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Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18.

From Archelaus' exile to the departure of the Diaspora Jews from Babylon

1. Rome's Taxation, under Quirinius; Judas of Galilee, and the Jewish Sects

2. Cities named for Caesar. Succession of priests and procurators. The Parthians

3. Jews rebel against Pilate. The execution of Jesus. Jews banished from Rome

4. Pilate kills some demonstrators. Vitellius is sent against the Parthians

5. Herod Agrippa loses a war against Aretas of Arabia. Death of John the Baptist

6. Herod Agrippa sails to Rome. Imprisoned, then released, and made a tetrarch

7. Urged by Herodias, Antipas makes a request of Caligula and is banished

8. The Jewish delegation to Gaius. Petronius sent to compel the Jews

9. The disaster of the Jews at Nisibis, in Mesopotamia


Chapter 1. [001-025]
Rome's Taxation of Syria and Judea, under Quirinius. Judas of Galilee, and the Jewish Sects

1.

001 Quirinius, a Roman senator who had ascended through the magistracies up to the consulship and also enjoyed high dignity in other ways, came to Syria at this time, with some others, sent by Caesar to judge that nation and assess their property. 002 A man of equestrian rank, Coponius, was sent with him, to take full charge of the Jews, though Quirinius came into Judea too, which was now annexed to Syria, to assess their property and dispose of Archelaus's money. 003 The Jews were at first alarmed to hear about this tax-registration but were persuaded to give up their opposition to it by the high priest Joazar, the son of Boethus, and, won over by Joazar's words, they gave an account of their estates without argument. 004 But Judas, a Gaulonite from a city called Gamala, with the support of the Pharisee Sadduc, stirred them to revolt by calling this taxation nothing but an introduction to slavery and urging the nation to reassert its freedom. 005 This would allow them to regain prosperity and retain their own property, as well as something still more valuable, the honour and glory of acting with courage. They said that God would surely help them to achieve their goals, if they set their hearts on great ideals and not grow tired in carrying them out. 006 What they said was eagerly listened to and great progress was made in this bold project, so that indescribable troubles came on the nation as a result of these men. 007 We were embroiled in interminable violence and war, and lost the friends who could alleviate our misery, when our leading men were robbed and murdered, under the pretext of the common good, but in reality for private gain. 008 From them came the seeds of political murder, for the mania for victory sometimes caused people to kill their own race, wanting none of the opposition to survive any more than their enemies. The revolt brought famine upon us and utter despair, as our cities were taken and demolished, until even the temple of God was burned down by our enemies. 009 Such were the results of changing our ancestral customs, for these changes contributed much to the coming destruction. Judas and Sadduc began a fourth philosophy among us that had many followers and not only threw our state into convulsion at that time but our woeful future, such as we had never known before, sprang from this "philosophy." 010 I will explain a little about this, since the infection of the younger impressionable elements by these ideas brought our affairs to ruin.

2.

011 By traditional custom, the Jews had for a long time had three sorts of philosophy: that of the Essenes, that of the Sadducees and a third way followed by those called the Pharisees. Although I have already spoken about these in the second book of the Jewish War, I will say a little more about them now.

3.

012 The Pharisees opt for a simple lifestyle and make no concession to luxury, and accept the authority of what their doctrine hands on to them as good, and reckon that the preservation of their doctrines is worth fighting for. They show respect to their elders and do not rashly contradict whatever these have introduced. 013 Though they believe that everything is subject to fate, they do not remove from people the freedom to act as they think fit, for they think God has given us the judgment by which the human will can follows the ways of virtue or of vice. 014 They also believe that souls have an immortal fore and that there will be rewards or punishments beneath the earth, according as one has lived virtuously or badly in this life, and the latter will be kept in an everlasting prison, and the others be empowered to live again. 015 With these doctrines they greatly influence the general public, who follow their guidance about worship and prayers and sacrifices, so that in the cities they are acclaimed as admirable, both in their actions and in their words.

4.

016 The Sadducees teach that souls die with the bodies; nor do they regard as obligatory anything beyond what the law commands. They think it a virtue to dispute ideas with the teachers of wisdom whom they meet. 017 This doctrine is held by only a few, though these are of the highest dignity. But of themselves they can achieve almost nothing, for when they become leaders, as they are sometimes obliged to be, even if unwillingly, they adopt the ideas of the Pharisees, since otherwise the people would not listen to them.

5.

018 The Essenes hold that all things are best left in the hands of God. They believe in the soul's immortality and think one should earnestly strive for righteousness. 019 Though they send to the temple what they have dedicated to God, they offer their sacrifice with distinctive purifications, because of which they are excluded from the common court of the temple and offer their sacrifices separately. Their way of life is better than that of other men, and they devote themselves entirely to farming. 020 It is admirable how much they excel all others in virtue, for their lifestyle is not found among Greeks or barbarians, even briefly, though it has been continually practiced by them for a long time. They hold their wealth in common, so that a rich man enjoys no more of his wealth than one who owns nothing at all, and about four thousand men live in this way. 021 They neither wives nor keep servants, thinking that the latter leads to injustice while the former can cause quarrelling, but live single lives and are of service to each other. 022 They appoint good men as stewards to receive their revenues and the fruits of the earth, and priests to prepare their bread and other food. Their lifestyle does not differs little from, indeed is very similar to, that of the so-called Ktistai ("founders") among the Dacians.

6.

023 Judas the Galilean was the originator of the fourth way of Jewish philosophy, which agrees in most things with the views of the Pharisees, but is intensely devoted to freedom and claims God as the only Ruler and Lord. They are prepared for any kind of death, and even accept the deaths of relatives and friends, rather than call any man lord. 024 Since their immovable resolve is well known to many, I shall say no more about it, nor do I fear that what I have said of them will be disbelieved. What I do fear is that I have understated the indifference they show in the face of misery and pain. 025 It was in the time of Gessius Florus as governor that the nation began to grow mad with this illness, when by the abuse of his authority he caused them to revolt from the Romans. Those are the ways of philosophy among the Jews.

Chapter 2. [026-054]
Herod Antipas founds Tiberias. Succession of priests and procurators. Royal succession among the Parthians

1.

026 When Quirinius had disposed of Archelaus's money and the assessments had been completed, in the thirty-seventh year after Caesar's victory over Antony at Actium, he took from Joazar the dignity of the high priesthood, which had been given him by the people and appointed Ananus, son of Seth, as high priest. 027 Herod and Philip each took charge of their own tetrarchies and arranged matters there. Then Herod built a wall around Sepphoris for the security of all Galilee, and made it the capital of his area, and also built a wall around the city of Betharamphtha, and called it Julias, after the emperor's wife. 028 Philip also built up Paneas at the source of the Jordan, calling it Caesarea, and made a city of the village of Bethsaida, on the lake of Gennesareth, for the number of its inhabitants and its importance, naming it Julias, the name of Caesar's daughter.

2.

029 The following occurred while Judea was under Coponius, who as we said was sent out with Quirinius. As the Jews were celebrating the feast of unleavened bread that we call Passover, it was the practice for the priests to open the temple gates just after midnight. 030 When those gates were first opened, some Samaritans secretly came into Jerusalem and began throwing some human bones around in the porticoes and elsewhere in the temple, and as a result it was decided to have the temple more carefully guarded than before. 031 Shortly afterwards Coponius returned to Rome and Marcus Ambivius came as his successor, under whom Salome, the sister of king Herod, died, leaving to Julia, (Caesar's wife,) Jamnia and its district and Phasaelis in the plain and Archelais, where is a great plantation of palm trees of excellent fruit. 032 After him came Annius Rufus, in whose time Caesar, the second emperor of the Romans, died after a reign of fifty-seven years, besides six months and two days. Antony ruled along with him for fourteen years, and his life span was seventy-seven years. 033 After his death Tiberius Nero, his wife Julia's son, succeeded him, as the third emperor, and he sent Valerius Gratus as procurator of Judea, to succeed Annius Rufus. 034 This man deposed Ananus from the high priesthood and named Ismael, son of Phabi, as high priest and soon replaced him with Eleazar, son of Ananus, who had been high priest before. After he had held the office for a year, Gratus deposed him and gave the high priesthood to Simon, son of Camithus. 035 After he had held the dignity no more than a year, Joseph Caiaphas was made his successor. When Gratus had done all this he returned to Rome after spending eleven years in Judea, and Pontius Pilate came as his successor.

3.

036 Herod the tetrarch, who was in great favour with Tiberius, built a city in the best part of Galilee, at the lake of Gennesareth, and named it Tiberias, in his honour. Not far from it there are warm baths, in a village called Ammathus. 037 Strangers came to live there and many Galileans too, compelled by Herod to come from the area belonging to him, to populate it. Some of them were wealthy, but he also accepted poor people, collected from all parts. 038 Some of them were not quite free from slavery and these he set free in large numbers, as a favour, obliging them not to forsake the city by building them very good houses at his own expense and by giving them land. He knew that this settlement was in opposition to Jewish ancestral laws, for many tombs had to be removed to make room for building Tiberias and our laws say that those who live there are unclean for seven days.

4.

039 Meanwhile the king of the Parthians, Phraates, died by the treachery of his son, Phraatakos, as follows. 040 After Phraates already had legitimate sons, he had an Italian slave girl named Thermusa, sent to him, among other gifts, by Julius Caesar. Struck by her beauty, he first made her his concubine and in time had by her a son named Phraataces, and made her his wife and treated her with respect. 041 As she could persuade him in everything, she worked to win for her son the leadership of the Parthians, but saw it was impossible unless she found a way to remove Phraates's legitimate sons. 042 Thus, she persuaded him to send his proper sons as hostages to Rome and they were duly sent, as Phraates was unable to resist Thermusa. But while Phraataces alone was brought up to succeed in the leadership, he thought it too long to wait for it to come by his father's gift and treacherously conspired against his father, helped by his mother, with whom he was also rumoured to make love. 043 For both these vices he was hated, as his subjects regarded his lust for his mother as no better than his patricide, and they rebelled before he grew too powerful, and deposed him, and he died. 044 The Parthian aristocrats agreed that it was impossible for the state to do without a king, and it was their constant practice to choose one of the family of Arsaces, for their law allowed no other, and they thought their kingdom had already been harmed enough by the marriage with an Italian concubine and by her offspring. So they sent envoys and called Orodes to be king, though the people did not care for him, on account of his savagery and temper and proneness to anger; but he did belong to the royal family. 045 But they conspired against this man too, and killed him; some say, at a festival and among their sacrifices, as it is the custom there for everyone to go armed; more say, however, that he was killed after being lured out hunting. 046 So they sent envoys to Rome asking them for one of the hostages to be king, and Vonones was chosen above his brothers and sent to them. He seemed destined for fortune, being offered two of the greatest kingdoms under the sun, his own and a foreign one. 047 The barbarians, however, being naturally volatile, soon changed their minds and felt this man unworthy to be their ruler, as they could not obey the commands of one who had been a slave, for so they considered anyone who had been held hostage. Nor could they bear the shame of having such a king set over the Parthians, all the worse as it was not by right of war, but in time of peace. 048 So they soon invited Artabanus, king of Media, to be their king, since he too was of the Arsacid clan. Artabanus agreed and came to them with an army, and Vonones went out against him. At first the Parthians were on his side and he scored a victory, and Artabanus fled to the mountains of Media. 049 But not long after, gathering a large army and fought Vonones again and defeated him, and Vonones fled on horseback to Seleucia upon the Tigris, along with a few of his attendants. When, to cow the barbarians, Artabanus had slaughtered many after his victory, he retreated to Ctesiphon with most of his troops. 050 Now he was king of the Parthians, but Vonones fled to Armenia, and after arrival sought to rule that country and sent envoys to Rome to ask for it. 051 When Tiberius refused it to him his courage failed, and as the Parthian king threatened him and sent envoys to declare war on him if he persisted, and had no way to gain any other kingdom, for the influential people Armenians and those around Niphates sided with Artabanus, 052 he surrendered to Silanus, the ruler of Syria, who, in light of his education in Rome, kept him in Syria, while Artabanus gave Armenia to Orodes, one of his own sons.

5.

053 Antiochus, the king of Commagene, died and his people squabbled with the nobility and both sides sent envoys. The notables wanted their state to become a province of the empire, but the people wanted to be ruled by kings, like their ancestors. 054 So the senate decreed that Germanicus be sent to settle affairs in the East, and thereby Fate robbed him of his life, for when he had gone to the East and settled everything there, his life was taken by the poison which Piso gave him, as we said elsewhere.

Chapter 3. [055-084]
The Jewish rebellion under Pontius Pilate. Execution of Jesus Christ. State of the Jews in Rome

1.

055 Pilate, the procurator of Judea, moved the army from Caesarea to Jerusalem, to take up winter quarters there. Setting aside the ancestral Jewish law he introduced into the city effigies of Caesar, that were upon the ensigns, though our law forbids the making of images. 056 For this reason earlier procurators had always entered the city carrying ensigns without such ornaments. Pilate was the first to bring those images into Jerusalem, setting them up at night, without the people knowing. 057 As soon as they learned of it, they came in crowds to Caesarea and interceded with Pilate for many days, to remove the images. When he would not grant their requests, for it would be an insult to Caesar, they persisted and on the sixth day he ordered his soldiers to hide their weapons, while he came and sat upon his judgment-seat. This was in the stadium, so that it concealed the army that lay in hiding. 058 When the Jews again made their request, he pointed to the soldiers surrounding them and at once threatened them with death, unless they stopped disturbing him and went home. 059 But they threw themselves on the ground and bared their necks and said they would willingly die, rather than see the wisdom of their laws transgressed. Pilate was shocked by their firm resolve to preserve their laws and soon ordered the images to be brought back from Jerusalem to Caesarea.

2.

060 Then he planned to bring a water supply to Jerusalem, using the temple money to do so, and found a source of water two hundred furlongs away. But the population was not pleased about the water, and many thousands gathered to complain to him, insisting that he give it up and some also insulted the man, as some speakers tend to do. 061 So he got a troop of his soldiers to dress up like the crowd and carry batons under their clothing and then stationed them on the perimeter of the crowd. When he told the Jews to withdraw and they went on insulting him, he gave the soldiers the agreed signal. 062 But they struck the crowd with much harder blows than Pilate had ordered and gave equally hard treatment to rioters and innocent alike, not sparing them in the least. Since the civilians were unarmed and were caught by men trained for action, many of them were killed on the spot while others ran away wounded; and this put an end to the revolt.

3.

063 Jesus lived about this time, a wise man, if one may properly call him a man, for he performed wonderful works and was a teacher to those who receive the truth with pleasure. He drew to himself many of the Jews and many Gentiles too. He was the Anointed One. 064 When Pilate, prompted by our leading men, condemned him to the cross, those who loved him from the beginning did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, just as the divine prophets had foretold these and countless other wonderful things about him. The tribe of the Christians, so named after him, survive to the present day.

4.

065 About the same time another tragedy rocked the Jews and some scandalous deeds were done regarding the temple of Isis in Rome. I will first discuss the outrage committed by the followers of Isis and then return to the Jewish matter. 066 There was in Rome a woman named Paulina, highly reputed both for the dignity of her ancestors and for her personal practice of virtue. She was very rich, but though beautiful in appearance and in the flower of her age when women are most exuberant, she led a life of great modesty. She was married to Saturninus, whose fine character matched hers in every way. 067 Decius Mundus, a very reputable man of the equestrian order, fell in love with this woman, and as she was too good to succumb to gifts and had rejected the many he had sent, he was still more ardent, even promising her two hundred thousand Attic drachmae to share her bed just once. 068 When this did not persuade her and he could not bear his erotic frustration, he thought he should starve himself to death to end his suffering, and having decided to die in this way, he set about doing so. 069 Mundus had a freed-woman who had been set free by his father, and her name was Ide. She was expert in mischief of all sorts and was saddened by the young man's intention to kill himself, for he did not hide his suicidal intention from others, so she came to him and by her words and promises gave him hope of gaining intercourse with Paulina. 070 As he listened gladly to her pleas, she said she needed only fifty thousand drachmae to entrap the woman. After giving the young man new heart and getting the money she required, she did not follow his methods, seeing that the woman could not be tempted by money, but knowing her to be devoted to the worship of Isis, she devised this scheme. 071 Going to some of Isis's priests and promising them total secrecy, she persuaded them by her words, and still more by the offer of money, twenty-five thousand drachmae up front and as much more when the deed was done, and told them of the young man's passion, telling them to use every possible means to beguile the woman. 072 So they were drawn in and promised to do so, for the sake of the large sum of gold they would get. The oldest of them went immediately to Paulina, and on entering, asked to speak with her alone. When that was granted he told her that he was sent by the god Anubis, who had fallen in love with her and ordered her to come to him. 073 She was delighted with the message and prided herself at this coming down of Anubis and told her husband about the message sent to her and that she was to sup and lie down with Anubis. He agreed to let her accept the offer, being fully satisfied with his wife's chastity. 074 So she went to the temple and after dining there, when it was time to go to sleep the priest shut the doors of the temple, and the lights were also put out in the innermost sanctuary. Then Mundus, who was hidden, jumped out and made sure to enjoy her, for she was at his service all night long, thinking him to be the god. 075 After he left, before the priests who were unaware of this plot were awake, Paulina came to her husband early and told him how the god Anubis had appeared to her, and also told her her friends how much she valued this favour. 076 Thinking about it, they mainly disbelieved it, but not having any reason to disbelieve her because of her modesty and dignity, they were amazed that it had happened. 077 But three days later, Mundus met met and said, "Well Paulina, you have saved me two hundred thousand drachmae, which you could have had for your family, but you still put yourself at my service just as I previously asked you. Since you insulted Mundus, I did not stick to my name, but took pleasure in what I did once I assumed the name of Anubis." 078 With this he went away, and when she first grasped the outrage he had done her, she rent her clothing and told her husband of his dreadful scheme and implored him not to fail to vindicate her; so he revealed it to the emperor. 079 Tiberius enquired fully into the matter and examined the priests about it and had them crucified along with Ide, who had instigated the whole insult to the woman's honour. He had the temple of Isis demolished and her statue thrown into the river Tiber. 080 Mundus he only banished, reckoning that as sufficient for a crime committed out of erotic passion. These are the details about the temple of Isis and the wrongs done by her priests. I now return to the story I mentioned earlier, what happened about this time to the Jews in Rome.

5.

081 There was a Jew, a wicked man in every way, who had been expelled from his country under accusation of breaking the laws and who feared being punished for it. Living in Rome at the time, he professed to teach people in the wisdom of the laws of Moses, 082 and he found three other men, of similar character as himself, to be his partners. These persuaded Fulvia, a woman of great dignity who had embraced the Jewish religion, to send purple and gold to the temple in Jerusalem, and when they got hold of the gifts they used them for themselves and spent the money, which was why they asked her for it in the first place. 083 When Tiberius learned of it from Saturninus, the husband of Fulvia, who wanted it investigated, he ordered all the Jews to be banished from Rome. 084 Then the consuls drafted four thousand of them into the army and sent them to the island of Sardinia, but penalized even more of them, who refused to serve as soldiers on account of their ancestral laws. So these Jews were banished from the city because of the wrongdoing of four men.

Chapter 4. [085-108]
Pilate kills many Samaritan demonstrators. Tiberius sends Vitellius against the Parthians. Portrayal of Herod Antipas

1.

085 But the Samaritan nation did not escape disturbance either. The man who roused them to it was one who thought little of lying and arranged everything just to please the people. He told them to to gather at Mount Garizim, which they regarded as the holiest of all mountains, assuring them that when they got there he would show them the sacred vessels which were buried there in deposit, by Moses himself. 086 So they came there armed and thought the man's words plausible, and as they stayed at a village called Tirathaba, they got ready to go up the mountain together in a large crowd. 087 Pilate prevented them, however, by seizing the roads with a great band of cavalry and infantry, who attacked the first ones they met in the village, and some of them they killed in battle and put the others to flight and took many alive; and Pilate condemned to death the chief and most powerful of the fugitives.

2.

088 When this disturbance had been put down, the Samaritan council sent an embassy to Vitellius, a former consul who was now ruler of Syria, to accuse Pilate of murdering those who had been killed, since they had not gone to Tirathaba to revolt from the Romans, but to escape the violence of Pilate. 089 So Vitellius sent Marcellus, a friend of his, to take care of the affairs of Judea and ordered Pilate to go to Rome to reply to the Samaritans' accusation before the emperor. So Pilate, after spending ten years in Judea, hurried to Rome since he could not disobey the orders of Vitellius, but before he got to Rome Tiberius was dead.

3.

090 Vitellius came to Judea and went up to Jerusalem, at the time of the festival which is called the Passover, and was magnificently received there. So Vitellius released the people of Jerusalem from all the taxes on the sale of farm produce and restored the custody of the high priest's vestments to them, with all their ornaments, to be under the care of the priests in the temple, as they formerly used to be. 091 At that time they were deposited in the so called tower of Antonia, for this reason. One of the priests named Hyrcanus, the first of many of that name, had built a stronghold near the temple and lived there most of the time, keeping charge of these vestments since only he could lawfully wear them. There he had them safe while he went down into the city wearing his ordinary clothes. 092 This continued to be the practice of his sons and of their sons after them. When Herod came to be king, he magnificently rebuilt this tower which was so conveniently situated, and because he was a friend to Antony, he called it by the name of Antonia. As he found these vestments lying there, he kept them in the same place, believing that as long he had them in his custody the people would make no revolt against him. 093 Herod's son Archelaus, who was king after him, did the same, and when the Romans took over direct rule, they took charge of the vestments of the high priest and deposited them in a stone chamber, under the seal of the priests and the temple treasurers, and the officer of the guard lit a lamp there every day. 094 Seven days before a festival they were handed over to them by the officer of the guard; and later the high priest, having purified and used them, deposited them again in the same chamber, the day after the feast was over. This was the practice at the three yearly festivals and on the fast day. 095 Now Vitellius followed our ancient law about those vestments and told the officer of the guard not to interfere with where they were kept, or when they should be used. Having done this act of kindness to the nation, he deposed Joseph, surnamed Caiaphas, from the high priesthood, appointing the former high priest Jonathan the son of Ananus, in his place. Then he returned to Antioch.

4.

096 Tiberius also sent a letter to Vitellius instructing him to make a pact of friendship with Artabanus, the king of the Parthians, for since he had taken Armenia from him he feared him as an enemy who might go even further. His instructions were not to trust him unless he gave him hostages, and especially Artabanus his son. 097 Tiberius wrote this to Vitellius and by large bribes he tried to persuade the king of the Iverians and Alvanians [Azerbaijan]
to declare war on Artabanus. Although they would not do so, they allowed the Scythians passage through their country and opened the Caspian gates to them and so let them attack Artabanus. 098 So Armenia was retaken and the land of Parthia was embroiled in war and their leading men were killed and all was in chaos, and even the king's son fell in these wars, along with many thousands of his army. 099 Vitellius sent so much money to Artabanus senior's relatives and friends, that the bribes almost succeeded in having him killed. Now Artabanus saw that the plotting against him could not be avoided, as it came from so many of the officers that it would certainly succeed. 100 He saw too the number of those who were truly faithful to him, and those who were already corrupted, for though they pretended loyalty to him, they were likely to go over to his enemies at the critical time, so he made his escape to the upper provinces, where later he raised a large army from the Dahae and Sacre and fought his enemies and stayed in power.

5.

101 Hearing about this, Tiberius wanted a pact of friendship made between him and Artabanus, and when the proposal was well received, Artabanus went to meet Vitellius at the Euphrates. 102 A bridge was made across the river, each came with his bodyguards and they met in the centre of the bridge. When they had agreed on the terms of peace, Herod the tetrarch built a rich tent on the midst of the passage and held a feast for them there. 103 Not long afterwards, Artabanus sent his son Darius as a hostage, with many gifts, among which was a man seven feet tall, a Jew by birth, nameed Eleazar, who was called a giant on account of his height. 104 After this Vitellius went to Antioch and Artabanus to Babylon, but Herod wanting to be first to Caesar with the news that they had obtained hostages, sent him letter-bearers with an accurate written description of the whole affair and leaving nothing new for the proconsul to inform to report. 105 When Vitellius's letters were sent and Caesar had told him that he knew about the affair, since Herod had already written of it, Vitellius was furious, thinking it a bigger offence than it really was, but kept his anger secret until he got his revenge, which he did when Gaius took over as Roman emperor.

6.

106 About this time Herod's brother Philip departed this life, in the twentieth year of the reign of Tiberius, after ruling Trachonitis and Gaulanitis and the Batanean nation for thirty seven years, with moderation and in an easy-going style. 107 He spent all his time in the area assigned to him, making his rounds with a few chosen friends. The throne on which he sat in judgment went with him on the circuit, and when anyone met him who needed his help, he made no delay, but wherever it might be he soon had his tribunal set up and sat and heard the case, penalising the guilty and aquitting those who were unjustly accused. 108 He died at Julias, and was brought to the tomb he had built for himself in advance, and buried with great pomp. As he left behind no children, Tiberius took his territory and joined it to the province of Syria, but ordered that the tributes collected in his tetrachy should be held on deposit.

Chapter 5. [109-142]
Herod Antipas is defeated by Aretas of Arabia. Death of John the Baptist. The ill-fated Herodian family

1.

109 Meanwhile there was a quarrel between Aretas the king of Arabia Petrea and Herod, for this reason: Herod the tetrarch had married the daughter of Aretas and had been with her a long time. Once, however, when he was in Rome he lodged with his half-brother Herod, who was not by the same mother, for this Herod was son of the daughter of Simon the high priest. 110 He was in love with Herodias, this latter Herod's wife, who was the daughter of their other brother Aristobulus and a sister of Agrippa the Great, and proposed marriage to her. She accepted and agreed to move in with him as soon as he returned from Rome, and part of the agreement was that Aretas's daughter be sent away. 111 Having agreed this he sailed to Rome, but when he finished his business in Rome and came home, his wife learned of his agreement with Herodias and before he was aware that she knew of it, she asked him to send her to Machaerus, on the border between the realms of Aretas and Herod, without telling him her intentions. 112 Herod sent her there, thinking the poor woman had noticed nothing. But she had sent advance notice to Machaerus, which was subject to her father and so everything necessary for her journey was made ready for her by the general of Aretas's army, and so she soon reached Arabia, passed on from one chieftain to the next, and soon came to her father and told him of Herod's plans. 113 This was the start of their enmity and there was also their border dispute about Gamalitis, so both sides prepared for war, though they sent their generals to fight instead of themselves. 114 In the ensuing battle, all Herod's army was destroyed by the treachery of some fugitives, who joined with Aretas's army though they came from the tetrarchy of Philip. 115 Herod wrote about these matters to Tiberius, who was at what Aretas had done, and wrote to Vitellius to make war on him and either capture him alive and bring him to him in chains, or if he was killed to send him his head. These were the orders of Tiberius to the governor of Syria.

2.

116 Some of the Jews thought that that Herod's army was destroyed as a just punishment from God, for what he did to John, who was called the Baptist. 117 For Herod killed this good man who was telling the Jews to practice virtue, and behave righteously towards each other and devoutly towards God and so to come to baptism. This would make the washing acceptable to Him, if it were used not for the putting away of some sins, but for the purification of the body, since the soul was already purified by righteousness. 118 When others crowded round him, for they were greatly moved by hearing his words, Herod feared that his great influence over the people might lead to some revolt, as they seemed ready to do everything he advised, so he thought it better to put him to death before he could start a rebellion than to wait and later have to repent of it after the revolution had begun. 119 So due to Herod's suspicions he was sent a prisoner to Machaerus, the castle mentioned earlier, and put to death there. The Jews suspected that the loss of Herod's army was sent as a punishment and a mark of God's displeasure with him.

3.

120 Vitellius went to war against Aretas with two fully-armed legions and all the light-armed infantry and cavalry attached to them, drawn from the kingdoms which were under the Romans and came to Ptolemais on his way toward Petra. 121 But on the march as he was leading his army through Judea, some prominent men met him to ask him not to go through their land, since their ancestral laws did not let them ignore the images they carried into it, many of which were on their ensigns. 122 Persuaded by this he changed his plans and ordered the army to march along the great plain, while he himself, with Herod the tetrarch and his friends, went up to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice to God during an ancient Jewish festival which was coming up. 123 On his arrival he was well received by the Jewish populace, and stayed there for three days, during which time he deposed Jonathan from his priestly office and gave it to his brother Theophilus. 124 When on the fourth day letters arrived announcing the death of Tiberius, he made the people swear their loyalty to Gaius. He also stood down his army, sending each man home for the winter, since with the accession of Gaius he no longer had his former authority to go to war. 125 It was also reported that Aretas, when he heard that Vitellius was coming to fight him, consulted the auguries and said that the army of Vitellius could not cross the entrance of Petra, for one of the leaders would die, either the one who gave orders for the war, or the one who marched to carry out the other's plan, or the one against whom the army had mustered. 126 So Vitellius retired to Antioch. Now Agrippa, son of Aristobulus, had gone to Rome a year before the death of Tiberius, to have contact with the emperor, and seek some advantage for himself. 127 I now wish to describe how things went for Herod and his family, partly as it is relevant to this history and partly because it offers proof of divine intervention, how mere numbers are fruitless, or any other worldly advantage, without piety towards God. 128 The fact is that, within a hundred years, the numerous descendants of Herod had all disappeared, apart from a few. One may well apply this for the guidance of mankind and learn from their misfortune. 129 It is worth recalling the story of Agrippa, an admirable person who beyond all the expectation of his friends rose from being a private citizen to great power and authority. I have said something of this before, but will now speak of it in detail.

4.

130 Herod the Great had two daughters by Mariamne, the daughter of Hyrcanus. One of them was Salampsio, who was given by her father in marriage to her first cousin Phasael, who was himself the son of Herod's brother Phasael. The other was Cypros, who also was married to her first cousin Antipater, the son of Herod's sister Salome. 131 Phasael had five children by Salampsio: Antipater, Herod and Alexander and two daughters, Alexandra and Cypros, who married Agrippa, the son of Aristobulus, while Alexandra married Timius of Cyprus, a worthy man, but with him she died childless. 132 By Cypros Agrippa had two sons and three daughters, Berenice, Mariamne and Drusilla, and the sons were Agrippa and Drusus, of whom Drusus died before puberty. 133 Of these, Agrippa and his brothers, Herod and Aristobulus, were reared by his father, along with Berenice the daughter of Costobarus and of Herod's sister Salome. 134 As already said, Aristobulus left these infants when he and his brother Alexander were killed by their father. When they reached puberty, this Herod, Agrippa's brother, married Mariamne, the daughter of king Herod's daughter Olympias, and of Joseph, son of king Herod's brother Joseph, and by her had a son, Aristobulus. 135 Agrippa's third brother, Aristobulus, married Jotape, the daughter of Sampsigeramus, king of Emesa. They had a daughter who was deaf, whose name was also Jotape, and up to this these were the children of the male line. 136 Their sister Herodias was married to Herod, the son of Herod the Great by Mariamne, the daughter of Simon the high priest. They had a daughter, Salome, after whose birth Herodias set about overturning the laws of our country and divorced from her husband while he was alive and married Herod (Antipas), her husband's brother on the father's side, who was tetrarch of Galilee. 137 Her daughter Salome was married to Philip, Herod's son and tetrarch of Trachonitis, and as he died childless, Aristobulus, Herod's son and Agrippa's brother, married her. They had three sons, Herod, Agrippa and Aristobulus. 138 Those were the descendants of Phasael and Salampsio. Now by Cypros Antipater had a daughter named Cypros, who married Alexas Selcias, son of Alexas and they had a daughter, Cypros, while Herod and Alexander, who, as I said, were Antipater's brothers, died childless. 139 The Alexander who was killed by his father king Herod, had two sons, Alexander and Tigranes, by the daughter of Archelaus, king of Cappadocia. Tigranes, who was king of Armenia, was accused of charges in Rome and died childless. 140 Alexander had a son named with his brother Tigranes and was sent by Nero to take possession of the kingdom of Armenia. He had a son, Alexander, who married Jotape, daughter of Antiochus the king of Commagene, and Vespasian made him king of Ketis in Cilicia. 141 But soon after their birth these descendants of Alexander left the Jewish religion and went over to the Greeks, and the rest of the daughters of Herod the king died childless. 142 I have listed, by way of preface, these descendants of Herod up to the time that Agrippa the Great took over the kingdom. Now I will relate the various adversities faced by Agrippa and how he overcame them, to advance to the height of dignity and power.

Chapter 6. [143-239]
Herod Agrippa's picaresque career. Tiberius as emperor Antonia, Sejanus and Caligula

1.

143 Shortly before king Herod's death, Agrippa lived in Rome and was reared in close contact with Drusus, the emperor Tiberius's son and made friends with Antonia, the wife of Drusus the Great, who highly esteemed his mother Berenice and was asked by her to promote her son. 144 Agrippa was of an expansive nature and generous in giving gifts, though he hid his natural bent while his mother was alive, in order not to provoke her by his extravagance. 145 Once Berenice was dead and he was left to his own devices, he spent lavishly in his daily lifestyle and gave endless gifts, mainly to Caesar's freedmen, to win their help, so that he was soon reduced to poverty. 146 He could no longer afford to live in Rome, and Tiberius forbade the friends of his deceased son to come into his sight, for they reminded him of his son and only revived his grief.

2.

147 For these reasons he left Rome and sailed to Judea in dire circumstances, depressed by the loss of his former wealth and without the money to pay his many creditors, and seeing no way to escape them. Not knowing what to do, and ashamed of his present condition, he retired to a tower at Malatha in Idumaea, and thought of killing himself. 148 But his wife Cypros knew his mind and tried all sorts of ways to divert him from such a course. She wrote a letter to his sister Herodias, who was now the wife of Herod the tetrarch, to tell her of Agrippa's state and the need that drove him to it. 149 She asked for her help as his relative, and to get her husband to do the same, seing how she had helped her husband all she could, though without any wealth like theirs. They sent for him and gave him Tiberias as his dwelling, with money to maintain him and honouring him as mayor of Tiberias. 150 But Herod did not continue long in his resolve to support him, though even that was insufficient for him. Once they were drinking at a feast in Tyre and insults were exchanged, Agrippa found it unbearable when Herod reproached him with his poverty and with owing his very food to him. So he went to Flaccus, who had been consul and had formerly been a great friend to him in Rome and was now ruler of Syria.

3.

151 He was amiably received by Flaccus and stayed with him. Another guest there was Aristobulus, Agrippa's brother, with whom he on bad terms, but their mutual hostility did not prevent him treating them both with friendship and honour. 152 Aristobulus did not cease being unpleasant to Agrippa until he brought him into enmity with Flaccus, and this was the cause of their estrangement. 153 The Damascenes had a border quarrel with the Sidonians and when Flaccus was about to hear their case, they learned that Agrippa had great influence with him, so they got him to take their side, with the promise of a lot of money. 154 So he gladly did all he could to help the Damascenes, but Aristobulus learned about the promised money and accused him of it to Flaccus, who fully examined the matter and found is to be the case, and no longer numbered Agrippa among his friends. 155 So he was reduced to the utmost penury and came to Ptolemais. Then not knowing where else to get a livelihood, he wanted to sail to Italy, but as he could not do so for lack of money, he asked Marsyas, his freedman, to find the means for that purpose, by borrowing the money from somebody. 156 Marsyas asked Protos, the freedman of Agrippa's mother Berenice, who bequeathed him in her will to Antonia, to lend the sum, on a personal bond of security. 157 He, however, accused Agrippa of defrauding him of certain sums of money and so obliged Marsyas, when he signed the bond for twenty thousand Attic drachmae, to accept twenty-five hundred drachma less, to which the other agreed having no other option. 158 On receipt of this money, Agrippa came to Anthedon and was about to set sail when Herennius Capito, the procurator of Jamnia, sent a band of soldiers to get from him the three hundred thousand silver drachmae that he owed to Caesar's treasury in Rome, so forcing him to stay. 159 He pretended to follow this order, but when night came he cut the cables and left and sailed to Alexandria, where he asked Alexander the Alabarch to lend him two hundred thousand drachmae. He refused to lend it to him, but said that he would not refuse it to Cypros, impressed by her love for her husband and other examples of her virtue. 160 She undertook to repay it and so Alexander gave them five talents in Alexandria and promised them the rest at Dicaearchea, in case Agrippa was getting ready to spend it. So Cypros bailed her husband out and sent him off on with his voyage to Italy, while she and her children left for Judea.

4.

161 Agrippa came to Puteoli, where he wrote a letter to Tiberius Caesar, who then lived in Capri, telling him that he had come so far to pay him a visit and see him, and asked his permission to come over to Capri. 162 Without hesitation Tiberius wrote courteously to him, saying he was glad of his safe return and inviting him to come to Capri, and when he arrived he did not fail to welcome him as kindly as he had promised in his letter. 163 But the next day Caesar got a letter from Herennius Capito, saying that Agrippa had borrowed three hundred thousand drachmae and not repaid it when it fell due, and when it was demanded, escaped like a fugitive from his jurisdiction, making it impossible to get the money back. 164 When Caesar read this letter, he was irritated and had Agrippa excluded from his presence until he paid off the debt. But undaunted by Caesar's anger, he begged Antonia, the mother of Germanicus and Claudius, the future emperor, to lend him the three hundred thousand drachmae, so as not to be deprived of Tiberius's friendship. 165 Out of regard to the memory of his mother Berenice, for the two women had been great friends, and remembering how he and Claudius were educated together, she lent him the money; and once his debt was paid, there was nothing further to bar him from friendship with Tiberius. 166 Tiberius Caesar then commended his grandson to him, saying that he should always accompany him when he went abroad. After being received in friendship by Antonia, Agrippa went to pay his respects to her grandson Gaius, who was in high repute because of people's goodwill towards his father. 167 From a Samaritan freedman of Caesar he borrowed a million drachmae and from it repaid his debt to Antonia and by sending the rest in paying court to Gaius, gained great influence with him.

5.

168 While the friendship of Agrippa with Gaius was at its height, as they were in a chariot together some words once passed between them about Tiberius. Agrippa prayed, for they were in private, that Tiberius might soon leave the stage and pass the leadership to Gaius, who was in every respect more worthy of it. Now Eutychus, Agrippa's freedman who drove his chariot, heard these words and said nothing about them at that time. 169 But later, when Agrippa accused him of stealing some garments of his, which was certainly true, he fled, and when he was caught and brought before Piso, the city prefect, and he was asked why he ran away, the man replied that he had something to say to Caesar, about his security and safety. So Piso bound him and sent him to Capri, but Tiberius, in his usual way, kept him in chains, being a procrastinator, if ever any king or tyrant was. 170 He was slow to admit envoys and no successors were despatched to replace officers or procurators sent by him earlier, until they died, and was negligent in hearing the cases of prisoners. 171 When asked by his friends the reason for such delay he said that he postponed giving audience to envoys in case, if they were sent home quickly, other envoys would be sent and come back upon him, and so he would give himself the trouble of publicly receiving and dismissing them. 172 As for the governors, once they were sent to their office he left them there, out of regard for those subject to them, because all governors are naturally avaricious, and those who are not long term, but are on a short term basis, uncertain of when they will lose office, are in more of a hurry to fleece the people. 173 If however, their rule is to be long-term, they are finally sated with the spoils once they have amassed a vast deal and so grow less sharp in doing it. If successors are sent quickly, the poor subjects on whom they prey will not be able to bear the new ones, who feel they have not as much time available, whereas their predecessors who are already sated are unconcerned about getting more, they won't have time to do so before their term is ended. 174 He gave them an example to illustrate his point. Many flies came around the infected parts of a wounded man, so one of the bystanders pitied the man's misfortune and thinking he was unable to drive those flies away, wnted to drive them away for him. 175 But he implored him to let them alone, and when the other asked him the reason for such an odd thing, for not letting him relieve his distress, he answered, "If you drive these flies away you will do me more harm, for as these are already full of my blood, they do not pester or pain me as much as before, but are taking it easy, while the fresh hungry ones that would come and find me already so worn out, would destroy me." 176 So that is why I take care not to always send new governors to my subjects who are oppressed enough already, for like these flies they would add to their distress. Their natural desire for would be further incited if they expected at any moment to be deprived of the enjoyment of it." 177 As further proof of what I say about the languid nature of Tiberius, let me point to this: although he was emperor for twenty-two years, he sent in all only two procurators to govern the Jewish nation, Gratus and his successor as governor, Pilate. 178 In this he treated the Jews no differently from the rest of his subjects. About his delay in hearing the cases of prisoners, he explained that an early execution would mean shorter suffering for those who must be condemned to die, and those wretches have not deserved any such favour. The delay means that, burdened by their impending doom, they suffer the more.

6.

179 This was why Eutychus could not get a hearing, but was kept on in prison. But some time later Tiberius came from Capri to Tusculanum, about a hundred furlongs from Rome, and Agrippa asked Antonia to get a hearing for Eutychus, no matter how the case in which he accused him should turn out. 180 Antonia was highly regarded in every way by Tiberius, since as the widow of his brother Drusus she was related to him, and on account of her virtue and chastity, for though she was still a young woman, she continued in her widowhood and refused all other matches, though Augustus had told her to remarry; and always lived an irreproachable life. 181 She had been the best benefactor of Tiberius during the dangerous plotting against him by Sejanus, a man who had been her husband's friend and held the greatest authority as general of the army, and many senators and freedmen joined him and the army was corrupted and the plot was well advanced. The plot would have succeeded had not Antonia's audacity been wiser than Sejanus's malice, 182 for when she revealed his plans against Tiberius, she wrote him an exact account of everything and gave the letter to Pallas, the most faithful of her servants and sent him to Capri to Tiberius. When he learned of it, he killed Sejanus and his allies, so that while he held her in high esteem before, he now looked on her with still greater respect and trusted her completely. 183 When Tiberius was asked by Antonia to examine Eutychus, he answered, "If indeed Eutychus has falsely accused Agrippa in what he has said of him, he has been sufficiently punished already by what I have done to him, but if the accusatio turns out to be true, let Agrippa be careful in case, in his desire to punish his freedman, he brings punishment upon himself." 184 When Antonia told this to Agrippa, he pressed still more that the matter be examined, so when he continually asked her to beg this favour, Antonia availed of an opportunity to do so. 185 As Tiberius was lying at ease in his sedan and was carried round and Gaius, her grandson and Agrippa, were with him after dinner she went alongside the sedan and asked him to call Eutychus and have him examined. 186 His answer was, "Antonia, may the gods witness that I am doing this not of my own inclination, but because I am forced to it by your urging." Saying this, he ordered Macro, who succeeded Sejanus, to bring Eutychus to him; so he was brought without delay, and Tiberius asked him what he had to say against a man who had given him his freedom. 187 He said, "My lord, this Gaius and Agrippa with him, were once riding in a chariot and I sat at their feet. Among other things Agrippa said to Gaius, "I pray the day will come when this old fellow dies and leaves you to be ruler of the world! Then this Tiberius, the old man's grandson, would be no obstacle, but would be taken off by you and the whole world would be happy and I most of all." 188 Tiberius took these words to be true and was already angry at Agrippa, for when he had told him to pay respect to his grandson Tiberius, the son of Drusus, Agrippa had not paid that respect, but had disobeyed him and transferred all his regard to Gaius. 189 He said to Macro, "Bind this man." But Macro, not clearly knowing which of them he meant and not expecting him to want any such thing done to Agrippa, hesitated and asked him to speak more clearly. 190 When Caesar had gone round the hippodrome, he found Agrippa standing "Macro," he said, "this is the man I want to have in chains;" and when he still asked, "Which of these is to be chained?" he said "Agrippa." 191 Agrippa began to appeal to him, reminding him of his son with whom he was reared and of Tiberius whom he had educated, but all in vain. They led him about in chains, even in his purple robes. 192 It was very hot weather and they had only little wine with their meal, so that he was very thirsty. He was in a sort of agony and felt very badly, and seeing one of Gaius's slaves, Thaumastus by name, carrying some water in a vessel, asked for a drink. 193 Drinking deeply he said, "You, boy, will be rewarded for serving me in this way! Once I escape, I will soon have Gaius set you free, for he has not failed to help me now while I am in chains, just as in my former rank and dignity." 194 He did not fail to keep his promise but repaid him for what he had done; for later, when Agrippa came to power, he took special care of Thaumastus and gained him his freedom from Gaius and made him steward of his estate. On his death he left him to Agrippa his son and Berenice his daughter, to serve them in the same capacity; and the man kept that position into old age and still held it when he died. But all this was much later.

7.

195 Agrippa stood in his chains before the royal palace and leaned sadly against a tree along with many others who were also in chains. A bird, the kind that Romans call an owl, sat upon the tree on which Agrippa leaned, another prisoner, of the German nation, saw him and asked a soldier who was that man in purple. 196 When he heard his name was Agrippa and that he was by nation a Jew and one of the most respected of that nation, he asked the soldier to whom he was bound, to let him approach him and speak with him, wanting to ask him something about his country. 197 Getting permission, he came near and said to him by an interpreter: "Young man, his sudden change of your fortunes is hard for you, and seems a great disaster. You will not believe me when I say you will be freed from your present plight and how Providence will provide for you. 198 Know therefore, for I swear by the gods of my country as well as those of this place, who have put us in chains, that what I say about you shall be said neither in flattery or for bribes, or simply invented to cheer you up. 199 Predictions like this, if false, ultimately cause more grief than if one never heard them. But at my own risk I think I should tell you the prediction of the gods. 200 You will not stay long in these chains, but will soon be rescued and promoted to the heights of dignity and power. You will be envied by those who now pity your plight, and you will die happy, bequeathing prosperity to your future children. But note that when you see this bird again, you will have only five more days to live. 201 This will be done by God who has sent this bird here as a sign. I felt it would be wrong to conceal this foreknowledge from you, so that knowing the good things coming to you, you may smile amid your present hardships. But when this good luck comes into your hands, do not forget the misfortune that we now share." 202 When the German said this, it made Agrippa laugh just as heartily as he regarded him later with awe. Now Antonia was sorry about Agrippa's misfortune but it was very hard for her to speak on his behalf to Tiberius, and anyway, unlikely to succeed. 203 Still she persuaded Macro that the soldiers guarding him should be humane and also the centurion who was over them and was handcuffed to him, and that he be allowed to bathe every day, and have his freedmen and friends visit him, and have other things for his bodily comfort. 204 So his friend Silas visited him and two of his freedmen, Marsyas and Stoechus, brought him the foods he liked and took great care of him. They also brought him clothes, under pretext of selling them, and at nightfall they placed them under him, helpeded by the soldiers as Macro had ordered them. And Agrippa remained in that condition for six months.

8.

205 When Tiberius returned to Capri, he fell ill, at first only slightly, but it grew worse until he had little hope of recovery. Then he had Evodus, his most trusted freedman, bring the children to him, as he wanted to talk to them before he died. 206 By that time he had no living sons of his own, as his only son Drusus was dead, but Drusus's son Tiberius, nicknamed Gemellus, was alive, as was Gaius, the son of Germanicus, his brother's grandson. He was already a well educated young man and was widely liked and esteemed because of the virtue of his father Germanicus. 207 The father had been popularly honoured for his equable lifestyle, his easy and graceful manner - for his dignity did not prevent him from treating people with familiarity, as though they were his equals. 208 For this he was not only highly regarded by the people and the senate, but by all the subject nations. Of his visitors, some were touched by how pleasantly they were received and others felt the same on hearing from those who had been with him. 209 There was universal grief at his death, not a pretended sorrow to flatter their officers, but everyone genuinely mourned as if they had lost somebody close to themselves. 210 His easy way with people was greatly for his son's advantage in the eyes of all, and the soldiers in particular were so drawn to him that they were ready, if need be, even to die so that he could become emperor.

9.

211 When Tiberius had told Evodus to bring the children to him in the morning of the following day, he prayed his ancestral gods to show him a clear sign which of those children should succeed him as emperor. He himself wanted to leave it to his son's son, but relied more on what God might reveal about them than on his own view and preference. 212 He decided as an omen that the leadership should be left to the one who came to him first, the following day. With this resolve, he sent a message to his grandson's tutor telling him to bring the child to him early in the morning, thinking that God would take no notice of this ploy; but the emperor's choice was set aside. 213 For having set up things in this way, as soon as it was at day he told Evodus to call in whatever child was there first. The man went out and found Gaius outside the door, for young Tiberius had not yet arrived as he was finishing his breakfast. So, knowing nothing of what his master intended, he said to Gaius, "Your father is calling for you," and brought him in. 214 When Tiberius saw Gaius before him, he realised the power of God and how the granting of the leadership to the one he chose was entirely taken from him, and that he could not establish what he had intended. He was greatly shaken that his previous power to control things was taken from him, 215 for on his death his grandson Tiberius would not only lose the ruling of Rome but his very life, since his safety would now depend upon people more powerful than himself, who would think it intolerable to associate with him. His relatives would be unable to protect him, and he would be feared and hated by whoever was in power, because he was next in line to the empire and would always be plotting to take power, both for his own safety and also to be in charge of affairs. 216 Tiberius was devoted to horoscopes, and even more than the professionals had spent his life checking which predictions had turned out to be true. Once when he saw Galba coming to visit him, he told his closest friends that coming in was a man who would one day rise to be emperor of the Romans. 217 This man was more devoted than any of the other Roman emperors to all sorts of diviners, as he had found them to tell the truth about his own affairs. 218 Now he was distressed at what had happened and grieved at the foreseen ruination of his son's son, and blamed himself for using such a method of augury. He could have died without this grief of knowing the future, but must now die tormented by knowing in advance the misfortune of those dearest to him. 219 But though anguished at this paradoxical shift of the leadership to those he had not wished, he said to Gaius, reluctantly and against his will: "Child, although Tiberius is more closely related to me than you, by my own decision and the assent of the gods, I give and bequeath the Roman empire into your hands. 220 When you settle into it, I want you never to forget either my kindness to you, by appointing you to such a high rank, or your relationship with Tiberius. 221 Since you know that, having consulted the gods, it is I who have established your rank, in return for my help I want you to care for Tiberius because of his near relationship to you. Think of Tiberius as a security to you as long as he lives, both for holding the empire and for your own safety, but if he dies it will be the start of your own troubles. 222 For to be isolated in carrying out vast duties is very dangerous, and the gods will not leave unpunished any unjust breach of the law which otherwise directs men's behaviour." 223 This was what Tiberius said, but despite his promise to do so, Gaius was not persuaded to act accordingly, for once settled as ruler he did away with that Tiberius, as the other had predicted, and not long afterward he himself was killed in a conspiracy against him.

10.

224 After Tiberius had appointed Gaius as his successor, he lived only a few more days and then died, after being emperor for twenty-two years, five months and three days, and Gaius became the fourth emperor. 225 When the Romans learned that Tiberius was dead, they were glad at the good news, but hardly dared to believe it. It was not that they did not want it to be true, for they would have given any money for it to be so, but they were afraid that if they showed joy and the news proved false, they could be accused of their joy and be ruined on account of it. 226 For this man had done many terrible things to the best families of Rome, being always prone to anger and relentless in venting his unreasoning hatred, and by nature savage in his judgments, ready to condemn someone to death for the slightest offenses. 227 Therefore the report about his death pleased them, but their enjoyment was checked by their fear of the evils they foresaw if their hopes proved groundedless. 228 Marsyas, Agrippa's freedman, as soon as he heard of Tiberius's death, came running to tell Agrippa the good news, and finding him going out to the baths, nodded to him and said in Hebrew, "The lion is dead." 229 The other grasped his meaning and delighted at the news said, "My thanks to you for everything and for this news you bring to me. I only wish that what you say is true." 230 The centurion who was serving as guard to Agrippa, when he saw how hastily Marsyas had come and Agrippa's joy at what he said, suspected that his words implied some great change in affairs and he asked them what it was about. 231 At first they deflected the question, but when he pressed them further, Agrippa, who was already his friend, told him with no further ado, so he shared in their pleasure at the news of Agrippa's good fortune and held a supper for him. But during the feast, as the drinking was under way, someone came and said that Tiberius was still alive and would return to the city in a few days. 232 The centurion was quite rattled by this news, since what he had done might cost him his life, for having so joyfully treated a prisoner on the news of the emperor's death. Thrusting Agrippa off the couch where he lay he said, "Do you expect not to be punished for fooling me by lying about the emperor's death? You'll pay for your malicious report at the price of your head!" 233 Saying this, he ordered Agrippa in chains again, for earlier he had released him, and guarded him more severely than before; and all that night Agrippa was in a wretched state. 234 But the following day word grew in the city confirming the news that Tiberius was dead, so that now people dared to discuss it publicly and aloud, and even offered sacrifices on account of it. Some letters also came from Gaius; one of them to the senate, telling them of the death of Tiberius and of his own accession as ruler; 235 another came to Piso, the prefect of the city, telling him the same thing. He also directed that Agrippa be moved from the camp to the house where he had lived before being put in prison. So now he had nothing to fear, for although still in custody, he could be ease regarding his safety. 236 When Gaius came to Rome bringing the dead body of Tiberius and gave him a magnificent funeral according to the laws of his country, he would have released Agrippa that very day, but Antonia bade him delay, not from any ill-will to the prisoner, but out of regard for Gaius's reputation, in case people should think him pleased at the death of Tiberius, by too soon releasing someone he had imprisoned. 237 But not many days passed before he invited him to his house and had him shaved and gave him a change of clothing. Afterwards he put a crown on his head and appointed him as king of the tetrarchy of Philip; and he also gave him the tetrarchy of Lysanias, and exchanged his iron chain for a golden one of equal weight. Then he also sent Marullus as cavalry commander in Judea.

11.

238 In the second year of the reign of Gaius Caesar, Agrippa asked permission to sail home, promising to return again when he had secured his rule and put all other things in order. 239 With the emperor's permission he came home unexpectedly as king and proved to all who saw him the power of fortune, when they compared his former poverty with his present affluence, so that some called him a lucky man and others could hardly believe that for him things had changed so much for the better.

Chapter 7. [240-256]
Urged on by his wife Herodias, Herod Antipas makes a foolish request and is banished by Caligula

1.

240 But Herodias, Agrippa's sister, who now lived as wife to the Herod who was tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, envied this authority of her brother, particularly when she saw him given higher rank than her husband, since he had fled because he was unable to pay his debts and now he was back, with all dignity and affluence. 241 She was annoyed at such a change in his affairs, especially when she saw him making his entrance among the crowds in all his regalia, and could not conceal her bitter envy at him, but stirred up her husband to sail to Rome, to seek equal status to his. 242 She said she could no longer bear to live if Agrippa, the son of the Aristobulus who was executed by his father, a man who had come to her husband in such extreme poverty that he had to be supplied with the essentials of everyday life, and had fled overseas to escape his creditors, now returned as king, while her husband, himself the son of a king and whose royal blood called on him to hold a similar dignity, sat idle and must be content to live as a commoner. 243 "But Herod, even if formerly you were not bothered at being in a lower rank than your father once had, now you must go after the same rank your kinsman has reached. Do not endure the indignity of letting a man who used to court your wealth now be in higher station than yourself, seeing his poverty was able to buy more esteem than our abundance. Do not think it less than shameful to be inferior to one who so recently lived off your charity. 244 But let us go to Rome and spare no effort or expense of silver or gold, since they cannot be kept for any better use than for the winning of a kingdom."

2.

245 Herod opposed her request for a time, from his love of leisure and having an inkling of the trouble he might have in Rome, so he tried to bring her around. But the more she saw him draw back, the more she pressed him to it and asked him to seek to be king at any cost. 246 She never gave up until she won him over, like it or not, to her view, as the only way to stop her nagging. So he prepared everything, sparing no expense, and set off for Rome, taking Herodias with him. 247 But Agrippa learned of their intentions and preparations, and also prepared to go there. As soon as he heard they had set sail, he sent Fortunatus, one of his freedmen, to Rome, bringing gifts to the emperor and letters against Herod and to tell Gaius about them as soon as opportunity arose. 248 This man followed so soon after Herod and had such a good voyage that he arrived in Rome almost at the same time, so that when Herod reached Gaius, this man had already come and delivered his letters. They both sailed to Dicaearchia and found Gaius at Baii. 249 This is a little city of Campania, about five furlongs from Dicearchia, and in it are royal palaces, with rich apartments, as each emperor tried to outdo his predecessor's magnificence. It has warm springs coming naturally from the ground, which are of therapeutic value along with being an amenity for good living. 250 Now Gaius greeted Herod, meeting him the first time, and then looked at the letters Agrippa had sent him, written in order to accuse Herod, and where he accused him of plotting with Sejanus against Tiberius and of now plotting with Artabanus, the king of Parthia, against the rule of Gaius. 251 In proof, he alleged that he had ready in his armoury enough weapons for seventy thousand men. Roused by this, he asked Herod if what was said about the armour was true. 252 Since he could not deny it, as it was too well known, he said the weapons were there, and Gaius took it as proof of the accusation that he meant to revolt. So he took away his tetrarchy from him and added it Agrippa's kingdom. He also gave Herod's money to Agrippa, and as a punishment, assigned him to perpetual banishment in Lyons, a city of Gaul. 253 When he learned that Herodias was Agrippa's sister, he made her a gift of money in her own right and told her she was spared from the same plight as her husband, on account of her brother. 254 But she replied: "Emperor, what you offer me is magnificent and worthy of you, but my love for my husband prevents me from accepting the favour of your gift, for it is not right that I, who have shared in his prosperity, should forsake him in his troubles." 255 Gaius was angry with her for this and sent her into banishment with Herod and gave her estate to Agrippa. So did God punish the envy of Herodias towards her brother, and Herod too, for giving ear to the woman's vain words. 256 Now during the first and second year of his reign Gaius managed public affairs very ably and acted with such moderation that he gained the goodwill of the Romans themselves and the subject peoples. But in the course of time, he went beyond the humane limits in his self-conceit and because of the vastness of his dominions made himself a god and took upon himself to act in all things in disregard of the honour of God.

Chapter 8. [257-309]
Gaius sends Petronius to make the Jews accept his statue. Successful Intervention by Agrippa, to avoid revolt

1.

257 Meanwhile there was disorder in Alexandria, between the Jewish inhabitants and the Greeks, and three envoys were chosen from each of the rival parties to come to Gaius. One of the envoys from Alexandria was Apion, who heaped many insults on the Jews, among other things, that they neglected the honours due to Caesar. 258 All others who were subject to the Roman empire built altars and temples to Gaius and received him in every way as they received the gods, while they alone thought it unworthy of them to honour human statues and to swear by his name. 259 Many such harsh things were said by Apion, hoping to provoke Gaius to anger, as seemed likely. Then Philo, the head of the Jewish delegation, a most eminent man, the brother of Alexander the alabarch and one not unskilled in philosophy, was about to make his defense against those accusations, when Gaius stopped him and ordered him away. 260 He was in such a rage, that it seemed clear he was about to do them some great harm. So Philo, much insulted, went out and told the Jews around him to take heart, since Gaius's words showed him angry at them, but in truth he had already drawn on himself the wrath of God.

2.

261 Gaius was grievously angry that the Jews alone dared to scorn him in this way, so he sent Petronius as governor of Syria and successor to Vitellius with orders to invade Judea with a large army and if they were willing to accept his statue, to erect it in the temple of God, but if they persisted, to crush them in war and then to do it. 262 So Petronius took up the government of Syria and hurried to obey Caesar's rescript. He gathered as many allies as he could and took two legions of the Roman army and came to Ptolemais, where he wintered, intending to set about the war in the spring. He also wrote to Gaius about what he intened to do, and was praised for his zeal and told to go on to war with them, if they would not obey. 263 But many thousands came to Petronius, to Ptolemais, to petition him not to make them transgress and violate their ancestral law. 264 "However," they said, "if you are fully resolved to bring this statue and set it up, you must first kill us and then do what you intend, for while we are alive we cannot let such things be done that are forbidden to us by our revered Lawgiver and our ancestors' virtuous resistence to them." 265 But Petronius was angry with them and said, "If I myself were emperor and were free to follow my own inclination if I wished, this petition of your could be fairly made to me, but it is Caesar who sent me instructions and I have to carry them out, since to disobey them will bring inevitable punishment on me." 266 Then the Jews answered, "Petronius, just as you are not prepared to disobey Gaius's letters, neither will we break the commands of our law, and as we depend on the value of our laws, and have survived up to now, by the efforts of our ancestors, without letting them be broken, we dare not yield and let those laws God gave us for our good be broken, just because of fear of death. 267 If we are fated to die, we will bear it in defence of our ancestral laws, knowing that even amid dangers we have good hope of escaping, since God stands on our side when we suffer the uncertain turns of fortune for his sake. 268 But if we submit to you, we would be branded as cowards in being ready to transgress our law, and would also risk the wrath of God, whose judgment even you know to be above that of Gaius."

3.

269 Petronius saw by their words that their resolve was immovable and that he could not follow Gaius' orders and dedicate his statue without starting a war, and that a great deal of blood would be shed, so he took his friends and servants and hurried to Tiberias, to see the attitude of the Jews there. 270 Knowing they ran a mighty risk of war with the Romans but judging that the breaking of the law was more important, thousands of them met Petronius again, when he came to Tiberias. 271 They implored him not to force them into such dire straits, nor defile their city by dedicating the statue. Petronius asked them, "Do you want to go to war with Caesar then, regardless of his great power and your own weakness?" They answered, "No way do we want war, but we will rather die than see our laws transgressed," and threw themselves face down and stretched out their necks, saying that they were ready to be killed. 272 They kept this up for a period of forty days, in the meanwhile neglecting to farm their land during the very season of the year that required them to sow it. So they continued firmly in their intention and planned to die willingly, rather than see the statue set up.

4.

273 In this state of affairs, Aristobulus, king Agrippa's brother and Helkias the Great with the other leaders of that family and notables, went to Petronius to intercede with him. 274 Seeing the resoluteness of the people, he should not do anything to drive them to madness, but should write to Gaius about their aversion to accepting the statue and how they persisted in neglecting to cultivate their land; how they were unwilling to start a war they could not win, but were gladly ready to die rather than let their laws to be transgressed, and how, if the land remained unsown, brigandage would increase since they would be unable to pay their taxes. 275 Perhaps this might move Gaius to pity, so that he would not have any cruelties inflicted on them, or think of destroying the nation; but if he was inflexible on the matter, he could start the war himself. 276 That is how Aristobulus and his group petitioned Petronius, and Petronius was moved by their ardour and the importance of what they asked for and the arguments they used in asking it. 277 He saw the firm opposition raised by the Jews, and thought it monstrous to be so subject to the madness of Gaius as to kill so many thousands of people just because of their piety towards God and then spend the rest of his life expecting to be punished for it. So he thought he should write to Gaius telling him how reluctant he was to incur his anger for not doing sooner what he was ordered in the letter. 278 He would seek to persuade him against it, for if he continued in the mad plan it would start a war against them, in that case he would turn his hatred on himself, as it was the way of virtue to be willing to die for the sake of so many others. So he decided to go along with the petitioners.

5.

279 But first he convened the Jews to Tiberias, and many thousands of them came. Setting his army across from them, he did not reveal his intentions, only the emperor's commands, whose anger would quickly fall on any who disobeyed his orders, and that it was the duty of one to whom he had entrusted such high office not to contradict him in anything. 280 "Still I do not think it right to value my own safety and honour so highly as to refuse to risk them for your safety, who are so many in number, in trying to preserve the respect due to your ancestral law, which you deem worthy of fighting for, under the power of God, and I will not let his temple be dishonoured by imperial authority. 281 So I will send to Gaius to let him know of your resolve and help your cause as far as I can, that you may not have to suffer for your honest ideals, and may God help you, since his authority is beyond all human planning and power. May he grant you to preserve your ancient laws not he be deprived of his accustomed worship, against your will. 282 But if Gaius is angry and vents his rage on me, I will risk that danger and the consequent penalty to my body or soul, rather than see so many of you die for behaving so admirably. 283 So let each of you go off about your jobs and cultivate your land. I will send to Rome and will not fail to serve you in all things, both personally and through my friends."

6.

284 When Petronius had said this and dismissed the assembled Jews, he asked their leaders to focus on their farming and speak positively to the people, urging them to have good hope in this matter, and this quickly brought the masses to a cheerful spirit, and God gave Petronius confidence of his help in this whole matter. 285 No sooner had he finished the speech to the Jews than great showers of rain began to fall, contrary to all hope, for it was a clear day and the sky gave no sign of any rain. The whole year had been one of great drought that made people despair of any water from above, even at times when they saw the heavens overcast. 286 Now that such an unusual amount of rain did come so unexpectedly, the Jews had hope that Petronius would not fail in his petition for them, and Petronius himself was amazed to see how God very clearly showed his providence towards the Jews, to the extent that even those who thought contrary to them could no longer doubt it. 287 This was also among the things he wrote to Gaius, to persuade him not to drive so many thousands of them to desperation. Also, if he killed them, and they not would let the laws of their religion be set aside without a war, he would lose the taxes they paid him and be cursed by them for all future ages. 288 Moreover, the God who ruled them had clearly shown his power in their favour in a way that left no room for doubt. This was now what Petronius was engaged in.

7.

289 Meanwhile king Agrippa, who was now living in Rome, came more and more into favour with Gaius, and once gave a dinner for him, intending to excel all expectations, both in lavishness and in all details designed to please. 290 It was so exceptional that even Gaius could not equal, much less exceed it, such care had the man taken to surpass all others and have everything to Caesar's taste. 291 Gaius admired his ingenuity and the generosity that drove him to do all to please him, even spending more than he could afford, and wished to equal Agrippa in the generosity he had shown to please him. After plenty of wine at the dinner, and in a merry frame of mind while drinking to him he said, 292 "Agrippa, I already knew your great respect for me and the kindness you have shown me, in spite of the personal risks you took on that account under Tiberius. As you have stopped at nothing to show your goodwill towards us, even beyond your means, it would be a shame me to be outdone by your affection, so I want to make up to you for all my former neglect. 293 All I have given to you up to now is but little, but whatever you want for your happiness shall be at your service, cheerfully in so far as is in my power." This he said expecting him to ask for some large country, or the revenues of some cities. 294 But though he had planned in advance what to ask, he had not made his intentions known, but immediately said to Gaius that it was not from any hope of gain that he had shown him respect from the start, in spite of the written orders of Tiberius, nor were his present actions to please him aimed at getting anything from him. 295 What Caesar had already given him were gifts beyond the hopes of rashness. "For while they may be below your power to give, they are above any wants or claims of mine." 296 When Gaius was impressed by this sentiment and pressed him still more to make a request for something he could grant him, he replied, "Since you, my lord, so readily declare me worthy of your gifts, I will ask nothing for my own benefit, for what you have already given to me has made me greatly content. 297 What I desire is something that will make you splendid for piety and get the Deity to help your plans and do me honour among those who enquire, showing how I never fail to get from you what I desire. My wish is that you no longer think about dedicating the statue which you have ordered to be set up by Petronius in the Jewish temple."

8.

298 He asked this, knowing that if Gaius did not grant it, it could result in no less than his own death, but considering it very important and that the dice must be thrown in this matter. 299 But Gaius was very taken by Agrippa's attentiveness and felt it shameful to renege in front of so many witnesses and change h is mind after so forcing Agrippa to make the petition. 300 Also he greatly admired Agrippa's virtue in not asking for the least increase of his realm, or larger income or more authority, but being concerned for the public good, the laws and the Divinity. So he granted him his request and wrote to Petronius about it, commending him for mustering his army and then consulting him about the matter. 301 "If you have already erected my statue, let it stand, but if you have not yet dedicated it, do not bother any more about it, but dismiss your army and go back to the matters for which I sent you. I no longer need to have the statue erected for I have granted this as a favour to Agrippa, whom I honour so much that I cannot refuse what he needs or asks of me." 302 Gaius wrote this to Petronius, before he heard that the Jews were ready to revolt and that they seemed to threaten no less than actual war against the Romans. 303 He was much displeased that they dared threaten his authority, since he was always subject to base passion and cared nothing for good ideals, and if resolved to show his anger against anyone for any reason, he would heed no warning, but felt real pleasure in indulging his anger. So he wrote to Petronius: 304 "Seeing that you value the gifts given to you by the Jews more highly than my commands, and are so insolent as to disobey my commands, I appoint you as your own judge; consider what you must do, now that you stand under my wrath. I will make you an example to the present and all future ages, not to contradict the commands of their emperor in any way."

9.

305 This was the letter Gaius wrote to Petronius, but he did not receive it while Gaius was alive, since the ship bringing it sailed so slowly that other letters reached Petronius first, telling him that Gaius was dead. 306 For God did not forget the risks Petronius had taken on behalf of the Jews and for his own honour, but removed Gaius, angry at his insolent attempt to usurp divine honour. Both Rome and all the empire, especially those of the senate, conspired with Petronius to take revenge on Gaius, who had been unmercifully severe to them. 307 For he died not long after writing the letter threatening Petronius with death. The cause of his death and the nature of the plot against him, I will tell in due time. 308 The letter informing Petronius of Gaius's death arrived first, and a little later the one ordering him to die by his own hand, so he was glad at how Gaius had met his end. 309 He also wondered greatly at the providence of God, who quickly and immediately rewarded him for his respect for the temple and helping to save the Jews. And so the danger of death to Petronius was easily escaped.

Chapter 9. [310-379]
The disaster of the Jews at Nisibis, in Babylonia

1.

310 A terrible disaster no less than their former woes now befell the Jews living in Mesopotamia and especially those in Babylonia, causing the death of more of them than any recorded before. I will describe this in detail and explain the reasons why they suffered this. 311 There was a thriving city in Babylonia called Neerda, surrounded by a good, broad territory and with the added advantages of being very populous and hard to attack by its enemies, as on all sides it was surrounded by the river Euphrates and protected by its walls. 312 The city of Nisibis was situated on the same branch of the river, and so the Jews, trusting in the nature of these places, deposited in them that half shekel which by our national custom each individual offers to God, along with other things devoted to him, using these cities as a bank-vault. 313 From there, they were transferred to Jerusalem at the proper time, and large groups of people were involved in bringing the donations, for fear of the raids of the Parthians, to whom the Babylonians were then subject. 314 There were two men from Neerda, Asineus and Anileus, brothers whose father was dead and whose mother sent them to learn the art of weaving curtains, as it was no disgrace in that area for men to do that sort of work. The overseer from whom they were learning complained when they came late to their work and punished them with a beating. 315 This deserved punishment they took as an insult and so they stole the many weapons he kept in the house, and went to an area called "between the rivers" which was very suited for feeding livestock and for preserving fodder and grain in storage for the winter. The most deprived kind of young men gathered round them, whom they armed with the weapons they had taken; then they became their officers, with nothing to stop them leading them into mischief. 316 When they had become invincible and had built a fortress, they sent to the herders of livestock, demanding that they pay a tax to support them, offering to be their friends if they submitted to them and to defend them from all enemies on every side, whereas they would kill the livestock of any who refused to obey them. 317 They agreed, as there was nothing else they could do, and sent them as many sheep as were demanded, so that their forces grew and they became masters to do as they pleased, for they were quick to march out and do harm. All who had to do with them chose to respect them and they were feared by any came to attack them, until news about them came to the ears of the king of Parthia himself.

2.

318 When the satrap of Babylonia understood this he wanted to put a stop to them before they grew too strong and caused even greater evils, so he gathered as large an army of Parthians and Babylonians as possible, and set out, hoping to attack and destroy them before it was known that he had mustered the army. 319 He encamped at the marsh and rested there, but on the next day, a sabbath, which among Jews is a day of rest from work of all sorts, he thought the enemy would not dare to fight him, but that he could take them prisoner without a fight. So he moved forward in stages, planning to attack them by surprise. 320 Now Asineus was sitting with the others, all armed and ready, when he said, "Men, I hear the sound of horses, not like those that are feeding, but those with men on their backs. From the sound of bridles I fear that some enemies have secretly surrounded us. Let someone go and look round and report how things stand, and may my words turn out to be a false alarm." 321 When he had said this, some of them went out to check out what was the matter, and they came back immediately and said, "You were not mistaken about what our enemies were doing, and those enemies were not about to let us insult them any longer. 322 We are caught like wild animals in a trap and there is a large force of cavalry coming upon us, and we cannot even use our weapons since our ancestral laws say that we must rest." 323 Asineus did not at all agree with this opinion of his lookout about what must be done, for in this crisis he thought it more legitimate to raise their spirits and break the law and defend themselves, even if they died in the action than play into their enemies' hands by doing nothing and letting themselves be killed; so he seized his weapons and inspired his companions to follow his good example. 324 Then they fell on their enemies and killed many of those who had scorned them as if certain of victory, and routed the rest.

3.

325 When the king of Parthia got news of this battle he was impressed by the audacity of these brothers and wished to see them and speak with them. So he sent the most trusted of all his guards to tell them: 326 "King Artabanus, though wronged by your challenge to his rule, is more interested in your bravery than in being angry at you. He has sent me to offer you a guarantee of safety, to let you come to him safe and unharmed on the journey, as he wants to have you approach him as friends, meaning you no guile or deceit; indeed, he promises you gifts and honour, if you put your bravery at his service." 327 Asineus postponed going there but sent his brother Anileus to him with whatever gifts he could muster. He arrived and was admitted to the king's presence, and when Artabanus saw Anileus coming alone, he asked why Asineus had stayed behind. 328 When he learned that he was afraid and stayed in the marsh, he swore by the gods of his country that he would do them no harm if they came to him under his solemn pledge. Then he gave him his right hand, which is of the utmost significance with all these barbarians and is the best security to those who come to talk with them. 329 None of them will deceive you once they have given you his right hand, nor need one have further doubts about safety once it is given, even if previously one suspected their intentions. When Artabanus had done this, he sent Anileus off to persuade his brother to come to him. 330 The king did this in order to avail of the courage of these Jewish brothers to curb his own satraps, who were ready for a revolt and were disposed to rebel from him and enter an alliance with them. 331 He feared that once he went to war to subdue those rebellious satraps, the party of Asineus would grow in strength and might try to take power in Babylonia, or even if they did not succeed, they would not fail to do him further harm.

4.

332 With these intentions, he sent off Anileus and he persuaded his brother by reporting about the king's goodwill and the oath he had given; so they hurried to Artabanus. 333 He received them with pleasure, full of admiration for Asineus's active courage seeing how small in stature he was, a man who at first sight seemed of no significance at all. He said to his friends, that in contrast he showed that his soul was in all respects superior to his body, and when, as they were drinking together, he once pointed out Asineus to Abdagases, one of the generals of his army and told him his name and described his great courage in war, 334 Abdagases had asked leave to kill him and thereby punish him for the harm he had done to Parthian rule, the king answered, "I will never let you kill a man who has trusted in my word, especially since I shaken his hand and won his trust by oaths made by the gods. 335 But if you are truly a warrior, you have no need to perjure me. Go and avenge the Parthian rule; attack this man on his return home without letting me know, and defeat him with the forces under your command." 336 So the king called for Asineus and said to him, "Young man, it is time for you to return home and no longer provoke the anger of my generals here, in case they try to murder you without my approval. 337 I entrust to you the district of Babylonia, to keep it free from brigands and other evils. I have kept my pledge to you in no small matters about your safety, so now I deserve that you be loyal to me." 338 When he had said this and given Asineus gifts, he immediately sent him away. And when he arrived home, he built fortresses and soon became strong and managed things with more courage and success than anyone of such lowly origins ever before. 339 The Parthian officers who were sent to him paid him great respect, and the honour paid him by the Babylonians seemed to them even less than he deserved. So he held dignity and power there and ruled the affairs of Mesopotamia and flourished like this for fifteen years.

5.

340 But as their affairs were flourishing, things began to go wrong for them, for some reason like this. Though their courage had raised them to great power, they turned aside to arrogance and transgressed their ancestral laws, to follow their lusts and pleasures, once a certain Parthian general arrived in those parts. 341 He had a wife of various fine qualities but who was particularly admired above all other women for her beauty. 342 Anileus, the brother of Asineus, either heard of her beauty from others, or perhaps saw her himself and so became both her lover and her enemy; because he could not hope to enjoy this woman except by taking her prisoner and because he felt he could not conquer his lust for her. 343 So as soon as her husband had been declared their enemy and had fallen in battle, he married his beloved, the widow of the deceased. But the woman did not come into their house without bringing great misfortunes, both on Anileus himself and on Asineus too, but the main evil she caused was as follows. 344 When she was taken prisoner at the death of her husband she concealed the images of the local gods, worshipped by her husband and to herself, for it was the custom of that country for all to keep in their houses the idols they worshipped and to take them with them when going into a foreign land, and following this custom, she brought her idols with her. At first she worshipped them in secret, but once she had become his wife, she worshipped them in the customary manner, with the same ceremonies as in her former husband's days. 345 His best friends blamed him at first, for not acting as a Hebrew should according to their laws. He had married a foreign wife who transgressed their strict ways about sacrifices and worship, so he should consider whether indulging in the pleasures of the body for the sake of his wife's beauty might lose him his office and the high authority he had reached by the blessing of God. 346 Not only did they fail to persuade him, but he killed one of them for whom he had the greatest respect, for taking such liberty with him. But fixing his gaze upon the laws, this man called a curse on his murderer Anileus and on Asineus too, that their enemies might bring all of their company to a similar end, 347 the first two as the principal agents of this crime and the rest for not helping him when he suffered in defense of their laws. The latter felt grief, but tolerated the situtation, recalling that their present happy state was due to nothing other than their fortitude. 348 But when they heard also about the worship of the gods whom the Parthians adore, they thought the contempt Anileus had shown to their laws could be endured no longer, and a large number of them came to Asineus and loudly complained of Anileus. 349 They said it would be better if he himself had taken care of their good, but that now it was time to change things, before the crime proved the ruin of himself and all the rest of them. They added that he had married this woman without their consent and in disregard to their ancient laws, and that her religious practice was an insult to the God they worshipped. 350 He already knew that his brother's offense had caused great evils and would do so in the future, but tolerated it out of goodwill towards so close a relative and forgave it because his brother was quite mastered by his wicked inclinations. 351 But as every day more people lobbied him and complained ever more loudly, he finally spoke to Anileus about it, reproving him for his former actions and wanting him to give them up in future and send the woman back to her relatives. 352 But his words were of no avail, since when the woman saw what a fuss they were making on her account and feared that Anileus would suffer some harm because of his love for her, she got rid of Asineus by putting poison into his food, and was now sure of victory, with her lover to be the judge of what should be done about her.

6.

353 So Anileus took over the sole command and led his army against the villages of Mithridates, the highest authority in Parthia, who had married king Artabanus's daughter. He plundered them and among the booty took a lot of money and many slaves and sheep and other things that bring prosperity to their owners. 354 Mithridates, who was there at the time, seeing his villages taken, was enraged that Anileus had take this initiative, which wronged and insulted him despite his high dignity though he had done him no harm; so he gathered as many cavalry as he could from those old enough for war and came to fight the forces of Anileus. Reaching one of his villages, he stayed there quietly, intending to fight him on the following day, as it was the sabbath, the day on which the Jews rest. 355 Anileus was told of this by a Syrian stranger from another village, who not only described the area to him an exactly, but told him where Mithridates would be feasting, for he dined at a regular hour and marched by night, intending to fall on the Parthians unawares. 356 So about the fourth watch of the night he attacked them, and some of them he killed in their sleep and others he put to flight and took Mithridates alive and set him naked upon an ass which, among the Parthians, is regarded as the greatest possible insult. 357 When he had brought Mithridates into a wood in this ridiculous state, and his friends wanted him to kill him, he told them he was against it, for it was not right to kill a man who was of one of the principal families among the Parthians and greatly honoured through his marriage into the royal family. 358 What they had done so far was tolerable, for although they had insulted Mithridates, if they now spared his life this good deed would be remembered by him to their advantage, 359 but if were put to death, the king would not rest until he had killed many of the Jews who lived in Babylon; "whose safety we must consider because of our relationship with them and if any misfortune happens to us, we have nowhere else to go, since he has the flower of their youth in his service." 360 By saying this to the group he persuaded them and Mithridates was released. When he got home his wife rebuked him, that although he was son-in-law to the king, he failed to take revenge on those who had insulted him. 361 Was he contented to have been made a captive by the Jews and to have escaped them, and do nothing about it? She said he either should go back like a man of courage, or else she swore by the gods of their royal family that she would dissolve her marriage with him. 362 So, partly because he could not bear the daily annoyance of her taunts and partly because he was afraid that in her insolence she really would dissolve their marriage, unwillingly and against his own judgment he again gathered as large an army as he could and marched with them, thinking it dishonourable for him, a Parthian, to owe his safety to the Jews, when they had been victorious over him in the war.

7.

363 When Anileus learned that Mithridates was coming up with a large army, he felt ashamed to stay in the marsh and not to take the first chance of meeting the enemy, hoping for success and victory just as they had before, so he boldly led out his force against them. 364 Many more joined themselves to his local force, hoping to plunder the people and terrify the enemy again by their numbers. 365 But after marching ninety furlongs, travelling through a waterless place in the heat of the day, they had become very thirsty, and Mithridates appeared and attacked them just when they were distressed for lack of water, and for this reason and due to the time of the day, were unable to bring their weapons to bear. 366 So Anileus' side was routed, as his exhausted forces had to attack others who were refreshed, so there was a great slaughter and many thousands fell. Now Anileus and those closest to him, ran away as fast as they could into a wood, giving Mithridates the pleasure of having gained a great victory over them. 367 But once again Anileus was joined by a throng of bad men, who put little value on their own lives if only they could gain some momentary satisfaction, and their numbers made up for those who died in the fight. 368 Though these men were not like those who had fallen, for they were raw and unused to war, with them he attacked the villages of the Babylonians and the whole region was devastated by the savagery of Anileus. 369 So the Babylonians and those who had been in the war sent to the Jews in Neerda demanding the surrender of Anileus. But though they did not agree to their demands, and even if they had been willing to hand him over, they were unable to do so, they said they wished to make peace with them. So they sent men along with the Babylonians, to negotiate a peace with Anileus. 370 But the Babylonians, on getting sight of where Anileus and his men were camped, fell secretly upon them as they were drunk and asleep and without any danger killed all of them they caught, including Anileus himself.

8.

371 The Babylonians were now freed from the burden of Anileus, which had been a great restraint upon their hatred for the Jews. They were almost always at variance with them, because of the oddity of their laws, and whichever party grew bolder attacked the other. Now, after the ruin of Anileus's party, the Babylonians attacked the Jews. 372 which made those Jews so resentful of what the Babylonians did to them, that being neither able to fight them, nor able to coexist with them, they went to Seleucia, the principal city of those parts, which was built by Seleucus Nicator. It was inhabited by many Macedonians, but by even more Greeks, along with quite a few Syrians. 373 There the Jews fled and lived peacefully for five years, but on the sixth year, a plague came on the people in Babylon, which caused a new exodus from that city, and because they came to Seleucia, a further disaster happened to them on that account which I shall now relate.

9.

374 The life of the Seleucians is marked by strife and discord between the Greeks and Syrians, in which the Greeks have the upper hand. When the Jews arrived there and lived among them, a revolt arose and with the help of the Jews, who despise dangers and very ready to fight, the Syrians defeated the others. 375 When the Greeks had the worst in this rebellion and saw that their best way to recover their former authority was if they could prevent the agreement between the Jews and the Syrians, they each spoke with any Syrians they had known before, promising to be at peace and friendship with them. 376 They gladly agreed to this, and when the leaders of both nations had done so, they soon were reconciled, agreeing that the great sign of their union would be their common hatred to the Jews. So they attacked and killed about fifty thousand of them, and the Jews were destroyed, except for a few who were allowed to escape by the pity of their friends or neighbours. 377 These retreated to Ctesiphon, a Greek city and situated near to Seleucia, where the king lives in winter every year and where most of his riches are kept, but the Jews had here no firm settlement, since those in Seleucia had little concern for the king's honour. 378 The whole Jewish nation was in fear both of the Babylonians and of the Seleucians, because all the Syrians who lived there sided with the Seleucians in a war against the Jews. 379 So most of them gathered and went off to Neerda and Nisibis and felt secure there on account of the strength of those cities, whose numerous inhabitants were all warlike men. This was the state of the Jews at this time in Babylonia.