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Antiochus, throwing off the mask, no longer used the tender and affectionate expressions, of which he had till then been so ostentatiously lavish, but declared himself at once an enemy to both. He told the ambassadors that he insisted upon having the island of Cyprus, with the city of Pelusium, and all the land along the arm of the Nile on which it was situated, resigned to him for ever; assuring them that he was determined to conclude a peace upon no other conditions. He also fixed a day for a final answer to his demand.
The time being elapsed, and the satisfaction he pretended to require not being made, he began hostilities; penetrated as far as Memphis, subjecting the whole country through which he passed; and there received the submission of almost all the rest of the kingdom. He afterwards marched towards Alexandria, with design to besiege that city, the possession of which would have made him absolute master of all Egypt. He would certainly have succeeded in his enterprise, had he not been checked in his career by the Roman embassy, which broke all the measures he had been so long taking, in order to possess him. self of Egypt.
We before observed, that the ambassadors who were nominated to go to Egypt, had left Rome with the utmost diligence. They landed at Alexandria, just at the time Antiochus was marching to besiege it. The ambassadors came up with him at Eleusine, which was not a mile from Alexandria. The king seeing Popilius, with whom he had been intimately acquainted at Rome, when he was an hostage in that city, opened his arms to embrace him as his old friend. The Roman, who did not consider himself on that occasion as a private man, but a servant of the public, desired to know, before he answered his compliment, whether he spoke to a friend, or an enemy of Rome. He then gave him the decree of the senate, bid him read it over, and return him an immediate answer. Antiochus, after perusing it, said, that he would examine the contents of it with his friends, and give his answer in a short time. Popilius, enraged at the king for talking of delays, drew, with a wand he held in his hand, a circle round Antiochus, and then raising his voice," answer," says he, "the senate, before you stir out of that circle." The king, quite confounded at so haughty an order, after a moment's reflection, replied, that he would act according to the desire of the senate. Popilius
• Turnebius and H. Valesius think that we should read, in Livy, "Eleusinem" instead of "Leusinem."
then received his civilities, and behaved afterwards in all respects as an old friend. * How effectual was this blunt loftiness of sentiments and expression! The Roman with a few words strikes terror into the king of Syria, and saves the king of Egypt.
The circumstance which made the one so bold, and the other so submissive, was the news that arrived just before of the great victory gained by the Romans over Perseus king of Macedonia. From that instant every thing gave way before them; and the Roman name grew formidable to all princes and nations.
Antiochus having left Egypt at the time stipulated, Popilius returned with his colleagues to Alexandria, where he signed the treaty of union between the two brothers, which had not been executed before. He then crossed into Cyprus; sent home Antiochus's fleet, which had gained a victory over that of the Egyp tians restored the whole island to the kings of Egypt, whe laid a just claim to it; and returned to Rome in order to acquaint the senate with the success of his embassy.
Ambassadors from Antiochus, the two Ptolemies and Cleopa. tra their sister, arrived there almost at the same time. The former said, "that the peace which the senate had been pleas"ed to grant their sovereign, appeared to him more glorious "than the most splendid conquests; and that he had obeyed the "commands of the Roman ambassadors as strictly as if they had "been sent from the gods." How grovelling, and, at the same time, how impious was all this! They afterwards congratulated the Romans on the victory they had gained over Perseus. The rest of the ambassadors declared, in the like extravagant strain, "that the two Ptolemies and Cleopatra thought themselves "bound in as great obligations to the senate and people of "Rome as to their parents, and even to the gods; having been "delivered, by the protection which Rome had granted them, ❝ from a very grievous siege, and re-established on the throne of "their ancestors, of which they had been almost entirely dispos “sessed." The senate answered, “that Antiochus acted wise❝ly in paying obedience to the ambassadors; and that the peo "ple and senate of Rome were pleased with him for it." Methinks this is carrying the spirit of haughtiness as high as possi ble. With regard to Ptolemy and Cleopatra, it was answered, "that the senate were very much pleased with the opportunity "of doing them some service; and that they would endeavour "to make them sensible that they ought to look upon the friend.
* Quam efficax est animi sermonisque abscissa gravitas! Eodem momento Syriæ regnum terruit, Ægypti texit. Val. Max. l. vi. c. 4·
"ship and protection of the Romans, as the most solid support "of their kingdom." The prætor was then ordered to make the ambassadors the usual presents.
ANTIOCHUS'S PROCEEDINGS AGAINST THE JEWS.-HI
ANTIOCHUS, at his return from Egypt, exasperated to see himself forcibly dispossessed by the Romans, of a crown which he looked upon already as his own, made the Jews, though they had not offended him in any manner, feel the whole weight of his wrath. In his march through Palestine, he detached 22,000 men, the command of whom he gave to Apollonius, with orders to destroy the city of Jerusalem.
Apollonius arrived there just two years after this city had been taken by Antiochus. At his first coming, he did not behave in any manner as if he had received such cruel orders, and waited till the first day of the sabbath before he executed them; but then, seeing all the people assembled peaceably in the synagogues, and paying their religious worship to the Crea tor, he put in execution the barbarous commission he had received; and setting all his troops upon them, commanded them to cut to pieces all the men, and to seize all the women and children, in order that they might be exposed to sale. These commands were obeyed with the utmost cruelty and rigour. Not a single man was spared; all they could find being cruelly butchered, insomuch that every part of the city streamed with blood. The city was afterwards plundered, and fire set to several parts of it, after all the rich moveables had been carried off. They demolished such parts of the houses as were still standing; and, with the ruins, built a strong fort on the top of one of the hills of the city of David, opposite to the temple, which it commanded. They threw a strong garrison into it, to awe the whole Jewish nation; they made it a good place of arms, furnished with good magazines, where they deposited all the spoils taken in the plunder of the city.
From hence the garrison fell on all who came to worship the true God in the temple, and shed their blood on every part of the sanctuary, which they polluted by all possible methods.
* A. M. 3836. Ant. J. C. 168. 1 Maccab, i. 30-40. and ii, ver. 24-27. Joseph. Antiq. 1. xii. c. 7.
A stop was put to both morning and evening sacrifices, not one of the servants of the true God daring to come and adore him there.
* As soon as Antiochus was returned to Antioch, he pub. lished a decree, by which the several nations in his dominions were commanded to lay aside their ancient religious ceremonies, and their particular usages; to profess the same religion with the king, and to worship the same gods, and after the same manner as he did. This decree, though expressed in general terms, glanced nevertheless chiefly at the Jews, whom he was absolutely determined to extirpate, as well as their religion.
In order that this edict might be punctually executed, he sent intendants into all the provinces of his empire, who were commanded to see it put in execution, and to instruct the people in all the ceremonies and customs to which they were to conform.
The Gentiles obeyed with no great reluctance. Though they seemed not to have been affected with the change of their worship, or gods, they however were not very well pleased with this innovation of religious matters. No people seemed more eager to comply with the orders of the court than the Samaritans. They presented a petition to the king, in which they declared themselves not to be Jews; and desired that their temple, built on mount Gerizim, which, till then, had not been dedicated to any deity in particular†, might henceforwards be dedicated to the Grecian Jupiter, and be called after his name. Antiochus received their petition very graciously, and ordered Nicanor, deputy governor of the province of Samaria, to dedicate their temple to the Grecian Jupiter, as they had desired, and not to molest them in any manner.
But the Samaritans were not the only apostates who forsook their God and their law in this trial. Several Jews, either to escape the persecution, to ingratiate themselves with the king and his officers, or else from inclination and libertinism, changed also their religion. From these different motives many fell from Israel; and several of those who had once taken this wicked step, joining themselves with the king's forces, became (as is but too common) greater persecutors of their unhappy
* 1 Maccab. i. 41-64. & 2 Maccab. vi 1-7. Joseph. Antiq. I. xii. c. 7.
+ They expressed themselves in that manner, because the mighty name of the God of israel," Jehovah," was never uttered by the Jews. 1 Maccab. vi. 21-24.
brethren than the heathens themselves employed to execute this barbarous commission.
The intendant, who was sent into Judea and Samaria to see the king's decree punctually obeyed, was called Athenæus, a man advanced in years, and extremely well versed in all the ceremonies of the Grecian idolatry, who, for that reason, was judged a fit person to invite those nations to join in it. As soon as he arrived in Jerusalem, he began by putting a stop to the sacrifices which were offered up to the God of Israel, and suppressing all the observances of the Jewish law. They polluted the temple in such a manner that it was no longer fit for the service of God; profaned the sabbaths and other festivals; forbid the circumcision of children; carried off and burned all the copies of the law wherever they could find them; abolished all the ordinances of God in every part of the coun try; and put to death whoever was found to have acted contrary to the decree of the king. The Syrian soldiers, and the intendant who commanded over them, were the chief instru. ments by which the Jews were converted to the religion-professed by the sovereign.
To establish it the sooner in every part of the nation, altars and chapels filled with idols were erected in every part of the city, and sacred groves were planted. They set officers over these, who caused all the people in general to offer sacrifices in them every month, the day of the month on which the king was born, who made them eat swine's flesh, and other unclean animals sacrificed there.
* One of these officers, Apelles by name, came to Modin, the residence of Mattathias, of the sacerdotal race, a venerable man, and extremely zealous for the law of God. He was son to John, and grandson to Simon, from whose father, Asmoneus, the family was called Asmoneans. With him were his five sons, all brave men, and fired with as ardent a zeal for the law of God as himself. These were Joannan, surnamed Gaddis ; Simon, surnamed Thasi; Judas, surnamed Maccabeus; Elea zar, called Abaron; and Jonathan, called Apphus. Being ar rived in Modin, Apelles assembled the inhabitants, and explained to them the purport of his commission. Directing himself afterwards to Mattathias, he endeavoured to persuade him to conform to the king's orders; in hopes that the conversion of so venerable a man would induce all the rest of the inhabitants to follow his example. He promised, that in case of his compli
* 1 Maccab. ii, 1-30. Joseph, Antiq. 1. xii. c. 8,