Containing The Interval Of Sixty-Nine Years
From The Death Of Herod Till Vespasian Was Sent
To Subdue The Jews By Nero.
THE JEWS GREATLY COMPLAIN OF ARCHELAUS AND DESIRE THAT THEY MAY BE MADE SUBJECT TO ROMAN GOVERNORS. BUT WHEN CAESAR HAD HEARD WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY, HE DISTRIBUTED HEROD'S DOMINIONS AMONG HIS SONS ACCORDING TO HIS OWN PLEASURE.
1. BUT now came another accusation from the Jews against Archelaus at Rome, which he was to answer to. It was made by those ambassadors who, before the revolt, had come, by Varus's permission, to plead for the liberty of their country; those that came were fifty in number, but there were more than eight thousand of the Jews at Rome who supported them. And when Caesar had assembled a council of the principal Romans in Apollo's (2) temple, that was in the palace, (this was what he had himself built and adorned, at a vast expense,) the multitude of the Jews stood with the ambassadors, and on the other side stood Archelaus, with his friends; but as for the kindred of Archelaus, they stood on neither side; for to stand on Archelaus's side, their hatred to him, and envy at him, would not give them leave, while yet they were afraid to be seen by Caesar with his accusers. Besides these, there were present Archelaus's brother Philip, being sent thither beforehand, out of kindness by Varus, for two reasons: the one was this, that he might be assisting to Archelaus; and the other was this, that in case Caesar should make a distribution of what Herod possessed among his posterity, he might obtain some share of it.
2. And now, upon the permission that was given the accusers to speak, they, in the first place, went over Herod's breaches of their law, and said that be was not a king, but the most barbarous of all tyrants, and that they had found him to be such by the sufferings they underwent from him; that when a very great number had been slain by him, those that were left had endured such miseries, that they called those that were dead happy men; that he had not only tortured the bodies of his subjects, but entire cities, and had done much harm to the cities of his own country, while he adorned those that belonged to foreigners; and he shed the blood of Jews, in order to do kindnesses to those people that were out of their bounds; that he had filled the nation full of poverty, and of the greatest iniquity, instead of that happiness and those laws which they had anciently enjoyed; that, in short, the Jews had borne more calamities from Herod, in a few years, than had their forefathers during all that interval of time that had passed since they had come out of Babylon, and returned home, in the reign of Xerxes (3) that, however, the nation was come to so low a condition, by being inured to hardships, that they submitted to his successor of their own accord, though he brought them into bitter slavery; that accordingly they readily called Archelaus, though he was the son of so great a tyrant, king, after the decease of his father, and joined with him in mourning for the death of Herod, and in wishing him good success in that his succession; while yet this Archelaus, lest he should be in danger of not being thought the genuine son of Herod, began his reign with the murder of three thousand citizens; as if he had a mind to offer so many bloody sacrifices to God for his government, and to fill the temple with the like number of dead bodies at that festival: that, however, those that were left after so many miseries, had just reason to consider now at last the calamities they had undergone, and to oppose themselves, like soldiers in war, to receive those stripes upon their faces [but not upon their backs, as hitherto].
Whereupon they prayed that the Romans would have compassion upon the [poor] remains of Judea, and not expose what was left of them to such as barbarously tore them to pieces, and that they would join their country to Syria, and administer the government by their own commanders, whereby it would [soon] be demonstrated that those who are now under the calumny of seditious persons, and lovers of war, know how to bear governors that are set over them, if they be but tolerable ones. So the Jews concluded their accusation with this request. Then rose up Nicolaus, and confuted the accusations which were brought against the kings, and himself accused the Jewish nation, as hard to be ruled, and as naturally disobedient to kings. He also reproached all those kinsmen of Archelaus who had left him, and were gone over to his accusers.
3. So Caesar, after he had heard both sides, dissolved the assembly for that time; but a few days afterward, he gave the one half of Herod's kingdom to Archelaus, by the name of Ethnarch, and promised to make him king also afterward, if he rendered himself worthy of that dignity. But as to the other half, he divided it into two tetrarchies, and gave them to two other sons of Herod, the one of them to Philip, and the other to that Antipas who contested the kingdom with Archelaus. Under this last was Perea and Galilee, with a revenue of two hundred talents; but Batanea, and Trachonitis, and Auranitis, and certain parts of Zeno's house about Jamnia, with a revenue of a hundred talents, were made subject to Philip; while Idumea, and all Judea, and Samaria were parts of the ethnarchy of Archelaus, although Samaria was eased of one quarter of its taxes, out of regard to their not having revolted with the rest of the nation. He also made subject to him the following cities, viz. Strato's Tower, and Sebaste, and Joppa, and Jerusalem; but as to the Grecian cities, Gaza, and Gadara, and Hippos, he cut them off from the kingdom, and added them to Syria.
Now the revenue of the country that was given to Archelaus was four hundred talents. Salome also, besides what the king had left her in his testaments, was now made mistress of Jamnia, and Ashdod, and Phasaelis. Caesar did moreover bestow upon her the royal palace of Ascalon; by all which she got together a revenue of sixty talents; but he put her house under the ethnarchy of Archelaus. And for the rest of Herod's offspring, they received what was bequeathed to them in his testaments; but, besides that, Caesar granted to Herod's two virgin daughters five hundred thousand [drachmae] of silver, and gave them in marriage to the sons of Pheroras: but after this family distribution, he gave between them what had been bequeathed to him by Herod, which was a thousand talents, reserving to himself only some inconsiderable presents, in honor of the deceased.
(2) This holding a council in the temple of Apollo, in the emperor's palace at Rome, by Augustus, and even the building of this temple magnificently by himself in that palace, are exactly agreeable to Augustus, in his elder years, as Aldrich and from Suttonius and Propertius.
(3) Here we have a strong confirmation that it was Xerxes, and not Artaxerxes, under whom the main part of the Jews returned out of the Babylonian captivity, i.e. in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah. The same thing is in the Antiquities, B. XI. ch.6