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Herod the Great was a Roman client king of Judaea known also as the Herodian kingdom who lived during the 1st century BC.

by Edgar Allan Poe

He was also the founder of the Herodian dynasty, whose members, like Herod himself, served as Roman client kings. To many, Herod is remembered as a tyrannical ruler who was prepared to do anything to maintain his grip on power. The ruthlessness of Herod as portrayed in the New Testament, however, is only one side of the story. Herod was a skilled ruler and administrator, as he succeeded in preventing Judaea from being turned into a Roman province during his lifetime.

Moreover, he was a prolific builder, having commissioned many public works during his reign, the most notable of which being the renovation and expansion of the Temple in Jerusalem. Herod the Great was born in 73 BC into a notable family.

Israeli scientists discover King Herod’s tomb - The Economic Times

His mother, Cyprus, on the other hand, was the daughter of a Nabataean noble from Petra. It may be noted that the Idumaeans were not originally adherents of the Jewish faith and had only converted to Judaism during the 2nd century BC when their land was conquered by the Hasmoneans. A rural Jewish priest by the name of Mattathias decided that enough was enough and took up arms against the mighty Seleucid Empire.

When Mattathias died in the following year, his third son, Judas Maccabeus, became the leader of the revolt. The rebels employed guerrilla tactics against their more powerful enemy and defeated the Seleucid forces in a number of battles.


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In BC, Judas and his men recaptured Jerusalem , with the exception of the citadel of Acra, purified the defiled Temple, and restored services in the Temple. Having liberated Jerusalem, the Maccabees continued their war against the Seleucid Empire in the neighboring regions. The Maccabees, the rebels who fought the Seleucids and liberated Jerusalem. By BC, the Hasmoneans had created a semi-independent Jewish state.

It would take them another three decades before an independent Jewish state was established. The independence of the Hasmonean kingdom lasted until 63 BC, when it was conquered by the Roman Republic and turned into a client kingdom. Four years later, Antipater was assassinated, though Herod continued to enjoy the favor of the Romans.

The taking of Jerusalem by Herod the Great. After his failed rescue attempt, Herod fled to Rome where he succeeded in securing Roman support for a campaign to reclaim Judaea. Herod was now the undisputed ruler of Judaea. In spite of this, Herod was aware that his Idumaean origin might not appeal to the Jews and therefore took measures to secure his position.

For instance, towards the end of his campaign against Antigonus, Herod divorced his first wife, Doris, and banished her, along with their son, Antipater. This was done so that Herod could marry his second wife, Mariamne, a Hasmonean princess. Additionally, after becoming king, Herod sent envoys to Parthia to request the return of Hyrcanus.

The Parthians were happy to oblige, as Hyrcanus, despite being an elderly man, was becoming increasingly popular among the Jews of Babylonia, which made them anxious. While Herod used the Hasmoneans to legitimize his own rule he was, at the same time, fearful of them and regarded them as threats.

In the following year, however, fearful that the people of Jerusalem might make the Hasmonean Aristobulus their king as well Herod had him murdered. Herod the Great had his wife Marianne and his brother-in-law killed. Although Herod honored the former monarch, with every mark of respect, he was waiting for a chance to get rid of him. This opportunity came in 30 BC, when Hyrcanus was accused of plotting with the King of Arabia, condemned, and executed. Even his beloved wife, Mariamne, was not spared, being charged with adultery Herod in fact was suspicious that his wife and her family were plotting to dethrone him , found guilty, and executed.

In the Gospel of Matthew, Herod is said to have been visited by the magi who were on their way to pay homage to the baby Jesus. Upon hearing this, Herod was worried that the child would one day usurp his throne. Having consulted the chief priests and the scribes of the people, Herod found out that the child was born in Bethlehem and sent the magi on their way, instructing them to return to him once they had paid homage, so that he too could worship the Messiah. The magi, however, were warned in a dream not to return to Herod.

When Herod realized that he had been fooled, he was outraged, and ordered the killing of all infant boys below the age of two in Bethlehem and its surrounding areas, an event known as the Massacre of the Innocents. Douay-Rheims Bible The same day, there came some of the Pharisees, saying to him: Depart, and get thee hence, for Herod hath a mind to kill thee. Darby Bible Translation The same hour certain Pharisees came up, saying to him, Get out, and go hence, for Herod is desirous to kill thee.

English Revised Version In that very hour there came certain Pharisees, saying to him, Get thee out, and go hence: for Herod would fain kill thee. Webster's Bible Translation The same day there came certain of the Pharisees, saying to him, Go out, and depart hence; for Herod will kill thee. Weymouth New Testament Just at that time there came some Pharisees who warned Him, saying, "Leave this place and continue your journey; Herod means to kill you. Matthew At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the reports about Jesus Matthew Now Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison on account of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife, Matthew On Herod's birthday, however, the daughter of Herodias danced before them and pleased Herod Luke In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, while Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, Luke When Herod the Tetrarch heard about all that was happening, he was perplexed.

What the experts are not put in doubt is the fact that the piece has to do with Pontius Pilate, the roman governor of Jerusalem who according to the Gospel of Matthew, and washed his hands before sending Christ to the cross. A figure with a last name that is uncommon in the era, on which until now only had been found an inscription on a block of stone in the ruins of the city of Caesarea, on the mediterranean coast of israel.

In parallel to this discovery, the israeli authorities also released this week the discovery of a mask, 9, years old, carved in limestone, found by a settler jewish settlement of Pnei Hever, in the hills of Hebron, in the west bank. For the experts this is an important discovery because it was 35 years ago that was not a mask of this type, and because of the 15 with similar features that exist in the world, so is only aware of the archaeological site of provenance of the newly discovered and other. A detail that makes you think the expert israeli that could have given with a center of production masks from the Neolithic age, the period which witnessed the agricultural revolution and the men went from being nomads to settle down.

As many of the archaeological discoveries made in the Holy Land, these new findings, they are not exempt of controversy. Post a Comment Print Share on Facebook. EURO 6. GOLD BIST Always less Eastern Europeans come to the harvest to Bavaria.

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