Page images
PDF
EPUB

our mother?

yes ; but not because she is dead, but because she was evil spoken of by those that had no reason so to do.

Are we desirous of that dominion which we " know our father is possessed of? For what reason can we “ do so? If we already have royal honours, as we have, “ should not we labour in vain? And if we have them not,

yet, are not we in hopes of them? Or supposing that we “ had killed thee, could we expect to obtain thy kingdom ? “ while neither the earth would let us tread upon it, nor the

sea let us sail upon it, after such an action as that: nay, " the religion of all your subjects, and the piety of the whole « nation, would have prohibited parricides from assuming “ the government, and from * entering into that most holy “ temple which was built by thee. Byt suppose we had “ made light of other dangers, can any murderer go off un

punished, while Cæsar is alive? We are thy sons, and not so impious, or so thoughtless, as that comes to, though

perhaps more unfortunate than is convenient for thee. But « in case thou neither findest any causes of complaint, nor

any treacherous designs, what sufficient evidence hast thou

to make such a wickedness of ours credible ? Our mother " is dead indeed, but then what befel ber might be an in

struction to us to caution, and not an incitement to wick.. s6 edness.

We are willing to make a larger apology for our65 selves, but actions nerer done do not admit of discourse : " Nay, we will make this agreement with thee, and that beus fore Cæsar, the lord of all, who is now a mediator between

us, if thou, O father, canst bring thyself, by the evidence " of truth, to have a mind free from suspicion concerning

us, let us live, though even then we shall live in an unhappy way, for to be accused of great acts of wickedness,

though falsely, is a terrible thing; but if thou hast any “ fear remaining, continue thou on in thy pious life, we will

give this reason for our own conduct, our life is not so de" sirable to us as to desire to have it, if it tend to the harm of our father who

gave

it us." 4. When Alexander had thus spoken, Cæsar, who did not before believe so gross a calumny, was still more moved by

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* Since some prejudiced men have indulged a wild suspicion, as we have supposed already, Antiq. B. XV. ch. xi. & 7. that Josephus's history of Herod's rebuilding the temple is no better than a fable, it may not be amiss to take no, tice of this occasional clause in the speech of Alexander before his father Herod, in his and bis brother's vindication, which mentions the temple as known by every body to have been built by Herod. See John ij. 20. See also another speech of Herod's own to the young men that pulled down his golden eagle from the front of the temple, where he takes notice, - How the building of the

temple cost bini a vast sum; and that the Asamoneans, in those 125 years " they held the government, were not able to perform so great a work, to the “ honour of God, as this was.” Antiq. B. XVII. ch. ri. scct. 3. Vol. II.

1

it, and looked intently upon Herod, and perceived he was a little confounded, the persons there present were under an anxiety about the young men and the fame that was spread abroad made the king hated, for the very incredibility of the calumny, and the commiseration which the flower of youth, and beauty of body, which were in the young men, pleaded for assistance, and the more so on this account, that Alexander had made their defence with dexterity and prudence; nay, they did not themselves any longer continue in their fornier countenances, which had been bedewed with tears, and cast downwards to the gronnd, but now there arose in them hope of the best : and the king himself appeared not to have had foundation enough to build such an accusation upon, he having no real evidence wherewith to convict them. Indeed he wanted some apology for making the accusation; but Cæsar, after some delay, said, That" although the young men were " thoroughly innocent of that for which they were calumni• ated, yet had they been so far to blame, that they had not 66 demeaned themselves towards their father so as to prevent " that suspicion which was spread abroad concerning them.” He also exhorted Herod to lay all such suspicions aside, and to be reconciled to bis sons, for that it was not just to give any credit to such reports concerning his own children, and that this repentance on both sides might still heal those breaches that had happened between them, and might improve that their good-will to one another, whereby those on both sides excusing the rashness of their suspicions, might resolve to bear a greater degree of affection towards each other than they had before. After Cæsar had given them this admonition, he beckoned to the young men. When therefore they were disposed to fall down to make intercession to their father, he took thein up, and embraced them, as they were in tears, and took each of them distinctly in his arms, till not one of those that were present, whether freeman or slave, but was deeply affected with what they saw.

5. Then did they return thanks to Cæsar, and went away together; and with them went Antipater, with an hypocritical pretence that he rejoiced at this reconciliation. And in the last days they were with Cæsar, Herod made him a present of three hundred talents, as he was then exhibiting shows and largesses to the people of Rome: and Cæsar made him a present of half the revenue of the copper inines in Cyprus, and committed the care of the other half to him, and honoured him with other gifts and incomes : And as to his own kingdom, he left it in his own power to appoint which of his sons he pleased for his successor, or to distribute it in parts to every one, that the dignity might thereby come to them

77

all. And when Herod was disposed to make such a settlement immediately, Cæsar said, “ He would not give him leave “ to deprive himself, while he was alive, of the power over his kingdom, or over his sons.”

6. After this Herod returned to Judea again : But during his absence, no small part of his dominions about Trachon had revolted, whom yet the commanders he left there had vanquished, and compelled to a submission again. Now, as Herod was sailing with his sons, and was come over against Cilicia, to [the island] Eleusa, which hath now changed its name for Sebaste, he met with Archelaus, king of Cappadocia, who received him kindly, as rejoicing that he was reconciled to his sons, and that the accusation against Alexander, who had married his daughter, was at an end. They also made one another such presents as it became kings to make. From thence Herod came to Judea and to the temple, where he made a speech to the people concerning what had been done in this bis journey: “ He " also discoursed to them about Cæsar's kindness to him and “ about as many of the particulars he had done, as he thought “ it for his advantage other people should be acquainted “ with. At last he turned his speech to the admonition of “ his sons; and exported those that lived at court, and the “ multitude, to concord: and informed them, that his sons

were to reign after him; Antipater first, and then Alexan“ der, and Aristobulus, the sons of Mariamne; but he desired " that at present they should all have regard to himself, and “ esteem him king and lord of all, since he was not yet hin“ dered by old age, but was in that period of life when he

must be the most skilful in governing; and that he was “ not deficient in other arts of management that might enable “ him to govern the kingdom well, and to rule over bis “ children also. He farther told the rulers under him, and “ the soldiery, that in case they would look upon him alone, " their life would be led in a peaceable manner, and they " would make one another happy.”. And when he had said this, he dismissed the assembly. Which speech was acceptable to the greatest part of the audience, but not so to them all, for the contention among his sons, and the hopes be had given them, occasioned thoughts and desires of innovations among them.

CHAP. V.

How Herod celebrated the games that were to return every fifth year, upon the building of Cesarea; and how he built and adorned many other places after a magnificent manner; and did many

other actions gloriously. 6 1. About this time it was that Cesarea Sebaste, which he had built, was finished. The entire building being accomplished in the tenth year, the solemnity of it fell into the twenty-eighth year of Herod's reign, and into the bundred and ninety-second olympiad : There was accordingly a great festival, and inost sumptuous preparations made presently,

in order to its dedication; for he had appointed a contention in music, and games to be performed naked: He had also gotten ready a great number of those that fight single combats, and of beasts for the like purpose; borse races also, and the most chargeable of such sports and shews as used to be exbibited at Rome, and in other places. He consecrated this combat to Cæsar, and ordered it to be celebrated every fifth year. He also sent all sorts of ornaments for it out of his own furniture, that it might want nothing to make it decent: nay, Julia, Cæsar's wife, sent a great part of her most valuable furniture (fron, Rome], insomuch that he had no want of any thing: The sum of them all was estimated at five hundred talents. Now when a great multitude was come to that city, to see the shows, as well as the ambassadors whom other people sent, on account of the benefits they had received [from Herod), he entertained them all in the public inns, and at public tables, and with perpetual feasts, this solemnity having in the day-time the diversions of the fights, and in the night time such merry meetings as cost vast sums of money, and publicly demonstrated the generosity of his soul, for in all his undertakings he was ambitious to exhibit what exceeded whatsoever had been done before of the same kind. And it is related, that Cæsar and Agrippa often said, Thạt “ the do“ minions of Herod were too little for the greatness of bis " soul, for that he deserved to have both all the kingdom of 66 Syria, and that of Egypt also.”

2. After this solemnity and these festivals were over, Herod erected another city in the plain called Capharsaba, where he chose out a fit place, both for plenty of water, and goodness of soil, and proper for the production of what was there planted, where a river encompassed the city itself, and a grove of the best trees for magnitude was round about it: this he named Antipatris, from his father Antipater. He also

built upon another spot of of ground above Jericho, of the same name with bis mother, a place of great security, and very pleasant for habitation, and called it Cypros. He also dedicated the finest monuments to his brother Phasaelus, on account of the great natural affection there had been between them, by erecting a tower in the city itself, not less than the tower of Pharos, which he named Phasaelus, which was at once a part of the strong defences of the city, and a memorial for him that was deceased, because it bare his name. He also built a city of the same name in the valley of Jericho, as you go from it northward, whereby he rendered the neighbouring country more fruitful, but the cultivation its inhabitants introduced, and this also he called Phasaelis.

3. But as for his other benefits, it is impossible to reckon them up, those which he bestowed on cities, both in Syria and in Greece, and in all the places he came to in his voyages ; for be seems to have conferred, and that after a most plentiful manner, what would minister to many necessities, and the building of public works, and gave thein the money that was necessary to such works as wanted it, to support them

upon the failure of their other revenues : But what was the greatest and most illustrious of all his works, he erected Apollo's temple at Rhodes, at his own expences, and gave them a great number of talents of silver for the repair of their fleet. He also built the greatest part of the public edifices for the inhabitants of * Nicopolis, at Actium : And for the Antiochians, the inhabitants of the principal city of Syria, where a broad street cuts through the place lengthways, he built cloisters along it on both sides, and laid the open road with polished stone, and was of very great advantage to the inhabitants. And as to the olympic games, which were in a very low condition, by reason of the failure of their revenues, he recovered their reputation, and appointed revenues for their maintenance, and made that solemn meeting more venerable, as to the sacrifices and other ornaments: and by reason of this vast liberality, he was generally declared in their inscriptions to be one of the perpetual managers of

those games.

4. Now some there are wbo stand amazed at the diversity of Herod's nature and purposes ; for when we have respect to his magnificence, and the benefits which he bestowed on all mankind, there is no possibility for even those that had the least respect for him, to deny, or not openly to confess that

* Dr Hudson here gives us the words of Suetonius concerning this Nicopolis, when Augustus rebuilt it: “ And that the memory of the victory at Actium might só be celebrated the more afterward, he built Nicopolis at Actium, and appointe *ed public shows to be there exhibited every fifth year.” In August sect. 18.

« PreviousContinue »