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putting a diadem on his head. He was a prince of a bloody disposition, for he imprisoned his brethren, except Antigonus, for whom he seemed to have a pecu. liar esteem and affection, and associated him in the throne. Having a jealousy that his mother was a secret rival of his power, he confined her to prison, where she was famished. At last he began to cool in his affection to his beloved brother and favourite Antigonus, which was aggravated very much by an unfortunate occasion ; for Antigonus, returning in triumph from 'the wars, at a time when the people were celebrating the feast of tabernacles, his brother Aristobulus being then sick, he went into the temple splendidly dressed, and well attended, to sacrifice for his success, and the good health of the king his brother. Some, who wished to promote a misunderstanding between the brothers, from hence took occasion to acquaint the king with Antigonus's cavalcade in the most aggravating circumstances, urging, that he did not appear in the condition of a private man, but like one that affected a crown. Though Aristobulus did not at first believe these stories, yet, considering the possibility of them, to avoid suspicion, and consult his own safety, he commanded his guards to conceal themselves in an obscure corner, and if his brother passed by without arms, to let him go quietly; but if he came armed, then to kill him; sending word privately at the same time to his brother, not to come armed into his presence. On the other hand, the queen, who had done all the ill offices she could in creating and fomenting jealousies between the brothers, persuaded the messenger which Aristobulus sent to Antigonus, to tell him, that the king had a mind to see him armed. Antigonus suspecting no mischief, was coming armed to the king, but at Straton's tower he was murdered. This, and the other unnatural murders of his mother and brethren, so affected his conscience, that he died of grief, having reigned only one year. He added Iturea to his dominions, and compelled the people to submit to circumcision, and other Jewish rites.
Aristobulus being dead, his wife Salome put the sceptre into the hands of his eldest broiber, Alex. ander Jannæas. This prince had been passed by in the succession, not on account of any fault or defect in him, but because his father loved his other two brothers better. Being on the throne, he began to cast a watchful eye about him; and finding one of his brothers endeavouring to dethrone him, he dispatched hiin out of the way, but permitted the other, who was contented with a private life, to live quietly, and enjoy his favour. He marched with an army to reduce Piolemais, and having driven the enemy within their walls, he laid close siege to the place. This city and Gaza, besides the tower of Straton, and the fortress of Dora, which Zoilus possessed, were the only places on the coast, that were not under his dominion. They therefore, considering that if Ptolemais, were reduced, themselves should not be able long to oppose binn, sent to Ptolemy Lathyrus, the banished king of Egypt, then at Cyprus, to come and help them, assuring him, that upon his arrival, Zoilus, the people of Gaza, Ptolemais, and Sidon would join him. Ptolemy puffed up with great expectation from these promises, prepared for Syria, against the opinion of his friends, who dissuaded him from this expedition, by urging, that his enemies, particularly his mother Cleopura, would take all advantages against him, and perhaps take Cyprus from him. But he was deaf to their arguments, and hastened to Syria; where, notwithstanding on his way he heard of the taking Ptolemais, he continned his march with an army of thirty thousand foot and horse. Encamping near Piolemais, be sent messengers to the town, who were not admitted, nor could he obtain any answer from thence. This gave him great perplexity; but Zoilus and the Gazeans joining him, they began to ravage the country.
Alexander returning home, began to contrive how to gain his point by policy, which he could not effect by force. First, he privately invited Cleopatra to his interest, at the same time openly professing himself a friend to Prolemy, whom he called his friend and confederate, and promised him four hundred talents of silver, if he would deliver up Zoilus, and add his dominion to that of the Jews. Ptolemy, like an easy prince, swallowed the bait, and seizes Zoilus; but finding himself imposed on by Alexander, and discovering the intrigue between him and his mother Cleopatra, he broke off from him, and marched with his army to besiege Ptolemais. The place holding out against him, he blocked it up; and with part of his army ravaged the country. Upon this, Alexander with an army of fifty (some say eighty) thousand men, marched to oppose him; but before he could come near him, Ptolemy taking the advantage of the sabbath, surprised Azochim, a town of Galilee, and carried off ten thousand prisoners, besides much plunder. Then going on to meet Alexander, the two armies engaged near the river Jordan, where Alexander's army was routed, and thirty thousand slain on the spot. Ptolemy made no other use of this victory, but to shew his cruelty, which he expressed in that barbarous instance of massacring the women and children, and causing their flesh to be boiled in cauldrons, to make the Jews believe that his army lived on human flesh. This he did to strike the greater terror into his enemies.
His mother Cleopatra thought it now time to check her son's growing greatness; setting out therefore from Egypt with a powerful land and naval force, she landed in Phænicia, was well received by the inhabitants, and laid siege to Ptolemais. In the mean time Ptolemy be. lieving it would be easy for him to recover Egypt in the absence of his mother and her army, left Syria to repair thither ; but not succeeding, he was obliged to pass the winter at Gaza.
Cleopatra having taken Ptolemais, Alexander Jannæus met her there with great presents, and was honourably received by her, as a distressed prince that fled to her for refuge. Alexander being thus in Cleopatra's power, it was debated, whether it would not be more expedient to seize his dominions, than to permit so dangerous and wealthy a neighbour to enjoy them. The generous Ananias, commander of Cleopatra's forces, opposed this inhospitable proposal, declaring it a scandalous and dishonourable act, to abuse a prince and kinsman of the queen, who fled to her for protection. In fine, Cleopatra generously concluded an alliance with Alexan. der; after which, he took Gaza and other places ; but forgetting his own late distress, he used the inhabitants with great cruelty, generally putting them to the sword. His cruelty likewise extended to his own countrymen, who' during his absence had occasioned great mutinies; these he put to death, to the number of fifty thousand; which so exasperated the rest that they called in Dt. metrius Euceres, king of Damascus, to their assistance, who cut in pieces all Alexander's soldiers that were strangers.
Alexander thus deprived of his mercenaries, was obliged to fly to the mountains, where six thousand Jews, pitying his misfortune, joined him. With this reinforcement he retrieved his affairs, subdued the rebels, and returned to Jerusalem; where he glutted his revengeful eyes
with the most horrid scene of cruelty that ever was acted by man: for regaling himself at a banquet in a very clevated part of the palace, where there was an open prospect every way, he ordered eight hundred men ihat had been his enemies to be fixed to crosses, and their wives and children to be massacred before their faces. This abominable cruelty procured him the name of Alexander Thracides.* The rest of the rebels, to the number of eight' thousand, fearing the same fate, by night withdrew from Jerusalem, and during Alexander's reign lived in exile.
The civil wars being thus concluded, Alexander at. tacked his neighbours, took several towns, and very much enlarged his dominions. Then returning from
* Tbracides. In allusion to the Thracians, a Tartar nation inhabiting the countries about Cimmerian Bosphorous, and considered in those early ages as the most barbarous of mankind.
this expedition, which took up about three years, he was well received by his people ; but enjoyed not that felicity long, for falling sick of a debauch, he laboured under a quartan ague three years; which, however, did not much obstruct his military undertakings. At last, quite exhausted, he was forced to submit to fate at the siege of Ragaba, on the other side the Jordan. A little before his death, he ordered his wife Alexandra, whom he left regent, to conceal his death for some time from the army, that it might not hinder the siege ; and that when she had taken the place, she should return in triumph to Jerusalem. The chief thing he advised her 10 do when there, was to court the pharisees, a very powerful sect among the Jews, and who could by their interest advance or depress whom they pleased. Then advising her to summon the chief of the people, and bid her shew them his dead body, and offer it to them to do what they pleased with it, either out of honour or revenge ; and to assure them she would do nothing in the administration without their advice and consent.
Alexandra, after the reduction of Ragaba, returned to Jerusalem, and punctually observed the directions of her dying husband, which succeeded to her wish; for all pitied the widowed queen, and deplored the loss of their king, whose funeral they honoured with more than usual pomp and solemnity.
Alexander left behind him two sons, Hircanus and Aristobulus; but his wife Alexandra procured to have herself declared queen, made Hircanus High-priest, and left Aristobulus to lead a private life. The name of the government was indeed invested in the queen regent, but the administration was entirely in the power of the pharisees, who lorded it with great insolence over those against whom they had any malice, till at last they began to draw blood, which roused the active genius of Aristobulus, who being supported by several persons of condition and figure among the Jews, complained publicly of the abuses of government, and threatened to call the pharisees to account. But notwithstanding these clamours, the queen persisted in her confidence of the pha