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.
OF THE [TEMPLE AND] CITIES THAT WERE BUILT BY HEROD AND ERECTED FROM THE VERY FOUNDATIONS; AS ALSO OF THOSE OTHER EDIFICES THAT WERE ERECTED BY HIM; AND WHAT MAGNIFICENCE HE SHOWED TO FOREIGNERS; AND HOW FORTUNE WAS IN ALL THINGS FAVORABLE TO HIM.
1. ACCORDINGLY, in the fifteenth year of his reign, Herod rebuilt the temple, and encompassed a piece of land about it with a wall, which land was twice as large as that before enclosed. The expenses he laid out upon it were vastly large also, and the riches about it were unspeakable. A sign of which you have in the great cloisters that were erected about the temple, and the citadel which was on its north side. The cloisters he built from the foundation, but the citadel (32) he repaired at a vast expense; nor was it other than a royal palace, which he called Antonia, in honor of Antony. He also built himself a palace in the Upper city, containing two very large and most beautiful apartments; to which the holy house itself could not be compared [in largeness]. The one apartment he named Caesareum, and the other Agrippium, from his [two great] friends.
2. Yet did he not preserve their memory by particular buildings only, with their names given them, but his generosity went as far as entire cities; for when he had built a most beautiful wall round a country in Samaria, twenty furlongs long, and had brought six thousand inhabitants into it, and had allotted to it a most fruitful piece of land, and in the midst of this city, thus built, had erected a very large temple to Caesar, and had laid round about it a portion of sacred land of three furlongs and a half, he called the city Sebaste, from Sebastus, or Augustus, and settled the affairs of the city after a most regular manner.
3. And when Caesar had further bestowed upon him another additional country, he built there also a temple of white marble, hard by the fountains of Jordan: the place is called Panium, where is a top of a mountain that is raised to an immense height, and at its side, beneath, or at its bottom, a dark cave opens itself; within which there is a horrible precipice, that descends abruptly to a vast depth; it contains a mighty quantity of water, which is immovable; and when any body lets down any thing to measure the depth of the earth beneath the water, no length of cord is sufficient to reach it. Now the fountains of Jordan rise at the roots of this cavity outwardly; and, as some think, this is the utmost origin of Jordan: but we shall speak of that matter more accurately in our following history.
4. But the king erected other places at Jericho also, between the citadel Cypros and the former palace, such as were better and more useful than the former for travelers, and named them from the same friends of his. To say all at once, there was not any place of his kingdom fit for the purpose that was permitted to be without somewhat that was for Caesar's honor; and when he had filled his own country with temples, he poured out the like plentiful marks of his esteem into his province, and built many cities which he called Cesareas.
5. And when he observed that there was a city by the sea-side that was much decayed, (its name was Strato's Tower,) but that the place, by the happiness of its situation, was capable of great improvements from his liberality, he rebuilt it all with white stone, and adorned it with several most splendid palaces, wherein he especially demonstrated his magnanimity; for the case was this, that all the sea-shore between Dora and Joppa, in the middle, between which this city is situated, had no good haven, insomuch that every one that sailed from Phoenicia for Egypt was obliged to lie in the stormy sea, by reason of the south winds that threatened them; which wind, if it blew but a little fresh, such vast waves are raised, and dash upon the rocks, that upon their retreat the sea is in a great ferment for a long way. But the king, by the expenses he was at, and the liberal disposal of them, overcame nature, and built a haven larger than was the Pyrecum (33) [at Athens]; and in the inner retirements of the water he built other deep stations [for the ships also].
6. Now although the place where he built was greatly opposite to his purposes, yet did he so fully struggle with that difficulty, that the firmness of his building could not easily be conquered by the sea; and the beauty and ornament of the works were such, as though he had not had any difficulty in the operation; for when he had measured out as large a space as we have before mentioned, he let down stones into twenty fathom water, the greatest part of which were fifty feet in length, and nine in depth, and ten in breadth, and some still larger. But when the haven was filled up to that depth, he enlarged that wall which was thus already extant above the sea, till it was two hundred feet wide; one hundred of which had buildings before it, in order to break the force of the waves, whence it was called Procumatia, or the first breaker of the waves; but the rest of the space was under a stone wall that ran round it. On this wall were very large towers, the principal and most beautiful of which was called Drusium, from Drusus, who was son-in-law to Caesar.
7. There were also a great number of arches, where the mariners dwelt; and all the places before them round about was a large valley, or walk, for a quay [or landing-place] to those that came on shore; but the entrance was on the north, because the north wind was there the most gentle of all the winds. At the mouth of the haven were on each side three great Colossi, supported by pillars, where those Colossi that are on your left hand as you sail into the port are supported by a solid tower; but those on the right hand are supported by two upright stones joined together, which stones were larger than that tower which was on the other side of the entrance. Now there were continual edifices joined to the haven, which were also themselves of white stone; and to this haven did the narrow streets of the city lead, and were built at equal distances one from another. And over against the mouth of the haven, upon an elevation, there was a temple for Caesar, which was excellent both in beauty and largeness; and therein was a Colossus of Caesar, not less than that of Jupiter Olympius, which it was made to resemble. The other Colossus of Rome was equal to that of Juno at Argos. So he dedicated the city to the province, and the haven to the sailors there; but the honor of the building he ascribed to Caesar, (34) and named it Cesarea accordingly.
8. He also built the other edifices, the amphitheater, and theater, and market-place, in a manner agreeable to that denomination; and appointed games every fifth year, and called them, in like manner, Caesar's Games; and he first himself proposed the largest prizes upon the hundred ninety-second olympiad; in which not only the victors themselves, but those that came next to them, and even those that came in the third place, were partakers of his royal bounty. He also rebuilt Anthedon, a city that lay on the coast, and had been demolished in the wars, and named it Agrippeum. Moreover, he had so very great a kindness for his friend Agrippa, that he had his name engraved upon that gate which he had himself erected in the temple.
9. Herod was also a lover of his father, if any other person ever was so; for he made a monument for his father, even that city which he built in the finest plain that was in his kingdom, and which had rivers and trees in abundance, and named it Antipatris. He also built a wall about a citadel that lay above Jericho, and was a very strong and very fine building, and dedicated it to his mother, and called it Cypros. Moreover, he dedicated a tower that was at Jerusalem, and called it by the name of his brother Phasaelus, whose structure, largeness, and magnificence we shall describe hereafter. He also built another city in the valley that leads northward from Jericho, and named it Phasaelis.
10. And as he transmitted to eternity his family and friends, so did he not neglect a memorial for himself, but built a fortress upon a mountain towards Arabia, and named it from himself, Herodium (35) and he called that hill that was of the shape of a woman's breast, and was sixty furlongs distant from Jerusalem, by the same name. He also bestowed much curious art upon it, with great ambition, and built round towers all about the top of it, and filled up the remaining space with the most costly palaces round about, insomuch that not only the sight of the inner apartments was splendid, but great wealth was laid out on the outward walls, and partitions, and roofs also. Besides this, he brought a mighty quantity of water from a great distance, and at vast charges, and raised an ascent to it of two hundred steps of the whitest marble, for the hill was itself moderately high, and entirely factitious. He also built other palaces about the roots of the hill, sufficient to receive the furniture that was put into them, with his friends also, insomuch that, on account of its containing all necessaries, the fortress might seem to be a city, but, by the bounds it had, a palace only.
11. And when he had built so much, he showed the greatness of his soul to no small number of foreign cities. He built palaces for exercise at Tripoli, and Damascus, and Ptolemais; he built a wall about Byblus, as also large rooms, and cloisters, and temples, and market-places at Berytus and Tyre, with theatres at Sidon and Damascus. He also built aqueducts for those Laodiceans who lived by the sea-side; and for those of Ascalon he built baths and costly fountains, as also cloisters round a court, that were admirable both for their workmanship and largeness. Moreover, he dedicated groves and meadows to some people; nay, not a few cities there were who had lands of his donation, as if they were parts of his own kingdom. He also bestowed annual revenues, and those for ever also, on the settlements for exercises, and appointed for them, as well as for the people of Cos, that such rewards should never be wanting. He also gave corn to all such as wanted it, and conferred upon Rhodes large sums of money for building ships; and this he did in many places, and frequently also. And when Apollo's temple had been burnt down, he rebuilt it at his own charges, after a better manner than it was before. What need I speak of the presents he made to the Lycians and Samnians? or of his great liberality through all Ionia? and that according to every body's wants of them. And are not the Athenians, and Lacedemonians, and Nicopolitans, and that Pergamus which is in Mysia, full of donations that Herod presented them withal? And as for that large open place belonging to Antioch in Syria, did not he pave it with polished marble, though it were twenty furlongs long? and this when it was shunned by all men before, because it was full of dirt and filthiness, when he besides adorned the same place with a cloister of the same length.
12. It is true, a man may say, these were favors peculiar to those particular places on which he bestowed his benefits; but then what favors he bestowed on the Eleans was a donation not only in common to all Greece, but to all the habitable earth, as far as the glory of the Olympic games reached. For when he perceived that they were come to nothing, for want of money, and that the only remains of ancient Greece were in a manner gone, he not only became one of the combatants in that return of the fifth-year games, which in his sailing to Rome he happened to be present at, but he settled upon them revenues of money for perpetuity, insomuch that his memorial as a combatant there can never fail. It would be an infinite task if I should go over his payments of people's debts, or tributes, for them, as he eased the people of Phasaelis, of Batanea, and of the small cities about Cilicia, of those annual pensions they before paid. However, the fear he was in much disturbed the greatness of his soul, lest he should be exposed to envy, or seem to hunt after greater filings than he ought, while he bestowed more liberal gifts upon these cities than did their owners themselves.
13. Now Herod had a body suited to his soul, and was ever a most excellent hunter, where he generally had good success, by the means of his great skill in riding horses; for in one day he caught forty wild beasts: (36) that country breeds also bears, and the greatest part of it is replenished with stags and wild asses. He was also such a warrior as could not be withstood: many men, therefore, there are who have stood amazed at his readiness in his exercises, when they saw him throw the javelin directly forward, and shoot the arrow upon the mark. And then, besides these performances of his depending on his own strength of mind and body, fortune was also very favorable to him; for he seldom failed of success in his wars; and when he failed, he was not himself the occasion of such failings, but he either vas betrayed by some, or the rashness of his own soldiers procured his defeat.
(32) This fort was first built, as it is supposed, by John Hyrcanus; see Prid. at the year 107; and called "Baris," the Tower or Citadel. It was afterwards rebuilt, with great improvements, by Herod, under the government of Antonius, and was named from him "the Tower of Antoni;" and about the time when Herod rebuilt the temple, he seems to have put his last hand to it. See Antiq. B. XVIII. ch. 5. sect. 4; Of the War, B. I. ch. 3. sect. 3; ch. 5. sect. 4. It lay on the northwest side of the temple, and was a quarter as large.
(33) That Josephus speaks truth, when he assures us that the haven of this Cesarea was made by Herod not less, nay rather larger, than that famous haven at Athens, called the Pyrecum, will appear, says Dean Aldrich, to him who compares the descriptions of that at Athens in Thucydides and Pausanias, with this of Cesarea in Josephus here, and in the Antiq. B. XV. ch. 9. sect. 6, and B. XVII. ch. 9. sect. 1.
(34) These buildings of cities by the name of Caesar, and institution of solemn games in honor of Augustus Caesar, as here, and in the Antiquities, related of Herod by Josephus, the Roman historians attest to, as things then frequent in the provinces of that empire, as Dean Aldrich observes on this chapter.
(35) There were two cities, or citadels, called Herodium, in Judea, and both mentioned by Josephus, not only here, but Antiq. B. XIV. ch. 13. sect. 9; B. XV. ch. 9. sect. 6; Of the War, B. I. ch. 13. sect. 8; B. III. ch. 3. sect. 5. One of them was two hundred, and the other sixty furlongs distant from Jerusalem. One of them is mentioned by Pliny, Hist. Nat. B. V. ch. 14., as Dean Aldrich observes here.
(36) Here seems to be a small defect in the copies, which describe the wild beasts which were hunted in a certain country by Herod, without naming any such country at all.