Josephus, The Life of Josephus

LCL 186: 2-3

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1(1) Ἐμοὶ δὲ γένος ἐστὶν οὐκ ἄσημον, ἀλλ᾿ ἐξ ἱερέων ἄνωθεν καταβεβηκός. ὥσπερ δ᾿ ἡ1 παρ᾿ ἑκάστοις ἄλλη τίς ἐστιν εὐγενείας ὑπόθεσις, οὕτως παρ᾿ ἡμῖν ἡ τῆς ἱερωσύνης μετουσία τεκμήριόν 2ἐστιν γένους λαμπρότητος. ἐμοὶ δ᾿ οὐ μόνον ἐξ ἱερέων ἐστὶν τὸ γένος, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἐκ τῆς πρώτης ἐφημερίδος τῶν εἰκοσιτεσσάρων, πολλὴ δὲ κἀν τούτῳ διαφορά, καὶ τῶν ἐν ταύτῃ δὲ φυλῶν ἐκ τῆς ἀρίστης. ὑπάρχω δὲ καὶ τοῦ βασιλικοῦ γένους ἀπὸ τῆς μητρός· οἱ γὰρ Ἀσαμωναίου παῖδες, ὧν ἔγγονος ἐκείνη, τοῦ ἔθνους ἡμῶν ἐπὶ μήκιστον 3χρόνον ἠρχιεράτευσαν καὶ ἐβασίλευσαν. ἐρῶ δὲ τὴν διαδοχήν. ὁ πρόπαππος ἡμῶν Σίμων ὁ Ψελλὸς ἐπικαλούμενος· οὗτος ἐγένετο καθ᾿ ὃν καιρὸν ἠρχιεράτευσεν Σίμωνος ἀρχιερέως ὁ παῖς, ὃς πρῶτος ἀρχιερέων Ὑρκανὸς ὠνομάσθη. γίνονται 4δὲ τῷ Ψελλῷ Σίμωνι παῖδες ἐννέα· τούτων ἐστὶν Ματθίας ὁ Ἠφαίου2 λεγόμενος. οὗτος ἠγάγετο πρὸς γάμον θυγατέρα Ἰωνάθου ἀρχιερέως, τοῦ πρώτου ἐκ τῶν Ἀσαμωναίου παίδων γένους


The Life

Life of Josephus

(1, My family is no ignoble one, tracing its descentPedigree. far back to priestly ancestors. Different races base their claim to nobility on various grounds; with us a connexion with the priesthood is the hallmark of an illustrious line. Not only, however, were my ancestors priests, but they belonged to the first of the twenty-four coursesa—a peculiar distinction—and to the most eminent of its constituent clans. Moreover, on my mother’s side I am of royal blood; for the posterity of Asamonaeus,b from whom she sprang, for a very considerable period were kings, as well as high-priests, of our nation. I will give the pedigree. My great-grandfather’s grandfather was Simon surnamed Psellus.c He was a contemporary of the high-priest Hyrcanus, the first of the name to hold that office, previously held by his father Simon. Simon “the stammerer” had nine children, one of whom, Matthias, known as the son of Ephaeus, married the daughter of Jonathan the high-priest, who was the first of the line of Asamonaeus to attain to the high-priesthood,dc. 153 b.c.

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.josephus-life.1926