From the Departure of the Jews from Babylon to Fadus the Roman Procurator
HOW CAIUS (1) WAS SLAIN BY CHEREA.
1. NOW this Caius (2) did not demonstrate his madness in offering injuries only to the Jews at Jerusalem, or to those that dwelt in the neighborhood; but suffered it to extend itself through all the earth and sea, so far as was in subjection to the Romans, and filled it with ten thousand mischiefs; so many indeed in number as no former history relates. But Rome itself felt the most dismal effects of what he did, while he deemed that not to be any way more honorable than the rest of the cities; but he pulled and hauled its other citizens, but especially the senate, and particularly the nobility, and such as had been dignified by illustrious ancestors; he also had ten thousand devices against such of the equestrian order, as it was styled, who were esteemed by the citizens equal in dignity and wealth with the senators, because out of them the senators were themselves chosen; these he treated after all ignominious manner, and removed them out of his way, while they were at once slain, and their wealth plundered, because he slew men generally in order to seize on their riches. He also asserted his own divinity, and insisted on greater honors to be paid him by his subjects than are due to mankind. He also frequented that temple of Jupiter which they style the Capitol, which is with them the most holy of all their temples, and had boldness enough to call himself the brother of Jupiter. And other pranks he did like a madman; as when he laid a bridge from the city Dicearchia, which belongs to Campania, to Misenum, another city upon the sea-side, from one promontory to another, of the length of thirty furlongs, as measured over the sea. And this was done because he esteemed it to be a most tedious thing to row over it in a small ship, and thought withal that it became him to make that bridge, since he was lord of the sea, and might oblige it to give marks of obedience as well as the earth; so he enclosed the whole bay within his bridge, and drove his chariot over it; and thought that, as he was a god, it was fit for him to travel over such roads as this was. Nor did he abstain from the plunder of any of the Grecian temples, and gave order that all the engravings and sculptures, and the rest of the ornaments of the statues and donations therein dedicated, should be brought to him, saying that the best things ought to be set no where but in the best place, and that the city of Rome was that best place. He also adorned his own house and his gardens with the curiosities brought from those temples, together with the houses he lay at when he traveled all over Italy; whence he did not scruple to give a command that the statue of Jupiter Olympius, so called because he was honored at the Olympian games by the Greeks, which was the work of Phidias the Athenian, should be brought to Rome. Yet did not he compass his end, because the architects told Memmius Regulus, who was commanded to remove that statue of Jupiter, that the workmanship was such as would be spoiled, and would not bear the removal. It was also reported that Memmius, both on that account, and on account of some such mighty prodigies as are of an incredible nature, put off the taking it down, and wrote to Caius those accounts, as his apology for not having done what his epistle required of him; and that when he was thence in danger of perishing, he was saved by Caius being dead himself, before he had put him to death.
2. Nay, Caius’s madness came to this height, that when he had a daughter born, he carried her into the capitol, and put her upon the knees of the statue, and said that the child was common to him and to Jupiter, and determined that she had two fathers, but which of these fathers were the greatest he left undetermined; and yet mankind bore him in such his pranks. He also gave leave to slaves to accuse their masters of any crimes whatsoever they pleased; for all such accusations were terrible, because they were in great part made to please him, and at his suggestion, insomuch that Pollux, Claudius’s slave, had the boldness to lay an accusation against Claudius himself; and Caius was not ashamed to be present at his trial of life and death, to hear that trial of his own uncle, in hopes of being able to take him off, although he did not succeed to his mind. But when he had filled the whole habitable world which he governed with false accusations and miseries, and had occasioned the greatest insults of slaves against their masters, who indeed in a great measure ruled them, there were many secret plots now laid against him; some in anger, and in order for men to revenge themselves, on account of the miseries they had already undergone from him; and others made attempts upon him, in order to take him off before they should fall into such great miseries, while his death came very fortunately for the preservation of the laws of all men, and had a great influence upon the public welfare; and this happened most happily for our nation in particular, which had almost utterly perished if he had not been suddenly slain. And I confess I have a mind to give a full account of this matter particularly, because it will afford great assurance of the power of God, and great comfort to those that are under afflictions, and wise caution to those who think their happiness will never end, nor bring them at length to the most lasting miseries, if they do not conduct their lives by the principles of virtue.
3. Now there were three several conspiracies made in order to take off Caius, and each of these three were conducted by excellent persons. Emilius Regulus, born at Corduba in Spain, got some men together, and was desirous to take Caius off, either by them or by himself. Another conspiracy there was laid by them, under the conduct of Cherea Cassius, the tribune [of the Pretorian band]. Minucianus Annins was also one of great consequence among those that were prepared to oppose his tyranny. Now the several occasions of these men’s several hatred and conspiracy against Caius were these: Regulus had indignation and hatred against all injustice, for he had a mind naturally angry, and bold, and free, which made him not conceal his counsels; so he communicated them to many of his friends, and to others who seemed to him persons of activity and vigor: Minucianus entered into this conspiracy, because of the injustice done to Lepidus his particular friend, and one of the best character of all the citizens, whom Caius had slain, as also because he was afraid of himself, since Caius’s wrath tended to the slaughter of all alike: and for Cherea, he came in, because he thought it a deed worthy of a free ingenuous man to kill Caius, and was ashamed of the reproaches he lay under from Caius, as though he were a coward; as also because he was himself in danger every day from his friendship with him, and the observance he paid him. These men proposed this attempt to all the rest that were concerned, who saw the injuries that were offered them, and were desirous that Caius’s slaughter might succeed by their mutual assistance of one another, and they might themselves escape being killed by the taking off Caius; that perhaps they should gain their point; and that it would be a happy thing, if they should gain it, to approve themselves to so many excellent persons, as earnestly wished to be partakers with them in their design for the delivery of the city and of the government, even at the hazard of their own lives. But still Cherea was the most zealous of them all, both out of a desire of getting himself the greatest name, and also by reason of his access to Caius’s presence with less danger, because he was tribune, and could therefore the more easily kill him.
4. Now at this time came on the horse-races [Circensian games]; the view of which games was eagerly desired by the people of Rome, for they come with great alacrity into the hippodrome [circus] at such times, and petition their emperors, in great multitudes, for what they stand in need of; who usually did not think fit to deny them their requests, but readily and gratefully granted them. Accordingly, they most importunately desired that Caius would now ease them in their tributes, and abate somewhat of the rigor of their taxes imposed upon them; but he would not hear their petition; and when their clamors increased, he sent soldiers some one way and some another, and gave order that they should lay hold on those that made the clamors, and without any more ado bring them out, and put them to death. These were Caius’s commands, and those who were commanded executed the same; and the number of those who were slain on this occasion was very great. Now the people saw this, and bore it so far, that they left off clamoring, because they saw with their own eyes that this petition to be relieved, as to the payment of their money, brought immediate death upon them. These things made Cherea more resolute to go on with his plot, in order to put an end to this barbarity of Caius against men. He then at several times thought to fall upon Caius, even as he was feasting; yet did he restrain himself by some considerations; not that he had any doubt on him about killing him, but as watching for a proper season, that the attempt might not be frustrated, but that he might give the blow so as might certainly gain his purpose.
5. Cherea had been in the army a long time, yet was he not pleased with conversing so much with Caius. But Caius had set him to require the tributes, and other dues, which, when not paid in due time, were forfeited to Caesar’s treasury; and he had made some delays in requiring them, because those burdens had been doubled, and had rather indulged his own mild disposition than performed Caius’s command; nay, indeed, be provoked Caius to anger by his sparing men, and pitying the hard fortunes of those from whom he demanded the taxes; and Caius upbraided him with his sloth and effeminacy in being so long about collecting the taxes. And indeed he did not only affront him in other respects, but when he gave him the watchword of the day, to whom it was to be given by his place, he gave him feminine words, and those of a nature very reproachful; and these watchwords he gave out, as having been initiated in the secrets of certain mysteries, which he had been himself the author of. Now although he had sometimes put on women’s clothes, and had been wrapt in some embroidered garments to them belonging, and done a great many other things, in order to make the company mistake him for a woman; yet did he, by way of reproach, object the like womanish behavior to Cherea. But when Cherea received the watchword from him, he had indignation at it, but had greater indignation at the delivery of it to others, as being laughed at by those that received it; insomuch that his fellow tribunes made him the subject of their drollery; for they would foretell that he would bring them some of his usual watchwords when he was about to take the watchword from Caesar, and would thereby make him ridiculous; on which accounts he took the courage of assuming certain partners to him, as having just reasons for his indignation against Caius. Now there was one Pompedius, a senator, and one who had gone through almost all posts in the government, but otherwise an Epicurean, and for that reason loved to lead an inactive life. Now Timidius, an enemy of his, had informed Caius that he had used indecent reproaches against him, and he made use of Quintilia for a witness to them; a woman she was much beloved by many that frequented the theater, and particularly by Pompedius, on account of her great beauty. Now this woman thought it a horrible thing to attest to an accusation that touched the life of her lover, which was also a lie. Timidius, however, wanted to have her brought to the torture. Caius was irritated at this reproach upon him, and commanded Cherea, without any delay, to torture Quintilia, as he used to employ Cherea in such bloody matters, and those that required the torture, because he thought he would do it the more barbarously, in order to avoid that imputation of effeminacy which he had laid upon him. But Quintilia, when she was brought to the rack, trod upon the foot of one of her associates, and let him know that he might be of good courage, and not be afraid of the consequence of her tortures, for that she would bear them with magnanimity. Cherea tortured this woman after a cruel manner; unwillingly indeed, but because he could not help it. He then brought her, without being in the least moved at what she had suffered, into the presence of Caius, and that in such a state as was sad to behold; and Caius, being somewhat affected with the sight of Quintilia, who had her body miserably disordered by the pains she had undergone, freed both her and Pompedius of the crime laid to their charge. He also gave her money to make her an honorable amends, and comfort her for that maiming of her body which she had suffered, and for her glorious patience under such insufferable torments.
6. This matter sorely grieved Cherea, as having been the cause, as far as he could, or the instrument, of those miseries to men, which seemed worthy of consolation to Caius himself; on which account he said to Clement and to Papinius, (of whom Clement was general of the army, and Papinius was a tribune,) “To be sure, O Clement, we have no way failed in our guarding the emperor; for as to those that have made conspiracies against his government, some have been slain by our care and pains, and some have been by us tortured, and this to such a degree, that he hath himself pitied them. How great then is our virtue in submitting to conduct his armies!” Clement held his peace, but showed the shame he was under in obeying Caius’s orders, both by his eyes and his blushing countenance, while he thought it by no means right to accuse the emperor in express words, lest their own safety should be endangered thereby. Upon which Cherea took courage, and spake to him without fear of the dangers that were before him, and discoursed largely of the sore calamities under which the city and the government then labored, and said, “We may indeed pretend in words that Caius is the person unto whom the cause of such miseries ought to be imputed; but, in the opinion of such as are able to judge uprightly, it is I, O Clement! and this Papinius, and before us thou thyself, who bring these tortures upon the Romans, and upon all mankind. It is not done by our being subservient to the commands of Caius, but it is done by our own consent; for whereas it is in our power to put an end to the life of this man, who hath so terribly injured the citizens and his subjects, we are his guard in mischief, and his executioners instead of his soldiers, and are the instruments of his cruelty. We bear these weapons, not for our liberty, not for the Roman government, but only for his preservation, who hath enslaved both their bodies and their minds; and we are every day polluted with the blood that we shed, and the torments we inflict upon others; and this we do, till somebody becomes Caius’s instrument in bringing the like miseries upon ourselves. Nor does he thus employ us because he hath a kindness for us, but rather because he hath a suspicion of us, as also because when abundance more have been killed, (for Caius will set no bounds to his wrath, since he aims to do all, not out of regard to justice, but to his own pleasure,) we shall also ourselves be exposed to his cruelty; whereas we ought to be the means of confirming the security and liberty of all, and at the same time to resolve to free ourselves from dangers.
7. Hereupon Clement openly commended Cherea’s intentions, but bid him hold his tongue; for that in case his words should get out among many, and such things should be spread abroad as were fit to be concealed, the plot would come to be discovered before it was executed, and they should be brought to punishment; but that they should leave all to futurity, and the hope which thence arose, that some fortunate event would come to their assistance; that, as for himself, his age would not permit him to make any attempt in that case. “However, although perhaps I could suggest what may be safer than what thou, Cherea, hast contrived and said, yet trow is it possible for any one to suggest what is more for thy reputation?” So Clement went his way home, with deep reflections on what he had heard, and what he had himself said. Cherea also was under a concern, and went quickly to Cornelius Sabinus, who was himself one of the tribunes, and whom he otherwise knew to be a worthy man, and a lover of liberty, and on that account very uneasy at the present management of public affairs, he being desirous to come immediately to the execution of what had been determined, and thinking it right for him to propose it to the other, and afraid lest Clement should discover them, and besides looking upon delays and puttings off to be the next to desisting from the enterprise.
8. But as all was agreeable to Sabinus, who had himself, equally without Cherea, the same design, but had been silent for want of a person to whom he could safely communicate that design; so having now met with one, who not only promised to conceal what he heard, but who had already opened his mind to him, he was much more encouraged, and desired of Cherea that no delay might be made therein. Accordingly they went to Minucianus, who was as virtuous a man, and as zealous to do glorious actions, as themselves, and suspected by Caius on occasion of the slaughter of Lepidus; for Minucianus and Lepidus were intimate friends, and both in fear of the dangers that they were under; for Caius was terrible to all the great men, as appearing ready to act a mad part towards each of them in particular, and towards all of: them in general; and these men were afraid of one another, while they were yet uneasy at the posture of affairs, but avoided to declare their mind and their hatred against Caius to one another, out of fear of the dangers they might be in thereby, although they perceived by other means their mutual hatred against Caius, and on that account were not averse to a mutual kindness one towards another.
9. When Minuetanus and Cherea had met together, and saluted one another, (as they had been used on former conversations to give the upper hand to Minucianus, both on account of his eminent dignity, for he was the noblest of all the citizens, and highly commended by all men, especially when he made speeches to them,) Minuetanus began first, and asked Cherea, What was the watchword he had received that day from Caius; for the affront which was offered Cherea, in giving the watchwords, was famous over the city. But Cherea made no delay so long as to reply to that question, out of the joy he had that Minueianus would have such confidence in him as to discourse with him. “But do thou,” said he, “give me the watchword of liberty. And I return thee my thanks that thou hast so greatly encouraged me to exert myself after an extraordinary manner; nor do I stand in need of many words to encourage me, since both thou and I are of the same mind, and partakers of the same resolutions, and this before we have conferred together. I have indeed but one sword girt on, but this one will serve us both. Come on, therefore, let us set about the work. Do thou go first, if thou hast a mind, and bid me follow thee; or else I will go first, and thou shalt assist me, and we will assist one another, and trust one another. Nor is there a necessity for even one sword to such as have a mind disposed to such works, by which mind the sword uses to be successful. I am zealous about this action, nor am I solicitous what I may myself undergo; for I can not at leisure to consider the dangers that may come upon myself, so deeply am I troubled at the slavery our once free country is now under, and at the contempt cast upon our excellent laws, and at the destruction which hangs over all men, by the means of Caius. I wish that I may be judged by thee, and that thou mayst esteem me worthy of credit in these matters, seeing we are both of the same opinion, and there is herein no difference between us.”
10. When Minucianus saw the vehemency with which Cherea delivered himself, he gladly embraced him, and encouraged him in his bold attempt, commending him, and embracing him; so he let him go with his good wishes; and some affirm that he thereby confirmed Minuclanus in the prosecution of what had been agreed among them; for as Cherea entered into the court, the report runs, that a voice came from among the multitude to encourage him, which bid him finish what he was about, and take the opportunity that Providence afforded; and that Cherea at first suspected that some one of the conspirators had betrayed him, and he was caught, but at length perceived that it was by way of exhortation. Whether somebody (3) that was conscious of what he was about, gave a signal for his encouragement, or whether it was God himself, who looks upon the actions of men, that encouraged him to go on boldly in his design, is uncertain. The plot was now communicated to a great many, and they were all in their armor; some of the conspirators being senators, and some of the equestrian order, and as many of the soldiery as were made acquainted with it; for there was not one of them who would not reckon it a part of his happiness to kill Caius; and on that account they were all very zealous in the affair, by what means soever any one could come at it, that he might not be behindhand in these virtuous designs, but might be ready with all his alacrity or power, both by words and actions, to complete this slaughter of a tyrant. And besides these, Callistus also, who was a freed-man of Caius, and was the only man that had arrived at the greatest degree of power under him, – such a power, indeed, as was in a manner equal to the power of the tyrant himself, by the dread that all men had of him, and by the great riches he had acquired; for he took bribes most plenteously, and committed injuries without bounds, and was more extravagant in the use of his power in unjust proceedings than any other. He also knew the disposition of Caius to be implacable, and never to be turned from what he had resolved on. He had withal many other reasons why he thought himself in danger, and the vastness of his wealth was not one of the least of them; on which account he privately ingratiated himself with Claudius, and transferred his courtship to him, out of this hope, that in case, upon the removal of Caius, the government should come to him, his interest in such changes should lay a foundation for his preserving his dignity under him, since he laid in beforehand a stock of merit, and did Claudius good offices in his promotion. He had also the boldness to pretend that he had been persuaded to make away with Claudius, by poisoning him, but had still invented ten thousand excuses for delaying to do it. But it seems probable to me that Callistus only counterfeited this, in order to ingratiate himself with Claudius; for if Caius had been in earnest resolved to take off Claudius, he would not have admitted of Callistus’s excuses; nor would Callistus, if he had been enjoined to do such an act as was desired by Caius, have put it off; nor if he had disobeyed those injunctions of his master, had he escaped immediate punishment; while Claudius was preserved from the madness of Caius by a certain Divine providence, and Callistus pretended to such a piece of merit as he no way deserved.
11. However, the execution of Cherea’s designs was put off from day to day, by the sloth of many therein concerned; for as to Cherea himself, he would not willingly make any delay in that execution, thinking every time a fit time for it; for frequent opportunities offered themselves; as when Caius went up to the capitol to sacrifice for his daughter, or when he stood upon his royal palace, and threw gold and silver pieces of money among the people, he might be pushed down headlong, because the top of the palace, that looks towards the market-place, was very high; and also when he celebrated the mysteries, which he had appointed at that time; for he was then no way secluded from the people, but solicitous to do every thing carefully and decently, and was free from all suspicion that he should be then assaulted by any body; and although the gods should afford him no divine assistance to enable him to take away his life, yet had he strength himself sufficient to despatch Caius, even without a sword. Thus was Chorea angry at his fellow conspirators, for fear they should suffer a proper opportunity to pass by; and they were themselves sensible that he had just cause to be angry at them, and that his eagerness was for their advantage; yet did they desire he would have a little longer patience, lest, upon any disappointment they might meet with, they should put the city into disorder, and an inquisition should be made after the conspiracy, and should render the courage of those that were to attack Caius without success, while he would then secure himself more carefully than ever against them; that it would therefore be the best to set about the work when the shows were exhibited in the palace. These shows were acted in honor of that Caesar (4) who first of all changed the popular government, and transferred it to himself; galleries being fixed before the palace, where the Romans that were patricians became spectators, together with their children and their wives, and Caesar himself was to be also a spectator; and they reckoned, among those many ten thousands who would there be crowded into a narrow compass, they should have a favorable opportunity to make their attempt upon him as he came in, because his guards that should protect him, if any of them should have a mind to do it, would not here be able to give him any assistance.
12. Cherea consented to this delay; and when the shows were exhibited, it was resolved to do the work the first day. But fortune, which allowed a further delay to his slaughter, was too hard for their foregoing resolution; and as three days of the regular times for these shows were now over, they had much ado to get the business done on the last day. Then Cherea called the conspirators together, and spake thus to them: “So much time passed away without effort is a reproach to us, as delaying to go through such a virtuous design as we are engaged in; but more fatal will this delay prove if we be discovered, and the design be frustrated; for Caius will then become more cruel in his unjust proceedings. Do we not see how long we deprive all our friends of their liberty, and give Caius leave still to tyrannize over them? while we ought to have procured them security for the future, and, by laying a foundation for the happiness of others, gain to ourselves great admiration and honor for all time to come.” Now while the conspirators had nothing tolerable to say by way of contradiction, and yet did not quite relish what they were doing, but stood silent and astonished, he said further, “O my brave comrades! why do we make such delays? Do not you see that this is the last day of these shows, and that Caius is about to go to sea? for he is preparing to sail to Alexandria, in order to see Egypt. Is it therefore for your honor to let a man go out of your hands who is a reproach to mankind, and to permit him to go, after a pompous manner, triumphing both at land and sea? Shall not we be justly ashamed of ourselves, if we give leave to some Egyptian or other, who shall think his injuries insufferable to free-men, to kill him? As for myself, I will no longer bear your stow proceedings, but will expose myself to the dangers of the enterprise this very day, and bear cheerfully whatsoever shall be the consequence of the attempt; nor, let them be ever so great, will I put them off any longer: for, to a wise and courageous man, what can be more miserable than that, while I am alive, any one else should kill Caius, and deprive me of the honor of so virtuous an action?”
13. When Cherea had spoken thus, he zealously set about the work, and inspired courage into the rest to go on with it, and they were all eager to fall to it without further delay. So he was at the palace in the morning, with his equestrian sword girt on him; for it was the custom that the tribunes should ask for the watchword with their swords on, and this was the day on which Cherea was, by custom, to receive the watchword; and the multitude were already come to the palace, to be soon enough for seeing the shows, and that in great crowds, and one tumultuously crushing another, while Caius was delighted with this eagerness of the multitude; for which reason there was no order observed in the seating men, nor was any peculiar place appointed for the senators, or for the equestrian order; but they sat at random, men and women together, and free-men were mixed with the slaves. So Caius came out in a solemn manner, and offered sacrifice to Augustus Caesar, in whose honor indeed these shows were celebrated. Now it happened, upon the fall of a certain priest, that the garment of Asprenas, a senator, was filled with blood, which made Caius laugh, although this was an evident omen to Asprenas, for he was slain at the same time with Caius. It is also related that Caius was that day, contrary to his usual custom, so very affable and good-natured in his conversation, that every one of those that were present were astonished at it. After the sacrifice was over, Caius betook himself to see the shows, and sat down for that purpose, as did also the principal of his friends sit near him. Now the parts of the theater were so fastened together, as it used to be every year, in the manner following: It had two doors, the one door led to the open air, the other was for going into, or going out of, the cloisters, that those within the theater might not be thereby disturbed; but out of one gallery there went an inward passage, parted into partitions also, which led into another gallery, to give room to the combatants and to the musicians to go out as occasion served. When the multitude were set down, and Cherea, with the other tribunes, were set down also, and the right corner of the theater was allotted to Caesar, one Vatinius, a senator, commander of the praetorian band, asked of Cluvius, one that sat by him, and was of consular dignity also, whether he had heard any thing of news, or not? but took care that nobody should hear what he said; and when Cluvius replied, that he had heard no news, “Know then,” said Vatinius, “that the game of the slaughter of tyrants is to be played this dav.” But Cluvius replied “O brave comrade hold thy peace, lest some other of the Achaians hear thy tale.” And as there was abundance of autumnal fruit thrown among the spectators, and a great number of birds, that were of great value to such as possessed them, on account of their rareness, Caius was pleased with the birds fighting for the fruits, and with the violence wherewith the spectators seized upon them: and here he perceived two prodigies that happened there; for an actor was introduced, by whom a leader of robbers was crucified, and the pantomime brought in a play called Cinyras, wherein he himself was to be slain, as well as his daughter Myrrha, and wherein a great deal of fictitious blood was shed, both about him that was crucified, and also about Cinyras. It was also confessed that this was the same day wherein Pausanias, a friend of Philip, the son of Amyntas, who was king of Macedonia, slew him, as he was entering into the theater. And now Caius was in doubt whether he should tarry to the end of the shows, because it was the last day, or whether he should not go first to the bath, and to dinner, and then return and sit down as before. Hereupon Minucianus, who sat over Caius, and was afraid that the opportunity should fail them, got up, because he saw Cherea was already gone out, and made haste out, to confirm him in his resolution; but Caius took hold of his garment, in an obliging way, and said to him, “O brave man! whither art thou going?” Whereupon, out of reverence to Caesar, as it seemed, he sat down again; but his fear prevailed over him, and in a little time he got up again, and then Caius did no way oppose his going out, as thinking that he went out to perform some necessities of nature. And Asprenas, who was one of the confederates, persuaded Caius to go out to the bath, and to dinner, and then to come in again, as desirous that what had been resolved on might be brought to a conclusion immediately.
14. So Cherea’s associates placed themselves in order, as the time would permit them, and they were obliged to labor hard, that the place which was appointed them should not be left by them; but they had an indignation at the tediousness of the delays, and that what they were about should be put off any longer, for it was already about the ninth (5) hour of the day; and Cherea, upon Caius’s tarrying so long, had a great mind to go in, and fall upon him in his seat, although he foresaw that this could not be done without much bloodshed, both of the senators, and of those of the equestrian order that were present; and although he knew this must happen, yet had he a great mind to do so, as thinking it a right thing to procure security and freedom to all, at the expense of such as might perish at the same time. And as they were just going back into the entrance to the theater, word was brought them that Caius was arisen, whereby a tumult was made; hereupon the conspirators thrust away the crowd, under pretense as if Caius was angry at them, but in reality as desirous to have a quiet place, that should have none in it to defend him, while they set about Caius’s slaughter. Now Claudius, his uncle, was gone out before, and Marcus Vinicius his sister’s husband, as also Valellus of Asia; whom though they had had such a mind to put out of their places, the reverence to their dignity hindered them so to do; then followed Caius, with Paulus Arruntius: and because Caius was now gotten within the palace, he left the direct road, along which those his servants stood that were in waiting, and by which road Claudius had gone out before, Caius turned aside into a private narrow passage, in order to go to the place for bathing, as also in order to take a view of the boys that came out of Asia, who were sent thence, partly to sing hymns in these mysteries which were now celebrated, and partly to dance in the Pyrrhic way of dancing upon the theatres. So Cherea met him, and asked him for the watchword; upon Caius’s giving him one of his ridiculous words, he immediately reproached him, and drew his sword, and gave him a terrible stroke with it, yet was not this stroke mortal. And although there be those that say it was so contrived on purpose by Chorea, that Caius should not be killed at one blow, but should be punished more severely by a multitude of wounds; yet does this story appear to me incredible, because the fear men are under in such actions does not allow them to use their reason. And if Cherea was of that mind, I esteem him the greatest of all fools, in pleasing himself in his spite against Caius, rather than immediately procuring safety to himself and to his confederates from the dangers they were in, because there might many things still happen for helping Caius’s escape, if he had not already given up the ghost; for certainly Cherea would have regard, not so much to the punishment of Caius, as to the affliction himself and his friends were in, while it was in his power, after such success, to keep silent, and to escape the wrath of Caius’s defenders, and not to leave it to uncertainty whether he should gain the end he aimed at or not, and after an unreasonable manner to act as if he had a mind to ruin himself, and lose the opportunity that lay before him. But every body may guess as he please about this matter. However, Caius was staggered with the pain that the blow gave him; for the stroke of the sword falling in the middle, between the shoulder and the neck, was hindered by the first bone of the breast from proceeding any further. Nor did he either cry out, (in such astonishment was he,) nor did he call out for any of his friends; whether it were that he had no confidence in them, or that his mind was otherwise disordered, but he groaned under the pain he endured, and presently went forward and fled; when Cornelius Sabinus, who was already prepared in his mind so to do, thrust him down upon his knee, where many of them stood round about him, and struck him with their swords; and they cried out, and encouraged one another all at once to strike him again; but all agree that Aquila gave him the finishing stroke, which directly killed him. But one may justly ascribe this act to Cherea; for although many concurred in the act itself, yet was he the first contriver of it, and began long before all the rest to prepare for it, and was the first man that boldly spake of it to the rest; and upon their admission of what he said about it, he got the dispersed conspirators together; he prepared every thing after a prudent manner, and by suggesting good advice, showed himself far superior to the rest, and made obliging speeches to them, insomuch that he even compelled them all to go on, who otherwise had not courage enough for that purpose; and when opportunity served to use his sword in hand, he appeared first of all ready so to do, and gave the first blow in this virtuous slaughter; he also brought Caius easily into the power of the rest, and almost killed him himself, insomuch that it is but just to ascribe all that the rest did to the advice, and bravery, and labors of the hands of Cherea.
15. Thus did Caius come to his end, and lay dead, by the many wounds which had been given him. Now Cherea and his associates, upon Caius’s slaughter, saw that it was impossible for them to save themselves, if they should all go the same way, partly on account of the astonishment they were under; for it was no small danger they had incurred by killing an emperor, who was honored and loved by the madness of the people, especially when the soldiers were likely to make a bloody inquiry after his murderers. The passages also were narrow wherein the work was done, which were also crowded with a great multitude of Caius’s attendants, and of such of the soldiers as were of the emperor’s guard that day; whence it was that they went by other ways, and came to the house of Germanicus, the father of Caius, whom they had now killed (which house adjoined to the palace; for while the edifice was one, it was built in its several parts by those particular persons who had been emperors, and those parts bare the names of those that built them or the name of him who had begun to build its parts). So they got away from the insults of the multitude, and then were for the present out of danger, that is, so long as the misfortune which had overtaken the emperor was not known. The Germans were the first who perceived that Caius was slain. These Germans were Caius’s guard, and carried the name of the country whence they were chosen, and composed the Celtic legion. The men of that country are naturally passionate, which is commonly the temper of some other of the barbarous nations also, as being not used to consider much about what they do; they are of robust bodies and fall upon their enemies as soon as ever they are attacked by them; and which way soever they go, they perform great exploits. When, therefore, these German guards understood that Caius was slain, they were very sorry for it, because they did not use their reason in judging about public affairs, but measured all by the advantages themselves received, Caius being beloved by them because of the money he gave them, by which he had purchased their kindness to him; so they drew their swords, and Sabinus led them on. He was one of the tribunes, not by the means of the virtuous actions of his pro genitors, for he bad been a gladiator, but he had obtained that post in the army by his having a robust body. So these Germans marched along the houses in quest of Caesar’s murderers, and cut Asprenas to pieces, because he was the first man they fell upon, and whose garment it was that the blood of the sacrifices stained, as I have said already, and which foretold that this his meeting the soldiers would not be for his good. Then did Norbanus meet them, who was one of the principal nobility of and could show many generals of armies among his ancestors; but they paid no regard to his dignity; yet was he of such great strength, that he wrested the sword of the first of those that assaulted him out of his hands, and appeared plainly not to be willing to die without a struggle for his life, until he was surrounded by a great number of assailants, and died by the multitude of the wounds which they gave him. The third man was Anteius, a senator, and a few others with him. He did not meet with these Germans by chance, as the rest did before, but came to show his hatred to Caius, and because he loved to see Caius lie dead with his own eyes, and took a pleasure in that sight; for Caius had banished Anteius’s father, who was of the same name with himself, and being not satisfied with that, he sent out his soldiers, and slew him; so he was come to rejoice at the sight of him, now he was dead. But as the house was now all in a tumult, when he was aiming to hide himself, he could not escape that accurate search which the Germans made, while they barbarously slew those that were guilty, and those that were not guilty, and this equally also. And thus were these [three] persons slain.
16. But when the rumor that Caius was slain reached the theater, they were astonished at it, and could not believe it; even some that entertained his destruction with great pleasure, and were more desirous of its happening than almost any other faction that could come to them, were under such a fear, that they could not believe it. There were also those who greatly distrusted it, because they were unwilling that any such thing should come to Caius, nor could believe it, though it were ever so true, because they thought no man could possibly so much power as to kill Caius. These were the women, and the children, and the slaves, and some of the soldiery. This last sort had taken his pay, and in a manner tyrannized with him, and had abused the best of the citizens, in being subservient to his unjust commands, in order to gain honors and advantages to themselves; but for the women and the youth, they had been inveigled with shows, and the fighting of the gladiators, and certain distributions of flesh-meat among them, which things them pretense were designed for the pleasing of multitude, but in reality to satiate the barbarous cruelty and madness of Caius. The slaves also were sorry, because they were by Caius allowed to accuse and to despise their masters, and they could have recourse to his assistance when they had unjustly affronted them; for he was very easy in believing them against their masters, even when they the city, accused them falsely; and if they would discover what money their masters had, they might soon obtain both riches and liberty, as the rewards of their accusations, because the reward of these informers was the eighth (6) part of the criminal’s substance. As to the nobles, although the report appeared credible to some of them, either because they knew of the plot beforehand, or because they wished it might be true; however, they concealed not only the joy they had at the relation of it, but that they had heard any thing at all about it. These last acted so out of the fear they had, that if the report proved false, they should be punished, for having so soon let men know their minds. But those that knew Caius was dead, because they were partners with the conspirators, they concealed all still more cautiously, as not knowing one another’s minds; and fearing lest they should speak of it to some of those to whom the continuance of tyranny was advantageous; and if Caius should prove to be alive, they might be informed against, and punished. And another report went about, that although Caius had been wounded indeed, yet was not he dead, but alive still, and under the physician’s hands. Nor was any one looked upon by another as faithful enough to be trusted, and to whom any one would open his mind; for he was either a friend to Caius, and therefore suspected to favor his tyranny, or he was one that hated him, who therefore might be suspected to deserve the less credit, because of his ill-will to him. Nay, it was said by some (and this indeed it was that deprived the nobility of their hopes, and made them sad) that Caius was in a condition to despise the dangers he had been in, and took no care of healing his wounds, but was gotten away into the market-place, and, bloody as he was, was making an harangue to the people. And these were the conjectural reports of those that were so unreasonable as to endeavor to raise tumults, which they turned different ways, according to the opinions of the bearers. Yet did they not leave their seats, for fear of being accused, if they should go out before the rest; for they should not be sentenced according to the real intention with which they went out, but according to the supposals of the accusers and of the judges.
17. But now a multitude of Germans had surrounded the theater with their swords drawn: all the spectators looked for nothing but death, and at every one coming in a fear seized upon them, as if they were to be cut in pieces immediately; and in great distress they were, as neither having courage enough to go out of the theater, nor believing themselves safe from dangers if they tarried there. And when the Germans came upon them, the cry was so great, that the theater rang again with the entreaties of the spectators to the soldiers, pleading that they were entirely ignorant of every thing that related to such seditious contrivances, and that if there were any sedition raised, they knew nothing of it; they therefore begged that they would spare them, and not punish those that had not the least hand in such bold crimes as belonged to other persons, while they neglected to search after such as had really done whatsoever it be that hath been done. Thus did these people appeal to God, and deplore their infelicity with shedding of tears, and beating their faces, and said every thing that the most imminent danger and the utmost concern for their lives could dictate to them. This brake the fury of the soldiers, and made them repent of what they minded to do to the spectators, which would have been the greatest instance of cruelty. And so it appeared to even these savages, when they had once fixed the heads of those that were slain with Asprenas upon the altar; at which sight the spectators were sorely afflicted, both upon the consideration of the dignity of the persons, and out of a commiseration of their sufferings; nay, indeed, they were almost in as great disorder at the prospect of the danger themselves were in, seeing it was still uncertain whether they should entirely escape the like calamity. Whence it was that such as thoroughly and justly hated Caius could yet no way enjoy the pleasure of his death, because they were themselves in jeopardy of perishing together with him; nor had they hitherto any firm assurance of surviving.
18. There was at this time one Euaristus Arruntius, a public crier in the market, and therefore of a strong and audible voice, who vied in wealth with the richest of the Romans, and was able to do what he pleased in the city, both then and afterward. This man put himself into the most mournful habit he could, although he had a greater hatred against Caius than any one else; his fear and his wise contrivance to gain his safety taught him so to do, and prevailed over his present pleasure; so he put on such a mournful dress as he would have done had he lost his dearest friends in the world; this man came into the theater, and informed them of the death of Caius, and by this means put an end to that state of ignorance the men had been in. Arruntius also went round about the pillars, and called out to the Germans, as did the tribunes with him, bidding them put up their swords, and telling them that Caius was dead. And this proclamation it was plainly which saved those that were collected together in the theater, and all the rest who any way met the Germans; for while they had hopes that Caius had still any breath in him, they abstained from no sort of mischief; and such an abundant kindness they still had for Caius, that they would willingly have prevented the plot against him, and procured his escape from so sad a misfortune, at the expense of their own lives. But they now left off the warm zeal they had to punish his enemies, now they were fully satisfied that Caius was dead, because it was now in vain for them to show their zeal and kindness to him, when he who should reward them was perished. They were also afraid that they should be punished by the senate, if they should go on in doing such injuries; that is, in case the authority of the supreme governor should revert to them. And thus at length a stop was put, though not without difficulty, to that rage which possessed the Germans on account of Caius’s death.
19. But Cherea was so much afraid for Minucianus, lest he should light upon the Germans now they were in their fury, that he went and spike to every one of the soldiers, and prayed them to take care of his preservation, and made himself great inquiry about him, lest he should have been slain. And for Clement, he let Minucianus go when he was brought to him, and, with many other of the senators, affirmed the action was right, and commended the virtue of those that contrived it, and had courage enough to execute it; and said that “tyrants do indeed please themselves and look big for a while, upon having the power to act unjustly; but do not however go happily out of the world, because they are hated by the virtuous; and that Caius, together with all his unhappiness, was become a conspirator against himself, before these other men who attacked him did so; and by becoming intolerable, in setting aside the wise provision the laws had made, taught his dearest friends to treat him as an enemy; insomuch that although in common discourse these conspirators were those that slew Caius, yet that, in reality, he lies now dead as perishing by his own self.”
20. Now by this time the people in the theatre were arisen from their seats, and those that were within made a very great disturbance; the cause of which was this, that the spectators were too hasty in getting away. There was also one Aleyon, a physician, who hurried away, as if to cure those that were wounded, and under that pretense he sent those that were with him to fetch what things were necessary for the healing of those wounded persons, but in reality to get them clear of the present dangers they were in. Now the senate, during this interval, had met, and the people also assembled together in the accustomed form, and were both employed in searching after the murderers of Caius. The people did it very zealously, but the senate in appearance only; for there was present Valerius of Asia, one that had been consul; this man went to the people, as they were in disorder, and very uneasy that they could not yet discover who they were that had murdered the emperor; he was then earnestly asked by them all who it was that had done it. He replied, “I wish I had been the man.” The consuls (7) also published an edict, wherein they accused Caius, and gave order to the people then got together, and to the soldiers, to go home; and gave the people hopes of the abatement of the oppressions they lay under; and promised the soldiers, if they lay quiet as they used to do, and would not go abroad to do mischief unjustly, that they would bestow rewards upon them; for there was reason to fear lest the city might suffer harm by their wild and ungovernable behavior, if they should once betake themselves to spoil the citizens, or plunder the temples. And now the whole multitude of the senators were assembled together, and especially those that had conspired to take away the life of Caius, who put on at this time an air of great assurance, and appeared with great magnanimity, as if the administration of the public affairs were already devolved upon them.
HOW THE SENATORS DETERMINED TO RESTORE THE DEMOCRACY; BUT THE SOLDIERS WERE FOR PRESERVING THE MONARCHY, CONCERNING THE SLAUGHTER OF CAIUS’S WIFE AND DAUGHTER. A CHARACTER OF CAIUS’S MORALS.
1. WHEN the public affairs were in this posture, Claudius was on the sudden hurried away out of his house; for the soldiers had a meeting together; and when they had debated about what was to be done, they saw that a democracy was incapable of managing such a vast weight of public affairs; and that if it should be set up, it would not be for their advantage; and in case any one of those already in the government should obtain the supreme power, it would in all respects be to their grief, if they were not assisting to him in this advancement; that it would therefore be right for them, while the public affairs were unsettled, to choose Claudius emperor, who was uncle to the deceased Caius, and of a superior dignity and worth to every one of those that were assembled together in the senate, both on account of the virtues of his ancestors, and of the learning he had acquired in his education; and who, if once settled in the empire, would reward them according to their deserts, and bestow largesses upon them. These were their consultations, and they executed the same immediately. Claudius was therefore seized upon suddenly by the soldiery. But Cneas Sentins Saturninns, although he understood that Claudius was seized, and that he intended to claim the government, unwillingly indeed in appearance, but in reality by his own free consent, stood up in the senate, and, without being dismayed, made an exhortatory oration to them, and such a one indeed as was fit for men of freedom and generosity, and spake thus:
2. “Although it be a thing incredible, O Romans! because of the great length of time, that so unexpected an event hath happened, yet are we now in possession of liberty. How long indeed this will last is uncertain, and lies at the disposal of the gods, whose grant it is; yet such it is as is sufficient to make us rejoice, and be happy for the present, although we may soon be deprived of it; for one hour is sufficient to those that are exercised in virtue, wherein we may live with a mind accountable only to ourselves, in our own country, now free, and governed by such laws as this country once flourished under. As for myself, I cannot remember our former time of liberty, as being born after it was gone; but I am beyond measure filled with joy at the thoughts of our present freedom. I also esteem those that were born and bred up in that our former liberty happy men, and that those men are worthy of no less esteem than the gods themselves who have given us a taste of it in this age; and I heartily wish that this quiet enjoyment of it, which we have at present, might continue to all ages. However, this single day may suffice for our youth, as well as for us that are in years. It will seem an age to our old men, if they might die during its happy duration: it may also be for the instruction of the younger sort, what kind of virtue those men, from whose loins we are derived, were exercised in. As for ourselves, our business is, during the space of time, to live virtuously, than which nothing can be more to our advantage; which course of virtue it is alone that can preserve our liberty; for as to our ancient state, I have heard of it by the relations of others; but as to our later state, during my lifetime, I have known it by experience, and learned thereby what mischiefs tyrannies have brought upon this commonwealth, discouraging all virtue, and depriving persons of magnanimity of their liberty, and proving the teachers of flattery and slavish fear, because it leaves the public administration not to be governed by wise laws, but by the humor of those that govern. For since Julius Caesar took it into his head to dissolve our democracy, and, by overbearing the regular system of our laws, to bring disorders into our administration, and to get above right and justice, and to be a slave to his own inclinations, there is no kind of misery but what hath tended to the subversion of this city; while all those that have succeeded him have striven one with another to overthrow the ancient laws of their country, and have left it destitute of such citizens as were of generous principles, because they thought it tended to their safety to have vicious men to converse withal, and not only to break the spirits of those that were best esteemed for their virtue, but to resolve upon. their utter destruction. Of all which emperors, who have been many in number, and who laid upon us insufferable hardships during the times of their government, this Caius, who hath been slain today, hath brought more terrible calamities upon us than did all the rest, not only by exercising his ungoverned rage upon his fellow citizens, but also upon his kindred and friends, and alike upon all others, and by inflicting still greater miseries upon them, as punishments, which they never deserved, he being equally furious against men and against the gods. For tyrants are not content to gain their sweet pleasure, and this by acting injuriously, and in the vexation they bring both upon men’s estates and their wives; but they look upon that to be their principal advantage, when they can utterly overthrow the entire families of their enemies; while all lovers of liberty are the enemies of tyranny. Nor can those that patiently endure what miseries they bring on them gain their friendship; for as they are conscious of the abundant mischiefs they have brought on these men, and how magnanimously they have borne their hard fortunes, they cannot but be sensible what evils they have done, and thence only depend on security from what they are suspicious of, if it may be in their power to take them quite out of the world. Since, then, we are now gotten clear of such great misfortunes, and are only accountable to one another, (which form of government affords us the best assurance of our present concord, and promises us the best security from evil designs, and will be most for our own glory in settling the city in good order,) you ought, every one of you in particular, to make provision for his own, and in general for the public utility: or, on the contrary, they may declare their dissent to such things as have been proposed, and this without any hazard of danger to come upon them, because they have now no lord set over them, who, without fear of punishment, could do mischief to the city, and had an uncontrollable power to take off those that freely declared their opinions. Nor has any thing so much contributed to this increase of tyranny of late as sloth, and a timorous forbearance of contradicting the emperor’s will; while men had an over-great inclination to the sweetness of peace, and had learned to live like slaves; and as many of us as either heard of intolerable calamities that happened at a distance from us, or saw the miseries that were near us, out of the dread of dying virtuously, endured a death joined with the utmost infamy. We ought, then, in the first place, to decree the greatest honors we are able to those that have taken off the tyrant, especially to Cherea Cassius; for this one man, with the assistance of the gods, hath, by his counsel and by his actions, been the procurer of our liberty. Nor ought we to forget him now we have recovered our liberty, who, under the foregoing tyranny, took counsel beforehand, and beforehand hazarded himself for our liberties; but ought to decree him proper honors, and thereby freely declare that he from the beginning acted with our approbation. And certainly it is a very excellent thing, and what becomes free-men, to requite their benefactors, as this man hath been a benefactor to us all, though not at all like Cassius and Brutus, who slew Caius Julius [Caesar]; for those men laid the foundations of sedition and civil wars in our city; but this man, together with his slaughter of the tyrant, hath set our city free from all those sad miseries which arose from the tyranny.” (8)
3. And this was the purport of Sentius’s oration, (9) which was received with pleasure by the senators, and by as many of the equestrian order as were present. And now one Trebellius Maximus rose up hastily, and took off Sentius’s finger a ring, which had a stone, with the image of Caius engraven upon it, and which, in his zeal in speaking, and his earnestness in doing what he was about, as it was supposed, he had forgotten to take off himself. This sculpture was broken immediately. But as it was now far in the night, Cherea demanded of the consuls the watchword, who gave him this word, Liberty. These facts were the subjects of admiration to themselves, and almost incredible; for it was a hundred years since the democracy had been laid aside, when this giving the watchword returned to the consuls; for before the city was subject to tyrants, they were the commanders of the soldiers. But when Cherea had received that watchword, he delivered it to those who were on the senate’s side, which were four regiments, who esteemed the government without emperors to be preferable to tyranny. So these went away with their tribunes. The people also now departed very joyful, full of hope and of courage, as having recovered their former democracy, and were no longer under an emperor; and Cherea was in very great esteem with them.
4. And now Cherea was very uneasy that Caius’s daughter and wife were still alive, and that all his family did not perish with him, since whosoever was left of them must be left for the ruin of the city and of the laws. Moreover, in order to finish this matter with the utmost zeal, and in order to satisfy his hatred of Caius, he sent Julius Lupus, one of the tribunes, to kill Caius’s wife and daughter. They proposed this office to Lupus as to a kinsman of Clement, that he might be so far a partaker of this murder of the tyrant, and might rejoice in the virtue of having assisted his fellow citizens, and that he might appear to have been a partaker with those that were first in their designs against him. Yet did this action appear to some of the conspirators to be too cruel, as to this using such severity to a woman, because Caius did more indulge his own ill-nature than use her advice in all that he did; from which ill-nature it was that the city was in so desperate a condition with the miseries that were brought on it, and the flower of the city was destroyed. But others accused her of giving her consent to these things; nay, they ascribed all that Caius had done to her as the cause of it, and said she had given a potion to Caius, which had made him obnoxious to her, and had tied him down to love her by such evil methods; insomuch that she, having rendered him distracted, was become the author of all the mischiefs that had befallen the Romans, and that habitable world which was subject to them. So that at length it was determined that she must die; nor could those of the contrary opinion at all prevail to have her saved; and Lupus was sent accordingly. Nor was there any delay made in executing what he went about, but he was subservient to those that sent him on the first opportunity, as desirous to be no way blameable in what might be done for the advantage of the people. So when he was come into the palace, he found Cesonia, who was Caius’s wife, lying by her husband’s dead body, which also lay down on the ground, and destitute of all such things as the law allows to the dead, and all over herself besmeared with the blood of her husband’s wounds, and bewailing the great affliction she was under, her daughter lying by her also; and nothing else was heard in these her circumstances but her complaint of Caius, as if he had not regarded what she had often told him of beforehand; which words of hers were taken in a different sense even at that time, and are now esteemed equally ambiguous by those that hear of them, and are still interpreted according to the different inclinations of people. Now some said that the words denoted that she had advised him to leave off his mad behavior and his barbarous cruelty to the citizens, and to govern the public with moderation and virtue, lest he should perish by the same way, upon their using him as he had used them. But some said, that as certain words had passed concerning the conspirators, she desired Caius to make no delay, but immediately to put them all to death, and this whether they were guilty or not, and that thereby he would be out of the fear of any danger; and that this was what she reproached him for, when she advised him so to do, but he was too slow and tender in the matter. And this was what Cesonia said, and what the opinions of men were about it. But when she saw Lupus approach, she showed him Caius’s dead body, and persuaded him to come nearer, with lamentation and tears; and as she perceived that Lupus was in disorder, and approached her in order to execute some design disagreeable to himself, she was well aware for what purpose he came, and stretched out her naked throat, and that very cheerfully to him, bewailing her case, like one that utterly despaired of her life, and bidding him not to boggle at finishing the tragedy they had resolved upon relating to her. So she boldly received her death’s wound at the hand of Lupus, as did the daughter after her. So Lupus made haste to inform Cherea of what he had done.
5. This was the end of Caius, after he had reigned four years, within four months. He was, even before he came to be emperor, ill-natured, and one that had arrived at the utmost pitch of wickedness; a slave to his pleasures, and a lover of calumny; greatly affected by every terrible accident, and on that account of a very murderous disposition where he durst show it. He enjoyed his exorbitant power to this only purpose, to injure those who least deserved it, with unreasonable insolene and got his wealth by murder and injustice. He labored to appear above regarding either what was divine or agreeable to the laws, but was a slave to the commendations of the populace; and whatsoever the laws determined to be shameful, and punished, that he esteemed more honorable than what was virtuous. He was unmindful of his friends, how intimate soever, and though they were persons of the highest character; and if he was once angry at any of them, he would inflict punishment upon them on the smallest occasions, and esteemed every man that endeavored to lead a virtuous life his enemy. And whatsoever he commanded, he would not admit of any contradiction to his inclinations; whence it was that he had criminal conversation with his own sister; (10) from which occasion chiefly it was also that a bitter hatred first sprang up against him among the citizens, that sort of incest not having been known of a long time; and so this provoked men to distrust him, and to hate him that was guilty of it. And for any great or royal work that he ever did, which might be for the present and for future ages, nobody can name any such, but only the haven that he made about Rhegium and Sicily, for the reception of the ships that brought corn from Egypt; which was indeed a work without dispute very great in itself, and of very great advantage to the navigation. Yet was not this work brought to perfection by him, but was the one half of it left imperfect, by reason of his want of application to it; the cause of which was this, that he employed his studies about useless matters, and that by spending his money upon such pleasures as concerned no one’s benefit but his own, he could not exert his liberality in things that were undeniably of great consequence. Otherwise he was an excellent orator, and thoroughly acquainted with the Greek tongue, as well as with his own country or Roman language. He was also able, off-hand and readily, to give answers to compositions made by others, of considerable length and accuracy. He was also more skillful in persuading others to very great things than any one else, and this from a natural affability of temper, which had been improved by much exercise and pains-taking; for as he was the grandson (11) of the brother of Tiberius, whose successor he was, this was a strong inducement to his acquiring of learning, because Tiberius aspired after the highest pitch of that sort of reputation; and Caius aspired after the like glory for eloquence, being induced thereto by the letters of his kinsman and his emperor. He was also among the first rank of his own citizens. But the advantages he received from his learning did not countervail the mischief he brought upon himself in the exercise of his authority; so difficult it is for those to obtain the virtue that is necessary for a wise man, who have the absolute power to do what they please without control. At the first he got himself such friends as were in all respects the most worthy, and was greatly beloved by them, while he imitated their zealous application to the learning and to the glorious actions of the best men; but when he became insolent towards them, they laid aside the kindness they had for him, and began to hate him; from which hatred came that plot which they raised against him, and wherein he perished.
HOW CLAUDIUS WAS SEIZED UPON AND BROUGHT OUT OF HIS HOUSE AND BROUGHT TO THE CAMP; AND HOW THE SENATE SENT AN EMBASSAGE TO HIM.
1. NOW Claudius, as I said before, went out of that way along which Caius was gone; and as the family was in a mighty disorder upon the sad accident of the murder of Caius, he was in great distress how to save himself, and was found to have hidden himself in a certain narrow place, (12) though he had no other occasion for suspicion of any dangers, besides the dignity of his birth; for while he was a private man, he behaved himself with moderation, and was contented with his present fortune, applying himself to learning, and especially to that of the Greeks, and keeping himself entirely clear from every thing that might bring on any disturbance. But as at this time the multitude were under a consternation, and the whole palace was full of the soldiers’ madness, and the very emperor’s guards seemed under the like fear and disorder with private persons, the band called pretorian, which was the purest part of the army, was in consultation what was to be done at this juncture. Now all those that were at this consultation had little regard to the punishment Caius had suffered, because he justly deserved such his fortune; but they were rather considering their own circumstances, how they might take the best care of themselves, especially while the Germans were busy in punishing the murderers of Caius; which yet was rather done to gratify their own savage temper, than for the good of the public; all which things disturbed Claudius, who was afraid of his own safety, and this particularly because he saw the heads of Asprenas and his partners carried about. His station had been on a certain elevated place, whither a few steps led him, and whither he had retired in the dark by himself. But when Gratus, who was one of the soldiers that belonged to the palace, saw him, but did not well know by his countenance who he was, because it was dark, though he could well judge that it was a man who was privately there on some design, he came nearer to him; and when Claudius desired that he would retire, be discovered who he was, and owned him to be Claudius. So he said to his followers, “This is a Germanicus; (12) come on, let us choose him for our emperor.” But when Claudius saw they were making preparations for taking him away by force, and was afraid they would kill him, as they had killed Caius, he besought them to spare him, putting them in mind how quietly he had demeaned himself, and that he was unacquainted with what had been done. Hereupon Gratus smiled upon him, and took him by the right hand, and said, “Leave off, sir, these low thoughts of saving yourself, while you ought to have greater thoughts, even of obtaining the empire, which the gods, out of their concern for the habitable world, by taking Caius out of the way, commit to thy virtuous conduct. Go to, therefore, and accept of the throne of thy ancestors.” So they took him up and carried him, because he was not then able to go on foot, such was his dread and his joy at what was told him.
2. Now there was already gathered together about Gratus a great number of the guards; and when they saw Claudius carried off, they looked with a sad countenance, as supposing that he was carried to execution for the mischiefs that had been lately done; while yet they thought him a man who never meddled with public affairs all his life long, and one that had met with no contemptible dangers under the reign of Caius; and some of them thought it reasonable that the consuls should take cognizance of these matters; and as still more and more of the soldiery got together, the crowd about him ran away, and Claudius could hardly go on, his body was then so weak; and those who carried his sedan, upon an inquiry that was made about his being carried off, ran away and saved themselves, as despairing of their Lord’s preservation. But when they were come into the large court of the palace, (which, as the report goes about it, was inhabited first of all the parts of the city of Rome,) and had just reached the public treasury, many more soldiers came about him, as glad to see Claudius’s face, and thought it exceeding right to make him emperor, on account of their kindness for Germanicus, who was his brother, and had left behind him a vast reputation among all that were acquainted with him. They reflected also on the covetous temper of the leading men of the senate, and what great errors they had been guilty of when the senate had the government formerly; they also considered the impossibility of such an undertaking, as also what dangers they should be in, if the government should come to a single person, and that such a one should possess it as they had no hand in advancing, and not to Claudius, who would take it as their grant, and as gained by their good-will to him, and would remember the favors they had done him, and would make them a sufficient recompense for the same.
3. These were the discourses the soldiers had one with another by themselves, and they communicated them to all such as came in to them. Now those that inquired about this matter willingly embraced the invitation that was made them to join with the rest; so they carried Claudius into the camp, crowding about him as his guard, and encompassing him about, one chairman still succeeding another, that their vehement endeavors might not be hindered. But as to the populace and senators, they disagreed in their opinions. The latter were very desirous to recover their former dignity, and were zealous to get clear of the slavery that had been brought on them by the injurious treatment of the tyrants, which the present opportunity afforded them; but for the people, who were envious against them, and knew that the emperors were capable of curbing their covetous temper, and were a refuge from them, they were very glad that Claudius had been seized upon, and brought to them, and thought that if Claudius were made emperor, he would prevent a civil war, such as there was in the days of Pompey. But when the senate knew that Claudius was brought into the camp by the soldiers, they sent to him those of their body which had the best character for their virtues, that they might inform him that he ought to do nothing by violence, in order to gain the government; that he who was a single person, one either already or hereafter to be a member of their body, ought to yield to the senate, which consisted of so great a number; that he ought to let the law take place in the disposal of all that related to the public order, and to remember how greatly the former tyrants had afflicted their city, and what dangers both he and they had escaped under Caius; and that he ought not to hate the heavy burden of tyranny, when the injury is done by others, while he did himself willfully treat his country after a mad and insolent manner; that if he would comply with them, and demonstrate that his firm resolution was to live quietly and virtuously, he would have the greatest honors decreed to him that a free people could bestow; and by subjecting himself to the law, would obtain this branch of commendation, that he acted like a man of virtue, both as a ruler and a subject; but that if he would act foolishly, and learn no wisdom by Caius’s death, they would not permit him to go on; that a great part of the army was got together for them, with plenty of weapons, and a great number of slaves, which they could make use of; that good hope was a great matter in such cases, as was also good fortune; and that the gods would never assist any others but those that undertook to act with virtue and goodness, who can be no other than such as fight for the liberty of their country.
4. Now these ambassadors, Veranius and Brocchus, who were both of them tribunes of the people, made this speech to Claudius; and falling down upon their knees, they begged of him that he would not throw the city into wars and misfortunes; but when they saw what a multitude of soldiers encompassed and guarded Claudius, and that the forces that were with the consuls were, in comparison of them, perfectly inconsiderable, they added, that if he did desire the government, he should accept of it as given by the senate; that he would prosper better, and be happier, if he came to it, not by the injustice, but by the good-will of those that would bestow it upon him.
WHAT THINGS KING AGRIPPA DID FOR CLAUDIUS; AND HOW CLAUDIUS WHEN HE HAD TAKEN THE GOVERNMENT COMMANDED THE MURDERERS OF CAIUS TO BE SLAIN.
1. NOW Claudius, though he was sensible after what an insolent manner the senate had sent to him yet did he, according to their advice, behave himself for the present with moderation; but not so far that he could not recover himself out of his fright; so he was encouraged [to claim the government] partly by the boldness of the soldiers, and partly by the persuasion of king Agrippa, who exhorted him not to let such a dominion slip out of his hands, when it came thus to him of its own accord. Now this Agrippa, with relation to Caius, did what became one that had been so much honored by him; for he embraced Caius’s body after he was dead, and laid it upon a bed, and covered it as well as he could, and went out to the guards, and told them that Caius was still alive; but he said that they should call for physicians, since he was very ill of his wounds. But when he had learned that Claudius was carried away violently by the soldiers, he rushed through the crowd to him, and when he found that he was in disorder, and ready to resign up the government to the senate, he encouraged him, and desired him to keep the government; but when he had said this to Claudius, he retired home. And upon the senate’s sending for him, he anointed his head with ointment, as if he had lately accompanied with his wife, and had dismissed her, and then came to them: he also asked of the senators what Claudius did; who told him the present state of affairs, and then asked his opinion about the settlement of the public. He told them in words that he was ready to lose his life for the honor of the senate, but desired them to consider what was for their advantage, without any regard to what was most agreeable to them; for that those who grasp at government will stand in need of weapons and soldiers to guard them, unless they will set up without any preparation for it, and so fall into danger. And when the senate replied that they would bring in weapons in abundance, and money, and that as to an army, a part of it was already collected together for them, and they would raise a larger one by giving the slaves their liberty, – Agrippa made answer, “O senators! may you be able to compass what you have a mind to; yet will I immediately tell you my thoughts, because they tend to your preservation. Take notice, then, that the army which will fight for Claudius hath been long exercised in warlike affairs; but our army will be no better than a rude multitude of raw men, and those such as have been unexpectedly made free from slavery, and ungovernable; we must then fight against those that are skillful in war, with men who know not so much as how to draw their swords. So that my opinion is, that we should send some persons to Claudius, to persuade him to lay down the government; and I am ready to be one of your ambassadors.”
2. Upon this speech of Agrippa, the senate complied with him, and he was sent among others, and privately informed Claudius of the disorder the senate was in, and gave him instructions to answer them in a somewhat commanding strain, and as one invested with dignity and authority. Accordingly, Claudius said to the ambassadors, that he did not wonder the senate had no mind to have an emperor over them, because they had been harassed by the barbarity of those that had formerly been at the head of their affairs; but that they should taste of an equitable government under him, and moderate times, while he should only he their ruler in name, but the authority should be equally common to them all; and since he had passed through many and various scenes of life before their eyes, it would be good for them not to distrust him. So the ambassadors, upon their hearing this his answer, were dismissed. But Claudius discoursed with the army which was there gathered together, who took oaths that they would persist in their fidelity to him; Upon which he gave the guards every man five thousand (13) drachmae a-piece, and a proportionable quantity to their captains, and promised to give the same to the rest of the armies wheresoever they were.
3. And now the consuls called the senate together into the temple of Jupiter the Conqueror, while it was still night; but some of those senators concealed themselves in the city, being uncertain what to do, upon the hearing of this summons; and some of them went out of the city to their own farms, as foreseeing whither the public affairs were going, and despairing of liberty; nay, these supposed it much better for them to be slaves without danger to themselves, and to live a lazy and inactive life, than by claiming the dignity of their forefathers, to run the hazard of their own safety. However, a hundred and no more were gotten together; and as they were in consultation about the present posture of affairs, a sudden clamor was made by the soldiers that were on their side, desiring that the senate would choose them an emperor, and not bring the government into ruin by setting up a multitude of rulers. So they fully declared themselves to be for the giving the government not to all, but to one; but they gave the senate leave to look out for a person worthy to be set over them, insomuch that now the affairs of the senate were much worse than before, because they had not only failed in the recovery of their liberty, which they boasted themselves of, but were in dread of Claudius also. Yet were there those that hankered after the government, both on account of the dignity of their families and that accruing to them by their marriages; for Marcus Minucianus was illustrious, both by his own nobility, and by his having married Julia, the sister of Caius, who accordingly was very ready to claim the government, although the consuls discouraged him, and made one delay after another in proposing it: that Minucianus also, who was one of Caius’s murderers, restrained Valerius of Asia from thinking of such things; and a prodigious slaughter there had been, if leave had been given to these men to set up for themselves, and oppose Claudius. There were also a considerable number of gladiators besides, and of those soldiers who kept watch by night in the city, and rowers of ships, who all ran into the camp; insomuch that, of those who put in for the government, some left off their pretensions in order to spare the city, and others out of fear for their own persons.
4. But as soon as ever it was day, Cherea, and those that were with him, came into the senate, and attempted to make speeches to the soldiers. However, the multitude of those soldiers, when they saw that they were making signals for silence with their hands, and were ready to begin to speak to them, grew tumultuous, and would not let them speak at all, because they were all zealous to be under a monarchy; and they demanded of the senate one for their ruler, as not enduring any longer delays: but the senate hesitated about either their own governing, or how they should themselves be governed, while the soldiers would not admit them to govern, and the murderers of Caius would not permit the soldiers to dictate to them. When they were in these circumstances, Cherea was not able to contain the anger he had, and promised, that if they desired an emperor, he would give them one, if any one would bring him the watchword from Eutychus. Now this Eutychus was charioteer of the green-band faction, styled Prasine, and a great friend of Caius, who used to harass the soldiery with building stables for the horses, and spent his time in ignominious labors, which occasioned Cherea to reproach them with him, and to abuse them with much other scurrilous language; and told them he would bring them the head of Claudius; and that it was an amazing thing, that, after their former madness, they should commit their government to a fool. Yet were not they moved with his words, but drew their swords, and took up their ensigns, and went to Claudius, to join in taking the oath of fidelity to him. So the senate were left without any body to defend them, and the very consuls differed nothing from private persons. They were also under consternation and sorrow, men not knowing what would become of them, because Claudius was very angry at them; so they fell a reproaching one another, and repented of what they had done. At which juncture Sabinus, one of Caius’s murderers, threatened that he would sooner come into the midst of them and kill himself, than consent to make Claudius emperor, and see slavery returning upon them; he also abused Cherea for loving his life too well, while he who was the first in his contempt of Caius, could think it a good thin to live, when, even by all that they had done for the recovery of their liberty, they found it impossible to do it. But Cherea said he had no manner of doubt upon him about killing himself; that yet he would first sound the intentions of Claudius before he did it.
5. These were the debates [about the senate]; but in the camp every body was crowding on all sides to pay their court to Claudius; and the other consul, Quintus Pomponhis, was reproached by the soldiery, as having rather exhorted the senate to recover their liberty; whereupon they drew their swords, and were going to assault him, and they had done it, if Claudius had not hindered them, who snatched the consul out of the danger he was in, and set him by him. :But he did not receive that part of the senate which was with Quintus in the like honorable manner; nay, some of them received blows, and were thrust away as they came to salute Claudius; nay, Aponius went away wounded, and they were all in danger. However, king Agrippa went up to Claudius, and desired he would treat the senators more gently; for if any mischief should come to the senate, he would have no others over whom to rule. Claudius complied with him, and called the senate together into the palace, and was carried thither himself through the city, while the soldiery conducted him, though this was to the great vexation of the multitude; for Cherea and Sabinus, two of Caius’s murderers, went in the fore-front of them, in an open manner, while Pollio, whom Claudius, a little before, had made captain of his guards, had sent them an epistolary edict, to forbid them to appear in public. Then did Claudius, upon his coming to the palace, get his friends together, and desired their suffrages about Cherea. They said that the work he had done was a glorious one; but they accused him the he did it of perfidiousness, and thought it just to inflict the punishment [of death] upon him, to discountenance such actions for the time to come. So Cherea was led to his execution, and Lupus and many other Romans with him. Now it is reported that Cherea bore this calamity courageously; and this not only by the firmness of his own behavior under it, but by the reproaches he laid upon Lupus, who fell into tears; for when Lupus laid his garment aside, and complained of the cold (14) he said, that cold was never hurtful to Lupus [i.e. a wolf] And as a great many men went along with them to see the sight, when Cherea came to the place, he asked the soldier who was to be their executioner, whether this office was what he was used to, or whether this was the first time of his using his sword in that manner, and desired him to bring him that very sword with which he himself slew Caius. (15) So he was happily killed at one stroke. But Lupus did not meet with such good fortune in going out of the world, since he was timorous, and had many blows leveled at his neck, because he did not stretch it out boldly [as he ought to have done].
6. Now, a few days after this, as the Parental solemnities were just at hand, the Roman multitude made their usual oblations to their several ghosts, and put portions into the fire in honor of Cherea, and besought him to be merciful to them, and not continue his anger against them for their ingratitude. And this was the end of the life that Cherea came to. But for Sabinus, although Claudius not only set him at liberty, but gave him leave to retain his former command in the army, yet did he think it would be unjust in him to fail of performing his obligations to his fellow confederates; so he fell upon his sword, and killed himself, the wound reaching up to the very hilt of the sword.
HOW CLAUDIUS RESTORED TO AGRIPPA HIS GRANDFATHERS KINGDOMS AND AUGMENTED HIS DOMINIONS; AND HOW HE PUBLISHED AN EDICT IN BEHALF.
1. NOW when Claudius had taken out of the way all those soldiers whom he suspected, which he did immediately, he published an edict, and therein confirmed that kingdom to Agrippa which Caius had given him, and therein commended the king highly. He also made all addition to it of all that country over which Herod, who was his grandfather, had reigned, that is, Judea and Samaria; and this he restored to him as due to his family. But for Abila (16) of Lysanias, and all that lay at Mount Libanus, he bestowed them upon him, as out of his own territories. He also made a league with this Agrippa, confirmed by oaths, in the middle of the forum, in the city of Rome: he also took away from Antiochus that kingdom which he was possessed of, but gave him a certain part of Cilicia and Commagena: he also set Alexander Lysimachus, the alabarch, at liberty, who had been his old friend, and steward to his mother Antonia, but had been imprisoned by Caius, whose son [Marcus] married Bernice, the daughter of Agrippa. But when Marcus, Alexander’s son, was dead, who had married her when she was a virgin, Agrippa gave her in marriage to his brother Herod, and begged for him of Claudius the kingdom of Chalcis.
2. Now about this time there was a sedition between the Jews and the Greeks, at the city of Alexandria; for when Caius was dead, the nation of the Jews, which had been very much mortified under the reign of Caius, and reduced to very great distress by the people of Alexandria, recovered itself, and immediately took up their arms to fight for themselves. So Claudius sent an order to the president of Egypt to quiet that tumult; he also sent an edict, at the requests of king Agrippa and king Herod, both to Alexandria and to Syria, whose contents were as follows: “Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, high priest, and tribune of the people, ordains thus: Since I am assured that the Jews of Alexandria, called Alexandrians, have been joint inhabitants in the earliest times with the Alexandrians, and have obtained from their kings equal privileges with them, as is evident by the public records that are in their possession, and the edicts themselves; and that after Alexandria had been subjected to our empire by Augustus, their rights and privileges have been preserved by those presidents who have at divers times been sent thither; and that no dispute had been raised about those rights and privileges, even when Aquila was governor of Alexandria; and that when the Jewish ethnarch was dead, Augustus did not prohibit the making such ethnarchs, as willing that all men should be so subject [to the Romans] as to continue in the observation of their own customs, and not be forced to transgress the ancient rules of their own country religion; but that, in the time of Caius, the Alexandrians became insolent towards the Jews that were among them, which Caius, out of his great madness and want of understanding, reduced the nation of the Jews very low, because they would not transgress the religious worship of their country, and call him a god: I will therefore that the nation of the Jews be not deprived of their rights and privileges, on account of the madness of Caius; but that those rights and privileges which they formerly enjoyed be preserved to them, and that they may continue in their own customs. And I charge both parties to take very great care that no troubles may arise after the promulgation of this edict.”
3. And such were the contents of this edict on behalf of the Jews that was sent to Alexandria. But the edict that was sent into the other parts of the habitable earth was this which follows: “Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, high priest, tribune of the people, chosen consul the second time, ordains thus: Upon the petition of king Agrippa and king Herod, who are persons very dear to me, that I would grant the same rights and privileges should be preserved to the Jews which are in all the Roman empire, which I have granted to those of Alexandria, I very willingly comply therewith; and this grant I make not only for the sake of the petitioners, but as judging those Jews for whom I have been petitioned worthy of such a favor, on account of their fidelity and friendship to the Romans. I think it also very just that no Grecian city should be deprived of such rights and privileges, since they were preserved to them under the great Augustus. It will therefore be fit to permit the Jews, who are in all the world under us, to keep their ancient customs without being hindered so to do. And I do charge them also to use this my kindness to them with moderation, and not to show a contempt of the superstitious observances of other nations, but to keep their own laws only. And I will that this decree of mine be engraven on tables by the magistrates of the cities, and colonies, and municipal places, both those within Italy and those without it, both kings and governors, by the means of the ambassadors, and to have them exposed to the public for full thirty days, in such a place whence it may plainly be read from the ground. (17)
WHAT THINGS WERE DONE BY AGRIPPA AT JERUSALEM WHEN HE WAS RETURNED BACK INTO JUDEA; AND WHAT IT WAS THAT PETRONIUS WROTE TO THE INHABITANTS OF DORIS, IN BEHALF .
1. NOW Claudius Caesar, by these decrees of his which were sent to Alexandria, and to all the habitable earth, made known what opinion he had of the Jews. So he soon sent Agrippa away to take his kingdom, now he was advanced to a more illustrious dignity than before, and sent letters to the presidents and procurators of the provinces that they should treat him very kindly. Accordingly, he returned in haste, as was likely he would, now lie returned in much greater prosperity than he had before. He also came to Jerusalem, and offered all the sacrifices that belonged to him, and omitted nothing which the law required; (18) on which account he ordained that many of the Nazarites should have their heads shorn. And for the golden chain which had been given him by Caius, of equal weight with that iron chain wherewith his royal hands had been bound, he hung it up within the limits of the temple, over the treasury, (19) that it might be a memorial of the severe fate he had lain under, and a testimony of his change for the better; that it might be a demonstration how the greatest prosperity may have a fall, and that God sometimes raises up what is fallen down: for this chain thus dedicated afforded a document to all men, that king Agrippa had been once bound in a chain for a small cause, but recovered his former dignity again; and a little while afterward got out of his bonds, and was advanced to be a more illustrious king than he was before. Whence men may understand that all that partake of human nature, how great soever they are, may fall; and that those that fall may gain their former illustrious dignity again.
2. And when Agrippa had entirely finished all the duties of the Divine worship, he removed Theophilus, the son of Ananus, from the high priesthood, and bestowed that honor of his on Simon the son of Boethus, whose name was also Cantheras whose daughter king Herod married, as I have related above. Simon, therefore, had the [high] priesthood with his brethren, and with his father, in like manner as the sons of Simon, the son of Onias, who were three, had it formerly under the government of the Macedonians, as we have related in a former book.
3. When the king had settled the high priesthood after this manner, he returned the kindness which the inhabitants of Jerusalem had showed him; for he released them from the tax upon houses, every one of which paid it before, thinking it a good thing to requite the tender affection of those that loved him. He also made Silas the general of his forces, as a man who had partaken with him in many of his troubles. But after a very little while the young men of Doris, preferring a rash attempt before piety, and being naturally bold and insolent, carried a statue of Caesar into a synagogue of the Jews, and erected it there. This procedure of theirs greatly provoked Agrippa; for it plainly tended to the dissolution of the laws of his country. So he came without delay to Publius Petronius, who was then president of Syria, and accused the people of Doris. Nor did he less resent what was done than did Agrippa; for he judged it a piece of impiety to transgress the laws that regulate the actions of men. So he wrote the following letter to the people of Doris in an angry strain: “Publius Petronius, the president under Tiberius Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, to the magistrates of Doris, ordains as follows: Since some of you have had the boldness, or madness rather, after the edict of Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus was published, for permitting the Jews to observe the laws of their country, not to obey the same, but have acted in entire opposition thereto, as forbidding the Jews to assemble together in the synagogue, by removing Caesar’s statue, and setting it up therein, and thereby have offended not only the Jews, but the emperor himself, whose statue is more commodiously placed in his own temple than in a foreign one, where is the place of assembling together; while it is but a part of natural justice, that every one should have the power over the place belonging peculiarly to themselves, according to the determination of Caesar, – to say nothing of my own determination, which it would be ridiculous to mention after the emperor’s edict, which gives the Jews leave to make use of their own customs, as also gives order that they enjoy equally the rights of citizens with the Greeks themselves, – I therefore ordain that Proculus Vitellius, the centurion, bring those men to me, who, contrary to Augustus’s edict, have been so insolent as to do this thing, at which those very men, who appear to be of principal reputation among them, have an indignation also, and allege for themselves, ‘that it was not done with their consent, but by the violence of the multitude, that they may give an account of what hath been done. I also exhort the principal magistrates among them, unless they have a mind to have this action esteemed to be done with their consent, to inform the centurion of those that were guilty of it, and take care that no handle be hence taken for raising a sedition or quarrel among them; which those seem to me to treat after who encourage such doings; while both I myself, and king Agrippa, for whom I have the highest honor, have nothing more under our care, than that the nation of the Jews may have no occasion given them of getting together, under the pretense of avenging themselves, and become tumultuous. And that it may be more publicly known what Augustus hath resolved about this whole matter, I have subjoined those edicts which he hath lately caused to be published at Alexandria, and which, although they may be well known to all, yet did king Agrippa, for whom I have the highest honor, read them at that time before my tribunal, and pleaded that the Jews ought not to be deprived of those rights which Augustus hath granted them. I therefore charge you, that you do not, for the time to come, seek for any occasion of sedition or disturbance, but that every one be allowed to follow their own religious customs.”
4. Thus did Petronius take care of this matter, that such a breach of the law might be corrected, and that no such thing might be attempted afterwards against the Jews. And now king Agrippa took the [high] priesthood away from Simon Cantheras, and put Jonathan, the son of Ananus, into it again, and owned that he was more worthy of that dignity than the other. But this was not a thing acceptable to him, to recover that his former dignity. So he refused it, and said, “O king! I rejoice in the honor that thou hast for me, and take it kindly that thou wouldst give me such a dignity of thy own inclinations, although God hath judged that I am not at all worthy of the high priesthood. I am satisfied with having once put on the sacred garments; for I then put them on after a more holy manner than I should now receive them again. But if thou desirest that a person more worthy than myself should have this honorable employment, give me leave to name thee such a one. I have a brother that is pure from all sin against God, and of all offenses against thyself; I recommend him to thee, as one that is fit for this dignity.” So the king was pleased with these words of his, and passed by Jonathan, and, according to his brother’s desire, bestowed the high priesthood upon Matthias. Nor was it long before Marcus succeeded Petronius, as president of Syria.
CONCERNING SILAS AND ON WHAT ACCOUNT IT WAS THAT KING AGRIPPA WAS ANGRY AT HIM. HOW AGRIPPA BEGAN TO ENCOMPASS JERUSALEM WITH A WALL; AND WHAT BENEFITS HE BESTOWED ON THE INHABITANTS OF BERYTUS.
1. NOW Silas, the general of the king’s horse, because he had been faithful to him under all his misfortunes, and had never refused to be a partaker with him in any of his dangers, but had oftentimes undergone the most hazardous dangers for him, was full of assurance, and thought he might expect a sort of equality with the king, on account of the firmness of the friendship he had showed to him. Accordingly, he would no where let the king sit as his superior, and took the like liberty in speaking to him upon all occasions, till he became troublesome to the king, when they were merry together, extolling himself beyond measure, and oft putting the king in mind of the severity of fortune he had undergone, that he might, by way of ostentation, demonstrate What zeal he had showed in his service; and was continually harping upon this string, what pains he had taken for him, and much enlarged still upon that subject. The repetition of this so frequently seemed to reproach the king, insomuch that he took this ungovernable liberty of talking very ill at his hands. For the commemoration of times when men have been under ignominy, is by no means agreeable to them; and he is a very silly man who is perpetually relating to a person what kindness he had done him. At last, therefore, Silas had so thoroughly provoked the king’s indignation, that he acted rather out of passion than good consideration, and did not only turn Silas out of his place, as general of his horse, but sent him in bonds into his own country. But the edge of his anger wore off by length of time, and made room for more just reasonings as to his judgment about this man; and he considered how many labors he had undergone for his sake. So when Agrippa was solemnizing his birth-day, and he gave festival entertainments to all his subjects, he sent for Silas on the sudden to be his guest. But as he was a very frank man, he thought he had now a just handle given him to be angry; which he could not conceal from those that came for him, but said to them, “What honor is this the king invites me to, which I conclude will soon be over? For the king hath not let me keep those original marks of the good-will I bore him, which I once had from him; but he hath plundered me, and that unjustly also. Does he think that I can leave off that liberty of speech, which, upon the consciousness of my deserts, I shall use more loudly than before, and shall relate how many misfortunes I have been delivered from; how many labors I have undergone for him, whereby I procured him deliverance and respect; as a reward for which I have borne the hardships of bonds and a dark prison? I shall never forget this usage. Nay, perhaps, my very soul, when it is departed out of the body, will not forget the glorious actions I did on his account.” This was the clamor he made, and he ordered the messengers to tell it to the king. So he perceived that Silas was incurable in his folly, and still suffered him to lie in prison.
2. As for the walls of Jerusalem, that were adjoining to the new city [Bezetha], he repaired them at the expense of the public, and built them wider in breadth, and higher in altitude; and he had made them too strong for all human power to demolish, unless Marcus, the then president of Syria, had by letter informed Claudius Caesar of what he was doing. And when Claudius had some suspicion of attempts for innovation, he sent to Agrippa to leave off the building of those walls presently. So he obeyed, as not thinking it proper to contradict Claudius.
3. Now this king was by nature very beneficent and liberal in his gifts, and very ambitious to oblige people with such large donations; and he made himself very illustrious by the many chargeable presents he made them. He took delight in giving, and rejoiced in living with good reputation. He was not at all like that Herod who reigned before him; for that Herod was ill-natured, and severe in his punishments, and had no mercy on them that he hated; and every one perceived that he was more friendly to the Greeks than to the Jews; for he adorned foreign cities with large presents in money; with building them baths and theatres besides; nay, in some of those places he erected temples, and porticoes in others; but he did not vouchsafe to raise one of the least edifices in any Jewish city, or make them any donation that was worth mentioning. But Agrippa’s temper was mild, and equally liberal to all men. He was humane to foreigners, and made them sensible of his liberality. He was in like manner rather of a gentle and compassionate temper. Accordingly, he loved to live continually at Jerusalem, and was exactly careful in the observance of the laws of his country. He therefore kept himself entirely pure; nor did any day pass over his head without its appointed sacrifice.
4. However, there was a certain mall of the Jewish nation at Jerusalem, who appeared to be very accurate in the knowledge of the law. His name was Simon. This man got together an assembly, while the king was absent at Cesarea, and had the insolence to accuse him as not living holily, and that he might justly be excluded out of the temple, since it belonged only to native Jews. But the general of Agrippa’s army informed him that Simon had made such a speech to the people. So the king sent for him; and as he was sitting in the theater, he bid him sit down by him, and said to him with a low and gentle voice, “What is there done in this place that is contrary to the law?” But he had nothing to say for himself, but begged his pardon. So the king was more easily reconciled to him than one could have imagined, as esteeming mildness a better quality in a king than anger, and knowing that moderation is more becoming in great men than passion. So he made Simon a small present, and dismissed him.
5. Now as Agrippa was a great builder in many places, he paid a peculiar regard to the people of Berytus; for he erected a theater for them, superior to many others of that sort, both in Sumptuousness and elegance, as also an amphitheater, built at vast expenses; and besides these, he built them baths and porticoes, and spared for no costs in any of his edifices, to render them both handsome and large. He also spent a great deal upon their dedication, and exhibited shows upon them, and brought thither musicians of all sorts, and such as made the most delightful music of the greatest variety. He also showed his magnificence upon the theater, in his great number of gladiators; and there it was that he exhibited the several antagonists, in order to please the spectators; no fewer indeed than seven hundred men to fight with seven hundred other men (20) and allotted all the malefactors he had for this exercise, that both the malefactors might receive their punishment, and that this operation of war might be a recreation in peace. And thus were these criminals all destroyed at once.
WHAT OTHER ACTS WERE DONE BY AGRIPPA UNTIL HIS DEATH; AND AFTER WHAT MANNER HE DIED.
1. WHEN Agrippa had finished what I have above related at Berytus, he removed to Tiberias, a city of Galilee. Now he was in great esteem among other kings. Accordingly there came to him Antiochus, king of Commalena, Sampsigeratnus, king of Emesa, and Cotys, who was king of the Lesser Armenia, and Polemo, who was king of Pontus, as also Herod his brother, who was king of Chalcis. All these he treated with agreeable entertainments, and after an obliging manner, and so as to exhibit the greatness of his mind, and so as to appear worthy of those respects which the kings paid to him, by coming thus to see him. However, while these kings staid with him, Marcus, the president of Syria, came thither. So the king, in order to preserve the respect that was due to the Romans, went out of the city to meet him, as far as seven furlongs. But this proved to be the beginning of a difference between him and Marcus; for he took with him in his chariot those other kings as his assessors. But Marcus had a suspicion what the meaning could be of so great a friendship of these kings one with another, and did not think so close an agreement of so many potentates to be for the interest of the Romans. He therefore sent some of his domestics to every one of them, and enjoined them to go their ways home without further delay. This was very ill taken by Agrippa, who after that became his enemy. And now he took the high priesthood away from Matthias, and made Elioneus, the son of Cantheras, high priest in his stead.
2. Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea, he came to the city Cesarea, which was formerly called Strato’s Tower; and there he exhibited shows in honor of Caesar, upon his being informed that there was a certain festival celebrated to make vows for his safety. At which festival a great multitude was gotten together of the principal persons, and such as were of dignity through his province. On the second day of which shows he put on a garment made wholly of silver, and of a contexture truly wonderful, and came into the theater early in the morning; at which time the silver of his garment being illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun’s rays upon it, shone out after a surprising manner, and was so resplendent as to spread a horror over those that looked intently upon him; and presently his flatterers cried out, one from one place, and another from another, (though not for his good,) that he was a god; and they added, “Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a man, yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature.” Upon this the king did neither rebuke them, nor reject their impious flattery. But as he presently afterward looked up, he saw an owl (21) sitting on a certain rope over his head, and immediately understood that this bird was the messenger of ill tidings, as it had once been the messenger of good tidings to him; and fell into the deepest sorrow. A severe pain also arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner. He therefore looked upon his friends, and said, “I, whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life; while Providence thus reproves the lying words you just now said to me; and I, who was by you called immortal, am immediately to be hurried away by death. But I am bound to accept of what Providence allots, as it pleases God; for we have by no means lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner.” When he said this, his pain was become violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace, and the rumor went abroad every where, that he would certainly die in a little time. But the multitude presently sat in sackcloth, with their wives and children, after the law of their country, and besought God for the king’s recovery. All places were also full of mourning and lamentation. Now the king rested in a high chamber, and as he saw them below lying prostrate on the ground, he could not himself forbear weeping. And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign; for he reigned four years under Caius Caesar, three of them were over Philip’s tetrarchy only, and on the fourth he had that of Herod added to it; and he reigned, besides those, three years under the reign of Claudius Caesar; in which time he reigned over the forementioned countries, and also had Judea added to them, as well as Samaria and Cesarea. The revenues that he received out of them were very great, no less than twelve millions of drachme. (22) Yet did he borrow great sums from others; for he was so very liberal that his expenses exceeded his incomes, and his generosity was boundless. (23)
3. But before the multitude were made acquainted with Agrippa’s being expired, Herod the king of Chalcis, and Helcias the master of his horse, and the king’s friend, sent Aristo, one of the king’s most faithful servants, and slew Silas, who had been their enemy, as if it had been done by the king’s own command.
WHAT THINGS WERE DONE AFTER THE DEATH OF AGRIPPA; AND HOW CLAUDIUS, ON ACCOUNT OF THE YOUTH AND UNSKILFULNESS OF AGRIPPA, JUNIOR, SENT CUSPIUS FADUS TO BE PROCURATOR OF JUDEA, AND OF THE ENTIRE KINGDOM.
1. AND thus did king Agrippa depart this life. But he left behind him a son, Agrippa by name, a youth in the seventeenth year of his age, and three daughters; one of which, Bernice, was married to Herod, his father’s brother, and was sixteen years old; the other two, Mariamne and Drusilla, were still virgins; the former was ten years old, and Drusilla six. Now these his daughters were thus espoused by their father; Marlatone to Julius Archclaus Epiphanes, the son of Antiochus, the son of Chelcias; and Drusilla to the king of Commagena. But when it was known that Agrippa was departed this life, the inhabitants of Cesarea and of Sebaste forgot the kindnesses he had bestowed on them, and acted the part of the bitterest enemies; for they cast such reproaches upon the deceased as are not fit to be spoken of; and so many of them as were then soldiers, which were a great number, went to his house, and hastily carried off the statues (24) of this king’s daughters, and all at once carried them into the brothel-houses, and when they had set them on the tops of those houses, they abused them to the utmost of their power, and did such things to them as are too indecent to be related. They also laid themselves down in public places, and celebrated general feastings, with garlands on their heads, and with ointments and libations to Charon, and drinking to one another for joy that the king was expired. Nay, they were not only unmindful of Agrippa, who had extended his liberality to them in abundance, but of his grandfather Herod also, who had himself rebuilt their cities, and had raised them havens and temples at vast expenses.
2. Now Agrippa, the son of the deceased, was at Rome, and brought up with Claudius Caesar. And when Caesar was informed that Agrippa was dead, and that the inhabitants of Sebaste and Cesarea had abused him, he was sorry for the first news, and was displeased with the ingratitude of those cities. He was therefore disposed to send Agrippa, junior, away presently to succeed his father in the kingdom, and was willing to confirm him in it by his oath. But those freed-men and friends of his, who had the greatest authority with him, dissuaded him from it, and said that it was a dangerous experiment to permit so large a kingdom to come under the government of so very young a man, and one hardly yet arrived at years of discretion, who would not be able to take sufficient care of its administration; while the weight of a kingdom is heavy enough to a grown man. So Caesar thought what they said to be reasonable. Accordingly he sent Cuspins Fadus to be procurator of Judea, and of the entire kingdom, and paid that respect to the eceased as not to introduce Marcus, who had been at variance with him, into his kingdom. But he determined, in the first place, to send orders to Fadus, that he should chastise the inhabitants of Cesarca and Sebaste for those abuses they had offered to him that was deceased, and their madness towards his daughters that were still alive; and that he should remove that body of soldiers that were at Cesarea and Sebaste, with the five regiments, into Pontus, that they might do their military duty there; and that he should choose an equal number of soldiers out of the Roman legions that were in Syria, to supply their place. Yet were not those that had such orders actually removed; for by sending ambassadors to Claudius, they mollified him, and got leave to abide in Judea still; and these were the very men that became the source of very great calamities to the Jews in after-times, and sowed the seeds of that war which began under Florus; whence it was that when Vespasian had subdued the country, he removed them out of his province, as we shall relate hereafter.