History of the Jews

Claudius becomes Roman Emperor
Emperor has Caius' murderers killed
Agrippa's power restored and expanded
Wall built around Jerusalem
Death of King Agrippa
Emperor makes Cuspius Judean procurator


NOW Claudius, as I said before, went out of that way along which Caius was gone; and as the family was in a mighty disorder upon the sad accident of the murder of Caius, he was in great distress how to save himself, and was found to have hidden himself in a certain narrow place, though he had no other occasion for suspicion of any dangers, besides the dignity of his birth; for while he was a private man, he behaved himself with moderation, and was contented with his present fortune, applying himself to learning, and especially to that of the Greeks, and keeping himself entirely clear from every thing that might bring on any disturbance. But as at this time the multitude were under a consternation, and the whole palace was full of the soldiers' madness, and the very emperor's guards seemed under the like fear and disorder with private persons, the band called pretorian, which was the purest part of the army, was in consultation what was to be done at this juncture.

Now all those that were at this consultation had little regard to the punishment Caius had suffered, because he justly deserved such his fortune; but they were rather considering their own circumstances, how they might take the best care of themselves, especially while the Germans were busy in punishing the murderers of Caius; which yet was rather done to gratify their own savage temper, than for the good of the public; all which things disturbed Claudius, who was afraid of his own safety, and this particularly because he saw the heads of Asprenas and his partners carried about. His station had been on a certain elevated place, whither a few steps led him, and whither he had retired in the dark by himself. But when Gratus, who was one of the soldiers that belonged to the palace, saw him, but did not well know by his countenance who he was, because it was dark, though he could well judge that it was a man who was privately there on some design, he came nearer to him; and when Claudius desired that he would retire, be discovered who he was, and owned him to be Claudius. So he said to his followers,

"This is a Germanicus; come on, let us choose him for our emperor."
But when Claudius saw they were making preparations for taking him away by force, and was afraid they would kill him, as they had killed Caius, he besought them to spare him, putting them in mind how quietly he had demeaned himself, and that he was unacquainted with what had been done. Hereupon Gratus smiled upon him, and took him by the right hand, and said,
"Leave off, sir, these low thoughts of saving yourself, while you ought to have greater thoughts, even of obtaining the empire, which the gods, out of their concern for the habitable world, by taking Caius out of the way, commit to thy virtuous conduct. Go to, therefore, and accept of the throne of thy ancestors."

So they took him up and carried him, because he was not then able to go on foot, such was his dread and his joy at what was told him.

Now there was already gathered together about Gratus a great number of the guards; and when they saw Claudius carried off, they looked with a sad countenance, as supposing that he was carried to execution for the mischiefs that had been lately done; while yet they thought him a man who never meddled with public affairs all his life long, and one that had met with no contemptible dangers under the reign of Caius; and some of them thought it reasonable that the consuls should take cognizance of these matters; and as still more and more of the soldiery got together, the crowd about him ran away, and Claudius could hardly go on, his body was then so weak; and those who carried his sedan, upon an inquiry that was made about his being carried off, ran away and saved themselves, as despairing of their Lord's preservation.

But when they were come into the large court of the palace, (which, as the report goes about it, was inhabited first of all the parts of the city of Rome), and had just reached the public treasury, many more soldiers came about him, as glad to see Claudius's face, and thought it exceeding right to make him emperor, on account of their kindness for Germanicus, who was his brother, and had left behind him a vast reputation among all that were acquainted with him. They reflected also on the covetous temper of the leading men of the senate, and what great errors they had been guilty of when the senate had the government formerly; they also considered the impossibility of such an undertaking, as also what dangers they should be in, if the government should come to a single person, and that such a one should possess it as they had no hand in advancing, and not to Claudius, who would take it as their grant, and as gained by their good-will to him, and would remember the favors they had done him, and would make them a sufficient recompense for the same.

These were the discourses the soldiers had one with another by themselves, and they communicated them to all such as came in to them. Now those that inquired about this matter willingly embraced the invitation that was made them to join with the rest; so they carried Claudius into the camp, crowding about him as his guard, and encompassing him about, one chairman still succeeding another, that their vehement endeavors might not be hindered. But as to the populace and senators, they disagreed in their opinions. The latter were very desirous to recover their former dignity, and were zealous to get clear of the slavery that had been brought on them by the injurious treatment of the tyrants, which the present opportunity afforded them; but for the people, who were envious against them, and knew that the emperors were capable of curbing their covetous temper, and were a refuge from them, they were very glad that Claudius had been seized upon, and brought to them, and thought that if Claudius were made emperor, he would prevent a civil war, such as there was in the days of Pompey.

But when the senate knew that Claudius was brought into the camp by the soldiers, they sent to him those of their body which had the best character for their virtues, that they might inform him that he ought to do nothing by violence, in order to gain the government; that he who was a single person, one either already or hereafter to be a member of their body, ought to yield to the senate, which consisted of so great a number; that he ought to let the law take place in the disposal of all that related to the public order, and to remember how greatly the former tyrants had afflicted their city, and what dangers both he and they had escaped under Caius; and that he ought not to hate the heavy burden of tyranny, when the injury is done by others, while he did himself willfully treat his country after a mad and insolent manner; that if he would comply with them, and demonstrate that his firm resolution was to live quietly and virtuously, he would have the greatest honors decreed to him that a free people could bestow; and by subjecting himself to the law, would obtain this branch of commendation, that he acted like a man of virtue, both as a ruler and a subject; but that if he would act foolishly, and learn no wisdom by Caius's death, they would not permit him to go on; that a great part of the army was got together for them, with plenty of weapons, and a great number of slaves, which they could make use of; that good hope was a great matter in such cases, as was also good fortune; and that the gods would never assist any others but those that undertook to act with virtue and goodness, who can be no other than such as fight for the liberty of their country.

Now these ambassadors, Veranius and Brocchus, who were both of them tribunes of the people, made this speech to Claudius; and falling down upon their knees, they begged of him that he would not throw the city into wars and misfortunes; but when they saw what a multitude of soldiers encompassed and guarded Claudius, and that the forces that were with the consuls were, in comparison of them, perfectly inconsiderable, they added, that if he did desire the government, he should accept of it as given by the senate; that he would prosper better, and be happier, if he came to it, not by the injustice, but by the good-will of those that would bestow it upon him.

Agrippa does things for Claudius, Emperor commands murderers of Caius killed

NOW Claudius, though he was sensible after what an insolent manner the senate had sent to him yet did he, according to their advice, behave himself for the present with moderation; but not so far that he could not recover himself out of his fright; so he was encouraged [to claim the government] partly by the boldness of the soldiers, and partly by the persuasion of King Agrippa, who exhorted him not to let such a dominion slip out of his hands, when it came thus to him of its own accord. Now this Agrippa, with relation to Caius, did what became one that had been so much honored by him; for he embraced Caius's body after he was dead, and laid it upon a bed, and covered it as well as he could, and went out to the guards, and told them that Caius was still alive; but he said that they should call for physicians, since he was very ill of his wounds. But when he had learned that Claudius was carried away violently by the soldiers, he rushed through the crowd to him, and when he found that he was in disorder, and ready to resign up the government to the senate, he encouraged him, and desired him to keep the government; but when he had said this to Claudius, he retired home.

And upon the senate's sending for him, he anointed his head with ointment, as if he had lately accompanied with his wife, and had dismissed her, and then came to them: he also asked of the senators what Claudius did; who told him the present state of affairs, and then asked his opinion about the settlement of the public. He told them in words that he was ready to lose his life for the honor of the senate, but desired them to consider what was for their advantage, without any regard to what was most agreeable to them; for that those who grasp at government will stand in need of weapons and soldiers to guard them, unless they will set up without any preparation for it, and so fall into danger. And when the senate replied that they would bring in weapons in abundance, and money, and that as to an army, a part of it was already collected together for them, and they would raise a larger one by giving the slaves their liberty, - Agrippa made answer,

"O senators! may you be able to compass what you have a mind to; yet will I immediately tell you my thoughts, because they tend to your preservation. Take notice, then, that the army which will fight for Claudius hath been long exercised in warlike affairs; but our army will be no better than a rude multitude of raw men, and those such as have been unexpectedly made free from slavery, and ungovernable; we must then fight against those that are skillful in war, with men who know not so much as how to draw their swords. So that my opinion is, that we should send some persons to Claudius, to persuade him to lay down the government; and I am ready to be one of your ambassadors."

Upon this speech of Agrippa, the senate complied with him, and he was sent among others, and privately informed Claudius of the disorder the senate was in, and gave him instructions to answer them in a somewhat commanding strain, and as one invested with dignity and authority. Accordingly, Claudius said to the ambassadors, that he did not wonder the senate had no mind to have an emperor over them, because they had been harassed by the barbarity of those that had formerly been at the head of their affairs; but that they should taste of an equitable government under him, and moderate times, while he should only he their ruler in name, but the authority should be equally common to them all; and since he had passed through many and various scenes of life before their eyes, it would be good for them not to distrust him. So the ambassadors, upon their hearing this his answer, were dismissed. But Claudius discoursed with the army which was there gathered together, who took oaths that they would persist in their fidelity to him; Upon which he gave the guards every man five thousand drachmae a-piece, and a proportionable quantity to their captains, and promised to give the same to the rest of the armies wheresoever they were.

And now the consuls called the senate together into the temple of Jupiter the Conqueror, while it was still night; but some of those senators concealed themselves in the city, being uncertain what to do, upon the hearing of this summons; and some of them went out of the city to their own farms, as foreseeing whither the public affairs were going, and despairing of liberty; nay, these supposed it much better for them to be slaves without danger to themselves, and to live a lazy and inactive life, than by claiming the dignity of their forefathers, to run the hazard of their own safety. However, a hundred and no more were gotten together; and as they were in consultation about the present posture of affairs, a sudden clamor was made by the soldiers that were on their side, desiring that the senate would choose them an emperor, and not bring the government into ruin by setting up a multitude of rulers. So they fully declared themselves to be for the giving the government not to all, but to one; but they gave the senate leave to look out for a person worthy to be set over them, insomuch that now the affairs of the senate were much worse than before, because they had not only failed in the recovery of their liberty, which they boasted themselves of, but were in dread of Claudius also.

Yet were there those that hankered after the government, both on account of the dignity of their families and that accruing to them by their marriages; for Marcus Minucianus was illustrious, both by his own nobility, and by his having married Julia, the sister of Caius, who accordingly was very ready to claim the government, although the consuls discouraged him, and made one delay after another in proposing it: that Minucianus also, who was one of Caius's murderers, restrained Valerius of Asia from thinking of such things; and a prodigious slaughter there had been, if leave had been given to these men to set up for themselves, and oppose Claudius. There were also a considerable number of gladiators besides, and of those soldiers who kept watch by night in the city, and rowers of ships, who all ran into the camp; insomuch that, of those who put in for the government, some left off their pretensions in order to spare the city, and others out of fear for their own persons.

But as soon as ever it was day, Cherea, and those that were with him, came into the senate, and attempted to make speeches to the soldiers. However, the multitude of those soldiers, when they saw that they were making signals for silence with their hands, and were ready to begin to speak to them, grew tumultuous, and would not let them speak at all, because they were all zealous to be under a monarchy; and they demanded of the senate one for their ruler, as not enduring any longer delays: but the senate hesitated about either their own governing, or how they should themselves be governed, while the soldiers would not admit them to govern, and the murderers of Caius would not permit the soldiers to dictate to them. When they were in these circumstances, Cherea was not able to contain the anger he had, and promised, that if they desired an emperor, he would give them one, if any one would bring him the watchword from Eutychus.

Now this Eutychus was charioteer of the green-band faction, styled Prasine, and a great friend of Caius, who used to harass the soldiery with building stables for the horses, and spent his time in ignominious labors, which occasioned Cherea to reproach them with him, and to abuse them with much other scurrilous language; and told them he would bring them the head of Claudius; and that it was an amazing thing, that, after their former madness, they should commit their government to a fool. Yet were not they moved with his words, but drew their swords, and took up their ensigns, and went to Claudius, to join in taking the oath of fidelity to him. So the senate were left without any body to defend them, and the very consuls differed nothing from private persons.

They were also under consternation and sorrow, men not knowing what would become of them, because Claudius was very angry at them; so they fell a reproaching one another, and repented of what they had done. At which juncture Sabinus, one of Caius's murderers, threatened that he would sooner come into the midst of them and kill himself, than consent to make Claudius emperor, and see slavery returning upon them; he also abused Cherea for loving his life too well, while he who was the first in his contempt of Caius, could think it a good thin to live, when, even by all that they had done for the recovery of their liberty, they found it impossible to do it. But Cherea said he had no manner of doubt upon him about killing himself; that yet he would first sound the intentions of Claudius before he did it.

These were the debates [about the senate]; but in the camp every body was crowding on all sides to pay their court to Claudius; and the other consul, Quintus Pomponhis, was reproached by the soldiery, as having rather exhorted the senate to recover their liberty; whereupon they drew their swords, and were going to assault him, and they had done it, if Claudius had not hindered them, who snatched the consul out of the danger he was in, and set him by him. :But he did not receive that part of the senate which was with Quintus in the like honorable manner; nay, some of them received blows, and were thrust away as they came to salute Claudius; nay, Aponius went away wounded, and they were all in danger. However, King Agrippa went up to Claudius, and desired he would treat the senators more gently; for if any mischief should come to the senate, he would have no others over whom to rule.

Claudius complied with him, and called the senate together into the palace, and was carried thither himself through the city, while the soldiery conducted him, though this was to the great vexation of the multitude; for Cherea and Sabinus, two of Caius's murderers, went in the fore-front of them, in an open manner, while Pollio, whom Claudius, a little before, had made captain of his guards, had sent them an epistolary edict, to forbid them to appear in public. Then did Claudius, upon his coming to the palace, get his friends together, and desired their suffrages about Cherea. They said that the work he had done was a glorious one; but they accused him the he did it of perfidiousness, and thought it just to inflict the punishment [of death] upon him, to discountenance such actions for the time to come. So Cherea was led to his execution, and Lupus and many other Romans with him.

Now it is reported that Cherea bore this calamity courageously; and this not only by the firmness of his own behavior under it, but by the reproaches he laid upon Lupus, who fell into tears; for when Lupus laid his garment aside, and complained of the cold he said, that cold was never hurtful to Lupus [i.e. a wolf] And as a great many men went along with them to see the sight, when Cherea came to the place, he asked the soldier who was to be their executioner, whether this office was what he was used to, or whether this was the first time of his using his sword in that manner, and desired him to bring him that very sword with which he himself slew Caius. So he was happily killed at one stroke. But Lupus did not meet with such good fortune in going out of the world, since he was timorous, and had many blows leveled at his neck, because he did not stretch it out boldly [as he ought to have done].

Now, a few days after this, as the Parental solemnities were just at hand, the Roman multitude made their usual oblations to their several ghosts, and put portions into the fire in honor of Cherea, and besought him to be merciful to them, and not continue his anger against them for their ingratitude. And this was the end of the life that Cherea came to. But for Sabinus, although Claudius not only set him at liberty, but gave him leave to retain his former command in the army, yet did he think it would be unjust in him to fail of performing his obligations to his fellow confederates; so he fell upon his sword, and killed himself, the wound reaching up to the very hilt of the sword.

Claudius restores and expands Agrippa's power

NOW when Claudius had taken out of the way all those soldiers whom he suspected, which he did immediately, he published an edict, and therein confirmed that kingdom to Agrippa which Caius had given him, and therein commended the King highly. He also made all addition to it of all that country over which Herod, who was his grandfather, had reigned, that is, Judea and Samaria; and this he restored to him as due to his family. But for Abila of Lysanias, and all that lay at Mount Libanus, he bestowed them upon him, as out of his own territories. He also made a league with this Agrippa, confirmed by oaths, in the middle of the forum, in the city of Rome: he also took away from Antiochus that kingdom which he was possessed of, but gave him a certain part of Cilicia and Commagena: he also set Alexander Lysimachus, the alabarch, at liberty, who had been his old friend, and steward to his mother Antonia, but had been imprisoned by Caius, whose son [Marcus] married Bernice, the daughter of Agrippa. But when Marcus, Alexander's son, was dead, who had married her when she was a virgin, Agrippa gave her in marriage to his brother Herod, and begged for him of Claudius the kingdom of Chalcis.

Now about this time there was a sedition between the Jews and the Greeks, at the city of Alexandria; for when Caius was dead, the nation of the Jews, which had been very much mortified under the reign of Caius, and reduced to very great distress by the people of Alexandria, recovered itself, and immediately took up their arms to fight for themselves. So Claudius sent an order to the president of Egypt to quiet that tumult; he also sent an edict, at the requests of King Agrippa and King Herod, both to Alexandria and to Syria, whose contents were as follows:

"Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, high priest, and tribune of the people, ordains thus:
"Since I am assured that the Jews of Alexandria, called Alexandrians, have been joint inhabitants in the earliest times with the Alexandrians, and have obtained from their kings equal privileges with them, as is evident by the public records that are in their possession, and the edicts themselves; and that after Alexandria had been subjected to our empire by Augustus, their rights and privileges have been preserved by those presidents who have at divers times been sent thither; and that no dispute had been raised about those rights and privileges, even when Aquila was governor of Alexandria; and that when the Jewish ethnarch was dead, Augustus did not prohibit the making such ethnarchs, as willing that all men should be so subject [to the Romans] as to continue in the observation of their own customs, and not be forced to transgress the ancient rules of their own country religion; but that, in the time of Caius, the Alexandrians became insolent towards the Jews that were among them, which Caius, out of his great madness and want of understanding, reduced the nation of the Jews very low, because they would not transgress the religious worship of their country, and call him a god: I will therefore that the nation of the Jews be not deprived of their rights and privileges, on account of the madness of Caius; but that those rights and privileges which they formerly enjoyed be preserved to them, and that they may continue in their own customs. And I charge both parties to take very great care that no troubles may arise after the promulgation of this edict."

And such were the contents of this edict on behalf of the Jews that was sent to Alexandria. But the edict that was sent into the other parts of the habitable earth was this which follows:

"Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, high priest, tribune of the people, chosen consul the second time, ordains thus: Upon the petition of King Agrippa and King Herod, who are persons very dear to me, that I would grant the same rights and privileges should be preserved to the Jews which are in all the Roman empire, which I have granted to those of Alexandria, I very willingly comply therewith; and this grant I make not only for the sake of the petitioners, but as judging those Jews for whom I have been petitioned worthy of such a favor, on account of their fidelity and friendship to the Romans. I think it also very just that no Grecian city should be deprived of such rights and privileges, since they were preserved to them under the great Augustus. It will therefore be fit to permit the Jews, who are in all the world under us, to keep their ancient customs without being hindered so to do. And I do charge them also to use this my kindness to them with moderation, and not to show a contempt of the superstitious observances of other nations, but to keep their own laws only. And I will that this decree of mine be engraven on tables by the magistrates of the cities, and colonies, and municipal places, both those within Italy and those without it, both kings and governors, by the means of the ambassadors, and to have them exposed to the public for full thirty days, in such a place whence it may plainly be read from the ground."

Agrippa's acts in Jerusalem

NOW Claudius Caesar, by these decrees of his which were sent to Alexandria, and to all the habitable earth, made known what opinion he had of the Jews. So he soon sent Agrippa away to take his kingdom, now he was advanced to a more illustrious dignity than before, and sent letters to the presidents and procurators of the provinces that they should treat him very kindly. Accordingly, he returned in haste, as was likely he would, now lie returned in much greater prosperity than he had before. He also came to Jerusalem, and offered all the sacrifices that belonged to him, and omitted nothing which the law required; on which account he ordained that many of the Nazarites should have their heads shorn.

And for the golden chain which had been given him by Caius, of equal weight with that iron chain wherewith his royal hands had been bound, he hung it up within the limits of the temple, over the treasury, that it might be a memorial of the severe fate he had lain under, and a testimony of his change for the better; that it might be a demonstration how the greatest prosperity may have a fall, and that God sometimes raises up what is fallen down: for this chain thus dedicated afforded a document to all men, that King Agrippa had been once bound in a chain for a small cause, but recovered his former dignity again; and a little while afterward got out of his bonds, and was advanced to be a more illustrious King than he was before. Whence men may understand that all that partake of human nature, how great soever they are, may fall; and that those that fall may gain their former illustrious dignity again.

And when Agrippa had entirely finished all the duties of the Divine worship, he removed Theophilus, the son of Ananus, from the high priesthood, and bestowed that honor of his on Simon the son of Boethus, whose name was also Cantheras whose daughter King Herod married, as I have related above. Simon, therefore, had the [high] priesthood with his brethren, and with his father, in like manner as the sons of Simon, the son of Onias, who were three, had it formerly under the government of the Macedonians, as we have related in a former book.

When the King had settled the high priesthood after this manner, he returned the kindness which the inhabitants of Jerusalem had showed him; for he released them from the tax upon houses, every one of which paid it before, thinking it a good thing to requite the tender affection of those that loved him. He also made Silas the general of his forces, as a man who had partaken with him in many of his troubles. But after a very little while the young men of Doris, preferring a rash attempt before piety, and being naturally bold and insolent, carried a statue of Caesar into a synagogue of the Jews, and erected it there. This procedure of theirs greatly provoked Agrippa; for it plainly tended to the dissolution of the laws of his country. So he came without delay to Publius Petronius, who was then president of Syria, and accused the people of Doris. Nor did he less resent what was done than did Agrippa; for he judged it a piece of impiety to transgress the laws that regulate the actions of men. So he wrote the following letter to the people of Doris in an angry strain:

"Publius Petronius, the president under Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, to the magistrates of Doris, ordains as follows: Since some of you have had the boldness, or madness rather, after the edict of Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus was published, for permitting the Jews to observe the laws of their country, not to obey the same, but have acted in entire opposition thereto, as forbidding the Jews to assemble together in the synagogue, by removing Caesar's statue, and setting it up therein, and thereby have offended not only the Jews, but the emperor himself, whose statue is more commodiously placed in his own temple than in a foreign one, where is the place of assembling together; while it is but a part of natural justice, that every one should have the power over the place belonging peculiarly to themselves, according to the determination of Caesar, - to say nothing of my own determination, which it would be ridiculous to mention after the emperor's edict, which gives the Jews leave to make use of their own customs, as also gives order that they enjoy equally the rights of citizens with the Greeks themselves,

"I therefore ordain that Proculus Vitellius, the centurion, bring those men to me, who, contrary to Augustus's edict, have been so insolent as to do this thing, at which those very men, who appear to be of principal reputation among them, have an indignation also, and allege for themselves, 'that it was not done with their consent, but by the violence of the multitude, that they may give an account of what hath been done. I also exhort the principal magistrates among them, unless they have a mind to have this action esteemed to be done with their consent, to inform the centurion of those that were guilty of it, and take care that no handle be hence taken for raising a sedition or quarrel among them; which those seem to me to treat after who encourage such doings; while both I myself, and King Agrippa, for whom I have the highest honor, have nothing more under our care, than that the nation of the Jews may have no occasion given them of getting together, under the pretense of avenging themselves, and become tumultuous. And that it may be more publicly known what Augustus hath resolved about this whole matter, I have subjoined those edicts which he hath lately caused to be published at Alexandria, and which, although they may be well known to all, yet did King Agrippa, for whom I have the highest honor, read them at that time before my tribunal, and pleaded that the Jews ought not to be deprived of those rights which Augustus hath granted them. I therefore charge you, that you do not, for the time to come, seek for any occasion of sedition or disturbance, but that every one be allowed to follow their own religious customs."

Thus did Petronius take care of this matter, that such a breach of the law might be corrected, and that no such thing might be attempted afterwards against the Jews. And now King Agrippa took the [high] priesthood away from Simon Cantheras, and put Jonathan, the son of Ananus, into it again, and owned that he was more worthy of that dignity than the other. But this was not a thing acceptable to him, to recover that his former dignity. So he refused it, and said,

"O king! I rejoice in the honor that thou hast for me, and take it kindly that thou wouldst give me such a dignity of thy own inclinations, although God hath judged that I am not at all worthy of the high priesthood. I am satisfied with having once put on the sacred garments; for I then put them on after a more holy manner than I should now receive them again. But if thou desirest that a person more worthy than myself should have this honorable employment, give me leave to name thee such a one. I have a brother that is pure from all sin against God, and of all offenses against thyself; I recommend him to thee, as one that is fit for this dignity."

So the King was pleased with these words of his, and passed by Jonathan, and, according to his brother's desire, bestowed the high priesthood upon Matthias. Nor was it long before Marcus succeeded Petronius, as president of Syria.

Agrippa angry at Silas, wall built around Jerusalem

NOW Silas, the general of the king's horse, because he had been faithful to him under all his misfortunes, and had never refused to be a partaker with him in any of his dangers, but had oftentimes undergone the most hazardous dangers for him, was full of assurance, and thought he might expect a sort of equality with the king, on account of the firmness of the friendship he had showed to him. Accordingly, he would no where let the King sit as his superior, and took the like liberty in speaking to him upon all occasions, till he became troublesome to the king, when they were merry together, extolling himself beyond measure, and oft putting the King in mind of the severity of fortune he had undergone, that he might, by way of ostentation, demonstrate what zeal he had showed in his service; and was continually harping upon this string, what pains he had taken for him, and much enlarged still upon that subject.

The repetition of this so frequently seemed to reproach the king, insomuch that he took this ungovernable liberty of talking very ill at his hands. For the commemoration of times when men have been under ignominy, is by no means agreeable to them; and he is a very silly man who is perpetually relating to a person what kindness he had done him. At last, therefore, Silas had so thoroughly provoked the king's indignation, that he acted rather out of passion than good consideration, and did not only turn Silas out of his place, as general of his horse, but sent him in bonds into his own country. But the edge of his anger wore off by length of time, and made room for more just reasonings as to his judgment about this man; and he considered how many labors he had undergone for his sake. So when Agrippa was solemnizing his birth-day, and he gave festival entertainments to all his subjects, he sent for Silas on the sudden to be his guest. But as he was a very frank man, he thought he had now a just handle given him to be angry; which he could not conceal from those that came for him, but said to them,

"What honor is this the King invites me to, which I conclude will soon be over? For the King hath not let me keep those original marks of the good-will I bore him, which I once had from him; but he hath plundered me, and that unjustly also. Does he think that I can leave off that liberty of speech, which, upon the consciousness of my deserts, I shall use more loudly than before, and shall relate how many misfortunes I have been delivered from; how many labors I have undergone for him, whereby I procured him deliverance and respect; as a reward for which I have borne the hardships of bonds and a dark prison? I shall never forget this usage. Nay, perhaps, my very soul, when it is departed out of the body, will not forget the glorious actions I did on his account."

This was the clamor he made, and he ordered the messengers to tell it to the king. So he perceived that Silas was incurable in his folly, and still suffered him to lie in prison.

As for the walls of Jerusalem, that were adjoining to the new city [Bezetha], he repaired them at the expense of the public, and built them wider in breadth, and higher in altitude; and he had made them too strong for all human power to demolish, unless Marcus, the then president of Syria, had by letter informed Claudius Caesar of what he was doing. And when Claudius had some suspicion of attempts for innovation, he sent to Agrippa to leave off the building of those walls presently. So he obeyed, as not thinking it proper to contradict Claudius.

Now this King was by nature very beneficent and liberal in his gifts, and very ambitious to oblige people with such large donations; and he made himself very illustrious by the many chargeable presents he made them. He took delight in giving, and rejoiced in living with good reputation. He was not at all like that Herod who reigned before him; for that Herod was ill-natured, and severe in his punishments, and had no mercy on them that he hated; and every one perceived that he was more friendly to the Greeks than to the Jews; for he adorned foreign cities with large presents in money; with building them baths and theatres besides; nay, in some of those places he erected temples, and porticoes in others; but he did not vouchsafe to raise one of the least edifices in any Jewish city, or make them any donation that was worth mentioning. But Agrippa's temper was mild, and equally liberal to all men. He was humane to foreigners, and made them sensible of his liberality. He was in like manner rather of a gentle and compassionate temper. Accordingly, he loved to live continually at Jerusalem, and was exactly careful in the observance of the laws of his country. He therefore kept himself entirely pure; nor did any day pass over his head without its appointed sacrifice.

However, there was a certain mall of the Jewish nation at Jerusalem, who appeared to be very accurate in the knowledge of the law. His name was Simon. This man got together an assembly, while the King was absent at Cesarea, and had the insolence to accuse him as not living holily, and that he might justly be excluded out of the temple, since it belonged only to native Jews. But the general of Agrippa's army informed him that Simon had made such a speech to the people. So the King sent for him; and as he was sitting in the theater, he bid him sit down by him, and said to him with a low and gentle voice,

"What is there done in this place that is contrary to the law?"

But he had nothing to say for himself, but begged his pardon. So the King was more easily reconciled to him than one could have imagined, as esteeming mildness a better quality in a King than anger, and knowing that moderation is more becoming in great men than passion. So he made Simon a small present, and dismissed him.

Now as Agrippa was a great builder in many places, he paid a peculiar regard to the people of Berytus; for he erected a theater for them, superior to many others of that sort, both in Sumptuousness and elegance, as also an amphitheater, built at vast expenses; and besides these, he built them baths and porticoes, and spared for no costs in any of his edifices, to render them both handsome and large. He also spent a great deal upon their dedication, and exhibited shows upon them, and brought thither musicians of all sorts, and such as made the most delightful music of the greatest variety. He also showed his magnificence upon the theater, in his great number of gladiators; and there it was that he exhibited the several antagonists, in order to please the spectators; no fewer indeed than seven hundred men to fight with seven hundred other men and allotted all the malefactors he had for this exercise, that both the malefactors might receive their punishment, and that this operation of war might be a recreation in peace. And thus were these criminals all destroyed at once.

Death of King Agrippa

WHEN Agrippa had finished what I have above related at Berytus, he removed to Tiberias, a city of Galilee. Now he was in great esteem among other kings. Accordingly there came to him Antiochus, King of Commalena, Sampsigeratnus, King of Emesa, and Cotys, who was King of the Lesser Armenia, and Polemo, who was King of Pontus, as also Herod his brother, who was King of Chalcis. All these he treated with agreeable entertainments, and after an obliging manner, and so as to exhibit the greatness of his mind, and so as to appear worthy of those respects which the kings paid to him, by coming thus to see him. However, while these kings staid with him, Marcus, the president of Syria, came thither.

So the king, in order to preserve the respect that was due to the Romans, went out of the city to meet him, as far as seven furlongs. But this proved to be the beginning of a difference between him and Marcus; for he took with him in his chariot those other kings as his assessors. But Marcus had a suspicion what the meaning could be of so great a friendship of these kings one with another, and did not think so close an agreement of so many potentates to be for the interest of the Romans. He therefore sent some of his domestics to every one of them, and enjoined them to go their ways home without further delay. This was very ill taken by Agrippa, who after that became his enemy. And now he took the high priesthood away from Matthias, and made Elioneus, the son of Cantheras, high priest in his stead.

Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea, he came to the city Cesarea, which was formerly called Strato's Tower; and there he exhibited shows in honor of Caesar, upon his being informed that there was a certain festival celebrated to make vows for his safety. At which festival a great multitude was gotten together of the principal persons, and such as were of dignity through his province. On the second day of which shows he put on a garment made wholly of silver, and of a contexture truly wonderful, and came into the theater early in the morning; at which time the silver of his garment being illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun's rays upon it, shone out after a surprising manner, and was so resplendent as to spread a horror over those that looked intently upon him; and presently his flatterers cried out, one from one place, and another from another, (though not for his good,) that he was a god; and they added,

"Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a man, yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature."
Upon this the King did neither rebuke them, nor reject their impious flattery. But as he presently afterward looked up, he saw an owl sitting on a certain rope over his head, and immediately understood that this bird was the messenger of ill tidings, as it had once been the messenger of good tidings to him; and fell into the deepest sorrow. A severe pain also arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner. He therefore looked upon his friends, and said,
"I, whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life; while Providence thus reproves the lying words you just now said to me; and I, who was by you called immortal, am immediately to be hurried away by death. But I am bound to accept of what Providence allots, as it pleases God; for we have by no means lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner."

When he said this, his pain was become violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace, and the rumor went abroad every where, that he would certainly die in a little time. But the multitude presently sat in sackcloth, with their wives and children, after the law of their country, and besought God for the king's recovery. All places were also full of mourning and lamentation. Now the King rested in a high chamber, and as he saw them below lying prostrate on the ground, he could not himself forbear weeping. And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign; for he reigned four years under Caius Caesar, three of them were over Philip's tetrarchy only, and on the fourth he had that of Herod added to it; and he reigned, besides those, three years under the reign of Claudius Caesar; in which time he reigned over the aforementioned countries, and also had Judea added to them, as well as Samaria and Cesarea. The revenues that he received out of them were very great, no less than twelve millions of drachme. Yet did he borrow great sums from others; for he was so very liberal that his expenses exceeded his incomes, and his generosity was boundless.

But before the multitude were made acquainted with Agrippa's being expired, Herod the King of Chalcis, and Helcias the master of his horse, and the king's friend, sent Aristo, one of the king's most faithful servants, and slew Silas, who had been their enemy, as if it had been done by the king's own command.

Emperor Claudius sends Cuspius to be procurator of Judea

AND thus did King Agrippa depart this life. But he left behind him a son, Agrippa by name, a youth in the seventeenth year of his age, and three daughters; one of which, Bernice, was married to Herod, his father's brother, and was sixteen years old; the other two, Mariamne and Drusilla, were still virgins; the former was ten years old, and Drusilla six. Now these his daughters were thus espoused by their father; Marlatone to Julius Archclaus Epiphanes, the son of Antiochus, the son of Chelcias; and Drusilla to the King of Commagena.

But when it was known that Agrippa was departed this life, the inhabitants of Cesarea and of Sebaste forgot the kindnesses he had bestowed on them, and acted the part of the bitterest enemies; for they cast such reproaches upon the deceased as are not fit to be spoken of; and so many of them as were then soldiers, which were a great number, went to his house, and hastily carried off the statues of this king's daughters, and all at once carried them into the brothel-houses, and when they had set them on the tops of those houses, they abused them to the utmost of their power, and did such things to them as are too indecent to be related. They also laid themselves down in public places, and celebrated general feastings, with garlands on their heads, and with ointments and libations to Charon, and drinking to one another for joy that the King was expired. Nay, they were not only unmindful of Agrippa, who had extended his liberality to them in abundance, but of his grandfather Herod also, who had himself rebuilt their cities, and had raised them havens and temples at vast expenses.

Now Agrippa, the son of the deceased, was at Rome, and brought up with Claudius Caesar. And when Caesar was informed that Agrippa was dead, and that the inhabitants of Sebaste and Cesarea had abused him, he was sorry for the first news, and was displeased with the ingratitude of those cities. He was therefore disposed to send Agrippa, junior, away presently to succeed his father in the kingdom, and was willing to confirm him in it by his oath. But those freed-men and friends of his, who had the greatest authority with him, dissuaded him from it, and said that it was a dangerous experiment to permit so large a kingdom to come under the government of so very young a man, and one hardly yet arrived at years of discretion, who would not be able to take sufficient care of its administration; while the weight of a kingdom is heavy enough to a grown man. So Caesar thought what they said to be reasonable.

Accordingly he sent Cuspins Fadus to be procurator of Judea, and of the entire kingdom, and paid that respect to the eceased as not to introduce Marcus, who had been at variance with him, into his kingdom. But he determined, in the first place, to send orders to Fadus, that he should chastise the inhabitants of Cesarca and Sebaste for those abuses they had offered to him that was deceased, and their madness towards his daughters that were still alive; and that he should remove that body of soldiers that were at Cesarea and Sebaste, with the five regiments, into Pontus, that they might do their military duty there; and that he should choose an equal number of soldiers out of the Roman legions that were in Syria, to supply their place. Yet were not those that had such orders actually removed; for by sending ambassadors to Claudius, they mollified him, and got leave to abide in Judea still; and these were the very men that became the source of very great calamities to the Jews in after-times, and sowed the seeds of that war which began under Florus; whence it was that when Vespasian had subdued the country, he removed them out of his province, as we shall relate hereafter.

Adapted from
Antiquities of the Jews
by Flavius Josephus
Creation of
the World
King Saul
conquers Amalekites
War with Syria Simon wars
with Trypho
Herod considers
suicide, sons killed
Abraham fights
King David
rules over Israel
Assyria wars
with Judah
Hyrcanus wars
with Aristobulus
Caesar taxes
Syria and Judea
Parting of
the Red Sea
against David
Babylon sets
up Judah's King
Herod the Great
spoils Jerusalem
King Agrippa
goes to Rome
Aaron's Priesthood King Solomon
King Cyrus frees
Jews from Babylon
The laws of
King Herod
Roman Senators
want democracy
Gideon delivers
Israel from Midianites
Kingdom of
Israel Splits
Esther saves
the Jews
King David's
tomb robbed
Claudius becomes
Roman Emperor
God destroys
the Philistines
Jews overcome
their enemies
Antiochus makes
war against Jerusalem
nine wives

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