Herod the Great

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Os projetos monumentais das edificacoes de Herodes ampliaram, sem duvida, os horizontes antigos da Palestina, introduzindo para a populacao local uma construcao inovadora, seguindo o planejamento e a decoracao a moda dos ricos de Roma e, por consequencia, influenciando o estilo de vida e os habitos cotidianos da populacao local, seja em seu culto, sociedade, comercio, economia, cultura ou lazer.
Na esteira dessas visadas, o proprio Herodes explicita, na parte final da narrativa, o tema da potencia avassaladora do olhar direto sobre coisas e pessoas, fazendo intervir a funcao apotropaica (6) dos espelhos:
Foi realizado um levantamento dos discursos referentes apenas ao tema por meio dos mecanismos de busca nos portais da Camara dos Deputados, do Senado e da ALERJ, usando como palavraschave: "aborto", "Jandira", "Elizangela" e Operacao Herodes. Em pleno periodo eleitoral, os casos de Jandira e de Elizangela nao foram tema de nenhum discurso no plenario da Camara dos Deputados nem no Senado Federal, considerando os meses de agosto ate o final de outubro.
However, the main attraction is the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, situated at the foot of the Acropolis, which was built in AD161.
He received excellent notices for the title role in Offenbach's Robinson Crusoe at Innsbruck, and Herodes in Richard Strauss's Salome with Mains-Chamandy in the title role.
In the background you can see the Odeon Herodes Atticus in Greece.
The main venue is the ancient open-air theatre of Herodes Atticus, which makes it special.