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(1) How long shall we, who are aged men, still be like children, being indeed as to our bodies gray-headed through the length of time that we have lived, but as to our souls utterly infantine through our want of sense and sensibility, looking upon that which is the most unstable of all things, namely, fortune, as most invariable, and that which is of all things in the world the most steadfast, namely, nature, as utterly untrustworthy? For, like people playing at draughts, we make changes, altering the position of actions, and considering the things which are the result of fortune as more durable than those which result from nature, and the things which proceed in accordance with nature as less stable than those which are the result of chance.
(2) And the reason of all this is, that we form our judgment of present events without paying any prudential attention to the future. being influenced by the erroneous guidance of our outward senses instead of the secret operations of the intellect; for the things which are openly conspicuous and before our hands so as to be taken up by them, are comprehended by our eyes, but our reasoning power outstrips them, hastening onwards to what is invisible and future; but nevertheless, we obscure the vision of our reason. though it is far more acute than those bodily powers of sight which are exercised by the eyes, some of us confusing it by indulgence in wine and satiety, and others by that greatest of all evils, namely, ignorance.
(3) Nevertheless, the existing opportunity and the many and important proportions which arise to be decided on at the present time, even if some people should be incredulous that the Deity exercises a providential foresight with regard to human affairs, and especially on behalf of a nation which addresses its supplications to him, which belongs especially to the father and sovereign of the universe, and the great cause of all things; and these propositions are sufficient to persuade them of this truth.
(4) And this nation of suppliants is in the Chaldaic language called Israel, but when the name is translated into the Greek language it is called, "the seeing nation;" which appellation appears to me to be the most honourable of all things in the world, whether private or public;
(5) for if the sight of elders, or instructors, or rulers, or parents, excites those who behold them to reverence and orderly conduct, and to an admiration of and desire for a life of moderation and temperance, how great a bulwark of virtue and excellence must we not expect to find in those souls which, after having investigated the nature of every created thing, have learnt to contemplate the uncreated and Divine Being, the first good of all, the one beautiful, and happy, and glorious, and blessed being; better, if one is to tell the plain truth, than the good itself; more beautiful than the beautiful itself; more happy than happiness itself; more blessed than blessedness itself; and, in short, if anything else in the world is so, more perfect than any one of the abovementioned things.
(6) For reason cannot make such advances as to attain to a thorough
comprehension of God. who can neither be touched nor handled; but it withdraws
from and falls short of such a height, being unable to employ appropriate
language as a step towards the manifestation (I will not say of the living
God, for even if the whole heaven were to become endowed with articulate
voice, it would not be furnished with felicitous and appropriate expressions
to do justice to such a subject); but even of his subordinate powers, those,
for instance, by which he created the world and by which he reigns over
it as its king, and by which he foresees the future, and all his other
beneficent, and chastising, and corrective powers.
(7) Unless, indeed, we ought to class his correction among his beneficent powers, not only because such a display is a portion of his laws and ordinances (for law is made up of two things, the honour of the good, and the chastisement of the wicked), but also because punishment reproves, and very often even corrects, and ameliorates those who have done wrong; and if it fails to do so with respect to them, at all events it dues so to those who are near the offenders thus punished; for the punishment of others makes most men better, for fear lest they themselves should stiffer the same things.
(8) For who -- when he saw Gaius, after the death of Tiberius Caesar, assuming the sovereignty of the whole world in a condition free from all sedition, and regulated by and obedient to admirable laws, and adapted to unanimity and harmony in all its parts, east and west, south and north; the barbarian nations being in harmony with the Greeks, and the Greeks with the barbarians, and the soldiers with the body of private citizens, and the citizens with the military; so that they all partook of and enjoyed one common universal peace -- could fail to marvel at and be amazed at his extraordinary and unspeakable good fortune,
(9) since he had thus succeeded to a ready-made inheritance of all good things, coflected together as it were in one heap, namely, to numerous and vast treasures of money, and silver and gold, some in bullion, and some in coined money, and some again being devoted to articles of luxury, in drinking cups and other vessels, which are made for display and magnificence; and also countless hosts of troops, infantry, and cavalry, and naval forces, and revenues which were supplied in a neverending stream as from a fountain;
(10) and the sovereignty of the most numerous, and most valuable, and important portions of the habitable worid, which is fact one may fairly call the whole world, being not only all that is hounded by the two rivers, the Euphrates and the Rhine; the one of which confines Germany and all the more uncivilised nations; and the Euphrates, on the other hand, bridles Parthia and the nations of the Sarmatians and Scythians, which are not less barbarous and uncivilised than the Germanic tribes; but, even as I said before, all the world, from the rising to the setting sun, all the land in short on this side of the Ocean and beyond the Ocean, at which all the Roman people and all Italy rejoiced, and even all the Asiatic and European nations.
(11) For as they had never yet all together admired any emperor who had ever existed at that time, not expecting to have in future the possession, and use, and enjoyment ofall private and public good things, but thinking that they actually had them already as a sort of superfluity of prosperity which happiness was waiting to fill to the brim:
(12) accordingly now there was nothing else to be seen in any city, but altars, and victims, and sacrifices, and men clothed in white garments, and crowned with garlands, and wearing cheerful coun-tenanees, and displaying their joy by the brightness of their looks, and festivals, and assemblies, and musical contests, and horseraces, and revels, and feasts lasting the whole night long, with the music of the flute and of the lyre, and rejoicings, and holidays, and truces, and every kind of pleasure addressed to every one of the senses.
(13) On this occasion the rich were not better off than the poor, nor the men of high rank than the lowly, nor the creditors than the debtors, nor the masters than the slaves, since the occasion gave equal privileges and communities to all men, so that the age of Saturn, which is so celebrated by the poets was no longer looked upon as a fiction and a fable, on account of the universal prosperity and happiness which reigned everywhere, and the absence of all grief and fear, and the daily and nightly exhibitions of joy and festivity throughout every house and throughout the whole people, which lasted continually without any interruption during the first seven months of his reign.
(14) But in the eighth month a severe disease attacked Gaius who had changed the manner of his living which was a little while before, while Tiberius was alive, very simple and on that account more wholesome than one of great sumptuousness and luxury; for he began to indulge in abundance of strong wine and eating of rich dishes, and in the abundant license of insatiable desires and great insolence, and in the unseasonable use of hot baths, and emetics, and then again in wine-bibbing and drunkenness, and returning gluttony, and in lust after boys and women, and in everything else which tends to destroy both soul and body, and all the bonds which unite and strengthen the two; for the rewards of temperance are health and strength, and the wages of intemperance are weakness and disease which bring a man near to death.
(15) Accordingly, when the news was spread abroad that he was sick while the weather was still suitable for navigation (for it was the beginning of the autumn, which is the last season during which nautical men can safely take voyages and during which in consequence they all return from the foreign marts in every quarter to their own native ports and harbours of refuge, especially all who exercise a prudent care not to be compelled to pass the winter in a foreign country); they, forsaking their former life of delicateness
luxury, now wore mournful faces, and every house and every city became full of depression and melancholy, their grief being now equal to and count balancing the joy which they experienced time before.
(16) For every portion of the habitable world was diseased in his sickness, feeling affected with a more terrible disease than that which was oppressing Gaius; for his sickness was that of the body alone, but the universal malady which was oppressing all men everywhere was one which attacked the vigour of their souls, peace, their hopes, their participation in and enjoyment of all good things;
(17) for men remember how numerous and how great a evils which spring from anarchy, famine, and the destruction of trees, and devastations, deprivation of lands, and plundering of money, and the intolerable fear of slavery and death, which no one can relieve, all which evils appeared to admit of but one remedy, namely the recovery of Gaius.
(18) Accordingly when his disease began to abate, in a very short time even the men who were living on the very confines of the empire heard of it and rejoiced, for nothing is swifter than report, and immediately every city was full of suspense and expectation, being continualiy eager for better news, until at length his perfect recovery was announced by fresh arrivals, at which news they again returned to their original cheerfulness, each thinking the health of Gaius to be his own salvation;
(19) and this feeling pervaded every continent and every island, for no one can recollect so great and general a joy affecting any one country or any one nation, at the good health or prosperity of their governor, as now pervaded the whole of the habitable world at the recovery of Gaius, and at his being able to resume the exercise ofhis power and having completely got rid of his sickness.
(20) For they all rejoiced, from ignorance of the truth, like men who are now for the first time beginning to exchange a wandering and uncivilised mode of life for a social and civilised system, and instead of dwelling in desert places, and the open air, and the mountain districts, to live in walled cities, and instead of living without any governor, or protector, or lawgiver, to be now established under the care of a governor to be a sort of shep herd and leader of a more domesticated flock;
(21) for the human mind is apt to be blind towards the perception of what is really expedient and beneficial for it, being influenced rather by conjecture and notions of probability than by real knowledge.
(22) At all events it was not long before Gaius -- who was now looked upon as a saviour and benefactor, and who was expected to shower down some fresh and everlasting springs of benefits upon all Asia and Europe, so as to endow the inhabitants with inalienable happiness and prosperity, both separately to each individual and generally to the whole state -- began, as the proverb has it, at home, and changed into a ferocity of disposition, or, I should rather say, displayed the savageness which he had previously overshadowed by pretence and hypocrisy;
(23) for he put to death his cousin who had been left as the partner of his kingdom, and who was in fact a more natural successor to it than he himself; for he himself was only Tiberius's grandson by adoption, but the other was so by blood; arguing as a pretext that he had detected him in plotting against him, though his very age was a sufficient refutation of any such accusation; for the unhappy victim was only just emerging from boyhood, and beginning to rank among the youths.
(24) And, as some person say, if Tiberius had lived a short time longer Gaius would have been made away with, as he began to be looked upon by him with unalterable suspicion, and the genuine grandson of Tiberius would have been named the future emperor, and the inheritor of his paternal kingdom.
(25) But Tiberius was carried off by fate, before he could bring his designs to their completion; and Gaius thought that he should be able to escape all evil report which might arise from his transgressing the principles of justice with respect to his partner by outwitting him.
(26) And the contrivance which he adopted was of the following character Having assembled all the chief magistrates, he said: "I am desirous that he who is my cousin by birth and my brother in affection, in accordance with the instruction of Tiberius who is now dead, shall be a partner with me in my absolute authority. But you yourselves perceive that he is as yet a mere child, and that he is in need of masters, and teachers, and guardians;
(27) since what can be a more desirable blessing for me than that my one mind and one body shall not be loaded with so great a weight of the cares of government, but for me to have some one who may be able to lighten and alleviate them by sharing them? I, therefore," said he: "passing over and being superior to all tutors, and masters, and guardians, register myself as his father, and him as my son."
(28) With these words he deceived both those who were present and the youth himselt for his proposal was a mere bait, his intention being not to invest him with the power which he expected, but to deprive him of even that which he already had, according to the law affecting co-heirs and partners; and accordingly now he plotted against him with absolute fearlessness, having no regard for nor fear of any one; for by the laws of the Romans the most complete and absolute authority over the son belongs to the father, besides the fact of Gaius having the imperial authority which was wholly irresponsible, since no one could either venture or had any power to demand an account from him of any thing whatever that he might do.
(29) Accordingly, looking upon this youth to be like a thirdsman in the games, he proceeded to overthrow him, feeling no compassion, either for the fact of his having been brought up with him, or his being so nearly related to him, or for his age, but having no idea of sparing this miserable youth, doomed to an early death; his own partner in the government, his co-heir, who had formerly been expected to be all but the absolute emperor, by reason of his being the nearest relation to Tiberius; for when their fathers are dead, the grandsons are usually looked upon by their grandfathers as standing in the position of sons.
(30) It is said moreover, that this youth, being ordered to slay himself with his own hands, while a centurion and a captain of a thousand were standing by (who had been expressly commanded to take no part in the horrid deed, since it was not lawful for the descendants of the emperors to be put to death by any one else; for Gaius remembered the laws amid his lawless acts, and had some regard for piety in all his impious deeds, imitating as well as he could the nature of truth); he, not knowing how to kill himself, for he had never seen any one else put to death, and had never had any practice in fighting with weapons, which is the usual exercise and course of instruction for children who are being educated with a view to become leaders and rulers, on account of the wars which they may have to conduct, at first exhorted those officers who had come to him to put him to death themselves, stretching out his neck;
(31) but when they did not dare to do so, he himself taking the sword inquired in his ignorance and want of experience what was the most mortal place, in order that by a well-directed blow he might cut short his miserable life; and they, like instructors in misery, led him on his way, and pointed out to him the part into which he was to thrust his sword; and he, having thus learnt his first and last lesson, became himself, miserable that he was, his own murderer under compulsion.
(32) But when this first and greatest undertaking had been accomplished by Gaius, there being no longer left any one who had any connexion with the supreme authority, to whom any one who bore him ill-will, and who was suspected by him, could possibly turn his eyes; he now, in the second place, proceeded to compass the death of Macro, a man who had co-operated with him in every thing relating to the empire, not only after he had been appointed emperor, for it is a characteristic of flattery to court those who are in a state of prosperity, but who had previously assisted him in his measures for securing that authority.
(33) For Tiberius, who was a man of very profound prudence, and the most able to all the men of his court at perceiving the hidden intentions of any man, and who was as pre-eminent in intelligence and acuteness as he was in good fortune, did very often look with suspicion upon Gaius as being evil disposed towards all the house of Claudius, and as being related to him only on the mother's side, and he feared for his grandson, lest he, being left a mere child, should he put to death by him.
(34) And he judged him, moreover, very little fitted for an authority of such magnitude, both on account of the unsociableness and ferocity of his nature, and the inequality of his temper; for he was continually giving way to the most frantic and most inconsistent moods, not preserving any consistency either in his words or in his actions;
(35) all which Macro studied with all his strength at every opportunity. pacifying the suspicions of Tiberius and all the prejudices with which he perceived that his mind was inflamed against Gaius by reason of his ceaseless fear and anxiety for his grandson.
(36) For he represented to him, that Gaius was a person of a good and obedient disposition, and one who entertained the greatest affection for his cousin, so that out of his exceeding regard for him he would be willing even to abandon the government and to yield it up to him by himself, but that excessive modesty was anything but advantageous to many persons, in consequence of which Gains, who was of a most guileless and single-minded disposition, was looked upon by many as crafty and designing.
(37) And when he could not persuade him, by all the arguments drawn from probabilities which he advanced, he brought forward that which rested upon specific agreements, adding, "I myself will be his security, I who deserve to have confidence placed in me, inasmuch as I have given sufficient proof that I myself am individually a friend to Caesar, and a friend to Tiberius, since it was I who carried into execution, your intentions respecting the downfall of Sejanus.
(38) And, in short, he was very assiduous, and energetic, and comprehensive in his praises of Gaius, if, indeed, one may speak of speeches in defence of a man as equivalent to panegyrics on him, which were rather addressed to the doing away with the unfavourable impressions and suspicion, excited by obscure and indistinct hints and accusations. In short, all the things which any one could say on behalf of any brother or legitimate child, such and more too did Macro say to Tiberius in behalf of Gaius.
(39) And the cause of this was according to the report which obtained among the generality of people, not only that Macro hd on the other hand, been greatly courted by him, as one who had the greatest, or, indeed, all the power under the empire; but also that Macro's wife was favourable to him, for a reason which ought not to be mentioned, and she every day urged on and encouraged, and entreated her husband to omit no exertion of his zeal and energy on behalf of the young man. And a wife is a very powerful engine to divert or to persuade the mind of her husband especially if she be one of an amorous temperament, for because of her own consciousness she becomes more given to flattery.
(40) And Macro, being ignorant of the dishonour done to his marriage-bed and to his family, and looking upon her flattery as a proof of her sincere good will and affection for him, was deceived, and without being aware of it was led, by her intrigues, to embrace his bitterest enemies as his best friends.
(41) Therefore, as he knew that he had preserved him ten thousand times, when he was in the most imminent danger of being put to death, he used to offer him undisguised, sincere, and honest admonitions and advice, with perfect freedom of speech; for, like a good workman, he was desirous that what he looked upon as his own work should remain uninjured and indestructible, without being put an end to, either by himself or by any one else;
(42) therefore, whenever he saw him sleeping at any entertainment he would go round and awaken him, having, at the same time, a regard for what was becoming and also for his safety, for a man who is asleep is a good object for treachery; and whenever he beheld him looking with an excited eye at any dancers, or even sometimes dancing with them, or not smiling with dignity upon actors of farcical and laughable spectacles, but rather grinning like a boy, or wholly carried away by the tunes of some harp-player or chorus, so as on some occasions even to join in their song, he would, if he was sitting or going near him, give him a nudge, and endeavour to check him.
(43) And very often, when he was reclining near him, he would whisper in his ear, and admonish him gently and quietly, so that no one else might hear what was said, saying, "You ought not only not to be like any one else here, but like no one else whatever, neither at any spectacle, or at anything that is to be heard, or in anything else that ever affects the outward senses, but you ought rather to surpass all other men in every action of your life, as much as you surpass them in your good fortune,
(44) for it is unreasonable for the ruler of all the earth and of all the sea to be subdued by a song or by an exhibition of dancing, or by any ridiculous jest or piece of acting, or by anything else of that kind; and not on every occasion, and in every place, to remember his position as emperor like a shepherd and protector of the flock, availing himself of everything that can tend to any kind of amelioration, from every word, and from every action, of every description whatever."
(45) Then again he would add, "when you are present at any theatrical contest, or at any gymnastic games, or at any of the contests in the hippodrome, do not consider the pursuits themselves so much as the behaving correctly in all such pursuits, and entertain thoughts of this nature:
(46) if some men labour in this manner to bring to perfection things that can in no respect benefit human life, but which only afford pleasure and amusement to the spectators, in such a way as to be praised and admired, and to receive rewards, and honours, and crowns, and to have their names proclaimed as conquerors; what ought that man to do who is skilful in the most sublime and most important of all arts?
(47) Now the greatest and most excellent of all sciences is the science of government, by means of which every country which is good and fertile, whether it be champaign or mountainous, is cultivated, and every sea is navigated without danger by heavily-laden merchant-vessels, to communicate to the different countries the useful productions of each, out of a natural desire for participation and association, so that each land receives what it stands in need of and sends abroad in requital those good things of which it has a superfluity;
(48) for envy has never obtained a dominion over the whole of the habitable worid, nor even over those great divisions of it, the whole of Europe or the whole of Asia, but it lurks in holes like a venomous reptile, creeping out in small districts to attack an individual man, or a single family, or, if it is very violent and powerful, perhaps one city; but it never attacks a larger circle of a whole nation or a whole country, especially ever since your august family has really begun to rule over all men in every part of the world.
(49) "For your house has discovered and brought to light everything that is good, even in the midst of evils, and has banished all evils to the extremities of the earth, and beyond its borders to the very depths of Tartarus, and has brought back, from the most distant borders of the earth and sea, those profitable and beneficial things which were in a manner banished into the habitable world around us; and now all these things are entrusted to your power, to be governed by your authority.
(50) "Accordingly you, having been conducted by nature to the supreme helm of the world, and having the government of everything placed in your hand, must guide the universal ship of all mankind in a safe and salutary manner, rejoicing and delighting in nothing more than in doing good to your subjects;
(51) for different people have different contributions to bestow, which individuals necessarily offer in their several cities. But the most suitable gift for a ruler to give is to adopt wise counsels with respect to those who are subject to his authority, and to execute intentions which have been rightly formed, and to bestow on them good things without any limitation, with a liberal band and mind, except such as it may be better to keep in reserve from a prudent foreknowledge of the on certainty of the future."
VIII. (52) The unhappy man kept dinning suggestions of this kind into his ears in the hope of improving Gaius; but he, being a contentious and quarrelsome person, turned his mind in the directly opposite direction, as if he were exhorted to do exactly the contrary, and he conceived a most determined disgust for his monitor, so as never to behold him with a cheerful countenance; and sometimes when he saw him at a distance he would speak as follows to those near him:
(53) "Here comes the teacher of one who has no longer any right to be looked upon as a pupil; -- here comes the pedagogue of one who is no longer a child, the monitor of one who is wiser than himself, the man who thinks it proper that the emperor should obey his subject, who sets himself up as a man deeply versed by experience in the science of government, and as a teacher of it, though from whom he has learnt the principles of sovereign government I know not;
(54) for from the moment that I left my cradle, I have had ten thousand instructors, fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, and grand-fathers, up to the very founders of my family, in fact every one related to me either on my father's or my mother's side, who had acquired absolute power for themselves, even without taking into consideration the fact that, by their being the authors of my being, they had implanted in me some degree of royal power and some natural aptitude for government.
(55) For as similitudes of both body and soul exist both in the form, and position, and motions of men, and also as the inclinations, and dispositions, and actions of men are preserved in some degree of similitude through the principles of descent, so also is it probable that the very same principles should convey an outline of similitude in respect of one's aptitude for government.
(56) Shall any one, then, who is ignorant dare to instruct me who am the reverse of ignorant? me who, even before my birth, while I was yet in my mother's womb, was fashioned as an emperor in the workshop of nature? For how can it be possible for persons, who but a short time before were private individuals, to contemplate as they should the intentions of an imperial soul? But some persons in their shameless audacity dare to put themselves forward as interpreters and perfecters of the principles of government, when in reality they scarcely ought to be enrolled among those who have any understanding whatever of the matter."
(57) And as he thus diligently laboured to alienate himself from Macro, he began also to invent false but plausible and specious grounds for blaming and accusing him; for passionate and irritable natures, especially when belonging to powerful men, are very ingenious at weaving plausibilities. Now, the pretexts which he made use of against him were of the following natures.
(58) He said Macro thought thus: "Gaius is my work; the work of Macro. I am more truly, or at all events not less truly, his father than his own parents. He would have been destroyed, over and over again, by Tiberius, who thirsted for his blood, if it had not been for me and for my powers of persuasion. And moreover, when Tiberius was dead, I, who had under my command the whole force of the army, immediately placed him in the position which Tiberius had occupied, teaching him that the state had indeed sustained a loss of one man, but that the imperial authority continued unaltered, as entire as ever."
(59) And many people have given credit to these assertions of his as if they were true, not being acquainted with the false and crafty disposition of the speakers; for hitherto the dishonest and designing character of his disposition was not made manifest. But a few days afterwards the miserable man was put to death, with his wife, receiving the extremity of punishment as a reward for his exceeding good will towards his slayer.
(60) This is the consequence of doing kindnesses to ungrateful people; for in return for the benefits which they have received, they inflict the greatest of injuries on those from whom they have received them. Accordingly, Macro, who had done everything in sincerity with the most earnest eagerness and zeal for the good of Gaius, in the first place in order to save him from death, and afterwards in order that he by himself might succeed to the imperial authority, received for his reward the fate which I have mentioned.
(61) For it is said that the wretched man was compelled to kill himself with his own hand; and his wife, too, experienced the same misery, even though she indeed had at one time been believed to be on the most intimate terms of familiarity with Gaius; but they say that none of the allurements of love are stable and trustworthy because it is a passion which quickly breeds satiety.
(62) But after Macro and all his house had been sacrificed, Gaius then began to design a third more grievous piece of treachery still. His father-in-law had been Marcus Silanus, a man full of wisdom, and very illustrious by birth. He, after his daughter had died by an early death, still was very attentive and affectionate to Gaius, showing all imaginable regard for him, not so much like a father-in-law as like an actual father, and he hoped that he should find that Galus also entertained equal goodwill towards him, transforming himself according to the principles of equality from a son-in-law into a son; but he was, without knowing it, cherishing mistaken opinions, and deluding himself,
(63) for he was continually uttering affectionate speeches, keeping back nothing which could tend to the amelioration and improvement of Galus's disposition and way of life and mode of government, speaking with all freedom, and looking upon his own surpassing nobility of birth and nearness of connexion by marriage as circumstances which gave him grounds for great familiarity and openness, for his daughter had been dead only a very short time, so that the laws and bonds which bind such kinsmen were scarcely destroyed, and one may almost say were still quivering with life, some relics of the breath of vitality being still left, as it were, and remaining warm in the body.
(64) But Gaius, looking upon every admonition as an insult, because he fancied that he himself was the wisest and most virtuous of all men, and moreover the most valorous and the most just, hated all who ventured to offer him instruction more than even his avowed enemies.
(65) Therefore, looking on Silanus as a bore, who only wished to check the impetuosity and indulgence of his appetites, and discarding all recollection of and regard for his deceased wife, he treacherously put her father to death, who was also his own father-in-law.
(66) And by this time the matter began to be widely talked about in consequence of the continual deaths of so many eminent men, so that now these things began to be spoken of in every mouth as intolerable infamy and wickedness; not indeed openly, from fear, but gently and under the breath, in whispers;
(67) and then again, by a sudden change (for the multitude is very unstable in everything, in intentions, and words, and actions), men, disbelieving that one who but a little while before was merciful and humane could have become altered so entirely, for Gaius had been looked upon as affable, and sociable, and friendly, began to seek for excuses for him, and after some search they found such, saying with regard to his cousin and co-heir in the kingdom things such as these:
(68) "The unchangeable law of nature has ordained that there should be no partnership in the sovereign power, and it has established by its own unalterable principles what this man must inevitably have suffered at the hands of his more powerful co-heir. The one who was the more powerful has chastised the other. This is not murder. Perhaps, indeed, the putting that youth to death was done providentially for the advantage of the whole human race, since if one portion had been assigned as subjects to the one, and another portion to the other, there would have arisen troubles and confusion, and civil and foreign war. And what is better than peace? and peace is caused by good government on sound principles. And no government can be good but that which is free from all contentions and from all disputes, and then everything else is made right by it."
(69) And in reference to the case of Macro, they said, "The man was puffed up with pride in an immoderate degree; he had no idea of that great lesson which came from Delphi, 'know thyself.' And they say that knowledge is the cause of happiness, and that ignorance is the parent of unhappiness. What could have possessed him to make such an alteration and change in their relative positions as to thrust himself, who was a subject, into the rank of a governor, and to depress Gaius, who was the emperor, into the place of a subject? For it is the part of a ruler to command, and that was what Macro did: but it is the duty of a subject to obey, and that was what he considered that Gaius was to submit to."
(70) For these inconsiderate men, without giving themselves the trouble of inquiring into the truth, called the recommendations of Macro commands, and called him who gave advice a governor, out of ignorance and insensibility, or else out of flattery suppressing the truth and giving a false colouring to the nature of both names and things.
(71) And in reference to Silanus they said, "Silanus was a most ridiculous person when he took it into his head that a father-in-law would have as much influence with his son-in-law as a real father has with a son. And yet even real fathers who are in a private station submit to their sons when they are in great offices and in places of high authority, being quite content with the second place; but this foolish man, even when he was no longer his father-in-law, kept on claiming privileges which did not belong to him, without perceiving that with the death of his daughter the connexion which had originated in the marriage of Gaius with her had also died,
(72) for intermarriages are the bonds which unite families between which there is no kindred, changing alienation into near connexion; but when that bond is dissolved, then the union is dissolved likewise, especially when it is dissolved by a circumstance which cannot be altered or remedied, namely, by the death of the woman who was given in marriage into another family."
(73) Such conversations as these were held in every company, the speakers being wholly influenced by their wish that the emperor should not appear to be cruel; for as they had hoped that such humanity and gentleness was seated in the soul of Gaius as had not existed in either of the previous emperors, they thought it would be a most strange thing if he now made so great and so sudden a change to an entirely contrary disposition.
(74) Having now, then, entirely accomplished the three undertakings abovementioned, with reference to three most important divisions, two of them belonging to the country, one to the class of counsellors and the other to the knights, and the third affecting his own relations, and considering that now that he had thus put down the mightiest and most powerful of his foes, he must have struck all the rest with the utmost terror, alarming the counsellors by the death of Silanus
(75) (for he was inferior to no one in the senate), and the knights by the execution of Macro (for he, like the leader of a chorus, had long been considered the very first man of the knights for reputation and glory), and all his blood relations by the slaughter of his cousin and joint inheritor of the kingdom, he no longer chose to remain fettered by the ordinary limits of human nature, but aspired to raise himself above them, and desired to be looked upon as a god.
(76) And at the beginning of this insane desire they say that he was influenced by such a train of reasoning as the following: for as the curators of the herds of other animals, namely cowherds, and goatherds, and shepherds, are neither oxen, nor goats, nor sheep, but men who have received a more excellent portion, and a more admirable formation of mind and body; so in the same manner, said he, is it fitting that I who am the leader of the most excellent of all herds, namely, the race of mankind, should be considered as a being of a superior nature, and not merely human, but as one who has received a greater and more holy portion.
(77) Accordingly, having impressed this idea on his mind, like a vain and foolish man as he was, he bore about in himself a fallacious fable and invention as if it had been a most undeniable truth; and after he had once carried his boldness and audacity to such a pitch as to compel the multitude to admit of his most impious deification, he attempted to do other things consistent with and conformable to it, and in this way he advanced up to the highest point by slow degrees as if he were ascending up steps.
(78) For he began at first to liken himself to those beings who are called demigods, such as Bacchus, and Hercules, and the twins of Lacedaemon; turning into utter ridicule Trophonius, and Amphiaraus, and Amphilochus, and others of the same kind, with all their oracles and secret ceremonies, in comparison of his own power.
(79) In the next place, like an actor in a theatre, he was continually wearing different dresses at different times, taking at one time a lion's skin and a club, both gilded over; being then dressed in the character of Hercules; at another time he would wear a felt hat upon his head, when he was disguised in imitation of the Spartan twins, Castor and Pollux; sometimes he also adorned himself with ivy, and a thyrsus, and skins of fawns, so as to appear in the guise of Bacchus.
(80) And he looked upon himself as being in this respect superior to all of these beings, because each of them while he had his own peculiar honours had no claim to those which belonged to the others, but be in his envious ambition appropriated all the honours of the whole body of demigods at once, or I should rather say, appropriated the demi-gods themselves; transforming himself not into the triple-bodied Geryon, so as to attract all behold-ers by the multitutle of his bodies; but, what was the most extraordinary thing of all, changing and transforming the essence of one body into every variety of form and figure, like the Egyptian Proteus, whom Homer has represented as being susceptible of every variety of transformation, into all the elements, and into the animals, and plants, which belong to the different elements.
(81) And yet why, 0 Gaius! did you think yourself in need of spurious honours, such as the temples and statues of the beings above-mentioned are often filled with? You ought rather to have imitated their virtues. Hercules purified both the earth and the sea, performing labours of the greatest possible importance and of the highest benefit to all mankind, in order to eradicate all that was mischievous and calculated to injure the nature of each of the elements.
(82) Bacchus rendered the vine susceptible of cultivation, and extracted a most delicious drink from it, which is at the same time most beneficial to the souls and bodies of men, leading the first to cheerfulness, working in them a forgetfulness of evils and a hope of blessings, and making the latter more healthy, and vigorous, and active, and supple.
(83) And individually it renders each man better, and alters populous families and households, leading them from a squalid and laborious life of vexation to a course of relaxation and cheerful happiness, and causing to every city on earth, both Grecian and barbarian, incessant festivity, and mirth, and entertainment, and revelry; for of all these things is good wine the cause.
(84) Again, it is said that the twin sons of Jupiter, Castor and Pollux, are partakers of immortality. For since the one was mortal and the other immortal, the one who had had the more excellent portion assigned to him did not choose to behave in a selfish manner, but rather to display his good will and affection towards his brother;
(85) for having acquired the idea that eternity was never-ending. and considering that he was to live for ever, and that his brother was to be dead for ever, and that in conjunction with his own immortality he should likewise be enduring an undying sorrow on account of his brother, he conceived and carried out a most marvellous system of coanter-balancing, mingling mortality with himself and immortality with his brother, and thus he modified inequality, which is the beginning of all injustice, by equality, which is the fountain of justice.
(86) All these beings, 0 Gaius! were admired on account of the benefits which they had conferred on mankind, and they are admired for them even up to the present time, and they were deservedly thought worthy of veneration and of the very highest honours. But come now, and tell us yourself in what achievement of yours do you pride yourself and boast yourself as being in the least similar to their actions?
(87) Have you imitated the twin sons of Jupiter in their brotherly affection, that I may begin with that point? Did you not rather, 0 hard-hearted and most pitiless of men! inhumanly slaughter your brother, the joint inheritor of the kingdom with you, even before he had arrived at the full vigour of manhood, when he was still in early youth. Did you not afterwards banish your sisters, lest they also should cause you any reasonable apprehension of the deprivation and loss of your imperial power?
(88) Have you imitated Bacchus in any respect? Have you been an inventor of any new blessings to mankind? Have you filled the whole of the habitable world with joy as he did? Are all Asia and Europe inadequate to contain the gifts which have been showered upon mankind by you?
(89) No doubt you have invented new arts and sciences, like a common pest and murderer of your kind, by which you have changed all pleasant and acceptable things into vexation and sorrow, and have made life miserable and intolerable to all men everywhere, appropriating to yourself in your intolerable and insatiable greediness all the good and beautiful things which belonged to every one else, whether from the east or from any other country of the universe, carrying off everything from the south, everything from the north, and in requital giving to and pouring down upon those whom you had plundered every sort of mischievous and injurious things from your own bitter spirit, everything which is ever engendered in cruel, and destructive, and envenomed dispositions; these are the reasons why you appeared to us as a new Bacchus.
(90) But I suppose you imitated Hercules in your unwearied labours and your incessant displays of valour and virtue; you, O most wretched of men! having filled every continent and every island with good laws, and principles of justice, and wealth, and comfort, and prosperity, and abundance of other blessings, you, wretched man, full of all cowardice and iniquity, who have emptied every city of all the things which can conduce to stability and prosperity, and have made them full of everything which leads to trouble and confusion, and the most utter misery and desolation.
(91) Tell me then, O Gaius! do you, after having made all these contributions to universal destruction, do you, I say, seek to acquire immortality in order to make the calamities which you have heaped upon mankind, not of brief duration arid short-lived, but imperishable and everlasting? But I think, on the contrary, that even if you had previously appeared to be a god, you would beyond all question have been changed on account of your evil practices into an ordinary nature, resembling that of common perishable mortals; for if virtues can make their possessors immortal, then beyond all doubt vices can make them mortal.
(92) Do not, therefore, inscribe your name by the side of that of the twin sons of Jupiter. those most affectionate of deities, you who have been the murderer and destruction of your brethren, nor claim a share in the honours of Hercules or Bacchus, who have benefited human life. You have been the undoer and destroyer of those good effects which they produced.
(93) But the madness and frenzy to which he gave way were so preposterous, and so utterly insane, that he went even beyond the demigods. and mounted upto and invaded the veneration and worship paid to those who are looked upon as greater than they, as the supreme deities of the world, Mercury, and Apollo, and Mars.
(94) And first of all he dressed himself up with the caduceus, and sandals, and mantle of Mercury, exhibiting a regularity in his disorder, a consistency in his confusion, and a ratiocination in his insanity.
(95) Afterwards, when he thought fit to do so, he laid aside these ornaments, and metamorphosed and transformed himself into Apollo, crowning his head with garlands, in the form of rays, and holding a bow and arrows in his left hand, and holding forth graces in his right, as if it became him to proffer blessings to all men from his ready store, and to display the best arrangement possible on his right hand, but to contract the punishments which he had it in his power to inflict, and to allot to them a more confined space on his left.
(96) And immediately there were established choruses, who had been carefully trained, singing paeans to him, the same who had, a little while before, called him Bacchus, and Evius, and Lyaeus. and sang Bacchic hymns in his honour when he assumed the disguise of Bacchus.
(97) Very often, also, he would clothe himself with a breastplate, and march forth sword in hand, with a helmet on his head and a shield on his left arm, calling himself Mars, and on each side of him there marched with him the attendants of this new and unknown Mars, a troop of murderers and executioners who had already performed him all kinds of wicked services when he was raging and thirsting for human blood;
(98) and then when men saw this they were amazed and terrified at the marvellous sight, and they wondered how a man who did exactly the contrary to what was done by those beings to whorn he claimed to be equal in honour, did not choose to imitate their virtues, but assumed the outward character of each with the most abominable conduct. Arid yet all those ornaments and decorations which belonged to them were attached to his statues and images, which indicated by symbols the benefits which the beings who are thus honoured confer upon the race of mankind.
(99) Mercury, for instance, requires wings attached to his ankles. why so? Is it not because it behoves him to be the interpreter and declarer of the will of the gods (from which employment, in fact, he derives his Greek name of Hermes), announcing good news to mankind (for not only no god but no sensible man ever will become the messenger of evil), and therefore it is necessary for him to be exceedingly swiftfooted, and all but winged, from the unhesitating rapidity with which he requires the proceed. Since it is right that beneficial news should be announced with great promptness, just as bad news ought to be brought slowly, unless indeed any one should prefer saying that such ought to be entirely suppressed in silence.
(100) Again, he takes with him his caduceus or herald's wand, as a token of reconciliation and peace, for wars receive their respites and terminations by means of heralds, who restore peace; and wars which have no heralds to terminate them cause endless calamities to both parties, both to those who invade their neighbours and to those who are endeavouring to repel the invasion.
(101) But for what purpose did Gaius assume the winged sandals of Mercury? Was it because he wished to spread with power, and rapidity, and loudness that miserable and ill-omened intelligence which ought rather to be buried in silence altogether; conveying his voice everywhere with unceasing celerity? And yet what need had he of such rapid motion? for even while standing still he poured forth unspeakable evils upon evils as if from an unceas-ing fountain, showering them down upon every portion of the habitable world.
(102) And of what use was the herald's wand to him, who never either said or did anything bearing upon peace, but who rather filled every house and every city within Greece and in the countries of the barbarians with civil wars? let him, therefore, imposter that he is, lay aside the name of Mercury, since by assuming it he is only profaning an appellation which does not belong to him.
(103) Again, of all the attributes of Apollo, what is there which in the least degree resembles his characteristics? He wears a crown emitting rays all around, the artist who made it having given a most admirable representation of the beams of the sun; but how can the sun, or in fact any light at all, be a welcome object to him, and not rather night, or anything else, if there be such more completely enveloped darkness, or even anything darker than darkness itself for the performance of his lawless actions? Since good actions do require the brilliancy of noonday for their proper display, but shameful actions, as they say, are suited to the extreme depths of Tartarus, into which they ought to be thrust in order to be concealed from sight, as is becoming.
(104) Let him also tranpose the things which he bears in each of his hands, and not pollute the proper arrangement, for let him bear his arrows and his bow in his right hand, for he knows how with good aim to shoot at and to pierce men and women, and whole families, and populous cities, to their complete destruction.
(105) And let him either at once throw away his graces altogether, or else let him keep them in the shade in his left hand, for he has defaced their beauty, directing all his eyes and exciting all his desires against vast properties, so as to plunder them in an iniquitous manner; in consequence of which their owners were murdered, finding themselves unfortunate through their good fortune.
(106) But no doubt he with great felicity gave a new representation of the medical skill of Apollo, for this god was the inventor of healing medicines, so as to cause health to men, thinking fit himself to heal the diseases which were inflicted by others, by reason of the excessive mildness and gentleness of his own nature and habits,
(107) but this man, on the contrary, loads those who are in good health with disease, and inflicts mutilations on those who are sound, and in short visits the living with most cruel death, caused by the hand of man before the time of their natural death, preparing every imaginable engine of destruction in abundant plenteousness, by means of which, if he had not himself been previously put to death in accordance with justice, everything glorious or respectable in every city would long ago have been destroyed.
(108) For his designs were prepared against all those in authority and all those possessed of riches, and especially against those in Rome and those in the rest of Italy, by whom such quantifies of gold and silver had been treasured up that even if all the riches of all the rest of the habitable world had been collected together from its most distant borders, it would have been found to be very inferior in amount. On this account he began, he, this hater of the citizens, this devourer of the people, this pestilence, this destructive evil, began to banish all the seeds of peace from his country, as if he were expelling evil from holy ground;
(109) for Apollo is said to have been not only a physician but also an excellent prophet, by his oracular predictions announcing what was likely to conduce to the advantage of mankind, in order that no one, being overshadowed by uncertainty, going on without seeing his way before him like a blind man, might hastily fall into unexpected evils as if they were the greatest benefits; but that men having previously acquired a knowledge of the future as if it were really present, and looking at it with the eye of their mind, might guard against future evils just as they can see evils actually before them with the bodily eye, and in this way secure themselves against any irremediable disaster.
(110) Is it fitting now to compare with these oracles of Apollo the ill-omened warning of Gaius, by means of which poverty, and dishonour, and banishment, and death were given premature notice of to all those who were in power and authority in any part of the world? what connexion or resemblance was there between him and Apollo, when he never paid any attention to any ties of kindred or friendship? Let him cease, then, this pretended Apollo, from imitating that real healer of mankind, for the form of God is not a thing which is capable of being imitated by an inferior one, as good money is imitated by bad.
(111) A man, indeed, may expect anything rather than that a man endowed with such a body and such a soul, when both of them are effeminate and broken down, could ever possibly be made like to the vigour of Mars in either particular; but this man, like a mummer transforming himself on the stage, putting on all sorts of masks one after another, sought to deceive the spectators by a series of fictitious appearances.
(112) Come, then, let him be subjected to an examination in respect of all the particulars of his soul and body, by reason of his utter unlikeness to the aforesaid deity in every position and in every motion. Was he not utterly unlike Mars, not in respect only of his appearance as celebrated in fable, but as to his natural qualities? Mars, who is endued with pre-eminent valour, which we know to be a power calculated to avert evil, to be the assistant and ally of all who are unjustly oppressed, as indeed his very name shows,
(113) for he appears to me to be called Mars from his helping, which is the same as assisting, being as such the god who is able to put down wars and to cause peace, of which this representation of his was the enemy, being the comrade of wars, and the man who changed peace and stability into disorder and confusion.
(114) Have we not, then, learned from all these instances, that Gaius ought not to be likened to any god, and not even to any demi-god, inasmuch as he has neither the same nature, nor the same essence, nor even the same wishes and intentions as any one of them; but appetite as it seems is a blind thing, and especially so when it takes to itself vain-gloriousness and ambition in conjunction with the greatest power, by which we who were previously unfortunate are utterly destroyed,
(115) for he regarded the Jews with most especial suspicion, as if they were the only persons who cherished wishes opposed to his, and who had been taught in a manner from their very swaddling-clothes by their parents, and teachers, and instructors, and even before that by their holy laws, and also by their unwritten maxims and customs, to believe that there was but one God, their Father and the Creator of the world;
(116) for all others, all men, all women, all cities, all nations, every country and region of the earth, I had almost said the whole of the inhabited world, although groaning over what was taking place, did nevertheless flatter him, dignifying him above measure, and helping to increase his pride and arrogance; and some of them even introduced the barbaric custom into Italy of falling down in adoration before him, adulterating their native feelings of Roman liberty.
(117) But the single nation of the Jews, being excepted from these actions, was suspected by him of wishing to counteract his desires, since it was accustomed to embrace voluntary death as an entrance to immortality, for the sake of not permitting any of their national or hereditary customs to be destroyed, even if it were of the most trivial character, because, as is the case in a house, it often happens that by the removal of one small part, even those parts which appeared to be solidly established fall down, being relaxed and brought to decay by the removal of that one thing,
(118) but in this case what was put in motion was not a trifle, but a thing of the very greatest importance, namely, the erecting the created and perishable nature of a man, as far at least as appearance went, into the uncreated and imperishable nature of God, which the nation correctly judged to be the most terrible of all impieties (for it would have been easier to change a god into man, than a man into God), besides the fact of such an action letting in other most enormous wickedness, infidelity and ingratitude towards the Benefactor of the whole world, who by his own power givers abundant supplies of all kinds of blessings to every part of the universe.
(119) Therefore a most terrible and irreconcileable war was prepared against our nation, for what could be a more terrible evil to a slave than a master who was an enemy? And his subjects are the slaves of the emperor, even if they were not so to any one of the former emperors, because they governed with gentleness and in accordance with the laws, but now that Gaius had eradicated all feelings of humanity from his soul, and had admired lawlessness (for looking upon himself as the law, he abrogated all the enactments of other lawgivers in every state and country as so many vain sentences), we were properly to be looked upon not only as slaves, but as the very lowest and most dishonoured of slaves, now that our ruler was changed into our master.
(120) And the mixed and promiscuous multitude of the Alexandrians perceiving this, attacked us, looking upon it as a most favourable opportunity for doing so, and displayed all the arrogance which had been smouldering for a long period, disturbing everything, and causing universal confusion,
(121) for they began to crush our people as if they had been surrendered by the emperor for the most extreme and undeniable miseries, or as if they had been subdued in war, with their frantic and most brutal passion, forcing their way into their houses, and driving out the owners, with their wives and children, which they rendered desolate and void of inhabitants.
(122) And no longer watching for night and darkness, like ordinary robbers out of fear of being detected, they openly plundered them of all their furniture and treasures, carrying them off in broad daylight, and displaying their booty to every one whom they met, as if they had inherited it or fairly purchased it from the owners. And if a multitude joined together to share any particular piece of plunder, they divided it in the middle of the market-place, reviling it and turning it all into ridicule before the eyes of its real owners.
(123) These things were of themselves terrible and grievous; how could they be otherwise? Surely it was most miserable for men to become beggars from having been wealthy, and to be reduced on a sudden from a state of abundance to one of utter indigence, without having done any wrong, and to be rendered hotiseless and home less, being driven out and expelled from their own houses, that thus, being compelled to dwell in the open air day and night, they might be destroyed by the burning heat of the sun or by the cold of the night.
(124) Yet even these evils were lighter than those which I am about to mention; for when the populace had driven together these countless myriads of men, and women, and children, like so many herds of sheep and oxen, from every quarter of the city, into a very narrow space as if into a pen, they expected that in a few days they should find a heap of corpses all huddled together, as they would either have perished by hunger through the want of necessary food, as they had not prepared themselves with any thing requisite, through a fore-knowledge of the evils which thus suddenly came upon them;
(125) or else through being crushed and suffocated from want of any adequate space to breathe in, all the air around them becoming tainted, and all that there was of vivifying power in their respiration being cut off, or, if one is to say the truth, utterly expelled, by the breath of those who were expiring among them. By which, each individual being inflamed, and in a manner oppressed by a descent of fever upon him, inhaled a hot and unwholesome breath through his nostrils and mouth, heaping, as the proverb has it, fire on fire;
(126) for the power which resides in the inmost parts changed its nature, and became most excessively fiery; upon which, when the external breezes, being moderately cool, blow, all the organs of the respiratory powers flourish, and are in a good and healthy condition; but when these breezes change and become hot, then those organs must of necessity be in a bad state, fire being added to fire.
(127) As they then were no longer able to endure the misery of the place within which they were enclosed, they poured forth into desolate parts of the wilderness, and to the shore, and among the tombs, in their eagerness to find any pure and untainted air. And if any of them had previously been left in the other parts of the city, or if any had come in thither from the fields out of ignorance of the evils which had visited their companions, they fell into every variety of misfortune, being stoned, or else wounded with sharp tiles, or beaten on the most mortal parts of the body, and especially on the head, with branches of maple and of oak, in such a way as to cause death.
(128) And some of those persons who are accustomed to pass their time in idleness and inaction, sitting around, occupied themselves in watching those who, as I have said before, were thus driven together and crammed into a very small space, as if they were a force which they were blockading; lest any one should secretly escape without their perceiving it. And a great many were designing to effect their escape from want of necessaries, disregarding their own safety from a fear that, if they remained, the whole body might perish with famine. So those men, expecting that they would endeavour to escape, kept a continual watch, and the moment that they caught any one, they immediately put him to death with every circumstance of insult and cruelty.
(129) And there was another company lying in wait for them on the quays of the river; to catch any Jews who arrived at those spots, and to plunder them of every thing which they brought for the purposes of traffic; for, forcing their way into their ships they took out the cargo before the eyes of its lawful owners, and then, binding the hands (if the merchants behind them, they burnt then) alive, taking the rudders, and helms, and punt-poles, and the benches for the rowers to sit upon, for fuel.
(130) And thus these men perished by a most miserable death being burnt alive in the middle of the city; for sometimes, for want of other timber they brought piles of faggots togethen and tying them up, they threw them on the miserable victims; and they, being already half burnt, were killed, more by the smoke ofthe green wood than by the flames, as the new faggots gave forth only an unsubstantial and smoky sort of flame, and were soon extinguished, not being able to be reduced to ashes by reason of their lightness.
(131) And many who were still alive they took and bound, and fastened their ankles together with thongs and ropes, and then dragged them through the middle of the market-place. leaping on them, and not sparing their corpses even after they were dead; for, tearing them to pieces limb from limb, and trampling on them, behaving with greater brutality and ferocity than even the most savage beasts, they destroyed every semblance of humanity about them, so that not even a fragment of them was left to which the rites of burial could be afforded.
(132) But as the governor of the country, who by himself could, if he had chosen to do so, have put down the violence of the multitude in a single hour, pretended not to see what he did see, and not to hear what he did hear, but allowed the mob to carry on the war against our people without any restraint, and threw our former state of tranquillity into confusion, the populace being excited still more, proceeded onwards to still more shameless and more audacious designs and treachery, and, arraying very numerous companies, cut down some of the synagogues (and there are a great many in every section of the city), and some they razed to the very foundations, and into some they threw fire and burnt them, in their insane madness and frenzy, without caring for the neighbouring houses; for there is nothing more rapid than fire, when it lays hold of fuel.
(133) I omit to mention the ornaments in honour of the emperor, which were destroyed and burnt with these synagogues, such as gilded shields, and gilded crowns, and pillars, and inscriptions, for the sake of which they ought even to have abstained from and spared the other things; but they were full of confidence, inasmuch as they did not fear any chastisement at the hand of Gaius, as they well knew that he cherished an indescribable hatred against the Jews, so that their opinion was that no one could do him a more acceptable servlce than by inflicting every description of injury on the nation which he hated;
(134) and, as they wished to curry favour with him by a novel kind of flattery, so as to allow, and for the future to give the rein to, every sort of ill treatment of us with-mit ever being called to account, what did they proceed to do? All the synagogues that they were unable to destroy by burning and razing them to the ground, because a great number of Jews lived in a dense mass in the neighbourhood, they injured and defaced in another manner, simultaneously with a total overthrow of their laws and customs; for they met up in every one of theni images of Gaius, and in the greatest, and most conspicuous, and most celebrated of them they erected a brazen statue of him borne on a four-horse chariot.
(135) And so excessive and impetuous was the rapidity of their zeal, that, as they had not a new chariot for four horses ready. they got a very old one out of the gymnasium, full of poison, mutilated in its ears, and in the hinder part, and in its pedestal, and in many other points, and as some say, one which had already been dedicated in honour of a woman, the eminent Cleopatra, who was the great grandmother of the last.
(136) Now what amount of accusation he brought against those who had dedicated this chariot on this very account is notorious to every one; for what did it signify if it was a new one and belonging to a woman? Or what if it was an old one and belonging to a man? And what, in short, if it was wholly dedicated to the name of some one else? Was it not natural that those who were offering up a chariot of this sort on behalf of the emperor should be full of cautious fear; lest some one might lay an information against them before our emperor, who took such especial care that every thing which at all affected or related to himself should be done in the most dignified manner possible?
(137) But these men expected to be most extravagantly praised, and to receive greater and more conspicuous advantages as rewards for their conduct, in thus dedicafing the synagogues to Gaius as new pieces of consecrated ground, not because of the honour which was done to him by this proceeding, but because in this way they exhausted every possible means of insulting and injuring our nation.
(138) And one may find undeniable and notorious proofs of this having been the case. For, in the first place, one may derive them from about ten kings or more who reigned in order; one after another, for three hundred years, and who never once had any images or statues of themselves erected in our synagogues, though there were many of their relations and kinsmen whom they considered, and registered as, and spoke of as gods.
(139) And what would they not have done in the case of those whom they looked upon as men? a people who look upon dogs, and wolves, and lions, and crocodiles, and numerous other beasts, both terrestrial and aquatic, and numerous birds, as gods, and erect in their honour altars, and temples, and shrines, and consecrated precincts, throughout the whole of Egypt?
(140) Perhaps some people who would not have opened their mouths then will say now: "They were accustomed to pay respect to the good deeds done by their governors rather than to their governors themselves, because the emperors are greater than the Ptolemies, both in their dignities and in their fortunes, and are justly entitled to receive higher honours."
(141) Then, 0 ye most foolish of all mankind! that I may not be compelled to utter any thing disrespectful of blasphemous, why did you never think Tiberius, who was emperor before Gaius, who indeed was the cause that Gaius ever became emperor, who himself enjoyed the supreme power by land and sea for three and twenty years, and who never allowed any seed of war to smoulder or to raise its head, either in Greece or in the territory of the barbarians, and who bestowed peace and the blessings of peace up to the end of his life with a rich and most bounteous hand and ndnd upon the whole empire and the whole world; why, I say, did you not consider him worthy of similar honour?
(142) Was he inferior in birth? No; he was of the most noble blood by both parents. Was he inferior in his education? Who, of all the men who flourished in his time, was either more prudent or more eloquent? Or in his age? What king or emperor ever lived to more prosperous old age than he? Moreover, he, even while he was still a young man, was called the old man as a mark of respect because of his exceeding wisdom. This man, though he was so wise, and so good, and so great, was passed over and disregarded by you.
(143) Again, why did you not pay similar honour to him who exceeded the common race of human nature in every virtue, who, by reason of the greatness of his absolute power and his own excellence, was the first man to be called Augustus, not receiving the title after another by a succession of blood as a part of his inheritance, but who was himself the origin of his successors, having that title and honour? He who first became emperor, when all the affairs of the state were in disorder and confusion;
(144) for the islands were in a state of war against the continents, and the continents were contending with the islands for the pre-eminence in honour, each having for their leaders and champions the most powerful and eminent of the Romans who wefe in office. And then again, great sections of Asia were contending against Europe, and Europe against Asia, for the chief power and dominion; the European and Asiatic nations rising up from the extremities of the earth, and waging terrible wars against one another over all the earth, and over every sea, with enormous armaments, so that very nearly the whole race of mankind would have been destroyed by mutual slaughter and made utterly to disappear, if it had not been for one man and leader, Augustus, by whose means they were brought to a better state, and therefore we may justly call him the averter of evil.
(145) This is Caesar, who calmed the storms which were raging in every direction, who healed the common diseases which were afflicting both Greeks and barbarians, who descended from the south and from the east, and ran on and penetrated as far as the north and the west, in such a way as to fill all the neighbouring districts and waters with unexpected miseries.
(146) This is he who did not only loosen but utterly abolish the bonds in which the whole of the habitable world was previously bound and weighed down. This is he who destroyed both the evident and the unseen wars which arose from the attacks of robbers. This is he who rendered the sea free from the vessels of pirates, and filled it with merchantmen.
(147) This is he who gave freedom to every city, who brought disorder into order; who civilized and made obedient and harmonious, nations which before his time were unsociable, hostile, and brutal. This is he who increased Greece by many Greeces, and who Greecised the regions of the barbarians in their most important divisions: the guardian of peace, the distributor to every man of what was suited to him, the man who proffered to all the citizens favours with the most ungrudging liberality, who never once in his whole life concealed or reserved for himself any thing that was good or excellent.
(148) Now this man who was so great a benefactor to them for the space of three and forty years, during which he reigned over Egypt, they passed over in silence and neglect, never erecting any thing in their synagogues to do him honour; no image, no statue, no inscription.
(149) And yet if ever there was a man to whom it was proper that new and unprecedented honours should be voted, it was certainly fitting that such should be decreed to him, not only because he was as it were the origin and fountain of the family of Augustus, not because he was the first, and greatest, and universal benefactor, having, instead of the multitude of governors who existed before, entrusted the common vessel of the state to himself as one pilot of admirable skill in the science of government to steer and govern; for the verse,
"The government of many is not good,"
is very properly expressed, since a multitude of votes is the cause of every variety of evil; but also because the whole of the rest of the habitable world had decreed him honours equal to those of the Olympian gods.
(150) And we have evidence of this in the temples, and porticoes, and sacred precincts, and groves, and colonnades which have been erected, so that all the cities put together, ancient and modern, which exhibit magnificent works, are surpassed, by the beauty and magnitude of the buildings erected in honour of Caesar; and especially by those raised in our city of Alexandria.
(151) For there is no sacred precinct of such magnitude as that which is called the Grove of Augustus, and the temple erected in honour of the disembarkation of Caesar, which is raised to a great height, of great size, and of the most conspicuous beauty, opposite the best harbour; being such an one as is not to be seen in any other city, and full of offerings, in pictures, and statues; and decorated all around with silver and gold; being a very extensive space, ornamented in the most magnificent and sumptuous manner with porticoes, and libraries, and men's chambers, and groves, and pro pylaea, and wide, open terraces, and courtyards in the open air, and with everything that could contribute to use or beauty; being a hope and beacon of safety to all who set sail, or who came into harbour.
(152) Therefore, though they had such admirable pretexts for such conduct, and all the nations in every part of the world inclined to agree with them, they nevertheless neither made any innovations in their synagogues, but kept the law in every particular; and refused any marks of respect and veneration which might have been looked upon as due to Caesar. Perhaps some cautious and sensible person may ask: "Why were all these honours denied to him?" I will tell the reason, without suppressing any thing.
(153) They were aware of the attention which he paid to every thing, and of the very exceeding care which he took that the national laws and customs prevailing in each nation should be confirmed and preserved, being equally anxious for the preservation of the rights of foreign nations in this respect, as for those of the Romans; and that he received his honours, not for the destruction of the laws existing in any people, filling himself with pride and arrogance, but in a spirit of proper conformity with the magnitude of so vast an empire, which is dignified and honoured by such marks of respect being paid to the emperor.
(154) And there is most undeniable proof that he was never influenced or puffed up by the excessive honours paid to him, in the fact that he did not approve of any one's addressing him as master or god, but if any one used such expressions he was angry; and we may see it too in his approbation of the Jews, who he well knew most religiously avoided all such language.
(155) How then did he look upon the great division of Rome which is on the other side of the river Tiber, which he was well aware was occupied and inhabited by the Jews? And they were mostly Roman citizens, having been emancipated; for, having been brought as captives into Italy, they were manumitted by those who had bought them for slaves, without ever having been compelled to alter any of their hereditary or national observances.
(156) Therefore, he knew that they had synagogues, and that they were in the habit of visiting them, and most especially on the sacred sabbath days, when they publicly cultivate their national philosophy. He knew also that they were in the habit of contributing sacred sums of money from their first fruits and sending them to Jerusalem by the hands of those who were to conduct the sacrifices.
(157) But he never removed them from Rome, nor did he ever deprive them of their rights as Roman citizens, because he had a regard for Judaea, nor did he never meditate any new steps of innovation or rigour with respect to their synagogues, nor did he forbid their assembling for the interpretation of the law, nor did he make any opposition to their offerings of first fruits; but he behaved with such piety towards our countrymen, and with respect to all our customs, that he, I may almost say, with all his house, adorned our temple with many costly and magnificent offerings, commanding that continued sacrifices of whole burnt offerings should be offered up for ever and ever every day from his own revenues, as a first fruit of his own to the most high God, which sacrifices are performed to this very day, and will be performed for ever, as a proof and specimen of a truly imperial disposition.
(158) Moreover, in the monthly divisions of the country, when the whole
people receives money
or corn in turn, he never allowed the Jews to fall short in their reception of this favour, but even if it happened that this distribution fell on the day of their sacred sabbath, on which day it is not lawful for them to receive any thing, or to give anything, or in short to perform any of the ordinary duties of life, he charged the dispenser of these gifts, and gave him the most careful and special injunctions to make the distribution to the Jews on the day following, that they might not lose the effects if his common kindness.
(159) Therefore, all people in every country, even if they were not naturally well inclined towards the Jewish nation, took great care not to violate or attack any of the Jewish customs of laws. And in the reign of Tiberius things went on in the same manner, although at that time things in Italy were thrown into a great deal of confusion when Sejanus was preparing to make his attempt against our nation;
(160) for he knew immediately after his death that the accusations which had been brought against the Jews who were dwelling in Rome were false calumnies, inventions of Sejanus, who was desirous to destroy our nation, which he knew alone, or above all others, was likely to oppose his unholy counsels and actions in defence of the emperor, who was in great danger of being attacked, in violation of all treaties and of all honesty.
(161) And he sent commands to all the governors of provinces in every country to comfort those of our nation in their respective cities, as the punishment intended to be inflicted was not meant to be inflicted upon all, but only on the guilty; and they were but few. And he ordered them to change none of the existing customs, but to look upon them as pledges, since the men were peaceful in their dispositions and natural characters, and their laws trained them and disposed them to quiet and stability.
(162) But Gaius puffed himself up with pride, not only saying, but actually thinking that he was a god. And then he found no people, whether among the Greeks or among the barbarians, more suitable than the Alexandrians to confirm him in his immoderate and unnatural ambition; for they are in an extraordinary degree inclined to flattery, and trick, and hypocrisy, being thoroughly furnished with all kinds of cajoling words, and prone to confuse every thing with their unbridled and licentious talk.
(163) And the name of God is held in so little veneration among them, that they have given it to ibises, and to the poisonous asps which are found in their country, and to many other savage beasts which exist in it. So that they, very naturally, giving in to all kinds of addresses and invocations to him, addressed him as God, deceiving men of shallow comprehension, who were wholly inexperienced in the impiety prevailing in Egypt, though they are detected by those who are acquainted with their excessive folly, or, I should rather say, with their preposterous impiety.
(164) Of which, Gaius, having no experience, imagined that he was really believed by the Alexandrians to be God, since they, without any disguise openly and plainly used all the appellations without any limitation, with which they were accustonied to invoke the other gods.
(165) In the next place he believed that the innovatiuns which they made with respect to their synagogues, were all made with a pure conscience, and from a sincere honour and respect for him, partly being influenced by the ephemerides in the way of memorial, which some persons sent him from Alexandria; for these things were what he very much delighted to read, to such a degree that the writings of all other authors, whether in prose or in poetry, were looked upon by him as absolutely odious in comparison with the delight which these documents afforded him, and partly by the language of some of his domestics, who were continually jesting with him and ridiculing all serious things.
(166) The greater portion of these men ere Egyptians, wicked, worthless men, who had imprinted the venom and evil disposition of their native asps and crocodiles on their own souls, and gave a faithful representation of them there. And the leader of the whole Egyptian troops, like the coryphaeus of a chorus, was a man of the name of Helicon, an accursed and infamous slave, who had been introduced into the imperial household to its ruin; for he had acquired a slight smattering of the encyclical sciences, by imitation of and rivalry with his former master, who gave him to Tiberius Caesar.
(167) And at that time he had no especial privilege, since Tiberius had a perfect hatred of all youthful sallies of wit for the mere purposes of amusement, as he, from almost his earliest youth, was of a solemn and austere disposition.
(168) But when Tiberius was dead, and Gaius succeeded to the empire, he then, following a new master, who invited him to every description of relaxation and luxury, such as could delight every one of his outward senses, said to himself: "Rise up, 0 Helicon! now is your opportunity. You have now an auditor, and a spectator, who is of all men in the world the best calculated to receive the exhibition of your talents favourably. You are a man of very attractive natural talents. You are able to joke graceful, and to say witty, things beyond any one else. You are skilful in all kinds of amusements, and trifling, and fashionable sports. And you are equally accomplished in those branches if the encyclical education which are not so ordinarily met with. Moreover, you have a readiness of speech and repartee which is far from unpleasing.
(169) If therefore you mingle with your jestings any little stimulus which is in the least unwelcome or painful, so as to excite not only laughter but any feelings of bitterness, on the part of one who is always ready to suspect evil, you will be deliberately alienating from yourself a master who is the very well inclined by nature to listen to any accusations which are brought before him in a joking manner; for his ears, as you well know, are always open, and are constantly on the watch to listen to all those who are in the habit of interweaving accusations of others with their sycophancy.
(170) And do not seek for any more abundant causes: for you have a sufficient foundation with respect to the customs of the Jews and the national laws of that people, in which you yourself were bred up, and in which you have been instructed from your very earliest childhood, not by one man only, but by that most chattering and vexatious portion of the city of Alexandria. So now, make an exhibition of your learning."
(171) By these preposterous and accursed arguments he excited his own expectations, and trained himself, and inflamed his own wishes; and then he attended upon and courted Gaius, day and night, never leaving him for a moment, but being with him at all times and on all occasions, and employing every moment when he was by himself, or when he was resting, to pour forth accusations against our nation, like a most infamous man as he was, exciting pleasure in the mind of the emperor by ridiculing the Jews and their laws and customs, that thus his calumnies might wound us the more effectually; for he never openly confessed himself to be our accuser; nor could he in fact make such a confession; but he went by all kinds of crooked paths, and practised every sort of manoeuvre, and thus was a more dangerous and formidable enemy than even those men who openly recorded their hatred of and hostflity towards us.
(172) They say also that some of the ambassadors of the Alexandrians, being completely aware of this, had secretly hired him by considerable bribes, and not only by money but by hopes of future honours, which they led him to expect he might attain to at no distant period, when Gaius should come to Alexandria.
(173) And he, being continually declaiming of that time in which, while his master was present, and in conjunction with him, he should be almost supreme in his power over a large portion of the world (for it was notorious enough that by his assiduous courting of Gaius, he woulil be able to acquire power over the most illustrious portion of the citizens, and overall those who are held in especial honour by the most magnificent and glorious city, promised everything).
(174) We, therefore, being for a long time unsuspicious of this natural enemy, who as plotting against us from his concealment, took precautions only against our external foes; but when we perceived that he too was to be guarded against, we searched into the matter carefully, considering every expedient to see if we could, by any means, propitiate and conciliate the man who was thus aiming and shooting at us, by every means and from every place, with great accuracy of aim and power of injuring us;
(175) for he was in the habit of playing at ball with him, and of exercising himself in gymnastic sports with him, and of bathing with him, and breakfasting with him, and he was with Gaius when he was wont to go to rest, filling the part of chamberlain and chief bodyguard to him, an office which was not entrusted to any one else, so that he alone had all kinds of favourable opportunities for being listened to at leisure by the emperor, when he was removed from any external tumults and distractions, and able quietly to hear what he principally desired.
(176) And he mingled numbers of satirical and quizzing observations with his more formal and serious accusations, in order to excite pleasure in his hearers by that means, and to do us the greatest possible amount of injury; for the quizzing and ridiculing appeared, as he used it, to be the principal object at which he aimed, though it was in reality only his indirect one; and the accusations which he launched against us appeared to be mere casual observations, dropped accidentally, though in reality they were his primary and sole object, while he was trying every expedient possible,
(177) and so, like sailors who have a fair wind blowing on their stern, he was borne onwards with a full sail before a favourable gale, heaping upon us and stringing together one accusation after anothen while the mind of his hearer was fashioned in a more solid and retentive mould, so that the recollection of the accusations was not easily eradicated.
(178) Accordingly, we being in a great strait and in most difficult circumstances, we, though we had availed ourselves of every expedient which we could possibly think of in order to propitiate and conciliate Helicon, could find no means of doing so and no access to him, since no one dared either to accost or to approach him, by reason of his exceeding insolence and cruelty with which he behaved to every one; and also because we were not aware, whether there was any especial reason for his alienation from the Jewish nation; since he was also exciting and exasperating his master against our people, and, accordingly, we left off labouring at this point, and aimed our attention to what was of greater importance. For it appeared good to present to Gaius a memorial, containing a summary of what we had suffered, and of the way in which we considered that we deserved to be treated;
(179) and this memorial was nearly an abridgment of a longer petition which we had sent to him a short time before, by the hand of king Agrippa; for he, by chance, was staying for a short time in the city, while on his way into Syria to take possession of the kingdom which had been given to him:
(180) but we, without being aware of it, were deceiving ourselves, for before also we had done the same, when we originally began to set sail, thinking that as we were going before a judge we should meet with justice; but he was in reality an irreconcilable enemy to us, attracting us, as far as appearance went, with favourable looks and cheerful address;
(181) for, receiving us favourably at first, in the plains on the banks of the Tiber (for he happened to be walking about in his mother's garden), he conversed with us formally, and waved his right hand to us in a protecting manner, giving us significant tokens of his good will, and having sent to us the secretary, whose duty it was to attend to the embassies that arrived, Obulus by name, he said, "I myself will listen to what you have to say at the first favourable opportunity." So that all those who stood around congratulated us as if we had already carried our point, and so did all those of our own people, who are influenced by superficial appearances.
(182) But I myself, who was accounted to be possessed of superior prudence, both on account of my age and my education, and general information, was less sanguine in respect of the matters at which the others were so greatly delighted. "For why," said I, after pondering the matter deeply in my own heart, "why, when there have been such numbers of ambassadors, who have come, one may almost say, from every corner of the globe, did he say on that occasion that he would hear what we had to say, and no one else? What could have been his meaning? for he was not ignorant that we were Jews, who would have been quite content at not being treated worse than the others;
(183) but to expect to be looked upon as worthy to receive especial privileges and precedence, by a master who was of a different nation and a young man and an absolute monarch, would have seemed like insanity. But it would seem that he was showing civility to the whole district of the Alexandrians, to which he was thus giving a privilege, when promising to give his decision speedily; unless, indeed, disregarding the character of a fair and impartial hearer, he was intending to be a fellow suitor with our adversaries and an enemy of ours, instead of behaving like a judge."
(184) Having these ideas in my mind, I resisted the sanguine hopes of the others, and had no rest in my mind day or night. But while I was thus giving way to despondency and lamenting over my ignorance of the future (for it was not safe to postpone matters), on a sudden another most grievous and unexpected calamity fell upon us, bringing danger not on one section of the Jews only, but on all the nation together.
(185) For we had come from Rome to Dicaearchia attending upon Gaius; and he had gone down to the seaside and was remaining near the gulf, having left for a while his own palaces, which were numerous and superbly furnished.
(186) And while we were anxiously considering his intentions, for we were continually expecting to be summoned, a man arrived, with blood-shut eyes, and looking very much troubled, out of breath and palpitating, and leading us away to a little distance from the rest (for there were several persons near), he said, "Have you heard the news?" And then when he was about to tell us what it was he stopped, because of the abundance of tears that rose up to choke his utterance.
(187) And beginning again, he was a second and a third time stopped in the same manner. And we, seeing this, were much alarmed and agitated by suspense, and entreated him to tell us what the circumstance was on account of which he said that he had come; for he could not have come merely to weep before so many witnesses. "If, then," said we, "you have any real cause for tears, do not keep your grief to yourself; we have been long ago well accustomed to misfortune."
(188) And he with difficulty, sobbing aloud, and in a broken voice, spoke as follows: "Our temple is destroyed! Gaius has ordered a colossal statue of himself to be erected in the holy of holies, having his own name inscribed upon it with the title of Jupiter!"
(189) And while we were all struck dumb with astonishment and terror at what he had told us, and stood still deprived of all motion (for we stood there mute and in despair, ready to fall to the ground with fear and sorrow, the very muscles of our bodies being deprived of all strength by the news which we had heard); others arrived bearing the same sad tale.
(190) And then we all retired and shut ourselves up together and be wailed our individual and common miseries, and went through every circumstance that our minds could conceive, for a man in misfortune is a most loquacious animal, wrestling as we might with our misery. And we said to one another. "We have sailed hither in the middle of winter, in order that we might not be all involved in violation of the law and in misfortunes proceeding from it, without being aware what a winter of misery was awaiting us on shore, far more grievous than any storm at sea. For of the one nature is the cause, which has divided the seasons of the year and arranged them in due order, but nature is a thing which exerts a saving power; but the other storm is caused by a man who cherishes no ideas such as become a man, but is a young man. and a promoter of all kinds ofinnovation, being invested with irrespons-ible power over all the world. "And youth, when combined with absolute power and yielding to irresistible and unrestrained passion, is an invincible evil.
(191) And will it be allowed to us to approach him or to open our mouth on the subject of the synagogues before this insulter of our holy and glorious temple? For it is quite evident that he will pay no regard whatever to things of less importance and which are held in inferior estimation, when he behaves with insolence and contempt towards our most beautiful and renowned temple, which is respected by all the east and by all the west, and regarded like the sun which shines everywhere.
(192) And even if we were allowed free access to him, what else could we expect but an inexorable sentence of death? But be it so; we will perish. For, indeed, a glorious death in defence of and for the sake of the preservation of our laws, is a kind of life. "But, indeed, if no advantage is derived from our death, would it not be insanity to perish in addition to what we now have to endure, and this too, while we appear to be ambassadors, so that the calamity appears rather to affect those who have sent us than those who remain?
(193) Not but what those of our fellow countrymen who are by nature most inclined to detest all wickedness, will accuse us of impiety, as if we, in the extremity of dangers, when our whole country was tossed about and threatened, were remembering some private interests of our own out of selfishness. For it is necessary that small things must yield to great ones, and that private objects must yield to the general interests; since, when they are destroyed, there is an end of the constitution and of the nation.
(194) For how can it be holy or lawful for us to struggle in any other manner, pointing out that we are citizens of Alexandria, over whom a danger is now impending, that namely, of the utter destruction of the general constitution of the Jewish nation; for in the destruction of the temple there is reason to fear that this man, so fond of innovation and willing to dare the most audacious actions, will also order the general name of our whole nation to be abolished.
(195) "If, therefore, both the objects on account of which we were sent are overthrown, perhaps some one will say, what then, did they not know that they had to negotiate for a safe return? But I would reply to such a man, You either have not the genuine feelings of a nobly born man, or else you were not educated like one, and have never been trained in the knowledge of the sacred scriptures; for men who are truly noble are full of hope, and the laws too implant good hopes in all those who do not study them superficially but with all their hearts.
(196) Perhaps these things are meant as a trial of the existing generation to see how they are inclined towards virtue, and whether they have been taught to bear evils with resolute and firm minds, without yielding at the first moment; all human considerations then are discarded, and let them be discarded, but let an imperishable hope and trust in God the Saviour remain in our souls, as he has often preserved our nation amid inextricable difficulties and distresses."
(197) These were the sort of things which we said, bewailing at the same time our unexpected calamities, and yet also encouraging one another with the hope of a change to a more tranquil and peaceful state of things. And after a little consideration and delay, we said to those who had brought us this doleful news, "why sit ye here quietly, having just kindled sparks of eagerness in our ears by which we are set on fire and rendered all in a blaze, when you ought rather to add to what you have told us an account of the causes which have operated on Gaius."
(198) And they replied, "You know the principal and primary cause of all; for that indeed is universally known to all men. He desires to be considered a god; and he conceives that the Jews alone are likely to be disobedient; and that therefore he cannot possibly inflict a greater evil or injury upon them than by defacing and insulting the holy dignity of their temple; for report prevails that it is the most beautiful of all the temples in the world, inasmuch as it is continually receiving fresh accessions of ornament and has been for an infinite period of time, a neverending and boundless expense being lavished on it. And as he is a very contentious and quarrelsome man, he thinks of appropriating this edifice wholly to himself.
(199) And he is excited now on this subject to a much greater degree than before by a letter which Capito has sent to him. "Capito is the collector of the imperial revenues in Judaea, and on some account or other he is very hostile to the nations of the country; for having come thither a poor man, and having amassed enormous riches of every imaginable description by plunder and extortion, he has now become afraid lest some accusation may be brought against him, and on this account he has contrived a design by which he may repel any such impeachment, namely, by calumniating those whom he has injured;
(200) and a circumstance which we will now mention, has given him some pretext for carrying out his design. "There is a city called Jamnia; one of the most populous cities in all Judaea, which is inhabited by a promiscuous multitude, the greatest number of whom are Jews; but there are also some persons of other tribes from the neighbouring nations who have settled there to their own destruction, who are in a manner sojourners among the original native citizens, and who cause them a great deal of trouble, and who do them a great deal of injury, as they are continually violating some of the ancestral national customs of the Jews.
(201) These men hearing from travellers who visit the city how exceedingly eager and earnest Gaius is about his own deification, and how disposed he is to look unfavourably upon the whole race of Judaea, thinking that they have now an admirable opportunity for attacking them themselves, have erected an extemporaneous altar of the most contemptible materials, having made clay into bricks for the sole purpose of plotting against their fellow citizens; for they knew well that they would never endure to see their customs transgressed; as was indeed the case.
(202) "For when the Jews saw what they had done, and were very indignant at the holiness and sanctity and beauty of the sacred place being thus obscured and defaced, they collected together and destroyed the altar; so the sojourners immediately went to Capito who was in reality the contriver of the whole affair; and he, thinking that he had made a most lucky hit, which he had been seeking for a long time, writes to Gaius dilating on the matter and exaggerating it enormously;
(203) and he, when he had read the letter, ordered a colossal statue gilt all over, much more costly and much more magnificent than the rich altar which had been erected in Jamnia, by way of insult to be set up in the temple of the metropolis, having for his most excellent and sagacious counsellors Helicon, that man of noble birth, a chattering slave, a perfect scum of the earth, and a fellow of the name of Apelles, a tragic actor. who when in the first bloom of youth, as they say, made a market of his beauty, and when he was past the freshness of youth went on the stage;
(204) and in fact all those who go on the stage selling themselves to
the spectators. and to the theatres, are not lovers of temperance and modesty,
but rather of the most extreme shamelessness and indecency.
"On this account Apelles was taken into the rank of a fellow counsellor of the emperor, that Gaius might have an adviser with whom he might indulge in mocking jests, and with whom he might sing. passing over all considerations of the gen-eral welfare of the state, as if everything in every quarter of the globe was enjoying profound peace and tranquillity under the laws.
(205) "Therefore Helicon, this scorpion-like slave, discharged all his Egyptian venom against the Jews; and Apelles his Ascalonite poison, for he was a native of Ascalon; and between the people of Ascalon and the inhabitants of the holy land, the Jews, there is an irreconcileable and neverending hostility although they are bordering nations."
(206) When we heard this we were wounded in our souls at every word he said and at every name he mentioned; but those admirable advisers of admirable actions a little while afterwards met with the fit reward of their impiety, the one being bound by Gaius with iron chains for other causes, and being put to the torture and to the rack after periods of relief, as is the case with people affected with intermittent diseases; and Helicon was put to death by Claudius Germanicus Caesar, for other wicked actions, that, like a madman as he was, he had committed; but there occurrences took place at a later date.
(207) And the letter respecting the erection of the statue was written not in plain terms, but with as much caution and prudence as possible, taking every measure which could tend to security; for he commands Petronius, the lieutenant and governor of all Syria, to whom indeed he wrote the letter, to lead half the army which was on the Euphrates, to guard against any passage of that river by any of the eastern kings or nations, into Judaea as an escort to the statue; not in order to honour its erection with any especial pomp, but to chastise with death any attempt that might be made to hinder it.
(208) What sayest thou, 0 master? Are you making war upon us, because you anticipate that we will not endure such indignity, but that we will fight on behalf of our laws, and die in defence of our national customs? For you cannot possibly have been ignorant of what was likely to result from your attempt to introduce these innovations respecting nor temple; but having previously learnt with perfect accuracy what was likely to happen as well as if it had already taken place, and knowing the future as thoroughly as if it were actually present, you commanded your general to bring up an army in order that the statue when erected might be consecrated by the first sacrifice offered to it, being of a most polluted kind, stained with the blood of miserable men and women.
(209) Accordingly Petronius, when he had read what he was commanded to do in this letter, was in great perplexity, not being able to resist the orders sent to him out of fear, for he heard that the emperor's wrath was implacable not only against those who did not do what they were commanded to do, but who did not do it in a moment; and on the other hand. he did not see how it was easy to perform them, for he knew that the Jews would willingly, if it were possible, endure ten thousand deaths instead of one, rather than submit to see any forbidden thing perpetrated with respect to their religion;
(210) for all men are eager to preserve their own customs and laws, and the Jewish nation above all others; for looking upon their laws as oracles directly given to them by God himself, and having been instructed in this doctrine from their very earliest infancy they bear in their souls the images of the commandments contained in these laws as sacred;
(211) and secondly, as they continually behold the visible shapes and forms of them, they admire and venerate them in their minds and they admit such foreigners as are disposed to honour and worship them, to do so no less than their own native fellow citizens. But all who attempt to violate their laws, or to turn them into ridicule, they detest as their bitterest enemies, and they look upon each separate one of the commandments with such awe and reverence that, whether one ought to call it the invariable good fortune or the happiness of the nation, they have never been guilty of the violation of even the most insignificant of them;
(212) but above all other observances their zeal for their holy temple is the most predominant, and vehement, and universal feeling throughout the whole nation; and the greatest proof of this is that death is inexorably pronounced against all those who enter into the inner circuit of the sacred precincts (for they admit all men from every country into the exterior circuit), unless he be one of their own nation by blood.
(213) Petronius, having regard to these considerations, was very reluctant to attempt what he was commanded to do, considering what a great and wicked piece of daring he should be committing, and invoking all the deliberative powers of his soul as to a council, he inquired into the opinion of each of them, and he found every faculty of his mind agreeing that he should change nothing of these observances and customs which had been hallowed from the beginning of the world; in the first place because of the natural principles of justice and piety by which they were dictated, and secondly because of the danger which threatened any attempt at innovation upon them, not only from God, but also from the people who would be insulted by such conduct.
(214) He also gave a thought to the circumstances of the nation itself to its exceeding populousness, so that it was not contained as every other nation was by the circuit of the one region which was allotted to it for itselt but so that, I may almost say, it had spread over the whole face of the earth; for it is diffused throughout every continent, and over every island, to that everywhere it appears but little inferior in number to the original native population of the country.
(215) Was it not, then, a most perilous undertaking to draw upon himself such innumerable multitudes of enemies? And was there not danger of allies and friends from all quarters arriving to their assistance? It would be a result of very formidable danger and difficulty, besides the fact that the inhabitants of Judaea are infinite in numbers, and a nation of great stature and personal strength, and of great courage and spirit, and men who are willing to die in defence of their national customs and laws with unshrinking bravery, so that some of those who calumniate them say that their courage (as indeed is perfectly true) is beyond that of any barbarian nation, being the spirit of free and nobly born men.
(216) And the state of all the nations which lie beyond the Euphrates added to his alarm; for he was aware that Babylon and many others of the satrapies of the east were occupied by the Jews, knowing this not merely by report but likewise by personal experience; for every year sacred messengers are sent to convey large amounts of gold and silver to the temple, which has been collected from all the subordinate governments, travelling over rugged, and difficult, and almost impassable roads, which they look upon as level and easy inasmuch as they serve to conduct them to piety.
(217) Therefore, being exceedingly alarmed, as was very natural, lest if they heard of the unprecedented design of erecting this colossal statue in the temple, they might on a sudden direct their march that way and surround him, some on one side and some on the other, so as to hem him in completely, and co-operating with and joining one another might treat the enemy who would be thus enclosed in the midst of them with terrible severity, he hesitated long, attaching great weight to all these considerations.
(218) Then again he was drawn in the opposite direction by considerations of a contrary character, saying to himself, "This is the command of one who is my master and a young man, and of one who judges everything which he wishes to have done to be expedient and becoming, and who is resolved that everything which he has once decided on shall he at once performed even though it may be the most injurious measure possible and full of all contention and insolence; and now having passed beyond all homan nature he has actually recorded himself to be God; and great danger of my life impends over me whether I oppose him or whether I comply with his commands; if I comply with them the result will very probably be war, and one that perhaps may be attended with doubtful success and which will be far from turning out as it is expected to do; and if I oppose him I shall then be exposed to the open and implacable hatred of Gaius.
(219) And with this opinion of his, many of those Romans who were joined with him in the administration of the affairs of Syria coincided, knowiug that the anger of (;aius and the punish-ments which he would inflict would conic upon them first as being accomplices in the disobedi-ence to the injunctions which he had sent;
(220) but at last when it arrived the fashion of the statue afforded them a pretext for delay during which they might have time for a more deliberate consideration of the matter; for they did not send any man from Rome (as it appears to me because the providence of God overruled the matter in this way, who thus invisibly stayed the hand of these wicked doers), nor did he command the most skilful man or him who was accounted so in Syria to manage the matter, since while he was pressing on this lawless action with all speed a war was suddenly kindled.
(221) Therefore having now opportunity to consider what course would be most advantageous (for when great events suddenly come altogether; they break down and perplex the mind), he commanded the statue to be made in some one of the bordering regions.
(222) Therefure Petronius, sending for the most skilful and renowned
artists in Phoenicia, gave them the materials requisite for the making
of the statue; and they took them to Sidon, and there proceeded to make
He also sent for the magistrates of the Jews and the priests and rulers of the people, both to announce to them the commands which he had received from Gaius and also to counsel them to submit cheerfully to the commands which had been imposed by their master; and to give due consideration to the dangers before their eyes; for that the most warlike of the military powers in Syria were all ready, and would soon cover all the country with dead bodies;
(223) for he thought that if he could previously weaken their resolution he would be able by their means to work upon all the rest of the multitude and to persuade them not to oppose the will of the emperor; but, as was natural, he was wholly disappointed in his expectations; for it is said indeed that they were amazed at his first words, and that at first they were utterly overwhelmed by his announcement of their real danger and misery, and that they stood speechless and poured forth a ceaseless abundance of tears as if from a fountain, tearing their beards and the hair of their head, and saying,
(224) "We who were formerly very fortunate, have now advanced through many events to an exceeding old age that we might at last behold what no one of our ancestors ever saw. With what eyes can we endure to look upon these things? let them rather be torn out, and let our miserable lives and our afflicted existence be put an end to, before we behold such an evil as this, such an intolerable spectacle which it is impious to hear of or to conceive.
(225) In this way did they bewail their fate; but when the inhabitants of the holy city and of all the region round about heard of the design which was in agitation, they all arrayed themselves together as if at a concerted signal, their common misery having given them the word, and went forth in a body, and leaving their cities and their villages and their houses empty, they hastened with one accord into Phoenicia, for Petronius happened to be in that country at the moment.
(226) And when some of the guards of Petronius saw a countless multitude hastening towards them they ran to their general to bring him the news, and to warn him to take precautions, as they expected war; and while they were relating to him what they had seen, he was still without any guards; and the multitude of the Jews suddenly coming upon him like a cloud, occupied the whole of Phoenicia, and caused great consternation among the Phoenicians who thus beheld the enormous population of the nation;
(227) and at first so great an outcry was raised, accompanied with weeping
and beating of the breast, that the very ears of those present could not
endure the vastness of the noise; for it did not cease when they ceased,
but continued to vibrate even after they were quiet; then there were approaches
to the governor, and supplications addressed to him such as the occasion
suggested; for calamities are themselves teachers of what should be done
in an existing emergency.
And the multitude was divided into six companies, one of old men, one of young men, one of boys: and again in their turn one band of aged matrons, one of women in the prime of life, and one of virgins;
(228) and when Petronius appeared at a distance all the ranks, as they had been appointed, fell to the ground, uttering a most doleful howling and lamentation, mingled with supplications. But when he commanded them to rise up, and to come nearer to him, they would for a long time hardly consent to rise, and scattering abundance of dust upon their heads, and shedding abundance of tears, they put both their hands behind them like captives who are fettered in this way, and thus they approached him.
(229) Then the body of the old men, standing before him, addressed him
in the following terms:
"We are, as you see, without any arms, but yet as we passed along some persons have accused us as being enemies, but even the very weapons of defence with which nature has provided each individual, namely our hands, we have averted from you, and placed in a position where they can do nothing, offering our bodies freely an easy aim for any one who desires to put us to death.
(230) We have brought unto you our wives, and our children, and our whole families, and in your person we will prostrate ourselves before Gaius, having left not one single person at home, that you may either preserve us all, or destroy us all together by one general and complete destruction. Petronius, we are a peaceful nation, both by our natural disposition and by our determined intentions, and the education which has been industriously and carefully instilled into us has taught us this lesson from our very earliest infancy
(231) When Gains assumed the imperial power we were the first people in all Syria to congratulate him, Vitellius at that time being in our city, from whom you received the government as his successor, to whom writings concerning these matters were sent, and the happy news proceeding onwards from our city, where it had been received with joy, reached the other cities with similar acceptance.
(232) Ours was the first temple which received sacrifices for the happy
reign of Gaius. Did it do so that it might be the first or the only temple
to be deprived of its customary modes of worship?
"We have now left our cities, we have abandoned our houses and our possessions, we will cheerfully contribute to you all our furniture, all our cattle, and all our treasures, everything in short which belongs to us, as a willing booty. We shall think that we are receiving them, not giving them up. We only ask one thing instead of and to counterbalance all of them, namely, that no innovations may take place in respect of our temple, but that it may be kept such as we have received it from our fathers and our forefathers.
(233) And if we cannot prevail with you in this, then we offer up ourselves for destruction, that we may not live to behold a calamity more terrible and grievous than death. We hear that great forces of infantry and cavalry are being prepared by you against us, if we oppose the erection and dedication of this statue. No one is so mad as, when he is a slave, to oppose his master We willingly and readily submit ourselves to be put to death; let your troops slay us, let them sacrifice us, let them cut us to pieces unresisting and uncontending, let them treat us with every species of cruelty that conquerers can possibly practise,
(234) but what need is there of any army? We ourselves, admirable priests for the purpose, will begin the sacrifice, bringing to the temple our wives and slaying our wives, bringing our brothers and sisters and becoming fratricides, bringing our sons and our daughters, that innocent and guiltless age, and becoming infanticides. Those who endure tragic calamities must needs make use of tragic language.
(235) Then standing in the middle of our victims, having bathed ourselves deeply in the blood of our kinsfolk (for such blood will be the only bath which we shall have wherewith to cleanse ourselves for the journey to the shades below), we will mingle our own blood with it, slaughtering ourselves upon their bodies.
(236) Arid when we are dead, let this command-ment be inscribed over
us as an epitaph, 'Let not even God blame us, who have had a due regard
to both considerations, pious loyalty towards the emperor and the reverential
preservation of our established holy laws,'
"And this will be what will be deservedly said of us if we give up our miserable life, holding it in proper contempt.
(237) We have heard of a most ancient tradition, which has been handed down throughout Greece by their historians, who have affirmed that the head of the Gorgon had such mighty power, that those who beheld it immediately became stones and rocks. But this appears only to be a fiction and fable, the truth being that great, and unexpected, and wonderful events do often bring after them great disaster; for instance, the anger of a master causes death, or calamities equivalent to death.
(238) "Do you suppose (may God forbid that any such event should ever take place) that if any of our countrymen were to see this statue being brought into our temple, it would not change them into stones? Their limbs being all congealed, and their eyes becoming fixed so as not to be capable of motion, and their whole body losing all its natural motions in every one of its united parts and limbs!
(239) We will, however, now, 0 Petronius, address to you one last and most righteous and just request; we say that you ought not to do what you are commanded, but we entreat you to grant us a respite, and we most earnestly supplicate you to delay a little while till we appoint an embassy, and send it to approach your master, and to convey our entreaties to him.
(240) Perhaps in our embassy we may find some argument or other to persuade him, either by bringing before him all the considerations respecting the honour of God, or the preservation of our indestructible and unalterable laws, or by urging upon him that we ought not to be subjected to a worse fate than all the nations even in the very most remote extremities of the earth, who have been allowed to preserve their national customs; with reference to which his grandfather and great-grandfather came to a righteous decision when they confirmed and set the seal to our customs with all care.
(241) Perhaps when he hears these arguments he will be more merciful to us. The intentions of the great do not always continue the same, and those which are adopted in anger are the quickest to change. We have been grievously calumniated. Suffer us to refute the false accusations which have been brought against us. It is hard to be condemned without being heard in our own defence,
(242) "And if we fail to convince him, what will after that prevent him from doing the things which he at present intends to do? Until, then, we have sent this embassy, do not cut off all the hopes of so many myriads of men, since our zeal and earnestness is displayed not in the cause of gain, but in that of religion; though indeed we speak foolishly in using such an expression as that, for what can be a more real and beneficial gain to them than holiness?"
(243) They uttered these complaints and entreaties with great agony and misery of soul, with exceeding sobbing and difficulty of speech, for all their limbs sweated with apprehension, arid their ceaseless tears flowed in torrents, so that all who heard them, and Petronius himself sympathised with their sorrow, for he was by nature a man very kind and gentle in his natural disposition, so that he was easily influenced by what was now said or heard; and what was said appeared to be entirely just, and the misery of those whom he now beheld appeared most pitiable;
(244) and rising up, and retiring with his fellow counsellors, he took counsel as to what he ought to do, and he saw that those who a short time before opposed the wishes of the Jews with all their might were now wavering and perplexed, and that those who had previously been hesitating were now for the most part inclined to compassion, at which he was pleased. Nevertheless, though he was well acquainted with the disposition of the emperor, and how implacable and inexorable he was in his anger,
(245) he still had himself some sparks of the Jewish philosophy and piety, since he had long ago learnt something of it by reason of his eagerness for learning, and had studied it still more ever since he had come as governor of the countries in which there are vast numbers of jews scattered over every city of Asia and Syria; or partly because he was so disposed in his mind from his spontaneous, and natural, and innate inclination for all things which are worthy of care and study. Moreover, God himself appears often to suggest virtuous ideas to virtuous men, by which, while benefiting others, they will likewise be benefited themselves, which now was the case with Petronius. What then was his resolution?
(246) Not to hurry on the artists, but to persuade them to continue to finish the statue which they had in hand, taking pains and labouring as far as might be possible not to be inferior to the most renowned models, but to take plenty of time, so as to make their work perfect, since things which are done in a hurry are very often inferior, but things which are done with great pains and skill require a length of time.
(247) But the embassy which they entreated leave to send he determined not to permit, for he considered that it would not be safe for him to allow it; still he determined not to oppose those who wished to refer the whole matter to the supreme sovereign and master, but neither to agree with nor to contradict the multitude, for he considered that either line of conduct was fraught with danger.
(248) Moreover, he determined to write a letter to Gaius, not in any respect accusing the Jews, and on the other hand not giving any accurate account of their entreaties and supplications, and to explain the delay which was taking place in the erection of the statue, partly because the preparation of it required a certain space of time for its completion, and partly, he reminded him, that the season of the year was in some degree the cause of unavoidable delay, in which there was no question but that Gaius must of necessity acquiesce,
(249) for it was just at that moment the very height of the wheat harvest and of all the other cereal crops; and he said that he was afraid lest out of despair of the preservation of their national and hereditary laws and customs, the men might conceive such a contempt for life as either themselves to lay waste their lands, or to burn all the corn-bearing district, whether mountainous or champaign country, and, therefore, that he might require a guard to secure a careful gathering in of the crops, and that not only of such as were borne on the arable land but of those produced by fruit bearing trees;
(250) for he himself was intending, as is said, to sail to Alexandria in Egypt, but so great a general did not choose to cross the open sea both by reason of the danger and also of the numerous fleet which would be required as his escort, and also from his regard for his own person, as everything requisite for his comfort would be more easily provided if he took the circuitous route through Asia and Syria;
(251) for he would, if he coasted along, be able to sail every day and land every night, especially if he took with him a sufficient number of ships of war, and not transports, in which a coasting voyage is mure successful, just as one across the open sea is better for merchantmen.
(252) Therefore it was necessary that abundant quantities of forage and food should be prepared for his cattle in every one of the Syrian cities, and especially in all such as were on the coast, for a numerous multitude would be proceeding both by land and sea, collected not only from Rome itself and from Italy, but that which had also followed him from all the other provinces of the empire as far as Syria, being partly the regular guard of the magistrates, and partly the regular army of infantry and cavalry, and the naval force, and also a troops of servants but little inferior in number to the army.
(253) Moreover, there was need not only of such an abundance of supplies as might be sufficient for all necessary purposes, but also for all the superfluous prodigality of which Gaius was fond. If he reads these writings perhaps he will not only not be angry, but will be even pleased with our prudential caution, as having caused this delay not from any regard for the Jews, but for the sake of providing for the collection of the harvest.
(254) And when his assessors had delivered their opinions, he commanded letters to be written, and appointed active men, who were accustomed to make rapid journey, to convey them. And they, when they had arrived at their journey's end, delivered the letters; but the emperor, before he had finished reading them, became swollen with anger, and went on making marks at every page, in fury and indignation;
(255) and when he had come to the end of the letter, he clapped his hands togethen saying, "Of a truth, Petronius, you seem but little to comprehend that you are the subject of the emperor; the uninterrupted series of governments to which you have been preferred have filled you with guile. Up to the present time it seems to me that you have no notion of acknowledging that you know, even by hearsay, that Gaius is emperor, but you shall very speedily find it out by your own experience,
(256) for you are careful about the laws of the Jews, a nation which I hate above every other, and you are indifferent about the imperial commands of your sovereign. You fear the multitude. Had you not with you then the military forces which all the eastern nations, and the chief of them all, the Parthians, fear?
(257) But you pitied them, you paid more attention to feelings of compassion than to the express commands of Gains. "Make your pretext of the harvest, but you yourself shall soon find that you have brought on your own head a punishment which cannot be averted by any pretexts of excuses. Blame the necessity for collecting the crops, and for making adequate provision for my armies, for even if a complete scarcity were to oppress Judaea, still are there not vast regions on its borders of great fertility and productiveness, sufficient and able to sup ply all necessary food, and to make up for the deficiency of one district?
(258) But why do I speak in this way before acting? And why is there no one who anticipates my intentions? He who delays shall first find out that he is receiving the wages of his delay by suffering in his own person. I will say no more, but I shall not forget the matter."
(259) And after a brief interval, he dictated to one of his secretaries an answer to Petronius, praising him in appearance for his prudence, and for his careful and accurate consideration of the future, for he was very careful with respect to the governors of the provinces, seeing that they had at all times great facilities for making innovations or revolutions, especially if they happened to be in districts of importance, and in command of powerful armies such as was on the Euphrates for the protection of Syria.
(260) Therefore, being very civil to him in words and in his letters, he concealed his anger till a favourable opportunity, though he was very much exasperated; but at the end of the letter, after having mentioned every other subject, he desired him not to be so anxious about anything as about the speedy erection and dedication of the statue, for that by this time the harvest must have been able to be got in, whether the excuse was originally an honest and true or only a plausible one.
(261) However a short time afterwards King Agrippa arrived in Rome, according to custom, to pay his respects to Gaius and he knew absolutely nothing either of what Petronius had written in his letter; or of what Gaius had written in his first or second epistle, but by his irregular motions and agitations, and by the excitement which shone in his eyes, he conjectured that he had some anger smouldering beneath, and he considered, and pondered, and turned over every matter in every direction, racking his brain for every reason, whether great or small, to see whether he had said or done anything unbecoming,
(262) and when he felt sure that he had done absolutely nothing, he
conjectured, as was natural, that it was some one else with whom he was
offended. But again, when he saw that he looked morosely at him, and that
he kept his eyes continually fixed on him, and on no one else who was ever
present, he began to be alarmed, and though he often thought of putting
the question to him, he restrained himself, reflecting in this manner:
"Perhaps by doing so I may draw down on myself the threats which as it is are destined for others, by bringing upon myself a suspicion of being a busy-body, and a rash and audacious man."
(263) Therefore, when Gaius saw that he was in a state of great alarm and perplexity, for he was very acute at comprehending a man's inmost designs and feelings from his outward appearance and expression of countenance, he said, "You are embarrassed, 0 Agrippa. I will relieve you from your perplexity.
(264) Though you have lived with me for such a length of time, are you yet ignorant that I speak not only with my voice, but also with my eyes, intimating everything, to say the least of it, as much in one way as in the other?
(265) Your loyal and excellent fellow citizens, the only nation of men upon the whole face of the earth by whom Gains is not esteemed to be a god, appear now to be even desiring to plot my death in their obstinate disobedience, fur when I commanded my statue in the character of Jupiter to be erected in their temple, they raised the whole of their people, and quitted the city and the whole country in a body, under pretence of addressing a petition to me, but in reality being determined to act in a manner contrary to the commands which I had imposed upon them."
(266) And when he was about to add other charges against them Agrippa fell into such a state of grief that he changed into all sorts (if colours, becoming at the same moment bloodshot, and pale and livid,
(267) for he was all over agitation and trembling from the top of his head down to his feet, and a quivering arid shaking seized upon and disordered all his limbs and every member of his body, all his sinews, and muscles, and nerves being relaxed and enfeebled. so that he fainted away and would have fallen down if some of the bystanders had not supported him. And they being commanded to carry him home, bore him to his palace where he lay for some time in a state of torpor without any one understanding what sudden misfortune had brought him into this state.
(268) Therefore Gaius was exasperated still more against our nation, and cherished a more furious anger against us than before. "For," said he, "if Agrippa, who is my most intimate and dearest friend, and one bound to me by so many benefits, is to completely under the influence of his national customs that he cannot bear even to hear a word against them, but faints away to such a degree as to be near dying, what must one expect will be the feelings of others who have no motive or influence to draw theni the other way?"
(269) Agrippa, then, during all that day and the greater portion of the next day, lay in a state of profound stupor, being completely unconscious of everything that passed; but about evening he raised his head a little, and for a short time opened, though with difficulty, his languid eyes, and with dim and indistinct vision looked upon the people who surrounded him, though he was not as yet able to distinguish clearly between their several forms arid features;
(270) and then again relapsing into sleep, he became tranquil, getting into a better condition than at first, as those about him could conjecture from his breathing and from the state of his body.
(271) And afterwards, when he awoke again, and rose up, by asked, "Where now am I? Am I with Gaius? Is my lord himself here?" And they replied, "Be of good cheer; you are by yourself in your own palace.
(272) Gaius is not here. You have now had a sufficient tranquil sleep, but now turn and raise yourself, and rest upon your elbow, and recognise those who are about you; they are all your own people, those of your friends, and freedmen, and domestics, who honour you above all others, and who are honoured by you in return."
(273) And he, for he was now beginning to recover from his state of stupefaction, saw feelings of sympathy in every one's face, and when his physicians ordered most of them to leave the room, that they might refresh his body with anointing and seasonable food,
(274) "Go," said he, "for you must by all means take care that I may have a more carefully regulated way of life, for it is not sufficient for me, unfortunate man that I am, to ward off hunger by a bare, and scanty, and economical, and precise rise of necessary food; nor should I have attended to any such matters if it had not been my object to provide my miserable nation with the last resource which my mind suggests to me by way of assisting it."
(275) Accordingly, he, shedding abundance of tears, and eating just what was necessary without any sauce or seasoning, and drinking no mixed wine but only tasting water, soon left off eating. "My miserable stomach," said he, "recoils from the things which it demanded; and now what ought I do to but address myself to Gaius with respect to existing circumstances?"
(276) And having taken tablets, he writes to him in the following manner: "0 master, fear and shame have taken from me all courage to come into your presence to address you; since fear teaches me to dread your threats; and shame, out of respect for the greatness of your power and dignity, keeps me silent. But a writing will show my request, which I now here offer to you as my earnest petition.
(277) In all men, 0 emperor! a love of their country is innate, and an eagerness for their national customs and laws. And concerning these matters there is no need that I should give you information, since you have a heart-felt love of your own country, and a deeply-seated respect for your national customs. And what belongs to themselves appears beautiful to every one, even if it is not so in reality; for they judge of these things not more by reason than by the feelings of affection.
(278) And I am, as you know, a Jew; and Jerusalem is my country, in which there is erected the holy temple of the most high God. And I have kings for my grandfathers and for my ancestors, the greater part of whom have been called high priests, looking upon their royal power as inferior to their office as priests; and thinking that the high priesthood is as much superior to the power of a king, as God is superior to man; for that the one is occupied in rendering service to God, and the other has only the care of governing them.
(279) Accordingly I, being one of this nation, and being attached to this country and to such a temple, address to you this petition on behalf of them all; on behalf of the nation, that it may not be looked upon by you in a light contrary to the true one; since it is a most pious and holy nation, and one from the beginning most loyally disposed to your family.
(280) "For in all the particulars in which men are enjoined by the laws, and in which they have it in their power tii show their piety and loyalty, my nation is inferior to none whatever in Asia or in Europe, whether it be in respect of prayers, or of the supply of sacred offerings, or in the abundance of its sacrifices, not merely of such as are offered on occasions of the public festivals, but in those which are continually offered day after day; by which means they show their loyalty and fidelity more surely than by their mouth and tongue, proving it by the designs of their honest hearts, not indeed saying that they are friends to Caesar, but being so in reality.
(281) "Concerning the holy city I must now say what is necessary. It, as I have already stated, is my native country, and the metropolis not only of the one country of Judaea but also of many, by reason of the colonies which it has sent out from time to time into the bordering districts of Egypt, Phoenicia, Syria in general, and especially that part of it which is called Coelo-Svria and also with those more distant regions of Pamphylia, Cilicia, the greater part of Asia Minor as far as Bithynia, and the furthermost corners of Pontus. And in the same manner into Europe, into Thessaly, and Boeotia, and Macedonia, and Aetolia, and Attica, and Argus, and Corinth and all the most fertile and wealthiest districts of Peloponnesus,
(282) "And not only are the continents full of Jewish colonies, but also all the most celebrated islands are so too; such as Euboea, and Cyprus, and Crete. "I say nothing of the countries beyond the Euphrates, for all of them except a very small portion, and Babylon, and all the satrapies around, which have any advantages whatever of soil or climate, have Jews settled in them.
(283) "So that if my native land is, as it reasonably may be, looked upon as entitled to a share in your favour it is not one city only that would then be benefited by you, but ten thousand of them in every region of the habitable world, in Europe, in Asia, and in Africa, on the continent, in the islands, on the coasts, and in the inland parts.
(284) "And it corresponds well to the greatness of your good fortune, that, by conferring benefits on one city, you should also benefit ten thousand others, so that your renown may be celebrated in every part of the habitable world, and many praises of you may be combined with thanksgiving.
(285) "You have thought the native countries of some of your friends worthy of being admitted to share all the privileges of the Roman constitution; and those who but a little while ago were slaves, became the masters of others who also enjoyed your favour in a higher, or at all events not in a lower degree, and they were delighted too at the causes of your beneficence.
(286) "And I indeed am perfectly aware that I belong to the class which is in subjection to a lord and master and also that I am admitted to the honour of being one of your companions, being inferior to you in respect of my birthright and natural rank, and inferior to no one whomsoever not to say the most eminent of all men, in good will and loyalty towards you,
(287) "both because that is my natural disposition, and also in consequence of the number of benefits with which you have enriched me; so that if I in consequence had felt confidence to implore you myself on behalf of my country, if not to grant to it the Roman constitution, at least to confer freedom and a remission of taxes on it, I should not have thought that I had any reason to fear your displeasure for preferring such a petition to you, and for requesting that most desirable of all things, your favour, which it can do you no harm to grant, and which is the most advantageous of all things for my country to receive.
(288) "For what can possibly be a more desirable blessing for a subject nation than the good will of its sovereign? It was at Jerusalem, 0 emperor! that your most desirable succession to the empire was first announced; and the news of your advancement spread frum the holy city all over the continent on each side, and was received with great gladness. And on this account that city deserves to meet with favour at your hands;
(289) "for, as in families the eldest children receive the highest honours as their birthright, because they were the first to give the name of father and mother to their parents, so, in like manner, since this is first of all the cities in the east to salute you as emperor, it ought to receive greater benefit from you than any other; or if not greater, at all events as great as any other city.
(290) "Having now advanced these pleas on the ground of justice, and made these petitions on behalf of my native country, I now come at last to my supplication on behalf of the temple. 0 my lord and master, Gaius! this temple has never, from the time of its original foundation until now, admitted any form made by hands, because it has been the abode of God. Now, pictures and images are only imitations of those gods who are perceptible to the outward senses; but it was not considered by our ancestors to be consistent with the reverence due to God to make any image or representation of the invisible God.
(291) "Agrippa, when he came to the temple, did honour to it, and he was thy grandfather; and so did Augustus, when by his letters he commanded all first fruits from all quarters to be sent thither; and by the continual sacrifice. And thy great grandmother...
(292) "On which account, no one, whether Greek or barbarian, satrap, or king, or implacable enemy; no sedition, no war, no capture, no destruction, no occurrence that has ever taken place, has ever threatened this temple with such motivation as to place in it any image, or statue, or any work of any kind made with hands;
(293) "for though enemies have displayed their hostility to the inhabitants of the country, still, either reverence or fear has possessed them sufficiently to prevent them from abrogating any of the laws which were established at the beginning, as tending to the honour of the Creator and Father of the universe; for they knew that it is these and similar actions which bring after them the irremediable calamities of heaven-sent afflictions On which account they have been careful not to sow an impious seed, fearing lest they should be cumpelled to reap its natural harvest, in a fruit bearing utter destruction.
(294) "But why need I invoke the assistance of foreign witnesses when I have plenty with whom I can furnish you from among your own countrymen and friends? Marcus Agrippa, your own grandfather on the mother's side, the moment that he arrived in Judaea, when Herod, my grandfather, was king of the country, thought fit to go up from the sea-coast to the metropolis, which was inland.
(295) "And when he had beheld the temple, and the decorations of the priests, and the piety and holiness of the people of the country, he marvelled, looking upon the whole matter as one of great solemnity and entitled to great respect, and thinking that he had beheld what was too magnificent to be described. And he could talk of nothing else to his companions but the magnificence of the temple and every thing connected with it.
(296) "Therefore, every day that he remained in the city, by reason of his friendship for Herod, he went to that sacred place, being delighted with the spectacle of the building, and of the sacrifices, and all the ceremonies connected with the worship of God, and the regularity which was observed, and the dignity and honour paid to the high priest, and his grandeur when arrayed in his sacred vestments and when about to begin the sacrifices.
(297) "And after he had adorned the temple with all the offerings in his power to contribute, and had conferred many benefits on the inhabitants, doing them many important services, and having said to Herod many friendly things, and having been replied to in corresponding terms, he was conducted back again to the sea coast, and to the harbour and that not by one city only but by the whole country, having branches strewed in his road, and being greatly admired and respected for his piety.
(298) "What again did your other grandfather, Tiberius Caesar do? does not he appear to have adopted an exactly similar line of conduct? At all events, during the three and twenty years that he was emperor, he preserved the form of worship in the temple as it had been handed down from the earliest times, without abrogating or altering the slightest particular of it.
(299) "Moreover, I have it in my power to relate one act of ambition on his part, though I suffered an infinite number of evils when he was alive; but nevertheless the truth is considered clear, and much to be honoured by you. Pilate was one of the emperor's lieutenants, having been appointed governor of Judaea. He, not more with the object of doing honour to Tiberius than with that of vexing the multitude, dedicated some gilt shields in the palace of Herod, in the holy city; which had no form nor any other forbidden thing represented on them except some necessary inscription, which mentioned these two facts, the name of the person who had placed them there, and the person in whose honour they were so placed there.
(300) But when the multitude heard what had been done, and when the circumstance became notorious, then the people, putting foward the four sons of the king, who were in no respect inferior to the kings themselves, in fortune or in rank, and his other descendants, and those magistrates who were among them at the time, entreated him to alter and to rectify the innovation which he had committed in respect of the shields; and not to make any alteration in their national customs, which had hitherto been preserved without any interruption, without being in the least degree changed by any king of emperor.
(301) "But when he steadfastly refused this petition (for he was a man of a very inflexible disposition, and very merciless as well as very obstinate), they cried out: 'Do not cause a sedition; do not make war upon us; do not destroy the peace which exists. The honour of the emperor is not identical with dishonour to the ancient laws; let it not be to you a pretence for heaping insult on our nation. Tiberius is not desirous that any of our laws or customs shall be destroyed. And if you yourself say that he is, show us either some command from him, or some letter, or something of the kind, that we, who have been sent to you as ambassadors, may cease to trouble you, and may address our supplications to your master'.
(302) "But this last sentence exasperated him in the greatest possible degree, as he feared least they might in reality go on an embassy to the emperor, and might impeach him with respect to other particulars of his government, in respect of his corruption, and his acts of insolence, and his rapine, and his habit of insulting people, and his cruelty, and his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never ending and gratuitous, and most grievous inhumanity.
(303) "Therefore, being exceedingly angry and being at all times a man of most ferocious passions, he was in great perplexity, neither venturing to take down what he had once set up, nor wishing to do any thing which could be acceptable to his subjects, and at the same time being sufficiently acquainted with the firmness of Tiberius on these points. And those who were in power in our nation, seeing this, and perceiving that he was inclined to change his mind as to what he had done, but that he was not willing to be thought to do so, wrote a most supplicatory letter to Tiberius.
(304) "And he, when he had read it, what did he say of Pilate, and what threats did he utter against him! But it is beside our purpose at present to relate to you how very angry he was, although he was not very liable to sudden anger; since the facts speak for themselves;
(305) "for immediately, without putting any thing off till the next day, he wrote a letter reproaching and reviling him in the most bitter manner for his act of unprecedented audacity and wickedness, and commanding him immediately to take down the shields and to convey them away from the metropolis of Judaca to Caesarea, on the sea which had been named Caesaria Augusta. after his grandfather in order that they might be set up in the temple of Augustus. And accordingly, they were set up in that edifice. And in this way he provided for two matters: both for the honour due to the emperor, and for the preservation of the ancient customs of the city.
(306) "Now the things set up on that occasion were shields, on which there was no representation of any living thing what ever engraved. But now the thing proposed to be erected is a colossal statue. Moreover, then the erection was in the dwelling-house of the governor; but they say, that which is now contemplated is to be in the inmost part of the temple, in the very holy of holies itself, into which, once in the year, the high priest enters, on the day called the great fast, to offer incense, and on no other day, being then about in accordance with our national law also to offer up prayers for a fertile and ample supply of blessings, and for peace of all mankind.
(307) And if any one else, I will not say of the Jews, but even of the priests, and those not of the lowest order, but even those who are in the rank next to the first, should go in there, either with him or after him, or even if the very high priest himself should enter in thither on two days in the year, or three or four times on the same day, he is subjected to inevitable death for his impiety,
(308) "so great are the precautions taken by our lawgiver with respect to the holy of holies, as he determined to preserve it alone inaccessible to and untouched by any human being. "How many deaths then do you not suppose that the people, who have been taught to regard this place with such holy reverence, would willingly endure rather than see a statue introduced into it? I verily believe that they would rather slay all their whole families, with their wives and children, and themselves last of all, in the ruins of their houses and faimilies, and Tiberius knew this well.
(309) "And what did your great-grandfather, the most excellent of all emperors that ever lived upon the earth, he who was the first to have the appellation of Augustus given him, on account of his virtue and good fortune; he who diffused peace in every direction over earth and sea, to the very furthest extremities of the world?
(310) Did not he, when he had heard a report of the peculiar characteristics
of our temple, and that there is in it no image or representation made
by hands, no visible likeness of Him who is invisible, no attempt at any
imitation of his nature, did not he, I say, marvel at and honour it? for
as he was imbued with something more than a mere smattering of philosophy,
inasmuch as he had deeply feasted on it, and continued to feast on it every
day, he partly retraced in his recollection all the precepts of philosophy
which his mind had previously learnt, and partly also he kept his learning
alive by the conversation of the literary men who were always about him
for at his banquets and entertainments, the greatest part of the time was
devoted to learned
conversation, in order that not only his friends' bodies but their minds also might be nourished.
(311) "And though I might be able to establish this fact, and demonstrate to you the feelings of Augustus, your great grandfather, by an abundance of proofs, I will be content with two; for, in the first place, he sent commandments to all the governors of the different provinces throughout Asia, because he heard that the sacred first fruits were neglected, enjoining them to permit the Jews alone to assemble together in the synagogues,
(312) "for that these assemblies were not revels, which from drunkenness and intoxication proceeded to violence, so as to disturb the peaceful condition of the country, but were rather schools of temperance and justice, as the men who met in them were studiers of virtue, and contributed the first fruits every year, sending commissioners to convey the holy things to the temple in Jerusalem.
(313) "And, in the next place, he commanded that no one should hinder the Jews, either on their way to the synagogues, or when bringing their contributions, or when proceeding in obedience to their national laws to Jerusalem, for these things were expressly enjoined, if not in so many words, at all events in effect;
(314) "and I subjoin one letter, in order to bring conviction to you who are our mater, what Gaius Norbanus Flaccus wrote, in which he details what had been written to him by Caesar, and the superscription of the letter is as follows:
CAIUS NORBANUS: FLACCUS, PROCONSUL,
TO THE GOVERNORS OF THE EPHESIANS,
"'Caesar has written word to me, that the Jews, wherever they are, are accustomed to assemble together, in compliance with a peculiar ancient custom of their nation, to contribute money which they send to Jerusalem; and he does not choose that they should have any hindrance offered to them, to prevent them from doing this; therefore I have written to you, that you may know that I command that they shall be allowed to do these things.'
(316) "Is not this a most convincing proof, 0 emperor, of the intention of Caesar respecting the honours paid to our temple which he had adopted, not considering it right that because of some general rule, with respect to meetings, the assemblies of the Jews, in one place should be put down, which they held for the sake of offering the first fruits, and for other pious objects?
(317) "There is also another piece of evidence, in no respect inferior to this one, and which is the most undeniable proof of the will of Augustus, for he commanded perfect sacrifices of whole burnt offerings to be offered up to the must high God every day, out of his own revenues, which are performed up to the present time, and the victims are two sheep and a bull, with which Caesar honoured the altar of God, well knowing that there is in the temple no image erected, either in open sight or in any secret part of it.
(318) "But that great ruler, who was inferior to no one in philosophy, considered within himself, that it is necessary in terrestrial things, that an especial holy place should be set apart for the invisible God, who will not permit any visible representation of himself to be made, by which to arrive at a participation in favourable hopes and the enjoyment of perfect blessings.
(319) "And your grandmother, Julia Augusta, following the example of so great a guide in the paths of piety, did also adorn the temple with some golden vials and censers, and with a great number of other offerings, of the most costly and magnificent description; and what was her object in doing this, when there is no statue erected within the temple? for the minds of women are, in some degree, weaker than those of men, and are not so well able to comprehend a thing which is appreciable only by the intellect, without any aid of objects addressed to the outward senses;
(320) "but she, as she surpassed all her sex in other particulars, so also was she superior to them in this, by reason of the pure learning and wisdom which had been implanted in her, both by nature and by study; so that, having a masculine intellect, she was so sharpsighted and profound, that she comprehended what is appreciable only by the intellect, even more than those things which are perceptible by the outward senses, and looked upon the latter as only shadows of the former.
(321) "Therefore, 0 master, having all these examples most nearly connected with yourself and your family, of our purposes and customs, derived from those from whom you are sprung, of whom you are born, and by whom you have been brought up, I implore you to preserve those principles which each of those persons whom I have mentioned did preserve;
(322) "they who were themselves possessed of imperial power do, by their laws, exhort you, the emperor; they who were august, speak to you who are also Augustus; your grandfathers and ancestors speak to their descendant; numbers of authorities address one individual. all but saying, in express words: Do not you destroy those things in our councils which remain, and which have been preserved as permanent laws to this very day; for even if no mischief were to ensue from the abrogation of them, still, at all events, the result would be a feeling of uncertainty respecting the future, and such uncertainty is full of fear, even to the most sanguine and confident, if they are not despisers of divine things.
(323) "If I were to enumerate the benefits which I myself have received at your hands, the day would be too short for me; besides the fact that it is not proper for one who has undertaken to speak on one subject to branch off to a digression about some other matter. And even if I should be silent, the facts themselves speak and utter a distinct voice.
(324) "You released me when I was bound in chains and iron. who is there who is ignorant of this? But do not, after having done so, 0 emperor! bind me in bonds of still greater bitterness: for the chains from which you released me surrounded a part of my body. but those which I am now anticipating are the chains of the soul, which are likely to oppress it wholly and in every part;
(325) "you abated from me a fear of death, continually suspended over my head; you received me when I was almost dead through fear; you raised me up as it were from the dead. Continue your favour, 0 master, that your Agrippa may not be driven wholly to forsake life: for I shall appear (if you do not do so) to have been released from bondage, not for the purpose of being saved, but for that of being made to perish in a more conspicuous manner.
(326) "You have given me the greatest and most glorious inheritance among mankind, the rank and power of a king, at first over one district, then over another and a more important one, adding to my kingdom the district called Trachonitis and Galilee. Do not then, 0 master! after having loaded me with means of superfluity, deprive me of what is actually necessary. Do not, after you have raised me up to the most brilliant light, cast me down again from my eminence to the most profound darkness.
(327) "I am willing to descend from this splendid position in which you have placed me; I do not deprecate a return to the condition in which I was a short time ago; I will give up everything: I look upon everything as of less importance than the one point of preserving the ancient customs and laws of my nation unaltered: for if they are violated, what could I say, either to my fellow countrymen or to any other men? It would follow of necessity that I must be looked upon as one of two things, either as a betrayer of my people, or as one who is no longer accounted a friend by you. And what could be a greater misery than either of these two things?
(328) "For if I am still reckoned among the company of your friends. I shall then receive the imputation of treason against my own nation, if neither my country is preserved free from all misfortune, nor even the temple left inviolate. For you, great men, preserve the property of your companions and of those who take refuge in your protection by your imperial splendour and magnificence.
(329) "And if you have any secret grief or vexation in your mind, do not throw me into prison. like Tiberius, but deliver me from any anticipation of being thrown into prison at any hiture time; command me at once to be put out of the way. For what advantage would it be to me to live, who place my whole hopes of safety and happiness in your friendship and favour?"
(330) Having written this letter and sealed it, he sent it to Gaius, and then shutting himself up he remained in his own house, full of agony, confusion, and disorder, and anxiety, as to what was the best way of approaching and addressing the emperor; for he and his people had incurred no slight danger, but they bad reason to apprehend expulsion from their country, and slavery, and utter destruction, as impending not only over those who were dwelling in the holy land, but over all the Jews in every part of the world.
(331) But the emperor, having taken the letter and read it, and having considered every suggestion which was contained in it, was very angry, because his intentions had not been executed: and yet, at the same time, he was moved by the appeals to his justice and by the supplications which were thus addressed to him, and in some respects he was pleased with Agrippa, and in some he blamed him.
(332) He blamed him for his excessive desire to please his fellow countrymen, who were the only men who had resisted his orders and shown any unwillingness to submit to his deification; but he praised him for concealing and disguising none of his feelings, which conduct he said was a proof of a liberal and noble disposition.
(333) Therefore being somewhat appeased, at least as far as appearance went, he condescended to return a somewhat favourable answer, granting to Agrippa that highest and greatest of all favours, the consent that this erection of his statue should not take place; and he commanded letters to be written to Publius Petronius the governor of Syria, enjoining him not to allow any alterations or innovations to be made with respect to the temple of the Jews.
(334) Nevertheless, though he did grant him the favour he did not grant
it without any alloy, but he mingled with it a grievous terror; for he
added to the letter,-"If any people in the bordering countries, with the
exception of the metropolis itself, wishing to erect altars or temples,
nay, images of statues, in honour of me and of my family are hindered from
doing so, I charge you at once to punish those who attempt to hinder them, or else to bring them before the tribunal."
(335) Now this was nothing else but a beginning of seditions and civil wars, and an indirect way of annulling the gift which he appeared to be granting. For some men, more out of a desire of mortifying the Jews than from any feelings of loyalty towards Gaius, were inclined to fill the whole country with erections of one kind or another. But they who beheld the violation of their national customs practised before their eyes were resolved above all things not to endure such an injury unresistingly. But Gaius, judging those who were thus excited to disobedience to be worthy of the most severe punishment possible, a second time orders his statue to be erected in the temple.
(336) But by the providence and care of God, who beholds all things and governs all things in accordance with justice, not one of the neighbouring nations made any movement at all; so that there was no occasion for these commands being carried into effect, and these inexorably appointed calamities all terminated in only a moderate degree of blame.
(337) What advantage, then, was gained? some one will say; for even when they were quiet, Gaius was not quiet; but he had already repented of the favour which he had showed to Agrippa, and had re-kindled the desires which he had entertained a little while before; for he commanded another statue to be made, of colossal size, of brass gilt over, in Rome, no longer moving the one which bad been made in Sidon, in order that the people might not be excited by its being moved, but that while they remained in a state of tranquillity and felt released from their suspicions, it might in a period of peace be suddenly brought to the country in a ship, and be suddenly erected without the multitude being aware of what was going on.
(338) And he was intending to do this while on his voyage along the coast during the period which he had allotted for his sojourn in Egypt. For an indescribable desire occupied his mind to see Alexandria, to which he was eager to go with all imaginable haste, and when he had arrived there he intended to remain a considerable time, urging that the deification about which he was so anxious, might easily be originated and carried to a great height in that city above all others, and then that it would be a model to all other cities of the adoration to which he was entitled, inasmuch as it was the greatest of all the cities of the east, and built in the finest situation in the world. For all inferior men and nations are eager to imitate great men and great states.
(339) Moreover, Gaius was in other respects a man in whose nature there was nothing stable or trustworthy so that, even if he did anything good or kind, he speedily repented of it, and in such a manner that he soon attempted to annul what he had done in such a way as to cause even greater affliction and injury to those whom he had favoured.
(340) For instance, he released some prisoners, and then for no reason whatever he threw them into prison a second time, inflicting upon them a second calamity more grievous than the first, namely that which was caused by unexpected misfortune.
(341) Again, he condemned some persons to banishment who had expected sentence of death; not because they were conscious of having committed crimes deserving of death, or indeed of any punishment at all, even the lightest, but because of the extravagant inhumanity of their master they did not expect to escape. Now to these men, banishment was a downright gain, and equivalent almost to a restoration, since they looked upon it that they had escaped the greatest of all evils, the danger of death.
(342) But no long period elapsed before he sent some soldiers after them, though no new circumstances had arisen, and put to death simultaneously the most excellent and nobly-horn of the exiles who were living in the different islands as their own countries, and who were bearing their misfortunes in the most contented manner, inflicting in this way the greatest arid most pitiable and unexpected misery on many of the noblest families in Rome.
(343) And if he ever gave any one a sum of money as a gift, he demanded it back again at some future time, not a simple loan but he also required interest and compound interest, and often treating the persons themselves who had received it from him as thieves, and punishing them with the severest penalties for having stolen it; for he was not contented that those miserable men should return what had been given to them, but he compelled them also to give up all their property which they had inherited from their parents, or relations, or from any friends, or which, having selected a life of industry and profit, they had acquired by their own resources.
(344) And those who appeared to be in the greatest credit with him, and who lived with him in a round of pleasure, as one may say, with great appearances of friendship and good will, were greatly injured by him, being compelled to expend large sums in irregular, and illegal, and sudden journeys, and in entertainments; for they lavished whole properties in the preparation of a single banquet, so that they were compelled to have recourse to usurers, so vast was his prodigality;
(345) therefore many men deprecated the receiving of any favours from him, thinking not only that it was of no advantage. but even that they were only a bait and a snare to lead them into intolerable suffering.
(346) So great therefore was his inequality of temper towarils every one, and most especially towards the nation of the Jews to which he was most bitterly hostile, and accordingly beginning in Alexandria he took from them all their synagogues there, and in the other cities, and filled them all with images and statues of his own form; for not caring about any other erection of any kind, he set up his own statue every where by main force; and the great temple in the holy city, which was left untouched to the last, having been thought worthy of all possible respect and preservation, he altered and transformed into a temple of his own, that he might call it the temple of the new Jupiter, the illustrious Gaius.
(347) What is this that you say? Do you, who are a man, seek to take
to yourself the air and the
heaven, not being content with the vast multitude of continents, and islands, and nations, and countries of which you enjoy the sovereignty? And do you not think any one of the gods who are worshipped in that city or by our people worthy of any country or city or even of any small precinct which may have been consecrated to them in old time, and dedicated to them with oracles and sacred hymns, and are you intending to deprive them of that, that in all the vast circumference of the world there may be no visible trace or memorial to be found of any honour or pious worship paid to the true real living God?
(348) Truly you are suggesting fine hopes to the race of mankind; are you ignorant that you are opening the fountains of evils of every kind, making innovations, and committing acts of audacious impiety such as it is wicked to do and even to think of?
(349) It is worth while to make mention of what we both saw and heard, when we were sent for to encounter a contest on behalf of our national constitution: for the moment that we entered into the presence of the emperor we perceived, from his looks and from the state of agitation in which he was, that we had come not before a judge but before an accuser, or rather I should say before the open enemy of those whom he looked upon as opposed to his will;
(350) for it would have been the part of a judge to sit with assessors selected because of their virtue and learning, when a question of the greatest importance was being investigated which had lain dormant for four hundred years, and which was now raised for the first time among many myriads of Alexandrian Jews; and it would have been proper for the contending parties with their advocates to stand on each side of him, and for him to listen to them both in turn; first to the accusation and then in turn to the defence, according to a period measured by water, and then retiring the judge should deliberate with his assessors as to what he ought publicly to deliver as his sentence on the justice of the case; but what was actually done resembled rather the conduct of an implacable tyrant, exhibiting uncontrolled authority and displeasure and pride.
(351) For besides that he in no particular behaved in the manner which I have just been describing as proper, having sent for the managers of two gardens, the Maecenatian and the Lamian garden, and they are near one another and close to the city, in which he had spent three or four days, for that was the place in which this theatrical spectacle, aimed at the happiness of a whole nation, was intended to be enacted in our presence, he commanded all the outer buildings to be opened for him, for that he wished to examine them all minutely;
(352) but we, as soon as we were intloduced into his presence, the moment that we saw him, bent to the ground with all imaginable respect and adoration, and saluted him calling him the emperor Augustus; and he replied to us in such a gentle and courteous and humane manner that we not only despaired of attaining our object, but even of preserving our lives:
(353) for said he. "You are haters of God, inasmuch as you do not think that I am a gud, I who am already confessed to be a god by every other nation, but who am refused that appellation by you." And then, stretching up his hands to heaven, he uttered an ejaculation which it was impious to hear, much more would it be so to repeat it literally.
(354) And immediately all the ambassadors of the opposite portion were filled with all imaginable joy, thinking that their embassy was already successtul, on account of the first words tittered by Gaius, and so they clapped their hands and danced for joy, and called him by every title which is applicable to anyone of the gods.
(355) And while he was triumphing in these superhuman appellations, the sycophant Isidorus, seeing the temper in which he was, said, "O master, you will hate with still juster vehemence these men whom you see before you and their fellow countrymen, if you are made acquainted with their disaffection and disloyalty towards yourself; for when all other men were offering of sacrifices of thanksgiving for your safety, these men alone refused to offer any sacrifice at all; and when I say, 'these men,' I comprehend all the rest of the Jews."
(356) And when we all cried out with one accord, "0 Lord Gaius, we are falsely accused; for we did sacrifice, and we offered up entire hecatombs, the blood of which we poured in a libation upon the altar, and the flesh we did not carry to our homes to make a feast and banquet upon it, as it is the custom of some people to do, but we committed the victims entire to the sacred flame as a burnt offering: and we have done this three times already, and not once only; on the first occasion when you succeeded to the empire, and the second time when you recovered from that terrible disease with which all the habitable world was afflicted at the same time, and the third time we sacrificed in hope of your victory over the Germans."
(357) "Grant," said he, "that all this is true, and that you did sacrifice; nevertheless you sacrificed to another god and not for my sake; and then what good did you do me? Moreover you did not sacrifice to me." Immediately a profound shuddering came upon us the first moment that we heard this expression, similar to that which overwhelmed us when we first came into his presence.
(358) And while he was saying this he entered into the outer buildings, examining the chambers of the men and the chambers of the women, and the rooms on the ground floor, and all the apartments in the upper story, and blaming some points of their preparation as defective, and planning alterations and suggesting designs, and giving orders himself to make them more costly
(359) and then we being driven about in this way followed him up and down through the whole place, being mocked and ridiculed by our adversaries like people at a play in the theatre; for indeed the whole matter was a kind of farce; the judge assumed the part uf an accuser, and the accusers the part of an unjust judge, who look upon the defendants with an eye of hostility, and act in accordance with the nature of truth.
(360) and when a judge invested with such mighty power begins to reproach the person who is on his trial before him it is necessary to be silent; for it is possible even to defend one's self in silence, and especially for people who are able to make no reply on any of the subjects which he was not investigating and desiring to understand, inasmuch as our laws and our customs restrained our tongues, and shut and sewed up our mouths.
(361) But when he had given some of his orders about the buildings, he then asked a very important and solemn question; "why is it that you abstain from eating pig's flesh?" And then again at this question such a violent laughter was raised by our adversaries, partly because they were really delighted, and partly as they wished to court the emperor out of flattery, and therefore wished to make it appear that this question was dictated by wit and uttered with grace, that some of the servants who were following him were indignant at their appearing to treat the emperor with so little respect, since it was not safe for his most intimate friends to do so much as smile at his words.
(362) And when we made answer that, "different nations have different laws, and there are some things of which the use of forbidden both to us and to our adversaries;" and when some one said, "there are also many people who do not eat lamb's flesh which is the most tender of all meat," he laughed and said, "they are quite right, for it is not nice."
(363) Being joked with and trifled with and ridiculed in this manner, we were in great perplexity; and at last he said in a rapid and peremptory manner, "I desire to know what principles of justice you recognise with regard to your constitution."
(364) And when we began to reply to him and to explain it, he, as soon as he had a taste of our pleading on the principles of justice, and as soon as he perceived that our arguments were not contemptible, before we could bring forward the more important things which we had to say, cut us short and ran forward and burst into the principal building, and as soon as he had entered he commanded the windows which were around it to be filled up with the transparent pebbles very much resembling white crystal which do not hinder the light, hut which keep out the wind and the heat of the sun.
(365) Then proceeding on deliberately he asked in a more moderate tone, "What are you saying?" And when we began to connect our reply with what we had said before, he again ran on and went into another house, in which he had commanded some ancient and admirable pictures to be placed.
(366) But when our pleadings on behalf of justice were thus broken up, and cut short, and interrupted, and crushed as one may almost say, we, being wearied and exhausted, and having no strength left in us, but being in continual expectation of nothing else than death, could not longer keep our hearts as they had been, but in our agony we took refuge in supplications to the one true God, praying him to check the wrath of this falsely called god.
(367) And he took compassion on us, and turned his mind to pity. And he becoming pacified merely said, 'These men do not appear to me to be wicked so much as unfortunate and foolish, in not believing that I have been endowed with the nature of God;" and so he dismissed us, and commanded us to depart.
(368) Having then escaped from what was rather a theatre and a prison than a court of justice (for as in a theatre, there was a great noise of people hissing, and groaning, and ridiculing us in an extravagant manner, and as in a prison, there were many blows inflicted on our bodies, and tortures, and things to agitate our whole souls by the blasphemies which those around us uttered against the Deity, and the threats which they breathed forth against ourselves, and which the emperor himself poured forth with such vehemence, being indignant with us not in behalf of any one else, for in that case he would soon have been appeased, but because of himself and his great desire to be declared a god, in which desire he considered that the Jews were the only people who did not acquiesce, and who were unable to subscribe to it).
(369) we at last recovered our breath, not because we had been afraid of death from a base hankering after life, since we would have cheerfully embraced death as immortality if our laws and customs could have been established by such means, but because we knew that we should be destroyed with great ignominy, without any desirable object being secured by such means, for whatever insults ambassadors are subjected to are at all times referred to those who sent them.
(370) It was owing to these considerations that we were able to hold up our heads for a while, but there were other circumstances which terrified us, and kept us in great perplexity and distress to hear what the emperor would decide, and what he would pronounce, and what kind of sentence he would ultimately deliver; for he heard the general tenor of our arguments, though he disdained to attend to some of our facts. But would it not be a terrible thing for the interests of all the Jews throughout the whole world to be thrown into confusion by the treatment to which we, its five ambassadors, were exposed?
(371) For if he were to give us up to our enemies, what other city could enjoy tranquillity? What city would there be in which the citizens would not attack the Jews living in it? What synagogue would be left uninjured? What state would not overturn every principle of justice in respect of those of their countrymen who arrayed themselves in opposition to the national laws and customs of the Jews? They will be overthrown, they will he shipwrecked, they will he sent to the bottom, with all the particular laws of the nation, and those too which are common to all and in accordance with the principles of justice recognized in every city.
(372) We, then, being overwhelmed with affliction, in our misery perplexed ourselves with such reasonings as these; for even those who up to this time had seemed to co-operate with us were now wearied of taking our part. Therefore, when we called them forth, they being within, did not remain, but came forth privily in fear, knowing well the desire which the emperor had to be looked upon as God.
(373) We have now related in a concise and summary manner the cause
of the hatred of Gaius to the whole nation of the Jews; we must now proceed
to make our palinode to Gaius.
End of Etext Embassy to Gaius by Philo
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