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A LESSON TO GALILEANS

Jerusalem

I felt that I must write to you again before I set out on one of my periodical inspections of the province. Marcius and Joseph both warn me that I shall have a bad reception because of the seizure of the sacred money. I am not so sure. It is sacrilege, of course, to all of them, but the country-people do not love the greedy, grasping priesthood at Jerusalem, who fatten on their offerings and, besides, only Jerusalem benefits from my gift of good water; why did not Jerusalem pay for its water and so save the Temple-tribute from spoliation? Perhaps I shall not be so unpopular after all. I shall let the people know that they Sanhedrim wanted to pay for the aqueduct out of the people's taxes.

It is a month now since the coup, on which I have received many congratulations from my friends. Except for one serious episode, everybody has been fairly peaceful. I did not weaken in my determination. I forbade all demonstrations, public-meetings and even gatherings in the streets. That put a stop to their street-corner oratory. The worst of the offenders were not the priests and lawyers themselves, but the young know-alls who attend their lectures, and supply the wits that the common people lack. There was one man in particular, a pertinacious fellow, a loud-mouthed logic-chopping Jew from Tarsus, who had much to say, when arrested, about being a Roman citizen. It turned out that he was, so he was released, but I bade the centurion whisper to him not to come into our hands again since even a Roman citizen might be killed in attempting to escape. There were seditious placards too, during the first few days, defaming me and Caesar. The city broke out into a perfect rash of them, until we caught a party of three at work on the walls of the Antonia in the night. There was something else on the wall of the Antonia, besides placards, in the morning.

As I told you, there was one serious incident. It was produced by a part of Galileans who came up to the Temple. These people are never very popular in Jerusalem. They are regarded as a mixed race, as a little inferior to the pure Judaean Jew, and so I daresay they are, being so close to Phoenicians and Greeks and various sorts of Syrians. The Galileans think themselves as good as any Jew alive; they are all the more defiant of us Romans because they are themselves ruled by a semi-Jew, like Antipas, and in any case a visit to Jerusalem is to them an excursion on which they enter with boisterous high spirits. This party, which arrived a fortnight ago, had heard of my seizure of the Temple-money but had not heard that demonstrations were prohibited. When the noisy rabble reached the Antonia I sent to warn them, but in vain. They abused us angrily and declared that on entering the Temple they would protest against the customary sacrifice to Caesar and to Rome. I had them followed into the outer court of the Temple by a troop of soldiers who fell upon them with swords while they were buying the animals for their own sacrifices. The other Jews looked on. I think this proof that I would not stop short even at entering the Temple has made a good impression. The remnant of the Galilean party set off again for their own country the same day and when they spread the news it should teach their fellow-countrymen not to take liberties with me. I have sent a report to Antipas and begged him to restrain his subjects better.

I do not like what you tell me about the prevalence of 'informers' at Rome. If a man sides with or against Sejanus, he takes the risk and ought not to complain of the result, but this system is exposing even the most innocent to private spite and vengeance. Surely a Roman ought to be safe from denunciation by his freedman. I pay no attention to anonymous informers here, though there are many of them at work. Those who hate us most are always seeking to ruin the priests and nobles who work with us, but unless the accuser is prepared to stand forward I do not listen to him. In that I know I shall have your support. For rebellion, no mercy! But our Roman justice must not be used for settling private grudges. 'Admirable,' says L. Annaeus Seneca, 'and under which heading comes the appropriation of the sacred Temple-money!'


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