Page images
PDF
EPUB

and which party soever grew boldest before the other, they assaulted the other; and at this time in particular it was, that, upon the ruin of Anileus's party, the Babylonians attacked the Jews, which made those Jews so vehemently to resent the injuries they received from the Babylonians, that being neither able to fight them, nor bearing to live with them, they went to Seleucia, the principal city of those parts, which was built by Seleucus Nicator. It was inhabited by many of the Macedonians, but by more of the Grecians; not a few of the Syrians also dwelt there ; and thither did the Jews fly, and lived there five years without any misfortunes. But on the sixth year, a pestilence came upon these at Babylon, which occasioned new removals of men's habitations out of that city; and because they came to Seleucia, it happened that a still heavier calamity came upon them on that account, which I am going to relate immediately.

9. Now the way of living of the people of Seleucia, which

full of discord, though the Greeks were too hard for the Syrians. When, therefore, the Jews were come thither, and dwelt among them, there arose a sedition, and the Syrians were too hard for the other, by the assistance of the Jews, who are men that despise dangers, and very ready to fight upon any occasion. Now when the Greeks had the worst in this sedition, and saw that they had but one way of recovering their former authority, and that was, if they could prevent the agreement between the Jews and the Syrians, they every one discoursed with such of the Syrians as were formerly their acquaintance, and promised they would be at peace and friendship with them. Accordingly, they gladly agreed so to do; and when this was done by the principal men of both nations, they soon agreed to a reconciliation, and when they were so agreed, they both knew that the great sign of such their union would be their common hatred to the Jews. Accordingly, they fell upon them, and slew above fifty thousand of them; nay, the Jews were all destroyed, excepting a few who escaped either by the compassion which their friends or neighbours afforded them, in order to let them fly away. These retired to Ctesiphon, a Grecian city, and situated near to Seleucia, where the king (of Parthia) lives in winter every year, and where the greatest part of his riches are reposited; but the Jews had here bo certain settlement, those of Seleucia having little concern for the king's honour. Now the whole nation of the Jews were in fear both of the Babylonians, and of the Seleucians, because all the Syrians that live in those places agreed with the Seleucians in the war against the Jews ; so the most of them gathered themselves together, and went to Neerda, and Nisibis, and obtained security there by the strength of those cities, besides which their inhabitants, who were a great many, were all warlike men. And this was the state of the Jews at this time in Babylonia.

CONTAINING THE INTERVAL OF 3 YEARS.

[From the departure of the Jews out of Babylon,

to Fadus; the Roman procurator.]

CHAP. I.

How Caius * was slain by Chereas. $ 1. Now this Caius 1. did not demonstrate his madness in offering injuries only to the Jews at Jerusalemn, or to those that dwelt in the neighbourhood, but suffered it to extend itself through all the earth and sea, so far as was in subjection to the Romans, and filled it with ten thousand, mis. chiefs ; so many indeed in number as no former history relates. But Rome itself felt the most dismal effects of what he did, while he deemed that not to be any way more bonourable than the rest of the cities; but he pulled and hauled its other citizens, but especially the senate, and particularly the nobility, and such as had been dignified by illustrious ancestors; he also had ten thousand devices against such of the equestrian order, as it was styled, who were esteemed by the citizens equal in dignity and wealth with the senators, because out of them the senators were themselves chosen; these he treated after an ignominious manner, and removed them out of his way, while they were at once slain, and their wealth plundered; because he slew men generally, in order to seize on their riches. He also asserted his own divi

* In this and the three next chapters, we have, I think, a larger and more distinct account of the slaughter of Caius, and the succes. sion of Claudius, than we have of any such ancient fact's whatsoever elsewhere. Some of the occasions of which probably were, losephus's bitter hatred against tyranny, and the pleasure he took in, giving the history of the slaughter of such a barbarous tyrant as was this Caius Cal gula, as also the deliverance his own nation had by that slaughter, of which he speaks. 0 2. together with the great intimacy he bad with Agrippa, junior, whose father was deeply concerned in the advancement of Claudius, upon the death of Caius; fror which Agrippa, junior, Josephus might be fully informed of this h: tory.

* Called Caligula by the Romans.

nity, and insisted on greater honours to be paid him by his subjects than are due to mankind. He also frequented that temple of Jupiter which they style the Capitol, which is with them the most holy of all their temples, and had boldness enough to call himself the brother of Jupiter. And other pranks he did like a madman; as, when he laid a bridge from the city Dicearchia, which belongs to Campania, to Misenum, another city on the sea-side, from one promontory to another, of the length of thirty furlongs, as measured over the sea. And this was done, because he esteemed it to be a most tedious thing to row over it in a small ship, and thought withall, that it became him to make that bridge, since he was lord of the sea, and might oblige it to give marks of obedience as well as the earth ; so he enclosed the whole bay within his bridge, and drove his chariot overit; and thought that, as he was a god, it was fit for him to travel over such roads as this was. Nor did he abstain from the plunder of any of the Grecian temples, and gave order that all the engravings, and sculptures, and the rest of the ornaments of the statues and donations, therein dedicated, should be brought to him, saying, that “the best things ought to be set no where but in the best place, and that the city of Rome was that best place.” He also adorned his own house and his gardens with the curiosities brought from those temples, together with the houses he lay at when he travelled all over Italy ; whence he did not scruple to give a command, that the statue of Jupiter Olympius, so called, because he was honoured at the Olympian games by the Greeks, which was the work of Phidias the Athenian, should be brought to Rome. Yet did he not compass his end, because the architects told Memmius Regulus, who was commanded to remove that statue of Jupiter, that the workinapship was such as would be spoiled, and would not bear the removal. It was also reported that Memmius, both on that account, and on account of some such mighty prodigies as are of an incredible nature, put off the taking it down, and wrote to Caius those accounts, as his apology for not having done what his epistle required of him; and that when he was thence in danger of perishing, he was sara ed by Caius's being dead himself, before he had put him to death.

2. Nay, Caius's madness came to this height, that when hot bad a daughter børn, he carried her into the Capitol, and

put her upon the knees of the statue, and said that the child was common to him and Jupiter, and determined that she bad two fathers, but which of those fathers was the greatest, he left undetermined ; and yet mankind bore him in such his pranks. He also gave leave to slaves to accuse their masters of any crimes whatsoever they pleased; for all such accusations were terrible, because they were in great part made to please him, and at his suggestion, insomuch, that Pollux, Claudius's slave, had the boldness to lay an accusation against Claudius himself, and Caius, was not ashamed to be present at his trial of life and death, to hear that trial of his own uncle, in hopes of being able to take him off, although this did not succeed to his mind. But when he had filled the whole habitable world, which he governed, with false accusations and miseries, and had occasioned the greatest insult of slaves against their masters, who, indeed, in great measure ruled them, there were many secret plots now laid against him ; some in anger, and in order for men to revenge themselves, on account of the miseries they had already undergone from him; and others made attempts upon himn, in order to take him off before they should fall into such great miseries, while his death came very fortunately for the preservation of the laws of all men, and had a great influence upon the public welfare ; and this happened most happily for our nation in particular, which had almost utterly perished, if he had not been suddenly slain. And I confess I have a mind to give a full account of this matter, particularly because it will afford great assurance of the power of God, and great comfort to those that are under afflictions, and wise caution to those who think their happiness will never end, nor bring them at length to the most lasting miseries, if they do not conduct their lives by the principles of virtue.

3. Now there were three several conspiracies made, in order to take off Caius, and each of these three were conducted by excellent persons. Emilius Regulus, born at Corduba, in Spain, got some men together, and was desirous to take Caius off, either by them, or by bimself. Another cona spiracy there was laid by them under the conduct of Cherea Cassius, the tribune of the Pretorian band ;) Minucianus Annius was also one of great consequence among those that were prepared to oppose his tyranny. Now the several occasions of these men's several hatred and conspiracy

« PreviousContinue »