Yet did not Herod long continue in that resolution of supporting him, though even that support was not sufficient for him; for as once they were at a feast at Tyre, and in their cups, and reproaches were cast upon one another, Agrippa thought that was not to be borne, while Herod hit him in the teeth with his poverty, and with his owing his necessary food to him. So he went to Flaccus, one that had been consul, and had been a very great friend to him at Rome formerly, and was now president of Syria.
Hereupon Flaccus received him kindly, and he lived with him. Flaccus had also with him there Aristobulus, who was indeed Agrippa's brother, but was at variance with him; yet did not their enmity to one another hinder the friendship of Flaccus to them both, but still they were honorably treated by him. However, Aristobulus did not abate of his ill-will to Agrippa, till at length he brought him into ill terms with Flaccus; the occasion of bringing on which estrangement was this: The Damascens were at difference with the Sidonians about their limits, and when Flaccus was about to hear the cause between them, they understood that Agrippa had a mighty influence upon him; so they desired that he would be of their side, and for that favor promised him a great deal of money; so he was zealous in assisting the Damascens as far as he was able. Now Aristobulus had gotten intelligence of this promise of money to him, and accused him to Flaccus of the same; and when, upon a thorough examination of the matter, it appeared plainly so to be, he rejected Agrippa out of the number of his friends.
So he was reduced to the utmost necessity, and came to Ptolemais; and because he knew not where else to get a livelihood, he thought to sail to Italy; but as he was restrained from so doing by want of money, he desired Marsyas, who was his freed-man, to find some method for procuring him so much as he wanted for that purpose, by borrowing such a sum of some person or other. So Marsyas desired of Peter, who was the freed-man of Bernice, Agrippa's mother, and by the right of her testament was bequeathed to Antonia, to lend so much upon Agrippa's own bond and security; but he accused Agrippa of having defrauded him of certain sums of money, and so obliged Marsyas, when he made the bond of twenty thousand Attic drachmae, to accept of twenty-five hundred drachma less than what he desired, which the other allowed of, because he could not help it. Upon the receipt of this money, Agrippa came to Anthedon, and took shipping, and was going to set sail; but Herennius Capito, who was the procurator of Jamhis, sent a band of soldiers to demand of him three hundred thousand drachmae of silver, which were by him owing to Caesar's treasury while he was at Rome, and so forced him to stay.
He then pretended that he would do as he bid him; but when night came on, he cut his cables, and went off, and sailed to Alexandria, where he desired Alexander the alabarch to lend him two hundred thousand drachmae; but he said he would not lend it to him, but would not refuse it to Cypros, as greatly astonished at her affection to her husband, and at the other instances of her virtue; so she undertook to repay it. Accordingly, Alexander paid them five talents at Alexandria, and promised to pay them the rest of that sum at Dicearchia [Puteoli]; and this he did out of the fear he was in that Agrippa would soon spend it. So this Cypros set her husband free, and dismissed him to go on with his navigation to Italy, while she and her children departed for Judea.
And now Agrippa was come to Puteoli, whence he wrote a letter to Tiberius Caesar, who then lived at Capreae, and told him that he was come so far in order to wait on him, and to pay him a visit; and desired that he would give him leave to come over to Caprein: so Tiberius made no difficulty, but wrote to him in an obliging way in other respects; and withal told him he was glad of his safe return, and desired him to come to Capreae; and when he was come, he did not fail to treat him as kindly as he had promised him in his letter to do. But the next day came a letter to Caesar from Herennius Capito, to inform him that Agrippa had borrowed three hundred thousand drachmae, and not pad it at the time appointed; but when it was demanded of him, he ran away like a fugitive, out of the places under his government, and put it out of his power to get the money of him. When Caesar had read this letter, he was much troubled at it, and gave order that Agrippa should be excluded from his presence until he had paid that debt: upon which he was no way daunted at Caesar's anger, but entreated Antonia, the mother of Germanicus, and of Claudius, who was afterward Caesar himself, to lend him those three hundred thousand drachmae, that he might not be deprived of Tiberius's friendship; so, out of regard to the memory of Bernice his mother, (for those two women were very familiar with one another,) and out of regard to his and Claudius's education together, she lent him the money; and, upon the payment of this debt, there was nothing to hinder Tiberius's friendship to him.
After this, Tiberius Caesar recommended to him his grandson, and ordered that he should always accompany him when he went abroad. But upon Agrippa's kind reception by Antonia, he betook him to pay his respects to Caius, who was her grandson, and in very high reputation by reason of the good-will they bare his father. Now there was one Thallus, a freed-man of Caesar, of whom he borrowed a million of drachmae, and thence repaid Antonia the debt he owed her; and by sending the overplus in paying his court to Caius, became a person of great authority with him.
Now as the friendship which Agrippa had for Caius was come to a great height, there happened some words to pass between them, as they once were in a chariot together, concerning Tiberius; Agrippa praying [to God] (for they two sat by themselves) that Tiberius might soon go off the stage, and leave the government to Caius, who was in every respect more worthy of it. Now Eutychus, who was Agrippa's freed-man, and drove his chariot, heard these words, and at that time said nothing of them; but when Agrippa accused him of stealing some garments of his, (which was certainly true,) he ran away from him; but when he was caught, and brought before Piso, who was governor of the city, and the man was asked why he ran away, be replied, that he had somewhat to say to Caesar, that tended to his security and preservation: so Piso bound him, and sent him to Capreae.
But Tiberius, according to his usual custom, kept him still in bonds, being a delayer of affairs, if ever there was any other King or tyrant that was so; for he did not admit ambassadors quickly, and no successors were despatched away to governors or procurators of the provinces that had been formerly sent, unless they were dead; whence it was that he was so negligent in hearing the causes of prisoners; insomuch that when he was asked by his friends what was the reason of his delay in such cases, he said that he delayed to hear ambassadors, lest, upon their quick dismission, other ambassadors should be appointed, and return upon him; and so he should bring trouble upon himself in their public reception and dismission: that he permitted those governors who had been sent once to their government [to stay there a long while], out of regard to the subjects that were under them; for that all governors are naturally disposed to get as much as they can; and that those who are not to fix there, but to stay a short time, and that at an uncertainty when they shall be turned out, do the more severely hurry themselves on to fleece the people; but that if their government be long continued to them; they are at last satiated with the spoils, as having gotten a vast deal, and so become at length less sharp in their pillaging; but that if successors are sent quickly, the poor subjects, who are exposed to them as a prey, will not be able to bear the new ones, while they shall not have the same time allowed them wherein their predecessors had filled themselves, and so grew more unconcerned about getting more; and this because they are removed before they have had time [for their oppressions].
He gave them an example to show his meaning: A great number of flies came about the sore places of a man that had been wounded; upon which one of the standers-by pitied the man's misfortune, and thinking he was not able to drive those flies away himself, was going to drive them away for him; but he prayed him to let them alone: the other, by way of reply, asked him the reason of such a preposterous proceeding, in preventing relief from his present misery; to which he answered,
"If thou drivest these flies away, thou wilt hurt me worse; for as these are already full of my blood, they do not crowd about me, nor pain me so much as before, but are somewhat more remiss, while the fresh ones that come almost famished, and find me quite tired down already, will be my destruction. For this cause, therefore, it is that I am myself careful not to send such new governors perpetually to those my subjects, who are already sufficiently harassed by many oppressions, as may, like these flies, further distress them; and so, besides their natural desire of gain, may have this additional incitement to it, that they expect to be suddenly deprived of that pleasure which they take in it."
And, as a further attestation to what I say of the dilatory nature of Tiberius, I appeal to this his practice itself; for although he was emperor twenty-two years, he sent in all but two procurators to govern the nation of the Jews, Gratus, and his successor in the government, Pilate. Nor was he in one way of acting with respect to the Jews, and in another with respect to the rest of his subjects. He further informed them, that even in the hearing of the causes of prisoners, he made such delays, because immediate death to those that must be condemned to die would be an alleviation of their present miseries, while those wicked wretches have not deserved any such favor;
"but I do it, that, by being harassed with the present calamity, they may undergo greater misery."
On this account it was that Eutychus could not obtain a bearing, but was kept still in prison. However, some time afterward, Tiberius came from Capreae to Tusculanum, which is about a hundred furlongs from Rome. Agrippa then desired of Antonia that she would procure a hearing for Eutychus, let the matter whereof he accused him prove what it would. Now Antonia was greatly esteemed by Tiberius on all accounts, from the dignity of her relation to him, who had been his brother Drusus's wife, and from her eminent chastity; for though she was still a young woman, she continued in her widowhood, and refused all other matches, although Augustus had enjoined her to be married to somebody else; yet did she all along preserve her reputation free from reproach.
She had also been the greatest benefactress to Tiberius, when there was a very dangerous plot laid against him by Sejanus, a man who had been her husband's friend, and wire had the greatest authority, because he was general of the army, and when many members of the senate and many of the freed-men joined with him, and the soldiery was corrupted, and the plot was come to a great height. Now Sejanus had certainly gained his point, had not Antonia's boldness been more wisely conducted than Sejanus's malice; for when she had discovered his designs against Tiberius, she wrote him an exact account of the whole, and gave the letter to Pallas, the most faithful of her servants, and sent him to Caprere to Tiberius, who, when he understood it, slew Sejanus and his confederates; so that Tiberius, who had her in great esteem before, now looked upon her with still greater respect, and depended upon her in all things. So when Tiberius was desired by this Antonia to examine Eutychus, he answered,
"If indeed Eutychus hath falsely accused Agrippa in what he hath said of him, he hath had sufficient punishment by what I have done to him already; but if, upon examination, the accusation appears to be true, let Agrippa have a care, lest, out of desire of punishing his freed-man, he do not rather bring a punishment upon himself."
Now when Antonia told Agrippa of this, he was still much more pressing that the matter might be examined into; so Antonia, upon Agrippa's lying hard at her continually to beg this favor, took the following opportunity: As Tiberius lay once at his ease upon his sedan, and was carried about, and Caius, her grandson, and Agrippa, were before him after dinner she walked by the sedan, and desired him to call Eutychus, and have him examined; to which he replied,
"O Antonia! the gods are my witnesses that I am induced to do what I am going to do, not by my own inclination, but because I am forced to it by thy prayers."
When he had said this, he ordered Macro, who succeeded Sejanus, to bring Eutychus to him; accordingly, without any delay, he was brought. Then Tiberius asked him what he had to say against a man who had given him his liberty. Upon which he said,
"O my lord! this Caius, and Agrippa with him, were once riding in a chariot, when I sat at their feet, and, among other discourses that passed, Agrippa said to Caius, Oh that the day would once come when this old fellow will dies and name thee for the governor of the habitable earth! for then this Tiberius, his grandson, would be no hinderance, but would be taken off by thee, and that earth would be happy, and I happy also."
Now Tiberius took these to be truly Agrippa's words, and bearing a grudge withal at Agrippa, because, when he had commanded him to pay his respects to Tiberius, his grandson, and the son of Drusus, Agrippa had not paid him that respect, but had disobeyed his commands, and transferred all his regard to Caius; he said to Macro, "Bind this man." But Macro, not distinctly knowing which of them it was whom he bid him bind, and not expecting that he would have any such thing done to Agrippa, he forbore, and came to ask more distinctly what it was that he said. But when Caesar had gone round the hippodrome, he found Agrippa standing:
"For certain," said he, "Macro, this is the man I meant to have bound;" and when he still asked, "Which of these is to be bound?" he said "Agrippa."
Upon which Agrippa betook himself to make supplication for himself, putting him in mind of his son, with whom he was brought up, and of Tiberius [his grandson] whom he had educated; but all to no purpose; for they led him about bound even in his purple garments. It was also very hot weather, and they had but little wine to their meal, so that he was very thirsty; he was also in a sort of agony, and took this treatment of him heinously: as he therefore saw one of Caius's slaves, whose name was Thaumastus, carrying some water in a vessel, he desired that he would let him drink; so the servant gave him some water to drink, and he drank heartily, and said,
"O thou boy! this service of thine to me will be for thy advantage; for if I once get clear of these my bonds, I will soon procure thee thy freedom of Caius who has not been wanting to minister to me now I am in bonds, in the same manner as when I was in my former state and dignity."
Nor did he deceive him in what he promised him, but made him amends for what he had now done; for when afterward Agrippa was come to the kingdom, he took particular care of Thaumastus, and got him his liberty from Caius, and made him the steward over his own estate; and when he died, he left him to Agrippa his son, and to Bernice his daughter, to minister to them in the same capacity. The man also grew old in that honorable post, and therein died. But all this happened a good while later.
Now Agrippa stood in his bonds before the royal palace, and leaned on a certain tree for grief, with many others,. who were in bonds also; and as a certain bird sat upon the tree on which Agrippa leaned, (the Romans call this bird bubo,) [an owl,] one of those that were bound, a German by nation, saw him, and asked a soldier who that man in purple was; and when he was informed that his name was Agrippa, and that he was by nation a Jew, and one of the principal men of that nation, he asked leave of the soldier to whom he was bound, to let him come nearer to him, to speak with him; for that he had a mind to inquire of him about some things relating to his country; which liberty, when he had obtained, and as he stood near him, he said thus to him by an interpreter:
"This sudden change of thy condition, O young man! is grievous to thee, as bringing on thee a manifold and very great adversity; nor wilt thou believe me, when I foretell how thou wilt get clear of this misery which thou art now under, and how Divine Providence will provide for thee. Know therefore (and I appeal to my own country gods, as well as to the gods of this place, who have awarded these bonds to us) that all I am going to say about thy concerns shall neither be said for favor nor bribery, nor out of an endeavor to make thee cheerful without cause; for such predictions, when they come to fail, make the grief at last, and in earnest, more bitter than if the party had never heard of any such thing. However, though I run the hazard of my own self, I think it fit to declare to thee the prediction of the gods. It cannot be that thou shouldst long continue in these bonds; but thou wilt soon be delivered from them, and wilt be promoted to the highest dignity and power, and thou wilt be envied by all those who now pity thy hard fortune; and thou wilt be happy till thy death, and wilt leave thine happiness to the children whom thou shalt have. But do thou remember, when thou seest this bird again, that thou wilt then live but five days longer. This event will be brought to pass by that God who hath sent this bird hither to be a sign unto thee. And I cannot but think it unjust to conceal from thee what I foreknow concerning thee, that, by thy knowing beforehand what happiness is coming upon thee, thou mayst not regard thy present misfortunes. But when this happiness shall actually befall thee, do not forget what misery I am in myself, but endeavor to deliver me."
So when the German had said this, he made Agrippa laugh at him as much as he afterwards appeared worthy of admiration. But now Antonia took Agrippa's misfortune to heart: however, to speak to Tiberius on his behalf, she took to be a very difficult thing, and indeed quite impracticable, as to any hope of success; yet did she procure of Macro, that the soldiers that kept him should be of a gentle nature, and that the centurion who was over them and was to diet with him, should be of the same disposition, and that he might have leave to bathe himself every day, and that his freed-men and friends might come to him, and that other things that tended to ease him might be indulged him. So his friend Silas came in to him, and two of his freed-men, Marsyas and Stechus, brought him such sorts of food as he was fond of, and indeed took great care of him; they ,also brought him garments, under pretense of selling them; and when night came on, they laid them under him; and the soldiers assisted them, as Macro had given them order to do beforehand. And this was Agrippa's condition for six months' time, and in this case were his affairs.
But for Tiberius, upon his return to Caprein, he fell sick. At first his distemper was but gentle; but as that distemper increased upon him, he had small or no hopes of recovery. Hereupon he bid Euodus, who was that freed-man whom he most of all respected, to bring the children to him, for that he wanted to talk to them before he died. Now he had at present no sons of his own alive for Drusus, who was his only son, was dead; but Drusus's son Tiberius was still living, whose additional name was Gemellus: there was also living Caius, the son of Germanicus, who was the son of his brother [Drusus].
He was now grown up, and had a liberal education, and was well improved by it, and was in esteem and favor with the people, on account of the excellent character of his father Germanicus, who had attained the highest honor among the multitude, by the firmness of his virtuous behavior, by the easiness and agreeableness of his conversing with the multitude, and because the dignity he was in did not hinder his familiarity with them all, as if they were his equals; by which behavior he was not only greatly esteemed by the people and the senate, but by every one of those nations that were subject to the Romans; some of which were affected when they came to him with the gracefulness of their reception by him, and others were affected in the same manner by the report of the others that had been with him; and, upon his death, there was a lamentation made by all men; not such a one as was to be made in way of flattery to their rulers, while they did but counterfeit sorrow, but such as was real; while every body grieved at his death, as if they had lost one that was near to them. And truly such had been his easy conversation with men, that it turned greatly to the advantage of his son among all; and, among others, the soldiery were so peculiarly affected to him, that they reckoned it an eligible thing, if need were, to die themselves, if he might but attain to the government.
But when Tiberius had given order to Euodus to bring the children to him the next day in the morning, he prayed to his country gods to show him a manifest signal which of those children should come to the government; being very desirous to leave it to his son's son, but still depending upon what God should foreshow concerning them more than upon his own opinion and inclination; so he made this to be the omen, that the government should be left to him who should come to him first the next day. When he had thus resolved within himself, he sent to his grandson's tutor, and ordered him to bring the child to him early in the morning, as supposing that God would permit him to be made emperor. But God proved opposite to his designation; for while Tiberius was thus contriving matters, and as soon as it was at all day, he bid Euodus to call in that child which should be there ready. So he went out, and found Caius before the door, for Tiberius was not yet come, but staid waiting for his breakfast; for Euodus knew nothing of what his lord intended; so he said to Caius,
"Thy father calls thee,"
and then brought him in. As soon as Tiberius saw Caius, and not before, he reflected on the power of God, and how the ability of bestowing the government on whom he would was entirely taken from him; and thence he was not able to establish what he had intended. So he greatly lamented that his power of establishing what he had before contrived was taken from him, and that his grandson Tiberius was not only to lose the Roman empire by his fatality, but his own safety also, because his preservation would now depend upon such as would be more potent than himself, who would think it a thing not to be borne, that a kinsman should live with them, and so his relation would not be able to protect him; but he would be feared and bated by him who had the supreme authority, partly on account of his being next to the empire, and partly on account of his perpetually contriving to get the government, both in order to preserve himself, and to be at the head of affairs also.
Now Tiberius had been very much given to astrology, and the calculation of nativities, and had spent his life in the esteem of what predictions had proved true, more than those whose profession it was. Accordingly, when he once saw Galba coming in to him, he said to his most intimate friends, that there came in a man that would one day have the dignity of the Roman empire. So that this Tiberius was more addicted to all such sorts of diviners than any other of the Roman emperors, because he had found them to have told him truth in his own affairs. And indeed he was now in great distress upon this accident that had befallen him, and was very much grieved at the destruction of his son's son, which he foresaw, and complained of himself, that he should have made use of such a method of divination beforehand, while it was in his power to have died without grief by this knowledge of futurity; whereas he was now tormented by his foreknowledge of the misfortune of such as were dearest to him, and must die under that torment. Now although he was disordered at this unexpected revolution of the government to those for whom he did not intend it, he spake thus to Caius, though unwillingly, and against his own inclination:
"O child! although Tiberius be nearer related to me than thou art, I, by my own determination, and the conspiring suffrage of the gods, do give and put into thy hand the Roman empire; and I desire thee never to be unmindful when thou comest to it, either of my kindness to thee, who set thee in so high a dignity, or of thy relation to Tiberius. But as thou knowest that I am, together with and after the gods, the procurer of so great happiness to thee; so I desire that thou wilt make me a return for my readiness to assist thee, and wilt take care of Tiberius because of his near relation to thee. Besides which, thou art to know, that while Tiberius is alive, he will be a security to thee, both as to empire and as to thy own preservation; but if he die, that will be but a prelude to thy own misfortunes; for to be alone under the weight of such vast affairs is very dangerous; nor will the gods suffer those actions which are unjustly done, contrary to that law which directs men to act otherwise, to go off unpunished."
This was the speech which Tiberius made, which did not persuade Caius to act accordingly, although he promised so to do; but when he was settled in the government, he took off this Tiberius, as was predicted by the other Tiberius; as he was also himself, in no long time afterward, slain by a secret plot laid against him.
So when Tiberius had at this time appointed Caius to be his successor, he outlived but a few days, and then died, after he had held the government twenty-two years five months and three days. Now Caius was the fourth emperor. But when the Romans understood that Tiberius was dead, they rejoiced at the good news, but had not courage to believe it; not because they were unwilling it should be true, for they would have given huge sums of money that it might be so, but because they were afraid, that if they had showed their joy when the news proved false, their joy should be openly known, and they should be accused for it, and be thereby undone. For this Tiberius had brought a vast number of miseries on the best families of the Romans, since he was easily inflamed with passion in all cases, and was of such a temper as rendered his anger irrevocable, till he had executed the same, although he had taken a hatred against men without reason; for he was by nature fierce in all the sentences he gave, and made death the penalty for the lightest offenses; insomuch that when the Romans heard the rumor about his death gladly, they were restrained from the enjoyment of that pleasure by the dread of such miseries as they foresaw would follow, if their hopes proved ill-grounded. Now Marsyas, Agrippa's freed-man, as soon as he heard of Tiberius's death, came running to tell Agrippa the news; and finding him going out to the bath, he gave him a nod, and said, in the Hebrew tongue,
"The lion is dead;" who, understanding his meaning, and being overjoyed at the news, "Nay," said he, "but all sorts of thanks and happiness attend thee for this news of thine; only I wish that what thou sayest may prove true."
Now the centurion who was set to keep Agrippa, when he saw with what haste Marsyas came, and what joy Agrippa had from what he said, he had a suspicion that his words implied some great innovation of affairs, and he asked them about what was said. They at first diverted the discourse; but upon his further pressing, Agrippa, without more ado, told him, for he was already become his friend; so he joined with him in that pleasure which this news occasioned, because it would be fortunate to Agrippa, and made him a supper. But as they were feasting, and the cups went about, there came one who said that Tiberius was still alive, and would return to the city ill a few days. At which news the centurion was exceedingly troubled, because he had done what might cost him his life, to have treated so joyfully a prisoner, and this upon the news of the death of Caesar; so he thrust Agrippa from the couch whereon he lay, and said,
"Dost thou think to cheat me by a lie about the emperor without punishment? and shalt not thou pay for this thy malicious report at the price of thine head?"
When he had so said, he ordered Agrippa to be bound again, (for he had loosed him before), and kept a severer guard over him than formerly, and in that evil condition was Agrippa that night; but the next day the rumor increased in the city, and confirmed the news that Tiberius was certainly dead; insomuch that men durst now openly and freely talk about it; nay, some offered sacrifices on that account. Several letters also came from Caius; one of them to the senate, which informed them of the death of Tiberius, and of his own entrance on the government; another to Piso, the governor of the city, which told him the same thing. He also gave order that Agrippa should be removed out of the camp, and go to that house where he lived before he was put in prison; so that he was now out of fear as to his own affairs; for although he was still in custody, yet it was now with ease to his own affairs.
Now, as soon as Caius was come to Rome, and had brought Tiberius's dead body with him, and had made a sumptuous funeral for him, according to the laws of his country, he was much disposed to set Agrippa at liberty that very day; but Antonia hindered him, not out of any ill-will to the prisoner, but out of regard to decency in Caius, lest that should make men believe that he received the death of Tiberius with pleasure, when he loosed one whom he had bound immediately. However, there did not many days pass ere he sent for him to his house, and had him shaved, and made him change his raiment; after which he put a diadem upon his head, and appointed him to be King of the tetrarchy of Philip. He also gave him the tetrarchy of Lysanias, and changed his iron chain for a golden one of equal weight. He also sent Marullus to be procurator of Judea.
Now, in the second year of the reign of Caius Caesar, Agrippa desired leave to be given him to sail home, and settle the affairs of his government; and he promised to return again, when he had put the rest in order, as it ought to be put. So, upon the emperor's permission, he came into his own country, and appeared to them all unexpectedly as asking, and thereby demonstrated to the men that saw him the power of fortune, when they compared his former poverty with his present happy affluence; so some called him a happy man, and others could not well believe that things were so much changed with him for the better.
Herod the Tetrarch banished to a city in Gaul
BUT Herodias, Agrippa's sister, who now lived as wife to that Herod who was tetrarch of Galilee and Peres, took this authority of her brother in an envious manner, particularly when she saw that he had a greater dignity bestowed on him than her husband had; since, when he ran away, it was because he was not able to pay his debts; and now he was come back, he was in a way of dignity, and of great good fortune. She was therefore grieved and much displeased at so great a mutation of his affairs; and chiefly when she saw him marching among the multitude with the usual ensigns of royal authority, she was not able to conceal how miserable she was, by reason of the envy she had towards him; but she excited her husband, and desired him that he would sail to Rome, to court honors equal to his; for she said that she could not bear to live any longer, while Agrippa, the son of that Aristobulus who was condemned to die by his father, one that came to her husband in such extreme poverty, that the necessaries of life were forced to be entirely supplied him day by day; and when he fled away from his creditors by sea, he now returned a king; while he was himself the son of a king, and while the near relation he bare to royal authority called upon him to gain the like dignity, he sat still, and was contented with a privater life.
"But then, Herod, although thou wast formerly not concerned to be in a lower condition than thy father from whom thou wast derived had been, yet do thou now seek after the dignity which thy kinsman hath attained to; and do not thou bear this contempt, that a man who admired thy riches should he in greater honor than thyself, nor suffer his poverty to show itself able to purchase greater things than our abundance; nor do thou esteem it other than a shameful thing to be inferior to one who, the other day, lived upon thy charity. But let us go to Rome, and let us spare no pains nor expenses, either of silver or gold, since they cannot be kept for any better use than for the obtaining of a kingdom."
But for Herod, he opposed her request at this time, out of the love of ease, and having a suspicion of the trouble he should have at Rome; so he tried to instruct her better. But the more she saw him draw back, the more she pressed him to it, and desired him to leave no stone unturned in order to be king; and at last she left not off till she engaged him, whether he would or not, to be of her sentiments, because he could no otherwise avoid her importunity. So he got all things ready, after as sumptuous a manner as he was able, and spared for nothing, and went up to Rome, and took Herodias along with him. But Agrippa, when he was made sensible of their intentions and preparations, he also prepared to go thither; and as soon as he heard they set sail, he sent Fortunatus, one of his freed-men, to Rome, to carry presents to the emperor, and letters against Herod, and to give Caius a particular account of those matters, if he should have any opportunity.
This man followed Herod so quick, and had so prosperous a voyage, and came so little after Herod, that while Herod was with Caius, he came himself, and delivered his letters; for they both sailed to Dicearchia, and found Caius at Bairn, which is itself a little city of Campania, at the distance of about five furlongs from Dicearchia. There are in that place royal palaces, with sumptuous apartments, every emperor still endeavoring to outdo his predecessor's magnificence; the place ,also affords warm baths, that spring out of the ground of their own accord, which are of advantage for the recovery of the health of those that make use of them; and, besides, they minister to men's luxury also. Now Caius saluted Herod, for he first met with him, and then looked upon the letters which Agrippa had sent him, and which were written in order to accuse Herod; wherein he accused him, that he had been in confederacy with Sejanus against Tiberius's and that he was now confederate with Artabanus, the King of Parthia, in opposition to the government of Caius; as a demonstration of which he alleged, that he had armor sufficient for seventy thousand men ready in his armory.
Caius was moved at this information, and asked Herod whether what was said about the armor was true; and when he confessed there was such armor there, for he could not deny the same, the truth of it being too notorious, Caius took that to be a sufficient proof of the accusation, that he intended to revolt. So he took away from him his tetrarchy, and gave it by way of addition to Agrippa's kingdom; he also gave Herod's money to Agrippa, and, by way of punishment, awarded him a perpetual banishment, and appointed Lyons, a city of Gaul, to be his place of habitation. But when he was informed that Herodias was Agrippa's sister, he made her a present of what money was her own, and told her that it was her brother who prevented her being put under the same calamity with her husband. But she made this reply:
"Thou, indeed, O emperor! actest after a magnificent manner, and as becomes thyself in what thou offerest me; but the kindness which I have for my husband hinders me from partaking of the favor of thy gift; for it is not just that I, who have been made a partner in his prosperity, should forsake him in his misfortunes."
Hereupon Caius was angry at her, and sent her with Herod into banishment, and gave her estate to Agrippa. And thus did God punish Herodias for her envy at her brother, and Herod also for giving ear to the vain discourses of a woman. Now Caius managed public affairs with great magnanimity during the first and second year of his reign, and behaved himself with such moderation, that he gained the good-will of the Romans themselves, and of his other subjects. But, in process of time, he went beyond the bounds of human nature in his conceit of himself, and by reason of the vastness of his dominions made himself a god, and took upon himself to act in all things to the reproach of the Deity itself.
Jewish envoys sent to Caius
THERE was now a tumult arisen at Alexandria, between the Jewish inhabitants and the Greeks; and three ambassadors were chosen out of each party that were at variance, who came to Caius. Now one of these ambassadors from the people of Alexandria was Apion, who uttered many blasphemies against the Jews; and, among other things that he said, he charged them with neglecting the honors that belonged to Caesar; for that while all who were subject to the Roman empire built altars and temples to Caius, and in other regards universally received him as they received the gods, these Jews alone thought it a dishonorable thing for them to erect statues in honor of him, as well as to swear by his name. Many of these severe things were said by Apion, by which he hoped to provoke Caius to anger at the Jews, as he was likely to be. But Philo, the principal of the Jewish ambassador, a man eminent on all accounts, brother to Alexander the alabarch, and one not unskillful in philosophy, was ready to betake himself to make his defense against those accusations; but Caius prohibited him, and bid him begone; he was also in such a rage, that it openly appeared he was about to do them some very great mischief. So Philo being thus affronted, went out, and said to those Jews who were about him, that they should be of good courage, since Caius's words indeed showed anger at them, but in reality had already set God against himself.
Hereupon Caius, taking it very heinously that he should be thus despised by the Jews alone, sent Petronius to be president of Syria, and successor in the government to Vitellius, and gave him order to make an invasion into Judea, with a great body of troops; and if they would admit of his statue willingly, to erect it in the temple of God; but if they were obstinate, to conquer them by war, and then to do it. Accordingly, Petronius took the government of Syria, and made haste to obey Caesar's epistle. He got together as great a number of auxiliaries as he possibly could, and took with him two legions of the Roman army, and came to Ptolemais, and there wintered, as intending to set about the war in the spring. He also wrote word to Caius what he had resolved to do, who commended him for his alacrity, and ordered him to go on, and to make war with them, in case they would not obey his commands.
But there came many ten thousands of the Jews to Petronius, to Ptolemais, to offer their petitions to him, that he would not compel them to transgress and violate the law of their forefathers; "but if," said they, "thou art entirely resolved to bring this statue, and erect it, do thou first kill us, and then do what thou hast resolved on; for while we are alive we cannot permit such things as are forbidden us to be done by the authority of our legislator, and by our forefathers' determination that such prohibitions are instances of virtue."
But Petronius was angry at them, and said,
"If indeed I were myself emperor, and were at liberty to follow my own inclination, and then had designed to act thus, these your words would be justly spoken to me; but now Caesar hath sent to me, I am under the necessity of being subservient to his decrees, because a disobedience to them will bring upon me inevitable destruction."
Then the Jews replied,
"Since, therefore, thou art so disposed, O Petronius! that thou wilt not disobey Caius's epistles, neither will we transgress the commands of our law; and as we depend upon the excellency of our laws, and, by the labors of our ancestors, have continued hitherto without suffering them to be transgressed, we dare not by any means suffer ourselves to be so timorous as to transgress those laws out of the fear of death, which God hath determined are for our advantage; and if we fall into misfortunes, we will bear them, in order to preserve our laws, as knowing that those who expose themselves to dangers have good hope of escaping them, because God will stand on our side, when, out of regard to him, we undergo afflictions, and sustain the uncertain turns of fortune. But if we should submit to thee, we should be greatly reproached for our cowardice, as thereby showing ourselves ready to transgress our law; and we should incur the great anger of God also, who, even thyself being judge, is superior to Caius."
When Petronius saw by their words that their determination was hard to be removed, and that, without a war, he should not be able to be subservient to Caius in the dedication of his statue, and that there must be a great deal of bloodshed, he took his friends, and the servants that were about him, and hasted to Tiberias, as wanting to know in what posture the affairs of the Jews were; and many ten thousands of the Jews met Petronius again, when he was come to Tiberias. These thought they must run a mighty hazard if they should have a war with the Romans, but judged that the transgression of the law was of much greater consequence, and made supplication to him, that he would by no means reduce them to such distresses, nor defile their city with the dedication of the statue. Then Petronius said to them,
"Will you then make war with Caesar, without considering his great preparations for war, and your own weakness?" They replied, "We will not by any means make war with him, but still we will die before we see our laws transgressed."
So they threw themselves down upon their faces, and stretched out their throats, and said they were ready to be slain; and this they did for forty days together, and in the mean time left off the tilling of their ground, and that while the season of the year required them to sow it. Thus they continued firm in their resolution, and proposed to themselves to die willingly, rather than to see the dedication of the statue.
When matters were in this state, Aristobulus, King Agrippa's brother, and Heleias the Great, and the other principal men of that family with them, went in unto Petronius, and besought him, that since he saw the resolution of the multitude, he would not make any alteration, and thereby drive them to despair; but would write to Caius, that the Jews had an insuperable aversion to the reception of the statue, and how they continued with him, and left of the tillage off their ground: that they were not willing to go to war with him, because they were not able to do it, but were ready to die with pleasure, rather than suffer their laws to be transgressed: and how, upon the land's continuing unsown, robberies would grow up, on the inability they would be under of paying their tributes; and that Caius might be thereby moved to pity, and not order any barbarous action to be done to them, nor think of destroying the nation: that if he continues inflexible in his former opinion to bring a war upon them, he may then set about it himself. And thus did Aristobulus, and the rest with him, supplicate Petronius.
So Petronius, partly on account of the pressing instances which Aristobulus and the rest with him made, and because of the great consequence of what they desired, and the earnestness wherewith they made their supplication, - partly on account of the firmness of the opposition made by the Jews, which he saw, while he thought it a terrible thing for him to be such a slave to the madness of Caius, as to slay so many ten thousand men, only because of their religious disposition towards God, and after that to pass his life in expectation of punishment; Petronius, I say, thought it much better to send to Caius, and to let him know how intolerable it was to him to bear the anger he might have against him for not serving him sooner, in obedience to his epistle, for that perhaps he might persuade him; and that if this mad resolution continued, he might then begin the war against them; nay, that in case he should turn his hatred against himself, it was fit for virtuous persons even to die for the sake of such vast multitudes of men. Accordingly, he determined to hearken to the petitioners in this matter.
He then called the Jews together to Tiberias, who came many ten thousands in number; he also placed that army he now had with him opposite to them; but did not discover his own meaning, but the commands of the emperor, and told them that his wrath would, without delay, be executed on such as had the courage to disobey what he had commanded, and this immediately; and that it was fit for him, who had obtained so great a dignity by his grant, not to contradict him in any thing: -
"yet," said he, "I do not think it just to have such a regard to my own safety and honor, as to refuse to sacrifice them for your preservation, who are so many in number, and endeavor to preserve the regard that is due to your law; which as it hath come down to you from your forefathers, so do you esteem it worthy of your utmost contention to preserve it: nor, with the supreme assistance and power of God, will I be so hardy as to suffer your temple to fall into contempt by the means of the imperial authority. I will, therefore, send to Caius, and let him know what your resolutions are, and will assist your suit as far as I am able, that you may not be exposed to suffer on account of the honest designs you have proposed to yourselves; and may God be your assistant, for his authority is beyond all the contrivance and power of men; and may he procure you the preservation of your ancient laws, and may not he be deprived, though without your consent, of his accustomed honors. But if Caius be irritated, and turn the violence of his rage upon me, I will rather undergo all that danger and that affliction that may come either on my body or my soul, than see so many of you to perish, while you are acting in so excellent a manner. Do you, therefore, every one of you, go your way about your own occupations, and fall to the cultivation of your ground; I will myself send to Rome, and will not refuse to serve you in all things, both by myself and by my friends."
When Petronius had said this, and had dismissed rite assembly of the Jews, he desired the principal of them to take care of their husbandry, and to speak kindly to the people, and encourage them to have good hope of their affairs. Thus did he readily bring the multitude to be cheerful again. And now did God show his presence to Petronius, and signify to him that he would afford him his assistance in his whole design; for he had no sooner finished the speech that he made to the Jews, but God sent down great showers of rain, contrary to human expectation; for that day was a clear day, and gave no sign, by the appearance of the sky, of any rain; nay, the whole year had been subject to a great drought, and made men despair of any water from above, even when at any time they saw the heavens overcast with clouds; insomuch that when such a great quantity of rain came, and that in an unusual manner, and without any other expectation of it, the Jews hoped that Petronius would by no means fail in his petition for them.
But as to Petronius, he was mightily surprised when he perceived that God evidently took care of the Jews, and gave very plain signs of his appearance, and this to such a degree, that those that were in earnest much inclined to the contrary had no power left to contradict it. This was also among those other particulars which he wrote to Caius, which all tended to dissuade him, and by all means to entreat him not to make so many ten thousands of these men go distracted; whom, if he should slay, (for without war they would by no means suffer the laws of their worship to be set aside,) he would lose the revenue they paid him, and would be publicly cursed by them for all future ages. Moreover, that God, who was their Governor, had shown his power most evidently on their account, and that such a power of his as left no room for doubt about it. And this was the business that Petronius was now engaged in.
But King Agrippa, who now lived at Rome, was more and more in the favor of Caius; and when he had once made him a supper, and was careful to exceed all others, both in expenses and in such preparations as might contribute most to his pleasure; nay, it was so far from the ability of others, that Caius himself could never equal, much less exceed it (such care had he taken beforehand to exceed all men, and particularly to make all agreeable to Caesar); hereupon Caius admired his understanding and magnificence, that he should force himself to do all to please him, even beyond such expenses as he could bear, and was desirous not to be behind Agrippa in that generosity which he exerted in order to please him. So Caius, when he had drank wine plentifully, and was merrier than ordinary, said thus during the feast, when Agrippa had drunk to him:
"I knew before now how great a respect thou hast had for me, and how great kindness thou hast shown me, though with those hazards to thyself, which thou underwentest under Tiberius on that account; nor hast thou omitted any thing to show thy good-will towards us, even beyond thy ability; whence it would be a base thing for me to be conquered by thy affection. I am therefore desirous to make thee amends for every thing in which I have been formerly deficient; for all that I have bestowed on thee, that may be called my gifts, is but little. Everything that may contribute to thy happiness shall be at thy service, and that cheerfully, and so far as my ability will reach."
And this was what Caius said to Agrippa, thinking be would ask for some large country, or the revenues of certain cities. But although he had prepared beforehand what he would ask, yet had he not discovered his intentions, but made this answer to Caius immediately: That it was not out of any expectation of gain that he formerly paid his respects to him, contrary to the commands of Tiberius, nor did he now do any thing relating to him out of regard to his own advantage, and in order to receive any thing from him; that the gifts he had already bestowed upon him were great, and beyond the hopes of even a craving man; for although they may be beneath thy power, [who art the donor,] yet are they greater than my inclination and dignity, who am the receiver. And as Caius was astonished at Agrippa's inclinations, and still the more pressed him to make his request for somewhat which he might gratify him with, Agrippa replied,
"Since thou, O my lord! declarest such is thy readiness to grant, that I am worthy of thy gifts, I will ask nothing relating to my own felicity; for what thou hast already bestowed on me has made me excel therein; but I desire somewhat which may make thee glorious for piety, and render the Divinity assistant to thy designs, and may be for an honor to me among those that inquire about it, as showing that I never once fail of obtaining what I desire of thee; for my petition is this, that thou wilt no longer think of the dedication of that statue which thou hast ordered to be set up in the Jewish temple by Petronius."
And thus did Agrippa venture to cast the die upon this occasion, so great was the affair in his opinion, and in reality, though he knew how dangerous a thing it was so to speak; for had not Caius approved of it, it had tended to no less than the loss of his life. So Caius, who was mightily taken with Agrippa's obliging behavior, and on other accounts thinking it a dishonorable thing to be guilty of falsehood before so many witnesses, in points wherein he had with such alacrity forced Agrippa to become a petitioner, and that it would look as if he had already repented of what he had said, and because he greatly admired Agrippa's virtue, in not desiring him at all to augment his own dominions, either with larger revenues, or other authority, but took care of the public tranquility, of the laws, and of the Divinity itself, he granted him what he had requested. He also wrote thus to Petronius, commending him for his assembling his army, and then consulting him about these affairs.
"If therefore," said' he," thou hast already erected my statue, let it stand; but if thou hast not yet dedicated it, do not trouble thyself further about it, but dismiss thy army, go back, and take care of those affairs which I sent thee about at first, for I have now no occasion for the erection of that statue. This I have granted as a favor to Agrippa, a man whom I honor so very greatly, that I am not able to contradict what he would have, or what he desired me to do for him."
And this was what Caius wrote to Petronius, which was before he received his letter, informing him that the Jews were very ready to revolt about the statue, and that they seemed resolved to threaten war against the Romans, and nothing else. When therefore Caius was much displeased that any attempt should be made against his government as he was a slave to base and vicious actions on all occasions, and had no regard to What was virtuous and honorable, and against whomsoever he resolved to show his anger, and that for any cause whatsoever, he suffered not himself to be restrained by any admonition, but thought the indulging his anger to be a real pleasure, he wrote thus to Petronius:
"Seeing thou esteemest the presents made thee by the Jews to be of greater value than my commands, and art grown insolent enough to be subservient to their pleasure, I charge thee to become thy own judge, and to consider what thou art to do, now thou art under my displeasure; for I will make thee an example to the present and to all future ages, that they may not dare to contradict the commands of their emperor."
This was the epistle which Caius wrote to Petronius; but Petronius did not receive it while Caius was alive, that ship which carried it sailing so slow, that other letters came to Petronius before this, by which he understood that Caius was dead; for God would not forget the dangers Petronius had undertaken on account of the Jews, and of his own honor. But when he had taken Caius away, out of his indignation of what he had so insolently attempted in assuming to himself divine worship, both Rome and all that dominion conspired with Petronius, especially those that were of the senatorian order, to give Caius his due reward, because he had been unmercifully severe to them; for he died not long after he had written to Petronius that epistle which threatened him with death. But as for the occasion of his death, and the nature of the plot against him, I shall relate them in the progress of this narration. Now that epistle which informed Petronius of Caius's death came first, and a little afterward came that which commanded him to kill himself with his own hands. Whereupon he rejoiced at this coincidence as to the death of Caius, and admired God's providence , who, without the least delay, and immediately, gave him a reward for the regard he had to the temple, and the assistance he afforded the Jews for avoiding the dangers they were in. And by this means Petronius escaped that danger of death, which he could not foresee.
Jewish envoys sent to Caius after which Petronius sent to make war with them
A VERY sad calamity now befell the Jews that were in Mesopotamia, and especially those that dwelt in Babylonia. Inferior it was to none of the calamities which had gone before, and came together with a great slaughter of them, and that greater than any upon record before; concerning all which I shall speak accurately, and shall explain the occasions whence these miseries came upon them. There was a city of Babylonia called Neerda; not only a ver populous one, but one that had a good and a large territory about it, and, besides its other advantages, full of men also. It was, besides, not easily to be assaulted by enemies, from the river Euphrates encompassing it all round, and from the wails that were built about it. There was also the city Nisibis, situate on the same current of the river. For which reason the Jews, depending on the natural strength of these places, deposited in them that half shekel which every one, by the custom of our country, offers unto God, as well as they did other things devoted to him; for they made use of these cities as a treasury, whence, at a proper time, they were transmitted to Jerusalem; and many ten thousand men undertook the carriage of those donations, out of fear of the ravages of the Parthians, to whom the Babylonians were then subject.
Now there were two men, Asineus and Anileus, of the city Neerda by birth, and brethren to one another. They were destitute of a father, and their mother put them to learn the art of weaving curtains, it not being esteemed ,disgrace among them for men to be weavers of cloth. Now he that taught them that art, and was set over them, complained that they came too late to their work, and punished them with stripes; but they took this just punishment as an affront, and carried off all the weapons which were kept in that house, which were not a few, and went into a certain place where was a partition of the rivers, and was a place naturally very fit for the feeding of cattle, and for preserving such fruits as were usually laid up against winter.
The poorest sort of the young men also resorted to them, whom they armed with the weapons they had gotten, and became their captains; and nothing hindered them from being their leaders into mischief; for as soon as they were become invincible, and had built them a citadel, they sent to such as fed cattle, and ordered them to pay them so much tribute out of them as might be sufficient for their maintenance, proposing also that they would be their friends, if they would submit to them, and that they would defend them from all their other enemies on every side, but that they would kill the cattle of those that refused to obey them. So they hearkened to their proposals, (for they could do nothing else,) and sent them as many sheep as were required of them; whereby their forces grew greater, and they became lords over all they pleased, because they marched suddenly, and did them a mischief, insomuch that every body who had to do with them chose to pay them respect; and they became formidable to such as came to assault them, till the report about them came to the ears of the King of Parthia himself.
But when the governor of Babylonia understood this, and had a mind to put a stop to them before they grew greater, and before greater mischiefs should arise from them, he got together as great an army as he could, both of Parthians and Babylonians, and marched against them, thinking to attack them and destroy them before any one should carry them the news that he had got an army together. He then encamped at a lake, and lay still; but on the next day (it was the sabbath, which is among the Jews a day of rest from all sorts of work) he supposed that the enemy would not dare to fight him thereon, but that he would take them and carry them away prisoners, without fighting. He therefore proceeded gradually, and thought to fall upon them on the sudden. Now Asineus was sitting with the rest, and their weapons lay by them; upon which he said,
"Sirs, I hear a neighing of horses; not of such as are feeding, but such as have men on their backs; I also hear such a noise of their bridles, that I am afraid that some enemies are coming upon us to encompass us round. However, let somebody go to look about, and make report of what reality there is in the present state of things; and may what I have said prove a false alarm."
And when he had said this, some of them went out to spy out what was the matter; and they came again immediately, and said to him, that
"neither hast thou been mistaken in telling us what our enemies were doing, nor will those enemies permit us to be injurious to people any longer. We are caught by their intrigues like brute beasts, and there is a large body of cavalry marching upon us, while we are destitute of hands to defend ourselves withal, because we are restrained from doing it by the prohibition of our law, which obliges us to rest [on this day]."
But Asiueus did not by any means agree with the opinion of his spy as to what was to be done, but thought it more agreeable to the law to pluck up their spirits in this necessity they were fallen into, and break their law by avenging themselves, although they should die in the action, than by doing nothing to please their enemies in submitting to be slain by them. Accordingly, he took up his weapons, and infused courage into those that were with him to act as courageously as himself. So they fell upon their enemies, and slew a great many of them, because they despised them and came as to a certain victory, and put the rest to flight.
But when the news of this fight came to the King of Parthia, he was surprised at the boldness of these brethren, and was desirous to see them, and speak with them. He therefore sent the most trusty of all his guards to say thus to them:
"That King Artsbanus, although he had been unjustly treated by you, who have made an attempt against his government, yet hath he more regard to your courageous behavior, than to the anger he bears to you, and hath sent me to give you his right hand
and security; and he permits you to come to him safely, and without any violence upon the road; and he wants to have you address yourselves to him as friends, without meaning any guile or deceit to you. He also promises to make you presents, and to pay you those respects which will make an addition of his power to your courage, and thereby be of advantage to you."
Yet did Asineus himself put off his journey thither, but sent his brother Anileus with all such presents as he could procure. So he went, and was admitted to the king's presence; and when Artabanus saw Anileus coming alone, he inquired into the reason why Asineus avoided to come along with him; and when he understood that he was afraid, and staid by the lake, he took an oath, by the gods of his country, that he would do them no harm, if they came to him upon the assurances he gave them, and gave him his right hand. This is of the greatest force there with all these barbarians, and affords a firm security to those who converse with them; for none of them will deceive you when once they have given you their right hands, nor will any one doubt of their fidelity, when that is once given, even though they were before suspected of injustice.
When Artabanus had done this, he sent away Anileus to persuade his brother to come to him. Now this the King did, because he wanted to curb his own governors of provinces by the courage of these Jewish brethren, lest they should make a league with them; for they were ready for a revolt, and were disposed to rebel, had they been sent on an expedition against them. He was also afraid, lest when he was engaged in a war, in order to subdue those governors of provinces that had revolted, the party of Asineus, and those in Babylonia, should be augmented, and either make war upon him, when they should hear of that revolt, or if they should be disappointed in that case, they would not fail of doing further mischief to him.
When the King had these intentions, he sent away Anileus, and Anileus prevailed on his brother [to come to the king], when he had related to him the king's good-will, and the oath that he had taken. Accordingly, they made haste to go to Artsbanus, who received them when they were come with pleasure, and admired Asineus's courage in the actions he had done, and this because he was a little man to see to, and at first sight appeared contemptible also, and such as one might deem a person of no value at all. He also said to his friends, how, upon the comparison, he showed his soul to be in all respects superior to his body; and when, as they were drinking together, he once showed Asineus to Abdagases, one of the generals of his army, and told him his name, and described the great courage he was of in war, and Abdagases had desired leave to kill him, and thereby to inflict on him a punishment for those injuries he had done to the Parthian government, the King replied,
"I will never give thee leave to kill a man who hath depended on my faith, especially not after I have sent him my right hand, and endeavored to gain his belief by oaths made by the gods. But if thou be a truly warlike man, thou standest not in need of my perjury. Go thou then, and avenge the Parthian government; attack this man, when he is returned back, and conquer him by the forces that are under thy command, without my privity."
Hereupon the King called for Asineus, and said to him,
"It is time for thee, O thou young man! to return home, and not provoke the indignation of my generals in this place any further, lest they attempt to murder thee, and that without my approbation. I commit to thee the country of Babylonia in trust, that it may, by thy care, be preserved free from robbers, and from other mischiefs. I have kept my faith inviolable to thee, and that not in trifling affairs, but in those that concerned thy safety, and do therefore deserve thou shouldst be kind to me."
When he had said this, and given Asineus some presents, he sent him away immediately; who, when he was come home, built fortresses, and became great in a little time, and managed things with such courage and success, as no other person, that had no higher a beginning, ever did before him. Those Parthian governors also, who were sent that way, paid him great respect; and the honor that was paid him by the Babylonians seemed to them too small, and beneath his deserts, although he were in no small dignity and power there; nay, indeed, all the affairs of Mesopotamia depended upon him, and he more and more flourished in this happy condition of his for fifteen years.
But as their affairs were in so flourishing a state, there sprang up a calamity among them on the following occasion. When once they had deviated from that course of virtue whereby they had gained so great power, they affronted and transgressed the laws of their forefathers, and fell under the dominion of their lusts and pleasures. A certain Parthian, who came as general of an army into those parts, had a wife following him, who had a vast reputation for other accomplishments, and particularly was admired above all other women for her beauty. Anileus, the brother of Asineus, either heard of that her beauty from others, or perhaps saw her himself also, and so became at once her lover and her enemy; partly because he could not hope to enjoy this woman but by obtaining power over her as a captive, and partly because he thought he could not conquer his inclinations for her. As soon therefore as her husband had been declared an enemy to them, and was fallen in the battle, the widow of the deceased was married to this her lover.
However, this woman did not come into their house without producing great misfortunes, both to Anileus himself, and to Asineus also; but brought great mischiefs upon them on the occasion following. Since she was led away captive, upon the death of her husband, she concealed the images of those gods which were their country gods, common to her husband and to herself: now it was the custom of that country for all to have the idols they worship in their own houses, and to carry them along with them when they go into a foreign land; agreeable to which custom of theirs she carried her idols with her. Now at first she performed her worship to them privately; but when she was become Anileus's married wife, she worshipped them in her accustomed manner, and with the same appointed ceremonies which she used in her former husband's days; upon which their most esteemed friends blamed him at first, that he did not act after the manner of the Hebrews, nor perform what was agreeable to their laws, in marrying a foreign wife, and one that transgressed the accurate appointments of their sacrifices and religious ceremonies; that he ought to consider, lest, by allowing himself in many pleasures of the body, he might lose his principality, on account of the beauty of a wife, and that high authority which, by God's blessing, he had arrived at.
But when they prevailed not at all upon him, he slew one of them for whom he had the greatest respect, because of the liberty he took with him; who, when he was dying, out of regard to the laws, imprecated a punishment upon his murderer Anileus, and upon Asineus also, and that all their companions might come to a like end from their enemies; upon the two first as the principal actors of this wickedness, and upon the rest as those that would not assist him when he suffered in the defense of their laws. Now these latter were sorely grieved, yet did they tolerate these doings, because they remembered that they had arrived at their present happy state by no other means than their fortitude. But when they also heard of the worship of those gods whom the Parthians adore, they thought the injury that Anileus offered to their laws was to be borne no longer; and a greater number of them came to Asineus, and loudly complained of Aniteus, and told him that it had been well that he had of himself seen what was advantageous to them; but that however it was now high time to correct what had been done amiss, before the crime that had been committed proved the ruin of himself and all the rest of them.
They added, that the marriage of this woman was made without their consent, and without a regard to their old laws; and that the worship which this woman paid [to her gods] was a reproach to the God whom they worshipped. Now Asineus was sensible of his brother's offense, that it had been already the cause of great mischiefs, and would be so for the time to come; yet did he tolerate the same from the good-will he had to so near a relation, and forgiving it to him, on account that his brother was quite overborne by his wicked inclinations. But as more and more still came about him every day, and the clamors about it became greater, he at length spake to Anileus about these clamors, reproving him for his former actions, and desiring him for the future to leave them off, and send the woman back to her relations. But nothing was gained by these reproofs; for as the woman perceived what a tumult was made among the people on her account, and was afraid for Anileus, lest he should come to any harm for his love to her, she infused poison into Asineus's food, and thereby took him off, and was now secure of prevailing, when her lover was to be judge of what should be done about her.
So Anileus took the government upon himself alone, and led his army against the villages of Mithridates, who was a man of principal authority in Parthin, and had married King Artabanus's daughter; he also plundered them, and among that prey was found much money, and many slaves, as also a great number of sheep, and many other things, which, when gained, make men's condition happy. Now when Mithridates, who was there at this time, heard that his villages were taken, he was very much displeased to find that Anileus had first begun to injure him, and to affront him in his present dignity, when he had not offered any injury to him beforehand; and he got together the greatest body of horsemen he was able, and those out of that number which were of an age fit for war, and came to fight Anileus; and when he was arrived at a certain village of his own, he lay still there, as intending to fight him on the day following, because it was the sabbath, the day on which the Jews rest.
And when Anileus was informed of this by a Syrian stranger of another village, who not only gave him an exact account of other circumstances, but told him where Mithridates would have a feast, he took his supper at a proper time, and marched by night, with an intent of falling upon the Parthians while they were unaprrized what they should do; so he fell upon them about the fourth watch of the night, and some of them he slew while they were asleep, and others he put to flight, and took Mithridates alive, and set him naked upon an ass which, among the Parthians, is esteemed the greatest reproach possible. And when he had brought him into a wood with such a resolution, and his friends desired him to kill Mithridates, he soon told them his own mind to the contrary, and said that it was not right to kill a man who was of one of the principal families among the Parthians, and greatly honored with matching into the royal family; that so far as they had hitherto gone was tolerable; for although they had injured Mithridates, yet if they preserved his life, this benefit would be remembered by him to the advantage of those that gave it him; but that if be were once put to death, the King would not be at rest till he had made a great slaughter of the Jews that dwelt at Babylon;
"to whose safety we ought to have a regard, both on account of our relation to them, and because if any misfortune befall us, we have no other place to retire to, since he hath gotten the flower of their youth under him."
By this thought, and this speech of his made in council, he persuaded them to act accordingly; so Mithridates was let go. But when he was got away, his wife reproached him, that although he was son-in-law to the king, he neglected to avenge himself on those that had injured him, while he took no care about it, but was contented to have been made a captive by the Jews, and to have escaped them; and she bid him either to go back like a man of courage, or else she sware by the gods of their royal family that she would certainly dissolve her marriage with him. Upon which, partly because he could not bear the daily trouble of her taunts, and partly because he was afraid of her insolence, lest she should in earnest dissolve their marriage, he unwillingly, and against his inclinations, got together again as great an army as he could, and marched along with them, as himself thinking it a thing not to be borne any longer, that he, a Parthian, should owe his preservation to the Jews, when they had been too hard for him in the war.
But as soon as Anileus understood that Mithridates was marching with a great army against him, he thought it too ignominious a thing to tarry about the lakes, and not to take the first opportunity of meeting his enemies, and he hoped to have the same success, and to beat their enemies as they did before; as also he ventured boldly upon the like attempts. Accordingly, he led out his army, and a great many more joined themselves to that army, in order to betake themselves to plunder the people, and in order to terrify the enemy again by their numbers. But when they had marched ninety furlongs, while the road had been through dry [and sandy] places, and about the midst of the day, they were become very thirsty; and Mithridates appeared, and fell upon them, as they were in distress for want of water, on which account, and on account of the time of the day, they were not able to bear their weapons. So Anileus and his men were put to an ignominious rout, while men in despair were to attack those that were fresh and in good plight; so a great slaughter was made, and many ten thousand men fell.
Now Anileus, and all that stood firm about him, ran away as fast as they were able into a wood, and afforded Mithridates the pleasure of having gained a great victory over them. But there now came in to Anileus a conflux of bad men, who regarded their own lives very little, if they might but gain some present ease, insomuch that they, by thus coming to him, compensated the multitude of those that perished in the fight. Yet were not these men like to those that fell, because they were rash, and unexercised in war; however, with these he came upon the villages of the Babylonians, and a mighty devastation of all things was made there by the injuries that Anileus did them. So the Babylonians, and those that had already been in the war, sent to Neerda to the Jews there, and demanded Anileus. But although they did not agree to their demands, (for if they had been willing to deliver him up, it was not in their power so to do,) yet did they desire to make peace with them. To which the other replied, that they also wanted to settle conditions of peace with them, and sent men together with the Babylonians, who discoursed with Anileus about them. But the Babylonians, upon taking a view of his situation, and having learned where Anileus and his men lay, fell secretly upon them as they were drunk and fallen asleep, and slew all that they caught of them, without any fear, and killed Anileus himself also.
Jews attacked by Babylonians
The Babylonians were now freed from Anileus's heavy incursions, which had been a great restraint to the effects of that hatred they bore to the Jews; for they were almost always at variance, by reason of the contrariety of their laws; and which party soever grew boldest before the other, they assaulted the other: and at this time in particular it was, that upon the ruin of Anileus's party, the Babylonians attacked the Jews, which made those Jews so, vehemently to resent the injuries they received from the Babylonians, that being neither able to fight them, nor bearing to live with them, they went to Seleucia, the principal city of those parts, which was built by Seleucus Nicator. It was inhabited by many of the Macedonians, but by more of the Grecians; not a few of the Syrians also dwelt there; and thither did the Jews fly, and lived there five years, without any misfortunes. But on the sixth year, a pestilence came upon these at Babylon, which occasioned new removals of men's habitations out of that city; and because they came to Seleucia, it happened that a still heavier calamity came upon them on that account which I am going to relate immediately.
Now the way of living of the people of Seleucia, which were Greeks and Syrians, was commonly quarrelsome, and full of discords, though the Greeks were too hard for the Syrians. When, therefore, the Jews were come thither, and dwelt among them, there arose a sedition, and the Syrians were too hard for the other, by the assistance of the Jews, who are men that despise dangers, and very ready to fight upon any occasion. Now when the Greeks had the worst in this sedition, and saw that they had but one way of recovering their former authority, and that was, if they could prevent the agreement between the Jews and the Syrians, they every one discoursed with such of the Syrians as were formerly their acquaintance, and promised they would be at peace and friendship with them. Accordingly, they gladly agreed so to do; and when this was done by the principal men of both nations, they soon agreed to a reconciliation; and when they were so agreed, they both knew that the great design of such their union would be their common hatred to the Jews.
Accordingly, they fell upon them, and slew about fifty thousand of them; nay, the Jews were all destroyed, excepting a few who escaped, either by the compassion which their friends or neighbors afforded them, in order to let them fly away. These retired to Ctesiphon, a Grecian city, and situate near to Seleucia, where the King [of Parthia] lives in winter every year, and where the greatest part of his riches are reposited; but the Jews had here no certain settlement, those of Seleucia having little concern for the king's honor. Now the whole nation of the Jews were in fear both of the Babylonians and of the Seleucians, because all the Syrians that live in those places agreed with the Seleucians in the war against the Jews; so the most of them gathered themselves together, and went to Neerda and Nisibis, and obtained security there by the strength of those cities; besides which their inhabitants, who were a great many, were all warlike men. And this was the state of the Jews at this time in Babylonia.
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