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 When Judæa openly became subject to a tyrannical government, the first person who exchanged the title of priest for that of king was Alexander.1 His sons were Hyrcanus and Aristobulus. While they were disputing the succession to the kingdom, Pompey came upon them by surprise, deprived them of their power, and destroyed their fortresses, first taking Jerusalem itself by storm.2 It was a stronghold, situated on a rock, well fortified and well supplied with water3 within, but externally entirely parched with drought. A ditch was cut in the rock, 60 feet in depth, and in width 250 feet. On the wall of the temple were built towers, constructed of the materials procured when the ditch was excavated. The city was taken, it is said, by waiting for the day of fast, on which the Jews were in the habit of abstaining from all work. Pompey [availing himself of this], filled up the ditch, and threw bridges over it. He gave orders to raze all the walls, and he destroyed, as far as was in his power, the haunts of the robbers and the treasure-holds of the tyrants. Two of these forts, Thrax and Taurus, were situated in the passes leading to Jericho. Others were Alexandrium, Hyrcanium, Machærus, Lysias, and those about Philadelphia, and Scythopolis near Galilee.
1 According to Josephus, Johannes Hyrcanus dying, B. C. 107, was succeeded by Aristobulus, who took the title of king, this being the first instance of the assumption of that name among the Jews since the Babylonish captivity. Aristobulus, was succeeded by Alexander Jannæus, whose two sons were Hyrcanus II. and Aristobulus II., successively kings of Judæa, B. C. 67, 68.
2 B. C. 63.
3 Solomon's conduit was constructed on the hydraulic principle, that water rises to its own level. The Romans subsequently, being ignorant of this principle, constructed an aqueduct.
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