Page images

were less considerate, and had more regard to their own desires of seeing their native country, than to Antipater's safety, persuaded him to make haste home, and not, by delaying his journey, afford his father ground for an ill suspicion, and give an handle to those that raise stories against him; for that, in case any thing had been moved to his disadvantage, it was owing to his absence, which durst not have been done, had he been present. And they said, it was absurd to deprive himself of certain happiness, for the sake of an uncertain suspicion, and not rather to return to his father, and take the royal authority upon him, which was in a state of fluctuation on his account only. Antipater complied with this last advice, for Providence hurried him on to his destruction. So he passed over the sea, and landed at Sebastus, the haren of Cæsarea.

4. And here he found a perfect and unexpected solitude, while every body avoided bim, and nobody durst come at him; for he was equally hated by all men; and now that hatred had liberty to shew itself, and the dread men were in of the king's anger made men keep from him ; for the whole city [of Jerusalem] was filled with the rumours about Antipater, and Antipater bimself was the only person who was ignorant of them; for as no, man was dismissed more magni. ficently when he began his voyage to Rome, so was no man now received back with greater ignominy. And indeed he began already to suspect whar misfortunes there were in Herod's family; yet did be cunvingly conceal his suspicion ; and while he was inwardly ready to die for fear, he put on a forced boldness of countenance, Nor could he now fly any whitber, nor had he any way of emerging out of the difficulties which encompassed him; nor indeed had he even there any certain intelligence of the affairs of the royal family, by reason of the threats the king bad given out: yet had he some small hopes of better tidings ; for perhaps nothing had been discovered; or, if any discovery had been made, perhaps he should be able to clear himself by impudence, and artful tricks, which were the only things he relied upon for his deliverance.

5. And with these hopes did he screen himself, till he came to the palace, without any friends with him; for these were affronted, and shut out at the first gate. Now Varus, the president of Syria, bappened to be in the palace [at this juncture :} so Antipater went in to his father, and, putting on a bold face, he came near to salute him ;/ but Herod stretched out his hands, and turned bis head away from him, and cried out, “ Even this is an indication of a parricide, to « be desirous to get me into his arms, when he is under such " heinous accusations. God confound thee, thou vile wretch; 66 do not thou touch me, till thou hast cleared thyself of these “ crimes that are charged upon thee. I appoint thee a court s where thou art to be judged, and this Varus who is very o seasonably here, to be thy judge; and get thou thy de“ fence ready against to-morrow; for I give thee so much 66 time to prepare subtle excuses for thyself.” And as Antipater was so confounded that he was able to make no answer to this' charge, he went away ; but his mother and wife came to him, and told him of all the evidence he had gotten against him. Hereupon he recollected himself, and considered what defence he should make against the accusations.

[ocr errors][merged small]

Antipater is accused before Vurus, and is convicted of laying

a plot (against his father) by the strongest evidence. He rod puts off his punishment till he should be recovered, and

in the mean time alters his testament. • 8 1. Now the day following the king assembled a court

of his kinsmen and friends, and called in Antipater's friends also: Herod himself, with Varus, were the presidents; and Herod called for all the witnesses, and ordered them to be brought in ; among whom some of the domestic servants of Antipater's mother were brought in also, who had but a little while before been caught as they were carrying the following letter from her to her son ; " Since all those things have been 66 already discovered by thy father, do not thou come to 6 him, unless thou canst procure some assistance from Cæsar.' When this and the other witnesses were introduced, Antipater came in, and falling on his face before his father's feet,

he said, “ Father, I beseech thee, do not condemn me be." fore-band, but let thy ears be unbiassed, and attend to my

66 defence; for if thou wilt give me leave, I will demonstrate 66 that I am innocent." . 2. Hereupon Herod cried out to him to hold his peace, and spake thus to Varus; “ I cannot but think that thou, Varus, us and every other upright judge, will determine that Antipa66 ter is a vile wretch. I am also afraid that thou wilt abhor “ my ill-fortune, and judge me also myself worthy of all sorts 66 of calamity, for begetting such children ; while yet I ought " rather to be pitied, who have been so affectionate a father to 66 such wretched sons; for when I had settled the kingdom on “ my former sons, even when they were young; and when, be. “ sides the charges of their education at Rome, I had made “ them the friends of Cæsar, and made them envied by other

• kings, I found them plotting against me; these have been " put to death, and that in great measure, for the sake of “ Antipater; for as he was then young, and appointed to be “ my successor, I took care chiefly to secure him from dan“ ger; but this profligate wild beast, when he had been over “ and above satiated with that patience which I shewed bim, 36 he made use of that abundance l had given him against my“ self; for I seemed to him to live too long, and he was very “ uneasy at the old age I was arrived at; nor could he stay " any longer, but would be a king by parricide. And justly “ am I served by him for bringing him back out of the coun“ try to court, when he was of no esteem before, and for " thrusting out those sons of mine, that were born of the " queen, and for making him a successor to my dominions. “ I confess to thee, O Varus, the great folly I was guilty of; “ for I provoked those sons of mine to act against me, and cut " off their just expectations for the sake of Antipater; and, 66 indeed, what kindness did I do to them, that could equal 66 what I have done to Antipater; to whom I have, in a man" ner, yielded up my royal authority while I am alive, and " whom I have openly named for the successor to my domi“ nions in my testament, and given him a yearly revenue of “ his own of fifty talents, and supplied him with money to an " extravagant degree out of my own revenue; and when he was " lately about to sail to Rome, I gave him three hundred ta. " lents, and recommended him, and him alone of all my chil“ dren, to Cæsar, as his father's deliverer. Now what crimes 56 were those other sons of mine guilty of like these of Anti“ pater; and what evidence was there brought against them

so strong as there is to demonstrate this son to have plotted " against me? Yet does this parricide presume to speak for "s bimself, and hopes to obscure the truth by bis cunning “ tricks. Thou, O Varus, must guard thyself against him ; “ for I know the wild beast, and I foresee how plausibly he 66 will talk, and his counterfeit lamentation. This was he " who exhorted me to have a care of Alexander, when he “ was alive, and not intrust my body' with all men ! This

was he who came to my very bed, and looked about lest " any one should lay snares for me! This was he who took " care of my sleep, and secured me from any fear of danger, " who comforted me under the trouble I was in upon the “ slaughter of my sons, and looked to see what affection my "6'surviving brethren bore me! This was my protector, and " the guardian of my body! and when I call to mind, O Va66 rus, his craftiness upon every occasion, and his art of dis6 sembling, I can hardly believe that I am still alive, and I « wonder how I have escaped such a deep plotter of mis


“ chief. However, since some fate or other makes my house " desolate, and perpetually raises up those that are dearest " to me against me, I will, with tears, lament my hard for4 tune, and privately groan under my lonesome condition ; “ yet am I resolved that no one who thirsts after my blood 6 shall escape punishment, although the evidence should ex66 tend itself to all my sons.”

3. Upon Herod's saying this, he was interrupted by the confusion he was in; but ordered Nicolaus, one of his friends, to produce the evidence against Antipater. But in the mean time Antipater lifted up his head (for be lay on the ground before his father's feet) and cried out aloud, "" Thou, O father “ hast made my apology for me ; for how can I be a parricide, 6 whom thou ihyself confessest to have always had for thy “ guardian ? Thou callest my filial affection prodigious lies, " and hypocrisy; how then could it be that I, who was so

subtil in other matters should here be so mad, as not to un" derstand, that it was not easy that he who committed so 6 horrid a crime could be concealed from men, but impos66 sible that he should be concealed from the Judge of heaven, “ who sees all things, and is present every where? or did not 66 I know what end my brethren came to, on whom God in" flicted so great a punishment, for their evil designs against 66 thee? And indeed, what was there that could possibly pro6 voke me against thee? Could the hope of being a king do " it? I was a king already. Could I suspect hatred from " thee? No. Was not I beloved by thee?' And what other 66 fear could I have ! Nay, by preserving thee safe, I was a 66 terror to others. Did I want money ? No; for who was " able to expend so much as myself? Indeed, father, had I 6 been the most execrable of all mankind, and had I had the 66 soul of the most cruel wild beast, must I not have been 66. overcome with the benefits thou hadst bestowed upon me? « whom, as thou thyself sayest, thou broughtest [into the pa6 lace ;] whom thou' didst prefer before so many of thy sons; " whom thou mnadest a king in thine own life-time, and by " the vast magnitude of the other advantages thou bestowedst “ on me, thou madest me an object of envy. O miserable « man ! that thou shouldst undergo this bitter absence, and " thereby afford a great opportunity for envy to arise against " thee, and a long space for such as were laying designs « against thee! Yet was I absent, father, ou thy affairs, that " Sylleus might not treat thee with contempt in thine old age. 66 Rome is a witness to my filial affection, and so is Cæsar, " the ruler of the habitable earth, who oftentimes called me « * Philoputer. Take here the letters he hath sent thee, they

against ng alread loved berving No; fo

ould it has not I belove could I sust being a kincpro

* A lover of his father.

s are more to be believed than the calumnies raised here; " these letters are my only apology; these I use as the de“ monstration of that natural affection I have to thee. Re“ member that it was against my own choice that I sailed [to 66 Rome) as knowing the latent batred that was in the king“ dom against me. It was thou, O father, however unwil6 Jingly, who hast been my ruin, by forcing me to allow time " for calumnies against me, and envy at me. However, I am 66 come hither, and am ready to hear the evidence there is 6s against me. If I be a parricide, I have passed by land and " by sea without suffering any misfortune on either of them; 66 but this method of trial is no advantage to mé; for it 66 seems, O father, that I am already condemned, both be- fore God and before thee ; and, as I am already condemn. " ed, I beg that thou wilt not believe the others that have “ been tortured, but let fire be brought to torment me; let " the racks march through my bowels ; have no regard to “ any lamentations that this polluted body can make ; for if " I be a parricide, I ought not to die without torture.” Thus did Antipater cry out with lamentation and weeping, and moved all the rest, and Varus in particular, to commisérate his case. Herod was the only person whose passion was too strong to permit him to weep, as knowing that the testimonies against him were true.

4. And now it was that, at the king's command, Nicolaus, when he had premised a great deal about the craftiness of Antipater, and had prevented the effects of their commiseration to him, afterwards brought in a bitter and large accusation against him, ascribing all the wickedness that had been in the kingdom to him, and especially the murder of his brethren, and demonstrated that they had perished by the calumnies he had raised against them. He also said that he had laid designs against them that were still alive, as if they were laying plots for the succession ; and (said he] how can it be supposed that he, who prepared poison for his father, should abstain from mischief as to his brethren ? He then proceeded to convict him of the attempt to poison Herod, and gave an account in order of the several discoveries that bad been made, and had great indignation as to the affair of Pheroras, because Antipater had been for making him murder his brother, and had corrupted those that were dearest to the king, and filled the whole palace with wickedness; and when he had insisted on many other accusations, and the proofs for them, he left off.

5. Then Varus bid Antipater make his defence; but he lay long in silence, and said no more but this, “ God is my «6 witness that I am entirely innocent." So Varus asked for

« PreviousContinue »