صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

148.

lib. xiii

R. A. engaged on both sides, upon pain of death to make a. C. good their pretensions, from the express terms of the Jos An law of Moses. The Jews gained their cause, and the c.& Samaritans were punished with death, according to agreement. The same king gave permission to Onias, Ibid of the priestly race, to build in Egypt the temple of Helopilis, after the model of that of Jerusalem: an undertaking which was condemned by the whole council of the Jews, and judged contrary to the law. In the meantime Carthage was bestirring herself again, being unable to bear the laws which Scipio Africanus had imposed on her. The Romans resolved her total overthrow, and the third Punic war was underta- 600 ken. Young Demetrius Nicator, now past childhood; began to think of recovering the throne of his ancestors; and the softness of the usurper gave him every 146. thing to hope. Balas was troubled at his approach: his 608; father-in-law Philometor declared against him, because Balas would not suffer him to seize upon his kingdom: the ambitious Cleopatra his wife forsook him, to marry his enemy, and he was cut off by the hand of his own people, after the loss of a battle. Philometor died a few days after, of the wounds he there received, and Syria was delivered from both her enemies. The world saw at that same time the fall of two great cities. Carthage was taken, and reduced to ashes by Scipio Emilianus, who, by that victory, confirmed the sur name of Africanus in his family, and approved himself the worthy heir of the great Scipio bis grandfather. Corinth shared the same fate, and the Achean republic perished with it. The consul Mummius razed to the ground that city, the most voluptuous, and most adorned in Greece. He transported its incomparable statues to Rome, without knowing the value of them. The Romans were ignorant of the arts of Greece, and contented themselves with the knowledge of war, politics, and agriculture. During the troubles of Syria the Jews fortified themselves: Jonathan was courted by both parties, and Nicator, victorious, treated bim

611

A. c. as his brother. His kindness was soon requited: for A.. 144 in a sedition, the Jews coming speedily to his aid, de- 610, livered him out of the hands of the rebels. Jonathan was loaded with honours; but when once the king thought himself secure, he resumed the design of his ancestors, and the Jews were barrassed as formerly, The troubles of Syria broke out afresh: Diodorus, surnamed Tryphon, brought up a son of Balas, whom he named Antiochus Theus, and served him for a guardian during his minority. The pride of Demetrius caused an insurrection against him; all Syria 143 was in a flame : Jonathan knew how to improve the conjuncture, and renewed his alliance with the Romans. Every thing was prospering with him, when Tryphon, by a breach of faith, caused him to be slain with his children. His brother Simon, the most prudent and fortunate of the Maccabees, succeeded him; and the Romans patronized him, as they had done his predecessors. Tryphon was no less treacherous to his ward Antiochus, than he had been to Jonathan. He put the youth to death by the means of physicians, upon pretence of causing him to be cut for the stone, which he had not, and made himself master of a part of the kingdom. Simon took the side of Demetrius Nicator the lawful king, and after having obtained of him the liberty of his country, he maintained it by force of arms against the rebel Tryphon. The Syrians were driven out of the citadel, which they held in Jerusalem, and afterwards out of all the strong hold in Judea.

112.

The Jews, thus freed from the yoke of the Gentiles 612 by the valour of Simon, vested the royal powers in him, and his family and Demetrius Nicator consented to this new establishment. There begins the new kingdom of God's people, and the principality of the Asmoneans ever joined to the high priesthood. In those days the empire of the Parthians was extended over Bactria and the Indies by the victories of Mithridates, the most valiant of the Arsacida. While he was ad- 615.

C. vancing towards the Euphrates, Demetrius Nicator, A. R. invited by the people of the country, whom Mithridates had subjected, hoped to reduce the Parthians, whom the Syrians treated always as rebels. He gained several victories; and as he was about to return into Syria, in order to overthrow Tryphon, he fell into a snare, which one of the generals of Mithridates had laid for him; and so remained prisoner with the Parthians Tryphon, who thought himself secured by that prince's misfortune, found himself all at once 101. abandoned by his own people. They could no longer 614, suffer his pride. During the captivity of Demetrius their lawful sovereign, they entered into the service of his consort Cleopatra and her children; but a guardian and defender was to be sought for the young princes, who were not yet of age. The care naturally devolved upon Antiochus Sidetes, brother to Demetrius; Cleopatra caused him to be acknowledged all over the kingdom: nay, she did more. Phraates, brother and successor to Mithridates, treated Nicator as a king, and gave him his daughter Rodogune in marriage. Out of spite to this rival, Cleopatra, whom she deprived of the crown, together with her husband, espoused Antiochus Sidetes; and resolved to reign by all man139. ner of wickedness. The new king attacked Tryphon: 615 Simon joined him in the enterprise, and the tyrant forced out of all his strong holds, came to a condign 35. end. Antiochus, now master of the kingdom, very 612 soon forgot the services Simon had done him in his late war, and caused him to be treacherously murdered. Whilst he was collecting all the forces of Syria against the Jews, Joannes Hyrcanus, son of Simon, succeeded to his father's pontificate, and all the people submitted to him. He held out the siege of Jerusalem with much bravery, and the war, which Antiochus meditated against the Parthians, to deliver his captive brother, made him grant the Jews tolerable conditions. At the same time that this peace was concluded, the Romans, who were beginning to grow

A. c. too rich, found formidable enemies in the prodigious A. R. multitude of their slaves. Ennus, a slave himself, raised an insurrection of them in Sicily; and it took the 133. whole Roman power to reduce them. A little after, 621 the succession of Attalus king of Pergamus, who by his will made the Roman people his heir, threw the city into division. The troubles of the Gracchi commenced. The seditious tribuneship of Tiberius Gracchus, one of the first men in Rome, became his destruction: the whole senate put him to death by the hand f Scipio Nasica, finding no other means to prevent the dangerous distribution of money, with which that eloquent tribune flattered the people. ScipioEmilianus restored military discipline, and that great man, who had destroyed Carthage, demolished also 132. Numantia in Spain, the second terror of the Romans. 622The Parthians proved too weak for Sidetes; his troops, though corrupted by an excessive luxury, had a surprising success. Joannes Hyrcanus, who had attended him in that war with his Jews, signalised his valour in it, and gained honour to the Jewish religion, when the army halted to afford him leisure to celebrate the sabbath-day. Every thing yielded, and Phraates saw his empire reduced to its ancient limits; but, far from despairing of his affairs, he thought his prisoner might be of use towards his retrieving them, and invading Syria. In this conjuncture Demetrius experienced a very capricious fortune. He was often released, and as often detained, according as hope or fear got the ascendant in the mind of his father-in-law; at last a happy moment, in which Phraates saw no resource but in the diversion he proposed to make in Syria, by 130. his means, set him quite at liberty. That instant the 624 scale turned. Sidetes, who could not otherwise support bis extravagant expenses, than by intolerable rapines and extortions, was overwhelmed all at once by a general insurrection of the people, and perished with his army, which had been so oft victorious. In vain did Phraates send with all speed after Demetrius: it

A. C. was now too late that prince had got back into his A. R. kingdom. His wife Cleopatra, who wanted only to reign at any rate, returned quickly with him, and Rodogune was soon forgot. Hyrcanus improved the juncture he took Sichem from the Samaritans, and utterly demolished the temple of Gerizim, two hundred years after it had been built by Sanballat. Its destruction did not hinder the Samaritans from continuing their worship in that mountain, and the two na129. tions remained irreconcilable. The year after, all 625 Idumea, united by the victories of Hyrcanus to the kingdom of Judea, received the law of Moses with circumcision. The Romans continued their protection to Hyrcanus, and caused the cities to be restored, 128. which the Syrians had taken from him. The pride 626 and violence of Demetrius Nicator suffered not Syria to enjoy long tranquillity. The people revolted. To cherish their revolt, Egypt, their enemy, gave them a 1.25. king; Alexander Zabina son of Balas. Demetrius 629was beaten, and Cleopatra, thinking to reign more absolutely under her children, than under her husband, 124 brought him to a miserable end. No better did she 630. serve her eldest son Seleucus, who had a mind to reign in spite of her. Her second son Antiochus, called Grypus, was just returned victorious from the defeat of 121. the rebels, when Cleopatra presented to him in form 655. the poisoned cup, which, her son warned of her pernicious designs, forced herself to swallow. She died, and left an eternal bone of contention between the children she had had by the two brothers, Demetrius Nicator, and Antiochus Sidetes. Syria thus distracted, was no longer in condition of disturbing the Jews. 199. Joannes Hyrcanus took Samaria, but could not convert the Samaritans. He died five years after, and Judea remained in the peaceable possession of his two 194. sons, Aristobulus, and Alexander Janneus; who reign- 650 163. ed, one after the other, unmolested by the kings of 65 Syria. The Romans suffered that rich kingdom to waste away of itself, and extended their dominion

« السابقةمتابعة »