FLAVIUS JOSEPHUS ON THE ANTIQUITIES OF THE JEWS. BOOK XVIII. [INCLUDING A PERIOD OF ABOUT THIRTY YEARS.]
Cyrenius is appointed governor of Syria; and Ceponius, governor of Judaea, sent with him. Cyrenius levies taxes in Syria and Judaea. The Jews thereupon be|come seditious, but are brought to submission by the persuasion of Joazar, the high priest. Judas and Sadducus stir up the people to rebellion and the com|mission of outrages. The temple burnt to the ground. Dangerous effects of innovation. The ringleaders start a fourth sect.
CYRENIUS was at this time appointed by Caesar to the government of Syria. He was a man of eminent character, a senator of Rome, and one that had passed through all dignified offices. Coponius, a man of the equestrian order,* was sent together with him, as go|vernor of Judaea; but that province being already annexed to Syria, it came within the department of Cyrenius to take and assess the people, and dispose of the effects of Archelaus. The Jews at first mur|mured at this mode of assessment; but, through the authority and persuasion of the high-priest, Joazar, they were brought to submissive compliance, with|out farther trouble.
There started up, soon after this, one Judas, a Gaulanite, of the city of Gamala, who, together with one Sadducus,* a Pharisee, excited the people to a revolt, by his insinuating that taxes were the badges of slavery; that it was the incumbent duty of the nation to contend for liberty unrestrained; and that one fortunate turn might make them free and easy for ever, advance their reputation, and secure them in their possessions. The multitude, fired by the suggestions of these incendiaries, proceeded to the most outrageous violence: murders, robberies, and depredations, without distinction of friend or foe, universally prevailed, under a pretence of advancing the common cause of liberty and property;* but, in reality, to subvert all government and good order, gratify the vilest of passions, and promote the pri|vate interest of the most abandoned members of society. While intestine broils prevailed to such a degree of ferocious madness, that the citizens were sheathing their swords in the bowels of each other,* they had to encounter the destruction of a war a|broad, and the desolations of a famine at home.* Yet to such excess of outrage were they transpor|ted by their frantic rage, that the scene of blood and devastation continued, till the sacred temple itself was laid in ashes.
These were the fatal consequences of aiming at innovations in our laws and customs, and desiring to reject fundamental rules and maxims. To that absurd disposition the multitude were excited by Judas and Sadducus, who, from conceit and caprice, introduced a fourth sect, and gaining over many disciples, laid the foundation of our future mise|ries, by a system of philosophy, with which we were before unacquainted. As these principles proved so fatal in their tendency, it will not be im|proper to present the reader with their definition.
The opinions and practices of the Pharisees, a sect 〈◊〉 great repute with the people. Opinions of the Sad|ducees. Doctrines and manners of the Essenes. Prin|ciples of a fourth and new sect.
THERE were, amongst the Jews of old, three peculiar sects of religion. They were distin|guished by the denominations of Essenes, Saddu|cees, and Pharisees. Though I have taken fre|quent occasion to treat of them, I cannot, on account of the new sect introduced, pass them over unno|ticed with propriety in this place.
The manner of life presented by the pharisees is rigid and simple, disdaining luxurious delicacies.* They scrupulously adhere to the dictates of their reason, and pay such veneration to the judgment and opinion of their seniors, as to follow them impli|citly. They ascribe all contingencies to fate, but Page 287 not as to exclude mens freedom of actions; laying it down as a maxim, that, though all are done by Divine appointment and permission, this by no means excludes the concurrence of the will, in points which respect either good or evil. They assert the doctrines of the immortality of the soul, and a fu|ture state of rewards and punishments; that the wicked are to be consigned to perpetual chains and darkness, and the good to rise again to a state of bliss. By these doctrines they have acquired great esteem with the people, insomuch, that all forms of worship, prayer, and sacrifices, are presented by them, and an universal opinion entertained of their wisdom, temperance, and integrity.
*The Sadducees, one the one hand, deny the im|mortality of the soul, and affirm, that we have no other obligations upon us but to observe the law; insomuch, that they value themselves upon a right they have to dispute the most important points with their teachers. This sect is not numerous, but most|ly composed of men of rank; who, when properly qualified for offices of state, are compelled to con|form, at least in profession, to the principles of the Pharisees, otherwise they would incur the resent|ment of the multitude.
*The Essenes ascribe the government of the world to Divine Providence, without any exception; hold the immortality of the soul; and revere justice, both in theory and practice, as the cardinal virtue. They send their gifts to the temple, without going thi|ther themselves; for they offer sacrifices apart in a peculiar mode, and with more ceremonies. They are men of excellent morals, and their chief employ|ment i• agriculture. They are eminent for their rectitude of conduct, beyond either Greeks or Bar|barian•, which seems to be the chief object of their study and application. They have all things in common, without any distinction of rich and poor. They have neither wives or servants; as they look upon one as an encroachment upon the natural liberty of mankind, and the other as a state of life attended with trouble and anxiety; so that they chuse rather, by a mutual exchange of good offices, to assist each other. This is the sum of their principles and manners; and the sect is sup|posed to amount, in number, to upwards of four thousand. Their treasurers and commissaries are men of integrity, chosen from among their priests; and it is their ca•e to make provision out of the fruits of the earth, for the maintenance of the whole body. Their manner of living, upon the whole, much resembles the Plisti, among the Dacians.
*The founder of the fourth and new sect was Ju|das Galilaeus, and this was much the same with that of the Pharisees, except in the maxims of an uncon|troulable liberty: they will rather expose themselves, and their dearest relations, to the most exquisite tor|ments, than call any man by the name of master. But this is a truth so well confirmed by every day's observation and experience, that it needs no com|ment; besides, the invincible constancy of this people, in the endurance of pains, is beyond ex|pression. The sect, which maintained these prin|ciples, were farther inflamed by the intolerable cruelties of Gessius Florus, which ended at length in a general revolt from the Romans. Thus much for the distinct sects amongst the Jews.
The end of the taxation of Cyrenius, Joazar is deposed from the pontificate, and Ananus promoted to that dignity. Herod and Philip being settled in their te|trar••y, build several cities in honour of Caesar. The Samarians prophane the holy temple. Coponius re|turns to Rome, and is succeeded in the government of Judaea by Marcus Ambivius. Death of Salome. Death of Augustus Caesar, emperor of Rome, and succession of Tiberius. Ambivius is succeeded by Ananus Rufus, as is the latter by Valerius Gratus. Ananus removed from the high-priesthood, and rapid successions of Ismael, Eleazar, Simon, and Joseph. Gratus returns from the government of Judaea, and is succeeded by Pontus Pilate. Herod builds a city, and calls it Tiberais, in honour of the emperor. Phraates, king of Parthia, murdered by his son Phraataces, who is destroyed by a tumult. Orodes taken off by a conspiracy. An embassy to Rome, re|commending one of the Parthian hostages for king. Vonones beats Artabanus into Media. Is himself af|terwards routed and pursued by Artabanus, and so|licits the protection of Tiberius, but in vain. A dis|pute about the form of government. Germanicus sent to adjust the matter, and poisoned by Piso.
WHEN Cyrenius had disposed of the effects of Archelaus, and settled the taxation accord|ing to order, which fell out in the thirty-seventh year after the battle of Actium, Joazar, the high-priest, becoming unpopular, he deprived him of the dignity, and appointed Ananus, the son of Seth,* to succeed him. Herod and Philip, being settled in their tetrarchies, adjusted affairs in the best man|ner possible. The former built a wall about Sepphoris, which he made the bulwark and capitol of all Galilee. After this he fortified another town,* which, at that time, was called Betaramphtha; but he afterwards changed the name to Julias, in ho|nour of the empress. Philip, on his part, beauti|fied and enlarged Paleas, at the head of the river Jordan, and called it Caesarea. He also advanced the village Bethsaida, upon the bank of the lake of Genezareth, to the rank of a city, both as to bulk, magnificence, and number of inhabitants, cal|ling it also Julias, in honour of Julius Caesar's daughter.
During the government of Coponius, who was sent, as before observed, with Cyrenius into Judaea, a disturbance happened upon the following occasi|on. It is customary for the priests, upon the feast of unleavened bread, which we call the passover, to open the gates of the temple just after midnight.* A band of Samarians, who stole into Jerusalem, waiting the opening of the gates, immediately advanced, and threw the bones of dead men into the cloisters. Upon this account the Jews exclud|ed them from the temple, which they were not ac|acustomed to do at such festivals, and watched the sacred spot more carefully than they had formerly done.
A short time after this,* Coponius returning to Rome, Ambivius succeeded him in the government of Judaea, under whose administration died Salome, sister of Herod, and left to Julia, over and above her toparchy, the cities of Jamnia, Phasaelis upon the plain of Archelaus, with several plantations of palm-trees, that bear most excellent fruit.
Ananus Rufus succeeded Ambivius;* and in his time Augustus Caesar departed this life. He was the second emperor of Rome, and reigned fifty-seven years, six months, and two days; having been fourteen years of that time colleague with Anthony in the government. The term of his life was seventy-seven years.* He was succeeded by Tiberius, the son of his wife Julia, being the third emperor of the Romans, who appointed Valerius Gratus to the government of Judaea. He also de|posed Ananus from the pontificate, and put Ismael, the son of Fabius, in his place, who was soon after deposed, and the dignity transferred to Eleazar,* the son of Ananus, the late high-priest. The of|fice, however, was taken from him, after he had held it a year, and given to Simon, the son of Camith, who, after another year,* was compelled to relin|quish it to Joseph, whose surname was Caiaphas. Gratus having now held the government eleven years, returned to Rome, and was succeeded by Pontius Pilate.
Herod, the tetrarch,* was now in great favour with Tiberius, and built a city to his honour, called Ti|berias. It was built upon the best spot of ground in all Galilee, on the bank of the lake of Genezareth, not far from the hot baths of Emmaus. The city was peopled partly by strangers, and partly by Gali|leans. Some were compelled to become inhabitants, while others took up their residence there by choice. Nay, in order to render it populous, inhabitants were Page 288 collected from all quarters, and of all conditions, high, low, rich, and poor, free men and slaves. For the encouragement of the indigent to settle there, he gave them very considerable priviledges and immu|nities; to some houses, to others land; for he was sensible that, to render this place habitable, was to transgress the ancient Jewish law; because many sepulchres were here to be taken away, in order to make room for the building of the city of Tiberais; and our laws pronounce, that such inhabitants are unclean for seven days.
*About this time died Phraates, king of Parthia, through the treachery of his son, upon the follow|ing occasion. The king amongst other presents that were formerly sent him by Julius Caesar, had an Italian woman whose name was Thermusa. He made her first his concubine; but being enraptured with her charms, and having a son by her, whose name was Phraataces, he made her his lawful wife, though he had several legitimate children. This Thermusa, perceiving the great affection he had for her, deter|mined to attempt some means to procure for her son the succession to the throne of Parthia. Finding that her efforts could not succeed without removing the legitimate sons out of the kingdom, she prevailed with their father to send those sons as hostages to Rome; such was her ascendency over the mind and will of her husband.
Phraataces, being trained up at home to an expect|ance of the kingdom, thought it tedious to wait for a crown in reversion, and therefore formed a trea|cherou• design, by the assistance of his mother, with whom he was supposed to have been guilty of the horrid crime of incest, for the taking away the life of his father. This being accordingly done, Phraa|taces rendered himself so odious to the people, both for parracide and incest,* that, before he could enter upon the government, he was expelled, and perished in a tumult raised against him. Now the Parthian nobility agreed, that government and good order could not be maintained without a king, and resolving, at the same time, not to set any prince upon the throne that was not of a lineal descent with Arsaces, (the blood of Phraates being tainted by a marriage with an Italian concubine,) sent ambassa|dors,* and invited Orodes to take the crown. But Orodes being odious to the multitude, on account of his cruel and untractable temper, a band of con|spirators set upon and slew him. Some say the exe|cution was done at a sacrifice, or a banquet; but the more general report is, that they slew him whe•• they had drawn him out to a hunt.
*Upon this the Parthians sent an embassy to Rome, desiring one of the hostages for their king, and made choice of Vonones in preference to the rest. He wa• a prince worthy of the honour conferred on him, by two of the greatest empires upon the face of the earth,* the Roman and the Parthian. But hi• own countrymen, being naturally fickle and haughty, quickly repented of their choice, and spurning the idea of a slave, (for so they construed the word hostage,) as well as rejecting the imposition of a king, not by any law of arms, as it was a time of profound peace, in the heat of their resentment, they sent for Artabanus, who was then king of the Medes and of the blood of Arsaces. Aratbanus immediately accepted the offer,* and, upon his ar|rival at the head of a considerable army, was en|countered by Vonones, wh• repulsed him, the ge|nerality of the Parthians as yet maintained their al|legiance: but Artabanus, being in a short time re|inforced, gave Vonones a total overthrow in a se|cond battle; so that, with great difficulty, he es|caped, with some few horse, into Seleucia. Arta|banus, taking advantage of the consternation of his opponents,* pressed on the pursuit with a terrible slaughter, and retired to Ctesiphon with his victo|rious army, This action put him in possession of the kingdom of Parthia. Vonones, in the mean time, fled into Armenia, expecting to obtain the government there, soliciting Caesar also to assist him in his design. But whether the emperor suspected his courage, or himself was afraid of incurring the resentment of the Parthians, Tiberius stood aloof; and Vonones, despairing of the attempt, delivered himself up to Syllanus, governor of Syria, who,* out of regard to his education at Rome, gave him an honourable reception. Artabanu•, being now set|tled in the government of Parthia, made his son Orodes king of Armenia.
At this time died Antiochus, king of Comagena, which occasioned the multitude to contend with the nobility; the latter being desirous of reducing the kingdom into the state of a province, while the former were for being under a kingly government, as they were before. Upon this dispute Germa|nicus was ordered a way into the east, to compose the difference;* but it proved the occasion of his ruin; for, after he had settled all affairs, he was poisoned through the treachery of Piso, as will be shewn hereafter.
Standards set up in Jerusalem with Caesar's image upon them. A tumult raised upon the occasion. Pilate causes the images to be removed. Demands money out of the sacred treasury. A great destruction of the Jews. Josephus bears illustrious testimony. Decius Mundus •namoured of Paulina, a woman of unspotted virtue, forms fatal resolutions. Ide, in conjunction with the priest of Isis, bring them to an interview. A crimi|nal intercourse ensues. The priest and Ide are crucified, and the temple of Isis destroyed.
PILATE, governor of Judaea, upon the removal of the army from Caesarea to Jerusalem,* to take up their winter quarters there, brought several stan|dards into the city, with the image of Caesar, to the violation of the Jewish laws, which expressly pro|hibit the use of such figures; for which reasons no former governors brought ensigns with such orna|ments upon them before. The present governor was the first that ever transgressed this rule; and further, he brought them in by stealth, and fixed them up in the dead of the night, when none were present. When the citizens observed them next morning, they assembled in great multitudes, and attended Pilate at Caesarea, with a petition for the re|moval of those images to some other place. After several days waiting, and Pilate still refusing,* upon pretence that it was a request not to be granted without offering an indignity to Caesar, they still persisted in their importunities. But the governor, upon the seventh day of the Jews attendance, com|manded a party of soldiers to be ready in arms, where he appointed them, and thereupon mounted a tri|bune, which he had caused to be erected in the cir|cus, as a place most commodious for a surprize. When the Jews renewed their petition, he gave a signal to the soldiers to encompass them round, and threatened that their punishment should be immediate death, unless they would quietly de|part to their respective habitations. The Jews, notwithstanding this alarming menace, cast them|selves upon the ground, and laid their necks bare; thereby intimating that their lives were not so dear to them as the laws of their country.* Pilate was so deeply impressed with this instance of their for|titude in preserving their laws inviolate, that he commanded the images to be carried back from Jerusalem to Caesarea.
The next thing Pilate undertook was to bring an aqueduct to Jerusalem, about two hundred fur|longs from the city; for which purpose he demand|ed money out of the sacred treasury. The Jews, enraged at this proceeding, assembled in great num|bers, to try the effect of popular clamour in divert|ing him from his purpose. Some, as is usual upon such occasions, used reproaches, and poured forth the most provoking invectives; insomuch that he ordered a certain number of soldiers to assume the habit of the vulgar class, carry daggers under their garments, and be ready to obey a private signal. He then commanded the Jews to depart; but as they persisted not only in denial, but reproach, the signal was given to the soldi•rs, who fell upon Page 289 them,* dealing destruction indiscriminately; and the Jews being unarmed, and consequently unprepared for resistance, an end was put to the tumult.
*At the same time there appeared in Judaea an ex|traordinary person, called JESUS, if it be lawful to call him a man. He was a famous worker of mi|racles, a teacher of those who were desirous of re|ceiving the truth in simplicity, and brought over to him many disciples, both Jews and Gentiles. This was the CHRIST, whom Pilate, at the accu|sation of the princes and great men of the nation, delivered up to the ignominious punishment of the cross; notwithstanding which, those who first loved him did not forsake him. He appeared to them alive again the third day after his crucifixion, which the divine prophets had foretold, together with numberless other wonders concerning him. And thence, to this day, there is a set of people, who bear the name of CHRISTIANS, as owning him for their Head, Lord, and Master.
About this time another calamity caused great disorder among the Jews, which arose from certain shameful practices about the temple of Isis that was then at Rome. The particulars are as follow: There was at Rome, one Paulina, a woman no less eminent for her virtue than her birth, possessed of an ample fortune,* most equisite beauty, and had withal consummate modesty. She was married to Saturninus, a husband worthy of such a wife: but it so fell out, that one Decius Mundus, a Roman knight, in the prime of life, fell desperately in love with her. As she was a person above the tempta|tion of presents, he was the more inflamed with a desire of gaining her, and proceeded so far, how|ever, as to offer two hundred thousand drachmae to ingratiate himself with the object of his adora|tion. When these means proved ineffectual, and he became more and more enamoured, he began to meditate his own destruction. There was a fe|male domestic belonging to the father of Mundus, called Ide, a woman of intrigue and cunning, who observing his passion had transported him beyond all bounds of reason, encouraged him to hope for the possession of Paulina, by suggesting to him, that, for a consideration of fifty thousand drachmae, his desire might be accomplished. Mundus, charm|ed with the proposal, produced the money; but Ide, persuaded that ore had no attraction with Pau|lina, and reflecting that she held the goddess Isis in the highest veneration, she had recourse to this in|vention. Having convened several of the priests of Isis, sworn them to secrecy, and secured them by a deposit of twenty-five thousand drachmae, and a promise of as much more when the business was effected, she communicated to them the circum|stance towards facilitating an interview between the parties.
The priests, lured by the temptation, promised fair; and one of them went immediately to Pau|lina, and, in a private conference, told her, that the god Anubis was passionately enamoured of her, and that she must favour him with a visit. Paulina wel|comed the messenger; and was so elated with the ideal honour, that she could not forbear disclosing to her female companions the kind regard which the god Anubus entertained for her. She even made her husband acquainted with it; and told him that an assignation was made between them; to which, from a reliance on her insuperable virtue, he chearfully acced•d.
*Paul•na, in pursuance of this pleasing fancy, went into the temple of Isis, where, in the evening, she was shut up by one of the priests, and meeting with Mundus in the dark, had intercourse with him during the night, supposing she was honoured with the caresses of Anubis. In the morning they separated; and Paulina returned to her husband, charmed with the late adventure, which she failed not to relate to her female companions in exagge|rated terms.
Upon the third day after the interview, Mundus happened to meet Paulina, and, in terms poignantly satirical, lampooned her credulity, that had indu|ced her to take him into her arms,* as a substitute for her adorable Anubis; intimating at the same time, that it had saved him two hundred thousand drachmae.
When the woman reflected on the deception, she rent her clothes, burst into vehement exclamations, related the whole circumstance to her husband,* and requested, if he had any regard for her, that he would not suffer so flagrant an indignity to pass un|punished. The husband represented the matter to Tiberius, who, upon full enquiry and information, caused these sanctified, or rather sacrilegious, im|postors, together with Ide, the inventress of the plot, to be crucified. He commanded the temple of Isis to be pulled down, and her statue thrown into the Tiber; but mitigated the sentence of Mundus to banishment, as a young man overcome by the irresistible force of his passion.
Profligate Jews impose themselves on the credulous as teachers of the law. Extort money upon frad•l•nt pretences. Cause the expulsion of their brethren from Rome. A Samarian impostor. Siege of Tirathabe. The assailants cut to pieces. The Samarians exhibit a complaint against Pilate. Marcellus made governor of Judaea. Pilate cited before Tiberius Caesar.
A Certain Jew, a notorious profligate, who, to avoid the stroke of public justice,* was com|pelled to fly his country, passed at Rome, in these days, as a kind of rabbi, together with three more of the same abandoned character and dictinction. Holding themselves forth as professors and ex|pounders of the laws of Moses, they gained several proselytes, and, among others, one Fulvia, a wo|man of rank and integrity, and a Jewess by pro|fession. This person, having delivered herself up to their authority and guidance,* was prevailed upon by them to send oblations of gold and purple to the holy temple at Jerusalem, which, from time to time, they converted to their own use. Saturninus, indu|ced by his wife, who had detected the fraud, exhi|bited a complaint against the impostors to Tibe|rius, who commanded all the Jews forthwith to depart the city. There were 4000 soldiers entered upon the consul's roll, and sent away for Sardinia;* besides great numbers who made conscience of bearing arms for the sake of their religion; and these were put to grievous torments; so that, for the infamy of four flagitious impostors, the Jews were all banished to a man.
Nor was Samaria free from tumults, which were excited by a certain impostor, who gave out, that,* if the multitude would assemble at mount Gerizim, a spot held sacred in that country, he would under|take to shew them the holy vessels which Moses had caused to be there deposited. A credulous rabble, lured by this plausible tale, betook themselves to arms, waiting for others to join them, in order to march up to the mountain in a large body. But Pi|late anticipated their design, by pre-possessing the mountain with a strong band of horse and foot;* whence they charged the Samarians, who had sur|rounded the village, routed and slew great numbers of them, and took and carried away a multitude of prisoners, the principal of whom were put to death by order of the governor of Judaea.
When this tumult was appeased, the leading men of the Samarians applied to Vitellius, a person of consular dignity, and at that time governor of Sy|ria, and brought a charge of murder against Pilate.* Vitellius, upon this, sent his friend Marcellus to take charge of the government of Judaea and or|dered Pilate to Rome, to answer before the em|peror, the accusations exhibited against him. Pilate had held the government of Judaea ten years, when he prepared for his journey to Rome; but Tiberius departed this life before his arrival.
Vitellius magnificently received at Jerusalem. Hyr|canus builds a castle, and calls it Antonia. Caiaphas deposed. Vitellius forms a league with Artabanus. The Parthians loss Armenia. Artabanus betrayed, but is reinforced, and recovers his kingdom. Treaty betwixt Tiberius and Artabanus. Darius sent as hostage. Vitellius returns to Antioch. Death and character of Philip.
*AT this time Vitellius went into Judaea, and visited Jerusalem, (is being the Feast of the Passover,) where he was most honourably received, and remitted the inhabitants all the taxes upon fruits bought and sold. He restored to the priests also the keeping of the pontifical vestments in the temple, as they had been of old, but were of late deposited in the castle of Antonia, upon the follow|ing occasion:
*Hyrcanus, the high-priest, and first of that name, having built a tower near the temple, passed the greater part of his time there, keeping in his own custody the pontifical vestments and ornaments▪ in order to reserve them for his own use, as did his suc|cessors, for a considerable time after him. But He|rod, upon his succession to the throne, was so well pleased with the situation, beauty, and strength of this fort, that he caused it to be improved at a very great expence, and called it by the name of Anto|nia, in honour of Anthony, his particular friend. In this castle he found the sacred vestments, and there he ordered them to be kept, from an opinion, that having them in his possession, would keep the Jews in proper decorum. Archelaus, his son and successor, followed his example, and from the same motive, as did the Romans also after the reduction of the kingdom into a province; and these pontifi|cal robes were deposited in a cabinet appropriated to that sole use, under the seal of the priests and keepers of the holy treasury, the governor of the castle being obliged to have a lamp burning before the place. Upon the seventh day preceding the three solemn festivals, he delivered out the vest|ments to the high-priest, who, having caused them to be purified, performed the sacred functions in them; and the day following deposited them in the usual place. This was the practice at the three annual festivals, and upon the solemn fast.
But Vitellius was now pleased, in favour of the Jews, to give up all the pontifical robes into the possession of the priests again, and to discharge the governor from any further care of them.* This he did to conciliate the esteem of the Jewish nation. He then deposed Joseph, who was also called Caia|phas, from the office of high-priest, and conferred it upon Jonathan, the son of the high-priest Ana|nus, after which he returned to Antioch.
Upon his arrival, he received letters of instruc|tion from Tiberius Caesar, to form a league of friendship with Artabanus, king of Parthia; the emperor being apprehensive, if he should get pos|session of Armenia, that he might become a dan|gerous enemy; but Vitellius was enjoined to form the league upon no other condition than that of having one of the king's sons as an hostage.* This induced Vitellius to tamper with the kings of Ibe|ria and Alania, by the offer of a great sum of money, to engage them in a war with Artabanus. His ut|most efforts could only prevail with the Iberians to open a free passage for the Alanians through their city, and so, by the Caspian mountains, to enable them to pave the way for an incursion into the kingdom of Armenia.* By means of this irruption, Armenia was again taken from the Parthians; and that stroke was followed with so desperate a ravage of their own country, that the principal men were almost entirely cut off, together with the king's sons, and such vast numbers of the common peo|ple, that this invasion may be said to have laid all waste before it.
Artabanus now fatally perceived that he had been betrayed under his very roof, and that his friends and relations were bribed into a plot with Vitellius for his destruction; so that not knowing in whom to repose confidence, and susp••ting treachery under the guise of friendship,* he made his escape into the upper provinces, where he was not only protected, but reinforced with so conside|rable an army of the Dahi and Saci, that he not only overthrew his enemies, but recovered his kingdom.
Upon this turn of affairs,* Tiberius proposed an alliance with Artabanus; and, upon this invitation, Artabanus and Vitellius went to the Euphrates, and a bridge being laid over the river, they each of them came attended with their guards, and met upon the middle of the bridge. At the conclusion of the treaty. Herod, the tetrarch, gave them both a very splendid and magnificent entertainment,* in a tent he had erected, at a great expence, upon the same river. Artabanus soon after sent his son, Darius, as an hostage to Tiberius, with a varity of presents; and one amongst the rest was a man seven cubits in height, by profession a Jew, whom they called Eleazar the Giant. Vitellius after this returned to Antioch, and Artabanus to Ba|bylon.
Herod,* desirous of giving Caesar the first infor|mation of their having obtaining hostages, dispatch|ed a messenger with every particular of the treaty to Rome; and each circumstance being so accurately described, the intelligence of Vitellius became need|less. He was, however, much disgusted at his of|ficious anticipation, but smothered his resentment till Caius came to the government.
At this time died Philip, the brother of Herod, in the twentieth year of the reign of Tiberius, and the thirty-seventh of his tetrarchy, of Trachon, Gaulanitis, and Batamea. He was a man of a quiet, easy disposition, and spent his whole life in the com|pass of his own jurisdiction. He scarcely ever went abroad, but in company with some few of his select friends; and had a chair carried after him, which, upon several occasions, he used as a seat of justice. If an appeal was made to him for his decision of any matter in controversy, he immediately proceeded to the examination of the cause, and gave sentence according to validity of evidence. He died at Julias, and was buried, with great funeral pomp, in a monument he had prepared for himself; but leaving no issue behind him, Tiberius annexed his domains to Syria, upon condition that the tributes in that tetrarchy should not go out of the country.
A war between Herod, the tetrarch, and Aretas, the king of Parthia. Particulars of the occasion of it. John the Baptist imprisoned by order of Herod. Vitellius marches by the way of Judaea towards Petra. The Jews are offended at the images in the Roman ensigns. Vitellius, Herod, and attendants, go to a public festi|val held at Jerusalem. The pontificate transferred from Jonathan to Theophilus. Intelligence of the death of Tiberius. Progeny of Herod the Great.
A WAR broke out at this time between Herod and Aretas, king of Parthia,* upon the follow|ing occasion. Herod, the tetrarch, married the daughter of Aretas with whom he enhabited▪ con…siderable time; but being called afterwards to Rome, he paid a visit to Herod, his brother-in-law, (the son of the daughter of Simon, the high-priest,) in his way, where he became so passionately enamoured of Herodias, wife of his brother, and daughter of Aristobulus, their brother, that he had the confi|dence to make a proposal of marriage to her,* upon his return from Rome, and of putting away his wife, the daughter of Aretas, which was agreed to on both sides, as the condition of their marriage He then prosecuted his voyage for Rome, where, having done his business, he returned home. His wife, having by this time received intelligence of his intrigue with Herodias artfully insinuated a desire of obtain|ing his permission to go to Machaeras, a castle upon Page 291 the borders of the dominions of Aretas. Herod, not suspecting the cause of her request, readily complied; and, as Mechaeras was placed under the dominion of her father, every necessary prepara|tion was then made, for her journey. The gover|nor, immediately upon her arrival, furnished her with Arabian guards, who conducted her from stage to stage, with all possible speed, to her father's pa|lace. When she related the circumstance of He|rod's amour, Aretas became naturally incensed; and there bring, at that time, a dispute concerning the boundaries of some land in Gamala, and the two armies in the field ready to decide the point in question, they laid hold of this pretence, and brought it to a battle, in which Herod was totally routed, through the treachery of a band of refugees that came over from Philip,* and were at that time in the pay of Herod. The tetrarch no sooner gave Tibe|rius intelligence of this disaster, than he dispatched orders to Vitellius to make war upon Aretas,* to re|taliate the supposed indignity, and either bring him prisoner, or send his head to Rome.
There prevailed amongst the Jews a general opi|nion that this disaster was the effect of a Divine ven|geance upon Herod and his army, for the blood of John, surnamed the Baptist, who was basely mur|dered by order of this tetrarch. He was a man of an immaculate character,* whose grand concern was to exhort the Jews to the practice of piety and vir|tue, point out the necessity of repentance, and hold forth▪ by baptism, the import and meaning of re|generation and a new life; not as consisting in ab|staining from a particular sin, but in an habitual purity both of mind and body. Such was the in|fluence and authority of this great and good man, as appeared from the multitude of his disciples, and the veneration they had for his doctrine, that Herod was apprehensive he might instigate them to a re|volt. Actuated therefore by this sordid principle, he sent him away bound to Machaeras, (the castle before mentioned,*) where, by the malice and con|trivance of Herodias, his brother's wife, (with whom he was greatly enamoured,) the Baptist was afterwards put to death; and that impious barba|rity was followed by a Divine vengeance on the execrable cause of it, as the Jews, from the best foundation, were firmly persuaded.
Vitellius was now preparing for the Arabian war, and upon his march towards Petra, with two legi|ons, and all the auxiliaries, horse and foot, of the Roman allies. When he was advanced as far as Ptolemais, thinking to take his passage across Ju|daea, the leading men of the country met him on his way, intreating him to steer some other course, as the images which the Romans usually bear on their ensigns are repugnant to the religion and laws of the Jews.* The general complied with the re|quest, and sent his army about, through the com|pass of an extensive plain, while he himself, with Herod the tetrarch, and his friends, went up to Je|rusalem, to the celebration of a public festival which then approached. He was received with the utmost respect and honour, and took his abode there three days, during which time he transferred the of|fice of high-priest from Jonathan to his brother Theophilus. Upon the fourth day he received in|telligence of the death of Tiberius; and, in conse|quence thereof, made the people swear allegiance to Caius Caligula, the successor; called back his troops, and ordered them into winter quarters, putting a stop to the war upon the change of government.
*The•e prevailed a report that upon the ••••lli|gence of the expedition of Vitellius, Aretas con|sulted the diviners and soothsayers respecting the event of the undertaking, and that they foretold, "That the army then upon the march should never reach Petra; as either one of the princes would die, or the general appointed to the command, or the person against whom the war was made;" so that Vitellius returned to Antioch. As I am now rela|ting these vicissitudes of human events, I deem it not foreign to the purpose to make some remarks on the fate of Herod and his family, which certainly displays remarkable instances of the wisdom and power of Divine Providence. It tends to shew, that dignity of birth, the most splendid fortune, or numerous progeny, are objects of no consideration with piety and virtue. We find this maxim con|firmed in the case of Herod, who, within the course of an hundred years, had not any remains left of so numerous a family. This should serve as a check to the vain pretensions of arrogant mortals, and lead them to admire the wonders of Providence; and, amongst the rest, the advancement of Agrip|pa from a private fortune, to so eminent a degree of dignity and power. We have given an account of the progeny of Herod in the abstract, but shall now give it in detail.
Herod the Great had, by Mariamne,* the daughter of Hyrcanus, two daughters, Salampso, who mar|ried Phasael, the son of Phasael, the king's eldest brother, with the father's consent, and Cypros, who married Antipater, the nephew of Herod, by his sister Salome.
Phasael had, by Salampso, five children, Antipa|ter, Herod, Alexander, and two daughters, Alex|andra and Cypros, who married Agrippa, the son of Aristobulus; but Alexandra was married to ••e Timius, a nobleman of the isle of Cypros, who died without issue. Agrippa had, by Cypros, two sons and three daughters. The latter were Bernice, Mariamne, and Drusilla; the former Agrippa, and Dru•us, who died in his minority. Agrippa, the father, was brought up under his grand-father He|rod the Great, together with his brothers, Herod and Aristobulus, as was also Bernice, the daughter of Salome and Costobarus.
The children of Aristobulus were at that time in|fants, when their father, and his brother Alexander, were put to death by Herod. When they arrived to years of maturity, this Herod, the brother of Agrippa, married Mariamne, the daughter of Olym, pias (who was king Herod's daughter) and of Jo|seph, Herod's brother, by whom he had Aristobu|lus. Aristobulus, the third brother of Agrippa, married Jotape, the daughter of Samsigeram, king of the Emesenes, by whom he had a daughter called after her mother, and that was born deaf. These were the children of the three brothers; but Hero|dias, their sister, married Herod, the son of Herod the Great, whom he had by Mariamne, the daughter of Simon, the high-priest, and from thence came Salome; after whose birth Herodias made no scruple, in defiance of the law of our country, of taking He|rod, the tetrarch of Galilee, for her second hus|band, though her husband's brother, by the father's side, having also abandoned a former husband who was yet living. Salome, the daughter, married Phi|lip, the son of Herod, the tetrarch of the Tracho|nites, who died without issue: after which he marri|ed Aristobulus, the son of Herod, and brother of Agrippa, by whom she had three sons, Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus. Thus much for the family of Phasael and Salampso.
Cypros had, by Antipater, a daughter, called after the mother, who was married to Alexas Selcius, the son of Alexas, who, by her, had one daughter, Cypros. But Herod and Alexander, the brothers of Antipater, died without issue. Alexander, the son of king Herod, that was put to death by his fa|ther, had, by Glaphyra, the daughter of Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, Alexander and Tigranes.
This Tigranes was that king of Armenia, who had an accusation brought against him by the Ro|mans, and died without children. Alexander had a son called Tigranes also, after the name of his un|cle, whom Nero advanced to be king of Armenia; and had a son named Alexander, who married Jo|tape, the daughter of Antiochus, king of Comage|••, and was made king of Lesis, in Cilicia, by Vespasian. The race of Alexander's sons declined from the Jewish laws and discipline to the religion of the Greeks; and the other daughters of Herod the Great left no children behind them. Having thus gone through the posterity of this prince, as far as the reign of Agrippa, we shall now advert to the history of Agrippa himself, and shew the ama|zing Page 292 succession of events that at length advanced him to so great a degree of dignity and power.
Exaltation and profusion of Agrippa. He conciliates the favour of the great. Incurs the hatred of his brother Aristobulus. Is graciously received by Caesar 〈◊〉 Capreas. Charged with a defraud by Herennius Dismissed the court. Success of his artifices. Dila|tory temper of Tiberius. Agrippa committed to pri|son upon an accusation of Eutychus. Prediction of a German upon an owl: perching over Agrippa's head. Tiberius inexorable towar•• him. Popularity of Caius. Tiberius, upon consulting the oracle, as to the succession, is directed to Caius. Transfers the government to him. Death of Tiberius, and succes|sion of Caius. Character of the late emperor▪ A|grippa discharged from confinement, and treated with singular honour. Marcellus appointed to the govern|ment of Judaea.
AGRIPPA, being at Rome, a short time before the death of Herod the Great,* and frequently admitted to the emperor's palace, had insinuated himself into the graces of his son Drusus, as also of Antonia, the wife of Drusus the elder, by means of his mother Bernice, for whom Antonia had great esteem. Agrippa was naturally of an open generous temper, but kept within the bounds of moderation, in his expences, during the life of his mother; but, upon her demise, gave into every ex|cess of extravagance, and especially amongst the creatures of the court, insomuch that he had in|curred such loads of debts, that he was under a ne|cessity of abandoning Rome. Tiberius, at the same time, also losing his son, could not bear the sight of any of the companions of Drusus, as they would remind him of his loss.
*Having squandered his property, and injured his character, through his profusion, and being pressed by creditors without the means of making satisfac|tion, Agr••pa returned to Judaea, and partly thro' shame for his indiscretion, retired to Malatha, a castle in Idumaea, resolving there to put an end to a miserable life. Cypros, apprehending the most fatal effects from the daily increase of his melan|choly, wrote to her sister Herodias an account of his very necessitous condition, adjuring her, by all the ties of honour and affinity, to afford him some assistance. This application so far wrought upon Herodias, that she prevailed with her husband to send for Agrippa, allow him a pension, and the government of Tiberias, for his present mainte|nance. But Herod did not long continue his pro|tection; nor did Agrippa discover much satisfaction with his situation; insomuch, that, at a convivial board, Herod reflected upon his poverty, and re|proached him with having, by his profusion, ren|dered himself a dependant on his bounty.
*Agrippa, disgusted at so palpable a taunt, betook himself to Flaccus, a particular friend at Rome, and at that time governor of Syria. Flaccus gave him a kind reception, having, as a guest, Aristobulus, who, though his brother, was inimical to Agrippa: but this circumstance did not prevent Flaccus from dividing his good offices indiscriminately betwixt them. Aristobulus, however, indulged his spleen; and an incident occurred, that furnished him with the means of working Flaccus into an unfavourable opinion of Agrippa. There was a dispute betwixt the people of Damascus and those of Sidon concern|ing the limits of their territory. The cause was to be tried before Flaccus; and the people of Damas|cus being informed of the weight of influence Agrippa had with the governor, determined, by a valuable consideration, to engage him in their inte|rest. The bargain was struck, and promises ex|changed; so that Agrippa strenuously contended for the claim of Damascus in opposition to that of Sidon. Aristobulus, finding that his brother was ac|tuated by a pecuniary motive, complained of him to the governor, who, upon examination, and proof of the charge, rejected Agrippa; so that be|ing again abandoned to the wide world, he went to Ptolemais, with a resolution of going back again into Italy. In this extremity he employed Marsyas, one of his freemen, to procure a sum of money up|on any terms, to supply his present exigencies▪ Marsyas accordingly applied to Protus, a freeman of Bernice, the mother of Agrippa, and his late patroness, that, in her last will and testament had recommended him to the service of Antonia, for the loan of a sum of money to him upon his bond. Protus accused Agrippa with non-payment of what was already due; and by that means compelled Marsyas, when he made the bond of twenty thou|sand attic drachmae, to accept of two thousand five hundred less than what he desired.
Upon the receipt of this supply, Agrippa went to Anthedon, took shipping, and prepared himsel• to put to sea. But intelligence of this being give• to Herennius Capito, procurate of Jamnia, he sen• a band of soldiers to demand of him payment of a debt of three hundred thousand drachmae of silver, which he borrowed from Caesar's treasury when he was at Rome. This accident, for a few hours, sus|pended his purpose. He made fair promises; but, when night came on, cut his cabels, stood off to sea, and steered his course for Alexandria. Upon his arrival, he desired Alexander, the principal of|ficer of the revenue, to lend him two hundred thou|sand drachmae upon his own security. The officer rejected his request; but complimented his w••• upon her known integrity, and offered the loan of the money upon her bond. In fine, upon the se|curity of Cypros, Alexander supplied Agrippa with five talents at Alexandria, and letters of credit for the rest at Puteoli; for he was not willing to ve••ture the whole sum in his hands together, from a knowledge of his profusion and extravagance▪ Cypros, finding, by this time, that her husband w• resolutely bent upon his journey, went back with her children to Judaea by land.
Agrippa, upon his coming to Puteoli, informed Tiberius Caesar (who then resided at Capreae) 〈◊〉 letter, that he was come so far to pay him his duty▪ and requested permission to wait upon him. Tibe|rius, without delay, returned him the kindest an•swer, with assurance of his gracious reception 〈◊〉 Capreae; and accordingly, upon his arrival, salu• him with the greatest tenderness, introduced hi• into his palace, and entertained him in the 〈◊〉 sumptuous and magnificent manner. But the 〈◊〉 following Caesar received letters of complain• against Agrippa from Herennius Capito, setting forth that "being three hundred thousand drach••• in the emperor's debt, and the money long since 〈◊〉 he had only demanded satisfaction in the 〈◊〉 but that Agrippa, having stolen away to evade J•••tice, the emperor was in danger of losing his •••ney." Tiberius viewed this in so heinous a lig•• that he ordered the officers of his court not to a••mit Agrippa till he had paid his debt. Agrippa 〈◊〉 no notice of the emperor's displeasure, but we•• to Antonia, the mother both of Germanicus and 〈◊〉 Claudius, (who came afterwards to the empire) and setting forth the danger he was in of losing the favour of Caesar, for the want of three hundred thousand drachmae, obtained the loan of that 〈◊〉 from her, as a testimony of her respect for the me|mory of Bernice, and the friendship that had ev• subsisted between them. With this money he dis|charged the debt; and not only re-instated himself in the emperor's favour, but gained so far upon him, that he committed his grandson Tiberius, the son of Drusus, to his care and government. Agrippa was so sensible of the obligations he had to Antonia, that he paid his court to her grandson Caius, who was held in general esteem, both for his own sake, and the reverence he had for the me|mory of Germanicus, his father. Agrippa found means of borrowing a million of drachmae from one Thallus, a freeman of Caesar; part of which he appropriated to the payment of Antonia, and the overplus to the defraying of the expences in his attendance upon Caius, who had now taken him into his greatest confidence.
Page 293The friendship between Agrippa and Caius com|ing to so great a height, the former took occasion, on the mention of Tiberius, as they were sitting together in a chariot, to suggest a wish, that "Ti|berius was taken off the stage, and Caius suc|ceeded to the empire." These words were over|heard by Eutychus, who was Agrippa's freeman, and drove his chariot, but for the present did not disclose them. It happened soon after, that Euty|chus, upon an accusation of robbing his master of some wearing apparel, deserted his service; and be|ing apprehended, and brought before Piso, governor of the place, was asked the cause of it, when he re|plied, he had something to say to Caesar, that tended to his security and preservation. Eutychus, upon this, was sent bound to Capraea, and kept in chains by Tiberius, who, even on the most urgent occa|sion, was addicted to sloth and delay. He would not admit ambassadors without hesitation; nor sup|ply vacancies in governments of provinces,* till he re|ceived certain information of the deaths of former deputies or governors. He was very negligent also in hearing the causes of prisoners; and being asked, by his friends, the reason of his delay in such cases, he thus replied;
That this is the true character of Tiberius needs no other proof than that, during the course of a reign of twenty years, he sent only two governors into Judaea, which were Gratus, and his successor, Pilate, and that he pursued the same plan in all other parts of his empire. The reason he gave also for the delay of bringing prisoners to their trial, was to keep them the longer in pain; and to punish them for their past crimes, by a lingering torment worse than death itself.
This was the true cause of Eutychus being kept so long in chains before Caesar would vouchsafe to hear him: but Tiberius, after some time, coming from Capreae to Tusculanum, about an hundred furlongs from Rome,* Agrippa desired Antonia to move for Eutychus that he might have a hearing, that it might be known what he had to object against his patron. Tiberius had great respect for Antonia; partly through consanguinity, as being his sister-in-law, and the widow of Drusus, and partly through the reputation of her virtue, in the refusal of a se|cond marriage, though she was importuned by Au|gustus himself. Besides these motives, Tiberius had personal obligations to Antonia; for had it not been for her sagacity, faith, and industry, that de|sperate plot of his minion, Sejanus, had certainly cost him his life. As he was a man of power and cre|dit, the captain of his guards had engaged several men of senatorial dignity, divers of Caesar's free|men,* court favourites, and military officers, in the conspiracy. Sejanus had certainly gained his point had not the vigilance and resolution of Antonia de|feated his schemes: for when she had discovered his designs against Tiberius, she wrote him an exact account of the whole, gave the letter to Pallas, the most trusty of his servants, and sent to the emperor at Capreae. By virtue of this discovery, both the confederacy itself, and the agents concern|ed in it, were brought to light, and justice done up|on Sejanus and his accomplices. This added to Caesar's former obligations to her, who, with pro|priety, could deny her no request; so that, upon the importunity of Agrippa, she pressed Tiberius to give Eutychus an hearing. The emperor consented, ob|serving, that, if Eutychus had traduced Agrippa, he must abide by the consequence; and, on the other hand, if the accusation, upon enquiry, ap|peared to be true, the punishment would certainly fall upon the criminal. Antonia gave Agrippa this caution; and the more she inclined to moderation, he was the more eager to bring it to a scrutiny; inso|much, that Antonio, when she found he would not take a denial, took an opportunity of accosting Ti|berius, and preferring her request, that Eutychus might be called and heard. He most solemnly ap|pealed to the gods, that what he was about to do he did reluctantly, and only in compliance with her request.
Upon this he commanded Macro,* successor to Se|janus in his commission for the guards, to cause Eu|tychus to be brought before him; and as soon as he came into his presence, asked him what he had to al|ledge against his patron Agrippa, who gave him his freedom? He answered, with all humility, that, "as he was one day driving Caius and Agrippa in his chariot, he overheard some discourse that passed between them and particularly remarked a sug|gestion, that came from Agrippa, intimating a wi•• "that Tiberius might be taken off the stage, and Cai•s succeed to the empire," as it might r•d•und 〈◊〉 his interest and advantage. Tiberius was dispo|sed to believe this information, and was much in|censed at Agrippa, because that, after his having committed the care of his grandson to him, he had dedicated himself wholly to the service of Caius. The emperor, upon this, turning to Macro, ex|claimed, "Put him in chains." Macro, not under|standing to whom Tiberius, referred, asked him what man? The emperor sternly replied, "Agrip|pa" The latter immediately betook himself to prayers and supplications, adjuring Tiberius, by the tenderness he had for the memory of his son, with whom he had the honour to be so well acquain|ted, and for the sake of the services he had been so happy as to render to his grandson,* to vouchsafe him his pardon. But all his intreaties were in vain; for the gua•ds dragged him to prison in his purple robes as they found him. The weather being ex|tremely hot, and Agrippa ready to perish with 〈◊〉, he observed one of Caius's slaves, whose name was Thaumastus, carrying some water in a vessel, and desired that he would let him drink. The servant immediately complied with his request; and hav|ing drank heartily, he promised, for the service he had rendered him, if he surmounted the present difficulty, to prevail with Caius to grant him his freedom. Nor did he deceive him in his promise; for when he afterwards came to the crown, he pro|cured Thaumastus's liberty, made him steward over his own estate, and, at his death, recommend|ed him to his son Agrippa, and to Ber•••• his daughter, to continue him in that charge, where|in he acquitted himself with great hono•• during the remainder of his life.
As Agrippa was standing in chains before the pa|lace, with others of his fellow prisoners,* and leaning in a melancholy posture against a tree, there came an owl and perched upon it. A German, that was there in bonds, observing it, enquired of one of the sol|diers, who that man in purple was? Being in•ormed that he was a Jew of the first rank in point of ex|traction, he desired the soldier to fu••er him to ap|proach in order to speak to him, as he wished to en|quire concerning some things relating to his coun|try. This being granted, the German, by an in|terpreter, thus addressed him:
The prophecy of this German appeared as ludi|crous and improbable to Agrippa, in the relation, as it was afterwards wonderful and surprising in the accomplishment. Antonia, in the mean time, was deeply affected by the hard usuage of her friend; but taking it for granted, that Tiberius was not to be wrought upon, and that all applications and inter|cessions would therefore be in vain, all that she could do was to prevail with Macro, to render his situation more tolerable, by setting affable, tractable men as guards over him; allowing him to 〈◊〉 with the officers who had him in custody; and giv|ing access to his friends that were disposed to visit him.* All this was accordingly granted, insomuch that Silas, his friend, and Marsyas and Stychus, two of his freemen, brought him the most accept|able diet; and afforded him many other indulgen|cies under the connivance of the soldiers, from the hints they had received from Macro,
*When Agrippa had remained in confinement six months, Tiberius, upon his return to Capreae, was taken with a faint indisposition, which increased upon him to such a degree, that he had no hopes of recovery. Perceiving his case desperate, he sent Evodus, a freeman, in whom he confided, to bring his children to him early the next morning, to take a last interview with their dying father. I would here be understood as speaking of adopted children; for he had none of his own; Drusus, his only son, being deceased: but Tiberius, surnamed Gemellus, the son of Drusus, was living; as was Caius, the son of his brother Germanicus,* who had now at|tained to man's estate, and possessed most excellent accomplishments. He was the darling of the peo|ple, from the reverence they had for the memory of 〈◊〉 father's virtues, who was a prince of the greatest moderation,* a••ability, and condescension. His illustrious example not only g•••ed the favour of the senate and people of Rome, but of the pro|vinces in general that were subject to the empire, which he conciliated by every good office, and to|ken of ••••ice and humanity. His death, in fine, was not so much celebrated with external pomp and show, as with tears flowing from real affection and compunction of heart; for the whole body of the people lamented the death of this prince as if each individual subject had lost a father. The repu|tation of Germanicus tended greatly to the interest of his son Caius, but particularly recommended him to the soldiers, who were ready to lay down their lives for his service.
*Tiberius, having given orders to Evodus to bring his sons to him the next morning, he prayed to the gods of his country to direct him, by some manifest signal, as to the appointment to the succession. He gave himself the preference to Tiberius; but durst not venture to pre-judge or determine in a point of such importance, without consulting the oracle. He th•• proposed to govern himself by this token, that he of the two that came first to him in the morning should be his successor. Having thus resolved, he gave it in charge to the tutor of Tiberius, his grand|son, to bring his pupil to him by break of day, taking it for granted that the signal requested would be in his favour. But it fell out otherwise; for, upon his sending Evodus, by peep of day, to bring in him whom he should first see, he found only Caius, and accordingly informed him that the em|peror required his presence. Tiberius, it seems, not suspecting the importance of the business upon which he was to attend, had rather loitered than ha••ened upon the occasion.
*The emperor was not a little startled at the sight of Caius, considering in what manner Providence had defeated him in his design of disposing of the government, by settling it contrary to his inclina|tion. But he was more affected through this disap|pointment, by apprehension for the personal safety of his grandson, than loss of the empire. For when dominion is in question, power must carry it: am|bition knows no kindred; and amongst rivals for sway, the one can never think himself safe but in the ruin of the other.
Tiberius had been very much given to astrology,* and the calculation o• nativities, and had governed his actions, in a great measure, by the direction of wizards and fortune-tellers. Accordingly, hap|pening once to cast his eye upon Galba, he turned to some particular friends about him, and exclaim|ed, "That man will be emperor of Rome." Upon the whole, none of the emperors were so much ad|dicted to divination as Tiberius. But nothing touched him so sensibly as this foreboding encoun|ter of the two competitors, which wrought upon him in such a manner, that he gave up his grandson for lost, abandoned himself to a kind of despair, and involved himself in perplexed researches into the designs of Providence, that are wisely concealed from mortals, when he might have lived happily in a patient resignation to the will of heaven. Though he was much disordered by this unexpected resolu|tion of the government for those to whom he did not intend it, yet deeming it a point of expediency to speak upon the occasion, he delivered himself to the following effect:
Tiberius, having declared Caius his successor,* within a few days after departed this life, having reigned twenty-two years, five months, and thirteen days. Caius was now the fourth in the roll of the emperors.* The rumour of the death of Tiberius was grateful to the Romans, though they durst not venture too much upon the truth of it, being fear|ful lest, through their credulity, they might dis|cover a satisfaction that would subject them to the information of spies, and be attended with certain death. Tiberius was, in disposition,* fierce and in|exorable to the highest degree; his passion was easily inflamed, and his resentment was implacable. He conceived aversion without cause, and executed ven|geance without demerit; pronouncing the rigorous sentence of death for the slightest offences. It there|fore concerned the people to be cautious, as to the discovery of their joy for the tidings, considering the mortal danger of being found in a mistake.
Marsyas, Agrippa's freeman,* no sooner heard of the death of Tiberius, than he posted with the glad tidings to his patron, whom he found going into a Page 295 bath, and whispered in the Hebrew tongue,
When Agrippa had passed the night in this aggra|vated state of misery, the rumour of the death of Tiberius revived the next day, insomuch that it was publicly spok•n of▪ and sacrifices were offered up as tokens of gen•ral joy. Letters arrived from Caius, one to the sen•te, to inform them, that Tiberius had declared him his successor, and the other to Piso, governor of the city, to the same purpose; giving orders also, that Agrippa should be discharged the prison, and ••lowed the liberty of the house in which he had been before his commitment; so that he was now out of all danger and apprehension, and, though in custody, in all other respects in a state of freedom.
Upon the return of Caius to Rome with the body of Tiberius, the funeral obsequies were performed with the utmost pomp and solemnity. The emperor would have discharged Agrippa the same day, but Antonia objected to it▪ not from any motive of ill-will, but because it would be deemed an instance of disrespect to the memory of Tiberius, to set free his prisoner so ha•tily. However, in the course of a few days.* Caius took him home, caused him to be ar|rayed in roya• habiliments, put a diadem upon his head, and ma•e him successor to Philip's tetrarchy. He also gave •im the tetracrhy of Lysanius; and changed his 〈◊〉 cha•• for a golden one of the same weight. 〈◊〉 at the same time was sent go|vernor into Judaea.
In the second year of the reign of Caius Caesar, Agrippa requ•sted permission to go home, in order to settle the affairs of his government, with a pro|mise of returning at a stated time. The people, on his arrival, w•re astonished to see him with a crown upon his head though it demonstrated to them the vicissitude of •um•n •vents, in the sudden change from the extr•me of one condition to that of ano|ther, Some •ooked upon him as the happiest of men 〈◊〉 whilst ••hers were so amazed at the circum|stances of the revolution, that they could scarcely beli•ve even •hat they saw.
The ••vy He••d 〈…〉 presses her husband to ap|ply 〈…〉 his 〈◊〉 behalf. Herod, with much 〈…〉 is sent by Agrippa as a 〈…〉 of 〈◊〉 exhibited against Herod. 〈…〉 and Artabanus against Caius. 〈…〉 condemned to perpetual exile. 〈…〉, but afterwards presumptu|o••〈…〉 Divine honours.
HERODIA•, the sister of Agrippa, and wife of Herod, the retrarch of Galilee and Peraea, the country bey••d Jordon, became fraught with envy at the present condition of her brother, who,* from a state of penury and dejection, was now advanced to splendor, dignity, and power, above her husband. Her haughty spirit was particularly raised in seeing him appear in all the pomp and magnificence of roy|alty, and exhibit himself as a public spectacle to the multitude. In the violence of her passion, she urged her husband to go immediately to Rome, and intreat Caesar to confer on him the same honours. In order to incite him to compliance, she represented,* "that it would be death to her to see her husband, who was the son of a king, and stood fair in the affecti|ons of the people, as well as in his pretensions to the succession, stand tamely by, and behold the son of Aristobulus, a bankrupt and criminal, that had suffered under the hands of justice, advanced to a throne." She also observed, "that if Herod had hither to patience to live beneath the dignity of his father's son, it was now time to exert himself in vin|dication of the honour of his family, without suf|fering himself to own the superiority of a wretch who had been a dependant on his bounty." She therefore insisted on their going immediately to Rome at any expence, as money could not possibly be applied to a better use than that of obtaining a kingdom.
Herod, from a natural love of ease,* and an un|favourable opinion of the court of Rome, used every means to divert his wife from her design; but the more he receded, the more she pressed him, having formed an uncontroulable resolution to pur|sue her point at all events. In fine, she was so ur|gent, that he seemed under a necessity, in his own defence, of complying with her importunities;* so that they set off for Rome together, with an equi|page suitable to the dignity and importance of the occasion.
Agrippa, having intelligence of every thing that passed, resolved on the means of counteracting their designs. He kept his freeman, Fortunatus,* in rea|diness with letters and presents for the emperor; and as soon as Herod should sail for Rome, he was to put to sea after him, with particular instructions as to his mode of proceeding on his arrival. For|tunatus had a quick voyage, and arrived at 〈◊〉 at the same time with Herod: but Caius happened at that time to be at the Bai•, a small town in Com|pagne, about five furlongs from Puteoli, a place famous for grand apartments in the royal palace; the emperors, that frequented the hot bathe there, striving to outdo each other in the magnificence and convenience of their buildings.
Herod, on coming to this place, paid his dutiful obedience to the emperor; and Fortunatus immedi|ately after presented him his letters. The emperor, on perusal, found them to contain a direct charge against Herod: first, for being a party in the con|federacy of Sejanus against Tiberius; and now for joining with Artabanus, king of Parthia, against the government of Caius; as a demonstration of which he alledged,* that he had then a magazine of arms sufficient for seventy thousand men. Caius, moved at this information, demanded of Herod, whether he had such a store of arms or not? The fact was so clear that he could not deny it: so that the em|peror, deeming this sufficient ground of evidence for treason, took away his government,* and gave•t to Agrippa, with his money also, as a reward for his discovery. He sentenced Herod to exile during life; and fixed Lyons, a city of Gaul, for the place of his residence. As for Herodias, whom he knew to be the sister of Agrippa, he gave her the full com|mand of whatever belonged to her; and, without making her a sharer of her husband's cala•••y, pro|mised to treat her with lenity for the sake of her brother. But Herodias s••rned his offered favours; declared she was not in a condition to enjoy the benefit of his bounty; nor could she, after having shared in her husband's better fortunes, now aban|don him in adversity. This greatness of mind, laudable as it was, gave such offence to Caius, that, through an idea of its being an indignity offered him,* he banished and confined Herodias together with her husband. This seems to have been a judg|ment Page 296 inflicted on her for the malignity of her envy to the success of her brother, as also a punishment on Herod for being over-ruled by an ambitious and impetuous woman.
*The reign of Caius, during the two first years of his government, was prudent and moderate, and his conduct gained exceedingly on the people both at Rome itself, and in the provinces. But such was the pride and vanity of his heart, in the contempla|tion of his greatness and dignity,* that, after a time, he assumed to himself to be more than mortal, blas|phemed the higher powers, and had the audacity to usurp to himself divine honours.
A tumult at Alexandria between the Jews and the Greeks. They send an embassy to Caius. Apion maintains the cause of the Greeks. Philo▪ that of the Jews.
*A TUMULT having arisen at Alexandria, be|twixt the Jews and the Greeks, three ambas|sadors were chosen from each party at variance, and sent to Caius to decide the matter. Apion was the chief on the part of the Greeks, as was Philo on the part of the Jews. The principal allegation of Apion against the Jews was, "that whereas tem|ples and altars were erected by all the subjects of the Roman empire elsewhere in honour of Caius, and the same adoration paid to the emperor as to the rest of the gods: the Jews alone refused either to dedicate images to Caesar, or to swear by his name." Apion began with this invective, and used his utmost efforts to inflame Caius against the Jews. But Philo, the brother of Alexander, chief officer of the revenue, and a man of eminent literary abi|lities,* standing up in defence of the Jews against the allegations of Apion, Caius, in a violent rage, commanded him to depart. Philo, on this chole|ric repulse, turned to the Jews, who were about him, and bade them be of good courage, adding laconically, "Now Caius is against us, God will be for us."
Caius, in resentment of a supposed indignity offered him by the Jews, orders Petronius to set up his standard 〈◊〉 their temple. The Jews expostulate with Petro|nius, and collect themselves into a body. They are s•pported by Aristobulus, and other men of rank, who desire Petronius to lay the case before Caesar. Pe|tronius deliberates upon it, and summons the Jews to T•berais. Writes to Caesar, representing their case. Agrippa gives a splendid entertainment to Caesar, w•o promises a requital. Agrippa requests him to r•voke the order he had given to Petronius. Caius g•ants his request. A commotion among the Jews. C•ius sends a menacing letter to Petronius. His ••ath.
CAIUS was so highly offended at the imagined insult of the Jews in standing in defiance of his orders,* that he sent Petronius to take upon him the government of Syria instead of Vitellius, directing him to enter Judaea, with a powerful army, and set up his statue in the temple. He was farther in|structed, if they refused compliance with his com|mands, to enforce compulsion by dint of arms. Pe|tronius accordingly took upon himself the govern|ment, and hastened, with all possible expedition, to execute the commands of Caesar. To this end he collected a body of auxiliaries, which, with two Roman legions, he put into winter quarters in Pto|lemais, to be ready to march early in the ensuing spring. He wrote an account of his proceedings, from time to time, to Caius, who commended his zeal and attention, and encouraged him for his con|duct; being resolved, as he declared, to punish the contumacy of those stubborn people.
There came at this time multitudes of Jews to Petronius at Ptolemais, to present him their peti|tions not to compel them to transgress and violate the laws of their forfathers; assuring him,* that if he was determined to erect a statue in their temple, he must first take away their lives; for that, as long as they had breath, they would not suffer such things to be done as were directly prohibited by their great and much revered legislator. Pe|tronius sternly replied, "that if he were at his own liberty, their petitions might have an effect;* but that being under Caesar's command, he must at his peril obey Caesar's orders." The Jews, in answer,* said, "that if he could not depart from his master's orders, neither could they from theirs; and that, through Divine assistance, they were resolved to tread in the steps of their forefathers as they had hitherto done; that they prefered the considera|tion of eternity to that of time; and the preserva|tion of their religion and laws, to that of their lives and fortunes; that their trust was in the provi|dence and protection of the Almighty; and that, in fine, they submitted it to his determination, whe|ther they should obey the voice of heaven, or the voice of Caius."
Petronius gathering from this discourse, that they were inflexible in their resolution, and that, with|out a profusion of blood, he could not be subser|vient to Caius in the dedication of his statue, took some friends and attendants with him,* and hastened to Tiberais, to be within distance of being more particularly informed of the manners, customs, and affairs of the people with whom he had to deal. The Jews were alarmed at the approach of the Ro|mans; not so much from the apprehension of a war, as an invasion upon their religion and laws; so that many thousands went in a body to Petronius,* most passionately requesting him; not to drive the mul|titude to acts of desperation, by offering to pro|phane the temple with forbidden images. Petro|nius then exclaimed, "Will you wage war with Caesar, without considering his mighty preparati|ons, and your own weakness?" They replied, "We will not, by any means, wage war with him; but are still determined to die, rather than live to see the violation of our laws. Upon this they cast themselves upon the ground, laid bare their necks, intimating thereby that they were resigned to death. In this manner they passed forty days, without at|tending to the business of husbandry, though the season of the year required it. Indeed, the common offices of life were wholly neglected; as they were unanimously resolved rather to die than be specta|tors of the dedication of the statue.
While matters were in this state, Aristobulus, the brother of king Agrippa, and Elcias,* surnamed the Great, with several of the first rank amongst the Jews, applied themselves to Petronius, desiring him, "as he saw the resolution of the multitude, not to proceed to such measures as would drive them to despair; but rather to inform Caius of the difficulty of the undertaking, and the inflexible re|solution of the party, who had neglected all the offices of life, not from the least principle of dis|loyalty, but a determination rather to die, than suffer the violation of their religion and laws." They suggested also, "that a consideration that this neglect of their husbandry must of necessity expose the country to rapine, and disable the inha|bitants from paying their taxes, might induce Caesar to relent and consequently remove all co|lour for a rebellion; or that, if nothing could di|vert him from carrying on a war, he must use his pleasure." This was the purport of their address, as delivered by Aristobulus.
Petronius was no stranger to the revengeful tem|per of Caius, especially upon any delay in the execu|tion of his commands; but such were the horrors of his conscience, when he thought of sacrificing so many lives to his frantic fury, that,* from this consi|deration, together with the rank and credit of the intercessors, the importance of the affair, and the danger of driving an obstinate people into des|peration, he came to a resolution, at all hazards, of laying the state of the case plainly before Caesar; re|flecting, that, though he might incur his hatred and Page 297 resentment thereby, it was a duty he owed to hu|manity, to save so many thousands from destructi|on, even at the expence of his own life.
*Petronius, upon this deliberation, summoned a meeting of the Jews at Tiberais, where they at|tended in great numbers; and he thus addressed them upon the occasion:
Petronius had no sooner finished this agreeable address to the Jews, than an extraordinary accident seemed to indicate the approbation of heaven: for there fell a shower, contrary to all human expecta|tion as the day was clear, the sky serene, and there was not a cloud to be seen. This happened after so long a drought, that they almost despaired of having more rain; and if they rarely saw a flying cloud, it blew over without any effect. This wonderful and seasonable relief, beyond all expectation, was looked upon, by the Jews, as a blessing upon the prayers of Petronius in their behalf. Nor was Petronius less sensible of it himself; as it appeared so convinc|ing an evidence from heaven in favour of the Jews, that it would not bear the least doubt or contra|diction.* He was very minute in his report to the emperor, and laid the necessary points before him, representing the consequences of pursuing such a multitude of resolute people to extremities, and rendering so many thousand men desperate, as no|thing but absolute force would ever compel them to desist: beside, that, in the violent prosecution of them, he would but sink his own revenue, and in|flict a punishment on himself, that would turn to his reproach; and subjoining likewise, that the Jews were a people acceptable to God, who had given them many wonderful tokens of his peculiar favour.
King Agrippa happened to be at Rome at this time, and was insinuating himself daily more and more into the graces of the emperor, to conciliate whose esteem was his whole study and application.* To that end he prepared an entertainment for Caius, which, for variety, curiosity, delicacy, or|der, and expence, exceeded every thing of the kind that went before, not excepting the most sumptu|ous regalia of Caesar himself. Caius was so charm|ed with the magnificence of the treat, and the hearty welcome of the donor, that he determined to enter into a kind of competition, and vie with him in good offices. When his spirits were chear|ed with generous wine, he frankly disclosed his mind in terms to this import: "This is not the first proof, Agrippa, I have had of your friendship and affection. In the days of Tiberius, I had many evidences of it to your hazard, as you have now obliged me to your cost; and to so excessive a de|gree, that you have consulted my honour and plea|sure more than your own convenience.* It would be unworthy of my character to suffer myself to be overcome by benefits. I am therefore resolved to make compensation by the advancement of your station in life, as well as your fortune. Upon this frank and unlimited promise, Caesar imagined that Agrippa would have mentioned commissions, pro|vinces, and ample revenues. But Agrippa, having pre-determined the subject of his boon, suspended the declaration of it till he could introduce it with a better grace, and contented himself with this an|swer:
Caius was so amazed at the modesty of Agrippa,* that he urged him to prefer his request, assuring him that nothing should be denied him. Agrippa then thus addressed him:
This was the substance of the emperor's letter to Petronius, which was written before he had the least intimation of an insurrection intended amongst the Jews: but, upon receiving intelligence that they were ready to revolt,* he fell into such a burst of passion, to find his authority trampled on by that obstinate people, that he immediately changed his style, and wrote a second letter to Petronius to this effect:
Origin of the calamity of the Jews in Babylon and Me|sopotamia. Their sacred treasure deposited in Nearda and Nisibis, two strong places upon the Euphrates. Asinaeus and Anilaeus desert the service of their masters, form a strong party, and build an impregna|ble fort, at which the king of Parthia takes alarm. Scouts bring advice of the approach of the enemy. The law of necessity a dispensation for the sabbath. Asinaeus totally routs the enemy. Artabanus courts the alliance of the two brothers. The Parthian gene|ral asks the king's permission to put Asinaeus to death, but is refused. Artabanus advises Asinaeus to with|draw, and gives him the command of Babylon. The brothers acquire great renown, but lose it by falling from the religion and custom of their country. Anilaeus becomes enamoured with a Parthian woman, slays her husband, and takes her to his bed. The defection de|generates to idolatry; and a general clamour is raised against Asinaeus, who is at length poisoned by the woman. Anilaeus breaks in upon Mithridates, and carries off a vast booty. Mithridates draws out his army upon Anilaeus, but defers fighting till the sabbath. Anilaeus takes Mithridates prisoner, and routs his army. The latter then gives the former a total defeat. The Jews and Babylonians treat about an alliance, but cannot come to an agreement. The Greeks and Sy|rians in a league against the Jews, of whom upwards of fifty thousand are slain.
THE Jews of Mesopotamia and Babylon were now in a more calamitous state than had ever been known heretofore: it is therefore necessary to trace the origin of the various evils that befel them.
*There is, in the province of Babylon, a city, cal|led Nearda, very populous, and fruitful in soil, as well as fortified and encompassed by the river Euphrates. Near it is another strong city, called Nisibis, upon the same river. The Jews, depend|ing on the strength of these two places, deposited the common stock of their sacred treasure, as it was brought in and dedicated, from time to time, ac|cording to custom. From hence it was transmit|ted to Jerusalem, in the proper season, under strong convoys, for fear of the ravages of the Par|thians, to whom the Babylonians were then subject. There were among the Jews of Nearda two bro|thers,* Asinaeus and Anilaeus. Their father being dead, they were put out by their mother, to learn the art of weaving and making sail-cloth, which amongst the inhabitants of that place, was accoun|ted no disparagement. Having been remiss in their attention to business, they were punished by the superintendant, which they resented very high|ly; armed themselves with the weapons that were kept in the factory, and went to a certain place upon the partition of the river, where was great plenty of corn, grass, fruit, and all manner of pro|vision for a winter store. While they continued in this retreat, a necessitous band of youthful, da|ring adventurers enlisted themselves under their command, so that they acted without controul. By the assistance of this party, they built an impregna|ble sort; and then sent their emissaries to raise contributions throughout the adjacent country, with ample assurances of friendship and protec|tion to those who complied, and the severest me|naces against those who refused. The inhabitants being, as it were, compelled to a compliance with their requisition, they became, in a short time, so numerous and powerful, as to defy opposition, in|somuch that the king of Parthia was alarmed at this commotion.
The governor of Babylon receiving intelligence of these proceedings,* determined to suppress them in their rise; and, to that end, collected his troops, both out of Parthia and Babylon, and marched with all expedition, in order to surprize them. When he had advanced thro' bye-ways to the skirts of a lake, he made an halt, and depending that (the next day being the sabbath) they would not dare to fight, proceeded gradually, thinking to fall upon them suddenly, and make them pri|soners without resistance.
But Asinaeus,* who was at that time sitting upon a bank, with his companions and arms about him, imagining be heard the neighing of horses, and the champing of the bits, in order to obviate the cir|cumvention of an enemy, proposed that scouts should be dispatched to make discovery. They were accordingly sent out, and, in a short time, hastily returned, with assurance, that the appre|hension of Asinaeus was well founded, as the ene|my was at hand, and upon the very point of exe|cuting their revenge. The scouts added, that they had cavalry enough to over-run and trample them under-foot; while many urged, that they were restrained by their religion from making re|sistance on the sabbath-day. But Asinaeus was of a different opinion, and represented the folly and pusillanimity of suffering themselves to be tamely butchered to gratify a barbarous enemy. He then propounded to them the law of necessity and self-preservation, as the most powerful of all motives; encouraged them to follow his example, that, at all events, they might not fall unrevenged; and so commit the rest to Providence. Animated by the exhortation of their leaders, the party of Asinaeus boldly advanced to the combat, and finding the enemy in a careless supine posture, as if ready to take possession of victory, rather than dispute it,* they fell upon them, slew great numbers, and put the rest to flight.
The intrepidity of the two brothers, upon the news of this defeat, alarmed the king of Parthia to that degree, that he became desirous of an inter|view with them; and, to that end, dispatched one of his guards, in whom he most confided, with a message, purporting,
Notwithstanding the frankness of the invitation,* Asinaeus, from causes of suspicion, declined the visit himself, but sent his brother Anilaeus with such pre|sents as he could procure. Upon his arrival, he was admitted to the presence of the king, who, finding that he came alone, enquired wherefore his brother did not accompany him: and Anilaeus giving the king to understand, that he remained in his station near the lake, from apprehension of danger, he swore by the gods of his country, that neither of them should sustain the least injury, in person or pro|perty; and, as a ratification of his oath, gave Ani|laeus his right-hand, which, with these barbarians, is the most sacred tie of good faith that can be given. After that ceremony is past, they are free from all Page 299 suspicion of false dealing. Artabanus, upon his as|surance, sent Anilaeus back again, to persuade his brother to pay him a visit, in contemplation of the services they might render him conjunctively, by keeping those provinces in awe, that seemed in|clined to a revolt in his absence. Nor could he be certain, that while he himself was employed in the suppression of a rebellion on the one hand, Asinaeus was not fortifying himself, and doing mischief about Babylon, on the other.
*Asinaeus, understanding, by the report of his bro|ther, how well disposed Artabanus was towards them both, and with what oaths and protestations he had confirmed the sincerity of his professions, was prevailed upon to visit him, which he accord|ingly did, accompanied by Anilaeus. The king re|ceived them courteously; and could not but admire the greatness of Asinaeus's mind, especially when placed in comparison with the diminutive figure of his person,* which then appeared so disproporti|onate, that he passed as a remark to his friends,
The king next morning sent for Asinaeus, and thus addressed him:
*The brothers went on in a most flourishing state for the spa•• of fifteen years, to their own honour, and the app•obation of all around them. But when once they d•viated from those principles and man|ners, by wh•ch they had obtained both their power and fame, •nd abandoned the precepts and disci|pline of th•• forefathers, to the addicting them|selves to se•sual pleasures, and foreign innovations, they sunk 〈◊〉 their credit, and experienced the pu|nishment o• their d••lension, as will appear from examples i• the sequel.
There c•me into those provinces a Parthian go|vernor, accompanied by his wife, a woman of ex|quisite bea•ty, and most engaging qualities. Ani|laeus becam• passionately enamoured with her;* and having no •ther means of compassing his inordi|nate desire• provoked her husband to single com|bat, killed him in the first encounter, and took the woman to his bed.
This adv•nture was the source of all the terrible calamities that befel them afterwards. The woman, whether at home or abroad, had constantly with her images of Barbarian gods. She was now a widow and in custody; and having privately concealed some of these idols, she took an opportunity of worshiping them, for a while, by stealth: but,* up|on Anilaeus taking her to himself, and owning her publicly for his wife, she worshipped them in her accustomed manner, and with the same appointed ceremonies as she had done in the days of her for|mer husband.* The most esteemed friends of the two brothers were highly offended at this licentious practice, in open violation of the religion, rites, and laws of the Jews. But neither the good coun|sel, or reproof of friends, had any effect in reclaim|ing him: on the contrary, he was so infatuated by his attachment to the idolatress,* and so incensed at the liberty his advisers had taken, that he stabbed one of them upon the spot, for discharging his con|science, in telling him plain truths. In his expir|ing moments, he imprecated vengeance upon this murderer Anilaeus, Asinaeus, and their companions also: upon the two first, as the examples and a bet|ters of this violation of religion and friendship; and upon the rest, as they were accessary to the massa|cre of the patron of their laws and liberties, whom they ought to have defended.
Though these companions were greatly affected by the death of their associate, the past kindnesses of the brothers, and the sense they retained of their obligations to them for their advancement, induced them to avoid any interference in the matter. But at length the flagrant and bare-faced profession of idolatry became intolerable, insomuch, that the peo|ple thronged, in tumultuous crowds, to Asinaeus,* with complaints against his brother, representing to him the absolute necessity of adopting proper mea|sures, in due time, to prevent further mischief, as the commotion would become universal. They added, that the marriage with this woman was a violation of their ancient laws, and her idolatrous practices a reproach to the worship of the true God. Asinaeus acknowledged that he was fully convinced of the dangerous tendency both to himself and people, of his brother's iniquitous conduct; yet, from the im|pulse of affection for him, as so near a relation, and an allowance for human frailty in so invincible an attachment, he palliated the matter, without pro|ceeding to an exemplary severity. But being per|secuted with daily clamour, more and more, he took upon him to reprove his brother for his past con|duct, and to caution him as to his future state, charg|ing him withal to put away the woman, and send her home to her relations. But this had no effect with him; and the woman finding the mutinous disposition of the people increase, and fearing that some mischief might befal Anilaeus for her sake,* poisoned Asinaeus, not doubting of the security of her life, as her husband was to be her judge.
Anilaeus now took the government upon himself alone, and made an incursion, with his arms,* into the territories of Mithridates, a man of the first rank in Parthia, and husband to the daughter of king Arta|banus. He found money, slaves, and cattle there in great abundance; besides other rich booty, that he carried away, to an immense value. Mithridates was not far off at that time; and hearing of this incur|sion and rapine, without any kind of provocation, collected a body of his choicest troops, and marched at the head of them to give Anilaeus battle. The next day being the Jews sabbath, which they observe most religiously as a day of rest, he halted at a vil|lage that night, with an intent of falling upon them by surprize the ensuing morning. A Syrian, who lived in the neighbourhood, gave Anilaeus intelli|gence of the design, and particular where Mithri|dates was to be that night at an entertainment.
Anilaeus upon this advice ordered his men refresh|ment; and they marched, by night, to anticipate the design, and take them by surprize. He succeeded to his utmost wish; for, about the fourth watch, he fell into their quarters, and took some asleep, whilst others, in consternation, were put to flight in the dark. Mithridates was taken prisoner,* and mounted naked upon an ass, which, amongst the Parthians, is deemed the highest indignity. When they had car|ried Page 300 him into a wood, several of the friends of Ani|laeus were for putting him instantly to death; but he warmly opposed it, and urged as his reason,
The whole multitude unanimously accorded with Anilaeus,* so that Mirthridates was set at liberty by common consent. But his wife, upon his return, finding out the terms of his release, reproached him, for neglecting, as son-in-law to the king, to avenge himself on those that injured him, and suffering himself to hold a life owing to their mercy. She then enjoined him to go back, and redeem his ho|nour, vowing, upon failure, to dissolve the marriage. Terrified by the taunts of this woman, and dread|ing a repetition of them, he put himself, though reluctantly,* at the head of an army; but with this conviction, that the Parthian did not deserve to live who would submit to a Jew. As soon as Ani|laeus had intelligence that Mithridates was march|ing towards him, he made it a point of honour not to take advantage of the fastnesses he was possessed of, but to put the dispute to the issue of a battle in the open plain; so that he advanced to meet him at the head of a body of men flushed with former con|quests; and, over and above the veterian troops, they were joined by several reinforcements, that fell in with them for the booty. In the utmost confidence of victory, therefore, they marched fourscore furlongs into a dry, sandy country; and when they were spent with the drought of the place, the fatigue of the march, and the heat of the day, Mithridates fell in upon them with fresh men, put them to a total rout, and cut off several thou|sands in the pursuit.* Anilaeus, with those that escaped, made to a forest in the greatest consternati|on, leaving Mithridates in the happy possession of an absolute victory.
There came over to Anilaeus, after this defeat, such multitudes of loose desperadoes, that his army was not long recruiting to its former number; that they were raw, undisciplined men, and by no means comparable to those that fell in the late ac|tion.* With these recruits, however, he marched into the territories of the Babylonians, and laid all waste. Upon this the Babylonians sent to the Jews at Nearda, to deliver up Anilaeus to justice: but this could not be obtained, for it was not in their power so to do. The next proposal from them was to invite him to a treaty, in order to accommo|date matters upon terms. To this they agreed; and sent commissioners on both sides, Jews as well as Babylonians, to conduct the treaty.* But the Ba|bylonians strictly observing the spot where Anilaeus and his men lay, surprized them in the dead of the night, and finding them intoxicated and drowsy, slew all before them without opposition, and Ani|laeus himself was slain amongst the rest.
The Babylonians and Jews were perpetually at variance, by reason of their contrariety of laws and customs, and waged war with each other with diffe|rent success. But the Babylonians, who were kept in awe during the life of Anilaeus, took opportu|nity, on his demise, to renew their depredations on the Jews, insomuch, that they compelled them to quit their habitations,* and withdraw themselves to Seleucia, the capitol of that province, and so called from Seleucus Nicanor, the founder of it, being a place of liberty, where Macedonians, Greeks, and Syrians lived promiscuously together. The Jews lived quietly here during the space of five years; but the plague breaking out in Babylon in the sixth, the inhabitants were forced to withdraw more and more to Seleucia, which proved the occasion of the greatest calamities.
The Greeks and Syrians in this city were at perpe|tual discord; but, in their contentions,* the Greeks ever had the advantage; till, upon the coming in of the Jews, being a bold and warlike people, with their assistance the Syrians prevailed. The Greeks finding their power decline, and their situation des|perate, unless they could disunite the Syrians and Jews, tampered with their particular friends amongst the former, to interest themselves in bringing about an accommodation. The proposal was well received, and the consideration of it refer|red to some leading men on both sides, to advise upon the expedient. These interposed, and put an end to the contention upon this condition, that the Greeks and Syrians should join in a league offensive and defensive against the Jews. Pursuant to this agreement, they fell upon the Jews by surprize,* and slew upwards of fifty thousand; not an indi|vidual escaping, unless protected by some neigh|bour or friend. The miserable remainder retired to Chesiphon, near Seleucia, where the king of Parthia generally resides in the winter. In this place they took up their abode, not doubting of their se|curity in the verge of the place: but they s••r• had cause to entertain such apprehensions from both Babylonians and Seleucians, that the greater part betook themselves to Nearda and Nisibis, depend|ing on the strength of those cities, and the martial disposition of the inhabitants. This was the then state of the Jews in Babylon.