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given his father a magnificent funeral, and the people a
funeral banquet, he entered the temple, seated himself on a
golden throne, and made, as is usual with monarchs, a con-
ciliatory speech, promising reform and alleviations from taxes
and oppression. But even this did not prevent one of those
disgraceful seditions which have, ever marked the people of



Chap. XL] Extinction of the Line of David. 127

Jerusalem, in which three thousand were slain, caused by re-
ligious animosities. After quelling the tumult by the mili-
tary, he set out for Rome, to secure his confirmation to the
throne. He encountered opposition from various intrigues
by his own family, and the caprice of the emperor. His
youno-er brother, Antipas, also went to Rome to The claims

J ° . ' l ' . of the rival

support his claim to the throne by virtue of a princes.
former will. While the cause of the royal litigants was
being settled in the supreme tribunal of the civilized world,
new disturbances broke out in Judea, caused by the rapaci-
ties of Sabinus, the Roman procurator of Syria. The whole
country was in a state of anarchy, and adventurers flocked
from all quarters to assert their claims in a nation that ar-
dently looked forward to national independence, or the rise
of some conqueror who should restore the predicted glory of
the land now rent with civil feuds, and stained with fratri-
cidal blood. Varus, the prefect of Syria, attempted to restore
order, and crucified some two thousand ringleaders of the
tumults. Five hundred Jews went to Rome to petition for
the restoration of their ancient constitution, and the aboli-
tion of kingly rule.

At length the imperial edict confirmed the will of Herod,
and Archelans was appointed to the sovereignty of The Romans
Jerusalem, Idumea, and Samaria, under the title of ^ oTner-
ethnarch ; Herod Antipas obtained Galilee and od-
Peraea ; Philip, the son of Herod and Cleopatra of Jerusa-
lem, was made tetrarch of Itursea. Archelaus governed his
dominions with such injustice and cruelty, that he was de-
posed by the emperor, and Judea became a Roman province.
The sceptre departed finally from the family of David, of the
Asmonaaans, and of Herod, and the kingdom sank into a
district dependent on the prefecture of Syria, though admin-
istered by a Roman governor.



CHAPTER XII.



THE ROMAN GOVERNORS.



The history of the Jews after the death of Herod is marked
by the greatest event in human annals. In four years after
he expired in agonies of pain and remorse, Jesus Christ was
born in Bethlehem, whose teachings have changed the whole
condition of the world, and will continue to change all insti-
Birthof tutions and governments until the seed of the
Christ. woman shall have completely triumphed over all

the wiles of the serpent. We can not, however, enter upon
the life or mission of the Saviour, or the feeble beginnings of
the early and persecuted Church which he founded, and which
is destined to go on from conquering to conquer. We re-
turn to the more direct history of the Jewish nation until
their capital fell into the hands of Titus, and their political
existence was annihilated.

They were now to be ruled by Roman governors — or by
mere vassal kings whom the Romans tolerated and protected.
The first of these rulers was P. Sulpicius Quirinus — a man of
consular rank, who, as proconsul of Syria, was responsible
for the government of Judea, which was intrusted to Copo-
nius. He was succeeded by M. Ambivius, and he again
The rule of by Annius Rufus. A rapid succession of gov-

Komangov- . . , TT , .

emors. ernors took place till Iibenus appointed Valerius

Gratus, who was kept in power eleven years, on the prin-
ciple that a rapid succession of rulers increased the oppression
of the people, since every new governor sought to be en-
riched. Tiberius was a tyrant, but a wise emperor, and the
affairs of the Roman world were never better administered
than during his reign. These provincial governors, like the



Chap. XII.] Pontius Pilate. 129

Iierodian kings, appointed and removed the high priests, and
left the internal management of the city of Jerusalem to them.
They generally resided themselves at Csesarea, to avoid the
disputes of the Jewish sects, and the tumults of the people.

Pontius Pilate succeeded Gratus A. d. 27, — under whose
memorable rule Jesus Christ was crucified and slain — a man
cruel, stern, and reckless of human life, but regard- Pontiu8
ful of the peace and tranquillity of the province. Pilate -
He sought to transfer the innocent criminal to the tribunal
of Herod, to whose jurisdiction he belonged as a Galilean,
but yielded to the importunities of the people, and left him
at the mercy of the Jewish priesthood.

The vigilant jealousy of popular commotion, and the reck-
less disregard of human life, led to the recall of Pilate ; but
during the forty years which had elapsed since the death of
Herod, his sons had quietly reigned over their respective
provinces. Antipas at Sepphoris, the capital of Galilee, and
Philip beyond the Jordan. The latter prince was humane
and just, and died without issue, and his territorry was an-
nexed to Syria.

Herod Antipas was a different man. He seduced and
married his niece Herodias, wife of Herod Philip, daughter of
Aristobolus, and granddaughter of Mariamne, whom Herod
the Great had sacrificed in jealousy — the last scion of the As-
mon;ean princes. It was for her that John the Baptist was put
to death. But this marriage proved unfortunate, Herod An _
since it involved him in difficulties with Aretas, king tJ P as -
of Arabia, father of his first and repudiated wife. He ended
his clays in exile at Lyons, having provoked the jealousy or
enmity of Caligula, the Roman emperor, through the in-
trigues of Herod Agrippa, the brother of Herodias, and con-
sequently, a grandson of Herod the Great and Mariamne. The
Herodian family, of Idumean origin, never was free from
disgraceful quarrels and jealousies and rivalries.

The dominions of Herod Antipas were transferred to
Herod Agrippa, who had already obtained from Caligula the
tetrarchate of Iturcea, on the death of Philip, with the title



130 The Roman Governors. [Chap. XII.

of king. The fortunes of this prince, in whose veins flowed
the blood of the Asmonteans and the Herodians, surpassed
Herod * n romance anc l vicissitude any recorded of Eastern

Agrippa. princes ; alternately a fugitive and a favorite, a vaga-
bond and a courtier, a pauper and a spendthrift — according to
the varied hatred and favor of the imperial family at Rome.
He had the good luck to be a friend of Caligula before the
death of Tiberius. When he ascended the throne of the Roman
world, he took his friend from prison and disgrace, and gave
him a royal title and part of the dominions of his ancestors.

Agrippa did all he could to avert the mad designs of Cali-
gula of securing religious worship as a deity from the Jews,
and he was moderate in his government and policy. On the
death of the Roman tyrant, he received from his successor
Claudius the investiture of all the dominions which belonged
His brilliant ^° Herod the Great. He reigned in great splendor,
reign. respecting the national religion, observing the

Mosaic law with great exactness, and aiming at the favor of
the people. He inherited the taste of his great progenitor for
palace building, and theatrical representations. He greatly
improved Jerusalem, and strengthened its fortifications, and
yet he was only a vassal king. He reigned by the favor of
Rome, on whom he was dependent, and whom he feared,
like other kings and princes of the earth, for the emperor
was alone supreme.

Agrippa sullied his fair fame by being a persecutor of the
Christians, and died in the forty-fourth year of his age,
having reigned seven years over part of his dominions,
Persecutes and three over the whole of Palestine. He

the Chris- . „ ....

tians. died in extreme agony trom internal pains, being

" eaten of worms." He left one son, Agrippa, and three
daughters, Drusilla, Berenice, and Mariamne, the two first of
whom married princes.

On his death Judea relapsed into a Roman province,
his son, Agrippa, being only seventeen years of age, and
judea a Ro- too young to manage such a turbulent, unrea-
in'ce. pr ° sonable, and stiff-necked people as the Jews, rent



Chap, xii.] The Pharisees. 131

by perpetual feuds and party animosities, and which seem
to have characterized them ever since the captivity, when
they renounced idolatry forever.

What were these parties ? For their opinions and strug-
gles and quarrels form no inconsiderable part of j ew j S h par-
the internal history of the Jews, both under the ties '
Asmonaaan and Idumean dynasties.

The most powerful and numerous were the Pharisees, and
most popular with the nation. The origin of this famous
sect is involved in obscurity, but probably arose TbePhari-
not long after the captivity. They were the or- sees-
thodox party. They clung to the Law of Moses in its most
minute observances, and to all the traditions of their religion.
They were earnest, fierce, intolerant, and proud. They be-
lieved in angels, and in immortality. They were bold and
heroic in war, and intractable and domineering in peace.
They were great zealots, devoted to proselytism. They were
austere in life, and despised all who were not. They were
learned and decorous, and pragmatical. Their dogmatism
knew no respite or palliation. They were predestinarians,
and believed in the servitude of the will. They were seen in
public with ostentatious piety. They made long prayers,
fasted with rigor, scrupulously observed the Sabbath, and
paid tithes to the cheapest herbs. They assumed superiority
in social circles, and always took the uppermost seats in the
synagogue. They displayed on their foreheads and the hem
of their garments, slips of parchment inscribed with sen-
tences from the law. They were regarded as models
of virtue and excellence, but were hypocrites in the observ-
ance of the weightier matters of justice and equity. They
were, of course, the most bitter adversaries of the faith

which Christ revealed, and were ever in the ranks Their doc-
trines and
of persecution. They resembled the most austere character.

of the Dominican monks in the Middle Ages. They were the

favorite teachers and guides of the people, whom they incited

in their various seditions. They were theologians who stood

at the summit of legal Judaism. " They fenced round their



132 The Boman Governors. [Chap. xii.

law hedges whereby its precepts were guarded against any
possible infringement." And they contrived, by an artful and
technical interpretation, to find statutes which favored their
ends. They wrought out asceticism into a system, and ob-
served the most painful ceremonials — the ancestors of rigid
monks ; and they united a specious casuistry, not unlike the
Jesuits, to excuse the violation of the spirit of the law.
They were a hierarchal caste, whose ambition was to govern,
and to govern by legal technicalities. They were utterly
deficient in the virtues of humility and toleration, and as
such, peculiarly offensive to the Great Teacher when he pro-
pounded the higher code of love and forgiveness. Out-
wardly, however, they were the most respectable as well
as honorable men of the nation — dignified, decorous, and
studious of appearances.

The next great party was that of the Sadducees, who aimed
to restore the original Mosaic religion in its purity, and ex-
punge every thing Avhich had been added by tradition. But
they were deficient in a profound sense of religion, denied
the doctrine of immortality, and hence all punishment in a
future life. They made up for their denial of the future by
a rigid punishment of all crimes. They inculcated a belief
of Divine Providence by whom all crime was supposed to be
The Saddu- avenged in this world. The party was not so
° eeS popular as that of their rivals, but embraced men

of high rank. In common with the Pharisees, they main-
tained the strictness of the Jewish code, and professed great
uprightness of morals. They had, however, no true, deep
religious life, and were cold and heartless in their disposi-
tions. They were mostly men of ease and wealth, and satis-
fied with earthly enjoyments, and inclined to the epicurean-
ism which marked many of the Greek philosophers. Nor
did they escape the hypocrisy which disgraced the Pharisees,
and their bitter opposition to the truths of Christianity.

In addition to these two great parties which controlled the
people, were the Essenes. But they lived apart

The Essenes.

from men, in the deserts round the Dead Sea, and



Chap. Xll. J Tlie Essenes. 133

dreaded cities as nurseries of vice. They allowed no women
to come within their settlements. They were recruited by
strangers and proselytes, who thought all pleasure to be a sin.
They established a community of goods, and prosecuted the
desire of riches. They were clothed in white garments which
they never changed, and regulated their lives by the sever-
est forms. They abstained from animal food, and lived on
roots and bread. They worked and ate in silence, and ob-
served the Sabbath with great precision. They were great
students, and were rigid in morals, and believed in immor-
tality. They abhorred oaths, and slavery, and idolatry.
They embraced the philosophy of the Orientals, and sup-
posed that matter was evil, and that mind was divine.
They were mystics who reveled in the pleasures of abstract
contemplation. Their theosophy was sublime, but Brahmin-
ical. Practically they were industrious, ascetic, and de-
vout — the precursors of those monks who fled from the
abodes of man, and filled the solitudes of Upper Egypt and
Arabia and Palestine, the loftiest and most misguided of the
Christian sects in the second and third centuries. But the
Essenes had no direct influence over the people of Judea like
the Pharisees and Sadducees, except in encouraging obedience
and charity.

All these sects were in a flourishing state on the death
of Agrippa. Judea was henceforth to be ruled stateoftho
directly by Roman governors. Cuspius Fadus, country-
Tiberius Alexander, Ventidius Cumanus, Felix Portius, Fes-
tus Albinus, and Gessius Florus successively administered
the affairs of a discontented province. Their brief adminis-
trations were marked by famines and tumults. King Agrippa,
meanwhile, with mere nominal power, resided in Jerusalem,
in the palace of the Asmonaean princes, which stood on
Mount Zion, toward the temple. Robbers infested the
country, and murders and robbery were of constant occur-
rence. High priests were set up, and dethroned. The
people were oppressed by taxation and irritated by pillage.
Prodigies, wild and awful, filled the land with dread of



134 The Boman Governors. [Chap, xil

approaching calamities. Fanatics alarmed the people. The
Christians predicted the ruin of the State. Never was a pop-
ulation of three millions of people more discontented and
oppressed. Outrage, and injustice, and tumults, and insur-
rections, marked the doomed people. The governors were
insulted, and massacred the people in retaliation. Floras, at
one time, destroyed three thousand six hundred people, a. d.
66. Open war was apparent to the more discerning. Agrippa
in vain counseled moderation and reconciliation, showing the
people how vain resistance would be to the overwhelming
power of Rome, which had subdued the world ; and that the
refusal of tribute, and the demolition of Roman fortifications,
were overt acts of war. But he talked to people doomed.
Every day new causes of discord arose. Some of the higher
Miserable orders were disposed to be prudent, but the people

condition of 1 , . , . . -, . .

the Jews. generally were filled with bigotry and fanaticism.
Some of the boldest of the war party one day seized the
fortress of Masada, near the Dead Sea, built by Jonathan
the Maccabean, and fortified by Herod. The Roman garri-
son was put to the sword, and the banner of revolt was
unfolded. In the city of Jerusalem, the blinded people
refused to receive, as was customary, the gifts and sacrifices
of foreign potentates offered in the temple to the God of the
Jews. This was an insult and a declaration of war, which
the chief priests and Pharisees attempted in vain to prevent.
Popular ^ ne insurgents, urged by zealots and assassins,
commotions, even set fire to the palace of the high priest and
of Agrippa and Berenice, and also to the public archives,
where the bonds of creditors were deposited, which destroyed
the power of the rich. They then carried the important
citadel of Antonia, and stormed the palace. A fanatic, by
the name of Manahem, son of Judas of Galilee, openly pro-
claimed the doctrine that it was impious to own any king
but God, and' treason to pay tribute to Csesar. He became
the leader of the war party because he was the most unscru-
pulous and zealous, as is always the case in times of excite-
ment and passion. He entered the citv, in the pomp of a

*



Chap, xti.] The Revolt of the Jews. 135

conqueror, and became the captain of the forces, which took
the palace and killed the defenders. The high priest, Ana-
nias, striving to secure order, was stoned. Then followed
dissensions between the insurgents themselves, during which
Manahem was killed. Eleazar, another chieftain, pressed the
siege of the towers, defended by Roman soldiers, Wars and
which were taken, and the defenders massacred, wars.
Meanwhile, twenty thousand Jews were slain by the Greeks
in Caesarea, which drove the nation to madness, and led to a
general insurrection in Syria, and a bloody strife between
the Greco-Syrians and Jews. There were commotions in all
quarters — wars and rumors of wars, so that men fled to the
mountains. Wherever the Jews had settled were commo-
tions and massacres, especially at Alexandria, when fifty
thousand bodies were heaped up for burial.

Nero was now on the imperial throne, and stringent
measures were adopted to suppress the revolt of T . . ,

1 i •!• Incipient

the Jews, now goaded to desperation by the rebellion,
remembrance of their oppressions, and the conviction that
every man's hand was against them. Certius, the prefect of
Syria, advanced with ten thousand Roman troops and thir-
teen hundred allies, and desperate war seemed now inevit-
able. Agrippa, knowing how fatal it would be to the Jewish
nation, attempted to avert it. He argued to infatuated men.
Certius undertook to storm Jerusalem, the head-quarters of
the insurrection, but failed, and was obliged to retreat, with
loss of a great part of his army — a defeat such as the Romans
had not received since Varus was overpowered in the forests
of Germany.

Juclea was now in open rebellion against the whole power
of Rome — a mad and desperate revolt, which could Open rebel-
not end but in the political ruin of the nation. Judea.
Great preparations were made for the approaching contest,
in which the Jews were to fight single-handed and unassisted
by allies. The fortified posts were in the hands of the insur-
gents, but they had no organized and disciplined forces, and
were divided among themselves. Agrippa, the representa-



136 The Roman Governors. [Ciiap. XII.

tive of the Herodian kings, openly espoused the cause of
Rome. The only hope of the Jews was in their stern fanat-
icism, their stubborn patience, and their daring valor. They
were to be justified for their insurrection by all those princi-
ples which animate oppressed people striving to be free,
and they had glorious precedents in the victories of the
Maccabees ; but it was their misfortune to contend against
the armies of the masters of the world. They were not
strong enough for revolt.

The news of the insurrection, and the defeat of a Roman
Q .. . prefect, made a profound sensation at Rome.

Sensation at * ' r

Eome. Although Nero affected to treat the affair with lev-

ity, he selected, however, the ablest general of the empire,
Vespasian, and sent him to Syria. The storm broke out
in Galilee, whose mountain fastnesses were intrusted by the
Jews to Joseph, the son of Matthias — lineally descended
from an illustrious priestly family, with the blood of the
Asmona?an running in his veins — a man of culture and learn-
ing — a Pharisee who had at first opposed the insurrection,
but drawn into it after the defeat of Certius. Pie is better
known to us as the historian Josephus. His measures of
defence were prudent and vigorous, and he endeavored to
Eoman unite the various parties in the contest which he

preparations tt • t r-

for war. knew was desperate. He raised an army 01 one

hundred thousand men, and introduced the Roman discipline,
but was impeded in his measures by party dissensions and
by treachery. In the city of Jerusalem, Ananias, the high
priest, took the lead, but had to contend with fanatics and
secret enemies.

The first memorable event of the war was the unsuccessful
expedition against Ascalon, sixty-five miles from Jerusalem,
Expedition in which Roman discipline prevailed against num-

a^ainst As- .

caion. bers. This was soon followed by the advance of

Vespasian to Ptolemais, while Titus, his lieutenant and son,
sailed from Alexandria to join him. Vespasian had an army
of sixty thousand veterans. Josephus could not openly
contend against this force, but strengthened his fortified



Chap. XII.] Siege of Jotaphata. 137

cities. Vespasian advanced cautiously in battle array, and
halted on the frontiers of Galilee. The Jews, under Josephus,
fled in despair. Gabaia was the first city which fell, and its
inhabitants were put to the sword — a stern vengeance which
the Romans often exercised, to awe their insurgent enemies.
Josephus retired to Tiberius, hopeless and discouraged, and
exhorted the people of Jerusalem either to re-enforce him with
a powerful army, or make submission to the Romans. They
did neither. He then threw himself into Jotaphata, where
the strongest of the Galilean warriors had intrenched them-
selves. Vespasian advanced against the city with his whole
army, and drew a line of circumvallation around it, and then
commenced the attack. The city stood on the top of a lofty
hill, and was difficult of access, and well supplied with pro-
visions. As the works of the Romans arose around the city,
its walls were raised thirty-five feet by the defenders, while
they issued out in sallies and fought with the courage of de-
spair. The city could not be taken by assault, and the siege
was converted into a blockade. The besieged, supplied with
provisions, issued out from behind their fortifications, and
destroyed the works of the Romans. The fearful battering-
rams of the besiegers were destroyed by the arts and inven-
tions of the besieged. The catapults and scorpions swept the
walls, and the huge stones began to tell upon the turrets and
the towers. The whole city was surrounded by triple lines
of heavy armed soldiers, ready for assault. The Jews resorted
to all kinds of expedients, even to the pouring of boiling oil
on the heads of their assailants. The Roman general was
exasperated at the obstinate resistance, and proceeded by
more cautious measures. He raised the embankments, and
fortified them with towers, in which he placed slingers and
archers, whose missiles told with terrible effect on those who
defended the walls. Forty-seven days did the gallant de-
fenders resist all the resources of Vespasian. But they were
at length exhausted, and their ranks were thinned. ._ ,, . T .

° _ ' Fall of Jota-

Once again a furious assault was made by the i ,hata -
whole army, juid Titus scaled the walls. The city fell



138 The Roman Governors. [Chap. XII.

with the loss of forty thousand men on "both sides, and Jose-
phus surrendered to the will of God, but was himself spared
by the victors by adroit flatteries, in which he predicted the
elevation of Vespasian to the throne of Nero.

It would be interesting to detail the progress of the war,
but our limits forbid. The reader is referred to Josephus.
Fan of City after city gradually fell into the hands of Ves-

Joppa. pasian, who now established himself in Csesarea.

Joppa shared the fate of Jotaphata ; the city was razed, but
the citadel was fortified by the Romans.

The intelligence of these disasters filled Jerusalem with
consternation and mourning, for scarcely a family had not
to deplore the loss of some of its members. Tiberius and
Tarichea, on the banks of the beautiful lake of Galilee, were
the next which fell, followed by atrocious massacres, after



Online LibraryJohn LordAnceint states and empires → online text (page 11 of 55)