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Our Young Folk's Josephus by  William Shepard
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DEATH OF AGRIPPA. JUDEA IS AGAIN MADE A ROMAN PROVINCE.

CAIUS was assassinated in the fourth year of his reign, and his uncle, Claudius, was declared emperor by the army. The senate, however, were bitterly opposed to the succession of Claudius, and it looked very much as if a civil war would ensue. Agrippa, who happened to arrive in Rome at this juncture, was by mutual consent made a mediator between the soldiers and the senate. Agrippa attached himself to the cause of Claudius, and succeeded in persuading the senate [333] to withdraw their opposition to his succession. When the senate went out to present themselves to Claudius, they were met by armed bodies of soldiers with drawn swords. And there would undoubtedly have been much bloodshed had not Agrippa hastened to Claudius and persuaded him to restrain the violence of his soldiers.

For these services Agrippa received all the dominions which belonged to the great Herod, with the addition of another principality, styled the kingdom of Lysanias. Upon Agrippa's brother, Herod, the emperor bestowed the kingdom of Chalcis.

From such vast territories Agrippa began to amass great wealth, a great portion of which he spent in surrounding Jerusalem with an immense wall. But before the work was completed Agrippa died, three years after his accession to the throne of Palestine. He left three daughters, Berenice, Mariamne, and Drusilla, and one son, Agrippa. This son being under age, Claudius again reduced the kingdom to a province, and sent Cuspius Fadus as procurator, and after him Tiberius Alexander. Under these two men the country remained in a peaceful condition. Herod, king of Chalcis, died a little while after his brother, and left three sons, Bernicianus, Hyrcanus, and Aristobulus. These were all grand-children of Aristobulus, the son of Herod. The posterity of Alexander reigned in Armenia Major.

When Herod, king of Chalcis, died, Claudius raised to his uncle's throne Agrippa, son of Agrippa. Cumanus succeeded Alexander as procurator of Judea. Under him fresh disturbances arose, and a great many disasters befell the Jews. Now commenced a series of revolts against tyrannies practised by Roman governors of Judea, which finally ended in open war. A Roman soldier insulted the Jews at a festival; enraged, they not only vented their rage upon the offender but attacked with stones the soldiers of Cumanus. The governor ordered his army to attack the Jews, who hurriedly dispersed, and in [334] the tumult which followed ten thousand of them were crushed to death; so that the rejoicings of the festival were turned into wails and lamentations. On another occasion a Roman soldier destroyed a copy of the Law of Moses. The Jews, highly enraged, rushed in a body before Cumanus, and were only pacified by his consent that the soldier should be put to death.

Other troubles arose in this distracted country. The road by which the Jews of Galilee went to the temple led through Samaria. As a number were on their way to the festival, one of the Galileans was assassinated by a Samaritan. Cumanus was bribed by the Samaritans, and would take no notice of the crime, so a body of Jews took matters into their own hands, and, going into Samaria, slaughtered many of the people and burnt some of their towns. Cumanus marched against the invading Jews, and defeated and killed a great many of them. The survivors were persuaded by the magistrates of Jerusalem, who came out to meet them clad in sackcloth and ashes, to lay aside their arms, lest they should bring down the vengeance of Rome upon the nation.

The Samaritan chiefs waited on Numidius Quadratus, prefect of Syria, and demanded the punishment of those Jews who had laid waste their country. The Jews, on the other hand, accused the Samaritans of creating the disturbance by committing the murder, alleging also that Cumanus was responsible for all. Quadratus condemned the Samaritans, but nevertheless put to death all the Jews taken prisoner by Cumanus as rebels. He sent to Rome some of the chief men of both the Samaritans and the Jews, that they might lead the case before Caesar, and also Cumanus and Celer, his tribune. Caesar also condemned the Samaritans. He banished Cumanus, and sent Celer in chains to Jerusalem, with orders that he should there be beheaded.

Caesar appointed Felix, brother of Pallas, who was afterwards the freed slave and favorite of the emperor Nero, procurator [335] of Judea, and promoted Agrippa, king of Chalcis, to rule the more extensive dominions over which Philip was formerly tetrarch, adding to the new kingdom part of Galilee and Peraea.

Claudius died in the fourteenth year of his reign, and was succeeded by the wicked Nero.


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