The Caligula crisis.

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Ben C. Smith
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The Caligula crisis.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:14 pm

Just assembling a few texts on the topic of Caligula attempting to set up a statue of himself in the Temple in Jerusalem.

First, texts about Caligula's character and drive to deify himself in general:

Suetonius, Caligula 22.1-4: 1 So much for Caligula as emperor; we must now tell of his career as a monster. After he had assumed various surnames (for he was called "Pious," "Child of the Camp," "Father of the Armies," and "Greatest and Best of Caesars"), chancing to overhear some kings, who had come to Rome to pay their respects to him, disputing at dinner about the nobility of their descent, he cried: "Let there be one Lord, one King." And he came near assuming a crown at once and changing the semblance of a principate into the form of a monarchy. 2 But on being reminded that he had risen above the elevation both of princes and kings, he began from that time on to lay claim to divine majesty; for after giving orders that such statues of the gods as were especially famous for their sanctity or their artistic merit, including that of Jupiter of Olympia, should be brought from Greece, in order to remove their heads and put his own in their place, he built out a part of the Palace as far as the Forum, and making the temple of Castor and Pollux its vestibule, he often took his place between the divine brethren, and exhibited himself there to be worshiped by those who presented themselves; and some hailed him as Jupiter Latiaris. 3 He also set up a special temple to his own godhead, with priests and with victims of the choicest kind. In this temple was a life-sized statue of the emperor in gold, which was dressed each day in clothing such as he wore himself. The richest citizens used all their influence to secure the priesthoods of his cult and bid high for the honor. The victims were flamingos, peacocks, black grouse, guinea-hens and pheasants, offered day by day each after its own kind. 4 At night he used constantly to invite the full and radiant moon to his embraces and his bed, while in the daytime he would talk confidentially with Jupiter Capitolinus, now whispering and then in turn his ear to the mouth of the god, now in louder and even angry language; for he was heard to make the threat: "Lift me up, or I'll lift thee." But finally won by entreaties, as he reported, and even invited to live with the god, he built a bridge over the temple to the Deified Augustus, and thus joined his Palace to the Capitol. Presently, to be nearer yet, he laid the foundations of a new house in the court of the Capitol.

Cassius Dio, Roman History 26.1-10: 26 1 Now there was a certain Protogenes, who assisted the emperor in all his harshest measures, and was always carrying around two books, one of which he called his sword and the other his dagger. 2 This Protogenes entered the senate one day as if on so other business, and when all the members, as was their natural, saluted him, and were extending their greetings, he darted a sinister glance at Scribonius Proculus and said: "Do you, too, greet me, when you hate the emperor so?" On hearing this, all who were present surrounded their fellow-senator and tore him to pieces. 3 When Gaius showed pleasure at this and declared that he had become reconciled with them, they voted various festivals and also decreed that the emperor should sit on a high platform even in the very senate-house, to prevent anyone from approaching him, and should have a military guard even there; they likewise voted that his statues should be guarded. 4 Because of these decrees Gaius put aside his anger against them, and with youthful impetuosity did a few excellent things. For instance, he released Pomponius, who was said to have plotted against him, inasmuch as he had been betrayed by a friend; and when the man's mistress, upon being tortured, would not utter a word, he not only did her no harm but even honored her with a gift of money. 5 Gaius was praised for this, partly out of fear and partly with sincerity, and when some called him a demigod and others a god, he fairly lost his head. Indeed, even before this he had been demanding that he be regarded as more than a human being, and was wont to claim that he had intercourse with the Moon, that Victory put a crown upon him, and to pretend that he was Jupiter, and he made this a pretext for seducing numerous women, particularly his sisters; again, he would pose as Neptune, 6 because he had bridged so great an expanse of sea; he also impersonated Hercules, Bacchus, Apollo, and all the other divinities, not merely males but also females, often taking the role of Juno, Diana, or Venus. Indeed, to match the change of name he would assume all the rest of the attributes that belonged to the various gods, so that he might seem really to resemble them. 7 Now he would be seen as a woman, holding a wine-bowl and thyrsus, and again he would appear as a man equipped with a club and lion's skin or perhaps a helmet and shield. He would be seen at one time with a smooth chin and later with a full beard. Sometimes he wielded a trident and again he brandished a thunderbolt. Now he would impersonate a maiden equipped for hunting or for war, and a little later would play the married woman. 8 Thus by varying the style of his dress, and by the use of accessories and wigs, he achieved accuracy inasmuch diverse parts; and he was eager to appear to be anything rather than a human being and an emperor. Once a Gaul, seeing him uttering oracles from a lofty platform in the guise of Jupiter, was moved to laughter, 9 whereupon Gaius summoned him and inquired, "What do I seem to you to be?" And the other answered (I give his exact words): "A big humbug." Yet the man met with no harm, for he was only a shoemaker. Thus it is, apparently, that persons of such rank as Gaius can bear the frankness of the common herd more easily than that of those who hold high position. 10 The attire, now, that I have described was what he would assume whenever he pretended to be a god; and suitable supplications, prayers, and sacrifices would then be offered to him. At other times he usually appeared in public in silk or in triumphal dress.

Cassius Dio, Roman History 28.1-11: 1 Gaius ordered that a sacred precinct should be set apart for his worship at Miletus in the province of Asia. The reason he gave for choosing this city p353 was that Diana had pre-empted Ephesus, Augustus Pergamum and Tiberius Smyrna; but the truth of the matter was that he desired to appropriate to his own use the large and exceedingly beautiful temple which the Milesians were building to Apollo. 2 Thereupon he went to still greater lengths, and actually built in Rome itself two temples of his own, one that had been granted him by vote of the senate and another at his own expense on the Palatine. It seems that he had constructed a sort of lodge on the Capitoline, in order, as he said, that he might dwell with Jupiter; 3 but disdaining to take second place in this union of households, and blaming the god for occupying the Capitoline ahead of him, he hastened to erect another temple on the Palatine, and wished to transfer to it the statue of the Olympian Zeus after remodelling it to resemble himself. 4 But he found this to be impossible, for the ship built to bring it was shattered by thunderbolts, and loud laughter was heard every time that anybody approached as if to take hold of the pedestal; accordingly, after uttering threats against the statue, he set up a new one of himself. 5 He cut in two the temple of Castor and Pollux in the Roman Forum and made through it an approach to the palace running directly between the two statues, in order, as he was wont to say, that he might have the Dioscuri for gate-keepers. Styling himself Jupiter Latiaris, he attached to his service as priests his wife Caesonia, Claudius, and other persons who were wealthy, receiving ten million sesterces from each of them in return for this honor. 6 He also consecrated himself to his own service and appointed his horse a fellow-priest; and dainty and expensive birds were sacrificed to him daily. He had a contrivance by which he gave answering peals when it thundered and sent return flashes when it lightened. Likewise, whenever a bolt fell, he would in turn hurl a javelin at a rock, repeating each time the words of Homer, "Either lift me or I will thee." 7 When Caesonia bore a daughter only a month after her marriage, he pretended that this had come about through supernatural means, and gave himself airs over the fact that in so few days after becoming a husband he was now a father. He named the girl Drusilla, and taking her up to the Capitol placed her on the knees of Jupiter, thereby hinting that she was his child, and put her in charge of Minerva to be suckled. 8 This god, now, this Jupiter (for he was called by these names so much at the last that they even found their way into documents) at the same time that he was doing all this was also collecting money in most shameful and dreadful ways. One might, indeed, pass over in silence the wares and the taverns, the prostitutes and the courts, the artisans and the wage-earning slaves, and other such sources, from which he collected every conceivable tribute; 9 but how could one keep silent about the rooms set apart in the very palace, and the wives of the foremost men as well as the children of the most aristocratic families that he shut up in those rooms and subjected to outrage, using them as a means of milking everybody alike? Some of those who thus contributed to his need did so willingly, but others very much against their will, lest they should be thought to be vexed. 10 The multitude, however, was not greatly displeased by these proceedings, but actually rejoiced with him in his licentiousness and in the fact that he used to throw himself each time on the gold and silver collected from these sources and roll in it. 11 But when, after enacting severe laws in regard to the taxes, he inscribed them in exceedingly small letters on a tablet which he then hung up in a high place, so that it should be read by as few as possible and that many through ignorance of what was bidden or forbidden should lay themselves liable to the penalties provided, they straightway rushed together excitedly into the Circus and raised a terrible outcry. Once when the people had come together in the Circus and were objecting to his conduct, he had them slain by the soldiers; after this all kept quiet.

Second, texts about Caligula's actual attempt to defile the Temple with his own likeness:

Philo, Embassy to Gaius: http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text ... ook40.html.

Philo, Embassy to Gaius 16.117-118: 117 But the single nation of the Jews, being excepted from these actions, was suspected by him of wishing to counteract his desires, since it was accustomed to embrace voluntary death as an entrance to immortality, for the sake of not permitting any of their national or hereditary customs to be destroyed, even if it were of the most trivial character, because, as is the case in a house, it often happens that by the removal of one small part, even those parts which appeared to be solidly established fall down, being relaxed and brought to decay by the removal of that one thing, 118 but in this case what was put in motion was not a trifle, but a thing of the very greatest importance, namely, the erecting the created and perishable nature of a man, as far at least as appearance went, into the uncreated and imperishable nature of God, which the nation correctly judged to be the most terrible of all impieties (for it would have been easier to change a god into man, than a man into God), besides the fact of such an action letting in other most enormous wickedness, infidelity and ingratitude towards the Benefactor of the whole world, who by his own power givers abundant supplies of all kinds of blessings to every part of the universe.

Philo, Embassy to Gaius 32.225-230: 225 In this way did they bewail their fate; but when the inhabitants of the holy city and of all the region round about heard of the design which was in agitation, they all arrayed themselves together as if at a concerted signal, their common misery having given them the word, and went forth in a body, and leaving their cities and their villages and their houses empty, they hastened with one accord into Phoenicia, for Petronius happened to be in that country at the moment. 226 And when some of the guards of Petronius saw a countless multitude hastening towards them they ran to their general to bring him the news, and to warn him to take precautions, as they expected war; and while they were relating to him what they had seen, he was still without any guards; and the multitude of the Jews suddenly coming upon him like a cloud, occupied the whole of Phoenicia, and caused great consternation among the Phoenicians who thus beheld the enormous population of the nation; 227 and at first so great an outcry was raised, accompanied with weeping and beating of the breast, that the very ears of those present could not endure the vastness of the noise; for it did not cease when they ceased, but continued to vibrate even after they were quiet: then there were approaches to the governor, and supplications addressed to him such as the occasion suggested; for calamities are themselves teachers of what should be done in an existing emergency. And the multitude was divided into six companies, one of old men, one of young men, one of boys; and again in their turn one band of aged matrons, one of women in the prime of life, and one of virgins; 228 and when Petronius appeared at a distance all the ranks, as they had been appointed, fell to the ground, uttering a most doleful; howling and lamentation, mingled with supplications. But when he commanded them to rise up, and to come nearer to him, they would for a long time hardly consent to rise, and scattering abundance of dust upon their heads, and shedding abundance of tears, they put both their hands behind them like captives who are fettered in this way, and thus they approached him. 229 Then the body of the old men, standing before him, addressed him in the following terms: "We are, as you see, without any arms, but yet as we passed along some persons have accused us as being enemies, but even the very weapons of defense with which nature has provided each individual, namely our hands, we have averted from you, and placed in a position where they can do nothing, offering our bodies freely an easy aim to any one who desires to put us to death. 230 We have brought unto you our wives, and our children, and our whole families, and in your person we will prostrate ourselves before Gaius, having left not one single person at home, that you may either preserve us all, or destroy us all together by one general and complete destruction. Petronius, we are a peaceful nation, both by our natural disposition and by our determined intentions, and the education which has been industriously and carefully instilled into us has taught us this lesson from our very earliest infancy.

Josephus, Antiquities 18.8.2 §261-268: 261 Γάιος δὲ ἐν δεινῷ φέρων εἰς τοσόνδε ὑπὸ Ἰουδαίων περιῶφθαι μόνων πρεσβευτὴν ἐπὶ Συρίας ἐκπέμπει Πετρώνιον διάδοχον Οὐιτελλίῳ τῆς ἀρχῆς, κελεύων χειρὶ πολλῇ εἰσβαλόντι εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν, εἰ μὲν ἑκόντες δέχοιντο, ἱστᾶν αὐτοῦ ἀνδριάντα ἐν τῷ ναῷ τοῦ θεοῦ, εἰ δ᾽ ἀγνωμοσύνῃ χρῷντο, πολέμῳ κρατήσαντα τοῦτο ποιεῖν. 262 καὶ Πετρώνιος Συρίαν παραλαβὼν ἠπείγετο διακονεῖσθαι ταῖς ἐπιστολαῖς τοῦ Καίσαρος, συμμαχίαν τε πλείστην ὅσην ἠδύνατο ἀθροίσας καὶ τάγματα δύο τῆς Ῥωμαίων δυνάμεως ἄγων ἐπὶ Πτολεμαΐδος παρῆν αὐτόθι χειμάσων ὡς πρὸς ἔαρ τοῦ πολεμεῖν οὐκ ἀφεξόμενος, καὶ πρὸς τὸν Γάιον ἔγραφεν περὶ τῶν ἐπεγνωσμένων. ὁ δὲ ἐπῄνει τῆς προθυμίας αὐτὸν καὶ ἐκέλευεν μὴ ἀνιέναι πολεμεῖν δὲ μὴ πειθομένοις ἐντεταμένως. 263 Ἰουδαίων δὲ πολλαὶ μυριάδες παρῆσαν ὡς τὸν Πετρώνιον εἰς Πτολεμαΐδα κατὰ δεήσεις μηδὲν ἐπὶ παρανομίᾳ σφᾶς ἐπαναγκάζειν καὶ παραβάσει τοῦ πατρίου νόμου. 264 ‘εἰ δέ σοι πάντως πρόκειται τὸν ἀνδριάντα φέρειν καὶ ἱστᾶν, ἡμᾶς αὐτοὺς πρότερον μεταχειρισάμενος πρᾶσσε τὰ δεδογμένα: οὐδὲ γὰρ δυνάμεθα περιόντες θεωρεῖν πράγματα ἡμῖν ἀπηγορευμένα ἀξιώματί τε τοῦ νομοθέτου καὶ προπατόρων τῶν ἡμετέρων τῶν εἰς ἀρετὴν ἀνήκειν αὐτὰ κεχειροτονηκότων.’ Πετρώνιος δὲ ὀργὴν λαβὼν εἶπεν: 265 ‘ἀλλ᾽ εἰ μὲν αὐτοκράτωρ ὢν βουλεύμασι χρῆσθαι τοῖς ἐμαυτοῦ τάδε πράσσειν ἐπενόουν, κἂν δίκαιος ἦν ὑμῖν πρός με οὗτος ὁ λόγος. νυνὶ δέ μοι Καίσαρος ἐπεσταλκότος πᾶσα ἀνάγκη διακονεῖσθαι τοῖς ἐκείνῳ προανεψηφισμένοις διὰ τὸ εἰς ἀνηκεστοτέραν φέρειν ζημίαν τὴν παρακρόασιν αὐτῶν.’ ‘ἐπεὶ τοίνυν οὕτως φρονεῖς, 266 ὦ Πετρώνιε, φασὶν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, ὡς μὴ ἂν ἐπιστολὰς τὰς Γαΐου παρελθεῖν, οὐδ᾽ ἂν αὐτοὶ παραβαίημεν τοῦ νόμου τὴν προαγόρευσιν θεοῦ πεισθέντες ἀρετῇ καὶ προγόνων πόνοις τῶν ἡμετέρων εἰς νῦν ἀπαράβατοι μεμενηκότες, οὐδ᾽ ἂν τολμήσαιμεν ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον κακοὶ γενέσθαι, ὥστε ὁπόσα ἐκείνῳ δόξειεν μὴ πρασσόμενα ἀγαθοῦ ῥοπὴν ἡμῖν φέρειν αὐτοὶ παραβαίνειν ποτ᾽ ἂν θάνατον φοβηθέντες. 267 ὑπομενοῦμεν δὲ εἰς τύχας ἰόντες ἐπὶ φυλακῇ τε πατρίων καὶ κινδυνεύειν προθεμένοις ἐλπίδα οὖσαν ἐξεπιστάμενοι κἂν περιγενέσθαι διά τε τοῦ θεοῦ τὸ στησόμενον μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν ἐπὶ τιμῇ τε τῇ ἐκείνου τὰ δεινὰ ὑποδεχομένων καὶ τῆς τύχης τὸ ἐπ᾽ ἀμφότερα φιλοῦν τοῖς πράγμασι παρατυγχάνειν, 268 ἐκ δὲ τοῦ σοὶ πείθεσθαι πολλὴν μὲν λοιδορίαν τοῦ ἀνάνδρου προσκεισομένην ὡς δι᾽ αὐτὸ παράβασιν τοῦ νομίμου προσποιουμένοις, καὶ ἅμα πολλὴν ὀργὴν τοῦ θεοῦ, ὃς καὶ παρὰ σοὶ δικαστῇ γένοιτ᾽ ἂν βελτίων Γαΐου.’ / 261 Hereupon Caius, taking it very heinously that he should be thus despised by the Jews alone, sent Petronius to be president of Syria, and successor in the government to Vitellius, and gave him order to make an invasion into Judea, with a great body of troops; and if they would admit of his statue willingly, to erect it in the temple of God; but if they were obstinate, to conquer them by war, and then to do it. 262 Accordingly, Petronius took the government of Syria, and made haste to obey Caesar's epistle. He got together as great a number of auxiliaries as he possibly could, and took with him two legions of the Roman army, and came to Ptolemais, and there wintered, as intending to set about the war in the spring. He also wrote word to Caius what he had resolved to do, who commended him for his alacrity, and ordered him to go on, and to make war with them, in case they would not obey his commands. 263 But there came many ten thousands of the Jews to Petronius, to Ptolemais, to offer their petitions to him, that he would not compel them to transgress and violate the law of their forefathers; 264 "but if," said they, "thou art entirely resolved to bring this statue, and erect it, do thou first kill us, and then do what thou hast resolved on; for while we are alive we cannot permit such things as are forbidden us to be done by the authority of our legislator, and by our forefathers' determination that such prohibitions are instances of virtue." But Petronius was angry at them, and said, 265 "If indeed I were myself emperor, and were at liberty to follow my own inclination, and then had designed to act thus, these your words would be justly spoken to me; but now Caesar hath sent to me, I am under the necessity of being subservient to his decrees, because a disobedience to them will bring upon me inevitable destruction." 266 Then the Jews replied, "Since, therefore, thou art so disposed, O Petronius, that thou wilt not disobey Caius's epistles, neither will we transgress the commands of our law; and as we depend upon the excellency of our laws, and, by the labors of our ancestors, have continued hitherto without suffering them to be transgressed, we dare not by any means suffer ourselves to be so timorous as to transgress those laws out of the fear of death, which God hath determined are for our advantage; 267 and if we fall into misfortunes, we will bear them, in order to preserve our laws, as knowing that those who expose themselves to dangers have good hope of escaping them, because God will stand on our side, when, out of regard to him, we undergo afflictions, and sustain the uncertain turns of fortune. 268 But if we should submit to thee, we should be greatly reproached for our cowardice, as thereby showing ourselves ready to transgress our law; and we should incur the great anger of God also, who, even thyself being judge, is superior to Caius."

Josephus, Antiquities 18.8.3 §269-272: 269 Καὶ ὁ Πετρώνιος ἐκ τῶν λόγων θεασάμενος δυσνίκητον αὐτῶν τὸ φρονοῦν καὶ μὴ ἂν ἀμαχεὶ δύναμιν αὐτῷ γενέσθαι διακονήσασθαι Γαΐῳ τὴν ἀνάθεσιν τοῦ ἀνδριάντος πολὺν δὲ ἔσεσθαι φόνον, τούς τε φίλους ἀναλαβὼν καὶ θεραπείαν, ἣ περὶ αὐτὸν ἦν, ἐπὶ Τιβεριάδος ἠπείγετο χρῄζων κατανοῆσαι τῶν Ἰουδαίων τὰ πράγματα ὡς ἔχοι. 270 καὶ Ἰουδαῖοι μέγαν ἡγούμενοι τὸν ἐκ τοῦ πρὸς Ῥωμαίους πολέμου κίνδυνον, πολὺ μείζονα δὲ κρίνοντες τὸν ἐκ τοῦ παρανομεῖν, αὖθις πολλαὶ μυριάδες ὑπηντίαζον Πετρώνιον εἰς τὴν Τιβεριάδα γενόμενον, 271 καὶ ἱκετείᾳ χρώμενοι μηδαμῶς εἰς ἀνάγκας τοιαύτας αὐτοὺς καθιστᾶν μηδὲ μιαίνειν ἀνδριάντος ἀναθέσει τὴν πόλιν, ‘πολεμήσετε ἄρα Καίσαρι, Πετρώνιος ἔφη, μήτε τὴν ἐκείνου παρασκευὴν λογιζόμενοι μήτε τὴν ὑμετέραν ἀσθένειαν;’ οἱ δ᾽ ‘οὐδαμῶς πολεμήσαιμεν, ἔφασαν, τεθνηξόμεθα δὲ πρότερον ἢ παραβῆναι τοὺς νόμους.’ ἐπί τε τὰ πρόσωπα κείμενοι καὶ τὰς σφαγὰς προδεικνύντες ἕτοιμοι κτιννύεσθαι ἔλεγον εἶναι. 272 καὶ ταῦτ᾽ ἐπράσσετο ἐπὶ ἡμέρας τεσσαράκοντα, καὶ τοῦ γεωργεῖν ἀπερίοπτοι τὸ λοιπὸν ἦσαν καὶ ταῦτα τῆς ὥρας οὔσης πρὸς σπόρῳ, πολλή τε ἦν προαίρεσις αὐτοῖς καὶ τοῦ θνήσκειν ἐπιθυμίας πρόθεσις, ἢ τὴν ἀνάθεσιν θεάσασθαι τοῦ ἀνδριάντος.269 When Petronius saw by their words that their determination was hard to be removed, and that, without a war, he should not be able to be subservient to Caius in the dedication of his statue, and that there must be a great deal of bloodshed, he took his friends, and the servants that were about him, and hasted to Tiberias, as wanting to know in what posture the affairs of the Jews were; 270 and many ten thousands of the Jews met Petronius again, when he was come to Tiberias. These thought they must run a mighty hazard if they should have a war with the Romans, but judged that the transgression of the law was of much greater consequence, 271 and made supplication to him, that he would by no means reduce them to such distresses, nor defile their city with the dedication of the statue. Then Petronius said to them, "Will you then make war with Caesar, without considering his great preparations for war, and your own weakness?" They replied, "We will not by any means make war with him, but still we will die before we see our laws transgressed." So they threw themselves down upon their faces, and stretched out their throats, and said they were ready to be slain; 272 and this they did for forty days together, and in the mean time left off the tilling of their ground, and that while the season of the year required them to sow it. Thus they continued firm in their resolution, and proposed to themselves to die willingly, rather than to see the dedication of the statue.

Josephus, Antiquities 18.8.4 §273-278: 273 Ἐν τούτοις ὄντων τῶν πραγμάτων Ἀριστόβουλος ὁ Ἀγρίππου τοῦ βασιλέως ἀδελφὸς καὶ Ἑλκίας ὁ μέγας ἄλλοι τε οἱ κράτιστοι τῆσδε τῆς οἰκίας καὶ οἱ πρῶτοι σὺν αὐτοῖς εἰσίασιν ὡς τὸν Πετρώνιον παρακαλοῦντες αὐτόν, 274 ἐπειδὴ τὴν προθυμίαν ὁρᾷ τῆς πληθύος, μηδὲν εἰς ἀπόνοιαν αὐτῆς παρακινεῖν, ἀλλὰ γράφειν πρὸς Γάιον τὸ ἀνήκεστον αὐτῶν πρὸς τὴν ἀποδοχὴν τοῦ ἀνδριάντος, πῶς τε ἀποστάντες τοῦ γεωργεῖν ἀντικαθέζονται, πολεμεῖν μὲν οὐ βουλόμενοι διὰ τὸ μηδ᾽ ἂν δύνασθαι, θανεῖν δ᾽ ἔχοντες ἡδονὴν πρὶν παραβῆναι τὰ νόμιμα αὐτοῖς, ὥστε ἀσπόρου τῆς γῆς γενομένης λῃστεῖαι ἂν φύοιντο ἀδυναμίᾳ καταβολῆς τῶν φόρων. 275 ἴσως γὰρ ἂν ἐπικλασθέντα τὸν Γάιον μηδὲν ὠμὸν διανοηθῆναι μηδὲ ἐπ᾽ ἀναστάσει φρονῆσαι τοῦ ἔθνους: ἐμμένοντος δὲ τῇ τότε βουλῇ τοῦ πολεμεῖν τότε δὴ καὐτὸν ἅπτεσθαι τοῦ πράγματος. 276 καὶ οἱ μὲν ἀμφὶ τὸν Ἀριστόβουλον ἐπὶ τούτοις τὸν Πετρώνιον παρεκάλουν. Πετρώνιος δὲ τοῦτο μὲν τῶν περὶ τὸν Ἀριστόβουλον παντοίως ἐπικειμένων διὰ τὸ ὑπὲρ μεγάλων ποιεῖσθαι τὴν δέησιν καὶ πάσῃ μηχανῇ χρησαμένων εἰς τὰς ἱκετείας, 277 τοῦτο δὲ τῶν Ἰουδαίων θεώμενος τὴν ἀντιπαράταξιν τῆς γνώμης καὶ δεινὸν ἡγούμενος τοσαῖσδε ἀνθρώπων μυριάσιν μανίᾳ τῇ Γαΐου διακονούμενος ἐπαγαγὼν θάνατον ἐν αἰτίᾳ τὸ πρὸς θεὸν σεβάσμιον ἔχειν καὶ μετὰ πονηρᾶς τὸν μετὰ ταῦτα βίον ἐλπίδος διαιτᾶσθαι, πολὺ κρεῖσσον ἡγεῖτο ἐπιστείλας τῷ Γαΐῳ τὸ ἀνήκεστον αὐτῶν * ὀργὴν φέροντος μὴ ἐκ τοῦ ὀξέος δεδιακονημένου αὐτοῦ ταῖς ἐπιστολαῖς: 278 τάχα μὲν γὰρ καὶ πείσειν: καὶ τῇ τὸ πρῶτον μανίᾳ τῆς γνώμης ἐπιμένοντος ἅψεσθαι πολέμου τοῦ πρὸς αὐτούς, εἰ δ᾽ ἄρα τι καὶ κατ᾽ αὐτοῦ τρέποι τῆς ὀργῆς, καλῶς ἔχειν τοῖς ἀρετῆς μεταποιουμένοις ὑπὲρ τοσῆσδε ἀνθρώπων πληθύος τελευτᾶν, ἔκρινε πιθανὸν ἡγεῖσθαι τῶν δεομένων τὸν λόγον. / 273 When matters were in this state, Aristobulus, king Agrippa's brother, and Heleias the Great, and the other principal men of that family with them, went in unto Petronius, and besought him, 274 that since he saw the resolution of the multitude, he would not make any alteration, and thereby drive them to despair; but would write to Caius, that the Jews had an insuperable aversion to the reception of the statue, and how they continued with him, and left of the tillage off their ground: that they were not willing to go to war with him, because they were not able to do it, but were ready to die with pleasure, rather than suffer their laws to be transgressed: and how, upon the land's continuing unsown, robberies would grow up, on the inability they would be under of paying their tributes; 275 and that Caius might be thereby moved to pity, and not order any barbarous action to be done to them, nor think of destroying the nation: that if he continues inflexible in his former opinion to bring a war upon them, he may then set about it himself. 276 And thus did Aristobulus, and the rest with him, supplicate Petronius. So Petronius, partly on account of the pressing instances which Aristobulus and the rest with him made, and because of the great consequence of what they desired, and the earnestness wherewith they made their supplication, 277 partly on account of the firmness of the opposition made by the Jews, which he saw, while he thought it a terrible thing for him to be such a slave to the madness of Caius, as to slay so many ten thousand men, only because of their religious disposition towards God, and after that to pass his life in expectation of punishment; Petronius, I say, thought it much better to send to Caius, and to let him know how intolerable it was to him to bear the anger he might have against him for not serving him sooner, in obedience to his epistle, 278 for that perhaps he might persuade him; and that if this mad resolution continued, he might then begin the war against them; nay, that in case he should turn his hatred against himself, it was fit for virtuous persons even to die for the sake of such vast multitudes of men. Accordingly, he determined to hearken to the petitioners in this matter.

Tacitus, Histories 5.9: 9 .... Sub Tiberio quies. Dein iussi a C. Caesare effigiem eius in templo locare arma potius sumpsere, quem motum Caesaris mors diremit. .... / 9 .... Under Tiberius all was quiet. But when the Jews were ordered by Caligula to set up his statue in the temple, they preferred the alternative of war. The death of the Emperor put an end to the disturbance. ....

Also, just as Josephus writes in Antiquities 18.8.4 §277 (above) of the "madness" (μανία) of Caligula, so Polybius calls Antiochus Epiphanes "mad" (by way of a pun on his name):

Athenaeus, Deipnosophistae 10, writing of Antiochus Epiphanes: Πολύβιος δ' ἐν τῇ ἕκτῃ καὶ εἰκοστῇ τῶν Ἱστοριῶν καλεῖ αὐτὸν Ἐπιμανῆ καὶ οὐκ Ἐπιφανῆ διὰ τὰς πράξεις. / Polybius, in the twenty-sixth book of his Histories, calls him Epimanes [= "mad" or "insane"] and not Epiphanes [= "illustrious"] because of his acts.

The comparison of Antiochus to Caligula seems apt, given that the former succeeded at sacrificing pagan sacrifices on the Jewish altar and the latter attempted to set up a statue of himself in the Jewish holy of holies.

What other texts are there to tell us about this crisis?

Ben.
Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:38 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Caligula crisis.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:17 pm

Wanted to post the longer context for Josephus, as well:

Josephus, Antiquities 18.8.1-9:

1 There was now a tumult arisen at Alexandria, between the Jewish inhabitants and the Greeks; and three ambassadors were chosen out of each party that were at variance, who came to Caius. Now one of these ambassadors from the people of Alexandria was Apion, who uttered many blasphemies against the Jews; and, among other things that he said, he charged them with neglecting the honors that belonged to Caesar; for that while all who were subject to the Roman empire built altars and temples to Caius, and in other regards universally received him as they received the gods, these Jews alone thought it a dishonorable thing for them to erect statues in honor of him, as well as to swear by his name. Many of these severe things were said by Apion, by which he hoped to provoke Caius to anger at the Jews, as he was likely to be. But Philo, the principal of the Jewish embassage, a man eminent on all accounts, brother to Alexander the alabarch, and one not unskillful in philosophy, was ready to betake himself to make his defense against those accusations; but Caius prohibited him, and bid him begone; he was also in such a rage, that it openly appeared he was about to do them some very great mischief. So Philo being thus affronted, went out, and said to those Jews who were about him, that they should be of good courage, since Caius's words indeed showed anger at them, but in reality had already set God against himself.

2 Hereupon Caius, taking it very heinously that he should be thus despised by the Jews alone, sent Petronius to be president of Syria, and successor in the government to Vitellius, and gave him order to make an invasion into Judea, with a great body of troops; and if they would admit of his statue willingly, to erect it in the temple of God; but if they were obstinate, to conquer them by war, and then to do it. Accordingly, Petronius took the government of Syria, and made haste to obey Caesar's epistle. He got together as great a number of auxiliaries as he possibly could, and took with him two legions of the Roman army, and came to Ptolemais, and there wintered, as intending to set about the war in the spring. He also wrote word to Caius what he had resolved to do, who commended him for his alacrity, and ordered him to go on, and to make war with them, in case they would not obey his commands. But there came many ten thousands of the Jews to Petronius, to Ptolemais, to offer their petitions to him, that he would not compel them to transgress and violate the law of their forefathers; "but if," said they, "thou art entirely resolved to bring this statue, and erect it, do thou first kill us, and then do what thou hast resolved on; for while we are alive we cannot permit such things as are forbidden us to be done by the authority of our legislator, and by our forefathers' determination that such prohibitions are instances of virtue." But Petronius was angry at them, and said, "If indeed I were myself emperor, and were at liberty to follow my own inclination, and then had designed to act thus, these your words would be justly spoken to me; but now Caesar hath sent to me, I am under the necessity of being subservient to his decrees, because a disobedience to them will bring upon me inevitable destruction." Then the Jews replied, "Since, therefore, thou art so disposed, O Petronius! that thou wilt not disobey Caius's epistles, neither will we transgress the commands of our law; and as we depend upon the excellency of our laws, and, by the labors of our ancestors, have continued hitherto without suffering them to be transgressed, we dare not by any means suffer ourselves to be so timorous as to transgress those laws out of the fear of death, which God hath determined are for our advantage; and if we fall into misfortunes, we will bear them, in order to preserve our laws, as knowing that those who expose themselves to dangers have good hope of escaping them, because God will stand on our side, when, out of regard to him, we undergo afflictions, and sustain the uncertain turns of fortune. But if we should submit to thee, we should be greatly reproached for our cowardice, as thereby showing ourselves ready to transgress our law; and we should incur the great anger of God also, who, even thyself being judge, is superior to Caius."

3 When Petronius saw by their words that their determination was hard to be removed, and that, without a war, he should not be able to be subservient to Caius in the dedication of his statue, and that there must be a great deal of bloodshed, he took his friends, and the servants that were about him, and hasted to Tiberias, as wanting to know in what posture the affairs of the Jews were; and many ten thousands of the Jews met Petronius again, when he was come to Tiberias. These thought they must run a mighty hazard if they should have a war with the Romans, but judged that the transgression of the law was of much greater consequence, and made supplication to him, that he would by no means reduce them to such distresses, nor defile their city with the dedication of the statue. Then Petronius said to them, "Will you then make war with Caesar, without considering his great preparations for war, and your own weakness?" They replied, "We will not by any means make war with him, but still we will die before we see our laws transgressed." So they threw themselves down upon their faces, and stretched out their throats, and said they were ready to be slain; and this they did for forty days together, and in the mean time left off the tilling of their ground, and that while the season of the year required them to sow it. Thus they continued firm in their resolution, and proposed to themselves to die willingly, rather than to see the dedication of the statue.

4 When matters were in this state, Aristobulus, king Agrippa's brother, and Heleias the Great, and the other principal men of that family with them, went in unto Petronius, and besought him, that since he saw the resolution of the multitude, he would not make any alteration, and thereby drive them to despair; but would write to Caius, that the Jews had an insuperable aversion to the reception of the statue, and how they continued with him, and left of the tillage off their ground: that they were not willing to go to war with him, because they were not able to do it, but were ready to die with pleasure, rather than suffer their laws to be transgressed: and how, upon the land's continuing unsown, robberies would grow up, on the inability they would be under of paying their tributes; and that Caius might be thereby moved to pity, and not order any barbarous action to be done to them, nor think of destroying the nation: that if he continues inflexible in his former opinion to bring a war upon them, he may then set about it himself. And thus did Aristobulus, and the rest with him, supplicate Petronius. So Petronius, partly on account of the pressing instances which Aristobulus and the rest with him made, and because of the great consequence of what they desired, and the earnestness wherewith they made their supplication, — partly on account of the firmness of the opposition made by the Jews, which he saw, while he thought it a terrible thing for him to be such a slave to the madness of Caius, as to slay so many ten thousand men, only because of their religious disposition towards God, and after that to pass his life in expectation of punishment; Petronius, I say, thought it much better to send to Caius, and to let him know how intolerable it was to him to bear the anger he might have against him for not serving him sooner, in obedience to his epistle, for that perhaps he might persuade him; and that if this mad resolution continued, he might then begin the war against them; nay, that in case he should turn his hatred against himself, it was fit for virtuous persons even to die for the sake of such vast multitudes of men. Accordingly, he determined to hearken to the petitioners in this matter.

5 He then called the Jews together to Tiberias, who came many ten thousands in number; he also placed that army he now had with him opposite to them; but did not discover his own meaning, but the commands of the emperor, and told them that his wrath would, without delay, be executed on such as had the courage to disobey what he had commanded, and this immediately; and that it was fit for him, who had obtained so great a dignity by his grant, not to contradict him in any thing: — “yet," said he, "I do not think it just to have such a regard to my own safety and honor, as to refuse to sacrifice them for your preservation, who are so many in number, and endeavor to preserve the regard that is due to your law; which as it hath come down to you from your forefathers, so do you esteem it worthy of your utmost contention to preserve it: nor, with the supreme assistance and power of God, will I be so hardy as to suffer your temple to fall into contempt by the means of the imperial authority. I will, therefore, send to Caius, and let him know what your resolutions are, and will assist your suit as far as I am able, that you may not be exposed to suffer on account of the honest designs you have proposed to yourselves; and may God be your assistant, for his authority is beyond all the contrivance and power of men; and may he procure you the preservation of your ancient laws, and may not he be deprived, though without your consent, of his accustomed honors. But if Caius be irritated, and turn the violence of his rage upon me, I will rather undergo all that danger and that affliction that may come either on my body or my soul, than see so many of you to perish, while you are acting in so excellent a manner. Do you, therefore, every one of you, go your way about your own occupations, and fall to the cultivation of your ground; I will myself send to Rome, and will not refuse to serve you in all things, both by myself and by my friends."

6 When Petronius had said this, and had dismissed rite assembly of the Jews, he desired the principal of them to take care of their husbandry, and to speak kindly to the people, and encourage them to have good hope of their affairs. Thus did he readily bring the multitude to be cheerful again. And now did God show his presence to Petronius, and signify to him that he would afford him his assistance in his whole design; for he had no sooner finished the speech that he made to the Jews, but God sent down great showers of rain, contrary to human expectation; for that day was a clear day, and gave no sign, by the appearance of the sky, of any rain; nay, the whole year had been subject to a great drought, and made men despair of any water from above, even when at any time they saw the heavens overcast with clouds; insomuch that when such a great quantity of rain came, and that in an unusual manner, and without any other expectation of it, the Jews hoped that Petronius would by no means fail in his petition for them. But as to Petronius, he was mightily surprised when he perceived that God evidently took care of the Jews, and gave very plain signs of his appearance, and this to such a degree, that those that were in earnest much inclined to the contrary had no power left to contradict it. This was also among those other particulars which he wrote to Caius, which all tended to dissuade him, and by all means to entreat him not to make so many ten thousands of these men go distracted; whom, if he should slay, (for without war they would by no means suffer the laws of their worship to be set aside,) he would lose the revenue they paid him, and would be publicly cursed by them for all future ages. Moreover, that God, who was their Governor, had shown his power most evidently on their account, and that such a power of his as left no room for doubt about it. And this was the business that Petronius was now engaged in.

7 But king Agrippa, who now lived at Rome, was more and more in the favor of Caius; and when he had once made him a supper, and was careful to exceed all others, both in expenses and in such preparations as might contribute most to his pleasure; nay, it was so far from the ability of others, that Caius himself could never equal, much less exceed it (such care had he taken beforehand to exceed all men, and particularly. to make all agreeable to Caesar); hereupon Caius admired his understanding and magnificence, that he should force himself to do all to please him, even beyond such expenses as he could bear, and was desirous not to be behind Agrippa in that generosity which he exerted in order to please him. So Caius, when he had drank wine plentifully, and was merrier than ordinary, said thus during the feast, when Agrippa had drunk to him: "I knew before now how great a respect thou hast had for me, and how great kindness thou hast shown me, though with those hazards to thyself, which thou underwentest under Tiberius on that account; nor hast thou omitted any thing to show thy good-will towards us, even beyond thy ability; whence it would be a base thing for me to be conquered by thy affection. I am therefore desirous to make thee amends for every thing in which I have been formerly deficient; for all that I have bestowed on thee, that may be called my gifts, is but little. Everything that may contribute to thy happiness shall be at thy service, and that cheerfully, and so far as my ability will reach." (34) And this was what Caius said to Agrippa, thinking be would ask for some large country, or the revenues of certain cities. But although he had prepared beforehand what he would ask, yet had he not discovered his intentions, but made this answer to Caius immediately: That it was not out of any expectation of gain that he formerly paid his respects to him, contrary to the commands of Tiberius, nor did he now do any thing relating to him out of regard to his own advantage, and in order to receive any thing from him; that the gifts he had already bestowed upon him were great, and beyond the hopes of even a craving man; for although they may be beneath thy power, [who art the donor,] yet are they greater than my inclination and dignity, who am the receiver. And as Caius was astonished at Agrippa's inclinations, and still the more pressed him to make his request for somewhat which he might gratify him with, Agrippa replied, "Since thou, O my lord! declarest such is thy readiness to grant, that I am worthy of thy gifts, I will ask nothing relating to my own felicity; for what thou hast already bestowed on me has made me excel therein; but I desire somewhat which may make thee glorious for piety, and render the Divinity assistant to thy designs, and may be for an honor to me among those that inquire about it, as showing that I never once fail of obtaining what I desire of thee; for my petition is this, that thou wilt no longer think of the dedication of that statue which thou hast ordered to be set up in the Jewish temple by Petronius."

8 And thus did Agrippa venture to cast the die upon this occasion, so great was the affair in his opinion, and in reality, though he knew how dangerous a thing it was so to speak; for had not Caius approved of it, it had tended to no less than the loss of his life. So Caius, who was mightily taken with Agrippa's obliging behavior, and on other accounts thinking it a dishonorable thing to be guilty of falsehood before so many witnesses, in points wherein he had with such alacrity forced Agrippa to become a petitioner, and that it would look as if he had already repented of what he had said, and because he greatly admired Agrippa's virtue, in not desiring him at all to augment his own dominions, either with larger revenues, or other authority, but took care of the public tranquillity, of the laws, and of the Divinity itself, he granted him what he had requested. He also wrote thus to Petronius, commending him for his assembling his army, and then consulting him about these affairs. "If therefore," said' he," thou hast already erected my statue, let it stand; but if thou hast not yet dedicated it, do not trouble thyself further about it, but dismiss thy army, go back, and take care of those affairs which I sent thee about at first, for I have now no occasion for the erection of that statue. This I have granted as a favor to Agrippa, a man whom I honor so very greatly, that I am not able to contradict what he would have, or what he desired me to do for him." And this was what Caius wrote to Petronius, which was before he received his letter, informing him that the Jews were very ready to revolt about the statue, and that they seemed resolved to threaten war against the Romans, and nothing else. When therefore Caius was much displeased that any attempt should be made against his government as he was a slave to base and vicious actions on all occasions, and had no regard to What was virtuous and honorable, and against whomsoever he resolved to show his anger, and that for any cause whatsoever, he suffered not himself to be restrained by any admonition, but thought the indulging his anger to be a real pleasure, he wrote thus to Petronius: "Seeing thou esteemest the presents made thee by the Jews to be of greater value than my commands, and art grown insolent enough to be subservient to their pleasure, I charge thee to become thy own judge, and to consider what thou art to do, now thou art under my displeasure; for I will make thee an example to the present and to all future ages, that they may not dare to contradict the commands of their emperor."

9 This was the epistle which Caius wrote to. Petronius; but Petronius did not receive it while Caius was alive, that ship which carried it sailing so slow, that other letters came to Petronius before this, by which he understood that Caius was dead; for God would not forget the dangers Petronius had undertaken on account of the Jews, and of his own honor. But when he had taken Caius away, out of his indignation of what he had so insolently attempted in assuming to himself divine worship, both Rome and all that dominion conspired with Petronius, especially those that were of the senatorian order, to give Caius his due reward, because he had been unmercifully severe to them; for he died not long after he had written to Petronius that epistle which threatened him with death. But as for the occasion of his death, and the nature of the plot against him, I shall relate them in the progress of this narration. Now that epistle which informed Petronius of Caius's death came first, and a little afterward came that which commanded him to kill himself with his own hands. Whereupon he rejoiced at this coincidence as to the death of Caius, and admired God's providence, who, without the least delay, and immediately, gave him a reward for the regard he had to the temple, and the assistance he afforded the Jews for avoiding the dangers they were in. And by this means Petronius escaped that danger of death, which he could not foresee.

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