The Works of Flavius Josephus
Translated by William Whiston
Antiquities of the Jews - Book XVIII
WHAT BEFELL THE JEWS THAT WERE IN BABYLON ON OCCASION OF ASINEUS AND ANILEUS, TWO BRETHREN,
1. 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 very 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
Antiquities of the Jews - Book XX
HOW IZATES WAS BETRAYED BY HIS OWN SUBJECTS, AND FOUGHT AGAINST BY THE ARABIANS AND HOW IZATES, BY THE PROVIDENCE OF GOD, WAS DELIVERED OUT OF THEIR HANDS.
1. NOW when the king's brother, Monobazus, and his other kindred, saw how Izates, by his piety to God, was become greatly esteemed by all men, they also had a desire to leave the religion of their country, and to embrace the customs of the Jews; but that act of theirs was discovered by Izates's subjects. Whereupon the grandees were much displeased, and could not contain their anger at them; but had an intention, when they should find a proper opportunity, to inflict a punishment upon them. Accordingly, they wrote to Abia, king of the Arabians, and promised him great sums of money, if he would make an expedition against their king; and they further promised him, that, on the first onset, they would desert their king, because they were desirous to punish him, by reason of the hatred he had to their religious worship; then they obliged themselves, by oaths, to be faithful to each other, and desired that he would make haste in this design. The king of Arabia complied with their desires, and brought a great army into the field, and marched against Izates; and, in the beginning of the first onset, and before they came to a close fight, those Handees, as if they had a panic terror upon them, all deserted Izates, as they had agreed to do, and, turning their backs upon their enemies, ran away. Yet was not Izates dismayed at this; but when he understood that the grandees had betrayed him, he also retired into his camp, and made inquiry into the matter; and as soon as he knew who they were that made this conspiracy with the king of Arabia, he cut off those that were found guilty; and renewing the fight on the next day, he slew the greatest part of his enemies, and forced all the rest to betake themselves to flight. He also pursued their king, and drove him into a fortress called Arsamus, and following on the siege vigorously, he took that fortress. And when he had plundered it of all the prey that was in it, which was not small, he returned to Adiabene; yet did not he take Abia alive, because, when he found himself encompassed on every side, he slew himself.
2. But although the grandees of Adiabene had failed in their first attempt, as being delivered up by God into their king's hands, yet would they not even then be quiet, but wrote again to Vologases, who was then king of Parthia, and desired that he would kill Izates, and set over them some other potentate, who should be of a Parthian family; for they said that they hated their own king for abrogating the laws of their forefathers, and embracing foreign customs. When the king of Parthia heard this, he boldly made war upon Izates; and as he had no just pretense for this war, he sent to him, and demanded back those honorable privileges which had been bestowed on him by his father, and threatened, on his refusal, to make war upon him. Upon hearing of this, Izates was under no small trouble of mind, as thinking it would be a reproach upon him to appear to resign those privileges that had been bestowed upon him out of cowardice; yet because he knew, that though the king of Parthia should receive back those honors, yet would he not be quiet, he resolved to commit himself to God, his Protector, in the present danger he was in of his life; and as he esteemed him to be his principal assistant, he intrusted his children and his wives to a very strong fortress, and laid up his corn in his citadels, and set the hay and the grass on fire. And when he had thus put things in order, as well as he could, he awaited the coming of the enemy. And when the king of Parthia was come, with a great army of footmen and horsemen, which he did sooner than was expected, (for he marched in great haste,) and had cast up a bank at the river that parted Adiabene from Media, - Izates also pitched his camp not far off, having with him six thousand horsemen. But there came a messenger to Izates, sent by the king of Parthia, who told him how large his dominions were, as reaching from the river Euphrates to Bactria, and enumerated that king's subjects; he also threatened him that he should be punished, as a person ungrateful to his lords; and said that the God whom he worshipped could not deliver him out of the king's hands. When the messenger had delivered this his message, Izates replied that he knew the king of Parthia's power was much greater than his own; but that he knew also that God was much more powerful than all men. And when he had returned him this answer, he betook himself to make supplication to God, and threw himself upon the ground, and put ashes upon his head, in testimony of his confusion, and fasted, together with his wives and children.Then he called upon God, and said, "O Lord and Governor, if I have not in vain committed myself to thy goodness, but have justly determined that thou only art the Lord and principal of all beings, come now to my assistance, and defend me from my enemies, not only on my own account, but on account of their insolent behavior with regard to thy power, while they have not feared to lift up their proud and arrogant tongue against thee." Thus did he lament and bemoan himself, with tears in his eyes; whereupon God heard his prayer. And immediately that very night Vologases received letters, the contents of which were these, that a great band of Dahe and Sacse, despising him, now he was gone so long a journey from home, had made an expedition, and laid Parthis waste; so that he [was forced to] retire back, without doing any thing. And thus it was that Izates escaped the threatenings of the Parthians, by the providence of God.
3. It was not long ere Izates died, when he had completed fifty-five years of his life, and had ruled his kingdom twenty-four years. He left behind him twenty-four sons and twenty-four daughters. However, he gave order that his brother Monobazus should succeed in the government, thereby requiting him, because, while he was himself absent after their father's death, he had faithfully preserved the government for him. But when Helena, his mother, heard of her son's death, she was in great heaviness, as was but natural, upon her loss of such a most dutiful son; yet was it a comfort to her that she heard the succession came to her eldest son. Accordingly, she went to him in haste; and when she was come into Adiabene, she did not long outlive her son Izates. But Monobazus sent her bones, as well as those of Izates, his brother, to Jerusalem, and gave order that they should be buried at the pyramids which their mother had erected; they were three in number, and distant no more than three furlongs from the city Jerusalem. But for the actions of Monobazus the king, which he did during the rest of his life. we will relate them hereafter.-
This account happened after the Jewish nation stopped the daily sacrifice for Rome and Caesar but before Cestius surrounded Jerusalem with his army and then removed hi army out of Judea.
Wars of the Jews Book II
THE CALAMITIES AND SLAUGHTERS THAT CAME UPON THE JEWS.
1. NOW the people of Cesarea had slain the Jews that were among them on the very same day and hour [when the soldiers were slain], which one would think must have come to pass by the direction of Providence; insomuch that in one hour's time above twenty thousand Jews were killed, and all Cesarea was emptied of its Jewish inhabitants; for Florus caught such as ran away, and sent them in bonds to the galleys. Upon which stroke that the Jews received at Cesarea, the whole nation was greatly enraged; so they divided themselves into several parties, and laid waste the villages of the Syrians, and their neighboring cities, Philadelphia, and Sebonitis, and Gerasa, and Pella, and Scythopolis, and after them Gadara, and Hippos; and falling upon Gaulonitis, some cities they destroyed there, and some they set on fire, and then went to Kedasa, belonging to the Tyrians, and to Ptolemais, and to Gaba, and to Cesarea; nor was either Sebaste [Samaria] or Askelon able to oppose the violence with which they were attacked; and when they had burnt these to the ground; they entirely demolished Anthedon and Gaza; many also of the villages that were about every one of those cities were plundered, and an immense slaughter was made of the men who were caught in them.
2. However, the Syrians were even with the Jews in the multitude of the men whom they slew; for they killed those whom they caught in their cities, and that not only out of the hatred they bare them, as formerly, but to prevent the danger under which they were from them; so that the disorders in all Syria were terrible, and every city was divided into two armies, encamped one against another, and the preservation of the one party was in the destruction of the other; so the day time was spent in shedding of blood, and the night in fear, which was of the two the more terrible; for when the Syrians thought they had ruined the Jews, they had the Judaizers in suspicion also; and as each side did not care to slay those whom they only suspected on the other, so did they greatly fear them when they were mingled with the other, as if they were certainly foreigners. Moreover, greediness of gain was a provocation to kill the opposite party, even to such as had of old appeared very mild and gentle towards them; for they without fear plundered the effects of the slain, and carried off the spoils of those whom they slew to their own houses, as if they had been gained in a set battle; and he was esteemed a man of honor who got the greatest share, as having prevailed over the greatest number of his enemies. It was then common to see cities filled with dead bodies, still lying unburied, and those of old men, mixed with infants, all dead, and scattered about together; women also lay amongst them, without any covering for their nakedness: you might then see the whole province full of inexpressible calamities, while the dread of still more barbarous practices which were threatened was every where greater than what had been already perpetrated.
3. And thus far the conflict had been between Jews and foreigners; but when they made excursions to Scythopolis, they found Jew that acted as enemies; for as they stood in battle-array with those of Scythopolis, and preferred their own safety before their relation to us, they fought against their own countrymen; nay, their alacrity was so very great, that those of Scythopolis suspected them. These were afraid, therefore, lest they should make an assault upon the city in the night time, and, to their great misfortune, should thereby make an apology for themselves to their own people for their revolt from them. So they commanded them, that in case they would confirm their agreement and demonstrate their fidelity to them, who were of a different nation, they should go out of the city, with their families to a neighboring grove; and when they had done as they were commanded, without suspecting any thing, the people of Scythopolis lay still for the interval of two days, to tempt them to be secure; but on the third night they watched their opportunity, and cut all their throats, some as they lay unguarded, and some as they lay asleep. The number that was slain was above thirteen thousand, and then they plundered them of all that they had.
4. It will deserve our relation what befell Simon; he was the son of one Saul, a man of reputation among the Jews. This man was distinguished from the rest by the strength of his body, and the boldness of his conduct, although he abused them both to the mischieving of his countrymen; for he came every day and slew a great many of the Jews of Scythopolis, and he frequently put them to flight, and became himself alone the cause of his army's conquering. But a just punishment overtook him for the murders he had committed upon those of the same nation with him; for when the people of Scythopolis threw their darts at them in the grove, he drew his sword, but did not attack any of the enemy; for he saw that he could do nothing against such a multitude; but he cried out after a very moving manner, and said, "O you people of Scythopolis, I deservedly suffer for what I have done with relation to you, when I gave you such security of my fidelity to you, by slaying so many of those that were related to me. Wherefore we very justly experience the perfidiousness of foreigners, while we acted after a most wicked manner against our own nation. I will therefore die, polluted wretch as I am, by nine own hands; for it is not fit I should die by the hand of our enemies; and let the same action be to me both a punishment for my great crimes, and a testimony of my courage to my commendation, that so no one of our enemies may have it to brag of, that he it was that slew me, and no one may insult upon me as I fall." Now when he had said this, he looked round about him upon his family with eyes of commiseration and of rage (that family consisted of a wife and children, and his aged parents); so, in the first place, he caught his father by his grey hairs, and ran his sword through him, and after him he did the same to his mother, who willingly received it; and after them he did the like to his wife and children, every one almost offering themselves to his sword, as desirous to prevent being slain by their enemies; so when he had gone over all his family, he stood upon their bodies to be seen by all, and stretching out his right hand, that his action might be observed by all, he sheathed his entire sword into his own bowels. This young man was to be pitied, on account of the strength of his body and the courage of his soul; but since he had assured foreigners of his fidelity [against his own countrymen], he suffered deservedly.
5. Besides this murder at Scythopolis, the other cities rose up against the Jews that were among them; those of Askelon slew two thousand five hundred, and those of Ptolemais two thousand, and put not a few into bonds; those of Tyre also put a great number to death, but kept a greater number in prison; moreover, those of Hippos, and those of Gadara, did the like while they put to death the boldest of the Jews, but kept those of whom they were afraid in custody; as did the rest of the cities of Syria, according as they every one either hated them or were afraid of them; only the Antiochtans the Sidontans, and Apamians spared those that dwelt with them, and would not endure either to kill any of the Jews, or to put them in bonds. And perhaps they spared them, because their own number was so great that they despised their attempts. But I think the greatest part of this favor was owing to their commiseration of those whom they saw to make no innovations. As for the Gerasans, they did no harm to those that abode with them; and for those who had a mind to go away, they conducted them as far as their borders reached.
6. There was also a plot laid against the Jews in Agrippa's kingdom; for he was himself gone to Cestius Gallus, to Antioch, but had left one of his companions, whose name was Noarus, to take care of the public affairs; which Noarus was of kin to king Sohemus. Now there came certain men seventy in number, out of Batanea, who were the most considerable for their families and prudence of the rest of the people; these desired to have an army put into their hands, that if any tumult should happen, they might have about them a guard sufficient to restrain such as might rise up against them. This Noarus sent out some of the king's armed men by night, and slew all those [seventy] men; which bold action he ventured upon without the consent of Agrippa, and was such a lover of money, that he chose to be so wicked to his own countrymen, though he brought ruin on the kingdom thereby; and thus cruelly did he treat that nation, and this contrary to the laws also, until Agrippa was informed of it, who did not indeed dare to put him to death, out of regard to Sohemus; but still he put an end to his procuratorship immediately. But as to the seditious, they took the citadel which was called Cypros, and was above Jericho, and cut the throats of the garrison, and utterly demolished the fortifications. This was about the same time that the multitude of the Jews that were at Machorus persuaded the Romans who were in garrison to leave the place, and deliver it up to them. These Romans being in great fear, lest the place should be taken by force, made an agreement with them to depart upon certain conditions; and when they had obtained the security they desired, they delivered up the citadel, into which the people of Macherus put a garrison for their own security, and held it in their own power.
7. But for Alexandria, the sedition of the people of the place against the Jews was perpetual, and this from that very time when Alexander [the Great], upon finding the readiness of the Jews in assisting him against the Egyptians, and as a reward for such their assistance, gave them equal privileges in this city with the Grecians themselves; which honorary reward Continued among them under his successors, who also set apart for them a particular place, that they might live without being polluted [by the Gentiles], and were thereby not so much intermixed with foreigners as before; they also gave them this further privilege, that they should be called Macedonians. Nay, when the Romans got possession of Egypt, neither the first Caesar, nor any one that came after him, thought of diminishing the honors which Alexander had bestowed on the Jews. But still conflicts perpetually arose with the Grecians; and although the governors did every day punish many of them, yet did the sedition grow worse; but at this time especially, when there were tumults in other places also, the disorders among them were put into a greater flame; for when the Alexandrians had once a public assembly, to deliberate about an embassage they were sending to Nero, a great number of Jews came flocking to the theater; but when their adversaries saw them, they immediately cried out, and called them their enemies, and said they came as spies upon them; upon which they rushed out, and laid violent hands upon them; and as for the rest, they were slain as they ran away; but there were three men whom they caught, and hauled them along, in order to have them burnt alive; but all the Jews came in a body to defend them, who at first threw stones at the Grecians, but after that they took lamps, and rushed with violence into the theater, and threatened that they would burn the people to a man; and this they had soon done, unless Tiberius Alexander, the governor of the city, had restrained their passions. However, this man did not begin to teach them wisdom by arms, but sent among them privately some of the principal men, and thereby entreated them to be quiet, and not provoke the Roman army against them; but the seditious made a jest of the entreaties of Tiberius, and reproached him for so doing.
8. Now when he perceived that those who were for innovations would not be pacified till some great calamity should overtake them, he sent out upon them those two Roman legions that were in the city, and together with them five thousand other soldiers, who, by chance, were come together out of Libya, to the ruin of the Jews. They were also permitted not only to kill them, but to plunder them of what they had, and to set fire to their houses. These soldiers rushed violently into that part of the city that was called Delta, where the Jewish people lived together, and did as they were bidden, though not without bloodshed on their own side also; for the Jews got together, and set those that were the best armed among them in the forefront, and made a resistance for a great while; but when once they gave back, they were destroyed unmercifully; and this their destruction was complete, some being caught in the open field, and others forced into their houses, which houses were first plundered of what was in them, and then set on fire by the Romans; wherein no mercy was shown to the infants, and no regard had to the aged; but they went on in the slaughter of persons of every age, till all the place was overflowed with blood, and fifty thousand of them lay dead upon heaps; nor had the remainder been preserved, had they not be-taken themselves to supplication. So Alexander commiserated their condition, and gave orders to the Romans to retire; accordingly, these being accustomed to obey orders, left off killing at the first intimation; but the populace of Alexandria bare so very great hatred to the Jews, that it was difficult to recall them, and it was a hard thing to make them leave their dead bodies.
9. And this was the miserable calamity which at this time befell the Jews at Alexandria. Hereupon Cestius thought fit no longer to lie still, while the Jews were everywhere up in arms; so he took out of Antioch the twelfth legion entire, and out of each of the rest he selected two thousand, with six cohorts of footmen, and four troops of horsemen, besides those auxiliaries which were sent by the kings; of which Antiochus sent two thousand horsemen, and three thousand footmen, with as many archers; and Agrippa sent the same number of footmen, and one thousand horsemen; Sohemus also followed with four thousand, a third part whereof were horsemen, but most part were archers, and thus did he march to Ptolemais. There were also great numbers of auxiliaries gathered together from the [free] cities, who indeed had not the same skill in martial affairs, but made up in their alacrity and in their hatred to the Jews what they wanted in skill. There came also along with Cestius Agrippa himself, both as a guide in his march over the country, and a director what was fit to be done; so Cestius took part of his forces, and marched hastily to Zabulon, a strong city of Galilee, which was called the City of Men, and divides the country of Ptolemais from our nation; this he found deserted by its men, the multitude having fled to the mountains, but full of all sorts of good things; those he gave leave to the soldiers to plunder, and set fire to the city, although it was of admirable beauty, and had its houses built like those in Tyre, and Sidon, and Berytus. After this he overran all the country, and seized upon whatsoever came in his way, and set fire to the villages that were round about them, and then returned to Ptolemais. But when the Syrians, and especially those of Berytus, were busy in plundering, the Jews pulled up their courage again, for they knew that Cestius was retired, and fell upon those that were left behind unexpectedly, and destroyed about two thousand of them.
10. And now Cestius himself marched from Ptolemais, and came to Cesarea; but he sent part of his army before him to Joppa, and gave order, that if they could take that city [by surprise] they should keep it; but that in case the citizens should perceive they were coming to attack them, that they then should stay for him, and for the rest of the army. So some of them made a brisk march by the sea-side, and some by land, and so coming upon them on both sides, they took the city with ease; and as the inhabitants had made no provision beforehand for a flight, nor had gotten any thing ready for fighting, the soldiers fell upon them, and slew them all, with their families, and then plundered and burnt the city. The number of the slain was eight thousand four hundred. In like manner, Cestius sent also a considerable body of horsemen to the toparchy of Narbatene, that adjoined to Cesarea, who destroyed the country, and slew a great multitude of its people; they also plundered what they had, and burnt their villages.
11. But Cestius sent Gallus, the commander of the twelfth legion, into Galilee, and delivered to him as many of his forces as he supposed sufficient to subdue that nation. He was received by the strongest city of Galilee, which was Sepphoris, with acclamations of joy; which wise conduct of that city occasioned the rest of the cities to be in quiet; while the seditious part and the robbers ran away to that mountain which lies in the very middle of Galilee, and is situated over against Sepphoris; it is called Asamon. So Gallus brought his forces against them; but while those men were in the superior parts above the Romans, they easily threw their darts upon the Romans, as they made their approaches, and slew about two hundred of them. But when the Romans had gone round the mountains, and were gotten into the parts above their enemies, the others were soon beaten; nor could they who had only light armor on sustain the force of them that fought them armed all over; nor when they were beaten could they escape the enemies' horsemen; insomuch that only some few concealed themselves in certain places hard to be come at, among the mountains, while the rest, above two thousand in number, were slain.
© 2008 Daniel Martinovich