sons, so he admitted Aretas's envoys, and after only reproaching him for his rashness in not waiting to receive the kingdom from him, he accepted his gifts and confirmed him in office.

Chapter 11. [356-404]
Trial and judicial murder of Aristobulus and Alexander. Reflections about Herod's guilt and theirs

1.

356 He wrote conciliatingly to Herod saying he was sorry about his sons, and that if they dared to be impious to him, he should punish them as patricides, and was empowered to do so; but if they had only planned to escape, he should warn them but not go to extremes. 357 He advised him to call a meeting near Berytus, a city belonging to the Romans, and bring the officers of Syria and Archelaus king of Cappadocia and as many others as he wished, either special friends of his or people of eminence, and with their approval decide what to do. These were Caesar's directions. 358 When the letter was brought to him, Herod was immediately pleased with the reconciliation and glad also to be given complete authority over his sons. 359 Oddly, whereas when things were not going well he had shown himself severe, but had been neither rash nor hasty in seeking to kill his sons, now that he was prospering he availed of this improvement and his present freedom to vent his hatred of them in an unheard-of manner. 360 He sent for as many as he wanted to this assembly, except Archelaus, either because he hated him too much to invite him or thought he would oppose his plans.

2.

361 When the officers and the others he had called from the cities came to Berytus, since he did not want to present his sons before the assembly he kept them in a village of Sidon, called Palesto, near enough to this city to be able to bring them if they were called for. 362 He came alone before the hundred and fifty assessors and accused his sons as though he regretted accusing them and did so under compulsion, a strange way for a father to speak of his sons. 363 He was vehement and incoherent about the proof of their crime and gave signs of extreme rage and savagery, not letting the assessors consider the weight of the evidence, but asserting it as true by his own authority, an ugly way for a father to treat his sons. He read out what they had written, even where no mention was made of plots or plans against him, only of their wish to escape, but containing some insults about him arising from ill-will. 364 He shouted loudest about these insults, exaggerating them into the confession of a plot, and swore that he would rather lose his life than listen to such words. 365 Finally he said that himself he had the authority, both from nature and by Caesar's grant and mentioned an ancestral law that if parents laid their hands on the head of the accused, the bystanders were obliged to stone him and kill him. 366 Although prepared to do this in his own country and kingdom, he still would abide by their decision, for they were there not so much as judges, to condemn them for such blatant plots, by which his sons had almost killed him, but as men who had the chance to share his anger at such actions and declare how unworthy it is for anyone, however distant, to turn a blind eye on such treachery.

3.

367 When the king said this and the young men were not brought in to defend themselves, the assessors saw no hope for fair play or for reconciliation, so they affirmed his authority. 368 Saturninus, who had been consul and was a man of great dignity, first pronounced his verdict, very carefully, in the circumstances. He said that he found Herod's sons guilty, but did not think they should be put to death. He had sons of his own and to execute one's own son would be the greatest harm they could cause him. 369 After him Saturninus's sons, for three of them had come with him as legates, expressed the same view. On the contrary, Volumnius voted the death penalty on those who had been so ignobly disloyal to their father, and most of the others said the same, so that in conclusion it seemed the young men were condemned to die. 370 Immediately Herod left and took his sons to Tyre, where Nicolaus met him on his voyage from Rome. After telling him what had happened at Berytus, he asked what he felt about the matter of his sons and what his friends in Rome thought of it. 371 He answered, "What they wanted to do to you was foul and you ought to keep them in prison. 372 If you think anything more is required, you should punish them in such a way that you do not seem to be yielding to anger instead of being guided by judgment. If you are inclined to clemency, you may absolve them so that your misfortunes do not grow beyond repair. This is the view of most of your friends in Rome." Silent and deep in thought, Herod ordered the man to sail along with him.

4.

373 As they came to Caesarea, all were talking about the sons and the kingdom was in suspense, wondering what would become of them. 374 All were fearful that the old dispute in the family should come to such an end and they were deeply sorry for the victims, but it was not safe to say anything forthright about it, or even to listen to others, and so they had to hide their pity under a silence that made their grief all the worse. 375 Then an old soldier of Herod's named Tiro, who had a son who was a friend of Alexander's and of the same age as him, took the liberty to say out publicly what others were silently thinking about it, and often said aloud among the populace, 376 quite unambiguously, that truth was destroyed and justice was removed from mankind, while lies and malice prevailed and enveloped public affairs in such a fog that the offenders could not see the greatest evils that can happen to human beings. 377 The man seemed to speak without fear of the danger, and the rightness of what he said made people admire his bravery at this time. 378 All were glad to hear his words and though they took care of their own safety by keeping silent, they were pleased with the great freedom he took, for their anticipation of misfortune drove them to say whatever they pleased about him.

5.

379 With great temerity he made his way into the king's presence and asked to speak with him alone. When the king let him, he said, "Your majesty, since I cannot bear the anxiety I feel, I choose to take this audacious liberty which may be for your good, if you wish to profit from it, rather than look after my own safety. 380 Where is your wisdom gone, to leave your soul so empty? Where is your great prudence, by which you have done many glorious deeds? Why have your friends and relatives deserted you? 381 I judge them to be neither true relatives or friends, if they ignore such terrible wickedness in your once flourishing kingdom. Don't you see what is happening? 382 These two young men, borne by your queenly wife, who are supremely gifted with every virtue, - would you kill them and leave yourself destitute in your old age, at the mercy of one son who has badly managed the hope you have given him, and of relatives, whom you so often resolved to kill? 383 Do not you know from the crowds' very silence that they see the wrong and abhor their suffering? The whole army and its officers pity the poor unhappy youths and feel hatred toward those who are promoting this matter." 384 For some time the king listened equably to these words, and was moved when Tiro clearly touched on his suffering and on the treachery of his household. 385 But when he went further and spoke out with a soldier's freedom of speech, too little disciplined to adapt himself to the occasion, Herod grew agitated 386 and seemed to feel insulted rather than helped by the speech. When he enquired about the names of the disapproving soldiers and their officers he ordered that all who had been named, and Tiro himself, be chained up in prison.

6.

387 When this was done the king's barber, Trypho, came and told him that Tiro had often tried to persuade him to cut his throat, when he trimmed him with the razor, with a promise that he would be among Alexander's principal friends and receive great rewards from him. 388 At this, the king had him arrested, and later had Tiro and his son and the barber put to the torture. 389 During this, although Tiro himself bore up, his son seeing his father in a wretched state and with no hope of survival himself, and knowing what awful sufferings lay ahead, said that he would tell the king the truth if only he would spare him and his father from the torture in return. 390 When he received a guarantee about this, he said it had been agreed for Tiro to assassinate the king, as he could easily come to him when he was alone, and that if he later died for it, as seemed likely, it would be a noble act done on behalf of Alexander. 391 This was what he said, to free his father from his plight, but what is uncertain is whether he had spoken the truth under compulsion, or whether it was something invented to save himself and his father from their predicament.

7.

392 If Herod had previously had any doubts about killing his sons, there no longer room for them in his soul, for setting aside any inclination to think better of it, he hurried to carry out his decision. 393 He brought before the assembly three hundred of the officers who were charged, along with Tiro and his son and the barber who had denounced them, and indicted them all. 394 The mob simply took up whatever came to hand and stoned them to death, and at their father's command Alexander and Aristobulus were brought to Sebaste and strangled there, and their corpses were brought by night to Alexandreion, where their maternal uncle and most of their ancestors lay buried.

8.

395 Some may find it not unreasonable for a hatred so long nourished to finally increase to the extent of overcoming nature. But one may also wonder if the young men were culpable for giving their father so many reasons for anger over a period of time and so bringing his merciless vengeance on themselves. 396 Perhaps, again, the blame was his, for being so dour and so obsessed with ruling and with everything concerning his reputation, that he would stop at nothing and wanted to continue having his way, unchallenged. 397 Or perhaps Fortune's power is above all intelligent explanation, and we should take the view that human actions are thereby decided in advance by the inevitable necessity we call Fate, so that there is nothing which is not done by her. 398 It is sufficient to compare this with the opposite notion which attributes things to ourselves and makes us accountable for the various conduct of our lives, which is the philosophical basis for our Law. 399 Of the other two causes we mentioned, one may blame the young men for acting out of youthful vanity and sense of royalty, ready to listen to allegations against their father, and certainly not fair in judging the actions of his life, but ill-natured in their suspicion and intemperate in speech and on both counts an easy prey to those who watched them and denounced them to gain favour. 400 On the other hand, their father cannot be excused for his horrific treatment of them, when, without any certain proof of a plot against him or evidence that they were planning it, he dared to kill his own sons, who were so handsome in body and so cherished by others and proficient in action, in hunting, or in military exercises, or in speaking about various topics. 401 In all these they were skilled, especially the elder of them, Alexander. Even if he condemned them, it would have sufficed to keep them alive in chains, or to let them live in exile, far from his dominions, while he had the strong security of Roman forces around him, to protect him from any attack or violence. 402 But to kill them hastily, simply to gratify his fierce passion, was a woeful act of impiety especially as this crime was committed in his old age. 403 Nor can he be excused because of the postponements or the length of time over which it was done, since a man may be excused for committing a crime, even a major one, when he is suddenly caught off guard and troubled in mind, but to do so after reflection and frequent impulses and as many delays, and then finally carry it out, was the act of a murderous mind not easily turned aside from evil. 404 He showed the same mindset elsewhere, not sparing others who seemed his closest friends, and if the justice in those cases caused those who died to be less pitied, his savagery was such that he did not refrain from killing them either. We shall have occasion to talk more of these, later.