Concerning The Interval Of One Hundred And Sixty-Seven Years.
From The Taking Of Jerusalem By Antiochus Epiphanes,
To The Death Of Herod The Great.
CAESAR MAKES ANTIPATER PROCURATOR OF JUDEA; AS DOES
ANTIPATER APPOINT PHASAELUS TO BE GOVERNOR OF JERUSALEM,
AND HEROD GOVERNOR OF GALILEE; WHO, IN SOME TIME, WAS CALLED TO ANSWER
FOR HIMSELF [BEFORE THE SANHEDRIM], WHERE HE IS ACQUITTED.
SEXTUS CAESAR IS TREACHEROUSLY KILLED BY BASSUS AND IS SUCCEEDED BY MARCUS.
1. ABOUT this time it was that Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, came to Caesar, and became, in a surprising manner, the occasion of Antipater's further advancement; for whereas he ought to have lamented that his father appeared to have been poisoned on account of his quarrels with Pompey, and to have complained of Scipio's barbarity towards his brother, and not to mix any invidious passion when he was suing for mercy; besides those things, he came before Caesar, and accused Hyrcanus and Antipater, how they had driven him and his brethren entirely out of their native country, and had acted in a great many instances unjustly and extravagantly with relation to their nation; and that as to the assistance they had sent him into Egypt, it was not done out of good-will to him, but out of the fear they were in from former quarrels, and in order to gain pardon for their friendship to [his enemy] Pompey.
2. Hereupon Antipater threw away his garments, and showed the multitude of the wounds he had, and said, that as to his good-will to Caesar, he had no occasion to say a word, because his body cried aloud, though he said nothing himself; that he wondered at Antigonus's boldness, while he was himself no other than the son of an enemy to the Romans, and of a fugitive, and had it by inheritance from his father to be fond of innovations and seditions, that he should undertake to accuse other men before the Roman governor, and endeavor to gain some advantages to himself, when he ought to be contented that he was suffered to live; for that the reason of his desire of governing public affairs was not so much because he was in want of it, but because, if he could once obtain the same, he might stir up a sedition among the Jews, and use what he should gain from the Romans to the disservice of those that gave it him.
3. When Caesar heard this, he declared Hyrcanus to be the most worthy of the high priesthood, and gave leave to Antipater to choose what authority he pleased; but he left the determination of such dignity to him that bestowed the dignity upon him; so he was constituted procurator of all Judea, and obtained leave, moreover, to rebuild (12) those walls of his country that had been thrown down. These honorary grants Caesar sent orders to have engraved in the Capitol, that they might stand there as indications of his own justice, and of the virtue of Antipater.
4. But as soon as Antipater had conducted Caesar out of Syria he returned to Judea, and the first thing he did was to rebuild that wall of his own country [Jerusalem] which Pompey had overthrown, and then to go over the country, and to quiet the tumults that were therein; where he partly threatened, and partly advised, every one, and told them that in case they would submit to Hyrcanus, they would live happily and peaceably, and enjoy what they possessed, and that with universal peace and quietness; but that in case they hearkened to such as had some frigid hopes by raising new troubles to get themselves some gain, they should then find him to be their lord instead of their procurator; and find Hyrcanus to be a tyrant instead of a king; and both the Romans and Caesar to be their enemies, instead of rulers; for that they would not suffer him to be removed from the government, whom they had made their governor. And, at the same time that he said this, he settled the affairs of the country by himself, because he saw that Hyrcanus was inactive, and not fit to manage the affairs of the kingdom. So he constituted his eldest son, Phasaelus, governor of Jerusalem, and of the parts about it; he also sent his next son, Herod, who was very young, (13) with equal authority into Galilee.
5. Now Herod was an active man, and soon found proper materials for his active spirit to work upon. As therefore he found that Hezekias, the head of the robbers, ran over the neighboring parts of Syria with a great band of men, he caught him and slew him, and many more of the robbers with him; which exploit was chiefly grateful to the Syrians, insomuch that hymns were sung in Herod's commendation, both in the villages and in the cities, as having procured their quietness, and having preserved what they possessed to them; on which occasion he became acquainted with Sextus Caesar, a kinsman of the great Caesar, and president of Syria. A just emulation of his glorious actions excited Phasaelus also to imitate him. Accordingly, he procured the good-will of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, by his own management of the city affairs, and did not abuse his power in any disagreeable manner; whence it came to pass that the nation paid Antipater the respects that were due only to a king, and the honors they all yielded him were equal to the honors due to an absolute lord; yet did he not abate any part of that good-will or fidelity which he owed to Hyrcanus.
6. However, he found it impossible to escape envy in such his prosperity; for the glory of these young men affected even Hyrcanus himself already privately, though he said nothing of it to any body; but what he principally was grieved at was the great actions of Herod, and that so many messengers came one before another, and informed him of the great reputation he got in all his undertakings. There were also many people in the royal palace itself who inflamed his envy at him; those, I mean, who were obstructed in their designs by the prudence either of the young men, or of Antipater. These men said, that by committing the public affairs to the management of Antipater and of his sons, he sat down with nothing but the bare name of a king, without any of its authority; and they asked him how long he would so far mistake himself, as to breed up kings against his own interest; for that they did not now conceal their government of affairs any longer, but were plainly lords of the nation, and had thrust him out of his authority; that this was the case when Herod slew so many men without his giving him any command to do it, either by word of mouth, or by his letter, and this in contradiction to the law of the Jews; who therefore, in case he be not a king, but a private man, still ought to come to his trial, and answer it to him, and to the laws of his country, which do not permit any one to be killed till he hath been condemned in judgment.
7. Now Hyrcanus was, by degrees, inflamed with these discourses, and at length could bear no longer, but he summoned Herod to take his trial. Accordingly, by his father's advice, and as soon as the affairs of Galilee would give him leave, he came up to [Jerusalem], when he had first placed garrisons in Galilee; however, he came with a sufficient body of soldiers, so many indeed that he might not appear to have with him an army able to overthrow Hyrcanus's government, nor yet so few as to expose him to the insults of those that envied him. However, Sextus Caesar was in fear for the young man, lest he should be taken by his enemies, and brought to punishment; so he sent some to denounce expressly to Hyrcanus that he should acquit Herod of the capital charge against him; who acquitted him accordingly, as being otherwise inclined also so to do, for he loved Herod.
8. But Herod, supposing that he had escaped punishment without the consent of the king, retired to Sextus, to Damascus, and got every thing ready, in order not to obey him if he should summon him again; whereupon those that were evil-disposed irritated Hyrcanus, and told him that Herod was gone away in anger, and was prepared to make war upon him; and as the king believed what they said, he knew not what to do, since he saw his antagonist was stronger than he was himself. And now, since Herod was made general of Coelesyria and Samaria by Sextus Caesar, he was formidable, not only from the good-will which the nation bore him, but by the power he himself had; insomuch that Hyrcanus fell into the utmost degree of terror, and expected he would presently march against him with his army.
9. Nor was he mistaken in the conjecture he made; for Herod got his army together, out of the anger he bare him for his threatening him with the accusation in a public court, and led it to Jerusalem, in order to throw Hyrcanus down from his kingdom; and this he had soon done, unless his father and brother had gone out together and broken the force of his fury, and this by exhorting him to carry his revenge no further than to threatening and affrighting, but to spare the king, under whom he had been advanced to such a degree of power; and that he ought not to be so much provoked at his being tried, as to forget to be thankful that he was acquitted; nor so long to think upon what was of a melancholy nature, as to be ungrateful for his deliverance; and if we ought to reckon that God is the arbitrator of success in war, an unjust cause is of more disadvantage than an army can be of advantage; and that therefore he ought not to be entirely confident of success in a case where he is to fight against his king, his supporter, and one that had often been his benefactor, and that had never been severe to him, any otherwise than as he had hearkened to evil counselors, and this no further than by bringing a shadow of injustice upon him. So Herod was prevailed upon by these arguments, and supposed that what he had already done was sufficient for his future hopes, and that he had enough shown his power to the nation.
10. In the mean time, there was a disturbance among the Romans about Apamia, and a civil war occasioned by the treacherous slaughter of Sextus Caesar, (13b) by Cecilius Bassus, which he perpetrated out of his good-will to Pompey; he also took the authority over his forces; but as the rest of Caesar's commanders attacked Bassus with their whole army, in order to punish him for the murder of Caesar, Antipater also sent them assistance by his sons, both on account of him that was murdered, and on account of that Caesar who was still alive, both of which were their friends; and as this war grew to be of a considerable length, Marcus came out of Italy as successor to Sextus.
(12) What is here noted by Hudson and Spanheim, that this grant of leave to rebuild the walls of the cities of Judea was made by Julius Caesar, not as here to Antipater, but to Hyrcanas, (Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 8. sect. 5), has hardly an appearance of a contradiction; Antipater being now perhaps considered only as Hyrcanus's deputy and minister; although he afterwards made a cipher of Hyrcanus, and, under great decency of behavior to him, took the real authority to himself.
(13) Or twenty-five years of age. See note on Antiq. B. I. ch. 12. sect. 3; and on B. XIV. ch. 9. sect. 2; and Of the War, B. II. ch. 11. sect. 6; and Polyb. B. XVII. p. 725. Many writers of the Roman history give an account of this murder of Sextus Caesar, and of the war of Apamia upon that occasion. They are cited in Dean Aldrich's note.
(13b) Many writers of the Roman history give an account of this murder of Sextus Caesar, and of the war of Apamia upon that occasion. They are cited in Dean Aldrich's note.