But I shall say no more of the Lacedemonians. As for the Athenians, who glory in having made their city to be common to all men, what their behavior was Apollonius did not know, while they punished those that did but speak one word contrary to the laws about the gods, without any mercy; for on what other account was it that Socrates was put to death by them? For certainly he neither betrayed their city to its enemies, nor was he guilty of any sacrilege with regard to any of their temples; but it was on this account, that he swore certain new oaths (26) and that he affirmed either in earnest, or, as some say, only in jest, that a certain demon used to make signs to him [what he should not do]. For these reasons he was condemned to drink poison, and kill himself. His accuser also complained that he corrupted the young men, by inducing them to despise the political settlement and laws of their city: and thus was Socrates, the citizen of Athens, punished. There was also Anaxagoras, who, although he was of Clazomente, was within a few suffrages of being condemned to die, because he said the sun, which the Athenians thought to be a god, was a ball of fire. They also made this public proclamation," That they would give a talent to any one who would kill Diagoras of Melos," because it was reported of him that he laughed at their mysteries. Protagoras also, who was thought to have written somewhat that was not owned for truth by the Athenians about the gods, had been seized upon, and put to death, if he had not fled away immediately. Nor need we at all wonder that they thus treated such considerable men, when they did not spare even women also; for they very lately slew a certain priestess, because she was accused by somebody that she initiated people into the worship of strange gods, it having been forbidden so to do by one of their laws; and a capital punishment had been decreed to such as introduced a strange god; it being manifest, that they who make use of such a law do not believe those of other nations to be really gods, otherwise they had not envied themselves the advantage of more gods than they already had. And this was the happy administration of the affairs of the Athenians! Now as to the Scythians, they take a pleasure in killing men, and differ but little from brute beasts; yet do they think it reasonable to have their institutions observed. They also slew Anacharsis, a person greatly admired for his wisdom among the Greeks, when he returned to them, because he appeared to come fraught with Grecian customs. One may also find many to have been punished among the Persians, on the very same account. And to be sure Apollonius was greatly pleased with the laws of the Persians, and was an admirer of them, because the Greeks enjoyed the advantage of their courage, and had the very same opinion about the gods which they had. This last was exemplified in the temples which they burnt, and their courage in coming, and almost entirely enslaving the Grecians. However, Apollonius has imitated all the Persian institutions, and that by his offering violence to other men's wives, and gelding his own sons. Now, with us, it is a capital crime, if any one does thus abuse even a brute beast; and as for us, neither hath the fear of our governors, nor a desire of following what other nations have in so great esteem, been able to withdraw us from our own laws; nor have we exerted our courage in raising up wars to increase our wealth, but only for the observation of our laws; and when we with patience bear other losses, yet when any persons would compel us to break our laws, then it is that we choose to go to war, though it be beyond our ability to pursue it, and bear the greatest calamities to the last with much fortitude. And, indeed, what reason can there be why we should desire to imitate the laws of other nations, while we see they are not observed by their own legislators (27) And why do not the Lacedemonians think of abolishing that form of their government which suffers them not to associate with any others, as well as their contempt of matrimony? And why do not the Eleans and Thebans abolish that unnatural and impudent lust, which makes them lie with males? For they will not show a sufficient sign of their repentance of what they of old thought to be very excellent, and very advantageous in their practices, unless they entirely avoid all such actions for the time to come: nay, such things are inserted into the body of their laws, and had once such a power among the Greeks, that they ascribed these sodomitical practices to the gods themselves, as a part of their good character; and indeed it was according to the same manner that the gods married their own sisters. This the Greeks contrived as an apology for their own absurd and unnatural pleasures.
(26) See what those novel oaths were in Dr. Hudson's note, viz. to swear by an oak, by a goat, and by a dog, as also by a gander, as say Philostratus and others. This swearing strange oaths was also forbidden by the Tyrians, B. I. sect. 22, as Spanheim here notes.
(27) Why Josephus here should blame some heathen legislators, when they allowed so easy a composition for simple fornication, as an obligation to marry the virgin that was corrupted, is hard to say, seeing he had himself truly informed us that it was a law of the Jews, Antiq. B. IV. ch. 8. sect. 23, as it is the law of Christianity also: see Horeb Covenant, p. 61. I am almost ready to suspect that, for, we should here read, and that corrupting wedlock, or other men's wives, is the crime for which these heathens wickedly allowed this composition in money.