Page images
PDF
EPUB

dred talents, of which sum Sabinus got together all that was not carried away by the soldiers.

4. However, this destruction of the works [about the temple, and of the men, occasioned a much greater number, and those of a more warlike sort, to get together, to oppose the Romans. These compassed the palace round, and threatened to destroy all that were in it, unless they went their ways. quickly; for they promised that Sabinus should come to no harm, if he would go out with his legiou. There were also a great many of the king's party who deserted to the Romans, and assisted the Jews; yet did the most warlike body of them all, who were three thousand of the men of Sebaste, go over to the Romans. Rufus also and Gratus, their captains, did the same, (Gratus having the foot of the king's party under him, and Rufus the horse,) each of whom, even without the forces under them were of great weight on account of their strength and wisdom, which turn the scales in war. Now the Jews persevered in the siege, and tried to break down the walls of the fortress, and cried out to Sabipus and his party, that they should go their ways and not prove an bindrance to them, now they hoped, after a long time, to recover that ancient liberty which their forefathers had enjoyed. Sabinus indeed was well contented to get out of the danger he was in, but he distrusted the assurances the Jews gave him, and suspected such gentle treatment was but a bait laid as a snare for them: this considerations, together with the hopes he had of succour from Varus, made him bear the siege still longer.

CHAP. IV. Herod's veteran soldiers become tumultuous. The robberies of Judas. Simon and Athrongeus take the name of king upon them.

$ 1. At this time there were great disturbances in the country, and that in many places; and the opportunity that now offered itself induced a great many to set up for kings. And indeed in Idumea two thousand of Herod's veteran soldiers got together, and armed themselves, and fought against those of the king's party : against whom Achiabus, the king's first cousin, fought, and that out of some of the places that were the most strongly fortified; but so as to avoid a direct conflict with them in the plains. In Sepphoris also, a city of Galilee, there was one Judas, (the son of that arch robber Hezekias, who formerly over. rap the country and had been subdued by king Herod ;) this map got no small multitude to:

gether, and brake open the place where the royal armour was laid up, and armed those about him, and attacked those that were so earnest to gain the dominion.

2. In Perea also, Simon, one of the servants to the king, re. lying upon the handsome appearance, and talloess of the body, put a diadem upon his own head also: he also went about with a company of robbers that he had gotten together, and burot down the royal palace that was at Jericho, and many other costly edifices besides, and procured himself very easiJy spoils by rapine, as snatching them out of the fire. And he had soon burnt down all the five edifices, if Gratus, the captain of the foot of the king's party, had not taken the T'rachonite archers, and the most warlike of Sebaste, and met the man. His footmen were slain in the battle in abundance; Gratus also cut to pieces Simon himself as he was flying along a straight valley, when he gave him an oblique stroke upon his neck, as he ran away, and brake it. The royal palaces that were near Jordan .at Beiharainptha were also burnt down by some other of the seditious that came out of Perea.

3. At this time it was that a certain shepherd ventured to set himself up for a king; he was called Athrongeus. It was, his strength of body that made him expect such a dignity, as well as his soul which despised death; and besides these qualifications, he had four bretbren like himself. He put a troop of armed men under each of these his brethren, and made use of them as bis generals and commanders, when he made his incursions, while he did himself act like a king, and meddled only with the more important affairs : and at this time he put a diadem about his head, and continued after that to over run the country for no little time with his brethren, and became their leader in killing both the Romans and those of the king's party ; por did any Jew escape him, if any gain could accrue to him thereby. He once ventured to encompass a whole troop of Romans at Emmaus, who were carrying corn and weapons to their legion; his men therefore shot their arrows and darts, and thereby slew their centurion Arius, and forty of the stoutest of his men, while the rest of them who were in dlanger of the same fate, upon the coming of Gratus, with those of Sebaste, to their assistance, escaped. And when these men had thus served both their own countrymen and foreigners, and that through this whole war three of them were after some time subdued, the eldest by Archelaus, the two next by falling into the hands of Gratus and Ptolemeus ; but the fourth delivered himself up to Archelaus upon his giving him his right hand for his security. However, this their end · was not till afterward, while at present they filled all Judea with a piratic war.

CHAP. V. Varus composes the tumults in Judea, and crucifies about two thou

sand of the seditious. § 1. UPON Varus’ reception of the letters, that were written by Sabinus, and the captaius, he could not avoid being afraid for the whole legion [he bad left there.] So he made haste to their relief, and took with him the other two legions, with the four troops of horsemen to them belonging, and marched to Ptolemais; having given orders for the auxiliaries that were sent by the kings and governors of cities to meet him there. Moreover, he received from the people of Berytus, as he passed through their city, fifteen hundred armed meo. Now as soon as the other body of auxiliaries were come to Ptolemais, as well as Aretas the Arabiao, (who, out of the hatred he bore to Herod, brought a great army of horse and foot,) Varus sent a part of his army preseptly to Galilee, which lay near to Ptolemais, and Caius one of his friends, for their captain. This Caius put those that met him to flight, and took the city Sepphoris, and burnt it and made slaves of its inhabitants; but as for Varus himself, he marched to Samaria with his whole army, where he did not meddle with the city itself, because he found that it had made no commotion during these troubles, but pitched his camp about a certain village which was called drus. It belonged to Ptolemy, and on that account was plundered by the Arabi. aps, who were very angry even at Herod's friends also. He thence marched on to the village Sampho, another fortified place which they plundered, as they had done the other. As they carried off all the money they light upon belonging to the public revenues, all was now full of fire and bloodshed, and nothing could resist the plunders of the Arabians. Emmaus was also burnt, upon the flight of its inhabitants, and this at the command of Varus, out of his rage at the slaughter of those that were about Arus.

2. Thence he marched on to Jerusalem, and as soon as he was but seen by the Jews, he made their camps disperse themselves ; they also wept away, and fled up and dowu the

country ; but the citizens received him, and cleared themselves of having any hand in this revolt, and said, that they had raised no commctions, but had only been forced to admit the multitude because of the festival, and that they were rather besieged together with the Romans, than assisted those that had revolted. They had before this met with Joseph, the first cousin of Archelaus, and Gratus, together with Rufus, wbo led those of Sebaste, as well as the king's army : there also met him those of the Roman legion, armed after their accustomed manner; for as to Sabious, he durst not come into Varus' sight, but was gone out of the city before this, to the sea-side ; but Varus sent a part of his army into the country, against those that had been the authors of this commotion, and as they caught great numbers of them, those that appeared to have been the least concerned in these tu. mults he put into custody, but such as were the most guilty he crucified; these were in number about two thousand.

3. He was also informed, that there continued in Idumea ten thousand men still in arms; but when he found that the Arabians did not act like auxiliaries, but managed the war according to their own passions, and did mischief to the country otherwise than he intended, and this out of their hatred to Herod, he sent them away, but made haste, with his own legions, to march against those that had revolted; but these, by the advice of Achiabus, delivered themselves up to him before it came to a battle. Then did Varus forgive the multitude their offences, but sent their captains to Cæsar to be examined by him. Now Cæsar forgave the rest, but gave orders that certain of the king's relations (for some of those that were among them who were Herod's kinsmen,) should be put to death, because they had engaged in a war against a king of their own family. When therefore Varus had settled matters at Jerusalem, after this manner, and had left the former legion there, as a garrison, he returned to Antioch.

CHAP. VI. The Jews greatly complain of Archelaus, and desire that they may be made subject to Roman governors. But when Cæsar had heard what they had to say, he distributed Herod's dominions amongst his sons, according to his own pleasure.

§ 1. But now came another accusation from the Jews against Archelaus at Rome, which he was to answer to. It was made by those ambassadors, who, before the revolt had come, by Varus' permissiou, to plead for the liberty of their country; those that came were fifty in number, but there were more than eight thousand of the Jews at Rome who supported them. And when Cæsar had assembled a council of the principal Romans in * Apollo's temple, that was in the palace, this was what he had himself built and adorned, at a vast expense,) the multitude of the Jews stood with the ambassadors, and on the other side stood Archelaus, with his friends; but as for the kindred of Archelaus, they stood on neither side ; for to stand on Archelaus' side, their hatred to him, and envy at bim, would not give them leave, while yet they were afraid to be seen by Cæsar with his accusers. Besides these, there were present, Archelaus' brother, Philip, being sent thither before-hand out of kindness by Varus, for two reasons; the one was this, that be might be assisting to Archelaus, and the other was this, that in case Cæsar should make a distribution of what Herod possessed among his posterity, he might obtain some share of its :

2. And now, upon the permission that was given to the accusers to speak, they, in the first place, went over Herod's breaches of their law, and said, that “ he was not a king, but 65 the most barbarous of all tyrants, and that they had found “ him to be such by the sufferings they underwent from him : " that when a very great number had been slain by him, 66 those that were left had endured such miseries, that they 4 called those that were dead happy men : that he had pot 6 only tortured the bodies of his subjects, but entire cities, 6 and bad done much harm to the cities of his own country, " While he adorned those that belonged to foreigners, and he " shed the blood of Jews, in order to do kindness to those “ people that were out of their bounds; that he had filled the s pation full of poverty, and of the greatest iniquity, instead “ of that happiness, and those laws which they had anciently “ enjoyed: that, in short, the Jews had berne more calami66 ties from Herod, in a few years, than had their fore. 16 fathers during all that interval of time that had passed 66 since they had come out of Babylon, and returned home,

• This holding a council in the temple of Apollo, in the empe. ror's palace at Rome, by Augustus, and even the building of this temple magnificently by liimself in that palace, are exactly agreeable to Augustus, in his elder years, as Aldrich and Spanheim observe and prove, from Suetonius and Propertius.

« PreviousContinue »