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[61] AS soon as Pheroras was dead, and his funeral was over, two of Pheroras's freed-men, who were much esteemed by him, came to Herod, and entreated him not to leave the murder of his brother without avenging it, but to examine into such an unreasonable and unhappy death. When he was moved with these words, for they seemed to him to be true, they said that Pheroras supped with his wife the day before he fell sick, and that a certain potion was brought him in such a sort of food as he was not used to eat; but that when he had eaten, he died of it: that this potion was brought out of Arabia by a woman, under pretense indeed as a love-potion, for that was its name, but in reality to kill Pheroras; for that the Arabian women are skillful in making such poisons: and the woman to whom they ascribe this was confessedly a most intimate friend of one of Sylleus's mistresses; and that both the mother and the sister of Pheroras's wife had been at the places where she lived, and had persuaded her to sell them this potion, and had come back and brought it with them the day before that his supper. Hereupon the king was provoked, and put the women slaves to the torture, and some that were free with them; and as the fact did not yet appear, because none of them would confess it, at length one of them, under the utmost agonies, said no more but this, that she prayed that God would send the like agonies upon Antipater's mother, who had been the occasion of these miseries to all of them. This prayer induced Herod to increase the women's tortures, till thereby all was discovered; their merry meetings, their secret assemblies, and the disclosing of what he had said to his son alone unto Pheroras's 1 women. (Now what Herod had charged Antipater to conceal, was the gift of a hundred talents to him not to have any conversation with Pheroras.) And what hatred he bore to his father; and that he complained to his mother how very long his father lived; and that he was himself almost an old man, insomuch that if the kingdom should come to him, it would not afford him any great pleasure; and that there were a great many of his brothers, or brothers' children, bringing up, that might have hopes of the kingdom as well as himself, all which made his own hopes of it uncertain; for that even now, if he should himself not live, Herod had ordained that the government should be conferred, not on his son, but rather on a brother. He also had accused the king of great barbarity, and of the slaughter of his sons; and that it was out of the fear he was under, lest he should do the like to him, that made him contrive this his journey to Rome, and Pheroras contrive to go to his own tetrarchy. 2

1 His wife, her mother, and sister.

2 It seems to me, by this whole story put together, that Pheroras was not himself poisoned, as is commonly supposed; for Antipater had persuaded him to poison Herod, ch. v. sect. 1, which would fall to the ground if he wore himself poisoned; nor could the poisoning of Pheroras serve any design that appears now going forward; it was only the supposal of two of his freed-men, that this love-potion, or poison, which they knew was brought to Pheroras's wife, was made use of for poisoning him; whereas it appears to have been brought for her husband to poison Herod withal, as the future examinations demonstrate.

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