Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: Series II/Volume XI/Sulpitius Severus/Sacred History/Book II/Chapter 26

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Chapter XXVI.

Well, then, after Jonathan, his brother Simon, as has been said above, ruled over the Hebrews with the power of high-priest. For that honor was then bestowed upon him both by his own countrymen and by the Roman people. He began to rule over his countrymen in the second year of king Demetrius, but eight years afterwards, being deceived by a plot of Ptolemy, he met his death. He was succeeded by his son John. And he, on the ground that he had fought with distinction against the Hyrcani, a very powerful nation, received the surname of Hyrcanus. He died, after having held the supreme power for twenty-six years. After him, Aristobulus being appointed high-priest, was the first of all living after the captivity to assume the name of king, and to have a crown placed upon his head. At the close of a year, he died. Then Alexander, his son, who was both king and high-priest, reigned twenty-seven years; but I have found nothing in his doings worthy of mention, except his cruelty. He having left two young sons named Aristobulus and Hyrcanus, Salina or Alexandra, his wife, held the sovereignty for three years. After his decease, frightful conflicts about the supreme power arose between the two brothers. And first of all, Hyrcanus held the government; but being by and by defeated by his brother Aristobulus, he

fled to Pompey. That Roman general, having finished the war with Mithridates, and settled Armenia and Pontus, being, in fact, the conqueror of all the nations which he had visited, desired to march inwards,[1] and to add all the neighboring regions to the Roman empire. He therefore inquired into the causes of the war, and the means of obtaining[2] the mastery. Accordingly he readily received Hyrcanus, and, under his guidance, attacked the Jews; but when the city was taken and destroyed, he spared the temple. He sent Aristobulus in chains to Rome, and restored the right of the high-priesthood to Hyrcanus. Settling the tribute to be paid by the Jews, he placed over them as governor a certain Antipater of Askelon. Hyrcanus held the chief power for thirty-four years; but while he carried on war against the Parthians, he was taken prisoner.


  1. “Introrsum,” towards home; another reading is “ultrorsum,” farther onwards.
  2. “vincendi”: others read “incendii.”