Antiochus soon after lost his life through the artifice of the emir Sampsiceramus, as whose client he played the ruler in Antioch; thenceforth there is no further mention of these mock-kings and their pretensions.

Military Pacification Of Syria

But, to establish the new Roman government and introduce any tolerable order into the confusion of affairs, it was further necessary to advance into Syria with a military force and to terrify or subdue all the disturbers of the peace, who had sprung up during the many years of anarchy, by means of the Roman legions. Already during the campaigns in the kingdom of Pontus and on the Caucasus Pompeius had turned his attention to the affairs of Syria and directed detached commissioners and corps to interfere, where there was need. Aulus Gabinius--the same who as tribune of the people had sent Pompeius to the east--had in 689 marched along the Tigris and then across Mesopotamia to Syria, to adjust the complicated affairs of Judaea. In like manner the severely pressed Damascus had already been occupied by Lollius and Metellus. Soon afterwards another adjutant of Pompeius, Marcus Scaurus, arrived in Judaea, to allay the feuds ever breaking out afresh there. Lucius Afranius also, who during the expedition of Pompeius to the Caucasus held the command of the Roman troops in Armenia, had proceeded from Corduene (the northern Kurdistan) to upper Mesopotamia, and, after he had successfully accomplished the perilous march through the desert with the sympathizing help of the Hellenes settled in Carrhae, brought the Arabs in Osrhoene to submission. Towards the end of 690 Pompeius in person arrived in Syria,(15) and remained there till the summer of the following year, resolutely interfering and regulating matters for the present and the future. He sought to restore the kingdom to its state in the better times of the Seleucid rule; all usurped powers were set aside, the robber-chiefs were summoned to give up their castles, the Arab sheiks were again restricted to their desert domains, the affairs of the several communities were definitely regulated.

The Robber-Chiefs Chastised

The legions stood ready to procure obedience to these stern orders, and their interference proved especially necessary against the audacious robber-chiefs. Silas the ruler of Lysias, Dionysius the ruler of Tripolis, Cinyras the ruler of Byblus were taken prisoners in their fortresses and executed, the mountain and maritime strongholds of the Ityraeans were broken up, Ptolemaeus son of Mennaeus in Chalcis was forced to purchase his freedom and his lordship with a ransom of 1000 talents (240,000 pounds). Elsewhere the commands of the new master met for the most part with unresisting obedience.

Negotiations And Conflicts With The Jews

The Jews alone hesitated. The mediators formerly sent by Pompeius, Gabinius and Scaurus, had--both, as it was said, bribed with considerable sums--in the dispute between the brothers Hyrcanus and Aristobulus decided in favour of the latter, and had also induced king Aretas to raise the siege of Jerusalem and to proceed homeward, in doing which he sustained a defeat at the hands of Aristobulus. But, when Pompeius arrived in Syria, he cancelled the orders of his subordinates and directed the Jews to resume their old constitution under high-priests, as the senate had recognized it about 593,(16) and to renounce along with the hereditary principality itself all the conquests made by the Hasmonaean princes. It was the Pharisees, who had sent an embassy of two hundred of their most respected men to the Roman general and procured from him the overthrow of the kingdom; not to the advantage of their own nation, but doubtless to that of the Romans, who from the nature of the case could not but here revert to the old rights of the Seleucids, and could not tolerate a conquering power like that of Jannaeus within the limits of their empire. Aristobulus was uncertain whether it was better patiently to acquiesce in his inevitable doom or to meet his fate with arms in hand; at one time he seemed on the point of submitting to Pompeius, at another he seemed as though he would summon the national party among the Jews to a struggle with the Romans. When at length, with the legions already at the gates, he yielded to the enemy, the more resolute or more fanatical portion of his army refused to comply with the orders of a king who was not free. The capital submitted; the steep temple-rock was defended by that fanatical band for three months with an obstinacy ready to brave death, till at last the besiegers effected an entrance while the besieged were resting on the Sabbath, possessed themselves of the sanctuary, and handed over the authors of that desperate resistance, so far as they had not fallen under the sword of the Romans, to the axes of the lictors. Thus ended the last resistance of the territories newly annexed to the Roman state.

The New Relations Of The Romans In The East

The work begun by Lucullus had been completed by Pompeius; the hitherto formally independent states of Bithynia, Pontus, and Syria were united with the Roman state; the exchange--which had been recognized for more than a hundred years as necessary-- of the feeble system of a protectorate for that of direct sovereignty over the more important dependent territories,(17) had at length been realized, as soon as the senate had been overthrown and the Gracchan party had come to the helm. Rome had obtained in the east new frontiers, new neighbours, new friendly and hostile relations. There were now added to the indirect territories of Rome the kingdom of Armenia and the principalities of the Caucasus, and also the kingdom on the Cimmerian Bosporus, the small remnant of the extensive conquests of Mithradates Eupator, now a client-state of Rome under the government of his son and murderer Pharnaces; the town of Phanagoria alone, whose commandant Castor had given the signal for the revolt, was on that account recognized by the Romans as free and independent.

The Establishment of the Military Monarchy Page 53

Italian Authors

Italian Books

Free Books in the public domain from the Classic Literature Library ©

Italian Books
Theodor Mommsen
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book