Herod as a young man.
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Antipater found himself at a point where he could change history – and he set about to do it. As long as Hyrcanus could be persuaded to believe that he was in charge, that everyone respected him as the noble Hasmonean who deserved the highest position in the land, all was well. Hyrcanus would never dream of actively interfering with anything Antipater, his dear friend and protector, wanted to do. Hyrcanus believed in Antipater’s friendship and even love, and could now relax and tend to his own peaceful business in Jerusalem and the Temple as Ethnarch[i]and High Priest.
Antipater, as mentioned in the previous segment, persuaded most of the population to behave reasonably and avoid further revolts. In this relatively peaceful moment, he could attempt to establish the dynasty that would once and for all terminate the rule of the Hasmoneans – his own family. For himself, Antipater might have been happy to work as the eminence grise, but his sons, he determined, would be the real rulers.
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At this point, Pompey was assassinated, and Caesar was fighting in Egypt. This proved a good time for Antipater to ingratiate himself with Caesar. With Hyrcanus (who was really Antipater’s puppet) supposedly giving the orders, Antipater took three thousand men and went to help Mithridates of Pergamum, who was on his way to join Caesar and was delayed in Ascalon. Antipater not only delivered these three thousand heavy-armed Jewish soldiers, but also persuaded several influential Arab chiefs to help Caesar. Antipater and Mithridates proceeded to the city of Pelusium, and as the inhabitants would not admit them, they put the city under siege. Antipater showed his bravery by pulling down a part of the wall, and Mithridates got in and conquered Pelusium. They continued toward Egypt.
As they marched through the district of Onias, the Jews who were the inhabitants there tried to prevent them from advancing. Antipater persuaded Mithridates to avoid fighting them. Instead, he used subtle diplomacy. He appealed to the Jews to side with him because of their shared nationality, and he showed them a letter from Hyrcanus, who was most influential with any Jew because of his position as High Priest. Hyrcanus’ letter asked them to help Caesar and show him hospitality. Naturally, the Jews complied. The same happened in Memphis. Even better, many men joined Mithridates’ army.
Hi everyone! I will not be placing a new segment of The Golden Rule this week. Instead, I recieved a wonderful story for the Personal History segment in this site, and I hope you will enjoy it as a change of pace. Please leave comments, both the author of the piece and I would love to know what you think about it! Here is the direct link:
Cassius governed Syria for two years, from 53 to 51, and during that time, he was greatly involved, naturally enough, in the affairs of the entire region. At one point he marched to Tyre, then moved on the Galilee, and attacked the city of Tarichaeae, which is a place of interest because its other name was Magdala, and it is reputed to be the birthplace of Mary Magdalene. The city served as the stronghold of a man called Peitholaus, who had continued the revolt originally led by Aristobulus. Cassius conquered the city and enslaved about 30,000 men.
This would seem to be one more hopeless revolt and its expected dreadful aftermath, with little interest for just about everyone who was sick and tired of the Hasmoneans’ endless war mongering and inability to accept reality. However, the importance of this occurrence is that what Cassius did was based on advice from Antipater.