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.
WHEN HEROD IS REJECTED IN ARABIA, HE MAKES HASTE TO ROME WHERE ANTONY AND CAESAR JOIN THEIR INTEREST TO MAKE HIM KING.
1. NOW Herod did the more zealously pursue his journey into Arabia, as making haste to get money of the king, while his brother was yet alive; by which money alone it was that he hoped to prevail upon the covetous temper of the barbarians to spare Phasaelus; for he reasoned thus with himself,: - that if the Arabian king was too forgetful of his father's friendship with him, and was too covetous to make him a free gift, he would however borrow of him as much as might redeem his brother, and put into his hands, as a pledge, the son of him that was to be redeemed. Accordingly he led his brother's son along with him, who was of the age of seven years. Now he was ready to give three hundred talents for his brother, and intended to desire the intercession of the Tyrians, to get them accepted; however, fate had been too quick for his diligence; and since Phasaelus was dead, Herod's brotherly love was now in vain.
Moreover, he was not able to find any lasting friendship among the Arabians; for their king, Malichus, sent to him immediately, and commanded him to return back out of his country, and used the name of the Parthians as a pretense for so doing, as though these had denounced to him by their ambassadors to cast Herod out of Arabia; while in reality they had a mind to keep back what they owed to Antipater, and not be obliged to make requitals to his sons for the free gifts the father had made them. He also took the impudent advice of those who, equally with himself, were willing to deprive Herod of what Antipater had deposited among them; and these men were the most potent of all whom he had in his kingdom.
2. So when Herod had found that the Arabians were his enemies, and this for those very reasons whence he hoped they would have been the most friendly, and had given them such an answer as his passion suggested, he returned back, and went for Egypt. Now he lodged the first evening at one of the temples of that country, in order to meet with those whom he left behind; but on the next day word was brought him, as he was going to Rhinocurura, that his brother was dead, and how he came by his death; and when he had lamented him as much as his present circumstances could bear, he soon laid aside such cares, and proceeded on his journey. But now, after some time, the king of Arabia repented of what he had done, and sent presently away messengers to call him back: Herod had prevented them, and was come to Pelusium, where he could not obtain a passage from those that lay with the fleet, so he besought their captains to let him go by them; accordingly, out of the reverence they bore to the fame and dignity of the man, they conducted him to Alexandria; and when he came into the city, he was received by Cleopatra with great splendor, who hoped he might be persuaded to be commander of her forces in the expedition she was now about; but he rejected the queen's solicitations, and being neither affrighted at the height of that storm which then happened, nor at the tumults that were now in Italy, he sailed for Rome.
3. But as he was in peril about Pamphylia, and obliged to cast out the greatest part of the ship's lading, he with difficulty got safe to Rhodes, a place which had been grievously harassed in the war with Cassius. He was there received by his friends, Ptolemy and Sappinius; and although he was then in want of money, he fitted up a three-decked ship of very great magnitude, wherein he and his friends sailed to Brundusium, (21) and went thence to Rome with all speed; where he first of all went to Antony, on account of the friendship his father had with him, and laid before him the calamities of himself and his family; and that he had left his nearest relations besieged in a fortress, and had sailed to him through a storm, to make supplication to him for assistance.
4. Hereupon Antony was moved to compassion at the change that had been made in Herod's affairs, and this both upon his calling to mind how hospitably he had been treated by Antipater, but more especially on account of Herod's own virtue; so he then resolved to get him made king of the Jews, whom he had himself formerly made tetrarch. The contest also that he had with Antigonus was another inducement, and that of no less weight than the great regard he had for Herod; for he looked upon Antigonus as a seditious person, and an enemy of the Romans; and as for Caesar, Herod found him better prepared than Antony, as remembering very fresh the wars he had gone through together with his father, the hospitable treatment he had met with from him, and the entire good-will he had showed to him; besides the activity which he saw in Herod himself. So he called the senate together, wherein Messalas, and after him Atratinus, produced Herod before them, and gave a full account of the merits of his father, and his own good-will to the Romans.
At the same time they demonstrated that Antigonus was their enemy, not only because he soon quarreled with them, but because he now overlooked the Romans, and took the government by the means of the Parthians. These reasons greatly moved the senate; at which juncture Antony came in, and told them that it was for their advantage in the Parthian war that Herod should be king; so they all gave their votes for it. And when the senate was separated, Antony and Caesar went out, with Herod between them; while the consul and the rest of the magistrates went before them, in order to offer sacrifices, and to lay the decree in the Capitol. Antony also made a feast for Herod on the first day of his reign.
(21) This Brentesium or Brundusium has coin still preserved, on which is written, BRENLESIOON , as Spanheim informs us.