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Antiquities of the Jews, Vol 3, The

CHAPTER 4. How Pompey When The Citizens Of Jerusalem Shut Their Gates Against Him Besieged The City And Took It By Force; As Also What Other Things He Did In Judea.

1. Now when Pompey had pitched his camp at Jericho, [where the palm tree grows, and that balsam which is an ointment of all the most precious, which upon any incision made in the wood with a sharp stone, distills out thence like a juice,] 4 he marched in the morning to Jerusalem. Hereupon Aristobulus repented of what he was doing, and came to Pompey, had [promised to] give him money, and received him into Jerusalem, and desired that he would leave off the war, and do what he pleased peaceably. So Pompey, upon his entreaty, forgave him, and sent Gabinius, and soldiers with him, to receive the money and the city: yet was no part of this performed; but Gabinius came back, being both excluded out of the city, and receiving none of the money promised, because Aristobulus's soldiers would not permit the agreements to be executed. At this Pompey was very angry, and put Aristobulus into prison, and came himself to the city, which was strong on every side, excepting the north, which was not so well fortified, for there was a broad and deep ditch that encompassed the city 5 and included within it the temple, which was itself encompassed about with a very strong stone wall.

2. Now there was a sedition of the men that were within the city, who did not agree what was to be done in their present circumstances, while some thought it best to deliver up the city to Pompey; but Aristobulus's party exhorted them to shut the gates, because he was kept in prison. Now these prevented the others, and seized upon the temple, and cut off the bridge which reached from it to the city, and prepared themselves to abide a siege; but the others admitted Pompey's army in, and delivered up both the city and the king's palace to him. So Pompey sent his lieutenant Piso with an army, and placed garrisons both in the city and in the palace, to secure them, and fortified the houses that joined to the temple, and all those which were more distant and without it. And in the first place, he offered terms of accommodation to those within; but when they would not comply with what was desired, he encompassed all the places thereabout with a wall, wherein Hyrcanus did gladly assist him on all occasions; but Pompey pitched his camp within [the wall], on the north part of the temple, where it was most practicable; but even on that side there were great towers, and a ditch had been dug, and a deep valley begirt it round about, for on the parts towards the city were precipices, and the bridge on which Pompey had gotten in was broken down. However, a bank was raised, day by day, with a great deal of labor, while the Romans cut down materials for it from the places round about. And when this bank was sufficiently raised, and the ditch filled up, though but poorly, by reason of its immense depth, he brought his mechanical engines and battering-rams from Tyre, and placing them on the bank, he battered the temple with the stones that were thrown against it. And had it not been our practice, from the days of our forefathers, to rest on the seventh day, this bank could never have been perfected, by reason of the opposition the Jews would have made; for though our law gives us leave then to defend ourselves against those that begin to fight with us and assault us, yet does it not permit us to meddle with our enemies while they do any thing else.

3. Which thing when the Romans understood, on those days which we call Sabbaths they threw nothing at the Jews, nor came to any pitched battle with them; but raised up their earthen banks, and brought their engines into such forwardness, that they might do execution the next day. And any one may hence learn how very great piety we exercise towards God, and the observance of his laws, since the priests were not at all hindered from their sacred ministrations by their fear during this siege, but did still twice a-day, in the morning and about the ninth hour, offer their sacrifices on the altar; nor did they omit those sacrifices, if any melancholy accident happened by the stones that were thrown among them; for although the city was taken on the third month, on the day of the fast, 6 upon the hundred and seventy-ninth olympiad, when Caius Antonius and Marcus Tullius Cicero were consuls, and the enemy then fell upon them, and cut the throats of those that were in the temple; yet could not those that offered the sacrifices be compelled to run away, neither by the fear they were in of their own lives, nor by the number that were already slain, as thinking it better to suffer whatever came upon them, at their very altars, than to omit any thing that their laws required of them. And that this is not a mere brag, or an encomium to manifest a degree of our piety that was false, but is the real truth, I appeal to those that have written of the acts of Pompey; and, among them, to Strabo and Nicolaus [of Damascus]; and besides these two, Titus Livius, the writer of the Roman History, who will bear witness to this thing. 7

4. But when the battering-engine was brought near, the greatest of the towers was shaken by it, and fell down, and broke down a part of the fortifications, so the enemy poured in apace; and Cornelius Faustus, the son of Sylla, with his soldiers, first of all ascended the wall, and next to him Furius the centurion, with those that followed on the other part, while Fabius, who was also a centurion, ascended it in the middle, with a great body of men after him. But now all was full of slaughter; some of the Jews being slain by the Romans, and some by one another; nay, some there were who threw themselves down the precipices, or put fire to their houses, and burnt them, as not able to bear the miseries they were under. Of the Jews there fell twelve thousand, but of the Romans very few. Absalom, who was at once both uncle and father-in-law to Aristobulus, was taken captive; and no small enormities were committed about the temple itself, which, in former ages, had been inaccessible, and seen by none; for Pompey went into it, and not a few of those that were with him also, and saw all that which it was unlawful for any other men to see but only for the high priests. There were in that temple the golden table, the holy candlestick, and the pouring vessels, and a great quantity of spices; and besides these there were among the treasures two thousand talents of sacred money: yet did Pompey touch nothing of all this, 8 on account of his regard to religion; and in this point also he acted in a manner that was worthy of his virtue. The next day he gave order to those that had the charge of the temple to cleanse it, and to bring what offerings the law required to God; and restored the high priesthood to Hyrcanus, both because he had been useful to him in other respects, and because he hindered the Jews in the country from giving Aristobulus any assistance in his war against him. He also cut off those that had been the authors of that war; and bestowed proper rewards on Faustus, and those others that mounted the wall with such alacrity; and he made Jerusalem tributary to the Romans, and took away those cities of Celesyria which the inhabitants of Judea had subdued, and put them under the government of the Roman president, and confined the whole nation, which had elevated itself so high before, within its own bounds. Moreover, he rebuilt Gadara, 9 which had been demolished a little before, to gratify Demetrius of Gadara, who was his freedman, and restored the rest of the cities, Hippos, and Scythopolis, and Pella, and Dios, and Samaria, as also Marissa, and Ashdod, and Jamnia, and Arethusa, to their own inhabitants: these were in the inland parts. Besides those that had been demolished, and also of the maritime cities, Gaza, and Joppa, and Dora, and Strato's Tower; which last Herod rebuilt after a glorious manner, and adorned with havens and temples, and changed its name to Caesarea. All these Pompey left in a state of freedom, and joined them to the province of Syria.

5. Now the occasions of this misery which came upon Jerusalem were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, by raising a sedition one against the other; for now we lost our liberty, and became subject to the Romans, and were deprived of that country which we had gained by our arms from the Syrians, and were compelled to restore it to the Syrians. Moreover, the Romans exacted of us, in a little time, above ten thousand talents; and the royal authority, which was a dignity formerly bestowed on those that were high priests, by the right of their family, became the property of private men. But of these matters we shall treat in their proper places. Now Pompey committed Celesyria, as far as the river Euphrates and Egypt, to Scaurus, with two Roman legions, and then went away to Cilicia, and made haste to Rome. He also carried bound along with him Aristobulus and his children; for he had two daughters, and as many sons; the one of which ran away, but the younger, Antigonus, was carried to Rome, together with his sisters.

CHAPTER 5. How Scaurus Made A League Of Mutual Assistance With Aretas; And What Gabinius Did In Judea, After He Had Conquered Alexander, The Son Of Aristobulus.

1. Scaurus made now an expedition against Petrea, in Arabia, and set on fire all the places round about it, because of the great difficulty of access to it. And as his army was pinched by famine, Antipater furnished him with corn out of Judea, and with whatever else he wanted, and this at the command of Hyrcanus. And when he was sent to Aretas, as an ambassador by Scaurus, because he had lived with him formerly, he persuaded Aretas to give Scaurus a sum of money, to prevent the burning of his country, and undertook to be his surety for three hundred talents. So Scaurus, upon these terms, ceased to make war any longer; which was done as much at Scaurus's desire, as at the desire of Aretas.

2. Some time after this, when Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, made an incursion into Judea, Gabinius came from Rome into Syria, as commander of the Roman forces. He did many considerable actions; and particularly made war with Alexander, since Hyrcanus was not yet able to oppose his power, but was already attempting to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, which Pompey had overthrown, although the Romans which were there restrained him from that his design. However, Alexander went over all the country round about, and armed many of the Jews, and suddenly got together ten thousand armed footmen, and fifteen hundred horsemen, and fortified Alexandrium, a fortress near to Corem, and Macherus, near the mountains of Arabia. Gabinius therefore came upon him, having sent Marcus Antonius, with other commanders, before. These armed such Romans as followed them; and, together with them, such Jews as were subject to them, whose leaders were Pitholaus and Malichus; and they took with them also their friends that were with Antipater, and met Alexander, while Gabinius himself followed with his legion. Hereupon Alexander retired to the neighborhood of Jerusalem, where they fell upon one another, and it came to a pitched battle, in which the Romans slew of their enemies about three thousand, and took a like number alive.

3. At which time Gabinius 10 came to Alexandrium, and invited those that were in it to deliver it up on certain conditions, and promised that then their former offenses should be forgiven. But as a great number of the enemy had pitched their camp before the fortress, whom the Romans attacked, Marcus Antonius fought bravely, and slew a great number, and seemed to come off with the greatest honor. So Gabinius left part of his army there, in order to take the place, and he himself went into other parts of Judea, and gave order to rebuild all the cities that he met with that had been demolished; at which time were rebuilt Samaria, Ashdod, Scythopolis, Anthedon, Raphia, and Dora; Marissa also, and Gaza, and not a few others besides. And as the men acted according to Gabinius's command, it came to pass, that at this time these cities were securely inhabited, which had been desolate for a long time.

4. When Gabinius had done thus in the country, he returned to Alexandrium; and when he urged on the siege of the place, Alexander sent an embassage to him, desiring that he would pardon his former offenses; he also delivered up the fortresses, Hyrcania and Macherus, and at last Alexandrium itself which fortresses Gabinius demolished. But when Alexander's mother, who was of the side of the Romans, as having her husband and other children at Rome, came to him, he granted her whatsoever she asked; and when he had settled matters with her, he brought Hyrcanus to Jerusalem, and committed the care of the temple to him. And when he had ordained five councils, he distributed the nation into the same number of parts. So these councils governed the people; the first was at Jerusalem, the second at Gadara, the third at Amathus, the fourth at Jericho, and the fifth at Sepphoris in Galilee. So the Jews were now freed from monarchic authority, and were governed by an aristocracy.

CHAPTER 6. How Gabinius Caught Aristobulus After He Had Fled From Rome, And Sent Him Back To Rome Again; And Now The Same Gabinius As He Returned Out Of Egypt Overcame Alexander And The Nabateans In Battle.

1. Now Aristobulus ran away from Rome to Judea, and set about the rebuilding of Alexandrium, which had been newly demolished. Hereupon Gabinius sent soldiers against him, add for their commanders Sisenna, and Antonius, and Servilius, in order to hinder him from getting possession of the country, and to take him again. And indeed many of the Jews ran to Aristobulus, on account of his former glory, as also because they should be glad of an innovation. Now there was one Pitholaus, a lieutenant at Jerusalem, who deserted to him with a thousand men, although a great number of those that came to him were unarmed; and when Aristobulus had resolved to go to Macherus, he dismissed those people, because they were unarmed; for they could not be useful to him in what actions he was going about; but he took with him eight thousand that were armed, and marched on; and as the Romans fell upon them severely, the Jews fought valiantly, but were beaten in the battle; and when they had fought with alacrity, but were overborne by the enemy, they were put to flight; of whom were slain about five thousand, and the rest being dispersed, tried, as well as they were able, to save themselves. However, Aristobulus had with him still above a thousand, and with them he fled to Macherus, and fortified the place; and though he had had ill success, he still had good hope of his affairs; but when he had struggled against the siege for two days' time, and had received many wounds, he was brought as a captive to Gabinius, with his son Antigonus, who also fled with him from Rome. And this was the fortune of Aristobulus, who was sent back again to Rome, and was there retained in bonds, having been both king and high priest for three years and six months; and was indeed an eminent person, and one of a great soul. However, the senate let his children go, upon Gabinius's writing to them that he had promised their mother so much when she delivered up the fortresses to him; and accordingly they then returned into Judea.

2. Now when Gabinius was making an expedition against the Parthians, and had already passed over Euphrates, he changed his mind, and resolved to return into Egypt, in order to restore Ptolemy to his kingdom. 11 This hath also been related elsewhere. However, Antipater supplied his army, which he sent against Archelaus, with corn, and weapons, and money. He also made those Jews who were above Pelusium his friends and confederates, and had been the guardians of the passes that led into Egypt. But when he came back out of Egypt, he found Syria in disorder, with seditions and troubles; for Alexander, the son of Aristobulus, having seized on the government a second time by force, made many of the Jews revolt to him; and so he marched over the country with a great army, and slew all the Romans he could light upon, and proceeded to besiege the mountain called Gerizzim, whither they had retreated.

3. But when Gabinius found Syria in such a state, he sent Antipater, who was a prudent man, to those that were seditious, to try whether he could cure them of their madness, and persuade them to return to a better mind; and when he came to them, he brought many of them to a sound mind, and induced them to do what they ought to do; but he could not restrain Alexander, for he had an army of thirty thousand Jews, and met Gabinius, and joining battle with him, was beaten, and lost ten thousand of his men about Mount Tabor.

4. So Gabinius settled the affairs which belonged to the city Jerusalem, as was agreeable to Antipater's inclination, and went against the Nabateans, and overcame them in battle. He also sent away in a friendly manner Mithridates and Orsanes, who were Parthian deserters, and came to him, though the report went abroad that they had run away from him. And when Gabinius had performed great and glorious actions, in his management of the affairs of war, he returned to Rome, and delivered the government to Crassus. Now Nicolaus of Damascus, and Strabo of Cappadocia, both describe the expeditions of Pompey and Gabinius against the Jews, while neither of them say anything new which is not in the other.


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