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both by nature and artifice. Alexander laid close siege to the place, which the Jews, for some time defended, with great resolution, till at length, through the perseverence and intrepidity of Alexander's forces, they were compelled to submit; great numbers were killed, many others saved themselves by flight, and eight hundred were made prisoners, whom Alexander immediately conducted to Jerusalem.
As soon as Alexander arrived at Jerusalem with his rebellious captives, he caused such a scene to be exhibit.' ed that shewed what excess of passion men may be hurried into when they cease to make the principles of piety, honor and virtue, the rule of their conduct. The eight hundred men, whom he had brought prisoners from Bethome, he caused to be crucified all in one day, and, to increase the horrors of the dreadful scene, he ordered their wives and children to be put to death before their faces, while they were undergoing their sufferings. He likewise made an entertainment for his wives and concubines within sight of the spot where this dismal tragedy was exhibited, with an intent not only to feast himself, but them likewise, with the horrid sight. This savage and unheard-of cruelty was so noticed even by the people of his own party, that they branded his name with infamy, and he was justly considered, by all his subjects, as a monster, who, instead of being suffered to have the government of a people, ought, in the most ignominious manner, to be deprived of his existence.
The civil wars being over, Alexander led his forces against Antiochus king of Damascus, who had entered Judea with an army of eight hundred horse and eight thousand foot. They met near a place called Antipatris, where a most bloody battle ensued, in which Antiochus had so much the advantage that he thought himself secure of victory. But in this he was mistaken; for, observing one of the wings of his troops in danger of being overpowered, he eagerly pressed to its relief, and was killed in the attempt, at which bis troops were so dispirited that they threw down their arms and fled, leaving Alexander master of the field.
A short time after this Aretas (whom the people of Damascus had elected king instead of Antiochus) entered Judea with a considerable army, and encamped in the neighborhood of Adida. Alexander marched with his forces against him, and a battle ensued, which lasted for some time, but was terminated without any complete vic. tory being obtained on either side. After the battle was over, Aretas offered terms of accommodation to Alexander, which being accepted, a treaty of peace was concluded between them, and they separated tbeir armies, Aretas returning to Damascus, and Alexander marching his forces in pursuit of new conquests.
The first place Alexander subdued after this was the city of Dion, which he took by assault. From hence he proceeded to Gerasa, a very strong town fortified by a triple circumvallation. He laid siege to the place with great violence, and the inhabitants defended it, for some time, with amazing resolution; but at length they were obliged to submit. This conquest was of great advantage to Alexander, who found in the town immense treasures which had been deposited there for safety by Theodorus, the son of Zeno, prince of Philadelphia.
After the reduction of Geraså, Alexander marched his forces against Gaulana and the strong fortress of Gamala, both of which he conquered by storm. He then took several other strong places in the neighboring territories, and, after an expedition of three years continuance, returned to Jerusalem. The successes he had met with during his excursion were highly pleasing to the multitude, and in consequence thereof, the disgust they had hefore held against him subsided, so that, on his entrance into the city, they received him with the loudest acclamations of joy.
After this Alexander became violently addicted to intemperance, and having at a certain time drank to great excess, he fell sick, and was afterwards seized with a quartan ague, which was so powerful as to baffle the skill of his most eminent physicians. He was afflicted with this distemper for three years, during which time he not only continued his attention to the affairs of gov. ernment, but likewise prosecuted several military underVOL. iii.
takings, till, being at length quite exhausted, he was forced to submit to fate while he was besieging the castle of Ragaba, in the country of the Garasens.
At the besieging of this place, his queen Alexandra attended him on account of his illness; and when she found he drew near his end, she was greatly perplexed in her mind on account of the ill state in which she and her children must be inevitably left after his decease. She knew how much Alexander had exasperated the Pharisees, then a powerful sect among the Jews, and what hatred great numbers of the principal people among the other sects, at their instigation, had contracted against him; and, therefore, she had no other expectations, or prospect before her, but that herself and family would be given up to destruction, and made victims to the public rage of the people. In the height of these melancholy reflections, and while she was sitting by the bed-side of her dying husband, she broke out into the following exclamation : “My beloved husband (said she) 66 what will be the fate of your wife and children if we “ are deprived of your protection, and left to the mercy “ of your inveterate foes!”
These words afflicted the soul of the dying Alexander, who, after having so far recovered himself as to be able to speak, gave his wife the following advice, and which were the last words he was heard to utter. “ I particu“ larly request (said he) that you strictly follow the di. 6 rections I am now about to give you. As the only ef5 fectual means to secure a peaceable succession to your“ self and children, keep my decease a profound secret “ from the army till the castle shall be subdued : then re“pair in triumph to Jerusalem with the news of victory;
and let your principal care be to ingratiate yourself “ into the esteem of the Pharisees, for your future welfare “ will depend principally on the interest you form with “ that sect, to whose opinions those of the multitude are “ entirely subservient. The popular clamor against me 6 bas been raised by an opposition to them. On your 6 arrival at Jerusalem, send for the principal men among * the Pharisees, expose my dead body before them, and
say, that from a veneration for their piety and justice,
you resign the body, either to be allowed the ceremony 66 of interment, or to be treated with contempt and indig. 66 nity, as their discretion shall dictate; and at the same 6 time assure them that in this and all other matters of a
public nature, you will observe an implicit obedience k to their authority. Follow this counsel, and there is s no doubt but my remains will be favorably interred, " and yourself and offspring be established in the digni“ ties of the royal station."
Soon after Alexander had given this advice to his queen, he gave up the ghost, in the 49th year of his age, and 27th of his sovereignty.
It was not long after the death of Alexander, before the castle of Ragaba was entirely reduced; upon which the queen, in conformity to the advice of her deceased husband, immediately repaired to Jerusalem, and de. livered his body to the Pharisees to be disposed of as they should think expedient; at the same time submitting the administration of all public affairs to their discretion, This conduct acquired Alexandra the warmest friendship of the Pharisees, who had hitherto been her most inveter. ate enemies. They harangued the multitude in her favor, at the same time extolling the merits of the late king; which had such an effect on the multitude, that instead of the usual invectives against him, nothing was heard but the highest encomiums. In short, all deplored the loss of so yaliant a prince, and honored his funeral with more than ording. y pomp and solemnity. All approved of the Queen-Dowager, who, in conformity to her husband's will, was quietly settled in the supreme government of the nation,
Alexandra, the Queen-Regent of Judea, appoints her eldest son
Hyrcanus to the High-Priesthood. The Pharisecs, having the ascendency over the queen, direct the principal management of all public affairs. They abolish the decree of John Hyrcanus against their traditionary constitutions, and persecute the friends and adherents of the late king. Aristobulus, the brother of Hyrcanus, goes, with some of the most eminent men, to remonstrate with the queen against the conduct of the Pharisees, in consequence of which, at their request, she gives them possession of several strong places. The Jews are greatly alarmed on being invaded by Tigranes, king of Armenia, but their fears are soon removed, for, on their making him presents, he withdruws his forces. Aris. tobulus leads an army against his brother Hyrcanus, but on their meeting a treaty is formed between them, by which Hyrcanus resigns the office of high-priest, together with the sovereignty, to his brother Aristobulus. Hyrcanus, assisted by Aretas, king of Arabia, defeats Aristobulus, after which they both make their appeal to Pompey. Aristobulus takes up arms against Pompey, who reduces Jerusalem, restores Hyrcanus to the sovereignty, and carries Aristobulus, with his family, prisoners to Rome. Gabinius, the Roman governor in Syria, confirms Hyrcanus in the high-priesthood, and takes the civil administration out of the hands of the Sanhedrim. Aristobulus, having made his escape from Pompey, goes into Judea, and attempts to raise fresh disturbances, but is taken prisoner and again sent to Rome, where he dies by poison. Julius Cæsar confirms Hyrcanus in the government of Judea, and restores the civil adminis. tration into the hands of the Sanhedrim.
WHEN Alexander Jannæus died, he left two sons, the eldest of whom was named Hyrcanus, and the other Aristobulus; but he did not appoint either of them as his successor in the sovereignty, leaving that to his queen Alexandra. Hyrcanus, on account of his seniority, she promoted to the dignity of high-priest; and as he was naturally of an indolent and yielding disposition, she thought she might advance him to the throne without danger; but Aristobulus, the younger brother, being of