When this was over, one Trypho, who was the king's barber, took the opportunity, and came and told the king, that Tero would often have persuaded him, when he trimmed him with a razor, to cut his throat, for that by this means he should be among the chief of Alexander's friends, and receive great rewards from him. When he had said this, the king gave order that Tero, and his son, and the barber, should be tortured, which was done accordingly; but while Tero bore up himself, his son, seeing his father already in a sad case, and had no hope of deliverance, and perceiving what would be the consequence of his terrible sufferings, said, that " if the king would here free him and his father from those torments for what he should say, he would tell the truth." And when the king had given his word to do so, he said, That " there was an agreement made, that Tero should lay violent hands on the king, because it was easy for him to come when he was alone; and that if, when he had done the thing, he should suffer death for it, as was not unlikely, it would be an act of generosity done in favour of Alexander." This was what Tero's son said, and thereby freed his father from the distress he was in; but uncertain it is, whether he had been thus forced to speak what was true, or whether it were a contrivance of his in order to procure his own and his father's deliverance from their miseries.
. As for Herod, if he had before any doubt about the slaughter of his sons, there was now no longer any room left in his soul for it, but he had banished away whatsoever might afford him the least suggestion of reasoning better about this matter, so he already made haste to bring his purpose to a conclusion. He also brought out three hundred of the officers that were under an accusation, as also Tero, and his son, and the barber that accused them, before an assembly, and brought an accusation against them all; whom the multitude stoned with whatsoever came to hand, and thereby slew them. Alexander also and Aristobulus were brought to Sebaste, by their father's command, and there strangled: but their dead bodies were in the night-time carried to Alexandrium, where their uncle, by the mother's side, and the greatest part of their ancestors had been deposited.
8. And now perhaps it may not seem unreasonable to some, that such an inveterate hatred might increase so much [on both sides] as to proceed farther, and to overcome nature: but it may justly deserve consideration, whether it be to be laid to the charge of the young men, that they gave such an occasion to their father's anger, and led him to do what he did, and by going on longer in the same way, put things past remedy, and brought him to use them so unmercifully; or whether it be to be laid to the father's charge, that he was so hard-hearted, and so very tender in the desire of government, and of other things that would tend to his glory, that he would take no one into partnership with him, that so whatsoever he would have done himself might continue immoveable; or indeed, whether fortune have not greater power than all prudent reasonings:
whence we are persuaded that human actions are thereby determined beforehand by an inevitable necessity, and we call her Fate,
because there is nothing which is not done by her; wherefore I suppose it will be sufficient to compare this notion with that other which attributes somewhat to ourselves, and renders men not unaccountable for the different conducts of their lives, which notion is no other than the philosophical determination of our ancient law. Accordingly, of the two other causes of this sad event, any body may lay the blame on the young men, who acted by youthful vanity, and pride of their royal birth, that they should bear to hear the calumnies that were raised against their father, while certainly they were not equitable judges of the actions of his life, but ill-natured in suspecting, and intemperate in speaking of it, and on both accounts easily caught by those that observed them, and revealed them, to gain favour; yet cannot their father be thought worthy of excuse as to that horrid impiety which he was guilty of about them, while he ventured
, without any certain evidence of their treacherous designs against him, and without any proofs that they had made preparations for such attempts, to kill his own sons, who were of very comely bodies, and the great darlings of other men, and no way deficient in their conduct, whether it were in hunting, or warlike exercises, or in speaking upon occasional topies of discourse
; for in all these they were skilful, and especially Alexander, who was the eldest; for certainly it had been sufficient, even though he had condemned them, to have kept them alive in bonds, or to let them live at a distance from his dominions in banishment, while he was surrounded by the Roman forces, which were a strong security te him, whose help would prevent his suffering any thing by a sudden onset, or by open force; but for him to kill them on the sudden, in order to gratify a passion that governed him, was a demonstration of insufferable impiety: he also was guilty of so great a crime in his elder age; nor will the delays that he made, and the length of time in which the thing was done, plead at all for his excuse; for when a man is on a sudden amazed, and in commotion of mind, and then commits a wicked action, although this be an heavy crime, yet is it a thing that frequently happens; but to do it upon deliberation, and after frequent attempts, and as frequent puttings off, to undertake it at last, and accomplish it, was the action of a murderous mind, and such as was not easily moved from that which is evil: and this temper he showed in what he did afterwards, when he did not spare those that seemed to be the best beloved of his friends that were left, wherein, though the justice of the punishment caused those that perished to be the less pitied, yet was the barbarity of the man here equal, in that he did not abstain from their slaughter also; but of those persons we shall have occasion to discourse more hereafter.