Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.

Herodthe Great

Herod the Great (73-4 b.c.) was the second son of Antipater the Idumean, who was Procurator of Judaea and made his son governor of Galilee.

Herod in the civil troubles of Rome sided with Brutus and Cassius, but his talents led to his finding favour with Antony, who made him Tetrarch and King of Judeea, a position in which Augustus confirmed him after the downfall of Antony. Although a sound politician and a good general, he was a man of jealous nature and violent passions. He killed his brother Aristobulus, and Hyrcanus, the grandfather of his wife Mariamne, and finally killed her, the rest of her family, and his sons by her, so determined was he to have no rivals near his throne. He displayed great magnificence hr his surroundings, rebuilt the Temple, built a theatre and amphitheatre for Jerusalem, and rebuilt on a grand scale Samaria. He also erected strong fortresses in his dominions, of which Ceesarea was an example. Besides a fine palace at Jerusalem, he had a country house, the Herodeion. He incurred much odium by the massacre of infants at Bethlehem, another mark of his dread of rivalry; but, on the whole, he was a favourite with the Jewish nation, though they suffered from his despotism.

In his later days disease made him, as later it did Henry VIII. of England, doubly vindictive, and one of his latest acts was one of almost humorous madness - namely, to summon the chief Jews to Jericho, leaving orders to Salome that they should be slain at his death in order that there should be some to mourn him, unless, indeed, he had deep motives of policy for the act as likely to paralyse any effort, at revolt when his strong hand should be removed from the helm.