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[365] At which time Herod released to his subjects the third part of their taxes, under pretense indeed of relieving them, after the dearth they had had; but the main reason was, to recover their good-will, which he now wanted; for they were uneasy at him, because of the innovations he had introduced in their practices, of the dissolution of their religion, and of the disuse of their own customs; and the people every where talked against him, like those that were still more provoked and disturbed at his procedure; against which discontents he greatly guarded himself, and took away the opportunities they might have to disturb him, and enjoined them to be always at work; nor did he permit the citizens either to meet together, or to walk or eat together, but watched every thing they did, and when any were caught, they were severely punished; and many there were who were brought to the citadel Hyrcania, both openly and secretly, and were there put to death; and there were spies set every where, both in the city and in the roads, who watched those that met together; nay, it is reported that he did not himself neglect this part of caution, but that he would oftentimes himself take the habit of a private man, and mix among the multitude, in the night time, and make trial what opinion they had of his government: and as for those that could no way be reduced to acquiesce under his scheme of government, he prosecuted them all manner of ways; but for the rest of the multitude, he required that they should be obliged to take an oath of fidelity to him, and at the same time compelled them to swear that they would bear him good-will, and continue certainly so to do, in his management of the government; and indeed a great part of them, either to please him, or out of fear of him, yielded to what he required of them; but for such as were of a more open and generous disposition, and had indignation at the force he used to them, he by one means or other made away, with them. He endeavored also to persuade Pollio the Pharisee, and Satneas, and the greatest part of their scholars, to take the oath; but these would neither submit so to do, nor were they punished together with the rest, out of the reverence he bore to Pollio. The Essens also, as we call a sect of ours, were excused from this imposition. These men live the same kind of life as do those whom the Greeks call Pythagoreans, concerning whom I shall discourse more fully elsewhere. However, it is but fit to set down here the reasons wherefore Herod had these Essens in such honor, and thought higher of them than their mortal nature required; nor will this account be unsuitable to the nature of this history, as it will show the opinion men had of these Essens.

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