Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
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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.


NOW as to Alexander, since he perceived it impossible to persuade his father [that he was innocent], he resolved to meet his calamities, how severe soever they were; so he composed four books against his enemies, and confessed that he had been in a plot; but declared withal that the greatest part [of the courtiers] were in a plot with him, and chiefly Pheroras and Salome; nay, that Salome once came and forced him to lie with her in the night time, whether he would or no. These books were put into Herod's hands, and made a great clamor against the men in power. And now it was that Archelaus came hastily into Judea, as being affrighted for his son-in-law and his daughter; and he came as a proper assistant, and in a very prudent manner, and by a stratagem he obliged the king not to execute what he had threatened; for when he was come to him, he cried out, "Where in the world is this wretched son-in-law of mine? Where shall I see the head of him which contrived to murder his father, which I will tear to pieces with my own hands? I will do the same also to my daughter, who hath such a fine husband; for although she be not a partner in the plot, yet, by being the wife of such a creature, she is polluted. And I cannot but admire at thy patience, against whom this plot is laid, if Alexander be still alive; for as I came with what haste I could from Cappadocia, I expected to find him put to death for his crimes long ago; but still, in order to make an examination with thee about my daughter, whom, out of regard to thee and by dignity, I had espoused to him in marriage; but now we must take counsel about them both; and if thy paternal affection be so great, that thou canst not punish thy son, who hath plotted against thee, let us change our right hands, and let us succeed one to the other in expressing our rage upon this occasion."


When he had made this pompous declaration, he got Herod to remit of his anger, though he were in disorder, who thereupon gave him the books which Alexander had composed to be read by him; and as he came to every head, he considered of it, together with Herod. So Archelaus took hence the occasion for that stratagem which he made use of, and by degrees he laid the blame on those men whose names were in these books, and especially upon Pheroras; and when he saw that the king believed him [to he in earnest], he said, "We must consider whether the young man be not himself plotted against by such a number of wicked wretches, and not thou plotted against by the young man; for I cannot see any occasion for his falling into so horrid a crime, since he enjoys the advantages of royalty already, and has the expectation of being one of thy successors; I mean this, unless there were some persons that persuade him to it, and such persons as make an ill use of the facility they know there is to persuade young men; for by such persons, not only young men are sometimes imposed upon, but old men also, and by them sometimes are the most illustrious families and kingdoms overturned."


Herod assented to what he had said, and, by degrees, abated of his anger against Alexander, but was more angry at Pheroras; for the principal subject of the four books was Pheroras; who perceiving that the king's inclinations changed on a sudden, and that Archelaus's friendship could do every thing with him, and that he had no honorable method of preserving himself, he procured his safety by his impudence. So he left Alexander, and had recourse to Archelaus, who told him that he did not see how he could get him excused, now he was directly caught in so many crimes, whereby it was evidently demonstrated that he had plotted against the king, and had been the cause of those misfortunes which the young man was now under, unless he would moreover leave off his cunning knavery, and his denials of what he was charged withal, and confess the charge, and implore pardon of his brother, who still had a kindness for him; but that if he would do so, he would afford him all the assistance he was able.

Flavius Josephus, Jewish War (English) (XML Header) [genre: prose] [word count] [lemma count] [Joseph. BJ].
<<Joseph. BJ 1.483 Joseph. BJ 1.498 (Greek) >>Joseph. BJ 1.511

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