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would submit. Antigonus, from the wall directing his speech to Silo and the Romans, argued the injustice they did him in transferring the crown from him, who was of royal descent, to a plebeian and half-Jew, as Herod was; adding, that if they were so offended with him for receiving the kingdom from the Parthians, that they would remove him ; yet there were many of the royal race left who had no way offended the Romans. After these reproaches on both sides, they came to acts of hostility, and Antigonus's men behaved themselves so bravely, that they soon drove the enemy from the walls.
Silo having been corrupted by Antigonus, secretly afforded him every assistance in his power, particularly in employing some of his own creatures, in whom he could confide, to demand more commodious quarters, and bet- . ter pay, and complain that they wanted forage and
prorisions, which Antigonus had destroyed in all the neigh. bouring country. This irritated Herod, who, fearing that the Romans would desert him, told Silo, he ought to consider, that he was not only sent by Cæsar and Antony, but by the whole senate ; and to remove any cause of complaint among the soldiers, he would take immediate care, that they should be plentifully supplied with all things necessary. Antigonus had notice of all that passed, and with flying parties and ambuscades often intercepted and cut off the convoys that were designed for Herod's army and the Romans : but Herod, who was as active and diligent as his enemy, very often came up with them, and pursued his advantages so closely, that at last, with much difficulty, he recovered all Galilee from Antigonus. After which he cleared the country of thieves, who in great bodies plundered the towns and the people.
During these transactions, the siege of Jerusalem proceeded but slowly; and that which retarded it the more was, Ventidius had sent for Silo to come to assist him to drive the Parthians out of Syria. But after Ventidius, in a pitched battle, had fought and routed the Parthians, and killed their general Pacorus, he sent Machera with auxiliary troops to Herod; who proved more an enemy than a friend, taking all advantages against the Jews, whether friends or foes. Herod so deeply resented this, that he threatened to complain to Antony ; but Machera ap. peased hiin, and they were reconciled. However, Herod seeing his affairs move very slowly, and the Roman gene. rals very cool in his interest, resolved to repair to Antony, leaving his brother Joseph to observe Antigonus. Taking a good party with him, he by swift marches came to An. tioch, where he met with a reinforcement; with which he cleared the country, as he went, of a wretched banditti, who were very troublesome to passengers. Antony was at that time besieging the city Samosata, upon the river Euphrates; but hearing that Herod was coming with a reinforcement, and that he had destroyed the barbarous people in his march, he drew out the army to receive him. Upon his approach Antony went out to meet him, saluted and embraced him, and shewed him all the marks of friendship and esteem. Antony having ended the war in those parts, constituted Sosius governor of the province, leaving the army with him ; and commending Herod and his affairs to bim, he went for Egypt. Sosius sent Herod back to Judea with two legions, and himself followed with the rest of his army.
In the mean time Joseph, in the absence of his brother, forgetting his instructions, with a detachment marched towards Jericho to procure forage ; but the party he had with him, consisting of raw unexperienced men, were easily circumvented by Antigonus's veteran troops, who were well acquainted with all the avenues and passes of the country, and easily defeated Joseph and his people. Antigonus hearing of this defeat, or. dered Joseph's head to be cut off
, setting the price of fifty talents for the redemption of it. Upon this the Ga. lileans revolted, and Herod's friends were worsted in every part of Galilee. Whilst he was in Daphne, he re. ceived the information of his brother's defeat and death, of which, it is said, he had some hints in a dream a little before: whereupon he hastened to mount Libanon, and there taking eight hundred of the natives of the place, and one Roman legion, he proceeded to Polemais; from whence marching by night he passed through Galilee,
subduing all that came in his way, and forcing the rest into strong holds; who upon Antony's approach, took the opportunity of the night, and made their escape from thence.
Whilst Herod was at Jericho, a party of six thousand of the enemy came resolutely down the hills, and put the Romans into great consternation, beating back the van-guard, and pursuing them home to their camp; where they so warmly engaged them, that Herod himself was wounded in the side. This success fushed Antigonus; who, being impatient of disputing it in little par. ties, sent an officer of his, named Pappus, to Samaria for men, that he might face the enemy in the field. But Herod meeting Pappus, routed and pursued him to Jericho, where the action was renewed ; for the town being full of men, they made an obstinate defence, so that this seemed the most bloody part of the war, dead bodies lying in heaps oy the ground. In the heat of this action a most violent storm fell, which prevented Herod's party gaining a complete victory; otherwise, had they marched to Jerusalem, thay had at once put an end to the war : for Antigonus's chief force being broken at the action of Jericho, he himself began to despair of fúr. ther safety in the city, and had thoughts of quitting
By this time Herod had spent above two years in the recovery of Judea, since he was declared king of it at Rome. Considering therefore, that as long as Jerusalem held out, his possession of other places would be very precarious, (for Antigonus's party either by surprise, or superior force, often dispossessed him) he resolved to bend his whole force against the capital, and by reducing that put an end to the war. In order to which, and in jinitation of Pompey, he came and encamped before the temple, which he encompassed with a triple trench. His own army consisted of about thirty thousand ; to which Sosius brought eleven legions of foot, and sixty thousand horse, besides the auxiliary troops of Syria. Antigonys had a strong and numerous garrison, and was resolved to hold out to the last extremity. Herod, considering that the siege would be long and doubtful, unless he could cut off their provisions, which they found means to convey into the city by stealth, so disposed his troops, that he shut up all avenues to it. Then having prepared his engines for battery, he weakened the walls in many places. The besieged made a vigorous defence, and by frequent excursions burnt the engines, and ruined the works; wherever Herod had made a mine, the Jews in the city countermined, which occasioned many subterranean engagements. The Jews were at last very much streightened for provisions; but, animated by despair, they resolved to give the enemy as much trouble as possible. At last being no longer able to resist, Herod entered the city, the Jews obstinately retiring into the inner temple; but were pursued thither. All things were in the uimost confusion, death and slaughter raging every where, without distinction of age or sex. The Romans, exasperated at the obstinate defence of the place, spared none within their reach ; and Herod's party resolving to extirpate the faction, put them all to the sword wherever they found them. Antigonus, seeing all lost, thought it best to submit, but not to Herod; for observing from a tower where Sosius the Roman general was, he descended, and threw himself at his feet. Sosius ungenerously insulted over the wretched Antigonus, calling him woman, and then put him under a strong guard.
Herod being entirely possessed of the place, his next care was to preserve it from plunder. But he found it a difficult matter to restrain his men, especially the mercenaries, who were for seizing all they laid their hands upon. But at last, partly by intreaty and threats, and partly by force, he quieted them, and the city and temple escaped plundering. Then Sosius, having rewarded his officers and soldiers, left Jerusalem to Herod, and took Antigonus bound along with him to Antony. But He. rod, feared that if Antigonus should be suffered to live, and be carried to Rome to Antony, he might probably before the senate be permitted to dispute his right with him : be further suggested to himself, that Anti
gonus was of the blood royal of Judea, but himself of mean extraction; and therefore, though the senate had declared him an enemy to the people of Rome, yet they might possibly transfer the right of the crown to his chil. dren, who were innocent. These thoughts gave Herod much perplexity : but, to put the matter out of dispute, he made use of his old argument, bribery; and sending a noble present to Antony, then at Antioch, he persuaded him of the necessity of taking off Antigonus. Antony had a great mind to preserve Antigonus to grace his triumph; but being convinced by Herod's gold more than by equity or reason, that so long as Antigonus lived, the Jews would never quietly acknowledge Herod for their king, he ordered his head to be struck off. This was an ungenerous act of Antony, and without prece. dent; for he was the first Roman general that subjected a conquered prince to so vile a punishment. Thus ended the reign of the famous and illustrious house of the Asmoneans, who had held the government of Judea a hundred and twenty-six years, and which might have continued longer in their family, but for their intestine dissensions. *
All this while Hircanus the High-priest remained a captive with the Parthians, whose king Phraates, in consideration of his birth and character, treated him with
• Dissensions. The prophet Daniel in his predictive vision of the four great em. pires, had beheld as a beast (differing from those which had preceded it, namely, the Babylonian, Persian, and Grecian,) Rome armed with iron-teeth, plainly expressive of its rapid conquests and desolating wars. Under the form of a republic, it had now attained its heighth of greatness and power, and after reducing numerous states and kingdoms to the humble condition of tributary provinces, ac length proceeded to the dangerous example of subjecting a sovereign prince to the ignominious stroke of the executioner's axe !_In the just retributions of Provi. dence, the blood of Antigonus, the last prince of the Maccabees, who wore the crown of Judea, thus unjustly shed by the intrigues of Herod, was amply visited on the posterity of that unfeeling tyrant. The Romans, within less than an hundred years, cut off several of his descendants, and at length entirely extirpated his whole posterity. VOL. II.