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- The Antiquities of the Jews - 180/253 -


out of the country, unless he had believed that Caesar would have provided that they should all have peace one with another, and that, had he been there, he would have taken care that the war should not have been to Herod's advantage; Caesar was provoked when this was said, and asked no more than this one question, both of Herod's friends that were there, and of his own friends, who were come from Syria, Whether Herod had led an army thither? And when they were forced to confess so much, Caesar, without staying to hear for what reason he did it, and how it was done, grew very angry, and wrote to Herod sharply. The sum of his epistle was this, that whereas of old he had used him as his friend, he should now use him as his subject. Sylleus also wrote an account of this to the Arabians, who were so elevated with it, that they neither delivered up the robbers that had fled to them, nor paid the money that was due; they retained those pastures also which they had hired, and kept them without paying their rent, and all this because the king of the Jews was now in a low condition, by reason of Caesar's anger at him. Those of Trachonitis also made use of this opportunity, and rose up against the Idumean garrison, and followed the same way of robbing with the Arabians, who had pillaged their country, and were more rigid in their unjust proceedings, not only in order to get by it, but by way of revenge also.

4. Now Herod was forced to bear all this, that confidence of his being quite gone with which Caesar's favor used to inspire him; for Caesar would not admit so much as an embassage from him to 'make an apology for him; and when they came again, he sent them away without success. So he was cast into sadness and fear; and Sylleus's circumstances grieved him exceedingly, who was now believed by Caesar, and was present at Rome, nay, sometimes aspiring higher. Now it came to pass that Obodas was dead; and Aeneas, whose name was afterward changed to Aretas, (12) took the government, for Sylleus endeavored by calumnies to get him turned out of his principality, that he might himself take it; with which design he gave much money to the courtiers, and promised much money to Caesar, who indeed was angry that Aretas had not sent to him first before he took the kingdom; yet did Aeneas send an epistle and presents to Caesar, and a golden crown, of the weight of many talents. Now that epistle accused Sylleus as having been a wicked servant, and having killed Obodas by poison; and that while he was alive, he had governed him as he pleased; and had also debauched the wives of the Arabians; and had borrowed money, in order to obtain the dominion for himself: yet did not Caesar give heed to these accusations, but sent his ambassadors back, without receiving any of his presents. But in the mean time the affairs of Judea and Arabia became worse and worse, partly because of the anarchy they were under, and partly because, as bad as they were, nobody had power to govern them; for of the two kings, the one was not yet confirmed in his kingdom, and so had not authority sufficient to restrain the evil-doers; and as for Herod, Caesar was immediately angry at him for having avenged himself, and so he was compelled to bear all the injuries that were offered him. At length, when he saw no end of the mischief which surrounded him, he resolved to send ambassadors to Rome again, to see whether his friends had prevailed to mitigate Caesar, and to address themselves to Caesar himself; and the ambassador he sent thither was Nicolans of Damascus.

CHAPTER 10.

How Eurycles Falsely Accused Herod's Sons; And How Their Father Bound Them, And Wrote To Caesar About Them. Of Sylleus And How He Was Accused By Nicolaus.

1. The disorders about Herod's family and children about this time grew much worse; for it now appeared certain, nor was it unforeseen before-hand, that fortune threatened the greatest and most insupportable misfortunes possible to his kingdom. Its progress and augmentation at this time arose on the occasion following: One Eurycles, a Lacedemonian, (a person of note there, but a man of a perverse mind, and so cunning in his ways of voluptuousness and flattery, as to indulge both, and yet seem to indulge neither of them,) came in his travels to Herod, and made him presents, but so that he received more presents from him. He also took such proper seasons for insinuating himself into his friendship, that he became one of the most intimate of the king's friends. He had his lodging in Antipater's house; but he had not only access, but free conversation, with Alexander, as pretending to him that he was in great favor with Archclaus, the king of Cappadocia; whence he pretended much respect to Glaphyra, and in an occult manner cultivated a friendship with them all; but always attending to what was said and done, that he might be furnished with calumnies to please them all. In short, he behaved himself so to every body in his conversation, as to appear to be his particular friend, and he made others believe that his being any where was for that person's advantage. So he won upon Alexander, who was but young; and persuaded him that he might open his grievances to him with assurance and with nobody else. So he declared his grief to him, how his father was alienated from him. He related to him also the affairs of his mother, and of Antipater; that he had driven them from their proper dignity, and had the power over every thing himself; that no part of this was tolerable, since his father was already come to hate them; and he added, that he would neither admit them to his table, nor to his conversation. Such were the complaints, as was but natural, of Alexander about the things that troubled him; and these discourses Eurycles carried to Antipater, and told him he did not inform him of this on his own account, but that being overcome by his kindness, the great importance of the thing obliged him to do it; and he warned him to have a care of Alexander, for that what he said was spoken with vehemency, and that, in consequence of what he said, he would certainly kill him with his own hand. Whereupon Antipater, thinking him to be his friend by this advice, gave him presents upon all occasions, and at length persuaded him to inform Herod of what he had heard. So when he related to the king Alexander's ill temper, as discovered by the words he had heard him speak, he was easily believed by him; and he thereby brought the king to that pass, turning him about by his words, and irritating him, till he increased his hatred to him and made him implacable, which he showed at that very time, for he immediately gave Eurycles a present of fifty talents; who, when he had gotten them, went to Archclaus, king of Cappadocia, and commended Alexander before him, and told him that he had been many ways of advantage to him, in making a reconciliation between him and his father. So he got money from him also, and went away, before his pernicious practices were found out; but when Eurycles was returned to Lacedemon, he did not leave off doing mischief; and so, for his many acts of injustice, he was banished from his own country.

2. But as for the king of the Jews, he was not now in the temper he was in formerly towards Alexander and Aristobulus, when he had been content with the hearing their calumnies when others told him of them; but he was now come to that pass as to hate them himself, and to urge men to speak against them, though they did not do it of themselves. He also observed all that was said, and put questions, and gave ear to every one that would but speak, if they could but say any thing against them, till at length he heard that Euaratus of Cos was a conspirator with Alexander; which thing to Herod was the most agreeable and sweetest news imaginable.

3. But still a greater misfortune came upon the young men; while the calumnies against them were continually increased, and, as a man may say, one would think it was every one's endeavor to lay some grievous thing to their charge, which might appear to be for the king's preservation. There were two guards of Herod's body, who were in great esteem for their strength and tallness, Jucundus and Tyrannus; these men had been cast off by Herod, who was displeased at them; these now used to ride along with Alexander, and for their skill in their exercises were in great esteem with him, and had some gold and other gifts bestowed on them. Now the king having an immediate suspicion of those men, had them tortured, who endured the torture courageously for a long time; but at last confessed that Alexander would have persuaded them to kill Herod, when he was in pursuit of the wild beasts, that it might be said he fell from his horse, and was run through with his own spear, for that he had once such a misfortune formerly. They also showed where there was money hidden in the stable under ground; and these convicted the king's chief hunter, that he had given the young men the royal hunting spears and weapons to Alexander's dependents, at Alexander's command.

4. After these, the commander of the garrison of Alexandrium was caught and tortured; for he was accused to have promised to receive the young men into his fortress, and to supply them with that money of the king's which was laid up in that fortress, yet did not he acknowledge any thing of it himself; but his son came ill, and said it was so, and delivered up the writing, which, so far as could be guessed, was in Alexander's hand. Its contents were these: "When we have finished, by God's help, all that we have proposed to do, we will come to you; but do your endeavors, as you have promised, to receive us into your fortress." After this writing was produced, Herod had no doubt about the treacherous designs of his sons against him. But Alexander said that Diophantus the scribe had imitated his hand, and that the paper was maliciously drawn up by Antipater; for Diophantus appeared to be very cunning in such practices; and as he was afterward convicted of forging other papers, he was put to death for it.

5. So the king produced those that had been tortured before the multitude at Jericho, in order to have them accuse the young men, which accusers many of the people stoned to death; and when they were going to kill Alexander and Aristobulus likewise, the king would not permit them to do so, but restrained the multitude, by the means of Ptolemy and Pheroras. However, the young men were put under a guard, and kept in custody, that nobody might come at them; and all that they did or said was watched, and the reproach and fear they were in was little or nothing different from those of condemned criminals: and one of them, who was Aristobulus, was so deeply affected, that he brought Salome, who was his aunt, and his mother-in-law, to lament with him for his calamities, and to hate him who had suffered things to come to that pass; when he said to her, "Art thou not in danger of destruction also, while the report goes that thou hadst disclosed beforehand all our affairs to Syllcus, when thou wast in hopes of being married to him?" But she immediately carried these words to her brother. Upon this he was out of patience, and gave command to bind him; and enjoined them both, now they were kept separate one from the other, to write down the ill things they had done against their father, and bring the writings to him, So when this was enjoined them, they wrote this, that they had laid no treacherous designs, nor made any preparations against their father, but that they had intended to fly away; and that by the distress they were in, their lives being now uncertain and tedious to them.


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