XXXVI. (276) And having taken tablets, he writes to him in the following manner: “O master, fear and shame have taken from me all courage to come into your presence to address you; since fear teaches me to dread your threats; and shame, out of respect for the greatness of your power and dignity, keeps me silent. But a writing will show my request, which I now here offer to you as my earnest petition. (277) In all men, O emperor! a love of their country is innate, and an eagerness for their national customs and laws. And concerning these matters there is no need that I should give you information, since you have a heart-felt love of your own country, and a deeply-seated respect for your national customs. And what belongs to themselves appears beautiful to every one, even if it is not so in reality; for they judge of these things not more by reason than by the feelings of affection. (278) And I am, as you know, a Jew; and Jerusalem is my country, in which there is erected the holy temple of the most high God. And I have kings for my grandfathers and for my ancestors, the greater part of whom have been called high priests, looking upon their royal power as inferior to their office as priests; and thinking that the high priesthood is as much superior to the power of a king, as God is superior to man; for that the one is occupied in rendering service to God, and the other has only the care of governing them. (279) Accordingly I, being one of this nation, and being attached to this country and to such a temple, address to you this petition on behalf of them all; on behalf of the nation, that it may not be looked upon by you in a light contrary to the true one; since it is a most pious and holy nation, and one from the beginning most loyally disposed to your family. (280) “For in all the particulars in which men are enjoined by the laws, and in which they have it in their power to show their piety and loyalty, my nation is inferior to none whatever in Asia or in Europe, whether it be in respect of prayers, or of the supply of sacred offerings, or in the abundance of its sacrifices, not merely of such as are offered on occasions of the public festivals, but in those which are continually offered day after day; by which means they show their loyalty and fidelity more surely than by their mouth and tongue, proving it by the designs of their honest hearts, not indeed saying that they are friends to Caesar, but being so in reality. (281) “Concerning the holy city I must now say what is necessary. It, as I have already stated, is my native country, and the metropolis, not only of the one country of Judaea, but also of many, by reason of the colonies which it has sent out from time to time into the bordering districts of Egypt, Phoenicia, Syria in general, and especially that part of it which is called Coelo-Syria, and also with those more distant regions of Pamphylia, Cilicia, the greater part of Asia Minor as far as Bithynia, and the furthermost corners of Pontus. And in the same manner into Europe, into Thessaly, and Boeotia, and Macedonia, and Aetolia, and Attica, and Argos, and Corinth and all the most fertile and wealthiest districts of Peloponnesus. (282) And not only are the continents full of Jewish colonies, but also all the most celebrated islands are so too; such as Euboea, and Cyprus, and Crete. “I say nothing of the countries beyond the Euphrates, for all of them except a very small portion, and Babylon, and all the satrapies around, which have any advantages whatever of soil or climate, have Jews settled in them. (283) So that if my native land is, as it reasonably may be, looked upon as entitled to a share in your favour, it is not one city only that would then be benefited by you, but ten thousand of them in every region of the habitable world, in Europe, in Asia, and in Africa, on the continent, in the islands, on the coasts, and in the inland parts. (284) And it corresponds well to the greatness of your good fortune, that, by conferring benefits on one city, you should also benefit ten thousand others, so that your renown may be celebrated in every part of the habitable world, and many praises of you may be combined with thanksgiving. (285) “You have thought the native countries of some of your friends worthy of being admitted to share all the privileges of the Roman constitution; and those who but a little while ago were slaves, became the masters of others who also enjoyed your favour in a higher, or at all events not in a lower degree, and they were delighted too at the causes of your beneficence. (286) And I indeed am perfectly aware that I belong to the class which is in subjection to a lord and master, and also that I am admitted to the honour of being one of your companions, being inferior to you in respect of my birthright and natural rank, and inferior to no one whomsoever, not to say the most eminent of all men, in good will and loyalty towards you, (287) both because that is my natural disposition, and also in consequence of the number of benefits with which you have enriched me; so that if I in consequence had felt confidence to implore you myself on behalf of my country, if not to grant to it the Roman constitution, at least to confer freedom and a remission of taxes on it, I should not have thought that I had any reason to fear your displeasure for preferring such a petition to you, and for requesting that most desirable of all things, your favour, which it can do you no harm to grant, and which is the most advantageous of all things for my country to receive. (288) “For what can possibly be a more desirable blessing for a subject nation than the good will of its sovereign? It was at Jerusalem, O emperor! that your most desirable succession to the empire was first announced; and the news of your advancement spread from the holy city all over the continent on each side, and was received with great gladness. And on this account that city deserves to meet with favour at your hands; (289) for, as in families the eldest children receive the highest honours as their birthright, because they were the first to give the name of father and mother to their parents, so, in like manner, since this is first of all the cities in the east to salute you as emperor, it ought to receive greater benefit from you than any other; or if not greater, at all events as great as any other city. (290) “Having now advanced these pleas on the ground of justice, and made these petitions on behalf of my native country, I now come at last to my supplication on behalf of the temple. O my lord and master, Gaius! this temple has never, from the time of its original foundation until now, admitted any form made by hands, because it has been the abode of God. Now, pictures and images are only imitations of those gods who are perceptible to the outward senses; but it was not considered by our ancestors to be consistent with the reverence due to God to make any image or representation of the invisible God. (291) Agrippa, when he came to the temple, did honour to it, and he was thy grandfather; and so did Augustus, when by his letters he commanded all first fruits from all quarters to be sent thither; and by the continual sacrifice. And thy great grandmother …( 292) “On which account, no one, whether Greek or barbarian, satrap, or king, or implacable enemy; no sedition, no war, no capture, no destruction, no occurrence that has ever taken place, has ever threatened this temple with such innovation as to place in it any image, or statue, or any work of any kind made with hands; (293) for, though enemies have displayed their hostility to the inhabitants of the country, still, either reverence or fear has possessed them sufficiently to prevent them from abrogating any of the laws which were established at the beginning, as tending to the honour of the Creator and Father of the universe; for they knew that it is these and similar actions which bring after them the irremediable calamities of heavensent afflictions. On which account they have been careful not to sow an impious seed, fearing lest they should be compelled to reap its natural harvest, in a fruit bearing utter destruction.