Herod the Great

king of Judea from 37/6 BCE to 4/1 BCE

Herod I (c. 72 – 4 or 1 BCE), also known as Herod the Great, was a Roman Jewish client king of Judea, referred to as the Herodian kingdom. He is known for his colossal building projects throughout Judea, including his renovation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the expansion of the Temple Mount towards its north, the enclosure around the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, the construction of the port at Caesarea Maritima, the fortress at Masada, and Herodium. Vital details of his life are recorded in the works of the 1st century CE Roman–Jewish historian Josephus.

Herod also appears in the Christian Gospel of Matthew as the ruler of Judea who orders the Massacre of the Innocents at the time of the birth of Jesus, although most Herod biographers do not believe that this event occurred.

Quotes edit

  • Go and get accurate information about the child. As soon as you have found him, report to me, so that I too may go & honor him.
    • Matthew 2:8 (Christian Community Bible:Catholic Pastoral edition)

Quotes about edit

  • In popular memory, Herod is inevitably associated with the Massacre of the Innocents. He also killed his wife, three sons and numerous opponents. Yet, he was the successful ruler of a kingdom that provided stability in a turbulent region and one of the great builders of his age, erecting fortresses, palaces, and entire cities. He lived in the shadow of the Romans, who installed and maintained him in power.
    • Clive Foss, The Tyrants: 2,500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption (2006), p. 24
  • Herod the Great was the half-Jewish, half-Idumean king of Judaea and Roman ally, whose 32-year reign saw colossal achievements and terrible crimes. He was a talented, energetic and intelligent self-made monarch who combined Hellenistic and Jewish culture, presiding over the rebuilding of the Jewish Temple, the embellishment and restoration of Jerusalem, and the building of great cities and impressive fortresses. In short, he created a large, rich and powerful kingdom with a special status at the heart of Rome’s eastern empire. Yet in his lust for power, women and glory, he became the bloodthirsty villain of the Christian Gospels and the despot of Josephus’ The Jewish War. Even though he did not actually order the Massacre of the Innocents, as told in the Gospels, he killed three of his own sons, as well as his wife and many of his rivals, and used terror and murder to hold on to power right up until his death.

External links edit

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