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tokens of his favor: nay, he even told Cleopatra, that it was beneath the dignity of a king to render an account of his conduct to any person whatever.
Herod, having averted this danger, and secured his interest with Antony, took his leave, and returned to Jerusalem, where he caused it to be propagated about the city, that Antony had conferred on him the highest honors, and that he was the most generous and noble monarch throughout the universe.
When Herod left Jerusalem in order to go to Laodicea to obey the mandate of Antony, he entrusted his uncle Joseph with the administration of the government during his absence, and gave him a particular charge (which he likewise enjoined him to keep a profound secret) that, in case Antony should put him to death, he should not suffer his wife Mariamne to survive the news of it, that none (as he pretended) might enjoy the company of so rare a beauty, and so accomplished a woman, but himself. During Herod's absence some disagreeable words arose between Mariamne and his sister Salome, wherein the queen reproached her with the meanness of her original, in comparison of the royal stock of the Asmoneans from whom she descended. This the other was resolved to revenge; and, therefore, as soon as Herod returned, she accused Mariamne of having had too great a familiarity with Joseph, her husband, whom she was willing to sacrifice, rather than not obtain her revenge on the innocent Mariamne.
This accusation threw Herod into the utmost rage of wrath and jealousy, so that it was with the greatest difficulty he could restrain his passion within the bounds of discreet moderation : however, on cool recollection, he took Mariamne aside, and closely examined her respecting her intimacy with Joseph.
Mariamne, in vindication of herself, said every thing that it might be supposed innocence could dictate; insisting, that as for any thing which might look criminal or dishonorable in her conduct, she was not only innocent with regard to Joseph, but (except himself) to all mankind.
Herod, enamored with the charms of his wife, and overcome by the extremity of his own passion for her,
relaxed by degrees from the violent rage into which he had been thrown, and not only absolved her from all suspicion of the crime that had been imputed to her, but confessed himself perfectly convinced that she had not given the least cause of offence. He likewise repeatedly entreated her pardon for that inconsiderate haste which induced him to give credit to a report by which she had been so vilely traduced; and, with tears and embraces, besought her to pardon him for his indiscreet conduct.
Notwithstanding all this appearance of affection, Mariamne had some doubts of the reality of Herod's regard for her; but the more she seemed, by her expression and manner, to entertain this notion, the more anxious was he to give her every testimony he could of his sincerity. At length, however, she exclaimed, “ Yes, truly, you give 6. an abundant proof of the tenderness of your regard as “ a husband, by ordering an innocent wife to be put to “ death, in case you should happen to die first." No sooner had she spoken these words than Herod broke from her arms in the utmost rage, and cried out, with all the fury of a madman, “ It is now evident, beyond a 66 doubt, that the purity of my wife has been corrupted by “Joseph; for nothing less than the confidence arising “ from such an intimacy could have induced him to give 16 up so important a secret, which had been committed to “ his care, with such solemn injunctions not to reveal it." In the first impetuosity of his passion Herod had almost determined to put Mariamne to death on the spot; but, after some violent struggles on his part, the warm affection that lay in his heart prevailed for her preservation. With regard to Joseph, however, he gave instant orders for his being put to death, even without suffering him to speak a word in his own defence; and directed that Alexandra, whom he considered as the author of all the mischief, should be committed to close confinement.
During these transactions at Jerusalem, the Roman state was involved in civil broils, owing to a difference that took place between Antony and Cæsar Octavianus. Each made some pretence for their conduct, but the real cause of their disagreement was, that both, not being content with half of the Roman empire, were each resolved
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all, and accordingly agreed to determine the dispute by the sword.
As soon as Herod knew the dissention that had taken place between Cæsar and Antony, he thought it his duty to give what assistance he could to the latter, as an acknowledgment for the many distinguished favors he had received at his hands. He accordingly raised a very powerful army, with which he immediately marched to the assistance of his patron; but Antony, instead of accepting his services against Cæsar, appointed him to proceed against the Arabians, whom he knew to be a false and faithless people, and from whom he had reason to expect some danger.
In obedience to this appointment, Herod marched back with his army, and soon arrived in Arabia, having under his command a very considerable number both of horse and foot. The Arabians, having received intelligence of Herod’s motions, were waiting to give him battle near a place called Diospolis, towards which he immediately directed his march. As soon as the two armies met, a battle took place, which, for some time, was preserved with great obstinacy on both sides, till at length victory declared in favor of the Jews, great numbers of the Arabians being killed, and the rest put to flight.
A short time after this the Arabians assembled another considerable army at a place called Canatha, in CeloSyria, of which Herod having received authentic information, and being advised that they were on their march, advanced with the main body of his troops to that part of the country, intending there to encamp and fortify himself till he should have a favorable opportunity of attacking the enemy with a good prospect of success. As soon as Herod saw the enemy, and of what prodigious strength they were, he thought it necessary to make use of a more than.common precaution on the occasion, and therefore gave orders that the camp should be surrounded with a wall; but his soldiers were so elated with the consideration of their former victory, that they besought Herod not to suffer so much time to be lost: they told him they were in the best condition they could be for making an attack on the enemy, and therefore desired they might be per
VOL. iii. Q
mitted to proceed immediately to battle; nay, such was their impatience that they were ready to break through all the bounds of discipline to obtain their desires.
This uncommon ardor and alacrity of the troops gave Herod so much satisfaction, that he was determined to encourage their humor, and not to check that eagerness of disposition, which he thought might, most probably, lead on to victory. He therefore immediately put himself at the head of his troops, grasped his sword in his hand, gave the word of command to march and begin the attack, and told them only to follow the example of his valor. Hereupon they marched forward to the combat with such a determined warmth of bravery that the Arabians were astonished at their courage before the encounter began. For a little time, indeed, they made some faint shew of a slight resistance, but soon after the first onset, they gave way, and the greater part of them fled in the utmost confusion. This circumstance would, in all probability, have occasioned the total destruction of the Arabian army, had it not been for an officer named Athenion, who having been long an inveterate enemy to Herod, led a considerable body of the natives of Canatha to the relief of the fugitives. In consequence of this they resumed their courage, returned to the charge, routed Herod's forces, pursued them through woods, and other places of difficult passage, and put great numbers to the sword.
After this melancholy issue of the contest, Herod was compelled to have recourse to the making depredations and incursions on the Arabians, as opportunity would admit, and, by many small victories, gained some compensation for the capital defeat his army had sustained. He was, however, obliged to seek refuge in the secure places of the mountains of Judea, being afraid to expose his army again to the event of another battle. But the time thus spent was not absolutely thrown away; for his troops (more especially those with which he had reinforced his army) were hereby kept in perpetual exercise, instructed in the duties of military discipline, inured to hardships and fatigues, and in some degree qualified to redeem their lost honor at some future period.
The hopes of Herod in being able to conquer bis enemies was greatly checked by a dreadful earthquake that happened in Judea, by which prodigious numbers of cattle were destroyed, and, by the falling of the buildings in the several towns and villages, it was computed that not less than ten thousand people lost their lives; but the soldiers who were in the open fields, escaped with much less injury, for though most of their tents were thrown down, yet little other damage took place than some being maimed, and the whole greatly frightened.
Though this Providential calamity was sufficiently terrible in itself, yet it was greatly magnified by report;
cherished the flattering idea that no difficulty would attend their possessing themselves of a province, which now had not a sufficient number of inhabitants to sustain a de. fence.
The Jews, in the height of their distress, dispatched
accommodation, and that a peace might be established between them; but the Arabians not only put the ambassadors to death, but, in a short tiine after, marched with a powerful army into Judea, in full confidence of making themselves masters of that country.
As soon as the Jews understood that the Arabians bad entered Judea, they were thrown into the utmost consternation. Their spirits were greatly depressed by the reflection of their late calamities, and they despaired of being able to make any resistance against their enemies. Herod seeing this, did all in his power to raise their spirits, begged of them to dismiss their unreasonable anxiety, and entreated an exertion of as much courage as might be necessary to prepare themselves for their own defence. Some of the more distinguished of Herod's people felt their misfortunes so severely, that while the sense of them was recent in their minds they could not easily be prevailed on to attend to the arguments of pru. dence and wisdom; but Herod, having prepared them to listen to what he had to say for their emolument and satisfaction, addressed himself to them, and the whole army, in words to this effect:
$, bere this, diy resisies, and