Page images
PDF
EPUB

mind was overborne thereby. So he called me to him, and said to me, “() wo. man! Antipater hath circumvented me in this affair of his father and my brother, by persuading me to have a murderous intention to him, and procuring a potior to be subservient thereto: do thou, therefore, go and fetch my potion (since my brother appears to have still the same virtuous disposition towards me which he had formerly, and I do not expect to live long myself, and that I may not defile my forefathers by the murder of a brother,) and burn it before my face :" that accordingly she immediately brought it, and did as her husband bade her; and that she burnt the greatest part of the potion ; but that a little of it was left, that if the king, after Pheroras's death, should treat her ill, she might poison herself, and thereby get clear of her miseries." Upon her saying thus, she brought out the potion, and the box in which it was, before them all. Nay, there was ano. ther brother of Antiphilus's, and his mother also, who, by the extremity of pain and torture, confessed the same things, and owned the box (to be that which had been brought out of Egypt.] The high priest's daughter also, who was the king's wife, was accused to have been conscious of all this, and had resolved to conceal it: for which reason Herod divorced her; and blotted her son out of his testa. inent, wherein he had been mentioned as one that was to reign after him; and he took the high priesthood away from his father-in-law, Simeon, the son of Boe. thus, and appointed Mattathias, son of Theophilus, who was born at Jerusalem, to be high priest in his room.

3. While this was doing, Bathyllus, also Antipater's freedman, came from Rome, and, upon the torture, was found to have brought another potion, to give it into the hands of Antipater's mother, and of Pheroras, that if the former potion did not operate upon the king, this at least might carry him off. There came also letters from Herod's friends at Rome, by the approbation and at the sugges. tion of Antipater, to accuse Archelaus and Philip, as if they calumniated their father on account of the slaughter of Alexander and Aristobulus, and as if they commiserated their deaths; and as if, because they were sent for home (for their father had a!ready recalled them, they concluded they were themselves also to be destroyed. These letters had been procured by great rewards, by Antipater's friends; but Antipater himself wrote to his father about them, and laid the heaviest things to their charge ; yet did he entirely excuse them of any guilt, and said, they were but young men, and so imputed their words to their youth. But he said, that he had himself been very busy in the affair relating to Sylleus, and in getting interest among the great men; and on that account had bought splendid ornaments to present them withal, which cost him two hundred talents. Now, one may wonder how it came about, that while so many accusations were laid against him in Judea during seven months before this time, he was not made acquainted with any of them. The causes of which were, that the roads were exactly guarded, and that men hated Antipater; for there was nobody who would run any hazard himself, to gain him any advantages.

CHAP. V.

Antipater's Navigation from Rome to his Father; and how he was accused by Nica laus of Damascus, and condemned to die by his Father, and by Quintilius Varus, who was then President of Syria; and how he was then bound till Cæsar

should be informed of his Cause. $1. Now Herod, upon Antipater's writing to him, that having done all that he was to do, and in this manner he was to do it, he would suddenly come to him, concealed his anger against him, and wrote back to him, and bid him not to delay his journey: lest any harm should befall him in his absence. A: the same time also he made some little complaint about his mother; but promised, that he should lay those complaints aside when he should return. He withal expressed his entire affection for him, as fearing lest he should have some suspicion of him, and defer his journey to him; and lest, while he lived at Rome, he should lay plots for the kingdom, and, moreover, do somewhat against himself. This letter Antipater met with in Cilicia; but had received an account of Pheroras's death before at Tarentum. This last news affected him deeply; not out of any affection for Pheroras, but because he was dead without having murdered his father, which he bad promised him to do. And when he was at Celendris, in Cilicia, he began to deliberate with himself about his sailing home, as being much grieved with the ejection of his mother. Now some of his friends advised him, that he should tarry awhile somewhere, in expectation of farther information. But others ad. vised him to sail home without delay; for that if he were once come thither, he Fould soon put an end to all accusations, and that nothing afforded any weight to his accusers at present but his absence. He was persuaded by these last, and miled on, and landed at the haven called Sebastus; which Herod had built at vast expenses in honour of Cæsar, and called Sebastus. And now was Antipater evidently in a miserable condition, while nobody came to him or saluted him, as they did at his going away, with good wishes or joyful acclamations; nor was there now any thing to hinder them from entertaining him, on the contrary, with bitter curses, while they supposed he was come to receive his punishment for the murder of his brethren.

Now Quintilius Varus was at this time at Jerusalem, being sent to succeed Sa. turninus, as president of Syria, and was come as an assessor to Herod, who had desired his advice in his present affairs; and as they were sitting together, Anti. pater came upon them, without knowing any thing of the matter; so he came into the palace clothed in purple. The porters indeed received him in, but excluded his friends. And now he was in great disorder, and presently understood the con. dition he was in ; while upon his going to salute his father he was repulsed by him, who called him a murderer of his brethren, and a plotter of destruction against himself, and told him that Varus should be his auditor and his judge the very next day; so he found, that what misfortune he now heard of was already upon him, with the greatness of which he went away in confusion: upon which his mother and his wife met him (which wife was the daughter of Antigonus, who was king of the Jews before Herod,) from whom he learned all circumstances which concerned him, and then prepared himself for his trial.

3. On the next day Varus and the king sat together in judgment; and both their friends were also called in, as also the king's relations, with his sister Salome, and as many as could discover any thing, and such as had been tortured; and be. sides these some slaves of Antipater's mother, who were taken up a little before Antipater's coming, and brought with them a written letter, the sum of which was this : that " he should not come back, because all was come to his father's know. ledge ; and that Cæsar was the only refuge he had left to prevent both his and her delivery into his father's hands." Then did Antipater fall down at his father's feet, and besought him “not to prejudge his cause, but that he might be first heard by his father, and that his father would keep himself unprejudiced.” So Herod or. dered him to be brought into the midst, and then " lamented himself about his children, from whom he had suffered such great misfortunes ; and because Anti. pater fell upon him in his old age. He also reckoned up what maintenance and what Education he had given them; and what seasonable supplies of wealth he had afforded them, according to their own desires : none of which favours had hindered them from contriving plots against him, and from bringing his very life into danger, in order to gain his kingdom, after an impious manner, by taking away his life before the course of nature, their father's wishes, or justice, re. quired that that kingdom should come to them; and that he wondered what hopes could elevate Antipater to such a pass, as to be hardy enough to attempt such

things; that he had by his testament in writing declared him his successor in the government; and while he was alive he was in no respect inferior to him, either in his illustrious dignity, or in power and authority, he having no less than fifty talents for his yearly income, and had received for his journey to Rome no fever than thirty talents. He also objected to him the case of his brethren, whom be had accused ; and if they were guilty, he had imitated their example ; and if not, he had brought him groundless accusations against his near relations; for that ho had been acquainted with all those things by him, and by nobody else, and had done what was done by his approbation, and whom he now absolved from all that was criminal, by becoming the inheritor of the guilt of such their parricide.

4. When Herod had thus spoken, he fell a weeping, and was not able to say any more; but at his desire Nicolaus of Damascus, being the king's friend, and always conversant with him, and acquainted with whatsoever he did, and with the circumstances of his affairs, proceeded to what remained, and explained all that concerned the demonstrations and evidences of the facts. Upon which Antipater, in order to make his legal defence, turned himself to his father, and “ enlarged upon the many indications he had given of his good will to him ; and instanced in the honours that had been done him, which yet had not been done, had he not deserved them by his virtuons concern about him; for that he had made provi. sion for every thing that was fit to be foreseen bcforehand, as to giving him bis wisest advice; and whenever there was occasion for the labour of his own hands, he had not grudged any such pains for him. And that it was almost impossible that he, who had delivered his father from so many treacherous contrivances laid against him, should be himself in a plot against him, and so lose all the reputation he had gained for his virtue, by his wickedness which succeeded it; and this while he had nothing to prohibit him, who was already appointed his successor, to enjoy the royal honour with his father also at present, and that there was no likelihood that a person who had the one half of that authority without any danger, and with a good character, should hunt after the whole infamy and danger, and this when it was doubtful whether he could obtain it or not; and when he saw the sad example of his brethren before him, and was both the informer and the accuser against them, at a time when they might not otherwise have been discovered ; nay, was the author of the punishment inflicted on them, when it appeared evidently that they were guilty of a wicked attempt against their father, and that even the contentions there were in the king's family were indications that he had ever managed affairs out of the siocerest affection to his father. And as to what he had done at Rome, Cæsar was a witness thereto; who yet was no more to be imposed upon than God himself: of whose opinions his letters sent hither are sufficient evidence and that it was not reasonable to prefer the calumnies of such as proposed to raise disturbances, before those letters; the greatest part of which calumnies had been raised during his absence, which gave scope to his enemies to forge them, which they had not been able to do if he had been there.” Moreover he showed the weakness of the evidence obtained by torture, which was commonly false ; because the distress men are in under such tortures naturally obliges them to say many things in order to please those that govern them. He also offered himself to the torture.

5. Hereupon there was a change observed in the assembly, while they greatly pitied Antipater, who by weeping and putting on a countenance suitable to his sad case, made them commiserate the same ; insomuch that his very enemies were moved to compassion : and it appeared plainly that Herod himself was affected in his own mind, although he was not willing it should be taken notice of. Then did Nicolaus begin to prosecute what the king had begun, and that with great bitterness; and summed up all the evidence which arose from the tortures or front the testimonies. “ He principally and largely cried up the king's virtues, which he had exhibited in the maintenance and education of his sons : while he could never gain any advantage thereby, but still fell from one misfortune to another

Although he owned, char he was not so much surprised with that thoughtless be. haviour of his former sons, who were but young, and were besides corrupted by wicked counsellors, who were the occasions of their wiping out of their ininde the righteous dictates of nature, and this out of a desire of coming to the go. vernment sooner than they ought to do; yet that he could not but justly stand amazed at the horrid wickedness of Antipater, who, although he had not only had great benefits bestowed on him by his father, enough to tame his reason, yet could not be more tamed than the most envenomed serpents; whereas even those creatures admit of some mitigation, and will not bite their benefactors; while Antipater hath not let the misfortunes of his brethren be any hinderance to him, but he hath gone on to imitate their barbarity notwithstanding. Yet wast thou, O Antipater! (as thou hast thyself confessed) the informer as to what wicked actions they had done, and the searcher out of the evidence against them, and the author of the punishment they underwent upon their detection, Nor do we say this as accusing thee for being so zealons in thy anger against them, but are astonished at thy endeavours to imitate their profligate behaviour ; and we discover thereby, that thou didst not act thus for the safety of thy father, but for the destruction of thy brethren, that by such outside hatred of their im. piety, thou mightest be believed a lover of thy father, and mightest thereby get thee power enough to do mischief with the greatest impunity; which design thy actions indeed demonstrate. It is true, thou tookest thy brethren off because thou didst convict them of their wicked designs: but thou didst not yield up to justice those who were their partners; and thereby didst make it evident to all men, that thou madest a covenant with them against thy father, when thou chosest to be the accuser of thy brethren, as desirous to gain to thyself alone this advantage of laying plots to kill thy father, and so to enjoy double pleasures; which is truly wor. thy of thy evil disposition, which thou hast openly showed against thy brethren; on which account thou didst rejoice, as having done a most famous exploit ; nor was that behaviour unworthy of thee. But if thy intentions were otherwise, thou art worse than they ; while thou didst contrive to hide thy treachery against thy father, thou didst hate them, not as plotters against thy father, for in that case thou hadst not thyself fallen upon the like crime, but as successors of his do. minions, and more worthy of that succession than thyself. Thou wouldst kill thy father after thy brethren, lest thv lies raised against them might be detected; and let thou shouldest suffer what punishment thou hadst deserved, thou hadst a mind to exact that punishment of thy unhappy father, and didst devise such a sort of un. cominon parricide as the world never yet saw. For thou, who art his son, dids gol only lay a treacherous design against thy father, and didst it while he loven thee and had been thy benefactor, had made thee in reality his partner in the kingdoin, and had openly declared thee his successor, while thou wast not foi. bidden to taste the sweetness of authority already, and hadst the firm hope of what was future by thy father's determination, and the security of a written tes. "ament. But, for certain, thou didst not measure these things according to thy father's various dispositions, but according to thy own thoughts and inclinations ; and wast desirous to take the part that remained away from thy too indulgent father, and soughtest to destroy him with thy deeds, whom thou in words pre. tendest to preserve. Nor wast thou content to be wicked thyself, but thou filledst thy mother's head with thy devices, and raised disturbances among thy brethren, and hadst the boldness to call thy father a wild beast; while thou hadst thyself A mind more cruel than any serpent, whence thou sendest out that poison amongst thy nearest kindred and greatest benefactors, and invitedst them to assist thee ana guard thee, and didst hedge thyself in on all sides by the artifices of both men and women, against an old man ; as though that mind of thine was not sufficien of itself to support so great a hatred as thou bearest to him. And here thou ap. pearest after the tortures of freemen, of domestics, of men and women, which have been examined on thy account, and after the informations of thy fellow.

conspirators, as making haste to contradict the truth, and hast thought on ways not only how to take thy father out of the world, but to disannul that written law which is against thee, and the virtue of Varus, and the nature of justice ; nay, such is that impudence of thine on which thou confidest, that thou desirest to be put to the torture thyself, while thou allegest, that the tortures of those already examined thereby have made them tell lies; that those that have been the de. liverers of thy father may not be allowed to have spoken the truth; but that thy tortures may be esteemed the discoverers of truth. Wilt not thou, O Varus, de. liver the king from the injuries of his kindred? Wilt not thou destroy this wicked wild beast, which hath pretended kindness to his father in order to destroy his brethren ; while yet he is himself alone ready to carry off the kingdom imine. diately, and appears to be the most bloody butcher to him of them all ? For thou art sensible, that parricide is a general injury both to nature and to common life; and that the intention of parricide is not inferior to its preparation ; and he who does not punish it, is injurious to nature itself.”

6. Nicolaus added fariner what belonged to Antipater's mother, and what. soever she had prattled like a woman; as also about the predictions and the sacrifices relating to the king; and whatsoever Antipater had done lasciviously in his cups and his amours among Pheroras's women; the examination upon torture ; and whatsoever concerned the testimonies of the witnesses, which were alany, and of various kinds; some prepared beforehand, and others were sudden answers, which farther declared and confirmed the foregoing evidence. For those men who were acquainted with Antipater's practices, but had concealed them out of fear, when they saw that he was exposed to the accusations of the former witnesses, and that his great good fortune, which had supported him hitherto, had now evidently betrayed him into the hands of his enemies, who were now insatiable in their hatred to him, told all they knew of him. And his ruin was now hastened, not so much by the enmity of those that were his accusers, as by his gross, and impudent, and wicked contrivances, and by his ill will to his father and his brethren ; while he had filled their house with disturbance, and caused them to murder one another; and was neither fair in his hatred, nor kind in his friendship; but just so far as served his own turn. Now, there were a great number who for a long time beforehand had seen all this ; and especially such as were naturally disposed to judge of matters by the rules of virtue ; because they were used to determine about a fiairs without passion, but had been restrain, ed from making any open complaints before ; these, upon the leave now given them, produced all that they knew before the public. The demonstrations also of these wicked facts could no way be disproved ; because the many witnessee there were did neither speak out of favour to Herod, nor were they obliged to keep wbąt they had to say silent, out of suspicion of any danger they were in; but they spake what they knew, because they thought such actions very wicked ; and that Antipater deserved the greatest punishment; and indeed not so much for Herod's safety, as on account of the man's own wickedness. Many things were also said, and those by a great number of persons who were no way obliged to Bay them; insomuch that Antipater, who used generally to be very shrewd in hia lies and impudence, was not able to say one word to the contrary. When Nico. laus had left off speaking, and had produced the evidence, Varus bid Antipater to betake himself to making his defence, if he had prepared any thing whereby it might appear that he was not guilty of the crimes he was accused of; for thai, as he was himself desirous, so did he know that his father was in like manner desirous also to have him found entirely innocent. But Antipater fell down on his face, and appealed to God, and to all men, for testimonials of his innocency; desiring that God would declare by some evident signals, that he had not laid any plot against his father. This being the usual method of all men destitute of virtue, that when they set about any wicked undertakings, they fall to work according to their own inclinations, as if they believed that God was unconcerned

« PreviousContinue »