Herod the Great

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Related to Herod the Great: John the Baptist, Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate

Herod the Great


Born circa 73 B.C.; died 4 B.C. King of Judea from 40 (actually 37) B.C.

In 47 B.C., Herod became ruler of Galilee, where he made himself notorious by cruel suppression of popular movements. Proclaimed king of Judea and “friend of Rome” by the Roman Senate in 40 B.C., he took Jerusalem in 37 with the help of Roman troops after a five-month siege and overthrew the last ruler of the Hasmonean dynasty. By the year 23, as a result of Herod’s successful military campaigns and diplomatic activity, the territory of that part of Judea subservient to Rome had been enlarged almost to the boundaries of the ancient kingdom of David. Voicing obedience to Rome and backing it in his foreign policy, Herod skillfully averted direct Roman intervention in the internal affairs of Judea. Under his rule plenary power was concentrated in the hands of the king and his private council, on which an important place was held by Greeks. The hereditary high priesthood was abolished and the role of high priest relegated to a formality; the Sanhedrin performed merely religious functions. Any discontent in the country was cruelly suppressed by an army of mercenaries.

Herod won renown for his extensive building efforts. Mistrustful and power-loving, he mercilessly annihilated all in whom he saw rivals, including members of his own family. Christian mythology ascribes to him the command, when he learned of the birth of Christ, to destroy all infants (“slaughter of the innocents”). This has made the name of Herod a common expression for a villain.


Livshits, G. M. Klassovaia bor’ba v ludee i vosstaniia protiv Rima. Chapter 7. Minsk, 1957.
Jones, A. H. M. The Herods of Judaea. Oxford, 1967.
References in periodicals archive ?
Gibson said that the building that they are excavating is in the shadow - immediately to the southeast - of the very, very large palace of Herod the Great, his compound and the later seat of the Roman governors and whoever lived there would have been able to pop into the palace.
Or perhaps, knowing the cruelty of Herod the Great, who had not been above murdering members of his own immediate family (e.
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Christianity was neither Roman nor Catholic at that time and, as for the birth of our Lord, it has long been known that AD 1 could not be the year of his birth as Herod the Great had been dead for eight years.
An Israeli archaeologist believes that he has found the tomb of the first century BC king, Herod the Great.
What made all this possible was the enormous construction project, begun by Herod the Great but not completed till the 60s CE, which created a large public plaza with the Temple structure in its midst.
Herod The Great - to give him his middle and surname - had 10 wives, the first of whom was called, wait for it .
54) Romanos applies this qualification to Herod the Great, probably borrowing it from Luke 13.
Rich spent 11 months researching, learning about Jewish culture in Nazareth, the rule of Herod the Great and his paranoia over prophecies of a coming messiah, as well as the hardships and resentments Jews felt toward the Roman Empire, fueling their yearning for a political savior.
A few papers deal with areas bordering on the Roman province of Syria: Commagene (Bruno Iacobs), Hellenistic Uruk (Gunvor Lindstrom), and the building program of Herod the Great in modern Israel (Sarah Japp).
Bevington begins by noting a correspondence between the mourning mothers of the Towneley Herod the Great and the lamenting Virgin of the Towneley Crucifixion.