Wars of the Jews     by Flavius Josephus
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Book II, Chapter 11

Concerning The Government Of Claudius, And The Reign Of Agrippa. Concerning The Deaths Of Agrippa And Of Herod And What Children They Both Left Behind Them

1. Now when Caius had reigned three year's and eight months, and had been slain by treachery, Claudius was hurried away by the armies that were at Rome to take the government upon him; but the senate, upon the reference of the consuls, Sentis Saturninns, and Pomponins Secundus, gave orders to the three regiments of soldiers that staid with them to keep the city quiet, and went up into the capitol in great numbers, and resolved to oppose Claudius by force, on account of the barbarous treatment they had met with from Caius; and they determined either to settle the nation under an aristocracy, as they had of old been governed, or at least to choose by vote such a one for emperor as might be worthy of it.

2. Now it happened that at this time Agrippa sojourned at Rome, and that both the senate called him to consult with them, and at the same time Claudius sent for him out of the camp, that he might be serviceable to him, as he should have occasion for his service. So he, perceiving that Claudius was in effect made Caesar already, went to him, who sent him as an ambassador to the senate, to let them know what his intentions were: that, in the first place, it was without his seeking that he was hurried away by the soldiers; moreover, that he thought it was not just to desert those soldiers in such their zeal for him, and that if he should do so, his own fortune would be in uncertainty; for that it was a dangerous case to have been once called to the empire. He added further, that he would administer the government as a good prince, and not like a tyrant; for that he would be satisfied with the honor of being called emperor, but would, in every one of his actions, permit them all to give him their advice; for that although he had not been by nature for moderation, yet would the death of Caius afford him a sufficient demonstration how soberly he ought to act in that station.

3. This message was delivered by Agrippa; to which the senate replied, that since they had an army, and the wisest counsels on their side, they would not endure a voluntary slavery. And when Claudius heard what answer the senate had made, he sent Agrippa to them again, with the following message: That he could not bear the thoughts of betraying them that had given their oaths to be true to him; and that he saw he must fight, though unwillingly, against such as he had no mind to fight; that, however, [if it must come to that,] it was proper to choose a place without the city for the war, because it was not agreeable to piety to pollute the temples of their own city with the blood of their own countrymen, and this only on occasion of their imprudent conduct. And when Agrippa had heard this message, he delivered it to the senators.

4. In the mean time, one of the soldiers belonging to the senate drew his sword, and cried out, "O my fellow soldiers, what is the meaning of this choice of ours, to kill our brethren, and to use violence to our kindred that are with Claudius? while we may have him for our emperor whom no one can blame, and who hath so many just reasons [to lay claim to the government]; and this with regard to those against whom we are going to fight." When he had said this, he marched through the whole senate, and carried all the soldiers along with him. Upon which all the patricians were immediately in a great fright at their being thus deserted. But still, because there appeared no other way whither they could turn themselves for deliverance, they made haste the same way with the soldiers, and went to Claudius. But those that had the greatest luck in flattering the good fortune of Claudius betimes met them before the walls with their naked swords, and there was reason to fear that those that came first might have been in danger, before Claudius could know what violence the soldiers were going to offer them, had not Agrippa ran before, and told him what a dangerous thing they were going about, and that unless he restrained the violence of these men, who were in a fit of madness against the patricians, he would lose those on whose account it was most desirable to rule, and would be emperor over a desert.

5. When Claudius heard this, he restrained the violence of the soldiery, and received the senate into the camp, and treated them after an obliging manner, and went out with them presently to offer their thank-offerings to God, which were proper upon, his first coming to the empire. Moreover, he bestowed on Agrippa his whole paternal kingdom immediately, and added to it, besides those countries that had been given by Augustus to Herod, Trachonitis and Auranitis, and still besides these, that kingdom which was called the kingdom of Lysanius. This gift he declared to the people by a decree, but ordered the magistrates to have the donation engraved on tables of brass, and to be set up in the capitol. He bestowed on his brother Herod, who was also his son-in-law, by marrying [his daughter] Bernice, the kingdom of Chalcis.

6. So now riches flowed in to Agrippa by his enjoyment of so large a dominion; nor did he abuse the money he had on small matters, but he began to encompass Jerusalem with such a wall, which, had it been brought to perfection, had made it impracticable for the Romans to take it by siege; but his death, which happened at Cesarea, before he had raised the walls to their due height, prevented him. He had then reigned three years, as he had governed his tetrarchies three other years. He left behind him three daughters, born to him by Cypros, Bernice, Mariamne, and Drusilla, and a son born of the same mother, whose name was Agrippa: he was left a very young child, so that Claudius made the country a Roman province, and sent Cuspius Fadus to be its procurator, and after him Tiberius Alexander, who, making no alterations of the ancient laws, kept the nation in tranquillity. Now after this, Herod the king of Chalcis died, and left behind him two sons, born to him of his brother's daughter Bernice; their names were Bernie Janus and Hyrcanus. [He also left behind him] Aristobulus, whom he had by his former wife Mariamne. There was besides another brother of his that died a private person, his name was also Aristobulus, who left behind him a daughter, whose name was Jotape: and these, as I have formerly said, were the children of Aristobulus the son of Herod, which Aristobulus and Alexander were born to Herod by Mariamne, and were slain by him. But as for Alexander's posterity, they reigned in Armenia.

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