48 Ἀπίωνα δὲ σχεδὸν ἐφεξῆς πάντες ἔλαθον οἱ τῶν προγόνων αὐτοῦ Μακεδόνων βασιλεῖς οἰκειότατα πρὸς ἡμᾶς διατεθέντες· καὶ γὰρ τρίτος Πτολεμαῖος ὁ 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 ὁ δὲ Φιλομήτωρ Πτολεμαῖος καὶ ἡ 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
51 τοῦ παρὰ Ῥωμαίων πρεσβευτοῦ καὶ παρόντος”. ὀρθῶς δὲ ποιῶν φαίην ἂν καὶ μάλα δικαίως· ὁ γὰρ Φύσκων ἐπικληθεὶς Πτολεμαῖος ἀποθανόντος αὐτῷ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ Πτολεμαίου τοῦ Φιλομήτορος ἀπὸ Κυρήνης ἐξῆλθε Κλεοπάτραν ἐκβαλεῖν βουλόμενος τῆς βασιλείας
52et 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.
53testis autem deus iustitiae eius manifestus apparuit; nam Fyscon Ptolomaeus cum aduersum exercitum quidem Oniae pugnare praesumeret, omnes uero Iudaeos in ciuitate positos cum filiis et uxoribus capiens nudos atque uinctos elephantis subiecisset, ut ab eis conculcati deficerent, et ad hoc etiam bestias ipsas debriasset, in contrarium quae praeparauerat euenerunt.
54elephanti enim relinquentes sibi appositos Iudaeos impetu facto super amicos eius multos ex ipsis interemerunt. et post haec Ptolomaeus quidem aspectum terribilem contemplatus est prohibentem se, ut illis noceret
55hominibus, concubina uero sua carissima, quam alii quidem Ithacam, alii uero Hirenen denominant, supplicante ne tantam impietatem perageret, ei concessit et ex his quae iam egerat uel acturus erat paenitentiam egit. unde recte hanc diem Iudaei Alexandria constituti eo quod aperte a deo salutem promeruerunt celebrare noscuntur.
56Apion autem omnium calumniator etiam propter bellum aduersus Fysconem gestum Iudaeos accusare praesumpsit, cum eos laudare debuerit. is autem etiam ultimae Cleopatrae Alexandrinorum reginae meminit ueluti nobis improperans, quoniam circa nos fuit ingrata, et non potius illam redarguere studuit;
57cui nihil omnino iniustitiae et malorum operum defuit uel circa generis necessarios uel circa maritos suos, qui etiam dilexerunt eam, uel in communi contra Romanos omnes et benefactores suos imperatores, quae
58etiam sororem Arsinoe+n occidit in templo nihil sibi nocentem, peremit autem et fratrem insidiis paternosque deos et sepulcra progenitorum depopulata est, percipiensque regnum a primo Caesare eius filio et successori rebellare praesumpsit, Antoniumque corrumpens amatoriis rebus et patriae inimicum fecit et infidelem circa suos amicos instituit, alios quidem genere regali spolians, alios autem demens et ad mala gerenda compellens.
59sed quid oportet amplius dici, cum illum ipsum in nauali certamine relinquens, id est maritum et parentem communium filiorum, tradere eum exercitum
60et principatum et se sequi coe+git? nouissime uero Alexandria a Caesare capta ad hoc usque perducta est, ut salutem hinc sperare se iudicaret, si posset ipsa manu sua Iudaeos perimere, eo quod circa omnes crudelis et infidelis extaret. putasne gloriandum nobis non esse, si quemadmodum dicit Apion famis tempore Iudaeis triticum
61non est mensa? sed illa quidem poenam subiit competentem, nos autem maximo Caesare utimur teste solatii atque fidei, quam circa eum contra Aegyptios gessimus, necnon et senatu eiusque dogmatibus et epistulis Caesaris Augusti, quibus nostra merita comprobantur.
62has litteras Apionem oportebat inspicere et secundum genera examinare testimonia sub Alexandro facta et omnibus Ptolomaeis et quae a senatu constituta sunt necnon et a maximis Romanis imperatoribus.
63si uero Germanicus frumenta cunctis in Alexandria commorantibus metiri non potuit, hoc indicium est sterilitatis ac necessitatis frumentorum, non accusatio Iudaeorum. quid enim sapiant omnes imperatores de Iudaeis in Alexandria commorantibus, palam est;
64nam amministratio tritici nihilo minus ab eis quam ab aliis Alexandrinis translata est, maximam uero eis fidem olim a regibus datam conseruauerunt, id est fluminis custodiam totiusque custodiae nequaquam his rebus indignos esse iudicantes.
48It has escaped Apion’s notice how the [Macedonian] kings of his ancestors,161 almost every one of them in succession, were extremely kindly disposed towards us.162 Thus Ptolemy III, called Euergetes, after winning the whole of Syria by force,163 did not sacrifice thank-offerings for his victory to the Gods in Egypt but came to Jerusalem and, as is our rule, performed many sacrifices to God164 and dedicated votive offerings befitting the victory.165
49Ptolemy Philometor and his wife Cleopatra entrusted their whole kingdom to Judeans,166 and the commanders of the whole army were Onias167 and Dositheos,168 Judeans. Apion mocks their names,169 but one should admire their achievements and not insult them, rather thank them for saving Alexandria,170 of which he claims to be a citizen.171
50For when the Alexandrians were at war with Queen Cleopatra and were in danger of coming to a terrible end, these men forged a treaty and freed them from their internecine woes.172 But subsequently, Apion says,173 Onias led a considerable174 army against the city, when Thermus the Roman ambassador was there and actually on the spot.175
51Rightly done, I would say, and with full justification.176 For the Ptolemy surnamed Physcon,177 on the death of his brother Ptolemy Philometor, set out from Cyrene with the intention of expelling Cleopatra and the king’s children178 from the kingdom, in order to acquire the kingdom for himself unjustly.
53Indeed, God visibly attested to the justice of his cause.181 For when Ptolemy Physcon was not bold enough to182 fight Onias’ army, but had gathered and arrested all the Judeans in the city, with their children and wives,183 and placed them, naked and bound, in front of elephants, to be crushed to death by them, and for this purpose had also got the animals drunk,184 things turned out quite contrary to what he had planned.
54For the elephants left untouched the Judeans placed in front of them, but charged at Physcon’s friends, killing many of them.185 Subsequently, Ptolemy saw a terrifying apparition, which forbade him to harm those people,186 and
55when his favorite concubine (whom some call Ithaca, others Eirene)187 urged him not to perpetrate so great an impiety, he yielded to her and repented of what he had already done and was about to do.188 Hence, the Judeans who are settled in Alexandria are known to celebrate this day as a festival, rightly, since they were visibly granted deliverance by God.189
56Apion, however, who brings malicious charges against everyone,190 dared to accuse the Judeans even for the war waged against Physcon, when he ought to have commended them for it.191 He also made mention of Cleopatra, the last queen of the Alexandrians,192 as if it were a matter of reproach against us that she was ungracious towards us,193 instead of using his energy to indict her,194
57who was steeped in every kind of injustice and criminal activity195 against her close relations,196 her husbands (who still loved her),197 and in general against all Romans and the commanders, her benefactors;198 who murdered her sister Arsinoe in a temple, although she had done her no harm;199
58who even assassinated her brother treacherously200 and plundered her ancestral Gods and the tombs of her forefathers;201 who gained possession of her kingdom from the first Caesar202 but dared to rebel against his son and successor,203 corrupted Antony by her sexual charms,204 and made him an enemy of his country and disloyal to his friends,205 some of whom she deprived of their royal status,206 while others she deceived207 and forced into evil ways.208
59But what more need be said, when she abandoned even him, her husband and the father of their children,209 in the naval battle,210 and forced him to give up his army and his supreme power and to follow her?211
60Finally, when Alexandria had been captured by Caesar,212 she was reduced to such straits that she judged she could hope for survival if she could kill the Judeans with her own hands,213 having been conspicuous for her cruelty and disloyalty to everyone. Would you not think it something to be proud of if, as Apion says, she did not distribute grain rations to the Judeans at a time of famine?214
61She, however, suffered a due penalty,215 while we have Caesar the Great as witness to the support and loyalty we displayed on his behalf against the Egyptians;216 besides, we have the Senate and its decrees,217 and letters from Caesar Augustus that acknowledge our services.218
62Apion should have inspected these letters219 and examined the various kinds of testimony made in the reigns of Alexander and all the Ptolemies, and those composed by the Senate, besides those from the greatest Roman commanders.220
63If indeed Germanicus was not able to distribute grain to all the inhabitants of Alexandria, that is an indication of the failure of the crops and the shortage of grain, not grounds for an indictment of the Judeans.221 For the shrewd opinion222 of all the emperors223 concerning the Judeans who inhabit Alexandria is clear:
64for the management of the grain-supply was taken away from them no less than from the rest of the Alexandrians,224 but they have preserved the greatest token of trust, granted them long ago by the kings, namely the custody of the river,225 judging them to be in no respect unworthy in these matters of the entire custody.226