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Our Young Folk's Josephus by  William Shepard
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POMPEY TAKES JERUSALEM

[299] POMPEY was so indignant at this treatment that he immediately advanced upon Jerusalem. Within the city the party of Hyrcanus wished to admit the Roman soldiers, but the soldiers of Aristobulus wished to fight and set their king at liberty. The party of Hyrcanus, however, prevailed, and threw open the gates to the invader. Aristobulus’ party retired into the temple, cut off all communication between the temple and the city by breaking down the bridge that joined them, and prepared for an obstinate resistance.

The temple, which was built upon a very steep hill, could not be attacked except on the north side. Pompey, therefore, stormed it from this side. But in spite of all the efforts of his great army, assisted by immense engines brought from Tyre, the temple resisted for three whole months. And it might never have been taken had not Pompey observed that on the Sabbath-day the Jews religiously abstained from all work, and would not fight except in self-defense. He therefore ordered his soldiers to make no attacks on those days, but employed them in filling up the valley and drawing the engines nearer to the walls.

At last one of the largest towers was battered down; an assault was made, and after an obstinate resistance the temple was taken. A terrible scene of carnage followed, and a great many of the brave defenders threw themselves headlong down the precipices. Among all their misfortunes, nothing affected the Jews so much as that a stranger should enter their holy [300] place. For Pompey entered their inmost sanctuary, called the Holy of Holies, where none were allowed except the high priest. He took none of the great treasures, which he saw there, however, but commanded the ministers about the temple to purify it and perform their accustomed sacrifices. And he appointed Hyrcanus high-priest. He then took away from the nation all the cities they had formerly conquered. He reduced Judea within its proper bounds, and laid a tribute upon it. He restored many cities within the country to their own citizens, and put them under the province of Syria. That province, together with Judea and the countries as far as Egypt and Euphrates, he gave to Scaurus to govern. Pompey then set out for Rome, taking with him Aristobulus and his two sons and two daughters as captives. Alexander, the elder son, made his escape upon the journey, but the younger, Antigonus, with his father and sisters, was carried to the city of the Caesars.

This Alexander gathered a considerable force and overran Judea, and would soon have overthrown Hyrcanus in Jerusalem had not the Romans under Gabinius, the successor of Scaurus, hastily come to his assistance. Alexander was defeated, and fled with the reminder of his forces to Alexandrium. Here he was again attacked by Gabinius, who slew a number of Alexander’s army and shut up the rest in the citadel. Gabinius left part of his army to carry on the siege, and, taking the remainder with him, rebuilt many of the neighboring cities, after which he returned to Alexandrium. In the mean while, Alexander’s mother, who had come to Gabinius out of concern for her relatives in Rome, brought about a treaty, by which Alexander was pardoned on condition of surrendering his fortresses. Gabinius destroyed the fortresses, and, going to Jerusalem, committed the care of the temple to Hyrcanus, but deprived him of the title of king, and changed the political government of Judea into an aristocracy. He divided it into five independent states, each governed by a [301] senate, whose places of sitting were Jerusalem, Gadara, Amathus, Jericho, and Sepphoris.

And now Aristobulus himself, with his younger son, Antigonus, escaped from Rome and raised the standard of revolt. Aristobulus took Alexandrium and began to rebuild its walls, but retired to Macherus before an army sent against him by Gabinius. A battle was fought, and the Jews were severely worsted. Aristobulus and a thousand of his soldiers escaped, and attempted to fortify Macherus, but the Romans fell upon them again, and though for two days the king resisted bravely, he was finally taken prisoner and sent back to Rome with his son Antigonus, who, however, was allowed to return to Judea at the request of his mother. Gabinius set out to war with the Parthians, but being hindered by Ptolemy, king of Egypt, he determined upon the conquest of that country. Alexander seized the opportunity, gathered together an army, and set about killing all the Romans that there were in the country. On the return of Gabinius, Alexander met him with a large army, but was badly defeated and forced to fly.

Crassus succeeded Gabinius in Syria. He robbed the temple of its treasures in order to carry on the war against the Parthians. But, as if in punishment for his wickedness, he and his whole army were destroyed by the nation he had expected to conquer.


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