Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
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Now upon these accounts, though Herod was somewhat afraid of the young men's high spirit, yet did he not despair of reducing them to a better mind; but before he went to Rome, whither he was now going by sea, he called them to him, and partly threatened them a little, as a king; but for the main, he admonished them as a father, and exhorted them to love their brethren, and told them that he would pardon their former offenses, if they would amend for the time to come. But they refuted the calumnies that had been raised of them, and said they were false, and alleged that their actions were sufficient for their vindication; and said withal, that he himself ought to shut his ears against such tales, and not be too easy in believing them, for that there would never be wanting those that would tell lies to their disadvantage, as long as any would give ear to them.


When they had thus soon pacified him, as being their father, they got clear of the present fear they were in. Yet did they see occasion for sorrow in some time afterward; for they knew that Salome, as well as their uncle Pheroras, were their enemies; who were both of them heavy and severe persons, and especially Pheroras, who was a partner with Herod in all the affairs of the kingdom, excepting his diadem. He had also a hundred talents of his own revenue, and enjoyed the advantage of all the land beyond Jordan, which he had received as a gift from his brother, who had asked of Caesar to make him a tetrarch, as he was made accordingly. Herod had also given him a wife out of the royal family, who was no other than his own wife's sister, and after her death had solemnly espoused to him his own eldest daughter, with a dowry of three hundred talents; but Pheroras refused to consummate this royal marriage, out of his affection to a maidservant of his. Upon which account Herod was very angry, and gave that daughter in marriage to a brother's son of his, [Joseph,] who was slain afterward by the Parthians; but in some time he laid aside his anger against Pheroras, and pardoned him, as one not able to overcome his foolish passion for the maid-servant.


Nay, Pheroras had been accused long before, while the queen [Mariamne] was alive, as if he were in a plot to poison Herod; and there came then so great a number of informers, that Herod himself, though he was an exceeding lover of his brethren, was brought to believe what was said, and to be afraid of it also. And when he had brought many of those that were under suspicion to the torture, he came at last to Pheroras's own friends; none of which did openly confess the crime, but they owned that he had made preparation to take her whom he loved, and run away to the Parthians. Costobarus also, the husband of Salome, to whom the king had given her in marriage, after her former husband had been put to death for adultery, was instrumental in bringing about this contrivance and flight of his. Nor did Salome escape all calumny upon herself; for her brother Pheroras accused her that she had made an agreement to marry Silleus, the procurator of Obodas, king of Arabia, who was at bitter enmity with Herod; but when she was convicted of this, and of all that Pheroras had accused her of, she obtained her pardon. The king also pardoned Pheroras himself the crimes he had been accused of.


But the storm of the whole family was removed to Alexander, and all of it rested upon his head. There were three eunuchs who were in the highest esteem with the king, as was plain by the offices they were in about him; for one of them was appointed to be his butler, another of them got his supper ready for him, and the third put him into bed, and lay down by him. Now Alexander had prevailed with these men, by large gifts, to let him use them after an obscene manner; which, when it was told to the king, they were tortured, and found guilty, and presently confessed the criminal conversation he had with them. They also discovered the promises by which they were induced so to do, and how they were deluded by Alexander, who had told them that they ought not to fix their hopes upon Herod, an old man, and one so shameless as to color his hair, unless they thought that would make him young again; but that they ought to fix their attention to him who was to be his successor in the kingdom, whether he would or not; and who in no long time would avenge himself on his enemies, and make his friends happy and blessed, and themselves in the first place; that the men of power did already pay respects to Alexander privately, and that the captains of the soldiery, and the officers, did secretly come to him.


These confessions did so terrify Herod, that he durst not immediately publish them; but he sent spies abroad privately, by night and by day, who should make a close inquiry after all that was done and said; and when any were but suspected [of treason], he put them to death, insomuch that the palace was full of horribly unjust proceedings; for every body forged calumnies, as they were themselves in a state of enmity or hatred against others; and many there were who abused the king's bloody passion to the disadvantage of those with whom they had quarrels, and lies were easily believed, and punishments were inflicted sooner than the calumnies were forged. He who had just then been accusing another was accused himself, and was led away to execution together with him whom he had convicted; for the danger the king was in of his life made examinations be very short. He also proceeded to such a degree of bitterness, that he could not look on any of those that were not accused with a pleasant countenance, but was in the most barbarous disposition towards his own friends. Accordingly, he forbade a great many of them to come to court, and to those whom he had not power to punish actually he spake harshly. But for Antipater, he insulted Alexander, now he was under his misfortunes, and got a stout company of his kindred together, and raised all sorts of calumny against him; and for the king, he was brought to such a degree of terror by those prodigious slanders and contrivances, that he fancied he saw Alexander coming to him with a drawn sword in his hand. So he caused him to be seized upon immediately, and bound, and fell to examining his friends by torture, many of whom died [under the torture], but would discover nothing, nor say any thing against their consciences; but some of them, being forced to speak falsely by the pains they endured, said that Alexander, and his brother Aristobulus, plotted against him, and waited for an opportunity to kill him as he was hunting, and then fly away to Rome. These accusations though they were of an incredible nature, and only framed upon the great distress they were in, were readily believed by the king, who thought it some comfort to him, after he had bound his son, that it might appear he had not done it unjustly.


Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
<<Joseph. BJ 1.473 Joseph. BJ 1.485 (Greek) >>Joseph. BJ 1.504

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