topApion-2

The merits of the our religion, contrary to Allegations

Chapter 1 The Anti-Jewish writings of Apion the grammarian

Chapter 2 Apion's unfounded claims about Moses

Chapter 3 Apion tells lies, and is ignorant too

Chapter 4 In defence of religious separatism

Chapter 5 The libel about the Greek, fattened for sacrifice

Chapter 6 Fables about Mnaseas, and the anti-Greek Oath

Chapter 7 Our lowly status does not disprove our religion

Chapter 8 Spirit and content of the Mosaic Law

Chapter 9 Jewish unity and constancy, based on solid Law

Chapter 10 Laws of our society: marriage, family, justice

Chapter 11 Our laws are the most firmly observed

Chapter 12 Pagan pantheon leads to mutable legal system

Chapter 13 Separatism is not unique to the Jews

Chapter 14 Jewish law should be admired by everyone of goodwill

Chapter 1
The anti-Jewish writings of Apion the grammarian

[1] Διὰ μὲν οὖν τοῦ προτέρου βιβλίου , τιμιώτατέ μοι Ἐπαφρόδιτε , περί τε τῆς ἀρχαιότητος ἡμῶν ἐπέδειξα τοῖς Φοινίκων καὶ Χαλδαίων καὶ Αἰγυπτίων γράμμασι πιστωσάμενος τὴν ἀλήθειαν καὶ πολλοὺς τῶν Ἑλλήνων συγγραφεῖς παρασχόμενος μάρτυρας , τήν τε ἀντίρρησιν ἐποιησάμην πρὸς Μανεθὼν καὶ Χαιρήμονα καί τινας ἑτέρους .
[2] ἄρξομαι δὲ νῦν τοὺς ὑπολειπομένους τῶν γεγραφότων τι καθ’ ἡμῶν ἐλέγχειν καὶ τοῖς τῆς πρὸς Ἀπίωνα τὸν γραμματικὸν ἀντιρρήσεως τετολμημένοις ἐπῆλθέ μοι διαπορεῖν , εἰ χρὴ σπουδάσαι ·
[3] τὰ μὲν γάρ ἐστι τῶν ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ‎ γεγραμμένων τοῖς ὑπ’ ἄλλων εἰρημένοις ὅμοια , τὰ δὲ λίαν ψυχρῶς προστέθεικεν , τὰ πλεῖστα δὲ βωμολοχίαν ἔχει καὶ πολλήν , εἰ δεῖ τἀληθὲς εἰπεῖν , ἀπαιδευσίαν ὡς ἂν ὑπ’ ἀνθρώπου συγκείμενα καὶ φαύλου τὸν τρόπον καὶ παρὰ πάντα τὸν βίον ὀχλαγωγοῦ γεγονότος .
[4] ἐπεὶ δ’ οἱ πολλοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων διὰ τὴν αὐτῶν ἄνοιαν ὑπὸ τῶν τοιούτων ἁλίσκονται λόγων μᾶλλον τῶν μετά τινος σπουδῆς γεγραμμένων , καὶ χαίρουσι μὲν ταῖς λοιδορίαις , ἄχθονται δὲ τοῖς ἐπαίνοις , ἀναγκαῖον ἡγησάμην εἶναι μηδὲ τοῦτον ἀνεξέταστον καταλιπεῖν κατηγορίαν ἡμῶν ἄντικρυς ὡς ἐν δίκῃ γεγραφότα .
[5] καὶ γὰρ αὖ κἀκεῖνο τοῖς πολλοῖς ἀνθρώποις ὁρῶ παρακολουθοῦν , τὸ λίαν ἐφήδεσθαι ὅταν τις ἀρξάμενος βλασφημεῖν ἕτερον αὐτὸς ἐλέγχηται περὶ τῶν αὐτῷ προσόντων κακῶν .
[6] ἔστι μὲν οὖν οὐ ῥᾴδιον αὐτοῦ‎ διελθεῖν τὸν λόγον οὐδὲ σαφῶς γνῶναι , τί λέγειν βούλεται , σχεδὸν δ’ ὡς ἐν πολλῇ ταραχῇ καὶ ψευσμάτων συγχύσει τὰ μὲν εἰς τὴν ὁμοίαν ἰδέαν πίπτει τοῖς προεξητασμένοις περὶ τῆς ἐξ Αἰγύπτου τῶν ἡμετέρων προγόνων μεταναστάσεως ,
[7] τὰ δ’ ἐστὶ κατηγορία τῶν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ κατοικούντων Ἰουδαίων . τρίτον δ’ ἐπὶ τούτοις μέμικται περὶ τῆς ἁγιστείας τῆς κατὰ τὸ ἱερὸν ἡμῶν καὶ τῶν ἄλλων νομίμων κατηγορία .

001In the former book, my most honoured Epaphroditus, I have illustrated our antiquity and shown the truth about it from the writings of the Phoenicians and Chaldeans and Egyptians, bringing in as witnesses many Greek writers also, and refuting Manetho and Cheremon and some other critics.
002 Now I will begin to refute the remaining authors who have written anything against us, although I confess I have wondered whether to bother with refuting Apion the grammarian.
003 Some of the accusations against us in his writings are much the same as others have made, while he has added more that are very dull and most of what he says is simply scurrilous, and, to speak plainly, shows up his lack of learning, and looks like the work of a man of low character morals, whose whole life is just a charade.
004 Yet, because many men are foolish enough to be more influenced by writings of that kind than by what is written with care, and are charmed by insults thrown at others and bored to hear them praised, I thought this man should not be let off unexamined after writing an indictment of us that seems to demand an answer in open court.
005 For I have noted how it delights people to see a man who first began rebuking another, to have his own vices held up for scrutiny.
006 It is not easy to go right through this man's words and know what he means to say, but amid the confusion and disorder of his falsehoods, he seems to want to adduce, first, things similar to what we have already examined, about our ancestors' departure from Egypt;
007 secondly he accuses the Jews who live in Alexandria; and thirdly, he mixes in with these things some accusations about the sacred purifications and other laws about our temple .
Chapter 2
Apion's unfounded claims about Moses

[8] Ὅτι μὲν οὖν οὔτε Αἰγύπτιοι τὸ γένος ἦσαν ἡμῶν οἱ πατέρες οὔτε διὰ λύμην σωμάτων τοιαύτας ἄλλας συμφοράς τινας ἐκεῖθεν ἐξηλάθησαν , οὐ μετρίως μόνον , ἀλλὰ καὶ πέρα τοῦ συμμέτρου προαποδεδεῖχθαι νομίζω .
[9] περὶ ὧν δὲ προστίθησιν Ἀπίων ἐπιμνησθήσομαι συντόμως .
[10] φησὶ γὰρ ἐν τῇ τρίτῃ τῶν Αἰγυπτιακῶν τάδε · Μωσῆς , ὡς ἤκουσα παρὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων τῶν Αἰγυπτίων , ἦν Ἡλιοπολίτης , ὃς πατρίοις ἔθεσι κατηγγυημένος αἰθρίους προσευχὰς ἀνῆγεν εἰς οἵους εἶχεν ἥλιος περιβόλους , πρὸς ἀφηλιώτην δὲ πάσας ἀπέστρεφεν · ὧδε γὰρ καὶ Ἡλίου κεῖται πόλις .
[11] ἀντὶ δὲ ὀβελῶν ἔστησε κίονας , ὑφ’ οἷς ἦν ἐκτύπωμα σκάφη , σκιὰ δ’ ἀνδρὸς ἐπ’ αὐτὴν διακειμένη , ὡς ὅτι ἐν αἰθέρι τοῦτον ἀεὶ τὸν δρόμον ἡλίῳ συμπεριπολεῖ .
[12] τοιαύτη μέν τις θαυμαστὴ τοῦ γραμματικοῦ φράσις · τὸ δὲ ψεῦσμα λόγων οὐ δεόμενον , ἀλλ’ ἐκ τῶν ἔργων περιφανές · οὔτε γὰρ αὐτὸς Μωσῆς , ὅτε τὴν πρώτην σκηνὴν τῷ θεῷ κατεσκεύασεν , οὐθὲν ἐκτύπωμα τοιοῦτον εἰς αὐτὴν ἐνέθηκεν οὐδὲ ποιεῖν τοῖς ἔπειτα προσέταξεν , τε μετὰ ταῦτα κατασκευάσας τὸν ναὸν τὸν ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις Σολομὼν πάσης ἀπέσχετο τοιαύτης περιεργίας οἵαν συμπέπλεκεν Ἀπίων .
[13] ἀκοῦσαι δέ φησι τῶν πρεσβυτέρων , ὅτι Μωσῆς ἦν Ἡλιοπολίτης , δῆλον ὅτι νεώτερος μὲν ὢν αὐτός , ἐκείνοις δὲ πιστεύσας τοῖς διὰ τὴν ἡλικίαν ἐπισταμένοις αὐτὸν καὶ συγγενομένοις .
[14] καὶ περὶ μὲν Ὁμήρου τοῦ ποιητοῦ γραμματικὸς ὢν αὐτὸς οὐκ ἂν ἔχοι , τίς αὐτοῦ‎ πατρίς ἐστι , διαβεβαιωσάμενος εἰπεῖν οὐδὲ περὶ Πυθαγόρου μόνον οὐκ ἐχθὲς καὶ πρῴην γεγονότος , περὶ δὲ Μωσέως τοσούτῳ πλήθει προάγοντος ἐκείνους ἐτῶν οὕτως ἀποφαίνεται ῥᾳδίως πιστεύων ἀκοῇ πρεσβυτέρων , ὡς δῆλός ἐστι καταψευσάμενος .

008 I reckon that I have already more than adequately proven that our fathers were not originally Egyptians, and were not expelled from there due to bodily disease or any other sort of ailment,
009 but I will briefly observe what Apion adds upon that subject.
010 In his third book on Egyptian lore, he says, "I have heard from the elders of Egypt that a man from Heliopolis felt obliged obliged to follow his native customs and to pray in the open air, in the direction of the sunrise, for that was the orientation of Sun-City.
011 Instead of obelisks he set up pillars, beneath which was carved the shape of a vessel and the shadow that fell from their tops went around that vessel in a circle, as the sun goes round in the heavens ."
012 That is that strange statement we have from this grammarian. But it needs few words to prove that it is a false, for the facts are against it. When Moses built the first tabernacle for God, he did not order any such image to be placed in it, or that those who came after him should make one. And when in later on Solomon built his temple in Jerusalem, he avoided such oddities as Apion has here invented.
013 He says that he heard from the elders that Moses was of Heliopolis, clearly because as a younger man himself, he believed those who by their more advanced age had known and conversed with him.
014This grammarian, as he may be, could not say with certainly which was the poet Homer's birthplace, or even the district of Pythagoras, who had lived comparatively recently, but he can easily decide the age of Moses, who preceded them by such a long time, all based on his "elders' report ," which shows what a liar he was .

[15] τὰ δὲ δὴ τῶν χρόνων , ἐν οἷς φησι τὸν Μωσῆν ἐξαγαγεῖν τοὺς λεπρῶντας καὶ τυφλοὺς καὶ τὰς βάσεις πεπηρωμένους , σφόδρα δὴ τοῖς πρὸ αὐτοῦ‎ συμπεφώνηκεν , ὡς οἶμαι , γραμματικὸς ἀκριβής .
[16] Μανεθὼς μὲν γὰρ κατὰ τὴν Τεθμώσιος βασιλείαν ἀπαλλαγῆναί φησιν ἐξ Αἰγύπτου τοὺς Ἰουδαίους πρὸ ἐτῶν τριακοσίων ἐνενηκοντατριῶν τῆς εἰς Ἄργος Δαναοῦ φυγῆς , Λυσίμαχος δὲ κατὰ Βόκχοριν τὸν βασιλέα , τουτέστι πρὸ ἐτῶν χιλίων ἑπτακοσίων , Μόλων δὲ καὶ ἄλλοι τινὲς ὡς αὐτοῖς ἔδοξεν .
[17] δέ γε πάντων πιστότατος Ἀπίων ὡρίσατο τὴν ἔξοδον ἀκριβῶς κατὰ τὴν ἑβδόμην ὀλυμπιάδα καὶ ταύτης ἔτος εἶναι πρῶτον , ἐν , φησί , Καρχηδόνα Φοίνικες ἔκτισαν . τοῦτο δὲ πάντως προσέθηκε τὸ Καρχηδόνα τεκμήριον οἰόμενος αὑτῷ γενέσθαι τῆς ἀληθείας ἐναργέστατον , οὐ συνῆκε δὲ καθ’ ἑαυτοῦ τὸν ἔλεγχον ἐπισπώμενος .
[18] εἰ γὰρ περὶ τῆς ἀπιστίας πιστεύειν δεῖ ταῖς Φοινίκων ἀναγραφαῖς , ἐν ἐκείναις Εἴρωμος βασιλεὺς γέγραπται πρεσβύτερος τῆς Καρχηδόνος κτίσεως ἔτεσι πλείοσι πρὸς τοῖς πεντήκοντα καὶ ἑκατόν , περὶ οὗ τὰς πίστεις ἀνωτέρω παρέσχον ἐκ τῶν Φοινίκων ἀναγραφῶν ,
[19] ὅτι Σολομῶνι τῷ τὸν ναὸν οἰκοδομησαμένῳ τὸν ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις Φίλος ἦν Εἴρωμος καὶ πολλὰ συνεβάλετο πρὸς τὴν τοῦ ναοῦ κατασκευήν . αὐτὸς δὲ Σολομὼν ᾠκοδόμησε τὸν ναὸν μετὰ τὸ ἐξελθεῖν ἐξ Αἰγύπτου τοὺς Ἰουδαίους δώδεκα καὶ ἑξακοσίοις ἔτεσιν ὕστερον .
[20] τὸν δὲ ἀριθμὸν τῶν ἐλαθέντων τὸν αὐτὸν Λυσιμάχῳ σχεδιάσας , ἕνδεκα γὰρ αὐτοὺς εἶναί φησι μυριάδας , θαυμαστήν τινα καὶ πιθανὴν ἀποδίδωσιν αἰτίαν , ἀφ’ ἧς φησι τὸ σάββατον ὠνομάσθαι .
[21] ὁδεύσαντες γάρ , φησίν , ἓξ ἡμερῶν ὁδὸν βουβῶνας ἔσχον καὶ διὰ ταύτην τὴν αἰτίαν τῇ ἑβδόμῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἀνεπαύσαντο σωθέντες εἰς τὴν χώραν τὴν νῦν Ἰουδαίαν λεγομένην καὶ ἐκάλεσαν τὴν ἡμέραν σάββατον σώζοντες τὴν Αἰγυπτίων γλῶτταν · τὸ γὰρ βουβῶνος ἄλγος καλοῦσιν Αἰγύπτιοι σαββάτωσις .

015As to his chronology of the time when he says Moses brought the leprous people, the blind and the lame out of Egypt, see how well this sharp grammarian agrees with those who went before him!
016Manetho says that the Jews left Egypt in the reign of Tethmosis, three hundred ninety-three years before Danaus fled to Argos; Lysimachus says it was under king Bocchoris, that is, one thousand seven hundred years ago; Molo and others each decided it as he pleased.
017But this most trusted Apion places it exactly in the seventh olympiad and the first year of that olympiad, in which, he says, the Phoenicians built Carthage. He added this reference to Carthage in order, as he thought, to strengthen his claim by so evident a sign of chronology.
018But he did not know that this sign refutes his assertion, for if we believe the Phoenician records about the time of their colony's first coming to Carthage, they tell how Hiram their king lived over a hundred and fifty years before the building of Carthage, which I have already proven from those Phoenician records.
019This Hiram was a friend of Solomon when he was building the temple in Jerusalem and helped him greatly in his completing the sanctuary; and Solomon built that temple six hundred and twelve years after the Jews came out of Egypt.
020As for the number of those expelled from Egypt, he imagines the same number as Lysimachus, a hundred and ten thousand, and then assigns a strange and plausible reason for the name of Sabbath.
021According to him, when the Jews had gone a six days' journey, they had a swelling in the groin, which was why once they got safely to the land which is now called Judea they rested on the seventh day, and used the Egyptian language when calling that day the Sabbath, for the Egyptians call an illness of the groin 'Sabbatosis’ .

[22] οὐκ ἂν οὖν τις καταγελάσειε τῆς φλυαρίας τοὐναντίον μισήσειε τὴν ἐν τῷ τοιαῦτα γράφειν ἀναίδειαν ; δῆλον γάρ , ὅτι πάντες ἐβουβωνίασαν ἕνδεκα μυριάδες ἀνθρώπων .
[23] ἀλλ’ εἰ μὲν ἦσαν ἐκεῖνοι τυφλοὶ καὶ χωλοὶ καὶ πάντα τρόπον νοσοῦντες ὁποίους αὐτοὺς εἶναί φησιν Ἀπίων , οὐδ’ ἂν μιᾶς ἡμέρας προελθεῖν ὁδὸν ἠδυνήθησαν · εἰ δ’ οἷοι βαδίζειν διὰ πολλῆς ἐρημίας καὶ προσέτι νικᾶν τοὺς αὐτοῖς ἀνθισταμένους *μαχόμενοι πάντες , οὐκ ἂν ἀθρόοι μετὰ τὴν ἕκτην ἡμέραν ἐβουβωνίασαν ·
[24] οὔτε γὰρ φύσει πως γίνεται τὸ τοιοῦτον τοῖς βαδίζουσιν ἐξ ἀνάγκης , ἀλλὰ πολλαὶ μυριάδες στρατοπέδων ἐπὶ πολλὰς ἡμέρας τὸ σύμμετρον ἀεὶ βαδίζουσιν , οὔτε κατ’ αὐτόματον εἰκὸς οὕτως συμβῆναι · πάντων γὰρ ἀλογώτατον .
[25] δὲ θαυμαστὸς Ἀπίων διὰ μὲν ἓξ ἡμερῶν αὐτοὺς ἐλθεῖν εἰς τὴν Ἰουδαίαν προείρηκε , πάλιν δὲ τὸν Μωσῆν εἰς τὸ μεταξὺ τῆς Αἰγύπτου καὶ τῆς Ἀραβίας ὄρος , καλεῖται Σίναιον , ἀναβάντα φησὶν ἡμέρας τεσσαράκοντα κρυβῆναι κἀκεῖθεν καταβάντα δοῦναι τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις τοὺς νόμους . καίτοι πῶς οἷόν τε τοὺς αὐτοὺς καὶ τεσσαράκοντα μένειν ἡμέρας ἐν ἐρήμῳ καὶ ἀνύδρῳ τόπῳ καὶ τὴν μεταξὺ πᾶσαν ἐν ἡμέραις ἓξ διελθεῖν ;
[26] δὲ περὶ τὴν ὀνομασίαν τοῦ σαββάτου γραμματικὴ μετάθεσις ἀναίδειαν ἔχει πολλὴν δεινὴν ἀμαθίαν ·
[27] τὸ γὰρ σαββὼ καὶ σάββατον πλεῖστον ἀλλήλων διαφέρει · τὸ μὲν γὰρ σάββατον κατὰ τὴν Ἰουδαίων διάλεκτον ἀνάπαυσίς ἐστιν ἀπὸ παντὸς ἔργου , τὸ δὲ σαββώ , καθάπερ ἐκεῖνός φησι , δηλοῖ παρ’ Αἰγυπτίοις τὸ βουβῶνος ἄλγος .

022Would not this nonsense make one laugh, or rather hate his impudence for writing so? It seems that all these hundred and ten thousand people had these blisters.
023But if they were blind and lame and suffered from all the ailments Apion says they had, they could not have gone a single day's journey. If on the contrary they were all able to cross a large desert, and, besides, to fight and conquer all who opposed them, all of them would not have had the groin malady after six days.
024No such ailment comes naturally and inevitably on those who travel, and when many thousands are on the march for many days, they maintain an agreed pace. Nor is it likely for such a thing to happen by chance, indeed it would be most absurd.
025However, the remarkable Apion has already told us that they reached Judea in six days, and again, that Moses went up the mountain called Sinai, between Egypt and Arabia, and hid there for forty days and when he came down from there he gave laws to the Jews. But how could they wait for forty days in a desert place where there was no water and at the same time to cross all the intervening land in just six days?
026As for his grammatical explanation of the word Sabbath, it comes either from his gross impudence or his terrible ignorance, for the words Sabbo and Sabbath are very different.
027In the Jewish language the word Sabbath means rest from all sorts of work; but the word sabbo, as he says, means among the Egyptians a malady of the groin.
Chapter 3
Apion tells lies, and is ignorant of the facts

[28] Τοιαῦτα μέν τινα περὶ Μωσέως καὶ τῆς ἐξ Αἰγύπτου γενομένης τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις ἀπαλλαγῆς Αἰγύπτιος Ἀπίων ἐκαινοποίησεν παρὰ τοὺς ἄλλους ἐπινοήσας . καὶ τί γε δεῖ θαυμάζειν , εἰ περὶ τῶν ἡμετέρων ψεύδεται προγόνων λέγων αὐτοὺς εἶναι τὸ γένος Αἰγυπτίους ;
[29] αὐτὸς γὰρ περὶ αὐτοῦ‎ τοὐναντίον ἐψεύδετο καὶ γεγενημένος ἐν Ὀάσει τῆς Αἰγύπτου πάντων Αἰγυπτίων πρῶτος ὤν , ὡς ἂν εἴποι τις , τὴν μὲν ἀληθῆ πατρίδα καὶ τὸ γένος ἐξωμόσατο , Ἀλεξανδρεὺς δὲ εἶναι καταψευδόμενος ὁμολογεῖ τὴν μοχθηρίαν τοῦ γένους .
[30] εἰκότως οὖν οὓς μισεῖ καὶ βούλεται λοιδορεῖν τούτους Αἰγυπτίους καλεῖ · εἰ μὴ γὰρ φαυλοτάτους εἶναι ἐνόμιζεν Αἰγυπτίους , οὐκ ἂν τοῦ γένους αὐτὸς ἔφυγεν · ὡς οἵ γε μεγαλοφρονοῦντες ἐπὶ ταῖς ἑαυτῶν πατρίσι σεμνύνονται μὲν ἀπὸ τούτων αὐτοὶ χρηματίζοντες , τοὺς ἀδίκως δ’ αὐτῶν ἀντιποιουμένους ἐλέγχουσι .
[31] πρὸς ἡμᾶς δὲ δυοῖν θάτερον Αἰγύπτιοι πεπόνθασιν · γὰρ ὡς ἐπισεμνυνόμενοι προσποιοῦνται τὴν συγγένειαν κοινωνοὺς ἡμᾶς ἐπισπῶνται τῆς αὑτῶν κακοδοξίας .
[32] δὲ γενναῖος Ἀπίων δοκεῖ μὲν τὴν βλασφημίαν τὴν καθ’ ἡμῶν ὥσπερ τινὰ μισθὸν ἐθελῆσαι παρασχεῖν Ἀλεξανδρεῦσι τῆς δοθείσης αὐτῷ πολιτείας , καὶ τὴν ἀπέχθειαν αὐτῶν ἐπιστάμενος τὴν πρὸς τοὺς συνοικοῦντας αὐτοῖς ἐπὶ τῆς Ἀλεξανδρείας Ἰουδαίους προτέθειται μὲν ἐκείνοις λοιδορεῖσθαι , συμπεριλαμβάνειν δὲ καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ἅπαντας , ἐν ἀμφοτέροις ἀναισχύντως ψευδόμενος .


028This is the highly novel account that the Egyptian Apion gives of Moses and the Jews' departure from Egypt and is no more than his own invention. But it is not surprising that he lies about our ancestors, in affirming them to be originally from Egypt.
029The man even lies about himself; for although he was born in the Egyptian oasis, a prototype Egyptian one could say, he denies his real country and ancestors and falsely claims to be from Alexandria, though he must admit the lowliness of his family.
030See how he calls those whom he hates and wants to insult Egyptians , for if he had not reckoned Egyptian as an insulting name he would not have avoided the name of Egyptian himself. Those who brag of their own countries value themselves by having that name they acquire thereby and condemn any who claim it falsely.
031When the Egyptians claim to be our relatives, they do it for one of two reasons, either as a boast to share in our prestige, or to drag us down to share in their own infamy.
032But the noble Apion seems to hurl this insult at us to please the Alexandrians, as a reward for the privilege they granted him of being their fellow citizen. He knows the hostility of the Alexandrians towards their Jewish fellow citizens and so sets out to insult them, even if thereby he must include all the other Egyptians. In both cases he is a shameless liar .

Alleged crimes of the Alexandrian Jews


[33] Τίνα τοίνυν ἐστὶ τὰ δεινὰ καὶ σχέτλια τῶν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ κατοικούντων Ἰουδαίων , κατηγόρηκεν αὐτῶν , ἴδωμεν . ἐλθόντες , φησίν , ἀπὸ Συρίας ᾤκησαν πρὸς ἀλίμενον θάλασσαν γειτνιάσαντες ταῖς τῶν κυμάτων ἐκβολαῖς .
[34] οὐκοῦν τόπος εἰ λοιδορίαν ἔχει , τὴν οὐ πατρίδα μὲν λεγομένην δὲ αὐτοῦ‎ λοιδορεῖ τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρειαν · ἐκείνης γὰρ καὶ τὸ παράλιόν ἐστι μέρος , ὡς πάντες ὁμολογοῦσιν , εἰς κατοίκησιν τὸ κάλλιστον .
[35] Ἰουδαῖοι δ’ εἰ μὲν βιασάμενοι κατέσχον , ὡς μηδ’ ὕστερον ἐκπεσεῖν , ἀνδρείας τεκμήριόν ἐστιν αὐτοῖς · εἰς κατοίκησιν δὲ αὐτοῖς ἔδωκεν τόπον Ἀλέξανδρος καὶ ἴσης παρὰ τοῖς Μακεδόσι τιμῆς ἐπέτυχον .
[36] οὐκ οἶδα δέ , τί ποτ’ ἂν ἔλεγεν Ἀπίων , εἰ πρὸς τῇ νεκροπόλει κατῴκουν καὶ μὴ πρὸς τοῖς βασιλικοῖς ἦσαν ἱδρυμένοι , καὶ μέχρι νῦν αὐτῶν φυλὴ τὴν προσηγορίαν εἶχεν Μακεδόνες .
[37] εἰ μὲν οὖν ἀναγνοὺς τὰς ἐπιστολὰς Ἀλεξάνδρου τοῦ βασιλέως καὶ τὰς Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Λάγου καὶ τῶν μετ’ ἐκεῖνον τῆς Αἰγύπτου βασιλέων ἐντυχὼν τοῖς γράμμασι καὶ τὴν στήλην τὴν ἑστῶσαν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ καὶ τὰ δικαιώματα περιέχουσαν , Καῖσαρ μέγας τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις ἔδωκεν , εἰ μὲν οὖν ταῦτα , φημί , γιγνώσκων τἀναντία γράφειν ἐτόλμα , πονηρὸς ἦν , εἰ δὲ μηδὲν ἠπίστατο τούτων , ἀπαίδευτος .
[38] τὸ δὲ δὴ θαυμάζειν , πῶς Ἰουδαῖοι ὄντες Ἀλεξανδρεῖς ἐκλήθησαν , τῆς ὁμοίας ἀπαιδευσίας · πάντες γὰρ οἱ εἰς ἀποικίαν τινὰ κατακληθέντες , κἂν πλεῖστον ἀλλήλων τοῖς γένεσι διαφέρωσιν , ἀπὸ τῶν οἰκιστῶν τὴν προσηγορίαν λαμβάνουσιν .
[39] καὶ τί δεῖ περὶ τῶν ἄλλων λέγειν ; αὐτῶν γὰρ ἡμῶν οἱ τὴν Ἀντιόχειαν κατοικοῦντες Ἀντιοχεῖς ὀνομάζονται · τὴν γὰρ πολιτείαν αὐτοῖς ἔδωκεν κτίστης Σέλευκος . ὁμοίως οἱ ἐν Ἐφέσῳ καὶ κατὰ τὴν ἄλλην Ἰωνίαν τοῖς αὐθιγενέσι πολίταις ὁμωνυμοῦσιν τοῦτο παρασχόντων αὐτοῖς τῶν διαδόχων .
[40] δὲ Ῥωμαίων φιλανθρωπία πᾶσιν οὐ μικροῦ δεῖν τῆς αὐτῶν προσηγορίας μεταδέδωκεν οὐ μόνον ἀνδράσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ μεγάλοις ἔθνεσιν ὅλοις ; Ἴβηρες γοῦν οἱ πάλαι καὶ Τυρρηνοὶ καὶ Σαβῖνοι Ῥωμαῖοι καλοῦνται .
[41] εἰ δὲ τοῦτον ἀφαιρεῖται τὸν τρόπον τῆς πολιτείας Ἀπίων , παυσάσθω λέγων αὑτὸν Ἀλεξανδρέα · γεννηθεὶς γάρ , ὡς προεῖπον , ἐν τῷ βαθυτάτῳ τῆς Αἰγύπτου πῶς ἂν Ἀλεξανδρεὺς εἴη τῆς κατὰ δόσιν πολιτείας , ὡς αὐτὸς ἐφ’ ἡμῶν ἠξίωκεν , ἀναιρουμένης ; καίτοι μόνοις Αἰγυπτίοις οἱ κύριοι νῦν Ῥωμαῖοι τῆς οἰκουμένης μεταλαμβάνειν ἡστινοσοῦν πολιτείας ἀπειρήκασιν .
[42] δ’ οὕτως ἐστὶ γενναῖος , ὡς μετέχειν ἀξιῶν αὐτὸς ὧν τυχεῖν ἐκωλύετο συκοφαντεῖν ἐπεχείρησε τοὺς δικαίως λαβόντας · οὐ γὰρ ἀπορίᾳ γε τῶν οἰκησόντων τὴν μετὰ σπουδῆς ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ‎ πόλιν κτιζομένην Ἀλέξανδρος τῶν ἡμετέρων τινὰς ἐκεῖ συνήθροισεν , ἀλλὰ πάντας δοκιμάζων ἐπιμελῶς ἀρετῆς καὶ πίστεως τοῦτο τοῖς ἡμετέροις τὸ γέρας ἔδωκεν .
[43] ἐτίμα γὰρ ἡμῶν τὸ ἔθνος , ὡς καί φησιν Ἑκαταῖος περὶ ἡμῶν , ὅτι διὰ τὴν ἐπιείκειαν καὶ πίστιν , ἣν αὐτῷ παρέσχον Ἰουδαῖοι , τὴν Σαμαρεῖτιν χώραν προσέθηκεν ἔχειν αὐτοῖς ἀφορολόγητον .
[44] ὅμοια δὲ Ἀλεξάνδρῳ καὶ Πτολεμαῖος Λάγου περὶ τῶν ἐν Ἀλεξανδρείᾳ κατοικούντων ἐφρόνησεν · καὶ γὰρ τὰ κατὰ τὴν Αἴγυπτον αὐτοῖς ἐνεχείρισε φρούρια πιστῶς ἅμα καὶ γενναίως φυλάξειν ὑπολαμβάνων , καὶ Κυρήνης ἐγκρατῶς ἄρχειν βουλόμενος καὶ τῶν ἄλλων τῶν ἐν τῇ Λιβύῃ πόλεων εἰς αὐτὰς μέρος Ἰουδαίων ἔπεμψε κατοικῆσον .
[45] δὲ μετ’ αὐτὸν Πτολεμαῖος Φιλάδελφος ἐπικληθεὶς οὐ μόνον εἴ τινες ἦσαν αἰχμάλωτοι παρ’ αὐτῷ τῶν ἡμετέρων πάντας ἀπέδωκεν , ἀλλὰ καὶ χρήματα πολλάκις ἐδωρήσατο καὶ τὸ μέγιστον ἐπιθυμητὴς ἐγένετο τοῦ γνῶναι τοὺς ἡμετέρους νόμους καὶ ταῖς τῶν ἱερῶν γραφῶν βίβλοις ἐντυχεῖν .
[46] ἔπεμψε γοῦν ἀξιῶν ἄνδρας ἀποσταλῆναι τοὺς ἑρμηνεύσοντας αὐτῷ τὸν νόμον καὶ τοῦ γραφῆναι ταῦτα καλῶς τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν ἐπέταξεν οὐ τοῖς τυχοῦσιν , ἀλλὰ Δημήτριον τὸν Φαληρέα καὶ Ἀνδρέαν καὶ Ἀριστέα ,
[47] τὸν μὲν παιδείᾳ τῶν καθ’ ἑαυτὸν διαφέροντα Δημήτριον , τοὺς δὲ τὴν τοῦ σώματος αὐτοῦ‎ φυλακὴν ἐγκεχειρισμένους , ἐπὶ τῆς ἐπιμελείας ταύτης ἔταξεν , οὐκ ἂν δήπου τοὺς νόμους καὶ τὴν πάτριον ἡμῶν φιλοσοφίαν ἐπιθυμήσας ἐκμαθεῖν , εἰ τῶν χρωμένων αὐτοῖς ἀνδρῶν κατεφρόνει καὶ μὴ λίαν ἐθαύμαζεν .

033What then are the serious and shocking crimes of which Apion accuses the Alexandrian Jews? Let us see : "They came from Syria and lived near the raging sea beside the dashing of the waves ."
034Now if there is any mockery attached to the place where one lives, this man insults not his real place of origin, but what he pretends to be his place, Alexandria, for all agree in that the part of that city nearest the sea is the best place to live in.
035Now if the Jews took that part of the city by force and have held on to it, it is a sign of their bravery; but in reality it was Alexander himself who gave them that place to live in, when they got privileges there equal to the Macedonians.
036I do not know what Apion would have said, if they lived in the Necropolis, rather than beside the royal palace and were not called "Macedonians" even up to now.
037If this man had read the letters of king Alexander, or those of Ptolemy the son of Lagus, or come across the writings of the succeeding kings, or the pillar which is still standing in Alexandria inscribed with the privileges which the great Caesar granted the Jews -- had he, I say, known these records and yet dared write the opposite to them, he is a rogue; but if he knew nothing of them, he is an ignoramus.
038When he wonders how Jews could be called Alexandrians, it is a similar ignorance, for all those who were called out to form colonies, however remote from each other in their origins, were named after those who brought them to their new homes.
039Why speak of others, when our people living in Antioch are named Antiochians, because Seleucus the founder of that city gave them the privileges belonging to it? Similarly the Jews living in Ephesus and the other cities of Ionia, enjoy the same identity as those originally born there, by the grant of the succeeding princes.
040The kindness of the Romans has allowed most others to adopt their name, not just individual men but entire, large nations. For those formerly named Iberi and Tyrrheni and Sabini, are now called Romani.
041If Apion rejects this way of obtaining the privilege of Alexandrian citizenship, let him from now on refrain from calling himself an Alexandrian, for otherwise, how can one who was born in the very heart of Egypt be an Alexandrian if he would abrogate this way of granting the privilege, once granted to us? It is true that the Romans, who are now the lords of the world, have refused to Egyptians alone the privileges of any city whatever.
042But this upstart, who himself wishes to share in a privilege that he is forbidden to have, tries by calumnies to take it from those who have justly received it, for Alexander did not bring some of our nation to Alexandria just to provide inhabitants for his city that he had worked so hard to build, he gave it to our people as a reward for their virtue and fidelity to him.
043He honoured our nation, for, as Hecateus says of us, "because of the justice and fidelity the Jews showed to him, he let them hold the district of Samaria free of tax.
044Just like Alexander's was the attitude of Ptolemy the son of Lagus towards the Jews who lived in Alexandria. For he entrusted to them the fortresses of Egypt, believing they would keep them faithfully and valiantly for him, and when he wished to win control of Cyrene and the other cities of Libya, he sent a party of Jews to live in them.
045His successor Ptolemy, surnamed Philadelphus, not only set free all those of our race who were in prison in his realm, but often gave them financial help and, most important of all, was eager to know our laws and to encounter our books of sacred Scripture.
046He sent requesting to have people sent who could interpret the law for him, and so as to have the writings well transcribed he did not commit the task to people chosen at random but to Demetrius Phalereus and Andreas and Aristeas.
047Demetrius was the most learned person of his age and the others were from his own bodyguard; these were his appointed agents in this matter. Surely he would not have been so eager to learn our laws and the philosophy of our nation, had he despised those who followed it, indeed, had he not admired them .

[48] Ἀπίωνα δὲ σχεδὸν ἐφεξῆς πάντες ἔλαθον οἱ τῶν προγόνων αὐτοῦ‎ Μακεδόνων βασιλεῖς οἰκειότατα πρὸς ἡμᾶς διατεθέντες · καὶ γὰρ τρίτος Πτολεμαῖος λεγόμενος Εὐεργέτης κατασχὼν ὅλην Συρίαν κατὰ κράτος οὐ τοῖς ἐν Αἰγύπτῳ θεοῖς χαριστήρια τῆς νίκης ἔθυσεν , ἀλλὰ παραγενόμενος εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα πολλὰς ὡς ἡμῖν νόμιμόν ἐστιν ἐπετέλεσε θυσίας τῷ θεῷ καὶ ἀνέθηκεν ἀναθήματα τῆς νίκης ἀξίως .
[49] δὲ Φιλομήτωρ Πτολεμαῖος καὶ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ‎ Κλεοπάτρα τὴν βασιλείαν ὅλην τὴν ἑαυτῶν Ἰουδαίοις ἐπίστευσαν , καὶ στρατηγοὶ πάσης τῆς δυνάμεως ἦσαν Ὀνίας καὶ Δοσίθεος Ἰουδαῖοι , ὧν Ἀπίων σκώπτει τὰ ὀνόματα , δέον τὰ ἔργα θαυμάζειν καὶ μὴ λοιδορεῖν , ἀλλὰ χάριν αὐτοῖς ἔχειν , ὅτι διέσωσαν τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρειαν , ἧς ὡς πολίτης ἀντιποιεῖται .
[50] πολεμούντων γὰρ αὐτῶν τῇ βασιλίσσῃ Κλεοπάτρᾳ καὶ κινδυνευόντων ἀπολέσθαι κακῶς οὗτοι συμβάσεις ἐποίησαν καὶ τῶν ἐμφυλίων κακῶν ἀπήλλαξαν . ἀλλὰ μετὰ ταῦτα , φησίν , Ὀνίας ἐπὶ τὴν πόλιν ἤγαγε στρατὸν ὀλίγον ὄντος ἐκεῖ Θέρμου τοῦ παρὰ Ῥωμαίων πρεσβευτοῦ καὶ παρόντος .
[51] ὀρθῶς δὲ ποιῶν φαίην ἂν καὶ μάλα δικαίως · γὰρ Φύσκων ἐπικληθεὶς Πτολεμαῖος ἀποθανόντος αὐτῷ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Φιλομήτορος ἀπὸ Κυρήνης ἐξῆλθε Κλεοπάτραν ἐκβαλεῖν βουλόμενος τῆς βασιλείας

048It has escaped Apion's notice how almost all the kings of his Macedonian ancestors were well disposed towards us. For the third Ptolemy, surnamed Euergetes, once he had occupied all of Syria, offered thanksgiving sacrifice for his victory not to the Egyptian gods, but came to Jerusalem and offered many sacrifices to God according to our laws and dedicated appropriate victory gifts to him.
049Then Ptolemy Philometer and his wife Cleopatra entrusted all their kingdom to the Jews, when the generals of their whole army were the Jews Onias and Dositheus, whose names Apion mocks. But instead of mocking them, he should admire their actions and be grateful to them for saving Alexandria, of which he claims to be a citizen.
050For when these Alexandrians were at war with queen Cleopatra and in danger of annihilation, these Jews won them a settlement and saved them from the horrors of civil war. But then, he says, Onias brought a small army later against the city at the time when Thermus the Roman envoy was present there.
051I would say that he was fully justified in doing so, because after the death of his brother Philometer, the Ptolemy who is surnamed Physco came from Cyrene wanting to expel Cleopatra from the kingdom,
(for verses 52-114 , the Greek text is unavailable. Translations are made from an extant Latin version…. "et filios regis, ut ipse regnum iniuste sibimet applicaret; propter haec ergo Onias aduersus eum bellum pro Cleopatra suscepit et fidem, quam habuit circa reges, nequaquam in necessitate deseruit… ." etc.)


052and unjustly take for himself the kingdom belonging to her and her sons. This was why Onias went to war against him for Cleopatra's sake, for he would not abandon the royal family in their distress.

Divine Providence spared the Jews


053God gave a remarkable proof of his justice, for when Ptolemy Physco dared to fight Onias's army and had caught all the Jews in the city along with their children and wives and exposed them naked and in chains to be trampled and destroyed by his elephants and had made the elephants drunk for that purpose, his plans went totally wrong.
054The elephants ignored the Jews who were exposed to them and attacked Physco's friends and killed many of them. Afterwards Ptolemy saw a terrible ghost, which forbade him to harm those people.
055Even his beloved concubine, whom some call Ithaca and others Irene, implored him not to do such a wicked thing. He gave in to her and repented of both what he had already done and his future plans. So with good reason the Alexandrian Jews are well known to celebrate this day, on which God granted them such a clear deliverance.
056However, Apion, who lies about everyone, dares to condemn the Jews for making this war against Physco, when he should have commended them for it .

The vices of Cleopatra

He also mentions Cleopatra, the last queen of Alexandria and reproaches us that she was against us, but he should have reproached her instead.
057For she practiced all kinds of injustice and wickedness, both to her nearest relatives and husbands who had loved her, and generally with regard to all the Romans and her imperial benefactors. She even had her sister Arsinoe killed in a temple, though she had done her no harm;
058she also had her brother treacherously killed and destroyed the gods of her country and the burial vaults of her ancestors. Although she had received her kingdom from the first Caesar, she dared to rebel against his son and successor, and then corrupted Antony with her sensuality and made him a traitor to his country and treacherous to his friends. Some she stripped of their royal authority and in her madness forced others to act wickedly.
059But why should I dwell any further on this, when during a sea-battle she abandoned the man who was her husband and the father of their common children and made him to give up his army and imperial role, to follow her?
060Indeed when finally Alexandria was taken by Caesar, she was reduced to saying that she still had some hope of safety if she could kill the Jews by her own hand, for such was her level of savagery and treachery. Is it any shame to us, if, as Apion says, this queen did not distribute wheat to us in time of famine?
061But she finally met with the punishment she deserved, while we could point out to the great Caesar the help we gave him and our fidelity against the Egyptians to him and to the senate and its decrees and the letters of Augustus Caesar, which praise our merits.
062Apion should have examined those letters and in particular the testimonies given to us under Alexander and all the Ptolemies and the decrees of the senate and of the greatest Roman emperors.
063And if Germanicus was unable to make a distribution of corn to everyone in Alexandria, it only shows what a barren time that was and how great was the scarcity of corn at the time; it is not an indictment of the Jews, for what all the emperors have thought of the Alexandrian Jews is clear.
064With regard to this corn distribution the Jews were no exception to the other people of Alexandria. But they still wanted to conserve what the kings had formerly entrusted to them, I mean the custody of the river; nor did those kings think them unworthy to have it entirely in their care .
Chapter 4
In defence of religious separatism


065But Apion still insists : "If the Jews are Alexandrian citizens, why do they not worship the same gods as the Alexandrians?" To this I reply : Since you are Egyptians, why do you fight against each other and have unresolved wars about your religion?
066But we must not call you all Egyptians, nor in general even men, since you worship beasts of a nature quite contrary to men, although the nature of all people seems to be one and the same.
067Now if there are such differences of opinion among you Egyptians, why are you surprised that those who came to Alexandria from another country and formerly had original laws of their own, should persevere in the observance of those laws?
068Still he charges us with stirring up revolt; but if this accusation is just, why is it not made against all Jews everywhere, since we are known to be all of one mind?
069But anyone can discover that the authors of rebellion were citizens of Alexandria just as Apion is, for while the Greeks and Macedonians occupied this city, there was no revolt against us and we were permitted to observe our ancient rituals; but when the number of the Egyptians there came to be large, the times grew unruly and these revolts broke out more often, though our people were uninvolved.
070The source of the trouble were people who, lacking the solid character of the Macedonians or the prudence of the Greeks, showed all the bad qualities of the Egyptians and kept up their ancient hatred of us.
071In fact, the rash charges made against us really apply to themselves, since many of them have not properly acquired citizenship, yet call "foreigners" people who are well known to have had that privilege granted to them.
072For it does not seem that any of the former kings have granted to the Egyptians the status of citizens, any more than the emperors have done now, but Alexander first brought us into this city, then the kings expanded our rights there and the Romans have seen fit to retain them.
073Apion still denounces us for not erecting images of the emperors, as if the latter did were not already aware of this or needed Apion to defend them. He should rather have admire the generosity and moderation of the Romans, that they do not force their subjects to transgress their ancestral laws, but are content to receive the honour due to them in a way that is devout and lawful in the eyes of those who offer it. esteem consistent with piety and with their own laws. They do not esteem honours that have to be exacted by violence.
074So since the Greeks and others believe it is right to make images, and take pleasure in depicting their parents and wives and children, and some even have pictures of people in no way related to them, or of servants that they were fond of, it is no wonder that they are willing to show the same respect to their princes and rulers?
075But our Legislator did not single out the Roman authority for dishonour when treating of images, which he scorned as neither useful to God or man, and he forbade us to make images of any animate thing and much less of God himself, who, as we shall later show, is beyond all material creation.
076Nowhere, however, has he forbidden us to honour worthy men, so that we willingly respect our emperors and the people of Rome.
077Indeed, we regularly offer sacrifices for them, and this is not just a daily ritual paid for by the Jewish community, for we have no other sacrifice that we offer at the expense of us all, not even for our own children, but we do so out of unique reverence for the emperors, an honour we show to no other individual.
078This may suffice as my general reply to what Apion has said about the Alexandrian Jews .


079I am no less amazed at Posidonius and Apollonius, the son of Molo, for furnishing this man with his materials. While accusing us for not worshipping the same gods as others, they do not see their own impiety when they tell lies about us and invent absurd, insulting stories about our temple; whereas it is a most shameful thing for free men to lie about anything and especially about so sacred a temple, famous throughout the world.
080Apion has the gall to claim that the Jews placed there a donkey's head and worshipped it reverently, and says that this came to light when our temple was despoiled by Antiochus Epiphanes who found there the head made of gold and worth a lot of money.
081My first answer to this is that if there were any such thing among us, an Egyptian should be the last one to mock us for it since a donkey is no more animal than goats and other creatures, which they treat as gods.
082But then I must ask, how can Apion not understand this is such an obvious and incredible lie? Our people are always ruled by the same laws to which we remain faithful, and while our city like others has seen many disasters, and Epiphanes and Pompey the Great and Licinius Crassus and finally Titus Caesar, have conquered us in war and occupied our temple, none of them found anything there but the strictest piety, whose secrets we may not reveal to others.
083But Antiochus had no just cause to ravage our temple and merely came there looking for money. Without declaring war he attacked us while we were his allies and friends; nor did he find anything there to deride.
084This is attested by many worthy writers including Polybius of Megalopolis, Strabo of Cappadocia, Nicolaus of Damascus, Timagenes, Castor the chronologist and Apollodorus, who all say that it was out of his lack of money that Antiochus broke his pact with the Jews and despoiled their temple that was full of gold and silver.
085Apion should have learned the facts, unless he has the heart of an ass or the impudence of a dog, the kind of dog they worship, for nobody else can make sense of his lies.
086We Jews give asses no such honour or power as the Egyptians do to crocodiles and scorpions, when they deem those who are mauled by the former or bitten by the latter, as happy and persons found worthy by God.
087Asses are the same for us as they are for other wise men, just beasts to bear the burdens we lay upon them, and if they come to our threshing-floors and eat our corn, or do not do the work we give them, we beat them soundly, because it is their task to help us in our work and agriculture.
088But this Apion was inept in writing fiction, or else was unable to draw proper conclusions from what he had found, since the insults he casts at us fall wide of the target .

Chapter 5
The libel about the Greek boy, fattened for sacrifice


089There is another Greek fable with which he slanders us. On this suffice it to say that anyone who presumes to speak divine worship ought to know this plain truth, that it less profane to pass through a temple than to invent wicked lies about its priests.
090People such as he would sooner justify a sacrilegious king than write the honest truth about us and our temple. They would rather gratify Antiochus and conceal his treachery and sacrilege regarding our nation, in his need of money, so they try to disgrace us and tell lies even about future events.
091For this reason Apion becomes other men's prophet when he says that in our temple Antiochus found a bed and a man lying on it, beside a table laden with food, from sea and land and the fowl of the air, at which this man was gazing.
092When the king came in, the man immediately showed him reverence, hoping to obtain all possible help from him, and fell down on his knees and stretched out his right hand, imploring for release. When the king bade him sit down and say who he was and why he lived there and what was the meaning of those various sorts of food set before him, with sighs and tears the man gave him this account of his plight.
093He said he was a Greek and that as he passed through this province earning his living, foreigners suddenly seized him and brought to this temple and locked up where he was seen by nobody, but fattened by these manifold foods set before him.
094At first these unexpected gifts seemed to him a reason for joy, but after a while he became suspicious and anxious about their meaning. Finally he asked the servants who came to him and they told him he was being fed to fulfil a secret Jewish law and that they did the same at a set time every year.
095They used to catch a Greek foreigner and fatten him and then lead him out to a wood and kill him and offer sacrifice in their usual way and taste of his entrails and take an oath at the sacrifice of the Greek, tto remain hostile to the Greeks. Then they would throw the remnants of their victim into a pit.
096He adds that the man said that in just a few more days he was to be killed, and begged Antiochus, if he reverenced the Greek gods, to foil the Jewish plot on his life and save him from his misfortunes.
097This tragic fable is packed with savagery and impudence, and does not absolve Antiochus of sacrilege, as those who wrote it in his support may think.
098Coming to the temple, he could not know in advance that he would meet with any such thing there, but must have found it unexpectedly. It was still impious and godless.. But our author wrote whatever his lying imagination dictated to him, as one can easily see by examining his writings.
099The distinctiveness of our laws is not only with regard to the Greeks, but they contrast with the Egyptians and many other nations also, and since men of all nations sometimes come and live among us, how would we swear and conspire only against the Greeks, to pour outtheir blood?
100How could all the Jews gather for these sacrifices and how would the entrails of one man suffice for so many thousands to taste of them, as Apion claims?
101Or why did not the king bring this man, whoever he was, for his name is not given in Apion's book, back to his own country with great fanfare, which would give him distinction as a religious man and a mighty lover of the Greeks, for it would have gained him the goodwill of many, to set alongside the Jews' hatred for him?
102But I leave this matter, for the proper way to refute fools is not to use mere words, but to appeal to the facts against them. For all who ever saw the construction of our temple know of its nature and purity from all profanity.
103Its four courts were surrounded with porticoes each of which in our law had a special degree of separation from the rest. Everyone could enter the first court, even foreigners, and nobody was prevented from passing through it except women, during their periods.
104All Jews could enter the second court, and their wives when they were purified; into the third court Jewish men could enter, when they were clean and purified. The fourth was reserved for the priests, wearing their priestly vestments; but into the most sacred place, none could enter but the high priests, in their special vestments.
105Such care is used about these sacred duties that the priests are appointed to go into the temple only at certain hours. In the morning, at the opening of the inner temple, the officiants receive the sacrifices, as they do again at noon, until the doors are shut.
106Lastly, it is not even lawful to bring any vessel into the sanctuary; nor is there anything there, but the altar, the table, the censer and the candlestick, which are all written in the law.
107There is nothing else there, nor are there any ineffable mysteries, nor is there any feasting within the place. This is publicly known by the whole people and their operations are perfectly open.
108Although there are four groups of priests, each having more than five thousand men, they only officiate on certain days, and when those are over, other priests in turn perform the sacrifices and assemble at mid-day and receive the keys of the temple and the exact number of vessels, without anything to do with food or drink being carried into the temple,
109for we are not allowed to offer anything at the altar, except what is prepared for the sacrifices .

What can we conclude about Apion, but that he told incredible stories without examining the facts? But that is disgrace! As a man of learning did he not promise to write true history?
110If he knew about the purity of our temple, he has entirely ignored it but invents a story about the seizing of a Greek, about mysterious food and the richest delicacies, and pretends that strangers could enter a place to which the noblest of the Jews are not allowed to enter, except the priests.
111This is utter impiety and a gratuitous lie, to mislead those who will not trouble to examine the truth of things and the only purpose of telling such unspeakable stories is to discredit us .

Chapter 6
Fables about Mnaseas, and the anti-Greek Oath


112This most devout man then mocks us with a fable he attributes to Mnaseas, who, according to him says : "While the Jews were once fighting a long war with the Idumeans, a man left one of the Idumean cities named Dora, after worshipping Apollo there. This man, whose name was Zabidus, came to the Jews and promised to deliver Apollo, the god of the Dorians, into their hands and that he would enter our temple if they would all leave it for a while; and the Jews all believed him.
113Zabidus made a wooden instrument and stepped into it and set three rows of lamps above it, and then walked in such a way that he appeared to those looking on from the distance to be a kind of star, walking above the earth .


[114] τὴν πορείαν ποιουμένων , τοὺς μὲν Ἰουδαίους ὑπὸ τοῦ παραδόξου τῆς θέας καταπεπληγμένους πόρρω μένοντας ἡσυχίαν ἄγειν , τὸν δὲ Ζάβιδον ἐπὶ πολλῆς ἡσυχίας εἰς τὸν ναὸν παρελθεῖν καὶ τὴν χρυσῆν ἀποσῦραι τοῦ κάνθωνος κεφαλήν , οὕτω γὰρ ἀστεϊζόμενος γέγραφεν , καὶ πάλιν εἰς Δῶρα τὸ τάχος ἀπελθεῖν .
[115] ἆρα οὖν καὶ ἡμεῖς ἂν εἴποιμεν , ὅτι τὸν κάνθωνα τουτέστιν ἑαυτὸν Ἀπίων ἐπιφορτίζει καὶ ποιεῖ τῆς μωρολογίας ἅμα καὶ τῶν ψευσμάτων κατάγομον ; καὶ γὰρ τόπους οὐκ ὄντας γράφει καὶ πόλεις οὐκ εἰδὼς μετατίθησιν .
[116] μὲν γὰρ Ἰδουμαία τῆς ἡμετέρας χώρας ἐστὶν ὅμορος κατὰ Γάζαν κειμένη , καὶ Δῶρα ταύτης ἐστὶν οὐδεμία πόλις , τῆς μέντοι Φοινίκης παρὰ τὸ Καρμήλιον ὄρος Δῶρα πόλις ὀνομάζεται μηδὲν ἐπικοινωνοῦσα τοῖς Ἀπίωνος φλυαρήμασι · τεσσάρων γὰρ ἡμερῶν ὁδὸν τῆς Ἰουδαίας ἀφέστηκεν .
[117] τί δ’ ἡμῶν ἔτι κατηγορεῖ τὸ μὴ κοινοὺς ἔχειν τοῖς ἄλλοις θεούς , εἰ ῥᾳδίως οὕτως ἐπείσθησαν οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν ἥξειν τὸν Ἀπόλλωνα πρὸς αὐτοὺς καὶ μετὰ τῶν ἄστρων ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ᾠήθησαν ὁρᾶν αὐτὸν περιπατοῦντα ;
[118] λύχνον γὰρ οὐδέπω δῆλον ὅτι πρόσθεν ἑωράκασιν οἱ τὰς τοσαύτας καὶ τηλικαύτας λυχνοκαΐας ἐπιτελοῦντες , ἀλλ’ οὐδέ τις αὐτῷ βαδίζοντι κατὰ τὴν χώραν τῶν τοσούτων μυριάδων ὑπήντησεν , ἔρημα δὲ καὶ τὰ τείχη φυλάκων εὗρε πολέμου συνεστηκότος , ἐῶ τἆλλα .
[119] τοῦ ναοῦ δ’ αἱ θύραι τὸ μὲν ὕψος ἦσαν ἑξήκοντα πηχῶν , εἴκοσι δὲ τὸ πλάτος , κατάχρυσοι δὲ πᾶσαι καὶ μικροῦ δεῖν σφυρήλατοι · ταύτας ἔκλειον οὐκ ἐλάττους ὄντες ἄνδρες διακόσιοι καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν καὶ τὸ καταλιπεῖν ἠνοιγμένας ἦν ἀθέμιτον .
[120] ῥᾳδίως οὖν αὐτὰς λυχνοφόρος ἐκεῖνος ἀνοίξειν οἰόμενος καὶ τὴν τοῦ κάνθωνος ὡς ᾤετο κεφαλὴν ἔχων . πότερον οὖν αὐτὴν πάλιν ὡς ἡμᾶς ἀνέστρεψεν λαβὼν ἀπιὼν αὐτὴν εἰσεκόμισεν , ἵνα Ἀντίοχος εὕρῃ

114The Jews were shocked by of this startling vision and stood very quiet at a distance, and while they continued in absolute silence, Zabidus entered the sanctuary and carried off the golden head of an ass, - for he writes facetiously like that, - and then hurried back to Dora.
115What I say in reply is this : It is Apion who loads the donkey, that is, himself, with a burden of foolery and lies, for he writes of imaginery places and shifts the position of cities that he does not know!
116Idumea borders upon our country and is near to Gaza, in which there is no such city as Dora, although there is indeed a city named Dora in Phoenicia, near Mount Carmel, but it is four days' journey from Idumea.
117Then, why does this man condemn us for not sharing the gods of other nations, if our fathers were so easily persuaded to have Apollo come to them and thought they saw him walking upon the earth among the stars?
118Is it possible that those who have so many festivals where lamps are lit, had never seen a candlestick! And it seems that while Zabidus journeyed over the country, where so many thousands lived, nobody met him. It seems too that even in a time of war, he found the walls of Jerusalem unguarded. About the rest I make no comment!
119The doors of the sanctuary were seventy feet high and twenty feet broad. They were all plated over with gold and were almost solid gold and it took no fewer than twenty men to shut them every day, nor was it lawful ever to leave them open.
120But it seems our lamp-bearer opened them easily, or thought he opened them, just as he thought he had the donkey's head in his hand. Whether he ever returned it to us or whether Apion brought it back so that Antiochus might find it and give occasion for Apion's second fable is uncertain .

[121] πρὸς δευτέραν Ἀπίωνι μυθολογίαν καταψεύσασθαί τινα καὶ ὅρκον ἡμῶν ὡς ὀμνυόντων τὸν θεὸν τὸν ποιήσαντα τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ τὴν θάλασσαν μηδενὶ εὐνοήσειν ἀλλοφύλῳ , μάλιστα δὲ Ἕλλησιν .
[122] ἔδει δὲ καταψευδόμενον ἅπαξ εἰπεῖν μηδενὶ εὐνοήσειν ἀλλοφύλῳ , μάλιστα δ’ Αἰγυπτίοις · οὕτως γὰρ ἂν τοῖς ἐξ ἀρχῆς αὐτοῦ‎ πλάσμασιν ἥρμοττεν τὰ περὶ τὸν ὅρκον , εἴπερ ἦσαν ὑπὸ Αἰγυπτίων τῶν συγγενῶν οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν οὐχὶ διὰ πονηρίαν ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ συμφοραῖς ἐξεληλαμένοι .
[123] τῶν Ἑλλήνων δὲ πλέον τοῖς τόποις τοῖς ἐπιτηδεύμασιν ἀφεστήκαμεν , ὥστε μηδεμίαν ἡμῖν εἶναι πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἔχθραν μηδὲ ζηλοτυπίαν . τοὐναντίον μέντοι πολλοὶ παρ’ αὐτῶν εἰς τοὺς ἡμετέρους νόμους συνέβησαν εἰσελθεῖν , καί τινες μὲν ἐνέμειναν , εἰσὶ δ’ οἳ τὴν καρτερίαν οὐχ ὑπομείναντες πάλιν ἀπέστησαν .
[124] καὶ τούτων οὐδεὶς πώποτε τὸν ὅρκον εἶπεν ἀκοῦσαι παρ’ ἡμῖν ὀμωμοσμένον , ἀλλὰ μόνος Ἀπίων , ὡς ἔοικεν , ἤκουσεν · αὐτὸς γὰρ συνθεὶς αὐτὸν ἦν .

121Apion is lying again when he alleges that we swear to God, the Maker of the heaven and earth and sea, "nt to show goodwill to any alien and especially to the Greeks ."
122This liar should have said straight out that we show no goodwill towards any alien and especially to the Egyptians. For then his story about the oath would square with the rest of his forgeries, if our ancestors had been driven out by their Egyptian relatives, not for any wrong they had done, but for the misfortunes they suffered.
123For we were remote from the Greeks in place, rather than different from them in our institutions, so that there is no enmity or jealousy between us. On the contrary, many of them have come over to our laws and some have continued to observe them, though others had not the courage to persevere and so abandoned them.
124But nobody ever said they heard us swear this oath, or perhaps Apion was the only person to hear it, for he was the one to invent it .
Chapter 7
Our lowly status does not disprove our religion

[125] Σφόδρα τοίνυν τῆς πολλῆς συνέσεως καὶ ἐπὶ τῷ μέλλοντι ῥηθήσεσθαι θαυμάζειν ἄξιόν ἐστιν Ἀπίωνα · τεκμήριον γὰρ εἶναί φησιν τοῦ μήτε νόμοις ἡμᾶς χρῆσθαι δικαίοις μήτε τὸν θεὸν εὐσεβεῖν ὡς προσῆκεν , δουλεύειν δὲ μᾶλλον ἔθνεσιν [ καὶ ] ἄλλοτε ἄλλοις καὶ τὸ κεχρῆσθαι συμφοραῖς τισι περὶ τὴν πόλιν , αὐτοὶ δῆλον ὅτι πόλεως ἡγεμονικωτάτης Ῥωμαίοις ἐκ τῶν ἄνωθεν ἄρχειν , ἀλλὰ μὴ δουλεύειν συνειθισμένων ·
[126] καίτοι τούτων ἄν τις ἀπόσχοιτο τοιαύτης μεγαλοψυχίας . τῶν μὲν γὰρ ἄλλων οὐκ ἔστιν ὅστις ἀνθρώπων οὐχ ἱκανῶς καθ’ αὑτοῦ φαίη τοῦτον ὑπ’ Ἀπίωνος λελέχθαι τὸν λόγον ·
[127] ὀλίγοις μὲν γὰρ ὑπῆρξεν ἐφ’ ἡγεμονίας διακαιροπτίας γενέσθαι , καὶ τούτους αἱ μεταβολαὶ πάλιν ἄλλοις δουλεύειν ὑπέζευξαν , τὸ πλεῖστον δὲ φῦλον ἄλλων ὑπακήκοεν πολλάκις .
[128] Αἰγύπτιοι δ’ ἄρα μόνοι διὰ τὸ καταφυγεῖν , ὥς φασιν , εἰς τὴν χώραν αὐτῶν τοὺς θεοὺς καὶ σωθῆναι μεταβάλλοντας εἰς μορφὰς θηρίων ἐξαίρετον γέρας εὕροντο τὸ μηδενὶ δουλεῦσαι τῶν τῆς Ἀσίας τῆς Εὐρώπης κρατησάντων , οἱ μίαν ἡμέραν ἐκ τοῦ παντὸς αἰῶνος ἐλευθερίας οὐ τυχόντες ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ παρὰ τῶν οἰκοδεσποτῶν .
[129] ὅντινα μὲν γὰρ αὐτοῖς ἐχρήσαντο Πέρσαι τρόπον οὐχ ἅπαξ μόνον ἀλλὰ καὶ πολλάκις πορθοῦντες τὰς πόλεις ἱερὰ κατασκάπτοντες τοὺς παρ’ αὐτοῖς νομιζομένους θεοὺς κατασφάζοντες , οὐκ ἂν ὀνειδίσαιμι ·
[130] μιμεῖσθαι γὰρ οὐ προσῆκεν τὴν Ἀπίωνος ἀπαιδευσίαν , ὃς οὔτε τὰς Ἀθηναίων τύχας οὔτε τὰς Λακεδαιμονίων ἐνενόησεν , ὧν τοὺς μὲν ἀνδρειοτάτους εἶναι , τοὺς δὲ εὐσεβεστάτους τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἅπαντες λέγουσιν .
[131] ἐῶ βασιλέας τοὺς ἐπ’ εὐσεβείᾳ διαβοηθέντας [ ὧν ἕνα Κροῖσον ] , οἵαις ἐχρήσαντο συμφοραῖς βίου · ἐῶ τὴν καταπρησθεῖσαν Ἀθηναίων ἀκρόπολιν , τὸν ἐν Ἐφέσῳ ναόν , τὸν ἐν Δελφοῖς , ἄλλους μυρίους , καὶ οὐδεὶς ὠνείδισεν ταῦτα τοῖς παθοῦσιν , ἀλλὰ τοῖς δράσασιν .
[132] καινὸς δὲ κατήγορος ἡμῶν Ἀπίων ηὑρέθη τῶν ἰδίων αὐτοῦ‎ περὶ τὴν Αἴγυπτον κακῶν ἐκλαθόμενος , ἀλλὰ Σέσωστρις αὐτὸν μυθευόμενος Αἰγύπτου βασιλεὺς ἐτύφλωσεν · ἡμεῖς δὲ τοὺς ἡμετέρους οὐκ ἂν εἴποιμεν βασιλέας Δαυίδην καὶ Σολομῶνα πολλὰ χειρωσαμένους ἔθνη . τούτους μὲν οὖν παραλίπωμεν ·
[133] τὰ δὲ γνώριμα πᾶσιν Ἀπίων ἠγνόηκεν , ὅτι Περσῶν καὶ μετ’ ἐκείνους ἡγουμένων τῆς Ἀσίας Μακεδόνων Αἰγύπτιοι μὲν ἐδούλευον ἀνδραπόδων οὐδὲν διαφέροντες ,
[134] ἡμεῖς δὲ ὄντες ἐλεύθεροι προσέτι καὶ τῶν πέριξ πόλεων ἤρχομεν ἔτη σχεδὸν εἴκοσί που καὶ ρ μέχρι Μάγνου Πομπηίου , καὶ πάντων ἐκπολεμηθέντων πρὸς Ῥωμαίων τῶν πανταχοῦ βασιλέων μόνοι διὰ πίστιν οἱ παρ’ ἡμῖν σύμμαχοι καὶ φίλοι διεφυλάχθησαν .


125In his next argument, Apion suddenly shows his amazing intelligence at its sharpest. For him, a clear proof that we do not have just laws, or worship God properly, is that we are in subjection to foreign nations, at various times, and that our city has been beset by misfortunes, as if theirs was from the beginning an imperial city, unaccustomed to subjection and not now in thrall to the Romans.
126But he had better give up this bragging, for anyone but himself would think that what Apion says here was said against himself.
127Very few nations have had the good fortune to continue ruling for a long time, since changes in human affairs can put them into subjection under others, and most nations have been often subdued.
128Is Egypt the only nation with the privilege of never serving any of the kings who conquered Asia and Europe because, as they say, the gods fled to their country and saved themselves by being changed into the shapes of wild beasts? But these Egyptians are the very people who seem to have never, in all past ages, had one day of freedom, even from their own masters!
129I will not mock them by telling how the Persians treated them, more than once and indeed many times, when they laid their cities waste, demolished their temples and cut the throats of the animals they worshipped as gods.
130I will not imitate the clownish ignorance of Apion, who is unaware of the troubles of the Athenians, or the Spartans, who were called the bravest of all people while the former were the most religious of the Greeks.
131I shall bypass kings who were famous for piety, particularly one named Cresus, and the troubles he met with in his life; and the citadel of Athens, the temple at Ephesus, that at Delphi, and thousands of others which were burned down, while nobody harshly judged the sufferers, but rather those who had done these things.
132And yet we find Apion accusing our nation while he forgets the woes of his own Egyptian people. Has Sesostris who was once so celebrated a king of Egypt blinded him? May we not brag of our kings, David and Solomon, who conquered many nations? No, we will leave them aside.
133But Apion is unaware of what everyone knows, that the Egyptians were under the Persians and afterwards the Macedonians when they were lords of Asia, and were no better than slaves,
134while formerly we have enjoyed liberty and indeed, for nearly a hundred and twenty years we ruled the cities that lie round about us, until Pompeius Magnus. When all kings everywhere were conquered by the Romans, our ancestors were the only people who continued to be esteemed for their fidelity by their allies and friends .


[135] Ἀλλὰ θαυμαστοὺς ἄνδρας οὐ παρεσχήκαμεν οἷον τεχνῶν τινων εὑρετὰς σοφίᾳ διαφέροντας . καὶ καταριθμεῖ Σωκράτην καὶ Ζήνωνα καὶ Κλεάνθην καὶ τοιούτους τινάς . εἶτα τὸ θαυμασιώτατον τοῖς εἰρημένοις αὐτὸς ἑαυτὸν προστίθησι καὶ μακαρίζει τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρειαν , ὅτι τοιοῦτον ἔχει πολίτην ·
[136] ἔδει γὰρ αὐτῷ μάρτυρος ἑαυτοῦ · τοῖς μὲν γὰρ ἄλλοις ἅπασιν ὀχλαγωγὸς ἐδόκει πονηρὸς εἶναι καὶ τῷ βίῳ καὶ τῷ λόγῳ διεφθαρμένος , ὥστε εἰκότως ἐλεήσαι τις ἂν τὴν Ἀλεξάνδρειαν , εἴπερ ἐπὶ τούτῳ μέγα ἐφρόνει . περὶ δὲ τῶν παρ’ ἡμῖν ἀνδρῶν γεγονότων οὐδενὸς ἧττον ἐπαίνου τυγχάνειν ἀξίων ἴσασιν οἱ ταῖς ἡμετέραις ἀρχαιολογίαις ἐντυγχάνοντες .

135But, he says, we have not produced any geniuses or inventors of the arts, or any who are renowned for wisdom. He lists Socrates and Zeno and Cleanthes and others of the same sort, and, oddly, adds himself to the list and pronounces Alexandria blessed to have such a citizen!
136He had to be the one to praise his own merits, since all others thought him no more than a charlatan of corrupt life and harmful words, and one could rightly pity Alexandria if it prided itself on such a man. But we have had many as deserving of praise as any other and whoever has read our Antiquities will know of them .

[137] Τὰ λοιπὰ τῶν ἐν τῇ κατηγορίᾳ γεγραμμένων ἄξιον ἦν ἴσως ἀναπολόγητα παραλιπεῖν , ἵν’ αὐτὸς αὐτοῦ‎ καὶ τῶν ἄλλων Αἰγυπτίων κατηγορῶν · ἐγκαλεῖ γὰρ , ὅτι ζῷα θύομεν καὶ χοῖρον οὐκ ἐσθίομεν καὶ τὴν τῶν αἰδοίων χλευάζει περιτομήν .
[138] τὸ μὲν οὖν περὶ τῆς τῶν ἡμέρων ζῴων ἀναιρέσεως κοινόν ἐστι καὶ πρὸς τοὺς ἄλλους ἀνθρώπους ἅπαντας , Ἀπίων δὲ τοῖς θύουσιν ἐγκαλῶν αὑτὸν ἐξήλεγξεν ὄντα τὸ γένος Αἰγύπτιον · οὐ γὰρ ἂν Ἕλλην ὢν Μακεδὼν ἐχαλέπαινεν · οὗτοι γὰρ εὔχονται θύειν ἑκατόμβας τοῖς θεοῖς καὶ χρῶνται τοῖς ἱερείοις πρὸς εὐωχίαν , καὶ οὐ διὰ τοῦτο συμβέβηκεν ἐρημοῦσθαι τὸν κόσμον τῶν βοσκημάτων , ὅπερ Ἀπίων ἔδεισεν .
[139] εἰ μέντοι τοῖς Αἰγυπτίων ἔθεσιν ἠκολούθουν ἅπαντες , ἠρήμωτο μὲν ἂν κόσμος τῶν ἀνθρώπων , τῶν ἀγριωτάτων δὲ θηρίων ἐπληθύνθη , θεοὺς οὗτοι νομίζοντες ἐπιμελῶς ἐκτρέφουσιν .
[140] καὶ μὴν εἴ τις αὐτὸν ἤρετο , τῶν πάντων Αἰγυπτίων τίνας εἶναι καὶ σοφωτάτους καὶ θεοσεβεῖς νομίζει , πάντως ἂν ὡμολόγησε τοὺς ἱερεῖς ·
[141] δύο γὰρ αὐτούς φασιν ὑπὸ τῶν βασιλέων ἐξ ἀρχῆς ταῦτα προστετάχθαι , τὴν τῶν θεῶν θεραπείαν καὶ τῆς σοφίας τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν . ἐκεῖνοι τοίνυν ἅπαντες καὶ περιτέμνονται καὶ χοιρείων ἀπέχονται βρωμάτων , οὐ μὴν οὐδὲ τῶν ἄλλων Αἰγυπτίων οὐδὲ εἷς ὗν θύει τοῖς θεοῖς .
[142] ἆρ’ οὖν τυφλὸς ἦν τὸν νοῦν Ἀπίων ὑπὲρ Αἰγυπτίων ἡμῖν λοιδορεῖν συνθέμενος , ἐκείνων δὲ κατηγορῶν , οἵ γε μὴ μόνον χρῶνται τοῖς ὑπὸ τούτου λοιδορουμένοις ἔθεσιν , ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς ἄλλους ἐδίδαξαν περιτέμνεσθαι , καθάπερ εἴρηκεν Ἡρόδοτος ;
[143] ὅθεν εἰκότως μοι δοκεῖ τῆς εἰς τοὺς πατρίους αὐτοῦ‎ νόμους βλασφημίας δοῦναι δίκην Ἀπίων τὴν πρέπουσαν · περιετμήθη γὰρ ἐξ ἀνάγκης ἑλκώσεως αὐτῷ περὶ τὸ αἰδοῖον γενομένης . καὶ μηδὲν ὠφεληθεὶς ὑπὸ τῆς περιτομῆς ἀλλὰ σηπόμενος ἐν δειναῖς ὀδύναις ἀπέθανεν .
[144] δεῖ γὰρ τοὺς εὖ φρονοῦντας τοῖς μὲν οἰκείοις νόμοις περὶ τὴν εὐσέβειαν ἀκριβῶς ἐμμένειν , τοὺς δὲ τῶν ἄλλων μὴ λοιδορεῖν · δὲ τούτους μὲν ἔφυγεν , τῶν ἡμετέρων δὲ κατεψεύσατο . τοῦτο μὲν Ἀπίωνι τοῦ βίου τὸ τέλος ἐγένετο καὶ τοῦτο [ παρ’ ] ἡμῶν ἐνταῦθα τὸ πέρας ἔστω τοῦ λόγου .

137As to the rest of his indictment, it would probably be best to leave them without reply, and leave him to be his own accuser and that of the rest of the Egyptians. But he condemns us for sacrificing animals and abstaining from swine's flesh and laughs at us for the circumcision of our private members.
138Our slaughter of tame animals in sacrifice is something we share with all other men, but Apion, by making it a crime to sacrifice them, proves himself to be an Egyptian. No Greek or Macedonian would complain of it, for they glory in sacrificing whole hecatombs to the gods and use those sacrifices for feasting, and yet the world is not emptied of livestock, as Apion seems to fear.
139But if all people had followed the customs of the Egyptians, the world certainly be emptied mankind and be filled with the wildest of beasts, which they feed with care, imagining them to be gods.
140If one asked Apion whom he thinks the wisest and most godly of all Egyptians, he would surely say it is the priests;
141for the kings are said to have originally committed two tasks to them : the worship of the gods and the care of wisdom. But their priests are all circumcised and abstain from swine's flesh, and none of the other Egyptians assists them sacrificing to the gods.
142So Apion was quite blinded in his mind, when on behalf of the Egyptians he set out to revile us, for he condemns others who not only follow the lifestyle he so reviles, but teach others to be circumcised, as Herodotus has said.
143This makes me think that Apion was justly punished for so insulting the laws of his own country, for he had to be circumcised due to an ulcer in his private member, and when the operation failed and gangrene set in, he died in great pain.
144Now wise people should carefully observe the laws of their own religion and persevere in them, but not readily revile those of others; but this Apion deserted his own laws and told lies about ours. So his life ended, and this shall end our comments about him too .
Chapter 8
Spirit and content of the Mosaic Law

[145] Ἐπεὶ δὲ καὶ Ἀπολλώνιος Μόλων καὶ Λυσίμαχος καί τινες ἄλλοι τὰ μὲν ὑπ’ ἀγνοίας , τὸ πλεῖστον δὲ κατὰ δυσμένειαν περί τε τοῦ νομοθετήσαντος ἡμῖν Μωσέως καὶ περὶ τῶν νόμων πεποίηνται λόγους οὔτε δικαίους οὔτε ἀληθεῖς , τὸν μὲν ὡς γόητα καὶ ἀπατεῶνα διαβάλλοντες , τοὺς νόμους δὲ κακίας ἡμῖν καὶ οὐδεμιᾶς ἀρετῆς φάσκοντες εἶναι διδασκάλου , βούλομαι συντόμως καὶ περὶ τῆς ὅλης ἡμῶν καταστάσεως τοῦ πολιτεύματος καὶ περὶ τῶν κατὰ μέρος ὡς ἂν δυνατὸς εἰπεῖν .
[146] οἶμαι γὰρ ἔσεσθαι φανερόν , ὅτι καὶ πρὸς εὐσέβειαν καὶ πρὸς κοινωνίαν τὴν μετ’ ἀλλήλων καὶ πρὸς τὴν καθόλου φιλανθρωπίαν ἔτι δὲ πρὸς δικαιοσύνην καὶ τὴν ἐν τοῖς πόνοις καρτερίαν καὶ θανάτου περιφρόνησιν ἄριστα κειμένους ἔχομεν τοὺς νόμους .
[147] παρακαλῶ δὲ τοὺς ἐντευξομένους τῇ γραφῇ μὴ μετὰ φθόνου ποιεῖσθαι τὴν ἀνάγνωσιν · οὐ γὰρ ἐγκώμιον ἡμῶν αὐτῶν προειλόμην συγγράφειν , ἀλλὰ πολλὰ καὶ ψευδῆ κατηγορουμένοις ἡμῖν ταύτην ἀπολογίαν δικαιοτάτην εἶναι νομίζω τὴν ἀπὸ τῶν νόμων , καθ’ οὓς ζῶντες διατελοῦμεν .
[148] ἄλλως τε καὶ τὴν κατηγορίαν Ἀπολλώνιος οὐκ ἀθρόαν ὥσπερ Ἀπίων ἔταξεν , ἀλλὰ σποράδην , καὶ δὴ εἴπας ποτὲ μὲν ὡς ἀθέους καὶ μισανθρώπους λοιδορεῖ , ποτὲ δ’ αὖ δειλίαν ἡμῖν ὀνειδίζει καὶ τοὔμπαλιν ἔστιν ὅπου τόλμαν κατηγορεῖ καὶ ἀπόνοιαν . λέγει δὲ καὶ ἀφυεστάτους εἶναι τῶν βαρβάρων καὶ διὰ τοῦτο μηδὲν εἰς τὸν βίον εὕρημα συμβεβλῆσθαι μόνους .
[149] ταῦτα δὲ πάντα διελεγχθήσεσθαι νομίζω σαφῶς , εἰ τἀναντία τῶν εἰρημένων φανείη καὶ διὰ τῶν νόμων ἡμῖν προστεταγμένα καὶ πραττόμενα μετὰ πάσης ἀκριβείας ὑφ’ ἡμῶν .
[150] εἰ δ’ ἄρα βιασθείην μνησθῆναι τῶν παρ’ ἑτέροις ὑπεναντίως νενομισμένων , τούτου δίκαιοι τὴν αἰτίαν ἔχειν εἰσὶν οἱ τὰ παρ’ ἡμῖν ὡς χείρω παραβάλλειν ἀξιοῦντες · οἷς οὐδέτερον ἀπολειφθήσεσθαι νομίζω λέγειν , οὔθ’ ὡς οὐχὶ τούτους ἔχομεν τοὺς νόμους , ὧν ἐγὼ παραθήσομαι τοὺς κεφαλαιωδεστάτους , οὔθ’ ὡς οὐχὶ μάλιστα πάντων ἐμμένομεν τοῖς ἑαυτῶν νόμοις .

145But now, since Apollonius, Molo, Lysimachus and others have written about our lawgiver Moses and our laws things neither fair nor true, partly out of ignorance, but mainly out of hostility to us, for they calumniating Moses as a charlatan and deceiver and claiming that our laws teach us wickedness rather than virtue, I wish to describe briefly, according to my ability, our system as a whole and its individual branches.
146I expect it will become clear that the laws laid down for us are most conducive to piety, sharing with each other, love of mankind in general and acting with justice, as well as sustaining difficulties bravely and despising death.
147I beg whoever may read this to do so without prejudice for my purpose is not to write a eulogy of ourselves, but a fair apologia in our defence, drawn from the laws by which we lead our lives, against the many false accusations made against us.
148Unlike Apion, Apollonius does not make a concerted case against us, but does so only sporadically, at times calling us godless and haters of men and at times blaming us for lack of courage but occasionally accusing us of audacity and lack of restraint conduct; indeed he calls us the weakest of all the barbarians and says this is why we are the only people to have made no contribution to human life.
149But I believe all these allegations will be disproved if it becomes clear that our laws enjoin the very reverse of what he says and that we diligently observe those laws.
150If I must mention any laws of other nations that are contrary to ours, those who have sought to vilify our laws compared to theirs have only themselves to blame. In future, I think, they cannot claim either that we do not have such laws, which I will present in summary form or that we do not, above all people, continue to be law-observant .

[151] Μικρὸν οὖν ἀναλαβὼν τὸν λόγον τοῦτ’ ἂν εἴποιμι πρῶτον , ὅτι τῶν ἀνόμως καὶ ἀτάκτως βιούντων οἱ τάξεως καὶ νόμου κοινωνίας ἐπιθυμηταὶ γενόμενοι καὶ πρῶτοι κατάρξαντες εἰκότως ἂν ἡμερότητι καὶ φύσεως ἀρετῇ διενεγκεῖν μαρτυρηθεῖεν .
[152] ἀμέλει πειρῶνται τὰ παρ’ αὐτοῖς ἕκαστοι πρὸς τὸ ἀρχαιότατον ἀνάγειν , ἵνα μὴ μιμεῖσθαι δόξωσιν ἑτέρους , ἀλλ’ αὐτοὶ τοῦ ζῆν νομίμως ἄλλοις ὑφηγήσασθαι .
[153] τούτων δὲ τοῦτον δυσμενῶς τὸν τρόπον ἀρετὴ μέν ἐστι νομοθέτου τὰ βέλτιστα συνιδεῖν καὶ πεῖσαι τοὺς χρησομένους περὶ τῶν ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ‎ τιθεμένων , πλήθους δὲ τὸ πᾶσι τοῖς δόξασιν ἐμμεῖναι καὶ μήτε εὐτυχίαις μήτε συμφοραῖς αὐτῶν μηδὲν μεταβάλλειν .
[154] φημὶ τοίνυν τὸν ἡμέτερον νομοθέτην τῶν ὁπουδηποτοῦν μνημονευομένων νομοθετῶν προάγειν ἀρχαιότητι · Λυκοῦργοι γὰρ καὶ Σόλωνες καὶ Ζάλευκος τῶν Λοκρῶν καὶ πάντες οἱ θαυμαζόμενοι παρὰ τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ἐχθὲς δὴ καὶ πρῴην ὡς πρὸς ἐκεῖνον παραβαλλόμενοι φαίνονται γεγονότες , ὅπου γε μηδ’ αὐτὸ τοὔνομα πάλαι ἐγιγνώσκετο τοῦ νόμου παρὰ τοῖς Ἕλλησι .
[155] καὶ μάρτυς Ὅμηρος οὐδαμοῦ τῆς ποιήσεως αὐτῷ χρησάμενος · οὐδὲ γὰρ ἦν κατὰ τοῦτον , ἀλλὰ γνώμαις ἀορίστοις τὰ πλήθη διῳκεῖτο καὶ προστάγμασι τῶν βασιλέων , ἀφ’ οὗ καὶ μέχρι πολλοῦ διέμειναν ἔθεσιν ἀγράφοις χρώμενοι καὶ πολλὰ τούτων ἀεὶ πρὸς τὸ συντυγχάνον μετατιθέντες .
[156] δ’ ἡμέτερος νομοθέτης ἀρχαιότατος γεγονώς , τοῦτο γὰρ δήπουθεν ὁμολογεῖται καὶ παρὰ τοῖς πάντα καθ’ ἡμῶν λέγουσιν , ἑαυτόν τε παρέσχεν ἄριστον τοῖς πλήθεσιν ἡγεμόνα καὶ σύμβουλον τήν τε κατασκευὴν αὐτοῖς ὅλην τοῦ βίου τῷ νόμῳ περιλαβὼν ἔπεισεν παραδέξασθαι καὶ βεβαίωσιν εἰς ἀεὶ φυλαχθῆναι παρεσκεύασεν .

151After this small digression, let me first note that those who have admired good order and living under common laws and who began to introduce them, may well be acknowledged as more civilised and naturally virtuous than other men.
152Each group endeavours to trace their culture back to ancient roots, so as not to seem to merely imitate others, but to themselves to have a lawful lifestyle to pass on to others.
153Since this is so, the virtue of a Legislator is seen in providing for the best manner of living for a people and in persuading the people of the value, and getting them to persevere in them without change, both in prosperity and adversity.
154I venture to say that ours is the most ancient of all the Legislators we have ever heard of. The Lycurguses and Solons and Zaleucus of Locri and all those lawgivers so admired by the Greeks appear to be born yesterday, compared with our Legislator, and the very word "law" was not even known in ancient times among the Greeks.
155Homer can witness the truth of this, for he never uses the term in all his poems, and there was then no such thing among them, but the populace was governed by wise maxims and the instructions of their kings. For a long time they continued to follow those unwritten customs, although they were always changing them to suit the occasion.
156But our Legislator, who was so much more ancient than the rest, as even those who speak against us always admit, showed himself the people's best ruler and counsellor, covering the entire conduct of their lives in his legislation and persuading them to accept it. In this way he arranged for his laws to be observed most faithfully .

[157] Ἴδωμεν δὲ τῶν ἔργων αὐτοῦ‎ τὸ πρῶτον μεγαλεῖον · ἐκεῖνος γὰρ τοὺς προγόνους ἡμῶν , ἐπείπερ ἔδοξεν αὐτοῖς τὴν Αἴγυπτον ἐκλιποῦσιν ἐπὶ τὴν πάτριον γῆν ἐπανιέναι , πολλὰς τὰς μυριάδας παραλαβὼν ἐκ πολλῶν καὶ ἀμηχάνων διέσωσεν εἰς ἀσφάλειαν · καὶ γὰρ τὴν ἄνυδρον αὐτοὺς καὶ πολλὴν ψάμμον ἔδει διοδοιπορῆσαι καὶ νικῆσαι πολεμίους καὶ τέκνα καὶ γυναῖκας καὶ λείαν ὁμοῦ σώζειν μαχομένους .
[158] ἐν οἷς ἅπασι καὶ στρατηγὸς ἄριστος ἐγένετο καὶ σύμβουλος συνετώτατος καὶ πάντων κηδεμὼν ἀληθέστατος . ἅπαν δὲ τὸ πλῆθος εἰς ἑαυτὸν ἀνηρτῆσθαι παρεσκεύασεν , καὶ περὶ παντὸς ἔχων πεισθέντας [ ἀντὶ τοῦ κελευσθέντος ] εἰς οὐδεμίαν οἰκείαν ἔλαβεν ταῦτα πλεονεξίαν , ἀλλ’ ἐν μάλιστα τοῦ καιροῦ δυνάμεις μὲν αὐτοῖς περιβάλλονται καὶ τυραννίδας οἱ προεστηκότες , ἐθίζουσι δὲ τὰ πλήθη μετὰ πολλῆς ζῆν ἀνομίας ,
[159] ἐν τούτῳ τῆς ἐξουσίας ἐκεῖνος καθεστηκὼς τοὐναντίον ᾠήθη δεῖν εὐσεβεῖν καὶ πολλὴν εὔνοιαν τοῖς λαοῖς ἐμπαρασχεῖν , οὕτως αὐτός τε τὰ μάλιστα τὴν ἀρετὴν ἐπιδείξειν τὴν αὐτοῦ‎ νομίζων καὶ σωτηρίαν τοῖς αὐτὸν ἡγεμόνα πεποιημένοις βεβαίωσιν παρέξειν .
[160] καλῆς οὖν αὐτῷ προαιρέσεως καὶ πράξεων μεγάλων ἐπιτυγχανομένων εἰκότως ἐνόμιζεν ἡγεμόνα τε καὶ σύμβουλον θεὸν ἔχειν , καὶ πείσας πρότερον ἑαυτὸν ὅτι κατὰ τὴν ἐκείνου βούλησιν ἅπαντα πράττει καὶ διανοεῖται , ταύτην ᾤετο δεῖν πρὸ παντὸς ἐμποιῆσαι τὴν ὑπόληψιν τοῖς πλήθεσιν · οἱ γὰρ πιστεύσαντες ἐπισκοπεῖν θεὸν τοὺς ἑαυτῶν βίους οὐθὲν ἀνέχονται ἐξαμαρτεῖν .

157Let us consider his first and greatest work, for when it was our ancestors resolved to leave Egypt and return to their own country, he led out our people in their many thousands through formidable difficulties and brought them home in safety. They had to travel across a sandy, waterless country and defeat their enemies, and as they fought, protect their children and wives and possessions.
158Through it all he was an excellent general and a most prudent counsellor who took the truest care of all of them. He managed to have the whole throng depend upon him and while he persuaded them always to obey him, he did not abuse his authority for his personal gain, which often happens when leaders gain great powers : it can pave the way for tyranny and accustom people to a very dissolute life.
159Our Legislator, on the contrary, when he gained great authority, thought he should observe piety and show great goodwill towards the people. In this way he showed his high degree of virtue and sought to gain the most lasting security for those who had made him their ruler.
160With such a good resolution and when wonderful acts were done, he had every reason to see himself as ruled and guided by God. And so, believing that his actions and plans were in accord with God's will, he thought it his main duty to impress that notion upon the people, for once people believe that God is looking at their lives, they will not allow themselves to sin .

[161] τοιοῦτος μὲν δή τις [ αὐτὸς ] ἡμῶν νομοθέτης , οὐ γόης οὐδ’ ἀπατεών , ἅπερ λοιδοροῦντες λέγουσιν ἀδίκως , ἀλλ’ οἵους παρὰ τοῖς Ἕλλησιν αὐχοῦσιν τὸν Μίνω γεγονέναι καὶ μετὰ ταῦτα τοὺς ἄλλους νομοθέτας ·
[162] οἱ μὲν γὰρ αὐτῶν τοὺς νόμους ὑποτίθενται , δέ γε Μίνως ἔλεγεν ὅτι εἰς τὸν Ἀπόλλω καὶ τὸ Δελφικὸν αὐτοῦ‎ μαντεῖον τὰς τῶν νόμων μαντείας ἀνέφερεν , ἤτοι τἀληθὲς οὕτως ἔχειν νομίζοντες πείσειν ῥᾷον ὑπολαμβάνοντες .
[163] τίς δ’ ἦν μάλιστα κατορθώσας τοὺς νόμους καὶ τῆς δικαιοτάτης περὶ θεοῦ πίστεως ἐπιτυχών , πάρεστιν ἐξ αὐτῶν κατανοεῖν τῶν νόμων ἀντιπαραβάλλοντας · ἤδη γὰρ περὶ τούτων λεκτέον .
[164] οὐκοῦν ἄπειροι μὲν αἱ κατὰ μέρος τῶν ἐθῶν καὶ τῶν νόμων παρὰ τοῖς ἅπασιν ἀνθρώποις διαφοραί , * κεφαλαιωδῶς ἂν ἐπίοι τις · οἱ μὲν γὰρ μοναρχίαις , οἱ δὲ ταῖς ὀλίγων δυναστείαις , ἄλλοι δὲ τοῖς πλήθεσιν ἐπέτρεψαν τὴν ἐξουσίαν τῶν πολιτευμάτων .
[165] δ’ ἡμέτερος νομοθέτης εἰς μὲν τούτων οὐδοτιοῦν ἀπεῖδεν , ὡς δ’ ἄν τις εἴποι βιασάμενος τὸν λόγον θεοκρατίαν ἀπέδειξε τὸ πολίτευμα θεῷ τὴν ἀρχὴν καὶ τὸ κράτος ἀναθείς .
[166] καὶ πείσας εἰς ἐκεῖνον ἅπαντας ἀφορᾶν ὡς αἴτιον μὲν ἁπάντων ὄντα τῶν ἀγαθῶν , κοινῇ τε πᾶσιν ἀνθρώποις ὑπάρχει καὶ ὅσων ἔτυχον αὐτοὶ δεηθέντες ἐν ἀμηχάνοις , λαθεῖν δὲ τὴν ἐκείνου γνώμην οὐκ ἐνὸν οὔτε τῶν πραττομένων οὐδὲν οὔθ’ ὧν ἄν τις παρ’ αὐτῷ διανοηθῇ ,
[167] ἕνα αὐτὸν ἀπέφηνε καὶ ἀγένητον καὶ πρὸς τὸν ἀίδιον χρόνον ἀναλλοίωτον πάσης ἰδέας θνητῆς κάλλει διαφέροντα καὶ δυνάμει μὲν ἡμῖν γνώριμον , ὁποῖος δὲ κατ’ οὐσίαν [ ἐστὶν ] ἄγνωστον .
[168] ταῦτα περὶ θεοῦ φρονεῖν οἱ σοφώτατοι παρ’ Ἕλλησιν ὅτι μὲν ἐδιδάχθησαν ἐκείνου τὰς ἀρχὰς παρασχόντος , ἐῶ νῦν λέγειν , ὅτι δ’ ἐστὶ καλὰ καὶ πρέποντα τῇ τοῦ θεοῦ φύσει καὶ μεγαλειότητι , σφόδρα μεμαρτυρήκασι · καὶ γὰρ Πυθαγόρας καὶ Ἀναξαγόρας καὶ Πλάτων οἵ τε μετ’ ἐκεῖνον ἀπὸ τῆς στοᾶς φιλόσοφοι καὶ μικροῦ δεῖν ἅπαντες οὕτως φαίνονται περὶ τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ φύσεως πεφρονηκότες .
[169] ἀλλ’ οἱ μὲν πρὸς ὀλίγους φιλοσοφοῦντες εἰς πλήθη δόξαις προκατειλημμένα τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ δόγματος ἐξενεγκεῖν οὐκ ἐτόλμησαν , δὲ ἡμέτερος νομοθέτης ἅτε δὴ τὰ ἔργα παρέχων σύμφωνα τοῖς λόγοις οὐ μόνον τοὺς καθ’ αὑτὸν ἔπεισεν , ἀλλὰ καὶ τοῖς ἐξ ἐκείνων ἀεὶ γενησομένοις τὴν περὶ θεοῦ πίστιν ἐνέφυσεν ἀμετακίνητον .
[170] αἴτιον δ’ ὅτι καὶ τῷ τρόπῳ τῆς νομοθεσίας πρὸς τὸ χρήσιμον πάντων ἀεὶ πολὺ διήνεγκεν · οὐ γὰρ μέρος ἀρετῆς ἐποίησεν τὴν εὐσέβειαν , ἀλλὰ ταύτης μέρη τἆλλα , λέγω δὲ τὴν δικαιοσύνην τὴν σωφροσύνην τὴν καρτερίαν τὴν τῶν πολιτῶν πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἐν ἅπασι συμφωνίαν ·
[171] ἅπασαι γὰρ αἱ πράξεις καὶ διατριβαὶ καὶ λόγοι πάντες ἐπὶ τὴν πρὸς θεὸν ἡμῖν εὐσέβειαν ἀναφέρουσιν · οὐδὲν γὰρ τούτων ἀνεξέταστον οὐδὲ *ἀόριστον παρέλιπεν . δύο μὲν γάρ εἰσιν ἁπάσης παιδείας τρόποι καὶ τῆς περὶ τὰ ἤθη κατασκευῆς , ὧν μὲν λόγῳ διδασκαλικός , δὲ διὰ τῆς ἀσκήσεως τῶν ἠθῶν .
[172] οἱ μὲν οὖν ἄλλοι νομοθέται ταῖς γνώμαις διέστησαν καὶ τὸν ἕτερον αὐτῶν ὃν ἔδοξεν ἑκάστοις ἑλόμενοι τὸν ἕτερον παρέλιπον , οἷον Λακεδαιμόνιοι μὲν καὶ Κρῆτες ἔθεσιν ἐπαίδευον , οὐ λόγοις , Ἀθηναῖοι δὲ καὶ σχεδὸν οἱ ἄλλοι πάντες Ἕλληνες μὲν χρὴ πράττειν μὴ προσέτασσον διὰ τῶν νόμων , τοῦ δὲ πρὸς αὐτὰ διὰ τῶν ἔργων ἐθίζειν ὠλιγώρουν .

161Such was the character of our Legislator. He was no charlatan, no deceiver, as his revilers unjustly say, but such as the Greeks boast that Minos was among them and other Legislators after him.
162Some of them think they got their laws from Zeus, while Minos said that the revelation of his laws was through Apollo and his oracles at Delphi, whether the speakers really thought they were divine or felt they could easily persuade the people that it was so.
163But it will be easy, by comparing those laws, to decide who made the best laws and who had most reason to believe that God was their author; for it is time to come to that point.
164There are innumerable differences in the local customs and laws of all mankind, which one may briefly put under the following headings : Some place the power of the state in the hands of a monarch, some opt for oligarchy and others for some form of republic.
165Our Legislator turned aside from any of these forms, and fixed our government to be what, by straining terms, may be called a Theocracy, assigning the authority and the power to God.
166He persuaded all the people to regard God as the author of all good things whether enjoyed in common by mankind or by each individual, and of all that they themselves had gained by praying to him in their difficulties. He told them that nothing is hidden from God, whether our inward thoughts or our outward actions.
167He presented Him as unbegotten and immutable, through all eternity, above all mortal ideas of beauty, and, though known to us by his power, unknown to us in his essence.
168I will refrain from showing here how these ideas about God are shared by the wisest among the Greeks, who learned them from the principles he taught. But they strongly testify that these notions are just and in accord with the nature of God and his majesty, for Pythagoras and Anaxagoras and Plato and the Stoic philosophers after them and almost all the rest, share these ideas about the nature of God.
169However, these men dared not disclose the true ideas to more than a few, because the majority of the people were prejudiced with other opinions. But our Legislator, whose actions agreed with his laws, not only persuaded his contemporaries of his ideas, but so firmly imprinted this faith in God on all their descendants, that it could never be moved.
170The reason was that this was always more useful than other legislations; for Moses did not make religion a part of virtue, but he saw and ordered other virtues as parts of religion; I mean justice, fortitude, temperance and common agreement of the members of the community with each other.
171All our actions and studies and words have a bearing on piety towards God, for he has left none of these unregulated or undecided. For there are two ways to come at any sort of learning and a moral way of life. One is by instruction in words; the other is by practical exercises.
172Other lawgivers have separated these two ways and opted for one of those ways of instruction, whichever each one pleased, while neglecting the other. So the men of Sparta and of Crete taught by practical exercises, but not by words; while the Athenians and almost all the other Greeks made laws about what was to be done, or left undone, but gave little thought to putting them into practice .

[173] δ’ ἡμέτερος νομοθέτης ἄμφω ταῦτα συνήρμοσεν κατὰ πολλὴν ἐπιμέλειαν · οὔτε γὰρ κωφὴν ἀπέλιπε τὴν τῶν ἠθῶν ἄσκησιν οὔτε τὸν ἐκ τοῦ νόμου λόγον ἄπρακτον εἴασεν , ἀλλ’ εὐθὺς ἀπὸ τῆς πρώτης ἀρξάμενος τροφῆς καὶ τῆς κατὰ τὸν οἶκον ἑκάστων διαίτης οὐδὲν οὐδὲ τῶν βραχυτάτων αὐτεξούσιον ἐπὶ ταῖς βουλήσεσι τῶν χρησομένων κατέλιπεν ,
[174] ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ σιτίων , ὅσων ἀπέχεσθαι χρὴ καὶ τίνα προσφέρεσθαι , καὶ περὶ τῶν κοινωνησόντων τῆς διαίτης ἔργων τε συντονίας καὶ τοὔμπαλιν ἀναπαύσεως ὅρον ἔθηκεν αὐτὸς καὶ κανόνα τὸν νόμον , ἵν’ ὥσπερ ὑπὸ πατρὶ τούτῳ καὶ δεσπότῃ ζῶντες μήτε βουλόμενοι μηθὲν μήθ’ ὑπ’ ἀγνοίας ἁμαρτάνωμεν .
[175] οὐδὲ γὰρ τὴν ἀπὸ τῆς ἀγνοίας ὑποτίμησιν κατέλιπεν , ἀλλὰ καὶ κάλλιστον καὶ ἀναγκαιότατον ἀπέδειξε παίδευμα τὸν νόμον , οὐκ εἰσάπαξ ἀκροασομένοις οὐδὲ δὶς πολλάκις , ἀλλ’ ἑκάστης ἑβδομάδος τῶν ἄλλων ἔργων ἀφεμένους ἐπὶ τὴν ἀκρόασιν ἐκέλευσε τοῦ νόμου συλλέγεσθαι καὶ τοῦτον ἀκριβῶς ἐκμανθάνειν · δὴ πάντες ἐοίκασιν οἱ νομοθέται παραλιπεῖν .

173Our Legislator, on the other hand, carefully joined together these two methods of instruction, for he neither left the practical exercises without verbal instruction, nor did he let the hearing of the law proceed without practical exercises. From earliest infancy and the regulation of everyone’s diet, he left nothing of the slightest importance to be done at the pleasure and caprice of the person himself.
174He made fixed rules about what sorts of food they should abstain from and what sorts they should use; about the interaction they should have with others and the diligence to bring to their occupations and the times of repose in between, so that, by living under the law as under a father and master, we might be guilty of no sin, either voluntary or from ignorance.
175For he did not allow the guilt of ignorance to go on unpunished, showing the law to be the best and the most necessary instruction of all and letting the people set aside their other employments and gather to listen to the law and learn it exactly, not merely on occasion or fairly often but once a week, which all the other legislators seem to have neglected .

[176] Καὶ τοσοῦτον οἱ πλεῖστοι τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἀπέχουσι τοῦ κατὰ τοὺς οἰκείους νόμους ζῆν , ὥστε σχεδὸν αὐτοὺς οὐδ’ ἴσασιν , ἀλλ’ ὅταν ἐξαμάρτωσιν , τότε παρ’ ἄλλων μανθάνουσιν , ὅτι τὸν νόμον παραβεβήκασιν ,
[177] οἵ τε τὰς μεγίστας καὶ κυριωτάτας παρ’ αὐτοῖς ἀρχὰς διοικοῦντες ὁμολογοῦσι τὴν ἄγνοιαν · ἐπιστάτας γὰρ παρακαθίστανται τῆς τῶν πραγμάτων οἰκονομίας τοὺς ἐμπειρίαν ἔχειν τῶν νόμων ὑπισχνουμένους .
[178] ἡμῶν δὲ ὁντινοῦν τις ἔροιτο τοὺς νόμους ῥᾷον ἂν εἴποι πάντας τοὔνομα τὸ ἑαυτοῦ . τοιγαροῦν ἀπὸ τῆς πρώτης εὐθὺς αἰσθήσεως αὐτοὺς ἐκμανθάνοντες ἔχομεν ἐν ταῖς ψυχαῖς ὥσπερ ἐγκεχαραγμένους , καὶ σπάνιος μὲν παραβαίνων , ἀδύνατος δ’ τῆς κολάσεως παραίτησις .

176And indeed most men, far from living according to their own laws, hardly know what they are. Only when they have sinned do they learn from others that they have broken the law.
177Even people in the highest and most important government posts admit to ignorance of the laws and are obliged to take on as consultants in public office people who are competent in those laws.
178Among us, if you can ask about our laws anyone can recite them all as easily as his own name, since we have learned them from our earliest awareness, and have them as it were inscribed upon our souls. Few of us transgress them and, if any do offend, it is impossible to escape the punishment .
Chapter 9
Jewish constancy and unity, based on a solid Law

[179] Τοῦτο πρῶτον ἁπάντων τὴν θαυμαστὴν ὁμόνοιαν ἡμῖν ἐμπεποίηκεν · τὸ γὰρ μίαν μὲν ἔχειν καὶ τὴν αὐτὴν δόξαν περὶ θεοῦ , τῷ βίῳ δὲ καὶ τοῖς ἔθεσι μηδὲν ἀλλήλων διαφέρειν , καλλίστην ἐν ἤθεσιν ἀνθρώπων συμφωνίαν ἀποτελεῖ .
[180] παρ’ ἡμῖν γὰρ μόνοις οὔτε περὶ θεοῦ λόγους ἀκούσεταί τις ἀλλήλοις ὑπεναντίους , ὁποῖα πολλὰ παρ’ ἑτέροις οὐχ ὑπὸ τῶν τυχόντων μόνον κατὰ τὸ προσπεσὸν ἑκάστῳ λέγεται πάθος , ἀλλὰ καὶ παρά τισι τῶν φιλοσόφων ἀποτετόλμηται , τῶν μὲν τὴν ὅλην τοῦ θεοῦ φύσιν ἀναιρεῖν τοῖς λόγοις ἐπικεχειρηκότων , ἄλλων δὲ τὴν ὑπὲρ ἀνθρώπων αὐτὸν πρόνοιαν ἀφαιρουμένων ·
[181] οὔτ’ ἐν τοῖς ἐπιτηδεύμασι τῶν βίων ὄψεται διαφοράν , ἀλλὰ κοινὰ μὲν ἔργα πάντων παρ’ ἡμῖν , εἷς δὲ λόγος τῷ νόμῳ συμφωνῶν περὶ θεοῦ πάντα λέγων ἐκεῖνον ἐφορᾶν . καὶ μὴν περὶ τῶν κατὰ τὸν βίον ἐπιτηδευμάτων , ὅτι δεῖ πάντα τἆλλα τέλος ἔχειν τὴν εὐσέβειαν , καὶ γυναικῶν ἀκούσειεν ἄν τις καὶ τῶν οἰκετῶν .
[182] Ὅθεν δὴ καὶ τὸ προφερόμενον ἡμῖν ὑπό τινων ἔγκλημα , τὸ δὴ μὴ καινῶν εὑρετὰς ἔργων λόγων ἄνδρας παρασχεῖν , ἐντεῦθεν συμβέβηκεν · οἱ μὲν γὰρ ἄλλοι τὸ μηδενὶ τῶν πατρίων ἐμμένειν καλὸν εἶναι νομίζουσι καὶ τοῖς τολμῶσι ταῦτα παραβαίνειν μάλιστα σοφίας δεινότητα μαρτυροῦσιν ,
[183] ἡμεῖς δὲ τοὐναντίον μίαν εἶναι καὶ φρόνησιν καὶ ἀρετὴν ὑπειλήφαμεν τὸ μηδὲν ὅλως ὑπεναντίον μήτε πρᾶξαι μήτε διανοηθῆναι τοῖς ἐξ ἀρχῆς νομοθετηθεῖσιν . ὅπερ εἰκότως ἂν εἴη τεκμήριον τοῦ κάλλιστα τὸν νόμον τεθῆναι · τὰ γὰρ μὴ τοῦτον ἔχοντα τὸν τρόπον αἱ πεῖραι δεόμενα διορθώσεως ἐλέγχουσιν .

179Our total agreement in all our ideas about God has forged this remarkable harmony among us and our consistency in our lifestyle and practices produces among us the highest uniformity of practice that is found on earth.
180No other people but ours has avoided all those contradictory views about God that are so frequent among other nations, whether in the private opinions of ordinary folk or among some philosophers who have dared to indulge such contradictions. Some of them even use terms that entirely deny the nature of God, just as others have set aside his providence over mankind.
181With us you will not find any differences in our lifestyles, but the same practices are found among us all. Following our law we have a harmonious way of speaking about God, which affirms that he sees all things; just as we have a single way to describe how our life should be lived, that everything should be geared towards piety, and this one may hear from our women and servants too .


182This is the source of the accusation made by some, that we have not produced inventors of new processes, or new ways of speaking, for others think it desirable to persevere in nothing that has been handed down from their ancestors and see it as a mark of wisdom for people to dare to step outside of those traditions.
183We, on the contrary, see it as our unique wisdom and virtue to allow no acts or ideas contrary to our original laws, and this tenacity is a striking sign that our law is admirably framed, whereas when they are tested, laws that are not so well made are shown to need amendment .


[184] Ἡμῖν δὲ τοῖς πεισθεῖσιν ἐξ ἀρχῆς τεθῆναι τὸν νόμον κατὰ θεοῦ βούλησιν οὐδ’ εὐσεβὲς ἦν τοῦτον μὴ φυλάττειν · τί γὰρ αὐτοῦ‎ τις ἂν μετακινήσειεν τί κάλλιον ἐξεῦρεν τί παρ’ ἑτέρων ὡς ἄμεινον μετήνεγκεν ; ἆρά γε τὴν ὅλην κατάστασιν τοῦ πολιτεύματος ;
[185] καὶ τίς ἂν καλλίων δικαιοτέρα γένοιτο τῆς θεὸν μὲν ἡγεμόνα τῶν ὅλων πεποιημένης , τοῖς ἱερεῦσι δὲ κοινῇ μὲν τὰ μέγιστα διοικεῖν ἐπιτρεπούσης , τῷ δὲ πάντων ἀρχιερεῖ πάλιν αὖ πεπιστευκυίας τὴν τῶν ἄλλων ἱερέων ἡγεμονίαν ;
[186] οὓς οὐ κατὰ πλοῦτον οὐδέ τισιν ἄλλαις προύχοντας αὐτομάτοις πλεονεξίαις τὸ πρῶτον εὐθὺς νομοθέτης ἐπὶ τὴν τιμὴν ἔταξεν , ἀλλ’ ὅσοι τῶν μετ’ αὐτοῦ‎ πειθοῖ τε καὶ σωφροσύνῃ τῶν ἄλλων διέφερον , τούτοις τὴν περὶ τὸν θεὸν μάλιστα θεραπείαν ἐνεχείρισεν .
[187] τοῦτο δ’ ἦν καὶ τοῦ νόμου καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἐπιτηδευμάτων ἀκριβὴς ἐπιμέλεια · καὶ γὰρ ἐπόπται πάντων καὶ δικασταὶ τῶν ἀμφισβητουμένων καὶ κολασταὶ τῶν κατεγνωσμένων οἱ ἱερεῖς ἐτάχθησαν .

184Since we are convinced that our laws are in accord with God's will, it would be impious for us not to observe them, for what is there in them that one would change? What can be found to be better? Or what can we take from other people's laws that will excel them? Would one want to change our entire system of orde?
185But where will we find a better or more righteous constitution than ours, which has us honour God as the Ruler of the universe and puts the priesthood in charge of major affairs and places the chief high priest in charge of the other priests?
186From the start our Legislator did not appoint the priests to that dignity for their wealth or acquisitiveness, but he entrusted divine worship to those who excelled in their ability to persuade others and in prudence of behaviour.
187These were to carefully oversee the observance of the law and the rest of the people's conduct, and so the were priests appointed as inspectors of all and judges of difficult cases and to pass sentence on those who deserved punishment .

[188] Τίς ἂν οὖν ἀρχὴ γένοιτο ταύτης ὁσιωτέρα ; τίς δὲ τιμὴ θεῷ μᾶλλον ἁρμόζουσα , παντὸς μὲν τοῦ πλήθους κατεσκευασμένου πρὸς τὴν εὐσέβειαν , ἐξαίρετον δὲ τὴν ἐπιμέλειαν τῶν ἱερέων πεπιστευμένων , ὥσπερ δὲ τελετῆς τινος τῆς ὅλης πολιτείας οἰκονομουμένης ;
[189] γὰρ ὀλίγων ἡμερῶν ἀριθμὸν ἐπιτηδεύοντες ἄλλοι φυλάττειν οὐ δύνανται μυστήρια καὶ τελετὰς ἐπονομάζοντες , ταῦτα μεθ’ ἡδονῆς καὶ γνώμης ἀμεταθέτου φυλάττομεν ἡμεῖς δι’ αἰῶνος .
[190] τίνες οὖν εἰσιν αἱ προρρήσεις καὶ ἀπαγορεύσεις ; ἁπλαῖ τε καὶ γνώριμοι . πρώτη δ’ ἡγεῖται περὶ θεοῦ λέγουσα , θεὸς ἔχει τὰ σύμπαντα παντελὴς καὶ μακάριος , αὐτὸς αὑτῷ καὶ πᾶσιν αὐτάρκης , ἀρχὴ καὶ μέσα καὶ τέλος οὗτος τῶν πάντων , ἔργοις μὲν καὶ χάρισιν ἐναργὴς καὶ παντὸς οὗτινος φανερώτερος , μορφὴν δὲ καὶ μέγεθος ἡμῖν ἄφατος ·
[191] πᾶσα μὲν ὕλη πρὸς εἰκόνα τὴν τούτου κἂν πολυτελὴς ἄτιμος , πᾶσα δὲ τέχνη πρὸς μιμήσεως ἐπίνοιαν ἄτεχνος . οὐδὲν ὅμοιον οὔτ’ εἴδομεν οὔτ’ ἐπινοοῦμεν οὔτ’ εἰκάζειν ἐστὶν ὅσιον .
[192] ἔργα βλέπομεν αὐτοῦ‎ φῶς οὐρανὸν γῆν ἥλιον ὕδατα ζῴων ἀκριβείας καρπῶν ἀναδόσεις . ταῦτα θεὸς ἐποίησεν οὐ χερσὶν οὐ πόνοις οὔ τινων συνεργασομένων ἐπιδεηθείς , ἀλλ’ αὐτοῦ‎ θελήσαντος καλῶς ἦν εὐθὺς γεγονότα . τοῦτον θεραπευτέον ἀσκοῦντας ἀρετήν · τρόπος γὰρ θεοῦ θεραπείας οὗτος ὁσιώτατος .

188What form of rule can be holier than this? What more worthy kind of worship can be shown to God than ours, where the entire body of the people is devoted to religion, and an extraordinary level of care is required in the priests and the whole state is so ordered as for a religious festival?
189What foreigners can barely keep up for a few days, when they celebrate such festivals, under the title of mysteries and sacred ceremonies, we observe with pleasure and firm resolve throughout our whole lives.
190What things then are commanded and forbidden to us? They are simple and well known. The first is about God and says that He contains all things and is in every way perfect and happy, self-sufficient and supplying all other things; the beginning, the middle and the end of all things. He is manifest in his works and benefits and more splendid than all other beings but in form and size, he is most mysterious.
191No material, however costly, is worthy to form an image of him and no art can express the idea we should have of him. We can neither see or imagine anything like him, and it is unholy to form a likeness of him.
192We see his works in the light, the sky, the earth, the sun and the moon, the waters, the generations of animals, the growth of fruits. God made these, not with hands or toil, or needing any to work with him; but as he willed they should be made and be good, immediately they were made and were good. All should follow Him, for to worship Him to practice virtue, and worship of God is the holiest thing there is .

[193] Εἷς ναὸς ἑνὸς θεοῦ , φίλον γὰρ ἀεὶ παντὶ τὸ ὅμοιον , κοινὸς ἁπάντων κοινοῦ θεοῦ ἁπάντων . τοῦτον θεραπεύσουσιν μὲν διὰ παντὸς οἱ ἱερεῖς , ἡγήσεται δὲ τούτων πρῶτος ἀεὶ κατὰ γένος .
[194] οὗτος μετὰ τῶν συνιερέων θύσει τῷ θεῷ , φυλάξει τοὺς νόμους , δικάσει περὶ τῶν ἀμφισβητουμένων , κολάσει τοὺς ἐλεγχθέντας . τούτῳ μὴ πειθόμενος ὑφέξει δίκην ὡς εἰς θεὸν αὐτὸν ἀσεβῶν .
[195] θύομεν τὰς θυσίας οὐκ εἰς μέθην ἑαυτοῖς , ἀβούλητον γὰρ θεῷ τόδε , ἀλλ’ εἰς σωφροσύνην .
[196] καὶ ἐπὶ ταῖς θυσίαις χρὴ πρῶτον ὑπὲρ τῆς κοινῆς εὔχεσθαι σωτηρίας , εἶθ’ ὑπὲρ ἑαυτῶν · ἐπὶ γὰρ κοινωνίᾳ γεγόναμεν καὶ ταύτην προτιμῶν τοῦ καθ’ αὑτὸν ἰδίου μάλιστα θεῷ κεχαρισμένος .
[197] δέησις δ’ ἔστω πρὸς τὸν θεόν , οὐχ ὅπως δῷ τἀγαθά , δέδωκεν γὰρ αὐτὸς ἑκὼν καὶ πᾶσιν εἰς μέσον κατατέθεικεν , ἀλλ’ ὅπως δέχεσθαι δυνώμεθα καὶ λαβόντες φυλάττωμεν .
[198] ἁγνείας ἐπὶ ταῖς θυσίαις διείρηκεν νόμος ἀπὸ κήδους ἀπὸ λέχους ἀπὸ κοινωνίας τῆς πρὸς γυναῖκα καὶ πολλῶν ἄλλων . [ μακρὸν ἂν εἴη γράφειν . τοιοῦτος μὲν περὶ θεοῦ καὶ τῆς ἐκείνου θεραπείας λόγος ἡμῖν ἐστιν , δ’ αὐτὸς ἅμα καὶ νόμος . ]

193There should be only one temple for one God, for one is the friend to all and the temple of the one God should be shared by all, and priests should be continually worshipping Him, with him who is the first-born at their head.
194His business is to offer sacrifices to God, along with his fellow- priests, to see that the laws are observed, decide controversies and punish the convicted. Whoever does not submit to him must be punished as if he defied God himself.
195When we offer sacrifice it is not for a drunken orgy, for such is against God's will, but in sobriety.
196At the sacrifices we pray, firstly, for the welfare of the community and then for our own, for we are made for fellowship with each other and to put the common good before our own is acceptable to God.
197Our prayer to God is not that He give us what is good, for he has already given that freely and means it for everyone, but rather for the ability to receive and guard what we have received.
198Various purifications go with our sacrifices, for after a funeral, after intercourse with our wives and on many other occasions which it would take too long to set down here .
Chapter 10
Laws of our society, on marriage, family, justice

[199] Τίνες δ’ οἱ περὶ γάμων νόμοι ; μῖξιν μόνην οἶδεν νόμος τὴν κατὰ φύσιν τὴν πρὸς γυναῖκα καὶ ταύτην , εἰ μέλλοι τέκνων ἕνεκα γίνεσθαι . τὴν δὲ πρὸς ἄρρενας ἀρρένων ἐστύγηκεν καὶ θάνατος τοὐπιτίμιον , εἴ τις ἐπιχειρήσειεν .
[200] γαμεῖν δὲ κελεύει μὴ προικὶ προσέχοντας μηδὲ βιαίοις ἁρπαγαῖς μηδ’ αὖ δόλῳ καὶ ἀπάτῃ πείσαντας , ἀλλὰ μνηστεύειν παρὰ τοῦ δοῦναι κυρίου καὶ κατὰ συγγένειαν ἐπιτηδείου .
[201] γυνὴ χείρων , φησίν , ἀνδρὸς εἰς ἅπαντα . τοιγαροῦν ὑπακουέτω , μὴ πρὸς ὕβριν , ἀλλ’ ἵν’ ἄρχηται · θεὸς γὰρ ἀνδρὶ τὸ κράτος ἔδωκεν . ταύτῃ συνεῖναι δεῖ τὸν γήμαντα μόνῃ , τὸ δὲ τὴν ἄλλου πειρᾶν ἀνόσιον . εἰ δέ τις τοῦτο πράξειεν , οὐδεμία θανάτου παραίτησις , οὔτ’ εἰ βιάσαιτο παρθένον ἑτέρῳ προωμολογημένην , οὔτ’ εἰ πείσειεν γεγαμημένην .
[202] τέκνα τρέφειν ἅπαντα προσέταξεν , καὶ γυναιξὶν ἀπεῖπεν μήτ’ ἀμβλοῦν τὸ σπαρὲν μήτε διαφθείρειν ἀλλὰ ἢν φανείη τεκνοκτόνος ἂν εἴη ψυχὴν ἀφανίζουσα καὶ τὸ γένος ἐλαττοῦσα . τοιγαροῦν οὐδ’ εἴ τις ἐπὶ λέχους φθορὰν παρέλθοι , καθαρὸς εἶναι τότε προσήκει .
[203] καὶ μετὰ τὴν νόμιμον συνουσίαν ἀνδρὸς καὶ γυναικὸς ἀπολούσασθαι · ψυχῆς γὰρ ἔχειν τοῦτο μερισμὸν πρὸς ἄλλην χώραν ὑπέλαβεν · καὶ γὰρ ἐμφυομένη σώμασιν κακοπαθεῖ καὶ τούτων αὖ θανάτῳ διακριθεῖσα . διόπερ ἁγνείας ἐπὶ πᾶσι τοῖς τοιούτοις ἔταξεν .

199What then are our laws about marriage? That law allows only the intercourse which is according to nature, of a man with his wife, and only for the procreation of children. It abhors that of a male with a male, and death is the penalty for engaging in it.
200It also commands us not to marry for the sake of dowery, or to take a woman by force, or to deceitfully seduce her; but let her be given in marriage by the one who has power over her because of his close kinship.
201Scripture says, "A woman is subject to her husband in all things ." So she must obey him, not in order to suffer insult, but to let herself be led, since God has given power to the husband. He should have union only with his own wife, for it is unholy to do so with the wife of another and to do so is a capital crime; as is raping a virgin betrothed to another man, or seducing a married woman.
202The law obliges us to rear all our offspring and forbids women to abort what is conceived, or to destroy it later. If she turns out to have done so, it is seen as child-murder, destroying a soul and diminishing the race. A man should refrain from the bed of a pregnant woman if he wants to remain pure.
203Even after legitimate intercourse between man and wife, they must wash, for it entails some division of the soul, as if it went to another place, for the soul suffers when joined to the body and again when separated from it by death, and so the law orders purifications for all these things .

[204] Οὐ μὴν οὐδ’ ἐπὶ ταῖς τῶν παίδων γενέσεσιν ἐπέτρεψεν εὐωχίας συντελεῖν καὶ προφάσεις ποιεῖσθαι μέθης , ἀλλὰ σώφρονα τὴν ἀρχὴν εὐθὺς τῆς τροφῆς ἔταξε . καὶ γράμματα παιδεύειν ἐκέλευσεν τὰ περὶ τοὺς νόμους καὶ τῶν προγόνων τὰς πράξεις ἐπίστασθαι , τὰς μὲν ἵνα μιμῶνται , τοῖς δ’ ἵνα συντρεφόμενοι μήτε παραβαίνωσι μήτε σκῆψιν ἀγνοίας ἔχωσι .
[205] Τῆς εἰς τοὺς τετελευτηκότας προυνόησεν ὁσίας οὐ πολυτελείαις ἐνταφίων οὐ κατασκευαῖς μνημείων ἐπιφανῶν , ἀλλὰ τὰ μὲν περὶ τὴν κηδείαν τοῖς οἰκειοτάτοις ἐπιτελεῖν , πᾶσι δὲ τοῖς παριοῦσι καὶ προσελθεῖν καὶ συναποδύρασθαι . καθαίρειν δὲ καὶ τὸν οἶκον καὶ τοὺς ἐνοικοῦντας ἀπὸ κήδους , ἵνα πλεῖστον ἀπέχῃ τοῦ δοκεῖν καθαρὸς εἶναί τις φόνον ἐργασάμενος .

204It does not allow us to hold at the births of our children a festivity involving drinking to excess, but enjoins that our education should be sober from the very start. We are to teach our children to read and they must learn the laws and the story of their ancestors, as models to imitate, and so rear them from their infancy that they never transgress the law, or have any excuse to be ignorant of it .
205It provides for the pious burial of the dead, with no extravagant expenses for funerals or the erection of splendid monuments. Their nearest relatives are required to take care of their obsequies, and all who pass by during a funeral should draw near and join in the grieving. After the funeral the house and its inhabitants must be purified, so that if anyone has committed murder he will know how far he is from being pure .

[206] Γονέων τιμὴν μετὰ τὴν πρὸς θεὸν δευτέραν ἔταξεν καὶ τὸν οὐκ ἀμειβόμενον τὰς παρ’ αὐτῶν χάριτας ἀλλ’ εἰς ὁτιοῦν ἐλλείποντα λευσθησόμενον παραδίδωσι . καὶ παντὸς τοῦ πρεσβυτέρου τιμὴν ἔχειν τοὺς νέους φησίν , ἐπεὶ πρεσβύτατον θεός .
[207] κρύπτειν οὐδὲν ἐᾷ πρὸς φίλους · οὐ γὰρ εἶναι φιλίαν τὴν μὴ πάντα πιστεύουσαν . κἂν συμβῇ τις ἔχθρα , τἀπόρρητα λέγειν κεκώλυκε . δικάζων εἰ δῶρα τις λάβοι , θάνατος ζημία . περιορῶν ἱκέτην βοηθεῖν ἐνὸν ὑπεύθυνος .
[208] μὴ κατέθηκέν τις οὐκ ἀναιρήσεται , τῶν ἀλλοτρίων οὐδενὸς ἅψεται , τόκον οὐ λήψεται . [ ταῦτα καὶ πολλὰ τούτοις ὅμοια τὴν πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἡμῶν συνέχει κοινωνίαν ]

206According to the law, honour to parents comes second after honour to God and any son who does not repay their benefits to him, or gravely offends them is condemned to be stoned. It also requires the young to duly respect their elders, since God is the supreme Elder.
207W must not conceal anything from our friends, for it is no true friendship without total confidence, and forbids us to reveal secrets, even if people should grow estranged. If a judge takes bribes, it is punishable by death. Whoever refuses the help that he could give, is held guilty.
208One must not demand back what one has not put on deposit, nor may one touch another's property, and whoever lends money must not demand interest on the loan. These and many similar rules are the bonds that unite us in community .

[209] Πῶς δὲ καὶ τῆς πρὸς ἀλλοφύλους ἐπιεικείας ἐφρόντισεν νομοθέτης , ἄξιον ἰδεῖν , [ φανεῖται γὰρ ἄριστα πάντων προνοησάμενος ] ὅπως μήτε τὰ οἰκεῖα διαφθείρωμεν μήτε φθονήσωμεν τοῖς μετέχειν τῶν ἡμετέρων προαιρουμένοις .
[210] ὅσοι μὲν γὰρ θέλουσιν ὑπὸ τοὺς αὐτοὺς ἡμῖν νόμους ζῆν ὑπελθόντες δέχεται φιλοφρόνως , οὐ τῷ γένει μόνον , ἀλλὰ καὶ τῇ προαιρέσει τοῦ βίου νομίζων εἶναι τὴν οἰκειότητα . τοὺς δ’ ἐκ παρέργου προσιόντας ἀναμίγνυσθαι τῇ συνηθείᾳ οὐκ ἠθέλησεν .

209We may consider the kind of fairness that our Legislator requires us to show to outsiders. It is clear that he made the best possible provision, so that we should neither lose our own identity nor be grudging towards those who wish to share with us.
210All those who wish to live under our laws are warmly welcomed, since our household is not limited to our own race but to all who opt to share in our lifestyle; but he did not want casual visitors to be admitted to familiarity with us .

[211] Τἆλλα δὲ προείρηκεν , ὧν μετάδοσίς ἐστιν ἀναγκαία · πᾶσι παρέχειν τοῖς δεομένοις πῦρ ὕδωρ τροφήν , ὁδοὺς φράζειν , ἄταφον μὴ περιορᾶν , ἐπιεικεῖς δὲ καὶ τὰ πρὸς τοὺς πολεμίους κριθέντας εἶναι
[212] οὐ γὰρ ἐᾷ τὴν γῆν αὐτῶν πυρπολεῖν οὐδὲ τέμνειν ἥμερα δένδρα , ἀλλὰ καὶ σκυλεύειν ἀπείρηκεν τοὺς ἐν τῇ μάχῃ πεσόντας , καὶ τῶν αἰχμαλώτων προυνόησεν , ὅπως αὐτῶν ὕβρις ἀπῇ , μάλιστα δὲ γυναικῶν .
[213] οὕτως δ’ ἡμερότητα καὶ φιλανθρωπίαν ἡμᾶς ἐξεπαίδευσεν , ὡς μηδὲ τῶν ἀλόγων ζῴων ὀλιγωρεῖν , ἀλλὰ μόνην ἐφῆκε τούτων χρῆσιν τὴν νόμιμον , πᾶσαν δ’ ἑτέραν ἐκώλυσεν · δ’ ὥσπερ ἱκετεύοντα προσφεύγει ταῖς οἰκίαις ἀπεῖπεν ἀνελεῖν . οὐδὲ νεοττοῖς τοὺς γονέας αὐτῶν ἐπέτρεψε συνεξαιρεῖν , φείδεσθαι δὲ κἀν τῇ πολεμίᾳ τῶν ἐργαζομένων ζῴων καὶ μὴ φονεύειν .
[214] οὕτως πανταχόθεν τὰ πρὸς ἐπιείκειαν περιεσκέψατο , διδασκαλικοῖς μὲν τοῖς προειρημένοις χρησάμενος νόμοις , τοὺς δ’ αὖ κατὰ τῶν παραβαινόντων τιμωρητικοὺς τάξας ἄνευ προφάσεως .

211In other ways he said that we must share things with people, such as to give to those in need fire and water and food, to give people directions, not to leave anyone unburied, and to treat fairly even those we regard as our enemies;
212for he does not allow us to set their land on fire, or to cut down fruit-trees or even to ransack those who have fallen in battle. He also provided for prisoners, that they may not be abused, especially the women.
213He has so effectively taught us gentleness and humanity, that he has not ignored brute beasts, allowing us use them properly and in no other way. Animals that come to our houses, imploring, we are forbidden to kill, nor may we kill the dams along with their young. When in an enemy's country, we are obliged to spare and not kill the animals that labour for mankind.
214So he has managed to teach us moderation for every occasion, and given us the aforesaid laws while at the same time setting up penalties that leave no excuse for whoever breaks these laws .

[215] Ζημία γὰρ ἐπὶ τοῖς πλείστοις τῶν παραβαινόντων θάνατος , ἂν μοιχεύσῃ τις , ἂν βιάσηται κόρην , ἂν ἄρρενι τολμήσῃ πεῖραν προσφέρειν , ἂν ὑπομείνῃ παθεῖν πειρασθείς . ἔστι δὲ καὶ ἐπὶ δούλοις ὁμοίως νόμος ἀπαραίτητος .
[216] ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ μέτρων ἤν τις κακουργήσῃ σταθμῶν περὶ πράσεως ἀδίκου καὶ δόλῳ γενομένης , κἂν ὑφέληταί τις ἀλλότριον , κἂν μὴ κατέθηκεν ἀνέληται , πάντων εἰσὶ κολάσεις οὐχ οἷαι παρ’ ἑτέροις , ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ τὸ μεῖζον .
[217] περὶ μὲν γὰρ γονέων ἀδικίας τῆς εἰς θεὸν ἀσεβείας κἂν μελλήσῃ τις , εὐθὺς ἀπόλλυται . τοῖς μέντοι γε νομίμως βιοῦσι γέρας ἐστὶν οὐκ ἄργυρος οὐδὲ χρυσὸς οὐ κοτίνου στέφανος σελίνου καὶ τοιαύτη τις ἀνακήρυξις ,
[218] ἀλλ’ αὐτὸς ἕκαστος αὑτῷ τὸ συνειδὸς ἔχων μαρτυροῦν πεπίστευκεν , τοῦ μὲν νομοθέτου προφητεύσαντος , τοῦ δὲ θεοῦ τὴν πίστιν ἰσχυρὰν παρεσχηκότος , ὅτι τοῖς τοὺς νόμους διαφυλάξασι κἂν εἰ δέοι θνήσκειν ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν προθύμως ἀποθανεῖν ἔδωκεν θεὸς γενέσθαι τε πάλιν καὶ βίον ἀμείνω λαβεῖν ἐκ περιτροπῆς .
[219] ὤκνουν δ’ ἂν ἐγὼ ταῦτα γράφειν , εἰ μὴ διὰ τῶν ἔργων ἅπασιν ἦν φανερόν , ὅτι πολλοὶ καὶ πολλάκις ἤδη τῶν ἡμετέρων περὶ τοῦ μηδὲ ῥῆμα φθέγξασθαι παρὰ τὸν νόμον πάντα παθεῖν γενναίως προείλοντο .

215The penalty for most transgressions is death, for example, if one commits adultery, or rapes a girl, or ventures on sodomy with a male, or consents to this act by another. The law is just as strictly binding on slaves.
216Our punishments assigned for cheating in weights or measures, or dishonesty in trade, or stealing what belongs to another, or taking what one has not deposited, are more severe than one meets among other nations.
217Wrongful behaviour towards parents, or impiety against God, even if only intended, leads to immediate death. The reward for living exactly according to the laws is not silver or gold, or a transient garland of olive branches or any such public sign of praise,
218but a good man has the testimony of his own conscience and by virtue of our Legislator's prophetic spirit and the firm security God gave him, he believes that to those who observe these laws, and are ready to die for them if need be, God will restore them to an even better life than before.
219I would hesitate to write this, except that it is known in practice to many how often our people have resolved to bravely endure any suffering rather than speak one word against our law .
Chapter 11
Our laws are the most firmly observed

[220] Κἂν τε τι μὴ συμβεβήκει γνώριμον ἡμῶν τὸ ἔθνος ἅπασιν ἀνθρώποις ὑπάρχει κἀν φανερῷ κεῖσθαι τὴν ἐθελούσιον ἡμῶν τοῖς νόμοις ἀκολουθίαν , ]
[221] ἀλλά τις συγγράψαι λόγος αὐτοῖς ἀνεγίνωσκε τοῖς Ἕλλησιν που περιτυχεῖν ἔξω τῆς γινωσκομένης γῆς ἔφασκεν ἀνθρώποις τοιαύτην μὲν ἔχουσι δόξαν οὕτω σεμνὴν περὶ θεοῦ , τοιούτοις δὲ νόμοις πολὺν αἰῶνα βεβαίως ἐμμεμενηκόσι , πάντας ἂν οἶμαι θαυμάσαι διὰ τὰς συνεχεῖς παρ’ αὐτοῖς μεταβολάς .
[222] ἀμέλει τῶν γράψαι τι παραπλήσιον εἰς πολιτείαν καὶ νόμους ἐπιχειρησάντων ὡς θαυμαστὰ συνθέντων κατηγοροῦσι , φάσκοντες αὐτοὺς λαβεῖν ἀδυνάτους ὑποθέσεις . καὶ τοὺς μὲν ἄλλους παραλείπω φιλοσόφους , ὅσοι τι τοιοῦτον ἐν τοῖς γράμμασιν ἐπραγματεύσαντο ,
[223] Πλάτων δὲ θαυμαζόμενος παρὰ τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ὡς καὶ σεμνότητι βίου διενεγκὼν καὶ δυνάμει λόγων καὶ πειθοῖ πάντας ὑπεράρας τοὺς ἐν φιλοσοφίᾳ γεγονότας , ὑπὸ τῶν φασκόντων δεινῶν εἶναι τὰ πολιτικὰ μικροῦ δεῖν χλευαζόμενος καὶ κωμῳδούμενος διατελεῖ .
[224] καίτοι τἀκείνου σκοπῶν συχνῶς τις ἂν εὕροι ῥᾷον καὶ ταῖς τῶν πολλῶν ἔγγιον συνηθείαις , αὐτὸς δὲ Πλάτων ὡμολόγηκεν , ὅτι τὴν ἀληθῆ περὶ θεοῦ δόξαν εἰς τὴν τῶν ὄχλων ἄνοιαν οὐκ ἦν ἀσφαλὲς ἐξενεγκεῖν .
[225] ἀλλὰ τὰ μὲν Πλάτωνος λόγους τινὲς εἶναι κενοὺς νομίζουσι κατὰ πολλὴν ἐξουσίαν κεκαλλιγραφημένους , μάλιστα δὲ τῶν νομοθετῶν Λυκοῦργον τεθαυμάκασι καὶ τὴν Σπάρτην ἅπαντες ὑμνοῦσιν , ὅτι τοῖς ἐκείνου νόμοις ἐπὶ πλεῖστον ἐνεκαρτέρησαν .
[226] οὐκοῦν τοῦτο μὲν ὡμολογήσθω τεκμήριον ἀρετῆς εἶναι τὸ πείθεσθαι τοῖς νόμοις · οἱ δὲ Λακεδαιμονίους θαυμάζοντες τὸν ἐκείνων χρόνον ἀντιπαραβαλλέτωσαν τοῖς πλείοσιν δισχιλίοις ἔτεσι τῆς ἡμετέρας πολιτείας ,
[227] καὶ προσέτι λογιζέσθωσαν , ὅτι Λακεδαιμόνιοι ὅσον ἐφ’ ἑαυτῶν χρόνον εἶχον τὴν ἐλευθερίαν ἀκριβῶς ἔδοξαν τοὺς νόμους διαφυλάττειν , ἐπεὶ μέντοι περὶ αὐτοὺς ἐγένοντο μεταβολαὶ τῆς τύχης , μικροῦ δεῖν ἁπάντων ἐπελάθοντο τῶν νόμων .
[228] ἡμεῖς δ’ ἐν τύχαις γεγονότες μυρίαις διὰ τὰς τῶν βασιλευσάντων τῆς Ἀσίας μεταβολὰς οὐδ’ ἐν τοῖς ἐσχάτοις τῶν δεινῶν τοὺς νόμους προύδομεν οὐκ ἀργίας οὐδὲ τρυφῆς αὐτοὺς χάριν περιέποντες , ἀλλ’ εἴ τις ἐθέλοι σκοπεῖν , πολλῷ τινι τῆς δοκούσης ἐπιτετάχθαι Λακεδαιμονίοις καρτερίας μείζονας ἄθλους καὶ πόνους ἡμῖν ἐπιτεθέντας
[229] * οἱ μέν γε μήτε γῆν ἐργαζόμενοι μήτε περὶ τέχνας πονοῦντες ἀλλὰ πάσης ἐργασίας ἄφετοι λιπαροὶ καὶ τὰ σώματα πρὸς κάλλος ἀσκοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς πόλεως διῆγον ,
[230] ἄλλοις ὑπηρέταις πρὸς ἅπαντα τὰ τοῦ βίου χρώμενοι καὶ τὴν τροφὴν ἑτοίμην παρ’ ἐκείνων λαμβάνοντες , ἐφ ἣν δὴ τοῦτο μόνον τὸ καλὸν ἔργον καὶ φιλάνθρωπον ἅπαντα καὶ πράττειν καὶ πάσχειν ὑπομένοντες τὸ κρατεῖν πάντων , ἐφ’ οὓς ἂν στρατεύωσιν .
[231] ὅτι δὲ μηδὲ τοῦτο κατώρθωσαν , ἐῶ λέγειν · οὐ γὰρ καθ’ ἕνα μόνον , ἀλλὰ πολλοὶ πολλάκις ἀθρόως τῶν τοῦ νόμου προσταγμάτων ἀμελήσαντες αὑτοὺς μετὰ τῶν ὅπλων παρέδοσαν τοῖς πολεμίοις .

220Suppose that our nation were not as well known as it is among all people and that our willing submission to our laws were not so manifest,
221and that someone claimed to have written these laws himself and read them to the Greeks, or claimed to have met people outside of the known world, who had such reverence about God and had firmly observed such laws for a long time, I have to think that they would be admired by all, all the more so, if they knew the frequent changes they had endured during that period.
222But those who have undertaken to write something similar about governance and laws are accused of composing fantasies and of having begun an impossible task. I will pass over the other philosophers who in their writings have tried anything of this kind.
223Even Plato, who is so admired by the Greeks for his gravity of manners and his ability with words and his persuasive power beyond all other philosophers, is laughed at and ridiculed by those who claim expertise in political affairs,
224even though reading his writings carefully one finds his precepts to be mild and close to the customs of the majority. Plato himself confesses that it is not safe to publish the true idea of God among the ignorant crowd.
225Yet some regard Plato's discourses as mere fancies, artfully presented, while they admire Lycurgus as the principal lawgiver and all admire Sparta for having continued for so long in firmly keeping his laws.
226Well then, if it be admitted that obedience to laws is a mark of virtue, let those who admire this in the Spartans compare their duration with the more than two thousand years our system has lasted,
227and let them further consider that though the Spartans seem to have kept their laws exactly while they enjoyed their liberty, they forgot almost all those laws once they suffered a change in their fortunes.
228We, on the contrary, despite a myriad changes of fortune under the changing kings of Asia, have never abandoned our laws under the most abject distress, or from sloth or to gain a livelihood. If one chooses to see it, the ordeal and pains we endured were worse than what the Spartans seem to have borne with fortitude.
229And they had neither to work or toil at any trade or manual labour, but lived as free men in their city, sleek and healthy and cultivating their bodies by exercise,
230with other men to serve them for the essentials of life and to prepare their food. All their activity was geared to the noble purpose that by act and endurance they could conquer those against whom they made war!
231I may add that even they did not succeed, for despite their law not just some individuals but groups of them surrendered to the enemy, with their weapons .

[232] Ἆρ’ οὖν καὶ παρ’ ἡμῖν , οὐ λέγω τοσούτους , ἀλλὰ δύο τρεῖς ἔγνω τις προδότας γενομένους τῶν νόμων θάνατον φοβηθέντας , οὐχὶ τὸν ῥᾷστον ἐκεῖνον λέγω τὸν συμβαίνοντα τοῖς μαχομένοις , ἀλλὰ τὸν μετὰ λύμης τῶν σωμάτων , ὁποῖος εἶναι δοκεῖ πάντων χαλεπώτατος ;
[233] ὃν ἔγωγε νομίζω τινὰς κρατήσαντας ἡμῶν οὐχ ὑπὸ μίσους προσφέρειν τοῖς ὑποχειρίοις , ἀλλὰ [ ὡς ] θαυμαστόν τι θέαμα βουλομένους ἰδεῖν , εἴ τινές εἰσιν ἄνθρωποι μόνον εἶναι κακὸν αὐτοῖς πεπιστευκότες , εἰ πρᾶξαί τι παρὰ τοὺς ἑαυτῶν νόμους εἰ λόγον εἰπεῖν παρ’ ἐκείνοις παραβιασθεῖεν .
[234] οὐ χρὴ δὲ θαυμάζειν , εἰ πρὸς θάνατον ἀνδρείως ἔχομεν ὑπὲρ τῶν νόμων παρὰ τοὺς ἄλλους ἅπαντας · οὐδὲ γὰρ τὰ ῥᾷστα δοκοῦντα τῶν ἡμετέρων ἐπιτηδευμάτων ἄλλοι ῥᾳδίως ὑπομένουσιν , αὐτουργίαν λέγω καὶ τροφῆς λιτότητα καὶ τὸ μηδὲν εἰκῆ μηδ’ ὡς ἔτυχεν ἕκαστος ἐπιτεθυμηκὼς φαγεῖν πιεῖν συνουσίᾳ προσελθεῖν πολυτελείᾳ καὶ πάλιν ἀργίας ὑπομεῖναι τάξιν ἀμετακίνητον .
[235] ἀλλ’ οἱ τοῖς ξίφεσιν ὁμόσε χωροῦντες καὶ τοὺς πολεμίους ἐξ ἐφόδου τρεπόμενοι τοῖς προστάγμασιν τοῖς περὶ διαίτης οὐκ ἀντέβλεψαν . ἡμῖν δὲ πάλιν ἐκ τοῦ περὶ ταῦτα τῷ νόμῳ πειθαρχεῖν ἡδέως κἀκεῖ περίεστιν ἐπιδείκνυσθαι τὸ γενναῖον .

232Nobody can say the same about us, for no more than a few have become traitors to our laws, even from fear of death itself, and I do not mean the easy death that occurs in battle, but that which comes with physical torture and seems the most severe of all.
233Some of our conquerors, it seems to me, have put us to death in this way not because they hated those they had subdued, but rather out of a desire of see the spectacle whether there are people who believe that the only true evil is to be forced to do or speak anything contrary to their own laws.
234Nor need one be surprised if we are braver than all others in dying for our laws, for others cannot easily bear even the simpler things in which we are trained; I mean earning our living and our discipline in not eating or drinking at random or by caprice, or in sexual matters, or regarding extravagance, and in observing fixed days of rest.
235But the people who wield the sword in war and whose attack puts their enemies to flight, cannot submit to such laws about their lifestyle, while our willing submission to laws in these areas prepares us for fortitude in other areas too .
Chapter 12
Pagan pantheon leads to mutable legal system

[236] Εἶτα Λυσίμαχοι καὶ Μόλωνες καὶ τοιοῦτοί τινες ἄλλοι συγγραφεῖς , ἀδόκιμοι σοφισταί , μειρακίων ἀπατεῶνες , ὡς πάνυ ἡμᾶς φαυλοτάτους ἀνθρώπων λοιδοροῦσιν .
[237] ἐγὼ δ’ οὐκ ἂν ἐβουλόμην περὶ τῶν παρ’ ἑτέροις νομίμων ἐξετάζειν · τὰ γὰρ αὑτῶν ἡμῖν φυλάττειν πάτριόν ἐστιν , οὐ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων κατηγορεῖν . καὶ περί γε τοῦ μήτε χλευάζειν μήτε βλασφημεῖν τοὺς νομιζομένους θεοὺς παρ’ ἑτέροις ἄντικρυς ἡμῖν νομοθέτης ἀπείρηκεν αὐτῆς ἕνεκα προσηγορίας τοῦ θεοῦ .
[238] τῶν δὲ κατηγόρων διὰ τῆς ἀντιπαραθέσεως ἡμᾶς ἐλέγχειν οἰομένων οὐχ οἷόν τε κατασιωπᾶν , ἄλλως τε καὶ τοῦ λόγου μέλλοντος οὐχ ὑφ’ ἡμῶν ἐλεγχθήσεσθαι νῦν αὐτῶν συντιθέντων , ἀλλὰ ὑπὸ πολλῶν εἰρημένου καὶ λίαν εὐδοκιμούντων .
[239] τίς γὰρ τῶν παρὰ τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ἐπὶ σοφίᾳ τεθαυμασμένων οὐκ ἐπιτετίμηκεν καὶ ποιητῶν τοῖς ἐπεφανεστάτοις καὶ νομοθετῶν τοῖς μάλιστα πεπιστευμένοις , ὅτι τοιαύτας δόξας περὶ θεῶν ἐξ ἀρχῆς τοῖς πλήθεσιν ἐγκατέσπειραν ,
[240] ἀριθμῷ μὲν ὁπόσους ἂν αὐτοὶ θελήσωσιν ἀποφαινόμενοι ἐξ ἀλλήλων δὲ γινομένους καὶ κατὰ παντοίους τρόπους γενέσεων , τούτους δὲ καὶ διαιροῦντες τόποις καὶ διαίταις , ὥσπερ τῶν ζῴων τὰ γένη , τοὺς μὲν ὑπὸ γῆν , τοὺς δὲ ἐν θαλάττῃ , τοὺς μέντοι πρεσβυτάτους αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ ταρτάρῳ δεδεμένους *
[241] ὅσοις δὲ τὸν οὐρανὸν ἀπένειμαν τούτοις πατέρα μὲν τῷ λόγῳ , τύραννον δὲ τοῖς ἔργοις καὶ δεσπότην ἐφιστάντες , καὶ διὰ τοῦτο συνισταμένην ἐπιβουλὴν ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ὑπὸ γυναικὸς καὶ ἀδελφοῦ καὶ θυγατρός , ἣν ἐκ τῆς ἑαυτοῦ κεφαλῆς ἐγέννησεν , ἵνα δὴ συλλαβόντες αὐτὸν καθείρξωσιν , ὥσπερ αὐτὸς ἐκεῖνος τὸν πατέρα τὸν ἑαυτοῦ .

236Yet ignoble sophists and deceivers of young men, like Lysimachus and Molon and other such writers, revile us as the vilest of all mankind.
237I have no desire to examine the norms of other nations, for our ancestral custom is to keep to our own, and not to indict those of others. Our Legislator has even forbidden us to mock and revile what others deem to be gods, since such statements include the name of God.
238But we cannot keep silent when our opponents think to belittle us by comparing their religion to ours, especially since what I shall say in refutation will not be said for the first time, but has already been said by many eminent people.
239For among those admired among the Greeks for wisdom, is there one who has not censured both the most famous poets and lawmakers, for sowing these notions about the gods among the common people,
240that the gods can be as numerous as they want, that they are born from each other by all kinds of coupling, that they are distinct by their places and ways of living as one distinguishes different kinds of animal : some being under the earth; some in the sea, and the oldest of them all chained in hell!
241Among those they assign to heaven, they put in charge one whom they call a father, who acts like a tyrannical master, so that his wife and brother and daughter, whom he brought forth from his own head, conspired to seize and imprison him, as he himself had seized and imprisoned his own father before .

[242] Ταῦτα δικαίως μέμψεως πολλῆς ἀξιοῦσιν οἱ φρονήσει διαφέροντες καὶ πρὸς τούτοις καταγελῶσιν , εἰ τῶν θεῶν τοὺς μὲν ἀγενείους καὶ μειράκια , τοὺς δὲ πρεσβυτέρους καὶ γενειῶντας εἶναι χρὴ δοκεῖν , ἄλλους δὲ τετάχθαι πρὸς ταῖς τέχναις , χαλκεύοντά τινα , τὴν δὲ ὑφαίνουσαν , τὸν δὲ πολεμοῦντα καὶ μετὰ ἀνθρώπων μαχόμενον ,
[243] τοὺς δὲ κιθαρίζοντας τοξικῇ χαίροντας , εἶτ’ αὐτοῖς ἐγγιγνομένας πρὸς ἀλλήλους στάσεις καὶ περὶ ἀνθρώπων φιλονεικίας μέχρι τοῦ μὴ μόνον ἀλλήλοις τὰς χεῖρας προσφέρειν , ἀλλὰ καὶ ὑπ’ ἀνθρώπων τραυματιζομένους ὀδύρεσθαι καὶ κακοπαθεῖν .
[244] τὸ δὲ δὴ πάντων ἀσελγέστερον , τὴν περὶ τὰς μίξεις ἀκρασίαν καὶ τοὺς ἔρωτας πῶς οὐκ ἄτοπον μικροῦ δεῖν ἅπασι προσάψαι καὶ τοῖς ἄρρεσι τῶν θεῶν καὶ ταῖς θηλείαις ;
[245] εἶθ’ οἱ γενναιότατοι καὶ πρῶτος αὐτὸς πατὴρ τὰς ἀπατηθείσας ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ‎ καὶ γενομένας ἐγκύους καθειργνυμένας καταποντιζομένας περιορᾷ καὶ τοὺς ἐξ αὐτοῦ‎ γεγονότας οὔτε σώζειν δύναται κρατούμενος ὑπὸ τῆς εἱμαρμένης οὔτ’ ἀδακρυτὶ τοὺς θανάτους αὐτῶν ὑπομένειν .
[246] καλά γε ταῦτα καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἑπόμενα , μοιχείας μὲν ἐν οὐρανῷ βλεπομένης οὕτως ἀναισχύντως ὑπὸ τῶν θεῶν , ὥστε τινὰς καὶ ζηλοῦν ὁμολογεῖν τοὺς ἐπ’ αὐτῇ δεδεμένους · τί γὰρ οὐκ ἔμελλον , ὁπότε μηδ’ πρεσβύτατος καὶ βασιλεὺς ἠδυνήθη τῆς πρὸς τὴν γυναῖκα μίξεως ἐπισχεῖν τὴν ὁρμὴν ὅσον γοῦν εἰς τὸ δωμάτιον ἀπελθεῖν ;
[247] οἱ δὲ δὴ δουλεύοντες τοῖς ἀνθρώποις θεοὶ καὶ νῦν μὲν οἰκοδομοῦντες ἐπὶ μισθῷ νῦν δὲ ποιμαίνοντες , ἄλλοι δὲ τρόπον κακούργων ἐν χαλκῷ δεσμωτηρίῳ δεδεμένοι , τίνα τῶν εὖ φρονούντων οὐκ ἂν παροξύνειαν , ὡς τοῖς ταῦτα συνθεῖσιν ἐπιπλῆξαι καὶ πολλὴν εὐήθειαν καταγνῶναι τῶν προσεμένων ;
[248] οἱ δὲ καὶ δεῖμόν τινα καὶ φόβον ἤδη δὲ καὶ λύσσαν καὶ ἀπάτην καὶ τί γὰρ οὐχὶ τῶν κακίστων παθῶν εἰς θεοῦ φύσιν καὶ μορφὴν ἀνέπλασαν · τοῖς δὲ εὐφημοτέροις τούτων καὶ θύειν τὰς πόλεις ἔπεισαν .
[249] τοιγαροῦν εἰς πολλὴν ἀνάγκην καθίστανται τοὺς μέν τινας τῶν θεῶν νομίζειν δοτῆρας ἀγαθῶν , τοὺς δὲ καλεῖν ἀποτροπαίους , εἶτα δὲ τούτους ὥσπερ τοὺς πονηροτάτους τῶν ἀνθρώπων χάρισι καὶ δώροις ἀποσείονται , μέγα τι λήψεσθαι κακὸν ὑπ’ αὐτῶν προσδοκῶντες , εἰ μὴ μισθὸν αὐτοῖς παράσχοιεν .

242Intelligent people have rightly judged these notions to be worthy of severe censure. They mock the idea of picturing some gods as beardless and young, and others as old and accordingly bearded, and of assigning gods to various trades, with this one a smith and that one a weaver, and a third as as a warrior fighting with men, and some of them playing the harp, or delighting in archery.
243The gods even divide into rival gangs and quarrel about humans, so that not only do they lay hands on each other but they grieve for the wounds they have received from men!
244But grossest of all are the unbridled lusts and amours attributed to most of these male and female gods.
245Then the chief of all their gods and their first progenitor neglects the goddesses whom he has tricked and made pregnant and leaves them in prison or to be drowned in the sea. He is so ruled by fate that he cannot even save his own offspring, or bear their deaths without weeping.
246What fine notions, like all that follows, for in heaven the gods are so unashamed of adulteries that some of them profess to envy those caught in the very act. And why not, when the eldest of them, their king, could not refrain from raging lust with his wife as soon as they reached their bedroom?
247Some of the gods are servants to men and for a wage will act as builders or shepherds, while others, like criminals, are chained in a prison of bronze. What sensible person would not be enraged by such stories and rebuke those who forged them and condemn the folly of those who accept them as true?
248Some people have portrayed the nature and form of God as Terror or Fear, or Frenzy or Fraud and the other vilest passions, and gotten cities to offer sacrifices to the more respectable gods.
249They are forced to picture some gods as the givers of good things and others as averters of evil and try to move them, as they would the vilest of men, by gifts and presents, fearing to be greatly harmed by them unless they pay them their wages .

[250] Τί τοίνυν τὸ αἴτιον τῆς τοσαύτης ἀνωμαλίας καὶ περὶ τὸ θεῖον πλημμελείας ; ἐγὼ μὲν ὑπολαμβάνω τὸ μήτε τὴν ἀληθῆ τοῦ θεοῦ φύσιν ἐξ ἀρχῆς συνιδεῖν αὐτῶν τοὺς νομοθέτας μήθ’ ὅσον καὶ λαβεῖν ἠδυνήθησαν ἀκριβῆ γνῶσιν διορίσαντας πρὸς τοῦτο ποιήσασθαι τὴν ἄλλην τάξιν τοῦ πολιτεύματος ,
[251] ἀλλ’ ὥσπερ ἄλλο τι τῶν φαυλοτάτων ἐφῆκαν τοῖς μὲν ποιηταῖς οὕστινας ἂν βούλωνται θεοὺς εἰσάγειν πάντα πάσχοντας , τοῖς δὲ ῥήτορσι πολιτογραφεῖν κατὰ ψήφισμα τῶν ξένων θεῶν τὸν ἐπιτήδειον ·
[252] πολλῆς δὲ καὶ ζωγράφοι καὶ πλάσται τῆς εἰς τοῦτο παρὰ τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἀπέλαυσαν ἐξουσίας , αὐτὸς ἕκαστός τινα μορφὴν ἐπινοῶν , μὲν ἐκ πηλοῦ πλάττων , δὲ γράφων , οἱ δὲ μάλιστα δὴ θαυμαζόμενοι τῶν δημιουργῶν τὸν ἐλέφαντα καὶ τὸν χρυσὸν ἔχουσι τῆς ἀεὶ καινουργίας τὴν ὑπόθεσιν .
[253] [ καὶ τὰ μὲν τῶν ἱερῶν ἐν ἐρημίᾳ παντελῶς εἰσιν , τὰ δὲ ἐμπερισπούδαστα καθάρσεσι παντοδαπαῖς περικοσμούμενα . ] εἶθ’ οἱ μὲν πρότερον ἐν ταῖς τιμαῖς ἀκμάσαντες θεοὶ γεγηράκασιν · [ οἱ δὲ ὑπακμάζοντες τούτων ἐν δευτέρᾳ τάξει ὑποβέβληνται ] οὕτω γὰρ εὐφημότερον λέγειν ·
[254] ἄλλοι δὲ καινοί τινες εἰσαγόμενοι θρησκείας τυγχάνουσιν , [ ὡς ἐν παρεκβάσει ὧν προείπομεν τοὺς τόπους ἐρημωθέντας καταλιπεῖν ] καὶ τῶν ἱερῶν τὰ μὲν ἐρημοῦται , τὰ δὲ νεωστὶ κατὰ τὴν αὐτῶν βούλησιν ἕκαστος ἱδρύεται , δέον [ τοίνυν ] τοὐναντίον τὴν περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ δόξαν αὐτοὺς καὶ τὴν πρὸς αὐτὸν τιμὴν ἀμετακίνητον διαφυλάττειν .

250It is worth asking about the cause of such anomalous misconceptions of the Deity. I believe they come from the imperfect knowledge of the true nature of God with which the heathen lawgivers began; and even what they knew of it they did not explain to the people, or build the rest of their system upon it.
251Instead, they omitted it as insignificant and let the poets introduce what gods they pleased, subject to all sorts of passions, and let their orators win from the people power to allow any foreign gods they wanted.
252The painters and sculptors of Greece had a great influence in this, as each devised his favourite shapes, one moulded from clay and the other just drawn, but the most admired artists worked with ivory and gold in producing their novelties.
253This is why some temples are quite deserted, while others are being built for all kinds of purification. Besides, the chief gods have now grown old in the enjoyment of honours, while those coming up after them are taking their place, to speak as honourably of them as I can.
254Others are being newly introduced and worshipped, as already said by way of digression, leaving the older shrines desolate, and some temples fall empty and others are built up new, according to people's fancy, whereas they should immutably guard their ideas about God and the worship due to him .
Chapter 13
Separatism is not unique to the Jews

[255] Ἀπολλώνιος μὲν οὖν Μόλων τῶν ἀνοήτων εἷς ἦν καὶ τετυφωμένων , τοὺς μέντοι κατ’ ἀλήθειαν ἐν τοῖς Ἑλληνικοῖς φιλοσοφήσαντας οὔτε τῶν προειρημένων οὐδὲν διέλαθεν οὔτε τὰς ψυχρὰς προφάσεις τῶν ἀλληγοριῶν ἠγνόησαν , διόπερ τῶν μὲν εἰκότως κατεφρόνησαν , εἰς δὲ τὴν ἀληθῆ καὶ πρέπουσαν περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ δόξαν ἡμῖν συνεφώνησαν .
[256] ἀφ’ ἧς ὁρμηθεὶς Πλάτων οὔτε τῶν ἄλλων οὐδένα ποιητῶν φησι δεῖν εἰς τὴν πολιτείαν παραδέχεσθαι καὶ τὸν Ὅμηρον εὐφήμως ἀποπέμπεται στεφανώσας καὶ μύρον αὐτοῦ‎ καταχέας , ἵνα δὴ μὴ τὴν ὀρθὴν δόξαν περὶ θεοῦ τοῖς μύθοις ἀφανίσειε .
[257] μάλιστα δὲ Πλάτων μεμίμηται τὸν ἡμέτερον νομοθέτην κἀν τῷ μηδὲν οὕτω παίδευμα προστάττειν τοῖς πολίταις ὡς τὸ πάντας ἀκριβῶς τοὺς νόμους ἐκμανθάνειν , καὶ μὴν καὶ περὶ τοῦ μὴ δεῖν ὡς ἔτυχεν ἐπιμίγνυσθαί τινας ἔξωθεν , ἀλλ’ εἶναι καθαρὸν τὸ πολίτευμα τῶν ἐμμενόντων τοῖς νόμοις προυνόησεν .

255Apollonius Molo was just one of these foolish, benighted men. But nothing of what I have said was unknown to the real philosophers among the Greeks, who knew of these bold allegorical claims and rightly despised them and agreed with us on the true and proper ideas about God.
256That is why Plato would not leave political decisions to any of the poets, and even dismisses Homer, though with a garland on his head and anointed with oil, so as not to destroy with his fables the true ideas of God.
257On this point indeed, Plato largely imitated our Legislator, bidding his citizens to pay attention so that each could accurately learn the laws .

[258] ὧν οὐδὲν λογισάμενος Μόλων Ἀπολλώνιος ἡμῶν κατηγόρησεν , ὅτι μὴ παραδεχόμεθα τοὺς ἄλλαις προκατειλημμένους δόξαις περὶ θεοῦ μηδὲ κοινωνεῖν ἐθέλομεν τοῖς καθ’ ἑτέραν συνήθειαν βίου ζῆν προαιρουμένοις .
[259] ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ τοῦτ’ ἔστιν ἴδιον ἡμῶν , κοινὸν δὲ πάντων , οὐχ Ἑλλήνων δὲ μόνων , ἀλλὰ καὶ τῶν ἐν τοῖς Ἕλλησιν εὐδοκιμωτάτων · Λακεδαιμόνιοι δὲ καὶ ξενηλασίας ποιούμενοι διετέλουν καὶ τοῖς αὐτῶν ἀποδημεῖν πολίταις οὐκ ἐπέτρεπον διαφθορὰν ἐξ ἀμφοῖν ὑφορώμενοι γενήσεσθαι περὶ τοὺς νόμους .
[260] ἐκείνοις μὲν οὖν τάχ’ ἂν δυσκολίαν τις ὀνειδίσειεν εἰκότως · οὐδενὶ γὰρ οὔτε τῆς πολιτείας οὔτε τῆς παρ’ αὐτοῖς μετεδίδοσαν διατριβῆς ·
[261] ἡμεῖς δὲ τὰ μὲν τῶν ἄλλων ζηλοῦν οὐκ ἀξιοῦμεν , τοὺς μέντοι μετέχειν τῶν ἡμετέρων βουλομένους ἡδέως δεχόμεθα . καὶ τοῦτο ἂν εἴη τεκμήριον , οἶμαι , φιλανθρωπίας ἅμα καὶ μεγαλοψυχίας .

258Apollonius Molo makes a mistake when blaming us for not welcoming those who hold different notions about God, or not communicating with those who elect a lifestyle different from ours.
259For this is not unique to us but is common to all, and not only the Greeks in general but to those most esteemed among them. The Spartans excluded foreigners and would not even let their own people travel abroad, suspecting that both these things would weaken their laws.
260They could indeed be blamed for discourtesy, since they gave no foreigners access to their city,
261whereas we, though we do not think fit to imitate the customs of others, welcome people who desire to share in ours, which I think is a clear sign of our humanity and even generosity .

[262] Ἐῶ περὶ Λακεδαιμονίων ἐπὶ πλείω λέγειν . οἱ δὲ κοινὴν εἶναι τὴν ἑαυτῶν δόξαντες πόλιν Ἀθηναῖοι πῶς περὶ τούτων εἶχον , Ἀπολλώνιος ἠγνόησεν , ὅτι καὶ τοὺς ῥῆμα μόνον παρὰ τοὺς ἐκείνων νόμους φθεγξαμένους περὶ θεῶν ἀπαραιτήτως ἐκόλασαν .
[263] τίνος γὰρ ἑτέρου χάριν Σωκράτης ἀπέθανεν ; οὐ γὰρ δὴ προεδίδου τὴν πόλιν τοῖς πολεμίοις οὐδὲ τῶν ἱερῶν ἐσύλησεν οὐδέν , ἀλλ’ ὅτι καινοὺς ὅρκους ὤμνυεν καί τι δαιμόνιον αὐτῷ σημαίνειν ἔφασκεν διαπαίζων , ὡς ἔνιοι λέγουσι , διὰ ταῦτα κατεγνώσθη κώνειον πιὼν ἀποθανεῖν .
[264] καὶ διαφθείρειν δὲ τοὺς νέους κατήγορος αὐτὸν ᾐτιᾶτο , τῆς πατρίου πολιτείας καὶ τῶν νόμων ὅτι προῆγεν αὐτοὺς καταφρονεῖν . Σωκράτης μὲν οὖν πολίτης Ἀθηναίων τοιαύτην ὑπέμεινε τιμωρίαν .
[265] Ἀναξαγόρας δὲ Κλαζομένιος ἦν , ἀλλ’ ὅτι νομιζόντων Ἀθηναίων τὸν ἥλιον εἶναι θεὸν ὅδ’ αὐτὸν ἔφη μύδρον εἶναι διάπυρον , θάνατον αὐτοῦ‎ παρ’ ὀλίγας ψήφους κατέγνωσαν .
[266] καὶ Διαγόρᾳ τῷ Μηλίῳ τάλαντον ἐπεκήρυξαν , εἴ τις αὐτὸν ἀνέλοι , ἐπεὶ τὰ παρ’ αὐτοῖς μυστήρια χλευάζειν ἐλέγετο . καὶ Πρωταγόρας εἰ μὴ θᾶττον ἔφυγε , συλληφθεὶς ἂν ἐτεθνήκει γράψαι τι δόξας οὐχ ὁμολογούμενον τοῖς Ἀθηναίοις περὶ θεῶν .
[267] τί δὲ δεῖ θαυμάζειν , εἰ πρὸς ἄνδρας οὕτως ἀξιοπίστους διετέθησαν , οἵ γε μηδὲ γυναικῶν ἐφείσαντο ; νῦν γὰρ τὴν ἱέρειαν ἀπέκτειναν , ἐπεί τις αὐτῆς κατηγόρησεν , ὅτι ξένους ἐμύει θεούς · νόμῳ δ’ ἦν τοῦτο παρ’ αὐτοῖς κεκωλυμένον καὶ τιμωρία κατὰ τῶν ξένον εἰσαγόντων θεὸν ὥριστο θάνατος .
[268] οἱ δὲ τοιούτῳ νόμῳ χρώμενοι δῆλον ὅτι τοὺς τῶν ἄλλων οὐκ ἐνόμιζον εἶναι θεούς · οὐ γὰρ ἂν αὐτοῖς πλειόνων ἀπολαύειν ἐφθόνουν .
[269] τὰ μὲν οὖν Ἀθηναίων ἐχέτω καλῶς . Σκύθαι δὲ φόνοις χαίροντες ἀνθρώπων καὶ βραχὺ τῶν θηρίων διαφέροντες , ὅμως τὰ παρ’ αὐτοῖς οἴονται δεῖν περιστέλλειν , καὶ τὸν ὑπὸ τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἐπὶ σοφίᾳ θαυμασθέντα τὸν Ἀνάχαρσιν ἐπανελθόντα πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἀνεῖλον , ἐπεὶ τῶν Ἑλληνικῶν ἐθῶν ἔδοξεν ἥκειν ἀνάπλεως , πολλοὺς δὲ καὶ παρὰ Πέρσαις ἄν τις εὕροι καὶ διὰ τὴν αὐτὴν αἰτίαν κεκολασμένους .
[270] ἀλλὰ δῆλον ὅτι τοῖς Περσῶν ἔχαιρε νόμοις Ἀπολλώνιος κἀκείνους ἐθαύμαζεν , ὅτι τῆς ἀνδρείας αὐτῶν ἀπέλαυσαν οἱ Ἕλληνες καὶ τῆς ὁμογνωμοσύνης ἧς εἶχον περὶ θεῶν , ταύτης μὲν [ οὖν ] ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς οἷς κατέπρησαν , τῆς ἀνδρείας δὲ δουλεῦσαι παρὰ μικρὸν ἐλθόντες , ἁπάντων δὲ καὶ τῶν ἐπιτηδευμάτων μιμητὴς ἐγένετο τῶν Περσικῶν γυναῖκας ἀλλοτρίας ὑβρίζων καὶ παῖδας ἐκτέμνων .
[271] παρ’ ἡμῖν δὲ θάνατος ὥρισται , κἂν ἄλογόν τις οὕτω ζῷον ἀδικῇ · καὶ τούτων ἡμᾶς τῶν νόμων ἀπαγαγεῖν οὔτε φόβος ἴσχυσεν τῶν κρατησάντων οὔτε ζῆλος τῶν παρὰ τοῖς ἄλλοις τετιμημένων .
[272] οὐδὲ τὴν ἀνδρείαν ἠσκήσαμεν ἐπὶ τῷ πολέμους ἄρασθαι χάριν πλεονεξίας , ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ τῷ τοὺς νόμους διαφυλάττειν . τὰς γοῦν ἄλλας ἐλαττώσεις πρᾴως ὑπομένοντες , ἐπειδάν τινες ἡμᾶς τὰ νόμιμα κινεῖν ἀναγκάζωσι , τότε καὶ παρὰ δύναμιν αἱρούμεθα πολέμους καὶ μέχρι τῶν ἐσχάτων ταῖς συμφοραῖς ἐγκαρτεροῦμεν .
[273] διὰ τί γὰρ ἂν καὶ ζηλώσαιμεν τοὺς ἑτέρων νόμους ὁρῶντες μηδὲ παρὰ τοῖς θεμένοις αὐτοὺς τετηρημένους ; πῶς γὰρ οὐκ ἔμελλον Λακεδαιμόνιοι μὲν τῆς ἀνεπιμίκτου καταγνώσεσθαι πολιτείας καὶ τῆς περὶ τοὺς γάμους ὀλιγωρίας , Ἠλεῖοι δὲ καὶ Θηβαῖοι τῆς παρὰ φύσιν καὶ [ ἄγαν ] ἀνέδην πρὸς τοὺς ἄρρενας μίξεως ;
[274] γοῦν πάλαι κάλλιστα καὶ συμφορώτατα πράττειν ὑπελάμβανον , ταῦτ’ εἰ καὶ μὴ παντάπασι τοῖς ἔργοις πεφεύγασιν , οὐχ ὁμολογοῦσιν ,
[275] ἀλλὰ καὶ τοὺς περὶ αὐτῶν νόμους ἀπόμνυνται τοσοῦτόν ποτε παρὰ τοῖς Ἕλλησιν ἰσχύσαντας , ὥστε καὶ τοῖς θεοῖς τὰς τῶν ἀρρένων μίξεις ἐπεφήμισαν , κατὰ τὸν αὐτὸν δὲ λόγον καὶ τοὺς τῶν γνησίων ἀδελφῶν γάμους , ταύτην ἀπολογίαν αὑτοῖς τῶν ἀτόπων καὶ παρὰ φύσιν ἡδονῶν συντιθέντες .

262Enough about the Spartans. But did Apollonius not know about the behaviour of the Athenians, who glory in having made their city open to all people, how they punished without mercy those who only spoke a word against their laws about the gods.
263For what other reason was Socrates put to death by them? For he did not betray their city to its enemies, nor did he defile their temples, but he simply swore some new oaths and affirmed whether in earnest, or as some say, only in jest, that a daemon spoke to him, and for this he was condemned to death by drinking poison.
264His accuser said that he corrupted the young men, by making them despise the system and laws of their city, and so Socrates, the citizen of Athens, was executed.
265Anaxagoras too, though he came from Clazomene, came within a few votes of condemnation for saying that the sun, which the Athenians thought of as a god, was just a ball of fire.
266They also announced a reward of a talent for anyone who would kill Diagoras of Melos, when he was reported to have mocked their mysteries. Then when Protagoras was held to have written something about the gods that was unacceptable to the Athenians, he would have been captured and killed if he had not quickly fled.
267Nor need we be surprised that they treated eminent men in this way, when they did not spare even women; for recently they killed the priestess Ninon whom someone accused of initiating people to foreign gods forbidden by their law, for death is their penalty for bringing in a foreign god.
268Clearly those who follow such laws do not believe the gods of other nations to be real, or they would not deny themselves the pleasure of extra gods.
269Such is the happy state of the Athenians! Now the Scythians take pleasure in murdering people and differ little from brute beasts, yet they think it right to have their customs observed. They killed Anacharsis, a man well admired among the Greeks for his wisdom, for seeming on his return too attached to Greek ways; and among the Persians many were executed on the same account.
270Apollonius was clearly pleased with the laws of the Persians and admired them since the Greeks had a taste of their courage and shared most of their opinions about the gods! What about their burning of temples and their courage that almost made slaves of the Greeks? Apollonius has imitated the Persian by doing violence to other men's wives and castrating his own sons!
271Among us it is a capital crime to treat a brute beast in that way, and neither fear of our rulers nor the desire to follow what other nations prize could separate us from our own laws.
272We do not apply our courage to start wars or gain wealth, but only to observe our laws, and though we patiently bear other losses, if anyone tries to compel us to break our laws, it is then we choose to go to war, even if we cannot win it, and with much fortitude bear even the greatest hardships to the last.
273And why should we wish to imitate the laws of other nations, since we see even their own legislators not observing them? The Spartans had to abolish the system that prevented them associating with others, and despised marriage, and the Eleans and Thebans have outlawed the unnatural and shameless lust, which allowed them intercourse with males,
274since the sign of repenting of things formerly thought of as fine and good is to renounce all such acts for the future.
275But they now repeal laws once so rooted among the Greeks that they attributed sodomite practices to the gods, who also married their own sisters, for so used they justify their disorderly and unnatural pleasures .

[276] Ἐῶ νῦν περὶ τῶν τιμωριῶν λέγειν , ὅσας μὲν ἐξ ἀρχῆς ἔδοσαν οἱ πλεῖστοι νομοθέται τοῖς πονηροῖς διαλύσεις , ἐπὶ μοιχείας μὲν ζημίας χρημάτων , ἐπὶ φθορᾶς δὲ καὶ γάμους νομοθετήσαντες , ὅσας δὲ περὶ τῆς ἀσεβείας προφάσεις περιέχουσιν ἀρνήσεως , εἰ καί τις ἐπιχειρήσειεν ἐξετάζειν · ἤδη γὰρ παρὰ τοῖς πλείοσι μελέτη γέγονε τοῦ παραβαίνειν τοὺς νόμους .
[277] οὐ μὴν καὶ παρ’ ἡμῖν , ἀλλὰ κἂν πλούτου καὶ πόλεων καὶ τῶν ἄλλων ἀγαθῶν στερηθῶμεν , γοῦν νόμος ἡμῖν ἀθάνατος διαμένει , καὶ οὐδεὶς Ἰουδαίων οὔτε μακρὰν οὕτως ἂν ἀπέλθοι τῆς πατρίδος οὔτε πικρὸν φοβηθήσεται δεσπότην , ὡς μὴ πρὸ ἐκείνου δεδιέναι τὸν νόμον .
[278] εἰ μὲν οὖν διὰ τὴν ἀρετὴν τῶν νόμων οὕτως πρὸς αὐτοὺς διακείμεθα , συγχωρησάτωσαν ὅτι κρατίστους ἔχομεν νόμους . εἰ δὲ φαύλοις οὕτως ἡμᾶς ἐμμένειν ὑπολαμβάνουσι , τί οὐκ ἂν αὐτοὶ δικαίως πάθοιεν τοὺς κρείττονας οὐ φυλάττοντες ;
[279] ἐπεὶ τοίνυν πολὺς χρόνος πιστεύεται πάντων εἶναι δοκιμαστὴς ἀληθέστατος , τοῦτον ἂν ποιησαίμην ἐγὼ μάρτυρα τῆς ἀρετῆς ἡμῶν τοῦ νομοθέτου καὶ τῆς ὑπ’ ἐκείνου φήμης περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ παραδοθείσης · ἀπείρου γὰρ τοῦ χρόνου γεγονότος , εἴ τις αὐτὸν παραβάλλοι ταῖς τῶν ἄλλων ἡλικίαις νομοθετῶν , παρὰ πάντας εὕροι τοῦτον *
[280]

276I will pass over the penalties and the many loopholes that most other legislators have allowed for evildoers, when for instance they allow money fines to be paid in the case of adultery and after a seduction one need only marry the girl and all the excuses they allow for denying the facts, if one bothered to enquire into them, since among most nations there is a studied art in how the laws may be broken.
277It is not so amongst us, for even if we are robbed of our wealth or our cities, or any other advantages we have, our law continues unchanged. No Jew can go so far from his own country, or be so fearful of even the most severe master, as not to have even more fear of the Law than of him.
278If this is our mind about the value of our laws, let our enemies grant that our laws are most excellent, and if they still imagine that they are bad laws even though we keep them so firmly, then what penalties are deserved by those who do not keep their own laws, which they deem better than ours?
279Since duration in time is trusted as the best criterion in all cases, I would make that a proof of the excellence of our laws and of the belief about God that is passed on to us through them.
280Now this comparison has been available for a very long time; if one compares its duration with that of the laws made by other legislators, he will find that ours is the most ancient of them all .
Chapter 14
Jewish law should be admired by everyone of goodwill

[281] ὑφ’ ἡμῶν τε διηλέγχθησαν οἱ νόμοι καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἅπασιν ἀνθρώποις ἀεὶ καὶ μᾶλλον αὑτῶν ζῆλον ἐμπεποιήκασι . πρῶτοι μὲν γὰρ οἱ παρὰ τοῖς Ἕλλησι φιλοσοφήσαντες τῷ μὲν δοκεῖν τὰ πάτρια διεφύλαττον , ἐν δὲ τοῖς πράγμασι καὶ τῷ φιλοσοφεῖν ἐκείνῳ κατηκολούθησαν , ὅμοια μὲν περὶ θεοῦ φρονοῦντες , εὐτέλειαν δὲ βίου καὶ τὴν πρὸς ἀλλήλους κοινωνίαν διδάσκοντες .
[282] οὐ μὴν ἀλλὰ καὶ πλήθεσιν ἤδη πολὺς ζῆλος γέγονεν ἐκ μακροῦ τῆς ἡμετέρας εὐσεβείας , οὐδ’ ἔστιν οὐ πόλις Ἑλλήνων οὐδητισοῦν οὐδὲ βάρβαρον οὐδὲ ἓν ἔθνος , ἔνθα μὴ τὸ τῆς ἑβδομάδος , ἣν ἀργοῦμεν ἡμεῖς , τὸ ἔθος [ δὲ ] διαπεφοίτηκεν καὶ αἱ νηστεῖαι καὶ λύχνων ἀνακαύσεις καὶ πολλὰ τῶν εἰς βρῶσιν ἡμῖν οὐ νενομισμένων παρατετήρηται .
[283] μιμεῖσθαι δὲ πειρῶνται καὶ τὴν πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἡμῶν ὁμόνοιαν καὶ τὴν τῶν ὄντων ἀνάδοσιν καὶ τὸ φιλεργὸν ἐν ταῖς τέχναις καὶ τὸ καρτερικὸν ἐν ταῖς ὑπὲρ τῶν νόμων ἀνάγκαις ·
[284] τὸ γὰρ θαυμασιώτατον , ὅτι χωρὶς τοῦ τῆς ἡδονῆς ἐπαγωγοῦ δελέατος αὐτὸς καθ’ ἑαυτὸν ἴσχυσεν νόμος , καὶ ὥσπερ θεὸς διὰ παντὸς τοῦ κόσμου πεφοίτηκεν , οὕτως νόμος διὰ πάντων ἀνθρώπων βεβάδικεν . αὐτὸς δέ τις ἕκαστος τὴν πατρίδα καὶ τὸν οἶκον ἐπισκοπῶν τὸν αὐτοῦ‎ τοῖς ὑπ’ ἐμοῦ λεγομένοις οὐκ ἀπιστήσει .
[285] χρὴ τοίνυν πάντων ἀνθρώπων καταγνῶναι πονηρίαν ἐθελούσιον , εἰ τἀλλότρια καὶ φαῦλα πρὸ τῶν οἰκείων καὶ καλῶν ζηλοῦν ἐπιτεθυμήκασιν , παύσασθαι βασκαίνοντας ἡμῖν τοὺς κατηγοροῦντας .
[286] οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐπιφθόνου τινὸς ἀντιποιούμεθα πράγματος τὸν αὑτῶν τιμῶντες νομοθέτην καὶ τοῖς ὑπ’ ἐκείνου προφητευθεῖσι περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ πεπιστευκότες · καὶ γὰρ εἰ μὴ συνίεμεν αὐτοὶ τῆς ἀρετῆς τῶν νόμων , ἁπάντων ἂν ὑπὸ τοῦ πλήθους τῶν ζηλούντων μέγα φρονεῖν ἐπ’ αὐτοῖς προήχθημεν .

281We have shown that our laws have always been admired and imitated by other men, and that while the earliest Greek philosophers seemed to follow the laws of their own countries, in their actions and philosophy they actually followed our Legislator and taught people to live frugally and to commune with each other.
282Indeed for a long time even ordinary citizens have been inclined to follow our religious practices, for there is not a city among Greeks or barbarians, or any nation, where our custom of resting on the seventh day has not reached and where our fasting and lighting of lamps and many of our dietary prohibitions are not observed.
283They also try to imitate our harmony with each other and our charitable distribution of goods and our diligence in our trades and our fortitude in facing the troubles we meet with on account of our laws.
284The most remarkable thing is that our law offers no pleasure to entice men, but persuades by its own force, and as God himself pervades the world, so does our law pervade all things. If anyone simply reflects on his own country and his own family, he will not disagree with what I say.
285So in fairness one should either to accuse all mankind of wrongdoing when they were so eager to imitate laws so foreign and so evil in themselves, rather than making better laws of their own, or else our accusers should give up their grudge against us.
286For in honouring our Legislator and believing what, by prophetic authority, he taught us about God, we are not showing any spite towards them. Even if we ourselves did not appreciate the excellence of our own laws, the sheer number of those who desire to imitate them would justify us in taking pride in them .

[287] Ἀλλὰ γὰρ περὶ μὲν τῶν νόμων καὶ τῆς πολιτείας τὴν ἀκριβῆ πεποίημαι παράδοσιν ἐν τοῖς περὶ ἀρχαιολογίας μοι γραφεῖσι . νυνὶ δ’ αὐτῶν ἐπεμνήσθην ἐφ’ ὅσον ἦν ἀναγκαῖον , οὔτε τὰ τῶν ἄλλων ψέγειν οὔτε τὰ παρ’ ἡμῖν ἐγκωμιάζειν προθέμενος , ἀλλ’ ἵνα τοὺς περὶ ἡμῶν ἀδίκως γεγραφότας ἐλέγξω πρὸς αὐτὴν ἀναιδῶς τὴν ἀλήθειαν πεφιλονεικηκότας .
[288] καὶ δή μοι δοκῶ πεπληρῶσθαι διὰ τῆς γραφῆς ἱκανῶς προϋπεσχόμην · καὶ γὰρ ἀρχαιότητι προϋπάρχον ἐπέδειξα τὸ γένος , τῶν κατηγόρων ὅτι νεώτατόν ἐστιν εἰρηκότων , [ καὶ γὰρ ] καὶ πολλοὺς ἐν τοῖς συγγράμμασιν ἐμνημονευκότας ἡμῶν ἀρχαίους παρέσχομεν μάρτυρας , ἐκείνων ὅτι μηδείς ἐστιν διαβεβαιουμένων .
[289] ἀλλὰ μὴν Αἰγυπτίους ἔφασαν ἡμῶν τοὺς προγόνους · ἐδείχθησαν δ’ εἰς Αἴγυπτον ἐλθόντες ἑτέρωθεν . διὰ δὲ λύμην σωμάτων αὐτοὺς ἐκβληθῆναι κατεψεύσαντο · προαιρέσει καὶ περιουσίᾳ ῥώμης ἐφάνησαν ἐπὶ τὴν οἰκείαν ὑποστρέψαντες γῆν .
[290] οἱ μὲν ὡς φαυλότατον ἡμῶν τὸν νομοθέτην ἐλοιδόρησαν · τῷ δὲ τῆς ἀρετῆς πάλαι μὲν θεός , μετ’ ἐκεῖνον δὲ μάρτυς χρόνος εὕρηται γεγενημένος .

287Already in my books of Antiquities I described in detail the laws by which we are ruled, and have only mentioned them here as far as my present purpose required, without setting out either to criticise the laws of other nations or to praise our own, in order to refute those who have unjustly written about us, shamelessly distorting the truth.
288I think that what I set out to do in writing these books I have adequately carried out. I have shown that we are very ancient nation, citing the witness of many ancient writers who have mentioned us in their books, whereas our accusers have claimed that we are of recent origin.
289Where they claimed that our ancestors were Egyptians, I have proven that we came into Egypt from another country. Where they made the lying claim that we were expelled from there due to our bodily ailments, I have shown that we returned in good health to our country by our own choice.
290They reviled our Legislator as a nobody, but long ago God testified to his virtue, and since then time itself has often borne witness to the same thing .

[291] Περὶ τῶν νόμων οὐκ ἐδέησε λόγου πλείονος · αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἑωράθησαν δι’ αὐτῶν οὐκ ἀσέβειαν μὲν εὐσέβειαν δ’ ἀληθεστάτην διδάσκοντες , οὐδ’ ἐπὶ μισανθρωπίαν , ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ τὴν τῶν ὄντων κοινωνίαν παρακαλοῦντες , ἀδικίας ἐχθροί , δικαιοσύνης ἐπιμελεῖς , ἀργίαν καὶ πολυτέλειαν ἐξορίζοντες , αὐτάρκεις καὶ φιλοπόνους εἶναι διδάσκοντες ,
[292] πολέμων μὲν ἀπείργοντες εἰς πλεονεξίαν , ἀνδρείους δὲ ὑπὲρ αὑτῶν εἶναι παρασκευάζοντες , ἀπαραίτητοι πρὸς τὰς τιμωρίας , ἀσόφιστοι λόγων παρασκευαῖς , τοῖς ἔργοις ἀεὶ βεβαιούμενοι · ταῦτα γὰρ [ ἀεὶ ] ἡμεῖς παρέχομεν τῶν γραμμάτων ἐναργέστερα .
[293] διόπερ ἐγὼ θαρσήσας ἂν εἴποιμι πλείστων ἅμα καὶ καλλίστων ἡμᾶς εἰσηγητὰς τοῖς ἄλλοις γεγονέναι · τί γὰρ εὐσεβείας ἀπαραβάτου κάλλιον ; τί δὲ τοῦ πειθαρχεῖν τοῖς νόμοις δικαιότερον ;
[294] τί συμφορώτερον τοῦ πρὸς ἀλλήλους ὁμονοεῖν καὶ μήτ’ ἐν συμφοραῖς διίστασθαι μήτ’ ἐν εὐτυχίαις στασιάζειν ἐξυβρίζοντας , ἀλλ’ ἐν πολέμῳ μὲν θανάτου καταφρονεῖν , ἐν εἰρήνῃ δὲ τέχναις γεωργίαις προσανέχειν , πάντα δὲ καὶ πανταχοῦ πεπεῖσθαι τὸν θεὸν ἐποπτεύοντα διέπειν ;
[295] ταῦτ’ εἰ μὲν παρ’ ἑτέροις ἐγράφη πρότερον ἐφυλάχθη βεβαιότερον , ἡμεῖς ἂν ἐκείνοις χάριν ὠφείλομεν ὡς μαθηταὶ γεγονότες · εἰ δὲ καὶ χρώμενοι μάλιστα πάντων βλεπόμεθα καὶ τὴν πρώτην εὕρεσιν αὐτῶν ἡμετέραν οὖσαν ἐπεδείξαμεν , Ἀπίωνες μὲν καὶ Μόλωνες καὶ πάντες ὅσοι τῷ ψεύδεσθαι καὶ λοιδορεῖν χαίρουσιν ἐξεληλέγχθωσαν .
[296] σοὶ δέ , Ἐπαφρόδιτε , μάλιστα τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἀγαπῶντι καὶ διὰ σὲ τοῖς ὁμοίως βουλησομένοις περὶ τοῦ γένους ἡμῶν εἰδέναι τοῦτο καὶ τὸ πρὸ αὐτοῦ‎ γεγράφθω βιβλίον .

291About the laws no more need be said, for a glance at them shows how they teach not impiety, but the truest piety in the world. They do not make men hate each other, but encourage people to freely share with each other. They are hostile to injustice and care for righteousness, banish idleness and extravagance and teach men to be self-sufficient and good workers.
292They forbid us to go to war just for covetousness, but make us courageous in defending the laws. They are inflexible in punishing evildoers and admit no sophistry of words, but are always based on actions which we always hold as firmer proofs than what is contained merely in writing.
293Therefore I dare to say that we have become the teachers of others in a wide range of things that are excellent, for what is higher than constant piety? What is more just than obedience to the laws?
294What is more advantageous than mutual love and harmony, whereby we are neither parted by troubles, nor arrogant and rude when we prosper? We can scorn death in time of war and apply ourselves to our jobs and cultivate the land in times of peace, for we believe that in all things and in all ways God oversees and guides our actions.
295If these precepts had either been written earlier, or were more exactly kept by any others before us, we would owe them the thanks that disciples owe to their masters. But if it is clear that we have kept them more than any others and if we have shown that they arose within our own people, then let the Apions and the Molons, with all the rest of those who delight in lies and mockery, stand refuted.
296Finally, let me dedicate this and the foregoing book to you, Epaphroditus, for your great love of truth, and on your behalf to people who, like you, wish to know the truth about our nation .