Containing The Interval Of Thirty-Two Years.
From The Death Of Queen Alexandra To The Death Of Antigonus.
How Marcus, Succeeded Sextus When He Had Been Slain By Bassus's Treachery; And How, After The Death Of Caesar, Cassius Came Into Syria, And Distressed Judea; As Also How Malichus Slew Antipater And Was Himself Slain By Herod.
1. NOW it so fell out, that about this very time the affairs of Syria were in great disorder, and this on the occasion following: Cecilius Bassus, one of Pompey's party, laid a treacherous design against Sextus Caesar, and slew him, and then took his army, and got the management of public affairs into his own hand; so there arose a great war about Apamia, while Caesar's generals came against him with an army of horsemen and footmen; to these Antipater also sent succors, and his sons with them, as calling to mind the kindnesses they had received from Caesar, and on that account he thought it but just to require punishment for him, and to take vengeance on the man that had murdered him. And as the war was drawn out into a great length, Marcus (21) came from Rome to take Sextus's government upon him. But Caesar was slain by Cassius and Brutus in the senate-house, after he had retained the government three years and six months. This fact however, is related elsewhere.
2. As the war that arose upon the death of Caesar was now begun, and the principal men were all gone, some one way, and some another, to raise armies, Cassius came from Rome into Syria, in order to receive the [army that lay in the] camp at Apamia; and having raised the siege, he brought over both Bassus and Marcus to his party. He then went over the cities, and got together weapons and soldiers, and laid great taxes upon those cities; and he chiefly oppressed Judea, and exacted of it seven hundred talents: but Antipater, when he saw the state to be in so great consternation and disorder, he divided the collection of that sum, and appointed his two sons to gather it; and so that part of it was to be exacted by Malichus, who was ill-disposed to him, and part by others. And because Herod did exact what is required of him from Galilee before others, he was in the greatest favor with Cassius; for he thought it a part of prudence to cultivate a friendship with the Romans, and to gain their goodwill at the expense of others; whereas the curators of the other cities, with their citizens, were sold for slaves; and Cassius reduced four cities into a state of slavery, the two most potent of which were Gophna and Emmaus; and, besides these, Lydia and Thamna. Nay, Cassius was so very angry at Malichus, that he had killed him, (for he assaulted him,) had not Hyrcanus, by the means of Antipater, sent him a hundred talents of his own, and thereby pacified his anger against him.
3. But after Cassius was gone out of Judea, Malichus laid snares for Antipater, as thinking that his death would-be the preservation of Hyrcanus's government; but his design was not unknown to Antipater, which when he perceived, he retired beyond Jordan, and got together an army, partly of Arabs, and partly of his own countrymen. However, Malichus, being one of great cunning, denied that he had laid any snares for him, and made his defense with an oath, both to himself and his sons; and said that while Phasaelus had a garrison in Jerusalem, and Herod had the weapons of war in his custody, he could never have a thought of any such thing. So Antipater, perceiving the distress that Malichus was in, was reconciled to him, and made an agreement with him: this was when Marcus was president of Syria; who yet perceiving that this Malichus was making a disturbance in Judea, proceeded so far that he had almost killed him; but still, at the intercession of Antipater, he saved him.
4. However, Antipater little thought that by saving Malichus he had saved his own murderer; for now Cassius and Marcus had got together an army, and intrusted the entire care of it with Herod, and made him general of the forces of Celesyria, and gave him a fleet of ships, and an army of horsemen and footmen; and promised him, that after the war was over they would make him king of Judea; for a war was already begun between Antony and the younger Caesar: but as Malichus was most afraid of Antipater, he took him out of the way; and by the offer of money, persuaded the butler of Hyrcanus, with whom they were both to feast, to kill him by poison. This being done, and he having armed men with him, settled the affairs of the city.
But when Antipater's sons, Herod and Phasaelus, were acquainted with this conspiracy against their father, and had indignation at it, Malichus denied all, and utterly renounced any knowledge of the murder. And thus died Antipater, a man that had distinguished himself for piety and justice, and love to his country. And whereas one of his sons, Herod, resolved immediately to revenge their father's death, and was coming upon Malichus with an army for that purpose, the elder of his sons, Phasaelus, thought it best rather to get this man into their hands by policy, lest they should appear to begin a civil war in the country; so he accepted of Malichus's defense for himself, and pretended to believe him that he had had no hand in the violent death of Antipater his father, but erected a fine monument for him. Herod also went to Samaria; and when he found them in great distress, he revived their spirits, and composed their differences.
5. However, a little after this, Herod, upon the approach of a festival, came with his soldiers into the city; whereupon Malichus was affrighted, and persuaded Hyrcanus not to permit him to come into the city. Hyrcanus complied; and, for a pretense of excluding him, alleged, that a rout of strangers ought not to be admitted when the multitude were purifying themselves. But Herod had little regard to the messengers that were sent to him, and entered the city in the night time, and affrighted Malichus; yet did he remit nothing of his former dissimulation, but wept for Antipater, and bewailed him as a friend of his with a loud voice; but Herod and his friends though, it proper not openly to contradict Malichus's hypocrisy, but to give him tokens of mutual friendship, in order to prevent his suspicion of them.
6. However, Herod sent to Cassius, and informed him of the murder of his father; who knowing what sort of man Malichus was as to his morals, sent him back word that he should revenge his father's death; and also sent privately to the commanders of his army at Tyre, with orders to assist Herod in the execution of a very just design of his. Now when Cassius had taken Laodicea, they all went together to him, and carried him garlands and money; and Herod thought that Malichus might be punished while he was there; but he was somewhat apprehensive of the thing, and designed to make some great attempt, and because his son was then a hostage at Tyre, he went to that city, and resolved to steal him away privately, and to march thence into Judea; and as Cassius was in haste to march against Antony, he thought to bring the country to revolt, and to procure the government for himself.
But Providence opposed his counsels; and Herod being a shrewd man, and perceiving what his intention was, he sent thither beforehand a servant, in appearance indeed to get a supper ready, for he had said before that he would feast them all there, but in reality to the commanders of the army, whom he persuaded to go out against Malichus, with their daggers. So they went out and met the man near the city, upon the sea-shore, and there stabbed him. Whereupon Hyrcanus was so astonished at what had happened, that his speech failed him; and when, after some difficulty, he had recovered himself, he asked Herod what the matter could be, and who it was that slew Malichus; and when he said that it was done by the command of Cassius, he commended the action; for that Malichus was a very wicked man, and one that conspired against his own country. And this was the punishment that was inflicted on Malichus for what he wickedly did to Antipater.
7. But when Cassius was marched out of Syria, disturbances arose in Judea; for Felix, who was left at Jerusalem with an army, made a sudden attempt against Phasaelus, and the people themselves rose in arms; but Herod went to Fabius, the prefect of Damascus, and was desirous to run to his brother's assistance, but was hindered by a distemper that seized upon him, till Phasaelus by himself had been too hard for Felix, and had shut him up in the tower, and there, on certain conditions, dismissed him. Phasaelus also complained of Hyrcanus, that although he had received a great many benefits from them, yet did he support their enemies; for Malichus's brother had made many places to revolt, and kept garrisons in them, and particularly Masada, the strongest fortress of them all. In the mean time, Herod was recovered of his disease, and came and took from Felix all the places he bad gotten; and, upon certain conditions, dismissed him also.
(21) For Marcus, this president of Syria, sent as successor to Sextus Caesar, the Roman historians require us to read "Marcus" in Josephus, and this perpetually, both in these Antiquities, and in his History of the Wars, as the learned generally agree.