Wars of the Jews     by Flavius Josephus
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Book I, Chapter 23

Calumnies Against The Sons Of Mariamne. Antipateris Preferred Before Them. They Are Accused Before Caesar, And Herod Is Reconciled To Them

1. Now Mariamne's sons were heirs to that hatred which had been borne their mother; and when they considered the greatness of Herod's crime towards her, they were suspicious of him as of an enemy of theirs; and this first while they were educated at Rome, but still more when they were returned to Judea. This temper of theirs increased upon them as they grew up to be men; and when they were Come to an age fit for marriage, the one of them married their aunt Salome's daughter, which Salome had been the accuser of their mother; the other married the daughter of Archclaus, king of Cappadocia. And now they used boldness in speaking, as well as bore hatred in their minds. Now those that calumniated them took a handle from such their boldness, and certain of them spake now more plainly to the king that there were treacherous designs laid against him by both his sons; and he that was son-in-law to Archelaus, relying upon his father-in-law, was preparing to fly away, in order to accuse Herod before Caesar; and when Herod's head had been long enough filled with these calumnies, he brought Antipater, whom he had by Doris, into favor again, as a defense to him against his other sons, and began all the ways he possibly could to prefer him before them.

2. But these sons were not able to bear this change in their affairs; but when they saw him that was born of a mother of no family, the nobility of their birth made them unable to contain their indignation; but whensoever they were uneasy, they showed the anger they had at it. And as these sons did day after day improve in that their anger, Antipater already exercised all his own abilities, which were very great, in flattering his father, and in contriving many sorts of calumnies against his brethren, while he told some stories of them himself, and put it upon other proper persons to raise other stories against them, till at length he entirely cut his brethren off from all hopes of succeeding to the kingdom; for he was already publicly put into his father's will as his successor. Accordingly, he was sent with royal ornaments, and other marks of royalty, to Caesar, excepting the diadem. He was also able in time to introduce his mother again into Mariamne's bed. The two sorts of weapons he made use of against his brethren were flattery and calumny, whereby he brought matters privately to such a pass, that the king had thoughts of putting his sons to death.

3. So the father drew Alexander as far as Rome, and. charged him with an attempt of poisoning him before Caesar. Alexander could hardly speak for lamentation; but having a judge that was more skillful than Antipater, and more wise than Herod, he modestly avoided laying any imputation upon his father, but with great strength of reason confuted the calumnies laid against him; and when he had demonstrated the innocency of his brother, who was in the like danger with himself, he at last bewailed the craftiness of Antipater, and the disgrace they were under. He was enabled also to justify himself, not only by a clear conscience, which he carried within him, but by his eloquence; for he was a shrewd man in making speeches. And upon his saying at last, that if his father objected this crime to them, it was in his power to put them to death, he made all the audience weep; and he brought Caesar to that pass, as to reject the accusations, and to reconcile their father to them immediately. But the conditions of this reconciliation were these, that they should in all things be obedient to their father, and that he should have power to leave the kingdom to which of them he pleased.

4. After this the king came back from Rome, and seemed to have forgiven his sons upon these accusations; but still so that he was not without his suspicions of them. They were followed by Antipater, who was the fountain-head of those accusations; yet did not he openly discover his hatred to them, as revering him that had reconciled them. But as Herod sailed by Cilicia, he touched at Eleusa, (38) where Archclaus treated them in the most obliging manner, and gave him thanks for the deliverance of his son-in-law, and was much pleased at their reconciliation; and this the more, because he had formerly written to his friends at Rome that they should be assisting to Alexander at his trial. So he conducted Herod as far as Zephyrium, and made him presents to the value of thirty talents.

5. Now when Herod was come to Jerusalem, he gathered the people together, and presented to them his three sons, and gave them an apologetic account of his absence, and thanked God greatly, and thanked Caesar greatly also, for settling his house when it was under disturbances, and had procured concord among his sons, which was of greater consequence than the kingdom itself, " and which I will render still more firm; for Caesar hath put into my power to dispose of the government, and to appoint my successor. Accordingly, in way of requital for his kindness, and in order to provide for mine own advantage, I do declare that these three sons of mine shall be kings. And, in the first place, I pray for the approbation of God to what I am about; and, in the next place, I desire your approbation also. The age of one of them, and the nobility of the other two, shall procure them the succession. Nay, indeed, my kingdom is so large that it may be sufficient for more kings. Now do you keep those in their places whom Caesar hath joined, and their father hath appointed; and do not you pay undue or unequal respects to them, but to every one according to the prerogative of their births; for he that pays such respects unduly, will thereby not make him that is honored beyond what his age requires so joyful, as he will make him that is dishonored sorrowful. As for the kindred and friends that are to converse with them, I will appoint them to each of them, and will so constitute them, that they may be securities for their concord; as well knowing that the ill tempers of those with whom they converse will produce quarrels and contentions among them; but that if these with whom they converse be of good tempers, they will preserve their natural affections for one another. But still I desire that not these only, but all the captains of my army, have for the present their hopes placed on me alone; for I do not give away my kingdom to these my sons, but give them royal honors only; whereby it will come to pass that they will enjoy the sweet parts of government as rulers themselves, but that the burden of administration will rest upon myself whether I will or not. And let every one consider what age I am of, how I have conducted my life, and what piety I have exercised; for my age is not so great that men may soon expect the end of my life; nor have I indulged such a luxurious way of living as cuts men off when they are young; and we have been so religious towards God, that we [have reason to hope we] may arrive at a very great age. But for such as cultivate a friendship with my sons, so as to aim at my destruction, they shall be punished by me on their account. I am not one who envy my own children, and therefore forbid men to pay them great respect; but I know that such [extravagant] respects are the way to make them insolent. And if every one that comes near them does but revolve this in his mind, that if he prove a good man, he shall receive a reward from me, but that if he prove seditious, his ill-intended complaisance shall get him nothing from him to whom it is shown, I suppose they will all be of my side, that is, of my sons' side; for it will be for their advantage that I reign, and that I be at concord with them. But do you, O my good children, reflect upon the holiness of nature itself, by whose means natural affection is preserved, even among wild beasts; in the next place, reflect upon Caesar, who hath made this reconciliation among us; and in the third place, reflect upon me, who entreat you to do what I have power to command you, continue brethren. I give you royal garments, and royal honors; and I pray to God to preserve what I have determined, in case you be at concord one with another." When the king had thus spoken, and had saluted every one of his sons after an obliging manner, he dismissed the multitude; some of which gave their assent to what he had said, and wished it might take effect accordingly; but for those who wished for a change of affairs, they pretended they did not so much as hear what he said.


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Matt Curtin
Last modified: Wed Apr 26 20:14:16 EDT 1998