BECK index

Empire of Augustus and Tiberius

Rome Under Augustus
Virgil's Aeneid
Horace and Propertius
Ovid's Art of Love
Ovid's Metamorphoses
Rome Under Tiberius
Judea under Herod and Caesar
Essene Community by the Dead Sea
Philo of Alexandria

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Rome Under Augustus

Roman Revolution and Civil Wars

After the deaths of Antony and Cleopatra in 30 BC, Octavian Caesar took over Antony's eastern domains and kept Egypt as his own property. He did not allow Egyptians to join the Roman Senate nor would he let a Roman senator live in Egypt without his permission. He imposed tribute on Egypt and appointed the knight Cornelius Gallus as its governor. Fearing their radical politics, he would not allow Alexandria to have a city council. Octavian returned to Rome in 29 BC wealthier than the state of Rome. This enabled him to pay off his veterans as he reduced 60 legions to 28 with about 150,000 men. He suppressed suspected conspiracies, occasional riots, and revolts. He stationed armed police in areas where bandits had robbed and enslaved workers, sometimes in the name of "worker guilds."

Romans were exhausted by more than a half century of frequent civil wars and were content to let the young Octavian rule as he wisely refrained from claiming royal and dictatorial powers in the manner of Julius Caesar. He declined the tribune power Rome offered him and using the military title imperator, he and the Senate closed the gates of the Janus temple to symbolize the end of war for only the third time in Rome's history. The gates of war soon opened again, but they were closed to signify peace twice more during his long reign. A triple triumph honored him for conquering Illyricum, winning at Actium, and annexing Egypt. Octavian became princeps (first) in the Senate; he and Marcus Agrippa reduced the number of senators from 1000 to 800 in 28 BC and ten years later to 600. Octavian increased from 800,000 to 1,000,000 sesterces the qualification for the senatorial order, though sometimes he helped individuals to achieve it. The property qualification for the equestrian order remained at 400,000 sesterces. Octavian ordered the first of three censuses, and in an empire of nearly one hundred million he increased the number of citizens by a million to more than six million as soldiers in the provinces gained citizenship.

Half-way through eight consecutive consulships in 27 BC, Octavian announced he was transferring his power to the Senate and people of Rome, while at the same time arranging that he was given control for ten years over Egypt, Gaul, Spain, and Syria which he ruled through subordinate governors. From this time he was given the name Augustus, and later the sixth month in the Roman calendar was named August after him. He was still commander-in-chief of the army even though three independent proconsuls had armies in Illyricum, Macedonia, and Africa. A military campaign in 26 BC against the Sabaeans secured the sea trade to Somalia and India. Much of Asia Minor was annexed as Galatia the next year. In the Danube area M. Licinius Crassus had pushed back the Bastarnae and pacified the Moesians and Thracians (in Serbia, Bulgaria, and Romania) by 28 BC, and three years later Varro Murena captured and sold the hostile Salassi tribe into slavery.

After taking a census in Gaul and campaigning in Spain, Augustus returned to Rome ill in 24 BC and gave up the consulship for full tribunician power by which he could convene the Senate, propose legislation, and oversee the judiciary, resulting in his own imperial court for "appeals to Caesar." The restraint of his imperial power in the city of Rome was removed while it was made greater than all provincial governors, and he could make treaties without submitting them to the Senate or the people for ratification. He now controlled all of the army and most of the tax revenues. Thus Augustus dated the reign of his principate from the year 23 BC when his powers as imperator and tribune essentially made him Rome's first emperor. Augustus revived the tradition of electing city magistrates instead of him appointing half of them, and he tried to control bribery by handing out gold pieces to the Fabian tribe. Valuing Roman citizenship as elite, he made it difficult to free slaves and impossible for them to become citizens.

Macedonia proconsul Marcus Primus was tried for making war on Thrace without authority in 22 BC. Augustus testified against him and explained he did so for the "public interest." Primus was convicted but not unanimously. His defense counsel Murena and Fannius Caepio were then convicted of treason for threatening the life of Augustus; again the verdict was not unanimous, but instead of being sent into exile they were executed. Disease and hunger stimulated demonstrations in Rome. Augustus declined the dictatorship but took control of the grain supply and solved the problem. Even though Agrippa was married to his own niece, while he was in Asia, Augustus sent Agrippa to take control of Rome and marry his daughter Julia. Augustus used diplomacy to get back Roman standards and prisoners of war from the Parthians in 20 BC. Armenia was recognized as a Roman protectorate, and Tiberius was sent to expel Artaxes and restore Tigranes. Rome later lost control of Armenia about 7 BC with the death of Tigranes.

Romans elected Augustus censor and made him supervisor of morals for five years. In 17 BC Augustus staged secular games to inaugurate a new era, and the next year he sent his wife Livia's sons Tiberius and Nero Drusus across the Alps to annex by force Noricum and Raetia (Switzerland, Austria, and Bavaria). Professional military service was set at a minimum of sixteen years for legionaries and twelve years for the praetorian guard. Augustus waited until after Lepidus died to become chief priest in 12 BC, the year Agrippa died. The same year the army of Drusus invaded western Germany, but he died accidentally on the return march in 9 BC. Tiberius, who had spent four years fighting and enslaving Pannonians (in Austria and western Hungary), took over and transferred resisting Germans to Gaul.

In 2 BC Augustus received the title Pater Patria as father of his country he had shaped as an empire. Professional public service replaced amateur magistrates, and the public dole in Rome was reduced to 200,000. Demonstrations at public festivals that had disturbed Rome with riots in the past were suppressed and became rare. The social laws Augustus introduced to increase Rome's population by punishing those who did not marry and have children seem to have been ineffective. In 10 BC Augustus had insisted that Tiberius marry his daughter Julia even though both were reluctant to do so. When Julia indulged in various vices, the puritanical Augustus had her banished to an island, even though he himself had numerous concubines to prove his heterosexuality and counter the rumors he had begun his career giving sexual favors to Julius Caesar.

Under the administration of Augustus prosperity increased in the provinces, as roads were built there and in Italy. City states operated fairly autonomously unless he thought they were ruining themselves through political irresponsibility. He granted subsidies to debt-burdened cities, rewarded cities that supported Roman causes, and financed the rebuilding of those devastated by earthquakes. Augustus generally encouraged frank opinions and vetoed a law that suppressed free speech in preambles of wills. The succession hopes Augustus placed in his grandsons were thwarted by their early deaths. Lucius Caesar died at Massilia in 2 CE; that year Gaius Caesar made an agreement with the Parthian Phraataces, but two years later he succumbed to a wound he received fighting against Armenian nationalists. So Augustus adopted Tiberius as his son in 4 CE and got him tribunician power and proconsular imperium for ten years. This combination of events caused some to suspect that Tiberius' mother Livia had the two young men poisoned.

When Tiberius had Dalmatian troops mobilized for a second campaign against the Germans in 6 CE, the Dalmatian army, led by Bato and discontent with tribute imposed on them, defeated a Roman contingent, causing Tiberius to turn back from Germany to protect Italy. After three years the Dalmatian fortress was taken, and Bato surrendered, asking that his people be pardoned. When Tiberius asked him why he had rebelled against Rome, Bato replied, "It is you Romans who are to blame for this. We are your flocks, yet you do not send dogs or shepherds to protect us, but wolves."1 Germans also resented being treated like slaves by governor Quintilius Varus, who levied money from them as though they were a subject people. A Roman attempt to invade Bohemian territory failed in 9 CE when German forces led by Arminius defeated and killed Varus and destroyed three Roman legions in the Teutoburg forest, leaving western Germany independent of the Roman empire. With so much unrest, that year Augustus had to establish a military treasury from indirect taxes to pay for veterans' pensions. Inheritance and bequests were taxed at five percent except for close relations and the poor.

The sarcastic lawyer Cassius Severus was banished under the treason law for defaming elite men and women with licentious writings. He mentioned the writings of another lawyer Titus Labienus, who wrote history from a republican perspective and committed suicide. At this time also Ovid's books were withdrawn from libraries. In an inscription made in his last year called the Res Gestae, among his many accomplishments Augustus boasted of providing spectacles in which 10,000 men fought and 3,500 African beasts were slaughtered. The tribune powers of Tiberius were renewed in 13 CE, and as virtual co-regent with Augustus he naturally succeeded him when Augustus died the next year.

Rome Under Tiberius

Virgil's Aeneid

After Octavian Caesar gained sole power over Rome in 30 BC, Virgil supported the Roman peace and spent the last eleven years of his life in Naples composing the epic poem on pre-Rome's legendary founder Aeneas. In 19 BC he accompanied Augustus on a journey to Greece but became ill and died at Brindisi. Virgil had intended for his unfinished master work to be burned; but since it was finished, though not yet revised, he was persuaded to let Varius and Tucca edit and publish it.

Having written pastoral poetry and celebrated agriculture, Virgil introduced the Aeneid as a tale of arms and a man struggling with the terrible strife of Mars. The story begins in Carthage, where Aeneas and several Trojan ships were driven by a storm after sailing many strange seas. His divine mother Venus tells him how the Phoenician queen Dido came there to escape her brother. The Trojan Ileoneus complains to Dido that they have been assaulted as they tried to gain a foothold on the shore. He asks for permission to land, saying they are bound for Italy. Queen Dido offers them protection and aid. Aeneas thanks her, and his son Iulus is inspired by Venus' child Cupid so that Dido will be attracted to Aeneas.

Dido asks Aeneas to recount the sack of Troy and how they fled from there. The Trojans were tricked by the Greek Sinon to open their gates to the large wooden horse that concealed Achaean warriors. As Troy was falling, Aeneas saw Helen and was tempted to take vengeance on the cause of the long war; but Venus recalled him from his blind anger and advised him to save his family instead. His wife Creusa also asked Aeneas to defend his home. As Aeneas was carrying his father and son, Creusa was lost in the confusion of the fire; her ghost consoled him to go on and care for their son.

Aeneas' father Anchises urged the Trojans to embark on their voyage to the western lands of Hesperia. They visited Thrace, Crete, and saw the Cyclops in Sicily, where Anchises died. From there they were driven to the coast of Carthage. During a rainstorm Aeneas and Dido take refuge in a cave, where the queen gives herself without shame to Aeneas. She calls it a marriage, but soon he is divinely guided to resume his destined journey. Although Dido complains that she has alienated the Africans and her Tyrians with this love, Aeneas leaves without her anyway. She vows to haunt him after her death and to bring enmity between Carthage and his descendants. As his boat is sailing, she climbs a funeral pyre and falls upon a sword. The goddesses of the underworld are not ready for her, because her death is neither deserved nor destined but tragic.

Aeneas and his small fleet return to Sicily, where they celebrate funeral games in honor of his father Anchises that include a boat race, foot race, boxing, archery, and war games. Apparently the women are ready to settle down, for they burn the boats. The town of Acestes is founded, but repaired ships soon allow Aeneas to push on. A Sibyl and sacrifices enable him to visit the underworld of departed spirits, using a golden bough to be allowed across Charon's river. Aeneas sees Dido there and many others. With Tantalus are those tormented by the Furies

who hated their brothers while life was theirs
or struck a parent or entangled a dependent in deceit,
or, having found riches, gloated over them alone
setting none aside for their kindred,
and of these there are many indeed;
and then others who were killed for adultery
or took part in an unrighteous war,
shamelessly betraying their leige-lords;
all these are imprisoned within, awaiting their penalty.2

The miserable cries warn people to learn justice and scorn no god. One suffers for selling the homeland for gold, burdening her with despotism. Another in return for bribes posted new laws and then repealed them. All the crimes and punishments could not be listed.

Then they proceed to the Land of Joy

where dwells a band who sustained wounds
while fighting for their homelands,
others who while life was theirs were priests without sin,
or faithful seers whose speech never brought Apollo shame;
some who had given life an added graciousness
by inventions of skill,
and some who had made others remember them by being kind.3

Aeneas finds his father Anchises preparing his descendants to ascend into the upper light. Observing the future civil war between the forces of Julius Caesar and Pompey, Anchises warns them,

Ah, sons of mine, never inure your spirits to so wicked a war,
never turn the stout strength of your homeland on her own vitals!
And you, who are of my own blood
and trace your descent from Olympus,
you should be first in clemency,
you should first fling your weapons from your hands!4

Aeneas and his men sail up the Tiber River to ancient Latium, sending ambassadors with presents to ask for friendship with the Latins, whose king Latinus says they need no law to keep them just, because they are just by their own free will. Ileoneus asks for a strip of land for the Trojans which is granted. Latinus also promises his daughter Lavinia in marriage to Aeneas as destined; but this and Iulus' killing of a favorite stag cause the jealous Turnus to become hostile and gather weapons among the Rutulians. Venus gets the quarrel she wants. Aeneas is guided by a dream to form an alliance with Evander, but this leads Turnus and the Latins to besiege the Trojan camp with their army. In a night attack the Trojans Nisus and Euryalus slaughter many sleeping Latins before they are caught and killed. The angry Latins force the Trojans into an open battle, and Turnus drives the Trojans back. Aeneas gains Etruscans as allies, and with Evander's son Pallas the Trojans turn the tide of the war, though Pallas is killed by Turnus.

Aeneas asks for a twelve-day truce, and Drancas, who hates Turnus, persuades the Latins to accept it. King Latinus is ready to give the Trojans a tract of land in friendship, and Drancas urges him not to allow the violence and jealousy of Turnus to stop him from giving his daughter to Aeneas. Yet Turnus calls for more fighting; as the Trojans are preparing, the battle soon breaks out again with the woman warrior Camilla leading the Volscians for the Latin side. She is eventually killed, and once again Latinus asks Turnus to let Lavinia be Aeneas' bride; but Turnus is still determined to fight. Although King Latinus and Aeneas make a compact that would leave the two nations unsubjected, the Rutulians begin the fighting again, voiding the treaty as Latinus flees. Aeneas, however, aims to keep the agreement and fight Turnus alone, but just then he is wounded by an arrow. After the arrow is cut out, Venus heals him quickly with an herb. Finally Turnus and Aeneas meet in battle, and Aeneas wounds him badly in the thigh. Turnus asks that he or his dead body be restored to his people; he acknowledges defeat and says Lavinia may wed Aeneas. The poem closes as Aeneas in a rage stabs Turnus in the breast, killing him.

Although the greater violence and resistance to just agreements is portrayed in Turnus, Aeneas and the Trojans nonetheless used violent means in this founding epic that glorifies the pre-Roman past as deriving from the ancient people of Troy. Virgil has tried to show some intelligent negotiation between King Latinus and Aeneas, and poetically he explained the ancient hostility between Carthage and Rome as caused by the curse of jilted queen Dido. His concepts of the afterlife in the traditional Greek underworld re-affirm the ethical teachings of the Pythagoreans, Socrates, and Plato by showing the consequences of actions after life in another world and in future lives.

Horace and Propertius

Horace was born at Venusia in 65 BC to an emancipated slave, who provided him with a good education in Rome and Athens. After the assassination of Julius Caesar, young Horace joined Brutus in Athens and commanded one of his legions at Philippi in 42 BC. After the defeat and his father's death, he was pardoned and returned to Italy. He got a job in the treasury and began writing. With the help of his friends Virgil and Varius, Horace gained the patronage of Maecenas by 38 BC. In describing a journey he made from Rome to Brindisi with Maecenas to a conference between Octavian and Antony, he expressed his deep friendship with Plotius, Varius, and Virgil, writing that for him nothing in life compared to the joy of friendship. His first collection of Satires was published three years later. He became Rome's leading poet in 23 BC with his three books of Odes. After his friend Virgil died in 19 BC, he published poetic Epistles. About five years before his death in 8 BC he published a fourth book of Odes and his Art of Poetry.

In his first book of Satires Horace made fun of those who are so anxious about accumulating more wealth while not enjoying what they have. If one lives within one's means, he asked, what difference does it make whether one has a hundred or a thousand acres of plowed land? He advised,

So let's put a limit on the scramble for money.
As your wealth increases, your fear of poverty should diminish,
and having got what you wanted,
you ought to begin to bring that struggle to an end.5

Horace called for moderation between being a miser or a wastrel. He noted how fools often in attempting to avoid one fault rush into its opposite. He described the problems of finding sex through adultery to show that pain and hardships usually outweigh the pleasure. He preferred sex that is easy to get. He observed that most people have better vision for seeing the faults of their friends than their own. From world history he learned that justice arose from the fear of its opposite. He called for fair penalties depending on the seriousness of the offense. His father warned him about various vices by citing examples. The young can be deterred from doing wrong when they see the bad reputation of other people. Horace claimed this freed him from the greater vices so that he only had to cope with milder faults. These could be removed by time or straight talk from a friend or by his own reflection. When he sat down to rest, his mind was not idle; but he examined himself.

This is more honest; this will help to improve my life;
this will endear me to my friends;
that was a dirty trick so-and-so did;
could I ever be so careless as to act like that?
This is the kind of discussion I hold behind closed lips.6

In his second book of Satires Horace described the benefit of simple living as decent health, since accumulated stuff does harm to people. He reminded readers that plain food probably agreed with them. Too much meat and sea food turn sweet juices to acid, producing a sticky phlegm that revolts in the interior. He recommended getting rid of surplus wealth by helping decent people in need, contributing to decaying temples, or donating to the land of one's birth. He enjoyed the Sabine farm Maecenas gave him and preached the Stoic doctrine that avarice, ambition, self-indulgence, and superstition are forms of madness, because they are unwise. Horace took up the question,

Who then is free?
The wise man who is master of himself,
who remains undaunted in the face of poverty, chains and death,
who stubbornly defies his passions and despises positions of power,
a man complete in himself, smooth and round,
who prevents extraneous elements clinging to his polished surface,
who is such that when Fortune attacks him
she maims only herself.7

In a poem "To the Goddess Fortune" in his first book of Odes Horace noted how various peoples fear her. From Caesar's efforts in Britain to Roman soldiers' in lands east of the Red Sea he blushed for the terror they brought with ill deeds and slaying of brothers. He asked what deed of war have Romans blenched from doing out of fear of heaven? What shrines have they left unpolluted?

In a poem on Roman virtue in the third book of Odes he refused to welcome in his house or sail on a ship with someone who had violated the secrecy of the Eleusinian mysteries, because Jove may strike good men with the bad when he is scorned. He found that justice may halt, but crime seldom has time to outrun her vengeance whatever his start. In "Of Riches and Contentment" he noted that as riches grow, care follows with a thirst for more and more. Yet to the one who denies oneself, Heaven gives so much more. Horace believed that he could better enhance his modest stores by wisely controlling his desires. Those who crave much, always lack much. Happy are those to whom Heaven gives just enough.

In "Of Rome's Decay" Horace compared the gold of Arabia, the wealth of India, the Scythians living better in huts, and the wiser ways of rude Goths whose fields yield year by year. There no rich wife rules her husband. They value their parents' worth and their virtue in simple faith, looking appalled at sin. He longs for a man who could end their deeds of civic wrong. May he tame their unblessed wills; for virtue is detested, and goodness has vanished. What benefit can they have if they do not prune crime. Where life is tainted, what good is law without morals?

Thus Poverty's inglorious load
Bids man unheard-of things endure and try;
While Virtue's solitary road
He deems too steep, and cowardly passes by.
Let's to Rome's Capitol hand o'er, -
The shouts of flattering mobs invite us there, -
Or in the nearest sea-depths pour
Our pearls, our gems, our gold, a useless ware!
Gold, source of evil last and first,
Away with it, if we for sin repent!
We must this root of greed accurst
Pluck up; and young minds on indulgence bent
We must in sterner studies guide!8

In the fourth book of Odes Horace praised Drusus, Augustus, and Tiberius, noting that wise schooling extends inborn powers, and that correctly ordered culture brings new vigor to brave hearts, which undrilled manly parts fail in the end.

In his first Epistle Horace took up the question, "What is right and proper?" He did not feel bound to follow any master, finding himself sometimes the man of action in civic affairs, at other times more like the hedonistic Aristippus attempting to master things. Horace believed that we can all make some progress in spite of our limitations of greed, craving, ambition, envy, anger, laziness, drinking, or lust. Even the unruly can become more gentle if they follow a trainer. He suggested listening and learning from one wiser than oneself and to stop caring for foolish things. As gold has higher value than silver, goodness is more valuable than gold. Even children chant, "You will be king if you do the right thing."9 He asked who gives better advice - the one who says make money, honestly if you can, or otherwise by hook or crook - or the one who gives you practical advice by which you can stand up and be free of Fortune's frown.

In his second Epistle he noted that people are quick to remove a speck from their eye; but if something is eating at their soul, next year is plenty of time. Horace recommended, "Well begun is half done. Dare to be wise. Start now."10 The one who postpones the hour of reform is like one waiting for the river to pass. Despise the pleasures that bring pain or harm. Greed can never be satisfied; limit your dreams. Envy wastes people away and is a torture worse than that of Sicilian tyrants. Those who fail to control their rage are sure to regret what wounded feelings cause them to do in violent vengeance to ease resentment. Rage is madness. Restrain your temper, for it will either obey you or rule you. Attach yourself to those who are better and absorb their wisdom. In his era Horace found that sport gives rise to heated strife and anger, which in turn brings savage feuds and war to the death. Another Epistle notices how some like the city and others the country; but it is foolish to blame the place, for the mind is the real culprit and never escapes itself. He chided those who refrain from crime because they fear punishment, instead of eschewing sin from love of virtue.

In a second book of Epistles Horace defended poetry to Augustus, whom he praised for strengthening Rome's defenses, promoting decent behavior, and reforming the laws. Horace's last epistle has been called "The Art of Poetry." He allowed freedom to the poet but recommended composing a unified whole. He found that the rules and standards of language are controlled by usage. A poem must be more than just correct; it must be attractive in order to lead the listener's emotions where it will. In plays he believed that the chorus should only side with the good and give friendly advice, controlling the furious, calming those afraid, praising what is healthy, lawful, just, and peaceful, keeping secrets and praying that the gods leave the proud and help the wretched. Moral sense he considered to be the source of proper writing. The poet should be clear about what is duty to country and friends, what is involved in loving a parent, a brother, or in being a judge, and what duties are required of a general at the front so that every character will have their proper features. A good playwright turns to life and behavior for models and living speech.

Propertius was born in Umbria about 50 BC. His father died when he was a child, and he was educated in Rome. He lost part of his inheritance when land was given to the soldiers of Octavian and Anthony. For a while he studied law but soon turned to poetry when he fell in love with a beautiful and talented woman named Hostia. Using the name Cynthia he published a book of poems in 29 BC about his love trials. These made his reputation and gained the attention of Maecenas, the official patron of the arts for Augustus. Propertius died some time before 2 BC. When he was bitten by Cynthia and sex, Propertius wrote how the love god gave him a distaste for chaste girls. He did not care for fine fashion but found that Love wears no clothes and likes his beauty plain. He argued that Love will not yield to the power of wealth. When love is frustrated, what bliss can wealth afford? Propertius with Cynthia prayed to love but one and to be her one love. False girls were blamed by his lady. He vowed that his dark age would never change his ways, suggesting that everyone must learn the law their path obeys. Propertius declared that Love is a god of peace and that those like him who love hold peace first. His fighting was done at his mistress' hands. He wrote that care grows with gazing upon a girl when she is near; love itself is what nourishes love.

Ovid's Art of Love

Ovid was born about ninety miles east of Rome in Sulmo on March 20, 43 BC in an equestrian family. His father had him educated in rhetoric for a career of public service; but after serving in a few minor posts, he was soon drawn into literature. Ovid had two hasty marriages and divorces before he married and settled down with an aristocratic woman of the Fabii family. Ovid's first literary works were on love, and the circle of his patron Marcus Valerius Messala was less tied to Augustan orthodox morals than that of Maecenas. Ovid drew upon myths for his Heroides, Metamorphoses, and Fasti. In 8 CE Ovid was suddenly banished by Augustus, which some have supposed was related to the scandalous conduct of the Emperor's granddaughter Julia. In exile Ovid wrote Tristia, and still banished he died in 17 CE.

In The Loves Ovid described his love and passion for the fictional character Corinna and women in general. He found no need for war and made pardon and peace his prayer. He noted though that love vanquishes conscience and modesty and is followed by folly, illusion, and madness. He agreed with Propertius that love is a naked child, having no pockets for money; it is not for sale at any price. Always the lover, Ovid dared not defend his absence of morals nor did he try to smother his faults in a blanket of lies; he confessed his faults of passion he hated, while admitting he could not be anything else. His passion was all-embracing, and he wrote there is not a sweetheart in town he would be reluctant to love. He found that our nature always insists on things that are denied or forbidden. To one lover he objected that she prefers a killer, who has gained wealth and title through the slaughter of war, asking her how she could touch such a guilty hand.

Ovid took the viewpoint of women in mythology in his letters of Heroines to their lovers. He composed love letters in poetry from Penelope to Ulysses, Phyllis to Demophoon, Briseis to Achilles, Phaedra to Hippolytus, Oenone to Paris, Hypsipyle to Jason, Dido to Aeneas, Hermione to Orestes, Deianira to Hercules, Ariadne to Theseus, Canace to Macareus, Medea to Jason, Laodamia to Protesilaus, Hypermnestra to Lynceus, and Sappho to Phaon. Ovid also composed love letters of lovers to each other for Paris and Helen, Leander and Hero, and Acontius and Cydippe.

Ovid composed The Art of Love for those who need instruction in loving, for he believed love must be guided by art. He thanks Venus that he is a master in love even though wild Love often resents him. He has learned from experience. Asking for a little pleasant indulgence, he hopes that stern looks and modesty will keep away. First, he suggested you must make effort to find the girl you really can love; second is to win her; last is to make love endure.

You must search for the one you can tell that you want no other, for she will not come floating down from heaven. Ovid suggested many places in Rome where one can meet women, including porticoes, games, horse races, and parties, where wine brings passionate ardor and banishes inhibitions. One must be confident, and Ovid assured the reader that women can always be caught and that love on the sly is as delightful to women as it is to men. Social convention has men running after women, because women can hide their desire better. Women don't run after men, just as mousetraps don't run after mice. Whether they say yes or no, they are pleased by invitations, and it cost nothing to try. Untried delights are tempting pleasures. Ovid suggested spoiling her by promising much. She will choose the right time; you'll know she is in the mood when she is happy. You must keep on and not go away until you have won. She will not betray you if you are guilty together. Keep her secrets, and she will be yours any time. He warned the reader about loaning money to gold-digging women. Ovid recommended learning the art of pleading, because women are moved like the people or the Senate. He advised keeping clean and your breath and body free of bad odors; but don't overdo it, because a man is not a fairy or a tart.

When you are successful, don't let it go to your head. Let your eyes gaze into hers in a confession; silence can persuade more than words. Ovid had no qualms about getting her husband's help by becoming his friend. He warned against getting into quarrels over wine. Praising her with flattery can be effective, for every woman believes she has some beauty. Ovid counseled keeping faith, returning what is given, and avoiding violence and fraud, although he considered it all right to deceive deceivers. Ovid even went so far as to use some force, believing that women like it; I consider this reprehensible. Ovid advised the man to take the initiative and may ask her outright. He did suggest retreating if she responds with arrogant coldness; many girls desire the coy while hating the aggressive. He wrote that telling her you are eager to be "only a friend" can work very well, as he discovered unwilling women could prove to be proficient in bed. He warned against praising your girl to your best friend unless you want to lose her.

In the second book of The Art of Love Ovid instructed the reader how to hold on to what you have won by art. Seeking requires luck, but holding takes talent and skill. He warned against philters as senseless and dangerous. "If you want her to love you, be a lovable man."11 Ovid recommended adding some mental distinction, tactfulness, and tolerance, while avoiding the harshness that arouses hatred, rancor, resentment, and war. Stay away from tongue-lashing quarrels. Love is delicate and is won with affectionate words. Ovid discounted the rich who can provide gifts; they don't need his art, which is for the poor, who have only words to present. Ovid learned from the mistake of becoming angry and tearing her hair. He suggested keeping the peace with your lady, having fun, and enjoying all the inducements of love. If she resists, yield; you will come away a winner. Do whatever she asks; blame whatever she blames; approve whatever she approves. If you have to resort to deception, don't give yourself away with a gesture or look that would spoil the effect of your words. To be effective, art must be concealed; disgrace can take your credit away.

When your love is young, it may err; but let it be learning so that you may nourish it toward health. Ovid condoned playing around but advised a decent concealment; don't brag about it. No lover can love wisely without self-knowledge. What Ovid did, he also advised tolerating. He said not to catch your girls when they cheat; let them behave as they wish, and let them think no one knows. Once they are caught, love grows; then you have to deal with two guilty parties. In lovemaking Ovid advised not being in a hurry, but to coax it along slowly, teasing with proper delay. He suggested not going too fast, for pleasure is best when both arrive at the goal together.

Ovid instructed the girls in his third book of The Art of Love. He suggested you have your fun while you may, rejoicing in your springtime. Do not deny your men the pleasures they crave, though he does not want you to be cheap and promiscuous. Don't be fearful of unreal loss, because what you give you also keep. Most of Ovid's advice has to do with cultivating care of the body, using some makeup, and wearing garments and acting in ways that enhance your particular features. He suggested some delay in answering a letter, but don't keep him waiting too long. Too easy and quick of a promise can be reckless; but don't absolutely refuse. Give him cause for hope and lessen his fears. Women also should control their wild moments of anger; peace is becoming to humans, but anger belongs to brutes. Pride and arrogance are almost as bad; eyes should be gentle and mild, entreating love. When he looks at you, return his gaze and smile sweetly. Ovid also hated glum girls. Giving too easily does not encourage permanent passion; mix in some rebuffs once in a while with your fun. Ovid even went into the art of fooling your husband. Extending his secrets to the enemy camp, he gave the easy assignment of making us believe we are loved. Women also ought to know themselves so they can adapt their method by taking advantage of their own attributes. Ovid concluded that he hoped both men and women would thank him for showing them the way.

Apparently The Art of Love was banned by the puritanical Augustus. So Ovid wrote a short treatise on "The Remedies for Love." He began by apologizing to Love and saying that those who find love a pleasure may keep on loving; but for those who grieve or are oppressed by the tyrant, his art offers remedies that are preferable to suicide. How does one recover from love? It is an art not to allow the heart to be its own pitiful slave. First, if you are uncertain at all, crush the swelling seeds of your passion before they grow. Watch with your mind what you love and keep your neck from the yoke if you suspect it will not please.

Love is fed by delay; but if you want to be free, start today. Shun leisure and idleness which captivate. To drive away Venus, get yourself busy. Give your mind some work that needs doing. Remember all her wicked deeds and wanton behavior that have cost you so far. Suffer enough, and you will learn. Love occupies the mind by habit, and habit can expel it. Excess can end your troubles by getting fed up with it all. The man who thinks of his woes will get rid of his love. Don't be alone, for loneliness can add to passion. Find comfort and aid with other people. If you don't want it, don't expose yourself to love by going where she may be. Don't repeat, "I don't love her," because too much "I don't" implies "I do." Let love falter and fade slowly.

Ovid considered it wicked and barbarous to hate a girl you once loved. If your passion ends in hatred, either you are still in love, or you are still sick. Women and men joined in love should never become hostile, for that is a shame and a disgrace to Venus. He advised against rushing into a court of law; let her keep the presents you gave her, and don't argue about them. Don't explain your decision to leave her by giving reasons or grievances; she might correct them, and you may discover her virtues again. The silent is strong, but the lover who reproaches weakens his case as if he wanted to lose. Don't read over love letters but burn them. Remembrance can renew love and make the wounds worse. Such were the treatments Ovid recommended to the lovesick.

Ovid's Metamorphoses

In Metamorphoses Ovid described in poetry how bodies are transformed into shapes of a different kind. He began by calling upon the heavenly powers that are responsible for all such changes. The first transformation was from the strife of chaos to an ordered cosmos by a natural force that is divine. Humans were made erect so that they could look up to heaven and see the stars. First was the golden age when people did what was right without laws and threats of punishment. Untroubled by fears, people enjoyed a simple and peaceful life without soldiers, eating foods available without cultivation. After Jove overthrew his father Saturn, the age of silver brought about the four seasons and the use of agriculture. Then in the bronze age cruel warfare developed. Finally in the iron age various crimes broke out as modesty, truth, and loyalty fled and were replaced by treachery, trickery, deceit, violence, and greed. Iron was used to injure humans, and gold was even more harmful. War exploited both metals in bloody conflicts. People lived on plunder, and friends and relatives were no longer safe. Proper affection faded, and Justice, the last of the immortals, left the blood-soaked earth.

Violent and cruel humans were contemptuous of the gods and had a lust to kill. Jupiter decides that humans must be destroyed after Lycaon laughs at pious prayers and tries to kill him; for this Jupiter turns him into a wolf. Because fire would be too destructive, Jupiter uses water to drown all people except the good Deucalion and his reverent wife Pyrrha. Told to throw the bones of their mother behind them, they learn from Prometheus that this could only have the holy meaning of the stones of mother earth. From these stones come men and women to people the earth after it dried out. Ovid reviewed many legendary stories of gods and goddesses acting like fallible humans. Apollo falls in love with Daphne; refusing his love, she is turned into a laurel tree. Jupiter goes after Io and changes her into a cow because of his jealous wife Juno. Phaethon, the sungod's son, dies learning that he could not handle his father's chariot. Callisto, another lover of Jupiter's, is transformed into a bear and placed in heaven as a constellation. The crow is made black for telling on a love affair of Phoebus, a warning to informers.

When Mercury steals a herd from Apollo, he bribes a shepherd to keep quiet about it; but when Apollo doubles the bribe, Mercury changes the shepherd into a touchstone for betraying him. Ovid described Envy as a wasted, poisonous, and anxious creature who likes nothing but suffering, gnawing at others and herself in torment. She infects Minerva's daughter Aglauros, who becomes stone. Jupiter's affair with Europa leads to Cadmus killing a monstrous snake and sowing its teeth, which become soldiers that slay each other, leaving only five who throw down their weapons at the bidding of Minerva. For seeing Diana naked, Actaeon is changed into a stag and is attacked by his own hounds, giving the hunter another view of the hunt. Jupiter's affair with Semele results in her death and the birth of Bacchus. Juno believes that men get more pleasure out of love than women, but Tiresias, who experienced both, disagrees. Juno strikes him blind, but the omnipotent father gives him prophetic vision. Tiresias warns Narcissus about self-absorption to no avail, as Narcissus is captivated by the voice of Echo and his own image, becoming a flower.

Ovid narrated the tragic story of Pyramus and Thisbe, who were separated by a wall of family disapproval and ended up killing themselves because they each thought their partner was dead. How the gods and goddesses were reduced by human passions is described by Ovid in Juno's plans and the reasons for them.

The son my rival bore has been able to change
the Lydian sailors into fishes and cast them into the sea;
he has induced a mother to tear her son in pieces
and has enshrouded three of the daughters of Minyas
in wings of a strange new kind.
And can Juno do nothing but weep for her wrongs, unavenged?
Is that enough for me?
Is that the limit of my power?
Why, Bacchus himself teaches me what to do,
and it is right to learn even from one's enemies.
He has shown all too clearly,
by Pentheus' murder, what madness can achieve.
Why should not Ino be driven mad,
and perish by her own frenzy, as her sisters have done?12

Juno also cruelly turned Ino's Phoenician attendants to stone. Ovid related the heroic adventures of Perseus and how Ceres causes a famine after Pluto rapes her daughter Proserpine, resulting in her living part of the year in the underworld like the seeds of agriculture. Arachne is changed into a spider for believing she could surpass the divine Minerva in weaving, as Minerva portrays the crimes of the gods in a tapestry. Niobe chides Leto for her childlessness, thinking she is beyond the reach of Fortune's blows; but the goddess causes her to mourn the deaths of all her sons and daughters.

With divine beings acting so abominably it is not surprising to find the legendary heroes being cruel also. Thrace king Tereus rapes his wife Procne's sister Philomela and cuts out her tongue to conceal the deed; but Philomela sends a robe depicting the events. In revenge Procne kills her own son and feeds the flesh to Tereus. Tereus is made a hawk, Procne a swallow, and Philomela a nightingale. Ovid tried to explain Medea's behavior by saying she is ruled by desire instead of reason, doing what she knows in her mind is worse; in the process of helping Jason she feels motivated by love, but she ends up killing her own father and her children with a sword. She almost has Aegeus poison his son Theseus; but recognized in time, this hero goes on to throw off the tribute forced on Athens by Crete's king Minos. Scylla betrays her own people because of her love for Minos, who rejects her as a traitor and imposes a just settlement on his captured enemies. Scylla is turned into a bird. Cephalus tests the fidelity of his wife Procris, finally tempting her himself; they live happily though until he accidentally kills her with a javelin.

In a change of pace Ovid described the humble couple Baucis and Philemon, who with no servants live simply but entertain the disguised travelers Jupiter and Mercury so well that Jupiter transforms their old cottage into a temple, and they become priestess and priest. Their wish is to die together, and they do so, becoming a linden and an oak tree with intertwined branches. Erysichthon is punished with hunger for chopping down an oak tree and killing a man; then he turns to selling his daughter. The river Achelous told Theseus how he insulted Hercules by saying either Jove was not his father or else his mother was an adulteress. Hercules defeated the river and killed the centaur Nessus, who got revenge with a poison shirt through his jealous wife Deianira. For all the labors he performed for Juno, Hercules was made a god and placed in the stars.

Jupiter tries to settle competing arguments between gods and goddesses by saying that fate cannot be changed. Miletus flees from the Crete of Minos and founds the city named after him in Asia. Ovid described the incestuous love between his daughter Byblis and his son Caunus. In Phaestus on Crete Ligdus told his wife Telephus if she bore him a daughter he would destroy the child. She raised the girl Iphis as a boy so well that her prayers to Isis were answered, and Iphis was changed into a man. Ovid told the story of the mystical musician Orpheus and his journey to the underworld to bring back his late wife Eurydice; but she had to return when he looked back. The artistry of Pygmalion was so great that his creation came to life. Ovid focused on incest again in telling how Myrrha loved her father and gave birth to Adonis before being changed into the myrtle. Adonis was killed by a boar he was hunting. Orpheus is killed by Thracian women for scorning their sex, and the women are turned into trees. Midas asks to turn everything he touches into gold but has to renounce the ability so that he can eat and drink.

Ovid included the debate between Ajax and Ulysses over who should get the armor of Achilles. Ulysses wins by arguing that he served the Greeks with his mind while Ajax did so with his body; the general is greater than the common soldier. Ovid related several fantastic tales of humans who were changed into birds. The god Vertumnus wins over the fruitful Pomona by telling her the story of how Iphis hanged himself after Anaxerete would not respond to his love; her heart of stone spread to her whole body. The legendary Roman heroes Aeneas and Romulus are deified.

Numa inquires into the Greek origins in Italy and is instructed by Pythagoras at Crotona. After Numa returns to Latium, the people choose him king; he introduces the arts of peace to a society accustomed only to the violence of war. Ovid described the teachings of Pythagoras to emphasize his theme of universal change. Pythagoras drew near to the gods in his thoughts and taught the people as follows: Do not pollute your bodies with sinful foods from animals when fruits and vegetables are available. Only some beasts satisfy their hunger with flesh. In the golden age humans did not defile their lips with blood and used no snares in a peaceful world. Someone took the first steps on the road to crime by swallowing flesh. Only self-defense can justify the killing of an animal. People even enrolled the gods as partners in their crimes with sacrifices. Our souls are immortal and live in new dwellings after leaving the old ones. Everything changes, and nothing really dies as the spirit wanders from creature to creature. The soul stays the same though incorporated in different forms.

Ovid concluded with the deification of Julius Caesar but explained that it was because of his son. The reason is not hard to find, as he stated that the earth is under the sway of Augustus. Ovid sought literary immortality in poetic myths but revealed such ethical shortcomings in the gods, goddesses, and legendary heroes that Roman religion would have great difficulty competing with more universal and spiritual teachings.

In 8 CE about the time Ovid completed Metamorphoses he was charged with treason by Augustus for The Art of Love and a related indiscretion that offended the imperial family. He was allowed to retain his citizenship and property but was "relegated" to Tomis, a port on the Black Sea just south of the Danube delta. He described his bitter exile and defended himself in his Tristia (Sorrows) and his letters from Pontus. His wife stayed in Rome to plead his case, and they never saw each other again, though he wrote to her. Realizing his best hope was to appeal to the Emperor for clemency, Ovid compared Augustus to Jupiter many times. He referred to his early work as a youthful frolic and claimed that those arts did not affect his character. His main defense and protests of censorship are in the second book of the Tristia. To me it is a sad world when he had to ask whether anyone could be his friend when the Emperor is angry at him, because the crowd is guided, rightly he added, by the imperial frown. He acknowledged the leniency of the penalty and said that no punishment could be greater than having displeased that great man. Ovid pointed out how many poems and myths offended in the same way. Though his books had been removed from the libraries, the manuscripts circulated privately; his poetry was influential for centuries, notably on troubadours, Chaucer, and Shakespeare.

Rome Under Tiberius 14-37

Rome Under Augustus

When Augustus died in 14 CE, he left 43,500,000 sesterces to the people of Rome, including 300 to every citizen soldier. Augustus had insisted that Tiberius adopt his own nephew Germanicus as his son. Agrippa Postumus, the remaining grandson of Augustus, was murdered, Tiberius explaining illogically that it was by order of the late Augustus. While Tiberius was in the Senate neither refusing nor explicitly accepting imperial power, soldiers in Pannonia took advantage of the uncertainty to demand their term of service be limited to sixteen years and their pay be raised from two and a half sesterces per day to four. (Praetorian guards received eight.) Percennius persuaded many tattered troops to support these demands, although the officer Blaesus got them to agree to sending his own son with a delegation to Rome. Soldiers began looting, and Blaesus had some of them flogged. Tiberius sent Drusus with two praetorian cohorts. Drusus promised to bring their claims before the Senate; but he insisted they submit to discipline, and he ordered Percennius and other leaders executed.

Legions in Germany also mutinied for similar reasons; but their numbers were greater, and they attacked their centurions. Germanicus was making assessments in Gaul. He took the oath of loyalty and administered it to his subordinates. In Germany his soldiers indicated they would support him for the throne, which repulsed him so much he threatened to kill himself. He promised that the legacies Augustus left them would be paid double. Centurions were kept or dismissed based on the recommendations of the tribunes and men. Germanicus ordered Caecina to punish the agitators, or he would execute them all. The worst offenders were struck down in their tents at the same time.

Led by Germanicus, the Roman army invaded the unprepared Germans and ravaged the country of the Marsi. For three years Germanicus campaigned beyond the Rhine and as far as the Elbe. Italy and the Gallic and Spanish provinces provided arms and horses for the war. Germanicus wanted another year to finish the war, but instead he was given a triumph and then imperial power over the eastern provinces, sharing a consulship with Tiberius in 18 CE. Not wanting Germanicus to get all the glory, Tiberius sent Drusus to Illyricum to gain experience commanding the troops. The suspicious Tiberius revived the treason law and sent Cnaeus Calpurnius Piso as governor of Syria to watch Germanicus, who installed a new king in Armenia and entered Egypt without the Emperor's permission to relieve the grain shortage. Germanicus returned to Syria, where he died in 19 CE, believing he had been poisoned by Piso. Since Tiberius was suspected of being involved, he turned the case over to the Senate for trial; but after his wife Plancina's case was separated from his, Piso was found with his throat cut, an apparent suicide. Germanicus' widow Agrippina began plotting against Tiberius.

Tiberius continued Augustus' policy of maintaining the empire without attempting to expand it. When Thrace became divided and one king murdered another in 19 CE, Rome intervened to put Rhoemetalces II on the throne and crushed uprisings in 21 and 25. Impoverished by taxation for the campaigns of Germanicus, Gauls rebelled in 21 CE. Sacrovir organized an army of 40,000 Aedui, but this was quelled by Roman legions from the Rhine. The revolt by Numidian Tacfarinas in Africa that began in 17 was finally defeated in 24 when Tacfarinas was killed.

In 19 CE the Senate prohibited relatives of Roman knights from engaging in prostitution and expelled 4,000 ex-slave Jews and votaries of Isis to suppress banditry in Sardinia; others had to stop practicing Jewish and Egyptian religions or leave Italy. When the Senate considered how to cut back extravagant spending and eating habits, Tiberius sent them a letter explaining that provincial resources supported the masters and slaves of the capital, supplementing Italy's agriculture. The historian Tacitus explained that extravagant eating eventually declined as rich families were often ruined if they did not adopt the frugal domestic habits of the self-made men. After sharing a consulship with his son Drusus, Tiberius got him tribunician power in 22 CE.

In Rome Sejanus had gained his father's old position as praetorian prefect, and the guards were gathered from Italy into new barracks at Rome in order to suppress the many conspiracies Tiberius suspected. The ambitious Sejanus seduced Livilla, wife of Drusus and sister of Germanicus. They arranged for the eunuch Lygdus to poison Drusus in 23 CE. Two years later the historian Cremutius Cordus starved himself to death after he was prosecuted for calling Julius Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius "the last of the Romans."

Tiberius retired from Rome to the island of Capri in 26 CE, and he never returned to the capital in the last decade of his imperial rule. 50,000 people were killed or mutilated at a gladiator show when the stadium built cheaply for profit by an ex-slave collapsed. Frisians had their cattle taxed so severely that they were driven into slavery and in 28 resorted to war by hanging soldiers who tried to collect tax. In 29 CE Sejanus got Tiberius and the Senate to banish Agrippina and her son Nero. Sejanus rose to be consul in 31; but Tiberius was alerted to his intrigues, and later that year Sejanus was denounced as a traitor and executed along with several of his political allies.

Tiberius became even harsher on suspected conspiracies, and a quarter of the estate could by won by anyone giving information resulting in conviction for treason. Trials held in the Senate did not always convict, and malicious prosecutions could rebound against false accusers. Many of the suspected committed suicide so that their property could be willed to relatives and their bodies could be given funerals. Suetonius wrote that a day did not go by without an execution, and sometimes there were as many as twenty, including women and children. After Tiberius learned that Drusus had been poisoned by Sejanus and Livilla, he became even more ruthless and cruel.

Eventually Agrippina and her two eldest sons were put to death or forced to commit suicide, while the youngest Gaius (Caligula) was kept at Capri, where apparently he and Tiberius were preoccupied with sexual and sadistic perversions. The leadership of the Roman empire was rapidly beginning to decay. In 33 CE Tiberius alleviated a currency crisis by establishing 100,000,000 sesterces for interest-free loans to debtors. In 37 Tiberius died and was replaced by Caligula.

Roman Decadence 37-96

Judea under Herod and Caesar


Having become king over Judea in 37 BC, Herod had his old patron Hyrcanus executed in 30 BC for conspiring with the Nabataean king. After defeating Antony and Cleopatra, Octavian Caesar (soon to become Augustus) gave his friend Herod 400 Gauls who had been Cleopatra's guards, and he added to his Judean kingdom Gadara, Hippus, Samaria, and the coastal towns Gaza, Anthedon, Joppa, and Strato's Tower. Even though he was passionately in love with her, Herod put his wife Mariamme on trial before the council for adultery and attempting to poison him; she was executed in 29 BC. Her mother Alexandra was also killed the next year after she attempted a rebellion. During the famine of 24 BC Herod improved his terrible reputation by providing grain he bought from Petronius, the Roman governor of Egypt. Basking in the friendship of Augustus and Marcus Agrippa, who was supervising Asia, Herod gained a tetrarchy for his brother Pheroras. After the death of Zenodorus, who had promoted banditry, Herod was given the territory between Trachonitis and Galilee. Exempt from paying tribute to Rome, Herod used taxes for extensive building; but customs including gladiator combats he promoted were criticized for being pagan and foreign; so he reduced taxes a third to gain goodwill. His spy system was extensive, and many dissidents were put to death.

In 20 BC Herod began rebuilding the temple at Jerusalem, and most of it was completed in a year and a half. In 17 BC Herod required his people to take a loyalty oath though he exempted the peaceful Essenes and the respected Pharisee Hillel. However, six thousand Apocalytpic Pharisees who refused were fined. Herod ordered a harbor to be constructed at Strato's Tower; the new city called Caesarea was completed in 10 BC and included colossal statues of Augustus as Olympian Jupiter and Rome as Juno. Herod's sister Salome and his brother Pheroras resented Mariamme's Hasmonean sons Aristobolus and Alexander, getting the king to recall Antipater, his oldest son by Doris. About 13 BC when Antipater was in Rome, Herod brought his sons Aristobolus and Alexander to be tried before Augustus, who managed to reconcile them, probably because they were innocent. Both Augustus and Agrippa recognized the right of Jews to send sacred money to Jerusalem, and they did not compel them to come before a judge on the Sabbath.

Herod had not allowed the Nabataean Sylleus to marry his sister Salome, because he would not convert to Judaism. When Herod returned from Rome, he found that the Arab government of Sylleus had been supporting robbers in Trachonitis. Herod had many of the robbers' relatives killed; this caused the robbers to do even more damage out of revenge. Herod insisted that Sylleus repay the sixty talents he had lent him for Obadas and to turn over the robbers. Sylleus did not, even though he was required to do so by Saturninus, the Roman governor in Syria. Instead Sylleus went to Rome and complained to Augustus that Herod's armies had killed 2,500 in a war on Arabians. So Herod sent as his ambassador Nicolaus of Damascus, who persuaded Augustus Caesar that the charges of Sylleus were false. Augustus condemned Sylleus to die and was reconciled with Herod.

Eurycles persuaded Herod to put Aristobolus and Alexander in chains, and by order of a council of Herod's friends and with Caesar's permission they were executed in 7 BC. Though Herod was deceived, the Jews blamed Antipater for his brothers' deaths. Some Pharisees were executed for prophesizing that the kingdom would come to Herod's brother Pheroras and his wife. When Pheroras died, his wife and Antipater were accused of poisoning him. After Antipater returned from Rome, he was prosecuted by Nicolaus for causing the deaths of his brothers Aristobolus and Alexander by his slanders and for plotting against other possible heirs of Herod; he was condemned by Herod and Varus, Roman legate of Syria. Herod put Antipater in chains and sent letters to Caesar about his crimes.

At the age of 70 Herod became ill. The rabbis Judas ben Sepphoraeus and Matthias ben Margalus persuaded some zealots to tear down the golden eagle over the great gate of the temple because it violated Mosaic law. Herod had those who climbed onto the roof and these rabbis burnt alive. Then near death Herod ordered prominent men in every village of Judea taken to the hippodrome with the mad idea of killing them after his death so that people would mourn and not be happy when he died. In misery Herod tried to stab himself, which caused Antipater to plot from his prison. This in turn led Herod to have Antipater executed five days before his own death in 4 BC. Salome wisely had the prisoners in the hippodrome released before the king's death was announced.

Herod's last will instructed his son Archelaus to take his ring to Caesar to approve his kingship. (Having had nine wives, Herod still had six surviving sons.) Archelaus promised to be kind to the people by reducing taxes; but some, protesting Herod's treatment of the rabbis and those removing the eagle, stoned the soldiers sent against them. So Archelaus sent in an army that killed about three thousand men. Archelaus sailed for Rome, and Varus returned to Antioch, while Roman prefect Sabinus went to Jerusalem and took 400 talents from the temple; his ruthless search for money stimulated increased revolts, causing Varus to bring Syria's other two Roman legions to besieged Judea. The Jewish rebel army fled Jerusalem as the people welcomed Varus. The Galilean Judas ben Ezekias and his followers took possession of the fortress in the Galilee capital Sepphoris. Varus set fire to it and sold the inhabitants as slaves, though Judas escaped. The Roman army rounded up and crucified about 2,000 rebels.

A delegation of Jews with petitions from thousands complained to Caesar that Herod had been tyrannical and impoverished their nation. According to Josephus they asked to govern themselves as part of the province of Syria. Antipas also traveled to Rome to claim the kingship, but Augustus confirmed Herod's last will by making Archelaus ethnarch over half of Herod's kingdom. Antipas, who had been left the kingdom in an earlier will, was made tetrarch of Galilee and Peraea, and Philip was left Gaulanitis, Trachonitis, Batanaea, and Panias. Archelaus was criticized for marrying his sister-in-law Glaphyra after she bore children to his brother Alexander, because it was considered a violation of Mosaic law. After ten years of rule Archelaus was banished by Augustus Caesar to Vienne in Gaul when Jews complained he had treated them brutally.

In 6 CE Augustus sent Coponius as prefect to Judea with the power of inflicting capital punishment, while Syrian governor Quirinius ordered a census of the population in order to tax everyone 12 years and older and to levy income tax on cattle and crops. The Galilean Judas called this taxation slavery and raised a revolt. His party of Zealots accepted Zadok's belief that to obey Roman law was to disregard the laws of God; they called for a republic under God. A few Samaritans tried to pollute the temple by throwing in human bones; this increased hatred and caused temple authorities to exclude Samaritans. Valerius Gratus governed Judea for Rome from 15 CE to 26. Herod Antipas built a city named after Tiberius near Lake Gennesaret, where he had his court 24-26 CE, but it was shunned for having been a battlefield. Philip constructed Caesarea Philippi near the source of the Jordan and ruled until 33 CE. Sejanus recommended Tiberius appoint Pontius Pilate, who was sent to Judea in 26 CE and governed there for ten years. Pilate introduced Caesar's images on ensigns into the city but had to remove them after many Jews were willing to die in protest. He also aroused a demonstration when he took money from the temple to construct an aqueduct. He sent soldiers disguised as Jews to disperse the crowd by killing and wounding many.

Josephus described three main sects of Jews as the Pharisees, Sadducees, and the Essenes, plus a fourth he called the Zealots. The majority followed the Pharisees, who believed the soul is immortal and that the human will can act virtuously or viciously; the latter are imprisoned after death but the former live again. In this era the greatest of the Pharisee rabbis (teachers) were Hillel and Shammai. The disciples of Hillel were known for being peaceful and gentle with the conciliatory spirit exemplified by their liberal master. The followers of Shammai had the stern severity and strictness of their conservative teacher. The school of Hillel found Roman taxation so unjustifiable that they found ways to escape it. When a man came to Shammai and asked to be instructed in the whole law while standing on one foot, Shammai sent him away. To the same request Hillel welcomed him with the golden rule that he should not do to others what he thought hateful to himself. This being the whole law, he urged him to go and study.

Born in Babylon, Hillel came to Judea and began teaching about 30 BC. He introduced the principle of intention to discussions of the law, noting the differences between an event that is incidental and a conscious action. For example, there is a difference between falling off a bridge and jumping. Furthermore one may jump with the intention of swimming or with the purpose of drowning. Hillel urged people to love peace, cherish humanity, and bring people closer to the law. He warned that those who publicize their own name lose it, and those who do not increase knowledge, diminish it. Using one's talent for selfish purposes is spiritual suicide. He asked if he cannot rely on himself, on whom can he rely? If he is selfish, what good is he? If the time is not now, when is it? He advised not condemning anyone until you have stood in their place. He said that more flesh means more worms, more wealth more worry, more women more witchcraft, more concubines more lechery, more slaves more thievery, more law more life, more study more wisdom, more counsel more enlightenment, and more justice more peace. The liberal teachings of Hillel dominated Jewish culture for more than five centuries. Except for the sexism they must have been a beneficial influence.

The Sadducees did not believe in any life after death; they also believed people choose good or evil and that fate plays no role at all; and they followed the law as closely as they could. The few aristocratic Sadducees when in positions of authority had to listen to the ideas of the Pharisees though because of the people.

The Essenes taught immortality of souls and greatly emphasized virtue and its rewards. They did not offer sacrifices but had their own rites of purification. They shared their possessions in common so that none were rich or poor. Josephus estimated there were about four thousand Essenes who did not marry nor keep servants. Other people's children could join their community after probationary periods lasting three years. They refrained from pleasure-seeking as a vice and regarded mastery of passions a virtue. Their leaders were elected by everyone in the community. They emphasized silence and temperance in eating and drinking. Only in personal aid and charity were they allowed to go outside their leaders' instructions. They believed in speaking truthfully but not in swearing by God. After revering God comes justice and not harming any person of one's own accord or by another's bidding. The Essenes believed in keeping faith with all people and obeying rulers ordained by God. Stealing was forbidden, and they did not participate in armed robbery. They were expected not to hide anything from the group nor to give away the group's secrets. Cases were tried by juries of at least one hundred, and offenders might be expelled. Josephus attributed their living a century or longer to their simple life, and he noted there was a second sect of Essenes that did believe in marriage.

Essene Community by the Dead Sea

In 1947 writings were found at Qumran by the Dead Sea of an ancient community called Secacah most likely of Essenes, the Greek term used by Josephus, Philo, and the elder Pliny (23-79), who described them as follows:

On the west side of the Dead Sea, away from the coast,
where there are harmful vapors,
lives the solitary tribe of the Essenes.
This tribe is remarkable beyond all others in the whole world,
because it has no women, has rejected sexual desires,
is without money and has only the company of palm-trees.
Day by day the crowd of refugees is renewed
by hordes of people tired of life
and driven there by the waves of fortune to adopt their customs.
Thus through thousands of ages-incredible to relate-
the race in which no one is born lives for ever;
so fruitful for them is other men's dissatisfaction with life!13

Calling themselves sons of Zadok, this community began in the second century BC and flourished until there was a major earthquake, which may have been the one mentioned by Josephus in 31 BC. The community was restored during the reign of Archelaus (4 BC-6 CE) but was destroyed in the war with the Romans in 68 CE.

The Community Rule may have been written in the late 2nd century BC and probably regulated the community until the end. It begins with the admonition to seek God with one's entire heart and soul, doing what is good and right as commanded by Moses and all the prophets in order to abstain from evil and hold to the good; truth and justice are emphasized. The community is advised to love the children of light and hate the children of darkness. Those devoted to the truth should bring all their knowledge, abilities, and possessions to the community of God in order to purify their knowledge, order their abilities according to God's ways, and use their possessions according to wise counsel. Thus sins may be expiated in contemplating the light of life in the spirit of justice and humility, as one is cleansed by the spirit of holiness. Those coming from the truth they identified as from the light, those from falsehood as springing from darkness.

The ways of enlightening the human heart involved making straight the paths of true justice and revering the laws of God in a spirit of humility, patience, charity, goodness, understanding, and intelligence. Wisdom trusts God and depends on His loving kindness. The counsels of the spirit to the children of truth in this world are a spirit of discernment in every purpose, zeal for just laws, holy intent with a steadfast heart, charity to all who are of the truth, purity which detests unclean idols, humble conduct sprung from understanding, and faithfully concealing the mysteries of truth. The ways of the false spirit are greed, slackness in the search for justice, lies, pride, deceit, cruelty, bad temper, folly, insolence, lustful deeds, unclean lewdness, blasphemy, blindness, deafness, stubbornness, and heaviness of heart.

Rules are defined for the community of those who have freely pledged themselves to be converted from all evil and to cling to all God's commandments according to divine will. They shall practice in common truth and humility, justice, uprightness, charity, and modesty. They shall rebuke one another but in truth, humility, and charity, not in anger, ill temper, stubbornly, or with envy. Instead of letting hate develop, one should rebuke another on the same day so the other will not develop guilt. One should admonish another before witnesses before accusing a companion before the congregation. Those of lesser rank in the community were to obey the greater in matters of work and money. In common they ate, prayed, and deliberated. After two years of training one may be examined and, if the congregation agrees, enter the community, merging one's property then and offering counsel to the community. Violation of the strict rules might result in penance for ten days for interrupting a companion or for as long as a year for deliberately lying about property or for insulting a companion. They resolved not to pay anyone recompense for evil but to pursue goodness, because God is the judge of all the living and will render people their rewards. They refrained from envy and did not desire the riches of violence.

The Damascus Rule may have been written about 100 BC and refers to an age of wrath 390 years after God gave the people of Israel into the hands of Babylonian king Nebuchadrezzar in 587 BC. Since the Alexandrian Jew Demetrius miscalculated the time from this event to the accession of Ptolemy IV in 221 BC by 28 years. Adjusting for the likely repetition of this error would put the "age of wrath" in 169 BC, certainly a time of turmoil in Judea when Antiochus IV Epiphanes tried to replace Judaism with Hellenic religion. The predecessors of the Essenes apparently began about this time. According to the Damascus Rule after twenty years of groping like the blind, a teacher of justice arose to guide them and make known to them the traitors led by a scoffer who lied to them. Seeking smooth things and illusions they justified the wicked and condemned the just, pursuing them with the sword. According to Qumran texts the teacher of justice opposed the wicked priest and was persecuted and exiled. The wicked priest visited the teacher of justice; but because of the iniquity he did to this teacher and his counsel, the wicked priest was delivered into the hands of his enemies, who took vengeance on his body. This wicked priest has been identified by some scholars as the Maccabean high priest Jonathan, who was captured and killed in 142 BC.

The Damascus Rule states that God became angry and ravaged many. The God of wisdom made known to them the Holy Spirit by his anointed ones and proclaimed the truth. The sons of Zadok would stand at the end of days. God forgave the holy, who justified the just and condemned the wicked.

And until the age is completed,
according to the number of those years,
all who enter after them shall do according to that interpretation
of the Law in which the first were instructed.
According to the Covenant which God made with the forefathers,
forgiving their sins, so shall He forgive their sins also.
But when the age is completed,
according to the number of those years,
there shall be no more joining the house of Judah,
but each man shall stand on his watchtower.14

Satan shall unleash his three nets of fornication, riches, and profanation of the temple. The text refers to converts of Israel sojourning in the land of Damascus. During the age of wickedness they should take care to act according to the Law, love each person as oneself and help the poor, needy, and strangers. They should keep from fornication and rebuke their brothers without rancor. They expected a Messiah to come out of Aaron and Israel. They practiced purification by water. No one should shed the blood of a Gentile for riches and gain. Priests should be between the ages of thirty and sixty and be learned in the Book of Meditation as well as in all the judgments of the Law. The earnings of two days out of the month should be given to the fatherless, the poor, the needy, the aged sick, the homeless, the captives of foreign people, and virgins with no kin.

Later texts reflect changed conditions after the Romans took control of Judea following the brutal civil wars over the throne. A rule for the sons of Zadok in the last days refers to the coming of a Messiah, who shall extend his hand over the bread and bless all the congregation of the community. The War Rule also probably written during the Roman period unleashed the attack of the sons of light against the sons of darkness and the army of Satan. This document expresses the hope of salvation for the people of God with dominion and destruction for all the company of Satan. God's "greatness shall shine eternally to the peace, blessing, glory, joy, and long life of all the sons of light"15 after battle destroys the sons of darkness. This degeneration from the spiritual dualism into a call for the massive violence of war would eventually lead to the revolt against Rome and the demise of the Essene community.

Jesus and His Apostles

Philo of Alexandria

Philo Judaeus lived in Alexandria, Egypt and died about 45 CE, but it is not known when he was born. Josephus wrote that Philo was from a most noble family. Philo's brother Alexander Lysimachus was Alexandria's tax administrator and extremely wealthy. Philo's extensive writings make it apparent that he was well educated in Greek culture and Jewish customs. He acknowledged his secular studies of grammar, geometry, and music, but he considered philosophy practiced in the service of God the highest pursuit. Philo was much influenced by Plato and other Greek philosophers. He agreed with Socrates that the only thing we can truly know is our own ignorance, because God alone is wise. To the four cardinal virtues of wisdom, justice, courage, and temperance, he added religious faith and humanity, making repentance a virtue also. Philo emphasized the value of equality and traced it back to Moses' concept of justice. Although he criticized mob rule, Philo believed any form of government could be democratic if it treated all people as equal before the law. He suggested that the goal of history is to unite the whole world in a single state under a democratic constitution.

A treatise he wrote to "prove that every person who is virtuous is also free" suggests that slavery of the soul to vices and passions is worse than slavery of the body to a master. Similarly the freedom of mastering the passions is better than physical security. In truth only the one who has God alone for a leader is free and may be a leader of others. If desires are what enslave, why is a wise person not enslaved by desires too? Philo's brilliant answer is that the wise desire only virtue or what comes from virtue. Since the wise are virtuous, they cannot fail to attain their aim. Philo exhorted his readers to fix their affections on truth, the holiest of possessions instead of on idle fancies related to citizenship, race, ownership, and physical matters; study the nature of the soul.

For if the soul is driven by desire, or enticed by pleasure,
or diverted from its course by fear, or shrunken by grief,
or helpless in the grip of anger,
it enslaves itself and makes him whose soul it is
a slave to a host of masters.
But if it vanquishes ignorance with good sense,
incontinence with self-control,
cowardice with courage and covetousness with justice,
it gains not only freedom from slavery
but the gift of ruling as well.16

In the outside world Philo noted the wisdom of the Persian Magi and the virtue of the naked philosophers of India; but he described the Essenes of Palestinian Syria in detail. For Philo the Essenes were above all others in devoted service to God, not sacrificing animals, but studying to keep their minds holy and pure. They do not store up silver or gold, but he believed their contentment and frugality made those poor rich. They avoid any inducements to coveting and have no slaves, helping each other and condemning masters as unjust and a corruption of the principle of equality. Wishing to surpass others in fortune causes alienation of affection and hatred instead of friendship.

Philo noted that the Essenes devote their attention to moral philosophy, especially on the seventh day, using divine laws as instruction. The three criteria for what is right they use are the love of God, the love of virtue, and the love of humanity. The first involves a pure life, avoiding oaths and falsehood, and looking on God as the cause of all good and no evil. Their virtues involve abstaining from coveting, ambition, and indulging in pleasures, and positive qualities include temperance, endurance, moderation, simplicity, good temper, humility, obeying laws, and steadiness. Love of humanity means goodwill, equality, and fellowship. The Essenes put their wages into a common stock to be available to all; the sick were thus not neglected. Philo observed that even cruel tyrants and hypocritical oppressors could not bring accusations against the holy Essenes, because their traditions of eating together and fellowship were well respected.

In another passage on the Essenes from his "Defense of the Jews" Philo reported that they did not take wives because they considered them selfish and jealous, beguiling the morals of the husband. Children are likely to become a person's first care, and then one does not treat other children the same; thus a person passes from freedom into slavery.

Philo also wrote about the Jewish sect of the therapeutae or healers in a "Treatise on a Contemplative Life." They call themselves that because they aim to heal souls of their passions and vices by mastering pleasures, appetites, fears, griefs, covetousness, injustice, and other follies. They believe that undue care for money wastes time, which should be economized because, as Hippocrates said, life is short, and art is long. They pray at sunrise and sunset, and the daytime is devoted to meditation and the practice of virtue. They consult the writings of many ancient men and use allegorical interpretations for philosophical meaning.

For six days each week individuals retire in solitude in monasteries, but on the seventh day they meet in sacred assembly in a chamber dividing the men from the women. They do not eat meat but bread with salt only to assuage hunger and drink water just to alleviate thirst. They consider wine folly and note that costly seasonings and sauces excite desire, the most insatiable of all beasts. In their clothing they also practice simplicity. The origin of their simplicity is truth, and they consider falsehood the basis of pride. Philo contrasted them to athletes, who won victories in the daytime but drank wine and committed insults and injuries at night, criticizing those imitating the luxury and extravagance of the Italians. Referring to banquets described by Plato and Xenophon, Philo disapproved of the Greeks' practice of promiscuous homosexual love as taking away courage and making them feminine men. Philo preferred these who follow the precepts of Moses. The therapeutae do not use slaves, but the younger serve the older. They sing sacred songs, which gives them a beautiful experience of intoxication though it makes them more awake and sharper in understanding.

Philo affirmed love of peace and hatred of war in his essay "On the Confusion of Tongues." Those who rejoice in oneness reverence the concert of virtues and live calmly. Yet this life is not idle but one of high courage in fighting against those who attempt to break treaties. Men may plunder, rob, kidnap, spoil, sack, outrage, maltreat, violate, dishonor, and murder by treachery; but in war they do so without disguise if they are stronger. People aiming at money or reputation direct all their actions like arrows against a target, disregarding equity while pursuing what is unjust. In the pursuit of wealth fellowship is turned aside for hatred; benevolence becomes hypocrisy and flattery. One becomes the enemy of friendship and truth, a defender of falsehood, slow to help, quick to harm, ready to slander, reluctant to champion the accused, clever at cheating, faithless to one's promise, a slave of anger, enthralled by pleasure, protecting the bad, and corrupting the good.

Yet Philo believed that even if we are not yet fit to become children of God, we may become children of its invisible image, the most holy Word (Logos). Philo observed that humans are the only creature who, knowing good and evil, may choose the worse and may be convicted of deliberate and pre-meditated sin. He believed that God is the cause of all good but of nothing that is bad; the province of evil things God gave to the angels. Philo concluded that confusion is an appropriate name for vice as can be seen in every fool. Yet the work of God is to bring everyone in full harmony with the virtues.

Philo suggested exposing the worthless person of wealth not by refusing abundance; but instead of wasting money on vices, one could use it for good purposes by contributing to needy friends and one's country, providing dowries for poor families, and putting private property into a common stock to share it with all deserving of kindness. Instead of being conceited, honor can be used to help worthy people secure better positions and to improve the worse by counsel. At a banquet one can be a good example of moderation. In philosophy Philo compared logic to the walls and fences that protect the plants, but he found the fruit in ethics.

Philo wrote long works on the ten commandments and the special laws of Moses. This led him into a discussion of the virtues. He considered piety the queen of the virtues; he discussed wisdom and temperance, warning against desire that can stimulate many crimes and follies. In turning to justice he believed a judge should be permeated by pure justice. In trying a case the judge should realize that he is on trial too and must assign what each deserves without being affected by supplication and lamentation. The first instruction is not to accept idle hearing, what today is called "hearsay" evidence. The second is not to accept any gifts even from the just side of a case. Philo's third instruction is to scrutinize the facts rather than the litigants in order to be impartial. In addition the judge should not pity a poor person in giving judgment, though in private life one is encouraged to give to the poor. Philo considered equality the mother of justice and a spiritual sun.

In his essay "On the Virtues" Philo began with courage by which he meant knowledge not "the rabid war fever which takes anger for its counselor."17 He found the reckless daring in war that slaughters many antagonists not a noble achievement but a savage and bestial practice. Others live on enduring sickness, poverty, and old age, yet healthy in soul with high-minded and staunch valor; never dreaming of touching weapons of defense, they render the highest service to the commonwealth by their excellent advice guided by unflinching consideration of what is beneficial to restore the life of each individual in their country's public life. Those who train themselves in wisdom cultivate true courage. Wise temperance also preserves the health of the soul by preserving one's powers. Philo considered philanthropy or humanity the sister virtue to piety. Moses did not allow himself to be swayed by family affection to favor his own connections. Philo also believed this love extended from people to animals and even to plants, and he gave numerous examples from the laws of Moses how all creatures are to be respected.

Philo found arrogance to be vice as treating others worse out of pride. Repentance is a useful virtue in rectifying things that have gone wrong. To convert from sin to a blameless life shows wisdom. On the political level Philo hoped to see mob-rule transformed into democracy in which good order is observed. Philo aimed at the integration of mouth, heart, and hand by having words, actions, and intentions correspond to each other. He held that nobility depends on the acquisition of virtue, not on merely being born to excellent parents. Women may aspire to this nobility also by unlearning the errors of their breeding. Philo could find no more mischievous doctrine than believing that justice would not avenge the wickedness of the children of good parents or that honor will not be the reward of good actions by children of the wicked. The law assesses every person on their own merits.

In an essay "On Rewards and Punishments" Philo observed how blessings come to those who fulfill the laws by their actions, for God glorifies and rewards moral excellence that is divine. He noted that pride as the adversary of truth can be hard to remove, though it can be subdued by a stronger power. God is perceived by itself alone just as light enables one to see everything else. To those who acquire wisdom by meditation and practice, sight is given. After the practice of youth comes the contemplation of old age, for nothing good can be done without contemplation based on knowledge.

Philo believed deeply in providence and defended it in a dialog with his nephew Alexander. Philo argued that God does not always immediately punish vice just as a loving parent has pity on a prodigal child, hoping for reform. Also the bad may seem to prosper because what the world values as good is not the same as what is good spiritually in God's view. He cited the example of Socrates, who in poverty never sought wealth but considered only virtue as good. Philo gave the examples of tyrants like Polycrates who suffered a miserable death and Dionysius of Sicily who lived constantly in fear. Dionysius invited one who asserted the happiness of the tyrant's life to dinner and suspended a sharp ax over his head by a thread. Too anxious to enjoy the feast, the guest would not sit on the throne. Many have been punished for committing sacrilegious robberies. Philo argued that earthquakes, pestilences, and thunderbolts are natural events not caused by God's wrath, because God causes nothing evil. The wisest humans are not impelled to feast on animals like savage beasts.

Philo wrote about Flaccus, the Roman governor of Egypt from 32 to 38 CE. The trouble began during the visit of Herod Agrippa on his way to fulfill his kingship of Philip's tetrarchy to which the new emperor Gaius Caligula had appointed him. Anti-Semitic Alexandrians made fun of Herod Agrippa by saluting a lunatic in the gymnasium as a king; then they desecrated synagogues with images of Caligula. Philo complained that the governor allowed this even though with a million Jews in Alexandria and Egypt, there was a danger that such behavior could spread. Flaccus issued a proclamation denouncing Jews as aliens. He even allowed mobs to pillage the Jews as though they were sacking a city. Jewish senators were flogged. Usually at the time of the Emperor's birthday they were allowed to take down the bodies of the crucified, but instead Flaccus ordered the crucifixion of the living. Philo noted that a search for weapons among the Jews found none. A month later Flaccus was accused by Isidorus and Lampo; these two had previously urged him to persecute Jews and had perverted justice. After being convicted in a trial Flaccus had his property confiscated and was exiled from Rome. Later Caligula, believing those in exile had it too easy, ordered Flaccus and several others killed.

Philo wrote about his diplomatic mission to Emperor Caligula in his Embassy to Gaius. Philo observed that the beginning of Caligula's reign began with great optimism; but after the sorrow of the Emperor's sickness, the rejoicing over his recovery was soon soured by the forced suicides of Tiberius Gemellus and Macro and the murder of Caligula's father-in-law Silanus. Excuses for these crimes soon gave way to consternation over Caligula's claims to divinity. Philo noted that the Emperor could not compare well to the labors of Heracles, the gifts of Dionysus, the missions of Hermes, the healing and prophecy of Apollo, nor Ares protecting the weak. The Jews particularly resented his claim to godship, and the Alexandrians used this to conduct the pogrom described in Flaccus. In contrast Philo praised the rulership of Augustus and his respect for Jewish institutions. A slave named Helicon helped to delude Caligula into believing the Alexandrians really worshipped him.

Philo was one of five Jewish ambassadors, who tried to conciliate Caligula; but they were ignored. News arrived that the Emperor had ordered a statue of himself installed in the temple at Jerusalem; that followed after the Jews destroyed an altar set up by the Jamneians. Rome's Syrian governor Petronius tried to conciliate the Jews. Jews said they would rather die and asked to send another embassy to the Emperor. Instead Petronius tried to delay the project with a letter. Caligula got angry and insisted the statue be completed soon. Herod Agrippa arrived in Rome but collapsed before the Emperor. After recovering, Agrippa wrote Caligula a long letter to plead for the Jews. This persuaded the Emperor to cancel his order, but he pursued alternate strategies. Finally Philo's embassy was presented to Caligula, but he dismissed them as fools without really listening to their concerns. The part of Philo's work that described how Caligula suffered for his wickedness is lost.


1. Cassius Dio, Roman History 56:16 tr. Ian Scott-Kilvert.
2. Virgil, The Aeneid 6:608-615 tr. W. F. Jackson Knight.
3. Ibid., 6:659-664.
4. Ibid., 6:832-836.
5. Horace, Satire 1:1:92-94 tr. Niall Rudd.
6. Ibid., 1:4:134-138.
7. Ibid., 2:7:83-88.
8. Horace, Odes 3:24:41-53 tr. John Marshall.
9. Horace, Epistle 1:1:59-60 tr. Niall Rudd.
10. Ibid., 1:2:40-41.
11. Ovid, The Art of Love 2:108-109 tr. Rolphe Humphries.
12. Ovid, Metamorphoses 4:423-431 tr. Mary M. Innes.
13. Pliny the Elder, Natural History 5:73 tr. John F. Healy.
14. The Damascus Rule IV tr. G. Vermes, The Dead Sea Scrolls in English, p. 100-101.
15. The War Rule I, Ibid., p. 124.
16. Philo, "Every Good Man Is Free" 159, tr. F. H. Colson.
17. Philo, "On the Virtues" 1, tr. F. H. Colson.

Copyright © 1999-2004 by Sanderson Beck

This chapter has been published in the book ROMAN EMPIRE 30 BC to 610. For ordering information, please click here.


Empire of Augustus and Tiberius
Jesus and His Apostles
Roman Decadence 37-96
Rome Under Better Emperors 96-180
Roman Empire In Turmoil 180-285
Roman Power and Christian Conflict 285-395
Augustine and the Fall of Rome 395-476
Goths, Franks, and Justinian's Empire 476-610
Summary and Evaluation


World Chronology 30 BC to 750 CE
Chronology of Europe to 1400

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