Page images
PDF
EPUB

been already disbanded, got together in Judea itself, and fought against the king's troops; although Achiabus, Herod's first cousin, opposed them ; but as he was driven out of the plains into the mountainous parts by the military skill of those men, he kept himself in the fastnesses that were there, and saved wbat he could.

5. There was also Judas, * the son of that Ezekias who had been head of the robbers; wbich Ezekias was a very strong man, and had with great difficulty been caught by Herod. This Judas having gotten together a multitude of men of a profligate character about Sephoris in Galilee, made an assault upon the palace (there,] and seized upon all the weapons that were laid up in it, and with them armed every one of those that were with him, and carried away what money was left there; and he became terrible to all men, by tearing and rending those that came near him; and all this in order to raise himself, and out of an ambitious desire of the royal dignity; and he hoped to obtain that as the reward, not of his virtuous skill in war, but of his extravagance in doing injuries.

6. There was also Simon, who had been a slave of Herod the king, but in other respects a comely person, of a tall and robust body; he was one that was much superior to others of his order, and had had great things coinmitted to hiş care. This man was elevated at the disorderly state of things, and was so bold as to put a diadem on his head, while a certain number of the people stood by him, and by them he was declared to be a king, and thought himself more worthy of that dignity than any one else. He burnt down the royal palace at Jericho, and plundered what was left in it. He also set fire to many other of the king's houses in several places of the country, and utterly destroyed them, and permit. ted those that were with him, to take what was left in them for a prey; and he would have done greater thiugs unless care had been taken to repress him immediately; for Gratus, when he had joined himself to some Roman soldiers, took the

* Unless this Judas, the son of Ezekias, be the same with that Theudas mentioned, Acts v. 36. Josephus must have omitted him; for that other Theudas, whom he afterwards mentions under Fadus, the Roman governor, B. XX. ch. v. sect. 1. Vol. III. is much too late to correspond to him that is mentioned in the Acts. The names Theudas, Thadeus, and Judas, differ but little. See Abp. Usher's Annals at A. M, 4001. , However, since Josephus does not pretend to reckon up the heads of all those ten thousand disorders in Judea, which he tells us were then abroad, see sect. 4. and 8. the Theudas of the Acts might be at the head of one of those seditions, though not particularly named by him. Thus he informs us here, sect. 6. and of the War, B. II. ch. iv. sect. 2. Vol. III. that certain of the seditious came and burnt the royal palace at Amathus, or Betharamphta, upon the river Jordan. Perhaps their leader, who is not named by Josephus, might be this Theqdas.

[ocr errors]

forces he had with him, and met Simon, and after a great and a long fight, no small part of those that came from Perea, who were a disordered body of men, and fought rather in a bold than in a skilful manner, were destroyed; and although Simon bad saved himself by flying away through a certain valley, yet Gratus overtook him, and cut off his head. The royal palace also at Amathus, by the river Jordan, was burnt down by a party of men that were got together, as were those belonging to Simon. And thus did a great and wild fury spread itself over the nation, because they had no king to keep the multitude in good order, and because those foreigners, who came to reduce the seditious to sobriety, did on the contrary set them more in a flame, because of the injuries they offered them, and the avaricious inanagement of their affairs.

7. But because Athronges, a person neither eminent by the dignity of his progenitors, 'nor for any great wealth he was possessed of, but one that had in all respects been a shepherd only, and was not known by any body; yet because he was a tall man, and excelled others in the strength of his hands, he was so bold as to set up for king. This man thought it so sweet a thing to do more than ordinary injuries to others, that although he should be killed, he did not much care if he lost his life in so great a design. He had also four brethren, who were tall men themselves, and were believed to be superior to others in the strength of their hands, and thereby were encouraged to aim at great things, and thought that strength of theirs would support them in retaining the kingdom. Each of these ruled over a band of men of their own; for those that got together to them were very nume. rous. They were every one of them also commanders; but, when they came to fight they were subordinate to him, and fought for him, while he put a diadem about his head, and assembled a council to debate about what things should be done, and all things were done according to his pleasure. And this man retained his power a great while; he was also called king, and bad nothing to hinder him from doing what he pleased. He also, as well as his brethren, slew a great many both of the Romans, and of the king's forces, and managed matters with the like batred to each of them. The king's forces they fell upon, because of the licentious conduct they had been allowed under Herod's government; and they fell upon the Romans, because of the injuries they had so lately received frorn them. But in process of time, they grew more cruel to all sorts of men; nor could any one escape from one or other of these seditions, since they slew some out of the hopes of gain, and others from a mere custom of slaying men. They once attacked a company of Ro.

his like he he shoe more for kingtrength of these

[ocr errors]

mans at Emmaus, who were bringing corn and weapons to the army, and fell upon Arius, the centurion, who commanded the company, and shot forty of the best of his foot soldiers; but the rest of them were affrighted at their slaughter, aud left their dead behind them, but saved themselves by means of Gratus, who came with the king's troops that were. about him to their assistance. Now these four brethren continued the war a long while by such sort of expeditions, and much grieved the Romans; but did their own nation also a great deal of mischief. Yet were they afterward subdued ; one of them in a fight with Gratus, another with Ptolemy; Archelaus also took the eldest of them prisoner; while the last of them was so dejected at the other's misfortune, and saw so plainly that he had no way now left to save himself, his army being worn away with sickness and continual labours, that he also delivered himself up to Archelaus, upon his promise and oath to God [to preserve his life]. But these things came to pass a good while afterward.

8. And now Judea was full of robberies; and, as the several companies of the seditious light upon any one to head them, be was created a king immediately, in order to do mischief to the public. They were in some small measure indeed, and in small matters, hurtful to the Romans; but the murders they committed upon their own people lasted a long while.

9. As soon as Varus was once informed of the state of Judea by Sabinus's writing to him, he was afraid for the legion he had left there; so he took the two other legions, (for there were three legions in all belonging to Syria,) and four troops of horsemen, with the several auxiliary forces which either the kings or certain of the tetrarchs afforded him, and made what haste he could to assist those that were then besieged in Judea. He also gave order, that all that were sent out for this expedition, should make haste to Ptolemais. The citizens of Berytus also gave him 1500 auxiliaries, as he passed through their city. Aretus also, the king of Arabia Petrea, out of his hatred to Herod, and in order to purchase the fayour of the Romans, sent him no small assistance, besides their footmen and horsemen: and, when he had now collected all his forces together, he committed part of them to his son, and to a friend of his, and sent them upon an expedition into Galilee, which lies in the neighbourhood of Ptolemais; who made an attack upon the enemy, and put them to flight, and took Sepphoris, and made its inhabitants slaves, and burnt the city. But Varus himself pursued his march for Samaria with his whole army: yet did not he meddle with the city of that name, because it had not at all joined with the sedi

tious; but pitched bis camp at a certain village that belonged to Ptolemy, whose name was Arus, which the Arabians burnt, out of their hatred to Herod, and out of the enmity they bore to his friends; whence they marched to another village, whose name was Sampho, which the Arabians plundered and burnt, although it was a fortified and a strong place; and all along this march nothing escaped them, but all places were full of fire and of slaughter. Emmaus was also burnt by Varus's order, after its inhabitants had deserted it, that he might avenge those that had there been destroyed. . From thence he now marched to Jerusalem; whereupon those Jews whose camp lay there, and who had besieged the Roman legion, not bearing the coming of this arnıy, left the siege imperfect : But as to the Jerusalem-Jews, when Varus reproached them bitterly for what had been done, they cleared themselves of the accusation, and alleged, that the conflux of the people was occasioned by the feast; that the war was not made with their approbation, but the rashness of the strangers, while they were on the side of the Romans, and besieged together with them, rather than having any inclination to besiege them. There also came before-hand to meet Varus, Joseph, the cousin-german of king Herod, as also Gratus and Rufus, who brought their soldiers along with them, together with those Romans who had been besieged: but Sabinus did not come into Varus's presence, but stole out of the city privately, and went to the sea-side.

10. Upon this Varus sent a part of his army into the country, to seek out those that had been the authors of the revolt; and when they were discovered, he punished some of them that were most guilty, and some he dismissed : now the number of those that were crucified on this account, were two thousand. After which he disbanded his army, which he found noways useful to him in the affairs he came about; for they behaved themselves very disorderly, and disobeyed his orders, and what Varus desired them to do, and this out of regard to that gain which they made by the mischief they did. As for himself, when he was informed that ten thousand Jews had gotten together, he made haste to catch them ; but they did not proceed so far as to fight bim, but, by the advice of Achiabus, they came together, and delivered themselves up to him; hereupon Varus forgave the crime of revolting to the multitude, but sent their several commanders to Cæsar, many of whom Cæsar dismissed; but for the several relations of Herod who had been among these men in this war, they were the only persons whom he punished, who, without the least regard to justice, fought against their own kindred.

they of Achiabin: hereul but sentismisse

[blocks in formation]

An ambassage of the Jews to Cæsar; and how Cæsar confirm

: ed Herod's testament.

$ 1. So when Varus had settled these affairs, and had placed the former legion at Jerusalem, he returned back to Antioch; but as for Archelaus, he had new sources of trouble came upon him at Rome, on the occasions following: for an ambassage of the Jews was come to Rome, Varus having permitted the nation to send it, that they might petition for the liberty * of living by their own laws. Now the number of the ambassadors that were sent by the authority of the nation was fifty, to which they joined above eight thousand of the Jews that were at Rome already. Hereupon Cæsar assembled his friends, and the chief men among the Romans in the temple of Apollo,t which he had built at a vast charge; whither the ambassadors came, and a multitude of the Jews that were there already, came with them, as did also Archelaus and his friends; but as for the several kinsmen which Archelaus had, they would not join themselves with him, out of their hatred to him; and yet they thought it too gross a thing for them to assist the ambassadors (against him], as supposing it would be a disgrace to them in Cæsar's opinion to think of thus acting in opposition to a man of their own kindred. I Philip also was come hither out of Syria, by the persuasion of Varus, with this principal intention to assist his brother [Archelaus); for Varus was his great friend; but still so, that if there should any change happen in the form of government (which Varus suspected there would,) and if any distribution should be made ou account of the number that desired the liberty of living by their own laws, that he might not be disappointed, but might have his share in it.

2. Now, upon the liberty that was given to the Jewish ambassadors to speak, they who hoped to obtain a dissolution of kingly government betook themselves to accuse Herod of his iniquities ; and they declared, “ That he was indeed in name « a king, but that he had taken to himself that uncontroulable “ authority which tyrants exercise over their subjects, and “ had made use of that authority for the destruction of the " Jews, and did not abstain from making many innovations “ among them besides, according to his own inclinations; and " that whereas there were a great many who perished by

* See Of the War, B. II. ch. ii. sect. 3. Vol. III. + See the note, Of the War, B. II. ch. vi. sect. 1. Vol. III. I He was tetrarch afterward.

« PreviousContinue »