Thursday, July 17, 2014

Antiquities.15 - The Framing of Herod as a Murderer of His Own Family

Antiquities.15 - The Framing of Herod as a Murderer of His Own Family

The text of Antiquities Book 15 is full of Roman/Jewish propaganda.



Hyrcanus and Antigonius were in Jerusalem at the time and were at war with each other. Antigonus wanted the kingship.  Hyrcanus was high priest and king.  Herod and his army were let into Jerusalem by Hyrcanus to deal with Antigonus.  Romans under Sosius and Strabo's comment on Antony were fictitious.  Antony never "received" Antigonus.  It was Herod who beheaded Antigonus in Jerusalem, not Antony in Antioch.  

1.HOW [Sosius and] Herod took Jerusalem by force; and besides that, how [they] {he}
took Antigonus captive

[, has been related by us in the foregoing book. We will now proceed in the narration. And since Herod had now the government of all Judea put into his hands, he promoted such of the private men in the city as had been of his party, but never left off avenging and punishing every day those that had chosen to be of the party of his enemies. But]

[Pollio the Pharisee] {Hyrcanus the high priest}, and [Sameas] {king}, [a disciple of his, were] {was} honoured by him above [all the rest] {Antigonus}; for when Jerusalem was besieged, [they] {he} advised the citizens to receive Herod, for which advice they (THE CITIZENS) were well [requited] {pleased}.  [But this Pollio] {Hyrcanus}

[, at the time when Herod was once upon his trial of life and death,]

foretold, in way of reproach, to [Hyrcanus] {Antigonus} [and the other judges,]

how this Herod

[, whom they suffered now to escape,]

would afterward inflict punishment on [them all] {Antigonus and his friends}; which had its
completion in time, while God fulfilled the words he had spoken.

2. At this time Herod, now he had got Jerusalem under his power, [carried off all the royal ornaments] {took the kingship.}

[, and spoiled the wealthy men of what they had gotten; and when, by these means, he had heaped together a great quantity of silver and gold, he gave it all to Antony, and his friends that were about him.]

He also slew forty-five of the principal men of Antigonus's party, and set guards at the gates of the city, [that nothing] {in case Antigonus} might be carried out together with their dead bodies. They [also] searched the dead, and [whatsoever was] found {Antigonus.}

[, either of silver or gold, or other treasure,]

[it] {He} was [carried] {taken} to the king; nor was there any end of the miseries [he] {Antigonus} brought upon them; and this distress was in part occasioned by the covetousness of the prince regent, who was still in want of more, and in part by the Sabbatic year, which was still going on, and forced the country to lie still uncultivated, since we are forbidden to sow our land in that year.

Now when [Antony] {Herod} had received Antigonus as his captive,

[he determined to keep him against his triumph; but when he heard that the nation grew seditious, and that, out of their hatred to Herod, they continued to bear good-will to Antigonus,]

he resolved to behead him [at Antioch,] for otherwise the Jews could no way be brought to be quiet.

[And Strabo of Cappadocia attests to what I have said, when he thus speaks: "Antony ordered Antigonus the Jew to be brought to Antioch, and there to be beheaded. And this Antony seems to me to have been the very first man who beheaded a king, as supposing he could no other way bend the minds of the Jews so as to receive Herod, whom he had made king in his stead; for by no torments could they he forced to call him king, so great a fondness they had for their former king; so he thought that this dishonorable death would diminish the value they had for Antigonus's memory, and at the same time would diminish the hatred they bare to Herod." Thus far Strabo.]



Herod attacked Jerusalem because Aristobulus and Hyrcanus the king and high priest were at war in Jerusalem.  Hyrcanus was father of Mariamne and Herod's father-in-law.  Thus Herod called Hyrcanus father because he was married to Hyrcanus's daughter Mariamne.  

Hyrcanus was at first imprisoned, but Herod had him released immediately.  The Parthians were Idumeans.   Herod's brother Phasaelus is obfuscation.  Herod treated Hyrcanus fairly, giving him a house, not in Babylon, but in Jerusalem.  Parthia and king Phraates were dissimulation.  

Hyrcanus had great affection for his son-in-law Herod and visited Herod often.  Herod had saved him on at least two occasions.  One was while Hyrcanus was holed-up in Masada with Alexandria his wife and Mariamne.   This was while Antigonus's army was near to Masada. Another was the capture of Antigonus who was causing trouble for Hyrcanus in Jerusalem. 

Hyrcanus and Herod agreed that Hyrcanus should keep the high priesthood and Herod should have the kingship.  Mariamne was upset because she didn't want to see her father not being respected as king. When Herod said to her that the people were in expectation of a change of ruler, and that if he left the country chaos would ensue, Mariamne saw sense and agreed that Herod was right.  Their family would be kept safe under Herod.  Herod promised Mariamne that he would make sure that Hyrcanus would be treated with respect.   

Aristobulus the so-called brother of Mariamne was invented to hide the fact Hyrcanus kept the high priesthood.  Aristobulus appears and disappears later on his death apparently at the hands of Herod.  Herod was portrayed as evil.  Ananelus of Babylon was invented to take the high priesthood while Aristobulus was young.    

The introduction of Antony and Cleopatra was the Roman editor's fanciful dissembling.

1. NOW after Herod was in possession of the kingdom, Hyrcanus [the high priest,] who was then a captive among the [Parthians] {Idumeans}[, came to him again, and] was set free from his captivity, in the manner following: Barzapharnes and Pacorus, the generals of the [Parthians] {Idumeans}, took Hyrcanus[, who was first made high priest and afterward king, and Herod's brother, Phasaelus] captive

[s, and were carrying them away into Parthia.  Phasaelus indeed could not bear the reproach of being in bonds; and thinking that death with glory was better than any life whatsoever, he became his own executioner, as I have formerly related.]

2.But when Hyrcanus was brought in to [Parthia] {Herod} [the king, Phraates] {he} treated him after a very gentle manner, 

[as having already learned of what an illustrious family he was; on which account he set him free from his bonds,] 

and gave him a habitation at [Babylon] {Jerusalem}

[, where there were Jews in great numbers. These Jews honoured Hyrcanus as their high priest and king, as did all the Jewish nation that dwelt as far as Euphrates; which respect was very much to his satisfaction.  But when he was informed that Herod had received the kingdom, new hopes came upon him, as having been himself still of a kind disposition towards him, and expecting that Herod would bear in mind what favour be had received from him; and when he was upon his trial, and when he was in danger that a capital sentence would be pronounced against him, he delivered him from that danger, and from all punishment.]

Accordingly, [he talked of that matter with the Jew] {Hyrcanus} that came often to him with great affection;

[but they endeavoured to retain him among them, and desired that he would stay with them, putting him in mind of the kind offices and honours they did him, and that those honours they paid him were not at all inferior to what they could pay to either their high priests or their kings; and what was a greater motive to determine him, they said, was this, that he could not have those dignities (in Judea) because of that maim in his body, which had been inflicted on him by Antigonus; and that kings do not use to requite men for those kindnesses which they received when they were private persons, the height of their fortune making usually no small changes in them.]

3.[Now although they suggested these arguments to him for his own advantage, yet did Hyrcanus still desire to depart.]

Herod [also wrote to him, and] persuaded him [to desire of Phraates, and the Jews that were there,] that [they] {he} should not grudge him the royal authority, [which he should have jointly with himself,] for that now was the proper time for [himself] {Hyrcanus} to make [him] {Herod} amends for the favours he had received from him, as having been [brought up by him, and] saved by him [also, as well as for Hyrcanus to receive it].

[And as he wrote thus to Hyrcanus, so did he send also Saramallas, his ambassador, to Phraates, and many presents with him, and desired him in the most obliging way that he would be no hindrance to his gratitude towards his benefactor. But this zeal of Herod's did not flow from that principle, but because he had been made governor of that country without having any just claim to it, he was afraid, and that upon reasons good enough, of a change in his condition, and so made what haste he could to get Hyrcanus into his power, or indeed to put him quite out of the way; which last thing he compassed afterward.]

4.Accordingly, when Hyrcanus came,

[full of assurance, by the permission of the king of Parthia, and at the expense of the Jews, who supplied him with money,]

Herod received him with all possible respect, and gave him the upper place at public meetings, and set him above all the rest at feasts, and thereby [deceived] {honoured} him. He called him his father, and endeavoured, by all the ways possible, that he might have no suspicion of any treacherous design against him.

[He also did other things, in order to secure his government, which yet occasioned a sedition in his own family; for being cautious how he made any illustrious person the high priest of God, he sent for an obscure priest out of Babylon, whose name was Ananelus, and bestowed the high priesthood upon him.]

5.However, [Alexandra] {Mariamne}, the daughter of Hyrcanus

[, and wife of Alexander the son of Aristobulus the king, who had also brought Alexander (two) children,]

could not bear this indignity.  Now this

[son was one of the greatest comeliness, and was called Aristobulus; and the]  
daughter, Mariamne, was married to Herod, and eminent for her beauty [also]. 

This [Alexandra] {Mariamne} was much disturbed, and took this indignity offered to her [son] {father} exceeding ill, that while he was alive, anyone else should [be sent for to] have the dignity of the [high priesthood] {kingship} conferred upon him. Accordingly, she [wrote] {spoke} to [Cleopatra] {Herod}

[(a musician assisting her in taking care to have her letters carried) to desire her intercession with Antony,]

in order to gain the [high priesthood] {kingdom} for her [son] {father}.

6. [But as Antony was slow in granting this request, his friend Dellius came into Judea upon some affairs; and when he saw Aristobulus, he stood in admiration at the tallness and handsomeness of the child, and no less at Mariamne, the king's wife, and was open in his commendations of Alexandra, as the mother of most beautiful children.  And when she came to discourse with him, he persuaded her to get pictures drawn of them both, and to send them to Antony, for that when he saw them, he would deny her nothing that she should ask.  Accordingly, Alexandra was elevated with these words of his, and sent the pictures to Antony.  Dellius also talked extravagantly, and said that these children seemed not derived from men, but from some god or other. His design in doing so was to entice Antony into lewd pleasures with them, who was ashamed to send for the damsel, as being the wife of Herod, and avoided it, because of the reproaches he should have from Cleopatra on that account; but he sent, in the most decent manner he could, for the young man; but added this withal, unless he thought it hard upon him so to do. When this letter was brought to Herod, he did not think it safe for him to send one so handsome as was Aristobulus, in the prime of his life, for he was sixteen years of age, and of so noble a family, and particularly not to Antony, the principal man among the Romans, and one that would abuse him in his amours, and besides, one that openly indulged himself in such pleasures as his power allowed him without control.]

He therefore [wrote back] {said} to [him] {her}, that if [this boy] {he} should only go out of the country, all would be in a state of war and uproar, because the Jews were in hopes of a change in the government, and to have another king over them.

7. When Herod had thus excused himself to [Antony] {Mariamne}, he resolved that he would not [entirely] permit [the child or Alexandra] {Hyrcanus} to be treated dishonourably;

[but his wife Mariamne lay vehemently at him to restore the high priesthood to her brother; and he judged it was for his advantage so to do, because if he once had that dignity, he could not go out of the country. So he called his friends together, and told them that Alexandra privately conspired against his royal authority, and endeavoured, by the means of Cleopatra, so to bring it about, that he might be deprived of the government, and that by Antony's means this youth might have the management of public affairs in his stead; and that this procedure of hers was unjust, since she would at the same time deprive her daughter of the dignity she now had, and would bring disturbances upon the kingdom, for which he had taken a great deal of pains, and had gotten it with extraordinary hazards; that yet, while he well remembered her wicked practices, he would not leave off doing what was right himself, but would even now give the youth the high priesthood; and that he formerly set up Ananelus, because Aristobulus was then so very young a child.]

Now when he had said this, not at random, but as he thought with the best discretion he had,

[in order to deceive the women, and those friends whom he had taken to consult withal, Alexandra,]

{Mariamne} out of the great joy she had at this unexpected promise, [and out of fear from the suspicions she lay under,] fell a weeping; and made the following apology for herself; and said, that as to the [high priesthood] {kingdom}, she was very much concerned for the disgrace her [son] {father} was under, and so did her utmost endeavours to procure it for him; but that as to the [kingdom] {high priesthood}, she had made no attempts, and that if it were offered [her] {Hyrcanus, [she] {he} would [not] accept it; and that now she would be satisfied with her [son's] {father’s} dignity, while [he] {Herod} himself held the [civil government] {kingdom}, and she had thereby the security that arose from his peculiar ability in governing to all the remainder of her family; that she was now overcome by his benefits, and thankfully accepted of this honour showed by him to her [son] {father}, and that she would hereafter be entirely obedient. And she desired him to excuse her, if the nobility of her family, and that freedom of acting which she thought that allowed her, had made her act too precipitately and imprudently in this matter. So when they had spoken thus to one another, they came to an agreement, and all suspicions, so far as appeared, were vanished away. 



The text of Ant. 15, Chapter 3 is all fanciful, anti-Herod propaganda.  The only text that is valid, is Herod’s fear of Cleopatra and Antony taking his kingdom.  While Antony was fighting Augustus in the battle of Actium, Herod was fighting the Arabians who were encouraged by Cleopatra.   The pattern is clear.  This was a very serious threat to the empire.  To the east and north of Israel Herod would engage the Arabs, presented as a minor skirmish in the writings attributed to Josephus.   This was a struggle which had the mighty Herod on his knees.   To the south of Israel, Augustus would engage the armies of Antony.   Antony and Cleopatra were to be defeated by the joint efforts of Augustus's and Herod's armies.  It was to prove very costly for Herod.  He would lose, among others, his wife Mariamne, his father-in-law Hyrcanus, his mother-in-law Alexandra, and his uncle Joseph.  In the writings attributed to Josephus these were all supposedly murdered by Herod in a sequence, including Aristobulus the fictitious son of Alexandra at the outset.

Ananelus’s high priesthood was fictitious.  The editor has the high priesthood taken away to give it to Aristobulus, and then it is given back, supposedly because Aristobulus had been executed by Herod.   Herod's father-in-law Hyrcanus was high priest throughout.  The young Aristobulus, the so-called son of Alexandra, was thus a fabrication.  

The drowning of Aristobulus was also fictitious, just like Alexandra’s grief over the supposed loss of her son. The aim of the editor was to denigrate Herod.   The editor also had a grudge against the real Aristobulus, Herod's son, a Hasmonean.  He has the first Aristobulus (the false one) drowned by Herod.  The real Aristobulus was the firstborn son of Herod of and Mariamne.  Later, the editor has Herod has the real Aristobulus his strangled along with another son Alexander, again in a fictitious story.  Aristobulus lived to tell the tale and become king and father of Agrippa I, Herodias and other children. 

Antony’s command to Herod to come to his defence for the battle of Actium was false.  Contrary to what the editor says, Herod does not go.  The editor created a false story in which Herod went to help Antony and left his uncle Joseph in charge in Jerusalem having an affair with his wife Mariamne.  He has Herod executing Joseph on his supposed return.  We will see what happened to Joseph later.  Herod leaving Joseph in charge of the government and Joseph’s antics with Mariamne are all fiction.  This story is very close to that of Sohemus and Mariamne (see Chapter 7), yet another fiction.  The false 'affair' of Joseph and Mariamne comes before Herod's real war with the Arabians and the battle of Actium. The similar 'affair' between Sohemus and Mariamne, another fiction, comes after the two wars, and is the supposed cause of Herod executing Mariamne.  In both stories, Herod leaves his family in the care of someone and when he returns he suspects that Mariamne may have been unfaithful, and there are family intrigues.  In the Sohemus case, when Herod returns he finds his "house in disorder" and "his wife Mariamne and her mother Alexandra very 'uneasy' ". They had been put "as into a garrison for their imprisonment, and that they had no power over anything".  Whereas Herod expected to find that they should have been "put into that the fortress of Alexandrium for their security". 

Herod is concerned about Cleopatra and Antony plotting against him.  Herod knows that Cleopatra has her eyes on his kingdom.    

1.[SO king Herod immediately took the high priesthood away from Ananelus, who, as we said before, was not of this country, but one of those Jews that had been carried captive beyond Euphrates; for there were not a few ten thousands of this people that had been carried captives, and dwelt about Babylonia, whence Ananelus came. He was one of the stock of the high priests and had been of old a particular friend of Herod; and when he was first made king, he conferred that dignity upon him, and now put him out of it again, in order to quiet the troubles in his family, though what he did was plainly unlawful, for at no other time (of old) was any one that had once been in that dignity deprived of it. It was Antiochus Epiphanes who first brake that law, and deprived Jesus, and made his brother Onias high priest in his stead. Aristobulus was the second that did so, and took that dignity from his brother (Hyrcanus); and this Herod was the third, who took that high office away (from Ananelus), and gave it to this young man, Aristobulus, in his stead.]

2. [And now Herod seemed to have healed the divisions in his family; yet was he not without suspicion, as is frequently the case, of people seeming to be reconciled to one another, but thought that, as Alexandra had already made attempts tending to innovations, so did he fear that she would go on therein, if she found a fit opportunity for so doing; so he gave a command that she should dwell in the palace, and meddle with no public affairs. Her guards also were so careful, that nothing she did in private life every day was concealed. All these hardships put her out of patience, by little and little and she began to hate Herod; for as she had the pride of a woman to the utmost degree, she had great indignation at this suspicious guard that was about her, as desirous rather to undergo any thing that could befall her, than to be deprived of her liberty of speech, and, under the notion of an honorary guard, to live in a state of slavery and terror. She therefore sent to Cleopatra, and made a long complaint of the circumstances she was in, and entreated her to do her utmost for her assistance. Cleopatra hereupon advised her to take her son with her, and come away immediately to her into Egypt. This advice pleased her; and she had this contrivance for getting away: She got two coffins made, as if they were to carry away two dead bodies and put herself into one, and her son into the other and gave orders to such of her servants as knew of her intentions to carry them away in the night time. Now their road was to be thence to the sea-side and there was a ship ready to carry them into Egypt. Now Aesop, one of her servants, happened to fall upon Sabion, one of her friends, and spake of this matter to him, as thinking he had known of it before. When Sabion knew this, ((who had formerly been an enemy of Herod, and been esteemed one of those that laid snares for and gave the poison to (his father) Antipater,)) he expected that this discovery would change Herod's hatred into kindness; so he told the king of this private stratagem of Alexandra: whereupon be suffered her to proceed to the execution of her project, and caught her in the very fact; but still he passed by her offense; and though he had a great mind to do it, he durst not inflict any thing that was severe upon her, for he knew that Cleopatra would not bear that he should have her accused, on account of her hatred to him; but made a show as if it were rather the generosity of his soul, and his great moderation, that made him forgive them. However, he fully proposed to himself to put this young man out of the way, by one means or other; but he thought he might in probability be better concealed in doing it, if he did it not presently, nor immediately after what had lately happened.]

3. [And now, upon the approach of the feast of tabernacles, which is a festival very much observed among us, he let those days pass over, and both he and the rest of the people were therein very merry; yet did the envy which at this time arose in him cause him to make haste to do what lie was about, and provoke him to it; for when this youth Aristobulus, who was now in the seventeenth year of his age, went up to the altar, according to the law, to offer the sacrifices, and this with the ornaments of his high priesthood, and when he performed the sacred offices, he seemed to be exceedingly comely, and taller than men usually were at that age, and to exhibit in his countenance a great deal of that high family he was sprung from, - a warm zeal and affection towards him appeared among the people, and the memory of the actions of his grandfather Aristobulus was fresh in their minds; and their affections got so far the mastery of them, that they could not forbear to show their inclinations to him. They at once rejoiced and were confounded, and mingled with good wishes their joyful acclamations which they made to him, till the good-will of the multitude was made too evident; and they more rashly proclaimed the happiness they had received from his family than was fit under a monarchy to have done. Upon all this, Herod resolved to complete what he had intended against the young man. When therefore the festival was over, and he was feasting at Jericho with Alexandra, who entertained them there, he was then very pleasant with the young man, and drew him into a lonely place, and at the same time played with him in a juvenile and ludicrous manner. Now the nature of that place was hotter than ordinary; so they went out in a body, and of a sudden, and in a vein of madness; and as they stood by the fish-ponds, of which there were large ones about the house, they went to cool themselves by bathing, because it was in the midst of a hot day. At first they were only spectators of Herod's servants and acquaintance as they were swimming; but after a while, the young man, at the instigation of Herod, went into the water among them, while such of Herod's acquaintance, as he had appointed to do it, dipped him as he was swimming, and plunged him under water, in the dark of the evening, as if it had been done in sport only; nor did they desist till he was entirely suffocated.  And thus was Aristobulus murdered , having lived no more in all than eighteen years , and kept the high priesthood one year only; which high priesthood Ananelus now recovered again.]

4. [When this sad accident was told the women, their joy was soon changed to lamentation, at the sight of the dead body that lay before them, and their sorrow was immoderate. The city also (of Jerusalem), upon the spreading of this news, were in very great grief, every family looking on this calamity as if it had not belonged to another, but that one of themselves was slain. But Alexandra was more deeply affected, upon her knowledge that he had been destroyed (on purpose). Her sorrow was greater than that of others, by her knowing how the murder was committed; but she was under the necessity of bearing up under it, out of her prospect of a greater mischief that might otherwise follow; and she oftentimes came to an inclination to kill herself with her own hand, but still she restrained herself, in hopes she might live long enough to revenge the unjust murder thus privately committed; nay, she further resolved to endeavour to live longer, and to give no occasion to think she suspected that her son was slain on purpose, and supposed that she might thereby be in a capacity of revenging it at a proper opportunity. Thus did she restrain herself, that she might not be noted for entertaining any such suspicion. However, Herod endeavoured that none abroad should believe that the child's death was caused by any design of his; and for this purpose he did not only use the ordinary signs of sorrow, but fell into tears also, and exhibited a real confusion of soul; and perhaps his affections were overcome on this occasion, when he saw the child's countenance so young and so beautiful, although his death was supposed to tend to his own security. So far at least this grief served as to make some apology for him; and as for his funeral, that he took care (?) should be very magnificent, by making great preparation for a sepulchre to lay his body in, and providing a great quantity of spices, and burying many ornaments together with him, till the very women, who were in such deep sorrow, were astonished at it, and received in this way some consolation.]

5. [However, no such things could overcome Alexandra's grief; but the remembrance of this miserable case made her sorrow, both deep and obstinate. Accordingly, she wrote an account of this treacherous scene to Cleopatra, and how her son was murdered; but Cleopatra, as she had formerly been desirous to give her what satisfaction she could, and commiserating Alexandra's misfortunes, made the case her own, and would not let Antony be quiet, but excited him to punish the child's murder; for that it was an unworthy thing that Herod, who had been by him made king of a kingdom that no way belonged to him, should be guilty of such horrid crimes against those that were of the royal blood in reality.   Antony was persuaded by these arguments; and when he came to Laodicea, he sent and commanded Herod to come and make his defence, as to what he had done to Aristobulus, for that such a treacherous design was not well done, if he had any hand in it.] 

Herod was now in fear[, both of the accusation, and] of Cleopatra's ill-will to him, which was such that she was ever endeavouring to make Antony hate him.  

[He therefore determined to obey his summons, for he had no possible way to avoid it. So he left his uncle Joseph procurator for his government, and for the public affairs, and gave him a private charge, that if Antony should kill him, he also should kill Mariamne immediately; for that he had a tender affection for this his wife, and was afraid of the injury that should be offered him, if, after his death, she, for her beauty, should be engaged to some other man: but his intimation was nothing but this at the bottom, that Antony had fallen in love with her, when he had formerly heard somewhat of her beauty. So when Herod had given Joseph this charge, and had indeed no sure hopes of escaping with his life, he went away to Antony.]

6. [But as Joseph was administering the public affairs of the kingdom, and for that reason was very frequently with Mariamne, both because his business required it, and because of the respects he ought to pay to the queen, he frequently let himself into discourses about Herod's kindness, and great affection towards her; and when the women, especially Alexandra, used to turn his discourses into feminine raillery, Joseph was so over-desirous to demonstrate the kings inclinations, that he proceeded so far as to mention the charge he had received, and thence drew his demonstration, that Herod was not able to live without her; and that if he should come to any ill end, he could not endure a separation from her, even after he was dead.  Thus spake Joseph.  But the women, as was natural, did not take this to be an instance of Herod's strong affection for them, but of his severe usage of them, that they could not escape destruction, nor a tyrannical death, even when he was dead himself. And this saying of Joseph was a foundation for the women's severe suspicions about him afterwards.]

7. [At this time a report went about the city Jerusalem among Herod's enemies, that Antony had tortured Herod, and put him to death. This report, as is natural, disturbed those that were about the palace, but chiefly the women; upon which Alexandra endeavored to persuade Joseph to go out of the palace, and fly away with them to the ensigns of the Roman legion, which then lay encamped about the city, as a guard to the kingdom, under the command of Julius; for that by this means, if any disturbance should happen about the palace, they should be in greater security, as having the Romans favourable to them; and that besides, they hoped to obtain the highest authority, if Antony did but once see Mariamne, by whose means they should recover the kingdom, and want nothing which was reasonable for them to hope for, because of their royal extraction.]  

8. [But as they were in the midst of these deliberations, letters were brought from Herod about all his affairs, and proved contrary to the report, and of what they before expected; for when he was come to Antony, he soon recovered his interest with him, by the presents he made him, which he had brought with him from Jerusalem; and he soon induced him, upon discoursing with him, to leave off his indignation at him, so that Cleopatra's persuasions had less force than the arguments and presents he brought to regain his friendship; for Antony said that it was not good to require an account of a king, as to the affairs of his government, for at this rate he could be no king at all, but that those who had given him that authority ought to permit him to make use of it. He also said the same things to Cleopatra, that it would be best for her not busily to meddle with the acts of the king's government.  Herod wrote an account of these things, and enlarged upon the other honours which he had received from Antony; how he sat by him at his hearing causes, and took his diet with him every day, and that he enjoyed those favours from him, notwithstanding the reproaches that Cleopatra so severely laid against him, who having a great desire of his country, and earnestly entreating Antony that the kingdom might be given to her, laboured with her utmost diligence to have him out of the way; but that he still found Antony just to him, and had no longer any apprehensions of hard treatment from him; and that he was soon upon his return, with a firmer additional assurance of his favour to him, in his reigning and managing public affairs; and that there was no longer any hope for Cleopatra's covetous temper, since Antony had given her Celesyria instead of what she had desired; by which means he had at once pacified her, and got clear of the entreaties which she made him to have Judea bestowed upon her.]

9. [When these letters were brought, the women left off their attempt for flying to the Romans, which they thought of while Herod was supposed to be dead; yet was not that purpose of theirs a secret; but when the king had conducted Antony on his way against the Parthians, he returned to Judea, when both his sister Salome and his mother informed him of Alexandra's intentions.  Salome also added somewhat further against Joseph, though it was no more than a calumny, that he had often had criminal conversation with Mariamne.  The reason of her saying so was this, that she for a long time bare her ill-will; for when they had differences with one another, Mariamne took great freedoms, and reproached the rest for the meanness of their birth. But Herod, whose affection to Mariamne was always very warm, was presently disturbed at this, and could not bear the torments of jealousy, but was still restrained from doing any rash thing to her by the love he had for her; yet did his vehement affection and jealousy together make him ask Mariamne by herself about this matter of Joseph; but she denied it upon her oath, and said all that an innocent woman could possibly say in her own defence; so that by little and little the king was prevailed upon to drop the suspicion, and left off his anger at her; and being overcome with his passion for his wife, he made an apology to her for having seemed to believe what he had heard about her, and returned her a great many acknowledgments of her modest behaviour, and professed the extraordinary affection and kindness he had for her, till at last, as is usual between lovers, they both fell into tears, and embraced one another with a most tender affection.  But as the king gave more and more assurances of his belief of her fidelity, and endeavored to draw her to a like confidence in him, Marianme said, Yet was not that command thou gavest, that if any harm came to thee from Antony, I, who had been no occasion of it, should perish with thee, a sign of thy love to me?"  When these words were fallen from her, the king was shocked at them, and presently let her go out of his arms, and cried out, and tore his hair with his own hands, and said, that "now he had an evident demonstration that Joseph had had criminal conversation with his wife; for that he would never have uttered what he had told him alone by himself, unless there had been such a great familiarity and firm confidence between them.  And while he was in this passion he had like to have killed his wife; but being still overborne by his love to her, he restrained this his passion, though not without a lasting grief and disquietness of mind.  However, he gave order to slay Joseph, without permitting him to come into his sight; and as for Alexandra, he bound her, and kept her in custody, as the cause of all this mischief.] 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Jesus and Brian (Conference at King's College, 20-22 June 2014)

Jesus and Brian (Conference at King's College, 20-22 June 2014) 

I recall the Life of Brian as being only fairly humorous so I went to London for the Saturday.  The conference looked at the history of Jesus through the lens of Brian.  I  was more interested to hear three professors two of whom I had previously exchanged e-mail communications with.  I had read some of their books.  These were Helen Bond, Guy Stiebal and Steve Mason. I would have also liked to have heard Martin Goodman who spoke on the Friday.  Bond, Mason and Goodman dealt with history during the time Jesus is supposed to have existed.  Stiebal, an Israeli archaeologist, spoke about the Roman army at the time.  It seems that they have learned their history from The Life of Brian, for they all used him as a model to follow, like zombies.  This was along a well trodden path with a few slight variations from Brian's version between speakers, may be.  Their approach to the history of the time is a naive one.  So what have the Pythons done for us?  They have shown that much of the understood history is a farce.  

Thus in Brian's history that time in Judea was a cruel one for most of the Jews under Roman procurators.  The Jews hated the Romans and vice versa.  Bond said that crucifixions were common place, but that unlike Brian's history, there was no involvement of Jews in his death.   But she had no word to say which Jews were involved.   Mason made a point, that the Romans must have had help from the Jewish elite.  Significantly, he also didn't say who they were.   The four speaker's naive messages can be read in children's books, or The Life of Brian, or Josephus published under the lens of Vespasian or may be Eusebius.  They are fundamentally a regurgitation of the writings attributed to Josephus and the New Testament.  Both of these are more akin to the life of Brian. 

Eisenman thinks the Romans were having fun when producing Josephus.  An example is Josephus's casting of lots to decide who should dispatch who in a suicide pact of 30 or so rebels cornered by the Romans, and then changing his mind because he coincidentally drew the last lot and chose to survive.  Another example is the ridiculous and fictitious story of the miserable death of Agrippa I while making himself out to be a god.  These stories reveal what the Romans under Vespasian were capable of in producing their version of history.  A crucifixion story would be great to scare the Jews.  Certainly, the scholars warn about Josephus, yet ignore their own warnings.    It would be more appropriate to substitute Vespasian or Eusebius for Josephus when citing.   

My Question to Mason 

(I could have put the same question to Bond, Stiebal and Goodman.)  

How do you reconcile the above view with the following two statements?:  

"However is it possible that a royal court of such magnitude, a ruling centre for over half a century, with its established political, economic and military mechanisms, lost its well placed manpower in a spectacular overnight disintegration?"  (Kokkinos, The Herodian Dynasty, page 19).   I conclude from this that Kokkinos doesn't believe it was possible.     

In a puzzled mood, Goodman states: "Nor was violence continuous: a long lived Jerusalemite could have passed the whole period from 6 to 66 CE without ever witnessing the horrors of war."  (Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem, page 397).   Presumably, following Brian and Vespasian, Goodman believes that the Romans managed to keep the lid on Jewish restlessness, helped of course by non-descript Jewish elite.  

Chapter 4



Again the text is largely the fabrication of a Roman historian.  Herod was not going to let Cleopatra get Judea and Arabia.  Arabia was on the backdoor of his fortress at Machaerus.  Herod had reinforced the defences of Machaerus and Masada by building “circumvallation” walls around them.  Herod’s plan was to attack Arabia himself and face up to Cleopatra.     

1.NOW at this time the affairs of Syria were in confusion by Cleopatra's constant persuasions to Antony to make an attempt upon every body's dominions; for she persuaded him to take those dominions away from their several princes, and bestow them upon her; and she had a mighty influence upon him, by reason of his being enslaved to her by his affections.

[She was also by nature very covetous, and stuck at no wickedness. She had already poisoned her brother, because she knew that he was to be king of Egypt, and this when he was but fifteen years old; and she got her sister Arsinoe to be slain, by the means of Antony, when she was a supplicant at Diana's temple at Ephesus; for if there were but any hopes of getting money, she would violate both temples and sepulchres. Nor was there any holy place that was esteemed the most inviolable, from which she would not fetch the ornaments it had in it; nor any place so profane, but was to suffer the most flagitious treatment possible from her, if it could but contribute somewhat to the covetous humour of this wicked creature: yet did not all this suffice so extravagant a woman, who was a slave to her lusts, but she still imagined that she wanted every thing she could think of, and did her utmost to gain it; for which reason she hurried Antony on perpetually to deprive others of their dominions, and give them to her. And as she went over Syria with him, she contrived to get it into her possession; so he slew Lysanias, the son of Ptolemy, accusing him of his bringing the Parthians upon those countries.]

She [also] petitioned Antony to give her Judea and Arabia; and, in order thereto, desired him to take these countries away from their present governors.

[As for Antony, he was so entirely overcome by this woman, that one would not think her conversation only could do it, but that he was some way or other bewitched to do whatsoever she would have him;yet did the grossest parts of her injustice make him so ashamed, that he would not always hearken to her to do those flagrant enormities she would have persuaded him to. That therefore he might not totally deny her, nor, by doing everything which she enjoined him, appear openly to be an ill man, he took some parts of each of those countries away from their former governors, and gave them to her. Thus he gave her the cities that were within the river Eleutherus, as far as Egypt, excepting Tyre and Sidon, which he knew to have been free cities from their ancestors, although she pressed him very often to bestow those on her also.]
2.[When Cleopatra had obtained thus much, and had accompanied Antony in his expedition to Armenia as far as Euphrates, she returned back, and came to Apamia and Damascus, and passed on to Judea, where Herod met her, and farmed of her parts of Arabia, and those revenues that came to her from the region about Jericho. This country bears that balsam, which is the most precious drug that is there, and grows there alone. The place bears also palm trees, both many in number, and those excellent in their kind. When she was there, and was very often with Herod, she endeavoured to have criminal conversation with the king; nor did she affect secrecy in the indulgence of such sort of pleasures; and perhaps she had in some measure a passion of love to him; or rather, what is most probable, she laid a treacherous snare for him, by aiming to obtain such adulterous conversation from him: however, upon the whole, she seemed overcome with love to him.]

Now Herod had a great while borne no good-will to Cleopatra, as knowing that she was a woman irksome to all; and at that time he thought her particularly worthy of his hatred,

[if this attempt proceeded out of lust; he had also thought of preventing her intrigues, by putting her to death, if such were her endeavors.  However, he refused to comply with her proposals, and called a counsel of his friends to consult with them whether he should not kill her, now he had her in his power; for that he should thereby deliver all those from a multitude of evils to whom she was already become irksome, and was expected to be still so for the time to come; and that this very thing would be much for the advantage of Antony himself, since she would certainly not be faithful to him, in case any such season or necessity should come upon him as that he should stand in need of her fidelity. But when he thought to follow this advice, his friends would not let him; and told him that, in the first place, it was not right to attempt so great a thing, and run himself thereby into the utmost danger; and they laid hard at him, and begged of him to undertake nothing rashly, for that Antony would never bear it, no, not though any one should evidently lay before his eyes that it was for his own advantage; and that the appearance of depriving him of her conversation, by this violent and treacherous method, would probably set his affections more on a flame than before. Nor did it appear that he could offer any thing of tolerable weight in his defence, this attempt being against such a woman as was of the highest dignity of any of her sex at that time in the world; and as to any advantage to be expected from such an undertaking, if any such could be supposed in this case, it would appear to deserve condemnation, on account of the insolence he must take upon him in doing it: which considerations made it very plain that in so doing he would find his government filled with mischief, both great and lasting, both to himself and his posterity, whereas it was still in his power to reject that wickedness she would persuade him to, and to come off honorably at the same time. So by thus affrighting Herod, and representing to him the hazard he must, in all probability, run by this undertaking, they restrained him from it. So he treated Cleopatra kindly, and made her presents, and conducted her on her way to Egypt.]
3. [But Antony subdued Armenia, and sent Artabazes, the son of Tigranes, in bonds, with his children and procurators, to Egypt, and made a present of them, and of all the royal ornaments which he had taken out of that kingdom, to Cleopatra.  And Artaxias, the eldest of his sons, who had escaped at that time, took the kingdom of Armenia; who yet was ejected by Archelaus and Nero Caesar, when they restored Tigranes, his younger brother, to that kingdom; but this happened a good while afterward.]

4. [But then, as to the tributes which Herod was to pay Cleopatra for that country which Antony had given her, he acted fairly with her, as deeming it not safe for him to afford any cause for Cleopatra to hate him. As for the king of Arabia, whose tribute Herod had undertaken to pay her, for some time indeed he paid him as much as came to two hundred talents; but he afterwards became very niggardly and slow in his payments, and could hardly be brought to pay some parts of it, and was not willing to pay even them without some deductions.] 

Ant. 15. Chapter 5



While Herod was attacking one Arabian army and losing the battle, another Arabian army was attacking the fortress of Alexandrium in Samaria, not the supposed Cana in Celesyria.  Herod had put the members of his family in Alexandrium.  These included his wife Mariamne, her mother Alexandra, and probably Hyrcanus his father-in-law and Joseph his uncle, all supposedly murdered by Herod. That this is given later in 15.6.5 is a part of the obfuscation.

A clue that Alexandrium was the place the second Arabian army attacked is given in the fabricated speech of Herod (15.5.4): “When the Jews heard this speech, they were much raised in their minds, and more disposed to fight than before. So Herod, when he had offered the sacrifices appointed by the law made haste, and took them, and led them against the Arabians; and in order to that passed over Jordan, and pitched his camp near to that of the enemy. He also thought fit to seize upon a certain castle that lay in the midst of them, as hoping it would be for his advantage, and would the sooner produce a battle; and that if there were occasion for delay, he should by it have his camp fortified; and as the Arabians had the same intentions upon that place, a contest arose about it.”  Alexandrium was about six miles west of the river Jordan. 

1.HEREUPON Herod held himself ready to go against the king of Arabia, because of his ingratitude to him, and because, after all, he would do nothing that was just to him,

[although Herod made the Roman war an occasion of delaying his own; for the battle at Actium was now expected, which fell into the hundred eighty and seventh olympiad, where Caesar and Antony were to fight for the supreme power of the world;]

but Herod having enjoyed a country that was very fruitful, and that now for a long time, and having received great taxes, and raised great armies therewith, got together a body of men, and carefully furnished them with all necessaries

[, and designed them as auxiliaries for Antony. But Antony said he had no want of his assistance; but he commanded him to punish the king of Arabia; for he had heard both from him, and from Cleopatra, how perfidious he was; for this was what Cleopatra desired, who thought it for her own advantage that these two kings should do one another as great mischief as possible. Upon this message from Antony, Herod returned back, but kept his army with him, in order to invade Arabia immediately.]

So when his army of horsemen and footmen was ready, he marched to Diospolis, whither the Arabians came also to meet them, for they were not unapprized of this war that was coming upon them; and after a great battle had been fought, the [Jews] {Arabians} had the victory.
But afterward there were gotten together another numerous army of the Arabians, at [Cana] {Alexandrium}, which is a [place] {fortress} of [Celesyria] {Samaria}.  Herod was informed of this beforehand; so he came marching against them with [the greatest part of] the forces he had; and when he was come near to [Cana] {Alexandrium}, he resolved to encamp himself; and he cast up a bulwark, that he might take a proper season for attacking the enemy; but as he was giving those orders, the multitude of the Jews {in Alexandrium} cried out that he should make no delay, but lead [them] {his army} against the Arabians.

They went with [great] {little} spirit, as believing they were in very [good] {poor} order; and those especially were so that had been in the former battle 

[, and had been conquerors, and had not permitted their enemies so much as to come to a close fight with them.]

And [when they] {the Arabians} were so tumultuous, and showed such great alacrity,

[the king resolved to make use of that zeal the multitude then exhibited; and when he had assured them he would not be behindhand with them in courage, he led them on, and stood before them all in his armour, all the regiments following him in their several ranks:]

whereupon a consternation fell upon the [Arabians] {Jews}; for when they perceived that the [Jews] {Arabians} were not to be conquered, and were full of spirit, the greater part of [them] {the Jews} ran away, and avoided fighting; and they had been quite destroyed

[, had not Anthony fallen upon the Jews, and distressed them; for this man was Cleopatra's general over the soldiers she had there, and was at enmity with Herod, and very wistfully looked on to see what the event of the battle would be. He had also resolved, that in case the Arabians did any thing that was brave and successful, he would lie still; but in case they were beaten, as it really happened, he would attack the Jews with those forces he had of his own, and with those that the country had gotten together for him. So he fell upon the Jews unexpectedly, when they were fatigued, and thought they had already vanquished the enemy, and made a great slaughter of them; for as the Jews had spent their courage upon their known enemies, and were about to enjoy themselves in quietness after their victory, they were easily beaten by these that attacked them afresh, and in particular received a great loss in places where the horses could not be of service, and which were very stony, and where those that attacked them were better acquainted with the places than themselves.]

And when the Jews had suffered this loss, the Arabians [raised their spirits after their defeat, and] returning back again {to Alexandrium}, slew those that were [already put to flight] {there};

[and indeed all sorts of slaughter were now frequent, and of those that escaped, a few only returned into the camp.]

So king Herod, when he despaired of the battle, rode up to [them] {his army} to bring them [assistance] {condolences};

[ yet did he not come time enough to do them any service, though he laboured hard to do it;]

but [the Jewish camp] {Alexandrium} was taken; so that the Arabians had unexpectedly a most glorious success, having gained that victory

[which of themselves they were no way likely to have gained]

, and slaying a great part of the [enemy's] {Jewish} army: whence afterward Herod could only act like a private robber, and make excursions upon many parts of Arabia, and distress them by sudden incursions, while he encamped among the mountains, and avoided by any means to come to a pitched battle; yet did he greatly harass the enemy by his assiduity, and the hard labour he took in this matter. He also took great care of his own forces, and used all the means he could to restore his affairs to their old state



Antipator and his mother Doris are complete fiction.  The editor, out of a hat, "brought to court another of his (Herod's) sons that was born when he was a private man."  ...."So he INTRODUCED Antipater as their (supposedly Alexander's and Aristobulus's) antagonist".  And of course "Antipater was a shrewd man" (See Ant. 16.3.3).  I can't remember where I said it, but I have previously stated that Doris was also an invention.  She is only ever mentioned twice.  And I have maintained that Aristobulus, Alexander's brother, survived to be king.  




1.WHEN [Antipater] {Pheroras} had thus [taken off his brethren] {murdered Alexander}, and had brought [his father] {himself} into the highest degree of impiety, till he was haunted with furies for what he had done, his hopes did not succeed to his mind, as to the rest of his life; for although he was delivered from the fear of {Alexander} being his rival[s] as to the government, yet did he find it a very hard thing, and almost impracticable, to come at the kingdom, because the hatred of the nation against him on that account was become very great; and besides this very disagreeable circumstance, the affair of the soldiery grieved him still more, who were alienated from him, from which yet these kings derived all the safety which they had, whenever they found the nation desirous of innovation: and all this danger was drawn upon him by his destruction of [his brethren] {Herod’s son Alexander}.

However, he governed the nation jointly with his [father] {Herod}, being indeed no other than a king already; and he was for that very reason trusted, and the more firmly depended on {by Herod}, for the which he ought himself to have been put to death, as appearing to have betrayed [his brethren] {Alexander} out of his concern for the preservation of Herod, and not rather out of his ill-will to [them] {him}[, and, before them, to his father himself]: and this was the accursed state he was in.  Now all [Antipater's] {Pheroras’s} contrivances tended to make his way to take off Herod, that he might have nobody to accuse him in the vile practices he was devising: and that Herod might have no refuge, nor any to afford him their assistance, since they must thereby have [Antipater] {Pheroras} for their open enemy; insomuch that the very plots he had laid against [his brethren] {Alexander} were occasioned by the hatred he bore [his father] {Herod}. But at this time he was more than ever set upon the execution of his attempts against Herod, because if he were once dead, the government would now be firmly secured to him; but if he were suffered to live any longer, he should be in danger, upon a discovery of that wickedness of which he had been the contriver, and [his father] {Herod} would of necessity then become his enemy.  And on this account it was that he became very bountiful to [his father's] {Herod’s} friends, and bestowed great sums on several of them, in order to surprise men with his good deeds, and take off their hatred against him.  And he sent great presents to his friends at Rome particularly, to gain their good-will; and above all to Saturninus, the president of Syria.  He also hoped to gain the favour of Saturninus's brother with the large presents he bestowed on him; as also he used the same art to Salome the king's sister, who had married one of Herod's chief friends.  And when he counterfeited friendship to those with whom he conversed, he was very subtle in gaining their belief, and very cunning to hide his hatred against any that he really did hate.

There was no Break in the Herodian Dynasty From Herod to Agrippa I   



1.As he was giving these commands to his relations, there came letters from his ambassadors, who had been sent to Rome unto Caesar, which, when they were read, their purport was this: That [Acme] {Pheroras} was slain by Caesar, out of his indignation at [what hand, she had in [Antipater's] {Alexander's} [wicked practices] {death}; 

[and that as to Antipater himself, Caesar left it to Herod to act as became a father and a king, and either to banish him, or to take away his life, which he pleased].

When Herod heard this, he was some-what better, out of the pleasure he had from the contents of the letters, and was elevated at the death of [Acme] {Pheroras} 

[, and at the power that was given him over his son];

2.but as his pains were become very great, he was now ready to [faint for want of somewhat to eat] {die};

[so he called for an apple and a knife; for it was his custom formerly to pare the apple himself, and soon afterwards to cut it, and eat it. When he had got the knife, he looked about, and had a mind to stab himself with it; and he had done it, had not his first cousin, Achiabus, prevented him, and held his hand, and cried out loudly.]

Whereupon a woeful lamentation echoed through the palace {.}

 [, and a great tumult was made, as if the king were dead. Upon which Antipater, who verily believed his father was deceased, grew bold in his discourse, as hoping to be immediately and entirely released from his bonds, and to take the kingdom into his hands without any more ado; so he discoursed with the jailer about letting him go, and in that case promised him great things, both now and hereafter, as if that were the only thing now in question. But the jailer did not only refuse to do what Antipater would have him, but informed the king of his intentions, and how many solicitations he had had from him of that nature.  Hereupon Herod, who had formerly no affection nor good-will towards his son to restrain him, when he heard what the jailer said, he cried out, and beat his head, although he was at death's door, and raised himself upon his elbow, and sent for some of his guards, and commanded them to kill Antipater without any further delay, and to do it presently, and to bury him in an ignoble manner at Hyrcania]. 



Aristobulus was granted the Kingdom of Judea by Herod (the rest was split into three)

The tetrarchy consisted of three areas not including Judea.  The three areas were governed or ruled by ethnarchs who answered to the king.  The three ethnarchs coined money themselves and probably had the ability to raise taxes which they would have paid a contribution to Rome through the king.  Judea was to be ruled by Aristobulus the oldest surviving male.  The reason Aristobulus didn't coin any money was because he had no need to.  Herod left him plenty.  

In the extant text below, Archelaus is mentioned twice.  On the first occasion, Archelaus appears to have been offered the kingdom.  On the second occasion, the writer appears confused - Archelaus is offered a tetrarchy.  

Herod's family  were poisoned by enemies, not murdered by him.  The editor wants the reader to believe that Herod ordered Antipator to be killed five days before Herod died.  Antipator is fictitious. The natural form of the text is that Herod died five days after changing his will.  Herod changed his will because of the execution of Pheroras Herod's brother.

The writer has edited the text so that Herod was barbarous to "all men equally".  This cannot be true.  The testimony to Herod was originally all favourable apart from what happened to some of his family. 

1.AND now Herod altered his testament [upon the alteration of his mind]; for he appointed Antipas [, to whom he had before left the kingdom,] to be tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, and granted the kingdom to [Archelaus] {Aristobulus}.  He also gave {the tetrarchy of} Gaulonitis, and Trachonitis, and Paneas to Philip, [who was his son, but own brother] and to Archelaus [by the name of a] {the} tetrarchy {of Samaria}; and bequeathed Jamnia, and Ashdod, and Phasaelis to Salome his sister, with five hundred thousand drachmae of silver that was coined. He also made provision for all the rest of his kindred, by giving them sums of money and annual revenues, and so left them all in a wealthy condition. He bequeathed also to [Caesar] {Aristobulus} ten millions of drachmae of coined money, besides both vessels of gold and silver, and garments exceeding costly, to [Julia, Caesar's] {Bernice, Aristobulus’s} wife; and to certain others, five millions. When he had done these things, he died, the fifth day after 
[he had caused Antipater to be slain]; having reigned

[, since he had procured Antigonus to be slain, thirty-four years; but]

since he had been declared king by the Romans, thirty-seven {years}. A man he was of great [barbarity] {magnanimity} towards all men equally

[, and a slave to his passion; but above the consideration of what was right]

; yet was he favoured by fortune as much as any man ever was, for from a private man he became a king; and though he were encompassed with ten thousand dangers, he got clear of them all, and continued his life till a very old age. But then, as to the affairs of his family and children

[, in which indeed, according to his own opinion, he was also very fortunate, because he was able to conquer his enemies, yet, in my opinion],

he was herein very unfortunate.    


Saturday, June 07, 2014

Nero Makes an End of the Revolt (War 7.1.1-3 and 7.2.1)

Nero Makes an End of the Revolt (War 7.1.1-3 and 7.2.1)

The writer makes out that the whole population of Jerusalem was wiped out by Vespasian's forces and that the entire city of Jerusalem was destroyed.  This was in reality a short revolt with limited scope.  The enemy was the priests who numbered approximately 30000 in total throughout Judea.  Many of the priests probably fled.  The fortresses, including Machaerus, Qumran and Masada which had been occupied by the priests, had been taken by Nero's forces. Then it was Jerusalems's turn.  The Romans were let into the city by the prophets, and they then proceeded to kill the priests.  There was pressure from the soldiery to destroy the temple, the source of the dispute between priests and prophets.  Nero insisted that the temple should be left standing, to show the world what the temple was at its core.  It was not a place where animals were to be sacrificed to God.  God was to be worshipped in the Spirit.  The text has it that the temple was supposed to be destroyed and three towers  left standing. 

Nero left the tenth legion and other troops to guard the city.  This was a city which Titus had supposedly destroyed along with its inhabitants so  "that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited."  This was pure propaganda.  Nero's real intention was to prevent those priests who escaped from returning to persecute the prophets. There followed a period of peace, the years of the so-called revolt.

When he had thanked his troops Nero, left with the twelfth legion for Greece where he took part in the Isthmian games. As he travelled through Greece he celebrated his victory over the priests with his Greek hosts. An inscription found in Greece recorded what Nero said: "Other leaders have liberated cities, only Nero a province".       


1.NOW as soon as the army had no more [people] {priests} to slay [or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done],

[Caesar] {Nero} gave orders that they should [now demolish the entire city and] {leave the} temple {standing}

[, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side.]

[This wall] {The temple} was spared, in order to

[afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as were the towers also spared, in order to]

demonstrate to posterity what kind of [city] {temple} it was,

[and how well fortified, which the Roman valour had subdued];

but for all the rest of the [wall] {temple}, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation

[, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations;a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind.]

2. But [Caesar] {Nero} resolved to leave [there, as] a guard, the tenth legion, with certain troops of horsemen, and companies of footmen. So, having ENTIRELY COMPLETED THIS WAR, he was desirous to commend his whole army, on account of the great exploits they had performed, and to bestow proper rewards on such as had signalized themselves therein. He had therefore a great tribunal made for him [in the midst of the place where he had formerly encamped], and stood upon [it] {Masada} with his principal commanders about him, and spake so as to be heard by the whole army in the manner following:

That he returned them abundance of thanks for their good-will which they had showed to him: he commended them for that ready obedience they had exhibited in this whole war, which obedience had appeared in the many and great dangers which they had courageously undergone; as also for that courage they had shown, and had thereby augmented of themselves their country's power, and had made it evident to all men, that neither the multitude of their enemies, nor the strength of their places, nor the largeness of their cities, nor the rash boldness and brutish rage of their antagonists, were sufficient at any time to get clear of the Roman valour, although some of them may have fortune in many respects on their side.

He said further, that it was but reasonable for them to put an end to this [war, now it had lasted so long] {revolt}, 

[for that they had nothing better to wish for when they entered into it; and that this happened more favourably for them, and more for their glory, that all the Romans had willingly accepted of those for their governors, and the curators of their dominions, whom they had chosen for them, and had sent into their own country for that purpose, which still continued under the management of those whom they had pitched on, and were thankful to them for pitching upon them.]

that accordingly, although he did both admire and tenderly regard them all, because he knew that every one of them had gone as cheerfully about their work as their abilities and opportunities would give them leave; yet, he said, that he would immediately bestow rewards and dignities on those that had fought the most bravely, and with greater force, and had signalized their conduct in the most glorious manner, and had made his army more famous by their noble exploits; and that no one who had been willing to take more pains than another should miss of a just retribution for the same; for that he had been exceeding careful about this matter, and that the more, because he had much rather reward the virtues of his fellow soldiers than punish such as had offended.

3. Hereupon [Titus] {Nero} ordered those whose business it was to read the list of all that had performed great exploits in this war, whom he called to him by their names, and commended them before the company, and rejoiced in them in the same manner as a man would have rejoiced in his own exploits.

[He also put on their heads crowns of gold, and golden ornaments about their necks, and gave them long spears of gold,. and ensigns that were made of silver, and removed every one of them to a higher rank; and besides this, he plentifully distributed among them, out of the spoils, and the other prey they had taken, silver, and gold, and garments. So when they had all these honours bestowed on them, according to his own appointment made to every one, and he had wished all sorts of happiness to the whole army, he came down, among the great acclamations which were made to him, and then betook himself to offer thank-offerings to the gods, and at once sacrificed a vast number of oxen, that stood ready at the altars, and distributed them among the army to feast on.]

And when he had staid three days among the principal commanders, and so long feasted with them, he sent away the rest of his army to the several places where they would be every one best situated; but permitted the tenth legion to stay, as a guard at Jerusalem

[, and did not send them away beyond Euphrates, where they had been before.  And as he remembered that the twelfth legion had given way to the Jews under Cestius their general, he expelled them out of all Syria, for they had lain formerly at Raphanea, and sent them away to a place called Meletine, near Euphrates, which is in the limits of Armenia and Cappadocia;]

he also thought fit that [two of] the {twelfth} legion[s] should stay with him till he should go to [Egypt] {Greece}. He then went down with his army to that Caesarea which lay by the sea-side

[, and there laid up the rest of his spoils in great quantities, and gave order that the captives should he kept there; for the winter season hindered him then from sailing into Italy].



1.NOW [at the same time that Titus Caesar lay at the siege of Jerusalem], did [Vespasian] {Nero} go on board a merchantship and sailed from [Alexandria] {Caesarea} to Rhodes; whence he sailed away, in ships with three rows of oars; and as he touched at several cities that lay in his road, he was joyfully received by them all, and so passed over from Ionia into Greece;