The Antiquities of the Jews, 14.127–14.155

Flavius Josephus  translated by William Whiston

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1271. Now after Pompey was dead, and after that victory Caesar had gained over him, Antipater, who managed the Jewish affairs, became very useful to Caesar when he made war against Egypt, and that by the order of Hyrcanus; 128for when Mithridates of Pergamus was bringing his auxiliaries, and was not able to continue his march through Pelusium, but obliged to stay at Askelon, Antipater came to him, conducting three thousand of the Jews, armed men. He had also taken care the principal men of the Arabians should come to his assistance; 129and on his account it was that all the Syrians assisted him also, as not willing to appear behindhand in their alacrity for Caesar, viz. Jamblicus the ruler, and Ptolemy his son, and Tholomy the son of Sohemus, who dwelt at Mount Libanus, and almost all the cities. 130So Mithridates marched out of Syria, and came to Pelusium; and when its inhabitants would not admit him, he besieged the city. Now Antipater signalized himself here, and was the first who plucked down a part of the wall, and so opened a way to the rest, whereby they might enter the city, and by this means Pelusium was taken. 131But it happened that the Egyptian Jews, who dwelt in the country called Onion, would not let Antipater and Mithridates, with their soldiers, pass to Caesar; but Antipater persuaded them to come over with their party, because he was of the same people with them, and that chiefly by showing them the epistles of Hyrcanus the high priest, wherein he exhorted them to cultivate friendship with Caesar, and to supply his army with money, and all sorts of provisions which they wanted; 132and accordingly, when they saw Antipater and the high priest of the same sentiments, they did as they were desired. And when the Jews about Memphis heard that these Jews were come over to Caesar, they also invited Mithridates to come to them; so he came and received them also into his army.

1332. And when Mithridates had gone over all Delta, as the place is called, he came to a pitched battle with the enemy, near the place called the Jewish Camp. Now Mithridates had the right wing, and Antipater the left; 134and when it came to a fight, that wing where Mithridates was gave way, and was likely to suffer extremely, unless Antipater had come running to him with his own soldiers along the shore, when he had already beaten the enemy that opposed him; so he delivered Mithridates, and put those Egyptians who had been too hard for him to flight. 135He also took their camp, and continued in the pursuit of them. He also recalled Mithridates, who had been worsted, and was retired a great way off; of whose soldiers eight hundred fell, but of Antipater’s fifty. 136So Mithridates sent an account of this battle to Caesar, and openly declared that Antipater was the author of this victory, and of his own preservation, insomuch that Caesar commended Antipater then, and made use of him all the rest of that war in the most hazardous undertakings; he happened also to be wounded in one of those engagements.

1373. However, when Caesar, after some time, had finished that war, and was sailed away for Syria, he honored Antipater greatly, and confirmed Hyrcanus in the high priesthood; and bestowed on Antipater the privilege of a citizen of Rome, and a freedom from taxes every where; 138and it is reported by many, that Hyrcanus went along with Antipater in this expedition, and came himself into Egypt. And Strabo of Cappadocia bears witness to this, when he says thus, in the name of Asinius: “After Mithridates had invaded Egypt, and with him Hyrcanus the high priest of the Jews.” 139Nay, the same Strabo says thus again, in another place, in the name of Hypsicrates, that “Mithridates at first went out alone; but that Antipater, who had the care of the Jewish affairs, was called by him to Askelon, and that he had gotten ready three thousand soldiers to go along with him, and encouraged other governors of the country to go along with him also; and that Hyrcanus the high priest was also present in this expedition.” This is what Strabo says.

1404. But Antigonus, the son of Aristobulus, came at this time to Caesar, and lamented his father’s fate; and complained, that it was by Antipater’s means that Aristobulus was taken off by poison, and his brother was beheaded by Scipio, and desired that he would take pity of him who had been ejected out of that principality which was due to him. He also accused Hyrcanus and Antipater as governing the nation by violence, and offering injuries to himself. 141Antipater was present, and made his defense as to the accusations that were laid against him. He demonstrated that Antigonus and his party were given to innovation, and were seditious persons. He also put Caesar in mind what difficult services he had undergone when he assisted him in his wars, and discoursed about what he was a witness of himself. 142He added, that Aristobulus was justly carried away to Rome, as one that was an enemy to the Romans, and could never be brought to be a friend to them, and that his brother had no more than he deserved from Scipio, as being seized in committing robberies; and that this punishment was not inflicted on him in a way of violence or injustice by him that did it.

1435. When Antipater had made this speech, Caesar appointed Hyrcauus to be high priest, and gave Antipater what principality he himself should choose, leaving the determination to himself; so he made him procurator of Judea. 144He also gave Hyrcanus leave to raise up the walls of his own city, upon his asking that favor of him, for they had been demolished by Pompey. And this grant he sent to the consuls to Rome, to be engraven in the capitol. The decree of the senate was this that follows: 145“Lucius Valerius, the son of Lucius the praetor, referred this to the senate, upon the Ides of December, in the temple of Concord. There were present at the writing of this decree Lucius Coponius, the son of Lucius of the Colline tribe, and Papirius of the Quirine tribe, 146concerning the affairs which Alexander, the son of Jason, and Numenius, the son of Antiochus, and Alexander, the son of Dositheus, ambassadors of the Jews, good and worthy men, proposed, who came to renew that league of goodwill and friendship with the Romans which was in being before. 147They also brought a shield of gold, as a mark of confederacy, valued at fifty thousand pieces of gold; and desired that letters might be given them, directed both to the free cities and to the kings, that their country and their havens might be at peace, and that no one among them might receive any injury. 148It therefore pleased [the senate] to make a league of friendship and good-will with them, and to bestow on them whatsoever they stood in need of, and to accept of the shield which was brought by them. This was done in the ninth year of Hyrcanus the high priest and ethnarch, in the month Panemus.” 149Hyreanus also received honors from the people of Athens, as having been useful to them on many occasions. And when they wrote to him, they sent him this decree, as it here follows “Under the prutaneia and priesthood of Dionysius, the son of Esculapius, on the fifth day of the latter part of the month Panemus, this decree of the Athenians was given to their commanders, 150when Agathocles was archon, and Eucles, the son of Menander of Alimusia, was the scribe. In the month Munychion, on the eleventh day of the prutaneia, a council of the presidents was held in the theater. Dorotheus the high priest, and the fellowpresidents with him, put it to the vote of the people. Dionysius, the son of Dionysius, gave the sentence. 151Since Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander, the high priest and ethnareh of the Jews, continues to bear good-will to our people in general, and to every one of our citizens in particular, and treats them with all sorts of kindness; and when any of the Athenians come to him, either as ambassadors, or on any occasion of their own, he receives them in an obliging manner, and sees that they are conducted back in safety, 152of which we have had several former testimonies; it is now also decreed, at the report of Theodosius, the son of Theodorus, and upon his putting the people in mind of the virtue of this man, and that his purpose is to do us all the good that is in his power, 153to honor him with a crown of gold, the usual reward according to the law, and to erect his statue in brass in the temple of Demus and of the Graces; and that this present of a crown shall be proclaimed publicly in the theater, in the Dionysian shows, while the new tragedies are acting; and in the Panathenean, and Eleusinian, and Gymnical shows also; 154and that the commanders shall take care, while he continues in his friendship, and preserves his good-will to us, to return all possible honor and favor to the man for his affection and generosity; that by this treatment it may appear how our people receive the good kindly, and repay them a suitable reward; and he may be induced to proceed in his affection towards us, by the honors we have already paid him. 155That ambassadors be also chosen out of all the Athenians, who shall carry this decree to him, and desire him to accept of the honors we do him, and to endeavor always to be doing some good to our city.” And this shall suffice us to have spoken as to the honors that were paid by the Romans and the people of Athens to Hyrcanus.

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