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THE JEWISH WAR
War, Volume 1
War, Volume 2
War, Volume 3
War, Volume 4
War, Volume 5
War, Volume 6
War, Volume 7

ANTIQUITIES
Ant. Jud., Bk 1
Ant. Jud., Bk 2
Ant. Jud., Bk 3
Ant. Jud., Bk 4
Ant. Jud., Bk 5
Ant. Jud., Bk 6
Ant. Jud., Bk 7
Ant. Jud., Bk 8
Ant. Jud., Bk 9
Ant. Jud., Bk 10
Ant. Jud., Bk 11
Ant. Jud., Bk 12
Ant. Jud., Bk 13
Ant. Jud., Bk 14
Ant. Jud., Bk 15
Ant. Jud., Bk 16
Ant. Jud., Bk 17
Ant. Jud., Bk 18
Ant. Jud., Bk 19
Ant. Jud., Bk 20
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Vs Apion, Bk 2
Life/Autobiog.


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War of the Jews, Book 1.

From Antiochus Epiphanes
to the death of Herod the Great

(For Greek with English translation, click here)

Preface: Why this dreadful war must be recorded

1. After Antiochus Epiphanes, Jews liberated by the Maccabees

2. Judas Maccabeus followed by Jonathan, Simon and John Hyrcanus

3. Aristobulus kills his brother Antigonus; dies of Remorse

4. 27-year reign of Alexander Janneus

5. Pharisees dominant, in Alexandra's 9-year reign

6. Aristobulus as king, then Hyrcanus. Pompey to Judea as Arbitrator

7. Pompey enters Jerusalem & the Holy of Holies. His other offences in Judea

8. Alexander tries to annul what Pompey did. Gabinius and Crassus quell revolt

9. Murders of Aristobulus and Alexander. Antipater wins Caesar's friendship

10. As Judean procurator, Antipater crowns his sons Phasael and Herod Antipas

11. Cassius makes Herod ruler of Syria. Antipater's murder is avenged by Herod

12. Mark Antony makes Phasael and Herod tetrarchs, despite local opposition

13. Parthians restore Antigonus' rule. Hyrcanus is mutilated and Herod put to flight

14. Herod appeals to Mark Antony and Caesar. Roman Senate makes him king of Judea

15. War of Herod vs Antigonus; Herod relieves Masada and besieges Jerusalem

16. Herod rids Galilee of brigands; goes to Antony for further support

17. Herod's Good Fortune in War. His marriage to Mariamne

18. Herod captures Jerusalem; Antigonus dies. Herod appeases Cleopatra

19. Since Cleopatra has Herod fighting the Arabs, he avoids battle of Actium

20. Caesar Augustus confirms Herod as king; restores what Cleopatra had taken away

21. Herod the builder: Temple and Fortress. Herod's Generosity and Virtues

22. Herod's domestic troubles & murder. Mariamne is accused and condemned

23. Mariamne's sons are suspected. Caesar reconciles them with Herod, for a time

24. Rancour between Herod's sons. Antipater sees the others accused of treason

25. Herod's son Archelaus reconciles him with Alexander and Pheroras

26. The Spartan Eurycles accuses Mariamne's sons. Euaratus of Cos defends them

27. Mariamne's sons are condemned. Herod executes Aristobulus and Alexander

28. Antipater is hated by all, for meddling. Herod's complex domestic arrangements

29. Antipater sent to Rome with Herod's testament. Pheroras defends his accused wife

30. Herod's suspicions grow; he tortures many and disinherits Herod Junior

31. Antipater returns to Judea from Rome, unaware of accusations against him

32. Antipater's trial for plotting vs Herod. His defence, and Herod's Testament

33. Herod's final barbarities; executes Antipater; plans a massacre at his death


Preface [001-030]
Why it is important to record this dreadful war: historical balance

1.

001 Since the war of the Jews against the Romans was the greatest fought between cities or nations, not just of our own times, but arguably of all times, and since some who were not present at it have recorded baseless, contradictory stories about it in a pseudo scholarly style, 002 and some who were involved in it have given false accounts of things, either in flattery towards the Romans or from hatred of the Jews, and since their writings, whether blaming or praising, by no means contain the accurate history, 003 I, Joseph, son of Matthias, born a priest of Jerusalem parents, having at first fought against the Romans and later having to witness its sequel, propose to provide for the subjects of the Roman empire a version in Greek of the account I composed earlier in my native language and sent to the Barbarians of the interior.

2.

004 This great upheaval occurred when domestic situation of the Romans was in great confusion and the Jews who favoured rebellion were at the peak of their strength and riches, and seized their chance when things were in flux, as the East was unstable and some were hoping to profit from its break-up and others fearing to lose by it. 005 The Jews hoped that all of their nation beyond the Euphrates would rise up with them while the Romans were occupied with the neighbouring Gauls, the Celts were not at peace, and all was in turmoil after Nero's death, for the chance to win the kingship appealed to many, and the military wanted change, in hope of gain. 006 I thought it wrong to look on and let the truth be falsified in matters of such importance, leaving the Greeks and Romans who were not in the military unaware of these things, for all they had to read were flatteries or fictions while, through me, the Parthians, the Babylonians and the remotest Arabs, our own nation beyond the Euphrates and the Adiabeni had accurate knowledge of why the war began, the disasters it brought upon us and how it ended.

3.

007 While these other writers venture to call their accounts histories, to me they seem to miss the mark entirely in wanting to prove the power of the Romans while trivialising and undervaluing the actions of the Jews. 008 I do not see how one can extol the exploits of a group that defeats a people that seems small. They ignore the length of the war, the number of the Roman forces who suffered so much in it, or the merit of the commanders, whose mighty efforts about Jerusalem will seem less glorious, if what they achieved be deemed such a small matter.

4 .

009 But even if oppposed to those who laud their Roman fellow-countrymen too highly, I will accurately follow the actions of both parties and will adapt my language to the passion I feel about the matters described, for I must be allowed some grieving for the troubles of my own country. 010 That it was our rebellious spirit brought about our ruin and that it was the tyrants among the Jews who made the Roman power attack us, unwillingly, and caused our holy temple to be burned, Titus Caesar, who destroyed it, can testify. All through the war he pitied the people who were kept under by the rebels, and often of his own accord delayed taking the city and let the siege go on, in order to give it time to repent. 011 Should anyone blame us for speaking so hotly about the tyrants and the brigands, or bitterly lamenting the troubles of our country, let him allow me this emotion, despite the norms of history writing, for of all cities under the rule of Rome, ours enjoyed the highest prosperity, yet fell to the depths of disaster. 012 From the beginning of the world probably no other people has endured as much as the Jews. Nor was it foreigners who were at fault, which makes it so hard to contain my grief. But if anyone censures me for this, let him assign the facts as belonging to the historical part and the laments merely to the writer himself.

5.

013 And I too have a just complaint against the learned among the Greeks. While in their own times more important events have happened than the ancient wars, they offer no judgment about them and yet sit in judgment on those who have sought to describe them, actually doing so, even if in a style less eloquent than theirs. They instead write about Assyrians and Medes, as if previous writers had not done so with better skill and in judgment. 014 In those days people did write about their own times. Their involvement in the actions gave value to their assertions and they would have been ashamed to write lies, since their readers necessarily knew the facts. 015 Handing on the memory of what was not hitherto recorded and the events of one's own time to those who come later, is what really merits praise and acknowledgment. The serious writer is not one who remodels the shape and order of others' works, but tells what has not been told before, and personally shapes the framework for his history. 016 So, after much effort, though a foreigner, I dedicate this work to Greeks and Romans, as a memorial of great actions. Some of the natives, by contrast, have wide mouths and wagging tongues when it comes to profit and law-suits, but are quite muzzled about history, where what counts are truth and the careful gathering of facts. They leave it to weaker, less-informed people to describe the actions of their commanders. Let us honour the truth about history, even it be neglected by the Greeks.

6.

017 To write about the Antiquities of the Jews, who they are and how they migrated to Egypt, the land they traversed and the territories they later occupied and how they were deported from them, would, I think, be inopportune and superfluous here, for many Jews before me have accurately written about our ancestors, and some Greeks have also done so, translating them into their own tongue without serious error. 018 I shall begin my work at the point where these writers and our prophets come to an end. In it I will describe as extensively as I can the war which happened in my own lifetime and will limit myself to a brief summary of what preceded my own time.

7.

019 [I shall tell] how Antiochus, called Epiphanes, took Jerusalem by force and, after holding it for three years and six months was expelled from the country by the sons of Hasmoneus; next, how their descendants quarreled about power and drew the Romans and Pompey into the scene; also how Herod, son of Antipater, with help from Sosius, put an end to their dynasty; 020 then how the people rebelled after Herod's death, when Augustus was emperor of the Romans and Quintilius Varus ruled the province, and how the war broke out in the twelfth year of Nero, and what happened to Cestius, and how the Jews occupied the country during the opening actions of the war.

8.

021 [I shall tell] how they fortified the neighbouring towns; how Nero, apprehensive about the whole matter after Cestius's defeat, soon put Vespasian in command of the war; how this Vespasian with his elder son invaded the Judean territory; about the strength of the Roman army and allies that he brought into Galilee, and how he took some of its cities by sheer force and others by negotiation. 022 On the way I shall describe the good military order of the Romans and the discipline of their legions; the extent and nature of the two Galilees, and the limits of Judea; the characteristics of the country, with its lakes and springs, and an account of the sufferings of the prisoners in each town as they were taken, as I myself saw and endured it. For I shall conceal nothing of my own woes, since my readers will know about them.

9.

023 [I shall tell] how, when things were going badly for the Jews, Nero died and Vespasian, as he was about to attack Jerusalem, was recalled to become emperor; the portents he received about this, and the changes then happening in Rome; 024 how, though unwilling, he was made emperor by his soldiers; how, as he left for Egypt restore the empire to order, civil war broke out among the Jews, and how tyrants rose to power and then began feuding among themselves.

10.

025 Then [I shall tell] how Titus invaded the land a second time, from Egypt, and how and where he gathered his forces, the state the city was in at his coming, after the civil war, the attacks he made and the earthworks he built, and about the triple wall around the city and its measurements. The strength of the city, the structure of the temple and sanctuary, 026 and the dimensions of these buildings and the altar will all be exactly stated. I will tell of various festivals, the seven levels of purity, and the sacred functions of the priests, their vestments and those of the high priests, and the Holy of Holies, neither omitting nor adding anything beyond the established truth.

11.

027 I shall tell of the tyrants' savagery towards their fellow-citizens, and the clemency of the Romans towards foreigners, and how often Titus, in his desire to spare the city and the temple, invited the rebels to come to terms with him. I shall also distinguish between the people's sufferings and disasters, which ended in their defeat, and which resulted respectively from the war, the civil war and the famine. 028 I will not omit the woes of the deserters and the punishments inflicted on the prisoners, and how, against Caesar's wishes, the temple was burned, and how many of the temple treasures were snatched from the fire. [I will tell of]
the destruction of the entire city, with the signs and wonders preceding it, and the capture of the tyrants, and the numbers of the enslaved, and the fates to which they were sent. 029 Also, what the Romans did to the remnants of the wall, and how they demolished the strongholds in the country, and how Titus went over the whole land and settled its affairs, and his return into Italy and his triumph.

12.

030 I have covered all of this in seven books, giving no cause for complaint or blame by people who know about this war, but I have written it down for the sake of those who love truth, not for those who merely read for pleasure. So now I begin my account of the things which I listed at the top of this chapter.

Chapter 01. [031-047]
The Jews, persecuted by Antiochus Epiphanes, are liberated by the Maccabees

1.

031 At the time when Antiochus, called Epiphanes, clashed with the sixth Ptolemy about the government of all Syria, among the Judean nobility there was a power-struggle, with none of these dignitaries willing to be subject to their equals, until Onias, one of the high priests, got the upper hand and expelled the sons of Tobias from the city. 032 These fled to Antiochus and implored him to use them as his guides for an invasion into Judea. Already disposed to do so, the king agreed and attacked the Jews with a large army and took their city by force, killing many who sided with Ptolemy and sending his soldiers to loot them without mercy. He also ransacked the temple and for three years and six months interrupted the regular course of daily sacrifice. 033 Onias the high priest fled to Ptolemy and received a place from him in the Nomos of Heliopolis, where he built a city like Jerusalem and a similar temple, about which we shall later have more to say, in its proper place.

2.

034 Antiochus, not content with his unexpected capture and looting of the city and the many deaths he had caused, moved by his violent passions and the memory of what he had suffered during the siege, forced the Jews to violate their ancestral laws and to keep their infants uncircumcised and to sacrifice swine's flesh upon the altar. 035 All resisted this, and the noblest among them were put to death. Bacchides who was sent as head of the garrison, with wicked commands along with his natural savagery, indulged in all extremes of evil and tortured their worthiest people one by one, humilating them every day with the signs of their city's captivity, until his flagrant misdeeds finally drove the victims to risk revenge.

3.

036 In a village called Modin, Matthias, a priestly descendant of Hasmoneus, with his family of five sons took up arms, and killed Bacchides with daggers, then quickly fled to the mountains for fear of the large garrison. 037 So many joined him that he was persuaded to come down and fight against Antiochus's generals, defeating them and driving them from Judea. His success made him prominent, and for expelling the foreigners his own people gave him the leadership, which at his death he left to his eldest son, Judas.

4.

038 Realising that Antiochus would not remain inactive, Judas gathered an army of his countrymen and was the first to make a treaty of friendship with the Romans, and drove Epiphanes from the country, and defeated him badly when he invaded it a second time. 039 Warmed by this great success, he attacked the garrison in the city, for so far it had not been ousted. He expelled them from the upper city and drove the soldiers into the lower part of the city, called the Fortress. Being then in control of the temple he cleansed the whole place, walled it around and made new vessels for sacred ministrations and brought them into the temple, to replace the former that had been profaned, and built another altar and began the holy sacrifices. 040 As the city was resuming its sacred constitution, Antiochus died, his son Antiochus succeeding him in the kingship and also in his hatred towards the Jews.

5.

041 Assembling fifty thousand infantry and five thousand cavalry and eighty elephants he marched through Judea into the hill country. He then took Bethsuron, a small city, but Judas met him with his army at a place called Bethzacharia, where the passage was narrow. 042 Before the forces began the battle, Judas's brother Eleazar, seeing the very tallest of the elephants adorned with a large tower and with gilded trappings to protect him and thinking that Antiochus himself was riding in it, he ran a long way ahead of his own army and cutting his way through the enemy's troops, he got as far as the elephant. 043 Unable to reach the one he thought of as the king, since he was so high up, he ran his weapon into the belly of the beast and brought him down upon himself and was crushed to death, achieving no more than a brave attempt and showing that he valued life less than renown. 044 But the one driving the elephant was just a commoner, and even had it been Antiochus, this daring deed would have proved no more than a willingness to die, in the hope of thereby doing something glorious. 045 This failure gave his brother an omen of how the entire battle would end. While the Jews fought it out bravely for a long time, the king's forces, superior in number and with fortune on their side, won the victory. When many of his men were killed, Judas fled with the rest to the district of Gophna. 046 Antiochus went to Jerusalem but lacking provisions he stayed there only a few days and then went off, leaving behind what he thought a sufficient garrison, and took the rest of his army to winter quarters in Syria.

6.

047 After the king's retreat, Judas was not idle. Since many of the nation joined him, he re-grouped the survivors of the battle and again fought Antiochus's generals at a village called Adasa, and overcoming his enemies in the battle he killed many, but finally was also killed himself. A few days later his brother John also died, due to a plot against him by Antiochus's party.

Chapter 02. [048-069]
The successors of Judas Maccabeus: Jonathan, Simon and John Hyrcanus

1.

048 When Jonathan, Judas's brother, succeeded him, he carefully guarded himself against his countrymen and strengthened his authority by a treaty with the Romans. He also made a treaty with the younger Antiochus. 049 Yet all this was not sufficient for his security, for the tyrant Trypho, who was guardian to Antiochus's son, schemed against him, seeking to win away his friends. He caught Jonathan in a trap, as he was going with a few others to Ptolemais to visit Antiochus. He put him in chains and then made war on the Jews, but when repulsed by Jonathan's brother Simon, in his rage at his defeat he put Jonathan to death.

2.

050 Simon administered things things very well and took the neighbouring cities of Gazara and Joppa and Jamnia, and defeating the garrison he demolished the fortress. Later he allied with Antiochus against Trypho, whom the king besieged in Dora before going on his expedition against the Medes. 051 But even after helping him to kill Trypho, he could not shame the king out of his covetous desire, for before long Antiochus sent his general Cendebaeus with an army to ravage Judea and bring Simon to heel. 052 The latter, though he was getting old, fought the war like a young man and sent his sons with his most vigorous men against Antiochus, while he himself attacked him on another front with part of the army. 053 He set many ambushes in various places in the mountains and all his attacks succeeded, and won a glorious victory; so he was made high priest and set the Jews free from the Macedonian dominance that had lasted a hundred and seventy years.

3.

054 He too was killed, betrayed at a feast by his son-in-law Ptolemy, who imprisoned his wife and two sons, and sent people to kill John, surnamed Hyrcanus. 055 But as the young man was forewarned of their coming, he hurried to the city, having great confidence in the people there and their memory of his father's glorious deeds and their hatred of Ptolemy's crimes. Ptolemy also tried to rush into the city by another gate, but was repelled by the people, who had already made Hyrcanus very welcome. 056 He then retreated to one of the fortresses near Jericho, called Dagon. When Hyrcanus had received the high priesthood held by his father before him and had offered sacrifice to God, he hurried out after Ptolemy, to bring help to his mother and brothers.

4.

057 He laid siege to the fortress and had the advantage over Ptolemy in other ways, but was defeated by his finer feelings. For when under pressure, Ptolemy brought out his mother and brothers and set them upon the wall in the sight of all, and tortured them and threatened to throw them down headlong unless he left instantly. 058 At this sight Hyrcanus's anger yielded to his pity and concern. But his mother, undaunted either by the torture or the death threat, with outstretched hands implored her son not to be moved by her pains to spare the wretch, for she would prefer death from Ptolemy to immortality, so long as he was punished for his crime against their family. 059 Heartened by his mother's courage John heeded her plea and set out to attack, but when he saw her flogged and torn to pieces with the stripes, he weakened and was overcome by his feelings. 060 As the siege then dragged on the year of rest was beginning, whereby every seventh year the Jews rest just as they do each seventh day, and so Ptolemy, being relieved of the siege, killed the brothers of John with their mother, and fled to Zeno, surnamed Cotylas, who was tyrant of Philadelphia.

5.

061 Angry at what he had endured from Simon, Antiochus led an army into Judea and camped near Jerusalem to besiege Hyrcanus, who in turn opened the burial vault of David, the richest of all the kings, and took out about three thousand talents in money and paid Antiochus a bribe of three hundred talents to lift the siege, using the remainder to hire foreign allies, being the first of the Jews to do so.

6.

062 Later he had a chance to take revenge on Antiochus when he had gone to war against the Medes, and immediately attacked the cities of Syria, rightly expecting to find them short of warriors. 063 So he took Medaba and Samaga and the nearby towns, and Sikima and Garizim, and also the Cuthean nation, who lived near the temple which was built in imitation of that in Jerusalem. He also took several other cities of Idumaea, including Adoreon and Marissa.

7.

064 He proceeded as far as Samaria, where now stands the city of Sebaste, built by king Herod, and surrounded it with a wall and put his sons, Aristobulus and Antigonus, in charge of the siege. They pressed it so hard that famine gripped the city and the people had to eat things never before regarded as food. 065 They also called on the help of Antiochus, surnamed Cyzicenus, and he quickly answered their call, but was defeated by Aristobulus and Antigonus, and fled from the brothers as far as Scythopolis. So they returned to Samaria and again blockaded the people within the city walls, and captured and demolished it and enslaved its inhabitants. 066 As their campaign was so successful, they did not let up, but marched with an army to Scythopolis and attacked it and ravaged all the countryside around Mount Carmel.

8.

067 Then the success of John and his sons provoked envy and a revolt among their countrymen, for many had gathered and would not rest until they fanned the flames into and open war, in which they were defeated. 068 So John lived the rest of his life quite happily and administered the leadership very well for a total of thirty-three years and died, leaving five sons behind him. He was certainly a very fortunate man who had no reason to complain of his fate. He alone held three of the most desirable things in the world: to rule his nation, hold the high priesthood and have the gift of prophecy. 069 For the daemon conversed with him in such a way that he was not unaware of future events, but foresaw and foretold that his two eldest sons would not continue as leaders. Their downfall must be described, and how poorly they fared compared with their father.

>Chapter 03. [070-084]
Aristobulus, son of Hyrcanus, becomes king. Kills his brother Antigonus; dies of Remorse

1.

070 After their father's death, the eldest of them, Aristobulus, changed the leadership into a monarchy and was the first to put a diadem upon his head, four hundred seventy one years and three months after the return of our people to this country, when released from slavery in Babylon. 071 Of his brothers, he granted to his next-born, Antigonus, equal status with himself, and had the rest imprisoned. For disputing the sovereignty with him, he chained up his own mother, whom John had left in charge of everything, and cruelly left her to starve to death in prison.

2.

072 But vengeance caught up with him for his brother Antigonus, whom he loved and with whom he shared his rule, for he killed him too, because of the lies spread against him by evil people around the palace. At first Aristobulus would not believe their reports, partly for love of his brother and partly from the idea that most of these tales came from the envy of their tellers. 073 Once however, Aristobulus lay sick as Antigonus came in triumph from a campaign to the festival where we customarily make tents for God. Towards the end of the feast, Antigonus, surrounded by his bodyguard and adorned in the finery, went up to the temple to pray on behalf of his brother. 074 Those mischief makers went to report to the king how pompous the bodyguard had seemed and how proudly Antigonus presented himself, far too grandly for a private citizen, and that with his large band of men he had really come to kill him, not content merely to enjoy royal honours when it was in his power to seize the throne itself.

3.

075 Gradually and unwillingly Aristobulus came to believe it, and guarded against the risk while being careful not to publicly reveal his suspicion. He had his bodyguards in a dark underground chamber beneath the place where for he lay sick, which was formerly called Baris though later renamed to Antonia, with orders to leave Antigonus alone if he came unarmed, but to kill him if he came fully armed; and he sent some ahead to tell him to come unarmed. 076 But the queen worked with the conspirators, persuading the messengers to say nothing about the king's instructions. Instead, they should tell Antigonus how his brother had heard of the fine suit of armour he had got made for himself in Galilee, with its ornaments of war, and since his present sickness prevented him from coming to admire it and he was due to depart soon, he wished to see him now in his armour.

4.

077 When he heard this, and suspecting no harm on account of his brother's good will, Antigonus came along in his armour to show it off. As he was going through the dark passage called Strato's Tower he was killed by the bodyguards, in a memorable instance of how all good will and affection can be destroyed by calumny and how even our good disposition cannot hold out forever against envy.

5.

078 A surprising feature of this case was the the conduct of Judas who belonged to the sect of the Essenes and had never before proven wrong or false in his predictions. This man saw Antigonus as he was passing along by the temple and called out loud, for many of his disciples were sitting around him, 079 "Oh that I might die now, since truth has died before me. What I foretold has proved false, since this Antigonus is still alive, a man who was due to die this day, and the place predicted for the murder was Strato's Tower, six hundred furlongs away from here. But already four hours of this day have passed, so time rules out the prediction. " 080 Saying this, the old man paused, in a gloomy frame of mind. But shortly afterwards came the news that Antigonus had been killed in an underground place, also called Strato's Tower, like Caesarea-on-sea, and the prophet's confusion arose from this ambiguity.

6.

081 The illness of Aristobulus quickly became worse out of remorse at this terrible crime. His mind was constantly agitated by the murder, until his innards churned with grief and he threw up a lot of blood. 082 While one of his attendants was carrying it away, some demonic force made him slip and fall at the very place where Antigonus had been killed, so that he spilt some of the killer's blood upon what remained of the lad's blood. A sudden cry of grief came from those who saw it, as though the servant had spilled the blood there on purpose. 083 Hearing the cry, the king asked about the cause of it, and when nobody dared tell him he insisted all the more to know what it was. When by threats he finally forced them to speak, they told him and he burst into tears. With his remaining strength he groaned and said, 084 "My crimes are not going to escape the all-seeing eye of God, for justice hotly pursues me for my relative's blood. Wretched body, how long will you cling to a soul condemned for wronging a mother and a brother! How long must I pour out my blood to them drop by drop? Let them take it all at once, with the demon no longer mocking them with just a few droplets from my bowels. " With these words, he died, having reigned for less than a year.

Chapter 04. [085-106]
The twenty-seven year reign of Alexander Janneus

1.

085 The king's wife released his brothers and made Alexander king, who was both elder in age and of the most balanced temperament. When he came to power, he killed one of his brothers who aspired to become ruler, but he respected the rest of them, as they wanted a life of leisure, not meddling with public matters.

2.

086 He went to battle against Ptolemy, surnamed Lathyrus, who had taken the city of Asochis, and though he killed many of the enemy, victory went to Ptolemy. But when the was persecuted by his mother Cleopatra and retreated to Egypt, Alexander besieged Gadara and took it, and Amathus, the strongest of all the fortresses near the Jordan, where the most precious of all the possessions of Theodorus, son of Zeno, were stored. 087 Theodorus marched against him and took back his property, plus the king's baggage, and killed ten thousand of the Jews. But Alexander recovered from this and turned his force towards the sea-coasts and took Raphia and Gaza, and Anthedon which was later called Agrippias by king Herod.

3.

088 When he had enslaved these cities, the Jewish nation rose against him during a festival, for it is at feasts that revolts usually begin, and only escaped their plot without the help of foreigners, the Pisidians and Cilicians, though he never took on Syrian mercenaries, due to their inbred hatred of our nation. 089 After killing more than six thousand of the rebels, he invaded Arabia, and when he had taken that country, along with the Galadites and Moabites, he made them pay him tribute and returned to Amathus. Then as Theodorus was stunned at his great success, he found the fortress empty and demolished it.

4.

090 But when he fought Obodas, king of the Arabs, who slyly ambushed him near Golan, he lost his entire army, herded together into a deep valley and crushed under the weight of camels; and when he fled to Jerusalem the people, who already hated him, seeing the scale of his disaster, rebelled against him. 091 He proved superior, and in their battles he killed no fewer than fifty thousand Jews over a period of six years. Yet these victories gave him no joy, since he was ruining his own kingdom, and at last he gave up fighting and tried to pacify his subjects by persuasion. 092 But the change and inconsistency of his approach made them hate him still more. When asked why they hated him and what he could do to appease them, they said, "by death!" for even in his death they would scarcely be reconciled to one who had done such dreadful things. Then they called on the help of Demetrius, surnamed Eucerus, who readily accepted, seeing hopes of great gain,and came with his army, and the Jews joined up with their allies about Sikima.

5.

093 Alexander met both these forces with a thousand cavalry and eight thousand mercenary foot-soldiers. Also with him were ten thousand of the Jews who took his side, while the opposition had three thousand cavalry and fourteen thousand infantry. Before the battle, the officers made proclamations to win over each other's soldiers and get them to revolt. Demetrius hoped to get Alexander's mercenaries to desert while Alexander hoped to get the Jews to leave Demetrius. 094 But the Jews did not give up their rage nor did the Greeks prove unfaithful, so they met in a bitter clash of arms. 095 If Demetrius won the battle, Alexander's mercenaries performed greater exploits, both in soul and body; but the upshot proved unexpected for both of them. For those who invited Demetrius to come to them did not stay loyal to him even in victory, and six thousand Jews, pitying Alexander's misfortune when he fled to the mountains, went over to him. 096Demetrius found this unbearable, and thinking that Alexander had become as strong as him again and that all the nation would turn to him, he went away.

6.

096 But the rest of the crowd did not lay aside their quarrels with him, when the foreign allies had left, but fought a perpetual war with Alexander until he killed most of them and drove the rest into the city of Bemeselis, and when he had demolished it, brought the captives to Jerusalem. 097 Indeed his rage was so excessive and his savagery so godless that after ordering eight hundred men to be crucified within the city, he had the throats of their wives and children cut before their eyes, and witnessed these executions while drinking and cavorting with his concubines. 098 At this the people were so shocked that eight thousand of his opponents fled the very next night, from all Judea, and their flight only ended with Alexander's death. Only by such actions, though not until late and with great difficulty, did he finally win peace for his kingdom and set aside war.

7.

099 Yet Antiochus, surnamed Dionysius, who was the brother of Demetrius and the last of the race of the Seleucids, once again gave rise to disturbances. When he was on a campaign against the Arabs, Alexander was afraid of him so he cut a deep trench from Antipatris, near the mountains, down to the coast at Joppa. In front of the trench he built a high wall and wooden towers, to prevent any sudden attacks. 100 But still he was unable to keep out Antiochus, who burned the towers and filled up the trenches and marched through with his army. However, as he regarded taking revenge on Alexander for trying to stop him as less important, he pushed right on against the Arabs. 101 Their king retreated into the parts of the country most suited for a battle and then suddenly wheeled round his cavalry, ten thousand strong, and attacked the army of Antiochus while they were in disorder and the fierce battle that followed, as long as Antiochus was alive his troops held out, although the Arabs killed many of them, 102 but once he fell, for he was rallying his troops at the front in the point of greatest danger, they all fell back and most of them were killed, either in the action or in the flight, and of the remnant who fled to the village of Cana, all but a few died of starvation.

8.

103 About this time the people of Damascus, because they hated Ptolemy, the son of Mennaeus, invited Aretas and made him king of Coele-Syria. This man also made war on Judea and defeated Alexander in battle, but later retreated under a treaty. 104 But Alexander took Pella and marched again on Gerasa, because he coveted the property of Theodorus, and building a triple wall around the garrison, took the place by force. 105 He also demolished Golan and Seleucia and the so-called Gorge of Antiochus, and took the strong fortress of Gamala, robbing the property of its ruler Demetrius, who was accused of many crimes. After an expedition of three years he returned to Judea and was welcomed by the nation for his success; but while resting from the war he fell sick. 106 He suffered from a recurring ailment and thought he could get rid of it by more exercise in warlike activities; but by such expeditions at unsuitable times and subjecting his body to more hardship than it could bear, they put an end to him and he died after reigning for twenty seven years.

Chapter 05. [107-119]
The Pharisees' dominance, during the nine-year reign of Alexandra

1.

107 Alexander left the kingdom to his wife Alexandra and expected the Jews to submit readily to her, as she had been against the savagery with which he treated them and had opposed his violating their laws, and thereby gained the people's goodwill. 108 He was not mistaken in this, for she ruled due to the people's esteem for her piety, and she seriously studied the ancient customs of her country and expelled from office those who broke their holy laws. 109 Of her two sons by Alexander, she appointed the elder, Hyrcanus, as high priest, because of his age and his inactive temper, which in no way disposed him to disturb the public, but she kept the younger, Aristobulus, with her as a private citizen, because of his rashness.

2.

110 Alongside her, to help her in ruling, she had the Pharisees, a sect of the Jews visibly more religious than others and devoted to the exposition of the laws. 111 Alexandra, who was very devoted to the Deity, paid great deference to them. They took advantage of her naivety and gradually became the real rulers of the state, banishing and recalling and loosing and binding as they pleased. Briefly, they enjoyed royal authority, while its cost and burdens fell to Alexandra. 112 In larger matters she was a good ruler, and by enlisting soldiers increased the army by half and gathered a significant foreign regiment to strengthen the nation, so that she was feared by foreign princes. But while she ruled others, the Pharisees ruled her.

3.

113 They caused the death of Diogenes, a distinguished man who had been a friend to Alexander, alleging that he had advised the king to crucify the eight hundred men. They also persuaded Alexandra to put to death the rest of those who had angered him against them, and she was so devout as to follow their desires and so they killed whoever they pleased. 114 But the most distinguished of the people in danger fled to Aristobulus, who persuaded his mother to spare them due to their dignity, but to expel them from the city, unless she saw them as innocent, so they were left alive and scattered all over the country. 115 Alexandra sent out her army to Damascus, under pretext that Ptolemy was always a danger to that city, and took it without much of a fight. 116 By agreements and gifts, she also got Tigranes, king of Armenia, who with his troops was camped round Ptolemais besieging Cleopatra, to leave. Soon he abandoned the siege, because of the domestic riots following Lucullus's invasion of Armenia.

4.

117 Alexandra then fell sick and Aristobulus, her younger son, took his chance, along which his many accomplices who were fervently devoted to him and seized all the fortresses. He also used the money he found in them to gather a number of mercenaries and made himself king. 118 When Hyrcanus complained to his mother, she supported his case and shut up Aristobulus's wife and sons in the Antonia, a fortress adjoining the north side of the temple. It was formerly called the Baris, , as I said, but later got the name of Antonia, under Antony, just as the cities of Sebaste and Agrippias were called after Augustus and Agrippa. 119 Alexandra died after reigning for nine years, before she could punish Aristobulus for pushing his brother aside.

Chapter 06. [120-140]
Monarchy of Aristobulus, then Hyrcanus. Pompey comes to Judea as Arbitrator

1.

120 Hyrcanus was heir to the kingdom as his mother had entrusted it to him before she died, but Aristobulus surpassed him in power and intelligence, and when there was a conflict between them near Jericho, to decide the dispute about the kingship, the majority deserted Hyrcanus and went over to Aristobulus. 121 Hyrcanus and those of his party who stayed with him fled to the Antonia and to ensure his safety seized as hostages Aristobulus's wife and children. Before it got too extreme, however, they agreed that Aristobulus would rule and Hyrcanus to resign, enjoying all his other dignities as the king's brother. 122 With this they were reconciled in the temple and warmly embraced each other, surrounded by the people. They also exchanged houses, with Aristobulus going to the royal palace and Hyrcanus retiring to the house of Aristobulus.

2.

123 Those opposed to Aristobulus were afraid when he unexpectedly came to power, and especially Antipater whom Aristobulus hated of old. He was by birth an Idumaean and a leading figure in that nation, due to his ancestors and riches and other resources. 124 He persuaded Hyrcanus to flee to Aretas, the king of Arabia, and to reclaim his kingship, and persuaded Aretas to welcome Hyrcanus and to restore him as king. He accused Aristobulus of gross immorality and praised Hyrcanus, urging Aretas to receive him and saying how fine it would be for him, who ruled so splendid a kingdom, to lend a hand to one who was wronged, claiming that Hyrcanus was wronged by being deprived of the leadership which was his by right of age. 125 Having convinced them both, he took Hyrcanus by night and fled from the city, and in a swift flight, reached the place called Petra, the royal seat of Arabia. 126 There he put Hyrcanus into Aretas's hands and after much conversation and winning him over with many gifts, persuaded Aretas to give him an army for his return. This consisted of fifty thousand infantry and cavalry, and Aristobulus could not hold it at bay, for he was deserted at the first attack and driven back to Jerusalem. 127 He would have been captured early on, if Scaurus, the Roman general, had not come in the nick of time and raised the siege. This Scaurus was sent into Syria from Armenia by Pompey the Great, who was fighting against Tigranes, so Scaurus came to Damascus, which had recently been captured by Metellus and Lollius and drove them out of it, and then, hearing how things stood in Judea, hurried there as though to certain victory.

3.

128 When he arrived in that country, envoys came from both the brothers, each looking for his help, but Aristobulus's three hundred talents weighed more with him than the justice of the cause. After accepting the money, Scaurus sent a herald to Hyrcanus and the Arabs threatening them with the wrath of the Romans and of Pompey, unless they raised the siege. 129 Aretas was fearful and retreated from Judea to Philadelphia, and Scaurus returned to Damascus. 130 Not satisfied with merely escaping, Aristobulus gathered all his forces and pursued his enemies and fought them at a place called Papyron and killed about six thousand of them, including Antipater's brother Phalion.

4.

131 Disappointed by the Arabs, Hyrcanus and Antipater put their hopes in the other side, and since Pompey had crossed Syria and reached Damascus, they fled to him and, without any bribes, made the just plea as they had to Aretas, to quell the violence of Aristobulus and give the kingdom to the one to whom it rightly belonged, for his good character and being the elder. 132 Aristobulus, relying his bribes to Scaurus, was not backward in this matter either. He too went there in person, dressed as royally as possible. But soon he felt it beneath him to come as a client, and unable to bear to pursue his goal in so abject a style, he left Diospolis.

5.

133 Pompey was furious at this and at the petition of Hyrcanus and his friends marched against Aristobulus not only with his Roman forces, but with many Syrian allies. 134 When he had passed by Pella and Scythopolis and came to Corea, where the district of Judea is entered from the Mediterranean side, he heard that Aristobulus had fled to Alexandreion, a wonderfully fortified stronghold situated on a high mountain, and he sent orders for him to come down. 135 At so despotic a summons, he was inclined to risk battle, rather than obey. However, he saw the crowd afraid and his friends urged him to consider how the Roman power is irresistible, and so persuaded, he came down to Pompey, and after making a long defence of his coming to power, he returned to the fortress. 136 When his brother called him out again, he came down and explained the rights of the matter and left without hindrance from Pompey. He was caught between hope and fear. Coming down, it was to get Pompey to grant him everything, but he returned to the fortress, not to seem to abase himself too much. 137 However, when Pompey required him to surrender his fortresses and to write to each of their commanders to yield them up, as they had been ordered to obey no letters except in his own handwriting. He did as instructed but felt angry about it and retreated to Jerusalem to prepare for battle with Pompey.

6.

138 He gave him no time to prepare but pursued him quickly, in a hurry because of the death of Mithridates, news of which he got near Jericho. That is the most fruitful part of Judea, which grows many palm trees besides the balsam tree, whose sprouts they cut with sharp stones and from the incisions they gather the juice, dropping down like tears. 139 So pitching camp one night in that place, he hurried on to Jerusalem. Aristobulus was so fearful of his coming that he came out like a supplicant to meet him and calmed Pompey's anger by promising him money and to surrender both himself and the city to him. 140 But none of this agreement was carried out, for when Gabinius was sent to receive the promised money, Aristobulus's party would not even allow him into the city.

Chapter 07. [141-158]
Pompey enters Jerusalem & the Holy of Holies. His other offences in Judea

1.

141 Angry at this treatment, Pompey kept Aristobulus in custody. When he came to the city, he looked round to see best to attack, noting how the ramparts were so firm that it would be hard to overcome them, and the tremendous ravine before the ramparts, and that the temple on the edge of that ravine was itself surrounded with a very strong wall, so that if the city were taken, the temple would be a second place of refuge where the enemy could retreat.

2.

142 As he deliberated matter at length, the people within the city were divided, Aristobulus's party wanting to fight and set their king free, while the party of Hyrcanus wanted to open the gates to Pompey. The dread people felt increased the numbers of the latter, as they saw the Roman soldiers in such excellent order. 143 Aa Aristobulus's party were outnumbered they retreated into the temple and cut off the communication between the temple and the city, by breaking down the connecting bridge and prepared to resist to the utmost, but as the others had received the Romans into the city and had handed over the palace to him, Pompey sent Piso, one of his major officers, with armed troops into that palace. 144 When he could not persuade any of those who had fled to the temple to come to a treaty he put sentries round the city, and prepared the circumstances for and assault, with Hyrcanus's party most ready to advise and help him.

3.

145 He was on the north side, filling in the ditch and the entire valley with the materials the army brought up; and it was hard to fill up the valley's great depth, especially as the Jews, from their superior situation, used all possible means to repel them. 146 The Romans would have failed in their efforts, had not Pompey known of the sabbath, when the religious Jews abstain from work of any kind, and raised his works on those days, while keeping his soldiers from fighting on them, for the Jews only defended themselves on the sabbath. 147 When he had filled up the valley, he built high towers upon the bank and brought the machines they had fetched from Tyre near to the wall and tried to batter it down, and the stone-slingers drove off those who stood above them, but on this area thevery large and splendid towers put up a tough resistance.

4.

148 While the Romans toiled hard at this, Pompey had to admire not only the Jews' bravery but how they did not give up their religious services, even when showered with missiles from all sides. For, as if the city were fully at peace, their daily sacrifices and purifications and all aspects of their worship were still duly performed to God. Even when the temple was actually taken and they were being killed near the altar, they did not give up the forms of their daily worship appointed by the law. 149 Only with difficulty, in the third month of the siege, did the Romans destroy one of the towers and enter the temple. The man who first dared to scale the wall was Faustus Cornelius the son of Sylla, and with him two centurions, Furius and Fabius, each followed by his own cohort, who surrounded and killed the defenders, some as they ran to the sanctuary for refuge and others as they fought briefly in self-defense.

5.

150 Many of the priests, even when they saw their enemies coming at them sword in hand, continued the liturgy and were killed while sacrificing and burning incense, putting the divine service before their own safety. Most were killed by their countrymen of the other faction and many jumped down the cliffsides. Some were in such a mad, hopeless plight that they set fire to places near the wall and were burned up with them. 151 Twelve thousand of the Jews died but very few of the Romans, though a greater number was wounded.

6.

152 Amid these calamities nothing touched the nation so much as that their holy place, which had always remained unseen was opened up to foreigners, and Pompey and his men went into the sanctuary which only the high priest was allowed to enter, and saw what was within, the candlestick and its lamps and the table and the pouring vessels and the censers, all made entirely of gold, and a large heap of spices, with two thousand talents of sacred money. 153 He did not touch that money, or anything else deposited there, but the day after taking it ordered the officials to purify the temple and to offer the usual sacrifices. He made Hyrcanus high priest for his full support during the siege, and for keeping the rural population from fighting for Aristobulus, which otherwise they were eager to do. This was how he acted the part of a good general and reconciled the people to him more by goodwill than by fear. 154 Among the captives he took was Aristobulus's father-in-law, who was also his uncle. Those who were the most guilty he punished with beheading, but he rewarded with glorious gifts Faustus and his men who had fought so bravely, and imposed a tax on the country and on Jerusalem itself.

7.

155 He took back all the cities the nation had taken belonging to Coele-Syria and made them subject to whoever was appointed there as Roman governor, and limited them to their own borders. He also rebuilt Gadara, which had been demolished by the Jews, to gratify one of his freedmen, Demetrius, who was from there. 156 He also set free from their rule throughout the country other cities they had not already demolished: Hippos and Scythopolis, Pella, Samaria, Marissa, Azotus, Jamnia and Arethusa. He did the same for the maritime cities, Gaza and Joppa and Dora and what was previously called Strato's Tower, but was later rebuilt with the most magnificently by king Herod and was renamed Caesarea. 157 All these he returned to their proper owners and put them under the province of Syria; which along with Judea and the land as far as Egypt and the Euphrates, he entrusted to be ruled by Scaurus, with two legions in support; and then hurried as quickly as he could through Cilicia on his way to Rome, bringing Aristobulus and his children along as prisoners. 158 These were two daughters and two sons, of whom one, Alexander, escaped during the journey, but Antigonus the younger son was brought to Rome, along with his sisters.

Chapter 08. [159-182]
Aristobulus' son Alexander tries in vain to set aside Pompey's dispositions in Palestine. Gabinius and Crassus put down Jewish insurrections

1.

159 Meanwhile Scaurus led an army into Arabia, and though hampered by the terrain near Petra, he ravaged the area round about, though even then his army suffered severely from hunger. To help him, Hyrcanus sent him provisions by means of Antipater. Scaurus then sent him to Aretas, whom he knew well, to have him pay money to end the war. The Arab agreed to pay three hundred talents, and so Scaurus withdrew his forces from Arabia.

2.

160 Alexander, the son of Aristobulus who had fled from Pompey, got together a big band of men and pressed hard on Hyrcanus and overran Judea and was likely to defeat him soon, and would have reached Jerusalem and rebuilt its wall that Pompey had thrown down, if Gabinius, who was sent to Syria as successor to Scaurus, had not shown his mettle by attacking Alexander and in various other ways. 161 The latter, fearing the attack, increased his army to ten thousand armed infantry and fifteen hundred cavalry, and fortified strategic places, Alexandreion and Hyrcanium and Machaerus, near the mountains of Arabia.

3.

162 Gabinius sent Mark Antony ahead of him and followed in person with his whole army, except the elite body of soldiers around Antipater and another body of Jews under the command of Malichus and Pitholaus. These joined with Mark Antony's officers to face Alexander, and a little later Gabinius arrived with the heavy infantry. 163 Unable to oppose the joint force of his enemies, Alexander retreated, but on his approach to Jerusalem he was forced to fight and in the battle lost six thousand men, three thousand killed and three thousand taken alive, and he fled with the rest to Alexandreion.

4.

164 When Gabinius came to Alexandreion and found so many encamped there, he tried to induce them to come over to him without a fight, with a promise of amnesty for their former offenses. But when they would not relent, he killed many of them and blockaded the rest within the fortress. 165 Their leader, Mark Antony, a man always noted for courage distinguished himself more than ever in this battle. Gabinius, leaving forces to take the fortress, went off to pacify the cities that had not been demolished and rebuilt the ones that had been destroyed. 166 At his orders these cities were restored: Scythopolis and Samaria and Anthedon and Apollonia and Jamnia and Raphia and Mariassa and Adoreus and Gamala and Azotus and many others; while settlers gladly hurried to inhabit each of them.

5.

167 Having made these arrangements, he returned to Alexandreion and tightened the siege, so that Alexander gave up hope of ever coming to power and sent envoys imploring his forgiveness for offending him and offering to surrender the remaining fortresses, Hyrcanium and Machaerus, just as he later handed over Alexandreion to him. 168 Gabinius demolished them all, at the persuasion of Alexander's mother, so as not to provide places of refuge in the case of another war. She came there now to mollify Gabinius, concerned for her relatives who were prisoners in Rome, that is, her husband and her other children. 169 So Gabinius brought Hyrcanus back to Jerusalem and entrusted him with the care of the temple, but ordered the rest of the nation to be ruled by an aristocracy. 170 He divided the whole nation into five divisions, assigning one to Jerusalem, another to Gadara, another to Amathus, a fourth to Jericho and the fifth to Sepphoris, a city of Galilee. The people were glad to be set free from monarchy and in future were ruled by an aristocracy.

6.

171 Aristobulus soon caused new disturbances by taking flight from Rome and gathering many of the Jews who were eager for a change and had loved him in the past. Once he had taken Alexandreion he tried to fortify it, but when Gabinius sent an army against him under Sisenna, Antony and Servilius, he got wind of it and retreated to Machaerus. 172 He sent home the useless crowd, and marched only with those who were armed, eight thousand of them, among whom was Pitholaus, the former lieutenant in Jerusalem who had come over to Aristobulus with a thousand men. The Romans pursued him and in the battle Aristobulus's party struggled bravely, but were finally overcome by the Romans. Five thousand of them were killed and about two thousand fled to a little hill, but the thousand who stayed with Aristobulus broke through the Roman lines and marched together into Machaerus. 173 After the king had lodged the first night within its ruins, he hoped to raise another army, if only the war would ease a little, so he fortified that stronghold, though it was poorly done. When the Romans attacked he fought back for two days even beyond his strength, and then was taken prisoner and brought to Gabinius along with his son, Antigonus, who had escaped from Rome along with him and Gabinius sent him back to Rome. 174 The senate put him in prison, but returned his children to Judea, for Gabinius wrote to them that he had promised this to the wife of Aristobulus, for surrendering the fortresses to him.

7.

175 As Gabinius was marching to the war against the Parthians, he was delayed by Ptolemy, whom he had to restore to Egypt, coming back from the Euphrates to do so. He got Hyrcanus and Antipater to provide all the needs for this expedition, for Antipater furnished money and weapons and corn and allies. He also persuaded the local Jews guarding the entrances near Pelusium, to let them pass. 176 While Gabinius was absent, the other part of Syria was in turmoil for Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, got the Jews to revolt again, gathering a large army and setting out to kill all the Romans in the land. 177 Gabinius, who had come back from Egypt on account of these riots, became alarmed and sent Antipater, who managed to win over some of the rebels. But thirty thousand still stayed with Alexander, who was eager for a fight, so he went out against him and the Jews met him the battle was fought near Mount Itaburion, when ten thousand of them were killed and the rest of the crowd dispersed and fled. 178 Then Gabinius came to Jerusalem and settled its government according to Antipater's wishes. From there he marched and fought and beat the Nabateans, and secretly sent away Mithridates and Orsanes, who had fled from Parthia, telling the soldiers that they had run away.

8.

179 Meanwhile Crassus came as his successor in Syria. He took away all the rest of the gold in the Jerusalem temple, to provide for his expedition against the Parthians, and took the two thousand talents which Pompey had left bahind. Then after crossing the Euphrates, he and his army were killed; but now is not a suitable time to speak about this.

9.

180 After Crassus, Cassius put a stop to the Parthians, who were marching to enter Syria. Cassius had rushed to that province and after occupying it, made a hasty march into Judea, and after taking Tarichea, enslaved thirty thousand Jews. On the advice of Antipater he also killed Pitholaus, who had supported the rebel followers of Aristobulus. 181 Antipater had married a woman of a distinguished Arabian family named Cypros, and by her had four sons, Phasael and Herod, who was later king, and Joseph and Pheroras, and a daughter, Salome. As he made friends with the notables everywhere by the favours he did them and his hospitality towards them, he became especially close to the king of the Arabs by marrying his relative, so that he sent his children to him for safety when he went to war against Aristobulus. 182 When Cassius had forced Alexander to come to terms and keep the peace, he returned to the Euphrates to prevent the Parthians from recrossing it. Of this we shall speak elsewhere.

Chapter 09. [183-194]
Aristobulus and Alexander are murdered. Antipater cultivates Caesar's friendship

1.

183 After Pompey and the senate fled beyond the Ionian Sea, Caesar had Rome and the empire in his power and released Aristobulus from his chains. He also entrusted two legions to him and sent him quickly into Syria, hoping through him to easily conquer it and the area adjoining Judea. 184 But envy thwarted Caesar's hopes and the zeal of Aristobulus, for he was killed by poison given him by Pompey's people. For a long time he was not even allowed burial in his own country, but his corpse lay preserved in honey, until it was sent by Antony to the Jews, for burial in the royal tombs.

2.

185 His son Alexander also was beheaded by Scipio in Antioch, at the command of Pompey when he was accused before his tribunal for wrongs he had done to the Romans. But Ptolemy, son of Mennaeus, who was then ruler of Chalcis, below Libanus, took care of his brothers, by sending his son Philippio for them to Ascalon. 186 He took Antigonus and his sisters away from the wife of Aristobulus and brought them to his father. Then he fell in love with the younger daughter and married her, and was later killed by his father on account of her. After killing his son, Ptolemy married the one called Alexandra, and took better care of her siblings on account of the marriage.

3.

187 After Pompey died, Antipater changed sides and cultivated Caesar. And since Mithridates of Pergamus and the forces he was leading against Egypt, was barred at the pass near Pelusium and forced to stay in Ascalon, he persuaded the Arabs among whom he had lived, to side with him and arrived at the head of three thousand Jewish infantry. 188 He also urged the leaders of Syria to come and help him, including Ptolemy who lived near Libanus, and Jamblicus, through whom the cities of that area willingly joined in this war. 189 Helped by the additional strength he had gained with the help of Antipater, Mithridates ventured on to Pelusium, and besieged the city when they refused to let him through, and Antipater was outstanding in the attack, for he brought down the part of the wall opposite him and was first to dash into the city, with his troops.

4.

190 Pelusium was taken, but as they went on through they were stopped by the Egyptian Jews living in the district of Onias. Then Antipater persuaded them not only not to hinder them, but to provide provisions for their army, so that even the people around Memphis would not oppose them, but willingly joined Mithridates. 191 Then he rounded the Delta and fought the rest of the Egyptians at a place called the Camp of the Jews. During the battle when he was in danger with all his right wing, Antipater wheeled about and came to his help along the bank of the river. 192 Leading the left wing, he defeated his opponents and then attacked the people harrying Mithridates and killed many of them and pursed the rest to the extent that he took their camp, while losing only eighty of his own men. Mithridates lost about eight hundred while he was being pursued, but unexpectedly his own life was saved, so that he became an outspoken witness to Caesar about the great deeds of Antipater.

5.

193 Then, by a mixture of praise and the promise of rewards, he got him to undertake other dangerous missions where he risked his life for him, and became a famous warrior, with many wounds on most of his body to attest his bravery. 194 When he had settled affairs in Egypt and was returning to Syria, he gave him the privilege of a Roman citizen and freedom from taxes and made him much admired by the honours and tokens of friendship he gave him. This was also why he confirmed Hyrcanus in the high priesthood.

Chapter 10. [195-217]
Antipater, made procurator of Judea by Caesar, appoints his two sons Phasael and Herod to power: Phasael in Jerusalem and Herod in Galilee

1.

195 About this time Antigonus, son of Aristobulus, came to Caesar and oddly became the cause of Antipater's further promotion. Whereas he should have complained that his father seemed to have been poisoned due to his quarrels with Pompey, and about Scipio's savagery towards his brother, and not to mix any envious passion when he was suing for mercy, when he arrived he accused Hyrcanus and Antipater 196 of driving him and his brothers from their native land and of many outrages towards their nation, and that the help they had sent him to Egypt was not given from goodwill, but out of their fear arising from past quarrels and in order to be pardoned for their friendship towards Pompey.

2.

197 In response, Antipater threw off his clothes and showed the number of his wounds and said that he had no need to speak of his love for Caesar, since his body shouted it aloud even if he stayed silent, 198 but that he was amazed at the audacity of Antigonus, the son of an enemy of Rome and a fugitive, who had inherited from his father a love of change and strife, to dare to accuse other men before the Roman governor for the sake of profit, when he ought to be glad to be still alive. He wanted to rule not because he was badly off, but so that once he in power he could stir up revolt among the Jews and use his position against those who gave it to him.

3.

199 When Caesar heard it he pronounced Hyrcanus more worthy to be high priest and left Antipater free to choose his own kind of rule. The latter wanted the measure of his honour to be decided by the one granting it to him and was appointed procurator of all Judea, with permission to rebuild the ramparts of his country that had been thrown down. 200 Caesar sent orders to have these honours engraved in the Capitol, to stand there as signs of his own justice and of the man's courage.

4.

201 After escorting Caesar from Syria Antipater returned to Judea and his first act was to rebuild the wall of his ancestral city which Pompey had destroyed and then went to quell the disturbances around the country. With a mixture of threat and persuasion he told them all that if they submitted to Hyrcanus they would live happily and peaceably and enjoy their possessions in peaceful calm, 202 but if they heeded those who were stirring things up in hope of profit, they would find him a despot rather than a procurator, and Hyrcanus a tyrant instead of a king, and the Romans and Caesar as enemies instead of their leaders and friends, for they would not allow the man they had set up as ruler to be deposed. 203 With these words he settled matters on his own, seeing that Hyrcanus was inactive and unfit to manage the affairs of the kingdom. He made his eldest son, Phasael, ruler of Jerusalem and the district around it and sent his next son, Herod, though still young, with similar authority into Galilee.

5.

204 Active by nature, the latter soon found material to work upon. Finding that Hezekias, the brigand chief, was devastating the neighbouring parts of Syria with a large band, he caught him and killed him and many of the brigands. 205 This was warmly welcomed by the Syrians, so that hymns were sung in the villages and cities in praise of Herod, for winning peace and saving their possessions for them. At that time he made the acquaintance of Sextus Caesar, ruler of Syria and a relative of the great Caesar. 206 His brother's reputation prompted Phasael to emulate him and he gained favour with the people of Jerusalem by his management of the city affairs and did not offend them by any abuse of his power. 207 But though the nation honoured Antipater like a king and treated him like those an absolute lord, he never lessened his goodwill and fidelity to Hyrcanus.

6.

208 Even amid prosperity he could not keep envy at bay, for the lustre of the young men secretly irritated Hyrcanus. The achievements of Herod grieved him especially, with a succession of messengers coming to sing his praises and many in the palace stoked his envy, annoyed by the prudence either of the young men, or of Antipater. 209 These said that by leaving matters to Antipater and his sons, he himself had merely the title of king, without its authority and asked how long he would make the mistake of rearing kings against himself, since they did not hide their sovereignty but were plainly lording it and supplanting him. For example, contrary to Jewish law Herod had killed so many without his orders or permission and should be brought to trial, not as a king but as a private citizen, to answer for it before him and the laws of his country, which do not allow anyone to be killed, untried.

7.

210 Little by little these notions burned into Hyrcanus until finally his anger flared and he summoned Herod to trial. As soon as matters allowed it, at his father's advice he placed garrisons in Galilee and went up with a troop of soldiers, not so many as would make him seem intent on overthrowing Hyrcanus, yet not so few as to expose him to those who envied him. 211 Sextus Caesar was still afraid that the young man might be taken by his enemies and punished, so he sent some to expressly tell Hyrcanus to acquit Herod of the capital charge, and he did so, as he was inclined to do anyway, out of affection for Herod.

8.

212 Thinking that he had escaped against the wishes of the king, Herod retreated to Sextus in Damascus, intending to disobey if he were summoned again. Malicious people upset Hyrcanus by saying that Herod had left in anger and was preparing to make war on him and believing it, the king did not know what to do, seeing that his opponent was stronger than himself. 213 Ever since Sextus Caesar had made him general of Coelesyria and Samaria he was formidable, not just because of the nation's support of him, but for his military force, so Hyrcanus was extremely afraid and expected him to march against him soon with an army.

9.

214 In this he was not mistaken, for angry at his threat to put him on trial, Herod turned his army towards Jerusalem to expel Hyrcanus and would have done so if his father and brother had not gone out together and calmed his fury by urging him to carry his revenge no further than threats and gestures, but to spare the king, under whom he had reached such power, and that he should not be so angry about his trial as to forget to be thankful for his acquittal, or dwell so much on misfortune as to be ungrateful for his safety. 215 If we reckon that God determines the outcome of war, an unjust cause has more effect than an army, so he ought not to be entirely confident of success if he fought against his king, who had helped him and had often been his benefactor, never treating him severely, and had heeded his evil counsellors only to the point of bringing a taint of injustice upon him. Herod was persuaded by these arguments and thought that for his future hopes he had already sufficiently shown his power to the nation.

10.

216 Meanwhile the Romans around Apamia were disturbed and there was a civil war caused by the treacherous murder of Sextus Caesar by Cecilius Bassus, which he did for Pompey's sake and took over his forces, but the rest of Caesar's officers attacked Bassus with all their force, to punish him for the murder. 217 Antipater sent them help through his sons, for the sake of the one who was murdered and of the Caesar who was still alive, both of whom were his friends, and as this war dragged on, Mourcus came from Italy as successor to Antistius.

Chapter 11. [218-235]
Cassius makes Herod ruler of Syria. Antipater's murder is avenged by Herod

1.

218 At this time a major war arose among the Romans after the treacherous murder of Caesar by Cassius and Brutus, when he had held power for three years and seven months. This murder caused widespread upheaval and the influential men were sharply divided, each joining the party offering the best hopes of promotion, and Cassius came to Syria, to take command of the forces at Apamia. 219 There he reconciled Bassus and Murcus and their opposing legions, and raising the siege of Apamia, he took command of the army and went about exacting larger amounts of tax from the cities than they could bear.

2.

220 He ordered the Jews to bring in seven hundred talents, and dreading the threats of Cassius, Antipater divided the raising of this sum among his sons and some others, needing it done quickly, and among them he required the hostile Malichus to do the necessary. 221 First of all Herod calmed the passion of Cassius by bringing his share from Galilee, a hundred talents, for which he highly favoured him, while insulting the rest for being tardy, and vented his anger on the cities. 222 He captured Gophna and Emmaus and two others of lesser note, and seemed ready to kill Malichus for not being quicker in exacting his tax. Antipater prevented the ruin of this man and of the other cities and won favour with Cassius by instantly bringing in a hundred talents.

3. 223 But once Cassius was gone Malichus forgot the favour Antipater had done him and frequently schemed to get rid of the one who had saved him, because he was a hindrance to his misdeeds. Antipater was so afraid of the man's power and cunning that he went across the Jordan to raise an army and guard himself against his treachery. 224 When Malichus' plot was found out, he boldly duped Antipater's sons and by many excuses and oaths tricked Phasael, who was in command of Jerusalem and Herod who was entrusted with the arsenal, persuading them to help him be reconciled with his father. So he was again saved by Antipater, who talked Mourcus, the then ruler of Syria, out of his resolve to execute Malichus for attempted rebellion.

4.

225 During the war of Cassius and Brutus against the younger Caesar and Antony, Cassius and Marcus Brutus gathered an army from Syria, and because Herod was likely to play a big part in providing essentials, they made him procurator of all Syria and gave him an army of both infantry and cavalry, and Cassius promised to make him king of Judea, after the war was over. 226 But the power and the hopes of his son became the cause of Antipater's ruin, for being anxious about this, Malichus bribed one of the king's cup-bearers to give Antipater a poisoned drink, so he was sacrificed to Malichus's wickedness and died at a feast. He had been most active in the management of affairs, and was vital in regaining and retaining power for Hyrcanus.

5.

227 Suspected of poisoning Antipater and seeing the people's anger at him, Malichus denied it and placated them. But not expecting Herod to remain at peace, he wanted to strengthen his position and raised soldiers, and indeed the latter soon came against him with an army, to revenge his father's death. 228 Still, advised by his brother Phasael not to execute him publicly in case the people should rebel, he accepted Malichus's apology and professed to lift the suspicion from him and then made a splendid funeral for his father.

6.

229 Herod went to quell an uprising in Samaria, and settled the city in peace before returning with his infantry to Jerusalem for the festival. Then Hyrcanus, instigated by Malichus whom he feared, forbade them to let foreigners mingle with the locals during their purifications, but scorning both this pretext and the one who had made it, Herod came in by night. 230 When Malichus came to sympathise about Antipater, Herod pretended to believe him, though he found it hard to contain his anger. He did, however, complain of his father's murder in his letters to Cassius, who also hated Malichus for other reasons. Cassius sent back word that he would avenge his father's death for him and secretly ordered his tribunes to help Herod to execute justice..

7.

231 When he took Laodicea and the leaders flocked to him from all quarters bearing gifts and crowns, Herod took his opportunity to strike at Malichus. Suspecting this while he was in Tyre, Malichus decided to secretly remove his son from the Tyrians, where he was held hostage, while he himself got ready to escape into Judea. 232 His desperate danger spurred him to aim for higher things, for he hoped to rouse the nation to revolt from the Romans while Cassius was busy with the war against Antony, and that he could easily depose Hyrcanus and become king himself.

8.

233 But fate mocked his hopes, for Herod foresaw his intent and invited him and Hyrcanus to a supper and then sent out one of his servants as though to prepare things for supper, but in reality to tell the tribunes to be ready for the ambush. 234 Remembering Cassius' orders, they went down sword in hand from the city to the shore, where they surrounded Malichus and killed him with many wounds. Hyrcanus fainted at the sudden shock and fell down,and had barely revived when he asked Herod who had killed Malichus. 235 When one of the tribunes replied that it was done at the command of Cassius, he said, "Then, by removing one who was plotting against me and my country, Cassius has saved us both." Whether or not Hyrcanus really thought this, or if it was fear that made him commend the deed, that was how Herod took his revenge on Malichus.

Chapter 12.[236-247]
Phasael and Herod are made tetrarchs by Mark Antony, despite a Jewish deputation opposing their rule

1.

236 After Cassius left Syria, another rebellion arose in Jerusalem, where Helix attacked Phasael with an army, to take revenge on Herod for the death of Malichus by attacking his brother. At the time, Herod happened to be with Fabius, the ruler of Damascus and as he was going to his brother's help, he was detained by sickness. 237 Meanwhile, Phasael defeated Helix by himself and reproached Hyrcanus for ingratitude, both for the help he had given Malichus and for ignoring Malichus's brother after he gained possession of the fortresses, for already he held many of them, among them the strongest of them all, Masada.

2.

238 But he could not withstand the force of Herod, who, as soon as he was recovered, took the other fortresses again and drove him from Masada as a supplicant. He also expelled from Galilee Marion, the tyrant of the Tyrians, when he had already captured three strongholds, though he had let live the Tyrians whom he had caught, even giving gifts to some of them before senging them away. By this he earned from the city goodwill towards himself and hatred towards the tyrant. 239 Marion's regime was due to Cassius, who appointed tyrants over all of Syria, and, moved by hatred for Herod, had helped Antigonus, son of Aristobulus. In this he was prompted by Fabius, whom Antigonus had paid to help in his restoration, while the expenses of his exile were paid by his relative, Ptolemy.

3.

240 Herod resisted them in the highways of Judea and won, and drove Antigonus off and returned to Jerusalem, beloved by all for his splendid exploit. Those who previously did not favour him joined him now, because of his marriage into the family of Hyrcanus. 241 Whereas he had formerly married a wife of noble blood called Doris from his own district, by whom he had a son, Antipater, now he married Mariamne, a daughter of Alexander the son of Aristobulus, and a granddaughter of Hyrcanus, and had thereby become related to the king.

4.

242 But when they killed Cassius near Philippi and Caesar went back to Italy and Antony to Asia, amongst the rest of the cities which sent envoys to Antony to Bithynia, the great men of the Jews also came to accuse Phasael and Herod of holding power by force, and Hyrcanus of holding only an honourary title. Herod came in person, and befriended Antony by giving him large sums of money, he making him unwilling to hear any hostile words against him, so for the moment his enemies were put to silence.

5.

243 Later, however, a hundred of the leading Jews came to Daphne near Antioch, to meet Antony, who was already in thrall to his love for Cleopatra, and putting forward their most noble and eloquent speakers, made their accusations against the brothers. But Messala faced them for the defence while Hyrcanus stood beside him, because of his connection by marriage. 244 When Antony had heard both sides and asked Hyrcanus which party was most fit to govern, he replied in favour of Herod. This pleased Antony, for he had formerly been warmly welcomed by his father Antipater, when campaigning with Gabinius in Judea. So he appointed the brothers tetrarchs and entrusted them with ruling Judea.

6.

245 But when the envoys were angry at this procedure, Antony took and jailed fifteen of them and was prepared to execute them, and the rest he drove away in disgrace. This caused still further rioting in Jerusalem. Again they sent a thousand envoys to Tyre, where Antony had paused during his march to Jerusalem. He sent out the ruler of Tyre against these complainants to punish all of them he could catch and to support the rule of the tetrarchs appointed by him.

7.

246 Before this Herod and Hyrcanus went to the sea-shore and implored these envoys not to destroy themselves, or bring war on their native land, by ill-judged quarrels. However, as they grew still more embittered, Antony sent troops and killed or wounded many. 247 Although the dead were buried by Hyrcanus, and he had the wounded cared for, even still those who escaped would not be silent but stirred up the city so much that it provoked Antony into executing the prisoners.

Chapter 13. [248-273]
Parthians restore Antigonus' rule in Judea. Hyrcanus is mutilated, Herod's brother is killed, and himself put to flight.

1.

248 Two years later, the Parthian satrap Barzapharnes and Pacorus, the king's son, occupied Syria, and Lysanias, who had taken over after the death of his father Ptolemy, the son of Mennaeus, persuaded the satrap, by a promise of a thousand talents and five hundred women, to restore Antigonus to his kingdom and to depose Hyrcanus. 249 Prompted by this, Pacorus marched down along the coastal route, commanding Barzapharnes to march through the interior. Of the coastal towns, the Tyrians would not receive Pacorus, but those of Ptolemais and Sidon did receive him, so he left a troop of his cavalry to a cup-bearer of the same name as himself, belonging to the royal family, with orders to proceed into Judea, to gain information about the enemy and to help Antigonus as required.

2.

250 As these were ravaging Carmel, many of the Jews hurried to join Antigonus, prepared to invade the country, so he sent them ahead to a place called Coppice, to seize it. A battle was fought there and they routed the enemy and pursued them as far as Jerusalem, and with their numbers constantly growing, they reached the royal palace. 251 As Hyrcanus and Phasael were ready for them with a strong group of men, a battle ensued in the marketplace, where the Herodian side defeated the enemy and shut them up in the temple and set sixty men in the adjoining houses to keep guard over them. 252 But the people who were opposed to the brothers entered and burned the guards, and Herod, in his rage at losing them, attacked and killed many of the people, until each side in turn ambushed the other by turns on a daily basis, and there was no end of slaughter.

3.

253 When the feast called Pentecost was near, the whole area around the temple and the city itself was thronged with people up from the country, many of them armed. Phasael was guarding the wall and Herod, with a small force, was guarding the royal palace, and when he made an attack on his disorganised enemies, on the north quarter of the city, he killed many and put them all to flight, and shut up some of them within the city and others within the outer fort. 254 Meanwhile Antigonus asked to have Pacorus accepted as a mediator between them, and Phasael agreed to admit the Parthian into the city with five hundred cavalry, purportedly to bring the civil strife to an end, but in fact he came to help Antigonus. 255 This man tricked Phasael into going on an embassy to Barzapharnes to resolve the issue, though Herod tried hard to dissuade him, urging him to kill the conspirator and not risk the traps set for him, since the barbarians are treacherous by nature. But Pacorus came out, bringing Hyrcanus with him so as to be less suspected, and left in Herod's charge some of his cavalry, called the Freemen, and with the rest went off with Phasael.

4.

256 But when they reached Galilee, they found the local people in armed revolt and when these came to the satrap he cunningly concealed his intentions and received them graciously. First he gave them gifts and then set an ambush for them as they went away. 257 They became aware of the trap when they reached one of the coastal towns named Ecdippon, for where they heard of the promise of a thousand talents and how among the five hundred women Antigonus had promised to the Parthians, most of their wives were included. 258 They also noted how the barbarians regularly set traps for them by night, and would have already seized them if they were not waiting for Herod to be first captured in Jerusalem, so as not to alert him of treachery. And this was no mere report, as they saw the sentries already not far from them.

5.

259 Phasael would not hear of forsaking Hyrcanus by escaping, despite the strong urging of Ophellius, who had learned the details of the plot from Saramalla, the richest of the Syrians. Instead, went to the Parthian ruler and reproached him to his face for this foul play against them, for the sake of a bribe, and promised to pay him more for their safety than Antigonus had promised for the kingdom. 260 The sly Parthian tried to allay the suspicion by apologies and oaths and went away to Pacorus. But a little later the Parthians whom he left in charge arrested Phasael and Hyrcanus, who could do no more than curse their treachery and their perjury.

6.

261 Meanwhile the cup-bearer was sent with orders to contrive to seize Herod, by luring him out from the city. But Herod suspected the barbarians from the start, and then learned that the messenger who was to bring him letters with news of the intended treachery had fallen among the enemy, so he would not leave the city. Pacorus insisted that he should go out and meet the letter-bearers and that the enemy had not captured them nor would they tell of any plots against them, but only of the activities of Phasael. 262 But had he heard from others how his brother had been seized, and Hyrcanus's daughter, Mariamne, the shrewdest of women, implored him not to go out, or trust the barbarians, who had come to make an open attempt on his life.

7.

263 As Pacorus and his friends were considering how to secretly achieve their aim, since it was impossible to catch so powerful a man by an open attack, Herod forestalled them by leaving at night for Idumaea, with his household, unknown to the enemy. 264 When the Parthians learned of it, they followed them. Telling his mother and sister and his young fiancée, her mother and his youngest brother, to escape as best they could, he himself and his servants did their best to keep off the barbarians, and after killing people in each attack, he reached the stronghold of Masada.

8.

265 During his flight the Jews troubled him more than the Parthians, as they harassed him constantly, and when he had gone sixty furlongs from the city they fought an action that lasted some time. Herod won it, however, and killed many of them and later built there, as a memorial to the victory, a strong fortress adorned with lavish palaces and called it Herodium, after himself. 266 In the course of his flight, many joined him daily, and at a place called Rhesa in Idumaea his brother Joseph met him and advised him to rid himself of many of his followers, as Masada would not contain so large a crowd, of more than nine thousand. 267 Herod took this advice and sent back the most burdensome of his retinue into Idumaea, giving them provisions for the journey. Then he reached the fortress safely with his nearest relatives, keeping only the stoutest of his followers, and there he left eight hundred of his men to guard the women, with enough provisions for a siege, while he hurried off to Petra in Arabia.

9.

268 The Parthians in Jerusalem took to looting and attacking the houses of those who had fled, as well as the king's palace, sparing nothing but Hyrcanus's money, which was no more than three hundred talents. They took other people's money too, though not as much as they had expected, for Herod had long ago suspected treachery from the barbarians, and had made sure to have the best of his treasures brought to Idumaea, as all his people had done. 269 But the outrageous behaviour of the Parthians brought the whole country to a state of undeclared war. They demolished the city of Marissa and not only set up Antigonus as king, but handed over Phasael and Hyrcanus to him in chains, to be tortured. 270 Antigonus bit off Hyrcanus's ears with his teeth, as he fell down upon his knees to him that so no matter how things turned out he could never resume the high priesthood, since a high priest had to be without deformity.

10.

271 However, he failed in the case of Phasael, on account of the latter's courage. For though he neither had the use of his sword nor of his hands, he forestalled all insults by dashing his head against a stone, and so proved himself to be Herod's own brother, and Hyrcanus a degenerate relative, by dying with great bravery, with the end of his life in tune with his exploits. 272 Another version says that he recovered from that blow and that a surgeon sent by Antigonus to heal him filled his wound with poison and so killed him. Whichever of these deaths he died, its beginning was glorious. It is also reported that before he died a poor woman told him how Herod had escaped from their hands and that he said, "I can now die happy, leaving someone alive behind me to take revenge on my enemies."

11.

273 And so he died. But the Parthians, though they failed to get the women they chiefly wanted, left Jerusalem in the hands of Antigonus and took Hyrcanus away in chains and brought him to Parthia.

Chapter 14. [274-285]
Herod goes for help to Mark Antony and Caesar in Rome. They get the senate to make him king of Judea

1.

274 Herod hurried to Arabia to get money from the king, while his brother was still alive, for greed was his only hope of getting the barbarians to spare Phasael. He thought that even if the Arabian king had forgotten his father's friendship and too mean to give it freely, he could still borrow from him the ransom for his brother by giving him as hostage a son of the man that was to be ransomed. 275 So he brought him his brother's son, who was seven years old and was ready to give three hundred talents for his brother and would have asked the Tyrians to intercede. But Fate forestalled his diligence, and once Phasael was dead, Herod's brotherly love was now in vain. 276 There was no firm friendship with the Arabs, for their king, Malchus, soon sent to him to tell him to get out of his country and used the name of the Parthians as a pretext for this, as though these had told him by their envoys to throw Herod out of Arabia; while in reality they wished to keep back what they owed to Antipater and not have to repay the money to his sons. He was shamefully advised by others like him who wanted to deprive Herod of Antipater's deposits, and these were the most powerful of his followers.

2.

277 When Herod found the Arabs hostile on the point where he hoped they would be most friendly and had replied as passion dictated, he turned towards Egypt and lodged the first evening at a sanctuary of that country, to meet with those whom he left behind. On the next day, on his way to Rhinocurura, the news of his brother's death reached him. 278 After mourning him as his situation allowed, he went on with his journey; but soon the Arab had a change of heart and sent messengers to call him back. Herod was ahead of them and came to Pelusium, where he could not get to sail with the fleet, but at his pleading their captains relented, out of respect for his fame and dignity, and brought him to Alexandria. 279 When he reached the city, he was splendidly received by Cleopatra, who hoped he might be persuaded to command her forces in the expedition she had in hand, but he rejected the queen's request and fearing neither the rage of the storm in progress nor the riots taking place in Italy, he sailed for Rome.

3.

280 But near Pamphylia the ship was in danger and they threw out most of its cargo, and he barely managed to get to Rhodes, which had been sacked in the war against Cassius. His friends, Ptolemy and Sappinius, welcomed him and though short of money he was fitted out a large three-decked ship 281 in which he and his friends sailed to Brundisium, and from there went on to Rome. Once there, he went first to Antony, due to his friendship with his father and explained his troubles and those of his family, and how he had left his nearest relatives besieged in a fortress and sailed to him through a storm, to beg for his help.

4.

282 Antony was sorry for Herod's changed circumstances, recalling how hospitably he had been treated by Antipater, but especially because of Herod's own virtue, so he now appointed as king of the Jews the man he had formerly made tetrarch. His struggle with Antigonus was no less a motive than his regard for Herod, for he regarded Antigonus as a rebel and an enemy of the Romans. 283 He found Caesar even better disposed than Antony, as apart from what he saw in Herod, he remembered his campaigns in Egypt with Antipater his father, who had treated him well and had shown him complete goodwill. 284 So he gathered the senate, and first Messalas and then Atratinus, introduced Herod to them and spoke of his father's merits and his own goodwill towards the Romans. They showed that Antigonus was their enemy, not only because he soon quarreled with them, but because he now ignored the Romans and ruled with help from the Parthians. These reasons moved the meeting, and then Antony came in to say it would help them in the Parthian war if Herod were king, so they all voted for it. 285 As the senate adjourned, Antony and Caesar left with Herod between them, while the consul and the rest of the magistrates went ahead, to offer sacrifices and to place the decree in the Capitol; and Antony held a feast for Herod on the first day of his reign.

Chapter 15. [286-302]
War between Herod and Antigonus; Herod relieves Masada and besieges Jerusalem

1.

286 All this time Antigonus was besieging the people in Masada, who had enough of all other essentials, but were short of water. Hearing that Malchus had had a change of heart, Herod's brother Joseph prepared to escape to the Arabs with two hundred of his friends. 287 He would have already left the fortress except that very night he was to leave, a lot of rain fell, filling his reservoirs with water and so he had no need to escape. After this they attacked Antigonus's party and killed many of them, whether in open battles or by secret ambush. But these attacks were not always successful, for sometimes they were defeated and fled.

2.

288 Meanwhile, the Roman general Ventidius was sent from Syria, to act against the Parthians, and then came into Judea, on pretext of helping Joseph's party, but in fact to get money from Antigonus. 289 After pitching camp very near Jerusalem, as soon as he had his fill of money he went off with most of his forces, leaving Silo with part of them, since it would be clear he had been bribed if he had moved them all. Antigonus hoped that the Parthians would again come to his help, but in the meantime kept on good terms with Silo in case his hopes were thwarted.

3.

290 Herod had by now sailed from Italy and arrived in Ptolemais, and as soon as he had gathered a decent army of foreigners and his countrymen, he marched through Galilee against Antigonus, with the help of Ventidius and Silo, both persuaded to support Herod by Dellius, Antony's envoy. 291 Ventidius was going around the cities settling the disturbances caused by the Parthians, and Silo was in Judea, corrupted by the bribes given to him by Antigonus. Herod was not bereft of power, but as he went along the number of his forces increased day by day, and all of Galilee, with few exceptions, took his side. 292 So he set about his most urgent task, to go to Masada and relieve his besieged household. But Joppa blocked his way and he had first to take that enemy city, so that when he went to Jerusalem he would leave his enemies no fortress to his rear. Silo willingly joined him, as he had now a plausible reason to leave, and when the Jews pursued and threatened him, Herod hurried against them with a small group of men and soon put them to flight, and saved Silo from a most insecure situation.

4.

293 So he took Joppa and rushed to Masada to rescue his relatives. Many came over to him during the march, whether drawn by their friendship with his father or by the reputation he had already won, or to repay favours received from them both. But what brought most to his side was what they hoped from him once he was firmly in charge of the kingdom, and already he had gathered an impressive army. 294 While he was on route Antigonus set an ambush for him but did the enemy little or no harm; and Herod easily rescued his relatives in Masada, took the fortress of Rhesa and then marched to Jerusalem, where Silo's soldiers joined him, as did many from the city, fearing his power.

5.

295 When he had encamped on the west side of the city, the sentries who were there shot arrows and spears at them, while others raced out in companies and attacked those in the front. Then Herod had a proclamation made at the wall that he was there for the good of the people and the safety of the city, not planning to take revenge on his declared foes, but granting amnesty to those most opposed to him. 296 Those on the side of Antigonus forbade the people to listen to the proclamation or to change sides, so Herod let his men attack the enemy on the ramparts, and with their spears they soon drove them all from the towers.

6.

297 Here Silo showed his vileness, for he got many of the soldiers to complain about their lack of essentials and to demand their pay so as to buy food and to demand to be led to suitable winter quarters, since Antigonus's army had taken everything away and all around the city was left barren. So he dismantled the camp and tried to leave. 298 But Herod went and implored the officers under Silo and many of the soldiers not to leave him, as he had been sent there by Caesar and Antony and the senate, and that he would supply their needs that very day. 299 After this petition, he quickly went into the country and brought back enough provisions to dispose of Silo's pretexts, and in order to ensure that they would not run short of supplies for the following days, he sent to the people around Samaria, for that city had joined him, to bring corn and wine and oil and livestock to Jericho. 300 When Antigonus heard of this, be sent some of his party with orders to block and ambush the men collecting the food, and in response a large crowd of warriors gathered near Jericho, waiting in the mountains for those bringing the provisions. 301 Herod was not idle but took ten cohorts, five of them Romans and five Jewish, and some mercenaries and a few cavalry and came to Jericho. When he arrived he found the city deserted, but that five hundred men, with their wives and children, had occupied the tops of the mountains. 302 These he took and then released, while the Romans attacked the rest of the city and looted it, finding the houses full of goods of all kind. So the king left a garrison at Jericho and returned and sent the Roman army to winter quarters into the cities that had come over to him, in Idumaea and Galilee and Samaria. Antigonus also, to curry favour with Antony, bribed Silo to let part of his army be stationed at Lydda.

Chapter 16. [303-322]
Herod rids Galilee of brigands; goes to Antony for further support

1.

303 So the Romans lived in luxury and took a rest from war, but Herod was not resting, but seized and held Idumaea by sending his brother Joseph there with two thousand infantry and four hundred cavalry. He did this to keep Antigonus from rebelling. He also moved his mother and all his relatives, who had been in Masada, to Samaria, and when he had settled them safely, he marched to take the remaining parts of Galilee and to drive out the garrisons of Antigonus.

2.

304 But when Herod reached Sepphoris during a very heavy snowfall, he took the city without any difficulty, as the sentries who should have guarded it fled before it was attacked. There he gave his tired followers a chance to refresh themselves, since in that city there was a large amount of supplies. Then he hurried to pursue the brigands who were in the caves, who overran most of the country and did as much harm to its inhabitants as a war could have done. 305 He sent in advance to the village of Arbela three cohorts of infantry and one troop of cavalry, and came himself forty days later with the rest of his forces. Unafraid of his attack, the enemy met him in arms, for they had the skill of infantry and the audacity of brigands. 306 When it came to a pitched battle, they put Herod's left wing to flight with their right, but Herod, wheeling about suddenly from his own right wing, came to the rescue and both turned back his own left wing from its flight and attacked the pursuers and cooled their courage until, unable to bear his direct onslaughts, they turned around and fled.

3.

307 Herod pursued them as far as the Jordan, killing as he went, so that many were lost and the remainder were scattered beyond the river. So Galilee was freed from those who had terrorised it, apart from those still remaining hidden in caves, whose defeat required a longer time. 308 Before proceeding with this, Herod distributed to the soldiers the fruits of their labours, giving each of them a hundred and fifty drachmae of silver and a great deal more to their officers, and sent them into their winter quarters. He also sent to his youngest brother Pheroras, to look after their provisions, and also to build a wall around Alexandreion, and he attended to both of these.

4.

309 Meanwhile Antony stayed at Athens, while Ventidius called for Silo and Herod to come to the war against the Parthians, but ordered them first to settle the affairs of Judea. Herod willingly released Silo to go to Ventidius, but he himself led an army against the bandits in the caves. 310 These caves were in the precipices of craggy mountains and could not be got at from any side, since they had only some winding and very narrow pathways leading up to them, and the rock in front of them reared above valleys of huge depth and almost perpendicular slope. For a long time the king pondered what to do, because of the near impossibility of attacking the place, and finally came up with a hazardous plan. 311 By means of ropes he let down the hardiest of his men in baskets and set them at the mouths of the caves. These then killed the brigands and their families and if they resisted, they sent in fire upon them, but since Herod wished to save some of them, he had a proclamation made, calling them out to him. Not one of them came willingly, and of the people forced to come, many opted for death rather than captivity.

312 One old man, a father of seven, whose children and their mother asked him to let them leave under Herod's assurance, killed them in this way. He ordered them out one by one, while he stood at the entrance and killed each of his sons who came out. Herod was near enough to see this sight and was moved by the pathos of it and stretched out his hand to the old man imploring him to spare his children. 313 Unwilling to go back on what he had said, the man further insulted Herod on his ignoble descent, then killed his wife and children, and when he had thrown their bodies down the cliff, he finally threw himself down after them.

5.

314 By this means Herod subdued these caves and their dwellers, and leaving there under the command of Ptolemy, enough of his army to prevent any rebellion, he returned to Samaria with three thousand armed infantry and six hundred cavalry, to fight Antigonus. 315 Here those used to rioting in Galilee, being free to do so after he left, suddenly attacked Ptolemy, the general of his forces, and killed him and ravaged the country and then retreated to the bogs and inaccessible places. 316 Hearing of the revolt, Herod quickly came to the help of the area and killed many of the rebels and besieged their fortresses. Then he imposed on the towns a tax of a hundred talents, as punishment for their desertion.

6.

317 Once the Parthians had been driven from the land and Pacorus had been killed, at Antony's command Ventidius sent a thousand cavalry and two legions to help Herod against Antigonus. In a letter, Antigonus implored their general, Macheras, to side with him and bitterly complained about Herod's violence and the wrongs he did to the kingdom, and promised to give him money in return for his help. 318 Macheras did not accept this invitation to betray his trust, unwilling to insult the one who had sent him, especially as Herod paid him even better. So he pretended to be friends with Antigonus, but came as a spy to find out his plans, although in this he did not listen to Herod's advice, not to do so. 319 But Antigonus knew his intentions in advance and kept him out from the city and from the ramparts defended himself against him as against an enemy, until Macheras was ashamed of himself and retreated to Herod in Emmaus. Enraged and disappointed, he killed any Jews he met, without sparing those on Herod's side, but treating them all as if they were in favour of Antigonus.

7.

320 Herod was furious with him for this, and was going to attack Macheras as an enemy, but he stifled his wrath and went to Antony to accuse Macheras of criminal actions. But Macheras was made aware of his offences and soon came to the king to earnestly beg for, and receive, his pardon. 321 But Herod did not abandon his plan to go to Antony, for hearing that with a large army he was besieging Samosata, a strong city near the Euphrates, he hurried there, seeing it as a suitable chance to show his courage and also do something on behalf of Antony. 322 When he arrived, he put an end to the siege and killed many of the barbarians and seized large amounts of loot, so that Antony, who already admired his courage, now admired it still more and heaped further honours on him and gave him firmer hopes of gaining his kingdom; and king Antiochus was forced to hand over Samosata.

Chapter 17. [323-346]
Herod's Good Fortune in War. His marriage to Mariamne

1.

323 Meanwhile, Herod's affairs in Judea were doing badly. He had left his brother Joseph with full power, but had instructed him to make no attempts against Antigonus until his return, for Macheras would not be a dependable ally, as was seen from what he had done already. But as soon as Joseph heard that his brother was far away, he disobeyed the order and marched on Jericho with five cohorts sent by Macheras to take away the corn in the height of summer. 324 But his enemies attacked him in narrow places in the mountains, and though he put up a brave fight he was killed, along with the entire Roman cohorts, which were newly drafted from Syria, with no mixture of so-called "veterans" among them to support the raw recruits.

2.

325 This victory was not enough for Antigonus, for in his rage he dishonoured Joseph's corpse. Taking the slain body, he cut off his head, although his brother Pheroras would have paid a price of fifty talents to redeem it. 326 The affairs of Galilee were so chaotic that after this victory of Antigonus, his men brought the officers of Herod's side to the lake and drowned them there. Great changes also took place in Idumaea, where Macheras was building a wall around one of the fortresses, called Gittha. 327 Herod had not yet been told this news, for after the taking of Samosata, Antony had set Sosius over the affairs of Syria with orders to help Herod against Antigonus, and left for Egypt. Sosius sent two legions before him into Judea to help Herod and followed soon afterward, with the rest of his army.

3.

328 When Herod was in Daphne, near Antioch, he had some dreams that were a clear forewarning of his brother's death, and as he jumped madly out of bed, messengers came to tell him of that sad reality. After grieving for a while, he posponed the main part of his mourning and hurried to march against his enemies; 329 and reaching Libanus by a superhuman march, he got the help of eight hundred men from the population living near that mountain. With these and one Roman legion he invaded Galilee before daybreak, and met his enemies and drove them back to the place from which they came. 330 He also made an immediate attack on the fortress, but before he could take it, he was forced by a terrible storm to encamp in the neighbouring villages. A few days later, when the second legion from Antony joined him, the enemy were afraid of his power and abandoned their fort during the night.

4.

331 Afterwards he made a quick march through Jericho to take revenge on his brother's murderers. A providential thing happened to him there, a near escape which won him the reputation of being very dear to God. One evening he was dining with many people of influence, and after the feast was over and all the guests had left, the house collapsed. 332 He judged this to be a general sign of the dangers he would face in the war he was entering, and how he would escape them. Next morning he set off with his army, when about six thousand of the enemy raced down from the mountains and began fighting with his advance guard. They did not dare to engage the Romans hand to hand, but threw stones and spears at them at a distance and in this way they wounded quite a number; and during this action Herod was wounded in the side by an arrow.

5.

333 Antigonus, wishing to be seen to exceed Herod's men in number as well as courage, sent an army to Samaria under one of his companions, Pappus. 334 There Macheras opposed him and Herod overran the enemy's country and demolished five small towns, killing two thousand men in them and burning their houses, and then returned to his camp, head-quartered in a village called Cana.

6.

335 A large crowd of Jews resorted to him every day, both from Jericho and the other parts of the country. Some were moved to do so from hatred to Antigonus and some because of the exploits Herod had done, but many were led on by a mindless lust for change. He was thirsting for battle, but Pappus and his party, undeterred by their numbers or their ardour, marched out against them boldly. 336 During the action, the enemy resisted for a while in some areas, but Herod, raging at the murder of his brother, risked everything in order to take revenge on those who had caused it, soon defeated those within his reach, and then turned his force against those still facing him and routed them all. 337 There was great slaughter and they were forced back to the village from which they came. He pressed hard on the rearguard and killed many of them, and following in after the enemy, he found every house full of infantry and the rooftops crowded with soldiers for their defense. 338 After defeating them in the open, he pulled the houses to pieces and captured the people inside. He had the roofs brought down on top of many, killing them in droves. Soldiers waited with drawn swords for those who fled from the ruins, and the number killed and lying in heaps was so great that the roads were impassable to the victors. 339 The enemy could not stand up to this blow, and when those of them who rallied saw those slain in the village, they scattered and fled. Buoyed up by this victory, Herod would have marched on Jerusalem immediately, if a fierce storm had not prevented it. This was what lay in the way of his victorious progress and it prevented Antigonus, who was disposed to forsake the city, from being instantly defeated.

7.

340 That evening after sending his companions to refresh themselves after their fatigue, Herod himself, still warm in his armour, had gone like a common soldier to bathe himself with just one servant attending him. Just before he got into the bath, one of the enemy met him face to face with sword in hand, followed by a second and a third and still more of them. 341 These were men who had run away from the battle in their armour, and into the bath-house, and had hidden there for some time, in great terror. When they saw the king, even though he was naked, they quaked with fear and ran past him, making for the exits. By chance there was nobody else nearby to seize these men, and Herod was content to have come to no harm, so they all escaped.

8.

342 But the next day Herod had Pappus's head cut off, Antigonus' general who was killed in the battle, and sent it to his brother Pheroras, by way of atonement for their killed brother, for he was the man who had killed Joseph. 343 As winter was ending, Herod marched to Jerusalem and brought his army to its wall; this was the third year since he had been made king in Rome. He encamped before the temple, for on that side it might be besieged and it was there that Pompey had taken the city. 344 So he divided the work among the army and demolished the suburbs, and raised three ramparts, having towers built on those ramparts and leaving the work to the most active of his associates. He himself went to Samaria, to marry the daughter of Alexander, son of Aristobulus, who had earlier been betrothed to him as already said, and so he accomplished this as an aside, during the siege of the city, for already he held his enemies in deep contempt.

9.

345 After his marriage, he returned to Jerusalem with a greater army. Sosius also joined him with a large army, both cavalry and infantry, which he sent before him through the interior, while he himself marched by the route of Phoenicia 346 When the whole army was gathered, eleven regiments of infantry and six thousand cavalry, besides the Syrian allies, a significant force, they encamped near the north wall. Herod's depended upon the senate's decree which made him king, and Sosius relied upon Antony, who sent his army to Herod's help.

Chapter 18. [347-363]
Herod captures Jerusalem; death of Antigonus. He appeases the greed of Cleopatra

1.

347 The Jewish population in the city was divided into several factions, for the people who crowded around the temple, being the weaker of them, claimed that as the times were, the man who died first was the best and most godly. But the braver and hardier gathered in groups and began robbing others in various ways and particularly looted the places near the city, as there was no food left either for horses or men. 348 Some of the trained warriors were appointed to defend the city during the siege and to drive off from the wall the men raising the earthworks, and these were always inventing some machine or other to oppose the machines of the enemy, but in nothing did they have as much success as in the mines they dug.

2.

349 To deal with the robberies the king had ambushes set to restrain them, and to allow the needed provisions be brought in from far away. He overcame the Jews through the Romans' skill in the art of war, though they were extremely brave. 350 Now they dared not have a pitched battle with the Romans, which would be certain death, but by tunneling under ground they would suddenly turn up among them and before they could batter down one wall, they built themselves another in its place, and in a word, they lacked neither energy or ideas, having decided to hold out to the last. 351 Although besieged by such a large army they withstood the siege for five months, until some of Herod's crack troops dared to climb the wall and jump into the city, as did the centurions of Sosius after them. First they seized the area around the temple, and as the army poured in, thousands were slaughtered everywhere, because of the rage of the Romans at the long siege and because the Jews who supported Herod wanted none of their opponents to survive. 352 So they were cut to pieces in throngs, as they were herded in narrow streets and houses, or fleeing to the temple; nor was any mercy showed either to infants or to the aged, or to the weakness of women. Though the king sent round asking them to spare lives, none could be persuaded to refrain from slaughter, but madly they killed people of all ages. 353 Then Antigonus, with no regard to his former or present fate, came down from the fortress and fell at Sosius's feet, who with no pity for the change of his condition, laughed him to scorn and called him Antigona. Still he did not treat him like a woman, or let him go free, but put him into chains and kept him guarded.

3.

354 Herod's immediate concern, now that he had his enemies under his control, was to restrain his foreign allies, for these foreigners were eager to see the temple and even the most sacred part of the sanctuary. but the king tried to restrain them, partly by pleas and partly by force, thinking the victory would be worse than defeat for him, if they saw what they ought not to see. 355 He also forbade them to ransack the city asking Sosius whether the Romans, if they emptied the city of money and men, wished to leave him king of a desert, for he thought that to rule over the whole world would not be worth the murder of so many citizens. 356 To the objection that it was only fair to allow the soldiers this looting as a reward for their patience during the siege, he replied that he would reward every one of the soldiers out of his own money. So he purchased the safety of his country and carried out his promises and gave a fine gift to each soldier and similarly to their officers and a most royal bounty to Sosius himself, so that nobody went away empty-handed. 357 Sosius dedicated a crown of gold to God and then left Jerusalem, taking Antigonus in chains to Antony. Though he clung to some forlorn hope of his life to the end, the axe put an end to this man's life, as he well deserved for his ignoble actions.

4.

358 King Herod then divided the the city population into two groups, binding those who had sided with him still more to him by the honours he granted them, but killing those who had been with Antigonus. Then, as his money was running low, he converted all his jewels into money and sent it to Antony and to those about him. 359 Yet even with this he could not buy exemption from all wrongs, for Antony was now bewitched with love for Cleopatra and entirely in the grip of passion. Now Cleopatra had done away with all her clan so that none of her blood-relatives remained alive; 360 then she set to killing outsiders, and calumniated the leading Syrians to Antony and persuaded him to have them killed, to facilitate her in taking over their property, and as her greed reached out towards the Jews and Arabs, she secretly worked for the destruction of their kings, Herod and Malchus.

5.

361 Antony complied in part with her directions, and though he reckoned it too vile to kill such good and worthy kings, yet his former friendship for them grew less, and he annexed to her a large amount of their territory, even the plantation of palm trees at Jericho, where the balsam grows, and all the cities on this side of the river Eleutherus, except Tyre and Sidon. 362 When she became mistress of these and had accompanied Antony to the Euphrates in his expedition against the Parthians, she came by Apamia and Damascus into Judea, where Herod mollified her by large gifts. He also leased from her the parts of his kingdom that had been torn away, at the yearly rent of two hundred talents, and conducted her as far as Pelusium, showing her every possible respect. 363 Not long after this, Antony returned from Parthia bringing with him Tigranes's son, Artabazes, as a prisoner and gift to Cleopatra, for the Parthian was soon given to her, with his money and all the booty belonging to him.

Chapter 19. [364-385]
Cleopatra has Herod sent to fight the Arabs. Herod avoids Actium, and wins with difficulty

1.

364 When the Actium war began, Herod prepared to come to Antony's help, as he was rid of his troubles in Judea and had taken Hyrcania, a place held by Antigonus's sister. 365 However, by Cleopatra's cunning he was hindered from sharing in Antony's risks. For since, as we have already noted, she had schemed against the kings, she persuaded Antony to entrust the war against the Arabs to Herod. In this way, she would become mistress of Arabia if he got the better in it, and of Judea if he were defeated, and so she could use one of the kings to destroy the other.

2.

366 However, this scheme benefitted Herod, for first he raided the enemy and gathered a large troop of cavalry and descended on the area of Diospolis and defeated them, though they fought him resolutely. This badly shook the Arabs and vast crowds of them gathered at Kanatha, a city of Coele-Syria, to await the Jews. 367 When Herod arrived he tried to manage this war with particular care and ordered them to build a defensive wall around their camp. His men, however, did not follow those orders, but were so emboldened by their foregoing victory that they soon attacked the Arabs and defeated them at the first onset and then pursued them, but a trap was set for Herod in that pursuit. Athenio, one of Cleopatra's generals and always an opponent to Herod, 368 sent out the men of that country from Kanatha against him. At this fresh onset, the Arabs took courage and turned back and gathered their numerous forces around rocky places, hard to overcome, and there routed Herod's men and slaughtered many of them; while those who escaped from the battle fled to Ormiza, where the Arabs surrounded their camp and took it, with all the men in it.

3.

369 Shortly after this disaster, Herod came to their help, but he came too late. The cause of that setback was that the officers would not obey orders, for if the battle had not begun so suddenly, Athenio would not have found occasion to lay the trap for Herod, though later he got even with the Arabs and overran their country and did them more harm than their single victory could compensate. 370 But as he was avenging himself on his enemies, he met another providential disaster, for in the seventh year of his reign, at the height of the war around Actium, at the beginning of spring, there was an earthquake that destroyed a huge number of livestock and thirty thousand people, though the army received no harm, because it was in the open country. 371 The report of this earthquake raised the courage of the Arabs, thinking (from the exaggerated rumours about it, as usually happens in tragic events) that all Judea had been destroyed. At this idea that they could easily take over a land that was devoid of inhabitants, they marched into Judea, after first killing the envoys who had come to them from the Jews. 372 The Jewish nation were frightened by this invasion and dispirited at the extent of these successive disasters, but Herod got them together and urged them to defend themselves by the following speech:

4.

373 "This dread that grips you seems to me very unreasonable. It is right to be dismayed by the strokes fate has dealt you, but to let yourselves be equally terrified of attack by men is unmanly. Far from fearing our enemies after this earthquake, I think that with it God has laid a trap for the Arabs that we may be avenged on them. Their present invasion owes more to our accidental troubles than to any great confidence in their weapons, or their fitness for action. 374 Any hope which depends not on men's own power, but on others' poor success, is a very fragile thing, for there is no certainty among men, either in their bad or good fortunes, but you know how mutable fortune passes from one side to another as you can can see from your own experience. For when you were winning in a previous fight, your enemies defeated you in the end, and it is likely now that these who think themselves sure of victory will be defeated. When they are very confident they are not on their guard, while fear teaches men to act with caution. Now I dare to prove from your very timorousness that you should take heart. 375 It was when you were bolder than you should have been, bolder than I wanted, and you kept going, that Athenio's treachery took place, but your present slowness and seeming dejection of mind is to me a pledge and assurance of victory. 376 It is right to be so careful in advance, but once we come to action we should raise our minds and make these scoundrels believe that no human or providential setback can lower the courage of Jews while they are still alive, and none of them will ever give in to, or let his goods be taken by, an Arab, whom so often he was near to capturing. 377 Do not worry about the quaking of inanimate nature, or imagine that this earthquake is a sign of another disaster. Such shaking of the elements is in the course of nature, and imports no more to humans than the immediate harm it causes. In case of plague, famine and earthquake some sign may come shortly beforehand, but the force of the disasters is spent when they are over. What greater harm can the war, even a violent one, do to us than the earthquake has done? 378 The great sign of our enemies' doom is not a natural one, nor anything done by foreigners. It is that they cruelly murdered our envoys, contrary to the common law of mankind, and treated them as sacrifices for God, for their succes in to this war! But they will not escape his great eye or his mighty right hand, and we shall be revenged on them soon, if we still show any of the courage of our ancestors and rise up boldly to punish these treaty-breakers. 379 Let every one therefore go on and fight, not so much for his wife and children or his country's danger, but to avenge our envoys. They will wage this war better than we, the living. If you will follow me, I will go at your head into the danger, for your courage is irresistible, unless you damage yourselves by rash actions.

5.

380 When Herod had encouraged them by this speech and saw how eagerly they went, he offered sacrifice to God and crossed the river Jordan with his army and encamped near Philadelphia, close to the enemy, around a stronghold that lay between them. He fired missiles at them and wished to come hand-to-hand soon, for some of them had been sent in advance to capture that stronghold. 381 These were soon driven from the stronghold by those sent the king, while he himself went ahead of the army in battle-array, and daily invited the Arabs to come out and fight. But as none of them came out of their camp, for they were in a panic and their general, Elthemus, was paralysed with fear, Herod came up them and pulled their stronghold to pieces. 382 This forced them to come out and fight, which they did in confusion and with their cavalry and infantry all mixed together. Though superior in number to the Jews, they showed less vigour, though their very despair of victory made them reckless.

6.

383 As long as they faced the enemy not many were killed, but as soon as they turned their backs many were killed by the Jews and many were trodden to death by their own men, until five thousand had fallen in their flight and the rest escaped immediate death by crowding into the fortress. Herod surrounded these and besieged them, and as they were about to be taken by arms, an additional problem was thirst and lack of water. 384 The king scorned to listen to their envoys, and when they offered five hundred talents as the price of their ransom, he pressed still harder upon them. Parched with thirst, they came out in crowds and freely surrendered to the Jews, until four thousand of them were put in chains within five days, and on the sixth day the remnant came out to fight, in desperation. 385 Herod fought these and killed about seven thousand, so that having punished Arabia so severely and broken the spirits of the men, he was chosen by the nation as their Protector.

Chapter 20. [386-400]
Caesar Augustus confirms Herod as king. He restores what Cleopatra had taken

1.

386 Herod was instantly embroiled in a crisis of his affairs, due to his friendship with Antony, who had been defeated at Actium by Caesar, but he made others even more fearful than himself, for Caesar did not think he had truly finished with Antony, as long as Herod remained. 387 The king decided to risk the danger and sailed off to Rhodes, where Caesar was staying, and came to him without his crown and in the dress and appearance of a private citizen, though he was royal in his demeanour. Hiding nothing of the truth, he said straight out, 388 "Caesar, since I was made king of the Jews by Antony, I admit that I used my royal authority entirely on his behalf. I do not deny that you would certainly have found me in arms and supporting him, if the Arabs had not hindered me. Indeed, I took his side as best I could and sent him many thousand measures of corn. Even after his defeat at Actium I did not desert my benefactor but advised him as best I could, 389 being no longer able to help him in the war, and said that the only way to recover his standing was by the death of Cleopatra. With her dead I promised to give him money and the safety of my walls, with an army and myself to take part in his war against you. 390 But his passion for Cleopatra blocked his ears, as also did God, who has granted you the power to rule. I see myself as defeated along with him and with the end of his good fortune I set aside my crown and have come here to you, entrusting my survival to your virtue and hoping you will consider how faithful a friend and not whose friend, I have been."

2.

391 To this Caesar said, "Yoy will not only survive but be king, more firmly than ever. You are worthy to rule many subjects, because of your steadfast friendship. After my success, you must remain equally faithful to me, and with your generous disposition I depend on it. It is just as well that Antony preferred Cleopatra to you, for her madness gained you for us. 392 And it seems you have already begun to be of service, for Quintus Didius wrote to me about the help you sent him against the gladiators. So I assure you that I will confirm you as king by a decree, and will do still more for you, so that you will not miss Antony."

3.

393 After saying these gracious things to the king and putting the diadem on his head, he proclaimed the grant by decree, in which he further praised the man in magnificent style. Her responded to his kindness with gifts, and asked him to pardon Alex, one of Antony's friends, who had also come to him as a supplicant. But Caesar's anger prevailed and he rejected the petition, blaming the many offenses committed by the supplicant. 394 Later when Caesar proceeded to Egypt via Syria, Herod received him with royal extravagance, riding in front alongside him as he was reviewing his army near Ptolemais, and held a banquet for him and all his friends and then provided all the needful for a feast for the rest of the army. 395 He also supplied plenty of water for their march through the desert to Pelusium, and did the same on their return, providing the army with all it needed. It was therefore the view of both Caesar and his soldiers that Herod's kingdom was too narrow in light of the generous gifts he made them. 396 For this reason, when Caesar reached Egypt after the death of Cleopatra and Antony, along with other marks of honour he added to his kingdom, giving him not only the territory Cleopatra had taken from him, but also Gadara and Hippos and Samaria, and the maritime cities of Gaza, Anthedon, Joppa and Strato's Tower. 397 He also made him a gift of four hundred Gauls to serve as his bodyguard, as they had previously been to Cleopatra. Nothing so strongly impelled Caesar to make these gifts as the generosity of the one receiving them.

4.

398 Moreover, after the first games at Actium, he added to his kingdom the region called Trachonitis and the neighbouring Batanea, plus the district of Auranitis, on the following occasion. Zenodorus, who had rented the house of Lysanias, regularly sent brigands from Trachonitis among the Damascenes, who soon had recourse to Varro, the ruler of Syria, asking him to inform Caesar of their plight. Hearing of it, Caesar sent back orders for this nest of brigands to be destroyed. 399 So Varro made war on them and cleared them from the land, which he then took from Zenodorus. Later Caesar bestowed it on Herod, to prevent it becoming again a refuge for the brigands going out against Damascus. Ten years later, when he came again to that province, he also made him a procurator for all Syria, with a decree that the other procurators could do nothing in the administration without his advice. 400 After Zenodorus died, Caesar gave him all the land between Trachonitis and Galilee. Even more important to Herod was that he was Caesar's best friend after Agrippa, and Agrippa's best friend after Caesar, which brought him great prosperity, surpassed only by the greatness of his soul; and most of his ambition was directed to piety.

Chapter 21. [401-430]
Herod the builder: Temple and Fortress. Herod's Generosity and Virtues

1.

401 In the fifteenth year of his reign, Herod restored the temple and surrounded the area around it with a retaining wall, making the area twice as large as it was before, spending huge amounts of money and giving it unrivalled splendour. Examples of this are the great porticoes round the temple, plus the fortress on its north side. The porticoes he built from the ground up, but the fortress he repaired at a vast expense in the style of a palace and called it Antonia, in honour of Antony. 402 He also built for himself in the Upper city, a palace with two large apartments, both very beautiful though in no way comparable to the temple, and he named them after his friends, Caesareum and Agrippeum.

2.

403 It was not in these buildings only that he commemorated the names of his patrons, for his generosity went as far as entire cities. In the land of Samaria, he enclosed an area within a fine wall twenty furlongs long, and into it brought six thousand inhabitants, allotting to it a fruitful territory. In the middle of this city he built a large temple to Caesar, enclosed by three furlongs and a half of sacred land, and he named the city Sebaste, from Sebastus [Augustus]
,
and gave special privelges to the citizens.

3.

404 When Caesar later gave him further territory he also built a temple there, in white marble, near the fountains of the Jordan, in a place called Panium. 405 Above it a mountain-top rises to an immense height at whose base is a dark cave, within which there is a chasm descending abruptly to a vast depth. This contains a huge volume of still water, so deep that no plumbline is long enough to measure it right to the bottom. 406 The visible part of the Jordan begins beneath this cavern, and some think this is the river's absolute source, but we will discuss this properly, later.

4.

407 The king also built between the Cypros fortress and the former palace in Jericho, other places for guests which he furnished more commodiously, naming them after the same friends of his. In a word, there was hardly a suitable place in his kingdom where he did not build something in Caesar's honour, and after filling his own district with temples, he lavished similar marks of his esteem throughout his province and built in many cities monuments to Caesar.

5.

408 He found on the coast a city called Strato's Tower, much decayed but due to its favourable location capable of being greatly improved by his skill. This he rebuilt in white stone and adorned with splendid palaces, as the best example of the grandeur of his spirit. 409 The coast between Dora and Joppa, between which this city stands, had no good harbour, so that everyone sailing from Phoenicia for Egypt was obliged to anchor in the stormy sea, in the teeth of the south winds. When this wind blew even gently, it dashes such vast waves upon the rocks that their return causes huge turbulence a long way out to sea. 410 But driven by ambition and at great expense the king triumphed over nature and built a harbour larger than the Pyraeus and in the inner recesses of the bay he built deep docking stations.

6.

411 Although the place where he built was very difficult, he tackled the task so fully that his solid buildings could not easily be ruined by the sea, and the beauty and ornamentation of the works made it seem that he had made them with ease. After measuring out the large harbour as we have said, he let down rocks into twenty fathoms of water, most of them fifty feet long and nine deep and ten broad, and some even larger. 412 Once the harbour filled up to that depth, he built up the causeway two hundred feet wide and jutting above the sea; one hundred feet of which were structured so as to break the force of the waves, from which it was called the Breakwater. The rest of the harbour was surrounded by a stone wall. There were large towers on this wall, the first and most beautiful of which was called Drusium, for Caesar's son-in-law, Drusus.

7.

413 There were also many arches in the wall, where the sailors could put in, and in front of them was a large promenade for people coming ashore. Its entrance was to the north, because there the northerly was the gentlest wind of all. At the mouth of the harbour on each side were three great Colossi, supported by pillars, and as you sail into the port those on the left are supported by a solid tower, but those on the right are supported by two upright stones joined together, and larger than the tower on the other side of the entrance. 414 Adjoining the harbour were houses built of white stone, and the narrow streets of the city leading to the harbour were all equidistant from each other. Facing the mouth of the harbour, upon a rise, was a temple to Caesar, excellent in beauty and size, and within it a Colossus of Caesar, no smaller than that of Olympian Zeus, which it resembled, and one of Rome, the equal to that of Juno at Argos. So he gave the city to the province and the harbour to the sailors but the honour of the building he gave to Caesar, by naming it Caesarea.

8.

415 The other buildings he put up, amphitheatre and theatre and agora, were worthy of the city's name. He also appointed games for every fifth year, naming them "Caesar's Games" and inaugurated them at the hundred and ninety-second Olympiad, offering huge prizes, so that not only the victors but those who came second and even in third place, shared in his royal bounty. 416 He also rebuilt Anthedon, a coastal city that had been demolished in the wars and named it Agrippeum, and showed his great affection for his friend Agrippa by having his name engraved upon the gate he had erected in the temple.

9.

417 He also loved his father, if anyone ever did so. As a memorial to his father he built a city in the finest plain in his kingdom, with rivers and trees in abundance, and called it Antipatris. Above Jericho he also built a wall around a fortress, a very strong and very fine building, and dedicating it to his mother he called it Cypros. 418 Moreover, he dedicated to his brother Phasael a tower in Jerusalem, whose structure, size and magnificence we shall describe later. He also built another city in the valley that leads northward from Jericho and named it Phasaelis.

10.

419 Just as he perpetuated the memory of his family and friends, he did not neglect a memorial for himself. On a hill shaped like a woman's breast, sixty furlongs from Jerusalem, he built a high fortress calling both it and the mountain by his own name, Herodium. 420 He lavished it ambitiously with curious art and built round towers at its top and filled the remaining space with costly palaces. Not only were the inner apartments splendid to behold, but he spent a fortune on the outer walls and partitions and roofs. Besides, he brought a large volume of water from a great distance, at vast expense, and had a gradient of two hundred steps of the whitest marble leading up to it, for the hill was itself moderately high and entirely artificial. 421 He also built other palaces at the base of the hill, well furnished to accommodate his friends too. In short, as it contained all essentials, the fortress seemed like a city, but its ramparts made it look like like a palace.

11.

422 After building so much, he was generous also to quite a few other cities abroad. He built gymnasia in Tripoli and Damascus and Ptolemais, and built a wall around Byblus, and large rooms, porticoes, temples and market-places in Berytus and Tyre, with theatres in Sidon and Damascus. He also built aqueducts for the Laodiceans living by the sea-side, and for those of Ascalon he built baths and costly fountains, and porticoes round a court, admirable in workmanship and size. 423 To some people he dedicated groves and meadows and donated land to various cities as if they were part of his own kingdom. He also granted annual revenues to exercise centres and provided gifts in perpetuity for them and for the people of Cos. 424 He donated corn to all who needed it and gave large sums of money to Rhodes for building ships, and often did the like in other places. When Apollo's temple burned down, he rebuilt it at his own expense, better than it was before. 425 Need I speak of the gifts he gave to the Lycians and Samnians, or of his great generosity through all Ionia, when people were in need. Are not the Athenians and Spartans and Nicopolitans and Pergamus in Mysia, full of things donated by Herod? Did he not pave with polished marble the large open space in Antioch in Syria, twenty furlongs long, previously shunned by everyone because it was full of dirt and filth, and adorn the paved area with a portico equally long?

12.

426 One could say that these favours were enjoyed only by the particular places on which they were bestowed, while his gift to the Eleans was shared not only by all of Greece, but by the whole world, wherever one hears of the glory of the Olympic games. 427 For when he realised how these had failed for lack of money, and with them what remained of ancient Greece, he not only joined in as a combatant when the quinquennial games were revived, which as he sailed to Rome he happened to be present at, but he granted them revenues in perpetuity, so that his fame as a combatant there would not be forgotten. 428 There was no end to his payments of debts or tributes on people's behalf, as he relieved the people of Phasaelis, Batanea and the small cities around Cilicia, of the annual tributes they used to pay. Often his soul was troubled by anxiety about being envied, or seeming to overreach himself, when he bestowed more generous gifts upon these cities than did their owners themselves.

13.

429 Herod was as healthy in body as in soul and was always an excellent hunter, where he generally had success through his skill in riding horses, and he killed forty wild beasts in a single day, for the country has wild boars and lots of stags and wild donkeys. 430 He was also an invincible warrior and many have admired his his physical fitness, seeing his precision in throwing the javelin and his accuracy with the bow and arrow. Besides these gifts of mind and body, he enjoyed good fortune and seldom failed in his wars, and whenever he did fail, he was not himself to blame, but either he was betrayed or the rashness of his soldiers caused his defeat.

Chapter 22. [431-444]
Herod's domestic troubles & murder. Mariamne is accused and condemned

1.

431 To counterbalance Herod's enormous public successes, fortune gave him domestic troubles, and he began to have strife within his family on account of his wife, of whom he was so very fond. 432 For when he came to power he set aside the Jerusalem woman named Doris, whom he had married earlier when he was a private citizen, and married Mariamne, the daughter of Alexander, son of Aristobulus. Disturbances soon arose in his family on her account, but mainly after his return from Rome. 433 Firstly, for the sake of his sons by Mariamne, he expelled Antipater the son of Doris from the city, and never allowed him to come there except at the festivals. Then he killed his wife's grandfather, Hyrcanus, when he had returned to him from Parthia, on the suspicion that he was plotting against him. This Hyrcanus had been taken prisoner to Barzapharnes when he overran Syria. His own countrymen beyond the Euphrates wanted him to stay with them, sympathising for his condition, 434 and if he had heeded them when they urged him not to go back across the river to Herod, he would not have died. But his granddaughter's wedding was his undoing, for as he trusted him and was over-fond of his own country, he returned to attend it. Herod's hatred towards him was not because Hyrcanus made any attempt to gain the kingdom, but because he had a better claim to the throne than himself.

2.

435 Of Herod's five children by Mariamne, two were daughters and three were sons. The youngest of these sons was educated in Rome and died there but the two eldest he treated as of royal blood, due to the nobility of their mother and because they were not born until he was king. 436 But stronger than all was his love for Mariamne, growing more ardent from day to day, which made him overlook the troubles his beloved stirred up against him. 437 But Mariamne's hatred for him was no less than his love for her. Since what he had done gave her only too just a cause to be angry with him and his affection allowed her to speak openly to him, she publicly complained of what he had done to her grandfather Hyrcanus and her brother Aristobulus. He had not spared Aristobulus though he was so young, for after granting him the high priesthood at the age of seventeen, he had him killed soon afterwards. When Aristobulus was wearing the holy vestments and came to the altar at a festival, the crowd burst out in tears, so the young man was sent by night to Jericho, where, at Herod's command, he was plunged by the Galatian guards in a swimming-pool until he drowned.

3.

438 For these reasons Mariamne spoke out scornfully against Herod and his sister and mother, while he stayed silent due to his fondness for her. The women were furious with her and accused her of adultery, which they thought most likely to move Herod to anger. 439 Among other accusations they invented to convince him, they accused her of having sent her picture to Antony in Egypt and that her lust was so wanton that she wished to show herself, even at that distance, to a man who ran wild after women, a man who could take her by force if he wishes. 440 This charge fell upon Herod like a thunderbolt and greatly troubled him, since his love for her made him jealous. Considering how king Lysanias and Malchus the Arab had met their end by the scheming of Cleopatra, he feared not only the dissolution of his own marriage, but the loss of his life.

4.

441 Therefore when he was about to go on a trip abroad, he entrusted his wife to Joseph, his sister Salome's husband, as a faithful man loyal to him due to their family connection. He also told him secretly that if Antony killed him, he should kill Mariamne. But Joseph, with no bad motive and simply to demonstrate the king's love for his wife, told her this great secret, how Herod could not bear to think of being separated from her, even by death itself. 442 When Herod returned, as they talked and with many oaths he was declaring his love for her, and how he had never felt for any other woman what he felt for her, she said back, "What a fine proof of your love was that instruction to Joseph to kill me!"

5.

443 He went mad on hearing the great secret was out, saying that Joseph would never revealed his instruction unless he had corrupted her. His passion drove him stark crazy, and leaping out of bed he ran wildly around the palace. His sister Salome took her chance to ruin Mariamne, by adding to his suspicion about Joseph, and in a jealous rage, he instantly had both of them to be killed. 444 When passion cooled, he repented, and as his anger wore off, his affection revived. Indeed his desire for her was so ardent that he could not believe she was dead, and in fits of madness thought he was speaking to her, as though she were still alive. But he learned better with time, and then his grief at her death showed as strongly his affection for her during her lifetime.

Chapter 23. [445-466]
Mariamne's sons fall under suspicion. Through Caesar they are reconciled with Herod, for a time

1.

445 Mariamne's sons inherited that hatred which had been borne their mother, and when they considered the greatness of Herod's crime towards her, they regarded him as an enemy, a mood that began while they were educated in Rome, but especially after their return to Judea, it grew still further with the years. 446 When they reached marriageable age, one of them married the daughter of their aunt Salome, who had accused their mother; the other married the daughter of Archelaus, king of Cappadocia. 447 Since both their hatred and their outspoken manner continued, their critics used this audacity to attack them and some of them told the king that both his sons were plotting against him and the one who was related to Archelaus, was preparing to flee with his father-in-law's help, in order to accuse Herod before Caesar. 448 When Herod had been well fed with these lies, he brought back Antipater, his son by Doris, to defend him against his sons and began to show him preference in every possible way.

2.

449 This change was unbearable to them. At the sight of him who was born of a mother of no distinction, the nobility of their own birth made them unable to contain their wrath, so they clearly showed the anger they felt. 450 As the anger of these sons daily increased, Antipater took care to flatter his father and had many kinds of lies told against the brothers, inventing some himself and getting others to spread further rumours about them, until finally he deprived his brothers of any hope of succeeding to the kingdom. 451 Publicly named in his father's will as his successor, he was sent to Caesar in royal apparel and with every mark of royalty except the crown. In time he was also able to re-introduce his mother into what had been Mariamne's bed. The two weapons he used against his brothers were flattery and calumny, even bringing the king think of putting his sons to death.

3.

452 The father brought Alexander as far as Rome, to accuse him before Caesar of attempting to poison him. The accused could hardly express himself for grief, but having as judge one more skilled than Antipater and wiser than Herod, he modestly avoided blaming his father, while robustly refuting the lies against himself. 453 After proving the innocence of his brother, who shared the same danger as himself, he at last complained of the wiles of Antipater and the disgrace they had suffered. He could justify himself, not only by the clear conscience he felt but also by his eloquence, for he was very good with words. 454 When finally he said that his father had power to execute them if he found them guilty, he had them all in tears, and Caesar rejected the charges and immediately reconciled them to Herod, on condition that they obey their father in all things and that he could leave the kingdom to whomever he pleased.

4.

455 Then the king returned from Rome, having seemingly forgiven these charges against his sons, but he still held them in suspicion. He was accompanied by Antipater, the source of the hatred, who did not publicly show his hand, out of reverence for the one who had reconciled them. 456 But as Herod sailed near Cilicia, he touched at Eleusa, where Archelaus treated him cordially and thanked him for sparing his son-in-law and was very pleased at their reconciliation, having earlier written to his friends in Rome to help Alexander at his trial. So he conducted Herod as far as Zephyrium and gave him gifts to the value of thirty talents.

5.

457 When Herod came to Jerusalem, he assembled the people and presented his three sons to them, apologised for his absence and greatly thanked both God and Caesar for settling his house when it was in confusion and bringing peace with his sons, which he valued more than the kingship itself, 458 "which" he said "I will hold still more firmly. For Caesar has confirmed my rule and my power to decide the succession. To thank him for his kindness and to care for my own good, I designate these three sons of mine as kings. I put my decision under God's approval and I look for yours too. They deserve the succession, one by reason of age and the other two by their noble birth. Indeed, my kingdom is large enough for even more kings. 459 Those whom Caesar has united and their father has appointed, you must uphold, giving none of them undue or unequal honours, but honouring each according to the order of his birth, for if you honour someone unduly, you gratify him less than you offend the one who is thereby slighted. 460 I will appoint to each of them the advisers and friends they must converse with, and will hold them responsible for harmony, knowing well how quarrels and rivalries arise when bad advice is given, while good company promotes natural affections. 461 But for the present I want not only these, but all the captains of my army, to centre their hopes on me alone, for I am not giving away my kingdom to my sons, but only give them royal titles; by which they may enjoy the easy side of government as princes, while the burden of decision rest upon myself whether I want it or not. 462 Let everyone consider my age, my lifestyle and my devotion, for my age is not so great that one may expect the end of my life soon; nor have I indulged in the luxurious living that cuts short the lives of the young, and I have served the Deity so well that I may reach a great age. 463 Those who cultivate a friendship with my sons aiming at my destruction will pay the price for it. I am not one to envy my own children or to forbid people to pay them respect, but I know how such compliments could make them insolent. 464 Whoever comes near them should know that if he does good I will reward him, but that if he stirs up rebellion, his malicious flattery shall gain him nothing from the one he cultivates. I expect all to be on my side, that is, on my sons' side too, for it is to their advantage that I reign and to mine that they be in harmony. 465 And you, my good children, first reflect upon sacred nature itself, which preserves affection even among wild beasts. Think then of Caesar, who has made this reconciliation among us, and thirdly, think of me, who ask of you instead of commanding you, continue as brothers. I give you royal robes and royal honours, and I pray to God to preserve my arrangement, so long as you are in harmony with each other." 466 With these words he embraced each of his sons in a friendly manner, and dismissed the people; some of whom agreed with what he said, while others who longed for change pretended not even to have heard what he said.

Chapter 24. [467-497]
Rancour between Herod's sons. Antipater wilier; the others accused of treason

1.

467 The quarrel between the brothers still continued after they parted and their suspicions of each other grew worse. Alexander and Aristobulus were bitter that the privilege of the first-born was given to Antipater, while he was angry that his brothers were to succeed him. 468 However, being an adroit character, he knew how to hold his tongue and very cunningly hid his hatred for them. They, on the other hand, trusting on the noble lineage, spoke out all that was on their minds; and many goaded them further and many of their friends acted as spies against them. 469 All that was said by Alexander was soon brought to Antipater and by Antipater it was passed on to Herod, with additions. Not the simplest thing the young man said failed to give offense, and anything he said was turned to calumny against him and if ever he was unguarded in his remarks, major conclusions were drawn from the smallest clues. 470 Antipater was constantly getting people to provoke him to say things, to provide the lies he told of him with some basis in truth, for if only one of the many stories given out about him could be proven true, it would lend credence to the rest. His own friends were all either naturally cautious in speech, or were bribed to conceal their thoughts, so that nothing of these secrets got out through them. It would be no mistake to call the life of Antipater a mystery of evil, for he either bribed Alexander's friends, or won their favour by flattery for his own ends, getting them to betray him and reveal all that he did or said. 471 So he acted very cunningly through it all and worked his way adroitly by his lies, seeming to be a decent brother while getting others to be informers. When anything was said against Alexander, he would come in and seem to oppose what was said, but would later secretly manage to get the king angry at him. 472 The whole aim of his plotting was to make it seem that Alexander was preparing to kill his father, and nothing gave such support to these lies as Antipater's own words on his behalf.

2.

473 By these means Herod was stirred up and just as his affection for the young men every day grew less, so much did it grow towards Antipater. The courtiers inclined in the same direction, some spontaneously and others by the king's instruction, and in particular Ptolemy, the king's dearest friend, and the king's brothers and all his children. For Antipater was everywhere, and what was most bitter for Alexander, Antipater's mother too was everywhere. It was she who spoke against them and was more harsh than a step-mother, and hated the queen's sons more than is usual for sons-in-law. 474 Already all were showing respect to Antipater, in hope of promotion, and the king's own alienated people, as he had ordered his most honoured friends not to approach or pay court to Alexander's circle. Herod was feared not only by his royal household but by his friends abroad, for Caesar had given him a privilege not given to other kings, to recall anyone who fled from him, even from a city not under his own jurisdiction. 475 Unaware of these traps, the young men were left unguarded and fell into them, for their father did not blame them openly, though they gradually noticed his coldness and his heightened irritation whenever anything troubled him. Antipater had also made their uncle Pheroras hostile to them, and their aunt Salome too, for he was always talking privately with her and riling her against them. 476 Alexander's wife, Glaphyra, also aggravated her resentment by talking about her nobility and genealogy and claiming to be the noblest lady in the kingdom, descended from Temenus through her father and from Darius, son of Hystaspes through her mother. 477 Further, she often mocked Herod's sister and wives for their low birth, and that they were all chosen by him for their beauty rather than for their breeding. There were several of them, as the Jews of old could marry many wives, and this king had many, all of whom hated Alexander on account of Glaphyra's boasting and insults.

3.

478 Besides the anger she felt at Glaphyra's insults, Aristobulus too had caused a quarrel with his mother-in-law, Salome, for he constantly vilified his wife for her lowly origins and complained of being married to a commoner, while his brother Alexander had married a princess. 479 Salome's daughter wept at this and told her mother, adding that Alexander had threatened the mothers of his other brothers that when he became king he would make them weavers alongside their slave-girls and make his brothers into rural scribes, joking that they were well trained for such work. Salome could not contain her anger at this, but told all to Herod and her evidence could not be doubted, as she spoke against her own son-in-law. 480 There was another calumny going around that heightened the king's anger, as he heard that they were always speaking about their mother, and while lamenting her did not refrain from cursing him and that when he gave gifts of any of Mariamne's robes to his later wives, these threatened that instead of royal robes, they would soon give them nothing but hair-cloth to wear.

4.

481 For these reasons, though rather afraid of the young men's spirit, he did not give up hope of bringing them to a better mind, so before sailing to Rome he called them to him and both threatened them in royal fashion and also paternally admonished them, urging them to love their siblings, saying that he would pardon their former offenses, if they amended in future. 482 But they denied the calumnies against them as false and claimed that their actions were just. They said that he should shut his ears against such tales and not be so quick to believe them, for there were plenty to tell lies against them, if anyone listened.

5.

483 Their immediate fear ebbed when their father agreed with this, but soon they had another worry on learning of the hostility of Salome and their uncle Pheroras. Both were significant and dangerous, especially Pheroras, who shared with Herod in everything to do with the kingship, except his crown. With his income of a hundred talents he also had the revenue from all the land beyond the Jordan which he had received as a gift from his brother, whom Caesar had made a tetrarch at his own request. Herod had taken a wife of royal blood, his own wife's sister, and after her death Herod pledged him his own eldest daughter, with a dowry of three hundred talents. 484 Pheroras refused this royal marriage, out of love for a slave-girl, which angered Herod and he married the daughter to his brother's son who was later killed by the Parthians, but after some time he set aside his anger against Pheroras and pardoned him for yielding to his passion.

6.

485 Long before, while the queen was alive, Pheroras had been accused of plotting to poison him and so many informed on him that Herod, though very fond of his brothers, came to believe what was said and to fear it. When he had tortured many who were under suspicion, he finally came to Pheroras's own friends. 486 None of them openly confessed the crime, but they admitted that he was preparing to and flee to the Parthians with the woman he loved, with the help of Costobarus, Salome's husband, a marriage arranged by the king when her former husband was executed for adultery. 487 Not even Salome was spared from calumny as Pheroras her brother alleged that she had made a marriage agreement with Silleus, the procurator of Obodas, king of Arabia, who was Herod's bitter enemy, but even when convicted of this and of all that Pheroras said about her her, she was pardoned. The king also pardoned Pheroras himself of the charges against him.

7.

488 But the fury of the whole family shifted to Alexander and all of it rested upon his head. There were three eunuchs highly esteemed by the king, as was clear from the offices they held under him: one was his butler, another prepared his supper and the third helped him into bed and slept near him. 489 By large gifts, Alexander had persuaded these men to be his bedfellows, and when this was told to the king, they were tortured and found guilty and soon confessed to their criminal intercourse with them. They also revealed the promises by which they were induced to do so and how they were tricked by Alexander, 490 telling them not to fix their hopes upon Herod, an old man who shamelessly dyed his hair, unless they thought that would make him young again, but to pay attention to the one who was to succeed him as king, whether Herod wanted it or not, and who would soon deal with his enemies and make his friends happy and blessed, and themselves above all. 491 They said that the influential men already covertly paid their respects to Alexander and that the military leaders and officers secretly came to him.

8.

492 These confessions so terrified Herod that he dared not publish them immediately, but sent spies around by night and by day, to closely enquire into all that was being done and said, and he summarily executed any who fell under suspicion. 493 The palace was soon full of horrible injustices as everyone made up lies according to their enmity or hatred for others, and there were many who used the king's bloody passion to harm those with whom they had quarreled. Calumnies were easily believed and penalties inflicted as soon as the lies were told. The man who shortly before had been accusing another found himself accused and led away to execution along with the one he had convicted, for the danger to the king's life cut the process very short. 494 He became so bitter that he could not look calmly even on those who were not accused, and was cruellest to his own friends. He forbade many of them to come to court and spoke harshly to those whom he could not actually punish. 495 To add to Alexander's troubles Antipater stirred up a group of his relatives to invent all sorts of lies against him and the king was so terrified by those slanders that he fancied he saw Alexander coming at him, sword in hand. 496 Without hesitation he put him in chains and examined his friends under torture, many of whom died in silence without saying anything against their consciences, but some, being forced to lie under torture, said that Alexander and his brother Aristobulus were plotting against him and awaiting a chance to kill him out hunting, and then escape to Rome. 497 Though quite incredible and only made because of their terrible plight, these accusations were readily believed by the king, who felt comforted when it seemed he had not been unjust to imprison his son.

Chapter 25. [498-512]
Herod's son Archelaus reconciles him with Alexander and Pheroras

1.

498 When Alexander saw that he could not win over his father, he decided to confront his grave problems and composed four books against his enemies There he admitted to the plot, but said that most of them had been in it with him, above all Pheroras and Salome, and that Salome had once come at night and forced him to lie with her, despite his wishes. 499 When these books were put into Herod's hands they shockingly implicated people of the highest rank. Archelaus soon came to Judea, fearing for his son-in-law and his daughter, and by a shrewd ruse deflected the king from doing as he had threatened. 500 For when he came he instantly called out, "Where is my son-in-law, the wretch? Let me see the face of the man who planned to murder his father, for I will tear him to pieces with my own hands! My daughter, too, I will treat the same as her fine husband, for even if she did not share in the plot, as the wife of such a man she is polluted. 501 I must admire your patience that Alexander is still alive, after this plot against you, for as I hurried here from Cappadocia, I expected to find him long since put to death for his crimes. But on account of my daughter, whom I gave to him in marriage out of regard for you, we need to consider them both. If you are too kind a father to punish your son who has schemed against you, let us shake hands and be content to join each other in expressing outrage at the matter."

2.

502 With this fine declaration, he got Herod, though still highly troubled, to relent his anger. Then he let him read the volumes composed by Alexander, and he reflected on each of its chapters, individually. By this ruse Archelaus gradually laid the blame on those mentioned in them, including Pheroras. 503 When he saw how the king believed him, he said, "We must wonder whether instead of conspiring against you, the young man was not himself conspired against by some villains, for I cannot see any reason he would fall into such a crime, since he already enjoys the advantages of royalty and is due to become one of your successors, unless others persuaded him to it, abusing the fact that young men are easily persuaded. Sometimes such people can lead astray not only young men, but old men too, and can ruin even the most splendid families and kingdoms."

3.

504 Herod agreed with what he said, and gradually calmed his anger at Alexander, but was furious with Pheroras, the main target of the four books. This man, realising the sudden change in the king's mood and that Archelaus's friendship had total influence on him and that he had no honourable way out, he saved himself by a bold stroke; turning his back on Alexander he appealed to Archelaus. 505 He replied that he could not see how to get him excused after being involved in such crimes, which clearly proved his scheming against the king and getting the young man into trouble. His only hope was to stop scheming and denying the charges and confess and beg pardon of his brother, who still felt kindly towards him; and if he did so, Archelaus would help him all he could.

4.

506 Pheroras took this advice and in order to win mercy came dressed in black and with tears in his eyes and threw himself down at Herod's feet, imploring for pardon and admitting he was guilty of all the accusations, and regretting the madness and foolishness to which, he said, the love of a woman had brought him. 507 After getting Pheroras to testify against himself, Archelaus made excuses for him and mitigated Herod's anger at him by using personal examples; for instance, when he had suffered even greater harms from his own brother, he had put the duty of nature before the passion of revenge. Kingdoms are like large bodies, where even if one member is swollen by the body's weight, the right thing is not to cut it off, but to heal it by a gentle cure.

5.

508 As he said this and more in the same vein, Herod's anger at Pheroras calmed down, but he stuck to his anger at Alexander and said that he would have his daughter divorced and taken from him. But eventually Herod was brought round to asking Archelaus on the young man's behalf to let his daughter remain his spouse. As a ruse, Archelaus said that he was free to espouse her to anyone except Alexander, though he regarded it as vital to keep the marriage intact. 509 The king then said that his son would take it as a great favour not to dissolve the marriage, especially since she and the young man already had children. After all, he dearly loved his wife, and while she remained with him she would be a good influence to keep him from offending, but her removal would drive him to desperation, while his passions would best be calmed if they were focussed at home. 510 So Archelaus let himself be persuaded, as though with difficulty, and the father was reconciled with the young man. However, he said it was essential to send him to Rome to talk with Caesar, and he had already written a full account to him of this whole matter.

6.

511 This completed the ruse by which Archelaus saved his son-in-law, and after the reconciliation they spent some time in celebrating and socialising. As he was leaving, Herod gave him a gift of seventy talents, with a golden throne set with precious stones and some eunuchs and a concubine called Pannychis, and honoured his friends in line with each one's dignity. 512 At the king's command, all his relatives gave fine gifts to Archelaus, and he was escorted as far as Antioch by Herod and his nobles.

Chapter 26. [513-533]
Eurycles the Spartan accuses Mariamne's sons. Their unavailing defence, by Euaratus of Cos

1. 513 Into Judea soon afterwards came a man far wilier than Archelaus, who not only annulled the reconciliation he had contrived for Alexander, but caused his ruination too. This was a Spartan named Eurycles, so corrupt that for the sake of money he chose to live under a king, since Greece could not supply him with enough luxury. 514 He presented Herod with splendid gifts, as a bait to entrap him and soon received them back again many times over. But he disregarded mere gifts, unless they were acquired by bathing the kingdom in blood. 515 He imposed upon the king by flattery and his power with words, and by false praise, for he soon noticed Herod's blind side and said and did everything to please him and thereby became one of his closest friends, for the king and all his associates had a high regard for the Spartan, on account of the country he came from.

2.

516 When this fellow had learned the rotten elements in the family and the quarrels between the brothers and how the father was disposed towards each of them, he chose to take lodge first in the house of Antipater, but tricked Alexander with a pretense of friendship and falsely claimed an old association with Archelaus, which soon had him treated with high regard; and instantly he also became on good terms with his brother Aristobulus. 517 When he had tested everybody's mettle, he imposed on each of them by one method or another, but was mainly in the pay of Antipater and a traitor to Alexander. To Antipater he said what a shame it was, as the eldest brother, to overlook the intrigues of those who stood in the way of his ambitions; then he reproached Alexander, because, as the son of a queen and married to a king's daughter, he would let the son of a commoner succeed to the throne, though he could count on the full support of Archelaus. 518 The young man trusted his advice, due to his pretended friendship with Archelaus, and so Alexander frankly complained to him about Antipater's behaviour towards him, saying how it would be no surprise if Herod, having killed their mother, now robbed them of her kingdom; and Eurycles pretended to pity and sympathise with him. 519 He also inveigled Aristobulus into saying similar things, and having lured both brothers to complain about their father, he went and brought these secrets to Antipater, falsely adding that the brothers were plotting against him and were about to attack him with swords. For this he received a large sum of money and began to praise Antipater to his father. 520 Finally he tried to bring about the death of Alexander and Aristobulus, by accusing them to their father, for he came to Herod claiming to be trying to save his life in return for the favours he had received from him. He said that for a long time a sword was being sharpened against him, in the hand of Alexander, but that he had postponed the stroke while pretending to help in it. 521 According to him, Alexander said that Herod was not satisfied with ruling a kingdom belonging to others and spoiling their mother's kingdom after he had killed her, but had introduced a spurious successor and proposed to hand the kingdom of their ancestors to that wretch Antipater, but that he was about to appease the shades of Hyrcanus and Mariamne and avenge them, for it would be wrong for him to gain the succession from such a father without bloodshed. 522 He added that every day there were many things to provoke him, but he kept silence so as not to draw attention to himself, for whenever mention was made of anybody's noble birth, he was silently spurned, as his father would say "nobody is nobly born except Alexander!" and think himself inglorious for lack of such birth. If he says nothing when they are hunting, it gives offense, and if he commends anyone, they take it as a joke. 523 At all times he found their father very harsh and showing no affection for any of them but Antipater. Therefore he is willing to die if this plot does not succeed, but if he kills him he has various possibilities of escape. First, he has Archelaus his father-in-law to whom he can easily flee, and then Caesar, who had never known Herod's ways. 524 This time he would not appear before him terrified as when in his father's presence, and would not be dealing only with accusations about himself, but would first speak openly about the troubles of their nation and how they are taxed to death and the luxurious ways in which the wealth is spent that was taken by bloodshed; and the kind of people who are enriched at our expense and the cities on which he bestows his favours. 525 He would also ask for an inquiry into what had been done to his grandfather and his mother and proclaim all the wrong that was in the kingdom; and for these reasons he would not be condemned as a patricide.

3.

526 When Eurycles had made this dire speech about Alexander, he praised Antipater highly as the only one of the children who cared for his father, and for countering the plot against him. At this the king's anger, which up to now had barely been kept in check, was roused to boiling point. 527 Antipater now took the chance to send others to his father accusing his brothers of holding secret conversations with Jucundus and Tyrannus, former captains of the king's cavalry who had been expelled from that rank for some offenses, which put Herod was in a mighty rage and he immediately had the men tortured. 528 But while these did not confess anything of what was alleged to the king, a letter was produced, purportedly written to the commander of a fort by Alexander, asking him to welcome himself and Aristobulus into the fort after he had killed his father and to give them weapons and any other help he could. 529 Alexander said that this letter was a forgery of Diophantus, the king's secretary, a bold man and adept at imitating anybody's handwriting, who, after forging many writings, was finally put to death for it. Herod also tortured the commander of the fort, but got nothing out of him about the accusations.

4.

530 But though he found the proofs rather weak, he had his sons put in prison, for they had been free up to now. He also regarded Eurycles, that plague upon his family who had concocted this whole business, as his saviour and benefactor and rewarded him with fifty talents. This man avoided any accurate report of what he had done, by immediately going to Cappadocia, where he got money from Archelaus under the daring pretext that he had reconciled Herod to Alexander. 531 From there he crossed over to Greece and used his ill-gotten gains for similar schemes, and twice he was accused before Caesar of filling Achaia with revolt and robbing its cities, for which he was sent into exile. So he was punished for his crime against Aristobulus and Alexander.

5.

532 It is worthwhile to contrast Euaratus of Cos with this Spartan, for as he was one of Alexander's closest friends and in his travels arrived at the same time as Eurycles, the king asked him if he thought the accusations were true, and he swore that he had never heard any such things from the young men. 533 This testimony did nothing to clear the unfortunates, for Herod was inclined to heed only what told against them and was showed favour to anyone who believed them guilty and shared his anger at them.

Chapter 27. [534-551]
Mariamne's sons are condemned. Herod executes Aristobulus and Alexander

1.

534 Herod's savagery against his sons was further sharpened by Salome. Aristobulus wished to involve her, his mother-in-law and his aunt, in the danger that threatened himself, so he sent to her to look out for her own safety since the king was preparing to put her to death, as it was alleged that formerly, when she wanted to marry Syllaeus the Arabian, she had revealed the king's secrets to him, the king's enemy. 535 This was the blast that finally sank the storm-tossed youths. For Salome hurried to the king and told him of their warning, and he could bear it no longer, but had both youths arrested and kept apart from each other. then he sent to Caesar the general of his army, Volumnius, with his friend Olympus, bringing a written account of these developments. 536 When they had sailed to Rome and delivered the king's letters, Caesar was very anxious about the case of the young men, but did not think he should take away from the father the power to condemn his sons. 537 He wrote back assigning him the power over his sons, adding that it would be well to examine in open court this matter of the plot against him, using his own relatives and the leaders of the province as assessors. If those sons were found guilty, he should execute them, but if they seemed to have wanted only to escape from him, their punishment should be less.

2.

538 Herod took this advice and came to Berytus, as Caesar had said, and there assembled the court. As Caesar had written, the presidents sat first, Saturninus and Pedanius and their lieutenants, and the procurator Volumnius. Next came the king's relatives and friends, including Salome and Pheroras, and after them all the aristocrats of Syria, except Archelaus, for as Alexander's father-in-law Herod distrusted him. 539 Still he did not produce his sons in open court, a prudent move, for he knew well enough that their mere appearance would be certain to rouse sympathy, and that if allowed to speak, Alexander would easily have rebutted the charges. Instead they were held in custody at Platane, a village of the Sidonians.

3.

540 The king got up and ranted against his sons, as if they were present. His accusation about the plot was weak, for lack of proof, but he focussed on the insults and jests and insolent bearing and countless similar offenses against him, which were worse than death itself; then, with nobody contradicting him, he called for pity on himself, as though he were condemned by this bitter victory against his sons, and called for their verdict. 541 Saturninus gave his opinion first, which was to condemn the young men, but not to death. It would be wrong for him, with three sons of his own present in the court, to vote for the death of another man's sons. 542 His two lieutenants voted similarly and some others also followed their example. Volumnius, however, began to vote on the severe side and all who came after him condemned the young men to die, some out of flattery and some out of hatred for Herod, but none out of real anger. 543 All of Syria and Judea was in suspense, waiting for the last act of this tragedy, with nobody imagining that Herod would be so cruel as to murder his children. But he brought them off to Tyre and from there sailed to Caesarea and deliberated what sort of death they should suffer.

4.

544 An old soldier of the king's army named Tiro, whose son was a close friend to Alexander and who was himself very fond of the young princes, was driven to madness by his anger at what was afoot. First he went about crying aloud that justice was being trampled down; that truth had died and nature was destroyed, and life was full of evil - indeed, everything that passion could suggest to a man who did not care for his own life. 545 Finally he dared to go to the king and said, "I think you a man possessed by demons, listening to wicked scoundrels against those who should be dearest to you. You have often resolved to have Pheroras and Salome put to death and yet you believe them against your sons. They want to be rid of your sons and have everything left to Antipater, so as to have as king one who is fully in their own power. 546 But consider whether this death of Antipater's brothers will not make him hated by the army for there is nobody but pities the young men, and many of the captains are publicly angry about it." When he named the angry ones, the king immediately had them arrested, along with Tiro and his son.

5.

547 Meanwhile too, a barber named Trypho came forward in a kind of madness and informed against himself. "This Tiro tried to persuade me to cut your throat with my razor, when I attended you, promising that Alexander would give me large gifts for doing so." 548 When Herod heard this, he examined Tiro, with his son and the barber, under torture, but as the others denied the accusation and he said nothing further, Herod had Tiro racked more severely. 549 The son, out of pity to his father, promised to reveal all to the king, if he would spare his father. When he agreed to this, he said that his father, persuaded by Alexander, intended to kill him. Some said this was an invention in order to end his father's torments, while some said it was true.

6.

550 Herod called a public assembly to formally accuse the captains and Tiro, and there they were put to death, along with the barber, killed by the crowd, with clubs and stones. 551 He also sent his sons to Sebaste, a city not far from Caesarea and ordered them to be strangled. When this was quickly done he ordered to have their corpses brought to the fortress of Alexandreion, to be buried with Alexander, their maternal grandfather. Such was the end of Alexander and Aristobulus.

Chapter 28. [552-566]
Antipater hated by all; interferes in marriages. Herod's complex domestic arrangements

1.

552 But the nation's fierce hatred was directed at Antipater, who was now an indisputably destined for the succession, since all knew that he had orchestrated the calumnies against his brothers. So he began to be very afraid, as he saw growing up the descendants of those who had been killed, for with his wife Glaphyra, Alexander had two sons, Tigranes and Alexander. Likewise, with his wife Berenice, Salome's daughter, the sons of Aristobulus were Herod, Agrippa and Aristobulus, and his daughters were Herodias and Mariamne. 553 After he had killed Alexander, Herod sent Glaphyra and her dowry back to Cappadocia. He married Berenice, the daughter of Aristobulus, to Antipater's uncle on his mother's side and it was Antipater who, to reconcile her when she had quarrelled with him, arranged this match. 554 He also got into favour with Pheroras and with Caesar's friends, by gifts and other courtesies and sent significant sums of money to Rome. Saturninus and his friends in Syria, too, were loaded with his gifts. But the more he gave, the more he was hated, as these were not seen as given from generosity, but out of fear. 555 The receivers felt towards him no more goodwill than before, while those to whom he gave nothing became more bitterly hostile. But he daily spent his money more profusely once he noted that, contrary to what he expected, the king was taking care of the orphans and showing his regret for killing their fathers by his pity for their offspring.

2.

556 Herod once gathered his relatives and friends and set the children in front of them, and with tearful eyes said to them: "It was a harsh fate that took these children's fathers from me, and these are dear to me by the natural pity required by their orphan state. So, though I have been a most unfortunate father, I will try to show myself a better grandfather and to leave them after me in the care of guardians who are very dear to me. 557 Therefore Pheroras, I betroth your daughter to the elder of these brothers, Alexander's children, and oblige you to care for them. Antipater, I also betroth the daughter of Aristobulus to your son, so be a father to that orphan, and my son Herod shall wed her sister, whose maternal grandfather was high priest. 558 Let all who love me support this settlement, which none who cares for me will abrogate. I pray God to join these children together in marriage, for the good of my kingdom and my descendants, and to look down on them more kindly than on their fathers."

3.

559 As he said these words he wept, and joined the children's right hands together. Then he lovingly embraced each of them and dismissed the assembly. Antipater was anxious and clearly regretted this action, thinking that this dignity conferred on the orphans might get him killed, even in his father's lifetime, and that the risk of his losing power was greater, if Alexander's sons had the support of Archelaus and Pheroras the tetrarch. 560 He considered how he himself was hated by the nation while they pitied these orphans, and how much the Jews had loved those his brothers in their lifetime and how kindly they remembered them after he had them killed, so he decided to get these espousals dissolved by all possible means.

4.

561 Fearing about this matter by tricking his father, who was hard to please and quickly roused by the least suspicion, he took the risk of going to him personally and imploring him not to deprive him of the rank he had graciously given him, leaving him with the mere name of king, while the power was in the hands of others. He said he would never be able to stay in power, if Alexander's son was to have his grandfather Archelaus and Pheroras as his guardians. 562 Since there were so many of the royal family alive, he implored him to change those marriage arrangements. The king had nine wives, and children by seven of them; Antipater was the son of Doris and Herod Philip the son of Mariamne, the high priest's daughter; Antipas and Archelaus were sons of Malthace, the Samaritan, and Olympias was her daughter, whom his brother Joseph's son had married. By Cleopatra of Jerusalem he had Herod and Philip, and by Pallas, Phasael. 563 He had also two daughters, Roxana and Salome, the one by Phaedra and the other by Elpis. He had two other wives who were childless, one of them his first cousin and the other his niece. Besides these, by Mariamne he had two daughters, the sisters of Alexander and Aristobulus. Since the royal family was so numerous, Antipater prayed him to change the proposed marriages.

5.

564 When the king noted his intention towards these orphans, it angered him and he began to suspect that perhaps he had put his sons to death on account of false tales spread by Antipater. 565 Therefore he now gave Antipater a long and wrathful answer and sent him away; but later he was won over by his sly flatteries and changed the marriages, giving him the daughter of Aristobulus as wife, and giving to his son the daughter of Pheroras.

6.

566 This shows how the flattery of Antipater succeeded, more than Salome's did in similar circumstances, for though she was his sister and she got strong support from Caesar's wife, Livia, when she asked to be married to Syllaeus the Arabian, he [Herod]
swore to be her bitter enemy unless she gave it up. Then against her wishes he married her to his friend Alexas, and married one of her daughters to Alexas's son and the other to Antipater's uncle on the mother's side. Of the daughters the king had by Mariamne, one married his sister's son, Antipater, and the other his brother's son, Phasael.

Chapter 29. [567-581]
Antipater is sent to Rome, with Herod's testament. Pheroras refuses to leave his wife, who was wrongly accused

1.

567 After crushing the hopes of the orphans and making alliances to his own advantage, Antipater acted quickly, confidently expecting the crown, and between his assurance and his scheming he became intolerable. Unable to avoid being hated by the people, he built his security on being feared. 568 Pheroras helped him in his plans, regarding him as firmly destined for kingship. A group of women at court began new disturbances, for Pheroras's wife, along with her mother and sister and Antipater's mother, grew very arrogant in the palace. She rashly insult the king's two daughters, so that the king loathed her, but despite his hatred these women dominated the others. 569 Only Salome opposed their little clique and told the king of their meetings, as something that boded him no good. When the women knew the lies she had told against them and how much Herod was annoyed, they left off meeting in public and all friendly exchanges, pretending to argue with each other whenever the king was within hearing. Antipater used the same kind of dissimulation and in public opposed Pheroras. 570 But they still held secret chats by night, and their solidarity was only strengthened by being spied on by others. But nothing they did was unknown to Salome, who told it all to Herod.

2.

571 His anger at them flared and mainly at Pheroras's wife, for Salome accused her above all. So gathering a group of his friends and relatives Herod accused this woman of many things and especially how she had insulted his daughters, and that she had given the Pharisees money in reward for acting against him and had made his brother his enemy, by giving him love potions. 572 At last he turned his words on Pheroras and gave him his choice between two things: would he prefer to stay friends with his brother, or with his wife? When he replied that he would die rather than forsake his wife, Herod, not knowing what else to do, turned to Antipater and told him to have no contact with Pheroras, or Pheroras's wife, or anyone belonging to her; and while he did not openly disobey this order, they continued to meet secretly by night. 573 However, afraid that Salome had seen him do so, through his Italian friends he got permission to go and live in Rome. When these wrote for Antipater to be sent to Caesar for some time, Herod made no delay in sending him, along with a splendid retinue and a large amount of money and entrusted him with his testament, wherein the kingdom was bequeathed to Antipater, and Herod was named as Antipater's successor, that is, Herod the son of the high priest's daughter, Mariamne.

3.

574 Syllaeus the Arabian also sailed to Rome, in disregard of Caesar's instructions, in order to strongly oppose Antipater in the law-suit which Nicolaus had begun with him. This Syllaeus had also a sharp conflict with his own king, Aretas, for he had killed many of Aretas's friends and particularly Sohemus, the most powerful man in the city of Petra. 575 He had suborned Phabatus, Herod's steward, by a large gift of money, to help him against Herod, but by giving him more, Herod induced him to leave Syllaeus and so demanded from him all that Caesar had required of him to pay. As he repaid nothing and also accused Phabatus to Caesar, saying that the steward was not acting on Caesar's behalf, but on Herod's. 576 Angry at this, and still well esteemed by Herod, Phabatus revealed Syllaeus's secrets to the king, telling him how Syllaeus had bribed one of his bodyguards, Corinthus, whom he should watch with care. The king was persuaded, for this Corinthus, though brought up in Herod's kingdom, was by birth an Arabian. 577 So he was immediately arrested along with two other Arabs who were caught with him, one of whom was Syllaeus's friend, and the other the head of a tribe. On being put to the torture, these confessed they had persuaded Corinthus, for a large bribe, to kill Herod, and when they had been further examined before Saturninus, the ruler of Syria, they were sent to Rome.

4.

578 Herod did not stop pressuring Pheroras, but went on to force him to put away his wife. He still could not find any way to punish the woman herself, though he had many reasons to hate her, until at last he was so uneasy about her that he expelled both her and his brother from his kingdom. 579 Pheroras patiently accepted this slight and went off his own tetrarchy, swearing that his exile would only end at Herod's death, since he would never return in his lifetime. In fact he did not return even when his brother was sick, though he urgently sent for him to come, wishing to leave instructions with him before he died. 580 But then Herod unexpectedly recovered; and some time later, when Pheroras himself fell sick, Herod showed great fairness, for he came to him and showed pity for his condition and cared for him, though this care did him no good, for Pheroras died soon after. 581 Though Herod loved him to the last day of his life, the rumour went round that he had killed him by poison. But he arranged to have his corpse brought to Jerusalem and decreed a large national mourning for him and gave him a splendid funeral. This was how one of Alexander's and Aristobulus's murderers came to his end.

Chapter 30. [582-600]
Herod's Suspicion of Antipater grows. Many are tortured and young Herod disinherited

1.

582 The punishment was transferred to the original author, Antipater and took its rise from the death of Pheroras, for certain of his freedmen came with a sad face to the king and told him that his brother had been killed by poison and that his wife had brought him something that was prepared in an unusual manner and that after he ate it, he soon fell sick. 583 He also alleged that two days earlier Antipater's mother and sister had brought from Arabia a woman who was skilled with drugs to prepare a potion for Pheroras, and that she had given him deadly poison instead, at the request of Syllaeus, who knew the woman.

2.

584 The king was deeply moved with all these suspicions and had the maid-servants tortured and some of the free women too. One of them cried out in her agony, "May God who governs the earth and the heaven punish the cause of all our troubles, Antipater's mother!" The king took note of this confession and enquired further into the truth of the matter. 585 The woman revealed the friendship of Antipater's mother with Pheroras and Antipater's wives, and their secret meetings, and how Pheroras and Antipater had drunk with them for a whole night together as they returned from the king and would not allow any servant, male or female, to be there. This was revealed by one of the free women.

3.

586 Then Herod tortured each of the maids separately, and they concurred with what was already stated, adding that it was by mutual agreement that Antipater went off to Rome and Pheroras to Perea, and that they had often spoken together to this effect: That after killing Alexander and Aristobulus, Herod would come after them and their wives, since if he killed Mariamne and her children he would spare nobody, and so it was best to get as far as possible from the wild beast. 587 Also, that Antipater often lamented to his mother that he was already gray-haired while his father grew younger every day and that death might come to him before he really became king. Even if Herod eventually died, and who could say when?, he would succeed him for only a short time. 588 Those heads of Hydra, the sons of Alexander and Aristobulus, were growing up, and his father had deprived him of the hopes for his children, for after his death he was not to be succeeded by any one his own sons, but Herod the son of Mariamne. On this point he thought Herod was quite mad, to think that his testament would still hold sway, since he would ensure that none of his descendants survived. 589 Of all fathers he was the greatest hater of his children, and yet he hates his brother still more. Why, a while ago he gave him [Antipater]
a hundred talents, to break off all contact with Pheroras. When Pheroras said, "What harm have we done him?" Antipater replied, "I wish he would simply take all we have, and just leave us our bare lives, but there is no escaping this wild beast, so given to murder. He will not let us show affection to anybody, so now we must meet in secret. Yet we must do so publicly, if we have the courage and strength."

4.

590 These things were said by the women under torture, adding that Pheroras had decided to flee with them to Perea. Now Herod believed all they said, due to the matter of the hundred talents, for he had told nobody except Antipater about them. So he vented his anger first of all on Antipater's mother, stripping her of all the finery he had given her, worth many talents, and expelling her from the palace a second time. 591 He was reconciled to Pheroras's women after their tortures and took care of them, but was in low spirits himself and flared up at each suspicion and had many innocent people put to torture, for fear any guilty person would escape him.

5.

592 He examined Antipater of Samaria, Antipater's steward, and by torturing him learned that Antipater had got a potion of deadly poison for him from Egypt, by his friend Antiphilus. Also that Theudio, Antipater's uncle, got it from him and delivered it to Pheroras, since Antipater had asked him to get rid of his father while he was in Rome and so free him from suspicion of having done it himself, and that Pheroras had entrusted this potion to his wife. 593 The king sent for her and told her to quickly bring to him what she had received. She went as though to fetch it, but threw herself down from the top of the house, to avoid being examined under torture by the king. However, as it seems it was Antipater that Providence intended to punish, she happened to fall not on her head, but on other parts of her body and was not killed. 594 When she was brought to the king he took care of her, for she was at first quite senseless upon her fall, and asked her why she had thrown herself down, and swore that if she told the truth he would spare her from punishment, but that if she concealed anything, he would have her torn limb from lime and leave no part of her body for burial.

6.

595 Then the woman paused a little and said, "Why do I conceal these secrets, now Pheroras is dead? It would only save Antipater, who has destroyed us all. Hear then, Your Majesty, and let you and God, who cannot be deceived, witness the truth of what I am going to say. 596 While you sat weeping beside Pheroras as he was dying, he called me to him and said, "Dear wife, I have been mistaken about my brother's attitude towards me and have hated him that loved me and planned to kill him who is so grieved about my dying. I myself am being paid back for my impiety, but let you bring the poison that was left with us by Antipater and which you have kept in order to kill him and burn it here on the fire in my sight so that I may not have to face the avenger in Hades." 597 This I brought as he bid me and emptied most of it into the fire, but kept a little of it for my own use in an uncertain future and in my fear of you."

7.

598 Saying this, she brought the box, containing a small amount of this potion. But the king let her off and instead tortured Antiphilus's mother and brother, who both confessed that Antiphilus brought the box from Egypt and that they had got the potion from a brother of his, a physician in Alexandria. 599 Then the spirits of Alexander and Aristobulus went round all the palace and became the inquisitors and revealers of what could not otherwise be known and brought even the most exempt from suspicion to be examined. It was found that the high priest's daughter, Mariamne, knew about this plot, and her own brothers declared it under torture. 600 Then the king avenged the mother's insolent attempt upon her son and expunged from his testament the Herod she had borne him, who had earlier been named in it as successor to Antipater.

Chapter 31. [601-619]
Antipater returns to Judea from Rome, unaware of the accusations against him

1.

601 After this, Antipater's freedman Bathyllus came under accusation and gave the final proof of what Antipater had planned. This man had brought another deadly potion, the poison of asps and the juices of other snakes that if the first potion did not do the business, Pheroras and his wife might still have this to do away with the king. 602 In addition to Antipater's daring attempt on his father were the letters he wrote against his brothers, Archelaus and Philip, the king's sons who were being educated in Rome, still youths of generous spirit. 603 Antipater was anxious to be rid of these as soon as possible, to prevent them thwarting his hopes, and so had forged letters against them in the name of his friends in Rome, whom he bribed to write how they grossly insulted their father and publicly mourned Alexander and Aristobulus and were fearful at being recalled, for their father had already sent for them, which was the very thing that troubled Antipater.

2.

604 Indeed, while he was in Judea before departing for Rome, he paid to have similar letters against them sent from Rome and then went to his father, who as yet had no suspicion of him and apologized for his brothers and alleged on their behalf that some of the things contained in those letters were false while others were just youthful mistakes. 605 While spending a lot of his money on the gifts given to those who wrote against his brothers, he tried to obscure his accounts by buying expensive clothing and carpets of various textures, and silver and gold cups and many luxuries, so as to hide among these large expenses the money he had used to pay people. For he submitted an account of his expenses, amounting to two hundred talents, his main pretext being his law-suit with Syllaeus. 606 While all his lesser misdeeds were covered by his greater villainy, and every examination under torture cried out his attempt to murder his father and the letters proved his second attempt to murder his brothers, none of those who came to Rome told him of his troubles in Judea, though seven months passed between his conviction and his return, such was the hatred of everyone towards him. 607 Perhaps it was the ghosts of his brothers who had been murdered that sealed the lips of those who might have told him. He wrote from Rome announcing the good news of his return and how he had been sent away with honour by Caesar.

3.

608 The king, wanting to get his hands on this conspirator and afraid that he might somehow come to know the state of affairs and be on his guard, hid his anger in his letter to him, writing courteously and asking him to hurry, for if he came quickly, he would set lay aside his complaints against his mother, for Antipater was not unaware that his mother had been expelled. 609 But he had earlier received a letter at Tarentum, with an account of the death of Pheroras, and loudly lamented it, for which some praised him, thinking that his grief was for his uncle, but probably it was for the failure of his plot, and his grief was not for Pheroras but for his accomplice, in case the poison had been discovered. 610 At any rate he received the said letter from his father while in Cilicia, and so hurried onward. But as he sailed into Celenderis he became suspicious of his mother's woes, as if his soul foreboded some harm to himself. 611 The more cautious of his friends advised him not to rashly go to his father, until he learned why his mother had been expelled, afraid he might be stained by the calumnies heaped upon her. 612 But the less prudent, more concerned to see their native country than for Antipater's good, persuaded him to hurry home and not delay his journey and cause his father any suspicion or give a pretext to those who told stories against him. If anything had changed to his detriment, they said, it was due to his absence. This would not happen if he were present, and he should not forego certain success for the sake of an uncertain suspicion, so let him return to his father and take up the kingdom which only himself had placed in jeopardy. 613 Impelled by Fate, Antipater took the latter advice, and crossed the sea and landed at Sebasté, the harbour of Caesarea.

4.

614 What met him was total and unexpected solitude, for all avoided him and nobody dared approach him, for he was equally hated by everyone, and now they dared to show it. The people's dread of the king's anger also made them keep away from him, for the whole city was filled with the rumours about Antipater and only he himself was unaware of them. Just as when he began his voyage to Rome, nobody had ever had a more magnificent send-off, so nobody was ever received back with less honour. 615 Already he had a suspicion of the troubles in Herod's family but shrewdly concealed it, and while inwardly he was dying of fear, he forced himself to put on a bold face. 616 There was now no way out, no escape from what surrounded him. He had not even any certain news about matters in the royal family, because of the king's threats. Yet he hoped that things would improve if nothing had been discovered, or even if it had, to still clear himself by one of his daring ruses, the only thing that could now save him.

5.

617 He comforted himself with these hopes until he reached the palace, unaccompanied by his friends, for these were snubbed and excluded at the first gate. Varus the governor of Syria happened to be in the palace when Antipater went to his father, putting on a bold face to greet him. 618 But Herod stretched out his hands and turned away his head and cried out, "Even this shows him a patricide, to want to embrace me when he stands accused of such foulness. God blast you, you villain; do not touch me, until you have cleared yourself of the crimes accused against you. I want you judged by a court, with Varus is here at the right time to be your judge. Have your defense ready for tomorrow, for I give you until then to lay your plans." 619 He was so taken aback that he went off, unable to answer, but his mother and wife came to him and told him all the evidence against him, which got him to think and ponder what defense to make against the accusations.

Chapter 32. [620-646]
Antipater stands trial, for plotting against Herod. His defence, and Herod's Testament

1.

620 The next day the king assembled a court of his relatives and friends and called in Antipater's friends. Herod himself presided along with Varus, and Herod called for all the witnesses to be brought in; among whom were some servants of Antipater's mother, who a little earlier had been caught bringing this letter from her to her son: "Since your father knows all these things, do not come to him unless you can get some help from Caesar." 621 When these and the other witnesses were brought in, Antipater entered and falling on his face at his father's feet, said, "Father, I beg you not to condemn me in advance, but hear my defense without prejudice, for if you let me, I will prove that I am innocent."

2.

622 Herod shouted to him to be silent and said, "Varus, I must assume that you and every other fair judge will decide that Antipater is a villain. I fear that as well as being shocked by my bad luck you will think that I deserve my fate for begetting such children, though I am more to be pitied for being so fond a father to such wretched sons. 623 For when in their early days I had intended my former sons to have the kingdom, and when, on top of the expense of educating them in Rome, I had made them friends of Caesar and the envy of other kings, I found them plotting against me. Those were put to death, mainly for the sake of Antipater, for when he was young I appointed him my succesor, and took care keep him safe. 624 But like a foul beast, too indulged by my patience, he used against me all that I had given him. He thought I was living too long and was so irked by my old age that, unwilling to wait and sought to become king by patricide. It serves me right for I brought him back to the palace from obscurity in the country, displacing those sons of mine who were born of the queen and naming him successor to my throne. 625 Varus, I confess to you my great foolishness, for I provoked those sons to act against me by robbing them of their rightful hopes for the sake of Antipater. What kindness did I show them, as I did to this fellow? I have, as it were, handed over to him my authority during my lifetime, in publicly naming him in my testament to rule as my successor and giving him a yearly income of fifty talents and extravagant gifts out of my own revenue. When he was sailing to Rome I gave him three hundred talents and commended him to Caesar, alone of all my children, as his father's saviour. 626 What crimes did the others commit, compared to Antipater's? What proof against them was as strong as the proof of this fellow's plot against me? 627 Yet the patricide presumes to speak on his own behalf and hopes to hide the truth again by his cunning. Varus, you must beware of him, for I know the beast and foresee how plausibly he will talk and his artificial laments. It was he who urged me to distrust Alexander when he was alive and not to trust my life to everyone! He it was who came to my bedside and looked around to see if anyone had laid a snare for me! He it was who took care of my sleep, offering me freedom from worry, and comforted me in my grief at the murder of my sons and discerned how my surviving brothers felt towards me! This was my protector and bodyguard! 628 When I call to mind, Varus, his craftiness and hypocrisy in each matter, it's a wonder that I am still alive and have survived such an outright schemer. But since some demon is ruining my family and always stirring against me those who are dearest to me, I will grieve in silence for my hard and lonely lot, but am determined that no one who thirsts for my blood shall go unpunished, even if it includes all my sons."

3.

629 As Herod said this, he broke off in distress and told Nicolaus, one of his friends, to produce the evidence against Antipater. Meanwhile Antipater lifted up his head and shouted, 630 "Father, you have made my defence for me, for how can I be a patricide, when you admit that you always had me as your guardian? You call my filial loyalty amazing hypocrisy! But how could a man so subtle in other matters, be so mad as not to know that such a terrible crime is hard to hide from others and impossible to hide from the heavenly Judge who sees all and is everywhere present? 631 Or did I not know what happened to my brothers, so punished by God for plotting against you? What was there to rouse me against you? The hope of being king? But I was already a king! A suspicion that you hated me? No, for was I not well loved? What had I to fear, when by keeping you safe, I caused fear to others. 632 Was it lack of money? No, for who had as much to spend as I? Father, even if I were the worst of men and with the soul of the wildest beast, would I not have been won over by your favours to me? As you yourself say, you supported me and favoured me over so many of your sons, you made me king in your own lifetime, and, by other great favours you made me an enviable man. 633 How I regret my sad absence which gave such scope for envy and plotting against me! But father, I was away on your behalf, so that Syllaeus might not treat you with contempt in your old age. Rome can testify to my devotion to you, as can Caesar, ruler of the world, who often called me Philopater. Take these letters he has sent you, which should be believed more than the calumnies against me. These letters are my only apology and prove my affection for you.

634 Remember that it was against my wishes that I sailed away, knowing the secret hatred in the kingdom against me. It was you, father, who ruined me, however unwillingly, by giving time for calumny and envy to rise against me. I have come to answer the charges, and if I am a patricide, I have crossed land and sea without mishap on either. 635 But this proof is no help to me, father, as I seem to be condemned already, in God's sight and yours. Well, if I am already condemned, please do not believe those who have already been tortured, but let fire be brought to me. Let pain rack my bowels and ignore any screams of this wretched body, for if I am a patricide, I ought not die without torture." 636 This he called out with groans and tears, and moved all the rest and Varus in particular, to pity him. Herod was the only one whose feeling was too strong to let him weep, knowing that the evidence was true.

4.

637 Then Nicolaus, at the king's command, after saying much about Antipater's guile and countering their pity towards him, accused him bitterly and at length, blaming him for all the plotting in the kingdom and especially for the murder of his brothers, showing that they had died because of his calumnies, and that he also conspired against those who were still alive, seen as a threat to his succession. How could one imagine that a man who prepared poison for his father would spare his brothers? 638 He proceeded to the attempted poisoning and detailed the various discoveries that had been made, waxing indignant about the business about Pheroras, how Antipater had tried to get him to murder his brother and corrupted those dearest to the king and filled the royal house with evil. Then after listing many other accusations and the proofs for them, he concluded his speech.

5.

639 Varus called on Antipater for his defense, but he said nothing except, "God is my witness that I am entirely innocent." Then Varus asked for the potion and gave it to be drunk by a condemned prisoner. 640 When the man died on the spot, Varus had a secret conversation with Herod and wrote for Caesar an account of this meeting, and then left, having stayed just one day. The king put Antipater in prison and wrote to inform Caesar of the misfortune.

6.

641 Later it was found that Antipater had schemed against Salome too. One of Antiphilus's house servants brought letters from Rome, from a maid-servant of Livia, named Acme. She notified the king how she had found among Livia's papers a letter written by Salome, and as a well-wisher had sent it to him secretly. 642 In it Salome bitterly insulted the king and made serious accusations against him, but it had been forged by Antipater, who also got Acme to send it to Herod. 643 This was proved by her letter, when the woman wrote to Antipater: "As you wished, I have written to your father and sent that letter and feel sure that the king will not spare his sister when he reads it. When all is done I hope you will remember what you promised."

7.

644 When this letter was found and their inventions against Salome, the king began to suspect that perhaps the letters against Alexander had also been forged and was so deeply troubled that he had almost killed his sister on account of Antipater. 645 He wanteed to delay no longer to punish all his crimes, but while serious illness held him back from dealing with Antipater, he wrote to Caesar about Acme and the plans against Salome. 646 He also sent for his testament and altered it, designating Antipas as king and by-passing his eldest sons Archelaus and Philip, since Antipater had ruined them, but bequeathing a thousand talents to Caesar, along with other gifts, and about five hundred to his wife and children and friends and freedmen. He also bequeathed to others a large amount of land and money and honoured his sister Salome with splendid gifts. These were the matters he corrected in his will.

Chapter 33. [647-673]
Herod's final barbarities. Signs of revolt against him. He executes Antipater and plans a massacre to coincide with his death

1.

647 Herod's illness developed steadily, made worse by his old age and despondency. He was already seventy years of age and his experiences regarding his children saddened his spirit, though they gave him no real pleasure even when he was in health. Worse than his malady was knowing that Antipater was still alive, whom he now decided to execute, not casually but seriously, as soon as he recovered.

2

648 On top of his other troubles, now there was also a popular rebellion. There were two men of learning in the city, deemed the most skilled in their ancestral laws and much admired by the whole nation on that account; one of them was Judas, son of Sepphoris, and the other Matthias, son of Margalus. 649 So many young men gathered to these two when they expounded the laws that every day there assembled a kind of an army of growing adolescents. When these men heard that the king was wasting away with sadness and illness, they proposed to their friends that now was the time to defend the cause of God and to pull down what had been set up contrary to their ancestral laws. 650 It was unlawful to have in the temple any such thing as icons, or busts, or the image of any animal whatever. The king had put up a golden eagle over the great gate of the temple, which these learned men wanted cut down, saying that even if this was dangerous, it was a glorious thing to die for their ancestral laws, the soul was immortal and eternal happiness awaited anyone who died on that account, while the ignoble who had not the wisdom to properly love their souls, preferred death by disease rather than from an act of heroism.

3.

651 While they were talking in this way, a rumour went round that the king was dying, which made the young men set about the work with greater audacity. They therefore let themselves down from the top of the temple with thick cords and this at midday and while many of people were in the temple and cut down that golden eagle with axes. 652 This was soon told to the king's captain, who came running with a body of soldiers and caught about forty of the young men and brought them to the king. 653 When he asked them, firstly, if they had dared to cut down the golden eagle, they confessed they had done it, and when he asked them by whose orders they had done so, they replied that it was at the command of their ancestral law and when he further asked them how they could be so joyful when they were about to die, they said that they would enjoy greater happiness after their death.

4.

654 This put the king in such a fury that he set aside his illness and went out and spoke to the people. He accused the men as guilty of sacrilege for attempting treason under pretext of their law, and called for them to be punished for impiety. 655 The people feared that many would be found guilty and asked him to lay aside his anger once he had first punished those who put them up to it and then the people caught doing it. The king barely agreed to this and ordered those who had let themselves down from the roof, and their teachers, to be burned alive, leaving the others to be executed by his officers.

5.

656 From then on the ailment seized his whole body and shook him with various symptoms, for he had a mild fever and an intolerable itching over all his skin and constant pains in his intestines and dropsical tumours in his feet and an swelling of the stomach and a rotting of his genitals, producing worms. Besides, he had difficulty in breathing and could only breathe when sitting upright and all all his members were convulsed, diseases that the diviners saw as a punishment sent for what he had done to the teachers. 657 But he struggled with his many ailments and still had a desire to live and tried various remedies in hope of a recovery. He went across the Jordan and used the spa at Callirrhoe, which runs into lake Asphaltitis, but whose water is sweet enough to drink. Here the physicians decided to raise his body temperature by letting him down into a large vessel full of oil, which caused his eyes to dim and he came out looking half dead, 658 but when his servants called out he revived again. Now despairing of recovery, he ordered that his soldiers be given fifty drachmae apiece and that his officers and friends should receive large sums of money.

6.

659 He then returned to Jericho, so ill that he seemed on the point of death, and then he attempted a dreadful deed. He gathered from every village the most prominent members of the whole Jewish nation, into a place called the Hippodrome and there locked them in. 660 Calling his sister Salome and her husband Alexas he told them: "I know well enough that the Jews will rejoice at my death; but if you just follow my orders there is another way for me to be mourned and to have a splendid funeral. Immediately after my death, send soldiers to round up and kill those who are now in custody, and then, like it or not, all Judea and every family will weep for me."

7.

661 As he gave them this order, letters arrived from his envoys in Rome with news that Acme had been killed at Caesar's command and that Antipater was condemned to die. They wrote too that if Herod wished rather to banish him, Caesar would allow it. 662 So for a short while he revived and had a desire to live, but soon he was again overcome with pain and was weak from lack of food and a convulsive cough, so he tried to hasten his death. He took an apple and asked for a knife for he used to peel apples and eat them. Looking round to see that there was nobody to stop him he lifted up his right hand as if to stab himself, but his first cousin Achiabus hurried over and held his hand to stop him from doing it. 663 A lament was soon heard in the palace, as if the king were dying. When Antipater heard it, he took courage and with a smile he implored his jailors to unchain him and set him free, in return for a sum of money. Not only did the head jailor deny his request, but he ran and told his plan to the king. 664 Then the king roared out louder than his illness should allow and instantly sent some of his guards to kill Antipater. He had him buried in Hyrcanium and altered his testament again, making Archelaus, his eldest son and the brother of Antipas, his successor and making Antipas tetrarch.

8.

665 So Herod died just five days after killing his son, after reigning for thirty-four years since he had Antigonus killed and took over his kingdom, but thirty-seven years since he was made king by the Romans. It was his destiny to prosper in all other respects more than any other man, since he rose from the rank of commoner to gain the kingship and held it so long and left it to his own sons, and yet, in his domestic affairs he was a most unfortunate man. 666 Before the soldiers learned of his death, Salome and her husband came out and released the prisoners whom the king had ordered to be killed and told them that he had changed his mind and wanted them all sent home. When these had gone, Salome, told the soldiers the news and got them and the rest of the people together to a meeting, in the amphitheatre at Jericho. 667 There Ptolemy, who was entrusted by the king with his signet ring, spoke to them of the prosperity the king had attained and comforted the people and read the letter left for the soldiers, where he earnestly urged them to be loyal to his successor. 668 After he had read the letter, he opened and read his testament, where Philip was to inherit Trachonitis and the neighbouring countries and Antipas was to be tetrarch, as we have said, and Archelaus was made king. 669 He had also been ordered to bring Herod's ring to Caesar, sealed up with his projects for the kingdom, because Caesar was to be in charge of all he had aranged and was to confirm his testament, and he ordered that the elements in his former testament should stand.

9.

670 Archelaus was hailed on his promotion, and the soldiers and the people went in groups to promise him their loyalty and prayed God to bless his rule and set themselves to prepare for the king's funeral. 671 In it Archelaus omitted nothing that would enhance it, and brought out all the royal ornaments to increase the splendour of the deceased. There was a golden bier embroidered with precious stones and a purple bed of various texture, with the dead body upon it, covered with purple, and on his head was a crown of gold and in his right hand a sceptre. 672 Next to the bier were Herod's sons and a crowd of his relatives, and next to them his guards and the regiment of Thracians, Germans and Gauls, dressed as if for war. 673 The rest of the army marched in front, armed and following their captains and officers in good order. After them came five hundred of his domestic servants and freedmen, with sweet spices in their hands. The body was carried for two hundred furlongs, to Herodium, where he had wanted to be buried. That is how the Herod saga came to its end.