THE Romans were now the real masters of Judea; and since they are so intimately connected with the history of Christ and the apostles, it seems important to notice the condition of the Roman empire at this timo. We have already noticed that the second Carthaginian war ended about the time when Palestine came under the rule of the Syro-Macedonians, B. C. 202. 

The third Carthaginian war ended about fifty years after, in the total destruction of Carthage. The Romans had now no formidable rival, and the conquest of the world lay before them.

For the next hundred years, Roman history presents a scene of continuous war. There was war with Greece, war with Macedonia, with Egypt, and with Syria.

About one hundred and six years before Christ, Rome was again threatened by a vast invasion of northern nations, but was saved by the skillful management of Marina, one of the most wonderful military geniuses known to history. 

Soon after, a civil war broke out, headed by Marius and Cinna on the one side, and Sulla on the other. This war was one of the fiercest ever known. First one party and then the other gained possession of Rome, "butchering its opponents in massacres that almost surpass belief, one hundred thousand Roman citizens, ninety senators, and two thousand six hundred Roman knights lying in blood under the butchery of Sulla alone."

About 81 B. C.  Marcus Tullius Cicero comes upon the stage in defense of one of Sulla's victims, whose cause none of the older advocates dared to espouse. In this defense he gave promise of that wonderful eloquence which afterward astonished the world.

Then there was war for years with Mithridates, king of Ponuis. This war was finally brought to a successful termination by Pompey, who, on his return, visited Jerusalem, settled the affairs of Palestine, restored Hyrcanus, and desecrated the holy of holies.

About this time occurred the frightful conspiracy of Catiline, whom Cicero, with all his eloquence, arraigned before his fellow-citizens.

Julius Caesar, a son-in-law of Cinna, now begins to act a prominent part on the stage of public life. ''By and-by we find this Julius Caesar, along with Pompey and Crassus, sharing among them, as the first triumvirate, the wide dominions of Rome.

"Then the triumvirate is broken up, first by the death of Crassus in battle with the Parthians, and then by the rupture between Caesar and Pompey. Their forces join issue at Pharsalia in Thessaly. Pompey is defeated, and Julius Caesar is left sole ruler of the great empire of Rome, B.C 45."

When Pompey returned from Jerusalem to Rome, he carried Aristobulus with him as a prisoner; but after a time, Aristobulus escaped, and returned to Judea, where he renewed the civil war with Hycranus. The contest was continued by his son Alexander, who was at last defeated, with immense slaughter, at Mount Tabor. In the division of the Roman empire among the triumvirs, Syria had been assigned to Crassus. After his death, Cassius, an eminent Roman general, administered the affairs of Syria for a time; but upon the death of Pompey, it fell under the control of Caesar. Caesar determined that Hyrcanus should rule as king at Jerusalem, and his family after him, and appointed Antipater, an Idumaean by birth, procurator of Judea under Hyrcanus. The two sons of Antipater, Phasael and Herod (afterward Herod the Great) were made governors of Judea and Galilee.