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Biography of Herod


Index

Herod, the name of a family forming the last of the Jewish dynasties. The founder of the line was by far the most notable of these kings. Herod was appointed governor of Galilee by his father Antipas, a king of Edom made by Julius Caesar procurator of Judea. Ten years later, in 37 BC, by successfuly furthering the interests of the Romans, Herod secured for himself the kingship of Judea. His reign, though successful politically and materially and one of great magnificence, was a series of bloody intrigues and horrid crimes. Even his family hated, feared, and plotted against him. Herod had married the beautiful Mariamne, granddaughter of the high priest. Twice before setting out on a journey he ordered that if anything serious should befall him Mariamne be put to death. The wife discovered the cruel command and on his return would none of him. Infuriated, he had her executed, and fell into a violent illness from which he never recovered. Almost his first act had been the execution of all but two of the Sanhedrin, the great council of the Jews. Though he rebuilt the temple, he flaunted over the great doorway the golden eagle of Rome, whence it flung a personal insult to every passing Jew. Herod died in 4 BC, the year of the birth of Christ. Among the last of his dreadful deeds was the order, through jealousy of the infant Christ, for the massacre of every Hebrew boy under two years old.