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SOSIUS, CAIUS:

Roman general. Although Herod had been made king of Judea by the Romans, he was forced to wrest the country from the Hasmonean Antigonus; and as the aid which he had received from Rome was insufficient, he went to Samosata to obtain reenforcements from Antony, who ordered Sosius, the legate of Syria, to give the king his active support (Josephus, "Ant." xiv. 15, §§ 7-9; idem, "B. J." i. 16, §§ 6-7). Sosius reached Jerusalem with a large army in the spring of 37 B.C., and he and Herod, following the tactics of Pompey twenty-seven years before, directed the batteringrams against the city's northern walls. Progress was difficult, however; for the beleaguered garrison made frequent sorties and destroyed the Roman works.

The first wall was carried only after a siege of forty days, and the second wall fell fifteen days later. The defenders of Jerusalem made a desperate stand between the walls of the Temple and in the upper city; but these positions likewise were finally carried "on the solemnity of the fast" (τῇ ἑορτῇ τῆς νηστείας), this phrase of Josephus being frequently interpreted as denoting the Day of Atonement, although it more probably refers to some Sabbath ("Ant." xiv. 16, §§ 1-3; "B. J." i. 18, §§ 1-3; Dion Cassius, xlix. 22; Seneca, "Suasoriorum Liber," ii. 21; Tacitus, "Hist." v. 9). It would appear from Dion Cassius that the city was taken in 38 B.C.; but the statements of Josephus, which indicate the year 37, are more trustworthy.

Antigonus surrendered to Sosius, entreating himon his knees for mercy; but the Roman tauntingly called him "Antigone" and put him in chains, while the soldiers were given a free hand to pillage and murder in the city, so that Herod was well pleased when his rich gifts had induced his ally to withdraw with his troops. During the siege Sosius did not prevent those within the city from receiving sacrificial victims for the Temple; and after the capture of the place he showed his reverence for the Sanctuary by rich donations ("Ant." xiv. 16, § 4). It appears from coins and from the triumphal fasti that he received the title of "imperator" and the privilege of celebrating a triumph in honor of his victory over Judea.

Bibliography:
  • Grätz, Gesch. 4th ed., iii. 196;
  • Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., i. 314, 357-359;
  • Prosopographia Imperii Romani, iii. 253;
  • Unger, Sitzungsberichte der Academie zu München, 1895, pp. 273-277.
G. S. Kr.
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