1 Maccabees - 8


1Now Judas had heard of the reputation of the Romans: how strong they were, and how wel disposedtowards any who made common cause with them, making a treaty of friendship with anyone who approachedthem. 2(And, indeed, they were extremely powerful.) He had been told of their wars and of their prowessamong the Gauls, whom they had conquered and put under tribute; 3and of al they had done in the province of Spain to gain possession of the silver and gold mines there, 4making themselves masters of the whole country by their determination and perseverance, despite itsgreat distance from their own; of the kings who came from the ends of the earth to attack them, only to becrushed by them and overwhelmed with disaster, and of others who paid them annual tribute; 5Philip, Perseus king of the Kittim, and others who had dared to make war on them, had been defeatedand reduced to subjection, 6while Antiochus the Great, king of Asia, who had advanced to attack them with a hundred and twentyelephants, cavalry, chariots and a very large army, had also suffered defeat at their hands; 7they had taken him alive and imposed on him and his successors, on agreed terms, the payment of anenormous tribute, the surrender of hostages, and the cession 8of the Indian territory, with Media, Lydia, and some of their best provinces, which they took from himand gave to King Eumenes. 9Judas had also heard how, when the Greeks planned an expedition to destroy the Romans, 10the latter had got wind of it and, sending a single general against them, had fought a campaign inwhich they inflicted heavy casualties, carried their women and children away into captivity, pillaged their goods,subdued their country, tore down their fortresses and reduced them to a slavery lasting to the present day; 11and how they had destroyed and subjugated al the other kingdoms and islands that resisted them. 12But where their friends and those who relied on them were concerned, they had always stood by theirfriendship. They had subdued kings far and near, and al who heard their name went in terror of them. 13One man, if they determined to help him and advance him to a throne, would certainly occupy it, whileanother, if they so determined, would find himself deposed; their influence was paramount. 14In spite of al this, no single one of them had assumed a crown or put on the purple for his ownaggrandisement. 15They had set up a senate, where three hundred and twenty councillors deliberated daily, constantlydebating how best to regulate public affairs. 16They entrusted their government to one man for a year at a time, with absolute power over their wholeempire, and this man was obeyed by al without envy or jealousy. 17Having chosen Eupolemus son of John, of the family of Accos, and Jason son of Eleazar, Judas sentthem to Rome to make a treaty of friendship and al iance with these people, 18in the hope of being rid of the yoke, for they could see that Greek rule was reducing Israel to slavery. 19The envoys made the lengthy journey to Rome and presented themselves before the Senate withtheir formal proposal: 20'Judas Maccabaeus and his brothers, with the Jewish people, have sent us to you to conclude a treatyof al iance and peace with you, and to enrol ourselves as your al ies and friends.' 21The proposal met with the approval of the senators. 22Here is a copy of the rescript which they engraved on bronze tablets and sent to Jerusalem to be keptthere by the Jews as a record of peace and al iance: 23'Good fortune attend the Romans and the Jewish nation by sea and land for ever; may sword orenemy be far from them! 24'If war comes first to Rome or any of her al ies throughout her dominions, 25the Jewish nation wil take action as her al y, as occasion may require, and do it wholeheartedly. 26They wil not give or supply to the enemy any grain, arms, money or ships: thus has Rome decided,and they are to honour their obligations without guarantees. 27In the same way, if war comes first to the Jewish nation, the Romans wil support them energetical yas occasion may offer, 28and the aggressor wil not be furnished with grain, arms, money or ships: such is the Roman decision,and they wil honour these obligations without treachery. 29Such are the articles under which the Romans have concluded their treaty with the Jewish people. 30If, later, either party should decide to make any addition or deletion, they wil be free to do so, and anysuch addition or deletion wil be binding. 31'As regards the wrongs done to them by King Demetrius, we have written to him in these terms: Whyhave you made your yoke lie heavy on our friends and al ies the Jews? 32If they appeal against you again, we shal uphold their rights and make war on you by sea and land.'
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